THE RVLE OF FAITH▪

OR, AN EXPOSITION OF the Apostles CREED, so handled as it affordeth both Milke for Babes, and strong meat for such as are at full age.

By that worthy seruant of Gods Church, Master NICHOLAS BIFIELD, late Minister of Gods Word at ISLEVVORTH, and by him in his life time fully perfected and transcribed, so much as is now published for the benefit of Gods Church, by his Sonne, ADONIRAM BIFIELD.

1 PET. 2. 2.

As new borne babes desire the sincere milke of the Word, that ye may grow thereby.

LONDON, Printed by G.M. for Philemon Stephens and Christopher Meredith, and are to be sold at their shop at the golden Lion in Pauls Church-yard, 1626.

TO THE RIGHT VVORSHIPFVLL AND Religious Knight, Sir THOMAS POSTHVMVS HOBY, and to the honourable and vertuous Lady, the Lady MARGARET his wife, A. B. wisheth the increase of grace heere, and the fruition of glory hereafter.

RIGHT WORSHIPFVLL,

THere are many waies to attaine to seeming honour heere vpon earth; there is no way to attaine to true honour, besides this of Piety and Vertue: Godlinesse brings the best gaine, the grea­test honour vnto a Christian: others may be more rich, none are more honorable then they: others may bee more esteemed of by the men of the world, none haue more honour both with God and good men then they: as Salomon saith, The wise shall inherit glory, but fooles, dishonor, though they Pro. 335. be exalted: this is the inheritance of the godly, who is the onely Wise man: So that I may now say with [Page] our Sauiour, your Worships haue both chosen the better part, which shall neuer be taken from you: I hauing euer obserued it to haue been your grea­test ambitions, to be true Christians: which alone makes you more excellent then your neighbours: nei­ther haue you made choise of Religion as many Hypocrites and Time-seruers doe, making it a stalking horse, a footstoole to the seat of prefer­ment; making choice of Religion for nothing else but onely for the aduancing of themselues and compassing of their owne priuate ends: no, your end and aime hath euer beene in all your ser­uices and imployments, both to aduance the glo­ry of God, as also to further the peace and welfare of this Church and Common-Wealth wherin we liue, and whereof God hath made your Worship a worthy member. This indouldens me humbly to present this ensuing Treatise vnto you both: which may be called the Rule of Faith, the Symbole or Badge, whereby a true Christian may be distin­guished, and knowne from all Iewes, Turkes, Athe­ists, Papists, Hereticks, counterfeting Tempori­zers, and false Professors: the Doctrine of the Creed, containing in it the substance of Christian Religion, Taught by the Apostles, Imbraced by the ancient Fathers, and Sealed by the bloud of the Martyrs: The exposition of which Creed, so far [Page] as it was perfected by the Author, I heere present vnto you both, desiring that it may shelter it selfe vnder your protection; many reasons infor­cing me thereto: first, that honour, and Singular Loue, which you both haue shewed vnto those that Labour in the Word and Doctrine: as you are pat­ternes of Piety, so are you Patrons of pious and godly men, and of their labours: secondly, that loue and respect which you were pleased in parti­cular to expresse vnto the Author of this Treatise (my deare Father, now with God) which since his death, you haue been pleased to continue both vnto the fruit of his Braine, as also to the fruit of his body, this imboldens me to commit this Posthu­mus to your protection: thirdly, that good esteeme which you haue euer had of this work, manifested, both, when you were pleased to bee diligent hea­rers of it when it was preached, so long as you were both resident in those parts, as also by your earnest desire of the publishing of it, for the bene­fit of Gods Church: and I doubt not but that you will now fauorably receiue that which formerly you haue so highly esteemed, & so much desired: lastly, that speciall duty which I my selfe owe vnto you both for your extraordinary Loue, and (by me vndeserued) fauours which you haue beene both pleased to shew vnto me, since it pleased God [Page] to depriue me of the benefit of such a Father; this my duty bindeth me, with all humility and thank­fulnesse to acknowledge them, therefore doe I willingly take this oportunity, humbly to present this ensuing Treatise vnto you both, not doub­ting but that you will receiue it into your Patro­nage: so that whilst you beleeue, and countenance and defend the Truth, The Truth shall make you free: These things do, and the God of Truth and Peace shall be with you: now the God of all grace make you perfect, confirme, strengthen, and esta­blish you, and blesse you with all spiritual blessings in heauenly things through Christ, with temporal blessings here, and with eternal blessings in his Kingdome, Such shall be the dayly Prayers of

Your Worships humbly deuoted, ADONIRAM BIFIELD.

To the Christian Reader.

CHristian Reader, it was the Authors purpose, if God had spared him life so long, to haue fini­shed this Exposition vpon the Creed; but man purposeth, and God disposeth. It pleased God to [...]aish his course, before he had finished this work; So much as now is published, comes vnto thy hands, as it was left fully perfected by the Au­thor in his life time. yet God in his diuine prouidence hath so disposed of it, as that you may finde the substance of those Articles which are not here perfected, to be handled in some of his other la­bours, vnto which briefly I referre you: For the ninth Article, concerning the holy Catholike Church, the Communion of Saints, I referre you to his Treatise called The Principles, or, the patterne of wholsome words, Chap. 23. And whereas The Communion of Saints consists of two parts: First, The communion of the members with the head; Secondly, The communion of the members among themselues: for the former read his Exposition vpon the Colossians, Chap. 1. vers. 18. pag. 121, 122, 123. for the latter, reade his Exposi­tion vpon the third of Peter, ver. 7. pag. 169. for this title, Saints, read his Exposition vpon the Colossians, Chap. 1. ver. 1. pag. 7, 8, 9. If you would be directed how to carry your selues in this communion amongst the Saints, and towards the godly, read his little Treatise called The Rules of a holy life, Chap. 25. For the tenth Article, The forgiuenesse of sinnes, I referre you to his Booke of the Principles, Chap. 24. as also to his Exposition vpon the Colossians, Chap. 1. vers. 14. pag. [Page] 108, 109. Would you know what course to take to bee deliuered from your sins, then I refer you to his little Treatise, called The Doctrine of the beginning of Christ, or, The Catalogue of sinnes, Chap. 2. pag. 14. For the eleuenth Article, The resurrection of the body, I referre you to his Booke of the Principles, Chap. 26. For the last Article, Euerlasting life, I referre you to his Exposition vpon the third Chapter of Pe­ter, ver. 7. where this is largely handled from pag. 141. to 163. The Author hath handled most of these things in di­uers parts of this Treatise, called the Rule of Faith, which you may easily finde out by the vse of the Index: These things I thought good to acquaint thee withall for thy helpe and bene­fit: as also to shew that by the diuine prouidence good supply, euen out of the Authors owne workes may be made of that de­fect, which by his immature death may be thought to be in this Rule of Faith. That which is required on thy part, is diligence and care to treasure vp in thy heart these wholsome and sound words contained in this Treatise, that so thou maist walke ac­cording to this Rule, knowing that as many of you as walke according to this Rule, peace shall be vpon them and vpon the Israel of God.

Thine in the Lord, ADONIRAM BIFIELD.

THE CREEDE.

OF THE CREED IN GENERALL.

Text, 2. Timothie 1. 13.‘Hold fast the forme or Patterne of Sound words.’

THere haue bin in all Ages of the Church since the giuing of the Scriptures, two wayes; by which the Ministers of the 2. Waies of Prea­ching. Church haue taught men the know­ledge that is necessary to Saluation: The one was to make choice of some Text of Scripture, and to expound it to the people, and thence to 1. By Text. make vse of it. Thus they did in Ezra his time, Nehemiah 8. 4. 7. 8. and thus did our Sauiour Christ at Nazareth, Luke 4. 16. 17 &c. and it is noted in that place, that it was our Sa­uiours custome so to doe. Thus did Philip, Acts 8. 30. 35. The 2. Without Text. other was without being tyed to any particular Text, to han­dle the ma [...]ne body of Doctrine, as was most necessary for the people that were to be instructed. Thus the Sermons of the Prophets were not the exposition of any particular Text, but [Page 2] a solid and compleate collection of all that matter which at that time were needfull for the people. And this course also did the Apostles hold in their Epistles and Sermons to the Churches, choosing out so much matter out of the reuealed Will of God, as was most behoouefull for the Christians, to whom they writt or preached, onely confirming what they taught by the Scripture. Both these courses haue bin followed in the Christian Churches to this day: onely amongst vs with this difference: That the instruction out of a Text is vsed in Churches, and the instruction without a Text in Schooles.

But that both these courses may bee held in popular tea­ching, is manifest, by the proofes before: and it is manifest, And both expe­dient. that if Diuines for the profit of their hearers, would vndertake solidly to set before the people the whole body of Theologie, and shew them at once all the choice things they are to be­leeue concerning God or Christ, or the Creation, or the like, it cannot but in some respects be much more profitable, then to cleaue onely to the exposition of whole bookes of Scripture or particular portions: because by the former course the peo­ple may see altogether, that which by the other way they should heare but by peece and at seuerall times, onely as the Texts will giue occasion. I obserue not this to disgrace the godly course of preaching by Texts, but rather to shew that both are needfull: and as I conceiue, it were much to be desi­red; That Diuines euery where would teach the people the whole frame and body of the Doctrine of godlinesse.

The Apostle Paul in this place shewes, that besides their The Apostles Patterne. course of instructing the Churches in particular Doctrines, ac­cording to occasion; they did extract into one body, the Heads of all Religion, which they did in all places carefully vnfolde, and preach vpon vnto the people; and these Heads thus gathe­red together, as the principall things handled in all the Scrip­tures, the Apostle calles heere the patterne of wholesome words, and were diuided into two generall Heads or Titles, Faith and Loue.

Now there are also two waies of handling these heads of Religion; the one more plainly and briefly, by way of Catechi­zing: the other more largely and exactly, by way of Methodi­call [Page 3] Doctrine: The one is necessarie for young beginners in Religion, and the other needfull to build vp a people in the knowledge begun in them.

Hauing therefore by Gods gracious assistance heretofore handled the bodie of Diuinity after the first sorte, in the extract of principles and Doctrine of foundation onely, with some ex­plication of them: I now intend by the like gracious assistance of God, to goe ouer all the body of sacred Theologie, in a more exact manner, adding those Doctrines that may serue to build you vp in the larger knowledge of those glorious Mysteries of true Religion. And long dilating with my selfe vpon what Foundation to raise this new frame; I at length resolued vpon the Apostles Creed, where I finde all the Doctrine of Faith collected into one faire body, ready to my hands.

And in discourseing of these glorious Truthes, I intende to The method in­tended. obserue a mixt course of Teaching, that both sorts of hearers may finde matter of profit: Heere will be plaine things for the simple, and more higher Contemplations for the more Iudi­cious.

Two things I especially intend in handling these Articles of Faith; the one is the apparelling of each Article, with the glo­rious furniture I finde made fit for it in any parte of the Scrip­ture: and this is by way of Exposition. The other is the dis­couerie of the many and singular vses we may put such glorious truths to, in the whole course of our liues: and this by way of vse.

Now then for an Introduction in generall, this Text giues vs occasion to consider of two things,

  • 1. What the Creed is.
  • 2. What we are bound to doe with the Creed.

For the first, the Apostles owne words, doe tell vs, what What the Creed is. such sound abridgements of the chiefest Mysteries of Religion are, they are Patternes, formes or frames of wholesome words; where two things are said:

  • 1. That they are wholesome words.
  • 2. That they are Patternes.
    What wholesome words are. Vnwholesome doctrines of two sorts.

They are wholesome words both by way of opposition to doctrines that poyson and corrupt the mindes of men: and by [Page 4] way of difference from such truthes as for the present and in some respects are not wholsome to the hearers though in them­selues they be wholesome.

We may obserue by diuerse passages in the Epistles of the Apostle, what kinde of Doctrine hee accounts to be in it selfe 1. Corrupt do­ctrine. vnwholesome, as all false Doctrine contrary to the Gospell of Iesus Christ: such as was Iustification by workes, the forbid­ding of marriage and meates, the denyall of the Resurrection and the like: and this he calles [...], to teach other Diuers sorts of corrupt doctrine. Doctrine. Such corrupt stuffe the Apostles also accounted all the vaine ianglings of men with pride and peruersenesse wran­gling about wordes, or disputing of needlesse things, and those he calles [...] and [...] and [...], &c. 1. Tim. 1. 3. & 6. 4, 5. [...]0. Further vnwholesome words, the A­postle accounts all their curiosities and vaine speculations in Philosophie, as when out of the liking of the writings of olde Philosophers, they brought in Angell worship into the Chur­ches, Colos. 2. 8. 19. and such stuffe also was that which the Apostle condemnes vnder the name of traditions of men, that is, superstitious obseruations, when the inuentions of men are vrged with opinion of holinesse or necessity, Col. 2. 8. 20. of this nature were prophane and olde Wiues fables, 1. Tim. 4. 7. and such is all that stuffe men haunt after that will not bee wise to Saluation, but curiously search after things not reuei­led.

Secondly, true Doctrine may be vnwholsome: and so wee finde diuerse instances in Scripture: as first, when the truth is How many waies true do­ctrine may be vnwholsome. [...]. so varnished by the inticing words of mans wisedome, that the power of God is not obserued or regarded, and the con­science is not intended to be informed. When men in deliue­ring the truth, studie to shew their owne wits, more then the glory of Gods Truth; this is not wholesome for the hearers, and therefore exclaimed against, and protested against by the Apostle in diuerse places, 1. Cor. 1. & 2. Colos. 2. 4. Secondly, the time is spent in knottie and obscure places, that are neither easie, nor necessary to be vnderstood, and in handling whereof, scandalous or dangerous conceits may bee raised in mens mindes. Thus the hard places of the Apostle Paules writings [Page 5] were peruerted as the Apostle Peter complaines, 2. Pet. 3. 17. Thirdly, when disputations about things indifferent are brought in, when the questions are doubtfull, and the weake may be intangled, Rom. 14. 1. Fourthly, when the Word of God is diuided vnskilfully, and ignorantly: as when strong meate is giuen to Babes, and strong men can get nothing but milke.

Thus as they are wholesome words. Secondly they are said How the Creed is a Patterne. to be Patternes: the Collection of the choisest truthes into one frame or body, is called heere a Patterne: and so the Creed may be said to be a Patterne of wholsome words, because in the Creed there is as it were a short, but liuely resemblance of all those truthes in a little roome which are at large, and dispersedly handled throughout all the Bible: and therefore, fitly was the Creed called the little Bible. Yea, it may be cal­led a patterne, because we may compare with it all the truthes we reade of in Scripture, and marke how they agree with, or suite to the Articles of our Creed, and because we may trie all Doctrine we heare, and free our selues from the Intanglement of such controuersies about opinions that agree not with, or belong not to our Creed.

As the Decalogue is a patterne of all duties to be done, and Note. the Lords Prayer a patterne of all requests to God, so the Creed is a patterne of all Doctrine to be belieued.

Thus of the discription of the Creed, as the words of the Apostle fitly serue for it. The more manifest description of it will appeare afterwards. The keeping of this patterne followes.

When the Apostle exhorts Timothie to the keeping of this patterne, he may be vnderstood to speake to him as a Minister, What great re­spect we should haue of the do­ctrines contained in the Creed. or as to a Christian in general. As a Minister he is inioyned with all care to endeuour to preserue the purity of Doctrine, and with great respect to teach often, and powerfully those points of Doctrine which were exprest in the patterne, as the princi­pall truthes hee should aime at in the course of his Ministerie. He should not through desire of vaine glory affect Curiosities, or Nouelties, but build vp his Hearers in all the knowledge he could infuse into them by continual teaching of those doctrines. If hee speake to him as a Christian in generall, then this is the [Page 6] point of Doctrine the Apostle aimes at, that all Christians bee exceeding carefull to get the distinct knowledge of the maine Articles of the Christian faith, and aboue all Doctrines keepe those as a great treasure. And so in particular, since we haue in the Creed such an excellent frame of the Doctrines of faith, we must hence learne that it is our duties to regarde these Do­ctrines with all respect.

There be twelue Reasons, why wee should bee in a speciall manner desirous to heare, learne, and make vse of the doctrine 12. Reasons why we should great­ly desire to be in­structed in the Articles of our Creed. 1. From the Commandement of God. of these Articles of our faith.

1. Because wee see heere it is the commandement of the Apostle, that wee should keepe this patterne of wholesome words. The Apostle saw it was a Doctrine of excellent vse for the Churches, and therefore to be learned and kept as a great treasure: and the Commandement to keepe them imports, that whatsoeuer we are ignorant of, yet we should not be ignorant of these points, and whatsoeuer we forget, yet these things we should bee sure to remember, and whatsoeuer wee wanted affection in, yet in these things wee should striue to be greatly affected. It is therefore a sinne of great vnfaithfulnesse to neg­lect these points, and shewes wee are too wise in our selues, if we haue no minde to learne and keepe such things, as God in his wisedome hath in some speciall manner charged vs to re­garde.

2. Because God himselfe is the immediate Author of these 2. From the Au­thor of it. Doctrines: it is God onely that opens this Schoole of Faith: These are lessons that are to be learned (not from wise men as many other things) but from God himselfe, to whom alone the glory of reuealing these high Misteries belonges.

3. Because the matter heere contained is Doctrine of the highest nature, that was euer taught or learned in the world: 3. From the sub­iect matter. what higher Doctrine can there be then of God & the Church of God? no Science hath such a Subiect. The Phisickes intreats but of the naturall bodie; Astronomie but of the heauens; all the Mathematicks, but of some particular and inferior subiects; and so all Artes: onely Theologie, and in Theologie the Creed intreates of a number of most choise Mysteries in diuine things. All the Doctrines heere are such as naturall reason or sense can [Page 7] say little or nothing to: for except it be in the first Article, na­ture is altogether silent in the rest. And for this Reason wee should bee wonderfully desirous to bee imployed in these knowledges: for to bee taken vp with easie things belonges vnto the Vulgar, but to bee informed in things remoued from the senses, belonges to the wise onely.

4. Because the Doctrine of the Creed hath bin receiued in 4. From antiqui­tie and vniuersa­litie. all Ages of the Church; it is Catholicke Doctrine: it hath bin entertained with great Honour in all Christian Churches: that Doctrine which all Christians in all Ages of the world haue learned and admired should bee much attended to by vs; and such is the Doctrine of the Creed. The Creed is the confessi­on of the whole Church of God since Christ: and if wee reade and respect the confessions of particular Churches, yea of par­ticular men, then how much more ought we to studie the con­fession of the Church vniuersall; it containing the faith, in which all the Martyrs and Saints of God liued and dyed.

5. Because it is matter that is infallible: for besides that we 5. From the in­fallibility of it. beleeue nothing heere, but what hath bin in all Ages receiued (except it bee in that point of Christ descending into Hell) so all those Articles are grounded vpon expresse Scripture (except before excepted) that there can bee no doubt of the truth of them, if we will beleeue the Scripture, and therefore we should with the more willingnesse attend to these Doctrines, seeing they are not in the number of those truthes that seeme to bee opposed, not onely by the iudgements of learned men, but by the Word of God, the meaning of Gods Word appearing not so clearely to vs in those things.

6. From the sufficiencie of the Doctrine of the Creed: It 6. From the sufficiencie of it. containes all things necessary to be belieued to saluation: All things I say, necessary for babes in the proposition, and for strong men in the exposition.

7. From the necessitie of knowing and beleeuing these 7. From the ne­cessity of it. Fides integra est Copulatiua. things: these Articles must be beleeued or we cannot be saued: Yea, all these Articles must be beleeued of necessity: to faile in any is desperately dangerous.

8. From the Permanencie of these truthes. Heere is that 8. From the per­manencie. said that will abide in a Christian, and is indelible.

[Page 8] 9. From the consideration of the condition of many hea­rers: some are but new beginners, and others though for the 9. From the con­dition of most hearers. time they might haue bin teachers, yet neede to bee taught these principles: Yea, neede to be taught them againe: being such as those, Heb. 5. 12, 13. It is in these things also, that the better sort of hearers complaine of their ignorance.

10. We were tyed in our Baptisme vnto the doctrine contai­ned 10. From our bond in baptisme. in this Creed, and so we stand bound before God and the Angels to learne it and keepe it as a great Treasure.

11. From the consideration of the manner of propounding these Articles, they are set dnwne in the Creed plainely, and so 11. From the manner. It is verbum ab­breuiatum, Pa­rvum Euangeliū, the little Bible. 12. From the many vses of it. they cleare our iudgements; and withall briefely, so as wee neede not feare our memories, it is short in words but great in mysteries.

12. Lastly, because of the singular vse may be made of these doctrines, there is great vse of the whole, and great vse of eue­ry part of it: other Sciences for the most part add nothing to vs, but to our knowledge onely, or little to our practise especially, so as to aduance our happines: now there are many commodi­ties arise from the knowledge & keeping of these truthes, as

1. Contemplatiue delight: Men are delighted with the smell of 1. Voluptas theo­retica. flowers, and the sight of colours, how much more may, and ought our mindes to be delighted in the obseruation & me­ditation of such glorious truthes as these: for these Articles doe exhibit to the beleeuing soule, the glory of God to be veiwed in the things of greatest excellencie, euen the choi­sest things wherein God hath made knowne the wonder of his goodnes vnto man. And therefore these things are good for meditation all the daies of our liues, if we had once but the skill to open the glories are heere contained. Many Chri­stians are much distressed about meditation: They com­plaine they cannot tell what to thinke of profitablie: In the Creed is cōtained the abridgement of these shining doctrines vpon which we may, and ought alwaies to look & wonder.

2. The restoring of the Image of God in our mindes: for by bringing in these knowledges, wee set vp againe the frame 2. Gods Image in these. of the Image of God in our mindes, which lieth vtterly de­faced in vs till the light of these doctrines begin to shine in [Page 9] our vnderstanding: wee are purblinde, yea wee are starke blinde so long as we are ignorant in these groundes.

3. The nourishment of the whole soule: The soule of man takes not foode further then it layes hold vpon these and such like 3. Nourishment. truthes, and when these are thought on and applied sound­ly, al things in the soule wil thriue and prosper: and the more is this to bee regarded, because in these Articles is contai­ned foode for all sorts of Christians: for heere is milke for Lac parvulorum Cibus fortium. little ones in the proposition of these Articles, and meate for strong men in the exposition of these: & all wholsome foode.

4. The Creed containes the substance of those Articles of agree­ment 4. Heere we see the Articles between God and vs. made betweene God and vs: so as we may easily and daily thence take notice of the maine points that are treated of betweene God and vs: The condition of the couenant on our parte, concerning either faith or practice, all that is re­quired of vs (in effect) in respect of faith is heere set downe.

5. By the dexterous vse of these doctrines, we may try all Reli­gions 5. The triall of contrary do­ctrine. Parvus Iudex. in the world: for heere is the roote of faith, the touch­stone to try things that are to bee belieued, the square by which they are to be measured: 'tis that little Iudge in mat­ters of quarrell about Religion: for whatsoeuer doctrine is contrary to the Analogie of faith in these things may bee safely reiected, and must be.

6. It is the very Charecter of the Church: and serues to distin­guish 6. It distinguisheth vs from all mis­beleeuers. vs from all other professions of men in the world: as first, from meere naturalists, that beleeue no more cōcerning God & religion then they can see by the light of nature as it is now corrupted: and so it distinguisheth vs from the Philo­sophers: and therfore much more from the common sort of Gentiles, that entertained opinions monstrous, and against the very light of Nature: secondly, from the Turkes, who though they receiue some truthes from the light of Scrip­ture, yet reiecting most of these fundamental truthes, & en­tertaining a multitude of blasphemies of their owne against the Christian faith, are worthily condemned as men without the pale of the Church: thirdly, from the Iewes, because they denie all the Articles concerning Christ: fourthly, from all sorts of Heretickes, that haue erred from this [Page 10] faith, in some of the Articles concerning Christ, such as are the Arrians and Papists at this day: fifthly, from such as haue but a wandering opinion concerning God in any of these Articles, so as they onely know them by coniecture or hearesay, and haue not entertained them with distinct assurance into their hearts: and such are mul­titudes of people of all sorts euen in the Visible Church. Alsted. Catech. To conclude, euery word almost of the Creed doth pierce the sides of some or other hereticall or blasphemous men. As we beleeue one God, against the Gentiles; the Father, Sonne, and holy Ghost, against the Antitrinitans; Creator of Heauen and Earth, against Carpocrates, Cerinthus and the Ebionits; we beleeue that Christ is the Lord, against Ʋa­lentinus, who acknowledged him to bee a Sauiour, not a Lord; and that he is our Lord, against those in Origens time, that said hee was the Lord of God; and that hee is the onely begotten Son, against the Arrians; conceiued by the holy Ghost, against Apollinaris, Valentinus, and Eutiches; that he was dead, against Basilides; & rose againe, against Cerinthus; and sitteth at the right hand of God, against Praxeus; and we beleeue one Catholique Church, against the Donatists and Nouatian; and the Communion of Saints, against Sectaries; and the Resurrection, against the Sadduces and Cerinthians, and the like. 7. It is full of com­fortable vses.

7. Lastly, there is scarce any word in the Creed but it con­taines some vses of Consolation, and therefore wee should attend vnto it, and keepe it as a great treasure, because there are so many springes of ioy that will euer flowe abundantly into our hearts, if the fault be not in our owne carelesnesse, ignorance or vnbeliefe.

The Vse should bee therefore to inflame our hearts to a de­sire after the vnderstanding and power of these Doctrines, and hauing learned them to keepe them in the closet of our hearts, as our greatest treasure on earth. I know there is naturally in the hearts of the most hearers a kinde of desire to heare new doctrines, and to be taught in things aboue the consideration of these principles, but we must be altogether displeased with our selues, [...]f we find this intemperance in our desires: It would [Page 11] argue a great loathing of Manna, and a secret despising of the greatest part of the Word of God (which is imployed about the propounding and vrging of these doctrines) if wee should suffer our hearts to slight these grounds, and first Truthes: It is a signe of a narrow and base heart, if there bee not roome to receiue with gladnesse this precious seede. Men are loath to be accounted Babes, and therefore affect not the doctrine is fit for them, but looke too high, and reach after things that are not so vsefull for them.

And thus in generall.

The Title of the Creed.

Ephes. 2. 20.

THe Creed hath two things in it to bee considered of: The Title and the Articles of faith comprehended in it: the Title, vsuall and antient, is the Apostles Creed. Where is noted the Authors of these doctrines, and the kinde of doctrine. The Authors were the Apostles: the kinde of doctrine is a Creed: first of the Authors. How the Creed is the Apostles.

All men grant the Creed to bee the Apostles: but yet all agree not about the sense, How the Creed may bee said to be the Apostles: for some thinke it is the Apostles Creed, because the Apostles made it and compiled it in the forme as it now is. Others thinke it is the Apostles Creed because it containes the substance of their Doctrine, though it were not made by them. 2. Opinions.

The first sort conceiue thus: That the Apostles after Pente­cost when they had receiued the holy Ghost, met together in Ierusalem, and considering that they were to depart one from the other into diuers parts of the world, they agreed vpon the substance of all that doctrine which they would teach all a­broad the world, and accordingly digested it into this forme, that thereby it might appeare that their doctrine euery where Ruffin. in Simbo. Apost. did agree; and that so, false Teachers might bee discouered, [Page 12] when they should in any place vnder pretence of preaching Christ, oppose or conceale any parte of the necessarie Christi­an faith. Of this opinion were some of the Fathers: Some of the Schoolemen afterwards went so farre, as to name which part of the Creed was made by each of the Apostles, as That Durandus, &c. Peter should say, I beleeue in God the Fa [...]her Almighty; and Iohn should say, Creator of Heauen and Earth; and Iames should say, I beleeue in Iesus Christ his onely Sonne our Lord; and so the rest of the Apostles cast in each one a parte, till by them all the whole Creed was finished.

But this opinion cannot be true, as may appeare by diuers reasons, some probable, some infallible. It is not probable the Apostles digested it in the order it is: for why needed it to be made by all the Apostles peice▪meale, and not rather by one Apostle alone? Secondly, there are tearmes vsed in the Creed, are no where vsed in the writings of the Apostles, as the words of descending into Hell, and the Catholique Church. Thirdly, the Apostles Catechisme intreated of faith and loue, 2. Tim. 1. 1 [...]. but this Creed intreates onely of faith. But there is one Rea­son which is infallible: for if this Creed had bin written by the Apostles, it had bin Canonicall Scripture, and must haue bin re [...]d in our Bibles, which no man euer affirmed which I read of.

2. The second sort of Diuines therefore are in the right o­pinion, who conceiue that the Creed is the Apostles in respect of the matter, not in respect of the forme. It is the Apostles, because the doctrine contained in it, is that which all the Apo­stles with one consent did teach vnto the world, and haue left confirmed in the Apostolicall writings in the New Testa­ment. And for this Reason we ought to attend to the doctrines heere to be intreated of, as being such truthes, as are not foun­ded on the testimony of any ordinary man, but euen of the A­postles themselues.

Quest. But may some one say; Is it not the Prophets Creed Quest. aswell as the Apostles. or are not these Articles to bee found in the writings of the Prophets aswell as the Apostles, or are there some truthes necessary now to Saluation, that were not neces­sarie in the Olde Testament?

[Page 13] Answ. I answer that the maine substance of the doctrine of the Creed was knowne and taught by the Prophets in the Old Testament, as in generall concerning one God, and the Messias, and eternall life, &c. but there are some things pecu­liar in the Creed vnto the Christian Church, and of necessity to Saluation: as the more open and cleare doctrine of the Tri­nity: the particulars about the Humiliation and Exaltation of Christ, and the estate of the Catholique Church, these being cleerely reueiled are now necessary to Saluation.

Quest. Some one will say; but how came the Creed then in­to the Church, who made it, or when was it made?

Answ. I answer, that it seemes cleare that it came not in all at once, but that in the Apostles daies it was much shorter: It is manifest, that our Lord and Sauiour commanded to baptize men in the Name of the Father, of the Sonne, and of the holy Ghost. Whence came the custome of examining those that were baptized about their faith: Who in the first times answe­red briefly, and for the most part, but concerning the Trinity or concerning Christ, which was chiefly then in question: We may obserue that Philip would not baptize the Eunuch, till he had confessed his faith, Acts the 8. which imports that it was the manner then to admit none of yeeres to baptisme, till they had professed their faith, and that some kinde of short forme was then in vse: What the precise forme was, cannot bee cer­tainely knowne: but it is likely, their confession went not fur­ther then the Trinity: Now these Articles concerning the Tri­nity, were inlarged for the preuention and repressing of sundrie Heresies, as they did or were likely to spring vp in the Church. But that the whole Creed as it is now, was not verbatim in the The most of the Articles concer­ning Christ are to be found, Act 2. from v. 22. to v. 37 first Ages, may appeare in that the confession of faith in the daies of Martialis, Ignatius, Irena, Tertullian, Origen, and those of their times did not proceede further then the Trinity: In the first book of Socrates his Eccless. Hist. Chap. 19. we finde, The Creed thus recited.

We beleeue in one God the Father Almighty, and in the Lord Iesus Christ his Sonne, begotten of him before all worldes, true God, by whom all things were made which are in heauen, and which are in earth: Who descended, and was incarnate, and suffe­red [Page 14] and rose againe, and ascended into Heauen, and from thence shall come againe to iudge the quicke and dead: and in the holy Ghost, in the Resurrection of the flesh, in the life of the world to come, in the Kingdome of Heauen, and one Catholique Church, reaching from one end of the earth to the other.

In Saint Ambrose his time, the baptised was asked three questions: as first, dost thou beleeue in God the Father Al­mighty, and the baptized answered, I beleeue, and then hee was dipped vnder the water: secondly, hee was asked, doest thou beleeue in the Lord Iesus Christ and his Crosse, and hee answered I beleeue, and then was dipped againe: thirdly, hee was asked doest thou beleeue in the holy Ghost, and he answe­red, I doe beleeue, and was the third time dipped. Ambrose lib. 2. de Sacram. cap. 7. so that 'tis probable, that the Creed was not fully finished in this forme it now is, till about the fourth age after Christ: And thus of the Authors of the Creed.

To conclude therefore this point concerning the Authors of these Articles, the Creed is called the Apostles Creed in two respects: first, to distinguish it from all other Creeds. There haue bin diuers Creeds made in the seuerall ages since Christ, some by particular writers, some by Councells: of particular writers, Athanasius Creed doth most excell, which is the Creed set downe in the booke of Common Prayer, next before the Letany: and of Councells these are the chiefe Creeds, the Nicen Creed, which you may finde in the booke of Common Prayer, also set downe in the order of the Communion, as also the Creed of the Ephesian Synod, and the Creed of the Calcedoni­an Synod, reade Am. Pol. synt. Theol. lib. 2. cap. 2.

Now this Creed is called the Apostles Creed, to shew that the Churches did hold it to bee of greater authority then any other Creed, and that other Creeds are but as it were expositi­ons of this Creed.

Secondly, it is called the Apostles Creed, to giue it authori­ty aboue all humane writings, euen those that haue much or most excelled. The confession of Nationall Churches haue been worthily had in great request, so haue the Creeds of the Councells, and so haue the Apocripha Scriptures: but yet none of these haue attained to the honour of this Creed. The tran­slation [Page 15] of the Canonicall Scriptures in respect of the words are humane, though in respect of the matter and order they are di­uine: and these of all humane writings are the best, yet not without the defects of the Translators, whereas the originall in both Testaments is diuine both for matter, order, and words al­so. Thus of the Authors. The kinde of writing followes.

Creede]Symbolum is the word vsed in the most Christian Churches and is plainely agreeable to the originall word, the Creed being first penned in the Greeke tongue.

If the word bee deriued of Syn and bolus, then it may sig­nifie two things: first, a morsell, or as much as a man may well swallow at once: and so the whole Scriptures containing but the diuine furnishing of Gods Table as it were, the Creed containes each particular Christians morsell, so much as hee may and must swallow, and receiue downe into his heart, with­out leauing any of these Articles out: secondly, a draught, euen as much as a net can take at once. The sea is the Word, the fisherman is the Christian man, the Net is faith, the Creed is as much as the faith of the Christian can take at a draught out of the Sea of doctrine contained in the Scriptures. But it is more likely the word should be deriued of Syn and [...], and then it may signifie all or any of these fiue things:

1. A Shot: it containing the reckoning which the Apo­stles made for the Churches, being deducted or cast in, out of the seuerall writings of each of the Apostles.

2. A Watchword, or any signe in the time of warre, by which the Souldier might be distinguished from spies or stran­gers, and so might shew to what captaine or colours hee be­longed: so the Creed is the Military signe by which the true Christian is distinguished from all spirituall spies and forrei­ners: 'tis Gods Watchword.

3. The Motto or Poesie, or word giuen in mens Armes: so the Creed is the Christians Motto, his word which is set in his Armes, being made noble in bloud by Christ, and so able to giue the Armes of his spirituall house and kindred.

4. A token or Bill of Exchange, by which a man is enabled to trade or receiue commodities: By the Creed the Christian may trade for any spirituall commodities.

[Page 16] 5. A Passeport: Christians are strangers and Pilgrims, a great way from home, and the gouernment of the Christian world, will not let a man passe without his authenticke Passe­port: Now by his Creed the Christian man may passe and finde entertainement in any part of the Christian world.

As for the name Creed, it is not easie to tell when it first came vp in our Language, but it is certaine it comes of the first word which is in Latine Credo, rendered I beleeue.

But by the way; if these Articles be a Creed, then they are not a Prayer, nor to be said as a Prayer, as the ignorant mul­titude doth abuse it

Thus of the Title.

I Beleeue.

Marke 9. 24.

IN the Creed it selfe we must consider: first, matter of dutie which is in the word Beleeue, which is the hand or claspe The Analysis of the whole Creed that takes hold of all and euery of the Articles: secondly, matter of doctrine, which may be cast into two Heads, as it concernes God or the Church: for the Lord doth not vouch­safe to comber Religion with the whole doctrine that might concerne the estate of all men out of the Church: concerning God, the Articles looke vpon all three persons: and in the do­ctrine of the Father, amongst his attributes, singles out his Al­mightinesse; and amongst his workes, lookes vpon his making of Heauen and Earth. In Christ faith lookes vpon his Person and his Office. In his Person it acknowledgeth his diuine Na­ture as Gods onely Sonne; and his humane Nature in these two words (viz.) conception by the holy Ghost, and birth of a Virgin. His Office is considered according to his estate both of Humiliation and Exaltation. In his Humiliation is conside­red his sufferings: first, in body in that he suffered vnder Pon­tius Pilate, was dead and buried; and then in soule, in that he descended into Hell: In his Exaltation, faith viewes his Re­surrection, Ascension, and Session at the right hand of God, and [Page 17] his comming to Iudgement. Concerning the holy Ghost, the Church hath retained and maintained that truth in all ages without any great opposition, and therefore that Article is ve­ry barely set downe: the greatest quarrells were raised either by Gentiles against the doctrine of God the Father; or by He­reticks against the doctrine of Christ the Sonne; which made faith speake out more distinctly in the doctrine of these two persons. Thus of God.

Concerning the Church, two things are to be noted: Pro­perties or Priuiledges. Her properties are two, holy and Catho­lique. The goods or Priuiledges of the Church are either in this world, or in the world to come. In this world there is Communion of Saints and forgiuenesse of sinnes. In another world faith sees and wonders at the Resurrection of the body and the life Euerlasting.

I Beleeue.]

This word I beleeue, is not a word onely of a Christian ad­dressing himselfe to lay hold vpon these treasures contained in the Articles following, but it is the word of a man making answer: The question is suppressed, but the Answer is expres­sed: for as it is true that a true beleeuer is oft questioned, so 'tis as true, that by his Creed, he answers all that can be said to him: for heere is contained, that Answer of a good conscience spoken of 1. Pet. 3. 2 [...].

This forme of answering came first in at Baptisme in the Primitiue Church: for before the partie to be baptized was ad­mitted vnto Baptisme, hee was examined (as the Eunuch was by Philip) and did answer by making confession of his faith in this or the like forme. Neither is this the answer of the Chri­stian at the time of his Baptisme onely, but all the daies of his life: for if God aske him, what he hath to doe to take his words into his mouth, or what he makes among his seruants? or if the diuell aske him, why he liues not in his sinnes, or contrari­wise, why he dispaires not, or why he entertaines doctrines of which their can bee no Reason giuen? or if the Lawe aske him, what shift he can make with all his sins, hauing broken euery Lawe; and with all the curses due to him for his sinnes? or if the world aske him, why he liues so retiredly, and keepes [Page 18] not companie with the men of the world, and seekes not, or admires not the pleasures of life, or the honors and fauours of great men, or the Riches of this world, and why hee suffers so much disgrace, and affliction, which hee might auoid if hee would doe as other men doe? to all or any of these or the like questions, he still answers, I beleeue in God, &c.

Beliefe or Faith is diuersly accepted: sometimes it is taken for fidelity or faithfulnesse, or assent: and this sense it hath a­mong the Philosophers aswellas among the Diuines that are Christians, but all the other senses following it hath onely a­mong Christian Diuines. And so it is taken sometimes for the doctrine of faith, 1. Cor. 13. 13. Phil. 1. 27. sometimes for the profession of faith, and so Simon Magus beleeued: sometimes for the things beleeued, 1. Tim. 1. 19. Iude 3. But most vsually for the gift by which we beleeue, and so it is taken heere.

But what is it to beleeue these Articles? 'tis not to gesse at them that they are true, or to conceiue some probable hope that they may be iustified; nor is it, to say them ouer; nor is it onely to liue in such places where such doctrines are taught and defended: but to beleeue, must haue these six things di­stinctly in it: for to beleeue, is,

1. To vnderstand the meaning and sense of these Articles: this is so necessary as it is impossible wee should beleeue, when wee know not what it is we beleeue: yet this is the least thing in faith.

2. It is to assent to all this doctrine that it is the Truth.

3. 'Tis to esteeme and like this doctrine aboue all other kindes of doctrine in the world, which is contrary or different from it, and accordingly to ioy in it, and bee much affected with it.

4. 'Tis to professe it, and openly to declare my selfe resolued to liue and die in the beliefe of this doctrine: and so this profession hath in it two thinges: first, a Separation from such societies of men as receiue not this faith: secondly, Apologie for it, so as to defend it, and contend for it, Phil. 1. 27. Iude 3.

5. 'Tis yet more, and that is, to rest in the happinesse contained in this doctrine of the Creed, as it containes all that excel­lent [Page 19] treasure which is sufficient for our eternall saluation, and our chi [...]fe good.

6. 'Tis lastly, to ioyne our selues to true beleeuers, as to the only excellent people in the world, with sincere affection to them, and desire of fellowship with them: for this is such a faith as workes by loue.

So that this beleeuing heere, hath in it all the three faithes spoken of by Diuines; for to vnderstand and assent is the worke of Historicall faith: To esteeme and professe is the worke of temporarie faith: To rest vpon this happinesse by Christ, and to ioyne in hearty fellowship with the godly, is the worke of iustifying faith.

Now, because some of these things in beleeuing may bee found in reprobates as well as the Elect, and that the heart of man is exceeding deceitfull in the point of faith, and the di­uell applied his temptations, with all subtilty and power, to deceiue men in their beleeuing, therefore vnto these things which are comprehended within the nature of the beleeuing heer mentioned, I adde the distinct consideration of such things as must bee found in the manner of our beleeuing: wee must looke to it how we beleeue these Articles, for we may be ma­ny waies deceiued: for,

1. We must beleeue them with the heart, and not confesse them with the mouth onely, Rom. 10. 10. and to beleeue them with our hearts, is to beleeue them in deede, not in shew; to beleeue them voluntarily, not vpon compulsion; to beleeue them affectionately, not coldely, or dully: our faith must be a liuely faith, not a dead faith.

2. We must beleeue them personally; each one must haue his owne faith: 'Tis not inough to ioyne our selues to such men as doe beleeue them, but euery one must get him a faith of his owne: The Iust must liue by his owne saith, Hab. 2. 5. and therefore we say I beleeue, not they beleeue, or we beleeue: We say, our Father when we pray, because we may pray one for another; but we say not we beleeue, because we cannot beleeue one for another.

3. We must beleeue, explicitely, not implicitely: It was one principle in the Kingdome of Antichrist to the intent that [Page 20] the people might be kept in blindnesse, to teach them, that it was inough for them to beleeue, as the Church beleeued, without inquiring into particulars: and therefore they tell a tale to this end, how the diuell tempting a man, and vr­ging him to tell how he beleeued, the man answered, as the Church beleeued; and the diuell asking him how the Church beleeued, he answered as I doe, and hereupon the diuell ranne away and was vanquished. And it m [...]y well bee, the diuell durst aske him no more questions, for feare least he should get out of his Snare, now that by these an­swers, he had made it manifest he was fast in: for hee that takes not in the doctrine of faith par [...]icularly, takes it not in at all: for as the Childe may starue though you set before it a whole loafe of bread or other prouision, if you cut it not for him, bit by bit, so is it with vs in beleeuing: To set the bo­dy of faith before vs, and not teach vs how, after it is diui­ded, to take any part, is to starue our soules. To bee short then, we must looke to it, that we vnderstand and beleeue these Articles not in the whole lumpe onely, but in the partes; not by trusting to other mens iudgements, but di­stinctly taking notice of each doctrine of faith our selues.

4. We must beleeue all the Articles of the faith totally, not in some parts onely; faith is copulatiue heere: we must beleeue all or none. He cannot be sound in the faith, that is corrup­ted in his iudgement about any these Articles: faith, that is, a sound faith beleeues all that is written.

5. We must beleeue with application. It is not inough to be­leeue, that these doctrines are true, or good, but wee must beleeue that they belong to each of vs in particular, or else we shall haue little profit or comfort by them. What can it comfort vs to beleeue that these things are, or that others shall haue the benefit of them, if they belong not to vs? Thus I must beleeue that I haue the benefit of Gods power or prouidence, and of Christs Incarnation and Passion, and exaltation, and that I am a member of the Church, and haue my parte in his priuiledges. This is a maine thing to be at­tained; for a reprobate may goe so farre, to beleeue that these doctrines are true.

[Page 21] 6. We must beleeue with all Christian simplicity: which should haue two things in it: first, wee must cast away all trust in our owne merits: It is a compounded and corrupted faith that beleeues any of these things vpon the perswasion of his owne merits or deserts: To beleeue aright, and merit can­not stand together: true faith casteth out merit. For, if they which are of the law inherit any of these treasures, then faith is void, and the promise and gift of Gods grace of none effect, Rom. 4. 14. secondly, we must beleeue so, as we will giue glory to God, though the things to bee beleeued, bee neuer so vnlikely to carnall reason, or be things absent, and not yet giuen, or things aboue our vnderstanding in the full glory of them, our faith must not bee curious or vn­quiet, to binde God to giue vs a reason of his promises or actions. Herein we must take heede, that the Serpent be­guile vs not, nor seduce vs from the simplicity that is in Christ Iesus, 2. Cor. 11. 3. Yea this is the glory and tri­umph of faith, in these things without doubting to giue glory to God. Our faith must bee the substance of things hoped for, and the demonstration of things not seene. Wee must beleeue eternall life, though we must die; and a bles­sed resurrection, though we shall be rotten in the graue; and that we are Iustified, though sinne yet dwell in vs; and that we are blessed, though yet exposed to much miseries, &c.

7. We must beleeue with full assurance; wee must not wauer or doubt, but bee fully resolued and established in the per­swasion of these things and our right in them, Colos. 2. 2. 1. Thes. 1. 4. this we ought to labour for, and this may bee had, and therefore we should giue all diligence to get this full assurance of faith: I grant that a lesse degree of faith, may be true faith, as shall bee shewed afterwards, but yet this is that which we should striue for, that we may effectu­ally glorifie God by beleeuing.

8. We must beleeue with perseuerance: we must so giue enter­tainement to these sacred truthes, now, as that wee also meane to liue and die in this faith. The faith that is tempo­rarie will little auaile vs, we must so prouide that our faith may last to the end. And therefore the word is I do beleeue, [Page 22] in the present time, not I haue beleeued, or I will beleeue, to note, that there must be no time wherein a Christian may truely say now I beleeue not. Now that we may not be deceiued herein, we must looke to three things. First, that we cast off all carnall ends in our profession of faith: and looke to it that wee take not vp the profession of religion for sinister respects, as many haue done, for such ends as these, to wit, to get credit, and the fauour of men, or to make them­selues capable of the preferment of this world, or to shew their gifts; or, which is worse, to couer secret wicked practi­ses, or open faults.

Secondly, that we build not our Faith vpon wrong Causes or grounds, such as are the respect of any mans person or opi­nion or the intising words of mens wisedome, or the meere colours and probabilities of mens arguments; but be sure we place our Faith vpon the Word of God.

Thirdly, that we be not deceiued with the seeming effects of Faith, but learne to distinguish betweene the force of the Word vpon our hearts, when we are meerely as it were pati­ents, and the force of the Word working a habit or action in vs. I expresse my meaning thus: Many a man liues in a place, where the word is taught in the power and glory of it, comes to heare without any care, or purpose to regard, or profit by it; yet the truth in the deliuerie of it so shines in his heart, that he is not only conuinced, but for the time delighted, and heares with great gladnesse, as feeling his heart to be warmed with the doctrine he heares: yet cares not for it when he is gone a­way, nor makes any vse of it at all, as being destitute of a­ny gift by which he should receiue or apply the doctrine: so that this heat in his heart did not arise from any habit in him receiuing the Word and making vse of it, but onely from the forcible penetration of the doctrine. As a stone that is heated by the beames of the Sunne, that neither had heat in it selfe be­fore, nor keepes heat when the Sunne hath done shining, but is a meere patient. Now this hearer hath not so much as a temporarie Faith: for he that hath the temporarie Faith, hath a kinde of habit be gotten in him, so as he doth receiue the do­ctrine, and keepe it after a sort, and from the force of it so kept, [Page 23] doth bring forth some fruit; and so the seede receiued into his heart, is like grasse vpon the house top, or seede sowen in sto­nie places, where there is a little earth mingled withall: where­as he that beleeues aright, and so will hold out, hath the natu­rall stoninesse of his heart dissolued by the word, and is so af­fected with it for the present, that he receiues it so as it tarri­eth in him, and growes in him, and he brings forth the sound fruit of Reformation of life: and his seede abideth in him, it cannot vtterly be destroyed, but Faith in him is like the tree of life, that will euery yeere bring new fruit: Whereas in Nature the corne that is sowne, after one haruest is destroyed, in re­spect of that particular graine that was sowen. Nor may any say, that he cannot know whether he shall hereafter keepe his Faith; he can iudge of his Faith what it is now: for, if he get a sound Faith it will keepe, and besides, he beleeues with perse­uerance, that doth resolue for euer to rest in that Faith, simply for the euidence, worth, and vse of the doctrine beleeued, for he that hath but a temporary faith, as he doth receiue doctrine, but for certaine aduantages, or carnall ends, so can he not get his heart at that very time, to a resolution to cleaue eternally to that doctrine of Gods grace.

9. It is not yet innough to resolue to keepe the faith, and to preserue the doctrine, but we must looke to it, that we lay it vp in a cleane place, which is a pure Conscience, 1 Tim. 3. 9. and that we keepe it there cleane from the mixtures of mens deuises: being curious in the businesses of our faith, to let in no priuate interpretations, but to resolue to beleeue onely as Gods word doth bid vs beleeue: we must take heede, and not admit carelesly any interpretations of the Articles of our faith, that any sort of men will bring to vs, but we must still haue an eye to Gods word, to see all expounded by the word, 2 Pet. 1. 20. 19. 16. we must re­ceiue nothing here, no not in the least part of the apparrel­ling of these truths, which is not agreeable to some pat­terne in the booke of God.

Lastly, we must beleeue these Articles, but not all with one kinde of faith: for some of these things we beleeue in; that is, place our trust and confidence, and all hope of happi­nesse [Page 24] in them; so we beleeue in God, and in Iesus Christ, and in the holy Ghost: but other things wee doe not be­leeue in, but beleeue, as the properties and priuiledges of the Church, as wee may discerne by the difference of spea­king in the Creed. Wee say I beleeue in God, but doe not say, I beleeue in the holy Church, &c.

The vse may be first, for information: we may hence gather that there are but few sound Christians in any place: there are but few that beleeue their Creed, obseruing all the duties and conditions required in beliefe, and consequently, but few that receiue the benefit of the Gospell, or that shall be saued. This will appeare if a Tryall could bee made euen in the places that are most populous, and abound most with Christians in name. For, if all the sorts of men bee cast out, that haue not a faith agreeable to this doctrine, there will bee but a few left: as for instance.

1. Cast out all such worldly minded people as haue not at all regarded their Creed or the Doctrine contained in it: vn­doubtedly some such there are, who scarce learned their Creed at all, and liue so without God in the world, as they neuer regarded Religion at all with their hearts.

2. Cast out all such as vnderstand not their Creed, many can say the words, who yet neuer were instructed concerning the meaning, and haue not any competent measure of know­ledge concerning the sense of the Articles. Now it is im­possible these should be true beleeuers.

3. Cast out such as know perhaps the meaning, but assent not to the doctrine: They cannot tell whether these things bee true or no: nor how to approue them; and is there not in all places diuers men, that are of this humour? are there not men that will be of any Religion? That are temporizers?

4. Cast out such as beleeue that all the doctrines be true, but it is by such a saith as the diuells haue: for the diuells beleeue the doctrines to be true, but so, as they hate it, and the tea­ching of it, and all such as thriue in knowledge and profes­sion of it. Are there not multitudes of people with vs, that discouer this kinde of diuellish quality? doe they not from their hearts loath preaching? doe they not from their hearts [Page 25] hate such as are the best beleeuers? doe they not readily and spitefully speake euill of such as feare God in euery place? these cannot be right, that beleeue loathing.

5. Cast out such as beleeue with a dead faith: that is such as finde no manner of feare, nor vertue, nor operation in these doctrines: but can take in a great deale of the literall know­ledge of these truthes, and yet it hath no power to worke vpon their hearts: These haue not so much faith as the di­uells haue; for they beleeue and tremble, that is they are a­frighted and extreamely amazed at the thought of the fulfil­ling and accomplishment of these truthes, considering their owne misery. Whereas multitudes of Christians, heare of beliefe, and talke of these things, and are not a whit moued either with feare or sorrowe.

6. Cast out such as haue but a temporarie faith. And in them consider: first, what they haue in their faith, and then by what things it may be manifest that their faith is insufficient: for the first, these men are not altogether without faith, they haue knowledge of the meaning of the doctrine of the Gos­pell, they assent to it and are assured it is the truth and can proue it, and they hate not the doctrine but rather like it and loue it. And besides, their beliefe of these things wor­keth much vpon them: for they heare the Word with Ioy, Mat. 13. yea and are moued and perswaded to reforme their liues, and by it escape much filthinesse which is in o­thers and was in themselues, 2. Pet. 2. 20. and they do ioyne themselues to, and keepe company openly with such as feare God, as Iudas and Demas did with the Apostles: and doe spend much time in reading the Scriptures and good books, and may be forward to reproue or punish vice and wicked­nesse in other men as Iehu was, and yet all this notwithstan­ding▪ their faith is vaine: which will appeare to their con­sciences if they consider these things in them:

1. That they beleeue not with application to themselues: They lay not hold on these things by a particular faith. They place not their happinesse in the perswasion of their interest in these truthes.

2. That they are not reformed in the [...] beloued or gainefull [Page 26] sinnes: there bee some sinnes they know by themselues which they desire not to leaue, and therefore neuer repented of them. Iudas would not leaue his couetousnesse, nor He­rod his lust, nor Iehu his Idols, &c.

3. That they are apt to fall away from the liking they haue of Religion, which they may finde in themselues when they are at the best, if they examine themselues in these questions. Whether for these things they would loose the fauour of their carnall friends, and their credit in the world? whether they would suffer for these things if times of persecution should come? whether if they might haue their hearts de­sire in worldly or sinfull things, they would not aband on the care of these things? And they may finde it by this, that if they fall out with any that are the chiefe for Religion in the places where they liue, they meditate not onely a forsaking of such as they are fallen out withall, but euen a relin qui­shing of their forwardnesse or care for profession of religion it selfe: those that finde such corruption in their hearts, had neede to take heede to their standing least they fall: for though a timely reconciliation with men, restore them to their former course of profession againe, yet this tryall of their hearts, may tell them, that at length for such or the like occasions they will fall cleane away, if they get not bet­ter footing in the Kingdome of God.

4. That all this profession is vndertaken for carnall and cor­rupt ends: as either to get credit with religious persons, or to auoid the penall Lawes of Princes, or to couer some vices they are prone to, or guilty of, or to aduantage their estates in worldly things, or out of desire to excell others in gifts or the like.

5. That the ioy which they feele is but a false ioy and vnsound: which appeares both by the causes of it, and by the effects. By the causes, for they ioy in hearing the Word for these or the like reasons: because the doctrine is new, or because it is handled with vnexpected learning or wit, or because it fits their humors or affections, or because it is doctrine that is generally comfortable, and sets out the happinesse of such as are of their Religion, or because the things spoken of [Page 27] are admirable in themselues, or because the doctrine makes against such and such as he likes not. And such as are the causes, such are the effects. For this ioy makes them more proude, and carelesse, and conceited, and contemptuous many times of others. Whereas the true ioy ariseth from the solid application of the things heard to himselfe, and from the perswasion of his right vnto these comforts by and through Iesus Christ. And withall this ioy doth soften the heart, as the dew from Heauen doth the ground, and makes the true Christian more humble and mortified, and more desirous to be rid of sinne, and more to loue God, and goodnes, and godly men.

Now if all these sorts bee cast out, it is easie to coniecture, that few will remaine to bee reckoned for true belee­uers.

Secondly, this doctrine of beleeuing should moue all sorts of men in the Visible Church, to try and examine themselues 2. For Tryall. whether they be in the faith or no, 2. Cor. 13. 5. And to this end euery Christian may profitably imploy himselfe, if in his examination he looke to foure things: Foure waies of tryall. The contraries of saith.

1. He must be sure, that he be not guilty of any of the things that be repugnant to faith: There are some things so con­trary to faith, that where they are, faith is not. Such as are,

1. Naturall infidelity, whereby the heart is not onely void of 1. [...]. the knowledge and beliefe of God and true Religion; but also when the meanes of knowledge is offered, hath habitu­all struglings and desires that there were neither God, nor any bond of Religion.

2. Carnall security, when the soule is at rest, and securely con­temnes Gods Iustice in the threatnings against his sins. 2. Securitie.

3. Resisting of the truth, when men that daily heare the Word, 3. [...]. doe with hatred of the truth either oppose it outwardly, or reiect it inwardly.

4. Presumption and confidence in our owne strength, works, merits, righteousnesse, or worthinesse. 4. Presumption.

5. A professed resolution against the assurance of faith, when 5. Professed doubt­ing. men bring in an Academicall doubting, and perswade [Page 28] themselues that no man ordinarily can know or be assured of his Saluation.

6. Notorious wickednes and prophanesse, when men drowne 6. Wickednesse of life. themselues in lewd courses, and follow their lusts without care or remorse.

7. Apostacie, when men fall away from the Religion they haue 7. [...]. professed, with a Totall disregarde of the knowne truth.

8. A generall kinde of wauering in the doctrine of faith and 8. Wauering. continuall vnsetlednesse both of iudgement and affection.

9. Desperation, when a man rageth, and is tormented with the 9. Desperation. horror of Gods Iustice, without respect of Gods Glory or any hope, or desire, or prayer for Gods Mercie in Christ.

He therefore that would try whether hee haue a true beliefe or no, must in the first place try whether none of these contra­ries of faith possesse not his soule: for if they doe, it is certaine he hath not faith.

2. He must carefully separate and distinguish faith from such things; as haue some kinde of likenesse, or agreement with it, and yet are not faith: In his Tryall hee must take heede, that he take not some other thing for faith: such as are, rash Credulity, Hypocriticall profession, Presumption, opinion, humane Knowledge, experience, or Hope. For the first, there is a light kinde of assent which men giue vnto doctrines in Religion, without any knowledge of the warrant and proofe of them from Scripture: whatsoeuer effects this Cre­dulity haue, yet is it not faith, because that is euer grounded vpon the Word of God. Nor may hee mistake an outward hypocriticall profession of the true Religion for faith: Pro­fession of Religion, when it is destitute of the loue of God, hatred of sinne, trust in Christs merits, charity to men, and patience in afflictions, doe no way commend a man to God, much lesse is it true faith. Thirdly, many Christians enter­taine Presumption insteede of faith: They are resolued vp­on it, that God is their Father, and Christ died for them, and they are the children of God and true Christians, and all this without any word of God rightly applyed. Fourthly, Opinion in matters of Religion may bee taken by some for [Page 29] faith, but yet it is not: for Opinion is naturall, faith super­naturall and giuen of God: Opinion is founded vpon hu­mane testimonie, faith vpon diuine: Opinion is doubtfull and wauering, faith is firme and certaine. Fifthly, nor may humane Knowledge be taken for faith; for though they agree in this, that they are both imployed about things true, and such things as sense cannot reach to, yet they differ mani­festly: faith is Gods gift, and a light supernaturall: but knowledge is a habit gotten by vs, through the helpe of the sparkles of the light of nature, and exercise, and teaching: for the comprehending of the things of faith, there is daily neede of the inspiration and illumination and quickning of Gods spirit: But the things of knowledge may be attained by the force of mans owne wit and industry: faith is groun­ded vpon the truth and power of God, besides and aboue the strength of nature, and the iudgement of the whole world: Knowledge is grounded vpon naturall causes and principles, to omit other differences. Sixtly, nor must that perswasion which ariseth from experience, and the fulfilling of things be taken for true faith, because faith laies hold vp­on things before the euent also, Heb. 11. 1. Nor lastly, is faith and hope all one, for faith sees Christ exhibited, and present in the Word and Sacrament, Hope lookes for him to be reuealed from Heauen: Faith beleeues what God hath promised, and Hope waites for performance, faith is assured of eternall life, and Hope expects it to be reuealed: Faith is the foundation of Hope, and Hope is the nurse of faith. Thus he must cast out things that are onely like vnto faith but are not faith.

3. When he hath thus cast out the contraries of faith, and findes himselfe free from them, and withall hath prouided that he is not deceiued with the things that haue a likenesse vnto faith and are not, he must then in the third place, looke to it that he take not a wrong faith for the right faith: for there be many kindes of faith, and one onely that is the faith that will iustifie vs before God: and so the right faith is not,

1. That politicall faith, which is a vertue imployed about hu­mane 1. Fides politica. contracts and societies: to beleeue aright, is more [Page 30] then to bee faithfull in promises, or to bee trustie in imploy­ments, or to bee iust in our dealings, or to keepe our words to men.

2. Among the faithes that are found onely in the Church, it is not the Symbolicall faith, that hath nothing in it, but an out­ward 2. Symbolica. auouching or professing of the true Religion.

3. Nor is it contained in that faith called Historicall, which hath 3. Historica. nothing but the vnderstanding and assent vnto the word that it is true, but wants application and life.

4. Nor is it that temporary faith, of which was intreated be­fore: but is such a beliefe as containes in it all the six things 4. Temporaria. before mentioned.

5. Nor is it that faith they call a Morall faith, by which a man 5. Fides moralis, which some call Credulitas cha­ritatiua. beleeues out of charity, that other men are Gods Elect and true Christians.

Lastly, when he hath freed his heart from the mistakings may arise from any of the former, hee must then trie himselfe by the direct signes of a compleate and effectuall faith, and these things which essentially belong to the true beleeuer: and so a man may haue comfort that hee is a true belee­uer.

1. If he can shew the warrant of his faith, from the Testimo­nie of Gods Word in the Scriptures: A man may then com­fort himselfe that he is not deceiued in his faith, when hee is able to proue these doctrines of faith by the euidence of Gods Word, Acts 17. 10. 11.

2. If hee beleeue these Truthes also with Application to him­selfe.

3. If hee finde his heart so established, that hee can resolue to suffer for his faith, and can abide the Tryall of reproaches, losses, or any Persecution from the world, and this hee can indure simply for the loue of God, and the truth, and not for carnall or corrupt ends, Phil. 1. 2 [...].

4. If he finde in his heart and life, the liuely fruites and effects of faith: such as are,

1. Solid and true ioy and comfort: The true beleeuer carrieth his heauen about him, when hee carrieth his Creed in his heart. These doctrines are as a daily spring of reioycing [Page 31] vpon all occasions: and these ioyes are glorious and vn­speakeable, 1 Pet. 1. [...]. Phil. 1. 25. It is otherwise with the hypocrite and vnbeleeuer: for he through vnbeliefe carrieth his hell about him: And for want of this Sun-shine of com­fort is daily and secretly afrighted, and disquieted in him­selfe: Yea, these very doctrines of faith many times tor­ment his soule.

2. A combat with the vnregenerate parte: If these doctrines be rightly beleeued, a man shall finde in himselfe, that these truthes doe resist and fight against the corruptions of our owne nature, euen the most secret euills of our hearts, and will not rest till they haue mastered the flesh wi [...]h the lusts thereof, or else they cause vnspeakeable sighes and groanes and sorrow after God, for the presence and power of rebel­lious corruptions: The true faith will by no meanes brook the polluted and euill disposition of the heart, Acts 15. 9.

3. The liberty of the heart from that banishment and impri­sonment in which it liued before without God: so as now by the light and incouragement of these truthes, the heart discernes Gods free grace in calling vs to his presence, and is well perswaded of God, and therefore daily with an holy boldnesse goeth vnto God in the vse of his ordinances by the direction and assistance of his spirit, Ephes. 3. 12. Rom. 5. 2. & 8. 38. 2. Cor. 3. 4. Gal. 4. 6.

4. The life of the soule: for true faith is the eye, hand, mouth, tongue, teeth, stomack and heate of the soule, by which Christ is receiued and digested, and that daily, by which food the soule liues for euer, Romanes 1. 17. Hebrewes 10. 37.

5. Victorie ouer the world and worldly Relations and re­spects: for he that truely belieues these things, knowes no man after the flesh, and can deny himselfe in his profits plea­sures, credit, hopes or the like.

It ouercommeth both the trust in these things and the lusts af­ter them, and the temptations that arise from them, 1. Ioh. 5. 4▪

6. Peace of conscience: The right knowledge and beliefe of these doctrines breeds such an inward tranquility, as passeth all vnderstanding of all men that haue not this beliefe, Rom. 5. [...].

[Page 32] 7. Good workes, euen all sorts of faire fruites: Euen the fruites of loue towards God, in the duties of Piety to God, and loue towards men, in the duties of Mercy and Righteousnesse. This beliefe is the roote; & the workes of loue are the fruites of it: And these workes it sets a man about with a desire and resolution to obey God in all things, and that though it bee opposed by diuells or men, Gal. 5. 6. The light of this faith giues a daily heate vnto Charity, Iam. 3. 17.

8. Hope and expectation of the singular glory of God in the treasures of a better life. Which hope hath such a power in the heart, that the beleeuer is not ashamed of any thing can befall him for the profession of his faith, Gal. 5. 5. Rom. 5. 3. Heb. 11. 13. 25, 26, 35. 36, 37.

9. Confession of the glory of Gods Mercy and Power: The beliefe of these things makes the dumbe man speake in the celebration of Gods praises: The mercie of God is neuer seene nor magnified with any life till faith come into the heart: because we haue belieued therefore we speake, 2. Cor. 4. 13.

10. Contentation in all estates, Phil. 4. 11. and thus Faith is tryed by the effects.

Finally, men that haue faith may know it by the Testimonie of the holy Ghost in them: He that beleeueth hath a witnesse in himselfe, euen Gods spirit that daily incourageth him in the knowledge of his right in these Truthes, 1. Ioh. 5. 10. Thus of the second vse.

Thirdly, the doctrine of Faith to such as can by these signes Vse 3. finde it to be in them, is exceeding comfortable: such as haue a true faith should wonderfully reioyce in it: and the rather if they consider,

1. That Faith is a speciall gift of God bestowed of his free grace, Iohn 6. 29. Rom. 12. 3. Ephes. 2. 8. Credere doni est non meriti. Aug.

2. That it is a gift that God bestowes onely vpon his Elect, and therefore the right Faith is called the Faith of Gods E­lect, Tit. 1. 1.

3. That it is giuen to all the Elect at one time or other: It is not giuen onely to Abraham or Dauid or the like Emi­nent men: but is common to all sorts of true Christians, Tit. 1. 4.

[Page 33] 4. That it is a most precious gift: A gift which doth wonder­fully enrich a Christian, and exalt him aboue all other men that haue not Faith: as Reason makes vs to excell beasts, so doth Faith make vs excell men. And this will the more ma­nifestly appeare, if wee consider the singular effects of Faith.

The effects wrought by Faith haue bin either extraordinary in some men, or ordinary in euery true beleeuer. It hath done extraordinary things in some men: as it hath carried some men to Heauen aliue without dying: as Henoch & Elias, Heb. 11. 5. Some men that had it could haue remoued mountaines, and did miraculously heale diseases, and raise dead men: but be­cause these effects are ceased, I passe from them, and consider onely of the ordinary effects such as are wrought by it in euery beleeuer: and these I call ordinary effects, not to abase their singular glory but to distinguish them from the former effects.

Great are the things which Faith worketh, either to the Christian himselfe, or to others.

To himselfe it bringeth and procureth admirable things; for:

1. It Iustifies him, Rom. 3. It makes him as righteous as euer Adam was: It is accepted in stead of the righteousnesse of the Law, Rom. 10. It cloathes a man with the righteousnesse of Iesus Christ.

2. It ingraffs the Beleeuer into Iesus Christ: It is the bond that tyes vs to Christ, and in Christ to God: by faith we are made members of his body.

3. It procureth our adoption to be the sonnes of God: and so makes vs greater persons then if we were borne of the grea­test blouds amongst men, Iohn 1. 12.

4. It brings Christ to dwell in our hearts by his spirit, Eph. 3. 17.

5. It makes vs capable and assured to obtaine whatsoeuer we aske of God: It obtaines many and matchlesse suits in Gods Court, Mark. 11. 24. Eph. 3. 12. Heb. 10. 22.

6. It makes our workes acceptable to God; whereas with­out it our best workes were vnpleasing to God, Heb. 11. 6.

[Page 34] 7. It obtaineth the greatest and best reputation: It breeds a good report, Heb. 11. 39.

8. It is our life: we liue by the faith of the sonne of God, Gal. 2. 20. and it is our life, partly as it establisheth vpon vs the assurance of a better life, by applying and laying hold on the promises of God that concerne eternall life, Iohn 3. 16. and partly as it feedeth vpon Iesus Christ, the most so­ueraigne nourishment for our soules: for, by faith we eate his flesh, and drinke his bloud, Iohn 6. and partly as it mak­eth the meanes of naturall life to become blessed to vs; for man liueth not by bread alone, but by euery word that proceeds out of the mouth of God: and besides, it giueth vs interest to Gods promises that concerne the blessings of this life; for in outward blessings it is to vs according to our faith. And partly, as by it, wee are kept to Saluation, 1 Pet. 1. 5. so as our faith will neuer leaue vs till we receiue the saluation of our soules, 1 Pet. 1. 9.

9. It obtaineth many and great victories, and triumphs in this world: and this will the more euidently appeare, if wee consider seriously how many things are opposed against the faith of euery Christian: as the temptations of Sathan, which sometimes are like fiery darts, doubts, and feares, sense of daily sinnes, the threatnings of the Law, the ma­ny chastisements of God, false doctrine of all sorts, the dis­sentions of Teachers in the Christian Churches, the perfi­diousnesse of false brethren, impuritie in sinne, the prospe­ritie of the wicked, the fewnesse of true beleeuers, the con­temptiblenesse of the Church in the world, the falling a­way of many professors, the scornes of the world, the de­lay of the performance of Gods promises, and such like: and yet faith makes vs daily against all these more then Conquerors.

What shall I say? All things are possible to him that be­leeueth, and Faith procureth more for vs then Reason can Tantum possu­mus quantum credimus. Cypr. reach to, Eph. 3. 19. 20.

Besides these effects which it worketh for the happinesse of the beleeuer himselfe, it worketh strange and great things for others; for it bringeth his seede and posterity into couenant [Page 35] with God: the beleeuing parents make their seede holy, 1 Cor. 7. Gen. 17. and the prayers of the beleeuer procureth great and wonderfull things many times for others, and be­sides, many times it keepes of greeuous Iudgements, which else would fall vpon wicked men in the places where the be­leeuer liueth.

Lastly, vnto all the former Consolations, this may be ad­ded, that the faith of the true beleeuer shall not faile, but con­tinue to the end. The seede of faith will abide in him, 1 Iohn 3. 9. Christ hath prayed that faith may not faile, Luke 22. 23. Ephes. 1. 13. 14. 2 Thes. 1. 11. Phil. 1. 6. Rom. 11. 29. Thus of the Consolations.

As the doctrine of faith is exceeding comfortable vnto the Vse 4. true beleeuer: so it imports extreame terror and miserie vnto all such as are destitute of true faith: for the vnbeleeuer is no Christian; for the Christians were called beleeuers, to shew that then a man was a true Christian, when he was a true be­leeuer: By the right beliefe of these Articles men hold their Christendome. Besides, till faith come into a mans heart hee is shut vp vnder the arrests of the Lawe, and lyeth in a spirituall prison, charged with all the breaches of Gods Law, which are debts impossible for him to pay, Gal. 3. 22. And further without Faith it is impossible he should please God, and all he doth is sinne, Heb. 11. 6. but which is most grieuous, this vn­beliefe will be his eternall destruction: for this is the condem­nation of worlds of men, that they beleeue not in the light, but loue darknesse rather then light, Iohn 3. 16. 17. 18. Marke 16.

Yea, there is matter also of humiliation vnto many true be­leeuers, for not looking better to their faith: and so godly men offend:

1. When they labour not to know their owne faith, when they will not trie their estates, and make it sure they haue Faith.

2. When they seeke not helpe for the diseases and weaknesses of their Faith, but being often assaulted with doubting are so sluggish as they will not seeke found resolution for their doubts.

[Page 36] 3. When they instruct not their Faith in the particulars of Gods treasures, nor imploy it to a daily vnlocking of the riches contained in the Chists of Gods particular promi­ses.

4. When they esteeme not Faith, but through vnthankfulnes smother the acknowledgement of Gods singular gift here­in.

5. When they wearie their faith with doub [...]full disputations and will not direct it to the studie of necessarie and glorious truthes.

6. When they leade not out their Faith to traine it in the day of peace against the day of battell: when they [...]y not vp prouision against the euill day, and doe not before hand in­struct their Faith how to hold out when tryall com­meth.

7. When men beleeue not so heartily, and with such full assu­rance as becomes the excellency of the doctrines of Faith.

8. When Faith is kept idle, and men doe not daily exercise their Faith about the successe and crosses of their callings, and about the labour and workes of loue.

Lastly many Instructions necessarily depend vpon this do­ctrine Vse 5. of Faith: for,

1. Such as want Faith should bee effectually moued to vse all courses to get them a sound Faith: and there are many things may moue men to beleeue, and helpe to breede Faith: as,

First, men must effectually consider vpon Motiues vnto faith on Gods part: and especially such as are taken from his mercy and goodnesse: to thinke on it how good and gratious God is, should make men beleeue his promises, and receiue his grace offered: and the rather, if they seriously ponder vpon these things in Gods goodnesse. First, that it is free: he stands not vpon desert: he offers loue loue to his very enemies, Rom. 5. 10. Secondly, it is exceeding great, able to forgiue all sinne and supply all wants, Psal. 36. & 108. 5. Ephes. [...]. 4. 1. Pet. 1. 3. Thirdly it is inuiting: God doth offer his mercy, hee sends a­broad his Proclamations to offer pardon and fauour in the [Page 37] Gospell, yea he beseecheth men to be reconciled, 2 Cor. 5. 19. 20. Fourthly, it is indefinite, hee offers Mercy to all sorts of men, to the World, to euery creature, Col. 3. 11. Ioh. 3. 16. Marke 16. 16. F [...]fthly, it is naturall: It is not against his na­ture, as it is for a couetous man to be bountifull. Mercy plea­seth him, Micha 7. 18. He was neuer angry with any for be­leeuing, but extreamely displeased with men for not beleeuing, Iohn 3. 16. 17.

Secondly, men must carefully auoid all the lets of faith, and marke what keepes them from beleeuing: Whether it bee any beloued sinne, or some venomous obiections, or the cares of the world, and the fond excuses that belong thereunto, or carnall wisedome and selfe conceitednesse in hearing the Word, or procrastination, or corrupt opinions, about the pos­sibility or necessity of beleeuing, or the like: and in particu­lar some Christians must bee warned of that strange impedi­ment, namely, when men iudge themselues vnworthy of Eternall life, and so put off the promises of God through vn­beliefe.

Thirdly, men must attend vpon the meanes of begetting Faith, they must compell vpon themselues the care thereof: They must pray God to giue them the spirit of Faith, and to helpe their vnbeliefe: They must cry to God with teares for this thing, Marke 9. 24. and withall, they must attend to the Word of Faith, which is the Gospel, so waiting vpon the pub­like Ministerie, as they studie the promises of God exactly, and seeke resolution of their doubts, and direction about Faith in priuate.

Thus concerning such as want Faith.

Secondly, such as haue Fai [...]h must bee carefull to looke to these things,

1. They must with all watchfulnesse keepe their Faith as they would keepe their liues: prouiding that they may abide in the Faith to the end, and neuer denie their first Faith, 1. Tim. 1. 19. Acts 14. 22. 1. Tim. 5. 12.

2. They must be carefull to imploy their Faith, both euery day by learning how to liue by Faith and in the times of tryall to see to it, that they cast not away their confidence. Yea, [Page 38] he should striue to shew forth such a power of beleeuing in all the effects of it, that his Faith may be spoken of through the World, Gal. 2. 20. Heb. 10. 35. Rom. 1.

Hitherto of the maine body of the doctrine of beleeuing with the Vses. Before I passe from it, It will bee profitable to answer certaine questions that may arise in mens mindes about beleeuing.

Quest. 1. Whether the Apostles would haue vs beleeue no Quest. more then is contained in the Creed, seeing the Creed is cal­led their Creed?

Answ. All doctrines of Faith may be reduced some way to the Articles of Faith in the Creed, as being either expressed or Answ. implyed there. We are bound to beleeue all things written in the Prophets and Apostles bookes, that is, so farre as they are reuealed vnto vs. But the doctrines contained in the Creed, are such as none may be ignorant of without dan­ger of damnation: simple Ignorance in other truthes is not damnable, so as these things be rightly beleeued.

Quest. 2. How can Faith be said to be one, Ephes. 4. 5. seeing Quest. in the manner of setting downe the Creed, euery Christi­an hath a Faith of his owne, because he saith, I beleeue?

Answ. There is but one Faith in respect of the Obiect or thing beleeued, which is especially the grace of God in Christ, Answ. which was the particular Obiect of Faith from the begin­ning of the world since the fall. But there are many Faiths or gifts of Faith, in respect of the Subiect, that is, the per­sons beleeuing: for so there are as many Faiths, as there are beleeuers.

Quest. 3. Is euery Christian bound alwaies to make professi­on Quest. of his Faith?

Answ. 1. We must alwaies make profession by our deedes, Answ. that is, we must alwaies liue as becommeth the doctrine of Faith.

2. Wee must in our words neuer for any cause deny any do­ctrine of Faith.

3. If we be called vpon by lawfull Authority, wee must giue answer to euery man, that asketh a Reason of our Faith.

[Page 39] 4. In other causes we are bound to make profession in words so farre as we haue calling and fitnesse to doe it to the glory of God.

Quest. 4. Whether all true beleeuers doe beleeue these Ar­ticles Quest. alike, with the same measure of Faith?

Answ. No: for Faith is wrought in men by degrees, and so some haue a weake Faith, and some a strong Faith: Faith is Answ. formed in the soule, as the body is in the wombe; for in framing the body in the wombe, there is first the braines and heart, and then the veines, sinewes arteries, and bones, and then afterwards all is couered, and filled with flesh vn­to a iust proportion: So is it in the soule, for first, there is wrought a small degree of sauing knowledge, and spirituall desire after God in Christ, and then flowes from thence the veines and sinewes that take hold of the promises of grace; and lastly, by degrees, as our knowledge and experience in­creaseth, the whole body of Faith growes after a compleate manner formed in vs, when our hearts are filled with in­crease of sound and solid knowledges: but because this point toucheth the spirituall free-hold of many godly Christians, I would therefore beate it out more distinctly: And so foure things are to be considered:

  • 1. How it may be knowne that Faith is weake.
  • 2. How weake Faith, may be knowne to be a right Faith.
  • 3. How the beleeuer may be comforted, that findes hee hath but a weake Faith.
  • 4. Admonition to him that is weake in the Faith, not to rest in that condition, for diuers reasons.

For the first, a weake Faith is easily discerned by these signes and the like to them.

1. By daily doubts of Gods fauour, and feares least their estate be not right.

2. By ignorance, not onely in many ordinary truthes, but in many of the promises of the Gospel, Matthew 8. 26. & 16. 8.

3. By the hastie and violent vnquietnesse of the heart in aduer­sitie, euen in the daily and lesser crosses of life, and by those sudden feares in time of danger, notwithstanding Gods pro­mise, [Page 40] and the experience of Gods assistance and deliuerance: and by the vnrest of the heart if there be not present helpe, Iames 1. 5. 6. Mat. 14. 30. 31. Luke 18. 8.

4. By the daily cares of life, about foode and rayment, Mat. 6. 31.

5. Aptnesse to stagger, and be carried about with the winde of contrary doctrine, Ephes. 4. 13.

6. Feare of death.

For the second, a weake Faith may be discerned to be a true Faith by these signes.

1. By the constant and earnest desire of Gods fauour in Christ, Psal. 10. 17. Mat. 5. 6. Reuel. 21. 6.

2. By their griefe for their vnbeliefe, and frequent complaint of it, Marke 9. 24.

3. By their constant desire after the sincere milke of the Word, 1. Pet. 2. 2.

4. By their feare to offend God, in the least euill they know to be a sinne.

For the third, the beleeuer may be comforted many waies, though his Faith be but weake: for,

1. Christ hath promised, that he will not breake the b [...]uised reede, nor quench the smoaking flaxe, Mat. 12. 20.

2. Weake Faith doth apply the mercy of God, and the bene­fits of Christs death, aswell as a strong Faith: as a weake or paraliticke hand will receiue a gift, aswell as a sound and sted die hand: he that hath a weake sight, though he see not so well as he that hath a persect sight, yet he sees so much of the light of the Sunne, as may serue his turne to walke safely. Though an Infant cannot eate so much as a strong man, yet he eates so much as preserues life, and makes him grow.

3. God hath receiued him that is weake in Faith, Rom. 14. 13

4. The power of God is manifested in their weakenesse, 2. Cor. 12. 9.

Lastly, the weake in Faith must be admonished to looke to their Faith, and to labour for growth: Though God accepts their weake Faith in the beginning of their conuersion, yet he likes not the neglecting of Faith, and continuing in ignorance and vnbeliefe, Heb. 5. 12. Besides, so long as they continue [Page 41] in weakenesse of Faith, they keepe themselues without many and singular comforts. Though weake Faith bee sufficient to Saluation, yet it is not sufficient to consolation.

Hitherto of the Nature of Faith: The ground of Faith were worthy to be considered: for it is not inough to know that we must beleeue, or what things are to be beleeued, but vpon what ground or warrant wee doe beleeue it. And so heere I might consider of the Word of God as the ground of Faith or Principium fidei originall of Faith: for he that will euer prosper in beleeuing these Articles, must be resolued of these things:

1. That the things he beleeueth are warranted to him by the testimonie of God himselfe; for no humane testimony of par­ticular men, or of the whole Church, can be the ground of a mans Faith.

2. That the bookes of the Prophets and Apostles are the very word of himselfe, and so infallible.

3. That the writings of the Prophets and Apostles are euery way perfect and doe containe all things necessary to be be­leeued in the matter of his Religion.

4. That he can see how each Article of his Faith is grounded vpon the Word of God.

5. That he will cleaue vnto this Word of God all the daies of his life, as the principall meanes of his direction and com­fort and of his further increase in Faith and knowledge; for his knowledge and Faith comes in but by degrees, and in part, and the truth is opposed by his owne reason corrup­ted, and by the suggestions of the diuell, and by almost in­finite varieties of opinions, against all which he resolues to cleaue to the Word of God as his perpetuall war­rant.

But because, this principle concerning the Word of God, is not expressed in the Creed, I will therefore forbeare, the proofe and explication, and illustration of these things which con­cerne the Word of God.

And I conceiue that this Head of the Word of God was left out in the Creed in the first Age of the Church, for two rea­sons. The one was, because as then it was not questioned so much as the rest of the Articles. But the other Reason is the [Page 42] most important, and that is, that these doctrines of the Creed though they be principles, yet are of another sort then these doctrines that concerne the Original, perfection or authority of the Scriptures: for these principles are conclusions framed, out of those principles concerning the Word: and so containe a frame of doctrins which are built vpon the granting of the for­mer: or thus they are distinguished from them: These are parts of Theologie, whereas the Word of God, is not a part, but princi­piū cognoscendi, the foundation of Theologie. The doctrines con­cerning the Scriptures are not properly Articles of Faith, but grounds or the foundation of Faith. Not things to bee belee­ued so much as things by which we beleeue.

I Beleeue in God.

Psal. 11. 1.

HItherto of our duty in the first word I beleeue: The do­ctrine to be beleeued followes, and it concernes either God or the Church. The doctrine that concernes God, lookes vpon him, either as Father, or Sonne, or holy Ghost. In the first Person of the Trinity Faith sees and wonders at his Nature, his Relation, his Power, and his Workes. His Na­ture in the Word God, his Relation, in the word Father, his Power, in the word Almighty, and his Workes, in the words, Creator of heauen and earth.

The first thing we are to studie to know and beleeue is God. This is the first doctrine of the Creed: there are many things should inflame the hearts of Christians to a great desire after the doctrine concerning God and his nature: as,

1. It is the most glorious subiect of all others in the world: no doctrine can tell vs of such marueilous things as the doctrine of God doth.

2. It is the end of our Creation: all other things though made by God, yet they haue no discerning of him. Now God made man, and gaue him a reasonable soule, that hee might [Page 43] see God, and the great workes he had done; els in the Vi­sible world, there had bin none to know or praise God: Nothing therefore can be more contrary to the end of our Creation, then if wee spend our time, and do not labour to know and praise God.

3. The whole doctrine of Religion, is called Theologie, which word in the originall, taken a funder, is a speech or doctrine concerning God: to signifie, that without the true know­ledge of God, there can be no true Religion or right vnder­standing of any thing: God is the principall Subiect of all Religious doctrine.

4. Of all doctrines this is most profitable for vs: for the do­ctrines Vt pecudes a pe­cudibus absque homine: Sic ho­mo ab homi­nibus absque deo, gubernari [...]. Tylen. that concerne God, haue the most power ouer our liues to reforme them and to make vs carefull of good workes Colos. 1. 10 & euen the more we know of God, the nearer we come to the perfectiō of our natures: Besides these doctrine doe fill the heart more then any other truthes. Yea, it is eternall life to know God and Christ: It is Heauen vp­on Earth: It is the very beginning of the glory of Heauen, which consists in the Vision of God, Ioh. 17. 3.

5. To want the knowledge of God is extreamely base and vn­comely for a Christian. It is a poore thing to bee pleased with the knowledge of other things and bee ignorant of God; and the rather, because what we loue or admire in o­ther things that are good, are most perfectly in God and no where else.: besides, shall we bee ignorant of him, from whom we receiue al good things, and from whom al things might make vs happie are to be expected? Is not he liber­ty, life, glory, sufficiencie, blessednesse, perfect and holy pleasure and the Rest of spirits, as a Father saith? Further, Bernard. shall not we know him, that is euery where? Can we goe no whither from his presence, and shall we in all places bee be still without God, who yet fills Heauen and Earth? It is a true Theorem in Diuinity, that God onely hath a being, other things cannot be said to be: Men are the best of vi­sible [...]. creatures, and the Prophet saith, all Nations before him are nothing: If men are nothing, not worthy to bee Esay 40. 17. reckoned as things that haue being, much lesse other Crea­tures?

[Page 44] These things are scarce worthy to be said to be, of which it may bee said either it was not, or it will not bee: then it will follow: that the knowledge men get in other things, is to know nothing; then wee know something when wee know God: finally, a necessity lieth vpon vs to bee rightly enformed concerning God: if to speake or thinke vilely of men bee an offence, what is it to conceiue or thinke erroniously, or meanely, or basely concerning God?

The consideration of these and such like motiues should stir vp in vs a great willingnesse to be taught concerning God: but before I breake open the particular assertions concerning the Nature of our most glorious God, there are certaine generall considerations that must take vp some Roome in our hearts, and it is profitable for vs to approach vnto the contemplation of God by degrees; and therefore by way of Preface, I conceiue these things are needfull to be thought on:

1. How hard a thing it is to attaine the knowledge of God.

2. By what meanes the darke heart of man is guided to the vnderstanding of God.

3. How farre forth God may be knowne.

4. What Rules must of necessity be obserued by all such as can haue any hope to know God.

For the first: of all knowledges it is the hardest to attaine the true knowledge of God, and there are many things that hinder and hide God from vs: as,

1. The transcendent glory of Gods nature, the brightnesse of which is such, that the eyes of our mindes are not able to look vpon it, much lesse can any senses of our bodies attaine him, Gen. 32. 29. Iudges 13. 18. God is inuisible, wee can­not see him: he is ineffable, no words can tell vs what hee is: we may reckon a thousand things and yet none of them August. is God, whether we looke about the earth, seas, ayre, or hea­uens, God is that thing which no opinion can reach: Hee is more then words can tell, or thoughts can thinke. God is such a thing, as when we name him, hee cannot bee named; Hillarie. when we goe about to estimate him, he cannot bee estima­ted; when we goe about to compare him, hee cannot bee [Page 45] compared, when we would define him hee increaseth big­ger then any definition. He is greater then all words, then Tert. all senses, it is peculiar to God to exceede knowledge: wee may admire by silence, but cannot expresse him by words: Nissen. and the Reason is, that which is finite can hold no propor­tion with that which is infinite. And therefore hee that would define God had neede to haue Gods Logick, for no mans Logick can reach to it: for though nothing be more present euery where then God yet nothing is more in­comprehensible. God is immense, and therefore who can tell (as one saith) the length of his Eternity, or the breadth Bern. of his Loue, or the height of his Maiesty, or the depth of his Wisedom. And though it bee true, that there are diuers names giuen to God, yet those names do not explicate what God is, but onely so much of him, as of vs can bee concei­ued; for that which is said of God is not God, because hee is Plato. He is Vbique presens sed la­tens, vbique to­tus sed immen­sus. ineffable: The Heathen man could say, that it is a hard la­bour to finde out the Father of the world, but hauing found him, it was impossible to describe him with fit words, espe­cially to make the vulgar sort to conceiue of him. And ther­fore he is fitly styled, a light inaccessible.

2. The defect of measures hinders vs. All the things by which August. we trie and measure other things are of no vse in describing God: for he is good without quality, great without quan­tity, euery where whole without place, euerlasting without time, he makes all sorts of mutable things, without mutati­on in himselfe or suffering any thing: hee needs not a body to make him to be, nor a place to make him to be heere, nor Ioh. de Comb. time, to make him to be now, or hereafter, or heretofore, he needs no subiect in which he should subsist, or to which he should adhere. He is mercifull without passion and Lord Trelcat. of all things, without addition of any thing to his wealth.

3. Wee want the benefit of similitudes: for Gods nature dif­fers infinitely from the natures of all other things, and ther­fore nothing can be found to liken God to it, without sin­gular iniurie, Esay 40. 17.

4. God doth not now appeare to vs as hee did to the Fathers in the first Ages of the World.

[Page 46] 5. We are destitute of the helpe of Demonstration à priori as they call it in Schooles. There was no essence before him, nor any thing that might leaue the name or nature of a cause of his being.

6. We are in and of our selues much more vnable to conceiue of God then we were at the first in our Creation, by reason of our fall from God into sinne. The light we had being put ou [...], and nothing left but sparkles; these sparkles left, breed more smoake in our mindes then either heate or light: for,

1. There is in vs naturally a world of Atheisticall conceits strange opinions about God, as appeares not onely by the variety of strange Religions, but also by that naturall Athe­isme which euery man by occasion feeles in himselfe, when [...]. he either doubts of God, and thinkes things that bee alto­gether disagreeing and disproportionall to the Nature of God.

2. A singular debility and impotencie to take in the doctrine of God, especially with affection into our hearts.

3. A slippery kinde of Leuity in our mindes, that what we do receiue we loose, and forget, or else change into other con­ceites. Lubriea & de­sultoria: Humana mentis leuilas. 77. l.

4. An vnspeakeable kinde of sluggishnesse and vnwillingnesse to be at paines to study this doctrine.

5. What knowledge of God doth come into our mindes, for the most part we staine it miserably, with villanous and fil­thy thoughts and desires.

6. God hath reuealed to vs but onely his backe parts, in this life wee cannot see him face to face, Exod. 33.

7. The diuells vse all their methods to keepe men without the knowledge of God.

8. The world distracts vs and deuoures vsually the time should be spent about the studie of God.

9. God himselfe, that he may be reuenged on the ingratitude of many men doth hide himselfe out of the way from them.

And it is necessary wee should take notice of this difficulty of the knowledge of God, both to humble vs, and to quicken vs to the more diligence and to make vs more thankefull, if [Page 47] God be pleased in any measure to reueale himselfe to vs.

For the third, though it be thus extreame difficult to know God, yet we must not dispaire of it as of a thing impossible: for though the creature of it selfe cannot conceiue God, yet God can reueale himselfe to the creature, according to the the crea­tures capacity.

God that dwelt in the secrets of Eternity, onely knowne and seene to himselfe, since the Creation, hath bin pleased to come out of his secret seate, and by certaine meanes or degrees to make himselfe knowne to men: as,

1. By planting in the minde of man certaine naturall and com­mon Notions, and generall principles concerning God: These were and are in euery man like little sparkles of light and fire fastened in mens mindes, and such as by glimpse shew some little conceptions of God.

2. By Apparition: God was pleased in the first Ages of the world to appea [...]e vnto men, and by some certaine visible signes of his presence to acquaint himselfe with man.

3. By the booke of the creature: for by vnfolding before man in an open and [...]sting shew, the various formes and shapes of things which he made, he by them did augment the light of the naturall sparkles, and euidently confirme and proue his Diuinity, Wisedome, Power, and Goodnesse to man, Rom. 1.

