THE ABSOLUTE NECESSITY OF Spiritual Husbandry, In breaking up our FALLOW GROUND.

Together with a DISCOURSE Of the Terrible Coming of CHRIST, To Execute Vengeance on all that remain Fallow Ground, and Obey not the Gospel.

By SAMƲEL TOMLYNS, M.A. and Minister of the Gospel in Marlborough.

LONDON: Printed for Tho. Parkhurst, at the Bible and Three Crowns in Cheap-side, near Mercers-Chapel. 1699.


TO Richard Wollaston, Esq Grace, Mercy, and Peace, be multiplied, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

A Spiritual Lethargy is the reigning Dis­ease of this Age: The Design of these Discourses is, to Alarm the Secure, to Awaken the Sleeping World. Tho' Christ hath been a great while Invisible, yet he will Appear to the Confusion and Terror of his Adversaries. Tho' he hath long kept Silence, yet he will roar out of Zion. Tho' his Sword hath slept, yet it will awake; do Execution on, and be Bathed in the Blood of Impenitent Sinners. The Sins of Men, and the punishing Hand of Christ, will find out all his Enemies, Numb. 32.23. Psal. 21.8. He that came at first to sase Men from their Sins, yet being slighted, and rejected, will come a second time to destroy Men for their Iniquities. They that have not prized a Day of Salvation, shall Experience, and feel a Day of Vengeance and Destruction. How woful will the Estate of Sin­ners be, when their own Accusing Consciences shall be as a fiery Oven, Psal. 21.9. within, and the Vengeance of God be as a Furnace of Fire [Page]without; and Sinners shall be Supported (though but Tares and Chaff) to be Eternal Fuel to this Fire. It will be sweet to have a Well of Spiri­tual Water springing up within, John 4.14. but it will be dreadful to have a Well of Fire to be burning in his Soul. Alvarez de Semedo, in his History of China, speaks of such Wells of Fire, kindled from Sulphurous Matter, that burn and flame continually. The corruption of the Soul al­lowed will breed that Worm that never dies. I shall Rejoyce if the said Discourses do stir up Sin­ners to escape the Corruption that is in the World through Lust, and to flee from the Wrath to come. I have a due Respect to you, for appearing for Nonconformists in your Station, that they might not be over-pressed with Burdens. I shall be glad, if what I have written, may contribute to the Ad­vancement of your Salvation, and stir you up to prepare to meet the Lord of Glory, and to stand be­fore the Judge of the whole World, whose Eye, Book, and Balance, will be dreadful to hardened Sinners at last. But that Christ may appear as a Redeemer, to perfect your Liberty, and as a Bride­groom to marry your Soul, is the earnest desire of,

Your Sincere, and Affectionate Friend, and Servant, Samuel Tomlyns.
2 Thes. 1.7, 8.

And to you who are troubled, rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from Heaven, with his mighty Angels,

In flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

IN these two Verses, there are several weighty Truths, 1. A Benefit that will be bestowed on Suffering Christians, God will render Rest to those that are Troubled. And Paul applies this sweet Truth to himself; he puts in for a share, and claims an Interest in it, Rest with us. 2. We have the Time when this Benefit [Page 2]shall be bestowed; it is when the Lord Jesus shall be Revealed from Heaven. The full Deliverance of the Oppressed Saints, is Sus­pended till the Revelation of Christ; he shall then do Right to the Oppressed, and execute Vengeance on the Oppressors: It is but reasonable, that the Rest of the Members should depend on the Rest of their Head, Psal. 45.3, 4. Christ is now desired to gird his Sword on his Thigh, and to ride prosperously on the word of Truth and Righteousness. And Christ is set forth by one riding on a white Horse, with a Bow in his Hand, and he went forth Conquering, and to Conquer. The Church is compared to the Horses in Pharaoh's Chariot, Cant. 1.9. because by her Ministers she draws the Spi­ritual and Victorious Chariot of Christ through the World. Though Christ hath a Rest, as to his Person, in Heaven, and is above the reach and rage of his Enemies, yet he is contending with, and fighting against his Enemies: He is winning the Hearts of his Elect, and gathering them in­to his Kingdom; and he is breaking his Enemies to pieces, and putting them under his Feet, 1 Cor. 15.25, 26. but at last Christ will perfect, and finish his Work. He will appear as a Glorious and Triumphant Con­queror, as one that hath won the Field, and gained the Day: He will sit on the [Page 3]Throne of his Glory, Matt. 25.31. This implies a perfect Rest; he shall fight, and make War no more, his People shall enter into his Palace, Psal. 45.14, 15. and sit down with him in his Throne, Pet. 3.21. and his Enemies shall be adjudged to Tor­menting Fire, and be shut up in an Eternal Prison. 3. We have the Company that shall wait on Christ at his Appearing; he shall come with his mighty Angels. 4. We have the terrible manner of his Appearance, it shall be in flaming Fire. Christ is per­fectly Holy and Righteous; he can appear in flaming Fire, yet not be hurt by it, or suffer any thing from it. This Fire will be hurtful to Christ's Enemies, but harmless to himself. He that appeared at first as the Day spring from on high, comfortably to direct straying Souls into the way of Peace: He that arises to those, that fear God's Name, as a Sun of Righteousness, with healing under his wings, Mal. 4.2. will now be re­vealed in flaming Fire, to punish obstinate Rebels. They that have refused, and re­jected Christ as a refining fire, Mal. 3.2, 3. shall now, to their cost, feel him to be a consuming fire. He that once appeared in­compassed with beams of Love, shall now a second time appear surrounded with flames of Wrath. 5. We have the end of Christ's Revelation, or why he will appear; it is to [Page 4]render Vengeance. It is in the Greek, [...], giving Vengeance. O how dread­ful and terrible a Gift is this! He that is God's Almoner, to distribute God's Alms of Mercy to poor penitent begging Sinners, will have no other Gift to bestow on impe­nitent, and unbelieving Souls, but Ven­geance. It is said vengeance belongeth to me, and I will recompence, Heb. 10.30. Though to the Penitents and Believing, it is said, To the Lord belongeth Mercy, yet, as to obsti­nate Sinners, Vengeance belongs to God. Pu­nishment is a just Debt belonging to the Wicked, therefore it is said that God will repay Fury to his Adversaries, Is. 59.18. he will render his Anger with Fury, and his Rebukes with Flames of Fire, Is. 66.15. Paul charges Christians to render to all their one, Rom. 13.7. so Christ will render to hardened Sinners their due. Sinners owe God glory, to be raised out of their Misery and Eternal Torments: They will still be making Restitution, yet never will be able to make Satisfaction to God: they will to Eternity be in debt to God, there will still be an Arrear of Wrath, a Debt of Ven­geance due to them; and this Vengeance will come immediately from God and Christ. From God's angry frowning Face, 2 Thes. 2.8. from his punishing Hand, Heb. 10.31. his angry breath will blow up the [Page 5]Fire that shall torment them, Isaiah 30: last. The weighty Feet of Christ, as fine Brass, will bruise and crush Sinners as Grapes of Galls, as bitter Clusters, when he shall tread the Wine-Press of the Fierceness and Wrath of Almighty God, Revel. 1.15. Rev. 14.15. 6. On whom shall this Ven­geance be Executed? It is on those that know not God, and obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus. This is an extensive compre­hensive Vengeance, it will reach the whole corrupt and unregenerate World. It is said that the Gentiles knew not God, 1 Thes. 4.5. and there are too many in the Visible Church that do hate Knowledge, Prov. 1.29. and that through deceit, do refuse to know God, Jer. 9.6. lest Light should dis­cover their Deformity, awaken their Con­sciences, disturb their Carnal Peace, ob­struct and imbitter their Sensual Pleasures, and Carnal Delights; therefore Christ Taxes and Censures the whole Unconverted World as guilty of Ignorance, O Righteous Father, the World hath not known thee, John 17.25. Those that obey not the Gospel, shall be the Objects of Christ's Wrath, the Sub­jects of his Vengeance, where the Light of the Gospel hath shined, where the Hands of Wisdom have been stretched out; where Men have been beseeched to be re­conciled to God, have been wooed to be [Page 6]Espoused to Christ, but yet have closed their Eyes against the Light, Matth. 13.15. and have stopped their Ears against the Call of the great Shepherd, and the Voice of the Blessed Bridegroom; these shall have the heaviest Punishment, and the hottest Hell.

Doctrine 1. The Persecuted People of God shall have Rest at the Revelation of Christ. Isaiah 14.3. The Lord shall give thee Rest from thy Sorrow, from thy Fear, and from the hard Bondage where­in thou wast made to serve.

Saints shall have a Rest, 1. From their Enemies; they shall no more tread on their Necks, or ride over their Backs, Psal. 66.12. Isaiah 51.23. Enemies have proudly said, Bow down, that we may go over, and the Bo­dies of Saints have been laid as the Ground, and as the Street, to them that went over. The way that Enemies have chosen is over the Necks and Backs of the Saints; but it is said to the People of God, The Lord hath taken away thy Judgments, he hath cast out thine Enemy; thou shalt not see evil any more; the Plowers shall not al­ways Plow on the Backs of the Righteous; the Rod of the Wicked shall not rest on their Lot, Psal. 125.3. they shall not al­ways [Page 7]reach out the Cup of their Fury to Saints, because they will not stain their Gar­ments, defile and inslave their Consciences to their Lusts.

Two things evidence that Saints shall have Rest from their Enemies and Suffer­ings:

1. That Enemies shall be Conquered and totally Subdued: Those that fear God's Name shall go forth and tread down the wicked, they shall be as Ashes under the Soles of their Feet, Mal. 4.2, 3. And the God of Peace will bruise Satan under the Feet of Believers, Rom. 16.20. so that Satan, and wicked Men, shall be totally vanquished and disabled from hurting and offending the Saints, they shall be shut up in the Pri­sons, and burn in the Furnace. The 92 Psalm hath this Title, A Psalm for the Sabbath day; in it the Psalmist affirms, That the wicked shall be destroyed; and that the Enemies of God shall perish, Psal. 92. 7, 9. This is a proper Meditation for the Sabbath day; God, and Saints too, will not have a faith­ful, perfect, and delightful Sabbath, till all the Workers of Iniquity are Conquered and Destroyed.

[Page 8] 2. The Saints will be perfected in Holi­ness, and in the Life of God; so that they will not need afflictions any more. Where there is no Dross, there needs no Refining Fire: Where there is no Folly, there is no Rod of Correction necessary; they do not need the Flail, nor the Fan, who are per­fectly winnowed from their Chaff. They that are fully freed from Sin, shall be no more liable to Death, Pain, Sorrow, or Crying, Rev. 21.4. the corrupt Root that bears all these Evils is withered and dead.

2. Saints shall Rest from their Labour, Rev. 14.13. Though the Son of Man give the Spiritual Bread, Joh. 6.27. yet we are bid to Labour for it. It is hard to perswade our selves of the Excellency and Necessity of this Bread, and that the Son of Man can, and will, give it to Creatures so vile, un­worthy, and provoking, is a very difficult, hard, laborious thing; we need to wrestle with God, and cry out, Lord, help our un­belief, Mark 9.24. evidence Spiritual, Invi­sible Things to us.

3. Saints shall Rest from their Spiritual Journies and Travels. Jacob's Sons took long Journies into Egypt to buy Corn, to procure Bread, but when Jacob and his Family re­moved into Egypt, they ceased from such [Page 9]Journies; they were then at the very Gra­naries of Corn. Joseph there nourished his Father, his Brethren, and their Housholds, with Bread, without Travelling, or Pay­ment for it; so Saints shall have access to, and satisfaction, by eating of the Fruits of the Tree of Life, that shall still be ripe, and ready to be enjoyed, Rev. 22.22.

2. As Saints shall have Rest by their Free­dom from all Evils, Sufferings, Enemies, Labours and Travels, so they shall rest in the enjoyment of the highest, and best Good.

1. They shall rest by the Fountain of Life, where they may be satisfied, and drink their fill as Caravans, or great Companies of Mer­chants do, Travel through dry Deserts and Wildernesses, till they come to a Spring, and then, and there, they pitch their Tents, and refresh themselves by drinking of the Spring; so we must pass on through Crea­tures dry and barren, till we come to God the Fountain of Life. Here we must stop and delight our selves in him, and with him. Psal. 36.9. With thee is the Fountain of Life, in thy Light we shall see Light; that is, the Light of Joy and Consolation. The Lamb shall lead his Sheep to living Fountains of Wa­ter, Rev. 7.17 as if every Saint had a Foun­tain [Page 10]to himself, and did enjoy God as fully, as if he did solely, and only enjoy him: How sweet is it to rest by the Fountain of Life for ever?

2. Saints shall rest in the House of a Fa­ther, and a Husband; in the House of a Fa­ther, Christ saith, In my Fathers House are many Mansions; I go to prepare a place for you, John 14.2. and so they that rest in the House of their Heavenly Husband. Naomi did pray her Daughters-in-Law might find rest, each of them in the House of her Hus­band, Ruth 1.9.

3. Saints shall rest at the Table of Christ, they shall sit, eat, and drink with him, at his Table, Luke 22.29, 30. in his Kingdom. There is no Good absent at this Feast, to cause a wandring of desire; no Evil present to cause sighs and sorrow under it: Here Saints may eat, and be satisfied for ever.

4. This will be a most Honorable Rest; Saints that sit in the Throne with Christ, Rev. 3.21. and reign in life for evermore. As all Tears shall be wiped from their Eyes, so Crowns shall be set on their Heads, a Crown of Life and Righteousness, Rom. 5.17. This is the highest Honour that Creatures can aspire to, and therefore may be fully satis­fied [Page 11]with, and rest in it. This Honour shall never be forfeited, neither shall this Feast be disturbed and interrupted.

5. The Saints, that now are troubled, shall rest with the best Company, they shall be where Christ is, Joh. 17.24. and they shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the Kingdom of God, Matth. 8.11. As they have been Companions with other Suffering Saints, in the Kingdom, and patience of Christ, Rev. 1.9. so they shall enter into the same Joy, possess the same Inheritance, and partake of the same Feast with them. If Servants shall be where their Lord is, John 12.26. much more may they be assured of rest and refreshment with their Fellow Ser­vants. Though they be more eminent than they, for Gifts, Graces, and Services, yet they shall rest in the same Bosom of Love, and sit in the same Throne of Glory. What harmonious Melody, what sweet Comfort will there be, when all Suffering Saints shall be gathered together, to sing the Praises of their Father, to celebrate the Honour of the their Redeemer, and be swallowed up for ever in the love of the Father, Son, and Spirit?

USE of the Doctrine. If Troubled Saints shall have rest, then be not afraid of, do not start or recoil from the Cross of Christ, it [Page 12]will end, and issue in a Crown of Glory. Your Sufferings are light, your Glory will be weighty; your Afflictions and Sorrows will be momentary, but your Joys will be everlasting, 2 Cor. 4.17. Do not buy the Worlds Peace with the Trouble and Terror of your Consciences: Some Apostate Pro­testants in France had such burdened Con­sciences, such wounded Spirits, grew so weary of Life, that they came and offered themselves to their Antichristian Enemies, and desired that they would kill them. Do not slavishly dread Sufferings for Christ, did not your Lord endure greater Troubles for you? John 12.27, 28. Now, saith Christ, is my Soul troubled; he made his Soul an Offering for Sin, he poured out his Soul to the death, Is. 53.10, 12. You are but in shallow waters of afflictions, but Jesus Christ was in a deep Sea of Sorrows: You have but some small drops that sprinkle you, but he had a dreadful Storm that fell on him. You have but some sparks that fly on you, but the Lamb of God was roasted by the Fire of his Fathers Anger. Do not think it strange if siery Trials should be kindled against you, and break out on you, 1 Pet. 4.12. Do not think to be Priviledged from Troubles, and to be Exempted from Hard­ships on Earth, and yet be secured from Pains and Torments in another World. Sa­tan [Page 13]will roar, and wicked Men will rage against you. In the World you shall have Tri­bulation, but in Christ you shall have peace, John 16.33. Though wicked Men do scorch your Bodies, yet your Souls do sit under Christs cold shadow, Cant. 2.3. And you shall have times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord, Acts 3.19. Though you are appointed to Afflictions, 1 Thes. 3.3. yet God hath not appointed you to wrath, but to obtain Salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, 1 Thes. 5.9. You are now clouded with Sorrows and Reproaches, but you shall shine out in the Kingdom of your Father, Matth. 13.43. Your smoaking Furnace will issue in a burning Lamp, Gen. 15.17. your sighs will be succeeded by Songs, your darkness and shadow of Death will end in a bright and glorious Morning. Persecutors will be cast into Prison, and the Persecuted taken into the Palace. Enemies shall seel cruel Bondage, and Saints be Translated into glo­rious Liberty. Wicked Men now Revile and Reproach the People of God, but the Time is at hand when Christ will laugh at their Calamity, and mock when their Fear co­meth, Prov. 1.26. but Saints shall have praise from Christ, enter into the joy of their Lord, and enjoy a rest that will abundantly recom­pence all their Troubles.

[Page 14] 2. When shall this rest be enjoyed? It is said, when the Lord Jesus shall be Revealed; Two things are here affirmed, 1. That the Lord Jesus shall be Revealed. 2. That he shall be Revealed from Heaven. The words give this Doctrine.

Doct. 2. The Lord Jesus shall be Revealed from Heaven. 1. The Lord Jesus shall be Revealed. 2. He shall be Revealed from Heaven.

1. The Lord Jesus shall be Revealed: This is necessary on a double Account.

1. Jesus Christ was veiled and clouded in the World; the Sun of Righteousness was in a continual Eclipse for about 33 Years. Tho' he was Rich, yet for our sakes he became Poor, 2 Cor. 8, 9. Tho' he was full, yet he emptied himself, Phil. 2.7, 8. Tho' he was Lord over all, God over all, Rom. 9.5. yet he took on him the form of a Servant; and this was as a thick Veil cast over all his Glo­ry, Phil. 2.9. The World saw no beauty in him, Is. 53.2. He was a Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief, Psal. 22.6. He was trod on as a Worm, Ps. 10.9.23. and tossed up and down as a Locust by the Wind of his Adversaries fury. From the Garden he was offe [...]d to Annas, from Annas to Caiaphas, from [Page 15] Caiaphas to Pilate, from Pilate to Herod, from Herod to Pilate again, then to Golgotha. Thus the Scripture was fulfilled, That he was tossed up and down as a Locust: So mean was his Condition, and so low his Circumstances, that the World did not know him, John 3.1. and therefore a glorious Ap­pearing of his is necessary, Tit. 2.13. to let all the World know who, and what he is, and how they have been mistaken.

2. Jesus removed, and withdrew himself from the World; he is Travelled into a far Country, Luke 13.12. He is gone within the Veil, Heb. 6.19, 20. He is hid with God, Col. 3.3. Thousands do love him tho' they have not seen him; and believe on him, tho' they do not yet see him, 1 Pet. 1.8. The Object of our Faith is become invisible, and far removed from the Eye of Sense; and Christ doth stay so long, that Wise and Foolish Virgins do fall asleep, Matt. 25.5. And his Rebellious Citizens send a Message after him, saying, We will not have this Man to reign over us, Luke 19.14. All those they cruelly persecuted, and wickedly slew, for Proclaiming Christ as King, and calling them to bow down to his Royal Scepter, were sent in this Embassy, or with this Message, after Christ, to tell him his Citizens, the Jews, would not admit him as their King to [Page 16]Reign over them; and the Prophane and Atheistical World do ridicule, mock and scorn, at the Promise of his coming, 2 Pet. 3.3. They that walk after their own Lusts, and place their Happiness in satisfying of them, would not have Christ come to inter­rupt their Life of Sensuality, or to punish them for it. They would never have Christ come, and hope he will not appear; and therefore, with insulting Belief, say, Where is the Promise of his coming?

In the Prosecution of this Subject, I shall insist on these three Things. 1. I shall de­monstrate that the Lord Jesus will be Reveal­ed. 2. What the Scripture asserts about his coming. 3. When the Lord Jesus will be Revealed. Tho' we cannot point out the particular Time, yet there are some general Intimations given us in Scripture when he will come.

1. That the Lord Jesus will come, 1. God the Father will send him, Acts 3.20. Peter saith, That God would send Jesus, who be­fore was preached to them. And Paul speak­ing of the appearing of Christ, he affirms, that in his Times, he shall shew this Appear­ance, who is the blessed and only Potentate. The Father will exhibit Christ again to the World; this will be the most wonderful [Page 17]glorious shew that ever was presented to Mankind: He that did stand as a Criminal before the Tribunal of Pilate, Matt. 27.11. he that did hang on a Cross of Ignominy, shall now sit on a Throne of Glory, Matt. 25.31. He will Arraign Men for all the Acts of Time, and adjudge them to the Penal­ties and Rewards of Eternity. All Nations shall be gathered before him, shall receive their Sentence from him, and be disposed of either to a Blessed or Miserable Eternity by him.

2. Jesus Christ himself hath told us of his Return; he compares himself to a Noble Man Travelling into a far Country to receive a Kingdom, and return. As the Spirits of Men do return to God to be judged, Eccl. 12.7.3. so Christ will return again to judge the World.

3. The Saints live in expectation of Christs return; they wait for Jesus Christ from Hea­ven, 1 Thes. 1.10. They look for him from Heaven, Phil. 3.20. They look for the blessed Hope, and the glorious Appearing of the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ, Tit. 2.14. Tho' the most of Men live, as if they had no Concern in Christ's Appearing, as if it would be no Marriage-Day, Feast-Day, or Harvest-Day to them; as if they did not think, or expect to reap any Harvest of Blessedness, or to receive any Reward of [Page 18]Happiness at Christ's coming, yet it would be a great disappointment to the People of God if he should not return. They look for him as a Bridegroom, as a Saviour, as a Re­deemer; and he will appear a second time unto Salvation, to those that look for him, Heb. 9.28.

4. The Angels have testified to this Truth, that Jesus Christ should come from Heaven, as the Apostles saw him go to Heaven, Acts 1.11. And the Angels cannot be false Wit­nesses and Deceivers.

5. Jesus Christ hath work to do at his se­cond coming: He hath a Harvest to reap, Matt. 13.30. A Floor to Purge, Matt. 3.12. A Wife to Marry, Rev. 7.25. Servants to reckon with, Matt. 19.21, 30. The Dili­gent and Faithful he will commend, and call to enter into his own joy; and the Idle and Slothful he will adjudge to be cast into outer Darkness. The great Shepherd will gather his Flock to him, and lead them to sweet and delicious Pastures in the Heavenly Pa­radise.

2. Let us observe what the Scripture as­serts concerning his coming.

1. Jesus Christ testifies, that he comes quickly, Rev. 22.20. Behold I come quickly. Yet a little while, and he that shall come, will come, and will not tarry, Heb. 10.37. It is but a little time to the day of Christ's Ap­pearing; [Page 19]compared with the time that is run out, since the beginning of the World, it will be quickly, considering how near our end is, and that Death is at hand. Death is the end of the World to us; we pass into a fixed, unchangeable, Eternal Estate, as those do who live to the end of the World. Time is folded up to us, and the Door of Eternity is opened to us. Christ's coming to call us out of the World, and to Summon us to his Judgment Seat, may quickly be; it may be within a few Years, yea, within a few Months, yea, within a few Days. That which is future will come, and be present; and our Souls should be affected now, as if we saw the Judge appearing, the Throne set, the Books opened, and our selves Presented before the Judgment-Seat of Christ.

