THE PARABLE OF THE Ten Virgins OPENED & APPLIED: Being the Substance of divers SERMONS on Matth. 25. 1,—13. Wherein, the Difference between the Sincere Christian and the most Refined Hypocrite, the Nature and Characters of Saving and of Common Grace, the Dangers and Diseases incident to most flourishing Churches or Christians, and other Spiritual TRUTHS of greatest importance, are clearly discovered, and practically Improved,

BY THOMAS SHEPARD late Worthy and Faithfull Pastor of the Church of Christ at Cambridge in NEW-ENGLAND.

Now Published from the Authours own Notes, at the desires of many, for the common Benefit of the Lords people, BY

  • Ionathan Mitchell Minister at Cambridge, in NEW ENGLAND.
  • The Shepard, Son to the Reverend Author, now Minister at Charles-Town in NEW ENGLAND.
LUKE 21. 36.
Watch ye therefore and pray alwaies, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to passe, and to stand before the Son of man.

LONDON, Printed by I. Hayes for Iohn Rothwell, at the Sign of the Fountain in Gold| smiths-Row in Cheap-side. 1660.

TO THE READER, And Especially to the Inhabitants of CAMBRIDGE IN NEW-ENGLAND.

THat to make sure of Life Eternal, is the one necessary Businesse, that we Sons of death have to do in this world, and without which, all our time here is worse than lost, every enlightned mind will easily acknowledge. This present life being by the Rule of it, appointed but to this end, to be preparation-time, spent in a conti­nual care to make ready, that we might have a good meeting with him who shall be seen in this Aire one day. And whe­ther we look up to Heaven, or down to Hell; whether we reflect upon our own immortal souls, or turn our eyes toward the Greatnesse and Goodnesse of that God in Christ with whom we have to do; whether we pace over the time between this and Judgment-day, or send our thoughts to view the Eternity that is to follow after. All things put a Necessity, a Solemnity, a Glory upon this work.

But, Difficilia quae Pulchra: It is one of the Oracles uttered by our Lord with his own mouth, Strait is the Gate, and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. It is not so easie a thing to get to Heaven, nor so broad a way thither, as the slight and loose Opinions of some, and Practises of more would make it, nor as the carnal hearts of all would have it. Though th [...]t (if it be examined) is the common Scope of all Erroneous Conceits (and how restlesly [Page] have the corrupt minds of men laboured therein in all ages, and do in these our daies) to widen the way to Life, to break down the Boun­daries of this narrow Path, and make it broader than ever God made it. Mans carnal heart finds it self pinioned and straitned in the way (the good old way of effectual Faith and obedience) that God hath laid out; hence it breaks out on this hand and on that, and will rather pluck up the ancient Land-marks of Gods Truth, than not make it broader. The Gospel will not afford men a way broad enough, unlesse the Law be quite removed (not only as a Covenant, but as a commanding Rule of Life too) and laid flat like an old Hedge, that they may go over it at pleasure, and not attend it any further than their spirit listeth. Justi­fication by Faith is too narrow a path, unlesse they may be justified before and without Faith, it is not free enough; they complain of it as if it laid them under a Covenant of works. Conditional Promises are of too straight a size, they must be all absolute, and give us peace without any qualification in us, or else they are not large enough. To be solicitous about Sanctification and inherent Grace, is too trouble­som; to seek God diligently in the use of all means, in a daily and hearty performance of holy Duties, in a strict Sanctifying of Sabbaths, in constant watchfulnesse, &c. this must be laid by, as a Legal Busi­nesse. And if the Spirit immediatly will act us and carry us in a Bed of ease to Heaven, without troubling us to act and strive, well and good; otherwise men will shake hands with the power of Godlinesse, and run a drift before their own Corruptions. But when all Stones are turned, the way to Heaven is and will be found to be a straight way: Truth hath said, it is so, God hath laid it out so; and it is not all the Notions of men that will make it otherwise. And hence those solemn Counsels of the Scripture, Work out your salvation with fear and trembling, Give all diligence to make all sure, Str [...]ve to enter in at the Straight Gate, So run that you may obtain, &c. though they be little attended by the loosenesse of these times, yet they are of endlesse Moment and use, and had need be awfully regarded by all that love their everlasting peace.

He therefore that is in earnest about this great businesse, will be glad of any good help to guide him in this way, this straight way to Life. And though there be many choice helps herein already extant, in the precious Labours of sundry of the Lords Faithful Servants, for which this Age hath cause on bended Knees to blesse the Lord, and which will be such a testimony against the wantonnesse thereof, as it will never be able to answer: Yet of those that do clearly, particu­larly, livelily and searchingly discover and mark out this straight way, with the several practical turns thereof, and shew where they that miss of the end at last, do turn out of it, although they go far therein; of those that Pilot us, when we come into the narrow Channel, unto the very point of entrance into life, and shew us the Rocks and Shoals on either hand distinctly; of these (I say) there is not too great a num­ber. For to speak any good and useful Truths, is good and commen­dable; [Page] but yet it is another and a further matter to hold the Candle to the poor people of God (even to the meanest) to light them to Hea­ven, or to take the soul by the hand, and lead if from step to step through all the difficulties, deceits and turnings at which the closest Hypocrites do misse their way and lose themselves; and to do this so convincingly, throughly and distinctly, as that the secrets of hearts may be made manifest, the secure self-deceiver discovered and awaken­ed, and yet the humble upright Christian confirmed and encoura­ged.

In this Skill and Work, as the Author of the following Sermous, was known to be among the first Three; so these Lectures of his, up on the Parable of the Virgins, have been esteemed to excel in this kind; having left such a relish upon the Hearers, as that they have not forgot­ten the Ta [...]t of them to this day. It hath therefore been the instant de­sire of many that heard them, and of some that have but heard of them, that they might be imparted to the Publick. And surely both the Subject and the manner of handling it is such, being wholly upon those things wherein the heart and life of Religion lies, that we cannot disap­prove of their Opinions, who have so earnestly desired it. All the Ser­mons and Books that speak to the heart of Religion are little enough to feed that, and keep life there, especially in this languishing and dy­ing Age; wherein though there wants not common light and outward Profession, yet losse of Love and inward deadnesse are as common. The work being somwhat lengthy; and fitting Scribes not easily attaina­ble in this Wildernesse, it hath occasioned this delay hitherto. But we hope it will now be neither unacceptable nor unseasonable.

These Sermons are now transcribed by industrious and intelligent persons, and have been carefully reviewed and corrected. They are written out of the Authors own Notes, which he prepared for preach­ing (only about a Sheet himself wrote out in his life-time, having thoughts it seems of yielding to their desires who were earnest for their publishing) by means whereof, though the Reader will often meet with Curtnesse of expression, and though some lively passages that were ut­tered in preaching may be wanting, yet you will have this benefit to have much in a little room. It may also easily be observed that nor cu­riosity of words, but weight of things was here studied by, and flowed from the heart and pen of the Author, which yet produceth the best and truest, i. e. a real Rhetorick. In summe, although many imper­fections incident to such post-humous Editions cannot be wanting, yet we doubt not but the work will speak for it self, to the intelligent and serious Reader.

We are not ignorant that there be some who somwhat differ from this our Author in the accommodation of this Parable, and Analysis of some part of the Context, referring it to the times about the expected calling of the Iews (and if so, the substance of the work may be ac­counted to be in a more than ordinary manner proper and seasonable for [Page] these times) But therein every man is left free to his own further dis­quisitions. Neither is it for the sake of the bare exposition (much lesse Chronical Accomodation) of the Text so much, that we publish these things (in that kind the Labours of others do abound) but for the spiritual, practical, lively, soul-searching truths and applications thereof that are therein contained, the substance of which Truths the impartial Reader will easily acknowledge to be clear both from this and from other Scriptures.

These Sermons preached by the Author, in a weekly Lecture, were begun in Iune 1636. and ended in May 1640. In which time there was a Leaven of Antinomian and Familistical opinions stirring in the Coun­try, as the world hath already in Print been informed: By occasion whereof of the Reader will meet with sundry passages tending to reprove and refute some of those conceits and to establish the contrary truth; which we have not expunged, but let them passe mostly as we found them; seeing it is no more then the world already knows that there were such things then among us; and though that storm be (as to it's open influence) comfortably blown over with us, yet the like errours are (if not latent among some here) spread elsewhere by the New Lights of these times, whence these helps against them are still needful. And we doubt not but the substance of the Truth here de­fended by our Author will stand and abide the Trial. Yea I suppose I may freely take liberty to say, that among the many excellencies wherewith the Lord endowed this precious instrument of his, this was none of the least, that God taught him, and helped him to teach others the ture middle way of the Gospel between the Legalist on the one hand, and the Antinomian (or loose Gospeller) on the other, with much and sweet clearnesse, as was evident in the whole course and way of his preaching, and may in some measure appear both in his Books formerly printed, and in the following Sermons. Other passages also of special application to this Country and to those first times of it, we willingly permit to passe the Presse, because they may be profitable to others in like cases elsewhere, and of special benefit to the New-English Reader, For why should we not desire and hope that the sutable solemn counsels and warnings here given to these Churches by this Seer in Isra­el, in reference to the main matters of life and godlinesse, may now be of living, awakening and soul-instructing use to them (Oh that it may be!) unto many Generations!

Reader, if thou comest [...]ither to carp and cavil, or to criticise upon each circumstantial imperfection, this work is not for thy turn; but if thou bringest with thee a serious and humble heart, desirous to have thy soul searched to the quick, the sores thereof lanced, thy spiritual work and way directed, and the interest of thy eternal peace furthered; if thou desirest to walk with God in good earnest, and escaping all the snares of a slight and slumbring Generation, to stand before the Son of man with comfort in the day of his Glory, then maist thou here find that that will sute thee, and which thou wilt blesse the Lord for, even [Page] words that are as Goads and Nails fastned by this Master of Assemblies, gi­ven from that one and chief Shepherd. The Lord fix and fasten them in all our hearts, that abiding and being engrafted there, they may be instrumental to further our Salvation, that neither deficiency in the main, nor sloathful security, may hinder us from our desired end; but when that chief Shepherd and that Heavenly Bridegroom, who now sends to us by so many Servants and Messages of his, both in Word and Writing, shall appear himself in the Glory of his Father, and of all his holy Angels, we also may receive a Crown of Glory that fadeth not away, and (for the last consummation of this happy Marriage) may go home with him to his Fathers House, there to abide in his Rest, in the Fulnesse of his joy, and drink down his Pleasures for evermore.

And you that somtimes were the Flock of this Shepherd, and have heard these things from the lively voice of this Soul [...] melting Preacher, whom you never can forget; let it be a welcom Providence to have these Truths thus revived to you, and put into your hands, that he who is dead, may yet speak to you and yours. Get them into your Houses to read, nay, into your Hearts to feed upon, as a choice and precious Treasure. And let them still be a living and continual warn­ing to you to watch and keep alive the power of Godlinesse, the daily practise of working out your Salvation with fear and trembling, the love of the Truth, the hatred of every false way, the esteem and improve­ment of Gods Ordinances, and the true, humble, heavenly Life of Faith in Christ Jesus.

Ionathan Mitchel.

To the READER.

IF thou art one who knowest what 'tis to be serious in the great business of providing for Eternity, 'tis very probable thou maist be no stranger to the Name of this Reverend Author, now with God, whose Name in both the Englands is as an oyntment poured forth; and then thou wilt be eagerly desirous to peruse these following Sermons, in tendency to the further increasing thy stock of spiritual oyl, and when thou hast read them, and suckt forth the sweetness and nourishment contained in them, and by the assistance of the holy Spirit turned them into good and healthfull nutriment to thy soul, we question not but it will inhance the Authors worth in thy thoughts and esti­mation. But perhaps thou hast never lighted on any of those Flowers which this Holy man hath planted in Gods garden, and then we are confident thou wilt meet with such savoury sweetness in this Discourse, as will make thee wish Christs Church had longer enjoyed so choice and skilfull a Workman. If thou beest one who hath hitherto little considered of God and thy soul, and the concernments of Eternity, or only now and then had some morning dew thoughts of that which deserves and requires the choicest and most vigorous workings of thy soul, we wish thou wouldst so far comply with Gods goodness in bringing this Book to thy hand, and gratific thy self, (we mean thy Soul, thy better self,) as to read over this Treatise, in which thou wilt meet with those serious and soul-piercing Truths, which by Gods blessing may be as poyson to thy lusts, and awaken thee to a serious and hearty engaging in that work which none ever yet repented of. For the occasion of publishing this Piece, we refer thee to the larger Epistle of our Reverend Brother, and only adde, that though a vein of serious, solid and hearty piety run through all this Au­thors Works, yet he hath reserved the best wine till the last. The Lord help thee and us so to reade and improve these and such like labours of Gods Har­vest men, that we way with the Wise Virgins have the Lamps of our souls trimed and furnished with oyl, that when the Bridegroom shall come we may be ready to enter with him into his Kingdom. Which is and shall be the prayer of us, who are hearty well-wishers to thy Soul,

Decemb. 24. 1659.
  • William Greenhill,
  • Edmund Calamy,
  • John Jackson,
  • Simeon Ash,
  • William Taylor.

THE PARABLE of the TEN VIRGINS UNFOLDED; Out of MATTH. 25. from the Ist Vers. to the 14th.

1. Then shall the Kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten Virgins, which took their Lamps, and went forth to meet the Bridegroom.

2. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.

3. They that were foolish took their Lamps, and took no oyl with them.

4. But the wise [...]ook oyl in their vessels with their Lamps.

5. While the Bridegroom tarried, they all slumbred and slept.

6. And at mid-night there was a cry made, Behold the Bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet him.

7. Then all those Virgins arose and trimmed their Lamps.

8. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oyl, for our Lamps are gone out.

9. But the wise answered saying, not so, lest there be not enough for us and you, but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for your selves.

10. And while they went to buy, the Bridegroom came, and they that were ready [...] in with him to the marriage, and the door was shut.

11. Afterward came also the other Virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.

12. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.

13. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day, nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.



THese words are part of our Saviours Answer unto two solemn questi­ons which his Disciples propounded unto him, Chap. 24.v. 3. The first was concerning the destruction of the Temple at Ierusalem. The second concerning the sign of his coming, and so of the end of the world. The first seems to be occasioned by our Saviours speech, c. 24.v. 2. The second from his speech, c. 23.v. 39. To the first therefore he answers, from the [Page 2] 4th v. of the 24th ch. to the 23d v. of it. To the second he answereth from the 23d v. of the same chap. to end of this 25th chap. Wherein he acquaints them,

1. With some things which shall be before his coming, viz. subtill and strong delusions, mixt with sore tribulations and oppressions, especially in the time of Antichrist's raigne, as also great confusions, in all hearts and Churches, if not throughout all the world after the tribulation of those daies; And then (saith he) v. 30. shall appear the sign of the Son of man, and he shall be seen coming in power and great Glory; but if you desire farther to know the day and hour when this shall be, 'tis such a secret as my Father revealeth not to any, no, not to the very Angels in Heaven, and therefore you need not know it, nor yet should seek to know it; 'tis sufficient for you to know that before my coming there shall be lamentable and sad times, and that when they are at their worst, that the Sun and the Moon (through the horrours of mens hearts, and the universal confusions in the world) shall seem to be darkned, &c. that then it is time for me to come, and set all in order again, then the time of my coming drawes nigh: Now this Christ doth from v. 23. of the 24th chap. to v. 37.

2. Having thus spoken concerning his coming, he breaks off his speech in describing his coming, and fals to discovering the state of the times toward, and about the days of his coming, and this he doth from c. 24. v. 37. to c. 25. v. 31. by the consideration of which he perswades to watchfulnesse against his coming. 1. Either (saith he) the times will be very sensuall and degenerate, as in the daies of Noah, in some places of the world, c. 24. v. 38. which he illustrates from two Parables, perswading therefore to watchfulnesse, to the end of the 24th chap. 2. Or there will be great security in other places, and among o­ther persons (not given up to sensuality as in the daies of Noah, but) who are the chast, Virgin, pure Churches of the world, not defiled with the whoredoms in the world; and this our Saviour unfolds in this Parable. 3. Or if any be awakened (as some shall) to look for Christ's coming, yet among these, some through hard conceits of the Lord Jesus, shall be wilfully carelesse, and not improve their Talents for the sake and use of the Lord Jesus, and this is set down in the next Parable of the ten Talents, from v. 14. to v. 31. You see therefore where this Parable stands, and to what purpose it is brought in. In which are two things.


1. THe Parable it self, concerning the ten Virgins, from v. 1. to v. 13.

2. The scope of the Parable, v. 13. which is to perswade not simply to watchfulnesse, but to continuance and perseverance in it from a prudent foresight of the coming of Christ.

1. The Parable it self is set down, agreeable to the custom of those times wherein our Saviour lived, wherein their Marriages were usually celebrated in the night time, she that was the Bride was attended with sundry Virgins to meet the Bridegroom; these Virgins (it being night season) took therefore their Lamps with them; those that were ready, and met the Bridegroom, were admitted to the Marriage-Room and Supper; those that came after that time, if once the doors were shut, weresurely kept out, though they knockt hard to come in. All this, those who are acquainted with Iewish Histories and customs know to be true, which we are to attend, because it gives not a little light to the true and genuine ex­plication of this Parable.

In which Parable note these two parts.

1. The Churches preparation to meet with Christ (called here the Bridegroom) from the 1 to the 5 vers.

[Page 3] 2. The Bridegroom's coming forth to meet them, from the 5 to the 12 vers.

The first part of the Parable.

FIrst, I shall speak of the preparation made by the Church to meet with Christ Jesus. Wherein also note these three things.

1. The place where this preparation is made, viz. in the Kingdom of Heaven, vers. 1.

2. The time when it shall be made, set down in the first word, Then, v. 1.

3. The persons that shall make this preparation, they shall not be corrupted Members of degenerate Churches, where mens profession is grown foul through length of wearing; but they are Professors of some eminent strain, some whereof are truly sincere, others secretly unsound. And there is a double desription of them. 1. From some things wherein they all agree. 2. From some other parti­culars wherein they manifestly differ;

First, Those things wherein they all agree are three.

1. They are all Virgins; Virgin-Professors.

2. They were all awake and watchful for some time, ready to meet the Bride­groom, and hence it it is said, They took their Lamps.

3. They all had so much Faith as to go out to meet the Bridegroom. Secondly, Those things wherein they did differ, are,

1. Generally, five were wise, and five were foolish, v. 2.

2. Specially, the foolish took Lamps but no Oyl, the wise did both, v. 3, 4.

This is the rude draught of this first part of the Parable, the sum whereof is this, That the state of the Members of some Churches about the time of Christ's coming, shall be this, they shall not be openly prophane, corrupt and scandalous, but Virgin-Professors, awakened (for some season) out of carnal security, stirring, lively Christians, not preserving their Chastity and Purity meerly in a way of works, but waiting for Christin a Covenant of Grace, only some of these, and a good part of these, shall be indeed wise, stored with spiritual wisdom, fil [...]'d with the power of Grace; but others of them, and a great part of them too, shall be found foolish at the coming of the Lord Jesus.

I come therefore to handle the first Particular in this first Part, viz.

Of the Visible Church of God.


1. THE place where this preparation to meet Christ shall be made, and that is not in the Kingdoms of this world (earthy Kingdoms) but in the Kingdom of Heaven, and therefore'tis said, The Kingdom of Hea­ven shall be like, &c.

I will not trouble you with telling you how many waies the Kingdom of Heaven is taken in Scripture; by Kingdom of Heaven here, is not meant the Kingdom of Glory in the third Heaven, for there shall be no foolish Virgins at all there, no unclean thing shall enter thither; nor by it is meant the head of this Kingdom, viz. [Page 4] Christ Jesus, for how can he be like to ten Virgins; nor by it is meant the Gospel of the Kingdom, (which Mat. 13. is call'd the Kingdom of Heaven, and compared to a draw-net) for how can it be like unto ten Virgins? nor yet the internal Kingdom of grace set up in the heart of every believer (which is called a grain of Mustard­seed, Mat. 13.) for how can any foolish Virgins be there? or what share have they in that? Therefore I conceive 'tis clear, that by the Kingdom of Heaven here, is meant the external Kingdom of Christ in this world: that is, the visible Church, or the estate of the visible Church, which is frequently called in Scri­pture, the Kingdom of Heaven, as, Mat. 8. 12. & 21. 43. In which Kingdom some are wise, some foolish, all professe Christ, look for the coming of Christ, for salvation from Christ, the estate of this visible Church shall be like ten Virgins.


AND hence I shall note this one thing.

That the visible Church of God on earth,Doct. 1. especially in the times of the Gospel, is the Kingdom of Heaven upon earth.

For look upon the face of the whole earth, there you may see the Kingdoms of men, and the Kingdom of Satan, sin and death, which the Apostle saith, Rom. 5. reig [...]eth over all men; here is only the Kingdom of Heaven, upon earth, viz. in the visible Church; 'tis not the place only which makes either Heaven or Hell, (though there is a place for both) but the state principally makes both, one may be in Hell upon earth, as Christ was in his bitter agony, and a man may be in a kind of Heaven upon earth, as Christ tels his hearers, that the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand; a man may be under the Kingdom of Satan and darknesse upon earth, Col. 1. 13. which is a kind of Hell; and why not as well under the Kingdom of God on earth, which is a kind of Heaven, especially (I say) now under the Gospel, wherein the Lord hath begun to fulfil, that which was but only promised under the Old Testament to be fulfilled in the fourth and last Monarchy, (Dan. 2. 44) in the time of the New: In the state of Christ's visible Church, which should by little and little beat down all other Kingdoms of the world.


1. BEcause the same King that is reigning in Heaven,Reas. 1. is reigning here, is pre­sent here, Psa. 2. 6. And here the Saints are commanded to rejoyce, to shout, and to be glad with all their hearts, because of the presence of this their King a­mong them, Zeph. 3. 14, 15. 'Tis true indeed he is King over all the world; the immediate execution of all Gods common, as well as special providence, is put into the hand of this King, the Lord Jesus. But as for his Enemies, and other creatures, he reignes over them as a King of power, but he reignes not for them also as a King of Grace and love, for thus he reignes among his people in his Church, Deut. 33. 26, 27. The Lord is present with every one of his people, seve­rally, but much more joyntly, when two or three of them are met together in his Name.

2. Because here are the Lawes of Heaven,Reas. 2. Heb. 12. 25. Take heed (speaking of the Ministry of the Gospel in the Churches) that ye refuse not to hear him who speaketh from Heaven, which Lawes are not only here promulgated (as they be among the enemies of this Kingdom) but accepted and received also, without which Lawes what Kingdom could there be? Christ's Kingdom in this world is neither tyrannical, nor arbitrary, to govern without Law; no, no, but if he be [Page 5] our King, he is our Law-giver also, Isa. 33. 22. Nay the same Lawes by which we shall be ruled in Heaven, we have here, and we are now under: That as our Divines say against the Papists, though before Moses his time, there was not scriptio verbi, yet there was verbum scriptum, which the Patriarchs had before the Floud, and afterward until Moses his time: So I say here, though in Heaven the external Letter and scription both of Law and Gospel, shall be abolished, because they need the [...] not when the day-star is risen, 2 Pet. 1. 19. Yet the living Rules of both for substance, shall remain; the end of the Ministry is to bring us to the unity of Faith in a perfect estate. Eph. 4. 13. Therefore Faith shall not cease, when Ministers shall, and that perfect man shall come. Our Faith indeed shall not then by such glasses see Christ, nor adhere unto Christ, by such means of Promises and Ordinances as we do now, but without them we shall both see, and for ever adhere to him who is our King at that day; and though indeed the Law is now abolished, as a Covenant of life, yet it shall ever remain as a Rule of life; perfect subjection to it, is the happinesse of Saints in Heaven, 1 Ioh. 1. as a heart contrary to it is the greatest misery of the Saints on earth, Rom. 7. 24.

3. Because here are the Subjects of Heaven,Reason 3. Eph. 2. 19. Fellow-Citizens of the Saints, not only on earth, but as Paul speaketh, Phil. 3. 20. Our conversation (or, as it may be rendred, our free Burgesse-ship) is in Heaven. God himself hath canonized all the true Members of visible Churches with the name of Saints, throughout the who [...]e new Testament, here are the great heirs of Heaven, nay, possessours of Heaven by Faith, as others are by feeling, as near and dear to God (in some re­spect) as those that be in Heaven already; because the same motive which makes him love them, makes him love these, though poor abjects, and our-casts of the world; there is but a paper-wall of their bodies between them and Heaven, only here is the difference, they there, are Subjects in their own countrey; these here, are the same Countreymen, only strangers for a time here upon earth: Some de­fine a Kingdom to be dominatus regis in populum subjectum. If Christ (the King) was present, and his Laws published, but there were no people to be subject to him, there could be no Kingdom; but when the King, Laws, and Subjects of Heaven are here met together in the visible Church, here is now the Kingdom of Heaven.

4. Because here is the very Glory of Heaven begun,Reason 4. that look as the same Sun which fils the Stars with Glory, the very same beams touch the earth also, so the same Glory which shines in Heaven, shines into the poor Church here, 1 Pet. 5. 10. God hath called his people into his eternal Glory. And [...] 30. whom Christ hath justified, them he hath glorified, i. e. he hath begun it here; [...] in a special manner is the presence of the Angels in Heaven, Eph. 3. 10. Here the pure in heart see God, and that after another manner, than many times they can in their solitary condition, Psal. 63. 1, 2, 3. And what is this but Heaven?


1. SEE therefore hence their happiness and honour,Use 1. whom God hath called out of the world, and planted in his Church: What hath the Lord done, but opened the way to the Tree of life, and let you into Paradise again? Nay (which is more) What hath he done but taken you up into the very Kingdom of Heaven it self? where you have the Lord of glory to be your King, the Laws of Heaven made known, his heart opened, where you have the heirs of Heaven your compa­nions, and the Angels of Heaven your guard, desiring to look into those things which your eyes see, and your hearts feel, 1 Pet. 1. 12. Where you have the love of a Father appearing, the Son of God inhabiting, and the Spirit of Heaven comforting. Lord what is man that thou art thus mindful of him ! That when the Lord seeth it unmeet to take you out of this world up unto Heaven, that [Page 6] Heaven should come down into this world unto you, who were once enemies to this Kingdom, shut up under the Kingdom of death and darknesse, strangers to the Common-wealth of Israel, without God and Christ in the world, without promise, without hope. I do not cry the Temple of the Lord, nor Idolize Order and Churches, but I tell you what your priviledge is, and thereby what Gods goodnesse is: I know the world neither seeth not feeleth any such Heaven on earth, but soon grow despisers secretly of all Ordinances, who if they were in Heaven it self with their carnal hearts, they would not abide there with much contentment, yet verily Heaven hath been, and is found here by Gods hidden one; even such things which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, and if it be not thus with thee, blame thy self, and mourn the more, who in the midst of light art in utter darknesse, and in the place where Heaven is begun to some, it should be made a little Hell to thee.

2. Take heed of defiling secretly the Church of God:Use. 2. For what do you do thereby, but pollute the Kingdom of Heaven it self? And the better any thing is, the greater is the defilement cast upon it. It is said, 1. Pet. 1. 4. that the Kingdom of Heaven above is an inheritance unde [...]iled Some think from thence that the lapsed Angels did not fall in the third Heaven, but in some place in the earth; for that is an inherit­ance undefi­led., never yet the subject place where any sin was committed, and this is one part of the Glory of it. Take you heed of coming into Church-fellowship with defiled hearts, and so defiling Gods holy things, for do you know where you are? I know it is not in that Heaven where you cannot sin, but yet 'tis in such a Heaven where you should not sin, much lesse defile the Church of God. It was one of Gods hea­vy inditements against the Church of the Iews, that when the Lord had brought them out of a land of pits, into a plentiful countrey, yet they defiled his Land, neither Priests nor people said, Where is the Lord? Ier. 2. 7, 8. It will be much more heavy another day with you, that walking in the fellowship of Gods people, shall be found guilty of defiling the Kingdom of Heaven it self, which you should be careful to keep as an underfiled inheritance, which [...] whether spiritual or sensual, as they stain the very glory of Heaven it self, so they keep you from feeling the Truth of this Doctrine▪ even of this Heaven upon earth in your own experience.

3. Let all Members of Churches hence learn to have their conversation in Hea­ven, and walk as men come down from Heaven,Use 3. and returning thither again, and that are as it were already in Heaven. Paul did thus, and wept to see so many that did not thus, but did mind earthly things, Phil. 3. 19, 20. Do not only for­sake, but even forget your Countrey, and your Fathers house, so shall the King of Glory desire your beauty, Psal. 45. 10, 11, Let the reproach of earthly-minded­nesse cast upon the face of Christians, be wiped off by your carriage, being heaven­ly, holy, loosened from things below. Art thou in Heaven with an earthly heart? Is not Heaven good enough for thee? Cannot that content thee which many have desired to see, and could not see, even the Lord Jesus, the King of Glory in his beauty, in the assemblies of his Saints?

4. Take heed of pulling down this Kingdom.Use 4. Loyal Subjects will rather lose their lives, than their Prince shall lose his Kingdom. Fear not enemies without, but your selves at home. The enemies of the Church, did never yet hurt the Church, but the Church's sins, Zach. 7. 14. Oh consider what mercy the Lord hath betrusted us withal, that unlesse the Lord should carry us to Heaven it self, immediatly on the wings of Angels, he can shew us no greater outward favour, in this world, than to bring us into this his Kingdom of Heaven on earth. I pro­fesse one daies fellowship here with a number of broken-hearted Christians, either mourning together, or rejoycing in their God and King together, it our-bids the many years Glory of the whole world, (howsoever 'tis hidden from the world) And will you betray this Kingdom?


Quest. VVHat are those things that may pull down this Kingdom?

Answ. 1. Ignorance of those sins which may hurt and ruine it. There are common infirmities which all the faithful have in common, for which the Lord pities his, but there are some that are proper and personal to some particular persons, Psal. 18. 23. for which the Lord is angry even with his own; so there are some sins which are common Church-infirmities, for which the Lord will not cast off his people, but there are sometimes in several Churches proper Church­sins. Now the Rule here is, if these be not seen and lamented and removed, if the Lord be angry for these (as verily he will) and yet they do not so much as know all this while what it is that hurts them, these sins will canker the roots, and blast the most flourishing Churches. Ephesus, Rev. 1. 4. had her sin; Sardis, Rev. 2. 1. had her sin. Laodicea had her sins, Rev. 3. 16. Now what if they never know these, nor repent of these, you know then Ephesus Candlestick must be removed, and Laodicea shall be spued out of Christs mouth. Oh this hath been the bane of Churches, while they enjoyed their liberties, they could not, nay (in truth) would not know their aile, in the day of Christs visitation of them, and hence came their ruine, the cause of which they saw not; only it may be the remnant that escaped, to whom the Lord shewed mercy, could read their sins in their plagues. It is a lamentable spectacle to behold the ruines of Ger­many, and that after such great slaughter and effusion of blood, they cannot tell the thing that hath hurt, and doth still wast them.

2. Self-seeking, a Spirit of self. Look as it is in a Kingdom, if there be a com­mon enemy, and the body of the Army which should encounter with them, be every man taken up, and taking thought how he may preserve his own Tent, and do not joyn their forces together for common safety, it must perish, and the Kingdom will be easily conquered: Or as it is with the body, if every member seeks to preserve it self alone, and not that which preserves them all, (viz. the Head) the body will drop down and die shortly. Christ Jesus is the Head of this Body [his Church] Now 'tis certain if ye seek to preserve your own name more than Christ's, to give more content to your own lusts, then to the will and heart of Christ, if more careful of fetching feathers to your own nests, and to shift for your selves, and not to attend (every man in his place) the publick good of the Church, and Christ in it; 'tis certain God will forsake you, and all will to ruine quickly, 2 Chron. 15. 1, 2.

Church-members of publick spirits, are ever prosperous men. They shall pro­sper that love thee, Psal. 122. 6. That say in their hearts out of sense of Christ's love, Lord, what shall I doe for thee? How may I be useful to thy people? But if back and belly, mine and thine, be chief in request, this will ruine you.

3. League and Amity with the enemies of Christ's Kingdom, or peace with our lusts; it is not sin, but a privy peace with sin, and a secret quietnesse in sin, which overthrowes Christ's Kingdom: The Canaanites that were left alive, because ('tis said) they could not drive them out, how often did they vex, and prick, and yoke the Israel of God? Those sins which you say, you cannot part with, and hence yield unto them, and mourn not under them, those will ruine Chur­ches: Some sins you have forsaken, and could forsake, the danger lies not here. Wrath goeth out against Iehosaphat because he loved him who hated the Lord, 2 Chron. 19. 2.

4. When the Church laies by her weapons. No Kingdom can be kept safe in an ordinary way, where all their weapons are taken from them, or not used by them, when their [...] upon their borders: When the Church hang by, and lay aside Faith (the shield whereby we defend our selves) and prayer [Page 8] (whereby we offend our enemies) what safety is to be expected now in Chur­ches? Only be strong (saith the Lord to Ioshuah ) when he went out upon that great service of the Lord, Iosh. 1. 7. Eph. 6. 13. There is no more fearful sign of ruine to a Church, than where the Spirit of prayer begins to fail; and ve­rily if any people under Heaven are ready to miscarry herein, we (that have our fill of peace, and our yokes broken off from our shoulders) are in most danger; but if it be so, look for such shakings of all hearts, and Churches also, as shall make you find your tongues; and knees, and eares, and hearts again, if the Lord means to dwell with you.

5. Not bringing forth the fruits of the Kingdom, Mat. 21. 43. Cut that Church down that cumbers the ground, after many years pruning and wetting. That Kingdom where there is Church-trading, but no considerable gain coming in, will consume quickly, and die of it self. Fruit is the last end of the tree: All duties you do, wherein you attain nor, or (at least) aim not at your last and utmost end, but make your selves your own end, that is not fruit; Fruit refresheth others that tast it; when a Christian walketh so as that another is not the better, [not much refreshed] by him, but it may be hardned rather, by a saplesse exam­ple, here is no fruit, and this cals for the axe to cut down the tree.

6. Divisions: This puls down Kingdoms without help of foreign enemies. If a Kingdom thrusts swords into each others bellies, this will soon dispatch them. It's the Jesuits plot to subdue by private divisions, whom they cannot conquer by force of Armes: It was most pleasing to Satan to prevail with Christ to cast himself down headlong from the Pinacle, rather than to fling him down himself. It is the delight of Hell to set & see Churches at variance among themselves, this is the first thing he attempts in the best Churches, and it is commonly prosperous, if the Lord leaves the watchmen to slumber, and not to be watchful, and fearful, and sudddenly sensible of the least beginnings herein. It is a wonderful thing to see what a small occasion of offence will do; a word, a gesture, a garment, a mat­ter of indifferency, 'tis strange to see, how such small matters will gore, if Satans head be in them, and his Horns be set upon them, especially in Churches where men are set at liberty, and enjoy it, one must have liberty to speak one thing, and another, another thing, I am of this mind saith one, I am not of that mind (Brother) saith another: 'Tis wonderful to see what a fire, a secret smother, and smoak of suspition will do. But oh take heed here, Gal. 5. 15. Love the Truth, receive no opinion differing from the most approved in the Church sudden­ly, but weep, and pray, and ask councel, and tremble to entertain a thought of contention; The first sin which brake out in the first Christian Church, was [...]urmuring, Acts 6. 1. What followes? Stephen an earthly Angel, full of the holy Ghost, suffers, and is taken from them, Acts 7. And after this the whole Church scattered, Acts 8. Oh keep the peace of the Church, and rend it not for small matters, love one another sincerely, and you cannot but live toge­ther quietly.

Concerning the Coming of Christ, and the secu­rity of Professors.


THus much of the place; now let us consider of the time when, this pre­paration is made, set down in that word Then, which word hath refe­rence to the 37th v. of the 24th ch. viz. to the daies of the coming of the Son of man.

Now when are these daies?Quest.

We shall read both in Prophetical and Apostolical writings,Answ. that all the time from the Ascension to the second coming of Christ, is called the last daies, Acts 2. 16, 17. Hence the Primitive Churches did (long since) and all the Chur­ches at this day ought, to live in a daily expectation of his coming again, as these Virgins here did. And hence some think, than all this time may be the daies of the coming of Christ, wherein all the Churches either do, or should look out for the coming of Christ. Now although I dare not exclude these daies (in a large sense) from being the daies of Christ's coming, as being the last daies, and it being the duty of all to wait for this coming of Christ, as well as those who lived long before us, 1 Thes. 1. 10. 1 Cor. 1. 7. Yet I believe here is meant more particularly the latter part of those last daies: For our Saviour having fore­told of many things which shall fall out before his second coming, yet he seems to single out some particular time in these last daies; to which he doth annexe this [then ] and that is evident to all that view well the Text, that they are the daies of his coming, for though all the daies of the Gospel may be called the daies of the Son of man, and some daies especially wherein there is some kind of com­ing of the Son of man, as when he comes to hear prayers, Luke 18. 8. yet to speak properly, they are not the daies of the coming of the Son of man. And look as the daies of Noah were not all the daies from the Creation to the Deluge, but those particular years before the Flood, so 'tis here, some speci­al times before his coming, are the daies of his coming.


BUt what is this Coming of Christ?

There is a double coming of Christ.

1. His coming to call the Iews, and to gather in the fulnesse of the Gentiles with them,Quest. which is called the brightnesse of his coming, 2 Thes. 2. 8. When there shall be such a brightnesse of the Truth shining forth in the world,Answ. armed with such Instruments as shall utterly destroy Antichrist, long before his second coming, Rev. 19. 19, 20.

2. His coming to Judgement, Heb. 9. 28. 1 Cor. 15. 23, 24. When there shall be an universal resurrection of good and bad, 1 Thes. 4. 15, 16, 17, Now al­though it be true, that at the time of the coming of Christ, to call the Iews, the Churches like chast Virgins shall wait and make themselves ready for the marri­age of the Lamb, Rev. 19. 7. Yet the second coming of Christ seems to be the [Page 10] time which is here directly pointed at. Then shall those Churches be Virgin-Churche; waiting for Christ's coming, both to their particular judgment, but especially to the general judgment, when he shall appear as a glorious Bridegroom to the consolation and salvation of those who in truth have waited for him the se­cond [...]ime: For this coming of Christ spoken of in these two chapters, is that coming which is in power and great Glory (not in the Churches spiritually) but in the clouds of Heaven, chap. 24. 30. Wherein he shall separate the sheep from the goats, the one to lie among Devils, the other to possesse (not an earthly Kingdom here for a thousand years, as some from mistaking the meaning of the 20th ch. of the Revel. imagine) but to inherit the Kingdom prepared for them from the foundation of the world, Mat. 25. 34. which cannot be any be ter, not any other, than the third Heaven, where the face of God is seen, and where he hath had an innumerable Host of glorious Angels, his Subjects to serve him, not only since the first time of mans creation, but the first foundation of the world, Gen. 1. 1. Which also Christ himself is gone to prepare for us, Iohn 14. 2, 3. And which A­brahams Faith only expected, even a City which was not earthly, but heavenly, which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God, Heb. 11. 10, 11. So that although this Parable looks most directly unto those times which are yet to come, yet as all examples registred in holy Scripture for time past, are applicable and useful for us, so these that are yet to come, are alike instructive to us, especially in these times and places, wherein the Lord (according to his man­ner of working great things usually) gives among us some small, yet lively resem­blance of those daies.


That in those daies of Christ's coming,Doct. wherein the Churches of Christ, and Pro­fessors of the Gospel shall grow Virgin-Churches, all visible Saints, when all Members seem to be espoused Christ, yet there will be found desperate folly in some, and in time great security will fall upon all.

Some there are who think the daies we live in now, are not only the daies of the Son of man, but part of the daies of the coming of the Son of man, wherein the Churches (especially in these places) grow to be Virgin-Professours: Our judgments hold it, our practise maintaines it, all Church-members are and must be visible Saints, visible Believers, Virgins espoused to Christ, escaping the pol­lutions of Idolatry and the world: Take heed the Lord find not many of you foo­lish, take heed you that are not so, that in time you grow not secure; you have the pillow of peace to lie on, and the cares of the world to make you dream away your time, and you have no pinching persecutions to awaken you, and if no wrest­lings within, look for security there. Folly will be the death and bane of some, hence boast not. Security, a sleeping sicknesse will be the disease of o­thers, if the Lord prevent not: But I intend to anchor here, only to set up markes at these Flats, that you may avoid them and come not near them.

Sheweth that the Soul that will enjoy Communi­on with Christ, must be divorced from all other Lords, particularly from Lusts, and from the Law. The manner of its Espousalsunto Christ.


NOw therefore to come to the Third thing; the persons that make this preparation are set forth, 1. In what they all agree in, and that is, first in that they are all Virgins; What are these? Ans. To omit the Popish Interpretation of their Nuns, and mock-Virgins.

I shall rather make use of Scripture to give light to interpret this place; for ope­ning of it, know, the whole Church may be called the Spouse of Christ, and take every member alone, a Virgin attending on this Spouse, Psal. 45. nay the Apo­stle, 2. Cor. 11. 2. calls the whole Church a Virgin, so that by Virgins are meant whole particular Churches of Christ, together with the several Members thereof. Now Virgins are such as are fit for marriage, and not defiled with any man, as it's said of Rebecca: so by Virgins are meant those that are not polluted within, or without with the evils of the world, Rev. 14. 4. but more is to be understood here, 2 Cor. 11. 2. when once marriage is come, they cease to be Virgins, and are Wives; yet when espoused to Christ, now they are spiritually Virgins; hence these here are only like to Virgins: so that the meaning of Virgins is this; by Virgins is meant such Churches, or members of Churches as are divorced from all other Lovers, and matcht only to Jesus Christ: these only look for the coming of Christ, and communion with him, these only are received into communion.


WHoever look for everlasting Communion with the Bridegroom of the Church,Obs. 1. Iesus Christ, must be Virgins Divorced from all others▪ and Espoused only to Iesus Christ.

Here were indeed foolish ones among these, yet as foolish and blind as they were, they saw that this was the way, to be like the wise, to be Virgins as well as they, Psal. 45. 10, 11. Ier. 3. 19, 20. as a Wife departs, so ye; but how shall I put thee among the Children, &c. you shall call me my Father, i. e. one instead of all other things, and shall not turn aside from me, Hos. 2. 23. there is their communion; Hence the Lord will, 1. take away the names of Baa [...]im; 2. Betroth them to himself.


WHat is it to be divorced from all other Lovers?Quest. 1.

Idolatry is called Whoredom in Scripture, and this is one thing,Answ. the [Page 12] Soul must be Divorced from, before it can be match'd to the Lord, Hos. 2. 2. I shall not need to press this here; but there are two other things which I shall shew, for there are two things that every man doth before he is espoused to the Lord Jesus; either first he departs and goes a whoring by unlawfully lusting after the creature, Psal. 73. 27. Iames 4. 4. Or 2. He is lawfully married as he thinks unto the Law, Rom. 7. 3, 4. the Law is there compared to a Husband, from which Christ indeed delivers his, yet some will stick to it: either the Soul takes content in some creature more than in Christ, or in some righteousnesse more than in the Lord Jesus; Now to be divorced from all other things, is for the heart to be taken off from all worldly contentments. Secondly, from comforting it self in the bo­som of its own work and righteousness, and this must be found in all them that look for communion with the Lord Jesus.


1 THe heart must be divorced from Lusts after, and pleasures in any creature; for proof, we must know this:

1. The soul of every man must have something to quiet and comfort it like the stomack, it's death and hell to want it (as the Israelites in the wildernesse:) hence it must have it.

2. That there is nothing that can comfort the thirsty heart, but 'tis either in the spring, or cistern, fountain, or bottles, either in God, or in the crea­ture.

3. Hence man having lost God, and all good there, seeks for it in the creature, and because he finds not enough in one, digs for it in another, Psal. 4. Who will shew us any good? and hence the Soul because it never found that infinite sweetnesse in God himself, hence lusts after, and delights in the creature for it self, loves pleasure for pleasure, delights in creature for the creature, not for God, why should he, seeing he never found content there? and here the soul of man cleaves night and day, committing spiritual whoredom before the face of God; now if ever any soul hath communion with Christ, it must be divorced from all creatures thus, for Lust is a desire after, and content in the creature for the creatures sake.

1 Because while the heart is in league with any creature besides the Lord, 'tis at deadly enmity with the Lord,Reas. 1. Iames 4. 4. If a man hath a rich commodity, and one comes and offers half the worth of it, he takes it as a contempt; if it be not worth this, it is worth nothing; so the Lord is worthy of all our love, our lives, our souls though we had a thousand of them, and will a man not part with his lusts for him? I tell you the Lord takes himself sleighted, contemned, and loathed; if not worth all a mans love, he is worth nothing; now the creature is made a God, be­cause made a mans last end, which is as proper to God, as to make him the Al­pha of all. Here the greatest wrath is to give a man his fill of the creature.

2 Because so long the soul cannot see,Reas. 2. nor come by the eye and feer of Faith to the Lord Jesus, Iohn 5. 44. and think Christ better than all; as Birds in a string may fly high, but when they come to the end of the line, fall down there; and so though the soul flies to Christ, yet when indeed it comes to the end of parting withall, it falls down, and falls off from Christ. Whole men have no heart nor desire after Physitians; when all limbs are whole and strong, no desire after Plai­sters: so while any thing easeth and contenteth the heart, there is no desire after Christ, Hos. 4. 11. Whoredom and wine have taken away the heart.

3 Because so long the heart if it do come, cannot stay with Christ to do any thing for Christ,Reason 3. Mat. 6. 24. You cannot serve God and riches, i. e. two Masters, who have constant employment, and Christ hath set us such employment. Hence men on sick-beds are tame as may be, promise any thing, because their joy in [Page 13] the creature is gone: Hence on the other side many men after many springings of heart are choaked by thorns of the world.

4. From the abundant love that the Lord Jesus shews to them that ever have,Reason 4. or look for communion with him. Those to whom we shew much love, from those we expect much again. As a man if taken or cast out to be servant, one looks not for love from him; but when a man hath given himself, and made over all his estate to another, now all love is too little. So 'tis with the Lord Jesus, Iohn 6. Will you also depart?


2 THE soul must be divorced from the Law, i. e. from comforting it self with the righteousnesse thereof: For explication of which we must consider these things.

1. That the Lord doth not ever give a man content in his sins and lusts, but wounds Conscience for the same.

2. That so long as the Lord wounds a mans Conscience for sin, no creature can give a man comfort or content. A wounded spirit who can bear? Iudas casts a­way his silver pieces; and Belshazzar quakes, who was but even now qua [...]ing in his cups. As a man that hath an aking tooth, or broken bones, What can com­fort him now?

3. Hereupon the Law fals upon a man, or a man meets with the Law; for as all a mans sorrow is upon him because the Law is broken, all a mans care is how he may keep it again. What shall I do? As a man cast in prison for debt, there all is opened; an the Law like an earnest suitor, 1. Presleth hard for love and obedience. 2. Promiseth a rich portion, eternal life, if he can keep it; If not you must be damned; therefore now forsake your sins, &c.

4. Hence the soul not knowing a better Husband, consents and resolves to cleave to it, Rom. 10. 3. Deut. 5. Whatever the Lord will have us do, we will do it; and here it stayes, and is comforted, here it rests; as in Asa his time all rejoy­ced for the Oath, 2 Chro. 15. Isai. 58. 1, 2. and if it find not perfect comfort because of imperfect work, it then closeth with Christ for to make up and piece up all, Gal. 5. 1. And now I say 'tis comforted in what it hath, and doth, and here it rests; now from hence it must be divorced: What need I prove it, when the Apo­stle hath so fully, Galat. per totum, and consider the young man, Mat. 19. Divor­ced, I say, the soul must be from this.

1. Because he that doth thus, sets up another Christ, and makes himself his own Saviour; can the Lord Jesus take such a soul into communion with him? Suppose a Prince be pulled by his people from his Throne, and they set up another pious vertuous Prince to Rule, will this serve the turn to say he is an honest Prince? so though duties be never so good, yet not to advance Christ, is to pull down Christ.

2. Because such persons do commonly most oppose the Lord Jesus in a way of believing, though not in a way of doing; the Lord hath more ado if any of these be brought home, to bring them in, they have somewhat to say for themselves, they have stronger forts, &c. The Scribes and Pharisees rejected the counsel of God against themselves, and hence no people lest to such deep desertions as these; if the Lord intend mercy to them, for they have more need than others.

3. Because hereby a man doth but make a conspiracy against Gods greatest plot that ever he had a foot, viz. to advance his free Grace, Gal. 5. 4. you are fallen from Grace, for nothing makes a man more fit to boast than works, and resting in them; sin makes a man ashamed, and therefore if they come to Heaven, they have laid a foundation to thank themselves for somewhat; hence no communion [Page 14] with Jesus Christ in this frame; no the Lord will tear down this foundation, and make the soul cry guilty, and make this Husband, the Law, to be judge, to exa­mine, and condemn, and now come and ask, what have you to plead for your life and peace, it hath no plea to shew but mércy, &c. it hath its duties evidencing against it.


2 THe soul now comes to be Espoused to the Lord Jesus. Quest. How?

The soul beholding the glory of the Lord Jesus,Answ. 1. makes choice of him, as in all Marriage bonds there is a choice made, and if love be great, there is little standing on terms: let me have him though I begg with him; so the soul sees such a sutableness in the Lord Jesus, as that it stands not on terms, let me have him though in prison with him, though in the Garden in Agonies with him, though in the Cross in desertions with him, he is enough; as Peter when he saw Christ on the Sea, de­sired he might come to him there, Heb. 11. 26. Chusing the reproach of Christ, &c. And look as Christ chuseth the soul, 1. The whole soul. 2. Everlastingly. 3. Above all others: so it makes choice of Christ, whole Christ, Phil. 3. 9. 2. Everlast­ingly, The Lord is my portion for ever, Psalm 73. 26. And before ever you can look for communion with him, you must make this choice of him, and glad too you may have him on any terms, nay put it to any soul the Lord hath done good to, and ask it, will you have him? 'tis such a mercy I cannot conceive how one so vile as I should have it: have him, the Lord of glory, the Prince of life and peace; O yes; Hence Peter said, Master, what shall we have that have forsaken all, and followed thee? you shall sit with me on Thrones; and look as Christ now chuseth the soul above others, as well as in Heaven, Iohn 15. 16. so it now chuseth Christ, Whom have I in Heaven or earth; many when they think of death, or are dying, then chuse him, but not now: or chuse him for outward blessings, not spiritual favour and life, Iohn 6. 26, 27.

2. The soul hence gives it self like one espoused to her Husband to the Lord Je­sus, Cant. 2. 16. I am my beloveds; servants give work for their wages, and masters give wages for their work, but Husbands and Wives give themselves one unto another; Suitors also give Tokens to draw on love, not themselves; so servants in the Church, they do for God in hope of wages, and the Lord blesseth them it may be outwardly, but he that is espoused to Christ, gives himself, Lord I can do nothing for thee, give nothing to thee, but I give my self to thee, that thou wouldst work in me, and by me, Rom. 6. 13. So the Lord is a suitor to many a man that never gives himself to him: he gives them some comforts, some winning, drawing, melting me [...]cies, but not himself; they give him some entertainment, and good words, a thousand wishes as Capernaum did, but not themselves; but this must be, if ever you look for communion with him: hence David saith, I am thine, save me; hence some made shipwrack of Faith, they were not the Lords; hence the Lord saith, he knows who are his, 2 Tim. 2. 18, 19. his send their to­kens again: for look as 'tis an evidence of much love when a man gives the dearest thing he hath, viz. his whole self to the Lord Jesus, so 'tis also an evidence of little love, when he will not give, especially anothers own: thou art none of thine own, thou hast but little love if thou give not thy self to him, without which never look for life and communion with the Lord.

3. The soul hence takes full contentment in the Lord Jesus, as a Spouse hath enough, would not change for all the world, as Peter when he had a glimpse of Christs glory, Lord, let us be here: or as Simeon that had been waiting for the con­solation of Israel, when once he had Christ in his arms, Now let thy servant depart in peace: I have enough, now let me dye, and not live to sin more; and 'tis cer­tain [Page 15] as there [...] in creatures that contents the heart without Christ in an unregenerate man, so contrary-wise in a regenerate, Iohn 3. 29. if hearing the Bridegroom is joy, what is h [...]ving him? indeed they take content in other things, but as coming from the Husband; and this you must do if ever you look for com­munion with him; cannot you be content with the Lord alone in Heaven? you shall never come there then, lest you quarrel for want of something. Men make nothing of this, to hathe their hearts in the sun, and joy in what they have, and hope to have, but the Lord may be gone, and you grieve not; why? because o [...]he [...] things ease your hearts; There can be no communion hereafter if you despite i [...] now.


THis serves to discover the great error, most common and dangerous of the whole ch [...]istian wo [...]ld, who think that they may love and embrace the world and the Lord Jesus too, and [...]e saved at last by him too, i. e. they may not be Vir­gins,Use 1. but go a whoring from Christ, and yet partake of Christ, and mercy from him: that look as it was in those sad dayes, Isai. 4. 1. so in these dayes many lay hold on Jesus Christ, they will eat their own b [...]end, live on their own [...], and wear their own apparel, their own rags, only let us be called by thy name Belie­vers ] to take away our reproach, for that is an open shame not to believe in Christ: For this is the prosessed thought of some; every one is a sinne; and I am one, and a great one too, and who can say his heart is clean, none can free himself from sin in this life, and I cannot do it if I would: and hence look on Christ to save them, though sin slee [...] in them: you cannot have both; I would but enquire, hath not every man something that contents him? what is it? is it the love, the fel­lowship of Jesus? yet, it may be at a Sacrament, and it may be not, for thou maist say, the Lord never yet revealed his love and self unto me, never yet assured me, yet somewhat joyes thy heart. What think you, can you have the Lord, and content your selves thus with other things? why? I trust to him I hope so; it cannot be so. If the Lord Jesus was a Patron of Brothel-houses, a Protector of Stews, you might think so; some say they cannot pray to him, nor prize him; why? something else contents then besides him; but know it cannot be so: I know a Saint may be taken aside, as David with envy at others prosperity; but when he considers of it, O what a Beast! he returns again. The Raven and the Dove we sent forth, the one came again and again, the other not; therefore as Ioshua 24. brought the people to these thoughts, you cannot serve the Lord, and other gods, as Iunius notes, so bring thy self to that st [...]ait: O that the Lord would set on this one thing this day; when I sadly weigh it, it consou [...]ds me, and makes me say, Lord who then can be saved! I know with God all things are possible, but this is rare.


HEnce we may learn who they are that never shall have everlasting communi­on with the Lord Jesus,Use [...]. viz. those that never were esposed to him, and you may know this, if never yet divorced from all others besides him, Psal. 73. 25, 26. I shall stay [...]wh [...]e here, because there is never an unsound heart in the world, but as they say of [...]itches, they have some Familiar that sucks them, so they have some Lust that is beloved of them, some beloved there is they have gi­ven a promise to, never to forsake; and also because most men do seem and think they are Virgins espoused to Christ, and look for communion with him, and yet [Page 16] not divorced from all other besides him. I shall shew hence,

1. When the soul is in league with the creature.

2. When married to the Law. I should account it happy if any be found out.

Sheweth the Markes and Signes whereby the Soul may know whether he be in league or love with any lust or creature, or married to the Law.


1 THose that never were in bitternesse and sorrow of heart for the losse of God.Sign 1. For these two things are as clear as the Sun. 1. That the losse of God is the greatest losse; for 'tis the utmost and last plague upon the damned in Hell: My Comforts, my Friends, Means, Heaven is gone, but if God were mine, I could be comforted; No, God is gone: Hence no sorrow for any losse so much as for this. Saul, 1 Sam. 28. 15. God is departed from me. Hence sore distressed. Nay, the Lord Jesus when the Father departed for a time, and he knew he would return and visit him, cried out, My God why hast thou for saken me? 2. That all men living have lost God, Isa. 59. 1, 2. Psal. 58. 3. The wicked go astray from their womb. Now I would demand why men ei­ther seel no losse at all, or if they do, have not so much Grace as the damned in Hell, to mourn bitterly for it, so as nothing can comfort them, or if they do, they are soon eased and quiered before the Lord returns? Why surely here is the great cause of it, they have some other thing to ease their hearts in the want and losse of God, Ier. 2. 13, 14. Men must have water to drink, why do men live from the fountain, go not to it, nay not know it? Because they have broken pits, and wels at their own doors: So here. And hence the damned that have lived at ease here all their life time, assoon as ever dead, then they cry out of the losse of God, when 'tis too late, because while they lived, they had somwhat to ease themselves withall. And hence many that have lived long with convinced Spirits and guilty Conscienes, when they come to die, then they are in per­plexities of mind, agonies of heart, insomuch as their sweat trickles like water from them, and their doleful outcries for losse of time, strike to the hearts of all that come near them. Oh! God is gone, because now all comforts which were their Gods, and in stead of God before, have taken their final leave of them. Search your hearts therefore all you that hear me this day. Wast never troubled yet? Yes, I have lost my health, my child, my husband, my goods, and this hath­troubled me: But tell me, Did'st never feel a losse of God blessed for ever? loss of his light, his sweetnesse, his love, his fellowship, his presence, &c. and this hath been thy intollerable load? Or if thou hast felt it, hast thou sought and found him? No, but art jocund in that estate, and now and then it troubles thee a little, then 'tis certain and as clear as the Sun, there is some creature or con­tent that thy heart is in league withal, which easeth thee in the want of God, and which is instead of God to thee, and which therefore is thy God. It may be thy [Page 17] apparel, thy wife, child, &c. and if thou die in this estate, never shalt thou have communion with Jesus Christ, The mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.

2. Dost find the Lord a stranger to thee in all his Ordinances, wherein it may be the Lord sweetly and wonderfully and mightily, yet not alway,Sign 2. but seasonably reveals himself to others. Oh but thy heart dries and parches away, and that with­out much trouble under them all. If so, suspect it, beleeve it that there is some league with a lust. For there is a double life of a Christian. 1. An outward life, which others see: Men see he comes to Church, prayes in the Family, &c. 2. There is a secret inward life; according to that of Mat. 6. 6. Thy Father which sees in secret, which none knowes but himself, and the Lord; and this is an ineffable communion with God, vision of God, delight in God, &c. Psal. 45. The Kings daughter is all glorious within. There is an open life of prayer, and hearing, and fasting, and there is an inward, secret life in all these, wherein the Lord acquaints himself with his people, Psal. 63. 1, 2, 3. To see thee as I have seen thee. Now there be divers have this open life, yet wanting the secret life. As we love not to live among Tombes, not to have communion with dead men; so the Lord is a stranger to them. He may secretly sweeten an Ordinance to them, and move them, and shake and trouble them, but himself is a stranger, spiritual miseries not removed, spiritual mercies not conveyed, Isa. 58. 1, 2, 3, 4. Why have we fasted, and thou regardest not? You took pleasure saith the Lord, and break the bonds of wickednesse, &c. I know Saints may be thus denied, and it may be for some space of time, yet they quarrel not with God for denying them, but are more taken off from pleasures thereby. Thou hidst thy face, and I was troubled, though the Mount stood still. But some there be whom neither good day mends them, not bad day pairs them: Surely there is some content thy heart is bewitched withal. That look as 'tis with a suitor to another, let him while he comes to her, professe never so much love, and desire love, yet if when he goes from her, commits lewdnesse with every one, she will lock him out. So 'tis here; never did I know any lockt out from the power and sweetnesse of Ordi­nances, but because they went a whoring from God out of them. The Lord knowes (though others do not) whether 'tis so with you. Look therefore upon thy self, you enjoy great means every where in this place. Is it enough to have Ordinances? the Ark? No, Do you find the Lord in them? Blessed be God. But tell me truly, Do you find no want of God? Yes. Do you find him? I find more knowledge, strength, &c. But do you find no God usually? No. Then either some creature contents thee, or if the Lord should refresh thee, thou would'st be content without him. Man and wife will (if they love) meet at Meals, Iohn 14. But when no meeting, dead prayers, dry Sermons, sap­lesse Sacraments, worse then before. If thou beest the Lord's, he will by af­fictions purge, &c. But if thou continuest so, look for no communion in Hea­ven.

3. Dost thou find no rest in any thing that thou hast?Sign 3. For this is clear, [...]no­thing can give rest to a mans soul but God: He is big enough only to fill it, and then a man hath it, Isa. 26. 3. Now if no rest, 'tis a sign thy heart sticks to the crea­ture, yet thou saist I would fain have the Lord: It may be so; but thou wouldst have creatures too. And hence God will not, and creatures cannot give the ful­nesse of rest. Thus it was with Solomon, Eècles. 2. 3. So 'tis with thee, thou findest thy soul delighting it self in all things; yet vanity and vexation, and withal giving thy self to wisdom too. 'Tis true, a Saint feels an emptinesse in these things, yet he feels a fulnesse in somthing else. (He hath better meat which you know not of) which Solomon did not for a time, yet afterward he did. But thou findest a vanity and trouble, and art never at peace when all is done; weary of world, But hath the Lord swallowed thee up into himself, in the cloud of his Glory, so that in his favour and presence thou findest life? No, Then there is [Page 18] some lust thou lovest, and dying thus, shalt never see the face of Christ. Ye [...], this will come as a heavy endi [...]ement against thee, that God hath so wearied thee in thy way. Yet Ier. 2. 25. There is no hope, after thy Lovers thou wilt go. You shall scarce find any but feel the creature vain, and yet get not to rest in God.


II. DIscoveries whether we are married to the Law or not. And here I shall stay longer. Where I premise,

1. When I speak of not being married to the Law in stead of Christ, I do not hereby exempt your selves from obedience to the Law, after you are in Christ.

2. Do not think I speak against all evidencing your estates from conformity to the Law; though I do from some subjection and obedience performed to the Law.

1. If the Law was never dead in thee, thou art married to the Law, Rom. 7. 2. Now look as tis with a husband, if the wife be sick, and he be at home, whoe­ver forsakes her, he will comfort her, and support and chear her; so that if he chear her not, its a sign he is dead; if he doth, its a sign he is alive; for the life of the Law, is the comfort and support that the Law doth give for a time. So that if thou wert never brought to that sore straight, that thou hast not felt any one duty to cheer or revive thee, and comfort thee, but hast found some lit­tle thing or other to do it, its certain you are yet married to the Law. Ex. gr. It may be thou hast been troubled in mind for thy sins, What hath cheared thee? I have forsaken them, and cast out Ionah, and there hath been a calm: Why this forsaking thy sins (which hath not been all but some) is not Christ, but an act of the Law. Oh but I have fallen again into sins, this hath troubled thee: What hath cheared thee? I have repented and been sorry for them, and purpo­sed to do so no more. This is the life of the Law still. Oh but you find sins prevailing against you, and you cannot part with them; and hence dare not re­solve against them. Oh but my desire is good though, my will hath ever been against them. Oh ignorance! This desire is but a work of the Law, 'tis not Christ. Oh but I have found no desire sometime: What hath quiered you now? I have trusted to Christ: You have done it. The Lord never made you feel a need of the Lord, to draw you to trust; though to be assured of Christ's love. Is this a legal Act? Ans. As obedience to the Law done by the power of Christ, is an Evangelical work, so to perform any Evangelical work from a mans self, is a Legal work; and you are under the life of the Law. So that thou hast not been so oft troubled, but the Law hath supported thee; thou hast not been brought to that passe as the Church, the Spouse was, Isa. 54. 5, 6. And as one of my best friends, and best men that lives this day in the world, after many wrestlings to find somwhat in himself to chear him, and could not; Now saith he, if the Lord out of his good Nature, &c. do not help me, I am undone for ever; for I have a heart and a nature against him, and the more I do, the worse I am. And therefore thither I look. Surely you are under the life of the Law, and are fat enough off from Christ, if not sensible of this. Not that a man is alway thus, for he that cannot feel afterward the Lord Jesus by the power of his Grace work­ing in his heart, I would conclude, he never had any at all. But at first 'tis so. For these two things man naturally seeks,

1. To have a righteousnesse in himself that will ease him.

2. To have it from himself: Kitchin Physick is not far to fetch.

Now the Lords plot in saving his, is, 1. To make them seek it out of them­selves in another: Look unto me and be saved, all the ends of the earth. 2. To have [Page 19] all from another, that so, no flesh night glory before him. And to doubt of this, is to doubt whether God hath plotted the Glory of his Grace or no. Hence the Lord empties the soul of both, that the soul saith, Ashur shall not save us, Hos. 14. 3, 4. None durst, none can comfort it. And now to the wonde [...]ment of Hea­ven, and everlasting joy of a poor cast-away, and the eternal honour of his free Grace, now, and never till now, doth he begin to make the match between the Lord Jesus and this poor soul: And as the Lord never comes to him till now, so he never will come to the Lord, while he hath the least good; as it was with the Prodigal, while any husks, or as it was with the woman with her bloody issue, while any mony to spend on other Physitians, never will try what Christ can do. And therefore those that never yet knew of the de [...]th of the Law, they are yet married to it, Rom. 2. 17. I know many a soul grieve; for the de [...]th of this hus­band, and now thinks 'tis undone, I cannot do this and that, though formerly I could indeed; I say if there be any love of Christ, now is the time of it. Only understand Gods scope here in it.

2. If a man complains more or chiefly for want of grace or righteousnesse,Sign 2. to remove sin, and not so much for want of Jesus Christ: Then in this case 'tis as it is with a woman, that man for whose absence she mourns most, that is her hus­band: She saith the other is, no but he is not. So this is the estate of many a soul, they have neither Christ not righteousnesse: Now they complain so much that their hearts sink and dye away quite within them: And what is it for? I cannot do this, nor I do not find nor feel such signs and affections within me. Such a vile heart, I know not the like, such rising in my heart to sin and thoughts of it; why if you had Christ, all this would be mended. I can do all through Christ. But you complain not for want of Christ, nor need of him from these two Arguments.

1. Because the feeling of your sins, does not make you feel a greater need of Christ, as Iohn, I have need to be baptized, &c. but drive you further from Christ, and reason it out against him, And why? Because you would have a righteousness without him which you stand in need of.

2. Because he that seels a need of the Lord Jesus, shall not when he is offered, need intreating to take him; as you shall not need intreat hungry men to eat their bread, you shall not need to intreat Zacheus to receive Christ joyfuly. But no commands, no intreaties can prevail with you to take him when he is offered, you have no heart to it. Like women that love their own husbands, grieve so for their absence, that they have no heart to any other offer. Is it thus with thee? Then 'tis with thee, as it was with that young man, that askt Christ what he should do to inherit eternal life; he liked Christ well, but he did not feel a need of Christ himself so much, as of some more knowledge of the Law, and ability to do it. Its the great plot of Arminians, to make Christ a means only, to make every man a first Adam; setting men to work for their living again; for they grant all Grace is lost, all comes from Christ, Christ gives all, and to Christ we must look for all; and then when we have it, use it well, thus you shall have life, else look for death: So 'tis a misery many a soul is in. Men will trade in small wares, ra­ther than live on anothers Almes. Do you think the Lord takes it well to make him a Merchant for your ends? Oh no, never look to have communion with him in this way!

3. Those that close with, but rejoyce more in a little Grace they receive from Christ,Sign 3. than in all the fulnesse in Christ, more in a little they do, than in all the Lord Jesus hath done, Phil. 3. 3. That is a womans husband, in whom she re­joyceth most. Do you rejoyce more in what you have, and do, than in what the Lord Jesus hath, and hath done? more in what you receive from him (for a hypocrite may receive from Christ, Iohn 15. 2.) than in what there is in him? It argues a whorish heart. I know a man may rejoyce in what Christ works in [Page 20] him, but 1. not more in this than in Christ himself. 2. A child of God may while he knows not whether Christ is his do so: but you think the Lord is yours; well, when you feel affections and life, then you are glad, when that is lost then sad; why is there no life when thou art dead, no glory when thou art base, no wisdom, no communion with God when thou hast none? Yes, why dost thou not rejoyce in this which is here most fully, which Saints presenting, please the Lord more by, than by giving the glory of Angels infinite millions of years: Oh thy heart is not in love with Christ, but somewhat else, for here is the joy of all Saints, In thy seed shall all Nations account themselves blessed: all Nations, one and another, Isai. 45. 24, 25. shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory. Consider therefore this, thou art sometime joyed; why? O I find my heart thus and thus, and is this all? yes, for when this is gone, all joy dies; and should I not do thus? yes, else you never felt comfort of it: but not only rejoyce here, but when the beam is gone, the Lord is not gone, Rom. 7. ult. when the bottles are spent, the spring is full.

4. He that performs any duty ultimately to ease his conscience,Sign 4. he is married yet unto the Law, for there are two sorts of duties to the Law.

1. Some are directed to give Christ content to ease his heart, by seeing Gods love in Christ, then love being shed, the heart sheds it on Christ again: and thus saith the Apostle, I through the Law am dead to it, that I might live to God, Gal. 2. 19.

2. Some are to give the soul ease, it sees sin, and fears it must dye and the De­vil appears, and when it lies down, it fears it shall never awaken again; and when it hears, thinks no mercy, but only threats belong to it: and hence having no peace of conscience to think God will love it, it loves duties, doth duties, and now takes these for good tokens and signs of love, and if it feels a need of Christ, 'tis only to ease it. Now a man is married to the Law, when he crouds for ease in­to the bosome of it, Deut. 5. 27. they were in great fear, Whatever God will have us do, we will do it: is it not thus with many? How shall we know this?

Answ. Dost find this while fears and terrors of conscience are on thee, so long thou dost seek, and pray, and he [...]r, and call on God, and when they are worn a­way by time, or blown over with feeling some good things, and hopes from them, then thy heart is careless again; 'tis certain you are yet married to the Law: as many a man exceeding forward while prest under sense of sin for a year or two. Lord! how many hundreds drop away by little and little afterwards? Deut. 5. 29. Oh that there were such a heart alway. Mat. 3. 7. to 13. they saw a wrath to come, hence feared, and hence came to Iohns Baptism to repent and confesse him.

5. No man that is married to the Law,Sign 5. but his fig-leaves ever cover some na­kedness; all the duties ever broodsome lust: there is some one sin or other the man lives in, which either the Lord discovers, and he will not parwith, as the young man, or else is so spiritual he cannot see all his life-time; read through the strictest of all, and see this, Mat. 23. Painted Sepulchres: Paul that was blamelesse, yet Eph. 2. 3. Tit. 3. 3. served divers lusts and pleasures, and the reason is, the Law is not the ministration of the Spirit, 2 Cor. 3. 8, 9. which breaks off from eve­ry sin,Isai. 1. 11 there is no saw that can give [...]ife, Gal. 3. 21. And hence many men have strong resolutions, and break all again; hence men sin, and sorrow, and pray a­gain, and then go with more ease in their sin; examine thy self, is there any li­ving lust with thy righteousnesse, 'tis sure 'tis a righteousnesse thou art married to, and never wert yet match'd to Christ; hence note thy self, it may be thou hast rested in duties, and since more light came, saw it; and seeing this, thinking that here is all thy errour, thou hast laboured to see the emptinesse of thy own Righte­ousnesse, and the fulnesse of Christ, and now thou art come to both, and now well. So then thou hast not found out any lust thou livest in all that time; nor the [...] [Page 21] of thy old nature: no; why then I pronounce thou art yet ma [...]ied to the Law, take and trust never so much to Christs righteousnesse, [...] the power of a proud heart, an unclean heart still, never speak of Christ.

6. They that are fearful to be troubled at their estate to have it prove ill,Sign 6. which a Saint may do, yet brings it out to the light at last, Iohn 3. 20. When a Woman is married to a condemned man, guilt being upon him, he loves not to be seen a­broad in the sight of others; thou hearest a Sermon, and art loath it should be found out, loath to be troubled; he that hath righteousnesse in Christ will not on­ly bring it to tryal, before men, but God himself. Now is it thus with any of you? what shall I say? shall I say that Christ is or may be thine in this estate [...]u­ly if I durst I should; bless thy self thou maist: but remember that the Lord will take thee to do for it; and what is it to lose communion with Christ, I cannot express it. The Disciples were sad when he went away from them in his abase­ment, but for the Lord to leave thee, when in his glory, to stand a far off and see him go, never to see him more, when no tears shall ever prevail again; There­fore if thou hast been found out this day, confess and give glory to God, and let thine eyes be tears, that Christ would overcome and draw thy soul with love, and espouse thee to himself for ever.

Containing Motives and Arguments to per­swade us unto the Love of Christ, and to be Espoused to him.

IS there no communion to be had with the Lord Jesus,Use 3. unlesse Virgins? un­lesse espoused to him? Oh therefore here is a match for you, chuse him, get your affections, if entangled, to come off if ensnared to any other thing, and set your hearts, bestow your love upon him. For 'tis not a dead Faith, (but such a faith as is animated by love) that doth espouse you to him, Gal. 5. 6. Faith which works by love. And therefore as the love of other things (not worth looking after) hath got the soveraignty and royalty of thy heart, so this is a con­jugal love, when it bears rule in the heart; let Christ have this love. And as you have loved creatures for themselves, now love the Lord Jesus for himself. And as they have easily enticed you to set your hearts upon them, now be per­swaded to set your dearest affections on him. Its said of Iohn Baptist, he was the Bride-groom's Friend, to speak for him, Iohn 3. 29. And truly 'tis the main work of the Ministry, to wooe for Christ; and so to present chast Virgins to Christ. This shall be my work now, which may be seasonable in this decaying time. Therefore I shall chiefly bend my speech to three sorts.

1. To them that never yet loved the Lord Jesus, unlesse it be from the teeth outward.

2. Those that have been striving for this, yet cannot to their own feeling come to this.

3. Those that have so, but their affections are dried up, and love is parched away, iniquity abounds, &c. And my Motives shall be these four,

1. Consider the Glory of the person, whom I shall be a spokes-man for this day.

[Page 22] 2. Consider he makes love to thee.

3. Consider that all he seeks for is love.

4. Consider what he will do for thee, how he will love thee, if thou wilt love him.


1. COnsider the Glory of the person, for whom I plead for love. What can you love besides him? Where can you find any like unto him? I know the Glory of the Lord is not revealed, because the grasse withers not, the flower fades not, the creature appears not in his withering vanity, Isa. 40. But if the Lord would but open your eyes, to see him, this would win your hearts alone to him.

Now I shall single out only these five things, to give you a glimpse of his Glo­ry. Lift up thy heart, and say, Lord hide not now thy face from me.

1. He is the Prince of the Kings of the earth, Rev. 1. 5. The glory of the world is a Kingdom, the glorious Diamond of that Kingdom is a Prince in his Glory; now for a poor Beggar to have an offer of love from the greatest Prince in the world, would it not tempt her? Would she not forsake her lovers, and set her heart on him? Why look what a distance there is between the poorest Peasant and the highest Prince, so base, and a thousand times more are all the Princes of the world to Christ, whose Dominion is from sea to sea, from Sun to Sun, who sets up and puls down Kings like Counters, who rules their Courts, their Kingdoms, their hearts, and they do not do, they cannot do, but what he will. Other Kings are Princes, are Rulers of men, Christ Prince of Kings. Now who would not be glad of his love? who having tasted death, is set down on the right hand of God, on high, cloathed with endlesse Glory, who hath Kings in his chaines, whose breath is not in his nostrils, whose favour is not for a day, but he lives and reignes for ever. Now doth Christ reign? Is he a Lord, and in Glory upon his Throne? Methinks I see Jesus at the right hand of God, your foolish affections have undone you if you love him not.

2. He is appointed by the Father to be Judge of quick and dead, at the last day, Iohn 5. 22, 23. as well as to rule all now. So that if you do maintain enmi­ty against him, he may let you alone, you may live in health, and die in peace, in the eye of man, and in thine own eyes too: Yet there is a day coming he will break out of Heaven with a shout, and appear in the clouds in the amazing Glo­ry of his Father, with all his mighty Angels, and all the dead shall hear his voice, and you shall appear before him with this body, when the Heavens shall burn round about him, and the earth shall tremble under him, and all guilty eyes mourning and wayling because of him. Then you shall know what 'tis to de­spise him, and wish, oh that I had loved him, Rev. 1. 7. You that say you love him, yet by an im [...]enitent heart pierce him, you shall wayl, even so, Amen. Men do not see an end of these things, not the Glory of the Lord another day. Hence creatures are loved, and the Lord of Glory is loathed. A great Prince may not be so highly esteemed, untill he appears in his state. Prisoners would give any mony, much more love, for the Judges Favour.

3. He only is the procuter and author of all the good that ever thou didst suck out here, though thou hast neither known him, not been thankful to him. For look as it was with Angels, so it should have been with man; the wrath of God should have been poured out upon him, and on all the world, and creatures should have been tormentors of him, but that the Lord Jesus begged and bought the world. And hence, 1 Tim. 4. 10. called Saviour of all, but chiefly of the Elect. Micah 4. 4. In his daies men shall sit under Vines and Fig-trees: So [Page 23] that if ever any creature did thee good, it was Jesus that put that sweetnesse in it, out of his fulnesse, and set it awork, sent it to thee, gave it thee to do thee good. Thou shouldst never have had win [...] of sleep, never restrained from one sin, but lived in blaspheming God, never hàve heard of a Gospel but for Christ: And will you not love him? Oh ungrateful world! unnatural generation of men! Why dost love any creature? 'Tis for the paint of it and good in it. If there be so much in it, what is there in Christ that gave it, that dropt it into it? Never love him if there be any thing good that is not by him, Psal. 116. 1. The Lord hath heard my prayer, I will call on him as long as I live. Much more when the Lord hath delivered, and thou didst never seek to him.

4. He is the everlasting wonderment of Saints in Heaven; the Queen of She­ba heard of Solomon, which made her come to see him, but she before imagined but that which now she saw with her own eyes, and that wrapt her out of her self. Here we hear of the Lord Jesus, of his beauty and glory, and this draws Saints to him, and when come, they see that which they never saw before, especially when in Heaven: then fall down in everlasting admiration at this my­stery, for the blessedness of Saints is to see Christ in his glory, Iohn 17. 24. Now this lies in an infinite good, this cannot be seen in a finite time: hence Saints shall be piercing their eyes deeper and deeper into this mystery, and shall ever see more and more, but never see all, and this is their joy and glory in Heaven; Is it so? what think you, is Christ worthy of your love or no? look upon all the glory of the field of this world, you may see an end of all perfection, but never here.

5. He is the delights and bosome love of God himself, Prov. 8. 30. Hence Iohn when he came to set Christ out, Iohn 3. 35. The Father loveth the Son. Now is it so, surely though you see not, taste not this good, yet there 'tis; now tell me if this person do not challenge love! would you not be glad to have him? you will say, can he look upon such a VVretch, embrace such a Leper as I? no surely he will never do it.


2. COnsider he makes love to thee, not one soul that hears me this day, but the Lord Jesus is a Suitor unto, that now you would be espoused to him: He came unto his own, and they received him not. Whatever the secret purpose of Christ is, I regard not: In this Evangelical dispensation of Grace, he makes love to all, Iohn 1. 12. 'Tis clear, Mat. 22. 2, 3. If there be a Gospel in the world, there is this love of Christ yearning towards all; especially all that have this Gospel of peace sent to them, Luke 2. 10. 'Tis tidings of great joy to all people, as Law is tidings of great sorrow to all people, Luke 2. 14. Angels from Heaven preacht this good will towards men. For if the challenge of love from men should be founded on his actual love to some, having died for some, then the offer would be particular. But 'tis grounded, 1. On his own worth and Glory, and hence he challengeth love. 2. On this, for ought I know he hath loved me. So that thou art not so vile, but the Lord Jesus his heart is toward thee, and his eye is upon thee for love. But 'tis not all love, but only some that overcomes.

1. Now 'tis real love. 2. Fervent love, 3. Constant. 4. Pure love he makes to thee.

1. 'Tis real love, when the Gospel and Ministers seek for love, the Lord is real in his desires, there is no collusion or dissembling, 2 Cor. 5. 20. in Christs stead, He that receiveth you, receiveth me; thou thinkest the Lord cares not for thee, not doth not desire thee though he doth others: but

1. Either the Lord would have thee loath him, or love him; what think you?

2. If the Lord did not really make love to thee, he would not be really angry [Page 24] for rejecting of this love, but the Lord is really angry for rejecting it, and wroth with nothing so much as that, Psal. 2. 12. here he swears in his wrath, Psal. 95. 11. when he opens his bosom for thee to rest in, and thou wilt not.

3. Look but upon the dealings of God with thee: 1. Hast not oft thought some in Hell better than thee? why the ruine of millions of men is to win love from thee, Ier. 3. 8, 9, 10. 2. Hath not the Lord sent many a mercy to thee, not one but was to win thee, Psal. 81. 10, 11, 12. 3. Hath not the Lord with-held ma­ny from thee, as here in this wildernesse, Ier. 3. 3, 4. 4. Hath not the Lord sent many sorrows, terrors, fears, cares, wearisome businesses that thou hast wished an end of life? this is love, Hos. 2. 6. 5. Hath not the Lord moved thy heart many a time-toward him by perswasions, arguments which have a power to move the heart, this is love, Hos. 11. 4. Cords of a man. 6. Hath not the Lord oft melted thy heart for mercies, as David when he might have killed Saul; truly you may feel his love which is much towards you; that which keeps off thy heart from love, is, the Lord intends it not to me, he is not plain with me. But he sends to thee his plain Gospel which thou art to attend unto; and he takes fittest seasons to speak to thee now in the time of thy heath: and doth he not oft visit thy heart when thou art alone?

2. 'Tis servent, vehement, earnest love: sometimes a Suitor is real, but he is not earnest; now thus the Lord is: 1. The Lord longs for this, Deut. 5. 29. 2. Pleads for this, Ier. 2. 5. What iniquity, &c. 3. Thinks long for this time, Ier. 13. 27. Ieru­salem will not be made clean when shall it once be? 4. Mourns when he hath not this, Ezek. 6. 9. Broken with their whorish heart. 5. Content to give away any thing for it, all the love of Christ is founded on this. 6. If thou comest not presently, he is content to wait that he may be gracious.

3. 'Tis constant and continual, there is not a moment, thou dost not so oft breath, as thou maist see and taste love, Isai. 27. 3. Isai. 65. 2. 1. After all thy whorish departing from God, that if man should do so, no man would own, yet he saith, Return to me: thou seest never a creature but thou hast loved more than Christ, yet return. 2. When God threatens most terribly, and sets his fury on record, yet then there he minds nothing but love, Ier. 36. 2, 3. 3. When none else will own and pitty thee thou art so vile, yet Ezek. 16. 2, 3. the Lord saith live, then is a time of love. 4. Nay when thou hast cast away thy self as a forlorn creature, yet Hos. 14. 3. In thee the Fatherless find mercy. 5. When he hath thee in his arms, ready to give thee up, yet then, How shall I give thee up O Ephraim, Hos. 11. 8. I tell thee if one sparkle of his eternal blasting displeasure should fall upon thee, it would be so intol­lerable that it would sink thee; his love is as strong as death, no water can quench it; oh 'tis not so with man, or great men, once repulsed is enough: why should the Lord do so here? many think time is past, 'tis not so, 'tis the temptation of them that have time, not of them that want it; take heed this make thee not despise him.

4. 'Tis a pure love, others make love for their own ends, but the Lord hath no need of thee, or of thy love: he could raise up of stones children of praise, he could have gone to others, he could have and can fetch his glory out of thy ruine: he was blessed before all worlds; and by all thy sins thou dost but throw stones against the wind, or snow-balls against the Sun: why doth he do it? O 'tis thy good, he pitties thee as once Ierusalem, to look upon thy destruction and desolati­on: as 'tis with the Elect, they have wrath before their eyes, and hence perswade others, so the Lord Jesus.


3. COnsider 'tis nothing else but love the Lord looks for, or cares for. Love looks for nothing but love, Prov. 8. 17. and this is the end of all Election, [Page 25] to be holy before him in love: and mark it, if it be a stayed love, that constrain [...] thee to him, you cannot wrong him: As if thou come and perswade one to murder his Child, he cannot; so if perswaded to despise, oh bowels of heart-breaking love, 2 Cor. 5. And surely 'tis admirable love; What if it were thy Goods; thy Isa [...] to be sacrificed, thy body to be burned, it was nothing, but he desires only love, only thy heart which hath forged so much villany against him: let him never be called upon, or professed, if not worthy of this. After all, is this all? yes, no Por­tion he cares for, and when he hath this he hath all. Wonder at this O Angels!


4. COnsider what he will do for thee, how he will love thee, if thou wilt thus love him.

1. He will set thee next himself in honour, Psalm 45. 9. that as the Lord Jesus is next to God, sits at his right hand: so here, which is an honour that the Angels have not, who are no where called Christs Spouse: hence never had such an union, hence never shall partake of that honour of Saints.

2. He will enrich thee, as 'tis with Man and Wife, all that he hath is hers: so himself, and all his glory, his God, his Father, his Kingdom is thine, Prov. 8. 21. they that love me inherit something, others nothing: no, nothing indeed, only shews of good, and they find it so when they awake, nothing their own, nothing long: that let thy outward man, yea thy inward be never so poor, thou shalt by him be heir of all.

3. He will cousel thee: hence David, Psal. 73. made choice of God, Thou wilt guìde me by thy counsel; no greater curse than to be left to the guidance of a mans own counsel: but here there shall not be any strait, but the Lord will shew thee a way out of it, either by his prudence or providence; there shall not be any secret of Christ that thou desirest to know, but as Christ told them, You are my Friends, so you are my Spouse: hence all his secrets shall be opened to thee: there shall not be one act of thy life, but ordered by infinite prudence, and wisdom, and love; sometimes we are befooled in our own counsels, and left to them to teach us to depend on the Lord the more, yet thereby shall come out such good, that it shall be among us as with Iosephs Brethren.

4. He will dwell with thee as a man must dwell with his Wife, Iohn 14. 23. that the great Mediator that passeth by Kings and Princes, and will not look on them, should come and dwell with thee: this is better than to have the presence of Kings, the guard of Angels, better than Heaven it self, that he should dwel where is nothing worthy to entertain him, only something to grieve him. Now this is,

1. A constant assistance of the Spirit, that let the Soul go where he will, be brought to never so low an ebb, yet Christ will not out, but some stirrings, sighings, lookings, pantings after Christ; when heart and strength fail, yet God, &c. when ready to give all for lost, then consider as Psal. 73. 2. If he doth depart, he will not be loug but return again: and those that know his affection, know it so to be, Isai. 54. for a little moment, &c. so the Lord may depart, and when his presence is a little more esteemed, come again with everlasting mercies: as a man may know many weaknesses by his Wife, yet she having not bestowed her heart on any other, he will return: so if thou canst say, yet I am the Lords, he will return.