4. When none of these were sufficient to bring man to a per­fect knowledge of God: nor to so much as might saue his soule, and bring him into happy fellowship with God, God was pleased in the book of Scripture, to extract out of the infinite depths of knowledges which were in his eternall minde, a frame of descriptions, and testimonies concerning himselfe, and his will, and this in his due time by degrees he gaue vnto the Church, and is contained in the writings of the Prophets and Apostles.

5. To make all these helpes more effectuall vnto the eternall blessednesse of the Elect, he sent his owne Sonne who was the ingrauen forme of his Person, and his perfect Image, to take mans nature, and to come and dwell amongst vs, and through his humanity to make God as it were after a most [Page 48] glorious sort visible: The God-head shining through his flesh as the Candle through the Lanthorne, Ioh. 1. & 14. 9. and in that nature hee did himselfe teach and instruct man co [...]cerning God. Heb. 1. 1.

6. Hee hath made himselfe further knowne vnto certaine choice men by inspiration, that is, by a speciall inlightning, and breathing of the holy Gho [...].

7. He is daily discouered vnto his children by effects, especi­ally, by his blessings, and benefits, and long-suffering, and manifold goodnesse, Exodus 34. and among these by the entertainement hee giues to the soules of his people in his house, and by the [...]oyes in his presence: Yea, so farre is the Lord pleased to reueale himselfe this way to his people that they are said not onely to see God, but to behold his beau­tie, Psal. 27. 4. & 63. 2.

It is true, the vnquiet heart of man is vexed, because God is not visible to his eyes, as if the knowing of God by colours were the only pleasing way of seeing him: Thy bodily eyes can­not see God, what then If thy eyes cannot discerne God, is it a­ny greater thing; then that thy hands or feete cannot discerne other thing? God is discerned by such Instruments as are capable of him.

But thou wilt say, not onely thy eyes, but thy reason can­not reach God so as to ease or please thy minde? I answer: that some things are infra rationem, below reason, and so are all things discernable by sense onely. Some things are iuxta rationem, agreeable and discernable by reason, and so are a mul­titude of things in nature. Some things are supra rationem, aboue Reason, and so are diuers things in the doctrine of God, especially the Mysterie of the Trinity and the like. Now, though Reason will not reach heere, yet God hath not left his children destitute, but hath giuen them an instrument from heauen which is capable of these things, and that is, Faith.

And yet God hath not altogether abandoned the vse of senses in his children for the knowledge of him: for they know God by sight in his creatures, and by hearing in the word, and by trusting in his blessings, 1. Pet. 2. 3.

[Page 49] That this point may bee yet more clearely vnderstood, wee must consider the different waies how God is knowne by se­uerall things: first, himselfe knowes himselfe with infinite perfection of absolute knowledge, and so hee is knowne onely to himselfe: secondly, Christ man knowes him by vnion, that is, by vertue of his vnion with the diuine nature, hee doth after a way vnspeakeable, and vnimitable see and vnderstand the God-head: thirdly, the Angels and Saints in heauen know him by vision: they see God face to face, that is, they haue a perfect knowledge of Gods Nature according to their condition in heauen, and doe behold him in some most glorious representa­tion of his presence: fourthly, to men on earth hee is knowne by reuelation: and so after a different manner to diuers men: As to some holy men by Inspiration, to all godly men by Christ, to all men in the Church by the Scriptures, and to all men in the world by the creatures and Reason.

The fourth point it remaines to consider how farre forth God may be knowne, by these all or any of them? I answer: first, more generally, and then more particularly: In generall if we thinke of the full knowledge of God, the Trinity is then onely knowne to God himselfe and Christ man: God hath a Name that is secret, and wonderfull, this can bee knowne by no creature; by his Name reuealed he may be knowne: so as we remember that in this world he appeares to whom he will, and as he will, and not as he is. The most men conceiue wonderfull little of Gods Nature.

The diuers formes of things in the world are beames, as it were, of the diuinity, but yet they shew rather that he is, then what he is, or whence they are rather then what he is.

Distinctly to consider of it we must note that God is knowne in this life.

1. But in his backe parts.

2. But according to our modell or capacity: God hath ex­tracted so much out of the Ocean of the infinite knowledge which concernes his nature, as may bee taken in by our vn­derstandings.

3. This that may be attained to, for that part which is set out by words, is exprest not by words that tell what God is [Page 50] directly but by such words, as being in vse amongst men, might leade vs to some happie manner of discerning con­cerning God.

4. The neerest knowledge wee haue is by effect, as it is either described in Scripture, or wrought in prouidence: and so what God is in himselfe, himselfe onely knowes, but what hee is to vs that in some measure hee makes vs know: his glorious Nature is onely knowne to himselfe: Wee see the Sunne not as it is in it selfe, but as it inlightneth: we look not vp vpon the body of the Sunne, but vpon the beames of it that shine vpon the hill, or vpon the wall, or the like: so is it in the knowledge of God: our natures cannot looke vp­on his nature but we discerne him, by the shining of his working and by the beames of his presence.

The difference also of the descriptions that haue bin of God are to be thought on: for there hath bin a Philosophicall con­sideration of God, and a Theologicall. The Philosophicall was had among the Gentiles, by the wisest of them. The Theologi­call hath onely bin had in the Church. The one looked vpon God onely by the light of Nature and experience, and the o­ther lookes vpon God by the light of Scripture and Faith: But that Philosophicall Light was extreamely deficient and farre short of the Ecclesiasticall Light: for besides that the wisest of the Philosophers had much adoe to seperate the true GOD from the many Gods worshipped by the Nations: they were altogether blinde, in the Mysterie of the Trinity, and ignorant altogether of the highest praises of God, (viz.) his mercies vn­to man in Iesus Christ: yea, there was scarce any Attribute of God, that was rightly knowne with any life, without the Pale of the Church.

Now that knowledge that is to be had of God, may be ga­thered three waies: by Negation, Eminencie, or Causation: By Negation, when wee denie vnto God whatsoeuer is of im­perfection in the Creature: and so wee denie death, measure, Mutation, &c. and say that God is Immortall immense immu­table, &c. By eminencie when we giue vnto God in the highest degree, what we finde to bee good in the creature, and so wee say, he is most holy, most wise, most iust, &c. By Causation we [Page 51] may finde out God by reasoning from the things hee hath done.

The last thing to be considered of, is the Rules to be obser­ued by vs for the attaining of the knowledge of God: for All meanes will be ineffectuall to vs, if we be not rightly prepared and disposed: we neede a Religious minde in all knowledges that concerne our happinesse, but especially when any thing is spoken or thought concerning God: because all words are insufficient to tell vs easily and fully what God is: Comman­dement 3.

Hee therfore that would reach to the comprehending of the knowledge of God, must bee sure to keepe these Rules.

1. Hee must cleanse and purge, and scoure his heart from the filth and drosse of false opinions and strange and Atheisticall conceits concerning God: yea, hee must wholly empty him­selfe of all opinion concerning his owne sufficiencie to con­ceiue of God, of himselfe: for if it bee true of other know­ledges in Religion, that a man must become a foole that he may be wise, 1 Cor. 3. 18. it is much more true in this do­ctrine concerning God.

2. He must then addresse himselfe to Gods Word, and resolue Non deus alienis assertionibus sed suis estimandus est vocibus. Amb. Sine deo non cognoscitur deus Hillar. A deo discendū est, quicquid de deo intelligendū. Hillar. Sapientia secu­laris est temera­ria inter pres di­uinae dispositionis, Non pedum pas­sibus Sed deside rijs qu [...]ritur d [...]us Bernard. to learne from thence how to conceiue of God. God is not to be accounted of by others assertions, but to be measured by his owne words. We shall neuer learne what hee is, by asking what others say of him, but must heere what hee saith of himselfe: for God is not knowne without God, as one saith, Of God wee must learne whatsoeuer of God wee would vnderstand.

3. He must resolue to spare no paines that is requisite for this studie: hee must imploy himselfe with great diligence to drinke in his knowledge: for God will appeare onely to studious mindes.

4. A heart full of desires is requisite to these conceptions: The desire of the soule must be after God, Esay 26. 8, 9. He must be sought with a mans whole heart, Psal. 119. 10. else the minde will wander extreamely. And because wee want that admiration, and delight wee should haue in this do­ctrine, therefore wee must iudge our selues for our deserts, [Page 52] and labour by prayer to forme these desires in vs: Especi­ally, when in hearing, or reading any thing concerning God, we finde our hearts begin to be affected, we must striue to nourish and inflame these desires or delights, or Rauish­ments, for then God is neere: for vsually a fire goeth before him (as the Psalmist speaketh) aswell when hee comes into our hearts as when he comes into the world.

5. He must be a godly man: for the pure in heart onely see God, Mat. 5. 7. and without Holinesse it is impossible to see God, Heb. 12. 14. This knowledge requires holinesse, else of all doctrines it proues the dullest: discourse and disputation doth not comprehend God, but holinesse as one saith: and the Reason is, because there must bee some assimilation or likenesse betweene our mindes and the knowledge of God: for as no parte of the bodie receiues the light but the eye, and the eye receiues it not but as it is like to the light, so it is with the minde of man and the knowledge of God.

6. Aboue all other knowledges in Religion, in the doctrine of God he must remember the Apostles Rule, to bee wise to Sobriety, and take heede of curiosity, and that in two re­spects: first, that he deuoutly beleeue what he findes said of God in Scripture, without prying or sifting of things by the iudgement of his owne Reason. God would be beleeued on, Credi se voluit deus non iudica­ri, non examina­ri, Naz. not iudged or examined: secondly, that he inquire not af­ter things, which are not reuealed, but rest in the descripti­ons of God made in his Word. The Sunne must bee seene, as it can be seene, and so much light must bee taken, as can bee had with looking downewards, lest if wee looke for more light by gazing on the body of the Sunne, our eyes bee not onely dazeled, but our sight swallowed vp and lost: so is it in the knowledge of God. It strengthens and increaseth the sight of the minde, if we looke vpon the beames of the euerlasting Sunne as they shine in his word or workes, but if we will needs be searching higher after his Maiesty, take heede lest wee be swallowed vp of his glory, Prouerbs 25. 27.

7. And lastly, hee must looke to it, that his head bee not di­stracted [Page 53] with worldly cares: this knowledge requires a minde seperated from the world, at least from the intru­ding, and violent, and distresfull cares about the world, and things thereof, 1. Cor. 7. 31, 32, 35.

Hitherto of the excellencie, difficultie, meanes and mea­sure of the knowledge of God, together with the Rules to bee obserued for the attaining of the Knowledge of God.

Three things remaine to be opened, and throughly conside­red of;

  • 1. What God is or the praises of Gods Nature.
  • 2. What it is to beleeue in God.
  • 3. The Vses of all.

For the right conceiuing of the glorious frame of the prai­ses of God, we may safely and must carefully proceede in this order.

1. Wee must cast out of our mindes all likenesses of any crea­ture in heauen or earth: God hath flatly prohibited all Images of God, and all terestriall likenesses, to be set vp of him, in our Churches, houses or hearts: Commandement 2. Wee must not therefore conceiue that God is like any thing that sense can set before vs in heauen or earth.

2. We must in the next place take heede that we be not insna­red by the misconceiuing of certaine relatiue attributes gi­uen to God in the Scriptures: Many things are said of God in Scripture, by way of signe, not by way of Image or like­nesse: which wee must so thinke of as to vnderstand what they signifie, but not to fashion in our hearts the resemblan­ces which the words import: for instance,

1. Some things are attributed to God Ironically, not properly, as when the Prophet ascribes deceit vnto God, Ier. 4. 10. He speaketh the words of the false Prophets ironically, not his owne words: with indignation alledging what they said, which if it were true, God should deceiue the people?

2. Some things are giuen to God Metonimically: as when God is said to be our strength and fortitude, Psal. 18. 2. Our strength and valour is not God, but he is said to bee so, by effect, because he worketh it in vs: so hee is said to bee our song, because he is the subiect of our song, Exodus 15. 2. [Page 54] He is called the hope of Israel, because it is hee in whom Israel ought to hope, Ier. 14. 8. so he is called our life Deut. 30. 19, 20. because he giues, preserues and prolonges our life.

3. Some things are giuen to God Metaphorically, when the things spoken of, are onely found in the creature, and giuen to God by way of signification only, or some kinde of com­parison: some of these Metaphores are borrowed from men, some from other creatures.

1. From men, as when the parts, members, senses, affections, actions or adiuncts of man, are ascribed to God: as for in­stance, God is said to haue a soule, Esay 1, 14. which onely notes his nature in a speciall manner of Conception: so members are giuen to God: as his face to signifie his fauour; eyes to signifie his obseruing of things; Eares to note his re­garde of the prayers of his people; Hands to note his parti­cular prouidence or working; Armes to note his power, &c. so senses are giuen to him, as memorie, forgetfulnesse, seeing, hearing, &c. which are onely spoken for our capa­city: so are the affections of Ioy, Anger, Hatred, Sorrow, Repentance, Ielousie, &c. which onely signifie after an high manner some glory of Gods nature, which but by such comparisons is inexplicable to vs: so are the Actions, of Numbering, speaking, hiding his face, tempting, lifting vp his hands, descending, going vp on high, walking with men, striking, arising, laughing, visiting, &c. so are the Ad­iuncts of greatnesse, time, clothing, bookes, charrets, &c. which things are not in God in the letter but in the sense and signification.

2. From other Creatures, as when wings are attributed to him, as he is said to be the Sunne, Light, a Horne of our Saluati­on, Buckler, consuming fire.

4. Some things are giuen to God Synechdochically, as when the Sonne is called the Father of Eternity, Esay 9. 6. the Father and holy Ghost are not excluded. When the holy Ghost is called seauen spirits, being but one spirit, onely to note the variety and perfection of his working, Reuel. 1. 4.

[Page 55] Thus of the two Rules for the distinct and safe informing of our selues concerning God.

3. Wee must take heede also that wee bee not deceiued about the formes in which God appeared in the Old or New Te­stament: for these formes were sanctified for the present to the vse of the beholders to assure the presence of God, or for signification, but when they were withdrawne, they were no longer to be thought on, as any formes of concei­uing of God, and therefore he forbids all likenesses.

These things being auoided, we must then approach with feare and reuerence to consider of such things as are attributed to God in Scripture properly.

For the cleere vnderstanding of the doctrine of Gods Nature as it is properly described in Scripture, wee must consider both of the properties of his Nature, and of the substance of it.

First, of the Properties, because these are next vnto vs, as I may say, or are easiest to be discerned.

The glorious properties of God may bee cast into two rankes or heads; for some of them are such properties as are some way in the creatures by way of Resemblance, certaine sparkles or dropps are in vs: vpon which is printed a kinde of Image or likenesse of God in those things, such are the life, knowledg, holinesse, and glory of God: some of them are such properties in God, as are not so much as by any likenesse to bee found in any creature in heauen or earth: such are his infinite greatnesse, eternitie, Immutabilitie, and allsuffi­ciencie.

The first sort of Attributes are the easiest, and by reason of their either effects daily amongst vs, or likenesse to some thing in vs, may be profitably first studied.

And so the Nature of God excells in foure dreadfull and matchlesse prayses: or there be foure things in Gods Nature we should euer thinke on with admiration, and adore with all Reuerence and Deuotion, and studie to conceiue of as fully as we can from the singular Vse they haue in the course of our liues.

First, of the Life of God.

Life in GOD is admirable, and to bee adored in these respects:

[Page 56] 1. Because the life of all liuing creatures in generall is in him: and so God is the life and light of the world, Iohn 1. 4. as he giueth being and life to all things: The whole world had bin a Chaos of darknesse, if God had not giuen it life, which hee planted in seuerall creatures by his admirable wor­king.

2. Because in particular hee is after a wonderfull manner the life of vs men. Whether we respect our life naturall or spi­rituall: for our naturall life it is hee that inlightens euery man that comes into the world, and gaue senses motion and reason to all men, Acts 17. 28. and for our spirituall life, tis he that quickens all the members of Christ, by the speciall mouings of the holy Ghost in their hearts, begetting them againe after a strange manner by ioyning his spirit to their spirits, and thus Christ liues in vs: Hence this life is called the life of God, Ephes. 4. 17. and the life of Iesus, 2. Cor. 4. 11. Gal. 2. 20.

3. Because that life by which hee liues in himselfe hee inioyes after a most matchlesse manner: who can describe the glo­ry and shining of that life, in respect of which God is said by an excellencie to be the liuing God, Daniel 6. 26. 1. Thes. 1. vlt. Reuel. 4. 9. and as a doctrine of singular glory the Lord is pleased to sweare by his life, Ezeck. 33. 11.

Some of the glories of this life of God we may in some mea­sure distinctly conceiue of with admiration.

And so we should adore that God whose life is,

1. Independent: God hath life in himselfe: He receiued it not from any other, Iohn 5. 26.

2. It is Eternall, he liues from Eternity to Eternity, Dan. 4. 34. He is immortall he cannot die, 1. Tim. 1. 17.

3. It is not seated as in a part of God, as life is in vs: but it is the whole essence; is not onely in it, but is the essence it selfe.

4. It is most perfect, in blessednesse, and glory, hee wants no means to nourish it, nor helpes to content it or make it hap­pie, but is God blessed for euer, Rom 11.

There is Vse of this Knowledge of God: for, Vse.

1. It shewes the Vanitie of Idolaters, that serue Gods that haue no life, Ieremie 10. 9, 10. 14.

[Page 57] 2. Woe be to wicked men that sinne securely, as if God was not or had no life, It is a horrible thing to fall into the hands of the liuing God. If he liue, they must die, Heb. 10. 31. Ier. 23. 36.

3. Let all men bee afraid, and take heede of sinning, and re­member his presence: for God is a liuing God, Daniel 6. 26.

4. Since GOD is all Life, wee must bee as liuely as is pos­sible in his seruice: our consciences must bee purged from dead workes seeing we serue a liuing God, Hebrewes 9. 14.

5. Wee are bound in swearing especially to remember the Life of God: Thou shalt sweare the Lord liueth, Ieremie 4. 2.

6. Wee must not greedily couet after the riches of this world, seeing our God liueth to reward such as serue him and trust in him, 1. Tim. 6. 17. Heb. 12. 22.

7. Vnto him we should goe for all succour, support, strength, and preseruation both of naturall and spirituall life: for with him is the well spring of Life, Psal. 36. Psal. 42. 3. Deut. 30. 19, 20. and it should comfort vs against all the desperate miseries of this life: It is inough for Iob, if his Redeemer liue, for he knowes he will deliuer him, &c. Iob 19. 25, 26. Iohn 14. 19.

Lastly, the through Meditation of the glorious life of God, should breed in vs a desire to adore and admire him, and praise him while we liue, as they did, Reuel. 4. 9. for this ve­ry Reason.

Who would not wonder at that Father that had a 100. or a 1000. children, to whom he had bin an instrument of Life: Oh then! why worship we not him that is Father of spirits, and Fountaine of all the life is in all the creatures in the world? and besides liues in himselfe a life full of infinite shining and perfection? Thus of the Life of God: His Knowledge followes.

The Knowledge of God is to bee admired and adored as wonderfull and matchlesse in many respects.

1. Because God is a seipso sapiens wise of himselfe, he hath not He is [...]. [Page 58] his knowledge infused into him, or any way giuen him, nor gets he it by the instruction of others, or by the benefit or experience, or obseruation. This glory of his knowledge he pleades, Esay 40. 13. Rom. 11. 34.

2. Because he is the Author of all that vnderstanding skill or wisedome is found in any of the creatures: As the Sunne is And so he onely is Intellectus a­gens. He is called De­us Scientiarum. 1. Sam. 2. 3. the Fountaine of all the Light is in any of the Corporall creatures, so God is the Fountaine of all that Light is in all vnderstandings of men or Angels: It is God that furnished Christ man with al those treasures of Wisedome and Know­ledge, Esay 11. 2. 'Tis from his Light that the Angels and Saints in Heauen see Light, as the Father of Lightes: and all the spirituall knowledge godly men haue is from aboue, Iames 3. 17. Iohn 6. 45. Yea all the skill any men haue in their callings is taught them of God, as the Pro­phet Esay shewes in the verie case of Husbandmen, Esay 28. 6▪ 26.

3 Because all his workes are done with matchlesse skill and wisedome, none can doe like him, nor is his knowledge onely Theoricall, Psal. 104. 24. Esay 40, 28. Euen those things that seeme to vs to be done so as we cannot conceiue a reason of them or seeme contrary to vs and our rules, yet haue wonderfull depth of shining glory and Iustice and wisedome in them, Rom. 11. 33, 34.

4. Because his knowledge is infinite, Iob 11. 7, 8, 9. Psal. 147. 5. He is omniscient, he knowes all things: his vnder­standing penetrateth into all things. Hee knowes himselfe, one person each other exactly, Mat. 11. 27. 1. Cor. 2. 10. and knowes all things without himselfe, Heb. 4. 13. 1. Iohn 3. 20. Iohn 21. 17. All the creatures that were, are, or euer shall be, he knowes them, Acts 15. 18. Esay 40. 26. Mat. 10. 26. 30. He knowes all that is said or done in the whole world, Psal. 139. 1. &c. He knowes things to come, aswell as things past or present, Esay 41. 22, 23. 26. Hee knowes the very thoughts of the hearts of men, and seeth them a­farre off, euen before they be yet formed or conceiued, hee can tell what all the men in the world thinke at all times, 1. Chron. 28. 9. Psal. 7. 10. & 94. 11. Ier. 11. 20. & 17. 10. [Page 59] Yea, he knowes all things which are possible to be, though they neuer shall be: To conclude, he knowes all things di­uine or humane, or Angelicall, Celestiall or Terrestriall, good or euill, secret or manifest, vniuersall or singular, ne­cessary or contingent, noble or vile, great or small, which are, or are not, past present or to come, euen things which shall neuer be.

5. Because his knowledge is most perfect, hee not onely knowes all things, but he knowes them most perfectly: hee knowes not in part as we doe, but exactly: his knowledge cannot be increased or diminished: he learnes nothing, hee forgets nothing, Rom. 11. 33. Psal. 147. 5. And the per­fection of his knowledge appeares: first, in the clearenesse and euidence of it: therefore all things are said to be naked before him, Heb. 4. 13. and also in the distinctnesse of it: he knowes all things not confusedly, or generally, or in the masse or lump onely, as wee are said to know a man that know not a thousand things in him: thus God knowes very sparrowes, and the very haires of our heads and the number of them, Luke 12. 7. Mat. 10. 29. And this also proues the perfection of Gods knowledge, that his know­ledge is immutable, he neuer varies, though things may be subiect to infinite alterations, yet Gods Knowledge of them is alwaies the same: His Knowledge is infallible: fourthly, the perfection of his Knowledge appeares in this, that hee knowes things holily: hee neither adds, nor detracts, and takes any thing according to the outward shew or pre­tence, but he iudgeth not according to the face or person, but according to the Truth.

6. Because he knowes the things after a manner incommunica­ble to the creatures: for all things the creatures discerne, they discerne by one of these waies; either by sense, as by the ministry of the eye or eare, or taste, or touching, or smelling: or else they discerne things by opiniō, which is done by con­iecturing or ghessing at things by their causes or the like, or else by Faith, when they know things by the report of o­thers: Or else by knowledge framed by reasoning, discour­sing by the benefit of certaine propositions, to extract from [Page 60] thence the conclusion which breeds knowledge: or lastly, by certaine Images or species taken in by the sense, and im­printed vpon the Phantasie, which are thence offered to the vnderstanding, by which the knowledge of things is kept for contemplation, when the sense of the things is lost. But God knowes things by none of these waies, as being all im­perfect, as many Reasons might shew. But he knowes them all by his Essence, not by any sense or speciall facultie: And that this may bee vnderstood wee must note: First, that the whole Essence of God is as it were wholy an eye, or a mind. Secondly, that God is all th [...]ngs by Eminencie. Deus est om­nia Eminenter: as they say in Schooles. Thirdly, God con­taines all things in himselfe, and his Essence is the example or patterne of all things, and therefore needs but to looke vpon himselfe, and then he sees all things as in a glasse: our vnderstanding is imperfect, and therefore depends vpon the Obiects, by which it is as it were coloured, and so while it striueth to know other things is driuen to neglect, and for­get it selfe, as the glasse which is so coloured from other things which shine in it, that it doth as it were loose his owne colour: but God being infinite, and independent, is not bound to the things without him to receiue impressions from them, but in himselfe hath the Ideas or formes of them, and are but as it were little shadowes or slender likenesses cast out from the diuine nature. Hence it is that the Knowledge of God is not lyable to the imperfections that cleaue to the things to be knowne without himselfe: thus he knowes temporall things after an eternall manner, mutable things immutablie, contingent things infalliblie, future things presently, dependent things independently, created things after an vncreated manner.

7. Because hee knowes all things vno intuitu with one view, all at once: The eye of man beholds many things at once as with one looke it can see the Ants in a Mole-hill, but if it will see other things, it must remoue the sight. Now the minde of man can at once take in a larger circuit to looke vpon, as a Cittie or Countrey, yea the whole earth, yea the whole world, but it is onely in the lumpe or ball, or whole [Page 61] masse of it: for if it would take the distinct contemplation of things, it must remoue from forme to forme, and from thought to thought. Now Gods vnderstanding takes all at once, most stedfastly, and most perfectly, and so by a way more excellent then all the creatures in heauen or earth. Gods Knowledge is not a successiue knowledge, as ours is, to take in things by comparing, or distinguishing, or reaso­ning, &c. for all things without God are but as a center or little point, which with infinite ease he discernes: and there­fore wee must by the way take notice of it, that when wee reade in Scripture of fore-knowledge of things to come, or remembrance of things past, that these things are called so in respect of vs, not in respect of God. They are not giuen to God properly, but are tearmes borrowed from our vse, the more distinctly to inform vs of the branches (as it were) of Gods knowledge.

8. Because Gods knowledge of things hath such force in it; that when and where hee will, hee can make the Creature feele the warmth and comfort of the knowledge of him. It is a knowledge that hath influences vpon some creatures: It refresheth and worketh more vpon the soule, then the Beames of the Sunne vpon the bodie. Thus when God is said to know the way of the Righteous, or their soules in aduersity, or the like, the knowledge is not a bare taking notice, but an acknowledgement, or making of them to know, that he knowes them, or a powerfull setting of the beames of his knowledge so vpon them, that they are thereby prese [...]ued, and wonderfully refreshed, and the like to this can no created knowledge doe, it can cast no influ­ence vpon the thing knowne, Psal. 1. 6. 2. Tim. 2. 19. Iohn 10. 14. 27. Exod. 33. 12. This appeares by the contrarie when of wicked men God saith, he knowes them not, Mat. 7. 23. The consideration of these surpassing glories in the know­ledge of God, should serue for diuers Vses:

1. It should breede in vs with the Apostle, Admiration of those depths of Wisedome and Knowledge of God, Rom. 11. 33.

2. It may informe vs concerning the vanity of Idols which [Page 62] haue no vnderstanding, they cannot know, nor foretell any thing, and therefore not like the true God, Esay 41. 2 [...]. And it may withall shew vs the truth of the Apostles assertion that God onely is wise, Rom. 16. 27. His knowledge is such a knowledge as darkens the respect of all knowledge in any creature: their Knowledge to Gods is but as the light of a candle to the Sunne. It is nothing in comparison: And withall it may shew vs the fearefull sillinesse of many wic­ked men that haue no shift to ease their owne consciences, but to thinke God doth not see them. One would thinke there should be no such kinde of men that were so sillie, but the Scripture shewes the contrary, Psal. 10. 11. Esay 31. 2. Iob 9. 3, 4, & 11. 11.

3. It may teach vs diuers things,

1. To busie our selues with all industry to get knowledge, that wee may in some little measure bee like vnto God: seeing knowledge is so admirable a thing in God, we should seeke it more diligently and laboriously, then we would seeke sil­uer, or gold or the greatest treasure in the world. This is vrged from the consideration of Gods Knowledge, Pro. 3. 13, 14, 15, 19, 20. & 4. 7.

2. To be afraid to sinne euen in secret, because the darknesse hideth not from God, and day and night are all one with him. He is a God that tryeth the hearts and reines, and di­uideth betweene the soule and the spirit, and discernes the very intents of the heart.

3. To giue him glory euen when he doth such things as seeme harsh to vs: as for instance, though we should see him passe by a world of wicked men, or throw them into eternall tor­ments, without shewing mercy, yet we should be fully per­swaded of his Iustice: and why? because he knowes more by wicked men then all the world doth besides, and though as yet he doth not reueile the whole councell of his will, and the reasons of his proceedings, yet the infinitenesse of his Knowledge and Wisedome should assure vs that in the day of Christ we shall heare of such deepe and plaine reasons as shall fully satisfie vs.

4. To serue him with all our hearts without hypocrisie: for to [Page 63] what end is it to dissemble with him, that knowes vs better then we know our selues, and sees what is within vs as ma­nifestly as what is without, 1. Chron. 28. 9.

5. When any man lackes Wisedome, let him seeke it of that God which hath such store, as he will giue liberally and re­proach no man, Iames 1. 5.

Lastly, it serues for great consolation vnto the godly: God knowes their sorrow, when no eye pittieth them; hee knowes their innocency, when the wicked say all manner of euill sayings; hee knowes their hearts desire is to bee as good as they seeme, though the world condemne them for Hypocrites. Hee knowes they would faine please him, though their workes be not perfect; he knowes what they stand in neede of, and therefore will helpe them; he knowes the malice, fraud and intentions of all their enemies, though their diuises be hidden from them. When wee are in such straites as wee know no way out, yet God knowes how to finde meanes to deliuer such as trust in him, Psal. 1. 6. & 37. 18. Mat. 6. 31. 32. Esay 40. 13. 14.

Thus of the Knowledge of GOD. His Holinesse fol­lowes.

The Holinesse of God comprehends two admirable At­tributes in God, his Goodnesse and his Iustice.

The goodnes of God is to be considered, as it is in himself, or as it is shewed towards others.

That goodnesse of Nature that is in God himselfe, is known onely to himselfe in the fulnesse of it: onely two things wee must conceiue of by way of glimpse: The one that he is good by his Essence. Hee is not good by participation of the good­nesse of any other thing, nor is his goodnesse a quality, but his whole Essence is goodnesse it selfe. The other is, that hee is good in a most vnutterable degree: and therefore is called the chiefe good, of all things to be desired, and without whom no­thing can partake of goodnesse, and in whom is no mixture of any euill. And in respect of the goodnesse in himselfe, hee is auouched by our Sauiour Christ to be onely good. None hath an independent originall goodnes but God. All that goodnesse that is in any creature, is but the print or footsteps, or resem­blances [Page 84] of the goodnesse that is properly and arche [...]ypically onely in God.

The goodnesse of Gods Nature as it is shewed to others is chiefly taught vs in Scripture, by such descriptions of it, as are fitted to our capacity.

The word in both the originall Languages translated good, signifies also faire or beautifull: and it is a true obseruation made by Diuines, that in this life wee are affected with the sense of Gods goodnesse, but that Amiable sweetnesse and beauty of Gods nature cannot be knowne till we come to hea­uen.

The Goodnesse of God shewed in this life, and magnified in the praises of it in Scripture is manifested fiue waies.

  • 1. By his Loue, or matchlesse louingnesse of Nature.
  • 2. By his Mercy.
  • 3. By his Gratiousnesse.
  • 4. By his Bountifulnesse.
  • 5. By his Patience.

And chiefly these are considered of in Scripture as they con­cerne man.

The Loue of God to man is matchlesse, whether wee consi­der the Acts of it, or the properties of it.

In Loue there is a threefold act: for it hath in it, first, a de­sire by which it is strongly carried to the vnion of the thing lo­ued: secondly, a ioy or delight, in which it rests it selfe in the fruition of the thing loued: thirdly, a will to procure what it conceiues to be good for the thing loued. All these three are in a most high degree in God.

For first, he hath shewed his wonderfull desire to be vnited vnto men many waies: as,

1. By assuming the Nature of man into a personall coniuncti­on with himselfe in the Mediator Christ.

2. By conuersing with man, by signes of his presence, visions, dreames, Oracles, inspiration, and ordinarily by his ordinan­ces, entertaining them continually in his house.

3. By adopting men to be his children, and making their Na­tures like to his owne 1. Iohn. 3. 1.

4. By prouiding for man an eternall Habitation in heauen [Page 85] where hee may bee alwaies about him in his glorious pre­sence.

For the second, the Prophet Zephanie shewes that hee takes wonderfull delight in the seruice, and felicitie of his people whom he loues. The Lord God is in the middest of them, hee reioyceth ouer them with ioy, he rests in his loue, he ioyes ouer them with singing, Zeph. 3. 17.

For the third, his will to procure them all the good they neede, hee shewed by sending his owne Sonne, to recouer them out of all miserie, and prouide for them all things be­longing to a blessed immortality: so God loued the world, that he sent his onely begotten Sonne, that whosoeuer belee­ueth in him, should not perish, but haue life eue [...]lasting, Iohn 3. 16.

The properties of this Loue are likewise most admirable: for,

1. It is a most perfect, tender, loue: comprehending in it al pos­sible kindenesse: such kindnesse as all Ages ought to admire, Epes. 2. 7. and such as is sweete and better then life, or ought we haue experience of in life, Psal. 63. 3. Hee is therefore said to be loue it selfe 1. Iohn 4. 8.

2. It is first or preuenting, 'tis not a loue prouoked by our loue to him, but hee loued vs first, that were vnworthy of all loue, as being indeed his enemies, 1. Ioh. 4. 10. 19.

3. It is from euerlasting, Ier. 31. 3. before wee had done good or euill, Rom. 9. 11. 13.

4. It is immutable, and to euerlasting, no creature can sepa­rate vs from the loue of God, Rom. 8. 38. whom hee loueth he loueth to the end, Iohn 13. 1.

5. It is without respect of persons: bound or free, Barbarians or Scythians, Iewes or Grecians, are all one with him in Christ: He loues a poore man as earnestly as a rich man: Colos. 3. 11. and how vile soeuer the condition of Gods be­loued ones be on earth, yet they are euer Honorable in his sight, Isay 43. 4.

Thus of the Loue of GOD: His Mercie follo­weth.

[Page 86] There are many praises of the Mercy of God in Scripture which should much inflame and inamour our hearts: for,

1. His Mercy is abundant, 1▪ Pet. 1. 3. Hee is rich in Mercy, Ephes. 2. 4. exceeding rich, Ephes. [...]. 7. and it must needs be so, because his Mercy is as his Essence, infinite, Psalme 103. 11.

2. His mercies are tender mercies, Luke 1. 77. hee layeth to Cordi est miseria. heart our miseries: No Father can so pittie his sonne, as God pitties vs, Psal. 103. 4. 13. and how can it bee other­wise seeing God is Mercy it selfe.

3. He is mindefull of his Mercy, Luke 1. 54. He waites to shew Mercy, Esay 30. 18.

4. He reserues Mercy for thousands: he spends not his Mercy onely on Patriarches, or Prophets, or Kings, &c. but he be­stowes his Mercy on all sorts of people, so as poore men may enioy the mercies of Dauid, Exodus 34. 6, Esay 55. 4.

5. His Mercies endure for euer: they can neuer bee drawne dry, Psal. 25. 5. Luke 1. 50. Esay 54. 10. Psalme 136. from euerlasting to euerlasting, Psal. 103. 17.

6. The effects of his Mercy are admirable, considered either in generall or particular.

I [...] [...]enerall; and so,

1. He is Father of all that Mercy is in any creature, 2. Cor. 13.

2. His Mercy is ouer all his workes; we can haue to doe with no worke of God, but we may taste of his Mercy in it, euen of his tender mercies, Psal. 145. 9. which he reckons in ma­ny instances, Psal. 136.

In particular; and so by his Mercy,

1. He elected vs, Rom. 9. 16. and thus he shewed vs Mercy be­fore the world was.

2. In due season hee visited vs from on High, Luke 1. 77.

Sending his Sonne to pay our ransome, and so redeeming our liues from destruction, Psal. 103. 4.

Calling vs out of the world to be his people, who were not his people, 1. Pet. 2. 10. forgiuing vs all our sinnes, Ex. 34. 6. Mich. 7. 18.

[Page 87] Quickning our soules that were dead in trespasses and sinnes, Ephes. 2. 4 sauing vs, and estating the glory of Heauen vp­on vs, Tit. 3. 5. giuing vs the knowledge of our Saluation, Luke 1. 77. 78.

3. In our very afflictions he shewes vs strange Mercy: for,

1. It is his Mercy that wee are not consumed, Lament. 3. 22. Hee doth not destroy vs, nor stirre vp his whole displea­sure, Psal. 78. 39. though hee bee made very angry, yet in wrath he remembers Mercy, Hab. 3. 2. Nehemiah 9. 31. He will not deale with vs after our sinnes, Psal. 113. 10.

2. In the hardest times of trouble, he will entertaine his peo­ple that trust in him with great goodnesse, Nahum. 1. 7.

3. He will turne cursings into blessings, and make the things that are hurtfull in themselues to bee good for his people, Deut. 23. 5. Rom. 8. 28.

4. He will not chide for euer, Psal. 103. 9. but will repent him of the euill, Ioel 2. 12. 13. Though hee may forsake his peo­ple, yet it is but for a time, and hee will returne and receiue them with euerlasting Mercy, Esay 54. 7. 10. Hee will giue a happie end out of all afflictions, Psal. 34. 17. Iames 5. 11. Deut. 4. 3 [...].

Thus of the Mercy of God.

The third thing that shewes the maruellous goodnesse of Gods nature is his Gratiousnesse, and that is a strange good­nesse of God, by which hee is disposed to doe all hee doth for vs, freely, without desert in vs, Exodus 34. 6. and this God would haue proclaimed, that all might not onely take notice of it, but make vse of it, Esay 55. 1, 2, 3, 4. so as we hold all by his free grace, both temporall things, Psal. 44 4. and eternall things, Romanes 3. 23, 24. Yea, God hath set vp a Throne, which hee calles the Throne of Grace, that all sorts of men might daily make vse of this matchlesse freenesse in God, Heb. 4. 16.

This is a most eminent raigning disposition in God, and the shining glory of it shall continue to eternall life, Rom. 5. 20. 21. and we must take speciall notice of it, to conceiue aright of the praise of this gratiousnesse of God, as the principall end, of all his Loue and mercy to vs, Ephes. 1. 6, & c,

[Page 88] The fourth thing that shewes the Goodnesse of Gods Nature is his Bountifulnesse: and his Bountifulnesse is shewed.

1. To all Creatures. The earth is full of his goodnesse, Psal. 33. 5. He feedes all the liuing creatures in the world with his hand euery day, he clothes the earth, and plants euery yeere with more cunning Ornaments, then the Robes of Princes, Psal. 104. whole, especially verse 24, 25, 27. 30. and in this very respect the glory of the Lord shall endure for euer: and God himselfe doth take great delight in his workes of daily feeding and tending the creatures, verse 31. and for this kinde of Bountifulnesse, Dauid vowes to praise God while he liues, verse 33.

2. To all men, Iust and vniust, he not onely causeth his Sunne to shine on the vniust as well as the Iust, Mat. 44. 45. but he hath left great treasures in the world as common to them both, as are the vse of the most creatures, riches, honors, long life, posterity, &c. for by these things no man can discerne either loue or hatred, for as it falleth to the godly, so doth it to the wicked, aswell to him that sweareth as to him that feareth an oath, Eccles. 9.

3. To the Elect in a speciall manner and so his bountie shines:

1. In their creation: not onely in furnishing the minde of man with such perfect gifts, nor onely in planting man in that Garden of pleasure, but also in setting him in this new world, as Lord of all things, and making all other things for mans vse.

2. In their Redemption, in giuing them his owne Sonne to ransome them, and with him giuing them all things, re­storing them to all they had lost by the fall, Romanes 8. 32.

3. In their Sanctification, both in respect of the matter of grace, as also in respect of the meanes of it: he hath dealt bountifully in the matter of sauing grace, because hee is the God of all grace, 1 Pet. 5. 10. and euery good gift procee­deth from him as the Father of Lights, Iames 1. 17. and so doth his bounty shine in the meanes of grace.

[Page 89] 1. In the word: giuing gifts to men, sometime extraordinary, as Apostles, Prophets, and Euangetists, and ordinary, Pa­stors and Teachers, sent abroad to preach the Gospel to eue­ry creature, Ephes. 4. Mat. 28.

2. In the Sacraments, adding to his word and oath his seales to assure his Immutablenesse, Heb. 12. and in the Sacrament of the Lords Supper, feeding his people with the flesh and bloud of his owne Sonne: A foode better then the bread of Angels, Iohn 6.

3. In Prayer, promising to grant whatsoeuer shall be asked of him in the name of Christ, Marke 11. 24. Iames 1. 5.

4. In their Saluation, prouiding for them an inheritance, im­mortall, incorruptible, and that in the most glorious place of the whole world, the Heauen of Heauens, when they shall liue in his presence for euermore, enioying Riuers of pleasure at his right hand, 1. Pet. 1. 3. Psal. 17. Tit. 2. 12.

The last thing that she weth the goodnesse of Gods nature is his Patience, and his Patience is admirable.

1. If we consider the prouocations to moue him to implacable displeasure, and these arise either from the consideration of the persons that prouoke him, or from the things by which he is prouoked: there are foure things that might irritate extreamely, if wee looke vpon the persons prouo­king. The first is their Number: worlds of men by their sinnes daily transgresse and offend against God; if he looke downe from heauen, he may see what to loath in the works of all men: scarce one of a Cittie, or two of a Tribe that haue any care to please God. The second is their enmity, God is prouoked by men that are his professed enemies, and therefore might conceiue iust furie against them, there being no reason why he should pittie or spare them. Third­ly, it adds to the prouocation that they are his creatures: the worke of his owne hands; they rebell against him that were made by him, and therfore the indignity of the offence is the greater. Fourthly, their impotencie, he needs not feare them, he might blow them away at once as a little dust of the Ballance: he could destroy them with frogges, and lice, and flies: and for the euills by which he is prouoked, what [Page 90] man or Angell can describe the haynousnesse of them? what heart of man can conceiue the horror of the sinnes of the whole world. All the Commandements of God being bro­ken by euery man, many of their sinnes committed with an high hand, crying to heauen for vengeance, Treasons daily and euery where, and these committed before the very face of God, no place so sacred, but wretched men dare offend there, the frame of transgression beginning from the womb, and holding on to the graue, and the offendors relapsing by breaking their vowes and couenants, from time to time, and to make vp all, that Trayterous man should yeeld himselfe to bee wholly gouerned, and led forth against God by the diuell the Arch-enimy of God.

2. If we consider who God is that endures all this: hee is in­finite in Holinesse and Iustice, infinitely hating sin and con­ceiuing wrath against sinners, and whose Office it is to bee the Iudge of the world, and hath power to Plague all often­ders at his will, Nahum. 1. 2. 3.

3. If we consider the manner how hee exerciseth his patience; where obserue:

1. That hee is slow to anger, hee is not easily prouoked, Psal. 103. 8.

2. That he can suffer exceeding long, Exod. 34. 6. as in the case of the Israelites, they had tempted him more then tenne times before he Plagued them, Numbers 14. 12. 18. 19. 20. 22.

3. That where hee doth enter into iudgement, hee doth not poure out his whole displeasure, but proceeds by de­grees.

4. That hee sent a Sauiour, as a remedie for their sinnes, and punisheth those persons, but not till they haue reiected the Saluation offered, Iohn 3. 16, 17.

5. That hee sends to his very enemies, before they seeke to him, and sets vp his ordinances amongst them, as meanes to reclaime them, and with great importunity and continu­ance vrgeth men to saue themselues from so great destructi­on, 2. Cor. 5. 19. 20. 2. Chron. 36. 15. Esay 65. 2. &c. & 42. 14.

[Page 91] 6. It appeareth that he is infini [...]ely patient, that puts off the day of Iudgement to so long a day, 2. Pet. 3. 9. and thus of the manner of his Patience.

4. If we consider the effects of his patience or the ends. Hee is patient that men may repent and be saued, 2. Pet. 3. 9. Yea, thousands of men are saued by Gods forbearance, that had else bin damned, if God had called for their accounts soo­ner, [...]. Pet. 3. 15.

Lastly, if we consider the cause of his patience: Some Iudges spare to punish some offendors, but it is, because they are Alyed to them, or because they giue bribes to be freed, or because they are great persons, &c. but Gods Patience and forbearance is not wrought by any of these meanes, but it ariseth meerely from the goodnesse of his owne Nature, hee doth it for his owne sake, not for any thing in them.

Thus of the Doctrine of Gods Goodnesse. The Vses follow, and so the knowledge of Gods maruellous goodnesse of Na­ture may both informe vs, and teach vs, and comfort vs in di­uers things.

As it serues for information. so it should compell vpon vs a most setled and resolute iudgement, especially in foure things; for since there is such a transcendent glory of good na­ture in God, whatsoeuer can be said or obiected, or whatsoe­uer God doth, we should vnmoueablie bee established in full assurance.

1. That God can doe nothing that is ill or vniust. He cannot be the Author of any thing that is euill: so good a Nature can­not decree, or effect any thing that is cruell, bloudy or tyran­nicall, Iames 1. 13. 17.

2. That in afflicting punishment vpon offenders hee takes no delight in the death of the very wicked, Ezek 18.

3. That no men can bee saued by their merits. That great Saluation hee prouides for men, is meerely out of his owne bounty and not from their merits, Romanes 6. vlt. & 1 [...]. 6.

4. That there can be no goodnesse in any creature comparable to the goonesse of God: all the goodnesse, loue, bountie, mercy, clemency, Patience, or grace that can bee found in [Page 92] Princes, Parents, Husbands, Wiues, or Friends is nothing in comparison of Gods goodnesse, which appeares if wee re­member what was before taught.

1. Because all their goodnesse was receiued from God, they had it not of themselues.

2. Because it is not so great as Gods goodnesse which is im­mense; they may bee said to bee louing, mercifull, bounti­full, &c. but GOD is loue it selfe, mercie it selfe, &c.

3. Because their goodnesse began but yesterday, a little while agoe, whereas Gods goodnesse was from euerlasting.

4. Because their goodnesse is mutable, they may hate and loath whom they formerly loued and pi [...]tied vehemently: and they may loue and pittie such persons, as when they die, may perish in hell for euer, where they shall neuer enioy com­fort by them more; whereas Gods loue is immutable and euerlasting.

5. Because they can shew no such fruits of their loue and mer­cie as God doth; they cannot ransome the world, nor quicken and raise the dead soules and bodies of men, nor medicine the afflictions of them they loue, to turne them to good, nor subdue those mighty enemies, diuells, sin, death, and hell, nor nourish soules, nor giue an immortall inheri­tance.

Secondly, the consideration of his glorious goodnes should compell vs:

1. To magnifie him for his goodnesse, and striue to set out his praises, to mention the louing kindnesses of the Lord, accor­ding to his great goodnesse shewed to vs, Esay 63. 7. The Prophet Dauid in many places vrgeth this vse vehemently, vsing this forme of exhortation in many places, Oh praise the Lord for he is good, for his mercy indureth for euer, Psalme 106. 1. & 107. 1. & 118. 1 & 1 [...]6. 1. and though worlds of carnall people cannot bee inflamed to the admi­ration of this matchlesse goodnesse of his, yet Israel, the re­deemed of the Lord, all that feare him, and haue experience of his mercy should bee vehemently affected with desire to magnifie his praises, as these places shew. Neither will it [Page 93] suffice, after a dull, or sullen manner to doe it, but wee are bound to praise this goodnesse of God after a speciall man­ner: for,

1. We must studie his praises herein, and striue to seeke out with delight the conceptions of his glorious praises, Psal. 111. [...], [...].

2. We must bee sure that Gods praises heere bee set out with affirmations and language aboue the praises of all other things in the world: we must do it abundantly, Psal. 145. 7. and with our whole hearts, Psalme 111. 1. our soules must blesse him not our tongues onely; Psal. 103. 1.

3. Wee must not rest satisfied to praise him for a fit, but must striue to doe it for euer: all our life should bee full of his praises, Psal. 104. 33. and good Reason, seeing wee can ne­uer want matter and cause of praise, because the earth is full of his goodnesse, Psal. 3 [...]. 5. and who can at once declare all his praise, Psal. 106. 2.

4. Nor will it suffice that wee praise him, when wee worship him in the word, Prayer or S [...]craments, but we must talke of his praises one to another, and labour mutually to heate our hearts by daily mentioning the glory of his Nature and Kingdome, Psal 145. 11.

2. Gods goodnesse should force vs to repentance, and so it should diuers waies. It hath in it strong incitations, to hu­miliation, to cast downe, to the care of a new life. It should exceedingly humble vs and breake our hearts, to think that wee haue so long, and so grieuously transgressed against God, that is so full of goodnesse towards vs. It should make vs teare our very hearts with weeping, mourning and fa­sting, Ioel. 2. 12. secondly, It leades vs to repentance also, as it giues vs incouragement to come to him to beg mercy and forgiuenesse: because mercy pleaseth him, Mich. 7. 18. and his Throne of grace is alwaies easie to come to, and he freely shewes mercy and will multiply pardon. There can be no such aggrauations of our sinnes, but if wee repent, all will be swallowed vp in the seas of his goodnesse, Esay 55. 7. Ioel 2. 13. Heb. 4. 6. thirdly, it should continually fire vs to the hatred of our sinnes, and care to liue righteously, and [Page 94] soberly and godly in this present world, denying vngodli­nesse and worldly lusts, Titus 2. 12. who would not serue so good a Nature?

3. It should set our affections all in a flame, and make vs won­derfully in loue with God, seeing beyond all comparison, there is all that in Gods nature which should kindle affecti­ons: Oh we should loue him with all our hearts, and all our soules, and all our might, both because hee is so infinitely amiable in himselfe, and shewes it to vs daily: as also be­cause he seekes to be ours and to vnite vs to himselfe. The Doctrine is wholly lost▪ if it will not make vs more in loue with God: If such Loue, Mercie, Bounty, Grace, and Pati­ence, cannot allure vs then nothing that is good can.

The whole booke of the Canticles sets out the Loue should be in the Church to God: Yea, it shewes that the vehement passions of Loue should be in vs, because all that can be Amia­ble is in him.

The desire of our soules should bee euer after him, and the remembrance of him: We should be much abashed, that any louer should shew more affection to an earthly creature, then we shew to God. Our mindes should still runne vpon him. And because we may finde a horrible vnto wardnesse in our na­ture, and extreame dulnesse in our affections, therefore wee should make conscience of it, to circumcise our hearts that we might more be in loue with God, both by afflicting our soules and iudging our selues for our defects: and by cutting off, and casting away all those delights that might steale away our affections from the Lord, beseeching the Lord himselfe to di­rect our hearts into his loue, 2. Thes. 3. 5. Esay 26. 9. Psal. 31. 19. 21. 23. Deut. 30. 6.

4. It should teach vs to make more account of his loue to vs: and all the signes of it, we should wonderfully ioy in all the pledges of his fauour, esteeming his louing kindnesse better then life. Our very soules should be satisfied as with mar­row, Psalme 63. shall the Lord reioyce ouer vs with ioy and take such delight in vs, Zeph. 3. 17. and shall wee so lightly esteeme of his fauour, presence and all his loue to­kens? Oh the Tidings that GOD loues vs, should fill [Page 95] our hearts with indelible delights and admiration.

5. It should fully perswade vs to rest vpon God, and trust in him with all confidence in all estates, euen wholly to com­mit our selues and our waies to his protection: who would not trust so good, so louing, so pitifull, so bountifull a Na­ture? Blessed are they that are fauoured by him, and can trust in his mercies, and shew it both by their abundant con­tentation, and by their continuall recourse to him, to seeke all needfull good things from him that is the Fountaine of all goodnesse, Psal. 34. 9. & 13. 6.

6. How should it make vs long for the comming of Iesus Christ: and hast to that day: how should wee desire to bee dissolued that we might be prefent with the Lord, and see his beauty face to face, and enioy that vnspeakeable sweet­nesse of his Nature immediately: Oh what hearts haue we, that doe not euen hate life, for this very respect, because it hinders the Lords presence from vs, and keepes vs absent from him whom our soules loue, 2. Thes. 3. 5. 1. Iohn 3. 2. Psal. 31. 19.

7. It should especially fire vs to a desire to imitate these sweet praises in God, and to striue by all meanes to make our na­tures like to his: we should from our hearts, seriously, con­stantly, diligently, endeuour to bee bountifull, mercifull, free, patient, and full of Loue, as our God is. Wee should neuer thinke we had a iot of good nature in vs, till we could in some sound measure shew a constant disposition in these things, 1. Iohn 4. 11. Luke 6. 36. Romanes 15. 4, 5.

Thirdly, this Doctrine of Gods goodnesse is wonderfull comfortable if wee soundly consider our interest in the fauour of him that is so louing, mercifull, gratious, and bountifull, and especially against our sinnes, and in the case of Afflictions: for in both these, Arguments of great consolation may bee drawne from the goodnesse of his nature: as,

1. Against the burthen and guilt of our sinnes, it may great­ly ease our hearts, and quiet our consciences, to know that he hath set vs vnder grace, and freed vs from the hard con­ditions vnder the Law, and so acknowledgeth satisfaction [Page 96] in his owne Sons death, and passeth by without grieuance, a world of infirmities in vs, and is most ready to declare forgiuenesse of all our sins, so as the Iustification of life, by his grace shall exceed and ouercome the condemnation for our sins, Rom. 5. 20. 21. Esay 55. 7.

2. In the case of afflictions as was partly shewed before; for he is of so good nature,

1. That he will not consume vs, but onely try vs; hee will not afflict vs for his pleasure, but for our profit, Heb. 12. 18. Lament. 3. 21. Mal. 3. 17. Deut. 4. 31.

2. That he will not forsake vs, nor chide for euer, Nehemiah 9. 17. 31. Psal. 103. 8, 9. nothing shall separate vs from his loue, Rom. 8. 38. Esay 54. 7. 10.

3. That he will heare vs gratiously, when wee come to him in the day of trouble, Zach. 13. 9. Psal. 118. 5. Exod 22. 27. so as we may goe boldly to the Throne of grace to seeke help, Heb. 4. 16. Nahum. 1. 7. Yea, he will shew himselfe to be a God of consolation, 2. Cor. 1. 3.

4. That we shall neuer be oppressed by our Aduersaries though neuer so great and malicious, Psal. 1 [...]8. 6. if so good a God be on our side, what can man doe against vs? Psal. 86. 14, 15, 16. and so in generall out of all affliction he will deliuer and giue a good end, Psal. 34. 17. Iames 5. 11. Hee will re­pent him of the euill, Ioel 2. 13.

Lastly heere is matter of great Humiliation.

1. To all ill natured, fierce, vnmercifull, froward and cruell minded persons: for hence it appeares they are not of God: they that are of God are like to his nature in some degree, but these natures are of the diuell, 3. Iohn 11. 1. Iohn 3. 6. 10. Iohn 8. 44.

2. To such as abuse this so great goodnesse of God, as they doe that prophane the doctrine of it, by taking liberty from thence to sinne the more securely, and so turne the grace of God into wantonnesse: wofull is the condition of such per­sons, for thereby they heape vp wrath against the day of wrath, and depriue themselues of all the benefits of Gods goodnesse, Iude 3. Rom. 6. 1. Heb. 10. 29. Rom. 2. 5. 4. Deut. 29. 19.

[Page 97] 3. To all wicked men, that are in disgrace with God: Oh what a miserie is it, to want his fauour, or suffer his displea­sure, that shewes so much goodnesse to all that serue him, Exodus 34. 7. Iohn 3. 17. 19.

4. The best men in the Church, may be most heartily grieued for their owne deficiencies, that they cannot more admire, loue, and praise his infinite goodnesse.

Hitherto of the goodnesse of God: His Iustice followes.

The Iustice of God comprehends his Truth and his Righte­ousnesse. Gods Truth is diuersly magnified in Scripture: part­ly as it is in himselfe, and partly as it is declared towards the creatures.

God is Truth in himselfe three waies.

1. In his Essence, as he truely is, and truely is such as he is said to be: thus he is said to be the true God, Ier. 10. 10. Ioh. 17. 3. and thus he winnes himselfe glory, and triumphes ouer all the Idols of the Gentiles, Ier. 10. 14. 1. Thes. 1. 9. and thus God is truely infinite, truely immutable, truely immortall, truely wise, truely good, truely iust, &c.

2. As he is that increated first and chiefe Truth, and that im­mutable Archetype, exemplar, and Idea of all true things without himself as he is the frame of all things in his minde: The true patternes of all things were in the minde of God from eternity, and all created things are said to be true on­ly as they answer these patternes.

3. In his internall workes: and so his decrees are all true: not one of them mistaken, or disappointed, but haue their pre­cise and punctuall accomplishment.

2. God is true without himselfe towards the creatures and so:

1. In his workes: because all his workes he doth truely, there is nothing counterfeit, or dissembled or fained in them, Reuel. 15. 3. & 16. 7. He did truely create, and doth truely gouerne the world, call, iustifie, sanctifie, and will glorifie the Elect, &c. Psal, 11 [...]. 7.

2. In his words: all he saith is true. This is called the iustice of his words: and so,

1. All his Commandements are true: right Statutes, and true [Page 98] iudgements, and so they are as they containe an absolute platforme of Holinesse, and haue no imperfection, defect, or wickednesse, or iniquity in them, Nehemiah 9. 13. Psal. 19. 8, 9. & 119. 86. 142. 160.

2. All his promises are true: and so the Couenant of grace is true, the Gospell is the Word of Truth: Not a Tittle of the good word of God shall faile, Zach. 8. 8. Ephes 1. 13.

3. All his Threatnings are true, and shall bee truly accompli­shed, Rom. 2. 2.

4. All his Prophecies are true and faithfull sayings, Reuel. 22. 6. 7.

The Truth of GOD is yet further magnified in Scrip­ture.

1. As it is the Fountaine of all Truth in the creature: so God is called the God of Truth, and the Light that inlightneth euery man in the world; he is the Father of all light in the minds of the creatures, Psal. 31. 5. Iohn 1. 9. Iames 1. 17.

2. As it is eternall and immutable, and inuincible, no parcell of Gods Truth can faile, Psal. 117. 2. Mat. 5. 18. & 24. 35. Rom. 3. 3, 4. 2. Tim. 2. 13. great is the Truth and will pre­uaile: It may bee ouerwhelmed with strong clouds and mountaines of darkenesse and error, and yet it will so strug­gle, and get ground, that in the end it will destroy and con­sume what is exalted against it. As we see in the consumpti­on of the Kingdome of the man of sinne.

The consideration of this doctrine of Gods Truth should first teach vs diuers duties: for,

1. We should striue to acknowledge and praise God for the glory of his Truth: especially when we obserue the experi­ence of it, and can say this is the Word or Truth of the Lord, and thus he hath fulfilled it, Psal. 89. 6. & 92. 2. Isay 38. 19.

2. It should make vs with all confidence to beleeue what God saith to vs, though it be in things vnlikely, or aboue carnall Reason. This is to seale to it that God is true, Iohn 3. 33. thus did Abraham and Sarah, Heb. 11. 23.

3. If any man want the Light of the Truth, let him come hi­ther, euen to the God of Truth, and hee will bee the true [Page 99] Light to enlighten him: hee is the Father of Lights, and therefore let him pray with Dauid that God would direct him in his Truth, Iames 1. 17. Psal. 25. 5. & 43. 3.

4. It should make vs loue the Truth and sticke to it, without fainting or discouragement, though all the world doe op­pose vs, for the Lord wil be iustified in his Truth, and it shall preuaile. Wee should choose out that way of life which God hath directed vs, and not doubt of the issue, for there is no error or deceit in his waies, they will be found all true: Ierusalem should be called a Cittie of Truth, Gods people should trade more heartily for the Truth. then any other people would doe for any Merchandize. They should loue the Truth, but neuer sell it for any respect, Zach. 8. 3. 19. Pro. 23. 23. Psal. 119. 30. Phil. 4. 8.

5. It should fashion vs to the imitation of Gods Truth: wee should be a people that hate lying and falshood, and all de­ceitfull waies, wee should speake truth euery man to his neighbour, Ephes. 4. 24. 25. Zeph. 3. 13.

6. It should teach vs in all straites to flie vnto God, and belee­uing his promises, to pleade his Truth for our succour, tru­sting vpon him, and committing our waies to him, Psal. 31. 5. as knowing that Gods Word hath bin tryed and pu­rified in the fire seuen times and neuer failed: and therefore we should rest our selues vnder the shadow of his winges whatsoeuer danger or aduersaries we haue, Psal. 12. 7. & 36 7, 8. & 86. 14, 15. Reuel. 6. 10. 11. Yea, if God doe himselfe afflict vs, yet we should be sure and fully perswaded that his Mercy and Truth will neuer be taken from vs, Psal. 89. 34. 35.

7. It should teach vs to serue God in all sincerity, without dissembling and hypocrisie, and come neere to him with a true heart: for God is Truth, and cannot abide lying and hy­pocrisie: He cannot be deceiued, nor will he accept deceitfull workers: as hee is our God in Truth, so must we be his peo­ple in Truth and Righteousnesse, Hebrewes 10. 22. Zach. 8. 8.

2. This Doctrine of Gods Truth may also serue for singular consolation to all the godly of whom such glorious things [Page 100] are spoken: How many sweet comforts and promises are made in the whole Booke of God? And how should it fill vs with refreshing to know that all these are true, and that heauen and earth may sooner passe away then any iot of these good words shall faile of their Truth, Psalme 146. 5, 6.

3. It may also informe vs in diuers things: as,

1. That the Testimonie of God is Authenticall. His Word is onely fit to iudge in all controuersies: God is true, and all men are lyars. It is a most blasphemous impiety, to deny vnto the God of Truth the fulnesse of sufficiencie to te­stifie or conclude in the things of his owne glory: what men say may bee false, but what God saith must bee true.

2. Concerning the wofull estate of all men that liue in their sinnes without Repentance: Oh how fearefull is their e­state, when all the curses written in Gods Booke, must vna­uoidablie bee executed vpon them? God will not repent him of the least word in his Threatnings: Hee is God and not man that he should repent, 1. Sam 15. 29.

3. That true Religion will preuaile: It may bee resisted and ouerwhelmed for a time, but they shal not prosper that hate the Truth. The Truth will get vp againe, and ouercome, because God is Truth, and the power of his Truth is as great as the force of any other his Attributes.

Hitherto of the Truth of God: His Righteousnesse fol­lowes.

His Righteousnesse is to bee considered more generally or more specially: in generall the Righteousnesse of God is mag­nified in Scripture six waies:

1. Because in himselfe hee is most pure and holy, without any vice, sinne, defect or blemish; aboue all that Holinesse can be found in all or any of the creatures, Esay 6. 2. 1. Samuel 2. 2.

2. Because in all his dealings he is most iust, he doth no wrong, there is no iniquity in him, his waies are neuer vnequall, Psal. 84. 11. Deut. 32. 4.

3. Because he is Author of all the Holinesse is in the creatures, [Page 81] they haue nothing, but what they haue receiued, they haue all their Holinesse by participation.

4. Because his Righteousnes for eminency is like great moun­taines, and for vnsearchablenesse is like a great deepe, Psal. 36. 7. Iob 37. 23.

5. Because hee executes Iustice in all places and at all times there are yeerely springs of iustice from God, Esay 45. 8.

6. Because his Righteousnesse cannot be abolished.

In particular his Iustice is to bee considered either towards godly men, or towards wicked men: first, then of his iustice towards godly men.

The iustice of God towards godly men is described in Scrip­ture either as it is his iustice of Anger, or his iustice of Grace.

The iustice of his anger towards the godly: he hath shewed two waies,

1. Towards their suretie, Christ Iesus; and how fearefully he was displeased with sinne euen in them, may appeare, in that he spared not his owne Sonne, but abased him to the very condition of a seruant, exposed him to the temptations of the diuels, and the disgraces and oppositions of vnreasona­ble men, and laid vpon him all the curses of the Law; hum­bled him to death, euen the death of the Crosse, powred out vpon him his fierce wrath when he made his soule a very sa­crifice for sinne, so as for very paine hee sweat bloud, &c.

2. Towards themselues, by scourging, and chastening them with all sorts of afflictions when they sinne against him, Psal. 89. 34. and that in so grieuous a manner, sometimes that the whole world is searched for similitudes to expresse their sorrowes and miseries, as we may fee in the booke of Lamentations.

The iustice of his Grace is that wonderfull qualification of his wrath by an agreement as it were betweene his grace and his iustice, which hee shewes vnto them by many admirable consolations.

And so it is his Iustice, and hee confesseth himselfe to bee bound to them in Iustice.

[Page 82] 1. To moderate all his Chastizements and that in foure re­spects,

1. That they be not afflicted, but onely in this life for he hath not appointed them vnto eternall wrath, 1. Thessalonians 5. 9.

2. That he doth not take his mercy and his goodnes from them, Psal. 89. 34.

3. That he doth afflict them in measure with respect of their strength, Esay 27. 8. Ier. 46. 28.

4. That hee deliuers them out of affliction in the best season, Psal. 31. 5. & 36. 11.

2. To forgiue them as often as they come to him and acknow­ledge their sinnes, 1. Iohn 1. 9.

3. To impute vnto them the Righteousnesse of his Sonne, when they claime it by beleeuing, Romanes 1. 17. & 3. 25.

4. To direct them in his worke, and set them in the steppes of his waies and to helpe them to doe his worke, Psal. 85. 13.

5. To countenance them while they doe his work all the daies of their life, against the scornes and reproaches of the world, Psal. 11. 7.

6. To performe vnto them all hee hath promised them in any part of his word, Esay 45. 19.

7. To Crowne them in Heauen, and therefore is the Crowne called a Crowne of Righteousnesse which God giues as a Righteous Iudge, 2. Tim. 4. 8.

The Vses of this Iustice of God towards the godly, may be Ʋse. either for instruction or for incouragement: It should teach the godly three things: First, with Dauid to meditate of, and to make mention of Gods Righteousnesse euen of his onely, there being no Iustice in the world like to Gods Iustice, execu­ted with so much dislike of sinne, and with so much grace too, Psal. 71. 15. vlt. Secondly, it should breed in them a singular feare of offending, seeing God is so Iust, as to pursue sin euen in his owne. Thirdly, they should learne patiently to beare affliction, and to indure the indignation of the Lord, saying with the Church, I will beare the indignation of the Lord, [Page 83] because I haue sinned against him, Mich. 7. 9. Daniel 9. 7.

Againe, the consideration of Gods Righteousnesse and Iustice may be a great incouragement to godly men: for thence it will follow, that he that doth righteousnesse is certainely of God, 1. Iohn 2. 29. As they discerne righteousnesse to grow and increase in them, so they may assure themselues, that they grow more and more like God, yea, that God himselfe doth fashion them for himselfe: and againe, is God righteous, then he will loue righteousnesse, and make much of such as any way resemble him, in true righteousnesse. The righteous Lord loueth righteousnesse, and his countenance doth behold the Iust saith the Psalmist, Psal. 11. 7. Lastly, what can bee more comfortable then that God should acknowledge him­selfe bound in his Iustice to doe such excellent things for vs as is before mentioned: We should therefore studie these things, and thinke on them all the day, that our hearts may bee daily refreshed by them.

Thus of the Iustice of God towards godly men. The Iustice of God towards wicked men now followes.

Gods Iustice towards wicked men is comprehended briefefly in two Heads: The first is his Hatred of them: their sinnes doe stirre vp in God an vnmeasurable loathing of them, so as nothing can be so loathsome to vs, as euery wicked man is to God. His very soule doth abhorre him, Psal. 11. 5. The second is the Recompence he will giue him. The vengeance of God shall light vpon the head of all the wicked: and this Re­compence comprehends no lesse then all the curses contained in the booke of God: By the bitternesse whereof God will pursue the wicked man in his life, and in his death, and then for euer after torment him with vnspeakeable Horror in Hell.

Now that this doctrine of Gods Iustice may bee the more effectuall, in stead of prouing it by testimonies, I would especi­ally vrge two things: first, I would giue certaine Reasons or demonstrations which may throughly confirme it, That God will not bee a whit better affected towards the wicked, and that his wrath is fully as great as it is said to be in the Word of [Page 84] God, and rather more then any created words can vtter: se­condly, I would take off their obiections. First, I would proue it to bee most Terrible, and then most vnauoida­ble.

That God will bee exceeding Terrible in Iustice against wicked men, may appeare to any reasonable minde by these Arguments, and such like.

1. If the wrath of Kings bee as the Roaring of Lyons, and as messengers of death, how fearefull then is the wrath of the King of Kings.

3. It is one of Gods Titles, hee is thus stiled: The terrible God, Nehemiah 9. 32. 33.

4. It may be gathered from the terror of his rebukes in this life in his word or prouidence: his rebuks are called furious rebukes, Ezek. 5. 13. and they are called sharpe arrowes shot into the hearts of the Kings enemies, Psal 45. 5. Now if his rebukes bee so terrible, what will the full declaration and execution of his whole displeasure be?

4. The wonderfull wrath of God against sinners may appeare by his Iudgements abroad in the world whether wee consi­der the number of the effects of them: Are there not Ar­mies and changes of sorrowes with which the Lord doth vex euery part of the world? And doth not the Lord by common Plagues sweepe away thousands of men by Warres, Pestilence, Famine, &c. and besides are not strange punishments euery day heere and there vpon the workers of iniquity? What heart of man can stand before that feare­full wrath of God, when he pursues the sinnes of the Fathers vpon the children? But aboue all these temporall Plagues are those spirituall iudgements executed vpon worlds of men, whose soules are smitten with worse then Aegyptian darkenesse, shut out from the vision or sense of God, posses­sed really by diuells, &c.

5. If we thinke seriously vpon the examples of men, that haue felt the bitternesse of Gods displeasure: and they that haue felt it, can best tell how terrible it is.

1. Looke vpon those wicked men mentioned, Reuel. 6. they were Captaines and Princes, and mighty men of the earth, [Page 105] and when they cry out to haue the Mountaines to fall vpon them, onely to hide them from the face of the Lambe: Let Christ come in the most amiable manner that he can, onely let him tell the wicked of Gods Iustice, and the stoutest hearted fall into those fearefull Agonies.

2. Looke vpon godly men, that otherwise are Gods people, yet when God is angry with them, for a season for their sins, in what grieuous case haue they bin in: Dauid said his meate was ashes, and hee mingled his teares with his drinke be­cause of the indignation of the Lord, Psal. 9. 10. and if iudgement begin at the house of God, & be so sharpe, where shall the sinners and wicked appeare, when the righteous doe not escape? 1. Pet. 4. 18. reade but the Booke of Lamen­tations, and you shall finde that the Church had searched all the world ouer to finde out fearefull and grieuous things, to shadow out their sorrowes and distresses.

3. Especially what heart of man can looke vpon Iesus Christ the Sonne of Gods Loue, and consider his grieuous Agonies when he felt the wrath of God: Hee was but a suretie for sinne, had neuer done any thing to offend his Father, and yet when hee feeles Gods wrath it makes him sweat for paine, yea he sweates bloud: Oh can it be that men should be so ouercome with spirituall dotage, as to thinke Gods Iustice may be more easie towards them, that are the parties offending, then it was towards Iesus Christ?

And as the Iustice of God towards the wicked is terrible, so it is vnauoidable.

If they say their riches shall ransome them, they must be an­swered, that a great ransome cannot deliuer them: God will not esteeme their riches, nor their gold, nor all their forces of strength, Iob 36. 19. Ezek. 7. 19. Besides riches can flie away in the day of Gods wrath, Iob 20. 28. and if they re­maine, yet God can bring men into straits in the middest of their sufficiencie, and raine vpon them the furie of his wrath euen they are is eating, Iob 20. 22. 23.

Nor will their sinnes be forgotten, for they are written with a penne of Iron, and with a point of a Diamond yea, they are grauen vpon their owne Hearts: and rather then God would [Page 106] want witnesses, the heauens should declare their wickednesse, and the earth should rise vp against them, Ieremie 17. 1. Iob 20. 27.

Nor can it ease them, that they see that godly men suffer the same afflictions that they doe: they may not gather from thence that God is no more displeased with them, then hee is with the most Religious: for there is a great deale of diffe­rence betweene the fire with which God melts his owne ser­uants as in a Furnace, and the fire of his enemies: for in the one God onely intends to refine and purifie his seruants, in the o­ther hee intends to consume his enemies: hee respects the strength of his seruants, but respects the sinne of his enemies, Esay 26. 11. Ier. 46. 28.

Nor may they say there are no Passions in God, and there­fore no wrath: for though it be true, that Passions are not in God, as they are in man, yet that little helpes them, but rather increaseth the terror, because wrath is in God after a way agreeable to his nature, farre aboue that wrath can bee in man: Mans anger is mutable and finite, Gods anger is immutable & infinite. And to beate this into the heads of wicked men, God doth ascribe to himselfe not onely the words of anger and wrath, but of loathing with his soule, iealousie, furie, smiting with the hands, &c. Psalme 11. 5. Ezek. 22. 13. & 38. 18. 19. and the more to affect men, when God is described as angry, a con­suming fire is said to goe before him, and darkenesse to bee round about him, the earth trembling vnder him, and the hills melting at the presence of God, and the heauens remo­uing out of their place, &c. Psalme 97. 2, 3, 4. Esay 13. 13.

Nor may they thinke to finde meanes to escape: for the Lord hath a mighty arme, Psalme 89. 14. and hee hath his sanctified ones, and his mighty ones, whom he commands for his Anger, Esay 13. 3. and to shew that there can be no resisting, he is compared to consuming fire, and to a continuall whirle-winde vpon the head of the wicked, which shal not returne till it hath accomplished the minde of God, Heb. 10. 29. Ieremie 30. 23. [...]4.

If they say wee haue escaped hitherto, I answer, that though [Page 107] his heart be set in wickednesse, because sentence is not speedi­ly executed, yet he shall not prolong his daies; though he doe euill an hundred times, the wrath of the Lord hangs ouer his head and will fall downe at length, Eccles. 8. 12. Iob 31. 3. Iohn 3. 36.

Nor will their going to Church, or outward seruing of God somtimes serue their turne: for God wil not accept of thousands of Rammes nor Riuers of Oyle, nor if they would Sacrifice the Sonnes of their bodies, for the sinnes of their soules, yet it will not auaile them, Mich. 6. 6, 7.

If they thinke that God that made them, will pittie them, and not destroy them, they are deceiued: for the Lord hath answered long since that he would not spare them; though he made them, yet he would not haue compassion on them, Esay 27. 11.

If they thinke to escape because they are such a multitude, they are therein also deceiued: for the vision is concerning the multitude and wrath is vpon all the multitude Ezek. 7. 12. 13, 14. the glory and pompe, and the multitude shall goe downe into hell, Esay 5. 13, 14. Nations that forget God shall be tur­ned into hell, Psal. 9. 16.

Nor will it ease them to thinke how hard a course this will be thought to be by all sorts of men: for God will be iustified in his sayings, and cleare himselfe though they condemne him, Psalme 51. 4. hee will not respect the wise in heart, Iob 37. 24.

Neither may they persist in their wilfull pretending that God is mercifull, and they can shew it by diuers Scriptures, that God hath bound himselfe to shew wonderfull mercy to sinners: for all that mercy belongs to the godly onely: and be­sides, God hath expreslely declared himselfe, that if any man hearing the curses of Gods Law, shall blesse himselfe in his heart, God will not be mercifull to that man, Deut. 29. 19.

Finally they may not be confirmed against the feare of Gods Iustice, by the testimonie of such Ministers as haue publikely or priuately, incouraged them by promising peace and mercy, and contradicting the Doctrine of other Ministers that haue soundly vrged the seuerity of Gods Iustice: for God by the [Page 108] Prophet, Ezekiel doth at large threaten that hee will breake downe those walles of vaine confidence which haue bin built in the hearts of wicked men, he will finde a time, when their daubing with vntempered morter shall be found by the sinner himselfe, to bee vtterly without any foundation of Truth, see the place at large, Ezek. 13. 13, 14, 15, &c.

Thus you see the portion of the wicked, and this is the He­ritage he shall haue from the Almighty, Iob 20. 29.

The consideration of Gods Iustice toward wicked men may serue for wonderfull abasement and humiliation to men that liue in their sinnes without repentance. Oh is it possible, can thy heart indure to heare all this, or can euer thy hands bee strong when the Lord shall haue to doe with thee? Ezek. 22. 14. Oh woe to him that striues with his Maker, Esay 45. 8, 9.

Oh but what must we doe, is there no remedie for vs, must we despaire? I answer no, but rather feare this dreadfull God, for according to his feare will his anger bee, Psal. 90. 11. and with all possible speede and earnestnesse humble thy selfe be­fore the Lord, and insomuch as by this doctrine thou maist see what neede thou hast of a Sauiour to quench all this heate of Anger, flie to Christ Iesus, and neuer cease begging of mercy from him to thy soule. The wrath of God is such a fire as all the water in the Sea cannot quench: It is a fire can bee quen­ched onely with bloud and teares. No bloud will doe it but the bloud of Christ, and no teares but the teares of the offender himselfe.

And let men take heede of Procrastination, for euen the longer men stay in sinne, the fiercer will his fire grow: GOD heapes vp wrath as men heap vp sinne. It may come to that at length, that Gods anger may come to that degree, as to be ex­pressed by these words, to be called Ira furoris sui magni, the anger of his great fury, Ira indignationis, the furie of his In­dignation, Deut. 29. 24. Psal. 78. 49. then God may sweare they shall neuer enter into his rest.

Let men therefore take heede how they abuse Gods pati­ence and mercy any more.

Godly men also from the consideration of the fearefull [Page 109] Iustice of GOD towards wicked men, may learne foure things,

1. To get out from amongst them and euery one deliuer his owne soule from the fierce anger of the Lord which will fall vpon the wicked, Ier. 51. 45.

2. Neuer to fre [...] their prosperity seeing so fearefull things abide them.

3. When they see Gods hand vpon the wicked, they should sanctifie and exalt the God of Iudgement, Esay 5. 16.

4. Euer the more terrible the wrath of God is towards the wicked, the more heartily they should kisse the Sonne, and make much of Christ, by whom they are deliuered from so great wrath, Psal. 2. vlt.

Hitherto of the Iustice of God. The Glory of God fol­lowes.

The Glory of God is his wonderfull excellencie aboue all things, and so his Glory is either absolute or Relatiue.

The absolute Glory of God is that in which hee is glorious in himselfe without relation to any other, and so he is glorious foure waies:

  • 1. In the Excellencie of his Nature.
  • 2. In his Blessednesse.
  • 3. In his Liberty.
  • 4. In his Maiesty.

1. The Glory of his Nature is nothing else but his surpassing Excellenc [...] [...] all the praises belonging to his Nature: and so he is glo [...]s in knowledge, goodnesse, Iustice, greatnes, omnipotencie, &c. And this glory of God is described in the doctrine of his Attributes and was the glory shewed to Moses, Exod. 33. 18, &c.

2. His Blessednesse is his essentiall glory whereby he is after a matchlesse manner most happie in himselfe, 1. Tim. 1. 11. and his happinesse is to be adored.

1. Because he abounds with all that can be possibly good to him any way and is seated in such felicitie, that no euill can come neere him. 1. Tim. 6. 15. 1. Ioh. 1. 6.

2. Because he perfectly knows all his happinesse, and so hath infinite liking and ioy in his condition.

[Page 110] 3. Because he is sufficient to himselfe, and from himselfe, so as he needs not any good thing from vs, or any thing without himselfe. Psal. 16. 2. & 50. 7. 14.

3. He is glorious in his liberty; and so he excells in a threefold liberty, as he is free from compulsion, from seruitude, and from miserie: He is free from compulsion because he is not tyed to second causes, nor maistered by any higher cause, but is, and doth whatsoeuer he will without the Coaction of any necessity without himselfe, Psal. 115. 3. Esay 40. 13. Daniel 4. 35. He is also free from seruitude, he is bound to none, indebted to none, subiect to none, Rom. 11. 35. 36. He is also free from the burthen of miserie, hee alone being such by nature, that no kinde of miserie either of fault or punishment can befall him.

4. He is glorious in his essentiall Maiesty, which is an vncon­ceiueable splendor or beauty, and shining brightnesse, be­yond all that Maiesty can befall any creature. Thus God is said to be light and to dwell in the light which no man can approach vnto, 1. Tim. 6. 16. and thus hee is the King of all Kings.

And in this absolute Glory, God doth excell all the Kings of the earth.

1. Because his Glory is aboue all praise and blessing: so is not theirs, Nehemiah 9. 5. Psal. 145. 3.

2. Because the Kings of the earth doe giue him glory, and praise him, & owe their Homage to his glory, Psal. 138. 4, 5. God exceedes them in Glory more then they exceede their meanest subiects, Daniel 4. 35. and no wonder, seeing the glorified creatures in heauen throw downe their crownes before him, as acknowledging him onely worthy to receiue honour, &c. Reuel. 4. 10. 11.

3. Because their Glory is mortall, but God is a King immor­tall, and his Glory endureth for euer, Psal. 104. 31. 1. Tim. 1. 17.

4. Because hee hath it in himselfe, and from himselfe as was shewed before.

Thus of his absolute Glory.

The Glory of God as it is in relation, is either internall or externall.

[Page 111] The internall Glory of God as it is in relation, is the perso­nall Glory, and so is the Glory either that is proper to each Person in the Trinity, or else that peculiar Glory of the se­cond Person in the Trinity, as he is called the brightnesse of his Fathers Glory, Heb. 1. 3.

The externall Glory is that which comes vnto God from the creatures as hee stands in relation to them: and so his Glory shines:

1. In his workes, which are therefore called his Glory, and so both his works of Creation, Psal. 19. 1. and his workes of Iustice vpon the wicked, Exod. 15. 6. 7. and his workes of Mercy in deliuering and sauing his people, Psal. 85. 9. & 102 15. 16. & 108. 5. Zach. 2. 5. and workes of omnipotencie and wonder, Rom. 6. 4.

2. In the signes of his presence, such as he gaue extraordina­rily on earth, as the cloud and pillar of fire, Exod. 16. 8. 11. or that likenesse of consuming fire on the toppe of the Mount, Exod. 24. 17. the cloude that filled the Temple, 1. Kings 8. 10. 11. or the formes mentioned in Ezek. Chap 1. 28. & 3. 23. &▪ 10. 4. 18. & 11. 22, 23. or else such as hee giues in heauen in the presence of his Glory to the Saints, and this was that Glory of God which Stephen saw, Acts 7. 55.

3. In his word, especially the Gospel, which is the doctrine of the Glory of the blessed God, 1. Tim. 1. 11. 2. Cor. 4. 4.

4. In his children Israel, he calls them his Glory. Esay 46. 13. and so are the godly called, because they resemble God, and in that respect excell all other people. All other men haue therefore failed of Gods Glory, because they haue fai­led of his Image, Rom. 3. 23.

And in these foure waies of relation God is glorious, but it is with a glory which himselfe hath printed and stamped vp­on these things.

There is another way of glory which is in a speciall man­ner also called Gods glory, and that is the glory which the reasonable creature giues vnto God: and consists especially in conceiuing gloriously of God, and in praising of God, and in worshipping of God, and in obedience, and so God is won­derfull [Page 112] glorious in that he doth continually receiue all sorts of praise and adoration from the creatures both in heauen and earth.

And in respect of this true glory which is giuen vnto God, God doth excell in glory, all the great Kings and Potentates that euer were in the world. The very Angels in heauen doe admire this glory of God on earth, Esay 6. 3. and so his glory excells:

1. In respect of praise: and so diuers waies.

1. Because from the rising of the Sunne to the going downe of the same, the Lords name is to be praised, Psal. 113. 3. all reasonable creatures are bound to ascribe praise and thankesgiuing to him: and so it cannot be true of any Po­tentate on earth.

2. Because from all persons and actions glory comes to God: whatsoeuer wee are, we are to his glory, Ephes. 1. 12. 6. 14. and whatsoeuer we doe all must be done to his glory, 1. Cor. [...]0, 31.

3. Because in all the glory or praise giuen to the creatures, the first and chiefe glory is due to God: their glory is sub­ordinate.

4. Because it indureth for euer and euer, no end of his prai­ses.

2. In respect of worship, for that is a glory onely due to God: no creature in heauen or earth may take it, or can receiue it without infinite danger, 'tis a glory he will not giue to ano­ther.

3. In respect of Obedience: and so diuers waies.

1. Because the obedience due to God is from all persons in the world: and such an authority neuer had any mortall man.

2. Because the obedience the creature owes to God is vni­uersall and vnlimited and without exception, whereas the obedience Princes can haue is a limited obedience, and sub­ordinate, men must obey them so as they command no­thing against Gods Law.

3. Because his kingdome is an euerlasting kingdome, there shall be no end of obeying him: whereas the time wilcome, [Page 93] when no obedience at all shall be due to Princes, and that is when Christ hath deliuered vp the kingdome to God the Father, and shall no more rule men by the ministerie of men.

Lastly, the glory of men can bee no way comparable to the glory of God: because all their glory they haue receiued from him: for God is said to be the God of glory, Acts 7. 2. the King of glory, Psal. 24. 10. the Father of glory, Ephesians 1. 19.

The Vse should bee first for instruction: and so it should chiefely teach vs to acknowledge this glory of God, to giue glory vnto God, and by all meanes to ascribe glory to him: It is a singular wrong not to giue God his glory. Now wee giue God glory three waies:

1. In our hearts: and so diuersly: first, when wee labour to fill our hearts with the knowledge of Gods glory in all the branches of it: the earth should bee filled with the know­ledge of the glory of God as the waters couer the seas, Hab. 2. 14. secondly, when our hearts stand still and wonder, and admire at the glory of the Lord, our hearts are not rightly affected towards God till they bee inflamed and rauished with the contemplation of his excellencie and blessednesse, Ezek. 3. 12. thirdly, we giue God glory when wee beleeue in him, and from our hearts trust him in things that bee o­therwise vnlikely to come to passe. Thus Abraham, Rom. 4. 20. fourthly, when we mourne and sorrow for our sins: for men are said to giue glory to God when they repent of their sinnes, Reuelation [...]6. 9. fifthly, when we doe from our hearts reioyce at any thing that excells in Gods Word or workes any way, acccounting our selues the more happie that God is honoured or glorified any way: sixthly, when in all seruice done to God, we conceiue of him, with the highest degree of reuerence and excellency we can: enter­taining him into our hearts as the very King of glory, Psal. 24.

2. In our words: and so we giue glory to God diuers waies also, as first, when men confesse secret wickednesse openly, finding themselues sought after, and pursued by God: Thus [Page 94] Achan gaue glory to God Ioshuah 7. and thus the sinner when he feeles the rebukes, or chastisements of God should humble himselfe and confesse his wickednesse before the Lord, Ier. 13. 15, 16. Malachie 2. 2. secondly, when men giue him praise and thanks for his mercies with all possible affection, see Luke 17. 18. So the Samaritane gaue glory to God, when hee gaue thankes for the cure of his Leprosie▪ and thirdly, when men acknowledge the hand of God and his prouidence: see Reuel. 11. 13. 1. Sam. 6. 5. fourthly, when in discourse men talke of the singular praises of God: and so we should make his praise glorious, Psal. 66. 2. our mouthes should bee filled with his praise and with his ho­nor all the day, Psal. 71. 8. & 96. 2, 3, 4. fifthly, when men take away praise from the creature, and so from themselues and giue God onely the glory, 1. Tim. 1, 17. Iohn 7. 18. Reuel. 4. 11. & 5. 12. 1. Chron. 29. 11.

3. In our workes we giue glory to God: and so first by glo­rifying his Sonne: by acknowledging and praising and ho­nouring of Iesus Christ; and submitting our selues to his ordinances, Iohn 11. 4. and so also when wee honour them that feare God and beare his Image: secondly, when men abound in good workes and the fruits of righteousnesse, and grow in grace and knowledge, and so make the Image of God more and more euident, suffering themselues to be so framed by the doctrine of the Gospell, as to bee changed from glory to glory by the power of the Word, 2. Cor. 3. 18. Phil. 10. 11. 2. Pet. 3. 18. & 4. 11. Reuel. 1. 6. thirdly, when men worship God in the beauty of holinesse, not onely putting on their best clothes, when they come to serue God, but clothing themselues with their best deuoti­ons, and affections, and reuerence, and humble adoration, 1. Chron. 16. 28, 29. fourthly, when men submit themselues vnto God, and let him doe with them whatsoeuer he will: they that ascribe dominion to him, ascribe glory to him, 1. Peter 5. 10. 11. Lastly, when men doe all that they doe to the glory of God, studying how God may bee acknow­ledged or praised for all they doe, being in all things some way to the praise of his glory, 1. Cor. 10. 31. Ephes. 1. 12. 14.

[Page 95] Thus we should learne from hence to giue God honour and glory.

Secondly, seeing God is so wonderfull glorious, we should be carefull by all meanes to get the knowledge of his glory in­to our hearts, that we may throughout our liues be made hap­pie in the contemplation of his glory: which that we may at­taine vnto, we must looke to these Rules.

1. We must resort to, and loue his house, for that is the place on earth where his glory dwells, Psal. 26. 8. & 63. 3. there he keepes the court of his Maiesty, Psal. 84.

2. We must pray for the spirit of Reuelation, to open the eyes of our vnderstanding, Ephes. 1. 19.

3. We must not be without an effectuall faith: for if wee be­leeue we shall see his glory, Iohn 11. 40.

4. We must rest in these descriptions and praises of God and continue in his Word, and be sure we change not his glo­ry into that which is abhomination to him, Psalme 106. 20.

5. We must be sure to repent of our sinnes and be truely tur­ned to God, 2. Cor. 3. 16, 17, 18.

Thirdly, all wicked men must needs bee in a wofull estate, and that in three respects: first, because this glory is departed from them: since the time sinne came into their hearts, they haue failed of the glory of God: they haue lost the glory of God, in that they haue lost the Image of God, Rom. 3. 23. se­condly, because their foolish hearts are so full of darkenesse, that they cannot see the glory of God, they want all that com­fort and warmth ariseth from the view and contemplation of the Sunshine of Gods glory: they cannot get so much as the benefit of a good conceit of God, a vaile lyeth vpon their hearts, 2. Cor. 3. Esay 26. 10. thirdly, because the time will come when God will confound their hearts with the terror of his Iustice, and the Maiesty of his glory, when hee shall fight against them to destroy them, Esay 2. 10. 19.

Lastly, this should bee a wonderfull consolation to Gods children, and that in diuers respects.

1. Because this God that is so blessed, and full of Maiesty, so adored by all creatures, this God: I say so glorious, is [Page 96] their God: they haue his fauour in a high degree, and by couenant hath giuen himselfe to be theirs for euer.

2. Because God hath called them to glory, and will glorifie them with himselfe in the Kingdome of Heauen, 2. Pet. 1. 3. Colos. 3. 4. and in the meane time:

1. God accounts his people in a manner all the glory he hath in earth, Esay 46. vlt.

2. The Spirit of glory and of God resteth vpon them, 1. Pet. 4. 14.

3. God accounts it a part of his glory to helpe them in all their afflictions, and to forgiue them their sinnes. And in these two things affliction and sinne lyeth all the discomfort of life in effect, Psal. 79. 9. and his glory shall be their Reare­ward to guard them from dangers, Esay 58. 8.

4. Hee will keepe them by his power, till hee present them faultlesse before the presence of his glory, 1. Peter 1. 5. Iude 24.

5. He giues them such tastes of that great glory to come, that it is a glory to them to thinke of, and hope for that blessed­nesse to be reuealed vpon them, Rom. 5. 2.

Thus of the glory of God, and so of the first sort of Attri­butes: that is, those Attributes which they call communica­ble: which are so in God, as some print or likenesse of them are in the creatures.

The Incommunicable Attributes follow, and these are in God, as they say in Schooles, à Priori, the other à Posteriori: onely I haue handled the former first, as most easie for vs to vnderstand, but lest the tearmes of communicable Attributes should trouble the ignorant Reader, hee must consider that when we say these Attributes are communicable, wee doe not meane, that they are communicable in respect of essence, but in respect of Act, effect, or Vse.

As for instance, the goodnesse of God is not communicated to good Angels or men, but the effect of it, which makes them good. If God should communicate nothing, there would be nothing at all: and if he should communicate his owne essen­tialls, hee should make as many Gods as hee produced things. In short, these Attributes are affirmed of God in the Abstract, [Page 97] but of men or Angels in the Concret, God is Goodnes, Wise­dome, Iustice. Men are onely good, wise, Iust.

