A Sermon, called GODS NEW-YEERES-GVIFT, sent vnto England. Conteined in these wordes. ‘So God loued the Worlde, that he hath gi­uen his onely begotten Sonne, that who­soeuer beleeueth in him, should not perish, but should haue life euerlasting. Ioh. 3. 10.

AT LONDON, Printed by W. White, and▪ are to be sold by Y. Iames at his shop without Criple-gate. 1602.

Gods New-yeers Guift, sent vnto England.

Conteyned in these words.

So God loued the Worlde, that he hath giuen his onely begotten Sonne, that whosoeuer beleeueth in him, should not perish, but should haue life euer­lasting.

Iohn. 3. 16.

HE that writes himselfe [...] and [...] the first and the last, signi­fied thereby, that he is not only the eternal Word, but also the be­ginning, middle, and ende of the written Word: yea, the scope of all the Scriptures. Search the Scrip­tures (sayth Christ) for it is they that wit­nesse of mee: Euery line in them cryes [Page] out like Iohn Baptist, Behold the Lambe of God. The Scriptures are a Circle, and Christ the Center, wherein all th [...] prophesies meere. They are like ye Image of Ianus which looked forward and back­warde: So the olde Testament behe [...] Christ to come, as Abraham saw his day, and reioyced: the New, sees him already come, as sayth good Father Simeon, For mine eyes haue seene thy saluation.

And as Christ is the contentes of the Scripture, so the whole Scripture seemes to be con [...]yned in this verse of my text. As all Iosephs brethren were frasted with varietie, but B [...]niamins messe exceeded them all: so all Scripture is profitable, but this most precious: All Scripture is tryed Gold, but this is orient Pearle: So that heere the Cuangelist seemes to pro­pound all the word in a word. If thy me­morie be short, here is a lesson as short as sweete: so that its doubtfull whether the nuanticie of the words or their qualitie and worth be more admirable.

These words are like pretious Iewels, contayning great riches in a little roome. Before we unlocke the Casket wherein [Page] this treasure is contained. let vs looke back to the happy occasion that cast this wealth on our shores.

The occaston of this comfortable Scrip­ture was a conflict betweene Veritie and Vanitie. light and darknes, Christ and Nicodemus: for our Sauiour being that summum bonīs, that loues to communicate his goodnes with his creature: that Light that would lighten euery man that comes into the world, that Sunne that makes all things increase and multiply, the Phisitiō that seekes out them that are sicke, the Shepheard sent to the lost sheepe of Israel: his meate & drinke was to infuse grace in­to men, & reduce soules vnto God. When did he eate, but he brake the bread of Life? When did he drinke, but he opened the fountaines of Grace? When did he walke, but he taught the wayes of God? When did he rest, but he preached an euerlasting Sabaoth, and happy Iubilee to the peni­tent? witnesse so many Iour [...]es, so many Sermons, so many Miracles: and wit­nesse this present conference with Nico­demus.

This Nicodemus being a better Law­yer [Page] then a Gospeller, one that with Paule was brought vp at Gamaliels feete, but neuer sa [...]e at Christes feete with Marie: seeking for light in darkesse, comes vnto Christ by night.