5. He will rejoyce in thee and over thee, Zeph. 3. 17. as a Bridegroom doth over the Bride: Not because of any beauty in thee, for there is none, but because given in marriage of the Father, and for his own sake. This day thou shalt no sooner set thy heart on Christ, but he falls in love with thee, and will take thee with joy; thou thinkest he will be angry if thou closest with him and love him, no, it will be the joy of Heaven, of Jesus Christ himself.

[Page 26] 6. He will exceedingly comfort thee; and look as 'tis with tender husbands, then they comfort most when most sorrowes be [...]ide them, for who could endure his wife should be alway drooping? So even then when nothing doth or can com­fort thee, the Lord will, Isa. 54. 6. For the Lord doth not alway comfort, but when in need, as it was with the Patriarchs, Then God appeared, when they were at worst; and these are abundant comforts, 2 Cor. 1. 3, 4, 5. You shall not need to scramble for it as many do, whose hearts do not love Christ in truth as yet.

7. He will put up all Wrongs, and bear exceedingly with thee Many think even when God hath sealed love to them, if any little sin be committed, then they are cast off; no, if under the Law so indeed, but when espoused to him, 'tis not weaknesses, nor wilfulnesse can make the Lord cast thee away, but he will heal the one, and afflict thee for (yet not cast thee off) for the other, Psal. 89. 33. My loving kindnesse will I never take away. Yea, he will forgive both, Luke 7. 47. Much forgiven because she loved much. Nay, thy wrongs shall be an occasion to make him love thee more, Rom. 5. Where sin abounds, Grace abounds.

8. He will never part with thee, Hos. 2. 19. Once love him, and he will never lose thee.

1. No sin shall part thee and him; for Christ when he enters into marriage covenant, doth not suspend his love on our Grace or Holinesse, then he might leave quickly, but on his own Grace to wash away out filthinesse, Eph. 5. 25, 26. If a husband marries a woman only for so long as she is in health, then when sick­nesse comes he may depart. But è contra, if to take away her sicknesses, then they cannot hinder: Nothing but Adultery can part; Now that they cannot do, for nothing breaks, till covenant is broken: And the covenant here is everlasting, and so undertaken for by the Lord that it can never be broken.

2. No miseries can, Rom. 8. 35, 36, 37. Can tribulation? It makes man leave us, but this is peculiar to Christ, he will not leave.

3. Death cannot, it must part man and wife, though loved never so dearly before; but here not; but then he will come himself and fetch thee, Iohn 14. 1, 2, 3. Take thy soul to the Bride-chamber, there to be with him for ever and ever, and he will keep the dust of thy blessed body, and not lose one dust of it, and at the last day raise it; and then when others shall cry out Yonder is him whom I have grieved, then shalt thou lift up thy head, Yonder comes my husband to comfort me, to crown me, that I may dwell with him. It shall be the blessed day to thee. And when judgement is done, thou shalt go with thy beloved from the air up to Hewen with a shout, and live in his love and dearest embracings of thee, and this he will do for thee so poor and vile in thine own eyes? Now will you have him? and that now, or no?


1. IF the Lord be so desirous of me,Object. 1. why doth he not overcome me?

If the Lord doth it,Answ. 'tis by these cords of love, and if not, the brand of a reprobate is upon thee.

2. But I do love him already.Object. 2.

Is it with such a love as makes you unable to resist him?Answ. to wrong him? as the Apostle said, We cannot speak against the Truth, but for it; for if not 'tis naught. There is a natural love to Christ, as to one that doth thee good, and for thine own ends; and spirituall for himself, whereby the Lord only is exalted: H [...]st thou this?

3. But I do not have Christ.Object. 3.

If any man do not love him with a positive love,Answ. let him be Anathema.

4. I cannot love him.Object. 4.

1. What canst thou love else?Answ. 2. Thou canst not love him so well as thou [Page 27] shouldst, therefore close with him, and love will follow. 3. Get the Lord to overcome thy heart, Ier. 3. 19.

How shall I do it?Quest.

1. Set him before thee? Who will commit lewdnesse while her husband look [...] on?Answ. Psal. 16. 8.

2. See what content thou givest Christ by love: Smallest duties coming from love are accepted. What makes thee wrong him to please thy self? Let a thing crosse thee, yet it con [...]ents Christ Jesus.

3. Get him, and wait by Faith on him to overcome thy heart, and the work is done then. Now will you do this or no? If not say then you have had a fair of­fer, and tell the Devils so, when thou goest down to Hell, as it may be thou maiest ere long. Men talk of terrible Sermons, but these sink deepest. Tell me, dost thou love the lord only? Wil't keep lusts or Christ alone? If so, then look to it. In this Countrey a woman killed her child, and she said, when she did it, her child smiled upon her. Wilt thou kick Christs love now when he smiles upon thee. Afterward shee repented, but it was too late. Women when they have a mind to some other, murder their husbands, but if known; burnt they must be. But wilt have him and love him alone? Oh if perswaded to this, then happy for ever. Let this day be the beginning of eternal Glory to thy soul, and the God of peace be with thee.

Sheweth that a man hath no power in himself to do any spiritual work, but that he must receive all from Christ.

4. HEnce we see a necessity,Use 4. if ever we look to have communion with Christ, to do all spiritual work, all we do (Theologice ) from the mighty power of Christ, from the life and Spirit of Christ. To bring forth no Spirituall Act but from Christ, and for Christ, (I shall put both in one, and the latter into the first; for none act truly from him but it is for him) for you know if a woman bring forth children to any other but her own husband, that woman hath lost her chastity: So when men shall bring forth the fruits of obedience to any other, from any other, but from Christ, they lose their virginity, their chastity, without which no communion with Christ. For I have ever made two parts or degrees of Christian chastity, (as 'tis in outward chastity.)

1. The soul sets its chief affections on Christ alone, that look as 'tis with a woman, though she cannot do much, nor deserve his love, yet her heart is with him, her self is his, Cant. 6. 3. I am my Beloveds.

2. The soul b [...]ings forth fruits of love only unto Christ, i. e. from Christ and for Christ, as in marriage the woman brings forth fruit of her womb to her Hus­band; and this is set down plainly, Rom. 7. 4. The first we have handled. Now a little of this. And that I may presse this which is of much use to you, give me leave to expresse my self in these Conclusions.


THat all men living nakedly considered in themselves,Concl. 1.have l [...]st all power to do any thing that is good, Rom. 3. 12. None that doth good, 1. His light is quite extinct, and his eyes quite out: hence said to sit in darknesse, and the sha­dow of death, Mat. 4▪ 16. now a shadow is a privation of some light, this of all light, hence called darknesse it self; take the blindest Indian, he is a witnesse of this truth, and a right picture of a soul fallen from God: hence because he cannot see, he cannot do, 1 Cor. 2. 14. 2. All that life he had to act well is lost too, Eph. 2. 1. he is dead in trespasses and sins: he cannot breath, not speak, nor think, nor do one thing that is good: I say nakedly considered in himself. And hence look upon a man quite forsaken of God in Hell, there you may see as in a lively looking-glass what every man living is when the Lord leaves him: he can bla­spheme him, he cannot love him, he can contemn God, he cannot esteem him: he can wish there were no God to punish him: he cannot submit unto God, though he leaves the most heavy load upon him, and you see not your selves untill you see your selves here, and see your selves thus.


THat unto some men especially, nay unto all men almost, though vile, yet more or lesse the Lord gives a power to act,Concl. 2.and live, and move, and to do many spiritual duties, or good duties from themselves For as there is a bredth in the wayes of Grace, that every Christian hath not the like measure of Grace, so there is a bredth or latitude in the wayes of sin: every sinner breaks not forth into the like measure of sin, but some are far better than others; as the three grounds that were bad, yet one better than another. Now how comes this about? why, the Lord gives that power to act (as all the knowledg of a God) by the light of Nature (falsly so called) this is the work of God, Rom. 1. 19. Hence all terrors, and comforts, and duties of Conscience are all from God: so the Historical Faith of the Gospel which many have, and so to confesse and professe no salvation but by Christ, together with a readinesse to dye in defence of this truth and Religion, and joy from this, and reformation of life upon this, none of these are natural to this soyl of a mans soul, but all are planted there by God, 1 Cor. 12. 2, 3. and so that man can act according to the Law, be strict in Sabbaths, frequent in Fastings and Prayers, &c. 'tis from God, Rom. 10. 2. And why doth the Lord work this? 'tis else no living in the world among men, and because Christ is the politicum ca­put, and hath bought all men in the world to be his servants, hence gives them gifts which he turns for the good of his people: but yet this is the nature of all these abilities, that a man acts from the strength and power of them, not from Christ, Mi [...]. 4. 5. Other Nations will walk in the name, &c. and the reason is,

1. Because every man is under the guidance either of the first or second Cove­nant, and power of either: now as the power of the second Covenant is to draw a man out of himself to another, and so to make him act from another: so the pow­er of the First is to drive a man into himself by terrors, and fears, and hopes, and rewards, and so to enable him to act from himself; hence 'tis impossible but they must act ever from themselves.

And 2. Because though many good Gifts, and moral vertues may be said to be supernatural, i. e. above the power of Nature to work, yet never above the im­provement of nature: for let God work never so many good things in men, na­ture, i e an ill stomack when diseased, is strongest, there Nature turns all into the [Page 29] humor, and so a man dyes at last; so the power of sin in Nature being more powerful than any Grace which by common work is given it. ever turns that Grace into it self, and leads it into captivity, bondage, and service of it self; so that there is never a Grace but 'tis made to serve some lust, as in Iehu, in Iudas, &c. and God complains, Isai. 43. 24. So this I say is the case of thousands unre­generate, who can do many good things, but from themselves, which God [...] wrought to: and hence many a child of God hath been long [...]indred from con­version, and others not converted at all, because they have thought wicked mon whom God minds to damn, are such as have no good, nor do no good, [...] if they do, they have it not from God; but 'tis not so with me, for I have and do many good things, which I acknowledg come from God, and I thank God I am not as other men. Now mark, 'tis true, nakedly considered no good could come from unregenerate men, but yet the Lord gives power to many to do, so the Lord hath done to thee, and thou hast been thankful for it. And this is common, many ac­count themselves great sinners, but yet they can believe: many say they can do little, but their desire and will at worst is to do: tell them these are not right, un­lesse they come from the Lord, they will say the Lord doth all, and they acknow­ledg it, and so I believe, and 'tis true, but 'tis not such a work of the Lord as is peculiar to the Elect, because when the Lord hath wrought these, you act only from them, and hence never feel a want of these, for the Lord never yet wrought any Grace in his people, but after they have had it, and tasted of it, he hath more or lesse deserted them, and so hath made them feel a want of it, and made them fetch it again with sighs, and groans, and tears; now it hath never been so with thee.


THat it's most pleasing to man, and agreeable to his nature to act only from himself: Concl. 3. As it was with the Prodigal, he desired his Stock in his own hands, and while any thing lasted, he would never come home; and hence those, Iohn 6. 28. What shall we do to work the works of God: and when Christ spake of Faith, they were stumbled there, insomuch that divers did forsake him.

1. Because mans acting from himself is best able to attain his own ends, to which you know a man is gently and necessarily carried: for no man out of Christ, but his own ends draw him; now Christ crosseth a mans own ends, and to live on him is to live on him that will confound them of their own ends, or else no life there: Hence they live from themselves. As 'tis with a Crafts-man, or Artificer, pro­pounding the gain or credit they may get by being excellent in their Trade, may by their own study and frequency of acts, grow dexterous, and very skilful at last, and hence delight in it, so here, profession and practise of Religion may be a mans trade which he may drive for his own ends and gain, and hence may desire to be excellent, and by endeavour be excellent, and profit exceedingly in many excellent endowments: hence he acts and works for himself, Rom. 1. 14.

2. Because a man naturally knows not how to fetch it from Christ from Heaven, Rom. 10. 3. Hence 'tis with them as with a Child cast off by the Father, and put to some hard Master, because they have no Father to maintain them, they most live as they are, and do as well as they can. A man comes to pray, knows not how to fetch strength from Christ, and he must pray, and hence prayes as well as he can.

3. Because it's so hard a thing to live upon another, it's easie and sweet to a spiritual heart, but most difficult to any carnal heart, Iohn 6. Christ tells them they must eat his flesh, they say, who then can be saved, and many departed. Men had rather make holes, and keep water in their own house, than have it far to [Page 30] fetch, and when they come to fetch it, to bestow such strength in drawing of it.

4. Because every man thinks he loves and care▪ for himself be [...], and sees no God nor Christ caring for or loving of him more than himself; Hence a man plots for himself, and lives for himself, and all from himself. As when Iosephs Bre­thren saw their Brother, then they came down and lived upon him, before they came to him indeed, but with their mony, to live of themselves. And thus it was with the young man, Sell all and have riches in Heaven: No, he loved him­self, and cared for himself better than so; hence would not commit and give away all to Christ.

5. Because whatever a man doth from himself, ei [...]her 'tis good, or he thinks it so, or hopes if not, God will accept it. Some evil in it perhaps, but he hath his allowances which will make it go, some good desire [...] o [...] Faith in Christ, and hence hopes if not thinks God will accept of what comes from himself. As, Prov. 21. 2. All a mans waies are right in his own eyes. And truly Nature and Satan have ever been Imitators and Ape [...] of God, to forge and make Grace like true Grace, hence deceived. This being pleasing to men, is the practice of most men, yea, all men out of Christ. And this is one great part of the inward, secret, subtil, spiri­tual whoredom of the soul. Thus men may force sorrow, when yet there is little true sorrow, and so in other cases.


THat all these works though good in themselves,Concl. 4.yet are most vile before the Lord; as Christ speaks of the Pharisees, Its abomination in the sight of God, which is glorious before man, Luke 16. 15.

1. Because hereby the soul deprives Christ of the end of his coming; for all men having lost the stock and power to live, the Lord hence will trust no man with it again; hence puts it into a surer and better hand, that thither poor, blind, dead creatures might fly for life, & when they are there, live there like [...]ees on their hony, Iohn 6. 27. & 17. 23. He might never have looked after you, and will you despise him now? What folly and unkindnesse is this, that when your pits are dry, and bottles empty, and souls miserable here, you will not (I do not say sip) when water runs by your door, but not live.

2. Because whatever come [...] from self, its ever for self. A man can do nothing from himself, but his last end is self. As 'tis with water-works, they rise no higher than the spring, Gen. 11. 4. This Babel I have built, Dan. 4. 30. And a man that hath but common Grace, look as by vertue of that Grace, or gift of God, he may act for God, because it came from God; so nature and sin being mo [...]e powerful than that Grace, hence he never so acts for God, but in the last place acts for it self, as in Iehu: And so a man makes himself his own Go [...].

3. Because whatever a man doth from himself, he will grow proud of it, Rom. 4. Not of works, lest any man should boast. Hence I [...]ab sent to David to take the City that he might have the Crown. This robs Christ of the Glory.

4. Because whatever work is not done by vertue of the Lord Jesus, is a dead work, which a living God, and a living Christ, and a living Spirit lo [...]th, Heb. 9. 14. Sprinkle your Consciences from dead works. Deadly works are sins, dead works are good works done, but not from the principle of the life of Faith, but life of Na­ture. Now as Conscience is the principle of the life of Nature. So Christ is the principle of a Christian life, Col. 3. 1 Iohn 5. 10, 11, 12. For 'tis not sanctifica­tion that is the principle of life, but the life it self that flows from it, as from union of soul and body, the soul is not the life but the principle of it, hence as soon as its out, the body is dead: So, &c. And do you not find it thus, when­as you do many duties, how tedious, wearison are they? yet must be done, [Page 31] this is a dead work. What comfort, what peace is there, when you have done them? because not from life.

5. Because what come▪ from self, comes from all sin, 'tis dipt and dyed, and tainted and poysoned with all sin in a manner. Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?

6. Because when a man will act from himself, and not suffer Christ to act for him, he will not have Christ to reign over him, he pu [...] down the Kingdom of God that should be within him. For when a man professeth Christ is King of his Church, he is now a King in name: When a man feels an impossibility to rule himself, and hence desireth and chuseth Christ to rule, now Christ is a King by choice: When the soul after this choice, depends on Christ for what he chose him for, and the Lord works, now Christ is a King indeed. Now if you will not have the Lord to reign over you, you will be found enemies to the Lords Kingdom.


HEnce it will follow, The soul is to act wholly and only from the Lord Iesus Christ,Con [...]l. 5.and whatever fruits of love it shows to Christ, to bring them forth from Christ. Which doth not only concern them that never yet knew Christ, and yet pride up themselves in what they have and do, but those that be in Christ in a special manner. For Iohn 15. 2. Every Branch in me that brings not forth fruit. 'Tis not meant of one indeed in Christ, for he shall bring forth fruit, but every branch, i. e. by outward profession, so that it brings not forth fruit, but appears fair, and deceives man, God will cast away: And without me, even ye Disciples can do nothing.

1. How is the soul to act from Christ only,Quest. 1. when it hath life, especially the elect?

2. By what means may this be done,Quest. 2. to get and keep this chastity?

First, How is the soul to act from Christ alone when there is sanctification within?Quest. 1.

1. If the soul feel no power to act from Grace received,Answ. 1. as Saints somtimes do, either after Gods deserting them, or their forsaking God long, or after some hardning sin; then 'tis clear the soul in this case is (though not in a way of carelesseness) to depend upon the Lord Jesus, that he would quicken and help. As David after his grosse fall, Lord create in me a clean heart. And Isa. 63. 17. Why hast thou hardned our hearts from thy fear? Oh return ! In this case the soul is not to bring the soul to God, but God to the soul. As many a Christian cannot prize not love the Lord not his waies, he is not to say, I will bring my soul and o [...]fer it to him; but look to the Lord that he would raise up my dead affections again. As the Centurion of his Servant, Speak the word, &c. Christ marveiled at his Faith. Men think when they feel nothing, that they must and can work it out; and hence comes one of these three things.

1. Either the soul cannot love Christ when it sees such Lawes it cannot submit to. And hence a Christian once said to me, If the least thing was left for me to do of my self, I could not love Christ; but now that when brought low and can do nothing, he brings all the help we need. This makes the Spouse go to the bosom of her Husband, Psal. 116. 6, 7. Or else,

2. It cannot do it, for corruption in a Saint is too hard for his Grace, I am but a child, and thy people many, 1 Kings 3. 7. Hence he must be strong in the Lord.

Or 3. If it do, it never hath any peace in what it doth, the duties never so well done. Whereas otherwise the poorest duty done from Christ, witnesse Heb. 11. 4, 5. as a child bego [...] of the Father, he will own, but other children not. If any poor tired heart that hea [...]s me this day, thou hast been making thy Brick, and promises and vowes will not help, now away to the Lord, if ever help now 'tis when most helplesse.

[Page 32] 2. If you can do any thing savingly good, the soul is bound now (by the pow­er of Faith) to stir up it self to act, though not to trust to it alone, for somtimes the soul hath the regenerate part uppermost, and the prevailing Spirit of God, Psal. 21. 3. which comes to him, and gives it power to act before the soul come to it. Now a man is bound to act, because 'tis from Christ now. Hence Timo­thy was to stir up the gift, 2 Tim. 1. 6. Hence complained of them Isa. 64. 8. None stir up himself to take hold on the Lord. A man must stir up himself to be­lieve, as well as other Graces, hence the Kingdom of Heaven is taken with violence, and though corruption is stronger than Grace, yet Grace assisted with the Spirit, is stronger than it, which is never quite out of the soul, but 'tis in the soul, 1 Iohn 4. 4. Stronger is he that is in you. And 'tis said professedly, He purgeth himself, and keepeth himself, the evil one toucheth him not, 1 John 5. 18. But mark, trust not barely t [...] this, but when you do this, withall remember, Lord I cannot hold out in this unlesse thou dost help me: But know, Isa. 26. The Lord is the rock of my strength. And if you by the Spirit mortifie, &c. Rom. 8. 13. Therefore ever hold up sailes, but look for a wind. And if a man be not to do this, then when any sinful temptation comes, if a man do not find the Spirit and strength ready at hand to help, if he be not to stir up himself against it, he is to suffer himself to be carried down by it. Hence a man may neglect all duties a long time, if he do not find the Spirit assisting, if so be a man must not stir himself up, and so (will some say) a man may. May? What shall I say to such sluggish soul, but sleep on? But know it, the Lord will awaken thee, when you shall say, Oh that I had improved the Ta­lent I had! And if you do find Christ in such a condition, know it they be but the last visits of Christ before he departs. You can do more than you do, and the Lord will have you do it.

But I cannot do it for good ends without Christ.Obj.

Yet do the thing as far as you can, else if you owe another a debt,Answ. and will not pay, because not for a good end, that excuse will not serve: So you owe the Lord your lives, your spirits, your abilities; lay them out for the Lord, though evil be in them, be humbled for that. Is this good requital to say you find your hearts dead in prayer, and God must do all, and there leave it?

3. You are to expect and look for power from the Lord Jesus in the use of means, all known means: For Faith fetcheth all from Christ, hence we must go thither where Christ is to be found, and he dwells in his House, in his Ordi­nances: Therefore there you must depend upon him. As 'tis with a Merchant, he wades not over the Sea for Pearls, but gets into his ship, and there he sits still, so here, Mat. 13. The Kingdom of Heaven is like a Merchant man. Hence you that know you can do nothing, being under a spirit of conviction, and hence do nothing, under a spirit of sloth and neglect of means, by vertue of a spirit of pre­sumption, and say Christ must do all, I say you take not the right course for the Lord to help you in. The Lord will never be a slave to thy sloth, but thou shalt be like a shrub, never to see good when it comes, and shalt die in horrour with this, Oh I might have done more! Hence you are worse than the other, that think if a man fasts, prayes, watches against his distempers, mourns for want of Christ and Grace, and followes God hard here, he is a Legal Christian: Why, these are but his own works, and this is not living on Christ. I confesse bare using them, or trusting to them is not, but he that lives not on Christ in use of means (these and all other means) to find Christ, or enjoy more of Christ, shall never have him. Neither do I know what turning Gods Grace into wantonnesse is, if this be not; and under a conceit of liberty to be a servant of corruption. I know not whether it be thus with any, but if I did, I would pity them.

4. If the soul cannot every moment live on Christ, i. e. for every particular act, have a distinct act of Faith, for this cannot be, yet every fit season that it can, it ought to look up to the Lord for life and fresh strength. Pray as 'tis [...], eve­ry [Page 33] fit season. And as he brings forth fruit, so he goes for fruit in season, Psal. 1. 3. And when the soul doth this, the Spirit of the Lord helps, when the act is cea­sed.

Now the fit seasons are,

1. At beginning of any action, as prayer, hearing, reading: All the time a man is in his journey, or in his work, he is carried on by the act of Faith at first setting out: The reach of Faith is long, and continues all prayers, all the duty throughout, the act of faith is short: Now the Lord looks to his people accord­ing to the first.

2. When our act beigns to die; as Moses lifted up his hands, and when they were heavy, Aaron and Hur supported them again.

3. When a man feels himself strong, now apt to be self-confident; now Lord for an humble heart! And thus you are to live on Christ, which if done, would make a Christians life glorious, and give infinite content to the heart of Christ. But here is the misery, either hearts are full, and need not, or slothful, and care not for living so. That truly I do not wonder to hear and see so many withering trees, as though blasted by wrath, because you fetch not all out of this stock; and Christ is such a stranger, because you are so seldom with him to act and bring forth fruit to him.


2 COnsider of the means to act from Christ Jesus, and indeed herein lies the skill and life of a Christian, and this is the complaint of many a Soul, Christ is full, and he is not for himself, but for those that want, and I come to him when I want it, and yet I find no help; and hence many are brought to think either it's in vain to come to Christ, or else I have no Faith in Christ; I will therefore premise these three things.

1. That a false, double, treacherous, disloyal heart to Christ cannot expect to receive any thing it comes for unto Christ. As 'tis with a Woman, that though others do not, yet her Husband knows she is fallen in league with some o­ther man, he will be strange to her, and will not do any thing for her. Iohn 2. ult. He knew what was in man; as 'tis in grafts, Iames 1. 7, 8. Let not a double-min­ded man think to receive any thing at the hands of the Lord, for that is the nature of man under the power of any lust, it makes all serve it, even Christ himself, which he will never do, I am weary of your new Moons, saith the Lord, and you fast, and pray, and have no answer, for you fast for Debate: and therefore I take a man considered as broken off from the power of his lusts, not one that feels him­self under the power of it, for such an one may be delivered from it, such a soul as can say, much ado have I had to feel my sin, and to be willing to part with it, but now I am; here is the Soul I speak of.

2. That the Lord in the dispensation of Grace to his people, is wholly free to give it when he will: for a man that works for his wages, must in justice have his wages when his work is done: but he that begs for his living must be content to stay. We live by Faith, and free gift, not by works and deserts, and hence must wait and stay, Mic. 7. 7. Hence let not any man think sensibly to receive what he goes for to the Lord Jesus presently, as many feel a want of Grace, and think the Lord hath promised to help, and now how would it make for his honour to give, but find it not, and hence grow sad or discouraged, and think it is in vain to seek? no, no, Christs hour is not yet come, when you think it is, Iohn 2. My hour is not yet come; and hence many get nothing because they lie out of the way of the Covenant, viz. to think, oh the Lord owes me nothing, and I deserve the contrary.

3. That no man is to look to receive all that which he comes to the Lord for, [Page 34] but only so much as is fit for him: a man feels much straitnesse, and he would have many enlargements; he finds much deadness, and he would have deep and over-flowing affections, and he comes to the Lord for it, and the Lord gives some, Doth he [...]ot? do you not find it? can you say you seek the Lord, and attend on the Lord in vain with these Hypocrites, Mat. 3. 14. True, but yet methinks more would be better. How do you know that? I think so, that it would be more for his honour: you think so, then it seems you have one eye more than Christ, and that he is very carelesse and foolish in raising his own honour: Oh abhor those thoughts, he gives you such a coat as is fit for you, such a sail as fits your boat, such shoes as fit your feet, Psal. 21. 5. Honour and Majesty hast thou fitted for him: therefore do not look to receive any more than is fit for you, and know it, that is best for you. The Physitian prescribes that which is fit, not that which is most desired of the Patients; if they will not accept of this, he will not look after them, 1 Cor. 12. 7, 8.

4. Think not to get any thing from the Lord Jesus with ease, I mean to the fleshly part: it hath been an old complaint, I go to Christ, and fish all night, and can catch nothing: and why? here is the cause, they cannot get it easily, and therefore they cannot get it at all, yea there 'tis. Heb. 11. 6. This is one of the two main handles of Faith, he is a rewarder of all them that diligently seek him, not negligently: and hence at their first conversion how doth Christs Fruits over­flow, and his Iordan rise above the banks: and what a deal doth a christian gain, yet not afterward: so in time of great trouble, oh 'tis because you seek him diligent­ly: Therefore in prescribing means, do not say this is hard, and so depart as those did upon the very same ground, Iohn 6. 60.

The Meanes are these.

1. LAbour for a comprehending knowledge,Means 1. what is the love of Christ to thee: there is a double knowledg of Christs love.

1. That he loves me, and this very apprehension fetcheth in warmth and life into the heart, In thy favour is life.

2. What that love is, and that in all the dimensions of it: and beloved this is that which fills a man, Eph. 3. 18, 19. that as 'tis with Women when the fulnesse of the Husbands love is seen, it knits the heart invincibly to him, and makes her do any thing for him, so here. And as we say of Trees, if the Tree begins to wither and dye, the only way is not to cast water on the branches, or to pray for water and dews from Heaven on them, but water the root. Love is the next root of all Grace, love Christ, and you will never be weary of doing for Christ, love him, and he will love you, Prov. 8. 17. Now what kindles love so much as this comprehen­ding knowledg of the Lord Jesus, and his love, this will make a man a burning Bea­con of love, make a man melt into love, which is as strong as death, much water cannot quench it, 2 Cor. 5. 14. Love of Christ constrains, Gal. 5. 6. Faith works by love: Faith is our feet whereby we come to Christ, Love is our hand whereby we work for Christ: now let any Chirurgeons servant come to a Chirurgeon with a bro­ken arm, and tell him he can do no work for him, therefore desire him to give him strength to do it, come saith he, let me heal your arm first: no by no means; let me first do your work, that so you may heal, and I may feel my arm to be whole: It can never be: So 'tis many a Christians course, Lord let me do thy work, and hence he cries, Lord give me strength, and then falls to do it, and cannot without pain, because his love is broken. Many say, I will go to Christ, and act for Christ, and then I will think the Lord loves me, but never find it: first see and com­prehend the love of the Lord: And truly this is the reason why no heart, no [Page 35] strength to act for God, unlesse it be in a we [...]risom manner, and why? oh love is out, and why is that out? why 'tis not comprehended by the eye of Faith, it's despised by some, other things are sweet to them, or it's forgotten by others; men remember not what once they were, and what the Lord hath done, 'tis seen a little, and hence a little life and strength, but 'tis comprehended by few. O sin­ful times! O unkind world! never was my heart so dead saith one, never so strait­ned and shut up saith another, never so feeble in all duties saith another: why, you see, and taste, and sip of this love, but you feed not heartily, abundantly on it. Ne­ver didst thou think so little of this love; for though Christ will conveigh rich Grace to his people, yet it shall be by love. Christians will come to Christ, and when they receive and feel the good they come for, they will think of Christs love and that he love; them, no first come unto the Lord Jesus, being once come, know he will not cast thee away, Iohn 6. 37. then think of this love; stay here, first feed here and you may act, and then the Lord will conveigh strength and power, and inable you hereunto: For though when a man trusts to his love as Peter with­out Faith, a man will fall because he trusts to an arm of flesh: yet when Faith im­ploies love, the work is very great. As a Father hath a child who must keep at home with him, but he hath never a Steward to lay out that estate for him that he means to give him, but when an able Steward, now he gives his Son richly. So here:

Quest. How shall I comprehend it?

Answ. First, the Apostle prayes for it. Secondly, see what 'tis by his descrip­tion, and meditate on it.

1. The bredth, i. e. the same love wherewith the Lord comprehends all Saints, as Abraham, &c. thou art as dear to the Lord as he or any in Heaven, nay it may be did cost more: not a crosse, not a mercy, but it's common (for substance) un­to all Saints.

2. The length, from eternity to eternity, nothing can part, nothing shall part; all other things are but Summer Swallows that build with us for a time.

3. The depth, that the Lord should look upon thee when in thy Pest-house, when no eye pittied thee, when as low as the Grave, nay as low as Hell, nay lower, for they in Hell would come out, thou wouldst not. Never think to see what infinite love is, till thou seest infinite wrath.

4. The height, to be as happy as Angels, and more to, nay to be all one with Christ, and in Christ, and loved with the same love Christ is, Iohn 17. 23, 26.

5. When thou seest it thus, yet it's the love of Christ that passeth knowledg: As children cannot tell how Parents love them, Will you do thus? 'Tis with many Christians as 'tis with many Trees, the Tree is good, and the soil is good, and rain, dews, sun, Husband-man good, yet it begins to dye, then now no­thing is wanting, but only to be set a little deeper, that it may take more root of the soyl. And so here, there is nothing wanting in many a Christian, but to be set a little deeper, and to take more rooting in the Lords love. Faith roots it self in Gods love, and now prospers by love. The eye is but little, yet can com­prehend a mighty world quickly: mans mind is but little, yet can comprehend, though not the infinitenesse, yet an infinite love. If there be this light of glory, see by it all your poor sad hearts that conceive nothing but terror and holinesse in God; if you see it not, know it here is your work now; for the first work is to get Faith, then to get love, then to act from Faith by love. Now the Lord hath wrought the first, and thou art busie a doing the third work, not remembring the second.

2. Content not thy self with feeling a want of supply,Means 2. but labour to feel a need of supply from the Lord Jesus, for many a Christian feels a want of Grace from Christ, brokennesse, &c. sees he hath nothing, and is sometime by fits troubled for the want of it: but he can be well content though he have no supply, having some­what [Page 36] else to ease and content him, he feels no need of supply, so as he cannot be without it, that his Spirit fails unlesse the Lord Jesus in mercy give it, and there­fore must have it, there is a necessity of it. Hence he never finds supply, and won­ders at it why 'tis so: and here 'tis, here is his wound, and so brings up an ill re­port of the Lord, saying he is loath to give, and of the Ordinances of the Lord, 'tis in vain to seek, and truly so it is to seek so: for let thy condition be never so miserable, if thou feelest a need of supply, the Lord will make bare his arm, and work wonders, bring Heaven out of Hell, joy out of sorrow, and light out of the thickest darknesse, and floods out of dry ground, Isai. 41. 17, 18. when the ground is dry and perched away, no moisture left; now the Lord pours out water on this soul, Isai. 44. 3. Heb. 4. ult. Many come to the Lord for Grace, and find it not, methinks I hear the Lord speaking thus to his people, I love you dearly, and I am content to give you any thing you need, but you do not need my Grace, my Spirit, my presence, i. e. you feel not a need of it, for if you had it now, you would not prize it much, nor keep it long: my precious Grace must not be spilt. Many know their wants and distempers, and know there is no help in themselves, and see all fulnesse in Christ, and hence come to him, but find none, because they can be content though the Lord deny: no nor never shall unlesse you feel the woe of your wants, that your Spirit fails if the Lord send not in supply, Isai. 57. 16. I will not contend, lest the Spirit fail. Hence there God promiseth to dwell, to send and create peace and comfort: for what is the reason that Christians at first beginnings [...]eek peace and mercy, and have abundantly then? why truly I was long time be­fore I had any thing, but when my spirit began to fail, and I gave all for gone, and could hold out no more, now the Lord helped and pittied me; but where are those comforts, and that presence of the Lord now? Truly now you think the worst is past, and would be glad of the life of Christ, and Grace from Christ, but if not, you have a little, your state is safe, and so can lie without putting your self to a necessity of it. Is it not thus? is not this your very wound? if it be, for the Lords sake then get it healed, and do as people in Christs time, those that were well, and had not desperate Diseases, commonly came not to him, but when the Disease was desperate, you know the Fame of Christ being spread abroad, then they brought their sick and laid them before his merciful eyes, then they looked for the laying on of his hand, or a word of his mouth, and all were healed: so do you, you have heard of the Fame of Christ, and seen others humbled, others par­ [...]oned, lay thy [...]ick Soul (but look that it be sick) before his eyes, and so look for one word of his mouth, as the Woman of Canaan, he may deny for a time, yet she must have it, and the Lord will say, Be it unto thee according to thy Faith, not according to thy deserts, thou wilt have it, I must give it, thou dyest without it, behold I live to revive thee, and therefore to give it. You come to Prayer, and Word, and want many things, but find them not. Oh come therefore, Lord I must have, I cannot go without supply. Not but that a Christian must wait, and be content humbly, but not care [...]esly: Therefore think within thy self,

1. What is there that I need but this, the presence of God, the life of God, &c. Is it not enough in Heaven, where's no wealth nor comforts else? and is it not suff [...]cient now?

2. May I have it o [...] this condition, [I must have it, I am resolved not to go without it] Rev. 22. 17. if you will come, take it. Are the termes so sweet?

3. Do wicked men thirst more and more after their lusts, and is Christ, and his Grace, and his Presence no better, that I have enough of them quickly? God for­bid there should be such a heart.

4. Doth the least sin so exceedingly go to the heart of my God, and shall I suf­fer it not only to act here, and tempt here, but remain alive here?

5. Is not the Lord after all love shewn me, worthy of infinite (not a little) ho­nour from me? and doth he deserve all, and must I not, shall I not give it him be­fore [Page 37] I dye? it must, it shall be so. Now when here you feel a need, know it that you are at the very door of relief: I conceive this is the great door at which Christ enters into the soul. The root of Faith (i. e. the author, object, and foundation of Faith) is out of a mans self, the door of Faith which opens to all treasures is in a mans self: This door is not any good in us, for then we should have somewhat to boast of, nor sin in us, for that shuts out God from us; nor knowledg of want, for that the Devils have, but sense of want, which when the Saints have, now the door is opened for the Lord Jesus in all his fulnesse to come in. Now if you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.


TO all the Churches of the Lord Jesus here planted in these Western parts of the World,Use 5. to maintain your Church-chastity and Virginity, you have a name of it abroad, pure chaste Virgin-churches, not polluted with the mixtures of mens inventions, not defiled with the company of evill men: pure Ordinances, pure People, pure Churches, which is the cause of the scoffs and enmity of some, but of the desire and joy of others. O if there, how happy I? and how blessed they? Take heed you do not defile your selves again. Open whoredoom is too gross, too shameful, to yeild to mans inventious, to open the door for all comers into the Church: but take heed of secret whoredoms and departings from Christ, for think of this speech when you see me dead, that of all Churches in the World, the Lord Jesus carries a most jealous eye over these for whom he hath done such great things; and I know it, he takes exceeding ill your secret wantonnesse and whore­doms of heart; the Lord hath kept you hitherto, look you maintain it, for you may be soon defloured again, few Churches retain their purity long, aged, gray-haired purity is seldom seen. I will tell you of the several Temptations (some at least) that may prevail to the defilement of you.

First, Spiritual defilement is forsaking of the Husband, a total secret forsaking of Christ; for here is the temptation to it, viz. Gods withdrawing himself in his Ordinances from his Ordinances. For three sorts of Temptations make men fall back.

1. By Persecution, and there many fall (though some hold out) as in the stony land.

2. By Peace, and here many fall like the thorny ground; like Saylors that in a storm at Sea, every man is ready, and will be pulling his rope, but when a calm, then go to their Cabbins, and there fall asleep, and here many fall in this place, and others stand it out.

3. By the Lords withdrawing from them, as those, Mal. 3. 14. and here the great ones fall. Many come to enjoy Ordinances, and persecution vext them not, world it's base, it troubles them not, and they think to find much, but do not, but the Lord withdraws, and they can get no good, hereupon their false hearts discover themselves, they draw back from God, and lie still, whereas Saints cry the more after him, and look the more into themselves, and find out the cause of it, and then the Lord helps them, Isai. 63. 17. Oh take heed of this.

1. Shall I forsake the Lord that hath done these great things for my Soul?

2. Shall I now do it after I am so near Heaven?

3. Shall I forsake him when he departs from me but for a time it may be, when as he followed me when I departed long from him?

4. Is it not Hell to dye without him, and shall it not be Death to live without him?

5. Doth he depart without a cause, he hath no cause to follow me, I have all reason to follow him, the Lord grant you may do so.

[Page 38] Secondly, Secret defilement is by neglect of private communion with him: this is whorish in a Wife. Here is stronger Temptation to neglect private Prayer and Meditation, partly by want of room, partly by multitudes of businesses, and work, and cares hereabout, that being weary in the day, sleepy at night, busie in the morning, Prayer, Meditation, daily examination are sent away as Paul from Faelix, we will speak with these at some more convenient season; and hence straitnesse of heart toward Christ, and no means do good. Oh Beloved, have you such a Husband as Christ in Heaven that loves thy looks, thy company, thy sighs, thy speeches, and will you neglect him thus? what no love? 2. Is he not broken with this whorish heart? 3. Is that speech worth any thing with you, We shall ever be with the Lord, doth it comfort you to think of being ever with him, and now neglect him? where are your hearts?

Thirdly, Secret defilement is by bringing other lovers into the same bed, the same heart with him: and here the Temptation to this is strong, for most men have lost and sunk in their Estates, and it's hard to live lower than we did, and this is a grief, and here 'tis possible to recover estate again, and here grief for losse hath a vent by greedinesse and pursuit after more. In other places men had a very co [...] ­fortable estate, hence rejoyced in what they had, and did not greedily desire more; but now want makes men hungry and greedy: and now when a man hath thought and lookt about him, and seen what he may gain by his labours of many acres, by his Goats and Cartel in so many year; now he casts himself into the world, and also will not forsake Christ utterly, but bring both into the same heart, Christ shall have some love, some desire, but the world as much, and so the heart is divided: and hence some set high prizes on their corn, commodities, cattel, others look for large wages, &c. and yet Christ too. Hence men cry out of the world because it hinders them from Christ, and yet bring it into, and hugg it in their hearts, because they must have it in the bed with Christ. It was the speech of one, that he never heard of any Saint in Scripture given to covetousness, some to one sin, some to another, but none to that; I have read of Lot, but God fired him out of his estate at last: and that is all I would say to this.

Fourthly, Secret defilement is by decaying in love to those whom Christ loves, and those are his Saints, and Temptation is strong in this place to this: 1. Because we have multitudes of them; Even Gold it self being so common as to pave our streets, is despised. 2. Because there wants a common enemy to drive them to­gether. Take several men that never knew one another, yet in time of War they will love abundantly, and then encourage one another, and can with joy lie together: so 'tis here, hence arise your petty Duels and jars in Churches, surmi­sings, cens [...]rings, &c. and the reason is this, there is little love to Saints, and for want of this, men shall not know whether you be Christs Disciples or no. Be thy Brethren Saints or not? bear they the Image of Christ or no? if they do not, why dost not convince them, admonish them? and if they will not be better, away with them: If they be, Oh bear, Oh love, Oh tender them, as thou lookest the Lord Jesus should tender thee. And therefore let the Image of Christ appear, and then see it, and then love, and then no more breaches will follow: if not, the Lord can and will soon send Wolves to make Sheep run more together.

Fifthly, Le [...]ting a new Generation of Harlots into Christs bosom, I mean, not great­ly caring for Posterity, that they may know and serve this God, for after this Gene­ration is past, our children are to follow, and 'tis very rare that they prove right, yet it may be so. Hearken therefore you Parents, if God brought them over for this end, and if they never know God, what a sad thing would it be? or if they be brought forth to pull down the Temple of God. Oh therefore, 1. Be careful of a pious education of them in Schools, in private, and take some course for that end before others come over, this will draw them. 2. Oh make many Prayers for them. 3. Set Faith awork in Gods promise; as he said, he would not abate the [Page 39] Lord, (though he gave it him in 99) of that one. Leave in record what the Lord hath done for you, that the Lord may be with them, and that all these Churches may be the glory of Christ, and then you shall enter into the Bride-chamber of the Lamb at last.

Concerning a Christians Duty of being con­stantly and continually ready to meet Christ, and to enjoy Communion with him.

2. Took their Lamps. SECT. I.

MUch dust is raised, and much Dispute is made, especially by Popish in­terpreters, What the Lamps, what the Oyl, what the Vessels should be? The gener [...]l conceit of most of them is: that by Oyl is meant good works, and by Lamps Faith; answerable to their own conceit, that not Faith but good works chiefly save: Whereas if we consider the thing rather e con­tra, that by lighted Lamps are meant good works, or external shining profession, according to that of Christ, Mat. 5. Let your light so shine before men, &c. and that by Oyl should be me [...]nt Faith, because 'tis inward, and is the nourishment of works and outward profession. And in this sense some of our Divines do take this Scripture; and the Rhemists likewise, who understand by Lamps lighted, good works; by Oyl a good intention: To which 'tis answered by Cartwright, (that burning and shining light of our Times) that rather by Lamps lighted is to be un­derstood, watchful minds alway lifted up in attending for the coming of Christ, according as 'tis ver. 13. And I doubt not but this is one thing aimed at, that they took their Lamps, i. e. were watchful for Christs coming. But when I weigh other circumstances, methinks there is somewhat else more plainly and principal­ly intended, of which I scarce read any Divine, but he gives a hint of, viz. that by lighted Lamps, and taking of them, is meant nothing else but the readinesse of the Churches to meet and to have fellowship with the Lord Jesus. And my Reasons are these:

1. Because the Lord Jesus to teach his people watchfulnesse, and to put them to a narrow search of themselves, borrows a similitude from the custom of those Times, wherein their Marriages were celebrated in the Night, and hence the Vir­gins (the only children of the Bride-chamber, and some think their number never exceeded Ten) being to walk out in the Night, took their Lamps: and when they had kindled their Lamps, (usually the last thing that is done) now they are ready to go out, and this is that which Christ aims at.

2. From Luke 12. 35. Let your loyns be girt, and lamps burning; it's evident that thereby is meant nothing else but readinesse to meet the Lord when-ever he comes; for when loyns are girt, then one is fit for travail, but seeing 'tis in the Night, hence lamps must be burning too.

3. Because 'tis said plainly, ver. 10. when their lamps were kindled again, they that were ready went in; I know the Word is called a lamp for our feet, Psal. 119. [Page 40] and so by lamps may be meant minds enlightened and kindled by the word. The eminent profession and excellencies of the Church is like a lamp, Isai. 63. 1. and more particularly may be here included and aimed at: but in this verse lamps are spoken of in general, including light, Oyl, Vessels; and hence I give this general Interpretation here, intending Particulars if need be afterward: So that now I shall only raise this Point.


Doct. THat all those that are Espoused unto Christ, ought to be in a constant or con­tinual readinesse to meet Christ, and to have immediate communion with Christ.

A Woman may be Espoused to another, and yet she may be sometimes not ready to meet him, her foul apparel is on. So here, therefore 'tis not enough to be espoused unto Christ, but being espoused, now you ought to be in a continual readinesse to claspe the Lord in your arms, and to lay your heads in his bosome in Heaven: this is commanded by Christ, Mat. 24. 44. This was the mighty power of Gods Grace in Paul, when others were weeping to think of his Bonds, Why do you break my heart, I am ready not only to be bound, but to dye for Christ, and so doubtlesse to be with Christ; much more ready to meet Christ when ever he shall come, ready to welcome Death, much more ready to welcome Christ, Acts 21. 13. This also is the end of Iohns Ministry, Luke 1. 17. To make ready a people prepared for the Lord, to meet with Christ on earth; now he is gone, our work is to prepare a people to meet the Lord in Heaven. Hence this is put in as the difference between Vessels of wrath, and Vessels of Glory: the one are fitted for destruction, the others are fitted, prepared, or made ready for Glory, and the glory of a christian is chiefly to enjoy fellowship immediatly with Jesus Christ. There is many a soul dear unto Christ, and espou­sed to him, and hath his heart affected to think of the good time that is coming, when we shall ever be with the Lord: but ask, are you ready [...]yet for to go to him, though it be through fires, waters, thorns, sorrows, death it self? who can say yes? but (say mens hearts) shut the Lord out a little longer, let not the door stand open yet; yet this must be: And therefore for explications sake let me, 1. shew you when the Soul is in a readinesse for the Lord Jesus. 2. The reasons why there must be a continual readinesse.


VVHen is the Soul in a readinesse to enjoy Christ?

As there are four things which make a christian unready,Quest. so this rea­dinesse consists in Four things contrary.


1. That which makes a christian unready for him, are those strong fears, and jealousies, and damping doubts of the love of Christ to him. The soul happly hath made choice of him, is content with him, melts into wonderment and love to think that he should love him: what me? and Christ hath writ him on his heart, and on the palms of his hands; but Israel saith, my God hath forsaken me, my God hath forgotten me, Isai. 49. 14. Is it possible? is it credible? one that hath been so ville, one that still hath such a heart, for him to set his heart on me? surely no: hence the Soul is afraid to dye, and desires too much to live still: and the more he thinks of that time, and blessednesse of following the Lamb where-ever he goes; the more he sees and fears this may possibly never be my portion: there may be some falseness in my heart towards him that I never yet saw, some secret [Page 41] knot that was never yet unlosed: and hence not yet ready. Hence many a christian saith, if I had a little more assurance, let him come when he will: Thus some think it was with Hezekiah, who though he had walked before God with a perfect heart, yet bitterly complained that he was cut off, Isai. 38. per totum. So therefore then the soul is prepared & ready for him, when he hath some comfortable assurance of the love of Christ towards him, that it can say, if I live he loves me, though he kils me by Death, yet I know that he loves me: nay, then he loves me mo [...]t, when he puts an end to my sins, and to my sorrows too? And therefore now saith as one ready to ceive a Prince, now let him come to me, or send for me when he will: why so? Who can separate me from the love of Christ? Rom. 8. 35. That look as 'tis with a Souldier that is to go to war, where many bullets and arrows are like to fall about him, and hit him while he hath no armour on; call him to the Captain, and he will say he is not ready yet, but when he hath his armour on of proof, and such armour that he knows let him receive never so many wounds, yet he shall escape with his life, and triumph with his Captain afterward: Now give him but his watch-word he is ready, though never so weak, yet I am sure I shall escape with my life, nay not so much as hurt. So a christian wanting his assurance, wants his armour; he is weak, and powers of darknesse will assault him, and he is slain by them, now he is unready: but if assured, though weak and feeble, he is now at Christs watch-word, I know I shall live, I may fall, but I shall rise again, this puts courage and spirit into a christian, Dan. 3. 17, 18. Heb. 11. 35. Others were tormented, (and so ready) not accepting deliverance; why so? to obtain a better Resurrection, which they are s [...]id to see by the eye of Faith, and this was by poor weak Women; therefore labour for this, else not prepared. The Lord would have his people look death and dangers in the face, and triumph in sorrows, and not faint-hearted, (which cannot be done without this) that the world may see that there is more than men in them, 2 Cor. 4. 16, 17, 18. and 5. 1. who would be without this? yet may we not complain, as Christ of his Disciples, Oh foolish and slow of heart to believe all that is written, so many promises yet not assured, so many experiences yet not established, and therefore not yet prepared and ready for the coming of the Lord. A man that hath a fair estate and house befallen him, so long as he is in Suit for it, dares not dwell in it, but makes a shift where he is: but then he is ready when quiet possession is given him. So get the Lord to passe sentence for assurance of your everlasting habitation, then are you re [...]dy to dwell therein.

2. Then a man is unprepared for the Lord Jesus his coming, while he wants affe [...]tions suitable to the Majesty, and according to the worth and love of the Lord Jesus: Suppose a Woman knows her Husbands love, yet if she have lost her love to him, or if she love him, 'tis only as she loves another man, not according to the wo [...]th of her Husbands person, or the greatnesse of his love: Is she fit now to ap [...]ear before him, when no heart to receive him? so although you question not Christs love to you, & thank God you doubt little of it, yet where is your heart? your love to him? have you not lost your love, your first love, or second love? if you have love, is it not divided to other things, as Wife, Child, Friends, hopes of provision for them, and too much care hereupon for that? or if you do love him, 'tis with a carnal love, he hath no more than a lust hath had, and it may be not so much, 'tis with a cold love; now you are unfit for him: hence the Lord, Luke 21. 34. Take heed your hearts be not overcharged, 1 Pet. 4. 7. Now therefore then the soul is prepared to meet Christ, when if the soul hath lost its affections, it recovers them out of the hands of all creatures that stole them away from Christ; and hence David prayes, Oh spare that I may recover my strength: and when it breaks out with such love unto Christ as is fitting for him, 2 Tim. 4. 8. There is the righteo [...]s Judge ready to give the Crown, when Christs appe [...]ring is loved, i. e. they are so taken with him, as that they love the looks of him, it would rejoyce [Page 42] my heart to see, which shall make others tremble to behold him; Oh it must be a dear love, a spring of running love without measure, for this is the difference between affection [...] of Saints and Hypocrites to Christ, the one arise [...]h like a morning dew which is soon lickt up by the Sun, Hos. 6. 4. the heat of affection [...] after other things licks it up; but the love of Saints to Christ is like a spring which riseth to everlasting life: a spring is but little, but yet the f [...]rther it goes, the wi­der 'tis, till at last swallowed up in the Sun, and there is no measure of water: so Saints have but a little love, but the longer they live, the more enlarged for Christ, and there is no measure, but all is too little, they never can, never do love enough, so that look as 'tis said in another case, Psalm 102. 13, 14. 'Tis time for thee to build up Ierusalem, i. e. to return to thy people in thy Ordinances, for they love the stones; so then it's time for Chri [...]t to come, and then the set and fit time is come for a [...]eople to meet with Christ out of Ordinances, when the set time is come when they love Ordinances, and love Christ much more. When a man is gone beyond Se [...], and all his Friends and estate are at home, they long for him, and he is left among enemies: why comes he not to them? why send not they for him? why they know he is sickly, and cannot live on the dyer of the country; hence he is unfit to come, but when that is once come to passe that he can live only on it, then he is ready when-ever they send: so when men can live with, and be content alone with Christ and his love, now they are fi. With what face can a man appear before Christ, when he requires nothing but love, and he hath not that.

3. Then a man is unready for Christ, whiles he neglects the work of Christ, for suppose a man hath some inward love to Christ, yet neglects & hath no heart to do the work of Christ: he is as yet no more fit to meet Christ, than a Steward who hath had much betrusted him, to improve for his Lords use, and he hath let all seasons go wherein he might have traded for him, and gained somewhat to him. How can he appear before him when no fair accounts to be seen; so the Lord hath betrusted thee with many Talents, time [...], strength, means, &c. & you are not Lords, but Stewards of all these. Now do you not let many fair season [...] and winds blow by, you have (if espoused to Christ) every man some work. Now how can you stand before Christ if that be neglected. Oh thus 'tis with many christians; hence those sad ala [...]ms of conscience, and shakings of Gods Spirit, after many loose d [...]yes dipt in some good duties. What dost thou that others do not that ne­ver shall see Gods face in Heaven?

Now therefore then the soul is ready for the Lord, when 'tis daily at it, finish­ing Gods work: hence Iohn 17. 5. I have finished my work, now glorifie me: Christ hath given us our lives, work, dayes-work, every hours work, for Christ hath ever e [...]ployment; now though a soul may livelong, and cannot finish its lives work, yet if it finish its dayes work, or hours work, it may have comfort then if the Lord should come. That look as 'tis with a Marriner when he hath his Fraight, now let the wind come to drive him out of the Haven, he is ready to depart: so here, 2 Pet. 1. 8, 9, 10, 11. If ye do these things, and abound, an open entrance shall be ministred unto you, i. e. when a christian is ever acting for Christ, and adding one Grace to another in his course, then he is so ready that an open en­trance is made for him: Therefore look after this. 'Tis with most Professors com­monly, as 'tis with a Woman that loves her Husband, and begins to dresse her self, but so much businesse to do, that she doth it but by starts; hence call her never so la [...]e, she will say she is not yet ready, she hath so much to do she can­not; so 'tis here: Or as 'tis in a house where all things are in a lumber, and many things wrapt up and put into holes, so long as all things be in a lumber, there is no readinesse. So many a soul hath a heart fit to receive Christ, but all things are in a lumber, in a confusion, out of place and order, and hence not yet ready to entertain Christ, but when this work is done, then ready. Oh betimes do this work, set things to rights in your souls.

[Page 43] 4. Then a man is unready, when having done his work he grows puft up with it: for let all the three former be wrought in the soul, if now the soul be puft up, thinks highly of it self, attributes any thing to it self: as he said in another case, they are too many for the Lord; so he is too big for the Lord. And truly this we shall find it's pretty easie to be mean in our own eyes, after we have been indeed carelesse and vile before the Lord; but when the Lord hath mightily assist­ed, enlarged, assured, enabled, comforted, quickened, now to be as nothing, this is difficult. Hence Knox on his death-bed had this Temptation of Meriting. When Hezekiah was sick, he was cast down, but when well, and God gave him great Treasures, his heart was lifted up; now he was unfit. Now therefore when a christian is ready to give all to free Grace, and to adore that, now he is ready for the Lord, Psalm 108. 1. My heart is prepared, I will sing [...] give praise. Gods last end is to bring the soul to the praise of the riches of his Grace, not only to enjoy God as Adam. Now the great reason why Christ comes not to his peo­ple presently after they are espoused to him, 'tis to make them ready to attain that end. Hence he leaves sins, temptations, sorrows, desertions, on purpose that they may at conclusion look back, and see if ever saved, pardoned, it's Grace. Now therefore when the soul is brought to do this, when he hath this rent in his hand, now the Lord is ready to receive him, and it too, and he is prepared for the Lord: he that hath not his Rent ready, himself is not as yet at all ready to meet with, and see his Landlord. So that you think you boast not, Oh the Lord sees you do, or have not hearts so enlarged towards Grace as you should, it's cer­tain you are yet unready then, but when empty, and poor, and cast down, and ma­kest an infinite matter of a small sin, and settest a high price on a little love much more on infinite, now you are prepared: Hence David falls a praising when near to death, and the Lord near to come to him.


1. THe law of Respect and Love requires this of us: when Peter would expresse his love unto Christ,Reasons. Luke 22. 33. he professeth he was not only ready to go to prison, but to dye with him. Christ hath poor respect and love if men will not so much as be alway ready to receive him: it certainly argues a carelesse heart that sleights Chr [...]st, that is not ever prepared to receive Christ.

2. Because the time of Christs coming is then when we least look for him, vers. 13. Hence a christian ought to be ever ready to receive him. Many of eminent parts, when the Church had most need of them, then are cut down: Many at their first conversion, before they or others almost could tell what to make of them, the Lord hath cropt them in the bud. Men find their hearts unfit and unready, they think hereupon that hereafter they shall get their hearts into better order and tune, when these businesses are over, but yet will live at liberty a little while: why then it's most likely is the Lords time of coming, even now when they think least of it, Luke 12. 40.

3. Because the Lord hath set apart every one that is espoused to the Lord Jesus, only for the fruition of Christ, and use of Christ, 1 Cor. 3. ult. You are Christs, and Christ is Gods. A Woman that is not chosen, nor set apart for the fellow­ship of a Prince, she may go how she will, and do what she will, any base drudgery work; but she that is chosen to be next unto him, and only to behold and love him, she is not to plead she hath so much businesse to do, and so many Friends to speak with, that she cannot make her self ready: she is set apart for a better per­son, and for more noble employment. So here men of the world not loved of God, nor chosen and set apart for him, may do what they will; but when the Lord hath chosen and set you apart of purpose for this end, Ephes. 1. 4. Chosen to be holy [Page 44] before him in love, i. e. to stand ever in his presence before him, with a spirit of dearest love unto him. Hence the Lord hath taken the care of all things else, 1 Pet. 5. 7. that we might mind and do this thing; It in danger, he will deliver, if in want, he will provi [...]e, if weak, he will strengthen, only no [...] be ready for the Lord, Psalm 45. 10. Forget thy Country, and thy Fathers house, so shall the Lord desire thy beauty. You are not now free to love and follow whom you please, the Lord hath bound you to himself by love, and you have bound your self by pro­mise to the Lord again: Therefore now a christian after once espoused to Christ, is better than all the world, being the Bride of the Lamb; and he hath a better and greater good for to enjoy: therefore he should scorn and abhor to march himself to, or to do any thing for any other creature; and therefore methinks should sit as one upon a watch-tower, looking out, and telling the clock now day is near, waiting only for Christ, Oh let it be so: If in Heaven, you shall have only Christ▪ Oh prepare for him much more now. As a Woman that is Ma [...]cht to a rich man, all the servants attend on her, and follow her, she is wholly and only for her Husband: so it should be here.

4. Because he hath prepared and made all things else ready for the soul, it's hard if he hath prepared a place in Heaven, and Grace in Heaven, not to prepare an heart, and make it ready for him, Iohn 14. 1, 2, 3. his Kingdom was ready long ago, and his Father ready to accept and entertain thee, and his heart loves and desires, all are ready after thee: hence be ready to meet with him. I am my Be­loveds.


HEnce see the great unkindnesse of many a soul immediatly after his espousing to Jesus Christ,Use 1. who having once given himself to Christ, and received comfort thereby, presently grows more carelesse than before he was matcht unto the Lord Jesus, who should now stand in a holy watchfulnesse and readinesse to receive Christ, as 'tis Psalm 85. 8. Let them not turn again to folly, because they are very apt so to do. Many say when in some distresse, and after long waiting, if the Lord would pitty once, then happy I; I would give away any thing, all I h [...]ve unto him [...] [...]well, the Lord pitties; the soul when in its low estate, and then it blesseth God, but like the Israelites, soon forgets his works, his love, and after great peace from God, comes greatest carelesnesse: can this stand with Grace, and Christ? very hardly; but yet it may, for there are Two things that make for it.

1. Because at first conversion there is much see [...]ing of Christ, for healing the horrour and smart of sin, as well as for the curing of the wound and scar of sin: hence when espoused, and horrour being past, that wheel being broken, a man draws more heavily now, and neglects seeking; now the Knife is out of his heart he cries not so earnestly.

2. Because when espoused, and much affected, commonly a man trusts to his affections, when he hath a fulnesse of them: hence the Lord lets Satan prevail, Luke 22. 31, 33. Satan hath desired to winnow thee as wheat, and I (saith Pe [...]er) am ready to dye with thee; but you see he fe [...]l, and then when the Lord looked upon him, he went out and wept bitterly: How shamefully hast thou fallen, should any love him more than you if ever he pitty? well, for his Name-sake he hath done it. But how oft hast thou broken Covenant? how forgetful of the Lords kindnesse? The Lord looks upon thee this day, why hast thou so soon forgot me, and forsaken me? have I not took thee from the Dung-hill, nay from Hell? and whereas I had so many thousands to set my love on, I chose thee; and whereas thou couldest not love me when I offered my self, thou couldest not return me [Page 45] love again, I gave it therefore to thee, yea and have given my self to thee for ever: Hast thou thus forgotten me, when as I take little wrongs from thee more heavily than great ones from others? Oh that this might make you go out and mourn bitterly: so if ever you have tasted that love as Peter did, Christs looks will humble you.

Hence see the reason why some Godly People dye so uncomfortably,Use 2. and with such distresse of spirit; why they have not lived in an expectation of Christ, and hence they cry out of themselves, not knowing whither they go, insomuch as some have not been comforted by all former experiences, and by all present consolations of Ministers: Oh no, 'tis now too late to speak, they thank them for their love, but God hath otherwise thought of them; yet if any hope be given them 'tis ever pickt out from some word, and they cry, Oh I thirst for a little mercy, and then dye; and what is the reason of it? what need I speak? Themselves will tell you, and have done it, Oh I have lived thus and thus before you, but my heart in se­cret hath gone after the world, &c. I have neglected the Lord secretly, I have sel­dom thought of, or prepared for Death, and I had thought to have been better, but the Lord hath met with me: I know violence of Disease may do it sometime, but I s [...]eak how ' [...]is many times; whereas otherwise an open entrance should be made, 2 Pet. 1. 8. 9, 10, 11. And as it hath been with some, so take warning lest it be so with you; you may be saved alive, yet to suffer wrack on the shoar is un­comfortable, and know it if your conscience be awake, it cannot but be so. There­fore do not conclu [...]e they were damned without Christ, but they were not made ready for Christ; and it may be your time draws [...]igh, and what have you to say? now a world for half an hour will a dying distressed man say.

Is of a Four-fold exhortation,Use 3. to all those especially that the Lord hath espou­sed to himself.

A Four-fold Exhortation to Believers.


TO quicken up all those doubting,Exhort. 1. drooping, yet sincere hearts, that much question the love of Christ to them, Now to use all diligence to make their Calling, and Election, and the love of Christ sure to them, not but that it's sure on Christs part, but make it sure on your part too; else how can you be in a readinesse to meet the Lord Jesus; while the strong man keeps the Palace, the Goods be in peace; but when Christ hath once driven Satan out of his Throne, [...]en nothing sometimes but war, but doubts and fears; Satan told God to his face, Iob served him for nought, much more will he accuse the Soul it se [...]f: and some Divines think the very first ingredient of Satans poyson, and the first as­sault on Christ himse [...]f, Mat. 4. was by seeking to make him doubt of his Sonship, If thou be the Son of God, &c. And his wiles are here very great, that hence ve­ry few living christians have any setled comfortable evidence of Gods eternal love to them in his Son: and hence many sad events follow. How can any blesse the Lord for that love which he knows not of? many times 'tis with a mans doubts drooping from his mind, as 'tis with his continual dropping on his Lungs, there is a daily consuming of what once was; that many a christian doubts away his life, his heart, his strength, and when all is wasted, glad now to return to that where [Page 46] he should at first have begun. And hence in one word, he is made every day un­ready for Christ. Oh therefore quiet not your selves in that estate as I fear too many do (at least for a time) it's one of the most dangerous estates that can be, to be troubled with weak fears, and yet rest in uncertain hopes; but bring it to a conclusion, Is the Lord Jesus mine or no? and if he be yours, and his love yours, see it, that you may trample on the neck of death, and triumph over hell, and the grave, and long to be with the Lord, and love the appearing of the Lord, and go away with joy unspeakable and full of glory out of this world, as to your Wed­ding, and if there be any hope of getting it, who would be without it? Some of you it may be have a long time been carelesse in seeking for it, hence want it, some of you have been traders with the Lord long, and yet doubt; some of you have not clear evidence, but content your selves without being thankful to the Lord for what he hath done for you, hence still doubt. Others have gray hairs on your head, or at least are near your Graves, the battel is near, your armour is not on, you are not yet ready, and so still doubt. I remember what Christ said of Maries Box, she prepared that for his burial, it may be that these Truths may be prepared for your approaching departure; and therefore light your Lamps at this fire, and light of the Lords love to you, and see that indeed he loves thee.

But why do you perswade to this,Object. till the Spirit comes and speaks it? How can I see it?

1. 'Tis true the Spirit only can do it,Answ. but yet the same Spirit that seals the Elect, the same Spirit commands the Elect not to sit Idle, and dream of the Spirit, but to use all diligence to make it sure; and you shall never have it (unlesse you lay hold on a Fancy for it) on those terms.

2. Though there is an immediate witnesse of the Spirit, of the love of Christ, yet it doth most usually and firstly witnesse by means. And hence I shall give you means looking only to the Spirit of Christ to set them on. Evangelical Precepts have a power: For Gospel-ministration of the Spirit consists not only of stories and promises, but commands, and the Elect feel them: Hence carnal men un­der the Law, yet pretending Gospel, will professe the Law is preached when they are pressed to any Evangelical duty, because they feel not the power of the Gospel, being not yet under it. And the means I shall mention, are only gene­ral to establish the hearts of some.

Make a sad enquiry first of this, Whether the Lord hath loved thee for his own everlasting Names-sake or no,Means 1▪ for if the Lord hath loved Thee for this cause, then thy great Objection will be answered, and that deep valley will be filled. How can the Lord love me that am thus vile before God, and fallen from God? why if the Lord for his own sake hath loved thee, then as no good in thee moved him to love thee, so no sin which he did know was and would be in thee can quench that love; and if he hath manifested his love to be grounded on this, though but once, that same Name when thou changest is not changed, but is still as dear to him, and ever before him to move him to love thee still, Rom. 11. 2. The Apostle an­swers a Cavil, Will God cast away his people? no saith he, none that he fore­knew; and who are these? vers. 5. A remnant according to Grace as with us, i. e. God hath for his Grace-sake chosen and called without respect of any thing else: Hence that is to be understood, 1 Sam. 12. 21, 22. For there are two sorts of people in the Church; 1. Servants. 2. Sons, Iohn 8. 35. Hence there is a dou­ble love the Lord manifests to men.

1. Some he loves as servants, that as we hire some men to do our work, and give them meat and wages, and then turn them out of doors, or let them go: so God hath work to be done, for his Son and Saints, and for many reasons hires wicked men to it, either by giving them reward in this life, or hopes of reward hereafter, and when the work is done, and use made of their Gifts, Graces, Spirits, then turns them out of doors.

[Page 47] But 2. Some he loves as Sons, even the most foolish and weak in the world sometimes: hence not for any service they can do, but for his own sake he will give them an Inheritance, and love them as sons, because he will; these abide ever in the Lords love: Hagar and Is [...]mael cast out, Sarah and Isaac stay in the Family.

How shall I know that?

1. If the Lord loves thee for his Name-sake, it will draw thee to that fellowship with it self,Quest. that what-ever thou wantest, thou wilt seek for it hence, by present­ing that Name of God, that for his own sake he would supply:Answ. I know the Lord loves for Christs sake, but why should Christ help? for his Name-sake: For thus ma­ny hypocrites think when they see Gods anger against them for their sin, they seek to remove that [...], and when that is done, think God is at peace, and now all is well. They see the Lord is delighted with the obedience of his people, hence fall to that work, and now thin [...] the Lord is pleased with them. But if ever the Lord loves any man, he will first stop his mouth, whether Jew or Gentile, Rom. 3. 19. and make him on his Knees know there is no reason for it, nay all reason against it. Now hath no [...] the Lord brought thee to this? and hence having no­thing to quench Gods anger, but Christ, hast held up him before God, and having nothing to move Christ, hast held up his Name before him, and here hast rested thy wearied heart looking to him, if any Grace be begun in thee, that he would perfect it, i [...] none, that he would begin it; if unfit and unworthy, to prepare thee for it, only for his own good pleasure: this is one evidence of it. As 'tis in some Seals, you can hardly perceive in the Seal what is engraven there, but set it on W [...]x, you may see it evidently: so here, hardly can you see the Lords love, look on thy heart if it loves him; his choice, see if thou chusest him, his love for his own sake; if thou cleavest with dearest affection to this love for its own sake, there thou art safe, Prov. 18. 10. The name of the Lord is a strong Tower, &c. and this not only at first conversion, but ever after all duties, all enlargements, Ezak. 16. ult. And this doth evidence love.

1. Because if thou had'st the righteousnesse of Angels thou would'st think it a good evidence, but this of Christ is a thousand times dearer.

2. This is a setting of God against himself, i. e. to answer himself, and hence Saints in all their straights and sorrows, hither had recourse; I speak not now of Temporal Blessings, but of Everlasting love, and all the Fruits of it, that here it hangs. Now I say you are built in a Rock higher than all powers of Darkness; now a Key is put into thy hand to unlock all Gods Treasure; now thou art in the very lap of love wrapt u [...] in it, when here thy heart rests: and if not Beloved, the Lord would never let thee lean thus in his bosom: and therefore if this be thus, see it, and wonder his Name hath moved him to love me.

2. You shall find this, if the Lord for his Name-sake loves thee, there is no [...] any carriage or passage of Providence of him to thee, but he gets himself a Name first or las [...] by it: for if this be Gods end, every passage of Providence is but a means to this end: hence he will attain this end by every act of his Providence towards thee: hence you shall find that those very sins that dishonour his Name, he will even by them (and if by them, by all things else) get himself a Name: he will be so far from cas [...]ing thee out of his love, that he will do thee good by them. Those very sins that God damns others for, he will make to humble thee, empty thee. Pharisees persecuted Christ, and lost all for it, Paul was so, and it humbled him all his life, Not worthy to be called an Apostle, because I persecuted the Church of God, and it made him lay up all his wealth in mercy, I was received to mercy, 1 Tim. 1. Mary sins much, and God forgives much, and she loves much; others sinned much, and God hardened much; Iudas betraies Christ, and repents, and hangs himself, and flies from him; Peter denies him, and weeps, and hence he is the first that Pre [...]cheth him. And this is certain, in the best Hypocrite, sins left in him, either never make him better, but [Page 48] blind and harden him, and he hath his distinctions of infirmity, &c. that he sleights them day by day, till all his dayes are run out, or if any good, 'tis no more than Iudas, or Cain, some legal terrors, or other light flashes of comfort, but to be more humble indeed, &c. this he findeth not. Now is it not so with thee? Doth not thy weaknesse strengthen thee with Paul? Doth not thy blindnesse make thee cry for light? and those cries have been he [...]rd, out of darknesse, God hath brought light. Thou hast felt venome and risings of heart against Christ, and do they not make thee loath thy self more? that thou thinkest never any so beholding to Grace? do not thy falls into sin make thee more weary of it, watchful against it, long to be rid of it? and so sin abounds, but Grace abounds: Why should this be so? for his Names-sake, because he will love thee; hence 'tis so great and unmatchable, that he will make thy poyson thy Food, thy Death thy Life, thy Damnation Salvation, thy very greatest Enemies thy greater Friends. And hence Mr. Fox said, he thanked God for his sins more than for his good works. I have marvailed at Gods dealings with his people, they depart, and stay long, and care not for returning again; in that time a mighty power teacheth, humbleth, brings back, when they never thought of it. Oh the reason is, God will have his Name: now if thus, your assurance will be strong and constant, but if you build thus, I have done this, &c. I have that, your assurance will not stand;Means 2. therefore look and see if it be not thus with you.

Take heed you do not build your assurance from a mingled Covenant of Works and Grace, for this is the frame of divers when they lye under the first Covenant only of doing, they will not take this as any evidence, as they have no reason so to do, Rom. 9. 31. Nor when a man lies under the Second Covenant of Believing barely, and if it be a dead Faith, they have no evidence or reason so to do. Hence they mingle the Covenants, and think thus. If I can believe in Christ, and per­form universal obedience to all the commands of God, I shall be safe; hence set upon the observance of both, and finding they can never do them, especially the latter, hence are ever troubled, and never have any setled peace. Hence those Galatians Paul writes to, perverting and mingling the Covenants, were trou­bled, Gal. 1. 7. & 5. 12. Not (beloved) but that whoever beleeves and performs universal obedience Evangelically to the whole Law, he cannot but do well; and he that doth it not, but lives in any one sin, let him evidence his Faith if he can. But I speak when a man submits to it, sub forma faederis, if I can do it, and be­cause I cannot do it, hence doubt. Hence gather your evidence of Gods love pri­marily and chiefly from your subjection to the Second Covenant, Gal. 6. 16. Peace on them that walk according to this rule; for Adams righteousnesse that did tye him to God, it brake; hence no life, nor evidence from that, but Faith is an everlasting invincible Grace, upheld by the mighty power of God, and hence here will be everlasting evidence and peace, 1 Pet. 1. 8. Whom though we see not, yet believing we rejoyce. Object. Is a Christian then free from the Law?

Yes,Answ. he is free from it as from a Covenant: hence though it be broken by him, he is not cast out of Covenant, or favour, but he is not free from it as a Rule, from which if he swerves he is to call himself, not Gods love into question: Why? be­cause it hath pleased the Father in another Covenant to offer life, give life, and hence only to evidence life. What-ever the Law requires I have, at that instant I did believe, I performed it in a Saviour by Faith: and that I my self may do eve­ry tittle of it, I come unto a Saviour for it by Faith; so that when Satan objects you have no Christ, nor love of a Christ, because no Faith, and no Faith because you cannot do this or that. Answer, I cannot do it indeed, I never undertook it to have life or love thus, but I have done it in another, and I can do all things by Christ, if he will help me, under whose Grace I lie, and hence will be so far from doubt­ing, that I will rejoyce in mine infirmities, that I am a fit subject for the power and Grace of Christ to shew it self upon. Thus retire to the Second Covenant ever [Page 49] if ever you would get any setled peace. And from neglect of this flows a worl [...] of unpeaceablenesse in many a spirit, ever complaining, and why? I cannot do this or that, never peace now; but cannot you lye under the Lord that he would help? keep here, and keep your peace here.

But many a Christian that retires hither hath no peace, and so have I done, yet find none?Object.

It's then upon a double ground which you are to avoid:Answ. either, 1. Because you have Faith, but you imprison your Faith, you put out the eyes, and shackle the feet of Faith, for Faith will conquer and triumph over all sins, and fears of the world, if at liberty, 1 Iohn 5. 4. like a Master in a Ship, if he cannot save the Ship one way, let him have liberty, he will by another. As if it be Objected, You have departed from Christ, what have you to do with him? I'le return saith Faith to my first Husband. Ob. But he is angry with you. Ans. If he b [...] angry for my departure from him, I will not provoke him more by staying here, who knows but he may repent? Ob. But you cannot go to him with all your heart. [...] Answ. True, yet I'le look to him to draw me. Ob. But you feel nothing. Ans. Yet I will wait. Ob. But you will wait in vain. Ans. Still I'le look he would keep me from that. Now stop at any of these, trouble comes, suffer it to shift it will find rest. As 'tis with the Anchor, let it down but little▪ [...]he ship drives, but let it down at full length, it will ride in storms; then, 'tis [...] of Faith that gets the Blessing, where opposition makes the Soul take faster hold; as it was with Iacob. The Woman of Canaan got it thus.

Or 2. 'Tis because they look for another kind of Faith, and hence own not this, as the Iews the Messiah, they made account to have received him in state, and he came low; so men look for a superlative Faith, but want it. But thus the Soul espoused to Christ, so long as Marriage-Covenant lasts, she may conclude of love.

Do not fear the love of Christ is not toward you, because he hides his face, and departs some times from you; Husbands remain so when they depart,Means 3. and leave the house for many a day, and 'tis simple to say he is not my Husband now. So here the Lord loves his people, yet departs, Isai. 54. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. and truly 'tis very hard when inward blows, and sad desertions, and outward miseries, and no Christ found, though sought for. But how shall I then know and discern his love? Answ. Many things might be said this way, only one thing observe, whe­ther thy love remains still to him for himself; for it's rule that most commonly a christians purest and dearest love appears in Christs absence from him. As 'tis with Friends, while with us we love them, but when gone, we feel that love mo [...]e quick than before. Ierusalem lies in the dust, and now the very dust is be­loved, Psal. 102. 13, 14. and if it be so, it's certain we love him because he loved us, and we continue to love him, because he continues to love us; now look then if thy love do not appear, 1. In mourning for his absence. 2. In longing for his presence. 3. In blessing him for a little that is left of himself, as seeing such want of him; and is not this for himself to have his company again, that though God gives thee all other things, yet when thou comest to consider the Lord is gone, this strikes near, as when Christ departed away, Iohn 16. 5, 6. But because love may be benummed, and lye dead, therefore try it a time of parting, and put thy heart thus to it; if he be none of thine, then take thy fill in thy sin, and forsake him: no Beloved, here you shall see the heart will yeild and melt, Iohn 13. 3, 4, 5, 6, &c. and it will say, Lord let me never sin more against thee, though never sa­ved by thee. And take it for a rule, do not think the Lord hath left off his love to you when you depart from him, and he from you: but lying in your Departures, Oh that is sad; but return again, it comforts the Lords heart, especially when 'tis for himself, not for peace and salvation, but though he never saves me, Oh yet I will look after him.

[Page 50] Look to the tender-heartednesse of the Lord Jesus,Means 4. for (Beloved) all the doubts of Christians arise chiefly from this head, from a hard opinion of Christ, which Satan suggests, as at first, Gen. 3. 5. that so they might take in his wares. Gods people do not know the tender-heartednesse of the Lord Jesus; Satan presents him only in wrath, when any threats are spoken, all these are mine saith the soul, &c. And now if any Woman lives with a man that is of a hoggish churlish disposition, she will be ever doubting of his love. Men do not know it I say, and hence when any misery or trouble comes, they grow jealous of him, which the Lord takes ex­ceeding ill, Deut. 1. 27.

Quest. How shall I know that tender-heartedness of Christ?

Answ. By his carriage towards men when he was here on earth, for now he is in Heaven in Glory, and we know not what his disposition is: therefore his life on earth was the living looking-glasse of his heart for ever. In Four Things.

1. Never any came to him that he cast away, whatever their sorrows or sins were, but healed them every one if they came to him with their miseries: for in healing their miseries, he did but shew his readinesse to heal them of their sin; hence Matthew applies that, Mat. 8. 17. He bare our infirmities.

2. When men came to him for by-ends, not for himself chiefly, he rebukes them for it, and shews he was more ready to give himself, than bread to them, Iohn 6. 27.

3. Those that were lost, and sick, and miserable, and came not to him, he went up and down to seek and save them, the lost Sheep, Luke 19. 10.

4. Those that would none of his love, he pittied and had compassion on their misery and sin; as on them that were sheep without a shepheard; he mourned for the hardnesse of their hearts: he wept over Ierusalem. Now look upon Christ the same still: thou comest to him in secret to take away all iniquity, to give thee himself; tell me, dost think the Lord if here would reject thee ever. 2. But I dare not receive him. Ans. Thou wilt take Bread from him daily, and he is more willing to give himself. 3. Thou canst not come to him, nor find him, but only sometimes, nor see him; well, but then he will seek thee out. 4. Oh but I oft reject: yet he pitties thee still. O think of this compassion of Christ, and make him as if present; 'tis a special means to establish the heart in Believing.

Learn to know when you are bound not to give way to your fear of Gods love;Means 5. for sometime it is the case of many a precious soul, that he hath clear evidence of Gods love to him: and what is there against it? nothing but a fear, what if I should be deceived when all is done? and hence the heart sinks exceedingly. As some Women that have special love, if once they take a jealousie of their Hus­bands love, it's never removed; So here.

How shall I know this?

First,Quest. If those fears thou hast drive thee farther from Christ, it's clear you are then to cast them off:Answ. those fears that cause sin are sinful, but to be driven from Christ is sinful, Luke 5. 9, 10. Lord depart from me, I am sinful: fear not saith Christ, 1 Sam. 12. 20. they were ready to cast off all, Fear not, saith he; think of this, what 'tis you get by nursing up those fears, they hinder your joy in, and your love to Christ, your blessing of Christ, cause a dead discouraged heart: nay though they drive you to Christ one way, if they drive you from Christ another way by questioning his care; concluding against his Truth, never doubt they are vile, Mat. 8. 26. Why did ye fear O ye of little Faith. So far therefore as fear drives us to Christ, 'tis good, otherwise to be cut off.

2. If the Lord hath drawn thy heart to come to Christ, and when undone, eve­ry way secretly perswaded thy heart that thou shalt have help if thou come, and by coming hast received healing Vertues of thy lusts and vile affections from the Lord Jesus, fear not now, 'tis a sin to fear I shall not have help, as Mark 5. 33. the Woman with the Bloody-issue, she was afraid she had presumed, hence came [Page 51] trembling, but the Lord told her, Now fear not, be it unto thee according to thy Faith: only thy Issue is but begun to heal. What say you, have you never come to him, never received any healing from him? that is hard. Surely 'tis so, that I would not be in my lust again for a world.

If none of these prevail,Means 6. but the Lord follows thee with fears on fears, as wave on wave, then see if there be not some guile of spirit in thee, i. e. some sin you have or would give way to if you had assurance of Gods love. It was the speech of one to me, next to the Donation of Christ, no mercy like this, to deny assurance long; and why? for if the Lord had not, I should have given way to a loose heart and life, but, &c. so if the Lord should deal so with thee, it may be thou would'st lye in thy sins, if thou had'st pe [...]ce there, and it may be you have had it, but sinned, and not confessed, not lamented, not opposed: Thus it was with David, Psalm 32. 1, 2, 3, 4. Hence when he confessed, the Lord forgave in his Conscience his sin. Men will withdraw their love from their Wives if it make them wanton, and deal sharply with them: so one that never restored, could never get peace; some ever complaining, never setled, because they have their Truces with sin, and would have peace with Christ, and it cannot be. And this is a rule I have long held, in them that have clear light of the Gospel, long denial of assurance is like fire to burn out some sin, and then the Lord will speak peace, Iudg. 10. 16. And therefore take this counsel, and God will tell thee thy sin, if thou art desi­rous that he should find it out, but get this mercy from him, Zach. 13. 9.

Bring thy heart to a straight, either to reject or receive him to be thine,Means 7. he is offered to be King, and Saviour, and Lord, and Husband; now thou shalt have his heart, his hand, his Spirit, his Father, his Kingdom, his Ordinances, his Angels, himself if you receive him, or else if not, you shall lose him, and then woe to thee when any mercy, any misery, any Ordinance befalls thee, for all shall suck thy Blood, consume thee, and fit thee for eternal ruine: and then wish, Oh that I had taken him, but then too late; therefore receive him or reject him: Oh I cannot; that's another matter: However we propound these Evangelical com­mands that may come with power, and therefore know, that if they do not now, they shall arise again in time.


THis is not all that which makes you ready for Christ, unlesse your love is set and fixed on him:Exhort. 2. and therefore look that it be ready. I doubt not but that there is glowing in your hearts, some love to the Lord, it cannot be that all should be quenched, that all his kindnesse should be forgotten, but remembred many times with some affliction: but know it, if it be so, your lamp is not yet in your hand, nor your Souls ready to meet the Lord: For look as 'tis with a mighty Prince that shall set his heart on some poor servant, and he requires no portion but to love him the more, and she cannot bring her heart to love him more than other mean Fellows, is she fit or ready to be Matcht unto him? So here: hence. Mat. 10. 37. He that loves Father or Mother, &c. then you are rea­dy when your love is fit for such an Husband; and therefore though you feel some love under the ashes (when you stir up your hearts) to the Lord Jesus, yet if it be not a fit love beseeming his Excellency, and the Glory of his Person, when you can draw out buckets of love, and pour it upon other things, but scarce fetch out a drop for Christ, and yet you hope that will serve the turn; I tell you no, you are yet unfit and unready for him. Look as it was with their offering the Testi­monies of love and thankfulnesse, Mal. 1. 14. so it's here. And therefore my Exhortation shall be as 'tis said in that Psalm,Psal. 86. 7, 8. Give unto the Lord the kingdoms of [Page 52] the earth. Give unto the Lord the honour due unto his Name: So give to the Lord the love that is due unto him, that love that is fit for him.

What is that love the Lord would have,Quest. which is fit for him?

1. Beloved, I hope if you think not your Blood too dear for Christ, you will not think any love too much for Christ:Answ. Yet because I would not have you aim at an uncertain mark, and shoot at a venture, I shall single out that love which I hope your own Consciences cannot but say is fit. And,

1. I had thought to have sought for this from you, viz. Give the Lord Jesus but that love, no more love than thou hast given to thy lusts, the Lord will be con­tented with it, Rom. 6. 19. As ye have yeilded, &c. so now; but that it may be you may think this love too base for him, yet give him but this, and the Lord would be contented with it, and accept of it; and those that shall not, it shall be their Torment in Hell to think of this word: Oh that I had given the Lord Jesus that love I gave to my base lusts, I had had him, and been in Heaven with him. But I wholly presse a Second.

2. Do but love him as he loveth thee, i. e. you cannot answer the greatnesse of his love, but do it for your measure: If you cannot pay him in pounds, yet pay him in pence, and this is fit for him: For 1. He is worthy of love, there is beau­ty in him why thou shouldest desire him; there is none in thee. 2. Thy love shall have a recompence, 2 Tim. 4. 8. he never can have recompence from thee.

3. He loves thee first with his own love, now that is unreasonable not to reflect his beams, and return him his own again in similitude, if not in pa­rity.

Wherein appears the love of the Lord to me,Quest. that so I may see how to manifest the like love to him?

He hath loved thee more than himself, more than his own honour, for he made himself of no reputation,Answ.Phil. 2. 7. more than his own comforts, he left the bosom of a Father, and bore the wrath of a Father for thee; more than his own life, he saw thy neck upon the block, and Gods Axe up to give the Bloody Fatal stroke; and he came in thy room, and loved thy life more than his own, lost his own before one hair of thy head should perish, though he knew thee a Traytor to God, and an enemy to himself, Rom. 5. 10. Rev. 1. 5, 6. if this be not thus, woe to thee living, woe to thee dying. What art thou but a sad spectacle hung up in thy chains in this world for Angels in Heaven to see and tremble at, and for Devils, Sins, and eternal Sorrows, like Fouls of Heaven to Prey upon. Now is it not fit that thou shouldst love him more than thy self? his honour more than thine, his consolations more than thine own, his Person more than thine own, nay more than thy life? Rev. 12. 11. I have known them whom the Lord hath re­vealed this love to, that have thought it too little to do, and hence have wish'd they had been born in those Times that they might have laid down their lives for him: VVhere is now this love? Doth not self-love swallow up all? Lord, what self-seeking, self-serving, self-minding, self-honouring, self-pleasing, and the Lord himself and his love forgot, as if there were no Christ, or in him no love.