The incommunicable Attributes are so in God, as they can be found in no creature, nor any likenesse of them. And these are three, (viz.) his infinite greatnesse, his eternity, and his immutability. And these three as they are not found in any thing but God, so are they as it were spread and powred out through all the Attributes of the first sort: for God is Infinite. Eternall, and Immutable, in Wisedome, Holinesse, Life and Glory. And so these Proprieties are as it were the Adiuncts or proprieties of the other Attributes.

First, then of the infinite greatnesse of God.

The infinite greatnesse of God, is that essentiall propriety in God by which hee is signified to be, of himselfe, actually and simply beyond all bounds, limits and measure: and so his in­finite greatnesse or immensiuenesse comprehends:

  • 1. His perfection of Nature.
  • 2. His Omnipresence or Vbiquity.
  • 3. His Incomprehensiblenesse.

For the first, his perfection of Nature is such, as admits no bounds, nor limits, nor measures: because he is without com­position of partes: and because hee is all hee is in act, not in power or possibility: and because his goodnesse, Iustice Wise­dome, &c. is so great as nothing can be added to them to make them greater, Iob 37. 16. Mat. 5. vlt. and the consideration heereof may,

1. Informe vs, and shew vs whence all good and perfect gifts come euen from this infinite greatnesse of perfection in God, Iames 1. 17.

2. Humble vs: what are we, dust and ashes, vile, and loath­some creatures, that wee should bee fauoured or accepted of God, who is so infinite in the glory and goodnesse of his Nature: euen the more perfect God is, the more our imper­fections might trouble vs, and at the least make vs serue him with more feare and trembling.

3. Teach vs: we should follow the exactest patterne: and none like God, we should therefore bee followers of him, that we may bee perfect, as our heauenly Father is perfect, Mat. 5. vlt.

[Page 98] 4. Comfort vs: and so especially in the hope of a better life: how perfect and glorious shall we be in heauen, when God shall be all in all in vs: when that which is so perfect shall come into vs, then all that is in part shall bee abolished, 1. Cor 15. 28.

For the second, the Omnipresence of God is that vnmeasu­rablenesse of his Nature, by which hee is wheresoeuer the creature is, or any place is, Psal. 139. 8, 9. Isay 66. 1. Ier. 23. 24. thus God fills all things and penetrateth into all things cir­cumscribed or defined with no spaces of any places, reaching to whatsoeuer either is or can be thought within or without the world. And which is the more maruellous his whole essence is in the whole world, and in euery part of it, whole in this whole world, and whole without the world, shut in no where, nor shut out any where, containing all things, and contained of nothing. He may be truely said to be euery where, and no where, as he is contained of nothing. Nor is hee thus present with all things onely by his power, but by his essence, for it must needs be a childish thing to imagine an infinite power to proceede from a finite essence. The cause then of his vbiquitie, Deus est Sphaera: cuius centrum est vbique. [...] nusquam. is the vnmeasurablenesse of Gods essence. God is such a sphere whose Center is euery where, and whose circumference is no where.

Ob. God is said to dwell in heauen, Ergo hee is not euery where, Psal. 115. 3. Obiect.

Sol. God is euery where in respect of his essence, and said to be in heauen or dwell there onely in respect of the larger Sol. manifestation of his glory and grace.

Ob. God is not with wicked men, Numb. 14. 42. Ergo not euery where. Obiect.

Sol. God is with wicked men in respect of his essence, but Sol. not with them in respect of his grace and fauour.

Ob. God is said to depart from men, and to returne to men, Obiect. Psal. 10. 1. & 6. 5. thus God departed from Saul: Ergo hee is not euery where.

Sol. God doth depart from or returne to men, not by stir­ring his essence, or changing his place, but in respect of the Sol. declaration of his mercy or Iustice, and so hee departs either [Page 99] from wicked men or godly men: from wicked men he departs, when he hath not mercy on them, or when hee takes away the meanes of grace and lets them fall into hardnesse of heart and so into perdition, or when he takes away the blessings he had giuen them. He departs from godly men either when he with­drawes the sense of his grace and fauour from their sinnes or seemes to deny them helpe or deliuerance in their distresses. He returnes to the godly both inwardly and outwardly: In­wardly when he restores the sense of his fauour and the ioy of his Saluation, and when he goeth on to worke Faith and Re­pentance in them. Outwardly when he declares his presence by outward effects, as by deliuerance, or vnexpected bles­sings.

The consideration of Gods Omnipresence and Vbiquity may serue:

1. For information: and so to shew how much we are bound vnto God that will dwell amongst vs, and keepe house in the Sanctuarie. He wants not a place to be in, that fills all places and cannot bee contained in the Heauen of Heauens, 1. Kings 8. 17. 2. Chron. 2. 6. Esay 66. 1.

2. For instruction: and so it should teach vs diuers things: as,

1. Not to abuse Gods presence in his house, so as to thinke that place or any other doth containe him; or to commit that Idolatry as to worship a God that can be compassed about with a Church wall, Acts 17. 24. 2. Chron. 6. 18.

2. To take heede of sinning, though it bee in secret: because God is in euery place, Ier. 23. 23. 24. Yea, to auoid the ve­ry Hypocrisie of the heart: because he is a discerner of the thoughts, and sees and stands by euery offence committed, Hebrewes 4. 12. and sees and heares all wee say and doe.

3. To striue to bring our selues to a continuall remembrance of Gods presence, and accordingly to walke before him in all vprightnesse, Psal. 16. 8. Gen. 17. 1.

3. It serues to shew the miserle and folly of wicked men: they can neuer escape or flie from the wrathfull hand of GOD: whithersoeuer they runne GOD is there, nor can any of [Page 100] their faults be hid from him, Amos 9. 1. 2. 3. 4. Psal. 139. 7. &c.

4. It shewes the folly of the Papists that direct to either hee or shee Saint, to bring vs or our suits to God: God is not farre from vs, but alwaies present with vs, and therefore wee neede none of them to bring vs to God.

Lastly, it serues for great consolation to the godly in all their troubles and dangers, and against all the practizes and de­uises of their aduersaries: nothing can befall them but what God sees, and they neede not feare, because God is alwaies by them to helpe them, Ioshuah 1. 9. Esay 4 [...]. 1. 2. Psalme 118. 6. 7. though all friends were absent yet God is with vs.

Thus of the omnipresence of God.

His incomprehensiblenesse, is that dreadfull transcendencie of the nature of God, whereby it passeth our vnderstanding, so as his essence cannot bee fully conceiued of by vs: so as nei­ther corporeall places, nor spirituall vnderstanding can con­taine God. His omnipresence makes him bigger then all pla­ces, and his incomprehensiblenesse bigger then any created minde, Psal. 145. 3. 1. Tim. 6. 16.

The incomprehensiblenesse of God is not without vse, for it may serue:

1. To confute the makers and worshippers of Images, seeing God is aboue all that which any minde can conceiue, and therefore much more then any picture can expresse: They sinne fearefully, therefore in offering to vs a God that can be set out by so poore a resemblance. Images therefore are worthily called by the Prophet teachers of Lies.

2. To teach vs to worship God with all our mindes, and all our hearts, and all our might, striuing to admire and adore, and daily to blesse his vnsearchable greatnesse, Psalme 145. 2, 3. And for our direction in the right conceiuing of God, we should therefore wholy rest vpon that way, and those descriptions he hath made of himselfe in his word, seeing else our vnderstandings would erre altogether in ghessing at that which it cannot take in.

Thus of Gods infinite greatnesse, his eternity followes.

[Page 101] If God be considered in himselfe he is infinite: if in respect of our vnderstanding he is incomprehensible: if in respect of our senses he is inuisible: if in respect of our words he is ineffa­ble: if in respect of place he is incircumscriptible: and if in re­spect of duration or continuance he is eternall.

Some things haue both beginning and end, as the vegeta­bles, Aeternus dicitur quasi extra ter­minum. and bruit beasts, and these are said to bee temporall. Some things haue beginning and no end, as men and Angels, and these are said to bee perpetuall: One thing hath neither beginning nor end which is GOD and he is said to bee eter­nall.

A thing is said to be eternall, either improperly or properly: improperly, and so two waies: First, when a thing is said to last a long while: and so the ceremonies of Moses, and cir­cumcision were said to endure for euer, Gen. 17. Numb. 18. Secondly, when a thing hath no end which yet had a begin­ning, and so Angels, diuels, the soules of men, Heauen and Hell are eternall But properly God onely is eternall, because he hath neither beginning nor end, or is the beginning without beginning, and the end without end.

Or this difference in the continuance of things may be fitly exprest by the description of eternity made by Boetius. Eterni­ty is the interminable, totall, perfect and together pleasant pos­session of life: for in this description each word makes a diffe­rence betweene things in their duration: for first, some things so continue that they haue both beginning and end, as the bruit beasts, these are barred out by the word interminable. Againe, some things are interminable in respect of essence, but haue no life as the heauen of the blessed: Thirdly, some things are interminable, both in respect of essence and life, but their life is miserable and painefull, as the spirits in hell: and so they haue not pleasant possession of life: Fourthly, some things haue an interminable pleasant possession of life, but it is not totall: as all the blessed in heauen before the day of Iudge­ment: for they haue a pleasant possession of life, but it is in their soules, not in their bodies: Fifthly, some things haue a totall possession of pleasant life, but it is not together: so the Angells before the day of iudgement haue a totall possession of [Page 102] pleasant life, because their whole Nature liues blessedly, but it is not together, because there is euen in the Angells a succes­sion of Reuelations and so of Ioyes, as things are from time to time discouered to them: Sixthly, some things shall haue a totall possession of pleasant life and together too, but it is not absolutely perfect, taking perfect heere, for that which needs nothing besides it self to make it happie: and so are the Angels and godly men after the day of Iudgement: because though they shall then totally and together enioy a blessed life, yet they shall euen neede their sustentation and preseruation from God, without whom they could not be; much lesse be happie: for though their blessednesse be perfect in their kinde, yet it is not absolutely so, because it is a blessednesse they haue not of themselues, but receiued it of God.

Thus of Eternitie.

Now the Eternity of God is his essentiall propriety, by which is signified that God can end in no time, nor can haue any beginning according to time, but being more ancient then all time, and more lasting then any end, is absolutely, alwaies, totally and together without succession.

For the explanation of this description, diuers things are to be noted:

First, that God is wholy without the measures of time: though he be eternall yet he is not temporarie: there is a great Expers temporis. [...] Plato. [...] Pind. [...]. difference betweene eternity and time: for eternity excludes time: he saw that, that said, time was the moueable Image of eternity: and he that said, time was the Idoll or Image of eter­nity: and so he that said, time was the flax of eternity. Now when we say that time is remoued from God, we meane from his essence, not from his workes: fitly the Prophet Esay saith, that God inhabits eternity, Esay 57. 19. God dwells in eter­nity but yet in time hee is pleased as it were to come out of those habitations of eternity to shew himselfe abroad in time by his effects or workings: and for the manifestation of him­selfe, Soecula condit rex Soeculorum. he made times or the worlds, and is called King of Ages, Heb. 1. 12. 1. Tim. 1. 17.

Secondly, you must note in the description, that I say God is without beginning in respect of time: which must be noted [Page 103] in regard of the doctrine of the eternall generation of the Son of God: for there is a twofold beginning, the one of order, the other of time. In respect of order or originall, the Sonne and Principium ori­ginis non tem­poris. the holy Ghost had a beginning from the Father, but not a be­ginning in respect of time. The beginning in respect of order is not excluded out of eternity, but onely the beginning in re­spect of time.

Thirdly, it would be noted that it is faid that Gods eternity is absolute: for so it is differenced from all the euerlastingnes of the creatures which is not absolute, but by gift, and à Poste­riori, or a Parte post as they say in Schooles, that is in respect of continuance yet to come: whereas Gods eternity is not by grace, but by Nature, and à Priori, or a Parte antè, that is in respect of euerlastingnes without beginning as well as with­out end.

Fourthly, It is to be noted that God is said to be totally to­gether And in this re­spect eternity is said to be nunc semper slans, and time to be, nunc semper fluens. without succession; for properly eternity, hath no spa­ces, or intermission, or gappes in it, but is [...] that is, conti­nuall without any interruption, or innouation.

Now in this absolute, infinite, interminable eternity, as in a most vast Ocean, swimmes that little flowing drop which we call time.

Or thus, what wee haue by looking either forwards or backwards, rowed through the small brookes of time past or to come, that which we next come to, is this vast sea of eter­nity where we can neuer behold bancke or end.

That God is thus eternall, many Scriptures proue, Psal. 90. 2. & 91. 8, 9. & 102. 27. 28. Isay 43. 17. & 57. 19.

This Doctrine of Gods Eternity should teach vs many du­ties:

1. To adore and magnifie this King of Ages, that dwells in this vast eternity, Psal. 48. 14, 15.

2. To loue him aboue all things, yea, aboue our selues: The thought of his glorious eternity should make vs thinke the more meanely of our selues, that are but perishable and vile creatures, Psal. 102. 27, 28.

3. It should teach vs to leaue doating vpon time and the things that belong to it, and with more care and earnest re­solution [Page 104] to seeke the things that may bring vs beyond the bounds of this miserable and mutable time, Psal. 102. 27. 28. doe not all these earthly things perish and waxe olde like a garment and doth not God indure for euer, euen that God that offers to prouide for vs euerlafting habitations in eternity also.

4. Haue any of vs at any time a iust and lawfull desire to seek some more space of time, for dispatch of some speciall work for the glory of God, or good of men, this doctrine tells vs whither to goe to aske time, euen to God the Father of eternity and King of Ages. Thus Dauid, Psalme 102 25.

5. Since God is the Lord and Master, and King of time, by the right of his eternity, since the times are in his hands, we should also submit our selues to his will, and bee con­tent to leaue our being heere when hee calls for vs: and rather seeke how to die well, then in vaine seeke to liue, when GOD will haue vs die, Psalme 90. 1, 2, 3. 12.

6. Abraham learned from the very eternity of God, to make conscience of worshipping him, Gen. 21. 33. and so should we: Yea, it should make vs resolute in Gods Seruice, though we were opposed by neuer so great or many men. It was an excellent saying of the Martyr, when hee said to this effect about Gallien his Edict. Wee are commanded (saith he) by the mouth of Gallien our Caesar, that we should worship what the Prince worships: But (quoth hee) I worship the eternall Prince, the maker of times, and Lord of Gallienus.

There bee diuers consolations also may bee gathered from Gods eternitie: for,

1. Then it followes from hence that Gods goodnesse and mercy to vs is eternall Hab. 1. 12.

2. We should be much affected with Gods singular loue to vs (that are but bratts of time, and can claime nothing but what time can affoord vs) in that he hath called vs out of the world, to inherit with him this most blessed Immortality, and hath prouided for vs habitations in that glorious eter­nity: [Page 105] and so it should comfort vs against the shortnesse of our liues, Psal. 113. 12, 13 29.

3. Yea, it should comfort vs, that God will visit vs, and dwell in our hearts in this world, that of himselfe dwells in eternity, Esay 57. 15.

4. Our aduersaries are in Gods hands who is Lord of time, and can cut them off at his pleasure, Psalme 92. 8, 9, 10.

Lastly, all the good things God hath promised vs shall bee accomplished, for the Eternity of Israel cannot lie nor will repent, 1. Sam. 15. 29. which is also true of the curses de­nounced against wicked men.

Thus of the Eternity of God: His Immutability fol­lowes.

In the Immutability of God two things are wonderfull and to be adored.

  • 1. That he is altogether and euery way vnchangeable.
  • 2. That he onely is Immutable.

For the first, that God is altogether and euery way vnchan­geable must be proued and explained.

The absolute Immutability of God is proued by these pla­ces euidently, Psal. 102. 27. 28. Mal, 3. 6. Iam. 1. 17.

For the explanation of this Doctrine: two things are to bee noted, first, how God is Immutable, and secondly, in how many respects.

For the manner of his Immutability, we must know that he is Immutable by Nature and of himselfe: and so hee differs from some creatures that haue a kinde of Immutability. As the heauens after they are renewed shall neuer be changed, and so the soules and bodies of the faithfull after the day of Iudge ment: but these are thus immutable, by grace, not by Nature, by the gift of God, not of themselues: whereas Gods immu­tability depends vpon no other, but hee is so absolutely, and of himselfe.

Now God is Immutable in foure respects:

1. In essence or substance, and so he cannot bee changed to a-another essence or Nature, he cannot die, as hauing Immor­tality alone, hee is alwaies in act, hee hath not possibilities, [Page 106] he is not changed so much as by motion, neither in respect of place or working: not in respect of place, because he fills all things, and is simply immense and infinite: not in respect of working, because he onely hath the glory to worke, and yet be quiet in operation and vnmoueable: nor can he be changed by growth or alteration in substance, because be­ing immense, he cannot wax bigger by Augmentation, nor lesser by Diminution: and finally, he cannot be changed by suffering from any other, as being that onely essence that is impatible. Thus the Psalmist saith that God is alwaies the same. Psal. 102. 28. and that the Lord stands vpon in his Title, when hee calls himselfe, I am, or I am that I am, Exodus 3.

2. In nature or proprieties: for all his proprieties are to euer­lasting the same: so he is alwaies omnipotent, omniscient, most holy, wise, glorious, &c. As he cannot die in respect of substance so he cannot lie in respect of attributes, he cannot denie himselfe or doe vniustly, as diuers Scriptures shew.

3. In decrees: as is his essence, so is his Sentence Immutable, his counsell must stand, and is for euer vnchangeable, Heb. 6. 17. 18. Esay 46.

4. In promises: all his promises hee makes in his word are yea and Amen: Heauen and earth shall passe away, but no iot or sillable of his Word shall passe vnsulfilled, which is also true of his Threatnings, and of that platforme of Holi­nesse giuen in the Law of Nature, and exprest in Scripture, Mat. 24. 35. Mal. 3. 6. as also in his Prophecies, Reuel. 22.

5. In his Gifts of grace bestowed vpon his people: and so his gifts and callings are without Repentance, Rom. 11. Iames 1. 17.

If any should obiect that God was changed in Essence, be­cause the word became flesh, and God was made man: I answer, that though the word was made flesh, yet his diuine Nature was vnchanged, for neither was the Deity turned into the Humanity, nor was the proprieties of the Humane Nature deriued vnto the diuine, but remaining what hee was (viz.) God, he became what he was not (viz.) Man.

[Page 107] If any should obiect That motion from place to place is at­tributed to God: because God is said to depart from some men, and returne to other men: That hath bin answered be­fore in the Doctrine of Gods Immensitie: for God mooues in respect of effect in vs, being vnmoued in himselfe: As a man that rowes in a Boate, looking vpon the bancke, thinkes the bancke goes from him, or comes neerer him, whereas the bancke is vnmoueable, and the motion is in the boate. If wee respect Grammer in these Phrases, God seemes indeed to bee moued, but if we respect a more high and secret Philosophie, wee then vnderstand thereby that God is vnmoueable, but is said to moue by returning, when by the working of his spirit he makes vs returne to him.

If any yet obiect, that the Spirit of God was said to moue vpon the waters, Gen. 1. 2. The answer is, that by that saying is signified no more then that the holy Ghost by his power and mouing did cherish and sustaine that indigested matter, as an Hen that sits vpon her Egges, to make them fit to bee hat­ched.

If any say that Gods suffers mutation in his knowledge, be­cause hee takes in the Apprehension of things present or to come, and is turned backe to looke vpon things past, I answer, that though God be full of all knowledge of things past, pre­sent, and to come, yet he is not cast backe to that which is past, nor stands pondering vpon that which is present, nor by ho­ping is stretched towards that which is to come: because God sees all things with an eternall and vnchangeable view as hath bin shewed in the Doctrine of his Knowledge.

If any yet obiect, that God suffers because he receiues wor­ship from his children, and is blasphemed by the wicked, and that therefore God should be passible. I answer, that Passions are of two sorts, some transmutatiue, some Intentionall. Some Passions worke a Reall mutation in the Obiect, as when fire heates water, thus Passion is transmutatiue. Some Passions doe onely determine the Action, as when I looke vpon hea­uen, heauen suffers Terminatiuè, non subiectiuè, as they say in Schooles, It suffers as the obiect of my sight, but in it selfe vn­dergoes no change, and this is Passion Intentionall: and such [Page 108] onely is the Passion in God. He suffers no alteration from any action of ours, but is onely the obiect or Terme of our Acti­ons good or euill.

If any obiect that God threatned to destroy the Niniuites, and that Hezekiah should die, and yet hee did not accomplish it, and that therefore Gods Word and will is mutable: I an­swer, that those threatnings or predictions were not absolute but with condition or respect, and therefore no change in Gods will. Niniueh shall be destroyed, if respect bee had to their merits, and vnlesse they repent: Now God is not bound alwaies to expresse the condition of his Threatnings, and be­side, all legall threatnings had in perpetuall doctrine of them, the condi [...]ion of repentance annexed: The condition there­fore being performed by the Niniuites, God destroyes them not, yet without change in his will, it being but a conditionall will. And for Hezekiah he must die, if we respect second cau­ses, yet in respect of Gods eternall purpose, fifteene yeeres must bee added: Now this Threatning of death, being a Threatning of Tryall, and containing true grounds of it in Na­turall causes, shewes neither dissimulation nor mutation in God.

Thus it is manifested that God is Immutable. That he one­ly is Immutable, is easily proued, for that place, Psal. 102. 27. saith of the creatures that they all perish and wax old as a gar­ment, God remaining the same: and that some Angels and men shall haue Immutable Natures after the day of Iudge­ment, is not by nature but by grace, as was said before.

The Vses follow: and so Gods immutability may serue. Vses.

1. For Humiliation, and so first, to Image-mongers that will needs haue God resembled by pictures, what doe they lesse then change the glory of the Immutable God into the like­nesse of a mutable creature, Rom. 1. 23. secondly, for all men it should humble the best of vs that thinke how glorious God is for Immutability, and yet we so mutable as nothing can satisfie vs: which mutability as it fearefully appeared in our first Parents, so doth it breake out in the disposition of all sorts of men: what fearefull change doe many men [Page 109] make in Religion. Reade of the Iewes, Isa. 1. 21, 22. Of the Christians, Galat. 1. 6. & 3. 1. Thirdly this is a terri­ble doctrine for wicked men, for all that he hath willed and threatned, shall certainly come vpon them; God cannot change: Hee is not as a man that he should repent, as Sa­muel told Saul.

2. For Instruction, and so it should teach vs three things: First, Patience in all the changes of this life: God only is immu­table; wee must looke for it to be subiect to many alterati­ons. Secondly, the Celebration of Gods glorie here. Wee should praise him for euer, that is only Eternall, Immortall, and Immutable; 1. Timoth. 1. 17. Thirdly, the Imitation of his vnchangeablenesse in things we know to be true and good, we should be vnmoueable, such as cannot be altered whatsoeuer befalls vs, 2. Tim. 3. 14. 1. Cor. 15. 58. Such, and so we should be in our faith, hope, charitie, promises, and good workes.

3. For Consolation; and so this doctrine should much refresh all godly Christians, It should giue them strong Consolati­ons, as the Apostle sayth, and so in diuers respects.

1. Because all Gods promises shall certainly bee accompli­shed, as these places expresly shew, Num. 23. 19. Heb. 6. 17. 18. Wherein, God willing, more aboundantly to shew vn­to the Heires of promise, the immutability of his Counsell, con­firmed it by an oath: That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lye, we might haue a strong Conso­lation, who haue fledde for refuge, to lay hold vpon the hope set before vs.

2. Because hereby they know they shall neuer faile of salua­tion, or fall from grace, for the gifts and calling of God are without Repentance, Rom. 11.

3. Because hereby God himself would assure his people, that they shall not be destroied with temporall miseries, though they be afflicted for a time, as the Lord reasoneth, Mal. 3. 6. For I am the Lord, I change not, and yee sonnes of Iacob are not consumed.

4. Because when wee come to Heauen, we shall by grace be made immutable too, for then the Image of God shall be perfect in vs.

[Page 110] Hitherto of the Immutability of God; and so of the attri­butes of both sorts.

It remaines that we inquire after the Substance or essence of God, vnto which all these glories are attributed, and so two things are to be considered about the Essence of God.

  • 1. That it is spirituall.
  • 2. That it is One.

First, that it is Spirituall: some essences haue being only and not life; as the Heauens, Earth, Seas, &c. and amongst these wee must not looke for God. Some essences haue life, but it is onely bodily life; as trees, beasts foules: and among these gods Essence is not. Some things haue a mixt life, partly bo­dily, and partly spirituall: and such is the essence of all men, who consist and liue both in body and soule: but to find out God, we must looke for him only amongst minds. There are essences that are onely mentall and immateriall, but yet com­pounded though not of parts, yet of power and act, as the An­gells: For, they are neuer in act that which they are in pow­er, they are in possibility still for diuers things may befall their Natures, and their possibilities are finite too, God is then higher then these.

God then is a minde or Spirit aboue all Spirits humane or Angelicall, vnto which essence of his if we adde the former at­tributes, we doe fullie difference him from all Creatures. Thus God is an eternall minde, infinite, immutable in life, know­ledge, holinesse and glory.

Is God a Spirit, then these Vses will follow.

1. That we should conceiue nothing bodily or terrene con­cerning Vses. God; when wee thinke of God wee must not imagine of him any bodily forme, for that is to make an Idoll.

2. Wee must hence learne to checke and curbe that naturall desire in our corrupt hearts to haue God visible: we should be ashamed of that secret rebellion of our hearts, that are often after a close manner vnquiet and discontented, because we doe not see our God we serue: for God being a spiri­tuall substance must needs be inuisible, and altogether im­perceptible by any senses: hee could not bee a true [Page 111] GOD, if senses might perceiue him.

3. Since it is Gods glory to bee a Spirit, wee should heartily praise him for our glory, which is our soules, for that hee hath made vs mindes also, and so of more excellent essence then meere bodies be.

4. We should therefore learne to serue God in Spirit and Truth; It is the seruice of Spirits that agrees best to Gods Nature, Iohn 4. 24.

Lastly, we should therefore most seeke such things as serue for the vse of Spirits. The treasures that are spirituall are farre more excellent then bodily and earthly things can be, euen for this reason, because they bring vs neerer to God, and more properly commend vs to him.

The second thing wee are to know about Gods essence is, that it is one, and but one. The Nicen Creed and Athanasius haue it thus: I beleeue in one God: which the Apostles Creed doth affirme too, though not so expresly: for we say, Wee be­leeue in God, not in Gods, importing thereby that there is but one God.

Nor is God one by aggregation, or consent, or kinde, or sort, but he is one in number. By aggregation a whole heard of cattell is said to be one, by consent many friends are one: by kinde men and beasts are one, for they are liuing creatures. By sort, all men are one, because they haue all one Nature, and are one sort of creatures: but God is one, none of these waies, but in number. And yet to say God is one in number is not enough, vnlesse we adde absolutely one: for Peter the Apostle is one man, though there be many other men, but hee is not a man, so as there is none but he; whereas God is not Ʋnus one­ly, but he is Vnicus also, he is one and but one.

That there is but one God these Scriptures shew, Deut. 4 35. & 39. & 6. 4. & 32. 39. 1. Cor. 8. 4. Concerning therefore meate sacrificed vnto Idols, we know that an Idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one.

The Vses follow.

1. Heereby is condemned the horrible Idolatry of the Nati­ons in bringing in that Poluthritis, or multitude of Gods: Vses. for as the former doctrine, that God is a Spirit, doth con­demne [Page 112] Image-mongers that resemble him, that is incor­poreall by outward and bodily shapes: so doth this of the Vnity of his essence shew the lamentable Idolatry of the Gentiles, and giues vs all cause from our hearts to blesse God that hath rescued our vnderstandings from those feare­full: blasphemies and misconceiuings of Pagans and Here­tickes, vnto the onely acknowledgement of one true God.

2. If God be God onely, many Christians that beleeue not many Gods in opinion, are yet in a fearefull case for setting vp Gods of their owne making: they suffer miserable ship­wrack by dashing vpon the glory of the one only true God: Thus sinne they, that make their bellies, or their pleasures, or their riches their God.

3. It should teach vs, with all possible reuerence to adore him, whom alone all creatures are bound to serue and ho­nour, who hath no partner in his supreame soueraignty, Psal. 86. 9. 10.

4. If God be alone, it should teach vs to loue him, and trust in him alone, seeing it is he onely that claimes this honour and homage from the creature, and there is none like him in praises, or that can helpe vs in miserie, or bring vs to the best good, Deut. 6. 4. 5. Marke 12. 29. 30. Esay 37. 16. Deut. 32. 37. 38. 39. 1. Sam. 2. 2. 3.

5. Hence we may be informed, that wee neede but one Me­diator, seeing there is but one God, 1. Tim. 2. 5.

Lastly, the Apostle, Ephes. 4. 3. 6. concludes from hence, that therefore wee should liue in peace one with another, and by no meanes breake the Vnity of spirit, because wee haue all but one God.

Hitherto of the doctrine of the Nature of God.

Of Beleeuing I entreated before, onely wee must know that these words I beleeue must be applied vnto each word and Article of the Creed: and so we must heere consider what it is in particular to beleeue in God, and what euery Christian should meane when he saith, I beleeue in God. It is to bee no­ted by the way that he doth not say I beleeue God, but in God: The ordinary distinction of beleeuing is not impertinent: It is [Page 113] one thing to beleeue that God is, Credere Deum, or to be­leeue God, Credere Deo, and another thing to beleeue in God, Credere in Deum; for to beleeue in God, is first to know God, as hee hath reuealed himselfe in his Word and so to con­ceiue of God according to the former doctrine of his Nature: secondly, to bee perswaded, That that God is my God; and thirdly, to put all my trust in him, and to rest vpon him alone for all happinesse.

Of the knowledge of Gods Nature before. And of the work of faith in beleeuing God to be my God, before. This belee­uing in God heere exprest vrgeth principally vpon vs the third thing, and that is that wee must imploy our faith in a daily relying vpon God, and confident affiance and trust in his goodnesse and mercy towards vs.

Now there are diuers Reasons profitable for vs to thinke much vpon, which may not onely proue the point, but frame in vs a spirituall confidence in God. Wee may with all safety and confidence rest vpon God alone, and his fauour, and pro­mises.

1. Because he hath bound himselfe by his word and promi­ses to be so good to vs, and hath confirmed his promise by oath and by seale.

2. Because he is of such power to doe vs good.

3. Because he is of so good a Nature, and it agrees so well to his disposition to performe his promises.

4. Because God is so well pleased with our trust in his mer­cy, Nahum. 1. 7.

5. Because God can be so fearefully reuenged vpon our vn­beliefe.

6. Because there hath bin such an vninersall experience of Gods care for all that euer trusted in God. Who euer trusted vpon GOD and was destroyed or disappointed?

Is it required of vs that wee should beliue in God, then these vses will follow.

1. It shewes the difference in the relation of our faith, as it lookes vpon men and vpon God. Wee beliue men as the Ʋses. Apostle Paul and our Teachers; but we doe not belieue in Paul or in our Teachers, but in God alone.

[Page 114] 2. It shewes the follie of wicked men in pursuing the god­ly, as if there were hope that they might driue them to such exigents, that there should be no helpe for them; for they trust in God, and therefore can neuer be driuen beyond all refuge. I trust in God, saith Dauid, how say ye then that I should flie hence, as a bird beaten from his rest, Psalme 11. 1.

3. It shewes what vse we should make of our insufficiencie to conceiue of God fully: when our minds are beaten back from beholding his full glorie, yet our faith will catch hold, so as to make vs trust in him, though we cannot fully com­prehend him. If we cannot receiue him by contemplation, yet we may by belieuing.

4. In as much as to belieue in God is the verie entrance into the Creede, and the foundation of all the rest: It she wes that many that are Christians in name, are not indeed true Belieuers, because they doe not belieue in God: that is, they doe not trust in him: For it is manifest, that these sorts of Christians that follow, do not belieue in God.

1. Such as liue in Ignorance, without the meanes or the gift of the knowledge of God; as the Apostle sayth: How should they belieue in him, of whom they haue not heard, Rom. 10. 14.

2. Such as trust in their Wealth, Friends, Beauty, Gifts, Skill, Strength, Reuenewes, Hopes, or Sinnes: The mis-placing of their trust, shewes they belieue not in God.

3. Such as make no Conscience to vse ill meanes to get out of distresse, or to obtain their desires; such as are resorting to Wiza [...]ds, lying, deceit, vsurie, oppression, dissimulation or the like: For he that belieueth will not make haste, Esa. 28. 16.

Lastly, all godly men should striue so to professe in words, as also by their practice to proue it, that they do indeed belieue in God, and rest vpon him.

1. By resting in the praise and appellation of God.

2. By liuing without care, and therein being like little Children, and this we do when we commit our soules and [Page 115] bodies, and liues, and children, and states, and all our waies vnto God. 2. Tim. 1. 12. Psal. 37.

3. When in Aduersitie wee runne to him for refuge, and so make our moane to him, that wee rest with patience and good perswasion, that God will cause all to worke for the best to vs.

It should much trouble vs, if in soundnesse of practice we haue not learned this first lesson of belieuing in God: Wee should be much displeased with our selues, if our hearts be vn­quiet and any way vnapt to rest and waite vpon God Psal 42. 12. and we should often beseech the Lord to helpe our vnbe­liefe.

Hitherto of the Nature of God, and of beleeuing in God: The next thing Faith takes notice of, is the Relations in the God-head: and so God is the Father, the Sonne, and the ho­ly Ghost: for this terme God is to bee applied, not onely to the Father (which is the next word) but to the Sonne and ho­ly Ghost as followeth after in the Creed: and therefore wee must reade with a Comma after this word God, thus, I beleeue in God, the Father: to reade without a Comma, that is Here­ticall, for if we reade thus, I beleeue in God the Father, it would sound as if the Creed should say that the Father were God on­ly, not leauing the terme God to be carried to the Son and ho­ly Ghost.

Before then I come to speake of the Father, I must entreate of God as he is three Persons, both Father, Sonne, and holy Ghost: And this is one of the deepest and dreadfullest Myste­ries in all Religion: where I must proceed in this order: first, to proue the Trinity by Scriptures: secondly, to explicate the doctrine: And thirdly, to answer certaine obiections might arise in mens mindes about it.

Because these things about the Trinity are most wonder­full, and aboue the reach of the creatures, we must seeke testi­monies to ground our consciences in the beliefe of them such as may be firme and euident: It is a difficult thing to bring the heart of men solidly to assent to such secrets as these, as are not onely beyond the sight, but aboue the reason of men, and the minde may easily vanish into wilde speculations, if we [Page 116] be not well grounded with sure Euidence: nor can wee haue light from the booke of Nature to informe vs; for what any Heathen man hath spoken, of an Eternall mind, word and spi­rit, they spake by tradition from the Hebrewes, and vttered it perhaps in a false and corrupt sense. Tis the booke of Scrip­ture must only informe our faith herein.

The proofes for the Trinity are gathered, both out of the Old and New Testament, and so they either prooue there were more Persons then One, or else expresly that there were Three Persons.

That there are more Persons then One is prooued, by the terme ELOHIM, which is vttered in the plurall number, as if it should sound Gods: as Gen. 1. 1. In the beginning Gods or ELOHIM created Heauen and Earth: Created is in the sin­gular number, to shew the vnitie of the Essence, and ELOHIM in the plurall, to shewe the Trinitie of the Persons: so Gen. 1. 26. Let vs make man in our Likenesse, Let vs, shewes more Persons, and likenes being in the singular number shewes v­nitie of Essence. And verse 2. besides the Lord there is men­tioned the Spirit of the Lord sitting vpon the waters Iosh. vlt. 19. Ye cannot serue the Lord because he is ELOHIM sancti, holy Gods. And Ieremy 10. 10. The Lord is the liuing Gods or ELOHIM, and King euerlasting. Hos. 1. 7. I will saue them in the Lord their God. Gen. 19. 24. The Lord reig­ned from the Lord fire and brimstone. Exod. 23. 20. 21. The The Lord sends his Angell whose name is IEHOVAH. Dan. 9. 19. Heare oh Lord our God for the Lords sake, Psa. 110. 1. The Lord said to my Lord sit thou at my right hand, Ier. 32. 5. 9. & 33. 15, 16. The Lord shall raise vp a Branch, whose name is, THE LORD.

Now that there are three Persons, and no more nor fewer, is proued by places more obscure or more expresse.

The Trinitie hath beene obserued in such places as these, Esay 6. 3. where the Angells say thrice Holy; and so where IEHOVAH is three times repeated, Numbers 6. 23. Esay 33. 22.

But the most expresse places are in the New Testament. A manifest reuelation of the Trinitie was in the Baptisme of [Page 117] Christ. The Father speaking from heauen, the Sonne standing in the Riuer, the Holy Ghost descending like a Doue. Matth. 3. 16. 17. and so in the Institution of Baptisme, we are to be baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Sonne, and of the holy Ghost. And Ioh. 14. 16. 17. I will aske the Father, and he shall giue you another Comforter the Spirit of truth; and the 1. Ioh. 5. 9. There are three in Heauen, the Father, the Word, and the Spirit. And the like euidence is in these pla­ces, 2. Cor. 13. 13. Tit. 3. 5. 6. Eph. 2. 18.

In the Explication of the doctrine of the Trinitie, we must be wise to sobriety, because it is wholly secret, rather to be be­lieued, then to be demonstrated, or described. It is a doctrine may be apprehended, but neuer comprehended, no not by the light of grace, nor fully and wholly by the light of glorie, as being aboue the reach, not onely of men but of Angells. A mystery to be adored by humble faith and piety, not to be sear­ched, without curious yea furious temerity: For it is so ad­mirable as Reason cannot expresse it, and so singular that ex­ample cannot declare it to vs: for the Images or Similitudes borrowed out of the booke of Nature, may rather shew that the doctrine of the Trinitie doth not destroy Nature, then giue vs any pattern which can sample out the thing it selfe; and be­sides to erre here, is the most dangerous of all errors. For, as nothing is sought with more difficulty, or found with more profit, so nothing can bee mistaken with more perill. And August. therefore as a Father sayd well, seeing wee cannot finde out what God is, wee must take heed, that wee thinke not that of him which he is not; yet must wee not wholly neglect the do­ctrine, because a necessitie lyes vpon vs to belieue: and there­fore, though men and Angels haue cause to stand and wonder at this secret, that God should beget a Sonne, and that from that Father and Sonne should proceed that Spirit the Sancti­fier, yet because God will bee so acknowledged of vs, wee must make vse of our faith to belieue, what our reason cannot describe to vs.

Three things then for our capacities are to be thought vp­pon. The first concernes the Matter of this Mysterie. The se­cond, the termes by which it is exprest, and the third, the [Page 118] answere of certaine Obiections might arise in our mindes.

For the first, we are to consider what a Person is, and then how these three Persons do agree one with another, and how they differ one from another.

A Person is an vnderstanding substance, indiuiduall, and in­communicable, which is not sustained in any other, or by any other. It is an vnderstanding substance, & so it excludes plants and beasts, which are no persons though they be substances, and it is not sustained in any other, and so excludes the hu­mane nature of Christ, which is therefore not a Person, be­cause it subsists in the Diuine Nature, and it is incommunica­ble, to distinguish it from the Essence, which is communicated to all the Persons.

Foure things are common to each Person in the Trinitie. First, Truth, and so each Person is the true God, hauing all the properties of God, and doing all the actions of God, and re­ceiuing all the worship of God.

Secondly, Mutuall Immeation or Immanencie, as they call it, which the Grecians call, [...] & [...], by which none of the Persons are separate from the Diuine Essence, but subsist in it, and so all meet in the Essence.

Thirdly, Perfection, by which each of the Persons are not a part of the Diuine Essence, but the whole Diuine Essence is in each Person.

Fourthly, Distinction, so as euerie Person is distinguished from the other Persons, so as the Father is not the Sonne nor Holy Ghost, nor the Sonne the Father or Holy Ghost, nor the Holy Ghost the Father and the Sonne.

For the first of these things in common which is Truth, so as each Person is the true God; It needes not much explanation for the sense: for vnder that Head three things are giuen to each Person in common. First, the properties of the God-head, so as each Person is Eternall, Infinite, Immutable, in life, know­ledge, holinesse and glorie: and so Secondly, the Actions of the Deity are common to euery Person, according to that Rule in Schoole: Opera Trinitatis ad extra sunt indiuisa: The workes of the Trinitie, that issue outward, are vndiuided: So the Father creates, the Sonne creates, and the Holy Ghost [Page 119] creates: as there is one worke, so there is but one worker, which is God in three Persons. To make man in Gods Image, is common to all three Persons, Let vs make man, &c. Gen. 1. 26. soe Iohn 5. 19. what the Father doth, the Sonne doth the same; and in many other places. And as they agree in working, so doe they in worship, all diuine worship doth e­qually belong to each Person.

For the second, which is the mutuall seating or meeting of all the three Persons in the same Essence, so as they are one in another, diuers Scriptures proue: so Christ saith, I am in the Father, and the Father is in me, Iohn 14. 10. and this must needs be so, because the essence of God is infinite, and there­fore euery person possessing it, it must needs follow, that wheresoeuer one is, there the other are also, and that one is in another: so as there can bee no place, or thing, where one of them is, but there the other are also. Excellent is that saying of that Father, concerning the three Persons in the Trinity. Sin­gula sunt in Singulis, &c. Each are in each other, and all in each, and each in all, and all in all, and one all. Hee that seeth this in parte, darkely, as in a glasse, let him reioyce that hee knowes God, and as God let him honour him and giue him thankes. He that seeth it nor, let him tend to see it by godli­nesse, and not to calumniate by blindnesse, for God is one, and yet there is a Trinity, &c. Thus Hee.

For the third, the whole Essence is in each Person. They are all consubstantiall not [...], of like essence onely, no [...] [...] of a diuers essence, nor are they [...], that is, such as haue one Nature common to them, but not the same in number, as it is with men: nor are they [...], that is, such as haue euery one a nature, that no other either person or thing hath, as the Sunne and Moone haue such a Nature as no other haue, there being but one Sunne and one Moone, but they are [...], that is, all of the same substance, Coessentiall, and Consubstantiall.

For the fourth, That the Persons are distinguished is com­mon to all the Persons, how they are distinguished, is that which is to bee considered in the next place: Distinction im­ports Opposition: Now there is a threefold opposition, The [Page 120] greatest opposition is amongst contraries, for these fight one against another. There is also a middle opposition which is in things onely disparate as they call them, as betweene men and beasts, so as a man is not a beast. The least opposition is be­tweene things that are relate, as the Father is not the Sonne, the Subiect is not the Prince, and the like: this opposition be­tweene things in relation, is in things that doe in many re­spects agree, and this distinction agrees to the Nature of God and is the least of all distinctions.

The difference of the Persons, is two waies to bee conside­red: for first, they differ from the Essence, and then one from another.

The Persons in the Trinity differ from the Essence: which that it may bee vnderstood, wee must know that some things differ, Ratione, not Re: that is not in deed, but in respect of our conceiuing: as for instance, The Attributes of God differ, but how? not in deed nor in themselues, but onely in our co­gitation of them: and so the power of heating and of drying in the Sunne, differs onely in respect of conceiuing, for in the power it selfe there is no distinction to bee found, it is found onely in our heads. But this is not the difference in the Trini­ty: for the Persons differ one from another really, and would so doe if wee neuer thought of them. A reall distinction is grounded either vpon the respect of the essence of things, or in respect of the manner of being. A distinction in respect of essence is not in the Trinity, for all the Persons haue the same essence; it remaines then that the Persons in the Trinity differ from the essence onely in respect of the manner of their being: and so (in short) differs from the essence, as the manner of a thing differs from the thing it selfe. The manner of being in euery thing doth determine it: Now things in respect of the manner are three waies to bee considered of, for there is the Modus. 1. Essendi. 2. Se habendi. 3. Subsistendi. manner of the essence, the manner of hauing that essence, or the manner of subsisting. The manner of the Essence is shewed by Attributes, as when we say, It is true, good, Iust, &c. The manner of hauing that essence, is either with or without depen­dance: as in the creature, the manner of their hauing their essence is by dependance vpon God: and in the Creator, the [Page 121] essence is had of himselfe without any dependance. The man­ner of subsisting, is the furnishing of a thing with peculiar Re­lation, including a Person. Now then the Persons in the Tri­nity Non differunt [...] sed [...]. Basil. Iust. Mart. Dam. In Sancta Trini­tate est alius & alius non aliud & aliud. In Christo est aliud & aliud non alius & alius. differ from the Essence onely in the manner of subsisting, because the Essence subsists in one manner in the Father, and in another in the Sonne, &c. They doe not differ in Essence, (for all of them haue the same) but onely in the manner of the sub­sisting of the Essence in each Person. In the Trinity there is another, and another, but not another thing: there is another, that is, another Person, there is not another thing, that is, not another Essence. In Christ now, there is another and another thing, for his diuine Nature is one thing, and his humane Na­ture is another thing, and yet there is not alius, that is another Person. But it is otherwise in the Trinity. The being of the Father is the being of the Sonne, and the being of the holy Ghost, but to be the Father, is not to be the Sonne, or the holy Ghost.

Thus the Persons differ from the Essence: They differ one from another foure waies. In order, in personall proprieties, in number, and in operation.

First, in order they differ: for the Father is the first Person, the Sonne the Second, and the holy Ghost the Third: This Priority must not not be mistaken; for one Person is not be­fore another in time or in dignity but onely in Nature, or in or­der of Nature, so as one Person depends vpon another: As the Sun is before the beames of the Sun, not in time, but in order of Nature, because the beames are from the Sun: so in the Trinity, the Son and holy Ghost are after the Father, not in time, but because they receiue the originall of their Persons from the Father, Relatiues are together in time: onely note that Nature heere signifies the manner of subsisting, not of essence; for in respect of Essence there is no priority in the Tri­nity.

Secondly, they differ in personall Proprieties: As the per­sonall Proprietie of the Father is to be of himselfe in respect of his Person vnbegotten. The personall Proprietie of the Son is Generation, or to bee of the Father by begetting: The per­sonall Propriety of the holy Ghost, is to bee of the Father and [Page 122] the Son by Spiration or proceeding, and thus each Person differs from other by incommunicable Characters.

Thirdly, they differ in number: they are the same in num­ber in respect of the Essence, because one God is Father Son, and holy Ghost, and yet in respect of those Characters in the manner of subsisting, each Person hath a subsisting by himselfe, which in number is not the same with the other Persons: The Father hath one manner of subsisting in number, the Son ano­ther, and the holy Ghost another: Note that I say each Per­son hath his subsisting by himselfe, not of himselfe. Per se, not àse.

Fourthly, they differ in operation: and so both in externall and internall operations. In externall workes though in re­spect of the things wrought, they are common to all three per­sons, yet in respect of the manner of working, there is distin­ction of the persons: for the Father workes by the Son in the holy Ghost: The Father worketh from none, the Son from the Father, and the holy Ghost from them both, Gen. 19. 24. Iohn 5. 19. 30. & 8. 28. & 16. 13. There are two principles to be marked for the vnderstanding of this point. The one is, that the workes of the Deity that are outward are common to all three Persons. The other is, that looke what order there is of existing in the Trinity, the same order there is in working: as was said before, the Father worketh by the Son in the holy Ghost. Thus Creation, Adoption, Sanctification, are the workes of the whole Trinity: as the Scriptures proue, that attribute Creation to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Spirit, and so of the other workes all three Persons worke the same, Apotelesma or worke, but not all after the same manner: as for instance, in the worke of our Redemption, the Father workes by sending the Son, the Son by assuming our Nature, the holy Ghost by sanctifying, and forming the bodie of Christ out of the flesh of the Virgin, &c. so in the Creation the Father wils it, the Son by the holy Ghost effects it. But this is withal to be noted, that as any outward worke hath more resemblance in any part of it to any person in the Trinity, so it is more spe­cially attributed to that Person: so in the Creed and in the Scriptures too, Creation is attributed to the Father, who being of himselfe, fitly giues being to the creatures: Redemption is [Page 123] attributed to the Son, who as he resembles his Fathers Image, is fittest to represent vnto mankinde, his mercy; and being an eternall Word in the Fathers minde, doth fitly by his Word tell vs his Fathers meaning. Sanctification is attributed to the holy Ghost, who as he is breathed (as it were) from the Father and the Son, per modum voluntatis & amoris, so doth hee fitly by breathing or inspiration inlighten and sanctifie our wills and affections.

And as they differ in externall workes, so doe they in inter­nall: for the Father onely begets a Sonne, the Father and Son (as it were) breathes forth the holy Ghost: And thus of the matter of the Doctrine of the Trinity: the Termes follow to bee considered of.

These words Persons and Trinity, Essence, &c. were taken vp in the Primitiue Church as the fittest words to expresse what they conceiued of these glorious Mysteries: The speech of man in many things extreamely doth want words. Wee say three Persons, not as if thereby the mystery were vttered, but Dictum est tres personae non vt illud diceretur, sed ne omnino taceretur. August. Non quia Scrip­tura dicit, sed quia non contra­dicit. August. that it may not be vtterly concealed: for that which is of such ineffable eminencie cannot be expressed in such a word: wee speake therefore of these things (as the Father said) not as wee ought but as wee can. And againe, the same Father saith, It hath bin lawfull for vs for discourse and dispu­tation sake to say three persons, not because the Scripture saith so, but because it doth not contradict it: and a kinde of neces­sity brought the Ancient Church to inuent the words; for when Heretikes would yeeld to the termes of Scripture, and varied vpon the corrupt senses they put vpon the words, the Ancients were driuen to inuent words which did expresse the true sense, that thereby the Heretikes might be tryed whether they hold the right Faith or no: which termes that before were promiscuously vsed in other learning, being in the daies of the first Christian Churches made free in the Cittie of God, haue euer since enioned their freedome, and may not now be turned out, without suspition of contentiousnesse, selfe con­ceit, and Schisme. The sense is in Scriptures, though the words be not there. As the Scripture saith, there be three in Heauen, which are one, which the Church adds, the three are Persons, [Page 124] and the one is essence. It adds not to the sense of the Text, but to the words: and yet the Word Person is found, Heb. 1. 3. in For the originall of these termes, reade Chemniti­us de tribus per­sonis diuinitatis. the same sense (in a manner) as it is taken heere. To bring in new words, might bring in new errors, and it were a great wrong to cast out such words as haue done such seruice against Heretickes, and are so fit to reduce the mindes of men, to vn­derstand the right way of beleeuing in these high Myste­ries.

But yet wee must bee warned that the termes doe not al­waies fully expresse the thing, especially if wee iudge of the termes about the Trinity, as wee doe of the same words a­mongst vs in other things: As for instance, a Person in the Tri­nity differs from a person among men or Angels; as for exam­ple, Peter, Paul and Iohn, are three persons, to whom our humane Nature is common: yet these three persons differ one from another: first, in Substance, because each of them haue their substance of soule and body separate from the other: se­condly, in Time, one is younger then another: thirdly, in Will, Paul contradicts Peter: fourthly, in Power, Paul labours more then all the Apostles: fifthly, in Operation, Peter workes a­monst them of the Circumcision, and Paul amongst the Gen­tiles. But it is not thus in the three Persons in the Trinity, Peter and Iohn are separate wholie one from another: whereas in the Trinity, the Father is in the Sonne, and he in the Father, 1. Iohn 3. 24. They may be farre asunder in place, but God the Father and the Sonne are neuer asunder, Iohn 8. 29. and in the Trinity there is in all one will, one power; all three Persons are Almighty, all eternall, and all worke the same worke.

Ob. Some may say, it seemes impossible, that three should 1. Obiect. be one.

Sol. In one and the same respect: but not in diuers. Three Sol. Persons cannot be one person, but three Persons may bee one Essence. As the Nature of man may be common to many per­sons, as to Peter, Iohn, Paul, &c.

Ob. He that seeth Christ, sees the Father, for he is in the Fa­ther, and the Father in him: therefore the Father and the Son 2. Obiect. are but one Person.

Sol. He that sees the Sonne sees the Father, because the Son Sol. [Page 125] hath the same Essence with the Father, and being manifested in the flesh reueales the whole will of God: he is the same with the Father in Will and Essence not in person.

Ob. If the being of the Father be not the being of the Sonne or holy Ghost: then it followes that there are three diuers be­ings 3. Obiect. and so three Essences.

Sol. The being of the Father notes the being of his Person not of his Essence, and so three Beings are but three Persons Sol. subsisting in one Essence: As the light of the Sun, and the light of the Moone, and the light of the Ayre, in substance are one and the same light, and yet three distinct lights; the light of the Sun being of it selfe, the light of the Moone from the Sun, and the light of the Ayre from them both.

Ob. If there bee more IEHOVAHS then one, then there 4. Obiect. are more Essences then one, but heere are more IEHOVAHS: for IEHOVAH raigned fire and brimstone from IEHOVAH in heauen, Gen. 19. 24.

Sol. IEHOVAH is a Terme, giuen to the Persons aswell as to the Essence, and so diuers IEHOVAHS notes diuers Per­sons, Sol. not Essences.

Ob. The Sonne and holy Ghost had their beginning from the Father, therefore it seemes the Father onely is God. 5. Obiect.

Sol. The Sonne and holy Ghost had the beginning of their Persons from the Father, but their Essence they had of them­selues, Sol. as being common to all three Persons, so as euery Per­son is [...], God of himselfe.

Ob. Three and one makes foure: if in God there bee three and one, then three is a Quaternity not a Trinity. 6. Obiect.

Sol. Three and one if they bee things essentially and really Sol. diuided make foure, but one and the same thing may haue di­uers relations or manners of being which are distinct one from another.

Ob. He that is the whole God-head, besides him, there can be no other in whom likewise should be the whole God-head: 7 Obiect. but the Father is the whole God-head, therefore the Sonne and holy Ghost are not so.

Sol. The Maior Proposition is false: for the whole God-head Sol. is in euery Person, as the whole Nature of man is in di­uers men.

Ob. The power of the Persons is not one, and therefore 8. Obiect. how can their Essence be one: their power is not one, because the Father can beget, and so cannot the Sonne.

Sol. The naturall power of the Persons is all one, the per­sonall Sol. power differs.

Ob. How can the Essence begetting, and the Essence be­gotten 9. Obiect. be all one? the Father begets, the Son is begotten, how can they be one then?

Sol. Distinguish betweene Generation and Communicati­on, Sol. and betweene Essence and Person: the Person begets and is begotten, but the Essence neither begets, nor is begotten, but onely is communicated.

Ob. If the Essence of the Father and the Sonne bee all one, 10. Obiect. then the Father was incarnate, for the Son was.

Sol. The Essence of God absolutely considered was not in­carnate, Sol. but the Person of the Sonne: who though he had the whole diuine Nature in him yet in respect of the manner of his subsisting did differ from the Father and holy Ghost.

Ob. Whose operations are distinct, their Essences are di­stinct: 11. Obiect. but the operations of the Persons in the Trinity, especi­ally those internall are distinct, therefore they haue distinct Essences.

Sol. The Maior is true of Persons that haue a finite Essence, Sol. but not of the Persons in the Trinity, who haue an infinite Essence common to them.

The consideration of this Doctrine of the Trinity should serue for diuers Vses.

1. It should strike vs with amazement and admiration of the glory of God, and remoue the sense of our owne insuffici­encie and narrownesse of heart and vnderstanding, who are so ouercome with glory that our mindes are not able to conceiue of, or behold these wonderfull secrets in the Diuinity: It should worke in vs an vnspeakeable feare and Reuerence to thinke of the being of God, that so infinitely excells the being of all creatures in heauen and earth.

2. It should compell vpon vs, more care and attendance of spirit in worshipping God, so as we be sure we direct our ser­uice to him that is one in Nature and three in Persons: for [Page 127] worship belongs equally to all three Persons. And herein the Christian fundamentally differs from Pagans, Turkes, and Iewes, and in heart becomes as one of those when he worships a God that is not three Persons.

3. We are bound to take notice as of the common glory of all the Persons, so of that speciall glory is due to each person, as we finde it either described in the Word of God, or expres­sed in the workes of God.

4. We must take heede what wee speake of the Trinity in Vnity; for we may fall vpon such formes of speech, as may be extreamely erronious and dangerous: and for the helpe of the ignorant, I will note diuers of the speeches which are dange­rous and vnsound: as that there are three Gods, three Eter­nalls, three Almighties, &c. or that the Essence is distingui­shed into the Father, Son, and holy Ghost; that God is three­fold, or that there is a triplicity in God; that God doth beget another God; that the Father is another thing from the Son; that the Sonne and holy Ghost haue a beginning of their Es­sence; that the Person was begotten or did proceede from the Essence: by discerning where the errour lies in these sen­tences wee may try our skill in the former doctrine of the Trinitie.

5. The Doctrine of the Trinity should be wonderfull com­fortable vnto the true Christian, because as the Apostle Iohn shewes there are three in Heauen, the Father, the Word, and the Spirit, which will auouch the happinesse of the true be­leeuer: and his comfort may be increased, if he consider what was before taught, that all three Persons doe ioyne in the work of his Redemption, 1. Iohn 5. 9.

Lastly, it is not vnprofitable out of the Doctrine of the Tri­nity to shew how all sorts of Hereticks haue assaulted it, & bin confuted by it, which may be briefely thus shewed. We must beleeue that in the Trinity there is nothing created as Dionisius would haue it: nothing vnequall, as Eunomius and Aetius: no­thing before or after or lesser then other as Arius said: nothing forraine or seruing to another as Macedonius said: nothing inserted by stealth or perswasion, as Manichaeus said: no­thing corporeall, or in fashion of bodies as Melito, Tertullian [Page 128] and Vadianus said: nothing inuisible to themselues as Origen said, or visible to the Creatures as Fortunatus said: nothing diuers in motion or will as Marcion said: nothing taken out of the Essence of the Trinity and put into the Nature of the creatures, as Plato and Tertullian said: nothing singular in office, or communicable to another as Origen said: nothing confounded as Sabellius said. Aug. Tom. 3.

Thus of the Trinity in generall.

The Father.]

This terme Father is attributed to God both essentially and personally. Essentially, and so the terme belongs to each Per­son in the Trinity, as being a terme that followes the God-head, Mat. 23. 9. and thus God is said to bee a Father diuers waies: as, first, by Predestination, because he inrolls the Elect as Sonnes from all eternity, Ephes. 1. 3. secondly, by Creation, because he made things to be of nothing by his owne power, thus Adam is said to be the Sonne of God, Luke 3. 38. and and God is called the Father of spirits, Heb. 12. 9. thirdly, by temporall redemption, and so God is acknowledged for the Father of the Israelites, because hee made them a people to himselfe, and brought them out of Egypt and gaue them the outward priuiledges of his children, Esay 63. 16. 11. 12. fourthly, by regeneration, when hee changeth our natures and makes them like his diuine Nature, 2. Pet. 1. 4. and so wee are sonnes so soone as we beleeue, Iohn 1. 12. and so soone as he giues vs the Spirit of Sanctification and Adoption, Rom. 8. 15. fifthly, by personall vnion, and so Christ in respect of his humane nature is the Sonne of God: because that nature doth subsist in the diuine Nature, Luke 1. Now all these waies God is a Father by grace; and in respect of Regeneration, the second Person in the Trinity is called a Father aswell as the first, Esay 9. 6. 7. and is said to haue an ofspring and generation, Esay 53. 10. Lastly, God is said to be a Father by Nature, and by generation, as he begets a Sonne, consubstantiall with himselfe, and so the first Person in the Trinity is called Father onely, as he is the Natu­rall Father of our Lord Iesus Christ.

In the Creed heere Faith beholds God as a Father princi­pally in respect of eternall generation, as the first Person in [Page 129] Trinity is the Father of the second, but withall, as it extracts vertue out of that high Mysterie, it layes hold vpon the Father of Christ, as he is our Father in Christ also: for Faith is of that Nature, that when it laies hold of any thing, it will not off, till it haue gotten by contemplation and conclusion what may be collected any way from thence.

Wee are first then to consider of God as the Father of our Lord Iesus Christ, and then as our Father.

As God is the Father of our Lord Iesus Christ, these things would be proued and opened.

  • 1. That God doth beget a Sonne.
  • 2. That IESVS CHRIST is that Sonne.
  • 3. The manner of this Generation.

For the first, that God hath begotten a Sonne, is a Mysterie beyond the reach and comprehending of all men and Angels, yet is it a truth in many Scriptures charged vpon vs to beleeue, as namely, Psal. 2. 7. Iohn 1. 14. Iohn 3. 16. 1. Ioh. 3. 8. & 5. 13. Mat. 28. 19.

For the second, that the Lord IESVS CHRIST is that Sonne of God is apparant by Scripture too, Rom. 15. 6. Col. 1. 3. Ephes. 1. 3. Mat. 16. 16. Mat. 3. 17. 2. Cor. 1. 19. 1. Ioh. 1. 4. & 4. 15. &. 5. 20. 2. Ioh. 3.

For the third, how the Father did beget the Sonne, is vn­knowne vnto vs, It is a secret cannot be reuealed to vs especi­ally in this mortality, Pro. 30. 4. onely by way of Negation, the Scripture intreating of it shewes vs that God doth not be­get his Sonne as men beget theirs: for,

1. Men beget without themselues, so as the Sonne is diuided from the Father: but so doth not GOD the Father beget Christ his Sonne, hee is distinguished from the Father but not diuided, the Father begets in him­selfe.

2. The substance of the Son amongst vs, may bee like the Fa­ther, but it is not the Fathers substance. But in the Trinity the Father and the Sonne are of the same substance, consub­stantiall.

3. In corporall Generation, the Father deriues vnto the Sonne but a part of his substance, but GOD the Fa­ther [Page 130] communicates his whole substance to his Sonne.

4. The creature begets a Son that is mortall, but God begets a Son that is immortall.

5. The creature begets in time, but God begets in eternity, which hath three differences in it: for first, the time may be named when the creature did beget, the Creator begets be­fore all time, Pro. 8. 22, &c. 30. secondly, the creature ceaseth begetting, but God the Father begets his Son eter­nally, he alwaies begets, Psal. 2. 7. thirdly, the substance of the Father was before the substance of the Sonne but not so in this eternall generation; Christ is of the Father, but not after the father.

6. Among the creatures the Son is subiect to the father, but in this eternall and diuine generation the Sonne is equall to the father: Subiection is due to God the father from all creatures, but not from the Sonne, or holy Ghost, Phil. 2. 6.

7. Among the creatures, the father and Sonne are two things in number, but in this diuine generation it is not so; for the Father and Sonne, and so the holy Ghost are but one God, 1. Iohn 5. 7.

The Vse may bee either for information, or instruction, or consolation, or terror: first, since GOD is the Father of our Lord Iesus Christ by such an vnconceiueable generation, wee may thence learne:

1. The glory of our Sauiours condition: He was before the world was, he was with the father, brought vp with him, as his eternall delight, more deere to the father then any created nature can conceiue of, the Sonne of his Loue, neuer father loued his son, so as God the father loues Christ, yea, hee was God with the father Consubstantiall, Coequall, Coeternall, Pro. 8. 22. &c. 30. Iohn 17. 25. Philippians 2. 6 Rom. 9. 5.

2. The Originall of all father-hood: The father of Iesus Christ was the first father euer was, yea, the Creed giues the Title of father to God onely, as if there were no father but he: and so Christ saith, Mat. 23. 9. call no man father on earth, for one is your father, which is God: and indeed [Page 131] properly none is a father but God: other fathers that are called so haue the name only, because there is in them a kind of Image or similitude of God the father, and yet they be­get so imperfectly in comparison of God the father, that they resemble him, rather in that generall that they doe be­get, then in the manner of begetting.

Thus for Information.

2. Since God is the father of Iesus Christ wee should bee in­structed:

1. To acknowledge this Mystery, and though wee haue cause to be abased for the defect of our vnderstanding heerein, in that we cannot tell the fathers name, nor what is the name of his Son, Pro. 30▪ 4. yet we should confidently beleeue, as the very foundation of our Religion, that Iesus Christ is the Son of the liuing God: vpon the Rock of this confession is the Church built, Mat. 16. 16, &c. It is a glory Christ stands vpon to be acknowledged in the glory of the onely begot­ten Son of God, Ioh. 1. 14. If we acknowledge the Son, wee haue the father, or else not, 1. Ioh. 2. 23. Yea, this is an honour God stands vpon to bee glorified with one heart and one mouth of all his seruants, euen as the father of our Lord Iesus Christ, Rom. 15. 6.

2. To be fully established in the perswasion of the sufficiency and efficacie of the obedience and passion of Iesus Christ for vs: we may confidently call him the Lord our righteousnes seeing God is called his father: for his obedience, is more then the obedience of a man, yea, of more value then the o­bedience of worlds of men; and besides hee is all in all with God the father who so loues him, hee can denie him no­thing, &c.

3. To rely vpon him for instruction. The father loues him and shewes him all things that he doth or intends to doe, and in Ioh. 5. 20. him are all treasures of wisedome and knowledge, & there­fore we should heare him alwaies, in any thing hee will re­ueale to vs: yea, God the father chargeth vs with this du­ty, as the very vse he would haue vs make of the knowledge of his eternal generation, as appeares by the voice from hea­uen mentioned, Mat 17. 5. While he yet spake, behold a bright [Page 132] cloud shadowed them, and behold there came a voice out of the cloud saying, This is that my beloued Sonne, in whom I am well pleased, heare him.

But especially this doctrine serues for consolation, and so is frequently vrged in Scripture: for if God be the Father of our Lord Iesus Christ then these comforts will manifestly follow to the beleeuing Christian.

1. That God is well pleased with the sacrifice of Iesus Christ for our sinnes, Mat. 3. 17.

2. That Christ is able to raise vp the dead hearts of men with spirituall life, for as the Father hath life in himselfe, so hee hath giuen to the Son to haue life in himselfe, Ioh. 5. 26.

3. That in Christ we may haue supply for all our wants, wee may receiue of his fulnes all sorts of graces needfull for vs as is from this doctrine gathered, Iohn 1. 14. 18.

4. That Christ is able to giue vs eternall life, and will per­forme euen that great gift at the time appointed to all that beleeue, Iohn 3. 16. & 17. 2. no beleeuer shall perish.

5. That whatsoeuer he askes the Father for vs, hee shall haue it, yea, that our prayers prescribed by him shall be heard.

6. That nothing that is good for vs shall bee withheld from vs: for if God hath giuen vs his Son, how shall he not with him giue vs all things also, Rom. 8. 32.

7. That God beares a great affection euen to vs: for Christ hath besought the Father that he would loue vs with the Loue he loued him, and that the warmth and comfort of that loue may be euer with vs, Iohn 17. 24. 25.

Lastly, if God be the Father of our Lord Iesus Christ, then vaine are all the consultations and rebellious proiects of wicked men against Christ and the meanes of his kingdom: then also woe will bee vnto them, for God will make Christs enemies his footstoole: hee will bruise them with an iron rod and breake them like a Potters vessell: for vn­to the Son hath the Father giuen the ends of the earth, and whatsoeuer rebels against him shall not prosper: as from this doctrine is inferred, Psal. 2. & 110. 1.

Thus God is the Father of our Lord Iesus Christ. Secondly, Faith lookes vpon God as our Father especially in Christ, [Page 133] 2. Cor. 1. 2. Gal. 1. 4. 2. Thes. 1. 1. 2. 1. Thes. [...]. 11. 13.

God is our Father foure waies: first, by Creation, and so principally in respect of our soules, which he creates of nothing and infuseth into our bodies: and so he is called Father of Spi­rits, Heb. 12. 9. secondly, by Regeneration, because by his Al­mighty power he renewes spirituall life into our soules that were dead in sin, 1. Pet. 1. 3. thirdly, by Adoption, when of his meere grace hee acknowledgeth vs for children, Gal. 4▪ 5. 6. fourthly, by Resurrection, because he giues a glorious being to our bodies that were rotted and dissolued in the earth: and so as hee was said to beget Christ in the day that he raised him from the dead, Act. 13. so is he said to grant vs the Adoption of sonnes, when he restores our bodies to life out of the graue, Rom. 8. 19. 21.

And this terme of Father is giuen to these workes of God, not vnfitly for the resemblance they haue to the relation be­tweene a Father and Son in Nature: for,

1. God giues vs a spirituall being, making vs a soule or spiri­tuall substance: for as we call them Fathers, because we haue our bodies from them, so God is more fitly called a Father, because we haue our spirits from him.

2. God renewes our natures, and begets them to bee like his Nature: for being regenerated we partake of the diuine na­ture, being made to liue Gods nature in holines and righte­ousnes, and he may well be called a Father that begets that which is like to himselfe: besides, by Faith we put on Iesus Christ, Gal. 3. 26. 27.

3. God giues vs the right and priuiledge of Sons, and there­fore is fitly called our Father: for first hee findes vs foode and rayment, Mat. 6. and teaching, Esay 54. 13. and atten­dance not onely setting his Angels to looke to vs, Psal. 34. Heb. 1. but himself also carrying and bearing vs in his armes when any thing ayleth vs, Esay 63. 9. & 46. 4.

Secondly, he layes vp for vs as Fathers do for their children, Psal. 89. 28. & 31. 19. and appoints vs the inheritance of Sons to be inioyed when we be of full yeeres, Rom 8. 16.

Before I passe from this point one thing must be added, and that is, that howsoeuer God be the Father of all men in respect [Page 134] of the Creation of their soules, yet Faith lookes vpon him as a Father in Christ, and so by Adoption and regeneration, and therefore wee must diligently examine our selues whether we be sons and daughters to God by grace in Christ or no: for all such as are by grace truely the Children of God haue in themselues such signes as these.

1. They were borne by promise: the preaching of the Gos­pell did mightily work vpon them to the renewing of their natures, and infusing spirituall life into their soules, Gal. 4. 29. Rom. 9. 8.

2. They are all beleeuers; they come to Christ for happinesse and rely vpon him, and so haue power to be the Sons of God Iohn 1. 12.

3. They lay hold vpon Gods couenant, and consecrate themselues to his seruice, and loue his name, and to be his seruants, and in particular are carefull to keepe his Sab­boths, Esay 56. 4. 5. 7.

4. They are children that will not lie: they are noe Hypo­crites, they desire to be as good as they seeme to bee, they abhorre counterfeiting and dissimulation, their spirits are without guile, Esay 63. 8.

5. They are led by the spirit and mortifie the deeds of the flesh, Rom. 8. 13. 14.

6. They cry Abba Father: they haue the spirit of prayer, they can call vpon God in secret, with affection and confi­dence, esteeming nothing more then the Loue and fauour of God: And thus how God is a Father and to whom. The Vses follow and so.

In the first place this should teach Gods children many les­sons: as,

1. To giue this glory to God, to acknowledge him as a Fa­ther, and daily so to call him from their hearts. The first thing a childe speakes in nature vsually is the name of his parents, and so the first thing in Religion should bee to call God Father: we can doe nothing in Religion till we can call vpon God, as vpon a Father: this is the very foundation of the Church, because all effectuall Religion is built vpon this principle that God is our Father, 2. Thes. 1. 1. Rom. 8. 15.

[Page 135] 2. We should liue without care: as our Sauiour shewes, Mat. 6. for we haue a Father to care for vs, and hee is a heauenly Father, and therefore both knowes what wee need, and is fully able to helpe vs, and besides he daily feedes the foules of the ayre, and yet he is not a Father to them, how therfore can hee neglect vs, whom hee hath begotten as children to himselfe, ver. 26. 32.

3. If God be our Father then we must honour him: for wee are bound to honour our father and mother: all our care should be to obey him, and honour him, and please him, and doe our worke so as others might glorifie our Father which is in heauen, Mal. 1. 6. Mat. 5. 16. liuin [...] [...] [...]as we shame not our fathers house.

4. If God be our Father, we must stri [...] [...] be like him, and to imitate his nature, and carriage, and so we are vrged to follow and imitate him in mercie, Mat. 5. 45. 48. in Loue Ephes. 5. 1. 2. and in holines, 1. Pet. 1. 14, 15.

5. If God be our Father, wee should be quickned vnto pray­er, wee should runne to him to make our moane in all our wants: But withall it imports two things we should looke to in prayer: first, that we auoide vaine bablings, and re­petitions and affectation of length of prayer and the like: for wee pray to a Father that needs not vaine and tedious discourses. The words of a childe should bee humble and earnest and direct to the point, but not tedious as our Sa­uiour shewes, Mat. 6. 7. 8. secondly, that wee pray in faith and not wauer, because wee aske of a father: If earthly fa­thers can giue good gifts to their children, what will the heauenly father denie to his children, Mat. 7. 7. 16. Yea, if God himselfe should fight against vs with his terrors, yet we must in prayer stick fast to this, that he is our father, and alwaies keepe this in our pleadings to wrestle with God by this Argument, as the Church did in those straites mentio­ned, Esay 64. 8. 4.

6. If God bee our father, wee must then patiently beare his corrections, seeing we indure correction at the hands of the fathers of our bodies, who many times correct vs for their owne pleasure, therefore much more should we submit our [Page 136] selues to the father of spirits, who neuer corrects vs but for our profit. And to desire to be without correction, is to be in the condition of bastards and not of sonnes: if we would haue God to loue vs we must be willing to let him correct vs, Heb. 12. 4. to the 10.

7. If God be our father, then nothing should more grieue vs, then that wee haue offended him by our sinnes, Ier. 31 18. Luke 15. 18.

8. If God be our father, then wee must sort our selues with his children, and auoid all needlesse societies, and vnequall yoaking with the wicked of this world, who are as like the diuell as euer childe was like his father, Iohn 8. 2. Cor 6. 14 18.

9. We should in all welldoing rest in his praise, as being our father that seeth in secret. A childe seekes no more then to be accepted of his father, Mat. 6. 1. 4.

10. We need not therefore the helpe of Saints or Angels to bring vs to God. He is our father, wee may goe to him our selues, Esay 63. 16.

11. Therefore we should call no man father vpon earth, ha­uing so great and gratious a father in heauen, Mat. 23. 9.

12. Therfore also we should liue in peace one with another, seeing we haue all one heauenly father, Ephes. 4. 4▪ 6.

Thus for instruction.

Secondly, many consolations arise from hence, if we beleeue that God is our father: for then,

1. He will spare vs as a father doth his son that serueth him, he will beare with our infirmities, Mal. 3. 17.

2. Though hee should correct vs, yet hee will not take his mercy from vs. 2. Sam. 7. 14.

3. We haue right to Gods house: we may with great incou­ragement resort to all Gods ordinances, because it is our fathers house: and if hard times befall vs in respect of the meanes of Religion, and that the enemies of the Church do inuade the Sanctuarie, we must then go to God and pleade our right, seeing his house belongs to vs and not to them: thus did the godly, Esay 63. 16. 18. 19.

4. Wee may cast all our care vpon God for hee careth for vs, Iam. 4▪ 9. Pro. 14. 26.

[Page 137] 5. Wee shall bee deliuered from this present euill world: for, if God be our father, he will prouide for vs in a better place then this, Gal. 1. 4.

6. Our title to the creatures is restored which was lost in Adam.

But these consolations will appeare to be much the grea­ter, if we consider not onely that God is a Father, but such a Father:

1. He is a father in heauen, not an earthly father.

2. He is a father almighty, he can doe more for vs then all the fathers in the world.

3. He is an euerlasting father, Esay 9. 6. our naturall fathers dye, but our spirituall father liues for euer; and makes vs liue for euer too: for naturall fathers can giue but a tempo­rall being to their children, but God giues vs an eternall be­ing; and therefore are we called the children of the Resur­rection, because our very bodies must not perish, but be made to liue for euer also. The sonne he alwaies abides in the house, Luke 20. 36. Iohn 8. 35. Rom. 8. 19. 21.

4. That he is such a father as makes his sons all heires, Rom. 8. 16. all are as if they were first borne, Ier. 31. 9.

5. That he is such a father, as giues the highest kinde of inhe­ritance; therefore they are all heires of a kingdome, Luk. 12. 32. Mat. 13. 43. And such a kingdome as is immortall and vndefiled, and lieth in heauen, 1 Pet. 1. 3. 4. in regard where­of they haue fellowship with his naturall son Iesus Christ, 1 Cor. 1. 9. Rom. 8. 16. 17.

In respect of all which, we haue not onely good hope, but euerlasting consolation: and the more, if we consider, that we hold all this by no Naturall propagation, but by the meere grace and mercy of God our father, being in our selues the children of corruption, Iob 17. 14. and of wrath, Eph. 2. 3. And therefore vnto all the former Instructions, from hence this must be added, that we take heede of that vile ingratitude and im­patiency at any time, to repent vs of our repentance, or to thinke the case of wicked men better then the case of godly men, for so we shall sinne fearefully against God our father, and against our owne right, and against the whole generation [Page 138] of his children, Psal. 73. 15. Our life, and the glory of it, may by affliction be hid in God: and it doth not fully appeare what we shall be, but it is enough for vs that we are the sonnes of God; for when Christ appeares in glory, then shall we ap­peare also as he is, aboue the glory of all the Potentates and Kings of the earth, 1 Iohn 3. 2 Col. 3. 3. 4.

Almightie.

Reuel. 4. 8.

COncerning the omnipotency of God: Fiue things are to be considered:

  • 1. The Proofes that he is Almighty.
  • 2. The Sense, in what respect he is said to be Almighty.
  • 3. Why Omnipotency is attributed to the father here only.
  • 4. Whether there be any things God cannot doe.
  • 5. That God onely is Almighty.

1. That God is Almighty, these places of Scripture euident­ly and expresly proue, Gen. 17. 1. & 28. 3. Luk. 1. 37. Reuel. 4. 8. & 19. 6.

2. God may be said to be Almighty in diuers respects.

1. Because he hath power and authoritie ouer all things: Omnipotent quia omnium teneat potestatem: Ruffin.

2. Because all the might and power in the creatures was from him: all might from him: they haue no power but what they receiued of him.

3. Because he can performe whatsoeuer he saith, promiseth, or threatneth: nothing is too hard for him to do, Ier. 32. 17. 27. Luke 1. 37. Gen. 18. 14.

4. His Almightinesse is magnified in Scripture, because he is able to giue to all the men in the world recompence accor­ding to their workes, so as none can resist his power, nor deliuer out of his hands, Ier. 32. 19. Isay 14. 25. 27. Deut. 32. 39.

5. Because he can doe whatsoeuer he will, Psal. 115. 3.

6. Because he can doe more then hee will: as he could send [Page 139] Christ many legions of Angels to deliuer him, but would not. He could raise vp children to Abraham of those ve­ry stones, but he would not. And this Omnipotency is cal­led the absolute Omnipotence of God, by which he is able to create 1000. worlds if he would. The power to doe what he wils, is called his actuall power.

7. Because he can doe wonderfull things without helpe or Meanes: as he made the World of nothing, and can effect what he will in heauen and earth without labour, onely by his becke or word, Esay 40. 28. Psa. 33.

8. Because he can do all things: there is simply nothing that can be, but God can doe it: he is omnipotent, because all things are possible to him, euen things that are impossible to men and Angels, Mat. 19. Kings may doe many great things, but not all; some things they cannot doe. They can make many liuing men dye, but cannot make one dead man liue: which God can doe.

9. Because he is mighty by his Essence, by nature of him­selfe: His Almightinesse is his Essence, and his whole Es­sence is almighty, and therefore all in God is Mightie; and therefore his Mightinesse must needes be infinite. He is not mighty in respect of some part or faculty as the Crea­ture is.

10. Because he is alwaies Mighty: great Princes may be won­derfull powerfull, but they may dye, or their power be di­minished; but God is almighty, yesterday, to day, and for­euer, Reuel. 4. 8.

For the third point, Almightinesse is attributed in the Creed to the Father, not to import that the Sonne and holy Ghost were not almighty; but because, when the father is said to be almighty, it must needs follow that they are almighty also; because the father being the fountaine and originall of the per­son of the Sonne and holy Ghost doth communicate to them, his whole Nature, and all the Attributes of the Diuinitie: And the Father being first in the order of working, fitly is the pow­er of working giuen to him in the first place.

For the fourth point: The things which God cannot doe may be referred to fiue Heads: for first, he cannot doe things [Page 140] that be false or sinfull: Hee cannot lye, or denie himselfe, or doe vniustly, as diuers Scriptures shew. Secondly, he cannot doe things that be contrary to his Nature, he cannot dye or be finite, or be ignorant of any thing, or be corporeall, or the like. Thirdly, he cannot doe things which hee cannot will, or are contrary to his will: Hee can doe many things more then he will; but he cannot doe any thing, which hee cannot will: for his will is as infinite as his power, nor can he doe any thing against his will, or contrary to his owne purpose or de­cree. Fourthly, he cannot doe contradictories, to make one and the selfe same thing to be and not to be at the same time, to make a Creature finite and infinite, in that wherein he is fi­nite. Fiftly, he cannot doe things simply impossible; I say sim­ply impossible, for many things are impossible to men and An­gels, which in their owne Nature are not impossible: As it is impossible for vs to make a Cable to goe through the Eye of a Needle, but it is not simply impossible in it selfe, and there­fore God can doe it: God is therefore called omnipotent, be­cause he can doe all possible things. Neither doe any of these Dicitur omnipo­tens saciendo quod vult non patiendo quod non vult, Aug. things argue impotencie, but doe rather establish his omnipo­tencie: Gods power is not lessened because he cannot deceiue or dye, &c. for it were impotency if he could doe these.

For the last, this also must be added, that God onely is Al­mighty, this glory belongs onely vnto him: for the most pow­erfull creatures are finite, and cannot doe a world of things, and they receiued their power from God, and are or may be letted or resisted in things they can doe, and their power will cease, if it be not renewed and confirmed by God, Ier. 32. 18. 19.

The consideration of Gods omnipotency may first teach vs diuers duties;

1. To striue by all meanes to set out the praise of Gods won­derfull power and workes, that hath done such great things in heauen and earth, Psal. 15. 2. & 89. 11. 12. &c. Reuel. 4. 8.

2. To walke before him in all vprightnesse, carefull in all things to please him, and to auoid all sin, considering what power he hath to doe vs good if we serue him, or to de­story [Page 141] vs body and soule, if we liue in our sins, Gen. 17. 1. Mat. 10. 28.

3. It should teach vs in all dangers and difficulties, to beleeue in God and rest vpon him, so as when we know his good­nesse or promise to vs, though we see no meanes of deliue­rance, or performance of good things, yet we must giue glory to Gods power, and rest without wauering vpon God, knowing that nothing is hard or impossible to him, as Abraham beleeued God concerning his son Isaac, Rom. 4. 18. and as Ieremie was commanded to trust God, when God inioyned him to purchase a field, at that time when he was to threaten the ineuitable captiuitie, Ier. 32. 17. 27. &c. So 1 Sam. 14. 6.

4. In the experience of all our weaknesses, we should runne to God for power to support vs: All might is in him, and therefore whither should we runne for power but to him: To him should wee lift vp our hearts for strength, Esay 40. 28.

5. It should teach vs to be patient in affliction when it is vp­on vs, and to tremble at his grieuous iudgements when they are vpon other; his dreadfull power when it is decla­red should make vs tremble, and be silent, and when his hand toucheth vs, we should not struggle, for it is in vaine; what, can we resist his power? Psal. 39. 10. Esay 30. 15. It is the Lord, and therefore be quiet, let him doe whatsoe­uer he will.

6. The consideration of his omnipotency should be often thought vpon, when we come to pray vnto God, for spiri­tuall or temporall things. Our Sauiour Christ in the Lords prayer gaue vs three staies, or mighty pillars to hold vp our faith in praying (to wit) Gods kingdome, and Gods pow­er, and Gods glory, Mat. 6. 13.

7. Wee must hence be warned to take heed of despising weake Christians, to reiect them as either past hope, or void of grace, or not likely to hold out, because of their many frailties, and ignorance, for God can stablish them, Rom. 14. 4.

8. The Apostle Paul vrgeth the consideration of Gods pow­er, [Page 142] as an argument to perswade to workes of mercy: be­cause God is able to inrich vs, and to abound towards vs in all recompence, both in spirituall and temporall things, 2 Cor. 9. 8.

9. It should teach vs to beleeue the power of God in the Sa­crament, though the outward signes may make no great shew, yet our faith should be built vpon the inward opera­tion of God, who will doe all that, which either the signes signifie, or the word promiseth, Col. 2. 12.

10. It should make vs the more wonder at Gods goodnesse and loue shewed to his people, in that sometimes he layeth chaines as it were vpon his power, onely in fauour to them. As for instance, God cannot destroy Sodome till Lot be gone; which yet is most easie for him to doe, but for his loue to Lot, Gen. 19. 22. so God loues his people, that many a iudgement would fall vpon wicked men in the places where they liue, yet cannot, because of Gods affection to the godly.

Secondly, this doctrine of Gods omnipotency, reproues ma­ny men for sinning against the power of God. Now men trans­gresse against the omnipotency of God diuers waies;

1. Such as plead his power, for the effecting of what is either contrary to his nature, or will, or simply impossible; as ma­ny prophane persons doe, that will needs beleeue that God can saue them, though they liue in their sinnes, quite con­trary to his word. And as the Papists doe about the Sacra­ment of the Lords Supper, beleeuing that Christs body can be in many places at once, and so in the Sacrament to be eaten locally and orally, it being simply impossible, for a body remaining a body, to be in many places at once, in the same manner and respect, as it is also without word or promise of God and Scripture.

2. Such as will not vse the lawsull meanes appointed vnto them either for preseruation or deliuerance, reasoning most foolishly, God can keepe me without meat, therefore I will not eat; or can deliuer me without meanes, therefore I will vse none: neuer considering that Gods Almightinesse is shewed by working in the Meanes, as well as without, and [Page 143] that God commands vs to make vse of his power, by the meanes he hath ordained to worke by.

3. Such as by fearefull Imprecations and Curses, awaken Gods power, to bring vpon them such fearefull things, as they asked, but did not expect; as the Iewes, that wished the bloud of Christ might be charged vpon them and their children.

4. Such as dishonour Gods power by putting their trust in Creatures.

5. Such as through vnbeliefe rest not vpon God, but thinke it is impossible such and such blessings should be obtained, or such dangers or euils auoided, Gen. 18. 14. Esay 50. 2. Ier. 32. 24. 25. 27. 28. &c.

6. Woe vnto the wicked that liue in their sinnes: the Lord will plague them, and none shall deliuer out of his hand, or resist his wrath, Deut. 32. 39. The iudgements God will bring vpon them cannot be auoided, Esay 14. 25. 27.

Lastly, the consideration of Gods Almightinesse is wonder­full comfortable: first to the godly, and that many waies; for first, they neede not feare any wants, for they haue a father that is almighty; and besides, they neede not feare any aduersa­ries, for the gates of Hell shall not preuaile against them, Mat. 16. 18. and they shall ouercome all aduersarie power, because he is great that is on their side, 1 Iohn 5. 4. though they should walke through the valley of the shaddow of death, they neede feare no euill, Psal. 23. 4. and for spirituall enemies they neede not feare, because God is able to keepe their soules which they haue committed to him, 2 Tim. 1. 12. and we shall be kept by his power to saluation, 1 Pet, 1. 5. Againe, it may be a great comfort to them in prayer, because God is able to doe aboue all that they can aske or thinke, Ephes. 3. 20. 21. and fur­ther, Gods power may settle them and establish their Faith and Ioy, in those great workes of God propounded and pro­mised in his word; such as are the forgiuenesse of all sinnes, the resurrection of their bodies, and eternall life, 1 Cor. 6. 14. Moreouer that God their father is Almighty, may comfort them in this respect, because then by his power they also may doe all things. What is it a Christian cannot doe, that hath the [Page 144] vse of Gods power: Paul can want and he can abound, &c. by the power of Christ in him, Phil. 4. 13.

But that these comforts may bee effectuall wee must of­ten pray that GOD would open our eyes to see the ex­ceeding greatnesse of his power to them that belieue, Ephes. 1. 19.

Secondly, euen grieuous sinners may conceiue comfortable hope from this doctrine also: I meane such as haue liued a long time vnder the power of strong corruptions, such as are, swearing, whoredome, drunkennesse, and the like; and there­fore now feare, that they can neuer be fit for the Kingdome of God. These must remember Pauls argument for the Iewes that had liued so long vnder the power of vnbeliefe (viz.) God is able to ingraft them in againe, Rom. 11. 23. so should they hope that they also may be conuerted and saued, because God is able to restore euen them also if they be weary of their sinnes, and would be rid of them. And therefore they should goe to God, as the Leaper did to Christ, and say, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me cleane, Mat. 8. 4.

Maker of Heauen and Earth.

Gen. 1. 1.

HItherto of the nature and power of God and the Tri­nity of persons: the workes of God follow. The works of God are of two sorts, some Internall, some exter­nall. The Internall workes are either personall or essentiall. The personall workes of God internall, are such as flow from each person in the Trinity, according to the Characteristicall propriety of the person: such workes were generation of the Sonne, and proceeding of the Holy Ghost. The Internall es­sentiall workes were the decrees of God which hee made in himselfe from all eternity, concerning all things in the world, especially concerning men and Angels, these workes are com­mon to all three persons, as flowing from the essence of God. [Page 145] Now of these workes the Creed makes no expresse mention, because they are strong meat, and aboue the capacity of weake Christians.

The externall workes of God are of foure sorts: for they are either the workes of Creation, by which hee maketh all things to be: or workes of conseruation, by which he main­taines the things hee hath made in their being; or workes of Reparation by which in Christ he restores what was ruinated by sinne; or workes of perfection, by which hee brings all things to their appointed end, and especially makes the Church fully blessed in a better world.

The workes of Creation are onely mentioned in this Arti­cle. The workes of Reparation by Christ and of perfection, are handled in the Articles following. The workes of Creati­on are expressed in these words, Maker of Heauen and Earth. By Heauen and Earth vnderstanding the whole world, and all the hosts of creatures that are in it. Now concerning the making of the world, foure things are to be considered.

  • 1 Who made the world.
  • 2 How it was made.
  • 3 Why it was made.
  • 4 When it was made.

For the first: the Creation was a worke of the whole Trini­ty: It is attributed here in the Creed to the Father, because the Action of the Father was more manifest and euident: as Re­demption is attributed to the Sonne, and Sanctification to the Holy Ghost. But yet it is euident by diuers Scriptures, that each Person did worke about the Creation: for of the Father there is no question, and of the Sonne it is expresly affirmed, Colos. 1. 16. Iohn. 1. 3. Heb. 1. 3. and of the Holy Ghost sitting and mouing vpon the first water, we reade Gen. 1. 2.

For the second: God created all things.

1 According to the Counsell of his owne will, Ephes. 1. 11. which hath diuers things in it, for thereby is affirmed that he made all things.

1 Most freely, without compulsion or instigation from any other.

2 According to the Idaea of all things in his owne minde: for [Page 146] as the Carpenter first conceiues the frame in his head, and then builds according to that Idaea in his minde: so did God build the world according to the eternall patterne which was in Gods minde.

3 According to his owne Decree: there was nothing crea­ted which was not decreed, and nothing decreed to bee, which was not created according to the Decree.

4 Most aduisedly: hauing from all eternity consulted, de­termined and foreseene all was to be made.

Secondly, with a word only: he had none to helpe him, nor needed tooles or instruments, as men doe to effect their workes, Gen. 1. Psal. 33. 9. Thirdly, without labour or wea­rinesse, Esay 40. 28. Fourthly, of Nothing: men cannot build without Materialls, but God made the world of Nothing, in respect of the first matter of all things, Heb. 11. 3. for he made not the world of his owne essence, nor of any other preexi­sting matter: for though it be a saying, that of nothing, no­thing can be made, yet that is true in respect of vs, not in re­spect of God, and in respect of the order of Nature now, not in respect of the beginning of Nature in the Creation. And though it be true that some creatures were made of preexisting matter, as mans body was made of the dust of the earth, yet that preexisting matter was created of nothing. Fifthly, all good: all things at first were made good, not in appearance, but in deed, not in mans iudgement who might bee deceiued, but in Gods: he saw that all was good, and so all creatures were good, in respect of excellence, distinction, numbe [...], fa­shion, and freedome from defects of faculties or power be­longing to each creature in his kinde. Sixtly, not all on a sud­den and at once, but in six dayes: and that for diuers reasons: for God would haue the creation of the first matter of No­thing, to be manifest and distinct from the framing and fashio­ning of bodies out of that matter: besides, thereby he shew­ed his power and freedome in producing the creatures: ma­king them to be, before any naturall cause of them was, as to make light before the Sunne and Moone was: and further, thereby hee shewed his goodnesse and care for the principall creatures, prouiding foode before hee brings in the beasts, [Page 147] and furnishing the whole world sets man to liue in it: and finally, hee warnes vs not to slip ouer the meditation of his workes suddenly, but with long and continuall deliberati­on: Hee created the world in many dayes, to intimate, that wee should not thinke a little time enough to wonder at so great glory. Seuenthly, he made all things without himselfe: for though all things are in God, as in their cause and Author, in whom they liue, moue, and haue their being, yet are they out of God, in that they are no parts in God; nor the very diuine Essence, but haue a nature distinct from the Nature of God: they are not separate from God in place, as if they could be any where, where God is not, but are other things then God is, and are not in God as a subiect, to which they inhere or are fastened. Thus of the manner how they were made.

