[Page] [Page] CHRIST ALL and in ALL.

OR, Several significant similitudes by which the Lord Jesus Christ is described in the holy SCRIPTURES.

Being the substance of many Sermons Preached by that faithful and useful ser­vant of Christ Mr. RALPH ROBINSON, late Pastor at Mary Wolnoth London.

Which were appointed by the Reverend Au­thor on his Death-bed (if his Brethren should think fit) to be published.

[...], Col. 3. 11.

Sufficit omnibus unus Christus. Christus omnia factus est omnibus.

Ambros.

Aridus est omnis animae cibus, si non oleo isto infunditur, in­fipidus est si non hoc sale conditur. Si scribas non sapit mihi, nisi legero ibi Jesum, si disputes aut conferas, non sapit mihi, nisi son [...]erit ibi Jesus. Jesus mei in ore, melos in aure in corde jubilus.

Bernard. Serm. 15. in Cant.

LONDON, Printed for John Rothwel, and are to be sold by Thomas Johnson, at the golden Key in Saint Pauls Church-yard. 1656.

TO THE Reader.

Christian Reader,

THis profitable Treatise may occasion both sorrow and joy unto our selves and ma­ny others, who were well ac­quainted with the Reverend Author.

1. Grief, by minding us of our great losse in his death. As the widows were found weeping, while they shewed the coats Acts 9. 39. and garments which Dorcas made while she was with them.

2. Gladnesse, in that though he be dead, he Heb. 11, 4. yet speaketh, not onely by his holy life, but also by his useful labours, for both which Psa. 112. 6. he shall be had in everlasting remembrance.

This good man had high natural abilities, which were heightned by industry, and brightened by his graces, but he always had a low esteem of himself and his services. When he was on his death-bed, he said, [Page] that he judged not any of his papers wor­thy publishing, but yet he looked upon these as most probably profitable. In these Sermons we have the lively picture of the man in his Ministerial capacity drawn up by his own pen, represented to the Readers view: whereby is fully discovered his laborious longings after the excellency of the Phil. 3. 8. knowledge of Jesus Christ his Lord, to be im­proved for his own personal benefit, & com­municated for the edification of his Audi­tours. By his opening the Scripture Me­taphors, which familiarly reveile Christ, besides the many notions which shall be beamed into the understanding, the serious-musing-Christian will be much advantaged in occasional meditations.

If when these Sermons have been dili­gently perused, there could be a clear dis­covery annexed of the Authors gifts for prayer (which were more then ordinary) to gether with his pious winning conversation, cheerful readinesse to be assistant in all re­ligious exercises (wherein he was lovely and exemplary) Then the judicious Rea­der would lamentingly say, Oh how great was Londons losse by the death of worthy Master Robinson taken away in his youth, when growing towards greater ma­turity for the further service of the Church of Christ. In Gods counsels for the ma­naging [Page] of Israels warres with their adver­saries, this charge was given, that fruit-bearing trees should not be cut down, and that Deu. 20. 19 upon this account, for the tree of the [...]d is mans life. The application here of may be (as we humbly conceive) seasonable for the awakening of secure Christians who be not affected with the removal of their fruitful Ministers out of the land of the li­ving. For thus we argue; Might not man extirpate a vegitative plant, growing in the field of foes, because it was a means of life, how great divine displeasure then do those providences expresse against this Ci­ty and Nation, whereby most generous plants in Gods own Orchard are cut down, and cast into the dust! How startling are such dispensations, whereby the Lord himself by the stroaks of his own hand, taketh away so many Ministers, Pastours according to his own Jer. 3. 15. heart who were wont to feed the souls of his friends with knowledge and understanding? But yet his Majesty hath not left us with­out manifold means of strong support and consolation, for ever blessed be his Name. We have just occasion to break forth into praises, in the language of the Psalmist, The Lord liveth, and blessed be our rock, Ps. l. 18. 39 and let the God of our salvation be exalt­ed.

For. 1. We have not onely this useful [Page] Treatise with very many more excellent books, the fruits of the heads & hearts of Gods worthies (with the expectation of more, to be made publick) for our confirmation and edification in grace, but we enjoy the la­bours of many famous, orthodox, learned, rightly constituted Ministers, both in this City and other parts of this Nation, whose lives and liberties, with hearts to do ser­vice, are still continued through Gods mercy, notwithstanding our all-forfeiting sins; together with the malice of Satan, and the inveterate rage of his instruments, who act against the Gospel under differ­ent disguises and apprehensions, of whom we may say; They compassed us about, yea, Ps. 118. 11 12, 13, 14. they compassed us about; They compassed us about like Bees. They thrust sore at us that we might fall, but the Lord helped us. The Lord is our strength and song, and is become our salvation.

2. We enjoy the sweet influential pre­sence of his al sufficient Majesty in our Church-assemblies though they be despised and deserted by many ignorant, passionate, rash, self-conceited persons) in the vertue whereof we do walk and hope to walk from strength to strength, in the wayes of his truth and feare, notwithstanding all our present and further expected difficulties in our journey towards heaven. Somewhat [Page] through Gods grace we do experimental­ly know; of that river, the streames where­of Ps. 46. 4. will make glad the City of God; And we remember that brave speech of magnani­mous Luther, when dangers from opposers did threaten him and his associates, Come let us sing the fourty sixth Psalme, and then let them do their worst.

3. And this especially doth relieve our spirits, that the Almighty (upon whom we do and will depend) is independant and Isa. 26. 4. unchangeable. For, howsoever we do need Ordinances as the meanes appointed to build us up yet further, till God shall be plea­sed Acts 20. 32 to give us the promised inheritance in glory, Acts 17. 25 yet his Highnesse neither needeth Ministery, nor Ordinances, nor any such things, but can ea­sily, and will infallibly accomplish all the pretious promises of his rich grace, though more of our best gifted Ministers with the most taking means of our spiritu­al advantage should be quite removed from our reach and use. Those breathings of faith recorded by the Prophet Habakkuk, are warming, in such cases, to beleeving souls. Although the fig-tree shall not blos­some, Hab 3. 17, 18 neither shall fruit be in the vines, &c. yet I will rejoyce in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.

4. But hereto we may annex the en­couragement of our hopes, that our eyes [Page] shall still (according to Gods promise) see Isa. 30. 20 our Teachers, and that we shall not be left 2 Chr. 15. 3 without God through the want of a true Gos­pel Ministery. 1. Both because of his a­biding compassions (notwithstanding our ill deservings) from whence in former a­ges his Church hath been supplyed with a succession of faithful, painful Embassa­dors, 2 Chr. 36. 15 though there have been therein many people of very high provocations. 2. And also, because there is a consider­able accession of young men, rich in gifts and graces, who from time to time seek en­trance into the Ministery through the right dore of Ordination, though it be an Ordi­nance wofully sleighted by multitudes, yea, by some who pretend much love unto the Gospel. And therefore seeing Christ who holdeth the stars in his right hand, is obliged Rev. 1. 16. Eph. 4. 11, 12, 13. to maintain his own Officers in the Church, till his Saints arrive at perfection; we his Ministers in reference to our calling, may boldly say, We shall not die, but live and declare the works of the Lord. Reader, Ps. 118 15 believe it, Nothing more endangereth the loss of the Gospel, then contempt and none profi­ciency. Therefore once and againe we most heartily entreat thee to prize and to improve a Gospel Ministery, and all other means of grace which the God of thy mercies doth yet vouchsafe. To him that hath, (and [Page] fruitfully tradeth what he is trusted with) shall be given, and he shall have abundance. Mat. 23. 29 Let not this book be received in vain, which the good hand of providence doth now ten­der unto thee. This field is full of Gospel treasures digged out of Scripture mines, for thine enriching in the knowledge of Christ: and what knowledge is so necessary, excel­lent, or profitable? For from hence do is­sue all things which pertaine unto life and godlinesse. Hereby our love to Christ is 2 Pet. 1. 3. enflamed, our longings after him enlarged, our faith in him confirmed, our joyes in him raised, yea, by the knowledge of him he is pos­sessed and improved, both for growth in all graces, augmenting of all spiritual comforts, and preparation for everlasting glory. There­fore commending this book, which hath by one of us been diligently and carefully com­pared with the Authors own notes;) toge­ther with all thy other helps for heaven, unto thy faithful improvement; we commend thee to the fulnesse of the blessing of the Gospel Rom. 15. 29 through Jesus Christ, in whom we desire al­wayes to approve our selves.

The real friends and servants of thy soul Simeon Ashe. Edm. Calamy. William Tayler.

A TABLE Of the several DOCTRINES handled in this TREATISE.

1.A Prelimunary Sermon to the whole discourse that Christ is All and in All.pag. 1
2.Christ a Christians life.11
3.Christ a Christians food.39
4.Christs righteousnesse the Christians robe.67
5.Christ the Protector.87
6.Jesus Christ the Physician.119
7.Christ the true light.225
8.Jesus Christ the great Shepherd.249
9.Jesus Christ the true Vine.282
10.Christ the horn of salvation.324
11.Christ the dew of heaven.351
12.Christ the chief corner stone.385
13.Christ to the wicked a stone of stum­bling.432
14.Christ the Sunne of righteousnesse.455
15.Christs Name a precious oyntment.487
16.Jesus Christ the consolation of Israel.509
17.Christ the fountaine opened for penitent sinners.555

Second Part of the Table.
18.CHrist the Lamb of God.1
19.Christ a bundle of myrrh.3
20.Christ the way.16
21.Christ the truth.40
22Christ the glory of his people.80
23.Christ the gift of God.81
24.Jesus the Authour and finisher of our faith.101
25.Christ the rock.121
26.The Word of Christ the sword of the spi­rit.153
27.Jesus Christ the desire of all Nations.1 [...]4
28.The Covenant of grace established in Christ.206
29.Christ the hope of salvation.235
30.Jesus Christ as rivers of water in a dry land.258
31.Christ the power of God.288
32.Christ the wisdom of God.306
33.Christ the true brazen Serpent.329
34.Christ the end of the Law.365
35.Christ the holy one of God.379
36.Christ the Christians spiritual Altar.400
37.Christ the Christians Passeover.408
COL. 3. last part of ver. 11. I. SERM. at Mary Wol­noth. Lon. May 18. 1651.‘—Christ is all, and in all.’

THe Apostle in the two former Chapters perswadeth these Co­lossians to constancy in the Faith of the Gospel, in which they had been instructed against the practice of those false apostles who laboured to draw them a­way to judaical ceremonies He doth in this Chapter, as his manner is, give them sundry Ex­hortations to holinesse of life.

And first he stirs them up to the more dili­gent study of heavenly things, by many Ar­guments, verse 1, 2, 3, 4. If ye be risen with Christ, seek those things that are above.

Secondly, he perswades them to mortifie their earthly members, those vitious motions and affections of corrupt nature, which were still too strong in them: he doth not only urge this in general, but instances in many particulars, all which are pressed by several Arguments, verse 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. Amongst other Arguments this is one, They have put off the old man, and put on the new man, ver. 9, 10. This new man he describes three wayes. First, it is the renuing of the holi­nesse [Page 2] of our nature, which we lost in Adam. Se­condly, it consists in the knowledge of the mystery of the Gospel. Thirdly, the example or Archetype according to which this new man is fashioned, is the image of God our Creator. This Argument the Apostle follows, verse 11. he sets it on two wayes.

1. By removing the false opinion of some, who neglecting this new man, did confide in their ex­ternal priviledges, and contemned all such as wanted them; this in the former part of the verse, where there is neither Greek, nor Jew, &c. that is, in this new man it matters not what Nation a person be of, whether he be Jew or Gentile; nor doth it matter what outward prerogatives a per­son have, whether he be circumcised, or uncir­cumcised; nor doth it matter what his outward state be, whether he be bond or free, &c. none of all these differences are looked at or consi­dered. No man is more accepted of God for the having of any of these things, nor is any less esteemed of him for the want of them, There is neither Jew, nor Greek, &c.

2. By opposing the true opinion; But Christ is all, and in all. Q [...]d. All those external things which are accounted so honourable without this new man, do not availe to salvation, nor will the want of all these hinder a person of salvation, and acceptance with God, if the great work of regeneration be wrought, for Christ is all, and in all. We have such another expression, Gal. 3. 27, 28. Ye are all the children of God, &c. for as many of you as have been baptized, &c. there is neither Jew, nor Greek; bond, nor free; male, nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

[Page 3] The words are a Proposition. In which we have,

1. The Subject, Christ; But Christ.

2. The Predicate, He is all, and in all. He is all things that are necessary to salvation, and that in all persons, who do beleeve in him, who are renued and regenerated by his grace. I intend to go over all the comparisons by which Jesus Christ is set out in Scripture. And I have begun with this as a Preface or introduction to the rest. I shall handle it generally, and draw from it this observation, viz.

Doct. The Lord Jesus Christ is all things in and to all persons that have a true saving interest in him; Christ is all and in all. It doth not exclude the Father and Holy Ghost but all other things, as circumcision, uncircumcision, &c. A like phrase. Act. 4. 12. Christ is all and in all to every beleever. Here are two rules to be observed. 1. We are not to understand this (as excluding the other persons of the Trinity,) for the whole God-head is all in alto beleevers as well as Jesus Christ. But because Jesus Christ the second person of the Trinity is the head of the mystical body, by vertue of which union true beleevers are made one mystical bo­dy with Christ, Eph. 1. ult. therefore is this principally appropriated to him, to be all in all to those that are united to him by saving faith. 2. The truth of this proposition is not from the hu­mane nature, but from the divine: it is from the power of the divine nature in Christ, that he is all in all to his people; because the fulnesse of the God-head dwells bodily in the humane nature as a part of the person. Now he is all in all to them in these five respects, viz.

[Page 4] 1. By way of merit. Jesus Christ is meritori­ously all in all to beleevers. Whatsoever they are, whatsoever they have, whatsoever they do, or can expect, is only upon the score and account of his purchase and merit. They enjoy no good thing upon any other termes, but only upon the consideration of Christs merits. Because he hath done and suffered for them, and in their stead, therefore do they partake of those bles­sings which make them happy to all eternity. The Patriarchs in the Old Testament, Christi­ans in the New, have pleaded with God for all blessings only upon the account of Christ. Dan. 9. 17. cause thy face to shine upon thy Sanctu­ary, that is desolate, for the Lords sake. Of this the Apostle speaks, when he saith, that Christ is made unto us of God wisdom, righteousnesse, san­ctification and redemption, 1 Cor. 1. 30. Christ doth bestow upon us, and God is pleased to accept for us the merit of Christs Passion, death, obedience, and righteousnesse.—

2. Christ is all in all to them by way of convey­ance. As he hath merited all for them: so 'tis from him and through him that all good things are communicated to them, John 14. 6. As we have all propter Christum, so we receive all we have, per Christum through Christ. He is not only the fountaine, but the Medium and con­duit through whom all a beleever hath is con­veyed to him. Jesus Christ is a beleevers root, Joh. 15. 5. Now as all the sap which is in the branches is communicated through the root, so all the good which a beleever hath is derived through Christ. God hath put all that good he intends to bestow upon his Elect into Christs hands as a Feoffee in trust, and from him as the [Page 5] great Lord-steward is all communicated unto them. Of this the Apostle speaks, Col. 2. 19. From Christ the head, the whole body by joynts and bands having nourishment ministred and [...]nit toge­ther, increaseth with the increase of God. Jesus Christ is as it were, the hand of God, through which all good things are sent in to us; He is the door, John 10. 7.

3. Christ is all in all to them, by way of efficiency and causality. He it is that works all in all in his Saints, 1 Cor. 12. 6. There are diversities of opera­tions, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. This our Saviour bears witnesse unto, John 15. 5. when he tells us, that without him we can do nothing. The soul is the principle of all action in man, Jesus Christ is the principle of all mo­tion and spiritual action in his Saints, for he is the soul of their soule. Not a good desire, not a good thought but what is inspired by Je­sus Christ. The Apostle doth freely acknow­ledge this, Gal. 2. 20. I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me, &c. so Phil. 2. 12, 13. Work out your own salvation, &c. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

4. Christ is all in all to them virtually; he is instead of all things to them. Solomon saith that money answereth all things, Ecoles. 10. 19. it is meat, drink, cloaths, house, lands, &c. all things that are vendible may be procured by money. Jesus Christ is virtually all things, he makes up all things that are wanting. Hence it is that he is in Scripture compared to all things, to food, to cloathing, to physick, to gold, to health, &c. because he stands for all these things unto the soules of his Saints. [Page 6] Hence is that promise, Rev. 21. 7. He that over­cometh shall inherit all things. Jesus Christ is for all uses and purposes. This is in the text; he is Circumcision to the Gentile, wisdome to the Barbarian, &c.

5. Christ is all in all to them by way of bene­diction, and sanctification. It is from him that any good they enjoy becomes a blessing to them. He makes every thing effectual for those ends for which they are appointed. No good thing would be good to us without the benediction of Christ; yea were it not for his blessing, every good thing would prove a snare, a crosse and a curse to us, as they do to them, who have no interest in Christ. This is that which Solomon saith, Prov. 10. 22. The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich. Thy health would be thy greatest sicknesse, thy wealth would be thy ruine, thy parts and abilities would be a snare to thee, did not Jesus Christ sanctifie them by his bles­sing. All the good the Saints enjoy depends upon Christs blessings to make them good to them.

The Application follows.

Use 1. How injurious to Jesus Christ are they who mingle other things with Jesus Christ as the causes of their salvation. The Papists mingle their own merits, and righteousnesse, indul­gences, the sufferings of other men, with the merits of Christ, as the causes of their justification and salvation. What else i [...] this but to deny the al-sufficiency of Jesus Christ? If he be all in all for justification and salvation, he needs not have his merits eked out with such kinde [Page 7] of helps as these are. If Christ be all in all, then these are superfluous, yea, the addition of these doth derogate from, and destroy the fulnesse and al-sufficiency of Christ. Yea Christ who is all in all to beleevers, will be nothing at all to them who are not contented with him alone. Christ is become of none effect to you, whosoever of you are justified by the law, ye are fallen from grace, Gal. 5. 4. Consider this you that are self justitiaries.

Use 2. If Christ be all in all, then is nothing any thing at all without Jesus Christ. All the world, the riches, pleasures, honours of the world is but emptinesse without Christ. Vanity of vanities, all is vanity, Eccles. 1. 2. that man hath just nothing, that hath not Christ who is all things; the world is but nigrum nihil. Thy wisdome, thy parts, thy children, thy offices, thy prefer­ments, thy lands and revenews, all thou hast, if thou want him that is all things, can amount to nothing. They are but cyphers without a figure. O that men would consider this!

Use 3. What rich inheritance have all those who are truly interested in Jesus Christ! Christus meus & omnia. They possesse him that is all in all, and in possessing him they possesse all. I have all things my brother, saith Jacob to Esau, Gen. 33. 11. he that hath him that is all in all, cannot want any thing. All things are yours, (saith the Apostle) whether things present, or things to come, and you are Christs, 1 Cor. 3. 22. A true beleever, let him be never so poore outwardly, is in truth the richest man in all the world; he hath all in all, and what can be added to all?

Use 4. It shews the reason why the Saints are [Page 8] so fearful of losing Jesus Christ. They value all things at a low rate in comparison of him. They would rather lose all then Christ, they are con­tented to part with liberty, estate, life, rather then with Christ. Is there not cause for it? Christ is better then all things else. Riches are something, liberty is something, life is something, but Christ is all in all. There is nothing besides Jesus Christ that is good for all uses. Gar­ments are good to cover, but not for food; meat is good to feed, but not to warme, &c. but Je­sus Christ is good for every use, for all persons, for all times, for all sexes, for all conditions. They know if they lose Christ, they lose all things. If a man had all his estate in one jewel, you would not blame him to be very careful of keeping that. Jesus Christ is their all, they seek him when they are deprived of him, with greatest care; they keep him when they have him, with the greatest diligence, Cant. 3. ult. I sought him, I found him, and would not let him go; do not wonder at it! for he is their all in all.

Use 5. That no soul esteemes Christ aright, that doth not esteem him all in all. To esteem any thing equal to Christ, is to disesteem Christ. Thou dost never truly account him any thing, till thou do account him all things, yea, better then all things, and all things as nothing in re­spect of him. If thou canst not make up all things in Christ, thou makest him but a poore Christ. If thou canst not make him a friend in the want of a friend; an habitation in the want of an habitation; if thou canst not make him riches in poverty; if there be any condition in which Christ will not suffice thee; if Christ be [Page 9] too little to satisfie thee, thou dost but under­value him; he is never truly accounted any thing, till he be accounted all things.

Use 6. Learn hence, The misery of those that want Christ. He that wants Christ, wants all things. Lord, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childlesse, saith Abraham, Gen. 15. 2. he had much, and yet because he wanted a childe, he wanted every thing. The soul that wants Jesus Christ hath indeed nothing. The Apostles pos­sessed all things when they had nothing, 2 Cor. 6 10. having Christ they possessed all things. Those that want a saving interest in Christ, possesse nothing, though they seeme to have all things; all they have is emptinesse; yea, all they have is a curse, because they have not Christ. O that God would convince men of this truth!

Use 7. Its their duty to carry their selves to­wards Christ, as those that account him all in all. How is that?

1. Love him and prize him above all. Thy love is better then wine, Cant. 1. 2. Above wife, hus­band, children, life. Christ is not loved at all, till he be loved above all, Matthew 10 37.

2. Be contented with Jesus Christ in the want of all other things. Make up all thy wants, all thy losses in him. Encourage thy self in Christ, when thou art discouraged in all other things. Re­joyce in him, when all things faile, vid. Hab. 3. v. 17, 18.

3. Make him thy end in all. Let him be all in all to thee finally. Refer all to Jesus Christ as the ultimate end of all, hear, pray, meditate, do, suffer for the glory of Christ. The Apostle re­ferd all to Christ as the supreme end of all, that [Page 10] Christ may be magnified, &c. Phil. 1. 20. if Christ be not the Alpha and the Omega, the first motive, and the last end of all, thou doest greatly under­value him.

4. Be sure thou go to Christ for all thou want­est. If comfort, if zeale, if pardon, if strength, &c. he hath it for thee, and it is for his disho­nour that thou shouldest go any other way, 2 King. 1. 3.

5. Do all in Christs name and strength, Eph. 5. 20. Col. 3. 17.

Use 8. How careful should men be to prove their interest in Jesus Christ? 2 Cor. 13. 3. you want all, if you have not an interest in him. Signes of this. 1. Have you his Spirit? Rom. 8. 9. the effects of the spirit. 2. Are ye like Christ? 2 Cor. 5. 17. 3. Are ye willing to be Christs?

Use 9. Let the presence of Christ in others be all in all to thee. Though thou be poor; yet if Christ be in them, though unlearned, &c. if thy children have Christ, though they want parts, beauty, &c. yet esteeme them.

COL. 3. 4.When Christ our life shall appear, then shall we also appeare with him in II. SERM. at Mary Wol­noth. Lon. May 25. 1651. glory.

THe world, and the things of the world are great enemies to the work of grace. They do a long time hinder the first planting of it in the soule; and when it is planted, they do hinder the growth and progresse of it. The cares of this world, and the deceitfulnesse of riches choak the Word, and it becomes unfruitful, Mat. 13. 22. The A­postle knowing this, doth in the beginning of this Chapter labour to raise the Colossians to the more diligent meditation, and studying of heavenly things, that being above the world, the work of God might prosper better in their hearts. If ye be rison with Christ, &c. v. 1, 2. This he pres­seth by two cogent Arguments. 1. They are dead to the world, v. 3. for ye are dead. By faith they are partakers of Christs death, and by their profession they are under an obligation of dy­ing more and more. 2. Their life is hid with Christ in God, v. 3. They are appointed to a higher kinde of life then that which other men live, therefore they ought to seek after those things which appertaine to this life. Now lest [Page 12] any should object, if the life thou speakest of be a hidden life, what advantage will it be to be so mindful of it; the Apostle answers, v. 4. though it be for the present an hidden life, yet it shall be revealed, and that perfectly. When Christ who is our life shall appear, &c. In which we have these two Propositions, viz.

1. Jesus Christ is a beleevers life.

2. That Christ who is a Beleevers life shall appear. Of these in Order.

Doct. 1. That Jesus Christ is a Beleevers life. For the understanding of this, we are to know that a Beleever hath a twofold life, for I shall not speak here of the life of nature, which a beleever enjoys not as a beleever, but as a reasonable creature. Jesus Christ is a beleevers life▪ as he lives the life of nature, Act. 17. 28. in him we live, move, and have our being. 'Tis from Christ that we live the life of men. But to wave that, a beleever as a beleever, hath a double life. 1. The life of grace, which he lives after he is regenerated by vertue of the Spirit of Christ living in him, and uniting him to God by Faith. 2. The life of glory, which he shall live in heaven to all eternity after this life. The soul begins this life immediately upon its departure out of the body, and the body shall enter into the posses­sion of this life immediately after the resurrecti­on, and reunion of soul and body.

Both these kindes of life are a Beleevers, as he is a beleever; and Jesus Christ is a Beleevers life in reference to both these. And because both of these are included in the Text, the one of them, the life of grace is but the inchoation of, and a preparation to the life of glory; I shall speak of both of them in the handling of the Doctrine.

[Page 13] Jesus Christ is a beleevers spiritual life. He is so to a beleever in these foure respects.

1. He is their life originally. It is Jesus Christ that works this life in their soules. He is the Cre­ator and Former of life in them. The second A­dam was made a quickning spirit, 1 Cor. 15. 45. As the father raiseth the dead, and quickneth them, so the Sonne quickneth whom he will, Joh. 5. 21. Thy soul had never fetched out spiritual breath, had not Jesus Christ breathed into it the breath of life. The time cometh and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live, Joh. 5. 25. The Ordinances are the instrumental cause, but Jesus Christ is the efficient cause of the animating of the soul by a spiritual life.

2. He is their life materially. He is that prin­ciple by which they live. Every living Creature hath some intrinsecal principle of that life which it lives. Jesus Christ is the inward principle of a beleevers life. He is the soule of their soule. The Apostle speaks of this, Gal. 2. 20. I am cru­cified with Christ: neverthelesse I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me. It is only by vertue of the soules union with Christ, that it comes to live the life of grace. He is the foundation, or form, as I may say, of their life.

3. He is their life conservativè. He it is that doth preserve this spiritual life in their soules; by con­tinual communication of himself; he maintains and upholds the life of grace from dying and perishing. When they are sleepy, he awakeneth them; when they languish and faint, he reco­vers them. He strengthens the things which remain, that are ready to die. He removes those inward distempers which waste this spiritual life, and [Page 14] be blesseth those Ordinances which feed this life. When David was going down the hill, and in regard of this spiritual life was almost at the dust of death, so weak that he could scarce fetch his breath, Jesus Christ did restore and renew him again. He restoreth my soul, Psal. 23. 3. he cast water upon the dying plant, and made it green and vigorous again. Of this the Apostle, Col. 3. 3. our life is hid with Christ.

4. He is their life, exemplariter. He is the ex­ample and pattern according to which they are to live. Jesus Christ is the rule according to which they are to walk; he is the copy accord­ing to which they are to write. One end of the incarnation and life of Jesus in the flesh, was to set us an exact and perfect pattern for our imita­tion, 1 Pet. 2. 21. And by the diligent viewing and studying of his example, is our spiritual life carried on to perfection.

The Uses of this point are these.

Use 1. That all those that are without Jesus Christ are spiritually dead. The Scripture ac­counts all unregenerate sinners as dead men; They are dead in sins, they are dead unto God, they are dead unto grace; they are as truly with­out spiritual life, as the body is without natural life, from which the soul is departed. This thy brother was dead, and is alive againe, Luk. 15. 32. conversion is called the quickning of the dead, Mat. 11. 5. because all who are unconverted are as to all spiritual considerations in a dead con­dition. And it cannot be otherwise, because they have no interest in Jesus Christ, who is the Au­thour and principle of spiritual life. The Apostle [Page 15] asserts this clearly, Eph. 2. 1, 12. he tells them at the first verse, That they were dead in sins and tres­passes, he gives them the reason, v. 12. because at that time they were without Christ. And so ano­ther Apostle tells us, 1 Joh. 5. 12. He that hath the Sonne hath life; but he that hath not the Sonne hath not life. Till Christ be formed, the soul is a dead thing without either life or motion. And this is a very miserable condition; for a dead soule is far worse then a dead body, in as much as the soul is more excellent then the body. Consider a few particulars. 1. Dead souls are loathsome. Nothing more noisome then a dead body. By this time he stinketh, Joh. 11. 39. Let me bury my dead out of my sight, saith Abraham, even his wife, Gen. 23. 4. she that was the delight of his soul while she was alive, became noisom to him when she was dead. The soule that is spiritual­ly dead, is very loathsome, both to God and man. The Scripture compares them to stinking carrion; Psal. 14. 3. They are altogether become stinking. They defile all that comes neer them; whatsoever they meddle with, whatsoever touch­eth them is defiled by them. 2. They that are spiritually dead, have no use of any of their spiritual senses. The soul hath senses as well as the body, but he that is dead cannot use any of these. They cannot heare, they cannot see, they cannot taste, they cannot smell, they cannot feele, they cannot heare Christs voice in the Gospel, they cannot see the glory of Christ, nor of grace, they can­not feel the heavy weight of sinne, they cannot taste the sweet and delicate pleasures of Jesus Christ, they cannot smell the fragrancy of Christs sweet ointments. They have no pleasure in those things that are most plesant in them­selves, [Page 16] and most desirable to such as are spiritu­ally alive: They are to all spiritual things, and all spiritual things are to them as if they were not. 3. This spiritual death, if it be not removed, is a certaine forerunner of eternal Death. Blessed and happy is he that hath part in the first re­surrection, of him the second death shall have no power, Rev. 20 6. but he that continues still in this spiritual death, shall for ever be under the power of the second death, the eternal death. And this is the state of all such as want Jesus Christ.

Use 2. That that spiritual life which is in the soul of a beleever, shall never totally and finally die. It may be at deaths door, it may be ready to die, so it was with the Church of Sardis, Rev. 3. 2. A Christian may be in regard of his spiri­tual life, as a tree in the depth of winter, no dif­ference to all outward appearance between him and a dead plant; but it is impossible that the spiritual life shall utterly be extinguished, be­cause Jesus Christ who is our spiritual life, lives for ever. Your life is hid with Christ in God, Col. 3. 3. hid as in a root, for safety and security. Because I live, ye shall live also, John 14. 19. while the root liveth, the plant cannot die; while the fountaine runneth, the streames cannot cease; while the olive-trees convey their oyle through the pipes into the lamp, the lamp cannot go out. A living Christian may grow very weak, but he cannot die. Jesus Christ must cease to live, be­fore the life of grace in a Saint do utterly perish; while the cause continueth, the effect will.

Use 3. That there is a true spiritual union be­tween Iesus Christ and a beleever. This is one of the great mysteries of the Gospel, that Christ and [Page 17] a beleever should be made one; its set out by many examples, as of root and branches, Iohn 15. init. head and members, Eph. 5. 3. foundation-stone, and the superstructory stones, Eph. 2. 20. meat and eaters, Iohn 6, 56. husband and wife, Eph. 5. 32. This very doctrine makes it good. He could not be our life, if he were not united to us, and we to him. 'Tis by vertue of our union with him, that we come to draw life from him. As the soul and body are united, so are Christ and a beleever; the whole mystical body is called by his name, 1 Cor. 12. 12. so also is Christ, speaking of the Church.

Use 4. Deadnesse of Spirit, want of spiritual Activity is very inexcusable in a beleever. The ground of this inference is very cleare, Jesus Christ is his life. Christ hath life enough in him, and he is willing enough to communicate more and more of this spiritual life. If the fountaine of this life were a meer creature, some­thing might be said for thy deadnesse and cold­nesse; but now seeing Jesus Christ is thy life, thy deadnesse is inexcusable in thy self, and it is also dishonourable to Christ. The life and greennesse of the branches, is an honour to the root by which they live. Spiritual greennesse and fruitfulnesse is in a beleever an honour to Jesus Christ, who is his life. Psal 92. 12, 13, 14, 15. The righteous shall flourish as a Palm-tree, &c. To shew that the Lord is upright, &c. The fulnesse of Christ is manifested by the fruit­fulnesse of a Christian.

Use 5. It is the duty of a Christian to live comfortably on this Doctrine. It affords very much comfort, 1. Against the weaknesse of this life in our selves. What Christian is there but finds this [Page 18] life very weak in him at some times? well, when it is weakest in thee, it is then strong in Jesus Christ. And God looks upon thy spiritual life, not only as it is in thee, but as it is in Christ. 2. Against the fear of the wanting of the Ordinances of life. 'Tis a great losse to lose the Ordinances, Lev. 26. 31. Well, though thou lose these, yet thou doest not lose thy life. These are but the pipes, Christ is the Olive-tree. These are but the chanels, Christ is the fountaine. Man liveth not by bread alone, but by the word of blessing. Thy soul liveth by Christ, not by Ordinances. They are but the instrumental cause, Christ is the effi­cient. 3. Against the feare of Satans workings to destroy this spiritual life. 'Tis his great designe to take away this spiritual life. He labours to stifle it by sinne; he stirs up his instruments to remove the Ordinances. Well, he cannot pre­vaile. He must destroy Christ before he can de­stroy our life. He must either wither the root, or he cannot kill the branches.

Use 6. Let beleevers be careful to carry them­selves towards Christ as he who is their life. 1. Ac­knowledge him the Authour of your life. 2. Go to him when you want life. 3. Strengthen your union with him, Eph. 4. 15. 4. Live to him who is your life, Rom. 14. 8.

Use 7. It should invite all to lay hold on Christ. All men are dead by nature. There's no other way to live a spiritual life. If Christ be not thy life of grace, he will never be thy life of glory.

COL. 3. 4.When Christ our life shall appear, then III. SERM. at Mary Wol­noth. Lon. June 1. 1651. shall we also appeare with him in glory.

I Have handled the first Propositi­on, as it relates to the life of grace; viz. that Jesus Christ is a beleevers spiritual life. I shall now consider of it as it refers to the life of glory, and so summe it up into this conclusion, viz.

Doct. Jesus Christ is the eternal life of every beleever. Christ is the everlasting life of all those that are eternally saved. As he is their life of grace, so he is also their life of glory. He is of­ten called in Scripture, not only a Saviour, but Salvation. The salvation of God, Luk. 3. 6. An horn of salvation, Luk. 1. 69. And all because he is the salvation of all the Elect. I must here put in that Caution which I did before, viz. That the Father and Holy Ghost are not to be exclu­ded; they are our life as well as Christ. The Spirit and the Father are Saviours as well as the Sonne. Opera Trinitatis ad extra sunt indivis [...]. Prophets, Act. 10. 43. Apostles, 1 John 5. 11. Christ himself, Joh. 14. 16. do all bear witnesse [Page 20] to this truth, That Jesus Christ is life eternal to every true beleever. In what respect Christ is our life of glory, I shall shew in the following particulars, viz.

1. In regard of merit and acquisition. Jesus Christ is the procurer of this life of glory. Hea­ven is called a purchased Redemption, or Posses­sion, Epb. 1 [...]4. [...], Jesus Christ is the purchaser of this possession, and his blood is the price of the purchase. As he hath by his death purchased the Elect, so hath he also by his blood purchased this life for those redeemed ones, 1 John 4. 9. in this was manifested the love of God towards us, because he sent his only begotten Sonne into the world, that we might live through him. Had not Je­sus Christ shed his blood, no sinner had ever tasted of this life eternal. Eternal life is the free gift of God, and yet it is merited by Christ. Christ who is the price and meritorious cause of life, is the free gift of Gods grace, and there­fore our salvation is both free, and ye [...] me­rited.

2. He is our life efficaciously. Though salva­tion be purchased for the Elect, yet must the Elect of God be fitted and prepared for this sal­vation before they can be put into the possession of it. The Apostle speaks of making the soule meet for the inheritance of the Saints in light, Col. 1. 12. [...]. The best of men are unfit for salvation, as well as unworthy of salvation Though heaven be prepared for them, yet cannot they enter into heaven till they be prepared. This fitnesse or preparedness stands in the changing of our nature, by the work­ing of grace in the heart, and in the merciful [Page 21] acceptation of God covering our infirmities, and reckoning our weak endeavours for per­fect obedience. Natura mentis humanae quan­tumvis perfect a naturalibus donis absque gratiâ non est susceptibilis gloriae. Parisiens. lib. de v [...]rt. cap. 11. The Apostle tells us that a man must be wrought for glory, 2 Cor. 5. 5. [...]. The Elect of God come into the world rough and unpolished, filthy and defiled, as well as o­thers, and they are not fit for this life, till they be refined and polished. Flesh and blood can­not inherit the Kingdom of God, 1 Cor. 15. 50. Except a man be borne againe, he cannot see the Kingdome of heaven. Aquinas saith well, Gra­tia haec divina eò infunditur electis, ut peragant actiones ordinatas in finem vitae aeternae. Now Je­sus Christ doth fit and work the Elect for this glory. He doth by his Spirit change their nature, he doth by his grace renew the spirit of their minde; he doth set up his own image in their soules, and by working grace, fit them for the enjoyment of that life of glory which he hath purchased.

3. He is our life. He is the fountaine of our eternal glory, 1 John 5. 11. This is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Sonne. 'Tis in him as in the head, as in the root, as in the fountain, or spring: All our glo­ry is laid up in Jesus Christ, as in a publick trea­sury. Iesus Christ and all beleevers make up one mystical body, of which he is the head, and they the members, therefore is their glory laid up in him.

4. Jesus Christ is our life in regard of prepa­ration. As he doth prepare us for heaven, so doth he prepare heaven for us. This is attribu­ted [Page 22] to his Ascension, Iohn 14. 2, 3. I go to prepare a place for you. Not as if the place of glory were not created till the Ascension of Christ. There were many souls in heaven glori­fied before Christ did corporally ascend thither. Abel, Abraham, Isaac, Iacob, and the Prophets: the meaning of it is onely thus much, that Iesus Christ did not ascend only for himself to dwell in glory alone, but he ascended for our sakes, in our stead and place to possesse the purcha­sed inheritance for us, and to keep it for us till we actually come to be possessed of it our selves. 'Tis by way of allusion to the practices of great Kings, who send their harbingers before them, to make ready for them against their coming. Iesus Christ is pleased to stile himself so in refe­rence to the Elect. And therefore the Apostle calls him our forerunner, [...], and tells us that he is entred into the vaile for us, Heb. 6. 20. and hence it is that we are said to sit down together with Christ in heavenly places, Eph. 2. 6.

5. He is our life, as the way to life. He calls himself the way, Iohn 14. 16. No man comes to the Father but by Christ. This is that new and living way which the Apostle mentions, Heb. 10. 19, 20. 'Tis through the vaile of Christs flesh that we enter into the Holy of Holies. Iacob in his vision at Bethel saw a ladder which reached from heaven to earth, Gen. 28. 12. upon this lad­der the Angels of God ascended and descended. This ladder is Iesus Christ, so he tells us him­selfe, Iohn 1. 51. hereafter ye shall see heaven opened, and the Angels of God ascending and descending upon the Sonne of man. He hath not only shewed us the way to heaven by his [Page 23] example, but he is the way himself in which we go to God.

6. He is our life in regard of distribution and communication. As he hath purchased life for us, and keeps possession of it for us, so he it is that shall put us into possession of it, when we come to enjoy it. I will come againe and receive you unto my self, Iohn 14. 3. The Apostle speaks of this in 2 Tim. 4 8. There is laid up for me a Crown of righteousnesse which the Lord the righ­teous Judge shall give me in that day. 'Tis to be understood of Christ; he that hath purchased the Crown for us, will in that day visibly set it upon our head. Come ye blessed of my Father, receive the Kingdome, &c. Matthew 25. lat­ter end.

7. He is our life formally. Iesus Christ is the matter of eternal life. Our eternal life and glory stands in the full enjoyment of Iesus Christ in heaven. The seeing of God, the enjoyment of Christ is our very glory, Rev. 22. 3, 4. The Throne of God and of the lamb shall be in it, and his servants shall serve him, and they shall see his Face, and his Name shall be in their foreheads. The glory of heaven is called the eating of the tree of life, Rev. 2. 7. Iesus Christ is the tree of life, the enjoyment of him is the souls glory. Iob therefore reckons up all his eternal glory by this very thing, I know that my Redeemer liveth, &c. I shall behold him not with anothers, but with these very eyes. Full and perfect [...] immediate communion with Christ, that is the life, the glory of the other world. Vid. Rev. 7. 17. the lamb which is in the middest of the Throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountaines of waters. The whole fe­licity [Page 24] of glorified Saints, is held out in those expressions.

The Uses of this Point.

Use 1. Away then with the Doctrine of eternal life by the merit of good works. If Iesus Christ be our life, then cannot the merit of our works be our life or the cause of it, either in part or in whole, Christ and works are opposites as to this businesse of salvation. The affirming of Christ is the denial of works, and the affirming of works is the denial of Christ. Act. 4. 11, 12. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, &c. neither is salvation in any other: for there is no other name given under heaven, &c. And the truth is, all the things required to make a work meritorious are wanting in the best of our good works. A meritorious work must be,

1. Nostrum. So are none of our good works, Eph. 2. 10.

2. Perfectum. So are not our works. Our wine is mixed with water. We halt upon our best legs, Isa. 64 6. Remember Lord my good deeds, and spare me, was Nehemiahs prayer, ch. 13. 22. we never did any thing we should do, perfectly, not any one thing. Our most sublimated thoughts are full of the dregges of earthly mindednesse, our best words are too scanty and light, &c.

3. It must be indebitum. A man cannot purchase your land by paying an old debt. All our obedience to God is an old debt which we owe upon another score. Remember that Pa­rable, Luk. 17. 9. Doth he thank that servant be­cause he did that which was commended? I tell you [Page 25] no. That which will not deserve thanks cannot merit heaven. We are fallen into an erroneous age, mans will is cried up much. High Armi­nianisme is within a few dayes journey of this piece of Popery. 'Tis time to give antidotes when such deadly poyson is scattered, and drunk in by many injudicious Christians. Let Papists make works their life, let Arminians make free­will their life, but let us make Christ our life. He that will not live by Christ solely, shall die for ever without Christ. I shall conclude this with that of the Apostle, Gal. 5. 4. Christ is be­come of none effect to you, whosoever of you are justified by the Law, ye are fallen from grace.

Use 2. The cer [...]ainty of the salvation of belee­vers. They shall so certainly be saved, that Scripture speaks of their salvation as of a thing already done, 1 Cor. 1. 18. the Preaching of the crosse is unto us that are saved the power of God, [...]. 'Tis reported as a thing in facto, and not in fier [...], Eph. 2. 5. By grace ye are saved, [...], Rom. 8. 30. Whom he justified, them he also glorified, [...]. He writes as if they were already in glory. All this to shew the certainty of their salvation. This depends on many things, upon this in the text for one,—If Christ be their life, they shall live. He that will keep them out of heaven, must first pluck Iesus Christ out of heaven; because I live, ye shall live also, John 14. 19. if the Sonne make you free, ye shall be free indeed: if the Sonne be your life, ye shall live, and that for ever, in despight of devil, in despight of corrup­tion: he is able to save, [...], Heb. 7. 25.