What might induce this great Doctor to come vnto Christ is as full of supposes, as farre from certaintie. Some thinke Nicodemus came to tempt Christ, and therefore cunningly extolles him, as the Wrestler liftes vp his aduersarie, that he may cast him downe: or as the Hyaena, who counterfayting a Mans voyce, seekes to destroy him. Some thinke it was a sini­ster influence of vaine-glory that drew this fantasticke to Christ, as the Atheni­ans into their exchange onely to heare newes. Some thinke Derision came to catch our Sauiour in a trap, that so Rash-iudgment might condemne him. Others presume, that being affected with Christes doctrine, he came to gratulate our Saui­our, as the best sort of our bad hearers, turne their owne profiting into the prayse of the Teacher: But I thinke this luke­warme louer comming so by night, was more afrayd of ye world, then affected with [Page] the Word, which he so praysed: For Ver [...] admirator virtutis, non horret Arist [...]ais ex­ilium, non Socratis condemnationem. &c. Howsoeuer, this Spyder comming to sucke poyson from Christes holsome doc­trine, was at the length catcht in his owne net. For this plausible Doctor, as if he had the art of flatterie, [...]ippes his insinua­ting tongue with a triple prayse; whose Syren-voyce aboue all pernicious swee [...]es in the world, tyckles the very hart-strings of man: Therefore Saint Ierome cryes out, Happie is that soule which is neither subiect to flatteries nor flatteringes. And in Epist. ad Greg. he sayes: Nos ad patriam festinantes, m [...]r [...]feros Syrenarum cantus sur­ [...] [...]ure transire deb [...]mus. And Alanus saith, Quid ergo Adulationis vnctio, nisi dom [...] [...]munctio? quid cōmendationis allusionisi Prae­latorum delusio? What is the oyle of Flat­terie, but the foyle of Families? What the poyson of Prayse, but the infection of Praelats? But our Sauiour being thus assaulted by this Syren, shewes himselfe like the P [...]ylli in Affrick, or the Mars [...]j in Italy; who are not onely themselues safe from all venemous Serpents, but haue [Page] also power to sucke the poyson from others infected: So Christ, who knew that La [...] ­dar [...] a laud [...]to, was vera l [...]us, would not applaude his vaine prayse: for our Saui­our hauing got the substaunce, scorned the shadow: hauing in perfect action the pos­session of all Uertues, refused the imper­fect affection of Uaine glorie: Therefore Nicodemus was a foole to buckle the light Bladder of idle prayse on his backe, which was ordainde to beare the Crosse of humili [...]ie: he that loues Uertue for praise, his minde is mercenarie. We neuer read that Christ euer admitted in him selfe this poyson of humane prayse, though she often offered him her painted Garland to adorne his Uertues: whose perfection gaue a tongue of Prayses to his very foes; and out of the mouth of Enu [...]e, haue [...]aled his commendations: But [...]nding in this blind Doctor fit matter for his mercy to worke vpon, like a wise Musicion, he castes not away this [...]arring instrument, but after the correction of his folly, giues him instructi­on in the fayth, as the Phisition first lets out the hurtfull blood, and then ministreth holsome food: For though the Bull be of­fended [Page] with red, and the best sometimes: are not mended with roughnes: yet Christ knew a sharpe rebuke was a soueraigne remedie for Nicodemus. A child will ea­sily grow with cherishing: but an old tree transplanted▪ will hardly prosper without pru [...]ing▪ Hony is sweete, yet it is sharpe where it findes a soare. Though the bud­ [...]ing Rose perish with a mans breath, yet the Camomile must be [...]rod on, to make it grow. He that is stung of the Aspe, must haue the infected member cut off. The Ape killeth her young ones with too much che­rishing, and the Iui [...] choketh her supporter with too much imbracing. If Apelles should see his Venus blemished, or Pro­togenes his H [...]aly [...]us broken, surely the one would turne away his eyes, and the other throw away his Pensill: then shall we not alow Christ to be sorie, seeing his owne Image so de [...]aced through igno­rance, and so spotted with errour? Yet Christ in his correction is like a kinde Nurse, that whippes her crying Babe on the coate, not on the carkasse: and though he knittes his brow, he knittes in it a bles­sing: as the father holdes an Apple in one [Page] hand and a Rodde in the other. But let vs first heare how Christ shakes his Rodde at Nicodemus, roundly rebuking him for his blindnesse in a chiefe poynt of Religi­on, the mysterie of Regeneration.