2. This Revelation of Jesus Christ will be sudden, surprizing, and very amazing to the greatest part of the World, as the Old World was, drowned in Sensual Pleasures, Earthly Business, Carnal Security. They were poy­soned with, and hardened in unbelief; they did not look for the Flood, they knew not till it came and took them all away, Matt. 24.39. They did not believe God's threatning, or regard Noah's preaching and warnings, or consider what the building of the Ark did mean; they would not know things by Be­lieving, [Page 20]but only by Seeing and Feeling. They did not know till the Rain did fall, the Foun­tains of the great Deep were broken up, and the Waters did rise to swallow them up; so shall the coming of the Son of Man be, Rev. 16.15. The World will not believe, or pre­pare for it, till they see Christ coming in the Clouds; he will as to most, come as a Thief in the Night, that is not thought of, or look­ed for, Rev. 3.3. The World is as loose, as careless, as secure, as if they had heard no­thing of Christ's coming, as if they had not been informed of his appearing, or been ex­horted to look and wait for it, and been warn­ed to prepare for it; the evil Servant faith no more, but my Lord delayeth his coming, Matt. 24.48. Tho' yet he acts, and carries it, as if he would never come at all, Christ's Ap­pearing will come as a Snare on them that dwell on the Earth, Luke 21.35. Tho' they have often been taught, and told, that Jesus Christ will come, yet they will be as stupid, and senseless, and foolish, as the Birds and Beasts; they will take no warning, but will fall into the Snare, as a Bird doth, and be utterly ruined and destroyed by Christ's se­cond coming. Tho' Christ doth bring Grace, and Glory to others, yet he will totally take away all Good, all that is sweet and com­fortable, from impenitent Sinners. Men are wofully degenerate, that they will not know [Page 21]things by Faith, or the Testimony of the Word of God, but only by Sense, and so will not discern dreadful Evils till they fall upon them.

3. Jesus Christ will be Revealed in great Glory, and sit upon the Throne of his Glory, Matt. 25.31. He will also cause his Redeem­ed to appear in glory, Col. 3.4. Our Saviour comes not only to be glorified himself, but to be glorified in his Saints, and to be admired in all them that believe, 2 Thes. 1.10. there­fore it is stiled, The glorius Appearing of the great God, even of our Saviour Jesus Christ, Titus 2.13. Christ at his coming will be clothed with such glory, that will put it out of doubt that he is the Son of God, that he is the Son of Man, the true Messiah that was promised and exhibited to the World: It is said, Then shall appear the Sign of the Son of Man, Matt. 24.30. Ferus takes this Sign of the Son of Man to be the Sign of the Cross, but the Note of Calvin on the Text is more solid and judicious. He takes that eminent and transcendent Glory, that Christ will ap­pear in, to be the Sign of the Son of Man. Those that were not convinced, and perswa­ded, by all the Signs and Miracles that Christ wrought, that he was the Messiah, shall, by his glorious Appearing, by his Illustrious Ma­jesty, as a demonstrative, and convincing Sign, be assured fully, that he is the Son of [Page 22]Man, the Promised Messiah: None shall doubt, none shall be left at uncertainties about it, no Unbeliever shall remain. Tho' the Scribes and Pharisees would not regard Christ's Miracles, or be induced by them to believe, yet he tells them of an invincible convin­cing evidence, that should one day be afford­ed to them, but too late. He insists on, and minds them of this very sign of the Son of Man, Matt. 6.64. Hereafter you shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of Heaven. You that now condemn me, for saying that I am the Messiah, and the Son of God, shall one day see me as a Judge, coming to Arraign, Sen­tence, and Condemn you.

4. The coming of Christ will be very open, and evident to the whole World. When he first ap­peared, he shewed himself to few but to the Jewish Nation. After his Resurrection, we read of none of the unbelieving World that beheld him. He appeared only to, and was seen by none, but by his Disciples, who were to inform the World of this truth, that he was raised. The unbelieving Jews and Gen­tiles, were not to see Christ's raised, and glo­rified Body, but to believe his Resurrection; but Christ will so openly at last appear, that every eye shall see him, Rev. 1.7. They also that pierced him shall behold him; Jews and Gentiles, Heathens and Mahumetans, Loose and [Page 23] Prophane Christians, shall see him. Believers and Saints shall then point him out with joy, Lo this is our God, we have waited for him, Is. 25.9. And he hath not deceived our Faith, or frustrated our Hope and Expectation. They that would not believe what they did not see, shall now see, but to their terror. They that were averse from the Life of Faith, and wholly devoted to the Life of Sense, shall now have Seeing enough; they shall behold what will affright, dismay, and overwhelm them. God doth now require, and call for a high and noble Exercise of Faith, in rela­tion to invisible things (at which the Heathen of Old scoffed); yet he doth, and will con­descend, to give evidence and satisfaction, as at Christ's first appearing, he was visible to the eye of the Body, Is. 40.9. O Zion, that bringest glad tidings, lift up thy voice, and be not afraid; say unto the Cities of Judah, Be­hold your God. This was a strange and won­derful truth, and Zion might be afraid to pub­lish it; yet she is twice bid to lift up her voice, and that with strength, not to be afraid aloud to sound out, and proclaim this amazing, and astonishing truth: Say to the Cities of Judah, Behold your God, behold God is come down to you in a Humane Nature, God is walking among you in a Body of Flesh, preaching, working Miracles, familiarly conversing with you. The Word was made flesh, and dwelt [Page 24]among us, and we beheld his Glory, John 1.14. So at his second coming, Christ will be evi­dent to the eye, and, as it were, pointed out by the Finger of Men: Behold he cometh in the clouds, and every eye shall see him, Rev. 1.7. Saints shall say to those that have upbraided them with the invisible object of their Faith, Lo this is our God, we have waited for him, Is. 25.9. Tho' the unbelieving World did Re­proach Christians, and say, Where is your God, yet Saints one day consute all their Calum­nies, and silence all their Insultings and Up­braidings; they shall point out Christ co­ming in all his Majesty and Glory, and say, Lo this is our God, we have waited for him, and he will save us, and we will be glad and rejoyce in his salvation, Is. 25.9.

5. This Revelation of Christ will cause Mourning to the greatest part of the World; it will be a black, bitter, terrible day to most, Matt. 24.30. All the Tribes of the Earth shall mourn, all the Kindreds of the Earth shall wail because of him, Rev. 1.7. when they shall see the Son of Man coming in the Clouds of Heaven, with power and great glory. They shall mourn when it is too late to repent; they shall wail when their sorrow will not prevent, but begin their Punishment and Hell. Now they shall, to their cost, know how great a Person they have refused, and how high an Happiness they have rejected; that they have [Page 25]turned from a Saviour, and so forfeited true Blessedness; and rebelled against the great God, and so have incurred the worst and seve­rest penalties. These three things shall be re­viewed and reflected on, 1. What they have done. 2. What they have lost. 3. What they must suffer and endure to Eternity, when they shall bleed by the edge of God's Sword, and smart under the Chastisement of the Scorpions of Revenging Justice, 1. Sinners that con­sider what they have done, that they have turned away from him that spake out of the bosom of his Fathers love, and from the Throne of his own glory, Ps. 81.11. That they would have none of him who is the true God, and eternal Life; that they stopped their Ears, and hardned their Hearts against the wooings of the best Bridegroom, against the call of the great Shepherd, and of the Captain of Salva­tion, against the intreaties of a Saviour and Redeemer. They will now reflect on the fre­quent denials they gave to, and the many af­fronts they put upon the Lord of Glory; how they hated and abhorred his Yoke, de­spised and loathed his Feast; did not submit to, and come into his Righteousness, but rebel­led, resisted, vexed, and quenched the holy Spi­rit of God. 2. They shall know now what they have lost; that the Treasury of Grace will now be locked, the Fountain of Life seal­ed, the bowels of Christ will be for ever shut [Page 26]against them, notwithstanding their extream poverty and misery. The door of God's House will be shut, never to be opened again: How woful will this be, to be excluded out of God's Palace, and to be thrust out of his Kingdom? They that should have used violence to press into God's Kingdom, but now Christ will use force to thrust them out of his Kingdom. They wish now to see the excellency and glo­ry of the Kingdom of God, that they would even, with violence, force into it, but they shall be violently thrust out of it, they shall ne­ver tast of Christ's Supper. They would not come into Christ's Righteousness, and this was their great sin; and they shall not come into Christ's Righteousness, and this will be their grievous punishment. They shall not en­ter into God's rest, Heb. 3.18. They shall not partake of Christ's joy or glory: They would not open their Hearts to Christ, and Christ will not open his Heaven to them. They would not know Christ's voice, when he knocked and called, saying, Open to me: And Christ will not hear their voice, when they cry, Lord, open to us. They would not give entertainment and rest to Christ in their Souls, and Christ will not give them enter­tainment and rest in his Kingdom.

3. This will cause wailing, when Sinners see what they must suffer and endure; they that in their whole time did drink iniquity like [Page 27]water, must, during God's eternity, drink the wrath of the Almighty, Job 21.20. They must be drunk with the Cup of God's fury, feel the edge of his glittering Sword, and the weight of his punishing hand. His face will be un­veiled to frown and scorch, and his arm be made bare to smite and wound. Christ will come to express his most fierce resentments of Sinners slighting the Grace offered to 'em, and despising the mercy pressed on them. Chil­dren of Disobedience shall be broken with Christ's Iron rod, and Vessels of wrath shall be filled up to the brim with the fury of God. This Mourning will be dreadful, because there is no comfort to be administred; no peace to be spoken to these Mourners. There will be no banishing of their fears, removing of their burdens, no sweetning of their cup, or healing of their wounds, for ever. God will set his face against them, and will never hide, or turn a­way his angry countenance from them. Those that have been secure, stupid, hard-hearted, even till now, shall then begin to mourn, but the first fruits of their sorrow will be the first fruits of their woe, and prove the earnest, and presages of their eternal misery. They begin to sorrow on the utmost confines and bounds of Time, and must continue sorrowing to an endless and unbounded Eternity. Godly sor­row for sin may somewhat avail to remove the Transgressor's burden; but Worldly sor­row, [Page 28]under the feeling of present anguish, or the fear of further, future, approaching mise­ry, will not advantage Sinners to roul away their guilt, to prevent or diminish their punish­ment, their mourning is a part of the punish­ment threatned, Prov. 5.11, 12. and thou mourn at last, and say, How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof? Therefore this punish­ment shall never cease, shall never be taken off. Saints have but days of mourning, and these shall have an end, Is. 60.20. but Sinners shall have an eternal mourning, which shall have no end. The day of Christ's Revelation will be a time of joy to his Loyal Spouse, to his Living Members, to his Faithful and Sincere Servants; when he appeareth, they shall re­joyce with exceeding great joy, 1 Pet. 4.13. But this appearing will cause eternal sorrow to Rebels and Enemies, when their sins shall be remembred and revenged.

3. When will the Lord Jesus be Revealed? Tho' the end of the Old World, and the pun­ctual time of its destruction was foretold, that after a hundred and twenty Years the Flood should come, yet the exact day or time of the end of the second World none knows, no not the Angels of God, Matt. 24.36. yet the Scripture gives us some general hints, and intimations, when Christ will come. 1. When he hath received a Kingdom, Luke 19.12. He was to travel into a far Country to receive a [Page 29]Kingdom, and to return. Jesus Christ hath not yet fully received his Kingdom, all the Elect are not yet born, they are not all ga­thered and converted, they have not all yet visited the Son, Psal. 2.12. performed their ho­mage, and yielded obedience to him. It is a Work for a long time for Christ to ride forth prosperously, conquer a Kingdom, and subject Rebels to himself, and then to reign prospe­rously over them, Jer. 23.5. more to refine, sanctify, and fit them for himself. All Christs Servants must have time to occupy, and trade with his Pounds and Talents, before he will come, call them to an account, and reckon with them, Matt. 25.16, 19. Christ must wound the hearts of his Enemies, and cause them, as foiled, to fall under him, and as worshippers to fall before him. Christ must also shew his glo­rious power for some time, in ruling in the midst of his enemies, Ps. 110.2. 2. That not­withstanding all their rage, they cannot hinder Christ's Kingdom to rise, or cause it to fall, but Christ will go on more Levening the World with his Doctrine, more subduing the Nations by his Word, till this stone did fill the whole Earth, and the Name of this Shepherd was great to the ends of the Earth.

2. Jesus Christ will come, when all his Members are compleat, and he hath the ful­ness of his Body, Ephes. 1.23. When his Spouse hath made her self ready, Rev. 19.7. The mar­riage [Page 30]of the Lamb is come, and his Wife hath made her self ready. When she is cloathed in fine Linnen, white and clean, and adorned with Clothing of wrought Gold, and Raiment of Needle-work.

3. Jesus Christ will come, when he hath prepared a place to lead and bring his people to, John 14.3. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to my self, that where I am you may be. But when may Christ be said to have prepared a place for all his Members? Surely when Christ hath sprinkled the Throne, and the Heavenly Sanctuary with his Blood, when he hath pleaded his Sufferings and Death for each of them, that they may be let into the glorious Presence and Kingdom of God, then he may be said to have prepared a place for them.

4. When Christ's Corn and Harvest is fully ripe, then he will come to reap, Mark 4.28, 29. When the earth bringeth forth the blade, then the ear, then the full Corn in the ear; but when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come. Christ will not delay, or lose time, when the Harvest is ripe, when the Members are grown up to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ, Eph. 4.13.

2. Jesus Christ will be Revealed from Hea­ven, 1. To justifie the History and Doctrine of the Gospel, that he was received up into Hea­ven, [Page 31]and sat on the right hand of God, Mark 16.19. That he entred into Heaven, Angels, Principa­lities and Powers, being made subject to him, 1 Pet. 3.22. that he was received up into glory.

2. To answer the hopes and expectation of his People, they wait for a Saviour from Hea­ven, Psal. 3.20. and look for God's Son Jesus from Heaven, 1 Thes. 1.10.

3. Christ will be Revealed from Heaven, to shew the Spiritual Nature of his Kingdom, that it is a heavenly Kingdom; That he hath had his Throne in Heaven, and from thence his Kingdom hath ruled over all. He hath ob­served all the rage and actings of his enemies, and all the love and obedience of his friends. He hath inspected all the concerns of his Members, and transacted all the affairs of his Kingdom. This hath been honorable and glo­rious to Christ, that he hath had a rest, Is. 1.10. in Heaven, and yet neglected none of his work in repressing the rage of his enemies, and in reviving the fainting spirits of his friends, and steering all the affairs of his Church to a safe and happy Port. He hath supplied his poor, and supported his weak Members.

4. Jesus Christ will be Revealed from Hea­ven, for the greater confusion and terror of his Enemies. How will this affright and amaze them, that he, who they thought slept under the clods of the Earth, should appear riding on the clouds of Heaven, Rev. 1.7. that [Page 32]he, who the Jews thought was suffering in Hell, for deluding and deceiving the World, should come to Judge the World, and to Con­demn Men to Hell, for not believing on him, Mark 6.16. Joseph was thought by his Bre­thren to be lost, or dead, but how were they confounded and troubled, when they found him alive, Gen. 45.3. heard him speaking to them, saw him under Pharaoh Ruling over all the Land of Egypt: So how will it dismay, and overwhelm the unbelieving World, when Christ that was thought to remain dead shall be presented to their eyes as alive? When he that was ill treated by Men in the form of a Servant, shall appear in the glory of a Lord, to judge both the Quick and the Dead, and shall be manifested as having all Power in Heaven and Earth committed to him, and can justifie and crown those that have belie­ved on him; and condemn and punish those that have rebelled against him, who neither have believed his Doctrine, or obeyed his Commands.

USE of Examination. Examine your selves under what Notion Christ will be Re­vealed, and come to you at last. Whether he will appear as your Friend, or as your Enemy; To your joy or sorrow: As a loving Bride­groom to receive you to himself, John 14.3. Or as an incensed Judge to Sentence and Cast you from himself, saying, Go ye cursed in­to everlasting fire, Matt. 25.41.

Will Christ come to give you any thing? Will he bestow a Crown of Righteousness? 2 Tim. 4.18. A Crown of Life, Rev. 2.10. Will he call you to inherit an everlasting Kingdom? Matt. 25.34. Or will Christ come upon you as a Thief in the Night, to impoverish, spoil, deprive you of all the good things you now possess and enjoy? Will not your Cisterns then be broken, your Candles and Lamps be put out? Will not your whole Paradise of sensual and sinful delights be lighted and blasted? Will not Creatures be withdrawn from you, and God himself also depart? The floor and the Wine-press shall not feed you, and God himself will leave and forsake you, Hos. 9.2, 12. Will you not at once be turned out of your Stewardship, and also be cut off from all hope of the heavenly Inheritance? Will not Christ's coming be your utter undoing? Will you not sustain a damage and loss never to be repaired? For your wooing and buying time will be over; the Spiritual Market will be at an end. Will it not be sad, when others are rich Heirs, for you to be poor Bankrupts, emptied and stript of all valuable and desirable good for ever? Inquire therefore seriously and diligently, how it stands with you, in relation to Christ's co­ming. Is Jesus Christ Revealed in you, and to you; and is his new Nature formed in you? It is not Flesh and Blood, but our Father that is in heaven, that must reveal Christ to us, Matt. 16.17. [Page 34]he that hath heard, and learned of the Father, comes to the Son. Hath the spirit ever glori­fied Christ in your eyes? Is he most precious to you? If Christ be not Revealed to you while you are on Earth, he cannot be Reveal­ed from Heaven, to your joy and comfort. Have you an understanding to know the worth, excellency, and preciousness of Christ, so that you give your selves to him, and are in him? If Christ do dwell in your hearts below, you may be assured that you shall dwell in his House above. Are you related to Christ? Are you really his? Gal. 5.24. They that are Christs have crucified the flesh. They that are Christs shall be made alive at his coming, 1 Cor. 15.23. Is the Match made up between Christ and you, by a mutual Spiritual kiss? Doth Christ kiss you, expressing his servent love to­wards you, and speaking powerfully and ef­fectually to you the Doctrine of Grace, the Word of Reconciliation? The Gospel of Sal­vation is your own Interest in Christ's pre­cious Promises, sealed and delivered to you.

2. Do you kiss Christ the Son of God? Ps. 2.12. Cant. 8.1. When Ishould find thee without I would kiss thee. And Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, are said to salute, kiss, or embrace the Promises, [...]. Where the mouth of Faith doth meet, with the mouth of Christ speaking the Word of Life, and the promises of Spiritual Benefits, is perswaded of them, doth embrace [Page 35]them; then the Soul kisses Christ. There is also a kiss of Homage, as Samuel kissed Saul, acknowledging him as the Lord's Anointed. When we receive the Law from Christ's mouth, and profess our subjection to his Scepter, and obedience to his Laws, then we kiss Christ. 3. Are you willing that Christ should come? Do you desire, long for, and love Christ's appearing? The Church saith, Make haste my beloved, Cant. 8.14. When Christ said, I come quickly, she adds her Amen; Even so come Lord Jesus, Rev. 22.20. Christians are said not only to look for, but to hasten the coming of the day of God, 2 Pet. 3.12. [...]: that is, by their wishings, longings, earnest desires. Do you fervently love the appearing of Christ, as that which will be exceeding ho­norable to him, comfortable and beneficial to you? Do you love Christ's appearing, as that which will be exceeding glorious to him? For by his voice he shall quicken, raise, call forth all that are in their Graves, John 5.28. That Christ knows all that ever lived, can di­stinguish their dust from the dust of one ano­ther, and from the dust of the Earth: That he knows all their thoughts, words and actions, remembers them, and will call them to an ac­count for them, 1 Pet. 4.5. Then Christ will sit on the Throne of his glory, and all Nations shall be gathered before him, to be judged by by him. This is the perfection of Christ's [Page 36]Kingdom, and his highest act of Royalty, to sentence all Men to their eternal state: It is said he shall judge the quick and dead at his Appearing and Kingdom. Now is his King­dom most highly magnified and exalted, when the quick and dead must be Judged by him.

2. This appearing of Christ will be most comfortable to his People; he will come to bestow Crowns, to give Rewards, to divide eternal Portions and Inheritances to them. he comes with the Keys of Hell and Death in his Hand: He hath the Key of Hell to shut it, that the Souls of his People may not enter in, else the mouth of the bottomless Pit, and of the roaring Lion, would gape for them, and swallow them up. And Christ hath the Key of Death to open the Graves, that the Bodies of Saints may come forth. May not Christians well love the appearing of Christ, who hath delivered them from the wrath to come, and as a Captain of Salvation will lead them to glory? Do you long for Christ's co­ming, as that which will be a Harvest-day, a Marriage-day, and a day of full Redemption? Or are you averse from Christ's coming? Do you not loath and dread the thoughts of it? Is not Christ's coming full sore against your Will? There is a vast difference between these two expressions; the breaking up the House, and the opening of the door to Jesus Christ, [Page 37] Luke 12.36. The House of a carnal unbelie­ving Man is broken through; Christ breaks in upon him irresistibly, unavoidably: a force is put upon Sinners. If they could Fetter Christ's feet, obstruct his way, clog and stop his Chariot-wheels, Christ should never come or be Revealed; but Saints that hang their hopes, and put all their happiness in Christ's Appearing, do readily open the door, and joy­fully will come and entertain Christ. Do you look for his coming, as a beloved Bridegroom, as a desired Guest? Or do you not mind, or desire Christ's coming, but will be as much surprized by it, and astonished at it, as at the coming of a Thief, that was not thought of at all?

4. Do you prepare, and make ready for Christ's coming? Is all your Week day of life nothing but a preparation for the eternal Sabbath? Are your Loines girded, that you may do the Work of your heavenly Calling? Are your Lamps burning, that you may do your Work skilfully and diligently? Perse­vere in it continually. It is said of the good Woman, that her Candle goeth not out by night, Prov. 31.18. Do your Candles continue burn­ing through this dark night of Time? Others have put out their light, and given themselves up to sloth and sleep. It is a great thing to watch, and keep our Garments on and about us, Rev. 16.15. Blessed is he that watcheth, and [Page 38]keepeth his Garments. Christ may suddenly come, and surprize Sinners, that they may not have time to put on Spiritual Garments to put on Christ, Rom. 13.14. and the new man, Ephes. 4.24. We are too apt to put off our Coat, Cant. 5.3. to lay aside a gracious, spiritual holy, and heavenly frame, and to give way to sloth, sleep, and carnal security. This Spiritual Garment is soon put off, but it is hardly re­covered. I have put off my Coat, and how shall I put it on? It is highly commendable to have our Lamps burning, when the Can­dles of others are put out; and it is a Night of gross and thick darkness with them. It is to the Honour of Christ the Bridegroom to be expected, waited for, and to be lighted to his Fathers House, with bright and burning Lamps, with Graces active, and in a most vi­gorous and lively Exercise. Is this Night­Light of Time, as a Passoever Night to you? Are your Loins girded? Are your Shoes on your Feet? The Feet of the Church are said to be beautiful with Shoes; she was fit to Journy, to Travel. Are you waiting for God's Call out of the Egypt of this World? Are you fit­ted, and ready to Travel hence into the Hea­venly Canaan? Christ saith, Come with me my Spouse, with me from Lebanon: Are you willing and ready to follow Jesus Christ? Are you like Servants, that look for the return of their Lord from the Wedding Feast, to [Page 39]have you a way as Guests to his Table in his heavenly Kingdom? Luke 22.29, 30. There is much in these words, And be you like such as look for the return of your Lord, Luke 12.36. The watchfulness, diligence, the constant la­bour, activity and zeal of some Christians, doth evidence to themselves, and demonstrate to others, that they look for the coming of Christ: That they prepare, make ready, set all things in order, for their receiving and en­tertaining of the Lord Jesus. Their great care and endeavour is, that they may not be found sleeping and undressed; that they may not walk naked, and their shame be seen for ever, Prov. 16.15. It will be the greatest re­proach, to have had a long time to adorn the Soul allowed to Men, and yet to neglect and trifle it away, and their Souls to be found dead without the life of God, and to be found na­ked without the Image and Righteousness of God. Do you trim your Lamps, dress your Souls, and finish the Work which God hath given you to do, and that Christ hath ap­pointed you, that you may open to Christ immediately, without put offs, or delays, or excuses, as those that are not surprized or unready, as those that would stay here no lon­ger, that would have Time end, and Eternity begin? As those that would have shadows fly away, and the everlasting day to dawn? These are great words, that Christ will knock [Page 40]for a full entrance into us, and a total pos­session of us; and we must open immediate­ly as those that are ready to let Christ in, and to go away presently with him: But are you not rather minding earthly things, scat­tering your ways and affections to unlawful Beloyeds? Do not your thoughts creep on the ground, and your Hearts dwell below? Would you not stay in a Natural Body? Would you not continue in, and be content­ed with a Stewardship? Would you not dwell on Earth? Do you not eagerly drive the Chariot of your Trade? Do you not indulge your Carnal Affections, and give the Reins to your Sensual Appetites? So that there is no evidence that you look for Christ's Appearing; for you are not like those that wait for the return of Christ from Heaven.