Thirdly, the end why the world was made, was the glory of God, Prou. 16. [...]4. (that is) that the world might bee a Glasse or Theatre of diuine vertues, and a Temple in which God would set forth, and teach, and make knowne to man his power, wisdome and goodnesse, Rom. 1. not that God by the Creation doth get to himselfe any glory, seeing he abounds in glory himselfe, so vnmeasurably, as nothing can bee added to it or taken from it: but onely hereby he communicates his glory to the Creature, and gaue the creatures occasion to ad­mire and commend his glory: for by the Creation God makes himselfe visible as it were to the Creatures that are reasona­ble: for though the Essence of God be inuisible, yet by the Creation his power or Attributes are set out to be seene and read in that great Booke of nature: and if any men see little of God in this mighty Frame of his Workes, it is not because God hath declared himselfe therein but obscurely, but be­cause we are peruerse and blockish, and full of natiue darke­nesse, by reason of sinne, and the effects of sinne in vs.

Now, though infinite praises of God may be collected from the consideration of the whole world, yet especially, his po­wer, wisdome and goodnesse doe shine in his workes. His power we may gather two waies: both in that he could make all things of nothing, and that he could make such great things as well and as easily as the smallest things, and things so many [Page 148] and diuerse, 1 Cor. 15. 41. Psal. 89. 10. The goodnes of God appeares both in this, that he made all things so good, and in that he hath shewed means so fit and conuenient & powerfull to preserue life and being in euery creature, Psal. 104. proui­ding for creatures of diuers natures & appetites, diuers food, remedies, and Armour to preserue and defend them. But espe­cially, who can expresse the goodnes of God shewed to men? Ephes. 3. 18. Acts 14. 17. As for Diuels, Serpents, or vene­mous Creatures or hurtfull, they were not so by Creation, but by defection and sinne, or as punishments for sinne. The wisdome of God is admirably discouered in the Creation, in that hee hath made all things in such beautifull order, and hath appointed to euery thing such peculiar vses and ends, which they obserue (men only excepted) and that he gouernes them in such a constant, certaine, and perpetuall course: euery thing hauing not onely his fit and proper place in the Frame, but indewed also with such variety of vses and seruices.

Fourthly, for the time when the world was made, we must know that the world and time were made together: so as all things were created in the beginning of time: and the com­putation of the dayes or yeeres since the beginning of the world, hath beene kept carefully in the Church, the reckoning being made by Moses and the Prophets in the old Testament, and since kept by the Christian Churches, so as now the world is aboue 5600. yeeres old. Before this time there was nothing but God himselfe: and if any will needes aske What God did before the world was? I may not answer as the Iewes wickedly did, That he was making many little worlds, which he destroi­ed againe, and neuer liked any till this Frame was vp: but our answer must be, That secret things belong vnto the Lord, and reueiled things to vs, Deut. 29. 29. or else that of Augustine, That God was making Hell for the curious: or else, That the Frame of all things was in the minde of God from all eternity, and so the world was as present to him then, as now.

First, we may hence be informed and confirmed, that God Vses. is onely the true God, because he is Creatour of Heauen and Earth, Esay 45. 6, 7. if any pleade, that he is God, the answer is at hand, let him make such a Heauen and Earth, and we will belieue in him, else not.

[Page 149] Secondly, the Creation of the World should teach vs many duties:

1. To meditate of Gods works: and studie the glory of God reuealed in this great booke of Nature: all are required to learne to read here, and if men will not take it well if their skill shewed in any cunning piece of work be not acknow­ledged or regarded, how much more cause hath the Lord to be displeased with vs, for neglecting such a curious and glorious frame, so full of admirable variety and skill? Wh [...]t account shall we make at the last day, we (I say) that are so naturally bent to delight in shewes, that are either sinfull, or vaine, or imperfect, such as are pla [...]es, or rare sights as we call them, or Page [...]nts or Maskes, or the like, and yet haue no heart or will, to goe out to see and wonder at the m [...]tch­lesse shewes that God sets out before vs in his works, Eccles. 7. 15 Psal. 111. 2, 3.

2. Nor is it inough to meditate of his workes, but wee must giue him the glory of them, by praising his power and wise­dome and goodnesse shewed in them, we must striue to get a Language to that end, and so bewaile our barrennesse of heart and words, as withall to beseech him, that requires vs to learne his praises, to teach vs also to profit, and to giue larger hearts and better Language Reuel. 4 11. Thus haue the Worthies of the Lord done, Iob, and Dauid, and Mo­ses, who haue set themselues in speciall manner to cele­brate the praises of God in his workes: and of them wee should learne to praise him, at least make our selues skilfull in their formes of praise, Psal. 136. 5. 6.

3. Yea thirdly, this glory of God should swallow vp all the glory of men, this very work of making Heauen and Earth should check vs for admiring and esteeming so much of the creature whatsoeuer, since we haue such a perpetuall, and surpassing cause of admiration of the Creator, Acts 14. 16.

4. Since God made all things, we should submit our selues to him, and let him dispose of vs, and all his creatures as he will he hath iust power in Heauen and earth to giue, or take away, or dispose at his owne pleasure, Ier. 27. 5. & 45. 3, 4, 5, 6.

[Page 150] 5. It should teach vs not to set our hearts too much vpon the world, for that God that set vp this mighty frame of no­thing, can and will pull it all downe againe.

6. It should breed in vs the feare of God, and care of seruing him, and obeying him, that hath not onely supreame right vnto vs, being his workemanship, but soueraignty ouer all things, Psal. 119. 73. Psal. 33. 8, 9. & 95. 6. all creatures else doe his will.

7. It should teach vs in all straights and neede to flie to God for helpe: as Dauid shewes, our helpe standeth in the Name of the Lord, which hath made Heauen and Earth, Psal. 121. 2. & 124. 8.

8. We should learne hence not to abuse the Creatures of God to ill ends, seeing God hath assigned his Creatures to their right ends for his owne glory: It is abominable to fight against God with his owne weapons.

Thirdly, the Doctrine of the Creation of the World ought Sin makes God repent that hee made man. Gen. 6. 3. 6. to be terrible to wicked men: because God by his workes hath reuealed so much of his glory as they will be left without excuse, Rom. 1. and besides, hauing appointed them to certaine ends, in which they haue corrupted themselues, hee will de­stroy them; as a Potter that sees his vessell will not be made fit, dasheth it to peeces. And besides, hence they may know that God can want no meanes to destroy them, seeing he hath such Armies of his owne creatures in Heauen and Earth, which are all as his mighty ones, and sanctified ones, for his anger against them. There is no way for them but one, which is, to meete the Lord betimes by Faith and true Repentance, Amos 4. 13.

Lastly, this is very comfortable doctrine for the godly: for from the Creation of the world they may gather,

1. That God will not cast them off, because they are the worke of his hands, Iob 10. 3.

2. That all aduersaries shall be defeated: whatsoeuer is pro­uided against them shall not prosper: because God made the Smith that blowe [...]h in the Coales, and he will suffer no creature of his to be turned against them, Esay 54. 17.

3. That God is able to prouide for vs, seeing the earth and heauens are his and all that is therein, Psalme 146. 5. 6 & 24. 1.

[Page 151] 4. That all the spirituall worke that belongs to our soules may bee effected, hee that created the world, and made vs good at the first, can create the fruit of the lippes to bee peace and can create cleane hearts in vs, Esay 57. 19. Psalme 51. 8.

5. That our bodies shall rise againe: that God that could make all things of nothing, can restore them out of the dust of the earth.

Thus of Creation in generall. Now wee are in particular to consider what was made, (viz.) Heauen and Earth.

Heauen.] By Heauen is ment all that part of the world which is aboue the Earth, and so it is taken, Genesis 2. 1. & 24. 5.

And so Heauen consists of three parts, and euery parte beares the name of Heauen: The first part next to vs is the Ayre and all that is betweene vs and the Moone: so foules of the Ayre are called the foules of Heauen, Gen. 1. 26. The second part is the Firmament, in which are the Starres, Sun, and Moon, Psal. 19. 7. The third part is the Habitation of God and An­gels, the seate of the glory of God and his blessed one, where the body of Christ now liues, Marke 16. 19. and is called the third heauens, 1 Cor. 12. 2. and this is the Heauen especially meant, Gen. 11. for when there he saith, God Created heauen and earth, and the earth was without forme, &c. he notes that God vsed a twofold way of Creation: some things he made immediately of nothing, as the Heauen of the blessed: some things he made of matter which was first made of nothing: for out of that Chaos mentioned, Gen. 2. did the Lord extract and forme all this visible world, both the firmament and light, and the elements and all creatures; only spirits, and the Heauen of the blessed hee made of no praeexi [...]ing matter, and that honour haue the soules of men, which are immediately created of nothing.

First, then we are to intreate of that Heauen where God in his glory, & Christ in his glorious body are: and seeing by Hea­uen is meant al that is contained in it by Creation, we are there to consider of the Angels too, and both that Heauen and the Angels, belong to the inuisible world, and the rest to the vi­sible.

[Page 152] Concerning that blessed Heauen, wee are to wonder at the glory of the Lord in creating it: if we consider,

1. The names giuen to it: It is called the Heauen of Hea­uens, Deut. 10. 14. 1 King. 8. 27. Psal. 11 [...]. 16. The Tem­ple of God, Psal. 11. 4. & [...]8. 7. Paradise, Luke 23. 42. The heauenly Ierusalem, or Ierusalem that is aboue, Gal. 4. 26. Heb. 12. 22. and in the same place, Mount Sion: The most holy place, Hebrewes 10.9. Our fathers house, Iohn▪ 4. 2. The place of the Habitation of God and his holinesse, Deut. 26. 15. Psal. 33. 14. Abrahams bosome, Luke 16. 22. The Citie of the Liuing God, Heb. 12. 22. a Cittie hauing foun­dation, whose Maker and builder is God, Heb. 11. 10. our Countrie, Heb. 11. 13. 14.

2. The substance of it: which is conceiued to be of a maruei­lous excellent nature, farre more perfect and subtile then the substance not onely of the Elements, but of those visible heauens: which diuers gather thus. As any creature is high­er then the earth, so is the substance of it lesse grosse and materiall. As the waters are thinner then the earth, and the Ayre then the waters, and the Element of fire (according to the common opinion of Diuines and Philosophers) purer then the Ayre: and the Essence of the mighty Firmament, yet more pure then the foure Elements, as consisting of a fift Essence as they say in Schooles: and accordingly we see creatures fitted to each of these places. Fishes that cannot liue in the bowells of the earth, liue in the waters: and foules of a more spirituall being flie in the Ayre. Now when we are ascended so high, as the highest visible heauens, then do our minds conceiue of that glorious place of the blessed, made of a more pure Essence then any of these: And though Diuines say that the sustance of these heauens must needs be corporeall and bodily which they proue by infal­lible reasons, yet are they such a body, as wee may call as it were spirituall, next in purity to the substance of Angels and mens soules.

3. If we consider the qualities, admirable is the glory of that heauen of heauens, whether we thinke of it Philosophical­ly or Theologically: Philosophically considered, it is a place [Page 153] void of all decay, alteration and motion. A place that suf­fers not from without it selfe, any thing of naturall grie­uance or violence, or annoyance. A place aboue all places, large and ample, as containing in the bowells and circum­ference of it all this visible world. But if wee inquire after it as considered Theologically, we may see it in a Mirror, but yet it is but darkely, no tongue of man can vtter the glory of it, noe, Paul himselfe that was there, yet could not declare what he saw, nor can it enter into the mortall heart of man to think what it is; what is reuealed in Scripture in praise of it, is inough to rauish our hearts with desire after it, if we were such as we should be. It is a place most light­some: for God is said to dwell in light vnapproachable, vn­approachable, I say to vs mortall cr [...]atures: It is light aboue al that light, the Sun or Moone can giue to this lower world: for there is no need of Sun nor Moon, which shine in respect of that light, as a candle doth to the light of the Sun with vs: There is no night there, and it is a light of a farre more ex­cellent and transcendent kinde then this light we haue from the Starres or Sunne or Moone: and that is the reason why it doth not penetrate to vs, as being farre aboue the capaci­ty of our eyes (as they are now) to see it. The Apostle saith of this light, it was like vnto a stone most precious, euen like a Iasper stone, cleare as Christall, that is alwaies flourishing, and shining without any clouds or darkenesse: and how can it be otherwise, seeing God himselfe and the Lambe is the light of it: there floweth from God, (being the place of his speciall glory) a created light from God himselfe, I say, by which it is after an vnspeakeable manner inlightned, Reuel. 21. 11. 23. Whence it followes, that it is a place full of all vnspeakeable refreshing, pleasure and delight: If the light of the Sunne at some seasons of the yeere can so please, how much more doth this light of the glory of God? What shall I say? It is a place that hath nothing in it of euill, and a­bounds in all that may content the glorified nature of the Creatures. And how can it be otherwise, seeing there is no sinne, nor no vncleane person there, and it is a place, that hath the glory of the Lord, vpon it, Reuel. 21. 11. which is [Page 154] as much, as if he should say, that the glory of heauen doth differ from all the glory of any place on earth, as God dif­fers from the Kings and Potentates of the Earth, and there­fore his chiefe house of Residence must needs almost infi­nitely excell theirs. And the more is the glory of heauen, because it is eternall, it cannot fade or euer cease to bee: which is signified by those golden and pretious foundations, Reuel. 21. Other Citties wil decay, because they are builded by man and of corruptible matter, but this Cittie can neuer decay, because God was the builder of it immediately and made it incorruptible. To conclude, it must needs bee a place of surpassing glory, seeing all the Treasures of this world are searched out, and they can serue but to giue a li­tle glimpse of the meanest part of the praises of heauen: as the twentie one Chapter of the Reuelations shewes.

Before I come to the Vses some questions would be briefe­ly resolued.

Quest. 1. Whether this Heauen was created or no, or was it eternall with God. Quest.

Answ. It was created by God, is as said expressely, Heb. 11. 10. that God was the builder and Maker of it: It being not the Answ. Creator, It must needs be a creature.

Quest. 2. Where is this Heauen. Quest.

Answ. It is aboue all these visible heauens, Ephes. 4. 8. Acts 7. 55, 56. their opinion is vaine that thinke it is euery where: Answ. for then Hell should be in Heauen.

Quest. 3. Why did God build and make this Heauen. Quest.

Answ. Not to be a place for himselfe to dwell in, for hee needs no such place, being Immense, and these Heauens can­not Answ. containe him, he being in his Essence without and beyond all Heauens, 1. Kings 8. 27. but he made it that it might bee a a place wherein he might manifest his glory in speciall manner. but especially that in that place, hee might giue entertaine­ment vnto such as by grace he had chosen to bee his children, and therefore is called the Fathers house.

The consideration of the Doctrine of this Heauen of Hea­uens, should make violent impression vpon our hearts, and that in three respects,

[Page 155] 1. It should wonderfully abase vs, to thinke how wee haue neglected the knowledge, and care and desire after this glo­rious place: It should make vs hate our selues for our sense­lessnes and madnesse, that preferre an earthly mudde-wall cottage, before such a princely or rather diuine Pallace; that are in loue with this earthly place, that is full of sinne, sorrow, disgrace, darkenesse, and death, and yet haue no heart after a place so wonderfully free from all euill, and so replenished with all good? Oh wretches that wee are that labour & care day and night to repaire these glassie or mud-walled Tabernacles of our bodies, and haue no more minde to prouide for that matchlesse triumphing place of spirits.

2. It should wonderfully fire our hearts to the loue of God, that hath prouided for vs such a place of glorious inheri­tance, of his mercy, loue, and grace, so happy, so lasting, so amiable; yea, what thankes can wee euer giue him for the very comfort with which he hath refreshed vs, in telling vs of Heauen, that were such, as in our selues had bin so farre from hauing it, as we had neuer knowne of it by the light of Nature.

3. It should exceedingly transforme our hearts into the ear­nest care and endeauour to carrie our selues so as might be­come the desire and assurance of so blessed a place: wee should shew that we vnderstand what a place Heauen is.

1. By auoiding euery thing that is abhominable, euen all those sinnes that are threatned with the want or losse of hea­uen: as remembring that that is no place for vncleane per­sons to liue in, Reuel. 21. 8.

2. By earnest endeauour to get the righteousnesse that may make vs fit for that kingdome, Mat. 6. 33.

3. By studying the the assurance of Heauen, aboue all o­ther assurances whatsoeuer.

4. By a conuersation in heauen, directing our thoughts and affections after heauen, remembring it aboue all de­lights, our mindes daily running vpon it and imploying our selues in such dueties as might shew that our hearts were in Heauen, though our bodies bee here: our prayers and all [Page 156] the parts of Gods worship should sauour of this know­ledge, Phil. [...]. 20. Colos. 3. 1. 2.

5. By a voluntary forsaking or contemning of the profits and pleasures of this world, being content to finde here but the entertainement of Pilgrims and strangers, euen such as are farre from their owne home, Heb. 11. 13, 14.

6. By inuincible Patience in bearing all the assaults of life here, not wearied with afflictions, considering this eternall weight of glory in heauen; not dismayed with any terror of Sathan, nor perplexed with any scornes of the world, seeing the time will shortly come wee shall bee deliuered from all these things, and possesse an inheritance that is vndefiled and immortall in heauen: and the lesse should we be trou­bled about the dissolution of our bodies, or rather wee should desire to get out of this earthly Tabernacle, that wee might come to dwell in that heauenly building, 2. Corinthi­ans 5▪ 1. 2.

7. By our diligent labour to carry our Treasures, to lay them vp in heauen: that is our best house, and the onely s [...]fe place where neither Rust no Moth can corrupt, nor theeues breake through and steale. What we haue in heauen is safe kept by the power of God, What we haue on earth is vn­certaine, and therefore our greatest care should be to send as many prayers and good workes to heauen, as accounting it the best treasure, and the wisest course so to imploy our selues, Mat 6. 20.

Thus of the Heauen of Heauens: Before we leaue that inui­sible world, we must intreat of the Angels, which are the Hoste of the Lord in that vpper world.

That the Lord did a most glorious worke, when hee made the Angels, may appeare many waies.

1. By the names and Titles giuen them. They are called spi­rits, Starres of the Morning, Sonnes of God, Principalities, and Powers, Thrones, and Dominions, Seraphim and Che­rubim, yea, Gods: all which shew they were wonderfully made and of great excellencie.

2. By the substance he made them to be: for the substance of Angels is not corporeall, and therefore purer then any bo­dies [Page 157] in Heauen and Earth, and so pure as no senses can dis­cerne them: for though God onely be simply [...], Imma­teriall, yet Angels are Immateriall in respect of any Physi­call composition, for they consist not of matter and forme, as other Creatures doe: but haue onely that kinde of com­position, which they call Metaphysicall, for they are com­pounded of essence or act and power.

3 By the place where he sets them when he had made them: for he seated them in heauenly places, Ephes. 3. 10. hee made them to liue about himselfe, in the Chamber of his presence, alwaies before his face. They were Creatures made of purpose to liue in the Court of the King of Kings.

4 By the numbers he made of them: Daniel said, hee saw thousand thousands of Angels, and an hundred times ten thousand thousand, Daniel 7. 10. Heb. 12. 22. It is said, there is an innumerable company of Angels. Hee meanes, they are more then man can number, not more then God can number: and the number is the more to bee admired, because the Angels doe not marry, and so are not increased by propagation.

5 By the manner of their being and working in respect of time and place: for Angels are in place definitiuely, not circumscriptiuely, as they say in Schooles: that is, they are so in place that wholly they are there, they cannot bee said to be in another place, but yet while they are there, it can­not be told by any creature, what roome they take vp, or how much place they fill, for length, bredth, or height or depth: and so for time, they doe not worke in a moment as God doth: but yet in respect of vs they worke strange things in an vnperceiueable time: and to shadow that out, they are described to haue wings, not that they haue, but by way of signification, or resemblance.

6 By the gifts with which God endowed them, when hee made them: I will instance in their knowledge and power: for knowledge it must needes be great in Angels: for be­sides the knowledge they had naturally by Creation, they know strange things by reuelation from God, and by ex­perience gather many things from the course of things in [Page 158] the world, or their causes in nature, and the manifold wis­dome of God is made knowne to Angels by the preaching of the Gospell, which they see into with wonderfull abili­ty, though men be so dull and blockish in hearing, 1 Cor. 11. 10. Ephes. 5. 10. Iohn 8. 44. Daniel 8. 16. & 9. 22. adde to all these wayes their supernaturall knowledge of God, by which they are inabled to stand for euer without falling from God. Great also is the power of Angels, espe­cially in working vpon bodily creatures. One Angell could kill almost all Senacheribs Army in a night; by an Angell was Peter fetched out of prison, Acts 12. 7, 8. and Philip carried from place to place, Acts 8. 39. and the Sodomits smitten blinde, Gen. 19. and the Host of the Syrians frigh­ted with a noise they made, 2 Kings 6. 28. and without doubt, they can doe strange things about the soules of men. They haue appeared to men in their dreames, and as euill angels can tempt men internally, so may good Angels incourage and counsell godly men, though they discerne not who raiseth those comforts or counsels: onely Mira­cles of themselues they cannot doe, nor can they know the thoughts of the heart of man of themselues.

7 By the language in which God hath made them able to treat one with another, or with man or God: for it is cleare, they vse not any fleshly or corporall language in as much as they haue not bodies, and so no tongues: but they speake one to another by a spirituall and heauenly lan­guage, without any audible sound or vocall speech or noife, I say after an vnutterable manner angellically, they insinuate, instill, and communicate one to another, or to the vnderstanding of men, what they will. The deliuering of the sense of the minde by voice, is an inferiour kinde of meanes, because it agrees onely to bodies: such Spirits as are onely mindes and haue no bodies, can conuerse one with another without sound of words, in their owne vnder­standings as in a most cleere Looking-glasse, shewing what they will one to another.

Before I come to the vse of this part, certaine questions men might aske about Angels, are to be resolued, as

Quest. 1. When were Angels created? Quest.

Answ. It cannot be certainly gathered, but it is probable Answ. they were created the first day, when the Heauen of Heauens was created and thence are called the Angels of Heauen. Mo­ses speakes nothing of the Creation of Angels, because that is not a knowledge that properly belongs to vs: for if the The­ology for Angels were written, we should neede another Bi­ble. The Creation and gouernment of Angels conteining as great variety of matter as doth the Religion of mankinde.

Quest. 2. What are the offices of Angels, or what vses did Quest. God make them for?

Answ. Angels serue for many vses. They are Apparitors Answ. or seruants about God, ready to receiue Commandements from him▪ and they worship God, by lauding and praising him in Heauen, Psal. 104. 4. & 148. 2. Esay 6. 3. Luke 2. 14. Reuel. 4. 8, 9. & 5. 13. and they are appointed as speciall attendants about CHRIST as the MESSIAH, Mat. 4. 11. and they serue also as ministring spirits to keepe and attend vpon the Elect men, Heb. 1. 14. and manifold are the seruices which Angels doe for men both in life and death. In life they defend and keepe them as a strong guard about them, Psal. 34. & 91. and plague their enemies, 2 King. 19. 35. besides, the vnknowne seruice they doe about the soules of the god­ly by counselling or comforting them. And in death they are about them, and carry their soules to Heauen, as they did La­zarus his soule; and in the end of the world they will gather all the Elect from the foure winds of Heauen, and bring them to Christ.

Quest. 3. But why doe you not intreat of Deuills here Quest. also?

Answ. There were no Deuills by creation, GOD made Answ. them not as Deuills: and therefore it belongs not to the Do­ctrine of Creation to speake of the euill angels, because that belongs to the Doctrine of the fall of the reasonable Crea­tures.

Quest. 4. But hath euery particular man a good Angell and a bad? Quest.

Answ. It is probable that euery Elect man hath a good Answ. [Page 160] Angell, as may be gathered, Mat. 18. 10. Acts 12. 15. but yet God is not so tyed but that he sends them extraordinarily, more Angels many times to helpe or attend vpon, it may be one man, Psal. 34. 8. As for euill angels, we reade that some­times one Angell hath vexed one man, Iob. 1. 12. sometimes one Angell hath haunted diuers men, 2 Chron. 18. 21. some­times many Angels haue haunted one man, Luke 8. 30. But that euery man should haue a bad angell assigned him of God, is no where to be found in Scripture.

The consideration of this Doctrine of the making of the Angels in such a nature, and for such ends as before, should serue for diuers vses.

1 It should informe vs concerning the wonderfull loue of God to vs, that hath made such excellent creatures to do vs such admirable seruice as to attend vpon vs and keepe vs, Heb. 1. 14.

2 It should breed in vs a great longing after the world to come, where wee shall not onely enioy the knowledge of, and fellowship with such glorious Creatures, but shall be made our selues in glory, as the Angels in Heauen.

3 It should teach vs diuers things: as first, not to worship Angels, for they were all created by God: God made the Angels, and therefore worship is due to him, and not to them that are but our fellow seruants, Colos. 1. 16. Reuel. 19. Secondly, we should therfore carry our selues orderly in all places, especially in the Church, because of the Angels, who are about vs, and marke what we doe, 1 Cor. 11. 10. Thirdly, we should therefore be patient and of good hope, and full of faith in all afflictions arising from the oppositi­ons of men, or temptations of Satan, as being satisfied with this comfort, that they are more that are with vs then can be against vs, and if our eyes were opened, wee might see so much as was shewed to the seruant of Elisha, 2 Kings 6. 16.

Hitherto of the Heauen of the blessed and the Hoste there­of, the Angels, and so of the world that is now inuisible to vs: we next come downe to consider of this visible world, this world, I say, which is in our view, or may bee seene: and [Page 161] before I come to speake of the other two Heauens, I would briefly consider of Gods glory in the generall in the making of this visible world, not so much for the matter of the crea­tures, or their naturall formes or properties, or their next cau­ses, which belongs properly to the Philosophers, but for such things as concerne their first cause, which is God; or their end, which is Gods glory; or their vse, which is rather spiri­tuall then corporall, in demonstrating vnto the soule of man the praises of God.

The maker of this visible world was GOD, as well as of that inuisible world, as is manifestly proued, Genesis 1. at large.

The end of making a world of bodies, as well as of spi­rits was not the punishment of spirituall substances, for their sinning against God, as Origen dreamed, but the setting out of Gods glory, in shewing his wisdome, goodnesse and po­wer, Psal. 19. Rom. 1. and the furnishing of man for his hap­py being.

That our hearts may be affected with wondering at this great world which God hath made: we may profitably consi­der of it, either by thinking what it is like, or by serious pon­dering what it is indeed.

This great world is like a great Garden throughly furni­shed, euery creature being as a pleasant flower exquisitely ranked in most comely order, the onely weedes that grow in this Garden, are wicked men: as it may be likened to a great Booke, in which God hath written glorious things that concerne the praise of his goodnesse, wisdome and power: E­uery creature is, as it were, a distinct lease of that Booke, and the properties and vses of these creatures are, as it were, the seuerall lines and letters of that leafe: and the more admirable, because it is a Booke; the writing whereof is indelible, and the vses whereof are vniuersall: the Booke so opened, that all men in all parts of the world may see and read. Againe, this visible world may be likened to a great and faire house, most exqui­sitely buil, and contriued into seuerall roomes, and euery roome richly furnished; the Heauens are the Roofe, the Earth the floore, and the Elements the seuerall roomes, and the hosts [Page 162] of creatures in each of them the rich furniture: and this house is the more admirable for vs, because it is a house that euery man dwels in, out of this house no man can be put, & it is kept at the charge of the Land-lord, and the Tenants pay no rent.

But to leaue similitudes, there are in the generall considera­tion of this visible world diuers things may bee briefly tou­ched, which we ought to wonder at, and to glorifie God, for his making of things so: as

1 The apt disposition of euery creature in his owne place; which place is so fit, as a fitter cannot bee inuented: if the Starres were fixed in the Earth, or the Trees in Heauen, how disproportionable and vncomely would it be?

2 The exactnesse of the Cteatures in their working, in kee­ping their times and seasons: how punctually doth the Sunne dispatch his race in 24. houres, and so the Moone in her seasons: the Plants keepe their seasons of the yeere for bearing fruit, and the Starres for shining, as they haue receiued commandement and order from their great Com­mander, which is God.

3 That euery creature serues for some vse, and many of the creatures dispatch exceeding much worke, in the vses vnto which the Creator hath appointed them: and euery creature hath a kinde of exactnesse and perfectnesse in his nature and being.

4 The strange variety of creatures set in this visible world, with their most various proprieties: take any roome of this house, who can count the number of plants, trees, beasts, or men vpon earth? Who can reckon the number of Seas, Riuers, Ponds, Springs, or creatures in them: or count the number of Foules or Flyes in the Ayre, or Starres in Heauen? And this variety is the more wond [...]rfull, if wee straightly consider that our God made them all: and that they are all still preserued in their kindes to this day: and that they are made all in such different formes and portrai­tures, not onely one kinde from another, but one singular creature from another in the same kinde.

5 The maruellous order and relation of the creatures in their kindes and respect one to another, in regard whereof [Page 163] the Psalmist magnifies the wisdom of God, Psal. 136. 5. and this order is admirable if we consider the different degrees of creatures, seruing one to another in their kinds: as some things God made to haue being only, as the Heauens, Ele­ments, Meteors, and Minerals. Some things haue being and life also: as the herbes and trees: some things hauing being, life, and sense also, as the beasts & fowles: some things haue being, sense, life & reason also, as men; and these degrees so connexed, that the latter includes alwaies the former, & the inferior degrees serue the higher: as the Heauens and Ele­ments adorne & feed the Plants, the Plants feed the Beasts, the Beasts feede and serue men, and men serue God. Againe the order is wonderfull in the placing of these bodies so, as with vnspeakable neerenesse, each creature fils his place so, as there is no vacuum or emptinesse betweene; and besides, are so set, as though they be diuers of them directly con­trary one to another, yet are so set, as they destroy not one another, but preserue the whole Frame. I omit many o­ther things for breuities sake.

Out of these generall considerations of this visible world, we may raise many vses for our selues: as

1 We haue cause to admire and wonder at the glory of God, that made such a huge and strong building: wonder, I say, at him that giues place for all these things to be in, & yet him­selfe conteined in no place; that moues all these things, and yet is himselfe vnmoueable; that made all these creatures, being himselfe vncreated, and that shewed such skill in the least things as is beyond the art of all men to doe the like.

2 We should bee afraid to displease him, that is Lord of such Hosts, that commands so many & great armies, and can by them at his pleasure suddenly fight against vs and destroy vs.

3 Man hath great cause of Humiliation when he lookes vp­on this Frame, both when he feeles his ignorance, that can see so little into the glory of these works of God, scarce dis­cerning those things of them which their outward formes manifestly off [...]r to his vnderstanding, & especially to think of it, how all other creatures haue kept their first perfecti­on, and still keepe their places and workes, and doe their [Page 164] worke constantly in their seasons, obeying their Creator and doing his will, and he only that was best prouided for, and made Lord of all, to be out of order, not to keepe his rancke, to liue vnprofitably, and neglect the worke inioy­ned him, to be, I say, the only creature in Gods garden, that deserues the name of a weed fit to be rooted out, and the rather because by his fault he hath brought much hurt vp­on the whole Frame, and is the cause of that vanity or mise­ry which any of the creatures suffer.

4 We should heartily pray vnto God, to teach vs to reade in this booke of nature & since he hath furnished vs with such a great and glorious Library, to be pleased to teach vs the skill to read and vnderstand, and the rather because he will iudge vs by the contents of this booke of nature, as well as by the booke of Scripture, Rom. 1.

5 Poore men, and men opprest and pursued in the world, should not repine at their distresses: what if thou want house or harbour, so long as thou hast liberty to dwell in this faire house, where thou hast the Heauens for a roofe, and the Starres for windowes, and the earth for a founda­tion; though hard Land-lords oppresse thee in thy artfici­all dwellings, yet thou art Tenant to such a Land-lord, for the vse of his great house of the world, as while thou liuest will not put thee out of possession of his house. Yea, such as haue great houses to dwell in, made by the Art of man, should yet take more pleasure in their liberty to dwell in this house made by God, because it excels theirs, more then a Princes Palace can doe a Cottage.

6 God himselfe hath giuen vs certaine Caueats, by way of preuention which we must looke to, when we reade in this great Booke. The one is, that we take heede we liken not God to any of the creatures which are but the worke of his hands, Deut. 4. 19. Esay 40. 22, 25. The other is, that wee reserue all worship to God, and not worship any of the Hoste of Heauen or Earth, and therefore wee must not so much as sweare by Heauen or Earth, or any thing that is not God, Mat. 5. Ier. 5.

Lastly, hence we may gather a confutation of Idols and false [Page 165] Gods: If the Pagans would haue vs beleeue that their Idols are true Gods, let their Gods make vs such Heauens, and such an earth, and we will beleeue them, Ier. 10. 11. In the meane time, this mighty frame will assure vs, that IE­HOVAH is onely God. And thus in generall.

I returne now to the second Heauen, which is the highest part of this visible World, called in Scripture the Firmament: and concerning it we may wonder at these things:

1. The maker of these Heauens: and so the Scriptures doe magnifie the praises of God, for diuers distinct things: as first, that he did spread out these heauens like a curtaine, and stretched them out as a Tent to dwell in, Esay 40. 22. It was a great glory that he could make such vast and mighty creatures: secondly, that hee could make them alone without any helpe, Esay 44. 24. & 45. 12. thirdly, that he made them onely by his word, Psal. 33. 6. fourthly, that he hath made them in such Wisedome as surpasseth the vttermost of our vnderstanding to reach the full knowledge of these things. In these things it was truely said long since, that we cannot order our speech because of darkenesse, Iob 37. 38. 39. In­stance in the light of Heauen; where is the Way where light dwelleth, and as for darkenesse, where is the place thereof, that thou shouldest know the path to the house thereof: or by what way is the light parted and scattered through the world▪ Iob 38. 19. 20. 24. fifthly, that hee hath established them with such vnderstanding, and power, as they conti­nue, notwithstanding their maruellous motions, and yet haue nothing to hold them vp, no mighty Beames from North to South to beare them vp, no rafters to fasten them to, or the like: but are vpheld meerely by the Word of his power, Pro. 3. 19. Heb. 13.

2. In Scripture we shall finde obserued concerning the Hea­uens, their strange constitution and Nature, and that for diuers things: as first, for their vast greatnesse, Esay 40. 12. secondly, their shining brightnesse being like a molten loo­king-glasse, Iob 37. 18. thirdly, their singular durablenesse and lastingnesse, Deut. 11. 21. to which I might adde their vnconceauable swiftnesse in Motion: the Sunne run­ning [Page 166] his Race swifter then any Gyant on earth, or Foule in the Ayre, or ought that can bee found here below, Psalme 19.

3. The end why those mighty heauens were made, which is chiefly to preach the glory of the Lord to all the ends of the Earth, Psal. 19. 1. which glory of God in making them, is so great, that the glory of the Lord is said to couer the hea­uens, Hab. 3. 3.

4. The ordinances of heauen, or the Lawes which God hath giuen to these mighty creatures, or the couenant hee hath made with them, binding them to doe his will: granting them dominion ouer the earth by their influences which cannot bee resisted or restrained, Iob 38. 33. 31. And coue­nanting with them, to preserue them in their course, Ier. 33. 25. and binding them to keepe their seasons, and to doe the worke appointed them, as the Sunne to lighten the world by day, and the Moone and Starres by night, so as the Moone must know her seasons, and the Sunne his going downe, Psal. 136. 9. & 104. 19.

5. The Hostes or Armies of creatures that people the hea­uens: and these are praised: first, for their comelinesse, and hence it is said, that the Spirit of the Lord garnished the heauens, Iob 26. 13. secondly, for their Number, in respect of which it is accounted an infinite vnderstanding in God to number the Starres and call them all by their names, Psal. 147. 4. 5. thirdly, for their subiection to God, in that they all are his seruants and obey his wil Psal. 103. 21. so as God doth whatsoeuer he will in heauen aswell as earth, Daniel 4. 35. fourthly, for their vses: for besides the sweet influen­ces of the Starres, what comfort should we haue in this vi­sible world, if wee had not the light of the Sunne: How would the glory of all Gods workes lie buried in the darke, that now by the benefit of the light, appeare to vs, and serue for our vses.

The consideration of the making of these mighty heauens should serue for diuers vses: as,

1. Our soules should blesse God, and giue him thankes, be­cause he is very great, and hath shewed his great wisedome [Page 167] in making the heauens, and his mighty power in stretching them out like a curtaine, and all this through his great mer­cie to man, which endureth for euer, Psalme 104. 1. 2. & 136. 5.

2. Woe to wicked men that by their sinnes prouoke God, they cannot escape his wrath, God hath compassed them in with the heauens, and can make the very Starres of Heauen fig [...]t against them, Iudg. 5. 20. and these Heauens will de­clare their wicke [...]nesse, Iob 16. 27. Nor can any thing they doe be hid from him, for the light and darkenesse are his creatures, and therefore no darknesse can hide from him, Iob 22. 12, 13, 14.

3. When I consider (saith Dauid) thy heauens, the worke of thy fingers, the Moone and the Starres which thou hast or­dained, what is man that thou art mindefull of him, or the Sonne of Man that thou visitest him, Psal 8. 3. 4.

4. Godly men may be much comforted with the knowledge of this that God made the Heauens, the Sunne, and Moone, and Starres, and that in diuers respects.

For first, they need not feare the signes of Heauen, nor the Constellations of the Starres, nor the diuinations of Inchaun­ters: for as God can restraine the Constellation of the Starres, Esay 13 10. so there can be no diuination against God, Esay 44. 25 & 47. 1 [...]. secondly, because God hath hereby shewed that he is able to prouide for them and protect them, yea, hee plea­deth the greatnesse of his power in making the heauens, there­by to ass [...]re them, that there shall be nothing too hard for him to doe, that may concerne their good, Zach. 12. 1. 2. 3. Esay 42. 5. 6 & 45. 11. 13. 18. 19. thirdly, because God hath professed to make so great account of the Church, that hee can take no delight in the workes of his hands, in planting the Heauens, if Sion be not planted, and her children as the Starres in Heauen, Isay 51. 10. fourthly, because God hath promised to them bet­ter Heauens, when themselues shall shine as the Starres in the Firmament, and they shall need no Sun, nor Moone to light them, but God himselfe will be their euerlasting Light, Dan. 12. [...]. Reuel. 21. 2 [...]. & 22. 5.

Thus of the Starry skie or the second part of Heauen: The [Page 168] third part followes, and that is the Ayre: This is the lowest and worst roome of Heauen, and yet excellent things are writ­ten of it for our profit in the Scriptures.

Of the Nature, properties, parts, and naturall vses of the Ayre, the Scripture takes little or no notice, but leaues that to Philosophie: the Furniture of this Roome is especially com­mended in Scripture: and so the holy Ghost singles out diuers Considerations. First, about the Foules of the Ayre. Secondly, about the Meteors in the Ayre.

About the Foules of the Ayre we shall finde such things as these obserued in Scripture, and so offered to our conside­rations.

1. The Maker of them, which was God, Gen. 1.

2. The matter out of which they were made (viz.) out of the ground, Gen. 2. 19.

3. The Originall of their names: for it was Adam that gaue the names to the Foules, Gen. 2. 19.

4. Their inferiority to man, both in that wisedome is not in them, Iob 28. 21. and in that God hath planted in the Foules a natural feare of man more then any other creature, Gen. 9. 2.

5. The care that God hath for the very Foules: for first, hee knowes all the Foules in the Mountaine, Psal 50. 11. se­condly, he prouides foode for them without their owne in­dustry, Mat. 6. Psal. 147. 9. thirdly, he hath taught them skill to build them Nests to dwell in, Mat. 8. 20. fourthly, he hath prouided euen for their delight: for they haue their habitation by the springes, and sing among the branches, Psal. 104. 12. fifthly, God hath prouided for their passage in the Ayre, and that so wonderfully, that it is reckoned a­mong the foure things too hard for vs to know, to tell the way of an Eagle in the Ayre, Pro. 30. 19.

6. The Vses they serue for, both in respect of God, for the Foules praise God in their kinde, Psal. 148. 10. and in re­spect of men, to whom they are giuen not onely for their foode and seruice, Gen. 9. 2. but as the companions of their liues: and therefore it is noted as a iudgement, to haue the very Foules of the Ayre taken away, Ier. 4. 25 & 9. 10. E­specially [Page 169] God hath giuen to the Kings of the Earth, a su­preame rule ouer the Foules of the Ayre in the places where their subiects dwell, Dan. 2. 38.

7. The naturall order among the Foules: euery kinde knowing his season, Ier. 8. 7.

From the Contemplation of the Foules of the Ayre, the ho­ly Ghost in Scripture raiseth diuers Vses: both to teach, and re­proue, and terrifie.

First, for matter of Instruction, hee shewes, that the very foules may teach vs: first, to know that there is a God, and that he gouernes the world, Iob. 12. 7. secondly, to liue with­out carking care for foode and rayment, and trust vpon God for the successe of all our labours, Mat. 6. 26. thirdly, with all thankfulnesse to acknowledge Gods goodnesse to vs, that hath made vs wiser then the Foules of the Ayre, Iob 35. 11. and giues vs power ouer them, Psal. 8. 8. and that hee hath made a couenant with them in our behalfe that they shall not hurt vs, Hosea 2. 18. and for that now in the New Testament God hath taken of these ceremoniall restraints, and pronounced that all the Foules are now cleane and lawfull to be eaten or vsed, Acts 10. 12.

Secondly, Man is reprooued by the Foules, for not obfer­uing the seasons of grace, in that the Foules in their kinde ob­serue the seasons of nature, for their appearing and breeding, &c. Ier. 8. 7.

Thirdly, man is threatned that if he sinne against God, that God that gaue the carcases of the Foules for meat to man, will giue the carcases of men for meat to the Foules, Deut. 28. 26.

Thus of the Foules.

The Meteors in the Ayre are certaine impressions God by his power makes in or by the Ayre, the Lord framing won­derfull things, thence and there, for the seruice of his glory.

The Scripture considers of these Meteors, either as altoge­ther extraordinary importing their vse, but not the causes of them: or else more ordinary.

God hath strange things in this Heauen, vnknowne to vs, and of which he giues no account to vs in the booke of Nature. [Page 170] Thus wee reade of fire rained downe from Heauen. Gen. 19. 2. Kings 2. 10. and o [...] great stones throwne downe from Hea­uen, Iosh. 10. and also that God opened the dore of Heauen, and rained downe Manna, Psal. 78. 23. and by experience it hath bin knowne that God hath rained downe liuing crea­tures from Heauen also, as frogges or the like.

The more ordinarie Meteors may for order sake be cast into three sorts: some fiery, some ayrie, some watery.

The fiery Meteors in Nature are many, which are seene in great diuersity and often: as pillars of fire, the fire we call the falling of the Starres, the fire they call Ignis fatuus, or fooles fire, the fire that will hang about mens garments or the sailes of ships, blazing Starres or the Lightning. But the Scripture doth especially single out the Thunder and Lightning, to make obseruations about it for our vses.

And so first of Thunder and Lightning both together, the Scripture would haue vs take notice.

1. That they are in a speciall manner of Gods making, though the Philosopher say much to tell vs how they are raised and framed by nature, yet God challengeth a pecu­liar honour in the making of them, aboue what wee can reach too: and therefore they are called his Thunder and his Lightning, Psal. 77. 17. 18. & 104. 6. 7. Iob 38. [...]5.

2. That they are both Officers vnto God, in a speciall place about him, seruing about the Lord, when there is speciall occasion to shew the terror and greatnesse of his Maiesty: as when the Law was to bee giuen, and the Lord was to come downe vpon Mount Sinay, Exod 19. 16. and so when the Lord as King would come downe amongst vs here in the world, the Thunder and Lightning doe not onely giue notice of his comming, but as his high Marshalls, they make roome for it, and compell people of all sorts in their places to expect the comming of the Lord, Psalme 97. 1. 3. 4.

Secondly, each of them are magnified apart: as,

1. The Thunder is called the voice of God, the sound that goeth out of his mouth which God directeth vnder the whole Heauen, as a wise man directeth his speech to the [Page 171] Hearers. It is a roaring voice, called also the voice of his Excellence, because he speaketh▪ when he speaketh by Thun­der with speciall Maiesty: The Lord is said to thunder mar­uellously with his voice, all this in Iob 37. 2, 3, 4, 5. Hee speakes in Thunder as the God of glory, Psal. 29. [...]. This voice of the Lord is powerfull, and therfore called the Thun­der of his power, Iob 26. 14. Psal. 29. 4.

2. The Lightnings are called Gods Arrowes, 2. Sam. 22. 14. 15. and so they are wonderfull, if we consider, that it is God onely that diuided a way for the Lightning, Iob 38. 25. & 28. 26. and that God can by these Arrowes discomfit an Armie of enemies, Psal. 144. 6. and that God can shoot so farre with them (viz) from one end of the Heauen to ano­ther, Mat. 24. 27. and that God doth make the Lightnings with the raine at the same time, when one would thinke the raine should quench the fire of the Lightning, Psal. 135. 7. and this obseruation of the Psalmist, the Prophet Ieremie twise alledgeth Verbatim as a matter of wonder, Ier. 10. 13 & 51. 26.

Lastly, it is wonderfull, that God should shoot with such strange Arrowes as inlighten the world, Psalme 97. 3. 4. & 77. 17. 18.

What vse we should make of the Thunder and Lightning we are likewise taught in the booke of God: for the Thunder being Gods voice, we are enioyned when God speakes in such Maiesty, to heare him attentiuely, yea, and to speake of his glo­ry in the Temple, Psal. 29. 9. Iob 37. 2. and what the meaning is of his voice he hath told vs in his Word, so that as often as we heare the Thunder, wee should know that God by that mighty voice doth tell vs:

1. That he is the true God, and there is none so great as he, Ier. 10. [...]0. 13. Psal. 77. 13. 18. 17.

2. That he raigneth, and gouerneth all things, and can doe what he lists, Psal. 97. 1. 2. 3.

3. That wicked men are sure to be destroyed, and that their strength shall not preuaile, 1. Sam. 2. 10.

4. That the mightiest men on earth must doe their Homage to God and now acknowledge his Glory and Maiesty, and [Page 172] worship him with all possible deuotion, Psalme. 29. 1, 2, 3, &c.

5. That the heart of all men should tremble at the terror of his glory, Iob [...]7. 1.

6. That the godly shall be preserued, and that God will giue his people strength, Psal. 29. 11.

Thus of the fiery Meteors. The Ayrie Meteors follow: and they are the winde and the Earth-quake.

Concerning the windes, these things are noted as admira­ble in Scripture.

1. The originall of them: No man knoweth whence they come nor whither they goe, Iohn 3. 7. Yea, God challengeth it as his owne speciall glory to create the windes, and rec­kons that worke with the forming of the Mountaines, and the telling of man what he thinkes, Amos 4. 13. but where God puts the winds after he hath created them, wee know not, onely that he bringeth them out of his treasure, Psalme 135. 7.

2. The direction of them in their Motion: no man can hold the winde in his fistes, nor turne them out of the way to alter their Motion: yet are the very windes subiect vnto Gods order: either to be still, Mat. 8. 27. or to goe on as he shall direct both when, and whither, and as he will in all things. It is admirable that such bustling and vnruly creatures, as the windes should bee made to pace orderly: yet it is said, that God weighs euen the windes and before he sends them out, he looketh to the ends of the whole earth, and seeth exactly vnder the whole Heauens to appoint their Motion and their way, Iob 28. 25.

3. The vse God puts the winde to, sometimes they serue to bring the raine, 1King. 18. 45. sometimes they serue in steed of posts and messengers: so they fetched Locusts, Ex. 10. 13. and quailes, Numb. 11. 31. sometimes God vseth them to draw his Charriots. The clouds are Gods Charriot, and it is drawne by wings, not by horses: and the winges are the winde. Thus God rideth on the wings of the winde, 2. Sam. 22. 10. Psal. 104. 3. sometimes they are set to driue away the Raine, and to cleanse the clouds, Iob 37. 21. [Page 173] Prou. 25. 23. sometimes he vseth them to punish the sinnes of men, by hurting or destroying their houses, cattell corne, or the like: yea, sometimes he sends the winde to fetch away the wicked, and to hurle them out of their place, Iob. [...]7. 21.

All which should teach vs to acknowledge Gods glory in these things, and to lift vp our hearts to the contemplation of Gods wonderfull working: especially we should prepare our hearts to meete God, and not dare to prouoke him by our sinnes, Amos 4. 12, 13.

Thus of the wind, the Earth-quakes followes, which is supposed to be caused by the Ayre getting into the hollow places of the earth, and wanting vent, doth by force striue t [...] open a passage for it selfe, which causeth the trembling of th [...] Earth.

The Earth-quake is iustly to be reckoned amongst the won­derfull workes of God, that can by so weake a creature as the Ayre, moue so vast a body as the Earth: and therefore the Scripture giueth the power of shaking the earth vnto God.

This Meteor is magnified in Scripture also, for the seruice it is put to: It sometimes is vsed to shew the terror of Gods Maiesty; sometimes to signifie Gods wrath vnto wicked men; sometimes to assure Gods loue to his people (as will appeare in the vse) and sometimes to foretell the last Iudge­ment.

The consideration of the Earth-quake may serue for di­uers vses: as,

1 To shew Gods power and greatnesse, and the terror of his Maiesty, Exod. 19. 18. so the Earth-quake was one of the wonders to shew the diuinity of Christ at his passion.

2 To comfort Gods seruants, and to let them know that God is highly displeased when they are wronged: Hee makes the Earth quake when hee is angry for the wrongs done to his Seruants, especially if they make their mone to him by Prayer, as was shewed in the case of Dauid, Psal. 18. 6, 7. and the Apostles, Acts 4. 31. and Paul and Silas, Acts 16. 25, 26.

[Page 174] 3 To proue how fearefull the estate of wicked men is, and how sure it is they will be consumed out of the earth, and how easie it is for God to be rid of them, seeing, if hee but looke on the Earth it trembleth, Psal. 104. 32, &c. yea, by this worke Iob proues, no man could euer harden him­selfe against God and prosper, seeing he shaketh the earth out of his place, and the Pillars thereof tremble, Iob 9. 4, 5, 6. and Nahum hence concludeth, that no wicked man can stand before his anger, Nahum. 1. 5, 6.

Sure it is, GOD can neuer want glory that can make the earth shake if he but looke vpon it, and the Hils smoke if hee but touch them, Psal. 104. 31, 32. and we should sing of his glory all our dayes.

Lastly, wee vpon whom the ends of the world are come, when wee see the Earth tremble, should remember the ap­proach of the generall iudgement, the Lord by that signe gi­uing warning vnto men to awake out of security, and prouide for their accounts, Luke 21. 11. Mat. 24. 7.

Thus of the Ayrie Meteors: The watry Meteors follow, and those are Clouds, Snow, Mist, Deaw, Frost, Haile, and Raine, and hither I may referre the Rainebow, and these are most frequently mentioned in Scripture, and though men for the commonnesse of these things doe neglect the study of Gods glory in them, yet the Lord euen from these things doth for our vse gather many excellent obseruations to teach vs and to shew vs his glory.

These things are commended in Scripture:

1 For the wonder of their originall: who can tell who is the Father of the Raine, and who hath begotten the drops of the Deaw, out of whose wombe came the Ice, and who hath gendered the hoare Frost that comes from Heauen? who can shew the secret of hiding the waters as with a stone, and freezing the face of the deepe: who can lift vp his voice to the Clouds, that abundance of waters may come downe? Iob 38. 28, 29, 30, 34.

2 For the wonderfull working of God in the placing and ordering of them: as that God should binde vp the waters in his thicke Cloud, and yet the Cloud not to bee rent vn­der [Page 175] them, Iob 26. 8, 9. and that God should shake the Pil­lars of Heauen, and yet Heauen falls not, verse 11. that God can fetch vp and cause the vapours to ascend from the very ends of the earth, Psal. 135. 7. that hee weigheth the waters by measure, when he maketh a decree for the raine, seeing to it and preparing it, and searching out all things that concerne the falling of euery drop of the raine, so as not any of it falls in vaine, or in a wrong place, Iob 28. 25, 26, 27. & 37. 12.

3 For the worth and excellency of these things: called the blessings of Heauen, and the precious things of Heauen, Deut. 33. 13. Gen. 49. 25.

4 For the vse he puts these things to: for

1 By these, when he pleaseth he can iudge his enemies: ei­ther by shutting vp the Heauens that they fall not, or by opening the windowes of Heauen, as hee did in the destru­ction of the old world, Iob. 36. 31. he reserues these against the day of battell, Iob 38. 23. Esay 24. 17, 18. & 37. 13.

2 At the first he made the Clouds to be a garment for the Sea, when it was first brought out, and a swadling band for it, Iob 38. 8, 9.

3 By the Clouds, as in a Chariot, God rides about this ne­ther world to visit it, Psal. 104. 3.

4 He vseth the Clouds to hold backe the face of his Throne by spreading it vpon it, Iob 26. 9.

5 To shew his power, he often with his Cloud couereth the Light, and commandeth it not to shine by the Cloud that commeth betwixt, Iob 36. 32.

6 God hath made himselfe a Pauillion to sit in, with waters and thick Clouds, 2 Sam. 22. 12.

7 By these God waters our Land as wee doe our Gardens, and by the vertue of them, hee giueth meat in abundance, Iob 36. 31. & 37. 11. Psal. 65. 9, 10, 11, 12.

5 For the interest that God hath giuen vs vnto these things, and therefore they are called our Heauens, Deut. 33. 28. and therefore no man can be poore that hath so great substance.

The vse is especially to set vs in an euerlasting admiration of God, not onely for these things which he hath reueiled con­cerning [Page 176] these things, but euen for the intimation, that there are many things we know not, but are aboue our reach: Be­hold, saith he, God is great, and wee know him not, if wee should but consider that one thing that seemes the least of ma­ny, it is too wonderfull for vs, euen Gods making of the drops of raine so small, and yet so proportionall among themselues, when God causeth them to distill vpon man, Iob 36. 26, 27, 28. We haue great cause to stand still and wonder: we know not the wondrous works of him that is perfect in knowledge. We cannot order our speech in these things by reason of dark­nesse. If a man speake, he shall bee swallowed vp with the greatnesse, and difficulty, and glory of these things, Iob 37. 14, 16, 19, 20.

Touching the Almighty, in these things wee cannot finde him out, he is excellent in power and in Iudgement, and in plenty of Iustice, euen by these things, Iob 37. 23. Men should therefore feare him, for as he sheweth by reasoning from these things in another place, the onely wisdome of a man, were to feare God, Iob 28. 28.

Secondly, wee should learne of these things how to serue God, they keepe their seasons, and they returne not to Hea­uen againe, but doe the worke God sent them for, Esay 55. 10. Luk. 12. 56. Mat. 16. 2, 3.

3 We should bee wonderfull thankfull to God euen for these blessings of Heauen. They were wont in the first ages of the world, to thinke they had cause to praise God for the ve­ry dew of Heauen, Gen. 25. 28, 39. Deut. 33. 13, 28. Wee are exhorted to sing praise to God, who couereth the Heauen with Clouds, and prepareth raine for the Earth, Psal. 147. 7, 8. Men vse to giue a great deale of mony to buy a little land, and yet cannot praise him that giues them what is more worth then that they buy; for it is God that giueth the dew, and the snow, and the raine, and so the Grasse and the Corne, without which the Land were worth nothing.

4 Seeing God hath wrought wonderfully in these things, and that they are so precious for our vses, we must learne (if at any time God restraine these blessings of Heauen) to seeke them by prayer and repentance for our sinnes, Iames 5. 18. [Page 177] 2 Chron. 6. 27. 28. and if we would haue them continued to vs, we must looke to the paying of our Tythes duly, Mal. 3. 10.

5 Wicked men are but in ill taking: for (besides that by these things GOD can plague them, hauing reserued them for the day of warre as was shewed before) the Lord by these things hath left them without excuse, hauing from them wit­nesses to pleade for him against the wicked, as is shewed Acts 17. 14.

6. We must take heede of doubting Gods prouidence in sending these blessings from Heauen: we may reade of a man that was troden to death, for doubting whether God could furnish mans wants by these things, 2 King. 7. 19, 20.

To conclude, we must make conscience of it to learne these things and what else God teacheth vs by them, and the ra­ther for the wonder of Gods printing, that can make his let­ters so great, that a man may see and reade so farre off, and therefore remember to magnifie his worke, Iob 36. 24, 25.

As for the Raine-bow two things only I will note.

1 What we may obserue by the sense of seeing: and that is the strange varieties and perfection of colours, that God by his power gathereth in that manner into the Ayre, which Ayre of it selfe is without any colour, raised and dissolued againe after a little time without any remnant of these co­lours left.

2 What we may reade in Scripture of it: and that is both concerning the Author of it, and the end of it. The Author of it is God, who calleth it his Bow; and the end is by Gods owne appointment, to secure and assure man that the world shall neuer be destroyed by waters any more; which is the more wonderfull, because the Rainebow in it selfe is often a fore▪runner of Raine, as experience shewes, and by the descending of the two hornes of it to the Earth and Seas, doth drinke vp vapours, and carry them into the Ayre to breede Raine, Gen. 9.

Hitherto of Heauen, the Earth followes.

Earth.] The terme of Earth here comprehends (as I con­ceiue) the dry Land, as also the waters of the Sea that lye vpon [Page 178] the Earth: and therefore I would first briefly consider of the Sea.

Concerning the Sea, these things in Scripture are taken no­tice of.

1 What it is: and so Moses describes the Sea to be the ga­thering together of the waters into a heape, which before did flow ouer all the face of the earth: and this collection of the waters vnder the Firmament, God himselfe named the Sea, Gen. 1. 10.

2 The Originall of these waters; and that God claimes as a glory to himselfe, to haue made the Sea as well as other vast Creatures, the Sea is his and hee made it, Psal. 95. 5. he is the God that made the Sea and the dry Land, Ionah 1. 9. and for the manner of making it, as it had diuers things common with other creatures, as to be made of no­thing, and by the Word of God, and so the waters in spe­ciall are said to haue the Spirit of God to sit vpon them, as the Hen sitteth vpon the Chickens, to giue it forme and di­gestion, Gen. 1. 2.

3 The wonder of Gods power in placing and disposing of the Sea, and that in many respects: as

1 That he hath made these waters to be of such vast great­nesse, and vnsearchable depth, Iob 38. 16. Esay 40. 12.

2 That he hath founded the world vpon the Seas, and sta­blished it vpon the Flouds, setting the mighty Frame of the vpper world vpon the waters and the earth to hold them vp, Psal. 24. 2.

3 That he hath cast all these waters into their seuerall pla­ces, where he keepes them in heapes, as in most conueni­ent Store-houses, Psal. 33. 7.

4 That hee keepes them so strangely from drowning the whole Earth without any other Barres or Doores then the word of his owne Power, saying to it, Hitherto shalt thou come, and no further, and heere shall thy proud waues stand, Iob 38. 8, 10, 11. making the very Sands in a plaine to stay the raging waues of the Sea, and to bee the bounds thereof, Ierem. 5. 22. giuing his decree to the waters once for all in the beginning, that they should not passe his [Page 179] Commandement, Prou. 8. 29. and to that end hee sets a watch ouer the Sea, Iob 7. 12.

5 That he rules and gouernes the Seas, doing with them whatsoeuer pleaseth him, Psal. 145. 6. Hee deuideth the Sea when the waues thereof roare (which hee doth by his authority as the Lord of Hosts) Ier. 31. 35. Hee so ruleth the raging of the Sea, that when the waues thereof arise he stilleth them, Psal. 89. 9. so as in their greatest tumults, if he but speake to them, they are still presently at his com­mand, Mat. 8. and as Iob saith, he deuideth the Sea with his power, and by his vnderstanding hee smiteth through the proud, Iob 26. 12. He alone treadeth vpon the waues of the Sea, Iob 9. 8.

6 That he hath ordered it so, that all Riuers runne into the Sea, and yet the Sea is not full, Eccles. 1. 7.

4. The ends of creating the Sea, which are partly Gods glo­ry, and partly mens vse; and partly to doe speciall seruice to the Sonne of man, the Sauiour of the world.

The glory of the Lord appeareth in the Sea in all the for­mer considerations, and the Sea by roaring praiseth God, and is in Scripture called vpon to praise, and to shew that hee raigneth, 1 Chron. 16. 32.

The Sea also serueth for mans vse: for men doe their busi­nesse in these great waters, Psalme 107. 23. when they goe downe to the Sea in Ships, & the way of a Ship in the middest of the Sea, is one of the foure things which are too wonder­full for vs to reach to, Prou. 30, 19. Besides, there are great treasures and riches in the Sea, which God hath giuen vnto man, Psal. 104. 25. for men come to haue right to the fishes of the Sea by grant from God in the beginning of the world, Gen. 1. 26. & 9. 2. And besides, the abundance which men ga­ther out of the Seas that way, they are inriched by the Trea­sures hid in the sands, such as are either Pearles or precious stones, or some kindes of creatures, Deut. 31. 19. And it is no­ted as a great iudgement, to take away the Fishes of the Sea from man, Hos. 4. 3. And further, when God is angry with man, he can call for the waters of the Sea, and powre them on the face of the earth, Amos 5. 8.

[Page 180] The speciall seruice the Sea doth, or is to doe to Christ, is by her roaring, to giue warning to the world of his second comming to Iudgement, Luke 21.

There are many vses made in Scripture of this Doctrine concerning Gods workmanship about the Sea: as

1 This mighty creature thus made and ordered by GOD, serues to set out the great glory of Gods wisdome and po­wer, as the Prophet Dauid with admiration obserues, Psal. 104. 25. and if the Sea be so great and mighty, how great and mighty is the Lord, that so easily rules so vast a crea­ture, Psal. 93. 3, 4. the very Sea shewes that he is GOD alone, Neh 9. 6.

2 The Lord himselfe notes it with indignation, as a foule offence against him, that men doe not learne for euer to be afraid of God that hath set such bounds to the Sea, that by his owne word stayes the Sea from ouerwhelming vs all, Ier. 5. 22. To see the waues of the Sea tossing themselues, and yet are kept in within the very sands, that they dare not passe ouer them, and though they roare yet cannot pre­uaile to get beyond the bound God hath set them, should make a mans heart tremble at the power of God.

3 Wee that dwell in the Iles of the Sea, and are compassed round about with the raging waters should glorifie God, for the wonder of his omnipotency in keeping vs from pe­rishing by the waters: we should make his praise glorious by dayly admiration and celebration of his Name, Esay 24. 15. Yea, if the waters might haue but their first and naturall course, all the Inhabitants of the earth would bee drowned, there would be no dry land: and therefore oh that men would praise God for his goodnesse, for the won­derfull workes he doth for the children of men: especially such as goe downe to the Sea in the Ships, these see the workes of the Lord, and his wonders in the deepe, and therefore should in a speciall manner praise him, Psal. 107. 21, 23, 24.

4 This mighty Creature shewes that wicked men can neuer prosper, for besides, that God can fight against many of them by the waters and destroy them, or call for the wa­ters [Page 181] and ouerflow them, Amos 5. 8. The power of God in ruling the boysterous waues of the sea, shewes that no man can harden himselfe against God and prosper: hee that tames the sea can subdue them and smite through the proud, Iob 9. 8. and therefore it is a desperate course for men wilfully to rebell against God, for no man shall bee strong by his owne might, Psal. 95. 5. 8.

But manifestly from hence may be gathered, that if God will shut vp, or cut off, or gather together, who can hinder him? he knoweth vaine men, and he seeth wickednesse, and will he not consider it? Iob 11. 9, 10, 11.

5. These contemplations should in generall quicken vs to Gods Seruice, and prouoke vs to worship him with all de­uotion, humility, and holines, as these places shew, Psal. 95. 6. & 93. 3, 4, 5. seeing hee is so great a King aboue all Kings, and so mighty a Commander, wee should bow be­fore him with all Reuerence, and offer the Sacrifice of righteousnesse, Deut. 33. 19.

6. Diuers Consolations may bee gathered from hence.

1. The power of God that can order and still the raging of the Sea, doth assure the godly, when they are most furi­ously opposed by their aduersaries, that yet God can and will preserue them, in that God is mightier then the Noyse of many waters, then the mighty waues of the Sea: Dauid gathers from hence, that therefore his testimonies are sure, and all that he hath promised concerning the preseruation of his people, shall certainely and easily be performed, Psal. 93. 3. 4. 5. and therefore they are happie that put their trust in him, for hee will keepe his Mercie and his Truth, Psalme 146. 5. 6.

2. When men are in vproares, and the World full of com­motions and warres, the consideration of Gods power ouer the raging of the sea, is an incouragement and comfort vn­to men that waite vpon God, that hee can also still the Tu­mult of the people: as the Prophet gathers, Psal. 65. 7.

3. Such men as haue callings to doe their businesse in the Sea, may hence gather comfort for their safetie there, for God is the confidence of them that are a farre off in the [Page 182] Sea: as the same Prophet shewes, Psal. 65. 5. We may trust God for our preseruation on the sea aswell as on the drie land, seeing his command is as great in the one as in the other.

Lastly, hence the Apostle Peter gathers an vnanswerable confutation of Atheists that thinke all things will continue alike, and that there will be no breaking vp of the world for the last iudgement, and that things are carried meerely by a naturall course: for that the Earth stands out of the wa­ters, and in the waters, if there were no higher cause then nature, the world would presently bee ouerflowed, if God let goe his hold of the waters, as manifestly appeared in the destruction of the old world, 2. Pet. 3. 5.

Thus of the Waters.

The Earth is considered of in the Scriptures, either in it selfe, or in the fruits of it, or in the Inhabitants of it.

The glory of the Lord is exceeding great in respect of the Earth, considered in it selfe.

1. That he could make the Earth, Gen. 1. 1. Psal. 121. 2.

2. That he could make it so: that is,

1. So great and vast a creature, Iob 11. 9.

2. That he could make it be, only by his word, 2. Pet. 3. 5. Psal. 33. 9.

3. That he could make it hang in such a miraculous man­ner, vpon nothing that is able to beare it vp: founding it vpon the waters and Ayre, Iob 26. [...]. &. 38. 4. 5. 6. Psalme 136. 6.

4. That he hath diuided it, and set borders throughout the whole Earth, diuiding it for the vse of the seuerall Na­tions that should inhabit it, Psal. 74. 17.

5. That he hath made it so vnmoueable, there being nothing to fasten it, Psalme 104. 5. & 33. 9. & 119. 90. being of such weight, and hauing so many Citties and buildings vp­pon it: and being a creature so round and therefore by na­ture moueable.

6. That he hath made it a creature that lasts for euer, and outlasts a world of other creatures, Eccles. 1. 4. Psalme 78. 69.

[Page 183] The Vses are diuers: for,

1. Hence we may gather the maruellous glory of the Lord, in his power, greatnesse, wisedome, prouidence soueraignty, and eternity, Iob 12. 8. His power in being able to make so mighty a creature: hee must needs haue a mighty Arme, Psal. 89. 11. 13. His greatnesse, in that he is bigger then the Heauens and the Earth, seeing they are the worke of his hands, Iob 11. 9. His wisedome, that hee could finde out such a secret way of founding so vast a creature, Pro. 3. 19. & 8. His prouidence is most manifest in that so mighty a creature can abide; which it could neuer doe, if it were not vpheld by the Word of his power, 2. Pet. 3. 5. and his so­ueraignty is matchlesse, he is a great King aboue all Kings: for he alone is the Lord of the whole earth: Neuer any King was King of the whole Earth but hee, so as all the Earth and the fulnesse thereof belongs to him, and he hath the highest and absolutest right ouer all things in the Earth, Psalme 47. 7. Mich. 4. 13. Zach. 4. vlt. finally, hence is proued the Eternity of God, he made the Earth, and therefore was be­fore the foundations of it, and if he could make a creature that lasts so long, how euerlasting is he himselfe, Psal. 102. 25. 26.

2. It is not inough to know these things, but wee must giue God the glory of them, our hearts should alwaies say with the Psalmist, Blessed bee the Lord God which onely doth wondrous things, and blessed be his glorious name for euer, and let the whole earth bee filled with his glory: Amen, Amen. Psal. 72. 19. 18. Psal 47. 7. and the rather, because our vowes and thankesgiuing are as it were all the Rent we pay vnto the Lord of the whole Earth of whom we hold in chiefe, Psal. 50. 12.

3. I [...] should teach godly men contentation in all estates, if God be the King of the whole Earth, then all his children are the great Princes of the world, Psal. 47. 9. and can want nothing that is needfull for them, because the Earth is the Lords and all the fulnesse thereof, Psal. 24. 1. Zach. 4. 14. which if it be seriously considered, all men haue cause to say, verely there is a reward for the righteous, Psal. 58. 12. and if [Page 184] wicked men breake their bonds and breake in vpon their possessions, they haue a comfortable recourse to that God that set the borders of the Earth, and gaue the lot to his people, Psal. 74. 17. 18. and if the earth can last so long, then the children of his seruants shall much more endure for euer, Psalme 102. 25. 26. 28. and if the Word of the Lord bee so vnmoueable, that by it the earth is vpheld, then wil the word of his promise to his seruants be sure to all generations, Psal. 119. 90. and therfore of all men (Oh ye Righteous) ye are blessed of the Lord which made Heauen & Earth, Psal▪ 115. 13, 14, 15, 16. and therefore also in all the occasions of our liues we should remember that our helpe commeth from the Lord which made Heauen and Earth, Psal. 121. 2. & 134. 3.

4. It should teach vs to giue God the glory of disposing of the Kingdomes of the Earth: He is the supreame Lord of the whole Earth, and therefore hee may set vp and pull downe what Kings and Princes he will: and if he set Sion to thresh the Nations and to take away their substance, yet it is done by right, seeing God is the Lord of the Earth, Mich. 4. 13. Psal. 47. 9.

5. The Kings of the Earth should remember to do their Ho­mage to God, and to sing of his praises and of the surpassing excellencie of his glory, Psal. 138. 4. Psal. 72. 11.

6. Woe to wicked men, for if the Earth be his, and they his Subiects, he hath more power to subdue and punish them as rebells then any of the Princes of the Earth, and therefore can easily consume them out of the earth, Psal. 104. vlt. & 58. 12. and if hee can make the very earth tremble if he but look vpon it, Psal. 104. 32. then where shall they appeare, and how shall they stand before his Indignation? Nahum. 1. 5. 6. and if they be borne with for a time, and get great estates on Earth, yet must they be brought to iudgement as vsurpers, because the Earth is the Lords, and they neuer had a Title from him, for what they hold, and therefore their Riches are riches of Iniquity.

Lastly, seeing the Earth is the Lords, and all that therein is, Christians should take heede of vaine scruples about the vse of the Creatures: and learne to know their liberty from [Page 185] God, and so make no question for conscience sake, 1. Cor. 10. 26.

Thus of the Earth in it selfe generally considered: It fol­lowes to consider of the things that are in the Earth or belong to it, and so the Scripture commends to our consideration ei­ther the things that are within the Earth, or the things that are vpon the Earth: Things within the Earth are the Mine­ralls: things vpon the Earth, are the vegetables and liuing creatures.

About the Mineralls little is spoken in Scripture, and I will instance but in one place, and that is Iob 28. 1. to 12. where is offered to our consideration.

1. The straying veines of the Earth, full of Riches, and won­der: as the veine for Siluer, and the place for gold, and the stones that lie in darkenesse and in the shadow of death, and the iron and brasse which is molten out of the Earth, verse 1. 2. 3. and in some places of the Earth, the stones thereof are the places of Saphires, and it hath dust of gold, verse 6.

2. The strange fires that are in the Earth arising from the Sulphure or Brimston which are discouered if the earth bee turned vp, verse 5.

3. The vast and strange pathes that are in the hollow places of the earth, which no Foule knoweth, nor the Vultures eye hath euer se [...]ne, & c, verse 7, 8.

4. The riuers of waters which runne within the Earth euen through the Rocks, as if God had cut a way for them, verse 10.

But I come to the things that are vpon the earth, and so first to the vegetables, that is, the the plants that couer the earth: viz. grasse, graine, herbes, and trees, and these I consider alto­gether, and so God chargeth vs to take notice of foure diuers things about them.

1. Their originall, which may be considered as supernaturall or naturall, or artificiall: God gaue them a being aboue the the course of nature or Art, when he made them grow out of the earth without seede, Gen. 1. 11. 12. and for a time af­ter made them flourish, when there was yet no raine to fall on the earth, and no man to till it, Gen. 2. 5. 6. Their natu­rall [Page 186] originall is not without worthie obseruation, the Earth being like a Mother to the seede of all plants, receiueth it in­to her wombe, and the Sunne in the seasons of the yeere do­ing the Office of a Father: The artificiall originall they haue is from man, whom God hath taught the skill and power, by setting, sowing, plowing, watering, insition and inocula­ting in due seasons, to make as it were a new and another Creation, Esay 28. which commeth from the Lord, who is wonderfull in working and excellent in counsell, verse 22. 24. 25. 26. 29.

2. Their variety, who can count those innumerable birthes of the Earth, deliuering her selfe of the seed shee receiued in the seasons thereof with strange distinctions, in number, co­lour, taste, smell, greatnesse, virtue, or figure, which is the more wonderfull because these all come from the same wombe, yea, we may behold grow out of the same clod of earth plants of strange diuersity, some vsefull, some hurtfull, yet inioy the same earth to conceiue them, and the same Sun to beget them.

3. Their glory, especially in respect of the colours: Salomon in all his glory was not clothed like one little flower, for liuelinesse of colour, and vnimitable beauty, Mathew 6. 29.

4. Their vse: and that in respect of God, and the Earth it selfe, and the beasts, and foules, and man: their vse in respect of God is to set out the glory of his power, skill, wisedome, and goodnesse, Psalme 104. 24. their vse in respect of the Earth, is to couer her nakednesse as with a rich garment of diuers colours: How horrid would the Earth looke, if it were not apparelled, with grasse, herbes, corne, and trees? their vse in respect of the Beasts and Foules, is both to feed them, and to harbour them: The Birds lodge in the trees, and the Beasts feede on the grasse of the field, Psalme 104. 14. 17. The tree of the field is called mans life. Deut. 20. 19. Their vse in respect of man is to serue for his seruice, foode, delight, and the curing of his wounds and diseases. God made the herbe for the seruice of man, and brings his foode out of the Earth, and bread that strengtheneth the heart of man, and wine that makes him glad, and oyle to [Page 187] make his face shine, Psal. 104. 14. 15. to which adde, the herbe and plant for the curing of his wounds and diseases: how hath the Lord prouided remedies for all the diseases of man, euen out of the Earth, and with what strange varie­ties, so as there is scarce any disease a man hath, but he hath caused to grow out of the Earth, perhaps within a little space of time, some herbe or plant or other that may ease him or cure him, Gen. 1. [...]9.

5. The interest that God hath still in these things both in re­spect of right and power: of right, and so he calls the corne, wooll, and flaxe, the Israelites had, His wooll, and flaxe, &c. Hosea 2. 8. 9. and the Trees are called the Trees of the Lord, Psal. 104. 16. and so of power, because though he hath set a course in Nature for the growth of these, yet he hath not shut out the free vse of his owne power, nor is Nature eue­ry way able of her selfe to produce these things, and there­fore God saith, he causeth the grasse to grow for the cattell, and the herbe for the seruice of man, and it is he that brings forth bread out of the Earth, &c. Psal. 104. 14. 15. 'tis hee that reneweth the face of the Earth euery yeere, Psalme 104. [...]0.

6. The Transitory and fading condition of these things: they are easily cut downe and wither, and their glosse and beau­ty will decay of it selfe euery yeere, Psal. 37. 2. & 91. 6. Esay▪ 40. 6. 1. Pet. 1. 24.

The Vses follow, and are diuers: and so first for instruction, many duties should be learned hence: as,

1. The acknowledgement of our owne vilenes and igno­rance: God hath ouerlaid our knowledge in the very grasse we tread vpon: and therefore we must needs bee very sim­ple in heauenly things, that cannot giue a reason of the things which are daily about vs in the lowest rancke of creatures.

2. We should receiue these creatures from God as rich bles­sings, and vse them, and praise the Lord that giues them to vs, especially when we haue them in greater plentie. God made a Law for the Iewes, that for seuen daies after the har­uest, they should reioyce before the Lord and praise him, [Page 188] and keepe holy assemblies, Leuit. 23. 39. 40. and at all times we must sing to the Lord with Thankesgiuing, Psal. 147. 7, 8, 9, 10. 11. Men must eate and praise the Lord, Esay 62. 8, 9.

3. We should learne to liue without care for our clothing: if God so clothe the grasse of the field, will hee not prouide for vs? as our Sauiour vrgeth it, Mat. 6. 30.

4. If men would thriue and prosper in the possession and vse of these fruits of the Earth, they must be such as God would haue them to be: God himself hath set downe diuers rules to be obserued by such as would prosper in the fruitfulnes of these things; as,

1. They must keepe his Commandements, and obey his word, and not liue in sinne without repentance, Deut. 28. Leuit. 26. 4, &c. Deut. 11. 13, &c.

2. They must pay their Tithes, and honour God with the first fruites of all their increase, Mal. 3. Pro. 3.

3. They must be diligent in their callings, and not floth­full and carelesse, Pro. 21. 25. 26. & 19. 15. & 14. 23. Adam inioyned to labour.

4. Men must by prayer seeke a blessing from God in their callings: else in vaine to goe to bed late, and rise earely, and eate the bread of carefulnesse, for it is God onely that ma­keth the earth fruitfull, Psal. 127. 3.

5. We must remember the poore, to leaue a gleaning after Haruest, and the Vintage for the poore, and so consequently in all other increase, Deut. 24. 19, 20, 21.

6. Wee must take heede of oppression of Tennants, or hard vsage of labourers or seruants imployed about the fruits of the Earth, Iob 31. 38, 39, 40.

7. From the fading condition of these herbes and flowers, we are put in minde of our mortality, and the transitorinesse and vanity of the glory of the world, 1. Pet. 1. 24.

8. From the manner of the sowing and growing of the corne we are taught to beleeue the Resurrection of our bodies, which may rise againe in a better shape aswell as the corne that is cast into the earth, and is first putrified before it growes, 1. Cor. 15. 36. 37. 38.

[Page 189] Thus of the Instructions.

The contemplation of the vegetables may serue for Humi­liation also.

1. To all men, when they behold Thornes, bristles, and thi­sties, and weedes, for these are a standing Monument of mans sinne, and doe daily vpbraid him to his face, being the fruites of malediction: for the Earth is cursed for mans sake, Gen. 3.

2. To wicked men, and that in diuers respects, for first, euen in these things God can be reuenged on them, by re­straining the fruits of the earth from them, Deut. 11. 15, &c. Hosea 3. 8, Ier. 12. 13. Ioel 2. 1. secondly, God hath threat­ned to make them and their glory like the grasse of the field, Psal. 92. 7 & 37. 2. But these brutish men will not be warned by these Monitors: and the rather will the Lord be incensed against them if they abuse these creatures to his dishonor, in surfetting and drunkennesse, or Idolatry, or strange apparell or the like, Hosea 2. 8. and if they them­selues, that looke for fruite from the earth, liue vnfruitfully: if they cut downe vnfruitfull trees, God will cut downe and root out vnfruitefull men.

Thus of the Vegetables. The contemplation of the Beasts of the field followes.

And concerning them, we are instructed in many things by sense, and therefore these things are not taken notice of in Scripture: the Lord intending by his word to tell vs of such things as are aboue sense, either in the nature of them, or in the vse of them.

The things that are worthy consideration, which sense in­structs vs in, are such as these:

1. The great variety that appeares in these creatures: The man ifold wisedome and power of the great Workeman ap­peares in the seuerall formes, faces, forces, and vses, he hath declared vpon these creatures: who can count the variety of Gods Workemanship in them? The sorts and numbers of creatures are in respect of vs innumerable.

2. The motion and sense that is in the creatures, which see, heare, smell, taste, and stirre vp and downe, by force of some [Page 190] power and cause which God hath set in them which wee see not: it must needs bee strange to see creatures of such bignes stirre themselues with such variety of Motions, and yet nothing from without to lift them. The skillfullest Arti­ficers in the world, though they can make strange and cu­rious formes of things, yet they cannot make them stirre, or liue, or see, &c. When they made Gods of Pictures, yet they could not make them moue or liue, &c.

3 The strange prouision God hath furnished them withall in respect of cloathing, defence, and food: No beast but hee comes into the world clothed, and hath by nature Armes to defend himselfe; either hornes or teeth, or hoofes, or pawes, or the like; and besides, wee see that the young ones of e­uery kinde doe presently moue themselues to their food, and can make some shift for themselues to liue. Man in these things is inferiour to the beasts, for he comes into the world, naked, infirme, crying, and hath no vse of his limbs to helpe himselfe, all bloudy, as if hee had newly escaped the hands of Theeues; and besides, he is bound in swad­ling bands, as if he were a Captiue.

In the Scriptures these things are charged vpon vs to take notice of concerning the beasts.

1 Their Originall, which they haue from God: for they were made by the Word of the Lord, as the Heauens and the Earth were: for God commanded the Earth to bring forth the liuing creature after his kind, Cattle and creeping things, and the beast of the Earth after his kind. It was God that made the Beast of the Earth after his kinde, and Cat­tell after their kinde, and euery thing that creepeth vpon the earth after his kind, Gen. 1. 24, 25.

2 The end of their Creation, which was partly the illustrati­on of the glory of God, as they are visible looking-glasses, to shew the goodnesse, wisdome and power of GOD to man, and therefore man is charged to aske the beasts of the field, and they shall teach him, Iob 12. 7, 8. and partly for the vse of man, both for his body and soule: for his bo­dy, they were created to serue him for his clothing, foode, and for the dispatch of his labours. And for his soule, they [Page 191] serue not onely to helpe his knowledge, euery beast being a seuerall booke for him to reade in, but also to reproue and instruct him, as will appeare in the vses afterwards.

3 The prouidence of God in maintaining them, in which God receiueth praise in diuers respects: First, that hee re­spects and cares for all the beasts of the field, euery worke of his hand, as he knoweth them all, so he like a Shepherd, tends them and prouides for them: these all looke vp vn­to thee, Psal. 104. 27. Secondly, that hee hath giuen them such large roome in the Earth. He hath made them free in all Deserts and Wildernesses through the world, allowing them these places to dwell in and to feede in, Iob 39. 5, 6, 7, 8. Thirdly, that he hath ordered it so, as they must de­pend vpon him in a manner immediately: and therefore is said to feed them with his owne hand, Psal. 104. 28. Which appeares the more, because they neither sow nor reape, nor haue any Barnes to lay vp prouision before hand, but are prouided for as they need: The Lyon as oft as hee is hungry seeketh his prey of God: God hunts his prey for him, Iob 38. 39, 40. Fourthly, that God takes notice of the naturall necessities of the beasts, their wants and hunger being as Prayers before him: and therefore they are said to looke vp to him, Psal. 104. 27. to cry to him, Iob 38. 41. to seeke their meat of God, Psal. 104. 21, Fiftly, that hee prouides variety of meat for them according to their kinds, hence hee is said to giue them their meat, not meat to them, to note that it is that meate which is is fit for euery kinde, Psal. 104. 27. Sixtly that hee giues it them in due season; No Physitian tending his Patient, no Nurse fee­ding her Infant more carefully then God doth these liuing Creatures, Psal. 104. 27. Seuenthly, that when there are worlds of them dissolued into their dust, he sends his Spirit to create a new world of them, perpetuating their sorts by continuall off-springs, Psal. 104. 30.

4 The subiection of the Beasts vnto man, Psal. 8. 6, 7. which howsoeuer since the fall of man diuers sorts of Beasts stand out in defiance to man, yet how great a worke of God it is to make these Beasts that are subiect, to be so, may appeare [Page 192] euen by these Beasts that will not feare or obey man, for such would the rest haue beene, if God had not subdued them vnto man. The Lord instanceth himselfe in the wild Asse, Iob 39. 7. and the Vnicorne, verse 9, & c and besides, if we consider the nature and strength of those Beasts that doe yeeld to man, it shewes a power aboue mans power to make them so tame. The instance is giuen in the horse, Iob 39. 19, &c and the Elephant, Iob 40. 15, &c.

The Vses follow.

First, the Atheist might see reason to abhor himselfe, because euery creature proues there is a God. The Beasts of the field may teach him. Yea, the meanest things, the creeping things of the earth proue there is a God: for who made Flyes, Wormes, Lice and other Vermine? He will say, the Sunne and putrifaction: but they liue, and moue, and haue senses, they haue eyes feet, wings, did the Sunne and putrifaction make these too? Why art thou silent now, tell, whence are these? Can the Sunne and putrifaction giue that which they haue not themselues? The Sunne is without life, how can it giue life to other things?

Secondly, seeing the Beasts are Gods creatures, wee must make conscience of it, to shew mercy euen to the beasts wee vse. A good man is said to be mercifull to his Beast, Deut. 22. 6. Prou. 12. 10.

Thirdly, there is matter to humble vs from the very consi­deration of the Beasts: for first, in many things the very beasts excell man, as the Horse and the Elephant doe in strength, Iob 39. & 40. and in skill, some of the vilest of them goe beyond man: I will instance onely in the Spider, no man can build so curiously, nor woman weaue so small a threed as the Spider doth: and experience sheweth, that in senses diuers creatures do excell man. Secondly, the more sorts of creatures there are, the greater is Gods Army to fight against vs, if wee prouoke him, and he can doe strange things by weake instruments, he conquered a mighty Prince, euen by Frogs, Locusts, and Ver­mine: and to shew his power, God hath giuen such a domi­nion and Empire to the very small Vermine, as Lice, Wormes, Gnats, that they ineuitably assault not onely the poore but [Page 193] the rich, yea, the Kings of the earth are subiect to their assaults; which hath a secret demonstration in it of Gods power and Iustice.

Fourthly, wicked men are bitterly reproued in Scripture by the very consideration of the Beasts of the Field, and that two wayes: either because they are in some things worse then the beasts, or else because they make themselues like the beasts. They are worse then the beasts, for not acknowledg­ing God. The Asse knowes his owner, and the Oxe his Ma­sters Crib, but wicked men doe not know God who yet pro­uideth dayly for them, Esay 1. 3. Sluggards are likewise sha­med by the very Pismire, which worketh when it hath none to command it to worke, and prouideth in Summer against Winter, Prou. 6. 6, 7, 8. Drunkards and Gluttons shall haue the beasts of the field to rise vp in iudgement against them, because they, if they come to a Riuer, will drinke no more then may suffice nature. They are likened to beasts in gene­rall for their vncapablenesse, and want of vnderstanding in spirituall things, and for their ignorance of their owne dan­gers, or carelesnesse of their owne ruine to come. Thus men are called brutish, Psal. 49.

And in particular, they are likened to the Horse or Mule for kicking and wronging such as would dresse their sores, Psal. 32. To Dogs, for flying vpon those that admonish them, and for causelesse snarling at the godly that meddle not with them, Mat. 7. Phil. 3. 2. And to Gotes, for their vnsauorinesse and wildnesse, no bounds will hold them. And to Foxes, for their deceit so Herod is called a Fox. And to Lyons and sa­uage beasts for their cruelty, 2 Tim. 2. 4. [...]7. Esay [...]9. 15. and for their power to doe mischiefe to the Buls of Bashan, Psal. 18. and to the Spider for hypocrisie and malice, and poyson­full disposition, and for drawing poyson out of euery thing they meete withall, Iob 8. To the Ostrich for vnnaturalnesse, Lam. 4. 4. And to Swine, for their prophannesse, wallowing in the mire of filthy corruptions and that dayly, Mat. 7. 2 Pet. 2. And to the Aspes, for stopping their eares, that the Word of God may not charme them.

Lastly, Gods owne seruants are set to Schoole to learne of [Page 194] the very beasts of the Field. We must learne of sheep to know the voice of our Shepheard, and to bee sociable among our selues, and to auoid society with the wicked (a sheepe will not sort with a Swine) and to be patient vnder wrongs (the sheepe is silent vnder the hands of the Shearer, yea, of the slaughterman) and to be profitable, as all about the Sheepe is for vse. We must also learne of the Done to bee harmelesse, and of the very Serpents to be wise, to keepe our [...]ith sure as they keepe their heads. Wee must learne to affect God and spirituall things, as the Hart pants after the Riuers of water, Psal. 42. Yea, there are little things that reade Lectures of great wisdome to vs, Prou. 30. 24, &c. the Ants, the mountaine Rats (which were a sort of little creatures vsuall in the East, whereas Conies doe neither build in the Rocks, nor are so su­table for their bignesse with the other three sorts of creatures) the Locusts and the Spider. Of the Ant we should learne di­ligence and prouidence, in times of plenty to prouide for dearth, especially in spirituall things. Of the Mountaine Rats we should learne vpon the experience of our owne weaknesse, to prouide by Faith, so as we may rest in the Rock of Gods Al­mighty protection. Of the Locusts we should learne to doe our duties though we be not compelled, and to be carefull to keepe our fellowship with the Saints. Of the Spider, that workes euen in Kings Palaces, we should learne to hold forth the light of the Truth, by either Doctrine or good example in all places, and not to be daunted for the presence of any, or the example of the multitude that are otherwise imployed.

Hitherto hath beene intreated of the Creatures of all sorts, some of them being onely spirituall Creatures, as the Angels; some of them onely bodily creatures, as all the rest in Heauen and earth: Now followeth, that we consider of man, who is a creature both spirituall in respect of his soule, and corporall in respect of the outward matter of which he consists. A crea­ture, into whom enters the composition of all the world; Nature as it is spirituall and bodily meeting in man: for man is the Epitomie of all Gods works, and a patterne of the great Vniuerse: He is the world abridged, or the little world, into whose being enters the nature of euery thing without him, [Page 195] being a creature partly terrestriall, partly celestiall, partly mor­tall, partly immortall: so as what God made a part in other creatures, he makes perfect and ioyntly together in man: He had made spirits by themselues, and bodies by themselues, and then he makes a Creature that should consist of spirit and body ioyned together; and therefore as wee haue read in the great Booke of nature which is the world, so now we must learne to read in the little Booke of Nature, which is man: else it will be a shame for vs to know other things, and not know our selues: He were a sencelesse man, that did know curiously all the roomes in other mens Palaces, and yet knowes not so much as a corner of his owne dwelling.

The excellency of Gods workmanship in creating man ap­peares, if we consider his body apart, or his soule apart, or his body and soule iointly.

About the body of man God hath done many things, more then he did to any other bodily creatures: for

1 Whereas all other bodies were created only by saying, let them be, & they were so, God did take more special regard of mans body, and therefore doth forme it (as it were with his owne hands) out of the dust of the earth, Gen. 2. 7.

2 The body of man now since the Creation, is not propa­gated by the Parents without the wonderfull workman­ship of God: and therefore all our bodies are said to bee made and fashioned by God as well as Adams, Iob 10. 8. Yea, it was the Spirit of the strong God that made vs, and the breath of the Almighty that put life into vs, Iob 33. 4. We are creatures now as well as Adam, Marke 16. 15. and Dauid saith, He was fearefully and wonderfully made, it was a maruellous worke, and he was curiously wrought in the wombe, Psal. 139. 14, 15, 16. Yea, he saith there, that God did it by the Booke, hauing written it downe from eternity, how all his members should be fashioned. Eue­ry part of our bodies (if wee knew the forming of them) would shew a speciall glory of working in God, our bones would say, Lord who is like to the [...]? Psal. 35. 10. And as we know not what is the way of the Spirit, so we know not how the bones doe grow in the wombe of her that is [Page 196] with childe: and so we may say of the rest, we know not the workes of God who maketh all, Eccles. 11. 5. the hea­ring eare, and the seeing eye, the Lord hath made euen both of them, Prou. 20. 12. It was God onely that clothed vs with skinne, and fenced vs with bones and sinewes, Iob 10. 11. and so it was God onely that formed the inward parts of mans body: hee formed the heart, Psalme 33. 15. and the workemanship within mans body was so great, that he reserues it as a glory onely to himselfe, to know and search the heart and reines of a man: and this is the more admirable, if we consider, that no part of the body is su­perfluous or idle, but euery part hath his function, and some excellent worke to doe, which function it exerciseth by it selfe for the good of the whole body, without med­ling with the office of the other members: which is the more wonderfull if we consider the innumerable parts and parcels of the body of a man. Not the least threed or veine in a mans body but it doth some excellent office, 1 Cor. 12.