O Nicodemus, art thou a Doctor in Israel, and knowest not these thinges? Art thou a Teacher is Christ his schoole, and hast not yet learned Christs-crosse? How art thou accounted a wyse man in Israel, being a foole in Religion? There is no Wisedome but the Trueth, in qua [...]e [...]et [...] et cernitur summum bonum. Salomon my seruant, in stead of Riches desired of God the Spirit of Rule. If this was his prayer, much more should it be thy wish, since he was but King of their bodyes, but thou art a Corrector of soules. How canst thou teach men to shun the second death, which art so ignorant of the seconde Birth? A Teacher should be Organon veritatis, the right hand of Trueth, to minister to euery one their food in due season. Thou art an ouerseer in Israel, and art shamefully ouer­seene thy selfe. Now Age hath snowne downe Winter on thy head, those haires which should be Heraulds of Wisedome, [Page] shew thee to be twice a Childe. I would haue thee as a new-borne Babe: and thou art a Babe not knowing New-birth. I woulde haue my Disciples to shine as lightes: but thou art a counterfeite Dia­mond, made pretious by y foyle of Moses Chaire, where thou art falsely set. O Ni­codemus, he must needes be the Diuels Doctor, that was neuer yet Gods Disci­ple. I appeale to thy selfe, Is not a small blemish in the face, more vgly then a great blot in the rest of the body? He that com [...]es himselfe, where should he looke but in a Glasse? And he that correctes himselfe, on whom should he looke, but on his El­ders? Though the Moone be darke, it shewes no great danger: but when the Sunne is Eclipsed, it signifieth death. If the blind lead the blind, how can they but fall? Where the Ship-maister slee­peth, who feares not sinking? And where the Shepheard watcheth not the Sheepe goe round to the shambles. Thou being a Doctor in Israel, thy lippes should pre­serue knowledge, and thy life should be the Laymane Books. If thy [...]alt be vnsauory, how wilt thou season the simple: If thy [Page] Rule be crooked, how canst thou either di­rect the weake, or correct the wicked? Fi­nally, if thy light be darknesse, how great is that darknesse it selfe? Thou resemblest the hear be Empetron, which the nearer it growes to the Sea, the lesse salt it is: so thou, being a teacher in Israel, are a stran­ger in Israel. But why do I reprooue thy folly, and not rehearse thy fault? Doest thou not know, Ad veram sapientiam per­u [...]nire non possunt, qui falsae suae sapientiae fidu­cia desipiunt, They shall neuer attaine heauenly Wisedome, which hunt after it with humane witte. The Hart bragges in vaine of his branched hornes, because he wantes courage: and in vaine dost thou vaunt of Templum Domini. because thou wantst knowledge. They which would see perfectly, wincke on one eye: so if thou wilt see the misteries of God, thou must shut the eye of naturall Reason. But no maru [...]ll thou art so dull: for as Cyclops exoculatus, manus quoque versum [...] nullo certo scopo, so thy eye of Fayth be­ing out, thy blinde Reason gropes in the darke, being too shallow a Pylot to guyde thee into the mysterie of Regeneration. [Page] I commende thee for thy skill in the Law, but condemne thee for thy blindnesse in the Gospell. The Seaman that escapes all [...]yr [...]es and shelues▪ yet in sight of the Ha­uen suffers Shipwrack, is counted no lesse foolish then vnfortunate: and thou passing all the Labyrinthes of humane Learning, yet comming short of the knowledge of New-birth, art to be pitt [...]ed for thy for­ [...]une, and derided for thy folly. Thou kno­west I neuer alowed him that had all man­ner of knowledge, yet had not the meane of knowing. He that seekes knowledge, must note three thinges, Quo ordine▪ quo studio▪ quo fine quaequ [...] n [...]sse opor [...]eat. The Order of knowledge is to know that first, which bringes soonest to the way of salua­tion: the Desire in knowledge, must be to loue that knowledge chiefly, which most inforceth vs to loue: and the Ende of our knowledge, is not to winne the prayse of thy selfe, but to worke the profit of others. But alas, that which should be the first in thy Conscience, is the farthest from thy Care▪ that which should haue possessed thy Loue, is diuorst from thy Lyking: and that which should haue been the ende of [Page] thy knowledge, is the beginning of thy shame. Qui Epi [...]cop [...]tū desiderat, bonū opus desiderat: It seemes thou desirest bonū, not opus▪ the worship, not the worke: the goods of the fleece, not the good of the flocke: els wouldst thou not be ignorant in the very rudiments of Religion, and foolishly build without a foundation. Thy comming to me shewes in part thy loue, yet thy com­ming in the night, sayes thy loue is but little: but I know the flame when it kind­leth is mixed with smoake, and so is thy little knowledge with the smoake of igno­raunce: yet I will not quench this smoak­ing Flake, nor breake this brused Reede: Though thou camest to me without busi­nesse, thou shalt not depart without a bles­sing. As Abraham sent his seruant with Guiftes in his hand, so I will sende thee hence with Grace in thy hart: and for thy three idle prayses, I will repay thee three endles profi [...]es: heare therfore the nature of Fayth. the deapth of Gods Loue, and the mysterie of Regeneration.

Thus did our Sauiour shake vp this foolish shadow of a Prophet, this idle eccho of his prayses, this emptie v [...]ssell contay­ning [Page] nothing but y bare name of a Doctor in I [...]ael: whose example if we moralize▪ it teacheth vs, That (in Gods matters) the greatest Clarkes are not the wisest men. Philosophers haue great wittes, but they are enemies to Grace: and the world hath her Wisdome, but it is enmitie with God. Learning is a Loadstarre, and the know­ledge of [...]ongues, is the key of Crueth: but if prophane Learning turne Lucife [...], and thinke to vsurpe Moses Chaire. she must be thrust (with the Parret) out of [...]u­piters Parliament. If Ismael mocke Isaac, though he be the sonne of Abraham, he must be vanished: And if Learning ma [...]re Religion, though it be the guift of God, it must be abandoned. The Stars giue some light, but the Moone must be Mistris of the night. As the poore Isra­elites [...]orrowed of the Egyptians all their Iewels but to adorne themselues: so we must borrow from prophane Arts all their ornaments, and with their [...]poyles adorne the Temple of God: So doing, Lear­ning and Religion, like two Twin [...]es, will liue and loue togither. And thus much touching the occasion of these wordes.

[Page]Hauing found out the [...]iue, let vs search for the Hony conteayned in this heauenly verse.

GOD so loued the World, that he hath giuen his onely begotten Sonne, that whosoeuer be­leeueth in him should not perish, but should haue life euerlasting.

Iohn. 3. 16.

THese wordes containe a Deed of guift: which, for our better light, I branch in­to these sixe partes. First the giuer, GOD. Second, the cause moouing him to this exceeding bountie, which is here said to be Loue. Third, the guift: his onely begotten Sonne. Fourth, the partie to whom this Legacie or guift is bequeathed: the World. Fifth, the frui [...]e following this Guift, which is two foulde: first a Ransome, in these wordes, should not perish: Secondly a reward, in these wordes, should haue life euerlasting. Sixth, the hand wherewith we receiue this Guift, (namely Fayth) whosoeuer beleeueth in him.