2. He hath loved thee when he might have passed by thee, and loved others that might have wone the Lord towards them (I speak after the manner of men) rather than thee; men of greater place, greater gifts and parts, greater pomp in the world, but Rom. 9. Iacob shall be loved, Esau hated: he hath passed by Kings with their Crowns, and now set his heart on thee a Babe, when wise ones know him not; foolish, when prudent ones see him not; weak, when strong and mighty receive him not. Yea, as the Apostle speaketh, 1 Cor. 1. 28. Base things, and things which are not. God hath made thee nothing in thine own eies. Behold his love, and now do the like for him. It may be somtime thy carnal eye sees more Glory in the creature, than in Christ; more in the honour of man, than in the honour of a Christ, &c. And hence might'st set thy heart on them [Page 53] rather than on Christ, because strongly tempted so to do, and it may after some scourges be saved at last, yet passe by them, and set thy heart only on him. We judge of a Friend by the times of triall, and of a Christian, by a time of temptati­on. Now a Balaam, a Witch may not dare in time of temptation, to fall into it. Oh get one strain highe [...], and go one step farther than a Witch, though I might let my heart loose after the world, I will not love it, the love of the Lord deserves it, the love of the Lord constrains me to give my love to him and not to the world, though I might hide it, and have pardon for it.

3. He loves thee although thou wrongest him, Isa. 43. 22. to 26. when he is so wronged that he is ready to give thee up, yet Hos. 11. 8, 9. He is God and not man, nay, which is more wonderful, where sin there Grace abounds. Hence David makes this an Argument, Psal. 25. 11. Forgive because 'tis great. And hence Moses, Deut. 33. 9. Because 'tis astiffnecked people. Oh therefore love him, though he smites thee, though he forsakes thee, wherein he may seem, but indeed doth no wrong to thee, but love thee; for chastisement is part of the portion of sons, not of Bastards, Heb. 12. 6, 8. But do as that woman when she came to the stake, gave away her cloaths, some to one, some to another, Now farewell friends, and world, welcome Love, welcome Christ. So if the Lord comes to take away all from thee, the child of thy body, the husband of thy youth, the wife of thy bosom, the comforts of thy life, provisions from thy family, bread from thy mouth, bid farewel to them, give them into the Lords hands, and now say, welcome Christ. Its usual for Christians at first conversion and espousing, the Lord loves them dear­ly, and tenders them, shews nothing but love to them, and then their love is fresh; afterward come hard Frosts, and Winter-storms, and cold blasts of displea­sure: Christ departs from the Soul, withdraws himself, hides his face, and sends sad afflictions; now the Soul apprehending anger, and nothing else, it grows dis­couraged, and so dies: when if it could stay and wait, it should see all from love, and doing it the greatest good. Oh remember this: he doth afflict me, he doth depart from me, he doth fear me with Hell, yet I'le love him never a whit the lesse: Though the Lord buries all the Blessings he gives me, yet my love shall live, and if it do fall it shall arise.

4. He loved thee when in thy low estate, Psal. 136. 23. even when as no eye pittied thee, Ezek. 16. nay when thou wert vilest, at the height of thy sin, under deepest depths of misery, and straightest captivity, after Friends had almost cea­sed to counsel, Word and Spirit could do no good, after Conscience had warned thee. Oh love him when he is in his lowest estate, when his enemies persecute him, and his seeming Friends forsake him. Before you came to this Land, you thought Christ and persecution, Christ and the meanest condition, nay Christ and death would be sweet: the Lord it may be doth or will try your love; and here you find Christ and losses in Estate, Christ and crosses in your Family, Christ and many fears, and toils, and cares. Do you love him now as well as ever you did for all this? Oh never was my heart worse! I doubt not but a discerning Christi­an may see how all the world is against Christ, nay many Traytors in his own Fa­mily, who love the bagg more than Christ. Many foolish Virgins who love their sleep and sloth more than Christ; nay the hearts and Spirits of his own Friends declining, that there is not that life of Christ, that presence, and savour, and power of Christ in Hearts, in Prayers, in Lives, and no complaints of this: Now is the fittest time of love, when no eye sees, when no heart loves him, or cares for him, Psalm 119. 126, 127. Therefore I love thy commands, when he is shut out of every heart, when none to receive him, if any love it will appear now.

5. He doth love thee constantly every moment, Iohn 13. 1. 2. He hath thee every moment in his own bosom, every moment thou art sinning, and he is par­doning. Sin, and Satan, and Hell, and wrath are every moment waiting to hurt [Page 54] thee, and he is every moment watching over thee, redeeming of thee. Every moment sin and justice cry against thee, and yet he is continually making interces­sion for thee, Isai. 27. 2, 3. Every moment he is blessing when thou art sinning. Oh the unknown love of the Lord Jesus! Oh these fits of love are not fit for him. Love him every moment, delight in him every moment. When a man hath a fire every moment warming him, but still is cold, it's a sad sign that Death is near: You can love him sometimes in a Sermon, but soon after cold again, or in a Sacrament, and presently heart-dead again: or after answer to Prayers, and some special deliverances, and then the heart is un-affected again, and so a little pang of love must content Christ: if he ceaseth one moment to love thee, and to mani­fest it to thee, then cease to love him; if he ceaseth not to love thee dearly, never to leave thee, Oh then ever love him.

But we have such distractions and cares?

Men in love will follow their work,Object. and Women will do the Huswifry of the house,Answ. and yet love is at notime to seek to their Husbands, and shall the Lord have lesse?

6. He loves thee with an unmeasurable love, Rom. 5. 20. Where sin, there Grace hath abounded: hence Eph. 2. 3, 4. Love, and great love, vers. 7. Exceeding riches of his Grace: For there is in Christ.

1. A created love. One man loves another exceedingly, as Ionathan did Da­vid. Now he hath the perfection of all humane or Angelical love towards his people put in him.

2. Increated love, infinite love of a God, and hence 'tis immeasurable. He thinks nothing he doth too much, nothing he gives too dear: hence when world is slain, Satan cast out, when he is out sin must out; when some sins removed, the rest must; when they are out, then death must; when Death, then Hell. And when there is no life, no Grace, he works it; it decaies, he restores it; it cannot act, he quickens it; it cannot, doth not grow, he waters it. He hath given thee the earth, and the dayes of peace and patience; those are too little: he calls thee, and when thou canst not come, draws thee, and gives thee pardon: that is too little: he gives earth to thee, that is too little: (world is theirs) he gives Hea­ven to thee, that's too little (for they are made Co-heirs:) he gives promise to thee, that is too little: he gives himself, and Spirit, and can he do more? Yes, we cannot drink in all that goodnesse and love; hence he gives eternity to thee, and he shall more and more enlighten thee: not only let thy Soul live to blesse him, but thy poor body, and every dust of it to be raised up to Glory with him. What the Lord promised to Abraham, In blessing I will blesse, that portion is thine. Oh now love him without measure. Oh how I love thy law! how did David love it? I cannot tell; but if he loved the word of Christ, then much more the person of Christ, the presence of Christ, everlasting fellowship with Christ. Oh take heed of giving Christ, and measuring out unto Christ his portion, his allowance, that when the Lord comes to you for more love (as he doth daily) you give him that answer which many do in their practice, you have let him have as much as you can: so that you cannot spare any more from your selves, from a base world, from Wife, and Child, and Creature, from a slothful course: you hope the Lord will accept of that little he hath. I confesse a little water in a Spring is bet­ter than much that comes by Land-floods, but be sure it be a Spring, else not ac­cepted. Beloved, time was you lived without Christ, did nothing for him: now you do; and what thou dost this year, did'st last year, and no more: what love Christ had yesterday, the same he hath to day and no more: Will you thus stint the Lord? Either do more, give more, or mourn you cannot: Oh one life, one heart is too little for him. It hath put me to sad fears of many mens estates to see this frame, a world of sin without measure every day: where is the Christian that loves the Lord the more every day? how can any then say much is forgiven, when they do not love much.

[Page 55] 7. He loves thee now in Glory, there hath prepared a place for thee, Iohn 14. 1, 2, 3. where he long [...] for thee, Iohn 17. 24. You know Pharaoh's Butler when exalted to his place, forgot poor Ioseph. One would think now the Lord Jesus is in Glory, and hath God, and Angels, and his Kingdom to content him, he should never look after such a worm, such a poor helplesse creature as thee. But as the High Priest carried the Names on his breast, and precious stones, so the Lord Jesus hath thy Name writ upon his very heart. Oh now love him when he exalts thee to Glory, to give thee the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, with peace and quietnesse. When Germany lies in blood, and Eastern Churches slain by the Dra­gon, devoured by the Turk, when Englands lights and lamps are going out, no people have such peace, such glory in so small a time. Beloved, now where is love? The Churches of Christ never lost their love so much as when they had their peace, and have been 1600 years a learning by A [...]flictions and Persecutions, h [...]w to en­joy their peace, and to have their love smell as sweet then, as when be [...]en most, and yet have not, but like the Globe without the Crosse in the Emblem rolling and running farther and fa [...]ther from God, In Cruce quies. Oh unreasonable to love him least whom he tenders most. Doth not Prayer grow cold for the Name of Christ, for the Churches of Christ? then love grows cold. Doth not plenty of means make thy soul sleight means: when you went many miles to hear, and had scarce bread at home, Oh you thought if once you had such liberties! but when they are made yours, now what fruit. Dost not fall in affections to Saints? Oh love dies, Christ deals not so with thee, and who knows but in Rocks and Mountains of the Wildernesse thou maist lament these evils which peace breed now?

8. He loves thee so as when any evil toucheth thee, he hath a feeling of it, and is grieved at it, Iud. 10. 16. Isai. 63. 9. nay he then comforts thee most, both in them, and by them, Iohn 14. 27. Not as the world gives peace, so give I it to you: Oh then grieve thou for those evils that betide him, the wrongs that others offer him, but especially the unkindnesse thy own Soul shews him, Mark 5. 3. He mourned for the hardnesse of their heart, Eph. 4. 29, 30. Let no corrupt commu­nication proceed out of your mouth, and grieve not the Holy Ghost, Heb. 3. 10. Forty years long was I grieved because they erred; I confesse you will wrong him, but will you, must you be impenitent too? Did his enemies grieve him on earth, and shall his Friends grieve him in Heaven, and no sorrows, no secret tears? he hath shed his Blood for thy sin, it shall never condemn, and wilt not thou shed tears? Is there no good Nature? But what is there no spirit of mourn­ing? It may be many a day and week hast thou grieved him, and not a sigh to any purpose to ease thee of thy sin, but what hath eased thee in thy sin. Oh now com­fort his heart again after thou hast most grieved him; comfort his Spirit that is dying sighing in thee; as he comforts thee by thy troubles, comfort him by making a right use of all thy sins to be more humble, more vile, to love him the more, and love thy self the lesse, as the Prodigal Son, Luke 15. 18, 20, 24.

9. He loves thee so, that though he departs, he will not, doth not stay long from thee, though you may think it long, Isai. 54. 7. Hence it's wonder to see when heart gone, love lost, life lost, yet suddenly thou art brought down on thy knees: Oh 'tis the Lord that doth it: Thou wast in sorrow of heart, he did not stay long, but came and comforted thee; thou wast in thy sins, it was not long but he delivered thee; thou wast in want of knowledg of him, it hath not been long but that he hath revealed the Lord to thee; thou hast been in afflictions and troubles, it hath not been long but he hath heard thee: So give him the like love. I know you will fall from him in love, in delight, in care; but do not stay long from him. Sometime the baits of the world will draw thee from him when thou hast thy ease and peace, Oh think it was better with me once than now; when fears drive thee from him, yet return, 1 Sam. 12. 21, 22. Oh here is that which har­dens [Page 56] hearts, breaks your peace, and grieves the Lord so as he is forced to send many sad afflictions, because you lie in your falls: Oh be not long, no [...] far from him. He returns to thee when thou art most unkind to him: return when he is ever kind. He returns to thee though he hath no need of thee, thou hast of him; He will not leave thee: Oh leave not him!

10. He hath from before all worlds loved thee, when no reason for it, Ier. 31. 1, 2, 3. Thou hast neglected to love him long, all thy youth, nay it may be all thy life; Oh you beloved of the Lord begin to do it now, when there is all reason for it, when Heaven calls for it, Earth calls for it, Ordinances plead for it, Spi­rit saith come, and calls for it too. It may be thy life is not long. What not yet?

But how shall I come to do this,Quest. thus to love the Lord?

The Lord only can plant,Answ. can water this Grace, yet because the Lord doth it by meanes, I will give you some now.

1. Labour to find out the true sweetnesse, and to taste the bitternesse of the de­ceitful sweetnesse of all Creatures, for this is a rule in reason, a mans affections like streams must run some way: and 'tis a rule in Theology, stop the affections from running to the Creature, and in a sincere heart it will run unto Christ, Hos. 2. 6, 7. if it be from all creatures: Now then the affection is turned from the Crea­ture, when it finds the bitternesse of the deceiving sweetnesse of it: and Second­ly finds out the real sweetnesse of it; for make it as a rule, when a mans heart cannot love Christ (unlesse it be when it is benummed) 'tis because he hath some­what else to joy his heart; now let the Creature yeild you no more joy, and Christ hath your love: indeed you may and must joy in the real sweetnesse of it, and this will encrease, and not diminish your love.

Quest. What is the real sweetnesse of the Creature?

Answ. Christs love: Oh see this, if Christ should not love thee, would not thy life be death, thy Salvation from many dangers be Damnation, thy Friends miserable comforters, thy joyes sorrows? what good would any thing do thee if thou hadst these thoughts, all these I have, but wrath with them? What comfort can a man take in his Feast, if news were then brought that after 'tis done, you must go to the stake to be burnt? You that joy in your pastimes, one frown of Christ would blast all. Oh see this, Psalm 63. Thy loving-kindnesse is better than life, in thy favour is life. Now joy for this, and this will knit your heart nearer to him. For Jesus sake ponder this Point.

Now 2. Taste the bitternesse of the sweetnesse remaining now 'tis distilled; and Satan shews a Three-fold sweetness, before, in, and after the enjoying of it.

Now 1. Before, remember how they have drawn away and held thy heart from God, done thee more hurt than all afflictions, many a sweet smile hadst thou had from God, but for them.

2. In the enjoying of it 'tis sweet, but when 'tis sweet to thee, 'tis then most bitter to the heart of God; when thy joy is kindled, the Lords sorrow is stirred up and provoked.

3. After. 1. It will draw thy heart from God: and 2. It will be bitter in thy belly at last. Whatever sweetnesse draws thee from the love of Christ, Oh it will be bitter. Rom. 6. 21. Chew upon this, and see if any thing here be wor­thy of your joy, and if not, then return to your first Husband.

II. Taste the allsufficiency of the love of Christ: a Woman that is not content with her Husbands love, she will not love him as 'tis fit. So when other things make love to us, and the Lords love is not enough, Cant. 1. 4. More than wine: hence the upright love thee. Do but sit down and think what this is: If once he loves thee, what-ever he can he will do for thee, he will order all thy life, not one thing shall hurt thee, every thing in providence shall work for thy glory, sins, sorrows, &c. so as thou shalt say his denyals are better than his gifts, his blows better [Page 57] than smiles, his withdrawings better than his presence, these evils better than joyes, and when once he loves me, he will never leave me, that come life; come death, I am safe. Oh taste this!

III. See the Lord Jesus now as he is, and [...]n truth this were enough to make any prophane heart love him, much more a Saint espoused to him, but the Lord hath hid himself from their eyes, shall he be so, is he so from yours? 1 Pet. 1. 8. When seeing not with bodily eyes, but with Faith, ye love him, 1 Iohn 3. 1, 2, 3. We shall see him as he is. VVhy suppose the day of doom was come, Christ in the clouds, and all creatures before him, all Angels ministring to him, in all the Glory of his Father; Oh then the love of Christ, Oh one smile, one word of Christ would be precious. Lord that men should be in a Dream! See Christ a little higher set in his Throne, a place more glorious, though lesse seen, in all the Glory of his Father, all mighty Angels ministring to him, all the world put into his hand, doing what he will, and all he will; why will you not love him now? Is the Gospel a Fable? say so if it be, then love him not if you can. VVhen Simeon and the VVise men saw him, though but in his abasement, they honoured him, much more now if see him in glory. It's a question whether the beams of the Sun are fire: Some demonstrate it thus, Take a Glasse and gather together the beams, it burns. Therefore so if you would see so as to be affected, gather together the beams of his glory and love; Thus you see the means to get fit love, and if it be lost, Oh now get it again, lest the Lord strain for it, else you are not fit, and if it be not any love that sufficeth, much lesse no love, as in many of you: but consider 1 Cor. 16. 22. He that loves not Christ, let him be accursed: Oh that this might be won from you, O little love goes out to Christ, who sees it not? Ordinances of Christ, men are weary of them, the truths of Christ, despise them, the Servants of Christ, they quarrel with them. Now recover your Love, the Lord help you so to do.


TO do the work of Christ,Exhort. 3. to be daily at it, and finishing of it; for look as it was with the Head, 'tis so with all the Members that are to remain a while in this life, they have some work to do for the Lord; some common, some spe­cial work, and when that is done, now they are ready to return home again. Hence Iohn 17. 4, 5. I have finished the work, and now he stands at the door and knocks, and is ready for entrance, Now glorifie me with thy self, and you shall find a faithful heart will neither be willing nor ready to go till this is done.

What is this work I am to do?Quest.

I have answered this else-where at large,Answ. yet these two things I would say.

1. That a mans chief work lies not in facile duties, for though Grace and Christs [...]pirit makes duties easie, his yoke easie; yet there is a contrary Spirit that will make them hard and difficult at first.

2. Least I should leave you unsatisfied altogether, we shall find a christian life is carried with a double motion: 1. In seeking of God in his Ordinances. 2. Or in walking with God out of his Ordinances, these are joyned together, Gen. 6. 8, 9. Noah found Grace, hence sought it, though not in the eyes of the world: and hence Noah walked with God. Hence we see Christ was sometime in the Mount alone, Sometime abroad going up and down doing good. Moses in the Mount and in the Camp too. Now look as before a man is justified, his chief work then is to seek God in his Ordinances for a principle: so a soul now espoused to Christ is to walk with Christ: now walking implies constant following of another, or a continual work; so Christ hath work for you every moment. Hence in every company, time, place, temptation, enquire thus, Am I not like to lose my time, [Page 58] my heart, Christs honour? What work hath Christ for me to do? hold here, for here lies your work. Look as an ambitious man asks, how serves this for my ho­nour, and Satan how he may dishonour Christ; so do you ask, how you may ho­nour him, Rom. 6. 19. As you have given your selves instruments of iniquity, &c. And now because we live in times and places wherein men have so much work of their own to do, that Christ is neglected, wherein very few walk with God. Hence men taking mens examples for patterns and copies of their course, content them­selves to do as others do: And this being a close act, mainly consisting in what is unseen; and because men are apt to put off Christ with desires, and serve Satan in­deed, and because apt to resolve all Religion into some two or three duties or Graces, and because mens hearts are catching at comforts and promises, but com­mands tedious and burdensome; I shall presse this upon these Motives; only here let me premise when I presse you to this, 'tis not to a Covenant of Works, as though you could act your selves, but we look to Christs Blood and Spirit to set on things; I speak to them under Grace, who have the Spirit without, and Faith within to act and carry them here. But

1. Whose work will you do?M [...]t. 1. you cannot cease to do Christs work, but you must do your own work, (I speak not for idlenesse) i. e. you must serve your lust; now consider what good did thy self ever do thee, nay Satan never such an enemy as thy own self: and will you fall down to such an Image? Shall thy lusts have content more and rather than Christ?

2. Consider the Lord will take care and charge of thee, to do thy work, to bring about thy ends for thee, do but thou do his. Martha was cumbred about many things, hence forsook the better part: so men neglect, forget Christs work, because of so many distractions of their own. What will become of my hundred Talents? what will become of my Wife; Child? Now do you take care of the Lords work, take that for your charge, and the Lord will take charge of you. The best, readiest, and only way to have your own ends, is to seek the Lords, and forget your own. As in Solomon, his great work and care was to rule a State well, and the Lord gave all the rest. Set thy face to the Sun, and these shadows will follow you. The Servant takes charge of his Masters work, and he need not trouble himself for meat and drink, and è contra.

First, there shall not any evill hurt thee, whereas else thy good things shall, Isai. 27. 3.

Secondly, All Creatures in Heaven and Earth shall serve that man that serves his God, Hos. 2. 21, 23. whereas else they groan under thee.

Thirdly, Angels shall come out of Heaven to guard thee.

Fourthly, Nay the Lord Jesus himself shall stand at the top of the ladder, that when every thing else shall leave thee, he shall then bring the best wine at the last, he will be a portion to thee, Psalm 16. Phil. 3. 8.

3. Consider that the more difficult any duty is, the more sweetnesse shall you receive if you break through it: Men plead difficulty, I plead gain. Hence he that overcomes shall eat of the hidden Manna: Hence never any so comforted, honou­red as Christ, because never any went through so hot a work for the Father as Christ, Phil. 2. You plead the difficulty of a christian life, and taste not the sweetnesse of that life: if you can do no more than what is easie, and pleaseth self, the Lord will never let you taste the sweetnesse of pleasing him. Have you not sometimes found your hearts dead to Prayer, yet you fell to it, and then would not but have took the season for a world.

4. Consider, let the duty be to Nature impossible, yet the Lord is at hand to help, even when no strength, Isai. 40. 29. Nay Heb. 11. 34. Out of weaknesse were made strong. If you had no Christ, no Spirit, no Promises to assure you of help, you might then cease acting, and say 'tis impossible I should ever overcome such evils, attain to that measure: but when Promises to assure, and Christ and [Page 59] Spirit at hand, now to plead impossibility, is to reproach the Lord; to think he will set his people to make Brick, and give them no straw: nay to war against God and to make the Lord war against you, Numb. 14. You know how they cried out of impossibilities, and now the Lords anger rose when they were ready to enter Canaan: So when men are ready to enter upon possession of Christ, and Promises, then impossibilities appear. Consider therefore what the Lord hath done for Da­vid, Gideon, Samson, who went out in the name and Spirit of the Lord, and were helped: If you were under the Law, you might plead this, but under Grace 'tis horrible to make this excuse.

5. Consider if the Lord do not help (as he will be free) yet he will accept thy will, I know he will not accept the wishes of servants, yet he will accept the will of Sons; neither will he accept the will of Sons in a work they might have strength from him to do, and go not to him for it; but in that case he will; as 2 Cor. 12. 9. i. e. 'tis enough, I accept thee: and this is very sweet, that for his own sake he should be pleased as well with the will as with the work, for this is that which troubles, I would have help, the Lord gives none; why the Lord accepts of it as if thou didst it, as in Davids building a Temple: For a Christians work is done two wayes.

First, Sometimes by feeling, when we feel help.

Secondly, Some times by Faith, by going to another for it: and this the Lord accepts most mercifully, for this is his Victory over all sin, even his Faith. When we see a duty hard, and do not go to the Lord for help, then we are overcome pro­perly: For out of the abundance of the heart the person acts for Christ.

6. Consider the Lord will honour thee (though the work doth not) Iohn 12. 26. Him will my Father honour, both in this life, Rom. 2. 29. and in that to come. Now as 'tis in acting parts, 'tis no matter what Fellow-acters think, God is the great Spectator, God will esteem of thee, and Conscience shall witnesse as much when no eye sees, or when men see and judge amisse, yet the Lord approves, and at the great Day before Men and Angels, and all the world, 1 Cor. 4. 5. Then shall every man have praise of God: and hence Mat. 25. Christs judgement is made according to the works of his people: because then they shall not be com­pared with themselves and their sins, but with the wicked: and hence to set out their glory, he reckons up all they have done. All men in all their acts seek to avoid shame, and attain honour: now if you did know a way for all men in the world to honour you, would you not attend it? what is their Dreams to Gods honour? Hence not one act but is now chronicled, Mal. 3. 16. and afterward rewarded, 1 Cor. 15. 58. Oh then give content to the Lord.

7. Consider the peace you shall have by this means, both while you live, and when you dye: what's the cause of so many doleful clamours of Conscience, but a loose carelesse heart, the Lord is neglected; that when one pleads Faith, it will be replyed, the true Faith is the Faith of the Son of God. Now is the Faith of God a carelesse Faith, a secure, worldly, impenitent, dead Faith? you may sit down, and rise again, and say true, yet I'le believe, so you may, but it will be with such a trembling spirit as you will find no peace: Neither do I know how a­ny can keep his peace otherwise, for there are children but Still-born; if born a living Son, thou wilt live to God, necessarily I must do it: But by this means, Oh there is unspeakable peace, Mat. 11. 29, 30. Hence Paul, I have finished my work, &c. Iohn 14. 21. to 24. you live without God, and walk without God, and Pray without God, but there is a day approaching that you shall appear before the Lord Jesus, you shall wish then, Oh that I had lived so and so: Oh do that now.

8. Consider the Lord will have it done, it must be done, hence Paul said, Necessity lies upon me, and woe to me, &c. the Lord should be forsworn if he should not bring you to it, Luke 1. 73, 74, 75. According to the Oath, &c. [Page 60] Beloved you think lasie desires will serve: no, it must be done: you say I can­not, it must be better with you. And hence look for a rod, and that the Lord will bring you into great affliction till all is removed, and so purge you; and if one affliction will not do it, then worse shall come, he loves you better than so. And remember you have had warning this day: you came hither for the Lords work, and now your own justles it out: look that God will take away the Kingdom from you, or set oppressors over you, or send some stings among you: and then say, Oh I may thank my walking unworthy of God and Gospel for this.

9. Consider else you shall make the Blood of Christ shed of no effect, 2 Cor. 5. 14, 15. Now wicked men need not fear this, no Blood shed for them. Will you do so? God forbid: The Jews have killed him, will you drag him up and down the streets, trample on his Blood, and put him to open shame.

10. Consider your time is but short, and you have done but little work, and 'tis not long but that your Crown shall be put upon your head. It's noted of En [...]ch Gen. 5. that he walked with God three hundred years, (and that having Sons and Daughters, h [...]ving Family-contentments, and incumbrances,) and he lived the shortest time. I am sure Angels are content to come out of Heaven to do the work of God: what not do it here? Paul thought himself born too soon be­cause for a time he lived without Christ. Oh but now make tryal, and you will find it the sweetest life, that you will say, why have I neglected this so long? and if thou dost not find seven times more peace therein than in all the world, ne­ver set foot here.

How shall I thus do the work of Christ?Quest.

I. Without Christ you can do nothing, Answ. Iohn 15. 5. The Sun runs still because it's light of it self; so when the Lord is in you, you will do so. Hence go not out to any duty in your own strength, for then you will either not do it, or not hold out in it: No man can hold out at his work that feeds not abundantly on his meat, so here; and here note but these two things.

1. Do not only in Ordinances do thus, but out of Ordinances then, as in parti­cular times of tryal (for the Lord will not give you in an Ordinance as much Grace as shall serve you out of it) lift up your hearts to Christ, and say as Christ, Father the hour is come, now glorifie thy Name, Iohn 12. 28. So Lord, here is work to do, but a dead heart is upon me, Lord glorifie thy Name. I have seldom seen but the Lord either helped then, or at some other time when thou didst come, and then the Lord puts thee in remembrance that 'tis out of respect to that.

2. Thus coming and feeding on the Lord Jesus, believe that he will help, and that shall be so; some have never got strength against sin till then, but this hath conquered difficulties, Rom. 8. 37, 38. In all these things we overcome, for I am perswaded, &c. So you coming helplesse to a Christ, all his strength is yours by covenant. Be perswaded he cannot go from his word: but yet we must use o­ther means sanctified by Christ, for Christ worketh by meanes. And there­fore,

II. Find out where the cause of all your negligence and sloth lies in not doing the Lords work, nay of your doing Satans work. It may be you will say you can­not, I know there is that in Saints in part, but this is not the main, therefore I will tell you thus.

1. Before conversion the main wound of men is their Will, Video meliora probo (que) dexteriora sequor: Hence Iohn 8. 44. His lusts ye will do. Hence Mat. 23. 37. You would not: they say hence we have a Will, I say no. And hence we answer that great Objection for Possibilities to keep all Laws by universal Grace, which tis unjust to punish for not doing that a man cannot do. We answer, There is a double impotency, Ex infirmitate, or Ex malignitate, when men will not, Prov. 11, 12, 13.

[Page 61] 2. Hence it follows after conversion, though the Will is changed, so that a man would but cannot do many things, Ex infirmitate, yet the great cause why he cannot do more is from the remnant of malignity not yet removed. A man will sleep, he loves it, and secretly loaths the wayes of the Lord: Hence the Church, Isai. 63. 17. complains of this. A man shall find his heart wills the end exceed­ingly, but when he comes to will the means, there his heart is weary of them, and loath [...] them; a man will be carelesse, and this being not seen, is not fought a­gainst. Sin is vi [...]ified, and hence the enemy to all good remains still. It's an old Rule, Tantum possumus, quantum volumus. Get Christ to help here.

3. Make this your last end, to live unto Christ, and to do his work: Hence Paul did not account his life dear; this is your last end, for the end of being born by Faith, nay of being redeemed by Blood, 'tis to live unto Christ, Tit. 2. 11. When you cry for Faith, and Peace, and Assurance, that is not your end, for he that doth so is a very Hypocrite, and hath a false heart, but 'tis to live to Christ: Hence Paul, Phil. 3. 9, 10, 12, 13. sought to be found in him, but further to know him, &c. The Father is glorified in our bringing forth much Fruit. Hence make it your [...]ast end, and then your happinesse will lie in acting thus, and that that is a mans happinesse he is carried to with most infinite delight. For presse people to do Christs work, their hearts are dead, tell them the Lord Jesus shall have a Name by what they do for him, yet dead, because though they see it good, yet they place not their happinesse there, because that is not their last end. But come to this, now it will do; a man cannot bear a crosse, yet let him consider, the Lord shall gain though I do not; so for Faith, so for any other duty. Men think it good, but not their greatest good. Hence see Christ better than thy self, and his honour better than thy glory for ever. Hence the Lord denies us help, because we ask it for our Lusts, not for himself, Iames 4. 3.

4. Keep those glorious apprehensions of the Lord and his wayes, which you have sometimes in an Ordinance: You are sometimes near the Lord, and you then see a beauty in Christ, in his wayes, and then thinkest shall I ever wrong him more? then you come out and lose your light, and so you ever lose your strength and life. Hence Eph. 5. 11. 'tis as with a man that eats, but he looseth and spends his spi [...]its, he can do no more work, but faints away: see 2 Pet. 2. 9. Steven can be content to have stones about his ears, when he can say, I see Iesus. And hence when those glorious apprehensions come into your minds, stamp them there, for set up other Images of other things in your minds, and your hearts will bow down every moment to them. Doth not Christs Spirit do all? yes, but by this medium, 2 Cor. 3. 18. As by the Spirit of the Lord.


AFter you have done your work be ever humble, and be ready to give the Lord the honour of his Grace,Use 4, Of Exhort. that ever he gave any thing to you, that ever he did any thing by you; for the last end of all the Elect, 'tis to admire and honour the riches of Gods Grace, Eph. 1. 5, 6. Hence the Fall was permitted, never should Grace have been seen, if sin and misery had not come in. Now if this be our last end in Glory, then the heart is ready to have immediate fellowship with Christ there, when 'tis ready to act for its last end. Hence it's frequent in the Psalms, when David was in any strait, wanted any mercy, nay the presence of the Lord here, this is the last end he pursues, the last word he speaks before the Lord, My soul shall blesse thee, as Psalm 63. 3, 4. and hence when all his enemies were subdued, and he ready to lay all in the dust, he gives the Lord all, 2 Sam. 22. per totum. and 23. 5. Beloved, this is Heavens work, Oh learn this Song before you go there, which none can learn but the Redeemed and Sealed of the Lord, [Page 62] Rev. 14. 3. Iohn 1. 14. It's writ of Christ, he was full of Grace and Truth; Do you ever think to meet with him, that get not your hearts full of the sense of it?

Before I come therefore to presse this, I shall premise these two things.

First; That the Lord in all his dealings with his people, seeks lastly to bring a­bout the glory of his Grace: he regards nothing men do, if at last they deny him this; He respects not what sins and evils men have, if at last he gets this, for this is his last end: hence all he doth to his people, for his people, by his people, 'tis for this. And hence

1. He leaves them a long time in their Graves and Sins, that they live like other men, which is strange that he that hath loved them so long, should leave them so long to be as bad as any, yet this he doth, because it makes for the praise of his Grace, Ephes. 2. 4, 7, 8. Dead in sin, that in ages to come, &c. And this doth so confound Gods people, that they wish not only Heaven, but Earth, and Ages to come may record this love.

2. Hence out of men fallen, he picks out usually the poorest and vilest, the younger Brother lesse loved out of a Family, leaves elder, Rom. 9. 11. and the foolish, and weak things, and things that are not, that no flesh might glory, but in the Lord, 1 Cor. 1. 26, 31. and this is strange that the Lord should chuse thus, but this he doth to blur the glory of all the world.

3. Hence the Lord saves by Faith, and justifies by Faith, and seals by Faith, Eph. 1. 13. and sanctifies by Faith, and glorifies by Faith, 1 Pet. 1. 3. So that all a Christians life is a Beggars life, and 'tis strange the Lord should chuse the basest, poorest Grace to save by; and the end is the glory of his Grace, Rom. 4. 16. 'Tis of Faith that it might be of Grace.

4. The Lord leaves many wants in his people, under which they sit sighing, and that sometime very long, refuseth to hear their Prayers, that they may repair to the Throne of Grace, and so in conclusion blesse Grace, Heb. 4. 16.

5. Hence the Lord takes away sometimes those feelings, those enlargements they had, and baits them with most vexing sins, and pricking distempers, 2 Cor. 12. 7, 9. and it is to advance Grace.

6. Hence the Lord is sometimes angry with his people, and hides his face from them, that if ever he returns in love, his Grace may be the sweeter, and last the longer, Isai. 54. 7. Nay hence sometimes strips them so of all that they have had, or can do, that if you ask what have you now to say for your selves? nothing but Grace, their mouths are stopt. Hence Psalm 6. Lord save me for thy mercies sake, Psalm 51. 11. According to the multitude of thy mercies, &c.

7. Hence the Lord speaks peace to his people, that they may say, I was so vile, and yet loved; Oh Grace! Oh love! Ezek. 16. 63. When they see nothing but shame, and shame covers them, and afraid to appear before God, it is for this end. I'le name no more. Do you not observe it? Sometime you shall find the Lord so strangely carrying matters, as if he did not love nor care for his people, a­gainst the hair and grain of their desires, and when all comes to winding up, 'tis to advance Grace. All a mans good dayes, and bad dayes, all Gods frowns and smiles, all the Lords Food and Physick, all God cares for, works, plots for, 'tis to do his people no more hurt than this, to advance his Grace in them, and by them. All his hewings and hammerings of you, nay his knocking you a pieces, and new melt­ing, and new casting of you, 'tis that you may be Vessels of his glorious Grace, that you may be able to live in the air of Gods Grace, to suck in, and breath out Grace, and let all the power of Hell seek to blur it, yet Grace shall conquer. VVho would not be under Grace? Oh poor creature, Satan is tempting, sin vexing, yet Grace must reign.

Secondly, This I say, that Gods own people do by strange wayes and courses deny the Lord, and deprive the Lord of the Glory of his rich Grace, for that being [Page 63] the Diamond in Gods Crown, and the beloved Attribute which God in­tends to advance; all the policy of Hell is against this; this is the reason why Satans enmity is so bitter against Faith, as in Peter; and observe, however there be many Temptations, his end is to crush Faith: the reason is, as 'tis with an enemy, if the Besieged hath water brought to the City by Pipes, he cuts off them and stops them, so Faith fetching all from Grace, and returning all to Grace, hence Faith is opposed most; and hence the unregenerate part will take Satans part, and doth strangely rob the Lord of the glory of this, though I confesse the Lord will have it for all that they seek to scatter it, Isai. 43. 21, 22. It's strange to see how few plot for the praise of Grace; hence how many are straitned, nay do cross Christ in this. As

1. If the Lord give them not what Grace they would, then they sleight what little he bestows; and if he gives them much, then they solace themselves in it, and grow puft up and proud. It's the temper of Gods own people to set up such a measure of Gods Grace and Spirit which they would have, and therein they do well: Paul, Phil. 3. 11. lookt to the Resurrection of the dead; but if the Lord de­nies them that, (as he will make his people live from hand to mouth) they sleight what they have, either as if all were but hypocrisie, or because it is but little, not so much as they would have, and herein they do ill, for here the Lord loseth the glory of some Grace, for it's Grace that you have the least desires after it; nay that you do but know what it is, and see the want of it, and yet ever complaining, and never rejoycing, for every degree of Grace in Saints, is vertually saving, though formally common. But suppose the Lord fills the bottle full, and gives as much peace, affections, enlargements of heart, as it hath almost required, (for there are Spring-tides, and over-flowing times of Gods Spirit, now they are ready to swell, and be puft up above measure, as Paul, 2 Cor. 12. 7. Lest I should be exalted a­bove measure, for there is self-love in Saints. Hence they desire an excellency in themselves: hence when they find none of their own, they are apt to deck and set out themselves with what the Lord hath done, and so to joy in this, and now to think themselves better than others of Gods Saints, whereas they should be more vile, and advance Grace the more, Eph. 3. 8. To me the least of Saints. And hence the Lord after greatest deliverances and mercies sends great sorrows, as to them in the Wildernesse. Hence the Lord takes away affections, and they dye, that Grace might be the more advanced.

2. If the sins of their hearts are common, and cannot be removed, and so seem little, then they passe them by, and never take notice of them, God will pardon them, and hence the Lord hath sad times of reckoning (with a rod in his hand) with his own people, Ezek. 6. 9. That those loose times are heavy times, this is for my neglect, &c. but hereby Grace loseth Glory; for how can they see how deeply they are indebted to the Lord, if they see not their Debt? on the other side, if their sins be very violent, and their distempers so strong, that they think none like me, now their hearts sink, and dye away, and grow discouraged, and all the use they make is this, I think it will never be better with me, and can there be life for me so dead, deliverance, redemption for me in such bondage, love for one that cannot but loath my self, and if others did know me, they would do so too. Can the Lord love me now? Yes Beloved, that he can and will, Isai. 63. 16. Though Abraham know us not, yet, &c. But here is your sin, when you should make this use of all, to feel the more need of Grace to pitty, and say, the more precious shall Grace be to me for ever: your hearts now sink. The Lord brings his people into very low condition to humble them, and to shew them more of his Grace, Psalm 78. 19. Can God prepare a Table? they spake therein against God: so 'tis here; for herein the Lords Grace is seen, to love them when Le­pers.

3. Grace that hath been shewen, for times past they forget it, 2 Pet. 1. 9. And [Page 64] what is this but destroying Gods Grace? for why is Grace so precious at first con­version, that Heaven and Earth are too little to hold praises enough for it? And af­terward, the Lord hath little love; Oh you forget what once you were, and what the Lord hath done, hence 1 Tim. 1. 13, 14. I was so and so, &c. but now have received abundant Grace. You have had many meetings with God, many answers from God, many consolations and times of refreshing and reviving, and these forgotten and buried, the life of them after a year or two expired. And what is this but eclipsing Gods Grace? On the other side, as for Grace for time to come, they fear it, especially when worms and no men in their own eyes. Hence saith God, Fear not worm Iacob, Isai. 41. 14. There is a certain Divining Spirit (as one once told me) that untill that was pulled out, no honour can the Lord get. Before you come to Word or Prayer, thou wilt fear thou shalt never get any good; and when the Lord gives any, thou wilt fear thou shalt never hold out; and what Promise soever is made, thou wilt fear thou shalt never find it. And what doth this but eclipse Grace? we should go with boldness to the Throne of Grace; nay hence let the Lord send never so much Mercy for the Present, a Fear will cut off all, that all this will rise up in Judgement against me.

4. When they are most fit to honour Gods Grace by Faith, now they will not believe, not then above any other time: for then a man is most fit to honour Grace, when he feels most need of it: and when hath he most need, but when he feels most emptinesse? why now above any other time a man will not come in, but will have somewhat in himself first, and then he will, when his heart is so and so sweetly setled, &c. Hence Luke 14. Poor, and blind, and lame, and halt com­pelled to come in: one would think there needed not that; but now when fit­test, now they will not: for let any man observe what would endear his heart so much to Grace as this: to think if it be the Lords mind to save a poor dead dam­ned creature, then happy I? This is wonderful, this hath quickened dead love, and dead Faith, and a dead heart. And on the other side, if the Lord de­lay, if it comes not at their own time, then they distrust it; Grace! alas I feel my self never a whit better: For there be two things in Faith,

First, A coming to Christ, which is our work, i. e. Gods work in us.

Secondly, Receiving what I come for from Christ, which is the Lords work; Now the first gives evidence he shall have it, Iohn 6. 35, 37. Hence the Lord will have them rejoyce in what Christ hath, as my Grace is sufficient; but if it comes not presently, then they cast off Faith, and so cast away Grace, I feel no good: hence Iohn 4. 48. &c. I know there is a seeming coming to Christ, to have the Grace of Christ and sin too, and this you may well cast off: and a coming for his Grace and Spirit only, and you despise Grace, and distrust the Lord if you cast off this, or you seek to put the Lord out of his working by a covenant of Grace, (where he takes his times as he pleases) and give a flat lie to all promises of Grace, and refuse to be contented with Christs Grace, that thou mightest have the more at­tributed to thy self, and the Lord the lesse.

5. Either they think not of the exceeding greatnesse of the Lords love and free Grace to them, and hence Paul bowes to Heaven for this, Eph. 3. 16, 17. And hence it comes to passe, that look as 'tis with sweet things, swallow them down in the lump, you never taste the sweetnesse to purpose, nor never commend them; so 'tis when men swallow down Gods love, and chew not upon it, whereas if they did but think of it, Oh how sweet would it be! Psalm 63. 5, 6. Lord, how ma­ny dayes and weeks are spent thus? It's apparent you have the profession of a Christian life; but do you taste the sweetness of a Christian course? No: why if you did think, you would; But you are weary at Night, sleepy in the morning, busie in the day, dead on the Sabbath: hence think not, hence give not God the glory of Grace: or if they do think of it, and the greatness of it, then they cannot think so great things should be given unto them, or done for them: that God should love [Page 65] me as his Son, make me an Heir of all he hath with him, redeem me that have despised his Blood: 'tis too good News to be true. Hence the Disciples belie­ved not for joy, Luke 24. 41. Hence when delivered out of Babel, we were in a Dream; this robs the Lord of Grace, for the greater the love is, and the more you take, the more love shall the Lord have, it cannot be otherwise, if you come to say this is mine.

6. Either they will pore only on their sins, and distempers, and miseries, and never look unto Christ the brazen Serpent, and search for a righteousness of their own, and cannot find it, and hence pore still. As when men have wounds, they only think on them, that when awakened out of sleep, they complain in their beds like the Israelites, Exod. 6. 9. that would not hear Moses because of anguish. As the impotent man answered Christ, Iohn 5. 5, 6, 7. Wilt' be made whole? he turns his eyes upon his misery, I have none else to help me at the time; here is but this means, and when I come my self, others step in before me, &c. Now so do men, and never look beyond means, the Lord can, the Lord will, and so eye not him: or on the other side, if they get healing of their wounds, then they eye Christ only, Eph. 2. 6. They were exalted in Heavenly places, yet remember, as vers. 11, 12. For let any Christian see that he is poor and miserable, but he is not much af­fected with it, nor afflicted with it, and so eye Christ, and trust to Christ, and ease himself here, & say we must look only to Christ, either you will hear of his fall (yea and himself shall find a decay) or he will grow very proud, unfit to give all to Christ. Is there Grace here?

7. Either if the Lord gives him any thing, himself and mercy, he will now add something of his own to Christ, and pull the vail of the Law over the face of the glory of Christ, Gal. 1. 6. or else do nothing at all for him, unless it be when the good fit takes him, under a pretence Christ must do all; as here the five wise Vir­gins that fell asleep: and thus you see how Grace is opposed by the children of Grace. Now therefore my Exhortation is, to take heed of this, and be ever rea­dy to attribute all to the Lord, as they cryed when the Second Temple was build­ing from beginning to the end, Zec. 4. 6, 7. so that thou wast spared so long, that called by means that the Lord should by Faith accept, that he should speak peace, this is Grace, that though vile, yet he will save me: 'tis Grace, that though I can do nothing, yet he will help me, and afterwards Crown me: Oh this is wonderful Grace! And

First, Do not only give the Lord the glory of Grace to redeem you from mise­ry, for this you may do, and be full ready to give it, yet perish at last, as the Isra­elites that sang Gods praises did, but that he will save thee from greater, i. e. from sin. And

Secondly, Not only when you feel nothing, but when you feel most, Oh to honour Grace! And

Thirdly, Not to do it coldly, but with a heart enflamed with sense of it, that I live, I have, I do, I am what I am: Oh 'tis Grace. So that now if the Lord shall come and ask you, what will you say if I'le deliver you from all misery, subdue all sins, passe by all wrong, hear all Prayers, do all good to thee, do much good by thee, love thee every moment, give a Kingdom when thy work is done to thee, and my self better than all? say, Lord I can never recompence this, I shall be I hope the more vile in my own eyes for ever, and give all to Grace. Oh sing that Song, or get that Song by heart now, for Rev. 7. 10. there is a Song, Salvation to the Lamb, which none else could sing. This is our work, and a great work in­deed.

How shall I do this?Quest.

1. Get a new light from the Lord to shew you clearly the infinite, endless,Answ. un­known evil of the least sin; Paul was a proud Pharisee until he saw sin, and Ier. 3. 24, 25. for if sin be seen, one smile, one day, nay a moments breathing-time in [Page 66] this world will be matter of amazement to thee after all thou hast, and hast done: much more when thou seest so many sins, and that in every thing: Intreat the Lord to do this. We walk up and down the world, and say we sin and grieve the Lord; but Oh 'tis not known, happy art thou if the Lord hath discovered it; then thou wilt say, why doth the Lord do any thing for me? could not he pick out stones, nay Toads that never sinned against him, rather than me to enjoy him, especially is sin vile in thee, so near God, and so near Heaven too. Angels were hurled down for one sin.

2. Set a high price upon a little Grace; a man will be exceeding humbly thank­ful for the giving a little of that which he highly esteems, much more for giving much of what we value. The poor Woman of Canaan, Mat. 15. was glad of crumbs. How thankful do you think she was for loaves? that made her ready to receive all; Be it as thou wilt; so it shall be with you, for if you prize a little, Oh when all shall be given, this will swallow you up into Grace. And it's certain, there is never a mercy but 'tis great, if you consider him that gives it, who receives it, him that bought it. But the most of Gods Grace in us appears to be but small; hence we prize it not, and hence never ready to give all to the Lord again.

3. Learn to put a difference between your double being: for every Christian hath a double being: 1. In himself. 2. He hath a subsistence in Christ. Now look upon your selves as in your selves, you will ever complain there, ever dead, and never have your hearts ready to bless the Lord. If you only look on your selves in Christ, you will be proud, and never give the Lord honour. I say therefore, put a difference between these two, for men appropriating to themselves what is Christs, they rob Christ of his glory. Hence Paul so humble, 1 Cor. 15. 10, 11. For if you look upon your self, I am dead, guilty, damned, weak, here will be shame: if any life, or Grace, this is Christs. As a man on a Mount is the same man, no taller, only the Mountain makes him so: so think of thy self. Or as a mud wall, the sun shines on it, but in it self it is a mud-wall still; all the warmth and lustre is from the Sun.

4. Learn to love Grace; what we love we will seek the good of more than our own, and commend it.

First, It's the only first mover of all our good: thou shouldst never have had a dram of peace or mercy. Why hast it? the Lord will have it so, Grace pleads it may be so; this is the only Petitioner at Court against the cry of sin, against the cry of Justice.

Secondly, 'Tis the only support under the heaviest evills; sometime God frowns, and Hell smokes, and Satan tempts, and sin rageth, and it may be no feeling of Grace, no reason to shew there shall ever be any; now what have you done, what will you do? Fly for refuge to the Promise of Grace, Heb. 6. 18. It is such a Friend as holds up the head when sinking, when dying holds that, when all fails, and against which the gates of Hell cannot prevail. To him that laies hold on Grace, this is wonderful; Paul was a man taken with Grace: hence he eve­ry where commends it, I was received to mercy, &c. 1 Tim. 1. 13, 14.

5. See how the Lord loves that thou shouldest honour it, for the greatest ho­nour Grace hath is by Faith; hence they are put for one, Rom. 4. 16. and the great cause why Faith stirs not, is because he sees not how the Lord shall have by it the praise of his rich Grace, nor how the Lord loves it should do so. For if a man did see how by Faith he shall honour Grace, and how the Lord is pleased with it, it would draw the heart to be assured, and to bless Grace; for when the Soul feels it self at worst, why doth it not believe? I shall presume: True, if you have this only in your eye to save your self; but if the Spirit presents the glo­ry of Grace, and this draws your will that you will glorifie Grace, then you will say 'tis no presumption so to do, and so to believe, for the Lord loves his Grace, and all means for the glory of Grace. Hence he will use Faith for that end, to ho­nour [Page 67] Grace. Oh therefore see how the Lord loves to have thee honour it. This gives Gods heart full rest; this is that which he desires most, because 'tis his end: This is that which all the business of the world is for: Oh see how he loves it! and then you will love to act thus. Now set upon this last work: look over all your life, and like Bees gather honey from every flower, and then come loaden home; so do you, and look over all the Lords love, turn over all the leaves of it: The Lord hath now called me; why? it's because Christ hath redeemed; and why that? because the Father hath chosen; and why me? to glorifie his Grace: And why me rather than another? No reason, but he would. This I doubt not will be the work of Heaven, I am glorified because called, because redeemed, be­cause elected, for none other reason why, and here astonished. You have not christian hearts in you, that will now have no care to do this work there before you are turned off the stage: you poor doubting Spirits, that see so much vileness, and cannot be perswaded; be not discouraged. Wait for the Lord, and say, if he shall save, I shall for ever love him the more. Now hold here, an [...] be ready to do so, and it's certain thou art a vessel of Glory, ready to sing the Song of the Lamb, and shalt follow him where-ever he goes.

Concerning the Souls immediate closing with the Person of Christ, as the proper Object of Saving-Faith.

3. Went forth to meet the Bride-Groom.


Here needs the Explication of Three Things.

1. VVHo is the Bride-groom?

Answ. The conclusion of this Parable is the Explication of this, viz. the Son of Man, the Lord Jesus Christ, who accor­ding to the several conditions, or dispositions the Church is in, appears to his Church under several relations and titles. The Church is op­pressed by her enemies, he appears now to her as her Prince and King: the Church wants wisdom, light, and life, he appears now unto her as an head. The Church hath been seeking of his love, and yielding her self to the obedience of him as her Lord: at last he appears more fully to her as an Husband, or as a Bride-groom with whom she is to have her nearest and everlasting fellowship and communion, and so here. And when Christ comes to shew most special love, and to have most special fellowship with his people, he thus stiles himself, Isal. 54. 5, 6. So Iohn 3. 29. And when the Church hath tasted that love, she calls him so.

II. What it is to meet the Bride-groom?

Answ. To enjoy fellowship and familiarity with him.

III. What is it [to go forth to meet] the Bride-groom?

Answ. There are but three wayes of going forth to meet with Christ in Scripture.

1. When Soul and Body at the last Day meet the Lord in the clouds of the air, 1 Thes. 4. 17. Thus the whole Church, the Bride shall appear in glory to meet the Bride-groom.

[Page 68] 2. When the Soul only goeth out of the Body by the ministry of Angels to meet the Lord in Heaven, as Paul that knew not whether in or out of the body, 2 Cor. 12. 3. We know it here shall go out of the body: as Christ is said when he went to Heaven, I go to my Father, and your Father; so it goes forth then to Christ, Eccles. 12. 7. and neither of these can be meant here, for

First, [...]his shews the [...] of the Jewish Church long before Christs coming, at least among many of them.

Secondly, Because the shutting out, vers. 10. is by and at Death: hence let­ting in is so too. Now this was before.

3. When the Soul goes out or it self by Faith: hence Iohn 6. 35. 'tis called com­ing to Christ; and this not any Physical natural departing of the Soul out of the body, but Ethical, supernatural, by the operations of the Soul out of [...] self. And look as the whole Soul by unbelief departs from God in Christ, so the whole Soul by Faith comes again unto God by Christ. The mind sees, affections make af­ter him, will fastens on him, and there depends. This is the first work of Faith, or the first Faith, the coming (as in all motions there are two extreams) of the Soul from a nothingness, emptiness in it self, to an allness and fulness in Christ: And as 'tis in other motions, if there was a vacuum, there would be motus in instanti; so if there was an emptiness seen in the world, and all the works of it, and in all fears that all mountains were cast down, Faith then would sud­denly come by the Spirit to the Lord Jesus, and this coming to Christ is not meant here: For

First, These Virgins were espoused to Christ by Faith already.

Secondly, At the first coming to Christ it goes to the Lord for life in him, and from him; but here having life already, they go forth to live with him: there the Soul goes out to meet him in the Gospel, in the Promise; here the Virgins go forth to meet him in Glory. There the Soul goes to be justified by him, here the Virgins go to be glorified with him: and therefore 'tis meant of a second going out of the Soul by some special acts of Faith, after that it doth believe, and after 'tis ready for him. And for Explication.

From whence doth the Soul go?Quest. 1.

It's chiefly going out of this world by trampling this Moon under her feet,Answ. by forgetting this her Fathers house, by a holy contempt of it, and a holy dying to it, and all the glory of it. For 'tis a thousand to one if Satan doth not intangle here, if Lot be not taken with Sodom though burnt out there; and if this going out is to enjoy the Lord in another world chiefly, then going out is from the opposite terme, from this world. Hence Paul singles out this mercy, Gal. 1. 4. Christ gave himself to deliver us from this present evil world. Oh say men, 'tis a good world, and good being here. 'Tis an evil world: 'tis so when Death comes, but for present 'tis best. No, 'tis a present evil world.

By what acts of Faith doth it go forth?Quest. 2.

There be two affections of the Soul that chiefly look to a good absent,Answ. yet lo­ving that good, go forth to meet it, and those are Hope and Desire; like the blind man and the lame, both together can make a shift to go. Hope like the eye goes out and looks, Desire like the feet runs out and longs. The going forth therefore to meet Christ, is: 1. By a real expectation of him. 2. By a longing desire to be with him. Hope gets on the top of the world, and cries, Oh I see him, Desire stands by and longs for him, Oh come Lord. A careless blind world look not for him, nor after him, the Saints do. Heb. 9. 28. An earthly-minded world longs not for him, the Bride doth, Rev. 22. 17, 20. Oh come Lord Iesus, come quickly; by love and joy we imbrace and entertain the Bride-groom, by hope and desire we go forth to meet the Bridegroom. Hence many things are to be observed, and yet not all I might.

THat the object to which Faith chiefly looks,Doct. 1. and closeth with, is the Person of the Lord Iesus.

'Tis the Bride-groom himself that the Virgins chiefly have to do withall; they are espoused to him, as in Marriage; there is a giving of themselves one unto ano­ther; they make themselves ready for him, they go out to meet him: 'Tis him they love, 'tis him they want, 'tis him they look for, 'tis him they close withal [...]. Whorish lovers look not after him, but his: his peace to comfort them when in horror and fear, his mercy to save them from eternal flames; but Virgins look to him, they look to [His] indeed, but 'tis himself chiefly they care for, Iohn 1. 12. to so many as received him, he gave power to be Sons, Iohn 6. 27. when the people followed him, but it was for loaves: Labour not for bread that perisheth, bu [...], &c. for him hath the Father sealed, Mat. 13. 44. The man did not buy the Treasure, but bought the field: 'tis him Faith seeks for, Ier. 50. 4. They shall seek the Lord weeping; 'tis him Faith chuseth, and is contented with, Whom have I in Heaven but thee? Psal. 73. 25. 'Tis him Faith glories in, Isai. 45. 25. In him shall all the Seed of Israel glory.


'TIs chiefly and firstly the Person of Christ that the Father gives unto the Soul, Isai. 9. 6. hence Faith laies hold on him:Reas. 1. 'Tis not seemly to keep [...] Portion from any, much less Orphans Portion. Faith empties a man so as it makes him the poorest Or [...]han in the world; now the Father cannot, will not keep back his Portion, but gives it him: Wicked men have their Portion in this world, Psalm 17. 14. and they think the Lord loves them because he blesseth them: they have many moral excellencies given them, which makes them honou­red and lovely in the eyes of men, and they have honour, and that is their reward; they have bread, but not the staff of bread, they have Ordinances, but not the Lord in them: the Lord gives them answer to many Prayers, but never gives them himself, nor his Son; this is highest love. But 'tis his Son himself he gives to Orphan, fatherless, helpless creatures, for the Lord is their Portion, Lam. 3. 24. The portion of Iacob, Ier. 10. 16. hence 'tis him that Faith receives, and pitcheth upon; so that the Lord may deny them many outward, many inward Blessings, yet they have himself that's better than all, better as he said than Ten Sons. Children may be Prodigals for a time, but when in want, they will then sue for their Portion. Saints for a time may mispend all Times, Talents, Ordi­nances the Lord gives, but the Lord will bring them to want, and then they will sue for their Portion, and the Lord will give, and they will receive that.

Because there is no satisfying of the Father without him;Reas. 2. bring Benjamin with you, or never look to see my face. The conscience of a man can never be pacified until God is satisfied for all wrongs. Now the Lord Jesus hath satisfied, nay perfected for ever them that are sanctified, by once offering up of himself to God, Heb. 10. 14. Now the soul never comes to have setled peace in his own conscience (though peace was purchased before) but by offering up of the Lord Jesus by Faith, even Christ himself: the Soul wants him, the Father shews a Ram in the bush, gives Christ; and that the Soul gives him for satisfaction, and offers him to God again. As the Priests in the Old law, when the Sacrifice was slain, then it was offered. God offers the Soul a crucified Son, Faith takes him and offers him, Lord behold thy Son, Rom. 3. 25. And hence comes Propitiation and [Page 70] peace, peace to see that God is satisfied. Now if by Faith we come to have the peace of the Fathers satisfaction with us, then it must needs pitch upon the person of the Son first. Hence many never have peace, because 'tis not a Son himself they look for, but somewhat from him: they are blind, and dead, and hard, and these things they would have helped, but close not with Christ him­self.

Because the Soul can neither actually receive,Reason 3. nor expect to receive any thing from Christ, unless it hath first pitcht upon the person of Christ. A man may hope he shall, and presume and think he shall, and it may be receive somewhat out of the common courtesie Christ shews to them that look towards him, but ne­ver shall receive any saving-good thing till now, Iohn 6. 53. Unlesse ye eat the flesh of the Son of God, and drink his Blood, ye have no life. Look as 'tis in our eat­ing, as if a man should seek to get nourishment out of meat or drink, not by feed­ing on it it self; so 'tis here: Some said this was a hard saying, and so 'tis to a car­nal heart, Rom. 8. 32. And hence observe when the Lord promiseth any great thing to his people, Isai. 7. 14. he ever brings in the Lord Jesus, that if he shall be given, then all things also.

Because true Faith ever closeth with Christ by love to Christ,Reason 4. as false Faith closeth with him out of self-love, Cant. 1. 2, 3. The Virgins love thee: that's love indeed which is set upon the person. The Lord never puts his Pearl, nor sets it in a swinish faith that contemns the Son: no, 'tis a precious Faith that loves the Lord. Hence it carries the soul to the Beloved.


HEnce see the reason why the Lord keeps his people hungry,Use 1. and empty, and cuts them short of many spiritual Blessings: 'tis that they might [...]lose with, and be contented with the Person of the Son. There are three things some of Gods people seek for, and find not, if the Lord intends good to them.

1. They desire the comforts, and conveniencies, and peace of this World, Oh rest is sweet! and the Lord will give them none of these, or keep them at short commons with these: and why? that they might lay up their peace, and find all in himself, Gen. 15. 1, 2. Abraham after the slaughter of the Kings was in fear that he might make the Lord his shield, Hos. 2. 6, 7. She shall seek her Lovers, but shall not overtake them.

2. They seek for some good to themselves, in themselves, from themselves; I would fain believe and cannot; I would fain do (sayes a man) but alass he grows worse and worse; the commandment comes, you will do, there is your task, do it, yet they languish and dye, and why so? Ier. 3. 23. that they might look for help and righteousness in another, In the Lord our God is the salvation of Israel; not from the Mountains the strongest helps and means; in the Lord 'tis alone.

3. They seek for Grace, and strength, and peace from the Lord Jesus very im­portunately, and many times very impatiently, and so sinfully too, and the Lord denies them; it hath been better with them than now, therefore they wonder the Lord should be so full, and they so empty, and think sometimes to seek no more, and the Lord denies a dole at this door to, that they might content them­selves, and lay up their joyes in the Lord Jesus Christ, 2 Cor. 12. 9. My Grace is sufficient; It's strange that Christ so able, so ready to help, yet denies: I confess 'tis sometimes some lust and stumbling-block the Lord Jesus sees, Oh but against that they seek, and truly here is the cause, that having no good from him, they might place all their happiness and felicity in him. Look as it was with Iacob, a great Famine co [...]es, and all the sacks are s [...]ent, and they are used roughly, though not hardly nor wrongfully, and all was to bring them to the sight and embrace­ings [Page 71] of Ioseph: all the time of Famine was for this. So the famine of Spirit is to last long, and the Lord denies supply, to bring the Soul to see, embrace, and re­joyce in the Lord Jesus: the most flourishing Trees in Gods House shall have their winter season, and cast their coat, that they might preserve themselves in their root. This is the great wound of many a believing soul for a time, to rest more contented with what he receives from the Lord, than to quiet himse [...]f and his heart with what is in the Lord: Man would have his lost happiness in his own hand, and this the Lord will not suffer his people to lye in long, Gen. 26. 4. and the best and surest course that can be taken, is to cut them short of all; for Faith is an unconquerable Grace, that whatever it loseth out of its own hand, it will find it and enjoy it in another. And therefore see Gods end, and meet the Lord in this end of his. See all in the Lord, and seeing your blessedness there in all your wants, lay it up there, that if you will boast, here you may do it all the day long: for this is Gods greatest plot to pull all men down that his Son may be set up, to wither all the grass and be [...]uty of all the flowers of the field, that the glory of the Lord might be revealed. I must here give you a taste, for it doth me good to think, and it will do you more good to enjoy the sweetnesse of this Truth. There are four Things you desire all, which are chiefly laid up in Christ, to that end that you might in all wants quiet your hearts with unspeakable peace there.

1. The free Grace and love of the Father, this is that I hope which you prize most, pray for most, fear the loss of most, would rejoyce in the having of most, without which thy life is death, and blessings curses, and death the beginning of Hell. Would you see this love better than life to thee? Oh I cannot see it, or but very little of it. 'Tis true, look upon your selves you can see but little, many fears, many tears, many heart-sorrows, many temptations, many desertions, ma­ny vexing sins, many denyals to your Prayers; but Oh look up to that Ointment which is poured upon this blessed head, that love that is shed abundantly upon the Son from before all worlds, and look what love, what Grace the Father shews to him, that love is thine; that love in him is shewn to thee, 2 Tim. 1. 9, 10. Here stand amazed all ye people of the Lord, you have heard the Lord loves you, and sometime believe it, but being under water, cannot conceive of it, nor see how he loves you, how dearly, how abundantly; Oh look now upon the love of God the Father in the Son, as he loves him, so he loves thee a worm, a Devill, notwithstanding all thy want, all thy sins, all thy miseries, Iohn 17. 23, 26.

2. Life: Oh Death is terrible, and a dead heart is woful, 'tis the great plague that lies upon men without Christ, that are strangers to the life of God, Eph. 4. 18. Is thy heart ever so joyed as when it's most enlarged for God, and hath most de­light and liberty in the wayes of God: alas thy life is but a lingering sickness, a poor life to that which thou hast in Christ. Oh look up there, Col. 3. 3. You think when your hearts are affected, and warmed, and quickened in Prayer by word, or by Divine thoughts, &c. Oh if it might be ever so, how happy! Oh but it dyes presently, and thou kowest not how. Look up to the Lord Jesus, he is alive when thou art dead, and his life is thine, and 'tis ever thine in him, even e [...]ernal life, 1 Iohn 5. 10, 11, 12. This is the record, that he hath given us eternal life; alas I find none: Oh 'tis in his Son, in whom thou livest a better life than Men, than Kings, than Angels. And I doubt not but the Lord suffers Tempta­tions to rob you of your life, that you might find it when 'tis lost here, and re­joyce that when you have none, yet here it is: blessed be God, he will keep our lives as the life of Iacob was knit up, and bound up in the life of the child; nay that life is ours.

3. Conquest and Victory over all Enemies; it may be you say often, the Lord hath commanded me to seek for help, and he will help, he hath promised so to do, but I find my Distempers still raging, Satan still buffeting, and winnowing, [Page 72] and vexing, and fo [...]ling: and as I feel many, so I fear more sorrows before I dye, and then Death and delusion, that at last I may be deceived: Nay the agonies of Hell many times assault me, and then I am put to a loss, that is it possible I should escape? why Beloved, the Lord Jesus conquered Death, and Sin, and Hell, and the Grave, and Satan, with all the strength of darkness and delusion, and hath spoiled them, Col. 2. 14, 15. And now he is in Heaven in his Kingdom tri­umphing over them, that they cannot hurt him. I but what is that to me? Why this very Victory is thine: hence we are said to be dead with him, Rom.6. 8. and risen with him, Col. 3. 1. Nay to sit in Heavenly places as it were triumphing in him, in glory with him, Eph. 2. 6. Nay Heb. 10. 14. He hath by one offering per­fected his people for ever that are sanctified: 'Tis true, you may rejoyce in that you shall conquer, but Oh remember this, 'tis done already in thy Head, and in thy Husband.

4. Immutability and certainty of standing in a happy estate, for this is that which sads the heart, I shall fall at last. How is it possible but I should be so? no Beloved, look [...]pon the Lord Jesus, in him thou art, if he can fall, if he can dye, if he can be cast from the Fathers face, then thou maist; believe that I live, you shall live also, Iohn 14. 19. Adam indeed was chosen to be head of Man­kind, and as when he stood perfect we stood, so (though mutably) he falling we fall: so we are chosen in Christ, and as he stands unchangeably, so we stand, and as he was tempted every way, yet did not, could not fall, no more canst thou: so that Oh that the Lord would give you hearts to learn this lesson, when there is no­th [...]ng but want in thee; Do not shift so much for a little from the Lord, but see Gods end and rach it. Oh rejoyce, glory in, and bless the Lord. This was Paul's life, and the life of the Churches first planted. Oh bless the Lord for all spiritual blessings in Christ; this will be joy in sorrow, life in death, this is golden Faith, this will answer all fears; when Satan saith thou hast not this or that, nor canst not do this nor that, and to Hell therefore thou must go: Reply again, 'tis true, I have little, I am dead, but Christ lives for ever; I am under miseries, Christ is triumphing in Heaven for ever: I may fall in my self, I never can fall in him; that which he hath is mine.

'Tis true they may do this that know the Lord Iesus is theirs, but alass I know not that.Object.

If you do not you must wait then untill the Lord make himself known unto you: but tell me,Answ. will you do this, if you did thus know it? It may be some of you have not done so, unless by force sometimes, and you will find it one of the toughest works of Faith that is: What is a poor man better for anothers wealth? and a sick man for anothers health, and a naked man when others are cloathed? Yet Beloved, by vertue of the power of Faith, and our union to the Lord Jesus, a man is the better. A Woman that is matcht to a Prince may have never a penny in her purse, and yet she rejoyceth in that her Husband hath it. It's the secret nature of Faith to make a man all one with Christ, in Christ, in that manner that I cannot find such an union in the world; and hence his health, his cloaths, his Grace, his life may be matter of as much joy as if a man had all this in himself. And because many a soul hath Christ, but feeling such emptiness in himself, as that he cannot think so, and it may be would do so if he saw whether he might do so or no: I shall therefore express my thoughts to them thus in these particu­lars.

1. That all that fulness that is in the Lord Jesus, 'tis not for himself, but for them that want it, Iohn 17. 19. he might have been blessed in his Fathers bosom without thee; why should he therefore live, and do, and suffer, and rise, and glo­rifie his blessed Nature, but for them that wanted this. He is filled with wisdom, life, strength, because men are blind, dead, weak.

[Page 73] 2. But you will say, all the world want it, and yet few in the world shall ever have any share there, therefore all them in the world that hunger after all that good that is in him, they may now in the absence of it content themselves with it, that there 'tis in him for them, for the Lord fills the hungry, and so hun­gry as 'tis not something or other that they pick out, but all Christ, and all of that is in Christ: now is the season to eat, if bread and hunger meet, now satisfie your self. 2 Cor. 12. 9. Paul prayed, and the Lord denyed, yet now the Lord bid him feed on his Grace: so that when thy heart asks what hast thou to do with him when so vile? answer, Yet the Lord hath all, and I want him, and hunger after him. Take heed of despising his Grace; if thou hast no hunger, the Lord be merciful to thee!

3. If you have so contented your selves with him, as now you place all your fe­licity in him, to this end, to receive life from him, as a man satisfies himself with bread that he may have life: for as I would not damp the Fa [...]th of the Elect, no more would I patronize the sloth of the wicked. Many a man it may be may say, I have nothing in my self, and all is in Christ, and comfort himself there, and so fall asleep; hands off and touch not this Ark, lest the Lord slay thee: a christ of clouts would serve your turn as well. Run not to this Temple to make it a Denn of your thievish heart; no, do you so content, or will you so content your selves with him, as to account your selves happy here, that all the world is Dung in re­spect of this; and this you do to suck and receive more from Christ, and so to be like him: now hold here, and live here, and rejoyce here for ever, Phil. 3. 9, 10, 11. Isai. 12. 2, 3. First, The Lord is my Song and Salvation; therefore we, will draw hence: if the Lord gives nothing, yet I have it in him; if he gives any thing, the honour shall be given to him. Oh take this course: 1. Lest you lose Christ and all too. 2. Lest the Lord ever keep you short in a complaining con­dition. 3. That you may be every day and moment in Heaven, and win the Crown from every Hypocrite who knows not what this life in Christ means.

4. That the Lord may be your glory, for he is not only the glory of God, but of his people Israel too. 5. That you may love your selves the lesse, and the Lord the more.


HEnce see a necessity of seeing & knowing Christ,Use 2. before a man can believe, or if ever the soul believe; for if Faith closeth with the person of the Lord Je­sus, the same Faith must first see that person: If it takes the Bride-groom himself, it must see and know him first. Did you ever see any espoused together that did not first see and know each other? the eye must first see, my meaning is, there must precede this act of the understanding to see Christ, before a man can close with Christ by his will: for I aim not at this, whether it goes before in time, but in order of nature it does precede, and absolutely necessary it is: hence Iohn 6. 40. He that seeth and believeth in the Son hath eternal life: this is so necessary to Faith, that Faith it self puts on this name, Isai. 53. 11. By his knowledg, Luke 19. 41. Oh that thou hadst known. Isai. 46. 22. Look unto me and be saved. And hence unbelief in Scripture is exprest by being blinded, Rom. 11. 7, 8. for though Christ be absent from us on earth, yet that's the excellency of faith, it makes things ab­sent present, and sees unseen things, Heb. 11. 1. Iohn 8. 56. Abraham saw my day; and that's the wonderment of Saints; there is light in Gosben when all Egypt is dark, when others are blind they see, Isai. 60. 1, 2.

What is this knowledg or seeing of the Lord?Quest.

I make this question,Ans [...]. partly because this is the first chief Evangelical work, as it appears to us, nay indeed 'tis in a manner all; hence Mat. 11. 27. I thank thee [Page 74] thou hast hid these things, &c. If this be right, Faith is right, &c. And if this be not, a mans Faith is but a Fancy; and a mans Sanctification and Reformation, hopes, desires, are but the works of death and darknesse, if this Sun be not risen. And partly also because all the policy and power of Satan is to blind the eye here, for then he knowes men will stumble at every step, 2 Cor. 4. 4. He will help to beleeve, and joy in beleeving, and reformation after tha [...] joy, that a man might content himself with this joy and Faith, and look not after the sight of Christ. And if I was to leave the world, I should leave this to be thought of, as Christ told the woman of Samaria, Ye worship whom ye know not, so men beleeve in whom they know not, and pray to one whom they know not, and depend on whom they see not, and hence do not wonder at an adulterous generation rising up that deny all evidencing of a mans justification from his sanctification, and that 'tis but a f [...]ding thing, because they never felt what it meant, because they never knew what the Lord Jesus meant, and therefore listen to it. I say therefore first what this knowledge is not, for every man hath some knowledge.

1. There is a knowledge of the Lord Jesus by report, the fame of a man may come where himself is not seen, so of Christ, there may be a fame spread of him and of some excellencies in him, where he is not savingly known, and this is not seeing of Christ, for a man may live and die a damned creature with this know­ledge. The Samaritans had some knowledge by report of the Messiah, Iohn 4. 25. When he is come he will tell us all things; so many among us hear that Christ is come and risen, and glorisied, and the Saviour of the world and of sinners, &c. But how come they to know this? By way of tradition and report only. I confesse this knowledge may be a means in the Elect to bring them to saving knowledge, as in the Q [...]een of Sheba that heard Solomons fame, and the Disciples Iohn 1. Come and see. But Reprobates are not drawn by it, as Herod, Luke 23. 8. heard many things of Christ, but never saw him till he came to judge him. So here, be­cause they can live well without Christ, hence rest content with the bare report. Whereas they that had diseases, heard of his fame, and came to see Je­sus.

2. There is a knowledg of Christ from his works, as we know what Trade and what Artificers many men be because these are external things, yet know not the man: so there is a knowledg of Christ by his works, that by him the worlds were made, Heb. 1. and all creatures governed, and a man m [...]y see him in his trading with others, and himself, all comes from him, that a man may say, the Lord hath done all this and that for me, and yet strangers to Chri [...]. And if men be ig­norant of him here, he may do such wonderful things before their eyes, that they cannot but wonder and say, this is the Lords work, and yet know him not, Met. 11. 20. He upbraided the Cities where most of his mighty works were done, but they saw him not, Iohn 15. 24. If I had not done, &c. the Lord may work strange temporal deliverances, that you may know all power is in Christs hand to save and pardon, Mat. 8. 27. so as to marvail and not envy; What manner of man is this that winds and seas obey him? 'Tis true the Saints do know the Lord here, but they are not idle spectators and receivers of them, but Oh that I might see and have that Christ himself, they do him no good, give him no content without him; as he said, What givest thou me if I go childlesse? Iohn 9. Christ had opened the blind mans eyes, and yet he cries, Lord, who is he? vers. 36, 37, 38. whereas others see the works of Christ, and vanish, or if affected, an evill spirit comes on them, as on S [...]l when he saw Davids love.

3. There is a litteral knowledg of the Lord Jesus by the bare letter only of the Word, and 'tis wrought in this manner. A man doth not only take up the know­ledg of Christ by report, nor from his works, but he hears, reads, is well Cate­chiz'd concerning Christ, and all his Offices, and Benefits, that there is much light let in; hence his mind having those litteral relations, guesseth at them, and con­ceives [Page 75] of them, and because the mind is carnal, it apprehends them in a carnal manner (though in thinks it sees Christ truly.) Hence a man having a form of this knowledg in his head, he may be able to express much, and make a large confessi­on of his Faith, disco [...]rse of points of controversie, in matters that concern Christ, and justification by Christ, &c. and instruct others, and yet having no more, know not all thi [...] while what the Lord Jesus is.

First, Because as he was a carnal Jew that had but the form of Knowledg in the Law, Rom. 2. 20. so he is but a carnal Christian that hath but a form of Know­ledg in the Gos [...]el. The Jews were exceedingly versed in Scripture, and boasted they heard God, and saw God, Christ tells them, they never heard his voice, nor saw his face, Iohn 5. 37. i. e. they only saw it litterally, not savingly.

Secondly, This is but a carnal knowledg which letter and fancy beget, 1 Cor. 2. 14. He cannot know them because they are spiritually discerned.

Thirdly, 'Tis a dead Knowledg, or will be dead and unsavory; and hence ma­ny that know much of Christ, feed on their lusts and Dunghill delights, because their Knowledg feeds them not, fills them not, as fancies do not feed.

Fourthly, 'Tis a f [...]lse Knowledg, for give a blind man a description of the Sun, or a ta [...]eless man of honey, he may set up a false Image and deceive himself, and so doth this. Many set up a false Image of Christ, and trust to that. Or as in the description of another Country, when he sees it, then he sees he was deceived: so Saints see they were deceived, and saw not Christ, nor Sin, nor God; and so shall men in He [...] see; hence Isai. 6. 9. In seeing they see not: how came that to ass? they did see, but saw not really.

Fif [...]hly, 'Tis such a Know [...]edg as hinders from saving-knowledg of Christ, Iohn 9. 39. I came that they that see might be made blind. The wise learned Corinthi­ans must become foolishness, and the light that is in thee is darkness. This light stands in your light: and yet this is the Knowledg that thousand thousands con­tent themselve [...] withall, and hence catch hold on Christ, and think they have him, when in truth 'tis but the Image and fancy of him.

What then is this knowledg or seeing of Christ?Quest.

There is a seeing of Christ after a man believes,Answ. which is Christ in his love, &c. but I speak of that first sight of him that precedes the second act of Faith, and 'tis an intuitive or real sight of him as he is in his Glory. C [...]rist reveals his wonder­ful glory to the soul really, as ex gr. A man hears sin to be the greatest evil, and sometime conceives by argument how, but sees not the thing sin, though he sees the word sin: so a man that never travailed into forraign parts, may hear, and read, and speak of Countries: or as Herbalists read of the nature of Plants and Tree [...], yet never saw the things, nay trample upon them when they see them: so it is one thing to read of the Sun in a Book, or to know it by relation, another thing to know it by sight. This is therefore the saving-knowledg of Christ, to see the Lord in his Glory as he is: not perfectly, for that is in Heaven; hence we shall there see him, and be like unto him, but imperfectly, and in part, 2 Cor. 3. 18. Changed here into the same Image. And this appears from these four Grounds.

1. That Knowledg the Saints have of Christ, 'tis not by bare word only, but also b [...] the Spirit. The word relates Christ, but the Spirit is the interpreter of the Word: the Interpreter of Heaven must interpret the language of Heaven. Now the Spirit ever shews us things as they are, even though they be deep things, and mysteries, it makes them plain, 1 Cor. 2. 9, 10. As the Sun when it ariseth it scatters all darknesse, so when this day [...]ster ariseth: Not that these things are re­vealed without the Word: for 2 Cor. 2. 14. and 2 Cor. 4. 4. lest the light of the Gospel should shine: 'tis by the Word that the Spirit doth enlighten.

2. Because the sight of the Knowledg of Christ, 'tis as the knowledg of a thing in a glass, 1 Cor. 13. 12. Now though you see not the man face to face, yet if [Page 76] you see him in a glasse, there you see him as he is: Quod videtur in speculo, non est imago, as some think. A man may know another by relation, or by some picture, but in a glass that is more full. The Jews they saw Christ, but it was under Vails and Types, and Pictures of him, this was obscure: under the Gospel the v [...]il is pulled off, aud with open face we see as in a glasse the glory of the Lord. In Heaven the glasse is taken away, and then we see as we are seen.

3. Because that estate the Saints are translated into is a state of Glory. Hence when justified, then glorified. Hence as that sanctification that is in the will is the beginning of the life of Glory, so that light God puts into their mind, is the beginning of the light of Glory. Hence as in Heaven the soul sees Christ by the full light of Glory perfectly, face to face, so in this life the soul sees Christ really as he is, yet as in a glasse imperfectly. Hence we are said to see in part.

4. In regard of that abundant goodnesse and love of Christ to his people. Love cannot lock up secrets, Ioseph hid himself from his Brethren for a time, but his bowels melt, he must tell them that he is Ioseph. Christ may do so, but his love even constrains him afterward, to let them see whom he is, Iohn 14. 21. I confesse its admirable love to reveal Christ in the Word and letter of the Gospel, to hear of him is happinesse, and if the Lord saves you, you will think so too: But this is common to wicked men; there is a manifestation of himself as he is unto his people. And now he is in Glory, hence reveals himself in his inconceiveable, Glory, that now a mans eye sees the Lord, and such things he never thought of before, which eye never saw, 1 Cor. 2. 9.

How doth the soul see him as he is?

I in this case,Quest. rather desire to learn than teach, even from the meanest;Answ. yet what is obvious I shall suggest, in this weighty businesse.

This seeing of him appears in three particulars.

1. True saving knowledge and sight of Christ consists in the sight of the glory of his person, especially now caught up to Heaven, and sitting at the right hand of God, in all the Glory of the Father. Look as at the Judgment-day the Lord shall break out of Heaven in such Glory as shall amaze all the world, and all eyes shall see him, that he shall not only be admired in himself, but in all his Saints, by all that are round about him: just so doth the soul see him now (though nor by the eye of sense, yet by the eye of Faith) though not come to judge the world, yet now ruling of the world; though not in the clouds, yet in Heaven; though his Humanity only in Heaven, yet his God-heads beams filling Heaven and Earth; though not yet coming in the Fathers Glory, yet sitting clothed with the Fathers Glory: for if a man looks on Creatures, he sees Gods foot-steps of power; if on Angels and Saints, Gods Image of Holinesse; if in Christ, there God himself, 2 Cor. 4. 4, 5, 6, 7. 'Tis true then Christs Glory shall be seen by the Wicked, but that's by sense, not by Faith, that is only in their minds, but there is no shining into the heart, to the kindling of an infinite esteem of him: and this the god of this World hides from people; Christ the Lord of another world in spight of Sa­tan reveals to his people. Before a man sees Christ, there is nothing more base than Christ, even to the Elect, and then the wayes and work of Christ, I [...]r. 2. 11. Have any Heathen changed their gods? these change their glory for that which doth not profit: now the Lord will be, must be esteemed of his people; hence will and doth reveal this Glory of his to his Saints, whereas here others are blind.

2. In the beholding of the Lord as he come [...] and appears in the Glory of his Covenant, for when the Lord reveals himself so as to cause the soul to believe, and thereby to make it one of his people, he never makes any a people, but by en­tring into Covenant with them. Hence he ever appears in his Covenant first, Isai. 49. nlt. Look as when the Lord made him a people at Mount Sinai, Moses [Page 77] came down from [...] with Tables in his hands, &c. So when Christ comes to make any his people, he comes as Mediator of a be [...]ter Te [...]ament, Heb. 7. 22. On Mount Sion, Heb. 12. 22, 24. No [...] look as it was with the Is­raelites, 2 Cor. 3. they had the Covenant of Christ, and Christ revealed; but as Moses face was covered, [...]o theirs w [...]s, and Christ the [...]e was vailed over with the Law, even the Moral Law written in stone. Hence there was a vail on their hearts too, they could not see Christ, the end of the L [...]w, but only the Vail, viz. the Law, and hence looked for life by that, and hence we [...]e hadened against Christ, Rom. 9. 31, 32. So 'tis the misery and blindnesse of many people at this day, they see the Lord Jesus, but with his vail on: for people being not able to see and pri [...]e the glory of Christ immediatly, the Lord appears with the law first, requiring this and that, and they endeavour to do it; and hence if they cannot, they comfort themselves with this, the Lord accepts my endeavours, not seeing the hypocrisie of them, or else they are never at [...]eace, or very seldom; and why? because they see not to the end of that which is abolished, never saw the end, the Lord Jesus Chr [...]st. Now therefore when the Lord reveals himself, the Lord makes himself known without the vail, so that when conscience cries you must do what ever is commanded, or dye, the Lord Jesus now comes and appears, and saith, therefore see what need thou hast of me, who have fulfilled all Righte­ousness, and done all. Receive m [...] that have done it, and thou shalt live. Oh but may I now live as I [...]ist? Am I now free from the Law? No, 'tis to be thy Rule and life in Heaven, but I will write my Laws in thy heart, and cause thee to walk in my wayes. Hence the soul sees all done for him; 1. In Christ. 2. All that he is to do for Christ; he sees it not in me [...]ns, nor in himself, but in the Lords promise, and here Faith hangs, and hath peace. For two things trou­ble,

First, I have broke the first Covenant of the Law, Christ appears not as one that exacts the Debt, but as one that comes to enrich him when poor.

Secondly, I cannot walk after it as a Rule, Christ appears in this Covenant, and promiseth to cause him to do it; and hence after all departings from the Lord, he will not depart further by unbel [...]ef, but sees the end of the Law, which is Christ, that in him he may perform the Covenant, and by him be strengthned to walk with him as after a Rule: For the Covenant of Grace is not, Christ will be rigthteousnesse to thee if thou wilt walk after the Law as a Rule, but Christ will do both: and this the soul sees in it's Glory, else it's no sight. Hence 2 Cor. 3. Gospel is called The ministration of Glory, which no carnal heart can see, for the vail is taken away when it turns to the Lord, and sees him. The Saints on­ly with open face behold this: 'Tis true for a ti [...]e they may make of Christ a Mo­ses, as Peter, Luke 5. 8. Lord depart from me, I am a sinful man. And the Lord may deal roughly with them to hu [...]b [...]e them, as Ioseph did to his Breth [...]en, but it will not ever hold; and the Lord [...]ppearing thus to them that have been stung by the Law, and that killing letter, now [...]he Lord appears in ineff [...]ble Beauty and Glory; To others there is nothing in it, they may see this, yet not be­lieve.

