THE Preaching of Christ, AND THE Prison of God, As the Certain Portion of them that reject Christ's Word.

Opened in Several SERMONS On 1 Peter III. 19.

By SAMUEL TOMLYNS, M.A. And Minister of the Gospel of Christ in Marleborough.

LONDON: Printed for Tho. Parkhurst, at the Bible and Three Crowns in Cheapside, near Mercers-Chappel. 1694.

TO My Honoured Friends, Robert Grove, of Dun­net, in the County of Wilts, Esq And to his Worthy Con­sort, Madam Tryphena Grove, Grace, Mercy, and Peace be mul­tiplyed from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

THE True God is styled, The Excellency of Jacob, Amos 8.7. The Glory and Praise of his Peo­ple, [Page]Isa. 60.19. Deut. 10.21. Though Pharaoh King of Egypt boasted thus, I am the Son of the Wise, the Son of Ancient Kings, Isaiah 19.11. Yet David Glories in this, Lord, I am thy Servant, I am thy Servant, the Son of thy Handmaid, Psal. 116.16. This is your Honour, That you are descended of Parents that owned Christ's Gospel, espoused his Interest, and countenanced God's pure Worship in Dark, Difficult, and Dangerous Times: I Rejoyce that you tread in their steps, and endeavour to promote God's Kingdom in your Family, and among your Neighbours. As this hath been the Glory of your Predecessors, so I desire it may de­scend to, and be inherited by your Children, that the Entail of God's Covenant may never be cut off from your Posterity. The World counts it Honourable when Estates continue, and Lands descend from one Generation to another. But this is most valuable, [Page]when Piety, and God's pure Worship descends from Father to Son. It is said, Deut. 33.4. Moses commanded us a Law, even the Inheritance of the Congregation of Jacob. As God hath commanded, and Commended his Law as an Inheritance to the whole Church, so every Particular Member of it should by his Choice accept the Word of God as his Inheritance, as the Psalmist saith he did, Psal. 119.111. Thy Testimonies have I taken as my Heritage for ever, for they are the rejoycing of my Heart. Chil­dren will be sure to claim their Fa­ther's Lands, but it is much more de­sirable to claim their Father's God, as Moses did; Exod. 15.2. He is my Father's God, and I will exalt him. How Excellent is it, when they Inhe­rit their Parents Graces? Ʋnfeigned Faith dwelt in his Grandmother Lois, then in his Mother Eunice, and then in Timothy himself. This is to be an [Page]Ancient Family, and truly Noble. As in the Temple of Old there were Treasurers over the Dedicated Things, 1 Chron. 20.26. So in the Spiri­tual Temple, the Church of Christ, God hath constituted Christian Parents as the Treasurers over the Dedicated Things. Children of Believers are Dedicated to God in Baptism, and Parents should Carefully, and Faith­fully watch over these Holy Dedicated Things, that they may not be alienated from God by cold Neutrality, or open Profaneness and Degeneracy.

The ensuing Discourse Treats on two Noble Subjects, The Preaching of the Son of God, and The Prison of God, which will be the certain Portion and Punishment of those that reject the Word of the Son of God. I am sen­sible of manifold Weaknesses, Defects, and Imperfections in my self, that [Page]might deter me from exposing my self to the Censures of a Cavilling Conten­tious Age; but because my Life declines apace, my Days do post away, my Sun will quickly set, I am willing to pu­blish something that may contribute to the Informing the Ignorant, and awaken the Secure. Christ's Preaching may be a Load-stone to draw perishing Sinners to him; and the Prison of God may Alarm, and Rouze up drousie Souls, and be a Spur to Quicken them to fly for Refuge, to lay hold of the Hope set before them. I bow my Knee to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Lights, and the God of all Grace, that he would Grant unto you the Spi­rit of Wisdom and Revelation, and thereby Seal Instruction to your Souls; that being built upon your most Holy Faith, you may grow up into Christ in all things, and at last obtain an Inheritance among all them that are [Page]sanctified by Faith in Christ. These are the unfeigned Desires of

Your Affectionate and Humble Servant, Samuel Tomlyns.
1 Pet. III. 19.

By which also he went, and Preached to the Spirits in Prison.

IN these words we may observe, 1. A Subject, He. The Person spoken of is called Christ in the 18th. Verse, Though he was put to death in the Flesh, yet he was quickned by the Spirit. He tasted Death for a little time, but soon abolished and swallowed it up for ever. His Hu­mane Nature rendred him obnoxious to Death, but his Divine Nature made him Victorious over it. 2. We have some­thing affirmed and asserted of this Subject, viz. That he went by it, that is, by his Divine Nature, and preached. Though the Son of God had not yet assumed a Humane Nature, yet he did exist in his Divine Nature; though he came to Men in time, yet he was with the Father from [Page 2]Eternity, and so was in a capacity to Preach before he was manifested in the Flesh. As a Candle can shine and give Light before it is put into a Lanthorn; and the Light created the first day did Il­luminate the World before the Sun was created the fourth day. So the Divine Nature of Christ did enlighten the World before he rose, and appeared as a Sun of Righteousness shining in and through a Body of Flesh, while the fourth Thou­sand of Years was yet currant. And this Expression is observable, that by his Di­vine Nature he went and preached. Where the Son of God preaches, thither he comes, and there he is Spiritually present; where the Gospel is dispensed, there is a special Presence of the Son of God. In Ephes. 2.17. it is said, He came and preach­ed Peace to those that were far off, and to them that are nigh. So the Housholder is said to go forth to the elder Brother, and entreat him to come in to the Feast, Luke 15.28. Where the Word is preached, the Father and the Son do come forth, and draw near to Men, and treat with them about their Spiritual and Eternal Good.

3. We may observe to whom the Son of God preached; Peter tells us, it was [Page 3]to the Spirits in Prison; but yet he prea­ched to them before they were cast into Prison, while they were yet seated in Bodies cloathed with Flesh, and were dwelling in the World; it is such that are meet to be preached to, that are yet in the way in a state of Tryal, and Can­didates for Eternity. When once the Final Sentence is passed, and the eternal state of Sinners fixed, it is too late to set on foot a Treaty of Peace with them, or to make offers of Mercy to them. Those that were Prisoners in the days of Peter, were living, and at Liberty in the days of Noah. The Vid. Rhe­mish Test. and the Notes on it. Pa­pists would impose and obtrude this sense on Peter's words, as if the Soul of Jesus Christ be­ing separated from the Body, did go and Preach to some of the Fathers of the Old Testament, that were not (as they say) yet admitted in­to Heaven, but were reserved in some out-rooms of Hell, where they felt no pain, but did not yet see the Glorious Face of God, nor enjoy his Blessed Pre­sence. But this cannot be the true ge­nuine sense of the words. For, 1. If Spirit signifies here the Soul of Christ, and quickned imports his Resurrection, [Page 4]then Jesus Christ must Preach to these Spirits not while his Body was dead, but after his Resurrection, which the Papists themselves will not own or admit. 2. Spi­rit in the 18th. Verse signifies Christ's Di­vine Nature, and it was not in this, or by this that he preached to the Spirits of the Old Testament after their Souls were se­parated from their Bodies. 3. Those that Christ preached to lived, and were dis­obedient in the days of Noah; it is not said, they did Repent of, or break off from their sins, but were hardned in their Unbelief, and dyed in their Iniquities; they went down uncircumcised in Heart into the Pit, and so Eternal Death was their Wages, and Hell was their own Place. Now even Papists dare not say, that Christ preached to the Damned, their state is remediless, the Sentence irrevo­cable, their Loss irrecoverable; there is no Year of Jubilee, no Goal-delivery for imprisoned Spirits confined to, and shut up in Hell. Jesus Christ would not Preach to those that God had cast off for ever, and doomed to Eternal Misery, for their continued and obstinate Disobedience, they whose Nature was not changed on Earth, their Condition could not be al­tered in Hell. 4. If the Soul of Christ [Page 5]had preached to Souls in the Prison of Hell, what Reason can be assigned why he should Preach rather to those that were disobedient in the days of Noah, than to those that were disobedient in the days of Abraham, Moses, or in the after-times of the Prophets? This one Argument may shame this Notion, and confute this un­grounded Exposition of the words, that the Soul of Christ went down to Hell to Preach to Spirits there.

Before I come to the main Doctrines that the words afford, I shall observe se­veral other great Truths that the words do offer to us. 1. That the Scripture is a most Excellent and Divine Book, in that it gives us such a true Account, and such sure Notions about a future and eter­nal state after Death. As it tells us what is the Condition of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and all the Holy Prophets, that they are in the Palaces and Kingdom of God, Luke 13.28. so it informs us what is become of the Sinners of the Old World; that these are cast into the Pri­son of God. He that appoints Portion in the Paradice above, and assigns places in the Prison below, and adjudges to each of these by an irrevocable Sentence, can best tell what is become of Saints and [Page 6]Sinners now they are departed out of the World.

2. This Evidences the Immortality of the Soul, that the Spirits of wicked Men are said to subsist after Death, and to abide in God's Prison, though their Garments of Flesh were pluckt off, their Houses of Clay thrown down to the Dust, yet their Souls did not expire, or sleep; as a Man can live, though his Garments are put off, or his House be demolished, or drop down: So the Soul hath no such necessary dependance on the Body, but can exist though this Garment be put off, this House be pulled down. This Candle will burn, though taken out of the Lanthorn of the Flesh, Death doth not blow out, only it removes this Light into another World.

3. We may observe the Mercy and Goodness of God, that though he had threatned a Flood, and adjudged all the World (besides eight Persons) to be drowned by it, yet the Son of God Preaches to this degenerate and wicked World before he destroys them; though God designed Severity against their Bo­dies, yet he offers Mercy to their Souls; that though they could not avoid the first, yet that they might decline the second [Page 7]Death; and though their baser part were cast away, yet that their Souls might swim to, and Land safely on the Shoars of a blessed Eternity, and God's means do not use to be totally ineffectual, and in vain. The Word is seldom if ever preached, but that some are to be drawn out of the dead Sea, and called out of their Graves by it. Peter seems to tell us, that the Word was not wholly lost on the Old World, but that some received saving Benefit by it, 1 Pet. 4.6. For this cause was the Gospel preached also to them that were dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live accord­ing to God in the spirit. This may be, Vid. Piscal in locum. and is expounded to relate to, and point at the state of the Old World; the Gospel was preached to them, that though they were judged, were drowned, and perished in the Eye of Men as to their Flesh, yet they might live to, and with God in their Spirits. Though God pro­claimed War against their Bodies, yet he tendred Peace to their Souls.

4. We may further Observe, that even those that the Son of God Preaches to, may stop their Ears, close their Eyes, harden their Hearts, and for their Un­belief [Page 8]and Impenitency, may be cast in­to God's Prison, and perish everlastingly. The Gospel is to some the savour of death unto death, 2 Cor. 2.16. They did shut Christ out of their Souls, and for this are shut up under the wrath of God, and are the Subjects of Eternal Vengeance.

5. We may Observe what a hainous Evil Sin is, and what a terrible Adversary God is: He did not only sweep away the sinners of the World, and drown their Bodies in a Flood of Waters, but he im­prisoned and punished their Souls. God drowned their Spirits in Destruction and Perdition, 1 Tim. 6.9. Sin is committed against an Infinite Majesty, and cannot be sufficiently punished or satisfied for in a Finite Time, by a Finite Creature. It is an Axiom in the Civil Law, Accusatio rei morte finitat: An Accusation is finished by the death of the guilty Person; all Process and Proceedings then cease against the Delinquent. But it is otherwise here; God's Accusation is not let fall, his Actions are not withdrawn, his Controversie doth not cease when sinners dye; he pursues and overtakes them in another World, there he meets them as one bereaved of his Authority, Honour, and Glory; by them, he resents the wrongs done to him, [Page 9]he pours out the full Vials of his Wrath on them, and fights against them for ever. They are, that they may be Miserables, a bare Stock of Being is continued, that God may graft Misery and Eternal Tor­ments on it.

The words afford us two Doctrines: First, That the Son of God did Preach before he was Incarnate, and doth as truly Preach by Instruments, as he doth immediately in his own Person when he appeared here in the World. The Second Doctrine that rises from the latter words is this, That the Souls of wicked Men, after they are departed out of the Body, are confined to, and shut up in God's Prison.

1. Doctrine. The Son of God preached be­fore he was Incarnate, and doth as truly Preach by Instruments as he doth immediately in his own Person. We may here distin­guish three Preachings of Jesus Christ. 1. He preached before his Incarnation. So in the Text the Son of God is said to Preach to those that were disobedient in the days of Noah. The Gospel was preached to them that formerly lived, but were dead in the days of Peter, 1 Pet. 4.6. And who did then Preach it? It was the Son of God. He was in the world, [Page 10]and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not, John 1.10. He was in the World, and that to Teach and In­struct the Souls of Men. His being in the World relates to the time before his In­carnation; then he treated with, and re­vealed a way of Salvation to the perish­ing Souls of Men. He was in the World to give light to straying Sinners, to awa­ken sleepy, to apprehend flying, to rescue and save sinning Souls. He was in the World before Abraham was chosen, and his Seed was taken as a Peculiar People, or the Son came to them as his own.

2. The Son of God preached when he was manifested in the Flesh. At Na­zareth (where he was brought up, Luke 4.26.) he seems to Preach his first Sermon, and then he chose that Text, Isa. 61.1. This Scripture evidences his Mission, and contains his Commission: As Ambassa­dors first shew their Credentials, before they enter into a Treaty with those to whom they are sent. So Christ, as the Father's Ambassador, produces his Cre­dentials, he saith, The Spirit of the Lord was upon him, for he anointed him to Preach glad tidings unto the meek. And Christ, in pursuance of his Commission and In­structions, went about preaching the glad [Page 11]tidings of the Kingdom of God, Luke 8.1. Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their Synagogues, and preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom, Matth. 4.23. Jesus was not idle, did not loyter, or trifle away his time, but was daily casting his Net to take Souls, and calling Men from Darkness to Light, and from the Power of Satan to God. When the Son of God was Incarnate, then Wisdom cried with­out, Prov. 1.20. And the first-born of Gods new Family declared his Name to his Bre­thren, Ps. 22.22. Then the Church found him without, Cant. 8.1. That is, come forth in­to our Nature. And where he did not Convert Men, yet he did convince, and somewhat awaken and terrifie sinners with the fear of Hell. In this sense he is said To smite the Earth with the Rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips to slay the wicked, Isa. 11.4.

3. Now Christ is in Heaven he still continues to Preach. Take heed, saith the Apostle, Heb. 12.25. See that ye refuse not him that speaketh — we shall not escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from Heaven. It was foretold that our Lord Jesus should speak Peace to the Heathen, Zech. 9.10. So it was fulfilled by our Lord Jesus. Paul saith, That Christ came to Ephesus, Preaching Peace to them that [Page 12]were afar off, Ephes. 2.17. Jesus Christ was then ascended to Heaven, yet even then he came to Ephesus, and preached Peace. As he went to the Old World and preached before his Incarnation, so he came to Ephesus after his Ascension, and proclaimed Peace; though he came into the World to wage War with Satan, and to destroy his works, yet he daily comes and preaches Peace to Sinners, and wooes, and beseeches them to be reconciled to God 2 Cor. 5.20.. Thus you see that the Son of God preached by Instruments, and by his Am­bassadors before and since his Incarnation as he preached immediately when he was here in the World.

For the prosecuting of the Doctrine, I shall insist upon these three things.

1. How fit the Son of God was to Preach. 2. What it was he did Preach. 3. To whom he did Preach.

1. I shall shew you how fit the Son of God is to Preach; and that in respect, 1. To the Divine Nature he possesses. 2. As to the Office he is cloathed with.

1. As to the Divine Nature he hath. 1. As he is God, he knows all things; as he was in the bosom of the Father from Eternity, John 1.18. He is conscious to all his [Page 13]Secrets, he is privy to all his Thoughts of Grace, and Counsels of Peace, that did spring up in his Heart from Eternity concerning the Sons of Men. None knows the Father but the Son, and he to whom he will reveal him, Mat. 11.27. The Son knows the Father immediately, perfectly, and infallibly. As the Wisdom of God, he hath a full Acquaintance with the Fa­ther; nothing is hid or concealed from him, what he hath seen with, and heard from the Father, that he testifieth, John 3.32. A Witness that reports what he hath heard and seen, is surely to be credited, and such a Witness is Jesus Christ, Isa. 55.4. Rev. 3.14. He was to bring forth Judgment to the Gentiles, Isa. 42.1. The Doctrine of the Gospel is God's Judg­ment concerning a way of Relief, Re­conciliation, and Salvation for Sinners. This Doctrine Christ was to bring forth, and that out of the bosom of the Father Vid. Pis­cal. in loc. These great Se­crets he was to reveal to the World.

2. None but the Son of God can give sufficient Authority and Efficacy to the Word. 1. The Son gives Authority to the Gospel, he that Preaches out of the bosom of the Father, John 1.18. He [Page 14]that speaks from the Throne of Majesty and Glory Heb. 12.25., is to be regarded. The Word ought, and is to be received as the Word of God, 1 Thess. 2.13. It is to be entertained as a Law from his Mouth, Job 22.22. What the Son Preaches is stamped with a Di­vine Authority. All should tremble at, and stand in awe of his Word.