CAPVT. 1. Of GOD, the giuer.

First, The giuer, GOD. The wealth of a Guift appeares in the worth of the giuer: and if the giuer be [...]ce, the Guift is contemned: but if the giuer be gra [...]ious in our hart, the Guift is as precious in our eye. While our Ships ride in ou [...] harbours, we regard them not: but when they returne from the farthest Ocean, we looke for great riches. If a Messenger come to vs from a meane per­son, we giue him meane entertainement: but if a Prince sende his worst Seruant vnto vs, we giue him princely regarde. Well, God is richer then the Ocean, his boosome is full of blessings: God is grea­ter then a Prince, his kingdome is euerla­sting: And as his thoughtes are not as mans thoughts, so his Guiftes are not as mans Guiftes: for as he giues without merit, so he giues without measure: he is excellent in all his workes. If he loue it's [Page] without repentance: if he hate, his anger indures for euer: if he giue, he powres downe his blessinges: if he take, non ha­b [...]n [...] [...]m quod habet, a [...]eretur, he takes away all: He loues a chearefull giuer, and shall we thinke him a fearefull giue [...]? A poore man on a time begging a Groat of a King, the King snipt him with this aun­swere, Non est Regium. If an [...]rthly Prince thus stood on his Guift, shall not the heauenly King regard what he giueth▪ Christ telleeth vs, that Bea [...]us est da [...]e q [...]àm accipere▪ it's a part of his Fathers blessednesse to giue. And saint Augustine sayes, Benefic [...]um est beneuola actio tribuens, [...] [...]audiū [...]ri [...]uendo▪ A benefite or guift is a work of good wil, that pleasures as much in the giuing, as the receauer doth in the Guift. So then, if Gods Guift be a worke of good-will towardes man, we may m [...]asure out his benef [...]ence by his beneuolence: his worke by his will, and his Guift by y ioy that he taketh in giuing. When Goods Loue intendes a Larges, the guift must needes be great. The lower the Uale, the more raine it receiueth: and the vnworthier man is, the greater Gods loue [Page] is, and the richer his Guift. In a word, the excellencie of this Guift appeares in the excellencie of the giuer, whose perfection is such, as onely silence must shew it, while conce [...]t and reason [...]ie in a traunce through endles admiration. A Philosopher being commaunded to tell the King what God was, he asked a dayes respet: and when the day was done, and the King exp [...]cted his promise, he asked two dayes: which be­ing ended, he asked foure dayes, and after, eight: the King admyring his slacknesse, demaunded why he so abiourned his pro­mise? Because (quoth he) the more I thinke of him, the lesse I know of him. S. B [...] ­nard sayth, Quid est Deus? Longitudo, Latitudo, sublimitas, profundum: longitudo propter aeternitat [...]m, latitudo propter [...]h [...]rita­tem, sublimitas propter ma [...]est atem, [...] propter sapientiam: and therefore as God is wonderfull, so are his guiftes.

Amongst men in deed, the giuer may be wicked, and the guift too. In the 22. of Numb. Baala [...]e was a wicked giuer, and so was his guift which he offered to curse the [...]racl [...]tes. So in Acts 8. Simor M [...] ­gus is a giuer, but a cursed giuer: for he [Page] thought with Guiftes to buy the guiftes of Gods spirit. And such giuers were the Pha [...]isies, for they gaue thirtie pence to betray the Lord of lyfe: But as Iudas re­ceiued the earnest penny of his perdition, so they betrayed their owne posteritie to endlesse miserie. In a worde, the Diuell himselfe is a giuer, but a wicked giuer: for he offered Christ all the Worlde for an howers worship: as the Pope gaue all the New-found World to the Spaniards, be­cause they should worshippe him. But Dauid telles vs, D [...]m [...] est terra, How shall the Diuell giue the World to Christ, that can not giue himselfe an howers res­pite from torment: his Thorne yeeldes no such Grapes, his Thi [...]tle beares no such Figges, howsoeuer like a bragging suitor he boastes of his riches: Though he pro­mise an Angell of light, he payes with lyght Angels. and shall haue his portion with leawd Angels in hell fire.

But God as he made all thinges good, so doth he giue all thinges that are good. Iames sayth, Omne bonum est De [...] donum, Euery good guift, is Gods guift. In [...]ere­mic God sayes, There is not an Euill in [Page] the Cittie, which I haue not created: If God create Euill for a correction, much more doth he create Good for our comfort. He is like the good Father, that spendes himselfe in prouiding for his sonne: or the kinde Mother, which no sooner hath a sweete thing, but she giues it her childe: or the cunning Artificer, who cares not what cost he bestowes on his worke, to make it more beautifull. So God is affected to­wardes his creature: as he made all excee­ding good, so he desires the good of all, especially Man, whom he made for the Glasse of his glory, and the Image of him­selfe, to be his Sonne on earth, and his Heire in heauen: and though heere Man is but Tennant at will, yet he sittes at an easie rent, the bare debt of Thankfulnes.