3. In seeing the Lord in the Glory of his Grace, or fitnesse for him, and this is the main: for look as 'tis in Marriage, there is a respect to Beauty and feature, and that draws. Now a Woman sometimes appears to one so, that though Por­tion be great, &c. yet he cannot like, another can because God hath a hand in it, and what fits the fancy, that's beauty: there is a sutablenesse every way. So Christ is presented with a rich portion to many, and yet they cannot like, cannot see a Beauty, because they cannot see a fitnesse and sutablenesse to them, and for them: another man can, because he sees a fitnesse and sutablenesse in the Lord Jesus for him, in res [...]ect of his misery and sin, and his gracious disposi [...]ion, Iohn 1. 14. But we saw his glory full of Grace and truth. Psalm 45. 2. Thou art fairer than the [Page 78] children of men, full of Grace are thy lips: which is so beautiful in the Lords eyes, that the Father hence exalts the Son, for all the Grace he shews to his Elect. Now what makes Christ appear fit? Answ. The knowledg of a mans self, and sense of vilenesse; hence Luke 7. 29, 30. The Pharisees despised the counsel of God against themselves, when Publicans justified God, &c. And 'tis a Rule, that the saving-knowledg of Christ is dependant upon the sensible knowledg of a mans self. Let a Christian in Christ lye in his sins, and comfort himself in Re­mission of them without repentance, he may talk of Christ, but no beauty will appear in Christ: So 'tis at first, first the Soul feels sin, and that God is holy, and will hate him: then the Lord shews Christ; come to call such. Yea but I have no good, and cannot help my self; Christ appears fit to seek out such. Oh but I cannot see, nor believe, nor be affected; Christ appears one fit to do all, full of wisdom to perform the Second Covenant. Oh but I want all things; Christ ap­pears all-sufficient. Oh but I shall fall; Christ appears constant in his love. Oh but he is far to seek; Christ appears present. Oh but I shall sin; Christ appears merciful to bear with, and heal infirmities. Oh but I shall believe too soon; he is fit to prepare and dispose. Oh but all the world will be against me; Christ there­fore appears fit to rule all for me. Oh but Death and Grave may hurt me; Christ appears fit who hath conquered all: and this is ever in the Saints. Now least you should think you have this when you have not; and know it not, see the evi­dences hereof.

1. If ever the Lord hath thus revealed himself to thee, he hath brought this light out of darkness, and made thee sensible of it, 2 Cor. 4. 5, 6. Oh you that have been a little troubled, and then hear of Christ, and then depend on him, and wait for comfort from him, and now you are well: you never yet saw him. Nay if truly enlightened, you will go mourning to your Graves for your ignorance of him, Prov. 30. 2. and seldom is your darkness seen and felt, but there is some beam let in.

2. It damps the glory of all the world, that a man laies down all at Christ feet, as the Wise-men Mat. 2. As glow-worm-stars go out when the light of the Sun a­riseth, so all the comforts, and all the miseries of the world are nothing now, Acts 7. I see Jesus.

3. It makes a man very vile in his own eyes, Isai. 6. 5. Nay his excellency vile as Isaiah his tongue, and wonders that the Lord should look upon him a Worm who is so glorious. What am I that the Mother of my Lord should come to me, &c. He see; Christ fit, and then sees his Glory, and then saith, What me Lord? me to stand before thee? Lord depart, I am a sinful man!

4. It necessitates the heart to believe, not with assurance, but with a clinging to him: Hypocrites have knowledg of Christ, but it never heats the heart; this as fire necessarily heats, and that which is put to it is heated; so here, for the sight of the last end doth necessitate when 'tis seen, Isai. 55. 4, 5. They shall run to thee, because God hath glorified thee, Rom. 1. 16, 17. 'tis the power of God, for there is righteousness revealed: that though the Lord bids depart, yet he cannot be gone, nay when he concludes, yet as Ionah 2. 4. so he can see to a Temple through the belly of a Whale. Many say, may I believe? or I cannot prize him! I tell you when the Lord appears as he is, you cannot resist that light, but you must cling to him.

5. Where this is, a man rests not here, but sees more and more of him, Iohn 1. 49, 50. A man sees now his Glory, but after he shall see his love, and after that he shall know his mind, 1 Cor. 2. 9. Eph. 1. 9. The mystery of his will. And then his constant presence, and all his walkings with him and towards him, so as to be familiar with him, that in time of old Age he shall be an Acquaintance of Christs, 2 Cor. 3. 18. From glory to glory; whereas an hypocrites light goes out or grows not. He [...]ce many ancient standers take all their comfort from the first [Page 79] work, and droop when in old age. I know the Saints light is obscured, and the Lord [...]ides his face, but then they are troubled, and it shall break out with healing in his wings. Nay all their life time they may think they know him not, be­cause they have not those measures. Oh therefore see a necessity of it.

1. You that are vile, and ignorant of Christ, no Faith yet, no Christ yet: And what then? Thy sins are upon thee now, and wo to thee, for the wrath to come. Oh poor creature! thou dost not see, nor canst not see, if thou didst, thou wouldst not crucifie the Lord of Glory.

2. You that be Professouts of the Church. Oh deceive not your selves, if the Lord hath enlightened you, Oh blesse him. If Christ were here, he would blesse you, Mat. 13. 16. Nay when he was here, he did it, he doth it in Heaven. I thank thee Father, &c. Mat. 11. 25. Luke 10. 21. But if not, all is unsound, that ever you had. Oh therefore look you be not deceived here, and therefore wait upon the Lord to manifest himself, Who knows but the Lord may help? Nay when you are feeling of the infinite need of it, and of your own woful blind­nesse, 'tis begun.


SEE the happinesse of Saints (all you standers by) and of all Believers.Use 3. You think what are they? What have they, that I have not? What get they by seeking, by mourning? They have the Lord himself, not Kingdoms, nor Hea­ven, not guard of Angels, no [...] pardon, nor comfort or Grace only, but which is greater, and than which there can be no greater, the Lord of Glory himself. Is there any thing that is good there? 'tis theirs. I doubt not but Angels stand a­mazed at this. What hast thou? Thou hast peace, and ease, and duties, and friends, but no Christ, then poor and cursed thou art.


HEnce le [...]rn to judge of your Faith,Use 4. whether it be of the right make or no? whether it be such a Faith as will never fail you, but shall in deepest miseries, in sore [...]t agonies, and most furious temptations; nay in greatest sins and deserti­ons, be indeed a friend unto you? Is it such a Faith as pitcheth on, and closeth with the person of Christ himself, and him alone? So that all the delights in creatures quiet thee not, unlesse thou canst find him through them; Nay no Ordinances cheer thee, unlesse thou canst see him in them: Nay, Heaven it self will not content thee, but him in Heaven, Psal. 73. 25. And hence 'tis him thou seekest, 'tis him thou feet, 'tis him thou approvest thy self unto, and ser­vest: So that 'tis this Rock of ages thou trustest to, Isa. 26. 3, 4. 'Tis his strength thou art strong by, 'tis his life thou livest by, 'tis the Lord himself that thy Faith fadoms. This is right, 1 Pet. 2. 7. For now what good can the Father deny thee, when he hath given a Son to thee? What hurt can Satan do thee by all his shakings, when thou hast the Son himself, this corner-stone, this horn of sal­vation to support thee? What hurt can the Law do thee, when thou hast righteousnesse in a Son? What hurt can delusion do thee, when thou hast wis­dom ever plotting for thy good, in such a glorious Head as the Son? What hurt can death do thee, or sin do thee, when thy life is in the Son? Oh lead me to the Rock, saith David, that is higher than I. Oh here is a rock higher than death, than grave, than sin, than Satan, Who can hurt thee now? But oh Beloved, how many fall short of entring into this rest? and closing with this person? And [Page 80] there are four sorts of them, that spin the finest thread of deceit to themselves▪ that think they believe when yet they have not the Son.

1. Those that do not close with himself, but only come to him for some righ­teousness out of himself (for I shall not speak of them that forsake all, and follow Christ for the bagg and for the loaves) for 'tis with all men living naturally, as 'tis with men that have been rich shop-keepers, but now they are broke, and cast into great want; steal they will not, digg they cannot, begg they know not how; turn Prentice to another they must not, they have not been used to that life; hence they resolve to set up their Trade again, though they sell but Pins, and Points, and small Wares; and because they cannot set up for themselves, they go unto Mer­chants to help them, and run into their Books on trust, and desire day and pati­ence, and they will pay them all again: now 'tis not the man that they respect, but to make up their markets out of him; but alass they cannot pay their Debts, and hence to Prison they go: so 'tis here, God set up Adam with a stock in his own hand, now he is broken and cast into great want, and fears the arrest of Gods displeasure, now sin men dare not, digg and help themselves they cannot, and to begg and live upon the Lord and his Alms they know not how, indeed they will not, they are not used to this life; hence seek to set up their Trade again, though in never so small duties; and because they cannot help themselves, hence they go to Christ, not as to an Husband for himself, but as to a Merchant to set them up again: and truly Christ for many ends, and to shew his freenesse to his own, gives many Talents to such, which they receiving hope to please the Lord by; when I can get the Lord to give me some more knowledg, brokennesse, affe­ctions, enlargements, abilities to do, then I hope I shall please him: but either they spend all and fall away to nothing before they dye, or else Death come; and carries them captive to the judgement-seat of God, and there they see they are run but the deeper in Debt, and not able to pay. Thus it is with Papists who profess that none of their own Works save, but his works in us, and his Blood me­riting, that thes [...] shall save. Hence they trust not to what they do, but to what the Lord does, against which very Faith the Apostle disputes, Rom. 4. 5. Thus it was with the Jews, divers despised Christ, and sought a righteousness of their own; others cryed Lord, Lord: Lord there be these sins that wring my Consci­ence, ease me of them, here be these duties I must do, else never saved, and my heart is dead, Oh affect me, and help me to do them: there be such works I am to perform, and have no strength to Pray, to Prophesie, Lord assist me, Mat. 7. 21, 22. Depart, I know you not, never accepted of you, you thought these things would please me, you closed not with me, Oh now depart from me, from my fellowship, my bosom, my presence: for this is ever their frame, they think to pacifie God by what they do, and though they think his justice cannot, yet they hope there is such indulgence in his mercy that he will accept. Thus it was, Isai. 58. 2. for this is their temper, they are not wounded with the want of Christ him­self, but with some jarrings against the Law, for which they fear they must dye. Hence not seeing into the spiritual nature of the Law, they are wounded, not slain by the Law: they hope they shall live if they can leave such sins, perform such du­ties, feel such abilities. Now having made tryal at home, they go to Christ, and seek him with delight for to work this or that, and then they are well: now if they do not receive at present, then they hope by seeking to find in time, if he doth not help them, then they shall be well. Hence they ever live in some sin, and know it not, as these did, and as the young man, Mat. 19. And thus 'tis, as 'tis with two Princes, one is in trouble by inroders, he sends for aid to another, but doth not cast down his Crown, and put himself in subjection to the other. So men will be Kings, and hence send for aid against the inrodes of some sin that stings Conscience, but put not themselves under the Lord Jesus. Bring those mine ene­mies hither, Luke 19. 27. In one word; as the Wound is, so is my closing with [Page 81] Christ, if one be in outward trouble, now to Christ he goes to deliver; if pressed with inward trouble for some sins, now to Christ to remove them, and so to paci­fie conscience; if with want of Christ himself, now he goes for himself.

2. Those that close with Promises without Christ himself, and divide between them two, that strip Christ of these his Swadling-clouts, make their gain of these, and let himself go. I confesse all a Christians wealth is laid up in Promises, not in words and syllables, for they are dead things, but Christ in them, and Gods faithfulnesse in them, 2 Sam. 23. 4, 5. This is all my salvation, for all fulness is in Christ, he is rich, but what am I the better? nay the more miserable, for all emptinesse is in me; therefore in the promise lies my peace. And this is a Christians support in all troubles, and hence he casts anchor here; but here is his frame, he layes not hold on them without Christ, but by them goes to Christ, and there rests, Iohn 6. 45. He that hath heard of the Father cometh unto me. Give children milk in the dish, they cry still, they must have it from the Mother, and there suck: so 2 Pet. 1. 2, 3. Now there are others that finding some work in themselves without Christ, and thinking that it's saving, and so a good signe; hence are mistaken, and close with it without Christ, and now they think it's well. I doubt not but the Jews that be devout comforted themselves with that promise, He that confesseth, &c. Prov. 28. 13. not understanding of it, Mat. 3. Say not within your selves we have Abraham to our Father, that promise kept them off from Christ, Mat. 22. Some came not to the Feast, some came but without a Wedding Garment. 'Tis with these men as 'tis with men that come to buy Wines, they taste them, and content themselves with a taste, another buyes the thing: a Saint doth so; another tastes the sweet, and after falls to the impar­donable sin, Heb. 6. Or as 'tis with a man that sees corn on the ground, he buye [...] the field, another he gleans somewhat, and contents himself with that. There is in one word a double error,

First, When a man shall close with Christ without Promises; and hence seek to be se [...]ted without a Promise. Hence say some, you must not gather any evi­dence from any qualification you feel in your self.

Secondly, When men shall snatch and nibble at Promises, and misapply them, not closing with Christ in them and by them; I have confessed my sin, and repented, and run away with this without Christ. Oh time will come the Lord will say, how came [...]t thou in hither? what hast thou to do to take my Promises into thy mouth? to arm thy self against Christ by Promises to make a spoyl of Christs grants, and let him be crucified. When Saul rent off Samuels garment, he said, The Lord shall rend, &c. 1 Sam. 15. 27, 28. The letter kills, all Promises without Christ slay, because they keep the famishing Soul from Bread it self.

3. Those that close not with Promises only, but with Christ himself, but it's only with the Image and fancy of him, which they think is himself. In true Faith the Father reveals the Son as he is, or the Son reveals himself as he is, and Faith hence closeth with him as he is, Iohn 6. 40. But some there be that hear of him, hence think what he is. Hence a carnal mind imagines of him as it imagines of a King in a far Country, and falls down to his Image, and trusts to it, and depends on it, and joyes in it, untill a man comes to be converted, or to dye: and then he sees the deceit. Or if he did see him, yet he can see no beauty in him to de­sire him. There is many a man in this case that trusts to, and joyes in Christ, whom if he did know he would loath. Iohn came preaching the Gospel to shew them Christ, they all came to him, and rejoyced in his light, but it was but for a season: for when he came to shew them there he is, Iohn 1. 29. not one man stirs when he shews them Christ, and vers. 35. only two: and chap. 3. 32. No man received his testimony. This is (Beloved) the great sin and cause of all the rest, if they had known they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory. Christ is not seen, hence not thought of, hence not esteemed; hence men boast not in him: [Page 82] Nay 'tis the great plague under meanes, that in seeing they see no [...]. Lord how long: You say Christ never so clearly seen, true, but thou in seeing maist not see; and if it be thus, then look for ruine, Isai. 6. 9, 10, 11, 12. We say Christians want not light, but life and affections. Oh begg for light that will bring affections, else all affections will dry up if not fed with this Spring, Iohn 5. 37. What people had such means as they, yet they not eyes to see?

4. Those that do not close with the bare fancy of Christ, but with himself; but 'tis not for himself, and for his holinesse, but only for his peace, and conso­lations, and joyes. Like a sick woman that comes to the Physitian, not to marry her, but to heal her, cure her, and so comfort her. Or if she doth come to marry him, 'tis only to satisfie her lust, or to save her from trouble, &c. In a word, they receive Christ, that he may give contentment to them, and not that hereby they may also give contentment unto him. They close with Christ to make them happy, not to make them holy; But they thus closing with him, think they have him, and hence rejoyce exceedingly, and hence have a love to him, and hence some kind of communion with him, and hence think they are espoused to him, and more familiar with him than others, and hence veri [...]y look with these five foolish Virgins to embrace the Bride-groom: That look as a Saint from a false apprehension of Christ, to be none of his, may be very [...]ad, lose his joy, nay his very love, in the act of it, nay his communion and boldnesse to go to him, nay his expectation of him; so from a false conceit that Christ is mine, è contra. Thus a man is grievously troubled with the sight of Gods anger, and with horror, and useth all means, at last he sees only Christ can do it, and hence seeks for and prizeth his love (for his one ease) for as horror may be his great­est evil, so love to ease him, may be his greatest good: At last he is fully per­swaded. How? By any work or word? No, but God hath perswaded, and its now sealed, hence joy. But now there is matter of more trouble, holinesse, and close walking with Christ, this is troublesome, he cares not for Christ, to help him here; but deviseth how to keep Christ and joy without holinesse. Hence let a world of sin lie upon them, they be not troubled with that, they look up to Christ; or if they see and be troubled at it, they take it as a burden, not as the greatest burden. Hence (say men) you must not judge of your estate by any thing or qualification you feel in your self, for these may fail your eye-sight in mi­sty times (But we must follow it then, and not rest till we see and find it, for without holinesse no man shall see God) Hence also let there be never so many falls, yet say they, never call your state into question, hence they professe, we cannot move till we be moved, and if I do not, it is not my fault. Hence if Ministers do preach any things which are not about the person of Christ, or the excellency of a Christian in Christ, or the emptinesse of the creature to prepare for Christ, (which are indeed of great use) and presse to any work or service of Christ, they are Legal Preachers, and bring people under a Covenant of works. Whereas if we preach duties, and leave them as signs, before being in Christ, they are so, but [...]ere to preach any duty of the Law, is part of the sweet will of Christ. Tell us (say they) what we should do. What can a man do? He can do all things through Christ: True, but Christ must come to act it. Ye [...], But he hath a Faith to fetch it, 1 Iohn 1. 6. many said they had communion with him, 1 Iohn 2. 3, 4. It seems, they said they had no sin, as now some say, God sees no sin in justified people, God looks to the new creature only, 'tis not I but sin: if the Spirit help not, 'tis not my fault. Not many dayes since it did lye upon the spirit of one, who seeing Christ hath undertaken all, clo­sed with him, rejoyced in him, not for this end, not from the beauty they saw in holiness, nor bitterness of [...]infulness, but because they should be eased of the work. I have known them that have lived in some sin, and promised the Lord shall be blessed if he save them in their sin, and conceiting he would, have loved him; thus [Page 83] these. In a word, the soul of man desires rest and peace, seeks for it in Creatures, seeks to satisfie it self there, there it cannot; hence seeks for it (as many dying men do) in Christ, not in the Grace, but in the joy of Christ; not in Christs holy presence, but in his comforting presence; seeking the utmost perfection of a Chri­stian in the seale of the Spirit, not in the mighty actings of the Spirit for God. Hence he is delude [...], and fancies he hath Christ, and hence joy. Sin is the great evill, hence the end of Christs coming is to take it away. Hence if a man close with Christ, to remove horror, not sin, and so hath not closed with him for his holiness, you never closed with Christ for the end of his coming, nor for his, but only for your own ends, and so 'tis not him, but his, 2 Cor. 2. 15. The Gospel is a savour to them that perish, if of Death to death. Oh consider of these things if it be not thus. 1 Iohn 5. 11, 12. Hast the Son for thy portion? Dost see his Glory full of Grace to accept and sanctifie thee, thou hast life: if not the Son, but only so [...]ething from him, Oh death and not life! the bonds of Death (not life) are upon thee, which no creature can unloose unlesse the Lord come to they Grave-side and unloose thee.


TO close with the Person of the Lord Jesus:Use 5. Of Exhort. you will think this is not a right course thus to do. We cannot do it. Answ. Yet the Gospel hath com­mands and entreaties wherewith Christs Spirit goes to the Elect; and if you could see Christ in the mini [...]ry of man, you should feel it; And hence we look it should be so: and besides, Saints that have Faith and power, are quickened by the voice of the Son of God. Consider therefore,

1. All men are fallen into a bottomless gulf of misery and sin, though once righteous. Hence Gods truth having said, he that sins shall dye: hence justice comes out to do execution, and when the neck of all men thus lies on the block, yet mercy pities, and saith, Oh spare, save! Satisfie me saith justice, then I will: hence mercy sends forth a Son, when no men nor Angels could help, and he takes flesh, takes all their sin, fulfills all righteousness, bears their sorrows, and by one offering perfects for ever them that are sanctified; and having done this, is now at the right hand of God in the Glory of his Father, all creatures subject to him, all excellencies being met together in him: so that now he is the delight of [...]od, the joy of Heaven; so that whatsoever thou canst want, or losest, if thou hadst him, thou shalt find it in him: and also whatever he can do for thee, in his time thou shalt receive it from him, Deut. 33. 26, 29. Who is like the God of Ie­surun.

2. Now there is a universal offer to all people where the Gospel comes; ene­mies are entreated to be reconciled; for though he hath not dyed for all, yet now being King, such is his excellency, that he is worthy of all: Hence commands all to receive him: and if this be a condemning sin to reject him, 'tis then a com­mand lies upon you to receive him, and the foundation of this offer is your wants and miseries. You are dead, Oh come to him therefore for life; weak, guilty, blind, Oh therefore come to him for pardon, peace, and life. Not fulness, nothing but emptiness is the ground of this offer, Ier. 3. 22.

3. Hence there is nothing on Gods part, nor yet on your part that can keep you from him. No sins, no wants, unless it be your will, Mat. 23. 37. Therefore now who-ever will shall have him, let him take him, Rev. 22. 17. There be two acts of the Will, Election and Resolution, I must have him, which if you will, nothing that ever thou didst or canst do can please the Father so much: so that he will 1. Adopt thee to be his Son, Iohn 1. 12. As è contra. 2. Thou shalt enrich thy self with a greater blessing than if Heaven, and Earth, and all glory [Page 84] was put into thy hand, as the Lord himself is better than all; and hence once thine, ever thine, none shall pull thee out of his hand, 2 Pet. 1. 5. And it shall re­joyce the heart of Christ himself in Heaven, when as his Bride thou givest to him thy good will, Isai. 62. 5. And if you do not kiss the Son he will be angry, Psalm 2. And God knows whether now the last word, the last offer is to be made to thee.

But I find such sins in me,Object. 1. that till they are gone I dare not.

Then you will first remove sin,Answ. and after receive Christ: first be your own sa­viours, and then make him another: you shall never do it. Oh close with him to take sin away, because sick, therefore receive him.

But I have no will, my heart is endeared to my sin.

Therefore resign up thy self to him to give thee a will,Object. 2. (put it into his hand as bad as it is,Answ. this is Spouse-like) and to take away that will to sin, so thou shalt have him, I am my Beloveds, he is mine: For the Father looks to the Law, and saith, Sinner if thou believe thou shalt be saved; now lie under the Spirit, and you are where you should be; resist here, you resist the Holy Ghost. Oh but sin is dear. Consider, 1. What good did it ever do thee. 2. Hath Christ shed his Blood or no, if not, Oh the wrath of God is to come; if he hath, Oh wilt thou offer this wrong to his Blood, that a Lust shall be dearer than it, thy bloody Knives dearer than the life, and death, and mercy of a Son: Oh therefore if any Soul hath any lust dear, I beseech you by all the bitter sorrows of Christ, not to reject so great salvation.

But must I receiv [...] Christ with my own strength?

No,Object. 3. you cannot, nor ought not, but if the Lord puts strength in thee, put it [...] forth.Answ. Many followed Christ for loaves, but none that ever came to him for him­self that ever he put away, Psalm 81. 11, 12, 13. I shewed much love, but they would none of me; Oh that they had hearkened. At this instant God may give thee a heart.

But I fear I shall never get my sins removed that I feel,Object. 4. which I think cannot stand with Grace.

Gods Promise and Reason is cross to thy fears; if a Son,Answ. all things also though many years hence, Rom. 8. 32. If not by receiving, is i [...] by rejecting that thou shalt attain thy end? 'Tis true, thou hast fallen off by thy sin from Christ, be­cause thy falls have made thee fall off by unbelief from him, and made thee say, ei­ther I do not believe, or the Lord intends no good to me: you have had no strength, because not satisfied with meat.

But I may presume.Object. 5.

Is it presumption to honour Christ,Answ. and to have him honoured in thee? No, Dost think if the Lord shall after all thy sins, and in the midst of all thy miseries give thee Christ, shall he not be honoured by this? yes, who can ever have such cause to love him as I? Shall not thy receiving of him by Faith honour him? yes, Rom. 4. 20. Canst dishonour him so much as by rejecting him? when he hath laid down his life, shewed his love, offers himself; now to reject him, 'tis to offer greatest contempt to him and his love that can be: hence can you honour him so much as by this? Do never so much without him, he is unsatisfied: do this, he is well-pleased. Nay after all thy sins, yet he saith, Return to me: Nay, nothing else is such a means to honour him, by doing for him. If so, grant thou art vile, unworthy, poor, yet for the honour of the Lord Jesus do it, who is but little ho­noured in the world, and stand out no longer: thus receive him, and then know it you are Sons, and rejoyce in it, and do it now while the Spirit is upon thee, and remember now not to change, Ier. 2. 11. As Women, Oh I would not change; see how happy is thy choice: But Lord who hath believed our Report!

How may the Soul come to close with the person of the Lord Iesus?Quest.

1. Before any man can close,Answ. i. e. see and say he doth close with the Lord as [Page 85] his own, he must feel a want of the Lord and his presence, not only of his com­forting, but of his holy presence, for some people there be that never felt a want of Christ at all, they are great and grievous sinners, but they trust to Christ, and though he kill them, yet they will trust to him: others are in misery, and they feel a want of redemption, and hence close with Christ for that, Psalm 78. 35. O [...]hers are in horror, and know not what to do, and they feel a want of the comforts of Christ, and hence close with Christ for that, and if they find it they depart from Christ by looseness of life, if not by despair of heart, as Saul, 1 Sam. 28. God answers me not by Urim, &c. Others feel a want of some righteousness from Christ, the having of which supports and sustains them without Christ, till with the Prodigal, when all is spent, then they think of Bread at home, and the want of which makes them to have lesse esteem of, and desire after Christ, but they are full of Objections against the thoughts of closing with him, but hence they close with Christ for that. Others there are that feel a want of the Lord himself, and hence close with him for himself; so that let a man have all blessings in the world, the purity of Ordinances, never so many illapses, and droppings of divine light, and life, and comfort in these Ordinances, that he wonders the Lord should be so good to him, yet he shall find (if right) his soul secretly unquiet and unsatisfied till he hath the Lord himself. As the savour of meat makes a man that wants it, cry the more after it, long the more for it; so the savour and sweet of all creatures, all Ordinances, all Duties, do not stay, but stir up the soul to seek Christ, when he is himself, Ier. 50. 4. They shall seek the Lord weeping. Hence first they felt a want of him. The full soul loaths the honey-comb. Let the Lord be never so sweet, let him do them never so much good, the more good he doth them, the lesse they regard him, Ier. 2. 6. They said not where is the Lord? Therefore that soul that truly closeth with the Lord, must first feel a want of the Lord, and say these Ordinances are not bread, these creatures are not bread, all these parts, gifts, duties are not bread, bran, not bread. All this savour, this sweetnesse 'tis not bread. Hence I perish for want of bread, I have creatures, Ordinances, Affections, comforts, Duties, but Oh no Christ. Like the Prodi­gall, Luke 15. 17. Oh therefore do not only see, but feel the want of the Lord Jesus, you that never had him yet; nay you that have him, you cannot have more of him, but by feeling more the want of him. Oh it was a marvellous ex­pression of Moses, when the Lord began to grow weary of their company, Exod. 33. 15. If thou goest not with us, carry us not up hence, i. e. Let us rather die than live without thee. Mary when Christ was crucified, the carcase of the Lord was gone, she sate there weeping: Oh much more for the Lord himself. Its observed by some for the saddest spectacle, to see a desert Town: Oh what is it to see a desert heart, where no Christ inhabits? Or a city, and no Inhabi­tants. And hence its Romes curse, to be made an habitation of devils; so here. What is Hell, but this, to see not Abraham, but to see Christ afar off? and thy self shut out. It may be 'tis no sorrow now, but it will be. Its a sad thing to see a man rise up early, go to bed late, eat the bread of carefulnesse, and yet gain nothing, Phil. 1. 21. This is very sad. Christ is our gain, all the creatures you have, means you use, duties you do, comforts you receive, they are not gain, nay, the more God doth for thee, the more thou losest, if no Christ, because now thou art full by this means. Oh therefore get a heart sensible of the want of the Lord. Think there is a Christ, whose Glory is the amazement of Heaven, but Oh I see him not. Happy for ever are they that have him, but Oh I have him not. Your hungry bellies cannot want bread, if they do, they are never quiet till they have it. Is the Lord no better? Lord grant this contempt be not revenged with spirituall plagues! Some of you know not your want, others feel it not, you can live without him; worse than Saul, he went to Urim, and lamented in great di­stresse, He answers me not! Oh you feel no distresse, because of this, I have him [Page 86] not! Nay worse than Dives, that begg'd, Oh a drop of water to cool my tongue! Why cry not you, Oh the Lord Christ to comfort my heart! Why is not all this fulnesse longed for? Oh therefore let nothing else comfort, and let nothing discourage, but make this use of all, Oh I want him!

2. To the right closing with his person, this is also required, to tast the bitter­nesse of sin, as the greatest evil: Else a man will never close with Christ, for his holinesse in him, and from him as the greatest good. For we told you that that's the right closing with Christ for himself, when it is for his holinesse. For ask a whorish heart what beauty he sees in the person of Christ, he will after he hath looked over his Kingdom, his Righteousnesse, all his works, see a be [...]uty in them, because they do serve his turn to comfort him only. Ask a Virgin, he will see his happinesse in all; but that which makes the Lord ami [...]ble, is his Ho­linesse, which is in him, to make him holy too; as in marriage, it is personal beauty draws the heart. And hence I have thought it re [...]son that he that love; Brethren for a little Grace, will love Christ much more. Hence if a man feels not the want of Christ, the bitternesse of sin, as his greatest evil, he will never see nor admire Christs beauty, much lesse close with it. Hence Iohn 16. 9. Con­vinceth the world of sin, because they believe not in me, i. e. of that chiefly. Oh these wrongs done against the Lord! Why not of wrath and Hell? Oh sin is the evil, and then it appears exceeding evil, when not against God simply, but against a Son. Paul why persecutest thou me? Acts 9. Why? Did he not live in lusts and self-confidence? Yes, but in all these he saw he persecuted Christ. And after saddest search, I have feared the want of this, is the great cause of all a mans closing amisse with Christ. I would but ask where was Iudas wound? Was it resting in a Pharisaical righteousness without Christ? Without Christ, no, for he forsook all and followed Christ. Was it want of profession of him, preaching for him? No. Was it for want of communion with him? No: one sin he lived in, he had his bagg. And hence when many went from him, he stuck to him, Iohn 6. Iudas still cleaves to him: yet even then Christ calls him a Devil, which if ever he had tasted the bitternesse of, he would not have lived in, not dyed desparately, some think impardonably without Christ, and so sin more against him. Let any man living shew me how he can close with Christ, and yet love one sin: I'le be his bond-man, that can say, I close with Christ as my Husband, and yet I love my Whore too. Let any man living close with Christ, and keep his sin, or hide his sin, or let it be hid, his closing with Christ shall harden him in his sin, and so he shall dye without Christ in his sins, as it is writ, Exod. 21. 14. As it was with Ioab, who fled to the Horns of the Altar, so 'tis with many men, they sin, and confess and sin under all Laws: why? they fly to Christ, and this imboldens them, hardens them, why? because they never tasted the bitterness of sin. I know a mans sin may be crucified before 'tis mortified, as it may be buried after 'tis dead. Oh therefore I beseech you look to this, you fail not here. Many of you are troubled, Oh take heed of being comforted until you get the Lord to do this for you, or unlesse you depend upon the Lord for this in his time. Some apply comfort when they see no good: I dare not to my self or others: Oh therefore imagine thou didst hear the Lord speaking, Why dost thou persecute me? why is a man so grieved at any thing that crosseth himself? because a man loves himself, because he thinks his good lies there most: Oh see thy good more in Christ than in thy self, Acts 9. 4. Oh me, me in whom all good is, oh to persecute him! Two men hear, and one is in horror, and the other not; oh 'tis because God sets it on: so here.

3. Make the Lord Jesus present with you, and set him really before you, and see him willing to give himself unto you, even to thee in particular. Those that give themselves in Marriage, separate themselves from all company, and get alone to­gether, and give themselves one unto another: so sever thy self from all the [Page 87] world, and [...] the Lord really be [...]ore thee, as David, Psalm 16. 8. and so close one with another. For two things keep from Christ. Either

First, they care not for him, and the cause is, they make him no [...] present, only have a notion and report of him.

Secondly, They dare not close with him, because they fear he is not willing to close with them, with others, not with me; so that all the Scriptures they read, all the Promises they hear are very sweet, but they look on them as spoken to others. Hence Acts 2. 39. For the Promise is made to you, and to them afar off; be thou never so far off, if thou receivest him, he will receive thee, Luke 2. 14. Good will to men: Oh see this good-will in the Lord to have thee receive him, though thou hast no money, nay because dead and vile, nay because not sensible, Rev. 3. 17, 18. Oh wonderful because senseless of misery, therefore close with him. 1. Is it not his command it should be so? 2. Is it not a sin to reject him? will he not be angry with thee to reject him? 3. Are not his conditions easie, so as he hath un­dertaken to do all that which thou saist thou canst not? Why wilt not? 1. Oh if I were a child, a son in Covenant I would, but because otherwise, hence I dare not. Ans. Ioh. 1. 12. Receive him, he will make thee a Son. 2. Oh but my wants are many. Ans. Receive him he will make thee rich, Isai. 55. 1, 2. 3. Oh but I find my hearten deared to creatures. Ans. 1 Iohn 5. 4. This is the Victory that overcometh the world, even your Faith. 4. Oh but I shall fall back. No, Ier. 3. 22. Return, and he will heal thy back-sliding. 5. Oh but I shall never be able to do any thing. Ans. Yes, close with hi [...] and thou shalt. 6. Oh but I am very vile before the Lord after all I do. Ans. Yet Eph. 5. 25, 26, 27. He shall make thee amiable, only receive him, set thy heart on him alone. Now do you think he bears a good will toward you? can you deny it? Shall not this overcome thee, that the Lord of Glory should fall in love with thee, and bear good will to thee a Leper, and that canst do nothing for him, and yet for all this, Oh this will draw thee, Psal. 36. 6, 7. Oh how great is thy lo­ving-kindness; this makes a heart of steel to yield, Ier. 31. 1, 2, 3. Oh this will cut you in Hell, Oh hard hearts that despised such Grace!

4. If the serious thoughts of this do not draw thee, at least not so fully; look up to the Lord to reveal himself unto thee to be thine. For as no man can take Christ until God gives him, so no man can say he is his, untill the Lord shews him that he is his. And as the creature cannot re [...]st, but take when the Lord gives: so it cannot but see the Lord when he reveals himself as indeed he is. And look to see him to be yours by some Promise; for there is a seeing Christ mine in great fulgor without the light of a Promise, and Spirit in it. Is Christ yours? Yes, I see it. How? by any word or promise? No, this is a d [...]lusion. The other is by promise, & that opened in the Gospel, Eph. 1. 13. 14. He saith not in whom after ye were sealed you believed, but è contra. And how believed? by hearing the Gospel. Hence Saints return to this, Psalm 51. 8. Let me hear the voice, 1 Pet. 2. 1, 2, 3. And this is that which hath knit the hearts of Saints to Christ for ever▪ Oh thou hast the words of life: For there is a voice of love to the Saints engraven in all mercies, in all affli­ctions, in all Gods leadings of them, though it be in a Wilderness; but Beloved, only the Word can tell me the meaning of these words of love. So there is love of Christ revealed according to a Promise, not by it, and love spoken in mercies, but the Word interprets them and clears them to be no delusions; I mean the Spirit there: This is judged to be a good answer to Papists, who shall be judge of controversies? We answer that which shall be judge at the last Day, must be judge now: but so, Rom. 2. 16. Iohn 12. 48. So whether doth Gods Spirit seal, or the Devil delude? It's a great controversie if you have no [...] a word to see Gods love by, but think you have a way to see it without, this Word shall judge you. Oh look therefore for the Lord by a word to do it, and say Speak Lord; and if by word, look not for it without a work on your own heart. Some Christians have rested with a work without Christ, which is abominable; but after a man is in [Page 88] Christ not to judge by the work, is first not to judge from a word. For though there is a word which may give a man de [...]endance on Christ, without feeling any work, nay when he feels none, as absolute promises, yet no word giving assurance, but that which is made to some work, He that believeth, or is poor in spirit, &c. till that work is seen, hath no assurance from that Promise. Tell him God hath promised to pour clean water, Ezek. 36. Yes for some, not for me. Secondly, 'tis not to judge by the Spirit, for the Apostle makes the earnest of the Sp [...]rit to be the Seal; now earnest is part of the money bargained for, the beginning of Heaven, of the light and life of it: He that sees not the Lord is his by that, see; no God his at all: Oh therefore do not look for a Spirit without a word to reveal, nor a word to reveal without seeing and feeling of some work first, I thank the Lord I do but pitty those that think otherwise: if a sheep of Christ, Oh wander not. Ob. But I have waited long for this. Ans. True, therefore more need to wait still, it may be now 'tis not far off. Ob. Oh but it may be he will not, if I knew that I could be quiet. Answ. Down proud heart, Oh take heed of that pride: art' no [...] wor­thy never to hear a voice from God? Be silent then, and humble, and now hear what the Lord will say, he speaks in a still voice, Psalm 85. 8. do as they in that Psalm did; Thou hast done thus and thus, Oh hear us, turn us, and then [...]ie still and listen: Oh do thus, else you make God a lyar if the word comes, 1 Iohn 5. 10, 11. and now when thou hast him, Oh change him not.

First, What dost want, and where wilt go to find it but there? any creature [...], and all the excellencies of them are there, and in time of trouble he will be in­stead of all, and also blesse all.

Secondly, Dost want Grace to honour a God? it is in him the fulnesse of it. Dost want God and his love? thou hast him, and now all his love, his care, his wisdom is thine. Oh wonder at thy lot and portion, and say, Lord I have enough. Thus much of the first Doctrine.

Shewing that True Believers do with hope expect the Second Coming of Christ.

Now they go forth by • Hope Of Him and his Coming. , and • Desire Of Him and his Coming. 

THat the Church and People of God after they are truly Espoused to Christ, Observ. 2. and made in any measure ready for Christ, they now are no more of this world, but look out of it, and verily expect the Second Coming, and Glo­rious Appearing of Christ.

'Tis true, they look for his coming and company at the last period of their life, but this they look upon but as their welcome in the way, until the last Trump shall blow, and that they shall meet the Lord in the clouds of the Aire, 1 Thes. 4. 18. which is the last and chief time of his Coming they look out for. The Five Wise Virgins did here verily look for him; the Five Foolish seemingly did so too: That look as it was before the first Coming of Christ, all their thoughts and search­ings of heart were after the day, and time, and glory of it, 1 Pet. 1. 10, 11. And the nearer His Coming was, the more ardently was he expected: Hence such flocking to Iohns Ministry. Hence Simeon waited long for the consolation of Isra­el. So the Espoused and Beloved of the Lord looks out for his coming now. He hath left them as Orphans in this world, he hath divers of his Elect yet to bring [Page 89] home, and enemies to put under his feet, and then they know he will come, and this day they look for. As Christ expects it, Heb. 10. 13. By the same Spirit they look for it.

This is that which Christ so oft presseth on his Disciples, foreseeing the slumbers of the world, to be ever watching for his second coming; and hence these alone are accounted blessed, Luke 12. 37, 38. That let Christ come at any watch, Oh blessed. The duration of the world from the first to the second coming, is but as it were a night divided into several watches; the Saints are the watchmen of the world, who you know look for day-light, though it be long, 'tis but a night; it will be morning: All the rest are like birds at their chaffe. And hence he tells them the reason of the uncertainty of his coming, makes this the end of it. They are Evangelical commands with which there goes a power. Look through all the Primitive Church in the Golden Age, they had all this stamp, 1 Cor. 1. 7. Waiting. 1 Thes. 1. 10. To wait for Christ from Heaven. Nay, Heb. 9. 28. He professeth those only may know the fruit of his first coming, that now look for him.


1 BEcause they really foresee, and see such a day, 2 Pet. 3. 3, 4.Reas. 1. In the last days shall come Scoffers, saying, where is the promise of his coming? all things are as they were, and hence live in their lusts, die in their own dung, and never look for it. But these foresee it really, and hence look for it. Men that live on land, and love the smoak of their own chimneys, never look out to other coasts and countreys, or to a strange Land, but Sea-men that are bound for a Voyage, and have a Pilot with them that hath seen the coast, that's it they look for; so men that live in this world, and are well here, look not after Christ not his coming, but they that have a Pilot, a Spirit to shew them, this day, this coast, and are bound for another world, they look out for this; they see it two waies

1. By the eye of Faith in the promise, 2 Pet. 3. 13. And this makes the soul see it, when all things seem to be against it, and hence expects it; for that is the difference between Faith and hope: Faith closeth with Christ, and all the Glo­ry of Christ, in the promises as present, hope hence steps forth and laies hold up­on the performance it self as absent. Faith entertains the promise as a faithful messenger, and sees that his message is true. Hope runs out of doors and leaves it with Faith, and looks for the Lord himself, Heb. 11. 1.

2. By the Light of Glory in the thing it self; for Saints do not only see things in Letters and Syllables, and words, but see things as they are in themselves. The wicked see the word, sin, and Christ, and Heaven (and in seeing see not) but not the things themselves. Now the Glorious coming of Christ being a thing to come, yet to be done, how do they see it but by report? Yes, they have the Spirit of Glory, which Spirit shews them things to come, John 16. 13. Which eye hath not seen. That look as their Head Christ sees this day as it shall be, and his apprehensions are not false, but as he conceives of this day, so shall it be: so the Saints by the same Spirit see it before it comes, and are not mistaken about it, though it be very darkly, yet sometimes when the Spirit of God is not overclouded, they see it more evidently. For this is the great plague of the wicked, they see nothing as 'tis, and in Hell they see how they have been deceived. So this is the happinesse of Saints, that though they see things darkly, yet they see things tru­ly, the Spirit creating glorious impressions on the [...]ind of things as they are. They know things that the eye sees not, as they are. That look as Abraham John 8. 56. saw Christs day, and was glad, though afar off; so the Saints by the same Spirit. Now why did Noah make his Ark, and look for a Flood? Because he saw it really. [Page 90] Did not others? No, 'tis said, They knew not, Mat. 24. 38, 39. Never knew till the Floud came: The Lord made it not known. Noah did, the other did not. Hence the Saints cannot but look for it.

2. Because they see nothing else in this world worth looking after,Reas. 2. no, not for the present. For if a man sees the day of the Lord, yet hath some prey in his eye, in this world, and his game before him, he will follow his hunting to catch his venison, though he comes too late for the blessing. But the Lord makes his people to see nothing in the world worth the hawking or catch­ing.

1. They see the Glory of another day, another world, and this puts out the Glory of this, and hence makes them look for that; and hence when Christ would comfort his Disciples, he promiseth nothing here, but tels them, In my Fathers House are many Mansions. I go to prepare a place, and Il [...] come to you again, Iohn 14. 1, 2, 3. And hence they seeing this to be enough, look for this.

2. They see an end of all these things, of all the Glory of them, and that these summer swallows will take their wings, and fly away in greatest extremi­ties. Hence they look to eternal things, the Lord, and his coming, 2 Cor. 4. 18. We look not at temporal things.

3. They find the Lord crossing them of what they look for in this world, som­times of outward comforts, somtimes of the performance of spiritual promises, And when God thus hedgeth their way with thorns, then they think of their first Husband. Look as it was with Abraham, Heb. 11. 13. You know strangers when their way is uncomfortable, ever and anon look for their home. Abraham was heir of the world, yet he sojourns as a stranger in it, in Tents, because he looks for a Ci­ty, v. 10. So here, Saints the heirs of all creatures, yet the Lord makes them strangers here, and hence they look for somthing else. The things God hath promised to his people are very great, but not accomplished. Why? Because full accomplishment is left till the last day, that hope may wait, and that we may live by Faith. God hath promised to take away all tears, Oh welcome that day! This world cannot do it, and the Lord here will not, 1 Cor. 15. 19. If our hope were only here, we were [...] mis [...]r [...]ble.

3. Because they see and are sensible of their deliverance from wrath to come:Reas. 3. There hath been much wrath in the world seen, but yet the great wrath is to come, what that is they see. What their escape from it is they see. Hence they look for Christ, when he shall appear like the rising Sun, and like a Bride-groom from his chamber to comfort them, 1 Thes. 1. 10. For the Devils look for this day, and natural men, but seeing wrath, wish themselves under rocks and mountains, and seek to smother it: But Saints seeing themselves delivered, hence calmly look for it. The sense of this love makes them say, Oh when will he come, that I may see him with these eyes! They fear not (for why should they) the terrour of this day.

4. Because the Lord hath given unto them the first-fruits of Glory,Reas. 4. and of that day of Glory, hence they look and wait for it. You know the first fruits were part of the whole vintage, hence they gave thanks for all, because they then looked for all, Exod. 23. Rom. 8. 23. We having the first-fruits of the Spirit, wait for the [...]. That look as 'tis with the wicked, that have rejected Christ, and counted his Blood [...] common thing, and done despite to Gods Spirit, there remains nothing [...] for of vengeance, so here è contra. Rom. 5. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Being [...] by Faith, now 1. Peace with God. 2. Accesse by Christ to God. 3. Standing in that Grace. 4. Shedding of love, hence not only hope, but Glory in hope of the Glory of God. There is none espoused to Christ, but tast this love, feel the warmth of his fellowship, feel the abundance of his love, but 'tis but in a little measure, in the first-fruits, hence they look for and expect the rest [Page 91] at his coming. They are somtime full of fears, what if shut out at last? But when they feel the first-fruits of Glory at that day, now they verily look for his coming. Christ dies we know, but it was not possible for him to be held long, and hence rose again, and then looked for Glory, and then was taken up to Glory: So here, the Saints lie dead in the grave of sins and fears, but its not possible for them ever to be held here; hence when risen with Christ, they look upon things a­bove, and are waiting for Glory, and at last are taken to Glory with himself. That look as Iacob, Gen. 49. 18. said, My soul waiteth for thy salvation, when the stakes and pins of this fleshly Tabernacle are loosing, and so the Lord is loosing him from the excellency of this world; though he minds other things, yet he recalls himself, My soul waiteth for thy salvation Oh Lord.


HEnce let all flesh take notice that there is such a time,Use. 1. and day, and coming of the Lord Jesus. This was the Apostles Argument to prove a resurrecti­on, Christ is risen, and to prove this, and so the resurrection from the dead at Christs coming, else is your Faith vain, i. e. Expectation of him vain, 1 Cor. 15. 14, & 17. Men think it easie to believe a resurrection, and a second coming of Christ for that end; but an hoverly sleight work is quickly done, and an hoverly Faith is quickly wrought. But when a man comes to look considerately, Is there such a day indeed? Is there one now in the third Heavens that will fire this whole world, and gather his Saints to his Glory? Now its very hard. Its usual with Sa­tan to pierce with extremities, that when they do begin indeed to close with Christ, and receive comfort from him, to smite them with thoughts: Is there a Christ, and is there such a time of coming? Now of all the Arguments to con­vince and perswade, me-thinks none like this, viz. That there be a Generation of men in the world, that verily look for this day and see it, and have the first-fruits and beginnings of it already in their souls. A number of people that once never minded it, heard of it, but looked not for it, now to see it; flesh and blood could not, Satan would not reveal it, hence God that cannot lie, hath shewn it unto them, so as they are in a manner eye-witnesses of it. Men will believe eye-wit­nesses of any thing, especially if many. Such are the espoused of the Lord in all ages. The things which we have heard and seen we speak. Object.

But may they not be deceived,Answ. and conceit that which is not?

True, but Divine revelation of any Truth that cannot deceive, for that is no fancy of the head, nor delusion of Satan. Now this is a secret the Spirit makes known.

1. In that it fils the mind and feeds the heart with it, that it carries unto God with wonderment of blessing him that ever he saw this. Fancies cannot feed, especially in greatest agonies: Now they chuse misery on this ground, rather than present peace here, Heb. 11. 35. Not accepting deliverance.

2. In that it works effects crosse to Nature, nay to all a mans lusts in them. Noah foresaw a Flood nigh, but he might be deceived. No, 'tis said he feared, kept close to God and it came, so here.

3. This Light whereby they see, it is not only sweet and Glorious, and cross to heart and lusts, but its sudden, that as with Paul, when going to persecute, suddenly there fell a great Light, and so he saw Christ. So when a man goes on in his sin, and suddenly the Lord reveals this and that by a word (else 'tis a deceit) which all Angels could not do before, so as to see it, and that none can reveal it as he sees it, especially to bring this light out of darknesse, this must be miraculous power, and no dream. But what do I speak of seeing? they feel the beginnings of it in the first-fruits of it.

[Page 92] For two great things shall be at that day.

First, Then all the Elect shall have their fill of love.

Secondly, Triumph in Christ when in the clouds with him. Have they not the first here? Rom. 5. 5. The feeling of which love cannot be a Fancy, fo [...] it cannot conceive of it nor hold it. This is an infinite love, and that in the midst of the sence of sin and death. That many times they are even fain to say, Lord hold. 2. Triumph, Rom. 5. 3. and that in afflictions, which make them by experience so to feel God in par [...], that they triumph for time to come. 'Tis [...]rue at times they look down the Tower, and so tremble, but while they look up here, then they triumph, having accesse to the Grace wherein they stand, So then look for it, there shall be such a day, and such a coming of Christ, Rev. 1. 7. The Father hath exal [...]ed the Son to inesfable Glory. But Lord! Who sees him as these, in his Glory, or to come forth out of his Glory? 'Tis but Table-talk. But behold he comes, and every eye shall see him. The Lord pities you, and holds out bowels of love, and Faith; Oh receive me, Oh cast away those bloody knive [...] that have pierced me; and sends his good Spirit like his hand to draw you. But Oh do you not kick his bowels, do you not pierce his hands and feet daily? And when you have done no tears! But he cometh, and you that pierce him shall see him, &c. Consider of it therefore you that doubt of this, you that think not of this, and hence live and lie in your lusts, and despise him. Behold he cometh!


HEnce behold the happinesse of all them that be espoused to the Lord Jesus,Use 2. in that their hopes are laid up in another world, at the day of the coming of the Lord Jesus, 1 Cor. 15. 19. If we had hope only in this life, we were of all men most miserable. Because none so foolish, or so sensible of misery as they, but our hopes stretch to another life, to the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Suppose a man had all the Crowns of the world cast at his feet, but at last to be dragged before the judgment-seat of Christ, and there to stand quaking, What should he be the better? What though Saints have all the miseries in this world, but at last with these eyes they shall see the Lord, and stand triumphing before him, and have a real sight and certain expectation of this. What people in the world so great as these?

What do they wait and expect for?Quest.

Great things which may astonish the whole Creation.Answ.

1. They look for him to change their vile bodies, that this their Husband at the marriage day should take away these rags, & make them like unto his Glorious bo­dy, brighter than the Sun;This was prea­ched about the time o [...] the Pequot wars. so that burn them, cut them to peices, (as some by the Indians have been, Lord help!) they see Christ loves both, and hence holds sword and soul in one hand, and scabberd in another, &c.

2. They expect he should take away all their sins, and make them like unto himself, engrave on their souls perfectly his own Image, that their enemies they feel now, they look they shall never see them more. 1 Iohn 3. 2. And as no evil like it, no mercy like this; and no evil to Saints like this, that yet they should grieve the heart of such a Husband.

3. They look he should take away all sorrows and tears from them, for this the Lord promiseth, and begins to execute now, but it shall be perfected then, Isa. 25. 8, 9. And hence called the times of refreshing, Acts 3. 19, 20. 'Tis true the Spouse and Church is now sorrowful to the very heart many times, but there is a time coming that they shall never sorrow more.

4. They look he should take away all shame from them. For no people in the world loaden with more calumnies and reproaches by the wicked and by hypo­crites, [Page 93] and hard speeches from the Godly, and they doubt whether they be Sons or no. Now then the whole world shall see they are Sons, and shall stand amazed at them, and shall not doubt of it, nor themselves, fo [...] the Lord shall proclaim it, and they shall hear, these are my Jewels. And this they look for, 1 Iohn 3. 1, 2.

5. They then look for recompence to all their labour of love to him and his. Hence 1 Cor. 15. 58. Knowing your labour is not in vain in the Lord. Hence the Apostle oft defers men for that recompence till now. The Lord shew mercy to the House of Onesephorus in that day, 2 Tim. 1. 18. So that some Hereticks have thought souls sleep till then. They may pray and no answer, seek to do good, and do none. Oh but the Lord will recompence then abundantly.

6. They look then to be ever with the Lord, 1 Thes. 4. 17. Never to be parted from him, never to live without him, nay never to go away from under his wing, out of his bleeding bosom of love and endlesse and unspeakable compassions any more: And being with him to see his Glory, and never see the depth of it, and to have the Lord to serve them, Luke 12. 37, 38. and giving whatever they call for, and all this when thousand thousands shall at this time be crying for a drop of water, and cannot get it. Now all this they look for, and more too: Which is, 1. Certain. For hope maketh not ashamed. 2. Which fills their hearts with Glory, and unspeakable Glory too: for it makes it so clear and certain, that they have it all already, for though absent, hope makes it as present, Rom. 8. 24. He doth not say we shall be, but we are saved by hope. Faith takes hold on the beginning, hope on the end. Oh the heavy wrath of God upon a world of poor, blind, ignorant men that have no hope, no hope of Christ, no hope of Glory, unlesse a flattering, dead hope. What a sad thing is it to think of a number of men that are buried in the world, and never to awaken until they see Christ in the clouds of Heaven, coming to be revenged on them. Oh me-thinks I see them falling down before the Judgment-fea [...], and crying out, Oh that we had known of this day! Oh alas that I had hope, but not such an hope, but am now deceived. Oh 'tis otherwise with Saints, they shall find what they hoped for, and infinitely more. What hurt can any do them? Let all the world come a­gainst them, their husband will come, and will kick them under his feet. Let them load them with reproaches, fill their hearts with sorrows, and their eyes with tears, their Lords coming will comfort them. Let Satan tempt, and a Fa­ther hide his face, behold the Lord cometh, that shall deliver and redeem them! Oh see their blessednesse, and let it draw you to make up the match with Christ, that never did it yet! He hath bin wooing of you, longing for you, and you wooing of him again, Lord take me! What hinders you then from striking the match, and concluding it? To give thy self this day to him, and take him only, rejoyce in him only, when nothing thou dost can be so pleasing to him. And now you may look and believe what one day you shall to your comfort feel. And account your selves most wretched creatures until the Lord be pleased to espouse you to himself.


OR hence learn what to judge of those that never look for the coming and company of the Lord Jesus,Use 3. Of Exam. but 'tis with them, as it was with the Israelites, when Moses was gone into the Mount, and stayed there long, the people made their Calf, and went to their feasting and rejoycing: So the Lord Jesus being gone for the Spirit of life, and to prepare a place of Glory, it being now long since, they make Idols of their Jewels, and of their own excellencies, and of whatsoever is glorious in their eyes in this world. Or as Christ compares the se­cure [Page 94] world, as it was in the daies of Noah, so shall it be, or as in the daies of Lot, when they never knew nor look't for it, though told of it; so 'tis with them. Do you think these are espoused to Christ? or made ready for Christ? whose glorious appearing is never, or seldom, or the least thing in their thoughts, and are far from seeing and setting it before their eyes.

Now because if you ask most men, Do you look for such a time to see the world consumed, and the Lord revealed, and your Glory with him? Every one will say, yes, because indeed they have a dead hope. I shall therefore give discoveries of it.

1. Those whose hearts prize (though their heads do not)Sign 1. and whose eyes are dazeled with the withering Glory of this world. When men lie under (not for a fit, for Christ's Disciples wondred at the Beauty of the Temple) a g [...]eat mi­stake of all things here, and put that good in them which is not, and that worth upon them which they ought not. For he on whose eyes the Sun of Glory hath risen, and looks for the Glory which shall be revealed; looks upon a Dunghill world as strangers upon their Inne, and as Travellers do on their Tents, make a shift to rub it out there for a time, but Oh home. Oh that Glory that shall be re­vealed, Heb. 11. 13. They were strangers, because they looked for a City: Nay they look upon these things, as God and Christ judge of them (for they have Christ's mind) 1 Cor. 2. 15. Which stand for Cyphers in the Lords Book: Nay they look upon the very miseries of this world for Christ, greater treasures than the happinesse of it, and hence chuse it and account their scars their Crown, their shame their Glory, their losses their gain, their sorrows their joys, as Heb. 11. 25, 26. Moses chose to suffer, and esteemed Christs reproach his Glory. And why? He had an eye to the recompence of reward, and saw the God invisible. And 2 Cor. 4. 17. It works an exceeding weight of Glory. That look as 'tis with a man that is born to great hopes of a Crown and Kingdom, and therefore brought up not in the Countrey, but in the Court; let a poor man offer him his thatcht house, and promise him if he will come and live with him, and serve him in his patcht cloaths, What will he say? No, be gone to your friends, I am a greater man than you can make me, so here; A man that is born and begotten to a lively hope of a Crown now by the resurrection of Christ, and brought up under the wings and care of Christ, to the hopes of a better world, offer never so much, promise never so fair, I am greater than all the world can make me, I must not have, if I love Christ, and I cannot have, if he loves me, both; and hence looks to honour then, and peace and glory then, Col. 3. 1, 2, 3. Its clear then thou lookest upon the things of the world as great things; Oh to have such honour, such an estate, so many Cowes and Goats, so much ground paled in, so many ploughs, lands and oxen fit to labour, so much gain to come in every year, and such parts, & gifts and duties to get me a name, to live before the best men, and to be good signs (to comfort me) of the favour of God: This is a goodly thing, the very hopes heat and warm the heart.

1. If you do not find pangs in parting with a friend, a bosom-blessing so dear, you are not dead yet to it, nor risen to a lively hope of better things.

2. He that doth not prize the evils of the world, more than the good in it, his eyes are dazeled with it: If the life of the world be not death to thee, the com­fort of the world sorrow to thee, Oh they draw thy heart from God: Hence cal­led lying vanities. Look as 'tis with a King or Master that gives Talents to use, they cast them by, and fish for themselves, they look not for the coming of their Masters: So the Lord gives you his Ordinances, and Word to use for him, and you scramble for your selves, to enrich, and honour, and comfort your selves, you look not for the Lord. Factors that go far for wealth, they will not bring home stones and rubbish, which they know will not go in their own Countrey, hence other things that are of more price he spends his time for: So here. What [Page 95] do you do? You that eat the bread of carefulnesse, sell your commodities dear, and set your buyers on Tainter-hooks? I look to be rich. You that can speak well, and have parts, and professe fairly; but go into your Closets, God is neglected in your hearts, your constant union to Christ, dependance on Christ, approving your selves to Christ, is not maintained. I would fain be ho­noured. You are come far from your own Countrey: Why did you depart thence? To be free from trouble. And now here, what stay you for? Oh for ease. Will these Coynes go, and be taken at the last day? No, you look not for that.

II. They that say they look for Christ,Sign 2. but do not rejoyce abundantly in hope of this time. Sometimes the hopes of Gods people begin to die, and then com­fortlesse, but when their hopes are up, and stirring, and not wounded by some sin or sleeping, there is a double joy that now they have.

1. This alone comforts them and fils them, Iohn 14. 1, 2, 3. So that they wonder at God, though they have never so little here, to have these blessings now, and everlasting Glory, endlesse compassions and mercy at that day, Iohn 16. 22.

2. This joy is Glorious joy, highest comfort, Rom. 5. 3. We Glory in hope of the glory of God. Disgraced, but then honoured; hated of men, but then loved of Christ; poor, but then enriched; miserable, but then blessed; empty, but then filled; fatherlesse, friendlesse, but then glorified. Oh I tell you miseries thus conside­red, are sweet! Can it be otherwise? Now you say you hope and look for this day. Where is your comfort of it? Where is your glory in it? Acts 1. 11, 12. Compared with Luke 24. 52. So thou wilt be in the Temple, nay in the fields rejoycing and blessing the Lord, that ever he should intend to set thee at his right hand, at that great day of his coming. No man but hath something to joy his heart. Is it Corn, and wine and Oyl, and not the Light of Gods countenance at this day? Its a sign they never look for it. Do the world rejoyce in their hopes, and not Saints?

III. They that content themselves with any measure of holinesse and Grace; they look not for Christs coming and company. For Saints that do look for him,Sign 3. though they have not that Holinesse and Grace they would have, yet they rest not satisfied with any measure, 1 John 3. 3. He that hath this hope purifieth himself as he is pure. Christ finds us not lovely, but makes us lovely, by putting on his own garments, imprinting his own Image. Hence Saints content not themselves with any dressings, till made glorious, and so fit for fellowship with that Spouse. And when the Soul sees this Love to be a Son, and then to be proclaimed Heir, Oh this makes them set Christ himself as the pattern to walk by. Now therefore,

1. When men shall think this way is bad, & another way of some Saints is good, and so take a Copy of his course from them, and now is well, this only is to be pure as man is pure.

2. When a man leaves not till he gets such a measure of Faith and Grace, and now when he hath got this, contents himself with this as a good sign he shall be saved, he looks not for Christ. Or

3. When men are heavily loaden with sin, then close with Christ, and then are comforted, sealed, and have joy that fils them, and now the work is done, and they are past Grace, and past Repentance, and daily cleansing, now they study not what to do for Christ, that neither Family no [...] Church where they live, are the better for them.

4. When men shall not content themselves with any measure, but wish they had more, if Grace would grow, while they tell Clocks, and sit idle, and so God must do all, but do not purge themselves, and make work of it (Indeed Saints purge not themselves of themselves, for dirty hands will never wash a foul face) but by a daily dependance on, and importunity of Faith sigh after the Lord [Page 96] to do it; verily if not thus, you look not for Christ, 2 Pet. 3. 11, 12, 14. For if you did, you would say and think, if to be like him be my Glory, Oh then that I might then have it now. Sons that are born to their hopes in the Court, will go in the Court-fashion: Beggars that are born and brought up under hedges, content themselves with their rags, so here: Lord where is this Spirit? especial­ly even among us. There is scarce any but either would be honest, and then hopes God accepts of his will, or will be so, & then 'tis only so much as will credit or com­fort him. Lord where is the man that mourns for this, how far short he falls of Christ, of Christs thoughts, Christs prayers, Christs speeches, Christs meekness, but only patches up his comforts with some ends of Gold and Silver, and shreds of Honesty: He hath heard others teach and preach, and gets some shreds of knowledge, thence he sees what others are, and do, and gets somewhat to be like them. Have we not cryed out, men are too good to be better in our own Land? And unlesse a few under Affliction or Temptation, who is? I pray God such a race come not over hither, where God looks you should get a higher pitch; put off your wildernesse-shoes, get those sins removed that provoked God there; or else besides the misery of a heart-brand upon thee, thou dost not look for Christ, and therefore art either not espoused, or asleep; and shalt if not by the Word, by the terrour of God be dreadfully awakened. Oh New-England, New-England, that art now making a conquest of the world, and seekest for the spoyl of it to enrich thy self, to recover thy losses, and therefore makest a truce with thy distempers for a time, and dost not purge thy self as Christ is pure, I dare not yet tell thee what Christ Jesus hath to say unto thee! Therefore think of this, if not thus, you have no hope, 'tis but talk and notion in thy head. And you that do not, he shall come in a time when thou lookest not for him: And hast not so much Grace as the five foolish Virgins had? This is the frame of men and Professors, what are they? They were troubled, humiliation is past, they have looked for salvation by Christ, that is past; they have been comforted, that is past; What Holinesse? They will pray in Families, keep company with Saints, get into Christ, receive Sacraments, that is past. What lack they yet? Many wants, but God accepts their desires for what they want, and that is their Circle of Honesty now, and there rest. Is it not thus? Is this to purge like Christ? If any have more, Oh wonder at the Lord for it. But if not, Oh thy doom!


OH you espoused and beloved of the Lord,Use 4. look for his coming, look for his company; the world looks not for him, because they care not for him. Will you also depart? Hath he called thee as a Virgin forsaken, and not comforted, as a wife of youth, and given himself to thee, and given thee a heart to give content to him, and thy self to him in lieu of his love, life and all, if it might do him any good? Oh are you born to so great hopes, and are they not worth the looking af [...]ter? God forbid. Do this therefore especially in these five Cases.

1. In case of strangenesse felt between thy soul and Christ: It may be thou thinkest, Oh he that hath saved, preserved me, called me, when I never lookt after him, redeemed me when a captive, every moment pardons me, a daily friend unto me, that hath given me Ordinances, given me the comfort of them: But Oh yet to be a stranger to him, this cuts: Oh look now for this time, 1 Th. 4. 17, 18. When thou shalt see that bleeding heart, that hath loved thee above all Princes and Angels; that body in the Glory of the Father, and be as familiar with him as thou art with any friend, and see his Glory, and the Father in him, and know as thou art known. Oh look for this, for it shall be so.

[Page 97] 2. In case Gods promises are not made good to thee. For at that instant a man beleeves he gives Christ and all things, all Grace, all consolation, all Glory, but 'tis in the promise, because he would have them live by Faith a while here, as by sence in Heaven; and being wrapt up in the promise, they feel it not, on­ly plead with God: Hast not said Lord, thou wilt subdue iniquities, purge me as Gold is tried? Why then do I go childlesse, gracelesse? No more Grace, no more Spirit, no better heart for thee! Oh now the heart calls in question Gods promise or sinks! Oh now remember this day, for the perfect restitution of all things, perfect accomplishment of all promises is reserved for this time, Isa. 25. 9. Thou prayest for many things, but they come not; Christ reserves the payment till this day. What a comfort is this? What a sweet speech was it of Ioshua, Josh. 23. 14. One thing hath not failed, when he had conquered the Land. So then when the conquest is made, to see all the promises made good to thee.

3. In case of Gods absence or withdrawing, or when thou feelest but little of his presence here in his Providences or in his Ordinances, private, publick, and that in New-England too. Thou hast found one half hours time with the Lord, alone, sweeter and better than a thousand worlds. Oh but this holds not! Thou maist it may be wait on the Lord in his Ordinances, and go away with a sad heart, Oh I cannot see him, and canst not find out the cause why so heavy, and vile, and so loathest thy self, Oh now think of this day, 1 Cor. 15. 28. Then God shall be all in all, then thou shalt have thy fill of love, and fill of God.

4. In case of sorrow for the uproar of the world against God and Christ, and the wrongs done to Christ and his people; to see Christ crucified, and crying spare my life, and saying, If you seek me, let these little ones depart, yet they are abused, and every one against Christ, as this day the world is coming to the last fit of madnesse against the Lord of Glory. Oh now, remember and look for this day, 1 Cor. 15. 25. He must reign. Lord what a comfort will it be to see Christ King then? Men come to see him King here, but Oh what will it be when he shall come himself? To see all secrets open, and the Lord glorified in himself and people, of all creatures. Look for this, to see the great and last plot of God brought to perfection. Oh think that is our day, that is our victory!

5. When you come to die, and to think of leaving thy carcase to rot in the dust a long time; Oh think and look upon this day! They that hear shall live. Why do I die? John 5. 28, 29. They shall then come out of their graves, &c. Thus look for this.


1. All creatures look for this in a manner, Rom. 8. 22, 23. Nay Christ and Saints in Heaven look for this day, Heb. 10. 13. From thence expecting till his ene­mies, &c. Nay Devils look for it, but tremble: Only a secure world rockt asleep to their eternal wo, look not for it.

2. This will help you to ride all storms, bear all knocks chearfully. Our Hope is our Helmet. Our Hope is our Anchor, Heb. 6. 19. Eph. 6. 17. You will meet with them here it may be before you die.

3. The Lord hath called you out of this world, he might have left you in it, and given you your hope, your portion here, and then wo to thee, but he hath called thee to this hope, that if Princes of the world knew, they would lay down, nay cast away their Crowns at thy feet for it, and say, Oh that I were in that mans case! Eph. 1. 18. Hope of his calling.

4. Hope and expectation of all other things shall fail, if God loves thee, he will make you know what 'tis to forsake your portion. If not, they shall fail you when you die, this shall not; it makes not ashamed.

5. Me-thinks this is the Glory of a Christian, that he turns his back upon the world, and lives and waits for the coming of the Lord.

6. Oh this will give Christs heart full content, when he shall come, Luke 12. 37. [Page 98] He will make thee sit down to eat, and serve thee. The Lord Jesus himself shall only then poure out to thee and give thee whatever thou callest for, honour thee as it were above himself. When thou art at rest in Heaven, he will be at work for thee.

7. If not, he may come in an hour thou lookest not for him. Christ may say to thee, from henceforth sleep on.

What Means are there to make me look for him?Quest.

1. Get some promise that thou maist beleeve the Lord is thine,Answ. else thou wilt never look for him; or if you do, you will be deceived, for hope is of things not seen. Nay, commonly when the Lord brings any man to his hopes, ha­ving given him a promise, and Faith to beleive it, the Lord in the mid-way seems to cross his promise. When the Lord promiseth life, glory, peace, ho­nour, joy, fulness, Heaven, they shall then and never so much before feel dark­ness, death, shame, trouble, sorrow, Hell. For the Lord tries them by this, and tribulation breeds experience, and experience hope. Hence you must first get a promise of Christ and Glory, before you can hope for it, or expect Glory, and then you may, Heb. 6. 18. For the promise will support hope, when heart, and strength and all shall fail: Nay it will expect contraries out of contraries, Gen. 22. 5. I'le come again to you. Compared with Heb. 11. 18, 19. So that soul that hath a promise, may say when he considers Gods power, and what Glory he gives to God by beleeving it, God hath said he will comfort me, he will cleanse me, he will give me Glory, I will have all these out of my sorrow, my sin, my Hell.

Take heed therefore of two extreams.

First, Of hoping without a promise, for that is but Faith scared out of its wits, when it comes to be examined; I hope so, and I have had joy and perswa­sion of it.

Secondly, Of not expecting when God gives a promise. Can you live one day without it? It may be you have no feeling yet! But Isa. 25. 8, 9, 10. Dost wait for the Lord? i. e. From a sense of emptinesse, for all fulnesse thou shalt find it in part here, and fully then, and say, Lo, this is our God, we have waited for him! When a mans anchor is strong, and in good ground, he will look for safety, when at anchor in the Harbour. Oh thou afflicted, tossed with tempests, the Lord hath brought thee at last to Christ, after many drivings to and fro, and it clasps about him according to a promise; if God changeth then thy comfort may not be. If revelations come, I know they may deceive, but a promise cannot.

2. Fear the terrour of the Lord at this day, fear parting from him: I speak not of doubting, but the holy fear of Saints, for that is the nature of fear, it makes a man eye the thing feared: As Iacob when Esau was meeting of him. Noah he fears and looks to safety in and by an Arke, Heb. 11. 7. Lots children took not his counsel, they feared not, but he seemed as one that mocked to them. Paul 2 Cor. 5. 10, 11. knew the terrour of the Lord, hence looked for him, sought to ap­prove himself unto him. Men that fear not parting with Christ, will never look nor care for him. And let it be a strong fear, else it will never carry you above your cares and surfettings of the world.

How shall I fear thus?Quest.

1. Unlesse the Lord put it into your heart,Answ. none can; for the security of the world is not sleepy, but deadly: Men are bound up as strong as with chains of death; that till they feel the misery, they cannot fear it strongly. Oh look up to the Lord to unchain those chains of death.

2. Know the happinesse of them that shall ever be with Christ, what is the sweetnesse of Christs love, and worth of it. Imagine the last day come, and all the dead raised, Christ with flaming fire, all the wicked on the left hand, and then sent away with depart ye cursed; all the Saints on the right hand, and then [Page 99] Oh come! and when all is dispatched, then to go up to Heaven, and when gone, there to be for ever rejoycing, triumphing in the presence of God Almighty; and now what it will be to be far off from Christ, weeping, never to be pitied more. Oh he that was so full of pity, no heart then to pity, no hand to help! I can but only paint this fire. Oh that the Lord would help you here, that so you might look out for him. Saylors sleep in calms, and so it may be have many here in this place of rest. Others of you take heed, Ile tell you your bar, It may be most estates are brought low and sunk; when you see that, now you either look back, or look for Lots accomodations, and such an estate as is lost, it may be you will spy some hope of it, and then follow the game, and never look out till you die. The Lord keep you from it! You then will not look up for Christs coming at the last day, or in his Ordinances; here: If thou dost so, had it not been bet­ter thou hadst been buried in the Sea, or left in sorrow on the Shore? Oh take heed therefore, look for the coming and company of Christ, and let this be e­nough, and because you cannot look for him in the the clouds now, Oh look and wait for him in his Ordinances; and consider if espoused ones look for his com­ing then, and for perfect knowledge of him, and communion with him, then think, Lord what a heart have I that look not for him here! But Lord who will be­lieve our report?

Thus they went out by hope and expectation of his coming▪ Now the Second thing follows, they went forth with longing desires after his coming.

That Believers do long and desire for the ap­pearance and Second Coming of Christ.


THat all those that are espoused to Christ,Doct. 3.and beloved of Christ, they ought not only to look, but to long for the coming of, and their everlasting communion with the Lord Christ Iesus. For the consummation of their marriage with him, that though he be gone, our hearts may be with him, before our souls be, or before our souls and bodies be; that though we may die, and lie down in the dust, our desires may live and lie in Heaven, and cry come Lord. Now do not think this point true, and so far good if we could reach it, but this is a high pitch, for you must long for it. God forbid a Christian espoused to Christ, should plead that work too much, which Hypocrites, the five foolish Virgins in their kind attained to. See Presidents for this in all ages: Abraham, and those in his time, who was Father of the Faithful, Heb. 11. 15, 16. A better Countrey, where they might have fellowship with the Lord, and hence God is not ashamed, &c. As if the Lord were ashamed of all them to be his people, that professe them­selves so, but desire not this. In Christ's time, Simeon, Luke 2. 29. with 25. Where he waited for the consolation of Israel, &c. to enjoy more of him. In the Apostles time, 'tis also that which they all felt, 2 Cor. 5. 2. In this we groan ear­nestly, &c. But you will say, It may be this was because of miseries, and want of Ordinances, &c. Therefore see in the last age of the Church, when the new Ierusalem was built, and when peace, and when Christ's face was seen in his House, yet then the Spirit and the Bride say come, Rev. 22. 17. They are the last [Page 100] breathings of Iohn and the Spirit in him. Lord Iesus come quickly. But Cent. 8. 14. The Church there intreats her Beloved to fly away to the Mountains of Spices, that she might enjoy him out of this world.


1 BEcause they are bound to love Christ and his appearing:Reas. 1. to love his looks when he shall appear to the world, 2 Tim. 4. 8. The Crown of Glory comes as it were by succession, not only to me, but to all them that love his appearing. Now can there be any love of him and his appearing; and not so much as any desire after him and after it? Certainly there is no love, or if there be any, it lies languish­ing: For answerable to our love to any thing, is our desire, what we love only, we desire only; what we love not at all, or but little, we desire not at all, or but little; so here. Now therefore to question, May a Christian desire it? is to question whether a Christian ought to love the Lord Jesus or no. We are bound not to love earth, hence bound to love Christ and his fellowship in Heaven. Let him be Anathema that doth not so.

2. Because the Lord Jesus longs for them,Reas. 2. Iohn 17. 24. Throughout which Chapter he prays as if in Heaven already. Hence I am no more in this world, and where I am, let them be also. He was on earth, but looks on himself as in Hea­ven. That as it was with the High Priest, he carries the Names of the twelve Tribes on his heart, bese [...] with precious Stones; very dear to him, [...] the Holy of Holies, so Christ. Not that he sees any beauty in them of their own, why he should desire them, but because he freely loves them, and dearly loves them, as being given him of the Father, and as having cost him dear; and hence if he loves them, he longs for them: Now if he longs for them, ought not they much more to long for him? Psal. 27. 8. Thou saidst seek my face, thy face Lord will I seek.

1. He longs for thee now in Glory, when one would think his thoughts and heart should be swallowed up with it, and shall not we long for him here in the valley of Myrtle trees, in misery, on the dunghill?

2. He longs for thee when thou hast nothing to make him desire thee, he hath all that thy heart can desire, being the very bosom-delight of God himself, Rev. 22. penult. He did but say he would come, and Iohn desires, Oh come. But doth he long for thee? Now not to long for him. If this love be not worth long­ing for, truly 'tis worth nothing.

3. Because this is our last and ultimate end that we are made for,Reas. 3. chosen for, bought for, called for, sealed for, that at last we might be with the Lord, and be made perfect in one, 2 Cor. 5. 5. He that hath made us for this is God, &c. For the whole Trinity enjoying infinite sweet fellowship with himself, hence de­sire it might be communicated, in Christ 'tis so, and now the last end is attained. Now if this be our last end, ought we not to desire it? Then we ought not to de­sire to be blessed, nor to desire the Lord may be glorified. Nay you know that whatever we make our last end, it will swallow up all our desires after any other thing. This is the Center and rest and journies end of our tired weary spi­rits. And the truth is, when we make it our last end, we cannot but desire it.


BUT ought not a man to desire to live here in this world as David and Heze­kiah did.Object. May not one sin in this desire?

1. 'Tis true, precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his Saints, Answ. not only in regard that they are as precious to him when they come to die, as while they live, as Gold when 'tis melting is as precious to the Goldsmith, as when whole, and it may be more too, because 'tis then made better; but also because he will not lightly cast away their lives. He that bottles their tears, and will not let them be lost, will not easily let go their lives, and if God will not, they ought not upon every slight occasion to desire their death, and losse of their lives to be with the Lord.

Now there are two cases Gods own people may not desire to remove hence, where though there be some fire I confesse, yet there is more smoak than fire, more sin than Grace.

1. In case they meet with much unkindnesse from, and many sorrows in the world, and behold the sins of it. Thus it was with Elias, 1 Kings 19. 4. Who when Iezabel threatned his life, fled, and would needs set sail presently and be gone; so 'tis with Gods people, when they see enemies without, the universal rot of Profession, that they think they are almost left alone; when God hath be­gun to do good by them, as by Elijah, but they think their best daies are past, there is all they shall do, and God himself it may be meeting them with some crosses in this world; now presently they grow weary of their lives, and desire to die, which is nothing else but a pang of discontent, truly God will not suffer it, nor you ought not to desire it, to die away in such a snuffe: No, the Lord hath work for them to do, and a journey to go. This desire is naught, and 'tis but a weed, and to be pulled up, that growes out of such a root as a discontented heart for crosses. I confesse God useth sorrows as means to smoak us out of our Hive, and we may use them for that end, but not only or chiefly them, nor from a pang or moody fit of discontent.

2. In case they desire death, and not life, before they be ripe for death. Hus­bandmen desire their Corn in, but 'tis folly to desire it before it be ripe, and then they may. I confesse 'tis the commendation of some trees, if not only good, but if ripe betimes, and 'tis the honour of a Christian, to be ripe for death betimes; yet still before he is ripe he is not to desire it.

Now when is this?Quest.

1. While the Lord hides his face and denies full assurance of his love,Answ. in this case as a Christian cannot, so he ought not (if it were the Lords will) desire to be gone as yet, and this is one reason why David and Hezekiah desired life, not death as yet, God had broken their bones, and his arrowes were yet in their hearts; now a man is to desire he may stay a little while longer, that he may sing the Song of the Lamb, and tell the world what the Lord hath done for him, and that he may not set in a cloud and die in horrour. Mariners long to be on shore, but before they come there, they would not venture in a mist, but see Land first, so should we desire to see the Lord in the Land of the living. Nay though the Lord gives his people a promise, which staies their hearts and is a twig to keep them from sinking, nay when he gives them some joy, yet still God hath promised to reveal more of himself and his Christ in the promise, seeing him but darkly now: Now they ought not to desire but wait, as in Simeons case, now let thy Servant depart in peace, having long waited for the consolation of Israel. Chil­dren that will be up before 'tis day must be whipt, a rod is most fit for them, stay till 'tis day.

2. While their work remains unfinished, and the Lord hath got little or no [Page 102] Glory from them, though they may have clear evidence of the Lords love: Christ himself desired it not till now, Iohn 17. 5. If thou couldest scale Heaven before thy work was done, the Lord would send thee down from thence again, as he did the soul of L [...]zarus, and truly to do the work of Christ one moment here, is better than to have a thousand years felicity in Heaven, nakedly considered in it self, in as much as the Honour of Christ is a thousand times better than our own good. It may be there is much work within doors, many odd distempers to be cashierd, spirituall decaies, &c. It may be there is work without, Christ hath many enemies in the world, many prayers are yet to be spent against them, much good to do for his Church, many tears to be shed for them, for praying trade is past in Heaven. It may be some friends yet to be converted, thou hast been a scandal to them, it may be as yet few have been, or can say they be the warmer or better for thee; that work is yet to be done: It may be God hath some secrets to reveal by thee before thou diest, stay therefore a while, while your work is done; 'Tis true, thou hast but one Talent, but little thou hast or canst do; yet God looks you should improve it whilst he is gone. A man that will needs to bed at noon-day, before night comes, what deserves he but a cudgel? So he that will die before his night comes, and while 'tis light to see and work by. When therefore you apprehend your work even done, then as not only Christ, but Pa [...]l, not only Paul, but Gods watchful servants have secret warnings of death. And as Mariners when they can see no Land, yet by their soundings can tell they are near Land or Sands, then you may desire it, for then you are ripe, but its sin to do it otherwise. And verily happy is that man that accounts not his life dear, but only the finishing of his course with joy. To conclude all, we are to desire our fellowship with Christ, as a man desires his last end, which desire doth not exclude but include desire after all the means and the means first, before the end. Now many things are to be done by God upon us, and by us for the Lord again, before we appear before Christ, which we may desire firstly for this our last end.


HEnce we see the vilenesse of the great,Use. 1. yet hidden secret sin of the whole world, which may be in part also in Gods dearest Saints, viz. in their hun­gry lustings and dropsie desires after the sweet of the things of this world. You shall have many a man that amends his life, reformes his course, forsakes his own righteousnesse, no mans tongue can tell him, his own Conscience cannot bear witnesse against him that he lives in any unlawful course; and I believe it is so, and may be and will be so. Shall I tell you therefore what hurts them? They are inordinate lustings after lawful things in themselves, and these they serve, Tit. 3. 3. Partly they grieve them if they do not satisfie and serve them, partly because they pay them with pleasures and delights if they do. Hence serving lusts and pleasures too, these like tops of mountains are seen, now when floods of wicked­nesse begin to abate, these will continue while the life lasts.

I intend not to shew you at large, but according to my Text the vilenesse of them.

1. They eat out all desire after the Lord Jesus and his fellowship, that he can­not long for the Lord Jesus. For a man can [...]ay out no more than he hath, now when his desires are lavisht and let out to other things, How can he lay out any on Christ? And thus the Lord of Glory comes to bear most horrible contempt, that he is not worth desiring in such a mans Books. Thus it was with them, Luke 14. 18. Every one refused. Why? Because of their Oxen, and Wives, and Farms, Lawful things, but they lasted too much after these. When a Harlot [Page 103] seeks to satisfie her lusts, she cares not how fat her Husband be off, never desires his coming home; so here: Many a one complains he cannot desire the Lord Je­sus, which I confesse is in mercy to some. But where is the cause of it? Oh they are running in another channel, and spent on other things: What a heavy curse is this? Some never think of death once in a Moon, much lesse long for Christ; desire not his fellowship here, much lesse there. And why? Because of their lusts that eat out all.

2. Suppose they do not thus, but your heart is divided, so that you long for these things now, and preserve your longing for him against you come to die; yet these will make you lose his sweet fellows [...]ip. For a mans affections are precious things, and 'tis pity any else should have them, they are all little enough for Christ, and Christ is worth desiring and longing for, and he stands upon it, and will make them know that have him, that all is too little for him, and they shall give him all before he give himself to their comfort. Hence deny him these, and never think to have himself, and his fellowship, Psal. 73. 25, 26. Its good for me to draw nigh, How? By desiring, not Earth nor Heaven, but him. Hence he saith, Thou destroyest all them that go a whoring from thee, v. 27.

3. Suppo [...]e thou shouldst have hi [...] at last, yet he will never desire thee, never take any delight in thee, until that you come to get your affections unloosed here, Psal. 45. 10, 11. Dost not find a strangenesse between Christ and thy soul? Doth he not hide his face? Doth he not soon depart from thee, though he appears somtimes to thee? Doth he not let thee lie like a Broom behind the door? And doth little by thee either within or without. And is not this a sad and heavy thing? Why saist thou, doth the Lord deal thus with me? Oh thy heart is yet after thy Fathers house, if thou didst forget it, then he would take pleasure in thy beauty. What pleasure can earth give thee, when the Lord takes no pleasure in thee?

But may not a man desire these things?Object. If we may, how far?

1. A man may lawfully desire them,Answ. provided his desires are not [...]w [...]llowed up in them, but run through them to Christ himself. For 'tis not lu [...]t properly to desire a creature, or any pleasure in it; but to desire it for it self, and forplea­sures sake. For now a man makes a god of it. Thus it was with the Israelites, Exod. 17. Give us water that we may drink; so give me sleep that I may rest, give me cloaths that I may be warm, give me estate that I may be rich, &c. Now when a heart desires them, but his desires end not there, but run through them to Christ, that he flings down all comforts, and saith what is this to fellowship with Christ: Thus far a man may desire and rejoyce in them, and 'tis a sin to do otherwise. Nehem. 9. 35. A man may be content to have a Spring run through his ground to the Sea, to be swallowed up there, but to swell, and rise, and overslow his ground and house, that's not safe, he may be drowned so: So men come to be drowned in their lusts, that let them swell within doors.

II. A man may desire the [...], if he doth not spend more desire upon them than they be worth. A man may desire them for a good end as he thinks, but then he laies out too much upon them. A man may spend too much in his Inne, when he takes it up only as a way to his home.

1. They are perishing things, therefore let them have perishing desires. The world passeth away. They are passengers by us, that stay to rest with us for a time, let them have passengers welcome.

2. They are not necessary things, let them have therefore indifferent desires: I must have Christ, and his Spirit, &c. not these things: They are to be sought not in the first, but in the second place. Therefore say first Christ, now let me have Christ: Men say now these things, then Christ. I say now the Lord Jesus, whether ever you have them or no.

III. Now all superfluity of evil desires are to be crucified, Gal. 5. 24. They that [Page 104] are in Christ, have crucified, &c. Christ was not a dead, but first a crucified Christ before: So no Saint living, but he hath some superfluous desires, but though they live, they do crucifie them, so ought you. There is two things in crucify­ing.

1. There is extream pain upon the Cross.

2. A looking for death: So then lusts are crucified,

1. When you tast the bitternesse of your lusts, by putting them on Christs Crosse. Oh the wrongs they have done the Son of God! And do this with vio­lence, say, you shall to the Crosse, he that looks to Christ with a frolick heart to kill his lusts, shall never find him.

2. Now looking and longing for their death, by holding them there. Unless the Blood of Christ slay these, I will never have any death for them. For all the reason in the world will never kill a lust, no more than all the reason will per­swade the Stomach not to hunger. The Belly hath no ears.

