EIGHTEEN SERMONS PREACHED IN OXFORD 1640 Of Conversion, unto God. Of Redemption, & Justification, by Christ. By the Right Reverend James Vsher, late Bishop of Armagh in Ireland.

Published by

  • Jos: Crabb.
  • Will: Ball.
  • Tho: Lye.

Ministers of the Gospel, Who writ them from his mouth, and compared their Copies together. With a Preface concerning the Life of the pious Author, by the Reverend Stanly Gower, sometime Chaplain to the said Bishop.

He being dead yet speaketh.

LONDON, Printed by S. Griffin, for Will: Churchill Book-seller in Dorc [...]ster. 1660.

Pietate aequè ac Doctrinâ Praecellenti Viro Henrico Henley de Coleway in Comitatu Dorcestrensi Armigero, [...].’

EXimium illud quod semper exhibuisti (vir pientissime) Religionis specimen subsequentes hasce conciones sub nomi­minis tui vexillo haud immerito evocavit. Chara adeò Tibimet & cordi sunt Sacro­sancta Dei eloquia, ut quod tenuitas no­stra & facultatula amanuensis in hâc repraestiterit, nequaquam dubito quin pro singulari tuâ & Pietate & humanitate bo­ni consulere digneris. Authorem quod at­tinet, Panegyrin ille nullatenus nostram desiderat, quippe omnia quae meditemur Elogia multis parasangis superavit. Excel­sum adeo & Sanctimoniae & doctrinae api­cem attigit, ut elaborata illa & subsequens Praefatiuncula non immeritò ad caelos ipsum laudibus evexit, & encomiis sacris decora­vit. [Page] Nostrum est intereā Te, Te inquam (vir Ornatissime) candidū librorum aes [...]i­matorem appellare, qui singulari & pie­tate & peritiâ praeditus, de usu illorum & emolumento, aequo calculo statuere didi­cisti. Sagaci igitur has Tibi dicatas conci­ones dum introspicias oculo, facessant pre­cor & impuri & haeretici illi codices qui indies in lucem gregatim prodeunt, é quorum faetidis myrothecis vitiorum non remedium sed irritamentum, non salubre Alexipharmacon sed exitiale toxicum quam plurimi hauserunt; Imò facessant miselli isti Authores Daemonis impuri spi­ritu afflati, ut pote qui Reipublicae & Ec­clesiae detrimento sat consuluerunt. Non decet liberorum panem canibus objici, ne­dum canum offas sic liberis ingeri, ut Cir­caeo quasi fascinati poculo in canes ipsos, in boves, in hircos, in lupos transforma rentur. Interea temporis, tametsi ego (vir colen­dissime) imperitiae & tenuitatis meae probè conscius sum, minimè tamen dubitem quin & Tibi & aliis eximiè piis, congesta hocce in codicillo apprimè arrideant: spirituali­bus [Page] enim fidelium palatis, tam aptissime conceptus animi Doctor hic admodum. Reverendus & verè Ecclesiasticus accomo­davi [...], tam dilucide tradidit, utque pater nutricius ita praemansum cibum in os, & in aures fidelium verba sua inseruit, ut merito primas sui Ordinis tenuit, & sublimi suâ e­micuit sphaerâ — veluti inter ignes I una minores. Non equidem ignoro quae rege­rent prodeunti huic parùm propitii libel­lo, lubricis scilicet Amanuensium memo­riis plurima excidisse, veluti ex pertuso do­lio effluxa: nec sane inficias ire ausim. Ni­hilo tamen seciùs — Est quiddam prodire tenus, si non detur ultra. Nec adeo medio­crem hunc nostrum existimamus conatum, ut judicium cujusvis [...] praecipitatum non leviter rejiceremus. Parùm forsis dig­na tam eruditi Concionatoris authorita­te & eloquentiá aliquibus quaedam vide­antur, at illis qui divina sapiunt, valdè con­sona & gravitati & veritati sacrosanctae Scripturae reperientur. Luce clariùs pa­tet quid in causa est, omnes omnium aeta­tum, omnium ordinum homunciones, tan­tam [Page] pervasisse morum corruptelam, nimi­rum quod nec vitia ferre possumus nostra, nec remedia. Lavacrū Dei planè rejeci­mus, ideòque a faedissimis vitiorum inquinamentis nondum repurgamur. Quae auribus nostris excepimus, animis­que caelitùs impressa persensimus (quic­quid homines, vel Daemones contrasen­tiant aut loquantur) non possumus non palàm divulgare, ne aut propriae stolidissimè experientiae, aut Gratiae divi­nae petulantissimè refragari videamur. Ah! quoties & Religio & timor (illo concio­nante) auditorum animos subierunt? Quot mentibus fracti, & alto maerore adeò cor­repti & exanimati inter depingendos Sal­vatoris nostri cruciatus evaserunt, ut nul­las lacrymarum inducias admitterent, sed spiritus suspiriis, & dolori pectora sua de­voverunt, donec ille, ille inquam, qui vul­nera divino auxilio fecerat, quasi spiculis & aculeis caelitùs transfixos animos, sanguinis Christi applicatione tempestivè allevàsset? At! at! coelestis hic cecidit Praeco, eodē (que) ictu ne corruerent etiam conciones illae quàm mellifluae, tanti (que) plurimis audito­rum [Page] Emolumenti, ab interitu & oblivio­ne post tot retrò & elapsos annos quibus delituerunt, vindicantur. Et reverâ (absit jactantiae crimen) audacter hoc omnibus e­ditioni harum concionum parum faventi­bus reponere audemus, non alia usquam extare exemplaria majori Amanuensium diligentia & labore collecta; ideo (que) nes­cii, imò dubii annon post tantum silenti­um alia parùm genuina & ascititia proser­perent, Deo (uti speramus) auspice in publicum hoc emisimus. Tuis interim (vir dignissime) manibus haec chartulae dicatae posteris tradentur, nomen (que) tuum futuris saeculis non injuriâ praedicabunt, & cum il­lae sileant — Quod benè feceris mercedem tuleris. Deus opt. max. omnibus ingenii & gratiae dotibus magis magis (que) indies cu­mulatum, pietatis & religionis ortho­doxae, literarum & literatorum Patronum te diutissime incolumem praestet, obnixè ex animo vovet

Tibi (vir Ornatissime) omni observantià addictissimus JOSEPHUS CRABB.

TO THE READER.

Courteous Reader.

THese following Sermons are such, as several years since were taken from the mouth of that Man of God the reverend Armagh. When by rea­son of that bloody Rebellion in Ireland, this star of the greatest Magnitude, was forced to quit his proper Orb, it pleased the Lord, to fix him, as a shining, burning light, for some time in Oxon. Whilest there, he constantly spent himself, and was spent in preaching Christ and him crucified. This he did like himself, with that soundness, diligence, Evi­dence, faithfulness, and zeal, that he seemed not only willing to Impart the Gospel, but his own Soul unto us. To this day, we seem to see how the Bowels of that Elisha the (Charets and Horsmen of our English Israel) even [...]ern'd upon the sons of the Prophets. Poor [...]reatures, at that time, how was our English [...] [Page] A film of superstition, and profaness was there then grown over one of the eyes of this our Island! Our pulpits turn'd as it were into stages; and sadly prostituted to froth and jerks at godlinesse. As for truly learned, soul-searching, soul-saving Preaching, twas that which the most of us either knew not, or scorn'd. The mode of our then Sermons, was more to please the fancy, then to peirce the Heart; to tickle the Ear, rather then wound the Conscience, or save the precious the Im­mortal Soul. At that time, when we lay thus weltring in our Bloud and Vanity, was the Lord pleased to Cause this star to arise and shine in our Horizon, and by his light and influence to guide us to Bethlehem. A time of love it was, an accepted Time, a Time ne­ver to be forgotten, specially by those who through grace can from thence date the Aera of their sound Conversion. The persuasion of Armaghs incomparable Learning, the Observation of his awfull Gravity, the Evi­dence of his Eminent and exemplary Piety, all improved to the heigth by his Indefati­gable Industry, drew students to flock to him as Doves to the windowes. It joyes us to recol­lect how multitudes of Scholars, specially the [Page] heads of our Tribes, throng'd to hear the sound of his silver Bells; How much they were taken with the voice of this wise Charmer! How their ears seemed as it were fastened to his lips, that were like Lillies dropping sweet smelling Myrrh. How did many, very ma­ny at that time, Galatians-like, receive this Aged Paul, as an Angel of God, yea even As Christ. Surely if ever, twas then, that the Gospel ran and was glorified in Oxon. Then, then it was that the Lord seem'd to lay the foun­dations of his spiritual Temple there with saphires, and the Corner-stones thereof with Agats. Here might you have seen a Sturdy Saul changed into a submissive Paul, a per­secutor transformed into A preacher. There A tender hearted Josiah lamenting after the Lord, and with Ephraim smiting on his thigh, saying what have I done. Others with the penitent Jews so stabd at the Heart, as that they are forced to cry out in the Bitternesse of their souls, Men, Brethren, Fathers, oh what shall we do. These were some of the blessings from on high, which attended These Sermons when preached to the ear, oh that a like or a greater might follow them, now they are printed to the eye.

[Page]These Notes, tis true, were taken by such, who All had the pens of ready writers, and after that compleated by A strict compa­ring of several distinct papers. This is the Bo­dy, the Bulk of these Heavenly sermons. The gloss, the Spirit, The Energy of them, was and must be wholly from Above. We Trust, the publishing of these Notes will not be interpreted by any in the least to reflect on the unparalleld worth of the Preacher, to whose very Dust we owe A sacred Reve­rence. If any thing seems not to speak him let it be charged not on him, Male dum re­citas, &c. but the Publishers, who have only this to add, viz. Their fervent prayers, That these sermons may find the like influence on the hearts of others, in the rea­ding, that they had on their own in the hearing, then will Both have Abundant Cause to bless the Lord.

Thy Servants for Jesus sake, Jos. Crabb. Will. Ball. Tho. Lye.
Imprimator Edm. Calamy

A PREFACE Concerning the Author, and these NOTES.

THough I might be silent, concerning either the most famous Preacher of these Ser­mons, or these notes now published which were taken after him, yet such is the high esteem I have of him, and the due respect I hear to them for his sake cheifly, that I could not withstand the re­quest of divers who Importuned some Lines from me upon this occasion, both concerning the one and the other.

First I commend unto the Reader a diligent peru­sal of the life and death of the most Reverend and Learned Father of our Church Dr. Jam. Usher late Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of all [Page] Ireland, put forth by Reverend and Learned Dr. Bernard where he shall meet with many delightfull passages concerning, His

  • Stock and pedigree.
  • Great parts, Gifts, and Graces.
  • Ingenious Education.
  • Admirable Proficiency.
  • Timely Conversion.
  • Rare Learning.
  • Indefatigable Industry.
  • Strict and holy Conversation.
  • Pious Government of his Family.
  • Amicable correspondence with Forreign Chur­ches.
  • Prophetick Spirit.
  • Learned writings.
  • Comfortable Visitation.
  • Lord in spe­cial forgive my sins of omissi­on, see Dr. Ber. Life and death of the Arch. Bp. of Armagh. p. 110
    Dying words, never to be buryed.
  • Blessed Death.
  • Ever to be lamented Losse.
  • Fit Parallel to Samuel among the Pro­phets, to Augustine amongst the Fa­thers.

with many other things worthy Observation: and when he hath pondered these well, he will the lesse wonder that his name hath filled the Christian world as much as ever did Augustine or Athanasius of old, or Whitakers and Reynolds of later times.

Secondly I tender these spices gathered to the Em­balming of this Rare Phoenix out of his own ashes, hol­ding [Page] my self engaged as much as any to cast my mite in­to the treasury of his blessed memory, as having had my Bene esse most from him.

1 First, by him I was examined and admitted into the Vniversity near Dublin in Ireland, his native Ci­ty and Countrey above fourty years ago.

2 Secondly whil'st I continued there (which was the space of eight years) he took special care of me and ac­count of my studies there.

3 Thirdly by him I was ordained (or to use the Apo­stles word) put into the ministry, [...]. and the same day admitted his Chaplain in ordinary, now two and thirty years ago: though then able to do him little service; be­ing called to a Sheffeild in Yorkshire· Congregation in another nation: which call his Grace did then approve of.

Having given this account to the Reader I shall on­ly mention three things Concerning him, and forbear many more that might be added.

First, to the testimonies concerning him from Span­hemius, Ger. Vossius, Buchartus, Simplitius, [...]ud. de dieu. Paulus Testardus, Blessensis, Arnoldus Bootius, Mr. Selden, Dr. Prideaux, Bp. Dave­nant, Bertius, Mr. Cambden, Sir Rog. Twisden, and the whole University of Oxford, beside the forced testimony of his adversaries, Moranez. Beau­mont, (Alias) Rookwood, Challoner, Hen. Fitz-Symonds, for all which I refer to the book aforesaid; give me leave to add the testimony of Dr. William Chappel, sometimes fellow of Christs Colledge in Cambridge, and afterwards Provost of Trinity Colledge near Dublin: which from such an acute man as he was, may amount to the like equivalent testi­mony [Page] from the Universitie of Cambridge. He gave me once three reasons why he thought Doctor Usher (then James Meath Anagram, I am the same. See Dr. Bernard page 52. Bishop of Meath) was in his esteem the greatest Scholar in the Christian world.

1. One was, because of his rare natural parts, the foundation of his other Learning; having a quick Apprehension, a prompt Wit, a strong Memory, a clear Understanding, a piercing Judgement, and a ready utterance: Seldom (said he) shall you meet all these in an Eminent degree in the same person, but in him they so concurred, that it is hard to say in which he most excelled.

2. Another was, because few men though they had such parts were either able or willing to make so rich improvement of them, by choice Libra­ries, unwearied studying in them, and searching out the Rarities of any other: few mens bodies and brains (he beleeved) would bear it.

3. The third was, because he was so esteemed both in these Universities, and in those beyond the seas: and indeed whosoever conversed with him, found him (if they pleased to try it) a skilful Linguist, a Subtile Disputant, a fluent Orator, a profound Divine, a mighty Antiquary, an exact Chronologer, and indeed a living and walking Library; The greatest professors have admired the Concatenation of so much and such variety of Learning in one person.

1 1. Do but think; he that

  • [Page]Learned to read of two of his Aunts that were both blind.
  • Was converted from a state of Nature into grace at ten years old.
  • Was admitted the first Scholar into the Col­ledge at Dublin, and that upon design, by reason of his pregnancy and forwardnesse, at thirteen years of age.
  • Made an exact Chronology of good part of the Bible, and of some other Authors he had read, at fifteen years old.
  • Encountred a Jesuite at 19. years old, and afterwards was called by him (of such as are not Catholicks) the most Learned.
  • Was Master of Arts, answered the Philosophy Act, and chosen Catechist of the Colledge, when he went through a great part of the body of Divinity, in the Chappel, by way of com­mon place, at nineteen yeears old.
  • Commenced Batchelour of Divinity at twenty seven years old, and immediately after was chosen Professor of Divinity in that Vniver­sity.

Do but think I say how mighty he was, when beside his promptnesse in School Divinity, he had read over all the Fathers, and trusted his own eyes in the search of them by that he was thirty eight years of age, and was Master of all other Learning also.

2: Secondly▪ If any yet be found, that would detract from so accomplished a person, and indeed pillar of our Church in his Generation, by reason of the distance at [Page] which they stand from Prelacy, or by reason of their Engagement in the late civil and unhappy differences between The late King and Parliament; claiming to themselves Liberty wherein soever they differ from others, both in matters of Church and State, but al­lowing to others as little concerning either: to such as these (if they be such as deserve satisfaction) give me leave to say,

A Divine and Apostolical Bishop he was, and next to the Apostles, Evangelists, and Prophets, as great a Pastor and Teacher, and trusted with as much of Gods mind, as I believe any one since hath been.

An Ecclesiastical Bishop he was also, and the most able Moderator in Church assemblies: To him per­tained the double honour for ruling well, and for Labouring in word and Doctrine: Famous were two of his Predecessors in that See Dr. Ber. Epist. to the Reader in his life and death, &c. See of Armagh, in their Generations, the one for his sanctity, the other for his Learning, but both these Eminently met in him; John the Divine commendeth the Angel or Bishop of Ephesus, &c. and Ireland will do no lesse for this Angel or Bishop of Armagh.

But for Popish Bishops, none was further off then he: Witnesse his Learned Writings against the Romish Sy­nagogue, his Judgement within the bounds of a mode­rated Episcopacy; and when the Reader hath perused that See the Re­duction of E­piscopacy to the form of Synodical Government Received in the Antient Church: published by Doctor Bernard, in a Book entituled, The Judgement of the Late Arch Bishop of Armagh, &c. frame of Church Government drawn up under his own hand and now published, he will see what a good Bishop Doctor Usher was.

[Page]The last thing which I shall propose to the Reader, is The Crown God set upon the head of this Humble Saint, both in the Conversion and Edification of very many. Indeed 2 Sam. 1.22. his bow seldome turned back, nor his sword returned empty. God was mighty in him, which way soever he bent himself, either in Conviction, Conversion, or Consolation, wherein he had Isa. 50.4. the Tongue of the Learned given unto him; Witnesse the many Souls who were, and are his2 Cor. 3.2. Epistle known and read of all Men; Witness again the successe God gave to divers of his Encounters with Adversaries to the true Religion: some instances whereof the Learned Doctor that writes his Life hath given, to which many more might be added. Wit­nesse also such as were his frequent hearers, how mighti­ly the hand of God was with him, so that Acts 11.21. a great number beleeved and turned unto the Lord. If Dan 12.3. they that turn many to righteousnesse shall shine as stars for ever and ever, then this famous Evan­gelist is a star of the greatest Magnitude, and will be able in the strength of Christ to say after him, Heb. 2.13. Be­hold I and the Children which God hath given me.

And though the work of the Ministry is ours, the successe Gods, yet who so expecteth blessing from God upon his Labours, I cannot commend to such, a pat­tern more exact to be imitated amongst the men of this Generation, then this good Bishop, especially in these three things.

1 First in making his whole life an example of his do­ctrine: [Page] Tim. 4.12. an example in word, in Conversation, in Love, in Spirit, in faith, and in purity. Many there were who in that respect Reverenced him, though of the Romish Synagogue, as Mark 6.20. Herod did John the Baptist, knowing that he was a just and an holy man.

This blessed Preacher did Live all his Sermons, and had learned of Jesus who, Acts 1.1. [...]. began both to do and to teach. Nazianzens Epitaph on the life of Basil was true in him, His words were Thunder, his Life Lightning.

Secondly in making Christ and the Apostles the pat­tern of his preaching, this great Master in Israel was the most self-denying man in the pulpit, and the most Reverend and Christ advancing Preacher.

He preached Mat 7.29. with great Authority as did our Sa­viour to the Conscience1 Cor. 2.4, 5. his speech was not with en­ticing words of Mans wisdome, but in demon­stration of the spirit, and of power: that their faith might not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. How oft have I seen my self, and heard from others, whilst he thus prophesyed, some that beleeved not, coming to hear him, 1 Cor 14.24, 25. go away Convinced of all, Judged of all, and the secrets of their heart made manifest, and so falling down on their face they have worshipped God, and re­ported that God was in him of a truth. He was an Acts 18.24. Apollos an Eloquent man and mighty in the scriptures: he was another Paul in the preaching [Page] that did Collatis scrip­turae locis Pro­bans, nempe sicuti solent ar­tifices aliquid Compacturi, singulas partes inter se compa­rare, ut inter se alia aliis ad amussim qua­drent. Bez. In Act. 9.22. Efficere condescensionem ut sic dicam id est argumentis propositis efficere, ut aliquis tecum in eandem sententiam descendat. Mr. Leigh. Critic. sacr. In verb. [...]. compare Scripture with Scripture, and so make demonstrative Proofs from the spirit speaking in them Some that affected a frothy way of preaching by strong Lines (as they call them) after they heard him in Oxford decry that Corinthian vanity were much ashamed, and took up a more profitable way of preaching. Those words of his in a sermon at the Court before the King, are worthy to be printed in Letters of Gold, And oh! that God would print them in the hearts of all the Ministers in the World. Ser. before K. James Wansted. June 20. 1629 page 34, 35. Great Schollars (said he) possibly may think it standeth not with their Credit to stoop so low, &c. But let the Learnedst of us all try it when ever we please, we shall find that to lay this ground-work right, that is, to ap­ply our selves to the Capacity of the Common Auditory, and to make an ignorant man to un­derstand these mysteries in some good measure, will put us to the tryal of our skill, and trouble us a great deal more, then if we were to discuss a Controversy, or handle a subtile point of Lear­ning in the Schools.

3 Thirdly, In condiscending publiquely and privately to the Capacity of the meanest that heard or conversed with him, herein his wisdom was like unto Solomons stiled the Preacher, Ecl. 12.10, 11 because he was wise he did still teach the people knowledge, yea he gave good heed, and sought out, and set in order ma­ny proverbs, the Preacher sought to find out [...] ac­ceptable words, and words of truth, and as our Saviour that was greater then Solomon he [Page] would let truths substantially proved into the under­standing wish apt similitudes: and would John 16.5. Encourage any to move their doubts unto him in private: so that notwithstanding his greatness, good Christians might be very familiar with him, visit them in their sickness supply their wants, beg their prayers, and Counte­nance them in whatsoever Condition: all men might see Psal. 16.3. his delight was in the Saints, and that he was (as that King Acts 13.12. after Gods own heart) Psal. 119.63. a Compani­on of all them that feared God, in a word, he was a great proficient in that Lesson of our Saviour Math. 11, 29. Learn of me for I am meek and lowly in heart. This (I say) was the reason he grew so high in favour with God and man: he honoured God, and therefore God honoured him. A great and good draw-net he was that fished for souls and catched many: and let two sorts of Ministers gather from hence their respe­ctive Instructions.

1 First, let all those that list not to follow him in these paths of holiness, painfulness, and Humility. Take notice of Gods Justice in dealing with them as they have done with him. Mal. 2.4.5, 6, 7, 8, 9. His Covenant is with Levi of Life and Peace, and he gave them to him, for the fear wherewith he feared him, and was afraid before his name: the Law of truth was in his mouth, and Iniquitie was not found in his lips, he walked with God in peace, and equity, and did turn many a way from iniquity, for the priests lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the Law at his mouth, for he is the messen­ger of the Lord of hosts: but saith the Lord, ye are departed out of the way: ye have caused ma­ny [Page] to stumble at the Law, yee have corrupted the Covenant of Levi, saith the Lord of hosts. There­fore have I also made you contemptible and base before all the people, according as you have not kept my waies, but have been partial in the Law. Had we all the means in the world to make us great, if we either do not teach, or do not make our selves Exam­ples of what we teach, tis just with God we grow con­temptible and vile, for the mouth of the Lord hath spo­ken it. Esay 43.27.28. Thy teachers have transgressed against me, therefore have I prophaned the rulers of my Sanctuary. The Lord giveth this for a general Rule, as 1 Sam. 2 30. they that honour him he will honour: so they that despise him shall be despised.

2 Secondly. Let all holy painfull and humble Mi­nisters who make it their designe (as this fair Copy did before them) to advance God and fulfill the work of their Ministry, trust to his faithfulness for vindi­cating their esteem. No sort of men have greater pro­mises for provision, protection from, and in trouble, and for revenge of wrongs done unto them, then they have. What a dreadfull and prophetical prayer is that Moses made for Levi! Deut. 33 11. smite through the Loins of them that rise against him, and of them that hate him, that they rise not again. What though a generation of men Call even the best of such, Antichri­stian Lyars? false Prophets? and what not, did they not after this manner use Math. 5.12 and 10.25. Christ and his Apostles before them? They speak evil of the things they know not. None of Gods blessed truths and holy Ordi­nances have been otherwise used by them: their gene­ral outcry is upon all truths, Ordinances and wayes of [Page] Religion among us, as Antichristian: The Apostacie of the present age makes men fall from all things in Re­ligion, and with an impudent face to deny and deride them all. But did God leave these Jewels amongst men to be trodden under feet by such swine; shall they not dearly pay for it? Oh! that they would remem­ber what words came out of the mouth of him that is the very promptuary of all sweetnesse, and how highly he is provoked when such words are drawn from his blessed lips that drop honey: let them take them to whom they appertain, viz. Math 21.44. Whosoever shall fall upon this stone shall be broken: but on whom­soever it shall fall it will grind him to peices. If their own destruction will not take them off from tou­ching the Lords anointed, and from plucking the stars out of his hand, let yet the Anguish and vexati­on that shall accompany their destruction, either deter them, or confound them: for he hath said it who will make it good, that there shall be a Rev. 11.11. Resurrection both unto Gods truths, and to such as bear Testimony there­unto: Mean while, let this satisfie such as are faithful, whilest God and those that truely fear God prize faith­full Ministers, It matters not what the rest think of them, As King David said in not much an unlike Case, 2 Sam 6.22. of those shall they be had in honour.

I have now done with the most famous Author of these sermons, of whom I may as one very Learned said of Mr. Calvin, Calvino (illu­stri viro, nec unquam sine summi honoris prefatione no­minando) non assentior. Bp Andrews. De Vsuris. That famous Man, and never to be named without some Preface of Ho­nour. Or as another of a Learned and Godly Man, God hath so provided, that they who lived in Heaven whilst on Earth, shall live on Earth whilst [Page] in Heaven: That they shall leave their Names for a blessing, when others leave them behind them for a Curse. Or rather with the Apostle of Deme­trius, 3 John 12. he hath a Good Report of all men, and of the truth it self.

A word now concerning these Sermon Notes of his, by occasion of the publishing whereof I have thus inlarg­ed.

I suppose whosoever readeth and well considereth the two prefixed Epistles, one in Latine, the other in En­glish, and the Arguments therein contained, and know­eth the Reverend Framers of them, (for such testimo­nies are as the Testes) when he considereth I say,

  • 1. Their High Esteem of the most famous Preacher of them.
  • 2. The mighty power of God upon themselves, and many others when they were preach­ed,
  • 3. The care they took to put them forth,
  • 4. The ingenuous owning of any infirmities which the Reader may charge that seemes not to speak himself in the Publication of them,

He will not think either the will of the most Learned Bishop broken, or the Caution of the Learned and Reverend Dr. that writes his life not heeded, viz. That if any sermon notes taken from him have been printed in his life time under his name, Declarat. what books are his, what not. Dr. Ber. page 20, l 21. or shall be hereafter (which divers have of late at­tempted) the Reader is to take notice that it was [Page] against his mind, and that they are disowned by him, which as he endeavoured to his utmost to suppresse while he was living, so it was his fear to be injured in it after his death; For

1 First, These are no sermon notes taken from him, printed under his name: but under the names of those that took them after him.

2 Secondly, there is no fear he will be injured by this publication, when the publishers are so Candid, and in­genuous, to give unto him that which is his, viz. That he preached these sermons, and to take to them­selves that which is theirs, viz. any thing that seems not to speak him in the publication.

Thirdly if in his life time when he endeavoured to his utmost to suppresse such publications, there came out without his knowledge, and against his mind, That book entitled, See Dr. Ber. Loc. Citat. The sum and substance of Christi­an Religion, some of the materials with the Method only his, collected by him in his younger yeers for his own private use, but the rest Tran­scribed out of Mr. Cartwrights Chatechisme, and Mr. Crooks, and some other English Divines, dissonant in divers places from his own judge­ment; he was yet very well content any indu­strious person that would cut off what is weak and superfluous therein, and supply the wants thereof, and cast it into a new Mould of his own framing, should make what use he pleaseth of the materials therein, and set out the whole in his own name, Because he perceived it had done much good: Then I say it may be supposed had he yet been alive (as I hope his good name will never dye) he [Page] would have been contented upon the same account to let these notes go forth. The publishers were high honourers of him, men of Learning and Judgment, and though all be not taken which perhaps he spake, and somthing perhaps also himself would have pared off, (as it is scarce possible for any man but himself to publish, either sermon, or any thing else came out of his mouth, in that exactnesse himself would have done it;) yet is here no­thing added of their own, here is only (as they say) See their Epist to the Reader. the body, the bulk, not the Glosse, the spirit, the energy of them. These things considered it is hoped (which they trust) Ibidem. the publishing of these notes will not be interpreted by any, in the least to re­flect on the unparalleld worth of the preacher, to whose very dust they professe to owe a sacred re­verence.

I rather think it were a kind of sacriledge, had they not done it, if these three things be well and duely weighed.

1 First, that much good hath been done to very many, by such notes taken from other eminent Divines, and otherwise published then the Authors themselves would have sent them abroad. Witnesse the works of Dr. Pre­ston, Mr. Bolton, and many others, some of their sermons printed by themselves look not like those of their sermons printed by others; yet Learned men and Godly, have blest God that they were published. Mr. Cotton wisheth See Mr. Cot­tons Epist. to Mr. Hilder­sams Book on John 4. that such sermons or Let­ters as happily have layen by many yeers might be brought to light: such little things as the Au­thor would hardly acknowledge under his own name, might be of special use and esteem unto o­thers. [Page] And his reason is, why should any talent be buryed in a napkin, or candle lye hid under a bushel, which being set on a Candlestick might give light to all that are in the house? yea those See Capt. Bell. Narat. before Luth. Mensal. Colloq. divine discourses at Luthers table, &c. More loose than these sermons, did much good in Germany, (as their translator te­stifyeth) and being by strange providence preserved to posterity, and made to speak English, was judged by a great Prelate of Canterbury, a work worthy of eternal memory, and that he had never read a more excellent divine work: and that the more he did read them, the more desire he had to go on therewith: and that he would make it known to the then King, what an excellent peice of work was translated, and that he would procure an or­der from his Maiesty to have the book printed, and to be dispersed throughout the whole King­dome, as it was in Germanie. Yet is that book censured by Polanus to be Liber ille [...]onvivalium sermonum non est Lutheri, nec Luthero appro­bante aut etiam vivente editus sed est Rapso­dia sine Judicio & Intellectu consarcinata. Po­lan. syntag. de canonic. Authorit. script. page fol. 45. neither Luthers, nor published by any approbation of his, but a rapsody patched together without understanding or judgment, and printed after his death. None such will be found in these sermon notes: something of Luthers spirit may be discerned in these Colloquies, But much more of the Gracious and heavenly spirit of this unparalleld Bi­shop. The Reader will misse in these notes indeed the exactness of his Immanuel, or the incarnation of the son of God so accuratly couched that you cannot find a word defective or redundant; nor will he find these notes like the two sermons published by himself: but yet they may meet with acceptance. by reason of the diligence of those that attest them.

[Page]Secondly, That if God blesse the reading as he did the preaching of them, none of his surviving friends but may rejoice that in them Heb 11.4. he being dead yet speaketh. Indeed those worthy men do it upon an higher account then some, others perhaps did like them from the Rhetorick, Language, or Learning Couched in them, It was the heavenly Art, the spiritual Effica­cy and power, the soul-searching, soul-saving vertue that took with them, they found them to peirce the heart and Conscience, more then tickle the ear or fancy of their hearers. Bp. Andrews serm 7. of Rep. and Fast. The true praise of a sermon (saith one of note) is some evil left, some good done upon the hearing of it, one such fruit were a more am­ple commendation, then many mouths full of good words spent, and copies taken and prin­ting, &c. and sure it is, on whom a sermon works aright, it leaves him no leisure to say much, or use many words, but makes him rather full of thoughts. Thus did these sermons the hearers, if you read the epistle prefixed, so that were it but for this to let the world see how much this Master of all lear­ning condiscended, and sought to profit rather then please, it were reason enough for their publication.

Some testimonies are left behind him under his own hand, how he could both speak, and write, and preach; let these notes taken after him be testimonies how much he condiscended; and let them serve for patterns to such as think it below them (especially in such Audito­ries) to preach as he did, a Crucifyed Christ in a Cru­cifyed style. I have heard Dr. Hoyle (my learned Tu­tor, who dyed professor of Divinity in Oxford, after he had many years been the like in Dublin) say, when [Page] this Famous Bishop proceeded Doctor of Divinity, He thought Tully himself could not have excelled him (had he been alive) in eloquence at that time, which appeared not only in his set speeches, but those which oc­casionally fell from him upon the By: and he was one that could well judge. But now that he preacheth ad populum though in Oxford, you have this Eagle stoo­ping as low to prey upon souls to win them to God, pro­claiming all along,John 3.10.19. I am not the bridegroom but the friend of the bridegroom. and (as Nazianzen) I thank God I have a little learning to sacrifice to Christ. such a Precedent is worth the print­ing.

Thirdly that had not this course been taken, a worse might have befallen, directly contrary to the will of the godly Bishop: For some of these notes were in the hands of divers persons, who were much taken with them, and much desired, (and it was feared might have endeavoured) a private printing of them, more imperfectly then now you have them. That faithfull Minister mentioned in the frontispiece whose Latine E­pistle is prefixed, having with much adoe got this Copy out of their hands, thought (as the rest who have attested it 'twas much better to publish these as now you see them, then to indanger the creeping out of a more surreptiti­ous Copy.

The general subject of these Sermons is of Conversi­on, and so mightily did the Lord blesse them, not on­ly to the Edification [...] and Consolation of very many, but also to the Conversion (as we have good cause to judge) of some.

I will say no more, the Name of Doctor Usher, by [Page] which he is more known to some, and the Name of the most Reverend and Learned Father of our Church, Doctor James Usher, late Arch Bishop of Armagh, and Primate of all Ireland, by which he is more known to others, not onely in these our King­domes, but in forreign parts; his great and good Name I say, every where as oyntment poured forth, prefix­ed before this Book (though with some allay) is enough to raise high Expectation of whatsoever cometh after these words: and is argument enough to invite the Reader to look within and read them over: and then he will find the least filing of this Master workmans Gold very precious. Good Wine (they say) needs no bush, and if this Wine was so sweet at first running, I presume whosoever tasts it now, though he have it but at the second or third hand, will find it hath not alto­gether lost its strength, nor will he repent his labour in reading what was taken after him, if he be one that desires to profit his soul more then to please his Palat. That out of the ashes of this Phoenix, the Lord would raise such successors as may by Pen, Life, and Doctrine, do as this burning and shining Light hath done be­fore them, is the prayer, but scarce the belief of him that prayeth for the peace and prosperity of Je­rusalem, and therein hopeth to have his share in the Concurrent prayers of every Godly Reader,

Stanley Gower.

Speedy Conversion the onely means to prevent imminent Destruction.

Heb. 4.7.‘Again he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, to day after so long a time, as it is said, to day if you will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.’

I Have enter'd on these words in the other Vniversity on a day of Pub­lique Humiliation, as being suita­ble to the occasion, the chief mat­ter of them being the Doctrine of the Conversion of a sinner.

Forasmuch as Gods judgments are abroad upon the earth, and hang over our heads, the only means to prevent and remove both temporal and eter­nal, is our speedy conversion and return unto God. Else he will whet his sword, bend his bow, and make it ready to our destruction, Psal. 7.12. God did bear a deadly hatred against sin in the time of the Psalmist, and so he doth still, for his nature cannot be changed. If we return not, we are but dead men. The eternal weight of Gods wrath will be our portion, both here and in the world to come, if we repent not.

[Page 2]In the words there are three observable Points.

Obs.1. Continuance in sin brings certain death. Or, For sin Gods judgments are on particular Na­tions and persons.

Obs.2. If particular Nations or persons turn away from their evil courses, no hurt shall come near them.

God takes no delight in the death of a sinner, nor that he should despair of his mercy: but would have us turn out of the broad way which leads to destruction.

Obs.3. It behooves every one speedily to set about the work of conversion.

Nor esteem this a vain word. I bring you those things whereon your life depends. Obeying it you are made for ever, neglecting it you are un­done for ever. Unless you embrace this message, God will bend his bow, and make ready his ar­rows against you. Know therefore 1. That con­tinuance in sin brings certain death. There will be no way of escaping but by repentance, by com­ing in speedily unto God.

The words of this Text are taken from Psal. 95. Harden not your hearts as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness. If when God calls us either to the doing of this, or leaving that undone, yet we are not moved, but conti­nue in our evil wayes. What's the reason of it? It's because we harden our hearts against him. The Word of God which is the power of God to salvation, and a two-edged sword to sever between [Page 3] the joynts and the marrow. The strength of the Al­mighty encounters with our hard hearts, and yet they remain like the stony and rocky ground: whereon though the Word be plentifully sown, yet it fastens no root there, and though for a sea­son it spring, yet suddenly it fades and comes to nothing. We may have a little motion by the Word, yet there's a rock in our souls, a stone in our hearts, and though we may sometimes seem to receive it with some affection, and be made as it were Sermon-sick, yet it holds but a while, it betters us not: why? because it's not received as an ingrafted word. Therefore saith St. James, Receive with meeknesse the ingrafted word, Jam. 1.21. Let the word be ingrafted in thee; one sprig of it is able to make thee grow up to everlasting life. Be not content with the hearing of it, but pray God it may be firmly rooted in your hearts; this will cause a softning. To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts against Almighty God. If you do, expect him also to come against you in indignation. Hearken what he saith by his Prophet. I will search Jerusalem with candles, and punish the men that are setled on their lees, that say in their heart the Lord will not do good, neither will he do evil, Zeph. 1.12. Mark, I will search Je­rusalem, and punish those that are setled on their lees. When a man is thus setled and resolved to go on in his sins, to put the matter to the hazard come what will come, there's a kind of Atheism in the soul. For what do's he but in a manner reply, when God tells him by his Minister that he is preparing [Page 4] the instruments of death against him, do you think us such fools to believe it? What does this but provoke God to swear that we shall never enter into his rest. What's the reason of this? It's be­cause men are not shifted, they have no change, they are setled on their lees. Moab hath been at ease from his youth, he hath been setled, and hath not been emptied from vessel to vessel, neither hath he gone into captivity, Jer. 48.11. Consider we whether our security comes not from the same cause: We have not been emptied from vessel to vessel, we have alwayes been at rest. Why have we so little conversion? There are two things hinder it: the hardening of a mans heart against the Word, and our setling our selves on our lees. When we we have no change in grace, we are secure, we ne­ver see an evil day. And this is that which slays the foolish person. Wo to them that are at ease. It were better for thee to be emptied from vessel to vessel, to go into captivity. For as long as a man continues thus in an unregenerate condition, he can look for [...]othing but troubles; certain judg­ments must necessarily follow, and as sure as God is in heaven, so sure may they expect misery on earth: and they shall receive the eternal weight of Gods wrath treasured up against the day of wrath: Therefore there is a necessity of our con­version if we will keep off either temporal or e­ternal wrath. Our Saviour makes it the case of all impenitent sinners to be liable to wrath: One judgment befell the Galileans, an other those on whom the Tower of Siloe fell: But what saith our [Page 5] Saviour, Suppose you that these were greater sinners a­bove all the men of Jerusalem? I tell you nay, but except you repent you shall all likewise perish, Luk. 13.3. All, every mothers son here present, if you turn not from your sinful courses, God will meet with you one time or other, if you harden your hearts against him be sure. Who ever hardned his heart against God and prospered? As long as a man is in this condition, his state is woful. As many as are in the state of unregeneracie, are under the power of Satan, 2 Tim. 2.25, 26. Mark the Apostles words, In meekness instruct those that oppose themselves, if God peradventure will give them repentance to the ac­knowledging of the truth. And that they may reco­ver themselves out of the snare of the Devil, who are taken captive by him at his will. The state then of the hardned & setled on their lees, is as a bird in a cage, taken alive at the will of the Fowler. So is it here, as long as we continue obstinate and hardned, we are taken alive at Satans will, we are at his disposing. While we are at liberty, we are way laid by his nets and traps, and taken we are at his pleasure: As long as we are hardned in heart, we are in the Devils cage: true repentance is that whereby alone we purchase our freedome, whereby we recover our selves; and therefore in Rom. 2.5. Hardness of heart and impenitency signifie the same thing. After thy hardned and im­penitent heart thou treasurest up unto thy self wrath a­gainst the day of wrath. Mark then: what's a hard heart? It's an impenitent heart. Dost thou har­den thy heart? then know that for the present [Page 6] thou art a dead man. If notwithstanding all Gods threats out of his word thou art not a jot moved, thou art dead whilst alive, as the woman that lived in pleasure. And if thou continuest so, thou treasurest up wrath against the day of wrath, and the just revelation of Gods judgments. Gods Word is the especial meanes to recover thee. A man that is in a swoun, they rub him to recover him, because there's life in him; but if dead, strong-waters, or any thing else cannot restore him. Examine thy self then, does the working of the Word rub and gall thee? it's a sign there is life in thee; but if it make no impression, it moves thee not, it's a sign of a dead heart. Con­sider then the danger of this condition for a man to resolve on his evil courses, never purposing to alter matters. It exceedingly hastens Gods judgments.

But leaving this, I proceed to the second point, which is to direct us how to work our escape. Though God threaten us, yet if we have but the grace to look about us, and remember our selves: If God do but cause us to consider we have to deal with a merciful Father, and make us meet him by humiliation, then though our sins were as scarlet, yet submitting our selves to our Judge, living as obedient subjects, the storm shall passe from us: So that this is the 2d. point.

2. Notwithstanding God threatens us, yet if he gives us but grace to repent, and bethink our selves, let our sins be never so great, we may be sure of mercy.

O that we could see with what a gracious God [Page 7] we have to deal! Canst thou but humble thy self? all these things shall speak peace unto thee. As an impenitent sinner is under the power of Satan, and liable to all misery: So contrariwise whoever returnes and seeks the Lord, is sure to be under his wings, and free from all evil. Thinkst thou that God makes use of threatnings for thy hurt? No, he deales not with us as an angry Judge, but as a compassionate Father; men will take an enemy alwayes at an advantage, when they may do him most hurt. Gods terrors over­take us, he threatens us that he will do this and this, that we may prevent it. He knows that un­less his terrors awake us, we will rest secure. Be­fore he smites us he tells us. I will whet my sword: He hath bent his bow, and made it ready: He hath prepared his instruments of death, Psal. 7.12, 13. He could shoot thee presently, and instantly run thee through, but he threatens thee, that so he may not strike thee. See what the Prophet A­mos denounces from the Lord, Cap. 11, 12. I have given you cleannesse of teeth, I have with holden rain, v. 6, 7, 8. I have smitten you with blasting and mil­dew, v. 9. I have sent amongst you the Pestilence, v. 10. yet have you not return'd unto me. Therefore thus will I do unto thee O Israel, and because I will do thus unto thee, prepare to meet thy God O Israel, v. 12. What judgments have befallen us, have befallen us for our own use, if so be we will be warned by them. The reason why God saith he will over­throw us, is not because he meanes to do it, but that we may prevent him by repentance. Look [Page 8] into Jer. 3.1. and see what wonderful passages are to this purpose: Ther's a Law-case. If a man put away his Wife, and she go from him, shall he return un­to her again? shall not that land be greatly polluted? But thou hast plaid the harlot with many lovers. And in the 20 v. As a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so have you dealt treacherously with me, O house of Israel. And yet see Gods unspeakable mercy. Return again unto me. And 23. v. Return ye back-sliding children, and I will heal your back­sliding: turn to me, and Ile not cause mine anger to fall upon you. Only acknowledge thine iniquity that thou hast transgressed against the Lord thy God, v. 13. See God makes us the worst and vilest of all, and yet as it were intreats us to return. See then the Conclusion of the second Point; how, if God give us but grace to repent, let our former evils be what they will, the danger is past.

But I leave this and come to the Third, for which I chiefly chose this Text. You have seen how dangerous a thing hardness of heart is, how it brings certain death: and that if we have the heart to repent, we are safe. As to make it appear in an instance. It's not the falling into water, but the lying under it that drowns a man. Art thou faln into sin? only lift up thy head: if thou canst be but thus happy, the promise of salvati­on belongs to thee. The main thing then is this.

3. It behooves us to set about the work of repentance presently.

God is angry with us, and we know not whe­ther [Page 9] God will execute his judgments on us this day or no, therefore go about it presently. God will remove all our adulteries, and put away all our sins, if we will come to him within a day. Now what madness is it to neglect it? After a certain time (saith the Apostle) according to that in the Psalmist, Psal. 95. God hath limited a certain day: Thou hast provoked the Holy Ghost, and now he limits thee a day, Heb. 3.7. Wherefore (saith the Holy Ghost) to day if you will hear his voice. Now is it safe think you to pass this day? A hard heart is a provoking heart, and as long as it con­tinues hard, it continues provoking God, and despising the Holy Ghost. To day therefore hear his voice, that is, this present day. But which is that day? It's this very time, wherein you stand before God, and in which you hear me. If you embrace the opportunity, happy are you; if not, you shall give as dear an account as for any thing you ever heard in your life. There is no dallying with God, take his proffer, take him at his word in a matter of salvation. He calls to thee to day, peradventure he will speak no more, therefore Heb. 3.13, we shall find it's a limited day. Exhort one another to day, whilst it's called to day, lest any of you be hardned through the deceitfulness of sin. While it is called to day, that is, stay not till to morrow, but embrace the present opportunity: This day God holds out the golden Scepter, and my life for yours if you accept it you will be saved. If you take it not to day, your heart will be more hardned to morrow; and so it may be you will [Page 10] never touch it; your hearts will be like stones, and you'l be uncapable of yeilding. God is angry with us, Psal. 7.11. Why? He is our adversary, because we bear arms against him, and will try the mastery with him. We oppose him in hostile manner as long as we continue sinful against him. What's the best counsel in this case? Agree with thine adversary quickly while thou art in the way with him. It's wisedome to do that soon, which must of necessity be done. If it be not, we perish for ever. Kisse the Son, lest he be angry, and thou perish from the right way, Psal. 2. ult.

Obj. Obj. But what needs such haste, I may do it hereafter, when I come to my journeys end?

Sol. Sol. There needs haste. The day is limited. A thousand to one, if God be angry, but we perish from the way. I have heard thee in an accepted time, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee, behold now is the accepted time, now is the day of sal­vation, 2 Cor. 6.2. It's a day of salvation, and would not we be glad to know this time? Behold this is the accepted time. Seek the Lord while he may be found, call on him while he is near. This is the accepted time, this is the day of salvation, Esa. 49. Embrace this time, for now he may be found; this instant is the time, the [...], the pre­sent now. God at this time stirrs the waters, if now thou wilt step in and close with God, casting down thy weapons, then this will be the day of thy salvation; this is call'd, as Gods day, so our day: O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, if thou hadst known in this thy day the things that belong unto thy peace, but now they [Page 11] are hidden from thine eyes, Luke 19.42. Mark, If thou hadst known in this thy day: So that if we pass by in this acceptable time those things which be­long to our peace, they will be hidden from our eies. Therefore should the enemies of Jerusalem lay her even with the ground, because she had neglected this opportunity, the day of Gods visi­tation. Wilt thou be so hard-hearted as to put from thee Gods grace? If thou findest now that Satan hides this from thee, and perswades thee to do it to morrow, and to take a day of thine own, neglecting Gods day, Know and remember that he is a lyar from the beginning.

Give me leave to presse this to you, for no­thing more brings destruction, then this putting from us the proffers of Gods grace; unlesse we return to the Almighty, humbling our selves, there will be bitterness in the end. There's the matter, whether God must wait on us, or we on him? This is the day of salvation, saith God, and we must take time to think of it, whether it be seasonable or no. Alas

1. By this means we incur the highest presum­ption: and this is no light thing inconsiderately to be passed over. Shall God offer you such a proffer, and you be so presumptuous as to think such a one more seasonable? It's high presumpti­on for thee to make thy self wiser then God, to neglect that he prescribes, and that with a pro­mise too; as if thou hadst God at command. If thou resolve to take to morrow, it is requisite that thou have 1. Space to repent, and

[Page 12]2. Grace to do it. Now neither of these are in thine own hands, if they were, thou hadst ground for a farther delay. If thou hadst power to say, I will live so long, or could by thine own might prolong thy life, it were something, but it's o­therwise. In refusing Gods proffer, thou refusest him that hath thy life in his hand. What high presumption is this? See it in Jezabel, Rev. 2. I gave her space to repent, but she repented not. As if God should have said, it's I gave it her, I gave her time to live, I might have cut her off in the midst of her whoredomes. Observe here by the way the reason why God gives us this space; it is to repent. What presumption must that be, when we will go quite contrary to God? and be­cause we have space, therefore we will not re­pent. Why does not God smite thee from hea­ven, when thou thus audaciously settest thy self against him? Why do's he not strike thee with a thunderbolt? Sure he gives thee this space not to spend it idly, but to another end; not to follow our lusts, neglecting Gods call, but that thou mayst remember thy self, and return with all thy heart. Remember those words of the Prophet, My times are in thy hands, Psal. 35. He said not, my times are in mine own hands; for he knew it was grand presumption. Why then should any challenge that to himself, that belongs to God, as if he were the lord of his own life, supposing Gods call unseasonable, and that he may think on it better hereafter? May not a young man die soon? now an old man cannot live long. Many strong [Page 13] and lusty m [...]n are brought to the gr [...]ve as well as the weak and feeble. And why should we suffer Satan to abuse us thus? Thy space then is pre­served in Gods hand, and therefore thou mayst not be Lord and Master of it. But admit God grant thee space, yet thou mayst not have the grace to do it. What was Jezabels case, Rev. 3. Though God gave her space, yet she repented not. What canst thou tell what may then become of thee? perchance thou mayst live long, yet mayst thou never find as much as thy thoughts on repen­tance, much less the grace to do it: thou mayst not have a desire that way, much lesse perform it. Re­pentance is not a thing at our own command. In meeknesse (saith the Apostle) instruct them that op­pose themselves, if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledgment of the truth, 2 Tim. 2.25. If God will give it them. It's a thing then it should seem in Gods hand, it's his proper gift. Mark, the Apostle would have Gods Ministers to be humble and meek; but how many are of other spirits? If anothers opinion be contrary to theirs, they are in a heat presently, as if a man were master of himself and of his own heart, to believe what he would. No, no, Repentance is a grace out of our reach, it's not in a mans own power. Be meek therefore in instructing. What needs passion? that helps not the matter. The opening of the eies of the blind is in Gods hands; thank him for what thou seest, and know that 'tis his gift, Acts 5.31. The Apostle speaking of our Saviour Christ, saith, Him hath God exalted with [Page 14] his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. The grace of repentance then is no herb growing in our own garden, it's a gift of Gods bestowing. And to this purpose is Acts 11.18. When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, then hath God also to the Gentils granted repentance un­to life. As God grants life, so repentance unto life. I have heard Ephraim bemoaning himself thus, saith the Lord, Thou hast chastised me, and I am chastised as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke, turn thou me, and I shall be turned, Jer. 31.18. And to the same purpose, Lam. 5.21. Turn thou us unto thee, O Lord, and we shall be turned. As if Zion should have said, we are no more able to turn our selves then a dead man. After that (saith Ephraim) I was turn­ed, I repented, and after I was instructed, I smote upon my thigh: I was ashamed, yea even confounded. See then what an high presumption it is for a man to presume he hath this grace of God at command: But as it is high presumption, so

2. It's the highest contempt and despising of the grace of God, Rom. 2.4. Despisest thou the riches of his goodness, and forbearance, and long-suffering? Thus is it here. God gives thee space: thou hast it, but imployest it not in what God gave it thee for. Thou deferrest the main businesse; and the A­postle accounts it no better then despising the proffers of Gods grace and goodnesse. Dost thou think God will take this at thy hands? wilt thou despise him, and think he'l not despise thee? With the froward he will shew himself froward. God [Page 15] will come on a suddain, if thou makest not use of thine opportunity, and take all away from thee. The threatning is plainly laid down, Rev. 3.3. If thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour, I will come on thee. It's spoken to us all, and therefore concernes us all: Whoever hath an ear to hear let him hear. They are Gods words I have spoken to you this day, and you shall be accountable for them: let not the Devil steal this from you, hold it fast, this is your day: If thou shalt not watch, Ile come on thee suddenly as a thief. It's the heaviest judgment can come on unconverted persons, ir­regenerate soules, not to awake till God comes on them, never to bestir themselves till hell rouze them up. Thus will it be with us, unlesse we a­wake by repentance, God will come stealing on us as a thief by suddain death, and speedily cut us off.

To pray against suddain death, and not to fit thy self for it, is to add contempt to thy presum­ption and rebellion. The wise man tells us, That man knoweth not his time, as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare, so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them, Eccles. 9.12. Mark, when it falls suddenly, at unawares, here's thy wisdom then to provide that thou mayst not be taken suddenly. If the good man of the house knew at what time the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to have been broken up. And therefore Christ counsels us to [Page 16] watch, since we know not the day nor hour when the Son of man cometh. Here's the difference then be­tween wisedom and folly. Hereby may we know whether we are wise men or fools, if we foresee this day, and provide for it, it's an argument of wisedome, if we watch so as that when it falls, it may not fall on a sudden on us. If we are neg­ligent of this day, and suffer our hearts to be dead as Nabals, like a stone, 1 Sam. 25. He had a great time of repentance, ten daies, yet repented not, for his heart was dead, and like a stone; and this may be thy case, if thou despisest the day of thy salvation, Gods day, and thine own day too, thou mayst be a Nabal, no more moved then a pillar in the Church, as I have found by experience.

But you may reply, I suppose God will not take me at an advantage, I trust I shall have life and space, and not Nabals condition; I hope I shall have my wits about me to be able to cry, Lord have mercy upon me.

But suppose God give thee a tender heart, and thou are sensible of thy danger, that so thou call and cry earnestly to God for mercy, yet this is a miserable condition. Thou shalt find it will not be enough to cry Lord be merciful to me. If thou neglectest him here, he will cry quittance with thee on thy death-bed: Nor do I speak this of my self; no. Look what Wisedome faith, Because I have called and ye refused, I have stretched out mine hand and no man regarded, but set at nought all my coun [...]el, and would none of my reproof, I also will laugh at your calamity, I will mock when your fear com­eth, [Page 17] Pro. 1.24, 25, 26. As if he had said, you refused me on my day I call'd & cry'd unto you, but you set at nought my words, and rejected my coun­sel, and were wiser then I, therefore will I laugh at your destruction: when you are in miserie I will mock and deride, in stead of succouring. A ter­rible thing will it be, when in stead of hearing our cries to answer them, he shall deride us, and laugh at our folly and madness: And in the 28. verse, Then shall they call upon me, but I will not an­swer, they shall seek me early, but they shall not finde me. See what folly then it is to let slip this time. This is the acceptable day, Esay 55. Seek the Lord while he may be found, call on him while he is near. When a man refuses Gods day, God will not hear his prayer, all his sighs and sobs, his groanes and cries, shall not prevail, Esay 66. I will choose their delusions, and will bring their feares upon them; because when I called, none did an­swer; when I spake, they did not hear. When men will needs be choosers of what God would not have, God will have his choise too, and it shall be that which will be displeasing to them. I will choose their delusions, and will bring their feares upon them.

Heb. 4.7.‘Again he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, to day after so long a time as it is said, to day if you will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.’

THe last day I entred on the opening of the place, and shew'd.

How the Lord had proposed a li­mited time for our conversion unto him, in which we should hear and o­bey his voice.

We shew'd farther how it was Satans policie to make men seem wiser then God, that when God proposes a certain time, and limits us a day wher­in he will be found, we will not have his, but our own. True, say we, God calls on us, and it's fit and convenient to hearken unto him; but yet Ile stay for a more seasonable opportunity. There is nothing provokes God so much against us, as when we will thus scorn that acceptable time he hath proposed: Nor can there be a greater hin­derance to repentance, then to stop our eares at his counsels, and to suffer him to call and cry un­to us so long, and yet to abuse his patience by a foolish neglect. It accuses us of rebellion and high presumption, on such infirm grounds to put from us the day of salvation. Folly it is in the [Page 19] highest degree to trust on the future, when as in our own hands we have neither space nor grace for such a businesse. God is the Lord and owner of them both, and will not part with his Prero­gative. Go to, you that say to day or to morrow we will return unto the Lord. You adde to presumption both folly and rebellion. Jezabel had space to repent, yet she repented not, for she had not the grace; that without this will not benefit.

Seeing then these are not in your power, har­den not your hearts as in the provocation: Nor offer despight unto the Holy Ghost, by whom you are sealed to the day of redemption. If we embrace not Gods day, we despise the riches of his good­nesse, long suffering and patience. Rom. 2. De­spisest thou the riches of Gods grace, not knowing that the long-suffering of God leadeth to repentance? There can be no higher presumption then this, to bid defiance to the Spirit of God: Nor can there be greater contempt of mercy, then to set light of the time of our repentance, and returning unto God, making that the greatest argument of our delay, which God uses to draw us to him. God gives us space, that we may repent, and we repent not, because he gives us space: He gives us life, that with fear and trembling we may set about the businesse of salvation, and we through strong delusions put from us the proffers of his grace, as if they were unseasonably offer'd. What madnesse is it to frustrate the Almighty of his ends and purposes? The Lord is not slack touch­ing his promise. It's a great stop and hindrance [Page 20] to our progesse in goodnesse and the work of re­pentance, when we distrust God, and take him not at his word. He sends abroad his Embassa­dors, who proclame, This is the accepted time, this is the day of salvation, to day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts; yet we put this day from us, and say hereafter is a more acceptable time. I have this delight, this pleasure to take first in the world, I am not so weaned from it as I would be. As if God would take it well from our hands that we should then return to him when there is no remedy. Ile fi [...]st use all the pleasure the world affords me, and then Lord have mercy on me will serve the turn. This is the very stifling of the beginnings and proceedings of Christianity. Let this be well and speedily weigh'd, as we tender our good and comfort.

Obj. Obj. But may some say, what needs this haste, may we not use leisure? soft and fair goes far.

Sol. Sol. True, soft and fair goes far, if a man goes fair­ly in the way. In this case, though thou go but soft­ly, thou mayst come to thy journeys end; but the doubt remains stil, there is a question whether thou art in the way or not. Happy are we if we are, al­though we can but halt & limp on in this way: al­though this should be no ground for us to con­tent our selves therewith. We must not tri­fle in the wayes of holinesse. It's that concernes our life, and must be seriously thought on, and that speedily too. Agree with thine adversary quick­ly while thou art in the way with him. God is thine [Page 21] adversary, unlesse thou agree with him speedily, his patience will break forth into fury. Kisse the Son lest he be angry, and thou perish from the right way. Thou hast no assurance of thy life, thou mayst be snapt off whilst thou thinkest it time enough to repent and return. As long as we go out of the way of repentance, we are in the way to hell, and the farther a man goes in a wrong way, the nearer is he to hell, and the greater ado to return back: and i [...] this regard soft and fair may goe far; but 'tis far out of the way, far in the way to perdition and destruction. As long as we are out of the right way to heaven and happinesse, we are in the path that leads directly to the chambers of death.

But let me in this particular unrip the heart of a natural man. What's the reason, that when God gives men a day, and cries out, This is the day of salvation, this is the accepted time, what in the name of God, or the Devils name rather, should cause them to put salvation from them? to defer and desire a longer time? Thus a natural man reasons with himself, I cannot so soon be taken off from the profits and pleasures of the world; I hope to have a time when I shall with more ease and a greater composednesse of mind bring my self to it: or if it be not with so much ease, yet I trust in a sufficient manner I shall do it: where­fore for the present Ile enjoy the profits and de­lights of the state and condition wherein I am; I will solace my self with the pleasures of sin for a season, I hope true repentance will never be too late.

[Page 22]This is well weigh'd; but consider whether these thoughts which poise down our hearts, be not groundlesse; see whether they will hold wa­ter at the last; and whether in making such excu­ses, to great presumption we add not the height of folly. To pretend for our delay the profits and pleasures of sin, and yet hope for heaven at the last, as well as the generation of the righte­ous; it's but a meer fallacy and delusion of Satan, to fill our hearts with such vanities. Can it be expected that we should have our good in this world, and in the world to come too? This is well, if it might be.

But let us try the matter, and begin with your first branch.

You are loth to part with your profits and pleasures.

But consider what a grand iniquity this is. Can you offer God a greater wrong and indignity? Do you thus requite the Lord you foolish and un­wise? Dost thou think this the way to make thy peace with God whom thou hast offended, as long as thou mayst to be a rebel against him? What an high dishonour is it to him, that thou shouldst give him thy feeble and doting old age, and the Devil thy lively and vigorous youth, thy strength and spirits? Dost thou think he will drink the dregs, and eat the orts? will he accept thee in the next world, when thou thus scornest him here? If you offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not an evil? If you offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? Offer it now un­to thy governor, will he be pleased with thee, or accept [Page 23] thy person, saith the Lord of hosts? Mal. 1.8. But mark how he goes on, v. 14. Cursed be the deceiver, which hath in his flock a male, and voweth & sacrificeth unto the Lord a corrupt thing. Mark, God accounts such service a corrupt thing. Never look for a bles­sing from God in heaven, when thou sacrificest to him such corrupt things. We are to offer and present our selves a living sacrifice, holy and accepta­ble unto God, Rom. 12.1. Now judge whether they offer God the living, who say, when my do­ting days come, my lame days, that I cannot go, my blind dayes, that I cannot see, Ile offer my self a sacrifice to God, Will this be acceptable to him? Is not this evil, saith the Lord, to offer me such a cor­rupt thing? Nay more, he's accursed that offers such an offering, such a polluted sacrifice. God will not like with it, when we serve our selves first with the best and choise? Do you thus requite the Lord? do you think he will accept it at your hands? Go offer such a gift to thy Ruler, to thy Prince, will he accept it, or be pleased with it? No, a Landlord will have the best and the choise; and it must needs provoke God, when we give him the refuse. I am King of Kings, saith the Lord, my name is dreadful, and I will look to be served after another manner. Let no man then thus de­lude himself with vain hopes, but let him con­sider how dishonourable a thing it will be to God.

2. And how unprofitable to him, whoever thou art.

1. It's the ready way to thy destruction. Hea­ven, [Page 24] and happinesse, and eternal life, are laid up for those that embrace the acceptable time; death, horrour, and eternal misery for those that refuse it; and wilt thou hazard soul and body on this? Moses, on this ground, did rather choose to suffer affliction in this world with the people of God, then to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a moment. When these things are past, what profit will you have of those things whereof then you will be ashamed? When a man comes to see truly and throughly into him­self, he will find no profit of such things as these: death will certainly follow us, both temporal and eternal, if we repent not the more speedily, that's all the profit we shall find.

2: But suppose thou prevent everlasting death by repentance, yet what profit is there of those things whereof we are now for the present ashamed? The best can come is shame.