2. The Son of God only can give Ef­ficacy to the Word. He that brought forth the Gospel out of his Father's Bo­som, can bring it into our Hearts: He can sow, cause the Seed to take Root, and change the Soil; he can write in the Tables of our Hearts, 2 Cor. 3.3. Jesus Christ did not write the Gospel with his own Hand in any Paper or Book, he in­tended and reserved a more Noble Wri­ting to himself, which is most becoming of him, and peculiar to him. He writes in the Minds, Consciences, and Wills of Men; and he writes not Letters, Sylla­bles, bare Words or Sentences, but he writes Divine Truths, Supernatural My­steries, Spiritual Principles, Dispositions, and Inclinations in the Souls of Men. The Son can come at, and write in that Table, that no other can reach, or make impressions on. And the Son of God can [Page 15]write so effectually as to change a Heart of Stone to a fleshy Table; he can soften and melt the Heart, and make it pliable and flexible. Isa. 51.4. Hearken unto me, my People, and give ear unto me, O my Na­tion; for a Law shall proceed from me, and I will make my Judgment to rest for a light of the People. When may the Son of God be said to make his Judgment to rest? I Answer, when he engrafts his Word, and causes it to joyn, unite, and close with the Stock of the Heart, James 1.21. When the Seed is turned into a new and Divine Nature, when in this Noble Ef­fect of it, it dwelleth and abideth in the Soul for ever, 1 Pet. 1.23. When it is mixed with Faith, Heb. 4.3. when it molds and fashions the Soul into a Conformity to God, and a compliance with his Will; then it may be said truly to rest and abide. A Graft that is not implanted into the Stock, a Stone that is not joyned to the Founda­tion, may be spurned to and fro; but when the Graft is united with the Stock, and the Stone is laid into the Building, then it hath rest. None can give a Rest in this sense to to the Doctrine of the Gospel but the Son of God, and how weak soever Instruments are, yet he can [Page 16]produce mighty Effects, when he speaks in them, and by them 2 Cor. 13.3. Out of the mouths of babes and suck­licks he ordains strength, Psal. 8.2. The Disciples of Christ were but as Babes and Sucklings, they were not trained up in the Schools of Philosophers, or Rhe­toricians, but were [...], Acts 4.13. Men unlearned, and ignorant in the Eyes of their Adversaries; the word translated Ignorant, is [...] Ideots, and those by the Graecians are called [...], Ideots, that have a very low Ta­lent of Reason, a scanty measure of Un­derstanding at utmost, fitting them to manage their own Private Affairs, and small Concerns, but disabling them from being employed in any Great, High, and Publick Affairs. How Observable is it then, that the Son of God should choose, and employ Men of such mean Parts in the most high, weighty, and important Matters of his Kingdom, and accomplish such great and Noble things by them? The Son of God did speak in them, 2 Cor. 13.3. and work with them, Mark 16.20. so that they proselyted a world of Enemies, and discipled Barbarous Na­tions to the Faith of Christ. They fa­mished the Heathen Gods of the Earth, [Page 17] Zeph. 2.11. They drew away their Wor­shippers, and deprived them of their Sa­crifices. The Hands of these Husband­men cultivated and manured a barren and horrid Wilderness, and reduced it to be a Spiritual Paradise, and Garden of God. The word of the Cross, signified by the Living Water that came out from the side of the Altar, Ezek. 47.1, 2. flowing out into the salt and dead Sea of the World, did heal these brackish, unplea­sant, and unwholsom Waters. O, how wonderful was the Son of God in this, that a little stream of Doctrine concern­ing Christ crucified, should heal, and make fresh the Waters of the great Sea of this corrupt and degenerate World! How strange and surprizing is this! that such few and weak Hands should pull down Satan's Kingdom? should build the Ruines of many Generations, and wrest the Cap­tives from the Srong, and the Prey from the Mighty: The Arrows that the Son of God did shoot by his Ministers, did hit right, pierce deep, and cause sinners to fall under them

2. If we consider the Office the Son of God doth sustain, and is invested with, this fits him to Preach to a sinful and lost World. He is styled a Mediator, 1 Tim. [Page 18]2.5. If he had not undertaken to satisfie Justice, and make Peace, God would have kept silence as to any gracious or comfor­table speaking to the World. Had not he interposed between guilty Creatures and an angry God, we could have heard nothing else from Heaven but denuncia­tions of Vengeance, threatnings of Punish­ment, and messages of Death. But now lively Oracles come from the Mercy-seat, sprinkled with the Blood of the Mediator. He that hath made a Testament, and sealed it with his own Blood, is fittest to open, publish, and declare it. He that was intimate with God, and acquainted with all his deep Designs, and Bosom-Secrets, was fittest to bring them forth, and make them known to the World. He that was to execute God's Purposes, was meetest to reveal them. God had Designs of Grace, Counsels of Peace, Purposes of Redemption and Salvation, that were conceived in his Mind, and formed in his Heart from Eternity. But these could not step forth into execution but by the Interposition and Sufferings of Jesus Christ. The pleasure of the Lord was to prosper in his hand, Isa. 53.10. And what his Hand was to accomplish, his Mouth was to reveal. He that satisfied Justice, [Page 19]was fittest to discover Grace and Mercy. The Lord Jesus is styled the High-Priest, and Apostle of our Profession, Heb. 3.1. What he merited as an High-Priest, that he is meetest to reveal and declare as an Apostle. We may see infinite Wisdom in this: He that makes Peace by the Blood of his Cross, Col. 1.20. He speaks Peace, Zech. 9.10. He preaches Peace, Ephes. 2.17. He that paid the Ransom, Matth. 20.28. He preaches Deliverance to the Cap­tives, and the opening of the Prison to them that are bound, Isa. 61.1. He that was taken from Prison and Judgment him­self, Isa. 53.8. He calls Prisoners to come forth, Isa. 49.9. He bids those that are in Darkness to shew themselves in the Hea­venly Sanctuary, and the Glorious Pre­sence of God. He that was a Man of Sorrows, and acquainted with Grief, he is the Consolation of Israel, and comforts those that mourn, Isa. 53.3. with Isa. 61.2. He that became the Father's Servant himself, Isa. 42.1. Proclaims the Accep­table Year of the Lord, publishes a Spi­ritual Jubilee to us, for the release of our Souls, from the Servitude of Sin, from the Bondage of Satan. Man being fallen under the Wrath of God, the Curse of the Law, the Sentence of Death, none [Page 20]but a Mediator that was made Sin and a Curse for us, could bring us any good News, could publish any glad Tidings, that might be a Foundation for our Faith and Hope, relieve and revive our fainting and sinking Souls. He that is the Wisdom of God, and knows all, was fittest to be the Word of the Father to reveal all.

2dly, I shall now consider, what it is that the Son of God Preaches.

1. Jesus Christ Preaches the Doctrine of Faith, and calls Men to believe it. He Preaches good Tidings, and that to the Poor, Luke 4.18. The Law promises Life, and publishes good Tidings only to those that are Rich in Habitual Righteous­ness, and perfect Active Obedience: But Jesus Christ Preaches good Tidings to those that are exceeding Poor; to such as have no good dwelling in them, Rom. 7.18. or good done by them, Rom. 3.12. Compare those two Expressions; Paul saith, In me, even in this flesh of mine, dwells no­thing at all that is good: There is none that doth good, no, not one. O, how sweet a Sentence is this, that Jesus Christ preach­eth glad Tidings to the Poor! Jesus Christ Preaches Righteousness. Psal. 40.9, 10. I have preached Righteousness in the great Con­gre [...]ation, I have not hid thy Righteousness in [Page 21]my heart. These words are spoken by the Son of God concerning himself; the Righteousness he preached was a great Secret, a deep Mystery. We should have been for ever ignorant of it if he had hid it in his Heart: But this Righteousness of God is revealed in the Gospel, Rom. 1.17. And it is that which Faith must Act, and live upon from first to last; therefore it is said, to be revealed from Faith to Faith, from a lesser to a higher degree of Faith. This is a wonderful and comfortable Righ­teousness, it consists in Jesus Christ his perfect obeying the Commands of the Law, and his bearing the Penalty and Curse of it; and both these are the Ob­jects of Faith, 2 Pet. 1.1. Precious Faith, [...]. I would render the words, In the Righteousness of God, and of our Saviour Jesus Christ, and so to note the Object of Faith. And this Expression may expound to us, why this Righteous­ness is called the Righteousness of God; because the Person that wrought it out was God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. This is not an exacting, an obliging, a menacing, or threatning Righteousness, that is sufficiently declared in the Com­mands and Threatnings of the Law; but this is a Righteousness wrought for us, not [Page 22]by us; a Righteousness dwelling in Christ, but imputed to us; a Righteousness pre­pared and brought by Christ, and freely given to us, Rom. 5.17. The Law can tell us of a Debt of Righteousness that we owe, but the Gospel acquaints us with a Gift of Righteousness that we may re­ceive. And it is the empty hand of Faith that receives this Gift, the hand of a Le­per, the hand of a Beggar, the weak, trembling, Palsie hand may receive a Rich Gift, a Jewel of inestimable Price. And Christ's Blood is also set forth as an Object of Faith. Rom. 3.25. Whom God hath set forth to be a Propitiation through Faith in his Blood. The Blood of Jesus Christ is Reconciling, Redeeming, Pur­chasing, Purging, and Purifying Blood, and therefore is a Noble Object of Faith. And add to this the Arm of the Son of God to rescue us, subdue us, and destroy Satan's Works out of us, Isa. 51.5. And we have a compleat Object of Faith: This Arm of his the Son of God reveals, and reaches out to us, for our weak, faint­ing, heavy laden, and sinking Souls to lean on, Cant. 3.5. This is an Arm that can Root up Satan's Tares, pull down all his strong Holds, and break all his Bonds and Snares. And Jesus Christ is also the [Page 23]Messenger of the Covenant, Malachy 3.1. He reveals to us a Covenant of Grace and Peace, a Covenant that secures us from the Evils that we deserve, and dread; and so it is all our Salvation, and promises all the Good we need; and so it is all that we desire, 2 Sam. 23.5. It is ordered so as to meet with all our Objections, and silence them; to quash our Fears, and to supply our Wants. The Son of God commands us to believe his Gospel, Mark 1.15. To look to him for Salvation, to fly to him as a City of Refuge, to get under his shadow, that he may protect and se­cure us from the scorching Wrath of the Almighty.

2. The Son of God Preaches Repen­tance. Matth. 4.17. Repent, for the King­dom of Heaven is at hand. God was then about to erect that Kingdom that was fore­told, Dan. 2.44. Daniel did Prophesie, That the God of Heaven would set up a Kingdom, and so it might be said to be the Kingdom of Heaven. It is Heavenly in its Original, Heaven is the Subject­matter promised in the Gospel, it issues in the Heavenly Life, and Happiness of those that believe. They shall be placed in Christ's Throne, and feasted at his Table in Heaven, Rev. 3.21. Luke 22.29, [Page 24]30. Christ requires Men to Repent of their low, base, hard, reproachful thoughts of God; to Repent of their Enmity, Whoredoms, and Rebellions a­gainst God. Doth God shew himself as Love, 1 John 4.8. I, and shall not Men Repent of their Hatred of God? Is he willing to lay aside his Just and Righteous Enmity against us? And shall we not lay aside our wicked Enmity against him? Jesus Christ may very reasonably require us to Repent, seeing God doth change his Dispensations towards us; and this may be called God's Repenting; he might have hardened his Heart against us, but now his Bowels yearn towards us: he might have ascended a Tribunal of Justice, and given Sentence on us; but he sits on a Throne of Grace, and offers Mercy to us. He might have drawn his Flaming Sword to destroy, but he stretches out his Golden Sceptre to save. God curses sinners in the Law, but blesses them as Believers in the Gospel: He Condemns in the Law, but Justifies in the Gospel; he rejects and disinherits in the Law, but he receives and Adopts in the Gospel: Doth God Repent of the evil of Punish­ment, and may he not well call Men to Repent of the evil of Sin? Is God's Pu­nishing [Page 25]Hand bound, and shall our Rebel­lious Hand be loose and at liberty to fight against God? Jesus Christ calls us to deny our selves, Mat. 16.24. — Man fell from God into himself; intruded into his Throne, usurped his Rights, alienated the Creatures from God, and turned them against him. Sinful Man is the Voluntier, the Crea­tures the pressed Souldiers to fight against God; and shall Man, so mean a Creature, make himself the Soveraign Lord, and the last end of all the other Creatures? Shall Man, now become so filthy and de­formed a Creature, dote on himself? Shall he that is so hateful, inordinately love himself? Shall he that is so poor, so empty, so vain a Creature, lift up, exalt himself, and be proud of an imaginary, and meerly conceited Excellency? And hath not the Lord Jesus to amazement denied himself? He that was Rich, for our sakes became poor, 2 Cor. 8.9. He that was in the form of God, and thought it no robbery to be equal with God, yet did empty himself of his Fulness, and cast a Veil over all his own Glory; took on him the form of a Servant, Phil. 2.6, 7. The O­cean became as it were a drop; he whose goings forth from the Father were from Everlasting, yet but as yesterday came [Page 26]forth from Bethlehem, Micah 5.2. The Ancient of Days became an Infant of Days; he that bears up all things, was carried in Arms; he that knew no sin, was made sin, and God blessed for ever, Rom. 9.5. Was made a curse, Gal. 3.13. And hath our Lord thus denied himself, and shall Servants seek and please them­selves? And Jesus Christ calls us to take his Yoke, Matth. 11.29. And did he not take a harder and heavier Yoke on him­self for us? He puts his Name into our Bond, and became a Surety for us; the Debt was great he was to discharge, it was not to be paid off with Gold and Silver, but with Blood; the Debt was not only possible, or probable, or likely only to fall on him, but certainly to take hold of him, and to be required of him: He was to be wounded with the Sword of his own Father, to bear the heaviest Bur­den, to drink the most bitter Cup; this Lamb of God was to be roasted by the hottest Fire, he was to sweat Blood, and to pour out his Soul to the Death; and is it not reasonable now that the Son of God should require us to renounce our depraved Wills, base Lusts, and vile Af­fections, and put our Necks under his easie Yoke, bound on us by Cords of [Page 27]Love? Did our Lord submit and obey, and shall we be proud, disobedient, and rebellious?

3. The Son of God preached Peace, Ephes. 2.17. His Gospel is a Gospel of Peace, Ephes. 6.15. His Covenant a Co­venant of Peace, Isa. 54.10. In the days of his Flesh he preached Peace, Acts 10.36. And now he still publisheth Peace to humbled Sinners. This Peace the Son of God Preaches is a costly and righteous Peace: His own Father did wage War with him, that he might make Peace with us, Zech. 13.7. He called the Sword of his Justice to awake, smite, and wound his own Son: The Sufferings, the Wounds of Christ were great and deep; they came from, they were made by the awakened Sword of Justice. Our Sins had made a wide Breach between God and us, and this Breach was filled by the dead Body of Jesus Christ. Our Iniquities had kindled the Fire of God's Wrath, and this Fire was quenched by the Blood of the Son of God. He made Peace for our Souls, be­cause he made Atonement for our Sins.

4. Jesus Christ preached Salvation, That we should be saved from the hands of our Enemies, and from all that hated us, Luke 1.71. Sin and Death are our Ene­mies, [Page 28]wicked Men and Satan hate us; here is a Salvation from Enemies, and all that hate us. And this is a full and per­fect Salvation; Christ saves from sin, Matth. 1.21. And he saves from wrath, Rom. 5.9. And by his own Sufferings he was delivered up to Death, Rom. 8.32. that he might deliver us from the Wrath to come, 1 Thess. 1. last. He fell into the hands of God as an angry Judge, that we might not fall into the Bottomless-pit. He went out into the most dreadful Storm, that he might allay it, and free us from it. The Cup of Wrath came to him, that the Cup of Salvation might come to us. Jesus Christ could not have been a Shield to us, if he had not been pierced by the Arrows of Divine Vengeance him­self. He could not have been a shadow to us from the burning, scorching Wrath of God, if he had not been himself ex­posed to it. That Cloud that skreened Israel from the hottest Beams of the Sun, was exposed to them; that Cloud did not feel the burning Beams of the Sun, but Jesus Christ had a tender sense and feeling of the Wrath of God, that for our sakes he was liable to.

5. Jesus Christ preached the Kingdom of God, Matth. 4.23. He went about Preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom, and de­claring the glad Tidings of the Kingdom of God, Luke 8.1. Jesus Christ doth not only Preach to us Salvation from the greatest Evil, but also the Enjoyment of the highest Good. The Apostle, 2 Tim. 2.10. saith, The Elect shall obtain the Sal­vation that is in Christ, together with ever­lasting Glory. As Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were not only called out of, and saved from the Fiery Furnace, but also promoted and exalted to Honour and Rule in the Province of Babylon, Dan. 3. last. So Believers are not only preserved from a Furnace of Fire, but also called into a Glorious Kingdom; they do not only escape Ruin, but are advanced to Reign. And this Kingdom is bequeathed by Jesus Christ, [...]; the word, as Budaeus In Com­ment. Grae­cae Linguae. observes, is Verbum Testamentale, a word used by the Graecians in making their Wills. Though in the account of wicked Men Jesus Christ died as a Malefactor, yet in the Eye of God he died as a Testator; when he was rob­bed of his Liberty, Garments, and Life, then he bequeathed a Kingdom to enrich [Page 30]us for ever. The Eternal Inheritance is a Legacy of Christ's Testament, Heb. 9.15. Christ that is Heir of all things, Heb. 1.2. takes us to be Coheirs with himself, Rom. 8.17. Those that serve God shall Reign, Rev. 22.3.5. And those that are Subjects to Christ shall wear a Glorious and Everlasting Crown, Rev. 2.10. As the Blood of Christ keeps destroying Ju­stice out, so it gives us boldness to enter into the Heavenly Sanctuary, Heb. 10.19.

6. The Cross of Christ is preached, 1 Cor. 1.19.23. as the Meritorious cause of all Good. Christ's Poverty enriches us, his Abasement Exalts us, his Infamy is our Glory: He is a Priest of good things, Heb. 9.11. he merits and procures them by his Sacrifice. The Death and Testament of Jesus Christ is the very Foundation of our hopes of, and of our call to the Everlasting Inheritance, Heb. 9.15. In the Civil Law Institut. lib. 2. Tit. 19. Sect. 6., he that is an Heir is said to be Vo­catus ad haereditatem, and that by the Testament of the De­ceased. This much illustrates Spiritual things; Christ makes a Testament, de­signs Heirs, and calls them in due time to what he hath designed for them. The [Page 31]Cross of Christ should be preached, and the Death of the Son of God should be most valuable in our Eye, because this is the Foundation and Confirmation of Christ's Testament. If he had not made a Will, and died to confirm it, there had been no Heirs appointed, there had been no Inheritance bequeathed, and there had been no ground to call any to the Kingdom and Glory of God.