3. With what Attendance Jesus Christ will come from Heaven? What Retinue will accompany him? He will be Revealed with his mighty Angels. How much doth the first and second coming of Christ differ? He came first attended with weak Fishermen, but now he is surrounded and compassed with mighty Angels to wait on him. Two things are here observable, 1. That the An­gels are called Christ's Angels. 2. That they are Stiled mighty Angels. 1. The An­gels are said to be the Angels of the Lord Jesus. This is an high Honour to Christ, that [Page 41]all the Angels of Heaven are his Angels; He is Captain of God's Militia, and General of all the Hosts of Heaven. They are Ministers to attend on him, and his; and Hosts to fight against his, and his Churches enemies. And well they may be called his Angels, for he made them; they were created by him, Col. 1.16, 17. and for him; and by him they do subsist, and have their Being upheld and continued to them, else they would cease to be, and re­turn to nothing. 2. God therefore called the Angels to worship his Son made Flesh, come into the World in our Nature. When he brought the first begotten into the World, he saith, Let all the Angels of God worship him, Heb. 1.6. It may be inquired whether they do not owe the Son of God adoration, on the account of their being graciously sup­ported, and preserved in their Integrity. The two Cherubims that figured the Angels, were made out of the Mercy-Seat, as well as stood upon it, Exod. 25.18, 19. There are Elect Angels, 1 Tim. 5.21. as well as Elect Men. Herein did the various and manifold Wisdom of God shine, Ephes. 3.10. in keeping Elect Angels standing, and in raising up Elect Men when they are fallen. 3. The Angels Mini­stred to Christ, and probably brought him Food, after the Devil had tempted him, ta­king occasion from his hunger. And an An­gel came from Heaven, and strengthned Christ [Page 42]in his Agony, Luke 22.43. 4. Jesus Christ is the Ladder, that joins Earth and Heaven together, and it is on this Ladder the Angels of God ascend, and descend, John 1.51. All Correspondence, all Commerce, and Commu­nion, between the upper and lower World, is carried on by this Ladder. The Angels de­scend to serve the Members of Christ, and then ascend to give an Account of the faith­ful discharge of their Office and Trust.

2. These Angels are called mighty Angels. And it is a great and mighty Work they are to undertake and execute; there is a multi­tude of Malefactors to be Arrested; there are great and mighty Enemies to be Appre­hended; there is a great and mighty Harvest to be cut down, to be reaped, and separated from the Field of the Church: There are Goats to be separated from the Sheep, and bad Fish to be taken out from among the good. The Angels shall come forth to ho­nour Christ, Heaven shall be emptied of An­gels and Saints, to wait on Christ. The An­gels, when they come forth, shall sever the Wicked from among the Just; the Harvest is the end of the World, the Wicked are the Tares, and the Reapers are the Angels, Matt. 13.38, 39. Sinful Men and Women are as weak and feeble Tares, they cannot stand against, or before the Hook of these mighty Reapers, they shall be easily cut, they shall [Page 43]quickly fall before a sharp hook managed by such mighty Arms. The far greatest part of the World will be found Tares, therefore there needs many mighty Reapers to cut down so vast a Harvest; and skill will be requisite to discern and distinguish some of the Tares, some close and refined Hipocrites, from the good Corn. 2. They are to bind the Tares fast in bundles, Matt. 13.30. that they shall none of them escape. He that had not a Wed­ding Garment was to be bound hand and foot, Matt. 22.13. His hands were to be bound, that he should not fight or resist; his feet were bound, that he should not fly or run away. 3. These Angels are as mighty Sergeants, to present Malefactors to the Judge. As for those mine enemies (saith Christ) which would not that I should reign over them, bring them before me, Luke 19.27. The Angels are to execute this Order, and fulfil this Command: They are to present Criminals at the Bar of the Judge. 4. When Christ doth Sentence and Condemn wicked Men, the Angels are ready to execute the Sentence; They gather those that offend and commit iniquity; they pluck out the had Fish, and cast them into a Furnace of unquenchable fire, Matt. 13 40, 50. Christ saith of his enemies, Let them be slain in my pre­sence, Luke 14.27. These condemned Male­factors may be said to be slain by the Angels, when they cast them into the Furnace; for [Page 44]then all this sweet, pleasant, and desireable Life and Being, is consumed and gone, those are no better than woful, stinking Carkasses, that must be Food to the Worm that never dies, and fuel to the Fire that never goes out, Is. 66.24. 5. The Angels are to gather the Elect: It is said that Christ shall send forth his Angels with a great sound of a Trumpet, and shall gather his Elect from the four Winds, and from one end of Heaven to the other. Observe, 1. That the Elect are called Christ's Elect, he chuses as well as the Father; the Lamb hath his Book of Life, Rev. 13.8. Those that the Father gives him, the Names of those he writes down in his Book. These Christ chuses to redeem, reconcile, and satisfie for: With the Salvation of these he charges himself. These he must bring to his Fold, and they shall hear his voice, John 10.16. These he must keep, and lose none of them, John 17.1.2. The Angels are to gather these, as a Spouse to Christ her Husband, Ps. 45.14, 15. with joy shall she be brought in Raiment of Needle­work to the King: The Virgins her Compa­nions shall be brought, they shall enter into the Kings Palace. When Abraham imploy'd his Servant to fetch a Wife out of Padan Aram for Isaac his Son, he said the Lord God of Hea­ven should send his Angel before his Servant, and he should take thence a Wife for his Son, Gen. 24.7. As an Angel was imploy'd to pros­per [Page 45]the Work and Way of Abraham's Servant, and to bring a Wife to Isaac: so the Angels of God shall bring, and present Christ's Wife to him; they shall know who are the Elect, find them out, and distinguish them from others. 2. They shall gather the Elect as Mem­bers to their Head, as Loyal Subjects to their King, 2 Thes. 2.1. The Apostle Paul speaks of the coming of the Lord Jesus as a most desi­rable thing, and the gathering of the Elect to him as a most sweet, and comfortable thing; and the Angels shall do this Work to gather Saints to Christ.

USE. We may learn from the ATtendance of Christ, what Honour shall be put on Christ at his Appearing.

Heaven shall be emptied of the Angels and glorified Saints to follow Christ; the Graves shall be emptied of the dead Bodies of the Saints to meet Christ. 1 Thes. 4.14. Those that sleep in Jesus, shall God bring with him. They shall be brought from death to life, to be pre­sented to Jesus Christ. Christ shall come in his own Glory, as he is the Son of God; and thought it no robbery to be equal with God, Luke 9.26. And he shall come in the Fathers glory; that is, he shall come in that Glory the Father hath put on him, as his Righteous Servant. Phil. 2.10, 11. God hath exalted Christ, and given him a Name above every Name, that at the Name of Christ every knee should bow, and every tongue [Page 46]should confess that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. The Father is glorified in the glory of Christ. And it is further said, Luke 9.26. That he shall come in the glory of the holy Angels. They shall be Christ's Servitors, shall attend on his Nod, and wait at his beck, and be ready to fulfil his pleasure. And what terror may this truth speak to the wicked, that mighty Angels shall be Reapers to cut them down, and execute the Sentence of Christ upon them? And what comfort may this truth administer to the Godly, that mighty Angels shall gather them to Christ? They shall not miscarry, because the Angels shall find them out and present them to Christ, as those that will be justified by him, and enjoy communion with him. 4. In what manner will Christ appear? It is said in a flame of fire. Our Translators render it, in flaming fire. Christ's coming will be terrible to the Unbelieving World; his frowning Face will then be unveiled, his pu­nishing Arm will then be made bare. His fury will then come up into his Face, Ezek. 38.18. Long meekness and patience will end in se­verity. Sinners do weary out the patience and Long-Suffering of God, that he can bear no more, no longer, Jer. 44.22. He is even weary of repenting, Jer. 15.6. because Sinners are not weary of sinning.

Doct. 4. Christ will be Revealed in flaming fire. 1. That he will be so Revealed in flaming fire. [Page 47]2. The Causes of it. 3. The dreadful Effects of it.

1. That the Lord Christ will be Revealed in flaming fire. 1. His eyes will be as a flame of fire, Rev. 1.14. to discern and discover the most secret wickednesses, and the hidden things of darkness, Eccl. 12.14. He will come burning with anger, his lips will be full of indig­nation, and his tongue as a consuming fire, Is. 30.27, 28. He will speak to Sinners in his anger, and vex them in his sore displeasure; he will speak hot, burning devouring words. Let them be slain in my presence, Ps. 2.5. Depart ye cursed into everlasting fire. In this Sentence his Tongue is like consuming fire. Behold the Lord will come with fire, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire, Is. 66.15. His Throne will be like the fiery flame, and his Wheels as the burning fire. Christ's Throne hath Wheels of Fire, to pursue fugitive and guilty Offenders. 4. From this Throne a fiery stream issueth, and cometh forth to punish the Wicked; as from the Throne of God, and the Lamb, a pure River of Water of Life proceed­ed, clear as Chrystal, to refresh the Saints. As the same Sun, at the same time, scorches some parts of the World, and revives and chears other parts with his more benign beams and rays, the Heaven of the Blessed, and the Hell of the Damned, will come from the same face of God, as smiling, or as frowning, Ps. 16. last.

2. Why will Christ come in flaming fire? [Page 48]It is because his abused Grace is turned into fury; he knocked, but Sinners would not open to him. They have shut out Righteous­ness, Salvation, and Eternal Life, from them­selves; and they have detained Sin, Satan, and Death, and shut them into their own Souls. Christ called, but they would not answer; he stretched out his hands full of Gifts, and Spiri­tual Blessings, and no Man regarded. They would not come to Christ, that they might have life, John 5.40. They would not be ga­thered under his Wings, that they might have safety. They would not enter into his Fold, that they might be saved; go out and in, and find Pasture. They would not repair to his House, that they might find rest; or press in­to his Kingdom, that they might obtain a sa­tisfying Feast at his Table, and an eternal Glo­ry in his Throne. They would not kiss the Son with a kiss of Faithful Homage and Obe­dience, therefore he becomes angry; yea, his anger riseth up to fury, and breaks forth as Fire, so that there is no quenching of it. Sin­ners have been loading Christ with contempt, affronts, provocations, all their days: They have been Treasuring up Wrath, the Storm hath long been a gathering; Offenders have long been bringing Fuel to the Fire during their whole time, and God will be blowing it up during his Eternity. They thought Christ did not see, or observe their Iniquities; that he [Page 49]would not resent, and could not punish their Transgressions: But Christ comes now in fla­ming fire to shew the height of his anger, his fixed purpose to punish, and his power to re­venge. As God turned Fallen Adam out of the Earthly Paradise, a second Adam comes in a flame of Fire, to exclude Unbelievers, and Im­penitent Sinners, from the Heavenly Paradise. 3. Consider the dreadful effects of this flaming Fire; it will break forth, and take hold of the Creatures, and kindle a Conflagration both in the upper and lower World. The Heavens shall pass away with a noise, and the Elements shall melt with fervent heat; as if Metal should be melted, and distil in scalding burning drops. The Earth, and the Works of it, shall be burnt up: The Earth is the Home of the Wicked, the Creatures they have doted on, and made them as their Idol Gods. And how dreadful will this be to the Ungodly, to see their House, their Home, their Heaven, their Idol Gods, to be burnt up together? That the Creatures that were once Food to their Lusts, shall now become Fuel to the Fire of God's Anger? As the Philistines left their Images, their Idols, and David and his Men burnt them, 2 Sam. 5.21. so Sinners must leave their Heaven, and all their Idol Gods below, and God will burn and consume them.

2. This Fire will not stop here; the Scrip­ture joins the burning of Heaven and Earth, [Page 50]and the Perdition of ungodly Men together. 2 Pet. 3.7. The heavens; and the earth, that are now by the same word, are kept in store, reserved unto fire, against the day of judgment, and perdition of ungodly men. Shall the Traytors House be burnt, and the Traytors themselves escape? Shall the Creatures, that have been but passive Instru­ments of sin, be consumed? And shall the active Agents go Scot-free? Shall those that have been Pressed, forced Soldiers, suffer such hard things? And shall the Voluntiers in this wicked War against God be exempted from punishment? The Heavens and the Earth fly from the face of the Judge sitting on his white Throne, and their place was found no more. If the defiled Creatures could not brook or bear the angry face of the Judge, what shall become of the defilers of them? It is Men that have per­verted and abused the Creatures, contrary to their natural inclinations and tendency, to serve their Lusts, and fight against God, there­fore the most dreadful, scorching, and lasting Fire, must be their Portion and Punishment. God saith, Deut. 32.22. A fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn to the lowest Hell; it shall follow and pursue its fuel thither. God saith further, This fire shall consume the earth and its increase. These words may well expound the Text of Peter, 2 Pet. 3.10. That the earth, and the works of it, or therein, that is, its fruits and increase, shall be burnt up. This Fire shall inflame, and [Page 51]burn the very Foundations of the Mountains. If strong Mountains cannot withstand this Fire, how shall weak Sinners resist it? The same Fire that burns Heaven and Earth, shall pursue Transgressors, as its most proper, kindly, and perpetual Fuel. Immortal Criminals ever dying, yet never dying Sinners, shall be the Fuel of it, and an eternal God shall blow up the flame over them, Is. 30.3.3. This fire will be dread­ful: For, 1. It is the Fire, this is proper to, and will go forth against the Enemies, Is. 26.11. The fire of thine enemies shall consume them; that is, the Fire that shall burn against, and prey on Ene­mies. So it is said, Fiery indignation shall devour the Adversaries, Heb. 10.27. Those that are the Fuel of this fire, they are such as were God's Enemies in time, and will continue his Adver­saries to Eternity, and so be fit objects of his Fury. 2. This Fire shall burn to the utmost, it shall put forth its zeal to the utmost, [...], Heb. 10.27. The zeal of Fire, as the black­ness of darkness, Jude 13. doth terribly set forth the privative part of Hell; so the zeal of fire doth dreadfully express the posi­tive part. God will punish with the glory of his power, 2 Thes. 1.8. that is, with his power put forth most gloriously. These expressions, the zeal of fire, and the glory of God's power, do illustrate one another. 3. This fire it will torment, but it will never refine. Never was, nor can any be brought to repentance by the fire of Hell. Sinners [Page 52]will continue obstinate in Sin, and God's heart will be hardened, his bowels be shut up; he will be fully resolved to punish. 4. This Fire will come immediately from God and Christ, 1. From the face of God, 2 Thes. 1.4. [...], from the face of the Lord. So they are said to fall into the hands of the living God, Heb. 10.31. He doth punish them immediately. God hath to do with them, Ezek. 22.14. Can thy hands be strong, can thy heart endure in the day that I shall have to do with thee? The hands of Sin­ners cannot be strong to resist or keep off punishment; neither can their hearts be stout enough to endure and stand under it. Can Stubble, Chaff, Tares, resist a God that is consu­ming fire? Heb. 12.29. Christ will kindle this Fire, and heat the Souls of Sinners, as an Oven. As Satans temptations, as his suggestions, as a Baker, Hos. 7.4, 6. and Mens own Lusts, did sin­fully heat this Oven, so Christ's wrath will, in a way of Righteous punishment, heat it. It is said of Christ, Psal. 21.8, 9. That his hand shall find out all his enemies; his right hand shall find out all that hate him; thou shalt make them as an fiery Oven in the time of thine anger. 5. This Fire will. eat up the Adversaries, Heb. 10.27. it will be eating of Adversaries continually, yet never totally devour them. It will be eating of them to Eternity, and never make a full end of them. That Fire that devoures, will also salt the Subject it preys on, that it shall be preserved [Page 53]to Eternity. Sinners are said not to fall into the hand, but the hands of God: Both his hands, all his power is imployed for their misery. As there is a punishing Hand, so there is a supporting Hand, to bear up the Sinner to endure tor­ments to Eternity; Stubble and Chaff, Tares and Thorns, could never hold out as Eternal Fuel to the Fire of God's wrath, were there not an Eternal God, and an Eternal Power to support the Damned. 6. Sinners shall be tor­mented with Fire and Brimstone in the presence of the Lamb, Rev. 14.10. This answers those words of Christ, Let them be slain in my presence, Luke 19.27. Tho' Christ be a Lamb, yet we read of the wrath of the Lamb; and that great day of his wrath will come, Rev. 6.16.17. The Lamb will look on the torments of the wicked, and will not commiserate them, or relent in the least towards them. The Lamb will look on their torments, and will rejoice at them, and be much pleased with them, Rev. 7.14. They that neglected to wash their Robes white in the Blood of the Lamb, Christ, in honour to himself, will stain all his Raiment; their blood shall be sprink­led on his Garments, and this will render his Apparel as a Victorious Conquering Captain, glorious, Is. 63.1.3. Christ will never lessen, or put out this Fire: It is a Fire to punish per­verse Rebellious Creatures, hardened and Im­placable Enemies; a Fire of Jealousie against Adulterous Souls.

USE 1. This Truth may inform us how much Mens Sins, and obstinate Unbelief, doth alie­nate, and transform the Lord Jesus Christ: That he, that is stiled Love, should be Revealed in fla­ming Fire: That he, whose Office is to be a Media­tor, to quench Wrath, to make Peace, should come to pour out Fury: That he, who beseeched Men to be Reconciled to God, and wooed them to be Espoused to himself, should now come to Execute Vengeance: That he that long and often did knock, and call Sinners to open to him should now rise up, shut the Door, and be deaf to all the knocks and beseeching of Sinners, Luke 13.26. That he who spread out his Hands, and stretched out his Wings, to call and gather Sinners to himself, doth now shut them out from himself, and expose them to an Eternal Storm of Vengeance: That he who once acted as a Phy­sician, to heal, should now come to destroy: That he that is a Redeemer to others, should come now to bind obstinate Sinners in Chains, and cast them in­to Prison, and subject them to Eternal Bondage un­der the second Death.

USE 2. This may strike a Terror into Im­penitent Sinners.

If Christ will come in flaming Fire, what then will become of Stubble fully dry? What will those suffer that are but Chaff? That are Reprobate Silver? And that are but Dross? Ps. 119.119. Vessels of wrath fitted for Destructi­on? When the Harvest of the Earth is ripe, when the Grapes of the Vine of the Earth are fully ripe, [Page 55]the Sickle must be thrust in, and made use of, to reap the Harvest, and cut the Grapes, that they may be cast into the Wine-press of the wrath of God, Rev. 14.15, 18. Tares, barren, and dry Trees, must be fuel to this flaming fire, Matt. 3.10.

USE 3. Endeavour to prevent destruction by this flaming Fire.

O make sure that you shall not dwell with Consuming Fire, that you shall not inhabit with Everlasting Burnings. O come to the Media­tor, that he may make peace. O come to the Blood of sprinkling, that it may speak, and plead for your Pardon. Fly to Christ, that you may be found in him, Ps. 3.9. and so may find mer­cy with God, and may be found in peace, and your Faith may be found to Honor and Glo­ry at the Appearing of Christ. It is the Blood of Christ that must quench the Fire of God's wrath; and it is the Spirit of Christ, as mor­tifying, as sanctifying, that must pull away the Fuel of this Fire. There is a sweet and gracious Promise, Is. 1.25. I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy Dross, and take away all thy Tin. How full, how rich, and compre­hensive, is this Promise, that the Dross of Prophaness, and the Tin of Hipocrisie, shall be purely purged away? If open Sin, and secret Hipocrisie, be removed, the Euel of this Eter­nal Fire will be put away. We must be put into Christ's Refining Fire, that we may not be exposed to God's Consuming Fire. If Christ now [Page 56]appear for you in Heaven, Heb. 9.23, 24. he will not appear against you in the great Day. Those he has made Righteousuess and Sanctifi­cation to, he cannot Condemn; he will not destroy at his Appearing.

5. For what end will Christ be Revealed in Flaming Fire? It is thus expressed, He comes in a Flame of Fire, [...], giving Ven­geance. 1. He that is a merciful, and gracious God, yet will have no other gift to bestow on impenitent Unbelievers. Tho' Mercy belong­eth to God, which he will Exercise towards his People; tho' Forgiveness belong to him, which he will bestow on penitent Believers, yet only Vengeance belongs to God, to be executed on hardened Transgressors, Heb. 10.30. Ps. 94.1, 2. He hath no other Attributes but Justice and Power, Rom. 9.22. to be glorified in them. 2. This is an Impoverishing Gift, when Christ gives Vengeance, the one Talent shall be taken away, Matt. 25.28. All that the Souls of Sinners do Lust after shall depart; all the things that are dainty and goodly shall depart, and they shall find them no more at all, Rev. 18.14. 3. This is a Formenting Gift; it is a Cup of trembling, a Cup of fury, If, 51.21, 22. it is a Cup of red Wine, and full of mixture; all bitter, all fatal, deadly Ingredients, are squeezed into, joined, and are rempered in this Cup, yet it is without mix­ture, not one drop of Mercy or Kindness in it, but it is pure Wrath and Severity, as if all the [Page 57]strongest, most griping, tormenting Poysons, did meet in one Cup, Rev. 14.10. and there was nothing to antidote or allay their dead­ly force and operation. 4. This is a Gift they must receive, they cannot decline, avoid, or re­fuse. Jer. 25.15, 28. Take the Wine-cup of this fury at my hand, and cause all the Nations, to whom I send thee, to drink it. If they refuse to take the cup and to drink, then shalt thou say unto them, Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, ye shall certainly drink. I may allude to this Text, Tho' Condemned Sinners do loath the bitter and dreadful Cup, that God giveth to them, tho' they may re­coil, start from it, and refuse it, yet they shall certainly drink it. 5. This is a Gift that is Debt and Wages, Rom. 6.23. The wages of sin is death. So God is said to repay fury, to repay recompence, Is. 59.18. and to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of Fire. We are commanded to render to all their dues, Rom. 13.7. Misery and punishment is due to Sin­ners, if Christ should not pay it he would not be true to his Word, or just to himself. Tribu­lation and anguish belongs to every Soul that sins, Rom. 2.9. We are bid to owe nothing to any man but love, Rom. 13.8. And this is a Debt that must be always paying, and yet can never be fully discharged; so God owes Sinners en­mity, and vengeance, and this Debt will be paying, and yet never be wholly paid off, or discharged to Eternity. What Presents do [Page 58]Sinners make to, or what Gifts do they bestow on God? What Fruit did God's Vineyard yield to him? Were they not sowre, and wild grapes, grapes of gall, and bitter clusters? Wine that is the poyson of Dragons, the cruel venom of Asps? Deut. 32.32, 33. What crop, or harvest, doth barren, and bad ground, yield to the Husbandman, but briers and thorns? Heb. 6.8. How Righte­ous is it then, that Christ should give venge­ance to them? Deal out blows, stripes, and wounds to them, and that for ever? Christ of­fered them Mercy once, and they would not receive it, but he will give them Punishment, he will shew Severity to them, and they shall not be able to decline, refuse, or reject it. Sin­ners would not do Christ right, would not give him their hearts, Prov. 23.26. They would not give him glory Jer. 13.16. Christ must therefore inflict punishment on them, and give vengeance to them. If Men will not give God, and Christ glory, Christ will get honour on them whe­ther they will or no. Compare those two Scrip­tures, Jer. 13.16. Give glory to the Lord your God. And that in Exod. 14.17. I will get me honour on Pharaoh, and all his Host. Those that will not give Christ glory by repenting and belie­ving Christ will get Honour by pouring out his fury, and executing vengeance on them. Ezek. 28.22. O Zidon, in thee I will be glorified, they shall know I am the Lord, when I shall have executed judgments in her. The day of vengeance [Page 59]is in Gods heart, Is. 63.4. And the strokes of Ju­stice shall shortly be dealt out by Christ's hands. The whirlwind of the Lord will go forth in fury, it shall fall grievously on the head of the wicked, Jer. 23.19. 6. But on whom will Christ take vengeance? This Text informs us, it is on all that know not, and obey not the Gos­pel of our Lord Jesus Christ. As it is life eter­nal to know the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent, John 17.3. so this causeth death eternal to be ignorant of the true God, and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent. Those that hear the Gospel, and do not listen to it, and receive it, are guilty of a wilful and affected Ignorance of God, and Christ. The light shi­neth, but they come not to it; yea, they shut their eyes against it, Matt. 13.15. and so concur with Satan to promote their own destruction. The Devil blinds their minds, 2 Cor. 4.4. lest they should believe, and they close their own eyes, lest they should see with their Eyes, hear with their Ears, understand with their Hearts, and so should be converted, and God should heal them. How guilty are Men before God, who impri­son, and shut in Natural Light? Rom. 1.18. and exclude, shut out, Supernatural Lights. The na­tural man receiveth not the things of the spirit, for they are foolishness to him, 1 Cor. 2.14. The blindness, folly, and vanity of their minds, is as a dark Lanthorn about the Candle of Natural Light, to hinder it from shining out in their [Page 60]Words and Actions: They detain, and hold it under unrighteously: Their Lusts are too hard for their Light, and do Rebel against it. And Men come not to that Supernatural Light, that shines in the Gospel, lest their deeds should be reproved, and themselves condem­ned. Tho' Men may please themselves with Notional, and Speculative Knowledge, as it may swell their Pride, and commend them to the Esteem of Men, yet when it should touch and wound Conscience, affect the Heart, be reduced to Practise, and reform the Life, then they hate knowledge, Prov. 1 29. Thus those two Texts are to be reconciled, Is. 58.2. They seek me daily, and delight to know my ways. Yet this is charged even on Israelites, That they hated Knowledge, and would not chuse the Fear of the Lord; they did not like to please, fear, worship, and serve God in sincerity.