3. Thou art loth to part with the pleasures of sin for a season, and hereafter thou thinkest thou canst amend all. But consider the particulars, and then shall you see how you are befool'd in your hearts and soules. Believe it for an undoubted truth, there's nothing in the world by which Sa­tan more deludes a man, then by this perswading him to neglect his day, and repent well enough hereafter. That you may expel this suggestion out of your soule, pray unto God that he would go along with his Word, and cause you to lay this to heart, that by his Spirit your understand­ing may be enlightned to see the truth. Though I make this as clear as the Sun, that it is a false [Page 25] supposition and meer folly on which we build, in deferring our return to God, yet God from hea­ven must teach you, or you will be never the wi­ser. Know therefore that this very day God reaches out the golden Scepter to thee, and what folly were it to neglect it, since thou knowest not whether he will ever proffer it thee again: And assure thy self that he is a lyar that tells thee thou mayst as well repent hereafter as now: and this will appear whether we consider, the order of out­ward things in the world, or the nature of sin.

1. Order of outward things.1. For external things, every Age after a man comes into the world (if he embrace not the pre­sent opportunity for repentance) is worse then other, and are each of them as so many clogs which come one after another to hinder it. As for thy childish Age, that's meer vanitie, and thy riper Age will bring many impediments and hin­drances that youth never thought of. Thou art then troubled about many things, and perplexed how to provide for maintenance; in the midst whereof know that thou hast not a body of brass, but a corruptible and fading body: and yet such is the folly of the heart of man, that the less ground he hath to go, the fewer dayes to spend, the more he often provides, and is the more co­vetous. Consider that the wisest of men gave thee this counsel, Remember thy Creator in the day of thy youth, before the evil dayes come, wherein thou shalt say thou hast no pleasure in them. Here we find it's a youthful thing, and should be a young mans practice: not according to that devilish saying, A [Page 26] young Saint, and an old Devil: but Remember thy Creator in the dayes of thy youth. The more sin thou committest, the more unapt thou art to repent. Custome in sinning makes thee a Lot; the elder thou growest, the more loth to go out of Sodom. Besides,

2. The nature of sin.2. Consider what sin is in its nature. It is a weight, Heb. 12.1. Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us. Sin is then a weight, and so an heavy thing; but add sin to sin, a weight to a weight, and it becomes heavier and heavier. A man that is in the state of impeniten­cie, hath this weight laid on him, and is subject to the Devil, in a state of rebellion against God. A man now in this estate is weigh'd down, what will he be six, seven, or ten years hence, going on in his impenitency? How will he then shake that off, which now he cannot free himself of? He must hereafter buckle against it with a great deal of disadvantage, and wrestle with more difficul­ty: One sayes well, that if we consider of sin aright, it's like the rising of water, over which a man being to passe, and finding it higher then it was wont to be, he stayes a while, and then tryes again, and finds it higher then before: he stayes yet longer, till it become unpassable, so that he may not adventure without great disad­vantage. Thus it is with sin: now peradventure the waters of iniquity are passable, if thou wilt, thou mayst go over, but if thou delayest the ad­venture, the streams of sin will run together into one channel, and be more difficultly passed.

[Page 27]Take another Metaphor from the Scripture: The Scripture compares sin to cords, Sin is compa­red to cords. which are instruments of binding, and therefore the myste­ry of the Gospel is expressed by binding and loo­sing; Whose soever sins you shall bind on earth, they are bound in heaven, but whose sins ye remit, they are re­mitted. Every sin thou committest is a bond, and binds thee hand and foot against the judgment of the great day. Therefore it's said, His own iniqui­ty shall take the wicked, and he shall be bound and hol­den with the cords of his sins. Now consider what folly it is, when a man shall say, though my sins are so many cords difficult to be broken, yet Ile not trouble my self about it in my younger days, but Ile stay till my old age, and then I hope I shall be the better able to break these bonds, and cast all these cords from me; when as every iniquity I commit is as a new cord, which binds me faster and faster. Is not this madnesse it self to think so, that in our younger yeares being scarce able to break one of them, in our dotage we shall be able to break ten thousand together? And cer­tainly this is the disposition and nature of sin.

3. But add hereto the Argument in the Text:To defer re­pentance har­dens the more To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your heart; but repent while it is called to day. Shewing that if we passe this day, we shall be harder and harder. Wherefore, saith the Apostle, Exhort every one another daily while it is called to day, lest a­ny of you be hardened through the deceitfulnesse of sin, Heb. 3.13. As if he had said, if thy heart be hard [Page 28] to day, it will be harder to morrow. Custome in sin hardens the heart, and takes away the sense of it. Wherefore, saith the Apostle, I speak after the manner of men, because of the infirmitie of your flesh. For as ye have yeilded your members servants to uncleannesse and to iniquity unto iniquity, even so now yeild your members servants to righteousnesse, unto ho­linesse, Rom. 6.19. So that we see if a man once give himself up unto sin, he will not be satisfied therewith, but will give himself up to iniquitie unto iniquitie. What's the meaning of that? It's as if he had said if we give our selves up to iniquity, we will not rest there, but we'l add iniquity unto ini­quity, sin unto sin: we will be brought to such a custom in evil, as that it will be easier for a black­moor to change his skin, and a leopard his spots, then for those that have been accustomed to do evil, to learn to do well, Jer. 13. It will be to as much purpose to wash an Aethiopian, as to go to put off that ill cu­stome, and shake off that second nature. Sin is a hammer, and sin is a nail too. Every sin strikes the former sin home to the head, that whereas before it might easily have been drawn out, it roots it in so fast, as that it can very hardly be plucked out. Mark how the Apostl [...] describes this cursed na­ture of sin: Having eies full of Adultery, and that cannot cease from sin, beguiling unstable soules, a heart they have exercised with covetous practises, 2 Pet. 2.14. What makes a man prompt in any thing but exercise? When a man is exercised in sin, see the event of it: it brings him to that vicious habit, as that at length he cannot cease from sin. If a [Page 29] man deal with a young twigg, it will bend and break at his pleasure; but when it comes to full growth, it's past his strength. So fares it with sin: if thou dealest with it whilst thou art young, and it in thee, before it hath taken [...]oot, thou maist easily wield it, at least with more facility then otherwise thou couldst; but if thou let it run on to confirmed habits, it be­comes immoveable. Wherefore, saith the A­postle, Heb. 12.1. Let us lay aside the sin which doth so easily beset us. The reason is evident, because else we shall be so hardned, as that we shall not be able. A man that hath a green wound, if he'l seek for his cure betimes, it may be quickly and easily remedied; but through delay it begins to fester, and must be lanced to the quick, not without great pain and anguish to the Patient. Sin is such a wound; if it be let [...]lone, it corrupts; and proud flesh the more grows up, the longer the cure is delayed. This [...]herefore should be a chief thing we should take heed of, how we put from us Gods time, and the proffers of mercy till another day.

2. But there are another sort as greatly be­ [...]ol'd as these, yea more, if more may be:The folly of those that defer their re­pentance till death. and [...]ose are they who put it off till the hour of [...] death, till the last gasp, as if they desired t [...] [...]ive God as little of their service as possibly th [...]y might, who think if they can but cry Pec­cavi, [Page 30] and Lord have mercy on me, when their breath departs their bodies, they shew a good disposition, and perform such acceptable ser­vice, as that God cannot chuse but grant them a pardon: But think not all will be well if thou shalt shake hands with God at thy journeys end, when thou hast not walked with him all the way.

Obj. Obj. But did not the thief repent at the last on the Crosse, and why may not I on my death bed:

Sol. Sol. This is no good warrant for thy delay, for Christ might work this miraculously for the glory of his Passion. Trust not therefore on this, nor content thy self with good intenti­ons, but set about the businesse in good earnest and presently. Our death-beds will bring so many disadvantages, as will make that time very unseasonable: whether we respect.

Impediments to repentance on our death-bed.1. External hindrances, such as are pangs and pains in thy body, which must be un­dergone: and thou shalt find it will be as much as thou well canst do to support thy self under them. Every noise will then offend thee; yea thou wil not be able to endure the speech of thy best friends. When Moses came to the children of Israel, and told them God had sent him to deliver them, what acceptation found this comfortable message? The Text saith, Exod. 9.6. They heark­ned [Page 31] not through anguish of their spirits. Trust not to death-bed re­pentance. See here the effects of anguish and grief: Moses spake comfor­tably, but by reason of their pains they hearkned not unto him; they were indisposed to give atten­dance. So shall it be with us on our death-beds, through the anguish of our spirits we shall be un­fit to meddl [...] with ought else; especially when the paines of death are upon us, the dread where­of is terrible: how will it make us tremble, when death shall come with that errand, to cut off our soules from our bodies, and put them into posses­sion of hell, unlesse we repent the sooner. Now thou art in thy best strength, consider what a ter­ror it will be, what a sad message it will bring, when it comes not to cut off an arm or leg, but soul from body. Now then make thy peace with God: but that these men are fooles, they would through fear of death be all their life-time in bondage. It's the Apostles expression, Heb. 2.15. The con­sideration hereof should never let us be at rest till we had made our peace with God; it should make us break our recreations and sports. The considerations of what will become of us, should put us in an extasie. Nor are these all our trou­bles, besides these, outward troubles, when a man is to dispose of his wife and children, house and lands, so that he must needs be very unfit at this time for the work of rep [...]ntance. These things will cast so great a damp on his heart, as that he shall be even cold in his seeking after peace with God.

2. But suppose these outward hindrances are [Page 32] removed, that neither pain of body, nor fear of death seize on thee, neither care of wife nor chil­dren, houses nor lands distract thee, but that thou mightst then set about it with all thy might, though thou wert in the most penitent condition that might be to mans seeming, yet where's the change or new nature should follow thy contriti­on, unlesse we see this in truth, we can have but little comfort. Shall I see a sinner run on in his ill courses till the day of his death, and then set on this work,It will be hard to prove death-bed repent­ance to be ound. I could not conclude therefore the safety of his soul, because it's the change of the affections, not of the actions, that God looks af­ter; for the fear of death may extort this repen­tance, where the nature is not changed. Take an example of a covetous man, which dotes on his wealth more then any thing else in the world; suppose him in a ship with all his riches about him, a tempest comes and puts him in danger of losing all, both life and goods, in this strait he sticks not to cast out all his wealth, so he may preserve his life; and shall we therefore say he is not covetous? No, we will account him never­thelesse covetous for all this, nor that he loved his goods the lesse, but his life the more. It's so in this c [...]se when an impenitent person is brought upon his death bed [...] to cry out in the bitternesse of his soul, If God will but grant me life; and spare me now, Ile never be a drunkard, swearer, or covetous person more. Whence comes this? Not from any change of his nature, and loathing of what he formerly loved, but be­cause [Page 33] he cannot keep these and life together: fear alters his disposition, the terrors of the Almighty lying upon him. I have my self seen many at such a time as this, that have been so exceeding full of sorrow and penitent expressions, that the stand­ers by have even wished their souls to have been in the other souls cases, and yet when God hath restored them, they have fallen into their former courses again; And why is this? but because when repentance comes this way, it alters only the outward actions for the present, not the sinful dispositions, things that are extracted from a man, alter the outward appearance not the nature. Therefore saith the Lord, Ile go and return to my place till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: In their affliction they will seek me early, Hos. 5. last. Mark, when Gods hand is on them, they will seek him: and as in the 6. Chap. 1. v. say one to another, Come let us return unto the Lord, for he hath torn and he will heal us, he hath smitten and he will bind us up: How penitent were they when Gods hand was on them: but let it once be re­moved, and hear how God presently complaines of them: O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? O Judah, what shall I do unto thee? for your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away. Mark, thy goodness is as a morning cloud, such a good­ness as is extorted, that is as temporary as earth­ly dew! Another considerable place we have in the Psal. 78.34. When he slew them, then they sought him, and they returned and enquired early after God. Was not this a great conversion? When they were [Page 34] in this dismal condition, they were not troubled with cares, for Wife or Children, Houses or Lands, how can we think but that these men died in peace, that were in so good a humour; yet see what followes, verse 36. Nevertheless they did flat­ter him with their mouths, and lied unto him with their tongues.

Besides, consider the unworthiness of it; Ile forsake sin, when sin forsakes me: We leave it, when we can keep it no longer: Thank you for nothing, may God say, if you could you would sin longer, this is that folly which deferring our re­pentance brings us to.

But to draw to a conclusion: God hath set us a certain day, and if we pass the time woe be to us. For though he is full of mercy and patience, yet patience hurt oftentimes harmes, and provokes the Almighty to fury. God will not alwaies strive with man, Gen. 6.3. but his daies shall be an hundred and twenty years, if he convert in that space, and return, well, if not, he shall be swept away. And to this pur­pose is that parable, Luke 13.6. A certain man had a fig-tree planted in his vineyard, and he came and sought fruit thereon and found none, Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, behold these three years I came seeking fruit on this fig-tree, and find none: Cut it down, why combreth it the ground? There is an appointed time then fore-ordained by God, wherein he offers us grace. Let it alone, saith the dresser one year more: it may be seven years, or ten, it may be but two hours for ought thou know­est, that God may offer thee longer this space. No [Page 35] man knowes the time, and its continuance, but he that hath appointed it to this purpose: which is a point I thought not to speak of, but now I will.

You hear much talk of Gods eternal, & everlast­ing election, and we are too apt to rest on this, that if we are elected to salvation we shall be saved, and if not, we shall be damned; troubling our selves with Gods work of Praedestination,What use to make of Ele­ction and Re­probation. where­as this works no change in the party elected, until it come unto him in his own person. What is Gods election to me, that he chooses the godly, and refuses the wicked? Its nothing to my com­fort, unlesse I my self am actually elected. We are to look to this actual election. The other is but Gods love to sever me. But what is my actual e­lection? Its that, when God touches my heart, and translates me from the death of sin, to the life of grace. Now there are certain times which God appoints for this election, wherein he uses the means to work on us, and of which he can say, what could I do more then I have done? Now if it be thus in the point of election, what must we think of the point of reprobation? May there not be actual rejection as well as actual election? And mayst thou not fear since thou hast lived thus long under the means of grace; That God hath waited these, not only three but many years, the dew of heaven continually falling on thee, and that yet thou shouldst remain unfruitful. Doest thou not fear, I say, that dismal sentence, cut it down, why combreth it the ground? Gods grace is [Page 36] not to be dallied with, as Children doe with their meats, if we do thus slight him, he may justly deprive us of all. See a terrible place to this purpose, Heb. 6.7, 8. The earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God; but that which beareth thornes and briers, is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing, whose end is to be burned. Consider these places, God calls us where the droppings of his grace are; consider then, do we bring forth that fruit which is meet for the dresser, answerable to those continual distillings and droppings on us? If our conscien­ces witnesse for us, happy are we, but when there have been these showers of grace out of Gods Word flowing down upon us, and yet we have received so much grace in vain; O what can we then expect, but a curse in this life, and e­ternal death in the world to come? What can we look for, but the fig-trees curse which was bar­ren? The tree was not cut down but withered: We are near the same curse, if we answer not Gods grace. When we have had so long a time, the Ministery of the Word, and yet suffer it to be lost, through our barrennesse, our condition is sad and woeful; we can look, for nothing but withering.It's our wis­dom to arm a­gainst Satans fallacy, and hearken to God in his ac­cepted time. But beloved, I must hope better things of you, and such as accompany salvation: Labour therefore to prevent, and arm your selves a­gainst this suggestion and fallacy of Satan, and re­solve to hear God in this acceptable time, now to set to the work, which if we do, all will be well. [Page 37] God will be gracious to us. If otherwise, we are undone for ever. Till you have learned this lesson, you can go no further. Wherefore let not Satan possesse you with that madnesse, to cause you to passe and let slip this golden opportunity, through a false conceipt, that you may have a more seasonable day of your own for repentance hereafter.

Gal. 6.3, 4.‘For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoycing in himself alone, and not in another.’

HAving entred on the Doctrine of the conversion of a sinner, in that Text, Heb. 4.7. upon which depends our everlasting salvation. I laboured to perswade you of the necessity of taking the accepted time, of embracing the prof­fers of Gods grace, and of the necessity of doing it speedily.

I shewed you that there is a certain time in which God will be found, and that this time was the present time.

I declar'd unto you the great danger that [Page 38] would follow, if we took not God at his word, but refused his day for a day of our own, as if we were wiser than he; If when God calls, and holds out the golden Scepter, we refuse to draw neer and touch it: Also what danger there is of being de­luded by Satan, and our own hearts.

I shewed you farther, that the work was half done if this were done, if we could but learn this lesson.

And now all that I shall speak will be to little purpose, if this be not first wrought. If it be al­ready wrought in us blessed are we. Our condi­tion were thrice happy, would God now strike in, and cause us to return to himself. It's not good to dally with God, the time will come when it will be too late, when we shall wish we had done otherwise, and taken the accepted time.

Now I will go on to a farther point, which is this, When Satan cannot prevail with a sinner, to say to his soul, or to think with himself, I will do it hereafter, or I will at the day of death, when he cannot prevaile with him to defer it and leave it quite undone for the present: then he will give way to his doing a little to it, but it shall be so su­perficial, and on such false grounds, that he had as good leave it undone; For Satan makes him thus conclude with himself, well, since I see it is a duty so necessary, I will not defer, I will not put it off to an hour, but yet I see no such matter required in conversion, no such great need of being new moulded. But now in the point of conversion, there are two things to be thought on.

[Page 39]1. First what estate the sinner is in for the pre­sent, and then when he hath made search, and found it to be amisse, then the next thing is, he must turn unto God, and resolve to amend.

I shall not now stand to speak of that common aspersion cast upon Religion, and the wayes of God (that men must sail to Heaven by the gates of Hell) of which many are so much afraid: But yet we must not think that our Saviour came to heal those which are whole already; he's a God of wisedom, and the Physician of the soul; he comes to find that which is lost: So that we must be lost in our own apprehensions, if we will be found as David was, Ps. 119. ult. He first saith, I have gone astray like a sheep that is lost, then seek thy servant. If now we are once lost, we are lost for ever if he seek us not; therefore we should first consider with our selves what estate we are in now, how the case stands with us at present, that if God should come and strike thee with death, if thou wert now to come to Judgment, what would trouble thee most, what couldst thou then answer him? Therefore since it is uncertain how soon God may deal thus with thee, it is wisedom to be always ready. Lam. 3.40. Let us search and try our wayes, and turn again unto the Lord. Let us first try how the matter stands with us at the present, let us examine our selves and our ways, and see if all be well, and then may we go on with comfort in the way wherein we are.

But when we have searched, and find things not to goe as well as they ought, or that we are [Page 39] not in a right way, then after our searching we must

2 Turn unto the Lord: Thus the Prophet did, Psal. 119.57. I thought upon my wayes, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies. First he thought on his wayes, he considered whither he was going, whether to Heaven or Hell; then when he had thus thought, he made haste and turned his feet unto Gods testimonies: Here are both put toge­ther: first he made haste and thought on his ways, and then he turned.

I took this Text to shew that one of these is as dangerous as the other, and how men are apt to deceive themselves in their search and examina­tion. 'Tis as dangerous not to prove our wayes, as to put off and defer our turning to God. This is a dangerous disease, that when men come to examine and try their spiritual estates, they have false weights and unequal ballances to prove themselves by: they are very willing to save themselves the labour, though they be deceived. A man is loth to be cozened by another, but here is his folly, that he is willing enough to de­ceive and betray himself. Such fools the Devil makes many men, because they take not right glasses to look on themselves in, and so they de­ceive themselves. For if a man think himself to be something when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself; but let every man prove, &c.

In the words here are,

  • 1. The Disease.
  • 2. A Remedy.

[Page 41]1. The Disease is in the 3d. v. If a man think himself to be something when he is nothing, &c. this is a common and dangerous disease; and a disease which is both common and dangerous is the more to be feared, the more care [...]ul must the Physician be. This is the most common disease, for there is not a man but finds a snatch of it in his own heart. And it is the more dangerous; for who is in more danger then he that is blind and will be blind? that is willing to be cheated by Satan and him­self. This is the patient. Now what his disease is, and the dangerousnesse of it, the Apostle tells us: He thinks himself to be something, and is nothing. This is the patient to be cured, and that is his disease, then which none more common: for there is not the worst of men but will say, I thank God I am something, and I am not half so bad as the Preacher would make me, I have some good thing in me.

Now this his disease stands in two things.

  • 1. That he is nothing.
  • 2. That he thinks himself to be something.

1. He is nothing. And for a man to be brought before Gods Judgment-seat, and have nothing to answer, how will it fare with him then? but yet this man cannot but think he is something: well then something he is, but nothing to the purpose: As we say of an Idol, An Idol is nothing in the world: that is, Nothing that can help or succour those that bow to them, and adore them, nothing that they should have in them. An Idol is something indeed, for it is silver, or gold, or brass, or stone, [Page 42] &c. but it's nothing, that is, is nothing to the purpose, nothing that can plead for a man when he holds up his hand at Gods bar.

2. He thinks himself to be something, though he be nothing: He thinks he shall come to Heaven, though he be not in the way; as the foolish Vir­gins, that thought they should be let in, feared not the contrary, till they came there: So these men walk in their way all their life, and yet fear not entrance into Heaven, till they receive sen­tence to the contrary. If these men knew them­selves to be nothing, they would seek something for themselves; but now they are nothing, though they think themselves something. This is the Disease.

2. The Remedy is in the next verse, Let him pro [...]e his own work. Let him look himself in a true glasse, and that is the point we shall insist on. If then Satan shall not delude us in deferring and putting off our repentance; so let him not de­ceive us with a false conceit of our wayes and e­state; that we may not make our selves some­thing, when we are nothing. Therefore let us see what false glasses they are that men get to them­selves. If Satan bring us to have a good opinion of our selves, and our condition, and perswade us that it is not with us as precise Preachers tell us; that it's no such matter to go to Heaven, but that it may be done with lesse paines and more ease: when, I say, Satan lulls a man asleep with such plausible things as these, he hath him where he would have him. Why then no marvel if this [Page 43] man like his ways, when he looks upon them with false glasses.

1 Glass. Self-love.1. The first false glass is self-love, and the pro­perty of love is to make the good things in the party it loves very great, and the vices very lit­tle. Self-love represents nothing in it's true shape. The Apostle speaking of the later dayes, 2 Tim. 3. saith, There shall be perillous times: And wherein lieth the peril? Men shall be lovers of their own selves. As if he had said, that is one of the worst perils, for a man to have a great conceit of himself. If one be sick of this disease, it will so blind him, that he shall never see a thing in its right place: we may see it by the contrary in the want of love. Suppose to a neighbour, for example; he that is full of malice and envy towards his neighbour, (consider what a false glasse this is) the man that wants love, see how the good and bad deeds of his neighbour shew themselves to him: when he looks on the good actions of his neighbour, they appear but very small, he is alwayes abridging and contracting his vertues and good things, ma­king them seem lesse then they are. On the o­ther side, all things he sees amiss in him, this want of love makes them far greater then they are. Love breeds the contrary; when a man loves himself, his good things seem very great, and his evil things very small, those he abridges and contracts; and hereupon is that instance brought of the Jewes, Rom. 2.3. Thinkest thou O man that judgest them them that do such things, that thou shalt escape, &c. When such a man looks upon his own sins, [Page 44] they appear small to him; but when on the in­firmities of others, they seem very great. With one eye he looks on himself, with another on his neighbour. This man perchance is drunk as well as his neighbour, covetous as well as him, yet he concludes them great evils in his neighbour, but extenuates them within himself: self love causes this difference. As long as this sways us, that we love things because they are our own, we shall ne­ver be able to guesse at our own condition. If a­nother man should look on you both, would he not account thee partial? If a man hath a son or a daughter, though they be not so wise or beau­tiful as another mans, yet he delights in them as much, he loves them because they are his own. Let a man be born in a barren Countrey, he will praise it most, not because there is none so good, but because he loves it best, it is his own Coun­trey. Thou wilt never be a good Judge of thine own estate if thou viewest thy self in this false glasse, for it will easily deceive a man.

True, I know self-love is a deceitful glasse, and looking therein, a man will be favourable to him­self, and so deceive himself, for it renders things in a bigger shape then they are. But

2 Glass. Others good opinion.2. I thank God my neighbor also, and all others that know me speak well of me. I have not only a good conceit of my self, but every man about me can speak well of me, cannot say, black is mine eye. I have a good report of all men. But if this were enough and sufficient to assure thee of the good­nesse [Page 45] of thy estate, it were well, but it is not e­nough. True it is, a good report from men for fair and honest dealing is not to be despised; yet it will do no good unlesse thou have it from God. It was one of the happinesses of our Saviour that he was in favour with God and men; it was with God too as well as men. When both meet toge­ther it's well indeed. Demetrius in John 3.12. we read, had a good report of all men, and of the truth it self. To have a good report from men, and also from the truth, is an happy thing: but having it not from the truth, Woe to us when all men speak well of us. What folly is it to rest upon a good report from men, when I have it not from the truth? The like madnesse it is, as for a man to trust in the absolution of his fellow-prisoner, when the Law of the Land condemnes him. Shall a sick man be so mad as to say he is well, because others say so? As if we should seek our selves out of our selves, and not within our selves. No, Let every man prove his own work, and then shal he have rejoycing in himself, and not in another. Rom. 2. ult. He is a Jew which is one inwardly, whose praise is not of men but of God. Not as if this did dis common, or turn out the praise of men; but it is comparatively spoken, and it's meant, whose praise is not so much of men as of God. So that this is the second false glasse, when a man concludes himself to be in a good estate because men praise him, thinks it well with him because others think so, and say so. He hath a good opinion of himself, but that's not all, other men give him a good report too. And [Page 46] this follows the former: a man needs never fear flattery from others, that doth not flatter him­self.

But these are not my onely grounds that I have so good opinion of my self, and that others speak well of m [...], but when I compare my self with my self, I find wherein I may rejoyce. So that this is the

3.3 Glass. When a man compares him­self with o­thers.3. Third glasse, when a man compares himself with others and himself.

1. When he compares himself with others. I thank God, saith he, I am better then twenty of my neighbours; I know this man follows such cour­ses, and another lives in such a foul sin. Sure, saith he, I am not such a sinner as these, therefore I am happy, and I doubt not of room in Heaven. This is the cause that the Pharisee went home un­justified, because looking on other men, he justi­fied himself. God I thank thee I am not as other men, no extortioner, &c. This fellow is so far from begging any thing of God, that he fills up his time with thanksgiving, he thinks he wants no­thing, and that is his error; he looks on other men, and compares himself with them, and thence concludes he is well enough, because he is not so bad as this or that man. This is the com­mon deceit, when men take this for a rule, that because they are not so bad as the off-scouring of the world, but are better then the ordinary sort of men, therefore they suppose they are ve­ry well, or as well as they need to be: As if a sick man should say, I am not so sick as such a man [Page 47] who is at the point of death, therefore I am ve­ry well. I would desire such men, that as they look on those that are under them, so they would a little cast up their eyes on those that are above them. When you look on the Publican, this and that man, and blesse your selves because you are not so bad as these, who perchance are before you in points of morality: If you stand on compari­sons, look on those that are above you, that go beyond you in grace and zeal, and look not so much on the sins of others as your own: Ano­ther mans sins may condemn him, they cannot save thee. When a Thief and a Murtherer are both arraign'd at the Bar for their lives, will the Thief say to the Murtherer, thy sin is greater, thy fault is of an higher nature, therefore I shall be saved, because mine is not so hainous, when they both are punishable with death. The fault of another will not make thy case the better. It's no point of Justification thus to deceive thy self, and to conclude because another is worse then thee, thy estate is blessed. So we see the degrees of false glasses. Self-love: or self-conceit: then a good opinion of men: and conferring a mans self with some others. He's better then they, therefore his estate is good. An absurd conclusi­on; the Devil will mightily insult over such as he can so easily deceive.

But this man goes farther: I not onely com­pare my self with others, but my self too, and find good ground to conclude the safeness of my con­dition. I remember a time, when I was vain and [Page 48] idle, when I ran in a way contrary to God. But now I have sowed my wilde oats; and whereas before I was loose and dissolute, I have care to do my duty, to serve God, &c. I am not so profane as formerly, my estate must needs be good. This is a very dangerous thing to say, that because I am not as bad as I was, I am therefore good: It is as if a man had a debter, a slack paymaster, to whom the Creditor calls earnestly to pay the debt, the best answer the debtor gives is this, I am sure there are many worse paymasters in the world then I am, and I my self have been a worse, and more flow paymaster heretofore then I am now. Well, because there are worse paymasters, and he himself hath been a worse, doth this make him a better now? And shall this serve to excuse thee, by comparing thy self with others that are worse? and with thy self, that because thou hast mended thy self in some particulars, therefore thou art in the way to Heaven? It is a false and foolish Con­clusion.

4 Glasse. Partial Obedi­ence·4. Now we come to the main thing, another false glasse, which we call Partial obedience, when a man goes further, looking upon the letter of the Commandement onely, saying, I thank God I forbear many sins, and do many duties, I am not a thief, nor a murtherer, swearer, drunkard, or covetous person: I doe not take Gods name in vain; I have not broken the Sabbath, though I doubt whether it be moral or no. I have served God in coming to his house, given obedience to my Parents, &c. and looking on this he con­cludes, [Page 49] doubtlesse all is well with him: As when I have a thousand thornes in my feet, and have three or four taken out, will this help me? be­cause I have not the stone or the gout, shall I con­clude I am well, as if I could not be sick without this or that disease. Because I do something that God requires, shall I think I do as much as I need? No, we must take heed of that, God will not be contented with partial obedience, He will have the whole heart or none.

Obj. Obj. But mine is not partial obedience, I doe my endeavour, as far as I am able to do, what God requires: Here comes in natural reason, and saith, I thank God I do what I can, and I see no reason why more should be required. I conform my self as I am able, and I see it needful, to the greatest duties of Christianity; I lead such a blamelesse life, that no man can tax me in any particular what God hath enabled me to do; and according to moral Philosophy, I know not how more can be required: I go as far as Seneca's rules, and somewhat farther, and sure this is not partial obedience.

Sol. Sol. I speak not against Morality. But yet let me tell thee, if thou hast no more then Morality, it will not bring thee to Heaven. Not but that a morall man is an excellent stock, whereon to graft grace and virtue, it's a good help to Heaven, yet it comes far short of bringing him thither. Natural reason was once a full and fair glass, till it was broken by the fall: but now it is insuffici­ent. The Tables in Moses hands were excellent [Page 50] things, God made the first Tables with his own hand, and perchance they may be therein typical; when these were broken, Moses makes the second, these not so excellent as the former, though I should esteem a peece of these more excell [...]t, then all the reliques of the Papists, for there was something of the first in them, God writes them with his own singer. This glass which then was so perfect, is now broken, and is not so perfect as it was, though there be something yet remain­ing in it; We may see something of its anci­ent lustre in the Gentiles, for these having not a Law, are a Law unto themselves. There are practical prin­ciples y [...]t remaining in the Tables of our hearts, so that they that care not for the Law, shall be judged by that natural light which is in them. We have a conscience to difference between good and evil. This is the truth. It's a part of the Image of God implanted in us, which we are not to despise lest we be judged with those that hold the truth in unrighteousnesse: The truth is the principals of difference betwixt good & bad: the soul was to have a seat as a Queen to rule all our actions▪ But [...]ow this Queen is taken captive, & all is lost: Morality and in ward prncipals are to be much esteemed, as things which God at first planted, yet do they comeshort of bringing a man to Heaven. The young man in the Gospel had a good esteem of himself, and was doubtlesse e­steemed of others, and did many things: but yet our Saviour tells him, how hard a thing it was to come to Heaven: Although he thinks himself well [Page 51] enough, though he were rich, our Saviour tells him of the commandements: all these, saith he, have I kept from my youth, a good moral man indeed that had done so much, but this was not enough, one thing lacked: go and sell all that thou hast, &c. Yet because there was so much in him, we read Mark 10.21. Jesus loved him: he sheweth that his cause was heavy, that going so far he should not attain his end: but this was not to be despised, for this Jesus loved him. So 1 Kings 13.13. He onely of Jeroboams shall come to the grave, because in him are found some good things. If there are but some good things in a man, they remain of Gods work, and God loveth his own work; Here's the point then, Morality is good, and natural reason is good: it remaines in us since the state of our first creation; This was a pure and a full glass, made by God himself, but since the fall, is much darkned: If we consult with natural reason and Moral Philo­sophy, it will discover many things: yet this comes short. There are abundance of things that it cannot discover, manifold defects. The Apostle saith in the Romans, I had not known sin but by the Law. I had not known lust to have been a sin, had not the Law said, I shalt not lust. We have many sins we cannot know but by the Law, yea such secret sins as must be repented of. Our Savi­our overthrew the tables of the money-changers, and would not suffer them to carry burthens through the Temple, though for the use of those that sacrificed, a thing which had some shew of Religion in it. He whipt both out, not only those [Page 52] that had residence there, but those that passed through: he would suffer none but those that could justifie what they did by the Law. Now, as God would not have sin lodge & make its abode in the soul, so he would not have it made a thorow fare for sin: he would not have vain thoughts come up and down in the hearts. Now, By the Law comes the knowledge of these secret sins. Reason is a glasse much to be esteemed for what it can shew, but it is not a perfect glasse; sometimes it shewes a sin, but m [...]ny times diminishes it, that we cannot see it in full proportion. The Apostle makes this use of the Law, that by it sin became exceeding sinful. Thou mayst see sin to be sin by natural reason, but to see it exceeding sinful, this morality comes short of, thou must have this from the Law of God.

Another false Glasse. The Devil transforms himself into an Angel of light.5. There is another false glasse, when the De­vil transforms himself into an Angel of light, when he preacheth Go [...]pel to a man. Beware of [...]he do­ctrine when the deceiver preacheth. This may be his doctrine, He that believeth and is Baptized shall be saved. From this, by Satans cunning delusion, the natural man thus concludes: A meer heathen shall be shut out of Heaven gates, but I believe in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, there­fore I am in a good condition. Why then should I trouble my self any further? there is no man can accuse me, and my own good works will testifie unto me that I do enough. Str [...]ctnesse in Religi­on is troublenesse, and it is an unreasonable thing to do more: but this is but a meer delusion of Sa­tan, [Page 53] for there is nothing more quiet, and satisfies a man, then Religion; there's nothing in the world more reasonable then the service of God. First then know thy disease, and then apply those sweet balms. It is no easie matter for a man to believe: we block out the strait wayes of God, if we think it an easie matter to believe of our selves. It must be done by the mighty power of God: It's as great a work of God, as the Creation of the world, to make a man believe: It's the mighty power of God to salvation. Such a one must not receive Christ as a Saviour, but as a Lord too. He must renounce all to have him must take him on his own terms. He must deny the world and all, looking before hand what it will cost him. Now for a man to take Christ as his Lord, denying himself, the world, and all, to resolve to pluck out his right eye, cut off his right hand rather then to part with him, and account nothing so dear to him as Christ, is no small matter. Thou canst not be Christs Spouse, unlesse thou forsake all for him. Thou must account all things as dung and drosse in comparison of him: and is not this a difficult thing? is this an easie task? Easily spoken indeed, not as easily done: it must be here as in the case of mari­age; a man must forsake all others, yea the whole world, else Christ will not own him. Observe the speech of the Apostle, Eph. 1.19. What is the excee­ding greatness of his power to us ward that believe, &c. Mark, is to believe so easie a matter think you? why, unlesse the mighty power of God be enga­ged for it, with that strength as it was engaged in [Page 54] raising Christ from the dead, it cannot be. When thou art to believe, and be united unto Christ, the agreement is not that thou shalt take him as thy wife, and thou shalt be his husband: No, he must be thy husband, and thou must obey him. Now for a man to be brought out of his natural condition, and to take Christ on any termes, so he may be saved by him in the end, is not so easie. Canst thou think there is no more required but onely the outward Baptism, or that there is no more in Baptism but the outward washing of the flesh? No, He's not a Jew that is one outwardly, nei­ther is that circumcision which is in the flesh; but he's a Jew that is so inwardly, and circumcision is that of the heart. Thou then entrest into Gods livery. Mark this, for by it I strive onely to bring thee back to thy self. Thou entrest into covenant with him; thou bindest thy self to forsake the world, the flesh, and the Devil; and we should make this use of Baptism, as now to put it in practice. When we promised, there were two things in the Indenture; one, that God will give Christ to us, the other, that we must forsake all the sinful lusts of the flesh: this is that makes Baptism to be Ba­ptism indeed to us. The other thing required, is, that we forsake all, Rom. 6.2. It is not confi­ned to the very act, but it hath a perpetual ef­fect all the dayes of thy life. I add, it never hath its full effect till the day of our death, till the a­bolition of the whole body of sin. That which we seal, is not compleat till then, till we have fi­nal grace. The water of Baptism quenches the [Page 55] fire of Purgatory; for it is not accomplished till final grace is received. We are now under the Physicians hands, then shall we be cured. Bap­tism is not done onely at the Font, which is a thing deceives many; for it runs through our whole life: nor hath it consummation till our dy­ing day, till we receive final grace: the force and efficacy of Baptism is for the washing away of sin to morrow as well as the day past: the death of sin is not till the death of the body, and there­fore its said we must be buried with him by Baptism in­to his death. Now after death we receive final grace; till when, this washing and the vertue thereof hath not its consummation.

Let no man therefore deceive you with vain words; take heed of looking on your selves in these false glasses, think it not an easy thing to get Heaven, the way is strait, and the passage nar­row. There must be a striving to enter; there must be an ascending into Heaven, a motion con­trary to nature: And therefore it's folly to think we shall drop into Heaven, there must be a going upward, if ever we will come thither.

EPH. 2.1, 2, 3.‘And you hath he quickned who were dead in trespasses and sins, where in times past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the Prince that ruleth in the Aire, the Spirit that worketh in the chil­dren of disobedience: Amongst whom also, &c.

THe last time I declared unto you the duty that was necessarily required of us if we look to be saved, that we must not onely take the matter spee­dily into consideration, and not be deluded by our own hearts and the wiles of Sa­tan; but that we must not do it superficially or perfunctorily, but must bring our selves to the true touchstone, and not look upon our selves with false glasses, because there is naturally in e­very one self-love; and in these last and worst times men are apt to think better of themselves then they deserve. If there be any beginning of goodnesse in them, they think all is well, when there is no danger in the world then being but half Christians. He thinks that if he hath esca­ped the outward pollutions of the world through [Page 57] lust, and be not so bad as formerly he hath been, and not so bad as many men in the world are, therefore he is well enough: whereas his end proves worse then his beginning.Superficial re­pentance will not change the nature of man. No morality, nor external change of life will do, with­out quickning grace and a new life wrought. This superfi­cial repentance is but like the washing of a hog, the outside is onely wash't, the swinish nature is not taken a way. There may be in this man some outward abstaining from the common grosse sins of the world, or those which he himself was subject unto; but his disposition to sin is the same, his nature is nothing changed: there is no renovation, no casting in a new mould, which must be in us. For it is not a little reforming will serve the turn, no, nor all the morality in the world, nor all the common graces of Gods Spi­rit, nor the outward change of the life: they will not do, unlesse we are quickned, and have a new life wrought in us; unlesse there be a super­natural working of Gods Spirit we can never en­ter into Heaven. Therefore in this case it be­hooves every man to prove his own work, Gal. 6. A thing men are hardly drawn unto, to be exact examiners of themselves. Coelo descendit, [...], a Heathen himself could say, to know a mans self is a heavenly saying; and it's an heavenly thing indeed if we have an heavenly Master to teach us. The Devil taught Socrates a lesson that brought him from the study of natural to mo­ral Philosophy, whereby he knew himself; yet the Devil knew morality could never teach him the lesson indeed. All the morality in the world cannot teach a man to escape Hell: we must [Page 58] have a better instructer herein then the Devil or our selves, the Lord of Heaven must do it, if ever we will be brought to know our selves aright. St. Paul was brought up at the feet of Gamaliel, one of the learnedst Doctors of the Pharisees, and yet he could not teach him this. When he studied the law, he thought himself unblameable, but coming to an higher and better Master, he knows that in him, that is, in his flesh dwells no good thing, Rom. 7. By self examination a man may finde m [...]ny faults in himself, but to find that which the Apostle afterwards found in himself, to see the flesh a rottenness, the sink of iniquity that is with­in him, and to find himself so bad as indeed he is, unlesse it please the Lord to open his eyes, and to teach him, he can never attain it.

Now we come to this place of the Apostle, wherein we see the true glasse of our selves, the Spirit knows what we are better then our selves, and the Spirit shews us that every man of us either was or is such as we are here set down to be. We are first natural before we can be spiritual, there is not a man but hath been, or is yet a na­tural man, and t [...]efore see we the large descrip­tion of a natural man before he is quickned, be­fore God which is rich in mercy enlivens him being dead in sins, and saves him by grace in Christ. Thus is it with us all, and thus must it be; and we shall never be fit for grace till we know our selves thus far, till we know our selves as far out of frame, as the Spirit of truth declares us to be. In this place of Scripture consider we

[Page 59]1. Who this carnal man is; what they are which the Apostle speaks of, to be dead in sins: and that walk after the course of the world, led by the De­vil, and have their conversation after the flesh, chil­dren of wrath. These are big words and heavy things: Consider therefore first the subject▪ of whom this is spoken.

Then follows the P [...]aedicate, or

2. What th [...] till newes is which he delivers of them. We begin with the first.

1. Who they are of whom this is spoken: and that is (you) You hath he quickned who were dead: and (ye) (in the words following) that in times past walked after the course of the world: and in the third verse more particularly: Among whom we had our conversation also in times past. He speaks now in the first person, as before in the second, so that the subject is we, and ye all. Not a man in this Congregation, but is or was as bad as the Ho­ly Ghost here makes him. But

2. To come to that which is delivered of him: he is one not quickned, dead in sins: no better then nature made him, that corrupt nature which he hath from Adam, till he is thus spiritually enlive­ned.

Now he's described,

1. By the quality of his person.

2. By his company. Even as others. Thou mayst think thy self better then another man, but thou art no better; never a barrel the better herring (as we say:) Even as others, thou art not so alone, but as bad as the worst, not a man more [Page 60] evil in his nature then thou art. When thou go­est to hell, perhaps some difference there may be in your several punishments, according to your several acts of rebellion: but yet you shall all come short of the glory of God, And for matter of quickning you are all alike.

1. First then concerning their quality: And this is declared

1. By their general disposition, they are dead in trespasses and sins. Dead, and therefore unable and indisposed to the works of a spiritual living man: Besides, not onely indisposed and unable there­to, but dead in trespasses and sins. He lies rotting in his own filth, like a rotten carkasse, and stink­king carrion in the nostrils of the Almighty, so loathsome is he: all which is drawn from origi­nal sin. Not onely dis-enabled to any good, but prone to all sin and iniquity.

2. By his particular conversation: And that appeares in the verse following. Where in times past ye walked. How? Not according to the word and will of God, not according to his rule, but they walked after three other wicked rules. A dead man then hath his walk you see: a strange thing in the dead, but who directs him in his course? these three, the world, the flesh, and the Devil, the worst guides that may be; yet if we look to the conversation of a natural man, we see these are his Pilots, which are here set down.

1. The World. Where in times past ye walked after the course of the world. He swims along [Page 61] with the stream of the world. Nor will he be singular, not such a precise one as some few are, but do as the world doth, run a­main whither that carries him. See the state of a natural man. He's apt to be brought in­to the slavery of the world. This is his first guide. then follows

2. The Second, which is the Devil. The De­vil leads him as well as the World: Ac­cording to the Prince of the power of the Aire, the Spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience. In stead of having the Spirit of God to be led by, he's posted by the Spirit of Sa [...]an, and the works of his Father the Devil he will doe, He hath not an heart to resist the vi [...]est lusts the Devil shall perswade him to. When Satan once fills his heart, he hath no heart to any thing else, then to follow him.

3. There remains the Flesh, his guide too, and that's not left out, v. 3. Amongst whom we had our conversation in times past in the lusts of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind. So that you see the three guides of a natural man; and he is as bad as these three can make him: and till the stronger man comes and pulls him out, in this condition he remains, and in this natural estate, he is a son of disobedience. We see then the state of disobedience described to be wretched­nesse.

3. This further appeares by that which must [Page 62] follow, which is cursednesse. Rebellion and wretchednesse going before, cursednesse will fol­low. For God will not be abused, nor suffer a Rebel to go unpunished: Therefore saith the A­postle, We are by nature the children of wrath. Be­ing the natural sons of disobedience, we may well conclude we are the children of wrath, If we can well learn these two things of our selves, how deep we are in sin, and how the wrath of God is due to us for our sins, then we may see what we are by Nature. Thus much concerning the quality of a natural man. Next follows

2. His company. Even as others. By nature we are the children of wrath even as others. That is to say, we go in that broad wide way that leads to damnation, that way we all naturally rush into: though we may think it otherwise, and think our selves better, yet we are deceived. For it is with us even as with others. Naturally we are in the same state that the worst men in the world are; so that we see the glasse of a natural man, or of a man that hath made some beginnings, till Christ come and quicken him.

Q. Quest. See we then who it is spoken of to be dead men, that are rotten and stinking, as bad as the world, the flesh, and the Devil can make them: Who should these be?

A. Ans. I answer, it's you: you hath he quickned. And ye, wherein ye walked, &c. But who are they?

The Ephesians perhaps that were in times past heathens: I hope it belongs not to us. They were Gentiles and Pagans that knew not Christ, v. 12. [Page 63] Aliens to the Commonweal of Israel, strangers to the covenant of promise, having no hope, without God in the world. [...], as the Text renders it, Atheists, and therefore they might well be so. But I hope it's not thus with me, I was never a Pagan or Heathen, I was born of Christian Parents, and am of the Church.

But put away these conceits. Look on the 3d. v. Amongst whom we also had our conversation: and wherein ye your selves, &c. It's not onely spo­ken of you Gentiles, but verified of us also: As if he had s [...]id here as Gal. 2. We who are Jewes by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles. He paints out no [...] onely you the Gentiles in such ugly colours, but we Jewes also, we of the Commonwealth of I [...]rael. We, before we were quickned, were in the same state that you are described to be in.

Obj. Obj. Oh but the Apostle may do this out of fel­lowship, and to avoid envy, as it were making himself a pa [...]ty with them, as Ezra did cap. 9. that included himself in the number of the offenders, though he had no hand in the offence: O our God (saith he) what shall we say? Our evil deeds, &c. and how shall we stand before thee because of this? making a particular confession, whereas he was not accessory to the fault, but to sweeten it to them.

Sol. Sol. But here the Apostle doth not so, he was not thus minded, but it's we all, he puts universality to it: So that it's clear, that before conversion and quickning by grace from Christ, we all, all of us are in as foul and filthy a condition, as this which [Page 64] is here described and set down: So that this is the point, that it is not spoken of some desperate sin­ners, but that it is the common state and conditi­on of all the sons of Adam.

Doct.Doct. All men, every man and woman in this place, either is or hath been in the state that here the Apostle describeth him to be.

Therefore we have all need to examine our selves, whether we yet remain in that condition or not. The Apostle brings this description to te­stifie the truth of the point, Gal. 3.22. The Scrip­ture hath concluded [...] all under sin. The whole cur­rent and course of the Scripture shewes the uni­versality of it, that it's true of all. See, the Apo­stle speaking of himself and the rest, Tit. 3.3. saith, We our selves also, not onely you of the Gen­tiles, but we our selves also were foolish, disobedient, &c. but after the kindnesse of God towards man ap­peared, &c. that is, before the day-star of grace did arise in our hearts, there's not the best of us all but have been thus and thus.

Rom. 3.3. There the Apostle insists on the point expresly, that every mouth might be stopped; to shew the state of all men naturally, having laid down a large beadrole of the iniquities of the Heathen, cometh afterward to convince the Jews. What are we better then they; no, we have proved that all are under sin: there is none good, no not one.

Obj. Obj. But though you bring many places to prove that all are sinners, yet I hope the Virgin Mary was not.

[Page 65] Sol. An inch breaks no squares, but All are sin­ners. There is none righteous, no not one. The drift of the Apostle in this, is to shew that these things are not spoken of some hainous sinners onely, but there's not one to be exempted; and therefore in his Conclusion, v. 19. he saith, That every mouth may be stopped, and all the world become guilty before God: and that by the deeds of the Law no flesh can be justified from sin.

So that now having proved this so clearly to you, consider with your selves how needful it is to apply this to our own souls. Many men, when they read such things as these in the Scripture, read them but as stories from strange Countries. What, are we dead in sins, not able to stir one foot in Gods wayes? bad we are indeed:No natural man doth judge himself so bad as he is: but dead, rotten, and stinking in sins and trespasses? what, as bad as the world, the devil, and flesh can make us? what, children of wrath? firebrands of hell? few can perswade themselves that it is so bad with them. Therefore take this home to your selves; think no better of your selves then you are: for thus you are naturally. Therefore consider, if thou wert now going out of the world, what state thou art in, a child of wrath, a child of Belial, or the like. Set about the work speedily, goe to God, pray, and cry earnestly: give thy self no rest, till thou know this to be thy condition: Let not thy corrupt nature deceive thee, to make thee think better of thy self then God saith thou art.

Now that we may the better know to whom [Page 66] these things belong, know it is thou and I, we all have been or are in this estate, till we have su­pernatural grace; and therefore we are declared to be children of wrath, and children of disobe­dience, till regenerated. Why? It's because it's thy nature, it belongs to all. Now we know the common nature alwayes appertaines to the same kind: There's nothing natural but is common with the kind. If then by nature we are children, then certainly it belongs to every Mothers son of us, for we are all sons of Adam. In Adam we all die, Rom. 5. That's the fountain whence all mi­sery flowes to us. As thou receivedst thy nature, so the corruption of thy nature from him; for he begat a son in his own likenesse. This therefore is the condition of every one. The Apostle in 1 Cor. 15. speaks of two men, the first was from the earth, earthy, the second was the Lord from heaven. What, were there not many millions and generations more? True, but there were not more men like these, men of men, two head men, two fathers of all other men. There were but two by whom all must stand or fall, but two such men. By the fall of the first man we all fell; and if we rise not by the second man, we are yet in our sins. If he rise not, we cannot be risen. We must rise or fall by him. He is the Mediator of the second Covenant. If he rise and we are in him, we shall rise with him; but if not, we are dead still. So it is in the first Adam, we all depend on him, he is the root of all mankind. It's said in Esay 53. Our Saviour should rejoyce to see his seed. His seed, that is to say, [Page 67] he is the common father of all mankind, I mean of all those that shall proceed from him by spiri­tual generation. He shall present them to his fa­ther, as when one is presented to the University: Behold here am I, and the children that thou hast given me. So in Adam, he being the head of the covenant of nature, that is, the Law, if he had stood, none of us had fallen; if he fall, none of us all can stand He is the peg on which all the keyes hang: if that stand, they hang fast; but if that fall, they fall with it. As we see in matter of bondage; if the father forfeit his liberty, and become a bondman, all his children are bondmen to a hundred gene­rations: here is our case. We were all once free, but our father hath forfeited his liberty; and if he become a slave, he cannot beget a free-man. When our Saviour tells the Jewes of being free-men: We were never bond-men, say they, though it be false; for even Cicero himself could tell a Jew that he was a slave, genus hominum ad serviti­um natum, although they had a good opinion of themselves: But our Saviour saith, you are bond-m [...]n unto sin and Satan. For till the Son make you free, you are all bond-men: but when he makes you free, then are you free indeed. So that we see our condition here set down.

1. We are dead in trespasses and sins; that is, there is an indisposition in us to all good works. A dead man cannot walk, or speak, or do any act of a li­ving man; so these cannot do the actions of men that are quickned and enlivened, they cannot pray with the spirit, they cannot love God, &c. [Page 68] they cannot doe those things that shall be done hereafter in heaven. There's not one good duty which this natural man can do. If it should be said unto him, Think but one good thought, and for it thou shalt go to heaven, he could not think it. Till God raise him from the sink of sin, as he did Lazarus from the grave, he cannot doe any thing that is well-pleasing unto God. He may do the works of a moral man, but to do the works of a man quickned and enlightned, it's beyond his power. For if he could do so, he must then have some reward from God; for however we deny the merit of good works, yet we deny not the reward of good works to a man that is in Christ. There's no proportionable merit in a cup of cold water and the Kingdom of heaven, yet he that gives a cup of cold water to a Disciple in the name of a Disciple, shall not lose his reward. Here then is the point. The best thing that a natural man doth,The best works of a natural man cannot please God. cannot so relish with God, as that he should take delight in it, or reward it: whereas the least good thing that comes from another root, from a quickned spirit, is acceptable and well-pleasing to him. Consider for this end that which is set down, Prov. 15.8. Take the best works of a natu­ral man, his prayers or sacrifice, and see there what is said. The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomi­nation to the Lord. It is said again, Prov. 21.27. where there are additions, The prayers of the wick­ed are an abomination to the [...]ord: how much more when he brings it with a wicked mind? Suppose there should come upon this man a fit of de­votion, [Page 69] where he hath or should have some good motions, is it then accepted? no, it is so far from being accepted, that it is an Abomination to God, how much more then if he brings it with a wicked mind? That is, if he bring it not with a wicked mind, it is an abomination, how much more with it? See the case set down in Haggai 2.12, 13, 14. If one bear holy flesh, &c. shall he be unclean? And the Priest answered, no. Then said Haggai, if an unclean person touch any of these, shall it be unclean? And he said, it shall be unclean. Then answered Haggai, so is this people, so is this nation before me, saith the Lord, and so is every work of their hands, it is unclean. A man may not say prayer is a sin, because it is so in them; no, it's a good duty, but spoil'd in the car­riage. He marrs it in the carriage; and therefore in stead of doing a good work, he spoils it; and so in stead of a reward, must look for punishment, 1 Tim. 1 5. The end of the Commandement is love out of a pure heart, a good conscience, and faith unfeigned. Let the things thou doest be according to the Commandement: look what thou doest be ac­cording to the middle, end, and beginning of the Commandement. If wrong in all these, then though the work be never so materially good, being faulty in the original, middle, or end, it's so far from being a good work, that God will not accept of it, and thou mayst rather expect a plague for spoiling it, then a cure.

See then the beginning of a good work,Look to the o­ginal of duties. it must be from a pure heart. A man not ingrafted into Christ, is a defiled, polluted person, his very mind [Page 70] and conscience are defiled. The conscience is the purest thing a man hath, it holds out last, and ta­keth part with God, that as Jobs messenger said, I onely am escaped to tell thee: so conscience onely remaines to declare a mans faults to God, and to witnesse against the man; and yet this very light, the eye of the soul, is defiled: therefore if thou have a corrupt fountain, if the heart be naught, the fountain muddy, whatever stream comes from it,Look to the end of duty. cannot be pure.

Again, the end of it is love. Consider when thou doest any duty, what puts thee on work. Is it love doth constrain thee? If love do not constrain thee, it is manifest that thou dost not seek God but thy self, and art to every good work a Reprobate; that is, thou art not then able to do any thing that God will accept; the best thing thou doest wil not relish with God. A hard estate indeed, that when a man shall come to appear before God, he shall not have one good thing that he hath done in all his life that God will own. Some there be that take a great deal of paines in coming to the word, in prayer publique and private, in charity and giv­ing to the poor: Alas, when thou shalt come to an account, and none of these things shall stead thee, not one of them shall speak for thee, but all shall be lost, How heavy will thy ease be? 2 John 8. Look to your selves, that you lose not the thing that you have wrought: By being indisposed to doe the works of a living man we lose all; that is to say, God will never own nor accept them: we shall never have reward for them. So that here is [Page 71] the case, thou being dead, unable to perform the works of a living man, canst have no reward from heaven at all, until a man is quickned, and hath life from Christ. Without me, saith our Saviour, you can doe nothing. St. Austin on this place ob­serves that Christ saith not, Without me ye can doe no great matter: no, but unlesse you be cut off from your own stock, taken from your own root, and be ingrafted into me, and have life from me, and be quickned by me, you can do nothing at all: Nothing, neither great nor small, all that you do is lost. So that if there were nothing but this being dead, you could do no good action. I know that in me, that is, in my flesh (saith St. Paul) there dwelleth no good thing: that is, nothing spiritually good, nothing for which I may look for a reward in heaven. The Lord will say of such a man, thou hast lived ten, twenty, forty, or it may be fifty yeares under the Ministry, and yet hast not done a good work, or thought a good thought that I can own. Cut down this fruitlesse tree, why cumbers it the ground? And this is the case of every man of us while we continue in our natural con­dition: till we be ingrafted into Christ, and live by his life, God will own nothing we do.

But now we are not onely dead, and indispo­sed to the works of a living man, though this be a very woful case, and we need no more misery; for this will bring us to be cut down and cast into the fire, if we continue so: But this is not onely the case of a natural man, but he's very active and fruitful in the works of darknesse, the others [Page 72] were sins of omission. Here he is wholly set up­on the commission of sins and trespasses, Heb. 6.7. He not onely brings not forth meet fruit, or good fruit, or no fruit, but he brings forth thorns and bri­ars; and is therefore rejected, and nigh unto cursing, whose end is to be burnt. Thou art not onely found a barren tree, and so deservest to be cut down; but thou bringest forth thorns and briars, and de­servest to be burnt; not onely no good fruit, but noxious, bad and poyson'd fruit; and this doth mightily aggravate the matter. Now for us that have lived so long under the Ministry, and the Lord hath watered, and dressed, and hedged us, do we think the Lord expects from us no good fruit? Had we lived among heathens, or where the word is not taught, then so much would not be expected; but we have heard the word often and powerfully taught, and therefore it is expe­cted that we should not onely bring forth fruit, but meet fruit, answerable to the means. Where God affords greatest means, there he expects most fruit. If a man live thirty or forty yeares under powerful meanes, the Lord expects answerable fruit, which if he bring forth, he shall have a bles­sing from the Lord. But when a man hath lived long under the meanes, and brings forth no fruit pleasing to God, but all Gods cost is lost, when notwithstanding the dew and the rain which falls oft upon him, he brings forth nothing but thorns and bri­ars, he is rejected, and nigh unto cursing, whose end is to be burnt. The earth which drinketh in the former and the latter rain, &c. if it bring not forth fruit [Page 73] answerable to the labour of the dresser, it's nigh unto the curse.

Now if we consider but the particulars, and search into Gods testimonies, we shall see how bad this man is.

But who should this man be?

We have Gods own word for it. It's men, ge­nerally all men, Gen. 6.5. God saw the wickednesse of man was great in the earth, and that every thought and imagination of his heart was onely evil continually. Every word is as it were a thunder-bolt: and was it not time, when it was thus with them for God to bring a flood? The thoughts are the ori­ginal, from which the words and actions do usu­ally proceed. Now all their thoughts were evil: What, was there no kind of goodnesse in their thoughts? no, they were onely evil continually: and that was the reason the flood came. Well, but though it were so before the flood, yet I hope they were better after the flood. No, God said again after the flood, cap. 8. The thoughts of the hearts of men are evil, &c. Like will to like. Men are all of one kinde, till they receive grace from Christ. We are all of one nature, and na­turally all the thoughts and imaginations of our hearts are onely evil continually.

See it in the understanding, 1 Cor. 3.14. The natural man perceiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, neither can he know them, for they are foolishness unto him &c.

Look upon his will, Rom. 8. It is not subject to the will of God, neither indeed can it be. Our Savi­our, [Page 74] Mat. 15.8. doth anatomize the heart of such a man. Those things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile the man, for out of the heart proceeds evil thoughts, murthers, adulteries, &c. these are they which defile the man, because they come from his heart from within. If a man go by a house, and see great flakes of fire come out of the [...]him­ney, though he see not the fire within, yet he cannot but know there is fire within, because he seeth the flakes without. I am not able to see the heart of any man, and to declare to you what I have seen with mine eyes; but yet if I see such flakes to come forth, as murther, thefts, blasphe­mies, lying, and the like. I may say there is hel-fire in the heart; thy heart is a little hell within thee, these manifestations from without make it appear to be so. The words of this man are rotten words and stinking words, and his heart is much more. So, this is the point, we are utterly indispos'd, aliens to all good, and bent to all evil. I am car­nal (saith the Apostle) we are sold under sin, slaves unto it; sin is our Lord, and we its slaves. We have generally forfeited our happy estate, and are servants to Satan, whom we obey. Therefore this is a thing not easily to be passed over; this is our condition, of which if we were once truly perswaded, we would never give our selves any rest till we were got out of it.

If the party that goes to the Physician, could but know his disease, and cause the Physician to know it, and the causes of it, whether it came from a hot cause or a cold, it were easily cured, [Page 75] it were as good as halfe done: That is the chief reason why so many miscarry, because their dis­ease is not perfectly known. That is the reason we are no better, because our disease is not per­fectly known: That is the reason that we are no better, because we know not how bad we are. If we did once know our disease, and knew our selves to be heart sick, and not like the Laodice­ans, which thought themselves rich and wanted no­thing, when they were poor, blind, and naked, then we would seek out, and were in the way to be cu­red. So much for this time, but we will have ano­ther Lecture on this point.

GAL. 3.22.‘But the Scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.’

YOu see in this excellent portion of Scripture the two Covenants of Al­mighty God: to wit, the Covenant of Nature, and the Covenant of grace. The first of Nature, which was writ­ten by God in mans heart, and this is the holy Law of God, by vertue whereof a man was to conti­nue in that integrity, holinesse, and uprightnesse, in which God had first created him, and to serve God according to that strength he first ena­bled him with, that so he might live there­by.

But now when man had broken this Covenant, and enter'd into a state of Rebellion against God, he's shut up in misery, but not in misery for ever, as the Angels that fell were, being reserved in chaines till the judgment of the great day: No, the Lord hath shut him up in prison, only for a while, that so he may the better make a way for their e­scape and deliverance, and for their entrance into the second Covenant of grace: that so [Page 77] making him see his own misery, wherein by na­ture he is, and cutting him off from his own stock, he may be ingrafted into Christ, draw sap and sweetnesse from him, and bring forth fruits to e­verlasting life. And this is the method the Scri­pture useth: It concludes all under sin, that so the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. It's no new Doctrine devised by us, but it's the course and method of the Scripture: for it begins in this great work with imprisoning and shutting up. The Law is as a Justice of Peace, that by his Mittimus commands us to prison: It's a Serjeant that arrests a man, and carries him to the Gaole: But why does the Scripture do thus? It's not to destroy you with famine; the Law sends you not hither to starve you, or to kill you with the stench of the prison, but thereby to save and preserve you alive, and that you may hun­ger and thirst after deliverance. So that we find the reason added in the Text, The Scripture con­cludes all under sin, why? It's that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that be­lieve. You are shut up as prisoners and rebels, that having found the smart of it, seen your mi­sery, and learn'd what it is to be at enmity with God, and the folly to make your selves wiser and stronger then God, you may submit your selves casting down your plumes, and desire after Christ with an hungry and thirsty appetite, for not on­ly a Priest to sacrifice himself for you, and a Pro­phet to teach and instruct you, but a King to be swayd by him, earnestly craving from thy soule [Page 78] to be his subject, and to be admitted into the pri­viledge of his subjects in the Commonwealth of Israel, and esteem it our greatest shame that we have been aliens so long, so long excluded. The Scripture then concludes you under sin, and shut up by it, not to bring you to despair, but to bring you to salvation: As a Physician, which gives his Pa­tient bitter pills, not to make him sick, but that so he may restore him to health: or as a Chirurgi­on, that layes sharp drawing plaisters, and cuts the flesh, not with an intent to hurt, but to cure the wound.