3. To whom did the Son of God Preach? I Answer, sometimes to more, sometimes to fewer; before Abraham was called, and his Seed chosen and separated to be God's Peculiar and only People, he preached more or less to all Mankind, if they did not cut off, and cast themselves out by their Negligence and Profaneness, as Cain's Posterity seemed to do. After­ward God made an Inclosure of a Com­mon, when he took Abraham, redeemed him from his Idolatry, and called him from his Ignorance and Blindness. Since that, God hath made a Common instead of an Inclosure. We read of the Com­mon Faith, Titus 1.4. And of the Com­mon Salvation, Jude's Epistle, Verse 3. After Christ's death the Hedges were pulled Luke 14 23. up, the Inclosure thrown open. Christ was to [Page 32]be a Light to the Gentiles, and to be Gods Salvation to the ends of the Earth, Isa. 49.6. The Son of God is the true Universal Bishop, 1 Pet. 2. last. The whole World is his Diocess. This Husbandman goeth forth to sow, Matth. 13.3. and the large Field that he sows in is the World. Matth. 13.38. The Field is the World. This Noble Fisherman doth not Fish in the Rill of a Village, in the Rivulet of a City, in the River of one Country, but in the Sea of the wide World. Mat. 13.47. The Kingdom of Heaven is like unto a Net cast into the Sea. It is observable what the Son of God saith, Psal. 40.9. I have preached Righteousness in the great Congrega­tion. What is this great Congregation? It is the Church made up of Jew and Gentile; it is Men of all Nations: He did not come only to call the Jews, to raise up Jacob, and to restore Israel, Isa. 49.4, 5. but he was to gather the Kingdoms of the Earth, Psal. 102.22. To gather all Nations, Jer. 3.17. To call and bring home Sheep, that were not of the Fold of the Jewish Church, John 10.16. The Son of God preached to the Heathen, Zech. 9.10. caused Barbarous People, and the Inhabitants of Wildernesses to bow to his Sceptre, and to submit to his Authority. [Page 33] Psal. 72.9. They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him, and his Enemies shall lick the dust; yea, the Kings and Great Ones of the World shall fall down before him as Sub­jects and Worshippers. And the Son of God preached with such Authority, Efficacy, and Success, that those that knew him not before, did at his call run to him, Isa. 55.5. And fly as the Clouds, and Doves to their windows, Isa. 60.8. As the Jews did for­merly attend on the Ministry of God's Prophets, Zech. 11.11. The poor of the Flock that waited on me: So now the Gen­tiles should wait on the Son of God, listen to his Doctrine, and receive his Law: Isa. 51.5. The Isles shall wait upon me. And Isa. 42.4. The Isles shall wait for his Law. By the Isles we are to understand the Gentile Nations that were beyond the Seas, and lived remote from the Land of Canaan; even these should wait for the Rain of Christ's Doctrine, for the Dew of his Word; they should submit to be Scholars when the Son of God did Teach, and become his Disciples when he did call: As Isa. 2.2, 3. The Gentiles should exhort one another, and say, Come, let us go up to the Mountain of the Lord's House, for he will teach us his ways, and we will walk in them. This is observable, that the [Page 34]Lord is not said to Teach alike every where, but in the Mount of his House, that is, in his Church he Teaches; here it is Day when it is Night with other Parts of the World. Darkness doth cover the Earth, gross darkness the People, but the Glory of the Lord ariseth on, and shines in the Church, Isa. 60.1, 2, 3. Therefore the Gentiles are said to repair to the Churches Light with a full Resolution to yield, sub­mit, and obey what the Son of God should teach as Truth, and dictate as Du­ty. I shall come now to the Use of the Doctrine.

Use 1. The Son of God preached by Instruments, and hath also preached im­mediately in his own Person; this may inform us of the wonderful Grace and Kindness of Jesus Christ: As a Priest he purchases Good Things for us, and as a Prophet he Preaches them to us. He bought precious things dearly at God's hands, and he proposeth, and proffers them freely to our hands; he procured an Inheritance, provided a Feast, and pre­pared Salvation, and he promulgates and declares them to us. O, what a conde­scention is this! that the Son of God should be a Herald to Proclaim Peace, and the King of Glory should deign to [Page 35]be the Father's Ambassador, to treat with Rebels, and beseech Enemies to be re­conciled to him?

Use 2. Here is great matter of Conso­lation, that the Son of God Preacheth as truly by Instruments, as in his own Person: He can give Efficacy and Success to his own Word. Our case were deplorable, yea, desperate, if Men only did Preach. Could they open blind Eyes, unstop deaf Ears, quicken dead Souls? As Eglon's Ser­vants did wait till they were ashamed, for his rising and opening the Parlour-door to them, Judges 3.23.25. But their waiting and expectation was in vain, Ehud had killed Eglon the King of Moab, Judg. 3.21, 22, and a dead Man could not open the Door to his waiting Servants without. So Sinners are dead in Tres­passes, and in the uncircumcision of their Flesh, Col. 2.13. And can such arise and open the doors of their Hearts to the Son of God? Free-will ruined Mankind when the Image of God was drawn on their Souls, and the Law of God was written in their Hearts; and will Free-will now raise and recover Man again out of his Ruins with the aids of Common Grace, when the poor Sinner is a Captive under the Law of Sin and Death? This was [Page 36]the great Encouragement that Christ gave his Apostles to go forth into the World and Teach all Nations, That he was, and would be with them to the end of the World, Matth. 28 19, 20. He that had all Power both in Heaven and Earth, could make way for his own Word, and cause it to be received and entertained. Ministers need the special Presence, and the power­ful Working of the Son of God with them. Weak and degenerate Man doth not only need an Auxilium sine quo non, such an aid, without which they cannot believe or come to Christ, but an Auxi­lium cum quo, as Jansenius In his. August. ex­cellently and truly distinguish­eth. We need such an aid as will certainly produce the Effect: Such an aid as Free-will is Lord of, and is to Husband and Improve, will not suffice for our Recovery; but such an aid of Grace we need as will Lord it in our Will, and effectually incline it to yield and submit to Christ. Ezek. 20.37. I will cause them to pass under the Rod, I will bring them into the bond of the Covenant. Blessed is he whom thou choosest, and causest to draw nigh, Psal. 65.4. Christ can so influence the Will, as to undertake it shall, and cause it to comply. Ars Coe­lestis [Page 37]Medici est Demonstrativae, as Alva­rez De Auxi­liis gratiae. truly asserts; it is in the Hand and Power of the Hea­venly Physician to Cure the Will of its Malignity, Enmity, and Re­bellion. Surely he can Cure whom he will, and when he will, else he were not infinitely Wise and Omnipotent. He could undertake that the Gentiles, though deaf, Isa. 29.18. yea, though dead, John 5.25. should hear his Voice, and be joyned with his Flock, and gathered into his Fold. God bids Moses to smite the Rock, and it should give forth Water for the Thirsty Israelites to drink, Exod. 17 6. But would the Rock yield Water if Moses alone had been there, and smitten it with his Arm? No, a struck Rock would yield rather sparks of Fire, than floods of Water, had not the Lord stood on the Rock, and caused it to cleave; and turned the Flint into a Fountain of Waters, Psal. 114. last. So in vain would Christ's Ministers smite on the Rocky Hearts of Men to draw Penitential Tears from thence, if the Son of God doth not stand on this Rock, and so melt and dissolve it into Floods of Godly Sorrow. In vain would our hands knock at the Door of Mens Hearts, if Jesus Christ had not a Hand to open them. [Page 38] Acts 16.14. The Lord opened the heart of Lydia, and then she attended to what Paul spake. The Prophet Isaiah saith, The Lord spake to him with a strong hand, and that he should not walk in the way of that People, Isa. 8.11. The Lord speaks with a strong Hand when he levels Mountains of Op­position, conquers Enmity, and effectually Plants the Word in the Heart. The Bride­groom did not only give sweet Names to, and use strong Arguments with the Church, why she should rise and open to him, but he put in his Hand by the hole of the Door, he touched her Heart, he stirred her Affections, he moved her Bowels to­wards him, and then she rose to open to him, Cant. 5.2.4, 5, 6. This is a great Encouragement, that Ministers do not speak alone, but Christ speaks in them, 2 Cor. 13.3. And they do not act alone, but the Lord Christ works with them, Mark 16.20.

Use 3. Doth the Son of God Preach as well by Instruments, as when he Preaches immediately in his own Person? Then, 1. Be convinced, that whoever Preaches, that you have to do with the Son of God; it is he that speaks to, and deals with your Souls. Noah he treated with, and preached to the Old World; he is styled, A Preacher [Page 39]of Righteousness, 2 Pet. 2.5. But in the Text Peter doth over-look him, and keep silence concerning him, and saith, The Son of God went by his Divine Nature, and preached to the old World that were disobedient in the days of Noah: As the light of the Sun doth obscure, darken, and hide the Stars, so this Sun of Righ­teousness by his Glorious Light doth darken all the dim and little Candles he doth make use of. O! how should this awe our Hearts, and make us to tremble at the Word, that it is the Son of God that Preacheth, and dispenseth it to us?

2. This should make us forward, wil­ling, and ready to hear, because it is the Son of God that Preacheth: If Christ were now on Earth, and was to Preach at such a place to day, and at another place to morrow, would not Men and Women run, and flock to hear him? Should we not charge folly on, and im­pute sin to those that would not lay aside Excuses, neglect their little petty Affairs and Concerns in the World, to hear the Son of God Incarnate? And yet when the Son of God Preaches by Instruments, how ingenious are Persons to invent Pre­tences to neglect and hinder themselves from hearing Christ speaking by his Am­bassadors? [Page 40]They will not, with the Eu­nuch Acts 8.38., cause the Chariot of their Trade and Worldly Bu­siness to stand still, to attend on an Ordinance of God, and listen to the Word of Jesus Christ. The Queen of the South came from the ends of the Earth to hear the Wisdom of Solomon, Mat. 12.42. But how few now will step without their Doors to hear the Son of God Preaching by his Servants? It is said in Prov. 8.33, 34. That they are blessed that do hear Wis­dom, watch daily at her Gates, and wait at the Posts of her doors. Men should be as willing and forward Scholars, that come to School before the Gates, or Doors of the School are opened; that stay and wait there when the Doors will be opened, and they be let in to be instructed, and learn. Thus should we run to, and wait at the Doors of Wisdom's House, where she teacheth School, and gives saving In­structions to ignorant Souls.

3. Doth the Son of God Preach by his Instruments as truly as in his own Person? O then, how should we attend and listen to the Word! Hearken, O Daughter, en­cline thy ear, Psal. 45.10. As those that are somewhat deaf, are thick and hard of Hearing, how do they bow down their [Page 41]Ears, and put them near to the Mouth of the Speaker? So we should with the greatest care attend to Christ's Word, Isa. 55.2. We should hearken diligently to Ch [...]st, and eat that which is good. The Word that we hear is the Bread of Life, and the Food of our Souls, and shall we not therefore listen to it? We ought to give the more earnest heed to the things we hear, lest at any time we should let them slip, [...]; there seems to be an Allusion to Water-Glasses that were anciently used to measure Time by; and as the Water in the upper Glass did drop into the lower, till all was run out: So we are apt to lose the Word of God by our negligent and careless hearing of it; so it leaks and flows away from us, and we get no saving Benefit by it▪ We must hear with that Attention, as those that have to do with the Prince of Life, with the Lord of Glory; as those that hear Matters of Infinite Consequence, and everlasting Concernment. You must attend as those that hear for their Souls and Eternity. Take heed of a sleepy Ear, a drousie Mind, a Heart wandring and roving. Will you bring Bodies only into God's Presence? Will you leave Car­casses before him, and let your Thoughts [Page 42]stray, and your Minds run to the ends of the Earth? Would a condemned Male­factor hear his Pardon read, as you hear Jesus Christ offering Grace and Remission of Sins to your perishing Souls?

4. We should readily receive the Word of the Son of God, as the good Ground is said to drink in the Rain and Dew that cometh oft upon it, Heb. 6.17. O, how should you drink in the Word of Jesus Christ! O, how should it soak and sink into your Hearts! That Doctrine that came out of the Bosom of the Father, should it not be lodged in your Breasts, and be received into your Hearts? Job 22.22. Receive the Law from his mouth, and lay it up in thy heart. We must entertain the Word, as coming immediately from the Mouth of Christ; and you must let it into your Hearts. Psal. 119.20. My Soul breaketh for the longings it hath to thy righteous Judgments at all times. As the dry Ground so thirsteth after Rain, that it chappeth, cleaveth, breaketh, and with open mouth Petitions Heaven for Rain. So our Souls should even break for the Longings we have after the Rain of Christ's Word. Matth. 11.12. The King­dom of Heaven suffered violence, and the violent took it by force; the Doctrine of a [Page 43]Spiritual and Heavenly Kingdom was earnestly catched at. [...], the violent do catch at, and snatch it away. If Bread were thrown among the Hungry, if Pieces of Gold and Silver were thrown among the Poor, O how would starving and perishing Poor catch at this Bread, and these Pieces of Gold and Silver? And should not we more greedily, and earnestly catch at the Do­ctrine of Reconciliation, and the Promise of Eternal Life?

5. We should yield, submit to, and obey Christ's Word: The Scripture speaks of receiving Christ's Testimony, John 3.33, 34. and of receiving Christ, John 1.12. If we receive the Doctrine of Christ, we shall receive Christ himself; on the other hand, we reject Jesus Christ, if we re­ceive not his Word, John 12.48. The Natural Man receiveth not, entertaineth not the things of the Spirit, 1 Cor. 2.14. [...]. Though Men do exercise Hospi­tality, and take in Natural and Moral Truth, yet how is the door of the Heart shut against those supernatural Doctrines and Mysteries that the Spirit revealeth? There is no room, no Lodging or Enter­tainment for these wonderful and Divine Truths. But we must comply with, and [Page 44]yield Obedience to these things that the Spirit makes known. We must believe them, that they may work effectually in us, 1 Thess. 2.13. The Word of the Go­spel must be a Mold to shape and fashion our Souls. Rom. 6.17. You have obeyed from the heart that mold of Doctrine, into which ye were delivered; for so it is in the Greek, [...]. The Gospel of Christ is elegantly compared to a Mold, into which the Hearts of Men as melted running Metal are delivered, that they may be fashioned aright, and conformed to the Word; that they may be Holy, Spiritual, and Heavenly, as the Word is. The Gospel must leven all the Powers and Faculties of your Souls, Mat. 13.33. and so give them a new taste and relish; as a Graft doth meliorate, improve the Sap of the Stock, and makes it to bring forth better Fruit, than ever it could otherwise do; so the Gospel heightens, ennobles, and advances all the Faculties of the Soul to better and more excellent Operations than otherwise they would rise to, or bring forth. We must steadily look into this Spiritual Glass, and behold the Glory of Christ in it, 2 Cor. 3. last. So by beholding the Glory of the Lord, we shall be changed and transformed into the same [Page 45]Image. Yield therefore to Christ, and his Word; let Christ erect his Tribunal in your Souls, suffer him to Judge your State, Condemn your Sins, to pass Sentence on your Lusts; that when he hath wounded, he may heal you; when he hath cast you down, he may raise you up. Isa. 2.4. It it said of Christ, That he shall Judge among the Nations, and Rebuke many People. Christ executes a Judicature by his Word; to this you are to stand, by this you are to be sentenced to Life or Death. O there­fore when you come to hear, do not carp, cavil, and judge the Word, because it thwarts your Foolish Notions, or crosseth your vise Affections; but yield and submit to Christ, Judging and Commanding of you by his Word.

I shall now proceed to give and press some Motives to urge you to listen to, comply with, and obey the Son of God that Preaches to you.

1. It is Wisdom that Preaches to you: Prov. 1.20, 21, 22. The Son of God is the Wisdom of God, and Wisdom is now come forth into our Nature, and cries without in our Streets. Doth not Wis­dom deserve to be styled, A wonderful Counsellor, Isa. 9.6. who is so fit to advise us how to fly from the Wrath to come, [Page 46]to escape the Corruption that is in the World through Lust? Who is so meet to Teach and Direct us how we may come out of Debt, and get out of Prison, as Infinite Wisdom? Who can so well In­struct us how our Consciences may be purged, the fore-skin of our Hearts cut off, our Diseases healed, our Guilt and Filth purged away, as the Wisdom of God? Shall we exalt our vain Minds, and our foolish Understandings in Oppo­sition to the Counsels and Dictates of Wis­dom? We are entangled in a Wilderness of Woe, we are in a Labyrinth of Ini­quity and Guilt, and Wisdom only can teach us the right way to get out, and lead us to the Glorious City of God above. We knew not how God should be Just, and yet justifie the Ungodly; how his Righ­teousness should be glorified in Punishing, and yet his Mercy magnified in Pardon­ing; how Sin should meet with a Hell of Punishments, and yet Sinners enjoy a Heaven of Blessedness. Yet the Son of God, that is, Wisdom, doth reconcile these things, and make them to consist with each other.

2. The Son that Preacheth is Love it self. Cant. 3.5. The Church chargeth the Daughters of Jerusalem not to stir up, [Page 47]nor awake [...] that Love. Christ is called by way of Excellency that Love, that admirable, that transcendent Love. O, will you not listen to him that is Love it self? If he had not been Love it self, he could never have stooped so low, have drank so bitter a Cup, have endured so heavy a Burden, have exposed himself to so dreadful a Storm. He that was Rich, became Poor, 2 Cor. 8.9. He that was the Holy One of God, and without spot and blemish, was made Sin; he that was God over all, blessed for ever, Rom. 9.5. Was made a Curse, John 3.14. And in order to all this, he that made all things, was made Flesh, John 1.1, 2.14. He shewed himself to be Love, that as a Head he would choose and take a Body below; and as a Bridegroom be related to a Spouse on Earth. O, how wonderful is this! that Nobility should wooe Vileness and Baseness? That Riches should court Po­verty? And Beauty be enamoured with Deformity? O! is it not wonderful Love, that the Heir of all things should make Addresses to those that had nothing, yea, were indeed worse than nothing? For nothing cannot go Astray, cannot run a Whoring, cannot Rebel, and Provoke; yet sinful Men and Women are guilty of [Page 48]all these. If the Son of God were not Love, would he have dyed to open a Fountain to wash us, Zech. 13.1. to provide a Remedy to heal us, Isa. 53.5. By his stripes are we healed? If he had nor been Love, would he have been a Sacrifice, 1 Cor. 5.7, 8. that we might have a Feast on his Altar? Heb. 13.10. If Jesus Christ were not Love, would he cast his Net to draw us out of a dead Sea? Ezek. 47.10. Would he speak to raise us out of a Spi­ritual Grave? John 5.25. Would he call us out of a dark and doleful Prison? Isa. 49.9. If he were not Love, would he Preach to raise Sinners out of their Ruins, and to build them up as a House and Temple for God? 1 Pet. 2, 4, 5. Would he enclose and take us within the Walls of the Spiritual Jerusalem? Jer. 31.38, 39, 40. Jer [...]miah Prophesies of a Jerusalem that should be built to the Lord, that is, for him to dwell in; the Name of this City is Jebovah Shammah, Ezek. 48. last. It is an Honourable and Glorious Name, that Jehovah is there, that his special Presence is to be found and enjoyed in this City. It is farther said, that this City shall be Holy to the Lord; that is, consecrated and devoted to God, and that [Page 49]it should never be pluckt up, nor thrown down; the Rage of Men, the Fury, Po­licy, and Power of Satan should never prevail against it. And this commends this City yet the more to us, that it is greater, larger, and wider than the Earthly Jerusalem. The Building-Line for the raising of this City should go forth, and be stretched over the Hill Gareb. The Hill Gareb signifie the Hill of the Scabby, or of the Lepers. Such diseased Persons were to be shut out of the Earthly Jerusalem, and it seems at least probable that such Lepers pitched their Tents on this Hill: Yet the Hill Gareb should now be taken into the Spiritual Jerusalem, besides, the Valley of dead Bodies, and of the Ashes was to be inclosed within the Walls of this Spiritual Jerusalem. We Gentiles were as Spiritual Lepers, Ulcers and Scabs were upon us, we had even Plague-sores on our Hearts; we were dead in Sins and Trespasses, vile Dust, unclean Ashes. And is not this most surprizing Love, that Je­sus Christ will Preach to gather all Na­tions into this Holy and Spiritual Jerusa­lem? Jer. 3.17. Jerusalem shall be called the Throne of the Lord, and all Nations shall be gathered unto it, to the Name of the Lord, to Jerusalem, neither shall they walk any more [Page 50]after the imagination of their evil hearts. Here is an excellent Exposition, what is meant by building a Jerusalem with lar­ger Walls, that the Gentiles should be brought into, and joyned with the Church, John 10.16. be in the same Fold, of the same Flock, under the same great Shep­heard: And that though the Gentiles were in themselves unclean Creatures, as wild Beasts, and polluted creeping things, Acts 10.11, 12, 13, 14. yet they should be transformed into Sheep, and be wrapt up in the same Sheet of the Church with the Jews. And why doth the Son of God Preach but to build up Spiritual Jerusalem, to enlarge its Walls, and increase the num­ber of its Citizens? And what Love hath the Son of God expressed, that he Preaches to call the Gentiles, to make them Fellow-Citizens with the Saints, Members of God's Family, and partakers of his Pro­mise in Christ Jesus, Ephes. 2.19. and 3.6.