Thus you are to moderate your desires after these things: Which I speak of,

First, Because 'tis a wilderness-sin, Psal. 106. 14, 15. Which it may be you feel brings leannesse on your soul. And

Secondly, Because 'tis the sin of prosperity and peace which God hath given us, which will grow up and choak the Word, that all Ordinances and Truths will in time be saplesse, savourlesse things unto us.

Thirdly, Because I have had strong fears lately of some unexpected trials among us, and I should be glad if it might not be, if the freedom from them might make us better, else I say let them come. But

Fourthly, Because 'tis a rare thing among us to see such burning Lamps as look and long for Christs coming, which when I consider, though there be other causes, yet one great one is this, Oh the heart is gone away by violent lusts after these things here! Oh therefore take heed of them! And therefore consider,

1. You shall have Christ and his fellowship, if indeed you long for him, Iohn 4. 10. That's his love, you are not so desirous, but he is a thousand times more Thou maist desire these things, and if God loves thee misse of them. God will make thee poor when thou wouldst be rich, base when thou wilt be honoured, and when you would have honey, he will give you stings; and cause you have to thank the Lord too, that he will not give you your portion here.

2. If th [...]u hast them, and dost desire them, and God gives them, and thou lettest Christ go, thou hadst better a thousand times be without them, Psal, 78. 30, 31. The meat was in their mouths, and the wrath of God came upon them. If the Lord gives thee Christ, happy for ever; if these things when thou dost so desire them, oh wo for ever!

3. The Fellowship of the Lord Jesus thou shalt never lose. Death shall not part thee from that, nothing shall rob thee of that; but look after and long for these things, they will perish and die away. All flesh is grasse, the Word of the Lord, and the Lord himself much more endureth for ever.

4. Why dost desire these things? For some sweet in them. Why is not all that in the presence of the Lord Jesus, and enjoying him? It pleaseth the Father that in him should all fulnesse dwell, so that thou shalt drink as out of a pure Foun­tain all that is there. If there be any sweetnesse here, he gave it, 'tis much more eminently in himself, Exod. 24. 11. They saw the God of Israel, and eat and drank. Had they meat up with them? Oh no. But the sight of him was meat and drink and all unto them. As therefore you desire Christs fellowship, Oh long no more after these things here!

Hence see death is not to be feared,Use 2. but desired of all Saints. It was an odd speech of a Heathen, 'Tis ill to desire death, and worse to fear it; he meant not be­cause of any good in it, but because we must die: But death brings us into eter­nal [Page 105] Fellowship with the Lord Jesus. It doth Saints more good than all Ordi­nances, all afflictions, (wherein we complain we can get no good) than all means. It brings us into his Fellowship, 1. Quickly, as Christ was caught up, so the Soul by Christ to himself. 2. Immediatly, for the next thing we shall see is Christ himself, our Husband himself, and then see the Kingdom, and then wonder at the Lord. 3. Everlastingly, never to part more. Oh fear it not therefore, Christ hath sweetned it to you.


HEnce see a clear foundation and ground-work of longing for fellowship with the Lord Jesus in his Ordinances here.Use 3. This is that I shall exhort to. For

1. You cannot, shall not, must not now go to him in Heaven, nor enjoy fellow­ship with him, nor meet him in the clouds though you do long for that day; but in his Ordinances you may meet with him now. And truly those whom we love and long for, if we cannot go to their house, or find them at home, we are glad to meet with them abroad. As with those who stand before Princes, if we can­not be with them on the Throne, or at Court, we will desire to be with them in the Countrey, Nay on the Dunghil. Oh the Spirit of David! Psal. 27. 4. One thi [...]g have I desired, and that I will seek for, though I never have it. What is that David? Is it to wear the Crown in Ierusalem? Is it to have all thine enemies lick the dust of thy feet? Is it to have thy Name spread, and thine Honour great through all the Kingdomes of the world? No, but that I may dwell in the Courts of the Lords House all the daies of my life, and that seeing I cannot, shall not die presently, and so go to see his Glory in Heaven, therefore that I may see his Beauty here, enjoy him here, and that not for some years, but all the daies of my life.

2. Ought you not to long to tast and passe through the sorrows of death, that you may be with him? And are Christs Ordinances more bitter than death, that you are loath to break through the difficulty of them, that in them you may enjoy him? The truth is so 'tis with many a man, that such is the strength of his hidden contempt of Christ, and his love to his sloath, that he had rather die than pray, and be damned eternally than to follow the Lord in an Ordinance till he hath found him graciously. How come Gods own people to lament this, if there were not this?

3. I remember a sweet speech of one with God, That a Christian ought to prepare for a Sacrament as he would prepare to die, for, saith he, there is but this difference, when we die we then go to Christ, in a Sacrament Christ comes to us. What he said of a Sa­crament, I say of every Ordinance, in every Ordinance Christ comes to us, when we die we go to him. Now ought you to long when you are absent from him to be with him, and will you not care for him, nor long to see him and enjoy him when he comes to you? And so be worse than poor naked Indians, Christ comes not to them, no dews fall down on their Gilboahs, no Manna at their Tent doors, and hence they live without him, and desire him not; and when he comes to you, do you see no beauty in him now why you should desire him? Will you thus requi [...]e him for his love, ah foolish children and [...]wise?

4. Truly Beloved, you can have but little evidence you do desire the Lord Je­sus company in Heaven at the last day, that long not vehemently after him in his Ordinances now. You have followed me in the regeneration, saith Christ, Mat. 19. 28. therefore you shall sit with me upon Thrones. If Christs presence here, a little of himself be burdensom, What will it be in Heaven then? Depart from me, saith Christ, I was in prison and you visited me not. Shall you depart for not visiting an imprisoned, persecuted, sick, sorrowful Christ in midst of miseries, and shall [Page 106] not you depart for rot visiting a comforting Christ, a teaching Christ, an intreat­ing, embracing Christ in the midst of his Ordinances. If the Lord tries you with water, with a little of himself here, and you care not for him, long not after him, and hence let all leak out again, How shall the Lord trust you with wine? with full fruition of himself in Heaven?

5. Oh Beloved have you ever found him in his Ordinances? If not, Oh the heavy wrath of the Lord Jesus upon thee: If you have, if ever he hath comforted thee when sad and sorrowful, if ever quickned thee when death and darknesse did lie upon thee, if ever he did deliver thee when distressed, Oh then take heed of despising him in his Ordinances now, but long for him again, That I may see thee as I have seen thee, Psal.63. 2. Let them that never found him, deal so with him. Peter when he saw Christs Glory on the Mount, Lord saith he, 'tis good for us to be here. Hath the Lord ever transfigured himself before thee, so as he hath appeared in another manner to thee in his Ordinances than ever thou sawest be­fore? Then say, seeing Lord I cannot come to Heaven to thee, 'tis good being in the Mount, in thy Ordinances with thee, its good being here, 1 Pet. 2. 2, 3, 4. I know Brethren you have many employments in the world, and are called away to them, and cannot ever be with the Lord, yet let your longings be there, nay though cast out of Gods sight, yet look to the Temple; this will give you peace.

6. This if I may have leave to speak plainly, is the great sin, one of them, of New-England. Men come over hither for Ordinances, and when they have them neglect them; or if it be too horrible to live in a grosse neglect of them, yet who maintains his Fellowship with Christ? or longing after the Fellowship of Christ in them? And therefore I shall stay a while on this point. Men that are sick of consumptions have somtimes a mighty stomach after meat, and when 'tis brought them, they are weary of the very smell of it, and then say, truly I had thought I could have eaten so much; so men loath Ordinances, nay the Cooks that dresse, and the Dish that brings, and the Ministry of Christ Jesus that provides the meat, because consuming and pining away in their iniquities. I know many use Ordinances, but are they not indifferent whether they find him therein or no? Now,

1. When men had enough by them to live comfortably upon, then God and his Ordinances were desired by them, but here mens removing begetting want, want of the creature joyned with fear and distrust of Gods Providence to provide for them and theirs, either sink their hearts, that Ordinances are not sweet, no more than Moses message to a people in anguish, or meat to a wounded man; or else makes them hungry after the creature, and hence lavishing out their desires, that they have none after the Lord himself.

2. When men are persecuted by enemies, driven into corners, or to Townes six miles off to find a Sacrament, or hear a Sermon, then the Gospel of peace, and them that brought the glad tidings of peace, their feet were beautiful, and then men thought if one Sabbath here so sweet where Ordinances are much cor­rupted, if some of them be so comfortable in the midst of enemies, Oh how sweet to enjoy them all among Saints, among Friends? And so I know they be to some, and I hope to more than I know; but New-Englands peace and plenty of means breeds strange security; and hence prayer is neglected here: There are no enemies to hunt you to Heaven, nor no chains to make you cry; hence the Gospel and Christ in it is sleighted. Why? Here are no soure herbs to make the Lamb sweet. And if I get no good this Sabbath, this Sermon, this Sacra­ment, this Prayer, I hope I shall some other time, when my heart is better, and my businesse is over: Not considering that the daies of trouble may be near, or Gods final farewel may be quickly taken.

3. It was a sad speech of a Brother lately, which hath oft affected me, that a [Page 107] man may pray out, hear out all the Grace of his heart: Meaning this, when God begins to work upon a mans heart at first, then prayer and Word is sweet, stay a while they hear out their hearing, and pray out their praying, so as in praying, they pray not; and in hearing, they hear not! Would to God there were no [...] a generation of those men among us, that having been so oft Sermon-trod and Prayer-beaten, that now their hearts are hardned, and being used to Ordinances, and being so long ridden under them, I wish they were not tired, and jaded under them before they come half way home, that they had rather lie & die in the high way, than get up and with mighty groans and invincible wrastlings of heart seek af­ter, and so find the Lord in them.

4. There is no place in all the world, where there is such expectation to find the Lord, as here, and hence men blesse the Lord for our rising Sun, when 'tis set­ting every where else: Here therefore they come and find it not, hence not considering the great and last temptation of this place, whereby God tries his friends before he will trust them with more of himself, viz. deep and frequent de­sertions, they give in, and therefore care not for, nor desire after those plaisters which they feel heal them not, nor that food which they find nouris [...] ­eth them not. 'Tis strange to see what a Faith some men have that can close with Christ as their end, and comfort themselves there; 'tis not means (say they) but Christ, not duties but Christ, and by this Faith can comfort and quiet themselves in the neglect and contempt of Christ in means, as infallible a brand of Gods eternal reprobation of such a soul as any I know. So that this is New-Eng­lands sin. Is not Prayer neglected, wanting place and heart? if not in family, is it not in secret? so that you have none, nor poor servants have none. If any Prayer in secret, yet doth it not die? Didst ever find thy Spirit so straitned? Where are the mighty groans? What is become of meditation? Dost not let Sabbaths, Sermons passe over, which shall be preacht over again at the last day, and find no Christ, no Spirit in them; and thus lie famishing, and [...]et not cry for bread? If it be not so, I am glad, God, Angels, Saints, and al the world shall call you blessed: If it be so, I dare be bold to prophesie ruine to this place and people, and that you or your pos [...]erity shall either in woods, or in the Land, or hands of your enemies in this place lament with tears the contempt of means; and you even Disciple; of Christ shall desire to see one of the daies of the Son of man, and shall not see them. Jer. 8. 13, 14. Let us go into strong holds, &c. I know there are many that do meet the Lord, but are you not apt to fall asleep again? Oh therefore let me entreat you, if the Lord hath espoused you to himself, if you have any longings after him in Heaven, seeing those desires cannot be fulfilled present­ly, Oh long to meet him here, and so long to meet him, as that you may indeed meet with him and with more and more of him.


VVHat is it to meet Christ, and to have Fellowship with him in an Ordi­nance?Quest.

I have been oft asked this,Answ. and for the sake of them that be weak, I shall give you a tast of it.

1. Therefore look as 'tis with a man that receives any common mercy from God, from Christ, if he sees not the Lord Jesus really giving it, he enjoyes it, but not Christ in it, though he get some good out of the thing: So let a man receive more knowledge of Truths, and more Truth be discovered, more Promises revealed, more affections and life dropt into the heart, which may do a man some good, yet if he sees them as separated from Christ, if he sees not the Truth as it is in Jesus, if he sees not Promises spoken from Heaven by Jesus, if [Page 108] he l [...]oks not on all Commands as part of the secret of Jesus, if he receive affecti­ons, and by them behold not the Lord Jesus, he doth not at that time enjoy the Lord Jesus. For he now indeed enjoyes his gifts, but by these he doth not en­joy him: And therefore then a man may be said to have fellowship with Christ in an Ordinance, when by all the light and life and comfort there, he comes to see him, and sees them all in him, and seeing a transcendent Glory in him, sees and beholds a hidden Glory in them. This Command is a secret of Jesus, this Promise the sweet voice of Jesus, these Consolations the comforts of Jesus, these Messengers the Ministers of Jesus, these Ordinances the Kingdom of Jesus. And therefore look throughout all the Scriptures, you shall see our Fellowship with Christ both in Heaven and here, 'tis exprest by seeing of the Lord, Iohn 17. 24. Psal. 63. 2. & 27. 4. I have oft said to my friends, the great sin of Christians is to see Scriptures, Ordinances, Truths, Commands, Blowes, Kindnesses, as not flowing from and abiding in the Lord Jesus, to see them separate from Christ, and not Christ and them together. And hence Promises comfort not, because you receive them not as spoken by Jesus: Commands awe not, because not as the voice of Jesus: Every Truth is not dear, because you see it not as the Bridegrooms voice. Parents that have had rude children, have turned them out of doors, they themselves have sent them money and cloaths in pity, but them­selves have not been seen, that they might seek for a Fathers face at last: So when God is angry with some of his people, he doth send to them in his Provi­dences and Ordinances, because he pities them, but himself is not seen. Why? That at last they might come home, and seek to see his face again, and say, What good does all this do me, if I see no God? I confesse he that receives gifts from another, ought to be thankful; but a heart that loves and longs after the Lord, will say, here is Blessing, Means, Truth, Warmth, but Lord when wilt thou come thy self? Oh labour for this!

2. When a man feels the power of the Lord Jesus in his Ordinances; this is the second part of Davids desire, Psal. 63. 2, 3. That I may see not only thy Glory, but thy power, for there is never a child of God but feels a strong party within him against Christ, so that he cannot seek Christ, cleave to Christ, live to Christ, now you will find in some Ordinances your hearts shaken and troubled for sin, and some desires and consolations stirred up, and hopes never to be as you have been: But Beloved all dies and falls down again: Now I confesse there is somwhat of Christ in all this; but yet content not your selves with this, because you want a power, or until you find a might power of Christ by little and little subduing sin, for when Christ comes into the heart indeed, he comes with his power, Psal. 24. 7, 8. The Lord of Hosts mighty in Battel. His flesh is meat indeed, Col. 1. 29. Christs power works in a man mightily. If you enjoy never such comfort, but find not a power pulling down thy lusts, there is no Christ. If a man be sick, and he eats his meat, and great care be had to tend him, but the disease is strong­er than the strength of nature and food; ask him, Do you eat? Yes, but it doth me no good; So here: Such comfort, such a Christ doth you no good, unlesse you feel a power. Oh long to meet Christ, and enjoy Christ thus!

How shall I do this?Quest.

1. Mourn bitterly for the Lords absence as for one of the greatest evils that can befall thee.Answ. For Christs presence will never be sweet to him that can live without him, and can you look for him then? John 16. 22. You have now sorrow, which he said, filled their hearts, but I will see you again, visit you, come down to you by my Spirit again, and you shall rejoyce, and none shall take it away: And therefore its noted, the first that had comfort was Mary, when she sate at the Se­pulcher weeping, Iohn 20. 11, &c. And therefore do but observe your own hearts, when your hearts have been soaked in grief, for want of or for the absence of Christ, Oh I have lived without him, and prayed without him, and heard [Page 109] without him, and spoke without him, him that hath pitied me, spared me, over­come me, laid down his life, sent his Spirit to me! that then you shall more or lesse see the Lord, and feel the power and presence of the Lord. Oh Beloved, shall not Heaven be sweet to you without him, and shall earth be sweeter than Heaven, that you can live here without him? Beloved, whatever you account of it now, in Hell the sting of all sorrowes shall be this, Oh Christ hides his face? One frown shall be more bitter than death, than a thousand deaths, and shall it be so in Hell, and shall not many frowns, many daies be more bitter than death? Shall it be so to Devils, and not to Saints? Shall the hiding of Christs face from enemies be heavy, and shall not his friends take it to heart? If you do not, then think not to meet him, but that Word and Prayer shall be dead drink to thee; but if you do, I tell thee if he manifests himself to any, he will reveal himself to thee.

2. Prize and love his presence, his face, the lifting up of the light of his coun­tenance. Princes will not come, or if they do, not stay, if they perceive their company is a burden, and is not esteemed; no more will the Lord Jesus. They that are fallen in love together will find out each other though it be at midnight; prize Christs company, and you will not complain for want of time, and say you cannot, but you will find him out in Word, in prayers, though others be fast a­sleep, Mat. 13. 44. When the man sells all, now he buyes the field, hath it, and enjoyes it. You would have the Lords company and fellowship, I believe you; But what will you give for it? I will tell you. It may be you will give him the hearing for it, and give him a few good wishes, and a few good words, and a lit­tle leisure. But will you turn the whole world behind your back, and whatever you have out of doors, that he may come in: That now 'tis not honour, nor wealth, nor life, nor ease, nor Heaven, but him, and that not only in Heaven, but in his Swadling-clouts, his Ordinances here, beleeve it salvation is at your doors. Zacheus being a low man of stature, gets out of the crowd, stan [...]s in the way, and the Lord bids him come down. Do thus when you come to any Ordi­nance, I tell you 'tis better than an host of Angels compassing thee about with praises. Oh that you had the life of experience! Hast not found him better than friends, than means, than thy self? Oh that you would believe expe­tience!

3. Make it not your task but your trade to seek for him, that you may enjoy him he [...]e. Make this your businesse. Men make it not their main businesse to seek our Christ, but only some work they must dispatch by the by. They make it not their Trade but their Task which must be done. Esan would have the bles­sing, but 'tis his hunting that he delights in. You shall have a man that is a close worldling, come and hear, and joy therein, but his trade his heart is after that, Ezek. 33. 31. Look but on a Christian at his first conversion, what great gains gets he then? Oh 'tis his trade to follow the Lord, afterward he is idle, and then feels little, Mat. 13. 46. Li [...]e a merchant, he ventures all, and then finds. Now you shall find him, Heb. 11. 6. He is the rewarder, not of them that seek him sluggishly, but diligently. What do you else seek for? Why spend you your money for that which is not bread? Or if there be ought else that is necessary, let thy care be for him, and his care shall be for thee.

4. Look before thou comest to an Ordinance, if there be no lust, no stumbling block of iniquity that thou harbourest in thy heart, or sufferest to remain in the sight of God, Isa. 59. 1, 2. I have know in experience, and seen it in Scripture, many of Gods people and others have taken on that God hides his face, &c. And this hath been found to be the cause, either some sin not yet subdued or mortified, or some sin that they have not gone for pardon of to the Blood of Christ, and so unpardoned. When both these have been removed, the Lord hath appeared, Exod. 24. 10. After the Covenant made by Blood, they saw the God of Israel. [Page 110] Ezek. 14. 3. Should I be enquired of by them that set the stumbling block of their iniqui­ties? &c. Come therefore to an Ordinance that the Lord would take away thy [...], do not come to it that you may be comforted in your sin, so that though there be sin in your heart, yet the Lord will not cast that in thy dish, when thou comest to him to take it away. It may be you know none. You know not what Spirit you are of. Get the Lord to discover it to thee.

5. Oh be thankful, and cleave the closer to Christ for a little: For that's the infinite mercy and love of Christ to his people, he lets them see their end, the height of Grace and Glory the Lord will bring them to, but makes them feel the want of it, and tast but a little, but the first-fruits. Now there is Satans policy to make them sleight what they have, because they have not what they would have. Hence Christ estrangeth himself greatly; Do you thus despise my love; Oh therefore cleave close to him for that little, and then see, John 1. 50. Thou shalt see greater things than these, the Son of God, and Angels ascending and descending on him. Think that I feel or have the sense of any want of Grace, and peace, and mercy, and Christ, Oh 'tis mercy! That I have the Star, oh this is mercy, this brought them to Christ himself afterward. Oh unthankfulnesse stops Cods heart! God will never cease pouring out on thee, that art pouring out praises on him; for else mans kindnesse should exceed the Lords.

Thus you see the Means, now use them, and long for the Lord Jesus in them, and so long as that you may meet him; and do it presently, else you may seek and not find him, and die in your sins, Iohn 8. 21. A sad and heavy speech. Hath God singled you out of all people in the world to enjoy him, and will you now forsake him, and be eaten up with your Lots, and buried in the bellies of your Beasts, or sit grieving that your estates are sunk? It may be Hypocrites will for­sake the Lord Jesus, but will you also depart? Others care not for him, others long not after him, others give him no meeting, will you depart? Lord to whom shall we go? Oh and long for more of him, forget what is behind, and hear, and pray as if thou never didst so before, as if but new to begin. There is a plot a­foot to make you loath Ordinances, that so God may loath you: Men that are sick and like to die, can eat no common wholsom meat, but are now nourished by conserves, and Alchermies, and Spirits of Gold: So when wholsom Truths of God are despised, men are deadly sick, when any new-fangled device shall feed their fancy. The Lord keep you from it. Oh do you love and long for the Lord in them the more, for his Spirit, his love, his Truth, his Christ, his company, his Grace, his consolations, and then when death comes, you shall not need to fear it, but make it welcome, and when Conscience shall ask, Do you think to be with the Lord? Oh it shall be peace in thy bosom! Lord thee have I longed for, thee have I sought for, wept for here, because I could not come to thee pre­sently in Heaven. Now Lord let me come to thee, and so go triumphing to Glo­ry.


HEnce we see no Christian ought to content himself with any measure of knowledge or fellowship with the Lord Jesus here.Use 7. For if full, perfect and immediate fellowship with him in Heaven and at last day ought to be the mark he aimes at, and journies end of all his desires, then he is not to sit down in the mid-way, but to breath, and aspire after still more and more of him. Thus Paul, though fully sealed with the Spirit, yet he makes this his mark, Phil. 3. 14, 15, 16. 1 Pet. 1. 10, 11, 12, 13. The Apostle tels them the Prophe [...]s looked after the Grace given in their times, therefore gird up your loyns, and hope perfectly for Grace to be given you at the revelation of Christ Iesus. Men that have preferment in [Page 111] their eye, and are to come on by degrees to it, never content themselves with a­ny (though they will not sleight what they have) until they come to their high­est: You are born to great hopes, sleight not what you have, but look after more, 2 Pet. 3. 18.

Hence three sorts are to be greatly blamed. For as 'tis with sinful lusts, so 'tis with spiritual, they are endlesse, infinite, and unsatiable, if they want, they are not satisfied; if they have, they are whe [...] on in their appetites after more. Oh let it be so here!

1. Some there be that are so far from thirsting after more of him, that they have forsaken his fellowship, and lie still content it should be so. Time was while horrour was upon their Consciences, trouble in their minds, and heat of affection lasted, that their prayers were many, their tears abundant, they could not take their rest in the night, but pray they must, they could not hear of a Ser­mon, but through wet and dry to it; and it may be the Lord drew them with the cords of a man, and laid meat before them, and sweetned their labours with great hopes to them; but the Father not having drawn them with an invincible power, and knit them by an indissolluble union to Christ, they are now fallen off from Christ, Iohn 6. 66. And if you observe it, he looks not after them, speaks not one word to them, because content to be without him. Would to God this were not the temper of Saints that know it was better with you once than now, and God hedgeth your way with thorns, and gives you no rest. But Oh the grievous wracks of Professours! One can see some Boards and Planks at low water, but that's all, Ier.2. 13, 14. The Lord will fetch you home if he loves you, by weeping Crosse.

2. Some there are that fall not to forsake the Lord, but like the door on the hinge, and wheel on the pin, hang and turn about where they did. This Gods own people are very apt to do, and hence the Apostle wisheth them to take heed of it, from a dreadful Argument, Heb. 6. 4, 5, 6, 7.

First, Because the Lord at first conversion drawes his people swee [...]ly, drives them gently; being weak and young Infants, as yet keeps them in his armes, that they may find a greater good in him than in the world: But afterward he suffers Satan to tempt, himself deserts them, leads through a wildernesse of sinnes and miseries, that they may know what is in their own hearts. Hence now if they will have mercy, they must fetch it, fight for it, and overcome, now hence sloath is apt to prevail for a time, as with the Disciples.

Secondly, Because before they have Christ, they feel a total want, afterward but a partial, & hence apt to be ful & self-confident in what they have, their stomachs are staid by some bits, & hence the Lord is fain to withdraw the feeling of all that which they had before, that they feeling how soon that vanisheth, might hunger after more; as the Disciples could have been content with Christs being upon earth with them, then saith he, the Spirit will not come, hence away he goes, that they might have more of him in the Spirit. But this is too common with many Hy­pocrites.

1. When men serve their turn of Christ. There is never a Hypocrite living but closeth with Christ for his own ends, for he cannot work beyond his Principle. Now when men have served their own turns out of another man, away they go, and keep that which they have. An Hypocrite closeth with Christ as a man with a rich shop; he will not be at cost to buy all the shop, but so much as serves his turn. Commonly men in horrour seek for so much of Christ as will ease them, and hence professe and hence seek for so much of Christ as will credit them, and hence their desires after Christ are soon satisfied. Appetitus finis est infini­tus.

2. No Hypocrite though he closeth with Christ, and for a time grow up in knowledge of, and communion with Christ, but he hath at that time hidden [Page 112] lusts, and thorns that overgrow his growings, and choakall at last; and in conclu­sion mediates a League between Christ and his lusts, and seeks to reconcile them together: Christ saith out with every Lust, and let more of my self come in; no saith sin, let me stay here, remember what ease, what honour I bring you, I can­not leave you: Now a man moderates, I'le keep my Lust because I love it, but I'le [...]eep it as my burden, that I may have Christ with it. Christ calls to seek for more of him, Lust saith no, the work is hard, and duties are difficult. And 'tis it may be to no purpose to seek, you have other irons in the fire, many worldly busi­nesses: Now here men moderate; Do not say thou wilt seek no more after him, nor indeed use means diligently for more of him; be sure only you give him some desires to be better, and this will serve the turn. The Lord Jesus wooes many a soul whom he never matcheth himself; one comes and wins the heart after­ward, and makes the match: so here, The l [...]sts of a mans heart grow sweeter than Christ and his Ordinances, and hence there is no heart to seek after more of Christ, when the Match is once made with the world, and affections won, 2 Tim. 4. 10.

3. Some seek for more of Christ, but 'tis of an idol christ, not as manifesting himself in and by a Word: for look as any act of obedience is an act of will­worship and imagery, that we have not a particular command for, or is not directly deducted from some rule in the Word; so that act of Faith is an act of will­worship, which sees and chuseth Christ as his own, when he hath not a particular promise for it, 'Tis an imagination of Christ, not Christ; and you have more of your own imagination, not more of the Lord Jesus, 1 Pet. 1. 25. Monks had sublime [...] contemplations of God, Luther calls them such as looked upon a Deus & Christus absolutus,—not beholding the beams of his love, and glory in the word. Oh therefore labour for more of such a Christ, as the word holds forth. And look as in Heaven,

First, They are all one with him in fellowship, the Father in him, and he in them, and they in him, and so made perfect in one.

Secondly, They have his fellowship only: so do you long for more of his fel­lowship, so as to be made more one with him, and him with you, so as he may be your strength, and life, and peace, and for his fellowship only, otherwise you may go without him at last, Luke 13. 26, 27. Have we not eat and drank in thy presence, &c. The Jews before Christs coming had Christs presence then, but a greater measure of it is given to the Church since his Resurrection and Glorification, for it was re­served to honour Christ in his first coming. But how many be there that see not the Lord Jesus so as they did under vails? either get more, or say Christ is not risen, Iohn 14. 16. Christ promiseth to send his Disciples another comforter: who was that? the spirit of truth whom the world could not receive, because it knew him not: Why had the Disciples no spirit now? yes, he was in them, but not that full measure, with which though they were not as yet sealed, yet they knew they had him, and that Christ was theirs too. So, hast thou the Spirit of the Lord Je­sus, Oh begg for more of it, not miraculous gifts, for that is in vain, but more of the special powerful presence and fulnesse of it, for 'tis this that the world cannot re­ceive. I have oft feared it's the great sin of this last age to comfort and settle chri­stians in their weak beginnings, as though there was no more of Gods Spirit to be poured down in times of the Gospel. But consider,

First, What came you into this wildernesse to see, Reeds shaken with the wind? No, for more of the Lord Jesus, and will you now forget the end for which you come? it may be you never found lesse, no but God is emptying of you that you might seek for more. Herod a long time desired to see Jesus, and then despised him.

Secondly, You have here more means to have fellowship with the Lord, and will you content your self with what you have had. If you do what can you look for, but that the Lord should take away Ordinances, if they do you no more [Page 113] good, and ease you of the burden of the Lord of Hosts; or send sad and he [...]vy try­als: It's that I have oft thought of, why are the wicked [...], and Saints deb [...] ­sed? the worst are not bad enough to receive their plagues, nor the best good enough to partake of blessings. You have had so [...]e me [...]n▪ do you so [...]e good, here you have more, that you may receive more good, more li [...]e, more of Christ Jesus; if not, then look for fire to purge you if you be Gold, o [...] flames to devour you if you be but rottennesse and stubble. But is this thus? the Jews did long [...]o Christ, and when he ca [...]e they cruci [...]ied him, they loved the Prophets, they [...] have Prophets and their b [...]ood too, to shy the [...]; you love the Messenger [...] of Christ, and you would have more of Christ, &c. they have them Lord, but despise them, they have them, but condemn them, they have them, and though they will not cast them out of their place, yet they will so weary the [...]r spirits, and grieve thy Spirit in them, that they will make the [...] glad to bury themselves, and leave their places. You shall have Prophe [...]s, and their Blood too, and their tears and sorrows too. But why do I co [...]pl [...]in? Let me perswade: oh labour for more of Christ in his Servants, in his Ordinances, in his Providences, in his Saints, until at last thy desires break thy vessel, and carry thee up to behold the Lord in Heaven. If there were never saving work of Grace wrought, but thou hast only rested in Duties without Christ, now sell thy self out of all for him. If there be any that the Lord hath setled there on his pro [...]i [...]e which never can be shaken, hold your stedfa [...]tness, but yet still grow in Grace, and in the knowledg of the Lord Jesus.


OH long to be with the Lord Jesus. Before a man h [...]th Christ,Use 5. Of Exhort. now his de­sires should be to have him; when he hath Christ, now his longings should be to be with him. Do thus in this place, especially in this Age. I have oft thought one great end of Gods bringing his own people into this place is to [...] them to die, and be with Christ. Men have heard of Christ, and passed th [...]ugh the waves of death, and stood many a week within six inches of De [...]th to see Christ here; well, when you come here, God visits you with troubles, temptat [...]ons, losses, desertions, fears for future times; here it may be you see (as some see) an end of all perfection, Church-builders, Church-ordinances, Church-professors, &c. or if they find the Lord, 'tis soon gone; why all is that you might long to be at home.

The Lord when he called Abraham out of his own Country to his Friends,M [...]tive 1. he followed the Lord he knew not whither. You live now out of your Fathers house, and from all your Friends that long to see you, nay are left among enemies, and you know whither you are to go, to God the Iudge of all, and to an [...] able compa [...]y of Angels, and to the Spirits of just men made perfect.

Look but upon the men of this world, they long for things here,Motive 2. though but te [...]poral, though they have no Christ. Oh long for this though thou [...] no world.

When Christ would needs go to Ierusalem, Iohn 11. 16. saith Thomas,Motive 3.Let us go and die with him, and shall not we go to live with him?

Did Moses forsake Egypts honours, treasures, and embraced the reproach of Christ as far better. Oh if God should se [...] thee up in a Throne,Motive 4. Oh depart from it to enjoy the glory of Christ himself in Glory!

G [...]ant Death he dreadful,Motive 5. yet when Soldiers see their Captain upon the walls among the enemies, they will presse hard after to follow, though they die in the brea [...]h. To part with sin is bitter, or to part with Christ, but to part with the body for a [...]ime, and cast off the clothes, this will be [...]ound to be exceeding sweet.

[Page 114] Friends that send to us, and provide for us in a desart place, we [...] to see them. Now who bath clothed thee, comforted,Motive 6. pardoned, revived, found thee, kep [...] thee that nothing hath hurt thee? nay that thy sins have humbled thee, and done thee good: Oh ' [...]s Christ! Wilt not say, who and where is he [...] doth all this?

Oh consider how glad the Lord Jesus will be of thoe, though the world and th [...] art weary of thy self,Motive 7. Zeph. 3. 17. Luke 10. 21. I thank thee O [...]: so will the Lord say then.

Labour for assurance that Christ is thine,Means 1. else you will fear Death and [...] follows it, and such an assurance as doth not only chase away [...], but fears, at least in the power of them; for there is many a [...] find the Proposition true in the word, He that c [...]mes to [...] the Spi [...]it clears Gods work, and his own experience, and saith, [...] Christ now when he comes to make the conclusion, though [...]e [...] not sin against clear light and evidence of the Spirit, and conclude, yet I [...] yet he dares not, nor [...]annot for a time conclude fully: why? because of some fears, what if I should be mistaken, and when I die all prove naugh [...] and while this fe [...] lasts you will not long (till needs must) to be with [...] you fear or suspect Christ as an enemy, you will not hear [...]ly love [...] long to be with him: therefore get these fears removed.

How may this be?Quest.

[...]om. 8. 15, 16. By the Spirit of Adoption only;Answ. for though I do not exclude the work of sanctified reason from the witnesse of the Spirit, yet this I say, that all the men in the world, nor all the wisdom and reason of man can never chase a­way all fears, scatter all mists till the Spirit it self saith peace and be still, and puts its hand and seal to the Evidence: till the Spirit not by an audible, but power [...] voice shews and [...]erswades, Acts 12. 13, 14, 15, 16. They had been praying for P [...]ter, Peter knocks, the Damsel saith, Peter is there; now see their unbelief after such a mighty Spirit of Prayer, 'Tis his Angel, say they, and could not be per­swaded till he came in and shewed himself. So the soul is praying a mans own Spirit goes out and sees there is more unbelief and fear, say no ' [...]is a delusion: well the Spirit still knocks, and the soul opens, and then he comes in, and the soul is astonished. And that you may have it,

1. See there he no guilt upon thy conscience, no reservation, love, liking to some lost, Heb. 10. 22. For these fears are commonly the fruit of guilt which is not washed away, but by the blood of sprinkling.

2. Pray for the S [...]irit, Psalm 8 5. from 4. to 9. say they, 1. T [...]n us from si [...], 2. Turn from thy [...]rath, when the Father is angry, then no good word. 3. The end, That our hearts may rejoyce [...] thee. 4. S [...]ew us mercy. 5. Then they come to listen after it, for many times a Friend speaks not because he hath us not alone.

3. Mo [...]n heavily for want of it,Means 2. Psal. 51. 8 and so look for it in a word. Labour to partake of the fellowship of Christs Resurrection, else no desires can be raised up, Col. 3, 1. 2.

Quest. What is that?

Ans. Look as we then have fellowship with Christ, and with the Chur [...]h in miseries, when we from the serious apprehension of their sorrows, condole and [...] with them, so with Christ in Glory, when from serious deep apprehensions of his Glory, we reign with him, we are risen with him: for let a man be assured Christ is not his if he knows not what the worth and glory of his fellowship is a man will then never long to be with him: Oh therefore labour to comp [...]ehend this glory of the Lord Jesus, and that by the spi [...]it of Revelation, Ephes. 1. 17. 18. The word reveals the Glory of Saints, that there is a kingdom, that they shall be [Page 115] Perfect in one, that they shall have that Glory the Father hath given to Christ, Iohn 17. 22. Oh get the Spirit to shew thee the thing what this means, what this is; else somthing in the world will make you look back. There are false Spies that vi­lifie Gods Kingdom to his Saints, Oh say 'tis a good God, and countrey, and Christ, and Mercy, and love; let me go up and possesse it. O [...] get the Lord to give thee but one glimpse of this!

Thus much of the first verse.

Shewing that there are Hypocrites in the best and purest Churches.

V. 2. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. SECT. I.

FRom this Second verse to the Fifth there is set down the difference appear­ing between the Virgins, wherein the Lord the searcher of hearts, makes an open discovery of the particular estates of these Virgins, for all the best Churches especially to take notice of, to the second coming of the Lord Je­sus. This difference is set down,

1. Generally, in this second verse.

2. Particularly, in the 3d and 4th verses.

I. Generally in this verse.

1. That some of them were sincere and wise-hearted to the number of five.

2. Others of them were foolish and false-hearted to the number of five more. So that the summe is this, one half of them were indeed Virgins, another half were in appearance Virgins; the one part were Virgins in the sight of God, who saith they are wise; the other were so in the judgment of man, and hence called foolish ones. In this general description therefore of them, we may note,

First, Their description from the number of each sort, viz. five.

Secondly, From their different qualities or qualifications, holy wisdom or pru­dence in the one, sinful folly in the other. He doth not say five were holy and five prophane; five were friends to the Bridegroom, five were [...]ersecutors of him, but five were wise and five were foolish: Why the Virgins are described by the number of ten, Ispake before, either because it was a perfect number, and so sig­nifies the estate of all Virgin-Churches; or because it was the custom not to exceed the number of Ten, to honour them at their Marriage. Now why five of them were wise, and five foolish, as though the one half of them only were sincere, the other false, this seems to carry the face of Truth; but I am fearful to rack & torment Parables, wherein I chiefly look unto the scope, and that is this, that not one or two but a great part of them were sincere, and a great part of them false. And hence the Observations out of these words are these, omitting all the rest.

1. That when the Churches of Christ Iesus prove Virgin-Churches,Observ. 1. and are most pure, yet even then there will be some secret Hypocrites that shall mingle themselves with them. Or, There will be a number of Hypocrites, mingling themselves with the purest Churches.

[Page 116] 2. That when the Churches are Virgin-Churches,Observ. 2. the Hypocrites in those times will be Evangelical. Or, The secret Hypocrites of pure Churches are Evangelical.

3. That there are certain special,Observ. 3. saving qualifications of heart, whereby ariseth a great internal difference between sincere-hearted Virgins and the closest Hypocrites.

4. That the Spring or one main principle of Evangelical sincerity or hypocrisie it lies in the understanding or mind of man.Observ. 4.


THat there is and will be a mixture of close Hypocrites with the wise-hearted VirginsObserv. 1. in the purest Churches.

This I might manifest out of several Scriptures, from several times. Look but upon Iosias time, where there was as great a reformation as under any King be­fore him, 2 King. 23. 25. Yet Ier. 3. 10. & 4. 3, 4. Look on the Apostles time, and what apostacy afterward. The Apostle complained of it, Every one seeks their own, Phil. 2. 21. Many walk, &c. Phil. 3. 18, 19. Whom he could not think on without tears. The mystery of iniquity began to work even then. Christ mani­fests this by divers Parables, Mat. 22. 14. Many are called, and so called as to come in, and so sit and not to be known, till the Lord looks on them. And here the wise-hearted could not discern and keep out, but opened the door for the five foolish. Look as 'tis said, Job 1. 6. There was a day the Sons of God presented themselves before the Lord, and Satan came in also, so here. I shall not, do not speak of every particular Church, but of the state of the Churches in general. For its possible there may be a Philadelphia, a new Ierusalem which comes down from Heaven, a Golden Foundation, and for a time no hay nor stubble built upon it: But this is rare, and not usuall nor general.


FRom Satan,Reas. 1. the ancient enemy of the purity of the Church; he being an un­clean creature himself, if he could he would make Heaven it self unclean; but that is beyond his reach; hence he seeks to make Heaven on earth unclean; hence he will get into Paradise, and if he cannot come in the shape of a man, yet in that of a Serpent to beguile and pollute innocency there: He will follow Christ into the wildernesse, and tempt him there, and hence will seek to get into Churches, to pollute them. And if he cannot pollute the Church by unclean Ordinances, he will then seek to defile it by unclean persons, Mat. 13. 25. The Tares be in Iudea like the Wheat, yet indeed annoy the Wheat: And how come they there? They are sown there, i. e. hid for a time, and mingled, and die there too, Who doth this? Why the enemy did it, so that Satan will do it. If there be a Devil in the Church, he will sow his ta [...]es.

Obj. But we see him not.

Ans. No, 'tis therefore said he went away, his care is over now they are sown. Look as 'tis Jesuits policy at this day, the end of their Order is to raise up the collapsed ruines of Rome, and to bring all Christendom (and if it be possible all the world) to the Hellish bondage and blind obedience of the See of Rome. Hence some Kingdomes, because they cannot conquer them by power, they seek to do it by craft; hence they seek to lay their Leaven and make their party within, from whom they may have intelligence, and hence they shall do well enough with them: So Satan seeking the ruine of the Church, seeks to make his party within the Church, for one of these three ends chiefly.

[Page 117] 1. Either that he may divide the Church, that when any Errour shall be hatched, he may have his party to maintain it, and his faction to plead for it. Or

2. That he may corrupt it, if he cannot divide it, that the Tares may suck out the heart and life and power of Godlinesse in the hearts of the Elect; for you know 'tis not the Briar but the Iv [...] that sucks out the life and sap of the tree, and 'tis not prophane pricking persecutors, but seeming friends to the Church, that suck out the heart and life of it. It was not Ieroboams greatnesse, but the old Prophets gravity and seeming Piety that suckt out the Spirit and Sap of the young Prophet, 1 Kings 13. That so by this little Leaven he may defile the whole lump, and so provoke wrath against them all.

3. If he cannot do either, yet that he may blur and stain the Glory of the Church: For the greatest Glory in the world is to see a Temple built, not of sto [...] of Gold or Pearl, but of living precious Saints, holy to the Lord only and his Son, and the sight of which in Heaven shall be one part of the Glory in Heaven. Hence Satan will do what he can to blur it; that though the greatest Glory God hath, shines in his Church, yet that he may blur it: And hence Iude saith, Some that crept in unawares, were Spots in their Feasts. And 2 Pet. 2. 2. By reason of whom the way of Truth shall be evil spoken of.

2. From the Officers chiefly of a Church,Reas. 2. who when they should be full of eyes, as they are described, Rev. 4. And these eyes should be ever watching, they are then sleeping, Mat. 13. 25. For 'tis not the having, so much as the act­i [...]g of Grace that helps men to read and understand the Book of the Scriptures, and the Book of mens hearts and lives, 2 Pet. 1. 9. Hence in affliction and temptati­on we know the Lord, and his mind, and our own hearts, and the world best: When Ionathan eats the honey, his eyes are open: Now somtime the watchmen are not acting or watching, but sleeping, and hence those are taken for wheat, that indeed are but Tares. The Book hath a fair Superscription or Frontispiece, and they so sleepy they do not read it through, and so either see no fault at all, or if any, they be but Errata in the Printing, and weaknesses to be [...] with; or if they do, yet the man is commended, and hath a Name to live when indeed he is dead, and so this serves the turn, and though he comes in, yet they shall do well enough with him, though indeed they herein have but a wolf by the ears.

3. In regard of Hypocrites themselves, who must be like themselves,Reas. 3. ever to act for their own ends, for they ever have an evil eye; now it makes for their ends, to joyn themselves to the purest Churches of the Lord Jesus.

1. Sometimes it makes for their honour: Hence you know the Church of Sardis lost her power of life, for that is a burden, yet kept their name to live, for that is an honour. For if men live out of Church-Fellow [...]hip, that is a great shame, and now they have little love from Saints; Indeed the wicked may ho­nour them, but what is that to the honour of the whole Church? Who would think Saul should have cared for Samuel, that dealt so plainly and sharply with him? Yet Oh honour me before this people; that's the businesse. There are ma­ny excellent gifts Christ poures down upon his Church: Simon believes also, Acts 8. and would give any money for those gifts, that he might be wondred at, as he was before. A man seeing others gifts, and the love they have thereby, even a Simon may desire such gifts, and a mighty power of Grace to animate those gifts, and would give any money for this, that be may be wondred at. Some refined, polished Spi [...]its scorn honour of base men; and hence fish for it else-where.

2. Their gain, 'tis strange that Iudas follows Christ for the bagg, that was so poor, ye [...] he did, until he saw after three years and a half waiting, so little came in. So 'tis [...]ange men should seek to joyn to poor Churches for that, yet they do and will so long as they have any lots to give, or purses to lend, or hearts to take care and provide for those that are joyned to them. You shall have many poor Christian [Page 118] men, that be but kind and boun [...]iful to them, you may lead them into any errors, catch them at your [...]leasure with a silver hook, until they see their g [...]in grows little and respect lesse, and then they fall off.

3. Their comfort for union to the Church of God, 1. Covers their sin, and hides it from the eyes of the world. Theeves walk without suspition in true mens compa­nies, and thus they make the House of Prayer a Den of Theeves, and this is some comfort. For Hypocrites if they can carry it cleverly that none see, though God see 'tis no matter. It will not be thought that a Member of a Church dares do such a wickednesse, yet so it is sometime [...]. 2. Comforts their conscience in their sin; men love their lusts, but what , no respect to Ordinances of Christ? yes, and so conscience is quiet, and sin lives too, Ier. 7. 3. Because there is much com­fo [...]t in Gods Ordinances, and in attending on God there, not only verbal, but the vi­sible Gospel is sweet, the Sacraments: hence they joyn themselves as in Iohns Ministry, You rejoyced for a season, not only in Christ, but in communion of Saints, especially in dangerous times, that a man fears the judgements of God will come in those places where ever they live without them. And now they are quiet when got into the Cities of the Levites, from the pursuer of blood.

4. In regard of the Saints themselves.Reas. 4.

First, There is seen many times a Divine Majesty and excellency in them, which hath a drawing vertue with it, that many out of respect to that, close with them, as Gen. 26. 27, 28. God makes Balaam to see Israels glory in his Tents, and he cannot curse (if he might have all the world) but must bless them.

Secondly, There is much charity which thinks no evil, that where they see evils, they cover them; where there is but little good appearing, they hope there is more than they see, the Kings Daughter being all glorious within.

Thirdly, There is a spirit of humility in them, to think others that appear fair bet­ter than themselves, until God discovers them, especially if they are yet unsetled.

Fourthly, A spirit of desire to have all as near the Lord as they can, and though there be evils in them, yet they hope that will make them better.

5. From the Lord himself: who hath,Reas. 5.

First, Reserved this exact separation as one part of his own glory at his Second coming: Then he shall separate sheep and Goats.

Secondly, Because some are very serviceable to his Church, and so to Christ, as Caput politicum, both in regard of outward means of subsistance, and also with edi­fying gifts: hence into his Family he will let them come, being servants, and like Carriers that carry anothers money and wealth to him, and then turns them out of doors.

Thirdly, Because of a certain real, yet not thorow work of the Lord, whereby he draws them to some fellowship with the Church, the Members, and some kind of fellowship with his Son; yet it not being a thorow effectual Almighty drawing, they prove unsound, Iohn 6. 65.

Fourthly, That the Lord might manifest the exceeding greatness of his wrath in some, for Gods last end in all the wicked is to shew the greatnesse of it, Rom. 9. 21, 22. yet in some more than others: and hence raiseth them up in the Church to great eminency of profession, and parts, and honour, that all the Saints also may admire Gods Grace to themselves the more, that when Two in the field, one should be taken, another left, that they should sit in the same seats, and yet some called, others left, and of them that are called to leave many, and love me, and that men of great parts, and I a poor simple one to chuse such a base thing, to confound the wise, the mighty. But as it's said of Pharaoh, what meant all the miracles? all the humblings of heart? and yet he would not let them go: For this cause have I raised thee up, Exod. 9. 16. Of all that thou hast given me (saith Chri [...]) not one is lost, but the Son of Perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. So here.


THis serve [...] to cle [...]r us in this Country from a soul aspersion that is cast out of the mouths of Pulpits upon us,Use 1. that we hold the Churches of Christ to have no Hypocrite in the [...]. We answe [...], that though if Hypocrite could be openly and Ecclesiass [...]ally disce [...]ned, they should not be received in, no [...] kept in, because [...] Church are not fit to make a Church: yet we say there will be Tares and Whe [...]t, there will be chast and corn, there will be wise and foolish Virgins, there will be good and bad mingled together in the Churche; until the worlds end.

To the Watch [...]en of the Churches▪ nay to all that professe themselve to be their Brethrens keepers;Use 2. to [...] Virgins,Of Advice. not to lavi [...]h your cha [...]ty too far, it's a precious Grace, and you have little enough for [...], but to bear a jealous heart, and to labou [...] for a quick discerning eye to find out them that will [...] themselves among you. This was the commenda­tion and honour of the Ephesians, Rev. 2. 2. I confesse it [...]s a sinful extream to cry do [...]n all the virgins as foolish, when there be Five wise. Satan will seek to [...]reak he [...]ond of Brotherly-love by so [...]ing false reports, and horrible suspiti­ons: and 'tis a hard thing fo [...] a Pa [...] after the Lord hath wrapt him up to the Third Heaven in Revelations, not to be pu [...]tup, and in seeing himself at a di­stance from other men, not to despise and conde [...]n them that have not risen so high as he, especially in a discontented spirit nothing will please them. A false heart when, he sees more than others as he thinks, now thinks highly of himself, as so he great reformer of Churches and world, especially if men of shallow heads; and [...]ence such do censure and conde [...]n all that do not magnifie them, and reverence their Judgements, and the dust of their feet. And yet 'tis another sinful extream to swallow down all flies that be in the cup, and to think too charitably of every one that doth pro [...]esse. Children that have no children themselves, will make children of clouts, and then love the [...]; and hence many a soul lies blee [...]ng to [...]eath because they have such tender Friends as will not search them. An I doubt not but many in Hell [...]ay say, Oh that I should live among such and such, and they never de [...] faithfully with me.

If a man walk [...]airly,Object. should I censure him?

No,Answ. but yet maintain a holy jealousie over them, as Paul did over the Gal [...]hiansa [...] stands with love, as it was with Iob ch. 1. 5. As 'tis with Chirurgions, ' [...]is love to cut to the quick. Love the [...] because they appear to be Christs, and are so to thee, and this shall have a reward; but yet be jealous in love, because there may be that hid which was never yet seen.

1. It may be thou maist save a soul, and they will love thee; or else thou shalt clear justice by being a witnesse against them.

2. 'Tis the chief work for Christ here, there being no prophane ones among us, to overthrow the kingdom of hypocrisie, as well as of civility and prophane­nesse.

3. You will save the Lord a purging and cleansing time, for when Christ pur­geth not with the Holy Ghost in his Saints and Ordinances, he will with fire. Here I might give rules for discerning mens spirits, as

[...], Mark their speech, for by thy words thou shalt be justified, and many times one word will give a light to see all, as in Simon Magus: as with men in a la­byrinth found out by one thread.

Secondly, Mark them that you see not grapling with Sin and Temptation, for if we see them without that, they are not yet tryed, therefore observe them here, here is their trial, when time of Temptation comes.

Thirdly, Get thy self to stand at a distance from sinful men, from all the world; [Page 120] We know we are of God, 1 Iohn 5. 19. As men that are in the water look only to themselves, but standing safe on shore; they see others drowning: I speak this because I fear the Churches are so busie about their own things, that their [...] not kept: if they see no grosse sin then all is well.

Hence be not offended,Use 3. if you see great Cedars fall, stars fall from Heaven, great Professors die and decay: 1. Do not think they be all such. 2. Do not think the Elect shall fall. Truly some are such, that when they fall, one would think a man [...]ruly sanctified might fall away, as the Arminians think, 1 Iohn [...]. 19. They were not of us; I speak this because the Lord is shaking and I look for great Apostacies towards, for God is trying all his Friends through all the chris [...]ian world: in Germany what profession was there? who would have t [...]ought it? The Lord who delights to manifest that o [...]enly which was hid secretly, sends a sword, and they fall; others in other places receive the Word with joy, the Lord sends Persecution, and fearing men more than the filth of sin, and anger of Christ, they fall: others stand i [...] ou [...] there, and suffer and venture hither, and Isac [...]ar-like see rest is good, and crouch under their burdens, and so they fall. Others have had sweetnesse in Ordinances, the Lord departs, and so they fall. Others have cor­rupt hearts, and received the truth in the form, not in love, and stood in deferce of the truth, not love of the truth, the Lord lets [...]rrour loose, and they fall. Well, never be offended at this, I am not, because I never knew man fall but he loved some lust, and was never broken from sin, and although this is not seen when they do fall, it offends not me.

Oh therefore search your own hearts: when Christ said to the Disciples one shall betray me:Use 4.Lord is it [...]? say they: so when not one, but many, Lord is it I? Oh many a christian lies fast asleep, never comes to a thorow search, a strict wa [...]ch. Do but consider this: 1. That in Churches, nay purest Churches many may lye hid nor discerned. 2. Thou maist be one. 3. If thou beest, that of all men living none shall so deeply sink in Hell. 4. That all Ordinances shall tend to this end, and all thy joyes, all thy afflictions: and therefore Oh search befo [...]e the Lord search, and say, Lord, as no mans punishments and plagues can be like [...] nor sins, if I [...]erish, so if pardoned, loved, never any shall have such cause to blesse thee [...] and therefore take not up with weak and groundlesse hopes, but love that hand that smites and wounds thee, for this discovery is to awaken thee: but you have so much businesse you will not, cannot, &c. Consider what a fearful thing 'tis to be [...] up as for a gazing-stock to Saints, so an everlasting terror to the damned themselves.

Containing a Discovery of Gospel-Hypo­crites.


THat the most hidden hypocrites of the purest Churches under the Gospel are Evangelical,Observ. 2. or Gospel Hypocrites.

For these that were foolish were not such as in appearance rested in the Law, or in a Covenant of Works, but they had escaped those intan­glements, and now were Virgins that plead their interest in, and their commu­nion and fellowship, and love-knot with Christ, they had now their Lamps rea­dy, and made much preparation for him, and they did wait for him, and verily looked to have eternal fellowship with him their Beloved, infomuch that they took their flight so high towards Heaven and Christ, that they passed for a time the discerning of the wise: for you must know that where the Gospel comes, there are two sorts of enemies against it.

1. Open, and those are your Justiciaties, that seeking to establish their own righteousnesse, and being pu [...]ed up with it, can with pretended good conscien­ces in doing God service, oppose the righteousnesse of God.

2. Secret and subtil enemies, yet seeming Friends, and these are your carnal Gospellers that cry down all their own righteousnesse, and cry up Christ, and see nothing in themselves, as there is good cause so to think, and look for all from Christ, and yet these when the Lord comes to search are found false; and these are the worms that grow in this wood, in this building, in these Churches. Thus it was in Christs time, the Church of the Jews had left their grosse idolatries, yet this was their stumbling-stone, they sought to establish their own righteousnesse, and hence he came to his own, and his own received him not, and hence were cut off for this their unbelief, but others (divers sorts of them) did receive him, belee­ved in him, Iohn 2. 23. Many took hold on Christ, and he took no hold on them, wondred at him, and entertained him when others did reject him, as Capernaum did, yet under his woe. And these are the spots of Evangelical purity, wenns in the best bodies of the best constituted Churches. Look but upon Christs own Fa­mily: Iohn 6. 69, 70. The Disciples professed when others departed, Lord, to whom should we go? thou hast words of life; yet saith he, I have chosen you indeed to be for me, but one is a devil, viz. Iudas the Deacon stood not on his own righteous­nesse, but was for Christ, and followed him, and yet in this Evangelical Angel with­out, is a Devil within, because he still harboured his lusts within. This the Apostle Paul fore-saw, Acts 20. 29, 30. Some Wolves without should come, and also some cankers within should fret, that should draw many Disciples after them (in a Church bought by Christs own blood) speaking perverse things, pretending to draw Disciples after Christ, but 'tis indeed after themselves; and Paul laments this, Many walk, i. e. professe Christ and his Crosse, yet enemies to it, Phil. 3. 19. This Christ fore­tels, Luke 13. 25, 26. Many seek, many knock, and at last cry Lord, Lord open, and in their life-time they pleaded communion with Christ, yet Depart ye workers of ini­quity. Iude 4. Certain [...]en are crept in turning Grace into Lasciviousnesse; for that is the very form of an Evangelical hypocrite, in denying his own righteous­nesse, to establish his sin, 'tis advancing Christ to advance his Lust. The Epistles [Page 122] of Iames and Iohn are antidotes against this kind of poyson, and I look on them as lamps hung up to discover these men, not but that these men are indeed under a covenant of Works, for there be but two sorts of men, and two ends of all men, hence but Two Covenants; hence those that are not indeed under Grace, are un­der the Law, and under the Curse; but because the most subtil hypocrites ap [...]ear or seem to be under Grace, and their external operations are chiefly Evangelical, hence I call them Evangelical Hypocrites.


IN regard of the power of the Word and Gospel of life and spirit in such Chur­ches:Reas. 1. For the Gospel where it comes, as it advanceth the glorious and everlasting righteousnesse of Christ, so it knocks under-foot all mans, as a means subserv [...]ent to that end, and it coming with power and light, it would be too grosse for Hy­pocrites to maintain life by Works: hence Christs is that which they look unto; for Christ when he preached, not only many believed because of his Miracles, but when they heard his Word, Iohn 8. 30. Mat. 13. In the Parable of the Sower, the Word came with much power, that they received it with joy, and did believe, but fell by their Lusts. And look as 'tis with the Sun, there comes light and heat with it, so there comes

1. Truth to the mind, and conquers the judgements of Hypocrites, that there is no life, good, righteousnesse, but in Christ, nor salvation but by Christ.

2. There comes some goo [...]nesse of the Gospel to the heart, that men hearing and seeing Salvation wrapt up there, Oh that is sweet and good! and hence their affections and hearts are in some measure conquered by the power of the over­dazeling truth, and hence Hypocrites being thus conquered, partly being of this opinion, partly tasting some good of it, desire it out of self-love, expect it out of self-delusion, and professe themselves Virgins out of these Principles.

In regard of power of Evangelical examples in the five wise Virgins:Reas. 2. for look as 'tis with living men when the Sun shines upon their heads, they cast their shadows that follow them; so when the Lord Jesus shines upon the souls of his own people, almost every honest sincere-hearted man will cast his shadow that will be like him; hence Hypocrites in those Churches which are commonly rather led by example than by rule, will be very like them, and imitate them: if they should not, what communion could they have with them, or what love could they receive from them? for there is a mighty power in eminent examples to over­bear Hypocrites, that if they will turn themselves into any form, they must into theirs, as in Ioash: for there are two things in the carriage of the Saints.

1. There is a condemning power in it; hence men fear to live unlike them.

2. There is a winning vertue in it, an attractive vertue; hence men endea­vour to be and live like them, to be of the same mind, the same heart with them: and hence others take them, and they take themselves to be sincere, and hence they are Evangelical Gospel Hypocrites that lye hid in these Churches: Hence Zach. 8. 23. Many shall take hold of a Iews skirt (I doubt not but some false ones,) we have heard God is with you. And as Christ when lifted up and risen, so Saints draw Hypocrites to them.

Because the Gospel brings the greatest and sweetest consolations with it.Reas. 3. Hence a man under the terrour of the Law, and sence of curse for his sin, will make his last refuge hither, and hide himself under the wing of the Gospel, not so much out of love to Christ, or Gospel, but because they serve his turn, and give him ease. Like men scorched with hea [...], and almost ready to die, the shadow of a Tree is now very comfortable, and therefore there they sit; so these: Or as men with scalded [Page 123] arms, they put them into wate [...], which gives them ease, no cure; but because it gives them ease, there they keep them, so here: Men have been scalded with wrath, Oh now Gospel is very sweet, and so are e [...]sed [...] it, never cured by it. Therefore here you shall find them disclaim all Works, and cry up Grace only; where the purest Churches are, there are usually great awakenings, there God is very near men, and made most manifest to mens consciences, and there are most soul-plagues, contempt of the Spirit of Grace, and hence most dreadful torments of conscience, and fearful lookings for of Judgement. Now hence it comes to passe when Christ is offered, and general notice given to mens minds, that yet there is hope and mercy for great sinners, this fills them with joy and peace, as Iohns hearers, Iohn 5. 35. and hence they beleeve as the stony ground that had some plowing, and hence received the Word with joy and believed, Psalm 66. 3. It's a Prophecy of the Kingdom of Christ, Antichrist he tormented the consciences of men, Rev. 9. Men have no peace within or without. Luther is raised up, and preache [...]h the Doctrine of Free Grace, which a world of men looking to their ease, others in truth receive it; for some time before his death he cries to God that he may not live to see the ruines that were coming on Germany for their contempt. The Law is the Ministry of Death, the Gospel propounds great priviledges, with much more sweetnesse to sinners, and hence hither men fly.

4. Because the Gospel yields the fairest Colours for a mans sloath,Reas. 4. and strong­est props for that. Hence you shall see them w [...]lking in this garden. For the last sin God conquers in a man is his sloath. When the swine have no s [...]ill to eat, yet you shall find them in the mire of sloath; this slaies the foolish. Hence the best Hypocrite will plead the Gospel, its troublesom to the flesh, to bear a daily sense of the sins and wants of the soul. Hence you shall have Capernaum receive Christ, and wonder at his Doctrine; and yet Christ upbraids them, they repented not, Mat. 11. 20. Its troublesom, nay impossible for a man to break his chaines and get his soul loosed from his lusts, and free for the Lord. The Gospel shews all fulness in Christ, & that he must do all, a sloathful false heart there [...]e clo­seth with Christ as the end, but neglects him in the means. Why? Christ must do all, say they, and hence if Christ do drop upon their hearts, well and good, if not, 'tis Christs fault, he is a hard Master that gathers where he did not sow, and hence wrap it up. A mans false heart is weary of the yoke of Christ, and hence would fain be eased of it. Now the Gospel promiseth libe [...]ty from the bondage and curse of the Law, and a sloathful heart can find out reasons to free himself from the Rule of it, as part of Christian liberty, this is our Liberty in Christ Iesus, 2 Pet. 2. 19. And they rejoyce exceedingly that the Law is dead, as they did, Rev. 11. 10. for the death of the witnesses, because they tormented them: I say again, they rejoyce not because the Lord makes them like himself, and be­cause of his Image restored by the Gospel, and because they feel the power of it, but because they are free from the power of it. Its an old deceit, yet subtil, to rejoyce, and love, and blesse Christ, because he will pardon sin, though I lie and live in them. Or if they do not free themselves from it, the Gospel shews the Law within closing with the Law without, to be an evidence the Lord will not impute it, and that 'tis not therefore they, but sin in them. Hence a sloathful heart will continue in his sloath, and to ease himself of trouble for sin and obedi­ence too, say 'tis not he, but sin. And hence Arminius makes a strange inter­pretation of Rom. 7. Because he saw German Professours plead that for themselves. The Israelites entred not into Canaan, unbelief caused it: And why did that shut them out? Oh there were walled Towns and difficulties, and this was the last shock, and hence they fell off; so 'tis in Hypocrites now. The safest place to lie asleep is in Christ Lap.

5. From the mighty cunning of Satan,Reas. 5. the strength of whose Kingdom is made and continued by peace, Luke 11. 41. Hence he will turn himself into an Angel [Page 124] of light, and suffer men to go to Christ and Gospel, to avoid the search, that they may be Christs in appearance, and his indeed, 2 Cor. 4. 4. He hath a mighty power over men to blind them: For there be three things which trouble men u­sually, and make them question their estates, and the Gospel quiets and absolves them from all.

1. Conscience, that cries dolefully sometimes, these sins shall have these woes. Yes, unlesse I believe; but I believe, and trust to Christ, and flee to Gods Mercy.

2. Ministry, that cries and searche [...]h into the deepest windings of mens hearts, that men cannot but see that Christ hath eyes of flaming fire to see through the [...]. Now hence men avoid the stroke and power of all Ministry, thus it is with me, thus it is will be with me, but I believe and trust to Christ. And hence men bea [...] back like Brazen Walls all Blowes.

3. Gods judgment-seat. What though men see you not, yet God seeth. Why, they have sinned they confesse, but Christ hath suffered, they have sinned, but they trust, &c. Micah 3. 11. Is not the Lord among us? Look as it was with Ioab, he runs to the Horns of the Altar, yet there he perisheth, there he would die, there was the last refuge from search and death, so here.


HEnce do not think your estates good,Use 1. because you look only for justification by Christ, and look only to Gods free Grace, and count of Grace in Christ. Its a common errour for men to think, being they be of this opinion, only to look for Grace in Christ, to think that therefore their estates are safe, and they are justified by Christ. Why there may be such a power of Word and Spirit to conquer their judgments as those Papists that have been pleading against it, have been overcome by it. Thou maist receive the Notions of it thy Head, but the power of it never into thy Heart.

Obj. 1. But my heart hath been affected with this, to see when my sins de­serve death; yet there is mercy for the vilest in Christ.

Answ. Thou maist tast and joy, and yet fall off at last.

Obj. 2. But I have Fellowship with the Lord Jesus.

Answ. Thou maist eat and drink in his presence, and yet be bid Depart, I know you not, a worker of iniquity.

Obj. 3. But I have escaped the pollution of the world, 2 Pet. 2. 20. And that through this knowledge of Christ, his love hath much moved me to part with my sins.

Answ. It may be so, and it may wash thee from all external pollutions, and yet thy swinish nature remain still hidden from thee, but seen of an all-seeing God.

Obj. 4. But I look for Christ, and wait for him and desire him, and all that are wise think well of me.

Answ. You may do all this, and yet you may be found foolish for all this. Evangelical work which is accompanied with Salvation in some, it may be Hypo­critical in thee: And therefore take heed you do not take shews for substance. For look as in the Gospel Gods utmost perfection of wisdom and love appears, so the most hidden and admirable delusions of Satan are Evangelical. There his pow­er is employed to undermine, and so to keep his head. Oh that we could but imagine and set before our eyes the amazing condition of such a man! whose plagues shall be made wonderfull, that hath been troubled with sin a long time, at last looks to Christ, and there rests, and so hears all Sermons, and there still sleeps, and considers often that his waies are evil, but never suspects his Faith to be evil, then he comes to die, and then looks for Christ; at last the week or snuff [Page 125] dies, and Sun sets, and darknesse approacheth, and then suddenly slips into Hell, where he sees Christ and Saints afar off: And what hath deceived them? Oh their Faith hath deceived them, to see Christ shaking them off as dust: Oh they wish, Oh that I had known or feared this before! and will you not fear now? as for you prophane ones that can scoff, and drink, and break Sabbaths, and live idly, your judgement is writ upon your foreheads: but Oh take heed you that have escaped these pollutions, lest you deceive your selves here. To shew you that deceit parti­cularly, it's not my time yet, but go alone and think sadly of it, I may look for justification by Christ, and wait for Christ, and yet perish. Oh let me be sure I get such a Faith as will not deceive me here: Should not a man you will say trust to Christ? yes when you can in truth; but thy Trust may be but Pre­sumption.

II. Take not up therefore every Opinion and Doctrine from men,Use 2. or Angel that bears a fair shew of advancing Christ, for they may be but the fruits of Evan­gelical Hypocrisie and deceit, that being deceived themselves, may deceive others too, Mat. 7. 15. Beware of them that come in Sheeps clothing, in the innocency, purity, and meeknesse of Christ and his people, but inwardly are Wolves, proud, cruel, sensorious, speaking evil of what they know not; by their fruits you shall know them. Do not think Beloved that Satan will not seek to send delusions a­mong us, and do you think these delusions will come out of the Popish pack, whose inventions s [...]el above ground here? No, he must come, and will come with more Evangelical fine-spun devices. It's a rule observed among Jesuites at this day, If they would conquer Religion by subtilty, never oppose Religion with a crosse Re­ligion, but set it against it self; so oppose the Gospel by the Gospel: and look as Churches ple [...]ding for Works had new invented devised Works; so when Faith is preached, men will have their n [...]w inventions of Faith; I speak not this against the Doctrine of Faith where 'tis preached, but am glad of it, nor that I would have men content themselves with every form of Faith; for I beleeve that most mens Faith needs confirming or trying, but I speak to prevent danger on that hand. For it was that which Christ did fore-tell, Mat. 24. 24. Many false christs should arise, i. e. such as should misapply Christ, that had a spirit for Christ, which was a spirit against Christ, and would deceive if it were possible the very Elect; for coming with Christs Spirit, they dare not oppose them, lest they oppose the Spi­rit of Christ; the only remedy is to hold to Christs Word, and not to depart one hairs bredth from it, Rev. 3. 10. and to a Word well understood, and then dispute no more. Satan comes to Eve, and bids her eat, no, God forbid, yet eat to be like gods; He dazeled her eyes with that which was not: now she fell. Take the truth from what the Word saith, and depart not from it.

III. Here see the dreadful estate of all them that be found false-hearted in the purest Churches,Use 3. and that in these three respects.

First, That they should so horribly forsake and blaspheme the Name of God, to make the glorious Gospel of God, and all the sweet Doctrines of Grace a cover for their hypocri [...]e and sin, as indeed it is, for were it not for this, they might be found out in their sins, but now they are beyond the discovery of all men, or means.

Secondly, That they should be so lamentably forsaken of God, as to be left,

1. To the most subtil and spiritual Hypocrisie in the world, which being most crosse to God, shall receive most fierce and searching wrath. For as Divines say of Christ, he was forsaken in Soul, because man had sinned with his Soul: so Gods wrath will [...]earch deep in their hearts, whose hearts have guilefully departed from the Lord.

2. That he should lead them so far, and yet in the main forsake them; Oh this is heavy wrath, for a man to be lead in the day-light of the Gospel, almost to the end of his journey, and at last the Sun sets, and he left to wilder.

[Page 126] Thirdly, In regard of the cries of the very Gospel it self against them. Oh that the precious Gospel of God coming with so much Peace, Love, Grace, mercy, should win them to be Hypocrites, but never to be Friends. Beloved as there is vengeance of the Law, and of the Temple, so there is vengeance of the Gospel when the soul shall be drawn before the Tribunal of Christ, and shall stand there quaking, all sins set in order before you, and your mouth shall be stopt. What say you then for your life? Oh Grace and mercy Lord, Oh now shall the Gospel come forth and say, all this I did, I spake, I strove, I comforted, I terrified, and yet he hath op­posed the Lord, and me, he hath made a cover for all these evils, and therefore Lord let him never be comforted more, Iohn 3. 19. Oh Christ hath heavy things a­gainst these Times, that take light of the Gospel to see to commit their sin by! And therefore lament your present estates you that know your selves naught, never yet drawn to Christ, never yet humbled at the feet of Christ, and look up to the Lord what-ever misery he inflicts, not to suffer thee to be deceived here; not on­ly to have such a Faith as may catch hold on Christ, but he on thee, and come un­to the light to manifest the hidden enmity there. Never was yet man deceived, but he that was willing to be deceived, that would not use the means, and search.


ALL you therefore that live under the light of the Gospel,Use 4. consider if it doth not nearly concern you to search and try your selves whether you, or some of you may not be Evangelical Hypocrites; the time is coming that you shall stand before the Tribunal of God, wherein the hidden things of darknesse shall be brought forth to light, and it will be too late to know your selves then: Oh therefore search now. No mans misery will be so great as this, if your heart be found false. I shall speak in a manner but generally now.

1. Those that do believe,Sign 1. and yet fail in respect of the efficient cause of Faith, it never had the right maker, never came out of the right shop, nor mint, it was never a Faith of Gods making, but a faith of your own making, so that it's a base bastard Faith, that though it be born in the House, it shall never possesse the inhe­ritance, because it was never begotten of the right Father, the Lord never wrought it, but themselves, for many a man is convinced by the Law, and spirit of bon­dage that he must die, and that he is a most grievous sinner, and that when he hath done all he is unprofitable, but yet he trusts to Christ, and Gods mercy, and so believes, he finds no great difficulty in this, nor no great need of the Almighty power of the Lord to work this, and all men living shall never make him think but that he doth heartily and truly beleeve: but ask him, have you no doubt of your estate? and of Christs not taking hold of you when you take hold of him? Yes, but seeing he hath been troubled about his estate, and repented of his sin (in his fashi­on) and reformed himself and Family, and loves the best things, he believes without question, and so misapplies promises to himself, never feeling a need of the revelation and donation of Jesus to him by the Father; and thus the Lord finds this man a Christ, and this man finds the Lord a Faith, and the Lord Jesus redeems this man by price, and this man redeems himself by power, and so the Father shall have some Glory for providing a Saviour, Christ shall have some Glory for paying a price, and the Spirit of Christ which only can draw to Christ, shall lose his Glory, and so this man may take it to himself. And is this good think you? Col. 2. 12. Risen with Christ through Faith of the operation of God, 1 Pet. 1. 3. The same power that raised Christ from the dead, must raise you to a lively hope. Mat. 22. 1, 2, 3. One man came from his hedges and High-wayes to the Feast of the Pro­mise, and Ordinances of the Gospel, till the Lord saw him without Christ; but Iohn 6. 64, 65. Unlesse the Father reveals Christs face, the Father perswades thee of [Page 127] Christs love, you can never come to Christ, men know not thy Hypocrisie, thou dost not, but Jesus doth, and what good will thy Faith do thee then? It was a sweet speech of Christ, Thy Faith hath saved thee. Oh heavy when it shall be said, thy Faith hath damned thee, that which I thought to be the way of life, is the way of death; truly so it will if you do not fetch it out of Heaven.

II. Those that do believe,Sign 2. but they fail in the object, i. e. they close with Christ, but they know not who he is: that as the Woman of Samaria that had some look­ings to the Messiah, she did worship whom she knew not: so men beleeve in one whom they know not, only have heard the fame of. For there are two things in the Gospel. 1. The outward words and letters. 2. The things contained in those words: Hence there is a double knowledg of Christ.

1. A fantacy knowledg, as a man that hears of any thing absent, presently fan­cies the thing in his head.

2. There is an intuitive know [...] hereby the soul doth not only see words and fancies, but beholds the things themselves: Hence it comes to passe that many a man hearing the Fame, and receiving the fancy of Christ, beleeves in him, but not seeing him indeed as he is, therein he beleeves in one whom he knows not: and hence the Lord Jesus may be a hid thing to many a man, and the Gospel a sealed Book, though he lives and remains in the very light of the Sun, and that all his daies: Hence Christ laments Ierusalem, Oh that thou hadst known, but now hid, hid; and yet Christ Preacht. Yes, Deut. 29. 4. You have heard and seen, and yet the Lord hath not given a heart to see to this day; So 'tis with many a soul, you have heard with your ears the great things of the Kingdom of God, yet the Lord hath not given you eyes to see: you have seen deliverances on Sea, yet the Lord hath not given you hearts to understand: and if so, all your Faith is naught, and profession and affection vile, and estates miserable, 2 Cor. 3. 18. All we with open face, &c.

But many see it not so.

I confesse some may see more darkly,Object. Answ. and be mourning under it, ye [...] he that doth not in part, he to whom it is hid, 2 Cor. 4. 3, 4. is one of them that be lost, whose eyes Satan hath blinded, Iohn 6. 45. He that hath heard and learn'd of the Father: Many hear, but never learn of the Father; hence never come truly unto Christ; 'tis in this case as 'tis with a Traytor, he comes to the King for his life, and prayes for his Sons sake; the King sends for him, and saith, here is one that beggs for your sake, do you know him? For my sake! I wonder on what acquaintance, he is a stranger to me, and therefore I regard him not. So here.

III. Those that have some kind of sight of the Object,Sign 3. and see Christ, but there is a wound in the subject, because their Faith ariseth and springs out of an ill soyl, it's in such a party that never was yet throughly rent from his sin, and here is the great wound of the most cunning Hypocrites living: for there are two things in him,

1. A carnal heart, which cannot be satisfied with a spiritual good with Christ; hence he must have his Lust.

2. A convinced conscience, which cannot be quieted without Christ and mer­cy; hence men close with Christ, and their Lusts too. Look as it was with the stony ground, and thorny soyl, they beleeved, but had a stone at bottom, but [...] of bitterness, &c. These men can sometime plead acquaintance with Christ, Luke 13. 26, 27. yet workers of iniquity, 2 Pet. 2. 19, 20. Some had escaped the pol­lution of the world, that you may do, but a swinish nature lasts, that they never selt, or grew not in the feeling of it, and loosening from it: as with Apricock­trees rooted in the earth, but leaning on the wal [...]; so they on Christ. Oh consi­der of this, let a man be cast down as low as Hell by sorrow, and lye under your chains, quaking in apprehension of terrour to come, let a man then be raised up [Page 128] to Heaven in joy, not able to live; let a man reform and shine like an earthly An­gel, yet if not rent from Lust, that either you did never see it, or if so, you have not followed the Lord to remove it, but proud, dogged, wordly, sluggish still, false in your dealings, cunning in your tradings, Devils in your Families, Images in your Churches: you are objects of pitty now, and shall be of terror at the great day, for where sin remains in power, it will bring Faith, and Christ, and joy into bondage and service of it self.

IV. Those that beleeve,Sign 4. yet fail of saving Faith in regard of the very act of be­leeving and closing with Christ, viz. they close with Christ, but 'tis without a high esteem of him, or love to him, they have some, but right Grace consists in a kind of summity, or excellency, else 'tis not right, 1 Pet. 2. 5. To you that beleeve he is precious, and hence it comes to passe,

1. That some never come to find or enj [...] [...]hrist, because they will not come off to the price of him, to sell themselves [...] for him.

2. Some sell him away again in time of Temptation, like Esau that sold his Birth-right, and never make any thing of it; because the Bond is not strong e­nough down, they fall from him.

3. Hence comes all a mans uneven carriage.

4. Hence comes sometimes the unpardonable sin, Heb. 10. 29. Many a man laies claim to Christ and his Blood, and righteousnesse, that never knew the worth of it; and this is Christs complaint me thinks in Heaven, (and of Saints on earth) He comes unto his own, and his own esteem him not, his own love him not, his own receive him not: him that is the glory of Heaven, the beauty of the Father, the delight of Saints, the wonderment of Angels, he I say is not esteemed by many a man, that in his judgement esteems him, and in his heart doth despise him. There are two parts of this esteem. 1. To esteem him only, Iohn 5. 44. 2. Him ever and alway, Psalm 73. 26. Thou art my portion for ever, Many say they esteem Christ, but to be ever loving him, ever looking on him, this is not their frame. Oh think of this, fail here of your valuing of him, and you fail every where.

V. Those that beleeve,Sign 5. but they fail in their end; and these may for a while in a ho [...] fit prize Water, prize Christ and mercy above all things in the world, but their end is naught; so that men here may ask and never have, because of their Lusts: As a man that lies on his death-bed, or in a Sea-storm in fear of Hell, he may now prize and take hold on Christ to save him. A man lies upon the Bed of horror of heart, he may prize Christ to comfort him, and getting a conceit of it, be wrapt up almost in an extacy of joy, that a man would think he was sealed with the Spirit of Christ, and yet his end being naught, Christ only to comfort him, misseth of Christ in conclusion; for when a man beleeves indeed, he receives Christ for the end the Father sent him, viz. to be King and Soveraign of the whole man as well as Saviour. Psalm 24. 7. Open your gates that the King of Glory, &c. Rom. 8. 38. I am perswaded nothing shall separate us from the love of Christ Iesus our Lord; our Lord as well as Jesus. Indeed Iohn 6. 15. some did re­ceive Christ to be King, but it was that he might be their cook, he provided loaves for them; so here. Psalm 66. 2, 3. Because of thy power thine enemies shall flat­teringly submit: [...]tis but flattery, not Faith; look to it therefore.

VI. Those that beleeve, but fail in regard of the use of the Gospel,Sign 6. and of the Lord Jesus, and these we read of, Iude 3. viz. of some men that did turn Grace into [...]nt [...]nnesse, for therein appears the exceeding evill of a mans heart, that not only the Law, but also the glorious Gospel of the Lord Jesus works in him all man­ner of unrighteousnesse; and 'tis too common for men at the first work of conver­sion, oh then to cry for Grace, and Christ, and afterward grow licentious, live and lye in the breach of the Law, and take their warrant for their course from the Gospel; I shall not name all the wayes that men do so, but I will only speak that [Page 129] which conscience and compassion moves me to; not to begin, but if possible to still division, and what I shall speak shall be by way of prevention.

1. Take heed of making Graces in a christian the weaknesses of a christian, for this is to make darknesse light, and Grace wantonnesse indeed: Is it not? Take heed then of thinking or saying counterfeit or false Sanctification consists in feeling something in a mans self, as love to, delight in the Lord and his wayes: True San­ctification, in seeing nothing, no love, no delight: why the Apostle Paul [...]new that in him, i. e. in his flesh dwelt no good thing, but he calls it flesh there, and groans under it, yet he felt a Law within closing with the Law without, and bles­sed the Lord for it, and that was himself. Do you think the Holy Ghost co [...]es on a man as on Balaam, by immediate acting, and then leaves him, and then he hath nothing: Yes Beloved, know you not Christ is in you (2 Cor. 13. 5.) as well as out of you; in you, comforting, dwelling, sanctifying, preparing the heart for him­self. Indeed to be puft [...]p with Grace, or rest in it is a sin, yet that Grace is not that sin.

2. Take he [...]d of making weaknesses Graces or Duties: as

First, To make poverty of spirit, the sight of nothing in a mans self; why, he that is poor hath Heaven for his, and so Christ and Promises his, and hath Faith his, at least some seeds. Now to see nothing now, is to see an untruth, and to tell a flat lie to God, and Men, and Scripture too. Indeed a man that is poor doth usually see nothing, but that is his weaknesse, not any Grace.

Secondly, To say there is no difference between Graces of Hypocrites and Saints. Why so? Because I cannot see any. Is this your weaknesse or your wisdom? you can see no [...]e, and will you make your weaknesse your Religion?

Thirdly, That a man must not evidence his Justification by his Sanctification, I speak of that which accompanies Salvation. Why so? Because then there will be comfort to day, and sorrow to morrow, grant it, but then consider, 1. That is ei­ther a mans weaknesse and ignorance that he doth not see it, or 2. his wickednesse and carelesnesse that hath stained that work: And will you make this a D [...]ty, a Grace? Oh but many have been deceived here; grant it, and will you [...] your wret [...]hed basenesse of heart the foundation of this conceit?

Fourthly, That a man must see no saving work, nor take comfort from any pro­mise until he is sealed: No, why so? Because many tall christians have deceived themselves so, and deluded themselves there, and been kept off from Christ, and truly I believe it in part. But what of that? Shall mens weaknesse be my Reli­gion or work? No Be [...]oved, for a man beleeves before he is sealed, Ephes. 1. 15. And hence Christ is his, and now for him to deny Christ to be his own, 'tis to make Christ a lyar, 1 Iohn 5. 10, 12, 13. not that I would have christians content themselves here (it's a sign you never knew what Christ meant if so you do) till he shall send a more full gale of his Spirit.

3. If you do account them weaknesses, yet take heed your closing with Christ do not cause you to make a light matter of sin, either not to take notice of sins at all, only look to Christ, ('tis not I but sin, as being the act of the outward man: one calls this to unknow a mans self) or not to be deeply sensible of them, and so use Christ as your shoe-clout to wipe them off, Oh this is dangerous; the Spirit of joy never quencheth the Spirit of Sorrow. Capernaum entertained Christ, and yet perished, Oh she repented not! What must we repent after we be in Christ? Yes, Ier. 30. 19. After I was turned I repented: It argues a bold conscience, when men as they look to no good in themselves, so to no sin in themselves, but wholly to Christ.

4. Take heed of those Doctrines which in shew lift up Grace, but indeed pull [...] any part of it, as

First, to think that the letter of the whole Scripture holds out no more than a Covenant of Works, a most prodigious Speech, though coloured with advancing a [Page 130] Spiritual Covenant of Grace, and no Word but Christ.

Secondly, Under a shew of advancing Gods Grace in doing all, to say the Or­dinances are not means, but only occasions of conversion.

Thirdly, under a shew of giving all to Grace, to abolish that plain truth, as to say we are not justified by Faith, which though it be true, not really, i. e. not simply, by Faith in it self considered as a work, yet to say [not relatively, as the Lord is apprehended by it] it is false. If we cast off the power of the truth, yet let us not cast off the form of it: keep the form of wholsome words as well as truths.

Fourthly, Take heed of maintaining that a man until sealed is not to be per­swaded to beleeve, under a shew of letting the Spirit of Grace do all. And Bre­thren, doth not the Spirit of Grace accompany the word of Grace; are not Evan­gelical commands part of that Word? is there not a power going along with them? what is this but to take from Gods Book, and he that so doth, God will blot him out of the Book of Life, Rev. 22. 19.

Fifthly, That a Christian is to gather no assurance from particular conditional Promises under colour of receiving all from Christ and Grace. True, them that have nothing to do with them, ought not; but for those that have to do with them as their Inheritance, not to apply and make use of them for their comfort, 'tis to trample under-foot Christs blood that purchased them for that end, and 'tis to rase out in our practise the greatest part almost of the Covenant of Grace.

Sixthly, That the Law ought not to be our rule of life under a shew of being freed from it by Christ, as though Christ came to set Hell-gates open for men to do what they please. Shall I say any more? I am weary with speaking, I desire ra­ther to go aside and mourn, and to think there is somewhat amisse why the Lord lets these out. You that are sincere, search and keep close with Christ, and fetch more life from him, and though accounted under a covenant of Works with men, yet rejoyce, you know it is better with you in his sight. And you that are weak, beware and take heed, and do not consider what I, but the Holy Ghost hath clear­ed this day: and as for all them that do turn Grace into Lasciviousnesse, not inten­tionally, but practically, not in all things, but some things: consider this Scrip­ture, Iud [...] 4. Men ordained to this condemnation; they thrive and have no hurt, and they joy, Oh but they have condemnation enough upon them. Do but consider ver. 12, 13. Twice dead, dead in Adam, then quickened by Christ with common Gifts and Graces, then dye and turn Grace into wantonnesse, for whom is reser­ved the very blacknesse of darknesse for ever. They bring in painted prophane­nesse.

Oh take heed then,Use 5. lest you fall short of Christ by unbelief, Heb. 4. 1. Christ must do all; Oh but take heed, use meanes, and then put the work into his hands to make Faith right, Heb. 12. 1, 2. Looking to Iesus the Author and finisher. Suppose Christ was here on earth, and thou should beg it, would he deny thee? Oh no, begg hard therefore now.

Shewing that there is a vast difference betwixt a sincere Christian, and the closest Hypo­crite.


THat there is a vast and great internal difference between those that are sincere indeed,Doct. 3. and the closest Hypocrites. Or, There are certain qualifications within, and operations of God upon the Souls of the faithful, which make a very great difference between them, and the closest Hypocrites.