This is the Scriptutes method, it concludes all under sin, [...], hath shut up all. The Text saith not [...], but [...], not all men in the masculine gender, but all things in the neu­ter. And it is all one as if the Apostle had said, The Scripture arrests not onely thy person but thine actions: The Scripture layes hold not onely of the man, but of every thing in him. This word (all) is a forcible word, and empties us clean of every thing, that we may truiy confesse with the Apostle, In me, that is, in my flesh dwells no good thing, Rom. 7.18. It's impossible a man should by nature think thus of himself, that there is no good in him; or that he should by asking others finde himself half so bad as the Law makes him to be, by shutting up a man under sin, and all things in a man, yea all good whatsoever is in thee.

And this it doth that thou mayst come to Christ: as it is enlarged in the 2. verses following. Before [Page 79] faith came (saith the Apostle) we were kept up un­der the Law, shut up unto the faith, which should after­ward be revealed: wherefore the Law was our School­master to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. Before the time then thou hast faith, (which is the day salvation comes to thine house) thou art kept under the Law. Thou art not assured of salvation, nor canst thou expect till then that God should shew thee mercy. We may have a conceit, that though we are never transplanted, nor cut off from our own stock, yet God will shew us mercy: But we shall beguile our selves to hell therein; for we are kept under the Law till faith comes, that so we may know our selves. We are kept, &c. (Kept) It's a Metaphor drawn from Military affairs, when men are kept by a Garrison, and kept in order. Now the Law is Gods Garri­son, which keeps men in good awe and order. The Law doth this not to terrifie you too much, or to break your minds with despair, but to fit you for the faith: It's a shutting up till that faith which should afterward be revealed. He's a misera­ble Preacher which ends with preaching of the Law; the Law is for another end, it's to fit us for faith. It's our Schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. We thunder not the Law to make men run away from God, but to bring them home unto him. The Schoolmaster by the smart of his rod makes the child weary of his bondage, and desire ear­nestly to be past his non-age; and this is his end, not that he delights to hear him cry. Thus are we beaten by the law, not that God delights or loves [Page 80] to hear us sigh or sob, but that we may grow weary of our misery and cruel bondage, may de­sire to be justified by faith. The Law then is so a Schoolmaster, as that by making us smart, it might bring us home. We see then the course & method of the Scripture, it hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ may be made to them that believe.

Now because men like not this kinde of Do­ctrine, to begin with Preaching of the Law, and therefore think there may be a shorter and nearer way, to preach Christ first, I will therefore make known unto you this method of the Scripture, and I will justifie it unto you.

There must be this Preparative, else the Gos­pel will come unseasonably. If before we are sowred by the leaven of the Law Christ be prea­ched, he will be but unsavoury & unpleasant to us.

It's necessary to preach the Law before the Gospel.2. Does God at the first Preaching of the Gos­pel begin with Adam by Preaching Christ, before he saw his sin and wickednesse? No, he said not to him presently, assoon as he had sinned, Well, Adam, thou hast sinned, and broken my co­venant, yet there is another covenant, thou shalt be saved by one that comes out of thy loynes: But God first summons him to appear, he brings him out of his shelters and hiding places, tells him of his sin, and saith, Hast thou eaten of the tree which I forbad thee to eat of? But the man shifts it off, and the woman also to the serpent: The Serpent beguiled me, and I did eat: Yet all this will not ex­cuse him, Gods judgments are declared, his sin [Page 81] is made apparent, he sees it: Then being thus humbled, comes in the promise of the Gospel, The seed of the woman shall break the serpents head. This is the 1 Instance. Be ye open then ye everlasting doors, and the King of glory shall come in.

2 Instance.2. John the Baptist, who was the Harbinger to prepare the way for Christ, Preaching to the Scribes and Pharisees, warned them, O generation of vipers. He came to throw down every high hill, and to beat down every mountain: calls them serpents. This was his office, to lay the Axe at the root of the Tree.

3 Instance.3. And Christ himself coming into the world, and Preaching to Nicodemus, begins: Vnlesse a man be born again, he cannot enter into the Kingdome of God, John 3. A man in his natural condition can never enter into Heaven, for he is wholly car­nal. That that is born of the flesh is flesh, and that that is born of the Spirit is Spirit It's carnal, and must be born again. A little patching will not serve the turn. Thou must be new born, new moulded, a little mending is not sufficient: A man must be a new creature, and new made. So that this is the substance of this doctrine of Christ, that if thou be no better then moral vertue, or civil education can make thee; if thou hast any thing lesse then Regeneration, believe me thou canst never see heaven. There's no hope of hea­ven till then, till thou art born again: till then our Saviour excludes all false fancies that way.

5. The Apostles began to gather the first Church after Christs resurrection, Act. 2.23. They doe not begin to preach Christ first, his vertue [Page 82] and efficacie; but first they tell them of their great sin, in crucifying the Lord of life, viz. Whom with wicked hands you have taken and crucified. But what was the end of their doing thus? It's set down v, 37. They were pricked to the heart, and then they cried out, Men and brethren, what shall we do to be saved? See, this was the end of all, the humbling of them, that by declaring what they had done, they might be pricked at the heart; so that now they see if it be no better with them then for the present, it's like to go ill with them. This makes them cry out, What shall we doe? Then (saith Peter) repent and be Baptized, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. After he had told them their own, and had brought them to their search, which is their first work, then comes the promise of Christ. Observe the Apostles method in the Epistle to the Romans: which book is a perfect Catechism of the Church, which containes these three parts of Divinity, Humiliation, Just [...]fication, and Sanctification. See how the Apostle orders his method. From the first Cap to part of the third, he treats all of the Law, and convinces both Jew and Gentile, and all of sinne. Then 3 Cap. 19. mark his Conclusion: that every mouth may be stopped. When he had stopped eve­ry mouth, cast down every strong hold which listed it self up against God: when he had laid all at Gods feet, and left them bleeding, as it were, under the knife of God, then comes he to Christ, Rom. 3.21. The righteousnesse of God without the Law is manifested. He had done his first busi­nesse [Page 83] in humbling them, in shewing them their sins by the Law: and assoon as that was done, when every mouth was stopped, then comes he to the promise by faith in Jesus Christ to all them that believe.

You see then the method of the Scripture is first to conclude all under sin, and so to fit men for the promise of Jesus Christ. Know therefore that the law is the high-way to the Gospel, the path that leads to it, that way which must be trodden in: we are still out of our way, till we have begun our walks in this path: And if thou art not terrifi­ed by the Law, and the sight of thy sins, been at thy wits end as it were, weary of thy conditi­on and bondage, thou art not in the way yet. Our sowing must be in tears. And it is said, that in the Church Triumphant all teares shall be wiped a­way from our eyes. That's a promise: But is it pos­sible that teares should be wiped from our eyes before we shed them? Shall we look to goe to heaven in a way that was never yet found out? Shall it be accounted a point of precisenesse to walk in this way, or a soul-torturing doctrine to preach it? This is the way that all our Fore­fathers have both preached and gone. This is that time of sowing spoken of in Psal. 126.5, 6. They that sow in teares, shall reap in joy. It brings us joy in the end, to begin our sowing in teares. It waters that precious seed, and makes it bring forth joy unto us in abundance, yea such as no man can take from us.

So then having laid this point for a foundati­on, [Page 84] we now will come to the next.

That until we come to Christ, the Law layes hold of us. Till Christ come, we are shut up under the Law, kept under it. And if there were nothing else in the world ro make a man weary of his conditi­on, this were enough. Until a man hath given over himself to Christ, and renounced his own righteousnesse, he is subject to the Law, kept un­der it, not under grace. It brings a man only to the place where grace is. Put this therefore close to your consciences, and jumble not these two together. First Nature cometh, and whilst you are under that, you are under the Law. Ne­ver think you are under the Covenant of Grace, till you believe (of which belief we shall speak more hereaftet.) Whilst you are under the Law, you are held under it: Whoever is under the Law, is under the curse.

Now that I may unfold it, and shew what a fearful thing it is to be under the Law, to be held under it (although many think it no great mat­ter) hearken what the Apostle saith of it: Cur­sed is every one that continueth not in all things that are written in the book of the Law to doe them, Gal. 3. Well then, art thou under the Law? then never think of being under grace at the same time: not but that we may hope to be under grace after­wards: By this Law we must be judged, and the judgment of the Law is very severe: It requires not onely that thou doe this or that good thing; but if thou continuest not in every thing that is written therein, it condemns thee.

[Page 85]Strange conceits men have now adayes, and strange Divinity is brought forth into the world: That if a man does as much as lies in him, and what he is of himself able to doe? nay farther, though he be a Heathen, that knows not Christ, yet if he doth the best he can; if he live honest­ly towards men, according to the conduct of his reason, and hath a good mind towards God, it's enough, he need not question his eternal welfare. A cursed and desperate Doctrine they conclude hence: Why (say they) may not this man be saved as well as the best? But if it be so, I ask such, What is the benefit and advantage of the Jew more then the Gentile? What is the benefit of Christ? of the Church? of Faith? of Bap­tism? of the Sacrament of the Lords Supper? This ground of Pelagianism, is that for which the Church abhors us: when we shall undertake to bring a man to salvation without Christ: where­as if he be not under grace, under Christ, he is accursed. If thou wilt be saved by the Law, it is not thy endeavour or doing; what lieth in thee that will serve the turn; every jot and tittle that the Law requires, must be fulfilled. What would be thine estate, if thou shouldst be examined ac­cording to the strict rigour of the Law? Not the least word or thought that is contrary to it, but thou must give an account for. If thou standest upon thine own bottom, or lookest to be saved by thine own deeds; not one vain word which thou speakest, but thou shalt be questioned for, cast, and condemned. Consider then the great [Page 86] difference of being under Christ and grace, and of being under the law. When we are under Christ, we are freed from a great deal of incon­venience: we are not liable to answer for those evil things which we have committed; as in that comfortable place of Ezekiel, All his iniquities that he hath done shall not be mentioned unto him. When a man is come to forsake his old way, his evils are cast out of mind; a marvellous comfort to a Christian: whereas if a man be not in Christ, e­very idle word he must be accountable for; if in Christ, the greatest sin he ever committed he shall not hear of. All they that stand on Gods right hand, hear onely of the good things they have done, you have fed, cloathed, and visited me: But they on the left hand hear not a word mentioned concerning the good they have done, only their evil deeds are reckoned up.

Now that I may declare to you the difference between the Law and the Gospel: I will diffe­rence it in three particulars.

1. The law rejects any kind of obedience be­sides that which is thorough, sound, full, and per­fect, without any touch of the flesh. It rejects all crackt payment: it will take no clipt coyne. That obedience which hath any imperfection joyn'd with it, will not be accepted: But here I must not speak without book. See Rom. 7.14. We know that the Law is spiritual, but I am carnal. And then concludes, O wretched man, &c. The Law is spiritual. What's that? We may know the meaning of it by the particle (but) but I am carnal. [Page 87] The Law is spiritual. That is, it requires that all our works be spiritual, without any carnality, or touch of the fl [...]sh. If in any point of our obedience there be a smell of the cask, it is rejected. If the beer be never so good, yet if it have an evil smatch, it will not relish. Let our services have this savour of the flesh, and they will not relish in Gods nostrils. And thus the law is spiritual, but we are carnal. Now it is otherwise here in the state of the Gospel: A­las! we are carnal, it's true. The Apostle him­self complaines, That there is a law in his members rebelling against the law of his mind, and leading him captive, &c. Yet notwithstanding the Gospel ac­cepts our obedience, though the Law will not. What's the reason of this? why, it's plain. When the Law comes, it looks for justice, it puts a strict rule to us; it requires we should be compleat: But now the Gospel doth not so; it requires not justification of our own, but looks that being justi­fied by Gods free grace, we should shew forth our thankfulnesse, and express that we are so in heart, by our obedience to our utmost power. Here's all the strictnesse of the Gospel. If there be a wil­ling mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to what a man hath not, 2 Cor. 8.12. God takes well the desires of our mind. This is then our blessed condition under the Gospel: it requires not perfect obedience, but thankfulness for mercies received, and a willing mind. Sup­pose we cannot do what we would, that's no mat­ter. God looks to our affections, and the wil­lingnesse of our minds; if it be according to the [Page 88] strength that thou hast, it is received with accep­tance. Here then arises the second point of diffe­rence, and that is,

2. The Law considers not what thou now hast, but what thou once hadst. If thou say, I have done my best; and what, would you have a man doe more then he can doe? The Law heeds not that: it considers not what thou doest, but what thou oughtst to do. It requires that thou shouldst perform obedience according to thy first strength, and that perfection once God gave thee, that all thou doest should have love for it's ground: that thou shouldst love the Lord thy God with all thy soul, mind, heart, and strength. Here the Law is ve­ry imperious, like those Task-masters in Egypt, that laid burthens on the Israelites too heavy for them to bear. They had at first materials, and then they delivered in the full tale of bricks: But when the straw was taken from them, they complain of the heavinesse of their burthen. But what's the an­swer? You are idle, you are idle, you shall deliver the same tale of bricks as before. So stands the case here. It's not enough to plead, Alas! if I had strength, I would doe it; but I have not strength, I cannot doe it. But the Law is peremptory, you must doe it: you are compell'd by force, you shall do it. The impossibility of our fulfilling it, does not exempt us, as appeares by comparing Rom. 8.3. with Rom. 7.6. although it be impossible, as the case stands, for the Law to be by us fulfil­led, yet we are held under it, as appears plainly thus. If I deliver a man a stock of money where­by [Page 89] he may gain his own living, and be advanta­gious to me; and he spend it, and when I re­quire mine own with increase, he tells me, True Sir, I received such a summe of money of you for this purpose, but I have spent it, and am dis­inabled to pay. Will this serve the turn? will it satisfie the Creditor, or discharge the debt? No, no, the Law will have its own of him. If thou payest not thy due, thou must be shut up under it. It's otherwise under the Gospel: that accepts a man according to what he hath, not▪ according to what he hath not. And here comes in the third point.

3. Under the Gospel, although I am fallen, yet if I repent, the greatest sin that is cannot con­demn me. By repentance I am safe. Let our sins be never so great, yet if we return by repentance, God accepts us. Faith and Repentance remove all. The Law knows no such thing. Look into the lawes of the Realm. If a man be indicted and convinced of Treason, Murther, or Felony; though this man plead, True, I have committed such an offence. but I beseech you Sir, pardon it, for I am heartily sorry for it: I never did the like before, nor never will again. Though he thus repent, shall he escape? No, the rigour of the law will execute justice on him: there is no benefit had by repentance, the law will seize on him, he should have looked to it before. If thou commit­test Murther, or Burglary, it's not enough to put one good deed for another; to say, I have done thus and thus for the King; I kept such a Fort, [Page 90] or I won such a Town: this will not serve thy turn, it will not save thy neck: the law takes no knowledge of any good thing done, or of any repentance. This is thy estate. Consider then what a case they are in that are shut up under the Law: until a man hath faith, it admits no excuse, requires things far above thy power to perform; it will accept no repentance: And therefore we may well make this Conclusion in the Galathians, As many as are under the law, are under the curse, as it is written, cursed is every one that continues not in all things that are written in the book of the law to do them.

But now, where are we thus shut up? It's un­der sin, as the Apostle tells us. For the Law disco­vers sin to be sin indeed: that sin by the commandement may become exceeding sinful, Rom. 7.13. The Law makes us see more of it then we did, or possible could come to have seen, Rom. 3.20. By the Law cometh the knowledge of sin: I had not known sin but by the law. Yes, peradventure I might have known Murther, Adultery, &c. to have been sins; but to have known them to have been exceeding sin­ful, I could not but by the law. To know what a kind of plague sin is in it self, so as not to make a game of it, or a small matter, as many usually make it; to see the uglinesse of it, I cannot with­out the law. But that we may know what sin is, and that we may see it to be exceeding sinful, I here bring you a few Considerations, which I would have you ponder on, and enlarge them to your selves when you come home.

1. Consider the basenesse of him that offends, [Page 91] and the excellency of him that is offended: You shall never know what sin is without this twofold Consideration: lay them together, and it will make sin out of measure sinful. See in David, The drunkards made songs and ballads of him He ag­gravates the indignity offered him, in that he was their King, yet that those wretched and filthy beasts the drunkards made songs of him. See it like­wise in Job, Cap. 29. when he had declared unto them in what glory he once was, that he was a King and Prince in the Countrey. Then see Cap. 20. They that are younger then me have me in deri­sion, whose fathers I would have disdain'd to have set with the dogs of my flock. He aggravates the of­fence. First, from the dignity of the person wron­ged, a King, and a Prince. Then from the baseness and vileness of those who derided him, They were such as were younger then he, such as whose fathers he would have disdain'd to have set with the dogs of his flocks. A great indignity, and mightily aggrava­ted by these circumstances, that a King should be abased by such vile persons. Now some propor­tion there might be between David and the drun­kards, Job and these men; but between thee and God what proportion can there be? Who art thou therefore that darest set thy self in opposition and rebellion against God? What, a base worm that crawleth on the earth, dust and ashes, and yet darest thou thy Maker? Dost thou (saith God) lift thy self up against him before whom all the powers of Heaven do tremble? whom the Angels do adore? Exaltest thou thy self against him who [Page 92] inhabiteth Eternity? What, oppose thy self, a base creature, to Almighty God thy Creator? Consider this, and let the basenesse of the delin­quent, and the Majesty and Glory of that God a­gainst whom he offends, be the first aggravation of sin, and thou shalt find sin out of measure sin­ful.

2. Consider the smalnesse of the Motives, and the littlenesse of the inducements that perswade thee so vile a creature, to set thy self against so glorious a God. If it were great matters set thee a work, as the saving of thy life, it were some­what: But see how small and little a thing does usually draw thee to sin. A little profit it may be, or pleasure: It may be neither of these, or not so much. When thou breathest out oaths, and belch­est out fearful blasphemies against God; when thou rendest and tearest his dreadful and terrible name: what makes such a base and vile villain as thou thus to fly in Gods face? Is there any profit or delight in breathing forth blasphemies? Profit thou canst take none, and if thou take pleasure in it, then the Devil is in thee: yea then thou art worse then the Devil himself. This is the second Consideration which may make us to see the vile­nesse of sin, and abhor our selves for it: to wit, the slenderness of the temptations, and smalnesse of the motives to it.

3. Adde what strong helps and meanes God hath given thee to keep thee from sin. As, I say, thou shouldst consider the basenesse of the delin­quent, the glory of the offended, the mean mo­tives [Page 93] which cause so base a creature to do so vile an act; so also consider the great means God hath given thee to keep thee from sin.

He hath given thee his Word, and this will greatly aggravate thy sins, to sin against his word, Gen. 3.11. When God convinces Adam, he pro­ceeds thus with him: Hast thou (saith he) eaten of the tree whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldst not eat? What, hast thou done it, as if thou wouldst do it on purpose to cross God? God hath given thee an express command to the contrary, and yet hast thou done this? Hast thou so often heard the Law, and pray'd, Lord have mercy on me, and incline my heart to keep this law, and yet wilt thou lye, swear, commit adultery, and deal falsly, and that contrary to the command of God, obstinately disobey him?

Now God hath not onely given this great meanes of his Word and Commandement, but great grace too. Where understand that there is not onely final grace, but degrees of grace: else the Apostle would not have said, receiv'd not the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ in vain. Consider then how much grace thou hast received in vain. How many motions to good hast thou rejected? Perhaps thy heart is touched at this Sermon, though it is not my tongue, nor the tongue of the most elegant in the world that can touch the heart, but the Spirit that comes along with his word. Now when thou findest wirh the Word a Spirit to goe with it▪ it is a grace. If thy con­science be enlightned, and thy duty revealed to [Page 94] thee, so that it tels thee what thou art, what thou oughtst to doe, and not to doe, it is a grace. Now if for all this thou blindly runnest through, and art never the better, but obstinately settest thy self against God, and doest many things which others that have not received the same grace would not have done, know then that thou re­ceivest this grace in vain, and thy case is lamen­table.

4. Consider Gods great goodnesse towards thee.

1. First, his goodnesse in himself. There's no­thing but goodnesse, infinite goodnesse in him, and canst thou find in thy heart to sin against so good a God? To offend and wrong a good dis­position'd person, one of a sweet nature and af­fection, it aggravates the fault, 'tis pity to wrong or hurt such a one as injures no body. Now such a one is God, a good good, infinite in goodness, rich in mercy, very goodnesse it self; and therefore it must needs aggravate the foulnesse of sin to sin against him: But now he is not onely thus in him­self, but

2. Secondly, He's good to thee, Rom. 2. De­spisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance? &c. What hast thou that thou hast not received from his bountiful hand? Consider of this, and let this be a meanes to draw thee off from thy sinfulnesse. When David had greatly sinned a­gainst God, and when God bring [...] his murther home to him, he pleads thus with him: When thou wert nothing in thine own eyes, I brought thee (saith [Page 95] God) to the Kingdome, I took thee from the sheep­fold, and exalted thee, and brought thee to a plentiful house. And may not God say the like to us? and doe you thus requite the Lord O you foolish people and unwise, that the more his mercy and goodnesse is to you, the higher your sins should be against him?

5. Besides, Consider more then all this, we have the examples of good men before our eyes. God commands us not what we cannot doe: If God had not set some before our eyes that walk in his wayes, and doe his will, then we might say that these are precepts that none can perform: But we have patterns, of whom we may say, such a man I never knew to lye, such a one never to swear, and this should be a means to preserve us from sinning, Heb. 11. Noah was a good man, and being moved with fear, set not at nought the threatning of God, but built the Ark, and thereby condemned the world. His example condemned the world, in that they followed it not, although it were so good, but continued in their great sins. So, art thou a wicked deboist person? there is no good man but shall condemn thee by his exam­ple. It's a great crime in the land of uprightnesse to doe wickedly: to be profane, when the righteous by their blamelesse lives may teach thee other­wise.

6. And lastly, Adde to all the consideration of the multitude and weight of thy sins. Hadst thou sinned but once or twice, or in this or that, it were somewhat tolerable. But thy sins are [Page 96] great and many: they are heavy, and thou con­tinually encreasest their weight, and addest to their number. Jer. 5.6. A lyon out of the forrest shall slay them, and a wolf of the evening shall spoile them, a leopard shall watch over their Cities, and eve­ry one that goeth out thence shall be torn in pieces. Why? Because their transgressions are many, and their back-slidings are encreased. If thou hadst committed but two, or three, or four sins, thou mightst have hope of pardon; but when thou shalt never have done with thy God, but wilt be still encreasing, still multiplying thy sins, How can I pardon thee? (Thus David sets out his own sins in their weight and number, Psal. 38.4.) Mine iniquities are gone over my head, as an heavy burthen they are too heavy for me. The continual multi­plying of them adds to their heap both in num­ber and weight.

Thus I have shew'd you what the Law does in respect of sin, the benefit of being under the Law, that it makes sin appear in its own colours, and sets it forth to be, as indeed it is, exceeding sinful. But the Law does not yet leave sin, nor let it scape thus: But as the Law discovers our sin­fulnesse and accursednesse by sin, its wretched­nesse and mans misery by it, till his blessednesse comes from the hands of his Jesus, so it layes down the miserable estate befalls him for it. If he will not spare God with his sins, God will not spare him with his plagues. Let us consider of this accursednesse sin brings on us: God will not let us go so, but as long as we are under the Law, [Page 97] we are under the curse; and till we are in Christ, we can expect nothing but that which should come from the hand of a provoked God. Assure thy self, thou th [...]t pleasest thy self in thy abo­minations, that God will not take this at thine hands that by so base a creature as thou art, so vile a thing as sin is should be committed against him. But of the woful eff [...]cts of sin, which is Gods wrath, we will speak the next time.

LAM. 5.16.‘Woe unto us that we have sinned.’

I Declared unto you heretofore what we are to consider in the state of a na­tural man, a man that is not new fa­shioned, new moulded, a man that is not cut off from his own stock, a man that is not ingrafted into Christ, he is the son of sin, he is the son of death. First I shew'd you his sin­fulnesse, and now Secondly I shall shew you his accursednesse, that which follows necessarily upon sin unrepented of. I declared before what the nature of sin is: And now I come to shew what the dreadful effects of sin are, the cause, the consequence that follows upon sin, and that is woe and misery, Woe unto us that we have sinned. A woe is a short word, but there lieth much in it.

Doct. Woe and anguish must follow him that con­tinueth sinning against God.

And when we hear this from the Ministers of God, it is as if we heard that Angel, Rev. 8.13. flying through the midst of heaven, denouncing, Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth. The Mini­sters of God are his Angels; and the same that I now deliver to you, if an Angel should now [Page 99] come from Heaven, he would deliver no other thing. Therefore consider that it is a voice from Heaven, that this woe, woe, woe, shall rest upon the heads, upon the bodies and soules of all them that will not yeild unto God, that will not stoop to him, that will be their own masters, and stand it out against him: woe, woe, woe unto them all. Woe unto us. It's the voice of the Church in gene­ral, not of one man; but woe unto us that we have sinned.

That I may now declare unto you what these woes are, note by the way that I speak not to a­ny particular man, but to every man in general. It is not for me to make particular application, doe you doe that your selves: We are all children of wrath by nature: In our natural condition we are all alike, we are all of one kind, and every kind generates its own kind: 'Tis an hereditary condition, and till the Son make us free, we are all subject to this woe. By nature we are all children of wrath as well as others, Eph. 2.3. Now that I may not speak of these woes in general, I have shew'd how two woes are past, and a third woe is coming. God proceeds punctually with us. And are not our proceedings in Judiciary Courts after this man­ner? The Judge when he pronounceth sentence, doth particularize the matter: Thou shalt re­turn to the place from whence thou camest, thou shalt have thy bolts knockt off, thou shalt be drawn to the place of execution, thou shalt be hanged, thou shalt be cut down, and quartered; and so he goes on. And this is that which is the witnesse of Justice. Thus [Page 100] is it here, the Spirit of God thinks it not enough to say barely, the state of a sinner is a woful e­state; but the woes are punctually number'd, and this shall be my practice. Now

1. The first thing that followeth after sin is this: After the committing of sin, there cometh such a condition into the soul that it is defiled, pol­luted, and becometh abominable. And this is the first woe.

2. The soul being thus defiled and abomina­ble, God loaths it; for God cannot endure to dwell in a filthy and stinking carrion-soul, he startles as it were, and seems afraid to come near it, he for­sakes it, and cannot endure it. And that's the second woe: First sin defiles it, then God departs from it, there must be a divorce.

3. When God is departed from the soul, then the Devil enters in, he presently comes in and takes up the room, there will be no emptinesse or vacuum. And this is a fearful woe indeed: for as soon as God is departed from a man, he is left to the guidance of the Devil, his own flesh, and the world. There will be no emptinesse in the heart: no sooner God departs, but these step in and take Gods place.

4. Then in the fourth place, after all this is done, comes sin and cries for its w [...]ges, which is death. That terrible death which comprehends in it all that beadroll of curses which are written in the Book of God; and not onely those▪ but the curses also which are not written, Deut. 28. which are so many that they cannot be written. [Page 101] Though the Book of God be a compleat Book, and the Law of God a perfect Law, yet here they come short, and are imperfect: For the cur­ses not written shall light upon him, which are so many as pen and ink cannot set down, nay, the very pen of God cannot expresse them, so many are the calamities and sorrows that shall light upon the soul of every sinful man.

Now let us take these woes in pieces one af­ter another.

1. The first woe is the polluting and defiling of the soul by sin. A thing it may be that we little think of; but if God once open our eyes, and shew us what a black soul we have within us, and that every sin, every lustful thought, every covetous act, every sin sets a new spot and stain upon the soul, and tumbles it into a new puddle of filth, then we shall see it, and not till then; for our eyes are carnal, and we cannot see this. If once we did but see our hateful & abominable spots, that e­very sin tumbles us afresh into the mire: did we see what a black Devil we have within us, we would hate and abhor our selves as Job did. It would be so foul a sight, that it would make us out of our wits as it were, to behold it. A man that is but natural, cannot imagine what a black Devil there is within him: But though he seeth it not, yet he that hath eyes like a flame of fire, Rev. 1.14 seeth our stains and spots.

Our Saviour shewes the filthinesse of the heart by that which proceeds out of the mouth, Mat. 15.18. Those things which proceed out of the mouth, [Page 102] come from the heart. And v. 19. Out of the heart pro­ceed evil thoughts, &c. Observe. Of all evils we account evil thoughts the least. This we think strange, what, thoughts defile a man? what, so light a matter as a thought? Can they make any impression? Yes, and defile a man too, leaving such a spot behind them, which nothing but the hot blood of Christ can wash away. So many e­vil thoughts, so many blasphemies, so many fil­thy things come from the heart, every one being a new defilement and pollution, that a man is made so nasty by it and filthy, that he cannot be­lieve that it is so bad with him as indeed it is. The Apostle having shewn the Corinthians their for­mer life, and exhorted them against it, 1 Cor. 6. goes on cap. 7. v. 1. Let us cleanse our selves from all filthinesse of the flesh and spirit. Mark then, there is a double filthinesse, a filthinesse of the flesh, and a filthinesse of the spirit. The filthinesse of the flesh, that every one acknowledgeth to be filthy carnality, Fornication, and Adultery, &c. These bestial lusts every one knowes to be un­clean. But then there is a filth of the Spirit too, and such are evil thoughts. They are the filth of the Spirit. Corruptio optimi est pessima. The corruption which cleaves to the best thing is worst. The soul is the Best thing, the most noble thing; the filthinesse which cleaves to it there­fore must needs be the greatest. Fleshly filthiness, as Adultery, is filthy; but contemplative Adul­tery, to dwell thereon, is worse: however such a man may be pure from the filth of the flesh, yet [Page 103] if he delight himself in filthy thoughts, his spi­rit is abominable in the sight of God: there is a stain by every one of thy impure thoughts left behind. However an actual sin be far greater then the sin of a thought, yet if that be but once committed, and these are frequently in thee; if thou alway lie tumbling in the suds of thy filthy thoughts, thy continuing therein makes thy sin more abominable then Davids outward act which he but once committed. So that we see there is a filthinesse of the spirit as well as the flesh. In James 1.21. we have a word sets out the filthinesse of it, which is (Superfluity.) Lay apart (saith he) all filthinesse and superfluity of naughtinesse.

First, it's expressed by the name of filthinesse, [...]hewing there's nothing so defiles a man as sin.

Then 'tis call'd superfluity of naughtinesse: But what, is there any naughtinesse to be born with? and what exceeds that, is it superfluity? No, that's not the meaning of the place. By su­perfluity, is meant the excrements of sin: Excre­ments are the refuse of meat when the good nou­rishment is taken away from it. And 'tis as if the Apostle had said, Lay aside filthy, nasty, or ex­crementitious sin. The word was used in the Ce­remonies of the Jewes, and thereby we may see what was taught concerning sin, Deut. 23.12, 13. Thou shalt have a place without the camp whither thou shalt goe, &c. Though the comparison be home­ly, yet it shews the filthinesse of the sin, that it is as a very excrement. Thou shalt have a paddle, [Page 104] and it shall be that when thou wilt ease thy self, thou shalt dig therewith, &c. and thou shal [...] cover that which cometh from thee. But what, did God care for these things? No, it was to teach them a higher matter: As the reason following implies. For the Lord thy God walketh in the midst of the Camp. God would thereby shew them, that those things at which every man stoppeth his nose, are not so filthy to man, as sin is unto God. So that you see how the case stands with a sinful man: sin de­files him, it pollutes him.

2. And then in the next place, It makes Gods soul to hate and abhor him. It's true, some sins there are that every man imagineth to be shame­ful and filthy; but we see all sin is so to God, 'tis fil [...]hinesse of flesh and spirit. A man may hate carnality, fleshly filthinesse; peradventure also he may hate covetousnesse, but pride and prodiga­lity that he may get (as he thinks) credit by, that he cannot maintain the reputation of a Gentle­man without them. A miserable thing, that a man should account that a garnish of the soule, which doth defile and pollute it. If a man should take the excrements of a beast to adorn himself, would not we think him an ass? Well, when we thus defile our selves by sin, God cannot endure us, he is forced to turn from us, he abhors us: And that's the next woe.

2. When thou hast made thy self such a black soul, such a dunghill, such a sty, then God must be gone, he cannot endure to dwell there: It stands not with his honour, and with the purity [Page 105] of his nature to dwell in such a polluted heart, there must now be a divorce: Holinesse becomes his house for ever. His delight is in the Saints. He is King of the Saints, he will not be in a sty: When thou hast thus polluted and defiled thy soul, God and thee must presently part: God puts thee off, and thou puttest God off too. We read in that place before alledged, Eph. 2 12· that before they knew Christ, they were without God in the world, &c. Atheists, [...]. And in cap. 4. v. 18. Having your understanding darkned, and being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them. The presence of God is the life of our soules; and we having through sin and ignorance banish't God, we become strangers un­til the time of our ingrafting into Christ; we are aliens to the life of God: whereupon comes a mutual kind of abhorring one another. God abhors us, and we vile and filthy wretches ab­hor God again. There is enmity betwixt God and us, and between all that belongs to God, and all that belongs to us. There's an enmity betwixt God and us, and observe the expression of it, Levit. 26.15. If you shall despise my statutes, or if your soules shall abhor my judgments, so that you will not doe my commandements, &c. See here how we begin to abhor God, and then for judgment on such persons, v. 30. My soul shall abhor you. We are not behind hand with God in this abhorring, Zach. 11.8. My soul loathed them, and their soul ab­horred me. When we begin to abhor God, Gods soul also abhors us. When a man hath such a [Page 106] polluted soul, he becomes [...], a hater of God, and hated of him. When thou hast such a stink­ing soul, God must needs loath it, as a most loath­some thing; and so thou art not behind God neither. Thy filthinesse makes God abhor thee, and thou abhorrest him. And this is thy case, by hating, thou art hated of God.

Nor is this all the enmity. There is enmity also betwixt all that belongs to God, and all that belongs to us. Gods children and the wicked have ever an enmity betwixt them, such an en­mity as will never be reconcil'd. It's set down in Prov. 29.27. An unjust man is an abomination to the just, and he that is upright in his way, is an abo­mination to the wicked. Just as it is between God and the seed of the serpent, so it is between both the seeds. A wicked man is an abomination to the just, and an upright man is an abomination to the wicked. There is a pale of abomination set be­tween them: so that this is the second woe. We come now to the third.

3. And the third woe is that which immediat­ly follows Gods leaving of us. When we have pol­luted our selves with sin, and God by reason thereof abhors us, and turns from us, then are there others ready presently to take up the room; so soon as God departs, the Devil steps in and becomes thy God. He was thy God by Creation, this by usurpation: He was thy Father that would have given thee every good thing; but now thou art fatherlesse, or rather worse, thou hast the Devil for thy Father, and better is it to [Page 107] to be without one. When the Devil is thy Fa­ther his works thou must doe. When the Spirit of God departed from Saul, presently the evil Spirit en­tred into him, 1 Sam. 16.14. If the good Spirit be gone out, the evil Spirit soon comes in: he comes and takes possession, and is therefore called The God of this world: And while we are in that state, we walk after the course of him that worketh in the children of disobedience. We would account it a terrible thing, for our selves, or any of our chil­dren, to be possessed of a Devil: But what it is to be possessed of this Devil thou knowest not. It's not half so bad to have a Legion possesse thy body, as to have but one to possesse thy soul. He becomes thy God, and thou must doe his work; he will tyrannize over thee. What a fearful thing therefore is this, that assoon as God departs from us, and forsakes us, and we him, that the Devil should presently come in his room, and take up the heart? Mark that place in Eph. 2.2. Where in times past ye walked according to the course of the world, according &c. Assoon as God leaves a man, what a fearful company assail him? They all con­cur together, the world, the flesh, and the De­vil: These take Gods place.

The world is like the tide; when a man hath the tide with him, he hath great advantage of him that rowes against the tide.

But here is the Devil too. The world is as a swift current, and besides this comes the Devil and fills the heart, the Prince of the power of the aire. While thou wert carried with the world, [Page 108] thou went'st with the stream, and hadst the tide with thee; but now the Devil being come, thou hast both wind and tide; and how can he choose but run whom the Devil drives?

But this is not all: There must be something in thine own disposition too, that it may be com­pleatly filled: Though there be wind and tide, yet if the ship be a slug, it will not make that haste that another light ship will: Therefore here is the flesh too, and the fulfilling the desires there­of, which is a quick and nimble vessel, and this makes up the matter. So that if we consider the wind and tide, and lightnesse of the ship, it will appear how the room is filled: And how woful must the state of that man be? It is a fearful thing to be delivered up unto Satan, but not so fearful as to be delivered up to ones own lusts. But by the way observe this for a ground: God never gives us up, God never forsakes us till we first for­sake him. He is still before hand with us in do­ing us good; but in point of hurt we our selves are first. In the point of forsaking we are always before hand with God. If it should be proposed to thee, whether thou wilt forsake God or the Devil, and thou dost forsake God, and choosest the Devil, thou deservest that he should take pos­session in thee. When a man shall obstinately renew his grosse sins, doth he not deserve to be given up? Observe the case in our first Parents. God told the woman one thing, the Devil per­swades her another; she hearkens to the Devil, and believes him rather then God; and when we [Page 109] shall desire to serve the Devil rather then God, the God that made us, and that made heaven for us, doe we not deserve to be given up to him? For his servants we are whom we obey. And thus we see how fearful a thing it is to be delivered up to our selves, and to the Devil, Psal. 81.11. First they forsake God: God comes and offers himself unto them, I will be thy God, thy Fa­ther, thou shalt want nothing: yet notwith­standing Israel would not hear, they would have none of me. And then, if thou wil [...] have none of me, I will have none of thee, saith God. Then see what follows, v. 12. God commits the prisoner to himself: I gave them up to their own hearts lusis, &c. And there's no case so desperate as this, when God shall say, If thou wilt be thine own Maste [...], be thine own Master. Thus to be given up to a mans self, is worse then to be given up unto Satan: To be given up unto Satan may be for thy safety; but there's not a mountain of Gods wrath greater, then to give a man up unto himself. We would fain goe over the hedges; but when God loves us, he hedges up our ways, Hos. 2.6. If God love us, he will not leave us to our selves, though we desire it. But when God shall say, goe thy wayes if thou wilt not be kept in, be thy own Master, this is a most fearful thing: And this is the third woe. First the soul is pol­luted with sin; it forsakes God, and God for­sakes it: then the world, the flesh, and the De­vil, these fill up the room; and then what fol­lows when these three rule within? but all kinds [Page 110] of sin: And so all kinds of punishment, which is the next woe.

4. And this woe brings in all the curses of Al­mighty God, an Iliad of evils. Sin calls for its wages, viz. Death, Death. That's the payment of all: The wages of sin is death. And this is the next thing which I shall open and explain.

Now in handling hereof, I will first shew how death in general must of necessity follow sin, that thou who hast forsaken the fountain of life, art liable to everlasting death. And for this see some places of Scripture, Rom. 6.2, 3. The wages of sin is death. Consider then first what this wa­ges is. Wages is a thing which must be paid: If you have an hireling, and your hireling receive not his wages, you are sure to hear of it, and God will hear of it too, James 5.4. He which keeps back the wages of the labourer, or of the hireling, their cry will come into the eares of the Lord of Sabbath. As long as hirelings wages are unpaid, Gods eares are filled with their cries, Pay me my wages, pay me my wages. So sin cries, and it is a dead voice, Pay me my wages, pay me my wages, the wages of sin is death. And sin never leaves crying, never lets God alone, never gives him rest till this wages be paid. When Cain had slain Abel, he thought he should never have heard any more on't; but sin hath a voice, The voice of thy brothers blood cries unto me from the ground. So Gen. 18.20. the Lord saith concerning Sodom, Because the cry of Sodom is great, and their sin very grievous, therefore I will goe down and see whether they have done according to the [Page 111] cry that is come up into mine eares. As if the Lord had said, It's a loud cry, I can have no rest for it, therefore I will goe down and see, &c. If a man had his eares open, he would continually hear sin crying unto God, Pay me my wages, pay me my [...]a­ges, kill this sinful soul: And though we do not hear it, yet so it is. The dead and doleful sound thereof fill [...] Heaven: it makes God say, I will goe down and see, &c. Till sin receive its wages, God hath no rest. Again, see Rom. 7.11. Sin ta­king occasion by the commandement, deceived me, and by it slew me. I thought sin not to have been so great a matter as it is. We think on a matter of profit or pleasure, and thereupon are enticed to sin; but here's the mischie [...], sin d [...]ceives us. I [...] is a weight, it presses down, it dece [...]es men, it's more then they deemed it to be. The commit­ting of sin is as it were running thy self upon the point of Gods blade. Sin at first may fl [...]ter thee, but it will deceive thee: It's like Joabs kisse to A­masa. Amasa was not aware of the spear that was be­hind, till he smote it into his ribs that he died. When sin entices th [...]e on by profits and pleasures, thou art not aware that it will slay thee: But thou shalt find it will be bitternesse in the end. A sinner that acts a tragedy in sin, shall have a bloody Ca­tastrophe. Rom. 6. What fruit had you then in those things whereof you are now ashamed? Blood and death is the end of the Tragedy. The end of those things is death. The sting of death is sin, 1 Cor. 15. What is sin? It's the sting of death: Death would not be death unlesse sin were in it. Sin is more [Page 112] deadly then death it self: It's sin enableth death to sting, enableth it to hurt and wound us: So that we may look on sin, as the Barbarians looked on the viper on Pauls hand, they expected continually when he would have swollen and burst. Sin bites like a snake which is called a fiery serpent, not that the serpent is fiery, but because it puts a man in­to such a flaming heat by their poyson: And such is the sting of sin, which carries poyson in it, that had we but eyes to see our uglinesse by it, and how it inflames us, we should continual­ly, every day look when we should burst with it. The Apostle, James 1.15. useth another meta­phor: Sin when it is accomplished bringeth forth death. [...], saith the Original, sin goeth as it were with child with death. The word is pro­per to women in labour, who are in torment till they are delivered. Now as if sin were this wo­man, he useth it in the faeminine gender. [...]. So is it with sin, sin is in pain, cries out, hath no rest till it be delivered of this dead birth, till it have brought forth death: That is, sin growes great with child with death, and then it not on­ly deserves death, but it produceth and actually brings forth: This is generally so.

Now consider with your selves, death is a fear­ful thing. When we come to talk of death, how doth it amaze us? The Priests of Nob are brought before Saul for relieving David, and he saith, Thou shalt surely die Ahimelech. And this is your case, you shall surely die: death is terrible even to a good man. As appeares in Hezekiah, who [Page 113] though he were a good man, yet with how sad a heart doth he entertain the message of death? the newes of it affrighted him, it went to his heart, it made him turn to the wall and weep. How cometh it to pass that we are so careless of death? that we are so full of infidelity, that when the word of God saith, Thou shalt die Ahimelech, we are not at all moved by it? What, can we think these are fables? Do we think God is not in ear­nest with us? And by this means we fall into the temptation of Eve, a questioning whether Gods threats are true or not? That which was the de­ceit of our first Parents, is ours. Satan disputes not whether sin be lawful or not: whether eat­ing the fruit were unlawful: whether drunken­nesse, &c. be lawful; he'l not deny but it is un­lawful. But when God saith, If thou dost eat, &c. thou shalt die: he denies it, and saith, ye shall not die. He would hide our eyes from the punish­ment of sin. Thus we lost our selves at the first, and the floods of sin came on in this manner: when we believed not God when he said, If thou dost eat thou shalt surely die: And shall we renew that capital sin of our Parents, and think if we do sin we shall not die? If any thing in the world will move God to shew us no mercy, it's this, when we slight his judgments, or not believe them. This adds to the heigth of all our sins, that when God saith, if thou dost live in sin, thou shalt die, and yet we will not believe him: that when he shall come and threaten us, as he doth, Deut. 29. when he shall curse, and we shall bless [Page 114] our selves in our hearts, and say, we shall have peace though we goe on, &c. The Lord will not spare that man, but the anger of the Lord and his jealousie shall smoke against him. It is no small sin when we will not believe God: This is as being thirsty before, we now adde drunkennesse to our thirst: That is, when God shall thus pronounce curses, he shall yet blesse himself, and say, I hope I shall doe well e­nough for all that. There are two words to that bargain. Then see what follows, The anger of the Lord and his jealousie shall smoke against that man, &c. We are but now entred into the point; but it would make your hearts ake & throb within you, if you should hear the particulars of it. All that I have done, is to perswade you to make a right choise, to take heed of Satans delusions. Why will ye die? Ezek. 33. Therefore cast away your sins, and make you a new heart and a new spirit, for why will you die? Where the golden candlestick stands, there Christ walks, there he saith, I am with you. Where the word and Sacraments are, there Christ is; and when the wo [...]d shakes thy heart, take that time, now choose life. Why will you die? Con­sider of the matter: Moses put before the people life and death, blessing and cursing: We put life and death before you in a better manner: He was a Minister of the letter, we of the spirit. Now choose life. But if you will not hearken, but will needs try conclusions with God, therefore because you will choose your own confusions, and will not hearken un­to God, because you will needs try conclusions with him, will not obey him when he calls, therefore he will turn [Page 115] his deaf ear unto you, and when you call and cry, he will not answer, Prov. 1. I presse this the more, to move you to make a right choise.

But now to turn to the other side, as there is nothing but death the wages of sin, and as I have shew'd you where death is so give me leave to direct you to the fountain of life: There is life in our blessed Saviour; if we have but an hand of faith to [...]ouch him, we shall draw vertue from him to raise us up from the death of sin to the li [...]e of righteousnesse, 1 John 5.12. He that hath the Son hath life, he that hath not the Son hath not life. You have heard of a death that comes by the first Adam and sin and to that stock of original sin we had from him, we have added a great heap of our own actual sins, and so have treasured up unto our selves wrath against the day of wrath. Now here is a great treasure of happiness on the other side in Christ, have the Son, and have life. The question is now, whether you will choose Christ and life, or sin and death? Consider now the Minister stands in Gods stead, and beseeches you in his name, he speaks not of himself, but from Christ. When he draws near to thee with Christs broken body, and his blood shed, and thou receive Christ, then as thy life and strength is preserved and en­creased by these Elements, so hast thou also life by Christ. If a man be kept from nourishment a while, we know what death he must die: If we receive not Christ, we cannot have life, we know that there is life to be had from Christ, and he that shall by a true and lively faith receive Christ, shall [Page 116] have life by him. There is as it were a pair of In­dentures drawn up between God and a mans soul: there is blood shed, and by it pardon of sin, and life convey'd unto thee on Christs part. Now if there be faith and repentance on thy part, and thou accept of Christ as he is offered, then thou mayst say, I have the Son, and as certainly as I have the bread in my hand, I shall have life by him. This I speak but by the way, that the Sun might not set in a cloud, that I might not end only in death, but that I might shew that there is a way to re­cover out of that death to which we have all na­turally praecipitated our selves.

ROM. 6.23.‘The wages of sin is death’

THe last day I entred on the Declarati­on of the cursed effects and conse­quents of sin, and in general shew'd that it is the wrath of God; that where sin is, there wrath must follow. As the Apostle in the Epistle to the Galathians, As many as are under the works of the Law, are under the curse. Now all that may be expected from a God highly offended, is comprehended in Scripture by this term Death. Wheresoever sin enters, death must follow, Rom. 5.2. Death passed over all men, forasmuch as all had sinned: If we are children of sin, we must be children of wrath, Eph. 1.3. We are then children of wrath even as others. Now con­cerning death in general, I shew'd you the last time, that the state of an unconverted man is a dead and desperate estate: He is a slave. It would affright him if he did but know his own slavery, and what it is that hangs over his head: that there's but a span betwixt him and death, he could never breath any free aire, he could ne­ver be at any rest, he could never be free from fear. Heb. 2.15. the Apostle saith that Christ [Page 118] came to deliver them that through fear of death were all their life time subject to bondage. This bondage is a deadly bondage, that when we have done all that we can doe, what's the payment of the service? Death: And the fear of this deadly bon­dage, if we were once sensible, if God did open our eyes and shew us, as he did Belshazzar, our doom written, did we but see it, it would make our joynts loose, and our knees knock one against ano­ther. Every day thou livest, thou approachest nearer to this death, to the accomplishment and consummation of it: death without, and death within; death in this world, and in the world to come.

Not onely death thus in gross and in general, but in particular also.

Now to unfold the particulars of death, and to shew you the ingredients of this bitter cup, that we may be weary of our estates, that we may be drawn out of this death, and be made to fly to the Son, that we may be free indeed. Observe, that Death is not here to be understood of a sepa­ration of the soul from the body only, but a grea­ter death then that, the death of the soul and body, We have mention made of a first resurre­ction, Rev. 20.6. Blessed and happy is he that hath his part in the first resurrection, for on such the second death hath no power. What is the first resurrecti­on? It is a rising from sin. And what is the se­cond death? It is everlasting damnation. The first death is a death unto sin, and the first resur­rection is a rising from sin.

[Page 119]And so again for all things the judgments or troubles that appertain to this death, all a man suffers before. It is not as fools think, the last blow that fells the tree, but every blow helps forward. 'Tis not the last blow that kills the man, but every blow that goes before, makes way unto it. Every trouble of mind, every an­guish, every sicknesse; all these are as so many strokes, that shorten our life, and hasten our end; and are as it were so many deaths: Therefore however it is said by the Apostle, It is appointed for all men once to die, yet we see the Apostle to the Corinthians of the great conflicts that he had, in 2 Cor. 11.23. saith, that he was in labours abun­dant, in stripes above measure, in prisons frequent, in deaths oft. In deaths often? what's that? That is, however he could die but once; yet these har­bingers of death, these stripes, bonds, imprison­ments, sicknesses, &c. all of them were as so ma­ny deaths, all these were comprehended under this curse, and are parts of death; in as much as he underwent that which was a furtherance to death, he is said to die. So we read Exo. 10.17. Pharo­ah could say, Pray unto your God that he would forgive my sins this once, and intreat the Lord that he will take away from me but this death onely. Not that the lo­custs were death; but are said to be so, because they prepared and made way for a natural death. Therefore the great judgments of God are usu­ally in Scripture comprised under this name Death. All things that may be expressions of a wrath of an highly provoked God, are compre­hended [Page 120] under this name: All the judgments of God that come upon us in this life, or that to come; whether they be spiritual and ghostly, or temporal, are under the name of death.

Now to come to particulars, look particularly on death, and you shall see death begun in this world, and seconded by a death following, the separation of body and soul from God in the world to come.

1. First, in this life he is alwayes a dying man: Man that is born of a woman, what is he? He is e­ver spending upon the stock, he is ever wasting like a candle, burning still, and spending it self as soon as lighted, till it come to its utter con­sumption: So he is born to be a dying man, death seizeth upon him as soon as ever it findeth sin in him, Gen. 2.1. In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt die, saith God to Adam, though he lived many years after. How then could this threat­ning hold true? Yes, it did, in regard that pre­sently he fell into a languishing estate, subject and obnoxious to miseries and calamities the haste­ners of it. If a man be condemn'd to die, suppose he be reprieved and kept prisoner three or four years after, yet we account him but a dead man: And if this mans mind shall be taken up with worldly matters, earthly contentments, purcha­ses, or the like, would we not account him a fool or a stupid man, seeing he lightly esteemes his condemnation, because the same hour he is not executed? Such is our case, we are while in our natural condition in this life dead men, ever ten­ding [Page 121] toward the grave, towards corruption, as the gourd of Jonah, so soon as ever it begins to sprout forth, there is a worm within, that bites it, and cau­ses i [...] to wither. The day that we are born there is within us the seed of corruption, and that wasts us away with a secret and incurable consumpti­on, that certainly brings death in the end: So that in our very birth begins our progresse unto death: A time, a way we have, but it leads un­to death. There is a way from the Tower to Ty­burn, but it is a way to death. Until thou com­est to be reconciled unto Christ, every hour tends unto thy death; there's not a day that thou canst truly say thou livest in, thou art ever posting on to death: death in this world, and eternal death in the world to come.

And as it is thus with us at our coming into the world, so we are to understand it of that lit­tle time we have above ground, our dayes are full of sorrow. But mark, when I speak of sorrows here, we must not take them for such afflictions and sorrows as befal Gods children, for theirs are blessings unto them: chastisments are tokens of Gods love: For as many as I love I chasten (saith God.) Affliction to them is like the dove with an Olive-branch in her mouth, to shew that all is well. But take a man that is under rhe Law, and then every crosse, whether it be losse of friends, losse of goods, diseases on his body, all things, every thing to him is a token of Gods wrath, not a token of Gods love, as it is to Gods children; but it is as his impress-money, as part of payment [Page 122] of a greater summe, an earnest of the wrath of God, the first part of the payment thereof.

It's the Apostles direction, that among the o­ther armour, we should get our feet shod, th [...]t so we might be able to goe through the afflictions we shall meet withall in this life, Eph. 6.15. Let your feet be shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace. What, is the shooing of the feet a part of the armour? Yes. For in the Roman discipline there were things they called Caltrops, which were cast in the way before the Army, before the horse and men; they had three points, so that which way soever they threw them, there was a point upwards. Now to meet with and prevent this mischief, they had brazen shooes, that they might tread upon these caltrops and not be hurt: As we read of Goliah, amongst other armour he had boots of brasse. To this it seems the Apo­stle had reference in this metaphorical speech: The meaning is, that as we should get the shield of faith, and sword of the Spirit, so we should have our feet shod, that we might be prepared a­gainst all those outward troubles that we should meet with in the world, which are all of them as so many stings and pricks: all outward crosses I say, are so: And what is it that makes all these hurt us? what is it that makes all these as so ma­ny deaths unto us but sin? If sin reign in thee and bear rule, that puts a sting into them. It is sin that arms death against us, and it is sin that arms all that goes before death against us. Hast thou been crossed in the losse of thy wife, chil­dren, [Page 123] good friends, &c. why the sting of all is from sin, sin it is which makes us feel sorrow. What shall we then doe? Why, get thy feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace. Prepare thy self, get God at peace with thee; and if God be at peace with thee, thou art prepared, and then whatsoever affliction cometh, howsoever it may be a warning-piece to another that Gods wrath is coming, yet to thee it is a messenger of peace. Now these outward troubles are the least part of a wicked mans payment, though all these are a part of his death so long as he remains unreconciled, whatsoever comes upon him whereby he suffers either in himself, or in any thing that belongs unto him, they are all tokens of Gods wrath, and are the beginnings of his death. In the 26th. of Levit. and the 28th. of Deut. the particulars of it are set down. But this is that I told you the last time, how that the law of God is a perfect law, and nothing is to be ad­ded to it, yet the variety of the curses belong­ing unto a man unreconciled are so many, that the ample book of God cannot contain them, Deut. 28.61. All the curses which are not written, &c. We read v. 27. The Lord shall smite thee with the botch of Egypt, and with Emralds, and with a scab, and with itch. See the diversities of plagues: All these are made parts of the curse. The very itch and scab is a part of the payment of Gods wrath in hell, Lev. 26.26. I will send a sword amongst you, which shall avenge the quarrel of my Covenant, the sword which shall destroy you, that when you [Page 124] shall hear of war, of the coming of the sword, (which the children of God need not fear, all is alike unto them) it shall be to avenge the quarrel of Gods Covenant. The Book of God compre­hends not all the curses that are to light on the wicked. And therefore we find in Zachary, a Book, a great Folio-book, every side whereof was full of curses, Cap. 5.2. He said unto me, what seest thou? And I said, I see a flying roll, the length whereof is 20 cubits, and the breadth thereof is 10 cubits. Here's a big Book indeed; but mark what is in it. Sure it is not for nought that the Holy Ghost sets down the dimensions of it: there is something questionlesse in it, the length there­of is 20 cubits, and the breadth 10 cubits: a huge volume. Nor is it a Book, but a Roll, so that the crassitude goeth into the compasse, and this is written thick within and without, and is full of cur­ses against sin. Now for the dimensions of it, compare this place with 1 Kings 6.3. and you shall find them the very dimensions of Solomons Porch: A great place, where the people were wont to come for the hearing of the Word: and not onely in that time, but it was continued to the time of Christ and the Apostles: For we read how our Saviour walked in Solomons Porch, and the Apostles were in Solomons Porch, Acts 5. So large then was this Roll, that it agreed in length and breadth with Solomons Porch, and so many curses were written in it as were able to come in at the Church door. It is as if we should see a huge book now, coming in at the Church­door, [Page 125] that should fill it up. Such a thing was presented unto him, and it was a Roll full of cur­ses, and all these curses shall come on those that obey not all the Commandements, all shall come upon them and overtake them. Cursed shalt thou be in the City, and cursed shalt thou be in the field, cursed in thy basket and in thy store, cursed when thou comest in and when thou goest forth, Deut. 28. Till a man come to receive the Promises, till he come to be a son of blessing, till he be in Christ, he is beset so with curses, that if he lie down to sleep there is a curse on his pillow; if he put his mo­ney in his cofer, he lays up a curse with it, which as rust eats it out and cankers it; if he beget a child, he is accursed; there's a curse against his person, and his goods, and all that belongs unto him, there's still a curse over his head.

The creditor in this world by the Laws of the Realm may choose whether he will have his deb­tors person se [...]zed on, or his goods and chattels: But not so here, this writ is executed against his person, and goods, and all that belongs unto him. So that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God If this be the condition of a wick­ed man, that his very blessings be curses, what a wo­ful case is it! There's nothing till he be recon­ciled to Christ but hath a curse at the end of it.

Consider that one place in the Prophesie of Malachy, where the very blessings are accurs'd: not onely when God sends on him the itch, or botch, or scab, or sword, but in blessings, cap. 2.2. he's accursed. If you will not hear, and if you will [Page 126] not lay it to heart to give glory to my name, saith the Lord, I will even send a curse upon you. But how? See how this curse is threatned: I will curse your very blessings, yea I have cursed them already, because you doe not lay it to heart. Mark, is it not a great blessing that God yet affords the Word, that we yet enjoy it; but if we come to hear but formal­ly, to hear it onely, and lay it not to heart, God curseth this blessing, yea I have cursed it already, saith the Lord. When thou prayest in hypocrisie, thy prayer is a curse to thee. If thou receive the Sacrament unworthily, the cup of blessing is a cup of poyson, a cup of cursing to thee. Stay not therefore one hour longer quietly in this cursed condition, but fly unto Christ for life & blessing: run to this City of refuge, for otherwise there is a curse at the end of every outward thing that thou enjoyest. I have cursed these blessings already. It is as sure as if already pass't on thee. What a woful thing then is it (think you) to be liable to the curse of God!

2. But what's become of the soul now? why, if thou didst but see the cursed soul that thou carriest in thy body, it would amaze thee. These outward curses are but flea bitings to the blow that is given to the soul of an unregenerate man, that deadnesse of spirit that is within: didst thou but see the curse of God that rests upon the soul of this man, even while he is above ground, it would even astonish thee.

1. Consider there are two kinds of blows that God gives unto the soul of an unregenerate man. [Page 127] The one is a terrible blow. The other, which is the worst of the two, is an insensible blow. The sensible blow is when God lets the conscience out, and makes it fly into the face of a man, when the conscience shall come and terribly accuse a man for wh [...]t he hath done. This blow is not so usual as the insensible blow; but this insensi­ble is f [...]r more heavy. But as it falls out, that as in this world, sometimes before the glory in hea­ven, the Saints of God have here a glimpse of heaven, and certain communion with God and Christ, certain love tokens, a white stone, a new name in graven, which no man knoweth but he that re­ceiveth it: And this is the t [...]stimony of a good conscience, which is hidden joyes: Privy in­tercourse is between Christ and them, secret kis­ses: And as Gods children doe as it were meet with a heaven upon earth sometimes, and are, as we read of Paul, caught up into the third heaven, which to them is more then all the things in the world besides: So the wicked have sometimes flashes of hell in their consciences. If you had but seen men in the case that I have seen them in, you would say they had an hell within them; they would desire rather, and they have expres­sed it, to be torn in pieces by wild horses, so they might be freed from the horrours in their consci­ences. When the conscience recoyles and beats back upon it self, as a musket o're charged, it turns a man over and over: And this is a terrible thing. This sometimes God gives men in this world: And mark, where the word is most pow­erfully [Page 128] preacht, there is this froth most rais'd, which is the cause many men desire not to come where the word is taught, because it galls their consciences, and desire the Masse rather, because they say the Masse bites not: They desire a dead Minister, that would not rub up their conscien­ces, they would not be tormented before the time: They would so, but it shall not be at their choise, God will make them feel here the fire of hell, which they must endure for ever hereafter. This is the sensible blow, when God lets loose the con­science of a wicked man; and he needs no other fire, no other worm to torment, nothing else to plague him: he hath a weapon within him, his own conscience, which if God lets loose, it will be hell enough.

2. But now besides this blow which is not so frequent, there is another more common and more insensible blow. God saith he is a dead man, and a slave to sin and Satan, and he thinks himself the freest man in the world. God curses and strikes, and he feels it not. This is an insen­sible blow, and like unto a dead palsie: Thou art dead, and yet walkest about, and art merry, though every one that hath his eyes open seeth death in thy face. O this deadnesse, this sense­lesnesse of heart is the heaviest thing as can befal a sinner in this life. It is the cause the Apostle speaks of in the Rom. when God delivers up a man [...], to a reprobate mind: And so in the E­pistle to the Ephes. 4.19. declares such a man to be past feeling: Who being past feeling, have given [Page 129] themselves over to lasciviousnesse to work uncleannesse even with greedinesse. Although every sin, (as I told you before) is as it were the running a mans self on the point of Gods sword, yet these men being past feeling, run on, on, on to c [...]mmit sin with greedinesse, till they come to the very pit of destruction, they run a main to their confusi­on. When this insensibleness is come upon them, it is not Gods goodnesse that can work upon them. Who art thou that despisest the riches of Gods good­nesse, not knowing that the goodnesse of God leadeth unto repentance. It is not Gods judgments that will move them, they leave no impression, as Rev. 9.20. And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues, yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship Devils, &c. brass, nor stone and wood, which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk. They repented not, though they were spared, but worshipped Gods which can­not see, not hear no [...] speak, so brutish were they to be led away by stocks and stones: I think the Papist Gods cannot doe it unlesse it be by cou­zenage; yet such is their senselesnesse, that though Gods fury be revealed from heaven a­gainst Papists, such as worship false Gods; yet are they so brutish, that they will worship things which can neither hear, nor see, nor walk: They that made them are like unto them, and so are all they that worship them, as brutish as the stocks themselves: They have no heart to God, but will follow af­ter their Puppets and their Idols, and such are they also that follow after their drunkennesse, [Page 130] covetousnesse, &c. Who live in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of riot, 1 Pet. 4.2. that run into all kind of excess, and marvel that you do not so too. They marvel (that ye that fear God) can live as ye do; and speak evil of you that be good; call such hypocrites, dissemblers, and I know not what nick-names. This, I say, is a most woful condi­tion; it's that dead blow. When men are not sensible of mercies, of judgments, but run into all excesse of sin with greedinesse: and this is a death begun in this life, even while they are a­bove ground.