The summe of this discourse is, seeing God is the giuer of all Good, we must looke for all good thinges at his handes: and desire nothing that is good, farther then it is Gods Guift: For that which is Snatcht from others, is the Diuels bayte, not Gods blessing. The world is full of such snatching Nimrods, mightie hunters: for some hunt after Honour, some after [Page] Pleasure▪ and some after Profite: And these thre Hunters haue almost hunted all Religion and Uertue out of our borders. But let them know that, Quaedam dat Deus misericorditer, quaedam sinit habere iratus: Whatsoeuer comes by Oppres­sion, Tyrannie, Bryberie, Simmonie, Vsurie, is not Gods guift, and therefore no good guift, but a pledge of his an­ger. Therefore whatsoeuer thou possessest or desirest, let Conscience be thy Cater, and the Word thy Warrant: so shall the Transitorities of this lyfe, be vnto thee a Handsell of Heauen and an earnest penny of that Blisse, which the Worlde neuer dreames of.

CAPVT. 2. Of GODS Loue.

THus hauing brought thee to the Wa­ters of Lyfe, namely, GOD the giuer, I will shew thee the Well-spring of all Blessings, his Loue to the World. &c.

[Page]The perswading cause of this Guift, it's here layd to be Loue: God so loued. Quid est A [...]or (sayth Aug.) nisi quaedam vita Du [...] aliqua copulans, vel copulare appe­tens, Amantem et amatum? What is Loue, but as it were one life in two hartes, one soule in two bodies▪ the Fier which bles­seth where it burneth, the Soa [...]her which no art can sunder, the Knot which no time can vntie, the Hand which deskantes sweet musicke on the hart stringes, the Cause which made God become Man, and the Uertue which makes Man like vnto God: (I speake not of that hellish Fier which makes men slaues, but of that heauenly Flame which makes them Saincts.) As Christ was annoynted with the oyle of gladnes aboue his fellowes, so this Uertue is adorned with the crowne of Eternitie about all her fellowes: for Paul sayth, that Fayth bringes vs but to the Coffine, and Hope watcheth the Coarse till the R [...]surrection: These two Uertues are confined with our lyfe, but our Loue is re­fined by our death, and dwelles with vs af­ter our glorification.

But this our Loue is but a shadow of [Page] Gods Loue, an Arme of his Sea, a Drop of his Fountaine, a little Flame of his ly­uing Fire: neither in qualitie so pretious, nor in quantitie so spacious by infinite de­grees. God loues without cause, our loue is our duetie: God loues vs his enemies, we loue him our friend: God loues with­out reward, our loue inherites heauen: God loues vs first, our loue payes him backe his owne: Gods loue is feruent, our loue is luke-warme: Gods loue is infinite, our loue is little, like our knowledge, and low of stature like Zacheus: Christ must dine in our house, his loue must shine in our hartes before we can reflect our borro­wed beames, and loue him againe. The ex­cellencie of this Gods loue can neither be expressed by our tongue, nor impressed in our hartes: as it made the World of no­thing, so the World is nothing to it: for it comprehendeth all & is not comprehended of any. Our Sauiour heere thought best to expresse this Loue with a sic dilexit, to shew vs that his Father is euen sicke of loue: his description is inde [...]nit, because his loue is infinite. Eyther Gods loue is so deepe that Christ could not sound it, or our [Page] reason so shallow that we cannot se [...] it. As the Painter that drew A game [...]non, sorrowing for the death of his daughter, [...]ew not how to figure his griefe in his [...], and therefore drew a [...]layl [...] ouer it, thinking it impossible the gazers idle eye [...]ld beholde what the fathers grieued hart could not hold: so Christ leaues that to our admiration, which vnderstanding cannot attaine. A holy Father would faine [...]ym [...] at the dimensions of this Loue, say­ing, Dilexit tantus tantillos, He a God of infinite maiestie, loued vs men of infinite mis [...]ri [...]: but this is obscurum per obscurius, for we know neither quantus Deus, the greatnes of his Maiestie, nor yet quantu [...]i nos, our greeuous miserie. In a word, as we cannot see the Sunne but by his owne light, so we cannot learne this Loue, but by Gods owne wordes. The Starre alone must lead the Wise-men to Christ, and Christ alone must lead vs to his Loue. Now whereas he expresseth it with a Sic. So God loued the World. &c. a Father sayth: This Aduerbe Sic, contaynes in it all Aduerbes of Loue: as if Christ had sayd, My Father loued the world so deare­ly, [Page] so vehemently, so fatherly, so fer [...]ent­ly. &c. And Ber. on the Cant. sayth, Deus ex se miserandi sumit mater [...]em, Gods owne nature is the motiue of his mercie▪ Then he that can explaine Gods Nature, may expresse his Loue: whereof to affirme the one is impious, and to performe the ot [...], impossible.