3. The Son of God is Lord of all, Acts 10.36. He sits on a Throne above, and speaks from his Heavenly Glory, Heb. 12.25. 1. Will you not listen to him speak­ing to you from Heaven, whose Blood must speak for you in Heaven, or else you must perish everlastingly? Heb. 12.24. [Page 51]2. Will you not regard his Voice, that can call you out of the World when he pleaseth? If he saith, Return, ye Sons of men, Psal. 90.3. we can continue in the Body, we can stay on Earth no longer. If he speak the word, we must return to the Earth, and be crumbled to Dust; his Command cannot be gainsaid, or con­tradicted. 3. Will you not listen to him, that can, and will call you out of your Graves at the last day? John 5.28, 29. All that are in their Graves, shall hear his voice, and come forth. Job saith to God, Thou wilt call, and I will answer, thou wilt have a desire to the work of thy hands, Job 14.13.15. O, what Authority and Power hath the Son of God, that can make the dead to hear and obey? 4. Will you not listen to him that will give the last and perfecting call to Saints? Mat. 25.34. Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the Foun­dation of the World. How much is it our Interest to regard, believe, and obey him, who can at the last day call us into his Eternal Kingdom and Glory?

4. Will you not listen to the Son of God, when his Word is the Rule of [Page 52]Judgment, and the very Ground of the Eternal Sentence of Men and Women? Christ saith, The Word that I have spoken shall Judge you at the last day, John 12.49. Men shall be sentenced to Life or Death, be adjudged to Heaven or Hell, as they receive or reject Christ's Word.

5. Those that Receive not Christ's Word, and Reject his Person, have one that will Judge them, John 12.48. The Father will call such to a strict Account, will enter into Judgment with them, and execute Vengeance on them. Moses did Prophecy of Christ, Deut. 15.18, 19. That God would raise up a Prophet like to him. And God saith, That he would put his words into his mouth, and he shall speak all that I command him; and it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken un­to my words, which he shall speak in my Name, I will require it of him. God will require an Account of his Unbelief and Disobedience, and will requite him for it. Christ seems to have a respect to these very words, when he saith, He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that will Judge him. Will you not dread the Impartial and Righteous [Page 53]Judgment of God, and fear Punishment from his Hand?

6. Consider the Matter that Christ Preacheth. He speaks excellent things, Prov. 8.6. Wonderful things. Psal. 119.18. Open thou my Eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy Law. The Apostles filled with Christ's Spirit, did Preach the Mighty Works of God, Acts 2.11.

Jesus did Preach the Mysteries of the Kingdom of God, Matth. 13.11. He revealed the deep things of God, 1 Cor. 2.10, 11. And did declare the Wisdom of God hid in a Mystery, 1 Cor. 2.7. and manifest the Name of the Father, John 17.6.26. There is a Name of the Father, that the World would never, could never have known, had not the Son declared it. The Law declares, That God loves Righteousness, and hath a delight in Righteous Men; and that he will do good to those that be good. But if Men break his Laws, cast off his Yoke, reject his Authority, the Law de­nounceth Wrath and Vengeance, threatens Sinners with Perdition and Destruction. Those that rob God of his Honour and [Page 54]Glory, must make Restitution to him by their Eternal Sufferings and Misery. The Light of Nature, or the Law of God gives us no. Account that God hath Grace to exercise towards the underserving, yea, ill deserving; that he hath any Pity to extend to those that have provoked his Anger, and affronted his Infinite Maje­sty. This is a great Secret, that God will stretch out his Hand from Heaven to raise up fallen Man; that he will provide a Laver to wash foul and filthy Sinners in, that he will out off his own Plea against Offenders, sheath his Sword, and provide a Satisfaction for his own Justice, and pay himself out of the Blood of his own Son. And how deep a Mystery is this, that the God that might have required us to be Sacrifices to his Revenging Justice, should call his own Son to make his Soul an Offering, and lay down his Life for Sinners? Isa. 53.10. John 10.18. That he should be just in bruising and punish­ing Christ, that he might be just in justi­fying us, in healing our Wounds, and purging our Consciences. It is this gra­cious, sweet, precious Name of God that is the Subject-Matter of Christ's Preaching; he declares it, that the Love [Page 55]wherewith God loves Christ, may be in us, and he in us, John 17. last. O, how welcome should this Discovery of the Father be to us? O, how greatly should it affect and rejoyce our Souls? This De­claration of the Name of God is, 1. As a retreshing Rain, and reviving Dew to the dry and parched World. Psal. 72.6. He shall come down as Rain on the mown Grass, as showers that water the Earth; the Church, with respect to the Doctrine of the Gospel dispensed by her; As a Dew from the Lord, as the showers upon the Grass, M [...]cah 5 7. 2. This Declaration of the Name of God is as comfortable, chear­ing, directing Light to the dark World. Isa. 60.1, 2, 3. Though darkness doth cover the Earth, gross ignorance doth over-spread the People, yet the Lord doth arise on the Church, and his Glory is seen on her. The Grace of God to perishing Sinners is his Glory; and when his Name is declared as Gra­cious and Merciful, then his Glory is de­clared to the World, Isa. 66.18, 19. In knowing God's Name, Men do see his Glory; this makes it Day with the Church, when it is Night with the World.

3. It is this Name of God that is as a sweet Persume to refresh and revive faint­ing Sinners. 2 Cor. 2.14. Thanks be to God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. The Apostle compares the Gospel, the Know­ledge of God in Christ to a sweet Smell, to a strong Perfume. He further tells us, that he did overcome Sinners, and Tri­umph in the World by burning this In­cense, by spreading the smell of this Per­sume. O, how strange and wonderful a Victory is this, that is got by pouring out the Name of Christ as an Oynt­ment? Cant. 1.3. By declaring the Glo­rious Grace of God to lost Man. Yet this was the way that the World was con­quered, and the Heathen Gentiles sub­dued to the Church. Psal. 48.3. He shall subdue the People under us; [...] the word properly signifies to speak from [...], and so to subdue by speaking. Thus the A­postle did Conquer, and Triumph by speaking forth the Glorious Grace of God, by shedding abroad the sweet Sa­vour of his Knowledge, by discovering how willing God is to be reconciled to Enemies, and receive Prodigals.

4. This Discovery of God is the very Bread and Food of our Souls; Isa. 55.2. Hearken diligently unto me, and eat you that which is good, and let your Soul delight in fatness. The best things of this World without the Favour of God, and an In­terest in Christ, will be rather hurtful than good to us. But if we hearken un­to Christ, we shall eat that which is good indeed. The Benefits of Christ are a Spiritual Good, a Satisfying Good, an Eternal Good, and our Souls may here delight themselves in Fatness: Here are not only Fat things, Isa. 25.6. but Fat­ness it self; not only Good things, but Goodness it self. Psal. 65.4. We shall be satisfied with the Goodness of thy House, even of thy Holy Temple. Your Souls will have nothing to live upon, and to sustain themselves with, if you listen not to Jesus Christ; there is no Bread of Life, no Water of Life, but in Jesus Christ. Famine Reigns abroad in the World, and those that are strangers to Jesus Christ will perish with Thirst.

2. Jesus Christ Preacheth these Great and Excellent Things very plainly. 2 Cor. 3.12, 13. We use great plainness of speech, and not as Moses, that put a Veil over his face. There is great Lustre and Light in the Gospel-dispensations, So that with open face we may behold the Glory of the Lord, 2 Cor. 3.18. If the Gospel be hid from us, the Veil is not on Christ's Face, but on our Hearts, 2 Cor. 3.15. The Veil before the most Holy Place is rent, Life and Immortality is brought to light. We are plainly taught in what Name we must be ju­stified 1 Cor. 6.11. John 16.23.26., and call upon God We must be ju­stified and Pray in Christ's Name.; on what Arm we must trust, Isa. 51.4. In what Beloved we must be accepted, Ephes. 1.6. In whose Blood we must wash our Robes white, Rev. 7.14. In what Seed we must be blessed, Gal. 3.8. If Men are now Ignorant, it is be­cause they shut their Eyes, love Darkness, and hate the John 3.19, 20. Light.

3. Jesus Christ Preacheth these Great and Excellent Things as in a great mea­sure come, and now actually exhibited to us. The Patriarchs saw the Promises afar off, but the Watchmen of the Go­spel are said to see Eye to Eye, Isa. 52.8. They behold the things that were future, now to be accomplished, come, and performed. The Law and the Pro­phets Prophesied until John, Matth. 11.13. They spake of Christ, and his Kingdom as future things; but now since that time the Kingdom of God is prea­ched, and every Man presseth into it, Luke 16.16. Now the Kingdom of God is come, is set up; the Messiah hath passed through, and laid aside the form of a Servant, and hath put on the Ma­jesty and Form of a Lord; the low state of the Messiah, his Humiliation is past, he is entred into his Glory; these Glad Tydings are now published to us, that our God who served below, now Reigneth above, Isa. 52.7.

4. The Son of God Preacheth the most Excellent Things as sure Mercies, and to be obtained in a Righteous way; [Page 60] Isa. 55.3. I will give you the sure Mercies of David; that is, of the Messiah, that was not only the Son of David, but also Ty­pified and shadowed out by him. And these Mercies are said to be sure, because Jesus Christ is dead, and risen again, and can dye no more, Acts 13.34, 35. Lives to Intercede for his Purchase, and to ex­ecute his Testament. The Son of God hath taken a Sure, a Just, and Righteous way to impart and communicate Spiri­tual Benefits to us: They come not as Gifts from a Living Person, but as Le­gacies from a Dying, yea, Dead Person. The Son of God dyed in our Nature to Ratifie and Confirm his own Testament, and to make it irrevocable. If a Man's Testament be established by his Death, there is no disannulling of it, or adding to it, Gal. 3.15. Christ's Testament cannot be frustrated, it must be execu­ted: This makes the greatest Spiritual Benefits, yea, the Eternal Inheritance sure to us, that they come to us in a Righte­ous way. Jesus Christ bequeaths nothing but what he purchased by his own Blood. The Lord Jesus is the Mediator of the New Testament, Heb. 9.15. not only as he dyed to Ratifie it, but as he lives, [Page 61]and continually Intercedes with the Fa­ther in Heaven for the fulfilling and ex­ecuting of his Testament. And will you not listen to the Son of God, as opening, promulgating, and declaring his own Te­stament, and the Riches and Fulness of it? Other Men's Testaments do make Heirs, but they cannot make Children: But in the Testament of Christ a new Heart, a new Spirit, and the Holy Ghost to sanctifie and quicken, are bequeathed, Ezek. 36.26, 27. Those that are saving­ly renewed, are regenerated by vertue of this Promise, and so are styled, The Children of Promise, Gal. 4.28. We Bre­thren, as Isaac was, are Children of Pro­mise, as Isaac was born by vertue of God's Promise; Rom. 9.9. At this time will I come, and Sarah shall have a Son. So Saints now are Children of Promise, they are born again by vertue of this Promise; A new Heart will I give to them, a new Spirit will I put into them, Ezek. 36.26. And as all the Grace we have is from the Womb of the Promise, so all the Glory we hope for is by the Promise; and therefore Believers are also styled, The Heirs of Promise, Heb. 6.17, 18. O, how is Christ's Testament ordered! first, [Page 62]to make us Children, and then to make us Heirs. First, to make us Holy, and then to make us Happy. And will you not believe on, and submit to the Son of God, that Preacheth his own Testament? First, to impart to us a Divine Nature, and then to communicate to us an Eter­nal Kingdom, an Everlasting Glory.

I shall proceed to Propose a few Di­rections, and so conclude my Discourse on the first Doctrine.

1. If the Son of God Preaches as well, and as truly by Instruments, as in his own Person immediately, then believe it is the Voice of the Son of God that sounds in your Ears; and believe soundly and deeply what he Preacheth. 1. Be­lieve it is the Voice of the Son of God that you hear; Heb. 3.7. To day if you will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. There is not only the Voice of Ministers, and Ambassadors, but also the Voice of the King of Glory. Christ draws near, and comes with them; Ephes. 2.17. He came and preached Peace to you that were afar off. And Jesus Christ speaks in them, 2 Cor. 13.3.

2. Believe soundly and sincerely what Christ Preacheth; Rom. 10.10. With the heart Man believeth unto Righteousness. Acts 8.37. If thou believest with all thy heart. You should believe so as to be sure, and fully perswaded in your own Minds; John 6.69. We believe, and are sure that thou art Christ, the Son of the Living God. Let us draw near with a true Heart, in full assurance of Faith, Heb. 10.22. We may confidently re­lye on the Word, and we may boldly lean on the Arm of the Son of God. This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Jesus Christ came into the World to save Sinners, 1 Tim. 1.15. It is a Faithful Saying, the Understand­ing may acquiesce in it; and it is wor­thy of all Acceptation, therefore the Will may embrace it.

2. Make Particular Application of Christ's Word and Doctrine to your own Souls. Account that Christ as truly Addresseth himself to you, as if he did from Heaven call you by Name, and apply himself to you; John 10.3. He [Page 64]calleth his own Sheep by Name. Jesus Christ with an effectual Call makes Per­sons to know that he speaks as expresly to them, as if he did from Heaven mention their very Names. Do not di­vert or turn off the Word to others. Do not think that a Portion is divided to them, but not to thee; that their Conditions are pointed at, their Sins reproved, but not thine. As Pictures in a Room do seem to look on every Per­son, whose Eye is fixed on them. So we should Account, that the Word of the Son of God hath a particular A­spect on us, that it directs our Hearts into the Love of God, that it guides our Feet into the ways of Peace; it speaks to all that hear it. We should account that what is written, is written for our Learning; and what is spoken, is spoken for our Practice.

3. Obey the Son of God, hear his voice presently, Heb. 3.7. To day if you will hear his voice harden not your Hearts; excuses, de­lays will harden the Heart; Audience and Obedience should be presently yeilded and rendred Jesus Christ; we must not put off, adjourn our Obedience to a longer day, or to years hereafter to come; David saith, He considered his ways, and turned his Feet to God's Testimonies, he made hast, and delayed not to keep his Commandments, Psal. 119.59, 60. The Gentiles when they were Enlightned, Convinced, Converted, they Exhort, they Incourage one another, Zech. 8.21. the Inhabitants of one City shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to Pray before the Lord, and to seek the Lord of Hosts: I will go also; those that are sensible of their Duty and Danger, cannot defer, or put off the great concernment of their Souls any lon­ger Isa. 49.17. it is said to Zion, Thy Chil­dren shall make hast, that is, to joyn themselves to Christ and his Church: This hast is set down by many Similitudes in Scripture; it is said, The Gentiles should as waters Flow to the Mountain of the Lords House, Isa. 2.23. Tho Waters they do run downwards na­turally, yet the Nature and motion of the Heathen Nations should be so chang'd, that they should run upwards, ascend the holy [Page 66]Hill of God, the Nations should flow un­to it.

2. It is said, The Gentiles should run to Jesus Christ, Isa. 5.55. Behold thou shalt call a Nation that thou knowest not, and Nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee because of the Lord thy God, and for the Holy one of Israel, for he hath Glorified thee.