But then comes another death, God doth not intend sin shall grow to an infinite weight, His Spirit shall not always strive with man, but at length God comes and crops him off, and now cometh the consummation of the death begun in this life: Now cometh an accursed death.

3. After thou hast lived an accursed life, then cometh an accomplishment of curses.

First, a cursed separation between body and soul, and then of both from God for ever, and that is the last payment. This is that great death which the A­postle speaks of, Who hath delivered us from that great death. So terrible is that death. This death is but the severing of the body from the soul: This is but the Lords Harbinger, the Lords Ser­jeant to lay his Mace on thee, to bring thee out of this world into a place of everlasting misery, from whence thou shalt never come till all be sa­tisfied, and that is never.

First, Consider the nature of this death, which [Page 131] though every man knoweth, yet few lay to heart. This death, what doth it?

First, It takes from thee all the things which thou spentst thy whole life in getting. It robs thee of all the things thou ever hadst: Thou hast taken paines to heap and treasure up goods for many years, presently when this blow is given, all is gone: For honour and preferment, it takes thee from that; pleasure in idle company keeping, it barrs thee of that. Mark, this is the first thing that death doth, it takes not onely away a part of that thou hast, but all: it leaves thee quite na­ked, as naked as when thou camest into the world: Thou thoughtst it was thy happinesse to get this and that. Death now begins to unbe­witch thee, thou wast bewitcht before, when thou didst run after all worldly things: thou wast deceived before, and now it undeceives thee; it makes thee see what a notorious fool thou wast, it unbefools thee. Thou hadst many plots, and many projects, but when thy breath is gone, then all thy thoughts perish, all thy plottings and projectings goe away with thy breath: A strange thing, to see a man with Job, the richest man in the East, and yet in the evening (we say) as poor as Job: He hath nothing left him now. Now though death takes not all things from thee, yet it takes thee from them all; all thy goods, all thy books, all thy wealth, all thy friends thou mayst now bid farewel: now adieu for ever, never to see them again. And that is the first thing.

2. Now death rests not there, but com­eth [Page 132] to seize upon thy body. It hath bereaved thee of all that thou possessedst of all thy outward things, that's taken away: Now it comes to touch his person, and see what then. It touch­eth him, it rents his soul from his body: those two loving companions that have so long dwelt together, are now separated. It takes thy soul from thy body: This man doth not deliver up his spirit, as we read of our Saviour, Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit, or deliver their spirits as Stephen did: But here it's taken from them; it's much against his mind, it's a pulling of him­self from himself. This it doth.

3. But then again, when thou art thus pulled asunder, what becomes of the parts separa­ted?

1. First, The body as soon as the soul is taken from it, hastens to corruption; that must see corruption: yea, it becomes so full of corruption, that thy dearest friend cannot then endure to come near unto thee. When the soul is taken from the bo­dy, it's observed, that of all carkasses that are, mans is most loathsome, none so odious as that. Abraham loved Sarah well; but when he comes to buy a monument for her, see his expression, Gen. 23 8. He communes with the men, and saith, if it be your mind to sell me the field, that I might bury my dead out of my sight. Though he loved her very well before, yet now she must be buried out of his sight. It is sown in dishonour, and it's the basest thing that can be: Therefore when our Saviour was going near to the place where Laza­rus [Page 133] lay, his sister saith, Lord, come not near him, for he smells. Job 17.14. I have said to corruption, thou art my father (saith Job) and to the worm, thou art my mother and my sister: As in the verse before, The grave is my house, I have made my bed in the darkness. Here then he hath a new kindred; and though before he had affinity with the greatest, yet here he gets new affini [...]y: He saith to corruption; thou art my father, and to the worm, thou art my mother and my sister. The worm is our best kindred here; the worm then is our best bed; yea worms thy best covering, as Esay 14.11. Thus is it thy Father, thy mother, and thy bed: nay, it is thy consumption and destroyer also, Job 26. Thus is it with thy body, it passeth to corruption, that thy best or dearest friend cannot behold it, or en­dure it.

2. But alas! what becomes of thy soul then? Thy soul appears naked, there's no garment to defend it, no Proctor appears to plead for it: It is brought singly to the bar, and there it must an­swer. It is appointed for all men once to die. But what then? And after that to come to judgment, Heb. 9.27. Eccles. 12.7. The body returns unto the earth from whence it was taken, but the Spirit to God who gave it. All mens spirits, assoon as their bo­dies and souls are parted, goe to God to be dis­posed of by him, where they shall keep their e­verlasting residence. Consider when thou hearest the bell rung out for a dead man, if thou hadst but the wings of a dove to fly, and couldst fly af­ter him, and appear with him before Gods Tri­bunal, [Page 134] to see the account that he must give unto God for all things done in the flesh: and when no account can be given, what a state of misery and horrour wouldst thou see him in! and this is a silent kind of judging: The last day of judg­ing shall be with great pomp and solemnity. This is a matter closely carried between God and thy self; but then thou must give an account of all that thou hast received: And then when thou canst not give a good account, then is thy talent taken from thee. Why, saith God, I gave thee learning, how didst thou use it? I gave thee o­ther gifts of mind, how didst thou imploy them? God hath given thee wisedome, and wealth; Moral vertues, meeknesse, and patience, &c. these are good things: But mark, whatsoever good things thou hadst in this world, is now ta­ken from thee. If a man could but see the de­grading of the soul, he should see that those mo­ral vertues in which his hope of comfort lay, even these, though they could never bring him to hea­ven, yet they shall be taken from him. As when a Knight is degraded: First his sword is taken from him, then comes one with a hatchet and chops off his golden spurs, and then go Sr. Knave: This is the degrading of the soul before the judg­ment is received: the moral vertues are taken from him, and then see what an ugly soule he hath: he had hope before, now he's without hope: he had some patience in this world, but he made no good use of it, and now his patience is taken from him: And when thou shalt come [Page 135] to a place of torment, and thy hope and pati­ence be taken from thee, what case wilt thou be in then? Patience may stay a man up in trou­ble, and hope may comfort a man up in torment; but both these are taken away. This is a thing we very seldome think; but did we seriously consider of this first act of the Judgment before the sentence, we would not be idle in this world.

3. Then lastly, he is put into an unchangea­ble estate: So soon as ever death lays Gods Mace upon him, he's put into an estate of unchange­blenesse. Such is the terriblenesse of it, that now though he yell, and groan, and pour out rivers of teares, there is no hope of change.

Consider now what a woful case this is. If some friend of this mans should now come to him, would he not tell him, we have often been very merry together, but didst thou but know the misery that I am in, thou wouldst be trou­bled for me: Half those teares that I now pour forth, would have put me into another place, had I taken the season, but now it is too late. Oh therefore doe thou make use of teares, a little may doe it now, hereafter it will be too late.

That's the thing we should now come to speak of, the second death: But think not that I am able to speak of it now, no, that which is everlasting deserves an hour in speaking, and an Age in thinking of it. Therefore that ever­lasting [Page 136] torment, horror, and anguish which God hath reserved for those that make not their peace with him (which is easily done God knows) I shall speak of the next time.

REV. 21.8.‘Bu [...] [...]he fearful, and unbel [...]ng, and the abo­minable, and murtherers, and whoremon­gers, and sorcerers, and Idolaters, and all lyars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.’

THe last day I entred, you know, upon the miserable estate of an unreconci­led sin [...]er, at the time of his dissolu­tion, when his soule shall be taken from him, and be presented naked before Christs Tribunal, there to receive accor­ding to the works which he hath done in the flesh: And I shew'd that the wofulnesse of that estate consisted in two acts done upon him: The one before he comes to his place, before he is thrust away from Gods presence into hell fire; which I shew'd you the last day, and did then promise to shew you the other, to wit, the wofulnesse of his estate, being once come into his place. The act done to the sinners soul be­fore he is sent to hell, is the deprivation of his light, the taking away of his talent. For whilst [Page 138] a man is in this world, he hath many good things in him, too good to accompany him to hell. Now all these excellent gifts and natural endowments which did adorn a wicked mans soul, before the soul is hurled into hell, must be taken away from him. There is a kind of degradation of the soul, it is depriested [...] were, and becomes lik [...] a de­graded Knight that hath his honour taken from him. All the rich talents, and all the rich pri­zes that were put into the fools hand, shall be ta­ken from him. Is there any moral vertue? Are there any common graces and natural endow­ments in the miserable soul? it shal be stript of all, and packt to hell. You that have abused your lear­ning and gifts that God hath given you, do you think that they shall go with you to hell? No such matter, you shall be very sots and dunces there. All your learning shall be taken from you, and you shall goe to hell arrant blockheads. He that had fortitude in this world, shall not carry one drachm of it to hell: all his courage shall then be abased, and his cowardly heart shall faint for fear. Fortitude is a great advantage to a man in di­stresse, but let not the damned soul expe [...]t the least advantage: his fortitude which he had whilst he was in the way, shall be taken from him. It may be he had patience in this world: Now patience is [...] vertue unfit for hell, therefore shall that be taken from him. A man if he were in most exquisite torments, yet if he had patience, it would bear it up with head and shoulders (as we say) but this shall adde to his torments, that [Page 139] he shall not have any patience left him to allay it. A man hath perhaps hope in this world, and, as the Proverb is, were it not for hope the heart would burst; yet even this too shall be taken a­way from him, he shall have no hope left him of ever seeing Gods face again, or of ever having a­ny more tasts of his favour: And so what hath been said of some, may be said of all his graces and endowments: he shall clean be stript of all ere he be sent to hell.

I come now to speak of the place of torment it self, wherein the sinner is to be cast eternally, which is the second act. But think not that I am able to discover the thousandth part of it, no nor any man else: God grant that no soul here present ever come to find by experience what it is. What a woful thing is it, that many men should take more paines to come to this place of torment, then would cost them to goe to heaven, that men should wilfully run themselves upon the pikes, not considering how painful it is, nor how sharp those pikes are: And this I shall en­deavour to my power to set forth unto you. This Text declares unto us two things.

1. Who they are for whom this place is pro­vided.

2. The place it self, and the nature of it.

1. For whom the place is provided. The Text containes a Catalogue of that black Roll (though there are many more then are here expressed) but here are the grand crimes, the ring-leaders to destruction, the mo [...]er sins. And here we [Page 140] have in the first place the Fearful: whereby is not meant those that are of a timorous nature (for fear simply is not a sin) those that are simply fear­ful; but such as place their fear on a wrong object, not where it should be: that fear not God, but o­ther things more then God. Such as if affliction and iniquity were put to their choise, will rather choose iniquity then affliction: Rather then they will have any cross betide them, rather then they will incur the indignation of a man, rather then they will part with their life and goods for Gods cause, will adventure on any thing, choosing ini­quity rather then affliction; being afraid of what they should not fear, never fearing the great and mighty God: This is the fearful here meant. See how Job expresses it, Job 36.31. This hast thou cho­sen. This (that is) iniquity rather then affliction: to sin rather then to suffer. Christ biddeth us not to fear poor vain man, but the omnipotent God, that is able both to kill and to cast into hell. The man that feareth his Landlord, who is able to turn him out of his house, and doth not fear God, who is able to turn him into hell, this dastardly spirit is one of the Captains of those that goe to hell, those timerous and cowardly persons, that tremble at the wrath or frowns of men, more then of God. But what's the reason men should thus stand more in fear of men then of God? Why it is because they are sensible of what men can doe unto their bodies, but they cannot with Moses by faith see what that is that is invisible. They are full of un­belief; for had they [...], they would banish all [Page 141] false fears. See what the Lord saith, Esa. 41 14. Fear not thou worm Jacob, I will help thee, saith the Lord. He saith not, Fear not ye men, or thou man, for then per­haps thou mightst be thought to have some pow­er to resist, but fear not thou worm. A worm (you know) is a poor weak thing, apt to be crushed by every foot; yet be this thy case, be thou a worm, unable to resist the least opposition, yet fear not thou worm. Fear not, why? for I will help thee, saith the Lord. Couldst thou but believe in God, this would make thee bold; and hadst thou faith, thou wouldst not fear. When word was brought to the house of Jacob, that two Kings were come up into the Land to invade it, Esay 7.2. it is said his heart was moved, as the trees of the wood are mo­ved with the wind. But what is the remedy of this fear? See Esay 8.12. Fear not their fear, nor be a­fraid (that was a false and a base fear) sanctifie the Lord in your hearts, and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. Esay 51.12. there is an ob­ject of our faith and comfort, and a remedy a­gainst fear proposed: I, even I, am he that comfor­teth thee: who art thou that shouldst be afraid of a man that shall die, and the son of man that is as grass? What, art thou one that hast God on thy side? how unworthy art thou of that high favour, if thou fear man? The greatest man that lives can­not shield himself from death, and from a cove­ring of worms, and wilt thou be afraid of a man, and forget the Lord thy Maker? The more thou art taken up with the fear of man, the lesse thou fearest God; and the more thou remembrest [Page 142] man, the more thou forgettest thy Maker.

You have seen the main, the ring [...]aders, which are these fearful, faithlesse, dastardly, un­believing men.

Now see what the filthy rabble is that follow­eth after, and they are Abominable, Murtherers, &c. Abominable, that is, unnatural, such as pol­lute themselves with things not fit to be named, but to be abhorred, whether it be by themselves, or with others. They are the abominable here meant, such as Sodome and Gomorrah, who were set forth to such as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire, Jude v. 7. [...], such are abomi­nable, being given up to unnatural lust. Let them carry it never so secretly, yet are they her [...] ranked amongst the rest, and shall have their por­tion in the burning lake.

After these come Sorcerers, Idolaters, Lyars: Though these may be spoken fairly of by men, yet cannot that shelter them from the wrath of God, they shall likewise have their part in this lake when they come to a reckoning. If there be, I say, a generation of people that worship these, say what you will of them, when they come to receive their wages, they shall receive their portion in that burning lake with hypocrites: Those that make so fair a shew before men, and yet nourish hypocrisie in their hearts, these men, though in regard of the outward man they so be­have themselves that none can say to them, black is their eye, though they cannot be charged with those notorious things before mentioned; yet [Page 143] if there be nothing but hypocrisie in their hearts, let it be spun with never so fair a web, never so fine a thred, yet they shall have their portion in the lake, they shall have their part, their porti­on, &c. Then it seems these of this black guard have a peculiar interest unto this place. And as it is said of Judas Acts 1.25. that he was gone [...], to his proper place. So long as a man that is an enemy to Christ, and yeilds him not obedi­ence, is out of hell, so long is he out of his place. Hell is the place assigned to him, and prepared for him; he hath a share there, and his part and portion he must have: till he come thither he is but a wanderer. The Evangelist tells us that the Scribes and Pharisees went about to gain Profe­lytes, and when they had all done, they made them seven times more the children of hell then them­selves, filios Gehennae: So that a Father hath not more right in his son, then Hell hath in them: He is a vessel of wrath fill'd top full of iniquity, and a child of the Devils: So that as we say, the gallows will claim its right, so hell will claim its due. But mistake me not, all this that I speak concerning Hell, is not to terrifie and affright men, but by forewarning them to keep them thence. For after I have shewn you the danger, I shall shew you a way to escape it, and how the Lord Jesus was given to us to deliver us from this danger: But if you will not hear, but will try conclusions with God, then you must to your proper place, to the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone.

[Page 144]A Lake 'tis, a River, a flaming River, as Tophet is described to be a lake burning with fire and brim­stone, a Metaphor taken from the judgment of God on Sodome and Gomorrah, as in that place of St. Jude before mentioned, as also in 2 Pet. 2.6. where 'tis said God turned the Cities of Sodom into ashes, making them an example to all them that should after live ungodly. Mark the judgment of God upon these abominable men, the place where they dwelt is destroyed with fire, and the situation is turn'd into a lake full of filthy bituminous stuff called L [...]cus Asphaltites, which was made by their burnings. And this is made an instance of the vengeance of God, and an Embleme of eternal fire; therefore said he, you shall have your portion with Sodome. Nay, shall I speak a greater word (with Christ) and tell you, that though they were so abominable, that the Lake was denomi­nated from them, yet it shall be easier for Sodome and Gomorrah then for you, if you repent not while you may, but goe on to despise Gods grace. But can there be a greater sin then the sin of Sodome? I answer, yes. For make the worst of the sin of Sodome, it is but a sin against nature: But thy im­penitency is a sin against grace, and against the Gospel, and therefore deserves a hotter hell, and an higher measure of judgment in this burning pit.

But what is this second death?

2. Sure it hath reference to some first death or other going before. A man would (as it is com­monly thought) think that this second death, [Page 141] is opposed to that first death, which is the harbin­ger to the second, and separates the soul from the body; but it's far otherwise. That, alas, is but a petty thing, and deserves not to be put in the number of deaths. The second death in the Text hath relation to the first Resurrection, Rev. 20:6. Blessed and holy is he that hath his portion in the first resurrection, on such the second death shall have no power. The first death is that from whence we are acquitted by the first resurrection, and that is the death; for that is a kind of death (as S. Paul speaking of a wicked and voluptuous widow, saith, she is dead while she liveth) and the time shall come and now is, when they that are dead shall hear the voice of the Son of man, and they that hear shall live. And again, Let the dead bury their dead. So that the first resurrection is, when a man hearing the voice of the Minister, is rouzed up from the sleep of sin and carnal security, and the first death is the opposite thereunto. So that the death of the body is no death at all; for if it were, then this were the third death. For there would be a death of sin, a death of the body, and a death of body and soul: This death of the body is but a flea-biting in comparison of the other two. This second death is the separation of the body and soul from God, and this death is the wages of sin, and God must not, will not lie in arrear to sin, but will pay its wages to the full. All the afflictions a wicked man meeteth withal here, are but as Gods press money, and part of payment of that greater summe: But when he dies, the [Page 140] whole summe comes then to be paid: Before he did but sip of the cup of Gods wrath, but he must then drink up the dregs of it down to the bot­tome, and this is the second death: It's called death. Now death is a destruction of the parts compounded: a man being compounded of bo­dy and soul, both are by this death eternally de­stroyed. That death (like Sampson pulling down the pillars whereby it was sustained, pulled down the house) draws down the tabernacles of our bodies, pulls body and soul in sunder. A thing which hath little hurt in it self, were it not for the sting of it, which makes it fearful: To die, is esteemed far worse then to be dead, in regard of the pangs that are in dying, to which death puts an end. This temporal death is in an instant, but this other eternal, whereby we are ever dying, and never dead, for by it we are punished with an everlasting [...], 2 Thess. 1.9. and that from the presence of the Lord by the glory of his power. Then which place I have no need to adde more; for, as much as can be s [...]id of men and Angels is fully comprehended in it. The Apostle terms this a fearful thing indeed, Heb. 2.15. whereon if a man but think (if he hath his wits about him) he would for fear of it be all his life long subject to bon­dage. He would scarce draw any free breath, but would still be studying how to avoid it, and would still be in bondage and drudgery till he were delivered. Thus I have declared the nature of the place, and of this second death.

That I may now goe farther, know that this [Page 143] Lake and this place is the place that the Lord hath provided for his enemies: It is the Lords slaughter-house; its called a place of torments, Luke 16. a place wherein God will shew the ac­complishment of his wrath, and revenge upon his enemies, Those mine enemies that would not have me to reign over them, bring them forth, and slay them before my face. Those vessels of wrath, those re­bels; the King is in raged, and his wrath is as the roaring of a Lyon, which makes all the beasts of the forrest to tremble, Prov. 19.12. And where there is the wrath of such a King, the issue there­of must needs be death, Prov. 16.14. The wrath of a King is as a messenger of death. How much more fearful is the wrath of the King of Kings. God hath sharp arrows, and he sets a wicked man as his Butt to shoot at, to shew his strength, and the fierceness of his wrath. See the expression of Job in this case, The arrows of the Almighty stick fast in me, and the venome thereof hath drunk up my spirits: In so few words there could not be an higher ex­pression of the wrath of God. First, that God should make thee a Butt, and then that thou shouldst be shot at, and that by Gods arrows: And then they are not shot by a child, but (as the man is, so is his strength) by the Almighty, by his bow, wherein he draws the arrow to the head. And then again these arrows are poyson'd arrows, and such poyson as shall drink up all thy soul and spirit: Oh, what a fear­ful thing is it to fall into the hands of such a God! It's a saying of Moses, Psal. 90.11. (for 'tis Moses Psal.) Who knoweth the power of thine anger? the power of [Page 144] Gods anger is unknown. And so in his Song, Deut. 32.22. he sets it out in some measure. A fire is kindled in mine anger, which shall burn unto the lowest hell, &c. So that the King being thus provoked, is provoked to curse thee, Mat. 25. It's put into the form of thy sentence: this cursing shall be thy lot in hell, it shall be thy very sentence, Goe ye cursed into everlasting fire. There is nothing but cursing: As Job cursed himself and the day of his birth, so then shall cursing be all thy song: thou wilt curse thy self that thou didst not hearken to the Preacher, that thou wouldst not accept of Christ, and the meanes of mercy and grace when it was offered thee: and thou wilt curse the time thou wert acquainted with this man, and that man, and others will curse thee for drawing them to sin: God curses thee, and man curses thee; and God curses not in vain when he curses: o­thers will curse thee, and thou thy self and o­thers; and think then how cursed will be thy condition? All the curses that can be thought on, and all the curses that cannot be thought on, shall rest on the head of an impenitent sinner, to shew Gods terrible and just indignation against him. Oh beloved, to deliver us from this curse, Christ the Son of God was made a curse for us: the curse is so great, nought else can free us from it. But now that I may rank these punishments of the damned, and bring them for memories sake into some order (although there be no order there, for it's a place of confusion) you may con­sider that the penalties of Gods enemies are pe­nalties [Page 145] partly of losse, and partly of sense.

1. Of loss. And that consists in the deprivation of every thing that might administer the least comfort to him; and for this cause hell is termed utter darknesse. Now darknesse is a privation of all light, so is Hell of all comfort, to shew that there is not the least thing that may give thee content, nor is the poorest thing thou canst de­sire to be had there. Darknesse was one of the plagues of Egypt, though there were no kind of sense in it, yet we may think what a plague and vexation it was to them to sit so long in darkness. The darknesse of Hell is darker then darknesse it self. They shall not see light, saith the Scripture, they shall not have so much as a glimpse of it: To be cast into this utter darkness, where shall be nothing to administer the least comfort, what an infinite misery will that be? Were it only the losse of the things we now possesse and enjoy, of all which death robs us, as pomp, honour, riches, and preferment, this were grievous to a wicked man: These are things death dispossesses a man of, these cannot follow him, nought but thy works accompany thee: thy friends may follow thee to the grave, but there they shall leave thee. To have been happy, and to be miserable, is the greatest woe: to have lived in good fashion, and to be wretched, is the greatest grief. How will this adde to the sinners misery, when he shall say to himself, I had once all good things about me, but have now for my portion nothing but woe: I had a bed of down, but it is now exchanged for [Page 146] a bed of fire: I was once honourable, but now I am full of shame and contempt; this will great­ly adde to his misery. But all this is nothing, these are but the beginnings of his sorrow in re­gard of losse: for a man to be rich and wealthy to day, and to morrow to be stript of all, and left not worth a groat, to have all swept away, this is a woful case.

2. But if this be so grievous, what is it to lose Heaven? Certainly, to lose the highest and grea­test good, is the greatest evil and punishment that can be inflicted upon a creature. Which makes many Divines think, that the penalties of losse are far greater then those of sense, though they seem not to make that impression. It's another thing to judge of things by sense then by losse: As for example, a man is greatly troubled with the tooth-ach, and he thinks his case more mise­rable then any, and thinks no man ever endur'd so much misery as himself, he judges of his mise­ry by sense: Another man is in the consumpti­on, and he hath little or no pain at all; yet if a man come with a right judgment, he will judge his condition far worse then the others. So take all the pains in Hell, though sense may say they are the greatest that can be, yet discreet judg­ment can say, that the losse of God the greatest good, is the worst of evils. Now (if thou be a firebrand of Hell) thou must be for ever banish't from Gods presence. Thou base wretch, dost thou thin [...] Heaven a place for thee? not so. 'Tis without are dogs and sorcerers, &c. Thou art a dam­ned [Page 147] dog, therefore thou must out from God, and from the company of the blessed Saints and An­gels. When Peter saw Moses and Elias with Christ in his Transfiguration, though he had but a glimpse of glory, yet he saith, It is good for us to be here: But oh how infinite good will it be to be in Hea­ven? how shall we be then wrapt up with glo­ry when we shall be for ever with the Lord, in whose presence is fulness of joy, and at whose right hand there are pleasures for evermore. On the contrary, how exceeding terrible will it be to be shut out from the presence of God? when God shall say, avaunt hence, whip out this dog, what doth he here? let him not defile this room, this is no place for such a filthy dog. Oh the unspeakable horrour and dread! oh the infinite shame of that man who is in such a case! But this is not all.

There is yet one thing more, the wicked shall not only be banished from Gods gracious pre­sence, and cast into Hell, but this shall be done in the sight of Heaven. The glorious Saints of God have continually a sight of Gods justice upon sinners, that they may glorifie his mercy the more. The Scripture runs much to this purpose, Rev. 14.10. If any man worship the beast and his image, the same shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the pre­sence of God and of his holy Angels. This in the 9th verse is the portion of them that worship the beast, that is the Pope, and receive the mark of his name. That is, if any will be an expresse pub­lick or private Papist, if any one will be a slave to the Pope, see his portion, he shall drink of the [Page 148] wine of the wrath of God, and be banished from the so­ciety of holy Angels, and be tormented with hell-fire in their presence. Oh what a vexation will this be to the damned when they shall see others in hea­ven, and themselves shut out of door? This will cause weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. It will go to their very heart, when they shall see Moses and Aaron and the Prophets and holy Saints in joy and glory, and shall consider and remember, that if they had made use of these means and op­portunities of grace, they might have lived in Heaven too, whereas now they must be everla­stingly tormented in that lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, and that without any hope of recovery. 2 Thess. 1.9. Punished with e­verlasting destruction, from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power. You know that by the Law of Moses, whensoever an offender was to receive his stroaks, Deut. 25 2, 3. The Judge was to cause him to lie down, and to be beaten before his face, and he himself was to see it done. So when God comes to give the damned their stroaks in hell (for hell is the place of execution, wherein he that knows his masters will and doth it not, shall be beaten with many stripes,) he himself will see them beaten in the presence of all his holy Angels; and if so, how shameful will their punishment be? when there shall be so many thousand witnesses of it, when they shall be made (as we say) the worlds wonder. These are they that shall rise to everlasting contempt, Dan. 12. So in Esay, ult. Cap. v. ult. it's said of the damned, their worm shall not [Page 149] die, nor their fire be quenched, but they shall be an abhor­ring to all flesh, and the holy Angels and Saints shall go forth and look upon them: those proud ones that scorned Gods people here, shall then be abhorred and scorned of them.

4. Adde to all this, that he's not only banish't from the presence of God for a while, but from all hope of ever seeing God again with comfort. Thy estate is endless and remediless. Whilst thou art here in this life, of a Saul thou mayst become a Paul; and though thou art not yet a beloved son, yet thou mayst come in favour: Whilst thou li­vest under the means of grace, there is yet hope of recovery left thee, it may be this Sermon may be the meanes of thy conversion: But then a­mongst all thy punishments, this will be one of the greatest, that thou shalt be deprived of all means of recovery, and this shall be another hell to thee in the middest of hell, to think with thy self, I have heard so many Sermons, and yet have neglected them: I had so many opportunities of grace, and yet have slighted them, this will make the sinner rage, and bite his tongue, and tear himself, to think how that now all meanes are past. And this is the first penalty, the penalty of loss.

That of the sense succeeds. By the former we are deprived of all the joyes and comforts of hea­ven & earth, of Mount Sion, shut out of the City of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, depriv'd of an innumerable company of Saints, of the general assembly and Church of the first-born, of God himself the Judge [Page 150] of all, and the souls of the Saints made perfect. This shall make a sinner curse himself.

Now follows the penalty of torments and sense. When Adam was banished out of Paradise, he had the wide world to walk in still; but it is not so here: Thou art not only cast out of hea­ven, but cast into hell, and art deprived of thy li­berty for ever, 1 Pet. 3.19. It's said Christ preached to the spirits in prison, them that in the dayes of Noah were disobedient, and for this cause are now in prison. Hell is compar'd to a prison, and a prison indeed it is, and that an odious one. For,

1. Look on thy companions. If a man were to be kept close prisoner, it were a great punish­ment, but goe ye cursed, saith God, into everlasting fire, prepared for the Devil and his Angels. To be a­mong such companions is most infinitely misera­ble, there is nothing but Devils and damned howling ghosts, woful companions! If there be an house possessed with an evil spirit, a man will scarce be hired to live in it; but here the dam­ned spirits, the filthy and cursed host must be thy yoke-fellows: Suppose there were no torment to suffer, yet to be banished from heaven, and to be tied and yoked to wicked spirits, were a tor­ment sufficient to make the stoutest that ever was tremble, and quake, and be soon weary of it.

2. But it's a place of torment too, a prison where there is a rack, to which thou must be put, and on which thou must be tormented: I am tor­mented in this flame, saith Dives. To speak of the torments there, will be matter enough for ano­ther [Page 151] hour, but I delight not to dwell on so sad a subject: only this is that which prepares the way to the glad tidings of salvation, therefore I shall a little longer insist upon it. The body and soul, the whole man, shall be there tormented; not the soul only, but even the body too after judg­ment. Do you think the members of the body, which have been the instruments, shall escape? be rais'd, and cast into hell to no purpose? Why should God quicken it at the last day, but to break it on the anvil of his wrath, and to make it accompany the soul, as well in torments as in sin­ning. 'Tis true, the soul is the fountain of all sense, and the body without it hath no sense at all: take away the soul, and you may burn the body, and it will not feel it. Now the soul being the fountain of sense, and the body being united to it, when God shall lay his axe at this root, at this fountain, how dreadful shall it be? how shall the body choose but suffer too? Should any of us be cast into a fire, what a terrible torment would we account it? Fire and water, we say, have no mercy; but alas, this fire is nothing to the fire of hell, 'tis but as painted fire to that which burns for ever and ever. The furnace wherein Nebuchadnezzar commanded those to be thrown that fell not down to the graven Image which he had set up, was doubtless at every time a terrible place. Hell is compared to such a fur­nace; but what shall we think of it, when the King in his wrath shall command the furnace to be heated seven times hotter then usual? Nay, what shall [Page 152] we think of hell, when the King of Heaven shall command it to be heated seventy times seven times hotter then before? when there shall be a fire, and a fire prepar'd: for so is this fire of Tophet, it's a pile of much wood. When the King of Heaven shall as it were set to work his wisedome, to fit it in the sharpest manner, in procuring such in­gredients as may make it rage most, and be most violent: It is a fire prepared for the Devil and his Angels, the strongest of creatures, for the punish­ment of principalities and powers: and if it can master Angels, think not but that God hath a fire to rost thy soul. It is the soul that is in hell onely till the day of judgment, though the body be not there. A man would think that the soul did not suffer, but Philosophy tels us that the soul suffers mediante corpore, in and by the body: Therefore 'tis a rule in Divinitie, that whatsoever God doth by means, he can do without means. Though the body be not there, but the soul only, yet God is able, nay doth make the soul as well feel grief without the body, as he doth by means of the body.

3. But now besides thy fellow-prisoners in that cursed Gaol, consider who are thy tormen­tors, thou that dost continue in impenitency. Now thy tormentors are these three.

  • 1. The Devil.
  • 2. Thy self.
  • 3. God Almighty.

1. The Devil, who is thy deadly enemy, a bloo­dy-minded adversary, a murthering and merci­less-minded Spirit, a murtherer from the begin­ning [Page 153] a merciless tormentor, who being in plagues and torments, and thereby even at his wits end, would fain ease himself in tormenting thee. When the Devil, as we read, was dispossessed of a child wherein he was, he rends and tears, leaves him foam­ing, that there was little hope of life in him: But now when a man shall be delivered into the hands of this merciless spirit, when God shall say to the Devil, take him, do what thou wilt with him, do thy worst to him: when thou shalt be thus put into the hands of one that hates thee, and delights in thy ruine, how will he tear thee into pieces? how will he torment thee? in how desperate and wretched a case will thy soul and body be?

2. But the tormentor within thee is far more heavy, painful, and grievous, that never dying worm within, the sting of a guilty and wounded conscience, this, like a sharp dagger, is still stab­bing thee at the very heart. This by a reflecting act upon it self, will cause thee to revenge Gods quarrel on thy self; and as a musket over-char­ged beats back on the shooter, so will it most fu­riously return upon thee. This is that that smote David, when 'tis said Davids heart smote him. A man needs no other fire, nor other worm to tor­ment him, then that within him: which as the worms on the carkass, gnaws on a wretched soul. But there is a greater tormentor then both these behind, and that is

3ly. God himself, he is highly offended and in­raged at thee, and therefore comes and takes the matter into his own hand, and will himself be ex­ecutioner [Page 154] of his fury. There i [...] a passage in the Thess. to this purpose, which me thinks is more then can be spoken by men or Angels, Epist. 2. cap. 1. v. 9. Who shall be punished with everlasting destru­ction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power. Mark that, God whom thou hast so highly provoked to wrath, hath a strong hand and glorious power. He shew'd the glory of his power in the making the world, and all things in it, and all that infinite power which he hath ma­nifested in the creation of heaven and earth, shall be engaged in the tormenting of a sinner. Were there a man that should lay a target of brasse, or a target of steel on a block, and should then cleve all in sunder at a blow, this would sufficiently manifest his strength: So doth God make mani­fest his power in crushing thee to pieces. There are still new charges and discharges against sin­ners, to make his power therein manifest. What if God, willing to make his power known (saith the Apostle Rom. 9.) suffered a while the vessels prepared to destruction? God will manifest his power by the strength of his stroke on those that rebel a­gainst him. Hence proceedeth weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth, which is a Metaphor taken from one either that hath a great coldness on him, or from the symptomes of a Feaver.

Add to all that hath been said these two things.

1. The torment shall be everlasting, you shall desire to die, that your torments may have end: And here you may expect that I should say some­thing of the eternity of the torments of the dam­ned; [Page 155] but I am not able, nor any one else suffici­ently to express it: It shall continue ten thousand thousand yeares, and after that an hundred thousand times ten thousand, and yet be no nearer end then at the first beginning. Thou must think of it seriously thy self, and pray to God to reveal it to thy soul, for none else sufficiently can.

2. But besides, as it is everlasting, so is it unabate­able. If a man were cast into a fire, the fire coming about him, would in short time blunt his senses, and take away his feeling, and besides, the ma­terials of the fire would soon spend and waste: But it is not so here, here is not the least abate­ment of the horror, nor the least inch of torment taken away throughout all eternity. It was a poor request of Dives (one would think) that Lazarus would dip the tip of his finger in water and cool his tongue: A cold comfort, but one drop of water for the present, which would soon be dri­ed, and yet that is denied him, he must have no abatement of his torment. Nor is there any a­batement of thy feeling, but thou art kept in full strength, and as long as God is God shall Tophet burn, and thou feel it.

Obj. But (may some say) this is preaching in­deed, this would affright a man, and make him out of his wits: this is the way to make him goe hang him self, sooner then be converted.

Sol. True, should God let loose the cord of our conscience, it were the way (such would be the terrours of it) to make a man find another cord, did not God restrain him. I desire not by [Page 156] this to hurt you, but to save you. I am a messen­ger not sent from Abraham (as Dives entreated) but from the God of Abraham, to forewarn you that you come not to that place of torment.

But now (Beloved) there is a way to escape this misery, and that is by Jesus Christ, Mat. 1.21. He was for this end called Jesus, because he saves his people from their sins, and consequently from wrath: which how it is done I shall shew in a word, and that is

  • 1. By Christ Jesus offered for us. And
  • 2. By Christ Jesus offered to us.

By Christ offered for us, he must die for us, and if there be any death more cursed then other, that death must he die; if any more painful, that must he suffer. Thus he undertakes thy cause, and suffers what for sin was due to thee.

And then being offered for us, he is offered to us, as we may see in the Sacrament, where there are two acts of the Minister, the one the break­ing the bread, the other, the offering it to the people. Thou hast as good warrant to take Christ offer'd, as thou hast to take the bread and wine, which thou art commanded to receive. Thus I thought good to adde something to sweeten the rest, that I might shew that there is a way to be freed from the bitter pains of eternal death.

PHIL. 2.5, 6, 7, 8.‘Let this mind be in you, which also was in Jesus Christ, who being in the form of God, thought it no robbery to be equal with God, but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion of a man, he humbled himself unto the death, even the death of the Cross.’

YOU have heretofore heard that point of Christian Doctrine which concerns the knowledge of our misery, and wretched estate by nature. The sub­stance of all is, That we are the Children of wrath and disobedience as well as others. You see then in what state every man stands, before he hath made his peace with God: as long as he stands on terms of Rebellion. You see what the Holy Ghost saith, They are the sons of disobedience, and Children of wrath [Page 354] as well as others. This I tell you (as hath often been declared) not to discourage a sinner, or to drive him to desperation, but because it's fit he should know his estate in which he is. If they will try conclusions with God, if they oppose him, the Lord cometh with a Bar of Iron, and will break them in pieces like a Potters vessel. Those mine enemies that will not have me to raign over them, bring them, and slay them before me. It is fit every man should know this; This part is only for this end, that it may awaken us, otherwise to what purpose do we preach unto you? Till the Law awaken us, we sleep securely in our sins, till the dreadfull Trumpet of mount Sinai comes with thun­dring and lightning; as Eph. 4. Awake thou that sleepest, &c. Unless this awaken us, in what case are we? Men as sleepers, that are a dreaming, as the Apostle speakes, Jude 8. A sleeping sinner will be a dreaming sinner: he never sees things as they are in their proper shape: but he thinks with the Church of Laodicea, That he is rich, and wants nothing, when as he is poor, mise­rable, blind and naked. He thinks he shall be admitted into heaven as soon as the proudest: but this is a dream: Isa. 29.8. As the hungry man dreameth, and be­hold he eateth, but when he awakes, behold he is empty; or as a thirsty man that dreams he drinketh, but awake, and be­hold he is faint. Thus it is with us, we think we are entring upon the suburbs of heaven, and yet we are but in a dream, and in a sleep.

Now being thus awaken, consider with thy self what thou hast to do, when the dreadfull trum­pet of the Law hath aw [...]kened thee: consider thy state; if thou sleepest this night, Hell-fire will be thy [Page 355] portion. It were better for thee therefore to awake before the flames of hell-fire awake thee. Consi­der likewise that thou must not be led by thy self: thou must renounce thine own will. Our Estates may be pleasing unto us, to enjoy in a dream our hearts lusts here on earth; but consider, unless thou cross thy Will here, it shall be crossed hereafter: yea it shall be the main cross a man shall have in hell, (besides the eternal weight of Gods wrath) that he can will or desire no­thing, but he shall be crossed in it: not the least thing he desires, but he shall have the contrary world without end: Learn then what a wofull thing it is to be our own lords, to follow our own lusts and pleasures, see what we shall gain by it:No [...]e Well. never shalt thou enjoy the least portion of thy will in the world to come; if thou wouldst have but a drop of cold water, thou shalt be crossed in it. Nothing thou desirest, but thou shalt have the opposite to it.

Thus having truly and plainly shewed our Sinful­ness, Wretchedness, and Cursedness by nature, I come unto the second part which I proposed; to wit, Our Remedy, or our Redemption by Christ. Our Re­medy, or, our Re­demp [...]ion by Christ. And God forbid that he should create man the best of his Crea­ture for destruction. What gain and profit is there in our blood? Psalm 30.9. God is full of Grace and Compassion, and he considers that we are but dust. And happy are we that we are but dust. Had we been more glorious Creatures, as Angels, we had not had the benefit of a Saviour. When they rebelled, God considered their mettal: And as with an high hand they rebelled, So the Lord reserved them in everlast­ing chains under darkness unto the Judgement of the great [Page 356] day, Jude 3. 1 Thes. 1.10. They fell without a Redeemer; It is well for us that God considereth that we are but dust; For by Jesus Christ he saveth us from the wrath to come. It had been better for us ne­ver to have been born, then to be born fire-brands of hell. But now the point is, that we are Brands pluckt out of the fire, Zach. 3.2. It is fit therefore we should know who is our Redeemer.

Now as I have shewed you the last day it is Jesus Christ: And here consider,

1. Christ Jesus offered for us for the satisfaction of Gods Justice, and this is his priestly office.

2. As there was no Remission without shedding of blood, therefore after the blood is shed, and the Priest offered himself, there comes a second thing, else we are never the better: and that is Christ offered to us: This makes up our comfort. Many talk of the extent of Christs Death and Passion, saying, he dyed sufficiently for us, which is an improper speech: For what comfort were this, that Christ was offered for us, if there were no more? A bare sufficiency in Christ serves not the turn: this were a cold comfort: As if a man that were in debt, & afraid of every Ser­jeant, & every Sheriffe should be told: Sir, there is mo­ney enough in the Kings Exchequer to discharge all your debts. This is very true, but what is that to him? what comfort hath he by it, unless the King make him an offer to come, & take freely for his discharge? And a cold comfort were it to us to know Christ to be suffi­cient for us, unless he invite us to take freely of the waters of life. Ho, every one of you that thirsteth, come you to the waters, &c. Isa. 55.1. Thus unless Christ [Page 357] be offered to us, as well as for us, we are never the near.

Now to make this appear: Observe that in every Sacrament there are two acts of the Minister. The one hath Relation to God, a Commemoration of the Sacrifice, in which respects the ancient Fathers called it a Sacrifice: the other, the breaking of the Bread, and pouring out of the Wine: wherein there is a Commemoration of the body broken, and the blood shed, not as they are concomitants, the Wine in the bread, as the foolish Papists dream, for that were ra­ther a commemoration of his life then of his death, when the blood runs in the veins. The commemorati­on of Christs death is made by separation of the blood from the body, and as there is one Act of the Mini­ster in cons [...]crating by breaking the body, and pouring out the blood, so there is a second Act which is mini­sterial. When the Minister saith, Take, eat, This is my body; as if Christ were present, and said, Come, Take my body, thou hast as free an interest to it, as when thou art invited to thy friends table thou hast right to the meat before thee. So that as Christ is offered for thee, so he is offered to thee: And what now should hinder thee, unless thou art one that will obstinately oppose thy own salvation, and say, I will not have this man to rule over me, thou canst not miscar­ry. But if thou wilt be thine own lord, perish in thine infidelity. Here be the keyes of the King­dom of Heaven given unto Gods Ministers, unless thou wilfully oppose thine own salvation, and shut that door of salvation which Christ hath opened so wide for thee. See the ways of God are plain. [Page 358] Christ hath paid a great price for thee, and then, as great as it is, he offers it to thee.

Now for the former of these, which is Christs sa­tisfaction made unto the Father for us, I made choice of this place of Scripture, which sets it out particu­larly. Herein two things are to be observed.

1. The person who it is that will thus humble himself: the Apostle grounds his Exhortation on the fourth verse, where he tels us, We ought not to look every man on his own things, but every man on the things of others. Let this mind be in you which also was in Christ Jesus. If Christ had looked only on his own things, he might have saved himself a great deal of labor and pains. He being the Son of God, might as soon as he was born have chalenged a seat with God in Glory: He need not go per viam, He might be Comprehensor in meta: but he would pass on to his journeyes end in a thorny and troublesome way: Let then the same mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus, who minded not his own things, but the good of others.

2. What it was wherein he humbled himself, he took up­on him the form of a servant, and was obedient unto the death of the Cross. The highest humiliation that can be, that he who is above all praise, whom Angels adored, that he should be brought from heaven to earth; and not only be a pilgrim there, but have a sor­rowfull and pittifull pilgrimage; and at last to be cut off by a shamefull death from the land of the li­ving: this humiliation hath no parallel.

The depth of the humiliation consists in the height of the person thus humbled; and were not he so high, it could have done us no good. [Page 359] It's no small satisfaction that can appease Gods wrath, therefore the Apostle to the Hebrews speaking of Melchisedeck, the type of Christ, concludes, how great this man was.

Consider the invaluable price, how great he was, who being in the form of God, he who was fellow, and fellow-like with God, as good as himself, as great as himself, was thus humbled: It was the second person in the Trinity, he, and no other that was thus humbled for thee; He was weary for thee, and reviled for thee, sweated and fainted for thee; hun­gred for thee, and was buffeted for thee. It was he, the second person of the Trinity, in proper speech, without either Trope or Figure, shed his blood for thee, died for thee, and suffered all these things in his assumed nature, taking on him the form of a servant, though not in his divine. He remain­ing God alone, could not die, but yet die fain he would for thee, therefore he took thy nature on him, that he might die for thee in the assumed na­ture. He took not on him the nature of Angels, but the seed of Abraham. He being the fountain of life, and the Prince of our life, (and without sheding of blood no Redemption could be wrought) having not blood to shed as God, therefore took our nature on him, as it is; Heb. 10.5. Sacrifice and offering thou wouldst not, but a body thou hast prepared me, then said I, Io, I come, in the volumn of thy book it is written of me, to do thy Will O God. As if he should have said, Lord, I am not able to accomplish thy Will, or to be sub­ject to thee in thy nature, therefore thou hast made me a man, that in the form of a servant, I might shew [Page 360] obedience, which I could not while I was in nature equal unto thee. Now consider how great this per­son is that hath suffered all for thee. Rev. 1.5. Jesus Christ who is the faithfull witness, the first begotten of the Dead, and the Prince of the Kings of the earth: to have a great Prince bound like a thief, araigned, and exe­cuted, the consideration of this state of the person, would move a stony heart. Rev. 17.14. He is the Lord of Lords, and King of Kings.

Amongst men the Father is more honourable then the Son, and the Son is but a servant, untill he be emancipated, but it is not so in the Divinity; but the Father and the Son are both alike honourable.

Among men the Son hath the same specifical nature with the Father, but not the same individual: but it is not so in the Divinity: the Father and the Son there have the self same individual nature. I and my Father are one, therefore there must be an equality. The Pharisees themselves could draw this conclusion, that if he were the Son of God, he was equal with God. John 5.18. Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he said, God was his Father, making himself equal with God: A man would think how could that follow? He was but Gods Son: but Gods Son must be equal to the Father. In making himself Gods Son, he made himself equal with God: and therefore know upon this, and by this stands the point of our Re­demption. If a pure and holy Angel had suffered never so much, it would not have availed for our Redemption. It is a price no man, nor An­gel must meddle with all: It will require a greater Price. It was God himself that suffered in his [Page 361] assumed nature: He, and no other person: (for we must understand, though Christ took on him the na­ture of a man, yet not the person of a man) here stands the point, the second person in the Trinity is the Suppositum of all this humiliation: and therefore observe when the point of suffering comes, there's a remarkable speech. Zach. 13.7. Saith the Son to the Father, it was against his heart to smite him: the expression is a lively one, it went to his heart to smite one that was his equal, that did him no wrong, Awake, O sword, against my Shepherd, and against the man who is my fellow. You know of whom it is spo­ken by M [...]thew, Mat. 26.31. I will smite the She­pherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered. The Lord is ready to break him, Isa. 53. The sword was as it were unwilling to smite. The man that is my fel­low? A blow lighting on Gods fellow, equal with God, of what value is it? Consider the difference betwixt a man and a man; The State of a Prince makes great odds between that is done to him, and that is done to another man. When David would adventure himself into the battel: Thou shalt, say they, go no more with us, least they quench the light of Is­rael, 2 Sam. 21.17. and more fully, 2 Sam. 18.3. Thou art worth ten thousand of us: they would not haz­zard the person of the King in the battel, Why? because thou art worth ten thousand of us. The dignity of a Prince is so great, that ten thousand will not countervail the loss of him. If this be the esteem and worth of David, what is the worth of Davids Prince? If thus with a King▪ what with the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords? This is a great ground of [Page 362] the sufficiency of Christs suffering. Heb. 9.13. If the blood of Buls and Goates sanctifie to the purifying of the flesh; how much more, verse 14. shall the blood of Christ, who through his eternal Spirit, offered himself to purge your Consciences from dead works to serve the living God? It is not the offering of the body only, but he did it through his eternal Spirit. When the Martyrs and Saints offered themselves a sacrifice, they offered it through the flames of their love, and therefore embrac­ed the stake; and love is described as strong as death: but Christ did not offer his sacrifice with the flames of his love, though love was in him the greatest that ever was, but with the everlasting flames of his God-head and Deity, with that fire from heaven which is a consuming fire? He did the deed that will purge our Consciences from dead works. Act. 20.28. Take heed unto your selves, and to the flock, over which the holy Ghost hath made you oversee [...]s, to feed the Church of G [...]d which he hath purchased with his precious blood: God hath purchased the Church with his own blood: Who's blood? Gods blood. The blood of God must be shed. He who thought it no robbery to be equal with God, must shed his own blood: As Zippora saith to Moses, A bloody husband hast thou been to me, Exod. 4.25. So may Christ say to his Church, a bloody Spouse hast thou been to me, that my blood must be shed for thee: 1 Cor. 2.8. Had they known, they would not have cruci­fied the Lord of Glory, that is, they would not have crucified God. He that was crucified, was the glo­rious Lord God. Acts 3.15. You denyed the holy one, and killed the Prince of life. Here's the matter, un­less the Prince of life had been killed, thou couldst not [Page 363] have life. This the Apostle sets down as the ground of all before; he comes to the particularities of his hu­miliation: and sets down, who it was who was thus humbled: He whom the Heaven of Heavens could not contain, he must descend unto the lower-most parts of the earth: that's a descent indeed: His Humiliation appears in this, that he who was thus high, became a man, and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross. In this humiliation consi­der, I say, these two Points.

1. The person who was humbled.

2. The point of his humiliation.Christs humili­ation in life and death. Some things hath regard to the whole course of his life, others to the conclusion or period of his life. All his life from his incarnation to his passion, was a continual thred of humiliation from his Cradle to his Cross, from his womb to his Tomb: so here is set down the humbled life of our blessed Saviour. For I would not have you think his humiliation consisted only in coming to the Cross, when they so mercilesly handled him: it cost him more then so: as sinners have the curse of God on them in their life, as well as in their death, so Christ must have a miserable life as well as an accursed death. Though the heat came at the end of the Tragedy, yet his whole life was a continual suffering. Consider the degrees of it.

1. He made himself of no Reputation, [...], he emptied himself: It was the second person in the Trinity that thus humbled and emptied himself, (not in his divine nature, but his assumed,) of all his tran­scendent endowments.

[Page 364]Consider the particulars of it, he took on him the form of a servant; Was not this a great humiliati­on? That the second person in the Trinity should stoop so low as to take on him the nature of one who is not worth the looking on? that he should take dust and ashes upon him. Psalm 113.5, 6. Gods greatness is thus ex­pressed, Who is like unto the Lord our God, who dwelleth on high, who humbleth himself to behold the things in hea­ven, and in the earth: What Humiliation is that? com­pare these two humiliations together. It is but an hu­miliation to cast but his eye upon the heavens, to look upon the most glorious of all his works, to look upon the Angels but what is man that thou so regardest him? that thou shouldst not only look upon him, but take him up, & make him an inmate under thine own roof? this is a greater abasement, but here's a further degree, Christ during the time of his pilgrimage was content to de­prive himself of his Glory, that he now enjoyes, by reason of his Hypostatical Union with the God-head, he deserves all honor and glory, When he brought his first begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the An­gels worship him. Heb. 1.6. Every knee bows to him that is thus highly exalted. We see Christ crowned with glory and honor, all Dominion and Power being made subject un­to him, yet he for thirty three years and an half was content to be exiled from his Fathers court. John 17.5. Glorifie thou me with the glory I had with thee before the world was; which is expounded in the Proverbs, where the Wisdome of God was shewn before the world was framed. Prov. 8.30. Then I was by him as one brought up with him, and I was dayly his delight, re­joycing always before him; this was the work before [Page 365] the foundation of the world which God was doing, the Father was glorifying the Son, and the Son was glorifying the Father. The Father took infinite de­light in the Son, and the Son took infinite delight in the Father, and the Holy Ghost in them both. To be deprived of such a sight, and such a glory as this, and for thy sake to be banisht from that high Court; where not to enjoy that fulness of joy, was an emp­tying of himself: yet all this he did for thee.

2. He minded not his own things, if he had,The se­cond de­gree of his humi­liation, that he might be­come a servant. he might have presently sat at Gods right hand, where is ful­ness of joy for evermore: but his bowels yearned on us, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was found in shape of a man, that is, as an ordinary man: We know what the nature of servitude is. Every man naturally desires liberty, but Christ that he might make thee free, was content to be bound as an Apprentice, and endure a servile estate. Christ both in respect of God and man took on him the form of a servant.

1. For him to be Gods servant was an Humiliation, though for us it be the greatest honour to be Gods ser­vants. Saint Paul makes it his prime Epithite, Paul a servant of Jesus Christ. And David calls himself the servant of the Lord, O Lord I am thy servant, truly I am thy servant. But it was an Humiliation for Christ to become Gods servant. For him who thought it no robbe­ry to be equal with God to become Gods servant, and to take a nature on him, that he might say, My Father is greater then I; behold my Father and I were one, but now taking on me a humane nature, I am made in­ferior to my Father, I am become his servant: Be­hold my servant in whom I am well pleased; Isa. 53. By [Page 366] his knowledge shall my righteous servant justifie many: there is much difference in servants. A free servant & a bond servant. A very bond-man doth Christ make himself, being man, and accounts it as great honour as may be, not only to be his Fathers servant, but his bond-man. Can I shew that there is any such humi­liation as this? Look on Heb. 10.5. Sacrifice and burnt offerings thou wouldst not, but a body hast thou pre­pared me, these words have relation to that of the Psalmist, Psalm 40.6. Sacrifice and burnt offerings thou didst not desire, but mine ears hast thou opened; it is in the margent, mine-ears hast thou digged, or hast thou bored. The boring of the ear was an expression of ever­lasting servitude. Another servant that had not yet his ear bor'd, might be free at the year of Redemp­tion, at the seventh year: but if not, his ear was bored that he might be a servant for ever according to that, Exod.. 21.4. He that loved his service so well as to have his ear bored, is a servant for evermore. Mine ear Lord hast thou bored, I will be thy servant for ever. Christ took on him the form of such a servant; nay, Christ was more then an ordinary slave: he was one b [...]und to an everlasting slavery, for he was the Son of an hand-maid: Now the Children of an hand-maid w [...]re not to go forth at the year of Jubilee. Exod. 21. The wife and her Children shall be her Masters, and he shall go out by himself: meaning thus, he that was the son of an hand-maid, must be bound. Partus sequi­ter ventrem. Now that Christ was the son of an hand-maid, we have Maries own confession, Behold th [...] hand-maid of the Lord, and he hath looked upon the low estate of his hand-maid, Luke 1. Hence David [Page 367] saith, Psal. 116.16. O Lord I am thy servant, and the son of thine hand-maid: I am not only thy servant, but thy bond-servant: I am he who was born in thy house: and out of thy house I will never go. Thus is Christ a servant in respect of God.

But it is not only thus, he is not only a servant in re­gard of God, but he took on him the form of a ser­vant in respect of men too. Look what relations are between men that have superiority, and Subjects, Christ, who was born a free child, yet made himself a servant unto man: he had a reputed father, but a true, and a natural mother: from the twelft year of his age till the thirtieth, he went with them, and was subject unto them, Luke 2.51. No Apprentice was more subject to his Master in his Trade, then he was to his reputed father; he kept him close unto his Trade. Look on him out of the family, in the Common-wealth: He paid Tribute. He might stand upon his priviledge: Of whom do the Kings of the earth exact Tribute? &c. they answer, Of strangers: Then are the Children free. If the son of a temporary Prince be free, how much more shall the Son of God be free? But yet it behoves us to fulfill all righteousness. He would be a subject unto Caesar, and in recognition of his subjection he would pay Tribute, though he fetched it out of the fishes belly. Hence the Apo­stle tells us, Rom. 13. For this cause you pay Tribute to testifie your subjection. Neither was Christ only a ser­vant to them who were in some Authority, but gene­rally among men he was in the state of a servant. Mat. 20.28. The son of man came not to be ministred unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for [Page 368] many. Not to be a Master to command, and have others to attend him; but he came to be a servant; see in what esteem he was had. We account a ser­vant in the next degree unto a beast; for liberty is that whereby a man bre [...]hs, and a man were better be dead, then have his liberty took from him; and so Christ was not only a bond-man in regard of h [...]s Fa­ther,Christ ac­counted as a b [...]nd­man. but in regard of men. In the estimation of men he was vilified for a bond-man: and that will appear by the price for which he was sold. It was thirty pieces of silver. To consider what the price was, is a considerable part of his passion. There is a Pro­phesie cited out of Jeremy in your books, but it is Zachary, though I have seen some copies which men­tioned neither, but only, according to the words of the Prophet, it is Zach. 11.13. Cast it unto the potter, a good­ly price that I was prized at of them. He speaks it with disdain, And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the Lord. Exod. 21.32. There is a place parallel to it, which will expound it clearly, If an Ox shall push a man-servant, or a maid-servant that he die, the Owner of the Ox shall give to the Master of the servant thirty shekels, and the Ox shall be stoned. It was the very price that was paid for a slave: Thirty shekels, which is 3 l. 15 s. in our mo­ney. A base estimation they had of Christ, as if he were a bond-man; the same price that was given for a slave that was killed by an Ox, for this same price was he sold. In the second book of Josephus, cap. 12.Exam. Jo­seph for the calcu. 14400000. drachms. When Ptolomaeus Philadelphus would redeem all the Jews which were bond-men: Its set down what he paid for a slave. There is set down a great summ of money, and [Page 369] the number of the Which were, 120000. slaves: Here stands the valuation, divide the number of Drachms by the number of slaves, and you shall Have the quoti­ent 120 Drachms. Four Drachms went to a Shekel: so divide 120. by 4. your quo­tient is 30. shekels for each man, which was the ordi­nary rate, &c. find the quotient for every man 120 drachms; four Drachms make a shekel, thirty shekels was the ordinary rate cryed in the Market for the price of a bond-man. Thus Christ took on him the form of a bond-man, not only Gods bond-man, but in the esti­mation of men so despicable, that they valued him at no higher rate then thirty pieces of silver. This is but the beginning and entrance on Christs humiliati­on, to be made in the similitude of sinfull flesh, and in the verity of true flesh. Christ had all infirmities, as weariness, hunger, thirst, which follow a sinfull man, which were not sinfull: such a nature he took upon him, and then he became obedient both by ac­tive and passive obedience. That which remains of the pains of his life to the passage of his dolefull death, we will speak of the next time.

FINIS.
PHIL. 2.8.‘And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto the death, even the death of the Cross.’

IN these words, and those that went before, you see there is de­livered unto us the point of the humiliation of the Son of God. It stands in this.

1. That he took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the like­ness of man. God the Son, the se­cond person in the Trinity did assume our dust and ashes, unto the Unity of his own sacred per­son.

2. This humane nature being thus assumed, he was con­tent to deprive himself a long time of that beatifical vi­sion, which he might have still enjoyed, & in that time was as obedient, as the meanest and poorest servant of his Father. Nor was he only actively, but passively [Page 371] obedient; He was obedient unto the death: he was con­tent to lay down his life for our Redemption. And it was not every death that would serve the turn, but it must be the death of the Cross, the most accursed, shamefull and painfull death, that death which was most suitable, and best able to answer the wrath of God.

First, He humbled himself by taking our nature upon him: He that thought it no robbery to be equal with God, took upon him the form of a man. If it were an abase­ment for God to look upon heaven the most glorious of his works, how much more to take upon him a clod, or peice of this earth, and unite it to his own sacred per­son for ever. This was a descending indeed, he de­scended first that he might ascend. Eph. 4.9. Now that he ascended, what is it, but that he descended first into the lower parts of the earth? That is, he descended into the womb of the Virgin; and it was a great abasement indeed for him thus to descend: Wherefore the Psalmist speaking of the wonderfull framing of the Babe in the womb, saith, Psalm, 139.15. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curi­ously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. So that we see God descended into the lowermost parts of the earth, and there was he fashioned. A great humiliation it was for him to be thus inclosed. Thus did he hum­ble himself in taking our nature. Had he taken the form of a King upon him, it h [...]d been a great hu­miliation; how much more, when he took on him the form of a servant? He came not in state to be mini­stred unto, but to minister, as we shewed the last day. Nor was he only his Fathers servant, but a servant [Page 372] of servants,Gen. 9.25. and therein underwent Canaans curse: A servant of servants shalt thou be. Our Saviour be­came such a servant. He which was the Author of freedom. John 8.26. If the Son make you free, then are you free indeed. He, I say, who was the Kings son and so the most free, the Author of it to all that en­joy any spiritual freedom, became a servant, that we which were servants might be made free.