3 God made the body of man in beauty and fairenesse, ex­celling all other visible creatures: for both his counte­nance is lifted vp to Heauen, and the parts of his body are with more comlinesse proportioned, and his colour is full of sweetnesse and louelinesse: Thus it was with man in his Creation, and thus and much better it shall bee with his body, when hee shall shine as the Starres in the Firma­ment.

4 The body of man had at the first no disposition to wearinesse, or sicknesse, or death: which the bodies of all other liuing Creatures were subiect to. This pri­uiledge mans body had not by nature but by the gift of GOD: GOD hauing infused into the body a soule, that did her worke in the body perfectly, and allowing him such foode as was most effectuall for ve­getation, and giuing man skill and care to looke to him­selfe: and if the body in time would haue declined, God would haue preuented that by tranflating man to Heauen, without sicknesse and death.

[Page 197] 5. Language is an admirable indowment of the body of man onely, who is able to expresse himselfe with infinite variety and distinctions of sound whence flowes all conuer­sation, and delightfull or profitable society.

But the excellencie of Gods power and glory in the Creati­on of mans soule who can perfectly recount? God hath done wonderfully for man in respect of his soule aboue all other visi­ble creatures: for,

1. The soule was breathed into the body of man by God A soule can no more beget a soule, then an Angel can beget an Angel. himself, by speciall inspiration and singular Creation, Gen. 2. and neuer was a soule in the body of man, but was made of God by his speciall power: our bodies may haue earthly fathers, but our spirits haue no Father but God, Heb. 12. It is God onely that creates and frames the spirit of man with­in him, Zacharie 12. 1. and so man is the generation of God, Acts 17.

2. The soule is indued with the light of reason, and can dis­cerne things by reasoning and inward discourse, seeing things by a light that is Immateriall, and with great variety contemplating of things that the senses cannot reach to, and finding out strange things, euen in those things are pre­sented by the senses which no other creature can doe: and this discerning would be in the minde, if there were no Sun in the firmament: and aboue all things that the soule can know, it is most excellent, in that it can know God himselfe: Man onely of all visible creatures can see God, and his workes, and acknowledge his workemanship which none of the other creatures can doe.

3. The soule of man was made in the Image of God: in other things the footsteps of God doe appeare, but in man onely (in this visible world) did the similitude of God appeare, Gen. 1. 26. Man was not made like the Sun in the firma­ment, or like some Angell in Heauen, but like God himselfe, and so especially in his soule: for the soule of man is a spi­rit, as God is himselfe, and it is inuisible, and immateriall like God: and as in the substance of the soule, we resemble God, so in certaine qualities or vertues printed in the soule which resemble the Attributes of God, such as are good­nesse, [Page 198] loue knowledge, mercy, Iustice, patience, and the like, Ephes. 4 Colos. 3. 10. The nature of no creature being capa­ble of vertue, or the lawes of vertuous liuing, but onely man.

4. The soule is immortall: it is a thing within vs, that will neuer be at an end, when worlds of other things bee dissol­ued round about it: and this is an vnspeakeable indow­ment, if we could seriously thinke of it, that God should let vs last as long as himselfe, and all other liuing things die and expire, and come to nothing. A mans soule will bee aliue after a thousand times tenne thousand yeeres: All the di­uells in Hell, or Tyrants on earth, cannot kill our soule.

5. The soule of a man workes within strange things euen in his very body. It carries the body about, being a thing without body, it selfe and giues diuers gifts to diuers parts of the body; It workes sight in the eyes, hearing in the eares, feeling in all the body, tasting in the Pallate, smelling in the Nostrills, breathing in the Lungs, concoction in the Stomach, operation in the hands, ambulation in the feete, and motion in the whole bodie: yea, it so workes by the senses of the body, that it takes in by them all other things to it selfe in the species of them.

6. As it is wonderfull for the things it worketh vpon the bo­dy, so it is admirable for the worke it can doe, when the body lyeth a sleepe and stirres not. The soule then resem­bles God in the Creation. It creates worlds of shapes with­in it selfe with strange furniture and variety, which inward Creation of infinite frames of things would be like this world which God made, but that the soule cannot giue them continuance, life, &c. It was a great gift of God to giue the soule power to make these things within.

7. The soule doth excell in quicknesse of motion & working: other creatures are swift, some in running, some in flying, but what can be among them comparable to the soule, which can in thought in an instant suruey the ends of the Earth.

In these and many other things, the soule of man doth won­derfully excell, being set in the body of a man, as it were the God of the body, as a little God in the little world: as IEHO­VAH is the great God in the great world

[Page 199] The whole person of man considered as consisting both of soule and body, did and doth enioy many singular preroga­tiues aboue all other creatures in this visible world: as

1. Man had the honour to be brought into the world, when all other things were made, and the world furnished ready for his vse, Gen. 1.

2. God did man a great honour, in the manner of making him: for hee made man with consultation, but all other things were made by saying the word onely, let them be, Gen. 1.

3. The soule and body of a man is knit together with such a bond, as is beyond the reach of mortall creatures to ex­presse the manner of the Vnion.

4. Because God conuerseth with man onely of all the crea­tures in the world: our parents did see God in Paradise, and he reuealeth himselfe still to the blessed ones in heauen: Since the fall, this is for the most part lost, saue that with the godly, the Lord conuerseth by many signes of familia­rity in the vse of his ordinances.

5. Because God made such prouision for man as hee did for no other creature: as in the first Creation, hee set man in Eden, the garden of vnutterable pleasure: and when man dies now, if he be redeemed by Christ, hee hath prouided that heauen of heauens for him.

6. Because God hath made man Lord ouer the other crea­tures, and bestowed vpon him dominion ouer the beastes of the field, and foules of the Ayre, and fishes of the sea, yet the vastest creature aboue, or below, doth minister vnto man: and God hath planted a naturall feare of man in other creatures, Psal. 8. [...]. Gen. 1. & 9. 2.

7. Because the body and soule of a man is the Temple of the holy Ghost to dwell in: so it was with the first man, and so it is still in some men euen in this world, 2. Cor. 6. 16. God dwells in man and walkes in him.

8. Yea, God hath done that honour to the nature of man, that he hath not done to the nature of Angels, and that is, that he hath ioyned it inseparably to his diuine nature, in the person of his Son Christ Iesus: so as man is now as neere to God, [Page 200] as the body is to the soule, Heb. 2. 16.

The consideration of this Glory of God in the Creation of man, may serue for Instruction, Humiliation, and Conso­lation.

By way of Instruction, it should teach vs many du­ties: as,

1. We should giue glory to God and acknowledge that it is he onely that made vs, and not we our selues: our parents are but instruments of the propagation of our bodies, it is God that is the principall efficient, Psal. 100. 3. especially we should with all gladnesse acknowledge Gods goodnesse to vs, that made vs such creatures, so excellent aboue other workes of his hands, he might haue made vs vile Vermine, or poysonfull creatures, Toads and Serpents, Psalme 149. 2.

2. We should learne hence submission to God in all things concerning our life or death: hee hath made vs, and therefore hath absolute power ouer vs as the worke of his hands, to doe with vs whatsoeuer pleaseth him, and to call for the spirit backe againe, and leaue vs to returne to our dust at his pleasure, Ier. 45. 4. Psal. 90 3.

3. Seeing all men are the worke of Gods hands, and that our God made them, it should teach Superiours to shew due respect to their Inferiours, in gifts, estate, age or the like: for he that made the rich, made the poore also: hee that made the Master, made the Seruant also: and therefore Inferiours are not to be despised, Iob 31. 13. 15. Pro. 14. 31. All mankind made of one bloud, Acts 17. 26.

4. We should take heede of reasoning against the Iustice of God, in disposing of men to conditions of lesse honour in this life, or in damning of wicked men in hell, for they are all the worke of his hands, and as the clay to the Potter, Rom. 9. 21, 22, 23.

5. Our Originall from the dust of the Earth, should teach vs to carrie our selues humbly towards God and men: to­wards God, when we speake to him, we should remember we are but dust and ashes, Gen. 18. and when we conuerse and discourse with men, wee should take heede of pride, [Page 201] and vaine glory, and say as he did in Iob, I also am cut out of the clay, Iob 33. 6. as also wee should take heed of excessiue cares for the clothing and pampering of our bo­dies of clay.

6. Especially we should striue to answer the end of our Crea­tion: Man was made and set in this visible world, that God might haue a creature to know him, and what hee had wrought, and to acknowledge him, and serue him, and to resemble him in all holinesse and righteousnesse: till this be done by man, he doth nothing that answers the end of his being, he dishonors God that made him: And seeing God made both soule and body, wee should serue the Lord in both: 1. Cor. 6 10. We are not at our owne disposing, to doe what we list, we are his to command that made vs: our very countenances set so as to looke vpwards, shewes that we should not be like the beasts that see and regard nothing but earthly things: let vs pray God that made vs, to direct vs, and enlighten vs, to do his work, and glorifie him, Psal. 119. 7 [...].

Secondly, from the serious meditation of the doctrine of our Creation, we may finde many things for Humiliation vnto all men, especially to the wicked. It may humble all men to con­sider that they are but men of dust, earthly creatures, 1. Cor. 15. 47 48. made of myre and clay, Iob 13. 12. and that they are in continuall danger of dying: They dwell but in houses of clay, earthly Tabernacles, Iob 4. 19. 2. Cor. 5. 1. 'tis as easie for God to destroy vs as it is for the Potter to breake an earthen vessell: our breath is in our nostrills, if our mouthes and noses be stopped, we fall downe as dead carkases: especially all men haue cause to bee extreamely grieued to thinke how wofully they are fallen from the glory in which they were created, whe­ther they look vpon their soules impurities and filthines, or the bodies deformity & diseases, or the miseries inuade iustly their outward condition, with all the fearefull losses spirituall and temporall which haue befallen them for their sinnes: More especially the wicked haue cause of grieuous sorrowes that remaine still in that wofull estate of degeneration, hauing God and all creatures against them, and carrying about bodies and [Page 202] soules so full of sinne, and lyable to such fearefull danger: Woe to him that striueth with his maker▪ shall the Potsheard striue with the Potter, and be safe? Esay 45. 9. and the rather they should be afflicted, if they consider, no part of their wickednes can be hid from God: Hee that made them, knowes euery part about them, there cannot bee a vaine desire, thought, or lust but God sees it, and no darkenesse can hide from him, Psal. 139. 12, 13.

Lastly, there is great consolation in this doctrine of the Creation vnto godly men, that are restored in Christ, to the priuiledges of their first Creation, for vnto them will God bee for the substance of true happinesse all that he was to Adam: their right to Gods fauour, and fellowship with God, and do­minion ouer the creatures is restored, they are againe made like to God in Christ Iesus, Colos. 3. 10. their bodies and soules are the Temples of the holy Ghost. They need not feare any aduersaries, for God keepeth all their bones, and the haires of their heads are numbred, Psal. 34. 20. and though they haue many frailties bodily and spirituall, yet God will pittie them, he knowes the mould they are made of, and that they are but dust, Psal. 103. 13. 17. Esay 64. 12. and seeing God hath made vs, he accounts himselfe bound to helpe vs, and sustaine vs, and prouide for vs, Isay 43. 7. and will not forget vs, Esay 44. 21.

The second Article.

And in Iesus Christ.

1. COR. 3. 11.‘For other Foundation can no man lay, then that which is layd, which is Christ Iesus.’

HItherto of the Nature of God, and the workes of Creation: Now it followes, that we con­sider of the Articles that concerne our Re­demption by Christ, and so the workes of grace. And so in the Redeemer, Faith lookes vpon foure things: First, his Titles, Iesus Christ, the onely Sonne of God and our Lord. Secondly, his Incarnation, wondering at both his Conception and Birth. Thirdly, his Humiliation for our sinnes, as hee suffered vnder Pilate, was crucified, &c. Fourthly, his Exaltation, as hee rose from the dead, and ascended in Heauen, &c.

But before I come to breake open these glorious Mysteries, It is conuenient to consider of three things:

1. What neede we haue of a Redeemer, to be thus incarnate or thus humbled, &c.

2. By what right we can be capable of any interest in a Re­deemer.

3. In what manner wee must beleeue these Articles.

[Page 204] For the first, there are two things in the condition of euery man by nature, which may shew euidently that hee doth infi­nitely neede some course to bee taken to free him out of that misery he is in: the one is his sinnes, the other is the punish­ment either is vpon him, or he is liable to.

And first for sinne, euery man:

1. Is guilty of Adams sinne, Rom. 5. 12.

2. He is possessed by originall sinne, by which hee is two waies vilely plagued; for he hath lost all that righteousnesse and integrity of nature man had in the Creation: which he may feele, by his want of seruent loue to God, awfull feare of God, confident trust in God, affectionate delight in God, shining knowledge of God, &c. and so by his strange defici­encies in his disposition toward his neighbour: and besides, he is poysoned and infected with corruption in his nature, which is the more grieuous because all men are infected, Rom. 5. 12. all are so from the wombe, Psal. 51. and this insection is in the whole nature of man, which he may feele, by the very disorder of his naturall appetite to foode, sleepe, procreation, & by the corruption of his very senses, his eyes ready to wander after vanity, Psal. 119. if they bee not guar­ded and watched, Iob 31. 1. and so his taste and other senses: & in his vnderstanding he may feele a strange kinde of pow­er of darknes, and disability to thinke of any good things, & pronenesse to a world of vanities and euil, & in his affections he may daily perceiue a very vassalage to euil concupiscence, giuing lawes of wickednesse to his members, Rom. 7.

3. He is horriblie infected with actuall sinnes. In his minde hee may obserue a world of wickednesse, swarmes of vile thoughts, the frame of his Imaginations being onely euill continually, Gen. 8. His heart is deceitfull and wicked aboue None good, no not one. Psal. 14. 2. all things, Ier. 17▪ 9. Oh what strong lusts and passions are found in a mans heart from time to time? how doth the di­uell draw men along secretly, as the fish is drawne with the baite, and that with strange preuailings: what worlds of wickednesse haue passed through the tongues of men? Iames 3. and in their workes, how fearefully doth man sinne in all he doth: his workes are all abhominable, Psal. 14. [Page 205] for besides that, he corrupts himselfe in his best actions, he is guilty of diuers distinct sinnes, and sometimes these very grosse and abominable: who can stand neere it to thinke of it?

1 How many sinnes of other men he is guilty of, which he occasioned by his euill example, euill counsell, or con­sent, &c.

2 How innumerable his owne sinnes are, of omission and commission, of ignorance, of knowledge, in his infancy, or riper age, at home or abroad, in his prosperity or ad­uersity, against God, other men, or himselfe, Psal. 40. 2.

Againe, a mans estate by nature hath wonderfull neede of mending and alteration, if we consider the misery to which it is exposed in respect of punishment, for wee haue all lost Pa­radise. 2. And all the creatures about vs are worse then they were at first for our sakes, Rom. 8. 20. 3. God is horribly wroth with all of vs, Ioh. 3. 36. 4. The glory of our vnder­standings is lost, we are very beasts, and haue not the vnder­standings of men in vs, Prou. 30. 2. 5. The Deuill doth in a manner what he will with vs, Ephes. 2. 2. 2 Tim. 2. 26. 6. Our selues are senselesse and dead, Ephes. 2. 1. The life of God is a most strange thing to vs, Ephes. 4. 18. 7. Armies and chan­ges of sorrowes assault vs in our bodies and estates, Deut. 28. 8. Good things are restrained from vs, euen blessings of all sorts, Ierem. 5. 25. 9. And the good things we haue, they doe not prosper with vs, or they doe vs hurt, Mal. 2. 2. Ier. 12. 13. 10. Horrible feares either of death or shame, or judge­ment of men, or God, doe many times cruelly torment vs, Esay 33. 14 & 65. 13, 14. Heb. 2. 15. Besides, all that which wee are in danger of: for strange punishments may be to the workers of iniquity in this life, Iob 31. 3. and we may dye mise­rably, and who can recount the terror of the last Iudgement, and the violent fire may deuoure vs in Hell for euer, Heb. 10 27. Mat. 25. 41. Thus of our need of a Redeemer.

For the second point, man becomes capable of happinesse by the Redeemer, by vertue of a new Couenant which God tenders vnto man by the Redeemer. The first Couenant was a Couenant of workes, where perfect happinesse was promi­sed [Page 206] to man, vpon condition of perfect obedience to the Law, to be performed by man in his owne person: This condition (man being fallen through his owne default) was impossible to be performed, and so the couenant being broken, all man­kinde was vndone for euer. Now God is pleased to alter the first agreement, and to offer new Articles in this Couenant of grace, by which man might recouer out of the aforesaid mise­ry and be saued. Now concerning this new agreement we are to consider.

  • 1 Who procured it.
  • 2 Vpon what termes he obtained it.
  • 3 What he hath done to establish it.
  • 4 What good comes to vs by it.
  • 5 What cause we haue to bee wonderfully affected and comforted by it.

For the first, this agreement and new Couenant was obtai­ned from God only by the Mediatour, who alone was Iesus Christ, 1 Tim. 2. 5. The Sonne of God, became a sutor for the sonnes of men, and obtained of God these new Articles, with Gods infinite good liking, through his abundant mercy to man, Mat. 3.

For the second, God yeelds to his motion for a new Coue­nant vpon two conditions. The one, that he should pay all mens debts, and so make satisfaction to the Iustice of God, Esay 53. 6. 1 Tim. 2. 6. The other was, that hee should per­forme such an absolute obedience and righteousnesse as might serue to iustifie the vngodly, 2 Cor. 5. 21. 1 Cor. 1. 30. Rom. 5. 18, 19. Ier. 23. 6.

For the third, what Christ hath done to establish all this, is reported in these Articles of the Creed, conteined in the middle part of it, describing both his Incarnation, and Hu­miliation and Glorification.

For the fourth, the good that wee shall haue by this new Couenant, is reported in the last Articles of the Creed, Holinesse, Communion of Saints, forgiuenesse of sinnes, re­surrection of the body, and euerlasting life.

Now we ought greatly to reioyce in this new Couenant.

1 Because it was vtterly impossible for vs to bee any way [Page 207] happy, or escape eternall damnation, if we had continued still vnder the old Couenant, Gal. 3. 13.

2 Because this is a grace vouchsafed to the nature of man on­ly: for the Angels are lost, and for euer forsaken, and haue no grace offered to them.

3 Because it is a grace vouchsafed only to certaine men, cho­sen of God out of the whole heape, and giuen to Christ, to be deliuered and saued by him.

4 Because if a man beleeue aright in Iesus Christ, he shall be accounted as righteous, as if he had perfectly fulfilled the whole Law, Rom. 10.

5 Because this Couenant is euerlasting and vnchangeable, there is no forfeiture, Esay 54. 10. God hath sworne to keepe this Couenant for euer, Heb. 6. 18.

6 Because God hath bound himselfe to put his Spirit into vs, to make vs keepe the Couenant on our parts, Ezech. 36. 27.

Thus then we see how it comes to passe that these Articles are put into our Creed, which had not beene if wee could haue beene saued by the first Couenant,

Now it remaines, that in the third place we consider of the manner how we must beleeue these Articles concerning Iesus Christ: where by the way we may obserue one point that is not vnprofitable; viz. that to belieue aright in Christ is not a worke of nature, nor a thing that the naturall man in himselfe is disposed to: and that may appeare diuers wayes; for first, those things about Iesus Christ, are Articles of the Christi­an Faith, which they had not beene, if they had beene such things as the naturall man did know, or was disposed to seeke after. 2. The light of Nature hath no principles at all con­cerning Christ, or that way of redemption by him. 3. Our Sauiour hath made it manifest, that the world is so farre from beleeuing, that it doth naturally hate such as doe be­leeue aright. 4. Because there are many things in the Do­ctrine of our Redemption which are scandals to hearts of the wicked: Christ is a very Rocke of offence, 1 Pet. 2. 8. We finde by experience, that the naturall heart of man is extreme­ly dull, and carelesse of these Doctrines aboue all others. [Page 208] 6. This is the condemnation of the world, that they do not be­leeue in Christ Iesus, Ioh. 3. 18. Lastly, it is euidently affir­med, that faith in Christ is the gift of God, Eph. 2. 8.

Now this point is fit to be obserued, partly to discouer the estates of multitudes of men, that speake faire words of Iesus Christ, when yet by nature it is certaine they loue not the Lord Iesus, nor take any sound course to belieue in him; and part­ly to awaken such as are desirous to get into the Kingdome of God, that they may not trust to their naturall hearts or dispo­sition, but rather in a godly iealousie of the deceitfulnesse of their owne hearts, to vse all diligence, by resisting the slug­gishnesse, and cauils, and deuices of their owne hearts, by the power of God in his ordinances, to striue to make their faith sure, and fully established: and thus much for this point.

The way how these Articles are to be receiued, is by belee­uing in Iesus Christ: for from the first part of the Creed we must borrow these words, I beleeue, and apply them to these Articles, thus; I beleeue in Iesus Christ, &c. That from the coherence and maine drift of all these Articles, we must in ge­nerall take notice of this point: That as wee beleeue in God, so we must belieue in Iesus Christ: marke it, we must not on­ly beleeue him, or beleeue these Articles, but wee must beleeue in him; This is the Commandement of God him­selfe, that we should doe so, 1 Ioh. 3. 23. and thus our Saui­our himselfe requires it, that as wee beleeue in God, so wee should beleeue in him also, Ioh. 14. 1. Yea, this is the sub­stance of all that worke that God requires of a Christian in the new Testament, this is to worke the worke of God, euen to belieue in him whom he hath sent. Ioh. 6. 29. for first, the Father and the Sonne are one, and therefore we must honour the Sonne with the same honour we giue the Father, Ioh. 10. 30 & 5. 23.

Secondly, the foundation of all our happinesse since the fall lyeth vpon this, he is our surety, there being none that would vndertake for vs but he, and it is he onely that makes both sa­tisfaction and intercession for vs, and takes the charge of vs, and therefore we must rely vpon him.

Now for the explication of this point, that we may know [Page 209] what this beleeuing in Christ hath in it, I must consider of it two wayes: First, by shewing what beleeuing in Christ hath not, or what that Faith doth reiect, as vtterly opposite or re­pugnant to it: Secondly, what it hath in it distinctly both for the matter of beleeuing, and the manner of beleeuing.

For the first, the right beleeuing in Iesus, doth cast out;

1 All respects of false Christs, Mat. 24.

2 All spirits of error and doctrine contrary to Christ, 1 Ioh. 4. 1, 2. For his sheepe doe heare his voice, with know­ledge of it from all others, Ioh. 10.

3 The marke, or signe of respect of affection to, or depen­dance vpon Antichrist that beast, Reuel. 15. 2. and all com­munion with the seruants of the man of sinne.

4 All trust vpon our owne merits, and Iustification by the workers of the Law, Gal. 2. 16.

5 All former euill courses of life: for the Redeemer comes to none but such as turne from transgression in Iacob, Esay 59. 20. and therefore repenting is annexed to beleeuing in the Gospell.

6 The loue of, and trust in earthly things: for this faith makes vs account all the glory of the world but as drosse and dunge in comparison of Christ and his righteousnesse, till we can forsake the world, wee neuer soundly seeke Ie­sus, Phil. 2. 8.

For the second, beleeuing in Iesus hath in it foure things.

1 Perswasion or assent to these glorious truths that con­cerne Iesus, and mans saluation in him, as in particular:

1 That hee came forth from GOD, with commission to deale in this worke of the redemption of man, Iohn 16. 30.

2 That he came in the flesh, 1 Ioh. 4. 2. & 5. 1.

3 That he is the very sonne of God, Mat. 16. 1 Ioh. 5. 5. Ioh. 9. 35, 36, 38. Act. 8.

4 That he hath power enough to helpe vs, Mat. 9. 28.

5 That there is no other name by which wee can bee saued, Act. 4. 12.

6 That all the promises of God shall be fulfilled in him, this is beleeuing the Gospell, 1 Ioh. 5. 10. Thus of perswasion.

[Page 210] 2 It hath in it estimation of Christ, as that that onely can be precious for vs, 1 Pet. 2. 7.

3 It hath in it a relying vpon Christ for our Iustification, Phil. 3. 8, 9. and for our saluation, Acts 4. 12. Eph. 2. 8. and for our preseruation in the meane time, liuing by the faith of the Sonne of God, Gal. 2. 20. and so there is a spirituall kind of confidence in the ordinances of Christ as they are his Com­mandements, and as hee worketh in them by his power, 1 Ioh. [...]. 23.

4 Yet further, to beleeue in Christ is to haue Christ, to re­ceiue him into our soules: thus the phrase of receiuing him, of his liuing in vs, of our hauing of the Sonne is vsed in diuers Scriptures, Iohn 1. 12. Gal. 2. 20. 1 Iohn 5. 12. and thus for the matter of beleeuing.

Now for the fuller vnderstanding of this Doctrine of belee­uing in Christ, it is necessary to consider of the manner how we must beleeue: for

1 We must confesse the Lord Iesus with our mouthes, wee must externally profes [...]e the Religion and seruice, and Faith of Iesus: we must outwardly testifie our Faith, and not de­ny him before men: this is one thing in the beleeuing men­tioned in the Creed.

2 That outward confession is not enough: we must beleeue from our hearts and with our hearts, Rom. 10. 10.

3 We must beleeue in our owne particular: I beleeue, and what we beleeue we must apply it to our selues, that Christ was incarnate, suffered and glorified for me in particular.

4 We must beleeue in him and loue him, though wee neuer yet saw him, 1 Pet. 1. 9.

5 We must resolue to sticke to our beleeuing, though wee suffer for it, Phil. 1. 28, 29.

6 We must perseuere in the Faith, there must bee no time, wherein the Christian may not say, I doe beleeue in Iesus.

7 This Faith must be layed vp in a pure conscience: we must euer after we beleeue in Christ Iesus, make conscience of all purity, and sincerity of heart and life, 1 Tim. 3. 9.

Since all our happinesse lieth in this skill of beleeuing in Iesus, wee must vse all meanes that wee may attaine to this Vse. [Page 211] faith, that when the Sonne of man comes he may not finde vs without faith: Now that we may attaine to this faith, that is able to saue vs, and by which only we can haue the benefit of this new Couenant, wee must conscionably practise diuers rules, which I will briefly put you in minde of.

1 We must confesse our vnbeliefe, and pray God to giue vs this Faith: for Faith is the gift of God: It is one step to be­leeuing, to see that we doe not beleeue.

2 Seeing Faith comes by hearing the Word preached, Rom. 10. 14. We must attend vpon that ordinance of God, and waite for the comming downe of the Holy Ghost.

3 We must striue in hearing with all our might to apply the things we heare, as they may any way fit our case, for in application is the very doore of Faith, and that work especial­ly by which we receiue Christ and the promises of grace.

4 Wee must continually study the motiues to beleeuing: for there are diuers things which being seriously thought on, may raise vp a wonderfull desire of Faith, and resolution to seeke it and striue for it, with which desire, if it be sincere and constant, Faith vsually comes into the soule.

Now there are many things should fire vs to this desire of faith in Iesus.

1 That it is the worke of God, Ioh. [...]. 29 It is that aboue all things is required of a Christian: that one thing neces­sary: the summe and substance of our worke as wee are Christians: yea, that very thing that makes vs Christians, for till we beleeue in Iesus, we may be Christians in shew, and in other mens accounts, but we are not so indeed till we be in Christ, which we cannot be but by beleeuing.

2 That it is a thing that God aboue all things desires of vs, which may appeare many waies: 1. Because he commands vs to beleeue 1 Ioh. 3. 23. 2. Because he sends his Ambassa­dors to vs to inuite vs; yea, & beseech vs in his name to be­leeue, & to be reconciled, 2 Cor. 5. 3. Because he binds him­felfe by Couenant to receiue vs if we beleeue, Ioh. 3. 16. yea, & confirmes his Couenant not only by seales, but by oath, Heb. 6. 4. Because in the office of the Couenant God ex­cepts against no man, but he ought to thinke that all this [Page 212] grace is offered to him, if he will receiue it: and therfore he saith, whosoeuer beleeueth: and in another place chargeth his Embassadors to declare so much to euery creature, Marke 16.

3. It is horrible dangerous for a man to liue without this Faith in Iesus: for without it, it is impossible to please God, Heb 11. 6. and besides such as haue the meanes, and are thus often called vpon, may at length prouoke God so far, as that he will deliuer them vp to a Spirit of slumber, so as they cannot be able to beleeue, but be left to that curse men­tioned, Iohn 12. 39. 40. to haue their eyes blinded, and their hearts hardened, that they should not see nor vnderstand any more: but aboue all things it should fright men, that God hath resolued they shall be damned that beleeue not in Iesus, yea, though they be worlds of men, Mat. 16. Ioh. 3. vlt.

4. If we consider the wonderfull benefits we haue by belee­uing in Iesus Christ: for he that beleeueth on him need ne­uer be ashamed of his condition, Rom. 10. 11. for,

1. We get presently out of darkenesse, assoone as wee so beleeue, Christ comes as a light into our hearts, Iohn 12. 44. 46.

2. Though we may haue many troubles in the world, yet in him we shall haue peace, Iohn 16. 33.

3. Woe shall be to them that wrong vs and offend vs: It were better a Mill-stone were hanged about their necks and they cast into the sea, Mat. 18.

4. All our sinnes are forgiuen vs assoone as we beleeue in his name, Acts 10. 48. Rom. 3. 25.

5. We thereby become all one with God the Father, and Iesus Christ and the holy Ghost, we are made one with the Trinity after a heauenly manner, this is a dreadfull Mysterie, Ioh. 17. 20. 21. for as Christ is one with the Father, so are we one with Christ, and so in him with the father, as is explained in the same Chapter, verse 22, 23.

6. We may get as much of all sorts of blessings, as our Faith can aske in his Name: for the Father will denie vs no­thing, Iohn 16. 23. 24. 26. 27. It is the shame of beleeuers, that they haue not tryed his promise, they haue asked in a [Page 213] manner nothing of God all this while.

7. Christ will be made maruellous in al them that beleeue at the day of Iudgement: then shall our Faith be found vn­to praise, and honour, and glory in that day of the Reuelati­on of Iesus Christ, 2. Thes. 1. 10. 1. Pet. 1. 7.

8. Wee shall not perish, but haue euerlasting life: Wee shall be as sure of it, as if wee had it already, Iohn 3. 16. 36. & 6. 40. 47. Christ auoucheth it with an Asseueration, wee shall not misse of it.

Thus much may suffice for this point of beleeuing in Christ: if any be desirous to know whether they doe beleeue or not, let them seriously examine themselues by the doctrine of the nature of Faith in Iesus before handled. Onely I thought good to tell certaine of you that frequent this assemblie, that you are not beleeuers in Iesus, all your shewes notwithstanding: In spe­ciall, I meane it of those of you that wilfully persist in your offensiue, and strange apparell, and fashioning your selues after this world: I proue by two Arguments among many, you are not true beleeuers: first, because you receiue honour one from another, and seeke not the honour that comes from God. Your continuall care is to feede your humour of greatnesse, and to be accepted of the great ones, and braue ones, and vaine ones of the Cittie or Countrey: Our Sauiour himselfe askes you, how you can beleeue, yea, he determines it of such, as so affect the honour of men that they cannot beleeue in him, Ioh. 5. 44. secondly, you will be reiected at the day of Iudgement as no beleeuers, because our testimonie was not receiued, ye are wiser then any seuen of vs, that giue you reasons against your vaine attire: you receiue the Testimonie of vaine men against our doctrine, though you haue bin often and generally repro­ued in our doctrine, though you haue bin often and generally reproued in our publique Ministeries in the presence of God, yet by following your foolish vanities, you still forsake your owne mercie, 2. Thes. 1. 10.

Now I come to the particular opening of these Articles: where first, we are to consider of the Titles giuen to our Saui­our, which are foure, Iesus, Christ, the Sonne of God, and our Lord. The first Title is his proper name, the second and [Page 214] last expresse his Office, and the third expresseth his Nature. The Titles are both simple and Relatiue: simple Titles are Iesus and Christ, which shew what he is in himselfe: the other two are Relatiue, for in Relation to God, hee is his onely begotten Sonne, and in Relation to vs, he is our Lord: but this diuisi­on must not bee too much pressed, for it is not very exact, though vsed by some Diuines. That Iesus is his proper name is manifest, but whether Christ be his Syrname, as some think may iustly bee doubted, because it seemes rather a Title of Office, as King, Duke, or Earle are amongst men, which are no Syrnames.

And in Iesus.

COncerning this Title of Iesus, diuers things are to bee considered:

1. The Etymologie of it, It comes of an Hebrew roote, and signifies a Sauiour, and is the same name with Ioshuah and Iehoshuah: and it may well be, that he had an Hebrew name to signifie that he was a Sauiour of the Iewes, and hee had a Greeke name Christ, to signifie the interest the Greci­ans or Gentiles had in him.

2. Who gaue him this Name: Hee did not assume it to himselfe though knowing the end of his comming, and the fulnesse of his sufficiencie he might haue done it, neither was it put vpon him by men, who giue names either casually without respect of signification; or else when they giue good significant names, there is a contradiction betweene their names and their liues: but an Angell was sent from Hea­uen with great solemnity to appoint and impose his Name before he was borne, Luke 1. 26. and hee talketh with the Virgin about it: as an euill Angell talked with the woman about our perdition, so heere a good Angell talkes with the Virgin about our Saluation.

3. Why was he called Iesus? Answer, this Name Iesus or a [Page 215] Sauiour agrees to m [...]ntso fitly as to Christ: hee onely de­serues to be so called:

1. Because his worke is to saue his people, Matthew 1. 21.

2. Because there is no other Sauiour but he: hee alone sa­ueth them: there is no other Name in Heauen and Earth by which we can be saued, Acts 4. 12. Rom. 5. 17.

3. Because he saues from sinnes which no man can doe: to deliuer from diseases of the body, Physitians may; or from thraldome and outward seruitude, great Princes, or com­manders may; but to saue the soule and from sinne, none but Christ can, Mat. 1. 21. And to saue from sinne is the greater worke, because it cannot bee done, vnlesse Gods Iustice be satisfied, and mans nature recouered, and the di­uels conquered, and the world ouercome, &c.

4. Because he can ransome and redeeme dead men, Rom. 8. 2. 11.

5. Because he saues by such a price; he redeemes, by dy­ing, by shedding his owne bloud, who also is more then man: to saue vs he destroyes himselfe, Gal. 3. 13. Heb. 2. 9, 10. & 13. 12.

6. Because he is a perfect Sauiour, he will by degrees de­liuer his people from the guilt of sinne, and the power of it, and the effects of it, so as at the last they shall be freed from all sinne and miserie for euer: He makes Attonement for all sinnes, 1. Iohn 1. 7. not for one onely, and vndertakes to pay all our debts, and to heale all our diseases, and at the last day will free vs from all sorrowes, sicknesse, sin, death, and all misery whatsoeuer.

7. Because he is an eternall Sauiour: hee doth not saue such as liued in one age onely, but hee saueth all that come to him in euery Age, Heb. 7. 25. & 13. 8.

8. Because he is a generall Sauiour, not of Iewes onely, but of Gentiles also, Rom. 3. 25. Hee is the Lambe of God that taketh away the sinnes of the world, Iohn 1.

9. Because hee doth all this worke of Saluation by one offering of himselfe: hee did it at once for all Ages, Heb. 10. 14.

[Page 216] 10. Because his Redeemed ones, shall neuer bee in bon­dage againe.

11. Because he giues such preferment to all his Redeemed ones as neuer Conquerour did or was able to giue. Hee makes them all Sonnes of God, Heires, coheires with him­selfe, and giues them all eternall life: which will best ap­peare at the last day, Colos. 3. 3. 4. Rom. 5. 17. & 6. 23. Reuel. 19. 10.

The Vse should be especially for instruction, and so in many things.

1. This should be tidings of great Ioy, that there is a Iesus, a Sauiour, such a Sauiour. This word Iesus is a short Gos­pell, euen the substance of all good newes, Acts 8. 35. our hearts should reioyce, and our tongues should be glad, Acts 2. 26. 22. Yea, our whole liues should bee filled with glad­nes, and thankefulnesse that haue such a Sauiour, that saues not from the Turke, but from the diuell, that pacifies not the wrath of a mortall man, but of the Immortall God, that payes all our debts, that ouercomes all our enemies, that saues not our bodies onely from sicknesse, but our soules also from sinne.

2. We should especially looke to it, that we faile not of Sal­uation by Iesus, but labour to be such, as he may be Iesus to vs, and so three things are necessarie.

1. That we should seeke vnto him for our ransome, and healing, and Saluation, and desire to know nothing but the Lord Iesus onely, 1. Cor. 2. 2.

2. That wee beleeue in his Name: this is Gods precepto­rie Commandement, or wee shall haue no part in Iesus, 1. Iohn 3. 23.

3. That if we would haue him saue vs from our sinnes, that they damne vs not, we must then repent and conuert from our sinnes, if we would haue God to blesse vs in Iesus, Acts 2. 19. & 13. 23. 24. Gal. 5. 6. Ephesians 4. 21. 2. Thes. 3. 6. Iude 4.

3. Wee should shew that wee are saued by Iesus, by liuing so as may become this Doctrine: and so wee should shew it.

[Page 217] 1. By acknowledging his supremacie and sufficiencie, a­gainst all the Popes, Papists, and diuells in the world: wee should magnifie his Name aboue all Names, Acts 19. 17. 1. Cor. 12. 3.

2. By louing the Lord Iesus aboue all things: accounting all things but losse and dung in comparison of the know­ledge of him, 1. Pet. 1. 9. Phil. 3. 8. longing for his appea­ring, and praying daily that the Lord Iesus would come, Reuel. 22. 1. Thes. 1. 10.

3. By liuing to him: spending our daies in his seruice, and as may become the honour of such a Sauiour, 1. Thes. 4. 1. doing all things in his name, Colos. 3. 17. and seeking his glory more then our owne things, Phil. 3. 20. we should set him alwaies before vs, Acts 2. 22. 25.

4. By hauing no confidence in the flesh, but placing all our ioy and trust in Iesus, Phil. 3. 3.

5. By willing suffering any thing for Iesus sake: Yea, our liues should not bee deare to vs to confirme the testimonie of Iesus, Acts 5. 41. & 20. 24. & 21. 13. 2. Cor. 4. 11. Reu. 12.

6. By liuing louingly, and with vnity amongst our selues: Paul beseecheth them by this Name Iesus, that there should be no diuisions amongst them, especially in matters of Reli­gion: for Iesus is a Sauiour alone, and hee cannot bee diui­ded, 1. Cor. 1. 10.

7. By shewing all Faith and Hope in the expectation of the Resurrection of our bodies, and Saluation of our soules.

Finally, this explication of the Name of Iesus may shew, diuers sorts of men know not Iesus: as,

1. The Man of sinne that vndertakes by his owne power, to deliuer the people from their sinnes, by giuing them par­dons, or by appointing them intercessors, or by prescribing them waies of satisfaction for their sinnes, and all besides Iesus.

2. All such as do not see themselues to be lost, and so to need a Sauiour.

3. All such as liue in their sinnes without repentance: for that [Page 218] shewes that Iesus hath not saued them from their sinnes, Iude 4.

4. All that dispaire vnder the burthen of their sins.

5. All that will not bow at the Name of Iesus. First, that will not by sound subiection and obedience, yeeld them­selues to be gouerned by Iesus Christ, and by his ordinan­ces, Phil. 2. 11. 'tis not bowing their legges will serue the turne.

6. All such persons in generall as doe things contrary to the Name of Iesus, by opposing that good way of Saluation in Iesus, Acts 26. 9.

Thus of the first Title.

Christ.] His second Title is Christ: Where I consider, first, of the terme, and then of the things signified by the terme.

About the terme diuers things are to be considered:

1. The signification: Christ is a Greeke word, and signi­fies Anointed, and is the same in sense with the Hebrew word Messiah, which also signifies Anointed.

2. Why in the New Testament, and so in our Creed, hee is called rather Christ by a Greeke terme, then Messiah which was the antient, and Hebrew terme? And that may bee to signifie the interest of the Gentiles: for as Iesus an Hebrew name shewes the Right of the Iewes: so Christ a Greeke name shewes the Right of the Gentiles, both meeting in one Mediator betweene God and all sorts of men.

3. The necessity of taking in this Title into our Creed: for the Iewes willingly acknowledged this Title of Iesus, Iohn 6. 24. but excommunicated out of their Synagogues any that would openly acknowledge this Title of Christ, Iohn 9. and therefore it stands vs vpon to hold fast this Title.

4. It must bee noted, that in the fift Application of this terme, it must not onely be annexed to Iesus, Acts 2. 36. Luke 2. 26. 27. but it must be vnderstood, as if it were read the Christ; the terme of Christ as Anointed may be giuen to other men, as Dauid was Christ or Anointed, so are Kings Gods Anointed, but none was the Christ, but Iesus of Nazareth.

[Page 219] Thus of the terme Christ: The thing signified is his A­nointing, and about the Anointing of Iesus diuers things are to be considered:

1. Who Anointed him: (viz.) the Spirit of the Lord, or the whole Trinity, Esay 61. 1.

2. What his Anointing comprehends, (viz) the substance of all that which was signified by the Oyle in the Ceremo­niall Law, especially the Oyle with which the high Priest was Anointed: for thereby was shadowed,

1. That hee was certainely the person was chosen to the Office of a Mediator, for as the powring out of the Oyle did shew which was the Man, that was the Priest or King: so the Anointing of Iesus did shew, that hee was the person chosen for this great worke.

2. That he had his ordination to his Office from God: for the Oyle in the Law, was prescribed by God onely, no creature did prescribe it, or might make the like, Exod. 30. 33. 37.

3. That he was qualified with abundance of grace and fit­nesse for his Office: as that Oyle was compounded of di­uers spices, Exod. 30. 34. so was Christ indued with all sorts of gifts needfull for a Mediator: He was full of grace and truth, Iohn 1. 14. and hee had of the Oyle aboue his fel­lowes, neuer any Anointed with such a measure of graces; God gaue not him the Spirit by measure, Iohn 3. 34. Psal. 45. 7. Acts 10. 38.

4. That he did execute the Office of Mediator with vn­speakable gladnesse and willingnesse. Neuer man did worke so willingly. It was the Oyle of gladnesse hee was Anoin­ted withall, Psal. 45. 7.

5. That the gifts bestowed vpon him, were such as were agreeable to his humane nature, for the Oyle consisted of earthly substance, his humane nature was not endowed with the essentiall properties of the God-head, but with created qualities.

6. That Iesus should be acceptable to God and man: he was a sweet smelling sauour vnto God: and no perfume can smell so sweet in the nostrills of men, as doth Iesus in the [Page 220] hearts of all beleeuers: nothing sauours so sweetely.

7. That our persons and workes are made acceptable to God by him, As the Oyle did not onely wet Aarons head but ranne downe vpon his garments: so Christ is qualified with those rich graces, not onely to make himselfe accepta­ble to God, but all his members smell of his Oyle in the sight of God: Wee are (saith the Apostle) a sweet sauour vnto God in Iesus Christ, Psal. 133. 2. Cor. 2. 16. wee haue receiued of his Anointing, 1. Iohn 2. 27.

The third thing is, to which nature this Anointing be­longs? For answer it belongs to the whole Person, and so to both Natures. Christ is Mediator, and so Anointed in respect of his Person: for, Anointing comprehending especially ordi­nation to the Office and qualification for it, though in respect of the latter, the humane Nature was richly adorned as a sump­tuous Palace for the diuine nature to dwell in, and the diuine Nature could not need any pouring out of gifts, yet in respect of ordination to the worke of Mediator, the diuine Nature is assigned of God and chosen thereunto aswell as the humane.

The fourth thing is, to what he was Anointed, or to what Office? I answer, hee was Anointed to bee all that which the Ceremoniall Anointing did signifie. Now three sorts of men were Anointed, Priests and Kings ordinarily, and the Prophet Elizeus extraordinarily; which shadowed out, that the Messi­as should be both the Prophet, the Priest, and the King of the Church, and to all these three was he called: and accordingly qualified with three especiall gifts, Wisedome, Holinesse, and Power: Wisedome fits him for his propheticall Office, and holinesse for his Priestly Office, and Power for his regall Office: and so he answers to three things in our misery: The first is our ignorance, the second is the corruptions & disorder of our liues, the third is the guiltinesse, by which we are lyable to eternall punishment: our ignorance hee takes away as a Prophet, our guiltinesse as a Priest, and our corruption and disorder as a King bringing vs into order.

His worke then is threefold, to be a Prophet to the Church, a Priest and a King: his work as Prophet is to teach the Church all needfull knowledges: His worke as Priest, is to make sa­tisfaction [Page 221] for the sinnes of the Elect: His worke as a King is to gather and rule the Church.

First then, he is Anointed a Prophet to the Church, and his worke is to teach, and about his prophecying or teaching wee haue many things to inquire of: as,

1. What he treats of in his teaching: and so his worke is to interpret the Law of God, as we may see, Mat. 5. and to publish the Gospell, or the new Couenant, Esay 61. 1. and to foretell things to come, as we may see, Mat. 24. and in o­ther places.

2. How he executed his teaching: and that is diuers waies: as, 1. By visions and dreames, and so hee reuealed much doctrine in the Old Testament: 2. By Oracle, an­swering at the mercy Seat, or by Vrim and Thummim. 3. By Types and ceremoniall shadowes. 4. By inspiration qualifying certaine choice men to write the Scriptures. 5. In his owne person hee came and preached vnto men, Heb. 1. 1. 6. By the ministery of his seruants, whom hee sends to teach the people of God, whether extraordinarily, as Prophets and Apostles, or ordinarily, as Pastors and Teachers. Now our Sauiour is said to prophesie in these mens ministeries; First, because it is he that ordaines and sends them, and calls them to the worke of teaching, Ephes. 4. 11, 12. Secondly, because they receiue from him commande­ment what to teach, and must teach onely what hee commands them, Mat. 28. vlt. Tit. 1. [...]. Thirdly, because hee qualifies them with gifts, and makes them able to teach: they haue nothing but what they receiued: and it is hee that speaketh in their mouthes, they doe all they doe by the power of Christ dwelling in them, Eccles. 12. 11. Fourth­ly because whatsoeuer comfort they promise to the god­ly out of his Word, and whatsoeuer threatnings they de­nounce against the wicked, hee will accomplish it, as if it had beene vttered by himselfe: and therefore is their mi­nistery called Prophecying, because deriued out of the Fountaine of Christs Prophesies.

3. The third thing is, how he is qualified for the execution of his office in teaching, either in his owne Person or by his [Page 222] Messengers? And of that the Scripture testifieth that all trea­sures of wisdome and knowledge are in him, Col. 2. 3. Yea, they are in him as the first fountaine: for the originall of all knowledge in the mystery of God and godlinesse is from him, who is the Word and wisdome of the Father: No man knowes the Father but the Sonne, and he to whom the Sonne will reueile him, Mat. 11. 27. Iohn 1. 18. Hee onely hath the Originall words of eternall life, Iohn 6. 68.

The fourth thing is the excellency of his manner of tea­ching, for,

1 He teacheth all the Elect of God: they are all taught of God, Ioh. 6. 45. Esay 54. 13. Neuer any Teacher had so many Schollers.

2 He is a Teacher come from God. Hee commeth from a­boue, and therefore is aboue all, he speaketh the very words of God: the wisdome hee teacheth is from aboue, all hea­uenly and spirituall, Ioh. 3. 31, 34.

3 He teacheth vs the good way, there is no error, no vn­righteousnesse, no peruersenesse, we may safely rest vpon any thing he teacheth, Prou. 8. Psal. 119. 66.

4 He teacheth by efficacy as well as by Doctrine: other men may deliuer good Doctrine, but they cannot make it effectuall: but he teacheth with power, hee can make the Doctrine worke vpon the deadest hearts of men: Hee can make the dead heare his voice, and liue, Ioh. 5. 25. He tea­cheth in wardly as well as outwardly.

5 He teacheth freely. He giueth all the Elect their teaching: I haue giuen them the words thou gauest mee, saith hee to his Father, Ioh. 17. 8.

6 He teacheth with wonderfull compassion: Hee knoweth how to haue compassion on the ignorant, and such as are out of the way: Hee is in his teaching an euerlasting Fa­ther, Heb 5. 2. Esay 19. 6. Iohn 10. 11. Esay 40. 11.

7 He teacheth men from their youth till their old age, which no other teachers doe, Psal. 71. 17.

8 He teacheth his Schollers all things: other Teachers teach them but in some one or few particular kindes of know­ledge; but he instructs them in all things needfull for their [Page 223] happinesse: what he knowes himself that may be profitable for them, he teacheth it to them, Ioh. 15. 15.

9 He teacheth with wonderfull euidence and shining glory: his teaching rauisheth the hearts of men aboue all things: at his teaching, we all behold with open face, as in a mirror, the glory of the Lord, 2 Cor. 3. 18.

10 Hee teacheth confidently; euery word is faithfull and true, no Doctrine is so sure, and all hee saith is deliuered without any doubting, Reuel. 3. 14.

The Vse of the Doctrine of the Prophesie of Christ may be diuers.

First, seeing Christ is giuen as the Prophet and onely Law­giuer of the Church, we may thence be informed of the wic­kednesse, of the presumption of the man of sin, that brings in a world of traditions to bind mens consciences in them to wor­ship God: Wee know no Prophet that hath power to teach otherwise then is written. Let that Sonne of perdition shew vs his anointing, if he will haue vs beleeue him, Gal. 1. 8. Deut. 4. 1, 2. Iam. 4. [...].

Secondly, we must hence learne diuers Lessons.

1 To make the more account of prophecying, to esteeme the Ministers of the Gospell the more, because Christ tea­cheth by them, and executeth his prophecying by their mi­nisteries: yea, it should make vs loue the house of God the more, and long to be going vp to it, and call one vpon a­nother, because the Lord Iesus Christ doth teach vs there, Esay 2. 3. 1 Thes. 5. 20. 1 Cor. 4. 1. 2. Yea, though wee did eat the bread of affliction, yet if God restraine not our tea­chers we should reioyce in our portion, Esay 30. 20.

2 We must not esteeme of any man aboue what is written, 1 Cor. 4. 6. nor call any man Doctor or Rabbi on earth, because one is our Teacher, euen Christ, Mat. 23. 8, 10. We must reckon of our Teachers as the Ambassadors of Christ, but withall, take heede that wee remember to giue the chiefe glory to Christ, for they haue nothing but what they haue receiued from him.

3 And chiefly, we must consecrate our selues to the hearing of Christ, he that hath eares to heare let him heare, Mar. 4. [Page 224] Deut. 18, 19. God the Father hath from Heauen charged vs with this duty as the chiefe thing, that we should heare him, Mat. 17. 5. but it is not enough barely to heare him, but we must labour to bee such, as hee requires his Schollers should bee: for there bee diuers things Christ stands vpon in his Schollers. He will not teach them, hee doth not account them any part of his charge, vnlesse they bee such as he describes, and requires them to bee. Thus then is the question, What doth Christ require in such as he will vndertake to teach? Answ. Diuers things: as

1 They must not be conceited of their owne wit and lear­ning, and reason, but must deny themselues, and become fooles that they may be wise. He cannot abide such as are wise in their owne conceit, and will teach their Teachers. His Schollers must be poore in spirit, such as trust to no­thing of their owne, but will thinke and belieue onely what Christ tells them, Esay 61. 1. 1 Cor. 3. 8. Yea, they must be such as will declare their wayes to him, that is, such as will confesse how ignorant and foolish they are and hane beene, Psal. 119. 26.

2 They must be such as will attend dayly at the Schoole doore, at the gates of wisdome, Prou. 8. 34. They must be constant hearers, not such as will play the Truants, or come to be taught but now and then, but they must bee such as will be present as often as Christ shall reade: not like those that heard him and maruelled, and went their way and left him, Mat. 22.

3 They must be such as are broken in heart, and wounded in Spirit for their sinnes: for he was sent to preach the Gospell to them that are broken in heart: such as be­waile their sinnes, and know no sorrowes greater then for their sinnes, these are such as Christ desires to teach, and will powerfully instruct, Esay 61. 1. CHRIST sends the rich and such as are hard hearted by whole skores empty away, he will not teach them, as we see by dayly experience from Sabbath to Sabbath; when multitudes come to Church he doth speake to the hearts but of a ve­ry few, the rest he turnes away to goe as they came.

[Page 225] 4 His Schollers must be meeke, that is, they must bring him a heart free from passions and worldly perturbati­ons, and pride; for he saith, he will teach the meeke and humble his way: froward, peruerse, proud persons get little from Christs teaching, Psal. 25.

5 There must bee in his Schollers the contempt of the world soundly formed: for he will not sow among the Thornes. If mens hearts runne after their couetousnesse, or pleasures, or reputation with the world, they are not fit for Christ.

6 His Schollers must receiue his Word with an honest and good heart, that is, with a heart that is free from base wickednesse, and filthy lusts, and grosse sinnes, and doth loue and admire goodnesse and holinesse for-it selfe: and it is a heart that had rather get sound grace then great credit, striues more to be good, then to seeme so, Luk. 8. 15. such as will learne the truth as the truth is in Christ Iesus, Eph. 4.

7 He requires of his Schollers that they should receiue his Word with full assurance, and put that difference be­tweene his teaching and all others, as with all confidence to beleeue and rest vpon what he saith, Heb. 3. 6. 2 Pet. 1. 19.

8 They must keepe his words, and not let them runne out, or be taken away by the Deuill, and deuillish distracti­ons: they must be carefull to lay them vp in their hearts as in a Treasury, Luk. 8. 15.

9 They must hearken to doe it, Deut. 4. 1. He lookes that his Schollers should shew their learning by their pra­ctice, and hearken to this end to get skill to doe what he teacheth them. Yea, they must doe according to all that he teacheth them, Mat. 28. vlt. and they must bring forth fruit with patience, they must not thinke much to endure, what may befall them from the Deuill or the world, Luk. 8. 15.

10 He cannot abide such Schollers as will not increase in learning, but after they haue come to schoole many yeers, yet need to be taught their A. B. C. in religion againe, Heb. 5. 12.

[Page 226] 11 Hee requires his Schollers should teach others, that which they haue learned of him themselues: He so pro­phesies to them that hee makes them Prophets likewise to instruct the ignorant, admonish those that are out of order, comfort the weake, especially those of them, that haue any authority ouer others, that is, so many of them, as be Parents or Masters, or Rulers ouer others, Psal. 71. 17. Psal. 119. 27. 1 Thes. 5. 15. But withall he chargeth them, that they take heed of falling out one with ano­ther, or being masterly and imperious in teaching or iudging others, especially in giuing lawes to others in things doubtfull or indifferent, without the authority and warrant of Christ, Iam. 4. 11, 12. & 3. 1.

12 He will not haue his Schollers learne of any body, but of himselfe: he cannot abide they should be carried about with diuerse and strange doctrine, Heb. 13. 9.

Lastly, though he will teach freely, yet he expects from all his Schollers the freewill offrings of their mouthes, that is, praise and thankesgiuing, according as they finde their profiting by his teaching, Psal. 119. 108.

The Papists sinne against the Prophesie of Christ many wayes, as

1 In that they create such swarmes of Mas priests, and se­uerall orders of men, that either cannot or will not teach the Church.

2 In that they restraine knowledge from the people of God, by withholding the Scriptures and seruice of God from them in strange languages.

3 In setting vp stockes and stones, euen grauen Images, and tell the people, that they shall arise & teach them, Hab. 2. 19.

Thus of the Propheticall office of our Sauiour: His Priest-hood followes.

About the Priest-hood of Christ we may consider.

1 The Titles or names which are giuen to him in respect of that office, and so he is called the Lambe of God, Iohn 1. Our Passe-ouer, 1 Cor. 5. Sin, or an offering for sinne, 2 Cor 5. vlt. Romans 8. 3. An attonement and propitia­tion, Romans 3. 25. 1. Iohn 2. 2. An Aduocate, 1. Ioh. 2. 2.

[Page 227] 2. The places that proue that hee is indeed a Priest, Psal. 110. 4. Heb. 5. 10. & Chap. 7.

3. The difference between him and the Priests of the Law: for Christ is a Priest after the order of Melchisedech, Psal. 110. 4. they were Priests after the order of Leui: Their Priest-hood was Typicall, his was Real, Heb. 10. 1. Theirs were instituted by the Law of the carnall commandement without an oath, his was instituted by the law of the spiritual commandement with an oath, Heb. 7. 16. 20. 21. their Priesthood was ordained in the Old Testament, where the Church was in her nonage in bondage, but his in the time of the New Testament, when the Church was growne to be of yeares and free, Heb. 7. 28. There was difference also in the Person of the Priests: for those Priests were of the Tribe of Leui, men, infirme, mor­tall, sinners, that needed sacrifice for themselues: but Christ was of the Tribe of Iudah, infirme onely in the dayes of his flesh, but without all sinne both before and after his death, Heb. 5. 3. 7. & 7. 14. 28. besides Christ is Mediator of a better Testament then they were, Heb. 8. 6. & 9. 15. Their Priest-hood was to bee abrogated, his lasts for euer, Heb. 8. 13. Th [...]ir Priest-hood passed from Father to Sonne, but his abides alwaies in himselfe, without succession, Hebrewes 7. 3. 23. 24. 25. They were many and of different degrees, hee but one, Melchisedech but a Type to which hee is re­sembled, not a companion equall with him, Hebrewes 7. 23. Lastly, they executed their Priest-hood in earth onely, hee executes his Priest-hood in heauen also, (viz.) by Interces­sion, Heb. 9. 24.

4. The parts of his Priest-hood, are Sacrifice and Intercession, by Sacrifice he prayes for the sinnes of the Elect, to this end, to reconcile them to God, and to deliuer them from the power of the diuell: and this Sacrifice of our Sauiour ex­cells all the Ceremoniall Sacrifices: for they were but Types, this was the substance. They prepared the bodies of beasts, or other things, he prepared his owne body, yea, his very soule was made a sacrifice for sinne, as hee offered vp himselfe as a Sacrifice: for many sinnes they needed many sacrifices, but he by one sacrifice of himselfe makes Attone­ment [Page 228] for all the sinnes of the Elect: and that Sacrifice but once offered, whereas theirs were offered successiuely: and their sacrifices could not cleanse the conscience from sinne properly, nor pacifie God as many Scriptures testifie, where­as Christs Sacrifice of his owne body and bloud, doth fully pacifie God, and doth effectually purge the conscience from dead workes. Their sacrifices did not make the worship­pers more holy, Heb. 9. 13. 14. With the bloud of these sa­crifices, the very high Priest in the greatest solemnity could onely enter within the vaile of the Temple, but Christ by his bloud opens heauen, and that not onely once a yeare, but keepes it alwaies open, nor did Christ enter within the Vaile onely for himselfe, but hath left the way for vs, euen a liuing and lasting way for vs to get to heauen by vertue of his bloud, Heb. 10. 19. The second worke of our high-Priest, is Intercession, or to offer prayers, and so he made a threefold Intercession for vs. The one a little before his A­tachment: recorded, Iohn 17. The other in the very time of the Sacrifice, while it was hanged vp: of which is menti­on made, Luke 23. 34. The third, in the heauenly Sanctua­ry, as he sits at Gods right hand to make request for vs, Heb. 9. 24.

The Vse should be first for consolation and that in diuers re­spects:

1. Because God hath giuen vs such an excellent high▪Priest.

2. Because by his Priest-hood we obtaine such excellent be­nefits as the Scriptures shew, (viz.) from his sacrifice, Re­conciliation with God, 1. Pet. 3. 18. Rom. 8. 10. The ope­ning of the very Fountaine of grace, Zach. 13. 1. Forgiue­nesse of all our sinnes, Rom 3. 25. Iustification by his righte­ousnesse, Dan. 9 24. The taking away of all malediction and condemnation, and the merit of eternall life, Heb. 10. 19. and from his intercession, we receiue the obtaining of our prayers and suits at Gods hands, Reuel. 8. 3. 4. and the pou­ring out vpon vs the spirit of intercession, teaching vs, and helping vs to pray, Zach. 12. 12. Rom. 8. 26. and the perfu­ming of all our workes making them acceptable to God: & the non-suiting of all the Accusations of Sathan or euil men [Page 229] brought against vs, Romanes 8. 33. Iohn 17. 14. 15.

3. Because he hath made vs Priests also vnto God, by pou­ring out vpon vs of the Oyle of his Grace, Reuel. 1.

Secondly, the consideration of the Sacrifice and intercession of Christ should teach vs:

1. To take heed that wee dishonor not God through vnbe­liefe and dispaire.

2. That we liue as may become the glory of him, that hath bought vs at such a price, abhorring all filthinesse both of flesh and spirit, 1. Cor. 6. 20.

3. Seeing we are Priests, wee must offer those Sacrifices are inioyned vs, which are:

1. The Teares of contrition: or a broken heart, Psal. 51. 19.

2. Prayers and Thankesgiuing vnto God, Psal. 141. 2. Reuel. 5. 8. Heb. 13. 15.

3. Almes to the Poore, or Contribution to the distressed, Phil. 4. 18.

4. The giuing of our selues to our Teachers, to be wholy ruled by them: our soules so subiected are the sacrifice, and they offer them vp to God when they pray and giue thanks for vs, Rom. 15. 16.

5. Good workes, for these are sacrifices of righteousnesse; euery good worke is a Sacrifice, Psal. 4. 5.

But especially to giue our selues, soule and body to God; to let him doe with vs whatsoeuer he will, is the chiefe of Sacrifices, euen a whole burnt offering, when wee yeeld to obey God in all things without reseruing any thing to our selues, Rom. 12. 1.

Thus of his Anointing to the Priest▪hood: His Anointing to the Kingdome followes: where these things may bee di­stinctly obserued:

1. That the Church of God is not without a King, though he be not so visible to vs, as the Kings of the Earth are, Ier. 23. 5. Psal. 2. 6.

2. That Iesus of Nazareth is that King, Mat, 28. 18. Acts 2. 30. [...]3. 36. 1. Cor. 15. 25.

3. I [...] what things it may appeare that Christ is a King.

1. He hath the [...]es of a King: Yea, King of Kings, Reuel. 19. 16.

[Page 230] 2. He liues in the Maiesty and Glory of a King, he sits in the Throne of Glory, Psal. 45. He hath his Court in diuers pla­ces of the Earth where he is pleased to keepe house. The Sanctuarie is his Court. Hee is attended on as a King, hee hath thousands of Angels that waite about his Throne.

3. He hath the power of a King. All Power is giuen him in Heauen and Earth, Mat. 28. 18.

4. He giues Lawes like a King: He is the onely Lawgiuer of the Church, Iames 4. 12.

5. He Conquers like a King: who can recount the greatnes of his conquests in the conuersion of the Gentiles? And so he conquers daily in gathering men by his Word and Spi­rit out of the kingdome of darkenesse, into the kingdome of his grace here.

6. He gouernes like a King, prouiding for the welfare of the godly in all Ages, ruling all things by his owne power, and making them to worke together for the best to them that loue God.

7. He hath power of life and death as a King, and is appoin­ted of God, a Iudge both of quick and dead, Act. 10. 42. 2 Tim. 4. 1. Ier. 23. 5.

Fourthly, the excellencie of Christ the King aboue all other Kings, and so he excells:

1. In the preheminence of his Person: Other Kings are the sonnes of men, hee is the Sonne of God: Hee is better borne then any King. Whether we respect his Generation as God, or his Incarnation as man, for he was conceiued of the holy Ghost, and so had no sinne, and borne of a Virgin, not by the way of propagation as other Kings are borne. Hee had neither Father nor Mother, no Father as man, no Mother as God, Psal. 2. Luke 1. Heb. 7.

2. In the excellence of his gifts for gouernement. Neuer King so qualified, he is fairer then the children of men: and Anointed with the Oyle of grace and gifts aboue his fel­lowes, Psal. 45. He is the mighty God, an euerlasting Fa­ther, he is wonderfull for Wisedome and Counfell, a Prince of Peace, that knowes how to keepe the gouernment vpon [Page 231] his owne shoulders, Esay 9. 6. and being now glorified in Heauen, hath laid downe, all humane infirmities, and is glo­rified in his humane Nature with all degrees of heauenly gifts can befall a created Nature.

3. In the manner of his calling to the Kingdome: Hee was called and set vp immediately by God himselfe: All o­ther Kings are Anointed and called by men, Psal. 2. 6.

4. In the manner of getting his subiects: other Kings haue their Subiects deliuered to them so soone as they are crow­ned or proclaimed, but Christ gets all his Subiects by Con­quest: euery one of them is gathered out of the kingdome of darkenesse, by his power in their effectuall vocation.

5. In respect of his independencie and allsufficiencie: Other Kings are maintained by their Subiects, from whom they receiue tribute, and Subsedies and the like: But Christ is no way supported, or maintained by his Subiects, but doth support and maintaine them, Esay 9. 7.

6. In the extent of his kingdome, he is a King vniuersall: He is King of all the Earth. The greatest King that euer was, was reiected by many Nations, that neuer acknow­ledged his supremacie: there were many parts of this world, which Alexander and Caesar neuer saw, much lesse sub­dued: Yea, he is a King ouer such creatures as neuer mor­tall man ruled: for he is Head of principalities and powers: The Angels worship him, Dan. 7. 14. Phil. 2. 11. Colos 2. 9. Psal. 2. 8. All other Kings hold of him, as being King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. Reuel. 19. 16.

7. He excells all other Kings in his Conquests: Hee hath conquered such enemies, as all the Kings of the Earth could not subdue, he conquered sinne and death, and the diuells of Hell: he hath spoyled principalities and powers, Colos. 2. 15. 1. Cor. 15. 51. and accordingly hath had such a Try­umph, when he ascended into Heauen, and led captiuity captiue, as neuer Conquerour had: for neuer Conquerour rid into so glorious a place as Heauen, nor shewed such captiues as the diuells were, nor performed their victories by their owne power, whereas hee conquered alone, there was no Army, nay, no man to helpe him.

[Page 232] 8. He excells them in his hous keeping: He entertaines all Nations, Esay 25. He keepes thousands of Courts all open at once: And his prouisions are far more precious then the pro­uisions of the Kings of the Earth: He feeds his guests with the bread of Angels, euen with the bread of life, with such food as whosoeuer eates of it, shall neuer hunger more: and he hath better attendance, for he is waited on by thousand thousands of Angels, which are continually about his Throne.

9. Hee gouernes by better lawes then the kings of Earth doe: and his lawes are better in diuers respects: for first, they be all of his owne making: they make their lawes by the Assistance of their Counsell or their Parliaments, Iames 4. 12. secondly, his Lawes are written by himselfe in the hearts of his Subiects, wheras other Kings can write them no where, but in paper, or parchment, or stone at the best, Ier. 31. 33. thirdly, his Lawes are more perfect, there is no defect in them, they are able to make all his Subiects abso­lute to euery good word and worke, 1. Tim. 3. 17. 18. Psal. 19. fourthly, together with his Lawes he giues his spirit to make his subiects able and willing to keepe them, Ezek. 36. 27.

10. In the power of his Prerogatiue: for God hath giuen all things into his hands: hee may dispose of the persons, liues, goods, good names, and posterities of his Subjects ac­cording to his owne will, Ioh. 13. 3. which other kings with­out horrible tyrannie cannot doe.

11. In his distributing of Iustice: and so both towards his owne seruants, and towards the rebellious, and his enemies: Towards his owne seruants hee can pardon not onely the Punishment, but the offence too, and can giue such rewards as earthly kings cannot giue. And towards his enemies or the rebellious, he can inflict punishment vpon their hearts and consciences, which other kings cannot doe; and he can and will iudge all offenders, not such as offend in capitall crimes onely, and iudgeth with more Righteousnesse then was euer found in any mortall Tribunall.

12. In the Nature of his kingdome: His Kingdome is [Page 233] not of this world, but spirituall, as hauing authority ouer the spirits of men, which other Princes haue not, and go­uerning by spirituall meanes, and in spirituall, and eternall things, the wealth of his Subjects consisting in eternall and spirituall things.

13. He is a King Immortall, he cannot die, hee liues euer to prouide for the wealth of his Subjects, and to reward his seruants, which is not true of the best kings on earth, who are all mortall, if they were neuer so great or glorious. Of his kingdome there is no end, it is euerlasting, 1. Tim. 1. 17. Luke 1. 33. Dan. 2. 45. & 7. 14.

The Vse of this may be:

First, for Consolation, All the children of Sion may reioyce in their king, Psal. 149. 2. and that not onely if they consider his glory in all the former praises, but if they consider their owne happinesse vnder him; for all the Subiects of this King may dwell safely, and inioy a quiet habitation: No Subiects haue so much reason to thinke themselues safe as his Subiects, Isay 33. 20. 21. 25. Ier. 23. 5. 6. Ezek. 34. 25. and besides, they trade for better wealth vnder his gouernement then all the Treasures of the world are worth. And further, there was neuer any King did loue his Subiects so affectionately as Iesus doth his people, Zeph. 3. 17. and in his Kingdome poore men may get preferment aswell as rich men, yea, the highest dignities may be obtained by them aswell as by the greatest, Mat. 5. 3. Adde to these that all his Subiects are Sonnes, Rom. 9. 25. 26. and he makes them all Kings too, they are Royall all the Nation of them, 1. Pet. 2. 9. they are the Princes of the peo­ple, euen all the people of the God of Abraham, Psal. 47. 9. Reuel. 1. 8. 6. Rom. 5. 17.

All these things should much check and reproue that dis­contentment is too often found in some of Gods children, that fret at the wicked, or are impatient at their owne estates; what is there no King in Sion? or is it no priuiledge to them that the first Dominion is come vnto them, Micah 4. 9.

Secondly, for Instruction, and that both to all Christians in generall, and to the Kings and great men of the Earth in par­ticular:

[Page 234] 1. All sorts of true Christians should learne from hence:

1. To pray that God would open their eyes to see the glo­ry of Christs Kingdome, aswell as we discerne the preroga­tiues and glory of earthly Kings: and the rather, because Christ doth so farre exceed them in glory, Ephesians 1. 17. to the end.

2. To ascribe all praise and glory to his Kingdome, to talke of the praise, and receiue of his greatnesse, Psal. 47. 6. 7. Reuel. 5. 12, 13, 14. Psal. 145. 10, 11. Mat. 11. 10.

3. To pray that his Kingdome may come more and more: especially now that we see that the Nations are moued, and he seemes to be going about to inlarge his Dominions, and to pull downe the Kingdome of Antichrist.

4. To endeuour to carrie themselues as may become their Relation to Christ, either as his Subiects, or as made Kings by him; as his Subiects they should consider that it behoues them:

1. To study the Mysteries of his Kingdome, Mat. 13. 11.

2. To send their Lambe to the Ruler of the whole earth, Esay 16. 1. to doe their Homage, and to acknowledge their King.

3. To bow at the Name of Iesus, Phil. 2. 11. making of legges will not serue the turne, they must bee subiect with all feare, and reuerence, and submit themselues to his will.

4. To shew themselues sensible of his dishonor, and not bee silent or carelesse when they heare their King abused.

5. To shew all meekenesse and patience: for their King though he be a great King, yet is meeke and humble, Mat. 21. 5.

6. To obserue whatsoeuer he commands, Mat. 28. vlt. prouing themselues to be his subiects by fearing to displease him in any thing, Hosea 3. 5.

7. To seeke to him in all our necessities, seeing hee is so highly exalted and able to helpe vs, and delights to receiue petitions from his Subiects. And in asmuch as we partake [Page 235] of his holy Oyle also, and are by him made Kings vnto God, wee should shew our selues to the world as spirituall Kings: and that, first, by subduing our owne passions, lusts, inordinate desires, carnall reason, maintaining continuall warre against the remainders of corruption in our natures. He is a King indeed, that can rule ouer his owne perturba­tions: secondly, by shewing our selues resolute, not to bee brought in bondage by the diuell or the world, by the Baits of profit or pleasure, or by the inforcements of scorne, threatning, or punishment; we should let the world know, they should assoone conquer the kings of the earth, as win vs from our sincerity and fidelity to Iesus Christ: thirdly, by our conuersation in heauen, wee should alwaies order our liues, as if wee were presently to bee Crowned in Heauen.

Lastly, such as are Kings, Rulers, or Gouernors ouer o­thers, should hence learne with feare and trembling to con­fesse the glory of Christ, and acknowledge that they haue their Scepters, and Authority from Iesus Christ, and accor­dingly reckon their kingdomes on earth to be but as places of seruice, in which they doe the worke which Iesus requi­reth of them, Psal. 2. 11.

IOHN 1. 14.‘And we beheld his glory, as the glory of the onely begotten of the Father.’

His onely Sonne.]

HItherto of the Titles, Iesus and Christ: now followes the third Title, and so our Redeemer is called Gods onely Sonne. About which ground of Faith, wee haue these things to consider:

1. The Proofes that Iesus Christ is the Sonne of God: for to [Page 236] beleeue God hath a Sonne is not inough, we must beleeue that Iesus Christ is that Sonne of God, Psal. 2. 7. compa­red with Heb. 1. 5. Ioh. 10. 36. Mat. 16. 16. Rom. 1. 3. Iohn 9. 35.

2. What kinde of Sonne Christ is to God; God hath many Sonnes, some by Grace, and one by Nature. The sorts of sonnes which God hath by Grace, see in the explication of the terme Father, in the first Article of the Creed. But Christ is his naturall Sonne, because God the Father did commu­nicate to him his owne nature, so as he is by nature the Son of God: he is the begotten Sonne of God, because he recei­ued his Fathers Nature by Generation. He is the first begot­ten Sonne of God, so called in Scripture, because hee hath the right of the first-borne ouer his brethren, and was be­gotten before the world was: he is the onely begotten Son of God, because by Generation God hath no other Sonnes but he.

3. In what Nature Christ is the onely Sonne of God. It may be conceiued, that he is so in respect of his humane Nature, for no other Sonnes of God were conceiued of the holy Ghost, or borne of a Virgin, but hee onely: but wee must vnderstand, that Christ in his Incarnation hath the same Nature with vs, it differs onely, in the manner of receiuing it: Now he is called the onely Son, from the nature which hee receiues from the Father, and he onely, and so he is the onely Sonne of God, as he is the second Person in the Tri­nity, and in respect of the manner of receiuing his diuine Nature. This is mightily opposed by the antient and mo­derne Arians, who striue vehemently to carrie it, that hee is called in Scripture the Sonne of God onely as he is man, and that God hath no Son that was before Iesus was borne, or conceiued. Now to establish our Faith against their He­resie, we should often thinke of these Scriptures, where mention is made of a Sonne of God before Iesus was borne, or was greater then man could be: as Iohn 3. 16. God sent his Sonne into the world: and God had a Sonne, by whom he made the world, Heb. 1. 2. Colos. 1. 16. God had a Sonne of whom it was said that hee onely reuealed the Father, [Page 237] Mat. 11. 27. now either he was, before he was incarnate, or else the Church in the Old Testament, knew not God the Father: and vnto the Sonne he saith, Thy Throne O God is for euer and euer: then he had a Sonne was God as well as man, Heb. 1. 8. besides it is cleare, he had many brethren as man, Heb. 2. 12. and therefore as man could not bee the onely Sonne.

4. How he was begotten? To this question a perfect answer cannot bee giuen by vs in this mortality, Pro. 30. 4. It is a Mystery exceeds all mortall capacity. Yet the Lord is plea­sed to let fall certaine similitudes in Scriptures, that giue vs some glimpse of it: as when Christ is called the Wisedome or Word of his Father, Pro. 8. Iohn. 1. thereby we gather, that as the soule begets reason, or the word that is after­wards to be vttered, beget I say, within it selfe without ioy­ning with any other creature; so doth God as an eternall minde beget his Sonne in himselfe: so when Christ is called the brightnesse of his Fathers glory, it imports, that as shi­ning is begotten of the Sun, so is Christ of the Father, Heb. 1. 3. So when Christ is called the Character or Image of his Fathers person, is imported, that as the print of the seale is set vpon waxe, and doth resemble it perfectly, without loo­sing any part of the seale; so doth God communicate his whole Nature to his Sonne, without loosing any thing from himselfe, Heb. 1. 3. And as the minde of man begets an Image of what it conceiues, so God that eternall minde, when hee conceiued of himself, he begat that Image of himself, which we call the Sonne of God, perfectly resembling the Father. See in the Notes vpon that word (Father) in the first Ar­ticle of the Creed, seauen things, wherein this eternall gene­neration of Gods Son is vnlike to our generation by earthly parents.

5. Why our Redeemer needed to be the Son of God aswell as the Son of Man: It was requisite he should be the Son of God for diuers reasons: first, because there must be a pro­portion betweene the sinne of man, and the punishment due to his sinne, and the satisfaction made to God for the sinne and punishment due. Now mans sinne being infinite, as in [Page 238] other respects, so because it was committed against God, who is infinite, his punishment must be infinite also: Now no finite creature, can performe an infinite satisfaction in a finite time, and therefore it was requisite hee should be in­finite in person that suffered, which as man he was not: se­condly, the benefits necessarie for vs require that the Media­tor should be God: for to deliuer man from spirituall ene­mies, sinne and Sathan, and to restore to man the Image of God lost, to performe by one, a Righteousnesse able to iustifie many, could not bee done by any one meere man. Nor can any one mans righteousnesse deserue the opening of the Kingdome of Heauen for many men: thirdly, he that must mediate betweene God and man, had need to be God, to treat with God in things that concerne him, and man to treat with man in the things that concerne man. And as it was a way most necessary, so, was it most comely: who fitter to make vs sonnes of God by Adoption, then he that was the Sonne of God by Nature: and who fitter to restore the Image of God in vs, then hee that was the substantiall Image of his Father?

The Vses follow: and so,

First, we should make conscience of it to receiue this do­ctrine with our whole hearts, with all life of affections: for hereby wee shall improue, wee are Christians and not Iewes. They could beleeue Iesus was a man, but could not indure it, that he should call himselfe the Sonne of God, Iohn 10. and the diuell hath mightily also laboured to make the Diuinity of Christ suspected. As when he came into the world, by making men think of a worldly kingdome, then stirring vp the Priests and Pharisees to seeke to kill him as a blasphemer, in saying he was the Sonne of God. And in the beginning of the Chri­stian Churches, he raised vp pernitious Heretickes to denie his Diuinity, and at this day, hath raised many in other countries, that write and teach most dangerously in this point. And therefore we must hold fast this Truth against all the power of hell. This confession is the Rocke vpon which the Christian Church is built, Mat. 16. 16. 17. If we acknowledge the Son, we haue the Father, 1. Ioh. 2. 23.

[Page 239] Secondly, it should wonderfully quicken and establish our Faith in relying vpon him for Saluation, and all happinesse, vp­on him I say, that hath vndertaken for vs, and is so full of merit and power; his Satisfaction and Righteousnesse must needs be perfect and sufficient, that is the Sonne of God, Ier. 23. 6. God cannot but bee infinitely well pleased in his satisfaction, and hath signified so much, Mat. 3. 17. and therefore wee should settle our consciences in all peace and ioy in beleeuing in him. Yea, in all passages of our liues wee should make vse of our Faith in the Sonne of God: whatsoeuer we want for soule or body, or the preseruation of our liues, we may with much con­fidence goe to him: for out of his fulnesse wee may receiue grace for grace, Ioh. 1. 14. 18. And seeing God hath giuen vs his Sonne, how shall he not with him giue vs all things also, Rom. 8. 32. Yea, it should much establish our Faith against the feare of our falling away before wee come to possesse eternall life: for he is stronger then all, and no man, nor diuell can take vs out of his hand, and therefore we shall not perish, Iohn 10. 29. 30.

Thirdly, it should much inflame vs to the Loue of God that hath had such mercy to such miserable creatures as wee were, as to send his owne Son to redeeme vs, Ioh. 3. 16. Oh it should make vs to loue God aboue all things, and to esteeme of his loue, as better then any thing else in our liues.

Fourthly, God the Father himselfe from Heauen taught vs a maine vse of this point, when hee proclaimed him to bee his Sonne, for then he charged vs to heare him. None abler to in­struct vs, for the Son hath his knowledge out of the bosome of the Father, Mat. 11. 27. and none hath better right to rule vs, because he is the first-borne, and therefore ought to rule ouer his brethren: It should therefore bee our conscionable care all our daies to attend to his voice, and to do whatsoeuer he com­mands vs, Mat. 17. 5.

Fifthly, we must hence also learne to ioyne Christ with the Father in all religious seruice: for when God brought forth his first-begotten Sonne into the world, he said, let all the An­gels of Heauen worship him, and therfore much more we must doe it, Heb. 1. 6. Ioh. 5. 23.

[Page 240] Againe, from hence we may gather the wofull estate of all vnbeleeuers, that weare out their time and do not lay hold vp­on the way of Saluation by Iesus Christ: for this increaseth their condemnation, because they doe not beleeue now, that GOD hath sent his owne Sonne to bee the Sauiour, Iohn 3. 36.

Finally, two things about the Diuinity of our Sauiour are here implyed: first, that he is God: for if he be the Sonne of God, then he hath the Nature of his Father, and so is God: which though the Creed doe not expressely mention, yet the Scripture doth, acknowledging him for God equall with the Father, Rom. 9. 5. 1. Iohn 5. 20. Phil. 2. 6. but because the Creed doth not expresse this, I forbeare the explication of it, resting satisfied to haue treated of that which the Creed men­tions. Another thing implyed is, that hee is a person distinct from the Father: for if he be the Son of God, then he differs in person from the Father.

ACTS 2. 36.‘Let all the House of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made Iesus both Christ and Lord.’

Our Lord.]

HItherto of the three former Titles: the Last Title of our Sauiour is that which is here exprest, (viz.) Our Lord, and concerning this Title diuers things are to be consi­dered:

1. That it is a thing that God chargeth vpon our Faith to be­leeue distinctly that Iesus is our Lord. Thus Dauid in spirit called him Lord, and this all the House of Israel must know, Act. 2. 35. 36. and Luke 2. 11. he is stiled Christ the Lord, and Act. 10. 36. he is proclaimed Lord of all: yea, it is a Title so proper to Christ, as sometimes hee hath no other [Page 241] name giuen him but the Lord, as 1 Cor. 6. 14. GOD hath raised vp the Lord, meaning Christ. And 1 Cor. 12. 3. It is accounted a worke of the Holy Ghost in any man to pro­fesse this point, That he beleeueth that Iesus is the Lord.

2 How Iesus comes to be our Lord, by what right and ti­tle, and so he is our Lord by a fiuefold right: First, by the right of Creation, he made vs all, and so he is Lord of Hea­uen and Earth, and all things therein: for hee hath made them all, Ioh. 1. 2. Col. 1. 16. Secondly, by the right of re­demption: we were all in most miserable bondage to sin, Satan and Gods Iustice: Now Iesus Christ redeemes vs with his bloud, paying that matchlesse price for vs, and thereby makes vs his owne, 1 Pet. 1. 18. Thirdly, by the right of preseruation, and maintenance, hee keepes vs and maintaines vs by his power, and all wee enioy we hold as Tenants vnder him as our Land-lord, from him wee haue protection wages, apparell, and dyet for both soule and bo­dy. Fourthly, by the right of ordination: God hath giuen him all power and made him Lord, Act. 2. 36. God hath giuen his Elect vnto Christ as their Lord and head, Iohn 17. 6. Ephes. 1. 22. Fifthly, by particular Couenant hee is the Lord of Christians: for both by our vow in Baptisme we binde our selues to his seruice, and by effectuall voca­tion we consecrate our selues, and as it were, hire our selues to be seruants to Christ and righteousnesse, Rom. 6.

3 In what Nature he is Lord: I answer, howsoeuer in re­spect of Creation he made vs all as God: yet in respect of Redemption he paid the price in his humane Nature, and in respect of ordination he is made Lord in both natures, both as God and man: and by Couenant we are bound to the whole person. The Lordship of Christ is a name of office, and so belongs to both natures.

4 The excellency of his Lordship: and so there is no Lord like to Iesus.

1 Because he hath no partners in his dominion: though there be many administrations, yet there is but one Lord, 1 Cor. 12. 5. and though there be many Lords, yet to vs there is but one Lord, 1 Cor. 8. 6. as there is but one God, [Page 242] so there is but one Lord, Ephes. 4. 5. Hee is the blessed and onely Potentate, 1 Tim. 6. 15.

2 Because all other Lords are his seruants and tenants: he is Lord of Lords, 1 Tim. 6. 15. Reuel. 19. Ephes. 6. 11. Col. 4. 1.

3 In respect of the extent of his dominion: for hee is Lord ouer all, Act. 10. 36. Rom. 10. 11.

4 In respect of the continuance of his dominion: hee onely hath immortality: other Lords dye, 1 Tim. 6. 15, 16. his honour and power is euerlasting.

5 In respect of the excellence of his glory and Maiesty: He dwelleth in the light, which no man euer had, or can ap­proach vnto: no man euer saw, or can see such glory in any other, 1 Tim. 6. 16.

6 In respect of his goodnesse to his seruants, Tenants and Vassalls, for he hath abased himselfe to serue and minister to his seruants, Luk. 12. 37. He hath bought them at such a price as no other Lord could giue, 1 Pet. 1. 18. Hee is rich to all his seruants that call vpon him: he hath no ser­uant that gets not great preferment by him, euen his meanest seruants as well as his highest Officers, Rom. 10, 11, 12, 13. He hath no seruant that euer asked him the Kingdome of Heauen it selfe, but hee gaue it him: yea, all that this Lord is, or hath, he bestowes it vpon his ser­uants freely, 1 Cor. 3. 21, 22, 23. Gal. 2. 20. And besides, his seruants neuer forfeit their estate: He puts out no Te­nant, nor turnes away any seruant. Nothing can sepa­rate betweene them and their Lords loue, Rom. 8. vlt.

The vse may be both for information and instruction.

For information, and so it should informe vs: First, that hee dwelleth not in temples made with hands, that is, that we ought to conceit of him to bee more excellent, then that those materiall buildings should answer to his greatnesse, or that he hath no houses to put his head in but these Churches: for hee is the Lord of Heauen and Earth, and so may dwell where he will, and no earthly building can set out sufficiently his greatnesse, Act. 17. 24. Secondly, that all our obedience to earthly Lords and Masters, and Gouernours, must be with [Page 243] due respect of Christ and his authority, we must obey them in the Lord, 1 Cor. 12. 5. that is, so farre as they command vs nothing that is contrary to Christs will. Thirdly, it shewes that Christ hath power to doe what he will with any of his creatures belonging to men: Thus the owner of the Asse, and the Colt of the Asse is told, that he must let them goe because the Lord hath need of them, Mat. 21. 3.

The Vses for instruction are these, For, if CHRIST be our Lord

1 We should acknowledge him, and confesse that Iesus is the Lord, for no man can make this confession, but by the holy Ghost, 1 Cor. 12. 3. But because Hypocrites may say so in words, let vs labour from our hearts to yeeld our selues vn­to Christ, as to our onely Lord, to bee ruled and gouerned by him all our dayes, to be wholly at his disposing, euen to liue to him that dyed for vs, and by the sound Couenant of our hearts to yeeld our selues as seruants to obey him in all righteousnesse, 2 Cor. 5. 15. To say Lord, Lord, will not serue turne, Mat. 7. 21. vnlesse we say it with our hearts, and proue it by our obedience: which if wee doe, then it is from the holy Ghost, as the Sanctifier: whereas the generall out­ward confession is but from the common grace of the Holy Ghost, which may be found in Hypocrites. Let vs then with Thomas from our hearts say vnto Iesus, My Lord, and my God. Yea, let vs giue our selues to the Lord, as the Mace­donians did, 2 Cor. 8. 5. For why should we any more serue strange Lords. Haue we not reason to confesse, that we haue serued sinne, and Satan, and the world all this while, and it did not profit vs? Iob 33. 27. What greater preferment can we haue then to serue the Lord of Lords? Did Dauid, a great King, account it his greatest glory to bee the seruant of this Lord, Psalme 36. 1. Was it not his comfort to call him his Lord? Psalme 110. 1. Haue wee not tasted how bountifull the Lord is? 1 Pet. 2. 3. Did our hearts euer feele any thing more sweet then the entertainment he hath giuen in his Word and Sacraments and Prayer? Haue we not bound our selues by solemne Couenant, when wee receiued the Sacrament? What then should hinder vs, but that wee should with all [Page 244] our hearts consecrate the rest of our liues to his seruice: which if you meane to doe, by the way take notice of these rules.

1 First, that you must with all diligence sudy the Will of your Lord, to know it, and accordingly must labour that the Word of CHRIST may dwell richly in you, Col. 3. 16.

2 That you must forthwith, and for euer, separate your selues from all the seruants of strange Lords, and come out from amongst them, 2 Cor. 6. 17.

3 You must resolue to obey your Lord Iesus, in all things without murmuring or vnthankfulnesse: though you finde his worke bee contrary to your natures, desires, ease, cre­dit, profit, or liking of carnall friends, as resolued to take vp any Crosse may fall vpon you for well-doing, Luke 9. 24.

4 That you set downe your resolution, to hold out thus to the end, as resolued to hire your selues to Iesus Christ, not for a day or a yeere, or a fit, but for euer: neuer more to looke backe to the world or sinne, forsaking all your for­mer euill wayes, and taking an eternall leaue of your cor­ruptions: which by the power of Christ your Lord, you may doe.

5 That you abound in the worke of the Lord, striuing to doe all the good that possible you can, knowing that your worke is not in vaine in the Lord, 1 Cor. 15. 58.

6 That you looke to it to auoid carnall and corrupt ends, in doing your Masters worke, looke not after the praise of the world, and vse not praising of your selues, but rest ful­ly satisfied with the praise of Christ: for not hee that com­mendeth himselfe, or is commended of the world is appro­ued, but he whom the Lord commendeth, 2 Cor. 10. vlt.

7 That you meddle with your owne businesse, and make conscience of it to doe that worke faithfully which Christ requires of you in your particular places: as God hath distributed to euery man, and as the Lord hath called eue­ry man, so let him walke: auoiding vaine discontentment with his calling and condition, 1 Cor. 7. 17. and take heed [Page 245] of iudging one another, in doubtfull or in different things: looke thou to thine owne worke, what hast thou to doe to iudge another mans seruant, he stands or falls to his owne Master, Rom. 14. 4.

Besides, there are other particular vses may be made [...]f this part of our Creed: as first, in asmuch as the earth is the Lords, and consequently all creatures are sanctified in him, and by his right, therefore we should not disquiet our hearts with vaine scruples, about the vsing, or not vsing of such creatures as are supposed to haue bin abused to Idolatry: for the Idoll cannot so infect any of the creatures, as to destroy Christs right in them, and therefore a Christian may vse them, when the abuse is remoued, without making any question for conscience sake, 1. Cor. 10. 26.

Secondly, when the chastening hand of Christ our Lord is vpon vs, either in our goods, or in our bodies, when hee takes away any of these things from vs, we should patiently beare it, for as it was the Lord that gaue them to vs, so it is the Lord that takes them from vs, and therefore wee should part with them, and blesse the Name of the Lord as Iob did, Iob 1. vlt.

Thirdly, the Apostle writing to the Ephesians, from this point that we haue but one God, and one Lord, doth inferre, that as we should haue but one Faith, so we should be of one minde and one heart,: wee are all seruants to one Lord, and therefore should in all humblenesse of minde loue one another, and agree one with another, and beare one with another, Ephes. 4. 3, 4, 5.

Fourthly, our Sauiour teacheth vs himselfe, from this part of our Creed, this lesson, therefore not to giue ambitious and flattering titles vnto men, or to humor proud persons, that ar­rogate to themselues glorious Titles, and hunt after the ap­plause of men: much lesse should wee affect or receiue such vaine titles our selues, seeing one is our Master and Lord euen Christ, Mat. 23. 7, 8, 9, 10.

Fifthly, such as are Lords, or Masters, or Rulers ouer others, should carry themselues humbly and iustly, doing that which is iust and equall to their Subiects, Tenants, or Seruants, for they [Page 246] haue a Lord and Master in Heauen, that will giue to euery man according to his workes, Colos. 4. 1. Ephes. 6. 11.