[Page 26] Use 3. Let this provoke all men to get an inte­rest in Christ. There's nothing but eternal death without him. He that hath the Sonne hath life; he that hath not the Sonne hath not life, but the wrath of God abideth on him, 1 Iohn 5. 12. There's no way to glory but by him. Deceive not your selves; cling to him, lay fast hold on him, and on him alone: Other foundation can no man lay, then that which is laid already, even Iesus Christ, 1 Cor. 3. 11.

We hope we have an interest in Christ. Well. He that hath a good assurance that Christ is his for life, must have these three things, else he de­ceives himself.

1. He must be a true beleever in Christ, vid. Ioh. 3. 36. He that beleeveth on the Sonne hath ever­lasting life; he that beleeveth not the Son shall not see life, &c.

2. He must be an obedient subject to Christ. Though we exclude obedience from the cause of salvation, yet we do make it a qualification of the person that shall be saved. Christ is the Au­thor of eternal life unto them that obey him, Heb. 5. 9. Christ will be King where-ever he is Saviour.

3. He must live the life of grace. Christ is the Author of spiritual life, before he be the Author of life eternal. We must live in Christ before we live with Christ. Christ must live in us, before we live with him. Christ in you the hope of glory, Col. 1. 27. if Christ be not in you a fountain of grace, he will never be yours for glory.

4. You that have Christ for life eternal, car­ry your selves as those that beleeve this truth. 1. Despaire not. No sinne disparageth Christ [Page 27] so much as despair: there is more ground of hope and confidence in Christ, then there can be of distrust in our selves. The sacrifice is sufficient for the guilt. Christ is [...], 1 Tim. 2. 6. a ransome, a full ransome. 2. Let salvation be so much the more precious to you for his sake who is the Author of it. 3. Attribute your salvation to Christ onely. 4. Live to Christ. 5. The greatnesse of Gods love to the Elect. He gave Christ to be their life, to die for them, Rom. 5. 8. 6. Live with Christ here as much as you can. 7. The greatnesse of mans misery, he could not be saved without Christ.

COL. 3. 4.When Christ our life shall appear, then IV. SERM. at Mary Wol­noth. Lon. June 8. 1651. shall we also appeare with him in glory.

I Have handled the first Proposition, that Jesus Christ is a beleevers life, both in regard of the life of grace, and of the life of glory. I proceed to the second, viz.

Doct. Jesus Christ who is a beleevers life, shall certainly appear. There will be a manifest ap­pearance of Jesus Christ. The Scripture makes mention of a threefold appearance of Christ.

1. A bodily appearance in the flesh. Thus Ie­sus Christ appeared in his Nativity, when in the fulnesse of time he took our nature in the womb of the Virgin Mary. Of this the Apostle speaks, 1 Tim. 3. 16. God manifested in the flesh. Old Si­meon in his song rejoyceth for this, Luk. 2. 30. Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace according to thy word, for mine eyes have seen thy Venit ad homines. salvation. Venit ad homines.

2. A spiritual appearance of Christ in the preaching of the Gospel. Thus Iesus Christ was manifested to all that received the Gospel, and [Page 29] is still manifested. The Apostle speaks of this manifestation, Gal. 3. 1, O foolish Galatians, &c. before whose eyes Iesus Christ hath been evident­ly [...]. set forth crucifyed among you. And of this the Apostle makes mention, 1 Iohn 1. 2. The life Venit in homines. was manifested, & we have seen it, & 2 Tim. 1. 10. Neither of these appearances are to be under­stood in this Text, for it speaks of an appearance that is yet to be made. Therefore

3. A glorious manifestation of Christ, yet to be made at his second coming to judgement. And this is that appearance of which the Apostle here Venict con­tra homines August. speaks: for then it shall be, and not till then, that the Saints shall appear with Christ in glory. So the Apostle tells us, 2 Tim. 4. 8. Henceforth it laid up for me a Crown of righteousnesse, which the Lord the righteous Iudge shall give me in that day; and not to me only, but to all them al­so that love his appearing. 'Tis at this day of Christs appearing, that the Saints shall be per­fectly glorious. Having found out what is meant by Christs appearing, I shall in the pro­secution of the Point handle these five particu­lars.

  • 1. That there shall be such an appearance of Christ.
  • 2. Why Christ shall thus appear, the ends of this appearance.
  • 3. After what manner Christ shall appear.
  • 4. When shall be the time of this appearance of Christ.
  • 5. Why it is deferred.

I. That Iesus Christ shall appear. I shall e­vince this, 1. By many expresse testimonies of Scripture. There is not any Article of our Faith more clearly set down in the Book of [Page 30] God then this, Mat. 24. 30. Then shall appear the signe of the Sonne of man in heaven, and they shall see the Sonne of man coming in the clouds of heaven. Act. 1. 11. This same Iesus which was ta­ken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. The Apostle Paul asserts this truth in expresse termes, Heb. 9. 28. Ʋnto them that look for him, he shall ap­peare the second time without sinne unto salvation. 1 Iohn 3. 2. When he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. And as the Scrip­ture doth expressely affirme it; So 2. God hath taught his people to wait for it, and to pray for it, Cant. 8. 8. Come away my beloved, &c. Rev. 22. 20. the last prayer of the Church is for this very thing, Even so come Lord Iesus. And, Luk. 12. 35, 36. they are commanded to wait for this appearance. Let your loynes be girded, and your lamps burning; And you your selves like unto men, that wait for their Lord, &c. God never command­ed his people to pray and wait for a fiction or dream which shal never come to passe. 3. From the absurdities which would follow upon the denial of it. We may say of this, as the Apostle saith of the denial of the resurrection of the body, 1 Cor. 15. 17, 18 19. If Christ should not appear, our faith would be in vaine; The dead in Christ were perished, and we should onely have hope in Christ in this life, and of all men should be most miserable. The whole comfort of a Christian turnes up­on the hinge of this Doctrine of Christs appear­ing, Ioh. 14. 18.

II. The ends of Christs appearing are such as these. 1. To declare that sin is abolished. This is the meaning of that, Heb 9. 28. 2. That he may be ad­mired in his Saints, &c. This end of his coming the [Page 31] Apostle sets down, 2 Thes. 1. 10. he shall come to be glorified in his Saints, and to be admired in all them that beleev. One end of the second coming of Iesus Christ, is to communicate his glory to his Saints that have beleeved in him. He shall put his glory upon them, and so shall be glorified in them. Iesus Christ is glorified in his Saints now, That holinesse and grace which he hath com­municated to them already doth render them very glorious: but at his second coming his glo­ry will shine in them with greater splendor then now it doth. He will then communicate unto them all his glory, and make them glori­ous as he is glorious. Our Saviour mentions this, Iohn 14. 3. I will come again, and receive you unto my self. He comes to fetch all his Elect to heaven, and to reveale his glory both to their soules and bodies. He shall then actually put soule and body into the full possession of that glorious redemption which he hath purchased for them. 'Tis called the day of redemption, Luke 21. 28.

3. To execute the sentence of his wrath upon all his enemies, and the enemies of his people. Iesus Christ hath severely threatned all wicked men, that he will visibly take vengeance on them for the dishonours they have done to him, and the wrongs they have done to his people; And in this second manifestation of himself, he will put all those threatnings into execution. Of this the Apostle speaks, 2 Thes. 1. 7, 8, 9. The Lord Iesus shall be revealed from heaven in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, &c. And of this, Enoch prophecyed long ago, Iude 15. Behold the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his Saints, to execute judgement on all, &c. [Page 32] Wicked men are now secure, they reproach God and wrong his people; but Iesus Christ will one day visibly come from heaven to punish these contempts and injuries. The evil Angels, and sinful men shall then be publickly adjudged to suffer that torment which they have deser­ved.

4. To put an end to his Churches sufferings. Rev. 20. 10. Then shall the devil that deceived the world be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false Prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

5. To gather together his Elect. This the E­vangelist sets down, Mat. 24. 30. 31. They shall see the Sonne of man coming in the clouds. And he shall send his Angels, and they shall ga­ther together his Elect from the four winds, &c. The Elect of God are scattered up and down in the several quarters of the world, scarce two or three of them are now together in one family at the same time; but then they shall be collected, never to part asunder to all eter­nity.

III. What manner of appearing this shall be. Consider for that these four things.

1. It shall be a real and corporal appearance. Christ shall not appear imaginarily, as some have thought, nor shall he only appear accord­ing to his Divine nature, but he shall appeare bodily and truly: the same humane nature which was in the grave, and afterwards ascended into heaven, shall descend from heaven. Mat. 24. 30. Then shall appeare the signe of the Sonne of man. The humanity shall appear; so the Angels tell the Disciples at his Ascension, Act. 1. 11. This [Page 33] same Jesus which is taken into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. As he did really and bodily ascend, so shall he really and corporally descend. God will honour the humane nature of Christ in the world. They shall look upon him whom they have pierced. The same flesh of Christ which was pierced, shall be manifested in his second com­ing.

2. It shall be a sudden appearing. His coming is compared to a sudden flash of lightning, Mat. 24. 27. The appearance of Christ is com­pared to the lightning, in two respects. 1. For the evidence of it. It shall be as clear to the eyes of men as the lightning is. 2. For the suddennesse of it. A flash of lightning doth suddenly break forth, and in an instant shines from one end of the heaven to another; so shall the appearance of Christ be. And for this very cause is it compared to the coming of a thiefe in the night, Luk. 12. 39, 40. As it was in the dayes of Noah, so shall it be when the Son of man cometh, They ate, they drank, &c. Mat. 24. 37. when men say, peace, &c.

3. It shall be a very glorious appearance. He shall come with power and great glory, Mat. 24. 30. He was not so mean and despicable in his first coming, as he shall be majestical, and re­nowned in this his second coming. His first ap­pearance was in the form of a servant. He came not to be ministred unto, but to minister. A low kinde of appearance was most fit for such work; but when he appeares again, he shall come as a Judge, as King of kings, and Lord of lords; therefore Majesty is fit for him. The Scripture doth set out the glory of his coming sundry [Page 34] wayes. 1. He shall come in the clouds of heaven. The bright cloud shall be his chariot, Mat. 24. 30. 2. He shall come attended with an innu­merable company of glorious Angels. Those glo­rious spirits shall come in full regiments attend­ing upon his person to do him service, and to execute his will, Mat. 25. 31. He had the beasts to attend on him at his first coming; but he shall have Angels to wait upon him at this coming. 3. He shall come with the voice of the Arch­angel, with a mighty shout, and with the trum­pet of God, 1 Thes. 4. 16. All these expressions are used to set out the glory of it. All outward glory which ever man beheld, is but darknesse in this respect.

4. It shall be a very dreadful and terrible ap­pearance. Full of Majesty, and therefore full of terror. His first coming was dreadful, Mat. 4. 5. The Scripture sets out the dreadfulnesse of it by the Antecedents, Concomitants, Consequents of it. The Antecedents are in Matthew 24. 29. such an alteration shall be made upon the crea­tures being, that Sunne, Moon and Starres being obscured by the glory of Christ, shall cease from their service, and not be able to shew their glory as before. The Concomitants, the firing of the world. The Apostle speaks of this, 2 Pet. 3. 10. what a dreadful sight will this be to the wicked. The consequents of it are, the raising of the dead, the setting up of the Thrones, the summoning of all the world to judgement. Well doth the Scripture call it the terrible day of the Lord.

IV. When shall this appearing be? you can­not imagine that I should be so bold as to say a­ny thing of the particular day, moneth, or yeare [Page 35] of Christs coming. Our Saviour hath for ever silenced all curious enquirers about it, Mar. 13. 32. The Scripture tells us thus much about the time of it, that it shall be when the time of the Churches tribulation is ended. Matth. 24. 29. When the number of Gods elect is converted. In the end oft dayes, Dan. 12. 13. It is one of those Novissima, or last things, which is to be expected in the world.

V. Why is it deferred? 1. Because the Elect of God are not yet called. All the Vessels of glory are not borne into the world. Christ stayes till these flowers be sprung up. The fetching of these to heaven is one end of his coming; And he will not come till these are brought forth. As the world was made at first, so doth it stand and continue for their sakes. 2. That space and time for repentance may be afforded unto sinful men. This reason the Apostle renders of it, 2 Pet. 3. 9. The Lord is not slack, &c. but is long suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should pe­rish, but that all should come to repentance. He defers his coming, that sinners may have more tenders of salvation made to them; that so they may be inexcusable, if they do not returne. 3. That the faith, hope, patience of his own chil­dren may be exercised. The delaying of Christs coming is a very great help both to exercise faith, watchfulnesse and patience. We may say of this, as the Prophet doth of the delaying of another day of the Lord, Hab. 2. 4. Though it tarry, wait for it, because it will surely come, it will not tar­ry, And the just shall live by his faith. 4. That all other of Gods decrees for, and about the things which must come to passe before this day, may be ac­complished. Many things God hath decreed [Page 36] shall be done before his appearance, which are not yet done in the world. The preaching of the Gospel to all Nations, Mat. 24. 14. The o­verthrowing of Antichrist, 2 Thes. 2. 3, 8. The making of the Jewes and Gentiles into one Church, &c. Christ stayes, because these decrees must be accomplished.

The Uses of this Point.

Use 1. Away with those Atheists, and Epicures who deny this Doctrine. In the very dayes of the Apostles, there were some scoffers that did mock at this doctrine of Christs appearing, 2 Pet. 3. 3, 4. where is the promise of his com­ing? we have many such scoffers in our dayes, that deride the Doctrine of the resurrection of eternal life, of Christs second coming. The A­postle tells us the reason of this scoffing in the same place. 1. The impurity of their hearts. They walk after their own lusts. That's one great ground of Atheistical and wicked opinions. Such Doctrines curb and check their lusts, and because they cannot have their lusts by re­taining such doctrines, they therefore reject and scoffe at such doctrines. 2. They walk more by sense, then by the testimony of the Word of God. Since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the Creation; because they cannot apprehend with their sense any such doctrine, or any ground of it, there­fore they reject it. Such as these who will not be convinced by Scripture, we shall leave to feel the severity of that coming, which they will not beleeve. They that now scoffe, will have time [Page] enough sadly to bewaile their scoffing, they shall then feele what they will not now be perswaded to beleeve.

Use 2. The deare love of Jesus Christ to his people. As his departure was a rich testimony of his love; 'Tis expedient for you that I go away, so is his returning; I will not leave you com­fortlesse, I will come unto you, Joh. 14. 18. Ne­ver think of Christs returning, but meditate up­on the greatnesse of his love.

Use 3. That Christ is not now corporally in the world. The Scripture speaks of his corporal ap­pearance as of a future thing. The Papists they make him corporally present in the Sacrament. His body shall descend but once, and that shall never be till he come to take his people into glo­ry with himself. The doctrine of the real cor­poral presence of Christ is a doctrine of real falshood.

Use 4. This is a very sad doctrine to all ungod­ly sinners. Christ shall appear. It were well for wicked men, if this Doctrine were an untruth. The very end of his appearing is to bring you to a publick tryal for all your acts of High-trea­son against his Crown and dignity. He will ap­peare, and then you shall appeare before him to render an account of, and to suffer punishment for all your hard words and cruel actings against him, and against his in the world; when he ap­peares you shall wish that the mountaines might fall upon you to hide you from his sight. The ap­pearance of Christ to you, will be as the appear­ance of a severe Judge to a convicted male­factor. Consider of it before-hand, that by time­ly and thorough repentance, you may prevent that dreadful sentence which will be denounced [Page 38] and executed upon the wicked in that day. Fa­lix trembled when he heard this doctrine. Acts 24. 25. [...]. If the hearing of it work such fear, how great fear will the sight of it work? be humbled and converted, that ye may stand when the Sonne of Man appears. You cannot hide any wickednesse from him. You cannot bribe him to excuse your wickednesse.

Use 5. Let the friends and favourites of Christ draw comfo [...]t from hence. Lift up your heads, saith our Saviour, when he is preaching of this very Doctrine, Luke 21. 28. [...]. 'Tis a day of lifting up the head to you. Think of it, and gather comfort from it. 1. Against all the shame you meet with here. That day shall wipe off all your shame, Isa. 66. 5. 2. Against all false judgements and accusations. In that day all shall be judged over again. Christ shall appear, and he will judge righteous judge­ment. 3. Against all slanders. 4. The appear­ing of Christ is a general antidote against all e­vils you suffer, 2 Pet. 2. 9. beleeve it, meditate much upon it, Mar. 13. 35. Luke 12. 42. 5. Pre­pare for it.

JOHN 6. 55.My flesh is meat indeed, and my VI. SERM. at Mary Wol­noth. Lon. Decem. 14. 1651. blood is drink indeed.

IN this Chapter we have some­thing Historical and something Doctrinal. The Historical part relates two great miracles done by our Saviour; his feeding five thousand men with five loaves and two fishes, ver. 1. to 15. his walking upon the water, v. 15. to 22. The Doctrinal part is from v. 22. ad finem. The first and principal Doctrine he handles, is to prove himself to be the bread of life. He is oc­casioned to preach this Doctrine from the peo­ples flocking after him to be fed with miraculous bread, v. 22, 23, 24, 25. seeing a great multitude resort after to Capernaum, he knowing their in­tentions tells them, v. 26. that they followed, not because they saw his Divine power in the late miracle, but that they might satisfie their natural appetite with bread, and thereupon, v. 27. adviseth them that they would minde that spi­ritual bread which did excel the other, as far as the soule did the body, v. 27. And after some [Page 40] debate with them, when he saw their hearts a little raised after it, he doth openly declare and professe himselfe to be that spiritual bread. And when there was some contention among the Jewes how he could give them himselfe to eate, v. 52. he doth, v. 53. shew the misery of them that did not eat him, and v. 54 the hap­pinesse of those that did feed upon him; and thereupon layes down this assertion in the Text, For my flesh is meat indeed, &c. The wor [...]s [taken absolutely, and excluding the causal particle for] containe in them a double Proposition.

  • 1. That Christs flesh is meat indeed.
  • 2. That his blood is drink indeed.

I begin with the first. My flesh, &c. in which we have, 1. The subject, My flesh. 2. The predicate, Meat indeed.

EXPLICATION.

My flesh. Flesh, when it is spoken in relation to Christ, as here in the Text, signifies two things. 1. Sometimes the manhood alone. So you have it, Joh. 6. 63. It is the spirit that quickneth, the flesh profiteth nothing. In this place the flesh signifies onely the humanity of Christ. So Austin expounds it, and Calvin after him. The huma­nity is without advantage if it be separated from the spirit, that is, à spiritus virtute, quâ perfusa est caro. Calvin. 'Tis the Divinity that gives efficacy to the humanity. It is from the Spirit that the flesh hath any feeding vertue. 2. Some­times the whole person of Christ, God-man. And so it is to be understood in the Text. My flesh is meat, that is, I am meat. I, God and man in one person. Now why flesh is mentioned here, [Page 41] Cameron gives the reason; because our life is in the flesh and blood of Christ. Si enim carnem & sanguinem Christo tollas, non erit amplius ci­bus noster. For that he might be food for our soules, it was necessary that he should satisfie the justice of God, and so purchase for us remission of sinnes. Therefore because by the shedding of his blood, and by the sacrificing and offering up of his body upon the crosse, he purchased this for us, Heb. 9. 22. his flesh is said to be our meat, and his blood our drink.

Is meat, [...]. This word is translated some­times rust, Mat. 6. 19, 20. Lay not up for your selves treasures on earth, [...], but lay up for your selves treasures in heaven, [...]. It signifies any thing that by rust or fretting doth eat in­to metal or other creatures, and so consumes them. It is also translated meat, and signifies generally all kinde of food which is for the sup­port of life, 2 Cor. 9. 10. he that ministreth seed to the sower, both minister bread to your food, [...], and multiply your seed sowen, &c. And so 'tis used in the Text. Indeed, [...], the flesh of Christ is called meat indeed, in a twofold respect.

(1.) In respect of all other food. All other food in respect of this, is but cibi tantummodo umbra & vana imago, as Cameron saith. As natural life in respect of the spiritual, is but a shadow of life; so the meat that is appointed for the natural life, if compared with the meat of the Spiritual life, is but a very image of meat. Christs flesh is real meat.

(2.) In respect of that typical meat which the Jews had lately spoken of, v. 31. Our fathers [Page 42] did eat Manna in the desart, &c. Our Saviour tells them that that is but typical bread, but his flesh is bread indeed; it is the real sub­stance of which that was but a meere type and shadow. Thus for Explication. The Observa­tion is this.

Doct 1. That the Lord Jesus Christ is really and truly the food and meat of beleevers. Flesh is here put for the whole person of Christ. Jesus Christ as he is held out in the Scriptures, is the true, real, and very meat of beleeving Christians; Christ as he is propounded in the Gospel, dead, broken, crucified. Christ in all his perfection, compleatnesse, fulnesse, is meat indeed to a true beleever. 'Tis the very scope of this Sermon, from v. 27. to v. 59. in which this truth is in­culcated over and over againe, and all objecti­ons answered, which the carnal reason, and unbeleefe of mans heart can make against it.

I shall in the Explication of this Doctrine o­pen these things. 1. Prove that Christ is a beleevers meat. 2. Shew the Analogy between Christ and other meat. 3. How this meat is eaten and received.

I. That Christ is the soules meat. This is proved two wayes.

First, from the types of Christ in the Old Te­stament. The Ceremonial Law had many types of Christ. Whatsoever is revealed of Christ in the New Testament, was some way or other typified of him in the Ceremonial Law. There are foure types which did set out Jesus Christ as the souls meat.

1. The Manna in the wildernesse. The Histo­ry of the Manna is set down, Exod. 16. the [Page 43] people being in some want of provision in the Wildernesse of sinne began to murmur against Moses and Aaron, v. 3. God promiseth, v. 4. to raine bread from heaven for them, which accordingly was done, v. 14, 15. That this was a type of the feeding vertue of Christ, is plainly discovered by our Saviour in this very Sermon, v. 31, 32. The Wildernesse did typifie the state of the Church in this world, and the Man­na was a plaine type of Christ the Churches meat.

2. The Shewbread, The Law and manner of the Shewbread you have at large, Lev. 24. 5, 6, 7. 8, 9. There are two things represented by this Shewbread. First, the multitude of the faithful presented unto God in his Church, as upon a pure table, continually serving him: made by faith and holinesse, as fine cakes; and by the mediation of Christ, as by incense, made a sweet odour unto God. Secondly, the Spiri­tual repast which the Church hath from and be­fore God, who feedeth them with Christ the bread of life.

3. The meat-offerings. Concerning this Min­chah or meat-offering you may reade at large, Lev. 2. 1, &c. These meat-offerings were of two sorts; some were the meat-offerings of the Con­gregation, some of particular persons; of these latter there were several sorts mentioned in that Chapter. It's said, v. 3. that Aaron and his sons shall have the remnant of the meat-offering, that is, all of it; but that which is burned upon the Altar for a memorial, v. 2. Several things were signified by the meat-offerings. Being referred to Christ (who by the oblation of his own bo­dy, was our meat offering, Psal. 40. 6. Heb. [Page 44] 10. 5.) they did shadow out our communion with Christ, and participation of his death, and resurrection by faith, whereby he becomes unto us spiritual meat, of which the whole Church are made partakers.

4. The flesh of the sacrifices of the peace-offer­ings, and others which were given to the Priests, of which you read, Lev. 7. 15. they were to be eaten the same day it was killed. Now what was meant by the eating of the flesh of these sacrifices, and of the flesh of the other sacrifices which were given to the Priests to eat, vid. Lev. 10. 12, 13, 14. Surely Jesus Christ, who by his flesh as by precious meat, feedeth his people who are spirituall, Priests unto everlast­ing life.

Secondly, from the Sacraments of nourishment both of the Old and New Testament. There were Sacraments of implantation, or initiation, and of growth; under the Law, Circumcision Passeover; under the Gospel, Baptisme, Supper of the Lord.

1. The Sacrament of nourishment under the Old Testament, was the Paschal lamb. The Law and rites of this are set down, Exod. 12. 3, 4, 5, &c. What did this Paschal Lamb signifie, but Jesus Christ our Passeover, the Lamb of God which taketh away the sinnes of the world? In this Sacrament was Jesus Christ set out as a nourisher. He is that precious meat upon which all the true Israel of God feed continual­ly, who is therefore called our Passeover, 1 Cor. 5. 7.

2. The Lords Supper. This is the Sacrament of nourishment under the New Testament. And herein clearly Christ is exhibited as our [Page 45] spiritual meat. His flesh is the bread, the wine is his blood. As the body is nourished by bread and wine, so is the soule by his body and blood nourished and fed to life eternal.

II. The Analogy between Christ and corporal meat, stands in these three particulars. Three great ends of meat.

1. Corporal meat is for the preservation of the Susienta­tion. natural life. The natural life is maintained by meat, through the concurrence of Gods ordina­ry blessing. 'Tis pabulum vitae. Hence bread, under which all other provision is comprehend­ed, is called the staffe of life, Esay 3. 1. Keep the strongest man from meat but a few dayes, and the life will extinguish and go out, 1 Sam. 30. 12. Jesus Christ is the maintainer and pre­server of the spiritual life. As he gives it at first, so he upholds it. 'Tis by continual influ­ences from him, that the life is kept from expi­ring. If he withdraw his influx never so little, the soule is at the giving up of the Ghost, even halfe dead.

2. Corporal meat is for growth. 'Tis by meat Vegetation that the body is brought from infancy to child­hood, from childhood to youth, from youth to a perfect man. Jesus Christ is he that carries on a Christian from infancy to perfection. All the soules growth and increase is from Christ. So the Apostle, Col. 2. 19. From him the whole body having nourishment ministred, &c. The branches live and increase by vertue of the sap which is derived from the root. Christians grow by vertue of the sap which is to them derived from Jesus Christ. Every part growes by Christ.

3. Meat is a repayer of natures decayes. When Reparation by some violent sicknesse the spirits are con­sumed, [Page 46] the body wasted, the strength lost, meat fitly and seasonably taken, helps through the divine blessing to recover all again; 1 Sam. 30. 12. his spirit came to him againe. Jesus Christ is the repairer of the soules decayes. Sometimes a beleever through the neglect of his duty, through surfetting upon sinne, brings spiritual languish­ings upon himself, his strength is decayed, his vigour is abated, his pulse beats very weakly, he can scarcely creep in the wayes of God. In such a case Jesus Christ recovers him, re­paires his breaches and renues his strength, as in former times. The Psalmist speaks of this, Psal. 23. 3. He restoreth my soul, He leadeth me in the paths of righteousnesse for his Names sake. The Saints have every day experience of this restoring vertue of Christ.

III. How this meat is eaten and received. The Scripture makes mention of three things which concur to this act.

1. The Ordinances. These are the conduits. Jesus Christ hath instituted and appointed his Ordinances to be the meanes of carrying his nourishing vertue to the soul. The Ordinances are the dishes of gold upon which this heavenly meat is brought. Prayer, Reading, Preaching, Meditation, holy conference, the Sacrament; in these Christ presents himself to the soul. He that forsakes these, can expect no feeding from Christ. In this mountaine will the Lord of Hosts make a feast of fat things, &c. Esay 25. 6. The feast is made in the mountain of Gods house, and the Ordinances are the dishes on which this meat is set, and the knives by which its carved out to the soul.

2. Saving lively faith. This is the instrument. [Page 47] What the hand, and mouth, and stomack are in the corporal eating, that is faith in this spiritu­al eating. Faith is the hand that takes this meat, the mouth that eats it, and the stomack that digests it. Yea, faith is as the veines and Ar­teries that do disperse and carry this nourish­ment to every power of the soule. This is a­bundantly cleared in this very Chapter, v. 35. he that cometh to me shall never hunger, he that beleeveth in me shall never thirst. Cometh is expounded by beleeveth. Eating and drink­ing are here put for believing. Crede & mandu­casti. He that beleeves eats; and he that eats not, it is because he beleeves not; Hic ed [...]re est credere.

Doct. 2. That the blood of Jesus Christ is drink indeed. Blood is here put for the whole person, as flesh was. And its rather his blood is drink, then that He is drink; because the great efficacy of all Christ did, lies principally in his blood, Heb. 9, 22. And in the same respects, as his flesh is said to be meat indeed, his blood is said to be drink indeed. And those three things which concurre to the act of eating his flesh, concur also to this act of drinking his blood. The mystical union, saving faith, the Ordinan­ces. I shall therefore onely open two things,

  • 1. Shew that Christs blood is drink.
  • 2. The Analogy between his blood and o­ther drink.

I. That the blood of Christ is spiritual drink, will appear.

1. From the drink-offerings under the Law. In the Law there were sundry drink-offerings ap­pointed as well as meat-offerings. The daily sacrifice which was to be offered continually, every morning and evening, had both a meat-offering, [Page 48] and drink annexed to it, Exod. 29. 40, 41. The daily sacrifice did signifie three things.

(1) That Jesus Christ the true Lamb of God was available to the Church of God, from the morning of the world, to the evening, the end of the world.

(2) To signifie the continual need the Church had of reconciliation by Christs blood, which taketh away sinne.

(3) To sanctifie the morning and evening prayers of the Church, by the interceding sa­crifices of Christ the Mediator. And the meat-offering, and drink-offering added thereunto, did signifie, that Jesus Christ by offering himself to God, becomes not onely our redemption, but also meat and drink to the soul. The sheaf of the first fruits appointed to be offered every year, had both the meat-offering and drink-offering added thereunto, Lev. 23. 10, 11, 12, 13. The like is to be observed in other sacrifices. Now as the meat-offerings Numb. 15 init. did represent Christ as food, so the drink-offerings did set him out as our spiritual drink.

2. From the water issuing out of the rock. You read the story of that, Numb. 20. The people in the desart of Zin wanted water. In their necessity, as their sinful custom was, they fall a murmuring, v. 3, 4, 5. God commands Moses, v. 8. to speak unto the rock to give them water; that they and their cattel might drink. Moses smites the rock twice (which was his sinne, because God only commanded him to speak to the rock) and it gave forth its water in abundance, v. 11. Now what the meaning of this water was, the Apostle tells us, 1 Cor. 10. 4. They drank of the rock that followed them, and [Page 49] that rock was Christ. The rock typisied Christ, and the water of the rock, of which they and their cattel drank, typed out the blood of Christ our spiritual drink.

3. From the cup in the Lords Supper. Why is the cup added to the bread? Is it not to let us know, that Jesus Christ is spiritual drink as well as our spiritual bread?

4. From the resemblance of the vine. Our Sa­viour, John 15. is compared to a vine. Why to a vine?

[1.] To shew the great mystery of the uni­on of all the spiritual branches with him the root.

[2.] To signifie that he is our spiritual drink. The vine doth yield wine which is drink for the body: the Lord Jesus Christ doth yield spiritual drink for all those that are his members. He is the wine of God, as well as the bread of God.

II. Quae Analogia? The Analogy stands in foure things. There are four properties of drink distinct from meat.

1. Drink is for refreshing and cooling. When the body is hot by labour, or by sicknesse, or travel, drink doth coole and refresh it. The heart panteth after the water-brooks, Psalm. 42. 1. The chased Hart when he is heated with hunt­ing, makes to the river, and by drinking is re­freshed. The sweating Traveller goes to the spring and cooles himselfe by drinking of the streaming waters. The blood of Jesus Christ is of a very refreshing and cooling nature. When the soul is heated with temptations, parched with the fiery wrath of God in the conscience, when it lies sweating and sweltring under guilt, [Page 50] one draught of Christs blood taken down by faith, yea one drop of it sensibly falling upon it, doth cool and refresh it again Hence he is also compared to the rivers of water in dry places, Is. 23. 2. Hence is that invitation, Mat. 11. 28 I wil [...] give you rest, [...], I will give you refreshment, so 'tis translated, Phil. 7. [...], nothing indeed can coole the parched soule but Christs blood. And this will do it abundantly when 'tis quite melted with wrath, and burnt up with anguish.

2. Drink cleanseth the body. The inward parts are washed and purified as well as refresh­ed. As the running water cleanseth the chan­nel, and carries away rubbish and filth, so drink seasonably and fitly taken, carries away the de­filements that are contracted within the body. The blood of Christ is of a cleansing nature. 'Tis indeed the only cleanser. It doth, being taken by faith, carry away all the filthinesse of the inward Man. All the Ceremonial purifica­tions were types of the purifying blood of Christ, Heb. 9. 13, 14. There ye have the typical clean­sings expounded. The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sinne, 1 John 1. 7 Christ takes away the guilt of sinne by justification, and he cleanseth us from the filthinesse of sinne by sanctification. You reade in Zech. 13. 1. of a fountaine opened for sinne, and for uncleannesse. This fountaine is nothing else but the fountain of Christs blood. He that drinks daily of this blood, shall be cleansed daily.

3. Drink is of a reviving nature. It recovers from faintings, it opens the eyes helps feeble­nesse of Spirit, vid. Judg. 15. 18, 19. Samps [...]n being tired by that great slaughter of the Phi­listines, [Page 51] found his spirits sink, he prayes for drink, and when he had refreshed himself with water, his spirit came again, and he revived. Solomon, Prov. 31. 6, 7. prescribes strong drink to him that is ready to perish, and wine to the heavy hearted, that they may forget their poverty, and remember their misery no more. Some drink is called Aqua-vitae, because of its usefulnesse and efficacy this way. The blood of Jesus Christ is a reviving blood. When the soul is in deliquio spirituali, when it faints, and dies, and sinks, the sprinklings of this blood will fetch it again, a drop or two of this true Aqua-vitae taken down by faith, will open the eyes and restore it again. This effect it had on Asaph, Ps. 73. 26. My heart and my flesh faileth, &c. but thou art the stay of my heart, and my portion for ever. This was fore­told of Christ long before his birth, by that E­vangelical Prophet, Esay 61. 1. and chap. 57. 15. To revive the spirit of the humble, and to re­vive the heart of the contrite ones. It is his blood, and that alone, that healeth the broken in heart.

4. Drink is of a cheering nature. It doth be­get and continue cheerfulnesse. The Psalmist tells us that wine maketh glad the heart of man, Psalme 104. 15. The blood of Christ is a heart-chearing thing. It's the only foundation, and the only preserver of true joy. It will make the heart merry in adversity, it will create laugh­ter in heavinesse. Psal. 4. 6, 7. Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance, &c. Thou hast put gladnesse in my heart, &c. The light of Gods countenance is lifted up onely in, and through Jesus Christ. Christs blood is the onely medicine for spiritual Melancholy. When the Church was [Page 52] drinking in Christs wine-cellar, taking down this blood, how was her heart cheared? Cant. 2. 3, 4. I sate down under his shadow, &c.

The Uses of this are,

1. For Information in these particulars.

1. Take notice of the great mystery of a beleevers union and onenesse with Jesus Christ. The Scrip­ture sets this out, as by expresse testimonies, [...]o by natural resemblances, as of vine and bran­ches, John 15. init. of head and members, Eph. 1. ult. Eph. 6. 30. of husband and wife, Eph. 6. 32. of the foundation, and superstructory stones, Eph. 3. 20, 21. and of meat and eaters, as in the Text. As there is a union between the meat and the body of him that eats it, so there is an intimate union between a beleever and Christ his spiritual meat. And indeed ou [...] union with him is the foundation of our feeding on him. He could not be our meat, if he were not our Head by mystical u [...]im. This is the foundation of this eating; this makes Christ ours, gives us right to eat. The Apostle, Col. 2. 19. makes our union with him the foundation of our recei­ving nourishment from him. And the souls feed­ing on him, proves the soules union with him. So it follows, ver. 56. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and [...] in him. As the meat which we eate is turned into the substance of our body, so are we turned into Christ, made flesh of his flesh, and bone of his bone.

2. Behold here the fulnesse of Christ. Whence shall we have bread in the Wildernesse to satisfie so many, say the Disciples to Christ, Mar. 8. 4, 5. The fulnesse of Christ appears in this, that he hath enough in him to feed so many, and to [Page 53] feed every one so plentifully. He hath sed his people ever since that promise, Gen. 3. 15. and he will feed all his Elect to the end of the world, and he will feed them all abundantly every kind of way; he feeds them with grace, feeds them with knowledge, feeds them in respect of justi­fication, and he feeds them in respect of san­ctification, &c. and yet is there no abatement of his fulnesse. Did not the fulnesse of the God­head dwell bodily in him? Col. 2. 9. he could not feed so many so long every way, without any diminution of his fulnesse; the children have been eating above five thousand years, and the loaf is still whole.

III. Behold the great love of Christ, and of the Father in giving us this meat and drink. Re­member, 'tis his flesh that is our meat, his blood that is our drink. He could not have been our meat and drink, if he had not been sacrificed; the Priests were not to eat of the offerings allowed them till they were sacrificed, had not Christ been sacrificed, he could have been no food for us. The love of Christ and of the Father appear the more in it, that he should sacrifice his Sonne to be a meat offering for us, and let out his blood to be a drink offering for us; wonder to eternity at this love, John. 3. 16. the Scripture expresses the great love of God to the Israelites, that he gave them Manna from heaven, Psal. 75. 23, 24, 25. How much greater love doth he expresse in giving his Sonne to the Elect to feed them? That Gods onely Sonne should be torn in pieces to be meat and drink for us. Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, as to feed us with the bo­dy and blood of his own Son!

[Page 54] IV. Behold here the compleatnesse of Christ. The Scripture speaks much of his compleatness and perfection. Look upon him in what re­spect, under what notion you please, and you will see his compleatnesse. Behold him as a Saviour, and so he is a compleat; he saves [...]. Heb. 7 25. he saves the soul, the body from all evil, unto all good, and that for ever. Consider him as a Physician, and his com­pleatnesse will appeare. He heales the soule, the body, heales in an instant, heales to the bot­tom, &c. whatsoever he is compared to, he is compleatly and perfectly so. Behold him as a Feeder, and he is compleat in that notion; He is not onely meat nor onely drink, but he is both meat and drink, compleat nourishment. The body cannot live with meat, if drink be wanting; nor can it subsist by drink onely without meat. Bread without drink would dry up the blood; drink without meat would in a little time drown the body. A mixture, and fit proportion of both keeps it in health. Jesus Christ is both these, compleat and perfect nourishment. Well may the Apostle say, that Christians are compleat in him, Col. 2. 10. [...]. He is in himselfe every way compleat, and those that adhere to him, are perfectly compleat in him.

V: Take notice of the truth of Christ humanity. Marcion, Eutiches, Saturnius, Maniches hold that Christ was man onely in appearance. The Scripture doth both assert the God-head and Man-hood of Christ. The two natures are per­sonally united, never to be separated. His Name shall be called Emmanuel, Mat. 1. 23. And the truth of the Man-hood is asserted in many [Page 55] places. The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, Joh. 1. 14. To us a childe is born, Esay 9. 6. As other Scriptures, so the Text doth clearly assert his humanity, for it makes mention of his flesh and blood. The God-head hath neither flesh nor blood, but the Man-hood hath both. He is perfect God, and perfect man of a reasonable soule, and humane flesh subsist­ing.

VI. How injurious are the Papists to the peo­ple of God, that deny them his blood. They take away from the Laity (as they call them) the blood of Christ in the Sacrament. And by this meanes do in effect deny them nourishment. As the body stands in need of meat as well as drink, and of drink as well as meat, so doth the soul. As they wrong Christ in transgressing his institution, who appointed the cup as well as the bread, Matth. 26. 26, 27. so they are very inju­rious to the Church, in taking away the one half of their spiritual food. Abhor their Doc­trines, blesse God, you are freed from the sacri­legious soul-robbers. They that deprive you of Christs blood, dep [...]ive you of life, for except ye eat the flesh of the Sonne of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you, Joh. 6. 53. yea, in­deed he that takes away Christs blood, takes a­way whole Christ from the soul.

VII. The wickednesse of the Socinian doctrine that makes nothing that Christ did to be meritori­ous for us, but onely exemplary. This is a soul-damning doctrine. Christ is our meat and drink. He died not onely to teach us to suffer, but to be meat and drink to keep us from starving, yea to feed us up to eternal life.

VIII. The miserable condition of those that want [Page 56] Christ. Nothing can keep them from starving, who either have not, or will not use this meat and drink. The condition of Lazarus was sad as to his outward man, when he had neither meat nor drink, Luke 16. Hagar and her childe were in a miserable condition, when the bread was ea­ten and the bottle empty, Gen. 21. 15, 16. That condition of that desolate widow of Sarepta, 1 Reg. 17. 11, 12. was very sad: far worse is theirs who want Christ: the starving of the soul is worse then the pining of the body.

IX. None fare so delicately as beleevers. That rich glutton fared deliciously every day, Luk. 16. 19. What were his delicacies to this? He had the creatures to feed upon; beleevers feed on God himself. Nabal its said, when he had his sheep-shearers, made a feast like the feast of a King, 1 Sam. 25. 36. you read of Ahasureus his great feast, Esth. 1 4, [...]. You reade of Solo­mons daily provision, 1 Reg. 4. 22, 23. this was very great. But the beleeving beggar hath bet­ter provision then this. What is the flesh of foules to the flesh of Christ? What is the blood of the grape to Christs blood? This is a belee­vers daily food. They have not onely panem & potum Domini, but they have panem & potum Dominum.

X. The folly of those that do either feed them­selves, or perswade others to feed upon their own works and duties. The Papists set mens works and duties before themselves, and others as their spiritual meat and drink. They make the righteousnesse of man their meat and drink.

(1) This doctrine is derogatory to Christ. To make any thing besides Christ, the soules meat and drink, is to deny him to be meat, at least [Page 57] sufficient and perfect meat. He will either be our onely food, or not our food at all. Christ is incapable of all other mixtures. As the Apostle argues about grace and works, so may we argue in this matter about Christ and works, Rom. 11. 6. If by grace, then it is no more of works, &c. If Christ be our meat and drink, then are not works our meat and drink, otherwise Christ is no more Christ; and if works be our meat and drink, then is not Christ our meat and drink, otherwise works are no more works.

(2) This doctrine is prejudicial to the soule. It is indeed a soul-starving doctrine. Our works cannot feed us. The Prophet tells us, Esay 44. 20. that the Idolater feedeth on ashes. Our best works and duties are not meat and drink, but ashes. 'Tis as impossible that the body should live upon ashes, or other such trash, as that the soule should live upon its own works. Our works have no nourishing vertue in them. If a Sonne shall ask bread, saith our Saviour, of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? Luke 11. 11, 12. The Papists are unnatu­ral fathers to their children. When they ask them bread, they give them a stone; when they ask fish, they give them a serpent; and when they ask an egge, they give them a scorpion. A mans best works are Stones, Serpents, Scorpions; yea, they are poyson to him that makes them his food. You reade of a severe threatning of Rab­shakeh against the people of God, 2 Reg. 18. 27. He would make them eat their own dung, &c. The Papists put this threatning into practise up­on all their followers in a spiritual sense; They make them eat their own dung, &c. Indeed our best works and duties in the account of strict [Page 58] justice are no better, Mal. 2. 3. I will spread dung upon your faces, even the dung of your so­lemne feasts. A person had better never do any good works, then make him his spiritual meat and subsistence.