This is that Loue (Christian Reader) which in the zeale of God I commende i [...] thine endles admiration: this is the riches of his Grace, the chiefe of his Workes, the summe of his Word, the shadow of Him­selfe, the perfection of his Glory. This teacheth our Fayth to stand, and our Hope to climbe, and our loue to burne: This cheereth our labours, & beareth our losses, and teacheth our sorrow to smile. In a word, to this exceeding Loue, alone we owe our saluation: Therefore damnable is the Doctrine of the Church of Roome, that teacheth vs to erre both in the manner and matter of our Fayth: First, in the manner they teach vs to doubt of our sal­uation. O iniurie intollerable, to doubt of the Promise, where such a Loue is our war­rant: what more free then guift, or who [Page] more faythfull then God the giuer▪ shall his Loue giue Christ vnto me, and my vnbe­liefe thrust him from me▪ Is the Trueth like vnto man, that he should lie▪ or is his Arme shortened, that he can not saue▪ God forbid. This Guift is sealed with the blood of his Sonne, registred in the sight of hea­uen, witnessed by the holy Angels, passed with an oath to the World. O Incredu­litie, the wit of fooles, how many Bles­singes dost thou barre vs from▪ Christ could not worke his Myracles, God can not shew his mercy, where this monster [...]urketh. Againe, in the matter of our fayth they foyst in most dangerously a [...]pe of their owne Leauen: for God requires a Wedding garme [...]t to couer sinne, they bring in a Menstruous cloth: he will haue vs builde on his Loue, they would haue vs iustified by our owne Labour: he will haue vs trust to his Mercie, they would haue [...]s trust in our Merites. Pauls whole Epistle to the Romans shootes onely at this marke, to beate downe the pride of Man, who would faine be his owne saui­our, to depresse Nature, and extoll Grace: therefore in the end he addes this vpshot, [Page] So then we are saued not of Workes, but by Grace. And Augustine sayth, Gratia est nullo modo, quae non est gratuita omni modo, Grace is all Grace, or no Grace at all. Againe he sayth, Quisqui [...] tibi emunerat M [...]n [...]t [...] sua, quid tibi emunerat, nisi Munera tua? Againe, Uis excidere gratia? [...]acta me­rotatia. Our very Fayth as it's a grace in vs, is beholding to Grace▪ it s [...]ues a [...] it's a hand [...]o lay hold on Christ, not as it's a vertue and a worke: For all workes must humbly be cast at Christes feet [...] with Marie, and there meditate on his mercie: they must not be busie with Martha in the matter of our Iustification. As God sayd to Paul, My Grace is sufficient for thee▪ so I say to all, Gods Loue is sufficient for you: this Loue made you, when you were nothing: and this Loue must saue you, now you are worse then nothing. Let the Papistes cloath themselues in the rags of their owne Righteousnes, and the lewes trust to the [...] Templum Domini, and the Heathen dragge of their painted Uertues; (which Augustine calles splendida peccata) but let vs onely triumph in this Loue of God, and esteeme it the strength of our▪ sal­uation.

[Page]Thus hauing discouered the rech trea­sure of Gods Loue, let vs know our duty, that we may be accounted worthy to winne and to weare it. S. Aug. Lib. de Anima et Spiritu, seemes to studie for this dutie, say­ing: Miser ego, quantum deberem diligere Deum meum qui me fecit cúm non er [...]m, re­demit, cum per [...]eram, &c. O sinfull wretch, how shall I requite the rare loue of God, who created me of nothing, and redee­med me being worse then nothing. &c. And after, hauing found this duetie out, he teacheth it to the World, Si non impendere, at rependere deb [...]mus, If we will bestow no Loue vpon God, yet let vs repay his Loue, which he hath shewed first. The World cryes shame vpon an vngratfull person. If thou shouldest trauayle into a strange Countrey, and there fall into the handes of the [...]heeues, and in meere com­passion of thy miserie, the King of that Countrey should set th [...]e free againe, gi­uing thee life and libertie, what would the World thinke? yea, what then wouldst thou esteeme of thy selfe, if thou shouldst prooue vnthankfull to so good a Prince? [Page] We are all Strangers in the world, and Passengers from earth to heauen: now in our Iourney we meete with the Worlde and the Diuell, and these robbe vs of all grace, these wound vs & leaue vs for dead: now God of his exceeding mercie findes vs out, and sendes his Sonne that good Sama [...]itane, to powre the oyle of Grace into our Woundes, and to mount vs on the backe of his Merit, and so carry vs to the Inne of our rest, the ioyes of Heauen. O Loue, beyonde all loue, how much thou art? O blessed God, teach vs the depth of thy Loue, that we may know the debt of our thankfulnesse. Thine endlesse Blessing hath made vs bankruptes, for we are not able to repay the interest of thy Loue. If we proffer our goodes, alas we receiued them of thee: if we offer our lyues, they are redeemed by thee: Surely this shalbe our thankes, the Remembraunce of thy Mercie: And since thy blessed Sonne hath taught vs, That the louing of thee, is the keeping of thy Commandements, we will labour to be all keepers: as we haue spent our time in the seruice of the Worlde, the Flesh, and the Diuell, so will we spende [Page] the remnaunt of our dayes in the rebuke of sinne, and the recording of thy Loue. And since the Loue of so worthy a crea­ture as man, is too costly a climent to ioyne earth to earth, we abandon all earth­ly desires, and freely giue the [...] our hartes, and be [...]roth our Loue to thine.