Quest. But is there no distinction of Persons meant in these words? Are they to be understood of the same Unregenerate Persons within the visi­ble Church, that both know not God, and obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ?

Answ. It is true, that there are Carnal, Un­converted Persons within the Church, that may be said neither to know God, nor yet to obey the Gospel of Christ. Eli's Sons, tho' they were Priests, are said not to know the Lord, 1 Sam. 2.12. And the Jews are thus charged, Through deceit they refuse to know me, saith the [Page 61]Lord. Jer. 9.6. Either they thought they had found some better Good, some sweeter Por­tion than God, or that the knowledge of God would disturb their Peace, and imbitter their Pleasures and Lusts to them; and thus thro' deceit they did refuse to know God. God complains, That his People are destroy'd for lack of knowledge, Hos 4.5, 6. It may be Day with­out, as Men are under a clear dispensation of the words of Reconciliation, Righteousness and Salvation, yet it may be Night within, by reason of the blindness of the Mind, and ob­stinacy of the Will. If Men did rightly know God, they would trust in him, Ps. 9.10. and set their love on him. Ps. 91.14. They that know Gods name, are said to give their hearts to him, to set their love on him. But it is apparent, that the Trust of many, called Christians, is with-held, and their love withdrawn from God. They cast God himself, and his Word too, behind their backs, Psal. 50.17. and therefore do not know God. If they did indeed know the perfect Holiness of God, the Purity of his Word, the strictness of his Law, the Se­verity and Terror of his Threatnings, they would fly to Christ, submit to the Righte­ousness of God, obey the Gospel, and Trust on the Lord Jesus, both for Reconciliation and Sanctification, Matt: 5.6. It is too evi­dent, that all Unconverted Persons in the Church, though called Christians, do not [Page 62]know God, Their Light doth not shine before men, Phil. 2.15, 16. And they do not hold forth the Word of Life in their Conversa­tions, Psal. 10.4, 3. They do not think of God, he is not in all their thoughts, Eph. 2.2. They do not trust in him. They do not love God. Christ saith to the Jews, I know you, that the love of God is not in you, John 5.42. They delight not in the Almighty, Job 27.10. they fear not God. My fear, saith God, is not in thee, Jer. 2.19. There is no fear of God before their eyes, Rom. 3.18. They lightly esteem of God, are unmindful of him, and forget him, Deut. 32.5, 18. They do not seek after God, draw near to him, converse and enjoy communion with him, Rom. 3.11. If Men designed to please God, would they pass the bounds that he sets to them? Eph. 2.2. break the yoke he puts on them? Would they affront and reject his Authority? Would they make God's Laws void, and live in the open and notorious breach of his Commands? If Men did know God, could they allow themselves in Envy, Hatred, Malice? In Cursing, Swearing, Lying, Stealing, Whore­dom, Adultery? Could they go on in vain, unprofitable Talks; yea, in filthy and rot­ten Communication, in Wanton and Lasci­vious Language? Could Men be so unjust one to another, as to Plow away one ano­thers Land at Seed-time, and to cut over [Page 63]their Furrows, and take away their Neigh­bours Corn at Harvest? Could Men so gripe, and oppress one another? Could they live without Prayer, and not call upon God in their Families? Would they so neglect their Children? Not Teach, Instruct, and Edu­cate them for God, but rather yield, and give them up to Satan, by leaving them un­der the Power of Darkness, and the Law of Sin? Could they so connive at their Sins, and not severely check and chastize them for, and restrain them from their Vices, if they did know God? If Men neither own God as a Father, and do not acknowledge Men as Brethren, do not all these Evils loudly proclaim, and strongly evidence, that many, called Christians, do not know God? Therefore Christ will come to Exe­cute Vengeance on them; to thrust them into a dark, dreadful Prison, and to cast them into a Furnace of unquenchable Fire.

But this expression, those that know not God, doth mainly and chiefly concern the Heathen World, Galat. 4.8. While the Gala­tians did not know God, they did service to them that were no Gods. And the Corinthians were carried to Dumb Idols, even as they were led. They did not know the right Object of Adoration, but did Service to them that were no Gods by Nature. They did endow a false God with their Religious Adoration. [Page 64]Many of the Heathen did think the World was from Eternity, and never made: They did not acknowledge the Author of their Be­ing, or the end for which they were made. They sought after nothing but what they should eat, what they should drink, and wherewithal they should be clothed, Matt. 6.32. as if they were all Body, and there were no other Life but this present Life. Now this is a heinous Sin for Heathens, not to know God, not to seek after him. This is a great and inexcusable sin not to know, when there are so many Witnesses that do testify for God. He hath not left himself without witness, Acts 14.16, 17. These Witnesses should be called and examined, Job 12.7, 8. Ask now the Beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the Fowls of the Air, and they shall tell thee; or speak to the Earth, and it shall teach thee; and the Fishes of the Sea shall declare unto thee. There is a great Cause de­pending about the Being of God. When this weighty Matter is to be tried, surely we should, by Meditation, call and ask the Witnesses, what they can testify for God, his Being, Power, and Goodness?

2. There are so many Preachers that declare his Glory, and shew forth his Handy-work. As this is Engraven on the Scriptures, God spake me, so this is in Capital Letters writ­ten [Page 65]on the Creature, God made me. That Hand that stretched out that spangled Cano­py above our Heads, and that hath spread this flowery Carpet that is under our Feet, day unto day uttereth speech, Psal. 9.2. Every day doth abundantly utter something of God. And the same word is used of the Righte­ous, Psal. 145.7. I shall abundantly utter the memory of that Goodness. Two things are here to be observed, 1. That the Creatures are such Preachers, as never do keep silence, day unto day uttereth speech. It offers new Matter of Contemplation and Admiration, and Night unto Night sheweth Knowledge. Every succeeding Night instructs the prece­ding Night, and makes some farther and new Discoveries of God, that should more enlighten the Minds, and affect the Hearts of Men towards God. 2. The Creatures preach God in a Speech and Language, that all Nations may understand, though their Languages are so confounded, and are not understood by other People and Nations; there is no Speech, or Language, where their voice is not heard. The most ignorant and brutish Barbarians, may understand the Speech and Language that the Creatures do preach in. The confusion of Babel doth not hinder the Creatures from being under­stood in what they publish, and declare of God.

[Page 66] 3. There is a great Book in which Men may read God, Psal. 19.4. Their Line is gone forth into all the Earth, and their Words to the end of the Earth. The Pages of this great Book are the Sea, the Heavens, and the Earth. And this Book still lieth open, and the most ignorant, illiterate, and unskilful, may read in this Book, and understand some­what of its Contents. This is a long Line that reacheth to the ends of the Earth; and it is written in such great and Capital Let­ters, that all may read it.

4. Men are in the World as in a great Room all hung round with Glasses; he that is in such a Room, may clearly and plainly see the Attributes, and Excellencies of God. The invisible things of God, from the Creation of the World, are clearly seen, Rom. 1.20. They are evidenced and de­monstrated to Sense; yet so, that the Under­standing doth help the Senses, [...]. They are understood by the Mind, that contem­plates the things that are made; and so Sense, by the assistance of the Mind, doth clearly see invisible things.

5. There are Garments, with which God is Clothed, and in which he may be seen, Psal. 104.2. David saith to God, Who co­verest thy self with Light, as with a Garment. [Page 67]The Psalmist plainly refers to God's Crea­tion of Light. Gen. 1.3. God said let there be Light, and there was Light. God did then put on this bright and glorious Creature as a Garment. As the Greatness, Majesty, and Glory of Kings, is seen in their Clothing, so God is known how Powerful, how Good, how Wise, he is by his Works. Scultetus saith, (on Psal. 104.) Vestis Dei Contem­planda, si Deum Contemplari volueris; You must view God's Garment, if you will Contem­plate God himself, for God himself otherwise is invisible. We cannot come to the naked Divine Essence, but we must see the first Cause clothed with Effects in the Works of Creation and Providence: As when God comes forth to execute Justice, he is said to Clothe himself with the Garments of Vengeance. Isa. 59.17. He puts on the Garments of Ven­geance for Clothing, and was clad with Zeal as a Cloak. Hath God Clothed himself with so many, and such glorious Garments? Are his Attributes so visible in his Creatures? And are not Men inexcusable, that know not God, who daily comes forth to us Clothed in his Works of Creation and Providence, and thereby renders himself visible to us?

Quest. But what do these Witnesses, Preach­ers, Books, Glasses, Garments of God, discover and make known?

Answ. The Being, the Eternity, Wisdom, Power, and Goodness of God.

1. The Being of a God, the invisible things of God from the Creation of the World, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his Eternal Power and Godhead, or his Divine Being. Where there are Effects, there must be a Cause; where there are Streams, there must be a Fountain. If you will trace, fol­low, and persue the smallest stream, it will at last bring you to the Ocean; so follow the smallest Rivulet of Creature-Beings, and it will bring you to God, the infinite Sea of Being. Where there is so great a House raised with so much Art and Skill, there must needs be a Builder: None ever saw a House built by Chance, or Accident, and what Folly and Madness is it to think, that this great House of the World was built by a Casual, yet Lucky meeting of Stones toge­ther? The Creatures are not of themselves, and therefore cannot be from Eternity. That only that is Infinite, Omnipotent, All wise, can be from Eternity; Creatures are not so, and therefore cannot be from Eter­nity. Ask any Man living, did you make your self, none can be so impudent to af­firm that he made himself. And there is the same Reason against his Father; or any [Page 69]other Man, that he did not make himself; therefore Men must necessarily come to a First Man, and to a God that made him. Thus the Creatures do demonstrate the Be­ing of a God.

2. The Creatures declare the Eternity of God. He that made all things must neces­sarily be before them. Col. 1.17. He is be­fore all things, and by him all things were made and consist, Col. 1.16, 17. From everlasting to everlasting he is God, Psal. 90.2. If God were not from Eternity, the World could not have had a beginning, or any Creature have been formed.

3. The Creatures proclaim the power of God, Rom. 1.20. his eternal power. Men speak words, but God speaks things; by his word he calls things that are not, Rom. 4.17. And their answer is to rise, spring up, and exist; that which is nothing, yet hears and obeys God. God said let their be Light, let the Earth bring forth Trees, Plants, Herbs, and Flowers, and it was so; and yet the Earth had no Seed of these things in it self, Gen. 1.11, 12. And as God speaks Crea­tures, so he breaths the Soul, Gen. 2.7. God breathed into mans nostrils the breath of life, and he became a living soul. And God writes in the Minds and Wills of Men; none but he [Page 70]can reach, or come at these Tables, and write in them. And God doth not as Men, write Syllables, and Words, but he writes new Principles, Habits, Dispositions, and Inclinations; he writes Light in the Mind, and Love in the Will. Consider of these three glorious Effects of the power of God, That he speaks Creatures, breathes Souls, writes new Principles and Inclinations in the Soul. The power of God gloriously shines in the Work of Creation.

1. That he made all things out of nothing. Heb. 11.3. Things which are seen, were not made of things which do appear. That is, They were made out of nothing. There did not appear any eternal First Matter, out of which God made all things. Other Ar­tists do not make their Matter, but they must have it made to their Hands, but God made all things out of nothing.

2. God made all things: By the Word of his Power, Psal. 33.6. were the heavens made, and all the host of them, by the breath of his mouth. Psal. 33.9. He spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.

2. God made all things without any As­sistant or Heiper, Isa. 44.24. I am the Lord that maketh all things, that stretcheth forth the [Page 71]Heaven alone, that spreadeth abroad the Earth by my self.

3. There was none that invented a Pat­tern, or drew a Scheme or Draught, to direct God to Work by.

4. None gave God Counsel, or Instructed him, what he should do, or how he should Work. Who hath directed the spirit of the Lord, or being his counsellor hath taught him? With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding? Isa. 40.13, 14.

5. God hangs the earth on nothing, Job 26.7. This amazed Aristotle, (de Mundo.) That if you did throw up a clod of Earth into the Air, it would not hang there; and that yet, the whole Globe of the Earth, and Water, should hang in the Air, and all things be born up by the Word of God's power, Heb. 1.2. It is said of God, in Psal. 95.4. In his hand are the deep places of the earth. God's Hand carries the whole Globe of the Earth; its Foundation is laid in his Hand, and is sup­ported by him.

6. There is a daily strong confirmation of the History of the Creation, and such an [Page 72]evident demonstration of the power of God, it plainly appears that it is true, That all things came from nothing at first, because they daily spring, and rise from such small, contemptible beginnings, as are next kin to nothing: As that from an Acron should grow an Oak of above twenty four Tun of Timber. In the New Forest it is said there was cut an Oak, that Top, Lop, Root, and Body, was eight and twenty Tun of Tim­ber. That from a small Grain of Mustard-Seed, such a Tree should grow as Christ speaks of, Matt. 13.31, 32.

4. The Creatures declare the Wisdom of God: That out of a Chaos, without Form, Beauty, or Order, God should draw forth, and raise so beautiful a World. Athenagoras (in his Legat. for the Christians) tells us, That Plato called the World [...], The Art of God. The Apostle Paul uses a Word much to the same Sense, 1 Cor. 1.21. The World, [...], in the Wisdom of God; that is, in the Frame of Heaven and Earth, in which the Wisdom of God doth so emi­nently shine, by their Natural Wisdom, or Understanding, did not know God. The Wisdom of God appears in the making of the World.

[Page 73] 1. In making such various sorts of Crea­tures. Sixteen hundred sorts of Herbs are said to grow in England; and four thousand distinct Vegetables, Plants, and Trees, are reported to be, and grow in the Physick Gar­den at Oxford. None but an Infinite Under­standing could form the different Ideas of so many thousands of sorts of Flowers, Trees, Birds, Beasts, and Fishes.

2. That Objects should be so exactly fit­ted to the Senses of Men; Colours to the Eyes, fragrant Smells to the Nose, sweet and grateful Relishes to the Taste, Sounds to the Ear; this could not be a Work of Chance, but of Infinite Wisdom.

3. That God should form several Crea­tures, one higher than another, and subor­dinate to another. God is said to build his Stories in the Heaven, Amos 9.6. There is the lowest, the middle, the highest Hea­vens, as several Stories, in a great and high Building; so God buildeth up Stories of Crea­tures on the Earth. There are Plants that are the lowest Story, Beasts that are a higher Story, and Man that is the highest Story in this lower World; and these are subservient to each other. The Plants and Grass seed the Beasts, and Beasts do nourish Men; and they should devote themselves to the Service and Worship of God.

[Page 74] 4. That God should put such Shapes and Signatures on Herbs, to shew something, what they were made, and are good for. Eye-bright hath the figure and shape of an Eye, and is an excellent Herb to cure the Maladies of the Eye. Pimpernel hath some­thing like the Plague-spots under its Leaves, and is of excellent Virtue against the Plague.

5. That Herbs, proper to cure Diseases, do naturally grow in the Country, where the Disease reigns: As Scurvy-grass in Eng­land, and in other Northern Countries, doth spring up Naturally. And yet an Expe­riment hath been made, and much Art used, and Care taken, to Plant and Cultivate Scur­vy-Grass in some parts of France, where the Disease is not known, and it would not grow.

6. Some Herbs do Figure the Part that they are good to Heal: As Adders-Tongue, Hearts-Tongue, Rib-wort, Wood-Sorrel, that hath the shape of a Heart, is accounted a good Cordial Herb.

7. How doth God's Wisdom appear in placing the Sun, Psal. 19.4. In the Heaven God is said to have made a Tabernacle, or Dwelling-place for the Sun. That part of the Heavens that is between the two Tro­picks [Page 75]of Cancer and Capricorn, in which the Sun still moves, or is, may be stiled the Ta­bernacle of the Sun. This is wonderful Wis­dom, that the Sun should be so situated in the midst of the Heavens, to communicate Light and Heat to the whole World succes­sively: That the Sun never goes beyond the Tropicks, but doth in so orderly a way re­turn to us again, and observe such an exact Course in the lengthning or shortning of the days, the Sun doth not Rise or Set two days in the same place. God puts this Question to Job, Job 38.12. Hast thou commanded the morning? Hast thou caused the day-spring to know its place? And Psal. 104.19. The Sun know­eth his going down. The Sun doth Rise and Set in different places every day, yet it is said to know the place of its Rising and Setting, as if it had a Principle of Reason and Un­derstanding, that the Days and Heat should increase and decrease, in such a stated course. That we do not pass from the extremity of Cold into the scorching Heat of Summer, but through a Spring, that doth partake of Gold and Heat mixed: And that we do not pass out of the heat of the Summer, into the extremity of Winter cold, but through an Autumn, that hath a mixture of some heat and cold. This is wonderful Wisdom, that God hath clothed and beautified the Sun with such a glorious Garment of Light, Psal. [Page 76]19.5, 6. Which is as a Bridegroom coming out of his chamber; that God hath given him so swift a motion, that he rejoyceth as a strong man to run a race. His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it. O how wonderful is God's Wisdom and Power, to make a Sun that should run round the World every day with so swift a motion! That God should furnish the Sun with so great a heat, that it is said there is nothing hid from the heat of it! It pierces even to the Roots of Plants and Trees, and reaches into the bowels of the Earth. This also is wonderful, That the Sun rising every Morning, doth give a new stamp and beauty to the Earth, and the Creatures in it, Job 38.13, 14. The day-light takes hold of the ends of the earth; that is, the earth is turned as clay to the seal. The Light is as a Seal that stamps the Earth; the Earth by darkness loseth its lustre, (for then we cannot discern it) but by the Morning light doth (as to our sense) recover a new lustre, as if Clay were new stamped, and received a new impression by a Seal: and as if the Earth were decked with a new Garment, and variety of Ornaments, and had a new beauty and lustre put on it. Manifold are Gods works, and in wisdom he hath made them all, Psal. 104.24.

[Page 77] 5. The Goodness of God eminently ap­pears in the making of the Creatures. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord, Psal. 33.5. The Earth is said to be full of the Mercy of the Lord, Psal. 119.64. The Lord is good to all, and his tender mercies are over all his works, Psal. 145.9. This was wonderful Goodness, that God prepared a place for Mans Habitation before he was made. God commanded the Waters to be gathered toge­ther into one place, and the dry Land to appear, that Man might have a place of Abode: The waters stood above the mountains, they covered all, Psal. 104.6, 7, 8. But God rebuked this as a disorder; he gave forth a thundering Command to the Waters, at which they fled, and hasted away. Two things here are observable:

1. That God brake up a deep and hol­low place in the Earth, large enough to re­ceive such vast quantities of Waters, Job 38.10. I brake up for it my decreed place, that the Earth should sink so deep as to entertain these huge Treasures of Waters. It is some­what probable, that as the Earth was depres­sed so low in some places, so it did propor­tionably swell, and rise high in other places. The low Valley, in which the deep Sea doth lie, is answered by high Mountains, that ascend so much above the plain ground.

[Page 78] 2. This is observable, That God shut in the Sea; he sets bars and doors. God com­manded the Sea, Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further; and here shall thy proud waves be stayed, Job 35.10, 11. This is wonderful Power and Goodness, for God to Park in, and Inclose, so wild and furious a Creature as the Sea is; and when its Waves rise to be as high Mountains, God is said to tread on the Waves of the Sea, Job 9.8. And God treads these swelling and mountainous Waves into a Plain when he allys the Wind; causeth the Storm to cease, and makes a Calm. God hath set a bound, that they may not pass over; that they turn not again to cover the Earth. The sand is fixed as a bound to this furious Creature by a per­petual decree, Jer. 5.22.

2. Here is more Goodness, that restrains the Waters that are over our Heads: God binds up the waters in his thick clouds, and the clouds are not rent under them, Job 26.8. We dwell between two Seas, a Sea below, and a Sea in the Clouds. There are vast quanti­ties of Waters in the Clouds, that would fall down and overwhelm us, did not the pow­er of God bear them up. For this reason, as well as others, Gods strength is said to be in the clouds, Psal. 68.34.

[Page 79] 3. That God hath made such variety, and abundance of Creatures, for Mans use: Bread to strengthen, and Wine to chear his Heart, Psal. 104.15. Birds, Beasts, and Fishes, for his use. God did not make Man till he had stocked a Farm, and furnished a House for him. The earth is full of Gods riches, Psal. 104.24. which were made not to ad­vantage, or enrich God, for he hath need of nothing, Acts 17.25. but Man was to be en­riched by being made Proprietor and Pos­sessor of this great House and Farm.

4. That God should so graciously share, and divide the Sun, Moon, and Stars, and by turns communicate their light to all Na­tions, Deut. 4.19. The Sun shines to some, and makes a day with them, when it's night with others. The Sun gives a six Months day to some, and a six Months night to others; so the Moon and Stars do by turns afford light to several parts of the Earth.

5. That God hath made Beasts for bur­den, to carry Men, and their Goods, up and down; to Draw and Plow their Ground. And God hath made other Beasts, Birds and Fish, to feed Men.

6. That God hath not only made Herbs and Plants for Food, but also for Medicine, [Page 80]Healing of Diseases, and Curing of Wounds.

7. That the Earth doth not only serve us, with its surface and outside, bearing under-Wood, Trees, Broom, Furzes, and Turf, but with its inside, Heart and Bowels. There are several rich Mines, precious Stones, Peat and Coals, growing in the Bowels of the Earth for Fuel. The Earth serves us with its outside and inside, which should oblige us to serve God with our Souls and bodies, with our Hearts and Lives.