XI. Behold here the excellency of Jesus Christ. He is meat and drink. He is indeed compared to all things that are excellent; he doth farre excel whatsoever he is compared unto. He is as far above all other meat and drink, as the best meat and drink are above the coursest pulse, and the muddiest water. See this excellency in a few particulars.

1. Christ is spiritual meat and drink. All other meat and drink is onely corporeal. 'Tis so in its own nature, and 'tis so in regard of the subject; it nourisheth not the soule, but the body onely. All their delicacies do not feed the inward man. Those that have the fattest bodies, have not al­wayes the fattest soules. But Christ is spiritual meat and drink. He feeds the soul, the consci­ence, the spiritual part. His blood purgeth the conscience, Heb. 9. 14. it refreshes the conscience, it chears the conscience, his body strengthens the soul, repaires the decayes of the inward man.

2. Christ is heavenly meat and drink, Joh. 6. 32. My Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. Other meat and drink is terrene and earthly. Your bread grows out of the bow­els of the earth. Your wine is the blood of an earthly grape. The flesh you eat is fed of the tender grasie that springs out of the earth. If the earth should prove barren, you would soone feele a famine. The King himself is ser­ved by the field, Eccles. 5. 9. 'Tis true, the bles­sing comes from heaven, but all the materials [Page 59] of meat and drink are earthly. But Jesus Christ is the bread of heaven, and the wine of heaven. The Manna came from the clouds onely; but Christ from the beatifical heaven, even from the bosome of the Father.

3. Christ is incorruptible meat and drink. All earthly meat and drink is of a fading perishing na­ture. The best bread grows mouldy in a little time, the best flesh in time putrifies and taints; the best wine growes eager and sowre in a little time, and becomes unfit for the body of man. The very Manna it self, when it was kept till the morning of the next day, contrary to Gods command, bred wormes and standk, Exod. 16. 20. But Jesus Christ knows no corruption. His flesh & blood is now as sweet and pleasant after so ma­ny Ages, as it was the first houre it was eaten and drank, John 6. 27. And it will be as farre from corruption at the end of the world, as now it is. The Manna in the golden pot corrupted not, though kept for many Generations. Christ is Manna in that golden-pot, the humanity in the golden pot of the Divinity shall see no cor­ruption.

4. Christ is such meat and drink as preserves from death. Other meat and drink cannot keep man from the grave. That rich man that fared de­liciously every day, was not made immortal: The rich man died and was buried, Luke 16. 22. All that Generation that fed on Manna, and drank the water out of the rock, died, John 6. 49. But Christ preserves the soul from Death. John 6. 50. This is the bread of God that came down from Heaven, that a man may eat thereof and not die. It immortalizes the soule that feeds on it. He that beleeveth on me hath eternal life, ver. 51. And then,

[Page 60] 5. Christ is soul-satisfying meat and drink. He that beleeveth on me shall never hunger, and he that cometh to me shall never thirst, John 6. 35. There is a hunger of desire, and a hunger and thirst of total emptinesse and want. He that hath this meat and drink, shall never totally want him. It is not so with other meat and drink. A man may have his belly filled with other meat and drink, and may have a good quantity before­hand, and yet may at last want a morsel and die for want of a draught of water. But he that once hath this spiritual meat and drink, though he eat but a little, shall never be utterly desti­tute, Jehn 7. 37, 38. The widows handful of meal, and spoonful of oyle, was never spent till God sent raine upon the earth, 1 Reg. 17. 16. He that hath but a handful of Christs flesh, and a spoonful of his blood shall never see want, but shall have enough to satisfie him to all eternity.

6. Christ is such meat and drink as gives life to the Dead. Other meat and drink cannot preserve a living body from death, much lesse can it give life, and restore breath to a dead bo­dy. Put the most delicate meat, the strong­est drink into the mouth of a dead man, and they will not give him life if the soul be quite depart­ed. They may recover from a swoon, they can­not from death. But the flesh and blood of Christ quicken the dead. Christ by putting his flesh and blood into the mouth of the dead soul conveys life into it. His flesh and blood make the lips of the dead to speak. As the Father raiseth the dead and quickneth them, so the Son quickneth whom he will, John 5. 21. if thou hast [Page 61] any spiritual life in thee, thou didst receive it from the enlivening vertue of Christs flesh and blood communicated to thee by the Spirit of life.

7. Christ is such meat and drink as will never surset. All other meat and drink, if it be taken immoderately and unseasonably, tends to sick­nesse and su [...]fetting. The more lushious and delicate they are, the sooner do they surfet the body. Hence is Solomons advice, Prov. 25. 16. drunkennesse and surfeting bring more to their long home, then pining famine. But the flesh and blood of Christ never surfet. A man can­not eat and drink too much of Christ, nor can they eat and drink him unseasonably. There is no killing, no annoying vertue in Jesus Christ: this meat and drink will never clog, never cloy the stomack. Christ is an occasion of death to none but to those that refuse him.

8. Christ is such meat and drink as is suitable for all persons at all times. Other meat and drink is not fit for all persons, nor for the same per­son in all conditions. That that will nourish a man may kill a childe. That that strengthens a man in health, may kill him in sicknesse. There is meat for strong men, milk for babes, &c. But Jesus Christ is meat and drink for all persons, for all conditions. He is meat for the strong man, he is milk for the babe. He is proper for the healthful person, and he is fit for the sickly person. He is the labouring mans food, and he is the sick mans diet. His blood is Physical drink to him that is sick; cooling drink to him that is parched with heat, he is strong cordial-drink to him that faints. He is a suitable nourish­ment.

[Page 62] 9. Jesus Christ is meat and drink that is freely bestowed. He is not purchased by our money, nor procured by our industry, but freely com­municated. Other meat and drink is procured at dear rates. Men must Till, and Plow, and Sowe their land; men must breed up cattel, men must plant vines, dig springs and fountaines, otherwise they can expect neither meat nor drink. The Egyptians in a time of famine pawn'd their lands for food, they gave their cattel for bread, and at last sold their land out-right that they might have food, Gen. 47. 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20. But Christ is meat and drink, though the most costly in himselfe, yet costlesse to us. Nothing is required on our part, but receiving of him. If any should offer money, Christ would say as Peter to Simon Magus, Act. 8. 20. Thy money perish with thee. He that will not take this meat and drink as an Alms, shall famish for want of it.

Ʋse 2. For Exhortation

I. To such as want Christ. My counsel to them is, that they would labour for an interest in him: you cannot be well without him; you will famish your soul, if you have not Christ for your meat and drink.

Quest. How may we come to have an inte­rest in him.

1. Be thorowly perswaded of your need of him. This is the first step to the attainment of him. Look upon your natural guilt; upon all your sinnes; upon the severity of the curse of the Law against disobedience; upon the exact justice of God in punishing sinne; and upon your own helpless▪nesse either to satisfie justice, or to stand out under the deserved wrath of God, [Page 63] and you will be convinced of your need of him.

2. Wait upon Jesus Christ in that way in which he gives himself to sinners. The publick Ordi­nances, chiefly the preaching of the Word. In that Christ makes the tender of himself, and by that ordinarily faith is wrought in the heart to embrace that tender, Rom. 10. 17. Zacheus obtained Christ by being in the way of Christ, Luke 19. 4. the Ordinances are the Sycamore-tree. C [...]mb up into them, and stay and wait till Christ come. He is to passe by that way.

3. Observe his call and embrace it, Prov. 9. init. Luke 14. 16, 17, 18. Mark the impressions of the Spirit, the knockings of Christ. Thus did Zacheus, Luke 19. 5, 6. Zacheus, Come down, &c. And he made haste and came down, &c. Beg of Christ that he would give a heart to come down, when he sayes, come down. He is the meat and drink of God. He that refuseth him, sinneth a­gainst his own soule. Consider seriously of it. When you finde your stomack crave meat and drink; think, O what shall I do for spiritual meat and drink?

II. To such as have an interest in Christ, who is meat and drink, let me commend a few things to you.

1. Feed on him. Eat and drink of this flesh and blood every day. Christians grow weak, because they let their meat and drink stand by them. 'Tis not the flesh in the pot, but the flesh in the stomack that gives nourishment. 'Tis not the drink in the vessel, but the drink taken down that revives. Stir up spiritual hun­ger, and that will make you feed heartily on Christ. Eat and drink Christ by Meditation, eat [Page 64] and drink him by Application. Let your faith draw in Christ in every Ordinance. Keep your Spiritual meals as constantly as you do your o­ther meales. Your eating will help you to a stomack. Satisfaction and hunger are mutual helps one to another. Eating and drinking o­ther meat takes away the appetite, but it in­creaseth the spiritual appetite. Fixed times of spiritual feeding every day, are marvellous profit­able. When you have prayed, call your heart to account what it hath taken in of Christ. When you have been reading, ask it what nourishment it hath received from the Word. When the Lords Supper is over, enquire what refreshment is received. Put your selves for­ward to frequent, constant, actual feeding. It's pitty such precious meat and drink should stand in corners, when the soule hath so much need of it.

2. Be thankful for this meat and drink. That it is provided for any; that it is actually dealt out to you; That you have that meat and drink which others want. There are many that have no other meat but sinne. They drink iniquity like water, Job 15. 16. Some eat the bread of violence, and drink the wine of deceit. Some there are that drink the wine of the condemn­ed in the house of their God, Amos 2. 8. They eat the flesh of men, and drink their blood like new wine, Micah 3. 3. The greatest part of men have no other meat then the pulse of worldly comforts; no other drink then the puddle wa­ter of created things; and thou hast the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ to eat and drink: prize and value at an high rate the exceeding riches of this grace. We are to blesse God for [Page 65] our corporal meat and drink. Jesus Christ gave thanks when he ate and drank, John 6. 11: And so did the Apostles, Acts 27. 35. and so should all men do. It is bru­tish to eat and drink without Thanksgiving. How much more cause have we to blesse God for our spiritual meat and drink! The corporall is common to us with others; This is peculiar onely to the Elect; no other shall taste of this provision.

3. Let your growth be answerable to such excellent feeding. God expects that our spi­rituall growth should be proportionable to our spiritual feeding.

Bos Macer pingui in arvo, is prodigious. Husbandmen expect that when they put their cattel into pastures that are rich, where there is plenty of grasse, and abundance of water, they expect that their growth should be answerable. The Saints of God are highly fed. They have Angels meat, should they not then do Angels work? If you do not grow very fast, you will bring up an evil report of Christ; as if his flesh were not nourishing meat, as if his blood were not nourishing drink, as if it were meat in shew, and not meat indeed; as if it were drink in shew, not drink indeed. Jesus Christ may repent that his bo­dy was broken, his blood poured out to be meat and drink for you that are still leane and ill-fa­voured, even dwarfs in grace. It's the Saints pri­viledge that they shall grow, because Christ is their feeder; and it is their duty, because they have such food, to be carefully mindful of grow­ing. Every limb of the new man should thrive. We should grow lower in humility, higher in heavenly-mindednesse; broader and thicker [Page 66] in spiritual affections, &c. you cannot expresse your thankfulnesse for this royal meat and drink, any other way so much to the contentment of Christ, as by growing abundantly. It is that which our Saviour requires as a testimony of our union with him, and of thankfulnesse for that feeding vertue we receive from him, John 15. 5, 8. As he is unworthy of meat that doth not labour, so is he more unworthy that doth not grow.

4. Shew pitty to others that feed on other meat and drink. Endeavour to communicate Christ to those that want him. We naturally pity famish­ed men; lean cheeks, and pale faces work some bowels in a miser, in an enemy. Commend Christ to others, perswade them to embrace him. You shall feel no want of meat and drink for your selves, by communicating Christ to others. Though a thousand eat and drink of him, no one shall have the lesse.

5. Do not despair of spiritual growth and strength. 'Tis a dishonour to Christ to think that he should starve you. His flesh is strengthning flesh, his blood is strengthening blood, quickening blood. 'Tis full of spirits, 'tis full of life. Though thy graces be weak, thy spiritual diseases violent, yet despair not. Thou receivest more from Christ, then thou canst lose or spend.

ROM. 13. 14.Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ. VII. SERM. at Mary Wol­noth. Lon. Jan. 11. 1651.

IN this Chapter the Apostle re­commends unto Christians the practise of several excellent duties for the adorning of their holy profession in the world.

1. Subjection to civil Magistra­cy. This is urged by sundry Arguments from v. 1. to 8.

2. Ʋnto that heavenly and divine grace of love. This is pressed by many Arguments, from v. 8. to 13.

3. Ʋnto honesty of conversation, v. 13. he would have them to abstaine from all acts of in­temperance, such as rioting, drunkennesse, &c. and to walk, [...], decently and honest­ly.

4. 'Tis the putting on of Christs righteousnesse. This he names to distinguish Christian graces from moral vertues; unlesse Christ and his righteousnesse imputed by faith be put on, that power to live holily may be derived from that fountaine, a Christians holinesse shall not ex­ceed the righteousnesse of moral Philosophers, and Jewish Pharisees, They did abstaine from [Page 68] many works of the flesh, they did practice acts of temperance and other vertues, but they did not draw power from this fountaine Jesus Christ, being strangers to Christ and his righteousnesse, al their eminent vertues gained no saving acceptance from God. The Apostle therefore would have Christians not onely to walk holily, but to draw all power of holy walking from Christ the root of all true holinesse, v. 14.

5. Not to make any superfluous and inordinate provision for the flesh, ver. 14. latter end. The text hath two parts.

1. An Act, [...]. It's a Metaphor borrowed from the putting on of garments, used by the A­postle often. In reference to the New-man, Eph. 4. 24. In reference to the spiritual Armour, Eph. 6. 11. In reference to acts of mercy, Col. 3. 12. And here in reference to the application of Christ. But Put ye on.

2. The object. The Lord Jesus Christ.

3. Expressions relating to one and the same person. They are many times joyned together, though used singly and apart often. Acts 16. 31. Beleeve on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved; so in those Apostolical benedictions. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. We may distinguish them thus.

  • Lord is a Name of Power.
  • Jesus a Name of Grace.
  • Christ a Name of Authority.

The words afford a twofold lesson. The one implied, the other expressed, Viz. 1. That Je­sus Christ is a spiritual garment. 2. That it's the duty of beleevers to put on this garment.

[Page 69] Doct. 1. The Lord Jesus Christ is a spiritual garment. This is necessarily implied under the metaphor of putting on. This [...] doth imply [...]. Jesus Christ is the soules cloathing. Christ is a Christians vestment. As he is spiri­tual meat and drink, so he is spiritual Appar­rel.

Two things here to be opened.

  • 1. To prove that Christ is a garment.
  • 2. To shew the Analogy between Christ and other garments.

1. That Christ is a garment. This will appear two wayes.

1. From expresse Scriptures. All those texts where mention is made of the putting on of Christ, are testimonies of this truth, Gal. 3. 17. As many as are baptized into Christ, have put on Christ. That in Esay 61. 10. I will rejoyce in the Lord, for he hath cloathed me with the robes of righteousnesse; he hath put upon me the garments of salvation. Jerom expounds it of Jesus Christ, salvatorem & justificatorem nostrum; who co­vers us with his own righteousnesse as with a precious robe of salvation. This is taught by our Saviour in that counsel which he gives to the naked Church of Laodicea, Rev. 3. 18. I counsel thee to buy of me gold, &c. and white rayment that thou mayst be cloathed. What are those [...] but Jesus Christ himself imputed and applied to the soule, Isa. 52. 2? its spoken of deliverance from Babylon, and more fully of redemption by Christ.

2. From typical or more mysterious Scriptures. There are many of this kinde.

(1.) Those garments of skins wherewith God cloathed our first parents after the fall. You read [Page 70] of them, Gen. 3. 21. This was not without a my­stery. Peter Martyr hath this note upon that place, that by these garments was shadowed out the promised Messiah, that blessed seed of the woman, who should be sacrificed upon the crosse, and cut out (as it were) into garments for the cloathing of Gods Elect. The like is observed by Interpreters from those kid-skins which Rebeccah put upon the hands of Jacob, and upon the smooth of his neck, when she sent him to his Father for the blessing, Gen. 27. 16. They did decipher Christ, with whom the soul being cloathed obtaines a blessing from the hands of God.

(2.) Those garments of the High Priests. God appointed in the Law that glorious garments should be made for Aaron. You read of them, Exod. 28. 2. What was typified by those gar­ments? They related to Christ. As the High Priest did typifie Christ; so the garments did set out the pure administration of Christ, who offered up himself without spot, Heb. 9. 14. and they did also teach the people of God, that it is Jesus Christ that cloathes their soules with choice raiment, that fine linnen which is the righteousnesse of Saints, Rev. 19. 18. This type is more fully expounded in Zech. 3. 3, 4. Those filthy garments noted Joshuab's sinnes, and the sinnes of the people. That rayment which was afterward put upon him, did signifie Christ and his righteousnesse, wherewith all spiritual Priests are gloriously decked and cloathed.

(3.) The wedding-garment in the Gospel. You read of it, Matth. 22. 11, 12. What is meant by this wedding garment, but Jesus Christ, who be­ing apprehended, and put on by faith, works and [Page 71] creates the saving fruits of grace in the heart, and in the life?

II. Wherein stands the Analogy? There are several uses of garments, in all which respects Christ is a garment to the soul.

1. Garments are for the covering of the body. Men use garments, that the nakednesse of their bodies may not appeare to the eyes of others; for this reason did our first parents few fig-leaves together to hide their nakednesse. In the state of innocency, when the body was without guilt, nakednesse was the greatest Ornament; when sinne had polluted the body, then was nakedness deformity; therefore man sought the best gar­ments he could to cover that nakednesse. For the same reason did God afterwards make man garments of skins to cloath him, Gen. 3. 17. Jesus Christ is a covering to the soul. He is the Lamb of God that did not onely redeeme us by his blood, sed etiam lanis operuit, saith Je­rom.

(1.) He covers the deformity of our natural filthinesse.

(2.) He covers the uglinesse of our actual sins, Psal. 32. 2.

(3.) He covers all the spots of our holy du­ties. The mercy-seat under the Law, covered the two Tables of the Decalogue, vid. Exod. 25, 17, 18, 21. This mercy-seat did typifie Christ, who is called [...], Rom. 3. 25. as the mercy-seat is, Heb. 9. 5. the Cherubims covered the mercy-seat, and the mercy-seat covered the Ark in which were the two Tables of the Law. Jesus Christ is that covering mercy-seat, that covers or plaisters over all the sinnes which beleevers commit against the Law of God. Hence it is [Page 72] that God is said not to behold iniquity in Ja­cob, Numb. 23. 31. He doth not see it to impute it, because it is hidden under the covering mercy-seat, Jesus Christ.

2. Garments are for Ornament. They do set out the body—Viro vestis magnum decus addit honesta. Garments to the body are as rich hangings or costly varnish over a wall of clay, they make it look better then it would do. Gar­ments do mend the crookednesse of bodies that are bowed, and they do set out the perfections of beautiful bodies. Jesus Christ may well be compared to a garment in this respect he puts a beauty upon the soule, a rich, lasting, per­fect beauty. Therefore it is that he is compared to the wedding-garment, Matth. 22. 12. and to the High Priests garments, Exod. 28. 2. which were made for beauty and glory. Hence it is that beleevers that are loathsom and crook­ed in themselves, are made so excellently beau­tiful in Christ. You read much in Solomons song of a beleevers comelinesse, Vid. Chap. 4. 1 2, 3, &c. and againe, Chap. 7. 1, 2, 3. 4. &c. 'Tis because of the beautiful dresse in which he is attired. The comely garment puts comelinesse on him that weares it. You read of the orient beauty and rich attire of the Kings daughter, Psal. 45 13, 14. The Kings daughter is the real Saint, the cloathing of wrought gold, and the rayment of needle-work, is nothing but Christ, and the graces he brings with him in which the soule is invested. Christ is the onely Ornament indeed. He is a crown and diadem upon the head, he is a jewel in the bosome, he is a ring upon the finger. No soul hath any true beau­ty (though outwardly cloathed in scarlet) that [Page 73] hath not on it this garment. Christ is the soules Ornament, as he is a justifier, and as he is a sanctifier, 1 Cor. 1. 30. He adorns us as he is our justification, putting us into a state of righ­teousnesse. And he adornes us as he is our Sanctification, by communicating unto us his own comelinesse in the seeds of holinesse.

3. Garments are for the defending of the body. They are munimenta corporis. They are as light armour upon the body. In the Winter they guard the body against the nipping cold; in the Summer they preserve, and defend it from the parching heat. Every blast would pinch the body, were it not for our garments, every thorn would prick, every stone would bruise the foot if it were not fenced by that rayment which is up­on it. The garments are a little movable Gar­rison in which the body marches through many inconveniences which otherwise it could not do. The Lord Jesus Christ is the defence of the soul; he saves it from many a knock which o­therwise it would get.

1. He defends the soul from sinne. Sinne hath not that power and dominion over a beleever that is cloathed with Christ, as it hath over the soule that is uncloathed. Rom. 6. 14. Sinne shall not have dominion over you. Christ keeps sinne from bearing that sway in a Saint which it doth in other men. It is a vanquished, wound­ed, crucified enemy.

2. He defends them from the rage and fury of men. Man would teare them to pieces, if this garment did not interpose between their rage and the soule. Of this our Saviour speaks, John 16. 33. the sting cannot touch the skin till it pierce thorough the rayment. The arrow [Page 74] cannot wound the body till it pierce through the garment. Jesus Christ preserves his people from the devouring teeth of ungodly enraged men.

3. He defends them from the fiery assaults and on­sets of the devil. Simon, Simon, Satan hath de­sired to sift thee as wheat is sifted: but I have pray­ed for thee that thy faith may not faile, Luk. 22. 32. This roaring Lion would tear them into pieces, if this impenetrable garment were not betwixt his teeth and their soules. These fiery darts would strike to their very hearts, did not this garment dead them and beat them back againe. That the devil by his malice and power doth not destroy you, it is because you are cloathed with this garment. Could Satan either break tho­rough, or pluck off this garment, he would as soon prevaile over you, as he doth over o­thers.

4. He defends them from eternal wrath. God is in himself to sinful men a consuming fire, Heb. 12. 29. This fire doth not burne, nay it doth not singe the beleever, because he hath this garment upon him, 1 Thes. 1. 10. 'Tis a beleevers com­fort, that the wrath of God must burne Jesus Christ, before it can burne him. The hottest flames cannot so much as touch the body till they have burnt thorough the garments. The wrath of God cannot seize any more on Christ, he hath laine under it once for ever, and there­fore it shall never seize upon the beleever that is incircled about with Christ, as the body is with the garment. The fire cannot devoure the man while the screen stands between him and the flame; Jesus Christ is a beleevers screen, which stands continually between him and the [Page 75] devouring flame of Gods anger.

5. Garments are for the warmth of the body. 'Tis a great piece of the providencial care of God, that garments that have no heat in them, should give warmth to the body, Job 37. 17. The garments receive heat from the body, and then they keep the body warm, Job 31. 20. if he were not warmed with the fleece of my sheep. Jesus Christ is in this respect truly a gar­ment to the soul; he keeps the soule in a good warmth. There is indeed no spiritu­al warmth till Christ have wrought it, and when it is wrought, 'tis preserved by vertue of this garment. The two Disciples were very chill, as cold as yee till Christ wrought a holy heat in them; then they began to glow, yea, to burne; Did not our hearts burne within u [...], &c. Luke 24. 32? if you finde any holy heat with­in you, you are to attribute it to this heart-warming garment, as to the onely cause of it. The Ordinances would never heat you, if Christ did not first heat them. We are by nature as cold as that childe was, when his spirit was departed, 2 Reg. 4. 34. And yet Jesus Christ by laying himself upon us, chafes us into a lively warmth.

6. Garments are used for distinction. They dif­ference one sex from another. God would have the sexes distinguished visibly by their apparel, Deut. 22. 5. The man shall not put on that which appertaineth to the woman, &c. And as they distinguish sexes, so they should distinguish the conditions of men: they that weare soft ray­ment are in Kings Courts, Matth. 11. 8. The servant and Master now cannot be distinguished by their apparel unlesse it be thus, that the ser­vant [Page 76] excels, the Merchant and Mechanick, the Prince and Pesant scarce distinguished. God would have it otherwise, rayment should di­stinguish conditions as well as sexes. Christ in this regard is fitly compared to a garment. He distinguishes between the beleever and the unbe­leever, between the regenerate and the unre­generate, 2 Cor. 5. 17. If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature, and 2 Cor. 13. 5. know you not that Iesus Christ is in you except you be reprobates. God hath made Jesus Christ to be the distin­guishing character between him that shall be saved, and him that shall perish.

The Uses of this Point.

I. Behold Christs excellency. He is all in all. He is compared to all things that are both ne­cessary and excellent. He is life, he is meat and drink, he is a garment. Quid quaeras, saith Au­stin, See in Joh. 19. quod in illo non invenias? si esuris panis est, si sitis aqua, si in tenebris lumen est, si nudus es, immortalitatis tibi vestimentum. Ministers are bound upon all occasions to preach up Christ, that men may see their need of him, that they may be provoked into a good opinion of him. He is as needful for the soul, yea, more needful then garments are for the body. He is all good, he hath all good in him, and that in a transcen­dent manner. Quicquid velle potes & debes est Dominus Iesus Christus. Consider how farre he excels all other garments.

1. Iesus Christ is a large garment. Other garments can cover but one at once. One gar­ment cannot cloath several persons, no more then one morsel can feed several men. But Jesus [Page 77] Christ is a garment of such extent and dimensi­on, that he can cover many, though they be at never so great a distance. Should I feare saith Bernard, that Christs righteousnesse will not serve for him and me? No, Non est pallium breve, quod duos operire non potest. All the Elect of God, though they live in several Nations, though they be a multitude which no man can number, Rev. 7. 9. yet they are all cloathed, and all sufficiently cloathed with this one garment. I saw saith the Evangelist, a wonder in heaven, a woman cloathed with the Sun, Rev. 12. 1. This woman is the whole Church of God. This Sunne that covers the woman, is Christ the Sunne of righteousnesse, as he is called, Mal. 4. 1. His skirt is large enough to cover his whole Church, and yet never a member can complain of want.

2. Iesus Christ is a garment for every part. Your material garments will not serve every part. That which is proper for the head will not cover the loynes; that which fits the body will not fit the feet. Every part of the body hath a distinct cloathing which is onely proper for it self. But now Christ is a garment that fits every part. He is the Diadem or Crown upon the head, he is the robe upon the body, he is the shooes upon the feet, Luke 15. 22. Christ is a com­pleat suit of apparel, from head to foot the soul is perfectly cloathed.

3. Iesus Christ hath the uses of all garments. There is no one garment that serves for all uses to the body. Some Garments are good for covering, but they are not for beauty. Others serve for ornament and beauty, but they do not serve for defence. Some garments are good in [Page 78] the cold, but they are not so useful and fit in a time of heat. Persons that are of ability have several garments for several uses, because no one garment is fit for all. But Jesus Christ is a gar­ment for all uses to the soule. He is for co­vering, and for ornament, and for defence; as good for all uses as for any use. He is a Win­ter-garment, and he is a Summer-garment; he is as good for cooling as for heating. He is the travellors, and he is the labourers garment, and he is the souldiers garment. He is light for walking, thick for stormy weather; He is strong for fighting, and spiritual warring against Satan and his temptations. Christ suits all the occasions of the soule. He is wisdome, righteousnesse, sanctification and redemption, 1 Cor. 5. 30.

4. Jesus Christ is a garment fit for all sexes, for all sizes, for all conditions. No one garment will fit all bodies. That which is decency in one sex would be monstrousnesse on the other. That garment which fits a childe, would be unuseful to a grown man. That which is pro­per for the Subject, would be unsutable for the Princes weare. But now Christ is as proper for one as for another. He is as fit for the wo­man, as for the man; for the childe, as for the father; for the King, as for the Subject. As the Apostle saith in another case, we may say in this. There is neither Barbarian, Scythian, Jew nor Gentile, male nor female, bond nor free, but ye are all one in Christ, Col. 3. 11. God hath made Je­sus Christ a fit garment for the soules of all sorts of men. There is no soul too big, none too little, none too small, none too great for Jesus Christ to array and cover.

[Page 79] 5. Jesus Christ is a durable garment. All other garments are of a moldring nature. The moth corrupts them; old age takes away the beau­ty of them; the strongest and finest garments turne to rags by daily use. But Jesus Christ is a lasting garment; the moth cannot fret it, old age cannot weare it thin. Christ is now as fresh as when he was first put upon Adam in Paradise. When our bodily garments shall be pluckt off, yea, when the very garments of our bodies like the mantle of Elijah, shall fall into dust, then will this garment abide upon the soul as beautiful as now it is. The Lord did miraculously preserve the garments of the Isra­elites from waxing old, Deut. 8. 4. Though they were worne fourty yeares in the wildernesse, yet they were not threed-bare. Their bodies wasted, but their garments did not waste. They were as fresh when they came to Canaan as they were when they came out of Egypt. Jesus Christ, though he be worne every day, yet he doth not wax old. He is as fresh upon the soul on its dying day, as upon the first moment of its regeneration.

6. Jesus Christ is a free garment. All that is required on mens part is to put him on. He is provided without our cost, without our care. Though he be the most costly garment in him­selfe, yet he is the most cheap garment in the world. Other garments cannot be had with­out money, Christ is obtained without money, without price. The Scripture speaks of buying him, Rev. 3. 18. this buying is free receiving. The Prophets expound the phrase, Esay 55. 1. Buy milk and wine without money, without price. Indeed this garment is so invaluably rich, that [Page 80] all the treasure in the world cannot purchase one inch of it. He that dreames of buying Christ, shall die without Christ.

II. Behold the sufficiency of Christ for spiritual life. Two things are necessary for the bodily life, food and rayment, 1 Tim. 6. 8. Jesus Christ is both food and rayment. He is set out as rayment in Baptisme. Gal. 3. 27. and he is held out as food in the Sacrament of the Supper. He is every way sufficient for all the concern­ments of the soule; he feeds it, he cloaths it, and that with the best food, and the best ray­ment, with himself. His flesh is meat, his blood is drink, his righteousnesse is cloathing, substan­tial durable cloathing.

III. The misery of those that are without Christ. All men are by nature strangers to Christ, Eph. 2. 12. He that is without Christ, is without spi­ritual rayment, he is a naked man. The Scrip­ture calls the state of nature a state of naked­nesse, Ezek. 16. 4, 8. and Rev. 3. 18. A naked conditi­on is a miserable condition. Nakednesse is a very comprehensive word. A naked man is exposed to the scorn of every eye, its a shameful object, Rev. 3. 18. A naked man is exposed to every storm; eve­ry shower wets him, every wind pierces him. A na­ked man is unfit for employment; he is neither fit to fight, nor to labour. Such as are without Christ are unspeakably miserable. Their condi­tion is full of shame, their condition is full of danger; they have nothing to cover them from Gods wrath, from the devils rage. They have nothing to warme their hearts when they are cold with feares, terrors, despaires, and spi­ritual anguish. A naked body amongst dar [...]s and swords, is not such a spectacle of compas­sion [Page 81] as a naked soule exposed to the arrows of Gods wrath. They are as unfit for any work, as the naked man is for labour and travel, Vid. Esay 3. 6. he that is without Christ, hath neither bread nor rayment.

IV. The misery of those that reject Christ. None but mad men and barbarous men reject cloathing. 'Tis the character of a distracted mad-man to refuse raiment. Vid. Luke 8. 27. You read a sad story of a man possessed with a Legion of devils, and the text saith, he wore no cloathes; his madnesse is evidenced by that that he would suffer no cloathes to be put upon him; for v. 35. When Christ had cured him, the text saith, he sate at the feet of Jesus cloathed, and in his right minde. 'Tis a signe that that man is spiritually possessed with a Legion of devils, that will not be cloathed with this spiritual garment. And yet the world is full of these spiritual Bed­lams. They will go naked. Let Ministers say what they will, let the spirit of God use never so much importunity, they will not be cloath­ed. They will have none of Christ. These garments are hanged out every day in the pub­lick market, yea, men are intreated to take them even without money, and yet they will not. Is it not just that such men should be buried in hell in their own rags, that will not embrace Christ that they may be cloathed with eternal salvation.

V. None so well arrayed as Saints. Dives had purple, &c. Luke 16. 19. They have Christ.

VI. Here is comfort for poor Christians, coun­sel for proud men, you that will have the best apparel and new fashion.

VII. When you put on your garments, think of [Page 82] Christ. A serious Christian may spirituallize every thing he useth or beholds.

VIII. Hinder none from Christ, Exod. 22. 27, 28. Job 24. 7. Amos 2. 8.

Doct. 2. 'Its the duty of men to put on the Lord Jesus Christ. This is often recommended to us in Scripture. Two things I shall briefly open.

1. What it is to put on Christ, How we must put him on. 2. Why we must put him on.

1. Christ is put on two wayes. There is a double putting on of Christ.

1. A putting on of Christ for justification. When by faith we apply him unto our selves, by faith for righteousnesse. The Apostle tells us that Christ is made unto us of God justification, 1 Cor. 1. 30. He is called Jehovah, our righte­ousnesse, Jer. 23 6. 'Tis by his righteousnesse that the beleever is constituted righteous in foro Dei; which is by an act of grace of God imputing and reckoning this perfect righteous­nesse of Christ unto him, as his own righteous­nesse. Now then doth a person put on Christ, when by an act of faith, he doth apply Christ and his righteousnesse unto himself for justifica­tion. This was that which the Apostle desired, Phil. 3. 9 That he might be found in Christ, not having his own righteousnesse which is by the Law, but that which is by the faith of Iesus Christ, the righ­teousnesse of God by faith. When this righte­ousnesse is actually applied, received, relied up­on, then is Christ put on: This is one piece.

2. A putting on of Christ by imitation. When we imitate the gracious life of Christ. This re­fers to Sanctification, and new obedience. To put on Christ, is virtute Spiritus Christi undique nos munire, quâ idonei ad omnes partes sanctitatis [Page 83] reddamur, Calvin. And so Erasmus. In as much as ye are spiritually ingraffed into Christ, hunc ipsum induite, eluceat in omni vitâ quem sitis pro­fessi, exprimite quem imbibistis, &c. Zuinglius. When we apply his righteousnesse for our justi­fication, when we put on his example, and expresse his vertues in a course of sanctification, then, and not till then do we put on Christ as the Scripture requires.

II. Why we must put him on. There is good reason. I might be large in each, but I shall onely give general Reasons.

1. Christ is of no effect to us if we do not put him on. Garments neither warm, nor cover, nor defend, nor adorne the body if they be not put on. Christ is rendred invalid to such as do not apply him. His righteousnesse will not justifie you, if you do not by faith put it on as a garment. His holy life will do you no good if you do not imitate it. His righteousnesse will perish as to you; his vertues will be lost as to you, if you do not actually put on both. The Apostle speaks of making Christ of no effect, Gal. 5. 4.

2. If we do not put on Christ both these wayes, we can have no hopes of salvation. If Jesus Christ be not put on for righteousnesse, there is no remission of sinne, All our guilt is imputed to our selves. 'Tis by the imputation of his righteousnesse that our sins are covered, Rom. 5. 20. And where there is no remission, there can be no salvation. And if we do not put on the vertues of Christ in a course of sanctification, we can have no Scripture-hope of heaven. The Apostle is expresse for this. He that hath this hope, purifieth himself as Christ is pure, 1 Joh. 3. 3. [Page 84] Our Justification is by Christs righteousnesse, and our Sanctification is an evidence of our Justifica­tion. Ergo.

The Uses of this.

1. What shall we say of those that instead of putting on Christ, put on their own works and du­ties? The Papists teach their proselytes to co­ver themselves not with Christ and his righteous­nesse, but with their own works, and their own righteousnesse. They call Impu [...]tive righteous­nesse in scorn putative righteousnesse. Well! let them cloath themselves with their own fleece, but let us be cloathed onely with Christs righ­teousnesse. Our own righteousnesse is too thin, and too narrow, it will neither cover us, nor warme us, Esay 28. 20. our own righteousnesse is a soiled garment, a very filthy rag, Esay 64. 6. The Apostle Paul, was as touching the righteous­nesse of the Law blamelesse, Phil. 3. 6. and yet he durst not appeare before God in the day of judgement in that garment, but in the garment of Christs righteousnesse, Phil. 3. 9. Let us there­fore abhor this Doctrine; rather take Christs counsel, then Antichrists counsel. Antichrists ad­vice is, buy of him, &c. but Christs counsel is to buy of him precious rayment, Rev. 3. 18. Let us rather be advised by the Churches Counsellor Christ, Isa. 9. 6 then by him who is next to Satan the Churches greatest outward destroyer.

2. What shall we say of those that instead of putting on Christ by imitation put on the devil. Instead of expressing the vertues of Jesus Christ, hold out the vices of Satan; live inordinately, unholily, serving divers lusts and pleasures, full of envy, malice, intemperance, covetousnesse, licentious­nesse of every kinde; instead of putting on Christ [Page 85] themselves, they hate, persecute all those that do thus put him on. Let them know, they that will not put on Christ by sanctification, shall not put him on for justification. He is made of God to us, wis­dome, righteousnesse, sanctification, redemption, 1 Cor. 1. 30. He that rejects him as to sanctifi­cation, shall be rejected by him as to righteous­nesse and redemption.

3. Be intreated to put on Christ. Put him on both these wayes.

1. Put him on for righteousnesse. 1. Have you not all need of him? are you not unrighteous? are ye not under guilt? If your righte­ousnesses be as filthy rags, what are your un­righteousnesses? 2. Is there any other garment that will carry you dry thorough the dreadful storms of Gods wrath? you must make another Scripture if you will finde another garment. Gods Scripture mentions no other covering but Gods righteousnesse. Read and remember that Text, Rom. 9. 30, 31, 32. 3. Undervalue not the great love, and deep design of God in providing his Son for your rayment, He is made unto us of God wisdome, righteousnesse, 1 Cor. 1. 30. Therefore cal­led the righteousnesse of God, Phil. 3. 9. 4. God will accept of nothing you do till you be invest­ed in this garment. He will own none that come not in his own livery. You shall have no blessing, yea you shall have his curse, if you have not the kid-skins of Christs righteousnesse upon your necks, and upon the smooth of your hands; your elder brothers garments must be on you, else you cannot be blessed. Now that you may put on Christ, you must (1) put off all thoughts of your own worth. These are inconsistent, Phil. 3. 7, 8, 9. 2. Beg of him that he would cloath [Page 86] you. Lie at his feet, as Ruth did at the feet of Boaz, and say, Spread thy skirt over me, for thou art my neer kinsman, Ruth 3. 9. I conclude this with comparing those two Scriptures, Jer. 23. 6. with Jer. 33▪ 16. in the first, Christ is called the Lord our righteousnesse, in the other the Church is so called. 1. Because that which is proper to the head, is common to all the members. 2. They are as willing to apply Christs righteousnesse, as he is to communicate it.

2. Put him on by a holy imitation. Walk as Christ walked. 1. Christianity consists chiefly in this. Christianity is imitatio divinae naturae, 1 Pet. 2. 21. 2. 'Tis one end of Christs incarnation. He be­came man, that that might be a perfect pat­tern of holinesse in our nature. 3. He that doth not imitate his life, shall have no benefit by his death, 1 Pet. 2. 21.

ESAY 32. 2.And a man shall be as a hiding place VIII. SERM. a [...] Mary Wolnoth. Lon. Feb. 8. 1651. from the winde.

IN this Chapter we have a glo­rious prophecy of the spiritu­al Kingdome of Christ. It's written by the Prophet for the consolation of the Church in her present afflicted condition. This Prophecy hath four parts.

1. The constitution of this Kingdome, ver. 1. to 9.

2. An exhortation given unto the people, by repentance to prevent the miseries which should happen before the constitution of this Kingdom, v. 9. to 15.

3. A description of that good which the god­ly should receive from this Kingdom, v. 15, 16, 17, 18, 19.

4. The conclusion of all in that Epiphonema, v. 20. wherin the Prophet compares the people of God to those happy husbandmen, who are in expectation of a plentiful harvest, after their la­bours and cost in tilling and sowing. Blessed are they that sow beside all waters, that send [Page 88] forth thither the feet of the oxe and the asse. In the constitution of this Kingdom two things are to be observed.

(1.) The safe administration of it. This is in the two former verses. Behold a King, &c. By King, we are to understand Christ the King of his Church; by Princes we are to understand those that do under Christ administer this King­dome. 'Tis an allegory taken from humane Kingdomes, in which the King himselfe, and all his officers do administer in righteousnesse. The safety of this government is expressed in the second verse, And a man shall be as a hi­ding-place from the winde, &c.

2. The true simplicity of it in the publick and private administration of all things, and all persons, ver. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. And the eyes of them that see shall not be dim, &c. the administration of this Kingdome shall be with sincerity as well as safety. God would give men eyes to see and eares to hear. Those that before were spiritually blind and deaf, should now have spiritual eyes to see, and ears to hear. Those that were rash and heady, should now understand knowledge, those that stammerd in the things of Christ should now speak plainly, v. 3, 4. yea, there should be such simplicity in the administration of this King­dome, that vices should not be called any more by the names of vertues; evil should not be called good, nor good evil, but every thing should be called by its own name, ver. 5, 6, 7, 8. The vile person shall be no more called liberal, nor the churle said to be b [...]untiful, &c. Holinesse shall be called holinesse, covetousnesse covetous­nesse, basenesse shall be called basenesse under this spiritual Kingdom of Christ.

[Page 89] The Text falls under the first of these; viz. the safe administration of this Kingdome. And a man, &c. we may divide it into two parts. 1. A danger hinted, Winde. 2. A remedy discovered, in which are,

1. The Protector. A man. 'Tis ille vir [...] with an Article, this man. 'Tis the King men­tioned in the former verse; he that is there called King, is here called a man. 'Tis Christ who is a man, and more then a man, God-man. This is the Protector.

2. The Protection. This is set down by way of comparison. Here are foure resemblances. 1. As a hiding place from the winde. 2. As a covert from the tempest. 3. As rivers of water in a drie place. 4. As the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. I am now to speak of the first, namely, a hiding place from the winde. By winde we are to understand, troubles, afflictions, tempe­stuous stormes, whether they be outward or in­ward. Here are four words which all signifie one and the same thing; onely they are varyed a lit­tle, that they may be fitted to the several meta­phors: winde, tempest, a dry place, a weary land, Trials, tribulations, temptations are usually called winde in Scripture, as Matth. 25. 27. The raine descended, and the windes blew, and the floods came, &c. Two Observations lie cleere in the Text.

1. That godly men must expect windy days e­ven in the times of the Gospel.

2. That Jesus Christ is a hiding place to be­leevers in all the windy dayes which they meet with in this life.

I shall begin with the first, viz.