Deare GOD, by the fire of thy spirit, draw vp our affections to thee, diuorce vs from the lyking of the World, and marry vs to the loue of thy Sonne: Let vs light our Candle at thy Loue, and learne by thy endlesse mercy, neuer to ende our thankfulnesse, till death translate vs from this [...]ale of teares to mount-Sion, where our loue shall ioyne vs to thee eternally.

CAPVT. 3. Of the Guift, CHRIST.

NOw are we come to the Guift it selfe, the greatest that euer was, whether we respect the bountie of God, or the bles­sing of Man: for what could God giue greater then himsefe? or what could Man [Page] receiue better then his saluation▪ He [...] giuen his onely begotten Sonne. This blesse [...] Guift is it that made Abraham reioyce, and the Angels sing, and Iohn Baptist daunce in his mothers bellie: this is able to make the World waxe young againe, if Grace would open her eyes, and Wise­dome teach her to see her owne nakednes, and the riches of this Garment sent vnto her. As the Saincts in heauen follow the Lambe where so euer he goeth, so all the Blessings of the Earth follow Christ th [...] Guift, where so euer he goeth: for, Ha­benti dabitur, He that hath this guift, shall haue all other guiftes, yea, he shall haue the giu [...]r to: for Christ sayth, He that receiueth mee, receiueth him that sent mee. And Ambrose saith, Omnia habemu [...] in Christo, sia volu [...]r [...] [...]urari desider as Medi­cu [...] est: si f [...]bribus aestuas, sons est: si grauaris Iniquita [...]e, Iustitia est: si indiges a [...]xilio, vir­tus est: si mortem times, vita est: si tenebra [...] sugis, lux est: si Caelum desideras, via est: si Cibum quaeris, alimentum est. &c.

(He hath giuen.) God did not lende his Sonne, nor sell him, but he gaue him to vs: Herein appeares the riches of his [Page] Mercie, and the greatnes of our pouertie: he did not sell him, we were not able to buy him, but he gaue him: which shewes vs to be Beggers & Bankrupts, and that God must for pittie giue vs a Sauiour franke and free, when we had neither meanes to deserue him, nor grace to desire him. (His onely begotten Sonne.) He gaue vs not an Angel, nor a Seruant, nor a Creature, but his Sonne. The name of a Sonne is musicke in the eare of a Father: and the life of a Child is more precious in yt Parents eye, then their owne safetie: Many Parents to saue their Sonnes life, haue willingly spilt their owne: examples hereof we haue in prophane, & sacred Scriptures, we will take a handful from a heape. In Gene. 37. whē good father Iacob heard of the suppo­sed death of his sonne, (his wicked childrē giuing a false fire to his feare) he was smit­ten with sorrow, riuers of teares gushed out, and his hart bled at his eyes, for the supposed slaughter of Ioseph: his affection to his sonne was too hot to admit the cold comfort of his other children: he that had wrestled with an Angell, could not wrestle with this affection, and therefore in the [Page] griefe of a father, he sets downe this reso­lution: Ioseph my sonne, is surely to [...]e in pe [...] ­ [...]es, and in my sonne my selfe was torne: the claw of that Beast hath r [...]ut my blee­ding hart, and his crueltie hath killed two in one. O my sonne, my lyfe was shut in thy lookes, which now is shaken in thy losse: I made thee a Ceate of many co­loures, to shew that thou wast y Rainebow pledge of my peace: but loe the beautie of my Rainebow is rent, and in stead thereof this bloody Meteor appeares, she­wing the death of my ioy, the deuowring of my sonne. The earth is made to coue [...] the roote, not to containe the branch: I am the wither [...]d roote my Sonne, and thou the branch, whom vntimely death [...]ath [...]ropt. Why should the [...]r [...]ue b [...] d [...]k [...] with gr [...]ne boughes, that was made for gray hayres: Yf Children prede [...]case their Parentes, we are their [...]f [...]pring, and t [...]r none of ou [...]s. Well since Com­fort [...]ill not be my guest, [...]ri [...]f [...] shall [...] C [...]p [...]nion▪ and seeing [...] sonne for­sake [...] [...] in my lyfe, I will [...]tak [...] [...] in my death, for nothing but So [...] shall bring my gray-head to the [...]rau [...]. T [...]s a [Page] good Father mourned for a gracio [...]s Sonne: But will you heare a louing Pa­rents mo [...]ne for a leawd Child? In the 2 Sam. 18. when God purposed to chastise Dauid, he made the Sonne to whippe the father▪ for Abshalom, that by name should haue bin his fathers ioy, by nature proo [...]d a pa [...]ricide, and sought to depose his owne syre: but God hauing sufficiently humbled Dauid his child, threw the rodde in the fire, and brought a iudgment vpon Absha­lom, which cost him his life: Notwithstan­ding, Dauid being mooued with the good affection of a father, more then the bad con­dition of his sonne, was so farre from re­ioycing in Abshalom [...] death, that it almost cost him his owne life. O Abshalom my sonne (quoth he) would God I had dyed for thee; o Abshalom my sonne, my sonne: But God heere is neither like Ia­cob lam [...]nting a good sonne, nor Dauid beway [...]ing a wicked child: he resembles good Abraham, who willingly sacrificed his sonne [...]aake.