8. Though particular Creatures, as Men, Beasts, Birds, Fish, Flowers, Herbs, Trees, do die, yet God doth not suffer any Species of Creatures utterly to perish, and be extin­guished, but new Creatures do spring up and rise in the room of those that decay and perish, and so do fill up their place. Thou sendest forth thy spirit, and they are created, thou renewest the face of the earth, Psal. 104.30. God's Spirit gives Life to the Creatures, he brings forth a new Stock of Men, Beasts, Birds, Trees, and Plants, so that God's great Farm is not left unstocked and unfurnished; God may be seen and felt in his Creatures. Those that do not see God's Glory, that do not adore his Wisdom and Power, that do not admire his Goodness, deserve to be con­sumed out of the earth, and to cease their being [Page 81]here, Psal. 104.4. yea, that Christ should come in flaming Fire, to take Venge­ance on them for their Ignorance of God: That they close their Eyes against such a light as shines through the World, spreads and diffuses it self among all the Crea­tures. Man was made to seek God, Acts 17.26, 27. And God endued Man with a Life of Light, John 1.40. Taught him more than the Beasts of the Earth, and made him wiser than the Fowls of Heaven, Job 35.10, 11. and this was to fit Man to ask and inquire after God. Every Rational Creature should say, Where is God my Master, that gives Songs in the Night? God did not breathe a Soul into Man, that he should pant after the dust of the Earth, Amos 2.7. but should breathe and pant after God, Psal. 42.1, 2.

2. Christ will come in flaming fire, to take Vengeance on those that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Three things here I shall insist upon: 1. I shall shew what the Gospel is. 2. What it is to obey the Gospel. 3. How great and heinous a sin it is, not to obey the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1. What the Gospel is, I Answer, It is not only [...], a Promise, but [...], Good News that this Promise is performed, Acts 13.32, 33. We declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise, which was made unto the fathers, God hath fulfilled the same unto us their [Page 82]children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again. These glad Tidings are brought by the Son out of the bosom of the Father, John 1.18. It is good News of the best Good, the sweetest Feast, the richest Inheritance, the most Noble and Honorable Relation to God; and that when a Sentence of Death might have been dreaded, and an Eternal Vengeance felt. It is a Gospel of grace, Acts 20.24. A Gospel of salva­tion, Eph. 13.1, 24. The gospel of the kingdom, Matt. 4.23. Here is Salvation from the most dreadful Evils, the possession of a glorious and everlasting Kingdom, and all bestowed in a way of pure Grace.

2. What is it to obey the Gospel: we read of obeying the Truth, Gal. 3.1. and what shall be the end of them that obey not the Gospel of God, 1 Pet. 4.17. These expressions of obey­ing the Truth, and obeying the Gospel, do seem to intimate that the Gospel is something more than a meer Promise. To obey the Gospel, is to Believe and Repent; we must credit God's Testimony, 1 Cor. 2.1. Is. 5.3. Rom. 15.17. Believe the Report he gives, re­ceive the Gifts that he offers, else we reject the highest Mercy, and make God a Liar, 1 John 5.10. if we believe not the Gospel.

2. We must also Repent of our Sins. To be called to Repent of our Sins, and to have such sweet, great, and strong Incouragements to Repent, is certainly Gospel-grace. Muscu­lus [Page 83](on Matt. 10.5.) saith, He doth not preach the Gospel that doth not preach Repentance. That Repentance is a Gospel Duty, these three things do evidence and demonstrate.

1. It is a Call from an offended provo­ked Husband, to return from our Whore­doms, and to be Loyal to him. Thou hast play­ed the harlot with many Lovers, yet return again to me, saith the Lord, Jer. 3.1. God acting ac­cording to the Covenant of Works, would for ever divorce, and eternally punish Sinners for their Adulteries, not call 'em to be reconciled.

2. The Call to Repentance is a Call from Christ as a Physician, Matt. 9.12, 13. The whole have no need of a Physician; I am come to call sinners to repentance. Christ in this acts as a Physician, in calling Sinners to Repentance, that they may be his Patients, and that he may heal and recover them from their Diseases.

3. A Call to Repentance flows from God, and Christ as a Shepherd: He seeks out that which was lost, and brings back that which was gone astray, Luke 19.10. These are Acts proper to Christ as a Shepherd, and therefore Repentance must needs be a Duty of the Gos­pel, Zech. 10.8. I will hiss for them, and gather them, for I have redeemed them. Here is a plain Allusion to the Shepherds hiss, to gather the Sheep that are scattered; and he gathers them, because he hath Redeemed them. This still more evidences, that a Call to Repentance is grounded on the Gospel.

[Page 84] 3. I shall shew you what a heinous Sin it is not to obey the Gospel. 1. The Gospel requires us to be reconciled to God, 2 Cor. 1.20. O what Mercy is it, that Reconciliation is possible; we could not be Reconciled but by the death of God's Son. We could not be healed but by his stripes, Isa. 53.5. God could not make Peace with us, but he must make War with his Son, Zech 13.7. Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and smite the man that is my fellow. Devils are not invited to be Reconciled, the blind Hea­then World are not called to be Reconciled. Let Heaven and Earth be Witness and Judge, whether it be not reasonable that Sinners should be reconciled to God; that is Love, and Goodness, that never did them any wrong; that is their Creator, Preserver, and Benefactor: Is not the enmity of Men unjust, foolish, and pernicious to themselves? Shall Grashoppers leap up against Heaven? Is. 40.22. Shall Worms, Job 25.6. contend with the Almighty? Shall Potters Vessels challenge a Rod of Iron? Ps. 2.8, 9. Shall Stubble and Chaff, Briers and Thorns, set themselves in Battle against devouring Fire? Hath God found out a way to appease his own wrath? Is. 27.4, 5. To cut off his own plea and advan­tages against us? Nahum 10.3. To end the dreadful Controversie between Heaven and Earth, and to sheath his glittering Sword, and will you yet persist in your enmity, [Page 85]and continue the War against God? Do you resolve to pluck down his wrath and vengeance on you? Will the short, momen­tary pleasures of Sin, countervail eternal Tor­ments? When God calls you to be Reconci­led, what is contained in it, but that you should lay down your weapons of Hostility, and lay hold on Christ's atoning Sacrifice, as the on­ly means of Reconciliation? O shall not your Scum go out of you? Shall not your Dross be separated from you? Shall not all the Transgressions be cast away by you? Should you not return to your place, submit, and be subject to God? You must turn from your Iniquity, God will never change and depart from his Holiness. 2. The Gospel calls men to be Espoused to Jesus Christ, Cant. 8.8. The little Sister, that is, the Gentiles, are said to be spoken for; that is, to give her Heart to, and set her love on Christ Jesus, 1 Cor. 6.17. Christ doth wooe you to be joined to him, to give your selves to him, and to be his, 2 Cor. 8.5. Is not Christ the most beautiful, rich, loving, and glorious Bridegroom? Can you find any other Match, that may compare with him? He is fairer than the children of men, Psal. 45.2. He is white, and ruddy, and the chiefest of ten thousands, Cant. 5.10. He hath unsearchable riches, Ephes. 3.8. He is love it self, Cant. 3.5. All power in Heaven and Earth is given to him. He was dead, but he is alive, and lives for [Page 86]more, Matt. 28.18. Rev. 1.15. He will never put you away or leave you a desolate discon­solate Widow. Is it not amazing, that Beauty should wooe Deformity? Riches solicit Po­verty? Nobility suit Vileness and Baseness, and yet be rejected? If you match not with Christ, who shall pay your Debts? Protect and cover you from Arrests? Who shall make you a Jointure, or provide you a House and Home in another World? Who shall wash away your Guilt and Filth? Supply your Wants? Cloth and Cover your Nakedness? If Jesus Christ be not your Husband, will you still dote on base and beggarly Objects? Will you still go a Whoring from God? Psal. 13.27. Will you continue Aholah, dwelling in your own Tent, and broken off from the House of God? Those that slight, and spurn at Christ's love, are they not worthy to feel the scorch­ing Fire of his wrath? Carnal Creatures do not love a Spiritual Bridegroom; they rush into the embraces of carnal and present Ob­jects, but Souls consider not they must shortly be snatched out of the bosom of beloved Ob­jects, must be separated from them, and be for ever punished for their Adulterous Embraces of them. 3. It is a heinous sin not to be willing to be Christ's Patients. He is a Physician, Matt. 9.12. His Blood is a Soveraign Medicine a­gainst the guilt of Sin, his Spirit is a mighty Antidote against the power of Iniquity. Ne­ver [Page 87]was there such a Physician as Christ, that did Die to provide the Medicine, and then rose again, and visits the Dead to apply it, John 5.25. None can visit and recover the Dead but Jesus Christ; but who regards, or minds, a cure for his Soul? Do not the wounds of Sinners more rankle, fester, and putrify? Do not their Diseases grow stronger on 'em? Do not their Lusts root deeper? Yea, are not Sinners so blinded, that they think their Dis­eases to be Members necessary and profitable? How many do not account themselves sick, but rather whole? Matt. 9.12, 13. The Jews, thought themselves to be sound, and free from Spiritual Diseases. This highly provokes Jesus Christ, that on such costly terms he became a Physician, and yet Men seel no want, or need of him, John 3.14, 15. Tho' our diseases are dangerous, and threaten us with eternal Death; tho' the cure seems to be so easie, that Persons may look to Christ, and be rid of the deadly Poyson of the Old Serpent; a touch of Christ may heal the Spiritual Leprosie and our touching of Christ by Faith, may cause our issue of Blood to dry up, yet Sinners see not, know not the plague of their own hearts, they are pleased with their Dropsie, with Thirst, their Feverish Fire, and burning Lusts; they think they should be maimed, if their Mem­bers on Earth were cut off; and that their Lives would be uncomfortable, if bereaved [Page 88]of the Pleasures of Sin; tho' their condition without Christ be wholly desperate, yet they will not part with their Diseases, but languish under them, pine away in them, and die eternally.

4. It is heinous Disobedience against the Gospel, that Men will not be Christ's Guests, Mat. 22.1, 2, 3. The Jews were invited to a Marriage-Feast, made by the Father for his Son Jesus Christ, Mat. 22.1. Psal. 18. ult. Psal. 22.26. to partake of his Rest, his Pleasure, his Joy, his Glory; but Sinners make light of the Chear, tho' it be spiritual, suited to the nature and duration of the Soul; tho' it be satisfactory, and will make the Hearts of Men to live for ever, yet, as sick Persons, they abhor this dainty Meat, Job 33.20. They lust after the Dainties of Carnal De­lights, they are prepossessed with the love of the World, and so do hasten to the Feast that Satan bids them to, but they invent and make Excuses to blind their own Minds, and harden their own Hearts, and to hold them­selves back from this Feast; they lay out their Money for that which is not Bread, and their Labour for that which satisfies not; they must shortly fall under an eternal Fa­min of all Good, and then must eat the bit­ter Fruit of their own ways and doings, and drink the Wrath of the Almighty. This is a heinous Sin, that Men will not come to [Page 89]Christ's Feast, 1. when they are not able to keep alive their own Souls, Psal. 22.29. they have nothing to sustain and support their lan­guishing and dying Souls, but, as the Prodi­gal, they are ready to perish with Famine. 2. This is a Feast made on a Sacrifice, Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us, let us therefore keep the Feast, 1 Cor. 5.7, 8. Isa. 25.6. How precious, how costly is this Feast! 3. It is a Feast of Marrow and fat things: here is Pardon and Justification thro' the Redempti­on that is in Jesus Christ: here is Adoption, Salvation, a Kingdom of Glory; God him­self will be the Father and Portion of those that come to this Feast; here are Wines well refined from all dross and dregs. 4. It is a Feast made for all Nations, Hedges are pluck'd up, and Inclosures are thrown open, this is a common Salvation, Isa. 25.6. Luke 14.23. 5. Christ's Ministers, as they are to pluck se­cure Sinners out of the Fire, so they are to strive, and compel them to come in to the Feast, Jud. 23 Luke 14.23.

5. This is affronting and highly provoking Disobedience to the Gospel, that Men will not traffick and trade with Christ, that they will not be Christ's Chapmen and his Custo­mers, when 1. Christ's Goods are excellent and necessary: We must be poor, without his Gold tried in the Fire; we must be shamefully naked, without his white Raiment; [Page 90]we must be eternally blind without his Eye­salve; we must starve, if we do not eat of his good things, and delight our selves in the fat things offer'd: here is Milk for nourish­ment, and spiritual Wine, as a most noble and generous Cordial; we may eat and not die, John 6.50. Psal. 22.26. we may eat and be satisfied, and our Hearts will live for ever. 2. These Goods are brought near, Isa. 55.1. Come down to the Waters, as Goods brought from a foreign Country to the Wharf, Key, or Shore of a Town or City; and some are sent up into the City, to proclaim that the Goods are arrived, and are to be had at the Water-side: The Blood of Christ is the Red-Sea, by which all Christ's spiritual Goods are imported into the World. 3. Christ keeps a Market for the Poor, and none but he doth so, Isa. 55.1. buy Wine and Milk without mony and price. Trade is driven by Mony, or ex­change of Goods, but here neither Mony nor Price, we part with nothing that doth impo­verish us or enrich Christ. If there were Markets and Fairs kept for the Poor here in the World, how would they be frequented? what flocking, what crowding would there be to get to such Markets? yet how do Christ's goods lie by, as slighted and neglect­ed! 4. Christ counsels us to buy of him, and his Counsel should be a Command to us, and lay a Necessity on us, but (alas!) how stupid and [Page 91]sensless are Men, that provide no Treasure for their Souls or Eternity? they have no Good to carry away with them, or to enjoy for ever, they seek not for their own things, Luk. 16.12. but content themselves with the things of a­nother; so they are only Stewards, not Pro­prietors; Riches are the things of another, but Graces are our own things: but Sinners see not their own Wants and Poverty, they un­derstand not, prize not Christ's Riches and Ful­ness, Rev. 3.17. they are contented to conti­nue poor, as destitute of an inherent, and na­ked, as void of an imputed Righteousness.

6. This stirs up Christ's Anger against, and plucks down his Vengeance on Sinners, that when Christ comes near to them, knocks with Importunity, and waits with much Patience, yet they will not open to Christ; He came to his own, yet his own received him not, John 1.11. Luke 2.7. If Christ with his Body were on Earth, would not they be accounted very unkind and inhuman, that would not enter­tain and lodge Christ in their Houses? But yet do not thousands of nominal and titular Christians shut Christ out of their Hearts? they suffer Sin, Satan, and the World to keep pos­session, but they shut out the Prince of Life, the King of Glory, the Heir of all things: they are not willing that Christ should come in, subject all to himself, order and govern all for himself: Guilt, Poverty, and Misery [Page 92]are shut into their Souls; Righteousness, Ri­ches, Life are shut out.

7. This is grievous Disobedience to the Gospel, that Men are not willing to be made clean, or set free. 1. They are not willing to be made clean; As a Fountain casteth out her waters, so Jerusalem casteth out her wickedness: O Jerusalem, wilt thou not be made clean? Jer. 6.7. When shall it once be? Is it not most reasonable that Souls should be made clean? yet they return as the Dog to his vomit, and as the Sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire, 2 Pet. 2. last. God pronounces woe to those that will not be made clean, and will you deceive your selves, and say, it shall be well with you? Christ tells us, Except he washes us, we can have no part with him in the Kingdom of Glory, John 13.8. and will you give the Ly to Christ, and credit Satan, that you shall go to Heaven tho' you are not washed? Can you thrust into the new Jerusalem, into which no unclean thing shall enter, Rev. 21. last? Men sometimes promise fair, and faintly re­solve to cleanse themselves, but when shall it once be? they that cleanse not away their Filth, must themselves be washed away, as Spots from the Face of the Church, and be abhorred by God for ever. 2. Men are high­ly disobedient to the Gospel, in that they will not be made free; they are fond of their Fet­ters, and hug their Chains, as the Servant that [Page 93]rejected the benefit of the Year of Release or Jubilee, saying, I love my Master, I will not go out free, Exod. 21.5, 6. So Men love Sin, their old Master; when a better choice is offer'd, they stick to their old and first choice; yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their Soul delights in their abominations, Isa. 66.3. The most of Men are like the carnal Israelites, sa­tisfied with their Slavery: They said to Moses and Aaron, Let us alone to serve the Egyptians, Exod. 14.12. So Sinners would not be di­sturbed, they would be let alone to serve the Devil, and enjoy their Lusts.

8. This is high disobedience to the Gospel, that Men will not have Christ to reign over them; they are incensed, Isa. 45.24. they rage against Christ, Luke 19.14, 27. Psa. 2.1. but I may renew the Question that Pilate put to the Jews, when they were so inflam'd against Christ, What evil hath he done? Mat. 27.23. Christ calls Souls out of Prison, and from their wandrings and strayings, he makes Men free from the Law of Sin and Death, and is this to do Evil? how unreasonable is it that Men should be so disaffected towards, and so pre­judic'd against the Kingdom of Christ, when he reigns to destroy the reigning power of Sin, Satan, and Death, and to exalt his Sub­jects now to reign with him in the Kingdom of Grace, and hereafter to sit in the Throne, and reign with Christ in the Kingdom of [Page 94]Glory. O that Sinners should ever be so un­grateful to Christ, and so injurious to their own Souls! how mild, benign, and gracious is the Government of Christ? he rules not only as a Political Head that gives Laws, but as a Natural Head that gives Life, and influ­ences; he governs as a Husband, Brother, and Saviour: how reasonable therefore is it, that our homage and subjection to him should be­gin in a Kiss of Faith and Love? Psa. 2. last. But how provoking is this, that Men chuse Sin and Satan a Murtherer, and prefer him Before a Saviour? This is to renew and re­vive the Affronts put on Christ at his Passion, and to chuse Barabbas rather than Jesus. Those that would not have Christ to reign over them for their Salvation, do set up Satan to rule over them for their Destruction.

9. This is ungrateful, and highly provo­king Disobedience to the Gospel, that Men would have Christ to buy, yet to possess and enjoy nothing: They can be willing Christ should hire them, and promise them a reward, but they stand idle all the day long, will do no Work for Christ, they are idle, and barren in the knowledg of Christ, yea, walk as Ene­mies to the Cross of Christ, while they set up what he came to pull down, and keep alive what he came to destroy. Christ hath acted as a Shepherd, and doth demand his price, Zech. 11.12. Surely Love, Service, and Obedience is [Page 95]due to him, but Men put off Christ with an empty Name of Lord, and with a dead form of Religion; they do not render the Fruits of a Vineyard, or bring forth the Fruits of God's Kingdom; their Knowledge is cold, idle and barren, as the light of a Glow-worm, that is not sufficient to direct a Traveller in his way. The Gospel should bring forth Fruit, from the first day that Men know it, Col. 1.5, 6. it should be a Seal, to stamp the Image of God on Men; it should be a Mould, to shape and fashion Mens Hearts and Lives, Rom. 6.17. as the Sun riseth, and Man goes forth to his work, Ps. 104 23. so when Christ ariseth and shi­neth in any Country, Men should go forth to all the work of their heavenly calling; Know­ledge should not only float in the Head, or be imprison'd in the Mind, but should be a light to Mens Feet, and a Lamp to their Paths, Psal. 119.105. But how many nominal Christians do love darkness and hate the light? they still love to wander, and in the broad day to follow Sin and Satan; they do nothing of all that God commands them; they only stray, and work Iniquity, and so deserve to be cast into outer darkness, Jer. 14.10. Jer. 32.23, 30. Mat. 8.12.


For thus saith the Lord to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow Ground, and sow not among Thorns.

IN the words we may observe, 1. a Spea­ker, the Lord: All Men should have an Ear to listen, when the Lord hath a Tongue to speak. 2. The Persons spo­ken to, the Men of Judah and Jerusalem. 3. The Exhortation or Counsel given to them, Break up your fallow ground. Three things are to be remarked in these words, 1. That there were fallow grounds in Judah and Jerusalem, that were a People chosen to be holy to the Lord, and that might seem to themselves a fruitful Field, a pleasant and delightful Para­dise. 2. This may also seem strange, that they should be call'd to break up their fallow ground. What an humbling, abasing Expression is this! they might think they had made a great pro­gress in Religion, and were advanced far to­wards a ripe Harvest of Righteousness, and was not this to lower and set them back, to call on them to break up their fallow ground? as tho' they had yet done nothing, had not yet begun or done the first work in Religion, or taken the first step in the way of God, but [Page 98]were to begin all anew, and set their hand to the Plough, to break up their fallow ground. 3. This is observable, that this Exhortation is given to the Men of Judah and Jerusalem, that were then the only Church of God: this intimates, that in the Church only there is the spiritual Plow, the Plow-men, and the right Seed to sow the Soil, and no where else; there is a direction and dehortation, Sow not among Thorns. Some do think that if they hear Ser­mons, read the Scriptures and good Books, and do some Actions materially good, that this is Seed sown for a Harvest of Glory; but yet all is labour lost, if the Ground be not cleansed, if the Soul be not purified from base Lusts and Affections: these Thorns do be­dwarf, rob, starve the good Seed, so that no Fruit is brought to perfection. Holy Duties do not sanctifie a carnal Man, but are defiled by him. Hag. 2.13, 14 they that are unclean themselves do pollute all they meddle with; the Plague that is in the heart infects thoughts, intentions, words and actions, 1 Kin. 18.38. The fore-skin of the Heart will carnalize all we meddle with, Jer. 4.4. The words may vield us these two Doctrines; 1. That the Hearts of unregenerate Men are like to fallow Ground. 2. That it is their Duty to break up their fallow Ground. For the prosecuting of the first Doctrin, I shall shew why the Hearts of unregenerate Men are compar'd to fallow Ground. 1. A fallow Ground is that which once [Page 99]was plow'd and sow'd: Mankind in our first Pa­rents were once sow'd with original Righteous­ness, beautified with the Image of God, and eno­bled with a divine life. The first Tables that Moses receiv'd were the Work of God; and the Writing was the Writing of God, Exod. 32.16. The Writings and the Tables seem to be created together: so our first Parents had their Soil and spiritual Seed created together; the Tables and the Writing were fram'd at once; the Law of God was engraven on the Mind and Will of A­dam and Eve: the Meal of the faculties of their Souls was always leaven'd with holiness and righ­teousness; Man's Soul was once sowed by, and became a fruitful field to God. 2. This is implied, that now this holy Seed is killed or rooted out; as when Wheat and Barley is ripe and cut, the stalks and root dies, and it will never bring forth any more Wheat or Barley; so the Law of God is blotted out of, the Image of God defaced from, the Life of God extinguished in our Souls, so that we shall never please God, or bring forth any acceptable Fruit to him, if we are not broken up and sowed anew: our Souls are like the second Tables that Moses brought to God, meer blanks, till God doth again write his Law in them.

3. As a fallow Ground ordinarily brings forth only Briars, Thistles, Thorns, and so is useless and unprofitable to the Husbandman; so our Nature is so void and destitute of what is good, so prone and inclinable to that which is evil, that they that are in the Flesh cannot please God, Ro. 8.9. [Page 100] A corrupt Tree cannot bring forth good Fruit, Mat. 7.18. Original Sin dwells in us, it dwells alone, hath possession of the whole Soul, and all its fa­culties, and it hath not only a House, but a Throne in us naturally; it works in us all manner of Concupiscence, Rom. 7.8. but in this Flesh of ours dwelleth nothing that is good, Rom. 7.18. but the Spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy and all unrighteousness, Jam. 4.5.

4. As a fallow Ground must be plow'd and sow'd, else 'twill not bear Wheat, or yield Bread, so our Hearts must be broken, and sowed with good Seed, else Holiness will never root deep in the Heart, and spring up in the Life; we must have the Law of God written in us, Jer. 31.33. we must have the Fear of God put into us, Jer. 32.39, 40. and the Spirit of God, Ezek. 36.27. or else we shall yield no Harvest of Righteousness or Obedience to God.