But besides this, its added here, that he humbled him­self. Having taken on him the form of a servant, he humbled himself. Where we may observe what made the suffering of our Saviour so meritorious: It was because it was active, free and voluntary. Our Passi­ons are contrary to our Will: We are drawn to it, as it is said of Peter, When thou art old, they shall lead thee whether thou wouldst not, John 21.18. Peter dyed the same death our Saviour did, according to the external Passion: but they led him whether he would not. Our Saviour was an Actor in it; Humbled himself. A bare suffering God regards not so much, but when it is done willingly, and in obedience to God. And as he was obedient in his death, so also in his other passions.John 13.21. In the Gospel, according to St. John, whereas the Text reads, he was troubled; the marginal note hath it, [...], he troubled himself: he was the Author of his own sufferings, John 10.17. He was not humbled as a meer patient; but he humbled himself, and so it is said in Scripture oft, He gave himself for us, and in all his passive obedience he had an eye to do the Will of God. The merit of his passive obedience ariseth from a mixture with his active. This was a great part of his Priest-hood, his hum­bling. [Page 373] And how doth he take his Priest-hood upon him? it was by his Fathers call. He was cal'd unto it as was Aaron. Heb. 5.4. No man, saith the Apostle, taketh this honor upon him, but he that is called. Now Christ being called to it, he did it to follow his call. And thus he did it actively: it was not a bare suffering as those in hell suffer, but according to his Fathers call. Observe, Heb. 10.9. That place taken out of the Psalm, I am come to do thy Will O God, &c. What, was it only in his active obedience? No, it was thy Will that he should suffer: as the words following in the tenth verse import, By the which Will we are sanctified, and by the body of Jesus Christ once offered: so that Christ offered up himself to do his Fathers Will, so that his passive obedience was in his active. So John 10.17. Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it up again; no man taketh it from me, but I lay it down. Our Saviour when he laid down his life, put it off, as a man that puts off his cloak, and layes it from him. They wondred that he was dead so soon, it was because himself laid down his life. His soul then was not drag'd or forced out of his body. It was not only passive, but active obedience. No man taketh it from me; I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up. This had I from my Father. They are grosly deceived then, that say Christs active obedience was not free and voluntary, because he was commanded: for as well may they say, his passive is not voluntary, and so not meritorious, because it likewise was commanded, which none can deny. Thus Christs offering was a free-will offering, though it was a most bitter one; [Page 374] yet this being a part of his Fathers Will, he went as voluntarily to the pains of the Cross, as thou dost to thy dinner when thou art throughly hungry. For his meat and his drink was to do his Fathers Will, Jo. 4.34. And this makes it of such worth and efficacy, that he did it willingly: See it in the type that went before him, in Isaac; Isaac was grown up, he was no Babe, he was able to carry wood enough to burn himself when he went to be sacrificed, and therefore sure he had strength; if Isaac had pleased, he might have ran away from the old man his Father; yet he suffers him­self to be bound, and to be laid upon the wood; a true type of our Saviour, his also was a free-will offering, and so a sweet smelling sacrifice unto God. It being the highest active obedience, it presently pacifieth the wrath of his Father. He humbled himself, and be­came obedient. This obedience of our Saviour is the matter and ground of our Justification. Rom. 5.18. As by the offence of one, Judgement came on all unto con­demnation; so by the righteousness of one, the free-gift came on all to Justification of life. Now this Obedience is two fold, 1. Active.2. Passiv [...]. By the obedience of this blessed Saviour many are made righteous; so that now our Saviours obedience followeth next.

Now this obedience is double. Active or Passive.

1. Active, And this was that whereby he did all the Will of his Father. The reason why he came into the world, if we look the place before alledged, will appear, Heb. 10.5. Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and burnt-offering thou wouldst not have, but a body hast thou prepared me. In burnt offerings and Sacrifice for sin thou hast no pleasure, then said I, Behold I come, in the volum [...] of thy book it is writ­ten [Page 375] of me that I should do thy Will, O God. When he cometh into the world, saith he, Lo, I come, For what? to do thy Will, O God. The reason why he came into the world, was, that he might be obedi­ent unto his Father. Thus it behoveth us (saith he to John) to fulfill all Righteousness. John wondred that he that was pure and spotless, should come to him to be baptized. He knew Baptism presupposed some sin or blot, some stain or corruption to be washed off, and therefore its said. Mark 1.5. That there came unto him all the Land of Judea to be baptized, confessing their sins. And sure if one should come to John, and say, he had no sin, and yet desired to have been baptized by him, he had no right to Baptism: yet our Savi­our saith, Let alone, let it be so, that we may fulfill all Righteousness. I have no need indeed in regard of my self: but I have taken upon me the form of a ser­vant, and therefore what the lowest of them must do, that must I do: therefore was I circumcised, and therefore am I baptized. I came not to destroy the Law, but to fulfill it. And he fulfilled it to the utmost, both in his active and passive obedience.

Now for his active Obedience, it had a double [...], or consummatum est. First, For his active Obedience in the whole course of his life.1. For his active obe­dience in the whole course of his life.

I have glorified thy name, and finished the work that thou gavest me to do. Would you know what it is to glorifie God in this world? It is to finish the work which he giveth us to do. Art thou a Minister?2. For his active O­bedience after his Death. if thou wouldst glorifie God, finish the work he gave thee to do; then mayst thou say, Glorifie thou me with thy Glory, &c. But now Christs work was not [...]ll end­ed [Page 376] when he said, he had finished it; the greatest part was behind, to wit, his Passive obedience: All the works of his life were done; of which actions, there Christ is to be understood: but then cometh his Passion, and that being finished, there is something to do yet after that: for he was to rise again to our Justification: but for the oblation of the sacrifice it was fully finished. If we look upon our blessed Sa­viour in the whole course of his life. For,

1. Though he lived in a whole world of sin, yet he was free from all manner of sin.

2. He was inriched with all manner of good works, graces and vertue. Chrst had both of these. He was free from any spot of sin, though in the midst of a wicked world: and there was nothing in him which could expose him to any temptations. He was continually assaulted, and yet he was spotless. The Prince of the world came, and yet he found nothing in him. Satan could find nothing in him whereon to fasten any temptation. Such a Priest it became us to have, who was holy and harmless. Heb. 7.16. Vndefiled, separate from Sinners.

There is the purity of his nature, he is holy, and in his carriage, harmless; he did no man hurt· Undefiled, a pure, and innocent Lamb, a lamb without blemish, separate from sinners, and could not contract any guilt of sin. Though he conversed with Publicans and sinners at the Table, yet they could not infect him. He knew no sin, neither was there guil [...] found in him, 1 Pet. 1.19. Therefore we see when it comes to the point that the Devil would tempt him, yet he himself must needs say, What have I to do with thee thou holy one of [Page 377] God? He is forced to acknowledge him to be so. And so if we look on the place, where he saith, I do the Will of my Father alwayes, there likwise he shews himself the holy one of God. In a word, as he was thus obedient unto God, so was he subject to men too; to his Father in the family, and to Caesar in the Common­wealth: As he t [...]ught, he did: subjection towards Go­vernors was his Doctrine, & rather then he would not pay Tribute, he would have it out of the fishes belly: To shew a Recognition of his subjection unto higher powers, the text tels us, He went about doing good. This man, say they, hath done all things well: and at the last cast, when all the quarrels and Accusations were brought against him, they could bring nothing that could hold water: that he could boldly challenge them all, as it were, Which of you can accuse me of sin? You that pick so many holes in my coat, come forth, spare me not, accuse me; yet at the last he is account­ed a just man. Judas himself could acknowledge him to be blameless, and that he had sinned in betray­ing his innocent blood. Pilates wife could say to her husband, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: and Pilate himself washed his hands, and would be free from the blood of that innocent person. The thief crucified with him, acquits him; his whole life was a perfect obedi­ence to the Law of God. Christ is the end of the Law that the Righteousness of the Law might be fulfilled in us, not by us, we are not able to fulfill the Law: but in us, Christ did it for us; and the Father is better pleased with the thirty three years hearty obedience of his Son, then if Adam, and all his posterity had been obedi­ent throughout the whole course of the world; So [Page 378] acceptable was this obedience to God. And thus much of his active Obedience.

2. Now for his passive obedience, his suffering. If our Saviour will be a sacrifice, he must be used like one; he must be slain, if he will make satisfaction to his Father for us. He must for our eating sower grapes, have his own teeth set on edge. Consider his humiliation both in life and death; if we look on the service of Jacob, under his Uncle Lakan, his ser­vice was an hard service, twice se [...]en years did he serve the drought consumed him by day, and the frost by night, and the sleep depar [...]ed from his eyes; twenty years hard service; fo [...]rteen y [...]ars for his two wives, and six years for his cattle, G [...]n. 31.41. Our Saviour spent thirty three years in [...]is hard s [...]rvice; and full oft did the sleep depart from his eyes. When Israel came to appear before P [...]a [...]ao [...]; My dayes, s [...]ith he, have been 130 years: few and e [...]il have the days of thy servant been. The true Israelite might say more. Jacobs days were few, but as few as they were, they were 130 years; but if we look upon our Saviours dayes, they were scarce a quar­ter so many.

And th [...]t is a part of our Saviours humiliation, that he was cut off in the mid [...]l of his dayes. If we look into the Psalm, we shall find it a curse on the bloody and deceitfull man, that he shall not li [...]e out half his dayes. The livelie part of a mans age, (from Moses his time to this day, in that Psalm of Moses, Psalm 90.) is [...]hreescore years and ten; half this is thirty five years; and our Saviour is taken off before this thirty five is expired. He was to take on him all the curses due to sinners, to the bloody and deceitfull man: he [Page 379] is cut off and cropt off in the midst of his vigour: he that is that Melchisedeck, [...]hat hath nei [...]her beginning, nor end of days, was cut off as a branch, lopt off as a [...]wig from the land of the li [...]ing, I [...]a. 53. He's [...]ul'd cut, so his days were few, far fewer th [...]n Jacobs: he was not suffered to live out half his days: yet if we look upon his days they were evil too: evil enough as few as they were: full of trouble, and full of misery: from his first coming into the world to his last going out.

1. When he did descend into the lowermost part of the earth, He was nine moneths in the womb of his mother: and if we take the opinion of the School­men, he had his full understanding and Judgement all that time, the free use of sense and reason, though I do not aver it to be a truth; only I say, if it be so, it makes his humiliation insupportable. What an ex­tream burthen would it be to us to be so long in the womb, and in ripe understanding? therefore there was somewhat in that: But now:

2. Look at his coming forth into the world: though his mother were in her own City, yet he was so despica­ble, that there was not room for them in the Inn. Our Saviour, that should, one would think, have been brought into a stately Palace, was fain to have his lodging among the beasts, and a Cratch for his Cradle. The wise men when they came to worship him, found him in no better case: and what a disgrace was it, instead of a Palace, the Kings of the East should find our Saviour in a Cratch.

3. And now when eight days are over, he must have his skin cut off, he must be circumcised, and give the first payment or earnest of his blood. How [Page 380] painfull and irksom a thing Circumcision was, ap­pears by that story in Gen. 34 where the sons of Ja­cob offering the Shechemites the condition of Circumci­sion, and they accepting it, it was so troublesome a thing, that by reason of their soreness and weakness by it, two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Le [...]i, slew a whole City. The pain was so great that they could not manage their weapons, therefore two men slew thousands of them. Our blessed Saviour was thus served, when the eight dayes were over he was thus made sore, and this was the first effusion of his blood.

4. After the eight days are over, then come the forty days, and then he must be carried a long journey to be offered up to the Lord, and his mother, as if she had brought an unclean and impure thing into the world, must be cleansed and purified. And then she came to offer a sacrifice according to the Law of the Lord. Luke 2.24. A pair of turtle doves or two young Pigeons: But was this the Law? it were good if the Law were looked into. See Levit. 12.8. The Law is this, She shall bring a Lamb, or if she be not able to bring a Lamb, then two Turtles, or two young Pigeons. If she be not able; but the margent hath it, If her hand cannot reach to a Lamb, if she be so poor that she can­not offer a Lamb. As if the Text should have said, Alas poor woman, poor Lady, all she had was not able to reach to a Lamb, so poor was she: Doubtless her heart was as large as anothers but she was not able to offer a Lamb, and is therefore content with two Tur­tles.

5. Hence we may conceive in what state our Saviour [Page 381] lived till he came into the Ministry: questionless in a poor house: and he made many a hungry m [...]al, when his mother was not worth a Lamb. All that they had, must be by hard labor.

6. Now our Saviour, notwithstanding after he had travelled that weary journey to Jerusalem, must return again, and be subject to his Parents: but how? even as a servant in his Trade. They had not bread to spare, but what was gotten by hard laborious work. At his Fathers Trade, I say, for so its said of him, Is not this the Carpenter? Its put in the nominative case, The Carpenter. Mark 6. And whereas this is cast as a curse on our first parents, and their seed. Gen. 3.49. That in the sweat of their brows they should eat their bread. Our Saviour must undergo this curse too: he must work hard for his living: with his own hands he must get a living for himself, and his poor mother by a laborious Trade. No wonder if he went many a morning without his break-fast, and made many a hungry meal, that lived in so poor a house, and by so poor a Trade.

7. If we come now to the time he lived after he came from his Father and Mother, that same three years when he shewed himself more publickly in the world, and you shall find him subject to those dan­gers, di [...]ficulties and distresses which accompany evil dayes. He was a Pilgrim, and had no abode. The Foxes ha [...]e holes, and the birds of the air, nests, but the Son of man had not where to lay his head. He was a diligent Preacher of the Gospel, although he had neither Prebend, nor Parsonage; he had nothing of his own, but was relieved often by the Charity of [Page 382] certain devout and religious women.

2. Besides all the reproaches that could be cast on a man, were laid on him; This man is a Wine-bibber, and a Glutton; a friend of Publicans and sinners. And again, Do we not say, well, thou art a Samaritan, that is, a Heretick? He was a caster out of Devils; and therein they denyed not, but he did good, but see the villany of it: he was a good witch, as we call them, and though he did good, yet it was by the help of Belze [...]ub: when he drew near his death; see Mark 12. the Text saith, They accuse him of many things. Few things are expressed, yet a great many comprehended in these words: those that are expressed, are hainous and notorious crimes. First, Against the first Table, they accuse him of Blasphemy, and therefore condemn him in the Ecclesiastical Court: Do you hear his Blas­phemy? say they. Then against the second Table, they post him to the civil Court, and there they lay to his charge high Treason against Caesar: for he, say they, That maketh himself a King, is an enemy unto Caesar; and yet the innocent Lamb for all this opened not his mouth. Insomuch that Pilate wondred he spake not a word in his own defence; and the reason was, be­cause he came to suffer, and to have all these slan­ders and reproaches put upon him, not to excuse himself.

3. He led a life subject to dangers, when he went amongst his own people, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord, they bring him upon an high hill, to the brow thereof, with a purpose to cast him down, and break his neck. Others threaten to kill him too. The Devil here follows him with temptations, even to I­dolatry [Page 383] it self. Ma [...]. 4.6. The Devil himself tempts him forty days, and then left him: not as if he would re­turn and tempt him no more, but as St. Luke renders it, The Devil left him for a season, Luke 4. not as if he intended to leave him quite, but to come and try him again. The Scribes and Pharisees they tempt him too, and prove him with hard questions, which if he could not answer, they would proclaim him an insufficient man, and all the people would have laugh'd him to scorn. Nor was this all his Ministry. All his life was as it were paved with temptations, every step was as it were a gin and trap to ensnare him.

4. Add to all this, that he was not like us, He knew when, and by what death he should die: He knew in all the time of his suffering what he should suffer, and what should come upon him at his death. If any of us should know that he must die a cursed, shame­full, and painfull death, and knew when it should be, it would marr all our mirth, and put us to our dumps in the midst of our jollity. Our Saviour in the midst of all his joy on earth, saith, I have a Baptism to be baptized with: he knew the cruel death which he should suffer on the Cross. And how is he pained, till it be accomplish­ed. The pains of it run through all his life, and might well make his whole life uncomfortable unto him. In the twelft of John 23. a little before the Passover, saith he, The hour is come that the Son of man shall be glorified: and then verse 27. Now is my soul troubled, and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour. When the time was drawing nigh, some five or six days be­fore, the consideration of it troubled him, though he knew he should be glorified, yet the fright of it en­wrapt [Page 384] him with fear. Now is my soul troubled; what shall I say, Father, save me from this hour. Such a kind of life did our Saviour lead: few but evil were his dayes. As evil as few, he had no comfort in them.

Come we now to the point of his death, the last thing; and those things that did touch him therein, are the Curse, Shame, and pain of it. If there were any death more accursed, he must die that death: If any death more shamefull, or more painfull then other, he must die that. All these do concur in the death of our Saviour which he suffered, in that death of the Cross. It was the most accursed, most shamefull, and most painfull death as could be de­vised.

First, For the Accursedness of it, there was no death that had a more peculiar curse on it then this. How­soever all deaths are accursed when they light on one that is without Christ; but this death had a legal Curse: for as there was a legal uncleanness, so there was a legal Curse, and this was the curse annexed to the Cross; a type of that real Curse. Now the type of a real Curse, Was hanging on the tree: Thou shalt bury him that day, for he that is ha [...]ged on a tree is accursed by God, Deut. 21.23. so the Son of God was made a Curse for us, alluding unto this, Galat. And here we see the blessed Son of God, he in whom all the Nations of the earth are blessed: the fountain of all blessedness: We see him stand in so cursed a con­dition, to be made as it were as an Anathema, the highest degree of cursing that may be.

Secondly, Consider the shame of it there is a place [Page 385] in the best of Orators that expresses the destableness and shame of this death of the Cross. Facinus, &c. see what a gradation there is, it is hardly to be ex­pressed in English. Its a great fault to bind a Citizen of Rome and a Gentleman, what is it to beat him? what to crucifie him? His Eloquence failed him there, as being not able to express the detestableness of it, and there­fore the chief Captain was afraid that he had bound Paul, after he had heard he was a free-man of Rome, but then its worse to beat him; but what was it to crucifie him? Our blessed Saviour went through all these in­dignities. First they come against him with swords and with staves, as against a thief. They sold him for a base price. They beat him with rods, pricked him, and after all, they crucified him. Consider then the shame of it: he that was to be crucified, was stripped naked, as naked as ever he came out of his mothers womb: However the Painters may lie in it. And was not this a shame thus to be stripped before thousands? Wherefore it was a custome among the Romans, that the greatest King, if he were baptized, was to be stripped naked, which they did as a memorial of the shame of our Saviour. So shamefull a thing it was that they thought him unworthy to suffer within the wals. Christ that he might sanctifie the people, suffered without the walls. Let us go with him out of the Camp bearing our reproach. He was as a man unfit to suffer within the walls. Pilate thought he would meet with them when they were so violent to have him crucified, and therefore he joynes Barabbas with him, the vilest thief in the Countrey, and a Murtherer: so that Peter cast this in their teeth, That they preferred a Murtherer before him. He was reckoned [Page 386] with the Transgressors, as it was prophesied of him be­fore. Isa. 53. They crucifie him between two thieves, as if he had been the Captain of them.

Thirdly, Consider the Pain of the Cross, whom God raised up, having loosed the sorrows of death: not meanìng there were sorrows that Christ endured after his death, but its meant of the sorrows that accompanied his death. It was the most dolorous death that ever could be endured. We scarce know what Crucifying is. The Christian Emperors in honour of our Savi­our banished that kind of suffering, that none after him might suffer it: but yet it is fit we should know what it was, since it was so terrible a thing. And here, as the Apostle said to the Galathians, Suppose you see Christ crucified before your face at present. The man­ner of it was thus.

First there was a long beam, on which the party was to be stretched, and there was a cross-beam on which the hands were to be stretched: they pul'd them up upon the Cross before they fastened them; they pul'd him to his utmost length. And this is that the Psalmist speaks of, Psal. 22.17. You might tell all my bones. His ribs were so stretched, as that they even pierced the flesh: Conceive him now thus stretched with his hands and feet nailed to the wood: the stretching of Christ on the Cross, was such a thing as the working of the racke. Imagine him before your eyes thus represented. Your sins crucified him: being thus stretched upon the Cross to his full length, the hands and the feet were fastned and nailed to the wood. Its no smal torment to have the hands bored, especially if we behold the place, it was through the lower part of the hand where the veins and sinnews all met together: It's [Page 387] a place that is full of sence, Consider withal the big­ness of the nayles: Psal. 22. They have digged my hands to shew the bigness of the spikes: for the original beares it, They dig'd him. Beleeve not the paynters: Our Saviour had foure nayles: Not one through both feet as they describe it, but two through his hands, and two through his feet: And that you may the better comprehend it, you must know that toward the lower part of the cross, there went along a ledge or thre-shold whereto his feet were nayld, otherwise the flesh would have rent by reason of the nails, if hee had hung by the hands alone.

Then comes the lifting up; as the serpent was lift up, so must Christ be lift. As when a man is stretched to the full length, and should be with a girk put up; its like a strapado, as it were the unjoynting of a man; and this is that the Psal­mist speaks of, All my bones are out of joint. Consider withal the time how long it was. St. Mark saith, cap. 15.25. It was the third hour, and they crucified him. In St. John it is the sixt hour, but the ancient and best Copies have the third hour, and so hath Nonus. The ninth hour he gave up the Ghost: so that it was six long hours by the clock that our Saviour did hang upon the Cross. And it was not with him as with other men, in whom extremity of pains disanul sense, and blunts pains, because they have not a perfect appre­hension; but Christ was in his perfect sense all the while. All that the Jews could do, could not take away his life from him, till he would himself: and therefore it is said in Mark, That immediately before he gave up the Ghost, that he cryed with a loud voice, where­as others are wont at that time to be so weak that they [Page 388] can scarce be heard to groan: but never was Christ stronger, nor never cryed louder, than when he gave up the Ghost, Marke 15.35. this of it self made the Centurion assoon as he heard it, conclude, certainly this man was the Son of God. How doth he gather this from his crying? thus; For a man to be in his full strength, and cry out so strongly, and immediately to give up the Ghost, this is a great Miracle: Truly this man was the Son of God. This adds unto the greatness of his torment, that he had his full and perfect sense: that he was six full hours thus on the Rack, and the extremity of pain took not away his sense. He was as strong at the last, as at the first.

These things seriously weighed, Oh! how do they aggravate the depth of his humiliation? Seri­ously weigh them: they are miserable, and lamenta­ble matters; yet in these lie our comfort. Through these words is there a passage open for us into the Kingdom of Heaven: When he had overcome the terrors of death, he opened the Kingdom of Heaven to all Be­lievers: these were now but the out-side of his suffer­ings which did belong to man for his sins. He suffer­ed not only bodily sufferings, but sufferings in soul, and that he did in a most unknown and incomprehen­sible manner; But now may some say,

Object. Did Christ suffer the pains and torments of Hell?

Sol. No, He suffered those things that such an in­nocent Lamb might suffer, but he could not suffer the pains of Hell. The reason is, because, one thing which makes Hell to be Hell, is the gnawing worm of an accusing conscience. Now Christ had no such worm. [Page 389] He had so clear a conscience, as that he could not be stung with any such evil.

Another great torment in Hell is Desperation, ari­sing from the appprehension of the perpetuity of their torments, which makes them curse and blaspheme God, and carry an inexpressible hatred against him; but Christ could not do so; he could not hate God: God forbid that Christ should be lyable to these Passions.

But it is certain God the Father made an immedi­ate impression of pains upon his soul; his soul did immediately suff [...]r: Look on him in the Garden, he was not yet touched, nor troubled by men, and yet he fell in a sweat: Consider the season of the year; this was then when they that were within doors were glad to keep close by the fire, he thus did sweat in the garden, when others freez'd within; this was much: but to sweat blood, thick blood, clotted, congealed blood (for so the words will bear it) not like that in his veins: and yet it came through his garments, and fell to the ground: this is a thing not to be compre­hended. Our blessed Saviours encountring with his Fa­ther, he falls a trembling, & is overwhelmed as it were with the wrath, beseeching God intensively, saying Fa­ther, if it be possible let this cup pass from me; thou mayst give free pardon: which affections in Christ are such a thing, as pussels us all: we must not say Christ did forget for what he came: but he did not remember: these words proceeded from the seat of passion, which while it is disturbed, reason suspends its Acts. Christ had Passions, though no impurity in them. As take a clean Vial full of pure water from the fountain, [Page 390] and shake it, it may be frothy, yet it will be clean water still. Christ did not forget only he had the sus­pension of his faculties for a time. As a man in a sleep thinks not what he is to do in the morning, and yet he is not said properly to forget. He cryed, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? He was contented to be forsaken for a time, that thou mighst not be forsaken everlastingly, and this was no faint prayer: if you read the place in the Psalm, He cryed out unto God: And Heb. 5.7. Its said, Who in the days of his flesh when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong cries and tears. He cryed to the Almighty: he made Gods own heart to pity: He would break, Isa. 53. yet his heart is repenting, and rolled together, so that he sent an Angel to support and comfort him. Psal. 27. those strong cries are expressed with a more forcible word, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me, why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? Consider how it was with Christ before any earthly hand had touched him, when he beseech­ed God for his life: this shews the wonderfull suffering of Christ; and for that point, Why hast thou forsaken me? Consider it was not with Christ as with the Fathers, they suffered a great deal of punishment and taches, and would not be delivered, yet Christ was more couragious then they all. He had a spirit of fortitude, he was anointed above his fellows, & yet he quivers. Our Fathers cryed unto thee, they trusted in thee, and were not consumed; they were delivered: but I am a worm, and no man. I can find no shadow of comfort. Lord, Why art thou so angry with me? this speech came not from the upper part of the soul, the seat of reason, but from the lower part, the seat [Page 391] of Passion: My God, my God, these were not words of desperation. He held fast to God; Why hast thou for­saken me? these are words of sense: thus you see the price is paid, and what a bitter thing sin is. God will not suffer his Justice to be swallowed up by Mercy. It must be satisfied; and our Saviovr, if he will be a Mediator, must make payment to the utter­most farthing: Consider what a time this was when our Saviour suffered: The Sun with-draws her beams, the earth shakes and trembles: What aileth thee, O thou Sun to be darkn [...]d, and thou earth to tremble? was it not to shew his mourning for the death of its Maker? The soul of Christ was dark within, and its fit that all the world should be hung in black for the death of the King of Kings. But mark, when he comes to deliver up his life, and to give up the Ghost, the vail of the Temple rent in twain, and that was the ninth hour; which in the Acts is called the hour of prayer; it was at three a Clock in the afternoon. Hence it is said, Let the lifting up of my hands be as the evening sacrifice. The Priest was killing the Lamb at that time, there was a vail that severed the Holy of Holies, it was between the place of oblations, nnd the Holy of holies, which signifies the Kingdom of Heaven. Assoon as Christ died, the vail rent, and Heaven was open, the Priest saw that which was be­fore hidden. Our Saviour, saith the Apostle, entred through the vail of his flesh unto his Father, and fit it was, that the Vail should give place vvhen Christ comes to enter: But vvhat becomes of Christs foul novv? his soul and body vvere pul'd assunder, and through the vail of his flesh, as it vvere vvith blood [Page 392] about his ears he entred the Holy of Holies unto God, saying, Lord, here am I in my blood; and here is blood that speaks better things then the blood of Abel, that cries for vengeance, this for blessing and expiati­on of our sins.

FINIS.
JOHN 1.12.‘But to as many as received him, to them gave he Power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his Name.’

HHaving heretofore declared unto you the wofull estate and conditi­on wherein we stand by nature, I proceeded to the Remedy, that God of his infinite Mercy hath provided for the recovery of mi­serable sinners from the wrath to come. And therein I proposed two things, that our Saviour that was to advance us, and raise us out of this condition, when we had lost our selves in Adam; We having eaten sowre grapes, he was to have his teeth set on edge; we accounted him smitten of God, and buffeted; but we had sinned, and he was beaten. That when the Lord in his wrath was rea­dy to smite us, he underwent the dint of Gods sword, and stood betwixt the blow and us; the blow light­ed [Page 394] on him that was equal with God, and deserved not to be beaten. Awake O sword against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow. The sword was un­willing to strike him; and thus being smitten he be­came a propitiation for our sins: The chastisement of our peace was on him. He offered himself a sacri­fice: Here are two things considerable;

  • 1. How Christ was offered for us.
  • 2. How he is offered to us.

First, For us, and so he offered up himself a Sacri­fice, a sweet smelling Sacrifice unto God. Mark the point is, he is not only the Sacrifice, but the Sacrificer. He offered up himself, saith the Apostle; He was the Priest, and it was a part of Priest-hood to offer up himself. The Sacrifices in the old Law that typified him, were only sufferers. The poor beasts were on­ly passive: but our Saviour he must be an Actor in the business. He was active in all that he suffered: He did it in obedience to his Fathers Will, yet he was an Agent in all his Passion. John 11.33. He groaned in Spirit, and was troubled; the Greek is [...], or (as it is in the Margent) He troubled himself. With us in our Passions it is otherwise: we are meer suffe­rers. Our Saviour was a Conqueror over all his pas­sions, and therefore unless he would trouble himself, none else could trouble him: unless he vvould lay down his life, none could take it from him; unless he vvould give his cheek to be smitten, the Jews had no power to smite it. Isa. 50.6. I gave my back to the Smiters, and my cheek to them that pluckt off the hair, and hid not my face from shame and spitting. In all these we should con­sider our Saviour, not as a Sacrifice only, but a sacri­ficer [Page 395] also; an Actor in all this business: their wicked hands were not more ready to smite, then he was to give his face to be smitten, and all to shevv that it was a voluntary Sacrifice. He did all himself; He hum­bled himself unto the death. And now by all this we see what we have gotten: vve have gotten a Remedy and satisfaction for our sins. That precious blood of that immaculate Lamb takes avvay the sins of the world, because it is the Lamb of God, under which else the World vvould have eternally groaned.

Object. But doth this Lamb of God take away all the sins of the world?

Sol. It doth not actually take avvay all the sins of the vvorld, but virtually, It hath povver to do it, if it be rightly applyed, the Sacrifice hath such vertue in it, that if all the World vvovld take it, and apply it, it vvould satisfie for the sins of the vvhole World: but it is here, as with medicines, they do not help, be­ing prepared, but being applyed; Rhubarb purgeth choller, yet not unless applyed, &c. Exod. 39.38. there is mention made of a Golden Altar. Christ is this Golden Altar, to shew that his blood is most precious: We are not redeemed with silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Jesus Christ. He is that gol­den Altar mentioned in the Revelation, vvhich stands before the Throne. He was likevvise to be a brazen Al­tar; for so much vvas to be put upon him, that unless he vvere of brass, and had infinite strength, he vvould have sunk under the burthen. Its Jobs Metaphor: Job in his passion saith, Is my strength the strength of stones? or is my flesh brass? Job 6.12. If Christs flesh had not been brass: if he had not been this brazen [Page 396] Altar, he could never have gone through these: now he is prepared for us a sacrifice for sin. Rom. 8.3. For what the Law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, (for sin) make a stop there, condemned sin in the flesh. This same (for sin) hath not refe­rence to (condemned) To condemn sin for sin is not good sence; but the words depend on this (God sent his Son) that is, God sent his Son to be a Sacrifice for sin, [...], as the word is translated. Heb. 10.6. a sacrifice for sin. It was impossible the Law should save us: not because of any transgression, or failing in the Law, but because our weakness is such, as that we could not perform the conditions: therefore God was not tyed to Promises; by reason then of the weakness of our flesh, rather then we should perish, God sent his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, & in that flesh of his, condemned all our sins; we need not look that sin should be condemned in us, when he bare our sins on the tree, then were our sins condemned; therefore its said, Isa. 53. When he had made his soul an offering for sin: that is in the Original (when he had made his soul, sin) then he saw his seed, Isa. 57.

We come now to the second thing, if Christ be offer­ed for us, yet unless he offer himself to us: unless any man may have interest in him, its nothing worth. Here then stands the Mystery of the Gospel, Christ when he comes to offer himself to us, he finds not a whit in us that is to be respected; nothing. And that is the ground of all disturbance to ignorant consciences; for there is naturally in men pride and ignorance, they think they may not meddle with Christ, with Gods [Page 397] Mercy; unless they bring something, unless they have something of their own to lay down. This is to buy Christ, to barter betwixt Christ and the soul: but salvation is a free gift of God. As the Apostle speaks, Christ is freely given unto thee, when thou hadst nothing of worth in thee. Faith when it comes, empties thee of all that is in thee: To whom be the Gospel preached? to the dead. Now before Christ quicken thee, thou art stark dead, rotting in thy sins. Here's the point then, when there is no manner of goodness in thee in the world. In me, saith St. Paul, that is, in my flesh there is no good thing. When I have been the most outragious sinner, I may lay hold on Christ. Christ comes and offers himself to thee.

Now when Christ offers, the other part of the re­lation holds, we may take. We have an interest to accept what he proffers. Consider it by an example: If one give me a million, and I receive it not, I am never the richer: and so if God offer me his Son, and with him all things, I am nothing the better, if I re­ceive him not. That he is born and given, what's that to us? unless we can say, To us a child is born, to us a Son is given, Isa. 9.6. Faith comes with a naked hand to receive that which is given; we must empty our selves of what is in us. Consider thy estate, the Lord sets down how it is with us, when he comes to look upon us. Ezek. 16.6. And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thy blood, I said unto thee, when thou wert in thy blood, live. Why is this set down? Its to shew how God finds nothing in us when he comes to shew Mercy. He finds nothing in us that is lovely; when he comes to bestow his Son upon us. [Page 398] For its said, Rev. 1.5, That Christ loved us, and wash­ed us from our sins in his own blood. He doth first cast his love upon us when we are unwasht, as I may say unwasht and unblest: When no eye pittied thee, and thou wast cast out in the open field; when thou wast in thy blood, I said unto thee, live; when he comes to m [...]king up of the match, verse 9. Then I washed thee with water, yea, I throughly washed away thy blood from thee, and I anointed thee with oyl: I clothed thee also with em­broydered work, and shod thee with badgers skins, &c. that is, when Christ comes to cast his affections on us, and to wed us unto himself, he finds us polluted, not with a rag on us. Full of filth, just nothing have we, he takes us with nothing; nay, vve are vvorse then no­thing: so that here is the point, what ground is there vvhereby a man that is dead, and hath no goodness in him, (make him as ill as can be imagined,) what ground hath he to receive Christ? Yes, To as many as received him, to them he gave the power to become the sons of God. First, The receiving of Christ, and then comes Believing. It is the receiving of this gift, that is the means vvhereby Christ is offered to us. The Apostle joyning the first and second Adam together, makes the benefit vve have by the second to lie in the point of receiving. Rom. 5.

Object. If it be a free gift why is faith required?

Sol. Because faith takes away nothing from the gift. If a man give a begger an Alms, and he reach out his hand to receive it, his reaching out the hand makes the gift never the lesse, because the hand is not a worker, but an instrument in receiving the free gift. Rom. 5.15. If through the offence of one many be [Page 399] dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace hath abounded unto many in Jesus Christ. And verse 17. If by one mans offence death raigned by one, much more they that receive abundance of grace shall raign in life by one Jesus Christ: here's the point then, God is well-pleased, and therefore sends to us. Wilt thou have my Son? with him thou shalt have abundance of Grace, and everlasting life, and my love too. There's no Creature in this place, but this shall be made good unto, if he can find in his heart to take Christ; thou shalt have a warrant to receive him. Now to re­ceive Christ, is to believe in his name, and to draw near unto him (The word Recei [...]ing) is a t [...]king vvith the hand with free entertainment; as verse 11. immediately before the Text. Its not so properly Receiving as Entertaining. He came to his own, and his ovvn received him not; they vvere like the foolish Gaderens, that prefer'd their pigs before Christ; they would rather have his room then his company: and so when Christ comes, and thou hadst rather be a free-man, as thou thinkest, and wilt not have him to raign over thee, then thy case is lamen­table: Then self-will, self-have. The only point is, whether we come to Christ, or he come to us, there is a drawing near. If thou comest to Christ he will not put thee back; if Christ come to thee by any good motion, if thou shut not the door against him, thou shalt not miss him. Rev. 3.20. Behold I stand at the door and knock, If any man here my voice, and open the door, I will come in unto him, and sup with him, and he with me. The Lord by the knock of his mouth, by the sword that comes out of his mouth, would fain [Page 400] come in, and be familiar with thee, and be friends with thee. If thou wilt not let him in, is it not good reason that (as in the Canticles) he with-draw him­self? If he see thy sins, and would fain come in, what an encouragement hast thou to open? John 6.37. He that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out. Canst thou have a better word from thy Prince then this? When he holdeth out his golden Scepter, if thou takest hold on it, thou art safe, otherwise thou art a dead man: thou canst not have a greater security, all the point is, Faith is a drawing near unto Christ, and Unbelief is a going from him. The Gospel is preached to those that are a far off, and to those that are near. Eph. 2.17. He came and preached peace to you that are a far off, and to them that are nigh. Who were they that were a far off? they were those that had uncircumci­sion in the flesh, without Christ, Aliens to the Common­wealth of Israel, [...], those that had no hope; to these Christ came, these that were a far off, by faith drew near: that expression is a singular one. Heb. 10.38. Now the just shall live by faith; What is that? but if any man draw back, that is, if any man be an Unbeliever, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. Faith makes a man come, & draw near to Christ. Its a shamefast bashfulness that makes a man draw back; its unbelief, if any draw back, and to believe is to go on with boldness; We are not of them which draw back unto perdition, but of them, &c. What an excellent encouragement is this, to come with boldness unto the Throne of Grace▪ that we may find help in time of need? So that now let thy estate be what it will: if thou wilt not hold off, but dost en­tertain Christ, though thy sins be as red as scarlet, be not [Page 401] discouraged, they shall be made as white as wool. The very sinner against the Holy Ghost is invited; and why is that unpardonable? Can any sin be so great as to over-top the value of Christs blood? there is not so much wretchedness in the heart of man, as there is Grace, Goodness and Merit in Christ; but then it is unpardonable, Why? because its the nature of the disease that will not suffer the plaster to stick on. It counts the blood of the Covenant, wherewith we should be sanctified, an unholy thing: if this sinner would not pluck off the plaster, and tread it under foot, he should be saved; but this is it when God is liberal, and Christ is free, we have not the heart to take him at his word, and come, to open this Word, this is the point of all, this is the free preaching of the Gospel indeed, when a man hath nothing desirable in him, but is stark naught, and stark dead, and is not worth the taking up; that yet he may challenge Christ, and be sure of all. Unless thou hast Christ thou hast no­thing by Promise, not so much as a bit of bread by Promise; if thou hast it, it is by Providence. All the Promises of God are in him, that is, Christ, yea, and Amen: Ye are the Children of the Promise in Christ, but you have nothing till you be in Christ.

The Question is, What must I do in this case, what incouragement shall I have in my rags? when I am abominable, worth nothing.

There are certain things that are preparations to a Promise, such as are Commands, Precepts, Intreaties, which incourage them to it, and then comes a propo­sition: I being a Believer shall have eternal life; If Christ be mine, I may challenge forgiveness of sins, [Page 402] the favour of God, and everlasting life: But how is Faith wrought? believe not that foolish conceipt that is too common in the world, that faith is only, a strong perswasion that God is my God, and my sins are forgiven: this is a foolish thing, a fancy; a dream, unless it be grounded on the Word of God. Its but a dream, else that will lead thee unto a fools Paradise: Nothing can uphold faith but the Word of God: here's the point, I being as bad as bad can be, what ground have I out of the word of God, of an Unbe­liever to be made a Believer? Now we must not take every Text, but such only as may be appliable to a dead man, one that hath no goodness in him, that is yet out of Christ: we were all swimming at liberty till this word catched us in: we never thought of the business before, till we were thus taken. Now there are certain degrees to get faith in us.

1. The first word is a general proclamation; whereby Christ gives any one leave to come and take him. Christ is not only a Fountain sealed, as in the Canticles, but a Fountain open for sin and for uncleanness, as in Zachary: so that now when he keeps open house, he makes pro­clamation, that none shall be shut out. He puts none back; sins, not the greatest that can be, can keep thee back: this is the first thing, and to confirm it, we have our Saviours own proclamation. Isa. 55.1. Ho! eve­ry one that thirsteth, come you to the waters, and he that hath no money, come, buy, and eat: yea, come, buy wine and milk without money, and without a price. A strange con­tradiction, one would think; What! buy, and yet without money, and without price. The reason is, because there is a certain thing which fools esteem, [Page 403] a price which is none. Rev. 3.18. I counsel thee to buy of me gold tryed in the fire: Why? How must this be done? Truly thus; whensoever a sinner comes to Christ to have his sins pardoned, and to be a subject of Christs Kingdom, thou must not then be as thou wast, but thou must be changed. Thou must not live as thou didst before in the state of rebellion. Now to leave sin is not worth a rush, its not a sufficient price; but yet wee see a fool will esteem his own bables: I must lay down my lusts, I must lay down my covetous­ness, intemperance, &c. and a man thinks it a great matter thus to do: and to leave the freedom he had before, though it be a matter of nothing. When a rebel receives his pardon, is the Kings pardon abridged, because he must live like a subject hereafter? Why should he else seek for the benefit of a subject? This is said in respect of the foolish conceit of man, who thinks it a great price to forsake his corruptions. Again, John 7.37. with the same loud voice, Christ cryed when he offered himself a Sacrifice for sin: he cryed at the time of the great feast, that all should come. In the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood, and cryed, saying, if any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink. In ult. Rev. there is a quicunque vult, that is it I pressed: Its a place worth gold. And these are the places which being applyed, make you of strangers draw near: but now these are not appliable to a man before he hath grace: every one cannot apply them. Ne­ver forget that place while you live: its the close of Gods H. Book, and the sealing up of his Holy Book: What's that? Its in Rev. 22.17. And the Spirit and the Bride, say, come, and let him that is a thirsty come, [Page 404] and drink of the water of life freely. Whosoever will let him come, what wouldst thou have more? Hast thou no Will to Christ? No Will to salvation? then its pity thou shouldst be saved. No man can be sa­ved against his Will, nor blessed against his Will: If thou wilt not have Christ, if thou wilt try conclu­sions with God, then go further, and fare worse: but whosoever will, let him come. Oh! But I have a Will: Why, then thou hast a warrant, take Christ:

Object. But O Sir, you are a great Patron of free­will: What? doth it all lie in a mans Will: Will you make the matter of taking Christ lie there?

Sol. I say, if thou seest thou hast a Will, then thou hast a warrant: I say, not that this Will comes from thy self. Its not a blind faith will do thee good; the Word of God works faith in thee; thou hast not a Will to it born in thee. It is not a flower that grows in thine own Garden; but is planted by God: John 6.44. No man can come unto me, except the Father which hath sent me, draw him. What? Will Christ offer violence to the Will, and draw a man against his Will? No, there's no such meaning. Its ex­pounded in the 65. verse, No man can come unto me, ex­cept it were given him of my Father. By this Christ sheweth what he meant. If thou hast a Will to come, thank the Father for it; for of Him, as in the Philippians, we have both the Will and the deed. Take for example that general proclamation in the book of Ezra, VVhatever Jew would might be free, Ezra 1.3. So said the King that had power to make them free, Who is there among you of all his peo­ple, his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem [Page 405] which is in Judah, and build the house of the God of Israel. Then we read, verse 5. Then rose up the chief of the Fathers of Judah and Benjamin, and the Priest, and the Levites, and all them whom the Spirit of God had raised up to go up. Observe here, though the proclamation were general, yet the raising up of the Will was from the Spirit of the Lord. We must not by any means take our will for a ground; the Will cometh from God: but if thou hast a Will, thou hast a warrant. Who ever will let him take the water of life freely without covenanting: say if thou had but a measure of faith, and such a measure of humiliation; for that were to compound with Christ: away with that, Whosoever will, let him come. Christ keeps open house, Whosoever will, let him come: whosoever comes to him, he will not shut out. John 6. If thou hast a heart to come to him, he hath a willing heart to receive thee; as it was with the Prodigal son, the Father stayes not till he comes to him, but runs to meet him: he is swift to shew Mercy, and to meet us, though we come slowly on towards him. But this is not all, there is a second gracious Word that is preacht to a man, not yet in the state of Grace. A man that keeps open house, he seldom invites any particularly, but if he come, he shall be welcome. Christ he keeps open house, but some are so fearfull, and so modest, that unless they have a special invitation, they are ashamed to come to Christ; they reason thus, if my case were an ordi­nary mans, I should come, but I am so vile and wretched, that I am ashamed to come; my sins have been so many, and so heavy, that I am not able to bear so great a weight, they are more in number [Page 406] then the hairs of my head; and yet alas they are crying ones too: But hearken here a second word; Dost thou think thy case more heavy because thou art out of measure sinfull. Lo, it pleaseth God to send thee a special invitation, who findest thy self dis­couraged with the great bulk and burthen of thy sins. It pleaseth God, I say, to send thee a special invitation. See Mat. 11.28. Though all apply it not to this use, Come unto me all you that labour, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. You of all others, are they that Christ looks for. Those that can walk bolt upright in their sins, that desire to live and die in them: they will not look upon me, and I will not look upon them; they scorn me, and I scorn them: but you that are heavy laden, and feel the burthen of your sins, are invited by Christ. Let not Satan then couzen you of the comfort of this word; that which Christ makes the latch to open the door to let himself in, we do usually by our foolishness make the bolt to shut him out. Let thy wound be never so great, thou hast a warrant to come, and be cured: be of good com­fort then, as it was said to blind Bartemeus, so is it to thee, Loe, he calleth thee. When Christ bids thee come, and gives thee his Word that he will heal thee, Come, let not the Devil or thy corruptions hinder thee, or make thee stay back: hast thee to this City of Refuge: he hath engag'd his Word for thee, and he will ease thee: But now after all this there is a

Third Word, that though Christ keeps open house, so that who will, may freely come, and though he sends special invitations to them that are [Page 407] most bashfull, because their case is extraordinary: What do you think now, that Christ will come with his souldiers, and destroy those that do not come in? He might do it when he is so free, and invites thee, and thou turnest it back again into his hand: but yet here's another Word of comfort, Christ doth not only send a Messenger to invite thee, who hast no goodness in thee, but he falls to beseeching and intreating thee, and that's a third word whereby faith is wrought in an Unbeliever. 2 Cor. 5.10. Now then we are Em­bassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us; observe the place, We pray you in Christs stead be recon­ciled unto God. This is the most admirable word that ever could be spoken unto a sinner: Alas! thou mayst say, I am afraid that God will not be friends with me; why? he would have thee to be friends with him; do not then with the Papists make such an au­stere God, as though he might not be spoken unto, as though thou mightst not presume thy self, but must make friends unto him. We have not an high Priest that is not touched with our infirmities. Will the Papists tell me, I am bold if I go to God, or lay hands on Chrst? I am not more bold then welcome. Let us go with boldness to the Throne of grace. We are commanded to do it: do not think but that he had bowels to weep over Jerusalam, and he carried the same with him in­to heaven, when thou liest groaning before him, he will not spurn thee. We pray you, and beseech you to be friends; therefore in this case make no doubt, its Gods good pleasure to entreat thee, and therefore thou hast warrant enough. Christ wept over Jerusalem, and he is as ready to embrace thee. You have now three [Page 408] words to make a man of an Unbeliever, a Believer: Is there, or can there be more then these? Open house-keeping, special invitations, Entreaties and Be­seechings? yet there is more then all this; which if thou hast not a heart of stone, it will make thee be­lieve, or make thee rue it. And that is,

4. When God seeth all these things will not work with us, but we are slow of heart to believe, then he quickens us; and there comes a word of Command. God chargeth, and commands thee to come; and then if thou breakest his Command, be it to thy peril. It is the greatest sin that can be committed. Thou wilt not draw near to God because thou art a sinner: thou now committest a greater sin then before: thou re­turnest back, Christ unto God: thou bidst him take his commodity into his hand again: thou wilt not be­lieve: and this is an hainous crime. John 16.8, 9. And when the Spirit shall come, it shall reprove the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgement: of sin, be­cause they believe not in me: this is that great sin he shall convince the world of, because they believe not in him. Of all sins, this was the most notorious: this makes us keep all other sins in possession: It is not only one particular sin, but it fastens all other sins upon us, be they never so many. When faith comes, it will out them, but till then they remain in thee; where there is no Commandment there is no sin. How could it be a sin in not believing, if I were not com­manded so to do: but you shall here more then so. When the Apostle speaks of excluding Rejoycing under the Law; Rom. 3.37. Where is boasting, then saith he, it is excluded: By what Law? by the Law of [Page 409] works? No, but by the Law of faith: there is a Law of works, and a Law of faith. God doth not only give thee leave to come, and take him, and draw near unto him: but he commands thee, there's a Law: by the breach of that Law of faith thou art made guilty of a high sin. There's a full testimony of this. 1 John 3.23. And this is the Commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ. If a man should ask, may I love my Neighbour? would you not think him a fool? because he must do it, he is commanded. So should a poor soul come, and say to me, may I believe? thou fool, thou must be­lieve. God hath laid a Command upon thee, it is not left to thy choice: The same Commandment that bids thee love thy brother, bids thee to believe on Christ. To entreaty is added Gods Command, and therefore if thou shalt argue, what warrant have I to believe? Why, God injoyns it thee, and com­mands it. As the impotent man said, so mayst thou; He that healed me, said unto me, take up thy bed, and walk: This is the very Key of the Gospel, and this is the way to turn it right. When being thus clean n [...]ked, we have as it were a Cable put into our hands to draw our selves out of this flesh and blood.

5. The last thing is, if keeping open house, special Invitations, Entreaties and Commands will not serve the turn, then Christ waxeth angry: What, to be scorn'd, when he profer'd Mercy, and as it were in­vite all sorts, and compel them to come in by his Preachers, and by a peremptory Command? Then he falls a threatning, We are not of those which draw back unto perdition; if thou wilt not come upon [Page 410] this Command, thou shalt be damned. Mar. 16.16. He that believed not, shall be damned. Christ com­mands them to go into the world, and preach the Gospel to every Creature, unto every soul this Gospel which I speak: If you will not hear, and believe, if you will not take God at his Word, you shall be damned. John 3. He that believeth not, shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him. Here's an Iron scourge to drive thee, thou that art so flow of heart to believe. In Psalm 78. where is set down Gods Mercy un­to the Is [...]aelites: afterwards comes one plague up­on another; verse 22. it is said, They hardened their hearts as in the day of provocation. This is ap­plyed in Heb. 3.12. to Unbelievers. The Lord heard this, and was wrath, a fire was kindled against Jacob, and against Israel. Why was this? because they believed not in him, because they trusted not in his salvation. Nothing will more provoke God to anger, then when he is liberal and gracious, and we are straitned in our selves, hearden our hearts, and not trust him: never forget this Sermon while you live, this is the net which Christ hath to draw you out of the world. I shal hereafter tell you what faith is, which is to receive Christ, and to believe in his name; but that will re­quire a more particular explication: and on that I shall enter the next time.

FINIS.
EPHE. 1.13.‘In whom ye also trusted after that ye heard the Word of truth, the Gospel of your salvation; In whom also after you believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of Promise.’

THE last time I entred on the decla­ration of that main point, and part of Religion, which is the foundation of all our hopes and comfort, namely, the offering of Christ unto us; that as he did of­fer himself a Sacrifice to his Fa­ther for us upon the Cross, so that which is the basis, ground and foundation of our com­fort, he offereth himself unto us. And here comes in that gracious gift of the Father which closes in with God: That as God saith, To us a child is born, to us a Son is given, &c. so there is grace given us to re­ceive him. And as the greatest gift doth not enrich a man, unless he accept it, and receive it; so this is [Page 412] our case, God offers his Son unto us, as an earnest of his love; if we will not receive him, we cannot be the better for him: If we refuse him, and turn Gods Commodity which he offers us back upon his hand, then Gods storms, and his wrath abides on us for evermore. That it is his good pleasure that we should receive Christ, it is no doubt, we have his word for it: all the point is, how we may receive him, and that is by Faith.

And in this Text is declared, how Faith is wrought, and that is by the Word of truth; In whom al­so you trusted, after you had heard the Word of Truth. Now after this Faith, there cometh a sealing by the Spirit of God; In whom also after you believed, you were seal­ed by the Holy Spirit of Promise. Now lest a man should through ignorance and indiscretion, be misled and de­ceived, there is faith, and there is feeling. Where this is not, I say, not that there is no faith; No: for feeling is an after thing, and comes after Faith. If we have Faith, we live by it; But after you believed, you were sealed. You see then Faith is that whereby we receive Jesus Christ, and to as many as received him, to them he gave power to become the Sons of God, to as ma­ny as believe on his name. The blood of Christ is that which cureth our souls, but (as I told you) it is by ap­plication. A Medicine heals not by being prepared, but being applied: so the blood of Christ shed for us, unless applied to us, doth us no good. In Heb. 12. Its called the blood of sprinkling: and that in the 51. Psalm, hath relation to it, where he saith, Purge me with hysop. In the Passover there was blood to be shed, not to be spilt, but to be shed: and then to be gathered [Page 413] up again, and put into a Basin, and when they had so done, they were to take a bunch of Hysope and dip and sprinkle, &c. Faith is this bunch of Hy­sope that dips it self as it were into the Basin of Christs blood, and our souls are purged by being sprinkled with it. In Levit. 14.6. There was a bird to escape alive; but see the preparation for it, You shall take it, and the scarlet, and the Cedar wood, and the Hysop, and shall dip them, and the living bird in the blood of the bird that was killed, &c. and then you shall sprin­kle on him that had the leprosie seven times, and shall pro­nounce him clean, and shall let the living bird loose into the open field. We are thus let loose, cleansed and freed; but how? unless we are dipt as the living bird was in the blood of the dead bird, there is no escaping, unless we are dipt in the blood of Christ Jesus this dead bird, and sprinkled with this Hysop, we cannot be freed.

So that now to come to that great matter, without which, Christ profiteth us nothing, which is Faith. The Well is deep, and this is the bucket with which we must draw. This is the hand by which we must put on Christ; As many as are baptized put on Christ: thus must we be made ready: we must be thus clothed upon, and by this hand attire our selves with the Son of Righteousness. Wherefore I declared unto you that this Faith must not be a bare conceipt, floating in the brain; not a device of our own. The devil taking hold on this, would soon lead a man into a fools Paradise. To say, I am Gods Child, and sure I shall be saved, I am perswaded so: this the Devil would say Amen to, and would be glad to rock [Page 414] men a sleep in such conceipts. Such are like the foolish Virgins, That went to buy oyl for their Lamps; and were perswad [...]d they should come soon enough to enter with the Bride-groom; but their perswasion is groundless, and they are shut out. So such groundless perswasions and assurances in a mans soul, that he is the child of God, and shall go to heaven, is not Faith; thou mayst carry this assurance to hell with thee: This Faith is not Faith; For faith comes by hearing, and that not of every word or fancy, but by hearing the word of Truth. Faith must not go a jot further then the Word of God goeth. If thou hast an apprehension, but no warrant for it out of the Word of God, it is not faith, for its said, After you heard the Word of Truth you believed. So that we must have some ground for it out of the Word of Truth, otherwise it is presumption, meer conceipts, fancy, and not Faith.

Now I shew'd unto you the last time how this might be; for while a man is an Unbeliever, he is wholly defiled with sin, he is in a most lothsom condition, he is in his blood, filthy, and no eye pities him. And may one fasten comfort on one in such a condition, on a dead man? And this I shew'd you was our case: When Faith comes to us, it finds no good thing in us, it finds us stark dead, and stark nought: yet there is a Word for all this to draw us unto Christ, from that miserable Ocean in which we are swimming unto perdition, if God catch us not in his Net. Hearken we therefore to Gods Call: there is such a thing as this Calling. God calls thee and would change thy condition, and therefore offers thee his Son. Wilt [Page 415] thou have my Son? Wilt thou yield unto me? Wilt thou be reconciled unto me? Wilt thou come unto me? and this may be preacht to the veriest Rebel that is. It is the only Word whereby faith is wrought. It is not by finding such and such things in us before­hand, No, God finds us as bad as bad may be, when he proffers Christ unto us. He finds us ugly and fil­thy, and afterwards washes us, and makes us good. It is not because I found this or that good thing in thee, that I give thee interest in my Son, take it not on this ground. No, he loved us first, and when we were defiled, he washt us with his own blood, Rev. Now there is a double love of God towards his Crea­tures.

  • 1. Of Commiseration.
  • 2. Of Complacency.

That of Commiseration, is a fruit of love which ten­ders and pities the miserable estate of another.

But now there is another love of Complacency, which is a likeness between the qualities and manners of persons: for like will to like: and this love God never hath but to his Saints after Conversion, when they have his Image instamped in them, and are re­formed in their Understandings and Wills, resem­bling him in both, then, and not till then bears he this love towards them. Before he loves them with the love of pity: and so God lov'd the world, that is, with the love of Commiseration, that he sent his on­ly Son, that whosoever believed in him might not pe­rish, but have everlasting life.

Now we come to the point of Acceptation: the Word is free, and it requires nothing but what may [Page 416] consist with the freest gift that may be given. Al­though here be something that a man may startle at.

Object. Is there not required a condition of faith, and a condition of obedience?

Sol. Neither of these according to our common Understanding, do hinder the fulness and freedom of the Grace of the Gospel.

1. Not Faith, because Faith is such a condition, as requires only an empty hand to receive a gift free­ly given. Now doth that hinder the freeness of the gift, to say, you must take it? Why, this is requi­site to the freest gift that can be given. If a man would give something to a Begger, if he would not reach out his hand and take it, let him go without it, its a free gift still; so that the condition of Faith requires nothing, but an empty hand to receive Christ.

2. Obedience hinders it not. I am required, may some say, to be a new man, a new Creature, to lead a new life: I must alter my course: and is not this a great clog and burthen? and do you account this free? when I must crucifie lusts, mortifie Passions, &c. Is this free when a man must renounce his own Will? Yes; It is as free as free may be; as I shewed you the last time. The very touching and accepting of Christ implies an abnegation of former sinfulness, and a going off from other courses that are contrary to him. If the King give a pardon to a notorious Rebel for Treason, so that now he must live obedient as a Subject, the King need not in regard of himself to have given the pardon; if he give it, it takes not from its freeness, that he must live like a Subject after­wards; [Page 417] the very acceptance of the pardon implies it.

But now to declare Faith, and to open the Mystery thereof. Faith is a great thing: it is our life; our life stands in the practise of it: that as in the offering of Christ for us, there is given him a name above every name, That at the name of Jes [...]s every knee shall bow: As, I say, in the purchasing of Redemption, so in the point of acceptation; God hath given unto this poor vertue of faith a name above all names. Faith indeed, as it is a vertue, is poor and mean, and comes far short of love: and therefore by the Apostle, love is many degrees prefer'd before faith, because love fills the heart, and faith is but a bare hand, it lets all things fall, that it may fill it self with Christ. Its said of the Virgin Mary, That God did respect the low estate of his hand-maid: So God respects the low estate of Faith, that nothing is required, but a bare empty hand, which hath nothing to bring with it, though it be never so weak, yet if it have a hand to receive, it is [...], a like precious faith, that of the poor­est Believer, and the greatest Saint.

Now that we may come unto the point, without any more going backwards. In the words read, there is the point of faith, and a thing God confirms it with­al, a seal: In whom also after that you believed, you were sealed. Faith is of it self a thing unsealed: the sealing with the holy Spirit of Promise is a point be­yond faith; its a point of feeling, and not only of believing of Gods Word, but a sensible feeling of the Spirit: a believing in my soul, accompanied with joy unspeakable, and full of glory: of which sealing [Page 418] we shall speak more hereafter. Observe for the first.

1. The Object of it, In whom you trusted. We speak of Faith now as it justifies, as it apprehends Christ for its Object: for otherwise Faith hath as large an Extent as all Gods Word. Faith hath a hand to re­ceive, whatsoever God hath a mouth to speak. What is the Object? He in whom you trusted. It is a wonder to see how many are deceived, who make the for­giveness of sins to be the proper Object of faith. A man may call as long as he lives for forgiveness of sins, yet unless there be the first Act to lay hold on Christ, in vain doth he expect forgiveness of sins. Untill thou dost accept Christ for thy King and Savi­our, thou hast no promise. We are never Children of the Promise till we are found in him. The proper and immediate Object of Faith is, first Christ, and then God the Father by him: for Faith must have Christ for its Object. I must believe in none else but God, in, and through Christ. Now that this is so, we may see in that famous place. 1 Pet. 1.21. When he had spoken of the precious blood of Christ, the Lamb without blemish, he goes on, and shews, that he was manifested in those last times, for you, who by him do believe in God, that raised up Christ from the dead, and gave him glory, that your faith and hope might be in God. There is no true believing in God the Father, but by the Son. The proper Object of Hope and Faith is God, and he that doth believe, or hope, or trust in any thing else, there is Idolatry in it; we believe in God by him: so that the primary Object of Faith is Christ. Gal. 3.26. Ye are all the Children of God by [Page 419] Faith in Jesus Christ. What's my Faith then? If thou wilt be the Child of God, receive, hold Christ Je­sus, accept him for thy Saviour, and for thy Lord: He is the proper Object of thy Faith. Again, you must have Christ Jesus, and him crucified, that should be the highest knowledge in our account, To know Christ, and him crucified, and by it to accept him. Hereupon the Apostle to the Romans, when he speaks of faith, makes the Object of it Christ, and Christ crucified. Rom. 3.25. Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood; to declare his Righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God. Whatsoever then thou findest in Christ, is an Object of thy Faith. John 6. The point is, He who eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, that is, he who re­ceiveth me, and makes me as his meat and drink, shall be partaker of me. Compare this, Rom. 3.25. with Rom. 5.9. for its worth comparing. We are said to be justified by his blood, Rom. 5.9. By faith in his blood, Rom. 3.25. Now both these come to one, and they resolve the point, and clear the Question, whether Faith in it self as a Vertue doth justifie, or in respect of its Object? surely its in respect of the Object. You that have skill in Phylosophy, know, that heat if considered as a quality, its effects are not so great; but considered as an instrument, it transcends the sphere of its own activity; it doth wonders; for its the principle of generation, and many other strange effects. So here take faith as a Vertue, and its far short of love: but consider it as an instrument where­by Christ is applyed, and it transcends, it works wonders beyond its proper sphere: for the meanest [Page 420] thing it layes hold on, is the Son of God. He that hath the Son, hath life, &c. Some would think this an hard kind of speech, when we are justified by faith, we are justified by Christ, apprehended by faith: and yet that place is cleer to be justified by his blood: and faith in his blood becomes one faith. As if a man should say, I was cured by going to the Bath: so faith comes unto me; faith is the legs. A man is not said properly to be cured by going to the Bath, nor justified by coming to Christ by the legs of faith: but the ap­plying of the Bath, the coming to Christ, and ap­plying his vertue, to make him the Object of my faith, this is the way to be justified. As it is not the make­ing and preparing of a plaister that cures, but the applying it; so that this concludes this point, that the true Object of faith is Christ crucified, and God the Father in, and by him. Here then is the point, thou must not look for any comfort in faith, till thou hast Christ; and to think thou shalt ever have any benefit by God till thou hast Christ, thou deceivest thy self. It is impossible for a man to receive nou­rishment by his bread and drink, till he partake of it in the substance: so thou must partake of Christ before thou canst receive any nourishment by him. Christ saith not thou must have forgiveness of sins, or thou must have my Fathers favour, but take my body and blood, take me crucified. Buy the field, and the treasure is thine: but thou hast nothing to do with the treasure, till thou gettest the field. This is preferment enough, to have the Lords Promise to Abraham, I am thy exceeding great reward: I am my wel-beloveds, and my wel-beloved is mine. There is a [Page 421] spiritual match betwixt Christ and thee: there are many who are matcht with Christ, and yet know not how rich they are: when a man reckons of what he shall get by Christ only, when all his thoughts are on that, he marrieth the portion, and not the man: thou must set thy love on Christs person, and then having him, all that he hath is thine: how rich Christ is, so rich art thou: he must first be thine. He that hath the Son hath life, but the Son must first be had. Is there any now in this congregation who is so hard-hearted, as to refuse such a gift as this? When God shall give thee his Son, if thou wilt take him, is there any so prophane, as with Esau to sell his birth, &c. to pursue the poor pedling things of this life, and re­fuse salvation, so high a gift? A gift which is not given to Angels, they think it an honour to wait at the Lords Table: they have not this precious food given to them; they never taste it; and therefore many Christians on serious consideration would not change their estate for the estate of Angels. Why? because hereby Christ is my husband, I am wedded to him, he is bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh, which the Angels are not capable of. Our nature is advanced above the Angelical nature: for we shall sit and judge the world with Christ, judge the twelve Tribes of Israel: And what an high preferment is this? Nay, observe this, and take it for a Rule. Never beg of God pardon for thy sins, till thou hast done this one thing, namely, accepted of Christ from Gods hands. For thou never canst confidently ask any thing till thou hast him: For all the Promises of God are in him, yea, and Amen. This may serve for the Object of faith: [Page 422] to shew that the primary Object, is Christ crucified, and God by him. We come now to declare;

2. The Acts of faith what they are, and there is some intricacy in that too: There is much ado made in what part and power of the soul faith is: We must not proportionate the Act of faith accord­ing to our own fancy. For its no faith, but as it hath relation to the Word: now look, how is the Word presented. After you heard the Word of Truth, the Gos­pel of your salvation. Now the Word is presented un­der a double respect.