Doct. 1. That godly men must expect to meet [Page 90] with windy dayes even under the Kingdome of Christ: Christs Kingdom, though it be a glori­ous Kingdome, yet it is not without stormy windes and tempests. There is under the King­dome of Christ a great deal of inward peace, se­renity and calmnesse under the Kingdome of Christ. The Scripture foretels this, Psal. 72. 7. In his dayes shall the righteous flourish, and abun­dance of peace, so long as the moone endureth, Esay 32. 17, 18. The work of righteousnesse shall be peace, &c. And my people shall dwell in a peace­able habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in qui­et resting places. And the Scripture makes mention of external peace and quietnesse which shall be under the Kingdome of Christ, Esay 11. 6, 7, 8. The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, &c. And, Mic. 4. 3, 4 He shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong Nations afar off; and they shall break their swords into plow-shares, and their spears into pruning books, &c. These and many prophecies of this nature are yet, I suppose, to be fulfilled, and they shall have their accomplishment before the end of this life. But yet beleevers are to meet with windy dayes even in Gospel times.

1. Windy dayes of outward troubles. Out­ward afflictions of all sorts are to be expected, sicknesse, weaknesse, poverty, reproach, perse­cution and all other evils. These windes have blown very sharp upon the Apostles, Disciples, Martyrs, and other servants of God in their ge­nerations; yea, upon whole Churches, the seven Churches are overturned by them. And they do so continue to this very day. Through many tribulations we must enter into the Kingdome of hea­ven. This was Pauls Doctrine, Act. 14. 22. Ye [Page 91] shall have tribulation ten days; this message is sent by Christ to the Church of Smyrna, Rev. 3. 10. And our Saviour himself foretold the Church before his departure, that these winds would arise, Joh. 16. 33. In the world ye shall have tribulation. And Rev. 11. 22. the holy City is given unto the Gentiles to be trod under foot fourty two moneths, and ver. 3. of that Chapter, the witnesses shall for the space of one thousand two hundred sixty dayes (which is the whole time of Antichrists reigne) prophecy in sackcloth; and to this very day we see they have their sackcloth upon their loynes. Till the fall of Antichrist these windy dayes will not be over.

2. Windy dayes of inward troubles; Tempta­tions, desertions, inward fears and shakings in the soul. There will be these spiritual earth­quakes and agonies in the soules of Gods peo­ple even in Gospel-times. This winde did beat violently upon the Apostles; without were sight­ings, within were feares, 2 Cor. 7. 5. Paul felt these windes make a horrible noise in his bowels, in those fierce buffettings of Satan which he speaks of, 2 Cor. 12. 7. yea, these windes blew fiercely upon Christ himself, when he uttered those doleful words; Eli, Eli, Lamasab achthani, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Mat. 27. [...]6. And if the King of the Church met with such a windy day of temptation, as we read, Mat. 4. init. and of desertion, as we read in this Text; the subjects must expect to meet with them. I shall give you a treble account of this point.

1. There is a devil, an Antichrist, wicked men even under Christs Kingdom.

2. There is sinne under the Gospel. And where [Page 92] there is sinne, there cannot but be windes. The winde is (as the Philosopher teacheth us) an exhalation arising from the earth, drawn up­wards by the power of the Sunne, which meet­ing with the cold of the middle region of the aire, is beaten back againe; it is so light that it cannot descend, and so violently resisted that it cannot ascend, therefore it is carried aslaunt with a mighty violence through the aire. The matter of windes is an exhalation mixed for the Magir. Phys. most part with vapours, from whence it is that the winde is sometimes moist. The same exhalations or vapours inclosed in the bowels of the earth, and not finding an open passage cause an earthquake. Sinne is the matter of spiritual windes without, and spiritual earth­quakes within. Now as there will be windes and earthquakes where there is the matter of them; so there cannot but be the windes of outward troubles, and the earthquakes of spiri­tual troubles where sinne is, which doth ingen­der and breed both these. Now the peo­ple of God sinne under the Gospel, and from their sinnes do these windes and earthquakes proceed. Sinne creates stormes in Gospel-dayes.

3. These windes are for the advantage of be­leevers even under the Gospel; ye are in afflicti­on if need be, through manifold temptations, 1 Pet 16. The windes are not more necessary for the world, then these windes are for the soules of Gods people even in Gospel times; I shall shew you the usefulnesse of the windes of heaven for the earth, and shew you the useful­nesse of these spiritual windes in the same respects to the soul. Consider the parallel in five things.

[Page 93] 1. The winde is useful for purification. The winde cleanseth and sweetens the aire, carries away & disperses noysom and infectious vapours that are hurtful to the bodies of men and other creatures; the winde is ventilabrum naturae, na­tures fan by which all putrefying vapours are driven away, Vid. Job 37. 21. Men see not the bright light which is in the clouds: but the winde passeth and cleanseth them. These spiritual winds, both inward and outward have, when sanctified by God, a purifying vertue. Those corrupt­ing infectious mists and vapours of sinne which pollute the soule, are purged and driven away by the blasts of these windes. Dan. 11. 35. Many shall fall, [...]o try them, and to purge them, and to make them white. No soule is ordinarily so full of infectious savour as those that want these windes. Moab hath been at ease from his youth, &c, Esay 48. 11. And no Christians have such sweet soules as those that are frequently visit­ed with these windes of trouble. Corruption will hardly fasten where these windes do or­dinarily blow. Saints have foggy souls in Gospel­times.

2. The winde hath a searching vertue. It's a pe­netrating creature; If there be the least chink or cranie, the winde will finde it out. As the light findes out the least hole, so doth the winde. These spiritual windes are of a searching and discovering nature. Temptati­ons, desertions, outward troubles, will search the very inward parts of the soul. Christians have found out those defects in themselves, which they could never espy till God sent these windes to blow upon them. Many holes and cranies they have seen in their own spirits; which [Page 94] they could never discerne till these windy days arose upon them. He openeth their years to dis­cipline, and shews them wherein they have exceed­ed, Job 36. 9. Transgressions, excesses, and spi­ritual defects too are found out by these winds and tempests. Our Saviour layes down this useful effect of these tempestuous dayes, Mat. 7. 25, 27. the winds blew, &c. and it fell not, &c. Great windes do discover whether your houses be made of firme timber, or of shaking rotten wood. These spiritual windes are great disco­verers, especially if they be in extremity. A sword shall pierce through thine own soul also, that the thoughts of many hearts may be discovered. The words of Simeon to the Virgin-Mary, Luke 2. 35. the stony ground is not discovered till these windes arise, but then 'tis fully discover­ed, Mat. 13. 20, 21. No Christian knows him­selfe so thoroughly as he that hath travelled thorough these gusts of trouble. Peter did not know his own weaknesse till these high windes had searched him; then he saw the unworthy fear and Apostasie of his own heart, Mat. 26. 70, 72, 74. Peter did not know his own di­strustfulnesse till the winde began to be boi­strous, then he saw he could sink as well as ano­ther man, Mat. 14. 30. Saints need self-discovery under Christs Kingdome.

3. The winde hath a cooling vertue. When the aire is heated by the scortching beames of the Sunne, the winde passeth thorough it, and brings it into a coole temper againe. These spiritual windes coole the soul. Christians are sometimes scalding-hot in the pursuit of the world, or perhaps of some sinne. God stirs up these windes and cooles that heat. Some [Page 95] sharp winde of distresse of conscience, some gust of temptation, some piercing blast of trouble abares those feverish heats, removes that eager­nesse which was before in the soul after things that cannot profit. That winde of God that blew in Pauls face, coold that zeal for perse­cution which was in his heart, Acts 9. 1, 3, 4.

4. The wind makes men keep their garments closer about them. You have heard of the fable of the Sunne and the Winde striving for the Tra­vellers cloak; the issue was, the Sunne got it; the more violently the Winde blew, the faster he held it. These spiritual Windes make the soul look better to his spiritual garments; he holds all his graces faster then, then at another time. He keeps his faith, his hope, his patience, his integrity tackt close about him. Job never was so careful of keeping his garments, as when he met with these windes. Vid. Chap. 27. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. As God liveth saith he, who hath taken away my judgement, &c. All that while my breath is in me, &c. my righteousnesse I hold fast and will not let it go, till I die I will not remove my integrity from me. Souldiers never keep their armour so carefully as when they come to an en­counter. Christians are never so careful of their spiritual harnesse as when the windes of tribula­tion and temptation beat upon them; And we have need to keep our garments even under the Gospel.

5. The winde hath an awakening power. When it lifts up its voice with violence, the noise is so dreadful, that sleep is taken away from those that heare it. The Mariner cannot sleep when the windes are up. The Ship-master wondred [Page 96] that Jonah could sleep when the Windes were so high, and the Sea so raging, Jonah 1. 6. These spiritual Windes awaken the soule out of sloath and carnal security. When there is an earthquake of inward trouble in the consci­ence; when there is a tempest of outward trouble upon the body, the soul is made more watchful then ever it was; if these stormes be sanctified it will be so. Psal. 78. 4. Thou holdest mine eyes waking, saith Asaph. That storme of temptation which then lay upon him, kept the eyes of his soul waking, as well as the eyes of his body. That earthquake which was at mid­night, when Paul and Silas sang praises to God, awakened the sleepy Jaylor, Act. 16. 26, 27. the natural conscience is startled by such providences, much more is the regenerate conscience. These Windes are Gods Physick which he useth to remove spiritual security; and God will make it effectual to accomplish his end. Jonah slept a while, but God did awake him both in his sleepy body, and more sleepy soule, before these windes ceased blowing, Mat. 26, 40, 41, 43. Saints under the Gospel have need of awaken­ing.

The Uses of this.

Use 1. Expect these windy dayes. Do not think that now the Gospel is come, now Christs Kingdome is set up, stormes are at an end. God doth every day confute this folly. The end of one tempest hath been the be­ginning of another. Hitherto it hath been so, and we can see nothing to make us think that it shall yet be otherwise. If you beleeve not this truth, you will have little benefit by [Page 97] the next doctrine. The windes will be very high in the Church of God. This is evident in Scripture; however it be, this is our comfort; These Windes if we be godly, will blow us fa­ster to heaven; and the higher the Windes are, the neerer is the calme. Expect outward storms. Expect inward tempests. Do not beleeve your selves to be past either of these. Our former storms may perhaps prove calm weather, if they be compared with our future tempests. Prepa­ring for them will be no prejudice if they never come. When you are out of one temptation, look for another before Antichrists utter down-fall.

Use 2. Get good provision against these win­dy dayes come. Take to your selves the whole Armour of God that ye may stand when the Winds are at the highest. Whether they be tem­pests without, or stormes within; outward blasts, or inward earthquakes. 'Tis the Apostles coun­sel, Eph. 6. 13, 14. God that foretels evil dayes, hath provided Armour of proofe against those dayes. Take this Armour. 1. No other Armour will serve, Sauls Armour will not serve Gods soul­diers. 2. This Armour will serve, it was never battered, it will never be broken. Take it there­fore and put it on. 1. Put it on wholly. 2. Put it on speedily. 3. Use it when it is on. 4. When you have done all, hide your selves in Christ, who is here called for their comfort, Latibulum à ven­to: of which comfortable point I shall speak the next time.

ESAY 32. 2.And a man shall be as a hiding place IX. SERM. at Mary Wolnoth. Lon. Feb. 15. 1651. from the winde.

TWo things I observed in this Text.

1. A danger intimated, in this word, Winde.

2. A remedy prescribed, A man shall be as a hiding place.

The Observations were two.

1. That Christians must expect to meet with windy dayes, even under the Kingdome of Christ. Of which I have spoken.

Doct 2. That Jesus Christ is the beleevers hiding place in all the windy dayes which they meet withal in the world.

He is latibulum, or Absconsio à vento, whe­ther they be windy dayes of outward trouble, or windy dayes of inward trouble, temptation, desertion, discouraging feares and terrours. Christ is a hiding place to them in all these days and in all these cases. Here are foure words used in this text, which set out this hiding ver­tue that is in Christ, hiding place, covert, rivers of water, sha [...]ow of a rock. Many other Scrip­tures bear pregnant testimony to this truth. [Page 99] Esay 4. 5, 6. The Lord will creat [...] upon Mount Sion, upon every dwelling place of Mount Sion, and upon all her assemblies, a cloud, &c. This is spoken of Christ the beautiful branch of the Lord, v. 2. This glorious and beautiful branch, the root of the stock of Jesse shall be a cloud, and smoak, a defence, a Tabernacle, a shadow, a place of refuge, a covert, and that not to one, but to every dwelling place of Mount Sion, and to all her Assemblies. To this agrees that of our Saviour, Cant. 2. 14. O my dove that art in the clefts of the rock, and in the secret place of the staires. Jesus Christ is this cleft of the rock, he is this secret place of the staires. Christ is called Shiloh, Gen. 49. 10. Shiloh is from the root [...] which signifies in quiet [...] vel pace a­gere, tranquille & in otio vivere, all safety is in Christ. The tunicle in which the infant is wrapt in the mothers belly, is called by the Hebrews Shiloh, because it lies there securely out of fear. In the prosecution of this point, I shall open these three things.

  • 1. What it is in Christ that is a hiding place.
  • 2. What it is of theirs that Christ hides.
  • 3. Why Christ is a hiding place to them.

1. There are several things in Jesus Christ which make up this hiding place: indeed every thing in Christ is a hiding place. I shall instance in some.

1. The providence of Christ. The Scripture tells us that the eyes of the Lord runne to and fro thoroughout the earth, 2 Chron. 16. 9. Jesus Christ hath the same watchful eyes of provi­dence [Page 100] over his people that the Father hath, Col. 3. 17. By him all things consist. It's one Argument Divines bring to prove Christs divi­nity, because be governs the world by his pro­vidence, as the Father doth, John 5. 17. My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. It's meant of his providential working. And Heb. 1. 3. Christ is said to uphold all things by the Word of his Power, which is an act of providence. Now as Christ by his providence watcheth over all things and and creatures; so do his eyes watch continually over his people. Esay 27. 3. I the Lord do keep it, I will keep it night and day. This is one great stone of this biding place.

2. The Attributes of Christ. All the Divine Attributes are ascribed to Christ as well as to the Father. Eternity, Micah 5. 2. Almightinesse, Esa [...] 9. 6. Omniscience, Heb. 4. 13. It's spoken of Christ our high Priest. Wisdome, Prov. 9. 1. He is called God onely wise, Jude 25. All these Attributes are as so many stones that make this hiding place. Prov. 18. 10. The Name of the Lord is a strong Tower. Christs name the Prophet men­tions, Esay 9. [...]. Wonderful, Counsellor, &c. every one of these names is a room in this hiding place.

3. The Promises of Christ. All the promises of God are in Christ yea, and in him Amen, 2 Cor. 1. 20. Christ hath purchased them; they all have their ratification and accomplishment in Christ. The Scripture is full of promises of all sorts; of protection, provision, deliverance, sal­vation. Every promise is a piece of this hiding-place. Ps. 18. 30. The Word of the Lord is tryed. He is a buckler to them that trust in him. Christs Word of Promise is the souls defence.

4. The merits of Christ. Christ hath by the [Page 101] shedding of his blood merited for his Elect whatsoever is necessary. These merits are a beleevers hiding place. O my dove that art in the clefts of the rock, Cant. 2. 14. those foramina petrae are vulnera Christ [...]. There the beleever hides himself in the time of danger. As the dove when she is pursued flies to her windows; so the beleever flies to the wounds of Christ, and there is hid.

5. The intercession of Christ. The Scripture tells us that Christ appeares continually before the Father for us, he is still moving for us at the right hand of God. His Intercession in heaven is the beleevers Sanctuary on earth. So the A­postle tells us in two places, Heb. 6. 18, 19, 20. and Heb. 7. 25. He is able to save, &c. be­cause he lives for ever to make Intercession for us. Christ directs Peter to this, Luke 22. 31.

2. What it is of a beleever that Christ is a hi­ding place unto.

1. Christ is a hiding place to the outward man. He hides that in time of stormes, Christ hides that two wayes.

(1.) Sometimes he hides it from danger. He keeps his people from the rage of them that would swallow them. Thus the Church was hid, Rev, 12. 6. The woman fled into the Wil­dernesse, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred sixty dayes. Thus David was often hid from the fury of Saul, and his Courtiers that sought his life.

(2) Sometimes God hides it in danger. That though his people be in danger, yet they are not destroyed. Thus the Church was hid in Egypt. The bush was burning, & yet was not consumed, Ex. 3. 2.

[Page 102] 2. Christ is a hiding place to the inward man. And herein he excells all other hiding pla­ces.

(1) He hides the soul from sinne. The best of his people would sinne more frequently, and more grievously, if Jesus Christ did not hide them from sin.

(2) He hides the soule from temptations. He chaines up Satan from tempting them, that he cannot bait them so furiously as he would; and when he suffers Satan to tempt, he doth not suffer them to be utterly overcome. Thus he was a hiding place to Peter, Luke 22. 31. Thus he was a hiding place to Saint Paul, 2 Cor. 12. 7. Though he did not hide him from being buffetted, yet he hid him from being vanquished by those buffettings.

(3) He hides their graces. Their faith, their hope, their patience, their humility, &c. were not Christ a hiding place to their very graces; they would wither, they would die, they would come to nothing: he hides the root of grace, keeps that warme that it pe­rish not, yea he so hides it, as that he makes it fructifie.

(4) He hides their joy, their peace of conscience. Our comforts have need of Christs protection, as well as our graces. Should not he be a hi­ding to our inward peace and joy; the winde of terrour and temptation would soone blow them away. In the world ye shall have tribulation, but in me ye shall have peace, John 16. 33. Our peace is built upon Christ, our peace is laid up in Christ, our peace is preserved and defended by Christ. The Devil would soone quench our joy, if Christ were not a hiding place to it. Jesus [Page 103] Christ is in every place, and in every thing a hi­ding place to his people.

3. Why Christ is a hiding place to them. There is a double ground of it. Necessity. Convenience

I. It's necessary that Christ should be their hiding place. This necessity is grounded upon a double consideration.

1. Beleevers want a hiding place. They are exposed to many enemies, to many dangers. The world, the devil, the flesh are assailing, pursu­ing, making attempts upon them every day, and that several wayes. Luther was wont to com­pare the Church to a poor weak Virgin in a wilde Wildernesse, where there is nothing but ravenous creatures that seek her life. Our Sa­viours comparison is somewhat like it, Lak. 10. 3. Behold, I send you forth as sheep among wolves. Joseph is a fruitful bough. The Archers have shot at him, &c. Gen. 49. 23, 24, 25. Beleevers are in this world in a strange land; they are not of the world, and therefore the world hates them. They want a hiding place for their bo­dies, for their soules, for their graces, for their comforts. The chicken doth not want the wing and the nest, more then they do a hiding place.

2. There is none other besides Jesus Christ that can be a hiding place for them.

First, they cannot be hiding places to themselves. They are weak and foolish, they expose them­selves to danger; they know not well how to hide themselves in Christ, much more unable are they to be protectors to themselves. Should [Page 104] Christ leave the best of us to our selves, we should be our own Butchers, not Pro­tectours.

Secondly, no other creature can protect and hide them. Kings and Princes, they cannot hide us, Psalme 146. 3. and if they cannot, in­feriour men are much more unable. Horses and Armies, they cannot be a hiding place to us, Psalme 33. 16, 17. They are soon routed and scattered. If they could be hi­ding places to our bodies, yet surely to ou [...] soules they cannot. Gold and Silver cannot be a hiding place to us. Though men say to their wedge of Gold, thou art my confi­dence, Job 31. 24. yet will not mountains of Gold and silver be safe hiding places in the day of trouble. The Holy Angels cannot be hiding places to us. They are but sub­protectors; they do but spread Christs wings over us The truth is, all creatures want hiding places for themselves. The best of creatures are but as the Dyal, they cast no shadow unlesse the Sunne shine upon them. The best of creatures is like Jonahs Gourd, the least worm eats them thorough and thorough in a short time.

II. There is Convenience as well as Necessity. It's very expedient that Christ should be a hi­ding place to beleevers.

First, he hath all qualifications that may fit him for this work.

1. He hath strength. A hiding place must be locus munitissimus. Paper houses will ne­ver be good hiding places. Houses made of reeds or rotten timber will not be fit places for men to hide themselves in. Je­sus [Page 105] Christ is a place of strength. He is the rock of ages. His name is the Mighty God▪ Esay 9. 6.

2. He hath height. A hiding place must be locus excelsissimus, Your low houses are soon scaled. Jesus Christ is a high place; he is as high as Heaven. He is the Jacobs ladder that reacheth from earth to Heaven, Genesi [...] 28. 12. He is too high for men, too high for Devils; no creature can skale these high Walls.

3. He hath secret places. A hiding place must be locus abditissimus. The more secret, the more safe. Now Jesus Christ hath many secret chambers that no creatures can ever finde, Ca [...]icles 2. 14. O my Dove that art in the secret places of the staires! As Christ hath hidden comforts which no man knows but he that receiveth them; so he hath hid­den places of secrecy, which none can finde out but he that dwells in them. Come my people, en­ter into thy chambers, and shut the doors upon thee, Esay 26. 20.

4. Christ is faithful. He that will hide others, had need be very faithful. A false hearted Protector is worse then an open pursuer; Will the men of Keilah deliver me up, saith David? They will deliver thee up, saith the Lord; but now Christ is faithful, Revelations 3. 14. He is the faithful wit­nesse; He cannot be bribed to surrender up any creature that comes to hide himself with him. Christ will die before he will betray his trust.

[Page 106] 5. Christ i [...] diligent. Diligence is as ne­cessary in those that will hide others, as faith­fulnesse. A sleepy Guard may betray a Ca­stle or Garison, as well as a faithlesse Guard. But Jesus Christ is very diligent and watch­full, he hath his Intelligencers abroad; yea, his own eyes runne to and fro in the earth, to see what contrivances are made, and set on foot against those who are hid with him, Psal. 121. 3, 4. He that keepeth Israel, neither slumbreth nor sleepeth.

2. Ground.—Christ is fit in re­gard of that propriety he hath in his Saints. All his Relations make him a fit hiding place.

First, He is the Captaine General of the Church. The Church is compared to an Ar­my with Banners; Christ is the General of this Army, Joshuah 5. 13, 14. It was Christ the Angell of the Covenant; whom God hath made a Leader and Commander to the people, as the Prophet calls him, Esay 55. 4. Who should secure the Souldiers but the General?

Secondly, He is the Churches King. Psalme 2. 6. The Kings Court is the Subjects hiding place. Nebuchadnezzars dream, Dan. 4. 12. shews that Kings should be shelters to their Subjects.

Thirdly, He is the Churches shepherd, John 10. 11, 12. Shepherds are to secure their flocks. David slew the Lion that tore the flock.

Fourthly, He is the Churches Father, Isaiah 9. 6. The Fathers house is the childes [Page 107] Castle. The childe when he is purs [...]ed makes streight to his Fathers lap, and there he is hid.

Fifthly, He is the Churches Husband, Ephes. 5, 25. The house of the husband is the wives Garison. There she is hid and protected, as well as nourished.

ESAY 32. 2.And a man shall be as a hiding place X. SERM. at Mary Wol­noth. Lon. Feb. 22. 1651. from the winde.

THe Doctrine was, that Jesus Christ is unto a Beleever a hiding place from-the Winde.

The Uses are three Information. Exhortation. Consolation.

1. For Information. This consists of foure Branches.

1. That Beleevers are Christo chari, very preci­ous in the esteem of Christ. Beleevers are persons of great worth. They are called excellent ones, Psal. 16. 3. They are more excellent then any persons in the world besides. They are flowers, roses and lilies, the best of flowers, Cant. 2. 2. They are fine gold, others are the drosse of silver, Jer. 6. ult. They are wheat, others are Lam. 4. 2. but chaff, Mat. 13. 30. They are precious stones, others are but common stones; They are light, others are darknesse. Their worth appeares by this, that Jesus Christ hides them in times of danger. Men do not use to hide rubbish or lumber; but their jewels, their writings, things [Page 109] of value. The Saints are the jewel [...] of Christ, they are the jewels of the Crown; Christ will lose all, rather then one of these, Mal. 3. 17. They shall be mine in that day when I make up my jewels. They are Gods hidden ones, Psal. 83. 3. Jesus Christ will venture all the world to save one of his Saints. While he is able to protect himself, he will protect them; they are his ve­ry members, a part of himselfe; he keeps them with the same care he keeps himself. Wicked men look upon them as vile and mean things, but Christ accounts them his precious ones; he keeps the very number of their haires, Mat. 10. 30. It was asigne that Jacob respected Rachel and Joseph more then all the rest of his houshold, because he was so careful of their preservation, Gen. 32. 2. He puts the handmaids and their children foremost, then Leah and her children, and then Rachel and Joseph. If there be but one place of safety to be found in the world, Je­sus Christ wil put the beleever there. The Scripture saith, that Noah found favour in the eyes of the Lord, Gen. 6. 8. How is this grace of God to him evidenced? When all the world was ex­posed to the violence of the deluge, God takes care to make an Ark for his preservation. 'Tis a signe of the precious thoughts of Christ to­wards his Saints, that he makes himselfe a hi­ding place for their preservation. Though they be never so meane in the eyes of men, they are incomparably precious in the esteem of Christ.

2. How impossible is it that any true beleever should eternally perish. The Scripture saith that they can never perish, John 10. 28. They may seem to be lost in the judgement of men, they may be [Page 110] at lost in their own apprehension, but they cannot be lost. Amongst other reasons this is one, Christ hides them. Satan must storme and level this hiding place before he can reach a be­leever to destroy him. The treasury must be broken before the treasure that is hid in it can be carried away, the jewels cannot be taken a­way before the chest that keeps them be broken. The hiding place must be entred be­fore that which is hidden in it be removed. Christ stands between his Elect and danger. The Devil must pierce Christ himself, before he can touch a Saint to destroy him. The beleever is hid in Christ, and Christ must suffer before he can suffer. Jesus Christ did once conquer the devil for the beleevers freedome, and the devil must conquer Christ before he can finally over­come the beleever.

3. See here the al-sufficiency of Christ. He is to his holy ones every thing they stand in need of. He is their life, he is their food, he is their rayment, and he is their hiding place. A hiding place is as necessary sometimes as meat and cloathing. The Saints here are militant; they could not live if they were not hid. Though Christ were every thing else, yet if he were not an hiding place, he were not enough; but he is a hiding place as well as food. Jesus Christ serves all the necessities of the soul. The Saints of God are in Scripture compared to sheep, John 10. 14. Now a fold is as necessary for sheep as pastures; as the pasture preserves them from starving, so the fold preserves them from wor­rying. Christ now is both fold and pasture. and so a sufficient shepheard. The Church of Christ is compared to an Army, Cant. 6. 10. A [Page 111] place of retreat is as needful to [...] any other provision. Christ i [...] [...] [...] pl [...]ce to his souldiers; he doth not feed and cloath them, but he hides them too. He doth not onely give them ammunition to fight when they are in the field, but he is a hiding place to them when they are heaten out of the field. The Church of Christ is compared to a ship, Esay 54. 11. A ha­ven is as necessary for a ship as either Masts or Sailes, or Anchors. Jesus Christ doth not one­ly provide Sailes and Tackling for his ship, but he provides a Haven also; yea, he himself is the Haven; when his ship is weather-beaten by long voyages and sharp stormes, he brings her into the Haven, and there she's out of dan­ger. [...]e is fit for all the exigencies and neces­sities of the soul, a compleat al-sufficient Savi­our.

4. The misery of those who are out of Christ. One great work of the Ministery is to discover the misery of a Christlesse Condition. All un­beleevers are without Christ. Though they be in Christ by outward profession, yet they are without Christ in regard of saving union, Eph. 2. 12. The misery of being uninteressed in Christ is unspeakable even in this regard, that he is without a hiding place. No greater em­bleme of misery then to see a man in a sharp storm without a shelter. He that is without Christ hath neither shelter for soule nor body. When men assault him, when devils tempt him, when sinne sets upon him, he hath no place to retire to, where he can can have any security. He that is without Christ hath not one bush to de­fend him, either from men, devils, his own conscience, or from the indignation of God. [Page 112] He lies open to all the hostile incursions of men, devils, of the w [...]h of God which is as a con­suming fire. All his confidence is but as the sha­dow of a spiders web, which will neither keep him warm, nor safe.

Ʋse 2. Exhortation.

1. Let not beleevers be inordinately afraid in times of danger. Should such a man as I flie, saith Nebemiah? and who being as I, would go into the Temple to save his life? Neh. 6. 11. A fear of providence becomes the people of God as well as others; but feare of anxiety or distrust should be far from them; wondrous confident have the Saints of God been in times of danger, upon this very ground. God is our refuge and strength, saith the Church, a present help in time of trou­ble; therefore we will not fear though the earth be moved, &c. Psal. 46. 1, 2, 3. A Saint that be­leeves this may laugh at fear, he may esteeme iron as straw, and brasse as rotten wood, as the Scripture saith of the Leviathan, Job 41. 27, 28. 'Tis a disparagement to your hiding place, that you should be afraid. If Christ be able to hide you, you shall not be undefended. Let the world rage, let devils roare, let men lift up their voice, let sinne be never so furious, Christ is a hiding place; he hides you from Gods wrath, and he will hide you from mans fury. Let unguarded sinners fear and tremble; but let Christs hidden ones rest in setled peace, in firme security. Your sinking doth upbraid your hiding place with weaknesse and insuf­ficiency.

2. Acknowledge from whence all your safety and protection comes. That you are hid from danger, when others are exposed to danger; [Page 113] that you are sheltred, when others [...] with­out shelter; that your soules, bodies; graces, comforts are secured, it is not because of your own care, but because Christ hides you. If the Lord himself had not been on our fide, now may Israel say, they had swallowed us up quick when their wrath was kindled against us, Psal. 124. 1, 2. If Christ did not prepare a place for the woman, the Church, and if he did not give her the two wings of an Eagle to carry her to her hiding place, the Dragon would soon devoure both her and her childe, Rev. 12. 14. Acknowledge the protection of Christ, let him have the praise of all your safe­ty. The ancient Romanes used to pay tribute for shadows: let Christ have praises for his sha­dowy protection. Whosoever are the instru­ments, he is the principal Authour of all your hiding.

3. Take heed of making any other hiding places. Men are very apt when danger approacheth to dig created hiding places for themselves. We may reade how the Prophet reproves this pra­ctise, Esay 22 9, 10, 11. A providential use of outward means, is not onely lawful, but necessary, but carnal trusting to any such hiding place is sin­ful. To trust to creatures in time of danger is very Atheistical. God hath cursed such confi­dence, Jer. 17. 5, 6. But to descend to particulars; There are sundry places which men create to themselves in time of danger.

(1) Many make great men their hiding place. When troubles arise they have recourse to men, that by the strength of horses and Armies they may hide them. Alas what a vain confidence is this? Ahaz thought to have hid himselfe un­der the wing of the King of Assyria: but what [Page 114] was the event? 2 Chron. 28. 20. The King of Assyria came unto him, but strengthened him n [...]t. The skirt of men, the strength of horses is weak and very vaine, Prov. 21. 31. The horse is pre­pared against the day of battel, but safety is of the Lord. We must say as the Church, Lord give us help in trouble, for vaine is the help of man. He that makes a chariot his hiding place, shall not be hid. God will drive the wheeles over their own back. If men and horses could be a hiding place from men to your bodies, they cannot be any competent shelters to your soules; they cannot hide the inner man. I shall conclude this with Psal. 20. 7. Some trust in chariots, &c. They are brought down and fallen, but we are risen and stand upright. He that makes men and hor­ses his hiding place, shall bring down the fire of Gods anger upon his hiding place, and upon himselfe, Esay 31. 1, 3. When God shall stretch out his hand; both he that helpeth shall fall, and he that is holpen shall fall down, and they all shall fall together.

(2) Others make strong Castles and desenced Cities their hiding place. When danger approa­ches they slie to such places, and there think to be safe. But alas, how insecure are all these places? The high walls of Jericho fell down with a shout, when Jesus Christ gave command­ment for their downfal. Josh. 6. 20. such hiding places are made of perishable materials. Nine­veh was a strong place, but it could not secure the inhabitants thereof. See how the Prophet derides their confidence, Nah. 3. 12, 13, 14. Ty­rus was very strong, Ezek. 27. 11. The Gamma­dims were in thy Towers. They were a peo­ple of Phenicia, called Gammadims, as if we [Page 115] should say, vi [...]i [...], becaus [...] of the gr [...]t strength they had in their [...] [...] & lac [...]rtosi, saith Juni [...]s. And not for all their strength they could not preserve their Towers, nor their Towers them from the rage of Nebu­chadnezzar, Chap. 26. 7, 8, 9. If any defenced place could hide you, yet it could but hide the outward man, it could be no security to the soul either from sinne or temptations. Devils can climb the highest walls; brazen wals cannot keep out his temptations, much lesse can they secure you from the wrath of God.

(3) Others make their silver and gold a hiding place. The rich mans wealth is his strong City, and as a high wall in his conceit, Prov. 18. 11. but alas, how unable are these things to secure us? riches sometime lay men open to danger; pover­ty is a better securer then riches, even from bo­dily danger. Osiander reports that in that bloo­dy Epit. Cent. 16. l. 3. c. 69. Parisian Massacre many rich Papists were murthered for their wealth as well as protestants. Though their profession made them Papists, yet their wealth made them Hugonots as well as others. However, riches cannot secure a man from a disease, nor from death, Luke 16. nor from temptation, nor from troubles of consci­ence, nor from the wrath of God, Prov. 11. 4. and Zephan. 1. 18. Neither their silver nor gold can deliver them in the day of the Lords anger.

(4) Others make their outward priviledges a hiding place. This the carnal Jewes did ever betake themselves to, when the Prophets threat­ned any stormes. Nothing is more frequent in Scripture then this, Jer. 7. 4. The Temple of the Lord, &c. Mic. 3. 11. and Mat. 3. 9. Think [Page 116] not to say within your selves, we have Abraham to our Father, &c. But alas, all this will not hide you. Go to my place at Shiloh, saith God, Jer. 7. 12. Go to Jerusalem, and see how it is there; go to the seven Churches of Asia, and see how it is there. These priviledges are so farre from being hiding places, that if he that enjoyes them be not hid savingly in Christ, they will expose him to more sudden, more certaine, and more dreadful ruine. Reade Mat. 11. 20, 21, 22▪ 23, 24. Ioab was slaine at the horns of the Altar. Gods Temple shall not be a Sanctuary except he who is the Lord of the Temple be our hiding place. Indeed whatever hiding place is made, besides Christ, shall not shelter when stormes come. We may say of all these hiding places, as the Prophet doth of that one, Esay 28. 15, 16, 17, 18. Every hiding place besides Christ is a hiding place of falshood.

4. Be perswaded actually to hide your selves with Iesus Christ. To have a hiding place, and not to use it, is as bad as to want one: flie to Christ; runne into the holes of this rock. Three things must be done by all those that would hide them­selves with Christ.

(1) You must put away sinne by repentance. Je­sus Christ will not be a Sanctuary for rebels, he will not protect evil-doers. Christ will never hide the devil, nor any of his servants. Esay 55. 6, 7. Let the ungodly forsake his way, &c. David knew this, therefore he prayes that God would teach him to do his Will, Psal. 143▪ 9, 10. Deliver me, &c. I flie unto thee to hide me. Teach me to do they will. He that will not do the Will of Christ, shall receive no protection from Christ. Protectio sequitur Allegiantiam, [Page 117] You must be his liege people if you will have him to defend you, Jo [...]. 22, 23, 25.

(2) You must pray that he would hide you. The pro­mise is made to prayer, Esay 65. 10. Sharon shall be a fold of flocks; the valley of Achor, a place for the flocks to lie down in, for my people that have sought me. He that prayes most fer­vently is like to be hid most securely. And then,

(3) You must beleeve in him. Faith is the key that, opens the door of this hiding place, and locks it againe. One word in the Hebrew signifies to trust, and to make a refuge, Psal. 57. 1. He that doth not make Christ his trust shall not have Christ for his hiding place; he will hide none but those that commit themselves to him. I will set him on high, because he hath known my name, Psal. 91. 9, 14. Dependance on Christ is not the cause of his hiding us, but it is the quali­fication of the person that shall be hid.

Ʋse 3. Consolation.

1. It's comfortable against the malice of all their enemies. Though devils rage, though men roare, yet here is shelter against both. Satan is a destroyer, but Christ is a hiding place. This made David so secure, Psal. 4. 8. I will both lay me down in peace and sleep, for thou Lord makest me dwell in safety.

2. When other hiding places fail. Gods people often finde by experience that the places of their protection are places of destruction. Well, when all other places faile, Christ will not faile. See how it was with David, Psal. 142. 4, 5. and when his hiding place at Ziglak was gone, yet his Sa­viour was not gone, 2 Sam. 30. 6. He encouraged himself in the Lord his God. 'Tis a mighty en­couragement to beleevers, that Christ is a hiding [Page 118] place. 1. He is a safe and strong hiding place, Esay 33. 16. Christ is a rock, and he that is in Christ, is in the munitions of rocks. 2. He is a large hiding place. There's room enough for all his Elect. His skirt is large. 3. He is a hiding place to the soul as well as to the body. 4. He hath undertaken to hide us. God hath committed his Elect to Christ, that he should hide them. 5. Christ is a man. As he is God and so able, so he is man also; he hath not put off his humanity, he is pitiful to his own flesh. I suppose Christ is here called a Man for the comfort of men.

MAT. 9. 12.—They that be whole need not a XI. SERM. at Mary Wol­noth. Lon. March 14. 1651. Physician, but they that are sick.

THis Text is an Apology made by our Saviour in defence of his chari­table practise in conversing with Publicans and sinners, for the good of their soules. Matthew the Pub­lican Isa. 65. 1. Luke 19. 5 is called by Christ from the receipt of custom to be one of his followers, v. 9.

Note. Christs preventing grace, Mar. 1. 16, 17.

Note. Iesus Christ is able to convert the worst, Luke 19. 5 Luke 8. 2. 2 Chr. 33. 3, 4, &c. and greatest of sinners. Matthew the Publican. Zacheus the Extortioner. Mary Magdalen that had seven devils in her. Manasseh a bloody Murtherer, a great Idolater, a sinner of the first magnitude. Paul a Persecutor. All these are con­verted Act. 9. 2, 3. and brought home to God. Gods grace is so efficacious, that it can over-power, and bring in the worst of sinners. No sinners great­er then Publicans, and yet many of them con­verted by Christ. This Matthew being called, presently follows, ver. 9. He arose and followed him.

Note. Those that savingly receive the call of [Page 120] Christ, do presently yield obedience. Zacheus no sooner called down from the Sycamore tree, but presently comes down speedily, Luke 19. 6. Elisha no sooner effectually called, but presently leaves the plow and follows Elijah, 1 King. 19. 19, 20. Paul no sooner effectually called, but he obeys presently, Act. 9. 6. Gal. 1. 16. Simon and Andrew as soone as they were savingly called, left their nets and followed Christ, Mark 1. 16, 17, 18. Christ when he calls effectually, gives out strength with his call to submit to it. This Convert makes Christ a feast, Luke 5. 27. which is implyed also, v. 10. of this chap.

Note. New Converts are full of affection and love to Christ. Mātthew feasts our Saviour, and so did Zacheus, Luke 19. 6. Those that before conversion would have been glad to stone him, do now kindly and familiarly entertaine him. A true Convert thinks nothing too good, too deer for Jesus Christ. At this feast many Publi­cans and sinners were present, perhaps invited by Matthew for their souls good.

Note. Such a [...] are truly brought to Christ them­selves, do what they can to bring others to Christ. We have two clear examples of it, Iohn 1. 40, 41, &c. Andrew being called, calls Simon. Philip being called, calls Nathanael, v. 45. Ano­ther example in the woman of Samaria, John 4. 28, 29. The Scribes and Pharisees observing these passages, begin to quarrel with Christs Disciples, v. 11. Saint Luke saith, they murmured against his Disciples, Chap. 5. 30.

Note. 'Tis a grief to wicked men to see others brought home to Christ. This ariseth from envy to Christ, and hat [...]ed to men. And then they question with his Disciples about this. Wh [...]eat­eth, &c.

[Page 121] Note. 'Tis the mark of a man desperately wicked, to endeavour to draw Christs Disciples from their obedience. The Pharisees were often scandali­zing Christ, and blasting him to his Disciples, that so they might draw them from their alle­giance. But why do they go to the Disciples, and not to Christ? They thought the Disciples were weak, and therefore might be more ea­sily won.

Note. 'Tis the property of corrupters and sedu­cers to make their hottest attempts on such as are weakest. Satan set first in Paradise on the weak­er vessel, Gen. 3. and so do all others that fol­low that trade. Young chapmen are most likely to be deceived.

Our Saviour heares this dispute, and steps in with them in his own person. 'Tis likely the Disciples acquainted him with it, as they usu­ally did in other cases; or else by the flocking of the multitude about them, he observed it; or by the omniscience of his Divinity he knew it; however it was the Text saith, he appeared in the controversie, v. 12.

Note. Iesus Christ will plea! for them that are quarreld with for his sake. The Disciples are baited by the subtle Scribes and Pharisees, and see how ready Christ is to come to their rescue. Christ will back all those that stand up for him. Now the answer which our Saviour gives to this cavil is in the Text. They that are whole, &c. which is more plainly expounded in the next verse, I came not, &c. Our Saviour tells them, that he did in this action the office of a good Physician; took all opportunities for the good of sinful souls. q. d. If a Physician may visit infected persons, &c. And he doth withal se­cretly [Page 122] intimate to them their misery, that while they continued in their present self-conceit­ednesse, they could expect no benefit at all by him. They that are whole need not, &c.

They that are whole, [...]. They that are of ability or strength. 'Tis referr'd in Scrip­ture both to the body, and to the soul; and it notes either truth of strength, or opinion of strength; that man that is either really, or con­ceitedly strong in body is, [...]. and he that is spiritually stronger conceitedly so, is a whole man, [...]: here it meanes men that are o­pinionated and conceited of their own ability. It doth secretly point out the Pharisees distem­per. Though they were as other men in regard of their spiritual condition, yet they had good thoughts of themselves; they were strong men in their own conceit.

Need not, [...]. The word signifies necessity and usefulnesse. Rom. 12. 13. con­tributing to the necessities of Saints, [...]. Mat. 6. 8. Your heavenly Father knows what things you have need of, &c. [...], The word signifies also a necessary office, as Acts 6. 3. Look out among you seven men, &c. whom we may appoint over this businesse, [...]. Men that are whole as before, they can make no use, they have no want of a Phy­sician. A Physician, [...]. The word signifies a healer. The work of a Physician is to heale. God hath given men insight into that study, to prevent diseases, and to cure diseases.