3. It is said, that the Converted Gentiles should fly to the Church, Isa 60.8. Who are these that fly as a Cloud, and as the Doves to their Windows: How swiftly do the Clouds move, when driven by the Wind? How swiftly do the Doves fly when pur­sued by the Hawk, or any other Bird of prey; so convinced, and awakened Spirits will fly from the wrath that is to come, and will fly for refuge to take hold of the hope set before them, Matt. 3.7. Heb. 6.18. Are your Souls sick? Are your wounds bleeding? Are your Consciences burden­ed? Are your Hearts broken? And can you delay turning to Jesus Christ present­ly? O! consider how great that Person is that speaks to you, it is the Prince of Life, the King of Glory, and is he to be shut out, or put off till a longer time. O! think how great matters Jesus Christ speaks, and treats about; is Reconciliation to God, espousals to Christ, cutting off the Entail [Page 67]of the Curse, reversing the Sentence of Death, and setling upon you an eternal Inheritance, small matters; Are they unnecessary, or inconsiderable things, that you should delay to mind them till here­after? Is it not great mercy that the Son of God will open his Mouth? He might have kept silence towards us, as he doth to ma­ny Nations of the World at this day. Why should we be Visited, when others are passed by, and neglected? Why should the Son of God come to, and knock at our Doors, when he is far off from others, and makes no Address to them? And will you slight, and abuse Christs Kindness? Will you break off the Treaty of Peace, and reject the offers of Mercy? If you de­lay, Jesus Christ may withdraw, he may utterly depart from you, the Bridegroom may no more woo you; the Physitian may no more offer his Help to you, but suffer you to die of your Diseases; the great Shepherd may break his Staff of Beauty, take no more care of you, but leave you to be a prey to Satan that roaring Lion. O! consider if you delay, and put Christ off, Sickness may suddenly seize you, Death may in a moment snatch you away, your Flower may soon Fade, your Lamp of Life be quickly blown out, an [Page 68]Apoplexy may surprize you, your Reason may be Clouded, your Understanding darkned, your Speech may fail you, some sudden accident (that you never thought of) may cut off your Life in an instant; will not your delays then be pernitious and fatal to you? What then will become of all your Promises, and all your purposes to Believe, Repent, and turn to God? Will not Satan then catch away the Soul to Hell? Will you not then fall into the Hands of the Living God? Will you not be the objects of his Eternal Frowns and Fu­ry? Will you not then too late un­derstand your Folly and Madness in put­ing off Jesus Christ? O! will not Con­science then twit, upbraid, reproach you? what did you think it was too soon to be Cured of your Diseases? Was it too soon to have your Bonds, and Satans snares broken? Was it too soon to be made wise? Too soon to be set at liberty? Too soon to be Pardoned? Too soon to return from your wanderings, and get into the way of Salvation and Eternal Life? How did Sa­tan blind your Eyes? How did Sin charm and bewitch your Souls? You that once thought it too soon, do now understand and feel that it is too late: It is a very ob­servable Sentence in Cyprian, Sero credunt in [Page 69]aeternam paenam,Contra Demetr.qui noluerunt cre­dere ad aeternam vitam. Those too late will believe the truth of Gods word to their Eternal Punishment, who would not timely believe to their E­ternal Life; they that would not see their Danger, shall see their Destruction: They that would not fear the Threatnings of Gods Mouth, shall feel the Blows of his Hand, Is it not better to hear now the sweet noise of the Bridegroom, than here­after to hear the terrible Voice of an An­gry and Condemning Judg. Take heed that you be not Cheated and Beguiled by Satan; he tells thee thou maist listen to Christ, and Repent hereafter; but his de­sign is to harden thy Heart, and that thou shalt never listen, or turn to Christ. As the Levite rose early to go his Journey, Judges 19.5. but his Father in Law incouraged him to stay, and comfort his Heart with a morsel of Bread, and afterward he should go his way; so Satan, and sin are first mo­dest in their Temptations, and Suggesti­ons; They tell sinners they need not rise early, and soon set out in the way to Hea­ven? That it is best first to Comfort their Hearts with the Pleasures and Enjoyments of the World: after they have Eaten a Morsel, and Drunk a Draught of Stolen [Page 70]Waters, they may go on in their way to another World, and as the Levites Father in Law that first asked but for the Morn­ing, afterward desires the whole day, and would have the Levite tarry all Night, and so he did; even thus Sin and Satan deal with wicked men after they have prevail­ed with them to mis-spend, and vainly Consume the Morning of their Lives, they afterwards insinnate, desire and de­mand the whole Day of Life to be spent in Estrangement from God, in the service of vile Affections and base Lusts; so that the Night of Death comes on them, and they drop down into the bottomless Pit; The Levite, tho he did not depart and journey one day, yet he might Travel a­way the next; but when our one day of Life is past, and spent in sin, there is no day of Life or Grace that will succeed to amend our Folly, or repair our loss; Psal. 49.19. careless and negligent sin­ners go to the Generation of their ungodly Fathers, they that never see the Light; there will be a morn­ing for Judgement and Condemnation, but none for Repentance; Delays are ex­ceeding dangerous; the Heart it more hardened, Heb. 3.13. the old Man is more corrupted, Ephes. 4.22. [Page 71]As a Dead Body doth every day grow worse, more corrupt, and putrified; even so the old Man in us doth more corrupt in its desires, and affections; it is great Poli­cy in a Captain to hold an Enemy in a Treaty about a Surrender, while he doth Portify his Garrison; so it is a deep Policy of Satan to put thee on Fair Promises, and faint purposes of yeilding to Jesus Christ, while thy Heart is more Fortified with prejudice and enmity against God, and Christ; O! therefore soon stretch out thy Hands to Christ, Psal. 68.31. Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands to God; in the He­brew it is, shall make her Hands run to God: O! that thy Hands may run to Christ, to re­ceive precious Gifts from him, and to of­fer up a Living Sacrifice to him.

The Second Part of a Dis­course on 1 Pet. 3.19.

The Second Doctrine that the last words of the Text afford us is this.

2. Doct. The spirits of Wicked Men when they go out of the Body, are confin'd to, and shut up in Gods Prison.

THree things here are to be spoken to, and insisted on. 1. That God hath 2 Prison 2. That the Souls of wicked Men when they go out of the Body, shall be cast into this Prison. 3. I shall shew how Dreadful and Terrible this Prison is.

1. That God hath a Prison. Earthly Princes have places of Durance and Re­straint for such as offend them, and Trans­gress their Laws, Gen. 1.2, 3. two of the Officers of Pharaoh offended the King of Egypt; their Lord was wroth with them, and expresses his Displeasure by puting them in Prison; And is it not highly rea­sonable and just that the King of Heaven and Earth should have his Prison to con­fine Transgressors to, and to punish de­linquents [Page 73]in? Should Sinners that do their own wills, fulfil the Devils Lusts, Rebel against Gods Laws, still be at liberty to Contract more Guilt, and provoke more wrath? if Iniquity were for ever joyn'd with Impu [...]ity, would not the Majesty of God be still affronted, his Laws trod under foot, his threatnings derided and scorn'd? Tho sinners own God in word, and can­not utterly race and extirpate the Notion of a Divine Being out of their Souls, yet they hold it in unrighteousness, Rom. 1.18. They are as Dark Lanterns, to shut in, and hide the Light of this great Truth; they unjustly Imprison, Hold and Detain it; they will not suffer it to have Authori­ty in their Consciences; they will not per­mit it to reign in their Souls, to controul their Lusts, to restrain their Vices, to check their sins; and may not God righteously shut up those Spirits of Men, that have so unrighteously imprisoned, bound, held under that great and primary Truth, that there is a God, and have lived as if there were none, as if there were no Omnisci­ency to observe their Sins, no Holy, Just Being to Loath and hate them, no Omni­potent Arm to Punish them: God hath several Attributes to Display his Glory; as he hath a Palace to Magnify his Mer­cy [Page 74]in, so he hath a Prison to Glorify his Justice in; the Righteous Judg of the whole World hath several sorts of Per­sons to deal with, he hath Friends that he will shine on, and Enemies that his wrath will burn against to all Eternity; he hath Children that he will Portion, and Ene­mies that he will Punish; as he will enter­tain and Feast his Sons and Daughters at the Table of Mercy in his Palace, so he will Treat Satans Seed at the Table of Justice in his Prison; all the World shall be Gods Guests, he will set out their Food, he will proportion and appoint their Cup; they that have not their Inheritance in God, shall yet have their portion from him; The Lord is the Portion of my Inheritance, and of my Cup; this is the sweet Language of a Saint, Psal: 16.5. but this is the ter­rible Language of the Scripture concern­ing Sinners, Job 31.2. What Portion of God is there from above? And what inheritance of the Almighty from on high? Is not Destruction to the Wicked? And a strong punishment to the Workers of Iniquity? God will magnify his Righteousness in feeding Sinners with the Fruits of their own ways, and doings, and in adjudging them to their proper place, Acts 1.25. Judas is said to go to his own place; the place his Sins had bespoken, [Page 75]provided and prepared for him; This place may well be called a Prison to sin­ners. For, 1. Sinners are made to be what they would not be; For them to gratify sinful Self-Love, was here their great sin, and for God highly to cross Self-Love there, will be their Eternal Punshment. Sinners shall be the Foot stool of an Angry God, Psal. 110.1. They shall be the mark of Revenging Justice, they shall be Vessels of wrath, and Vessels for Dishonour, Rom. 9.21, 22. How dreadful is this for God to Illustrate his Justice, and Magnify his Wrath in their Eternal Misery? How Terrible is it for God to get him Honour, by Wound­ing Eternally the Heads and Hearts of Sinners, to Exalt himself by throwing them down into the bottomless Pit, in striking and suppressing them, in consum­ing and preserving them at once, to con­tinue a bare stock of being, that he may Graft Eternal Torments on? Will not this be exceedingly dishonourable, and in­famous to Creatures, that they did not pay God any Rent, Service or Obedience, but necessitated their great Land-lord to Distrain on them, and make distress, and take up their Souls and Bodies both in Ex­ecution? Will not this be an Everlasting reproach, that they Robbed God of his [Page 76]Honour and Glory, and obliged him to make Reprizals on them? That they would give him no Glory as they ought, Jer. 13.16. but left God to get Honour on them as he could. So God saith, He would get him Honour on 'Pharoah, and on his Host, Exod. 14.17.

2. Sinners shall be where they would not be, even in a bottomless Pit, in a Lake of Fire and Brimstone, and under outer Darkness, Rev. 20.1, 3, 10. The state of the Damned may well be called a Bot­tomless Pit, they cannot in their Thoughts reach to, or by their longest Line of Rea­son Fathom the bottom of this Pit; they cannot say, they are arrived at the utmost that God can do against them, or they can suffer from him? As in Heaven there will still be fresh Visions of Glory, so in Hell there will still be new Scenes of Misery; and how Terrible is this Expression, a Lake of Fire? A Lake that will never Ebb, never sink, never dry away; this Lake will be as broad, as deep, as hot and scorching to E­ternity, as it was the first moment sinners were cast into it.

3. Sinners shall be deprived of what they would possess and enjoy, what God threa­tens Babylon with shall be fulfilled to them, and executed on them, Rev. 19.14. All the [Page 77]things that their Souls Lusted after, shall depart from them; all that is delicate and dainty shall depart from them, and they shall find them no more for ever; all the Lamps whereby they did drive away the Darkness and Terror of their Night, shall be put out, their Cisterns shall be broken, their Paradise of Earthly Pleasures and Delights shall be utterly and eternally bla­sted, the Breasts of Creatures shall be with­drawn from their Mouths, and all their I­dols for ever snatch'd out of their Arms, a great part of their Hell shall be drawn out of, and from that which once was their Heaven; this shall lash and scourge their Souls, to think of the Mercies they enjoy­ed, and abused; to remember the good things that they received from God, per­verted, and turned against God; that they fed their Lusts with what should have fuel­led their Love; those Gifts inticed their Hearts from God, which should have drawn them to him. Dives in Hell com­plained of the pain of Sense, but hath no relief; Abraham minds him of the pain of Loss, and so augments his misery, Luke 16.24, 25. Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy Life time receivedst thy good things; as if Abraham should say, Thou hadst all those good things which thou didst esteem [Page 78]and value, that thou didst desire and de­light in, that thou didst love and doat on; thou hadst thy choice, thou didst possess the Prize thou didst run for; but now thy Days of Pleasure are at an end, thy Sun of Prosperity is set; Thou hast no wrong, yea, God is highly Righteous in his Dispensati­ons towards thee; he withholds spiritual and eternal Mercies, that thou didst never desire, but always despise, and snarches a­way Temporal Enjoyment, which thou didst ever Idolize.

4. Sinners shall feel, suffer, endure what they Loath, and Abhor; Job complains that the things that his Soul refused to touch, were his sorrowful meat, Job 6.7. So the wick­ed in Hell may renew, and take up this doleful complaint, that they must feed on that Wormwood and Gall, that they ab­hor, and drink the Wine of the wrath of God, that they loath, that Food is provid­ed for them, that they have the greatest aversation from; that Cup is reached out to them, that they have the greatest de­testation of; they shall be filled with their own ways, Prov. 14.14. Eat the Fruit of their own doings, and Drink the Wine of the Wrath of the Almighty, Job 21.20. Rev. 14.10. All deadly Poysons, all fatal Ingredients shall be tempered together, [Page 79]and meet in their Cup, containing Red Wine, and full of Mixture, Psal. 75.8. All the Evils that may Enebriate, intoxicate and overcome the Spirits of Sinners, are to be found in this Cup; yet in another Sense, it is Wine without Mixture, Rev. 14.10. Not any Tincture, not any drop of Mercy, but it is pure Wrath; these Evils will be so bitter, so grievous, so terrible, that persons will be a burden to them­selves, Job 7.20. When God made Job his mark, and shot the Arrows of Temporal Evils against him, he complains he was a burden to himself; How then will sinners be a burden to themselves, when the Arrows of the Almighty shall Pierce them, when the Poyson of them shall drink up their Spirits; when the Terrours of God shall set themselves in Battle array against them, Job 6.4. If Job did loath Life because it was so much imbittered with Temporal Afflictions, Job 7.16. How much more shall sinners in Hell loath their own being, when embittered with Eternal Evils?

5. Hell may well be called a Prison, be­cause that men shall be confined at home, and shall be imprisoned in the presence of an Angry Revenging God.

1. Sinners shall be shut up in themselves. It is the great sin of the Children of Men, [Page 80]that they stray, wander from themselves, dwell continually abroad; the Prodigal, when he went into a far Country, he did not only depart from his Father, but also wander from himself: The first step to­wards his Recovery was to come to himself, Luke 15.13, 14, 17. So it will be the Sinners Punishment to dwell at home, to be confined to himself, to have his Thoughts Eternally fixed on his own Fol­ly and Iniquity, to consider of the wrong steps he took, the corrupt fruit he brought forth, the debts he contracted, the seeds of misery he sowed, the Eternal Wrath he provoked, that tho he was admonished of his sin, and warned of his danger; yet he would not be diverted, he could not be reclaimed; that he would not give Audi­ence to his Maker, yet listened to his Ene­my; that the Door of his Heart was shut against Christ, yet open to Satan and the World. Sometimes Magistrates do Com­mand Offenders to keep their own homes, and Imprison them in their own Houses, that they are not to step out, or stir a­broad: Even so the Great and Just God will shut up sinners in themselves; will turn their Eyes inward, and will fix their Thoughts on their shameful Nakedness, their Monstrous Ugliness, their loathsom [Page 81]Deformity; God threatens the House of Israel, that they should take their Inheri­tance in themselves, Ezek. 22.26. this will be Eminently and Signally fulfilled in an­other World; then Sinners shall take their Inheritance in themselves, their own ways and doings shall procure the greatest evils to them; their own backslidings shall re­prove them; their own wickedness shall lash them to Eternity; their Accusations, their Upbraidings, their Reproaches shall be from within; their own Consciences shall fly in their Faces, charge their Sins, bind their Iniquities on them; Condemn them for their Ingratitude, and Enmity a­gainst God. The Lord tells sinners, He will reprove them, and set their Iniquities in or­der before them, Psal. 50.21. This is a dread­ful word, I will set in order before you, [...], the word hath two Senses in the Old Testament, that are pertinent in this place, to set in order a Cause that is to be Argued, or Pleaded, Job 13.18. Behold now I have ordered my Cause; So God will order his Cause when he is to Accuse, and Plead against Sinners; He will detect their Enmities, rip up their Abomination, exact­ly order all matters that Evidence their Guilt, that may shut their Mouths, and shame their Faces. 2. The word Signifies [Page 82]to order a Battel, 2 Sam. 10.9, 10. Joab did put his Army in Aray, every Troop and Company hath their ground appointed, every Soldier his place fixed in which he is to Fight; It is dreadful when God draws together Troops of Childish Sins, Legions of Youthful Lusts, Brigades or Battalians of Transgressions committed in Riper Years, when God will set all these in Bat­tle Array against the Soul, and will Com­mand them all to give a fierce onset, a Furious Charge on it: O! How terrible will it be when God shall at several times pre­sent them to View, and bring them to the remembrance of a Guilty Creature, when they shall be so set in order, that the sin­ner cannot but behold them, cannot but think on them, cannot turn away his Eye from this Formidable, and dreadful Host of his Iniquities; the Eye of the Soul shall be opened, and never close again; The Sinner shall awake, and never doze, never be stupified, never sleep again, but shall Eternally dwell upon the Sight, and sense of what he hath done against, and deserv­ed from God.

2. Sinners shall be imprisoned in the pre­sence of an angry God. This may seem strange, that God's Presence should be Hell to the Damned, that is Heaven to the Bles­sed; [Page 83]yet thus it shall be: It is threatned as a dreadful Evil to Zedekiah, that his Eyes should behold the Eyes of the King of Ba­bylon, Isa 32.4. Zedekiah had dealt perfidi­ously and treacherously with the King of Babylon; he had broken his Oath with him and rebelled against him: But have not sinners done worse? have they not broken repeated Promises, and falsified their Co­venant with God? have they not back-sli­den from him with a perpetual back-sli­ding? have they not held fast their deceit­fulness, and refused to return to him, Jer. 8.5. have they not been hardened in their Enmity, and persisted to run astray, and to go a whoring from God, Psal. 73.27. and O how terrible will God's Face, how dreadful will God's Presence be to them? I have been credibly informed of a Wo­man that had prostituted, and defiled her self in her Husband's Absence beyond Sea, and was with Child by her Adultery, that hearing that her Husband was arrived, and ready to land, did hang her self, that she might not see his Face, whom she had so highly offended, so bitterly provoked by her Adultery? How then will Spiritual Harlots, and Adulterous Souls Endure to see the Face of God, and to behold his angry Countenance to Eternity: O! how [Page 84]bitter will it be to them to be confined to the Thoughts of their Rebellion, and Gods Enmity against them for it? The thoughts of God now are very unpleasant, and very unwelcome to Sinners, Rom. 1.28. They like not to retain God in their Knowledg. It was burdensome to them to acknowledg there was a God; and it was bitter to them to think of this God, Psal. 10.9. God is not in all their thoughts, they banish God as much as is possible, out of their minds, they forget him as much as they can, they cannot think of God but as a Law Giver, that forbids their Lusts, and Actions; and as a Judg that holds them guilty, and threatens them with Eternal Punishments; therefore they say to God himself, and to the Thoughts of God, Depart from us, Job 12.14, 15. they would not suffer such Thoughts to break in upon them, to lodg or stay with them, because they begin their Hell, and anticipate their Torments before the time; yet tho it be so greivous to sinners to remember God, to have their Thoughts fixed, to have their Minds dwell on God; yet they must be­hold, they must Converse with this An­gry God for ever. O! what a doleful, dreadful Prison will it be when a guilty Creature, and an angry God shall be alone [Page 85]together. Sinners now have their diver­tisements, they drink deep draughts of the Pleasures of Sin, of the Wine of Sensual Delights, that they may forget their Mi­sery, and shake off the thoughts of a Final Account, of a Righteous Condemnation, and of an Everlasting Destruction; but in this Prison they can no more steep their Souls in Pleasures, nor soak them in Sen­sual Delights; all the Comforts of the World are gone, but sin remains, guilt a­bides, Conscience can never be Charmed, Silenced, or suppressed: When sinners lye down among Thorns of Terrours, and in Sheets of Flames; when they make their Bed in Hell, Behold God is there! Psal. 139.3. This is an awakening, a dreadful Behold. O think on it, behold God is in Hell! There he meets Sinners with a frowning Face, with a punishing Hand; behold God is there to remember Iniquity against men, to bind the yoke of their Transgressions on them: This will most surprise and asto­nish; this will most dismay, sink, over­whelm the Damned to meet with a God they have so wearied, so grieved, so vex­ed, so burdened with their Iniquities; Be­hold God is there, but it is still to fill their Cup of wrath, to deal out blows, and give wounds to them by his Almighty Power! [Page 86]Behold God is there, and doth unveil his rowning Face to scorch them, and make bare his glorious Arm to destroy them.