For the Lord Jesus here sees the difference, and shews the difference, though but generally I confesse in this Verse; some were wise, others were foolish; wisdom and folly are different qualities, and though these keep their residence chiefly in the mind, yet the Lord never did infuse any true wisdom into the mind, but there was a great change of the heart, nor never was any man left unto his own folly, but it did not only argue an evil heart, but did ever arise from thence, Ephes. 4. 18. so that Christ nor only sees, but discovers to the Churches a vast difference for them to take notice of: I confesse the difference was only in regard of open prophanenesse, or common conversation in living like men of the world, yet a difference here there is. For the opening of this Point, I shall open these Parti­culars.

1. That the Lord doth make this inward difference.

2. That 'tis so great that the faithful do see it.

3. That 'tis so great that others cannot receive it when 'tis offered.

4. That 'tis so great that they cannot understand it.

5. The reasons why the Lord makes this internal difference.

1. That the Lord doth make it: only some Scriptures now, Eph. 5. 8. You were darknesse, now are light. Ephes. 2. 1. You were dead, now are alive. It's true there is a life Hypocrites have, which puts much difference between them and others, but if that doth, what doth the life of Christ in a man, arising from the death of every sin? Acts 26. 18. The Lord turns not only from darknesse to light, but from the power of Satan to God, together with which ariseth remission of sins. What is this then but a greater change than from Hell to Heaven? Is it not worse than Hell to be under his, not only Temptations, but power? and is it not better to be with God, than be in Heaven?

II. 'Tis so great that the faithful do see it. I confesse at first work it's like a con­fused Chaos, they know not what to make of it, but afterwards they can and do, 1 Iohn 5. 18, 19. We know we are born of God, free from the dominion of sin, of which he speaks, and that the whole world lies in wickednesse. Before a man is born again, he sees no difference between him and other men, but now he doth; and hence 'tis frequent in Scripture for Saints to expresse their experience of their double estate, Tit. 3. 2, 3. and they are commanded to try themselves, and may not only see Christ out of them, but Christ in them, except they be Reprobates, 2 Cor. 13. 5. and hence commanded to give thanks for this, Col. 1. 12, 13. which commands being Evangelical, have a power to all the Elect.

[Page 132] III. 'Tis so great that others cannot receive it when 'tis offered, they are so far from having it in them, or counterfeiting, or making this inward work, that they cannot receive it, no not when the Spirit it self comes to work it, Iohn 14. 17. The Spirit of truth which the world cannot receive, it doth receive Propherical Gifts, and common Graces; but there is a higher and more Divine work which they cannot receive, Rom. 8. 7. 'Tis not subject, nor can be subject to the Law of God, where the holinesse of God appears.

IV. 'Tis so great that they cannot understand it what it is spiritually, only in fancy, 1 Cor. 2. 14. neither can he know them, and hence men lie groping all their life for Grace, and ask and have not, because they know not the thing they would have, Iohn 4. 10. If thou knewest thou wouldst ask, and he would give. A Beast cannot conceive what a life a man leads.

V. Now follow the Reasons why the Lord doth make this internal difference, or shewing that there is this difference.


IN regard of the infinite love of the Father which he bears to the meanest Be­leeverReas. 1. above the most glorious Hypocrite that ever lived. It's an everlasting love, and it's like that love he bears towards his own Son, Iohn 17. 26. Now if the Lords love be not common to both, neither is the work, or fruits of his love common in both, but a great difference there must be; for as 'tis with men, so 'tis with the Lord. There are three expressions of love. 1. Their looks. 2. Their Promises of Love. 3. Their works of love: so the Lord doth,

1. Create in his people glorious apprehensions of his blessed face appearing in the glasse of the Gospel, Rev. 22. 4.

2. The Lord makes many Promises of love unto his people, which go to the very heart to chear them, Hos. 2. 14.

3. The Lord con [...]ines not his love to looks and words, though it's wonderful to have the least of them, but you may read his love in his works of love. Now those works peculiar to them, are first and chiefly the donation of Christ, for a man in re­demption, to a man in vocation: and then the peculiar fruits of this love exprest in peculiar operations upon the Soul, and in the Soul, which Gods truth in the New Covenant promiseth, and Gods faithfulnesse executeth, Ier. 31. 33. & 32. 40. to take away the stony heart, to write Laws in the heart, to put fear into the heart; these are the peculiar effects of this New Covenant, and they are operations in a man, which only the Elect feel and wonder at Grace for, Ephes. 2. 4, 5. According to his great love hath he quickened us together with him: there is a kind of Resurrection of a mans soul when 'tis brought home to Christ. And look as the bodies of the Saints shall be different at last day, so when God raiseth their souls from the Dead here, there is a difference now.

2. In regard of the Death and Blood of the Lord Jesus,Reas. 2. which was shed not on­ly that he might be a God unto them, but that they might be a peculiar people unto him, Tit. 2. 14. He gave himself for his people, not only to justifie his people, but also to cleanse his Church, Ephes. 5. 26, 27. for this hath been Gods great plot: first to perfect his people in their Head; and then lest there should be a golden head, and feet and hands of iron and clay, and because the Church is not found lovely, therefore the Lord makes it lovely by little & little here, until it appear without spot or wrinkle at the last day. Do you think Brethren that Christs Blood was shed to work no more in his people than in Hypocrites? was it only shed to take away guilt of sin from Gods sight, and then to let a man wallow in the sins of his own heart? 'Tis true there is a work of Sanctification which Hypocrites have, which Christs Blood purchaseth, for I beleeve all common mercy and patience [Page 133] comes by Christs Blood, and so all common Gifts and Graces; but yet Beloved there is a vast difference, their wills were never changed though their minds were much enlightened; hence they sinn'd wilfully. The Lord never was dear to them, hence secret despight grew up, that at last they committed the impardonable sin, Hos. 10. 26, 29.

3. Because those Graces or Qualifications,Reas. 3. together with the Operations of them which are in the faithful, are the same with Christs, the same in kind and nature, Ioh. 1. 16. From his fulnesse we have received Grace for Grace; hence we are said to bear his Image, and because it's but little at first, hence from Glory to Glory, 2 Cor. 3. 18. Now the Lord Jesus had not only the Spirit which he had without measure, but also he had many Divine qualities, habits, or Graces, which it is blasphemy to think that they were hypocritical or common, which the faithful receive from his fulnesse, and wherein they are made in their measure like unto him: so the Saints have not on­ly the Spirit, but also those peculiar operations of it wrought in them by the Spirit, whereby they come to be made like unto the Lord Jesus: Hence as there was an infinite distance between the Lord Jesus, and the best Hypocrite, so the likenesse that they have of the Lord Jesus, makes a difference now. And look as there is a difference between a Plant and a Beast, a Beast and a Man, so there is a glorious life which Saints have begun here in this life, which none have but themselves, 1 Pet. 5. 10. They have the First Fruits, &c. the which is meat and drink which no man knows of that lies in his hypocrisie and sins.

4. If there should be no difference,Reas. 4. then these evils would follow: 1. This laies a foundation of contempt of Grace, and of the Beauty of Holinesse in the hearts and lives of Gods people: for look as 'tis in the work of the Son in Redemption, if Christ should have dyed as much for Iudas as for Peter, and suspended the act of Faith to apply this on the Free will of either, then Iudas had as much cause to thank Christ for his kindnesse as Peter: and Peter had no more cause of blessing Christ for his love in redeeming him, than Iudas, and what cold praises will he then give him: So if the Spirit of Christ should sanctifie or call a Saint no more than an Hypocrite, then the one hath no more cause to be thankful for the work of the Spirit than the other: and when a man comes to look upon the work of the Spirit, and the Graces of it, there is cold water cast upon those; this is no more than what a Hypocrite hath. Christ hath not only redeemed by price, but also by power, from the power of Satan, Sin, Darknesse, Delusion, and not to be thank­ful for this, is not to be thankful for the Redemption of Christ: Thou shalt never have it then that dost despise the Spirit of Grace, whereby thou art but commonly sanctified.

2. Because this abolisheth the use of all conditional Promises made in the word: for you know they are made to some qualification or work of the Spi­rit in a man, some to Mourning, Poverty, Faith, Hunger, Lostnesse, &c. now if there should be no difference between seeming works in Hypocrites and these, then 1. the truth of the Promises is destroyed, for the Lord saith, They that hunger shall be satisfied. I'le answer, Hypocrites may hunger, and yet not be satisfied. 2. The use of these Promises should be lost, for why should a man then cast his Soul upon Gods faithfulnesse in the Promise, when 'tis but common love to him and Hypo­crites: If it be replyed the one hath Christ, the other nor. I answer, 'tis very true, but then I ask, Who is he a Christ to? it must needs be to a particular People de­scribed in the Word by their peculiar qualities, flowing from their forms and sub­jects by which they are known; and now consider Rev. 22. 19. Is God a God of the dead? and not of the living only?

3. Because this makes the most holy men that ever lived deceivers of them­selves and others; only look upon Iohn Christs beloved Disciple, and bosome­companion, he had received the anointing to know him that is true, and he knew he knew him, 1 John 2. 3. But how did he know that? he might be deceived (as [Page 134] 'tis strange to see what a melancholly fancy will do, and the effects of it; as honest men are reputed to have weak brains, and never saw the depths of the secrets of God.) What's his last proof? because we keep his Commandments, i. e. we have them writ in our hearts, and keep them, though we cannot fulfil them, it makes us every way more holy: Christ doth not keep them only, but we through his Grace keep them; thus he proves it by a work in him. Now thus I reply, if all works in the souls of Saints be common to Hypocrites, then Iohn went upon false grounds, deceived himself, and all that heard him, and all the Churches that ever were to this day.


TO the Papists,Use 1. who in their writings seek to shame the Churches of Christ, saying that they deny all Inherent Righteousnesse or Graces, Of Confut. making a man just by the righteousnesse of Christ, and in the mean while to remain like a Carkase or Ghost, or a painted Sepulchre full of rottennesse within. Three or four of these Archers that have shot these arrows I have met with, whereby they wound the heart of Profession, and keep the people in professed enmity and opposition a­gainst the waies of Gods Grace: Now we do not only deny this, but we professe that the Lord doth not only out of the riches of his Grace accept us in Christ, but out of the same love sends down the Spirit of Grace, not only to make us civil and moral, or hypocritical, but that the Lord works thereby such a change as is not to be found in the most refined Hypocrites breathing. And we professe though our Justification doth not consist in this, yet who-ever hath not this is not justified (what-ever he may imagine) in the sight of God. And the Lord grant the Chur­ches of the Lord Jesus may never open the mouths of those Blasphemers of his Name, in denying all righteousnesse in our selves at all; Deny it to justifie, deny it not altogether.

Of an old Ar [...]inian error;Use 2. for they hold and maintain an Inherent Righteous­nesse, but that there is no difference between the Graces of Beleevers and Hypo­crites,Of Confut. only in their continuance, and that is by chance too, and doubtful, viz. if they hold on, and for this purpose cite many Scriptures, three especially, that of Ezek. 18. 24. If the righteous man forsake, &c. which is spoken of rotten Pharisaical Hypocrites falling far short of what the Saints have. And the Parable of the Seed, Mat. 13. They all sprang up: where 'tis manifest the soyl was naught out of which they that fell away did grow. And Heb. 10. 29. Blood wherewith they were sanctified, which is meant of such as had some inward enlightning, and last­ing, and external profession really, not in appearance only in them, yet not any sa­ving and effectual work, but thus by making Grace common they make it vile, and under a colour of making all men watchful, they destroy all Faith in Gods faithful­nesse and Promise, especially until a man come to die. Divines have many strong arguments against them, and shew however there may be decaies, and relapses, and winter-seasons of the Saints, yet ever there remains in them the Seed of God, 1 Iohn 3. 9. Iohn 4. 14.

The main ground of this their conceit hath been double.

1. False observation, in beholding many fall off that were not Stars, but Snuffs, glorious Professors for a time; and lest they should be mad without reason herein, they search the Scriptures, and in four thousand years find but four or five that fell away, David, Solomon, Hymeneus, Alexander, and D [...]mas, none of which if exami­ned will serve their turn.

2. A great mistake of the work of Grace, together with their own experience, for they conceiving Grace to be but a mean thing, and not understanding it, because they never felt it in themselves; hence make no difference between one man [Page 135] and another, and hence maintain apostacy from Grace. I hope I need not stir you up to abhor this conceit, considering what hath been said. I grant indeed a man may fall away from Grace, considering Grace without Christ to keep it. But yet 'tis in it self such a living Fountain, as in it self doth not perish, though it may; and in respect of Christ, it cannot.

Obj. Did not Adam fall from all his Grace?

Answ. Yes, because he had neither the Covenant of Grace, nor the Spirit of Grace, nor power of Grace to support and keep him; but its Gods covenant now to write his Law, to ut his fear in the heart, never to depart, and to give the Spirit of Christ, who is now risen from the dead. Because I live, you shall live al­so, Iohn 14. 19. And power to keep us, 1 Pet. 1. 5. So that though 'tis Christ that keeps a man from falling, yet the truth is, he that doth fall from Grace, as though it was a common fading thing, or doth fall from Christ, he never had Christ at all, John 4. 14. The water that I shall give, shall be a Spring of living wa­ter, not of dead Graces, yet quickned by the Spirit, and helped continually. And its kept till life of Glory comes, where 'tis swallowed up in the Ocean of perse­ction.

Hence we see the difference between the Graces of Hypocrites and SaintsUse 3. doth not only lie in the efficient cause, viz. the Spirit of Christ barely considered in it self, for then there should be no difference at all, for there are not two Spi­rits, and the same Spirit that works in the Faithful, the same Spirit is in the un­faithful, to work many strange works in them, 1 Cor. 12. 3, 4. Neither doth su­pernatural power of the Spirit distinguish (I mean that which is above the strength of nature, not that which is above the use of nature, for nature crooks all Gods works to it self) for the gifts of Prophecy and common joy are above the strength of meer nature, but the difference lies in the work it self. As 'tis in creation, the least speer of grasse hath the same power to make it, that made Heaven and Angels, Is there no difference then? Yes, it lies in the very work or effect of that power. And as 'tis in a Cedar and a Fly, there [...] more excellency in the former in some respects, but the latter hath another life, which the other hath not: So the meanest Believer is better than the most glorious Hypocrite. And look as it was with Saul, when he was anointed King, there was a new Spirit came upon him, the Spirit of a King, which common Subjects had not; so when God makes us Kings and Priests unto Christ, there comes a­nother Spirit upon us, which common men have not. I know there is the Spi­rit it self in the Saints, as 'tis not in other men; But how is it there? I know 'tis there by Faith, but not only by this, but by certain peculiar effects which are not in other men. As 'tis with the soul, 'tis in the body, hence works a life which is not in any bruit creature, so 'tis here. And hence 'tis said, The world cannot receive it, Iohn 14. 17. Mal. 3. 2, 3. Who is able to bear his coming, because he comes to purifie, &c. Yet still the Spirit barely considered in [...] self, puts no difference, unlesse it be in respect of the work it self. Oh therefore look to it, do not say, I have now the Spirit and Christ. But what doth Christ work there? Iohn 15. 1, 2. There are but two sorts of Branches there, fruitless, and fruitful; the difference is in the very fruits of them, &c.

Oh then terrour to them that content themselves with common works,Use 4. and so think their estates good. You have been terrified, confessed, and repented, Iudas did so. You have reformed many things, and take delight to draw [...]igh to God in Ordinances, those Hypocrites did so, in Isa. 58. You have seen no­thing in your selves, the Devils do so. You have had great ravishments, and seen the Glory of Heaven, of Saints, Bal [...] did so. You have beheld and seen the Lord Jesus, as if present on earth; Many saw him, heard him, and were lift­ed up to Heaven by him, and shall see him at last in Glory indeed. Oh but my desires are good [...] Many shall seek, and not enter. Oh therefore consider of [Page 136] your estate, and tremble, and set before thee all the mercy the Lord embraceth his people with! and say, Oh that mercy for me! and follow him till he hath done it.


HEnce it may appear that the tr [...]e Believer may know the blessednesse of his estate,Use 5. by the [...]eculiarnesse of a work within him. For if indeed there should be no difference between those Graces that be in Hypocrites and in Saints, if no difference between Love, and Faith, and desire in one, and that which is in another, then none could know the blessednesse of their estates by any work; but seeing that the Lord hath made a vast and a known difference, so that God knows it, and themselves know it, as hath been proved, and all the world might know it, but that they want eyes to see mens hearts, and they shall know it at the last day to their eternal anguish, when the hidden things of darknesse, and the secrets of all hearts shall be opened, then it must needs follow from the knowledge of such a work, a man may conclude his blessed and safe estate. By work, I mean, no Popish good work, nor consider a work without a peculiar word of promise made the eun­to. If we should ask a woman married to another Husband, how she knows such a one is her husband, she would manifest it by those peculiar acts or works or manifestations of a husband to her. She hath known he hath forsaken great offers, and come to her: Her heart that was most opposite, was at last overcome to forsake all, then they entred into a peculiar bond of covenant, so that they cannot part, and though they do depart, yet they stay not long. So here: If you should have asked the Israelites, how they did know they should be saved from the de­stroying Angel? Why the Lord hath promised to save us. You that do what? That sprinkle the door-posts with the Blood. So the destroying Angel of Gods pre­sence shall destroy millions of people, and that in the night-time, when they least suspect it. Notwithstanding all deliverances; miracles, plagues and repen­tances, Shall you be preserved? Yes, the Lord hath promised it, and reveal'd it. To whom? To them that have their door-posts sprinkled with Christ's Blood, apprehended by the work of Faith, Rom 3. 24, 25. Heb. 10. 22. If one should have asked the Lord Jesus himself, whom he loveth? he would Iohn to answer, his sheep, for for them he layes down his life; be they feeble or strong. If one should ask further, who are his sheep? he would describe them by several pro­perties, as he hath done, Iohn 10. Such as know me, as hear me only, as follow me. So if you ask a believer that question, How do you know you are loved? Is it good to answer with Christ, I am his sleep, for whom he hath laid down his life, when I was lost an went astray. But how do you know that? Is he now to answ [...] like Christ, by these properties wrought in me, or no? If you say, No, because all these an hypocrite may have, then the Lord Jesus hath done very weakly in describing his own sheep, by such properties to be his, which dis­cover them no more than so: Its true an hypocrite hath somthing like all these, but not these indeed. If you say, yes, then a man may know his blessed estate by these. The promise is, Prov. 8. 17. I love them that love me. But how do you know you love the Lord? There is the question, If Satan and blind carnal reason ask this question, you will be filled with accusations, and never satisfie them; for he that accused Iob to Gods face, will much more to their own faces, accuse Saints of hypocrisie. If uncharitable men that never had the love of Christ abiding in their hearts, you will never satisfie them; but if the Lord ask the question in his Word, hold there, and the work is so clear, that though there hath been much decay, yet after recovery, the soul dares eye the Sun, and say, Lord, thou knowest all things, thou knowest that I love thee, Iohn 21. 17. Hence by this work you may come to know your safe estate.

[Page 137] 1. A man may know his blessed estate in respect of time past, by a work, i. e. with a word or promise made to it, and the Spirit revealing of it, viz. the ever­lasting thoughts and election of God toward him, Rom. 8. 28. Them that love God, who are called according to his purpose, notwithstanding all their miseries and sins; yet love him, and so called according to his purpose, for so the Apostle raiseth up his thoughts. I know the world is full of want of love, and think it easie so to do, and like the Devil, are very kind to the Lord, as they think, while the Lord ple [...]seth them; who yet when the time of patience is out, shall be eter­nal blasphemers of him. But there is such love whereby Saints may raise up their hearts thus to see Gods love, 1 Thes. 1. 4, 5. Knowing your Election of God. How so? Immediatly? Some Divines think Angels see it not so, and that its peculiar to God so to do: But mediatly, for our word came in power and in much assurance to make you enlarged for God, to turn you from Idols unto God, and to wait for Christ in Heaven, seeing him here, but as in a Glasse. And by the same Spirit Paul saw it, by the same Spirit they might much more see it, and so the Elect may see it. And [...]f experience may be added to the Truth; How many of Gods people dayly, knowing their work of vocation and glory, ascend from these lower stairs of the Lords Ladder, to the highest of Election, and there are swallowed up with eternal wonderment, filling their hearts with that joy and peace, that the weak. Tabernacle of flesh and blood cannot be at the weight of that Glory long; That by works see the promise, and by the promise of love behold e [...]ernal thoughts of love: And hence promises are said to be given to Saint [...], before the world began: Because promises to them that thirst, mourn, believe, &c. are not bare words, but eternal counsels, in which you see Gods purpose.

2. In respect of time present, by it we know our present union to the Lord Je­sus, 1 John 2. 4. He that saith I know him, and keeps not his Commandments, is a Liar. Yes, that is true negatively, but may a man, ought a man to see or know his union positively by this? Ans v. 5. Many said, they did know and love the Lord, but he that keeps his words, Oh they are sweet! Its Heaven to cleave to him in every command, its death to depart from any command. Hereby know we that we are in him. If it were possible to ask of Angels how they know they are not devils? they would answer, the Lords will is ours: So here. How do you know you have not the nature of Devils, and so in state of Devils bound there till the judgment of the great day? Because God hath ch [...]nged our vile natures, and made our wills like unto his glorious will, &c. So for forgiveness, Luke 7. 47. Much is forgiven her, &c.

3. In respect of the state of Glory for time to come. We may know our blessed est [...]te by a work, 1 Cor. 2. 9. Eye hath not seen what the Lord hath prepared for them that love him, Psal. 31. 19. Oh how great is thy goodnesse laid up for them that fear thee! 3 Cor. 5. 3. If cloathed with Christ, whole Christ, v. 5, 6. He hath fitted us for this, and given the earnest of the Spirit, which, Rom. 8. 23. are first-fruits of Glory, therefore we are confident.

Obj. But if you look to your selves, you will have peace to day and sorrow to morrow.

Nay, we are alwaies consident, and yet Paul did not now go on in a Covenant of works. Now whether a man first comes to know his estate by a work, word, and spirit, so that there are three things to evidence our happy estate, or whether by two things only, viz. a ge [...]eral word and spirit, I intend not to dispute, because it makes nothing against the truth in hand: Only this I say, its very dangerous to limit the Holy One of Israel, especially in his freedom of working, to breath light, and life, and divine consolation, when and by what means and promise, and in what measure he will. Christ when he was here on earth, would say som­times, thy sins are forgiven, Mat. 9. 2. Somtimes be it unto as thou believest, [Page 138] Mat. 9. 28, 29. Nay, be it unto thee as thou wilt, Mat. 15. 28. If in these inferi­our things, much more in greater. Christ is now gone, and we have no imme­diate speech with him, but in his Word, and he is free to speak to his people ac­cording as he pleaseth, and when they need. And therefore let me entreat Bre­thren to be wary in their speeches in dashing all promises in pieces. What Chri­stian heart can see Gods Truth mangled, without being angry and mourning for the hardnesse of mens hearts? The Lord hath spoken peace to some mens hearts thus, he that is lost shall be found, He that believes in me shall never hunger, and he that comes to me shall never thirst; and seeing this, they conclude, the Lords Spirit helping them (for somtime they cannot do it) peace. For the Major is the Word, the Minor Experience, and the Conclusion the Lords Spirits work quickning your spirits to it. Now say some, how do you know this? Thus you may be mistaken, for many have been deceived thus. Grant that, And shall a child not take bread when 'tis given him though dogs snatch at it? What should one do then? Bring their work to the light, to the triall of the Word, which you know doth but two things.

Shews that God is. And

2. What man is, and so discovers and describes all hypocrise of men, and all grace of men, now if it will not bear the trial of the Word, convince them they have gone on in a covenant of works indeed: But if it will, hold there, take heed then of false witnesse against the Truth of God; so that do not condemn the work of Christ in any man, where 'tis of the right stamp, and hath Christs Image upon it, and so pluck men from their claim to Christs love revealed in his pro­mise. But learn to difference it once, and then I am perswaded the sad differ­ences that begin to appear, would soon be ended among all them that love the Truth in Christ Iesus, 2 Pet. 1. 4. Whereby are given to us that have precious Faith, exceeding great and precious promises, The Lord gives little to his people, Oh but he gives them rich promises! Bonds, and Bills, and writings to shew for rich Grace, and riches of Glory, and riches of peace. Oh but these promises Hypo­crites may have! they may be lost, and hunger and thirst, and believe. What as those do that have their interest in these promises? Why are they called pre­cious Promises? Precious promises are not common things. Precious promises are not the portion of a base world. Precious things God never gives to dogs, and believe me, you may come to know the price of them in the times of your hor­rour on death-bed, that account them common now. Oh but many rest on promises without Christ! That's all one, the faithful by them come to partake of the Divine Nature, of Christ, of his Spirit, of Divine Consolations, Peace, Grace, and this is not building on a work, or resting on a bare promise, when it carries you to Christ and the everlasting embracings of him. Its no matter what promise gives peace, so long as it lands us in Christ. And therefore a man may know his blessed estate by a work, only let me put in three Cautions.

1. Take heed you do not in your judgment or in your practise go about to move the Lord to love you by your work, though it be of his making. For all works are fruits, no causes of the Lords love, for this is Popery indeed, and 'tis Hypo­crise, Isa. 58. 3, 4. Why have we fasted, and prayed, and delighted to draw near unto God? &c. but look upon the work and promise, and be the more vile in thine own eyes, that the Lord should promise, or do any thing for thee. So that when you feel any saving work, go not to God with expectation of any good in the name of that work, but in the name of that free Grace and Faithfulnesse of God, which hath moved him to make such precious promises to such as those are that have it. Hast not said Solomon shall reign? 1 Kings 1. 13. So here.

2. Take heed you do not sit down contented with the work, and quiet your selves with that, never looking to behold his face that gave it, that wrought it. The poor blind man, Iohn 9. had a mighty cure upon him, and some seed of [Page 139] Faith; the Lord wrought the work, but hid himself: He wondred at the great change, was affected with his love, at last the Lord Jesus comes himself, Dost thou believe? saith he, Lord who is he? I am he; then he worshipped him, v. 36, 37, 38. So 'tis with the Lord in his way of working Grace: Oh therefore long to see him here in his glasse, and in Glory, in his face fully! Truly there is no work of Christ that's right, but it carries the soul to long for more of it, and to be with him that hath done it. Many Christians when they have the work, run away with it as a good sign, and look to the promise, Oh but long not, look not to behold the Lord! Do ye thus requite the Lord, Oh ye foolish people and unwise? Were it not enough that your sins make? but will you make works & promises also a partition wall between the Lord and your souls. I professe the Lord will fire such work about your eares, and drie up all your pits, that you may long for to drink out of the Well of life it self. And 'tis a black mark of Unbelief that shall keep thee from rest, Heb. 4. 3, 10, 11. Oh but when you long to see him, Oh when shall I appear before God! Psal. 63. 2, 3, 4. Then the Lord will fill thee. As Leaden Rings with a Pearle, so Promises and Christ put together (not divided) are exceeding precious.

3. Do not look to see the work or promise yours, nor receive any consolation from either, unlesse the Lord appear in both, John 10. 16. They shall hear my voice; for so most men bring home Humane, not Divine consolation from a work. But Oh fetch it you from Heaven! as in Peters redemption, Acts 12. You rea­son, and others tell you, and yet you are full of fears and doubts; and thou cri­est, Lord perswade me, Lord perswade me, yea, hold you here, now you are where you ought for to be. Do you think Christ is filled with Grace and Life for you, and not with Consolation for you too? Only use means, and so look up to him.


OH therefore content not your selves with any hopes your estate is right, un­til you find this difference, for the Lord speaks peace only to his people,Use 6 and his people are differenced from all others. Hence how can you say peace is yours, till this be cleared up unto you?

I shall speak to two sorts of people.

1. Those that content themselves with any thing that may stop and quiet Con­science, any slight work, any poor desires, any hedge-Faith, any moral perfor­mances, any groundlesse conjectures will serve their turn. And being full, they can hear all Sermons, no wind will shake them, no searching, threatning Truths concern them; they are so good, that they think the Lord means not them. Well, I say no more to you but this, know it that the time is coming that the Lord Jesus wil try you, and examine you to the very Bran; and will descry all thy paint, and open all thy lusts and thoughts, and thy nakednesse, and shame, and confusion shall be seen of all the world.

II. Those that content themselves with the revelation of the Lords love, with­out the sight of any work, or not looking to it. I desire the Lord to reveal him­self abundantly more and more, to all that have the Lord savingly revealed unto them. For this is the misery, Christ is a hidden thing, and so is his love: Yet consider,

1. God reveals not his love to any Hypocrite, but to his people, that have a work far beyond them.

2. That the testimony of the Spirit doth not make a man a Christian, but only evidenceth it. As 'tis the nature of a witnesse, not to make a thing to be true, but to clear and evidence it. And therefore whether the Spirit in the first or se­cond [Page 140] place clears Gods love, I dispute no [...], because 'tis doubtful; ye be sure you find out the difference, viz. some work in you, that no Hypocrite under Hea­ven hath: Else what peace can you have?

1. Hereby you come to prevent the strongest delusion that Satan hath to keep men in bondage to himself, viz. to give men great peace, and somtimes great ravishment, while they are in their sins, that so he may harden them there still, Luke 11. 21. Now by taking this course, and going to Christ to untie the knots of Satan, you do now undermine the main plot of Satan, you break his head, ha­ving recourse to Christ to do this. His policy is, Let you heart alone, let Christ alone with that. But now you may be sure all your consolation is of the right make.

2. Otherwise you quench the Spirit, and resist the testimony of the Spirit, at least one great part of it. For the Spirit when it doth come to witnesse Gods love, i [...] answers all the doubts and objections of the soul that it had before. Now the great doubt of Gods people is not only, Am I elected, am I justified and accept­ed? But am I called, am I sanctified, are not my desires, my Faith, my love counterfeit? which I may have, and yet go to Hell? Now the Spirit when it comes, clears up all doubts, not fully, but gradually, for 'tis the most clearing witnesse, and therefore, John 14. 18, 19, 20. At that day you shall know that I am in you, and you in me, and I in the Father. The Spirit doth not only say Christ is out of you, in Heaven, preparing and interceding, but in you, sanctifying, pre­paring thee for Glory, that art a vessel of Glory; and you in me by Faith, by Love, desire, &c. Now when a man shall say, I look to no work, but only for the Spirit to reveal the Lords Love; in seeming to desire the Spirit, he doth resist the Spirit of God.

3. Otherwise you shall be deprived of all that abundant consolation which the Word holds out before you. For suppose you say, I look not to the work of God in me, to receive any consolation from that, or any promise made to that. I look only to the revelation of the Spirit.

Ans. 1. There is never a promise but the Comforter is in it, and they are given for that end, to give strong consolation, now if you look to no work, nor no con­ditional promise, nor to find the condition in you (which yet Christ must and doth work) Lord! what abundance of sweet peace do you lose? Rev. 7. 17. The Lamb leads them to the living Fountain of waters, and God wipes away all tears: And for ought I know you shall die for thirst that refuse to do it. Oh slow of heart to be­lieve all that the Scriptures have writ! all that God hath spoken! Ought you not thus to be comforted?

But 2. If you look to a Spirit without a work, whilest you do seek consolation from the Spirit, you cannot avoid the condemnation of the Word. You say the Spirit hath spoken peace to you. But do you love Christ? I look not to that, but to the Spirit. Why the Word saith, He that loves not him, let him be Anathema. So, Is the League between your sins and your souls broken? Ans. I look not to that. Why Iohn saith, He that committeth sin is of the Devil, 1 Iohn 3. 8, 9. Are you new creatures? I look not to that. Why the Word faith, Unlesse you be born again, you cannot enter into the Kingdom of God. And the Lord knows, but on your death-beds, thus Satan may assault you, and then will the Lord say, nay, look to your self. The Word shall be B [...]lshazzars terrour. Consider, Psal. 32. 1, 2.

4. Look to it, else you shall be deprived of further manifestation and commu­nion with the Lord Jesus. The Lord reveals not all of himself at once, the day dawns before the Sun riseth, and there is a further manifestation of the Lord in this life to his people, not for, but when they indeed maintain such works before him. John 14. 21. I will manifest myself unto him. How? Oh saith Christ, Ile come and sup with him. Never think the Lord will dishonour himself so far as to come into a filthy heart. Sin doth and will grieve Gods Spirit, that he will only [Page 141] accuse, not speak peace to you, till all is mended.

5. Else you may fall everlastingly away, as those, Heb. 10. 29. They had received the knowledge of the Truth, and were sanctified, but their wills and hearts never changed. Oh take heed there be not left only a fearful looking for of vengeance! You stand on the brim of destruction every moment, that do it not. For 'tis plain hy­pocrisie, not to bring works to the light; 'tis not ceasing to go on in a covenant of works, Iohn 3. 20. And if the Lord do [...]h love you, and you will not take the counsel of the Word, the fire of the Lord shall try you. And when that comes, and Conscience shall ask, wherefore comes all this great evil upon me? when your miseries shall be great, Oh it shall be said, this was because I loved not the Lord, I forsook the Lord, &c. Oh therefore look to the Lord now to cleanse you! Zac. 13. 9.

'T [...]s true, there is a difference,Object. but is it possible to know it, seeing that a false heart may go so far? especially to know it in it self?

'Tis true, 'tis difficult for men,Answ. Ministers, or Angels to reveal it, yet 'tis easie for the Lord Jesus to reveal it, and this he doth do. This light discovers hidden things as they are, his Spirit leads into all Truth. And this is a peculiar privi­ledge and honour, as for God to know, so they partaking of the Divine Nature, for them to know their own hearts, Ier. 17. 9, 10. And although it be an easie thing for hypocrites, that never knew what Grace meant, to be mistaken, yet af­ter the Lord hath made it known to the elect, 'tis no easie matter to deceive them. As 'tis with Apothecaries, that know when they meet with counterfeit drugs; or Jewellers, that know the difference between Bristow-Stones and Pearls. As the blind man saith, whereas I was blind, now I see, so I was dead, now behold I live. Old things are passed away, all things are become new. 1 Pet. 2. 9. They are called out of darknesse into marvellous light. If they could not know a difference, why would the Lord command them to add one Grace to another, and grow in Grace? May they not well reply? Alas Lord I know not Trash from Treasure! I know nothing thou hast commanded me to do, but hypocrites may have and do. I say therefore the work may be seen in it self, and that by a three fold light.

I. The light of the Word, which is a Divine Revelation of or concerning God and man, and of man, not only as fallen in Adam (which discovers all his sins, their nature, their end, &c.) but as risen again and recovered in Christ, the birth, being, breeding of the new creature. It discovers all hypocrisie of the heart, so that they shall be forced to say the Lord hath found me out, and Saints shall say the Lord hath done me good. As if the question be, Whom doth the Lord Jesus love? You need not go to Heaven for it, the Word is nigh thee. Those that love Christ: Who are those? Those that keep his Commandements, &c. So that the Word is a light to discover Truth from falshood, the work of Grace from the work of hypocrisie; and by this light Saints may and do know what the work is. And it argues dreadful unbelief and Hypocrisie not to do thus, Iohn 3. 19, 20, 21. And this all the Saints are commanded to do, 2 Pet. 1. 19. We (sealed with the Spirit) have a sure word of prophesie, &c. Which is a light in a dark place; both to reveal Gods heart and our hearts unto us; hence it makes us wise to salvation.

II. The Light of the Spirit going with the Word, reveals the work; without which the work cannot be seen, no more than a Book written in the fairest hand or print, can be seen without light to see it by: And hence Gods people cannot presently read what the Lord hath written, &c. 1 Iohn 3. 24. That look as 'tis with Scriptures, Papists say they are obscure, and how do we know them? We answer, there are Divine Characters of Majesty and Glory stampt upon them, whereby we by the same Spirit that writ them, see them, and are perswaded of them; so here. Or as tis in the work of Creation: How can any see God in it? We say, in the very workmanship appears his Power and Eternity, Wisdom, Goodnesse, &c. Now although Atheists cannot see these, yet others do and can, [Page 142] So in the workmanship of the Elect, 'tis so. Its the Glasse of Gods peculiar mercy and love; now they that never had it, know it no [...], but the Saints do, by the Spirit especially. Thus far we grant the Spirits Testimony, that it must re­veal it.

III. The Light of experience and sense: For Saints have an experimentall knowledge of the work of Grace, by vertue of which they come to know it as cer­tainly (as we dispute against the Papists) as by feeling heat, we know fire is hot, by tasting honey, we know 'tis sweet. Now this is diversly apparent to experi­ence.

1. By meditation of the work, in comparing it with the Rule, for no dead creature can perform one spiritual living act of life, no not a good thought, though they may think of good things. Now the Lord hath given to his people a most exact Rule of life, hence by meditation they may see how far it agrees or disa­grees with the Rule, and judge of a living act by it; and so of the God and Lord of life to be there. Hence try your selves, know you not Christ is in you, &c. And hence I never knew yet a thinking Christian deceived, and hence I fear all that make not this their trade, will be to seek, and so to begin again: Oh the Lord teacheth his people hidden mysteries by this.

2. By the operation and working of it, for Grace may be in the heart, and yet lying asleep, and raked up under the ashes, not seen, not felt, but in the opera­tion of it, it may, which is peculiar as the form is. For how do we know we love or delight in any creature? By the operation of love and delight. How did Christ manifest to the Pharisees that they were of their Father the Devil? Why his lusts they would do. So how can any tell he knows the Lord, or loves the Lord, or be­leeves in the Lord! The operation discovers it, Iames 2. 22. And hence, Gal. 5. 6. Faith which works by Love. And though hypocrites act like them, yet there is a peculiar vertue in the one that is not in the other.

3. By their temptations and trials, Deut. 8. 2. The Lord hath led thee forty years to prove thee and shew thee what was in thy heart. Rom. 5. 4, 5. Tribulation breeds experience, and that hope or expectation of that which shall never make us ashamed. Ile name no more. But look as we said to them that cried out against Prayer without a Book, we answer, Hath a man dwelt in his own heart so many years, and not known his wants, to make him pray? nor the Lords work of mercy, to make him blesse, so here.

2. But if a man looks to his work,Object. 2. this will interrupt and break his peace.

1. It may and doth break and interrupt a false peace;Answ. as many say, yet they trust in the Lords mercy, Oh 'tis a presumptuous peace.

2. Neglect of this yields most unpeaceablenesse, even in them that are sincere. You have peace, and then break out into pride and passion again; then question all. The Spirit will sigh, not sing in that bosom, Psal. 32. 1, 2, 3. Iudg. 16. 20. Neither can you avoid the condemnation of the Word, though you maintain con­solation from the Spirit, nor suspition of hypocrisie.

3. This is the way to peace, 2 Pet. 1, 7, 8, 9. Mat. 11. 29, 30. Christs yoke is easie and yields peace, in life and after life too, Rev. 14. 13. Their works follow them. So that hereby comes double peace and rest.

1. From horrour.

2. From sin, which is wonderful great.

3. But I look to Christ,Object. 3. I look to no work. If I have him, I have all.

True, First look to have him,Answ. to be comprehended by him, that so you may comprehend him. But because you look for all in him, will you look for no­thing from him? Will you have Christ fit in Heaven, and not look that he sub­due your lusts by the work of his Grace, and so sway in your hearts? You despise his Kingdom then. Do you seek for pardon in the Blood of Christ, and never look for the vertue and end of that Blood to wash you, & make you without spot, &c.? You [Page 143] despise his Priesthood and Blood then. Do you look for Christ to do work for you, and you not to do Christs work, and bring forth fruit to him? You despise his Honour then, Iohn 15. 8. If I were to discover a Hypocrite, or a false heart, this I would say, It is the that shall set up Christ, but loath his work. To have Christ, is sweet, as Capernaum, to follow Christ, is heavy, Iohn 14. 21, 23.

4. But if I have the witnesse of the Spirit,Object. 4. what need I have any other diffe­rence.

1. The witnesse of the Spirit makes not the first difference.Answ. For first a man is a Believer and in Christ, and justified, called, sanctified, before the Spirit doth witnesse it; else the Spirit should witnesse to an untruth and a lie. For un­believers are under wrath.

2. If the Spirit doth not witnesse this peculiar work to be in you, and clear it to you, tell me how you can escape the anguish of Conscience and the terrours of Hell in your hearts, unlesse Conscience be seared and blinded? When the Lord shall set Conscience to ask and say, I chuse none but whom I call, I call none but whom I justifie, I justifie none but whom I sanctifie, and that not with a common, but a peculiar work; Is it so with you? If it be dark or doubtful, can you but think all your joyes have been dreams, and your witnesse delusions? Therefore look unto this.

5. But if I should do this,Object. 5. I should look to find some cleannesse in my self, whereas I am to see nothing but ungodlinesse: Goats are clean crea­tures.

1. When you stand before Christs judgment-seat to receive pardon,Answ. you are here to look upon all as unclean, and your selves ungodly.

2. When you come to look upon your Sanctification, you are to see it as 'tis, mixt with sin and corruption, and so cause of being abased as low as Hell for what is done; yet that cleannesse and truth there is, you must see too, Rom. 7. He felt a Law warring against the Law of his mind, yet he felt another Law too which he made an evidence of his being in Christ, Rom. 8. 1. Giving all the Glo­ry of it to Christ. Not I but Christ. And yet Paul was no Goat, Its one thing to see Grace in my self, another thing to look upon it as mine, to clear me withall. You are to see the Lords work and not appropriate it to your self. And this let me say, if there be no more than ungodlinesse in thee, and thou seest no more, thou shalt never see God in Heaven, Heb. 12. 14. Nor didst never see him yet, 1 Iohn 3. 6, 8. Oh therefore look to a work!

1. If you do not, you have no peace. For the Lords sake do it before fire try you, or you stand scorching before the Tribunal of God.

2. The sweet of it will be great, as there is nothing more bitter than Christ de­parting with his holy presence; so nothing so sweet as Christs cleaving to thee in his holy presence. And truly sin was never bitter to that soul to which the work of the Lord Jesus was not sweet, though its accounted by some almost Popery to speak so. To this all promises are made, 1 Tim. 4. 8. Godlinesse hath them. 'Tis true, they are made to Christ, i. e. to Christ mystical, 1 Cor. 12. 12. Yet to the head as the foundation and conveyer of all to the elect, Eph. 1. 23. 2 Pet. 1. 3, 4. If you despise work, you despise Promises, and so despise Christ, and the Lord knowes what use you may have of them before you die.


TO the people of God,Use 7. in whom the Lord hath made this great change, and made a difference between you and all the world.Of Exhort. Take heed of denying your work, and this real apparent expression of the Lords love. How many doubt­ing drooping Spirits are there, that though others may see, and though themselves have felt the sensible expression of the Lords love, yet oft come to this conclusion, or fear that the Lord did never yet good unto me? And dispute against it, and think that this an hypocrite may have, Isa. 49. 14. There are two waies whereby Grace is despised.

1. By making common Grace special.

2. By making special Grace common. The Elect are apt to do so before they are called, as Paul thought his innocent Godlinesse gain; they are apt to do the latter when once in Christ. All this we may have, and yet to Hell. Oh take heed of de­spising this kindnesse which the Lord Jesus hath not shewn to the greatest Poten­tates of the world.

Yea,Object. if I did but know it; but I am put to such fears and doubts about it, that I know not what to make on't.

1. Do not think that thou art under the power of thy sin,Answ. when thou art at war with thy sin and it with thee. For the Lord many times clears up his love to the soul, and 'tis better than life to him, but then winds arise, and storms come, and sin and Satan assaults, and now he cries out, he perisheth, and that he was never redeemed by Christ, nor never saw Christs love. Should his soul be thus ensnared, thus assaulted, and no strength against it, and therefore being under the power of it, hence he never had pardon; they cannot overcome their corruptions, though they strive against them, hence think they are under the power of them, and then say, where is Christs Spirit? &c. Answ. When Rebekah had Twins, so that she was troubled, she went to the Lord, who told her, the elder shall serve the younger: So there is Flesh and Spirit in Saints, and these two are contrary, so that you cannot do the things you would; and somtimes cannot will, yet somthing opposeth this. Well, know it, that the elder and stronger shall serve the younger, it shall be Lord. A man that is at war with another, hath received power against him, but victory is not gotten presently, so 'tis here: Iudgment shall come to victory. Though thou art bruised and canst not raise up thy self; now there is no fear of breaking, if God will not do that, none shall do it, and therefore thou shalt get victory. Only know for the present thou hast power. Thou goest to all Ordinances, and when no help there, raisest the power of Heaven. Oh Lord awake! Awake Oh Arm of the Lord! Isa. 51. 9.

2. Do not think that the being of Grace is lost, when 'tis hid, by the cessation of it for a time from act. For 'tis hard to know whether Grace be there, when acts are not seen or felt; now somtimes 'tis so. The heart growes carelesse and negligent, ceaseth from acting, quencheth the flame of the Spirit. Hence come fears, was there ever Grace here? The Sluggards Garden grows full of Nettles, and he saith, was the ever good seed sown here? Answ. Consider 'tis in this case, as 'tis in sin. Though the act of sin ceaseth, yet there is a bent of heart still toward it; and a carnal heart will return to his old Byas and bent again: So though the act of Grace ceaseth, yet there is an inner man, a gracious bent and frame put upon the will, that though for a time it ceaseth acting, yet it will return to its old bent again, to its own nature, which is called the seed of God, 1 Iohn 3. 9. From which a man can never fall. For in sleep there is cessation from acts, yet the frame remains still. In the old Law, if any unclean thing fell on a Pitcher, it was accounted unclean, but if in a Spring, not, because it would work it out a­gain; so here: There is a Spring of Grace, which may be muddied and stopt up, [Page 145] yet it will work it le [...] clear again. And this Gods people shall find, there is somthing in them that springs up to everlasting life all their daies.

3. Do not judge only of the truth and measure of Grace by what thou hast in thy hand of feeling; but by what thou hast in thy hand of Faith in the promise. God hath ever delighted to keep his people short of what they would have, and to give them but little, insomuch that they often question the truth of Grace, feel­ing so little measure of it. Yet they look to the riches of Gods Grace, to the freenesse and riches of the Lords promise, and hang there, and plea [...] that, and suck that breast. Answ. Oh now consider thou art empty, but remember the Lord Jesus is full, and the promise is free and full. Oh the riches of it, to give abundantly, and to work Truth in thee▪ Hence 'tis there in the promise, and thy Faith h [...]ngs on the promise for it: Why, tis thine by Faith then. The nature of Faith is to carry the soul empty to a promise and the Lords Grace, and Christ there, so that it knows not whither else to go but for bread here. Now Faith doing thus, it makes the promise and all of it thine, 2 Pet. 1. 1, 4. Abra­ham had his child first in the promise, when he felt a dry body, and saw a barren womb. And know it, its insinite mercy to be kept up in the promise, and thou givest the Lord infinite Glory by embracing of it now, and thou maist triumph here. Hast not said, Lord, that Solomon shall reign, and sin shall not? It shall not. Oh rejoyce oh Heavens and Earth at this, for the Lord hath visit­ed me! God took from Paul his revelations, and sent distempers, that Grace might be manifested in the promise.

4. Do not think that the Lords heart is not towards thee, while he hides his face from thee. For there may be frowns in a Fathers face, and yet love in his heart: The Lord purposely hides himself from his people somtimes, especially when they begin to grow weary of him, or proud, but yet his heart is towards them still. Now they think not so, when in utter darknesse, then they think there is no love. the woman of Canaan besought Christ oft, yet he heard not, yet his heart was towards her. How did that appear? Her heart and Faith was still toward him, she would not leave him though she should have but crumbs. Isa. 45. 15. & 8. 17. And the Lord doth purposely hide his face in love, that his peoples hearts may be towards him, Hos. 5. 15. & 6. 1.

5. Do not judge of the Lords love and heart toward you in these sad times by present feelings, but by the issue of them. For such is the Lords cariage towards his people somtimes, that God seems wholly to crosse them, and appears in all their waies with a drawn sword against them. He doth not only leave them to their enemies, as he did Samson, but to their sins, and to Satan to buffet them, that there is nothing but clouds of wrath and no Star appearing. Now look to the issue, and mark the upright man, his end is peace; and consider this, Christs King­dom is hid, and he brings contraries out of contraries, he makes darknesse light, Hell Heaven, guilt pardon, weaknesse strength, and calls things that are not, as though they were. Then think within thy self, Ile conclude nothing against my self, but stay and wait what the issue will be, which is ever glorious, Iames 1. 2, 3, 4. 1 Pet. 1. 5, 6, 7. Consider hath not the Lord done thee much good already? Oh consider what is then behind!

6. Never enter into dispute with Satan, or thine own self, about thy estate, but by taking and making Scripture and Word tobe the Judge of the controversie. Fears come in, you shall never have mercy, never have power; Who told you so? Doth the Word say that? The Lord never gave himself to me, I fear it! Doth the Word say so? Never was any as I; Doth the Word say so? Or doth not the Word say, God delights to pick out the vilest, to send the Physitian to them that be sick. I cannot see nor conceive any mercy; Doth the Word say so? Are not the Lords thoughts above thine? I have not that peace that others have, therefore the Lord intends none toward me; Doth the Word say so? Oh but o­thers [Page 146] if they knew me, would loath me! Doth the Word say so? When as it saith, Doublesse then thou art our Father, Isa. 63. 16. And bring before this Judge both sides, not only what sin can say, or may do against thee, but what the Word of the Lord Jesus can say for thee, Jer. 31. 18, 20. Ephraim cries out of stubb [...]nesse: Oh but is not Ephraim my only Son? Hear Ephraim lamenting too. And hear [...] nothing against a Word. Look on Paul warring against Christ, and yet the Law of Christ in him also, Luke 24. 25.

7. In times of greatest and smallest fears, remember to be humble and vile in thine own eyes, worthy never to be beloved. And let the Lord have his Will of thee, and this will give you peace. God denies mercy to that man that will be Lord of it: To be sure, evidence mercy then he will not; and when he doth ma­nifest it, 'tis then when poorest and vilest, and the heart is meek and humble, Isa. 57. 15, 16. Mat. 11. 29. Oh the Lord opens his heart and love, when once his Will is dear. The Lord casts by his rod and frowns now, and creates peace. Thus you may come to see the work, or the Lords Grace in you.

To Ministers,Use 8. to take heed of making precious things common, by giving in false Signs and Evidences of love, but look up to the Lord for a special Spirit here.

To Gods poor people,Use 9. and thankfulnesse. Oh that he hath called thee from darknesse into marvellous light,Of Consolat.into the Kingdom of his dear Son! Oh that when so many come near to mercy, and fall short of it; yet me to be let in! Caleb and Ioshua to be let into Canaan, when the rest so near, and all perished! Blesse the Lord for all Afflictions, Fears, Temptations, Enemies, Evils, Hidings of his Face, hereby he hath but tried thee and purged away thy drosse; and be com­forted against all reproaches of Hypocrisie and Apostacy, and a proud world that casts filth in the face of Holinesse. Now we are Sons of God, it appears not what we shall be, but we shall be like him in Glory, in Grace, in Honour, in his Kingdom, for we shall see him as he is. And as for you that live, and lie, and bed it with your ease, lusts, sloath, and God sends you means, but the Bellows are burnt, the Lead is melted, and your Drosse not consumed, Reprobate Silver shall men call you, and God shall destroy all your confidence. But you that are the Lords, Oh that you could see what the Lord hath done! he hath put Heaven into thy soul, and his work which is more Glorious than the Creation of Heaven and Earth.

Shewing that the Hypocrisie of the Heart pro­ceeds from a want of a Saving Illumination in the Understanding.


THE Spring or one great cause and original of Evangelical Truth and Hypo­crisie is the mind of man.

For here there was an apparent difference between the Virgins in their practise and in their wills, as hath been shewn; yet the Lord ex­presseth it in general thus, that some of them were wise (which is one part of the perfection of the understanding) and some of them were foolish (which is the [Page 147] great defect of light in the mind or understanding) because the truth of the one and the falshood of the other, manifested what their hearts were, in their heads and minds; and the Truth in the one, and Hypocrisie in the other did arise and was maintained by wisdom in some of their minds, and by folly in the mind of some others. Folly or want of Divine Light made the one unready for Christ, wisdom or having of Divine Light, made the other prepared for him: Not that it doth exclude the evil or change of the will and affections, but because they ma­nifest themselves, and are maintained in the mind. Hence I say, one great rea­son or Original of both lies in the mind, Mat. 6. 22, 23. If thy eye be single, thy whole body is light, &c. The eye or mind of a man sits like the Coachman, and guides the headstrong Affections; if now this be blind, there will be falls and de­viations into crooked waies, John 3. 19, 20. Light is come. Now what is the condemnation? Men love darknesse, i. e. will be blind, and having sore minds and hearts, will not look up to the Sun. They see not, nor receive not the Truth in love, and hence condemned, and è contra. Hence Deut. 29. 1, 2, 3, 4. Moses sets down the causes of all their evils: The Lord hath not given you eyes to see to this day. They did see and hear by natural and acquired knowledge, but not by a Divine, created, infused knowledge, all that God had wrought and done for them. He [...]ce when the Lord intends to seal down the Iews under unbelief, Isa. 6. 10. The Lord then said, shut their eyes lest they see and so be converted. The heart makes the eyes blind, and the mind makes the heart fat. A man that is at enmity with God, the Lord sets him against himself. Hence men are left of God to their own lusts, Luke 19. 42, 44. Oh that thou hadst known! and they knew not the day of visitation. Hence Deut. 32. 29. Oh that this people had been wise to consider their latter end! You know 'tis in the Proverbs of Solomon the frequent title of those that are sincere and falshearted, the one is called wise, and the other foolish: In­somuch that some Divines have made a necessity of a change and turning about of the will, when there is fulnesse and clearnesse of light in the mind. Else they say a man might be sapiens and yet impius too, which cannot be. But I dispute not a bout that; there be many bruit creatures that imitate the knowledge of man, yet there is no mind of man or reasonable soul in them; so hypocrites may have excellent abilities of reason, and yet fall short of that new mind, the eye and di­rector of the whole man, that Saints have. Its ever dark night with them the Sun of Glory never did yet rise upon them.


1. BEcause all Divine Light of Glory is ever powerful through Christ to change the heart.Reas. 1. Hence if hypocrites had it, their hearts would be sincere, which is not so, and hence they ever want it, whatever light else they have▪ and hence those that have it must be sincere, Iohn 8. 32. You shall know the truth and it shall make you free, i. e. from your bondage of fears and sins, hence David prayes for light, Psal. 119. 33, 34. And then he shall be set at liberty. As Iron is drawn to the Loadstone by a secret hidden vertue, so there is a secret vertue of Divine Light that drawes the most Iron heart, nay changeth it, John 17. 17. Sanctifie them through thy Truth, &c. For this is the difference between mans and Gods teach­ing: And hence when the Gospel comes in power, it comes in demonstration; whereby the heart is mightily overpowred, that it cannot but fall down before God, whose voice and truth it hearts. And hence the young man saw some worth in Christ, but not enough, and hence he forsook Christ. Truth is not stones, but bread to them that see it indeed.

2. Because the mind is the first inlet of all sin and all Grace, and hence all hypo­crisie springs from thence.Reas. 2. Hence when Satan laid his Train to blow up all the [Page 148] world by sin, he first enters into dispute and parly with Eve, and as the Apostle speaks, deceived her, 1 Tim. 2. 14. The woman was first deceived. And hence when Satan came with his last and strongest temptation, to draw away the heart of Christ to him, he attempted it by a sudden presenting to his mind the Glory of all the world, hoping hereby to get in. Nay in the unpardonable sin there is summa caecitas, to call evil good, and good evil. And hence the Pharisees that did commit it, were called blind; and when sin is entred, it strengthens it self by the mind, Heb. 3. 13. Least [...] of you be hardned through the deceitfulnesse of sin. As 'tis with Cities, they might be easily taken, but for the Forts that are built about them, and the Souldiers that are in them: So men set up their hearts and minds above, and against the Lord Jesus. The power of sin lies in the power of darkness, as the power of a weak State in the wisdom of its Council. And hence when the Spirit comes, all the work of it is expressed by conviction of sin, righteousnesse and judgment, because convince one effectually, and you convert him. And hence when the Lord comes with life, he comes in by light, Eph. 5. 14. Christ shall give thee light. And hence when the Gospel comes to take away all darknesse and sin, 'tis said Satans chief policy lies in this, to blind mens eyes, 2 Cor. 4. 4. Ei­ther by obscuring the Light, or by kindling a false Light in their minds, that they shall think they see, when their darknesse remains; not but that there is filth enough in the will, but Satan knows that Christ shines into the heart by the mind; and hence he blinds men, and then he knows he shall damn men. Be­loved, if men had the Spirit, it would lead them into all Truth, now this the world cannot receive, because John 14. 17. It knowes him not. This is that which opens and shuts to all life and sin; not that bare light can change the will, but the Lord doth it by the power of his Truth and Light: And as tis with water coming through some Mines, there is a healing vertue in it, so Light coming from ever­lasting love, it heals men of their evils.


HEnce see the danger of two sorts of men especially.Use 1.

1. Of those that flie from the Light, which is done sundry waies. Ile mention onely one, that is used by a false heart. A man is troubled in mind concerning his estate, fears death and Hell, and so few shall be saved, how can I be one, &c. How comes he to fear? The Lord hath by his Spirit in the Word discovered and found out his sin, the thief is taken and apprehended, and con­demned, he hears still, but yet can find no peace, Why? Because he lives in those sins that he is convinced of. Hence the Word raiseth damps and heart-qualms, that he hath no peace, but is ever pulled from his own bottom and hypocrisie, and the Word discovers more sins, and hence hath no peace: The Word will not give nor offer Christ and a base lust together, nor will not suffer any to have them both in peace. Hereupon the soul finding no rest nor peace (which the false heart seeks for chiefly) flies from the Light, especially if it hath found out a shorter cut to its peace, by any device or golden delusions of men. And now they will hear there no more, and now the Publishers of Gods Truth are tyran­nical tormenters of the Consciences of them that be weak, false Prophets, that lead them out of the way of peace. And because of this, they think they were led out of the way of truth, because out of the way of peace. Or if they do come, they can sit with disdain and contempt of men (alas they speak according to their light) and of all the truths of God, which shall one day be preacht over again in flames of fire to their eternal horrour, Rev. 6. 2. Its said, Christ rides on a white Horse, conquering and to conquer. Men have unruly hearts and strong hearts, and they will not die, nor yield presently. And hence when one sin is cast away, [Page 149] another steps into the room of it; and when that is gone, another supplies the place of it, and commonly the strongest sin and temptation is the last. Now hence Christ goes on, rides on in the Chariot of the Word, conquering and to conquer still. Those that do yeild, he saves, those that will not, he slaies. Now [...] poor Creatures have had Christs arrows in them, and are wounded for some sin, but the Lord discovers more still; hence at last they flie away with the ar­rowes in their hearts for ease. Oh poor creatures know it, the Lord Jesus will find you out! You will not be conquered by him, you shall never be saved by him. You have light, you shall have delusions, endlesse unknown hypocrisie and darknesse to be your portion. There is never a plain heart but he accounts that wound and trouble greatest mercy, and blesseth the Lord, that he will not give him his sins and peace with them too.

2. Those that f [...]ie not from the light of the Truth, but give it the hearing, but yet let it slip; either not minding it then, or not pondering it afterward; that before they come, thirst not for more light, look not up for it, nor are mourning when the Lord hides it from their eyes. Some there be that be such all-sufficient men, so good they need be no better, so wise that they need know no more; some insufficient indeed to know, and hence ever learning, hearing, but never coming to the knowledge of the Truth. If Light breaks not in, they can lie in dark­nesse still, and not mourn; and think no more of it than a tale that is told, or ne [...] that is brought. Oh look to your standing, for you are in the high rode to hypocrisie, and its impossible you should be kept from it that lie so, John 12. 35. [...] while you have the light, lest darkness come upon you. Satan knew if light came in, Christ would come in: And therefore know it, all that time thou hast heard and heard, but not with Divine Light, hast got only somwhat to prate on now, to be of another opinion now from what thou wast: Oh now Satan hath been [...]et loose, by the dreadful vengeance of Almighty God, to blind thee, that so thou mightst die in thy hypocrisie and sin. Oh poor Captives, mourn under this, and behold your danger for time to come.

Hence see the reason why many that have had mighty strong Affections at first conversion,Use 2. afterwards become dry, and wither, and consume, and pine, and die away, and now their hypocrisie is manifest, if not to all the world by open prophanenesse, yet to the discerning eye of living Christians, by a formal, barren, unsavoury, unfruitful heart and course, because they never had light nor convicti­on enough as yet. You shall have some ignorant creatures awakened by some thundring Ministry, weep and mourn for sin, and after vanish into s [...]cak, being never convinced of sin. Land-floods of sorrow without a Spring of light, are dri­ed up, and make the heart more fruitful in sin afterward. Many go under fear [...] of wrath, and never get peace, because never convinced of wrath. Many are af­fected with Christ, and with joy of the Gospel, as the stony ground, but they wanting depth of earth, of conviction, die away again; and hence all the world can never stop a Christian in his shining Profession, no more than they can the Sun in his course, as Paul, 2 Cor. 5. 11. We knowing the terrour of the Lord perswade men. And hence Moses, Heb. 11. 27. feared nofrowns of Pharaoh, cared for no honours from Pharaoh, he saw the God that was invisible, and hence Christ praies for his Disciples, to be kept from evil. The world hath not known me, but these have known me, Iohn 17. When men are condemned to die, they take on because now they see death; but here in time of health they see it not. If men wrong a child, their heart smites them and grieves, but the Lord is abased dishonoured, and men are not affected, because they want light, and see it not: If men be to match with a Prince, or stand before him, 'tis counted blessednesse; but before Christ, 'tis a burden, because men know it not. 'Tis strange to see some people carried with mighty affection against sin and Hell, and after Christ. And what is Hell you fear? A dreadful place. What is Christ? They searce know so much as Devils do, [Page 150] but that is all: Oh trust them not! Many have, and these will fall away, to some Lust, or Opinion, or Pride, or World; and the reason is, they never had light enough, John 5. 35. Iohn was a burning and shining light, and they did joy in him for a season, yet as glorious as it was, they saw not Christ by it, especially not with Divine Light. Its rare to see Christians full both of light and affection. And therefore consider of this, many a man hath been well brought up, and is of a sweet, loving Nature, mild, and gentle, and harmlesse, likes and loves the best things, and his meaning, and mind and heart is good, and hath more in heart than in shew, and so hopes all shall go well with him. I say, there may lie greatest hypocrisie under greatest affections; especially if they want light. You shall be hardned in your hypocrisie by them. I never liked violent affections and pangs, but only such as were dropt in by light; because those come from an ex­ternal Principle, and last not, but these do. Men are not affrighted by the light of the Sun, though clearer than the Lightning.

Hence take heed of contenting your selves with every kind of knowledge:Use 3. Do not worship every Image in your own Heads; especially you that fall short of Truth or the knowledge of it; for when you have some, there may be yet that wanting which may make you sincere. There are many men of great knowledge, able to reach themselves and others too, and yet their hearts are unsound. How comes this to passe? Is it because they have so much light? No, but because they want much; and therefore content not your selves with every knowledge. There is some knowledge which men have by the light of nature (which leaves them without excuse) from the Book of Creation, some by power of education, some by the light of the Law, whereby men may know their sin and evils, some by the Letter of the Gospel, and so men may know much, and speak well, and so in seeing see not; some by the Spirit, and may see much, so as to prophesie in Christs Name, and yet be bid depart, Mat. 7. Now there is a Light of Glory, whereby the Elect see things in another manner; to tell you how, they cannot, its the beginning of light in Heaven, and the same Spirit that fils Christ, filling their minds, that they know by this anointing all things; which if ever you have, you must become Babes and Fools in your own eyes. God will never write his Law in your minds, till all the Scriblings of it are blotted our. Account all your knowledge losse for the gaining of this. 'Tis sad to see many a man pleasing him­self in his own dreaming delusions, yet the poor creature in seeing sees not, which is Gods heavy curse upon men under greatest means, and which laies all wast and desolate, Isa. 6. How long? Until all be wast, V. II.

Hence see the right way of living a life of Truth,Use 4. of being an Israelite in whom is no guile. Keep light in your minds, and you will keep Truth alive in your hearts and lives. Many a sincere heart may have Hypocrisie and much unsound­nesse in him, though he be no Hypocrite. But how comes it so to be? and whence so little Truth? and hence so many fears and doubts about their estates continually? Oh! men lose that Glorious Light that somtime they have. For when you have it in an Ordinance, Oh how sweet is the Lord and all his waies to you! Afterward you have lost your hearts, truly 'tis because you have lost your light.

Two waies Hypocrisie vents it self, which Gods people oppose.

1. In secret withdrawing of the heart to sin. Oh now get light! for sin ne­ver draws away, but by appearance of some good at least, pro hic & nunc. Iam. 1. 14. Now put off the covering, keep the mind from being deceived, you will keep the heart from being hardned, deaded and withdrawn from God.

2. In performing duties, but not for Christ as their utmost end; now the heart is bent this way, yet it failes, because light is gone, to see and behold the Glory and blessednesse of this. Men that have honour or gain in their eye, are carried violently after it. Men that are bound for a voyage will go through, [Page 151] their eye leads them. Stephen speaks till the stones were about his ears, I see Ie­sus saith he, at the right hand of God. 2 Cor. 15. 58. Be abundant in the Lords work, knowing that your labour is not in vain. Hence David Psal. 119. begs for knowledge of this and that, and then he will do it. Oh therefore keep it in your minds as pre­cious, Prov. 2. 10. If knowledge be pleasant, &c. And pray to God to keep it for you. Light is in the Sun, and not ceased to this day: so if the Lord would put in this Light, and be the perpetual Fountain thereof to you, it would abide, &c. Thy Word I have hid in my heart, &c. Psal. 119.


HEnce learn the cure of hypocrisie, viz. Remove the cause,Use 5. which is folly; and if you would be sincere, Oh prize, and beg for more light, and love it, and you shall then after you have digged for it, find it. Would it not be sad to be led blindfold like them till they were in the midst of Samaria, so till in the midst of Hell? Would it not be sad to be like Sodomites, groping for the door? Espe­cially you that are come over to this Countrey for more of the Knowledge o [...] Christ. Oh then Beloved, take heed you bury not your minds in the earth, lose [...] not your thoughts in the dung. And you must stand one day before God, when the Book of the secrets of your hearts shall be opened, when if found too light, then would it not be a doleful parting to lose the Lord Jesus after such light and affections, for want of a little more Light? Oh look to your selves now!

1. Stick close to the guidance of the Scriptures, and love them. Moses saith,Means 1. Then other Nations shall say, what people so wise? Deut. 4. 6. And these make the men of God (2 Tim. 3. 15.) full of Gods Spirit, wise unto salvation, and for neg­lect of this, the Lord gave, and doth give men up to strong delusions, that they believe lies, viz. because they loved not the Truth. Never a Truth but is unsealed by Blood, and revealed to be the infinite wisdom of the Father, and love to poor lost men, where God opens all his heart; if men will despise these, 'tis pity but they should be blinded. Do not scoffe at those that know the Lord here, they are Scripture-learned men, if not, never Spirit-learned. Take this for your Counseller, in all your doubts and fears it will teach you. A man gets an opinion, or falls in love with a sinful corruption, both deceive him. Why so? Is there no word against it? Oh yes, but they will not hear it, but make God and Scripture bow down to them, they will not be led by it. Oh intreat the Lord to keep thee from that.

2. Be abundant in meditation dayly, Psal. 119. 99.Means 2. 'Tis an hundred to one else if not miserably deluded. And as the Spirit convinceth first of sin, righteous­nesse and judgment, so let your thoughts be. This makes a man see far, and see much.

3. Practise what you know, and tast the sweetnesse of it there,Means 3. Psal. 119. 100. And then the heart will grow savingly full of Divine Light. Nothing makes men foolish but this. Oh tast and see! Oh if men knew the sweet of this way of Truth, they would ever walk in it, and bring others to submit to it! Shall I hide from A­bram, that will teach his Family? Gen. 18. 17, 19.

4. Cast up your eyes to Christ glorified, being full of the Spirit for thee,Means 4. and beg of him, as if he were with thee to send it down. As Solomon asked this. See, Iohn 7. 39.

Oh learn to be exceeding thankful for any saving light the Lord hath kindled in you,Use 6. if ever it hath been powerful to discover and remove the hidden hypocrisie of thy heart, that now the Lord hath made thee plain and serious for him, that its death not to live, Heaven for to live unto him. Oh then blesse the Lord for that means that did it for thee, that mightst have perished in thy own delusions and [Page 152] dreams. Time was when thou wast deceived, now the Lord hath made thy eyes brighter than the Sun, to see such things as are hid from great ones in the world. Oh though it be but a little, yet if real and saving light, blesse him. A man that hath been in midst of Sands, and without a Pilot, afterwards looks back, and saith, there I might have split. Oh this is wonderful to him! Oh Christ did thus! 1I thank thee thou hast hid, &c. Mat. 11. 25. The Lord hath hid them from heads and hearts of many wise and prudent, and ever they shall be hid, and è contra, revealed them to thee, a babe, a weak one, a poor ignorant one, Mat. 16. 17. Flesh and blood hath not revealed it, so as to build here on this righteousnesse, to fetch all light and life from Christ, and cleave alone to him. Oh remember you are called out of darknesse into marvellous light to shew forth his vertues? What canst desire more than eternal life? And this is it, 1 Iohn 5. 20. Iohn 17. 30.

That Hypocrites discover themselves in an un­effectual use of the Means of Grace. Secondly, The difference between the wise and foolish Virgins is set down more particularly, v. 3, 4.


THIS particular difference is declared by the different practise of the foo­lish and wise Virgins each from other.

1. That the Foolish though they had so much wisdom (like the wise) as to take Lamps, yet so much folly was bound up in their hearts, as that they took no Oyl in their Vessels for their Lamps.

2. That the wise did not only light their Lamps, but they did also fill their Vessels with Oyl, that either their Lamp might never go out, or if it did, it might be soon kindled again. More plainly, The Foolish contented themselves with the name and blaze of outward Profession, kindled from some inward, yet lighter and more superficiall strokes of Gods Spirit, neglecting the great work within: But the wise did not only carry their Lamps of outward Profession, but they filled their Vessels, and got an inward Principle of the Spirit of the Lord Jesus to maintain their profession before man, and their uprightnesse before the Lord. So that me­thinks here is a double difference, the first is implied, the second plainly ex­prest.

1. That which is implied is this, that the Foolish made choice of a good end, viz. to meet Christ, but it was with an ineffectual use of means to that end; their Lamps were to light and lead them to Christ. These Lights might blaze for a time, but they would consume without Oyl. They neglect that, the wise were better instructed than so.

2. The Foolish glory in an outward Profession, as also in some superficial af­fection, without an inward Principle of the gracious presence of the eternal a­nointing and Spirit in them; but the wise have it, and are carried to Glory by it. And more at this time of the Lamps and Vessels I shall not speak.

1.Doct. 1. That the closest Hypocrites of Virgin-Churches discover themselves (at least be­fore the Lord) in an ineffectual use of those means that do conduce towards their desired and expected end.

[Page 153] The Bridegroom is here looked for, the presence of Christ Jesus is longed for, he comes in the night, they must meet him in the night. Now means they use, Lamps they take, and so much Oyl as kindles their Lamps; but Oyl they take not in their Vessels, the only means to preserve their Lamps from going out, that so they may meet the Lord and not be shut out from the Lord, as at last these carelesse Virgins were. Search the Churches for the present, search the Records of Ages past, many have desired the Lord and looked for the Lord, and yet have lost the Lord their end: Why so? They never had hearts effectually to use and improve the means to that end, either outward or inward. Look upon men out of the Church, they perish because they have no remedy, they have no Lamps to light, they have no Bread to eat, no Means to help. But why do those within the Church perish? Is it because there is no remedy? No, but because they do not use the remedy. Is it because they want Means? No, but because they do not effectually improve means. Here they fall short, herein they discover themselves. Look but upon this next Parable of the Talents, v.25. One of them was cast off, and cast out. Why? Because he had no Talents? No, But because he had no mind nor list to use his Talent, he did not make his gain out of it to attain his end. All Ordinances of God, and all that time we have under them are Talents. Now wherein do Hypocrites fail? There is a secret gain of Ordinances which Hypo­crites regard not, and hence the best hypocrite lives in debt, and die [...] a Beggar. For Prov. 16. 17. Wherefore is there a price in the hand of a fool, but no heart to use it? Precious Liberties, Ordinances, that many have desired to see, and have not seen them. Why doth the Lord betrust him with such that useth them not? Oh he hath them, but here is his wound, he hath no heart to use them! Look through­out all the Word, Why have many set a great price on Christ, and yet have lost him? Because like higling Chapmen, they have had a desire to the Commodity, but they have been loath to be at the cost to use the means for it. The Gospel brings Christ and Immortality to light, and this Serpent is lifted up, this Lamb slain before mens eyes, and this Bread put to mens lips and mouths. Why are not all possessed of him, blessed in him? The Lord saith, come, and the Spirit saith, come, and the Bride saith, come; Why the reason is, men will not use the means for him, Isa.55. 2, 3, 4. Men will lay out their money, though it be for that which is not Bread. Jer. 2, 5, 6, 7, 8. I brought them through Pits into a pleasant Land, to eat the goodnesse thereof. And doubtlesse he brought not a herd of swine into Canaan, only to enjoy the outward blessings and swill of Canaan, but to en­joy the good of his Temple, Ordinances, &c. But where was their wound? Nei­ther Priests nor People said, where is the Lord? i. e. Where is the Lord in these waies, that we may come at last to the full enjoyment of him by these? This they neglected. Methinks 'tis with the best hypocrites as 'tis with divers old Mer­chants, they prize and desire the gain of Merchandise, but to be at the trouble to prepare the Ship, to put themselves upon the hazards and dangers of the Ship, to go and fetch the Treasure that they prize, this they will never do. So many prize and desire earnestly the Treasures of Heaven, here is their end, but to be at the trouble of a Heaven-Voyage to fetch this Treasure, to passe through the Valley of Baca, Tears, Temptations, the Powers of Darknesse, the Breaches, Oppositi­ons, and Contradictions of a sinful, unbelieving heart, good and evil report, to passe from one depth and wave to another, this the best hypocrite failes in, and hence loseth all at last. And this I conceive to be one of the great differences be­tween the strong desires and esteems of Hypocrites and Saints.


I. IN regard of God,Reas. 1. because this neglect is one of the great means by which he doth execute his eternal rejection of men, and hence here they ever do fail.

For 1. The Lord hath chosen some to life, the end.

2. He chuseth certain means to lead to this end.

3. He purposeth to carry all his Elect by these means to that end; themselves cannot, hence the Lord doth. And hence ariseth the great peace and support of the Saints, when they look upon the everlasting mountains of hindrances and im­possibilities in their way, the Lord hath undertaken to carry them through them, Iohn 17. 15. That when heart and strength failes, he will be heart and strength, and guide by his counsel, and bring to his Glory. And hence as all the Elect are to be certainly carried through all means to their end, and this is proper to them, so hence the best Hypocrite being never appointed certainly to come to this end, ever failes in the use of means; there he is and shall be forsaken of God, and forsake God. Hence Iohn 6. When many used the means, and fol­lowed Christ for a time, that they might have life, at last they forsook Christ and means to have him. Why? v. 65. Because none can come to me, except it were given him of the Father. Hence, look as certainly as the Decree of Re­probation shall stand, he having not appointed them to the end; so he never carries them through all means to that end, and therefore here they do ever fail. As 'tis in a Family, those that the Lord of the Family intends to give his estate unto, he keeps a strict eye upon them, keeps them under the Government of the Family; as for others, let them go where they will, and do what they will; so here, all that shall enjoy God, are put under the Kingdom of the Son. Hence he is said to give it up: To others he will say, you love Liberty, take it then.

II.Reas. 2. Because the Lord and Fellowship with him, is never indeed their last & utmost end, or their only end, but they have some o [...] her end of their own; & hence they are never carried strongly through all means to that end. For this is the nature of a mans last and utmost end, it carries a man without any stop toward it, and that with delight. As a man that hath ho [...]our and preferment, and great hopes in his eye, that is reaching to the top of his aspiring thoughts, he will ride, and run, and flatter, and sin, &c. A man that hath riches in his eye, he will rise early, and go to bed late, eat the bread of carefulnesse, and he never hath enough. A man that is sick, and hath health in his eye, takes his Physick, observes his seasons, wasts his estate, for this is his end. Hence a Hypocrite never making Christ his last end, but being ever a double-minded man, Iames 1. And having his own ends, and lusts, and self to attend upon, hence the Byas draws him from following Christ effectually, but he must follow his own ends, and hence ever neglects the means that lead him thereunto, Mat.6. 24. Look as 'tis with men that have two Trdes, or two Shops, one is as much as ever they can follow or tend, they are forced at last to put off one, and they must neglect the one: So here.

III.Reas. 3. In regard of that Spirit of sloath and slumber, which the Lord ever leaves the best Hypocrite unto; which is the dearest lust and last enemy that the Lord destroyes in all his, but never destroies in these. Which so might [...]ly oppresseth all their senses, that they cannot use effectually all means to accomplish their ends. And hence a man desires the end, but hath it not, Prov.13. 4. The Lord pro­poseth the most Glorious end to his people, but its through many difficulties that we must come to it. Now there being the Spirit of sloath within, and these dif­ficulties without, a Hypocrite sits down and rests under the shadow of this grow­ing, spreading sin; and saith 'tis hard, and because he cannot do so, he hopes [Page 155] 'tis but an infirmity, and God will accept of his desires, and here perisheth, Mat. 7. 14. For straight is the gate that leads unto life, hence few there be that find it. Look as it was with the Israelites, Canaan they were bound for, they came at last to it, but when their Spies had told them of the difficulties, they sank, only Caleb and Io­shua of that mighty Host that had upright hearts here. Heavy things must descend, though cast up; for their place is downward. Light things, cast them down­ward, yet they must up again, for their place is upward; So 'tis here: A sluggish heart may be lift up by means, but they cannot hold it, their place is downward, here is their rest; so Saints, è contra, like fire will consume all difficulties, their rest is upward.


HEnce we see one ground of many complaints that are in the mouths of many Professors of the waies of God,Use 1. that never find the sweet which is the end of their Christian course, that are ever complaining of wants, but never feels supplies, ever learning, never knowing, ever hoping, never having, ever confessing of their sins, never triumphing over their sin, ever wishing that they had the Lord, but never possessing the Lord. And hence have minds full of fears, and mouths full of complaints, and hence finding no sweet in their course, could be content but for shame, to throw by their Profession. Why? Where is the cause of this? Is Heaven so barren and beggarly, that there are no Jewels to be had there? Are the fields of Gods Ordinances so empty, that there is no Treasure to be found there? Oh yes! there 'tis, but Christians are idle, there is the Treasure, but they cannot beg, much lesse dig for it, Prov. 2. 3, 4, 5, 6. If there be a treasure in the ground, and a man can find nothing, and so is ever complaining, the fault is in the man, he doth not dig long enough, nor deep enough; so 'tis here: There is never an Ordinance, but the Lord is in it; he never said to the Horse of Iacob seek his face in vain. Men pray, and if a few sighs will fe [...]ch in relief, well and good, if not, they cast that Shovel by, dig I cannot; they spend some time in lay­ing sin to heart, but if I cannot presently feel the bitternesse of it, I cannot help it, dig I cannot. A man can be content to hear the Word, and to listen after it, but to stir up the soul to lay hold on the Lord, that their sleep forbids, Prov. 13. 4. The soul of the diligent shall be made fat. Why do you famish under means? Is it because the Lords is unwilling or unable to relieve? No, Iohn 6. 27. You la­bour for that bread that perisheth. Labour not for it, but for the other, and the Son of man will give it you, for he is sealed for that very end. You complain your hearts are alwaies out of frame. Tell me, do you keep then with all diligence? Prov.4. 23. With all your Guard about it? You complain you never get assu­rance. Do you use all diligence to make it sure? You complain you seek and find not. Do you seek him diligently? Heb.11. 6. Oh this is the cause! The Lord hath given you the Spirit of slumber. Oh lay not the fault on the Lord, but on thine own carelesse heart, and lament over it, and say, this hath been the cause of all my complaints and woe. Oh I remember what the Lord by Ieremy speaks! Go into the strong Holds, for the Lord hath poured upon us the Spirit of deep sleep, and gi­ven us the waters of Gall to drink. I confesse the Lords choicest servants have their complaints, their sighs and groans unutterable, they have their fears, temptations and tears; Who more abundantly? Yet Beloved, methinks 'tis with them as 'tis with Passengers and Travellers towards their home, that they see it Twenty Miles off somtime, when they be on the Top of an Hill, after they have gone a little farther, they come into a Valley, and then they complain they have lost the sight of it, and cannot see it again scarce till they be upon i [...]; yet they sit not down in their Valley, but are going towards it. They go from strength to strength, [Page 156] though they come tired thither; as Psal. 84. 7, 8. They passe from strength to strength till they come to see God in Sion. They rest not in their complaints, but get on; and the star before them, the Means that lead them to that end, make them (as Mat. 2. 10.) rejoyce with exceeding great joy. I confesse they may for a time give way to their sloath, and sit in their vallies, and turn day into night, and sleep out almost the season of means; yet you shall ever find this, if ordinary means a­waken them not, terrible Flashings and Lightnings of wrath do; and in their afflictions and terrours and wounds of Conscience, Hos. 5. 15. they shall seek the Lord early. Ponder therefore of this cause, and in a time of sorrow they shall complain for somthing, viz. for their sloath. This may be the greatest sin of some, they live in no sin, but complaint, thy complaints may be fruits of sloath in not using means, and this may be thy great sin.

Hence learn 'tis not having of Means in this place,Use 2. nor coming hither for Means, that will do you any good or evidence your safe and good estate, but an effectual use and improvement of them; not only the use of outward, but inward means too. Men that have never so great a stock may die Beggars, by not im­proving it, Deut.29. 3, 4.

1. Many seeing and beholding that Sun which is set with them, to be risen here in these Western Parts, partly out of fear of persecution, partly by Friends per­swasion and company, partly to enjoy Gods Ordinances, have taken their flight hither.

But 2. Being come, wish Oh that our eyes had never seen it! partly through plenty of means, despise and loath them, partly through multitude of covering or vexing cares have no hearts to, or time to use them.

And yet 3. Are comforted in this, that they have them, though they see no God in them, tast little sweetnesse, receive little power from them, and hope to go to Heaven at next remove, that have come so far for these, &c. I would to God it were so. But oh consider,

1. If you improve them not, thy coming hither is but the discovery of thy hy­pocrisie to men and Angels, for this is the stage wherein the most fine-spun hypo­crisie and real sincerity shall act its part.

2. Nay thou art so far from being blessed in having them thus, that Gods fier­cest plagues shall here approach thy dwelling. The Arke among the Philistims, made the Lord plague the Philistims.

3. Nay this shall lay all desolate one day. They cried the Temple of the Lord, Jer. 7. Go to Shiloh. So I say, Go to the Palatinate, Go to Germany, France, go to the places whence you came, and see what the Lord hath done.

4. This shall be as to Saints greatest joy, when they shall look back, and see all the difficulties they have passed over, that here and there hearts and help failed, and there I lingred, but the Lord was merciful, and pulled me out, and they shall wonder at that Faithfulnesse and Grace; so here: This will be terrour and anguish; that I came so far, and had means, and took some pains, and was almost perswaded one time, almost confuted another, almost conquered and had yielded up all at another, but oh my Lump fell down to the dust again, and my soul forsook the pursuing of the Lord again? and this shall be the portion of Hypocrites. You may neglect and wrap up your Talents, but the Lord hath a time to call you to an account what gain you make. Look therefore to it, it may be some of you have need to improve means, you despise them in one place, and hither you come for them, and poor hearts, eyes dim, hearts hard, Consci­ences asleep, ears deaf, breath gone, life lost, God departed, and nothing left but a dead Carcase. It may be some are sincere, and the work of Gods Spirit is set back, your Lamps are out, your watchful minds and tender hearts and earnest pursuit after the Lord is gone. Oh then consider what little cause you have to boast in means! Men that have no part in ships, look for no gain; but if you [Page 157] have any part in the Blessi [...] o [...] Ordinances, rest not without it.

Hence see what need you have of a mighty and unresistable power of the Lords Grace and Spirit, to carry you an end in your Christian course,Use 3.if ever you come to life. For if Hypocrisie discovers it self in an ineffectual use of means, then you will find all the powers of darknesse resisting and seeking to surprize you here. That as 'tis with Thieves, you shall not see not find them lying in the City, 'tis in vain there to offer any violence, but in the way; So Satan cannot step unto the Gates of Heaven to keep you from thence, and hence all his power and policy lies in the way of means, to keep you from thence. And hence look upon the best man, how many hindrances to Prayer somtime, though he hath tasted the sweet of it, he had rather die than pray. How soon are the thoughts turned from God, when we come to draw nigh to God, how unable to wake one hour? That if it were not the inyincible strength of a God that did support them, 1 Pet.1. 5. they could never go on. Tell me you poor Creatures that never were effectually carried to your end by means, Do you not oft find checks for sin, desires against it, Christ and mercy weeping at your knees, melting over you, and your hearts almost perswaded? Do you not find a want of Christ, and Grace, and Spirit, and Promises, and you hope it will be better? Do you not find some movings towards the Lord, but yet withal do you not find a dead, sloathful heart slayes you again? The veriest reprobate in the world may have as good an assurance of heaven as thou, there may be better in Hell than thee. And who can mend this? long, long it hath been thus. Oh then feel a need of the Lords irresistable power! Thou indeed hast an end, but say, Lord thou must carry me like a lost sheep on thy shoulders to that end! Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his face evermore, in all means, at all times, but seek his strength then, Col. 1. 29. I labour thus, stri­ving according to his working, which works in me mightily: and so I strive. Oh see need of this! Many of you make work with your own hearts, and strive, and endeavour, and yet cannot stir. Oh look then for this mighty working, and feel a need of it!