But they that [...]re sick, [...]. They that are evil affected 'Tis referr'd both to the outward and inward man. There is a sicknesse [Page 123] of the body, and of the minde also; and the phrase expresses the nature of sicknesse. Health is [...] corporis a right temperature of body. 'Tis malus habitus corporis. Spiritual sicknesse is malus habitus Animi. When the spiritual part is dis-affected, the soul is spiritually sick. In this place it relates to both.

The words are a double Proposition, in which are,

First, the Subject, this is twofold.

Secondly, the Predicate twofold.

1. That men that Need not a Physician. are whole

2. That men that Do need a Physician. are sick

The summe of all amounts to these five Ob­servations.

  • 1. Sinne is a spiritual sicknesse, a spiritual disease.
  • 2. Jesus Christ is a Physician for the curing of this disease.
  • 3. Some sinners are spiritually sick, and yet think themselves whole.
  • 4. Christ is not a Physician to those that think themselves spiritually whole.
  • 5. Those that see their spiritual sicknesse, shall finde Jesus Christ ready to heale them.

I begin with the first, viz.

Doct. 1. Sinne is a spiritual sicknesse. This is intimated in the text. 'Tis the very foundation of this defence of Christ. He points out these Pub­licans, with whom he now conversed, as so many [Page 124] diseased men. Every sinne is a spiritual disease, every iniquity is a real malady. Sinful men are truly sick men, sin bath many names in Scripture, a burden, a wound, darknesse, bonds, folly, &c. and here a sicknesse. Two things I shall open here by way of Explication.

  • 1. Prove that sin is a sicknesse.
  • 2. Shew what kinde of sicknesse it is.

1. That sinne is a sicknesse. This is proved two wayes.

1. From cleare testimonies of Scripture. The Word of God calls it a sicknesse, Esay 1. 5. The whole head is sick, &c. It hath relation both to Jerusalems miseries▪ and to Jerusalems sinnes. She was sick with misery, and sick with sinne; therefore sick with misery, because sick of sinne. Ezek. 34. 4. The Prophets of Israel are compa­red to shepherds, and they are charged with this, that they did not strengthen the diseased, nor heale that which was sick. What is meant by the sick and diseased, but the sinful members of that Church, whose conversion and reformation the Prophets had not endeavoured. And Eccles. 6. 2. Solomon calls covetousnesse an evil disease. Hence also it is that sinne is called in Scripture by the name of diseases. 'Tis called the plague of the heart, 1 King. 8. 38. There are as many diseases of the soul as there are of the body. Drunkennesse is a spiritual dropsie; Security is a spiritual lethargy; Envy is a spiritual canker; Lust is a spiritual feaver, Hos. 7. 4. They are all adulterers, as an oven heated by the Baker. Apostasie and backsl [...]ding is the spiritual falling-sicknesse; hard­nesse of heart is the spiritual stone; searednesse [Page 125] of conscience is a spiritual Apoplexy; unsettled­nesse of judgement is a spiritual pa [...]fi [...]; pride a spiritual tumor; vaine-glory a spiritual itch. There is not any sicknesse of the body, but there is some distemper of the soule that might be parallell'd with it, and beare the name of it. Hence also it is in Scripture, that the pardoning of sinne is called healing, Psalme 103. 3. who forgiveth all thine iniquities, who healeth all thy diseases.

2. From the effects of sinne. Sinne doth pro­duce all those effects upon the soule which sick­nesses do upon the body.

(1) Sicknesse unfits the body for action. Men that are active in health, they are in sicknesse indisposed for any thing. The Mariner cannot row, the souldier cannot fight, the husband-man cannot till, the Merchant cannot trade. It doth take a man quite off from all his labours; and that both in regard of Act, and in regard of Af­fection. Eccles. 12. 1. what was loved before yields no pleasure. Sinne doth unfit the soule for spiritual employments; it takes men off from prayer, from hearing from meditation, &c. And the more power it hath over the soul, the more is the soule indisposed for holy exercises. Even Gods own children, when they have fal­len into some spiritual sicknesse, are exceedingly indisposed to the things of God. Their zeale, their forwardnesse, their activity is much abated. David when he had fallen into that long sickness, how unlike himself was he? he had no actual repentance, till Nathan came to him with a mes­sage from God, and quickned him. Sinne quencheth the Spirit in Godly men, as the wa­ter quencheth the fire. Sinne takes off the edge [Page 126] of the soul, deads the appetite and affecti­on to the things of God. It locks up the heart that it cannot act as it was wont to do.

(2) Sicknesse begets torment and anguish in the body. When sicknesse is in extremity in the bo­dy, how doth a man cry out of paine? head, and heart, and every part is under torment. What restlesse tossings are men under when diseases are violent? heare how Job complaines, Chap. 30. 16, 17, 18 Sinne is a Creator of torment and painfulnesse in the soule. Felix his sinne made him tremble, Acts 24. 25. Cains sinne put his spirit into such anguish, that he cries out, My pu­nishment is greater then I can beare, Gen. 4. 13, 14. Judas his sinne did bring such despairing tor­ment upon his soule, that he takes away his life to end his misery, Matth. 27. init. And even Gods own people, when they fall into this spi­ritual disease, they are pained at the very heart, till by pardon and remission, they have obtained a healing from God. How full of paine was Davids spirit by reason of his sinne? He was as a man upon the rack for a long time, if he did ever recover his former serenity. Vid. Psalme 6. per totum, Psalme 38. per tot. Many of the deare children of God, do by sinne fill their hearts with such anguish, that they are ne­ver without much smart to the day of their death.

(3) Sicknesse doth bring uncomelinesse. The most beautiful body in the world, if pining sicknesses continue long upon it, becomes like a garment that is moth-eaten; the eyes sink, the colour is lost; the skin is shriveld, the bones stick out, &c. Job observes this, Chap. 16. 8. [Page 127] Thou hast filled me with wrinkles, which is a witnesse against me, and my lea [...]nesse rising up in me beareth witnesse to my face. Sicknesse makes streight bodies how down, beautiful faces look ghastly, well-coloured cheeks look pale, and oftentimes the more beautiful sicknesse findes us, the more uncomely doth it leave us. Sick­nesse turnes youth into old age, vid. Lam. 3. 4. My flesh and my skin hath he made old. Sickness dries up the spirits, Prov. 17. 22. A merry heart doth good like a medicine; a broken spirit dries up the bones. Sin takes away the comelinesse of the soule. The first sinful sicknesse that ever entered into the world hath turned the soules and bodies of all mankinde into deformity and uglinesse. Could we see the picture of Adams soule in the state of innocency, and compare it with the soules that are diseased with sinne, we would wonder at the sad change. Sinne is a ve­ry deformed thing; it turned Angels of light into ugly devils. Those who were never heal­ed by regeneration and remission of the disease of sin, what deformed souls have they? they have not one spot of beauty upon them, Psal. 14. 3. They are altogether become stinking. A dead car­rion, a putrefied carcasse is as beautiful, and as sweet an obj [...]ct as a sinfully-diseased soul. Yea, even Gods own children, by falling into sinne, though but in one or two particular acts, do lose much of their beauty. They do not look with that grace they did before. Every act of sin casts a dark thick shadow upon the soul. As deep wounds leave skars upon the body, so sinful acts leave some skarres of infa­my upon the soul. A Saint doth not look like the same man he was before he fell into sin.

[Page 128] (4) Sicknesse brings death. Dorcas was sick and died, Act. 9. 37. Long sicknesses, if they be not removed, will bring the strongest body to the dust of death. Sicknesse is indeed Anteam­bulo mortis, the forerunner of death. The sick­bed is the direct way to the dark bed, the grave. Sinne doth bring death to the soule. One dis­ease of sinne, if it be not healed by Christs bloud, will certainly bring the soule to eternal death, Rom. 6. 23. it hath brought many to hell, and it will certainly bring all others to the same condition that live and die in it unheal­ed. He that dies in his sinne, shall die for e­ver.

II. For the nature of this sicknesse. 'Tis a more dreadfull sicknesse then any other sicknesse. I shall set it out in a few particu­lars.

1. It seizeth upon the most noble part of man. All other sicknesses do infest the body onely, but sinne is a disease in the soul. Those sick­nesses are most painful and most mortal, which seize upon the vitals and inward parts. A disease that feeds upon the spirits, doth soone drink up the natural moisture, and is not so easily cu­red. Sinne is a disease that doth immediately reach the spirits. 'Tis the sicknesse of the heart. O Jerusalem, wash thy heart from wickednesse, that thou mayest be saved, Jer. 4. 14. The Apostle it's true, speaks of the filthinesse of the flesh, and of the spirit, 2 Cor. 7. 1. Some sins are onely acted by the brutish, fleshly, and sensitive part; others rest in the spirit, as pride, vain-glory, envy, &c. yet notwithstanding, even those filthinesses of the flesh have their chief seat and residence in the heart, according to that of our Saviour, [Page 129] Matth. 15. 19. Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, &c. All sinne is spiritual wickednesse in regard of the fountaine and root of it. As grace is seated in the heart, so also is sin, Ier. 4. 18. This is thy wickednesse, because it is bitter, because it reacheth unto thine heart.

2. Sinne is a sicknesse which God never made. All bodily diseases are the handy work of God. He created Plagues, Feavers, Consumptions, &c. Amos 3. 6. But sinne is a sicknesse of which God never was the Author. 'Tis true, God some­times punisheth sinne by sinne, not by creating sinne, but by suffering a sinful creature to fill up his sinne, by withdrawing, denying his grace, which onely can preserve from sin.

3. Sinne is a sicknesse which separates: between God and men. No other disease can divide be­tween God and the soule. Hezekiahs plague, Asa's gout, Iobs sores, none of all these did make any division between God and them. Some sicknesses do separate between the hus­band and the wife, the father and the childe, at least in regard of actual communion, though not in regard of affection; but no bodily sicknesse divides between God and men. But sinne doth separate between God and the soule. Esay 59. 2. It makes God stand at a distance from his own children, to hide his face from them, and to deale with them as with ene­mies.

4. Sinne is the cause of all other sicknesses. All bodily diseases come from this disease. Hast thou not procured this thy unto self? Thine own doings shall correct thee, &c. Jer. 2. 19. A distempered soul is the true cause of a distempered body. Sinne was the first disease that ever was in the [Page 130] world, and the cause of all that ever follow­ed.

5. Sinne is a disease that cannot be cured by a­ny natural medicine in the world. No drug in the Apothecaries shop is able to heal this dis­ease, Jer. 2. 22. Though thou wash thee with nitre, and make thy self never so cleane, &c. There is no bodily disease, but there is something in na­ture, if it could be found out, able by Gods ordi­nary blessing to cure it. But there is nothing in nature can heal sinne. There is but one medi­cine in all the world able to cure a diseased soul, and that's the blood of Jesus Christ.

6. Sin is the most loathsom dise [...]se i [...] all the world, and the most infectious. The small pox, the pe­stilence, the leprosie, these are delightful, plea­sant diseases in respect of sinne. Sinne doth pol­lute every thing it comes neer; it pollutes the conscience, it pollutes the Ordinances, it pol­lutes relations, it pollutes persons, it pollutes Nations. If it were possible that one drop of sinne could come into heaven, it would turn heaven into hell. It's compared in Scripture to all loathsome things. 'Tis compared to the plague of pestilence, of leprosie, 1 King. 8. 38. The leprosie in the Law was a type of it. It's compared to poyson, Psal. 140. 3. To the vo­mit of a dog, Vid. 2 Pet. 2. 22. Its called filthi­nesse, Abomination, Lewdnesse. All the things that are loathsome in the world, are used in Scri­pture to shadow out the loathsomnesse of sin. There is a disease called the foul disease. Sin is a fouler disease then that.

7. Sinne is a propagating disease; Not onely because it spreads over the whole man, but be­cause it spreads it self to posterity; it descends [Page 131] from parents to children. Some bodily diseases, they say, are hereditary, yet not so hereditary, but some children scape them. But this is a sick­nesse that conveys it selfe to all a mans posteri­ty. This sicknesse is interwoven in the very es­sence of a person, which he doth together with his being communicate to all his seed. As a man begets a man; so doth he get a diseased man. Enosh.

The Uses of this.

1. Oh the multitude of sick persons that are in the world! There is not one person living, but is lesse or more troubled with this sick­nesse. The world is nothing but a Hospital of sick persons. There is not a family in which this plague of sinne is not. In many things we of­fend all. The root of the matter is in the best of us, Esay 64 6.

2. What's the reason that there are no more cryings out of this sicknesse? Sinne is a sicknesse, and yet few bewaile it. Other sicknesses are la­mented. You cannot meet in any company, but you shall heare men cry out of their sicknesses. One man of his Gout, another of his Stone, another of his Consumption, &c. but little spo­ken of sinne: The reason is, because sinne is a spiritual disease, and so not discerned but by grace. And this is indeed the dreadfulnesse of this sicknesse, that it kills many before they feel it; it sends men to hell before they know them­selves to be sick. 'Tis with sinners as with the drunkard in the Proverbs, Chapter 23. 35. They have stricken me, and I was not sick.

3. They are not your enemies that are solicitous [Page 132] to keep you from sinne. Naturally we account them our friends which would prevent us from painful diseases; and yet we naturally account them our enemies, who would prevent us from falling into sin. I hate him, saith Ahab of Mi­chajah, 1 Kings 22. 8. A wicked man hates none so much as those that would preserve him from sinne. Well, whatever you think, they are your best friends, and that you will acknowledge a­nother day. If you should be at the door of an infected house ready to go in, and one should whi [...]per you in the ear, Sir, the plague is in that hou [...]e, have a care of your self; would you re­proach him? nay, would you not thank him? Why will you think them your enemies, that would preserve you from sinne? They know the dreadfulnesse of this sicknesse, and they would preserve others from falling into it: David bles­ses God for Abigail, and gives her many thanks for her great care of him, 1 Sam. 25. 32, 33. God sets it down for friendship, and whether you be saved or damned, you will clearly see it a­nother day.

4. Watch against sinne as you watch against sick­nesse. How cautious are many men of their bo­dily health? They will eat and drink nothing that may prejudice their health. If they know a­ny thing that will disturb the quiet of their bo­dies, they will not meddle with it, though their affection be never so much inclined to it. And why will you not be as cautious of sinne? Take heed to your selves; remember, swearing is a sicknesse, lying is a disease, pride is a sicknesse, &c Avoid all occasions of sinne, all tempta­tions to it. Pray against it, watch against it. Sinne is a sicknesse will keep you out of heaven: [Page 133] sinne is a sicknesse which will provoke God to hate you. Keep sinne out of your family. Let not liars, swearers, drunkards, &c. lodge a night un­der your roof, Psal. 101. 7. No sicknesse is so catching as sinne is. All men have the root of it, an inclination to it in their hearts. Preserve your children from this sicknesse. 'Tis worse then the small-pox, worse then the plague. O­ther diseases will kill the bodies of your children, sinne will kill both body and soule. Keep watch and ward over your hearts, over your families, that sinne may not enter thither, nor that any of yours may go where this catching sicknesse is.

5. What cause have they to blesse God that are cured of this disease? We are never perfectly cu­red of it till we come to heaven, we shall have some grudgings of it while we live here. But when sinne is pardoned, then 'tis healed; Psalme 10 [...]. 3. When grace is thoroughly wrought, then is sinne healed. 'Tis healed as to the guilt of it, that is done away. 'Tis healed as to the damnation of it. 'Tis the reigning sinne that is the damning sinne. And 'tis healed in part, as to the pollution and filthinesse of it. 'Tis in a sure speedy way of healing. How glad are men when they are healed of old diseases! A man that hath been troubled with the Stone, Gout, Head-ach for many yeares; how glad, how thankful is he when he is recovered? he will be telling every one of the man, of the me­dicine that cured him. Let them whose spiritual sicknesse God hath healed, be very thankful and blesse his name.

David calls upon his soule to praise God for this kindnesse, Psalm. 103. init. Though you be [Page 134] full of other infirmities, yet be of good cheer, the damning sicknesse is healed. 'Tis better to have a healthy soule in a crazy body, then to have a found body and a diseased soule. And shew your thankfulnesse for your healing, by being careful to prevent recidivations into sin a­gaine. Take your counsel of Christ to that man that was lately cured of his infirmity, of which he had smarted thirty eight years, Joh. 5. 14. Thou art made whole, sinne no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee. 'Tis a sleighting of your Physician, and a vilifying of your disease, not to be as careful as you can, that you may not re­lapse. And know this for the encreasing of your thankfulnesse, that when this disease is once cured, all your other diseases are cured. They are cured, as to the malignity, as to the hurt of them. They cannot destroy you, though they may disquiet you. The inhabitants shall not say, I am sick: the people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity, Esay 3 [...]. ult. The peril and dreadfulnesse of other diseases depends up­on this; and when this is removed, the evil of all the rest is removed also.

Doct. 2. That Jesus Christ is a Physician for the healing of these spiritual diseases. Christ is a Physician to the body as well as to the soule. He heales the wounds and sores of the outward man, as well as of the inward man. We reade that in the dayes of his flesh, he cured immediately sometimes, and sometimes by the use of meanes many bodily maladies. Such as were possessed with devils. Such as had the palsie, Such as were leprous, Such as had feavers, Such as laboured under several other diseases, were [Page 135] brought unto him, and he healed them, Luke 6. 17, 18, 19. And Mat. 8. 14, 15, 16. He healed many that were incurable. When other Physicians had given them over, they were brought to Christ, and he healed them, Luke 8. 43. Concerning the woman sick of a bloody issue, she had spent all her living upon Physicians, and could not be healed of any, and yet by the touch of Christs garment her bloody issue was stanched. He cured a man that had had an infir­mity thirty eight years, Joh. 5. 5. Yea, he heal­ed those that brought their diseases with them into the world. One that was borne blinde was recovered to sight by him, John 9. 6, 7. The text saith, he healed all manner of diseases, Mat. 4. 23. And he doth still heale bodily dis­eases. In three respects he is a Physician to the body.

1. He created all those simples that are useful for cure. Every herb, every plant, every mineral, whatsoever in rerum Naturâ, is Medicinal and Physical, was created by the Lord Christ; and whatsoever was created by him, is preserved by him, Genesis 2. 5. Nothing sprung up of it selfe, the roots of all healing herbs were set by his hand, and by his Providential care they are kept from perishing to this ve­ry day.

2. He it is that gave skill, and still doth give skill unto Physicians to make use of those materi­als. All Arts and Sciences are his invention. What is said of Bezaleel and Aholiab, Exod. 31. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. is as true of all other more noble Arts. Men by study could never have such insight into the secrets of nature, if Jesus Christ did not in­struct them. He enables them to know diseases, [Page 136] and to know what is proper and sutable for those diseases. He that is the Lord of nature, doth discover the secrets of nature in men when they study them. He teaches them how to mingle and compound several simples together to make an apt medicine, [...], 1 Cor. 12. 9. Christ is the Father of all Arts and Artists. If he hide skill from the Physici­an, the Physician can never finde out the disease, nor prescribe a fit medicine to re­move it.

3. He blesseth the applications that are made. The most proper and apt medicine that ever was prescribed by man, needs the blessing of Christ to make it effectual. As man liveth not by bread, but by the word of blessing, Mat. 4. 4. So neither is man cured by Physick alone, but by the benediction of Christ upon the using of Physick. He suspends the operation and ef­ficacy of Med [...]cines when he please [...]h, and when it is his will they are salutiferous and healing. Thus is he a Physician to the out­ward man.

But his chief subject is the soul. He is in an especial manner a Physician to that. He doth several times in the Gospel compare himself to a Physician. In this Text, and in Mar. 2. 17. We have the same comparison, Luke 4. 23. He was prophesied of before his incarnation, as a Physician. Vid Esay 61. 1. Binding up is the work of a healer. Christ was sent into the world to be a binder up of the broken in heart. The Prophet Malachy speaks of him as of a spiritual Physician, Chap. 4. 2. The Sunne of righteousnesse shall arise with healing in his wings. This is that which is held out in the [Page 137] Gospel in that parable of the wounded man and the Samaritan, Luke 10. 30, 31, &c. Jesus Christ is that Samaritan who doth by that Parable preach himselfe to be the Physician of soules.

In the handling of this Doctrine, I shall o­pen three things.

  • 1. That Christ is a Physician.
  • 2. How Christ heales sin-sick souls.
  • 3. The excellency of Christ above o­ther Physicians.

First, that Christ is a spiritual Physician. This is manifest.

1. You may see his commission. God hath authorized him with power. The Prophet asserts this, Esay 61. 1. He hath anointed me to binde up the broken-hearted. This Prophecy is applied to Christ, Luke 4. 18. God hath given Christ his Gratiam ad practicandum. Those that are Physicians amongst men, must receive com­mission to practice before they ought to use that Art. The bodies of men are of that worth, that in all well-ordered Kingdomes and Com­mon-wealths, none are permitted to professe the Art of Physick till they be tryed by such as have skill, and enabled by publick Authority to exercise that faculty; hereby professed Physici­ans are distinguished from illiterate, and cheat­ing Mountebanks. Now God hath conferr'd on Jesus Christ under hand and seale, full Au­thority to be a spiritual Physician to heale the souls of men. And therefore it is that all are invi­ted to come to him for cure, Mat. 11. 28. Come unto me, &c.

[Page 138] 2. Christ hath ability as well as authority. Whatsoever is requisite for the healing of souls, is to be found in Jesus Christ. This the Pro­phet expresly affirmes, Mal. 4. 2. The Sunne of righteousnesse shall arise with healing in his wings. Healing is a large word; The Geneva translati­on reades it, health shall be under his wings, Now there could not be health or healing un­der Christs wings, if there were not in him what­soever is necessary to health or spiritual healing.

The Apostle saith, That it hath pleased the Fa­ther that in him should all fulnesse dwell, Col. 1. 19. Christ is a garden so well furnished, that there is in him every root and plant that is requisite to make a spiritual medicine. He hath a purg­ing vertue, a strengthning vertue, a comfort­ing vertue, a cheering vertue, a quickning ver­tue. There is that in him which is proper for all diseases. The Evangelist tells us, that when sick persons resorted to Christ in the days of his flesh, there went vertue out of him, and healed them all, Luke 6. 19. [...], no vertue could have gone out of him, if all vertue had not been treasured up in him. Christ hath eye-salve for blinde eyes, mollifying grace for hard-hearts, enlivening grace for dead soules, humbling grace for proud minds. God hath given him fulness of all things necessary for sick soules, and wisdom to apply the same for the benefit of those that repair to him.

Secondly, how Christ heales spiritual Dis­eases.

1. He heales by justification. Sinne brings guilt, Lev. 5. 2, 3, 4, 5. Rom. 3. 19. Every sinne makes the creature liable to wrath. This guilt [Page 139] is removed by the grace of justification. Jesus Christ applies his spotlesse and perfect righte­ousnesse to the soule, and thereby actual­ly removes the guilt of sinne, and makes the sinner as pure in the sight of God, as if he had never offended. Of this the Apostle speaks, Romans 5. 18, 19. This is cal­led in Scripture the covering of sinne, Psal. 32. 1, 2. Blessed is the man whose unrighteousnesse is forgiven, and whose sinne is covered. Christ draws the vaile or garment of his own merit and obedience over the spotted soule of a sinner, and thereby covers all his guilt. In this respect a sinner is perfectly healed. Though sinne a­bide in him, yet the guilt is taken away, so that it shall never redound upon the person for con­demnation. Hence it is that God is said, not to behold iniquity in his people, Numb. 23. 21. Of this healing the Psalmist speaks, Psal. 103. 3. Who forgiveth all thine iniquities, who healeth all thy diseases. Of this healing we are to under­stand that in 2 Chron. 30. 20. The Lord hearken­ed to Hezekiah, and healed the people. He did not reckon nor impute the guilt of that sinne to the people.

2. He heales the soule by sanctification. Every sinne hath filthinesse in it as well as guilt. It is of a defiling nature, and leaveth defilement upon the soule of the sinner, Matth. 15. 11. Hence it is that sinners are said to be filthy creatures, Rev. 22. 11. and Psal. 14. 3. they are altogether become filthy. This is called Ma­cula▪ or labes peccati, the spot or staine of sinne. Corruption, pollution, &c. It doth immediate­ly follow every offence of sinne, and remaines when the act of sinne is over. Look as waters, [Page 140] when they break their banks and over-flow the earth, leave a filthy slime and sediment behind them; so all sinful acts leave upon the soule a filthy slime of corruption. This filthinesse Jesus Christ heales by Sanctification. He doth by his Spirit plant the seeds of grace in the heart; he doth make the soul partaker of the divine natu [...]e, 2 Pet. 1. 4. He doth cause all old things to passe a­way, and all things to become new, 2 Cor. 5. [...]6. He doth write his Lawes in the heart of the sinner, Jer. 31. 33. He doth sprinkle cleane water upon the sinner, whereby he is cleansed from all his defilements, Ezek. 36. 25. And by this meanes the filthinesse of sinne is healed This Sanct [...]fi­cation hath two parts; the one is mortification, whereby the body of sinne is wasted, Rom 8. 13. and Col. 3. 3, 5. The other is regeneration, or the spiritual resurrection, whereby the inward man is strengthened and renewed from day to day: the one is the putting off the old man, the other is the putting on the new man. Now although the sinner is not healed perfectly, and at once of the filthinesse of sinne by Sanctifica­tion, as he is of the guilt of sinne, in regard of justification, because this is a real change, and therefore it's carried on successively and gradual­ly, whereas justification is onely a relative change, and therefore is perfect at once; yet he is in so sure and certaine a way of healing, that Jesus Christ will never let him go out of his hands till he be fully cured. He is perfectly healed in respect of parts already, and he shall be perfectly healed in respect of degrees; he shall see the day when there shall not be the least speck of sinne or filth, either upon the soul or bo­dy.

[Page 141] Thirdly, the excellency of this Physician a­bove all other Physicians. This ap­pears in many respects.

1. In regard of the Subject. Other Physicians have to deale onely with the body. All their businesse lies in the temper, constitution, parts of the body, in preventing, removing diseases that annoy the outward man. Their line reach­eth no farther. The soule is not the object or subject of the Physicians Art. But now the chief part about which Christ is employed, is the soul, the conscience, the affections, the inward man. He heales the distempers of the heart, which o­ther Physicians as Physicians can neither know, nor heal. Vid. Esay [...]1. 1.

2. Jesus Christ is a Physician for all diseases. There are some diseases which are opprobria me­dicorum, no Physician in the world is able to cure them. But Jesus Christ can cure all diseases, all kindes of diseases, and every individual disease. He knows the cause of every disease, and therefore he can cure all. Some Physicians, though they have a general skill in all diseases, yet their excellency lies sometimes in one or two which they have studied more then others, and about which they have been imployed more then in others. As some Divines are better versed in some one or two Controversies then others, so, &c. But Christ is as exact in all spiritual diseases, as he is in any disease. He is as good for the diseases in the head, as for those that are in the heart; and for those that are in the affecti­ons, as for those that are in the head. He can cure ignorance, pride, unbelief, discontent, impatience, hardnesse of heart, &c. and he can [Page 142] cure one as well as another, that is, he can cure all. Christ never yet met with a spiritual distemper, which he was not able to call by its right name, and to prescribe a fit medicine for. It's said of him in the Gospel, That he cu­red all manner of diseases, John 5. 4. He can cure all manner of spiritual diseases.

3. Jesus Christ can give no hurtful medicine. The most learned Physician in the world, being he knows but in part, may prescribe something which is not proper for the disease; unlesse they had spectacles to see into the body, they may be mistaken; but Christ cannot be mista­ken. He never appointed any thing but what was fit, yea, nothing but what was best for the patients condition. And indeed Christs Phy­sick is therefore proper, because he prescribes it. Other Physicians appoint such receipts, because they are proper, but Christs receipts are pro­per, because he prescribes them. If he will use a plaister of clay and spettle, it is therefore right, because he will use it, John 9. 6. That which would have made a seeing man blinde, if it had been done by a man, will m [...]ke a blind man see when it is done by Christ.

4. Jesus Christ heales speedily. Other Physi­cians are long in healing; We use to say, dis­eases come on horsback, but go away on foot. No Physician can cure in a moment. They must observe method. A cure over-ha­stened may be as prejudicial to the Patient as a disease neglected. But Christ can heal in an in­stant. Many a diseased sinner, who hath la­boured for many yeares under many spiritual distempers, have been cured by Jesus Christ in a trice of time. We read in the Gospel, that [Page 143] Christ did immediately cure some that had la­boured a long time under diseases, in a moment. Take up thy bed and walk, Vid. Mat. 8. 3. im­mediately his leprosie was healed, Mat. 20. 34. immediately their eyes received sight, Mar. 1. 31. immediately the feaver left her; many instances of like nature. Immediate cures are not the Acts of creatures, though never so learned, though never so wise. Many a dead, lame, blinde, impenitent sinner hath come sick into the Church, and gone out whole. When Christ pleases, he can heal presently.

5. Christ can blesse his Physick. He can make it effectual for what he pleaseth. No Physician in the world is able to do it. He applies Physick, but he cannot say this shall cure it. He must seek a blessing from Christ. The efficacy of that which other Physicians prescribe, doth de­pend upon the sutablenesse of it, and princi­pally upon Christs blessing; but the efficacy of Christs Physick depends upon his Application. Christ can say peremptorily, I will remove such a spiritual distemper. The Leper acknowledg­eth this, Math. 8. 2. Lord if thou wilt, thou canst make me cleane. I will, saith Christ, Be thou clean, &c. He hath all spiritual diseases at his beck. The Centurion acknowledgeth it, Do but speak the word, and my servant shall be healed, &c. Mat. 8. 8. If Christ say to impenitency, to unbeliefe, &c. Be healed, they will be healed; If Christ say, I will by such a Sermon heale such a sinner, the work will be done. His Word is cure enough for any disease.

6. Christ heales the poor as well as the rich. Many Physicians do not care to take poor pa­tients in hand; but Jesus Christ is as willing to [Page 144] visit and heale the poor as well as the rich. He is as ready to go to the beggar on the dunghil, as to the King on the Throne. Jesus Christ in the dayes of his flesh, was as ready to heal the servant as the Master, Luke [...]8. 35, 36. the no­ble and ignoble, the great and the small are all alike to him. Christ looks not at outward qualities, but at spiritual distempers.

Christ heales all freely. Other Physicians take rewards. 'Tis their calling, and they ought to live upon their calling. Many of them are ve­ry exacting. If they have not a daily fee, they care not for visiting. The Gospel speaks of one that had spent all her living on Physicians, Luke 8. 43. But now Christ takes nothing from his Patients, whether they be rich or poore. He gives them their Physick freely. Nay, he gives rewards to all his Patients. Other Physicians receive from their Patients, but here the Patient receives from the Physician. He provides meat, drink, attendance for all his Patients. Christ is a nurse as well as a Physician. You may see this in that Parable, Luke 10. 34, 35. Physicians are not bound to take care of their Patients in this sence, but Christ doth.

8. Christ offers himself. Other Physicians stay till they be sent for. No sick man expects a Physician till he be called; he is glad if he can see him then; but Christ comes without calling; indeed he should never come if he did not come without a call. The sick soule would die before he would send for Christ. Other Physicians are intreated to come to the sick, but here the sick are intreated to come to the Physi­cian, Matth. 11. 28. The work of the Ministery is to beseech sinners that they would be heal­ed, [Page 145] Vid. 2 Cor. 5. 20. Jesus Christ c [...]me to seek and save that which was lost, first to seek them, then to save them.

9. Christ doth not depart though he be reviled, &c. Other Physicians they absent themselves if they be unkindly used. Who would expect a Physician should come daily to one that re­proaches and reviles him, yea, to one that shuts the door on him when he comes, much lesse to one that beats him, &c? The sick sinner useth Christ uncivilly, discourteously; he frownes on him, he shuts the door on him, he reviles him, he beates him, and stones him, and yet the Phy­sician will not depart; though he seem to be an­gry, and to withdraw for a time, yet returnes a­gaine. Christ will put up a thousand abuses, ra­ther then suffer one of his Elect to die in their sinnes. Though Christ see that we throw his physick into his face, that we teare and burn his bills in his presence; that we send for Em­pyricks and prefer their advice before his, yet he waits with patience, and will not be driven a­way by the worst usage.

10. Christ himselfe is the sick mans Physick. Other Physicians do not heal their patients with their own flesh, but Christ doth. Other Physi­cians do sometimes take away the blood of their patients, but Christ lets himself blood to heal his patients. By his stripes we are healed, Esay 53. 5. Christ makes a wound in himself to heale our wounds. The Physician dies to save the patients life from the grave. To him that loved us, and washed away our sinnes with his blood, Rev. 1. 5. Neither the guilt nor filth of one sin would have been removed, if the Physicians blood had not been shed for it.

[Page 146] 11. Christ is a Chirurgion as well as a Physician. [...], comprehends both.

The Uses.

1. That Christ will kindly accept all endeavours of men, for the healing of the spiritual distempers of their brethren. He is a Physician for spiritual sores; and those are most like him that de­sire to heale and dresse such sores as these are.

2. Let men bring their souls to Christ, Desperet nemo. Present your selves before Christ: he is a Physician, yea he indeed is the onely Physician. All others are meer Empiricks and Mountebanks, they will cheat you, they cannot heal you. Those that would, send you, to works, to duties, to An­gels, &c. they are destroyers of your souls. Here is good news for a sick world, that Christ is a Phy­sician: lay all your diseases before him. See how men did for their bodily diseases, Matth. 4. 24 do so by your spiritual diseases; bring your ignorant hearts, your proud hearts, your impatient hearts, your covetous hearts, &c. and lay them at Christs feet. &c. Here is Christs pool where he heales.

I shall lay down for the encouragement of sinners five Arguments against despaire of being healed; viz.

1. How many Christ hath cured. Thousands and ten thousands are now in heaven, that have been as si [...]k as thou canst be.

2. Christ i [...] still in a way of curing. His hand is in. Indeed his hand is never out.

3. He hath undertaken to cure all thy diseases. He hath given the hand to his Father.

[Page] 4. He hath healed them all [...]. He hath done that which will heale you. He hath shed his blood; he hath poured out his Spirit, &c.

5. He is related to you. Your brother, your kinsman, your husband, your head, a part of your self▪ If a sick man had a brother, or husband; a Physician which could cure him, would he de­spair, &c? Why should a sick Christian de­spaire of cure, whose husband is such a Phy­sician?

1. Object. But I have many diseases upon me, what hope shall I have?

Sol. Christ can cure all manner of diseases. He cured Paul a blasphemer. &c. He cured Mary Magdalen; He cured Manasseh, &c. Let thy disease be what it will, so Christ be thy Phy­sician.

2. Object. But my diseases have been long up­on me, what hope shall I have?

Sol. Christ can cure long diseases. He cu­red one that was eighteen yeares diseased, Luke 13. 16. Another that had been sick thirty eight yeares, John 5. 5. All the diseases he cures, are old diseases. The original fountaine of all is from the fall of Adam.

3. Object. But I have relapsed, &c. what hope shall I have?

Sol. There is a peculiar promise for this disease, Hos. 14. 4. Peter relapsed, and Christ healed him, &c. Whatever your diseases are, if you will be willing to be cured, Christ is willing to heal you. Onely you must

First, Take Christs counsel. Follow his Direction. Never any miscarried that took Christs advice.

[Page 148] Secondly, Keep back no disease. Let him heale all, or he will heale none. Oh that Christ might get some custome with you this day.

4. Object. But I am worse since Christ took me in hand, &c.

Sol. 1. Thou art so much the better, because thou thinkest thy self worse, if it be thy complaint that thou art worse.

2. Let Christ alone with the cure, he goes the safest way, yea, he goes the neerest way, when he seems to go the farthest way.

3 Take notice of the alsufficiency of Christ. He is every thing to the soule which it wants. The soul wants bread, Christ is that; the soule wants drink, Christ is that; the soule wants ray­ment, Christ is that; the soul wants a shadow, Christ is that; the soul wants a Physician, and Christ is a Physician; not a Mountebank, but a learned skilful Physician. The soule that hath Christ hath every thing. One Jesus Christ is enough for all the Necessities of the soule.

4. What comfort is this for the children of God! We get new falls every day, we breed new dis­eases every day. We contract new guilt, new filth. Christ is a Physician, he hath healing in his wings; he can cure your deadnesse, your dul­nesse, your hardnesse, your blindnesse, &c. He is a compassionate Physician. He is touched with the sense of your infirmities, Heb. 4. 15. Get nearer and nearer to Christ, get farther under his healing wings, &c.

5. Rob not Christ of the honour of this Doctrine. Christ is robbed of the honour of a Physician, two wayes.

[Page] 1. When we go to other Physicians. To crea­tures, to duties, to carnal mirth, &c. all which are Physicians of no value.

2. When we attribute our spiritual healing to our selves, or any creature, and not to Christ. He that robs Christ of the honour of a Physician, shall when he is sick, perhaps, want a Physician.

Doct. 3. That there are many sick of this spiritu­al disease, who think themselves to be whole. As in regard of the body, many that are very full of diseases judge themselves to be healthy and strong, so very many there are who are mortal­ly sick of spiritual maladies, and yet conceive themselves to be in perfect health. As many that are spiritualy healed think themselves sick unto death; so many that are spiritually sick unto death, judge themselves to be in a healthful estate. Thus it was with the vain glorious Pha­risee, Luke 18. 11. he thought himself perfectly in health, when as he was ready to drop into his grave; yea, to fall into hell through the abundance of his spiritual sicknesses. Thus it was with those other Pharisees; John 9. 39 40. Our Saviour hints their sad condition to them, v. 9. They imagin'd themselves unconcern'd in what was spoken. Are we also blinde? q. d. our eyes are as cleare as the eyes of any in the world, we are far from blindnesse. They thought themselves to see as perfectly as any, v. 40. Thus was it with the Church of Laodicea, Rev. 3. 17. she thought her condition as good as the best in the world, when she was indeed as sad a spectacle as the earth bore. Experience shews it to be so still, and that with the greatest part of men in the world. [Page 150] Come to men that are grossely profane, tell them of their dangerous condition; ask them why they will not think of another course, &c. What is their answer? Trouble not your self about us, we are well, our condition is good we hope to be saved as well as you that are so st [...]nct, and so zealous; heaven belongs to us as well as to you, &c.

But whence comes this to passe? I shall re­duce all to these heads or springs.

First, Ignorance. The greatest part of men are grossely ignorant of their spiritual estate. They know not, they do not understand their inward estate. The Scripture tells us that a car­nal condition is an ignorant condition, Eph. 4. 18. 1 Pet. 1 14 A carnal heart is spiritually an ig­norant and blinde heart. The state of nature is called a state of darknesse, Acts 26. 18. And a state of folly, Prov. 5. 23. And all such men are called spiritual fooles, Psalme 14. 1. They may know much in outward things, they may know much of the letter of the Scripture, but as to saving knowledge, they are very ignorant, and without understanding. And as they are igno­rant of other matters, so they are igno­rant of their spiritual condition. This igno­rance is to be ascribed to these four heads.

1. They want the Spirit of God. The holy Spirit is the principle of all saving light. It is called by the Apostle, The Spirit of wisdome and revelation, Eph. 1. 17. because all true wisdom and saving illumination is the work of the Spirit; the Spirit gives us power to discern, and light wherby to see spiritual things. Pregnancy of natural wit without the Spirit of God, can never make a person wise unto salvation. Elihu tells Job, Chap. 32. 8. There is a spirit in man, and the in­spiration [Page 151] of the Almighty giveth him wisdome. He that wants this spirit cannot possibly know his spiritual estate. But now many men, all unre­generate men want this Spirit, Ergo. This the Apostle largely disputes, in 1 Cor. 2. 10, 11, 12, 13, 14.

2. They do not search into their own hearts. He that would know his spiritual condition, must carefully and conscionably dive into his own spirit by serious examination of himselfe. He must turne his eyes inward. This the Apostle tells us, 2 Cor. 13. 5. [...]. We must pierce thorough our own hearts be­fore we can see whether they be sound or rot­ten. We must prove our selves as the Gold­smith doth his metal, whether it be right or not; we must cast our hearts into the fire, and bring them to the touchstone, &c. He that is not a self-visitor, a self-examiner, can never attaine to any competent knowledge of himselfe. Now there are many men, who never did spend one houre in the trial of themselves, they are as great strangers to their own hearts, as they are to for­reigne Countreys, this makes them ignorant.

3. They do not consult with this spiritual Phy­sician. Jesus Christ is the great principal Phy­sician. Under Christ the Ministers of the Gos­pel are Physicians, [...] Cor. 6. 1. [...]. 'Tis their office to be helpers of Gods people in their spiritual condition, and 'tis the duty of the servants of God to consult them about the state of their souls, Mal. 2. 6. 'Tis not onely to be understood of publick preaching, but of private conference. They are to discover their spiritual state to the Ministers of Christ, that they may help them in knowing what they do not understand, and in healing those distempers which they have discovered: we are [Page 152] not to rest upon their hare opinion; no, we must seek the Law at his mouth: if they say any thing without the Law or beside the Law, they are not to be heard: they must judge according to Scripture, otherwise they are not to be heard. But yet by advising with them, some light and knowledge of our spiritual condition may be attained from the rules of Scripture. They are spiritual Seers in their model and measure, as the Prophets of old were. 2 King. 1 [...]. 13. As they help men by the direction of the Word of God, to know what they are to do, and what they are to beleeve; so they may be very beneficial by comparing the spiritual stare of men with the rule to help them to a better, and more perfect knowledge of themselves then they had be­fore. But now the greatest part of men neglect this. Men generally go to the Lawyer to be in­formed about their outward state, they go to the bodily Physician to be helped in the know­ledge of their corporal estate; but they never make conscience of enquiring of the estate of their souls at the month of the spiritual Physician. This makes them so ignorant; and because they are ignorant▪ they think their condition to be good when it's bad and miserable.

4 They consult with Mountebanks, which are weak or flattering.

Secondly, Pride. Man is naturally a very proud swelling creature, willing to see what may make him excellent, unwilling to acknowledge any thing in himselfe that may render him contem­ptible, either in his own eyes, or in the eyes of others. Simon Magus the Sorcerer gave out that himself was some great one, Act. 8. 9. he would be [...]. All men by nature have a spice of that [Page] disease. How comes it to passe else that men are so impatient to bear rebuke, that they are so unwilling to be instructed, that they are so [...] ­verse to have their spiritual condition searched, that they are so raging under affliction? Is it not because of that pride and conceitednesse that is in their hearts. Hence also it is, that though they besick unto death; yet they judge them­selves to be in a sound, healthy, saving conditi­tion, lest by acknowledging their spiritual sick­nesses, they should be laid low in the thoughts of men. See how proudly the Jewes speak to Christ, when he would convince them of their spiritual bondage, John 8. 33. We are Abrahams children, and how sayest thou, ye shall be made free? They thought it a mighty injury to a people of their quality, to be told of bondage and sub­jection. 'Tis want of humility that makes sinful men hold such groundlesse conclusions about that their spiritual welfare.