Use. 1. Be convinc'd of this, that you are a fallow Ground, that you have Souls poor and em­pty of that which is good, and that your carnal Minds are Enmity to God, are not subject to the Law of God, neither indeed can be, Rom. 8.7. yea, tho' in some sence you may be said to be sowed, as the Highway-ground, the Stony, the Thor­ny Ground were, Mat. 13.20, 21, 22. yet you may be said still to be a fallow, because the Seed wi­thers, is starved and choked, so that no Fruit is brought forth to please and delight the heavenly Husbandman.

2. Be humbled deeply for this, that you have [Page 101]so long continued a fallow, so that God hath had no Harvest of Righteousness, no sheaves or glea­nings of good Works: you have done nothing of all that God hath commanded you, Jer. 32.23. have only done Evil, and wrought Iniquity, Jer. 32.30. your thoughts have been only evil, Gen. 6.5. your words evil, How can a corrupt generation speak good things, Mat. 12.34? your actions evil, a cor­rupt Tree bringeth forth corrupt Fruit, Matt. 7.17. The Prodigal that went into a far Country did neither perform service to his Father, nor enjoy communion with him, Luke 15.13.

3. Do not remain a fallow Ground, it will be sad to enjoy no good hereafter, for God to reap no Fruits of Righteousness from you, and you to reap no fruits of Mercy from him: therefore be not contented to lie in the ruines of your Falls, and not to be better'd or benefited at all by the Word of Grace, the Gospel of Reconciliation: It will be bad for the Founder to melt in vain, Jer. 6.29. Because wickedness is not separated from you, and you refined from your Dross, it will be sad for Christ and his Ministers to labour in vain, because you are not gather'd in; for the Dew and Rain to come often on you, and yet you bring forth only Briars and Thorns, Heb. 6.8. O consider these following things:

1. Your fallow Ground is capable of manuring and improvement; as Isaac by plowing and sow­ing in Canaan did make a great advantage to him­self; that Land which before did only yield Her­bage, and feed his Flock, did now bear Corn, and [Page 102]did nourish himself and his large Family; he sow'd in that Land, and receiv'd in the same year an hundred fold, Gen. 26.12. that is, he had reap'd a hundred bushels of Corn for one that he sow'd: how was the ground advanc'd, from feeding Cattel, to feed Isaac and his Family! so how is a Soul exalted and enobled by spiritual Tillage, by being plow'd and sow'd! it brings forth Fruit for Christ to gather and eat; Cant. 4. ult. Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat of his pleasant fruits. Acts of moral Justice may profit Men, may be beneficial to the Common­wealth and human Society, yet if they flow not from a spiritual Spring, grow not on the root of love to God, they do not please God, they are not accepted with him: The Fathers (as Vossius in his History of Pelagianism tells us) did call these Opera Sterilia, barren Works, because they had no tendency to, no influence on Eternal Life: but if you break up the fallow Ground, are renew'd by and sow to the Spirit, you may receive in this life an hundred fold, and at last reap and inherit ever­lasting life, Mat. 10.29. Gal. 6.8. Judgment may dwell in your Wilderness, Isa. 32.16. and you that were formerly altogether unprofitable, Rom. 3.12. Philemon's Epist. may become profitable, highly serviceable to God, greatly beneficial and useful to Men; unclean Creatures may be washed, old and corrupt Creatures may be renew'd, Tit. 3.5.

2. Consider how bad it will be not to be plow­ed and sowed: This is threatned as a terrible Judgment, That the Land of Canaan should keep [Page 103]its Sabbaths as long as it lies desolate and ceaseth from Tillage. Is it bad for the Ground to lay desolate, to keep a Sabbath, to cease from Culture? how much worse is it for the Soul to keep its Sabbaths, (not holy, but) carnal and prophane Sabbaths, while God's Plow doth not break it up, nor his Seed be sow'd in it? Men then will be far from Righteousness, Isa. 46.12. will serve divers Lusts and Pleasures, and be without God in the World, they will chuse their own ways, and their Souls de­light in their abominations. The Adversaries of the Jews, in the Babylonish. Captivity, saw their Sab­baths, and mocked at them, Lam. 1.7. but the great Enemy of Souls will rejoyce at the idle and prophane Sabbaths that wicked men keep, when they cease to do good, and leave off Righteousness in the Earth, Amos 5.7.

2. Those that are not broken up and sowed, will be Satan's Possession; as he claims Strays as his, so he is the Lord of fallow Ground; Such are of their Father the Devil, and his lusts they will do, John 8.44. It is sweet and honourable to be God's Husbandry, 1 Cor. 3.9. but how dreadful is it to be Satan's Husbandry! Satan will still be working in them, Ephes. 2.2. and filling of their Hearts, Acts 5.3. he will be sowing, planting, and grafting in and on them; he will tutor his Nursery by continual suggestions and temptati­ons; Satan will still be serving his turn on, pro­moting his interest by, and accomplishing bis de­signs in Souls that lye fallow: how bad will it be to keep Sabbaths, as resting from spiritual til­lage? [Page 104]This is to keep Sabbaths to gratifie and worship Satan; these Sabbaths are working days to please the Flesh, and rejoyce the Devil; such do the Devil's Will in time, and if Grace doth not prevent, they must suffer God's Will to Eter­nity.

3. Those that are as a fallow Ground do bitter­ly provoke God to anger, Hos. 12. last, They bring forth Grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter, Deut. 32.33. Can the heavenly Husbandman feed on and delight in such Grapes? doth not his Soul loath and abhor them? but as to good Grapes, are they not empty Vines? Hos. 10.1. These fallow Grounds are like the barren Fig-tree; Christ hungred and came to this Fig-tree, and found nothing on it but Leaves; this so provoked Christ, that he cursed it, Mat. 21.18, 19. and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever; and presently the Fig-tree wither'd away. In what danger are Souls that are barren Fig trees? Christ may curse them so, that their Leaves may wither, their form of Religion decay and be utterly lost, a Sentence may go forth against them, Cut them down, why should they any longer cumber the ground? Luke 13.7. Those that are not Trees for Fruit, shall be Trees for Fuel; The Tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire, Mat. 3.10. The Ground that after Rain and Dew have come often on it, and yet it bringeth forth only Briers and Thorns, it is nigh to cursing, and its end is to be burnt, Heb. 6.8.

[Page 105] 4. If you continue a Fallow Ground, you will bring forth Fruit only to Death, and fit your selves for Destruction, Rom. 7.5. You will pile up fuel in the Infernal Tophet, and fill the Treasury of God's wrath, Rom. 2.5. as the clusters are bit­ter, and so abhorred by God, so your Wine is the Poyson of Dragons, and the cruel venom of Asps, and so most fatal, pernicious and destructive to your selves. As Men now drink in iniquity like water, Job 15.16. so they must shortly drink of the wrath of the Almighty, Job 21.20. O therefore cry mightily to God, that he would remember you in your miserable and lost Estate. There is a sweet Promise that God makes to the Moun­tain of Israel, Ezek. 36.8, 9. Behold I am for you, and I will turn unto you, and you shall be tilled, sown, and yield your Fruit. O plead this word with God, put him in remembrance of it: Confess you have long lain Fallow. Perhaps some of you have kept a Sabbath of Years; yea, are come to a great Sabbatical Year. Forty nine or Fifty Years you have ceased from Spiritual Tillage; you have been idle all this while and done no work for God; you have been barren, and have brought forth no Fruit to God; O will you not now send up strong cries to Heaven? Will you not now wrestle mightily with God, that he would be for you, and turn to you in Grace and Mercy, that you may be effectually filled, skilful­ly sown, and plentifully bear Fruit to God?

Doct. 2. It is the Duty of Unregenerate Men to break up their Fallow Ground: They should not be [Page 106]idle, or stand still, or be contented with their present Barrenness, that God, who calls you to Act, can breathe Life, and put Strength into you, to enable you to work. As God in the first Creation spake to the Earth, and said, Let it bring forth Grass, Herbs, and Fruit-bearing Trees, and it was so as the Father commanded, and the Son was the Word; so the Holy Ghost executed all. The Earth had no Seed of Grass, or Herbs, or Roots of Trees, within it self, or power to bring them forth, yet Gods Word was as Seed then, and gave a productive Power to the Earth: So God said, Let the waters bring forth Fish to move in them, and Fowl that may fly above the waters and earth, in the open Firmament of Heaven; and tho' the waters had no spawn of Fish, or Eggs of Fowl in them, yet the Word of God was powerful, effectual, and soon fulfilled. So Christ is the Resurrection and the Life, and the beginning of the Creation of God; he can quicken dead Souls, recover and heal a withered arm and hand, Mark 3.5. so that it shall be stretched out, and ena­bled to hold the Plough, and carry on this Spiritual Tillage, that is required and called for in the Text.

For the prosecuting of the Doctrine, three things are to be inquired into. 1. What it is to break up our Fallow Ground. 2. How, or by what means it must be broken up. 3. Why it is necessary it should be broken up.

1. What is it to break up our Fallow ground? I Answer: It is to be soundly convinced of, deep­ly affected with, throughly to be broken and humbled for Sin, and the danger and misery of our Natural State. This is a Work hard, bitter, [Page 107]and grievous to Nature, to set God's Plow into our very Souls; to cut and wound them, to make deep and long Furrows in the very Soil of our Hearts. We read of renting of the heart, Joel 2.13. and of a broken heart and contrite spirit, Ps. 51.17. This breaking up Fallow Ground, is expounded in the next Verse to the Text, by mens circumcising themselves to the Lord, and taking away the foreskin of the heart. Jer. 4.4. This cutting off the foreskin of the Heart, is cutting up the Turff of our Soil, that hinders the good Seed from taking deep root downwards, and springing upwards. The Jews were circumcised in Infancy, but the thing signified doth not always go along with the Sign, they yet wanted the internal and noblest part of that Ordinance, they were circumcised in flesh, but yet uncircumcised in heart, Jer 9. last. Tho' Circumcision in the Flesh was an external act, whereby Men did acknowledge them Jews, and Members of the visible Church, yet the Circum­cision of the Heart is the Sign, and internal Note, whereby God doth recognize, and own Men to be vital Members of his Church. The Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, that love the Lord thy God, Deut. 30.6. God would give the inward and noblest part of this Ordinance. And if Cir­cumcision was a Sign and Seal of God's Cir­cumcising the Heart, it must needs be a Sign and Seal of the Covenant of Grace. Those that do partake of the outward Sign of the Covenant, are thereby obliged to seek after the inward, and best part of that Ordinance they have passed un­der, [Page 108]and have been the Subjects of. They are not to rest in this, That they are circumcised in the Eye, and account of Men, but they are to pass further, and circumcise themselves to the Lord; that is, so to circumcise themselves, that they may appear to, and be owned by God as circum­cised. So they were to circumcise themselves, that they may be inclined towards, and devoted to the Lord. This Soul Circumcision, this ta­king away the Foreskin of the Heart, is the right breaking up of our Fallow Ground. The Act of Repentance and Faith is ours, but the Grace whereby we Repent and Believe, is from God and Christ, 2 Tim. 2.25. Acts 5.31. So it is our Duty to Circumcise our Hearts, but in all our Endeavours to perform it, we must look to the Promise of God, Deut. 30.6. and eye the Grace of our Lord Jesus, who circumcises the Heart, in causing it to put off the Body of the sins of the Flesh, Col. 2.11. Jesus Christ, tho' he had no Fore­skin on his Heart, yet he was Circumcised, Luk. 2.21. that he might fulfil all Righteousness in him­self, and be obliged by this Ordinance to the great Work of Circumcising the Hearts of others, Col. 2.11.

2. How must Men break up their Fallow Ground? I Answer: There must be a Plough to do this Work: There must be a keen and sharp Plow­share, that Men may be Converted, and return to be God's Husbandry. The Word is the Plow, considerations taken both from the Law and Gospel, must break and wound the Hearts of [Page 109]Men. Moses is indeed a Plow-man, but Christ is said to be the Seeds-man; he is the Sower that went forth to sow, Matt. 13.3. He that sows the good seed is the Son of Man, Matt. 13.37, 38. He doth not only sow Doctrines, but Persons. He doth beget a holy Seed, Isa. 9.6. He washes and renews by his Spirit. If Men were convinced of Sin by the Law, and not of Righteousness by the Gospel; if they were wounded, but had no knowledge of a Physician, of a Remedy, of a way of Salvation, this would drive Men to de­spair, sink and overwhelm them with terrors. The Word must cut deep, it must prick the heart, Acts 2.37. It must wound the Soul to the quick, that Men may be prepared for the healing Re­medies, and sweet Consolations of Jesus Christ: Weighty, humbling, awakening Considerations, must be put, and kept on the Heart, and sink deep into the Soul; such as these following Truths.

1. This should affect and wound the Heart, that as we descend from the First Adam, we are all born Flesh. John 3.6. That which is born of the shesh, is flesh. Tho' the Soul be a spirit in its nature, yet it is flesh in its inclination, disposition, ends, and aims. What a debasing, humbling expression is that, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh, Gen. 6.3. The Mind of Man is strangely Carnalized, sunk into, and swallow­ed up in the Flesh; it doth not mind its own Concerns, or remember its own Interest, it is on­ly a servant to, a Steward and Caterer for the Bo­dy; as if a Man should be wholly taken up in [Page 110]thatching, supporting, repairing of his Cottage, but should neglect or forget to provide Food and Raiment for himself. O that Men should gratify their senses, please, pamper, and indulge their Flesh, and put all their happiness on an inch, on a moment of Time, and not regard Spiritual Blessings in Heaven, Eph. 1.3. or value a Feast in Glory. How dreadfully bad is it to make light, Matt. 22.5. of the Feast, that infinite Wisdom contrived, and infinite Love hath provided? For Men not to regard the Purchase the Son of God hath made, the Ransom he hath paid, the Lega­cies he hath bequeathed. A Carnal Creature sees no worth or excellency, tastes no sweetness, takes no deught in Spiritual and Eternal Things; they are dry, sapless, hungry Notions, yea, as vain fancies to him. Men understand only Carnally, there is flesh in the mind, Col. 2.18. Nicodemus, tho' he was a Master and Teacher in Israel, yet did not understand the Doctrine of Regenera­tion, but thought Christ meant a Man must en­ter a second time into his Mothers Womb, and be born again from thence, John 3.3, 4, 9. The Will and Affections also are Flesh. When Christ did discourse with the Woman of Samaria of Water for her Soul, she puts a Carnal sense on Christ's words; she desires that Christ would give her of this water, that she might come no more to that Well to draw, but might be eas'd of a great labour and trouble.

2. This Truth should wound the Heart, That by Nature we are spiritually dead in sins and trespasses, [Page 111]Eph. 2.1, 4. not only sick, but dead in sin. That foreskin that is on our Hearts, is the very death of our Souls, Col. 2.13. You that were dead in the un­circumcision of your flesh. This foreskin disaffects us to, alienates us from, prejudices us against God, and spiritual things. The body is dead by reason of sin, Rom. 8.10. And the Soul is dead in sin. By the offence of one, that is, the First Adam, many be dead. These many are all that descend from Adam by Natural Generation, Rom. 5.15. By the offence of one judgment came upon all men to con­demnation, Rom 5.18. Men are dead under a spi­ritual, and condemned to an eternal death. Men walk indeed (tho' spiritually dead) but it is only contrary to God, Levit. 26.40. Men act indeed, but they only do dead Works, Heb. 6.1. Heb. 9.14. Men must repent of, and from these dead works, and the blood of Christ must cleanse Conscience from them. O what a dreadful State is this, for Conscience to be loaded with, and burden'd un­der dead Works! Those may well be called dead Works, that are the fruits of spiritual Death, and the seeds of eternal Death; as we call Pond, or Ditch Water, dead Water, because the Pond or Ditch have no spring in them to feed the Water, so the best Works of unregenerate Men may be called dead Works, because they have no Holy Spring, or Fountain, of their Actions. They are destitute of Knowledge, there is none that understandeth, Rom. 3.11. Hos. 4.1. They do not trust in God, Zeph. 3.2. They have not the love of God in them, John 5.42. Knowledge, Faith, and [Page 112]Love, are the root and spring of all living works, but for want of these, the Works of unregenerate Men are dead, they are empty Vines, sinfully bar­ren, Hos. 10.1. yet abound in corrupt fruit, Deut. 32.32, 33. they only bring forth fruit to death, Rom. 7.5. such as renders them more guilty of, liable, and obnoxious to death. When Adam fell, con­tracted guilt, and corrupted our nature; thence we were made sinners, Rom. 5.19. and unregenerate men, while they continue so, ever since they were born, have been Sin-makers. This is their only Trade and Imployment, 1 John 3.4. [...]; it is properly render'd, He that maketh sin is the servant of sin. The word in composition signifies to work at a Trade..Aquila, Priscilla, and Paul, were [...] Tentmakers. This is a shame­ful and woful Trade, in Thought, Word, and Deed, to be a Sin maker. O reflect on this with Self-abhorrency, that as soon as you were born you were made Sinners, and ever since have been Sin-makers. An unregenerate man, is still out of the evil Treasure of his heart bringing forth evil things, Matt. 12.34. Out of the Bullion of Original Sin, is still coining Actual Sin; and tho' evil things in Words and Actions, are still brought forth out of this evil Treasure, yet this doth not lessen, waste, or diminish, but still more increases the evil Trea­sure of the Heart.

3. Unregenerate Men are Children of Wrath by Nature, Ephes. 2.3. They are conceived in sin, shapen in iniquity, Ps. 51.5. Born flesh, John 3.6. God hath therefore a Controversie with them, and just dis­pleasure [Page 113]against them. As soon as they live Tem­porally, God hath provocations to destroy them Eternally; God seeth then the malignity that lurks, the enmity against him that is lodged in the Soul. As the Potters Vessel, mentioned in Jer. 18.3, 4. was marred in making, so when men are shapen, and formed in the Womb, they are marred, defiled, and deformed with sin; a Leaven is then laid in the very Meal of our Faculties, Poyson is then dropt into our Souls: a Disease, a Plague of Leprosie, is derived to us, together with our Nature, so that we are hateful to, Ps. 3.3. and haters of God, Rom. 1.30. By reason of that Traiterous and Rebellious Nature that God then saw in us, it had been no injustice in God, or wrong to us, if Children of wrath had soon been made Vessels of wrath for ever, Rom. 9.22.

4. Sinful Men heap up more wrath, more in­flame, and increase Divine Displeasure against themselves. The Hipocrites in heart do heap up wrath, Job 36.13. Those that remain hard-hearted, and impenitent, do treasure up wrath against the day of wrath, and the revelation of the righteous judgment of God, Rom. 2.5. Such do bring more Fuel to the Fire, and Oil to the flame of Divine Displeasure, that it may burn more hotly, and fiercely against them. God is angry with the wicked every day, or, as some render it, all the day long, Ps. 7.11. They are still doing somewhat more to grieve and pro­voke God. Sinners are altogether become filthy, or stinking, as it is in the margin, Psal. 14.3. What stinking thoughts, desires, words and actions, do [Page 114]daily come up into God's nostrils. God complains, Is. 65.5. that they were a smoke in his nostrils, a fire that did burn all the day; as when something very noisom and stinking is burnt, it gives great offence to the Nose. And as the sins of men do always stink in God's Nostrils, so they cry loud in God's Ears, to kindle more wrath against them, and pluck down more vengeance on them. As the sins of Sodom did make a great cry in God's Ears, Gen. 18.20. the sins of men are as so many Accusers of, and Witnesses against them, before the Tribunal of God. Is. 59.12. Our sins testifie against us.

5. Men are unmindful of God, and Enemies to him, 1. They are unmindful of God, Deut. 32.18. Of the Rock that begot thee, thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee. God is not in all their thoughts; they are without God in the world, Ephes. 2.12. they call not on him, they draw not night to him; they have no delight in him. They are Atheists all the day long; yea, all their life long, as if there were no such Being as God, or they had no need of him, had no business or concerns with him. Men and Women remem­ber small matters, but yet forget God. Can a maid forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? yet my people (saith God) have forgotten me days without number, Jer. 2.32. How great a sin is it to forget God that is so near to us? Acts 27.27, 28. Those that are blind Creatures, may grope, and find out God, by feeling of him; for in him we live, move, and have our being. All the Creatures do de­clare, [Page 115]and preach God to us, Psal. 19.1, 2, 3. These, as continual remembrancers, may present God to our thoughts. How great a sin is it, that men al­low no room to God in their minds, and shut him out of their hearts, who fills heaven and earth? Jer. 23.24. That the precious Cabiner of the Mind should be filled only with the Dung of unclean, vain, worldly thoughts, but not entertain Meditations of God and Christ. 2. Men are ene­mies to God, Rom. 8.7. The Carnal Mind is not said to be an enemy, but enmity to God. Enemies may be reconciled, but enmity can never be re­conciled, but must be destroy'd. Men are Ene­mies to God in their minds, through wicked works, or by their minds being set wholly on wicked works, Col. 1.21. The mind is either inventing of evil things, and finding out new sins, Rom. 1.30. or projecting and contriving how to justifie the flesh, and to fulfil the lusts of it, Rom. 13. ult. Or the mind is taken up in cloaking and covering of sin; it finds out excuses, it sews the Fig-leaves of Pretenses together, to hide the filthiness and de­formity of sin from the Eye of Conscience, and so to blind and deceive their own Souls. How should this afflict and wound our Souls, that we have been enemies to him, that is the chief good, to a glorious, infinite, eternal Being? who spake the World out of nothing, and could as easily speak us, and all things else, into their First No­thing again? But because men are ready to de­ny this Charge, and plead not Guilty to it, Paul proves mens enmity against God, by their oppo­sition [Page 116]to, and rebellion against the Law of God. The carnal mind is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be, Rom. 8.7.

6. Men are Children and Captives of the Devil. 1. They are Children of the Devil. But Men will start, and deny such an Accusation. The Jews affirmed, That God was their Father, John 8.41. but Christ asserted that which was very different from, and contrary to this, John 8.44. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your fa­ther ye will do. Was not Christ's Testimony to be credited rather than theirs? Tho' Men, as to their natural Life, proceed and descend from their Parents, yet as to their corrupt Life, they issue from Satan. The enmity, and malignity of their Souls against God, his People, and his Laws, this is the very image and likeness of Satan. The Jews hated the Truth that Christ preached, ab­horred him, and were inclined to murder him; and these were the very Lusts of Satan. Whore­dom, Gluttony, and Drunkenness, are gross and brutish Lusts; but the most Spiritual sins, as Pride, Envy, Hatred, are properly the Lusts of Sa­tan. In these Men do most resemble him; these are the very Lineaments of his Face. It is said of wicked men, Psal 58.4. That their poyson is like the poyson of a serpent. This seems to be a plain allu­sion to the first sin: When the Devil under, and by a Serpent, tempted our First Parents, then he did distil his Venom, and drop his Poison into them, when his word was believed, and his sug­gestions embraced. He misrepresented God as [Page 117]envious of their Good, of their higher Know­ledge, and of their sweetest Pleasures and De­lights. He did set forth the Fruit of a Tree as the best, and most desirable Good, and to be pre­ferred before the favour of God, and as if God's threatning was but a vain, and false word. This Poison of the Serpent we may discern, and find in our own Souls, and therefore while unregene­rate may be justly charged to the Satans Chil­dren, yea, the Souls of Sinners are the House that Satan dwells, and the Shop that he works in, they have Members, Col. 3.5. that God never made, they have Lusts that he never kindled, 1 John 2.15, 16. and are under a Law, Rom 7.21, 23. that God never enacted; but these Members, Lusts, and Law, came from Satan. 2. Unregenerate Men are the Devils Vassals, Slaves, and Captives. Satan did but present Job's Cattle as a desirable Booty and Prey, and blow up the Fire of their Lusts, and the Chaldeans and Sabeans quickly make an Inroad, Invade Job's Possession, and take away his Cattle, Job 1.15, 17. Satan carries Men on in the Chanel of their own corrupt Nature, and on the violent stream and torrent of their own Lusts. Men are said to walk ac­cording to Satan, Ephes. 2.2. but how is this? The Apostle tells us in the next Verse, Eph. 2.2, 3. Fulfilling the desires of the flesh, and of the mind. They think they have nothing to do with Satan, when they obey him in serving of their Lusts. The Devil takes men captive at his will, 2 Tim. 2. last. yet he leads men captive by their own Wills. [Page 118]The very liberty of their Wills is inslaved. Sin­ners yield, and give up their own corrupt Wills, and carnal Affections, as so many Cords for Sa­tan to lead them by to. Hell. Satan finds Lusts in us, as Chains to bind us, as Snares to hold us; shall not this consideration deeply wound the Souls of Men, that they side and join with Sa­tan, to seduce and destroy themselves? Men close their eyes, Matt. 13.15. And Satan blinds their minds, 2 Cor. 4.4, 5. and so they put the greatest cheat on their own Souls. They see not the Good that Satan deprives them of, and the Mi­sery and Destruction he brings on them.