1. Its presented Sub ratione veri; After you had heard the Word of Truth; and there comes in the Un­derstanding.

2. Then Sub ratione boni, as a good word, that so we should lay hold on it, and here comes in the Will. For the Will, we say, challenges that which is good for its Object: Now the Gospel of sal­vation is a good Word, its glad tidings worthy of all ac­ceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. And now as the Word is presented as a good Word, so must my Act of faith be answerable unto it. See in Heb. 11.13. The act of faith answer­ing hereto, These all died in faith, not having received the Promises. What did their faith to them? It made them see the Promises a far off, and they were perswaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims in the earth. So that by com­paring place with place, it appears that first this Gos­pel was presented as the Word of Truth, they were per­swaded of it. It is the first Act of Faith, to perswade men of the truth of the Word: and then as it is a good word, [Page 423] they embraced it: these are the two arms of faith: as true, it perswades me, as good, I embrace it. We must not now be too curious in bringing in Philosophical Disputes, whether one Vertue may proceed from two faculties; whether Faith may proceed from the Un­derstanding and the Will. The truth is, these things are not yet agreed upon; and shall we trouble our selves with things not yet decided in the schools, as, whether the practical Understanding and the Will be distinct faculties or no? The Word of God requires that I should believe with my whole heart. Act. 8.37. As Philip told the Eunuch, if thou believest with all thy heart, thou mayest: If with the heart: but with what faculties may you say? Why, I tell thee, be­lieve with thy whole heart: and what! shall I peece and devide the heart, when the whole is required? Now to come to these two: The Word is present­ed,

  • 1. As a true Word.
  • 2. Then as a good Word; a word like Gospel, like sal­vation.

1. As a true Word. And the Act of faith answer­ing thereto, is called in Scripture [...]. and [...], Knowledge and Acknowledgement, 1 Titus 1. 1 Pe­ter 3.

1 Knowledge, that's a thing requisite: Why? be­cause if there be a Remedy able to cure a mans dis­ease: if he do not know it, what is he the better for it? Knowledge is so essential unto Faith, that with­out it there can be no faith. In John 17.3. the terms are confounded, the one put for the other: This is life eternal, to know thee to be the true God, and whom, &c. [Page 424] to know thee, that is, to believe in thee, because know­ledge is so essential to belief, as one cannot be with­out the other: thou canst not believe what thou hast never heard of: I know, saith Job, that my Redeemer liveth, that is, I believe he liveth: and hereupon its said in Isa. 53. By his knowledge shall my righteous ser­vant justifie many: Knowledge is an Act primarily re­quisite to Faith? to be justified by his knowledge, is to be justified by faith in his blood; this then is the first thing, that I know it to be as true as Gospel: then comes the acknowledgement.

2. The Acknowledgement. Joh. 6.69. We know, and are assured that thou art that Christ. This is an assurance: I say, not the assurance of my salvation: for that is another kind of thing: but an assurance that God will keep touch with me, will not delude me, but that if I take his Son, I shall have life; I shall have his favour. When God illuminates me, I find all things in him, when I have him, I am made. When the Understanding clearly apprehends this, then comes the next word, it is the Gospel of salvation, there be­ing a knowing and acknowledging the Act of the Understanding: then comes the Will, and it be­ing,

2. Propounded as a good word, then follows,

  • 1. Acceptation.
  • 2. Affiance.

1. Acceptation, which receives Christ. 1 John 12. As many as received him, to them he gave power to become the sons of God, even to as many as believed on his name. Then a man resolves, I will take God on his word, and thereupon follows.

[Page 425] A resting or relying on God, which is a proper act of faith. I need no other place then Rom. 10.13. Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved: But how shall they call on him on whom they have not be­lieved? that is, on whom they have not reposed their confidence. Mark the [...]postle, How shall they call on him, on whom they have not believed? That Faith which was in the antecedent must be in the conclusion: there­fore our faith is a relying on God: and so in this place this trust is made the same with faith; as it is in the Text, in whom you trusted, after you had received the word of Truth: for our trust and belief there is the self-same word, — Nimium ne crede colori: this (Credo) is to have a great confidence in fleeting and fading things; and so it is in justifying faith. If I have a knowledge of God, and acknowledgement of him, and from my knowing, my will is conformed to accept Christ; and if when I have accepted him, I will not part from him; this is faith, and if thou hast this faith, thou wilt never perish: suppose thou never hadst one day of comfort all thy life long, yet my life for thine thou art saved. Perhaps by reason of thy ignorance thou hast no feeling, yet if thou consent, thou art justified; its the consent makes the match. If thou consent to the Father, and take Christ the Son, know it, or know it not, thou hast him; though thou knowest not whether thy sins are forgiven; yet as long as thou keepest thy hold, all the Devils temptations shall never drive thee from him: thou art justified, and in a safe case, though ignorance and other things in thee cause thee not to feel it, if thou layest hold on him for his sake, thou art apprehend­ed.

[Page 426]Object. Now then this is an easie matter, you will say.

Sol. Not so easie a matter as you guess it to be. It were easie indeed, were there nothing but saying the word to make man and wife; there are terms and conditions to be agreed upon. God casts not his Son away, he looks there shall be conditions on thy side; he must be thy King and Head, if thou wilt have him to be thy husband. But what shall I get by him, then saith the wife? Get? there is no end of thy getting. All is thine, Paul, Apollos, Cephas, Life, &c. Thou art Christs, and Christ is Gods. Every man will take Christ thus for the better: but there's somewhat else in the match. If thou wilt have him, thou must take him for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer. Indeed there are precious things provided for you. Its your Fathers good pleasure to give you the Kingdom; you shall be Heirs with Christ, but for the present, while you are in the Church Militant, you must take up your Cross; you must not look for great things in this world: In this world you must have tribulation, you must deny your selves, and your own Wills. What? would you have Christ the wife, and you the hus­band? No, If you think so, you mistake the match. Christ must be the Husband and the Head; and as the wife promises to obey her husband, to stick to her husband in sickness and in health, and to forsake all others; so Christ asketh, wilt thou have me? if thou wilt, thou must take me on these terms, thou must take my Cross with me, thou must deny thine own Will, yea, it may be thine own life also. Let a Christian consider all these things, these are the [Page 427] words, and these are the benefits and then compare them together, & then if he can say, I will have Christ how [...]ver, for I shall be a saver by him, I'le take him with [...]ll faults, & I know I shall make a good bargain, therefore I will have him on any terms come what will; when a man can have his will so perpendicular­ly bent on Christ, that he will have him, though he leave his skin behind him, there's a true acceptation of him. We must not here distinguish with the Schools about Velleities, a general wishing and would­ing, and true desires after Christ: Wishers and Woulders never thrive; but there must be a resolu­tion to follow Christ through thick and thin, never to part with him: a direct Will is here required. And therefore Christ bids us consider before—hand what it will cost us. If any man come to me, and hate not Fa­ther and mother, wife and children, and his own life also, he cannot be my Disciple. Do not think that our Saviour here would discourage men from love. Doth the God of love teach us hatred? The phrase in the He­brew is loving less, as it is said, Jacob have I loved, and Esau have I hated; that is, loved less. If a man hath two wives, one beloved, and the other hated, and they have born Children, both the beloved and the hated. By hated is not meant, that the man hated one wife, but less loved her then the other; so if any man come to me, and hate not father and mother, and that is, if he love not all less then me; and that it is so, we may see it expounded by our Saviour. Mat. 10.37. He that loveth father or mother more then me is not worthy of me. There Christ expounds it. He that will follow Christ in calm weather and not in a storm, is not wor­thy [Page 428] of him. Luke 14.28. Which of you intending to build a Tower, sitte [...] not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? What is that to the purpose? See verse 33. So likewise w [...]osoever he be of you, that forsaketh not all that he hath, cannot be my Disciple. Its a small matter to begin to be a Christian, unless you consider what it will cost you. Do you t [...]k it a small matter to be the Kings son? think not on so great a business without consideration what it will cost you. It will be the denying of your own wills. You must be content to follow naked Christ nakedly: follow him in his persecution and tribulation, in his death and suffering, if thou wilt be conformable to him in glory. When this case comes, it makes ma­ny draw back, as the rich man in the Gospel, when he must forsake all, he drew back. When troubles arise, many are offended; so when it comes to a point of parting, they go back.

Now we come to speak one word of the sealing in the Text. After that ye believed, ye were sealed with the holy Spirit of Promise. This sealing, which is a point of feeling is a distinct thing of it self from faith; no part of faith. If I have faith, I am sure of life, though I never have the other: these are two seals. VVe put to our seals to the counter-part that is drawn betwixt God and us.

The first seal is our faith. I have nothing but Gods VVord, and indeed I have no feeling, yet I venture my salvation, and trust God upon his bare VVord. I will pawn all upon it: He that believeth, saith John, hath set to his seal that God is true. If men doubt, and trust God no further then they see him, it is not faith. But [Page 429] when God gives me a good word, though I am in as much distress as ever, yet I trust, though it be contrary to all sense, or outward seeming, yet I put to my seal, and trust him still.

Then comes Gods counter-part. God being thus honoured, that I believe his Word, though contrary to all sense and feeling, even his bare Word; then God sets to his seal, and now the Word comes to particularizing. Before it was in general, now it comes and singles out a man, Say thou unto my soul, that I am thy salvation, Psalm 35.3. that is, as I did ap­ply the generality of Gods Word unto mine own case to bear me up against sense and feeling: then comes the Spirit of God, and not only delivers gene­ralities, but saith unto my soul, I am thy salvation. This is called in Scripture a manifestation, when God manifests himself unto us; as in Isa. 60.16. Thou shalt suck the milk of the Gentiles, and shalt suck the brest of Kings, and thou shalt know that I the Lord am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, &c. that is, when we have made particular application by Faith, God will put to his seal, that I shall know that God is my strength and my salvation: I shall know it. John 14.21. He that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will manifest my self unto him. Christ comes and drawes the Curtains, and looks on with the gracio [...]s aspect of his blessed countenance. When this comes, it cheers the heart, and then there are secret love-tokens pass betwixt Christ and his beloved. Rev. 2.17. To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden Manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knows, save he [Page 430] that receives it, that is, there is a particular intima­tion that I shall know of my self more then any other; more then all the world besides. Its such a joy as the stranger is not made Partaker of: such joy as is glori­ous and unspeakable; such peace as passeth all understand­ing. One minute of such joy overcomes all the joy in the world besides.

Now consider, sure there is such a thing as this joy, or else do you think the Scripture would talk of it, and of the Comforter, the Holy Ghost, by whom we know the things that are given us of God. There is a generation in the world that hath this joy, though you that know it not, do not, nor cannot believe it, there is a righteous generation that have it; and why dost thou not try to get it? do as they do, and thou mayst obtain it likewise. The secrets of the Lord are revealed to them that fear him: These are hidden com­forts; do you think God will give this joy to those that care not for him? No, The way is to seek God, and to labour to fear him. The secrets of the Lord are revealed to such, and such, only as fear him; do as they do, and follow their example, and thou mayst have it likewise.

Object. Many have serv'd Christ long, and have not found it.

Sol. Its long of themselves; you are straightned in your own bowels, or else, Open your mouths wide, and God will fill them. No wonder that we are so barren of these comforts, when we be straitned in our selves. There is a thing wondrously wanting amongst us, and that is Meditation. If we could give our selves to it, and go up with Moses to [Page 431] the Mount to confer with God, and seriously think of the price of Christs death, and of the joyes of heaven, and the Priviledges of a Christian; if we could frequently meditate on these, we should have these sealing days every day, at lest oftner. This hath need to be much pressed upon us; the neglect of this makes lean souls. He that is frequent in that, hath these sealing days often. Couldst thou have a parle with God in private, and have thy heart re­joyce with the comforts of another day, even whilst thou art thinking of these things, Christ would be in the midst of thee. Many of the Saints of God have but little of this, because they spend but few hours in Meditation. And thus as this hour would give leave, have we proceeded in this point.

FINIS.
1 COR. 11.29.‘For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eat­eth and drinketh Damnation to himself, not discerning the Lords body.’

I Have heretofore declared unto you the ground of our salvation, and have represented unto you, first, Christ offered for us, and se­condly, Christ offered to us. Now it hath pleased Almighty God, not only to teach us this by his Word; but because we are slow of heart to believe, and conceive the things we heare, it pleases his glorious Wisdom to add to his Word his Sacraments, that so what we have heard with our ears, we may see with our eyes, being represented by signs.

There is a visible voice whereby God speaks to the eyes: and therefore we find in Exod. 4.8. God bids Moses that he should use signs, saying, It shall come [Page 434] to pass, if they will not believe thee, neither hearken to the voice of the first sign, that they will believe the voice of the latter sign. Signs you know are the Object of the eye, and yet see, they have it as it were a visi­ble voice, which speaks to the eye. Now God is pleased to give us these signs for the helping.

1. Of our Understanding: The eye and the ear are the two learned senses, as we call them, through which, all knowledge is conveyed into the soul: and there­fore that we may have a more particular knowledge of Christ, God hath not only by his Ministry given us audible voices, but visible also in his Sacraments, by which, as by certain glasses he represents to us the Mystery of Christ Jesus offered for us, and offer­ed to us. And hence is it that Paul calls the eyes to witness, as well as the ears, Gal. 3.1. O ye foolish Galathians, who hath bewitched you that you should not obey the Truth, before whose eyes Christ hath been evident­ly fet forth crucified amongst you! that is, before whose eyes Christ hath been crucified, not by hear-say on­ly, but evidently before your eyes, not in any foolish Crucifix, with the Papists, but in the blessed Sacra­ment, wherein he is so represented, as if his soul were before our eyes poured out to death: so that by these Sacraments, heavenly things are as it were clothed in earthly Garments, and this is the first rea­son, viz. to help our Understandings: but besides this he doth it.

2. To help our Memory; we art apt to forget those wonderfull things Christ hath wrought for us. And therefore, verse 24. and 25. Of this Chapter we are bid To eat his body, and drink his blood in remembrance [Page 435] of him. To take the signs as tokens of him; the Sa­crament is as it were a monument and pillar raised up to the end, that when ever we see it, we should re­member the Lords death untill he come. Its said, 2 Sam. 8.18. That Absolon in his life time had taken, and reared up for himself a Pillar which is in the Kings dale; for he said, I have no son to keep my name in re­membrance. He would fain be remembred, but he had no Child whereby he might live after he was dead: therefore he raises it, and calls it after his own name, Absolons place, as it is this day: that so as often as any came that way, they might remember him. Christ doth thus by his Sacrament, and erects it as a Monument for the remembrance of his death, and as it were calls it by his own name, saying, This is my body, and this is my blood: that when ever we see them, we may call to mind, Christ offered for us, and to us. But that I may apply this my Doctrine to the ears also, know that,

3. These signs are for the strengthning of our faith, and therefore it is considered as a seal. Rom. 4.11. Abraham received the sign of Circumcision, as a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had, yet be­ing uncircumcised. It helps our understanding by be­ing a sign, and is a confirmation, as a seal: by ver­tue whereof Christ is passed, and made over to us, so that we have as true an interest and right to him, as to our meat and drink: yea, hereby he becomes as effectually ours for every purpose in our spiritual life, as our meat and drink doth for our corporal. To which end these Elements are changed spiritually in their natures; not in substance, but in use: so that [Page 436] which was but now a common bread, becomes as far different as heaven is from earth, being altered in its use. For instance, the wax whereby the King passes over an inheritance to us, and by which con­veyances of our estates are made, that wax is but as another piece of wax differing nothing from that which is in the shop, till the King hath stampt it with his Seal: but being once sealed, one would not give it for all the wax in the Kingdome, for now it serves to another use; so is it here in these elements; but still know the difference is not in the matter or substance, but in the use. And this is the reason why this blessed bread and wine is termed a communion, namely, because it is an instrument where­by Christ instates me into himself, and where­by I have fellowship and communion with him.

In the words then we have these particulars, viz.

1. A sinne. If any man shall presume to eat that bread, or drink that cup unworthily. Its a dangerous thing, a great sin to eat and drink at the Lords Table in an unworthy manner.

2. A punishment. He eats and drinks damnation, or judgement unto himself. So that now what was or­dained to life, and appointed to be a seal and con­firmation of Gods love and favour, is now changed and become a seal and confirmation of Gods anger and indignation. The unworthy receiving of it makes it prove cleane contrary to what it was intend­ed.

3. A reason, because he discernes not the Lords [Page 437] body, but takes them as ordinary things, deeming the elements not different from the bread and wine which we have at our Tables, not knowing that they are the dishes wherein Christ is served in unto us, that by these the greatest gift is given us, and nourishment conveyed for the maintenance of our spiritual life. This life was given us in baptisme, but in and by these signes is conveyed spiritual nou­rishment for the continuance and maintenance of it, for the strengthning of our faith, and making us daily stronger and stronger to fight the Lords battles: Now when we discern not this, nor by the eye of faith see Christ Jesus crucified for us, and by these elements conveyed unto us, but take them hand o­ver head without any consideration, we receive them unworthily, and a fearful indignity is offered un­to Christ, which he will certainly revenge. I'le then

  • 1. Shew in general what it is to eat unworthily.
  • 2. What it is to eat judgement; and then
  • 3. I'le come to the particulars, how this sin may be a­voided, and what the particulars are wherein the sin consists.

1. Concerning the first, What it is to eat un­worthily.

Obj. And here may some say, is there any of us who can avouch that he eats and drinks at the Lords Table worthily? is any so presumptuous to say, that he is worthy to eat Christs flesh, and drink his blood? As for bodily food and entertainment, the Centurion could say, I am not worthy that thou shoulds come under my roof; How then comes this to passe, that [Page 438] he which eats and drinks the Lords body unworthi­ly, eats and drinks damnation to himself?

Sol. But here understand what is set down; worthiness is not always taken for a matter of merit, or proportion of worth between the person giving and recei­ving; but in Scripture it's often taken for that which is meet, fitting, and beseeming; And in this sense the Apostle uses it, 1 Cor. 16.4. If it be meet that I go al­so, they shall go with me. If it be meet: the word in the Original is [...], or worthy, which is here rightly translated meet; so in that Sermon of Saint John Baptist, Mat. 3.8. bring forth fruits meet for re­pentance; that is, fruits beseeming amendment of life. And in this sense are we said to walk worthy of God, who hath called us to his Kingdom and glory. VVorthy of God, that is, worthy of that calling God hath impart­ed to us, 1 Thes. 2.12. And therefore to use the simi­litude as I have elsewhere, If the King should vouch­safe to come into a Subjects house, and finde all things fit and beseeming so great a Majesty, that Subject may be said to give the King worthy enter­tainment; not that a Subject is worthy to entertaine his Prince: but the meaning is, he provided all things which were meet and fit for the entertainment of him. So is it here: if we prepare our selves with such spiritual ornaments to entertain the King of glory, as are requisite for those who approach his Table, though our performances come far short of the worth of his presence, yet we may be said to eat his body, and drink his blood worthily. When the King in the Gospel had prepared his feast, two sorts of guests there were who were un­worthy.

[Page 439]1. Those that made light of the invitation, who had their excuses when they should come to the feast; One must go to his farme, another to try his Oxen, Luke 14.18.

2. Others there were who came, and yet were unworthy guests, for coming unpreparedly; for in the midst of the feast the King comes in to view his guests, and beholds a man that did not refuse to come, but yet came without his wedding garment, and so came unworthily for not coming preparedly. Yea see then there may be an unworthinesse in those that do come, since they come unfitted and unbeseeming such a banquet. They are unworthy receivers of the Lords body, and he accounts it an irreverent usage of him. In like manner may some say touching the Ministry of the Word; May not I read a good Sermon at home with as much profit? what needs all this stirre? Why, here's the advantage and priviledge you get in the publick Ministry of the Word: God himself comes down as a King amongst us, he views his guests, and considers who comes with his wedding garment, who comes preparedly. Christ comes and looks on us, and where two or three are gathered together in his name, there he hath promised to be in the midst of them: He walks in the midst of the golden Candlesticks: the Ministers of his Word; he takes a special view of those that come and frequent his Ordinances, and to reward them. You see then what it is to eat worthily, its to do it with that reve­rence that is requisite where the King of heaven is the Master of the Feast. Now this being the sin, unmannerliness, and unprepared approaching his [Page 400] Table; we come to the second thing, viz.

2. The punishment: and that's a terrible one: He that eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks damnati­on to himself: damnation, that's somewhat hard, the word in the Margent is better, [...], judgement. True, there are such as so come, that they deserve to eat condemnation to themselves, as openly profane ones, in whom it's high treason, being Gods vowed enemies, to take his Privy Seal, and put it to so vile a use: this I say deserves damnation; but then o­thers there are that have faith and repentance, and a portion in Christ, yet coming unworthily to this feast, eat judgement to themselves: that is a judge­ment of chastisement. There is a twofold judge­ment.

1. One of revenge: for those that put Gods Seal to a wrong evidence, having no faith to make Christ his portion: in such a one its high treason to put forth his hand to this tree of life.

2. Another of chastisement, for such a one as hath repentance, and yet comes too unmannerly, and car­ries himself too carelesly at the Lords Table: at this the Apostle aims in the Text; not at that judge­ment of condemnation, but at a judgement to prevent damnation; And this appears in the words follow­ing, where we shall finde the Apostle recounting up the particulars of this judgement of chastisement, For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep, ver. 30. Mark what's the judgement he eats: why this? he's cast upon his bed of sick­nesse into a Consumption perchance, or some other corporal disease; a cause Physicians seldome or [Page 441] never look into: they look to Agues, Colds, or the like; they never once conjecture that their unwor­thy eating at the Lords Table, cast them into the disease, and was the principal cause of the malady. Nay death it self too often is the punishment of such bold attempts, so that all the Physicians in the world cannot cure them. And thus God inflicts temporal judgements to free them from eternal, as appears farther in the 32. ver. When we are judged, we are chastned of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world, that is, we undergo a judgement of chastisement, to prevent the judgement of condemna­tion: which though it be a sharp and bitter pill, yet by the mercy of God we eat that whereby dam­nation is prevented. This judgement of condemna­tion is the portion of the profane person, who dares to meddle with that belongs not to him, against whom the Angel of the Lord with a flaming sword stands to keep the way of this tree of life. Those that come that have faith, yet coming unpreparedly, they eat judg­ment too, yet by Gods mercy it's that which preserves them from the damnation of the soul.

Now before I come to the particulars, note how careful God is, that spiritual exercises should be spi­ritually performed. He's very angry when he sees a spiritual duty carnally undertaken. For this cause many are sick, &c. that is, because you that are belie­vers, have faith, repentance, and a portion in your Saviour come irreverently, come unpreparedly, per­form a spiritual work so carnally. We have pre­sidents hereof in Scripture [...] ▪ and chiefly two: First, for circumcision, Exod. 4.24. At the 21. v. God sent [Page 442] Moses on a Message into Egypt, and in the 24. vers. the Text saith, It came to pass by the way in the Inne, that the Lord met him, and sought to kill him. This is very strange, this hath no dependance on that which goes before: a strange accident, God sought to kill him, although he but a little before had sent him into Egypt, and told him he would be with him. Why? what should we do then? how should the message be done, and fulfilled? But what was the reason hereof? It's not expressed, yet we may gather from the following words, that it was by reason his sons were uncircumcised, for vers. 25. Zippora took a sharp stone, and cut off the fore-skin of her sonne, and cast it at his feet, and said, surely a bloody husband hast thou been unto me: God would have smitten him for the neglect of the Sacrament of Circumcision. Ano­ther instance we have for the Passover in Hezekiahs time. 2 Chron. 30.17, 18. A multitude of the people, yea many of Ephraim and Manasseh, Issachar and Zebulon had not cleansed themselves, yet did they eat the Passover otherwise then it was written. There were many likewise in the Congregation that were not sanctifi­ed; and therefore God punished them. It's not set down in what manner God punished them, yet by the consequent it may be gather'd that it was by sicknesse, for the next words are to that effect: He­zekiah prayed for them saying, the good Lord pardon e­very one that prepareth his heart to seek God, the Lord God of his Father, though he be not cleansed accord­ing to the purification of the Sanctuary, and the Lord hearkened to Hezekiah, and healed the people. So that you see for this God smites a person, and it's to be [Page 443] feared least judgements temporal fall on the whole Nation for this fault, that he even smites a people to death. But we passe from this and come to the particulars.

3. The particulars of this offence, and where­in it consists that a man comes unworthily, that so we may know whether we are guilty of the crime. Know therefore that there are two sorts that come to the communion.

First, those to whom the businesse doth not be­long, that have nothing to do with the thing as openly profane ones.

Secondly, such as have interest in the matter, but yet come unpreparedly, and in an unbeseeming manner; the former take part in the signe, but enjoy not the thing signified, and the latter coming unpreparedly depart without the comfort which o­therwise they might have. Now mark to whom Christ would say, if he were now coming to judge­ment in the clouds, to whom I say, if he were now coming in the clouds, he would say, Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit a Kingdome prepared for you from the beginning of the world; to them he would likewise say, Come to my Table, come to this banquet, partake of my body and blood, and to as many as he would say, Depart from me you cursed into everlasting flames, to so many would he say, go you from my Table, come not near.

Now there are two sorts of people, to whom, if the Lord Jesus were coming in the clouds to Judge­ment, he would say, Depart into everlasting flames; and those are those that know not him, and obey not the [Page 444] Gospel of Jesus Christ, 2 Thes. 1.8. Now to these two sorts of people, Christ would say, if he were on earth, Depart from my Table, meddle not with those Mysteries: And they are,

1. Those that know not God: and indeed it is a most unworthy thing for an ignorant man to come to Gods Table. Know whoever thou art, that art such an one, that it belongs not to thee, it was appointed for an understanding people. The Lord invites not fools and block-heads to his Mysteries. God will not know them that know not him. If thou knowest not what the signs are, or the relation of them to the thing signified, hast no insight or understanding of the Mysteries: Know that its to no other purpose to thee to come to the Sacrament, then if thou wentest to a Mass, to see a Mass, to see the Gesticulations, Ele­vations, or if thou wentest to see a play, not knowing to what end and purpose it was done. Such a one is not a friend of God, but an enemy that shall be destroyed in everlasting fire that knows not him. De­ceive not then your selves, but seriously weigh it, and consider what a Judgement falls on us for this. What an unworthy thing is it, when as in one mo­neths space, or less, if a man had any care, he might learn as much as would bring him to heaven. What saith the Apostle? 1 Cor. 15.34. Some have not the knowledge of God, I speak this to your shame. And a shamefull thing it is indeed, when the knowledge of the Principles of Christian Religion may be had in so short a space, to be so grosly ignorant as com­monly many are. Its a most unworthy, and a shame­full thing to think the knowledge of Christ not worth [Page 445] thus much pains. Thou that carest not for the know­ledge of Gods wayes, what hast thou to do to take his Word into thy mouth, to tread in his Courts? I doubt not but very many here too are but Babes in Christ. An ignorant person then cannot possibly come worthily; for we are to come with faith; and Faith cannot be without knowledge. And hence are they joyned both together: By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justifie many. Isa. 53.11. By his know­ledge, not subjective, but objective,, the knowledge of him: if thou knowest not him, his Nature, and Offi­ces, the end of his offering himself, and will be still a meer Ignoramus, come not to Gods Table, go to Ne­buchadnezzar, and feed with him amongst the beasts, thou hast nothing to do here. This is the first sort.

2. The second are those that obey not the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They have wit enough, and can talk of Religion fast enough; but where is the obe­dience is required? I know Christ gives me the prof­fer of Christ Jesus; Can I cast down my own proud Will, and submit it, lay down my stately plumes, and take him not only as my Priest to sacrifice him­self for me, but as my Lord, and my King to be guided, governed, and ruled by him? when such a one comes that hath not the power of grace in him, who is filled with nothing, but Rebellion and pro­faneness; when such a one comes, and presumes to sit down at Gods Table, it is a most unworthy Act; Its more fit that such a one should feed amongst the swine, then eat the body, and drink the blood of his Saviour. Nor is it an unworthy Act for these only, but also for civil honest persons, though civility be [Page 446] a good stock whereon the sience of grace may be grafted: but if a man had nothing besides what nature & Education can teach, what moral Phylosophy can store us with, we have nothing to do at this Ta­ble of the Lord. How can I dare presume to eat Christs body, and drink Christs blood, that am not acquainted with God, know not the Principles of Religion, and will not be swayed by him, nor be obedient unto his Gospel? These are the particulars then which make a man an unworthy Receiver, when he is an ignorant person, and will not obey the Gospel of Jesus Christ, such persons are to be dis­carded and casheer'd; they eat the Judgement of condemnation unto themselves.

But there are (as I shew'd you) a second sort that come that have interest in the business; such as have Knowledge, Grace and Faith in Christ, and shall taste of the new wine with Christ in the world to come, and be with Christ, which notwithstanding may eat and drink unworthily, and come unprepared­ly, and irreverently: whereby they lose that com­fort that otherwise they might have: and these, though they eat not the Judgement of condemnati­on, yet they do the Judgement of chastisement: they put Gods seal to a blank, but the former sort put it to a false instrument, they put it to a blank, I say, and by that means loose much comfort, yea, life it self too perchance. They eat a Judgement of Chastisement; by putting it thus to a blank they taste Gods displeasure in sickness, weakness and death: but I will shew you how you may avoid this: why? come worthily. Fit your s [...]lves to the [Page 447] purpose, set to it, and thou shalt see, one Commu­nion will even bring thee to Heaven. I say, if that thou couldst but one Communion fit thy self to come worthily, thou wouldst find exceeding comfort in it. Try the Lord once, and see what a mighty en­crease of grace this will bring unto thee. That you may know how you may come worthily, there are three things requisite to every worthy Re­ceiver at the Lords Table:

1. Some things are requisite before the Action be enter­prized, or else I shall come very unworthily.

2. Some at the time, and in the very act of Receiv­ing.

3. Others after the Communion is ended. Many will be perswaded that there is some preparation to be used before hand, but never do as much as dream of any after: whereas if a man neglect this, the Lords meat is as it were lost in us.

1. As for those things which are requisite before we come to the Lords Table, they are these.

1. A Consideration what need I have of the Sacra­ment. Is there any such necessity of it? Examine then, what need have I to eat my meat and drink? When we see God brings this before us, let us reason thus with our selves; it is as needfull for the nourish­ment of my soul to receive the Sacrament, as for my body to take meat and drink. This is that whereby we are spiritually strengthned and enabled to hold out to the last. And here I'le not stand to dispute the case, whether a man may fall from Grace or not. And no doubt but he may: yet I say, not that he doth. I say, no doubt but he may; and why? there [Page 448] is such an opposition and antipathy betwixt the flesh and the spirit, that did not God refresh the spirit now and then, it might be overborn by the bulk of our corruptions. Now Gods Ordinances are ap­pointed to keep it in heart, and refresh it, as the sick spouse was staid with Apples, and comforted with flagons. And God hath appointed his Sacrament of the Lords Supper to strengthen and continue that life which we received in Baptism as by spiritual nourishment. In Baptism our stock of life is given us, by the Sacrament is confirmed and continued. If a child be born only and after birth not nourished; there is none but will know what a death such a soul will die. So it is here, unless Christ be pleased to nourish that life which he hath breathed into me in baptism, and by his Ordinances to give me a new supply and addition of grace; I am a dead man, I am gone for evil upon this ground, therefore upon exami­nation being conscious, and privy to the weakness of my faith, to the manifold imperfections of my spirit, to my want of knowledge, the frailty of my memory, my often doubtings, the dangers of relapsing and falling back in my Christian progress, I cannot but apprehend that it is no needless thing for me to come preparedly to the Lords Table.

2. The next action requisite before my comming to the Sacrament, is the whetting of my appetite, and pre­paring of my stomack; I must come with an hungry de­sire, as a man that comes to his meat that would live and be strong: we think meat very ill bestowed on him that hath no stomack: Unless we eat Christs body, and drink his blood, we can have no spiritual life. All the [Page 449] question, and the main business is, whether I come thirsty or not, as an hungry and thirsty man with an Appetite after his meat and liquor; longing after Christ, as the Hart after the water brooks. When a man comes dully, and as Children that playes with their meat, cares not whether he eats or not; when a man comes, I say, with­out an appetite, its time for God to take it away from him. Its an unworthy com­ming to come with an unprepared stomack, and without whetting our faith to feed on Christ Jesus crucified.

3. The third action requisite to a worthy Commer, is cleansing of himself. I would fain come, may a man say, to the Lords Table, having such need of it, as I have, and hav­ing such an appetite and desire to feed on Christ; but I am to come before a great King, therefore I must wash mine hands in innocency. In the Gospel according to Saint Mark, the Jews found fault with Christs Di­sciples, because they came with unclean or common hands: For so the word signifies, and is so used by the Apostles as equivalent thereunto. I have learned to call nothing common or unclean. Now when I come to meet the Lord in his Ordi­nances, I must put off my shooes from off my feet, for the place where I stand is holy. Wash your hands you sinners, and purifie your hearts you dou­ble minded. The purifying of the soul is that [Page 450] which is required of every worthy Communi­cant. We come now not to receive life, but strength, and that it may strengthen us, we must of necessity clense our selves. A stomack over clog'd with choler what ever meat be taken into it, it turns it into its own nature: so is it here, unless the vessel be clean, Quod­cunque infundis, acessit. Christ Jesus the purest thing in the world is to come into my soul, as into a sanctuary, and shall not I fit, trimme and garnish it to receive him, but leave it as a Pig-stie? Know therefore that thou com­est unworthily when thou comest with un­washed hands. The people were to be sanctified when they came to receive the Law. And so must we if we will receive the benefit from the business in hand: But I cannot stand on all. I pass from this therefore to the second thing I proposed, and that was;

2. Those things which were required of us in the action. And there we have the acts of the Minister in the administration: I must not look on these as idle Ceremonies, but as real Representations, otherwise we take Gods name in vain. I must look upon the Minister who represents the person of Christ, and by the eyes of faith see Christ himself offered for thee, when thou seest the bread broken, the wine poured out. Behold him offered to thee when the Minister bids thee take and eat, take and drink. And when the Minister bids [Page] thee take, know that in as good earnest as the Minister offers thee the bread and wine, the Lord offers thee his sonne Christ Jesus. Take Christ my son dead and crucified for thee. Consider when thou seest the Minister set the bread and wine apart, how God from all eternity set apart his son for us. If we have not done this, we must do it. Exod. 12.3. See the manner of the setting apart of the Lamb, which was a Type of Christ; In the tenth day of the moneth they shall take to them every man a Lamb, according to the house of their Father: This Lamb was to be set apart, and taken out of the flock. And in the fifth verse, It must be a Lamb without blemish: then you shall keep it untill the fourteenth day of the same moneth. From the tenth day to the fourteenth it was to be kept: This typified that Lamb of God that was so set apart. Then was the Lamb to be killed: By whom? Verse 6. by all the Congregation of Israel, And thus was Christ to be singled out, and to be slain: Every mothers son had a hand in killing this Lamb of God. He is set a part to suffer for sinners, picked out as a singled dear: which being desinged to the game, the hounds will follow only, and no other. Thus was Christ hunted to death by one sorrow after another, till he gave up the Ghost upon the Cross. In the Gospel according to Saint John, we read how the people took branches of Palms trees, [Page 452] and went forth to meet Christ, cap. 12.12. and that was the day the Lamb was set apart, and he was so set apart till the Jews Passe­over. This concerns me, saith Christ. Christ saw himself typified in the Lamb that was set apart: Observe then on that very day, Fathtr, saith he, Deliver me from that hour. On that very day in the Lamb he saw himself to be sacrificed by all the Congregation of Is­rael. We were all of us actors in the busi­ness; not one here but had a hand in the offering up of the son of God, in killing Christ Jesus.

Thus for these actions of the Minister, the setting apart of the bread and of the wine; Then follows the Breaking of the bread, and the pouring out of the wine. At the breaking of the bread, consider Christs flesh torne assun­der, all the lashes which made such scratches in his flesh, the ruptures which were made by the nails, and the spear that pierced his side: The breaking of him by his Father, the word signifies, crushing him to powder: God would break him, saith the Prophet, even to powder. At the consideration hereof how should our faith be stirred and set awake! Thou takest Gods name in vain, if with a dull eye thou canst see these things, and not take it to heart.

The next action, is The pouring out of the wine: This is my blood, saith Christ, Drink you all of [Page 453] this. Dost thou see the wine poured out? at that very instant, consider how much blood Christ spilt, how much he poured forth: and that not only in the very time of his passion, when he hung upon the Cross, when the spears peirced his sides, when the nails bored, and digged his hands and feet: But that which he shed in the garden in the cold winter time when he shed great drops, great clots of blood, thickest blood that pierc'd his garment, and ran down upon the ground. Consider how much blood he lost when he was whipped and lashed: when the spear came to the very Pericardium; thus let us weigh his torments, and it will be a means to make us much affected with his sufferings for us.

But this is not all, there is another thing yet in the blood: this was but the outward part of his sufferings. Yet some there are who are against Christs sufferings in his soul; If it were so, say they, then something either in the sacrifices of the old Testament, or in the new Testament, should signifie it. What ever such persons object against it, I am sure there was as much in the sacrifices of the old Testament, as could possibly be in a Type to signifie it. Now that I may make this to ap­pear, know that in every sacrifice, there were two parts, or two things considerable, and those were the Body and the Blood: the whole was to be made a sacrifice, viz. both Body [Page 454] and blood; the body was to be burned, the blood to be poured forth: Now nothing in a beast can signifie the sufferings of Christ in soul, better then the pouring out of the blood. Lev. 17.11. The blood was the life, and this is that which had a relation to the soul, and was therefore, as in the same place appears, poured out as an attonement for the soul: And to this in our common prayers, there is an allusion, viz. Grant us gracious Lord so to eat the flesh of thy dear son Jesus Christ, and to drink his blood, that our sinful bodies may be made clean by his body, and our souls washed through his most precious blood. And in Isa. 53.12. The Meta­phor holds, He poured out his soul unto death for us. So that whatever some have fondly thought, its evident and manifest that Christ suffered both in soul and body: both soul and body were made an offering for sin, who knew no sin. I should have gone further, but the time cuts me off.

FINIS.
HEB. 4.16.‘Let us therefore come boldly ùnto the throne of grace, that we may obtaine mercy, and finde grace to help in time of need.’

IN handling heretofore the Doctrine of the conversion of a sinner, I declar'd and shew'd you what mans misery was, and what that great hope of mercy is that the Lord proposeth to the greatest sinner in the world. I shew'd unto you the means whereby we may be made partakers of Christ; and that was by the grace of faith, which doth let fall all other things in a mans self, and comes with an open and empty hand, to lay hold on Christ, and fill it self with him. I shew'd you also the acts of Faith as it justifies.

And now because it is a point of high moment, wherein all our comfort stands, and in which it lies, I thought good to resume it all again, so farre as may concerne our practice, that we may see what the work of Gods Spirit is from the first to the last, in the conversion of a sinner from the corruptions and pollutions of the flesh in which he wallowed; and to this purpose have I chosen this place of Scripture, wherein we are encouraged by Gods blessed Word, that what ever we are, though accursed, and the greatest sinners in the world, and that what­ever [Page 362] we want, we should come to Gods throne of grace.

And we are to think that whatever sinnes are or have been committed, and though our sinnes are ne­ver so great, yet that they are not so great as the in­finitenesse of Gods mercy; especially having such, not only an Intercessor, but Advocate to plead the right of our cause, so that Christ comes and he pleads payment; and that however our debts are great, and we runne farre in score, yet he is our ran­some; and therefore now Gods justice being satisfied, why should not his mercy have place and free course? This is the great comfort that a Christian hath, that he may come freely and boldly to God, because he comes but as for an acquittance of what is already paid: As a debtor will appear boldly before his creditor, when he knows his debt is discharg'd, he will not then be afraid to look him in the face. Now we may come and say, Blessed Father, the debt is paid, I pray give me pardon of my sinnes, give me my acquittance. And this is that boldnesse and accesse spoken of, Rom. 5.2. In whom we have accesse by faith.

Now that I may not spend too much time need­lesly, come we to the ground and matter in the words: Wherein there is

  • 1. A preparative for grace.
  • 2. The act it self whereby we are made partakers of the grace of God.

First, the preparatives are two, The law and the Gospel, and wrought by them.

The first preparative.

1. Wrought by the Law. The Law works in a time [Page 363] of great need; this is the first preparative, for a man to be brought to see he stands in great need of Gods mercy and Christs blood, so that the sinner cries out, Lord, I stand in great want of mercy. His eyes being thus opened, he is no longer a stranger at home, but he sees the case is wondrous hard with him, so that he concludes, Unlesse God be merciful unto me in Christ, I am lost and undone for ever: This is the first preparative; and till we come to it, we can never approach the throne of grace. The second is,

2. Wrought by the Gospel: I see I stand in great need; but by this second preparative we see a Throne of grace set up, and that addes comfort unto me: If God had onely a throne and seat of Justice, I were utterly undone; I see my debt is extreme great; but the Gospel reveals unto me, that God of his infinite mercy hath erected a Throne of grace, a City of re­fuge, that finding my self in need, my soul may flie unto.

And now to fit us for this, Gods blessed Spirit works by his Word, to open unto us the Law and our wants; to enlighten our understandings that we stand in great need; to win our affection, and open the Gospel and its comforts.

Therefore first for the time of need, the Law re­veals unto us our woful condition, to be born in sin, as the Pharisee said, and yet not able to see it. Eve­ry man may say in generalities, I am a sinner; yet to say and know himself to be such a sinner as indeed he is, to stand in such need, that he cannot do. This one would think to be a matter of sence, but unlesse [Page 364] Gods Spirit open our eyes, we can never see our selvs to be such sinners as we are; or else what is the rea­son that the child of God cries out more against his sinne and the weight thereof, after his conversion than he did before? What, are his sinnes greater or more than they were formerly? No, but his Light is greater, his eyes are open'd, and now he sees more clearly what sinne is. When the Sunne shines, and its rayes come in, what a number of motes do we discover, which before we saw not? Not as if the Sunne-beames made them, or the Sunne raised the dust; no, there are here as many motes, and as much dust flying about as if the Sunne shined here: What's the matter then? Why this: the Sunne di­scovers them to us. So that here's the point, Our sinnes in our souls are as motes in the ayre, and are not more than they were before conversion, but we cannot see them till the glorious beams of Gods Spi­rit shine upon us. The sight of sinne, and of the danger that comes by it, is the work of Gods Spirit. The Spirit discovers sinne unto us, John 16.8. When the Spirit cometh, he shall convince the world of sinne, the word is [...], the Spirit shall convince them; and the same word is used; Heb. 11.1. where Faith is said to be the evidence of things not seene, [...]· Heretofore we had a slight imagination of our sinnes, but to have our mouth stopped, and to be convin­ced, is not a work of flesh and blood, but of Gods Spirit, Rom. 3.19. Till we are awakened by his Spirit, we cannot see nor feele the mountains and heaps of sinnes that lie upon our souls. Thou art dead in sinne, Rom. 8. Thou art in bondage; and [Page 365] to know it is a work of the Spirit, not of nature. The spirit of bondage, what is that? Why, how­ever we are all bondmen, untill the Son hath made us free; in a woful estate, slaves to sinne and Satan: yet till Gods Spirit convince us, and shew it us, and make us know it, we sleep secure, are not afraid, but think our selves the freest men in the world, and see not this to be a time of need: This therfore is the first preparative, when God brings his people by Mount Sinai, Heb. 12.18. For you are not come unto the Mountain that may be touch't, and that burned by fire, nor unto the blacknesse and darkness, and tempest: so Gal. 4. Mount Sinai is made a figure of the Law, which begets bondage. Not that Mount which might be touch't, and that burnt with fire, where was the sound of the Trumpet, and voice of words, such a sound as never before was heard, nor never will be till one day we shall hear the same. The sound of the Trumpet which sounded at the delivery of the Law, Exod. 19.19. where it is described; for when the voice of the Trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, that Moses heard, it was such a noise, a great noise at first, but it grew higher and and higher, and at last it came to that heighth that it was almost incomprehensible; then Moses spake: And what spake he? The Holy Ghost sets not down what he spake in that place. Look in Heb. 12.21. So terrible was the voice, that Moses said, I exceed­ingly fear and quake: Such a kind of lightning and loud voice this was; the Lord commands such a voice as this, Esay 58.1. Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a Trumpet, and shew my people their [Page 366] transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins. When God shall sound with the voice of the Trumpet of his holy Word, of his Law, and shew thee that thou art a trayterous Rebel, and that there is an Execution gone out against thee, body and goods: when God sounds thus to the deaf ear of a carnal man, then cometh the spirit of bondage of necessity on him, which shews that we have a time of need. The Law must have this operation before thou comest to the Throne of grace. None will flie to the City of Refuge, till the revenger of blood be hard at his heels: Nor any to Christ till he sees his want: Thus the Lord makes us know our need by turning the edge of his Axe towards us. Offenders when they are brought to the bar at Westminster for Trea­son, have the edge of the Axe turned from them; but when they have received the sentence of con­demnation, and are carried back to the Tower, the edge of the Axe is turned towards them. Thus is it here; The Law turns the edge of Gods Axe to­wards us; and therefore it's said of St. Peters hear­ers, Acts 2.38. That they were pricked to the heart. The Law puts the point of Gods sword to our very brests as it were, and brings us to see that we stand in great need of heaven. This is the first preparative; when God enlightens our minds to see our dangerous estate; and then there must of neces­sity follow fear, and desire to be rid of this conditi­on; for the will and affections alwayes follow the temper of the minde: And hence, when a man hath a false perswasion that he is in a good case, that he is safe and well, what works it but pride, presumpti­on, [Page 367] confidence and security? So on the contrary, contrary effects must follow. If a man be in health and jollity, and on a sudden be proclaimed a Traytor, that he must lose his life and goods, is it possible it should be thus, and he not wrought on, nor have a­ny alteration? So when news comes from the Law that thou art a dead man, and everlastingly must pe­rish, the Law then works wrath, that is, it manifests unto us the wrath of God. When it is thus, there follows a shaking and a trembling, and it's impossible but with Moses thou shouldst exceedingly quake and tremble.

2. For all this, there is a Throne of grace erected; God hath not forgotten to be merciful, though thy sins be never so great: This is the next preparative for faith, namely, the discovery and acknowledge­ment of the Gospel of Christ Jesus; We see in Ezra 10.2. We have trespassed against our God, and have taken strange wives of the people of the Land; yet now there is hope in Israel concerning this thing; we have tres­passed; What then? must we be the subjects of Gods wrath? No: Yet notwithstanding though we have committed this great offence, there is hope in Israel con­cerning this thing. What though we have provoked God to indignation, must we be the matter for his wrath to work on? No: There is balme in Gilead, Jer. 8. ult. Is there no balme in Gilead? Is there no Physitian there? Why then is not the health of the daugh­ter of my people recovered? What though then we are sick to death? yet there is an help in time of need. And this knowledge of the people, that there is a Throne of grace, is the first comfort comes to a mise­rable [Page 368] and sinful soul. A man that hath a deadly disease, though the Physitian do him no good which he hath made use of, yet this he comforts himself in, when he sees a Physician that hath cured the same disease, he sees then there is some hope. Thus it is with a sinful soul. When the welcome news of the Gospel comes, after the Law hath discovered his disease, and says, Be not discouraged, there is a Throne of grace prepared for thee: God hath a seat of ju­stice to deal with Rebels and open Traytors; but if thou art weary of thy estate, if thou wilt submit to God, take Christ for thy King, and cast down all thy weapons, if thou wilt live like a subject, he hath prepared a Throne of grace for thee. Christ is thy Atturney in the Court to plead for thee; he is not as the Papists make him, so stout, and one that takes such state on him, as that a man may not come near him. This is the highest injury that can be offered to Christ, to think that any creature hath more mer­cy and pity than he hath: It is to rob Christ of the fairest flower in his garden, when we rob him of his mercy and pity. Mark that place in Heb. 4.15. that we may not think him austere, We have not an High Priest that cannot be touch't with our infirmities, with the feeling of our infirmities. Christ is no hard-hearted man; when you were his enemies he loved you, insomuch that he humbled himself; and suffe­red death, even the death of the Crosse for you. And he hath the self-same bowels in heaven that he had on earth; he wept over Jerusalem, and the self-same weeping heart carried he to heaven with him, the self-same weeping eyes: Believe not then the [Page 369] Papists, that he is so hard-hearted or so stately, and that his mother is more ready to speak for us than he; fie on it. This is to pervert the Gospel, and make Christ no Christ. We have not an High Priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, Heb. 2.17. In all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful High Priest, &c. Alas poor soul, saith Christ, what the malice of the Divel is, I know by mine own experience in the flesh; for Christ was tempted in all things according to us, sinne only excepted. I know what the tem­ptations of the world are; but whereas we have three enemies, the Divel, the world, and the flesh, only the two former were his. Christ had the temptations of the world and the Divel, not of the corrupt flesh; for he had no corrupt flesh: A man that hath been himself in terrible Tempests on the Sea, when he sees a storme, out of his own experience he pities those that are in it; when as others are not a jot moved: for he hath seen that consternation of minde, which on e­very side appeared. That — plurima mortis ima­go; whereas others having not been there, lay not their miseries to heart. Christ having suffered himself, and being tempted as we were, is sensible of our miseries; and therefore never count it boldnesse to come boldly to him that gives thee this encouragement: Come boldly to the Throne of grace. We must understand that all this is before faith, we must

1. Know that we have a need.

2. That there is a Throne of grace, when God enlight­ens my conscience, and encourages me to come. And thus having spoken of the preparatives, I come to the work, the main thing it self. Now this is,

[Page 370]2. The Act, Coming; this coming is believing; as the feet which carry a man to the place he would be in; his feet carry him nearer and nearer. If a man cannot be cured but by the Bath, his feet must carry him thi­ther. Now faith is the legs of the soul, the feet that carry us unto Christ; whereas we are afar off, and draw back as all unbelievers; now by believing we draw near. Now as unbelievers draw back, so believers draw forward; and therefore John 1.12. and John 6.35. To come to Christ and to believe in him are the self-same thing. He that cometh to me shall never hunger, and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. Coming is there made an act of faith, and the same thing with it: The one is the explication of the other; thy coming to Christ is thy believing in him. When thou hearest of a Throne of grace, and seest the Lord of glory stretching out his golden Scepter, come and touch it, take the benefit of the Kings pardon. If a man know there is such a Throne of grace, he must come unto it; And now begins faith to work.

And that thou mayst understand it the better, know that faith then begins first to work, when thou settest the first step towards the Throne of grace. And this is the houre in which salvation is come unto thy house. None can come to me, saith Christ, except my Father draw him. If thou seest a vertue to come from Christ, and to draw thee as an Adamant, and thou feelest that loadstone working on thee, then begins faith: It makes thee draw near to Christ; whereas before thou wert a stranger: Till then thou art like thy Grandfather Adam, thou runnest away, and thinkest thy self most secure, when thou wast farthest from God; [Page 371] but now thou seest no comfort, unlesse thou draw nigh unto him; now as the Apostle saith, Phil. 2.13. It is he that worketh in us the will and the deed; this must be wrought in us by God.

First, a will, then the deed; and then it is not only I would do such a thing, but I do it: God works not only the will of coming, but the deed of coming; and all his acts are acts of faith, and have a promise; God makes no promise till we be in Christ; till we have faith, we are no heires of the promise; when a man sets his face towards Jerusalem, and be­gins to set himself to go to Christ, all he doth then hath the promise; not a tear now that he sheds but is pretious, God puts it into his bottle; not a cup of cold water that now he gives but shall have a great re­ward; this is a blessed thing when every thing we do hath a promise annexed to it, when every step we step hath a promise made to it. Now then the will is the first thing that is wrought in us; this is that which makes the act of faith, that is, I have a will, a resolu­tion to do this: And the Apostle makes it more than the very deed it self, 2 Cor. 8.10. as I may so say, For this is expedient for you, who have begun before not only to do, but to be forward. So we translate it, but look in the Margent, and its rendred, (to be willing) [...], as the Greek hath it; as if the will were more than the deed it self; for a man to come unwil­lingly, 'tis nothing worth; the ground-work is the will, which is a greater matter than the deed. Nothing more separates a man from Christ, than to say, I will not have this man to raigne over me; but if thou canst frame thy will that it shall go perpendicularly on the [Page 372] object, and accept Christ on the termes offer'd, that's faith, and that hath the promise. And therefore the Scripture compares it to conjunction with Christ. And as in the Sacrament we spiritually eat his flesh and drink his blood; the conjunction is between Christ and his Church. And therefore the Scripture com­pares our conjunction by faith to the mystery of wed­lock. What makes a marriage? its consent. Wilt thou have this man to be thy husband? she answers, I will; that expression makes the marriage: The knot is knit by this mutual pledging of troth, all other things are but subsequents of it. So God saith, Wilt thou have my Sonne? Thou shalt have with him all his wealth, though for a time thou must go bare, and fare hard; yet thou shalt have a Kingdome: When a man considers deliberately, here is the losse, I must deny my self and obey him, but I shall have a King­dome, Gods blessing, and peace of conscience; All things considered, casting the best with the worst, then the resolution is, this is a true saying worthy of all acceptation, &c. I'le take him on any termes, be they never so hard, for I shall be a saver in the end: when we can take Christ as it were with all his faults, this is the will which God requires. There is another comparison in Scripture, John 6.35. its compared to hunger and thirst. Believing was exprest by co­ming. Believing is exprest by hungring and thirsting. So when I see such a will and desire after Christ; that I hunger and thirst after him, that a hungry man long­eth not more for bread, nor the Hart thirsteth more for the water-brooks, than my soul doth for Christ; why then there is a promise made unto us; and a pro­mise [Page 373] is never made unto us till we be in Christ. Matth. 5. Rev. 22. Esay 55. We finde promises in them all; in Mat. 5.6. Bl [...]ssed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousnesse; for theirs is the Kingdome of heaven, they shall be filled. Consider here what the nature of hunger and thirst is; they shall be filled, which implies they were empty before, but now they shall be filled. Suppose now I am not fill'd with Christ, What am I without him? No, I want him; yet there's a blessing to the hungry and thirsty, and there's no blessing without faith. If we be not heires of the faith, we cannot be heires of the blessing. Dost thou finde in thy self an hungring and thirsting after Christ? Thou art blessed, this faith will save thee. Now faith will say, I am wonderfully pained, faint, and e­ven starved, that I cannot be filled with Christ; yet be content man, thou shalt be filled with him; in the mean while thou hast him, and hast blessednesse, and shalt be blessed. It's said, 1 John 5.13. These things have I written unto you that believe in the Name of the Sonne of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may believe on the Name of the Sonne of God. Mark how the Apostle distinguishes these two things; thou believest on the Name of Christ, yet sayst thou, though I believe, I am not sure of my salvation, I do not know it. Why, let not that much trouble thee, that's a consequent of it, and that assurance will follow after; therefore you should not confound it with believing: These things have I written unto you that ye might know, &c. then there is a conclusion to be deduced from the premisses, so that a man may have full hold of Christ, and yet [Page 374] not be fully assured of his salvation. So then here is the will, which is the first thing.

But the Lord works the deed also. And whereas it is said that God takes the will for the deed, the place had need be well understood: when we say God takes the will for the deed, it is not alwayes true, unlesse it be thus understood. When a man hath done to the utmost of his power what he is able, hath endeavou­red by all means, then God will take the will for the deed; but if there be ability in me, and I do not as much as I am able, I do not my utmost endeavour, then God will not take it; but now God works the will and the deed; when a man comes to the Throne of grace, and sets forward in his journey towards God, the first thing he doth is to come to the Throne of grace with Christ in his armes, and then having fast hold on Christ, he hastens and delayes not, having hold as Joab on the horns of the Altar. He hastens, he sees its no time to delay, he sees its now a time of need; and Need, as the old proverb is, makes the old wife trot. Is it not need to make haste (when the pursuer of blood follows) to the City of Refuge? who would make delays and demurs, and not run as fast as his legs would carry him? Asson as I apprehend my need, and see the golden Scepter stretched out, then I come with might and main with Christ in my armes, and present him to the Father, and this is the approach­ing and drawing near in the Text, to the Throne of grace.

But now when I am come thither, what do I say there? What shall I come and say nothing? The prodigal soon resolved to go to his Father, and say, I [Page 375] will up and go, there's the will; and say, there's his speech. The believer is not like to the sonne that said to his father, I will go, but went not; but when his fa­ther bids him come, he will come, he will not onely say so, but will draw near, and then he hath a promise, He that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast off. But when we come thither, what must we do? why we must take unto our selves words, according to the Prophets ex­pression, Hos. 14.2. Take unto you words, and go unto the Lord, and say, Take away all our iniquities, and receive us graciously, so will we render the calves of our lips. When he comes to the Throne of grace, the thing that he doth, is, he presents unto the Father Christ bleeding, gasping, dying, buried, and conquering death; and when he presents Christ to him, he opens his case, and confesses his sin to the full, and sayes, Lord, this is my case: As a beggar when he comes to ask an almes of you, he will make a preface, and tell you his extremity; Sir, I am in great want, I have not tasted a bit of bread in so many dayes, and unless you help me by your charity, I am utterly undone. Now when these two concur that there is true need in the beggar, and liberality in him of whom he begs, it encourages the beggar to be importunate, and he prevails; you may know when the beggar hath need by his tone, accent or language: The needy beggars tone and accent is different from the sturdy beggars that hath no need; but yet, though the beggar be in great misery, if he see a churlish Nabal go by him, he hath no heart to beg, and follows him not, nor begs so hard, because he hath but little hope to attain any thing from him. But I say let both these meet toge­ther; [Page 376] first, that the beggar is in great need, then, that he of whom he begs, is very liberal, it makes him beg hard; but now cannot he pray without book? Think not that I speak against praying by the book; you are deceived if you think so; but there must be words ta­ken to us besides, which perhaps a book will not yield us. A beggars need will make him speak, and he will not hide his sores; but if he hath any sore more ugly or worse than another, he will uncover it; good Sir, behold my woful and distressed case, he layes all o­pen to provoke pity. So when thou comest before God in confession, canst thou not finde out words to open thy self to Almighty God, not one word where­by thou mayst unlap thy sores, and beseech him to look on thee with an eye of pity? I must not mince my sins, but amplifie and aggravate them, that God may be moved to pardon me; till we do thus, we cannot ex­pect that God should forgive us. A great ado there is about auricular confession, but its a meer bable; It were better to cry out our sinnes at the high Crosse, than to confesse in a Priests eare. Thou whisperest in the Priests eare; what if he never tell it, or if he do, art thou the better? Come and poure out thy heart and soul before. Almighty God, confesse thy self to him as David did, for that hath a promise made to it, Psal. 51.4. Against thee, thee onely have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight, that thou mayst be justified when thou speakest, and clear when thou judgest. Why so? Why, one main cause why we should confesse sinne, is to justifie God. When a sinner confesses, I am a childe of wrath; and of death, if thou castest me in­to hell, as justly thou mayst, I have received but my [Page 377] due: when a man does thus (as the Kings Atturney may frame a Bill of Inditement against himself) he justifies Almighty God: Thus did David, Against thee, against thee, &c. Now when we have thus aggravated our misery, comes the other part of begging, to cry for mercy with earnestnesse, and here's the power of the Spirit. It's one thing for a man to pray, and ano­ther thing for a man to say a prayer. 'Tis the easiest thing in the world to say a prayer, but to pray and cry for mercy as David did, in good earnest, to wrestle with God, to say, Lord, My life lies in it, I will never give thee over, I will not go with a denial; this is term­ed [...], this is the work of Gods Spirit. I named you a place in Jude ver. 20. where the Apo­stle exhorts, but ye beloved, build up your selves in your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost; there's the prayer of the faithful, to pray in the Holy Ghost. And in the Ephesians we read of an Armour provided for all the parts of a mans body, yet all will not serve the turn, unlesse prayer come in as the chief, Ephes. 6.18. Praying alwayes with all prayer and supplicati­on in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perse­verance, &c. This is the prayer of faith, that procures forgivenesse of sinnes; we must pray in faith, and in the Spirit; that is the language which God under­stands. He knoweth the meaning of the Spirit, and knoweth none else but that: Many men are won­drously deceived in that which they call the Spirit of prayer. One thinks it is a faculty to set out ones de­sires in fair words, shewing earnestnesse, and speak­ing much in an extemporary prayer. This we think commendable, yet this is not the Spirit of prayer. [Page 378] One that shall never come to heaven, may be more ready in this than the childe of God; for it is a matter of skill and exercise; the Spirit of prayer is another thing. The Spirit helpeth our infirmities, for we know not what we should pray for as we ought; the Spirit it self makes intercession for us with groanings that cannot be uttered, Rom. 8.26. What shall we think then, that the Holy Ghost groans or speaks in prayer? No: but it makes us groan, and though we speak not a word, yet it so enlarges our hearts, as that we send up a vol­ley of sighs and groans which fit the Throne of grace. And this is the Spirit of prayer, when with these sighs and groans I beg as it were for my life. This is that ardent affection the Scripture speaks of. A cold prayer will never get forgivenesse of sins; it's the prayer of faith which prevailes. The prayer of the faith­ful availeth much, if it be [...], fervent. In the Ancient Churches those that were possessed with an evil spirit, were call'd [...], because that caught them up, and made them do actions not sutable to their nature; Prayer is a fire from heaven, which if thou hast it, will carry all heaven before it; there is nothing in the world so strong as a Christian thus praying: Prayers that are kindled with such a zeal, are compared to Jacobs wrestling with the Angel, Hos. 12.4. whereby, he had power over the Angel. The Pro­phet expounds what this wrastling was, he wept and made supplication unto him; he found him in Bethel, and there he spake with him. This is the wrestling with God, when thou fillest heaven with thy sighs and sobs, and bedewest thy couch with thy tears as David did; and hast this resolution with Jacob, I will not [Page 379] let thee go except thou blesse me. God loves this kinde of boldnesse in a beggar, that he will not go a­way without an answer. As the poor Widow in the Parable that would not give over her suit, so that the Judge though he feared not God, nor cared for man, by reason of her importunity granted her desire. Mark the other thing in the Apostle, he bids us pray with the Spirit, and with perseverance; and he that cometh thus, hath a promise made to it: He that calleth on the Name of the Lord shall be saved. Call on me in the day of trouble, and I will hear thee; it's set down fully, Matth. 6.7. Ask and you shall have, seek and you shall finde, knock and it shall be opened unto you; for every one that asketh receiveth, and he that seeketh findeth, and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. One would think this were idem per idem, but it is not so. He bids us ask and it shall be given, seek and you shall finde, &c. There is a promise annexed to asking, seeking and knocking, but it is also proved by universal expe­rience: for every one that asketh, &c. It's every mans case; never any man did it yet, that hath lost his la­bour, in not attaining what he asked. If thou hast it not yet, thou shalt have it in the end; it is so fair a petition to ask, to have thy sinnes pardoned, that God would be friends with thee, and that Christ would make thee love him, and that God would be thy God, that God delights in it. This is the point then; Sup­pose God answer not presently, yet knock still, seek still; that is perseverance, the thing whereby it is distinguished from temporary asking. The hypocrite will pray in a time of need and adversity, but his pray­er is not constant, Job 27.10. Will the hypocrite al­wayes [Page 380] call upon God? If they come and seek God, and he will not answer, as Saul did, they will try the Divel. God would not answer Saul, and he present­ly goes to the Divel. It's not so with Gods children; they pray, and pray, and wait still; they pray with the Spirit, and with perseverance: God deals not al­wayes alike with his children, but differently; some­times he answers presently, sometimes he makes them wait his leisure, Psal. 32.5. I said I would confess my sinne, (sayes David) and my transgressions, and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sinne; so Dan. 9.21. When he set himself to seek God, even while he was speaking and praying, the man Gabriel appeared unto him, and touch't him about the time of the evening Oblation. Before the word was out of his mouth God was at his heart, and presently sends him a dispatch. The like we see in Esay 65.24. Mark what a pro­mise there is; It shall come to passe that before they call I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear. This is a great encouragement; but it may be God will not alwayes do this, and what's the reason? Why, he hath a wonderful great delight to be wrestled withall, and to hear the words of his own Spirit; nothing is more delightful to him, than this, when the Spirit is earnest, and will not give over. I will not let thee go, unlesse thou blesse me. It's said in the Canticles, honey is under the lips of the Church; why so? it's because there is no honey sweeter to the palate, than spiritual prayer to God. And there­fore God delayes to answer thee, because he would have more of it. If the Musitians come and play at our doors or windows, if we delight not in their [Page 381] Musick, we throw them out money presently that they may be gone; but if the Musick please us, we forbear to give them money, because we would keep them longer, for we like the Musick. So the Lord loves and delights in the sweet words of his children: and therefore puts them off, and an­swers them not presently: Now Gods children, let him deny them never so long, yet they will never leave knocking and begging; they will pray, and they will wait still, till they receive an answer. Many will pray to God, as prayer is a duty, but few use it as a means to attain a blessing. Those who come to God in the use of it as a means to attain what they would have, they will pray and not give over; they will expect an Answer, and never give over petitioning till they receive it.