This was much to giue a Sonne yet as if this were not enough to expresse God loue, the holy Ghost addeth his onely begotten [Page] Sonne, he gaue not an adopted Sonne, as Abraham offred a Ramme in stead of Isaac. But his owne Sonne: And herein appeares his perfect Iustice, a blessed president to al Iusticiaries. In all Gods actions this ver­tue swayes: though his mercy be about all his workes, yet Mercy and Iustice must kisse togither. The dearest droppe of Christes blood must be shed, before Gods Iustice be left vnsatisfied.

Nay this was not enough to satisfie Gods Mercie, his Loue mountes a degree higher, and further it cannot ascende. He gaue his onely begotten Sonne. When the world could not yeelde the price of our Re­demption, he searched his owne boosome for a Sauiour, and gaue vs his onely Sonne. If God had many Sonnes his mercy had been meaner, and his Loue had seemed lesse, but he gaue vs not one Sonne of ma­nie, but one and all, his onely Sonne: for whose sake he spared not his Angels, his delight, his boosome friend, the Image of himselfe, for the ransome of the world.

O loue beyond all loue, how much thou art! A holy Father in admiration of this Loue cryes out, Quàm Diues [...]s in mis [...]r [...] ­cordia, [Page] quàm magnificus in iusticia, quàm munificus in gratia, Domine Deus noster! Againe, Passiotua Domine, Iesu, vltimum est refugium, singulare remedium: deficiente sapientia, Iustitia non sufficiente, sanct [...]tatis succumbentibus meruis illa succu [...]r [...], cum enim defecerit Virtus mea, non Conturbor, scio quid faciam, Poculum salutaris acci­piam. &c.

The instruction that we must learne from the consideration of this vnspeakable Guift Christ, is two folde: First, we are taught to returne our Loue againe, as Aug. sayes, Sinon amare, saltem redamare debemus: As God hath giuen vs his onely Sonne, so we must shew our reciprocall Loue to God, and for his Sonne, giue him our selues: as he hath giuen vs wealth, we must bestow our wealth on him againe: as he hath giuen vs libertie, honour, children, long life, knowledge, wisedome, courage, &c. these must all waight on him, and doe him honour and seruice: Thus we must giue him Loue for Loue, againe.

Second vse of Gods vnspeakabe Boun­tie, is to teach vs to loue our Brethren. Christ teacheth vs this lesson for his Loue, [Page] saying: I haue giuen you an example how to loue one an other. Brethren must be vnited in the bonde of mutuall Loue, like S [...]us the [...] Fagot: for the vnitie of Brothers is, [...]ce qua [...] [...], exceeding ioy to all the Saints. But alas, let vs see what Louers and what Giuer, our wicked age doth afford? When I studie vpon this Dueue, I finde foure sortes of Giuers: the first, and the worst sort, haue the Hand to giue, but not the Hart to graunt: of whom I may say as Christ sayd, better this Hand were cut off and they were as poore as Irus, then with their rusting Riches to be cast into Hell. These are the Mammonistes of our age, whose Soule lyes creasured with their rusting Peuce: who are more vn­uiercitull then the Deuill, for he would haue Christ turne Stones into Bread, but these men [...]urde Bread into Stones, [...]en the Bread of the poore into Stone­walles, or els spend it on their accursed Lustes, forgetting Mercie: therfore dam­nation attendes them. The second sort haue the Hart, but not the Hand: whose Myte God acceptes aboue all the Mynes [Page] of the Wealthie, and takes their Loue for their larges. The third sort are such as haue neither Hart nor Hand in this duetie: and these are poore men euery way: for he that can bring foorth neither good Worke nor good Will, is a dead member in Christes body, and shall be cut off. The fourth sort, haue both Hand and Hart; and these are they that walke in [...]oth [...]ly Loue, these walke worthy of th [...]s [...] Christ and shall haue their deeds of mercy [...] that sweete [...]uest So [...] [...]: for I was hungry and you gaue me meate &c.

FINIS.

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