The second thing that I proposed to speak to is, That the Spirits of Sinners, when they go out of the Body, shall be cast into, and shut up in Gods Prison.

The Scripture confirms this truth in se­veral places, The rich man is said to die, and in Hell he lifted up his Eyes, being in Torments, Luke 16.22, 23. No sooner was his Soul out of the Tabernacle of the Body, but it was in the Prison of Hell. So Judas is said to go to his own place, when he passed into the Regions of Darkness, and of Mi­sery, Acts 25. The filthy Sodomites, after their Bodies were burnt with a Temporal Fire, their Souls were Tormented in E­ternal Fames, Judes Epistle 7. He that wan­dereth out of the way of understanding, shall re­main in the Congregation of the Dead; in the Hebrew it is [...]; the word signifies Gi­ants; some have thought that Hell is call­ed the Congregation of the Giants; there were Giants before the Flood, Gen 6.4. as they were of High Stature in Body, so they were no Dwarss in Sin and Wicked­ness; their Iniquities grew to so great a Height, that God was provoked to send a destroying Flood; these Giants were not [Page 87]only drowned in the Waters, but also swallowed up of Eternal Death. These were such heinous Sinners, that they seem to be presented as chief Proprietors, and Principal Possessors, and Inhabitants of Hell.

I shall endeavour to Demonstrate to you, that it must needs be so, That the Souls of wicked Men when they go out of the Body, do pass into a Prison: For,

1. Here in this World they do cast off all restraints, they are all for Carnal Li­berty, they exempt themselves from Gods Jurisdiction; they count their Hearts their own, they will Love and Lust as they please, Heb. 9.10. Their Abominations were according as they Loved. Sinners reckon their Tongues to be their own, Psal. 12.4. Our Lips are our own, Who is Lord over us? Therefore they will Talk, and speak as they please. The ten Tribes are called Aholah, Ezek. 23.4. as much as to say, her Tent, because that Israel, like an Adulterous Wife, left the House of God, her Lawful Husband, forsook him, and repaired to her own Tent Idolatrous Israel built high places, set up Temples in Dan and Bethel; these were the Israelites own Tents; they did break off from Gods Temple, they thought it Bondage and [Page 88]Slavery to be tied to Worship in Gods House, they would Offer their Sacrifice in their own Tent. The Prodigal thought himself not a Freeman while he was under his Fathers Eye and Government; he would not depend on him for Mainte­nance, or be controuled by his Authority, or Subject to his Commands; he would have his Portion in his own Hands, and Live of himself; so he gathered together all that his Father gave him, and depart­ed into a far Country, Luke 15.12, 13, 14. There he lived according to his own Lusts, and liking; he wastes his Fathers Goods, keeps bad Company, and indulgeth his vile affectiones to the height. So Sinners carry it as if they were not under Gods Eye, or Subject to his Authority, Jer. 5.5. It is said of the great Men, That they alto­gether broke the Yoke, and burst the Bonds. So Psal. 2.23. The Kings of the Earth did set themselves, and take Counsel together against the Lord, and against his Anointed, saying, let us break their Bands asunder, and cast away their Cords from us. Tho Jesus Christ came as a Redeemer to ransom, and as a Delive­rer to rescue Souls from Slavery; yet they took up such wrong Notions, such hard Thoughts of him, as if he came to chain and fetter them, to yoke and enslave them, [Page 89]to spoil them of the Pleasure, and deprive them of the liberty of their lives. Hose tells us, that the Princes of Judah were like those that remove the bound, Hos. 5.10. Sin­ners will not be restrained and limited by Gods Bounds, or be held by his Bonds, or bare his yoke. Our first Parents affected inordinate Liberty, to cast off all restraints, to remove all bounds, to be lawless and in­dependent, tho this indeed be Monstrous to have the limited Nature of a Creature, and yet the boundless unlimited will of God. Our first Parents thought to change their Tenure, and of Tenants to become absolute Lords; They denied God that lit­tle Quit Rent that he reserved to himself, and invaded the Fruit of that Tree, that he restrained them from; that Carnal Liberty that Sinners so much hunt after, and a­spire to, is a stream from this Poysoned Fountain, and pernitious Fruit from this corrupt root; their degenerate Children have all like sheep, gone astray, and have turned aside into their own way, Isa 53.6. yea, they love to wander, Jer. 14.18. They choose their own ways, and their Soul delights in their Abominations, Isa. 66.3. They think God a poor Master that can do little for them, Job 22.14, 15. Job 22.17. What can the Almighty do for them? They account him a hard Ma­ster, [Page 90]that requires too much of them, Matt. 25.24. I knew thou wast a hard Man, Reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strowed, Men affect a broad way, a wide Gate, tho it tend to Destruction, Matt. 7.13. They cannot Endure the Girdle of Gods Covenant, or the Bond of his Laws; and therefore how just a Punishment is it that those should be cast into Gods Prison, that have cast off his Yoke? How Righteous is God in punishing sinful Carnal Liberty, with Eternal Bondage and Confinement.

2. Sinners are Criminals, and Debtors, and in both respects do deserve a Prison.

1. Wicked Men are Criminals; they rob God, they withold his due, they usurp his Rights. It is said of Jesus Christ, that he restored what he took not away; This was prophesied and spoken of our Surety, Psal. 66.4. If he did not take away from God, who did it? Surely sinful Man did take away from God; he robb'd God of his Trust, of his Love, of his Religious Worship; He alienated himself from God, he withdrew and estranged all the Crea­tures from God. Men should have been first Fruits devoted to God, and as living Sacrifices offered to him; In this respect God may charge the whole World, as of Old he did charge the whole Nation of the [Page 91] Jews, Mal. 3.1. Ye have robbed me in Tyths and Offerings. O how many Thieves are there in the World, that rob God both of the Seventh of their Time, in profaning of his Sabbath, and of the Tenth of their Goods? They care not how little they ex­pend to maintain God's Service, and to up­hold his Worship in the World; do they not daily rob God of their precious thoughts, and of their choicest affections? They set up their own ends, and exalt their own Wills, and do not make God's Will their Sovereign Law, his Glory their Supream End; How many Families rob God of his Worship every day? There is no praying to him, no calling upon him, Psal. 14.4. Jer. 10. last. All their Life is the sowing of Mammon, the pleasing themselves, the gratifying their own Lusts and Vile Affections; Is it scandalous to steal from Men, and is it not more heinous to rob God?

2. Men are Enemies to, and rebel a­gainst God, Col. 21. You that were Strangers and Enemies in your minds through wicked works. Sinners are Strangers to God, they do nothing to oblige him: they are Enemies to God, they do much to provoke him; they are Enemies against God in their minds; it is an hearty, a deep rooted Enmity; their Minds are still intent on Evil Works. The Apostle seems [Page 92]to me to glance at, and have respect to those words of God recorded by Moses, Gen. 16.5. the Lord saw that the Imaginations of the Thoughts of Man's Heart were only evil continually. And Men express their Enmity to God by their Rebellion against God. Hear how God accuseth Israel, and complaineth against them, Isa. 1.2. Hear, O Heavens, and give ear, O Earth, I have nourished, and brought up Children, and they have rebelled a­gainst me. God calls in the whole Creati­on, summons all the Creatures to give in Evidence, and to be Witnesses against them; the Sun, Moon and Stars did run their Race, and afford Light and Influen­ces continually to them; the Earth did bear them, and bring forth Fruit to supply their Wants, and continue their Lives. God made so many Servants above, and below to minister to Man, yet this proud un­grateful Creature withdraws his Service from God, denies Obedience to his Maker: Oh hear, and be astonished, both Heaven and Earth, that Israel that I have adopted, the Jews that I have nourished, taught, e­ducated as my Children, yet have made void my Laws, and rebelled against me: Princes have Prisons for Thieves and Re­bels against them, and shall not the King of the whole World have a Prison for [Page 93]those that rob him, and rebel against him. Rebellion against God is far worse than a Rebellion against any Earthly King; for God is an Infinite, and an Eternal Being; he gave us Life, Breath, and all things; his Laws are all righteous, his Commands are holy; they ask but for the Rights of a God: They are just, they demand but what we owe our Neighbour; they are good for our selves, in the keeping of them is great re­ward, Psal. 19.11. The Apostle commends the Law, and saith, the Command is Holy, Just and Good. These are Three weighty, comprehensive Epithites. When we yeild God his Right, we reap Benefit to our selves, just as the Trees that serve us in bringing forth Fruit, do also serve them­selves in bringing forth a Stone or Kernel, to continue their own Kind. Obedience to God is grounded on our very Nature, and founded in our very Being. Those that have received a Being from God's Hand, surely ought to receive a Law from his Mouth. Rebellion against God therefore must needs be an heinous Crime, and de­serve an Eternal Prison. Those that serve their own Lusts, and do Satan's Will in time, are worthy to suffer God's Will to E­ternity.

3. Sinners are guilty of Spiritual Whoredom and Adultery, Psal. 73.27. Thou hast destroyed such as go a whoring from thee. Ye Adulterers and Adulteresses, know you not that the Friendship of this World is Enmity with God? James 4.14. As a Rebellious Son was by God's Law to be stoned to Death, Deut. 21.20, 21. so a Woman guilty of Adul­tery, and the Adulterer, were both to be put to death, by God's Command, Levit. 20.10. Ju­dah gave Sentence against Tamar for her Whoredom; Let her be brought forth, and burnt, Gen. 38.24. If the Rebellion of a Son against an Earthly Father, was Capi­tal; if bodily Adultery was punished with Death, what then doth Soul-Adultery de­serve? God is our Lawful Husband, Isa. 54.5. Thy Maker is thy Husband. Yet have not sinful Souls affected the Bed of a Stran­ger? have they not turned from God after Creatures? As Christ admonishes, and ac­cuseth the Woman of Samaria for living in Adultery, or at least in Fornication, John 4.18. He that thou now hast, is not thy Husband; so God may charge unconvert­ed Men and Women, that they live in Spiritual Adultery, that the object they most love and doat on, is not their Law­ful Embraces; the Creatures were not made to be Idols to Entice us from God, [Page 95]but are bestowed as Love tokens to allure our Hearts to God; yet the Hearts of Co­vetous Sinners do go after their Cove­tousness, Ezek. 33.31. And the Hearts of Idolaters do walk after the Heart of their detestable things, Ezek. 11.21. tho this was a great cheat, to think that Dead Idols, or false Gods had a heart to retaliate their Love, or to Requite them for their Worship; on this Account God is the only Lawful Husband, and meer object of our Love, because he hath a Heart to Love us again, Prov. 8.17. I love those that love me; Idols or Creatures cannot say so; Dead Idols, and Dead Creatures have no Heart to love us. O! consider then what a horrid Crime Spiritual Adultery is; here­by we defile the Creatures, do offer Vio­lence to them, and put a Rape on them; they call and invite us to the Love of God, they entice us not to the sinful, and inordi­nate love of themselves. It is mens Lust that is active in this Adultery, the Crea­ture is only Passive, it groans under this Force put on it, but cannot decline and a­void it; the Creature is innocent, but it is a Mans Unchast and Filthy Heart that is guilty. For this Spiritual Whoredom men deserve to be cast into Gods Prison; if God be broken by their whorish Heart, Ezek 6.9. [Page 96]then surely they are worthy to be wounded, and broken for it.

2. Men are debtors to God, every sin is a Debt, Matt. 6.12. Forgive us our Debts, as we forgive our Debtors; we primarily owe to God a Debt of Love, and Obedience; but for default in the Payment of this Debt, there arises another Debut, we owe God Glory to be raised out of our Sufferings, Eternal Misery and Torments; all Crea­tures must bow to God, and some way or o­ther serve him, Isa. 45.32. Either as Ves­sels of Honour, or as Vessels for Dishon­our; God must have glory either by his Mercy, or our Misery; it is but just that God should enter his Action against his Debtors, that he should Sue, Arrest and Im­prison them. If those that owe Mony to Men, and do not pay it, are cast into Pri­son; much more those that owe Service, and Obedience to God, and not render it, are to be thrown into an Eternal Prison.

3. Sinners are now already in Prison, they are called Prisoners, Isa. 24.6. Isa. 49.9. they are Styled Captives, Isa. 61.1. they are said to be taken Captive by the Devil at his will, and to be held in his Snare; they are in the Bond of Iniquity, Acts 8.23. The Sins of Men do take them, and their iniquities do hold them, Prov. 5.22. we read [Page 97]that Paul and Silas were cast into the inner Prison, Acts 16.24. This Expression of the Inner Prison, implies the Prison was divid­ed into two parts; there was an outer, and an inner Prison; so I may distinguish, God hath an outer and inner Prison; his outer Prison is in this World, his inner Prison is in Hell; here sinners are in the outer Prison, they are bound, Isa 61.1. they are held, Rom. 7.6. They are taken captive, 2 Tim. 2 last. They are shut up under sin, Gal. 3.22. Loaden with Dead Works, Heb. 9.14. Guilty before God, Rom. 3.19. And Condemned, John 3.18. He that believes not is Condemned already; and if men stay, and continue in the outer-Prison, and Death finds them here, how just is it that God should cast them into his in­ner Prison, and shut them up, and hold them there for ever.

4. Jesus Christ himself, when he was a surety for Sinners, and stood in their room, and stead, was made a Prisoner, was under a restraint and confinement, Isa. 53.8 It is said, He was taken from Prison and Judgment. Jesus Christ could not have been taken out of Prison, if he had not first been in Prison. But how was Jesus Christ in Prison? I an­swer, 1. The great sorrow that was in, the amazing fear that was on Christs Spirit, was as a Prison about his Soul, Matt. 36.37, 38. he was sorrowful, and very heavy, he said, My Soul is sorrowful to the Death. He [Page 98]was sore amaz'd, Mark 14.33. taking a pros­pect of the dreadful storm that did hang over him, the deep and bitter Cup reach'd out to him. the vast Ocean of Sorrows and Sufferings that were before him, yet he was heard in that he feared, Heb. 5.7. This implies that he was under fear, yet he was deliver'd from it, that it did not sink him, or over­whelm him. 2. Jesus fell into the hands of his Enemies, they seized on him, led him him away to Annas and Caiaphas, they held him under their power for several hours, till they Condemned and Executed him, John 18.12, 13. the Captain and band of Soldiers took Christ, bound him, and led him away as a Prisoner. 3. Jesus was buried, he was laid in the dust, and shut up as a captive of Death in the prison of the grave; but such was the dignity of his person, the value of his Blood, the satisfactory, nature of his Suffering, that his Captivity was short, his Imprisonment lasted but a little while; yet this confinement and prison of Christ doth teach us what sinners deserve; doth instruct us what they must expect, if they are not washed from their Sins in Christs Blood, and reconciled to God by his Death; his Person being infinite, and his Sufferings sa­tisfactory, his Prison could only be tempo­rary and short; but the nature of Sinners be­ing Finite, and their sufferings not able to [Page 99]expiate their sins, their Prison must needs be Everlasting.

5. God threatens sinners with this Prison, and he must needs be just to himself, and true to his word; the Lightening of Gods Threatning, is not without a Thunder­bolt of Execution and Vengeance, Psal. 9.17. The wicked shall be turned into Hell, and all the Nations that forget God; God hath not only said it, but also sworn it, That he will never forget any of the deeds of impenitent Sinners, Amos 8.7. the Lord hath Sworn by the Excellency of Jacob, that is, by himself, that is Jacobs Excellency, surely I will never forget any of their Works. Tho men forget God, and his Laws, yet he will not forget their Crimes and Iniquities. Gods Threat­ning must stand, therefore sinners must fall into the Bottomless Pit: Gods word must take hold of them, Zack. 1.5, 6. therefore they will be cast into the Eternal Prison; If we confirm not Gods Command by doing it, Deut. 27. last. God will confirm his threatning by executing it, Dan. 9.12.

6. The Spirits of Sinners departed out of the Body must be shut up in Gods Prison; for God hath mighty Officers of Justice, he hath powerful Bayliffs and Serjeants to Arrest, to Seize on, to carry away depart­ing Souls, Luke 12.20. [...], they shall require, and demand thy Soul of thee, they that [Page 100]shall require it, will not be denied, will not be rejected and sent empty away, they will take hold of guilty Creatures, drag them to the highest Tribunal, and present them to the Sovereign Judg of Heaven and Earth; good or bad Angels seize on dislodging and removing Souls.

I have been credible informed concern­ing a wicked man that I knew my self, That when he was on the brink of the Pit, and on the Borders of Eternity; Something in the likeness of a Crow appeared in his Chamber, and sate on the Testar of his Bed, and could not be driven away till the sick man gave up the Ghost, and then it suddenly Vanished away. The An­tient Rabbins have talked of the Angel of Death, that did appear to Sick and Dying Men, and was very Terrible to them; by this Angel of Death they seem to mean some good or bad Angel sent to fetch the Soul to God's Tribunal to give its Account, and to receive its final Sentence. God doth not want Means, or Messengers to attach and apprehend guilty Souls, and to Con­duct them into his Terrible and glorious presence.

The 3d. thing I proposed to speak to, was to shew you how dreadful this Prison is; and that I shall open to you in these following particulars.

1. This Prison is a very dark Prison, the [Page 101]Scripture calls the darkness of it, outer dark­ness, Matt. 8.12. The Children of the King­dom shall be cast into outer darkness, so the unprofitable servant is sentenced to, and sent into outer darkness, Matt. 25.30. Sinners now are in darkness, yea, they are said to be darkness, Ephes. 5.8. but this expression points at the inward darkness of the minds of Sinners; there is a Cataract on the Eye of the Soul, a Veil on the Understanding; but there is besides this inward darkness, an outer darkness, when sinners shall be removed at the greatest distance from God the Father of Lights, James 1.17. They shall be eternal­ly separated, and cut off from the Com­munion with God; In his light Saints shall see light, Psal. 36.9. In the light of his Counte­nance, they shall see the light of Life; but wick­ed men shall go to the generation of their ungodly Fathers, they shall never see the Light, Psal. 49.9. The mist of darkness is their portion, 2 Pet. 2.17. yea, the blackness of Darkness is reserved for them as an eternal inheritance, Judes Epist. the 13th v. what Terrour is there in this ex­pression, The blackness of darkness. Neither Creatures that Shine as a Candle to them, nor God as a Sun shall arise on them Luke paints out the sadness of Pauls State, and of those that were in the Ship with him, Acts. 17.20. That no small Tempest laid on them, and that neither the Sun nor the Stars for many days ap­peared [Page 102]to them. Thus it shall be with the Damned in Hell, a dreadful Tempest of the wrath of God will lye upon them, and he will never appear as a Sun to chear them, nor suffer Creatures as Stars to shine for their Comfort; they will be shut out from Gods gracious presence, and also shut up from the Creatures, they shall neither have Beams from Heaven, nor Lamps from Earth, they shall leave all their Idols behind them in the world; they shall loose all their sen­sual pleasures and delights; God will give them no joy, and Creatures will lend them no comfort, therefore blackness of darkness must needs follow. Thick darkness that might be felt was one of the plagues of Egypt, Exod. 21.22, 23. but this lasted but three days, but here is Eternal Darkness.