HEnce judge what your estates are this day before the Lord. I know and be­lieve that you prize, pray for, long for the end, and if ever the Lord saves and pardons you,Use 4. Of Trial. you shall have cause to blesse him. You may do as hath been said, but never find a heart given you by the invincible wrestlings of a God to use and improve all means to that end; and thus your practise in the habitual neglect of means is a clear and manifest witnesse, like the day against you, that you do not desire sincerely the end (as you think) in having so little respect to the means that conduce thereunto. Did you ever see that man that did indeed desire life, but he would use all means, wits, and friends, nay cut off his Limbs to preserve it? But however, put that name upon it, say you do desire and prize the end, yet if the Lord leaves you, or you forsake the Lord in a neglect of means, that lead thereto, and that effectually; what you may be, and what the Lord may do, I know not, but to this day your estate is no better than a painted salvation and pictured hypocrisie before the Lord. That stone at which the closest hypocrites have stumbled, that rock on which the best hypocrite hath been broken, thou art fallen upon, that enemy of sloath, which hath carried Kings (men that have worn the Crown of Profession in the world) miserable Captives, (notwithstand­ing their lamentable cries, Lord save us!) to hell, the same enemy hath already bound thee up in Chaines, and what will become of thee, 'tis only known in his Breast, that by the voice of his Trump can awaken the dead, and break the bonds of sloath and death it self. But you will say, there are no Virgins among us that neglect to take their oyle, that so far forget themselves as to neglect the means, that are come so many thousand miles for means; there is not a day but [Page 158] some line is drawn, not a Sermon, Sabbath but some good got, or else they think themselves half undone, not a prayer but one step nearer to glory: The day is not long enough, and therefore the nights are spent in wrastlings with the Angel; nay, in prevailing with God for themselves and Churches, and blessing on both; Sabbaths are the day breaks of heaven, the fellowship of Saints be [...] ­ter then to stand before Kings, the fellowship of Christ in heaven so sweet, that in seeking of him men forget themselves, nay to eat their bread; that if the Lord should have let out the vineyard of Ordinances to any Husband­men in the world, who could or would have taken more pains to dig it, to dress it, then we doe. Beloved, those enlargements that are in any after the Lord, the Lord cherish and increase them, but I fear we may go five times about the tree before we see such loaden boughs. I am much mistaken if the best may not be discovered here, the fairest flowers in the field must wither, they cannot last, and the best affections that are but temporary, that have act­ed men mightily for a time in the use of means, must perish in the neglect of means at last. I shall not therefore meddle with profane or carnal Go­spellers, so much as with close deceivers of their own souls; and look as 'tis in all sores, you may know where the sore is by the lappings, so you may know a sluggard that neglects means by his shifts: For if you observe, no sin hath so many shifts and colours for it as this; Saul when he had not gone through stich with the Lords work in slaying the Amalekites, what adoe had Samuel to convince him? He tells a lye, lays the blame on the people, propounds the good end and affection he had; So here: Thus it is with many, as Viz.

1. Those that live in a secret neglect of means, and yet hope to come to their end, because of their desires; we shall finde the S [...]ipture gives us two sorts of desires. 1. Of the righteous. 2. Of the sluggard, 1. The desires of the righteous, Prov. 10. 24. shall be granted, being breathings of Gods eternal Spirit, not a sigh or groan unanswered. 2. Of the sluggard, Prov. 21. 15. The desire of the slothful kills him, for his hands refuse to labour; the desires of the righteous are ever spurs to quicken them up in the use of means mightily, the desires of the sluggard bridle him up, they binde his hands, and fetter his feet that he cannot but neglect means: Some desires there be that arise from the need of a good, and here will not only be desires, but all means used, as in point of famine; some only from want of a good, and here a man usually contents himself with bare desires, never hath a heart to use the means migh­tily for that end. Many a one is convinced his state is miserable, and fears it, and Balaam-like, sees the blessedness of the people of God, and knows he wants pardon, and life, and peace, and promises, and Christ, and desires it; oh that I might die their death, oh that I might live and drink that water, that I might thirst no more, oh that my sins were pardoned, oh that my heart was humbled. But what if the Lord grant them no peace nor pardon? Do they make earnest enquiry after the Lord Christ▪ with restless pursuits and groans be­cause they need it, is it worth that? Oh no, but yet they hope God will be so merciful as to accept their desires, and so they rest, and live and die in that rest, oh poor creatures your desires kill you; as a man is undone with sloth­ful servants that cannot earn their own, much less get their masters bread. And many in Hell, say I had thought my desires would have carried me to glo­ry, but now I see they have been slothful, and here I must perish and famish for ever; had I known of this, I would rather have wept out my eyes, and filled the world with my sorrowful complaints, my meditations of the Lord should have been at midnight; I would have deceived my eyes of sleep at night, and deprived my self of bread at day, and lost my limbs, had I but known that by contenting my self with these desires, I should have lost my life. Here many Christians are falsly bottomed, they are troubled about their [Page 159] estate, come to some or other and professe their desires are after Christ and grace, &c. And then comforted (as in sinking fits a man snatcheth at any Flag or Twig) with them desires, before they have followed the Lord in the use of all means to get the thing they desire. And here is the first begin­ning of the Lords forsaking of them, and theirs of the Lord, and he is left alone only with his desires, that if any duty be neglected, desires comfo [...]t him; if grace resisted, desire; quiet him; if sin keeping him captive, desires fill him; Luke 13. 24. And so like a Bird that lies in the nest, but its wings never grow, there it perisheth. I know Saints may comfort themselves with desires be­fore the things be given, because promised, but you shall see an endless reach in them in the use of all means, Phil. 3. 13. Others think their neglect of means to be but an infirmity, & that their desires will serve, & hence abuse that Scripture, Rom. 7.

2. They that neglect the means and yet hope to come to their end, because of worldly clogs and incumbrances here; for this is the very spirit of many a man. If God keeps the house from being burn [...], and family from being sick, it may be family prayer is neglected, if not that, yet secret is omitted; if not that, yet meditation; a man can get no head nor heart, nor time for it, if any good is got, its lost again; Sabbaths spent, and no good gained; a man knows his soul lies waste and common without any fence or watch, and that he would not let his fields lie as he doth his heart, overgrown with cares and lusts and vain thoughts. Now many a man though he doth dislike this, yet lives in this. Why? Is this your home, are these things your portion? No, but yet thinks he may with a safe Conscience continue thus, and God forgive him too; why the family is great, children encrease upon me, (and they are so busie and long a dressing on the Lords day, that Sermon is out before they come) and we are not called to book it all day as Ministers can, and worldly employments are so many, and the best are entangled here; and they think this is an excuse, Luke 14. 18, 19. Nay many a one convinced of this, yet lives in this against the light of conviction, hoping that one day the stream of worldly occasions will be run by. I confesse, as the Lord hath given us his Ordinances to seek him in, so he hath appointed our callings to walk with him in: Adam in Paradise must not be idle, but look to the garden; and in this land those that will be good husbands for God (least they discredit their profession by bringing them­selves to a piece of bread) must be good husbands for themselves: But here is that which stings, when to worldly emploiments, men are servants, not Lords of them, when men do not make their occasions [...]ow down to them, and serve them, that they may serve and seek a God, but they bow down their knees, nay, basely their backs, under the feet of any mean imployment, and that must be follow­ed with neglect of God. Do not say who is not entangled here? I tell you if Christ [...] prayer can prevail some are not, Iohn 17. 15. I pray not that thou would­est take them out of the world, but keep them from the evil: If blood can prevail it doth, Gal. 1. 4. Oh look to this! it may be some of you do not only neglect the Lord in means, but when the Lord comes to you in means and quic [...]ens your hearts and kindles many resolutions in you; you neglect the Lord, all dyes a­gain, oh it is the world! know your estates by this.

3. Those that depart from God in the neglect of means, because they finde no good, and do not feel themselves a whit the better for them; they neglect this trade, because they finde it a gainless trade: For thus God executes his eter­nall rejection upon many a soul: As it was with Saul, it was one of the last Vials God powred out upon him, 1 Sam. 28. 5, 6, 15. saith he, I am sore di­stressed, and the Lord answers me not by [...]rim nor by Thummin, and therefore am I come to thee; let a Devil comfort me if God will not: So many a soul having committed some sin that lies glowing on the Conscience, is sore troubled, and first it goes to the Lord, and the Lord answers not, there is silence in heaven, and [Page 160] in all means, but the noise of fears within; now at last the soul doth not for­sake the Lord for Satan plainly, but what means can comfort them that they seek for, and in time a man is weary of waiting at Gods gate [...], and hence a form of duties, and prayers, and custome of devotion is kept to quiet the con­science; but they are not restless for the gain of them, for the Lord in them: they think 'tis in vain, to no profit, as those in Mal. 3. 14. to walk mournfully. Ionah was cast out of Gods sight, yet through the belly of a W [...]ale he would look toward the Temple. So 'tis with the people of God, though they sometimes conclude thus, and think not to seek any more, yet their hearts have tasted the good, and their faith beleeves there is that hid in the Lord in his Temple▪ that it never saw yet, hence they look still. What made the man Mat. 25. hide his talent in the earth? I thought thou wast an hard Master, and lookedst for so much gain, and I could not get it, and hence he hid his Talent. Hence men keep the means, without use of the means, and some that have for a time been used to do so, keep it as their custome without making any such work of it, as to gain the end of the means.

4. Those that do neglect the Lord in means by an effectual pursuit of them, because of some sips and taste of some good in them; and so me thinks 'tis in this case as 'tis in some Countries where if a man comes to their house in the afternoon, and both have a minde to part, yet loth to part without shewing some kindness, and the other without tasting of it, they lay their voiding nap­kin, and finding that refreshing there, they are content to lose their, supper. So 'tis here, a man comes weary to the Lords House, to his Ordinances, the Lord will not let him go without some expression of kindness, nor they depart willingly from the Lord without it, and hence the Lord gives them light out of darkness, joy out of sorrow, peace out of trouble, a taste of his sweetness, after tasts of sins bitterness, and then they take their leave; as they Hebr. 6. 2, 3, 4, 5. And here the Lord leaves many a poor creature, Deut. 29. 2, 3, 4. they did see something, and tast something, and there they rested; Oh but the Lord gave them not eyes to see, &c. For no Hypocrite living is fully emptied of his lusts, but hath somewhat to fill him; but some emptiness he may have, hence may have some desires after the Lord, and hence it is not the fulness of God onely that satisfie [...] him, but some tasts of Gods kindness, and small thing [...] do and must fill him; his lusts fill him in part, and something of God is want­ing, and that some little matter doth make up. Hence when this is done, means is neglected fearfully, a mans heart is hardned and ignorant, a little light and sorrow stays him, as the stony ground though there be a stone at bottom; a man is full of doubts, and a little hope which frees him from fears quiets him, hence he never conquers unbelief: A man hath lived a loose course, a little re­solution of heart stays him, though the heart will depart again, as those Deut.5. 27, 29. the Lord hath but little of their hearts, and the Lord shews them but little of his: And hence this is usual to see a false heart most diligent in seek­ing the Lord when he hath been worst, and most careless when 'tis best. Hence many at first conversion sought the Lord earnestly, afterward affections and en­de [...]vours die, that now they are as good as the Word can make the [...]: Hence the Lord when in mercy he deals with men, keeps them long fasting till the time of extremity comes, and then he pours waters on the thirsty. Hence bet­ter for those never to have known, 2 Pet.2. 21. and an hypocrites last end is to satisfie himself, hence he hath enough; a Saints is to satisfie Christ, hence he never hath enough.

5. Those that do neglect the Lord under this colour of receiving Christ, they can do nothing themselves, and Christ must do all; and hence neglect the Lord secretly, and sometimes quarrel with the Ministry privately, when pressed to a duty or to beleeve. Alas what can a man do, when all the Ministers in the [Page 161] world have preached their hearts out, at last they must bring us to Christ; what else should the Apostle mean, Rom.4. 5. Not to him that worketh, but beleeveth is faith accounted for righteousness. I must not live, I must let Christ live, &c. And hence say they the cause of perishing is not mens wills, but Gods, he elects not, he gives no heart; such hypocrites the Lord prophesies of, Mat. 7. 21. Many that say to me Lord, Lord, i. that advance the Lord Jesus, and live in neglect of all duties, and bring the Lord of glory not from his Throne in Heaven to Hell, but which is worse, debase him from his glory to sin; to be the cover of sin, and protector of it. Beloved, I know no surer sign of a vessel that God intends to break in peeces then this, to live in this neglect, 2 Tim.2. 20. Nay 'tis an e­vidence there is no hope, no living hope, 1 Iohn 3. 3. He that hath this hope, purgeth himself as Christ is pure. Many it seems boasted of hope in Christ, so do Saints, but he gives this Note, He purgeth himself, he will not sluggishly put all on Christ. Tis true, 'tis the mighty working of Christ that must conquer thy lusts, but must this put you to neglect striving, Col. 1. 29. I strive according to the working. And for mine own part, though Ile not dispute the point at large, I beleeve, there is a constant assistance of the mighty power of the Lord Jesus in the souls of all the Saints, 1 Pet. 1. 5. And hence 1 Iohn 4. Greater is he that is in you, then in the world. The Saints as they receive the Lord Jesus to rule them, that he alone may be Lord and King not only in heaven, but in their he [...]rts: So a false hear [...] receives Christ lastly for to ease him: Sometime for to ease him of the burden of Conscience; sometime to ease him of the Lords work, the burthen of his will; and hence some at last have complained, though hardly convinced of it, that they could be contented the Lord should act them; but their end was, that hereby they might be rid of their burden, and so eased by him. I have heard a Question should be askt, What is the difference between the workings of Gods Spirit and the Saints? And that the Answer was, 1. The one is by graces, the other immediatly. 2. The Spirits is, when a man labours least: quite cross to the stream of truth: Take heed how you understand these points aright, the depth of the most hellish villany in the world lies un [...]er them. Wo to thee that canst paint such a Christ in thy head, and receive such a Christ into thy heart as must be a pander to your sloth; the Lord will revenge this wrong done to his glory with greater sorrows then ever any felt: To make Christ not only meat and drink to feed, but cloaths to cover your sloth. Why what can we doe? what can we doe? Why as the first Adam conveies not only guilt but power: So the second conveys both righteousness and strength; as Christ is now triumphing by his eternal Spirit, and his life is heavenly; so if you be in Christ, there is a Spirit of Christ, whereby a never dying life is be­got, that can and doth conquer; though it be but a spark, Christ maintaining it, it shall come to victory. You are forsaken of Christ if you want this, or else take heed this colour make you not forsake him.

6. Those that neglect the means, and yet look for the end in hope of fu­ture time, and so neglect the present season. Thus 'tis with many a one; the day of life and health, and day of Ordinances continues; and hence the slug­gard cryes, Prov. 24. 33. Yet a little more slumber, i. Ile have but a little while longer, &c. Hence when Conscience checks, Ministers warn, the Lord wooes, the Spirit cries; a man puts off all with this, I hope it will be better: And hence it falls out with them as with those Matth.24. The Lord comes in a time they look not for him; and of this many on their deathbeds have cryed out. Think of this you convicted persons that know its miserable with you, before God stop your breath; you have nothing to plead for your neglect, but hope of time. Know it, Gods present seasons are golden, one moment worth eternity; and now is the time, if you neglect his season, he will not regard yours. God is never found in your time, but in his time. Oh lay these things to heart! [Page 162] especially you that are grown weary of means, that faint in your way; God is not yet weary of continuing means, art thou weary of gaining by means? Oh consider this you that have had many hopes, desires purposes, but all blasted, your time and means neglected: Think on this you that have had mar­vellous affections, but your spirits are gone; Nothing can make you mend your pace, not all Ministry and Word, but you are clog'd with means. Remember that Isai. 65. 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14. For my people that have sought me, &c.


TO all those that do effectually seek the Lord in the use of means. And for discovery thereof,Use 5. Consider:

1. If ever the Lord gave you a hear [...] effectually to seek him in means, you will finde mighty opposition, temptations springing up one after another, &c. from within, from without, and the oppositions will make you seek him the more. Hence Rom. 13. 11, 12. he bids us put off the works of darkness, and put on the armour of light. When man desires and lies in his sloth, he meets with little opposition or trouble of his own heart; but here 'tis otherwise, there­fore put on armour. And I say the soul is made hereby to seek the Lord the more, as the blinde man, Mark 10. 48. Redeem the time, because the days are evill. As 'tis with Mariners, they will not only use fair, but side, and almost contrary winds to come neer the shore they are bound for; let the Lord give any grace, oh more of that mercy, as Moses, Deut. 3. 24. Let the Lord deny, yet the soul cries the more; let agonies come, Christ prays the more; let the will oppose, he will yeeld himself to the Lord to cross his own will, and deny himself; pe [...]ce makes him love, and affliction makes him seek the Lord early. Hence because thou art troubled at the feeling of a slothful heart, that will make you seek for more help.

2. You will seek him with your whole heart, so that 'tis the Lord only that the heart is bound for, Psal. 119. 2. Phil. 3. 12. The feeling of the Lords pow­er and eternal life, and that not only while means last, but when in want of, and banisht from means: As David forgets his Crown and Kingdom, and saith, Psal. 27. 4. One thing I have desired. Hence Hezekiah had a promise of life, and going to Gods House when recovered, It was not life he minded so much as this, What is the sign that I shall go to the House of the Lord? Hence Saints though they neglect sometimes, yet as a Ship driven back by neglecting winds, or as a Tradesman he is altogether for his gain, yet proves an ill husband some­times, but when he hath felt his losses he falls to his losses he falls to his trade again: So here, like Merchants seeking pearls, &c. Matth. 13. 45. Let this comfort you, though you finde nothing, yet Saints are a generation of Seekers, finding time is not come, yet certainly you shall come to your end at last. You have no lappings for the sores of your sloth, but opening them before the Lord, the Lord will heal and help in time.

But I feel no good,Object. hence I am afraid I seek not aright.

Gal. 6. 9. You shall reap in due time, Answ. and Hebr. 11. 13. All things were cross to the promise yet Abraham holds on still.

But I finde my spirit faint,Object. and grow listless and weary.

When heart and strength fail,Answ. yet God doth not. God will desert that you may know where your strength, and heart, and help lies.

But 'tis so great,Object. I know no difference between mine and others neglect.

That is sad,Answ. yet as 'tis in all sins, falls into them do but undermine them the more. Peter denies Christ, as well as sleeps, yet he is the first that preach­e [...]h [Page 163] him. When a mans meat is so far from doing good, as that it doth him hurt, he is dying; so that sin is dying, that slo [...]h is dying, when food given to it doth kill it. David is ready to give up all, yet saith, Its good for me to draw neer to God, and there the heart will repose it self again.


OH be not sloth [...]ul then,Use 6. Of Exhort. neglect no means, but use all means, get oyl in your vessels that you may get your desired end. Mariners that are bound for a voyage, when set out, will not be at rest till they are landed where they would be. It was one of the Churches sorrowful complaints, Isai. 64. 7. None that stirs up himself, &c.

But I finde many hindrances without me,Object. many sins within me, I have some­time neither strength (nay which is worse) nor yet heart to seek the Lord, though my wants are many, though my days decline; how shall I doe?

1. Finde out that which clogs thy heart from seeking effectually,Answ. and causeth that neglect, and that makes the Lord neglect thee in thy ineffectual seeking; else thou mayest seek and never finde, and that is some lust, something that easeth the heart which is not God. When the soul hath not bread, it will with the Prodigal then resolve for home; men could not live as they do, so many days without God, unless they did feed on somewhat else beside the Lord. Hence its usual for men in means, to use means for a good, and out of means to resist that good, Isa. 58. 1, 2. Zac. 7. 6. Men that would have their load drawn, must first take their wild Horses out of it: So do with these lusts. If therefore not for your own, yet for the Lords sake, who else will not be accounted worth the seeking, finde out whatever contents you; necessity hath no Holidays, oh you must have him!

2. Use means, but trust not to them, nor to any strength received to carry you along in this work: you will else neglect and fall from the Lord, and the Lord from you. Its said of Asa, 2 Chro. 16. 12, 13. Asa was diseased in his feet in his old age, yet he sought not to the Lord, but Physicians: So 'tis with many a dis­eased Christian, they seek not to the Lord, to cure their feet, but means, or themselves, hence he decays and dies. You have the stream of all temptations against you, 'tis not your own Oars, but the Lords winde that must carry you a­gainst it; look therefore to an almighty power in means to help you, plead Gods Covenant to put his fear into your hearts, that you may not depart from him, as he will not forsake you, 1 Cor. 15. 10. Paul received not grace in vain, but lebours abundantly; yet not I, but grace. There is little fear of drowning so long as we keep head above water, [...]o long as we cleave to the Lord Jesus.

3. Love the presence of the Lord and his company. If there be any love between you, you will then finde time, and nothing shall keep you from him, Ier. 2. 1, 2, 3. I remember the love of thine espousals, when thou follow­edst me in a wilderness thorow pits and deserts. Remember he hath been in hea­ven praying for thee, when thou hast been provoking of him, he hath been bles­sing thee, when thou hast been abusing him, it may be he hath let out his heart blood to make room for thee in his heart, it may be he intends through all e­ternity to express his dearest love to thee, and is he not worth your love? Love him, and you will be with him, love will be stronger then death, it will break all these bonds.

4. Set before you the greatness of the good you are to use all me [...]ns to gain; why do men hunt after flesh-pots? The world is esteemed great, 'tis near us, and so for honour: Now Christ and eternity are afar off, and hence they seem little, and hence to seek them is not made a business of greatest weight and im­portance, [Page 164] 2 Cor. 4. 16, 18. We faint not while we look to things that are eternal, Acts 24. 15, 16. There is not the vilest Rep [...]obate, but when he shall see the glory that shall be revealed, shall stamp and rear his hair and say; Oh, if I had known this! I hope I should never have dreamed out my time so as I have done! We look on the Picture of Goodness in the volume of the Creatures, which sa­tisfie not; Oh never cease looking upward, till you see what you seek for in the greatness of it. Suppose a man should sleep all his life-time, and be in a dream, and in it have all the delights and glory of the world presented before him, at last the ground opens its mouth and swallows him up, and then he is a­wakened, Lord how will he cry? Truly Christ and grace and fellowship with God are not thought of, sought for, are small things with men, but the World is great, and this is your delight; truly 'tis but your dream: What will your souls be when death opens its mouth? what a sad thing is it to see men spin Cop­webs that must be swept down.

I. To those that never sought the Lord effectually to this day,Motiv [...]s. not to neg­lect him now; those that are like children born before their time, that have had some sorrow after the Lord, but comforted before it was deep enough; have some desires, but eased with other things before they were satisfied with Christ himself; that have run for a spurt, but are grown weary before they come half way home, and so sit down in the way; like Clocks set slow in the first hour of the day, run slow all the day after: So these set back and think they are set right too, run slow all their life after. That as he said of a covetous man, he had a strong desire for heaven if any would bear his charges thither: So these. And to you I speak, not that never sought, but that have been seeking; yet effectually to use all means, this you never did.

1. Consider how far men have gone? What means they have used? yet have never found to this day, Luke 13. 24. Strive, saith Christ. This I speak because men think they may neglect their seasons of earnest pursuit after grace, men may sit still, and put all care from themselves to God, and live in their sloth. Oh no, Consider so many snares, so many by paths, so many deceits within, so many sins and lusts to subdue, all time and means is little enough: Take heed of spending prodigally, and think Christs grace will bear you out. Oh! look upon the cries at death-bed, to see some men that have been like famishing men that have wanted bread, and then have cryed bread, bread, but could not eat it. Oh saith Paul, I beat down my body, lest in preaching to others my self become a cast away.

2. Consider how others have broken down the greatest difficulties, and are now in glory, as Rev. 12. 11. They loved not their lives to the death. They have not only spent their time, lost their name, their comforts, but their blood, that have passed through waters, fires, bonds, imprisonments, and with Paul have not accounted their lives dear, that they might finish their work. David was full of God one would think sometimes he had enough, yet when he awakes, he is with God at midnight, his thoughts and reins instruct him; the Law was his meditation day and night. You shall see him in the Temple blessing God, on the Throne advancing the Lord, on the dunghill, in banishment longing after him, when he sate among Princes meditating; and was there here too much cost, might any of this oint­ment have been spared? Consider Christ himself, Heb. 12. 1, 2, 3. cast off sloth, Looking to Iesus, who for the joy, despised the shame, endured the Cross, and that not for himself, it may be for thee, that thou mightst not, now he is at the right hand of God: So are the Saints in Heaven, and now rejoycing that ever they sought him, that they spent so much time on him.

3. Consider, There is a time of neglect of Christ, which when past, you shall never finc'e him again, Iohn 7. 3, 4. Ye shall seek me, but never finde me. You have [Page 165] had many Diamond-days and seasons, and God gives you a space to repent, and saith, My Spirit shall not alway strive, it may be some are but within that space, that the Lord is at the last cast with you.

4. Consider whatever your condition be, shake off your sloth, and set upon the means, the Lord will be found; do it in good earnest: This will be good news to you that think he will never, but be thy heart like steel, and hard, the Lord will break it, Hebr. 11. 6. he will be found of them that seek him diligently: And the greater things thou seekest for, the more like to get them; as one of the Fathers thinks that to pray with repetitions, is to pray for small things. Open thy mouth wide Ile fill it, and it may be presently in a moment, when thou thinkest least of it, it may be at that time when thou findest most un­willingness and difficulty to seek, seek then and the Lord will be found. Oh this damps many a man in the use of means, he thinks the Lord will never help, and hence is tormented with this thought, and sits down and rests: If you would keep a Labourer from work, or a Traveller from walking, put thorns in their feet; now the work is neglected, there is pricking s [...]uffe, he cannot follow on his business now: So 'tis here, Prov. 15. 19. Take heed therefore of sitting down with such thoughts as these; its strange thou shouldst be killed for every cut, and because wounded for sin, to fall off from the Lord by unbelief too.

II. Motives to you that have followed the Lord, but now have begun to neglect him: For what cause I know not, but I am sure the Lord hath given you none: Yet a spirit of slumber and sloath is upon you, that you are not the men you were. It may be some for want of place, want of time, many occasions, many sorrowes and temptations in this wildernesse; and hence no means sweet, no bed easie, your bones are broken. It may be a little time of neglect hath emboldned you to a custome: It may be loose examples, the spirits of others flat, and thine is so too, whom God sent into Church-Fellowship to quicken them: It may be an ill Husband is an hindrance, a bad wife, as Iobs wife, or whatever 'tis, Oh that God would speak this day to you!

1. Consider thou art nearer to thy salvation than when thou didst first believe; and then you thought no time, no pains too much, but all too little, Rom. 13. 11, 12. Mariners near the Shore, look out for Rocks, Lord that I may not split now. Truly as it was with Christ, the longer he did live, the more sorrows, so with you. God hath carried you near salvation, Oh now being neerer, there are worse rocks, look about you now. Satans last temptations are strongest. Oh give not in now! It may be not many daies nor weeks hence thou shalt come to thy journeys end: Awaken then out of sleep.

2. Consider how glad the Lord is of thy company, he hath been so, and will be so again; thou canst not come in too late, 1 Sam. 12. 21. as poor and vile as thou art, Prov. 8. His delight is with the Sons of men. Witnesse mercies, wit­nesse afflictions. Oh then seek him! Witnesse desertions, then seek him; wit­ness his sweet entertainment of thee, many a time when he hath given thee meat that the world knows not of; witnesse so many hindrances which Satan laies in, who knowes how crosse 'tis to Christ, Jer. 2. 1, 2, 3. I remember the love of thine espousals, when thou didst follow me; especially when with most difficulty, when little strength within, when little hope without, yet Ile not give over. He ne­ver forgets this. The Lord hath never such sad daies as when thou turnest thy back on him, and thou never so good, as when thou seekest him.

3. Consider thy gaines, there shall not be the least endeavour, desire, pursuit after the Lord, not the least Word, Prayer, Thought, time spent, but an abun­dant recompense is in Christs hands, 1 Cor. 15. 58. Ever abounding, knowing that it shall not be in vain. A man that rowes against the stream, a little neglect of rowing carries him down again. But oh be ever abounding in the Lords works, for your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

[Page 166] 4. Consider if after admonition again and again, yet you nourish sloath, there is some heavy stroke neer thee. Believe it, he will not alway bear with thy neg­lect. As nothing joyes him more than your company, so nothing cuts him more than your neglect: But though he save you from eternal misery, yet sometimes your greatest comfort is lost by this means, Mat. 26. 38, 40, 44, 45. First he stirs them up once and again, then leaves them, and comes again, and saith nothing, but the third time, sleep on, the Son of man is betrayed. So your comfort, and Christ and his presence are betraied. Some have had their husbands, wives, chil­dren estates gone, but which is worst of all, the Lord betraied, the comfort of their hearts gone, and hence horrours and fears surprize them.

III. Motives to us especially in this Countrey.

1. God hath put the price and wealth of the world, better than all Gold and Silver into our hands, who are most unthankful, most unworthy; and will you come so far for means, and here neglect them? Will you thus neglect the Lord? Like men in Consumptions, they long for any thing, and when it comes, they cannot touch it. If it were night, you might fall to sleep, but the day ap­proacheth. Shall God plant his Vineyard, but you never come to eat the fruit of it?

2. Your Temptations are greater here to neglect the Lord. Others are tried with the scorching Sun, there is no sleeping there. God tries us with the shadow, sets us under the Vines of Ordinances; others are in storms, we in calms. When thou eatest and art full, saith Moses, Deut. 8. 10, 11. Oh forget not the Lord! You lose in your estates, and now you are hungry after the same again. Satan when Christ was hungry, assaults him. 'Tis a thousand to one if he makes you not fair offers, and overcomes. Things that cost us much, we prize, and keep, and improve, if of any use. When we go Twenty mile to a Sacrament, Oh then its precious! While under the bondage of oppressors, oh liberty of Conscience, and Ordinances are precious? But when at liberty, we have liberty to have them, hence take liberty to neglect them.

3. Our enemies will be upon us. Who sees not (that observes the Lords dealing) that some sorrows are toward, unlesse the Lord awaken; some sudden blasting blow. If any wind be stirring, men on the tops of the mountains will feel it. The Lord hath set his mountain above all others, and its f [...]lly to think to flee from the Crosse, unlesse we flee from Christ. 'Tis part of the portion he doth owe us here, if he loves us. Yet seek the Lord, neglect no seasons to gain him, and you shall he hid, Zeph. 2. 2. Nay when worst times come, 2 Chron. 15. 3, 4, 5. when there is no peace, they that seek him shall find him.

I do fear there is at this day as deep mischief plotting against New-England as ever the Sun saw. Enemies will first deal subtilly before cruelly, but subtilly that they may deal cruelly. When Pharaoh deals wisely, he means to kill. Yet the Lord shall be with us, as of late hath he not been seen in the midst of us for a refuge? Whatever any think, I believe never did the Lord stir up such prayers, Faith, &c. amongst us.

1. Oh therefore seek the Lord still in private. If you find no good, find out the sin. Is not meditation neglected? Communion of Saints not improved? Do not say, we can do nothing, and why are we prest to it? If you cannot, yet 'tis your duty, and you must be prest; and perish you shall if you seek not; or if you be called, there is some spirit of the Lord in you that is mighty.

2. Being come hither for publick helps, and means, and all Ordinances; Oh do not betray your Liberties! but lose your Bloud before you lose them, and the Lord in them. Bear the Arke still on your shoulders, that the Lord may dwell with you. Hence,

1. If you would have the Walls of Magistracy be broken down (the means to preserve the Church and means among you) If they make Laws, deride them; if they execute Laws, appeal from them.

[Page 167] 2. Would you have confusion the mother of discord among the people? let every man then once one day in the year turn Magistrate, and out-face Authority, and profess tis his liberty. Would you have rapines, thefts, injustice abound? let no man know his own, by removing the Land-mark, and destroying Proprieties.

3. Would you have Gods Ordinances in the purity of them removed? keep out the load of Superstition, but yet for peace sake, suffer a few seeds to be sown amongst you.

4. Would you have all the Messengers of the Gospel at first revised, at last massacred? Profess they are no better than Scribes and Pharisees, persecuting Egyptians, enemies to the Lord Jesus, and the more devout the worse; as those that stirred up storms in Germany said, Christ had four great enemies: The Pope, Anabaptists, Martin Luther, but especially Iohn Calvin.

5. Would you ruine the Gospel? set not Popery against it, but Gospel against Gospel, Promises against Promises, Christ against Christ, Spirit against Spirit, grace against grace, and then he is twice beaten, that falls by his own wea­pons.

6. Would you have oppressors set over you, to remove ordinances, to en­crease your burdens? Maintain this Principle then that they will not assault us first by craft and subtilty, but openly and violently.

7. Would you have this State in time to degenerate into Tyranny? Take no care then for making Laws. When they are made, would you have all Authority turned to a meer vanity? Be gentle and open the door to all comers that may cut our throats in time; and if being come they do offend, threaten them and fine them, but use no Sword against them. You Fathers of the Country be not offended, this I speak not to disparage any, the practise speaks otherwise; I onely forewarn: I hope the Lord hath prepared better days and mercies for us, I am sure he will, if what means we have we preserve, and what we preserve, we through grace shall improve.

That the hearts and souls of Believers are made as Vessels, onely for the reception of Christ his Spirit, and the graces thereof


2. THe Inward Principle, wherein lies the second Difference which is plainly expressed.

We are now to inquire further concerning these Vessels and the Oyl in them. Vessels were the place onely of receiving and pre­serving the oyl for the continual burning and shining of the Lamps: So that though in some Scriptures, by Lamp is understood both the Vessel and the Lamp by a Figure, yet in distinct Phrase of Speech, that is properly the Lamp which burns and gives light, and that which contains the oyl to nourish this is the Vessel: So that the Vessels were not separate things from the Lamp, as though the Lamp was in one hand, and a Vessel in the other; this was neither the cu­stome, nor comliness of that age to cumber themselves thus; but the Lamp (as 'tis in ours) was that part which was kindled and lighted, the Vessel that [Page 168] which kept the oil to serve this end: And hence the folly of five of them ap­peared, that they would carry burning Lamps with empty Vessels; just as if a man should draw the wiek through the oyl that it may burn for a time, and provide no oyle in the Vessel to maintain the Lamp; however all comes to one (if they be separate) in respect of that that I aim at.

Thus Literally we see what the Lamp, Vessel, and Oyl is: Now what is Spiritually meant thereby.

1. For the Oyl: What is that? I intend not here to shew the fond and va­rious apprehensions of Popish Writers, who understand by oyle, alms, good works, a good intention, &c. But by Oyl is meant the Spirit of Christ, and the graces of it, peculiar to all the Elect; and thus in Scripture phrase, 1 Iohn 2. 27. the Spirit is called the anointing; and the graces of the Spirit, Cant. 1. 3. The smell of Christs ointments: Harlots love him for the gifts he sends, but Virgins for the grace he hath. That oyle which ran first on our Aarons head, and runs down to his skirts is here meant. Now as Christ himself had not the Spirit without graces, nor these without the Spirit, but both: So both these being in him as in the Fountain, they are in us as in the Vessel.

2. Christ being the Fountain of all grace, and having the Spirit without mea­sure, and therefore hath enough to spare; he cannot be meant by these Vessels which had but their measure, and such a measure as that they had none to spare for the other. Therefore by Vessels are meant principally the precious souls of the faithful, into which this golden Oyle was put, and therefore, 2 Cor. 4. 7. We have this treasure in earthen vessels. And Rom. 9. 23. They are vessels of glo­ry, prepared unto glory, and so frequently; so that herein the foolish fall short, for the foolish boasted of Christ out of them, but where was the Spirit and ver­tue of Christ in them? And this is conceived to be the reason why the main difference is not made, by the want of the external principle, Viz. Christ, but by want of the internal principle and work; this they had not. 1. They had so much oyle, i. e. lighter strokes of the Spirit, as kindled a profession but they had not enough. 2. They had so much oyle and light as continued their professi­on for a while, but it continued not long:

Here therefore observe these four things:

That the precious souls of the faithful are Vessels made only or chiefly to receive and preserve the presence of the Spirit and grace of Christ.Obs. 1.

That within these Vessels there is an inward principle of Grace and Life.Obs. 2.

That there is a certain measure,Obs. 3. degree, plenitude or fulness of the Spirit of Grace in the hearts of the Faithful, which the unsound, though most glorious Professors of the Gospel fall short of.

That the graces of the Saints wherewith their hearts by the Spirit are filled,Obs. 4. are constant, and of an everlasting, and eternal nature.

These three last answer three Questions, If any ask the difference between the Virgins; the foolish want, and the wise have an inward principle of the Spirit of life. If it be said, Hypocrites have an inward work, yet this inward Prin­ciple is such a fulness of Spirit which they ever fall short of, and this will make them known for the present. If again it be said, That many flourish gloriously for a time; yet its of an everlasting nature: And this will manifest them one from another in time to come.

The First Point therefore Ile only touch on now.


THat the precious souls and hearts of all the faithful are vessels made chiefly and onely to receive and preserve the Spirit and Grace of Christ,Doct. 1. Or the gracious pre­sence of the Spirit of Christ: That as it is with the souls of the wicked, they are made onely to hold Satan, sin and wrath, and so fitted for destruction; so the souls of the Saints are made and fitted onely to receive and nourish the Spirit, grace, and love of Christ. That as 'tis with Princes, the best rooms are reser­ved onely for them; their Attendants may come in and out to serve them, but its their room, their lodging: So here, the hearts of the faithful, and the best rooms, best affections of it, are onely to entertain the Lord, and his grace and Spirit; yet other things may come in and out as Attendants to him, to serve him, but the rooms themselves are onely for his proper use, 2 Tim. 2. 20, 21. The Church is Gods House; now there are many Vessels (many souls) some ba­ser of wood, and earth, some of honour; what are these? Answ. If a man purge himself from these; for no man is born with a next disposition to receive grace, as a Vessel full of puddle water that must first be cast out: Now when this is done, he is a Vessel meet for his Masters use, prepared, &c. The best Ves­sels abide in the house, not for their own or servants use, but for the Masters use onely. And though the Spirit may withdraw for some time, and they be un­able to do any good work, yet they are prepared for the Spirit, and so for eve­ry good work, and here is all the use of the vessel of honour. Hypocrites are vessels of Pompe, and State, and Ornament: Oh the brave Church of Sar­dis! the profound judgments, deep heads, eminent Christians, but not Vessels of honour, because not Vessels of use onely for their Master, onely to receive the eternal anointing of the Spirit of the Lord Jesus. If you would know the certainty of this more fully, 1. Go and ask themselves; Is it so or no? If they be of age, and know themselves they will say, I am the Lords onely, Isa.44. 4, 5. When they spring up as willows by the water-courses: One shall say, I am the Lords. As that eminent Light said, when dying, Oh Lord, I will be thine: Ask the world whose they are? and to what use and purpose they serve? they will answer, they are none of ours; and therefore Iohn 15. 19. The World hates them. Ask the Lord himself, he will profess though many wants and weaknesses in them, nay, though sometimes they are weary and neglect him, fall and soil themselves, yet Isai. 43. 21. This people have I formed for my self: Vessels for­med and fitted of God onely for his glory.

1. Because all the creatures in the world are theirs, and servants to them,Reas. 1 and therefore they are for the Lord onely, 1 Cor. 3. 21, 22, 23. If the more we took care for, and set our hearts upon the creature, if the more we were conversant with it, the more we should have, and the better we should live; Or if they should not serve us, unless we did first bow down our knees to worship them, and our backs to bear them; Then seeing the world lives by catching, we might then dis-robe and dis-throne our souls, and care more for these things, and less for the Lord; love these things more, and the Lord lesse; but the Lord Jesus having taken all care for his people, and bearing more love to them, and ha­ving more care of them than themselves, and therefore having given all crea­tures in the heavens, sea and dry land to serve them, they ought to be, and are onely for him, Hos. 2. 21, 23. When a man is the seed of God, and born for him, Now all creatures serve him; hence 1 Tim. 6. 17, 18. Tis a prevailing Motive with all the Saints, we have a living God that gives us all things; all crea­tures being dead, and not able of themselves to help us, therefore trust not on these things, but him onely, be not high minded in these things; but magnifie him onely. We know how angry God was with Belshazzar for profaning the [Page 170] Vessels of the Lords House in making them quaffing bowls, and turning them to common use. When a man is brought to that misery that he hath none, nor knows of none to be a friend to take care or thought for him, none that loves him, then he shifts for himself and becomes a servant. But those that know, as wo­men that they have rich husbands to live on, they take care 1 Cor. 7. 34. how to please them: So here. Whats the reason that men are mad for this world? Because they poor creatures have no friend, know no friend; but Saints have him, and know him, Iohn 17. 2. The Saints are given to Christ, Christ to them, and all the world put into Christs hands for us, (for the creatures are not given to us immediatly to our own dispose, and hence we have not much of this world) to what end? That so he might give eternal life begun here. This is the only gift, and last, and best, and worthy of himself, and this only we receive.

2. In regard of that blessed Liberty all the faithful are brought into,Reas. 2. for what is a Christians Liberty? Is it to serve men? No, 1 Cor. 7. 23. Therefore serve not your selves: Is it then to serve your own lusts? No, Rom. 6. 22. You are made free from sin, and servants unto God. Is it then to serve any Creature out of your selves? No, Gal. 1. 4. The world is yours already, 1 Cor. 3. 21, 22. given to you, bought for you, spend not therefore one groat more to purchase it, but keep those affections and hearts for the Lord; much less imprison not, and imbond­age not your selves for it. A Christians liberty which God crowns him with above all the Princes of the world, is to be onely for the Lord, which liberty all creatures groan to be in, Rom. 8. 21, 22. To be for God and a lust, for Christ and this world, its a shameful bondage, and most lamentable, and you are not at liberty yet, if not onely for the Lord. When the children of Kings and Peers, of Princes shall be made to come at the call of their Grooms and Kitchin-boys, if ever they stood before the face of Princes, they will count this a heavy thral­dome and bondage: So if ever you stood before the God of the whole earth, you will account it an heavy bondage, to have an heart sometime for, and some­time not for the Lord. Is not this liberty? No, but to have a heart only deter­mined to the Lord; as 'tis in Angels, and in the man Christ Jesus. Verily look as the Lord leaves his people for a time to their liberty in sin, so that their hearts are determined onely to sin, that they are fit onely to receive the suggestions and pleasures of it, but fit to quench the Lords Spirit: So the Lord Jesus making himself and grace more sweet than their lusts, their hearts are deter­mined onely for him, their Vessels are onely for his Oyle, Rom. 6. 19. The li­berty of will that Arminians plead for is nothing but the hypocrisie of a false heart, whose heart being toucht partly with God, and partly with the creature; hence is alway falling from one to the other, Iam. 1. Double minded men; but the Saints are determined unto one, and hence made perfect in one.

3. In regard of the fulness and all-sufficiency of the Spirit of Grace which their hearts are made fit vessels to receive,Reas. 3. and do receive; they finding enough there, God reserves them, and they reserve themselves onely for the receiving of this, Ioh. 6. 68. Will you depart? Lord, to whom should we go? Thou hast the words of life; and so the Spirit of life, that have quickned our hearts when dead, that do put fresh life to us when dying, that comfort our hearts when sorrowing. Here is the life glory, the life of Christ, the life of God; other things do but dead our hearts, thou hast words of life, Iohn 4. 14. The Water that I give shall, 1. Be that which shall quench all his thirst to other things; so that though a man wants them, yet his stomack is gone, which the damned shall find otherwise. 2. A Well of Water in him, ever near him; men have their accomodations far off, but this is i [...] him. Your hearts within are troubled, perplexed, and behold this is in you. 3. Springing up, continually increasing, for to have a good thing, and not to be satisfied in our desires with it, what is it but a misery? Hence it springs up unto everlasting life, which is the Fourth, Viz. The Continuance of [...], this will [Page 171] be here till my mortality is swallowed up of life. Like a leaking ship that takes in water by little and little, till at last it is swallowed up in the se [...].


HEnce we may see the reason why the Lord doth not abundantly reveal and communicate himself to the souls of many men.Use 1. What is the matter? Is it because they find no want of his spirit, and life, and grace, and peace, and glory? Yes they doe, and hence expresse their wants to men, and complain of their wants to God. Is it for this, that Christ hath not wherewithal? Yes, he hath re­ceived the Spirit without measure, Iohn 3. 34. and fountaines alway run, though men seldom drink. What then? Is it because they bring not their hearts, hold not their vessels under the Lords horn of oyl? Yes that they do, but their vessels are naught, they are not only for him; they feel their want of grace and Christ, but not only or chiefly of this. Special Grace shall never be poured into a com­mon vessel, a common heart, that lies in common for God, and lust, and world too. The honour, peace, life, gain, of a God, are sweet and precious. Lord e­ver give me that water to drink. But you have five husbands, and seek not this only: Hence, if the Lord de [...]ies you, you can be content, because you have something else to fill your vessels; if the Lord gives, you undervalue it and grow worse: and the very rising of that common grace you have, is the beginning of your apostacy, and setting off from God. And hence, no wonder why you pray but never have, Iam. 1. 6, 7. you want, and crave, but never find; your vessel is naught, though the Lord is good. 'Tis a black mark that thou art in bondage to the creature, and didst never know what the liberty, even the glorious liberty of a son means. And 'tis a most grievous bondage to be half unloosed and yet to be in bonds. And I assure you, if you knew the gift of God, if ever you tasted how sweet the Lord is; this is the only thing your souls will cry for: That when you come to ask, and the Lord saith, what would you have? Oh the spirit of life! Oh the anointing of my blessed head! And what else? It only; this is it only my vessel is made to hold, I am not made for my lust, nor sins, nor world: I would I had a bigger vessel, a larger heart to receive thy Grace only. I confess, a gracious he [...]rt may for a time be carried too violently after other things; and yet seek the Lord too, as Solomon, Eccl. 2. But after it knows Christ better, it's more reserved now for him, as Gen. 39. 3, 4, 5, 6. Iosephs master for a time kept things in his own hand; but when he saw the Lord was with Ioseph, and that he was prosperous, and blessed, then he made him overseer, and he knew not 'tis said, what he had, save only the bread that he did eat: So it is in our Ioseph. As the poor woman that knew the Messiah, she leaves her vessel, her water-pot with him, and now would have all the City to come and see and believe in him, and depend on him only, trust to him only. &c. Dost therefore seek, and find not? Hast bin long waiting, and feelest not? And thou wondrest at it! Others comforted, and I not! Search if this be not the cause; it may be thy heart is not set only for this, but on thy back, belly, lots, ease, what shall I eat, drink? &c. As some women, because God doth not feed so liberally their sweet tooth, their li­corish longings; build them seiled houses, measure their present condition ac­cording to their sinful humour; nothing can please them: neither husband, ser­vants, Ministers, nor Gods Ordinances. Is this a vessel for the Lord and his Grace only? You must, you will have a longer coat than you can well wear; Hold here. Never think to have one prayer answered: If this night thy day of misery should come, cry thou mayst, but no God to hear thee or help thee. Oh a little oyl, now a little grace, now a little mercy, Lord now. Oh no, you have no vessel to hold it. But oh bless the Lord you know it. Others it may [Page 172] be are no [...] so full of these sores of impatiency: but you pray for God, and Grace, and have it not. Why so? These are not the things that you are only set for. Why? Because you are content without them. I am not, you will say; But you are; for you doe not lament daily after the Lord for these things only: that which only satisfies, that thy heart is not at rest till it find: I hope I may have help for all this: No saith Iames, think not so. Oh therefore bless the Lord. You know what hurts you; Saints have hurts thus: but they purge themselves, and hence are blessed vessels still. When Moses was begging for Israel, mine Angel, saith God, shall goe with you, I will not. No, thou only, else let us die here, Exod. 33. This prayer wins the field & wears the garland. The evils of the Churches are many, an hour of temptation is coming on; scandals are like to be great; the subtil­ties of enemies many. Now we pray, and yet these have come, and we fear they will come. Oh beloved, go to the Lord, and plead with him only for this; and when thou canst procure nothing for thy self, yet let it fare well with Sion: and this only I must have. Psal. 27. 4. One thing have I desired. You shall have it then, else not.

See the great sin of those that lose their life,Use 2. preserve not the Spirit when he comes to them in Ordinances; you are vessels onely made for the Lord, and will you lose that which He drops in? There is no others can receive him, Iohn 14. 17. and when He comes to you, do you thus requite Him? &c.

That the Holy Spirit is in beleivers as the Principle of their Spiritual Life and Holi­nesse.


THat within these Vessels, is an inward Principle of Life and Grace.Doct. 2. Or, The burning shining profession of all the faithful, it proceedeth from an inward Principle of the Spirit of Grace, by the means of which, their Lamp burns, and their Profession shines.

For this I understand by oyl in the vessel, the Spirit of Jesus, not out of us, but re­ceived in us; not coming only upon us, for so he may on foolish virgins, by Balaa­mitish ravishments, and hypocritical pangs, and land-flood affections; but abi­ding in us, and that not as it doth in hypocrites, but as it is in Christ Jesus, without measure, both Spirit and Graces, so it abides in us in measure: in Him as the fountain, in us as the vessels, from whose fulness, we receive the same. So that by oyl is not meant the external Principle of all Life, the Lord Jesus having Spirit and Grace enough, but keeping our hearts empty of it: but the Lord Jesus in us, who is not in us, but by his Spirit, even the Spirit of Life, from whence all our actions spring, and from which oyl our lamp burns. This therefore I say, the Profession of the faithful, springs not from outward motives, or principles of mo­tion, as the actions of hypocrites; sometimes sudden praise, sometimes gain, some­times fe [...]rs, sometimes fleshly hopes, sometimes sudden conceipt and fancy, some times irruption and rushings of the Spirit upon them; but there is a spring within, there is a life within; there is oyle in the Vessel to fill the lamp, and so hence it [Page 173] burns. Eph. 2. 1. You hath he quickned, who were dead in sins, i. e. you were held as fast under the power of your sins, as a dead man is under the bonds of death: but now in the room of that death, there is the Spirit of life, and the life of the Spirit. Now life is an inward principle of motion, of any thing in its own place; as the sun, and trees, and grasse, and cattel. You may take a stone, or milstone, or wheel, and move it, yet they have no life, because this is not from an inward Principle so: hypocrites may be acted, and moved by the great power of the Spi­rit in an Ordinance, yet not living but dead stil. Iohn 4. 14. the water (which is the Spirit) is a spring of living water in him. Cisterns may have water in them, but no spring that is running winter and summer. 1 Iohn 3. 9. This is called the seed remaining in him: which is that new creation, new birth, which the verse it self expounds, so that he cannot sin; it is against his nature, now he cannot be a sinmaker. Balaam could not curse the people of God; and many cannot do as others do. Why, is it, because they are born of God? No, but from some other respects: and hence, Mat. 13. 21. the stony ground fell away, be­cause they had not the root within. This is called the inner man; the good trea­sure of the heart, opposite to the evil treasure of the heart of a wicked man. Now, as an evil man acts not only from Satan, the evil spirit; but the inward power of lust; so the Saints, Mat. 12. 35. And here I intend not to shew what this inward Principle is particularly, for that I reserve to the two last points. Yet, least any should stumble, let me speak to two sorts.

1. Know some of you, that there is not only external actings of the Spirit from whence we act, but a new nature in the Saints.

2. Let others know, 1. That as before the Lord cals we are dead, so after we are alive this inward principle is not perfect here: Hence actions sometimes cease, and when they do not, yet are corrupted, as laesa principia act, but ever erre in their act, hence have need of pardon from and acceptance in the Lord Jesus. 2. That this is not in us as in Adam, who did not need to borrow life of another, but it stands in daily need of the Lord Jesus, and hence this inward principle acts, but 'tis by faith, the operations of which are the wagons to vi­ctual the camp continually, especially in time of need, and which is part of this inward principle; and hence 1 Pet. 1. 5. You are kept by power and faith, i. your souls, graces, lives are kept by the Spirit, but through faith in us to salvation.

Let me therefore prove these three things to you for opening of this point.

1. That the Spirit of the Lord Jesus is in the souls of the faithfull.

2. That there is a principle of created graces, or the life of the Spirit in them.

3. That from this principle of the Spirit dispensing himself by his graces, our lamp burns, our acts of profession spring and shine forth.

First, That the Spirit of Jesus is in the soules of the faithfull, 1 Iohn 2. 27. The anointing teacheth you all things. Rom. 8. 11. The Spirit that raised up Iesus from the dead dwels in us. The manner of his being in us I intend not to meddle with, unlesse I saw more cause: I do beleeve the manner of his abiding in us, and his nearnesse to all the Saints, when seen of us, may astonish our own spirits, and shall one day confound all the world; Only know, as the Martyr said, He is come, he is come. The spirit of the world and Satan is cast out, 1 Cor. 2. 12. and in room of them enters the Spirit of God.

Secondly, That the Spirit so is in the faithfull, as that there is a principle of created graces in them, or an inward principle of life and grace. Not that these alone make this inward principle, but the Spirit in us working of them, working by them. And truly 'tis a sad thing if the proving of such a principle shall be an attributing too much to grace in us.

1. Therefore to deny this is to deny Christ to be our sanctification: For be­side the passive obedience of Christ, we are justified by his active obedience also, [Page 174] i. e. his inward conformity to the Law, and his external obedience to the Law. So that graces as they are in Christ become our justification; and hence he is said to be our righteousnesse. No man can stand before God but by perfect holi­nesse, but by doing whatever the Law requires, and continuing so to do; this is not in us, this is in Christ: This as 'tis in Christ is properly our righteousnesse or justification. Now what is our sanctification? if not graces in Christ, then graces received from Christ Jesus, which is this inward principle now I speak of; and therefore to deny this is no lesse than to say Christ is not our sanctification: But saith Paul, The Lord sanctifie you in soul and body and spirit, 1 Thess. 5. 23. And if it were so, a man may have a heart unsanctified and Christ too.

2. If there should not be those graces, then a Christian was not bound to adde one grace to another, but then the Apostles precept should be broken, 2 Pet. 1. 7, 8. and so a Christian could not grow in grace, for graces are perfect in Christ; and the Spirit doth not grow in grace, and the immediate operations of the Spi­rit increasing in us, are not properly graces, no more than the act of seeing is the eye, no more then giving goods to be burned is love.

3. Then we are not to pray for graces, if there be no such things to be found in the hearts of Saints, but Psal. 51. 10. David praies, Create in me a clean heart; now if it be a thing created in me, 'tis not the Spirit only in me, for that cannot be created. I doubt not but David had a clean heart, but he fell in part; and therefore look as there needs a creating power to make, so there is a creating pow­er to restore us again to what is lost.

4. Then the Saints have none of their sins mort [...]fied; for 'tis as with the eye, be­ing made to see; if sight goes out, darkness comes in, and if that be subdued, sight is renewed: So the Soul being made only for God, and to bear his image; blot out that darkness and sin comes in: cast out sin, the Lord and his Image and Graces come in. If therefore there be no Graces in the Saints, then no sin mortified: truly if so, then the end of Christs coming, and dying is quite aboli­shed, 1 Iohn 3. 8. & Rom. 6. 2, 3.

5. Then the Lord should be false in his Covenant, and break Oath, and be for­sworn: for, Ier. 31. 32. I'le write my Law in their hearts. Luke 1. 73, 74. So that if you will not believe man, yet believe God: and if you will not believe his Word, yet his Oath. Oh, but many good Christians find no such thing. But is it so, as they find it indeed? Either then they are no Christians, or else the Lord is forsworn.

Thirdly, That by the inward principle of Spirit, and Graces, our lamp burns, and shines, our actions issue. The Spirit enables a man to know, & hence the act flows, he doth know the Lord. The Spirit enables inwardly for to love the Lord, and hence it doth love him. That as Christ saith, a good tree brings forth good fruit, from an inward sap received from the root, and by abiding on the root; So here.

1. Those that are renewed to Adams image in their measure, have according to that measure, power to act; or in those Graces there is power to act, for he had power so to do. Every creature in the world had a Law of Nature to carry them to their end; and so were carried to it. But Adam had a Law of Divinity, whereby he being a cause by Counsel, was enabled by God to carry himself to­ward his end. Now we are renewed to that image in part, Eph. 4. 24. I know there is difference between Adams power to act, which had no Faith, ours that hath. And do not think that this doth advance nature, & the power of man, no more than the execution of the Promise of the Covenant of Grace, doth destroy Grace and ad­vance nature. For the writing again the Law in our hearts, is that which this Covenant promiseth; nay, this doth honour the riches of Grace: that a man be­ing under the power of sin, and cannot get deliverance, the Lord should now give an humble conquering Spirit: never a precious heart but will be thankful for it.

[Page 175] 2. Because the Graces in us, are received from the Lord Jesus his fulness, Iohn 1. 16. Now the Graces in Christ are not dead, but living, are not weak, but powerful; the Spirit of Grace 'tis now triumphing in him, 'tis so in us only: 'tis in him in the highest degree, in us in a lower. And therein consists our like­ness to Christ, 2 Cor. 3. 18. And to deny this, is to deface the Image of the Lord Jesus; and this is part of the Beauty and Glory of Christ: hence to deny this, is to obscure the glory of the Lord Jesus. Without Christ a Christian can do nothing: but how doth Christ do all, by the Spirit without Graces? (I speak not of Con­version where 'tis without Graces as causes) No truly, as he acts, so we act in part. Unless any will say, we have not received grace for grace; or are in no measure like the image of Christ.

3. If the first Adam hath conveyed to all his members a power of corruption, then the second Adam also a power of Godliness, contrary to that, 2. Tim. 3. 5. yet in measure still, so as the Apostle saith, we can do nothing against the Truth, but for the Truth. 2 Cor. 13. 8.

But what measure of power is it?Quest.

I know no man that can from any ground limit the measure of it.Answ. For it may be in some men in greater power, in some men in less, in the same man at one time in a greater measure, at another time less. If one ask of trees, what measure of fruit they can bring forth; we cannot tell, because sometime more, sometime less: and the same tree more one year than another, and more at one time of the year then another; for they have their winter season. Only this, whereas be­fore conversion he is stark dead to act, now he is alive and is not dead. And if a man should after conversion be but in the next disposition to receive Grace, then how could one Christian be more grown and stronger in Grace in his inner man than another? I know not any to question this, only I speak it to cut off their carnal hopes, that think Christ is theirs, when they have nothing, can do nothing, and sleightly say he must do all; I cannot, I tell you the Saints can, they cannot but love the Lord, and choose the Lord. &c.

But must not a Christian deny himself, and alway go to Christ for power to do,Object. 1. and so be humble, and empty?

1. You must, because this is the meanes to live to Christs;Answ. but this doth not argue you have no power at all. A man must pray for his daily bread, much more for daily grace; but doth this argue a man hath no bread in his house? No, this is the means to have it continued and blest. Easily can the Lord take away bread, or the staff of bread. Graces extinguish not Faith, but help it.

2. A Christian can do no duty perfectly, hence must repair to Christ to help him to do every duty better; hence though he must use that power he hath, and do what he can, yet he must not content himself with what he hath, but seek for more, and what a sweet life is this? What honour would here come in? God lets in a new light into my minde, now I may and must see his truth, I saw it yesterday, but I may and must go to Christ to do it better; I must not quench the Spirit of prayer, but carry the key with me, and next day pray better. And thus the soul is thankful for what it hath, and emptying it self notwithstanding that, and daily then receiving from Christ. And I beleeve many Christians fail here: As in the body, meat feeds and strengthens life, so I cannot live without Christ.

But doth not this make a man trust to graces?Object. 2.

To act from them is not to trust to them,Answ. no more then for a diligent hand to trust to his diligence, when he acts diligently that so he may be rich.

But doth not this dishonour grace to do all by the power of it?Object. 3.

Then the Saints in heaven that are made perfectly like Christ,Answ. and that love the Lord perfectly, should not honour grace by this means, when as this is it that makes them honour it most of all. As David, Lord what am I, [Page 176] and my people, that we should offer willingly: So here.


SEE hence what cause of thankfulness to all the people of God,Use 1. that the Lord should make their souls the Vessels (which he might easily and justly have dashed in peeces) to receive and preserve this eternal anointing; I do beleeve there is no man that knows the bitterness of sin, the plague of his own heart, but when he sees Christ is his, yet it makes him mourn that there should be so little suitableness between the Lord and him, so little likeness between his life and Christ; what though the Lord love me, and yet my heart weary of him? what though the Lord bless me, and my heart abuse him? and hence this makes it thankful, Rom. 7. 24, 25. This is so far from dishonouring grace, as that the Apostle makes this the matter of admiration of Gods grace, Eph. 2. 3, 4. God who is rich in mercy, when dead in sins hath quickned us: Not only quickned our head, for hence is cause of eternal praise, but us; and hence he hath set us up in heavenly places in him: This is the state of all men, they cannot do one spiritual act; now that the Lord should help when all creatures left us, is won­derful, but that it should be with such a life, even the life of Christ Jesus him­self, for the same Spirit that raised him from the dead dwells in us, and the same Spirit that is now in glory with him, is in us, 1 Pet. 5. 1. This is mercy indeed; that he should not only die for us, and live in heaven for us, but that he should love so dearly as to come and live in us, that when our sins had slain him, he should not onely come and dwell in our houses, nor onely lay his head in our bo­some, but live in our hearts, where he finds such poor welcome, and ill entertain­ment at our hands, I tell you this is wonderful, to make his habitation in us, that before we go to live with him, he should live in us: Let them that never knew what this meant refuse to be thankful, but if you find it so, forget not this love, Iohn 14. 17. Ile send the Spirit whom the World cannot receive, because it knows him not. The Lord sends the Spirit in common graces, and the World doth re­ceive that also in prophetical and miraculous gifts, and it doth receive that; but this Spirit which God pours on the thirsty, this Spirit with which God fills the empty, they cannot receive this. Oh that you should have it, when as they know it not.

1. Hence therefore take heed of not owning the Spirit in this his presence. Do you thus requite the Lord, oh unthankful world! not so much as to own the presence of such a friend, neither in your selves, nor yet in others. How like the world is it to think that there is no such thing?

2. Take heed therefore of not esteeming highly of it. If ever God broke thy heart, thou wilt esteem this life, this principle as the greatest piece of love; and say, Lord I shall account this as the greatest part of love in the world, Psal. 119. 68. Thou art good, oh teach me thy Statutes: Now to undervalue this, and to account it common, and hence as no sign of love, 'tis a part of unthank­fulness.

3. Take heed of imprisoning the Spirit of grace, common truth, Rom. 1. 18. It was fearful to imprison and silence that, much more this. It was the com­plaint of the Church in those days, None stirs up himself, Isai. 64. 7. What strength the Lord gives, let me use; what I want, the Lord hath enough to help me withal; put it to exercise, or else affliction will.

4. Take heed of enfeebling this Principle, weakning of it: The Church of Sardis things were ready to die in it, you should strengthen this inner man, not weaken it, either by not feeding it with Christ, or wounding it with known sins against Christ. Therefore let all the Churches know this, and take heed that [Page 177] you do not refuse to own this: where else will you make the difference between men, that either Churches may discern them, or you may discern, and so have peace your selves.

Hence see the reason of that inward hypocrisie that is in many mens hearts,Use 2. so that the best profession of many a man is but a Scheme; an Image, a very craft▪ a very artificial form; all the duties are fair without, but sapless, liveless, within: Here is the reason they have no inward principle of life, or if they do go to Christ, they have no such principle within them, to carry them to him, so as to receive life from him; and hence confess sin without sorrow or shame, petition without thirsting, live without love, do without life, because there is no spring, but a dry heart within; and hence they must do duty, but they must make dead work of it, and hence all is but an appearance, and at best but a would be: This is in a great measure in Saints when the Spirit within is quenched, but it is in full age and strength in hypocritical hearts, Ier. 4. 14. when the profession of Iudah was great, and the Prophets had scarce any thing to say against them for outside, Oh Ie­rusalem, wash thy heart from wickedness, there thy wo lies, it enters to the very heart; so Christ, How can he that is evil, bring forth good fruit. And this is that which may make men mourn, if I forsake all profession, I shame my self before men, if not, I must blaspheme the Lords Name, and play the Hypocrite before the Lord, Matth. 12. 33, 34, 35.


TO take heed of denying the grace of God, or this inward principle,Use 3. in whole, or in part, for this inward principle, being the life of Christ in us,Of Caution; and sad Ad­vice. to deny this is to deny Christ, and to take away his life; and such the Lord will deny before his Angels another day: When they shall say, Have we not eat and drank in thy presence, he shall answer, I never knew you: I shall therefore here direct my speech to four sorts.

First, To those that deny created graces in the Saints peculiar unto them only, its said there are none such in the Country, if there are not, it may be there have been, and it may be will be, and therfore ile speak: For I beleeve 'tis a delusion dig­ged and hatcht out of the steam of the lowest sink in Hell: And therefore that all may take heed of the evill of it, I will first shew the evill of it, then the causes that do beget it.

I. The evils of this delusion are these.

1. It settles and fastens a man under the power of all his sin, and yet with a quiet Conscience, and yet to keep his Christ too. It transcends my capacity from whatever I have read, or have heard, or have felt, or can imagine how the power of sin can be taken away, but where the Spirit infuseth the contrary grace; an empty house swept and garnished with common gifts, is but a fitting house for Satan to return into: Say therefore a man may have no such graces, and yet have Christ, and them in Christ, you stake this man down under his sin, and make this member of Satan, a member of Christ Jesus. And upon this ground all Chur­ches in the Land may be forced in Conscience to take in all prophane members, if they plead Christ, and their allness in him.

2. This blurs all the glory of a Christian, or at least the greatest part of it: For what is the glory of a Saint? 'Tis to be like Jesus Christ the Lord of glo­ry, to bear his Image before God and men: As to see a man with a Swines face would be the shame of a man; to see a Christian with Satans Image, is the shame of a Christian; but to be like our Head, this is our glory, though it be in suffer­ings, 2 Cor. 3. 18. heavenly, humble, compassionate, holy, as he was; and hence when God hath a mind to make Churches or Christians base in the eyes of the [Page 178] world, he will withdraw here, and when he intends to draw the world after him, he will glorifie it with his glory, Isai. 60. 6, 7.

3. It cuts off a Christian from all hope of glory, how many be there that scramble and catch at Christ, and every one saith he is mine, The proud man saith, he is mine, and hopes now verily to be saved, but that hope is vain; they have Christ out of them, but where is Christ in them? The life of Christ, and the Spirit of Christ? Col. 1. 27. Christ in you, the hope of glory.

4. Give me but one place in all the Book of God, where blessedness is be­stowed upon, or conveyed unto any, or promised but to such as have these gra­ce [...]. Blessed is he that feareth the Lord, and greatly delighteth, &c. Psal. 112. 1, 2. If there be no such thing, let any man expect it if he can.

II. The Causes.

1. A magnifying Christ, and making him our Sanctification, when as you heard the last day, this is to deny him to be our Sanctification: He becomes our righteousness by imputation of his holiness, and our Sanctification by infusing of it. Nay, hence a man deprive [...] himself, of all good in the Lord Jesus, when a man denies all grace in himself, and then flies for Sanctuary unto Jesus Christ, [...] Iohn 1. 6, 7. If we say we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, &c. And hence it seems they denied men to have sin, vers. 8. boasting of fellowship with Christ, vers. 6.

2. Because there are (say men) onely immediate actings of the Spirit. If this be so, then there is seeing in a Christian without an eye, and hearing without an ear, and knowing Christ without an understanding, and loving without love, and living without life, and feeding and eating without a mouth; and then when these actings are over, a Christian is like another man, there is no Law remains written on his heart, and so Christ should enter into his Saints, like Satan in­to the Serpent, who only acts the Serpent, and when that is done, he remains a Serpent again. Know it, the Lord Jesus his greatest work is not onely to change the acts, but to change the frame of the heart, not only to put new acti­ons, but a new nature into men.

3. Because men know not the Spirit, never felt the presence, not power, nor comfort of it themselves; and hence men do as some Countries, because them­selves are black, they paint the Devil whi [...]e. Iohn 14. 17. The World cannot re­ [...]eive, because it knows him not. Give me any Christian living that ever found the sweetness of it, but his longings were to have more of that grace, to forget things behinde, and reach to things before, even to the resurrection of the dead, whom I believe none will say want all habits of grace: I look upon the Opinion as com­ing with a curse from God: A man hath been a dry Professor long, Conscience saith, There is no grace in the heart, and hence is troubled; True, saith he, there is none in Saints, it is in Christ, and there he catcheth and deceives himself.

Secondly, Those that do acknowledge them, but any power or activity in them they deny; they say there is oyl indeed in the Vessel, but it helps not, 'tis no means to make the Lamp to burn or shine; there is the life of Christ, but it is a dead life, they call them the graces of Christ, but they are but fruitless graces. I con­fess it, if you consider them without the Spirit of Christ, they are no true graces, much less active or living ones; but consider them thus, they have a power, as take the least grain of corn, there is a growing power in it, & fructifying too in it by dying first, though it actually doth not fructifie presently, and though there must be rain, and Sun must shine also, and a providence accompanying of it, so it is in the graces of Saints: And hence its called a Law of the mind, there is a pow­er of a Law, as of sing and hence as Christ grew in wisdome and stature, so all the members of Christ are like unto him.

I. The evill of this.

1. This abates of the excellency of grace, as from a Jewel to take away the [Page 179] oper [...]tive vertue of it. Fo [...] it's not like Christs now, which is strong through God, not weak; which is living, no [...] dead. This is not like the glorious Graces of Saints triumphing. This makes the Graces of Saints of less excellency then common Graces: common Grace will make a man [...]ide over many a sin, and run exceeding fast, though he fall at last. A man that hath bin angry, it will make him very quiet and still, and is there no more power in this?

2. This will make a man content himself with a bare form, with a false confidence if this be true. For take a man that hath bin long seeking to get strength against a vile heart, and [...]e finds none; there is no power of heavenliness, he is earthy; no meekness, he is proud; I would say to him, do you ever think to get any power of meekness, love, faith, &c. You shall never do it, never have it here; all your strength is immediatly from Christ, look for it there; in conscience a man must cease there. And 'tis certain all our strength is in, and from the Lord; but 'tis dis­pensed mediatly, Eph. 3. 16. Paul prays he may be strengthned with might in the inner man. Or thus, a man may not pray for strength of Grace, which Paul re­fused not.

3. Then the Saints if they be asked whether they believe, or can love the Lord Jesus; their answer must be, no I have no power to love, nor beleeve, and then Peter did ill to answer so, Lord thou knowest that I love thee. Then Paul to say, We can do nothing but for the Truth. Then that Martyr that to then that said, the Lord strengthen you: yes saith he, the Lord doth. I know if the Lord withdraw his Spirit, we are gone, as Adam; but is there not the immutable assistance of it? Is there not the Promise, I will never leave thee, though sometimes weaker, some­times stronger?

4. This will make a Christian hide and not improve his Talents; he hath Grace, but no power to put it forth. Then suppose God gives power to see Truth one day, I must not see it with this eye the next; but look up to Christ, and say, I cannot see at all.

II. Causes of this.

1. In opposing the outward principle of life, or first principle, and this se­cond, I must live on C [...]rist; hence I must no [...], I have no power to act my self in any measure, because all my strength is in him. Whe [...] if this were true, a man might argue, because all Grace is originally in Christ, hence no Grace in me, because all Glory is in Christ originally; hence no Glory shall be con­veyed to me. No, this Scripture reconciles these: Because I live, therefore you shall live also, John 14. 19. Because Christ is strong, hence he will make us strong in the inner man, and not in the Spirit only: because Christ is glorious, hence we are predestinated to be made like unto him. Because all sap lies in the root, to say therefore there is no sap or power in the branch to fructifie; this is false.

2. The hypocritical activity of false Professors, who having no spring to feed their wells, no Christ, nor bucket to draw from him; hence are their own men, and set up for themselves, till the [...] turn bankrupts. And now because a Pharisee is so active as to go through se [...] and land to make a Proselyte; therefore Paul hath no activi­ty of Grace of Christ in him to go from land to sea to make Christians.

3. Sloth, A man sets upon a duty, and now because he cannot do it easily, nor quickly, he cannot do it at all. A man would have Grace active without means; and God will not help in that way: and hence many Christians cannot cleave to Christ by love, or desire; no, so long as they pore upon their wants, no encou­ragement, but turn the mind, and consider well of the love and glory of Christ, then with P [...]l, 2 Cor. 5. 14. Christs love constrains.

4. Judging that to be the power of Grace at all times, which is at sometimes; A man hath given special occasion for the Lord to leave him, as the Camp in Iosh [...]hs time, Iosh. 7. and he thinks there is no more power at any time in a­ny man. For then a man sees all the world cannot help, when if Acha [...] were [Page 180] removed, the Spirit of the Lord would return again.

5. That hereby a man may have his sins without trouble, for a man hath bin troubled, and cannot get power, now he heats there is no such power to be ex­pected, he looks to Christ, and if power come, well, if not, saith he, 'tis not my fault.

Thirdly, Those that deny the evidence of it, the evil of which apprehension, I conceive to be no less then taking away that which is the chief, if not only diffe­rence between hypocrites and Sa [...]nts in virgin Churches, for so 'tis made here. A man saith I have Christ, and so have not they: I ask, where is the Spirit? You have the Deed, where is the Seal? You have the Testator, where is the Execu­tor, the Spirit in you? Yes, I have it, it hath witnessed Christ is mine. Answ. It hath witnessed, but what hath it wro [...]ght? Where is the power of his death, killing thy lusts; Where is the life of the Spirit of Jesus in you? Where is the Oyle in your vessel? Truly I look for the Bridegroom, but I regard not that, neither are others to regard it in way of evidence. Then I say the chief evidence is destroyed in the Churches. I have known many that have had assurances, yet never saw them prove right, till it witnessed this was here. What should be the causes of this, and that men should make blusters in the Churches, because of this, as though it was building on wo [...]ks? In several men they are several.

1. An ap [...]ness in mens hearts to [...]ou [...]run [...] the Truth, and to fall from one ex­tream to another. Many men there be that fall short of Christ, and the Grace of God in and from him: and from their loose prophane life, fall to duties, and imi­tate Gods people, and then when they have got credit with good people, they judge well of them: and having made their peace hereby, with con­science, and not with God the Judge; never look after the sa [...]ing know­ledge of, and fellowship with, and life from the Lord Jesus. Now, because men rest on this▪ these duties [...] no evidence; he [...]ce none are at all. The Corinthians first mourned not for the incestuous person; and when cast out, wanted pity towards him. Calvin preached against Holidaies, hence intrenched upon the Lords day. Some of the separation see many Churches where they have come corrupt, hence make them all no Churches. A man is apt to think, because I have rested on my self, and found those signes which now are not sound, hence all others do so too. And I beleeve ivers Books have occasioned it, which give signes that will not hold without a [...] explication of them.

2. The apostacy of eminent Professors, who have bin deceived in their evi­dencing thus: And truly it would ma [...]e one think the honesty of the World is but a fashion, and no evidence of any good estate; hence men say you have joy, so had the [...]ony g [...]ound; you are blameless and strict, so was Paul a Pharisee; and Satan hereby shakes many a foul: hence the Apostle comes in, Heb. 6. 9. and speaks of better things, and things that accompany Salvation, and these should you follow. Hymeneur and Philaus fell both, 2 Tim. 2. 18, 19, 20, 21. Yet purge your selves and you shall be vessels of honour for the Masters use.

3. Corrunt experience, it may be a man walks so loosly without fear, or life, or love, that the Lord leaves him, and he can see no clear through-wo [...], sometimes hath pangs, and then hopes, sometime dead, then doubts; hence being vext here, and finding, no peace; if he find it any other way than this, therehe rests. As 'tis observed with man [...] hide their shame: but when dead, their face is also covered, all their glory being then gone: so some glory of God ap| peares here, but when Christians are dead, they cover this, He look no more to it, all the glory of it is now gone, and here lies a deceit to loveChrist for freeing me from this way of evidencing.

4. A heart that never felt the bitterness and bondage of [...] as the greatest evil. Take a man full of fears of wrath; on now assurance is his chiefest good, and he will account it so; but if ever God did load the Soul with [...] ècontra, you will account [Page 181] of deliverance from this highly, nay a promise he will do it is sweet but to be feeling those sinews of sin crack; oh its the joy of Heaven that now sils that heart! The greatest evil in Gods eyes is sin; the g [...]eatest good we have is redemption from it by a mighty hand: now not so much as to account of this highly, this is hard. Thus I have left these things to be thought of, I cannot avoid it, it lies in my text; and the rather, because of that Scripture abused, If any say, l [...]e here is Christ, or there, believe it not. i. e. by signes: or in a wildernesse, i. e. in a sorrowfull estate, of in the privy chambers in frames of heart, believe it not neither. Take heed you do not wrest Scripture [...] thus; I'ts said, Esau hated Iacob for the blessing, Gen. 27. 41. This Spirit of Grace is the blessing which Saints account as the evidence of the [...]rest love; to separate from Churches, from Messengers of God, for this will yield you sorrow enough one day. I tell you, you shall not be found fighters against men, but against God, and the Spirit of his Grace, and the Life of him who live [...] in Heaven for us. Take heed you forget not oyl in your Vessels.

[...] Tho [...]e that acknowledge in their judgemen [...]s all these things, but deny it in their lives, regard not the having this principle of Life, and have peace in this, from a double ground.

1. By a fruitless Faith which hang [...] on Christ; but never receives nor brings in this principle, as those, Iohn 2. 24, 25. and hence though they receive none, yet they hang on him. And so their Faith like a bucket without a bottom, draws up nothing.

2. A form of godliness before men. If a man should neither speak well, nor pray, &c. He would have no love, no respect, no receiving into Church; but he cannot do it with life, and hence a form contents him, and there rests. So that now if Conscience troubles, and says, those duties are done with no life of Christ, and Spirit; he answers, yet I goe to Christ: If this be all, why do you not cast off your form? Oh then I should have no love from men: oh this life of Christ is not prized, till with these Virgins they feel the want of it, and 'tis too late, know this will be your woe at last. Look upon thy dead Soul, all thy glory is gone, and wait upon the Word that the Lord may make thee live. Could you know this Well of water and ask he would give it you. Oh beg for it then as for your life. Only first [...] it in Christ, and so from Christ.


VVE live in a Country which hath goodly trappings,Use 4. Of Tryall. rich hangings, glori­ous Profession, burning Lamps: and hence many think themselves [...]ich, when indeed poor; many look to mee [...] the Bridegroom, when indeed they shall he shut out-from the fellowship of the Bridegroom. How shall I know that? That all my sorrows, prayers, reformation, profession, is but a paint, an appearance, a fashion, a Church-craft, which will stand me in no stead when the Lord shall appear, who shall judge the secrets of all hearts, by the Word you hear [...] this day. Try it therefore by this Rule, doth it come from a principle of life or no? Your Lamp burns, but look what is in your vessel that feeds this flame. That as our Divines speak, how the Disciples could do greater works than Christ, and others wrought Miracles besides Christ: how then do they prove that he is Christ? 'Tis answered, in all his miraculous works we are to consider not only quid fecit, i. e. what he did, but qua virtue fecit, from what power he did it. The Apostles and others wrought Miracles, but it was alienâ virtue: Christ did them, but it was prop [...] virtue. So many an unfound heart he may do greater works them Saints, and his lamp burn brighter. Therefore in this case we are not to look so much to what is done, as from what power and principle it is done: for therein the best hypocrite ever falles. We shall ever observe in some beasts there are ambraerationis [Page 182] [...], yet there is no ra [...]ional soul, nor any wise man will beleeve that their acts proceed from such a Principle: So there are shadows of the power of grace in a carnal heart, and yet no Judicious Christian will say they come from an in­ward soul; or principle of life. Consider therefore whether there is this princi­ple or no; you see there is profession, you have a name to live in the judgement of all the Church, but search your hearts, and see from what principle it proceeds, for if this be wanting, all is naught: As he that had Beer given him, when Milk and Wine, and Sugar was put into it to mend it, said, The Wine is good, and the Milk is good, but the Beer is naught: So Profession, affection is good, but the heart, the man is naught, Ier. 2. 22. Though thou wash thee with Nitre, thy sin is marked before the Lord. And that the Trial may be full and fair, I shall shew Negatively, the several sorts of men that act not from an inward Prin­ciple, yet carry it out as though the bitterness of death was past, and the Bride­groom theirs.

1. When a mans Principle is nothing but the power of created nature ex­pressing it self, and setting the best face forward, in the gilded rottenness of some moral performances, wherein a man saith, he doth what he can; for there is this principle in most men, a desire to be saved, nature saith so, and according to the inten [...]ion of this desire, so accordingly will men do more or less; and hereupon sooth up themselves, when they see they cannot do as others do, or as the Lord commands; I do as well as I can. Nay, when condemned by the Word which meets them, I do as well as I can, I beleeve, I repent, I pray, I remember the Word, I do as well as I can, and so they hope God accepts of that; and though I beleeve no man but may be hired to do more than he doth, yet nature may do much; hence I heard an Arminian once say, If faith will not will not work it, then set reason a work, and we know how men have been Kings and Lords over their own passions by improving reason, and from some experience of the power of nature, men have come to write large Volumes in defence of it; and its known the Ar­minians though they ascribe somewhat to grace, and in words all to grace, yet in­deed they lay the main stress of the work upon a mans own will, and the royal­ty and soveraignty of the liberty of that: But to leave them and come to our selves, Is it not a common thing for men to [...]ake lies their refuge, and to say, I was in a woful condition once, and never looked after God, but now I blesse the Lord 'tis otherwise with me. How? Now I beleeve, repent, &c. And so I confess all I do is full of weaknesses, yet I do what I can; and thus they are like to men that have old garments new dressed, they have made them as good as they can; and like the young man, Luke 18. 21. All these things have I d [...]ne from my youth, yet one thing was wanting, which was to forsake all, and so himself, that the Disciples said, Who then can be saved: With man 'tis impossible, but with God all things are possible.

You say you do as much as you can; I say do so, but 'tis impossible with man, from any strength of man, and you have no more yet, Iohn 1. 13. Born again, not of the will of man, but of God. There is in some men a birth, like to the new birth, which is of the will and power of man, but oh this is not this inward principle which the Almighty power of God creates; and therefore know it, if you get no other oyle in your Lamps, you shall never meet the Bridegroom.

2. When a mans principle is the power of holy example, whereby many a one is drawn to do more than otherwise he would. Many men think for a while as that man spake; Men talk of being worth thousands, I would fain see the men. Ministers preach and others speak well, we must do this & that, but I would fain see the men that do it. Now it sometime falls out that the Lord sets before mens eyes some pattern-Christians, hereupon they think thus; here are two contrary ways, they cannot both lead to heaven, their way is better than mine, and doubtless leads to life, mine doth not, and therefore let me live like the [...]. And hence there shall not be any Fast, but they will be at it; not a Sermon near, but they will go wet and dry to [Page 183] hear it; nor any duty in Family, but they will imitate it, and hence read and learn, that they may be like them. No Christians in the Country hated, but they will love them, nor Ceremonies cast off, but they will abhor them; and hence they reflect upon their patterns, and think their estate safe, because they are as good as a Christians outside: And hence like some dead C [...]ttel, there is nothing good but their skin; so there is nothing good in these, but their imitating out­side. Thus it was with Ioash while Iehoiada lived, 2 Chron. 24. Hence he fell like Ivy with the Oak, when God cut him down: Thus it was with these five fool­lish Virgins, a man may follow good examples, but not rest in bare imitation of them: And hence a blessed man is described, Psal. 1. Negatively, from no [...] imitating the wicked, not from imitating the good; because good men may be in many things ill examples, and it ever proves so in these men that have no more then this Principle; hence if they be loose in their tongues, or on the Sab­bath, their plea is, they are like unto them. And hence come all your acquired excellencie [...]; a man is an imitating creature, led by example, and a carnal man out of the heart of hypocrise in himself, will imitate the divine nature which is in another; and hence men not only take up such practises, but such opinious only, because such and such are of that mind: And hence men change practises and opinions as Examples do change; in Ioshua's time great Reformation, he no sooner dead, but all fell off again: then they were for purity of Ordinances and Gods Worship, now they serve Baalim: Oh consider, here is an outward, but no inward principle!

3. Those whose principle is nothing but external applause and praise of men, and this will carry a man beyond all the best Examples: Nay, sometime to be singular, and a man alone; a Pharisees Trumpet shall be heard to the Townes­end, while simplicity walks thorow the Town unseen: Hence a man will some­times covertly commend himself, and my self ever comes in, and tells you a long Storie of Conversion, and an hundred to one, if some lie or other flip not out with it. Why, the secret meaning is, I pray admire me, hence complain of wants and weaknesses; pray think what a broken-hearted Christian I am; and hence if comforted they complain, if not, they will comfort themselves; hence many lift up eyes and hands, and fetch deep sighs in prayer, remember and note Ser­mons, look now what a gift I have: Hence if you come to their companie, they will have so many good words as may make you think well of them, and then the Market is almost done with them: Hence men forsake their friends, and tram­ple underfoot the scorns of the world, they have credit elsewhere: To maintain their interest in the love of godly men they will suffer much: Hence men in the Ministry pray for grace to beautifie and perfect their parts, that so they may preach and convert and have credit: Hence men meditate new Light, and profess deep things that few know, that men may worship the rising Sun: Hence the Lord is neglected secretly, yet honoured openly, because there is no winde in their cham­bers to blow their Sails, and therefore there they stand still: Hence many men keep their profession, when they lose their affection, they have by the one a n [...]me to live, and that is enough, though their hearts be dead: And hence so long as you love or commend them, so long they love you, but if not, they will forsake you; they were warm onely by anothers fire; and hence having no principle of life within, soon grow dead: This is the water that turns a Pharisees Mill, and the Lord passeth a heavy doom, You have your reward. I have wondred that the opi­nion of men, nay, dream of mens thoughts should act men; onely 'tis a curse of God, that when men despise his honour the greatest good, they shall be fed with the basest good.

4. Those whose Principle is nothing else but their own gain of outward bles­sings. Many there be that make not their honour, so much as their bellies their gods, and thy rule them, Phil. 3. 19. hence the Shop-keeper will give good words [Page 184] when he sells his commodity, he should lose much of his custome else; and hence the Minister preacheth contionably that his gaine may come in, 1. Thes. 2. 4, [...]. Hence people would be as good as the best, they cannot get a lot in all the Coun­try else. Hence a man is somtime content to forsake all for Christ, that he may make a booty of Christ, as Iudas did. Hence when Christ feeds them with Loaves, then the people will make him a King, Iohn 6. though afterward they cry Crucifie him. So men deal with Christ as the Souldiers did, that caught him, that they might strip him of his garments. And hence many men if they see sor­rows and wants attending them, if they attend on Christ, forsake him. Look upon our own Land, many so long as they could enjoy Christ with fair weather, cry out of Ceremonies, and prophaning of Sabbath: yet this not being to be had, creep to them, and read the Book for prophaning thereof. Many shadows have been seen since our Sun hath risen here, and this way they looked: but viewing other mens wants, and fearing their own losses, and conceiving they may meet with Massah in this Wilderness, refuse to follow. And least this should seem to be the cause, cry out we are Separatists, or strongly possess them­selves against all relations, there is no living at all here.