Lastly, since Christ is Lord, yea, Lord of Lords, therefore woe bee to his enemies they shall all bee made his footstoole, Psal. 110. 1. and in these warres against Antichrist, this is the comfort that the Lambe is the Lord of Lords: and therefore these holy warres shall prosper, and the man of sin shall be de­stroyed, Reuel. 19.

The third Article.

Which was conceiued of the holy Ghost.

LVKE 1. 35.‘And the Angel answered and said vnto her: The holy Ghost shall come vpon thee, and the power of the most High shall ouer shadow thee: ther­fore also that holy thing, which shall be borne of thee, shall be called the Sonne of God.’

HItherto of the Titles of the Redeemer. His In­carnation followes, wherein Faith beholds and wonders at two things, first, his Con­ception by the holy Ghost, and secondly, his Birth of a Virgin. But before I open these two points, it is needfull to consider of his In­carnation in the generall, and so:

  • 1. What the Incarnation of Christ is.
  • 2. The proofes that he was Incarnate.
  • 3. Who was Incarnate.
  • [Page 248] 4. What was assumed in his Incarnation.
  • 5. The time when he was Incarnate.
  • 6. Why he was Incarnate.
  • 7. How he was Incarnate.
  • 8. The effects or consequents of his Incarnation.

1. The Incarnation of Christ, is a part of his abasement, whereby the Sonne of God, after a most perfect manner, as­sumed the Nature of man into personall vnion with his di­uine Nature. I call it a part of his abasement, because it was a great Humiliation for God to become man, and so it may bee reckoned with his Passion following, saue that in the same nature of Man hee was afterwards exalted.

2. Now that God became man, or Christ the Sonne of God was likewise true man, is proued by these and other expresse Scriptures, 1. Tim. 3. 16. Ioh. 1. 14. Rom. 1. 3. 4. Rom. 9. 5. Gal. 4. 4, 5. Phil. 2. 6, 7.

3. If we aske who tooke the Nature of man, we must answer as it is in the Creed, the Sonne of God, hee that was Gods naturall Sonne, and very God himselfe, the second Person in Trinity, as also the former proofes shew. It was this Son by whom man was created at first, Colos. 1. 16. and there­fore was the fittest to restore vnto man what he had lost, by making him againe. And it was most comely, that he that was the naturall Sonne of God, by being made the Sonne of man should make vs sonnes of God, and giue vs the right of Adopted sonnes, Ioh. 1. 12. and the second person in the Trinity alone is called the Image of the Father, Colos. 1. 15. Heb. 1. 3. and therefore is most fit to restore in vs the Image of God which we had lost, and defaced by our sinnes.

Quest. But how can one person in the Trinity be Incar­nate and not the other two, seeing the diuine nature is in each Quest. person and cannot be diuided?

Answ. Though the diuine nature cannot be diuided, yet it is after one manner in the Father, and after another manner in Answ. the Sonne, and so in the holy Ghost: for the diuine nature is in the Father [...], vnbegotten, It is in the Sonne [...], communicated by generation, It is in the holy Ghost [...] proceeding: Now the humane nature is assumed by [Page 249] the diuine, considered onely as it is in the Sonne, and in the manner as the sonne enioyes it. God the Father that eternall minde begets the Word, or perfect Image of himselfe, which is the second person: Now to that Image of the Fathers per­son is the nature of man vnited.

It is true, that the Incarnation being a worke ad Extra, is common to all three Persons in the Trinity: for about it all three worke, and yet the Sonne onely did assume our Nature, though the Father also did worke it by the holy Ghost: Di­uines vse to expresse it thus: three Virgins in one common worke make a garment which one of them onely weares: so heere the three persons make the humane nature, which one­ly the second Person puts on or assumes when it was made.

The fourth thing is, what was assumed: and so in generall, the matter assumed was the seede of the woman, Gen. 3. 15. The seede of Abraham, the seede of Dauid, the flesh of the Virgin Mary. In particular he tooke,

1. A true humane bodie, not the shew of a body, not any diuine or Celestiall body, but a true humane body, the ve­ry flesh, which the body of man consists of.

2. A true humane soule, aswell as body. Mat. 26. 38. Marke 14. 34. Luke 23. 46.

3. The naturall proprieties of a humane soule and body, for he was made like vnto vs in all things, Heb. 2. 12. & 4. 18. By proprieties, I meane such proprieties as agree to the hu­mane nature now, or by Gods decree sh [...]ll be fastened vp­on the humane nature: as his body on earth was heauy, and needed meate, and drinke, and sleepe, but now in Hea­uen is spirituall, shineth as the Sunne, and needs no food.

4. The infirmities belonging vnto our nature, both in soule & body: that this may be rightly vnderstood we must distin­guish: as first, about the infirmities bodily, some arise from an outward cause, some an inward: Those that arise from outward causes, Christ bare onely so many of them, as by the counsell of God, or in respect of his Office, was need­full for him to beare. Such were the calamities and sor­sorrowes [Page 250] inflicted vpon him by others, and borne by him as our High-Priest. These that arise from an inward cause, doe either vniuersally follow the whole nature of man, since it was fallen, as to be subiect to heate, cold, wearines, paine, or the like, or else are personall, and arise not from the com­mon sinne of man, nor fall vpon all men at all times, but are found onely in some men, such as are some kinde of disea­ses: the former sort Christ bare, not the latter. Now the infirmities of the soule are likewise of two sorts, some viti­ous and detestable, as sins: others vnblameable, deseruing rather pittie then punishment, as to bee ignorant of some things, feare, sadnesse, anger, and the like: the former sort were not in Christ, Luke 1. 35. Heb. 4. 15. Ioh. 8. 46. The latter were, Luke 2. 52. Marke 13. 32. Mat 26. 37. Iohn 11. 33. And those affections in Christ differed much from ours: for his were easily ruled by right reason, but not so ours: his were carried onely to good obiects, ours often to euill: Christ was troubled in his affections, and so are we, but with great difference: His affections were without sin: As a glasse that is cleane, and hath cleane water in it, if it be shaked and tossed, yet there is no filth in the water: but if the glasse be foule, and mud be setled at the bottome of the water, if it bee shaked, the water is all foule: so is the difference betweene the trouble of Christs affections and ours.

The fifth point is, the time when the Sonne of God was In­carnate, and that was not assoone as man was fallen, but long after, it being deferred by the Wisdome of God of pur­pose, that man being left to himselfe might both feele his di­sease, and see need to call for the remedie, and exercise his Faith in the expectation of it, and that it might appeare that all mankinde was vnrecouerably fallen into mischiefe of them­selues. And at that time was this wonderfull worke done, when most fitly an example of the Iustice of God towards the Iewes, and his mercy towards the Gentiles, might be shewed: for at that time, when the Word was made flesh, was the sin of the Iewes almost full, and among the Gentiles, in that ripe Age of the world were innumerable Elect ones ready for the [Page 251] spirituall haruest, Mathew 9. 37. Luke 10. 2. Iohn 4. 35. Gal. 4. 4.

The sixth point is, the Reasons why it was necessary hee should be Incarnate: and these are diuers: first, the Iustice of God required, that satisfaction should be made in the same na­ture that offended: secondly, for satisfaction, the maledicti­ons and curses of the Law, and in particular, death must bee inflicted vpon him that will bee our surety: Now as God hee was impassible and immortall, hee could not suffer nor die: thirdly, he tooke not the Nature of Angels but of man, that so he might bee a mercifull High-Priest, and fit to deale with man and for man, as concerned not onely our necessities, but our infirmities too, Heb. 2. 17. 18.

The seuenth point is, how he was Incarnate, or the manner of the Incarnation, how the Word was made flesh; This is a great Mystery, and cannot fully bee expressed or comprehen­ded, especially by vs in this estate of Mortality: yet diuers things may be vttered: as,

1. He did not assume the nature of man, as it is extra sub­iectum, or a thing that is conceiued by the minde, or as it is common in the soules and bodies of all men, but as the nature of a man is in one subiect, in vno indiuiduo.

2. The nature of man as it was in the wombe of the Virgin, was in the very moment of the Conception ioyned to the Nature of God in personall vnion, so as soule and body in Christ did not make a person, as it doth in other men, but did and doe subsist in the person of the Sonne of God, being carried and vpheld by the diuine nature of Christ, so as both his natures make but one person in him: and this may bee gathered out of these places, Luke 1. 36. Esay 7. 14.

3. We may approach to a better vnderstanding of this vnion, if we consider it by way of negation, how it differs from other vnions: The word and the flesh are made one, not in Essence, as the Persons in Trinity are one, nor in nature as soule and body make a third nature, nor is this vnion car­nall, as man and wife are one: nor spirituall or mysticall as God and the faithfull are one, or as Christ and the Church [Page 252] are one, but personall, the two natures being one in person: Nor is the flesh in the Word, by simple inhabitation, as the sailes are in the ship; nor by affectiō, as two friends are one; nor in respect of ioynt worship, as if onely the humane na­ture had the honour to be worshipped with the diuine; nor in respect of Harmonie or consent, as if onely the diuine and humane will of Christ did agree; nor in respect of Title on­ly, as if the flesh of Christ had no more but the honour to be called by the same Title his Diuinity is, as the Sonne of God, or Christ, or the like; nor by mingling the humane na­ture with the diuine, to make a certaine third thing: but the humane nature is fastened to the diuine nature in the vnity of person, after an vnconceiueable manner, so as the diuine nature is not changed, nor either nature altered, nor separa­ted by distance one from another.

The eight point is, the effects of this personall vnion of the diuine and humane nature in this worke of Incarnation. The effects I meane in Christ, not in vs. Now many things flow from this vnion: as,

1. The communication of proprieties; and that is, the attri­buting of such things as are proper to either nature, vnto the person of Christ, because that these natures doe subsist in that person: so as that is truely said of Christ, which yet is to be vnderstood with a respect to that nature vnto which that property doth belong. Thus the Sonne of Man is said to haue power to forgiue sinnes on earth, which is the pro­priety of the diuine nature, Mat. 9. 6. and to bee called the Sonne of the most High, Luke 1. 32. Thus the Sonne of Man is said to ascend where hee was before: Now he was not in heauen in his humane nature before, Ioh. 6. 62. and so he saith, hee was before Abraham was, Ioh. 8. 58. and his bloud is called the bloud of God, Acts 20. 28. The like speeches are found in other Scriptures, as, Colos. 1. 17. Heb. 1. 2, &c.

2. The pouring out of gifts vpon the humane nature, which were as great as could be receiued by a created nature: and these were giuen both to the body and soule of Christ. His body obtained the highest degree of perfection could be fall [Page 253] a body: which glory (for our saluation) was with-held from his body during his abode on earth, in respect of his of­fice, and so his body was subiect to infirmities, passions of diuers sorts, and death, and buriall: but that worke being finished which he vndertooke for vs in his body, it now shineth in Heauen in greater glory then any bodi­ly creatures doe or shall attaine vnto. Vpon the soule of Christ by vertue of this vnion with the diuine Nature, were powred out gifts aboue the glory of the gifts which are in men or Angels: and to make this a little better to appeare, I will instance in his knowledge and in his Charity.

There were diuers kinds of knowledge in Christ. Hee had an eternall and vncreated knowledge and wisdome, which did belong onely vnto his diuine Nature: but it is the crea­ted knowledge belongs to this place: and that vnderstan­ding and knowledge, is either from experience, or from reue­lation, or from vision.

1 There was in our Sauiour an experimentall knowledge, by which our Sauiour knew all things could be knowne by the light of Nature: and though hee had not expe­perience of all things, yet by reasoning from the like, or the contrary, or from the causes or effects, he percei­ued things hee had not experience of. As by the infirmi­ties he felt, and by the things he suffered, he knowes all the things we suffer in the full nature of them, Heb. 2. 18. & 4. 15. and in this kinde of wisdome it is that hee was said to grow vp in, or profit and increase in, and in this kinde of wisdome he was able to discerne more then any man in the world.

2 There was in our Sauiour a knowledge infused, which they call the knowledge of Reuelation, by which heauen­ly things are vnderstood by a light they call the light of grace. And by this knowledge our Sauiour did discerne in his soule spirituall things more exactly then euer man or Angell did: of this is spoken, Esay 11. 12.

3 The third kinde of knowledge in Christ, is the knowledge by vision, which is called the knowledge of the blessed in [Page 254] Heauen, by which God is seene face to face, and in this Christ excells all men and Angels: for it is hee that brings all iust men to this happinesse of seeing God in Heauen, Heb. 2. 10. And besides this personall vision, his soule is neerer vnto God then men or Angels can bee: and therefore sees GOD more cleerely then they can doe: As a man that hath a good sight doth see a thing that is hard by him more exactly then another man that is farther off from it. Yea, this knowledge in the soule of Christ doth not fully comprehend God, for that which is infinite cannot be comprehended by that which is finite: he seeth God whole, that is, all t [...]at i [...] in God, but not wholly, that is, not by an absolute comprehension of it. [...]det Deum [...].

And in as much as all iudgement is committed vnto Christ, as the Sonne of man, it is most probable, that as man hee doth see the thoughts of all men that are to be iudged by him as man, though not by any naturall efficacy in his vnderstan­ding as man, yet by a supernaturall infusion of light from his diuine nature, Ioh. 5. 27.

Thus of the gift of knowledge: Charity and loue was powred out vpon the soule of CHRIST, aboue all the measures of Charity in men or Angels, Iohn 13. 1. Romans 5. 6, 7.

Thus of the gifts were powred out vpon the humane na­ture of Christ: Yet by the way it is not amisse to note, that certaine gifts were not powred out vpon CHRIST, or not till his glorification: as faith and hope were not in CHRIST at all: for in as much as the obiect of faith is things not seene, faith it selfe could not be in CHRIST, who did inioy the vi­sion Heb. 11. 1. 1. Cor. 13. 10. of GOD by vertue of the personall vnion, with the di­uine nature, euen from the beginning of his Incarnation, by that kind of knowledge which I called before his knowledge of vision, or the knowledge of the blessed: yet to want faith did not argue imperfection in CHRIST, but rather remoued imperfection: as hee that wants Spectacles, when he needeth them not, is no whit inferiour to him that vseth Spectacles, because of the weaknesse of his sight. The like is to bee said of hope, for as Faith beholds things that are not seene, so hope lookes to things which are not yet had or possessed, Rom. 8. 24. [Page 255] and the cheife obiect of both is the chiefe good, which is GOD: now CHRIST enioyed GOD, yea, euen in the very instant of his death: but if we looke to secondary ob­iects, and by hope vnderstand an expectation of some kinde of helpe promised by GOD, then such a kinde of hope may be granted to haue beene in Christ, Psalme 31. Now there were certaine gifts which our Sauiour had not till he went to Heauen, as impassibility and immortality; on Earth hee might and did suffer, and dye, but now in Heauen hee can neither suffer nor dye any more, Romans 6. 10. Thus of the second effect of the personall vnion in the Incarnation.

The third effect belongs to both natures, and is the grace of office: for from this vnion ariseth a fit Mediatour and head of the Church, for in both natures considered as vni­ted is Christ our Mediatour: so as all things belonging to our reconciliation and saluation, were done by Christ in both natures: yet were not the Actions of the diuine and humane nature so confounded, but that each nature did that which belonged to that nature onely: to speake distinctly, in euery thing done for our saluation, wee must consider; First, the Worker, and that is the Person of Christ, or Christ considered in his Person. Secondly, the things by which he workes, and that is his Natures, Diuine and Humane. Thirdly, the working it selfe, and that followes that Nature that doth worke. Fourthly, the worke or the thing outwardly done, which they call in another language [...]. Now this outward worke was done by the diuers workings of each Nature, concurring to dispatch the worke: as to sacrifice for mans sinne is one worke, yet to this worke concurre the workings of both Natures: the Humane Nature is offered as the gift, and the Diuine Nature doth inable and sanctifie the gift, &c. As in Chirurgery, when a limbe of a man is to bee cut off, and burnt, or seared vp all at once, this is done by a Sword or other Instrument made red hot: yet there we see in that fired sword, that it is still but one sword, and yet there is two Natures in it, fire and yron, and these two Natures haue different forces, the one to cut and the other to burne, and there is two workings diuers, the yron cuts, and the fire or [Page 256] heat burnes, and yet the outward worke is but one worke done at once, which is the searing of the Member by cutting.

The last effect of this vniting of the diuine nature to the humane is the grace of honour and worship giuen to the hu­mane nature: for the humane nature, that in it selfe were not to be worshipped, being a creature, doth partake of the ho­nour to receiue diuine worship, in as much as worship is di­rected to that person that is both God and man. Thus of the last point in the explication, which is the effects of the perso­nall vnion in the worke of the Incarnation.

The Vses follow, and are for information, and instruction, and consolation.

From the Doctrine of Christs Incarnation, wee may be in­formed of diuers things: as

1 Concerning the wonder of the person of our Sauiour: for here mortality and immortality meet together in the same person: It is truly affirmed, that hee is created and vncreated; without beginning, and yet did beginne in time; a Iew according to the flesh, and yet GOD bles­sed ouer all for euer: GOD before all ages, and yet man liuing amongst vs; God before the flesh, God in flesh, and God with flesh. By his Miracles shewing his Diuinity, and by his Sufferings shewing his Humanity. Hauing one generation without beginning, and another generation without example. In the one hee makes man, and in the other hee deliuers man. The one was before man, and the other aboue man. Gods Sonne becomes mans Sonne, and yet not changed from what he was, but assu­ming what he was not. The taking of our low estate did not diminish the Maiesty of his high estate, for he so tooke what was ours, as he lost not what was his owne, ioyning both natures in such a bond, as neither Maiesty consumed the inferiour, nor assumption diminished the superiour in man changing the condition of other men, and yet in himselfe remaining vnchangeable. The manner of this v­nion in the Incarnation being a mystery to bee beleeued, not discussed. That the Word was made flesh I know, but how he was made so I know not: nor doe any creature [Page 257] know. The mystery hid from ages was reueiled in this last age, reueiled, I say, that there was such a thing done, but not reuei­led how it was done.

2 Concerning the glory of God shining in this worke, and that especially in two things. The one is in the way of communica­ting of himselfe to the creature. The other is in contriuing the forme of our redemption.

For the first, God being the chiefe good, it seemed good to him to communicate himselfe to the creature, & that he hath done three waies: First, by communicating nature to the creature, that highest being, granting nature & being with Nature, with great diuersities of proprieties in that being. 2. By communicating grace to the crea­ture, which is the prerogatiue of certaine creatures that by Gods gift hauing powred out vpon them a similitude & likenesse of God himselfe, whether on Earth or in Heauen. Now the third way is a­boue the former to be adored and admired for euer, and that is a way by which God doth not giue any created gifts either of na­ture or grace, but he that is the Creator and Lord of glory, doth giue himselfe to the creature, to make one person with the crea­ture. The first way God is communicated to all creatures, the se­cond way to the reasonable creature, the third way to Christ man. And yet obserue and wonder, for God in Christ hath com­municated himselfe to all creatures; for in as much as the nature of man comprehends in an Epitome, or by way of repetition, the substance of all that is in all other creatures, and therefore is cal­led a little world: when God assumes the Nature of man into per­sonall vnion with himselfe, hee doth after a sort exalt euery crea­ture, and reduce it to himselfe.

Now for the other point, the glory of God in contriuing a way for the saluation of mankinde lost, doth greatly appeare in this work of the Incarnation: for the debt of the first man was so great that none ought to pay it but man, & none could pay it but God: and therefore God assumes man into the vnity of his person, that so man that in nature ought to pay, and could not, in person might make full discharge. Againe, all mankind it lieth vnder sinne: the Iustice of God will haue all damned, the Mercy of God will haue all saued; now the wisdome of God moderateth betweene his Iu­stice and Mercy, and by this way satisfies both: His Iustice is plea­sed, [Page 258] in giuing a surety: so as the offence being infinite in respect of the obiect, which is God, it was exhausted by an infinite power in respect of the subiect or the surety satisfying.

Secondly, the Doctrine of Christs Incarnation, should worke in vs by way of Instruction: and so it should teach vs in some things that respect Christ, and in some things that respect Christians. In respect of Christ it should inflame in vs a vehement desire to bee made like vnto his nature: If he come so neere to vs to take our nature, wee should desire to approach to him to take his na­ture: If he were made like vnto vs in infirmities, we should striue to be made like vnto him in grace and holinesse: shall hee des­cend to vs, and shall not we ascend to him? If he abase himselfe to t [...]ke the proprieties of our Nature, how should we striue to be exalted, in taking to vs the vertues of his nature: and for our re­spect to other Christians, the Apostle from this Doctrine tels the Philippians, in what things they should be like-minded to Christ: They should learne of him, to be humble, and to shew their loue to their brethren, though it were to deny themselues, and their owne profit, or seeking the good of others, and not their owne good: which you may reade there vrged at large, Phil 2. 6, 7.

Thirdly, the Doctrine of the Incarnation might be very comfor­table to all the godly: and so in diuers respects. First, in that he did take our Nature into vnion with his diuine Nature, we should ioy in it: for is it not an admirable priuiledge, that the nature of man is taken into such a society with the holy Trinity, being a part of Christ, who is the second person in Trinity: who can suf­ficiently admire the honour done to our nature, that it should now be one with the blessed Trinity? Secondly, if wee consider what he assumed. He tooke my whole Nature, that I might be wholly saued, he left nothing of man which hee tooke not to himselfe. Thirdly, to comfort vs in all infirmities and distresses, hee made himselfe like vnto vs: He was poore with Lazarus, wept with Mary, thirsted with the woman of Samaria, was an hungry in the wildernesse, to satisfie for our eating in the Garden, he was in bonds with Paul, he was tempted that hee might succour vs that are tempted; in all things he became like to vs, that we might not sinke vnder the burthen of our infirmities or sufferings. Fourthly, it must it needes be a great deale of comfort to vs, to haue such [Page 259] assurance giuen vs of his loue to vs, that for our sakes would ioyne his Maiesty to our vilenesse, his power to our weaknesse, his im­mortality to our mortality, that being in the for me of God would for vs vouchsafe to be in the for me of a seruant. Fifthly, it comforts vs, in that it may wonderfully settle our faith in beleeuing in him: we may safely rest vpon him that wants not power to saue vs, seeing he is God, nor will to saue vs, seeing he is one of vs, a true man, that hath had experience of our miseries. Sixthly, it should greatly encourage our hearts in all our suits to God: seeing our owne flesh and bloud sits at the right hand of God, what can wee aske the Father in his Name that will be denyed? He that was made like to vs in suffering, will neuer bee strange to vs in praying. He that became our brother by Incarnation, will not shew himselfe a stranger in the businesse of Intercession. Lastly, in the hope of our glorification in Heauen we receiue hence great comfort: for therefore: did the Sonne of God become the Sonne of man on earth, that the Sonnes of men might become the Sonnes of God in Heauen.

Lastly, this Doctrine also is not without terrour to wicked men that will not receiue him, whom GOD hath sent amongst them: that God which hath beene so wonderfull in sending his Sonne to liue amongst vs in our nature, if we will not beleeue in him, and striue to be like to him, will make himselfe won­derfull in our destruction. This will be the condemnation of the world, that so great a light came into the world, and the world receiued it not.

Hitherto of the Incarnation in generall. Now we come to con­sider of the parts of his Incarnation, viz. his conception by the Holy Ghost, and his birth of the Virgin Mary.

One thing is common to both these parts, (viz.) the anunciati­on of them by an Angell: God sent an Angell from Heauen to sig­nifie both these wonders in the Incarnation of our Sauiour: and the Ministery of an Angell is vsed in the beginning of our redempti­on, by the Incarnation of our Sauiour, partly because as in our per­dition an euill angell came to the woman in the Serpent, so would God haue a good Angell come to the woman to treat with her a­bout our Redemption: and partly because good Angels were in some respects witnesses in the worke of our Redemption: for [Page 260] thereby the places amongst the Angels made void by the fall of diuels, are by the Redeemer to be supplyed by holy men, and with­all the Angels receiuing their confirmation in goodnesse from Christ, are now actually to subiect themselues together with Elect men vnder that one Head, Christ Iesus.

Now concerning the Conception, which is the first part of In­carnation, these things are to be considered. 1. The proofes that there was such a conception. 2. Who was so conceiued. 3. Of whom hee was so conceiued. 4. What was done by the Holy Ghost in this conception. 5. How it was done. 6. When it was done. 7. The effects of this conception in respect of vs. 8. Why it was necessary hee should bee thus conceiued 9. Where the Body of CHRIST was when it was thus con­ceiued. 10. A question about the Virgin Mary: and lastly, the Vses of all.

For the first, that our Sauiour was conceiued of the Holy Ghost, is proued by this Text, Luke 1. 35. as also Mat. 1. 18, 20. and Rom. 1. 3, 4.

For the second, if wee respect the matter conceiued, then Christ man was conceiued; but if we respect the person conceiued, the se­cond Person in the Trinity was conceiued in the wombe of the Virgin, for so it is said in this Text, that it was the Son of the most High: and the Prophet Esay saith, it was Emmanuel, God with vs: for though the Virgin did not giue the diuine Nature to Christ: yet the person that receiues the humane Nature in her wombe was the Sonne of God.

Ob. Then it seemes the whole diuine Essence was conceiued, for the whole diuine Essence was in the second Person in the Tri­nity.

Answ. This Incarnation was not according to his Essence, but according to his person: the person onely assumed our nature in this Conception, Luk. 1. 31. 32. 35. Rom. 9. 5. 1. Tim. 3. 16. and ther­fore to speake properly, we may not say that in this conception the humane nature began to be (for that hath no subsistence in it selfe) but the Person began to bee then in the humane nature: Tylen.

For the third, he was conceiued of the holy Ghost as the former proofes shew: He was not conceiued as other men be, by propaga­tion or by generation in the coniunction of man and woman, but [Page 261] without man by the working of the holy Ghost.

Ob. If he were conceiued of the holy Ghost, then the holy Ghost Obiect. was his Father: and the rather, because in the Originall the propo­sition imports, that this Conception was not onely by him, but of him.

Answ. The holy Ghost did worke this Conception not materi­ally, Answ. but effectually, by causing it to be, not by giuing matter out of himself to the Nature of Christ. As Damascen said, the holy Ghost begetteth not spermatically but operatiuely. And Bernard saith, that Christ was conceiued not of the substance, but of the power, not by any generation, but by the appointment and benediction of the holy Ghost: Rom. 11. vlt. all things are said to be of God: Now it were senselesse therefore to conclude, that God is the Father of all things: for though he made all things, yet hee did not make them out of his own substance: for he is Father that makes a thing to be out of his owne substance: so the holy Ghost did not make the humane Nature of Christ.

For the fourth, there were two things done by the holy Ghost in this conception: the first was the production of the humane Nature, the other was the vniting of it to the second Person in the Trinity: The first of these is most properly the worke of the holy Ghost, the secōd, but in som respects, for the secōd Person in Trinity did assume the matter so prepared, & wrought by the holy Ghost.

The humane nature produced was both the body and soule of our Sauiour; now in the production of the body of Christ there are two things to be considered: first, the preparation of the matter of his bodie: secondly, the sanctification of it. The matter of the body of Christ prepared in the conception, was the very substance of the flesh of the Virgin, that is the seed or purest bloud of the Virgin separated by the holy Ghost, and carried to the place of concepti­on, and therefore is Christ called the fruit of her wombe, Luk. 1. 42 The sanctification of this matter containes in it two things: first, the washing of that substance from the staine of sin with which it was infected by nature, so as now it should neuer more haue any spot or staine of sin in it, and the stopping of the imputation of Adams sinne: secondly the infusion of all purenesse and holinesse, which belongs vnto the soule aswell as the body, in that very moment it was ioyned to the body: Now that Christ was conceiued with­out [Page 262] sinne, of that there was no sin in that flesh when it became the flesh of Christ, is manifest by these Scriptures: he was made like vn­to vs in all things, sinne onely excepted, Heb. 4. 15. and Rom. 8. 3. he was said to be made onely in the similitude of sinfull flesh. A­gainst this diuers things are obiected: as,

Ob. 1. That the Scripture saith, that Christ was made sinne 1. Obiect. for vs.

Answ. He was made sinne for vs, as he was made a Sacrifice for sinne: so the sinne offerings in the Old Testament were called Answ. sinne. Againe, he was made sinne for vs by imputation, because our sinnes were charged vpon him, but he had no sinne in his Nature, 1. Pet. 2. 21.

Ob. 2. Whosoeuer were in Adam, sinned in Adam, Rom 5. 12. 2. Obiect. But Christ was in Adam as appeareth by the Genealogie which is drawne vp euen to Adam, Luke 3.

Answ. It is not true, that all that were in Adam sinned in him: Answ. for they onely sinned that were in him, not onely in respect of the substance of the flesh, but in respect of the carnal manner by which ordinarily man is begotten by man, but Christ was in Adam in re­spect of the substance of his flesh, but not in respect of the manner of propagation by him, because he was conceiued without the seed of man, and therefore sinned not in Adam: or thus: Originall sin is deriued vnto Adams Posterity by propagation only, now Christ to preuent that, came into the world by this wonderfull conception by the holy Ghost. Paul saith, not of one man, but by one man sin entered into the world: Christ is onely from Adam, other men are from him in respect of substance, and by him in respect of propa­gation.

Ob. 3. But the flesh of the Virgin Mary was sinfull, and there­fore 3. Obiect. his flesh must needs be so.

Answ. That flesh of hers was first sanctified, made cleane by the Answ. holy Ghost, before it was the flesh of Christ.

Ob. 4. If it be granted, corruption of nature was not in Christ, yet there is another part of Originall sinne, and that is guiltinesse 4. Obiect. of Adams sinne in Paradise, for all his posterity being in him, sin­ned in him as Leui paid Tythes in Abraham: and therefore that flesh of Christ sinned in Adam, and was guilty of Adams particular offence, though it neuer was propagated; for propagation caries [Page 263] downe onely corruption of nature, or an euill disposition to sinne after conception.

Answ. If Adams offence bee imputed to none but to such as come of him by propagation, as the Apostle imports, Rom. 5. 12. Answ. then this scruple is so auoided: secondly, doth not the sanctificati­on of that flesh in the wombe of the Virgin, clense it from Adams actuall offence, aswell as from euill disposition: thirdly, what in­conuenience will follow, if we grant that Adams sin was imputed to Christ? so as we vnderstand it in respect of the Malediction: for Christ was a surety for all sinnes, Adams sin, and all the sin of his posterity.

Ob. 5. Vpon whomsoeuer death came, he sinned, but death 5. Obiect. came vpon Christ, therefore it seemes he sinned.

Answ. It is true, that whomsoeuer death by his owne power Answ. doth preuaile against, that party surely sinned: because death is the wages of sinne: But death did not exercise any power ouer Christ: for hee was not compelled to die, but laid downe his owne life vo­luntarily, Iohn 10. 17. 18. besides, death befell him not as a sinner, but as a surety for sinne, and so though death came vpon him for sinne, yet it was not for his sinne, but for other mens.

The Papists to auoid sinne in the flesh of Christ, say that the Vir­gin Mary was conceiued without sinne, and so it came to passe, that Christ was without sinne: But this is a senselesse do [...]age: for first, where doe they proue it by Scripture that shee was without sinne? Secondly, if shee were conceiued without sinne, then her pa­rents were so too, and if her parents, then theirs, and so into an in­finite: thirdly, then what needed Christ this conception by the ho­ly Ghost.

Thus of the producing of the body of Christ: His soule was pro­duced as the soules of other men are, that is, It was immediately created by the holy Ghost, and infused into his body: onely there is difference amongst diuines about the time of the infusing of the soule of Christ: for in the ordinarie course, Nature proceeds in this manner: first, there is the masse of bloud or seed receiued in the wombe, but there is no parts of a body framed at the first: after a certaine number of weekes, nature formes that substance into the parts of the body distinctly, but yet it is without life: then is the soule infused, when the body is organicall, and so it is quickned & [Page 264] a true man, it is not before a man, but Embryo as they cal it: Now the question is, how Christ could receiue that imperfect Embryo or the flesh at the first conception, seeing it was not a perfect humane Na­ture? To this some answer, that our Sauiour did not follow the or­dinary course of taking flesh, as other men doe, but in the very in­stant of the conception, his body was made organical, & had perfect members, and the soule infused at that instant also: and their reason is this, because the Sonne of God did not become a person to any thing but the Man-hood of Christ: Now the Man-hood must needs haue a reasonable soule and body formed, and organicall: else we must say, that something did subsist in the Person of his diuine Na­ture that was not man, as Embryo or the lumpe vnformed, and not animated was.

Besides, when God made a man by the power of the holy Ghost, without the seed of man, hee made him perfect at one instant, and euery way formed in all parts: as when he made Adam and Eue, they were in an instant made perfect in soule and body.

Other Diuines conceiue that this opinion cannot be true, be­cause Christ was made in all things like vnto vs, sinne onely ex­cepted, now there could bee no sinne in that ordinary course of Nature, if originall sinne bee remoued as it was in Christ. Now in the course of Nature: first, that which is materiall is formed, as it were the house of the soule, and then the soule is infused, not onely as the guest of it, but as the forme and life of it: and so it must be in Christ. Now for the first reason they answer, that the Hypostatical vnion in the person of Christ, was so made aboue na­ture, as withall, Christ assumed that which belonged to the nature of man according to the course of Nature: and so first the seede, and then the body formed, and the soule infused according to na­ture into that body so as that flesh before the comming in of the soule did subsist in the Word, as it did after the soule was infu­sed: for the Word tooke our Nature, which is not hindered by the absence or presence of the soule: as when Christ was dead, his soule was in his Fathers hands, and his flesh was shut vp in the graue, and was not quickened then by the soule, yet the flesh of Christ without the soule and life did subsist in the word, aswell as it did before or after: The other reason is of no force, for God did not make our first Parents so out of necessity, but out of the good [Page 265] pleasure of his will, not binding himselfe to that frame of working for all times afterwards.

And thus of the production of the humane nature: The assump­tion of that Nature into personall vnion with the word followes: and the summe of that which wee are to beleeue concerning this Mystery is, that the whole nature of man in that particular subiect soule and body, with all meere naturall faculties, and parts, yea, and infirmities, was taken into an vnspeakeable and eternall perso­nall vnion with the diuine nature of Christ: There was nothing which was ours (sinne excepted) which was not by the ho­ly Ghost vnited to the word: for as Christ had all that God the Father had praeter ignascentiam, saue that he was not vnbegotten: so he had all that Adam had, solâ except â peccantiâ, saue that he was without sinne, as a Father said: onely for the manner of this assuming of our nature diuines conceiue, that the word was ioyned to the soule immediately, and to the body mediately, that is, by meanes of the soule.

And thus of the fourth point: The fifth is, The manner of the conception, how the holy Ghost did it: and that in respect of the perfect vnderstanding is simply aboue the reach of any creature, especially any mortall creature: if it be true of our conception in the wombe, that we are fearefully and wonderfully made, as is said, Psal. 139. 13. then it must needs be much more true of Christs conception and forming: but a certaine glimpse of it is giuen vs by two formes of speech vsed in this Text, Luke 1. 35.

The first is: the holy Ghost shall come vpon thee: the other is the power of the most high shall ouershadow thee: by the first forme of speech is noted the wonder of the worke, that it was not done, by any naturall meanes, but extraordinarily aboue the course of nature, by the holy Ghost, and that it was done after a most pure and diuine manner: about which a Father saith, Oh most pure coniunction without filth, where speech is the husband, and eare is the wife, meaning that shee conceiued vpon the speech and hearing of the promise, assoone as shee had giuen her matri­monial consent as it were: the ouershadowing by the power of the most High imports, that is was not done spermatically, but opera­tiuely, and that the holy Ghost did this by a speciall power of working, neuer any such thing hauing bin donne before: as also [Page 266] it imports that the worke was most secret and mysticall, so as the Virgin being couered as with a cloud, could not her selfe tell how it was done: and that though God did worke this with a speciall excellencie of glory, yet his Maiesty should not ouercome her, but it should be as it were clouded: and lastly, that that holy thing which was to be conceiued in her, and borne by her, should be pro­tected and kept safe, as the greatest treasure God had care of, or did giue vnto men.

The sixth thing is, why it was necessary Christ should bee so conceiued after such a wonderfull manner, and with so much holi­nes and sanctification: I answer for two euident Reasons: for first, if his body had not bin most pure, it had not bin fit to bee ioyned in personall vnion with the Word. And secondly, if he had bin con­ceiued in sinne, as other men are, he could not haue bin a Sauiour to vs, because then he would haue needed a Sauiour for himselfe.

The seuenth thing is the time when the Virgin conceiued, and that was immediately vpon the speech of the Angell and her owne consent to it: which was the twenty fiue of March, the day which is called the Annuntiation of the Virgin Mary: and one may wonder why that day should not rather be called the day of the conception of Christ, then of the Annuntiation of the Virgin.

The eighth point is, the effects of this conception in respect of vs, and so the first effect is the hiding of the impurity of our con­ception from the sight of God, and satisfying Gods Iustice for our originall sinne: for the holinesse of Christs conception, is the first and chiefe part of the righteousnesse imputed to vs: All his righteousnesse is ours, and so the holinesse of his conception, in which hee was qualified with all the habits of virtue or piety, might constitute perfect holinesse of nature: All his righteous actions which he did in obedience to the law flow from these ha­bits of virtue infused in his conception, and therefore I call it the first and chiefe part of the righteousnesse imputed to vs, as that which couereth the vnrighteousnes of our natures, yea, after a sort it pacifies, and satisfied for our offence, and so beginnes his passiue obedience to God: as the Apostle saith, Heb. 10. 5, &c. wherefore when he entered into the world he said, sacrifice and burnt offe­rings thou wouldest not, but a bodie thou had prepared me, &c.

The second effect, is our spirituall life and conception: for there­fore [Page 267] was he conceiued by the holy Ghost, and quickned in the wombe of the Virgin, that from his life, the power of our spirituall forming and regeneration might proceede, as from him that tooke life himselfe amongst vs that he might become Lord of life, and the true originall of spirituall and eternall life of God: for the saine spirit that formed Christ in the wombe, doth beget vs againe that we might liue with him, Ioh. 1. 12, 13.

The ninth thing is that question, whether it may be safely said, that Mary was the Mother of God [...]: I answer, if wee vn­derstand it so grossely, as to thinke shee was the Mother of the God-head of Christ, it were not only erronious but blasphemous: and yet it is true, that shee was the Mother of God, because shee was not onely Mother of him that was God as well as Man, but al­so God was incarnate in her wombe, God did not take flesh in heauen, or in any other place, but in her wombe onely.

Lastly, 'tis not vnprofitable to consider, how the being of the body of Christ, differs from other respects of the being of the same body. The body of Christ is in Heauen Locally, it is in the Word substantially, it is in the Sacrament mystically, It is in the hearts of euery beleeuer spiritually, and was in the wombe of the Virgin by a naturall and circumscriptible manner of presence.

The vses follow: and so,

1 They are confuted that say, He tooke not his Body of the Vir­gin, but brought it from Heauen. They obiect, that in Iohn 3. 13. it is said, that Christ descended from Heauen, and that verse 23. and 31. He said, he was from aboue, and that 1 Cor. 15. 47. He is said to be the Lord from Heauen. Answ. None of these places say, That he brought his body from Heauen. The words are true of the person of Christ, that he descended from Heauen when he abased himselfe to take vpon him the forme of a seruant: and if they were true of his humane nature, yet could signifie no more but that he was conceiued after a heauenly manner, and not by carnall generation, by the working of the Holy Ghost who came downe from Heauen vpon the Virgin. If they reply it must needs be true, that he descended in the same nature he ascended, as the Apostle saith, Ephes. 4. 9, 10. Answ. The Apostle onely shewes that he was abased, to shew himselfe in the forme of a seruant, and to suffer extreme things, and therefore was exalted to bee [Page 268] Lord of al. And besides, these hereticks they are hence cōfuted, that said Christ had not a true body, but onely a body in appearance. These obiect that Christ appeared in the old Testament in a fan­tasticall body, and not in a body indeed. Answ. That is false too: for it was a true substantiall body hee assumed and created for the time: but were that granted, yet the body he shewed in the New Testament, hath abundant testimonie thas it was a true naturall body, Ioh. 1. 14. 1. Ioh. 1. 1. 2. Againe, they say out of the Philip. 2. 7. and Rom. 8.3. and Dan. 7. 13. that he was onely in the likenesse of a man. I answer, these places are not all of one sense: for in Daniel he was said to be like the Son of Man, because he was not yet in­carnate: and Rom. 8. He is not said to be in the likenesse of flesh, but of sinfull flesh, being reckoned amongst sinners, & being made a sacrifice for sinne: and in the Philippians, hee doth not shew what the substance of his Nature was, but what his abasement was, that he did not onely take our Nature, but made himselfe in that nature like to the most abiect of men, euen to the poorest ser­uant, when he was heire of all things, and so this likenesse of his is expounded, Heb. 2. 14. 17, & 4. 15.

Secondly, hence we may informe our selues of the wonder of this Creation of God: heere is the beginning of a new Creation: heere is a Sonne that had no Mother as he was God, and no Father as he was Man. If it be obiected, that he is called the Sonne of Man, and so had an earthly Father: I answer, that he is called the Sonne of Man, because he tooke our nature of the substance of the Vir­gin, I meane it of her flesh: and if it be on the contrary obiected, that he is in this Text called the Sonne of the most High, and so had God or the holy Ghost to be his Father: I answer, he is called the Sonne of the most High as the second person in Trinity, which Title of Sonne is giuen to the Nature he receiued from the Virgin because it had no substance but in the person of him that was the naturall Sonne of God.

There are other vses for instruction: for,

1. The ouershadowing shewes that we must not curiously prie into the glorious manner of his conception: wee must beleeue it was so, but not search how it was so.

2. The knowledge of this Article, may prepare vs to beleeue the next, (viz.) that Christ was borne of a Virgin: for seeing hee [Page 269] was conceiued by the Holy Ghost, it cannot bee hard that hee should bee borne of a Virgin, for hee that wrought this conception is hee that worketh all things, and nothing is im­possible to him.

There is also comfort in this Doctrine.

1 In particular, to women that conceiue and beare children, es­pecially if they be true Christians. The very remembrance of this, that the Sauiour of the world was conceiued and borne of a woman, should sweeten their feares and sorrowes, about or after their conceptions, or in the birth.

2 In generall, it may comfort all the godly, to see in this concep­tion a medicine for their originall sinne, and all the euils that cleaue to their Nature: for as it was shewed before, to this end he was conceiued without sinne, and sanctified in his Nature, that thereby he might iustifie vs before God from the euils cleaue to our natures.

And thus of the first part of his Incarnation, viz. his concepti­on of the holy Ghost, his birth of the Virgin Mary followes: In which words of the Creed, the thing affirmed is the birth of Christ, the person by whom it is, is described by her conditi­on, shee was a Virgin, and by her name she was Mary, and her name is added to bring to our remembrance the Genealogy of Christ; who tooke flesh of her that was of the seed of Dauid in a right Linage, that thereby the promises made to the Fathers might be accomplished.

Now concerning the Birth of Christ, we must know that hee is said to be borne three waies: Of his Father, and of his Mother, and in the minde of Man; of his Father hee is borne eternally, of his Mother temporally, in the minde of man spiritually: In Christ there are three things which haue Relation to his Natiuity, Deity, Flesh, and Spirit: of his Father, he is borne God, of his Mother, Flesh, and in the minde of Man, Spirit, so as this latter way be vn­derstood Metaphorically: of his Father hee was borne euer, of his Mother he is borne once, and in the minde of Man he is borne often. According to diuine Natiuity he hath a Father without a Mother: according to humane Natiuity he hath a Mother with­out a Father: and according to his spirituall Natiuity hee hath both Father and Mother, according to that saying of his, he that [Page 270] doth my Fathers will, is my Father and my Mother.

In the birth of Christ God was manifested in the flesh, 1. Tim. 3. 16. manifested I say three waies: as he was before three waies hid; first, from out of the bosome of his Father in whom he was co­uered: secondly, from vnder the shadowes of the Law in which he was prefigured: thirdly, from the wombe of his Mother in which he was formed.

The effects of the Natiuity of Christ were diuers: for first, in re­spect of God himselfe, the effect was his glory, Luke 2. 14. The glory I say of his truth, wisedome, goodnesse, and Iustice: second­ly, in respect of godly men, the effect is, their Saluation, because he was borne to be a Propher, Priest, and King, euen to effect all things that might tend to their Saluation, Acts 4. 12. and in par­ticular, peace was a speciall effect of his Manifestation in the flesh, Luke 2. 14. Peace I say aboue vs with God, Peace within, with our owne consciences, and peace about vs with men and neigh­bours, and peace below vs in respect of Sathan and Hell, because we are deliuered from their power and furie. What shall I say, he was borne into naturall life, that we might be borne againe into eternall life: thirdly, in respect of the wicked, the effect of his Birth was their Iudgement: for he was borne for the falling of ma­ny in Israel, Luke 2. 34. and this is the condemnation of the world, that light is come into the world, and the world comprehended it not, Ioh. 1. and that God should send his owne Son to be the light, and yet men loued darkenesse more then light, Ioh. 3. 19.

The place where our Sauiour was borne was Bethlehem, which howsoeuer it fell out by accident to be there in respect of the mo­ther, which did not by any purpose of her owne choose that place, yet indeed it was the place forespoken of by the Prophet, Mich. 5. 2. and was appointed of purpose by the Counsell and proui­dence of God, that euen hence the godly might bee warned of the fulfilling of the promise made to Dauid the Bethlemite, Luke 2. 4.

The time when he was borne, was the time agreeing with the propheticall Oracles, called the fulnesse of time, Gal 4. 4. The time when the Scepter was departed from Iudah, an Idumaean now sitting at the Sterne, Gen. 49. 10. A time when the Iewish Church and Common-wealth was brought so low, as there was [Page 271] no helpe to be expected but from Heauen.

The entertainment hee had at the time of his birth was very poore and meane, he was borne of a poore Mother, and hee was borne so poore, that he might make vs rich, 2 Cor. 8. and that he might thereby trample vnder his feet as vile that vaine pride of wordly men, that so much bragge of their worldly glory, and nobility of their birth. And when he might not haue a place in the Inne, hee was not ashamed to lye in a Manger, that by choo­sing the weake things of this world, he might confound the migh­ty, and might prepare a place for vs, and many Mansions in his Fathers house.

In the manifestation of the Natiuity of Christ God shewed mar­uellous wisdome, who to shew himselfe to be no respecter of per­sons, and that he brought this light into the world for all sorts of men: He shewed it both to the Shepherds and to the wise men, the one Israelites, the other Gentiles, the one poore and simple, the other rich and wise, the one neere, the other farre of, both sorts to be ioyned vpon the same corner stone. The same light ap­peared to Anna, a woman, as well as to Simeon, that iust man, that it might be euident, that in him that was then borne there was neither circumcision nor vncircumcision, Iew nor Gentle, Male nor Female, Gal. 3. 28. Col. 3. 11.

Thus of his birth in generall, his birth of a Virgin followes. Now that he was born of a Virgin is euidently proued, not only by the History of the Gospell, but by the Prophesie of God himselfe in Paradise, when he said, The seede of the woman should breake the Serpents head, Gen. 3. 15. And by the prophesie of Iacob the Patriarke, Gen. 49. 10. Where Christ is named Shiloh, that is, the Sonne of his Secundines, not the Sonne of his loynes; now the Secundines belong to the Nature of the woman, not to the man: and by the Prophesie of Esay, who said, Behold, a Virgin shall conceiue, Esay 7. 14. And it was prefigured by the stone cut out of the Mountaine without any hands, Dan. 2. And it was publi­shed by the Angell Gabriel, Luk. 1. 31. The reasons why hee was borne of a woman without a man haue beene shewed before. It is a worke most wonderfull: He is borne in the armes of a wo­man, that himselfe beares vp the whole world in the hand of his power.

[Page 272] Men hath beene produced foure wayes: First, without either man or woman, as Adam was. 2. Without woman, as Eue was. 3. Without man, as Christ was. 4. With man and woman, as all other men were.

Christ was to the Virgin a Sonne and her first borne. Hee was called her first borne, not because she had any sonnes afterwards, but because he was borne first, though he were her onely Sonne. Christs brethren were his Kinsmen; nor doth the terme first borne import any following, for the first borne in Law were so called before they knew whether they should haue a second childe; and it is a godly profession of Diuines in all ages, that she was a Vir­gin before birth, and in the birth, and after the birth: though this latter be no Article of faith or principle of Religion.

The Bread of Life was borne in the house of bread, and the most fruit-bearing Natiuity was performed in Bethlehem, Ephra­tah, (.i.) In a most fruitfull place, and he was borne in a strange place, as he might bring vs banished men into our true Country.

To conclude, the Birth of Christ was both ordinary and won­derfull: It was ordinary, that he was carried in the wombe of his Mother the ordinary time, and was brought forth at the ordinary time: but it was wonderfull both in respect of the signes that fell out about the time of it, and most of all, that his Mother was a Virgin. The signes were very miraculous, as the rising of the Star in the East, the Angelicall Musicke in the Ayre, and the great Light, and the publication of it by Angels. Yea, the signes were very strange among the Gentiles: for a publike voice was heard, the great God is now about to be borne. At Rome was the like­nesse of a woman carrying a childe in her armes seene about the Sunne. And when Augustus asked Sibilla about a Comet was then seene: she answered, This Childe is greater then thou, adore thou him: many such strange things are obserued by Writers.

The end of the third Article.

The fourth Article of the Creed.

ESAY 53. 4. First part of the Verse.‘He suffered vnder Pontius Pilate.’

HItherto of the Title and Incarnation of our Redeemer: his Humiliation followes, in the next Articles: where the Creed proceeds in this order. First his abasement is set down in the summe or generall consideration of it, in these words, He suffered vnder Pontius Pi­late. Then is mentioned diuers of the chiefe parts of his suf­ferings, viz. He was crucified, dead, and buried, and descended into Hell. In the summe of all, hee shewes what befell him, and when: what befell him, and so he suffered, meaning that he was put to endure misery: and when he suffered, and that was vnder▪ Pontius Pilate: and that time is especially mentio­ned for two Reasons: 1. Because the chiefest parts of his sufferings then fell out. 2. Because thereby the Christian Churches haue occasion to obserue the fulfilling of the old Prophecies at the time of Christs comming, and suffering in the flesh: for Iacob said, that Shiloh must come when the Scep­ter was departed from Iudah, Gen. 49. And the Prophet Esay [Page 302] said, that the bud or branch should arise and grow, when the tree of Iesse and his house was so wasted, as nothing was left but the bare stocke or root, Esay 11. 1. This was now ful­filled, for Pontius Pilate was Gouernour of Iudah vnder the Roman Emperour, and none of the Tribe or Stock of Dauid bare any office of gouernment in that State: God is true in his words, and when the Church seemes to be most afflicted and forlorne, God can make saluation to appeare: and there­fore in the most desperate afflictions wee should learne to trust vpon God, who will not forsake his people for euer: and yet another thing may be noted too, and that is, that when God did send his Sonne to deliuer his people, it was not to deliuer them from temporall distresse, but to bring them spirituall and eternall saluation, and yet they had no cause to complaine. So it may be with vs: it is enough in desperate distresses, if God will doe good to our soules, though hee doe not for the time release or free our bodies. Thus of that circumstance of the time, only for the titles here giuen to this Ruler, know that Pilate was his proper name, and Pontius hee is called of the place where he was borne, which was Pontia, an Iland that lay neare to Italy: This man was Gouernor after Valerius Cratus, and come into his place about eight yeeres before Christ died vpon the Crosse. And for the reason why the time is described by the time of this gouernment, we must know that the Romans did vse to keep the reckoning of times by the times of their Gouernours: as by Consuls in Rome, so by Proconsuls or Deputies in the Countries subiect to them: as we reckon by the reignes of our Kings. See Luke 3. 1.

And thus of the order and sense of this part of the Creed. One thing may be noted, from the coherence of these Arti­cles with those that follow. For we may obserue, that Christ was first humbled, and then exalted: God first made him suf­fer grieuous things in this life, and then gaue him a Name aboue all names in heauen. For as it is registred in the Creed, so is it reported in the Scripture, and so was it foretold, and it was conuenient it should be so, 1 Pet. 1. 11. Luke 24. 26. and this is profitable for vs to know, for it should perswade [Page 303] vs to patience and hope in all our sufferings. We should be willing to suffer as well as Christ, for we were predestinated to be made like vnto Christ in this very thing, Rom. 8. 29. and Christ did suffer to leaue vs an ensample, that we should walke in his steps, 1 Pet. 2. 20. And the more patient should we be, seeing he suffered farre more extreme things than we can doe: and in all our sufferings we should haue hope, be­cause we haue a promise, that if we suffer with him, we shall reigne with him also, 2 Tim. 2. 12. and then what comparison can there be betweene our light afflictions on earth, and that eternall glory in heauen, Rom. 8. 18. 2 Cor. 4. 17. And if we be not afflicted with him, what are we but bastards and not sonnes; for if God spared not his naturall Sonne, how can he spare vs that are but adopted sonnes?

And thus of the Coherence.

Yet before I come to the explication of the Doctrine of the Passion, a question may be moued concerning something that is wanting in the words of the Creed, and that is about the actiue obedience of Christ: for here is mention onely made of his Passion: now did Christ doe nothing worthy our faith but onely suffer? Or if hee did, why doth not the Creed take notice of it? For answer hereunto, we must know, that besides the suffering of the punishment of our sinnes threatned by the Law, our Sauiour did also absolutely fulfill the whole Law of God, by an exact and vniuersal obedience: which was necessary for him to doe for diuers reasons. For first his holinesse of Nature and life made his sufferings the more acceptable and meritorious, the lambe is not a meet sa­crifice if it be not vnspotted, 1 Pet. 1. 18. 19. nor the Priest fit to offer, if he be not holy and separate from sinners. Se­condly, he thereby leaues vs a paterne that we should follow his vertue, & striue to learne of him to obey the Law. Third­ly and chiefly, that he might bring in a righteousnesse that was able to iustifie vs, that had no righteousnesse of out own: for by the obedience of that one Man many are iustified, Rom. 5. 19. and he was the end of the Law for righteousnesse to euery one that beleeueth, Rom. 10. 4.

Now this point must not be wanting to our Creed, because [Page 304] it is the chiefe comfort of our liues against the sense of our owne vnrighteousnesse, and defects of Holinesse: It is the ioy of our Hearts, that we may euer say of Iesus, he is the Lord our righteousnesse, and that he is made vnto vs of God, righteousnesse, Ier. 23. 6. 1 Cor. 1. 30. 2 Cor. 5. 21. Rom. 5. 19. And therefore this great and free gift of God, we must not only beleeue, but acknowledge and professe. Againe, we should alwaies be stirred vp from the meditation of the singular holinesse of heart and life which was in Christ, to striue to be holy, as he is holy: for though a perfect obedi­ence be not required of vs in the new Gouenant, yet this righteousnesse of Christ is bestowed vpon those men only, that walke not after the flesh, but after the Spirit, Rom. 8. 3, 4.

Now for the reasons why this Article of Christs actiue obedience was not mentioned in the Creed, I cannot well tell what they were, vnlesse it were for breuities sake, or be­cause it is implied in his passiue obedience: for it is true that we must not diuide his actiue and passiue obedience the one from the other, because as they meet both in one Sauiour, so they are both ioyntly imputed to vs, to make vp that one worke of our Iustification.

It remaines now that I enter vpon the explication of the sufferings of our Lord and Sauiour Iesus Christ, and so there be Six things of great weight and profit to be distinctly con­sidered of:

  • 1. Who suffered.
  • 2. From whom he suffered.
  • 3. For whom he suffered.
  • 4. Why it was needfull he should suffer.
  • 5. What he suffered.
  • 6. How he suffered.

For the first, hee that suffered is described in the words next before in the Creed, it was Iesus Christ, the only Sonne of Godour Lord, who was so wonderfully conceiued and borne. For the vnderstanding whereof, we must conceiue that the Passion of Christ belongs to his Person, and so is attributed in respect of the Person to both Natures, for though in his diuine Nature he cannot suffer, because hee is Immutable, [Page 305] nor can die, because he is Immortall, and therefore properly suffers but in his humane Nature; yet in respect of the Per­son suffering, his sufferings belong euen to the diuine Na­ture: for if the flesh be the flesh of the Word, then must also the sufferings of the flesh, be the sufferings of the Word also: for neither was the Word disioyned from the flesh, nor the flesh seuered from the Word. Nor was there any hurt done to the Nature that is inuiolable, by that which was to be suf­fered in the Nature passible. If the Sunne shine vpon a peece of timber, though an axe cut the timber, yet the Sunne re­maines impassible; so is it when the Diuinitie is ioyned to the suffering flesh of Christ: yet I say in respect of the perso­nall vnion, the suffering is also attributed to the diuine Na­ture. Thus the Scripture saith, God redeemed the Church with his bloud, Act. 20. 28. and the Lord of glory was cru­cified, 1 Cor. 2. 8. So then, the summe of all is, that the Son of God did suffer, in that Nature he could suffer in: and this point may serue for very many vses. As,

1. We may stand still, and with amazement gaze and won­der at the glory of this Mystery imported in this first point. What is this, the eyes of our faith behold? was it euer thus seene before? The Maker of man is made Man, and while he rules the Starres, he suckes the brests: He that is Bread, hungereth; He that is the eternall Fountaine, is athirst: He that is the Way, is weary; He that is the Truth, is ob­scured by false witnesses: He that is the Iudge of quicke and dead, is iudged by a mortall Iudge: He that is Righ­teousnesse himselfe, is condemned by the vnrighteous: He that is the God of all Order, is beaten with rods: He that is the Power of God, is made weake: He that is Sal­uation, is wounded: and He that is Life, dies.

2. By the Euidence of this Truth, the Christian Church draw out those Heretiques were called Patripassiani, that held that God the Father suffered, and that the termes of Father, Sonne, and Holy Ghost, did note but one Person only. Which grosse Heresie as it is confuted by the Do­ctrine of the Trinity before, so by this Doctrine contained in this branch of this Article.

[Page 306] 3. We may hence gather how hatefull sinne is, that can make God suffer, that can abase so fearefully (as you shall heare afterwards) the very Sonne of God, who yet did no sinne, but was only a surety (as is to be shewed) yea it makes him suffer from his owne naturall Father: so vile a thing is sin, and so iust is God. What can be more senselesse than the heart of man, that from hence doth not clearely see the vgly and monstrous nature of sinne, and the most vnauoi­dable iustice of God, in punishing sinne? Doth Christ suf­fer, and from his owne Father, and is it possible any of vs should be so bewitched as to go on in sinne, and yet think there is such mercy in God as to spare him, though he for­sake not his euill wayes?

4. Is Gods Sonne thus abased for vs, and doe not wee pitie him? Are not our stony hearts melted with compassion towards him? Oh why doe we not more mourne for him suffering, than we would for our owne and only sonnes? This wee should doe, and must neuer haue the praise of good Nature, till we can be more affected with his abase­ment, that was so high and excellent in his owne Person.

5. Our faith should be wonderfully from hence strengthned, considering the vnspeakable sufficiencie of the sufferings of Christ for our sinnes; for if the Sonne of God redeemed vs, and satisfied for vs, and suffered for vs, then wee must needs be fully ransomed: and though our sinnes be many, yet the bloud of Iesus Christ the Sonne of God cleanseth vs from all our sinnes, 1 Ioh. 1. 7. Note that he saith the bloud of the Sonne of God, for that makes his bloud a perfect and sufficient price of Redemption.

6. If the Sonne of God suffered, then it should be a shame for the sons of men to be vnwilling to suffer, or to be impati­ent in their afflictions, Heb. 12. 3. especially such as are in meane condition in this world, should from hence be re­solued without murmuring to beare hard vsage, as is vr­ged in the case of seruants, 1 Pet. 2. 18. 19. Thus of the first Point.

For the second Point, viz. from whom he suffered: We must know, that if we let passe the higher causes of his Passi­on, [Page 307] and looke vpon the creatures only, he suffered from all sorts of Enemies. The Deuils and the High Priests, the Pha­risies and the People, Iudas and Pilate, Herod and the Soul­diers, Iewes and Gentiles, his owne Countrey-men and strangers, all oppose him, and from all he suffered, as the Hi­story of the Gospell more at large shewes. Which point is worthy our obseruation for diuers vses. First, we may hence take occasion to wonder at Gods skill and wisdome in orde­ring businesses. What a confused heape is here of vile Instru­ments, and yet what a glorious worke doth God doe, with­out disorder, nothing being done but according to his De­terminate Councell? Act. 2. 23. Secondly, we may see how easily all sorts of men are drawne to practise against holinesse and sincere religion: what doctrine was euer more powerfull than the doctrine of Christ, and what man euer liued so harmelessely, so profitably? and yet how quickly is all the world raised vp against Christ, and true Religion taught and profest by him: What power hath the Deuill in the hearts of all sorts of men? Who though he neuer require any worke but what is base and dangerous, yet quickly gets Instru­ments to effect any thing he requires. Oh how is miserable man sunke deepe into rebellion, that since the fall of our first Parents, had rather follow the Serpent, than the Sauiour of the world: who would euer care for the opinions or exam­ples of any sort of worldly men? Thirdly, wee see here a naughtie nature will infect any Calling, the Priesthood will not continue alwayes good, nor Magistracie, nor the retired life of the vulgar: sinne infects any calling.

For the third Point, for whom he suffered, that is answe­red in diuers Scriptures; he suffered not for himselfe, but for vs, 1 Pet. 2. 19. Now that this may be distinctly vnder­stood, it must be considered both Negatiuely, and Affirma­tiuely: Negatiuely, and so he did not suffer for all the men and women in the world vniuersally, as the Arminians and Lutherans affirme: and that we may gather by many senten­ces of Scripture; as Matth. 26. 28. He saith his bloud was shed for many, which imports it was not shed for all: And Matth. 7. 23. Christ saith to somemen, I know you not, which [Page 308] imports strongly that he did not suffer for them: and Ioh. 17. our Sauiour still limits his petitions in his pleading, viz. for such as God the Father had giuen him, and said he praied not for the world: and Iohn 13. 1. it is said he loued his owne which were in the world, and therefore all were not his owne: and Iohn 10. 15. He layed downe his life for his Sheepe, and therefore not for Goats and Swine: and Ephes. 5. 25. He gaue himselfe for the Church, not for all the world: and Reuel. 14. 3, 4. they that are bought out of the earth, are distinguished from other men, to shew all are not redeemed: and Heb. 9. 15, 16. The benefit of his Media­tion and Bloud-shedding is extended only to such as are cal­led. Thus of the proofe of the Negatiue.

Now for the affirmatiue, it is most cleare in Scripture, that Christ suffered for beleeuers, and for all of them, not only for vs, but for all of vs, Rom. 8. 32. not only for Iewes, but for all the world, that is, for the Gentiles of all Nations, 1 Iohn 2. 1. His-righteousnesse extends vnto all, and vpon all that beleeue, Rom. 3. 22.

The Vse may be first for the confutation of the opinion of those that hold that Christ suffered and died for all men in the world vniuersally; we grant his sufferings were suf­ficient to redeeme all the world, but not efficient: and that their opinion is very grossely erroneous, appeares by the former places of Scripture, and many more might bee alledged.

Secondly, seeing Christ did not suffer for all men vniuer­sally, we should looke to it, that we be such as may haue comfort that he died for vs. Now if we would know who they are in all the world that haue their part and portion in the redemption made in the sufferings of the Sonne of God, we must vnderstand that they are such as are described in the signes that follow. First, they are beleeuers: such as with the eye of faith can looke vpon, and must to the promise of God made concerning saluation by Christ, Ioh. 3 16. as is there shewed by the type of the brazen Serpent in the cohe­rence. Secondly, they are such as turne from transgression in Iaoob, Esay 59. 20. Thirdly, they are such, as will heare [Page 309] the voice of Christ, and be ruled by him, they are his sheepe, Iohn 10. 15. Fourthly, they are such as are made like to Christ in sufferings, they beare his image in suffering affli­ction, and yet for all their crosses they loue God, Rom. 8. 28, 29. 1 Per. 4. 1. Fiftly, they are such as doe consecrate their liues and seruices to Christ, they liue to him, that died for them, 2 Cor. 5. 15.

Thirdly, did Christ suffer for vs? what patterne was there euer of such leue? Consider what we were in our selues by nature: First, we were vniust, 1 Pet. 3. 18. the Iust here suf­fers for the vniust: one will scarce die for a righteous man, but who euer was willing to die for the vnrighteous, Rom. 5. 7, 8. Naboath, Zacharias the sonne of Iehoiada and Iohn Baptist were iust men, and yet none would die for them, and yet perhaps for some righteous man, one durst die, as it may be Ionathan durst haue died for Dauid, but yet this is with­out president, which here Christ doth, he suffers for the vn­righteous. Secondly, we were not only vniust, but his ene­mies also, Rom. 5. 10. yea we were such as neuer sought to him for redemption, as the Scriptures and experience shew.

What hearts haue we that cannot be more affected with this wonderfull loue of Christ! Behold here is Piety scour­ged for the impious mans sake: Wisdome is derided for the fooles sake: Truth is denied for the lyars sake: Iustice is condemned for the vniusts sake: Mercy is afflicted for the cruell mans sake: Life dies for the dead mans sake, as said an ancient Father. What a suffering is this, when the Iust suf­fers for the vniust, and with the vniust, and vpon vniust cau­ses, and vnder vniust Iudges, and by vniust punishments.

Fourthly, hath Christ suffered for vs? why then from his example we should learne to be willing and ready to suffer one for another, 1 Iohn 3. 16.

Fifthly, we should comfort our hearts with this Doctrine; seeing Christ did not suffer for himselfe, but for vs, wee should apply his sufferings to our selues, and plead them be­fore God against our sins, and the temptations of the Deuill: and seeing hee hath paid so deare a price to reconcile vs to God, wee should make no question of it, but that hee will [Page 310] now saue vs being reconciled, and finish his owne worke, Rom. 5. 10.

Lastly, seeing the Sonne of God is the Passeouer, yea our Passeouer, and Sacrifice for vs, we should therefore purge out the old Leauen, that we may be a new lumpe, and should therefore keepe the feast, not with old leauen, neither with the leauen of malice and wickednesse, but with the vnleaue­ned bread of sinceritie and truth; if Christ suffered for vs, then our life should be a continuall feast; yea in as much as he was offered vp as an immaculate Lambe, and is tendered to vs as the food of our soules in the Word and Sacraments, therefore we should spend our life as if it were a continuall Passeouer: and so we must put away leauen, euen the old leauen of such corruptions as we liued in, and in particular, the leauen of malice, and keepe this feast in the vnleauened bread of sound sinceritie of life and truth in all holinesse without hypocrisie. Thus of the third point.

The fourth point is, why it was needfull that Iesus Christ the Sonne of God should suffer? and for answer thereunto we must know that he did not suffer casually, but by diuine prouidence, so as nothing befell him in the least thing, which was not seene to be necessarie for our redemption: that God that doth all things by measure in afflicting his seruants, doth much more exactly looke to the powring out and filling of the cup he did giue his owne Sonne, so as not a drop could light into it, without especiall reason and sound consideration. Now there be many impulsiue cau­ses, or reasons giuen in Scripture why Christ must suffer: as

1. That so the Scriptures might be fulfilled, that foretold his sufferings, Luke 24. 26, 27. and therefore it is vsuall in the history of the Gospell, when the particular suffe­rings of Christ are mentioned, to say, it was that such and such a Scripture might be fulfilled. Let wicked men marke this point; God is so iust of his wotd, that he will not spare his owne Sonne, but executeth euery Iudge­ment and misery, which in his word hee foretold hee should suffer, nor he did not release him from the least circumstance of any part of his Passion, as the diuiding of [Page 311] his garments, and casting Lots for his vesture &c. and therefore how can it be possible, that they that are so hatefull to God, should escape any of those woes and curses denounced in Scripture? Let Swearers, Drunk­ards, Adulterers, Lyars, Hypocrites, and the like, be afraid of this.

2. That so he might leaue vs an ensample that we might walke in his steps. The perfect practise of Patience was cleane worne out of the world, so as a man could not see by any bodies practise, how he should carry himselfe in affliction. If we looke vpon Iob himselfe, that was one of the best patternes amongst men, yet we reade of strange impatience in Iob, he was not dumbe, but opened his mouth to speake strange and vnsauourie things. Now that this hard lesson might be learned, our Sauiour him­selfe vndertakes to act it before our eyes, that we might see it done to the life, and so be made more willing, and more able to learne to suffer. They are deceiued that thinke, that if godly persons suffer, it is for their faults, for if Christ himselfe come into the world, he shall suffer from the world: and true Christians are too faint-hear­ted, that seeing the Prince and Captaine of their saluation consecrate through afflictions, cannot yet be excited with magnanimitie and solide patience to endure the hardship of godlinesse, 1 Pet. 2. 21.

3. That so he might deliuer vs from the bondage of the Ce­remoniall Law, Iohn 1. 17. Act. 11. and 15. Gal. 3. 13, 14.

4. That so he might become a mercifull High-Priest, and might know how to haue compassion on our infirmities, and might attaine to a very feeling of our distresses, and so be more fit to succour vs, Heb. 2. 17, 18. and 4. 15. which should afford vnto vs strong consolation in all grieuances of life: it is a glory we giue to Christ, when we by faith in our particular tryals doe rest vpon this goodnesse, and fellow-feeling in our blessed Sauiour. These causes are lesse principall, but the principall reasons follow, and so

5. He was to suffer, that so he might reconcile vs to God, or [Page 312] bring vs againe to God, as the Apostles phrase is, 1 Pet. 3. 18. which he did effect, when in his sufferings he was made an expiation, atonement, and propitiation for our sins: as our surety he was to make payment and satisfa­ction to God, by suffering that malediction which we should haue borne, God condemning our sins in his flesh, Esay 53. 5. Rō. 4. 25. and 3. 25. and 8▪ 3. 1 Ioh. 2. 1, 2. This end of his suffering appeares in this, that scarce any myste­rie was more frequently shadowed out in the Old Testa­men; for euery day the sacrifices did as it were force it into the mindes of men; and this was it the Prophets so longed to see, 1 Pet. 1. 11.

6. He was to suffer, that so he might heale our diseases, and kill and mortifie the vile humours and spirituall leprosies had infected our soules and liues, which his Passion doth partly by way of argument, as the meditation of his suffe­ring doth giue vnto the godly cause to hate sin, and with sorrow to put it away; and partly and chiefly by a spe­ciall vertue (as a diuine plaister) is deriued vnto our soules secretly by the ordinances of Christ, as by the word of the Crosse, which is the preaching of the Gospell, and by both the Sacraments, Baptisme & the Lords Supper, Rō. 6. Mat. 26. [...] Cor. 1. 1 Pet. 2. 24. Ioh. 17. 17, 19 which ver­tue is deriued vnto vs by these means by the Holy Ghost, which he obtained of the Father for this end, Gal. 3▪ 13, 14.

7. He was to suffer, that he might purchase thereby eternall life for vs, who were not only cast out of Paradice, but shut out of Heauen, and could neuer enter within the veile, had we not beene sprinkled with his bloud, Iohn 3. 14. Heb. 10. 19. Iohn 6. 51. and 12. 32, 33. Heb. 2. 10.

Ob. But how can the sufferings of one man be a suffici­ent satisfaction for the sins of so many men?

Sol. Though the man Christ suffered, yet being also God, the dignity of his person was such, as it was of more price and value for him to suffer, than if all the men and An­gels in the world had suffered the same things: and so we answer that obiection also, that his sufferings were but for a time, and his death but temporary, and therefore how could, [Page 313] that be equiualent to damnation eternall, which all men de­serued and were guilty: I say, it is answered by this, that it is more for Christ to suffer a temporarie death, than for all men to suffer eternall damnation.

Ob. 2. How can it stand with Gods iustice to punish the most righteous man that euer was, and that for sinners sake, seeing Tyrants will not doe so?

Answ. Christ is not to be considered as a priuate person, but as a publike surety for the Elect, and so it is iust to re­quire their debts at his hand that becomes surety for them.

The consideration of these principall ends of Christs suf­ferings may serue for great vse. For first we may hence see cleerely, how wicked the doctrine of the Church of Rome is, that tels vs of satisfactions for mens sinnes to be made by the works partly of themselues, and partly of Saints departed: when the Scripture acknowledgeth no other propitiation than the passion of Christ, nor can there be need of any other, seeing it is the passion of him that is God. Secondly, hence we may be confirmed against the scandal of the Crosse of Christ: though Iewes and Gentiles declaime against Christ for that very cause, because he was so vile and con­temptible in the eyes of the world, yet we see there was great reason for it, he should be so abased, for else our sinnes had not beene satisfied for, nor heauen purchased. Thirdly, hence we may see the difference betweene Christs sufferings and the sufferings of the Martyrs: For first, the sufferings of the Martyrs were not punishments for sinnes, but only trials or chastisements; whereas Christs sufferings were maledi­ctions and punishments laid vpon him for our sins. Againe, the sufferings of the Martyrs were not meritorious, they de­serued nothing for others, because they are considered but as priuate men; but Christs sufferings were meritorious, be­cause he vndertooke them as our suretie, and was sustained vnder them by the immediate assistance of the Diuine Na­ture, in respect of which they were the sufferings of God. Fourthly, hence we may take occasion to be grieued at heart for our sinnes; for our sinnes were the cause of the sufferings of Christ, and brought vpon him all the miseries he endu­red: [Page 314] when we see Christ crucified, we see him who was so pierced for our sinnes. Fifthly, seeing we are bought with such a price, as the sufferings and bloud-shedding of Iesus Christ, we should therefore not be the seruants of men; see­ing Christ paid so deare for vs, we should be ashamed to ap­plie our selues to the humours, and lusts, and vanities of the men of this world, as if we were still their seruants. He knowes not Christ, or the price of his redemption, that for base and corrupt respects will leaue the sinceritie of Christs seruice to humour or please men, 1 Cor. 7. 23. Sixthly, see­ing Christ laid downe this price to redeeme and saue his people from their sinnes, wee should goe away resolued to sinne no more, and to walke worthy of so great redemption. Shall wee againe crucifie the Sonne of God, by returning with the dogge to our vomit, or the swine to the wallowing in the mire? Seuenthly, how should we admire the loue of Christ to vs, that hath washed vs from our sinnes by his owne bloud! Oh glorious medicine! Oh how vnspeak­able was that loue! What tongue can vtter it? What heart can conceiue of it? Reuel. 1. 5.

But the especiall vse is for consolation: for these ends of Christs sufferings doe manifestly import the fruits and be­nefit of his suffering to vs, which is so great, as we should euer exult and glory in the Crosse of Christ aboue althings, and desire no better a way of liuing, than to liue by the faith of the Sonne of God that gaue himselfe for vs, Galat. 2. 20. and 6. 14. For since Christ did suffer for those reasons be­fore specified, it will manifestly from thence follow;

1. That the hand-writing that was against vs is cancelled, our bond which we forfeited cannot now be sued against vs, Col. 2. 15.

2. That God is pacified and well pleased with vs, Mat. 17. 5. 1 Ioh. 2. 12.

3. That death and damnation is now swallowed vp into vi­ctory, that we need not liue in such feare of them, Ro. 8. 1. 1▪ Cor. 15. Heb. 2. 14, 15.

4. That the deuill, being but Gods Sergeant or Iaylor, hath now no power ouer vs, Heb. 2. 14.

[Page 315] 5. That we are absolued and discharged from the guilt of all our sinnes, and may by faith lay hold vpon all the promi­ses of grace and pardon in the Scripture.

6. That sinne shall haue no more dominion ouer vs; for the bloud of Iesus Christ cleanseth vs from all our sinnes, as well in respect of vertue, as in respect of merit; and against the power of it, as well as against the guilt of it, Rom. 6.

7. That we shall be sure of heauen when we die.

And in generall, the passion and bloud-shedding of Christ doth ratifie and assure to vs all the good things of the new Couenant or Testament, Heb. 9. 16. &c. and for mat­ters may be needfull for vs in this life, how can we doubt? for if God haue giuen vs his Sonne, how shall he not with him giue vs all things, Romanes 8. 32. Thus of the fourth point.

The fifth point is, what he suffered for vs: and this will be large in the explication of it: For though his sufferings vnder Pontius Pilate be mentioned, and his suffering of what fell out at the end of his life be called the Passion (by an excellencie) yet in as much as Christ suffered nothing ca­sually, or for himselfe, but for vs, therefore we must reckon all the parts of his sufferings as parts of his Passion for vs; and so remouing the Synecdoche which is in the words of the Creed, and considering at large of Christs sufferings euen those parts which are not men [...]ioned in the Creed, as well as those that are, the whole Systeme or Method of the doctrine of Christs Passion may be disposed as followeth.

The Passion of Christ is both Priuatiue and Positiue.

His Priuatiue Passion did consist in this, that he wanted that glory, ioy and felicitie, which he might and ought to haue had, if he had not voluntarily for the redemption of man depriued himselfe of such glory and felicitie: and this kinde of Passion did extend it selfe to both Natures. For first his Diuine Nature suffered as it were an eclipse of glory all the time of our Sauiours dwelling on earth; it was hidden as it were behinde the veile: for if his Diuinitie had shone out in the brightnesse of the glory of it, when he came to dwell amongst vs, (Iohn [...]. 14.) it would haue beene as [Page 316] wonderfull on earth amongst men, as it was and is in heauen amongst Angels. And besides, though the glory of Christs Diuinitie be so infinite, as nothing can be added to it, or ta­ken from it in it selfe, yet is it said to be glorified or obscured according to the conceptions of it in the minds of men, and so he suffered a priuation of glory, or rather a defect of it, in that light came into the world, and the darknesse of mens hearts was such as they did not comp [...]ehend it. Yea it was a great Passion, that the Diuinitie of Christ should be so slowly and by so few acknowledged al the dayes of Christs being in the flesh on earth. And as for his humane Nature, there was due to it all abundance of glory, and happinesse, and ioyfull life, in as much as he was a iust man, and did perfectly fulfill the whole Law of God; for he that doth that should liue, the meaning is, he should liue a most plea­sant and happy life for euer. But this glory also for our sakes he was contented to want for a time to his very hu­mane Nature. Of this kinde of Passion is spoken, Ioh. 17. 5. Phil. 27. and this priuation of glory he suffered, that wee might be brought to perfect glory in heauen; and that wee may see how hatefull the clouds of our sinnes were, that could darken and hide from shining the beames of such glory; and to teach vs to be content though our liues be also hid with Christ, as his was when he liued in this world, expecting the reuealing of our glory, when he appeares in glory, Col. 3. 3, 4.

Thus of his priuatiue Passion. His Passion considered po­sitiuely, comprehends both the euill was imputed to him, and the euill was inflicted vpon him.

His suffering by way of Imputation was very grieuous: for the Lord Iesus standing before the Iustice of God as our Suretie, all our sinnes were charged vpon him, as if he had committed them himselfe: and this was a most fearfull kinde of Passion, which the Scripture takes expresse notice of. Saint Paul saith, he that knew no sinne was made sinne for vs, 2 Cor. 5. 21. and the Apostle Peter saith, hee bare our sinnes in his owne body on the trce, 1 Pet. 2. 24. and this is a consideration of great necessitie and vse: for hereby the [Page 317] hearts of the godly may be wonderfully setled in cōsolation, so as to liue out of the feare of Gods wrath for our sins. All our sinnes are charged already vpon Christ, and therefore God in iustice cannot charge them vpon vs: and it is an in­crease of comfort, to know that therefore our sinnes were im­puted to him, that his righteousnesse might be imputed to vs, 2 Cor. 5. 21. And withall we should hence learne, see­ing all our sinnes are taken off our shoulders, and laid vpon him, therefore to spend our daies in righteousnesse and ho­linesse of life, 1 Pet. 2. 24. And thus also of his imputatiue Passion.

Concerning the Euill he endured for vs, which was infli­cted vpon him: it is true that the Scripture doth most fre­quently mention his death and bloud-shedding, but yet that must be vnderstood Synecdochically, for into the Doctrine of the Passion ought to be taken all the things he suffered from his Conception to his Resurrection: and that for these two Reasons: First, It is most manifest he suffered nothing for himselfe, but for vs: and if all he suffered were for vs, then all his sufferings must be reckoned, as concurring to the price of our Redemption. Secondly, Hee was to suffer the Curses and malediction of the Law, which was due to vs for our sinnes. Now by our breach of the Law, wee deserued not only death, but a miserable life also: and though it is true, that such punishments as are inflicted vpon men, con­sidered in their particular persons, and not common to the Nature of man, he was not bound to suffer, as hee was not bound to suffer the paines of the stone, or gout, or other like diseases, which are not the maledictions which belong to the whole Nature of Man, but speciall iudgements God inflicts vpon some men: yet the common Miseries of mans life, which may stand with the Libertie and freedome of the execution of his office in the chiefe sorts of them he did su­staine, & to increase the merit of his Passion, in some things he extends his sufferings further, as will appeare afterwards.

Now the contemplation of the Miseries our blessed Saui­our suffered, which were positiuely inflicted vpon him, may bee diuided into these parts: viz.

  • [Page 318] 1. The Humiliation of his Incarnation.
  • 2. His abasement from his Birth to his Baptisme.
  • 3. His sufferings from his Baptisme to his last Supper.
  • 4. His Araignment.
  • 5. The miseries he endured after his araignment, which are comprehended in the words of the Creed, Cru­cified, dead, &c.

First for the Humility of his Incarnation. He did not only take the Nature of Man, but he tooke vpon him the forme of a seruant, and was borne in a most meane and contempti­ble condition, of a poore Mother, not allowed the common entertainment of an lnne, but thrust out to be borne in a stable amongst the beasts, and laid in a very manger, not looked after or regarded, either by his own or by strangers, Phil. 2. Luke 2. And thus he was abased for diuers reasons: For first hereby the second Adam paies for the extreme arr [...] ­gancie of the first Adam: The second Adam is thrust downe below the ordinary condition of a man, because the first A­dam affected a condition aboue the Angels, euen to be like to God himself. Secondly, he thus hides the glorie of his eter­nall Natiuity in a meane and temporary birth, that he might purchase for vs an heauenly and eternall birth: Our Lord takes vpon him the forme of a seruant, that we might enioy the states of sonnes. Thirdly, he refuseth the glory of great­nesse and pompe of entertainment at his birth, to reach the great ones of the world, not to be proud of their births in Nature, but to seeke after the heauenly new birth, as the on­ly true glory: And the poore of the world may be comforted against the meannesse of their prouisions for themselues and their children, by remembring that the Sauiour of the world had not so good entertainment as vsually the poorest of their children haue.

For the second (to wit) his Abasement from his Birth to his Baptisme, two things are to be reckoned as parts of his Passion, namely his exile, and his contemptible condition. A little after the birth of our Sauiour, wee reade that Ioseph and Mary were forced to flie out of Iury into Aegypt: and in this suffering he beares the similitude of the first Adam: As [Page 319] the first Adam shortly after he was created in Paradise, was banished out from thence: So Christ the second Adam short­ly after he was borne in Iudaea, is driuen out to goe into Ae­gypt. And this also he suffered, that the prophecie might be fulfilled, that said long before, Out of Aegypt haue I called my Sonne, Hosea 11. And this part of his suffering had also comfort in it, for he therefore lost his liberty in his owne Countrey, that he might purchase for vs the right and liber­tie of our heauenly Countrey: and that such godly men as suffer banishmēt, might comfort themselues in his example.

Now for the other Branch, we may obserue that for thirty yeares, which was the greatest part of our Sauiours life on earth, he liued in a most obscure condition, reckoned euen in Israel, but as the Carpenters sonne, and made subiect to the authoritie of that poore man Ioseph: In all which time no man regarded him, or once acknowledged his glory, either as the Sonne of God, or King of the Iewes, or Sauiour of the world: and in this time was the old prophecie fulfilled, He was as a Root growing vp out of a drie ground, he hath no forme or comlinesse, and when we shall see him, there is no beautie that we should desire him: he is despised and reiected of men, and we hide our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not, Esay 53. 2, 3. And hence godly men may learne to be patient, and contented, though the world know them not, and acknowledge not their glory of the sonnes of God, though he liue many a day, month, and yeare, without being desired, or esteemed in the world. It was thus with the Naturall Sonne, and therefore the Adop­ted sonnes should not thinke it strange, 1 Iohn 3. 1, 2▪ If our life be hid, so was Christs also, Coloss. 3. 3. And this Ex­ample of Christ should greatly checke the vnquietnesse of the minds of many, that cannot abide to be neglected, and so violably hunt after acceptation and fame in the world. And thus much for his sufferings from his Birth to his Bap­tisme, in all which time our Sauiour carried himselfe but as a priuate man, and spent his time in performing a most exact obedience to the Law of God, and the commandement of Ioseph his reputed father.

[Page 320] His publique sufferings began from his Baptisme, when he was about thirtie yeares of age; and the first Diuision of them I make to be from his Baptisme to his last Supper: and about these first obserue the circumstance of the time: We know that Christ as the Lord our righteousnesse was to doe two things for vs: (viz.) to performe a most absolute obe­dience to the Law, and to suffer the malediction of the Law for our sinnes. Now as he began the publique profession of his obedience to the Law at his Circumcision, so he began the publique enduring of the malediction of the Law at his Baptisme: or thus, The obedience to Moses Law he begins at his Circumcision, his open obedience to that singular Law giuen him by his Father about redeeming the Church by his Passion, he begins to execute from the time of his Bap­tisme.

Now the things that hee suffered in this part of his life were these:

1. Temptation: As soone as he was baptised, and had solemnly vndertaken in publique the Redemption of the Church, the Deuill set vpon him with diuers hellish and fu­rious assaults, as you may reade, Matth. 4. And vnto this conflict doth our Sauiour voluntarily offer himselfe, being led to the combat by the Spirit, and begins to wrastle with the Prince of all aduersarie power, enduring with great pati­ence, and resisting and vanquishing with great skill his fiery and blasphemous Darts. And in the Desert by single com­bat, as in an open field, before God and Angels was this battell fought. And in the Desert doth our Sauiour suffer this conflict with the Deuill for diuers reasons. First, that hee might redeeme vs, that with our first Parents did wander vp and downe in the vast desert of this world, being banished from Paradise, and might by subduing the Deuill, the Lion of the wildernesse, the god of this world, leaue vs a secure ha­bitation all the dayes of our pilgrimage, and purchase our re­turne to a better Paradise, Secondly, He was tempted of the Deuill, that hee might feele what wee suffered when wee are tempted, and might be able to succour them that are tempted, Hebr. 2. 17, 18. and 4. 15. Thirdly, That he might shew vs a [Page 321] way how to resist the Deuill, and to wrestle with Principali­ties and Powers, that we may ouercome them. For hence we may learne many things: for first here we may know our Ad­uersarie, and what Enemie wee shall haue, if wee giue our names to Christ, and binde ourselues by the Sacraments to enter into a course of holy obedience to God. The Deuill [...]s well as the world will oppose vs. Secondly, we may gather from hence that no true Christian may promise himselfe freedome to be spared from this warre, nor ought to desire to be discharged from this Triall, seeing the Sonne of God was not free from it. Thirdly, wee should hence learne, that a godly Christian, who is Gods Champion, is not brought to the combat of temptations at the meere lust, or when the Deuill out of his malice will, but he is solemnly led to the fight by Gods Spirit, who will stand by him, and giue issue, and make a way to escape the danger: they shall haue no more laid vpon them than they are able to beare. Fourthly, from the practise of our great Commander, we see with what weapons wee must resist: wee must get store of the written word of God into our hearts, and with the force of Gods sa­cred and true words, wee must beat backe and vanquish the blasphemies and prouocations of the Deuill. Christ beats the Deuill by quoting the Scripture; which word of God is called the Sword of the Spirit. Finally, hence our soules may draw euerlasting comfort, and courage against all temp­tations, by faith and confidence in Christ, who hath not on­ly ouercome the Deuill, but did it in our steads, and that he might merit our victory, and hath promised to helpe vs with his power, 2 Cor. 12. 7, 8, 9.

2. Extreme pouerty of Estate: The second thing he suf­fered in this part of his life, was grieuous pouertie and want of the ordinary comforts and possessions of life, so as hee complaines, The birds of the aire haue nests, and the foxes haue holes, but the Sonne of Man hath not where to lay his head, Matth. 8. 20. And we reade that when he was to ride in tri­umph, as it were, into Ierusalem, as the King of Sion, (Zach. 9. 9.) he was faine to ride of a borrowed Asse, and the foale of an Asse, Matth. 21. Now this meannesse of Estate he endured [Page 322] for these reasons. First, Hee became poore, as the Apostle said, that he might make vs rich, 2 Cor. 8. 9. He wanted earthly things, that he might enrich vs with heauenly things. Secondly, our King comes to vs thus meeke and lowly, hi­ding his Maiestie, and applying himselfe to the meane con­d [...]on of his seruants, that he might entice vs to seeke more heartily those great things of our saluation from him, Zach. 9. 9. And from hence we may learne diuers things. First, we should know and acknowledge this grace of our Lord Iesus Christ, and blesse his blessed pouerty, that hath ope­ned a way for such riches for our soules, 2 Cor. 8. 9. Second­ly, such as are rich should learne not to contemne poore Christians for their pouerty, seeing Christ himselfe was poore; and withall they should imitate Christ, euen to make themselues poore (as it were) through their abundant liberality to the distressed Saints, as Paul vrgeth it 2 Cor. 8. 9. And further, they should not place their felicitie in the possession of worldly things, seeing the Heire of all things, and the fountaine of all happinesse, did by willing pouer­tie so trample vpon the glory of the riches of the world. Thirdly, such as would follow Christ in this world, must hence learne not to seeke great things from his seruice in earthly things: for so our Sauiour vrgeth this point, as you may reade Matth. 8. 19, 20. Lastly, poore Christians may wonderfully reioyce, and serue God in their meane places with much gladnesse of heart, seeing the Sauiour of the world was as poore as they, and liued in as much want of all things as they doe.

3. Infirmities of all sorts, especially bodily weaknesses, as famine, and thirst, and wearinesse, and teares, and the like, reported in the storie of the Gospell: as also infirmities of the minde, as anger, sadnesse, trouble of heart, and the like: and these he suffered for diuers reasons also. First, that in all things he might be made like vnto vs, sinne only excepted, Heb. 4. 15. Secondly, that he might assure vs that he knowes how to haue compassion of our infirmities. Thirdly, Christ was made weake for vs, that we might be strong in his might, and might each of vs say with Paul, [Page 323] I can doe all things by Iesus Christ that strengthneth me. Lastly, it is a shame for vs to be impatient when we suffer these things, seeing the Prince of our saluation hath abased himselfe to suffer such things in his owne person.

4. Ignominie and extreme disgrace. And his suffe­rings that belong to this head were of diuers kinds: As first, vile estimation and neglect, as to be reckoned but as a Car­penter, or the sonne of a Carpenter, Mark. 6. 3. and to be regatded of none of the Rulers, and great men, Iohn 7. 48, 49. Secondly, the expresse deniall of his chiefe glories. Thus the Iewes denied his Diuinitie, as is recorded in diuers pla­ces of the Gospell. They likewise would neuer acknow­ledge the glory of his birth of a Virgin, but still reckoned him for Iosephs sonne. Nor would they receiue him as their Sauiour and King, Ioh. 1. 10. and his Miracles they said he wrought by the Deuill. Thirdly, vniust accusations and vile reproaches: and thus he is charged with all sorts of vices, against God, and the Magistrates, and against his owne Soule. Against God he is charged with blasphemy, and se­ducing the people, and to be a Samaritane: Against the Magistrate he is charged with treason and sedition: and against his owne Soule▪ he is charged with gluttony, and working with a Familiar, & madnesse, and to be a friend of Publicans and sinners: and these Indignities were the more grieuous, because hee suffered them from the Priests and Scribes and Pharises, as well as from the people, they being men that professe learning and religion: and because he suffered them also from his owne, euen those amongst whom hee was borne and bred: and because also these things wrought such an impression in the hearts of the people, that they not only disliked him, but were scandalized and offended in him, Mark. 6. 3. and some of his Disciples fell away from him, Iohn 6. All this shame and reproach he bare for diuers reasons: First, hee thereby suffers the imputation of our sinnes; being our surety he endures it to be charged with all sorts of crimes, because though he were innocent, yet we were guilty: and that may be the reason, why he saith so little to excuse himselfe against these [Page 324] aspersions. Secondly, that thereby he might deliuer vs from that eternall shame was due to vs, and merit for vs eternall honour, and glory, and praise, Ioh. 19. 2. Thirdly, that therein he might giue an vnanswerable proose of that naturall hatred of goodnesse that is in the men of this world, of what degree soeuer. Fourthly, that hee might leaue vs an example of patience vnder the like sufferings, and that we might prepare and looke for the tryals of re­proach for well-doing, and not thinke it strange to be reckoned for euill doers, and to lie buried vnder the dis­grace of foule aspersions, Matth. 10. 24. Heb. 12. 3, 4.