Thirdly, Love of case. Men naturally love their ease and quiet. They would not be disturb­ed. Issachar law that rest was good, and therefore he coucheth down between two bur­thens, Gen 49. 14, 15. Most men are for spirituals, as Issachar was for his outward condition; they prefer an unsafe rest before a safe unquietnesse. They know that if they once see, or acknow­ledge themselves to be spiritually sick; they must enter into a course of spiritual Physick. They must take down many a bitter potion which they do not like, therefore they conclude they are whole. As it is with many foolish men in regard of their bodies; though they be sick of many diseases, yet they had rather say, they are well, then meddle with Physick; they willingly cast the [Page] thoughts of their diseases behind their back, that they may not be at the trouble and cost of cu­ring. Just so it is with spiritual sick men. If they should say they are sick, then they must make use of meanes. They must pray, they must repent, their sinnes must be purged out, they must have some spiritual disturbance, &c. This they love not, therefore they conclude they are whole, and often drop down into hell, before they will acknowledge that they stand in need of Physick. Soul take thy ease, saith that rich foole in the Gospel, eat, drink, &c. Luke 12. 19. This love of painful ease (for so it will prove in the end) is the bane and ruine of thou­sands of souls.

Fourthly, They judge of their spiritual state by false Rules. 'Tis very sad to consider what ground­lesse, rotten foundations men build hopes of hea­ven upon. Our Saviour speaks of two sorts of builders in the Gospel, under which all the Sons of men are comprehended: the one builds his house upon, a rock, the other upon the sand, Matth. 7, 24, 25, 26, 27. Every man is a build­er, and every man builds his salvation, either upon the rock, or upon the sand. Most men build upon the sand, conclude themselves to be well upon such arguments as will not hold in the day of trial. I shall both discover them, and shew the rottennesse of them.

1. False Rule. Freedome from scandalous flagi­tious sinnes. Many men think they are spiritually whole, because they are not sick of those visible desperate diseases which other sinners have up­on them. They are neither thieves, nor whores, nor drunkards, nor oppressors, nor chea­ters, nor murtherers, &c. They live soberlie, [Page] civilly, orderly amongst men, [...] them with any enormous act. Hereupon [...] gather that they are spiritually whole, that they have no mortal disease upon them. This was the ground of that misjudgment which the Phari­see made of himselfe, Luke 18. 11. God I thank thee, that I am not as other men, &c. It's very like the Pharisee spake no more then what was true, for they were generally men very inoffensive as to all such things. For the discovering of this false foundation, I shall lay down foure things, viz.

1. 'Tis a very great mercy to be freed from these scandalous sinnes. If God have preserved you from these visible diseases, that you have none of these botches of Egypt upon you, it is to be acknowledged as a very great blessing. The Pharisee did not amisse in blessing God that he was no Extortioner, if he had done it upon a right ground; if he had not gone on to censure the Publican, he had not been blamed, but com­mended for it. David blesses God for preser­ving him from the sinne of murther upon A­bigails perswasion. Vid. 1 Samuel 25. 32, 33. And there is very great reason for it, For

(1) Hereby we are delivered from much an­guish and torment of conscience. These scanda­lous sinnes as they do in an extraordinary man­ner waste the conscience, so they do lay a foun­dation of much horrour, and trouble in the soul; every sinne creates much torment, but these great abominations create exceeding much. What horrour did Davids Adultery and Mur­ther cast into his spirit! Though God pardoned them both to him, yet he was filled with anguish [Page 156] a long time after, vid. Ps. 6. Ps. 38. Ps. 50. 1. Now tis a great mercy, when God prevents any an­guish.

(2.) Hereby we are delivered from being hurtful examples to other men. Grosse scandalous offences are very prejudicial to others. The hearts of those that are good are grieved, and such as are wicked are caused to stumble oftentimes to their eternal ruine. Davids sin gave great occasion of sin to others. Now it's a great mercy when God keeps a person from being an instrument of hurt to others, especially of hurt to their soules.

2. Such as expect salvation must keep themselves from such wickednesses. Vid. 1 Cor. 6. 9, 10. Hea­ven is not a place of common receipt for good and bad. 'Tis not like your ordinary Innes, which lodge all kinde of passengers without difference; such Lepers so living and dying, must expect to go to another place, Rev. 22. 15. Without shall be dogs, &c.

3. 'Tis possible for a person to be free from these abominations, and yet to be mortally sick of spiri­tual diseases. Every sick man hath not the plague. A man may die of a consumption as well as of a Fever. A person may be in a damnable state, that never committed murther or unclean­nesse.

(1.) The Pharisee was free from all these impieties, and yet deadly sick in his soule, Luke 18. 11. Paul when he was a Pharisee, saith, that he was blame­lesse concerning all such enormities, Phil. 3. 6. and yet at that time sick even unto death; so he in Mat. 32. 11. so the five Virgins, Mat. 25. 1. Those in 2 Pet. 2. 18, 20. A natural conscience may keep men from such enormities. The pe­nalty [Page] of humane Lawes may preser [...] [...] these great wickednesses. Civil education may preserve a man from falling into these wicked­nesses. A desire to keep our reputation in the world with men, with whom we converse, may keep us from these high impieties. Meer restraint may do this.

(2.) If freedome from these offences were e­nough to proclaime men to be spiritually whole, then no hypocrite should be sick. A man must be free from all these sinnes, before he be ad­vanced into the hypocrites forme. Now we know that every hypocrite is spiritually and mortally sick. Yea, the Scripture tells us that hell is pre­pared for the hypocrites, other sinners are said to have their portion with the hypocrites, Mat. 2 [...]. 51. The hypocrite is of all sinners the special proprietor of Hell, and yet he is free from all these offences.

(3.) It's possible for one that hath no saving grace in his heart, to be free from these offences. Though every one that hath grace will abandon these sins, yet every one that is free from these sins hath not grace. The instances mentioned before will prove this. But every one that wants saving grace, is under the rage of spiritual sick­nesses. Yea, he that is without true grace, is not onely sick in sinne, but dead in sin, Eph. 2. 1. and yet those that are dead in sin may be free from these wickednesses.

(4.) Although many be free from the actual commission of these sinnes, yet they have the roots of these sinnes in their hearts. Every sinne is in that bundle of sinne which we call original. There is pride, and murther, and theft, &c▪ Now the pollution of nature, if it be not healed by [Page 158] justifying grace, and pardoning mercy, and san­ctifying grace is enough to make the soule sick, and that unto death. Yea, indeed the great sicknesse of the soul lies there. There lies the strength of sinne, and the heat of sinne. David when he bewailes his murther, goes to that as the root of it, Psalme 51. 5. All a mans actual sinnes, be they never so grosse, might soone be healed if that were but healed. This is the foun­taine of blood. This is the law of sin, here is the devils magazine.

(5.) Though thou art free from th [...]se foule sins, yet thou mayest have some secret idol or other set up in thy heart. Now the least sin, a vaine thought is a mortal sicknesse in it selfe; and if it be not healed, will prove a soul-destroying sicknesse. The Papists have devised a distinction, of sinnes venial, and sinnes mortal. That there are some sinnes that in their own nature do not make a man liable to eternal death, but onely to tem­poral chastisement: so Bellarmine teaches. The Scripture knows no such distinction, nor can we allow it. All sinnes are venial to true repen­tance, except that one sinne against the holy Ghost; He that commits that shall never be forgiven. But there is no sin venial in its own nature; the least is a mortal sicknesse, and de­serves eternal death. So saith the Scripture, Gal. 3. 10. Rom. 6. ult. the Apostle speaks of all sinne that is opposed to legal righteousnesse; and there is no sinne so small, but it is a breach of the Law of God. For of every idle word that a man shall speak, he shall give an account at the day of judgement, Mat. 12. 36. What is lesse then an idle word? and yet that doth in its own nature deserve wrath. By all these things it appeares [Page] that a man may be spiritually [...] thief, nor drunkard, &c.

4. Yet may a person gather evideners of grace from his acting against sinne, in some cases. David argues so, Ps. 18. 23. And therefore for the winding up of this point, I shall lay down some Rules, whereby a person may know whether his acting against sinne be from a principle of sa­ving grace, or meerly from common restraint.

1. He that forbears sinne from a principle of true grace, doth act from the Authority and de­claration of anaked truth. When the immedi­ate declaration of Gods Will in his Word, with­out any investiture of promise or threatning car­ries a man out against sin; then is his abstaining from sinne, from a principle of true grace. Not but that he that hath true grace may look both at the word of promise and the word of threatning. God hath propounded both pro­mises and threatnings, to be as helps to pre­serve his people from sinning, but the princi­pal ground of acting against sinne, is the reve­lation of Gods Will forbidding such actions. This is that which David saith of himself, Psal. 119. 161. My heart standeth in awe of thy Word. He was kept from sinne upon the meer awful respect that his heart bore to the naked Word of God. So Psal. 119. 11. Thy Word have I hid within my heart, that I might not sinne against thee. So Joseph, Gen. 39. 9. When the heart and the Word of God are shut up alone; when heaven and hell, promises and threatnings are laid aside, and the heart and Gods command are alone; if then thou be restrained from sinful actions upon the account of Gods command, then is thy forbearing of sinne from a principle [Page 160] of grace. Vid. Psalme 17. 4. By the words of thy lips; Bala [...]m shewes himselfe an hypocrite in this very thing. He pretends to abstaine from sinne upon the Authority of Gods Word, Numb. 22, 18. yet afterwards in that very act goes away from God, out of a covetous principle.

2. He that forbeares sinful actions from a prin­ciple of grace, acts against sinne out of love to holi­nesse. He abstaines from sinne not onely as it is a deadly thing, but as it is a loathsome thing. Ps. 119. 140. Thy Word is very pure, therefore thy servant loveth it; David abstained from sin, because of his love to the purity of Gods Law, out of his love to righteousnesse. This is that which is in Jer. 32. 40. I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me. When we are kept from sinne because of the feare of God, then its a right abstinence, Neh. 5. 15. Esay 30. 22. When sinne is cast away and ab­stained from as a menstruous cloath, because it hath filthinesse in it, and because it pollutes them that meddle with it, such forbear­ance of sinne argues truth of grace, Psal. 119. 113.

3. He that abstaines from sinne upon principles of grace, will abstaine from all sinne. From profitable and pleasurable sinnes, as well as dis­paraging, disgracing sinnes; from small sinnes as well as great sinnes; from sinful anger as well as murther; from sinful words as well as sinful actions. He will abstaine from walking and standing, as well as from sitting with the ungodly, Psal. 1. 1. he will pray with David, Psal. 139. ult. See if there be any wicked way, Psal. 119. 104. I hate every false way. This is [Page] clear from what goes before; he [...] sinne out of respect to Gods Law, and [...] to holinesse: therefore he cannot but desire to forbear all; because every sin is unholy, every sin is derogatory to Gods Law.

4. He that forbears sin from a principle of grace, will act as well against the being of sinne in his na­ture, as the breakings out of sinne in his life. He will labour to suppresse the corruption of his heart, as the excursion of his feet, Psalme 51. 5. In iniquity was I shapen, &c. He would be de­livered from a polluted heart, as well as from a polluted hand. So it was with Paul, Rom. 7. 23, 24. he that acts against sinne from common restraint, will never much care for the inhabita­tion of sinne; but he that hath grace, is most care­ful and sorrowful for that: he would keep down the filthinesse of the spirit as well as of the flesh, 2 Cor. 7. 1. the sinful habit is worse to a gracious man, then the sinful Acti­ons.

5. He that forbears sinne from a principle of grace, is as careful of doing good, as of abstaining from evil. He prays as David did, Psal. 119. 5. O that my wayes were directed to keep thy sta­tutes. He that hath onely restraining grace, matters not much the neglecting of good; but he that hath true grace, is very careful for this as well as for the other; he chuseth the way of obedience, as well as refuseth the way of dis­obedience. A godly man is described by this character, that he chuseth the things that please God, Isa. 56. 4. He is every jot as careful for the Positives, as he is for the Negatives of Religi­on. When these things concur, then the for­bearance of sinne will witnesse your condition [Page 162] to be good; otherwise it will be no evi­dence.

2. The second false Rule is, Outward profes­sion. There are many who do conclude that they are in a good condition for their souls, meerly because they are members of the Church, especially if they heare, pray, &c. This is the ge­neral rule whereby carnal Professours judge their condition to be good. They have been baptized, they have come to Gods Table, they have lived in the Church, &c. therefore surely they are in a very healthful conditi­on. I have four things to say for this par­ticular.

1. 'Tis a great honour to be a member of the Church though it be onely by visible Profession. Theodosius accounted it a greater honour to be Membrum Ecclesiae then Caput Imperii. It was that which advanced the people of Israel above all other people, Rom. 3. 1, 2. The Church of God is the most honourable society upon earth, Such as are the members of the Church are neerer to God then any others. They enjoy such priviledges as none else enjoy. They have more helps to salvation then any others. We can never be sufficiently thankful for this fa­vour.

2. To pray, and to hear, and to frequent the publick Ordinances, &c. is that which all that hope to be saved, are to do. That man is in a bad estate that slights these duties. The wrath of the Lord lies upon them that do not call upon the Name of the Lord, Jer. 10. 25. He that wilfully neglects these, can never be saved, Psal. 14. 14. not to call upon God, is the character of a worker of iniquity.

[Page] 3. Yes all this may be done, and [...] be in a very sick estate.

(1.) There are many instances in Scripture to prove this. Was not Ishmael circumcised? was not he a member of the Church? Gen. 17. 16. and yet without any saving interest in the pro­mise. Was not Esan Jacobs brother? was not he likewise a member of the Church? and yet lived and died a profane wretch, Heb. 12. 16. Did not Cain sacrifice as well as Abel? Gen. 4. init. and yet the Apostle saith, he was of that wicked one, 1 John 3. 11. What think you of Saul, Ahab, and all those wicked men? did not they live in the Church? did they not observe outwardly the worship of God? and yet the sonnes of Belial. In the new Testament, did not the Publicans fast and pray, Luke 18. 12. Was not Judas a Disciple? did not he preach as well as others? and yet a child of perditi­on. Was not Simon Magus baptized? Act. 8. 13. Did not Ananias and Sapphira walk with the Church of God a long time, Act. 5. 1. and yet they lived and died wickedly, v. 5, 6, 10. Had not the five foolish Virgins lamps, as well as the wise? Matth. 25. 1, 2, 3. and yet they were excluded out of heaven, vers. 11, 12. so the three sorts of ground, Matth. 13. 4, 5, 6, 7.

(2.) God takes men off in Scripture from rest­ing upon this. And that both in the Old Testa­ment and in the New. In the Old Testament, Jer. 7. 4. In the New Testament, Matth. 3. 9. Now for a man to make that an Argument of a good condition, which God saith is no Argument, is to no purpose.

(3.) Our Saviour, tells that many will plead [Page 164] this, at the day of judgement in vaine, Luke 13. 26. 27.

(4) A man cannot be a hypocrite, till he do all these things. A hypocrite may pray, and fast, and heare as often, and as well externally, as a sincere Christian, Esay 58. 3. and more plainly, Esay 48. 1, 2. lege. Therefore the bare perform­ance of these duties, doth not argue a man to be in a good condition.

4. And lastly, yet may a person from the per­formance of these duties evidence himself to be in a good condition God-ward, when he doth performe them according to those Rules which the Word of God layes down. I shall reduce them to three Heads.

1. When holy dispositions are brought with us to duties. Several dispositions the Word of God requires in every duty.

(1) Holy feare and reverence of God. Of this David speaks, Psal. 5. 7. In thy feare will I wor­ship towards thy holy Temple. 'Tis meet the heart should be possessed with an holy reverential awe of God, when it comes before him in any du­ty, Heb. 12. 28. The distance that is between God and man, the consideration of that pol­lution that is upon the soules of the best, should breed this reverence: We cannot sanctifie God, if this feare be not in our hearts, Esay 8. 12. Now that man that can finde such a dispisiti­on in his heart, when he comes to heare, or to pray, may conclude that there is a principle of grace in his heart. Though bare hearing, and bare praying will not argue our estate to be good; yet trembling at the hearing of the Word, and a filial awe of God upon the heart in prayer, will evince a spiritual principle.

[Page] (2) Humility of spirit. God expect [...] [...] that come to worship him should come [...] humbly, with low, mean, vile apprehensions of themselves. So came the Publican, Luke 18. 1 [...]. There are many things that testifie his low con­ceit of himself. He stood afar off. He would not so much as lift up his eyes to heaven. He smote his breast, &c. Thus it was with Abraham, Gen. 18. 27. and thus it was with Ezra. Chap. 9. 6. Now though bare prayer will be no Argument of a good condition, yet praying in godly humility will, if it be from the heart, if it be from a deep spiritual sense of our own vilenesse. If our souls lie in the dust before the Lord, when we come to worship him; such worship will argue grace.

(3) Faith in the Promise. 'Tis the minde of God that we should bring faith with us to God in every duty. He that cometh unto God must beleeve, Heb. 11. 6. Now when in hearing we can close with God by applying what we hear, when in prayer we are able in some measure to cast our selves upon God, to rely and depend on him for audience, for acceptance; When we can pray as David saith to God, and look up for an answer, Psal. 5. 3. such dispositions in duties are Arguments of a work of grace upon the heart.

(4) Hungrings after God. God looks that we should have strong desires after the duties of Gods worship, David fainted and longed for the courts of God, Psal. 63. init. Psal. 84. 2. Psal. 42. 1. When we do not onely pray, but hunger after prayer. When we are glad of an opportunity of hearing, as David was, Ps. 122. 2. especially if these hungrings be to private duties, [Page] as well as to publick, such prayers are evidences of grace.

2. When a man hath right ends in duties. God looks much at the ends which men propose to themselves in all their actions. And so do ho­ly men. I shall fi [...]st negatively remove those carnal ends which Hypocrites and carnal Professours propound in the duties of Reli­gion.

First, The pleasing of men. Most propound no higher, no other end of their holy services but this. The Apostle dis-owns this end, Gal. 1. 10.

Secondly, Custome. When a man prayes, and heares, because it hath been his wont [...]o to do. Many men have no other end, but meer­ly a religious wont. They and their forefa­thers have been used to do so, therefore they continue it.

Thirdly, To avoid penalty of the Lawes. This many men make their end in Religious du­ties.

Fourthly, To get honour, preferment, repute with men. When men shall pray, heare, meerly because they would be accounted Religious. And thus the Shechemites were circumcised, Gen. 34. 23.

Fifthly, To stop the voice of conscience. Many men sometimes pray, hear, read the Scriptures, that they may stop the mouth of conscience, accusing them for some sinne committed. This is nothing else but spiritual bribery.

Sixthly, When duties are made a mask to co­ver some foule sinne, either done or intended to be done. As Jezabels fasting, 1 Kings 21, 9. The Pharisees long prayers, Matth. 23. 14. He that [Page] makes these, or any such thing [...]. [...] end of his duties, cannot conclude a principle of grace from the performance of them, al­though they be never so frequently done. But the right ends are such as these.

(1) Obedience to the Divine command. When a person shall upon serious examination finde that his end in praying, hearing, &c. is, that he may shew his subjection to the Divine Precept. He prayes not onely because he wants some mercy, but because he would honour God by performing his Commands. When a person can say with David, Psal. 119 4, 5. Thou hast commanded, &c. He may from the perform­ance of such services comfortably conclude, that there is a principle of grace in his heart. When we can appeale to God, that we wait upon his Ordinances, because we would do that duty we owe to God; in such case, we may argue from duties to grace.

(2) A desire to get and keep communion with God. This is one end for which holy duties are appointed, that by them God and the soule may come together. And this hath been the end which holy men have propounded to themselves in holy duties, Psal. 27. 4. Thy face Lord will I seek. Thus it was with David, Psal. 42. 2. When shall I come to appeare before God? And Psal. 63. 2. To see thy power, and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the Sanctuary. Now when a person can in the uprightnesse of his soul say, that his end in coming to duties, publick and private, is because he would see him whom his soule loveth; and therefore he is not satisfied with a duty, if he meet not with God in it, he may then comfortably conclude from the [Page 168] performing of duties, a principle of grace in his heart.

(3.) A desire to get corruption weakned, and grace strengthened. This is one end why God hath instituted his Ordinances, that sinne may be outed thereby, and grace confirmed. 2 Cor. 10. 4. and 1 Pet. 2. 2. Now when a person can in the integrity of his soule say, that he prays, heares, &c. that he may get love increased, faith confirmed, grace exercised; that he may get his heart warmed, his conscience purified; then he may comfortably conclude from such duties, that his heart is upright with God.

3. When the deportment is fair after duties. I shall here name two things.

First, When we blesse God for duties. 'Tis a great mercy to enjoy the Ordinances of God, Psal. 147. 19, 20. Now when you return from prayer, hearing, &c. if you can from your souls blesse the Lord, that you have had such an op­portunity, from a sincere heart; then you may conclude that your hearts have a principle in them above nature, when you look upon them as priviledges.

Secondly, When the doing of duties make you fruitful. When you heare, and give up your selves to be ruled by the Word you heare, Rom. 6. 17. When you desire as well to be doers of the Word, as hearers of it, Jam. 1. 22, 23, 24. When you pray, and desire to live the prayers you make to God. When your soules are troubled that you cannot finde that fruitful efficacy of your duties upon your hearts, and in your lives, which you would fain find. You can heartily chide your selves that you are no better for your duties. When you go to prayer, or to hearing, or to the [Page] Table of the Lord, your earne [...] [...] is, that he would make you [...]. When you go into your [...]l [...]eset to [...] the Word, you send up some ejaculation to heaven, that the Word may be effectual upon your soul [...], &c. then you may comfortably conclude, that there is a supernatural work upon your hearts. But if these things be not in you in some degree and measure; the bare performance of duties, though they he done never so frequently, never so exactly as to the outwards of them, will be no ground to you, for the reasons above menti­oned, that you are in a good condition. This is the second false Rule.

3. The third false Rule; Outward Prosperity. Multitudes of men judge of their spiritual condi­tion by the Rule of outward Prosperity. They think their soules are in health, because their bo­dies are in health; they think they are inwardly prosperous, because they are outwardly happy. They have great revenues, a full trading, they have a multitude of children, their flocks and their heards are increased, they are advanced to great honours; therefore they blesse themselves and say, God loves them, and they are highly in his favour. They think they are the heires of heaven, because they are the possessors of the earth. Thus it was with the ten tribes: when the Prophets threatned the judgements of God against them for their sinnes, they ran to this Sanctuary to secure themselves, they concluded Gods special favour from outward prosperity. Vid. Hos. 12. 8. 'Tis the general and common refuge of worldly men. They think their hearts are full of grace, because their purses are full of gold; because the world dandles them upon [Page] her lap, they think God dandles them upon his knee. For the removal of this, I shall propound four things.

First, 'Tis a mercy in it self to enjoy a competency of these outward things. To have health, wealth, prosperitie, plentie, is a mercy to be received with much thankfulnesse from God. To be poore, sicklie, weak is in it selfe an evil; and to be rich, strong, healthful, is in its own nature a blessing; which I shall prove by these two Ar­guments.

1. The Scripture puts outward prosperity a­mongst blessings. Deut. 28. 3, 4, 5, to 15. So Lev. 26. 3, 4, &c. Now what the Scripture calls bles­sing, is in its own nature a blessing. The judgment of God is according to truth.

2. Those which are rich, &c. have more oppor­tunities of doing good, then such as are poore. They may by their outward estates promote Religion, help to advance the worship of God in the world, be instruments of planting the Gospel in forreigne parts. A good purse and a graci­ous heart meeting together, may be very instru­mental sundry wayes for the glory of God, and the good of men. They may be the meanes of bringing in many to God, both by their exam­ple, which is very prevalent in the world, and by giving unto men rewards for godlinesse sake. One rich man in a Parish may be a great help to make a Parish Religious, if not in heart, yet in profession; which is a great mercy. Rich men have a capacity of doing that good, which men of meaner condition want. They may re­lieve prisoners, cloath the naked, feed the hungry, ransome captives, which other men cannot do. Now it's a mercy to be put [Page] into a capacity of doing good [...] a good man, when he is not capable [...] the good he would, though it be but a tempo­ral good. 'Tis a greater trouble to a good man not to be able to give, then it is to the poore to be turned away without giving. Though in such case the liberality of the heart is accept­ed instead of the liberality of the hand. He that would give when he hath not to give, is set down in Gods Kalendar, for a bountiful man, though he give nothing at all. This is the first conclusion.

Secondly, Riches and grace do sometimes go to­gether. Outward Prosperity and inward do some­times meet in the same person. 'Tis not im­possible that rich men should be good men. We have some instances of this in Scripture. Abra­ham was very holy, Called the righteous man, Esay 41. 2. the Father of the faithful, The friend of God, &c. and yet Abraham was very rich, Gen. 24. 35. Job was exceeding pious, a man whom God boasts of to Satan, Job 1. 8. and yet he was very rich. He had plenty of chil­dren (those are first put in the inventory) and he was rich in all other wealth, ver. 3. he had se­ven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, five hundred she asses, and a very great houshold, and Chap. ult. when his estate is surveyed againe, you will finde it doubled, ver. 12. many other instances we have in Scripture of the Association of grace and greatnesse. This God doth for these six Reasons.

1. To confute the judgement of the world. Plain dealing is a jewel saith the world, but he that useth it will die a beggar. God gives these [Page] things to his people, to crosse that wicked Proverb.

2. To convince men that they are not evil things. It was Austins Observation long since. God bestowes outward things upon the worst of men, that they may not be thought to be the onely good things; and he bestowes them sometimes upon his own people, that they may not be thought to be evil things.

3. To shew his Dominion and right of disposing even these outward things. Should not some godly men enjoy these outward things, they would be apt to think that God did not meddle with things of this nature, but now the confer­ring of these things upon the godly disproves that Atheism.

4. To let men see, even sensual men, that it is not in vaine to serve God Worldly men say, what profit shall we have if we pray to him? Job 21. 15. Now they are not capable of understanding the inward profit of holinesse, but they can understand the outward advantages. God therefore will prove the profit of piety by such Arguments as they are able to under­stand.

5. To fulfill the letter of his Promise. He hath promised these outward things to godly men, Psal. 112. 2, 3. Now men would question his faithfulnesse in keeping promise, if it should not sometimes be made good in kinde.

6. God makes some of his people rich to help such as are poor. Wicked men generally hate the people of God for their very holinesse. They are not willing to relieve them, though God by his power makes them Authours of good [Page] to them. Therefore that, the [...] flock may have some to stand by them, [...] con­science sake, God is pleased to make some of their number great, that the wicked of the world may not alwaies tread them down without opposition. Joseph was made great, to provide for his fathers house in their povertie, Gen. 50. 20. God makes some of his flock rich and great, that the poor of his flock may have some to look after them for his sake. This is the second Conclusi­on.

Thirdly, That grace and holinesse is the best and neerest way to attaine to all outward prosperi­ty. For although God as soveraigne Lord, make rich and poor, whom he please; yet no man can expect or hope for temporal felicitie but the man that is truly godly, 1 Tim. 4. 8. Godlinesse hath the promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. And Matth. 5. 5. The froward do often enjoy much of these out­ward things, but the promise of the inherit­ance of them belongs onely to the meek, Prov. 3. 16. Riches and honour are put into the hand of wisdome, and none but wisdomes children can upon any good ground ex­pect to inherit either of them. This is the third.

Fourthly, That the enjoyment of these outward things, is no infallible evidence of a good condition. 'Tis possible for a man to possesse a great por­tion of outward happinesses, and yet be unhap­py in regard of his soule. The purse may be full of gold, and yet the heart emptie of saving grace. The body may be fat and in good liking, and yet the soule leane and withered. A man may have great possessions in the world, and [Page 174] yet have no interest in God. Our Saviour supposeth this, Matthew 16. 26. There are foure things required to make up this suppo­sition.

(1) A man that gaines the whole world must enjoy all the riches, honour, pleasure of worldly things.

(2) He must have a heart capable to take de­light in all these.

(3) He must enjoy all these from the first man to the last man, from the beginning to the end of the world.

(4) Freedome from all vexations, and troubles of Spirit. This no man ever did enjoy. And yet our Saviour supposeth, that a man may en­joy all this, and yet lose his soule. That outward prosperitie cannot evidence a man to be in a state of grace, appeares by these seven Arguments.

1. They are bestowed upon the worst of men. The Scripture tells us of many rich men, very rich, that lived and died wickedlie. What think you of him mentioned, Luke 12. 16, 17, 18, 19, 20. He was exceeding rich, his treasury was too lit­tle, his store-house was too small for his reve­nues, and yet no interest in God at all that might entitle him to salvation; a very foole for all his ri [...]hes. You reade of another in Luke 16. 19. There are all expressions of prosperity that can be imagined, and yet v. 23. that very per­son is in Hell torments. You know the story of Nabal, 1 Sam. 25. 2, 6. he was very wealthie, and yet a sinful fool. As his name is, so is he, Nabal is his name, and follie is with him. You reade of some in Job, Chap. 21. 7, 8, 9, 10. that enjoyed much prosperitie, and yet desperatelie [Page] wicked: reade v. 14. They say [...] from us, we desire not the knowledge of [...] Sodom and Gomorrah were very rich, it was a land fruitful as the Garden of God, Gen. 13. 10. and yet they that possessed that fruitful land, are now suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. Jude 7. The Scripture is full of such examples.

2. Riches and honour are but common blessings. They are the good things of the Foot-stool, not the good things of the Throne. They are in the left hand of wisdome, Prov. 3. 16. Now no com­mon mercie can argue special love, Eccles. 9. 1. No man knows either love or hatred by any thing that is before him.

3. Outward prosperity is very often a hindrance of salvation. That of our Saviour would seriously be taken notice of. 'Tis easier for a camel to go thorough the eye of a needle, then for a rich man to enter into the Kingdome of God, Mat. 19. 24. Riches too often draw the heart from God, they coole zeale, quench devotion. We see by experience many men that were hot for Religion when they were poore, are grown dead, cold, now they have got estates. Our Saviour tells us, that the deceitfulnesse of riches choaks the Word, and makes the heart unfruitful, Vid. Mat. 13. 22. Now that which hinders men from salvation, can be no argument of a state of salvation.

4. Men may transmit riches to their posterity. Now that which a man may have by descent and natural generation, can be no evidence of a state of grace. No man is born in a state of grace, Eph. 2. 2. A man must be borne againe be­fore he can see the Kingdome of Heaven, Joh. 3. 3. Many men are borne rich and honourable, [Page] &c. therefore none of these things can entitle a man to heaven.

5. If outward prosperity were an Argument of grace, then Covetousnesse would be no sinne. 'Tis no sinne but duty, for a man to labour for, and to covet evidences of grace. We are com­manded to do so in Scripture; Make your cal­ling and election sure, 2 Pet. 1. 10. but covetous­nesse is not a duty, but a sinne, a sinne of a high nature, The root of all evil, so the Apostle calls it, 1 Tim. 6. 10. 'Tis idolatrie, one of the worst kinds of idolatry.

6. Outward prosperity may be quite lost. There­fore it can be no evidence of a state of grace. Evidences of true grace can never totally be lost where once they are; the knowledge of the evidence may be lost, but the ground of the evidence cannot be lost; but all outward prospe­rity may be lost. Riches are not for ever, Prov. 27. 24. Honours die before he that had them die. Haman will be an example of that; our own age hath given us fresh precedents in abundance, of the perishingnesse of these things. Do not many that were cloathed in skarlet em­brace the dung-hil? Are not rich men made poor, and poor rich?

7. Outward prosperity is sometimes given in wrath. He gave them a King in his anger, and took him away in his wrath, Hos. 13. 11. God gave quailes to the Israelites, but his wrath came along with them, Psal. 78. 30, 31. 'Tis true of all outward things. The prosperity of fooles shall destroy them, Prov. 1. 32. Prosperitie kills more then adversitie. But now, that which is an evidence of salvation, is never given in wrath. I shall answer one question, and then I shall shut up this Rule, viz.

[Page] How shall I know whether [...] are given in mercy?

1. When they make the heart▪ [...]. Riches when they are given in anger, [...] heart sensual, stubborne. When they are given in love, they do spirituallize, enlarge the heart God-ward: we may see it in Hannah, 1 Sam. 2. 2. My heart is enlarged: outward mercies natural­ly make the heart carnal, but when they are gi­ven in mercie they make it spiritual. See it in David, Psal. 23. 5, 6. I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. When health, riches, &c. raise the heart nearer heaven, then 'tis a sign they are bestowed in mercie.

2. When they make the heart more humble. Na­turally outward prosperitie swells the heart. That Caution, 1 Tim. 6. 17. notes the distemper. A full purse ordinarily makes a big heart. If therefore you finde your spirits humble under your outward enjoyments, you may conclude they are given you in mercie. See it in Jacob; How humble was he? Gen. 32. 10. His spirit was as low when he marched with his two bands, as when he travelled with his scrip and staffe from his Fathers house. So it was with David, 2 Sam. 7. 12, 13. There is a promise of great pro­speritie to David and to his house. See how humble this made Davids spirit? v. 18, 19. Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house that thou hast brought me hitherto?

3. When we are as ready to lay them out for God, as to receive them from God. When God gives thee an estate, and thou growest covetous, art loath to part with it, to promote either the service of God, or the good of his people; When God gives thee a healthful body, and thou carest [Page] not to serve him with thy health, &c. This is a signe that these things are given in anger. But when thou canst freely part with thy sub­stance, when thou studiest, how thou mayest ho­nour God with thy estate, as the Wise-man en­joynes, Prov. 3. 9. When thou art willing to feed Gods hungry, and cloath his naked, and lodge his houslesse ones, &c. This is an Argu­ment that God gives thee thy estate in mercie. But now if thou squandrest it away in the service of thy lusts, or if thou canst not finde in thy heart to lay it out for God; thou mayest sus­pect that God gave thee what thou hast in great anger. Thus much for the third false Rule.

4. The fourth false Rule. The judgement of o­thers. There are very many in the world, who conclude themselves to be in a good condition, because others have a good opinion of them. They think they are perfectly well, because o­thers tell them they are well. Especially if they be such as are godly and religious. The Apostle hints at this, Gal. 6. 4. I shall lay down two things.

1. 'Tis a very great mercy to be well reputed of by such as are godly. The good opinion of one godly man is better then the acclamations of many wicked. It's an honour to any man to have a good report amongst them that feare the Lord in sincerity. It's recorded concerning Timothy, that he was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra, and Iconium, Acts 16. 2. [...]. They that are godly are more knowing then o­thers, as having the Spirit of God, and so better able to discern of men then others are. And then they are more faithful then others; They [Page] dare not willing [...]y call evil [...] The testimony of one godly [...] and valued before the testimony of [...]. It is a great comfort and strengthening▪ to a godly man, when such as are of a discerning spi­rit, approve of his condition.

2. It's possible for a man to be in a very sicke­state, and yet to be well reputed of by godly men, the wisest, the faithfullest. I shall give three Argu­ments to cleer out this, viz.

(1) We have several instances of it in Scripture. What think you of Judas? he was a very wretch­ed man, our Saviour calls him a devil, John 6. 70. And yet all the eleven had a very good opinion of him. If Judas had desired it, he might have had a Testimony under the hands of all the Disciples, that they judged him to be a very godly man. When our Saviour told them, [...]hat one of them should betray him; every one of them was more ready to suspect himselfe then Judas, Mat. 26. 21, 22. They were exceeding sor­rowful, and began to say unto him one by one, Mr. Is it I? Ananias and Sapphira were (without doubt) well reputed of by the people of God, and yet you know, Act. 5. 1, 2. how great hypocrites they were: they both agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord. Was not Demas once highly approved of by the Apostle Paul? and yet a very painted rotten-hearted hypocrite, one that forsook the Apostle to embrace the present world, 2 Tim. 4. 10. What, should I tell you of Jehu, Hymeneu [...] and Alexander, and many others who were highly esteemed of by the ser­vants of God in that generation? Our present Age will furnish us with too many precedents of this nature; many, very many have turned [Page 180] fearful Apostates, of whom the servants of God judged far better then ever they durst of their own hearts.

(2) No man doth infallibly know the state of another mans heart. 'Tis made by some a que­stion, whether a man can know the state of his own heart infallibly? Though I do not question that, yet I beleeve,

1. That no man can do it at all times.

2. That no man can do it without the ex­traordinary assistance of the Spirit of God bear­ing witnesse with his Spirit, Rom. 8. 16. Sure it is, no man can infallibly know the state of his brothers heart. All the knowledge we have of other men is but conjectural. A faithful Bro­ther, as I suppose, saith the Apostle concerning Sylvanus, 1 Pet. 5. 12. 'Tis Gods Prerogative in­fallibly to know the hearts of men. You cannot infallibly know a mans temporal estate unlesse it be discovered, much lesse his spiritual estate.

(3) That that will be a good ground to another man to judge well of us, will not be a sufficient ground for us to judge well of our selves. Others are bound to judge well of us, if they see no evil in us. Charity beleeveth all things, hopeth all things, thinketh no evil, Vid. 1 Cor. 13. 5, 6, 7. A fair outward deportment free from offence, is a suf­ficient ground for another man to judge chari­tably of me, and for me to judge charitably of another. But now more then this is required to give me a ground of judging well of my selfe. I must see some inward saving work of grace in my heart before I can judge, before I ought to judge my own condition to be good. That that will evince me to be a censurer of another, [Page] if I do not judge well of him, will [...] flatterer; if I do judge well of my selfe upon such grounds, because I must know, pos­sitively my condition to be good, before I conclude it to be good. Thus much for this Rule.

5. The fifth false Rule; Some outward refor­mation. Many men conclude themselves to be in a very healthful condition, because they are bet­ter then they were. They have left some sinnes which formerly they walked in, &c. There­fore they hope their condition is good in the sight of God. They were wont to swear at e­very word, but now they swear not at all; if they do, 'tis but very seldome, &c. Vid. 2 Cor. 16. 12. I have foure things to say about this Rule.

1. 'Tis a very great mercy when men are on the mending hand. When they grow better any man­ner of way, in any degree, they have cause to blesse God exceedingly. When he that was a common swearer, can now speak without an oath. When he that was a cheater, doth now deale honestly with men. When he that was a drunkard, doth now live soberly. There is some better hopes of this man, then there is of another who goes on still in his old waies. When a man can say, I was an extortioner, an oppres­sor, a liar, &c. but now I have left these sins. He hath very great cause to blesse God that hath made him better; to leave one sinne is a greater mercie then to gain the world.

2. No man can have hopes of heaven, that doth not mend his life. He that doth not outwardly reforme, shall not go to heaven, Job 22. 23. Col. 3. 4, 5.

[Page 182] 3. It's possible that a man may outwardly re­forme some things, and yet he in [...] very sick condi­tion still. A man may be better then he was, and yet far short of a good condition. A man may be lesse wicked then he was, and yet not at all truly good in the sight of God. Consider foure things to clear this.

(1) A man may part with some one sinne to make more sea-roome for some other sinne. Though all lusts are from the devil, and all lead to the devil, and all are contrary to Holinesse, yet there is some opposition between one lust and another, so that one cannot act vigorously, un­lesse another which opposes it be brought under. Prodigality is contrary to covetousnesse, &c. Now it's possible for a man to leave some sinne out of love to another sinne; to part with covetousnesse out of love to prodigality. A man may put out some of his children to make more room for the first-born, and yet he accounts them all his children. A mans heart may be so much addicted to one sinne, that he may seeme to neglect all the rest, to make the better provision for that which is most dearly be­loved.

(2) A man may leave some sinnes, because he hath not ability or opportunity to commit them as before. The Prodigal man hath so farre wasted his estate▪ that he hath not ability to be so wast­ful as before. The adulterer hath so empaired his health and strength, that he is not able to act his sin as he did before. A thief may have reform­ed his the every, because he hath not that opportu­nity to purloine as he had before. He is better watched then he was.

(3) A man may part with some sinnes meerly [Page] to please men with whom [...] because he hates the sinne; but [...] displease others whom he would [...]. A man may forbear some dish of meat which h [...] loves, because his friend whom he hath invited doth not affect it.

(4.) A man may part with some sinne, because he hath found some outward smart by it. He hath empaired his health by immoderate drinking, and therefore he will now be sober. He loves the sinne as well as ever he did, but he cannot without the hazarding of his life or health fre­quent it. Many a man abstaines from some meats, not because he hates the meat, but because the meat doth not love him. So it is in respect of sinne. It hath been a chargable sinne to him, and will be so still if he use it, therefore he puts it away. By all these things it appeares that some outward reformation may be attained unto, and yet the soul still in a sick condition. This is the third thing.

4. How may a man know then whether his Reformation be such as will e [...]ince his condi­tion to be good. These things will evidence this.

1. If it proceed from a true displicency and hatred of it. When loathing of sinne goes a­long with leaving of sinne. When the heart is disaffected with it. When the filthinesse of sin is apprehended as well as the destructivenesse of sinne. Esay 30. 22. True grace doth ha [...]e sinne more for its filthinesse, then for its damnable­nesse; more because of its opposition to God, then for its hurtfulness to himself. He that can find this, may conclude his reformation to be an ar­gument of grace.

2. If care be taken as well to suppresse the root [Page 184] as [...] reforme the outward act. Every sinful act doth proceed from a sinful habit. Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murthers, fornicati­ons, &c. Mat. 15. 19. Now if you can finde that the outward reformation, and the inward reformation go together, you may conclude the presence of grace from such acts of reformation. This is that which the Apostle speaks of, 2 Cor. 7. 1. Now if as great care be used to be freed from the filthinesse of the spirit, as from the fil­thinesse of the flesh, 'tis a signe the fear of God is there. Put away your iniquities from before mine eyes, saith the Lord, Esay 1. 16. What is it to put away our iniquities from before the eyes of God, but to take care that they may be blotted out of the heart, as well as put away from the hand?

3. If the Reformation be general. If we mend in one thing as well as another, we may con­clude grace is in the heart. Hypocrites alwaies reforme with a reservation; they leave a nest-egge for Satan to sit on. In this thing, the Lord be merciful to thy servant, saith Naaman, 2 King. 5. 18. But where there is true grace, the reforma­tion is universal. Abuses against the first table are reformed, as well as abuses against the se­cond Table; and abuses against the second table, as well as such as are against the first. Through thy Commandments, saith David, I get understanding, therefore I hate every false way.

4. When it is a Reformation to all good, as well as from all evil. When the heart is carried out as strongly after the reforming of good things omitted, as of evil things committed, then 'tis a signe that there is grace in the heart. When a man shall not onely reforme of oppression and in j [...]stice, but reform to liberality and open heart­ednesse. [Page] God puts these together [...] essential branches of all true [...] Esay 1. 17. Cease to do evil, le [...] to do [...] a man shall not onely leave swearing, but con­scionably take up the work of praying, &c. Such reformation will evidence grace to be in the soul.

5. When it is a setled and fixed Reformation, Two things are comprehended in this.

First, resolution never to return to these evils which we have put away, never to forsake those holy courses which we have taken up; when a man thorough the grace of God doth purpose that his Reformation shall last as long as life lasts. He may fall in­to the same Acts again, but 'tis against his inten­tion, against his prayer, against his endeavour.