ROM. 5.1.‘Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, &c.’

HAving declared unto you heretofore the nature of faith, and that point which concernes the practice of it in our near approach unto God; I am now come to shew unto you the fruits and benefits Christians receive from this Mother-grace; and that the Apostle sets down in these words.

He sets down,

1. The Mother-Grace, Justification; that whereas we were afarre off, we are made near, and of enemies made friends of God. Then,

2. There are the daughters or hand-maids of this grace: For when we are justified by Faith, then,

1. We have peace with God: that peace of conscience which passeth all understanding; then,

2. We have free accesse by faith unto the Throne of grace, so that we need not look for any other Media­tors. Christ hath made way for us to God, so that [Page 383] we may go boldly to the Throne of grace, and find help at a­ny time of need.

3. There follows a joyful hope, that a Christian hath by it, a taste of Heaven before he come to enjoy it. We rejoyce in hope, saith the Apostle; hope being as firme a thing as faith, faith makes things absent as present; hope hath patience with it, and would have us wait. We shall be sure of it, but yet we must wait patiently.

4. Not only rejoycing in hope, but even that which spoils a natural mans joy, as crosses, troubles, afflictions: and these are made the matter of this mans joy, not delectable objects only. Not in time to come after afflictions, but in afflictions; so as that which spoils the joy of a natural man, is fuel to kindle this mans joy.

Now concerning justification by faith; though it be an ordinary point, yet there is nothing more needs Explication, than to know how a man shall be justifi­ed by Faith. It's easily spoken, hardly explicated; Therefore in this mother-Grace, I shall shew you,

1. What faith is that doth justifie. And,

2. What this justification is. For it is not so easie a matt [...] neither.

1. Concerning the nature of faith, I have spoken sufficiently already wherein it consists; but yet not­withstanding, there is a certain thing as like this faith as may be, and yet comes short of it. Many there are who are like the foolish Virgins, that thought they were well enough, and thought they should come time enough. So many think, verily they have faith, yea and perchance go with such a perswasion to their [Page 384] very graves, and think they have grace, and that they labour after Christ, and lay hold on him, and are free from worldly pollutions, so as that they have a taste and relish of the joy of the world to come, and yet are carried all this while in a fooles Paradise, and think there is no feare of their safety, never knowing that they are cast-awayes, till they come to the gates of hell, and find themselves by woful experience shut out of heaven. And their case is woful that are thus deceived. Know then that it is not every faith that ju­stifies a man; a man may have faith, and yet not be ju­stified. The Faith that justifies, is the Faith of Gods Elect, Tit. 1.1. there is a faith that may belong to them that are not Gods elect, but that faith does not justifie. In the Epistle to Timothy, that faith which justifies, must be a Faith unfeign'd, 1 Tim. 1.5. 2 Tim. 1.5, Now here's the skill of a Christian to try what that faith is which justifies him. Now this justifying faith is not every work of Gods Spirit in a mans heart: for there are supernatural operations of the Spirit in a mans heart, that are but temporary, that carry him not thorow, and therefore are ineffectual: but the end of this faith is the salvation of our soules. We read in Scripture of Apostacy, and falling back. Now, they cannot be Apostates that were never in the way of truth. This being an accident, we must have a subject for it; Now there is a certaine kind of people that have supernatural workings; some that are drawn up and down with every wind of Doctrine; these are they that have this cold and temporary faith; tem­porary, because in the end it discovers it self to be a thing not constant and permanent. We read in John [Page 385] 11.26. That they that are born of God, never see death, shall never perish eternally; but yet we must know withal, that there may be conceptions that will never come to the birth, to a right and perfect delivery. And thus it may be in the soul of a man, there may be conceptions that will never come to a ripe birth; but let a man be borne of God, and come to perfe­ction of birth, and the case is cleare, he shall never see death. He that liveth and believeth in me shall not see death. And this is made a point of faith: Belie­vest thou this?

There is another thing called conception, and that is, certain dispositions to a birth that come not to full perfection. True, a child that is borne and liveth, is as perfectly alive as he that liveth an hundred years: yet I say, there are conceptions that come not to a birth. Now, the faith that justifies, is a living faith: there is a certaine kind of dead faith; this is a feigned, that an unfeigned faith; The life that I now live, I live by the faith of the Sonne of God. Dost thou think a dead faith can make a living soule? It's against rea­son. A man cannot live by a dead thing, not by a dead faith. Now a dead faith there is. A faith that doth not work is a dead faith, Jam. 2.22. Seest thou how faith wrought with his works and by his works was faith made perfect? for verse 26. As the body with­out the spirit is dead, (or without breath is dead) so faith without works is dead also. See how the Apostle com­pares it, as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without workes is dead also. The Apostle makes not faith the form of works, as the soul is the forme of [Page 386] the man: but as the body without the spirit is dead, so that faith that worketh not, that hath no tokens of life, is dead; but then doth not the other word strike home? Faith wrought with his works. It seems here is not as the Papists say, fides informis, and works make it up as the [...] of it. Compare this with the other places of the Scripture, 2 Cor. 12.9. where the Apostle pray'd to God that the messenger of Satan might be removed from him; and he said unto him, My grace is sufficient for thee, for my strength is made per­fect in weaknesse. What? does our weaknesse make Gods strength more perfect, to which nothing can be added? No, it is, My strength and the perfection of it, is made known in the weaknesse of the meanes that I made use of for the delivery of mans soul from death. So here the excellency and perfection of our faith is made known by works; when I see that it is not an idle but a working faith, then I say it is made perfect by the work: when it is a dead faith, that puts not a man on work, never believe that will make a living soul. In St. Judes Epistle, ver. 20. it hath a­nother Epithite, viz. the most holy faith: not holy only, but most holy. That faith which must bring a man to God the holy of holies, must be most holy. It's said, that God dwells in our hearts by faith. Now God and faith dwelling in a heart together, that heart must needs be pure and cleane. Faith makes the heart pure: It were a most dishonourable thing to enter­taine God in a sty; a filthy and unclean heart: but if faith dwell there, it makes a fit house for the habita­tion of the King of Saints, therefore it purifieth the heart. Well then, doest thou think thy sinnes are [Page 387] forgiven thee; and that thou hast a strong faith, and yet art as prophane and as filthy as ever? How can it be? It is a most holy faith that justifieth, it is not a faith that will suffer a man to lie on a dunghill, or in the gutter with the hog. There may be a faith which is somewhat like this, but it is but temporary, and cometh short of it.

But now there is another thing which distinguishes it: it is the peculiar work of faith. In Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumci­sion, but the new creature, Gal. 6.15. and againe, Gal. 5.6. Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision availeth any thing, but faith which worketh by love. It's twice set down. Now what is a new creature? why, he that hath such a faith as works by love: not a dead faith, but a faith that works: but how does it work? it not only abstaines from evil, and does some good acts, which a temporary may do, but its such a faith as works by love. The love of God constraines him, and he so loveth God, as that he hates evil for Gods sake; the other does it not out of love to God; all the love he hath, is self-love: he serves his own turn on God, rather than hath any true love to serve him.

Now that we may the better distinguish between these two, I shall endeavour to shew you how farre one may go farther than the other. I know not a more difficult point then this, nor a case more to be cut by a thread then this; it being a point of consci­ence; therefore, First, I declared unto you the nature of faith; How God first works the will and the deed, and that there is a hungring and thirsting after Christ. First, I say there is a will and desire to be made parta­ker [Page 388] of Christ and his righteousnesse; then there is the deed too. We are not only wishers and woulders, but do actually approach unto the Throne of grace, and there lay hold on Christ, touch the golden Sce­pter which he holdeth out unto us; but,

Object. Now you will ask, Is there not an earnest and good desire in a temporary faith, a desire un­feign'd?

Sol. Yes, there may be for a time, a greater and more vehement desire in a temporary then in a true believer, then in the elect themselves all their life.

Object. Where's the difference then? I thought all had been well with me, when I had such a desire, as I could scarce be at rest till it were accomplished.

Sol. I answer, beloved, It is a hard matter to tell you the difference: but you must consider,

1. From whence this desire flowes; whether it come from an accidental cause: as if by accident my heart be made more soft, and I more sensible of my condition, or whether my nature be changed; to give you an in­stance, in iron: when iron is put into the forge it is sof­tened, and as soon as it's taken forth, we say 'tis time to strike while the iron is hot; the fire hath made a change in it, it's malleable, the hammer is able to work on it; but let the fire be gone, and it's as hard as before; nay, we say steel is harder, so that there is no change in the nature of iron, it's hard still, redit ad ingenium, it goes back into its own estate. If it be softened, it is by an accidental cause; so here, as long as the temporary faith is in the furnace of afflictions, when God shall let loose the cord of his conscience, and makes him see that there is no way for salvation [Page 389] but by Christ, then the sense of his torture will make him desire with all the veines in his heart to have Christ. See a singular example of this temporary desire in Psal. 78.34. When he slew them, then they sought him, and returned and enquired early after God. So Prov. 1.27. When their fear was on them as desola­tion, and their destruction as a whi [...]le-wind: when di­stresse and anguish cometh upon you, then shall they call up­on me, &c. Not with a feign'd desire, but in truth and reality they desire relief; They remembred then that God was their Rock, and the high God their Redeemer; they saw a Redeemer when he was slaying of them, and they believed that God would free them, though it was but temporary: Neverthelesse they flattered him with their mouths, and lyed unto him with their tongues; for their heart, was not right with him, neither were they stedfast in his Covenant. Observe then this was but a temporary case, a temporary change; there was no new creature, no new nature wrought: but being in the furnace of affliction, as long as the fire was hot they were pliable; they were not stedfast in his Cove­nant. Let this be an admonition to them that think they never can have true faith till God slay them. I am not of that opinion. God sometimes useth this means; but it is not so necessary, as that it cannot be otherwise; and to speak truly, I had rather have faith that comes another way; the difference is this, The temporary believers will have Christ while God is slaying of them, whil'st they are in the furnace of af­flictions: but the other in cold blood when Gods hand is not on them. The true believer is sick of love, and when he hath no affliction, nor Gods hand on him, [Page 390] with the Apostle, he accounts all things dung and drosse for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Je­sus. There's an ardent desire when this external cause draws not. If when thou art out of the forge, thou hast thy heart softned, and findest this work of grace and faith to drive thee to Christ, thou hast a faith un­feigned, and so the faith of Gods elect.

Again, there is not only this desire in him who hath a temporary faith; but having understood the Word, he so desires it, that when he knows there is no having Christ, nor happinesse or salvation by him, unlesse he deny himself, and part from his evil wayes, being per­swaded of this, out of self-love he would have Christ; and seeing these be the termes, that he must turn a new leaf, and lead a new life, or go to hell, therefore he will do this too; this is much▪ yet I say, he doth this too; but how shall this be proved? most evidently in 2 Pet. 2.20. For if after they have escaped the polluti­ons of the world, through the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again intangled therein and overcome, the latter end with them is worse than the beginning. Here is that Apostasie, and here is the subject of the temporary faith. It had been bet­ter for them not to have known the way of righteousness, then after they have known it, to turn from the holy Commandment delivered unto them; this was a tempo­rary conversion, as Ephraim, like a broken bow, turned back again in the day of battel. Observe what they did, they were like the foolish Virgins, they kept their maiden-heads in respect of the pollutions of the world; they lived very civilly, they escaped the corruptions of the world, and no man could challenge them of any [Page 391] filthy act; they knew that Christ was the King of Saints, and had the knowledge of him; they knew that it was not fit that the King of glory and holinesse should be attended on by the black guard; that they must have sanctity that will follow him; and therefore they laboured to be fit to attend him: They escaped the pollutions of the world; but yet it continues not; why so? For it hapned to them according to the true Proverb, the Dog is returned to his vomit, and the Sow that is wash­ed, to her wallowing in the mire. Mark, the Dog turns again to his own vomit. This proceeds from some pang in his stomach, that enforceth that filthy beast to disgorge it self that it may have some ease; but he quickly gathers it up again as soon as the pang is over. Some there are that would be content to hide their iniquity under their tongues, as Job speaks; but there comes a pang sometimes, a pang in their con­sciences which forceth them to vomit up their sweet bits again; but well, the fit is gone, and being gone, they, like the filthy dog, return to their vomit again, considering the pleasure which they took in that filthy thing; that they did disgorge themselves, was but from that pang and present pinch, not from the loath­ing or hatred of the thing, and therefore they return again unto it.

By the way then take notice▪ of the filthinesse of sinne; how filthy is it, that the Lord compares it to the vomit of a dog? Then there followes another comparison of it: It's as the So [...] that is washed, and returns to her wallowing in the mire: See another loathsome resemblance of this temporary faith; the Sow was washed, but how? her swinish nature was [Page 392] not washed from her; as long as the Sow is kept from the mire, in a fair Meadow with the Sheep, she looks as sleek and clean as they; she was washed, there's an external change, but her nature remained; bring the Sow and the sheep to a puddle, the sheep will not go in, bec [...]use it hath no swinish nature; but the other, retaining its swinish nature, though before in outward appearance as clean as the sheep was, yet she goes a­gain to her wallowing in the mire. There may be the casting away of a mans sinnes, and yet no new crea­ture wrought in him. That I may shew this to you, take this example. A man known to be as covetous a man as liveth, he loveth his money as well as his God, yet perchance this man is brought in danger of the Law, and must be hang'd, for some mis­demeanour committed; this man to save his life will part with all he hath; what; is his disposition changed? no not a whit, he is as covetous as before, he is the same man, he doth it to save his life, and to this end he is content to part with his money; the same minde had those in the Acts of the Apostles, who in a storm cast their wares into the Sea with their own hands; Acts 27. [...]; willingly, and yet half unwil­ling; for the saving of their lives they would part with these things, yet it was with a great deal of repi­ning and reluctancy. As we read of Phaltiel; when his wife was taken from him, he followed behinde weep­ing, till they bid him be gone, and return back. So these men forsake their sinnes and hate them, but it is but imperfectly; they part with them, but they part weeping. Well, at this parting there may be a great deal of joy, it may taste not only the sweetnesse of [Page 393] the Word of God, but because they are in a dispositi­on and way to salvation, they may have some kinde of feeling of the joyes, and taste of the powers of the world to come; as the Apostle speaks, H [...]b. 6.4. It's impossible for those who were once enlightned, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partak [...]rs of the Holy Ghost, &c. There's a supernatural work wrought in them, and they have tasted the good Word of the Lord; they begin to have some hope, and rejoyce in the glory of the world to come: what's the difference then? here's a tasting; but as it is John 6. it's not said he that eats my flesh, and tastes my blood; but he that eats my flesh and drinks my blood shall live for e­ver. There is a difference betwixt tasting and drink­ing, there may be a tasting without drinking; and the Text saith, Matth. 27.34. When they gave Christ vi­neger, he tasted thereof, but would not drink. He that can take a full draught of Christ crucified, he shall ne­ver thirst, but shall be as a springing fountain that spring­eth up to everlasting life; but it shall not be so with him that doth but taste. The Vintner goes round the Celler, and tastes every Vessel; he takes it only into his mouth, and spits it out again, and yet knows by the tasting whether it be good or bad; the wine goeth but to his palate, it reaches not to the stomack. So a temporary believer tastes and feels what an excel­lent thing it is to have communion with Christ, and to be made partaker of his glory, but he does but taste it. Look in Hosea 5.15. where we have ano­ther instance of this temporary Believer; Ye would think they sought God in a good sort, and in as good a manner as one could desire: well, but how [Page 394] did they seek him? it was only upon occasion, in time of affliction: I will go and return to my place untill they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face; in their af­fliction they will seek me early; and again, Hosea 6.4. the Lord complains of them notwithstanding. They will in their affliction seek me early: was not this a fair returning? Come (say they) let us return unto the Lord, for he hath torn, and he will heal us, &c. What a deal of comfort did they seem to gather from the wayes of the Lord! but see what follows, Hosea 6.4. O Ephraim, saith the Lord, what shall I do unto thee? O Judah what shall I do unto thee? for your goodnesse is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away; that is, it is but a temporary thing, wrought by af­fliction, which will not abide. As when a wicked man on his death-bed desires that God would spare him and restore him to his health, and that he would become a new man, all this comes but from the terrours of death; for it oft proves that if God restores him he becomes as bad, if not worse than ever he was before. But that I may not hold you too long;

2. Take this for another difference: That Gods children can as earnestly desire grace as mercy; The tem­porary desire mercy, but never desire grace. The belie­ver desires grace to have his nature healed, to hate his former conversation. The temporary never had, nor never will have this desire; should one come to the temporary believer, and tell him God will be merci­ful unto him, you may go on and take your fit of sinne, you shall be sure of mercy; he would like this well, and think it the welcomest news as could be, be­cause he only fears damnation, & self-love makes him [Page 395] only desire freedome from that; but now the childe of God hates sinne, though there were no Hell, Judge nor Tormentor; he begs as hard of God for grace, as for mercy, and would do so, were there no punishment. His nature being chang'd, he desireth grace as well as mercy, which the temporary never does.

3. The last mark is from the words of the Apostle, Neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumci­sion, but faith which worketh by love. Love and the new creature puts Gods children on work; their hearts are first altered and changed by being made new creatures. As the Scripture saith, his flesh is circumcised, he is a dead man; deadnesse argueth impotency of doing those things which a living man doth; he cannot walk, &c. The temporary will not sinne for fear of after-claps,; but this man cannot sinne, his heart is changed, he is dead to sinne; we see how both ab­stain from sinne, but the perusal and disposition is not alike. The temporary sinner perchance commits not the sinne, but he could finde in his heart to do it; he saith not with Joseph, How can I do this great wickedness and sinne against my God? the other saith, I could do this evil well enough, but I will not. Thou canst not bear those that are evil, as in the Revel. Now he that is born of God cannot sin, there is that seed, that spring in him, that for his life he cannot sin, but it turns his heart from it; for his life he cannot tell how to swear, lye, &c. or joyn with others in wickednesse; but this must be understood of the constant course of their lives; I speak not what they may do in afflictions, when they are surprized, but in the course of their lives, they commit sinne as if they knew not how to do it; the [Page 396] other doth it skilfully; these coblingly and bungling­ly, they do it ill-favouredly; thus it is with a wicked man in doing a good work, he cobles it up. Thy faith then must be a faith that worketh by love; can'st thou do those good works thou doest out of love? then my soul for thine thou art saved. Get me any temporary that loves God, and I shall say something to you. Hast thou then a faith that causeth thee to love God, a working faith, and a faith that will not suffer thee to do any thing displeasing to him? if thou hast such a faith, thou art justified before God.

2. And so I come now to the point of ju­stification, the greatest of all blessings: Blessed is he (saith David) whose transgression is forgiven, and whose sinne is covered; blessed is the man to whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity; it's the most blessed con­dition as can be; it is set down by way of Exclamati­on. O the blessednesse of the man to whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity! For justification, see what it is; the Scripture in St. Pauls Epistles, speaks of justifica­tion by faith; and in St. James, of justification by works. Now it will be useful for us in this point to know whence justification comes; it comes from justice, Tsedeck as the Original hath it, and to justifie; so that justification and righteousnesse depend one upon the other; for what is justification but the manifesta­tion of the righteousnesse that is in a man? and there­fore in Gal. 3.21. they are put for one and the same thing: For if there had been a Law given which could have given life, verily righteousnesse had been by the Law; that is, justification had been by the Law. A­gain, If righteousnesse be by the Law, then Christ is dead [Page 397] in vain. Gal. 2. that is also if justification had been by the Law, &c. justification is a manifestation of righteousnesse; and as many wayes as righteousnesse is taken, so many wayes is justification, which is a decla­ration of righteousnesse; so that if there be a double righteousnesse, there must be also a double justification; Beloved, I bring you no new doctrine; be not afraid of that; but I shew you how to reconcile places of Scri­pture against the Church of Rome, and those things which the Papists bring against us in this point. It stands by reason, seeing justification is a declaration of righteousnesse, that there must be so many sorts of justification as there be of righteousnesse.

Now there is a double sort of righteousness, Rom. 8.4. That the righteousnesse of the Law may be fulfil­led in us; see then there is a double righteousnesse; there is a righteousnesse fulfilled in us, and a righteous­nesse fulfilled by us, that's walking in the Spirit. The righteousness fulfilled in us, is fulfilled by another, and is made ours by imputation; so we have a righteousnesse without us, and a righteousnesse inhaerent in us; the righ­teousnesse without us, is forgivenesse of sinnes, and pardon of them, which is a gracious act of God, letting fall all actions against me, and accounting of me as if I had never sinned against him all my life time; then there is a righteousnesse within me, an inherent righte­ousnesse. And if a righteousnesse, then justification; for that is but a declaration of righteousnesse. And so that which the Fathers call justification, is taken ge­nerally for sanctification; that which we call justifi­cation, they call forgivenesse of sinnes; that which we call sanctification, they call justification; so that the [Page 398] difference is only in the termes. Justification we must know, is not taken only as opposed to condemnation, which is the first kinde of righteousnesse, Rom. 6.7. He that is dead, is freed from sinne; if you look to the Greek or to the Margent, it is, he that is dead, is justified from sinne; this is not took in the first sense as opposed to condemnation, but in the other sense as it hath relation to final grace; The perfection of san­ctification is wrought in me; for where there is final grace, there is a supersedeas from all sinne; so Rev. 22.11. Let him that is righteous, be righteous still; the Greek is, let him that is righteous, be justified still. See then the difference between Saint Paul, and Saint James. Saint Paul speaks of that which consists in remission of sinnes, as in comparing the Apostle with David will appear, Blessed is the man whose sinnes are forgiven. Saint James speaks of justification in the second acception. You need not flie to that distin­ction of justification before God, and justification before men; think not that Saint James speaks onely of ju­stification before men. Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered up Isaac on the Altar? What justified by killing his son? this was a proper work indeed to justifie him before man, to be a parri­cide; to kill his sonne, though it were not so before God. So Psal. 106. we read how God accounted the act of Phine as for righteousness; thus you see how works are accounted righteousnesse in the second kinde of righteousnesse. In the former righteousnesse we are justified by faith; for in righteousnesse inherent there is a goodly chaine of vertues: Adde to your faith vertue, &c. adde one grace to another; Adde to vertue know­ledge; [Page 399] faith is but one part of the Crown. Now this justification in the first sense whereby my sinnes are forgiven, is called the righteousnesse of God, be­cause of Christ which is God, because its wrought by Christ, Dan. 9. he is called an everlasting righteous­nesse, which continueth for ever world without end; for do not think the Saints in heaven have onely the second kinde of righteousnesse; for they have the same covering by justification by Christ in heaven that they had before; God covers their sins not here onely, but there also; justification follows them for ever.

Quest. But now what parts hath justification in it? we are wont to say that there are two parts; one impu­tation of righteousness, the other forgivenesse of sinnes.

Sol. I answer; for my own part I think Justificati­on is one simple act of God, and that it is improperly di­stinguished as parts; but rather as terminus a quo is distinct from terminus ad quem. And this I shall shew unto you both by reason and authority, that faith is but one act.

Let none say that I take away the imputation of the righteousnesse of Christ; No: the bringing in of light, and the expulsion of darknesse is not two acts, but one; but there is terminus á quo, and terminus ad quem. We are accounted righteous, and that is, we have our sinnes forgiven. And the reason is this; if sinne were a positive thing, and had a being in it self, then the forgivenesse of sin must be a thing di­stinct from the imputation of righteousnesse. Scho­lars know the difference between adversa and privan­tia; white and black are both existent; but darknesse [Page 400] and light are not, but only a privation one of ano­ther, Darknesse is nothing of it self but the ab­sence of light; The bringing in of light is the sup­pression of it; you must understand sinne hath no be­ing, no entity; it's only an absence of righteous­nesse, the want of that light which should be in the subject; which want is either in our nature, and then it's call'd original; or in our person and actions, and then its call'd actual transgression. Sinne is an absence of that positive being, which is, as I said, either in our nature, or works. Then thus I will resolve you in a­nother point: viz. If sin were a positive thing, all the world cannot avoid it but God must be the Au­thor of it; for there is nothing can have a being, but it must derive its being from the first being, God. Now how can we avoid Gods being the Author of sin? Why thus, it is nothing.

But what is sinne nothing? Will God damne a man, and send him to hell for nothing?

I answer; its not such a nothing as you make it; a man is not damned for nothing. It's a nothing pri­vative, an absence of that that should be, and that a man ought to have. As when a Scholar is whip't for not saying his lesson, is he whip't think you for no­thing? indeed he hath nothing, he can't say a word of his lesson, and therefore it is he is whip't; it is for a thing he ought to have, and hath not. Well, if you will say there are two parts of justification, do if you please; but this I take to be the more proper and genuine explanation.

Besides, it appears by testimony of the Apostle, Rom. 4.6. As David describeth the blessednesse of the [Page 401] man to whom the Lord imputeth righteousnesse without works, &c. Saying, blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sinnes are covered. The Apostle cites the Prophet David, Psal. 42. Mark the Apostles conclusion, and how he proves it. His conclusion is, That man is blessed unto whom the Lord imputeth righte­ousnesse without works. His argument then must needs be thus framed.

  • He whom God forgives is blessed;
  • But, He to whom God imputeth righteousnesse without works, hath his sinnes forgiven him:
  • Therefore he is blessed.

Now, how could this assumption hold, if imputation of righteousnesse, and remission of sinnes were two distinct acts? for not impu­ting righteousnesse is not to bring in light, which keeps out darknesse; but observe, the Apostle to the Co­lossians and Ephesians, makes this forgivenesse of sins, the whole work, way, foundation of our redempti­on. But here remember I deny not the imputation of righteousnesse; for that is the foundation of the other; here's the point. How is Christs righteousnesse im­puted to me? that positive thing which expels the other? Not so as if Christs righteousnesse were in me subjectively; for it was wrought by his passion as well as his action; The Apostle calls it faith in his blood; by faith in Christ Christs passive obedience is impu­ted to me: What do you think the meaning is that God doth esteem me as if I had hang'd on the Crosse, and as if I had had my sides pierced? No, that would [Page 402] not stead me, or do me any good; that which was meritorious and singular in him, did reach to us; so that the meaning is this, as it is in the Articles of the Church of England, That for the merits of Jesus Christ, God is well pleased with the obedience of his Son, both active and passive, as that he takes us to be in that state for his sake, as if we had fulfilled all his Laws, and never broken them at any time, and as if we ow'd him not a farthing; this is imputative righteousnesse, however the Papists may scoffe at it. And this kinde of justi­fication must of necessity be by imputation: why? because when a man hath committed a sinne, it cannot be undone again; God by his absolute power cannot make a thing done undone; for it implies a contradi­ction. The act past cannot be revoked, nor the na­ture thereof changed; murther will be murther still, &c. How then can I be justified, the sinne being past, and the nature of it still remaining? I say, how can I be justified in the first sense any other way than by imputation? its said in 2 Cor. 5.19. God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, &c. This kinde of justification which consists in remission of sinnes, can­not be but imputative; sin cannot be changed, nor the thing done, undone.

But now cometh a greater question; If by justifi­cation our sinnes be forgiven us, what sinnes are for­given I pray? sinnes past, or sinnes to come? we are taught that in the instant of justification, all our sinnes past and to come are remitted; which is in my mind an unsound doctrine: for if we look narrowly into it, we shall finde that in propriety of speech, remission of sinnes hath relation to that which is past; its said [Page 403] therefore, Rom. 3.25. Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righ­teousnesse for the remission of sinnes that are past through the forbearance of God. And remission of sinnes hath relation to those that are past, as appears by inevitable reason; for what is remission of sinnes, but sinne co­vered? Now can a thing be covered before it be? blot out mine iniquities, &c. saith David; can a thing be blotted out, before it's written? this is the thing makes the Pope so ridiculous, that he will forgive sins for the time before they are committed; but what, do we get nothing for the time to come? yes, yes, when the sinne is past, by faith we have a new accesse unto God; and having risen by repentance, we get a new act, not of universal justification, but of a particular justifica­tion, from this and that particular sinne.

But if there be forgivenesse of sinnes past already, and I know that I am justified, and my sinnes remit­ted: may I now pray for forgivenesse of sinnes past? The Papists say it is active infidelity, and as absurd as to pray to God to create the world anew, or incarnate his Son again.

But there is no conversion where there is no pray­ing; and there is need of praying for the remission of sinnes past, and against sinne for the time to come, as I shall shew next time; as also consider whether there be any interruption of the act of justification by fal­ling into great sins. There's no man hath a mind more against quierks and quillets than I; yet for the ope­ning of these things, and staying and setling the mind, and clearing the understanding, give me leave the next time to clear these things unto you.

ROM. 5.1.‘Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.’

IN this Chapter, especially in the begin­ning thereof, I shew'd unto you that the Apostle sets down unto us those special comforts that a man receives af­ter God hath wrought that supernatu­ral grace of faith in his heart; so that here is set down The Mother-Grace, Justification by faith; and then the blessed issues or daughters thereof; and those are, a free access to God, a joyful hope of the glory to come, and not only a patient, but a joyful suffering of all afflictions that shall befall us in this life.

Concerning justification by faith, I laboured to o­pen it unto you the last day, three things may well be considered therein.

1. What that faith is whereby we are ju­stified.

2. What that justification is we have by faith.

3. What relation the one of these hath to the other.

[Page 405]Concerning the first of these I told you that it was not every faith that justifieth, not every kinde of faith that a man can live by. There is a dead faith, and a man cannot live by a dead thing: And there is a living faith, and that is called a faith unfeigned. And though it be in Scripture called the common faith, yet it is with some restriction; it is the faith of Gods elect. There is a faith also which is but temporary; that be­ing touch't with the sense of sinne, and seeing there is no deliverance from the curse due to sinne, but by Christ; and that there is no part to be had in Christ, but by renouncing all corruptions; the consideration of the desperatenesse of his case without Christ, makes him long after him; and since he cannot have Christ without leaving sinne, he will resolve on that too; he will make towards Christ, and perhaps he comes to taste of the sweetnesse of Christ, and feels the power of the world to come; he forsakes sinne, and thereby comes so near the true believer, that a man must as it were, cut a haire to divide between them. And this is a thing very necessary to be considered of.

And I shew'd unto you also that these are not moral things; not a faith that is wrought by the power of men, but by a work of Gods Spirit; for it humbles a man for sinne, and makes him make toward Christ, and seek him above all things, and having laid some hold on him, he escapes the pollutions of the world, and yet this faith is but temporary; a thing supernatural it is, yet it is without root. Now as I noted unto you, this is not different in the circumstance of time; for time alters not the thing. A childe that liveth but half an houre, doth as properly and truly live, as one [Page 406] that liveth a hundred years. But it is called tempora­ry, not that therein stands the difference, but therein it is shewn, and that proves the man to have something wanting. Our being united to Christ, and being nigh unto him, is as a graft or scyons put into a Tree; there are two grafts put into one stock, and each of them have all the several things necessary done unto them, as cutting, binding, &c. yet time discovers that the one thrives, and the other withers; so that there was a fault unseen; though he that put in the grafts ne­ver saw it, yet time discovers it. Now the difference is not in the time, but in the foundation of the thing it self. Now what the difference is between these, I laboured to declare unto you the last day.

The use of it is in brief this, faith is not in all these. All have not faith; yet some come so near, and have faith so like that it will trouble a wise man to make the distinction. These are like the foolish Virgins, that lived very civilly, and kept their maiden-heads in re­gard of the world; none could accuse them for any evil they had done; yet they are at length shut out. Many think themselves in a good way, and a safe condition, yea, and go out of the world in this con­ceit, and think they are entring into the gate of hea­ven, till they in a moment are cast down to hell: Try we therefore, search and sift our selves; if this grace were as grasse that grows in every field, it were some­thing; but it is a precious flower, which if we have not, Christ profiteth us nothing. This is the means of Christs being applied unto thee; how doth it therefore behoove every one of us to look to it, and not to slubber over the matter slightly, but to search [Page 407] and try, and examine our selves. And in the marks I shew'd you before that it was such a thing as may be likened to a conception which never comes to the birth; such a thing is this temporary faith.

Among others let me adde the tokens of love; it is twice set down in the Galatians, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision, &c. but faith which worketh by love; and again, neither circumcision, &c. but the new crea­ture. They that have a temporary faith want nothing but the new creature; what's that? its faith that work­eth by love. They that love God, it's a sure token that God hath loved them first, and God never giveth this love, but they have faith unfeigned.

The next thing is, he is ever careful to try himself, to prove himself. The temporary cannot endure to be brought to the touch or tryal. He accounts every be­ginning of grace in himself very great; every Mole­hill to be a Mountain. Now Gods children know that they may be deceived with counterfeits, and there­fore he tryeth himself.

Mark the speech of the Apostle, Examine your selves, prove your own selves; know you not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except you be reprobates? us understand the words; first, we see then it is a thing that is possible to be known, whether we are in the faith or no; and this is flat against the Papists; for they think a man can have but a conjectural know­ledge that he hath grace and faith. It may be probable, they say, but it cannot be certainly known; but does not the Apostle say, Examine your selves, prove your selves, know you not your selves, &c. No Papist can know it, yet it is possible to be known. Prove and [Page 408] try, you shall not lose your labour. If you take pains in it, you shall attain it in this world. Make your cal­ling and election sure, saith the Apostle; on Gods part it is sure enough, for the foundation of God standeth sure: but make it sure unto your selves, in respect of your own knowledge. Know you not your own selves, that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? It is a thing may well be made sure of; therefore search, try, examine, &c. Others are content with bare begin­nings that never come to any maturity; but those that have true faith, are ever bringing themselves to the tryal and touch-stone.

But may some say, I have tryed and examined my self, and I do not finde that Christ is in me; what am I a reprobate therefore?

No, God forbid: I say not the man is a repro­bate that cannot discerne that Christ is in him; See what that is that will explain this, 1 Cor. 11.19. For there must be heresies among you, that they which are ap­proved, might be made known; there must be [...], men that are approved, such as have endured the dint and shot of the Musket: such as have put themselves to the tryal, and come off well; these are the [...], and are opposed to those [...], who are such men as take things hand over head, do not search, and try, and examine, and put themselves to the proof; it's a signe these have not true faith: for what, is the ha­ving of Christ so slight or poor a thing, as that they will take no pains for him, or care not for knowing whether they have him or no? what, neglect Christ so much, as not to adventure on the tryal? these are those [...]. But he which hath this sa­ving [Page 409] faith, he is ever putting himself to the tryal. A­gain, Gods childe, not only useth all the means in himself to try himself, but he prayeth for the aide of God also; he knoweth that his own heart is deceitful, and may cozen him, but that God is greater than his heart, and knoweth all things. And therefore he cryeth unto God to try him, as Psal. 139. Try me O God, and know my heart; prove me, and know my thoughts; look well whether there be any way of wickedness in me, and lead me in the way everlasting; there is an everlasting righteousnesse, and an everlasting way that leads unto it, about which these are not content to try themselves only, but they desire God to try them al­so; and to make them know the uprightnesse of their own hearts, and not to suffer them to be deceived thereby. Now that I have done with.

Consider now what that justification is, that is ob­tained by this true lively faith; I shew'd unto you that justification is ordinarily taken for an acquittance from a debt. It is derived from justice or righteousnesse; therefore I shew'd that justification and righteousnesse are taken for one and the self same thing; for if there had been a Law given which could, &c. that is, justifica­tion had been by the Law. Now as there is a double righteousnesse, so there is also a double justification. Not that I hold there is any other justification as it compre­hends remission of sinnes, but only one, but other­wayes, as many righteousnesses as there are, so many justifications there are. Now there is a double kinde of righteousnesse, the one imputed, and the other inherent; the one is the righteousnesse of Christ, an act transient from another, which cannot be made mine [Page 410] but by imputation. Besides this there is another which is inherent, a righteousnesse in us. St. James speaks of the one, and Saint John of the other. One is opposed to condemnation, and the other to hypocri­sie. The soundnesse of the heart is respected of God for righteousnesse, in respect of the graces inherent in us.

Now to give you a touch of the difference between the one and the other, and therein to declare the diffe­rence between us and Rome: Know then that the question between us and Rome, is not Whether justi­fication be by faith or no? but Whether there be any such thing as justification or no? The doctrine of the Church of Rome is, that there is no such grace as this.

But concerning the first of these, that justification which is by the imputation of Christs righteousnesse, I shew'd unto you that imputation in this case, is, as when a man comes to hold up his hand at Gods Barre, as it were, and it's demanded of him what he hath to say for himself, why he should not dye; and then this justification by Christs righteousnesse is opposed to condem­nation. Then justification by faith is, that when I come to stand before God, though conscience say I am guilty of a thousand sinnes, yet I may go boldly and plead my pardon, which will acquit me as if I had never sinned at any time. God was thus in Christ re­conciling us (the world) unto himself, not imputing their sinnes unto them. Now sinne is a thing past, which being done, cannot be made undone, the sin re­mains still; murder is murder still, and adultery is a­dultery still; it cannot be undone again. Now how [Page 411] shall this man that is guilty of murder and adultery, be made just? it cannot possibly be but by not imputing his sinne unto him, so that God should account it to him, as if it had not been done at all by him; he puts it upon Christs account; Account: The word is used in the Epist. to Philemon, where St. Paul saith, If he hath wron­ged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that on mine account. A mans sins being thus put upon Christs account, he is accepted of God as freely as if he had never owed him any thing, or as if he had never offended him. Now this is done by transferring the debt from one person to another; so that we see this imputation of sinne to Christ, and of Christs righteousnesse to us is most ne­cessary. It must be so: And if there were no testi­mony for it in Scripture, yet reason sheweth that there can be no righteousnesse but by Gods acceptation of us in Christ as if we had never sinned; there is the dif­ference then. To him that worketh not, but believeth in him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is accounted to him for righteousnesse.

But doth God justifie the ungodly? that's a hard speech; we read in the Proverbs, He that justifieth the wicked, and condemneth the just, even they both are abo­mination to the Lord.

But here we must understand this as we do some o­ther Scriptures; we read in John, that the blinde see, the lame walk, the dumb speak. It's impossible for a man to be blinde and see, to be dumb and speak all at once; yet take the chief of sinners, suppose Paul, and he was so in his own account; but the act of justi­fication alters him. God justifies the ungodly, that is, him that was even now so; but by the imputation [Page 412] of Christs righteousnesse he is made righteous, that is, righteous in Gods account.

But in proceeding in this point I did reflect a little back. God findes a man with a number of sinnes, full of sinne, and forgives these sinnes; now I deman­ded this; how farre doth this justification and forgive­nesse extend? to sins past alone, or to sinnes past and to come? And I answered that we must consider this mat­ter two wayes.

First, to justifie a mans person simply; and then to justifie a man from this or that particular act: The phrase is used in Scripture, Acts 13.39. And by him all that believe, are justified from all things, from which we could not be justified by the Law of Moses. There is justification from this or that thing. There is first, Justification of a mans person; he that was an enemy, is now made a friend; he is now no longer a stranger at home, but is in the list or Gods houshold. Now this we say, no sooner doth a man receive it, but the self­same houre that he receiveth it, the bond is cancel'd, the evidence is torn, and fastened to the Crosse of Christ, and hangs up among the Records, whereas before it was an evidence against us, and would have layen heavy on us at the bar; but now it is fastened to the Crosse as a cancel'd Record, the bond is become void.

Secondly, but now when we consider justification from this or that particular act; I declared that so a man is onely justified from sins past; for it is contrary to rea­son and Scripture, that a man should be justified from sinnes to come: For Scripture, the Apostle hath it, Rom. 3.25. Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiati­on [Page 413] through saith in his blood, to declare his righteousnesse for the remission of sinnes that are past, through the for­bearance of God; and it is clear also from the nature of the thing. A thing cannot be remitted before it be committed, nor covered before it had an existence, nor blotted out before it be written. Therefore ju­stification from such or such a fault, must have relation to that which is past; but for justification for the time to come, I will speak anon; there I left the last time.

I have now faith, and I believe in Christ; I have now relation to him, and remission of sinnes past. But why then do I pray for it? to what end is that? Bellarmine objects that it is an act of infidelity to pray for it afterwards; but we do it, and we ought to do it; see Psal. 51. David made that Psalme after the Pro­phet Nathan had told him his sinne was pardoned: See the title of it, (and we must know that the title is a part of Gods Word as well as the rest) A Psalme of David when Nathan came unto him, after he had gone in unto Bathsheba: Nathan told him that God had took away his sinne: Yet he cryeth here throughout the whole Psalme, to have his sinne pardoned and blotted out; so that though there were faith and assu­rance, yet he still prays for it. Now Bellarmine saith, this cannot be; but doth he dispute against our opini­on? no, he disputes against the Holy Ghost; for Da­vid having received a message of forgivenesse, yet prays. Therefore if the Jesuite had grace, he would joyne with us to salve the matter, rather then through our sides to strike at God.

But it is a Fallacy to joyne these two together; for a man to pray for a thing past, it is an act of infidelity; [Page 414] as to pray that God would create the world, and incar­nate his Sonne.

I answer, there is difference between an act done, and an act continued; when the World was made by God, God had finished that work. And when Christ took our flesh upon him, the act was done; but the forgivenesse of sin is a continued act, which holds to day and to morrow, and world without end. God is pleased not to impute thy sinnes, but cover them; Now this covering is no constant act. I may cover a thing now, and uncover it again; now forgivenesse of sinne being an act not complete, but continued, and continued world with­out end (and therefore we say the Saints in heaven are justified by imputative righteousnesse, Gods continu­ance of his act of mercy.) The point then is this; As long as we continue in the world, and by contrary acts of disobedience continue to provoke God to disconti­nue his former acts of mercy, and our sinnes being but covered, therefore so long must we pray for for­givenesse. When the servant had humbled himself before his Lord, it is said, The Lord of that servant loosed him, and forgave him the debt; but though he for­gave him, yet he did another act that caused his Lord to discontinue his pardon, Matth. 18.33. Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellow-servant, as I had pity on thee? He had pity on him; yet since he doth another act, which turns his Lords heart against him, therefore he is now cast into prison, and he must not come out thence till he hath paid the utmost farthing. He had forgave him to day and to morrow, and would have continued his forgivenesse if he had not thus pro­voked him; we must pray to God to continue his [Page 415] acts of mercy, because we continually provoke him by new acts of rebellion. Adde to this, The King grants a pardon to a man; In all Patents of pardon there is a clause that the man must renew his Patent. If forgivenesse may be renewed, then those things are to be renewed again, by which the renovation of my remission may be wrought. God would have me re­new my acts of faith; and if of faith, why not of re­pentance, and of prayer? There is a singular place in Ezek. 36.29, 35, 37. that makes it plain, That though God intends to do the thing, yet he appoints this to be the means. Thus saith the Lord God, I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them; (i. e.) though I have done it, and intend to do it, yet will I do it by the means of prayer. How­soever that God had promised Eliah, that raine should come upon the face of the earth; yet he goes upon the Mount, and saw no shew of a cloud. The Text saith not what he did; but he put his head between his knees. Saint James saith, he prayed, and he opened heaven, and brought down raine. It was an humble secret ge­sture. A man may be more free in private, than in publick. He prayed, and the heavens opened. God had promised it, and would do it, but yet he would be sought too. So we see the mediate cause is pray­er; so though the Lord will do this, yet for all this he will be enquired of: It is not with God as with men; men who have promised, would be loth to be sued to not to break their promise; they account that a dishonour to them, but it is not so with God; God hath promised, yet thou shalt have no benefit of it, untill thou sue him for it; therefore thou must go to [Page 416] God and say, Lord fulfill thy promise to thy servant, wherein thou hast caused me to trust. God loves to have his bond sued out. Lord, make good this word, performe that good word that thou hast spoken. God would have his bond thus sued out. And as thy faith, repentance, prayer is renewed, so is thy pardon re­newed. When God will make a man possesse the sinnes of his youth, when a man is carelesse this way, it pleaseth God to awaken him. Thou writest bitter things against me, and makest me to possesse the iniquity of my youth, Job 13.26. When a man forgetteth the iniquities of his youth, and reneweth not his re­pentance, and hath not new acts of faith and petition, then God maketh him to possesse the iniquities of his youth; he makes his sins stand up and cry out against him, & by this means his old evidences are obliterated. When a man hath a pardon, and its almost oblitera­ted, the letters almost worne out, that they cannot be read, he would be glad to have it renewed, to have a new exemplification. Every sinne it puts a great blur upon thine old evidence that thou canst not read it. It may be firme in heaven, and yet perhaps be blur'd that thou canst not read it, and therefore if thou wouldst get them clear'd again, thou must go to God by pray­er, and renew them again; so that whether our evi­dences be blur'd, or whether it be that God will make us possesse the iniquities of our youth, it is necessary to pray for the forgivenesse of those sinnes which have been before forgiven.

But now you will say, when I have sinned afterward, how come I then to be justified? Then a man would think repentance only doth it, and without repentance a man cannot be justified.

[Page 417]But you must understand, repentance is not an in­strument at all; faith only is the instrument, [...]aith ju­stifyeth me from sinne hereafter as well as before. The case is this, faith brings life. The righteous shall live by his faith, as the Prophet Habakkuk speaks.

What doth then new sinnes do?

There are two sorts of sinnes; one of ordinary in­cursion, which cannot be avoided; these break no friendship betwixt God and us; these only weaken our faith, and make us worse at ease. But there are o­ther sinnes which waste a mans conscience; A man that hath committed murder, adultery, and lives in covetousnesse, which (in the Apostles) is Idolatry; as long as a man is in this case, he cannot exercise the acts of faith; we must know faith justifieth not as an habit, but as an act applying Christ to the comfort of the soul. Now a wasting sinne it stops the passage of faith, it cannot act till it be opened by repentance; Physitians give instances for it. Those that have A­poplexies, Epilepsies, and the Falling sicknesse, are thought to be dead for the time, as it was with Eu­tichus, yet saith Saint Paul, his spirit was in him. Eve­ry one thought him dead, yet his spirit is in him; however in regard of the operation of his senses it did appear he was dead. So, if thou art a carelesse man, and lookst not to thy watch, and to thy guard, but art overtaken in some grosse and grievous sinne, thou art taken for dead. I say not, a man can lose his life that once hath it; but yet in the apprehension of others, and of himself too, he may appear to be so. As in Epilepsies, the nerves are hindred by obstructions; so sinne obstructs the nerves of the soul, that there [Page 418] cannot be that life and working till these sinnes be re­moved. Now what is repentance? why, it clears the passages, that as faith could not act before, now it gives him dispositions unto it. As a man in a swound, cannot do the acts of a living man, till he be refreshed again; so here its repentance which clears the spirits, and makes the life of faith passe through­out. Now when repentance clears the passages, then faith acts, and now there is a new act of faith, faith justifies me from my new sinnes; faith at first and at last is that whereby I am justified from my sins which I commit afterwards.

But this forgivenesse of sinnes, what doth it free us from?

In sinne, we must consider two things; the fault and the punishment. Now consider sinne as it is in it self, and as it respects the sinner, as acted by him, as respecting the fault of the sinner, it is [...], a trans­gression of the Law; The punishment is death; as it re­spects the sinner, it is guilt. The sin is not guilt, but the guilt the sinners. For instance, a man that hath told a lye, or sworn an oath, the act is past, but a thing re­mains which we call the guilt. As if a man commit murder or adultery, the act is past, but yet if he sleep, or walk or wake, the guilt follows him. If he live an hundred years, he is a murderer still, and an adulterer still, the guilt follows him; and nothing can take a­way the murder or adultery from the soul, but the blood of Christ applyed by faith.

First, God takes away the punishment. There is now (saith the Apostle) no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after [Page 419] the Spirit; what, nothing in him worthy condemnati­on? God knows we are worthy of a thousand con­demnations. There are two Judges; there is a double guilt; when a man is brought to the barre, first, the Jury judge the fact, and then the Judge that sits on the Bench, he judgeth the punishment; one saith guil­ty or not guilty? the other saith guilty, then he judg­eth him. Now when we are justified, we are freed from both these guilts; sinne when it is accomplish't, it bringeth forth death: You know the natural work of sinne, [...], it labours with death; now God will stop the acts of it, that it shall not do that which it is apt to do, which is as good as if the sinne were taken away; when there were wilde guords sliced into the pot, 2 Kings 4.31. it's said the Prophet took that venemous herbe away; (i. e.) though the thing were there, yet it is as if it were not there, it shall do no manner of hurt: Bring now and poure out, and there was no evil thing. So in respect of us, though there be an evil thing in punishment, and if we had our due, would bring condemnation, yet when we are sprinkled with the blood of Christ, it can do us no evil, no hurt; it's said in the Scripture, that the stars fell from heaven; why the starres are of that bignesse that they cannot fall from heaven to the earth; but they are said to fall, when they give not their light, and do not that for which they were put there; so though I have committed sinne, yet when God is pleased for Christs sake to pardon it, it is as if it were not there at all.

This is a great matter, but I tell you there is more; we are not only freed from the guilt of the punishment, but [Page 420] which is higher, we are freed from the guilt of the fact. I am now no more a murderer, no more a lyar; when I have received a pardon from the blood of Christ, he frees me from that charge, the world is changed with me now. Who shall lay any thing to the charge of Gods Elect? If the Divel lay any thing to thee, thou mayst deny it. Such a one I was, but I am justified, but I am sanctified. A man hath com­mitted High Treason against the King, and the King gives him a pardon for the Treason; if I call him a Traytor, he can have no remedy against me, for he is one; the pardon takes not away the guilt: But if his blood be restored unto him by Act of Parliament, then if I shall call him Traytor, he may have remedy against me, because he is restored fully, and is not ly­able to that disgrace. This is our case, though our sinnes be as red as scarlet, yet the die shall be changed; it shall not be so bloody: Thou hast the grace of ju­stification, and this doth not only clear thee from the punishment, but from the fault it self; See in Jer. 50.20. the place is worth gold: In those daye [...], and in that time saith the Lord, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sinnes of Judah, and they shall not be found: for I will pardon them whom I re­serve: what is the matter? what a sinful man, and no sinne? what when there is search made for sinne in such a man, shall it not be found? you will say this is meant of the grace of sanctification; no: I will par­don them, that pardoning of sinne makes the sin not to be found. What a wonderful comfort is this? when I sh [...]ll come at t [...]e day of judgment, and have the be­nefit of my sanctification, the last absolution, such [Page 421] sinnes shall not be charged on me, my sinnes and ini­quities shall not be remembred. I will remember their sinnes no more, saith God; it is a wonder [...]ul thing, and a strange mistake in many men, e [...]pecially the Papists; Did they ever write comfortably of the day of judg­ment? never; they make that a terrible day. Alas poor souls, they knew not that just [...]fication is that, that makes sinn [...]s that they shall never be remembred: Mark, it is said, Thou shalt hear of all thy good deeds for thy honour and thy praise; but for thy sinnes, there shall search be made, and they shall not be found; when God forgives sinnes, he doth it fully, it shall never be cast in thy teeth again; but thou shalt hear of all thy good deeds, not of thy bad. Then lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth near; here is the blessed grace of just [...]fication, that we being justified by faith, have not only no condemnation, but no guilt; whereas all the sinnes of the wicked man, shall be set before his face, and he shall stand quaking and trem­bling by reason thereof; not one good thing that he hath done shall be remembred, but in the iniquity that he hath committed, in that shall he dye; and so I have said some­what of that point

You may remember that I said (a word perhaps that some think much of) that the question betwixt us and Rome, is not Whether we be justified by faith or no? but Whether we be justified at all; I will make it good. The [...]e are two graces, righteou [...]nesse imputed▪ which implies forgivenesse of sinnes; and righteousnesse inherent, which is that grace of sanctification begun. They ut­terly [...]eny that there is any righteousnesse but righte­ousnesse inherent. They say forgivenesse of sinnes is [Page 422] nothing but sanctification. A new doctrine never heard of in the Church of God, till these last dayes, till the spawn of the Jesuites devised it. Forgive­nesse of sinne is this, that God will never charge me with it again. They say that forgivenesse of sinne is an abolishing of sinne in the subject, where is true re­mission; as much as to say, There is no justification di­stinct from sanctification: whereas the Apostle distin­guisheth them, when as he saith, The Sonne of God is made unto us wisdome, righteousness, sanctification and redemption: He is made unto us (of God.) By the way let me expound it unto you. Christ hath three offi­ces; A Prophetical, Regal and Sacerdotical office. He exerciseth his Prophetical office to illuminate our un­derstanding. He exerciseth his Kingly office to work on our will and affections; there are two branches of it, the Kingdome of grace, and the Kingdome of glory. How am I made partaker of Christs Prophetical of­fice? He is made unto me wisdome, before I was a fool, but now by it I am made wise. First, he enlight­ens me, and so he is made unto me wisdome; well, he is my Priest; how so? he is made an expiation for my sinne; he is said to be [...] in Saint John, A pro­pitiation for our sinnes, and not for ours only, but for the sinnes of the whole world. There is a difference be­tween [...] and [...], that is a bare pardon, but this is such a propitiation as the party offended is well-pleased with Christs being made a ransome; he is made unto us [...], by the oblation offered unto his Fa­ther. He is righteousnesse imputed to us. And as a King ▪ he rules me in the Kingdome of grace, and in the Kingdome of glory; in the Kingdome of grace he [Page 423] is made unto me sanctification, and in the Kingdome of glory he is made unto me redemption; it is called by the Apostle, the redemption of our bodies; these two are thus clearly dist [...]nguished. The work of Christs Priestly office is to be a propitiation for our sinnes; sanctification proceeds from the Scepter of his King­dome: The one is without me, the other within me. The one receives degrees, the other not. As a man that is holy may be more holy; but imputed righteous­nesse doth not more forgive one man than another. Imputation is without augmentation or diminution. Those things which have divers contraries, cannot be one and the same thing. Justification and Sanctifica­tion have divers contraries. The contrary to justifica­tion is condemnation; but the contrary to sanctifica­tion is wickednesse, and false-dealing, &c. Aristotle distinguisheth homonymous words, and bids you con­sider their contraries; thus you see the difference be­tween these two.

I should now come and descend unto the depen­dence one hath on the other: (i. e.) in what respect doth faith justifie? Is faith an instrument to work ju­stification, or to receive it only?

The answer is clear, it justifieth in regard of the object. If you remember the two places I bid you compare, Rom. 3.25. Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood; is that all? com­pare this place with chap. 5.9. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him; we are justified by his blood, and by faith in his blood: here are two acts which signifie the same thing. It is no more then to say, I was cured by [Page 424] the Bath, or by going to the Bath; so that faith is the legs of the soul that bring a man to Christ. And so my faith is an instrument, not to procure my justifica­tion, but to receive it; so then seeing faith is an in­strument to receive justification, and not to procure it, then the weakest faith carrieth away as much for­givenesse as the strongest. A strong faith rids a great deal of work, because it is an active instrument. The stronger faith worketh the greater work; but in the point of justification, it is an instrument whereby my justification is wrought, an instrument whereby Christ is received. And the weakest hand may receive a piece of gold as well as the strongest; we must know that in the point of receiving, we live on Gods almes. All our justification is his free gift, and faith is that Palsie hand which receives all our comfort. It is not then a faith that justifieth, but faith; it is called by Peter, a like precious faith. Simon Peter a servant and an Apo­stle of Jesus Christ to them that have obtained like preci­ous faith with us, through the righteousnesse of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; it is [...], in the meanest Christian that hath a trembling hand to pitch on that, and draw vertue from him; it is a like precious faith in them, as in the most great Apostle Peter, and all the rest.

ROM. 5.1.‘Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.’

I Hav [...] heretofore declared unto you, that in the [...]e words, and the words following, th [...]re are set down these great graces and gr [...]at blessings which you have in Christ in [...]his Kingdome of grace, before you come to the K [...]ngdome of glory.

First, here [...]s set down the mother and radical grace of all the rest, and [...]hat is justification by faith; and then fol­loweth the bl [...]sed fruit that issueth from thence.

1. Peace w [...]th God.

2. A graci [...]us accesse into his presence.

3. A joyfu [...] hope arising from that great glory that we shall enjoy for t [...]e time to come.

4. In the [...]orst of our troubles, and midst of our af­flictions, this [...]oy is so great, that it cannot be abated by any of them; [...]ea, it is so far from being abated by them, that they are a fuel to kindle it: we rejoyce in affliction (saith the A [...]ostle) that which would undo the [Page 426] joy of a carnal man, is made the matter of this mans joy.

Concerning the first of these; justification, that is the ground or foundation of all the rest; being justifi­fyed by faith, that's the root and ground, without which there is no fruit, no peace, no joy, no hope, much lesse any kinde of rejoycing in tribulation. Faith is that which seasoneth all; we must first be justified by faith, before we have any other comforts; for that's the first ground, the first rudiment of a Ch [...]istian in the School of Christ.

Therefore I proposed unto you three things for the understanding of it.

  • 1. What that faith is that justifieth.
  • 2. What that justification is that is [...]btained by faith.
  • 3. What relation the one of these hat [...] to the ot [...]er.

Concerning the first of these I sheved you that it is not every faith that justifieth. I shew' [...] you that there is a dead faith, whereupon the Apostl [...] saith, The life that I now live, I live by the faith of the Sonne of God. A dead thing cannot make a living ma [...]; it must be (and I shew'd you how) a living faith.

Again, I shew'd that beside the tr [...]e faith, there was a temporary faith, which is active [...], and comes near the other. It had the operations of the Spirit, but it wanted root. It had supernatu [...]ll works, but it wanted the new creature. There w [...] a conception that was but an abortive kinde of birth; it came not to maturity, not to a full growth, it did not continue. And I shew'd unto you how a man mig [...]t discern one of these from the other; for herein lye [...] the wisdome of a Christian, not to content himself [...] be deceived [Page 427] with flashes; therefore the Apostle exhorts us to prove and try, and examine our selves; it's an easie mat­ter to be deceived, and therefore Gods people should be careful to examine themselves, to have their senses exercised herein, that however others may slight and slubber over the matter, they must and will be careful in it; and then they will not only do it themselves, but they will crave the aid of God also: Prove me O my God, &c. try me, &c.

Then for the second thing concerning that justifica­tion that is obtained by faith. I shew'd you that the word justification was derived from justice or righte­ousnesse; and as many wayes as justice and righteous­nesse may be taken, so many wayes may justification be taken: Sometimes for justification of righteousnesse in a man, and sometimes it is opposed to condemnation; so its taken in Saint Paul, and it signifieth an acquital; sometimes its opposed to hypocrisie and pollution in a mans soul; so it signifies sanctification, whereby God not only covers our sinnes past, but heals our natures. The first is perfect, but imputed; the second inherent, but imperfect. When the time cometh that God will finish his cure, he will then make a perfect cure; when final grace cometh, we shall not need to think of a Po­pish Purgatory. Death is the Lords refining pot; then there is not a jot of sinne shall be left in a Christi­an. Now when God hath taken away our drosse, then to think we shall be put in a refining fire; that an in­tire soul that hath no blot, that one that hath no spot, should be purged after final grace hath made him clear and whole, this is against reason and common sense. They might have learned better of their own Thomas; [Page 428] all the fire in the world will never put away sinne without the infusion of grace. This by the way con­cerning them.