5. Many dangers of the losse of his life. The Nazarens would haue cast him downe headlong from the brow of a Hill, Luk. 4. 29. The Iewes tooke vp stones to kill him, Iohn 8. 59. The Pharisees and Herodians tooke counsell how to destroy him, Mark. 3. 6, 7. Diuers consultations of this kinde we reade of, as Iohn 7. 1. and 11. 53. And these dangers he suffered as the fruits of our sin: they are neuer safe that liue in sinne. And also he endured these dangers, that he might redeeme our liues, and saue vs from danger of eternall destruction. And further, that he might teach vs how to carry our selues in time of danger, viz. to rest vpon God without feare, as knowing that our times are in Gods hand, as Christ did when he sent that message to He­rod, Goe tell that fox, I worke to day and to morrow, &c. and yet withall to vse all lawfull waies of preuention or escape from danger, as we reade our Sauiour often did, Iohn 7. 1. & 11. 53, 54. And further, that we might rest vpon this ex­perience of his power; He that was able to preserue himselfe from such desperate dangers, is able and will keepe vs in all our waies. Finally, it should teach vs patience vnder losses, crosses and dangers, seeing, as the Apostle saith, We haue not resisted vnto bloud, Heb. 12. 4. our dangers are not so great as his: and therefore it is a shame for vs to faint or be discouraged.

Thus of his sufferings from his Baptisme till about the time of his last Supper. His Arraignment followes.

Vnder his Arraignment I comprehend those dreadfull [Page 325] things he suffered, which containe the first part of his ex­treme Passion: And here we are to consider, first, what went before his Arraignment; and then the things he suffe­red in the Arraignment it selfe.

Before his Arraignment fell out three things.

  • 1. The consultation of his Aduersaries.
  • 2. The treason of Iudas.
  • 3. His apprehension.

But before I open these points, two things in generall that concerne his last Passion are to be considered, (viz.) the place where he suffered, and the time when.

The place where he suffered was Ierusalem: which was ordered so of purpose in the prouidence of God for three reasons. First, that so the types of the Old Testament might be fulfilled: for there it was that Abraham would haue sacrificed his sonne Isaack as a type of Christ. Se­condly, that so our Sauiours owne prophecies concerning the place of his Passion might be fulfilled: for hee had foretold his Disciples that it must be at Ierusalem, Matth. 20 17, 18, 19. Luk. 13. 31, &c. Thirdly & chiefly, that by his Death and Passion, he might obtaine for vs the vision of eternall Peace, which the word Ierusalem signifies.

The time when he suffered was at the Passeouer: At which time was the greatest assembly and concourse of people of all sorts, and from all parts of the world. Hee being our surety, payes our debt publikely before thousands of witnesses; and withall thereby signifies, that hee is the true Paschall Lambe, which was offered vp for people of all Nations: and the better to confirme our Faith, and affect vs, chuseth to be killed about the same time the Paschall Lambe was eaten: And it might signifie, that God that would send the Destroyer against the world, would yet passeouer the Elect that are sprinkled with the bloud of his Son: and that Christ Iesus will guide vs out of the Egypt of this world into the heauenly Canaan; and at the time of the Passeouer doth the Lambe of God passe out of this world. Thus of the place and time.

The first thing we are to consider of that fell out before [Page 326] his Arraignment, is the consultation of his Aduersaries, which is recorded, Matth. 26. 3, 4. where obserue, first what they did, viz. they call a Counsell, they doe not goe about the worke without aduice. They gather a great assembly to­gether to consult of the businesse. They vnite their forces against Christ, to let vs know, that the authoritie of Coun­cels is not infallible: There haue beene Councels against Christ as well as for Christ: and to teach Christian Rulers in Church and Common-wealth, to lay their heads and hearts together, how they may destroy Antichrist. It is much to be lamented, that Christians can no better agree together against Antichrist: It is easier to get a Councell against Christ, than against Antichrist. Secondly, note where they assemble, viz. in the Hall of Caiaphas, who was the man, that before in another Councell, had giuen his sentence for the killing of Christ, and was the first that de­liuered his opinion expresly for the death of Christ, Ioh. 11. Thirdly, consider who were of this wicked Councell, viz. the chiefe Priests & Scribes, and Elders of the people: euen the neerer men come to God by place and office, the more desperately vile they are when they once fall to opposing the truth: Christ had no enemies more malitious than the Priests and Scribes, and therefore it is not safe to rest vpon men in the businesses of saluation: Things are not there­fore to be beleeued or done, because they are graced with the authority of great men in Church or Common-wealth. And it is not vnprofitable to note the causes of these mens proceedings against Christ. First, they enuied his glory and respect among the people, which had so much eclipsed their glory: then this Enuy begat the darknesse of affected Ignorance, so as neither Scripture, nor his teaching, nor the often foyles he had giuen them, nor his Miracles could con­uince them: Then their affected Ignorance begat hatted and loathing of the Truth: and that hatred of the Truth, made them fall into this mad and vnappeasable Rage and Malice against Christ, which appeares by the last thing I note in their consultation, which was the end why they as­sembled, viz. to take him by subtletie and to kill him. Note [Page 327] here that Malice in the enemies of Religion is very cruell: Nothing but his bloud will satisfie them, and they make no conscience to vse ill meanes to take him, they professe to desire to take him by subtlety. There is a world of wicked­nesse committed by such as sit in seats of Iustice and Iudge­ment: and the Iudge of the world will haue it brought to light, it shall bee knowne many times to their eternall shame amongst men. I may adde one thing more about this consultation, and that is about the time of it: Now when they should haue beene preparing themselues for the Passeouer, they are met here in a Councell to take Armes against the true Paschall Lambe: and had it not beene for feare of the tumulting of the people, they would haue as securely sought his destruction at that time as any other.

Quest. But where was our Sauiour now?

Answ. He was at Bethany, and got himselfe of purpose out of the way, that they might haue full scope to meet and consult about his death, as knowing that his houre was come, & thereby declaring that he did willingly lay downe his life for vs. Thus of the consultation of his Aduersaries.

Concerning the Treason of Iudas, diuers things are wor­thy the noting, as

1. The parts of it: and so his treason consisted of two deuil­lish practises: The first was his compact with the Priests about betraying Christ; of which reade Mat. 26. 14. &c. The second was the villanous execution of the Treason, according to that agreement: of which reade Matth. 26. 47. &c. where you shall finde that he betrayed him with a kisse.

2. The qualitie of the Traytor: He was a Minister, a cho­sen Disciple of Christ, yea preferred to the highest Cal­ling in the Church, viz. to bee an Apostle, one of the Twelue that was called out of the rest of the Disciples, and made one of Christs owne family, and amongst the Twelue of some speciall reckoning, for he was, as it were, the Steward, and bare the Bagge.

3. The cause of the Treason, or what moued Iudas to this [Page 328] deuillish practise, and that was his couetousnesse, which is expressely noted by the Euangelist S. Iohn, Chap. 12. 6. And his couetousnesse was the more vile, and may be ag­grauated against him diuers wayes. As first, because hee was an Apostle: Couetousnesse is more hatefull in a Mi­nister than in any other. Secondly, Because he would sell his Lord and Master at so meane a price; that he should offer to sell the Lord of all things, as if he had beene a vile bond-slaue, and that he should reckon him to bee made for his owne priuate gaine, that did vouchsafe to be­come a common price for the redeeming of all men, was a grieuous offence: but that hee should sell him for so meane a price, as thirtie peeces of Siluer, was extremely base: Nay it was the more excessiuely vile, that he vseth Christ worse than a Clowne would doe his hogge; for if a country clowne were to sell his hogge, hee would not leaue the price to the discretion of the buyers, as Iudas did.

4. The Patience of Christ towards the Traytor, vsing so ma­ny wayes to warne him, and reclaime him: For first, af­ter the Treason began, our Sauiour vouchsafeth to wash the very feer of the Traytor, those feet that were ready to shed innocent bloud, Ioh. 13. 2, 5. Secondly, He thence taketh occasion to say, Yee are cleane, but n [...]t all, Ioh. 13. 10, 11. Thirdly, He comes nearer, and: by a prophecie tells them, that one of them that did eat bread with him should file vp his heele against him, vers. 18. Fourthly-Heyet more plainly saith, One of you shall betray mee, not naming him, Ioh. 13. 21. Fiftly, To awaken him, sie [...]hrea­tens him, Woe vnto that man by whom the Sonne of Man is betrayed, &c. Mut. 26. 24. Sixtly, When all this would not melt the heart of Iudas, he falls into a grieuous Agony for very compassion, and vexation at the sinne of Iudas, so as be was troubled in Spirit, as Saint Iohn shewes, Chap. 13. 21. Seuenthly, Though hee knew him to be a cursed Enemie and a Wolfe, that wayted to prey vpon him, (though now in a sheepes skin) yet he giues him a Sop: He gaue vs a patterne, how to practise that saying, If thine [Page 329] enemie hunger feed him, if he thirst giue him drinke.

5. Why was it necessary Christ should be betrayd by Iudas? Answ. He suffered this betraying: First, that the Scrip­ture might be fulfilled that had fore told this Treason, Ioh. 13. 18. Secondly, in abiding this Treason, hee paid for our perfidiousnesse and ingratitude in Adam; our per­fidiousnesse in betraying the Truth to the Deuill; and our ingratitude, that had receiued of God so many bene­fits by Creation, and yet so euill rewarded him: and hee was betrayed with a kisse, that hee might satisfie for vs, that in Adam had admitted the flattery of the Serpent, when hee told vs wee should be like God; yea that had as it were flattered the Serpent, obeying him rather than God.

6. What end this Traitor had: viz. He died miserably, li­ued to see Christ suffer so much, as filled his conscience with cruell torments, and afterwards hanged himselfe, so desperately, that he burst afunder in the middest, and all his bowels gushed out, as you may reade in the Gospell, and the Acts, Matth. 27. 3, 4, 5. Act. 1. 18.

Out of all this diuers vses may be made: As,

1. For Information, and so two things may benoted: First, that Ministers if they be corrupt, and lye in the practise of any grosse sinne, proue very deuils incarnate; Iudas for this cause is called a Deuill, Iohn 6. 70. Nothing is more loathsome to God than a wicked Minister; and no men proue more vile, and impudent, and fenselesse than they, if they make not conscience of their wayes. If Salt be vnsa­uoury, where with shall it be salted? Seldome doeiwe reade or heare of the conuersion of these men. Againe, if God for­sake a man in his iust iudgement, we see how impossible it is for a man to get out of the snare of sinne. Iudas, after Co­uetousnesse had infected him, was still an Apostle, had ex­cellent gifts of preaching and working miracles, enioyed the benefit of the daily doctrine & holy example of our Sauiour, saw his Miracles, was enterrained into his familiar acquain­tance, and had manifest warning giuen, Ioh. 6. 70. And now at the time of his Treason frequent admonitions, as [Page 330] was shewed before, and yet so corrupt was his nature, and so had the Deuill bewitched him, that he giues not ouer till he had fully finished his wicked deuice. Yea let all men take heed how they trust vpon vaine euasions, or pretended pro­iects, to auoid the hurts and mischiefe may follow vpon their wicked actions. It is probably gathered by some Di­uines, that Iudas though hee meant to betray Christ, yet hee meant not to haue him killed, but thought he might get the money of the Priests, and yet Christ when he came to the pinch would escape from their hands, as he had often done. And this may beegathered two wayes: For first, when he comes to Christ, and giues the signe to the Iewes by kissing him, he so speakes to Christ, as he seemes to will him to shift for himselfe; when he said, Master saue thy selfe, or haile Ma­ster. And secondly, the Euangelist obserues, that when Iu­das saw that Christ was condemned, he was horribly trou­bled, and falls into despaire: which imports that he thought he should neuer haue beene condemned. But all this fore­cast notwithstanding, by betraying him, he became guiltie of Innocent bloud, which he saw when it was too late. Yea yet further, all men may take warning too from Iudas, to looke to the beginnings of discontent. The Deuill can work strange mischiefes out of small beginnings: for though Iu­das was couetous, yet what made him fall vpon this practise of betraying Christ at this time? The Text notes that he was discontent about the losse of the oyntment, & grew sullen & displeased, that the woman was iustified in her course, & his reproofe not allowed. Now vpon this discontent, it is said the Deuill entered into him. Let men receiue information from thence, and take heed of anger, and grudge, and dis­content, for by giuing place to these things, they may let in the very deuill into their hearts, who may leade them to de­sperate and vile conclusions and practises: as we reade the like in Iosephs brethren, Saul, Achitophel, and diuers others, Math. 26. 14. Ioh. 12. 4. Ephes. 4. 26, 27. Againe, we may from hence note, that a man may be a monstrous vile crea­ture, and yet liue amongst good company, and speake Christ faire, and professe to be his Disciple, and salute him [Page 331] with a kisse, and yet be a notable enemy to Christ. Many Christians amongst vs draw neere to Christ with their lips, when their hearts are farre from him. Notorious wicked li­uers are yet so impudent, as to come and sit downe with Christ, and eat at his table, and dip their hands with him in the same platter: but let them not deceiue themselues, their place shall not priuilege them, nor their hypocrisie couer them; Christ knowes them to be Iudasses, and will make them knowne in due time.

2. For instruction: and so all men from hence should learne to beware of couerousnesse; if they doe not; that which vndid Iudas will vndoe them. Now that men may both discerne what couetousnesse is, and what reason they haue to auoid it, I will briefly define couetousnesse. Coue­tousnesse is a spirituall disease in the heart of man, arising from Nature, corrupted and insnared by Satan and the world, inclining the soule to an immoderate (yet vaine) care after earthly things, for his owne priuate good, to the singular detriment of the soule. I call couetousnesse a dis­ease, because it hath such a priuation, as hath not only want of vertue and happinesse, but a disposition to euill and pain­full disquietnesse: and so Solomon cals it an euill sicknesse. I say it is a spirituall disease, to awaken couetous persons, for that imports it is hard to be cured: no medicine but the bloud of Christ can heale it; and it is the worse, because it is not felt of the most, but hated only in the name of it. The subiect of the disease is the heart of man, there is the seat of it, and therefore Saint Marke addes couetousnesse to those vices Saint Matthew had said did defile a man, Mark. 7. 22. Matth. 15. The internall efficient cause of this sinne is Na­ture corrupted: it had need to be looked to, because it is a disease the Nature of man is apt to be infected withall. Yet I say Nature corrupted, for Nature it selfe is content with a little. The outward causes are the deuill and the world: A couetous heart is neuer without the deuill in it, or not for any long time; and therefore the text notes, that vpon the stirring or fits of this disease in Iudas, the deuill entred into him. The world also by varietie of baits and obiects excites [Page 332] this disease. The forme of this sinne lieth in the inclination of the soule to an immoderate and confident care of earthly things. I make earthly things the obiect, because it were a great vertue to couet spirituall things, 1 Cor. 14. I say im­moderate, because honest labour and desire after necessary things is not condemned: and care is immoderate, when it hath any of these signes following, all which are euident signes of couetousnesse.

1. When a mans affections are so set vpon earthly things, that he is in loue with them, and placeth his felicitie in them: and therefore couetousnesse is called the loue of money, by a Periphrasis, 1 Tim. 6. 10.

2 A second signe of couerousnesse or immoderate care, is, when the minde is so taken vp about earthly things, that it can not attend to Gods word or his ordinances, Psalm. 119. 36. Matth. 13. Ezech. 33. 31. and therefore the couetous cannot brooke Gods Sabbath, and desires greatly to haue it ouer, Amos 8.

3. A third signe is, when men will vse ill meanes to com­passe gaine, as when men will vse lying, flatterie, oppres­sion, vsurie, false weights and measures, or any other wayes of fraud and crueltie, Pro. 28. 16. 1 Thess. 4. 6.

4. Fourthly, when men giue sparingly, or grudgingly, or slackly to charitable vses.

I adde, that this care is vaine, and that in diuers respects: For first, he that loueth filuer shall not be satisfied with siluer; and besides, after all his trauell, his earthly riches will perish while he lookes on; or if they doe continue, he must not continue with them: for as he came forth of his mothers belly so shall he returne, naked, to goe as he came: he shall carry away nothing of all his labour; in all points as he came so shall he goe, and then what profit hath he that hath tra­uelled for the winde? I say inclining the soule, to take in the lowest degree of couetousnesse: for some haue their hearts and eyes, and hands, and tongues, all exercised in it, 2 P [...]. 2. 14. Now others are only secretly drawne with it, and infected with the daily inclinations to it. I adde, for his owne priuate good, to note the end of couetousnesse: for if [Page 333] he sought these things only for Gods glory, or the good of the Church, it were to be allowed. The last thing in the de­finition, is, to the singular detriment of the soule; for many are the vile effects of couetousnesse: First, it infatuates a man, and makes him without vnderstanding, Esay 56. 11. Prou. 28. 16. Secondly, it leaues a man in continuall danger to erre from the faith, 1 Tim. 6. 10. Thirdly, it is the root of all euill, it drawes a man to many a sinne, as we see here in Iu­das; and seldome is couetousnesse mentioned in the Scrip­ture, but some vile sinne or other is ioyned with it. Fourthly, it angreth and vexeth God exceedingly, especially when men are exercised in it, Esay 57. 17. Ezech. 22. 13. Ier. 6. 13. besides temporall iudgements, it causeth the damnation of the soule in hell, Ephes. 5. 5, 6. and therefore it should not be so much as named amongst Christians, Ephes. 5. 3. And as couetousnesse ought to be auoided by all men, so especially by Ministers: Couetousnesse in them is very abominable and pernicious; the Prophet cals such Ministers greedy dogs, Esay 56. 11.

Againe, this lamentable example of Iudas should make men abhorre the sinne of betraying Christ. Many men de­test the fact of Iudas, and yet commit it or the like them­selues: for Christ is betrayed many wayes, as when his truth and honour is denied before men, and men dare not shew their faith or puritie before others: so also when men pro­fesse true religion, and yet denie the power of it, and liue wickedly, and cause the aduersaries of Christ to blaspheme: this is to deliuer Christ to be accused, arraigned, and con­demned of euill Iudges. Againe, when for reward a man will betray the truth by bearing false witnesse; for to betray the truth, is to betray God who is Truth: and so when men violate brotherly loue, they betray God who is Loue. Mi­nisters also betray Christ (with Iudas) when they betray the flocks of Christ, and following their owne ambition or gaine, leaue their flocks to the Wolfe to be daily deuoured, and besides staruing them for want of fodder, or wholsome food. And such Iudasses are they that will sell Religion and their owne soules to get vnlawsull gaine, by lying, and [Page 332] [...] [Page 333] [...] [Page 334] swearing, and false commodities and weights, &c. or will breake Gods Sabbaths to follow their gaine: yea in some re­spects they are worse than Iudas, for he was neuer a Traitor but once, and then it was to get thirty peeces of siluer; but a great number of men amongst vs will sell Christ and their owne soules for one peece of siluer, and doe make a practise of it, they doe it daily. Againe, let all men take heed of grosse sinnes, or any extraordinary causes of corruption, for strange punishments will follow such workers of iniquitie. The fearfull iudgement of God vpon this poore creature, may affright the Sodomites & Effeminate, the cursed Swea­rers and Blasphemers, the damned Drunkards and Atheists, the hellish Traitors and Hereticks of our time.

Further, wee see that all godly Christians in this world had need to looke well to themselues: this world is full of treacherie, and falshood, and dissimulation: We see Christs familie was not without a Iudas in it; and there are few sorts of men, or priuate families of any note, but there is one Iudas or other there. It is and will be still true, A mans enemies are they of his owne house: Sometimes the very wife that lieth in a mans bosome proues false and treacherous, some­times to a mans state, sometimes to a mans reputation, and oft times to his soule and Religion, Mich. 7. 5, 6, 7. The vsuall complements of the world proue but as Iudas his kisse.

Lastly, such as suffer for the ingratitude or perfidiousnesse of others, should comfort themselues in this part of the Pas­sion of Christ: they may the more patiently abide it, seeing Christ himselfe was so vsed, and by such a one as Iudas was.

Thus of the Treason of Iudas. The apprehension of our Sauiour followes: and there we are to consider two things; First, What Christ did: Then, What was done to him.

For the first, the Euangelists with great care record what our Sauiour did now that the time was come that he must be apprehended and brought to his last Passion: and so they shew how he prepared himselfe for these sufferings, immedi­ately before he was to be apprehended: and so they report fiue things that he did.

[Page 335] 1. He made a Feast to his Disciples: he chose to suffer at the time of the great Passeouer, that thereby he might confirme the hearts of the Disciples, and shew how little he feared death, and how willing he was to obey the Commande­ment of his Father, by being obedient to the death.

2. He made his will and last Testament, and therein he ap­points a solemne assembly to bee yearely and oft in the yeare obserued in commemoration of his Passion, by all that loue him to the worlds end: and further grants a ge­nerall pardon of all sinnes, to all that shall worthily par­take of that solemnitie at all times till his comming a­gaine: and besides, bequeathes vnto godly Christians all the merits and benefits of his Passion, and all the good things contained in Gods Couenant made with the Church in Christ, and all this is comprehended in the institution of his last Supper.

3. He tooke his leaue of his D [...]sciples, and made an admira­ble speech to them, recorded in the 13. 14. 15. and 16. Chapters of Iohn: which speech may be all referred to three heads, Prediction, Exhortation, and Promise: By way of Prediction we shall finde in that speech, that he tels them before hand of the things hee shall suffer, and the glory he shall haue after his sufferings, and withall the glo­rious prouision he will make for them in heauen after his Ascension, & comforteth them against his departure from them. Secondly, by way of Exhortation he earnestly per­swades them by these his last words, to looke to their cari­age in the world after he was gone, in these points especi­ally; namely, that they shew forth the continuall proofe of their vnfained and feruent loue one to another, and that they arme themselues with all patience, to suffer all the in­dignities and troubles should befall them from the Deuil, and the world: and chiefly that they abide in him, as the branch doth in the Vine, bearing good fruits to the glory and honour of his Name. Thirdly, By way of promise, he labours to fill them with comfort, by assuring to them three singular fauours: First, that he would send them the Holy Ghost to be their Comforter all their daies. Second­ly, [Page 336] that they shall at all times haue audience in heauen for all suits whatsoeuer, if they be made in his Name. And thirdly, that what troubles soeuer they shall haue in the world, yet in him they shall haue peace. Neither did he in­tend this speech only for his Disciples, but for all the god­ly in all ages that should mourne for his absence.

The fourth thing our Sauiour did for preparing him for his Passion, was the choice of the place where he would be­gin his Passion: and therein two things are worthy to be con­sidered: viz. The kinde of place he chooseth, and his great willingnesse to suffer for vs. The place he chose was a Gar­den: and that he did of purpose, for as the first sin was com­mitted in a Garden, so he is pleased to offer himselfe to suffer the first part of his great Passion in a Garden. Thus is our blessed Sauiour pleased by his obedience in a Garden, to make satisfaction of the sin of Rebellion committed by our first Parents in Paradise: The next is the demonstration of our Sauiours willingnesse to suffer for vs, which hee shewes plainly in choosing the place: for first it would be hard for the Priests to apprehend him in the Citie, because of the peo­ple, therefore hee gets out of the Citie to a place that was neare. Againe, the Euangelists note that he went to a place he was accustomed to goe to, that so it might not be difficult to finde him, Luke 22. 39. And to make it out of all doubt, S. Iohn saith, That Iudas that betrayed him knew the place. And it is profitable for vs to know that our Sauiour did suf­fer willingly, because that addes to the price of his satisfacti­on; for vnlesse his Passion had beene voluntary, there had not beene a iust satisfaction for our sinnes to Gods Iustice: And besides, that circumstance should the more stirre vp our hearts to admire the greatnesse of his loue to vs. And final­ly, it is a most liuely president to teach vs with all willing­nesse to take vp our crosse and follow him, that hath so wil­lingly suffered such grieuous things for vs.

The fifth thing our Sauiour did in his preparation, was the offering vp of prayer to God before hee entered vpon his Passion. Now the prayers Christ made, were partly for the Church, and partly for himselfe: The prayer for the Church, [Page 337] which he made immediatly before his apprehension, is at large recorded in the 17. of Iohn, which prayer he made as the High Priest; whose office was two-fold, to make intercession for the people, and to make satisfaction and atonement for their sinnes. And though the intercession of Christ be chief­ly performed in heauen as hee sitteth at the right hand of God, yet that we might know what he saith for vs in heauen, he conceiues that most sacred frame of Intercession, which is there recorded for our euerlasting consolation. Now concer­ning that prayer of our Sauiour, many things may be ob­serued.

1. For whom he prayes and makes intercession; and so hee expresly saith, That he did not pray for the world, but for the Elect, vers. 9.

2. Why he made that prayer on earth, and did not reserue it till he came to heauen? And to that he answereth him­selfe, vers. 13. that hee spake those things on earth, that his ioy might be fulfilled in vs, for it must needs bee an vnspeakable comfort to vs to know what Christ prayes for in heauen to obtaine for vs.

3. What things he assumes, as taken for granted, before hee puts vp his petitions to God: and so hee reckons vp be­fore God diuers admirable priuiledges which belong to the godly, which God did neuer deny, but alwaies gran­ted to belong to them: and these were,

1. That God had giuen Christ full power to bestow eternall life vpon the godly, vers. 2.

2. That the godly were Gods owne people, and that he had bestowed them all vpon Christ to redeeme them, and pro­uide for them, vers. 6, 10.

3. That Christ is glorified in them, vers. 10. meaning that God had giuen him leaue to make himselfe glorious by aduancing them, and that he did account himselfe to haue no glory on earth, but what he had in and from them.

4. That he did sanctifie himselfe for them, vers. 19. that is, that God was to account all his merits to belong to them, and that all he endured when he was set apart as a Sacri­fice, was for their sakes.

[Page 338] 5. That all he was to pray for, did belong to all beleeuers as well as to the Apostles, euen to all that did or should be­leeue to the worlds end, vers. 20.

6. That by the Gospell Christ was to make all the godly feele, that God loued them, as well as he loued him, verse 26.

4. What he did begge of his Father for vs: and so we shall finde that hee hath fitted his suits to our desires. For looke what in this world the godly most desire to be freed from or to haue, that he hath asked, namely,

1. That God would vndertake to keepe vs so as we might not any of vs be lost, verse 11, 12.

2. That God would preserue and keepe vs from euill, both the euill of sinne, and the euill of danger that might op­presse vs, verse 15.

3. That God would sanctifie vs by the power of his word, and so furnish vs with all gifts needfull to a holy life, verse 17.

4. That we may be admitted into fellowship and indissol­uable vnion with the blessed Trinitie, and amongst our selues, that in a sort wee might bee ioyned to God as Christ was, verse 21.

5. That God would so perfect this holy vnion in them, that he might make the very world to know that God loued them, as well as he loued Christ, verse 23.

6. That God would in his due time bring them all to him in heauen, that they may for euer behold his glory there, verse 24.

These are maruellous things, and should wonderfully af­fect vs and comfort vs.

5. By what arguments our Sauiour vrgeth these pe [...]itions: for his very reasons doe shew what care he had of vs, and how he pities vs, and that he stands vpon our right. And so we shall finde that hee vsed foure Reasons why God should grant all he asked for them. The first was because we are Gods: thine they are, vers. 9, 10. and therefore God should defend vs in that we are his owne, and be­long to his charge and care. The second was, because [Page 339] the world hates vs, vers. 14. we are likely to be so ill vsed in the world, that God must needs looke to vs, to protect, and prouide for vs. The third was because our Sauiour himselfe should be now no more in this world to looke to vs in his owne person, and therefore hee praies God to looke to vs, vers. 11. The last was because hee had sanctified himselfe for our sakes, and therefore pleads his owne merits for vs, vers. 19.

Lastly, it is profitable for vs to marke the intimation our Sauiour giues all along his prayer, by which he lets fall a description of what we must be if we would haue our part in his Intercession. For in the 20. verse wee may see it plaine, we must be beleeuers, and verses 6, 7, 8. with 26. We may see further that we must be such as will receiue the words which God gaue to Christ to deliuer to vs, & by them will know Gods name, and such as will keepe the word as the greatest treasure in the world. They that heare not Christs preaching on Earth, shall not haue benefit by Christs praying in Heauen. Nor will hearing serue turne, but there must be knowledge and beleeuing, and keeping of the word as a treasure, and for practise.

Thus of the prayers our Sauiour made for the Church.

The prayers he made for himselfe, concerne either his Glory in Heauen, or his Passion on Earth. His prayer for his Glory in Heauen is recorded, Iohn 17. v. 1. to 6. and in that prayer our Sauiour first layes downe the substance of his request, vers. 1. Secondly, hee vrgeth it with argu­ments, vers. 1, 2, 3, 4. Thirdly, hee explaines his mea­ning for the manner how he would haue his petitions gran­ted. The substance of his suit is, that God would glorifie his Sonne. The Reasons are: First, because God is his Father and he his Sonne, vers. 1. Secondly, because if God glorifie him, hee will glorifie God againe, verse 1. Thirdly, because God had giuen him power before to be­stow glory vpon others, and therefore much more he should haue it himselfe, verse 2, 3. Fourthly, because hee had glorified God on earth, and should within a little time fi­nish all his hard taske, verse 4. Now the manner how [Page 340] hee would be glorified, was, by receiuing the same glory againe, which hee had with the Father before the world was; which referred to his humane Nature, must be vnder­stood of his exaltation aboue all things that are made in heauen or earth, and so to be worshipped with the diuine Nature. And as it is referred to the diuine Nature, it must bee vnderstood of manifestation to the world, that as al­waies he as second Person had glory equall with the Fa­ther, so that God would let it be knowne to be so through the world, which was accomplished after his resurrection, when the Diuinitie of Christ was published to all Nations.

Thus of his prayer for his Glorification. The prayer that concernes his Passion was made in the Garden a little before his enemies came to apprehend him. And concer­ning that prayer diuers things may be obserued.

1. The company was with him, or neere to him at the time of his prayer, and so the Text notes that he singled out of all the Disciples three of them whom he loued most, viz. Peter, and Iohn, and Iames. Now this company hee tooke for two Reasons: First, that they might bee witnesses of this part of his Passion. Secondly, he chose them to be by him, as such as to whom he could more freely discouer himselfe: and in this our Sauiour did ex­presse that which is setled in the natures almost of all men, and so of all godly men, in the businesses of reli­gion. There be some persons before whom a man would more willingly pray or preach or doe any dutie; and yet others haue no iust cause to take exceptions as if they were neglected, or it was partialitie, for we see here Christ him­selfe did single out these men, and leaue the rest of the Disciples further off, Matth. 26. 36, 37. and withall from hence we may learne that the very presence of such as we loue, doth vs good when we are in distresse, though they should say nothing to vs; as here our Sauiour giues these Disciples a great charge to tarry by him, and yet they say not a word to him, no not when he makes his moane, that his heart was heauy to the very death: yea it seemes our Sauiour was not willing to be without them, though they [Page 341] slept by him, and seemed to take little notice of his di­stresse. Further, these three were they that had seene his Transfiguration on the Mount, and therefore are now the fittest to behold this great abasement, without wauering in the faith of his Diuinitie, because they had seene him glorious, whom now they are to behold so infirme.

2. The gesture he vsed in prayer, viz. He felt on his face and praied. Euen the more grieuous the distresse was vpon him, the more humbly did he demeane himselfe towards God: When his heart was so heauy, nothing but pray­ing to God would helpe him; for he had made his moane to the Disciples, and that eased him not. Nor doth hee rest in that, simply to pray, but his Agonie being great, hee applies himselfe to that gesture might best fit the greatnesse of his distresse, to teach vs what we should doe, when our hearts are heauy, and how we should striue to inlarge our affections, and suit our whole behauiour in Gods presence according to his hand vpon vs, or the great need we haue of his helpe.

3. What befell him when he went to pray, viz. a most grie­uous Agonie in soule, which with such speed increased vpon him, that he cried out to his Disciples, that his soule was euery way compassed about with sorrow euen vnto the death, and he sweat in that Anguish very bloud, as is noted by the Euangelist, and he was maruellously ama­zed and afraid. Now if any aske, what made our Saui­our Matth. 26. 38. fall into this perplexitie? I answer, that wee must not thinke, that it was the feare of bodily death that thus affrighted our Sauiour, seeing we know that the Martyrs that were infirme men, did yet embrace death without these Agonies: though by the way we must remember, that it is a thousand times more easie to suffer the death of a Martyr, than for Christ to suffer bare death of any kinde, because Martyrs in death are freed from the guilt of all their sinnes, whereas Christ in death, as our surety, stands charged with sinne: but it was not the feare of death thus troubled our Sauiour; he had many other more dreadfull things to thinke of: As first, the tyrannie [Page 342] of Sinne, Death, and Sathan, that had preuailed ouer mankinde. Secondly, the great ingratitude of the grea­test part of mankinde, who would not regard redemp­tion though made in his bloud. Thirdly, the dispersion of his Disciples, and the scandall that euen they would take at his death. Fourthly, the ruine would come vpon the Iewish Nation by making themselues guilty of his bloud. Fifthly and especially, the sense of the most hor­rible wrath of God against the sinnes of the world, which he must endure, and did begin to feele, for our sakes, as being our surety. It was not death then simply that he fea­red, but death ioyned with that powring out of the dread­full wrath of God vpon his soule: this bred that incredi­ble and deadly sadnesse, and paine, and inward feare in our Sauiour.

Now this mournfull consideration of his grieuous feare and agonie, may serue vnto vs for great consolation, and that in diuers respects: For first herein we may see his loue to vs, that can be content to take vpon him our infirmities, euen those that are most troublesome, such as this dreadfull feare and perplexitie was: he was here truly transfigured: for as on the Mount by transfiguration hee shewed what glory he should haue in heauen, so in the Garden, by this transfiguration he shewes what weaknes cleaues to his mem­bers on earth: only we must still remember, that he tooke vpon him only vnblameable infirmities; for in this he sin­ned not. If any aske how could such vnspeakable feare and sadnesse be without sinne, seeing the affections were so violently moued and troubled? I answer, that the perturba­tion that was in our Sauiours heart, was like to cleane water in a cleane glasse; if it be shaked neuer so violently, yet it is cleane still, because there is no mud in the bottome. But on the other side, if cleane water be put into a cleane glasse, and mud withall be setled in the bottome, then the least stir­ring that is makes it foule: and so it is with vs, there is sinne in almost all perturbations that arise in our hearts, because euery shaking of our hearts stirs vp some corruption that is in our nature; but it was not so with Christ. Againe, feare­full [Page 343] Christians may take some comfort from hence, to see that their Sauiour was afraid as well as they. His Agonie may comfort them against their pusillanimitie; and further such as finde strange accidents in prayer, and are suddenly oppressed with feares and doubts or terrors, may profitably remember what befell their Sauiour when he went to pray. Lastly, such as are afflicted in conscience vnder the sense of Gods wrath, may wonderfully from hence be releeued: First, by considering that Christ himselfe did feele the same, or much greater sorrowes than they doe, and therefore doth pitie them, and will suocour them. Secondly, by considering that Christ hath borne in his owne soule the brunt of Gods displeasure for sinne, and therefore they should not be so dismayed, but behold his soule as made a sacrifice for their sinnes. And thus of his Agonie. There was yet another great discouragement befell him in his prayer, and that was the maruellous senslesnesse, and drow­sinesse, and want of compassion in his Disciples, who were so farre from comforting him, or mourning with him, that they could not watch with him one houre: That Peter that a little before said, If all men were offended in him, yet he would neuer be offended, yea he was ready to die for him, yet now he doth not resist his very sleepe, but neglects his Sauiour in his greatest distresse. And from this obserua­tion we may gather diuers Vses. For hereby it is mani­fest, that the whole burden of satisfaction lies vpon Christ only: Here is no bodie to helpe him to pay one farthing, nor so much as pitie him, or incourage him: when our ran­some is in paying, the great Apostles are a sleeping. Be­sides, men in misery must learne to trust vpon God only, for there are none so neare or deare to vs, but in times of distresse may come farre short of that compassion or succour which we may expect from them: and if any such thing befall vs in our paines or other miseries, we must labour to comfort our selues with this example of the like case of our Sauiour. Moreouer, men that are giuen to bodily sleepi­nesse in time of Gods seruice should be warned from hence: Euen such a bodily infirmitie, if it be nourished, may bring [Page 344] vs into fearefull temptations, and makes vs guilty of grie­uous offence against God and Christ; as is imported by our Sauiours milde reproofe of the sleepie Disciples, Matth. 26.

4. The forme of prayer hee vsed, and that was, Abba father, let this cup passe from me if it be possible; yet not my will but thy will bee done, Mark. 14. 36. In which forme we may note three things: First, the Titles he giues to God. Secondly, the substance of his suit to God. And third­ly, the clauses limiting his petition.

1. The Titles are recorded by Saint Marke: and wee shall finde them giuen to God in three places of the new Testament: viz. in this prayer of Christs, and Rom. 8. 15. and Galat. 4. 7. The tearme Abba, is an Hebrew or Syriacke word: and the other word Pater, is both a Greeke and La­tine word: Now in that Christ calling vpon his Father giues him his title in diuers languages, it is thought, that thereby Christ would intimate that he was the God of both Iewes & Gentiles, and in as much as the time drew on in which the partition wall was to be broken downe, and God was to bee beleeued on, and called vpon by both sorts of people, Christ himselfe first beginnes to treat with God in both langua­ges. And it may well be, that being now in infinite torment he would intimate by these tearmes, that he suffered them both for Iewes and Gentiles.

2. As for the substance of the petition, a great doubt may arise in a mans mind how this could be in Christ with­out sinne, or contradiction to himselfe. He that had fore­told his death, and professed so often to bee willing to die, and was sent into the world for this purpose, and if he died not all the Elect were vndone: how can it bee that now hee prayes that if it be possible he may not die? I answer this obiection two wayes: first, that he doth not expresly pray against his death, but his words may be vnderstood as well (as I conceiue) of the Agonie he was in, in his soule: and so what inconuenience can follow, if we grant that hee desired of God that it might passe from him, or bee quickly remo­ued, if it were possible and might stand with Gods will: there [Page 345] was no necessity that his Agonie should abide still vpon him. Secondly, if it be vnderstood of his death, yet all that might bee without sinne, because they are the words of Christ, now astonished and amazed, his vnderstanding and memory by the violence of the paine being interrupted in their working for a short time. As a Clocke may be perfect, and yet stand by reason of some outward cause, as a mans hand, or the weather, or the like: so the frame of our Saui­ours affections and desires was most perfect, though by the violence of the hand of God vpon him for a time, his nature remembred only the preseruation of her selfe. From this frailty of our Sauiour shewed in the matter of his petition, weake Christians may gather much comfort, and perswasi­on, that their weaknesse and frailties in prayer shall be passed by of God and Christ.

3. The clauses limiting his petition are two. Frst, if it bee possible▪ Secondly, not my will but thy will be done: which as they shewed the holinesse of Christ, in desiring to auoid the requesting of absurd & contrary things, and to submit him­selfe & his desires to Gods will notwithstanding the tormēt he was in: so it is a notable example to teach vs what to do in all distresses, yea the bitterest crosses can befall vs, euen to striue vehemently to beare Gods sharpest stroakes, with all humble submission to his good will and pleasure.

Thus of the fourth point in his prayer.

The fift point, is the issue and euent of his prayer, and that is reported partly by the Euangelist, and partly by the Apostle to the Hebrewes. The Euangelist saith that an An­gell came from heauen and comforted him in his Agonie, Luk. 22. 43. which may teach vs to know, that when God will not presently deliuer vs from the crosse, yet he is able to comfort vs vnder the crosse: and if ordinary meanes faile, he can supplywith extraordinary: If men on earth will not pit­ty vs, he can send his Angels from heauen to releeue vs. The Apostle to the Hebrewes further tels vs, euen that this pray­er was heard of God as he reports, Heb. 5. 7. Now from hence ariseth another great scruple, and that is how it can be said this prayer was heard, seeing hee was not deliuered, [Page 346] but did suffer death. I answer, if you vnderstand his prayer only of the speedy taking off of Gods hand, then there is no difficultie or doubt: and if it bee vnderstood of death, wee must fly to a distinction, which is thus: God heareth pray­er two wayes, the one when he directly grants what we ex­presly aske, the other when he giues vs so much of our suit as is good for vs, and what he denies, recompenceth in some other thing which is answerable thereunto, and more profi­table for vs. So he dealt with Christ here, though he did not free him from death, yet he did free him from the hurt of death, so as he was able to beare it, and was deliuered from it in due time, which was all that which the nature of Christ in distresse in effect sought, viz. the preseruation of it selfe: and this may bee very vsefull for vs to obserue: God may seeme to deny vs many things, which yet he grants, and our weakest prayers may get vs some blessing, though wee feele it not for the present: and if God change with vs, and giue vs that which is better for vs than that which we aske, he doth vs no wrong. In hearing prayer God considers not so much the pleasing of our wills, as the furthering of our Saluation. And therefore wee must take heed we grow not froward, or discouraged, and iudge that God heareth vs not, because he lets vs pray often, and yet according to the letter of our prai­er we see not that we are heard: let this example of Christ that prayed thrice, and the like of Paul praying thrice against the temptation of the Deuill, stay our heart, and teach vs as to get skill and resolution to pray, so to seeke the skill of Gods different manner of hearing of prayer. Thus of what Christ did: now followes to consider what was done to him, and that both by the Iewes, and by his owne Disciples.

Concerning the behauiour of the Iewes in the apprehen­sion of Christ, I obserue two things: First, how they came to Christ, and met him. Secondly, how they laid hands vp­on him, and bound him and led him away.

About their comming to Christ, three things would be noted: 1. Who came: 2. How they came furnished: 3. What communication passed betweene Christ and them, when they were come.

[Page 347] For the first: The persons that came to Christ, were the Iewes and Iudas, souldiers and feruants, all sent from the High Priests and Pharisies, and Elders of the people, Matt. 26. 47. Iohn 18. 3. And they were a great multitude of them. So naturall is the hatred that the men of the world beare to Christ, that it is easie to get men enow to beare armes against Christ, or to doe hurt to Religion, or religious persons: but wee see in our times what a wonderfull hard thing it is to get men or money to doe any seruice against Antichrist.

For the second: Iudas and the Iewes came thus furnished; They first get a band of men, (which being not in the power of the Priests) they must needs haue them, as borrowed from Pilate: And with this Band they send their owne officers, and all were furnished with weapons, swords, and staues: and the Text notes that they were a great multitude of them. Now what was all this to doe? It was to take Christ, Christ I say, that was knowne to be so peaceable a Man, and so quiet, as no man came neere him for meekenesse and lowli­nesse; and besides, he was vsually in the Temple, and so easie to be taken at any time, or in any place, if they will needs lay violent hands vpon him. But obserue two memorable things: First, the effect of an ill conscience, in Iudas and the Priests: they knowing the cause to be so naught, suffer such a conflict with an armie of feares in their owne hearts, that fearing lest both God and men should be against them, they raise an armie of men, for the effecting of their wicked purpose: Oh the force of conscience! What a fearefull base­nesse is it to be wicked, or to set vpon wicked purposes? It is a very troublesome and chargeable thing, to be engaged for the effecting of mischieuous deuices. Secondly, note how iust God is: these sinfull men haue drawne their swords and bent their bowes against the Iust one: How deseruedly therefore afterwards did God make the sword enter into their owne brests. These men that entertaine but one Band of Romans against their Lord and King, euen Christ, shall afterwards receiue into their owne bowels and bosomes the swords of the whole armie of the Romans, to reuenge their [Page 348] rebellion, not against them, but against Christ.

Now for the communication that passed betweene Christ and the Iewes, the storie of it is recorded, Ioh. 18. 4, 5, 6. And in the whole story I note three things: First, how wil­ling Christ was to be apprehended. Secondly, how miracu­lously he shewed his diuine power vpon his enemies. Third­ly, how carefully he prouides for his Disciples.

His willingnesse to suffer, appeares by those words, that affirme that he knowing all things should come to him, went forth, and as it were offered himselfe, by asking, Whom seeke yee, and by answering that it was He, when they name him. Euen the more he feared in the Garden at prayer, the more he striues to shew vndauntednesse now; yea to shew how great difference there is between affliction of spirit, and out­ward distresses: when the fit of the distresse of his Soule vn­der Gods wrath for our sinne, is for a while intermitted, hee goeth out to seeke his Aduersaries, that sought him, as being most willing to take vp a crosse, hee accounted so easie in comparison of what he had felt.

The demonstration of his diuine power vpon his enemies he thus shewed. When he had answered that he was that Ie­sus of Nazareth, whom they sought, then all went backward and fell to the ground, such amazement fell vpon the hearts of the stoutest of them. They sought the Man Iesus, but that God whose Name was I am, out of the temple of his body giues that answer, I am he, with such impressions of his Diui­nitie as strikes them to the ground like dead men. And this he did for diuers reasons: First, to preserue the vndoubted testimony of his Diuinitie. He that was shortly to be sacrifi­ced as a Lambe, now warres like a Lion for a season, that at least the Christian world might know, that it was God that did suffer for our sinnes, Act. 20. 28. Secondly, hereby his enemies are conuicted, and left without excuse, that will lay hands on him iniuriously, that had first laid hands on them so iustly, and made them know how able hee was to binde them ouer to eternall perdition. Oh how incorrigible is the heart of a wicked man! Here may a man behold men smitten to the ground by the hand of God, and yet see them rise vp [Page 349] againe as desperately bent as before: Yea, here stood with these men, and among them fell, Iudas, the Apostle, the ser­uant of Christ, and yet riseth againe still a Deuill, a Traitor, and a Standard-bearer of the Iewes malice, who hauing the Deuill in his brest, doth most impudently giue the signe of peace with his mouth. Thirdly, hereby he giues euident de­monstration to all the world, of the terror of his voice against wicked men at the last day. Hee that can fright them thus, when he is about to die, being yet in the forme of a seruant on earth; how will he be found then, when he comes in his Kingdome to iudge them from heauen, and shall shew him­selfe in the forme of God, as well as Man? What tongue of man can expresse the terror of that voice, at that day, Goe yee cursed into euerlasting fire prepared for the Deuill and his An­gels. And impenitent men may ghesse at this, by the power they haue felt in the voice of Christ in the preaching of the Gospell. Another demonstration of his diuine power may it be reckoned, that such as knew him should looke vp­on him, and not know him, when hee asked them, Whom seeke yee; they doe not answer, thee, but Iesus of Nazareth, yet Iudas was amongst them.

Thirdly, his care of the safetie of his Disciples he shewed two waies: First, by going out alone to meet his Aduersa­ries, lest in the tumult his Disciples should be seazed vpon. Secondly, by speaking to the armed men to take him, and let them depart without in [...]ury. Now the reason why he was so carefull of them, was (as the Euangelist notes) that the word of Iesus might be fulfilled which he spake in his prayer to his Father, Of those which thou hast giuen me, I haue not lost one: And lost they had beene (in our sense) if they had not beene preserued to do the worke they were elected to, (viz.) to be witnesses of Christs Death and Resurrection through­out the world; which worke might haue beene hindered by their apprehension. Againe, note how our Sauiour carries himselfe towards them: Hee speakes to them as their Lord and King, and therefore saith, Let these depart, which are words of authoritie, cōmanding them to let the Apostles go; which thing is the more cleare, because they did let them go accordingly.

[Page 350] And thus of their comming to Christ: The taking of him, and binding of him, and leading him away followes, the story of it we finde in all the Euangelists. Now the rea­sons why he suffered these things are to be considered. He that giues libertie to Captiues, was taken himselfe, that hee might deliuer vs from captiuity vnder Satan, by whom wee were detained, and that his captiuitie might comfort the Martyrs that suffer for the Testimony of Iesus, and might sanctifie their restraints, and so he was bound, that we might be freeed from the bonds of our sins, and of the Deuill, and euill examples and customes of the world in which we were fettered, and that he might comfort such as are in bonds for righteousnesse sake. He was vnciuilly led out of the Garden, that so he might lead vs into the heauenly Paradise, out of which we were cast.

Thus of what the Iewes did to him. What was done by his Disciples is briefly noted, and that was, that they all for­sooke him and fled: so as he was forsaken on all hands. And he suffered this desertion for diuers reasons. First, that so no iot of our redemption, no not the least parcell of it, might be ascribed to any other than to one Iesus alone. Se­condly, that hereby he might satisfie Gods iustice for vs, that had forsaken God, and fell away from him by our sins. Thirdly, that this example might somewhat ease and com­fort such as are left and forsaken by their friends, in their di­stresse. Fourthly, the Scripture was herein fulfilled, Smite the shepherd and the sheepe shall be scattered: and Christs words came to passe, All of you this night shall be offended in mee.

I omit here the resistance made by the Disciples, especi­ally by Peter, and the discourse and behauiour of our Sa­uiour vpon it, because that was no part of Christs Passion, though it were something that fell out in the storie.

Hitherto of Christs Apprehension, and so of the things that went before his Arraignment.

The things he suffered at his Arraignment follow: and these may be referred to two heads. The one is the things he suffered (when he was brought bound before the Iudges or [Page 351] Rulers) in the night, when things were carried tumultu­ously and without any order. The other containes the things he suffered when they would proceed iudicially with him, and that was in the day time.

In the night he suffered three things. First, he was car­ried vp and downe bound from one High Priest to another. Secondly, he was three times denied by Peter his owne ser­uant and Disciple. Thirdly, he was ill intreated by the men that kept him bound. And that these things fell all out be­fore the solemne Councell of the High Priests, and in the night, appeares by Saint Lukes narration of it, Chap. 22. though the other Euangelists obserue not the order so pre­cisely.

For the first: The Captaine of the band, and the Souldi­ers and Officers of the Iewes, carried Christ first to Annas that was father in law to Caiaphas, and then to Caiaphas af­terwards, Iohn 18. In which dealing two things may be noted. First, the glory these wretched men take in shewing their Prisoner one to another: How glad they are to see Ie­sus bound, and to know but that their deuices prosper so farre; now was the time that the world reioyced, and the Disciples wept, Iohn 16. 20. Secondly, it seemes Caiaphas playes the Politician, for since the time he had beene author of that counsell, that one must die for the people, all the worke is directed to him. If great men once become authors of mischiefe and ill counsell, they know not how farre they may be lead on in wickednesse: but Caiaphas perceiuing the worke must light vpon him, subtilly giues order (as is likely) that he should first be carried to Annas, that so hee might either decline the enuy of the people, or haue him partner in it.

For the second: The storie of Peters deniall is at large set downe by the Euangelists, and therein three things are noted; the occasions of his fall, the manner of it, and the euent. The occasions are obserued by the Euangelists to be foure: or, by foure steps and degrees he is brought into the snare of this temptation. For first he followed Christ afarre off, Matth. 26. 58. That he followed him, it was his affe­ction [Page 352] and deuotion; but that he followed him afarre off, it was his feare: and in this feare is laid the first ground of his fall. To expose himselfe to danger, when he felt his heart afraid of it, especially when there was no necessary cause to venture himselfe vpon it, was a strong occasion to the temp­tation. Secondly, a Disciple that was knowne to the High Priests, and [...]ent in with Iesus into the Palace, spake to him that kept the doore, and so got Peter in, Iohn 18. 15, 16. and this was a second step to his temptation. The courtesie of his friend proues a snare to him, and the rather because he went in out of curiositie, and not out of any setled reason or cause to glorifie God: for Saint Matthew saith he went in but to see the end, that is, to obserue what would become of Christ, Matth. 26. 58. Thirdly, he sate and warmed him­selfe by the High Priests fire, with the seruants of the High Priests, Iohn 18. 18. He that was for a long time accustomed to the holy conuersation of Christ, and his fellow Disciples, where he was accustomed to goodnesse in words and deeds, now comes into the company of the vngodly without cal­ling, whose tongues were bent to mischiefe, and their throat an open sepulchre, and here as a man comming suddenly in­to a new world, receiues strong impressions of euill, his feare­full heart being not able to cast vp the poison hee receiued from their Societie: and this was the third degree or step to his fall. Fourthly, he was examined and accused to be one of Christs followers, and so charged in that part in which he was weakest: For first, a Damosell that kept the doore, asked him whether he was not one of them, Ioh. 18. 19. and then the seruants by the fire-side charge him againe, vers. 25. ga­thering belike from his behauiour that hee was not one of their side, in that he did not ioyne with them to discourse a­gainst Christ, and therefore it was likely that he was Christs Disciple, and they told him his speech bewrayed him, hee spake like a Galilaean. Then in the third place, a kinsman to Malchus, whose eare he cut off, charged him that hee saw him in the Garden, Ioh. 18. 26. The Deuill that desired great­ly to sift him, and to increase his misery, plies him with ob­iections, and all suddenly till his sinne was brought to the [Page 353] height. Thus of the occasions of his fall. The manner of it fol­lowes: & so the Euangelists shew, that first he denied Christ, saying that he knew him not. Then he denied him again with an oath: Then thirdly, he began to curse & sweare, saying, he knew not the man: Oh Peter knowest not thou the man, that before hadst confessed him to be God? The euent was his Re­pentance; & there is obserued the means of it, and the maner of it. The means lesse principal, was the crowing of the Cock, according to the prophecie of his Sauiour. The principall was, that Christ looked backe vpon him, and then Peter re­membred Christs words, which presently brake his heart, Luk [...] 22. 61. The manner of his repentance was, that he went out of that wicked place, and wept bitterly. He forsakes the needlesse society of the wicked, and with much sorrow be­wailes his great sinne. Thus of the Story.

Now the reason why our Sauiour suffered this kinde of af­fliction, to be denied thus of his owne seruant, was, that so he might satisfie Gods iustice for vs, that had denied God in Paradise: because we had denied God, he was content to be denied by his owne seruant.

There may be many vses made of this lamentable Story of Peters fall: 1. For first, we may all be warned by his fall, to take heed of the occasions that led him into this sinne; and so especially to take heed of security and trust in our owne strength. This is the man that a little before said he would not deny him, though he should die with him. Let him that standeth take heed lest he fall: No man is strong by his owne might, and therefore let vs work out our saluation with feare and trembling, and know that we are kept onely by Gods power and true faith in him. Againe, we see how pernitious a thing it is to fall suddenly into carnall company, without a Calling: It is hard to touch Pitch, and not be defiled, especi­ally in euill times when men are heated with malice, we should altogether auoid their presence, if it be possible: The High Priests fire vndid Peter.

2 Wicked men must take heed of abusing such examples as this, by gathering from thence any libertie to sinne: think not to sinne securely, because Peter sinned so grieuously: [Page 354] Remember two things, if thou take liberty to sinne, because Peter so sinned. First, that Peters sinne brought bitter griefe to his heart: He went out and wept bitterly, saith the Text: If thou wouldest as well consider the sorrowes Gods ser­uants brought vpon themselues for their sinnes, as the great­nesse of their offence, thou wouldst finde small prouocation from such wofull presidents. Againe, it is true that Peter sinned and yet was saued, and yet it is as true that Iudas sin­ned and was damned, and yet was an Apostle of Christ as well as Peter.

3. We may hence learne what is necessarie to true re­pentance, viz. First, to get out from the society of wicked men: a man cannot repent, and yet remaine still by the High-Priests fire. Secondly, to bewaile our sinnes by true godly sorrow in secret: without mourning for sin, there can be no true repentance for sinne; and therefore the affli­cting of our soule for our sinnes is peremptorily required, Ioel 2. 12. Iam. 4. And the sacrifices of God are a broken and contrite heart, Psal. 51.

4. Here are diuers things worthy the marking about the meanes of a mans conuersion: For first hence we may learne, that the Doctrine a man heares, though it doe not presently worke vpon him, yet the remembrance of it in after-times may be very powerfull to turne a mans heart to God: as here Peter is turned by remembring what Iesus said vnto him, though when he said it, Peter made no good vse of it. Againe, wee may gather hence, that God can awaken the conscience of a man by strange operations, by very simple and vnlikely meanes; as here the conscience of Peter is excited by the crowing of a Cocke; but especially the heart of Peter is dissolued, and grownd almost to pow­der, with the very lookes of Christ: Iesus looked backe vpon him, and he went out and wept bitterly.

5. Here is also matter of Consolation: for penitent sin­ners may bence gather, that great offences may be forgiuen, if they be truly humbled: If we weepe for our sinnes as Peter did, we may be receiued to fauour as Peter was. Be­sides, our Sauiour that foretold his fall, annexeth two admi­rable [Page 355] consolations: First, that he prayeth for the godly that their faith should not faile, though they fall grieuously. Se­condly, that how far soeuer the Deuill preuailes, yet all his temptations shall be but like a winnowing: God can tell how to draw light out of darknesse, and to waste the maine heape of corruption, euen from his working vpon mens hearts through the sight of their falls into some particular corruptions, Luk. 22. 31, 32.

Lastly, the example of the falls of godly men should teach vs to vse all meanes to strengthen one another, that wee may be vpheld from falling; especially such as haue fal­len, and are recouered, should striue by all meanes to warne others, and to helpe by all waies they can to preserue others, When thou art conuerted strengthen thy brethren, said our Sa­uiour to Peter, Luk. 22. 32.

Thus he was denied by Peter.

3. He was ill intreated by them that kept him bound: for as Saint Luke shewes chapter 22. they mocked him and smote him, and when they had blindfolded him, they stroke him on the face, and asked him, saying, Prophecie vnto vs, who it is that smote thee. And many other things blasphe­mously spake they against him. Here we may behold a la­mentable spectacle, of that disorder into which wretched men fall, when they giue the reynes to their wicked malice, and thinke they may doe it without punishment. What wo­full indignities are these, these base Iewes offer to our blessed Sauiour? They blindfold and buffet that face, which their godly Forefathers and Prophets so longed to behold, euen that face that was fairer than the children of men. And what was of more authoritie than the sacred Prophecying of Ie­sus, who spake as neuer man spake, and confirmed it by mi­racles, and yet see how this base vulgar scornes his Prophe­cying? They that before persecuted the Prophets of the Lord, now blaspheme and deride the Lord of the Prophets. Thus it is still with vs in places where the wicked multitude dare oppose the Messengers of Christ, with opinion they may doe it without punishment. When Magistrates are wicked & haters of goodnesse, these things fall out amongst [Page 356] the multitude. There are two signes of a childe of God: The personall loue of the Lord Iesus, 1 Pet. 1. 8. and the high estimation of the word of Christ. Now on the con­trary, there cannot be more palpable signes of a wicked or reprobate heart, than to loath Christ, and despise Prophecy­ing. Againe, note another madnesse and folly in these beasts: They thinke they can hoodwinke Christ: What, can their base couering hide the eies of the Son of God, that had so often made them know that he could see into their very hearts? Will God be blindfolded? Thus foolish are wicked men: and this mad folly is not out of the hearts of such men amongst vs, that thinke they haue the skill still to hoodwinke God, that he should not see their hypocrisie, and know their secret corruptions. But some one may say, it was wonder Christ would endure such meane vsage: I answer, we must looke higher than the wickednesse of these men: Christ as our surety suffers all this, that he might make expiation for our sinnes, that had lost the face or image of God, and that he might deliuer vs from those contume­lies might iustly follow vs for our sinnes: and withall might leaue vs an example of patience, if we suffer meane vsage from the men of this world: and the rather because we see in the Text, what interpretation was made of this dealing of theirs, it is reckoned as blasphemy against God.

And thus of the things done in the Night tumultuously: Now followes the things he suffered in the Day, when they proceed to Iudgement; for in the morning early they bring forth Iesus to be indited, and heare Iudgement, and that both in the Ecclesiasticall and in the Ciuill Court. But be­fore I open the particulars, our hearts should make a stand, and thinke of the generall, with amazement at the worke was done that day. There was neuer such a dreadfull sight to be seene, in any age of the world: for on that day, the Sonne of God, the King of Heauen and Earth, stood at the barre of mortall creatures, was indited and condemned of sinfull men, and had many grieuous things laid to his charge. Oh, in what Labyrinths are our dead hearts slee­ping, that so prodigious a thing as this cannot waken vs to [Page 357] vnspeakable sense and wonder! But let vs consider the rea­sons of his Passion in this kinde in generall.

1. Our Sauiour would not die in a tumult or secretly, but came solemnely to his triall in both Courts, that so his innocency might be fully cleared, and the wicked enuie and malice of the High Priests and the Iewes might be made manifest.

2. He stood there as surety for vs, that were obnox ous to the sentence of the eternall Iudge, and had deserued by our sinnes to bee indited and condemned to eternall perdition.

3. He was indited and condemned on earth▪ that he might free vs from the furie of Gods iudgement, that we might neuer appeare before Gods Tribunall to be arraigned for our sinnes, but only to heare iudgement for our absolu­tion, and entrance into the possession of that euerlasting kingdome.

And therefore the Vse of this should be for singular comfort to the godly, euen to all that beleeue in Iesus. He was arraigned before the Priests, and Pilate, that they might not be arraigned before God. He was pursued in euery Court, that no Court of Iustice might lay hold on them. He was accused before an earthly Iudge, that they might be freed by the heauenly Iudge. He was condemned on earth, that we might be absolued in heauen. And withall here is terrible discomfort to the wicked, that will not repent of their sinnes and beleeue in Iesus. They may gesse what shall become of them: if Christ endured to bee arraigned on earth, and to be so vsed at mans Tribunall, how shall they escape the terror of their arraignment at the dreadfull day of Iudgement? He that hath beene abased to these indigni­ties, will pay them home with iust vengeance, when [...]hey shall fall into his hands at the last day: and i [...] God spared not his owne Sonne, but arraigned him for our sinnes, how shall he spare them?

Thus in generall. Now in particular in the arraignment of Christ we are to consider: First, his accusation: Se­condly, his condemnation or sentence. In his accusation [Page 358] there was a double proceeding: For first he was brought into the Ecclesiasticall Court, before Caiaph as the High Priest, in a great Councell or Synedrion at Hierusalem; and then after he was brought before the Politicall Tribunall of Pilate the Romane Gouernour.

First of the arraignment of our Sauiour in the Ecclesiasti­call Court: The Storie of the Euangelist shewes with what corruption and iniustice he was vsed in their Consistorie: For first the Iudges themselues, before they heare the cause, take counsell how to put him to death, intending by all their courses to deuise all the wayes they could to get colour of matter against him, to complaine to the Ciuill Magistrate that hee might put him to death. Secondly, it is expresly said, that they sought false witnesse against him: and this was a grosse iniustice to suborne false witnesses. Thirdly, in the very Court before the face of the High Priest, Christ is smitten on the face with a rod by a base slaue that was ser­uant or officer to the High Priest, Iohn 18. 22. Fourthly, he was accused of double blasphemie, the one against the Temple, and the other against God. Against the Temple, because he should threaten to destroy it, and pull it downe, and set it vp againe by his owne power, within three daies. Against God, because he said he was Christ the Sonne of God. And this is the summe of the proceedings in that Court. Now out of the whole Storie many things may be noted which may serue for good vse, as

First, we may see hence, that Christ and true Christians may be persecuted and monstrously abused in Spirituall Courts as well as Temporall. Christ neuer had worser ene­mies, nor more corrupt and malicious than Churchmen. In his owne person none hated him more deadly than the Priests and great spirituall Counsellors of the State Ecclesia­sticke. And in times after of all the great ones that opposed Christ and his Kingdome, none deserued the name of that Antichrist more than the Bishops of Rome. And certainly if he suffer such wrongs in their Courts, if they repent not, and reforme, he will iudge them in his Court one day to their eternall confusion. Againe, it is most cleare from hence, [Page 359] that the restimonie of Councels, or the outward glory of learned men professing a religion, are not infallible marks of the Truth. Here is a great Councell, and here sit the great Rabbies in their Pontificalibus, when Christ stands amongst them in the condition of a poore prisoner. Now what could the Papists say in Queene Maries times to the Protestant pri­soners, that might not be said by these Iewes against true Re­ligion? Againe, we may obserue out of this Storie, what horrible iniurie may bee done to a man in reporting his words, though the most of the words be reported that were spoken, and how a mans meaning may be vilely peruerted by a little change of the words: Christ had said, Destroy this Temple, and I will build it up againe in three daies: he meant his body by the Temple, and his Resurrection should be the building vp of it againe. Now the false witnesses vrge this sentence contrary to his sense, and in stead of the word Destroy yee, they report it thus, I will destroy: and so out of all frame that accusation, that hee would pull downe the Temple. Let all men take heed what they heare, and what they report: especially in hearing do­ctrine let them take heed that by their fault they doe not make their Teachers sinne in the word as the Pro­phets phrase was, that is, that they doe not by mista­king make such report of their Teachers doctrine, as may bring them into danger, when they meant or said no such thing. And yet moreouer wee may note one thing more for information, and that may be gathered from the behauiour of the High Priests feruant, in striking Christ so proudly and vniustly, without any bidding or warrant; and the rather, if we marke how the night before Iesus was vsed by these Seruing-men and officers, and so afterwards: That I would obserue, is, That it often falls out that seruants are like their Masters. If the Iudges of Courts be not louers of goodnesse, and good men, but rather such as seeke all oc­casions against them, & disgrace and discountenance them, it is ordinarily seene, that their seruants and officers, their Sergeants and Apparitors, and such like, carry themselues with vile iniustice and scorne towards the godly. What ver­mine [Page 360] in the world can be more odious than the seruants and officers of great men, or Iudges, or Bishops, or such as haue Authority in Ecclesiasticall or Temporall things, when the Masters proue to be men of corrupt minds, and not louers of goodnesse and iustice. And so it is in all States, euen in the family. How often doe the sinnes of Masters and parents breake out in their children and seruants? Certainly the com­plaint of ill seruants would be in the greatest part of it, taken away, if Masters were better themselues.

And thus for information. Now besides here may be di­uers things learned for our instruction, from the behauiour of our Sauiour at this time, from the things he said or did. Yea there is one thing to be learned from these wicked Ru­lers, though they did sinfully: We reade here of them, that they rise early in the morning & getto the Court, & dispatch the businesse quickly: Now if to doe mischiefe, their feet make such haste to shed bloud; surely good Iudges should learne expedition from them, so it be in good causes: Iudges of Courts should prouide, if it be possible, to cut off these miserable delayes in suits: and when they fully vnderstand the cause, dispatch the Iustice of it quickly.

Now from the behauiour of our Sauiour we may learne diuers things.

1. Whereas he was examined both of his doctrine and his Disciples, he answers to the point of his doctrine, but saith nothing of his Disciples, and yet he might haue an­swered that one of them betrayed him, and another de­nied him, and the rest ranne away from him: To teach vs that no extremity befalling our selues, should make vs dis­couer the weaknesses of others to the Enemies of Religion, when it may any way doe hurt to the honour of the pro­fession of Religion. And againe, we may learne to be pa­tient vnder the aspersion of Schisme, & not to be vnquiet at it. Our Sauiour was examined about his Disciples, vp­on pretence that he had made a Schisme in the Church, by admitting so many followers, and such concourse of people to heare him, with intimation that he might in­tend sedition in the State: Now to all this he giues no an­swer, [Page 361] but rests satisfied, as knowing that the consciences of his aduersaries were perswaded otherwise of him.

2. When he answers about his doctrine, it is in generall, and sparingly, to teach vs wisdome in euil times, and to learne how to bridle our tongues, when we speake before men in authority, especially if they be enemies to Religion.

3. From his answer about his doctrine, the Hearers of god­ly Teachers may learne one profitable lesson, namely, to marke the doctrine of their Teachers, and to grow so cun­ning in it, that they may be able to defend their Teachers and the Truth. Christ referred himselfe to his Hearers, Iohn 18. 19, 20.

4. What admirable patience was that in Iesus Christ, when he was smitten by the High Priests seruant, to speake to him so coolely, saying, If I haue euill spoken, beare witnesse of the euill: but if I haue well spoken, why smitest thou me? Iohn 18. 23. He deales like a wise and patient Physitian: if he haue a patient that is madde, he doth not rage if his madde patient should strike at him, but rather quietly will striue to pacifie the fury of the madde man, or else binde him: So doth our sweet Physitian of our soules: they are spiritually madde, that will strike Iesus their spirituall Physitian, or offer indignities to such as come in his name. Let vs all learne patience of our blessed Sauiour.

5. We should from the consideration of all this vniust pro­ceeding with our Sauiour, be stirred vp from our hearts to praise God for the publique peace wee enioy in prea­ching and hearing the Gospell: We little know what we should suffer, if we should fall into the hands of vnreaso­nable men, whether in the Ecclesiastical or Ciuil Courts: but if at any time, without our fault, we should haue ex­perience of corruption, and enuious and malitious pro­ceedings against vs for our consciences sake, wee should comfort our selues by the remembrance of these things that befell our blessed Sauiour.

Before I leaue this part of his Passion, one question may be asked, and that is, why our Sauiour held his peace when the false witnesses gaue euidence against him; yea he held his [Page 362] peace, though the High Priest vrged him to speak to the ac­cusation of the witnesses: Now for answer to this question we may conceiue that our Sauiour was silent for these Reasons.

1. Because he knew that he came thither to suffer, not to de­fend himself, as being sent thither to suffer by God himself.

2. Because he knew he should be condemned, though he did cleare himselfe of their accusation.

3. That by his patience and silence, he might intimate the vanitie of their accusation, and the falsenesse of it.

4. That the Scripture might be fulfilled, that said, He was as asheepe dumbe before his shearer, Esay 53. 7.

5. That so he might pay for our shiftings and excuses.

6. That he might thereby acknowledge our sin-guiltinesse: as suretie he stood there for men that were iustly accused of God; and therefore as one confessing a fault, he forbears to defend or excuse himselfe.

7. That hee might by his example teach vs to bee silent in euill times, when truth will not take place.

Thus of the Arraignment of our Sauiour in the Ecclesiasti­call Court. Now followes the things he suffered in the Ci­uill Court before Pontius Pilate: And here first in generall we may consider the reasons why Christ would be iudged in the Politicall Court of Iustice: and he did it,

1. That his innocence might be made more publike; which fell out, as appeares by the story, in many things.

2. That so he might be sentēced to die by the ordinary Iudge: for the Iewes had not power to put any man to death.

3. That so it might appeare that the Gentiles had interest in his death as well as the Iewes; and therefore the Gentiles lay their hands vpon the head of this Sacrifice.

4. That the crueltie and vnequall dealing of the Chiefe Priests and their counsell might be more manifest, when it should appeare that the Politicall Iudge shall vse Christ with more respect, than they did. And thus it often comes to passe still in the case of his Ministers and seruants.

Quest. But why must he be iudged by Pilate, a Gentile, a Deputie of the Roman Caesar?

Answ. Euen that was not without speciall cause: For first, [Page 363] Christ seemes to say himselfe that God had giuen that power to Pilate to put Christ to death, Ioh. 19. 10, 11. Secondly, it hath beene noted before, that by this circumstance it ap­peared that the Scepter was now departed from Iudah, and therefore Iesus was that Shiloh that should come. And here by the way they of the Church of Rome might learne that Church-men must abide the iudgement of Lay Iudges; yea, though they be of a false religion. Christ yeelded himselfe to be iudged by Pilate; and therefore it is a tricke of Anti­christ to refuse it.

Now in the Arraignment of our Sauiour before Pilate, we are to consider two things.

  • 1. His Accusation.
  • 2. The proceedings of the Iudge.

About his Accusation three things may be noted.

1. By whom he was accused viz. By the Chiefe Priests, and Elders, and Scribes, and Pharisies. They that were ere­while his Iudges, are now become his accusers: Saint Mat­thew notes they did it of enuy, Matth. 27. 18. Surely enuy is very cruell and very base. It is a cruell thing to pursue a man to the death, for no other cause, but because he is better beloued of God or man than themselues. And it was most base for these great men to turne accusers at the Barre of the Ciuill Iudge, and to doe it in their owne persons.

2. Where he was accused: viz. at the doore of the Com­mon Hall, Iohn 18. 28. These wretched men that made no conscience of pursuing an innocent man to the death, yet are very strict about Ceremonies. They would not enter in­to the Common Hall lest they should be defiled, and so be made vnfit to celebrate the Passeouer. And why would the Hall defile them, but because it was the seat of a Gentile? Oh vile hypocrisie! will the house defile them, and yet the pre­sence of the man do them no hurt? It is a most hateful thing to be an Hypocrite, and an Hypocrite he is that straines at a Gnat and swallowes a Cammell; that is precise and super­stitious about small matters, and yet makes not Conscience of grosse sinnes.

3. What they charged vpon him. They charged vpon [Page 364] him three things: First, seducing of the people, as one that had peruerted [...] their Nation, and stirred vp the people throughout all Iudea, beginning from Galile to Hierusa­lem, Luke 23. 2. 5. Secondly, sedition, as one that deceiued and forbade the paying of tribute to Caesar, Luk. 23. 2. Third­ly, high treason against Caesar, in saying hee was a King, Luke. 23. 2. Ioh. 19. 12. The first of these was vaine, and the two last false. For the extraordinary mouing of the people is not in it selfe a fault, vnlesse they be moued without cause, or by ill meanes, or to ill ends. The other two are false: for he paid tribute himselfe, though as a Prince of the bloud hee was free, Matth. 17. 27. And when the people would haue made him King he refused it, Ioh. 6. 15. Hence we see that euen Christ himselfe hath beene liable to the same accusati­ons and slanders are cast vpon his poore seruants: which should the more comfort the godly when they are slandered and charged with Innouation, Schisme, Sedition, or to be enemies to Princes, or the like. But especially hence should the godly take comfort in the hope of the forgiuenesse of all their sinnes against God, how great soeuer: for to this end was Christ charged with these great offences vniustly, that he might make atonement for our sinnes that were guiltie, euen of high treason against God.

Thus of his Accusation. The proceeding of the Iudge followes, where we may note two things: First, how Pilate exammed Christ. Secondly, what meanes he vsed to deliuer Christ.

For the first, when the Iewes had thus accused our Saui­our, Pilate went in to Christ, and examined him only vpon the three points, whether he were a King. The first, as a bu­sinesse concerned their owne Law, hee would not meddle with. And the second either he beleeued not, or accounted it to be comprehended in the third. Now to this question of P [...]late our Sauiour giues an answer: wherein we should take notice of soure things, which he thought good to testifie and auouch at his Arraignment as truths most needfull, and not to be denied or controuled at any time: First, that hee was a King. Secondly, that his Kingdome was not of this [Page 365] world, Thirdly, that the end of his comming was to beare witnesse of the Truth. Fourthly, that his subiects were such as were of the Truth, and did heare his voice, Ioh. 18. 36, 37. These parts of the confession of Iesus, should not passe with­out liuely vse in our hearts. For first, if Iesus be King, why are we discontented with our estates, why liue we not out of feare and care? Is there not a King in Sion, Mich. 4. 9. and the rather, because our King is a King vniuersall, and all power is giuen vnto him in heauen and earth: and besides, he is a King immortall, and of his kingdome there is no end: and therefore we should seeke to him in all our necessities, who is so able to helpe, and trust in him. And for the second, if his kingdome be not of this world, wee should not expect to haue the glory of our Religion to be liable to outward obser­uations, but rather pray that God would open our eyes to see wherein the true glory of Christs kingdome lies, Eph. 1. 19. And withall it should teach vs to imploy our selues about spirituall things, and not about earthly; for the wealth of his kingdome lieth not in earthly things, our trading must be about heauenly commodities, Coloss. 3. 1, 2. And further, seeing his kingdome is ouer the spirits of men, wee should labour to get spirits without guile, and to serue him in spirit and truth. And poore men should not be discontent with their estates: His kingdome is not of this world, hee neuer promised great things in earthly matters to his followers; they should rather reioyce that they are exalted to get the preferments of his kingdome in spirituall things.

Now for the third point, if the end of Christs comming were to beare witnesse of the Truth, we may gather diuers things from thence: As first, it may informe vs of the enter­tainment Truth findes in the world: It is more villanously neglected, and opposed, and wronged, when the Sonne of God must come from heauen to giue euidence in the behalfe of truth. It imports the truth is more often questioned than error and wickednesse. Againe, it may intimate, that Truth is great and will preuaile: God will send from heauen to helpe it, rather than it shall be supprest, though it be op­prest. And besides, we may gather hence, that the preaching [Page 366] and publishing of diuine Truths is a most excellent worke, in that the chiefe office of the Son of God was to beare wit­nesse of the Truth: and so it should teach vs to receiue the word of truth with all reuerence, and gladnesse, and good conscience: as accounting truth to be the most precious trea­sure God sends to men. And from the practise of Christ both Ministers and People should learne with all wisdome and constancie to stand for the truth, though it were to death, and neuer to be ashamed to witnesse to the truth, by holding out the light of the profession of it, and shewing our sound obedience, and subiection to it, howsoeuer it be taken in the world.

As for the last point, our Sauiour giues an excellent mark to know his subiects by: They are of the Truth and heare his voice: They are of the Truth, not only as they take part with Truth to defend it, but as men that were borne and bred by the power of truth: they were regenerated and san­ctified by the force of the sound of Truth: and accordingly the chiefe comfort and treasure of their liues they account to be the hearing of the voice of Christ: Hearing of Sermons is the Character of a true Christian. But it is not all hearing, but a hearing of such Sermond as haue the voice and power of Christ in them: and such a hearing as placeth such felicity in the voice of Christ, as they could be content (as it were) to doe nothing else but heare Christ still: and such a hearing too, as will giue glory to Christs voice in the hardest times, when it is most scorned and opposed in the world: and espe­cially it is such a hearing as containes obeying and willing­nesse to be ruled by the voice of Christ. And this was the answer which our Sauiour made to the Gouernours questi­on: but Saint Matthew notes that when the chiefe Priests accused him, he answered nothing, and though Pilate said vnto him, Hearest thou not, how many things they witnesse a­gainst thee? yet he answered not, in so much that Pilate maruel­led greatly, Matth. 27. 12, 13, 14.

He thus constantly forbare and refused to answer,

1. Because he needed not any apologie, being knowne to be innocent, and thus it became the Christ, the Lords an­nointed [Page 367] King, to carry himselfe: Kings need not seeke protection or defence for themselues by words against the false accusations of their subiects.

2. Hereby hee shewes his magnanimitie in contemning death: If he had answered, hee might seeme to doe it, to preuent the sentence of death: He that seekes not life, feares not death. He that saues all men, betrayes his owne safe­tie, that he might purchase our saluation.

3. By his Silence hee satisfies Gods iustice for the sinnes of our words.

4. He is silent on earth, that he might merit to speake for vs in heauen, by making intercession freely for vs at the right hand of God: and that we might haue free accesse to God for our prayers, in pleading for our liues through his merit.

5. Hee hath thereby left vs an example, to teach vs to beare false accusations patiently; and imports that our innocen­cie shall not need defence, when wicked men are vnreaso­nable: He may well be silent that needs not defence. Let them be eager to make Apologies that feare to be found guiltie: the cause is the better, that is not defended, and yet is proued.

6. Hereby he proues himselfe to be the Messias promised, because he was as a sheepe dumbe before his Shearers, ac­cording to the prophecie, Esay 53. 7.

And as he was silent in these accusations that touched his life, so afterwards when they accused him for making him­selfe the Sonne of God, Ioh. 19. 7. he would giue no answer to Pilate, that being much afraid, asked him whence he was, vers. 8, 9. both because Pilate was vncapable of the doctrine of the Trinitie, and because there was no time to reueale his Deitie, but rather to suffer and die according to his Huma­nitie.

Thus of our Sauiours examination: Now follow the courses the Iudge tooke to auoid putting of him to death, and so to saue his life; and so in the story we shall finde, that Pilate vsed foure policies to saue Christ, or at least to put off the businesse from himselfe.

[Page 368] The first was, that he perswades the Iewes to take him themselues, and iudge him by their owne law, Ioh. 18. 31. but this policie succeeds not, and that for two Reasons: First, the Iewes plead they had not power to put any man to death, because the Romans had taken that iurisdiction into their owne hands. In which answer of theirs, we see their horri­ble wickednesse and impudencie that professe to haue resol­ued vpon his death, and to tell the Iudge so, before the cause be opened: and yet the prouidence of God was in this thing. God had sent him to die for the people, and by the people his death is called for with importunitie. Secondly, the Text saith, That this was done that the saying of Iesus might be fulfilled, signifying what death he should die: for he had said that he should be deliuered vp into the hands of the Gentiles to be crucified, and therefore this policie must be disappointed: whence we may note, that the Counsell and word of God concerning the sufferings of his people cannot be altered. It shall not be with vs according to the will of men, but Gods Counsell shall stand, which should make vs with the more patience to beare what may befall vs, seeing if God doe it, it will be good for vs, and no aduersa­ries can haue their wills of vs further than their plots and practises doe serue to accomplish Gods secret will.

The second policie vsed by Pilate was, that he took occasi­on from the report that Christ was a Galilean, to send him to Herod to be tried before him, Luke 23. 6, 7, &c. This He­rod was he that cut off Iohn Baptists head, and was called (to distinguish him from other Herods) Herod Antipas. Pilate though he dealt herein politickly, yet he deales vniustly, for he ought to haue defended the innocencie of our Sauiour, and deliuered him from the hands of his violent and vnreaso­nable aduersaries, and not send him to another.

In the Story of Christs appearing before Herod, obserue:

1. The disposition of Herod, and how he stood affected towards our Sauiour: the Text saith, He was glad of his com­ming, and had long desired to see him, and hoped to see him work some miracle before him, Luke 23. 8. There is a great diffe­rence betweene godly men and wicked men, though they [Page 369] both meet in this, that they desire Christ, or to see Christ. A wicked man desires more the miracles of Christ than his word: A godly man especially desires to heare the voice of Christ. My sheepe heare my voice, saith our Sauiour. He­rod had beene so searched by the ministery of Iohn, that he durst not aduenture to heare any effectuall ministerie after­wards: He hath no desire to haue Christ to instruct him in the great mysteries of the kingdome of Heauen, or to shew him how he might saue his soule. To desire Christ for car­nall ends, as pleasure, glory, profit, or the like, is but an vn­regenerat humour. To desire Christ for his owne sake, or for his word sake, or for the holinesse we desire to get from him, is proper only to the godly.

2. The behauiour of our Sauiour, who would not yeeld to worke any miracle before Herod, because he knew Herod would abuse the power of God, to make sport of such great works to feed his owne vanitie: and besides our Sauiour constantly applies himselfe to the businesse he came about. He knew then, that was not a time of exercising his power, but of suffering. Secondly, though Herod questioned with him in many words, yet he answered him nothing, Which he did first to abate the pride and vanity of Herod, thereby intimating how little he esteemed his worldly greatnesse, and how much he contemned his leuitie and vanitie of minde. Secondly, he would not cast Pearle before Swine: He knew he should doe no good by talking to him, that was a man giuen to so much viciousnesse of life and voluptuousnesse. Thirdly, because he knew that he must receiue his sentence not from Herod a Iew, but from Pilate a Romane and Gen­ [...]ie, and be condemned and put to death after the Romane manner, viz. by crucifying.

3. The things our Sauiour suffered: and so first from the Iewes, then from Herod. The Iewes, viz. the chiefe Priests and Scribes, stood and vehemently accused him; which our Sauiour endured, and came to passe by Gods prouidence, that so thereby the innocencie of Christ might be the more manifest, which was easily discerned by Herod. obseruing the violent and tumultuous proceedings of the Priests: and [Page 370] it may be gathered from Pilats speech, that Herod did finde no fault in him, Luk. 23. 15. From Herod our Sauiour suffred two things: First, he was extremely mocked by Herod and his men of warre: and then hee was sent backe to Pilate arraied in a gorgeous robe. For the first, we see how great men that are giuen to pleasure and worldly pompe, enter­taine Christ and religion. It is no strange thing that religion should be scorned by voluptuous worldlings, or people gi­uen to vanitie. It is enough for the seruant to be as his Lord is: If we be set at nought, and reproched, and scorned by the world, we should not thinke any great matter was be­fallen vs, for thus was Christ himselfe vsed, and that in the open Court of a great King publikely.

Againe, we should know that Christ did therefore endure to be thus vilified by Herod and his men of warre, that hee might make vs pretious before God and his heauenly Armie of Saints and Angels. And whereas Herod sends him backe clothed in a white or gorgeous robe, though Herod inten­ded nothing but matter of scorne, yet Diuines conceiue, that God did thereby acknowledge him to be that lambe without spot that should take away the sinnes of the world, and to be indeed the true King of Heauen. That which men did in iest, God did in earnest. Herod clothes him with a robe like a King, as one that foolishly had affected the king­dome. But God by permitting the Royall robe, doth ac­knowledge his iust claime to be King of Sion.

4. The euent of this businesse, was the reconciliation of He­rod and Pilate, who were made friends the same day, Luk. 23. 12. which shews the temper of the men of this world, who though they cannot agree among themselues, yet rather than Christ shall not be persecuted, they will be­come friends: Wicked men are easily agreed, when there is a common opposition to be made against religion: Ephraim is against Manasses, and Manasses against Ephraim, and yet both will agree to be against Iudah. Yet obserue here, the vanity of all friendship amongst Po­liticians. Herod is greatly pleased, that Pilate will ac­knowledge so much right to him as to send his prisoner [Page 371] to him, only because hee was a Galilaean. Now Herod was mistaken, for though that were Pilates pretence, yet he intended another thing, which was to deriue the ha­tred of so foule a businesse vpon Herod, as Caiaphas had serued Annas before. And thus of Pilates second Po­licie.

The third Policie which Pilate vsed to acquit Christ, was to make a motion to the people to haue Christ giuen to them, in honour of their great Feast. About which ob­serue

1. The occasion of this practise, and that was a custome which the Iewes had, to haue a prisoner deliuered at the Feast of the Passeouer, by the Gouernour, which they would. Now this custome was either an ancient custome of the Iewes, who to signifie their deliuerance out of E­gypt, had deuised this custome at the Passeouer to let a prisoner goe free: Or else it was some grant which the Romanes had made vnto the Iewes, after they had reduced the Country into the forme of a Prouince.

2. The manner of Pilates dealing to accomplish his will in this motion: and so he matcheth Christ with one Barra­bas that was a murtherer and a notorious malefactor, and then giues them power to chuse their prisoner, so as they chuse one of the two, supposing that the horrible offence of Barrabas would for the very shew of it, hinder them from chusing him.

3. The choice the Iewes made: and so by the perswasion of the Priests, the multitude chuseth Barrabas and reie­cteth Iesus. The author of life is by the Iewes reiected, and a murtherer chosen: The innocent must die, and the guilty liue: He that thought it no robbery [...]o be equall with God, hath a Theefe and a Robber preferred before him. Now doth he pay for our sinne, that preferred the Deuill that murtherer, before God the author of life. In these Iewes we see the nature of carnall persons: They make more account of grosse offenders, than they doe of godly Christians. They chuse the Barrabasses of the world (Drunkards, Papists, Whoremongers, Swearers, Mur­therers,) [Page 372] to be the companions of their liues, but alto­gether shun and auoid the company of Gods seruants. But the godly that are so vilified, should comfort them­selues by this example of our Sauiours suffering herein. Christ was not so well accounted of as Barrabas, and yet endured it: but what cause haue those Christians to be so vnquiet, when others are preferred before them, that are indeed more wise, learned, godly & humble than they?

4. When none of these courses will serue turne, then Pilate yet tries one more to see whether he can appease the cru­ell malice of the Iewes. The way he vsed was this. He tooke Iesus into the common Hall, and caused him there to be extremely scourged and vilified by the souldiers, Iohn 19. 1, 2, 3. thinking that when the Iewes saw him so hardly vsed, and abased, and that he being a Iew, should be so dealt withall by Gentiles, they would haue relented, and so haue beene satisfied with that punishment was now inflicted vpon him. Obserue the implacable malice of men, that hate sinceritie and true religion, nothing but bloud will satisfie their thirst of reuenge: And withall obserue the foolish reasoning of Pilate; I finde no fault in this man, I will therefore chastise him, and let him goe: Most senslesly spoken: Shall he be chastised, and yet be innocent? Luk. 23. 14, 15, 16. But wee must looke higher, if we would finde out the true cause of the scour­ging of Iesus.

1. He was scourged, that he might redeeme vs from those spirituall and eternall scourges were due vnto vs for our sinnes. Amongst the Romans, fugitiue seruants were brought backe to their Masters, and beaten with rods. We haue all beene fugitiue seruants, and run away from God our Masters workes: Iesus now beares our stripes, and giues his owne hands that giue liberty, to be bound, and his owne bodie to be beaten, that he might deriue our stripes vpon himselfe.

2. That he might sanctifie those bodily scourges which be­fall vs, such as are diseases of any sort. For diseases are cal­led scourges, Matth. 5. 29.

[Page 373] 3. That by the vertue of his stripes, our soules might bee healed of our sinnes, 1 Pet. 2. 24. and the sores that arise from the buffets of Sathans temptations.

4. That we might learne in patience from his example: If we be scourged vniustly either with the scourge of the tongue, or of the hand: and in particular, seruants that are beaten by froward Masters vniustly, are exhorted to patience by the force of this ensample, 1 Pet. 2. 20, 21.

Hitherto of the accusation of our Sauiour, and the pro­ceedings of the Iudge in his tryall: his condemnation fol­lowes: and there foure things may be noted.

  • 1. How our Sauiour was pronounced innocent before sentence.
  • 2. Why Pilate would not deliuer him knowing him to be innocent.
  • 3. The Sentence it selfe.
  • 4. The consequents of the Sentence.

For the first, our Sauiour was declared to be innocent: first by Pilates wife, and then by Pilate himselfe.

Concerning Pilates wife it is obserued, Matth. 27. 19. That when Pilate was now set on the Iudgement seat, shee sent to him, saying, Haue thou nothing to doe with that iust man, for I haue suffered many things this day in a dreame be­cause of him. Where we may note diuers things.

1. The great glory of Gods power in giuing testimonie to the innocence of his children: When Iewes and Gentiles haue banded themselues against Christ, and when his owne Disciples are now fled, and dare not speake for him, yea when all that professe religion were swallowed vp with amazement, God herein raiseth vp a woman, a stranger, a Pagan, to force a way for his testimony euen at this great Assises.

2. Note that God keeps this testimonie till the very last mo­ment, for the Iudge is now set to giue Iudgement: to shew vs that God can send comfort and succour to his seruants, though he withhold it till almost all hope bee gone.

3. Gods message must be deliuered though neuer so many [Page 374] obiections lie against it. Shee might haue thought how vnfit it was for her to meddle being a woman, and a stran­ger, and her owne husband being Iudge, but yet shee will send the message.

4. The Diuinitie of Christ showes it selfe maruellously in this thing, while Pilate is ready to condemne him, hee miraculously conuerts his wife. His Godhead breakes through the veile: and their opinion that thinke this woman was truly conuerted, is charitable, and not im­probable. For what was in the confession of the Centu­rion, or the Thiefe vpon the Crosse, that is not in the confession of this woman? Shee confesseth him, when all the world refuseth him: yea she vrgeth her Husband to saue him, when it might proue his vtter ouerthrow, considering the tumult of the Iewes, and the displeasure Caesar might take, seeing Christ was charged with Trea­son against Caesar: and besides so peremptorily to ac­knowledge his goodnesse, at such a time, when it was so generally questioned, imported a minde much affected to Iesus. Howsoeuer we may learne of this great woman to stand for the truth, how euill soeuer the times be, or what danger soeuer it may bring vpon vs. Yea note that Iesus can doe great things in Prison as well as at Liberty: No outward abasements or restraints can hinder Gods coun­sell, or the successe of religion, or Gods worke for the soules of his people.