Secondly, a resolution to carry on his reforma­tion from day to day in regard of degrees, never to leave mending and mending till he have mend­ed every thing that is amisse either in excess or defect. This I call fixed Reformation.

6. The sixth false Rule; Quietnesse of consci­ence. Many persons judge themselves to be in a whole condition, because they finde no troubles in their spirit. They have not those Tormina and gripings in their consciences which other sinners have had, therefore they gather that they are in a good condition. They think they are well, because they do not finde those pains which others have found. I have these three things to say about this rule.

1. Holinesse is the onely way to true quietnesse of conscience. See Jam. 3. 17. Esay 32. 17. disturb­ance is threatned to the wicked, Job 15. 21, 24, Job 20. 20. Esay 57.

2. All quietnesse of conscience is not an argument [Page 186] of a good condition. This I shall make out by three Arguments, viz.

(1) A man may be in a very good condition, and yet want peace of conscience. A good conscience, and an unquiet conscience, sometimes meet in one man. Though purity of conscience be the way to peaceablenesse of conscience; yet the conscience may be pure, and for the present unpeaceable. We have many instances of this in Scripture. That of Heman is very remarkable, Psal. 88. 15, 16. a very good man, as will appear by many instances in that Psalme, yet had a ve­ry stormy conscience. That instance in Isaiah 50. 10. is another proof of this. Yea, Jesus Christ himself had alwayes a good conscience, but he sometimes wanted a peaceable consci­ence; when he uttered those words, Mat. 27. 46. he wanted serenity and peace. David a holy man, doth often complaine of unquietnesse, and of great troublednesse in his conscience. In the beginning of the new-birth, when the pangs are not well over; upon the hiding of Gods face, upon the stepping aside into sinne, upon want of evidence of grace, upon some great assault of Satan; in such cases consciences that are very good, may be very unquiet.

(2) A man may be in a very bad condition, and yet finde some quietnesse in his conscience. See that cleare tex [...] to prove this, Luke 11. 21. While the strong man armed keeps the palace, all is in peace. The devil may be in full possession of the soule, and yet the soul may be sensible of no unquietnesse at all. That rich man in the Gos­pel sings a Requiem to his soul, Luke 12. 19. The Apostle speaks of some that are past feeling, Eph. 4. 19. [...]. They sin, and yet do not feel sin.

[Page] (3) Some quietnesse of [...] Some peace of conscience ariseth from [...] of a mans condition 'Tis not peace, but secu [...]ity, sleepinesse, deadnesse, yea 'tis one of the g [...]eat­est judgements God inflicts in this life, to afford men quietnesse of conscience in a sinful conditi­on. When God lets a man be as Jonah▪ was, rea­dy to be drownd, and yet fast asleep in the sides of the Ship.

3. All that are truly godly, shall at last finde peaceablenesse of conscience. Though they may be full of tossings and unquietnesses in their con­sciences, yet they shall at last finde peace; though not perhaps so much peace as shall free them from doubting, yet so much peace as will free them from distrust. Peace is promised to them often in Scripture. Esay 26. 3. Thou shalt keep him in peace, Psalme 85. 8. Psalme 37. 37. Christ hath purchased peace for them. The Spi­rit is a Spirit of peace as well as a Spirit of grace. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit as well as Love, &c. True peace of conscience is an evidence of true Grace.

Quest. How shall a man know true peace of conscience from carnal security? They may be di­stinguished three waies.

1. From the rise of them. True peace proceeds from true spiritual roots, viz.

1. Acquaintance with God, Job 22. 21. False peace ariseth rather from ignorance of God, for­getfulnesse of God; but true peace ariseth from acquaintance and communion with him.

2. The knowledge of our justification. Of this the Apostle speaks, Rom. 5. 1. When a person doth upon good grounds know that his person is put into a state of justification, and thereupon [Page 188] finds peace and quietnesse in his spirit, this is a night born peace.

3. The sense of our walking according to the rule of the Word. The Apostle mentions this, Gal. 6. 16. He that can derive his peace from such foundations, may conclude the work of grace from the work of peace, as truly as he may con­clude light from the Sun.

II. From the manner of the working of his peace. True sound peace hath usually followed great conflicts of conscience. True quietnesse ordi­narily grows out of disquietnesse. Storms usu­ally go before calmes. As it was with that na­tural outward calme, Mar. 4. 39. so it is gene­rally with spiritual calmes. Though spiritual stormes are not of the same violence, or of the same continuance in all, yet some tempestuous blasts go before these serenities.

III. From the properties of it. I shall name these three properties of true peace.

1. It will allow no peace with sinne. Carnal security is at amity with sinne, at least with some sinne; but gracious peace is at enmity with all sin. The Prophet mentions this fruit of it, Psal. 85. 8.

2. It raises the heart to enjoy more full commu­nion with God. The heart is made more active in all holinesse; whereas carnal security deads the heart. Its a heart-ruling peace, Col. 3. 15. A heart-keeping peace, Phil. 4. 7.

3. True peace continues even in outward trouble. Outward troubles dash carnal security, not true peace, unless God hide his face in trouble, Joh. 16. 33. This is the sixth Rule.

7. The seventh false Rule; Comparing a mans selfe with others. Very many do build much up­on [Page] this foundation. They judge [...] be in a healthful estate, because they [...] sick as other men. They see abundance [...] then they are, and therefore they conclude▪ all is well with themselves. This was the Phari­sees case, God I thank thee, that I am not as o­ther men are, Luke 18. 11. This is a general com­mon case. I have two things to say about this Head.

First, 'Tis a great mercy that thou doest in any degree or measure exceed any of the sonnes of men. As we are bound to blesse God that o­thers do go beyond us, so 'tis our duty hear­tily to blesse God, that he hath made us in a­ny degree better then the vilest of men. And we have great reason so to do in foure re­spects.

1. Because our nature is as bad as the nature of the worst man. Original corruption, as it doth a­bide in all, so it is equal in all. No man is bet­ter then another by nature. The image of the old Adam is by nature as deep, and as black, and broad in every one of our soules, as it was in the soule of Judas, Cain, Saul, or any of those that are at this day in the place of torment, Psal. 14. 3. They are all gone aside, they are alto­gether become filthy. The Apostle citing this place, Rom. 3. 9, 10, &c. refers it to the natural estate of all the sonnes of Adam, both Jewes and Gentiles. And therefore it is that he pronoun­ceth the Elect, and regenerate, as well as others, to be by nature the children of wrath, Eph. 2. 3. This being true, it appears to be a mercy, that we are in any thing better then the vilest of men. Though we be not so good as many, yet 'tis some happinesse that we be not as vile as any.

[Page 190] 2. In a [...] much as a person is lesse evil thin others, his p [...]nishment will [...]e lesse then the punishment of others. There are certainly degrees of tor­ment in hell. Though extensive in regard of duration there is no difference (the torment of every damned creature is an eternal torment;) yet intensivè in regard of degree and quantity, there is lesser and greater. Those that question whether there be degrees of glory in heaven, do hold without question that there are de­grees of punishment in Hell. The justice of God distributes punishment for sinne as the wages of it, and therefore according to the quantity of sinne shall be the measure of pu­nishment. And the Scripture is expresse to this purpose, Matth. 11. 22, 24. Tyre and Sidon shall not undergo so much torment as Chorazin and Bethsaida, Sodom and Gomorrah shall be inferi­our in punishment to Capernaum. Capernaum out-sinn'd Sodom and Gomorrah, and therfore shal exceed them in degrees of punishment. Now 't [...]s a mercy to have any abatement of torments. Though a man be shut out of Heaven; yet if he have a milder punishment in hell then others, it is a great mercy.

3. He that is lesse evil then others, dishonours God lesse then others. The great evil of sin con­sists in this, that it casts dishonour and con­tempt upon God. Sinne is worse as it is a God­provoking thing, then as it is a creature-damning thing. Every act of sinne greatly dishonours God; and the more acts of sin a man commits, the more doth he dishonour God. Now 'tis a great mercy that we do not dishonour God so much as others. Though it be a great unhap­pinesse that we do not glorifie God as much as [Page] any, yet it is some happin [...] [...] dishonour him as much as any▪ [...] from dishonouring God by any one sinful action, is in it self a greater mercy then to enjoy the greatest outward advantage in the world; the dishonouring of God, (though it be but by one act, the least that is imaginable) is a greater mi­sery, then to lose all the world, because the Name of God is better then all the world; so to be delivered from dishonouring, though but in one act, is a far greater happinesse then to acquire the best outward advantage, which the world hath to bestow.

4. He that is lesse evill then others, is deliver­ed from some filthinesse. Sinne is a great defiler. 'Tis the onely soul-defiler in the world. The Scripture resembles it to the most filthy things; To the vomit of a dog, to a miry puddle. You have both these in one place, 2 Pet. 2. 22. To a menstruous cloth, Esay 64. 6. 'Tis often called filthinesse in the abstract, Lam. 3. 9. Now 'tis a mercy, though a man be not cleane, yet 'tis some mercy, that he is not altogether so filthy as he might be. To be preserved from any one spot of this filthinesse, is a very great kindnesse, a kindnesse to be acknowledged with the greatest thankfulnesse. This is the first conclusion.

Secondly; It's possible for a man to be better then others, and yet to be in a very bad condition. A man may be sick unto death, and yet not so far spent in his body as some others are. A man may have a greater estate then many hun­dreds, and yet be no very rich man for all that. So 'tis for spirituals. Thou mayst per­adventure be neerer heaven then many hundreds [Page] are, and yet [...]e [...] the high-way to Hell, and de­struction. That young man in the Gospel that came to Christ, had out-stript thousands of his Neighbours. When Christ told him, Thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not beare false witnesse, honour thy father and thy mother; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thy self: What answer did he make? All these things have I kept from my youth up, Mat. 19. 20. There were millions in the world at that time, that were inferiour to him, and yet he was under the power of mortal diseases. The greatest part of the world are in a very bad estate. Our Sa­viour tells us, that many are called, but few are chosen, Mat. 22. 14. The greatest part of men in the world walk in the broad way. Judas, Saul, Jehu, were better in many respects, then multi­tudes that then lived in the world; and yet e­very one of them sick unto death. God hath no where in Scripture said that that man is in a good condition, that is better then others, unless those others whom he excels be in a saving regenerate condition.

8. The eighth false Rule; Knowledge of spiri­tual things. Many men think themselves in a saving condition, because they have attained to a good measure of knowledge in the things of God. They understand the Doctrine of the Bible, they are well versed in the principles of Religion, they can answer almost any questi­on in Divinity; and therefore they judge their estate to be very good. I have three things to say concerning this head, viz.

1. 'Tis a very great mercy to have the know­ledge of saving and spiritual things. 'Tis a hap­pinesse to have a deep knowledge in natural [Page] things. Humane knowle [...] [...] could be seen, i [...] far bright [...] [...] star. Knowledge never had neve [...] [...] any enemy but ignorance. What [...] Solomon? Eccl. 2. 13. He tells us, that wisdo [...] excels [...] as far as light excels darknesse. But especially the knowledge of Divine things: This is a rar [...] jewel indeed. Knowledge is one of the excel­lencies of God, He is a God of knowledge, 1 Sam. 2. 3. Knowledge was one of the perfections of man in the state of Innocency. A knowing man findes more content in knowledge, even in the knowledge of natural things, then ever they could finde in gold, or silver, or any such things. You have heard of some that have cast away their outward estate, that they might not be ta­ken off from searching after knowledge. But of all knowledge, the knowledge of heavenly things is most excellent. The price of this know­ledge is better then wisdome, and the merchandi [...]e of it then fine gold, Prov. 3. 14, 15. No out­ward gain in the world is comparable to the gaine of this knowledge. By knowledge we come to know what is to be done, what is not to be done; what is to be believed, what is to be rejected▪ Hereby we are enabled to guid o­thers to regulate our own action. By know­ledge the most principal and highest faculty of the soule, the understanding, comes to be en­riched. Knowledge makes a mans face to shine. Many high commendations are given in Scripture to this precious pearle of knowledge. To know spiritual things is a greater mercy by far, then to be made Ruler over the whole world, and to want knowledge. He that wants know­ledge is brutish, he is under the curse of Nebu­chadnezzar, [Page 194] Dan 4. 16. Let a beasts heart be gi­ven him. An ignorant man is more truly a beast then a man.

2. It's the duty of all that expect to be saved, to labour after this knowledge. God commands it often in Scripture, Prov. 4. 5, 6, 7. Get wisdome, get understanding. Search the Scriptures, John 5. 39. Let the Word of Christ dwell richly in you, in all wisdome, Col. 3. 16. An ignorant heart is a bad heart; I mean, a heart totally ignorant of the things of God, for without knowledge the minde is not good. Knowledge is as neces­sary unto practise as light is to action. A man must know the Will of God before he can do it. Ignorance is the mother of Popish Devotion, but knowledge is the mother of true Devotion. A Christian can do nothing acceptably without knowledge. Want of knowledge is a destru­ctive thing, especially if it be where God affords the meanes of knowledge, Esay 27. 11. Hos. 4. 6. want of knowledge doth stir up Controversies between God and men, Hos. 4. 1. A man may go to hell for want of knowledge, as well as for want of faith or other graces. God puts such a high esteeme upon knowledge, that he saith, It is life eternal to know him, and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent, John 17 3. It's the chara­cter of the worst of wicked men, that they de­sire not the knowledge of Gods wayes, Job 21. 14. Knowledge in its kind and degree is necessary to salvation, as well as holinesse. Why is piety in Scripture so often set out by the name of wisdom, knowledge, understanding, but to let us see how necessary it is to the attainment of true Piety?

3. It's possible to be very knowing in spiritual [Page] things, and yet to be in a sick conditi [...] [...] [...] ­sician may know the nature of all diseases, and yet be sick of the worst of them. A person may be well versed in the History of the Scriptures, in the System of Divinity, and yet for all that be in a bad condition as to his eternal state. This I shall make good by these four Ar­guments.

1. From the Apostles supposition, 1 Cor. 13. 1, 2. The Apostle supposeth a great measure of know­ledge. Very few men attain to that height of knowledge which is there supposed. See the ex­pressions. To speak with the tongue of men and Angels. To have the gift of prophecy, which God bestowed upon many in the Primitive times, to understaad all mysteries and all know­ledge; yet its possible that all this may be with­out one spark of true grace. Though a man could say all the Bible memoriter, could re­solve all the difficult cases in Divinity; yet its possible that such a man may be destitute of all saving grace.

2. From experience. There are at present, there have been in former ages, many knowing and learned men, who had not the least measure of true holinesse. Judas was (without doubt) a man of great knowledge. We do not finde a­ny thing in Scripture, that he was inferior to a­ny of the Apostles in notional knowledge. He could (for ought we find to the contrary) preach as well as any of the Apostles, and yet a ve­ry wicked man. What need we instance in men, when as the very devils are so great intelligent creatures; their name carries know­ledge in it, [...] quasi [...] gnarus, peritus. The devil understands Scripture as to the letter [Page 196] of i [...], farre more exactly then the best of men. Now that which the worst of men, and the worst of de [...]ils may attaine unto, can be no in­fallible argument of a good estate. We see by experience many drunkards, swearers and de­baucht men, do in all manner of literal know­ledge excel those that desire to feare God in uprightnesse. The Pharisees were very know­ing Rom. 2 18, 19, 20.

3. Natural abilities and education may help men to notional knowledge. All this kind of know­ledge is attained by industry and education, by the concurrence of Gods ordinary blessing. But now grace and holinesse is not by education, or industry, or from natural abilities, but from the special grace of God. Knowledge is but a common gift, which is bestowed promiscu­ously upon the good and bad. Now no common gift can entitle a man to Hea­ven.

4. The Scripture doth not make knowledge sim­ply, but saving sanctified knowledge an evidence of salvation. National knowledge may be with­out sanctifying knowledge. Sanctified know­ledge will evidence a mans condition to be good, but notionall knowledge will not.

How shall a man know whether that know­ledge he hath be a sanctified saving knowledge, or meerly a notional knowledge? I shall lay down these evidences of it, and so shut up this point.

(1) Sanctified and saving knowledge is an humbling knowledge. Meer literal knowledge swells and puffs up the heart, 1 Cor. 8. 1. makes men conceited and proud, and to despise others; [Page] but holy knowledge makes the [...] self-denying. See it in Asaph, Psal. [...]. He was one of the Wise men of his time, and ye [...] how vilifying doth he speak of himself? So foo­lish was I and ignorant, I was as a beast before thee. Agur a very intelligent good man, and yet how humble is he? Prov. 30. 2, 3. The reason of this humbling property of knowledge is, because it helps men to see their own vile­nesse: as their knowledge increaseth, so the know­ledge and sense of their own unworthinesse in­creaseth.

(2) Saving sanctified knowledge doth not abide in the head onely, but in the heart. Notional knowledg lies onely in the head and in the brain, it hath no influence upon the heart to purifie it and purge it, onely it swims in the braine; But saving knowledge, it doth distill, and de­scend upon the heart, it hath its chief resi­dence in the inward man, it purifies and cleanseth the soul, makes it more holy then ever it was. The Apostle makes purification one effect of true wisdome, James 3. 17. The wisdome that is from above, is first pure. Notional knowledge is often a heart-corrupting knowledge, but saving knowledge is ever a heart-purifying know­ledge.

3. Saving knowledge is a life-reforming know­ledge. Notional knowledge is often a life-dis­ordering knowledge, it makes men loose, licen­tious; we have two much experience of this; but saving knowledge regulates the conversa­tion. He that knows spiritual things savingly, desires as well to practise as to know. H [...]s knowledge doth not please him, unlesse his pra­ctise be conformable to his knowledge. Very [Page 198] excellent is that prayer of David, Psal. 25. 4, 5. Saving knowledge would not onely see Gods wayes, but would be led in Gods wayes; It's e­ver practical. You have such another prayer of David, Psal. 143. 10. Teach me to do thy will, lead me into the land of uprightnesse. He that can finde these properties, may from his knowledge, whether it be much or little, argue grace; otherwise meer knowledge though it be never so exact, will not infallibly argue a good condition.

The Uses of this Point.

1. How necessary is it for the Ministers of the Gospel to be frequent in the Doctrine of conviction. They are under Jesus Christ spiritual Physici­ans, whose office it is, ministerially to cure the spiritual maladies of the soule. One effectual meanes to do this, is to endeavour to set sinne upon the conscience. To discover mens spiri­tual estate unto their consciences, that so they may be delivered from those grosse mistakes about their condition under which they are held. 'Tis a very hard thing to perswade men that they are sick. Men are naturally apt to run a­way with a conceit that all is well with them, therefore 'tis needful to bring sinne to sight. The cure is as good as done when this is done. Conviction of sinne is the first work of the Spi­rit of God, Iohn 16. 8. He is a convincing Spi­rit before he be a comforting Spirit. You must give the Ministers of Christ leave to set sinne upon the conscience. The fallow ground must be broken up before the seed of comfort be cast in. A sin-convincing Ministery is most likely to [Page 199] be a soul-converting Ministery. They [...] discover to men their righteousnesse, [...]. until they have convinced them of their unrigh­teousnesse.

2. Do not wonder that spiritual Physick is so ge­nerally contemned. 'Tis at first sight a very great wonder that the offers of grace and salvation should be so despised; That the Word of sal­vation should do so little good in the world. Christ is tendred, life is held out in the preach­ing of the Gospel from day to day. Wisdom cryeth without, and lifts up her voice in the concourse of the City, and yet men do not come in. Ministers may complaine as the Prophet Esay 49. 4. What is the reason? 'Tis because men runne away with an opinion that they are well, that their condition is good, and therefore are the precious tenders of salvation so generally sleighted.

3. See the reason why there is so little complain­ing of sinne. Never more sinne, never lesse spiri­tual complaining of sinne. 'Tis a great rarity to heare any soule crying out, What shall I do to be saved? You may heare in every corner com­plainings of bodily diseases, one of his Gout, a second of his Head, a third of his Stone, but very few crying out of sinne. How comes this about? It is because men think they have no sin, they see not their diseases. They think they are sound men, and therefore they are qui­et, and make no complaints either to God or men.

4. 'Tis a marvellous great mercy to have a true discovery of our spiritual diseases. 'Tis not a happinesse to be spiritually diseased, no, no; sinne is a misery, but 'tis a mercy that those that [Page 200] are diseased, are convinced of their condition. Many [...]en think they are well, when they are indeed going down to the chambers of death; if therefore God have so farre opened your eyes as to let you see your disease, you have cause to blesse his Name. Such conviction though it be not the cure of sinne, yet it is the ready way to the cure of sinne. It may be, your sorrow af­ter conviction is greater then it was before: you are now full of fea [...]s and horrors, which before you were free from; but certainly your conditi­on is farre safer. Blesse God for the work of conviction, and he will bring it on to the work of conversion.

Doct. 4. Jesus Christ is not a Physician to any Mat 9. 12. that think themselves spiritually whole. It was the misery of the Pharisees, that they dreamed themselves to be in a very healthful estate. They looked upon all others as men mortally sick, and upon themselves as sound men. Our Sa­viour therefore declines them as Patients unfit for him to meddle with and applies himselfe to the poore Publicans and sinners, who did see and acknowledge themselves to be sick of sinne and ready to perish. Jesus Christ doth not im­mediately heale sinners as they are sinners; but his constant general method is first to take them off that conceit that is naturally in their hearts, that they are in a good estate; and when he hath shewed them their sicknesse, then he goes in hand with the cure. The making of the heart sensible of sinne is the work of Christ, as well as the healing of sinne. Did not Christ give the sinner a sight of his misery, he would never be able to see his misery. Conviction of sinne is [Page] as truly the work of Christ, [...]s [...] sinne. John 16. 8. Nature is a [...] [...] sinne, as it is to heal sinne when it i [...] d [...] ­vered. All that is meant in the doctrine is [...], that Jesus Christ doth not ordinarily heale any soul til he have first delivered from the misc [...]no [...]t of their condition and given them eys to see, that it is otherwise with them then they did before imagine. This is the full scope of this Doctrine, and of this Text, as is clear from v. 13. where our Saviour doth in plaine and expresse termes set down, what is here more covertly propounded, saying, I am not come to cast the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

In the handling of this doctrine, I shall open these foure things.

  • 1. Shew that this is Christs usual method.
  • 2. How this work of discovery is wrought.
  • 3. Why Christ takes this course in the healing of sinners.
  • 4. Whether this work be wrought alike in all.

1. That this is Christs usual method, appears two wayes.

1. By our Saviours own declaration. We shall finde him in Scripture expressing this two wayes.

(1) By declaring the end of his coming. He came from heaven to save and convert such kinde of persons, Luke. 19. 10. The Sonne of man came to seek, and to save that which was lost. Not simply all such as are lost (for there are abundance of lost sinners which he nei­ther came to seek or to save intentionally) but such as see themselves to be in a lost condition, such as are first made sensible of that lost un­done [Page 202] condition they are in without Christ. So Esay 6 [...]. 1, 2. He doth there fully declare, both for what sinners he came into the world, and how he heales those sinners. They are such sinners as are broken-hearted; such sinners as mourne; they are meekned sinners. Christ first breaks their hearts, causes them to mourne out of the sense of their sinnes; meekens their spirits by a work of conviction; and then heales them by the Application of the Promises of grace.

(2) By the forme of invitation he uses to sinners. This is fully exprest by the Evangelist, Matth. 11. 28. Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. The words are very significant, [...]. Christ doth not call sinners as sinners, but as labouring sinners, as burdened sinners, such as are even overwhelmed and born down with the heavy weight of sinne. Such as see sinne, and upon the sight of it are so overwhelmed, that they cannot look up, but are ready to sink and die under it.

2. From the order of this working upon such as he hath healed. You can hardly finde any one that ever was healed but in this way; but mul­titudes that have been wrought upon after this manner. Those three thousand who were con­verted by Peters Ministery, were first brought to the sight of their sick estate, and then were converted, Acts 2. 37. What is the meaning else of those words [...]; There was not the least part or point of the heart, but it was wounded; it was with them as if the sharp points of daggers, or stings of Scorpions had been stuck and fastened in their hearts. So [Page] it was with the Jaylor, Acts 16. [...]7▪ [...] those expressions and gestures of his shew, that he was first convinced of his sick estate before he was cured. The same method is observable in Pauls conversion, Acts 9. 4, 5, 6, 9. his fal­ling to the earth, his trembling and astonish­ment, the words uttered by him, the continu­ance of his blindnesse for the space of three dayes, What are these, but evidences of the work of conviction which Christ wrought upon his heart? The same course and method in some degree or other, doth Christ observe in all those whom he heales of their spiritual diseases, espe­cially if they be such as are adulti, grown men, when this work is wrought upon them. This is the first particular.

2. How Christ makes this discovery?

Answ. This is wrought ordinarily by the preach­ing of the Law. The Ministery of the Law is the most certain and expeditious way to make the sinner sensible of his sick estate. The Law hath a threefold effect upon the soul, as to the accom­plishing of this work, viz.

1. The Law sets before the eye of the sinner the miserable estate which man is in by sinne, with the wrath of God due to him for the same. All knowledge of sinne is by the Law thorough the convincing power of the Spirit of God, Rom. 3. 20. By this meanes the Apostle came to see his sinne, Rom. 7. 7, 9. He thought inward concu­piscence to be no sinne, till God by his Law had better informed his judgement. He thought his condition while he was a Pharisee, to be as good as the condition of the best: but when God had tutor'd him a while by the Law, then he looked upon himselfe as a dead man; when the [Page 204] commandment [...]ame, sin revived (saith he) and I died, v. 9.

2. It doth convince the conscience of the sinner, that he is the guilty person whom the Law threat­neth with all that misery. The Law of God doth point him out, as Nathan did David, and tells him that he is the man against whom all that wrath is denounced. The Apostle mentions this work of the Law, 1 Cor. 14. 24, 25. The sinner being smitten with the edge of the Law, falls down on his face, confessing that he is the very man that is guilty of such sinne, and liable to the miseries due to such sin. The condi­tion discovered is his condition.

3. The Law awakens the sinner out of his secu­rity, lets him see the impossiblity of his personal satisfying the Law, and so works horrour and a­stonishment in the soule. This effect it had on the Jaylor, Acts 16. 29. his heart was set on a trembling frame, upon the apprehension of that sad guilt and misery under which he lay, from which he was not able to deliver him­selfe. This is that which the Apostle calls, the Spirit of bondage, Romans 8. 15. which is opposed to the Spirit of Adoption. This is the se­cond thing.

3. Why Christ takes this course in the heal­ing of sin? why will he not heal the sinner, till he have him sensible that he is not in a sound condi­tion?

1. That sinne may be imbittered. Sinne is in it selfe and evil and bitter thing. 'Tis compared unto gall and wormwood, and 'tis far more bit­ter then either of these. Now 'tis the minde of God, that the sinner should taste the bitter­nesse of sinne before he be healed, Jer. [Page] 2. 19. Therefore is he pleased to [...] course.

2. That the sinner may be brought to a [...] shame for his sinne. Sinne is a very sha [...]eful thing. 'Tis called shame in Scripture; and 'tis the minde of Christ, that all sinners that are recovered shall beare the shame of their sinnes, Ezek. 16. 52. Now if the sinner should be healed before his sinne be disco­vered, this designe of God would be frustra­ted.

3. That the sinner may be willing to come up to his termes. When Christ begins at first to deale with a soule about the work of Conver­sion, he keeps a huge bogling, he doth exceed­ingly dodge with Jesus Christ to bring him to low termes. Christ therefore shewes him his naked condition, what he is, and what he must expect if he close not with him, and by this meanes he is brought to a ready and willing complyance with him. We see it in those three thousand which Peter converted, when their con­dition was discovered, when anguish and hor­rour was upon their spirits, then they were con­tented to do any thing, Acts 2. 37. What shall we do to be saved? Thus also it was with Saul, Acts 9. 6. When Christ had created those tremblings and astonishments in his spirit, then he comes off fully to Christ, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? So it was with the Jaylor: when he had a true representation of his estate, then he cries out, Acts 16. 30. Sirs, what must I do to be saved? A man that is in extre­mity will do any thing to save his life. When he sees that he must perish if he do not present­ly [Page 206] consent to what is proposed, then he lingers not: if he must throw all his goods overboard, he is contented to cast them out presently, because death is before him.

4. That the mercy of the cure may be more highly valued. Salvation from hell is a very great work which should be valued by all on whom it is bestowed. The Prophet David calls upon his soule, and all that is within his soule, to praise God for such a mercy, Psalme 103. init. He that considers the worth of salvati­on, the unworthinesse of the persons enjoying it, the costlinesse of it, the multitudes that shall never partake of it; must needs acknowledge it a thing worthy to be esteemed. But so un­thankful a piece is the heart of man, that he doth not value it at any considerable rate. Jesus Christ therefore, before he bring any in­to such a state, will discover their misery to themselves; that so he may provoke them to extraordinary thankfulnesse for it. And the truth is, nothing doth so much enhance the price of sal­vation in our hearts, as a cleer manifestation of our wretched condition. See how the Apostles heart is enlarged upon this very consideration, 1 Tim. 1. 15. Had he not seen himself to be the chief of sinners, he would never have thought salvati­on by Christ worthy of all acceptation, as now he did.

5. That the skill of the Physician may be more cleerly discovered. Jesus Christ seeks to ad­vance his own glory in all the works he does for the sonnes of men; As in other his works, so especially in this great work of conversion. Therefore it is, that he will not heale any till [Page] he have shewed them their sad estat [...] [...] may see his wisdome, power, goodnesse, in their healing. Men that think little or nothing ayles them, do not halfe so much value the Physicians paines, or skill, as those that see themselves at the very brink of the grave, when the Physician takes them in hand. Jesus Christ therefore will shew them every sort, that so they may publish his glory that wrought it for them. I was brought low, and he helped me, saith David, Ps. 116. 6. See how the poor blind man proclaims the honour of Christ, Joh. 9. 32.

4. Whether Jesus Christ observe the same method in this work of discovering the sinners e­state to himselfe? Whether all sinners have the same measure of humbling and terror, and whether they continue for the same time under apprehensions of wrath?

Answ. Jesus Christ is a free Agent. He is not tyed to any certaine method, nor doth he al­wayes walk in the same way. His dispensations in the work of convincing men of sinne, are various and different. The work is wrought on all so far as to make the soule sensible of sinnes bitternesse above all other bitternesse, and to make it sensible of Christs excellency above all other excellent things. But that it is done in the same violent manner in all, or that it is of the same continuance, cannot be affirmed. Conviction and conversion may be wrought at the same Sermon, as we see it was with those three thousand, Acts 2. 37. 41. They were no sooner pricked in their hearts, but they gladly received the word. There was great difference between this work in Lydia and in the Jaylor, Acts 16. 14. God shewed her [Page 208] hersicknesse in [...] more milde way. The Lord o­pined her heart, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul. But the Jaylor, he had an earthquake, and great horrours in his conscience, v. 27, 29.

1. Some sinners have been more scandalous then others. These are brought to Christ with great­er troubles, so it was with the Jaylor: he had been a cruel bloody man; God layes him under deep sorrow.

2. God hath a greater work to do by some sinners then by others. These he uses to deal with in a more rough way, that he may pre­pare them for service the better. This seems to be the reason of his so sharp dealing with Saul, Act. 9. 15, 16.

3. Some sinners are of a more rough turbulent nature then others. These must be handled more severely. Some men must be bound, be­fore they will be ruled. So it is with some kinde of sinners. Thus with Manasseh, 2 Chr. 33. 11.

4. Some have been sinners of a longer standing then others. These Christ useth to be more sharp withal in his way of curing.

5. Some sinners have been more confident in their civil righteousnesse then others; As Paul was in his Pharisaisme, Phil. 3. These Christ uses to handle more sharply. Jesus Christ is a wise Phy­sician, he observes the nature of all his Pati­ents, and accordingly prescribes medicines for them. He that hath the least mea­sure of this conviction, hath so much, as that he sees himself lost, undone, helplesse, hopelesse in himself. He sees the evil of sinne, he sees Christ an excellent, sutable, al sufficient [Page] good for his soule. This one thing [...] Where there is the least sorrow before [...] con [...] ­sion, there is many times greater sorrow, and mor [...] troubles of Spirit after conversion.

The Uses of this Point.

1. How sad is the condition of those that never yet were truly made sensible of their sick estate. They never yet had a true, lively, sensible appre­hension of their sick condition. They were ne­ver so much as pricked in their hearts for sinne so as to make them loath it. They were never taken from all their high conceits of their own natural estate, &c. These men have cause to suspect that sinne is not yet cured. A person may have some conviction of his misery and not be healed, but a man cannot be healed without some conviction. The heart cannot be broken for sinne without the sight of sinne, Ezek. 36. 31. There can be no self-loathing, till there be a remembring of our wayes and doings that have not been good.

2. How necessary the preaching of the Law is to true conversion. A man will never be taken off from the opinion of his own healthfulnesse but by the preaching of the Law. The Law shews men what they are, what they may expect, &c. The fallow ground of the heart will never be broken up without the plough of the Law, Jer. 4. 3. The plough of the Law must go and make deep furrows too before the seed of com­fort be cast in. Though the preaching of the Law do not convert, yet it helps forward con­version, in as much as it works that preparato­ry work, without which conversion ordinarily [Page 210] is not; as the needle makes way for the threed, so the Law makes way for conversion. The spirit of bondage makes way for the Spirit of A­doption, and that is wrought by the preaching of the Law.

3. The mistake of those who are against all kinde of preparations to conversion. They would have mercy held out to sinners as sinners, not as sinners so and so qualified. Surely the Scri­pture hath laid down qualifications for sinners to whom the Gospel is tendred. They must be humbled sinners, burdened sinners, &c. The mercy of the Gospel is not to be prostituted to sinners as sinners, but to broken-hearted sinners, to heart-wounded sinners, to sinners that see themselves lost in themselves, to hungring and thirsting sinners. The brazen Serpent was onely for such to look upon as were stung with Serpents. Such as are in some measure sensible of the stinging nature of sin, are to be invited to lay hold on Christ. As it is an undoing to wound­ed sinners, to keep them from Christ, so 'tis an undoing to such sinners as are not in some mea­sure pressed with sinne to apply the promises of the Gospel. This was prefigured in the Leper, The L [...]per must cry uncleane, &c. every sinner is this Leper; sight of sinne must go before healing of sinne.

4. Let Ministers take the same way which Christ takes for the curing of sinners. Jesus Christ is both an able and faithful Physician. 'Tis no disparagement to use his method, yea 'tis the greatest wisdome to prescribe the same receits which Jesus Christ prescribes; he uses to take men off from the opinion they have of their own way. His manner is to let men see they [Page] are sick, to convince them of sinne befo [...] [...] apply healing medicines. All those Minis [...] that desire to have their endeavours successeful must do so likewise. People must be contente [...] to suffer their condition to be known, to suffer themselves to be made sick, that so they may be cured. This is Christs way, this is a safe way, this must be our way. Though such kinde of preaching put you to some present trouble, yet it will be to your eternal advantage. Your sores cannot be healed comfortably till you see them to be sores and festred sores. You must be contented to suffer the ploughings of the Law, that you may be prepared for the comforts of the Gospel. You must be content­ed to be cast down, that you may be prepa­red for raising up. You must be contented to be led to the gates of hell, that you may be brought to the Kingdome of Heaven. Bet­ter a great deale to go to Heaven through Hel, then to saile through an imaginary Heaven, and land at the dark staires of Hell in the end.

Doct. 5. Those that finde themselves to be spiritually sick, shall finde Jesus Christ a Physici­an ready to heale them. No Physician was ever so ready to heale a sick brother, as Jesus Christ will be to cure a sin-sick sinner. We finde in the Gospel that Christ was very willing to heal those that came to him sick of bodily infirmities. We do not, that I remember, read of any one that was sent away uncured, that earnestly begg'd his help either for themselves, or any of theirs. The Leprous, the Paralytick, the Demoniack, the Lame, the Blinde, those that [Page 212] were sick of Feavers, those that had bloody issnes. Whatever sicknesses men had, they ob­tained favour, Matth. 4. 23. Christ ever valued the soule above the body, therefore he will be much more ready to heale the sicknesses there­of. He healed many of the sick Publicans, when they saw their diseases; As Zacheus, Matthew, &c. And he will be to the end of the world, ready to afford the same mercy to any that are or shall be in their condition.

Three things are here to be unfolded by way of Explication.

  • 1. What it is to be spiritually sick of sinne.
  • 2. That Christ will be ready to heale such.
  • 3. What are the reasons of this readi­nesse.

1. To be sick of sin, comprehends these six par­ticulars.

First, A true sight of our sinful condition. That man who never yet had the sight of his sinful estate, was never yet truly sick of sinne, the soule must be convinced that it is in a sinful estate. Thus it was with the Publican, Luke 18 13. He acknowledged himselfe to be a sin­ner, [...]. Nor is all sight of sinne suf­ficient: but that sight of sinne which is an in­gredient of spiritual sicknesse, must have these two properties.

1. It must arise from the Word of God. This was the foundation of the Apostles sight of sinne, Rom. 7. 9. When the Commandment [...] sinne re [...]ived▪ and I died. Thus [...] th [...]usand, Acts 2. 37. [...] [...]ked in their [Page] hearts. The sense of sinne did arise from [...]ou [...] thing which was delivered to them out of the Word of God. No other light besides this di­vine light will discover sinne so as to make the soul sick of it.

2. It must extend to sinne in the root, as well as to sinne in the branches. I mean original birth­sinne, as well as actual sinne. Possibly the sight of sinne may arise first from some actual transgression. So it was with those Converts, Acts 2. 37. that bloody act of theirs against Je­sus Christ, was the first sinne they saw. Actual sinnes are more obvious to the eye then origi­nal sinne. This is a sinne lying under ground, more remote, at a greater distance from the cog­nizance of a sinner, therefore peradventure some actual offence first is set upon the con­science, but sooner or later doth this actual sin bring to the sinners conscience, the sight of that sinne, which is the root both of this and of all other actual sinnes; namely, that body of death, that law of the members, as the Apostle calls it. Rom. 7. 23. Which continually warreth against the Law of the minde.

Secondly, A serious apprehension of the misery and danger the soule is in by reason of sinne discover­ed. No man is sick of sinne till he see the dan­ger which sinne hath, and which it is likely further to plunge him into. Thus it was with those Converts, Acts 2. 37. The question they propound, What shall we do to be saved? doth in­ply clearly enough, that they looked upon them­selves, as men in a state of damnation in their present condition. And indeed the same Word of God which discovers sinne, doth discover wrath also as the wages of sinne, so that the [Page 214] sick sinner is one that lies under the apprehen­sion of wrath, which he expects suddenly to fall upon him.

Thirdly, Compunction and contrition is wrought in the soule by reason of sinne. The heart throbs and akes by reason of that miserable state which by sinne he is brought into. Thus it was with those Converts, Act. 2. 37. They were prick­ed in their hearts; their spirits were full of grief and vexation, to remember what they had done, and what they were like to suffer. Thus it was with the Publican, Luke 18. 13. He smote his breast, saith the Text; his heart was overwhelmed with grief, shame feare, sor­row. There was a mixture of all these passions in him at once. Thus it is with all those that are spiritually sick. This is that which our Sa­viour calls labouring, and being heavy loaden, Mat. 11. 28. Sicknesse when 'tis seen, is e­vermore accompanied with paine and an­guish.

Fourthly, Dis-satisfaction with the present condition. This follows upon the former; And you will finde it hath ever been in such as have seen their spiritual sicknesse. What is the mean­ing of those questions which were propounded by the three thousand, Acts 2. 3 [...]. By the Jaylor, Acts 16. 30 And by Paul, Acts 9. 6. Do they not cleerly evince that they were unsatisfied with their present estate? It was no pleasing thing to them to continue any longer in that condition. As if they should have said, 'tis no abiding in this estate. 'Tis such a kinde of reasoning as the foure Lepers had among them­selves, when the famine was so raging in Sama­ria, 2 Kings 7. 3. Why sit we heare until we [Page] die? Whatever the successe or event be▪ [...] must think of some other course. Just so i [...] is with a conscience-wounded sinner, he can­not be contented with that estate. Though he know not how to get out, yet he cannot be con­tent to abide there.

Fifthly, Despaire of deliverance by any thing in himselfe. He that is sick of sinne, looks upon himselfe as utterly unable to help himselfe. This is that which is called in ano­ther place spiritual poverty. And, saith Calvin, Nemo spiritu pauper, nisi qui in nihilum apud se redactus. Thus it was with those sick sinners before-named. Their asking so seriously what they must do, did clearly imply that they them­selves knew not what to do? something they thought must be done, and yet they knew not what it was. No man is truly sick, but he that doth clearly see that in regard of himselfe, he is both helplesse and hopelesse. Self-insuffi­ciency is one ingredient of spiritual sicknesses. Self-denial and soule sicknesse are evermore companions. This is cleare from the Publicans confession and prayer, Luke 18. 13. He goes out of himselfe to God, acknowledging that if ever he was healed, he must be healed by mercy.

Sixthly, A willingnesse to take any course God would have him, so he may be healed. This is implied in that question so often mentioned, Acts 2. 37. Acts 9. 6. Acts 16. 30. They are very ready to follow the advice of God given by his Ministers for a speedy cure. Cut them, lance them, scar them, bleed them, purge them, any thing to free them from sinne, any thing to save them from wrath, which is ready to de­voure [Page 216] them. They will stick at nothing, let God take his own way, and use his own medicines; whatever he prescribes, they are resolved to drink it down be it never so bitter, be it never so unsavory, be it never so contrary to their corrupt constitution. They hope he can heal them, they are willing he should use his own method for the healing of them. This is the first thing, wherein spiritual sicknesse con­sists.

2. That Christ is ready to heal such sinners as these. This appears three ways.

1. He inviteth such to come to him for cure. The invitations of Christ are not empty comple­ments as the invitations of men often are, but real things. He is not in j [...]st, but in good ear­nest, when he bids men repaire to him. Never did one friend send to another with so much heartinesse, as Christ doth to men. Now we shall finde him inviting sinners under this qua­lification. That's a famous place in Mat. 11. 28. Come unto me all ye that labour, and are heavy loa­den, and I will give you r [...]st. And againe, Esay 55. 1. Ho every one that thirst [...]th, come ye to the waters, &c. Who is he that thirsteth, who is he that hath no money, but such sinners as I have described? These are the patients which Christ invites.

2. He hath promis [...]d to take care for the curing [...]f such. The promises of Jesus Christ are not false, ambiguous, or fallacious as the promises of men too frequently are. He is the faithful witnesse, the Amen, Rev. 3. 14, All his words are spoken in simplici [...]y and verity. Now 'tis his promise to cure heart-wounded sin­ners. That in Mat. 11. 28. hath an expresse [Page] promise annexed to the invitation. The pro­mise of refreshing or giving rest, is as good [...] if he had said, I will heal you. To this agrees that in Mat. 5. 3, 4, 6. Poverty of spirit, mourn­fulnesse of spirit, hungring and thirsting do all go in into the description of the sicknesse of the soule, and to each of these doth Christ make ex­presse and ful promises of spiritual healing. Christs Promise is the best security Heaven or earth can afford.