7. Unregenerate Men are Prisoners, Is. 42.7. Is. 49.9. they sit in darkness; and are bound with chains, Is. 61.1. and dwell in the Prison House. They are under a sentence of condemnation, John 3.18. He that believes not is condemned already. And they are under a fear of a day of Execution, Heb. 2.15. Through the fear of death they are all their life time subject to bondage. How much are Sin­ners and Hipocrites affrighted? What dreadful Exclamations do they make? Who among us shall dwell with devouring Fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting Burnings? O what bitter cries of destruction, Is. 35.5. will Sin­ners lift up, when they shall see the whetted Sword of Justice hanging over their Heads, and their Feet at the brink of the bottomless Pit! When their eyes shall see their destruction, and they shall be brought forth to the day of wrath, Job 21.20, 30.

8. O let this wound your Souls, that you go so [Page 119]far from God, Jer. 2.5. and fly so fast. Hos. 7.13. Woe unto them, 1. For they have fled from me; as if they could not go too far, or hasten too fast, from the Father of Mercies, from the Fountain of Life. And Sinners are very unwilling to return; they hold fast deceit, they refuse to return, Jer. 8.5. They stop their ears, and make their hearts like an adamant­stone, lest they should hear the words of the law of the Lord of hosts, Zech. 7.11, 12. They have an Iron Sinew, a Brow of Brass, and a Heart of Stone, that will not melt or relent, Is. 48.4. when God draws near to them with beams of Light, com­mands of Obedience, and offers of Grace. Job 21.14. They bid him depart, as if they had no need of God, owed no homage, obedience, or subjection to him; as if they could stand, tho' he did not support them; as if they could chuse their own way, and order their steps, tho' he did not direct them, and they could be happy tho' they did not enjoy him. They cast God him­self, and his Word too, behind their backs, Ezek. 23.35. When Men bid God depart, is not this to pluck away his props and supports from their Build­ing? To banish Heaven from themselves, and to execute a great part of Hell on themselves? And to provoke God to bid them depart from him, as cursed Creatures, into everlasting Fire? Matt. 25.41. They that are alienated from the Life of God, and estranged from Communion with him, how can they hope to be for ever with him? 1 Thes. 4.17.

9. This should affect, and awe your Souls, [Page 120]that you are still under God's Eye, and do evil in his sight, Psal. 51.4. The ways of a man are be­fore the eyes of the Lord, and he pondereth all his go­ings, Prov. 5.21. There is no darkness, or shadow of death, where the workers of iniquity may hide them­selves. Job 34.22. This is peculiar to God, that Malefactors are always in the presence, and un­der the eye of him as their Judge; and he is a Witness against them for all the Crimes they commit. The Lord be witness against you, 1 Sam. 12.5.

10. How should this cut your Hearts, that all your sins are marked, Jer. 2.22. and all your crimes are written before him, Is. 65.6. The great King of the whole World, writes the Chronicles of all the Lives and Actions of his Subjects; all that Men speak, think, or do, is Recorded in his Book, Rev. 20.12. and Conscience keeps a Coun­ter-part of the Record. Their sin is graven as with a pen of iron, and the point of a diamond, in the table of their heart, Jer. 17.1.

11. God can make Malefactors to appear, and present Delinquents before his Tribunal, they cannot fly, they cannot hide; As for those mine Enemies, that would not have me to reign over them, bring them before me, Luke 19.27. This is proper and peculiar to God, that he can make all trans­gressors to appear; and how dreadful will this be, that they must appear, 2 Cor. 5.10. where yet they cannot appear with any hope or confidence? 1 Pet. 4 15. where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? They must stand before the Judgment-seat [Page 121]of Christ, Rom. 14.10. yet the ungodly shall not stand in the Judgment, Psal. 1.5. O what terror may this strike into Men, that God will bring them into judgment, Eccles. 11.9. and God will also bring all their secret actions into judgment, Eccl. 12.14. God will bring all the hidden things of darkness to light.

12. Impenitent Sinners shall be punished with an everlasting destruction, which shall come from the presence of the Lord, and the glory of his power, 2 Thes. 1.9. The same Face that shines a Heaven into the Souls of Saints, shall frown a Hell into the Consciences of the Wicked; the same Arm that punishes, shall support the punished still to endure more Torments: as God will burn against, and on Chaff, Briers, Thorns and Taras, so he will preserve the Fuel, and uphold it to Eternity. Who knows the power of God's anger, Psal. 90.11? how miserable he can render a Creature, that he fills up as a Vessel with his Wrath, that he treads on as a footstool, and shoots at as a Mark? God asks Job, Hast thou entred into the Springs of the Sea? or hast thou walked in the search of the deep? could he tell how deep the great Sea was? could he come to the bottom of it? Job 38.16. So it will be said to us, Can you by the line and plum­bet of your Reason sound and find out the bot­tom of the deep Sea of the Wrath of God? To­phet is deep, there is no coming up out of it, Isa. 30. ult. The Gulf that is fixed is wide, there is no passing over it, Luke 16.26. And these things are near, our breath is in our Nostrils, ready to go [Page 122]out, and the Judge stands at the Door ready to come in. As the accusations and threatnings of the Law should be a Plough, striking home and cutting deep into our Hearts, so the Mercy of God in Christ, and the Grace revealed in the Gospel, should exceedingly wound and break our Hearts. How amazing is this, that when we had made God to serve with our Sins, and wearied him with our Iniquities, Isa. 43.24. that the Son of God should take on him the form of a Servant, to suffer, to satisfie for, and purge away our Iniquities Psal. 2.76. Heb. 1.3? O, that when God, as a Creator, Preserver, Benefactor, had been by our Lusts debased to be a meer Servant, and Satan exalted to be the Prince, yea, the God, of the World, John 12.3. 2 Cor. 4 4, 5. that the Son of God should humble himself to be a Ser­vant to his own Law, as a Sacrifice to his Father's Justice, to make an end of the guilt of Sin! O that Christ should be sold to redeem us! that he should be wounded to heal us! that he should be arrested, arraign'd and condemn'd to justifie us! should not this make Hearts of stone to relent and break? O, that God should complain, that he is broken with our whorish Hearts, Ezek. 6.9. yet Christ, to expiate and put away the guilt of these Whoredoms, should complain, that Reproach had broken his heart, Ps. 69.20. We had loaded God with our sins and provocations, as a Cart is pressed under the sheaves, Amos 2.13. O how amazing is it, that God should lay all our sins on Christ, Isa. 53.6. and load him with our penal­ties [Page 123]and punishments! that our Debt should be exacted of him, our Curse executed on him! that he should be as the Manna pounded in the Mortar! that as a cluster of Grapes he should be bruised in the Wine-press of the Wrath and Ju­stice of God! that as a Porter, or bearer of bur­dens, he should have our Iniquities bound on him and then bear them quite away. The Hebrew word [...] is used of Christ, Isa. 53.4. He hath carried our sorrows; and hence he that is a Porter, or bearer of burdens, is called, 2 Chron. 2.27. [...] a man of burden. This Name fitly doth agree to our Lord Jesus, that he was a Man of burden: Never did any one bear so vast a load, so great a burden: We found out Inventions to inslave our selves, Eccl. 7. ult. and God found out a Ransom, to redeem and set us at liberty, Job 33.24. We hated him without a cause, and he loved us freely, and without a cause; how should this Grace melt our hard, and warm our cold Hearts with love to God? shall we continue in the torrid Zone of Enmity and Lust, when Be­lievers are brought into and dwell in the torrid Zone of Love? It is now possible that our Wil­derness may blossom as a Rose, that our dry Ground may be water'd, improv'd, and inrich'd, Isa. 35.1. & 44.3, 4. Enemies may be reconcil'd, dead Souls quicken'd, and such as have been Sa­tan's Children and meer Strangers to God, may be adopted, and taken into his Family.

3 Q. Why must our fallow Ground be broken up? I answer, 1. That our carnal Confidence in our [Page 124]selves may be mortified and rooted out; our Pride must be abated, our high Mountain of car­nal Confidence must be level'd, Isa. 40.4. How many do trust in themselves that they are righ­teous, Luke 15.8. and this is directly contrary to believing in Christ, Gal. 2.16. that they might be justified: Those that have some Planks, some pieces of the wreck of the Fall, to float and swim on, will not desire and cry to be taken up into Christ, God's Ark of Salvation; they that build on their Morality, Form of Godliness, and Re­ligious Performances, are too rich to beg an Alms and receive a gift of Righteousness from Christ, Rom. 5.17. Those that are shut up under Sin and Condemnation, will lay hold of and embrace the free Promise of Salvation and Life, Gal. 3.22. Those that highly account of their own qualifi­cations and attainments, do think they have va­luable Gains, Phil. 3.6, 7, 8. that they have that which will gain them the favour of God, accep­tance with him, a Right and Title to Eternal life: They judge themselves to be whole, that their Souls were never sick or diseased, Mat. 8.12. they think they have lived in subjection to God their Father, and in obedience to his Commands, Luke 15.29. that they have served him when others did rebel against him, and that therefore they need no Repentance, Luke 15.7. How many do account themselves as fruitful and flourishing Meadows, that naturally bear a Crop without plowing or sowing. Those that do value their own civil and unblamable life, and highly ac­count [Page 125]of their form of godliness, they think it very hard, yea, judge it very unreasonable and injurious to them, that their green and flourish­ing Turf should be plowed up and turned in, as if it were of no worth and value; they think they have something of their own to recommend them to God's Holiness, and secure them from his Justice; their fallow Ground must be there­fore broken up, to root out this carnal Confi­dence, and to convince them, that they are far from Righteousness, and that nothing they have done will be approved by God's Touchstone, or hold in his Balance.

2. Our fallow Ground must be broken up, that the Briers and Thorns that grow in us may be wounded, cut, and rooted up. The Word of God should be a grubbing Plough, to tear up our Thorns; a circumcising Knife, to cut off the fore-skin of our Hearts, Jer. 4.4. we must suffer in our Flesh, even in our corrupt Nature, 1 Pet. 4.1. Satan's works in us must be destroy'd, 1 Joh. 3.8. our Navel must be cut, Ezek. 16.4. we must be separated from the first Adam, we must be as Branches cut out of the wild Olive, Rom. 11.17, 24. To break up our fallow Ground, is thus expounded in the next Verse, Jer. 4.4. Circumcise your selves to the Lord, take away the foreskin of your heart; this is as Thorns that choak the Word, that draw away the strength and vigor of the Heart, and so starve the Word of God.

3. Men must break up their fallow Ground, that they may be meet and fit Patients for Jesus Christ. [Page 126]This Heavenly Physician hath no Practice, but on humbled and broken-hearted Sinners, these are they he applys his Remedies to, and works Cures on: He was appointed and design'd to bind up the broken in heart, Isa. 61.1. none others do think they need Christ's Help, prize his Remedies, or value his Consolations: Those that are whole, that never saw the Plague of their Hearts, or groan'd under the weight of their Guilt, the bur­den of their Sins, do not think they need a Phy­sician. Christ hath few Patients and little Pra­ctice in the World, because Men are not sick of Sin, wounded or broken for it.

4. Our fallow Ground must be plow'd and bro­ken up, that our Soil may be fitted to receive the good Seed of the Gospel: a broken Christ is both suited and welcome to a broken Heart. Christ crucified is the grain of Corn that sows the whole Field of God, John 12.24. with 1 Cor. 1. We preach Christ crucified, saith Paul: Christ is the lilly of the valleys, Cant. 2.1. His Seed grows and thrives only in poor Ground; the Poor have the Gospel preached to them, Mat. 11.5. these taste the sweetness of it, are cheer'd by its com­forts, are cast into its mould; the Seed takes root in broken Ground, it prospers, it thrives in humbled Souls: how do sinking and drowning Sinners catch at and hold fast the Cord of the Promise cast out to them? Those that are pur­sued by their own Guilt, the Wrath of God, the Threatnings and Terrors of the Law, how much do they hasten their pace, and fly for refuge, to [Page 127]take hold of the Hope set before them? Those that are scorched by the sense they have of the Wrath of God, how highly do they prize, and how joyfully and delightfully do they sit under Christ's shadow, Cant. 2.3.

5. Men must break up their fallow Ground, that they may seek the Lord in good earnest. We may observe how these two things are join'd together, Break up your fallow Ground, for it is time to seek the Lord, Hos. 10.12. These two things seem to be intimated in the words, 1. That in breaking up our fallow Ground we do seek the Lord. 2. That none will seek the Lord sincerely and fer­vently, but those that break up their fallow Ground; such are quickly convinced, and soon made sensible how necessary it is to seek the Lord, that vile Weeds, that Vices natural to us may be rooted out, and that supernatural Graces and Truths may be grafted on and planted in them. The Pelagians (as Austin tells us) asserted. That Vitia ingenerata extirpari prorsus incredibile est: they argued thus against Original Sin, That if Vices were naturally bred in us, and born with us, it was altogether an incredible thing that they ever would or could be rooted out. But God, the great Husbandman, can cleanse the Soul of them, and mortifie Vice and Lusts that are natural to us, John 15.3. You are clean, through the word that I have spoken to you. Whoredom was a Vice so na­tural to the Corinthians, that [...], to act the part of a Corinthian, was to be a Whoremaster; and the Apostle Paul, in his Epistle to them saith, [Page 128] Some of you were Fornicators, Adulterers, but you are washed, you are sanctified, 1 Cor. 6.10, 11. Austin himself was naturally much inclin'd to Fornica­tion, yet the Grace of God so changed him, that he ever after became chast in a single life. God can unmake Men, as to their sinful frame, 1 Pet. 2.24. [...], being unmade to sin, you may live to righteousness. God can create Men in Christ Jesus to good works, Eph. 2.10. He can put his Law, his Fear, his Spirit into the Hearts of Men, that natural Vices shall be rooted out, and supernatural Graces shall be planted in the Soul. They that break up their fallow Ground will seek the Lord, and continue seeking of him, till he come and rain Righteousness on them: this is a Rain of Seed-Righteousness; it is won­derful that God can rain Seed, rain Righteous­ness that will sow the Soul, and make it fruitful: as when the Husbandman hath plowed and sow­ed his Ground, he needs to seek the Lord to rain on it, that the Seed may root and spring up, so those that plow and break up their fallow Ground have need to pray, that God would rain Holi­ness and Righteousness to sow them. Hos. 2. ult. God saith, I will sow them to my self in the Earth.

6. Men must break up their fallow Ground, that they may abound in the Work of the Lord, and be filled with the fruits of Kighteousness, 1 Cor. 15. ult. Psal. 1.11. A fallow Ground is in a great measure unprofitable; it bears Thorns and Thi­stles, but a plowed and sowed Ground yields a good crop of Corn: none do bear Fruit to God [Page 129]but those that are born again of the Word and Spirit, and made Trees of Righteousness, Isa. 61.3. will be filled with the Fruits of Righteousness, walk with, and live to God, Gen. 5.24, 25. If our fallow Ground be not broken up, our form of Godliness will wither and decay, Thorns will famish and starve the good Seed, that at last they will be twice dead, pluck'd up by the Roots. Jude 12. The Israelites that did not conquer and root out the Heathen Nations, are said to dwell among the Canaanites, Judg. 4.33. these did cut the Israelites short, and much annoy them, and keep them down; so the natural crop of Thorns doth much annoy, and hinder any good Seed that is cast in among them, obstruct its growth, that it neither roots deep, nor springs up to any height.

7. Men must Plow up their fallow ground, that they may have a plentiful and joyful Harvest at last. It is very desirable to sow to the Spirit, and to reap Everlasting Life, Gal. 6.5. To have our fruit to holiness, and the end everlasting life, Rom. 6.22. to bear Fruit that will abound to our ac­count, Phil. 4.17. Tho' we have not evened with God, and discharg'd our Debt, yet God be­gins a new Account, and writes himself Debtor to his People for their Fruits of Holiness, and of Love; Saints that sow in Tears, shall reap in Joy; they that go forth weeping, bearing pre­cious Seed, shall come again with Joy, and [Page 130]bring their Sheaves with them, Psal. 126.5, 6. Though Religion may seem not only a bar­ren and unprofitable, but a hurtful thing in the Eye of the World; yet at last there shall ap­pear a vast difference between those that fear God, and those that fear him not, Malac. 3. ult. when the Righteous shall shine forth as the Sun in the Kingdom of their Father, and the Tares shall burn in a Furnace of unquenchable Fire; when Christ shall be glorified in the Salva­tion of the Saints, and in the Destruction of the Wicked, 2 Thess. 1.10. Ezek. 25.22. Those that please God do sow in a fruitful Soil; they will in this life receive a hundred fold, notwithstanding Persecutions from the World, and at last will inherit eternal joy and life, Mark 10.30.

9. If we plow not up our fallow Ground, God may let loose dreadful and cruel Plow­men on us. It is said, Zion shall be plowed as a Field, Micah 3. ult. Enemies may plow on our Backs, and make their Furrows both deep and long, Psal. 129.3. How have the Backs of Protestants been cruelty plowed in France for about Twelve Years last past? God threatens, in Hosea 10.11. that Judah should plow; they should serve their Enemies in and under hard bondage. I have been credibly inform'd, that in Barbary some Christian Slaves have been put into Harnesses, and being lockt [Page 131]in, have been forced to plow the Ground. God seems to allude to such a thing, that Judah shall suffer as hard and grievous things, as if he were put to Plow. To draw God's Plow is beneficial and honourable Work, but to draw mens Plow will be bitter and grin­vous: yea, if you neglect to break up your fallow Ground, God will plow your Souls, make deep and long Furrows in Conscience to Eternity.

10. Those that will not plow up their fal­low Ground, shall at last beg for an Alms of Mercy, and be rejected. The Sluggard will not plow, by reason of the cold; therefore shall he beg in Harvest, and have nothing. Spiritual Sluggards have many Excuses and Pretences to shift off this plowing Work, but when the Harvest comes they will be in a very bad and woful state. Solomon speaks of it as a great Evil for a Father to waste his Estate by evil Courses, and to beget a Son, and there is nothing in his hand, Eccl. 5.14. he is Heir only to Poverty and Beggery. But it is a great deal worse for a Man to be born into Eter­nity, and to have no Good in his Hand, in his Soul. Those that toil about the World shall carry away nothing of their labour in their hand, Eccles. 5.15. but if you labour for God, your Works will follow you, Revel. 14.13. and the sweet Fruit of them will be enjoy'd for [Page 132]ever. But this is not the only Evil, that spiri­tual Sluggards will have nothing of Good, but God will thunder against them, and rain fire and brimstone on them for working of Iniquity, Psal. 11.6. As when God was displeas'd with Israel, he sent Thunder and Rain in Wheat-harvest, 1 [...]. [...]n. 12.17, 18. So when Sluggards have vainly hoped to reap a Harvest of Happiness, God will thunder against them, pour down his Wrath, and execute Vengeance on them. How earnestly and importunately will Sluggards beg for Mercy, but all in vain, they will cry, Lord, Lord, open to us, Matt. 7.21, 22, 23. but He will profess that which is very contrary to their Professions and Hopes, Then will I profess unto them, I never knew you, depart from me ye that work Iniquity. In the 13th of Luke, v. 27. it is thus expressed, Depart from me all ye wor­kers of Iniquity: which intimates, that Christ will be most just and impartial; he will no more regard, yea, he will rather much more abhor workers of Iniquity, than those without the Church; both shall be disown'd and rejected by Jesus Christ. These Sluggards will begin Har­vest for some spiritual Bread, for a Place in the Kingdom, but they shall be thrust out, and en­joy no Good to Eternity.

10. It is a dreadful Curse denounced on the Ground of Mount Gilboa, by David, 2 Sam. 1.21. Let there be no fields of Offerings there: [Page 133]that is, let those Mountains never be sow'd, or if sow'd, let them be barren: Let there be no fields of Offerings there. The fine Flour was of­fer'd on the Altar to God, of this the Meat-offering did consist, Levit. 2.1, 2. This was a great honour to the Creatures, for Meat-offe­rings to be made to God of the fine Flour, and Drink-offerings of Wine. In this sense the Vine saith in Jotham's Parable, that it did by its Wine chear the Heart of God, Judg. 9.13. Now if it be a Curse on the Ground not to bear Wheat, which will yield fine Flour, fit to be offer'd to God, how much sorer and more grievous Curse is it for the Souls of Men to be barren, not to be plow'd and sow'd, not to yield any Fruit that may be offer'd to God, and that he can take pleasure and delight in? Will you make light of this dreadful Curse? Will you pluck it, and continue it on your selves? Will you do nothing to please and glorifie God?