5. Concerning Dreames, we must vnderstand that they are of foure sorts; Naturall, Morall, Diuine, or Diabolicall. Naturall dreames arise from the constitution of the body, according to the complexion or present estate of the bo­die, either as diseased, or well. Morall dreames arise from the studies and imployments that we are extraordinarily affected withall in the day time. Diuine dreames arise either from the working of some Angell, or by some other way vnknowne to vs, and are vsed by God either to shew his power, or foretell things to come, or vnknowne, or as an extraordinary entertainment he would giue vnto his seruants. Diabolicall dreames are villanous conceptions [Page 375] wrought in the mindes of men in their sleeps, either to torment them, or to seduce them, or to tempt them to some monstrous euill. The question is what kinde of dreame Pilates wiues dreame was? There is no colour of reason to thinke it was Naturall. Some Diuines thinke that it was Diabolicall, and giue this reason, that the Deuill some way now perceiuing that the death of Christ would be the life of the world, hee seekes to hinder it by this dreame. But if that were so, why had not Pilate the dreame? or why did not the Deuill vse the Iewes that were his owne instruments? and therefore it is more than likely that the dreame was from God. Quest. But may we now giue heed to dreames? Answ. By dreames we may guesse at the state of our bodies sometimes. And by dreames wee may guesse at the corruption of our na­tures, and finde what sinnes we are secretly prone to. Yea no doubt, but wee may haue Diabolicall dreames, which we may discerne by the same signes we know the temptations of the Deuill from corruption of nature. As when we are tempted to things contrary to our natures, and prodigiously vile; or when we feele that our nature doth abhorre the motion, and giue no consent to it. Nor doe I doubt but God may treat with his people also by dreames: and we should be thankfull for holy dreames, wherein God giues vs speciall comforts, or doth in any speciall manner fire our hearts to the loue of goodnesse. Only we must receiue no opinions by dreames which are not agreeable to the word, nor must we trust vpon Predi­ctions of things to come, only when they are come to passe, glory should be giuen to God, with a resolution still to depend vpon the Law and the Testimonies only, as the direction of our liues.

6. We should all feare the great power and wrath of God: we should be afraid to displease him: for hee can finde strange wayes to make vs suffer: If all the world were at firme peace with vs, and all the Deuils in Hell would be quiet, yet God can fight against our spirits with a very Armie he can raise in our very dreames: Little doe we [Page 376] know how suddenly, and how easily, and yet how feare­fully God can seaze vpon vs either body or soule.

7. Note that shee saith I haue suffered many things, and yet it was Pilate that offended: whence we may gather, that ill husbands may make all that belongs vnto them suffer for their faults. They may be as a common plague to all that is about them, or comes of them: They sinne, and their wiues may suffer many things for their sakes, so may their children and their posterity.

Lastly, obserue that she dreames in the day time. It seemes she was no early riser, but guilty of that fault which is still too common amongst great persons, yea amongst them that are much inferiour to her, to lye long in bed: whereas the good woman described in the Prouerbs, chap. 31. is com­mended for Rising while it was yet night.

Thus of the declaration of our Sauiours innocence by Pilates wife.

By Pilate himselfe he was declared to be innocent, partly in words, and partly in action: In words, Pilate came forth publikely three times, and professed that he found no fault in him, after he had heard out their accusations, and exami­ned him, Luke 23. 14, 22. Whence we may gather, that wie­ked men in the Visible Church may be as vile, yea more vile than those that are not in the Church at all. The Iewes ac­cuse him, when a Gentile absolues him. They wilfully pur­sue Christ to death, when the Pagan for a good while striues as hard to saue him. Pilate was afraid when his very accu­sers had charged him that he said that he was the Son of God, and yet these cursed Iewes are not afraid, though they had seene many signes that proued he was the Son of God. And therefore it shall be easier for Pagans and Papists in the day of Iudgement, than for these wicked men in the Church, as our Sauiour said of the Cities of Galilea, Mat. 11. 20. to 25.

In Action, Pilate pronounceth our Sauiour innocent, by vsing solemnly the Ceremony of washing his hands, and ex­poundeth his meaning, thereby to signifie, that he was in­nocent, and did not consent to our Sauiours death. It seemes that he had borrowed this Ceremony from the Iewes, who [Page 377] had an ancient vse of it in some cases, as appears Deut. 21. 6. and did thereby think the more to affect them with remorse, see Psal. 26. 6. Though this Ceremony were not necessary, yet Iudges and publike Officers of State should haue cleane hands, hands (I say) cleane from bribes and corruption, and hearts fearing God, and hating couetousnesse: and so all so­lemne seruice in Piety, as well as Iustice, requires the washing of the hands in innocencie, Psal. 26. 6. for if the Ciuill seat of Iustice must not be compassed but with integritie of heart and life, much lesse should we dare to compasse Gods Altar, vnlesse we haue washed our hands in true innocencie. But further obserue what poore shifts a troubled and ill consci­ence flyes to. What will it iustifie Pilate, that he washeth his hands, and yet by and by doe that which himselfe con­demnes? The basenesse of his minde cannot be scoured off, with the water on his fingers. An ill conscience is often at­tended with a senselesse minde. To conclude, Note one fearfull thing that fell out vpon this Action: Pilate said, I am innocent from the bloud of this man: Immediatly the madde Iewes shout it out, that for his bloud, let it light vpon them and their children, Matth. 27. 25. How suddenly did the Iudge of the world take vp this Imprecation; He ratified it in heauen: This direfull curse fell vpon them, and yet lyeth vpon them to this day, as a standing monument to warne all cursing Caitifes, such as wish death and damnation or despe­rate diseases to themselues or others, God may say Amen be­fore they be aware.

Thus of the declaration of our Sauiours Innocencie.

The second thing about his condemnation, is the cause, why Pilate would not deliuer him, knowing him to be in­nocent: and so two causes are assigned; the first was his wil­lingnesse to content the people, Marke 15. 15. And Luke saith, the instancie and clamour of the Commons and the chiefe Priests preuailed, Luke 23. 23. And a second cause is assigned by Saint Iohn, Chap. 19. 13. And that was the feare of Caesar, for they had charged him, that if he did not con­demne Iesus, he was not Caesars friend; and when he heard this saying, he sate downe in the Iudgement seat to giue sen­tence. [Page 378] Which shewes vs, that it sometimes comes to passe, that Christ and the sincerity of Religion may suffer very vn­iustly, either to satisfie the stubborne humours of wicked people, or vpon pretence that Christ and true Christians are enemies to Princes. Many things are done in Caesars name, and vpon pretence of Caesars right, which yet Caesar knowes not of, or if he did, ought not to fauour such proceedings. We see that of old these two things haue beene great mo­tiues to iniustice.

The third thing was the manner of the Iudgement: and so Saint Iohn reports that Pilate brought forth Iesus, and sate downe in the Iudgement seat, and after some reproachfull speeches to the people about Iesus as their King, and after their last tumultuous crie to haue him crucified, he deliuered him to be crucified. Oh what heart can by faith see Iesus come out vpon the Pauement, and so patiently set himselfe before the Tribunall of Pilate, and not be dissolued into teares, to see our sweet Sauiour after so many indignities, to stand amongst such vile people to receiue iudgement of death, that was the blessed Author of life! But in this sen­tence of condemnation lieth one chiefe consolation: for in that houre, and in that sentence did God our heauenly Iudge giue sentence vpon our sinnes in him our Surety, and con­demned sinne in his flesh, that had no sinne; and therefore our faith should gather hence assurance of eternall comfort, seeing he was condemned, that we might be saued: and in this sentence vpon him, God hath fully satisfied his iustice, so as we need not feare the day of Iudgement, for Iesus hath beene already iudged for our sinnes, Rom. 8. 3. and a part of the iudgement it is to be reckoned, that he found no mercy in the Iewes, when Pilate said, Behold the Man, but rather with greater rage they called for the sentence to haue him crucified: and withall that he was reiected of the chiefe Priests, and Scribes, and Elders of the people. He found no mercy in the Iewes, that he might thereby procure for vs the eternall Mercy of his Father: He found no mercy with Men, that we might obtaine mercy with God. And he was reie­cted of the chiefe Priests, that the Scripture might be fulfil­led, [Page 379] that had said, That the stone that the builders refused should be made the head of the corner, Psal. 118. 22. And that he might thereby satisfie for vs that had refused God, and would not haue him raigne ouer vs, but yeelded our selues to the Deuill to rule vs.

The fourth thing in the Story is the consequent of the Iudgement, or what followed immediatly vpon the sentence, and that was most vile vsage by the Souldiers of the Gouer­nour: for they tooke him into the common Hall, and gathe­red vnto him the whole band, and they stripped him, and put on a Scarlet Robe, and a Crowne of Thornes vpon his head, and a Reed in his righthand, and bowed the knee, and mocked him, saying, Haile King of the Iewes, and spit vp-vpon him, and smote him on the head with the Reed; and after they had mocked him, they tooke off the Scarlet Robe, and put his owne rayment on him, Matth. 27. 27. to 32. Now whereas Saint Iohn, Chap. 19. 1, 2, 3. mentioneth that diuers of these things were done before the sentence, to moue the people to pitie, we may suppose that they were twice done, once by Pilates commandement before sentence, and then by the prophane rage and storme of the Souldiers after sentence: howsoeuer, to vs it is sufficient to know they were done, and why hee endured such things wee should chiefly inquire.

Now out of this part of the Story some things may be learned in generall, and somethings from the signification of some speciall things here mentioned.

In generall wee must inquire after the Reason of two things.

1. Why he is here shewed in the habit of a King, and scor­ned by the representation of the ornaments & reuerence of a King. He is crowned, and clothed with a Robe, and a Reed put into his hand like a Scepter, and saluted as a King, all in scorne. Consider first, that God did by his speciall prouidence acknowledge the regall dignity of his Sonne, euen in the middest of his greatest abasement: that which Pilate and the Souldiers did in scorne, God did in earnest; for all these things are ensignes of his [Page 380] Kingdome. Secondly, hence we may gather how sense­lesly and scornefully the men of this world doe iudge of the Kingdome and glory of Iesus Christ. It is so farre re­moued out of their sense and iudgement, that they ac­count it but foolishnesse and scorne, yea as lyes, being on­ly capable of that glory can runne into their senses. Espe­cially it is impossible for the men of this world to see the glory of Christs Kingdome in the daies of tribulation and affliction. And therefore Christians should be con­tent with the excellencie of their estate, though the world will not acknowledge their glory as the sonnes of God. Thirdly, herein he payes for our affectation of Gods own Kingdome, when in Paradise our hearts would not be content vnlesse they were gods, or like the Almighty in Maiesty. Fourthly, hereby hee merited for vs an eternall kingdome, and made vs Princes and Kings before God, Reuel. 1. 6.

2. Why did he suffer these strange indignities, as to be strip­ped of his cloathes, spit vpon, and beaten on the head, and all so publikely? Answ. First, that hereby he might beare that ignominie and shamefull disgrace, and loathing, which was due vnto vs for our sinnes: hee herein carries our filth, and suffers that abomination was due to vs, and so satisfies for the many and base iniuries which wee haue done to God, and to his holy Name. Secondly, that he might here leaue vs an ensample to learne of him, and so might be armed and fenced against all the scornes and base vsages we may finde in the world, especially when wicked men doe therefore deale shamefully with vs, be­cause abhorre it, that we should professe the hope and expectation of a kingdome from God in heauen. Wee should neuer account any indignity strange, that haue had a Sauiour that suffered so vnspeakable meane and base vsage.

Thus in generall: Now almost euery one of these parti­cular things done to Iesus, haue their speciall vse and signifi­cation: These things were done in a Mysterie: as

1. He is stripped of his cloathes, that thereby he might ex­piate [Page 381] our fall in Adam, that by sinning lost our garments of originall Righteousnesse.

2. They put vpon him a Scarlet Robe, that thereby it might appeare that he was that excellent Warriour, so liuely fore­told and described, Esay 63. 1, to 7.

3. He was crowned with Thornes, that thereby hee might merit for vs a crowne of glory in heauen; and that hee might take vpon him our cares, and beare that maledicti­on which God had laid vpon vs in our bodily labours, and that he might thereby signifie that he should make vnto himselfe a royal and diuine people, that should com­passe about when he spake in the name of the Lord. For out of men that were like Briers and Thorns, for iniustice and hurtfulnesse, doth he gather a People, which in the publike assemblies do compasse him about, in the honour of his Name, and publike profession of his Truth, as the King and Lord of heauen and earth.

4. He had a Reed in his hand as a Scepter, to signifie that it was he that should breake the old Serpents head: for they write that a Reed is mortiferous to Serpents: and there­fore now that he was in the Chase of the old Dragon, he takes a Reed into his hand, that wee might be deliuered from the power of that Serpent.

5. That face of his, that was to be reuerenced of Angels, was dishonoured with the loath some spittle of these base wret­ches, that thereby he might cleanse the face of our soules (once made in the likenesse of God) from the filth and loathsome foulenesse that temptations and sinnes had left vpon them.

6. They tooke off his purple garment, whereby was signi­fied that his kingdome of grace should be laid downe, and put off.

7. His owne garments were put vpon him againe, to signifie that as he clothed his owne body, so should we be clothed with his owne garments of Righteousnesse, and life, and immortalitie.

Crucified.

1 COR. 2. 2.‘For I determined not to know any thing among you, saue Iesus Christ, and him crucified.’

HItherto of the Arraignment of Christ. The parts of his Passion after his Arraignment follow in the Creed: and so his crucifying is the first to be considered of. And about the crucifying of our Sauiour six things are me­morable in the storie.

  • 1. The place where he was crucified.
  • 2. What fell out in the way, and before he was cruci­fied.
  • 3. The causes why he was crucified.
  • 4. The manner how he was crucified.
  • 5. The things that befell him on the Crosse.
  • 6. The glorious testimonie was giuen concerning him, when he was on the Crosse.

First, for the place where he was crucified, and that in ge­nerall was without the Citie, and in particular it was called Golgatha. Now he suffered without the Citie of Ierusalem for foure reasons. First, that thereby he might fulfill that which was foresignified by the figures of the old Law. For the bodies of those beasts, vpon which the sinnes of the people were put, (whose bloud was offered by the High Priest in the holy place) as things accursed, were burnt with­out the campe of the people of Israel, Leuit. 1. 11, 12. and 6. 30. and 16. 27. Heb. 13. 11, 12. So Christ as the Sa­crifice that bare the curse due to the sinnes of the people, as vnworthy the societie of men, was led to be crucified with­out Ierusalem. Secondly, that thereby he might teach vs to take notice of it, that we haue here no abiding Citie, and must not looke for any long peaceable entertainment in the [Page 383] world, but must seeke an abiding Citie in the world to come, Heb. 13. 14. Thirdly, that thereby we might be armed and resolued to goe to him without the campe, bearing his reproach, not caring what indignities we finde from the world, so we may meet with Iesus, Heb. 13. 13. Fourthly, he was cast out of the earthly Ierusalem, that he might bring vs into the heauenly Ierusalem. The particular place was called Golgotha, (that is to say,) a place of a Skull. Why this place was called Golgotha is not with one consent affirmed. Many of the Fathers say it was called the place of the Skull, because Adam was buried there, and his Skull was found there. Some haue said it was called so of a little Hill that was in the place, of the likenesse of a mans Skull. But the most likely opinion is, that it was so called, because it was a place full of Skuls of dead men that had beene executed there: and so it must needs be a place, whither only noto­rious offenders were brought, and besides a place of pollu­tion, by reason of the touch of dead bodies. Now our Sa­uiour suffered in this place, First, that the Scriptures might be fulfilled, that said, he should be despised and reiected of men, Esay 53. 3. Secondly, that so for our exceeding con­solation, he might cure the barrennesse of our iustification and saluation in the very place of condemned men, whom Iustice had sentenced to die: and that he might deliuer vs from the place of eternall Iudgement, where wee should haue all lyen as so many dead mens skuls, and bring vs to a place of eternall ioy. Thirdly, hee is defiled with the dead, that we might be deliuered from the filthinesse that is in the world, and be presented pure before God, being washed in his bloud.

For the second point, that is, the things that fell out be­fore his crucifying, we haue three things noted in the storie. The first is about his carrying of his Crosse. The second is about his speech to the women that met him on the way. The third is about a potion they gaue him, when he was come to the place where he must suffer.

About the cariage of his Crosse, it is noted in the storie, both that they made him carry his owne Crosse, and that [Page 384] when by reason of his former Agonie in the Garden, and ill vsage by Pilate and the souldiers, he was not able to carry it any further, they compelled one Simon of Cyrene to carry it to the place of execution.

Our Sauiour carried his Crosse for diuers reasons. First, that thereby he might fulfill the figures of the Old Testa­ment: for Isaack who was a type of Christ, carried the wood for the Sacrifice, when Abraham would offer him vp to God, Gen. 22. 6. Secondly, that thereby he might sig­nifie that he had taken vpon him the malediction of the Law due to vs, and carried it vpon his owne shoulders.

About Simons carrying of the Crosse diuers things are thought to be signified in the storie. First, that when godly men faint vnder the burthen of their crosses, God will send some helpe; he will prouide one Simon of Cyrene or other to helpe vs. Secondly, that there is a spirituall fellowship and consociation betweene Christ and the Saints in suffe­ring: The Martyrs carried Christs crosse; their afflictions are Christs afflictions, as Paul said of his sufferings, Coloss. 1. 24. Thirdly, this Simon was a Cyrenian, a stranger to Christ, and not a Iew, and is now made to beare his Crosse, and in bearing it, is first discouered to be a disciple of Christ; which might signifie two things: The one that the Gen­tiles should haue their part in Christ crucified: and the other that men are strangers to Christ, till they suffer for him: if wee be at peace in the world, and are not put to beare Christs crosse, we are still strangers to Christ. Some conceiue that the interest of the Gentiles in the Crosse of Christ was intimated by that that the Euangelist saith, Simon came from the country Evilla s [...]a, now Pagos was the Greek terme for a village, whence came vp the terme of Pagans, which now noted the Gentiles.

Concerning our Sauiours speech to certaine women that met him by the way, the Euangelist Saint Luke, chap. 23. 27. to 32. notes both the occasion of it, and the matter of it. The occasion was, that as he went to execution, a great company of people followed him, and women also which bewailed and lamented him. Now it is noted of our Saui­our, [Page 385] that passing ouer the forlorne multitude, as men that were senslesse, and not yet ripe for repentance for their late horrible crime in crying to haue him crucified, he turnes his speech to the mournefull women: and in that speech, First, he compassionately seekes to restraine their lamenta­tion for him. Secondly, he foretels the horrible misery shall fall vpon that Citie, which he describes both by intimation, when hee bids them weepe for themselues and their chil­dren, and by way of aggrauation expresses the horror of the destruction shall fall vpon the Iewes, by telling how they shall be affected in that day, wishing they neuer had had posteritie, v. 29. and that they might speedily die before they felt it, v. 30. Thirdly, he giues a reason of it by an argument taken from the lesse to the greater: If God suffer men to shew such seueritie vpon Christ that flourished in grace and good workes like a greene tree, how can they escape Gods terrible vengeance that haue beene voide of all goodnesse and good works, like a dry tree fit for nothing but the fire? And out of all this I will obserue a few instru­ctions.

1. We may see what power teares haue ouer Christ. Hee that for no words or terrors would speake to Pilate, He­rod, or the Iewes, now of himselfe with great compassion answers the teares of these women. God is much moued with the teares of tender-hearted persons. He must needs speake to a melting heart. Howsoeuer these women were wrought vpon we know not, but sure it is that God can deny nothing to a broken and contrite heart. The teares of such persons are strong arguments with God. The like to this we reade of Christ, Iohn 11. 33.

2. The vniust death of godly persons hath more comfort in it, than the life of wicked men. They must not weepe for Christ dying that haue great cause to weepe for the Iewes liuing.

3. Publike miseries vpon the Church and State where we liue are to bewailed. And out of verse 29. and 30. we may obserue these things.

1. That strange punishments shall be to the workers of [Page 386] iniquitie: Notorious offenders shall be followed with nota­ble iudgements. Though God may spare for a time, yet there daies are comming vpon them, Eccles. 8. 12. Iob 31. 3.

2. Wicked men are monstrous impatient when God vi­sits them for their sinnes. They blesse the barren and wish to die. Iudgements when they come from God haue such a face of terror, and a guilty conscience is so outragious, and besides when outward things are taken from the wicked, they are vtterly vndone in their owne sense: and if they be no better able to beare temporall iudgements, what will they doe when they come to suffer eternall torments? And here is implied, that a Christian that can stand in the euill day vndaunted, is an excellent creature, one of a thousand: if godlinesse did neuer appeare to be of great worth, yet in the euill day it is most remarkable, for that it works vpon godly persons.

3. To say, It is good to be barren, or to be dead, only for temporall crosses, is the saying not of God, nor any godly, but of wicked men only.

4. Wicked men neuer begin to talke of their misery till it be vpon them.

And out of verse 31. we may [...]ote

1. That Christ and so godly Christians are like a greene tree, they alwaies flourish whether they be in prosperitie or aduersitie, they are good, and they doe good.

2. That wicked men are like a dry tree: and so to haue a heart void of gifts, and the affections of godlinesse, and a conuersation void of good works, is a signe of a wick­ed man.

3. That if iudgement begin at the house of God, where shall the wicked and sinners appeare? If profitable Christians suffer from men, how shall vnprofitable people escape suffering from God? 1 Pet. 4. 17.

Thus of his speech to the women. The third thing that befell our Sauiour before his crucifying, was a Potion which they gaue him when he was come to the place of execution. Concerning which Saint Marke saith, They gaue him wine mingled with mirrhe, Mark. 15. 23. Saint Matthew saith, [Page 387] They gaue him vineger mingled with gall, chap. 27. 34. As for the reason of this fact, it is generally receiued amongst Diuines, that either the Iudges appointed, or that the wo­men of Ierusalem out of pitie to the malefactors, going to execution, prepared a Potion of strong wine the better to comfort them against death, or to inebriate their senses, so as they should not feele the paines of crucifying. And it is guessed that this was a custome euen in Solomons time, be­cause of that sentence hee vseth, Prou. 31. 6. Giue strong drinke to him that is ready to perish, and wine to him that is of a heauy heart. If the Potion were giuen only to cheere their hearts, it was a worke of mercy, at least in their intend­ment, but if it were to make them drunke, it was horrible cruelty to the soules of the poore creatures, that should be better prepared for death. Now for reconciling of the dif­ference betweene the Euangelists, (to omit many opinions) I thinke their iudgement is the most probable, that say that the women of Ierusalem gaue him wine mingled with mirrhe, but the Souldiers and the Iewes out of very spight and cruelty changed it into vineger mingled with gall. Now it is said of the first Potion, he receiued it not, and of the lat­ter when he had tasted he would not drinke of it. By all which was signified,

1. That Christ hath paid for our vicious pleasures, by ta­sting of the cup of gall.

2. That true solace and comfort is not to be found or sought from the earth, or the men of this world, who in stead of sweet incouragements, vsually doe of purpose giue vnto Gods seruants drinke of gall and vineger, that is, proffer them all occasions of vexation and discontent.

And for further vse let vs consider, that it was our sinnes that were this gall and vineger to Christ. If we blame the Iewes for giuing him such a Potion, let vs iudge our selues for our sins, for it was we that gaue him this gall to drinke, Deut. 32. 22, 23.

Now for the third question in the diuision: Christ was crucified for these Reasons or Vses. First, that thereby it might appeare that he was the true Messias and Sauiour pro­mised [Page 388] to the Fathers, as he himselfe saith, Iohn 8. 28. Se­condly, that thereby he might deriue the malediction of the Law vpon himselfe which was due to vs, and that we might possesse and inherit the blessing, Gal. 3. 13, 14. Thirdly, that by a vertue flowing from his crucifying, the viciousnes of our corrupt natures might be abolished, that we might not afterwards serue sinne, Rom. 6. 6. Fourthly, that our debts being there paid, the hand-writing that was against vs might be cancelled, so as our sinnes should be no more remembred of God, Col. 2. 14. But the speciall thing to be considered in Christs crucifying is to looke vpon it as a sa­crifice offered vp to God for the sinnes of the elect, in which an atonement and expiation is made for our sinnes. About this Sacrifice diuers things are to be inquired into: As first, who is the Priest? And that is Christ, considered in both Natures, as is proued in many chapters of the Epistle to the Hebrewes. And he is indeed the only Priest of the New Testament, considered really, for he came in stead of all the Leuiticall Priests, & his Priesthood is euerlasting, Heb. 7. 24. because it doth not passe from man to man by succession, as the Leuiticall High Priesthood did. Secondly, what is the Sacrifice? and that is Christ as he is man, or the manhood of Christ: so we are said to be sanctified by the offering vp of the body of Iesus, Heb. 10. 10. and this Sacrifice of his was not an Eucharisticall, but an whole burnt offering, or a pro­pitiatorie Sacrifice, such a Sacrifice as was seized vpon by the fire of Gods wrath and all burnt to ashes. Thirdly, what was the Altar? And that was the Godhead of Christ, not the Crosse properly, because the Altar sanctifieth the gift, Matth. 23. 19. and that which sanctified the Humanitie, that it might be a meritorious Sacrifice, was the Diuine Na­ture vpon which it was laid and presented to God. Fourthly, how often this Sacrifice was offered? viz. but once only, as is proued, Heb. 10. 14. and 9. 28. 25. Fifthly, the excel­lencie of this Sacrifice, which appeares by the fruit of it, and by the continuance of it: The fruit of it was both the bearing of our sinnes, Heb. 9. 28. and the taking away of our sins from before Gods sight, Heb. 9. 26. so as he made [Page 389] thereby a perfect atonement and propitiation for our sinnes, God smelling a sauour of rest, and his sacrifice being a sweet smelling sauour vnto God, so as he is well pleased, Gen. 8. 21. Ephes. 5. 2. And besides, by this Sacrifice we are consecrated as a holy and peculiar people to God, as the Priests were con­secrated in the Law, Heb. 10. 14. Thus of the fruit of it. The continuance of the Atonement and fruit of this Sacrifice is for euer, it was not such as needed to be renued, Heb. 10. 14. for he is a Priest for euer after the order of Melchisedech. Sixt­ly, what is required of vs, that we may haue benefit of his Sa­crifice and crucifying for vs? And so three things chiefly are required: First, that we be crucified with him, not only in sorrow for his sufferings, Zach. 12. 12. but in bewailing our sinnes, and crossing the corrupt disposition of our Natures, and forsaking the vaine pleasures and glories of this world, Rom. 6. 6. Gal. 6. 14. Secondly, that we looke vpon Christ by faith, as the Sacrifice offered for vs, or the brazen Serpent lifted vp vpon the Crosse for vs, Ioh. 3. 14. Thirdly, wee must be sanctified as a people willing to consecrate them­selues to God as a liuing sacrifice, soule and body for his ser­uice, Heb. 10. 14. Rom. 12. 1.

The fourth point is the manner how he was crucified, and so six things are distinctly to be noted.

  • 1. That he put off his garments, and suffered naked.
  • 2. That he was lifted vp vpon the Crosse.
  • 3. That he was fastened to the Crosse, and fastened with nailes driuen into his hands and feer.
  • 4. That he hanged with his armes spread abroad.
  • 5. That he was crucified in the middest of two Theeues.
  • 6. That he suffered the effusion of his precious bloud on the Crosse.

For the first, our Sauiour being to be crucified, put off his garments for diuers reasons.

1. That he might thereby shew that he was ready for death, and did willingly imbrace it.

2. That he might satisfie for the sin of our first Parents, that made themselues naked, by losing the garment of inno­cencie, in which they were created; and so make expia­tion [Page 390] for their abominable nakednesse.

3. That hee might vn [...]loath vs of sinne and mortalitie, of which the garments giuen to our first Parents were a Mo­nument: for when they had sinned, God made them gar­ments of the skinnes of dead beasts, and put them vpon them as memorials of mortality inflicted for their sinne.

4. He vnapparrelled his body amongst men, that our soules might be clothed with his Righteousnesse before God.

5. That as the first Adam entred into the earthly Paradise naked; so the second Adam might enter into the heauen­ly Paradise also naked in body, but graced and apparelled with glory and innocencie and immortalitie, and that we might likewise so enter into heauen.

6. That we might be comforted in the example of his Passi­on, if at any time we be vncloathed of earthly things, and suffer the spoile of our goods by the hands of vnreaso­nable men.

7. That he might teach vs, that he that prepares for heauen, as a man that hath vanquished the world, and the Prince thereof, must not seeke earthly things, but rather forsake them as hinderances to his passage: The world must be crucified to him, and he to the world.

For the Second, he was fastened to the Tree.

1. That as by the Tree death entered into the world, so vp­on the Tree it might be conquered, and driuen out of the world, and life and immortality brought backe againe.

2. That the old shadowes might be fulfilled, Isaack was laid vpon the wood for sacrifice: and the brazen Serpent was fastened to the tree, and so the sacrifices were laid vp­on the wood.

3. He was fastened with nailes for foure reasons: The one that the Scriptures might be fulfilled that said of him, They haue digged into my hands and my feet, Psal. 22. 17. The other that he might thereby declare, that the hand­writing that was against vs, was cancelled, and therefore he nailed it on high on the Crosse, that it might appeare to be of no force, and so that we might be deliuered from the Ordinances of Moses, which were but as so many con­fessions [Page 391] or Bills of our hands against vs. Thirdly, that by his wounds, we might be cured of the spirituall wounds, with which the old Serpent had wounded our Natures, Iohn 3. 14. Fourthly, that when we are wounded by the enemies of the Truth, we might beare them as the markes of the Lord Iesus in our bodies, Gal. 6. 17.

For the Third point, hee was lifted vp on high on the Crosse for three reasons. First, that thereby he might fulfill the figure of the old Law, for the sacrifices were lifted vp vpon the Altar, and there sacrificed, And as Moses lifted vp the brazen Serpent, so must the Sonne of Man be lift vp, Iohn 3. 14. Secondly, that he might thereby carry on high in his body our sinnes, and so take them away, and make it manifest he was sacrificed for vs, 1 Pet. 2. 14. Ioh. 1. 29. Hebr. 9. 26. 28. Thirdly, that being lifted vp into the Aire, he might subdue and triumph ouer the spirits that rule in the Aire, that is, the Deuill, Coloss. 2. 15.

For the fourth point, hee was crucified with his hands spread abroad: First, that he might draw all men vnto him, and vnite both Iewes and Gentiles among themselues. This day of his crucifying was the day which the Prophet Zacha­rie spake of, Chap. 3. 9, 10. in which he should remoue and take vp the sinnes of the world, and make peace amongst men, so as men should call one another by the preaching of the Gospell into the communion of the Church, which hee resembles to a Vine and Fig-tree: see also Ioh. 12. 32. Ephes. 2. 16. Secondly, that thereby he might signifie his great loue to vs, readie to imbrace vs, and take vs into his armes, and bestow vpon vs the benefits of his Passion, and that his tor­ments made him the more to long after vs.

For the fift point, our Sauiour shed his bloud on the crosse for diuers reasons: First, that he might fulfill the figures of the old Law; for the bloud of the sacrifices shadowed out the effusion of Christs bloud. Secondly, that thereby he might make expiation for our sinnes, and reconcile vs to God, and so make peace betweene God and vs, pacifying his displea­sure, Heb. 9. 28. Rom. 3. 25. Coloss. 1. 20. and so get forgiue­nesse of all our sinnes for vs; for without effusion of bloud [Page 392] there could be no remission, Heb. 9. 18, &c. Matth. 26. 28. Thirdly, that his bloud might be a fountaine and lauer, in which our soules might be washed and purged from all our sinnes, Zach. 13. 1. 1 Cor. 6. 11. Reuel. 1. 5. & 7. 14. Heb. 9. 14. & 20. 22. Fourthly, that the partition wall might be broken downe, and Iewes and Gentiles be made one, Ephes. 2. 12, &c. Fiftly, that we might be deliuered from the Ce­remoniall Law of Moses, 1 Pet. 1. 18, 19. Sixtly, that his bloud might be our drinke to eternall life, Ioh. 6. 55, 56. Se­uenthly, that his bloud might be an vniuersall medicine for all the infirmities and languishings of our soules, 1 Ioh. 1. 7. Lastly, that thereby he might open heauen for vs, and ob­taine an eternall Redemption for vs. Hebr. 9. 12. & 10. 19, 20.

For the sixt point, he was crucified in the middest of two theeues, for diuers reasons: First, that the Scripture might be fulfilled that said, Hee was reckoned among the wicked in his death, Esay 5. 3. 12. Secondly, that he might sanctifie the death of malefactors, that turne to God by repentance, that they might know that their kinde of death shall be no hinde­rance to their Saluation. Thirdly, that hee might thereby shew, that the fruit of his death should be diuided amongst sinners, and that he came to die for them, Mat. 9. 13. Fourth­ly, that thereby he might shew that he should be the Iudge of the quicke and dead, of good and bad, hauing the good on his right hand, and the bad on his left.

Thus of the fourth thing in the History of his cruci­fying.

The fifth point, is the things he suffered, while he hanged on the Crosse: and those were,

  • 1. The diuision of his garments.
  • 2. Derision from the High Priests and people.
  • 3. Grieuous torment both of soule and body.
  • 4. Thirst of body.

Concerning the diuision of his garments, the Euangelists say that the Souldiers diuided them into foure parts, to each one a part; and for his Coat without seame, for it they cast Lots who should haue it: and all this was done.

[Page 393] 1. That the Scriptures might be fulfilled that had foretold of so much, as Psal. 22. 1 [...].

2. That thereby might bee signified, that the goods of Christ and his grace should be diuided euen amongst his enemies, and that he would inrich them that were some­times enemies to him: which we reade was fulfilled in the Story of the Acts of the Apostles, and is still found to be true by experience.

3. The diuision of his garments into foure parts, signified that the grace of Christ should be caried into all the foure parts of the world, and diuided amongst the Elect, whose sinnes crucified Iesus.

4. The not diuiding of his Coat without seame, imported some Mystery, as that the whole righteousnesse of Christ is giuen to the godly without parting of it.

5. The casting of lots for it whose it should be, shewed that m [...] do not attaine the righteousnesse & merits of Christ, by [...]eir owne deserts, industry, or skill, but by lot, that is, [...] the immediate gift of God. Our portion amongst the S [...]ints in light is by lot, Coloss. 1. 12.

Concerning the derision he suffered, it is obserued by the Euangelist Saint Matthew, Chap. 27. 39, &c. that they that went by wagged their heads at him, vpbraiding him with the destruction of the Temple; and the chiefe Priests, and Scribes, and Elders derided him many wayes, and temp­ted him, mocking at his Miracles and trust in God: and the Theeues also that were crucified with him, vpbraided him; also the standers by mocked him about the very prayers hee offered vp to God, peruerting his words wilfully, as if he cal­led to some creature to helpe him: so that he was here on all hands despised as a worme and no man; and all this he suf­fered.

1. That from those often extreme contempts powred out vpon Christ at other times & now, we might be through­ly made to know how hatefull our sinnes are to God, espe­cially the sinnes by which we and our first Parents haue despised or slighted God, and dishonoured him, and caused others to blaspheme his Name, in that God doth [Page 394] so reuenge our Transgressions vpon his Sonne.

2. That wee being deliuered from that eternall scorne and contempt which was due to vs, might in this life inioy the comfort of a good name, and in the life to come eternall glory before God and his Angels: Christs ignominie did merit and procure our honour.

3. That by his example wee might be comforted, and by his silence and patience learne to despise the shame and scornes of sinfull men, and not render reuiling for reui­ling, Heb. 12. 3.

It may perhaps runne in mens mindes to wish that our Sauiour would haue done as they said, seeing they promise to beleeue in him, if he could saue himselfe from the Crosse. But let men consider: first, that our Redemption had beene hindered, if he had not died on the Crosse, and besides being brought to that houre, as our surety, hee could not come downe till he had satisfied Gods iustice: and further, he had denied to worke Miracles in his life time, when they and Herod defired him to doe it, because they were an adulterous generation, and cast off of God, who was now loth to haue them conuert, Esay 6. 10. Neither would they haue repen­ted though they had had their desire; and if Miracles would haue satisfied them, he had done store of them in his life time, and in that kinde, he had saued himselfe from the hands of a multitude that intended to kill him, as when they tooke vp stones in the Temple to stone him; and it was more that he did, to rise from the dead, then to come downe from the Crosse; and yet they did not beleeue him. Againe, in these reproches we may obserue, that wicked men doe hate god­ly men, for the very goodnesse that is in them, and the true glory God hath stamped vpon them, and the good they do: They doe not vpbraid Christ for any euill, no not for the euils they accused him of before, for they themselues knew hee was innocent, but for the good hee had done in sa­uing others, and for his trust in God, and for his prayers to God.

Further, we may gather from hence, that all persecutors are Atheists, though they professe Religion: for these men, [Page 395] though learned and great men, yet blaspheme God, and de­ride him, as if he had not power to saue him.

Moreouer, we may obserue how malice and wickednesse had besotted the Priests and Scribes. They alledge a place in the Psalmes, viz. He trusted in God, let him saue him now, if he will haue him; which words were there vttered in the name of the wicked enemies of God: and yet these men so skilfull in the Old Testament, haue not the braines to dis­cerne that by their owne mouthes they haue condemned themselues. Thus doth God in his iustice infatuate wicked men, so that their owne mouthes doe betray them.

Lastly, see how desperately wickednesse is set in the hearts of men: the poore Theeues now ready to dye for their offences, yet haue no loue of Iesus or the truth in him, but ioyne with the Iewes in reuiling Christ. It seemes both the Theeues reuiled Christ when they first came vp vpon the Crosse, which increaseth the wonder of the conuersion of one of them.

The third thing he suffered was grieuous torments both of soule and bodie: And first for the torments of his bodie, they must needs be great, both in respect of what went be­fore, and what he then felt. Before he had beene grieuously pained in that Agonie in the Garden, when he sweat bloud: and afterwards was tyed & bound and carried away bound; and was buffeted and beaten with rods, and with extreme contumelie kept waking all night, and then cruelly whipt, crowned with thornes, and beaten with a Reede, and made to carry his Crosse on his shoulders: and after all this to be so tortured with nailes in his hands and feet, it must needs import a most grieuous torment he felt: so as of him may be said what Dauid vttered, My heart melted like wax, my tongue cleaued to the roofe of my mouth, and thou hast pla­ced me in the dust of death, Psal. 22. 15, 16. and this excee­ding weaknesse and torment of body he suffered.

1. That thereby he might satisfie for vs that had so often despised the power of God, and his threatnings against our sins, and in generall to pay for all the sinnes we had committed in the body.

[Page 396] 2. That thereby he might free vs free vs from eternall tor­ments in our bodies, and that he might make vs strong in his might, so as to say, The Lord is the strength of my life, of whom shall I be afraid? and through Christ I can doe all things.

3. That hereby he might sanctifie the paines we feele in our bodies, either from diseases, or from the hands of vio­lent men or persecutors, and to teach vs with patience to beare our paines, by faith looking vpon the torments such a Sauiour endured for vs: and when we feele our bodies weakned by diseases, we should by faith remem­ber, that our Sauiour was beyond all comparison made more weake in body for our sinnes.

That he suffered most grieuous distresse and anguish in his soule appeares by that lamentable voice, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? By which words it ap­peares, that he was not only tormented in conscience vnder our sinnes and Gods wrath, but that he was also forsaken of God: and forsaken he was in two respects. First, that God lest him in most vnutterable distresse, and did for the time defer his deliuerance. Secondly, that God withdrew from his Humane Nature the consolation might support him, suffering him to endure those torments we should haue en­dured for euer.

Ob. How could God forsake him, seeing the Diuine Na­ture was vntted to the Humane inseparably?

Sol. The Diuine Nature of the Sonne did not forsake the Nature assumed, but secretly susteined it; but yet so as the glory of that vnion was hidden for the present. Nor doth the Humanitie of Christ complaine, that the second Person in the Trinitie had forsaken him, but that God the Father did forsake him.

Ob. God loued his Sonne with an eternall loue, how could he then be so wroth with him?

Sol. God loued Christ with an eternall loue, and yet as he was our surety he powred out vpon him the vials of his wrath deserued by our sinnes.

The Vse of these grieuous torments in soule, and Gods [Page 397] forsaking of him may bee diuers.

1. It may confute their opinion, that say he suffered not in soule at all, when the Scripture saith, His soule was made an offering for sinne: and these words cannot without great iniurie to Christ be thought to be vttered by Christ in respect of his bodily torments: then not onely the Martyrs, but the Theeues on the Crosse should beare their paine and death more patiently than he.

2. It may make vs all afraid of sin, when we seriously thinke on it, how wroth God is with his owne Sonne, to pursue him so that was but a surety, to make him vtter this pit­tifull complaint. Can men euer thinke that God can en­dure sinne in them, that in the spirit, heare Christ making this moane? Now was the time that the whole Sacrifice was on fire, and burning in the flame of Gods wrath.

3. It may greatly comfort Gods seruants when they are in great distresse, Christ was forsaken of God for a time, that they might not be forsaken for euer: and therefore wee should take heed of doubting of Gods care for vs, Esay 40. 28 and 49. 15. and resolue vpon it, that though he leaue vs for a time, yet he will receiue vs with euerlasting mercy, Esay 54. 7, 8, 10. Yea and withall it may bee some comfort to weake Christians, that doe too much feare lest God will leaue them, to thinke that this feare was in Christ.

4. We may hence gather what is the wofull case of all im­penitent sinners: if it were such a griefe to Christ to be forsaken for a time, what is their case that shall be forsaken for euer? If God thus torment his owne Sonne, that ne­uer knew sinne, how can he spare them that haue beene transgressors from the wombe?

5. We should hence learne to pitie poore Christians that are afflicted in conscience: no torments of the body are like the trouble of the conscience, which our Sauiour shewes here in his owne case. And withall we may hence learne to iudge charitably of such as say they are damned or forsaken of God, for we see it may be found in Gods deare children: though it be true that in some men these [Page 398] words are the fruits of hellish despaire.

Lastly, note in the words of Christ, that he expresseth his faith in the middest of his conflict: My God, my God, are words of hope, as why hast thou forsaken me, are words of feare. Whence we should learne to esteeme assurance, and to make vse of it, as the only thing will be left to vs to hold by, if great extremities come vpon vs. To know that God is our God, if the chiefe support of our spirituall life.

The last thing which he suffred while he was aliue on the Crosse, was the Thirst, of which he said, I thirst, Ioh. 19. and this thirst of body he suffered: First, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, that said, In my thirst they gaue me vineger to drinke, Psal. 69. 22. Secondly, that thereby he might merit the satisfying of our spirituall thirsts, and the desires of our hearts.

In his thirst they gaue him vineger to drinke, that there­by the same Scripture might be fulfilled, which was mentio­ned before, Ioh. 19. 28. Secondly, that thereby hee might expiate for the tasting of the Iuice of the forbidden fruit, and for all our sinfull pleasures. Thirdly, that we might be war­ned, not to looke for better intertainment from the world, but to be serued with sharpe and bitter potions; for we must drinke of his cup, Matth. 20. 23.

Thus of the things our Sauiour suffered while he hanged aliue vpon the Crosse. The glorious Testimonies giuen to Christ on the Crosse while hee was yet aliue follow: and they were foure.

  • The first was, in the Superscription was written ouer his head.
  • The second was, in the darknesse was ouer the Earth.
  • The third was, in the wonderfull conuersion of one of the Theeues.
  • The fourth was, in the rending of the veile of the Temple.

For the first, Pilate caused a Superscription to be written ouer his head, in Latine, Greeke and Hebrew, in these words, Iesus of Nazareth the King of the Iewes: or rather, as the o­riginall [Page 399] sounds, Iesus that Nazarene that King of the Iewes, Ioh. 19. 19. This Superscription (it is likely) was written in a Table and hanged ouer our Sauiours head; for it is not pro­bable that so many words, in so many Languages in great Characters, that might be read of them that passed by, could be grauen vpon the head of the Crosse. As for Pilates mea­ning herein, some Writers thinke that it was the custome for the ludges to set ouer the heads of them that died, the cause of their death. Yet we reade not of any such custome in Scrip­ture, nor of any Title set ouer the heads of the two Theeues: It is very probable that Pilate meant in this Title both to vp-braid the Iewes, and withall to saue himselfe from blame with Caesar, and to shew how carefull he had beene of Caesars right. But God intended by a speciall prouidence herein, to giue testimonie to his Sonne: which we may gather two wayes: First, by the consent of the Euangelists, who all make mention of this Title, which must needs import that they saw some mystery in i [...]. Secondly, by the very words, for (besides that, they containe a most exact description of the substance of our faith in Iesus) they are not the words of the Iewes accusation vpon which he was condemned, but an ex­presse affirmation of his glory: which is the more plaine, be­cause when the Priests (gowled by the Title) would haue it mended thus, He said he was King of the Iewes, yet Pilate would not alter it, his hand being stayed by the power of God. This Title then was giuen from God from aboue, and is of Gods owne deuising, and she was vs, for the confirma­tion of our faith, what God himselfe acknowledgeth, and what he would haue vs make vse of in the meditation of the Passion of Christ. Many things may be hence noted.

1. That God acknowledgeth his Name vpon the Crosse to be Iesus, that is, a Sauiour of his people from their sins. This name was giuen him, by an Angell before hee was horne, with this signification, yea with an acknowledge­ment of his Diuinitie, that he was Emmanuel, God with vs, Matth. 1. 22, 23. And now on the Crosse did he fulfill what was signified, and God doth acknowledge that in that houre, he had made an Atonement and saued vs from [Page 400] our sins: so that we haue Gods owne hand to acquit vs, if we beleeue in Iesus.

2. That God acknowledgeth him to bee that Nazarene: which title importeth his condition, and may be diuersly interpreted. As that Iesus was the more deare to God, euen in that wherein he was most despised of men: It was one of the wayes by which the Iewes derided Christ, to call him a Galilean or a Nazarene; as intending thereby to proue he could not be a fit man to saue Israel, in that hee was not a Bethlehemite, and of the house of Dauid: But this reproach God puts into the crowne of Iesus, to signi­fie, That he can loue and honour such as men reproach and deride. It was a Nick-name giuen to true Christians as well as to Christ, to be called Galileans by the Iewes. Besides, he was that Nazarite, in as much as he was sepa­rate to God, and had all those perfections of holinesse, of which the Nazarites in the Law were types. But chiefly I thinke by this Title is signified, that Christ was that Branch foretold by the Prophets, His name was the Branch: which terme in the Hebrew is Netzar, Isai. 11. 1. And God would by this Addition tell the Christian Church that he can raise the Kingdome of his Sonne out of the dust, and from small beginnings can erect a mightie frame of Soueraigntie and power to his Sonne Iesus: and with­all to comfort vs in our abasements: that God that can lay the foundation of Christs Kingdome, in such extreme abasements of Christ, can glorifie his power and grace to his people, euen in rescuing them from their lowest ex­tremities.

3. That God acknowledgeth Iesus not only to be a King, but that King by an excellencie, that the Prophecies had made such honourable mention of, and that excelled all the Kings of the earth. God now giues him a Name aboue euery Name that is named, Phil. 2. 11. The name of a King is greatest on earth, and amongst Kings, Iesus is that King that excells them all; and that in diuers respects, as that in the preheminence of his Person, and in the excellency of his gifts for gouernment, and in respect of his indepen­dencie, [Page 401] and in the extent of his Kingdome, hee being a King vniuersall, and other Kings being but his subiects, and in the Laws by which he gouernes, and in the power of his prerogatiue, and in distributing of Iustice, and in the nature of his kingdome, and in the continuance of his kingdome, as hath beene shewed in the former Article of the Creed, vpon the word Christ.

Quest. But why would God haue the Christian Churches to know that Iesus is a King, and such a King, and why doth he tell it them now when Iesus is in so ig­nominious a condition?

Ans. 1. That they might know that his kingdome comes not by obseruation, and that neither his right nor his power is lost by any outward abasements: Hee can triumph vpon the Crosse, and can come forth of so low a condition, to conquer as a mighty King: and withall, that they might know for euer, that tribulations shal not hinder the kingdom of Christ, and that he can bring strange things to passe, when all humane helpes doe faile.

2. That they might know that he was able to saue them by application, as he now did by merit: He did like a great King pay the Ransome for all the Elect on the Crosse: as he is called of God a King, to let vs know that he can de­liuer vs in the day of our saluation, by making his suffe­rings effectuall for all the worke of our redemption; and can grant vs better priuiledges than any of the Kings of the earth: See the first vse of the word Christ before.

3. That notice might hereby bee giuen to the Christian world, that the redemption made in the bloud of Iesus must giue no liberty to sin: for he was a King, and would looke for seruice and subiection, and that we should doe all that to him, which subiects owe to their Soueraignes, as to studie the mysteries, and bowe at the Name of Iesus, and stand for his honour, and obserue whatsoeuer he com­mands, fearing to displease him in any thing, yeelding themselues to be gouerned by his ordinances.

4. That Christians might be incouraged to seeke to Iesus in [Page 402] all time of distresse, seeing he is so great a King, and hath had such experience of sorrowes himselfe.

Fourthly, it is to be noted, that God acknowledgeth Iesus to be the King of the Iewes: which imports the great glory of Christs power and soueraigntie, that can raise vp a Kingdome to himselfe, euen among the very Iewes that cru­cified him: which was shortly after made manifest, when so many thousands of the Iewes were conuerted to the faith of Christ: of the Iewes I say, not those Iewes that said they were Iewes, and were not, but were the Synagogue of Satan, but of the spirituall Iewes, Rev. 3.

Fifthly, this Title was written in three Languages, and that was to signifie that euery tongue should confesse the glory of Iesus, Phil. 3. 11. so as the Gospell should be carried into all Nations, It is likely Pilate did it, that so the people of all Nations that were at the Passeouer might vnderstand the Title: but God did it to shew that the Gospell should be carried into the whole world. These three languages were the most knowne of all the rest. The Latine because of the Romane Empire, and the Greeke by reason of the stu­dies of Philosophie, and the Hebrew for the antiquitie of it, and being the language of the Iewes. But why in three lan­guages? but to shew vs that God would haue his seruice, and his will made knowne in the mother tongue of their Nation: and withall to signifie that neither the superstition of the Iewes, nor the wisdome of the Grecians, neither power of the Romanes, should hinder the conquest of Iesus in his kingdome.

Lastly, Pilate though moued to it, would not alter a letter of the Title. Which should teach vs, that no aduersarie power in the world can hinder the kingdome, or saluation by Iesus: and that God will not suffer vs to lose a iote of our right in Christ: and withall such Christians as can suf­fer Papists, or Sectaries, or Arminians, to alter the records of their faith, and put out and deface one Article after ano­ther, these Christians are not true Christians, and in some respect worse to Iesus than this Heathen man was.

Thus of the first testimonie giuen to our Sauiour vpon the Crosse.

[Page 403] The second testimonie was giuen by the darknesse that fell out from the sixth houre to the ninth. About this darknesse two things are to be inquired after: First, the manner of it, and then what it might signifie.

For the manner of it: It was without question miracu­lous: for first it falling out at the time of the Passeouer, which was the fifteenth day of the Moone, the Moone was then at the full, whereas the Sunne is neuer eclipsed in the course of Nature but in the new Moone: and besides Saint Luke seemes to import that there was a darknesse brought vpon the whole earth, besides the darkning of the Sunne, Luke 23. 44, 45. And whereas Saint Luke saith, it was ouer all the earth, Interpreters are diuided in opinion about the meaning of all the earth. Some thinke it was but ouer all the land, viz. of Iudea: other thinke it was ouer all the world. About this latter opinion, something seemes to make for it, and something makes against it: for it seemes to be the testimonie of Dionisius the Areopagite, who is said to see it in Egypt; and of the Philosopher at Athens, that seeing it should say, Now either the world is perishing, or the God of Nature suffers: and of Orosius, that said it was at Rome, and ioyned with great trembling of the Earth; and of Eusebius, who saith it was in Bithinia. Against it seemes to be manifest reason: for with the Antipodes it was at that houre midnight: and it could not be at the sixth houre in all places. It is very likely it was chiefly in Iudea, but yet so as in the neighbouring Countries it might be obserued, and a part of the darknesse might extend thither.

Now for the second point, many things may be hereby signified, as

1. It might signifie that the Sunne of Righteousnesse did now set: That the true light and life of the world was now a dying.

2. It might signifie the horrible blindnesse of the Iewes, and foretell the spirituall darknesse should be confirmed vpon them, that as heretofore the Egyptians had darknesse, and in the Land of Goshen was light, and by that darknesse was signified the imminent destruction of the Egyptians, [Page 404] and by that light the liberty and saluation of the Israe­lites: so now the Iewes should be left in horrible darknes and desolation, and the light of the Gospell should shine in other Nations to bring saluation to them.

3. It might import the detestation of that fact. The great light of the world withdrawes his beames, as abhorring to see so dreadfull a spectacle, as the Sonne of God cru­cified, or to vouchsafe light to so mischieuous creatures as the Iewes about such a worke, and at that very time railing and blaspheming.

4. It might signifie the vnspeakable vilenesse of our sinnes, seeing that at the time they were opened, and by imputa­tion laid vpon our surety, the very frame of Nature is turned vpside downe: and it was vsuall in Scripture, by the threatning of the darkning of the Sunne, to set out the wrath of God against the sinne of man, Ier. 15. 9. Ezech. 32. 7, 8. Ioel 2. 10. 30. 31. A [...]s 8. 9.

5. It did most euidently signifie the Diuinitie of Christ: this and all other miracles which fell out at that time, were therefore wrought that it might appeare hee was more than man that suffered: If he had died without miracles, he might haue beene thought to be but a meere man; and that our faith might be strengthned by the greatnesse of the wonders, that otherwise might be weak­ned by the ignominie of his suffering so vile a death as to be hanged on a Tree.

6. Was it not to teach vs compassion? Is Nature troubled at this sight, and doth the Sunne mourne, and couer it selfe with blacknesse as with a garment? and cannot our hard hearts be melted to mourne for him, who was pai­ned for our sinnes?

Thus of the second Testimonie. The third Testimonie was the conuersion of one of the Theeues vpon the Crosse: and his conuersion did notably serue to demonstrate the glory of Christ, both in respect of his Diuinitie that could conuert a soule without meanes: he must needs be more than man that can immediatly make the heart of man new: as also in respect of the vertue of his Passion and Death, [Page 405] which so liuely shewes it selfe vpon the soule of the Theefe, in killing his corrupt humours, and kindling in him the life of true grace: and both the more wonderfull in respect of the circumstance of the time, that it was when Christ was on the Crosse, derided of men, and plagued of God, and forsa­ken of his owne, &c.

Now in particular concerning this conuersion, I would make vse of three things: By considering first who was conuerted. 2. When he was conuerted. 3. How he shewed the truth of his conuersion.

For the first: The person conuerted was one of the two Theeues: whence we may gather, That notorious malefa­ctors may repent and be saued: for God is abundant in mer­cie, and the bloud of Christ is of vnspeakable value: which as it should teach vs to admire Gods goodnesse, so it should keepe vs from despairing of any, though their course be ne­uer so vile, so long as God continues the day of his grace, and prolongs his patience towards them.

For the second: He was conuerted at his last end, euen when he was ready to die vpon the Crosse. I suppose diuers that heare but this point named, will hence gather that men may repent them at their latter end, euen at the last gaspe. It is true that a man may be saued that repents not before his end: This Theefe was saued; and they that went into the Vineyard at the eleuenth houre: and God hath pro­mised to receiue the sinner in what day soeuer he shall re­turne and repent, Mat. 20. Ezek. 18. But yet lest men should abuse this example to confirme themselues in that most dangerous procrastination, consider with me foure things.

1. That we here reade of one that repented at his latter end, that no man might despaire; and yet but one, that no man might presume.

2. That the conuersion of this Theefe was an immediate worke of the diuine power of Christ, and so a dreadfull miracle: and though this one man was saued so extraor­dinarily without meanes, yet that doth not proue that God will doe so to other men: if Christ doe conuert thee at thy latter end, he doth as great a worke, as to raise [Page 406] the dead, or darken the Sunne, and cleaue the rocks, or the like. And what warrant hast thou that thou shalt be saued by miracle?

3. That men haue as much reason to be afraid they shall not repent, because the other Theefe did not repent at his lat­ter end, as to thinke they shall, because this Theefe did repent.

4. That it is said by them that went into the Vineyard at the eleuenth houre, that therefore they went not in sooner, because no man hired them, Matth. 20. which was like to be the case of this Theefe. He neuer was called before, he had not had the meanes of conuersion: but this can be no ground for such as haue had the meanes from the third, or sixth, or ninth houre, and will not be hired, nor perswaded to enter into the Vineyard, but put all off till the eleuenth houre. Indeed if men had neuer had the meanes till their old age, or sicknesse, they might haue the better assurance that God would shew mercy, but this is not the case of most of our people.

5. That the repentance of this Theefe had a great deale of businesse in it, more than saying three words at his latter end; as will appeare by opening the third point, and that is how he shewed the truth of his conuersion.

So that for the third point, we may obserue in the storie of his conuersion, Luke 23. that he shewed three excellent fruits of his conuersion. The one was reproofe of sinne in his fellow: The other was his confession that he made both concerning himselfe and Christ: The third was his peti­tion or prayer to Christ for mercy.

For the first, Saint Luke saith, vers. 40. that when the other malefactor railed on Christ, he answered and rebu­ked him, saying, Dost not thou feare God, seeing that thou art in the same condemnation? Out of which words I ob­serue diuers things.

1. That a true conuert cannot abide sin, or that God should be dishonoured by those that they conuerse withall: He that repents of his owne sinne may discerne it by his true dislike of sinne in others. They are farre from true repen­tance, [Page 407] that can liue in places where God is daily disho­noured, and yet haue not their hearts vexed, or their tongues loosed to reproue sinne.

2. That he that will reproue sinne in others, must be sure they haue mouing and effectuall arguments. They must haue skill to admonish. We see here what a stirring ar­gument the conuerted Theefe brings. Yea it is true, that if the hatred of sinne be sincere in vs, it will furnish vs with solid arguments to furnish reproofe.

3. That the want of the feare of God is the cause of all disor­der: as it was of this mans rayling, so it is of drunken­nesse, whoredome, swearing, stealing, lying, vsurie, and the like; if men had the feare of God before their eyes they would not doe so.

4. That such as do abuse Christ by scoffing or rayling, haue great cause to be afraid of God, and what he will doe to them, though they escape punishment amongst men. Such sinnes as men will not punish God will, especially these sinnes of scorning, or reproching Christ, and true Christians, and the ordinances of Christ.

5. That a true conuert doth loue Christ better than his old acquaintance: as here the Theefe speakes against his old comrade and companion, and for Christ, though he had neuer seene him before.

6. That such as will scoffe and raile at the truth, haue no feare of God in them.

7. That for a man not to repent when the iudgement of God is vpon him, is a signe of a carelesse and gracelesse heart. It is a wickednesse or stubbornnesse to be wondred at, that a man being vnder the execution of condemnation, as a malefactor, should yet be void of the feare of God: see Ier. 5. 3, 4. Hee that will not thinke of paying his debts, when the Arrest is serued vpon him, hath no minde to pay it at all. And the childe that relenteth not when he is vnder the rod, is in a manner past grace. So is it with men, that haue hearts like Adamants when Gods speciall hand is vpon them. Dost not thou feare God? As if he would say, though others were carelesse, yet it is [Page 408] an infinite shame for thee, that art in the same condemna­tion, not to feare God.

Now for his confession that he made, it stands of two parts: In the one he doth penitently accuse himselfe, and his fellow, as suffering iustly, and receiuing the due reward of their deeds: and in the other he doth excuse Christ, and auouch that hee hath done nothing amisse, or that is ab­surd, or out of place, as the originall word doth import, [...].

In the first part of his Confession, I obserue these things.

1. That without confession of sinne, [...]here can be no true repentance, Prou. 28. 13. 1 Ioh. 1. 9.

2. That a true Conuert doth from his heart acknowledge that he hath deserued all the miseries are inflicted vpon him from God or man: and doth patiently submit him­selfe to beare them, Dan. 9. 7, 8. without stomack, or ma­lice, or desire of reuenge vpon such as are instruments of his punishment.

3. That he that reproues sinne in others in sincerity of heart, doth acknowledge sinne in himselfe, if he be guilty of the same, or the like offence: The repenting Theefe makes this confession in his owne name, as well as in the name of the railing Theefe.

In the second part of his Confession, I obserue;

1. It is a signe of true grace, to haue from the heart an ho­nourable opinion of Gods seruants, though they be ex­tremely disgraced, and slandered, and reuiled; as in the Theefe here, to beleeue Christ did nothing amisse, though almost all the world accused him, and put him to death as a malefactor.

2. That in Religion it is not enough to be free from grosse sinnes, but we must be free from the sinnes of indiscretion and rashnesse: Nor is it enough to doe good duties, but we must doe all things wisely, and in their place: so the word in the originall imports.

About his prayer we are to obserue, both what he said, and what our Sauiour answered. His words were these, Lord remember me when thou commest into thy kingdome, vers. 42. [Page 409] In which words of his prayer, I note, the wonder of his faith, the truth of his deuotion, and the humilitie of his Pe­tition. His faith was to be wondered at, both for the things beleeued, and the circumstances of beleeuing. For the things beleeued, hee here saith foure great things of Christ: First, that he was Lord and King. Secondly, that his Kingdome was spirituall, and not of this world. Thirdly, that in that very abasement he was possessed of a Kingdome; he saith not, When thou shalt come to reigne, but, when thou commest reigning. Fourthly, that he had power to let in all peni­tent sinners into that Kingdome. The circumstances make it more wonderfull; that he should confesse all this, and yet haue no Preacher to instruct him, and Christ himselfe so much abased, and being a man that had not seene his former Miracles, that he should say thus, at this time, when the cu­ting of the sicke was ceased, and the giuing sight to the blinde, and the raising of the dead; and that he should thus acknowledge these glories in Christ, when the great Rab­bies, the Priests and Scribes blasphemed him, and could not acknowledge him for the Messias. The truth of his deuoti­on appeares in this, that he askes not temporall but eternall life: He is more carefull to pray for the saluation of his soule, than for the deliuerance of his body. The humility of his petition appeares in this, that he askes not for a great place in heauen, or to sit at his right hand, or his left (as the sonnes of Zebedee did) nor to be preferred before others, nor at all to prescribe vnto Christ, but onely desires to be remembred of him, for any place in heauen.

We must all learne of him, and that diuers points out of his prayer. The one is, to flie to Christ only, and to rely vp­on him alone for saluation. Another is, to deale particularly for ourselues, and euery one to say as he did, Lord remember me. Thirdly, he may teach all the Christians in the world how to exercise their faith; euen to beleeue though it be a­gainst all sense, and aboue reason; for this Theefe be­leeues these great things of Christ, when there was no out­ward appearance of any of them, but rather of the contrary. It is the greatest praise of our faith, to beleeue when we haue no sense or feeling.

[Page 410] And the practise of the Theefe in this point, doth greatly condemne a number of Christians now adaies. The Theefe worships him, and honours him, beleeues and repents, when Christ was on the Crosse in extreme ignominie: What shall become of them then that will not worship him, now, espe­cially such as blaspheme him, and dishonour him, now that he sits at the right hand of God?

Here is consolation also: for if this be all the suit to Christ, that he would remember vs when he comes into his king­dome, this we may be sure of if we be truly godly: for he hath now an infinite memory: and he loues vs with an vn­speakable loue, and he must needs remember vs, for it is his office to be our Remembrancer before God: and he being our High-Priest, hath all our names written on his Brest­plate, so as he cannot chuse but be still looking vpon vs: be­sides, he hath bought vs at such a price, that hee hath good cause to remember vs; and therefore howsoeuer it goes with vs here, and though all the world forgets vs, yet we may be sure that Iesus Christ remembers vs in heauen: and if wee would haue our faith confirmed in this point, we were best to doe as the Theefe doth, viz. put him in minde of vs in particular, and pray him to remember vs; and withall, it will much helpe, if we remember him here on earth, to con­fesse him before men, and to stand for his honour and glory; desiring to know and remember nothing more than Iesus Christ: setting our affections on things aboue, where he sits at the right hand of God.

But on the other side, if men be workers of iniquitie, and will not repent, and be such as loue not the Lord Iesus, and can spend daies, weekes, months and yeares without Christ in the world, he will not remember them: He cannot think of them in heauen, if they forget him on earth: Yea if they had beene acquainted with Christ on earth, and eaten and drunken with him, and beene of in his company, as Matth. 7. 22. yea if they had died with him at the same time, and the same kinde of death (which was the case of the other Theefe) when Christ shall come from heauen againe, he will let them vnderstand, that hee did not remember any such [Page 411] thing, he knew them not, all such naked relations vanish out of his minde; if they had repented of their sinnes, he would neuer haue forgotten them. The answer of our Sauiour is, Verily I say vnto thee, this day shalt thou be with mee in Para­dise: In which answer we may obserue diuers things concer­ning prayer, as also diuers things concerning heauen.

1. That the prayer of penitent sinners gets great suits: here is a Kingdome giuen for asking.

2. That poore men may speed in great suits, as well as great men: A poore Theefe here speeds as well as if hee had beene a Patriarch or a King. What could Abraham or Dauid haue had more than is granted to this Theefe?

3. That poore sinners obtaine speedy Audiences, they are not put to long suits when they seeke the greatest things; This day thou shalt be with me. If we speed not presently with God, it is long of our selues, or God delayes for some respect of vs, Esay 65. 24. Dan. 9. 21, 23.

4. That Christ stands not vpon the length, or eloquence of our prayers, he will heare a short prayer as well as a long: he loues a plaine heart; if wee speake the words of our hearts, and aske according to Gods will, in the name of Christ, we shall speed.

Now concerning heauen, it is described by the terme of Paradise. The Scripture makes mention of a two-fold Pa­radise; The Terrestriall, where the first Adam was placed, and the Celestiall, into which the second Adam was now a­bout to enter. And that by Paradise is meant the Heauen of the blessed, or rather the blessednesse of glorified soules, is plaine, because it is the kingdome mentioned by the Theefe; and Saint Paul shewes, that when he was caught vp into Pa­radise, he was in the third heauen, 2 Cor. 12. But here are two questions.

Quest. 1. How could the Theefe vnderstand what our Sauiour meant by Paradise, seeing no place of the old Testa­ment did speake of heauen by that name of Paradise?

Answ. The earthly Paradise was a Type and shadow of the heauenly, or of the glorie of heauen: and it seemes that by Tradition that was so commonly knowne among the [Page 412] Iewes, that our Sauiour is assured he shall be vnderstood in the Terme.

Quest. 2. But why doth our Sauiour call heauen Para­dise, at this time? why Paradise, and why at this time?

Ans. He calls heauen Paradise, because it was that which was shadowed out by the earthly Paradise. In the earthly Pa­radise was a Tree of life in the middest thereof: & in the hea­uenly Paradise, is Iesus Christ the true Tree of life, by whose vertue and grace we shall liue for euer. The great pleasures in that first Garden, the Trees of all sorts, did shadow out the vnspeakable variety of heauenly delights in the kingdome of Christ: In the earthly Paradise was a Riuer that diuided it selfe into foure heads, and so runne euen without the Gar­den: What is this Riuer, but the abundance of holinesse flowing from the Holy Ghost, for the qualification of the Elect gathered from all the foure parts of the world, the streames of which Ocean runne in the hearts of the godly in this life, euen on the outside of Paradise? And at this time did our Sauiour fitly vse this Metaphor: for thereby he signified, that though this world were but a place of banishment, yet in death Gods banished should returne: After all the labours, and trauells, and sorrowes they haue felt in this cursed world, they should in death come to a place of pleasure and eternall rest: and that as by the first Adams meanes, all were cast ou [...] of the first Paradise; so Christ was the second Adam, that hauing at that time satisfied Gods wrath for the sinne of the first Adam, would let all the godly into the celestiall Paradise, and that hee had now driuen away the Angell with the fla­ming sword, and so the passage into Paradise was open: Yea fitly doth Christ talke of Paradise now, because now was the very time in which the second Creation was beginning to be wrought; & therefore he would signifie that the new world had a Paradise prepared, as well as the old world had at first.

In this answer of Christ diuers errours are confuted, as

1. Theirs that said, that the soules of men after death did ei­ther sleepe or perish.

2. Theirs that dreame, that mens soules must goe into Pur­gatory: for this Theese had been a great offender, and had [Page 413] not performed the satisfactions they talke of, and yet went to heauen presently.

3. Theirs also, that say the soules of the faithfull before Christs Ascension were not in heauen, but in Limbo.

4. Theirs that say, the soule of Christ went downe into hell locally after his death: Paradise is not Hell, and into Paradise he went.

5. Theirs that say, that outward Baptisme with water is pre­cisely necessary to saluation: whereas this Theefe was not baptised, and yet saued.

6. Theirs, that thinke heauen is had for mens merits, euen for the deserts of their good workes: that is false: for as Adam was placed in Paradise by Gods free gift and Crea­tion, so are all the godly placed in heauen, and therefore doth Christ liken it to Paradise: Eternall life is the gift of God, Rom. 6. 23.

Thus of the Conuersion of the Theefe.

The fourth testimony giuen to Christ on the Crosse be­fore he died, was the miraculous rending of the Veile of the Temple from the top to the bottome: and that this fell out before the death of Christ, appeares by Saint Luke, Chap. 23. 45.

The Temple had three roomes in it: the one more inward (as it were our Chancell) and into that roome came only the High Priest once a yeare, and was called Sanctum Sanctorum, The Holy of Holies, and in that roome was the Arke, and the Mercy Seat: The next to that was the Holy place (as it were the body of our Church) and into this place came the Priests only to offer sacrifice; for there was the Altar for burnt of­fring, and the Altar of Incense, and the Table of the Shew-bread. Now without this was a third roome whither the Peo­ple came to worship, and was called the Court, and Solomons Porch: It is resembled by our Church porch; but it was a very great roome, able to receiue a multitude of people: Now the Veile was that parted the Holy of Holies from the Holy place, and was made of Blew, and Purple, and Skarlet, and fine twined linnen of cunning worke, hanged vpon foure pillars of Shittim wood ouer-layed with gold.

[Page 414] The most holy place was a type of Heauen, and the holy place a type of the Church Militant on Earth, as it consists only of Gods elect, as a Nation of Priests offering holy sacri­fices to God. The outward Court was a type of the visible Church, as it confists both of good and bad, professing the true worship of God.

The rending of the Veile signified diuers things.

1. That God did abhorre and despise the Temple of the Iewes, and was departed from them, with indignation, and had reiected that Nation, for their reiecting of Christ his Son, and that he did dissolue all their priuiledges and staine their glory. If the Iewes will forsake God, he will forsake them: and so will hee deale with all Nations, where he hath dwelt, if they despise his word, and Gos­pell, and will not walke worthy of his mercies shewed to them.

2. That there was now an end of ceremoniall worship: the rending of the Veile was the seale of the words of Christ, saying, It is finished. Now that Christ had fulfilled all was shadowed by these ceremonies by the tearing of the Veile, he signified, that there was now no further vse of those rites.

3. That now we haue accesse freely to goe to the Mercy-seat, euen to the Throne of Grace, with our suits and requests in the name of Christ, Iohn 1. 51. Eph. 2. 18. Heb. 4▪ 16.

4. That whereas heauen was shut for our sinnes, now it is opened by Christ, and we may enter in, as the Apostle expresly shewes, Heb. 10. 19, 20. The passage into heauen is now set open. Only we should looke to our assurance and sound sanctification as followes, vers. 22.

Dead.

1 THESS. 5. 9, 10.

9. For God hath not appointed vs vnto wrath, but to obtaine saluation by the means of our Lord Iesus Christ.

10. Which died for vs, that whether we wake or sleepe, we should liue together with him.

HItherto of the crucifying of Christ: His death fol­lowes. And concerning his death, I shall first consi­der of the Proposition, Reasons, and Vse in generall, and then consider of diuers particular things that concerne the explication of the doctrine and storie of his death.

That Christ died is abundantly testified by the Scrip­tures, 1 Cor. 15. 3.

Now the reasons why it was necessarie that Christ should die are these:

1. To satisfie the iustice of God for our sinnes. The wages of sinne is death, Rom. 6. 23. Christ therefore taking vpon him the similitude of sinfull flesh as our surety, God con­demned sinne in his flesh by inflicting death vpon him, and so satisfied his iustice. Obiect. But can the death of one man satisfie so as to be accepted for the death of many men? Sol. The death of one bare or meere man cannot, bot the death of him that is the Sonne of God, both God and man, is of infinite price, and so an infinite satisfaction, Act. 20. 28.

2. In respect of the truth of God: God had said, The day thou eatest thereof dying thou shale die, Gen. 2. 17. which presently fell vpon Adam in respect of spirituall death, and in time inuaded his body, and seazed vpon the bo­dies of his posteritie. Now Christ comming in the first [Page 416] Adams stead, must suffer what God had threatned, and beare that punishment he had appointed.

3. For the fulfilling of the types and prophecies of Scripture, the Sacrifices were slaine: and Esay had said, He must be as a sheepe led to the slaughter, Esay 53. 7. and Christ him­selfe had foretold his owne death and buriall diuers times.

4. For the ratifying of the New Testament, and the confir­ming of his last Will, wherein he grants by vertue of the new couenant with God, all those Legacies, that compre­hend the spirituall and eternall felicitie of the Church. This will is not of force without the death of the Testa­tor, Heb. 9. 15, 16, 17.

5. That he might abolish the power and kingdome of death, and so deliuer vs from eternall death, and from the autho­ritie of the Deuill, who had power to inflict death vpon vs, Rō. 6. 10. 2 Tim. 1. 10. Heb. 2. 14. Ob. But seeing eter­nal death was due to vs for our sins, how could Christ de­liuer vs from it, seeing he suffered not eternall death? Or how did he suffer al was due to our sins, seeing he suffered not eternall death? Answ. Death in it self is the wages of sin, & growes eternal only, because men or deuils that suf­fer it cānot ouercome it, & performe sufficient satisfaction in a shorter time. Now Christ in a short time makes suf­ficient payment to Gods iustice, and ouercomes death for vs, and that by reason of the worthinesse of his per­son. It is more for Christ to die one houre, than for all the world to be dead for euer. For it is in this, as it is in a prison into which many debtors are cast: It is an euer­lasting prison to such as cannot pay their debts: but it is but a temporarie prison, to such as either by themselues, or any other, make full payment of what is owing.

6. That by his death he might make a medicine to kill sinne in vs, which might so eat downe the power of sinne that it should no more reigne in vs, and so by degrees abolish sinne. He died, that we might die to sinne by the vertue of his death, Rom. 6.

7. That thereby he might buy life for the world: He gaue his flesh for the life of the world, euen to purchase eternall [Page 417] life for the elect world, Ioh. 6. 51.

8. That many sonnes might be borne to God. Christ was like seed falling from heauen to the earth, and there dying, it quickned and brought forth many sonnes to God, Esay 53. 10. Ioh. 12. 24. yea the doctrine of Christ dead for our sins is still like to diuine seed falling into our hearts, which conuerts men and turnes them to God.

Thus of the Reasons.

Now what vse may we make of the consideration of the death of Christ? Many things we may learne from hence.

1. It should teach vs to be stedfast in the faith, and to beleeue and trust vpon Gods mercies: for Christ died for our sinnes, and therefore wee are certainly reconciled vnto God, 1 Cor. 15. 3. Rom. 5. 10. And God doth assure vs of so much in the Sacrament of the Lords Supper, Matth. 26.

2. We should neuer be afraid of Death and Hell, 1 Thess. 5. 9, 10. Christ by dying for vs hath deuoured and euen swallowed vp Death and Hell, so as they shall neuer hurt vs. As the fire consumes the stubble, so by wonderfull Art Christ by dying hath consumed all the forces and power of Death, and the sting of it, 1 Cor. 15. 54. Heb. 2. 15. 14. Death as a curse was laid vpon Christ, that our death might be blessed to vs.

3. It should maruellously inflame our hearts with the admi­ration of the loue of Christ to vs, 1 Ioh. 3. 16.

4. Henceforth we that liue should not liue to our selues, but to him that died for vs, and carry our selues as men that are dead to the world, and the sinfull pleasures and lusts thereof, and shew the proofe of the vertue of Christs death in vs by the mortification of our sinnes, 2 Cor. 5. 15. Rom. 6. 2. 6.

5. It should breed in vs a holy resolution to suffer any thing for his sake, euen to forsake Father, Mother, Wife, Chil­dren, Husband, yea and Life it selfe for his sake and the Gospels, Iohn 12. 24, 25, 26. yea it should make vs wil­ling to lay downe our liues one for another, if our life may doe seruice to the Church of God and our bre­thren, 1 Ioh. 3. 16.

[Page 418] 6 Seeing Christ in death falls to the ground like a dead car­kas, we should be like spirituall Eagles, to flie to it where­soeuer we finde it, whether in the Word or Sacraments, and our soules should feed heartily (but spiritually) vpon it, Matth. 24. And seeing God in his ordinances pre­sents vs still with the dead body of his Sonne, it should be a meanes to draw all men to it, and to gather into one all the children of God that were scattered abroad, Iohn 11. 52. and 12. 32, 33.

7. The meditation of the death of Christ should make vs in all estates to liue at rest, and in a holy security, as knowing that Christ died for vs, that whether we wake or sleepe, we might liue together with him, 1 Thess. 5. 10. If we liue, we liue to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; Whe­ther we liue or die we are the Lords, Rom. 14. 7, 8.

Thus of the generall proposition concerning the death of Christ, and the Reasons and Vses of it. In the Explicati­on these things are to be confidered:

  • 1. Who died.
  • 2. Who were the speciall witnesses of his death.
  • 3. How he died.
  • 4. For whom he died.
  • 5. When he died.
  • 6. The consequents of his death.

For the first, if we aske who died, the Apostle Paul, Rom. 8. 34. answers, It is Christ which is dead. Which is to be ob­serued, the better to stirre vp our hearts to consider, both the wonder of it, and the reason of it. That any other man should die, is no wonder, because all other men were sinfull and mortall, but here Iesus Christ the Righteous, who onely hath immortality, dies: and withall, it leads vs to thinke of the reason of it, for he did not die, nay he could not die, if he had beene considered as a priuate person, because he de­serued not death in his owne person, but he died as our sure­tie, and as a publike vndertaker for vs all, hee died in our roome.

But yet we are further to inquire into this question, and to consider whether this death belong to the person of Christ, [Page 419] or only to his Natures, or to each of them, he being God and man in one person: And in this we must take heed what our hearts answer: for though it be true that Christ died in respect of the flesh, so as it was only the flesh that suffered death, in respect of the Nature that died, yet his death belonged to the Word, in respect of the Person: for the Word, the Lord of life and glory, suffered and died, not in respect of his Di­uinitie, which is immutable, and altogether impassible, but in respect of his Humanitie, or in his flesh, God did not die with the flesh, but in the flesh, and he died in his flesh, that is, in that flesh which was vnited to the diuine Nature. If the flesh of Christ were the flesh of the Sonne of God, then his dying in the flesh, doth belong to him as the Sonne of God. Thus his bloud is said to be the Bloud of God, Act. 20. 28. and this we must needs beleeue, for else his death, as a bare man, could not haue beene of sufficient merit for all our sinnes.

There is yet one thing more to be thought on about this Question, and that is, that the Humanitie, that is, the soule and flesh of Christ did in death, and after death remaine in the Person of the Sonne of God firmely vnited: Though the Soule was disvnited from the Body, yet neither Body nor Soule were dis-vnited from the Person of the Sonne of God. The parts of the Humane Nature were diuided in death one from another, so as one was on earth, and the other in hea­uen, but yet both of them remained and subsisted in the Di­uine Nature; else if in death there had beene a new manner of subsisting, Christ had had two Persons as well as two Na­tures, which is Heresie to beleeue.

Thus of the first Question.

For the second, we shall finde in the Story of the Euange­lists, that the chiefe Witnesses of Christs death were women, that followed Christ from Galile, and ministered to him, by name Mary Magdalen, and Mary the mother of Iames, and Ioses, and Salome, and the mother of Z [...]bedees children: These a farre off beheld what was done. Of all the Apostles and seuentie Disciples here is not one, but onely Iohn the E­uangelist, who was by the Crosse with the Virgin Mary.

[Page 420] Thus will God exercise the faith of his seruants, the Church must receiue the report of the things that concerne the death of Christ from women, as the chiefe Witnesses: and hereby did Christ honour the pietie of these women that followed him to the death, when the Disciples fled and left him; which is an euerlasting honour to their sex, and shewes that God can make women glorious confessors of the Truth, euen at such times as men hide their heads for feare. What a shame is this for the Apostles to be absent from a spectacle, vpon which the saluation of the whole world doth depend? Be­sides, hence we may gather, that Christ can preserue vnto himselfe some number that professe his Truth, and can arme them against the feare of danger, euen in the most desperate persecutions: Yea some such as will neither flie nor hide themselues.

Now for the third Question, there are many things to be noted in the manner how Christ died: for

1. Hee died truly: It was not a putatiue death, but a true death. He died in deed, and not in shew, or appearance onely.

2. He died a grieuous death: for hee died a painfull death, and he died a violent death, and he died a cursed death. There were certain in ancient times that held that Christ receiued many wounds, was smitten, whipped, nailed, and shed his bloud, and died, his Soule going out of his Body; but yet neuer indeed felt any paine. He had, they said, a body that could suffer, but not a Nature that could grieue, or feele paine. But that he did feele paine, is not Vid. Amand. Po­lan. de morte Christi. only manifest by his owne words, but is expresly affirmed by the Prophet Esay, Chap. 53. He suffered also a violent death, he did not die a naturall death: and it must needs be so, because Christ had nothing in him to cause him to die; and besides, he thereby answers to the Types in the Sacrifices of the old Testament, which were not onely beasts dead, but beasts slaine. Thirdly, he suffered a cur­sed death: for such was the death of the Crosse, and God had before pronounced it a cursed way of dying, Galat. 3. 13. All which, as it shewes the grieuousnesse of our sinnes [Page 421] by nature, so doth it import the greatnesse of our blessed­nesse by grace: for therefore did Christ die a cursed death, that wee might liue a blessed life, as the Apostle shewes, Gal. 3. 13, 14. Yea, and besides, hereby the Curse is re­moued from our death, so as it is a blessed thing for a Christian man to die, and go out of the world when God calls for him.

3. He died willingly, not by compulsion, he laid downe his life, for no man could take it from him, Ioh. 10. 18. and that may appeare by the Story, for Christ cried with a loud voice, and gaue vp the ghost. Now men that lye a dying, languish, and their voice failes them, or at least growes weake: Againe, it is said Christ laid his head a­side, and then gaue vp the ghost; whereas other men first giue vp the ghost, and then their heads fall aside: and fur­ther, to shew that he died when he listed, he was found dead sooner than other men that died on the Crosse, which Pilate himselfe wondered at. Now this is for our great comfort that he died so willingly, for it both addes to the sufficiencie of the propitiation in his death, and shewes vs the greatnesse of his tender loue to vs, and with­all it should fire vs to a holy resolution, with all willing­nesse to doe any thing he would haue vs, or suffer any thing for his sake.

4. He died most religiously, and his piety in his death is commended for his obedience to his Father, and for his care for his Mother, and for his loue to his enemies, and for his deuotion in respect of himselfe. His obedience to God his Father in his death is commended, Phil. 2. 9. be­cause hee did not onely obey all the Morall Law, that all men were bound to, but obeyed the singular commande­ment giuen by his Father, euen that of dying for the peo­ple, which as Man he was not bound to, but as a Media­tor. Which should teach vs abnegation of our selues: whatsoeuer it is God commands vs, we should be willing to do, how hard soeuer Gods work seemes to be. This care for his Mother is recorded by Saint Iohn, Chap. 19. 25, 26. when he saw his Mother standing by, with the belo­ued [Page 422] Disciple, he said, Woman behold thy Sonne, and vnto him, Behold thy Mother. Thus is Christ a most perfect Patterne of righteousnesse in both Tables: for as hee had before shewed his godlinesse in the first Table, so doth he here shew his naturall affection and tender care of his Mo­ther in the second Table. Now was the time come when Simeons prophecie was accomplished vpon his poore Mo­ther, now did the sword of bitter sorrowes pierce thorow her righteous soule, while shee beholds that dolefull spe­ctacle of her matchlesse Childe suffering death vpon the Tree, Luke 2. 35. And therefore now to comfort her, doth he commit her to Iohn his beloued Disciple, with charge that he should looke to her after his death: taking this care for his Mother of whom he was made man, and commending her to his Disciple with such humane affe­ction, he shewes himselfe to be that high Teacher sent of God. The Tree to which the members of Christ dying were fastened, was a chaire of a spirituall master teaching, for hereby he teacheth children how they should honour their parents, and continue a reuerent loue to them, euen to their last gaspe: and hereby he teacheth hearers how to performe gratefulnesse to their Teachers, not only by releeuing their Teachers while they liue, but by helping their parents or children when they are dead. He calls her Woman, not out of contempt, but to tell her and all men, that he that then was a dying, was more than the Sonne of Mary. Yea, and thereby the comforts her, for he inti­mated, that being more than Man, hee was able to ouer­come death, and could not be van quished by his enemies. His loue to his enemies he shewes, by praying for them, when they most outragiously and blasphemously persecu­ted him to the death: He said, Father forgiue them, they know not what they doe. The crie of their blasphemies and his innocent bloud went vp to heauen against them, but Iesus makes haste to send vp the crie of his prayers for them, that they perish not for euer: and therefore the first words he speakes on the Crosse, is the words of his inter­cession, Luke 23. 34. which should be an admirable pa­terne [Page 423] to teach vs to goe, and doe likewise. Neuer was there a greater man on earth, nor did euer man suffer such wrongs, and yet you see how he is affected: He that bids vs pray for our enemies, doth it himselfe, in a harder case than euer can be ours. If we will be true disciples, we must shew it by forgiuing men their trespasses, and by praying for them: especially when we are about to die; if we would euer haue God forgiue vs, we must forgiue men their tres­passes against vs. This prayer of Christ was heard, as ap­peares by the conuersion of many of those enemies of his after his death: Yet obserue, he prayes not for such as sin­ned of malitious wickednesse, but for such as sinned out of ignorant zeale, or generall prophanenesse of Nature: many of the people were carried with blinde zeale, and many of the Gentiles were ignorant of the true story of the life, and cause of Christ for which he suffered, those were curable, and for those he prayes. And this may be a comfort to vs, he that can obserue this difference in his persecuting aduersaries, will much more shew it, in consi­dering the frailties and ignorances of his owne seruants that desire to please him, though they faile of that they desire to doe, through strength of temptation or other weaknesse and ignorance. Againe note, it is not enough for the partie offending, that the partie offended doe for­giue, but God also must be sought vnto for forgiuenesse. Lastly, our Sauiour shewes his religiousnesse in his maner of dying, by his deuout care for his owne soule shewed in his prayer, when he said, Father into thy hands I commend my Spirit, Luke 23. 46. when he had be queathed all other things, as Peace to his Disciples, his body to the Iewes, his garments to his Tormentors, Paradise to the Theefe, par­don to the penitent, and his Mother to his Friend; now only remained his Soule, and that he commends to God. Euen Iesus can carry nothing with him out of the world, but his Soule, and therefore he prouides for that. Which should teach vs what we should doe; our greatest care should be that our soules may be safe when we die: and that they may be so, we see here two things must be done [Page 424] while we liue: First, we must get assurance that God is our Father, & we are his children, and then when we come to dye we must commit our soules by faithfull and heartie prayers into his hands; and for feare of the worse, wee should begin betimes to prepare for death, and by daily prayer to put our soules into Gods hands. Obserue that these words were first vsed by the Prophet Dauid, Psal. 31. 5. who committed his soule to God, being horribly persecuted by Saul, and in great danger, and hauing no friend to trust to. Now our Sauiour being in like, but greater distresse, doth make choice of Dauids words to expresse his prayer in, which should teach vs to acquaint our selues with the Scriptures, especially of this kinde: for as it will be accepted if our prayers be made according to Gods will, so is it a speciall aduantage and helpe to our faith and prayers, to fashion them to the very paternes in Gods Booke; and to say, as the godly haue said to God in the like case. Finally, this practise of our Sauiour may be a great comfort to vs, and that two waies: for first we may gather from his example, that if once we haue commit­ted our soules to God he will keep them safe, as Paul said, 2 Tim. 12. And secondly, it will be comfortable for vs in death or danger to flie to Iesus Christ, to beseech him to helpe our soules with his Father, who cannot forget that once himselfe on earth made the same moane to his Father, that we doe now to him. Thus Stephen doth, Act. 7.

The fourth question is, for whom Christ died? and the Answer is giuen distinctly in many places of Scripture: First, he died for men, not for other creatures, Heb. 2. 14. 18. Though the effect of his death reach to other creatures, as to the Angels, Phil. 2. 10, 11. and to the creatures that suffe­red vanitie for mans sinne, Rom. 8. 19, 20, 22. Secondly, he died not for his friends, but such as in the state of nature were his enemies, and sinners, not iust men, Rom. 5. 8, 10. Thirdly, he died not for Iewes only, but for the Gentiles also, 1 Ioh. 2. 2. Fourthly, hee died not for goats, but for his sheepe, Ioh. 10. 11, 15. not for the world, but for the Church, [Page 425] Ioh. 17. 9. Eph. 5. 25. euen for such as should beleeue in his name, Ioh. 3. 16. Fifthly, he died not for some beleeuers, but for all beleeuers, Rom. 8. 32. and so not for learned men or great men, but for all men of all sorts that beleeue, 1 Tim. 2. 6. Sixthly, he died not for those that did beleeue his words, but for all that should beleeue the words of his ser­uants afterwards to the end of the world, Ioh. 17. 21. And so he died for vs many hundred yeares before wee were borne. Seuenthly, not for all beleeuers in generall only, but for euery particular by name, Ioh. 10. 3. 14, 15.

And the knowledge hereof should serue for diuers Vses. For first it should be very comfortable for all sorts of Chri­stians to thinke that Christ died for them, and did thinke of them in particular, and by name. Secondly, it should much affect vs with admiration of the greatnesse of his loue, that would die for such vile wretches as we were by nature, wick­ed, and enemies to him, as the Apostle vrgeth it, Rom. 5. 6. to 10. And thirdly, in speciall it should much incourage such as are burthened with the greatnesse of their sinnes, to know that he well vnderstood it, that he was to die for the vngodly. Fourthly, it should teach Christians to restraine censure and iudging of them that are without. The vertue of Christs death may reach to many more than we know, and to such as for the present are vile enemies to the Chri­stian name. Fifthly, wee should all labour to be such as Christ hath described to haue actually a part in his death. And so Saint Paul tels vs, we must be such as see and ac­knowledge how vile and wicked we are by nature, whatso­euer gifts or priuiledges we haue, and how ciuill soeuer we haue liued in comparison of others, Rom. 5. 6, &c. and our Sauiour tels vs, we must be beleeuers, and sheepe such as will heare and be ruled by his voice: and 2 Cor. 5. 15. the Apo­stle saith, We must be such as will liue to him that died for vs: and Saint Iohn saith, Reuel. 14. 3, 4. we must not be defiled with women, that is, with Idolatry or spirituall whoredome, that is, with any beloued sinne, and must follow the Lambe whithersoeuer he goeth. Finally, if Christ died for vs, it must needs be an excellent estate he brings vs to: [Page 426] we are redeemed out of the earth: we are first fruits to God, and the Lambe, Revel. 14. 4. hee accounts of vs as a pe­culiar people, and as his onely treasure in the world, Tit. 2. 14.

The fifth question is, when Christ died? And that is an­swered either by the season of his death, or by the Chrono­logie of it. For the season, S. Paul saith, he died in the due time, Rom. 5. 6. Christ himselfe saith, it was when he had finished the performance of what was shadowed in the types and ceremonies of the Old Testament; when all things were accomplished hee gaue vp the ghost, Ioh. 19. 28, 30. The Author to the Hebrewes saith, it was once in the end of the world, Heb. 9. 26, 27, 28. The Angell told Daniel, that the Messiah should be cut off after 62. weekes (in prophe­ticall account) from the time of his prayer, Dan. 9. 26. Saint Peter said, it was at the time that God had appointed in his eternall counsell and foreknowledge, Act. 2. 23. yea he died precisely at the very houre God had set, so as he could not be killed either before or after, Ioh. 7. 30. and 13. 1. and that houre was the ninth houre of the day, euen at the time when the Euening Sacrifice was offered vp, Matth. 27. 46. 50.

For the Chronologie, Scaliger saith he died in the yeare of the world 3982. and the common opinion is that hee died in the 34. yeare of his owne age, and on the Friday (as we terme the fifth day of our weeke) which that yeare was the 15. day of their Moneth Nisan, or as others thinke, the 14. day, which that yeare answered to the seuenth day of our Aprill.

Quest. If Christ were slaine towards the end of the world, how can it be said, that he was the Lambe slaine from the beginning of the world? Revel. 13. [...]8.

Answ. Both are true in diuers resp