2. This prison is a strong prison, there is no breaking out of it, no Filing off the Chains of the Damned or Forcing open the doors, the Judg himself by the arm of his own Omnisciency is the Keeper of this Prison; the Eye of his Omnisciency still watches over the Prisoners, that there is no flying or es­caping. God challengeth all creatures, who shall deliver out of my hand, Deut. 32.39. if he do tare in pieces, and deliver up the body to the first, and the Soul to the Second Death; there will be none to rescue or deliver, Ps. 50.22. when God shuts up, there is no opening, Job [Page 103]12.14. Tho there may be millions of Pri­soners in Hell, yet this Evidences their weakness, and evinces Gods strength, that this huge and vast multitude cannot wrest themselves ou [...] of the Hand of the Judg, or break his Prison; God that cast them thi­ther, will hold and secure them there.

3. Gods Prison is a close Prison; there will be no Addressing to, Visiting or Releiving of his Prisoners, Luke 16.26. consider what Abraham there speaks to Dives, And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that they that would pass from hence to you cannot, neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. There is a great gulf that cannot be filled up, or passed over, and this gulf is Fixed, it shall remain and continue for ever: Gods Decree is Stable, it cannot be changed, revoked, or repealed; there is an unalterable, an eternal separation be­tween the blessed and the damned; it is not to be thought that any of the Saints will pity the Damned, will relent towards them, or melt over them; Saints that be perfect­ed, and even swallowed up in the Love of God, they shall fully acquiess in his will, and rejoyce that his Justice is Magnified, and his Power Glorified in the Eternal Destruction of the Wicked; but Abraham makes only a supposition; if any such thing were possible, if Saints could sympa­thise [Page 104]with the Damned, if their Bowels did yearn towards them, if they were will­ing to relieve them, or to carry over any supplies to them, if they did endea­vour to case their Pains, or mitigate their Torments; all such desires would be in vain, all such endeavours would be frust­rated and inefiectual; they could not get to the Damned, their Kindness could not reach them or affect them, all Communicati­tion with them is obstructed, all passages are shut up, these tormented Creatures are in­accessible, Saints can carry no water to cool their Tongues, can bring them no Cordials to revive their Souls; the Damned cannot come forth, nor others come in to them to succour or ease them.

4. It is an Eternal Prison, there will be no Goal-delivery, no dismission or relea­sing of these Prisoners. We read in Isa. 24, 21.22. of some that should be gathered to­gether and shut up in Prisons, but after many days they should be Visited. Piscator understands this of Kings and Princes that should be Conquered by the King of Babylon, and held in Bondage for many years, but these oppressed men should at last be Visit­ed, and releived by the gracious Kingdom of Je [...]s Christ, that should give liberty to their Souls, freedom to their Consciences. But those that God apprehends, and shuts [Page 105]up in his Prison shall never be visited, and recover their Liberty. Jeremiah was by the Fury of his Adversaries cast into a deep and miery Dungeon, but God rais'd him up Friends; Ebed-melech and others did let down Cords into his Dungeon, drew him up, and saved his life, Jer. 38.10, 11, 12, 13. But no Beam of Hope shall shine, no Cord of a Promise shall be let down to the Damned to draw them up out of their Dungeon. It was an Act of Oppression, Cruelty and Tyranny in the King of Babylon, that he opened not the House of his Prisoners, Isaiah 14.17. but this is an Act of Pure and High Justice in God, that he will never open the House of his Prisoners; they that sinned without Dread of his Justice, shall suffer without Relief from his Mercy: There is now a Wall of Partition between God and sin­ners in this Life, but this may possibly be broken down, but there is a Gulf fixed in Hell, that can never be passed over. This is dreadful to consider, that God executes sinners, and yet they continue his Priso­ners to feel more Wrath, and suffer more Vengeance; the guilt of sin still cleaves to them, and the wrath of God will still abide on them, John 9. last, John 3. last, sin is said to remain, and so wrath doth abide. Repentance in Hell will be with­out [Page 106]any Fruit; their Grief without Relief; their Groans, Cries, Petitions will not pre­vail, can obtain nothing at the Hand of God; sinners were deaf to God in time, and he will be deaf to them in eternity: Their Hearts were hardned, and his Bowels will be shut: The Fewel of Gods Anger will be everlasting, therefore the Fire will be eternal, an Immortal Death, an ever dying Misery, and endless Tor­ments will be the Portion of the Damned. The suffering Jews complain, and say, that God had hedged them about, and they could not get out, Lam. 3.7. so the damned in Hell are so hedged in by their own guilt, and the just wrath of God, that they can never get out: Their Destruction will be everlasting, their Ruin irrecoverable; God will not Release them, and they cannot Rescue themselves.

5. This heightens the Misery of depart­ed Souls, that their Prison is a place of Tor­ments, as well as of Restraint: Dives com­plains he was tormented in that Flame, Luke 16.24. and would have his Brethren warned, that they might not come into that place of Torments, Luke 16.25. God will exact his debts of, and execute his threat­nings on sinners: He will tread them in the Wine-press, and press out all that is sweet, grateful and pleasant, and leave [Page 107]only a dry Husk of Being: the Damned seem to be called Carcases, Isaiah 66. last. Ye shall go forth, and see the carcases of the men that transgressed against me. The Ex­pression is Elegant, Significant and Em­phatical: Christ will command his Ene­mies that would not have him to reign over them, to be brought before him; he will sentence them to be slain in his presence; when they are slain, when all the Peace, Joy, Comfort of their Souls is destroyed, what will remain but a meer Carcase of Being. When men shall be only to be miserable, to endure venge­ance, to suffer Torments, this may well be stiled a Carcase of Being. Bullinger de Triumph. tells us, that the day that an Em­perour Triumphed, the Prisoners were led in Chains, and exposed as an open spectacle to the Eyes of the Spectators; and that when the Chariot of him that Triumphed, turned to go up to the Ca­pitol, then the Prisoners were led away to the Prison, and the Triumpher staid in the Capitol, till news was brought him, that the Prisoners, or some one of them was put to death in the Prison; the Pri­son this day was a place of Execution among the Romans. Gods Prison will be a place of Eternal Execution and Torments. Dives begged that Lazarus might but dip [Page 108]the Tip of his Finger in Water, and let fall a few drope to cool his Tongue, Luke 16.24. his Request seems very modest, he did not desire that Lazarus should dip his whole Hand, no not his whole Finger, but only the Tip of his Finger; this was a very small Petition, yet it is not granted, but rejected and decried. Sinners in Hell shall not obtain the least ease, refreshment or mitigation of their Torments. God will deal with sinners, as they did with Jesus Christ; he cried out, I Thirst, John 19.28. but did he receive any thing to refresh or ease him? no, his Ene­mies only filled a Sponge with Vinegar, and put it to his Mouth, John 19.30. this was to Torment, rather than Re­lieve him. As Christ obtained nothing from men to refresh him, so sinners shall get nothing from God to ease them; when once they are shut up in his Prison, as the wicked Jews, Priests and Scribes upbraid­ed Christ with his words and works, Mat. 27.40, 41, 42, 43. that he said he would build the Temple, that he asserted himself to be the Son of God, that he saved others; so a Righteous God, and an Awakened Con­science will upbraid Sinners with their e­vil words, and their sinful actions to eter­nity; the iniquity of their Heels will compass them about, the reward of their Hand will be [Page]given to them: Isaiah 3.10. they shall feed on the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own inventions; Prov. 1.31. They that glory in their wisdoms, and applauded them­selves in their inventions, as of they had found out the true and chief Good, as if they had discovered the true Pleasures, the true Liberty, the true Happiness, shall smart for their Inventions, and feel the woful effects of them for ever.

6. This renders the Condition of those that are in Gods Prison, terrible, that they are under the fear and dread of future e­vils, and of a more severe punishment: As the thoughts of the Affizes are bitter and terrible to Malefactors; they know that then their Crimes will be remem­bred, accusations will be formed, Witnes­ses will appear against them, they will be Condemned and Executed: So sinners in Hell may dread the appearing of Jesus Christ, and the Judgment of the Great Day: Sinners are not yet at the bottom of their Pit, they are not yet fallen under the heaviest, hottest, fullest expressions of the Wrath of God; they do not yet see the worst of their Condition: It is said that Death and Hell shall be cast into the Lake of Fire and Brimstone; this is the second death, Revel 20.14. What is intended and meant by Death and Hell? I suppose by Death [Page]here, is meant the Body that died, and so fell under the power of Death; and Hell here signifies the Souls of the Damned that were cast into Hell: The Continent is put for the thing Contained; the Bodies of the wicked were held under death, and their Souls were shut up in Hell, but the Bodies of the Wicked shall not still sleep in the Grave; they shall awake and rise, be joined to, and united with their Bodies; but this resurrection will not be a benefit, but a hurt to them; it will not be a pri­viledge but a punishment; their Bodies shall rise that they may fall into the Lake of Fire, that they may feel Torments, that they be obnoxious to punishment from the Revenging Hand of God; those that are now in Hell do know that this will be, that their Souls and Bodies must meet again, that as they joined in sin, so they may be Companions in misery; this con­junction they dread, they would rather their Bodies should dwell in the Grave for ever, than that Soul and Body both should be united to be drowned in a Lake of Fire, to be swallowed up of the second Death.

7. Sinners shall have the misery of their Prison heightned by these two aggravati­ons. 1. They that remember what Mercy was once offered to them, and was rejected by them. 2. They that behold what hap­piness [Page]others enjoy, and they are eternally deprived of. 1. Sinners shall call to mind what means of Grace they once enjoyed, what tenders of Salvation were made to them; the Son of God preached to the old World; he called them to Repentance, he warned them to fly from the Wrath to come; yet their Understandings were darkned, their Consciences stupified, their Hearts hardned, their Ears stopt; even so it hath been since, those that have been in the Church, and under the sound of the Word, have heard tidings that should have affected their Spirits, gladded their Hearts yea, even ravished their Souls; a year of Jubilee hath been proclaimed, a day of Salvation hath been afforded; sinners have been told, that dead Souls may hear the Voice of the Son of God and live; that Prisoners in this World may be set free, Captives released, Wounds may be healed, Diseases cured, Sinners may be justified in the Name of the Lord Jesus, filthy Souls may be cleansed, Conscience may be pur­ged from dead works; yet men mind not, regard not, seek not any of these things: They make light of all the Travel of Christs Soul, of the Purchase of his Blood, of the Legacies of his Testament, Matt. 22.5. they consider not that their Diseases [Page]threaten them with Eternal Death; that the weight of their Guilt will sink them down into the Bottomless Pit; that the shame of their Nakedness will expose them to everlasting Contempt and Abhorrency; all this Stupidity, Folly and hardness of Heart shall be renew­ed, and reflected on as a just Cause of Eternal Punish­ment: They shall remember, how Jesus Christ called, and they did not answer; he knocked, and they did not open; he stretched out his Hands filled with pre­tious and inestimable Gifts, but they did not stretch out the hand of Faith to receive Christ, and his Bene­fits: They would not look to Christ that they might be saved, Isaiah 45.22. They turned from the Captain of Salvation to a Murtherer, from a merciful Shepherd to a cruel and devouring Lion; they would not come to Christ that they might have life, John 5.40. they would not lean on Christ [...] Arm, that they might not fall under the wrath of God, and the vengeance of eternal Fire. This will one day sting them, that sin was sweeter to them than salvation; that rather than quench the fire of Lust, they would run into the flames of Hell; that rather than the Old Man should suffer, and its Members be mortified or cut off, they themselves would perish everlastingly: This will to eternity wound them, that their vanity of Mind, their carelesness of Spirit, their unbelief, and hardness of Heart hath un­done them; that they dallied, trifled away the time; turned away the Physitian, refused the Redeemer, re­jected the Bridegroom, and must suffer the deserved pu­nishment for all this to eternity; they will see their op­portunity is lost, and never to be regained; that the Door of Gods House is shut, never to be opened again; that the Treaty of Peace is broken off, never to be re­vived any more; that the Ladder that joined Earth and Heaven together is taken away, is drawn up, and will never be let down to sinners any more.

2. This will aggravate the Misery of those that are in this Infernal Prison, that they shall see what others enjoy, but they are be­reaved of, and shut out from, Luk. 13.28. There shall be weeping and gnashing of Teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the Kingdom of God, and you your selves thrust out. The Time was when Sinners were earnestly called upon, were pressed with importunity to enter into the Kingdom of God, but they neglected, they contemned it, but now this is their Punishment to be thrust out into Eter­nal Darkness and Torment; and their loss will be embittered, when they behold what others are arrived at, and in Possession of: O how will it pierce the Hearts of the degenerate Seed of Godly Men, to see their Fathers pos­sess a rich Inheritance, and they themselves to be Poor for ever! How will this vex, in­cense and inrage them; to see others at a plentiful Royal Feast, and themselves to lie under an Eternal Famine! That Saints Tri­umph in Glorious Triumph, and they are held in Eternal Bondage: That others wear Robes, and Crowns of Glory, but they them­selves are clothed with sordid Garments, and Rags of Infamy; it might be a trouble to La­zarus to see Dives his Plenty, and his own Pe­nury: To behold his Delicates, and costly Fare, and then reflect on his own hunger and wants; but in the other World things are quite turned. Now Dives is troubled to see Lazarus at Rest, and he himself in Torments, [Page 114]to behold Lazarus Feasted, and himself Fa­mished, Luk. 16.19, 20, 21, 22, 24. O how will this Disquiet and Torment Sinners to see Saints bathing themselves in the Fountain of Life, and that they cannot get a drop of Wa­ter to cool their Tongues, and allay their Torments!

1. Ʋse, Of the Doctrine: Is it so that the Spirits of Wicked men gone out of the Body, are in Gods Prison, then this Truth should awaken secure, and strike a Terrour into hard Hearted Sinners. O do not imagine, that if you are afflicted, that you receive all your evil things here; Gods anger is not turn­ed away, his Sword is not sheathed, his Con­troversie is not at an end with you; there is a vast Arrear of Debt, a dreadful remainder of Wrath yet behind: You drink but the Top of the Cup of Gods Fury, the dregs of it yet remain to be sucked into your Souls in another World, Psal. 75.8. God lets fall but some drops of his Displeasure here, the most dread­ful storm is yet behind, Psal. 11.6. God now doth but Skirmish with Sinners in this World, he will join Battel, and come to a close fight with them in another World. O Sinners! will you choose the way to Gods Prison, will you take the Road that leads to the Lake of Fire and Brimstone? you foolishly run into the Devils snares, and rush upon Hell and De­struction; will you bring forth Fruit to Death? Rom. 7.5. Will you bear such Fruit as will make you more worthy of Death, and more [Page 115]fit for Destruction? Will you provide evi­dences, and prepare witnesses for your Con­demnation? Jer. 14.7. Mens Iniquities testifie against them. The more Sins they commit, the more Witnesses they raise up against them­selves. Will you heap up fuel for your Eter­nal burning? Will you daily purchase for your selves a place in this Eternal Prison? Will you yield your depraved Wills, your vile Affections as so many Chains given into the Devils hand to lead you by unto this dread­ful Prison? Will you Barter, and Trade a­way your Souls for so contemptible a price, as the Wages of Unrighteousness, and the Pleasures of Sin that are but for a season?

Will you be ignorant of Satan Devices? Will you not discern his designs? he seeks for, he hunts after your Souls. His aim is to gain and seize them, that he may carry them a­way into this dark Prison: O Sinners will you not consider, will you not rouse up your selves, and start out of your deep Sleep? there may be but a step between you and this Eter­nal Prison. Will you delay at the brink of the Pit? will you sleep at the Door of the Prison? Will you not stop your selves be­fore it be too late? Will you stay in the De­vils snare, till he takes up his snare? Amos 3.5. seizes on the prey he hath caught, and carries it away to Hell? As the Lord liveth, there is a place of Misery, there is a dreadful Prison, and place of Torments. Do not ba­nish it out of your Thoughts; do not ridicule [Page 115]it as a meer Invention of Men, or as vain un­grounded Fancy, entertained in weak and ti­merous Minds. Do not go on to despise or question it, till God confutes your unbelief, and punishes your Atheism, by the woful, painful feeling of that, which you would not believe or fear.

2. Ʋse. Do not envy Sinners, do not grudge them their full Cup of sensual Delights, their calm and smoath Streams of Prosperity. God hath a reckoning with them; Judgments are travelling towards them, Hos. 5.1. Venge­ance is ready to take hold of them, those that now will bear no Yoak, will be restrained by no bounds, must shortly be laid fast in the E­ternal Prison: They that now swim in Rivers of Pleasures, must soon be drowned in Perdi­tion and Destruction: They that suck in large draughts of sensual Delights, must within a little time drink the Wine of the Wrath of the Almighty. Would you envy a Malefactor a large Meal, or a full Glass of Wine, that next day is to be executed? Would you grudge a Man Fine Cloaths, or delicate Fare, that next hour is to be cast into devouring Fire? their Comforts are measured by Time, but their Misery and Torment is to be measu­red by Eternity?

3. Ʋse, O examine your selves, what grounded Hope you have that you shall be se­cured from Eternal Bondage, and delivered from the wrath to come; are you in the Road to the Prison, or in the way to the Palace? [Page 117]there are but these two Receptacles and pla­ces of Entertainment for departed Souls. Con­sider well of it, are you in a perishing way? Psal. 1. last. or in the way Everlasting, Psal. 139. last? Put these following Questions to your Souls.