Use 1. This may reprove many formal and titular Christians, that do neglect this excellent Command, and do slight and omit this neces­sary Duty and Work of breaking up their fallow Ground: Instead of wounding and breaking their Hearts, they live in Pleasure, are wan­ton, and nourish their Hearts, as in a day of slaughter, that is, as in a great Feast-day, when there is a slaughter of the Creatures made to feast the Body, Jam. 5.5. they please their [Page 134]Flesh, they gratifie and indulge their sensual Affections, they cannot bear or endure such hard and grievous Work as this, to draw God's Plow, and with its Shear to cut deep Furrows and sorely wound their own Hearts; they think it very unreasonable to banish carnal Joy out of their Souls, to cloud their Souls with Sorrows, to load their Spirits with a sensible feeling of the Evils that they have done, and with the fear of the Punishment they have deserv'd: how few do take God's part, do side with him, do plead his Cause against themselves and their Lusts? Who do charge their Sins home on themselves, and set forth their heinous and hor­rid Aggravations before God? Do not Men deal gently and tenderly with themselves? Do they not lessen and extenuate, rather than heigh­ten, their Guilt in Filth, and careless of their Transgressions? If the Word doth per­haps touch or wound them, doth not Self-love, (as that natural Balsam Chyrurgeons and Phy­sicians say is in the Body) quickly heal it a­gain? Doth not Self flattery soon chear them again, and so cheat them? Their plowing is rather scratching the Earth, than striking a deep Furrow; they know not the meaning, or they have no Experience of a broken Heart, of a con­trite Spirit. This is indeed a great thing, for the Spirit of a Man to be bruised, and, as it were, ground to powder, under the weight of Sin committed, and the sense of Punishment deser­ved. [Page 135]It is said, Hos. 5.2. The Revolters were profound to make slaughter; but, alas! where are the Men and Women that are profound in wounding their Souls for Sin, and in making a slaughter of their Lusts? How is it to be la­mented, that the Sword of God's Word doth not pass through the Heart of the Old Man? that the Arrows of God do not cleave the Reins of Sinners, and pour out their very Gall? how few do outlaw their corrupt and vile Affecti­ons, and put them out of their protection, that they may be kill'd when or wheresoever they find, meet with them, or see them? But do not Men act quite contrary to this? When God shoots his Arrows, casts his Darts at them, do they not take the Shield of Unbelief, and guard their base Lusts? Do they not quench the fiery Darts that God casts at them? Is there not a great deal of Art and Labour used to enervate, to blunt, to dispirit keen and cut­ting Truths, that they may not enter deep, that come too home and close to their Hearts? They cannot endure that Conscience should be enlighten'd and awak'd, that its Tongue should be loosed; this they think is intolerable, to raise a Storm within their own Breasts, to di­sturb their Peace, to destroy their Hopes, to let in Terrors to arrest and overwhelm their Souls: They think they shall never recover Peace and Comfort, or have their Wounds heal'd again, if God's Plough should cut them [Page 136]to the very Heart: Doth not a shallow Furrow produce a slight Religion, and a superficial Christianity in the World? Instead of putting convincing Truths, instead of keeping awaken­ing Thoughts and Meditations on their Hearts, they rather keep them off at a distance, and shut them out of their Souls. O where shall we find an humbled Sinner crying out thus, I am the man that hath risen up against God, I have broken his Yoke, and made his Laws void; I have burst his Bonds, and cast away his Cords from me; I, that am but a Worm, have dared to walk contrary to God, and have enter'd the Lists with the Almighty; I, that am but a Potter's Vessel, have challeng'd a Rod of Iron; I, that am but Chaff, Briars, and Thorns, have contended with devouring Fire, with eternal burnings; I have exalted my Folly against Infinite Wisdom, and set up my perverse, wicked, rebellious Will, in opposi­tion to the holy Law, the righteous Will of God: though God bears up the frame of Heaven and Earth by the Word of his Power, and doth not faint under this great weight, yet I have laid a heavier burden on him, and caused him to com­plain, that He is wearied by my Sins, Isa. 43.24. and is pressed under my Iniquities, as a Cart is pres­sed under the Sheaves, Amos 2.13. How few Ephraim; are there found thus bemoaning or impeaching themselves? Men do indeed like to tread out the Corn, and eat the Fruits of Mer­cy, but will not follow the Plough, to convince [Page 137]and humble themselves for Iniquity. How strange is it, that Persons will nourish in them­selves hopes of a comfortable and plentiful Harvest hereafter, yet will not now plow and break up their fallow Ground? Is it not an un­reasonable Presumption, to look for a Harvest, when there hath been no Ground plow'd, or Seed sown?

Use 2. Examine your selves, Is your fallow Ground broken up? have you inclin'd your Hearts and set your Hands to God's Plough? Though the Earth doth not feel the Plough­shear, doth not know when the Husband­man doth till the Land, yet a Soul cannot be both a Plow-man and a plowed Ground, but it must needs be sensible of what is done on, and wrought within it self. Have you ever been pricked in Heart? Acts 2.37. Have God's Words been as Goads to prick you, as Nails to pierce you? Have the Truths of God been as a sharp Plow-shear, cutting and wounding your Souls?

1. Did you ever come to your selves, and so make a right judgment concerning your selves and your own Estate, with respect to God and Eternity, Luke 15.17. that you are poor, empty, naked Creatures, that you are but a dry Ground and barren Wilderness, like the Vineyard of the sloathful Man, all [Page 138]overgrown with Thorns and Nettles, Prov. 24.30, 31? It would be bad for a Man to rent a great Farm, and yet not to have one Acre of Corn sow'd on it; but is it not worse for us, that hold our Souls and Bodies of God our great Landlord, to whom we owe a great Rent of universal Obedience to his Laws, and yet not to have one Faculty of our Souls sow'd with precious Seed? For our Minds and Wills not to be Tables with the Law of God; for our Vessels to be empty, and destitute of spiritual Oyl; for our Meal not to be leavened by the Gospel, and the Houses of our Souls to be empty, and not inhabited by the Spirit of God? Have we discern'd our selves to be empty Vines, barren Fig trees, unprofitable Servants? Our fallow Ground will never be broken up, till we are convinc'd how much we need to be plow'd and sow'd.

2. Were our Souls ever rightly, duly, deep­ly affected with our woful and wretched State? Are Hearts broken, our Spirits wounded, our Souls as a bruised Reed? Isaiah 42.3. Hath the sense of our guilt, and God's wrath, so fallen and seized on our spirits, as to grind them as it were to Powder? A prick in the heart is both painful and mortal, Acts 2.37. this wounds the Old Man to death. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer there­in? [Page 139]Rom 6.2. If an Earthen Vessel be bro­ken to pieces, it can no more hold any Water, or serve for any use, as when it was whole. If our Old Man be Crucified, if the Body of Sin be Destroy'd, we cannot serve sin as be­fore. If a Ground be Plow'd deep, and the Roots of Weeds, that grew in it, be cut, they cannot flourish in that Ground as before.

3. Have you received the seed of the Word, the Doctrine of the Gospel gladly? Acts 2.41. Have the Tidings of Redemption, the News of Sal­vation, been welcome to you? And as a No­ble, and Generous Cordial, revived your faint­ing and languishing Spirits? And as a Sove­raign Balsam, healed your bruised, broken Hearts? Have you, as drowning Men, laid hold on the Promise of Salvation? As famish­ing Men, have you catched at the Bread of Life? Have you as weary, and heavy Laden Sinners, leaned on Christ? Cant. 8.5. and taken hold of the Hope set before you? Have you, as a dry and thirsty Ground, drank in the spiritual Rain, and Dew from Heaven? Heb. 6.18. And doth the seed, so received, sanctify you? Doth the Word work effectually in your Souls? Heb. 6.7. Doth it Leaven you, John 17.19. with Holiness, Spirituality, and Heavenly-mindedness? 1 Thes. 2.13.

[Page 140] 4. Doth the seed of the Word bring forth fruit in your hearts and lives? Col. 1.5, 6. Do you shine in the world as lights, and hold forth the word of life? Phil. 2.15, 16. Is the sweet odour of your Ointments, and Garments smelt? Cant. 4.10, 11.

USE 3. I would Exhort you to this great Duty, O break your Fallow Ground.

When Adam fell, and was turned out of the Earthly Paradise, it was necessary for him to become a Husband-man, and a Plow-man. Gen. 3.23. God sent him out of the Garden of Eden to Till the ground, from whence he was taken. Bread could not be had without Plow­ing and Sowing; our Nature was corrupted and depraved; all Holiness and Righteous­ness so rooted out, that if we break not up our Fallow Ground, no seed can be sowed, or Fruit brought forth to God. To be spiritual Plow-men, is an Employment necessary for all Rich and Poor; Princes and Peasants, No­ble-men, and those of low Degree, must all follow the Plow, must all attend to break up their Fallow Ground; this is a Work to be neg­lected by none, Men and Women must all prosecute and pursue it. For,

1. We are wholly useless, and altogether unprofitable, if we continue a Fallow Ground. [Page 141]It is worse with us, than with a Field that lies Fallow, that may bear some Herbage. I have been credibly informed of some Land, that have been sowed once a Year, and mow­ed the next; so serviceable is the Earth to Man, but if Men lie Fallow, they do no good, Rom. 3.12. They bring forth no Fruit to God; all their Religious, and Common Actions, are grievous and displeasing to God. The prayer of him that turneth away his ear from hearing the Law, is an abomination to God, Prov. 28.9. Yea, the plowing of the wicked is sin, Prov. 21.4. The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination, Prov. 15.8. And the way of the wicked, that is, his common Actions, are sin, Prov. 15.9. That which they offer is un­clean, and so is every work of their hands, Hag. 2.14. Thus they are altogether unprofitable, Rom. 3.12.

2. If you lie Fallow, you will grow worse and worse. The Old Man grows more corrupt, Ephes. 4.22. As a dead Carkass doth putrify more and more, and become more noisome, unsavory, and stinking, so it is with the Bo­dy of Death in us, Rom. 7.24. The more a ground is neglected, the longer it lies Fallow, the more it is over-run with Briars and Thorns; The deeper the Weeds root in it, the more they over-run, over spread, and eat out the heart of it: So here, the Mind grows [Page 142]more vain, more blind; the Heart is more hard, the Affections more sensual and carnal. It is said of some, That they have left off to take heed to the Lord, Hos. 4.10. And that they leave off Righteousness in the Earth, Amos 5.7. Evil men, and seducers, wax worse and worse, 2 Tim. 3.13.

3. If you Plow not for God, you Plow for Satan. It is a woful thing to drive Satan's Plow. Isaiah speaks of some, That draw ini­quity with cords of vanity, and sin as it were with a cart-rope, Isaiah 5.18. It is a plain Al­lusion to drawing in a Cart, or drawing of a Plow. O how sad is it to be Satan's slaves, to draw his Plow? All the corrupt Reasonings of Men, that God doth not see, observe, re­sent their sins; That he will never revenge them; that God's threatnings are but vain words, as a despicable eccho, and the sounding again of the mountains, Ezek. 7.7. These are the Cords of Vanity by which Men draw sin to themselves; but though they are but Cords of Vanity, yet they draw as strong, as if they were a thick Cart-rope. What bad Work do Satan's Plow-men, instead of breaking up their Fallow ground? They break God's yoke, burst his bonds, Jer. 5.5. They brake the ever­lasting Covenant, Isaiah 24.5. Break God's Sta­tutes, Psal. 89 31. Yea, God himself complains, That he is broken by their whorish heart, Ezek. [Page 143]6.9. Thus ill are Men imploy'd, that break not up their Fallow ground.

4. It is honorable to yield Fruit to God. It is said, The profit of the earth is for all; the King himself is served by the Field, Eccles. 5.9. It is most true, That the King of Glory is ser­ved by a Field broken up, and sowed. How honorable is it, when our Prayer is the delight of God? Prov. 15.8. And God delighteth in our way? Psal. 37.23. When our Offerings are plea­sant to the Lord? Mal. 3.4. When we can in­vite Christ to come into his Garden, and eat of his pleasant fruits, Cant. 4. last. When we treat him with the spiced Wine of the juice of our Pomegranate, Cant. 8.2. When our voice is sweet in Christ's ears, and our countenance is comely in Christ's eyes, Cant. 2.14. It is for the glory of the Church, that Christ goes down to feed in the Gardens, Cant. 6.2.

5. It will be our advantage to break up our Fallow ground. God bids our first Pa­rents, to replenish the Earth, and subdue it, Gen. 1.28. That it is by Tillage they were to master the Earth, and compel it to serve them, and bear Fruit to them; so by breaking up our Fallow ground, we subdue it to yield Fruit to God, and we more appropriate it, and render it useful to our selves. One that writes concerning Government and Obedi­ence, [Page 144](in opposition to Sir Robert Filmer) con­ceives that this was the way at first to di­vide, and appropriate parcels of the Earth to particular Persons: That as much as a Man had need of, and could Plow and Sow, that became his own. And he saith it is so in Spain at this day, That any Man may Plow Land, Sow, and Reap it for his own use, without opposition, or contradiction from any. It is by plowing, and breaking up of our Fallow ground, that we become more Masters of our selves, do more possess our own Souls, as Proprietors use them, and as Kings command, Rev. 1.5, 6. in them. So much of our Souls as we Till, as we break up, is devoted to God, and is a Portion pro­fitable to our selves. As it is the Riches of a Husband-man, to have many Acres sowed with good Corn, with useful Grain; so it will be both our Honour, and Advantage, to have many Years of our Lives sowed with the Fruits of Holiness, and Righteous­ness. If every Day, Month, and Year, be sowed with Fruit, that will abound to our account, Deut. 4.17. how Rich, how Hono­rable are we?

6. Consider how infamous, and miserable we shall be at last, if we break not up our Fallow ground. We shall neither sow to our selves in righteousness, nor reap in mercy, Hosea [Page 145]10.12. We shall lose our Seed time of Grace, and our Harvest of Glory. We shall only reap corruption and destruction, Gal. 6.8. and be reaped as Tares, to be cast into a Furnace of unquenchable Fire, Matt. 3.12. Matt. 13.42. If we continue dead in sins, Ephes. 2.1. and do no good, we shall at last be Carkas­ses desolate of all life and comfort, and en­joy no good to Eternity, Isa. 66. last. Yea, Christ will fall on you as a weighty stone, and grind you to pouder, Matt. 21.44.

7. When we break up our Fallow ground, we begin to do something in Religion. All is nothing that we do, yea, we are nothing as to pleasing of God, till we break up our Fallow ground. The Seeds man will not go forth to sow, till the Plow-man goeth forth, and breaketh up the Ground. As a Man cannot Graft, till the Stock be cut to let in the Graft, so a Husband-man cannot Sow till the Ground be Plowed, and fitted to receive the Seed. Corn will not thrive, that is sown on whole Land; the Grass and Weeds will kill and choke it. So Gospel-Truths will not root deep, thrive, or prosper kindly, if our Hearts are not broken. Till we lie down in our shame, Jer. 3. last. We cannot stand in grace, Rom. 5.2. Till we are convinced that we are enemies, we shall not take hold of the word of Reconciliation. Till we find, and [Page 146]feel our selves shut up, under Sin and the Curse, we shall not listen to Christ as a Re­deemer, calling us out of Prison, Isa. 49.9. into the Kingdom of God. And a vain shew of Religion, will yield no more than a vain shew of Happiness; if we bring forth no Fruit for Christ to eat, there will be no Feast for us to enjoy.

That you may break up your Fallow ground, observe these following Directions:

1. Be convinced of this, and be humbled for this, That you have so long lain as a Fal­low ground. How evil is it, that Men have continued, perhaps twenty, thirty, forty, fifty Years, or more, a fallow Ground? If a fallow did not serve a Husbandman any other way, but by being plow'd, sow'd, and bearing Corn, would it not be a great shame and loss to him, to see a Fallow to lye thirty, for­ty or fifty Years, and never to plow it all this while? And should it not grieve and afflict your Souls, that you have for many Years lain fallow, and have brought forth no Fruits of Righteousness to God? Jeremiah saith of Israel to God, They have done nothing of all that thou commandedst them to do, Jer. 32.23. Sinners are wholly at Satan's beck, dispose, command; he hath been sowing, grafting, and nursing up his Tares in them. O let [Page 147]this humble you, That the Devil hath been watering, improving, strengthning your vile Lusts and Affections. O that God should spare you so long, support you by his arms of Power, and supply you out of the Trea­sures of his Goodness, when you were not only without him, Zeph. 12. but also against him in the World! It is a great Evil to be without God, as if there were no such glo­rious Being, or you had no need of him; but it is worse to be against God, to walk contrary to him, to fight against his Laws, and Kingdom, as if he did bereave you of your Liberty and Pleasure, and enact Laws contrary to your Freedom, Comfort, and Happiness. How have your Lusts consu­med your Time, and eat up those Years that should have been Fruitful to God? O be sensible that you have defrauded God, by not bearing good Fruits; and have bur­dened him by the abundance of your evil Fruit.

2. When you begin to break up your Fallow Ground, O call for, and seek after the Assistance of the spirit of God, to direct the Plow, to put his Hand on it, that it may cut deep. You need that God should speak with a strong Hand, Isaiah 8.11. That the Hand of the Lord should be with them that preach, Acts 11.20, 21. That when [Page 148]Ministers do strike the Rock of your hearts, that the Lord should stand on the Rock, (as he Promised Moses) and cause it to cleave, and to give out Waters of Peni­tential Tears, Exod. 17.6.

In vain do Ministers Thunder, and Light­en in the Conscience, if the spirit of God doth not set home Convictions, and seal up Instructions on the Soul. The Holy Ghost must Arrest, seize upon, and shut up the Soul in Prison, that else will go at Liberty, and be under no Restraint, either from the Command, or Threatnings of God. If Guilt, and Wrath, do not lie hard, and heavy, on the Soul, Men will not regard Reconciliation, Redemption, and Salvation. Those that make light, yea, a mock at sin, Prov. 14.9. will make light of Christ's Feast, and Salvation, Matt. 22.5.

We need the spirit of Christ to cast Chains of Light, and Conviction, about us, and to shut us up under the bitter sense of our Transgressions, and to make us such close Prisoners, as to shut out all the Worlds Comforts from us, that they may be able to administer no support, relief, or refresh­ment to us, that we may wholly have re­course to Christ, and listen to him for Con­solation. It is very contrary to Flesh and [Page 149]Blood, for Men to acknowledge themselves worthy of the Curse, and to say Amen to it, Deut. 27. last. But if it be not thus, how can we run to Christ, that all the Promises may be Amen to us through him? We cannot subdue our Souls to Spiritual Tillage, if the Holy Ghost doth not subdue our Iniquities, Micah 7.19.

3. We must take hold of God's gracious and free Promises, to incourage us to set on this Tillage, and breaking up of our Fal­low ground.

Adam was sent out of the Garden of Eden to Till the Ground; but this might much dishearten him, That the Ground was Cursed for his sake: And that God did threaten him, That it should bring forth Thorns and Thistles to him: That these should spring up in his Plowed Land, and grow among his Corn. It is grievous to plow and sow under a Curse; to break the Ground, and sow Wheat, and yet to Reap Thorns, Jer. 1.2, 13. They sowed wheat, but reaped thorns, and so were ashamed of their Revenues. A Harvest of Thorns was a ve­ry sad, and shameful Crop; but do not Men disappoint God? He soweth good Seed, yet the Souls of Sinners do bring forth Briars and Thorns, Heb. 6.8. Justly there­fore [Page 150]may the Earth disappoint Man, when Man frustrates God. I looked for Grapes (saith God) but his Vineyard brought forth wild grapes, Isa. 5.4. But this is a great incourage­ment to our Spiritual Husbandry, That there are so many great and precious Promises, that God's own Power and Grace will ac­complish and fulfil. It is said, The Wilder­ness shall blossom as a rose. Isa. 35.1. That floods of water shall be poured out on the dry ground, to enrich and make it fruitful, Isa. 44.3. That the spirit shall be poured out on the Off-spring of the Church, therefore they should spring up as the willows by the water-courses: One should say I am the Lords, another should subscribe, and as by writing bind himself to the Lord, Isa. 44.4, 5. That the deaf should hear the word of the book, Isa. 29.18. And the dead should hear the voice of the Son of God, and live, John 5.25.

There are Promises made to Christ that he shall see his Seed; behold the travel of his soul and be satisfied, and that by his knowledge he shall justify many, Isa. 53.11. That he should call Nations, that knew not him, and they should run to him, Isa. 55.5. And the Apo­stles that God should send to the Gentiles, should succeed and prevail, and bring in the Gentiles (that are called their Brethren) as li­ving Sacrifices, as holy Offerings to God's [Page 151]spiritual Temple, Isa. 66.18, 19, 20. There­fore the Labours of God's Messengers can­not be in vain: As Ministers are Plowers, and Seeds-men, so they shall be Harvest-men, Matt. 9. last. The Seed they sow should spring up to a Harvest, Hearers should be Converted, gathered into the Barn of the Church, there be threshed and winnowed for the Garner of Heaven, Matt. 3.12. What sweet and incouraging words are these, I will put Laws into their inward parts, and write them in their hearts, Jer. 31.33. Ministers are but as Pens, but the spirit doth handle these Pens to write an Epistle with them, whereby the Soul is dedicated to God and Christ, 2 Cor. 3.3.

How reviving are these Words, Ezek. 36.26, 27. A new Heart will I give to you, a new Spirit will I put within you: I will take away the Heart of Stone, and give a Heart of Flesh. My Spirit also will I put within you, and cause you to walk in my Statutes, and keep my Commandments.

As Christ doth speak in his Ministers, 2 Cor. 13.3. so he works by them, and in them, Mark 16.20. how greatly would Mi­nisters else be deterred from this Tillage? Shall Horses run on the Rock? will one plow there with Oxen? Amos 6.12. Some Seed is [Page 152]said to fall on a Rock, Luke 8.6. To plow and sow on a Rock is very uncomfortable; yet this Promise of God, I will take away the Heart of Stone, may bear up Ministers against these Difficulties.

4. You must persist and go on in this Work of breaking up your fallow Ground. As there are Fallows in the visible Church, many there do need Conversion; so in the best of the Saints there is a carnal and un­regenerate part, that well may be called a fallow Ground; this Ground should still be plowed up. More Ground in the Soul should be subdued, converted to Tillage, and ma­nured; there is still a barren part, there is still a Soil that nourishes Weeds, and is over­run with Thorns, this is to be broken up: We are sow'd but in part, bear Fruit but in part; With our flesh we serve the Law of Sin, Rom. 17. ult. Nehemiah complain'd, That though their Captivity was turned, yet they were Servants in their own Land; and it yiel­ded much encrease to the Kings that GOD had set over them: because of their Sins, Neh. 9.36, 37. the Kings of Persia were still their Lords, and out of their Labours they paid Tribute, either in Money or Fruits, to them. But how much more is this to be bewail'd and lamented, that Sin and Satan have yet some Ground in us that beareth Fruit unto [Page 153]them? Should we not therefore more break up our fallow Ground? Should not the Kingdom of Christ, and the Coasts of the New Creature be more enlarged in us?

Joshua divided to the Children of Israel even the Nations not yet conquer'd, and did yet remain in Canaan, and encouraged the Israelites to fight against them, with this Promise, The Lord your God shall expel them from before you, Joshua 23.4, 5. So all that is possessed by the Flesh in us is divided to us, is to be the Portion and Lot of the New Creature. We should still therefore more crucifie and subdue the Flesh, with its Affe­ctions and Lusts; the New Creature should more cast forth its Roots, and spread its Bran­ches; we should gain more Ground from the Sea of Corruption, and turn more of our Souls to Tillage.

5. We should presently set on this Work, and fall to break up our fallow Ground. The Jews said, The time was not yet come, the time that the Lord's House should be built, Hag. 1.2. So sloathful Souls are ready to say, The time is not yet come to fall to plow, and break up their fallow Ground; they are yet but in their Youth, in the Morning of their days, two or three hours of their day will suffice to sow Seed enough, and to provide for an [Page 154]Eternal Harvest: but this Tillage may well take up our whole Day of Life. It is to please an Infinite God, it is to enjoy an Eternal Harvest, that we plow; God cannot sow us to himself, Hosea 2. ult, and we cannot sow to our selves in Righteousness, and reap in Mercy: We cannot bring our Sheaves with joy, and eat the fruits of our doings with comfort for ever, Isa. 3.10. if we do not break up our fallow Ground. We should make haste, and not delay to obey this Command of God, Psal. 119.59, 60. Do not mind and pursue the World, as if that were your great­est Business and chiefest Happiness: consider, to mind earthly things is a great sin, Phil. 3.19. to have our Portion in this life is a sore Judg­ment, Psal. 17.14. to have their Backs conti­nually bowed down, to look after and pur­sue carnal things, is a dreadful Curse, Rom. 11.10. be perswaded, be convinc'd that it is high time to break up your fallow Ground, and to seek the Lord: O desire to be God's Hus­bandry, 1 Cor. 3.9. O, cry to him to enligh­ten your dark Minds, to break your hard Hearts, to spiritualize your carnal Affections: Seek God diligently, seek him with your whole Heart, seek him continually, that he would write his Law in you, stamp his Image on you, and graft his Word in you, Jam. 1.21. and thereby graft you into Christ, and plant you in the likeness of his Death and Resurrection, [Page 155]Rom. 6.5. to root and ground you in the Faith, Col. 2.7. Do not delay, do not defer this ne­cessary Work of Spiritual Tillage, lest hereby you fall into the Snare of the Devil, he that now tells you it is yet too soon to set on this Work, to break up your fallow Ground; After your long idleness and negligence, the Devil may change his Temptation, and suggest to you, that the time to break up your fallow ground is now past; that it is too late to set on this Work, when your Hearts are harden'd by the deceitfulness of Sin, your Day of Grace is past, God's Treasury is lock'd, his Fountain of Life is sealed, his Bowels of Mercy shut: Therefore you must pine away in Horrour and Despair, and perish for ever.

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