Look but at home, how many Dove; (that prove but Ravens, and live on the prey) come hither to our windows, and have followed Christ to this Worlds end; when he fed them with loaves, they made him their King: but now he hath taken away what once they desired; because there is better Bread to be laboured for; now they forsake him, and live on the spoyl. This is no inward Principle. And hence when mens Expences for Christ, exceed their Receipts from Christ, they cease spending, and fall in the high way to begging at the door of the World.

5. Those whose Principle is nothing else but the strength of natural Conscience, which will set men a doing, when they have neither praise from men, nor gain from Christ for their labour. For the Lord deals with some men, [...]as the Romans did with some of their Prisoners; they would chain a Prisoner and his keeper to­gether, and let them go up and down: so God chains many a poor Prisoner of hell and his conscience together, and lets them go together. And hence many a man keeps pace with his conscience, and cannot give it the slip for all the world heaped up with gold, as Balaam said.

Now there are two things in a natural conscience, Rom. 2. 15.

1. To accuse, Hence a man dares not omit prayer, dares not commit a sin he hath a mind to; conscience would then roar. Hence many keep constantly set duties in private, and tremble at small sins: not because they take any delight in the one, or are weary of the other; but because they are ever under the eye of this Judge.

2. To Excuse, and to give much sweetness when a man follows the dictates thereof; hence a man though carnal, will die for his Religion, and that with some chearfulness, because conscience chears within, and sings him asleep in trouble. And hence a man will cry out of all the glorious hypocri [...]ies of men, because to walk according to Conscience is sweeter to him. And hence a man comforts himself, tis my Conscience, Mark 12. 33. To love God is better than burnt Offerings. Hence a man will profit exceedingly in what he holds, Gal. 1. 14. because zealous for it for Conscience: and yet this is but a Principle of Nature, not an inward Principle of life, whose property is to seek the subversion of cor­rupt Nature, as natural Conscience seeks the garnishings of it and the actions thereof.

6. Those whose Principle is the fear of death, and hell; raised not so much by the power of Conscience, as by the power of the Word. And hence come com­plaints about a mans Estate; that a man can have no rest by all duties that he hath done, or doth. Hence following of the means, running to the best Mini­stry, mourning, and lamenting, and confessing sin, Mat. 3. 7. Oh generation of vi­pers [Page 185] &c. And hence prizing of favour and Comfort, Psal. 78. 34, 35. Hence many do take this for their Conversion, and say, I heard such a Minister at such a time, and then I cryed out I was damned, and thought I saw the Devil, yea, and to Hell you may for all this, if no other Principle. Indeed, there is this fear in the elect, but drives them to the Ark, as Noah: But those, when their fear is over, they fall to fight against the Lord.

7. Those whose Principle is nothing else but the immediate actings of the Spirit of God upon them. For sometime the Spirit of God comes upon men, as Light shines on the mud wall, yet dwels not there as in the Sun. And hence many speak, pray, prophecy admirably, as Balaam, Numb. 24. 3, 4. Many men like Carriers bring others goods, that are not possessors of them. Now these are 1. External enlargements, and hence a man do [...]h many things which he hath no inward power to perform, the Spirit is there assisting; hence he cannot do so at another time, but 'tis the Spirit only assisting. And hence a man may have abun­dance of knowledge, and he not affected with it; he may live, and pray with ap­plause of men; others wish they were like him, yet live without love, & speak without feeling, and do without life, hence men leave themselves here. 2. Internal pangs, the Spirit of God begets some inward grief, especially when outward e­vils press, then inward flashes and desires, but they are soon done. There is no Spring, no Principle within. What the difference is between Saints uneveness, and this unconstancy, you shall hear hereafter: yet these are wrestlings of Spirit not yet conquering, and hence it possesseth not the Soul.

8. When men; Principle is nothing else but common gifts, which are inward, and abiding long in the Soul. That a man now thinks he hath Grace, and sure signes of the Lords love, and here is fastned: when there be two things wherein it appears here is no inward Principle. 1. These gifts ever puff up, and make a man something in his own eyes, as the Corinthian knowledge did. And many a pri­vate man thinks himself fit to be a Minister, many a Minister better than all the Parish besides; when Paul was the least of all the Saints. And hence commonly they degenerate to pride & form. 2. These keep men strangers to Christ, & the life of Faith; they have these affections, yet ignorant of Christ, take these as signes of his love, & live without him. And this is indeed the inner Principle which all the wick­ed in the world want; there is in true Grace an infinite circle: a man by thirsting re­ceives, & receiving thirsts for more. But hence the Spirit is not poured out abun­dantly on Churches, because men shut it out by shutting in, and contenting them­selves with their common graces and gifts, Mat. 7. 29. Examine if it be thus. If so,

1. You cannot come to the Lord, John, 5. 44. how can ye beleeve?

2. Nor to receive any thing from the Lord if you do, Jam. 4. 3. When you ask to spend it on your lusts, when that carries you.

3. This puls down the Kingdome of the Lord Jesus, when other things rule us, and not himself alone.

4. Satan will have this against you, as against Iob, You serve not the Lord for nought. To what purpose are your new Moons, Church-reformations, if it be thus? Now, because it hath been replyed to what was formerly said, that Christ was the vessel, not our Souls. I shall therefore confirm the latter to be the truth, by these reasons.

1. Mystical places of Scripture are to be interpreted by plain. Now though Christ may be the Antitype of these Vessels of the Temple, yet he is not plainly said to be a Vessel; but Souls are called so, Rom. 9. 23. 2 Cor. 4. 7. Acts 9. 15. Paul is a chosen Vessel. 1 Thes. 4. 4. we are to possess our Vessels in holiness. 2 Tim. 2. 20. Vessels of honour.

2. The Spirit is not in Christ as in a Vessel, but as in a fountain; hence Ioh. 3. 34. Christs hath received the Spirit without measure.

3. The foolish Virgins had Vessels; because its sayd, they took their Lamps, but no Oyle with them. Their folly was not in not providing Vessels. Hence the foo­lish [Page 186] Virgins did not afterward beg their Vessels, but their Oyle.

4. The wisdome of the Wise did appear, in that they did provide Oyle for their Vessels. If therefore the Vessel be Christ, therein lyes the wisdom of the Wise, that they got the Spirit for to put into Christ, and the folly of the foolish, they got not the Spirit to put into him. Or the one go [...] Christ Jesus full of the Spirit; the other, Christ Jesus void of it. When whoever hath Christ, must have in him the fulness of the Spirit also.

5. The other interpretation crosseth the main scope of this part of the para­ble, which is to shew the difference between the Virgins; all professed Christ, went to meet the Bridegroom; but here was the difference, they never looked for to get the Spirit in them: and this is most suitable to men raised out of the dregs of Popery, where Works being abolished, Christ is owned, and therein do well, but he [...]ein f [...]il.

Thus you have heard the use of Tryall negatively. What this inward Prin­ciple is affirmatively, you have generally heard; and shall more particularly in the other two Doctrines. Only this I will add; it consists of two parts.

1. Our life in Christ by Faith.

2. Christ life in us by his Spirit. Faith empties the Soul, and looks upon it as dead, and see; its life laid up in Christ; and hence forsakes it self, and em­braceth the Lord of Glory. Secondly, the Spirit comes and posses [...]eth a for­saken empty House, and there lives and dwels. Both these the Apos [...]le men­tions, Gal. 2. 20. Eph. 3. 17. Ioh. 15. 4. As two married together, their Souls live not where they are, but in each other: The one cares not how to please her self, but her husband; and è contra. So that le [...]st any weak Soul should be dis­couraged, that thinks there is no Principle of Life, because such a blind, empty dead heart, wandring from God, &c. Nay, when the Lord quickens it, Oh its lost again! Nay, when quickned, oh then when it comes to, it is feeb [...]e! I tell you it must be so. This makes you lay up your life in him: this death is your life. And least any false heart should be here deceive [...], that saith he hath Christ; If you have not the Spirit of Christ, you are none of his. The Saints have this some­time, their Temple is filled with Glory; and for their general course, they are Admirers of the Lord Jesus; and account his Life, to be Life, and all their life beside to be a continual death. There is not any Grace but they say, oh that I h [...]d it!


TO every man, as ever you look to be with Christ Jesus another day,Use 5. Of Exhort. get this oyle in your Vessels. The Lord doth in this Parable set before your eyes the estate of the pu [...]est Virgi-Churches and Professors in the world, and it is his in [...]nite love to tell us before-hand, before the time be past; to tell us, that many of these shall be shut out from the presence of the Lord Jesus, whom themselves and others think shall not, and yet this love would be but little, un­less the Lord had made known the cause or defect in not getting oyle to their Vessels. Oh consider therefore, here you are like to fail; you that have Lamps before the cry and Bridegroom comes, acknowledge Christs love, and be over­come by it to get oyle into your Vessels; when Rahab knew that the Lord would destroy all Iericho, now she [...]ays about her to preserve her life. What's the means? To tie the Scarlet thread at the window: Oh she would be sure to get and keep that there. You know the Lord Jesus will come and discover the un­sound profession, and destroy the glory of the World, and Churches too: It may be you have had some fears, what if he should cut me off, and cast me out as pos­sibly he may? and I may as well as eminent Professors. I tell you, none ever [Page 187] perished but because of this. How just had Rahabs judgment been, if she had refused to get her scarlet thread there, and yours if now you get not your Oyle in your Vessel? How many are there that have lived fairly and died quietly, and when they are dead and knock, the door is shut: That then wring their hands, Oh had I but known of this! I would have spent my care and strength, and tears, and thoughts how to have filled my Vessel, but I knew it not. This time will shortly came, and if you know it now, and do not set upon it, what a cut will this be? As therefore the Apostle exhorts, Heb. 4. 1. Ha­ving a promise of entring into rest, fear lest you fall short of it. I say so much more here, knowing how only you shall enter into Christs rest, fear least you fall short of this; I hope I shall not, I thank God my course is blameless, spotless, I have forsaken the sins of places, and pollutions of Ordinances; so these were Virgins also. Oh but my Lamp burns as bright as any mans I know: So did the foolish Virgins, oh but they all think well of me, so were these thought of, till the Lord said, I know you not. Oh but I look to Christ, to meet with him, and salvation from him; So did these, and yet were shut out from Christ. If the Lord should have said it was because they had not wealth enough, nor world enough, every man would not have been wanting here, but would have striven to have got enough of that, though it were not to be had; but there is enough in Christ to in­rich you, who hath the Spirit without measure to do it: The Spirit may breath now.

Labour to feel and mourn under thy whole corrupt principles,Means 1. that have acted thee hitherto: For many men are sensible sometimes of some particular acts, and jarrings of their hearts and life with the rule; and then they seek forgive­ness of, and grace against them, and then they hope all is well, then they do ma­ny things, and hear Iohn gladly, and in plainness and integrity of their hearts think that all is well. But still they fall short of a Principle of life, because they never felt a whole corrupt Principle, and how in every thing it crosseth God, not only in the corrupt, but most glorious actions. For all men living naturally turn from being open, to secret enemies; and from being secret, to be subtil enemies, and to undermine the Lord in all they do. Now many see it but not the evil of it, nor mourn under it. Hence the Lord never sends another Spirit, because they have not the Spirit of heaviness for want of it. But when a man sees that in every thing he is carried and acted by a principle of bitterness against the Lord, and lives without the Spirit of the Lord to act him; the Lord is not far from that soul when he feels this, and mourns before the Lord, because of this, and the want of that, 1 Kings 8. 38. So Christ said, Because I said I go away, sorrow hath filled your hearts, John 16. 6, 7. This is the very reason why Saints have the Comforter, his absence fills their hearts with sorrow; because when he is gone, oh the straitness, vileness of a corrupt heart! you say it may be. If this be not a right Principle, what is? Answ. To undermine all false works; oh therefore, feel this plague! If ever God works this grace, feel you must the want of it, and if you do mourn then you are under it: And oh mourn, 1. By considering the evil of it, you can mourn after a dead father, and shall you not over a dead heart. 2. To think there should be so much Spirit in Christ, and not a drop for me. Is he so angry with me? See therefore I pray you that you are led by ill principles, or false principles. I pray, but self-love sets me a work; I profess, but praise of men acts me; I observe duties in secret, but natural Conscience only carries me. No surer sign of ruine then for the Lord to hide these things from you; nor of love then when he shews this, and gives you not only sense of some one act, but a spirit of heaviness under this. This empties the Vessel, and so makes us Ves­sels of honour; do not therefore set thy self so much to do, as to see where thy evil principle is, in all thou doest.

Repair now to the fountain of life, for a principle of life from him,Means 2. and fetch it from him.

[Page 188] What is th [...]? and how shall I fetch it from him?Quest.

1. Tis not a mans own striving,Answ. a man may imitate nature, but cannot make nature: All the world cannot make one poor flie. And as 'tis artis celare ar­tem, so when he hath done he may deceive himself and others, but nothing else. Born not of the will of m [...]n: A man is in great distress of Conscience for sin past, [...]ear of death for time to come, and now he comes just as far as a Devil; then prays Lord save me, and now comes as far as nature can carry him, and therefore is ea [...]ed, and now he hath Satans black seal upon him, and self-flattery hath car­ried him on. The fountain of life is not here.

2. 'Tis not the Law, it convinceth one, and he complains, it condemns ano­ther, and he cries out, it irritates another, and he falls to do what he can; but the Law cannot give life, Gal. 3. 21.

3. 'Tis not bare Ordinances, which are of themselves but husks and shels, and empty pipes; witness the cries of many a man Sabbath after Sabbath, no life, and that for a long time: Nay, he grows worse.

4. 'Tis not God simply considered, He is indeed the fountain of life, but sin hath sealed that fountain; hence many a one goes to him, and departs from him with frowns.

5. Where is life then? In Christ: I know he is Lord and Prince of Life. Yet consider, as God-man no life is in him for you, as to be communicated to you. Where then? 'Tis in the blood and death of the Lord of life: You are rea­dy to undervalue this life. Oh consider, what it mus [...] cost the Son of God? and where it must lie, Hebr. 9. 14. If Buls and Goats blood washed the flesh, much more this blood, &c. Many a man feels a blind dead heart, and all duties dead: And hence useth many periwasions to himself, yet they continue so still, because he never looks to this blood. There is this excellency in Christs blood, not only to cleanse from guilt, and power of sin, but from dead works, and none else can. Now therefore repair hither for it; know what your lives will and must cost. Now how shall this be done?

Answ. 1. Prize this blood, and satisfie thy Soul with it, choose it, and rest in it, in the Lord himself as sufficient, Ioh. 6. 53. Except you eat and drink, &c. many account it a common thing; you receive it not then, but trample it under their feet, many esteem of it, but they feed not themselves with it, nor quiet their hearts with life there first: and hence it falls out thus.

2. Keep this Rule, content not thy self with that measure which thou hast from Christ, but be thankful for it, and falling short, call ever for more; but satiate thy self with that which is in Christ.

If thou canst not do this, and it is beyond thy strength, then consider Christ hath words of life, Iohn 6. Oh beg for that, and for those words! Hear what the Lord will say, Psal. 51. 8. You cannot see nor come to Christ: Then hear, and your souls shall live. Who knows what the Lord may do. 'Tis not possible for man to do it, but the Lord Jesus may and can.

Oh then you that have this Principle,Use 6. Let all your actions issue and spring from hence! As Paul exhorted Timothy, Stir up that gift that is in thee. Up Deborah, up. Awake Harp and Lute, saith David. Do not say, I can do nothing, and so the Lord must do all. Do not say, I have a dead heart, and can do nothing, but stir it up. It was the Lords complaint, Isa. 64. 7. None took hold of the Lord nor stirred up himself to that end. It may be some of you have some strength. Oh put it forth? I know all strength is from Christ, but there is a pe [...]manent strength in you. You are not dead to act, you wrong the Lord and his Grace if you think so. As 'tis a heavy sin to shut up and imprison natural truth, Rom. 1. 18. So much more the power of Grace. Others have lost it, oh recover it! And hence Paul praies for this earnestly, Eph. 3. 15. The Lord strengthen you with might in the [Page 189] inner man. And therefore put this forth to act, and be sure you act only from this Spirit of Grace.

How shall I do this?Quest.

1. Set the Lord Jesus in all his Glory before you.Answ. There is that excellency of the knowledge of Christs Person, that it makes us be and live like him, and ac­cording to the propinquity of our souls and eyes to Christ, so we are like him, As [...]tis with the Sun, when it is gone from the earth, there are not so much as leaves on the Trees, yet when it returns, the Trees bring forth fruit. Or as 'tis in Heaven, 1 Iohn 3. 2. so in this life, when we see him in a Glasse, 1 Cor. 3. 18. That look as 'tis with an ambitious man, when he is in the presence of men he will manifest all his excellency, nothing shall be done to gain discredit. So if the Lord and his life be your excellency, when you see Christ, you will approve your selves to him. See him therefore beholding and accepting; and that Grace you would put forth, see it in him: 'tis strange to see what a stream of spirit comes somtimes this way.

2. Keep the remembrance of the exceeding greatnesse of his love fresh in your minds, in that he hath quickned you, Eph. 2. 4, 5. and that this life was by his death. All the Flowers of the field cast their savour but for a time, and then away with them; but Christs love and Christs death do usually alwaies breath a savour of life to a sincere heart that ever knew what the sting of death meant, 2 Cor. 5. 14, 15. Christs love constrains, because he dies that we should live. But how? Because we thus judged. God hath made man an Agent by counsel. Now some Christians go to the Lord to help them, but set not prayer of Faith a­work, and hence have no water of life: Some do, but use not other means to set the understanding (the mind of Faith) on work, to quicken it up to act, and so would have life brought in, but not by the right door: An empty Vessel will not be full of this water till now, that the mouth of the understanding is open. Now many things are to be considered to act every Grace, as Gods Command and Promise, &c. But this is that which in the general quickens, oh Christs love which constrains the Soul to live to him! According as a man thus receives from Christ, so he re [...]urns to him. As 'tis observed, one sign that when a people visit not their Minister, they receive no good; so here: That is sign of a decaying Chri­stian, for usually they that get good by Christ, cannot by their good will stay a­way from Christ. So then the soul will return in all fruitful obedience to the Lord, when he receives the sweet of the Love of the Lord. The Lord doth me good methinks, and hence he follows the Lord. Satan hence prevails with the heart, because of his external objects, and a party within; so here Christ pre­vails, because there is a party within, when external Objects are propounded. Let a man have life, if he have no food he will never live. If bread be before him, and he feed not on it, and that abundantly, he will never have strength, so this love of Christ in us, is life in us, and food for us.

3. Famish the contrary principle, the strength whereof is by sucking in the sweet, and receiving in carnal content from the creature, Rom. 13. 14. Put on the Lord Iesus, his Spirit, his Righteousnesse, his Life, his Graces, Make no provision for the Flesh. Many Christians look up to Christ in all means, but can do nothing, because they have some delight either in lawful or unlawful things, that lies between him and Christ. Hence that grows strong, the other fee­ble.

4. Die to all self-confidence in Grace received, or self-contentment with any measure of it; for thereby you stop the Spirit: For we of our selves cannot think a good thought. Therefore be strong in Christ, and hence Eph. 6. 10, 11, 12. A man is apt to fall to a double extream, to be strong in the Lord without putting on Graces; and to trust to them without being strong in him. Corn must die before it lives, so must you: and rest not content with the measure received, but look [Page 190] for more, and hence be thankful, and say, 'tis not I but Christ; yet look for more.

5. If no means come to give strength, consider sadly if you have not broken covenant with God, as in Samsons case, God was in covenant with him, but he had broken it on his part, hence his strength was gone. I know no place that breeds men of larger Covenants than this place, by Sea and Land, personall, and especially Church-Covenants. Now thy strength is gone. Dost not live in breach of Covenant? Not only it is broken, but you live in it. You cove­nant to cleave to the Lord, or if you depart, to return soon again, but you lie in your falls. Nay your Covenant and returning heals your horrour only, not your sin. You covenant to love Brethren dearly, but a little offence one gives; or hopes of a bigger Lot, will tempt thy heart to leave them to their own shifts. You covenant to submit to Officers in the Lord, but some take liberty to speak what they will, and others do what they list. To watch over your brethren to put life in them, but you grow a stranger, and it may be see them not once in a quarter, unlesse at Church: But can it be said they are any better for thee? Oh your sins are double, and hence your plagues of heart are worse now, more hard to be wrought upon, and hence sin and Satan lead you, Psal. 78. 57, 60, 61. Oh consider this sin, the strength of God is taken as Captain of the Camp, that when you cry, Lord help, there 'tis. But alas 'tis gone from you, and 'tis in Satans hand, not only your strength, but Gods strength, and the soul is taken captive. Oh therefore mourn for this, lest you mourn at last.

Sheweth that there is such a fulnesse or mea­sure of Grace in the hearts of Believers, which the most Refined Hypocrites never arise unto


THat there is a certain plenitude,Doct. 3. fulnesse, or full measure of the Spirit of Grace in the hearts of the Faithful, which the most Glorious, yet unsound Professors of Virgin-Churches want, and have not in their Vessels, but fall short of.

Just as these Foolish Virgins, they had their Lamps, a burning and shining Profession. And had they no more? Yes surely, for their Lamp how could it burn, but by means of some Oyl? They had their wiek toucht and dipt in Oyl, some lighter stroaks and superficial impressions of the Spirit. They had not their Vessels filled with Oyl, they had not this degree and full measure of the Spirit. This they fell short of, and herein appeared the difference. There are certain inward touches, an inward lighter Dye of Gods Spirit, which serves to beget a most eminent Profession before men, but never to make the Soul sincere indeed before the eyes of God. That look as some Naturalists make three or four kinds of life, differing only as higher or lower degrees of life, though not of the same life; as Plants have a Vegetative life only to grow, but no sensitive to see; be­cause [Page 191] their forms are more drowned in their matter; sensitive in beasts, yet not rational; rational in men, but not Angelical, &c. So here; a greater degree of the Spirits working, makes a difference in kind between Christian and Christi­an. 'Tis the Spirit that makes a man live a civil moral life, 'tis the same Spirit by a greater stroke, makes a man live the life of God, Eph. 4. 18. Yet here are two kinds of lives as far different as sensitive and vegetative; and though the rational hath both, yet 'tis neither of both. So though a Saint lives the life of reason and morality, yet there is another life he hath, which doth differ from these of a higher degree, and of another kind. I do not say therefore that a sin­cere soul only hath a greater degree of the same Grace, but that he is distinguish­ed by a greater degree of Grace and working of the Spirit of Grace from an un­sound heart. As a man may love another, but not with a conjugal love, here is now a degree of love, but not of the same love, for 'tis not a whit conjugal; it might then be sinful in some men, so 'tis here. A man that hath filled his stom [...]ck with meat may have some desire after it, but not an hungry de [...]re, not in that degree; hence not hungry at all. So the sluggard desires and hath not, a car­nal heart desire▪ and another desires the Lord Jesus; a carnal sluggish heart de­sires and hath not, but another hungers and is filled; he hath not any degree of the same hunger. 'Tis therefore granted there are desires, and joyes, and light, and growth in false hearts, but there is not that fulnesse of joy, that fulnesse of light, that fulnesse of the Spirit which is in the Faithful, and here they ever fall short. Yet note,

1. There is not a perfect measure; no [...] the fulnesse that shall be when our souls shall be gathered to them that are made perfect.

2. Nor yet that there is that fulnesse the Saints aim at; for 'tis the resurrecti­on they aim at, Phil. 3. 12, 13, 14.

3. Nor yet a glutting fulnesse, that men have Manna enough, and say, the main work is wrought, and that is enough: Not such a fulness as satisfies their appetite from longing for more. But which satisfies and quiets their Conscience in regard of the uprightnesse of their souls before the Lord.


BUT for the more full and clear explication of this point, I shall shew you these three things.

1. That Hypocrites may have some inward touches of Gods Spirit.

2. That the very reason of their falsenesse is because they have no more than such touches or stroaks.

3. That there is a fulnesse the Saints come to, which others want. To be shewed

  • 1. Positively.
  • 2. Negatively.

I. That Hypocrites may have not only outward shews, but some inward lighter stroaks of Gods Spirit. As

1. Of the Spirit restraining and confining, nay benumming of corruption, as Paul was blameless, nay he had no mind nor will to many sins, nay did not think he had any living contempt and enmity of God in his heart. Hence Rom. 7. 9. 'tis said, When the Command came sin revived. Was it not living before? Yes, but it was asleep, it was benummed, like cold Snakes, but not killed.

2. Of the Spirit preventing and exciting unto many, nay, to any duty of the Law in general, and that sometime by fears of misery and terrours of the Law, Deut. 5. 23. And somtime by love and mercy, morally affecting the heart, Exod. 19. 4, 5, 6. You have heard what the Lord hath do [...]e, Will you now enter into [Page 192] Covenant? Yes, yet what is said of them? Psal. 78. 37. They were false in Gods Covenant.

3. There may be some operative and quickning Grace of the Gospel, Heb. 6. 4. They were enlightened, &c.

4. There may besome edifying and cooperating gifts of Law and Gospel, whereby a man may not only be useful and helpful to some, but to the Church of God, as those that did prophecy in Christs Name. And these may be so in­ward, that they think themselves clean and sincere; as Abimelech.

II. That the reason of their unsoundness is because they have no more than lighter stroaks of Gods Spirit.

As I might shew in all these, Paul is blamelesse, yet far enough from having sin mortified by Christ, and hence professeth, We did serve divers Lusts, Tit. 3. 3. The Israelites cry out, they will do what God will have them: Yet Oh that there were such an heart! Deut. 5. 29. They in Heb. 6. were enlightened and tasted, yet fell. He therefore adds, We are perswaded (v. 9.) better things of you. They did prophesie in Christs Name, Mat. 7. Yet depart from me you workers of iniquity. But see it more particularly, Mark 12. 33. Saith the Scribe to him, To love the Lord, oh 'tis better than all burnt Offerings. Some Iews did rest there, but neg­lected the inward work; but this man, the inward work was prized in his judg­ment, he had both profession and some affection: And was he now entred into the Kingdome of God? No. Here was his wound, he fell short of it some degrees. Hence its said, thou art not far from the Kingdom of God. So the Israe­lites, Why did not they enter? Was not the Land good? Oh yes! That report the worst of the Spies brought: But their hearts were not taken with the goodness of it, as Calebs and Ioshuahs were. And hence they were shut out, Numb. 13. 27. & 14. 7, 8, 24. So it is here. So an unsound heart may be en­lightened, as 'tis there, Heb. 6. 4, 5. But there is a marvellous light which they never have, they have not such a degree, 1 Pet. 2. 9. And hence, Deut. 29. 2, 3, 4. The Lord hath not given you eyes to see to this day. Did the Lord give them no eyes to see, no hearts to be affected with what they did see? Why came they then out of Egypt? Why did they sing when they saw Pharaoh drowned? Why they had not such eyes and such hearts as Moses had, not unto that day.

So for turning to the Lord. Do not many unsound hearts turn over a new leaf? Do they not, not only outwardly, but inwardly too? Where is the flaw then? In the degree, Jer. 3. 10. Iudah hath not turned with her whole heart, but treacherously. So there may be some growth and life in false unsound hearts, that may after fall away: But where is the wound? Look in the Parable of the Seed; Some grew not at all; some did grow, but not having depth of earth, fell again: Others fell not in persecution, but there were the roots of Thorns that choakt the Seed; the good grounds seed came to ripenesse and fulness of fruit, though some in a greater degree than others; yet none at all (no ripe fruit) in the rest. Hence the Lord is said to weigh the heart, Prov. 16. 2. Men think they are humbled, and do believe, but God finds them too light, as Belshazzar was weighed and found too light. And thus it will be seen at the last day, when Christ Jesus shall appear, that all the most glorious Profession of many a man is there­fore rejected, because found too light.

III. That there is a fulnesse which the Saints have, and which others fall short of. Which I shall shew,

I. Positively and affirmatively from what hath been said, Prov. 12. 26. The righteous is more excellent. John 14. 17. Whom the world cannot receive, because it knows him not. There is that Spirit in Saints which no unregenerate man knows, hence desires not. Because he dwells in you, he doth not only send some gifts, or work somwhat there, but he dwells there, he fils the heart. Hence the end of Christs death is, to purchase to himself a peculiar people, Tit. 2. 14. Of such a [Page 193] spirit, such holiness that only themselves know. So 'tis that which all the Pro­phets press to, to a higher pitch; and hence that charge of Iosh. 22. 5. And 'tis a peculiar fruit of Election, Eph. 1. 4. 1. To be holy. 2. Before him. 3. In love.

II. Negatively. If there should not be such a distinguishing fulness,

1. Then the whole Ministry of Christ is in vain; and so destroyed, for what is the end of that, that God raiseth up any Ministers in the Church, but this, Acts 26. 18. To turn men from darknesse to light. If this light was only that in Heb. 6. 4▪ then the end of the Ministry was to work hypocrisie. And from the power of Satan to God, there the Lord leaves them not, but that they may receive remission of sins,&c.

2. If there should not be this fulness, most of the Promises should be destroy­ed, and Gods Faithfulness fail, and the Saints be deceived. For Promises are made to them that mourn, to them that hunger, to them that believe, &c. Now many Hypocrites mourn, and desire, and the stony ground believed. Then it seems the promise is not true. Yes, and therefore there must be another kind of mourning, another and higher degree of the Spirit of Faith, &c. i. e. not of the same Faith, but of another kind of Faith.

3. If not, then all Christian endeavour after a higher measure of Grace should be destroyed. For if any man only hath Christ in his eye, that he may have him, I say that is sweet; but I say you shall never have him, unless you receive him. Oh but many receive him! as Iohn 2. 23. yet Christ commited not him­self to them, for he saw what they were. Now therefore if you regard not the mea­sure, i. e. such a kind of receiving of him, you will never seek for it, pray for it, nor learn to know it. And hence 'tis said, Prov. 15. 24. The way of life is above to the righteous, If it were not above, of that height, he would never come over difficulties to it.

4. If not, there is no true hope that any man can have: But 'tis utterly de­stroyed, 1 John 3. 3. He that hath this hope purgeth himself. I am as good as such a one: But, as Christ is pure. That is his Copy and his Pattern.

5. The very people of God are destroyed from having a being in the world, if this measure makes not the difference. If it be replied, the Lord Jesus makes the difference. 'Tis very true, those that are in Covenant, they have God to be their God, that makes one difference; but if there be not some peculiar work­manship of the Spirit in them, then though they have God their God, yet the second part of the Covenant is destroyed, i. e. They are not the Lords peculiar people that have more than common wash-work. For we are not only the Lords people by choyce and purchase, but by new Creation also, Isa. 64. 7, 8, 9.


HEnce we see the sight of no Grace is no part of a Christians Grace and Ho­liness.Use 1. The five Foolish Virgins were not shut out because they did not see they had no Oyl, but because when they did see it, (as the Lord will make you see it first or last) they did not get such a measure and quantity of it as might fill their Vessel. You may go down to Hell with complaints I have nothing, un­lesse the eternal Spirit work somthing at last in you.

Hence take heed of quenching and limiting the Spirit of God,Use 2. when it's work­ing upon and breathing in your hearts at any time, in any means. Because you may then fall short of this measure of it, and so be shut out at last. Look as it was with the Israelites, 'tis said of them, that they could not drive out the Canaa­nites, i. e. they would not by reason of their sloath; and [...]nce they were pricks, nay snares to them. So the Lord begins to work strangely upon some men, but [Page 194] they are presently humble enough, and have comfort enough; and Grace enough, and cannot be better, and hence God makes their sins snares and thorns to their sorrow and ruine afterward. Nay Beloved, many a one will quench the Spirit. Oh take heed of it! Thus,

1. The Spirit not only convinceth, but humbles his heart, and shake; his spirit with fears of sin. Now what should he do? He should welcom it, and say, oh blessed Spirit, dost begin to cast me down to the dust for my sin, before I am cast to Hell for my sin! What wilt have me to do? Oh humble me more. Give me not only an act of heaviness, but a spirit of heaviness! As she said of affliction, I pray God this Plaister may never cease cleaving, till healed. Now what do many men? Why either game it, or work it, or sleep it away. The young man will not so soon lose all his mirth: The man that hath thought his estate good so long, will not believe 'tis so with him now. Or as Solomon speaks of Gods hand, he gro [...]s weary of his chas [...]isement, and so casts it off, and catcheth hold on Christ and comfort, and there staies, before the Spirit hath done it.

2. If they dare not shake it off thus till the Spirit easeth, then they satis­fie themselves with some hopes the Lord gives, and some tast of his sweetness, before they are satisfied with it, as those did, Heb. 6. 4, 5. And hence Psal. 90. 14. Oh satisfie us with thy mercy, so shall we be glad all the daies of our lives! So satis­fied, as to live upon it alone. As many say, they could be contented it should be so, but they do not live upon it. As if you should ask a man, could you be con­tent to be made King, and come from Beggery? Yes; but he is left there, 'tis not so; and hence lives a Beggar still. Men cannot live without their lusts. Yet saith Christ, My flesh is meat indeed, and drink indeed, i. e. This gives real con­solation, satisfaction indeed. And here many a Christian sinks, and goes up and down short of saving good.

3. Hence many walk in some desires which the Spirit hath wrought, but to break through all difficulties, and follow the Lord indeed, and come to that they know they must indeed, this they will not do, but depart from Christ sorrowful, and hope the Lord will accept of them; and hence the Lord complains, Mal. 1. 8. of this generation that had desires in their flocks, but lame ones. Will thy King accept this? And so all their work is overly and superficial by stinting the Spi­rit. Thus far you shall go but no farther. Oh Beloved, this is the frame of a sincere heart, the Lord empties him, but he is never content till the Lord fills; and when he finds it, he sits not down content that the work is done, but as his want made him beg before, so his tast makes him long more now, as Moses, to see more of the Lords Glory: As Paul, Phil. 3. 12, 13. Oh therefore when the Spirit comes, intreat it to go on and finish. And hence David begs, Psal. 119. 132. Oh the mercy that thou usest to shew to them that love thy Name! Why so? Oh David saw mercy to others, that sets God awork to do somwhat for them, work somwhat in them, but 'tis not such mercy. Oh beg for that mercy that humbled others, quickned others, that are now in Glory; that, or no mercy Lord!

How shall I know whether the work is overly?Quest.

1. If sudden and violent,Answ. 'tis usually overly. A Picture long a drawing is exact, another soon done is lightly done. A man hath Leopard-spots, which in our garments cannot be washed out easily. Gods through-work is soaking and searching. Hence violent sudden sorrows and joyes and reformation which all were in the stony ground, proved unsound, Mat. 13. 5.

2. God hath thy time of trying thee, Mat. 13. The seed was sown. Which now is good ground? Where is there fruit to be seen and ripeness of Grace? Look upon persecution, if that doth not drive thee from Christ. If that doth not, see if the world doth not, which by a certain deceit and cozenage will befool you. I am pe [...]swaded, as [...] is, that all the several trials of men are to shew them to themselves and the world, that they be but counterfeits, and to make Saints [Page 195] known to themselves the better. As Saul, he hath a temptation only of a com­mand, when he had nothing to cause him to stoop but it, yet he fell there. So 'tis with many others that God doth much for, he tries them, Rom. 5. 5. Trib [...] ­la [...]ion works trial, and that hope. Prov. 17. 3. If you would know whether it will hold weight, the trial will tell you. Look you there, and in special, if it drives to Prayer, fear not.

Wherein is given a more Large and Full ac­count of that Fulnesse of Grace that is in Believers, as to the Several Parts thereof, and how the most Glorious Hypocrites come short in all.


MAke therefore a narrow search whether you have this Fulness of the Spi­ritUse 3. or no.

What is this Fulness [...]?

When the Spirit comes in the room of those things which a man is fullQuest. of now. For fulness or filling implies emptiness, and the removal of that.Answ.

Now there are six things every man is full of.

  • 1. Sin
  • 2. Darkness.
  • 3. Unbelief.
  • 4. Satan.
  • 5. Self.
  • 6. World.

So there is answerably in every Saint,

  • 1. A Fulness of humiliation for sin.
  • 2. A Fulness of illumina [...]on and revelation, in the room of darkness.
  • 3. A Fulness of Faith, in the room of unbelief.
  • 4. A Fulness of the Spirit it self, in the room of Satan.
  • 5. A Fulness of Sanctification in acting for God as their last end, in the room of self-seeking.
  • 6. A Fulness of Glory and Consolation, in stead of the world.

I. Fulness of humiliation under sin, opposite to fulness of sin.

For every hypocritical heart hath commonly some humiliation and casting down, which is the first Principle of all his Profession, and hence can tell you of his miserable estate that once he lived in, and for which he was troubled, but it was never deep enough. For as there was before his terrifying, a full power, a fulness of the dominion of sin, his humiliation for sin, never reached, never came to that fulness or measure, so as to deliver the soul from that. For I do not account that true humiliation whereby a mans heart is rent, troubled and torment­ed with sin, but whereby 'tis rent from sin; not from the being, but from the power, not from the bondage of some, but yet from the power of all. For if rending with sin should be humiliation, then the Devils should be more humbled then any. Then also a man may have too much of humiliation, and of Gods Spi­rit. If rending from the being of all sin should be humiliation, then no man li­ving [Page 196] should be sincerely humbled; unless we dream of an est [...]te of perfection before it comes, and of the day of triumph in the time of warfare. If rending from the bondage of some sins should be humiliation, then a man might be truly humbled for sin, and yet under the power of it. And therefore look as in every one the Lord humbles, there was once a fulness of the reign and pow­er of sin in the full strength of it; so that full measure of Humiliation which the Lord works in his, it ever comes to that height, as to break that power down, Ehud -like, it not only wounds the flesh, but leaves the dagger in the heart of this Tyrant; 2 Cor. 10. 5. The weapons of our warfare are mighty to cast down every thing that exalts it self.

If I should leave this Point thus, I should but leave you as doubtful as you came, and so in the dark; therefore for the better clearing of this Point, let me explain five things to you: The Scope of which is to shew you, what I mean by sin, and the power of it, and that Humiliation that removes it.

I. That besides the outward acts of sin, and inward lusts and breathings of sin, and the spiritual plagues with which God strikes men for sin, as blindness, hardness of heart, there is in every man living another sin, commonly called the sin of nature: (as in the Serpents, besides the spitting of poyson, their nature is poisonous) which sin is generally beleeved and confessed, but felt by few. This is called in Scripture by the name of Flesh, Joh. 3. 3. The Law of the members, The old man. For as in men, there are actions, breathings, and the man himself; So here: Which sin of nature is the deordination of the whole man, or a corrupt bent and set of the whole man against God: And it expresseth it self in two particulars; 1. In a constant departing from God in every action, Civil and Moral: Like a man set out of his way, every step he goes is ou [...]; or like a Clock out of frame, every stroke is false, Psal. 58. 3. The wicked go astray from the very wombe. 2. In a fierce, invincible, resisting and contradicting of God, whe [...] he hath overtaken the soul to draw it home, and turn it back, Rom. 8. 7. We account it a doleful thing for Christ to bid the soul depart at the last day, that wo is past upon all the sons of men by this sin now; only with this difference, 1. They are forced to depart then, men willingly depart now, and hasten away in every thing from God as fast as they can. 2. They depart into fire, these to broken Cisterns of creatures. I do 3. Believe they would not resist the Lord, if he should come to save them from their separation then from him, this makes nature resist him now.

II. That this sin of nature is most properly only the reigning sin. The text is evident for it, Rom. 6. 12. Let not sin reign, to obey it in the lusts thereof. There is 1. Obedience, i. e. the outward acts. 2. Lusts, the inward breathings. 3. Sin it self where those lusts are seated. It hath been a Question, What a mans raigning master sin is, and many discoveries have been made of particular sins, as that which riseth and awakeneth first in the morning with us, that which rides and labours a man upon the Sabbath day, when the Lord or sin must ride in triumph: yet that is the misery of a carnal heart, that when he gives his beasts rest, yet such is sins tyranny, he being sins beast, that he shall then have no rest. Now if their meaning be, that some particular sin may be a raigning sin, or a mans per­sonal reigning sin; then 'tis true, Iudas loves his bag best, and Achitophel and H [...]m [...]n his honour most, and [...] his whore most. But if they mean a mans natural reigning [...]; the reigning sin then, 'tis not any particular sin so much as this: For no sin is able to reign over any man but by commission and power from this. As the Weeds can never grow [...]all, but by vertue of their soil where they grow, Mat. 15. 19. All the boughs flourish by vertue of the root whence they grow. And hence we shall see, let Satan sow his seeds of pride or lust or pas­sion in a man whose nature is changed, its impossible they should come to any perfection there, b [...] [...]ey will die away within a time, because the heart of the [Page 197] soil is gone, and power of sin removed; and hence also it comes to pass, that a mans master sin may be changed: Those sins that are his master-sins in his youth, are not in his old age, those that are at one time, in one place, are not in another. Now there could never be such change of Governours and Vice-roys, unless there were some great King, that sets up one, and pulls down another, satis pro imperio; This is therefore the raigning sin, which hath taken possession of every part, which hath its hand in every act, which pulls down one sin and sets up another under it, which gives strength to every sin that hath any, which fights it out till the last: This is I say the reigning sin; hence think not that then the reigning sin is down, when your personal sins are destroyed, though it be with a most sudden and fear­ful destruction.

III. That when the Spirit of God humbles the soul indeed, he strikes the head, and wounds the [...]eart of this sin; he doth not only cut off some limbs of it, not only binde it, but slay it of its life and power. That as 'tis with some men, they may have many pains, gripes, diseases, yet live and recover again, but the pangs are not so strong as to separate soul and body, for then the man is gone: So a carnal heart he may be troubled, and have many gripes of Conscience, and apply the promise, Come to me you that be weary, and so he may finde rest, and as he recovers his peace, his sin recovers its strength; but when the pangs are so strong as to separate body and soul, sin of nature which hath lived there; now the man dies, now the soul falls down indeed. Now this effectual humiliation car­ries the soul unto Christ, and hence Acts 26. 18. turned from the power of Satan to God, Col. 1. 13. He hath delivered us from the power of darkness. And hence Gal. 5. 24. They that be in Christ have cr [...]eified the flesh, as well as the affections and l [...]sts: For if the Lord should only humble a man for the sins of a wicked life, and some wants in the heart, the Lord should only bruise Satans heel, but never strike his head; the Lord should slay the A [...]al [...]kites, but spare the Agag; 'tis true, the Lord usually at first conversion sets one sin upon the soul that brings to minde many other, and the Lord humbles for them, and here the soul is apt to rest as many do, but when the Lord comes indeed to work, he cuts thus deep as now I speak. 1 Cor. [...]5. 'Tis said, The Lord must reign till all his [...]nemies are put under his [...]. Look therefore as this sin is the greatest enemy Christ hath, so if he reigns in heaven, he will be sure above all other sins, to strike the head of this, and dis­throne this; and w [...] shall find that there may be deep terrors upon the false hearted Virgins, but they only assault the soul; So on Saints, but Christ then strikes at the sin and saves the soul, Isai. 57. 16, 17. And this I add, there may be a great power of Christ put forth to humble the soul, but mens hearts resist this; and even Pharaoh was humbled, but its never saving, unless it strike the very power and throne of sin, and so this sin; and now the soul is humbled in­deed.

IV. That no unregenerate man ever had such a measure of humiliation, as ascended to, and ended in this, though he may have all that Humiliation which is precedent unto this. As,

1. The Lord may arm first some few, and then many of the sins of their lives upon them, so as they may feel the most intollerable burthen of them; not only to stand convinced they are most grievous sinners, but to shed many tears; nay, to be sore troubled and distressed, oh the heavy wrath that lies upon my soul! Thus Saul, 1 Sam. 28. 15. And hence many make heavy complaints, oh the Lord hears me not! Send for Moses, saith Pharaoh. My sin is gr [...]er than I can [...]ear, saith Cain. Nay, not only so, but they may feel more terrors [...]han ma­ny of the Saints, as the damned now; for the Lord lays this burthen upon his peo­ples backs in measure, but the Lord empties out the whole sack upon them, and the ground of this is but the sting of sin, or the gnawings of particular sins in the Conscience, not the burthen of the sin of nature as yet.

[Page 198] 2. You will say, these fell from God, never looked to Christ, not left their sin; but I have done so. I have seen the mercy of God in the Gospel, the Lord Jesus hath been revealed there, and I have seen sin, I must part with my sin, if ever I have him, and so I have. And this you may have, you may see an excellency in Christ, and be so affected with hope of his mercy, and melt at the thoughts of his Love, as to cast off all outward evils that thou hast, or the world lives in, 2 Pe [...]. 2. 20. So that thou maist escape these, by coming to him to remove them, and by seeing that else thou shalt have none of him; and hence hated thou maist be of the world. The reason is, Christ hath only washed thy skin, but never chan­ged thy nature as yet, so that you may thank God my Conscience is clear.

3. You may have not only outward acts, but for a time inward lusts quenched, that a man hath no mind nor heart to any sinful way, nor to the dearest sins he hath lived in, whilst horrour lies upon him. As in Iudas, when God did hea [...] his Conscience, his lust, after his Bag was gone, he had more mind to an halter; And hence f [...]ings away his pieces of silver, and innocent blood lies heavy. Oh [...]he mercy of a Christ that I have sleighted! He thought he might have had his money and Christ escaped with his life, and his sin pardoned afterward. And hence its said, Mat. 27. 3. When he saw he was condemned, he repented, and as a man not worthy to live in his own thoughts, he goes and hangs himself. 'Tis with the soul as with water, all the cold may be gone, but the native Principle of cold remains still. You may remove the burning of lusts, not the blackness of nature, from a carnal heart, and the ground holds, nature is not changed. This I say an unregenerate man may have, but yet never find this change of nature, where the power of sin lies: change of Conscience from security to terrour, change of life from prophaneness, and civility, and fashions of the world, to escape pollu­tions thereof; change of lusts, nay quenching them for a time; but the nature is never changed in the best Hypocrite that ever was. As 2 Pet. 2. 19, 20. Th [...] were washed, but never from their [...] nature; And here they ever fail, Prov. 30. 12. There is a gen [...]ration clean in their own eyes, yet not washed from their filthi­nesse. 2 Tim. 2. 18, 19, 21. Alexander fell, and Hymeneus; they talked of the glorious estate of Saints, and that here was all the resurrection that is to be ex­pected; and i [...] seems it was such a fall of such persons that many stumbled, and said, How shall we know who are the Lords? Doubtless we may fall. No, the foundation remains sure, and the Lord knows who are his. They were none of his all that time, and let all that professe Christ depart from iniquity, for he that purgeth himself shall be a Vessel of honour. And therefore read through all the Scripture, constant­ly never any Hypocri [...]es but they had this brand, Mat. 7. 23. You workers of iniqui­ [...]y. Herod and Iudas had their haunts, &c. And Rom. 1, & 2. The Apostle shews that all were under sin. He may in eve [...]y thing else be humbled, for all the humiliation besides this strengthens sin in its Kingdom, and binds a man fa­ste [...] under the dominion of it. And hence such men are more hard to he convin­ced th [...]n men that were never cast down at all.

But this he never finds, for if he should, then,

1. A graceless heart might partake of the greatest Benefit of the Covenant of [...] and love of God. For Rom. 11. 26. This is my Covenant, to take away their s [...]n ▪ For to subdue s [...]n is greater love than to conquer Devils, death, and Hell, Isa. [...]1. 6. 'Tis turning Lions into Lambs.

2. T [...]en an unregenerate man may partake of the last end of all the sufferings and sorrows of Christ, which is to save his people from their sin. And hence, John 1. 29 B [...]hold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world. 1 John 3. 5, 8. Christ came to destroy the works of the Devil. This therefore he ever falls short of. He [...]ha [...] hath found this easie, and accounts this work common, never had it yet.

Quest. How may a Christian know when the Lord hath changed his nature, and taken do [...] [...]he power of his Sin?

[Page 199] Answ. It might suffice to evidence this against all gain-sayers, that thus 'tis, and so to know it by the Spirits witness, which shews us the things freely given of God, who to save the Lord a trying another day, tries us now, and makes known these hidden works. Especially seeing some Divines think, that as the first Adam conveyed this sin of Nature, I not knowing; so the second Adam doth also re­move this by an immediate stro [...]k, I conceive 'tis so also, but not only by it. And therefore take two Evidences now.

1. Where-ever this is done, that soul doth not only see this sin, for so an un­regenerate Paul did, Rom. 7. 9. Where sin revived, &c. And the Word is a di­vider of joynts and Marrow. Nor do they only feel this as an evil, and so be much troubled with it, but when the Lord makes the dejected soul feel it as its greatest evil, so long as it remains in its being; (as it will) worse than death, than hell, than all afflictions, and miseries. 'Tis not a particular sin, but this that he feels thus. You will say, this is a high pitch. I say, consider if any man was ever humbled under sin, but he that felt sin as it is. For if I feel it not as 'tis, I am deceived. Now 'tis the greatest evil; To depart from a living God is worse than for soul and body and all creatures to depart from me. To make God misera­ble is worse than for all creatures ever to be made so, and sin in its tendencie doth so, being a cross to his Will, Isa. 1. 24. Hence he that feels it indeed, feels it so; the beginning of which is a sorrow and mourning after God, that it might be so, Isa. 63. 17. Why hast hardned our hearts from thy fear? But thus 'tis indeed, Rom. 7. 24. And when 'tis thus, it will hold thus till death, while the cause remains; nay the more life and love, the more tender it grows; setting aside some careless fits. And hence its greatest joy is to think of the time it shall be for ever holy. And hence accounts no such mercy as to be set at liberty to live to God indeed. A graceless heart sees and fears it, and cries out of himself for it; but stay a while, and he loseth his tenderness, either because he cannot part with it, or because of Christ, he looks now to him, or because he hath now some sprinkling of the Spirit, nature is eased thereby, and he is quieted; and hence never any carnal heart, but some root of bitterness did grow up at last in this Soyl. Hence Ordinances profit not, because feeling is lost. But the soul thus feeling it, beholding the Holiness of God and Love of Christ, and its con­stant withdrawings, resistings, oh it cuts deep!

2. Then the nature is changed, when the Conscience being still and quiet, and the soul assured of the Lords love, yet nothing gives the heart quiet till 'tis con­tiguous to God in Christ to enjoy him, in his Holiness, and in the love and de­light of his whole will. For this is a certain Rule, If the nature be not changed, if Conscience be but once quie [...]ed with the sence of Gods love, and affected with it, and hath not God indeed, nor his work to quiet it, it will fall to lusting after Creatures and live upon them, and feed the heart there. For as 'tis impossible for a man to live, or to be without provision, so the world being provision for the flesh, meat, drink, sleep, and these lawful things, there i [...] doth and will lie quiet without God. But now where the nature is changed, and there is another nature, there is somthing else provided for it to live on, and that is the Lord and his Will. As Christ said, 'tis my meat and drink to do his Will. And Rom. 7. 22. I d [...]light in the Law of God in the inner man. There was somwhat that loathed it, but [...]here was somwhat else delighted in it, and there lies its life, and though the heart would rest and give over somtimes, yet 'tis a Law of the mind that the soul hath, he can have no rest, Rom. 8. 5. And therefore take a child of God, let him have meat, drink, sleep, blessing in his Calling, preach, pray, and have honour, yet [...]e will constantly come home to the Lord mourning. What doth all this do me good? When I rise up, lie down, eat, drink and pray, and do all with­out him? An untuned heart all this while. The world stands between him and the Lord all this while, but this doth not. Many a sincere heart hath heavy com­plaints, [Page 200] and many doubts, because 'tis not thus; this rather is an evidence of peace, than Gods war against it. Its an old Rule, he that can live in Heaven, shall; and there is nothing but a God to suck in, and breath out, and live unto. Is this thy Element now?

Oh consider and examine your selves here you poor Saints, that you may be comforted. Others of you, if now you do not, the Lord Jesus will another day, and bring these secret things of darkness to light. If thou findest this was never yet done, know it, all thy tears, and fears, and prayers have been in vain; and under the power of sin and Satan thou still art, through the fierce wrath of God a­gainst thee: And there I leave thee till the Lord find thee out.

II. A Fulness of Illumination in the room of darkness.

BUT let it be first noted that I speak not here of Revelations of future E­vents. When Virgin-Churches shall fall a dreaming, 'tis a sign they fall a sleeping. Nor of revelation of new Doctrines, nor yet of the Love of Christ and assurance thereof; but of the Person of Christ, a work common to all the Elect, and not peculiar to some, for Christ may not appear in his promise of love for a time to a sincere heart, yet this is then wrought. I shall therefore express my thoughts herein in four Conclusions.

1. That all unregenerate men are under the power of darkness,Conclu. 1. of ignorance, Eph. 5. 8. You were darknesse in the abstract, Eph. 4. 18. So that they cannot understand the things of the Spirit of God, 1 Cor. 2. 14. Especially the Lord Jesus, for the knowledge of him is above nature, not only corrupted but pure nature. Nay though the Lord gives the best and clearest means of revealing himself, yet they cannot see, John 1. 5. Light shined in darknesse, and it comprehended him not, no more than he whose visive faculty is lost, when the Sun shines round about him. Nay, that light which is in them is darkness, Mat. 6. 23. And then how great is that darkness? For many men might have known Christ, but that they thought they did know him before, and so are delivered up in these chains of darkness to the Prince of darkness, but are like wilderness-shrubs, shall never see when good comes. Ministers (as Christ did) may mourn over them, but can never help them until the Lord pull off their scales. For they please them­selves in darkness, and love it more than light, and are not as Paul, praying and mourning under the Scales that are upon their eyes.

2. That there is a state of light to which God calls his people only;Conclu. 2. or rather, that there is a spirit of Light, Illumination or Revelation let into the mind, which is Peculiar to the Beloved of Christ, 1 Pet. 2. 9. As of other things, so es­pecially of the Lord Jesus, 2 Cor. 4. 4, 5, 6. And 'tis so Glorious a work that Christ himself admires the Father, and stands in a ravishment at it, Mat. 11. 25. To Babes, uncapable of all others of knowledge; yet to them doth the Lord re­veal some things that the wisest in the world never knew. I do believe that the greatest Scholar that ever lived, never had one such thought or apprehension of the Lord and the things of the Lord, as the Saints have. And hence Christ pro­fesseth, oh blessed are your eyes that they see; and themselves bless him, and fall a wondring many times, Lord why dost manifest thy self to us, and not to the world? And therefore 'tis an injury to the Grace of God, to make precious things com­mon, and all the work of the Spirit on the understanding to be common to Re­probates, and to say, the difference lies only in the work of the Spirit upon the will, John 6. 45. He that hath heard and learned of the Father, comes to me. If the Learning of the Father be common to a Reprobate, then either they may [Page 201] come to Christ, which is there denied, or Christs promise is false, for then a carnal heart may hear and learn of the Father, and never come to Christ.

That notwithstanding 'tis thus with them, yet foolish Virgins may have some light in their Lamp; some sight and knowledge of Jesus Christ.Conclus. 3. It is said we live in dayes of light, and so indeed we do, but as the Lord said to them that had seen his Miracles, yet the Lord had not given them eyes to see to this day; they were inlightned yet fell, Hebr. 6. 4. I shall therefore speak not of the revelation of all the Word, but of Christ the end of it, and the knowledge of whom com­prehends all the rest.

1. There is a knowledge of Christ in many a man which is begot by common fame, and humane private instruction, which men hearing from credible men, conceive of and believe; As that Christ is the Saviour of the World, is come, is dead, is risen, is at Gods right hand, that in him Gods justice and mercy is re­conciled, that there is mercy with him for the greatest of all sinners, &c. And according as men are more or less instructed; so do men conceive and beleeve. But now this knowledge is but traditional, and begot by common fame and hu­mane report, like Herods, that heard many things of Christ, and yet indeed de­spised him. The Lord I know doth make use of this to cause the soul to come to further sight of him, as in the Queen of Sheba, but its far enough off from giving any saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus; and hence Iohn 1. 46. when they had been with Christ, they do not wish them to rest in the report, but Come and see; so you hear of these things, but come and see these things. You have learned them from man come unto the Lord that he may teach them; and hence we shall see many of the people of God that have been put to a Question of all things that ever they learned, and learnt them over again; as, Whether there be a Christ or no, &c. And they never saw these things indeed, until the Lord taught them a second time; hence therefore those that have been thus trained up, and have been troubled and comforted by some conceived promises of Christ, but never saw any more of his person, then what you have learned before; Your eyes are closed up to this day.

2. If any man should see and behold Christ really, immediatly, this is not the sa­ving knowledge of him. I know the Saints do know Christ as if immediatly pre­sent, they are not strangers by their distance, if others have seen him more imme­diatly I will not dispute it, but if they have seen the Lord Jesus as immediatly as if here on earth, yet Capernaum saw him so; nay, some of them were Disciples for a time, and followed him, Iohn 6. and yet the Lord was hid from their eyes; nay all the world shall see him in his glory which shall amaze them, and yet this is far short of the saving knowledge of him, which the Lord doth communicate to the Elect. So that though you see the Lord so really as that you become fa­miliar with him, yet Luke 13. 26. Lord have we not eat and drunk, &c. And so perish.

3. A man may see the Lord in his wonderful works, and glorious kingdome and government, and yet not know him savingly, wondrous deliverances, preser­vations of himself, and of Gods people, dreadful destruction of enemies, such as they cannot but say, This is the finger of the Lord, and yet know not, Deut. 29. 1, 2, 3, 4. And hence Iohn 15. 24. and hence men think such things are done, and shall I ever be vile again, yet they become as bad as ever.

4. He may see the Lord Jesus yet more clearly by the letter of the Scripture, which though it brings to the saving knowledge of Christ, yet to see the Lord Jesus no otherwise then by the strength of fancy and understanding, from thence is no saving knowledge of Jesus Christ; and hence Rom. 16. 26. the Mystery of the Gospel was hid from the Jews, but now 'tis revealed to all Nations; literally, to all where it comes, savingly to some few. For between the saving knowledge of Christ in the Gospel, and palpable ignorance of him in the Gospel, there is this middle knowledge which is literal, whereby a man doth see, yet in seeing, sees [Page 302] [...]t, Isai. 6. 9. which is the St [...]e of a Church which hath been long trained up under good means; And hence we shall see many men of great learning have been able to wr [...]e Volumes of the Mystery of Christ, and yet in seeing [...]ver [...].

5. There may be in a false heart a strange knowledge of Christ without Scrip­t [...]res, which may ravish a mans [...] heart strangely, which is usually the first Temptation of the Virgin-Churches, that are of much knowledge, and little love, 2 Cor. 11. 2, 3, 4. Wherein Satan doth no [...] seek to pull away men to forsake the Gospel, but from the simplicity of the Gospel, Repe [...]t, and beleeve, and [...]e [...], For saith he, [...] is transfor [...]ed [...]to an Ang [...]l of light: And hence we have heard that some have heard voices, some have seen the very blood of Christ drop­ping on them, and his wounds in his side, some have seen a great light shining in the Chamber, some wonderfully affected with their dreams, some in great di­stress have had inward witness, Thy sins ar [...] forgi [...]en; and he [...]ce such liberty and joy that they are ready to leap up and down the Chamber: O adulterous gene­ra [...]ion [...] This is natural and usual with men, they would [...]ain see Jesus, and have him present to give them peace; and hence Papists have his Image; and hence Christ gives the S [...]crament to shew himself as familiarly as can be. Hence Th [...] ­m [...] would not beleeve, [...] be might put his finger in his side, and the Lord ten­dred him, yet pronounced them [...]lessed, th [...] h [...]ve not seen, and yet beleeved, Joh. 20. 29. So I say [...], Wo to them that have no other manifested Christ, but such a one. Little do you think what wrong you do to Christ, for you do as much as in you lies Eclipse all his glory at the last day, as the wicked by their sins Eclipse his glory at this day. 2 The [...].1. 10. He shall be admired in all that beleeve. Why? Because our Testimony was [...]leeved▪ That Faith which closeth with, and sees Christ in a Testimony, is tha [...] whereby Jesus shall be admired at the worlds end.

That the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ is this,Concl. 4. Whereby the soul being sensible of his Ignorance of Jesus, beholds such a glory in Christs person, as that he esteems him in all his glory, as his present, greatest, and only good. I will take this in pieces.

1. I say [...]hat soul which hath truly and savingly seen the Lord Jesus, hath been made sensible of his ignorance of him; I see him not, I have heard of him, and [...]ead of him, and taken his Name into my mouth, and professed him; and I be­leeve others see him, and blessed are their eyes, but I see him not, Iohn 9. 26, [...]7, 39. For [...] I c [...]me into this world, and look as all the increase of the knowledge of Christ comes in by this door, so the beginning of it, and there­fore those that have been cast down and he [...]rd of Christ a Saviour, but never felt their ign [...]ance of him before they have apprehended him, their light is darkness, and their knowledge full of delusion and idolatrous.

2. It beholds a glory in Christs person, for before the Lord reveals his Son to any, look what he was to the Jews he is to every man, Isai. 53. 2, 3. He is reject­ed and despised of [...], nothing so mean as Christ, every vanity preferred above him, and men can do no other, because they see not his glory and beauty, 1 Cor. 2. 8. If they had [...], &c. Therefore the Lord reveals his hidden glory to th [...]m, such as never entred into their hearts before, or into the minds of other men, which though others may talk of, yet they cannot see it in that manner as they do; it is c [...]ed therefore [...] light which he doth reveal, when the soul hath been viewing its own shame and filth, when all the grass and glory is wi­thered, Is [...]. 40. 6. then the glory of Christ is revealed; One every way so fit and suitable to them, according to all their wants and woes, by some Sermon or other, which when the soul doth see, it usually fills the head, and heart, and eyes with [...]. Oh that I have despised him so glorious! Acts 2. 36, 37. 2 Cor. 4. 5, 6. If the soul should not feel its ign [...]ance of him, it would never esteem the [Page 203] fight of him, but now it doth thus, and now that Glory is revealed, Iohn 1. 14. We beheld his Glory as the Glory of the only begotten S [...]n. In every Truth there is a Glory which men see not, and this is called in Scripture, the finding of the Pearle, Ma [...]. 13. 45.

III. He so beholds him in his Glory, as that he now esteems of him in all his Glory. For a Bala [...] may see the Glory of the Tents of Israel; and the Star of Iacob, but they esteem not of him in all his Glory. The damned in Hell see a Glory in Christ, else they would never grieve for the loss of him, but 'tis only in regard of somthing in Christ, delivering Saints from sorrows they feel. Nay many Reprobates under a lively Ministry, shall see some Glory in Christ and in Saints, to think them the happy men, yet not esteem of him in all his Glory; but 'tis otherwise here. The Lord ariseth as the Sun upon the earth, which makes all things that have any Glory to appear therein, and it puts a Glory on every thing, that was hid before. So Christ puts a Glory on every thing of him­self: So that,

1. The soul sees a Glory in the Grace of Christ, Iohn 1. 14. For the Glory of Christs Person is not seen without these excellencies, Luke 1. 46. My soul [...] the Lord.

2. A Glory in the Holiness of Christ, Isa. 6. 3. Especially to consider, it's in him to make me holy, 2 Cor. 3. 18.

3. A Glory in his Covenant and Promises, Psal. 45. 1, 2. Oh that all those Promises might be made good to me! This is all my desire, 2 Sam. 23. 5.

4. A Glory in the Government and Commands and Will of Christ. Oh if once I could in every thing give content to his heart [...] Psal. 19. 10. Th [...]t the soul had rather lose all than cross his will in a small thing, seeing a Glory in the least Truth, in casting off a Ceremony, &c. Zach. 6. 13.

5. A Glory in all the Ordinances of Christ. Oh how amiable are thy Ta [...]erna­cles oh God! Oh the Fellowship of Saints! Oh the peace on Sabbath [...]!

6. A [...]lory in all his carriage. Let him bless me with outward estate, though but a little. This is the allowance that Christ in Glory provides for [...]. Let him threaten me, good is the Word of the Lord. Let him desert me, his anger is love: Oh that is Glorious! Let him take all from me, reproach me, Moses esteems Christs reproach greater riches than Egypt, which is our estate here. It sees a Glory in all Christs waies, and quiets it self here, it is the Lord, as Eli said. Thus Saints see and esteem of Christ in all his Glory, and we shall find a false hea [...]t ever falls short here, a sincere heart never, but commonly is so taken up with it, that if you ask, suppose you should have all Grace, Holiness, Promises of Christ, &c. Would not this be mercy? Yes, enough: I should then boast in him, and bless him for ever. And hence Christ is called, L [...]ke 2. 33. the Glory of Israel, because they so esteem him. And Isa. 28. 5. In that day the Lord shall be a Diadem of Glory. Others may in horrour pri [...]e Christ above the world, but 'tis only to ease them.

IV. I add, he esteems him thus,

1. As his present good; so that if the Lord doth withdraw or deny himself, now unto him no [...]hing in this world can for the present quiet him, Ier. 50. 4, 5. Hence those in their judgments acknowledge Christ the greatest good, and when they are dying, and see he will be so at last day, yet now for the present a little more liberty in sin, sloath, lust, honour, gain, Lots, large accomodations are [...]. You never saw him. Oh vile world! the Lord will one day condemn [...] out of thine own mouth; thy own will was more dear to thee than his; this worlds ease better than his peace, &c. When you [...] on your Death-beds, you esteem him then. Why? Because serves your turn then: Hence before you did not.

2. As the greatest good, Deut. 33. 26. Ier. 10. 7. Hence those that see some [Page 204] good in Christ and desire him, and offer fair for him, but prize him not as the greatest good: And hence with the young man, though content to part with somwha [...], not with all▪ they will cast their rags down at Christs feet, and in­treat him to take away their sins; but will not cast their Crowns down, the dea [...] ­est things they have: And hence the thorny-ground-Profes [...]ors ever fall away. The good things of this world which they forsook in time of persecution, were dearer than Christ, and hence they fall away. 'Tis a dishonour to a King to be valued as other men are, Zach. 11. 12, 13.

3. As the only good, Isa. 24. 23. The Sun shall be confounded, &c. And though other things may steal into their hearts for a time, yet they recover them­selves; this is the one thing, Psal. 27. 4. that they beg in this life. And hence do fall short,

1. Those that esteem Christ as men do Merchandise; they would fain have it, but are loath to fetch it. Men may esteem Christ, as they think, the only good; but herein their falseness appears, that they neglect means to it, because they have some good else to quiet them. And here is condemned all lazy Profes­sion.

2. Those that would have Christ, and esteem him highly, and use means for him diligently, but they must have Christ, and world, and lust, and ease too: Christ to quiet their Consciences, and the world their hearts; Christ to rest on, when their duties fail them, and world to rest in, when the Consolations of Christ are denied unto them. The L [...]d is good, go up and possesse it.

1. But do the Saints come to this pitch?Object.

2 Cor. 4. 3. If our Gospel be hid, Answ. 'tis hid to them that be lost. Who are those from whom Christ is hid? When is he hid? When his Glory is hid. I know Saints may feel a want of, and mou [...]r for it, but it will appear if they are the Lords, at some time. Nay this they will find, some and much contempt re­maining which they oppose, yet this is here, and at parting times it is seen.

[...]. But Saints cannot know this.Object.

Yes (as well as they can know their contempt) by means of Gods Spirit,Answ. he [...] carried from one contrary to another shall know it.

[...]. But Hypocrit [...] may attain to this.Object.

[...]. Then the [...]ospel may be revealed to an hypocrite and to them that are [...]ost.Answ.

2. Then they may believe; for to them only the Lord is precious, 1 Pet. 2. 7. Then a [...] is pre [...]ous, when we value it according to the worth of it. Now the Lord is the greatest and only good [...] and then when we esteem him so; this is the [...] of Believe [...] only.

3. Then Christ may be a [...] Treasure. For that is our treasure which we esteem most.

4. Then a carnal heart may honour Christ with one of the highest degrees of honour, which consists in this high esteem, Luke 1. 46. My soul magnifies the L [...]d.

5. Observe we, tha [...] never any lost Christ but because they undervalued him. [...], and take the [...]. That it shall lie upon you one day, oh if Christ had had that [...] which lust and world hath had, I had had him now [...] Exa­mine, if it be thus, if you thus see and prize the Lord Jesus. Oh be thankful that ever the Lo [...] sent [...] Messenger to [...] Christ! If not, oh go and mourn! Paul did s [...] three [...], [...] 9. when [...]e saw nothing. Oh Christ hath been long [...]id from thee. Oh [...] this; but [...] about for it, for else that in Mat. 23. 39. shall be [...] portion.

III. Fulness of Faith, in the room of Unbellef.

FOR 'tis not unknown how strongly this sin keeps every mans Palace, and that not Moses, but the Lord Jesus is the stumbling stone even of the Iews, the peculiar people of God. When men are at their last cast, that the Lord in­tends to wait to pity no more, at last the Son comes, and an unbelieving heart casts the Ballance and refuseth him. After that the Lord hath tried men by mi­raculous preservations, deliverances from Pharaohs, provision at Massah, then Canaan comes to be entred, and men cannot enter because of unbelief. This [...] stands in open view, and keeps the breach, when all other sins in appearance are beaten out of the field. Now there is a Spirit of Faith, which comes in the room of this unbelief, dispossesseth [...] soul of the power of it; for there may be some lighter stroaks of the Spirit, [...] are lighter Skirmishes with it, but yet it wins the field again; as in the stony ground, that believed, but unbelief got head again in time of persecution and temptation, and then they fell a­way.

What is this Faith,Quest. 1. or that fulnesse or full measure of it?

I shall not speak here of Historical or Miraculous Faith:Answ. The first of which is in the Devils, the second in some men only, that may perish afterward. Nor yet of that Faith which we call, of Assurance, we shall not come yet to that. But of that which we call justifying Faith, and that which doth first un [...]te to Christ, and justifie. Now this Faith is the coming of the soul to Christ. This is the general. For Adam had his life in himself, but now 'tis lo [...]t in us, but laid up in Christ, Col. 3. 3. Now hence they that would have this life, must go out of themselves to the Lord for it. Now the motion of the soul between these two extreams of emp [...]iness and death here, to life and fulness there, what is it but Faith? Which Adam had not, nor could have in that estate; and therefore none of the Sons of Adam naturally can share in it.

And that this is Faith it appears,

1. From Io [...] 6. 35. Lam the Bread of life, he that comes to me shall never hun­ger, and he that believes in me shall never thirst.

2. Because unbelief is the departing of the soul from the God of life, Heb. 3. 1 [...]. Not from a holy L [...]w, but from a living God.

3. Faith is the proper effect of Vocationi or rather the chief part thereof. Now look as ineffe [...]ual vocation is when the Lord calls, but the soul never comes; so effectual vocation is whereby the Lord calls, and the soul answers, and so comes. So that to [...]it still and see no [...]hing, and do nothing, is not Faith, but sloath. No, Christ cannot be in th [...]t soul that is yet in himself. Therefore Faith is not a passive possi [...]ility of the soul to receive Christ, though that may pre­pare for him, but the going out of a mans self unto Christ.

But may not a man come to Christ,Quest. 2. that never shall have mercy from Christ?

Yes,Answ. there m [...] be many lighter stroaks, as in temporary Believers. The world is at this day full of Faith▪ Every man thinks and saith he believes, though his Faith be weak. 'Tis mens Buckler against all means, they know these [...]ins, but as long as they believe all is well. And 'tis their comfort in all their trou­bles, though the Lord kills, yet they will believe. And I say, some men have departed indeed fro [...] the Lord▪ The Gospel hath been preached, and they have made out of the [...]selves to Christ, but missed of him. There is a Bramble-Faith that catcheth and [...] Christ, kisseth and betraies him. That coming to Christ therefore wh [...]ch none else have the full measure of, it appears in these par­ticulars.

[Page 206] 'Tis that work of the Spirit whereby a sinner, sensible of his extream nakedness, emptiness and wants, being called of God, his whole soul comes out of himself to Christ, for himself. I speak not of assurance, for if that were Faith, all [...] ­probates then we [...]e bound to believe an un [...]ruth, Viz. That God the Father [...], and Christ hath died for them.

1. 'Tis a work of Gods Spirit, and hence 'tis called the Spirit of Faith, no [...] only because wrought by it; but because the Spirit is in an admirable maner fastned to it, and clasped to the soul, and the soul to Christ by it.

2. The Subject in which 'tis wrought: A s [...]nner sensible of his extream wants; for Faith springs out of the destruction of our own excellency, and ruines of it; like Christ, that did arise a root out of a dry ground; for the Lords gre [...]t plot, is to advance Christ and his rich grace. Now look as 'tis obscured by bringing any thing of our own to it, so 'tis advanced by fe [...]ching all from it; this can never be till the soul is sensible of his nakedness, emptiness and wants; let Christ be never so sweet, a full soul will lo [...]th him; and I [...] extream want. The Prodigal ne­ver comes home, till he dies for hunger: [...] is the fencelessness of men, and dislike of Christ, tha [...] extremities only drive them hither, as Iudges 5. 6. When the Midiani [...]s came, [...]hey ran [...]ike beasts to their den, and untill bread was taken from them, they cry not unto the Lord, but then they do: So men have neither hearts, or if so, no heads to come to Christ till now; and usually the Lord makes this the ground of the souls first motion towards Christ. I die here, and because of my wants I therefore come. Pardon [...]in, because great, Psal. 25. 11. Be mar­ciful, bec [...]se 'tis a [...] [...]ople, Exod. 34. 9. That so when the Lord pardons, the soul may have nothing to boast off but misery, and now 'tis hard to beleeve. But this is not all.

3. It must be called of God, for else the soul though never so sensible of mi­sery, could not, would not, du [...]st not come; but it would either sink under its burden, or plead against all means: It shall presume, as Iudas that had no look of Christ (as Peter had) h [...]ngs himself: And hence I [...]r. 3. 23. Come unto me, Their heart answered, We come. For this is usually the Objection of the soul when it sees the riches of mercy, What have I to do with it, that am so vile, and have fallen so oft, and rejected the Lord, and am like to do so; I shall sin the more by this means. No, the command of the Gospel comes, oh come, notwithstand­ing all this, nay because of this, for I will heal you of them. Now this call hath two things in it. 1. 'Tis particular, for general invitations to beleeve and come in, are made particular to the Elect, who else would not come in; And hence I [...]ai. 43. 1. I have [...] thee by nam [...]. For we shall finde that the hearts of men when they see a promise, cannot think it concerns them; all that hunger shall be satisfied, but shall I? And hence shew them 'tis as particular as the Law, they cannot think it is to them; and hence they say sometime the word All, is not put in. Now that is the mighty power of unbelief, a word spoken to all is regarded by none, till the Lord make it particular; and hence Isai. 2. Christ is said to judge the Nations, now when Judges ride their Circuits, they do not make Laws, but only apply Laws. One man is brought before them to be condem­ned, he hopes [...], but he is so; now he trembles: Another to be acquitted, [...]e [...], being [...] accused, he is freed; and now he rejoyceth. 2. 'Tis a living call, or powerful call, Iohn 5. 25. And hence a man may live under the calls of the Minister long, and never come, because 'tis not made living from the Lord of life; and [...]ence no [...] irresist [...]ble.

4. Upon this call the whole soul comes out of it self to Christ; for if a man could climbe the clouds, and unlock the doors of heaven, and come Elias like in his body to Christ, he might miss of Christ, as well as those that came and followed Christ for a time with their bodies while he lived on the earth; a man may come to Christ with half his soul or heart, there may be some hope, and some d [...]res, [Page 307] some love, and some cleaving to him, and choice of him really, inwardly, and yet not savingly, because the whole soul is no [...] here come, but half of it, Iames 1. 7, 8. Now the whole soul then comes, when all the affections and will take their flight to the Lord, and fasten there. When all the affections are gathered from all o­ther things and changed, and so they come to, and embr [...]ce the Lord; so that hope wait [...] only here, when will the Lord pitty me? Desires that were set on a thousand things before, all long after him, love only taste [...]h him; the Lord letting in some sight of the freeness of mercy, hope looks out hither; the Lord shewing the want, but the way to it, desire breaks down stone-walls, and all means, and the difficulty of them, to have him: The Lord letting the soul tast the sweetness of Jesus and his grace, the soul joys, and love imbraceth, and the will fosters; a carnal heart desires, loves, joyes in other things, and the Lord also, and so hath a false heart. But the whole heart comes hither▪ and when 'tis here, thinks one heart too little, nay one life, one soul, and when any part of the affections are le [...]t any where else, then the soul mourns, hates that bondage, is ashamed of it, &c. So that the stream of the whole soul runs now hither, Psal. 119. 2. Ier. 3. 10. Psal. 45. 10. So 'tis with the soul, as with them when they were to come out of Egyp [...], they would not leave childe, nor hoof behinde, lest there should be any occasion of return; it is with the soul departed from the body, it only minds the Lord, it hath taken leave of all; so by Faith the whole soul leaves all, and comes to the Lord; otherwise the soul is not come to Christ, but reacheth after Christ; like men that waded after the Ark, but perished in the waters: Their arms are not long enough, their desires and love are not long enough to reach Christ, the [...] and stream of the soul is set and runs here. Tis with the soul, as 'tis with two Rivers, both run with all their strength to the Sea, but the great River is bigger, and runs faster, yet the others stream is wholly carried thither. So some men may be more full of Faith then o­thers, yet both run to the Sea, and as Rivers, they run in their Circles, this way and that way, and are sometimes dammed up, ye [...] end there: So the souls of all Saints run to this and the other creature, yet they end in the Lord at last. As Peter and Iohn that ran to the S [...]pulchre, though one out-ran the other, yet they came both to the Lord at last; when both of them had for a time forsook him, though all the world draw the soul back, it cannot live without the Lord; nay, though the Lord beat away the soul from him, yet it follows after him.

5. 'Tis to the Lord for himself, for Iohn 6. some came to Christ for loaves, and could have been glad if Christ had been King for it, but did not care for himself: And hence vers. 27. he points and turns them to himself; some came to him for higher ends, therefore were his Disciples, that is, for life from him. But when he told them, There is no life, unless you have the Son, And eat and drink his flesh and blood, or else you die, it was a hard saying, they could not under­stand nor see what that meant, and hence forsook him, but when they come and receive him himself; now life is indeed theirs.

So that its Christs person that this Faith first pitcheth on, as 'tis in Marriage, and those that come for this, were never sent away. Now the soul is truly come to him for himself: 1. When himself gives rest to the soul in the want of all things, [...]. 4. 3. If friends, protection, strength, life, glory be wanting, yet having him, in him I have all these; when all is sold away, not the treasure only, but the Field contents him: For it looks on this, as better then heaven, then glory, it comforts the soul that the Lord himself should be mine. 2. The soul that ta­keth him, 'tis not only to make boast of him, as [...] had him, nor to cover sloth, and sin, and delusion by him: I have Christ, and I have no more to care for, &c. but to live on him, Iohn 6. 57. He that ea [...]eth me, shall live by me. Phil. 3. 9, 10. A man takes not Christ as Medicine to ease him; nor as stately hang­ing [...] to adom him, but as bread to receive life from him. For many receive Christ, [...] they do upon him, and rest they say in him, but they do not suck any good [Page 308] from him, nay before they had any Christ or assurance of him they were better than now. You have nothing to do with the Lord Jesus, you are our of your place. As in I [...]hams par [...]ble, the Olive and Vine would not be pulled out of their places, to be set on the top [...] of other trees, as Kings; lest they lose their farness and sweetness: So since you have closed with Christ, you have lost your fa [...]ness and sweetness that once you had, you are now out of your place, go to your horrors and sorrows again, till the Lord so give himself to you as that you may receive life from him.

But must all come thus to Christ with their whole soul,Quest. 3. will not part of the price serve?

No,Answ. the whole soul must come, and cannot but come.

1. In regard of the Jealousie of God; who is like a jealous Husband, can bear with many weaknesses, but will have the whole heart; and they that do not, shall be destroyed for spiritual Whoredom, Psal. 73. 27. He should dishonour Christ else, to sell him so cheap.

2. In regard of the excellency of Christ: The Lord draws the soul by the re­velation of him, Rom. 1. 16, 17. Isa. 55. 3, 4. Now look as men in this world, when they see a seeming good, their whole soul is over-powered to be drawn after it. So here, when such an Object is seen, especially the Soul having been at his Sepulcher weeping, as Iron never stirs till the Loadstone comes, and then it makes to that only, not to things toucht with it: For as we love him because he loved us first, so Christ loving the soul with all his heart, and his whole heart set upon him, the whole soul is [...] contra set on Christ.

3. In regard else a man can receive nothing from the Lord, Ier. 29. 12, 13. As 'tis with Conduit-Pipes, let them be laid, but not reach the Conduit head, no water can come to that Family; so here: And this is the reason why men live, and pray, and receive nothing, their hearts reach not hither: Mens hearts reach but half way to Christ: Tell me else, did you ever not receive?

4. Because else 'tis indeed no coming to him, but a leaning on him or toward him. So as 'tis with trees, if not cut off quite, or not pulled up quite by the roots, they cannot be set in another Orchard, if the tree be left with never so little twigs in the ground, so here: Nay the Lord accounts this worse than if a man had not come at all, Ier. 3. 10. The Lord abhors a double heart, that Iudas -like forsakes all for the Lord, but then loves the Lord and the Bag too. You are not the Lords. As it was with that man that quarrelled about the tree, it leaned over the Pales, but the root being found to be there, his it was: So though he lean on Christ, he is none of his.

But do all Saints come to this measure?Quest. 4.

Ponder these grounds else.Answ.

Object. But are not our hearts partly carnal, and so close with the Crea­ture?

Answ. True, but yet,

1. So far as 'tis carnal 'tis lamented heavily; so that they grow not there, but are dying, withering dayly, Ier. 31. 18, 19. When a mans affections grow out of the world, and there is no fear nor sorrow, in this respect now, no Christ is there.

2. The Bent and Byas of the Soul carries the whole Soul hither. For I would not judge of this so much by sudden pa [...]gs, as by an inward bent; for the whole Soul in affectionate expressions and actions may be carried unto Christ, but being without this bent and change of affections, it's unsound. As in Gideon, they would on a hurry make him King: He would not: He knew it was a sudden pang which would die. And the reason is, the true turn of the whole Soul is not by turning old affections upon another Object, but changing them first by this bent, and so turning them. For a carnal heart may have the first, as the same eye [Page 209] may see the Sun and a Dunghill, and the eye not changed; So here. Now when the whole Soul is set here, it is never at rest till here.

But may not Hypocrites come to this?Quest. 5.

1. Then they may be blessed,Answ. Psal. 119. 2.

2. Then they shall never be cast off from Christ, Iohn 6. 37.

3. Then they may partake of that which the Lord only looks for. For why is the Lord angry? The heart is gone from him. Why is the Ministry ordained, but to win the whole heart to him? Iohn 3. 19, 20, 21. Oh therefore consider whether it hath been thus with you or no! If not, wo to you! Oh be very careful here! 'Tis a thousand to one if some part of your heart be not fixt else­where. If Christ were at Judgment, and should say, Come ye Blessed: How glad would ye be? Oh he saith now, Come and take my self▪

IV. Fulness of the Spirit it self, in the room of Satan.

I Shall not speak here either concerning that fulness of the Spirit in extraordina­ry gifts, spoken of frequently in the Acts; nor yet of that Fulness of the Spi­rit which some Christians that the Lord sets apart to do and suffer more for him, shall receive more than others. For Iohn 14. 17. the Disciples had the Spirit, and yet Christ promiseth to send them the Spirit. And Stephen was a man full of Faith and the Holy Ghost, Acts 6. 8. And Barnabas Acts 11. 14. was a good man full of Faith and the Holy Ghost. But I shall speak of that Spirit which is in every Believer, without which we are not Christs; Rom. 8. 9. And this is that Spirit which is opposite to the evil Spirit, the Prince of darkness, which possesseth with craft and power all the souls of the sons of men, who doth not only encamp a­bout men, 1 Pet. 5. 7, 8. Nor only work within them, Eph. 1. 2, 3. but he inhabiteth and dwelleth in men. He doth not only take men captive, 2 Tim. 2. 26. but he dwells in and possesseth the souls of his Captives, Luke 11. 21. And though he doth depart for a time, yet, v. 26. They return and dwell there. Now in the room of this, come [...] Gods Spirit, who v. 22. is said to be stronger than Satan, which cannot be meant but of Christs Spirit: That as 'tis with a man whose heart is turned from the Lord, he is not left only to be carried by the power of his sin, but by the power of Satan also. So when the whole soul is turned unto him, the Lord leaves not the soul to be carried along by the power of his own Grace or Faith, but the Spirit it self fills and acts that soul. And as the soul was carried by the mighty power of Satan before, 'tis now carried by the Almighty power of the Spirit it self, Hence 1 Pet. 1. 5. Kept by the mighty power of God through Faith. And hence Acts 26. 18. Turned from the power of Satan, not to duties, but to God himself, i. e. the Spirit of God, and so to close with him.

What is this Spirit which the Saints have?Quest.

I shall express my self in these three Conclusions.Answ.

1. That if Adam had stood,Conclu. 1. he and all his posterity should have had that pow­e [...] and presence, and constant assi [...]tance of the Spirit of God, as that they should never have fallen, nor have been able to fall in respect of the assistance of the Spirit: He should have been green all the year long, his Blossom should not have been blasted, his fruit should never have withered. And the ground is the Rule of Justice; for if he falling, all his posterity are forsaken of God, and un­der the reign of sin, and death and Satan, Rom. 5. 18, 21. Then he standing, all his posterity should have had the everlasting presence of God, and should have bin under the reign of the Spirit of Grace & life. Thus also the Covenant ran, do and live.

[Page 210] 2. That the Lord Jesus the second Adam standing and rising in the room ofConclu. 2. all his people, hence he doth convey and prop [...]gate to all his posterity the immu­table and constant assistance and presence of his Spirit, whereby being once be­gotten of him, & called to him, they never afterward depart from him. And though weak in themselves, yet assisted by this Spirit, do not, cannot depart wickedly again. The Lord Jesus having stood, they cannot fall, because by vertue of his standing they have this presence of the Holy Ghost, Iohn 14. 19. Because I live; you shall live also. John 6. 57. As the living Father sent me, and I live by him, &c. Christ standing next to the Father, lives by him; we standing next to Christ, live as infallibly by him. And I say the ground is Christs standing. For though there be many reasons why the Saints can never fall from Christ, as the Spirit of Grace, Covenant of Grace, Intercession of Christ, yet the main ground is Christs standing without the least fall from the fulfilling of the first Covenant, which we having the first moment of believing kept in Christ, hence the Spirit is given, and the Covenant of Grace, of strength. And hence Rom. 5. 21. & v. 17, 18. And hence the Spirit is said to dwell in Believers, Rom. 8. 11. And we are the Temples of the Spirit, whether he dwell in them in his person personally, the well is here deep, but he dwells in the [...] so as he never ceaseth assisting of them, so that they cannot depart from the Lord again; hence