1. Are your Eyes opened? Isa. 42.7. This is the means to bring us out of our spiritual Prison, and the first step towards our Liberty. Why are Men so quiet, so contented, so sa­tisfied to stay in Gods outer Prison? Surely it is, because their Eyes are shut, they discern not where they are, and how great their dan­ger is. Jesus Christ first opens the blind eyes, and then he brings the Prisoners out of the Prison-House: Inquire therefore, did you ever come to your selves, take up true Notions, or form a right Judgment concerning your lost, deplorable and miserable Estate? Luk. 15.17. The Prodigal came to himself, he conversed with, reflected on himself, dwelt on the sad Thoughts of what his Folly, and Lusts had re­duced him to; and then he took up this fixed Resolution, I will arise and go to my Father, Luk. 15.18, 19, 20, 21. If Men did come to themselves, they would leave Sin as a bad and hard Master, and would return to God their Heavenly Father. The Apostle Paul speaks of Sinners recovering themselves out of the snare of the Devil, 2 Tim. 2. last. The Word in the Greek is [...]. It signifies to recover out of Drunknness, and to become so­ber; and those that thus become sober do escape [Page 118]out of the snare of the Devil. Sinners are drunken with false Notions, with wrong Con­ceptions, and ungrounded Imaginations con­cerning themselves, the goodness of their own Estate, the sweetness of the Pleasures of Sin, the worth of the Riches of the World. Men must return to sobriety of Mind, to a right Judgment of their State and Ways, that they may recover out of the snare of the Devil. Are the Scales of Ignorance fallen off from your Eyes, is the Veil drawn off from your Hearts? Act. 12.7, 9. A Light shined into Peters Pri­son, and then he was raised, and called out of it; so here.

2. Are you come to Jesus the Mediator of the New Testament, and to the Blood of sprink­ling, that speaks better things than the Blood of Abel? Heb. 12.24. Are you come into his Righteousness? Psal. 69.27. That is an obser­vable Phrase, to come into the Righteousness of the Messiah; Believers come into it as their Garment that must cloath and cover them, their Fortress and City of Refuge, that must secure them from the Curse of the Law, and Reven­ging Justice. Those that lay hold of, and come into the Righteousness of Christ, are passed from Death to Life, and shall never come into Condemnation, John 5.20. These things are linked with, and depend on each other, coming into Christs Righteousness secures us from coming into Condemnation; have you fled by Faith to the Mediator and his Blood, so that you have received the Atonement that he made, [Page 119] Rom. 5.11? Do you apply the Reconciliation that Christ hath made to your selves? 2 Cor. 5.18. All things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ.

3. Are you made Free from the Law of Sin and Death? Rom. 8.2. The Law of the Spirit of Life which is in Christ Jesus, hath made me free from the Law of Sin and Death. The Law of the Spirit is the mighty, powerful, effectual working of the Spirit of Life. Though the Law of Sin be strong, yet the Law of the Spirit of Life is stronger. This Law of the Spirit can prevail and carry it against the Law of Sin; have we ever experienced this mighty Law of the Spirit? hath it broke our Fetters and Chains, mortified our Lusts, enlarged our Hearts? Psal. 119.32. Then will I run the way of thy Com­mandments, when thou shalt enlarge my Heart. It is the work of the Spirit to enlarge the under­standing by beaming in new Light, and to en­large the Will by kindling new spiritual Love; when Christ by his Spirit doth cirtumcise the Heart, then the Chains of Lust do fall off: Is the Law of God written in you? Jer. 31.33. Is this a prevailing, reigning Principle in your Hearts, and as a powerful Byass on your Wills? Do you choose the way of Truth, and choose Gods Precepts? Psal. 119.30, 173.

4. Have you New, Honourable, and Orna­mental Chains cast about your Souls? Isa. 45.14. It is promised the Church, that the Egyp­tians, and the Ethiopians, and other Gentile Nations, should come over to her, and be hers; [Page 120]they should come over to her, and after her in Chains. We are not to understand the Words as if Christ should force Proselites into his Church, or Subjects into his Kingdom. Jesus Christ never did violence to the Bodies of Men, or by an outward force hale Men to him; but the Phrase signifies the powerful work of Christ by his Spirit on the Minds and Consciences of Men; he casts Chains of Light and Love about the Souls of Men: He mightily convinces and perswades them of the Truth of his Doctrine, of the Excellency of his Promises: He plants strong Inclinations in them, he makes powerful Impressions on them, that they cannot but sub­ject themselves to him, and yield and submit to his Church. Those that are bound with Chains of Light and Love, shall not be Prisoners in Hell, or bound there with Chains of Ever­lasting Darkness.

5. Is your Prison Rayment put off and chan­ged? when Joseph was brought out of the Dun­geon, and was called to come in to Pharaoh, it is said he changed his Raiment, Gen. 41.14. Prison Garments were not fit to be worn by a Man called unto Liberty, and in the presence of a King. While we are in the spiritual Prison we wear filthy Garments, Zech. 3.3. The old Man is a sordid Garment, that doth de­file and deform our Souls; this Prison Raiment doth fit Men for the Prison of Hell. O there­fore consider, whether you have put off the old Man, and his Deeds, Col. 3.9. and have cru­cified the Flesh with its Affections and Lusts, Gal. [Page 121]5.24. Have you put on the Lord Jesus? Rom. 13. last. Have you put his Mind on your Mind, and his Will on your Will, and his Affections on your Affections? Have you put on the new Nature of Jesus Christ, and so put him on for Sanctification? it is said of the Church that she is all Glorious within, and that her cloathing is of wrought Gold: That she shall be brought unto the King in Raiment of Needle work, Psal. 45.13, 14. and it is said, verse 15. That she and the Virgins her Companions with Joy shall enter into the Kings Palace. This Scripture teaches us, how they must be cloathed that are to be Married to Jesus Christ, and to be taken into his Royal Palace, and into a blessed Commu­nion with him. The cloathing, the Ornaments of our Souls will inform and instruct us, whe­ther we are secured from Gods Eternal Prison, and fitted to dwell in his glorious Palace.

3. Ʋse, O seek to prevent your going into, and abiding in this dreadful Prison; when the Psalmist was under but Temporal Afflictions, and outward Restraints, how doth he cry to God! Psal. 142. last. Bring my Soul out of Pri­son; that I may Praise thy Name: And should you not be more earnest, and importunate with God, to bring your Souls out of a spiritual Pri­son, and to prevent their being cast into an E­ternal Prison. Dives would have his Brethren warned that they might not come into that place of Torment, Luk. 16.28. and shall not we much more desire this for our selves, and regard Gods warnings that we may not come into this [Page 122]Prison? Two things here I shall endavour: (1.) To give you some Motives, to stir you up to avoid this Prison. (2.) I shall give you some Directions how you may be preserved from this Prison. Strive to escape this Prison, that your Lot and Portion may not be in it for ever: For,

(1.) This is a most uncomfortable Prison: The Company is very bad, Devils and damn­ed Souls will inhabit these Regions of dark­ness. O what horrid Scrieches and doleful Grans, what fearful Execrations and Blas­phemies will be heard there to Eternity! Pri­son-Fare here in the World useth to be course and unpleasant; 1 King. 22.27. Ahab saith of the Prophet Micaiah, Put this fellow in Pri­son, and feed him wich Bread of affliction, and water of affliction: But how much worse will the Treatment of Sinners be in Hell! they must feed on Wormwood and gall, and be filled with the fruit of their own ways, and drink the Wine of the Wrath of God. God will call off all Comforters frm them, and call all his Terrors against them, Lam. 2. last. As Jesus when he stood in the place of Sinners, and aswered Gods Justice for their iniquities, he was deserted by all his three Disciples that he took to be with him in his Agony, who fell asleep; when he was apprehended all his dis­ciples forsook him, and fled from him, Mat. 26.40. Mark. 14.50. Jesus Christ complains in that Prophetical Psalm, Psal. 69. v. 20. Reproach hath broken my Heart, and I am full of [Page 123]heaviness; and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for Comforters but I found none. He complains God his Father forsook him, Psal. 22. He hid his pleasing Counte­nance from him, and turned his angry Face against him; the sight of this caused Christ to sweat drops of Blood in the Garden. You see Jesus Christ stood alone to bear the wrath of God; all forsook and rejected him. As Jesus Christ was dealt withal, so thou must expect to be used; all Creatures will with­draw, and God also will hide his Face. Sinners shall behold nothing but the huge Host of their iniquities compassing them a­bout, and the Lord of Hosts fighting against them; Conscience shall reproach them, God will loath them, all Flesh will abhorr them, Isa. 66. last.

2. Gods Prison is a reproachful, ignominious and infamous Place: Here Gods Debtors are detained, here his Enemies are confined; this will be an Eternal Disgrace to the Prisoners, that a patient Creditor was put to arrest them, that a long-suffering God was necessi­tated to apprehend and shut them up: He hath sworn that to Him every Knee shall bow, Isa. 45.23. And those obstinate, stiff-necked Sinners would not willingly stoop to God, would not yield him any sincere Obedience, therefore God was obliged to bow, to break, to stoop them, whether they would or no. To be a Tree for Fruit, is honourable; but for Barrenness to be made a Tree for Fuel, [Page 124]is disgrace ful; to serve God only by their Sufferings and Torments, to illustrate the Story of Gods Justice by his Hating of them, and the Glory of his Power by Punishing them, this is infamous to Creatures. Dan. 12.2. it is said, some shall rise to shame and everlasting contempt.

3. The Prison is our own Place, Acts 25. Judas is said to go to his own Place. We have deserved to be cast thither, to be confined there for ever: Confusion of Face belongs to us, Dan. 9.8, 9. Death is the Wages due to our Ini­quities, Rom. 6. last. We have shewed the Power of our Enmity against God, and he may shew the Power of his Wrath against us, Psal 90.11. We are Children of Wrath by Nature, Eph. 2.3. so Hell is our Inheritance and Patrimony: We are Children of Disobedience, Eph. 2.2. and so Hell is our Purchase. God hath been exiled out of our Minds, Psal. 10.4 and we deserve to be ba­nish'd out of his glorious Presence. It is said that Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, Gen. 4.16. and the Prodigal went into a far Countrey, Luk. 15.13, 14. Thus Sinners do sinfully banish themselves from God, and a sinful Banishment doth deserve and may procure a poe­nal Banishment: If every Worker of Iniquity hath bid God Depart. Job 21.14, 15, They say to the Almighty, De­part from us; then surely it is but a just Recompense for Christ to say at last, Go ye Cursed into everlasting Fire prepared for the Devil and his Angels, Matth. 25 41.

(2.) I shall now proceed to some Directions, how you may escape this Prison.

1. You must Believe soundly that there is such a Pri­son: This Truth must be fixed on, and rooted in your Minds; it must not be a doubtful Opinion, but a root­ed Perswasion: God is wronged by wicked Men, and he must right himself; they have pressed him with their Iniquities as a Cart is pressld under the sheaves, and he must ease himself, Isa. 1.24. Ah, I will ease me of my Ene­mies, and avenge me of my Adversaries. Sinners rise up proudly against God, Psal. 138.21. Am I not grieved [Page 125]with those that rise up against thee? and God must humble and abase them: Psal. 73.29. Thou settest them in slippe­ry places, thou castest them down into destruction. Ungod­ly men break God's Yoak, Jer. 5.5. and therefore must be broken with that Rod of Iron that is in Christ's hand, Psal. 2.9. God will draw near to them in Justice, Mal. 3.5. I will come near to you to Judgment, that are gone far from God as to Obedience: Psal. 73.27. Lo those that are far from thee shall perish.

2. Acknowledge that you have deserved to be thrown into this Prison: Have you not lived without God in the World, Eph. 2.12. and and so have you not begun your Hell on Earth? have you not executed a great and griev­ous part of the Eternal Punishment on your selves, by neglecting Converse with God, and cutting your selves off from Communion with him? Have you not content­edly been without God in Time, and is it not righteous that you should be without him to Eternity?

3. Submit to the Spirit of God when it becomes a Spi­rit of Bondage to your Souls, Rom. 5.15. It is then a Spi­rit of Bondage, when it arrests the Conscience with a deep heavy sense of Sin; when it sets home the Threat­nings and Curse of the Law, when it seals to a Sinner a Sentence of Condemnation, and fills the Soul with the Terrors of God: Gal. 3.22. The Scripture hath conclud­ed all under Sin; the word [...] might as well be rendred shut up: The Scripture hath shut up all men, and all the Acts of the Natural man under sin; it is [...], all things that appertain and belong to the Na­tural man, and flow from him: For they that are in the flesh, cannot please God, Rom. 8.8. The Sacrifice of the Wicked, that is, his best Religious Service, is an Abomi­nation to the Lord: And the Prayer of the Wicked, that is, all his common Actions, are also an Abomination to the Lord, Prov. 15.8, 9. If the Sacrifice and the Way of the Wicked be an Abomination, then the Scripture may well conclude his All under Sin. Ungodly men seem to walk at Liberty, to be secure, merry, and uncon­cerned at Sin, the Wrath of God, and an Eternal State; but the Spirit of God comes and arrests secure Sinners, and shuts them up under the bitterness of Sin, and the [Page 126]dreadful sense of the Wrath of God; in this Case it is dangerous for Persons to shake off the Terrors of God, to despsse his Threatnnings, and to break God's Pri­son: Those that quench Convictions, and return to a loose and licentious Life, are in great danger of undo­ing themselves to Eternity. Be therefore perswaded, that the Spirit and the Scripture do mercifully shut up Unregenerate Men, and all their Actions under sin; it is not that they may sink under their Guilt, languish under their Disease, and perish everlastingly; but all this is to humble their proud Minds, and break their hard Hearts, that they may sue to Free Grace to remit their Debt, break their Chains, heal their Disease, and save their Souls. The Scripture shuts up all under sin, that the Promise by Faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe: The Spirit of Bondage prepares Per­sons for the Spirit of Adoption, that Men may act Faith on Jesus Christ, lay hold of the free Promise, and so have Justification and Salvation as an Alms of Mercy.

4. Listen to Christs Voice, that calls you out of the spiritual Prison, Isa. 49.9. That thou mayst say to the Pri­soners, Go forth; and to them that are in darkness, Shew your selves. O desire and cry to Jesus Christ to speak this effectually to your Soul: You need he should speak with a strong hand, Isa. 8.11. Look to Jesus Christ to open the door of Gods Prison, Isa. 61.1. and also to open the door of your hard heart. Acts 16.14. God opened the Heart of Lydia. O desire Jesus Christ to speak so, that your Chains may fall off, your Doors fly open, and you be brought out of darkness and the Prison-house, Isa. 42.7. You need to be sprinkled with the Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, to keep destroying Justice out: The Blood of the Paschal Lamb sprinkled on the Door­posts of the Israelites, was a Sign to the destroying An­gel that he was not to break into that House, or kill any there, Exod. 12.22.23. It is the Blood of Jesus Christ the True Paschal Lamb, 1 Cor. 5.7.8. that must be our Guard, Security, Protection; and where this is sprinkled, God sets a Sign on those Souls, that they shall not perish, but escape; that they are not appointed to Wrath, but to obtain Salvation by Jesus Christ. God saith [Page 127]in Isa. 66.19. that he would set a Sign among the Jews: Calvin on the Place, thinks that there is an allusion to the Blood of the Paschal Lamb sprinkled on the Isra­elities Doors, that was a Sign they should be safe: So Christs Blood applyed to us, and sprinkled on us, is a sure Sign and Token of our Salvation, that we shall not come into Condemnation, but find Mercy with the Lord: O therefore apply your selves by Faith to Jesus Christ as a Redeemer, Isa. 59.20. that you may be Ran­somed by the Blood he hath shed, by the Price he hath paid; address your selves to Jesus Christ as a Delive­rer, Rom. 11.26. that you may be Rescued by that Pow­er he can put forth. Jesus Christ is a Redeemer by Price, and a Deliverer by Power; these two conjoyn­ed do render him a Compleat and perfect Saviour. If Jesus Christ be a refining Fire to you in this World, Mal. 3.2, 3, 4. God will not be a Consuming Fire to you in the world to come, Heb. 12. last.

5. Repent unfeignedly of, and truly break off from your Sins: Mark 1.15. Repent and believe the Gospel. O wash your Hearts from Wickedness, put away the evil of your doings, escape that Corruption that is in the World through Lust, Jer. 4.14. Isa. 1.16, 17. 2 Pet. 1.4. Break and shake off the bond of Iniquity, Acts 8.23. Get out of the Snare of the Devil, 2 Tim. 2. last. and you need not dread the Eternal Prison. God will not con­demn those that bear his Image, live his Life, wage War with his Enemies. As you seek to Jesus Christ to quench the Fire of God's Wrath by putting his Blood on it, so do you pluck away the Fuel of this Fire by Re­pentance and continual Mortification; suffer in your Flesh, in your corrupt Nature here, 1 Pet. 4.1. that you may not suffer in your Soul for ever hereafter; dye to sin, that you may not dye for sin: If your Lusts do still find Favour with you, how can you hope to find Mercy with God? Curb your Flesh, restrain your selves from Carnal Liberty, and you shall be safe, and secured from eternal Bondage. Make a Covenant with your Eyes, Job 31.1 restrain them from wandring, and gazing on tempting and enticing Objects. Cry to God, Lord turn away mine Eyes from beholding Vanity, Psal. [Page 128]119.37. Keep your Hearts with all diligence, Prov. 4.23. suppress vain thoughts that spring up; quash sensual desires that are ready to sprout forth: The old man is a stock still budding; In-dwelling sin is still tempting; this Womb would still conceive, and bring forth Fruit to death; there is a Law in us, Rom. 7.21. that Satan hath enacted, Members that he hath made; Col. 3.5. Lusts that he hath kindled, 1 Joh. 2.15, 16. Our daily Work therefore must be to contend with our corrupt Wills and vile Affections; to fight against sin, to con­flict with and overcome our selves: He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second Death, Rev. 2.11. You must restrain your Tongues, and set a Watch before the door of your Lips; the Psalmist said, he would take heed to his ways, that he did not sin with his Tongue; he would keep his Mouth with a Bridle, Psal. 39.1. Much sin would be prevented if we did watch over our Words. Christs great silence when he was falsly accused, points at Sin­ners great sin in abusing their Tongues in rash and evil speaking. We must also refrain our Feet from the ways of Sin and Death, Psal. 119.101. I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy Word. By the Word of thy Lips I have kept my self from the Path of the destroyer, Psal. 17.4. Wicked men take Liberty to themselves to say or do what they please: Jer. 14.10. They love to wander, they have not refrained their Feet: It is dangerous for you to affect a Liberty for your cor­rupt Hearts, roving Senses, and wandring Feet. If you give Liberty to your Lusts, God will proclaim Liberty to the Sword, Jer. 34.17. Would you have Gods pu­nishing hand at Liberty to destroy you? would you have his Glistering Sword at Liberty to cut you off? shall all banks be cut, and the Flood of the Wrath of God be at Liberty to overwhelm and swallow you up for ever? Abridge your selves, deny carnal Liber­ty to your Flesh and it's Lusts: If you walk in the Narrow Way of the Law-giver, you shall not fall in­to the strait Prison of the Judge.


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