I shew'd besides, that these two being both righte­ousnesses, the Church of Rome confounds them both together: Saint James his justification w [...]h Saint Pauls. They confound inherent righteousnesse which is begun, and shall be perfected in final grace, with the other; so that the point is not between us and Rome, Whether faith justifieth by works or no? but Whether it justifieth at all? in truth that is the state of it: The question is this, whether there be another ju­stification that is distinguish't from sanctification, or whether there be another grace besides justificati­on? Do not think that we are such block-heads as to deny faith and sanctification; yet faith is but a piece or part of that traine of vertues. There justification is taken for sanctification; we acknowledge a man is justified by faith and works; but the question is be­tween us and them, whether there be any justification besides sanctification? (i. e.) whether there be any justification at all or no? we say sanctification is wrought by the Kingly office of Christ; he is a King that rules in our hearts, subdues our corruptions, go­verns us by the Scepter of his Word and Spirit; but it is the fruit of his Priestly office which the Church of Rome strikes at: (i. e.) whether Christ hath reser­ved another righteousnesse for us, besides that which as a King he works in our hearts; whether he hath wrought forgivenesse of sinnes for us? we say he hath, and so saith all the Church, till the new spawn of J [...]suites arose. They distinguish not remission of [Page 429] sinnes from sanctification. Bellarmine saith remission of sinnes is the extinguishing of sinne in the soul; as water though it be cold, yet the bringing in of heat extinguishes the cold; and so remission of sinnes is the bringing in of inherent righteousnesse which ex­tinguisheth all sinne which was before. A strange thing, and were it not that the Scripture does speak of a cup in the hand of the Harlot of Rome whereby she makes drunk the inhabitants of the earth with the wine of her fornications; except men were drunk, it were impossi­ble that a learned man should thus shake out an Article of their Creed, which hath ever been believed by all the Churches. When the Scripture speaks of for­givenesse of sinnes, see how it expresseth it, Ephes. 4.32. Be ye kinde one to another, Brethren, tender-heart­ed, forgiving one another, even as God for Christs sake hath forgiven you.

Observe, in the Lords prayer, we pray that the Lord would forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those that trespasse against us. Let him that hath common un­derstanding judge, Do we forgive our neighbours by extinguishing sinne in the subject? I forgive you; (i.e.) I take away the ill office you did me: Doth he forgive thus? Alas no! forgivenesse is without a man. I have an action against you, perhaps an action at Law; I will let fall my suit, my charges I will forgive, this is forgivenesse. God justifieth, who shall condemn? Though God has just cause to proceed against me as a Rebel, yet he is content to let fall his action, to fasten it upon the Crosse of his Sonne, there to fix the Chi­rographum, the hand-writing against us. He will let fall that which was the ground of a suit against us, all that he could say against us.

[Page 430]That you may understand the thing the better, there are two things, two kinds of righteousnesse; the one of justification, the other of sanctification. The Holy Ghost distinguisheth them by several terms 1 Cor. 1. ult. Of him are ye in Christ Jesus who is made un­to us wisdome, righteousness, sanctification and redempti­on. You see here are two distinct graces; righteous­nesse and sanctification; they make them but one, san­ctification and remission of sinnes. Moreover, whom he did predestinate, them he also called; and whom he called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, them he al­so glorified. Here justification and sanctification is nothing else but justification and glorification; Saint Paul speaks of a thing past, not of the glory to come: (i. e.) sanctification which is inchoate glory. For what is the glory we shall have in heaven but the in­largement of those inherent graces God begins in this world? Here is the seed, there is the crop; here thou hast a little knowledge, but there it shall be inlarged; now thou hast a little joy, there thou shalt enter into thy Masters joy; here some knowledge, but there thou shalt have a full knowledge, and a full measure. Here glory dwelleth in our Land, but there we shall with open face behold as in a glasse the glory of the Lord, and be changed into the same image from glory to glory, e­ven as by the Spirit of the Lord, 2 Cor. 3.18. (i. e.) we are more and more conformed to the image of Al­mighty God, by [...]edience and holy qualities infu­sed into us, that we grow from one degree of sancti­fication unto another. And so you see how these are distinguished by their termes. Justification and glori­fication, justification and sanctification. There is a­nother [Page 431] place in Saint John, an hard place; but yet as I take it, these two righteousnesses that have the same name, to be distinct in their termes. It is said, Joh. 16.8. That when the Spirit shall come, he shall reprove, or (as we should translate it) he shall convince the world con­cerning sinne, righteousnesse and judgment. Thus I say it should be translated, for 'tis no sense to say that God shall reprove the world of righteousnesse; on what oc­casion this was spoken we must not stand to speak: but righteousnesse and judgment is justification and sancti­fication. And the drift of the place is this, when the Spirit shall come, how? not upon me or thee; but the Spirit here spoken of is that Spirit that should come upon the Apostles, it shall begin at the day of Pente­cost; and these 1. should set forth like twelve Cham­pions to conquer the world, and to bring them unto the Scepter of Christ. He shall convince the world; (i. e.) when the Spirit shall come on you, and your tongues be tip't with that spiritual fire, which shall be active, it shall convince the world concerning three particulars, of sinne, righteousnesse and judgment: O [...] the point of humiliation for sinnes; the point of justification by righteousnesse imputative; and the glory of sanctification in judgment, and righteousnesse inherent. This method Saint Paul useth in the Romans to stop every mans mouth. First, He convinceth the Gentile, which was easie to be done; after he convinceth the Jew, that there is righteousnesse to be had in another, though none in my self. He shall convince the world, &c. As if he should say, To be shut up under unbelief, is to be con­vinced of all sinnes. Now consider what is the na­ture of unbelief; it is to fasten all sinnes upon a man; [Page 432] and when I have faith, all my sinnes are put out of pos­session, they are as if they were not; but if we are shut up under unbelief, we are dead. The second work of Gods Spirit, is the Ministry of the Word, He shall convince the world that there is righteousnesse to be had by a communion with another; though we are guilty in our selves, yet he will set us free; and the reason is, be­cause I go to my Father. As if he should say, though you be convinced of your sinnes, that you are wholly dead in trespasses and sinnes. and have no means in the world to put that away; yet notwithstanding the se­cond work of Gods Spirit, is to convince of righteous­nesse; that there is a righteousnesse to be had in Christ, because he was our surety arrested for our debt; he was committed to prison where he could not come out till he [...]ad paid the utmost farthing. There is a justifica­tion to be had in me; I go to the Creditor, I have made no escape, not like one that brake the prison and run away, but I am now a free-man. I have not made an escape before the debt is paid, then I might be brought back again; but the debt is discharged, and therefore I go to my Father to maintain my place and standing. I was given unto death for your sins, but I am risen a­gain for your justification, and I now sit at my fathers right hand; this is the second thing. But is there not a third thing that the work of the Ministry must do? Yes, to convince the world that there is judgment or righ­teousnesse inherent. There is a hard place, I shall speak of it; it is usual in Scripture to joyn righteousnesse and judgment together. The words of the Lord are righte­ousnesse and judgment. And the integrity of a mans heart which is opposed to hypocrisie, is called judge­ment; [Page 433] as God liveth who hath taken away my judgment, Job 27.2. How did God take away his judgment? is it meant that he had taken away his wits? no, but but he hath put his heavy hand on me, that hath put a conceit in the minde of my friends that I am an hypo­crite; and therefore he falls on him, ver. 6. My righ­teousnesse I hold fast, and will not let it go; my heart shall not reproach me so long as I live. His judgment was taken away; (i. e.) the opinion they had of his in­tegrity; and this will expound another place in Matth. 12.20. A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, untill he send forth judgment unto victory? what is that, untill he send forth judgment? This judgment signifies nothing but those inherent graces, those infused qualities that God sends into the heart of a Christian. In a mans first conversion there are but beginnings of grace; what is faith, hope, pa­tience and fear? it is like a smoaking flax; (i. e.) like the smoaking wick of a candle made of flax: as when a candle burns in the socket, its now up, now down, you know not whether it be alive or dead; so in the first conversion of a Christian, infidelity and faith, hope and despair mount up and down. There's a conflict in the beginning of conversion, but he will not give it over untill he bring forth judgment, untill he get the victo­ry of all opposition from the flesh. And what is the reason? Because the god of this world is judged. He shall convince the world of an inherent righteousnesse in spite of the Divels teeth, because he is condemned. He that before worked in the children of disobedi­ence, is now cast down. The strong man is cast out, and therefore upon that ground you have the third [Page 434] point; Besides the grace of justification following upon Christs death, there is another; the Divel shall be dispossessed; the Divel is strong where he doth wicked things; but he shall be disarmed, he shall not touch thee, the wicked one shall not hurt thee.

I now go forward.

The third thing I noted besides faith and justifica­tion, was, That we must observe what relation one hath to the other; and how it comes to passe that justificati­on is attributed to faith, there being more noble graces in us than faith.

I answer; the reason is because faith is brought as the only instrument whereby we receive our justification, purchased by the merits of Christs death. When we say faith is an instrument, we must understand it right well; we say not faith is an instrument to work my ju­stification, Christ alone must do that; it's no act of ours, nothing is in us; faith is said to be an instru­ment whereby we get our justification in respect of the object, it is a nearing us to Christ; it is the instrument of application, the only instrument whereby we ap­ply the medicine, and the plaister of Christs blood; whereby we that were strangers and afar off, are made near; faith is the only hand which receiveth Christ; when the hand layeth hold on a thing, it layeth hold on a thing without it self; so is faith a naked hand, not as a hand that gets a mans living, but like a beggars hand that receives a free almes given by the donor; as the Apostle speaks, Rom. 5.17. For if by one mans offence death reigned over all by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace, and of the gift of righ­teousnesse, shall reigne in life by one Jes [...] Christ. There [Page 435] is abundance of grace, and a gift of righteousnesse; faith is the only means whereby we receive this gift; whereupon I inferred this which was of great conse­quence; seeing faith did justifie not as an active instru­ment, but as it did receive the gift of grace, it did follow that the weakest faith that was did get as much justification as the strongest faith of any whatsoever; because faith justifieth not only as a work, but as it did receive a gift; therefore our Saviour saith, O ye of little faith! yet as little as it was, it was builded upon the Rock; and though Satan desired to winnow them, and sift them as wheat, yet they remained firme; as our Saviour saith of the faith of miracles, If ye had faith as much as a graine of mustard-seed, ye should say to this Mountain be removed, and it would obey you: So for common faith, which the Apostle calleth so, because it is common to all the Elect, if thou hast so much faith, thou shalt be able to remove Mountains of corrupti­ons; suppose thou hast a trembling hand scarce able to hold, yet have the perswasion of the woman in the Gospel, If I may but touch him I shall be whole: I shall be saved, healed, if I can but touch him; And mark our Saviour, The people throng'd about him, and he saith, Who is it that toucheth me? A wonder that he when they crowded him, should ask such a question; but Christ knew that some body touched him beside the touch of the multitude; its said in the Text, The poor woman came trembling and told him all the truth: And he said Be of good comfort, though thou hast a para­lytick, and palsie sick-hand, yet the touch is enough; the least faith brings as much life as the greatest.

Object. But then what need a man look for a great faith?

[Page 436] Sol. Yes by all means; for though thou hast much comfort by a little weak faith, yet the more faith, the more comfort; and therefore 'tis to very much pur­pose to labour after a strong faith. Abraham (it is said) stagger'd, not through unbelief; if thou hast a strong faith, thou wilt have a strong consolation: Thou mayst by thy weak faith be healed of thy disease, yet by the weaknesse of thy faith mayst want much of the strength of thy comfort; therefore thou must go from faith to faith; but know this, that a new-born childe, [...], is not yet so strong as a man, yet he is as much alive as the strongest and tallest man; so that again thus, thou art yet but a new-born babe, not so strong or so lively as one more grown, but yet thou hast all the lineaments of the new creature in thee, though thou art not so strong and lively as ano­ther may be.

Object. Did not you tell me that it was not every faith that did justifie, but a working faith? how then doth faith alone justifie?

Sol. I answer, When faith justifieth, there is one thing said of another; the subject and the predicate; faith ju­stifies. Justification is attributed unto faith; Look on the word (only) whether it doth determine the subject or the predicate; doth faith which is alone severed from good works, justifie? so the proposition is false. First, that faith which is alone, separated from love and the fruits of good works, doth not justifie; but let the word (alone) be put to the predicate; faith justi­fieth alone; (i. e.) faith is the only vertue in the soul whereby a man is justified, that is true: As if a man should say, the eye alone seeth, 'tis true; if we put it [Page 437] thus, the eye severed from the members of the body, seeth its self. If the eye were taken out of the head, it would neither see alone, nor at all; but the mean­ing is this, the living eye is the organ whereby a man discerns a visible object; so faith, though joyn'd with other graces, yet takes not other with it for helps of justification.

Object. But why should God select this vertue among others that are more noble?

Sol. I say as before, God had respect to the low estate of his hand-maid, it was reason that God should choose the lowest, and the meanest: God selected this poor beggars hand for two reasons.

First, in respect of God.

I say 1. Therefore it is of faith that it might be by grace, to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the Law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, Rom. 4.16. so that here are two strong reasons; in respect of God, that God by so mean a thing as a beggars hand, should bring a man to justification; and the other in respect of faith it self, that it might see by grace, that when thou bringest nothing but a bare hand ready to receive a pardon must needs be this of grace. If God say Thou must love me, this were an exchange, not a free gift. I lay down something, and I take up some­thing for it. Faith is that naked hand which fills it self with Christ, it layeth fast hold of justification. As if a man were ready to be drown'd, there is a cable cast to him to lay hold on, and he laying hold on it is drawn safe to the Land; but a man when he lays hold of the cable, must let go all his other [Page 438] holds which he laid hold on before. Thus must a man let go all other holds, and lay fast hold on Jesus Christ.

Faith hath two faculties; it opens it self to let fall all other things, then when it is a naked hand, it layeth hold on Christ, and then it is of grace, when he e­steems all drosse in comparison of Christ; it hath all ful­nesse by grace: Where is then rejoycing and boasting? Rom. 3.27. it is excluded; by what Law? of works? nay, but by the Law of faith. And then chap. 4.2. For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory, but not before God; faith taketh away all boasting. Let him that glorieth, glory in the Lord. Therefore it is of faith that it might be of grace. This is the reason in respect of God.

2. In respect of our selves; To the end the promise might be sure to the seed; what is the reason why people doubt and think nothing sure? it is because they come not with a naked hand; I must have such a measure of faith, love, such a measure of humiliati­on, of patience, all to bring somewhat with us; whereas if we look on these things we shall never be heard. If the bare acceptation of Christ with a trembling hand will not make thee sure, what canst thou have more than the bare receiving of a gift by faith? The rea­son why we are not more sure, is because we come not with a naked hand.

By the way there are many means, some (á priori) others (à posteriori.)

1. For the first; they are those things by which faith is wrought, though they are not so evident, yet they are most sure; when I consider God calls me in [Page 439] my blood, having nothing in me, and will be friends with me, bids me take his Sonne, and I do not, bids me take his Kingdome and glory with him, and I re­fuse it, though this be a matter not so evident, yet it is most sure.

2. Then there are other arguments which come from the fruits of faith (à posteriori) they are more evident, but not so sure. And thus have I declared unto you the first point of justification by faith, it is so sweet a string that I cannot tell how to leave it.

Now let us come from the Mother to the Daughters; the eldest Daughter is peace with God, then this is the first birth; And we are at peace, &c.

In this peace we will consider these three par­ticulars.

1. What is that peace which we have.

2. With whom we have it.

3. By whom, and by whose means we have peace with God, &c. It is procur'd by Jesus Christ.

What we have; peace.

With whom; God.

By whose means? Our Lord Jesus Christ. There­fore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

1. What this peace is. You know the point of peace is a great matter; it is the Apostolical benediction: Grace and peace in all the Epistles; Grace and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, 2 Thes. 1.2. and chap. 3.16. Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace by all means alwayes. This is a thing by all means to be desired, you must labour to get i [...]; this was the Angels song when Christ was [Page 440] born, Glory be to God on high, on earth peace, good will towards men. This peace is a thing by all means to be sought after, and what it is, you may know by the contrary; you know what a miserable thing warre is; God grant you may not know it too soon: You know what it is to have an enemy among us. This is our case till we be justified, we are at daggers drawing, at point of hostility with God. It is a foolish conceit for a man to think that by reason of Gods predestination he is justified before he was; this is a foolish conceit; untill thou art justified by faith, thou art not justifi­ed; Gods predestination doth not make a change in the subject; if I intend to inrich a beggar, he is in rags still for all my intention, till my intention be put in execution. Paul was elected before the foundati­on of the world; but till he was converted he was an enemy, and a persecutor, the chief of sinners, as he speaks of himself, Rom. 5.10. so the Scripture speaks in that point: If when we were enemies we were reconci­led unto God by the death of his Sonne, much more being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life? Before the time of peace came, we were unbelievers, enemies, in the state of enmity; when as before God was thy enemy, assoon as thou hast touched Christ by a lively faith, presently all the actions he had against thee are gone; God is friends with thee; this is a high and a deep peace, and this comprehends all kinde of bles­sings; Amasa, 1 Chron. 12.18. one of the valiantest Captains that David had, speaks there of peace; one would think it not so proper, it belongs not to them to talk of peace, but because peace compre­hends all kinds of blessing, it is said, Then the Spirit [Page 441] of the Lord came upon Amasa, who was chief of the Cap­tains, and he said, Thine are we, David, and on thy side thou sonne of Jesse; Peace, peace be unto thee, and peace be unto thy helpers, for thy God helpeth thee. This is a speech from a Souldier to a Souldier, and this is done in a military way; Peace is welcome though coming from a Warrior, because it comprehends all manner of bles­sings; Its said, 2 Sam. 11.7. That when Uriah came unto David, David demanded of him how Joab did, and how the people did, and how the War prospered. Look unto the Margent according to the original, and it is, He demanded of the peace of Joab, and the people, and of the peace of the War. A man would think it a contradi­ction that he should demand of the peace of the warre; so then, this peace which we have with Almighty God, after we are justified by faith, is the comprehension of all manner of good. This having of peace with God is the fruit of the Spirit.

But with whom is this peace? with God; it is not peradventure so with thy self: Thou mayst have a tur­bulent conscience, insomuch that thou wouldst give all the world to have it quiet, to be assured that there is peace between God and thee; that's not the point: The thing thou gettest by faith is peace with God: When thou art troubled with thy self, and hast but a weak act of faith, yet if thou believest, thou art more afraid than hurt; thou art Cock-sure, and shalt be calme and quiet.

Object. But why should Christians be so foolish, so troubled? what's the reason the children of God do so disquiet themselves?

Sol. Because they are fools, they stand in their own [Page 442] light, are strainted in their own bowels. God is libe­ral and free, but there is some hope of worthinesse in us, and we do things we should not do. We are al­wayes poring on our selves, and do not bring a naked hand; and this is the reason we are so full of distra­ctions.

Again, it is the nature of many peevish people a­mongst us, that they will not be comforted; when news was brought to Jacob that Joseph was slain and lost, it is said, All his sonnes and daughters rose up to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted; and he said, For I will go down into the grave unto my son, mourning; Gen. 37.35. They have a kinde of pettishnesse and peevishnesse, and wilfulnesse; they will not be com­forted, and it may be there is some kinde of pride in it too; they would perhaps be thought to be the only mourners of Israel, of the Kingdome. As Rachel mourned for her children, and would not be comforted; they shut up their eyes against all comforts; God com­mands them to be comforted, and they will not; it is no marvaile then that they eat the fruit of their own hands; it is a part of our office to bring comfort, we have an injunction to it; Comfort ye, Comfort ye my people, saith the Lord; we bring the tydings of peace, and our feet should be beautiful, Rom. 10. we bring good news, all is w [...]ll; as Noahs Dove coming with an Olive branch in her mouth. Comfort ye, comfort ye, cry aloud, spare not. If you stop your ears, who can help it? the Lord is gracious and chargeth us to comfort you: and can there be any better news, than to say, All is peace, all your sins are done away. I have blot­ted as a thick cloud thy transgressions: as who should say, [Page 443] it is the tydings of such good things, as all within thee is too little to praise the Lord, and therefore it is not a thing to be slighted over; blessed is the man whose sins are forgiven, Psal. 32. which is no Noun Adjective, nor of the singular number neither; it signifieth bles­sedness, as it were an heap of blessings. They com­monly call it the eight beatitudes, it is but varied up­on divers subjects; were there eighty-eight, that were all one: To have thy sinnes forgiven thee, is the compri­zing of all happinesse.

Again, when a man sets his eyes too much upon his sinnes; more upon his sinnes than upon the mercies of God freely offered in Christ, this is a wonderful hin­drance of the peace; Thou lookest on the wrong ob­ject, looking too much on thy sinnes, when thou shouldst look on Christ, that brazen Serpent offer'd unto thee; then 'tis no wonder that thou seest not Christ though he be near thee: Mary Magdalen com­plains and weeps to the Gardener, that they had taken a­way her Lord, and she knew not where they had laid him, when as he stood at her elbowe; her eyes were so full of tears that she could not behold her Saviour. Now therefore stand not in thine own light, but look upon Christ as well as upon thy sinnes; observe, though there be a peace and a calme, yet presently all turmoyles will not cease after humiliation: When there is a great storme at Sea which lasts perhaps twenty foure houres, and then ceaseth, what are the waves presently quiet, assoon as the storme is over? no, there will be tos­sing and rolling many houres afterwards, because there must be a time of setling; and so though there be peace between God and thee, and the [Page 444] storme over, yet there must be a time of set­ling.

I should now shew you the difference between the peace that wicked men have and this other peace; theirs is not peace; there is no peace to the wicked: It is a truce onely, and we must make a great dif­ference between a truce and a peace. A truce when it is expired, commonly ends in more bitter Warre. With them there is a cessation of trou­ble, their consciences do not accuse them, but when the time limited is over, and conscience a­gain breaks loose, it will be more unquiet and un­setled than ever before; it will be at open Warre a­gainst them.

ROM. 5.1, 2.‘Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; By whom also we have accesse by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoyce in hope of the glory of God.’

HAving out of these words declared unto you, the Mother-grace justification by faith, I proceeded to the consideration of her Daughters, those fruits or graces which spring from a true justifying faith. So that here we have the great Charter and Priviledge that a justified man is indowed withall. First, He hath peace with God. Secondly, Free accesse unto him. Thirdly, Unspeakable joy, and that joy not only in respect of that delectable object, the hope of the glory of God in heaven hereafter; but here also, that which spoiles the joy of a natural man, (afflictions, &c.) are made the matter of this mans joy.

Now concerning peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, the first of these, I considered three parts in it.

  • [Page 446]1. What that peace was which the justified man enjoyeth.
  • 2. The parties between whom this peace was made.
  • 3. Who was the peace maker.

Concerning the peace I declared unto you what it was, that it was an unconceivable thing, The peace of God that passeth all understanding; a thing which our shallow understandings cannot reach unto, we cannot apprehend the excellency of this grace: Consider its excellency by the contrary, there is no misery in the world like that as when a man stands at enmity with God: Do we provoke the Lord? are we stronger than he? If a man sinne against a man, saith Eli, the Judge shall judge him; another man may take up the quarrel, but if a man sinne against God, if the con­troversie be between God and us, who shall intercede for us? were it not for this our peace-maker Christ Jesus, we should be in a woful condition, unlesse he put to his hand, and took up the matter.

Now it's a great matter to come to the fruit of peace; the fruit of peace is to them that make peace; we have this fruit of peace, we do not sow fruit but seed, the fruit comes afterwards: It is not so with a Christian, he is as sure as if the thing were in hand, he soweth not only the seed, but the fruit of peace; as soon as he is justified, at that instant he hath the fruit of peace.

2. So we have peace, but with whom is it? it is between God and us. God and a justified man is at peace through Jesus Christ; at the very same instant that a man is justified, he is at peace with God. This peace as I declared unto you, is a gift of an high na­ture, [Page 447] which belongs not to every man, but to the ju­stified man only; he who is justified by faith, he only hath peace. In the Eph [...]sians and Isaiah there are general proclamations of peace: Peace be unto them that are near, and unto them that are afarre off: and Isa. 5.7. The word the Apostle useth in the Ephesi­ans, hath allusion to this in Isaiah, ver. 19. I create the fruit of the lips, peace, peace to them that are afarre off, and to them that are nigh, saith the Lord, and I will heal them; but the wicked are like a trou­bled Sea, that cannot rest. There is no peace (saith my God) to the wicked. Though the proclamation be never so general to Jews and Gentiles, yet it be­longs only to those who have peaceable minds towards God, those who will not stand on termes of rebelli­on against him; what madnesse is it to think that if I stand in point of rebellion against God, I should have peace with him? But I must cast down my treasons, and I must come with a subjects minde, then there will be peace, otherwise no peace: When Jehu came to revenge the quarrel of God, Joram asked him, Is it peace Jehu? he answers, What peace so long as the whoredomes of thy mother Jezabel, and her witch-crafts are so many! 2 Kings 9. As long as thou continuest in a course of rebellion, what hast thou to do to talk of peace? why thinkest thou on peace, when thou art the chief rebel? as long as wickednesse continues in thy heart, thou hast no peace of God by Jesus Christ.

Now it may fall out that there may be a kinde of quietnesse in the conscience of a wicked man; but we must make a great difference between a peace and a truce; a truce is but a cessation of warre, for such a [Page 448] time, and many times when the truce is over, it ends in greater warre, because they have the more time to gather strength, and increase their Forces: So there may be a peace or a truce between God and wicked men; but it is the highest judgment that can be upon a wicked man to be thus let alone; but it is not so with a godly man; God breaks their peace, and hedges up their way with thornes, and many times torments their conscience, and breaks their peace; but when God suffers a sinner to thrive in sinne, when he suffers him to on so long, that his own honour is almost touch't; I held my peace saith God, then thou thoughtest me to be such a one as thy self; God holds his peace, then the sinner saith God doth not heed. However the preacher am­plifies these things, God is not so terrible as they make him; well, but though God hold his peace long, yet at last he will speak. Oh consider this ye that forget God, lest he tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver you· When the time of the truce is out, then the consci­ence is like a fierce Mastiffe; the longer he is tyed, the more fierce he is when he is let loose; so conscience, when it hath been long quiet, and tyed up, when God lets loose the cords thereof, it will be more fierce than ever before, it will then flie like a Mastiffe in thy face, and as it were tear thy throat; and then there will be in thee the very flashings of hell.

Now there is a great difference between the peace of Gods children, & this little cessation of war in the con­sciences of wicked men: When the strong man armed, keeps the house, the goods that he possesseth are in peace: When Satan is the Master, and thou dost his will, and he hath thee at command, he doth not trouble thee; [Page 449] when he keeps the house, the goods are in peace; but when a stronger than he comes, and puts him out of pos­session, then comes the strife and debate. Look there­fore to thy peace; is it such a peace as thou hast never found any conflict, any stirring, striving betwixt the strong man and the weak? suspect that peace; that's not the peace of a justified man, but of such a one who is held by the Prince of darknesse.

2. Again, how comes this peace to wicked men? they consider not the wrath of God, nor the danger of sinne; they consider not that Tophet is prepared of old; if they did but consider this, it would spoile their sport, and break their peace; but now a justified man, he knows what sinne is, and what hell is, and at that very time when he is thinking of his sinnes, and of damnation, when he knoweth that this is the reward of Gods enemies, he hath peace even then. The o­ther, they shut their eyes that they may not see their danger, and because they discern it not, therefore they are at peace. A man in a dark night going over a dan­gerous Bridge, that if he misse but a step he is drown­ed, yet he passeth over securely, and is not afraid, be­cause he wanteth light to discover the danger; but bring him the next day, and shew him what a danger he escaped, and the thoughts of it will make him quake and tremble, though the danger be past; So these men, being in darknesse see not their danger, and (therefore) do not fear; but Gods child having his eyes in his head, discerns the danger, and sees also how he is delivered by Jesus Christ; he is at peace, not be­cause he seeth not the danger of the way, but because he knows that God hath made the way broad by Jesus [Page 450] Christ, and so he is freed from sinne and death.

Now to speak something to them that have this true and sound peace, this peace is with God; I shewed you the last time that this peace is not alwayes in their own conscience, but it is such on Gods part, which is the safe part; many reasons there are why God doth not shew it unto them; though all be quiet betwixt God and them, yet they have not an apprehension of it in their consciences.

I shewed that this is many times their own fault, because they will not be comforted; all their thoughts are bent upon their sinnes, and their provocations of God, and they have not an eye open to look upon the mercies of Christ, they put it off, and will not be comforted; and if they put it off from themselves, no marvail if they have not peace in their consciences.

This may come by reason of the great conflict before in the conscience; God raiseth a great storme, and when he intends to bring a man to do some great work, or to a great deal of joy, he first humbleth him; the Prince of our salvation was consecrated by afflictions, and we must be conformable unto Christ our Head; when the stormes are past, the Sea will continue raging for awhile, and when you have turn'd the wheel round, if you take away your hand, it will go round it self for a time; So when you are justified by faith, the storme is over, yet the roaring of the waves will continue; it will be so with the children of God; though there be a calme, yet there will be some remainders of a storm.

Again, they are in travaile, and that is a pain­ful thing; My little children with whom I travail; they have the pangs of the new birth, and it is a good while [Page 451] before they can finde that quietnesse their heart doth long for.

Again, God purposely doth, though he be friends with them, take away from them the sense of peace, because he takes delight to finde that strength of faith: Faith is ma­nifest that way, faith is most strong when there is least sense. My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? the lesse sense, the faster the hold; and God loves this at life, that when he spurns and frowns, he will not let go, nor be put off; let him kill me, he shall kill me with Christ in my arms, I will not let go my hold; God can­not fail, he hath given me his Word, & therefore I will not let go; such astrong faith had Abraham, contrary to reason; Gods Word is true, he gives me his Word, and I will trust him; So a childe of God will not be put off; though God write bitter things against him, he will not forgo him; we have an excellent example in the woman of Canaan; the end of it is, O woman great is thy faith; but how doth the greatnesse of it appear? Lord, have mercy upon me, my daughter is grievously af­flicted, &c. why not rather, Lord, have mercy on my daughter! the reason is because she was afflicted in her daughters affliction; by the way we may hereby under­stand the meaning of the Commandment, where it is said, he will visit the iniquities of the fathers upon the children, unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate him; but why to the third and fourth generation? because I may see the third and fourth generation, and may see the judgment of God on them, and may re­member my sinne for which they are plagued; the case is mine, and not theirs only; Lord, have mercy up­on me, for my daughter is diseased; I see my own sinne [Page 452] is punished by the judgment on her in my sight; poor woman, Christ will not hear her; she might have been dash't out of countenance, the Disciples were weary of her clamorous cryes, and say, Send her away, for she troubleth us; what saith Christ? Is [...]t fit to take the childrens bread, and cast it unto dogs? This was enough to dash her quite; before she was discouraged by si­lence, but to be called dog, it were enough quite to discourage her; but see the fruit of faith, she seeks comfort out of that which would have undone ano­ther; what! am I dog a under the Table! there I shall get a crumme; others of the children that are better, let them have the loaves: I account my self happy if I may but get a crumb; Oh woman, great is thy faith; this is great faith when it goes contrary to all sense: That when God calls me dog, when he spurns at me, and frowns on me, I will not be put off. Faith is of the nature of the Vine, if it have but the least hold on the wall, it makes use of it, and climbs higher and higher; So out of the least thing that drops from her Saviours mouth, she raiseth her faith higher: so though we have this peace with God, yet oft ofttimes he with-holds the notification of it to us.

3. The last thing is to note the difference between the peace of a carnal and a spiritual man; carnal peace is mixt with a great deal of presumption and pride; but the more spiritual peace thou hast, the more thou art deject­ed in thy self, the more cast down; see it in Ezekiel, Ezek. 16.60, 61, 62, 63. I will establish with thee an ever­lasting Covenant; then shalt thou remember thy wayes, and be ashamed when thou shalt receive thy sisters, thy elder, and thy younger, and I will give them unto thee for daugh­ters, [Page 453] but not by thy Covenant; and I will establish my Cove­nant with thee, and thou shalt know that I am the Lord, that thou mayst remember and be confounded, and never o­pen thy mouth any more, because of thy shame, when I am pacified towards thee, for all that thou hast done, saith the Lord; when God is pacified, yet they hold down their heads, and are ashamed; when a man knoweth that God hath pardoned his sins, he is ashamed that he hath car­ried himself so wickedly against God, of whose mercy he hath now such experience; When God is pacified, a man remembers his former sinnes, and is confounded, as it is Ezek. 36.31. Then shall you remember your own evil wayes, and your doings that were not good, and shall loath your selves in your own sight for your iniquities, and for your abominations in that time when I am pacified to­ward you. That which would work in a carnal man security and pride, (for he never thinks himself better then when there's peace within) will work in the the childe of God the Spirit of humiliation. In the last Chapter of Job, God had manifested himself wonderfully to Job, and however before he had very sharp afflictions, his sufferings in soul were next to the sufferings of Christ. I believe never any man suffered so much as Job did, insomuch that the arrows of the Almighty stuck in him; thou hast eaten up my flesh, &c. This was the case of Job, and he stood upon termes of justification; he w [...]sh't that God would dispute with him, that God would either be the Opponent or the Answerer. If God would answer, he would oppose; or if God would oppose, he would answer. God comes as he would have him, and Job is not at that point that he was before; when God draws nigh unto [Page 454] him, he saith, I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye seeth thee, Job 42.5. Well, this may make thee a proud man, and elevate thee; no saith he, now I abhorre my self in dust and ashes. The nearer God draws unto us, and the more merciful he is unto us, by that light we the more discern our own abominations. That which would make another man proud, brings Job to the knowledge of his vilenesse; Therefore I abhor my self, and repent in dust and ashes.

3. Now another thing is, Who is this peace-maker? This I shall but touch: We have peace with God: But how? through our Lord Jesus Christ; he is our peace-maker, and interposeth between his Fathers wrath and us, Ephes. 2.14. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down that partition wall between us; we have not only peace with God through Christ, but Christ is the very peace; not only the peace-maker, but the peace. There was a middle wall of partition between the Jews and the Gentiles, and be­tween God and us; Christ breaks it down; sinne shall no longer be a wall of partition. Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the Law of Commandments con­tained in Ordinances, for to make himself of twain one new man, so making peace, and that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the Crosse. There was hatred between God and us. Christ hath crucified that hatred with the nails wherewith he was fastened to the Cross; he hath kill'd it by his crucifixion, and now enmity being slain, peace must needs be alive; there is peace and reconciliation made. You are come (saith the A­postle) to the blood of sprinkling; whereas the blood of Abel cryed for vengeance against Cain the murtherer: [Page 455] This blood cries for peace, it out-cries all our sinnes; sin hath a voice; its said, The cry of Sodom and Gomorrah went up into the ears of the Lord; Every sinne thou com­mittest hath a voice to cry, but the blood of Christ hath a shriller voice, and out-cryes the cry of thy sins; it is so preheminent, it speaks for peace, and doth out cry the voice of our sinnes; the high Priest was a a type of Christ, Numb. 16. He must have on his front­let Holinesse to the Lord; as one which bears the holy one of the Lord, standing in the person of Christ; Mo­ses saith (when there was wrath gone out from the Lord) unto Aaron, ver. 46. Take a censer and put fire therein from off the Altar, and put on incense, and go quickly unto the Congregation, and make an atonement for them, for there is wrath gone out, the plague is begun; So when the wrath is gone out, the High Priest comes and offers up himself a sweet incense acceptable unto God. And Aaron took as Moses commanded, and came into the midst of the Congregation, and behold the plague was begun among the people, and he put incense and made an atonement for the people. When wrath is come out from the Almighty, and his Army is sent out for to destroy the Rebels, now our High Priest stands be­tween the living and the dead, and offers up himself an oblation to Almighty God to make peace: Look to the case of Balaam; when the people had committed fornication, Phineas executed judgment; wherefore the Lord saith, Numb. 25.12. Phineas hath turned a­way my wrath from the people ▪ and if that one act of Phi­neas his zeal for the Lord in killing the Fornicators before the Congregation, if this, I say, appeased Gods wrath for the whole Congregation; how much more doth our Phineas who hath fulfilled all righteousnesse, [Page 456] whom the zeal of Gods house had eaten up? he is nothing but zeal it self, and all that he doth unto his father, is for our good. How much more shall Christ pacifie Gods wrath, who hath received the gash of Gods Sword upon his own body, and would not have himself spared that he might do it? As Jonah was three dayes and three nights in the whales belly, so shall the Sonne of man be in the heart of the earth. There is a mighty storme, and Jonah is cast out into the Sea, presently the storme ceaseth; so Christ having suffered for us, there is peace, the storme is over.

Now follows in the next place in the Text; By whom we have accesse by faith into this grace wherein we stand and rejoyce in the hope of the glory of God. These are the two priviledges that a justified man hath; he hath a gracious accesse unto God; Suppose he be in a fault, (as who is not?) if any man sinne, we have an Advocate with the Father Jesus Christ the righteous: These things have I written, (saith the Apostle) that you sinne not; but if any man sinne, we have an Ad­vocate with the Father, &c.

This is the state of a justified man; though he do by his [...]elapses provoke God, yet he is in the state of a subject; though he be a disobedient subject, yet a sub­ject, not a forreiner as before; but now ye that were not a people, are become the people of the Lord. A childe of God in the midst of rebellion, is sub misericordia; as soon as he is in the state of grace, he is under Gods protection; he is no stranger; though he hath his blood about his ears, and is in his rags, yet he may come to God; by Jesus Christ he may come boldly to the Throne of grace, that he may finde help in time of need: The [Page 457] Apostle in Ephes. 2.18. sets down twice the great pri­viledges Christians have; for thorough him we both have an accesse by one Spirit unto the Father; its Christ which makes the way: To have a friend at the Court is a great matter, especially when a man hath need of him; Christ is gone before us: and he lives for ever to make in­tercession for us, and we need no other Mediator; thus he bespeaks his Father: Father, this is one of mine that I shed my blood for, one of those that thou ga­vest me, I beseech thee have pity upon him, and I beseech thee give him audience, Ephes. 3.12. By him, (i. e.) through Christ, we have accesse by one Spirit unto the Father, in whom we have boldnesse by the faith of him, and access with confidence. I go not now doubting un­to God, I prefer my suit with boldnesse. Mark the Apostle St. James, If any man want wisdome, or any other thing, let him ask it of God that gives to all men li­berally, and upbraideth not; it is otherwise with men, when one hath done a great man wrong, and comes to desire a favour at his hands, Oh Sir, saith he, Do you not remember how you used me at such a time, or in such a place? That he is presently upbraided with, 'its cast in his dish; but it is not so with God, he gives liberal­ly and upbraids no man; so there is a free and a bold ac­cesse with faith and confidence, by whom we have bold­nesse and accesse, let him not doubt or waver; that is a notable place; here is bold accesse by faith unto God, and by that we may be assured of whatever we ask; if it be forgivenesse of sinnes, we may be sure they are forgiven; if we ask in faith we may be assured. By the way take notice of the folly of the Papists, who think that a man can have no confidence or assurance [Page 458] that his sinnes are forgiven. This is our confidence that if we ask any thing according to his will he heareth us: Now is it not according to his will to ask forgivenesse of our sins? Doth not he injoine us to do it? There­fore what infidelity is it not to be assured of it? And what impudency is it in them to go about to cut off that which is the whole comfort of a Christian? The assurance of his salvation. Thus it is indeed with those that have no feeling nor confidence, as those who are in hell think there is no heaven; and they who teach such uncomfortable doctrine, can receive no comfort farther than the Priest giveth it them. Its true there is no true assurance but in the true Church, but there it may be found.

And as I began with sowing in tears, so I would end with reaping in joy; that is the next thing in the Text, for which I passe over the other part of it; I be­gin with humiliation, but end with joy; and not onely that joy which we shall have in the Kingdome of hea­ven, but on earth while we have these things but in hope and expectation. A man that would reckon up his estate, doth not only value what he hath for the pre­sent, but he reckons his reversions also; what he shall have after such a time, what will come to him or his heirs: Gods children, they have a brave reversion, glo­ry and honour, and a Kingdome: It is your Fathers good pleasure to give you a Kingdome; we are all the children of God, but it doth not appear what we shall be: when he ap­pears, we shall be like him, and appear as he is. He shall change our vile bodies and make them like his glorious bo­dy; we are here sonnes, but yet, but in a strange Coun­try, no body knoweth what he is, and therefore he [Page 459] meets with many affronts. The King when he was in France, went for an attendant on the Duke, and is he troubled at it? No, he knew that the world knew it not; they knew not what he was, and therefore he is not troubled at it. So is it with the children of God, but when they shall appear, they shall be advanced, and their enemies ashamed. By the way, let not the people of God be discouraged, by the taunts, jeers and reproaches of wicked men; they know not what you are, and therefore make light of you, as they did of Christ himself. Well, besides what we have in reversion, the very hope we have of it works won­derful joy in the heart of a Christian: David did not live to see the glory of Solomons Temple, but he made provision for it, and cast the model of it, and he took much delight in the contemplation of what it would be. The consideration of these hopes makes my flesh rest in hope, and my heart rejoyce, Psal. 16. The con­sideration of the resurrection made Davids heart re­joyce: The consideration of that which is to come, should bring abundance of joy unto a Christian, these are strange things, not like the joy of a natural man; for his heart is sad in the midst of laughter; but these re­joyce with a joy unspeakable, and full of glory. Here are some sparks, some beginnings of the glory of heaven, and of that great joy which we shall have hereafter; but I cannot speak of these things in an houre.

But forasmuch as the Divel transforms himself in­to an Angel of light; there is no work of Gods Spi­rit in the hearts of his children, but Satan like an Ape labours to imitate in the hearts of wicked men, to make them secure; we must know that there are joys [Page 460] in some who are not regenerate. They that received the Word on the Rock, received it with joy; the Word if it be apprehended, and hath but the least footing, brings joy with it.

But now to know how I may get this joy, how com­fortable a thing is it to have such a comfort on earth, as to know that I have this true joy! and to be able to distinguish this joy from the joy, from the flashes, those fleeting joys of the wicked, which are but as the crack­ling of thornes under a pot; for theirs is but as a blaze that suddenly goeth out. Now if thou wouldst know thy joy aright, and whether it differ from that counter­feit joy which flesh and blood, and the Divel suggests; Look to the things that go before, and produce this joy.

1. The first thing that goeth before true joy, and produceth it, is an opening unto Christ when he knocks at the door of thy heart. As in that famous place, in Rev. 3.20. Behold I stand at the door and knock; If any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and sup with him, and he with me. There is if thou open, a sweet and familiar communication between Christ and thee; he communicates himself at dinner and sup­per. A man comes not melancholy to meals; Christ will come and make merry with thee, he will sup with thee familiarly. But how is it with thee? Hath Christ knocked, and thou hast given him a slievelesse answer, and hast thou joy? it is a false joy. But when Christ knocks at the door of thy heart, there must be an ope­ning the door on thy part, when he knocks by his Word and Spirit: And dost thou give such an answer as the Spouse in the Canticles, Cant. 5. I am come into [Page 461] my Garden, my Sister, my Spouse, I have gathered my myrrhe with my spice, I have eaten my honey-combe with my honey: Now Christ coming to Supper knocks at the door, and would bring in a great deal of joy: I sleep, saith the Spouse, but my heart waketh; it is the voice of my well-beloved that knocketh, saying, Open to me my Sister, my Love, my Dove, my Undefiled: when God comes and wooes us, and desires to communicate him­self unto us, and desires us to put off our cloaths, dost thou look for comfort if thou openest not? At last I opened to my Beloved; ver. 6. But he had with-drawn him­self, and was gone, my soul failed when he spake; I sought him, but I could not finde him, I called him, but he gave me no answer: When thou givest not Christ enter­tainment when he comes, thou mayst seek and not meet with him. It is observed that the Keepers of the Wall are the greatest strikers: Those whom God hath set to be Watchmen, instead of comforting they smite, ver. 7. The Watchmen that went about the City, they found me, they smote me, they wounded me, they took away my vaile from me; she gets raps from them who should protect her, because she did not entertain Christ; if thou findest any comfort after Christ hath knock't, and thou hast opened unto him, then it is true joy, and thou mayst make much of it.

2. If it be true joy, there goeth faith before it; for being justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: So that the exercising of the acts of faith, is a spiritual means to raise comforts in our souls; John 6. I had need to speak of this, for there is want of the exercises of faith; is it enough think you to have faith once exercised? He that eateth my flesh, and drink­eth [Page 462] my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him: It is not e­nough to eat once a year. A man will not be in good liking that eats but once a year, but a man must eat once a day at least. A Christian should feed on Christ every day, make him his ordinary food, renewing every day the acts of his faith, receive Christ crucified by faith every day. If a Christian would consider that God of­fers Christ unto him every day, and thou renewest thy faith, and claspest him every day, it would be a speci­al way whereby joy should be raised in the soul. Its said in Rom. 15.13. We rejoyce in the hope of the glory of God; Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope through the pow­er of the Holy Ghost. Thus when thou hast exercised the acts of faith in believing, and then upon that re­joycest, then its seasonable and true joy, and not the counterfeit joy of the wicked; when it arises and springs from believing, when that procureth it, it likewise di­stinguishes it from all false joys. The Apostle tells us, Phil. 1.24. Having this confidence I know that I shall abide and continue with you all, for your furtherance and joy of faith. It is called the joy of faith, because it springs from that principle of rejoycing, from the mother grace, that your rejoycing may be the more abundant.

The preaching of the Word whereby faith is wrought, brings abundance of joy; That place of St. Peter is remarkable, 1 Pet. 1.8. Whom having not seen, ye love, in whom though now you see him not, yet be­lieving ye rejoyce with joy unspeakable and full of glory; yet believing, that is, yet exercising the acts of faith, which we too much neglect. If we did exercise these acts every day, we should have our Charter of joy re­newed every day; yet believing, ye rejoyce.

[Page 463]3. Pray and be thankful; praise and thanksgiving are those fruits which fulfill all our joy; when thou prayest, thou conversest with God, thou speakest with him face to face, as Moses did. He who can pray spiritually, and pray hard unto God, as Moses face shined when he talked with God, so will thy soul thrive, praying hard, and being thankful; there is no greater means then this to get this joy, Psal. 37.1. Rejoyce in the Lord O ye righteous, for praise is comely for the upright. Upon this hangs all our comfort; praise alwayes brings re­joycing; the one begets the other. In Isaiah, The comfort there that Gods children receive, is the chang­ing of rayment; Christ preaching the acceptable year of the Lord to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give to them beauty for ashes, the oyle of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. The ground of praise is joy; one follows the other: Observe, God will give us the oyle of joy; Christ was anointed with this oyle above his fellows; Christ hath fulnesse of joy; this oyle doth not come on his Priesthood alone, but it trickles down unto the lowermost hemme of his garment.

I will adde in the last place, when a man considers the great things which are given to him by God, and what an estate we get by Christ. I have forgivenesse of sins; and blessed is the man whose sinnes are forgiven: Christs blood is wine, and my name is written in the book of life. Do not rejoyce (saith our Saviour) because the Divels are subject unto you; but because your names are written in the book of life: When I consider that I am not in the black Roll, and it is my faith which streng­thens me, which makes me reckon Christ my chiefest [Page 464] wealth; this makes me rejoyce in mine inheritance▪ and in hope of the glory of God: When I consider the great reward in the world to come, this is a great cause of rejoycing; and therefore Gods children long for the coming of Christ; it is made, Tit. 2.13. a mark of those that shall be saved: That they long for the ap­pearance of Jesus Christ, looking for, and hastning unto the blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ. And in 2 Pet. 3.12. Looking for, and hastning unto the coming of the day of God: A longing expectation; not only they, but we also that have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan and long for the coming of it; and therefore the last breath of the Scripture is breathed in this, Rev. 22.20. He that testifyeth these things, saith, Surely I come quickly, Amen, even so be it, come Lord Jesus; there is a sweet Al­legory to expresse this in Cant. ult. 14. make haste my beloved, and be like the Hinde, and like the Roe; Come Lord Jesus, come quickly, and come as the Hinde, and as the Roe, and as a Hart upon the Mountaine of spices; Make hast and come quickly be swift and do not tarry, and in a better place I cannot end.

FINIS.

A TABLE.
An Advertisement. That the Printers mis-paging may be no hin­drance to the use of this Table, the Reader is to take notice that it refers to the pages as they are figured, not as they should be; and that whereas after page 431. the numbers take their rise back at 361. and from thence are re­peated over again, this Asterisk * placed be­fore any figure, notes the latter order of pages so figured.

A
  • ACceptation and Affiance two acts of Faith, page 424
  • Active Obedience. See Obedience.
  • Aggravations of sin, p. 90
  • A temporary Believer de­sires Christ only in Af­fliction, p. * 388, 389
  • Assurance no part of ju­stifying faith, p. 428. It is attainable, p. * 457 Why so many Christians want it, p. * 438
B.
  • [Page]Baptism what it obliges to, p. 54. It hath not its full effect till the day of our death, ibid.
  • To believe is a hard mat­ter, p. 53.426
  • To believe is our duty, p. 408
  • Five words (or Scripture­wayes) that God uses to perswade sinners to Be­lieve in Christ, viz. Ge­neral Proclamation, p. 402. Special invitations, p. 405. Entreaties, p. 406. Commands, p. 408. Threatnings, p. 409
  • To Believe is to come to Christ, p. * 350
  • It is exprest by Hungring and Thirsting, p. * 372
  • A Believers case like the Beggars, p. * 376
  • A true Believer distin­guished from a Temporary (1.) by the ground of his desires, p. * 388. (2.) by his desiring Grace as well as Mercy, p. * 394 (3.) by his Love to God, p. * 395
  • A Believers priviledge, p. * 456
C.
  • GOd Calls sinners to Christ by five words, p. 402
  • Christ's equality with God p. 360. It renders his Hu­miliation the greater and more meritorious, p. 361
  • Christ's Humiliation; the extent, degrees, and particulars of it, p. 363, 371, 372. Part of his Humiliation to be Gods Servant, p. 365. He was a Serant on earth in respect of men, p. 367. used and valued at the rate of a bond-man, p 368
  • Christ's sufferings the more meritorious because voluntary, p. 374.
  • Christ's Active Obedience in the course of his life, p. 375. his Humiliation and sufferings from his Conception to his death [Page] described, p. 379. &c.
  • Christ's death described in the Accursednesse of it, p. 384. in the shame of it, p. 385. in the painfulnesse of it, p. 386
  • Christ suffered not the pains of Hell, proved, p. 388. yet he suffered in his Soul immediately from God, p. 389
  • Whether Christ takes a­way all the sins of the world, p. 395.
  • Christ's being offered for us, no comfort unless he be offered to us, p. 356
  • That Christ dyed suffici­ently for all is an improper speech, p. 356
  • To receive Christ what, p. 399. Christ offered free­ly, p. 397, 402. He that hath a will to receive Christ hath a warrant to receive him, p. 404
  • Christ the proper and im­mediate Object of justifying Faith, p. 418. Christ loved and valued above all by true believers, p. 427. Christ and the Cross go together in this life, p. 426
  • Christ very compassionate, p. * 368
  • Christ is our Peace, p * 454
  • To be a Christian indeed is no easie matter, p. 426
  • Civil Righteousness. See Morality.
  • Men deceived by Com­paring themselves with others, p. 46. and with themselves, p. 47
  • The Conditions of Faith and Obedience required hinder not the freedom of Gospel grace, p. 389, 416
  • Confession of sin necessa­ry, and why p.* 376
  • Carnal Confidence as to our spiritual estate dan­gerous, the vain grounds of it discovered, p. 43, &c.
  • Conscience one of the Tormenters in Hell, p. 153
  • Peace of Conscience. See Peace.
  • Conviction necessary to Conversion, p. 39, 80
  • Conviction a work of [Page] Gods Spirit, p * 364
  • Two hindrances of Con­version, p. 4
  • A limited time for it. p. 9, 10
  • Crucifying a Cursed, Shameful, Painful death, p. 384. &c. The manner of it, p. 386.
  • The Curse followes sin, p. 98
  • The Curses attending an unregenerate man in this life, p. 120, &c. The Curses on his Soul, p. 127 The Curses at his death, p. 130
  • Custom in sin hardens the heart, p. 28
D.
  • DAy of grace limited, p. 9, 10, 34, 35. The folly and danger of neg­lecting it, p. 16, 17
  • Death the wages of sin, p. 110. The comprehensive­nesse of the word Death, p. 119
  • Death terrible, p. 112. The teriblenesse of Bodily Death set forth in three particulars, p. 131, &c. What the first and second Death is, p. 141
  • The Death of Christ de­scribed, p. 384, &c.
  • Death-bed-Repentance See Repentance.
  • Deferring Repentance dangerous, p. 16, 17. The reasons of Carnal mens
  • Deferring Repentance, p. 21, &c. The vanity of them, ibid.
  • Desires after Christ may be stronger in Temporaries, then in true Believers, p. * 388
  • The Devil takes possession of those whom God leaves, p. 106, 107
  • The Reason of Christians Doubting, p. * 438.
E.
  • WHat use to make of the Doctrine of Election and Reprobati­on, p. 35
  • Encouragements for sin­ners to come to Christ, p. 402
  • Examination of a mans self. See Self-Examina­tion.
F
  • [Page]FAith why required to the receiving of Christ since he is a free gift, p. 398.
  • Faith consists not in a mans being perswaded that God is his God, and that his sins are pardoned p. 402.413. It's proper and immediate object is not that forgivnesse of sins, but Christ, p. 418.
  • Faith must have a ground for it out of the word p. 414. What Faith justifies p. * 384. &c. Faith jus­stifies not as a vertue, but in respect of its object, p. 419. Faith justifies not as a Habit, but as an act p. * 417. The Acts of Faith p. 423. By what sins the Acts of Faith are hindred p. 417. How those obstructions are re­moved, ibid.
  • Faith an instrument to re­ceive Justification, not to procure it, p. * 424, * 434 Why Faith chosen for an instrument of Justificati­on, rather than any other grace p. * 437. A weak Faith justifies as much as a strong, p. * 435 yet a strong Faith is to be la­boured for, and why p *, 436.
  • How Faith alone justifies, p. * 436
  • Faith may be certainly known, p. * 407. There may be Faith where there is no feeling, p. 412, 425, * 373
  • Faith strongest when sense least, p. * 451
  • Encouragements to Faith p. 402
  • Carnal Fear, its sinfulness and danger, p. 140, 141
  • Men apt to Flatter them­selves as to their spiritual estate, 41
  • Five false glasses that cause this self-Flattery p. 43, &c.
  • Forgivnesse of sins not a distinct thing from Im­putation of righteousness p. 399, &c. Forgivness is properly of sins past on­ly, [Page] p.* 403. It is one continued act, p. * 414. and therfore may be prayed for by a justified person, ibid.
  • Forgivnesse frees from guilt and punishment p.* 418, 419
  • God forsakes none till they forsake him, p. 108
  • True beleevers forsake all for Christ, p. 427, 428.
  • Free grace in bringing sinners to Christ, p. 398
  • No Freewill to good, p. 404
G
  • TO be given up to our selves a more fearfull thing then to be given up to satan, p. 108, 109.128.
  • The Gospel not seasonable, nor savory till the Law hath been preached, p. 80. How the Gospel differs from the Law, p. 86
  • The fulnesse and freedome of the Grace of the Gospel not hindred by the conditions of Faith and Obedience, p. 398.416
  • Guilt of sin taken away in Justification p. * 420.
H
  • HArdnesse of heart a hindrance to Con­version, p. 2, 3 4
  • Hell for whom provided, p. 139
  • Hell described p. 143, &c. That Christ suffered not the pains of Hell proved p. 388.
  • Christians rejoice in Hope p. * 458.
  • The Humiliation of Christ see Christ
I
  • IMputation of Righte­ousnesse. See Righte­ousnesse:
  • To be given up to Insen­siblenesse a wofull thing p. 129, 130
  • Joy in the sense of Gods love surpasseth all world­ly Joy p. 430. It is at­tainable. p. ibid. The [Page] reason why many belee­vers are strangers to it. p. 430, 431. Some Joy may be in a Temporary p. * 393. How to try true Joy p. * 360. Means to get it. p. * 462, 463
  • Justification what it sig­nifies p. * 396. How the Fathers used the word p. * 732 Justification, one sim­ple act of God, p. * 400
  • How we are said to be Ju­stified by Faith, and how by Christs blood, p. 420. * 422.
  • In what sense we are Ju­stified by Faith accor­ding to Paul and in what sense by works according to James, p, * 398.
  • Impossible to be Justified but by imputed Righte­ousnesse p. * 402, *410, 411. In the instant of Justification, no sins are remitted but those that are past, p. * 411, 412. A twofold Justification, p. * 409
  • Why a justified person may and must pray for the re­mission of sins past p. * 413, 414.
  • Justification frees from the punishment and guilt too, p. * 418, 419, 420.
  • Justification confounded by the Papists with san­ctification, p. * 422. The difference between them, p. * 423. * 429.
  • No Justification before Faith p. * 440
  • How we are Justified by Faith alone, p. * 439.
  • Judgment in Scripture sometime taken for Righ­teousnesse inherent p. * 433
  • How men are deceived in Judging of their spiritu­al estate, p. 43
K
  • KNowledge one act of Faith. p. 423
L
  • THe use of the Law, p. 79.354. * 366.
  • It is necessary to be prea­ched before the Gospel, p. 80, * 366
  • [Page]Men are under the Law till they come to Christ, p. 84, how fearfull a thing it is to be under the Law, p. 84, 85. the difference between the Law, and the Gospel in three particulars, p. 86.
  • Love of God twofold, p 415. No temporary belee­ver loves God p. * 396.
  • To be given up to our own Lusts a more fearfull thing, then to be given up to Satan, p. 108, 109
M
  • WAnt of Medita­tion one cause why most beleevers have so lit­tle joy in God p. 430, 431.
  • Mistakes in judging our spiritual estates. See Judging.
  • Morality too much trusted to p. 49. It's insufficient to bring men to heaven ibid.
N
  • NAtural reason not to be trusted to p. 49 Too short to convince of sin thorowly, p. 51
  • Mans condition by Nature described, p. 59. The Natural man dead in sin p. 67. His best works cannot please God, and why p. 68, 69
  • The Curses attending a Natural man in this World p. 120, &c.
  • Two blowes that God gives a Natural mans soul in this life, the one sensible p. 127, the other insensi­ble, p. 128. The Curses attending him at Death p. 130, &c.
O
  • CHrists active Obedi­ence mixed with his passive, p. 372.
  • Wherein his active Obe­dience consisted, p. 375. &c. Wherein his passive p. 378
  • [Page]Partial Obedience a false glasse to judge our estates by p· 48
  • To designe only our Old age for God is dishonou­rable to him, p. 22, 23.
  • Old age most unfit for Re­pentance, p. 25, 27
  • Men apt to have too good Opinion of themselves, p. 41. The causes of it, p. 43, &c.
  • Men deceived in judging of their estates by the good Opinions of o­thers, p. 44
P
  • PArtial Obedience see Obedience. Pas­sive Obedience. see Obe­dience.
  • Peace a fruit of faith p. * 441 * 447. Why many Christians want the sense of it, p. * 442, 443. * 450, 451
  • The differences between a true and a false Peace, p. * 448, &c.
  • The Causes of a Carnal Peace p. * 449. * 452
  • Christ is our Peace. p.*454
  • Spirit of Prayer what p. * 377, 378
  • 1. The Importunity and efficacie of it, p. * 379, 380
  • Why a person already ju­stified may and must Pray for the forgivnesse of sins past p. * 413, 414
R
  • NAtural Reason. see Natural.
  • To Receive Christ what p. 399.
  • What Reformation may be in a natural man, p. * 390, 392
  • Repentance prevents ru­ine, p. 7
  • Repentance not in our own power but in gods gift, p. 13, 14. The sin­fulnesse of deferring it, p. 11 &c.
  • Death-bed Repentance, the hindrances of it, p. 30 Not to be trusted to p 31. Hard to prove it sound, p. 32
  • [Page]Superficial Repentance is vain p. 57
  • Repentance in what re­spects necessary to justi­fication, p. * 417
  • Remission of sin. See For­giveness.
  • Resting or Relying upon God, a proper Act of Faith, p. 425
  • Righteousnesse two fold, p. * 397. * 409
  • Imputative Righteous­nesse what it is, p. * 402 * 410. Impossible to be justified without it, and why, p. * 410, 411
S.
  • Sanctification a distinct thing from Justifica­tion, p. * 423. p. * 429
  • Satan. See Devil.
  • A difficult thing to be Sa­ved, p. 53
  • Sealing a distinct thing from Faith, p. * 428
  • The Causes of Security, p. * 449
  • Self-Examination, neces­sary to Conversion, p. 39.57. a mark of a sound be­liever, p. * 407
  • Self-flattery: See flattery.
  • Self-Love, how it deceives men in judging their e­states, p. 43.
  • Sin continued in, hastens Gods judgements, p. 3, 4, 5. Sin compared to a weight, p. 26. to Cords, p. 27. Sin gets strength by continuance, p. 28.
  • The Sinfulnesse of Sin set forth in 6. considerations, p. 90, &c
  • The dreadfull fruits and consequences of Sin. It pollutes the Soul, p. 100. It makes men loathsom to God, p. 104. It brings the Devill into the heart, p. 106. It calls for wages, p. 110
  • The greatness of Sin, should be no barr against believing in Christ, p. 401 406. No Sin overtops the value of Christ's blood, ibid.
  • Encouragemets for Sinners to come to Christ, page 401, &c.
  • [Page]Sin not discovered tho­rowly but by the spirit, p. * 364. Sin may be cast away, and yet no true Conversion, p. * 392
  • Sin is only a Privation and no positive being p.*399 * 400
  • Sins not pardoned before they be committed p. * 403. The guilt and pu­nishment of Sin taken a­way in Justification p. * 418, &c.
  • Spirit of Bondage what p. * 365
  • Spirit of Prayer see Pray­er
T
  • A Temporary Faith how far it may go, p. * 388, &c. How to know it from true faith, p. ibid
  • Temporary beleevers desire Christ only in affliction p. * 388, 389 They do but only tast of Christ, p. * 393. They desire mercy but not grace p. *394. They do nothing out of love to God, p. * 395
  • The sinfulness of thoughts p. 102, 103.
  • The end of Gods Threat­nings p. 7.
U
  • UNregenerate Men See Natural
  • Our unworthiness should not keep us from coming unto Christ, p. 397.
W
  • THe Will wrought by God, as well as the deed, p. * 371 The Will more then the Deed 372. How God takes the Will for the Deed p. * 374
  • He that hath a Will to re­ceive Christ, hath a war­rant to receive him, p. 404. God alone inclines the Will to receive Christ ibid.
  • A wofull thing to be suffe­red by God to have our own Wills in this world [Page] p. 355. Our Wills must be crossed here or for ever hereafter ibid.
  • The Willingness of Christs sufferings rendred them the more meritorious p. 374
  • The Word presented to our faith under a double re­spect, viz. (1) as a true Word p. 403 (2) as a good Word p. 424
  • Works spiritually good cannot be performed by an unregenerate man, and why p. 67, 68, 71.
  • In what sense we are said by James to be justified by Works p. *398
  • Wrath a Consequence of sin p. 98
Y
  • YOuth the fittest time to Repent and break off sin in p, 25, 22, 29.
FINIS.

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