3. God the Father hath promised it in Christs behalf. You will many times finde that the Prophets which have prophecied of him before his incarnation, have by Gods appointment, and in Gods Name engaged themselves that he should heal such sinners. That is a very full place amongst others, Esay 42. 3. that it's meant of Christ, is clear from Matth. 12. 20. where this text is applied to Christ, and it's applied to him upon this account, that he healed the man with a withered hand, v. 10. 13. and multitudes of other diseased persons, v. 15. whereupon this of the Prophet is brought in, Behold my servant, &c. A bruised reed shall he not break, &c. The words are a Meiosis, more is under­stood then is expressed. He shall not bruise, the meaning is, he shall strengthen it, he shall not quench, the meaning is, he shall cause it to flame, and nourish it. By the bruised reed, and the smoaking flax, we are to understand such sinners as are bruised, and bowed down under the sense of their great wretchednesse; these sinners Christ will be ready to cherish. You have it set out by another Metaphor, Chapter 40. 11. He shall carry the lambs, and gently lead them that are with young. Who are the lambs, [Page 218] and such as with young, but broken-spirited Christians that are overwhelmed and pressed down with the apprehension of their own mi­sery? Christ will be so farre from neglect­ing these that he will put them in his bo­some, a place of warmth, tendernesse and se­curity.

3. Why Christ is so ready to heal such sin­ners.

1. He doth it in obedience to his Commission. God the Father, when he sent him into the world, gave him a very special charge concerning these persons. He was on purpose anointed to the place and office of a Physician, that he might take care of such as these. You may read his Commission set down at large, Esay 61. 1, 2, 3. There you have the Patients de­scribed, and the Physick applied, and the Au­thority enjoyning and enabling. The Patients are described by such termes as set out the sen­siblenesse of their condition. The meek, the bro­ken-hearted, the captives, them that are bound, them that mourne in Zion, them that sit in ashes, them that are under the spirit of heavi­nesse. The cure is set down in expressions suit­able to the nature of these sicknesses. To the meek good tydings, to the broken hearted bind­ing up, to the captives liberty, to them that are bound, the opening of the prison; to them that mourne, comfort, the oile of joy; to them that are in ashes, beauty; to the spirit of heavinesse, the garment of praise. The Authority enjoyn­ing, this is the Divine unction of the Father by the Spirit. The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, the Lord hath anointed me. So Esay 50. 4. Jesus Christ is a very exact observer of his Fa­thers [Page] Commandment. He hath his [...] not onely in his hand, but even in hi [...] [...] Psalm. 40. 8. in the middest of his bowels. Now because God hath in so pecul [...]ar [...] manner recommended these to his [...]are, therefore doth he apply himself to them for their cure.

2. From the instigation of his own mercifulnesse. Jesus Christ is very tender-hearted, he is full of the bowels of compassion. The Apostle calls him a merciful and faithful High Priest, Heb. 2. 17. He could not be a compleat High Priest, if he wanted either of these. Now be­ing so merciful and compassionate, he will not turne away his bowels from them that are in so dejected a condition. This is rendred as the reason why he was so ready to heale the wounded travellor, Luke 10. 33, 34. When he saw him he had compassion on him, and bound up his wounds. Jesus Christ hath lost none of his tendernesse by going into heaven. He is still touched with the sensible feeling of our infirmi­ties, Heb. 4 15. this inclines him to this readi­nesse.

3. That he may not lose the glory of that work which he hath begun. The humbling and con­vincing of proud sinners, is as truly the work of Christ as the restoring of humbled sinners. 'Tis his work to prick the heart as well as to com­fort the heart. Now if he should humble and convince a sinner, and then leave him, and proceed no farther, he would lose the honour of what he hath done. The soule doth not heartily praise Christ for conviction, till con­viction be carried on to conversion. The soul so long as it abides onely under the paines of [Page 220] conviction apprehends no love, but onely wrath and anger, and so long as the love of Christ is unseen, the glory of Christ is not proclaimed. Now Christ will not lose the glory of the first work, therefore is he so careful and ready to carry on the second work.

The Uses of this Point.

1. Let this preserve all that are in such a con­dition from despaire. Satans great plot upon con­vinced and humbled sinners, is to drive them to despaire. As he endeavours to heighten, and harden unbroken sinners to presumption, so his great designe is to afright humbled sinners to despaire. This Doctrine is a good preser­vative against such temptations; you that see sinne and complaine of your spiritual sicknesses, know this to your comfort that as Christ hath prepared you for healing, so he will be ready to heale you.

Object. I have been a long time under these heart-pricking convictions, and yet cannot finde any healing; my wounds are as wide and as deep as ever they were. I have lyen many moneths, yea many yeares under the apprehensions of sinne and wrath, and yet am not healed. How shall I beleeve this Do­ctrine?

Sol. 1. Many sinners are healed, who do not apprehend themselves to be healed. Many wounded sinners will not beleeve themselves to be healed, unlesse they could finde no skarre or spot of sinne upon them. They [Page] think they are not healed of sinne, [...] they are not quite delivered both from the being, and acting of sinne. They even look to finde as perfect healing on earth, as they shall have in Heaven. But we must know that a person may be healed, both of the guilt of sinne by Justification, and of the dominion of sinne by Sanctification, and yet still finde many sores of sinne upon, and new sores breaking out every day in him. Paul was healed, when he cried out, O miserable man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death? Romans 7. 24. David was healed, and yet he cries out, My wounds stink and are corrupt through my foolishnesse, Psalme 38. 5. and againe, verse 7. My loynes are filled with a loathsome disease, and there is no soundnesse in my flesh. When the love of sinne, the secret delight in sinne, the allow­ance of sinne, the commanding rule of sinne are removed, though there continue many wounds and scarres too upon the soule, the cure of sinne is wrought, and that which is wanting shall perfectly be finished.

2. Many sinners keep themselves from be­ing healed by their own default. They do keep terrour and apprehensions of wrath upon their soules, because they will not close with the promises of the Gospel. Though the comforts of the Gospel be held out never so clearly, and with never so much perswa­dingnesse, yet they will have none of them. They are not humbled enough, as they think, they are not so prepared as they should be, therefore they will not come to Christ to [Page 222] close with him as with a Saviour, nor ap­ply the promises of the Gospel, but reject them, and put them away as none of their portion. This is the case of abundance of sinners. Is it any wonder if such say, they are not healed? 'Tis because they will not be healed. They are not worthy of mercy, and therefore they will have none. They do not consider that all our worthinesse stands in the sense of our own unworthinesse. They do not consider that they do not come to bring fulnesse to Christ, but to draw out of Christs fulnesse, John 1. 14. if such sinners would but lay aside this spiritual pride, and close with Christ, because they see they are unworthy of him, they should finde that he would in a short time spiritually heale them. For he is willing to heale, and willing to do it speedily. Jesus Christ never did, ne­ver will put any sinne-lamenting sinner to a­ny unnecessary trouble, to any unnecessary de­lay.

2. Let all the people of God, especially the Ministery of God be ready to follow Christs ex­ample. When you see or know of any soul that is wounded with sinne, apply what healing medicines you can, that they may be healed. 'Tis given in charge to the Ministers of God, both in the Old and in the New Testament, Esay 35. 3. and 1 Thes. 5. 14. As it is cruel mercy to prostitute the comforts of the Gospel to proud sinners, so is it great cruelty to with-hold the cordials of the Gospel from such sinners as are burthened with their sinnes. Je­sus Christ will take it very kindly at any mans hand, that will help forward the curing of a [Page] wounded sinner, he expects it at th [...] [...] his Ministers. As they must be [...] secure sleepy sinners, so they must be [...] ­basses to mourning sinners. A wounded spirit i [...] an insupportable burthen, Prov. 18. 14. The more insupportable the burden is, the greater charity is it to be a means to support the spirit under it.

3. Let this be a Motive to all sick sinners to come to Christ. This is enough to perswade you to come to him, because there is none else can heal you. You must either come to him, or else you must die in your sinnes. But this is more, he is willing to heale you. There is a natural shynesse in sinners, that see their sin to come to Christ. 'Tis hard to drive them. Cast away this sinfulnesse, sloathfulnesse and come to him, cast your selves at his feet, and say, Lord heale us.

Object. 1. I have been a sinner of a very great magnitude.

Sol. 1. Not greater then Christ hath cured. Not greater then he can cure, Esay 1. 18. Esay 55. 8, 9.

2. Did ever Christ upbraid any with the greatnesse of their sins, that did see them and bewaile them?

3. Make them not greater, by refusing the Physician which God hath sent from his bosom to cure you.

Object. 2. I have continued long in them.

1. They are not of so long a continuance as some that Christ hath cured.

2. Make them not of longer continuance by staying still in them.

Object. 3. I fear the time of healing is past.

[Page 224] 1. While Christ calls, the time is not past.

2. 'Tis a sinne for any man to think the time pas [...].

3. He can heal thee at the last gasp. Adven­ture on sin; 'tis better to die coming to (were it so) then running from Christ. You have both his promise and his oath, that he will not cast you out. He that came to call sinners to repentance, will not reject repenting sinners.

JOHN 8. 12.I am the light of the world. XII. SERM. at Mary Wol­noth. Lon. May 30. 1652.

IN the former Chapter we read of the cruel severity of the chief Priests and Pharisees a­gainst V. 32 our Saviour. He had by the excellency of his preach­ing gained much upon the af­fections of the people that re­sorted to heare him; very many beleeved on him, saith the Text, and said, When Christ com­eth, V. 31 will he do more miracles then these which this man hath done? The chiefe Priests and Phari­sees hearing that such things were murmured among the people, presently send away Offi­cers to apprehend his person, and bring him V. 32 before the Councel. The Officers instead of bringing Christs person, were so taken with his preaching, that they returne with a full testi­mony both of his Person and Doctrine. Ne­ver V. 46 man spake like this man. Whereupon the Pharisees are so enraged, that they presently denounce Execrations upon all that adhere to him. Nicodemus who was one of the Coun­cel stands up; and by a political Argument V. 49 staves them off from any further proceedings [Page 226] against Christ, till they had heard him speak. He doth not directly defend either the person or Doctrine of Christ, but [...]y a prudent and sober Argument, labours that all further dispute about him might be laid aside, till according to the Law of God, they had heard him, and received full proof of his actions. This doth incense their envious hearts not onely against Nicodemus, but even against his Countrey also. And there­upon V 52. by the wonderful power of God, the Assembly is broken up, not without some tu­multuous confusion. And every man went to his V. 53 own house. Our Saviour that night departs from Jerusalem, and lodgeth in the Mount of Olives, Chap. 8. 1. a place not farre from Jerusalem, whither he was wont oft to re [...]ort. He would not lodge in so bloody and ingrateful a City, nor did he ever lodge in Jerusalem again (as Chemnitius observes) till the night before his Passion. The inhabitants of Jerusalem, for fear of their Go­vernours▪ durst not receive him into their houses, and Christ knowing their malice, would not trust himself amongst them; and therefore de­parts to the Mount of Olives, partly to refresh his body with necessary rest, and partly that he might have more liberty for meditation and prayer. The next day our Saviour comes ear­ly in the morning to the Temple, and there sits down, as his manner was, to teach the people. V. 2 Though they sought to take away his life, yet he still endeavoured to save their souls, and there­fore comes early to teach in the Temple. The Scribes and Pharisees understanding that he was teaching in the Temple, thinking to finde an oc­casi [...]n V. 3. 4. against him, brought to him a [...]oman ta­ken in the Act of adultery, and desire to know [Page] his judgement in the case, [...] the Law of Moses, she [...] or no. Our Saviour knowing [...] de­clines to be a Judge in the case▪ [...]e came not into the world to be a political Judge, and there­fore will not determine either one way or o­ther. But though he will not be a Judge▪ yet V. 6, 7 will he be a spiritual Physician, and therefore that he may convince them of their hypocrisie speakes thus. He that is without sinne among you, V. 7 let him cast the first stone at her. These words so work upon their consciences, that they de­part one by one as men self-condemned▪ and leave Jesus alone, and the woman standing in V. 9 the midst. Our Saviour after he had given some spiritual counsel to the woman, dismisseth her, and returnes to preach againe to the peo­ple, V. 10, 11 from which work he had been hindred too long by this impertinent act of the envious Scribes and Pharisees. The first Doctrine he delivers to them is contained in the Text, I am the light of the world. Here are two words to be explained a little, Light, World.

Light. This word is taken in Scripture two wayes.

  • 1. Properly.
  • 2. Metaphorically, or improperly.

First, Properly. For that noble quality which enlightens the world, called the light of this world, John 11. 9. Lux est claritas & splendor in corpore luminoso, vel extr [...] [...] corpore luminoso exiens, quae & lumen dicitur. This natural [...]ight was the first perfect visible creature that God made. It was the first dayes work, Gen. 1. 3.

Secondly; Improperly, or metaphorically. And [Page 228] so its put for several things, as they carry some resemblance to light, viz.

  • 1. The word of God, Psal. 119. 105. 2 Pet. 1. 19.
  • 2. For the Ministers of God. Mat 5. 14.
  • 3. For regenerate men, Eph. 5. 8.
  • 4. For the state of conversion, Act. 26. 18.
  • 5. For prosperity and comfort, Esth. 8. 16. Psal. 97. 11.
  • 6. For deliverance from trouble, Esay 9. 2.
  • 7. For all outward good, Job 30. 26.
  • 8. For the glory of heaven, Col. 1. 12.
  • 9. For knowledge, Dan. 5. 11. Esay 60. 3.
  • 10. For Gods special favour, Psal. 4. 6.
  • 11. For posterity, Prov. 20. 20. 1 Kings 11. 36.
  • 12. For God himself, 1 Job. 1. 5.
  • 13. For Christ; so 'tis used in the Text.

In what respects we shall afterwards see.

The World. The Greek word is [...], M [...]ndus; from that real and orderly digestion, and composition of things that are in the world. God hath made all things in number, weight, and measure. The world is an orderly beau­tiful piece. It's used here (some think) to take away the difference between Jewes and Gentiles. Others think it's taken for the world of the E­lect: But I rather think in this place, it's taken for all sorts of men to whom this light is offered. This benefit, saith Calvin, is not offered to one, or a few, but to all the world: though few re­ceive it, yet the tender of it is made to all, according to that of our Saviour, Mark 16. 15.

[Page] The words are a Proposition; In [...]

  • 1. The Subject. Jesus Christ.
  • 2. The Predicate. The light of the world.
  • 3. The Copulate, joyning these together, [...], All put together make this Obser­vation.

Doct. That Jesus Christ is the spiritual light of the world. Jesus Christ in three respects is the natural light of the world as he is God.

1. He created the light. The first light that ever shined in the world was his creature. The Sunne, Moon and Starres, which are the vessels of natural light, are the works of his hands. He as well as the Father is that Jehovah, who at first said, Let there be light, and there was light, Gen. 1. 3. For all things were made by him, and without him was not made any thing that was made, John 1. 3. All the luminaries of heaven, which carry the light of nature abroad, are his creatures.

2. He preserves the light. The sinne of man­kinde would extinguish those vessels of light▪ those lamps of the world, did not the Lord Jesus Christ by his Divine power and Provi­dence keep them burning. When the Sunne is set, and darknesse spread upon the world, it would never rise again if Christ did not give it a Command.

3. He it is that created the eye of man, and endued it with power to set the light. It is he that (as God) formed the eye of man, and gave it power to behold the light of the Sunne. It is he also that by his providence opens the eye, when it is by sleep shut up in darknesse. [Page 230] These windows of the body would be pitched up for ever, if Christ did not open them morning by morning. Davids prayer, Psal. 13. 3. must be our daily prayer, Lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death. In all these respects, Christ according as he is God, is the natural light of the world. And as Mediator he is the spiritual light of the world. He was so when he was on earth and that both by his Doctrine, and by his example. And he is still the spiritual light of men. The Scripture doth often affirme this of Christ. See a few places, John 1. 9. that was (speaking of Christ) the true light which lighteth every man that com­eth into the world, John 12. 35, 36, 46. What can be more expresse? The Prophets who Pro­phecyed of him, spake of him as a light, Esay 42. 6. I give thee for a Covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles. And Esay▪ 49. 6. I will give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation to the end of the earth. He is therefore compared to the day-star, Luke 1. 78. To the Sunne, Mal. 4. 2. As all natural light is collected into the vessel of the Sunne, and by it dispensed to the world, so all spiritu­al light is gathered together, and placed in Christ the Sunne of righteousnesse, and by him communicated unto all those whom God hath given him.

In the opening of this Doctrine, I shall handle three things.

  • 1. Wherein the proportion between Christ and light stands.
  • 2. How Christ doth dispense the light which is in him.
  • [Page 231] 3. How Christ is differenced from all, [...] ­ther lights.

First, the resemblance between Christ and light stands in seven things.

1. Light hath a manifestative quality. It doth dis­cover and cause to appear things that do in dark­ness lie unseen. Darkness is a thick veile and sha­dow under which things and persons are conceal­ed, but light removes that shadow, and shews both it self and every other thing in its own nature. When you would see what a thing is, if you do not know it, you bring it forth to the light, and then it appears. Whatsoever doth make manifest, the same is light, Eph. 5. 13. Jesus Christ in this respect is well compared to light. He discovers and makes manifest to men that which they never saw before. How many rare mysteries hath Christ discovered to the sonnes of men? When he came into the world, he revealed those secrets that before were either not known, or not so fully known. The A­postle speaks of this, Eph. 3. 2. 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9. When Christ comes to a soul, what discoveries doth he make there?

(1) That sin which lay hid for many years is now manifest; that pride, that unbelief, that covetous­nesse which was not discovered before, is now made manifest. The very secrets of the heart are made known when this light begin; to shine, 1 Corinth. 14. 25. The soule wonders, that so much wickednesse should be so long undis­cerned.

(2) That shining beauty which is in grace, which was not before discerned, is now made manifest. He sees godlinesse to be another [Page 232] kinde of thing then he ever apprehended it to be. He sees a lovelinesse in every duty of Gods worship, a lovelinesse in every act of holinesse which he could have not believed, so that he is able to say with the blinde man restored by Christ; This I know, that whereas I was blinde, now I see. Christ hath the discovering quality of light.

2. Light hath a Directive vertue. It guids men in their way. The Traveller by the bene­fit of the light, sees what path to keep which way to turne to his intended journey. Our Saviour mentions this effect of light, John 11. 9, 10. Now Christ is fitly called a light in this regard. He it is that doth direct the sonnes of men in the way to life. And therefore he is called, not onely the light by which we see, but the guide that leads us, Luke 1. 79. Yea, he is called not onely the light and the guide, but the way in which we walk, John 14. 6. Jesus Christ is sent by his Father from heaven, to di­rect his Elect to heaven. He is the great Pi­lot of his Church, that doth steer it through the tempestuous seas of this world to the Haven of glory.

3. Light hath a Penetrating vertue. Light is of all creatures that are material, the most imma­terial; it is of so subtile a nature, that it conveys it selfe into the least crevise. You can hard­ly make any fence so close, as wholly to keep out the light. Jesus Christ hath a penetrating and searching power. No heart so close, but his eye is in it; no conscience so dark, but he sees to the bottome of it. See what the Apostle saith of him, Heb. 4. 13. All things are naked and open to his eyes, and every creature is manifest in his sight.

[Page 233] 4. Light hath a chearing and [...]. The light contributes much [...], and growth, and life of [...] creatures. Light and motion are the c [...]me of that heat which the heavenly bodies send down upon the earth. Light is that instrument where­by all the influences of heaven are communica­ted and dispensed to the world. The motions of nature are both quickned and comforted by the light, and by it all the births of nature are cheared and comforted. Jesus Christ, hath a chearing, comforting and quickning vertue. 'Tis by influences from Christ spiritual life and comfort are obtained and preserved. The Pro­phet speaks of this vertue of Christ, under this very Metaphor of light, Mal. 4. 2. All that spiritual livelinesse, and brisknesse that beleevers have at any time in their hearts, is from the beaming wings of Christ the Sonne of righteousnesse. He is a heart-chearing, a heart-warming, a heart-quickening Savi­our.

5. Light hath a Purifying vertue. Fogs and Mists that are gathered in darknesse, are dis­persed and scattered when the light comes. When a candle is lighted and set up in a room, if there be any damps, they gather about it. Light is the fining pot of Nature. The world would be an unwholsom Pest-house if it had not light. Jesus Christ hath a purifying and clean­sing vertue. By vertue from him it is, that those nasty filthinesses of sinne which are in the soul, are purged away, Heb. 8. 14. All the Levitical, Ceremonial purifications used in the Law, were types of him. The Prophet compares him to a refiner, and purifier of silver, Mal. 3. 3. By his [Page 234] blood he purifies the soul from the guilt of sin. By his grace he cleanseth the soul from the filth of sinne. The Prophet compares him to a foun­taine set open for purification, Ezek. 13. 1. All that ever were, all that ever shall be clean­sed from the filthinesse of sin, are cleansed by Jesus Christ.

6. Light is of an undefilable nature. Though it passe through sinks, and the most polluted places, yet it contracts no defilement. It clean­seth all things, but is defiled by nothing. It is a quality so spiritual, that nothing can fasten upon it to pollute it. Jesus Christ is fitly re­sembled to light in this respect. He is not ca­pable of any defilement. He assumed sinful nature without the least sinne. He had the likenesse of sinful flesh, Rom 8. 3. but not the least sinne in his flesh. In the dayes of his flesh he did as a spiritual Physician, repaire to all sorts of sinners, but he carried away from them no pollution at all. He conversed with Mary Magdalen, with Zacheus the Publican, and other Publicans and sinners without the least taint of corruption. He was born, he li­ved and died in a corrupt generation, in a ve­ry Pest-house of sinne, without the least tincture of sinne. He lived and died holy, harmlesse, un­defiled, and separated from sinners, as the Apostle saith, Heb. 7. 26.

7. The nature of the light is hard to be known. The Philosophers are much troubled about the defining and describing of it. 'Tis not a sub­stantial forme, because it is perceived by the sight, which no substantial forme is. 'Tis not a body, because then when the light passeth through a perspicuous body, two bodies would [Page 235] be in one place, which is against [...] and reason. Nor is it an [...] from a luminous body, for then the Sonne by his con­tinual shining would be deprived of [...]ig [...]t; but it is an accidental forme, or a patib [...]e quality, and so very hard to be described. The Scrip­ture speaks of the difficulty of searching out the nature of the light perfectly by any mortal man, Job 38. 19, 20, 21, 24. Onely he who is the Fa­ther of lights doth perfectly understand it. Je­sus Christ is not perfectly to be understood by any living man. Who can declare his generation, as he is the Sonne of God? Esay 53. 8. Who can declare his conception exactly, as he is the Sonne of man? the Holy Ghost hath overshadowed it, Luke 1. 35. He that created the flesh of Christ, is onely able perfectly to understand the man­ner of it. Who is able to declare the myste­ry of the hypostatical union of the two na­tures in one person exactly? We beleeve these things, comprehend them perfectly we are not able. His Name is wonderful, Esay 9. 6. there are such wonderful mysteries in the nature of this light, as no man, no creature can fully and perfectly comprehend.

Secondly, Christ dispenses this light these two wayes.

1. By the preaching of his Gospel in the publick Ministery thereof. The Ministers are called Stars; and the Ministery or preaching of the Gospel, is that Orb in which this light shines, and by which it is communicated and dispensed to the world. We preach Christ crucified, 1 Cor. 1. 23. Where the Gospel hath never been preached, this light hath never yet shined. This is the chariot in which this glorious light is car­ried [Page 236] about ordinarily in the world, 2 Cor. 4. 3, 4, 5, 6.

2. By the vertuous efficacy of his Spirit in the Ministery. The most powerful preaching of Christ that can be, will be to no purpose without these inward workings of the Spi­rit. By the Spirit of Christ three things are done.

(1) The blindnesse of the minde is removed. The holy Ghost causes the skales to fall off the eyes.

(2) A visive faculty is bestowed. This is that which the Apostle calls the enlighten­ing of the eyes of the understanding, Ephes. 1. 18.

(3) Power is given actually to close with the light. The soule is enabled to follow the light, or to walk in the light as our Saviours phrase is, John 12. 35. So that by these two meanes this light is communicated. By the preaching of the Gospel, the object is made present; and by the Spirit of Christ the object is made visible, the faculty of sight is bestowed, and a power of fol­lowing the light is created.

Thirdly, Christ is differenced from all other lights, viz. Prophets, Apostles who are called lights, Mat. 5. 14. He is differenced from all them five ways.

1. They are lights onely Ministerially. They are lights onely as they do by their office hold out this light. They are lights, as the can­dlestick may be called a light, because it carries the candle where the light is. But Christ is a light of and in himselfe; He is a light, not Ministerially, but Originally. The fountaine of light.

[Page] 2. They are small lights. Christ i [...] [...] light. They were but like little [...]thing [...], Christ is as a great Torch which teacheth from heaven to earth. They are light as the Stars are light, a little glimmering, borrowed light. Christ is light as the Sunne, and therefore he is called, The Sonne of righteousnesse, Mal. 4. 2. All the Prophets and Apostles were but Scintil­lulae lucis, little sparks of light, meer glow­worms, but Jesus Christ is an immense incompre­hensible light, Esay 9. 2.

3. They are lights that have some darknesse in them. The clearest and brightest of the Prophets and Apostles were not without some darknesse and obscurity. But Jesus Christ is light, and in him there is no darknesse at all. Christ is a light that hath no snuff in him. He ever burns and shines brightly.

4. They were lights that could not give sight. They were not able to make men either see their light, or follow their light. They could not give eyes to the blinde; but Jesus Christ is such a light as can give sight. He can open the blinde eyes. He can over-power the soul to follow the light.

5. They were setting lights. They when they had runne their course left shining, they were wasting, decaying lights. John Baptist was a burning and shining light, but now he is neither, as to this world, onely his example and Doctrine shines still in the Scripture. But Jesus Christ is an everlasting light. He hath been shining ever since that promise made to Adam, Gen. 3. 15. and he shall be a light for ever and ever. He is the light of grace here, and he shall be the light of glory in heaven.

[Page 238] The Uses are, Information. Exhortation. Consolation.

1. Information. In foure particulars.

First, Behold the necessity of Christ. He is as necessary for the soul, as light is for the bo­dy. Light is a very needful and pleasant thing. Jesus Christ is as necessary as he is plea­sant.

Secondly, The miserable condition of such as want an interest in Christ. Whether they be Nations or Persons, their condition is marvel­lous sad. They are indeed in a state of dark­nesse. The Scripture affirmes all to be in darknesse that are without Christ, Eph. 5. 8. Ye were sometimes darknesse, &c. Luke 1. 79. Esay 9. 2. The people that sate in darknesse have seen a great light. Where this day-star did ne­ver yet shine, 'tis yet mid-night with that soul. A dark condition is a very miserable condition. The misery of it will appear in three particu­lars.

(1) A dark condition is a condition of feare. Those that can be bold in the light, are usual­ly surprized with feares in darknesse. A black day is a terrible day, Job 3. 5. Let the blackness of the day terrifie it. Those that are without Jesus Christ are subject to many terrours and fears, which the children of light are delivered from. The Scripture makes mention of hor­rible dread which the wicked are exposed unto. The name of Pashur may be given to every one that is without Christ, Magor Missabib, Jer. 20. 3. because they are liable to such shaking [Page 239] pannick feares, Prov. 28. 1. The [...]cked [...] when no man pursueth them. God threatens fears to the wicked as their portion, Lev. 26. 3 [...]. I will send a faintnesse in their hearts, the sound of a shaken leaf shall chase them. Wicked men are sometimes without actual shakings, they have some kinde of Joy, Peace and Securi­ty. But

[1] They are alwayes liable to feares. They are under guilt, which lays the founda­tion of fear.

[2] Their peace, when it seems to be most strong and settled, is presently upon the least spark of Gods anger thrown into their conscien­ces, turned into terror. We have an instance of it in Belshazzar, Dan. 5. 5, 6. The least mani­festation of Gods anger dashes all their joy, and creates great trembling in their spirits. The Prophet sets out this terrour by an excellent Metaphor, Esay 5 [...]. 20. The sea is sometimes so calme and smooth, that you may cast a dye up­on the face of it, but one quarter of an houres tempest puts it into a dreadful com­bustion.

(2) A dark condition is a misguiding conditi­on. 'Tis full of wandrings. When men want the light of this world, how do they mislead others? how easily are they mislead by o­thers? He that walketh in darknesse (saith our Sa­viour) knoweth not whither he goeth, John 12. 35. Those that are without Jesus Christ, are in a spirituall maze or labyrinth. They mislead all that follow them, they are mislead by every blinde guide that goes before them. Men that are without Christ are great wanderers. You may easily carry them into the most dangerous [Page 240] wayes. This is the true reason of all those sad [...]and [...]ings, and deviations of men from the truth of God, and from the old wayes of holi­nesse which are at this very day. Though they pretend not onely light, but a greater measure of light then others have attained unto; yet the truth is, they want this true light, this coe­lestial light, and therefore are carried away af­ter the shining of every ignis fatuus, that Satan casts in their way. They wander from verity to falshood, from a seeming strictnesse to prophane­nesse, from one corrupt principle to another, till they turn meere Skepticks, meere Atheists, without all Religion. The Apostle calls them, [...], Jude 13. to whom, if they re­turne not from their wandrings, is reserved the blacknesse of darknesse for ever.

(3) A dark condition is a condition unfit for action. We call darknesse blinde mans holy-day, because in darknesse a seeing man can work no more then a blinde man. When that fearful darknesse was over the land of Egypt, they did not stir from their seats for three dayes toge­ther, Exod. 10. 23. Man goeth forth to his work and labour until the evening, Psal. 104. 23. When the black shadow of the night hath drawn the curtaine of nature over the world, then are instruments of working laid aside. Those that are without Jesus Christ are unfit for any spiri­tual work. They can neither pray, nor repent, nor beleeve, &c. Whatever work of this nature they take in hand, they spoile it utterly. They mar all the work of God for want of light, John 15. 5. The Apostle tells us that the natu­ral man doth not understand the things of the Spi­rit, neither can he know them, because they are [Page] spiritually discerned, [...] to polish [...] a jewel a [...] [...], as man that i [...] [...] is able handsomly to perfect any [...] This is the second inference, the misery of men without Christ.

(3) The excellency of Jesus Christ. Light is a very excellent and glorious creature. Truly light is pleasant, saith Solomon, and a joyful thing it is for the eyes to see the Sun, Eccl. 11. 7. Je­sus Christ is an excellent and precious person. He is very pleasant and desirable to those that have eyes to behold him. He is all things spi­ritually to the soule which it wants, which it can desire; bread, drink, physick, life, rayment, light, all in all. The Scripture speaks much of his glory and brightnesse. No creature com­parable to the light for glory. God is therefore said to be cloathed with light as with a garment, Psalme 104. 2. Christ is unglorious to the eyes of blinde men, so the Prophets foretold, Esay 53. 2, 3. But to them that have eyes to see him, he is a very glorious person. Jesus Christ hath a foure-fold excellency above other lights.

First, They are created lights. The Sun, Moon and Stars, the vessels of light are but creatures, Gen. 1. You reade of the time and manner of their creation. But Christ is an uncreated light. The humanity indeed is a creature, but the Divinity which doth enlighten the humanity is not a creature. Athanasius calls him light of lights, very God of very God. He is the Father of Lights in regard of his Divi­nitie.

Secondly; They are lights that cannot give [Page] [...]. Bring men that are blinde to the Sunne, let it shine with his greatest splendor upon them, and they will not be recovered. The light of the Sun hath dazeld, and helpt to put out ma­ny seeing eyes, it never restored to sight one blinde eye. But Jesus Christ is a light that gives sight to the blinde. He is an enlightning [...]ight, he doth by his shining upon the soule, create in the soule a faculty of seeing, which it never had before, 2 Cor. 4. 6. When this light shines in the heart, the light of the knowledge of God is created. Hence the Apostle calls Christ a light that enlightneth every man that cometh into the world, Joh. 1. 9.

Thirdly, They are lights onely to the body. The soul is not better for the light of the Sun. But Christ is a spiritual light▪ he is a light to the con­science, to the will, to the affections, to the whole inward man.

Fourthly, They give light but in one place at once. The Sunne shines but in one Hemisphaere at once. 'Tis night with us, when 'tis day▪ with our Antipodes; and when the Sunne shines there, it is darknesse with us. But now Jesus Christ shines as a light in all places of the world, at one and the same time. He can cast his beams when he pleaseth all the world over. Christ shines in England and in America, at one and the same moment. And he hath told us of a time when he will give light to all the world. This is the third inference, Christs excel­lency.

(4) Behold from hence the excellency of the Gospel. Jesus Christ is the light of the world as he is held out in the Gospel. The Gospel is the Candlestick in which this Candle is set, [Page] the Gospel is the O [...] in [...] There is no other sufficient and [...] [...] ­covery of Christ besides the Gospe [...].

There are three lights which God hath [...] ­ed to the Heathen.

The light of Creation, Rom. 1. 19. 20.

The light of righteousnesse, which the Schools call Synter [...]sin.

The light of a natural conscience, Rom. 2. 15.

Now although these be true lights, yet they are not sufficient lights. They make a disco­very of a God-head unto men; Rom. 1. 19, 20. They discover so much to men▪ as to [...]eave them without excuse, Rom. 1. 20. but they cannot discover a Saviour to man. They cannot disco­ver a Mediator, God and man in one person. None of the wise Philosophers of the world▪ that had studied the mysteries of nature, and attained to very great experience in them, were able to finde out reconciliation by Christ. No, no, the Gospel is the onely ordinary way of this discovery John 5. 39. Search the Scriptures. They are they which testifie of me, Rom. 1. 16. 17. I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ; For therein is the righteousnesse of God revealed from faith to faith, So 1 Cor. 1. 21. After that in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdome knew not God, It pleased God by the foolishnesse of preaching to save them that beleeve. Now then the Gospel being the onely standing-way of discoverning Christ to men, it must needs be a very excel­lent thing. Hence it is that the Gospel is cal­led a light as well as Christ, Psal. 119. 105. Thy Word is as a lamp unto my feet, &c. And 2 Pet. 1. 18, 19▪ We have a more sure word of pro­phecy, [Page 244] &c. Herein lies the great glory and dig­nity of the Gospel, that it is the onely medi­ate fixed Candlestick, in and by which Jesus Christ the true light is discovered and made known. This is the first Use.

Use 2. Exhortation. It commends sour things to us.

1. Blesse God for this light. We have very great cause to blesse God for tho natural light, that he hath set up so glorious a Torch as the Sunne is, to give light to the inhabitants of the earth. What cause have we then to blesse God for this spiritual light, that this day-star from on high hath visited us? We might have wandred in darknesse as the Heathen do, if this light had not in the glorious Gospel sh [...] ­ned amongst us. Blesse God every day for this light, especially you that have Christ not only a light to you, but a light in you. You that have this Sunne risen, and shining in your hearts, in and by conversion, you have cause to blesse God. Many shall be damned and perish that have Christ as a light to them, but they shall eternally be saved that have Christ the true light shining in them. How much cause had the Israelites in Goshen to blesse God, that had light in their dwellings, Exod. 10. 23. when there was thick darknesse in the land of Egypt? much more cause have you to blesse his great Name, that the Lord Christ is a burn­ing light set up in your hearts, when as abun­dance that live under the same light you do, are still in the darknesse of an unconverted e­state? Ye were sometimes darknesse, but now are [Page 245] ye light in the Lord, Eph. 5. 8. This [...] loud, cordial, lasting, everlasting praises to God and Jesus Christ, that this light is made a saving light to you, when it is a damning light occasion­ally to very many.

2. When ever you see the light, remember Jesus Christ. When you open your eyes in the morn­ing, and behold the light of the Sunne, then thin [...] of Christ the true Sunne of righteous­nesse. When you see the necessity of light, when you see the benefit of light, then think of the necessity and benefit which men receive by Jesus Christ. He is far more useful then the natural light, in as much as he enlightens the soule. God would have us to spirituallize the whole Creation. There is hardly any crea­ture which is of special and common use, but it doth or may serve as a ladder on which we may ascend into Heaven, and be brought neer­er to God: bread, water, garments, the raine, the dew, the light, and a thousand other crea­tures do daily preach some spiritual Do­ctrine to us. It will be happy for us if we can take out spiritual lessons from earthly things.

3. Improve the light. In three things.

(1.) Be not contented that Christ is a light to you, but labour that he may be a light within you. Get Christ into your hearts, into your consci­ences. 'Tis damnable to live in darknesse, e­ven when the light of the creatures shines, Rom. 1. 20. 'Tis double damnation to live in dark­nesse, where Jesus Christ the true light shines. Arise, shine, for the light is come (saith the Prophet) to the Church, Esay 60. 1. If you be [Page 246] not enlightned savingly by this light, it had been better for you, you had never heard of it, that you had never seen it. Better you had never seen this pillar of fire, then not to be savingly enlightned by it.

(2) Be sure to walk in the light. This is our Saviours counsel, John 12. 35. What is it to walk in the light, but to translate the light into our life! To walk as children of the light, Ephesians 5. 8. To walk in the light of Christs example; To walk accord­ing to the d [...]rection of Christs Doctrine. To walk regularly, evenly, inoffensively, to have our conversation as becometh the Gos­pel, Philippians 1. 27. This is the way to honour the light; this is the way to com­municate the light to others. He that walks as Christ walked, holds out this light to the world; a holy Conversation makes a Christian as a golden Cand [...]estick to hold ou [...] Christ to such as do not see him.

(3) Acknowledge from whence all your light comes. That you have the light of knowledge, the light of saving grace, the l [...]ght of spiritual comfort, it is from Je­sus Christ. He is the fountaine of all true spi­ritual light. The light you have is a beame of this Sunne; You had never enjoyed one spark of it, had not Christ freely communi­cated it.

(4) Receive nothing as light, but what comes from Jesus Christ. That that thwarts Jesus Christ, is not light but darknesse. That which comes not from Christs Word, [Page] is not light, but darknesse. Men ta [...] of much light now adayes. They [...] light, darknesse light; Well, the [...] way to judge of true light, is to bring it to Christ; and to bring it to Christ, is to bring it to the Scriptures. There it is that Christ shines, there it is that truth shines. A written Revelation from S [...]rip­ture is more sure then an immediate Re­velation from Heaven. So the Apostle tells us, 2 Peter 1. 18, 19. I must try all Reve­lations by Scripture. Now the touchstone is more sure then that whi [...]h is tried by it. There are some things which men cry up as lights, which quench Christ the true light, the doctrine of the Socinians, Armi­nians, Papists, &c.

Use 3. Consolation.

This may comfort the children of God in all their present darknesses. The Saints of God are in this life under many dark­nesses. They are under the darknesse of sinne, not under the power of it, Colossians 1. 13. Yet they have still some of this dark­nesse in them. They are under the dark­nesse of ignorance, for they know but in part. They are under the darknesse of outward affliction, Micah 7. 8. They are under the darknesse of spiritual discomfort sometimes, Esay 50. 10. Well, here is your comfort. Christ is light in all these re­spects. He is a full light. He is a com­municative light. He is a light alwayes present. Go to him in all these cases, de­pend [Page 248] upon him; put him in minde of this Name of his, and you shall finde that he will turne your darknesse into light. He will be a light to deliver you, to instruct, to comfort you, to quicken you. He hath received all the light he hath as Mediatour, that he may communicate it to you.

HEB. 13. 20.—Our Lord Jesus Christ that XIII. SERM. at Mary Wol­noth. Lon. Aug. 8. 1652. great shepherd of the sheep.

THis verse is a part of the Epi­logue, or conclusion of the whole Epistle. The conclusion begins at ver. 18. and it reacheth to the end of the Chapter. He had ver. 18, 19 intreated their remem­brance of him: in this verse as an Argument to perswade them, he falls a praying for them. The thing he prayes for on their behalf, is laid down ver. 21. Make you perfect, &c. The person to whom he prayes, is God, whom he describes by that glorious title, The God of peace. The Arguments he hath to support his faith for the Audience of his prayer, are these three.

First, the power of God; this he expresseth by one great act of his power, The resurrecti­on of Christ from the dead.

The second is, from Christs office or relation to the Church for whom he prays, He is the great Shepherd of the sheep. He prays in his Name who was neerly related to the Church, therefore he did not doubt of audience.

[Page 250] The third is the way whereby he expected his requells to be granted, The blood of the everlasting Covenant; he came to a God of peace by a Mediator through a Covenant of blood, therefore he did not fear the speeding and issu­ing of his requests. The words which I have read, have two things in them which shall be the parts of the Text.

  • 1. A description of the people of God. They are sheep.
  • 2. A description of Christ in relation to them. That great Shepherd.

Sheep. This word is taken in Scripture either Properly or Metaphorically. Properly, for that kinde of creatures which are known by this name. Improperly or Metaphorically, and so it hath a double signification. It's taken some­times for harmlesse and innocent people. So it's used, 2 Sam. 24. 17. 2. For the Elect of God especially, such of them as are regenerated, and called, And so it's used in this Text.

Shepherd. This word is likewise used in a Pro­per, and in a Metaphorical sense.

In a proper sense, it's used for such as keep and feed flocks, whether they be flocks of sheep, or of other cattel. In this sense Abel is called a shepherd, Gen. 4. 2. The sonnes of Jacob that kept cattel, are called shepherds in this sense, because they dealt in sheep and other cattel, Gen 46. 32, 34. In this sense Moses is called a shepherd, Exod. 3. 1. And David before his anointing to the office of a King, Psalme 78. 70, 71.

In a Metaphorical sense, and so its re­ferred to other persons and emplovments, as they carry some resemblance to this office. As,

[Page 251] 1. Magistrates are called shepherd [...] [...] hath this name given him of God, Esay. [...]4. [...]. Thus Moses the Ruler of Israel is called [...] sh [...]pherd of Gods flock, Esay 63. 1 [...]. [...] Agamemnon, [...]. 'Tis an usual expres­sion in Scripture to call Magistrates, Shepherds, Jer. 6. 3. The shepherds with their flocks shall come unto her. That is, forreigne Princes with their souldiers prepared for Warre. So Micab 55. We shall raise against him seven shepherds, and eight principal men.

2. Ministers. Governours of the Church are called shepherds, Jer. 3. 15. I will give you pa­stours, or shepherds after mine own heart, Jer. 17. 16. I have not hastened from being a pastour, or shepherd from following thee, Esay 56. 11. speaking of the sloathful Ministers, he saith, They are shepherds that cannot understand. And the usual notion whereby Ministers are set out in the New Testament is, Pastours and Teach­ers, Eph. 4. 11. There is a great affinity between the work of a Minister, and the work of a shep­herd.

3. God himself is called a shepherd. David gives him that name, Psal. 23. 1. And againe, Psal. 80. 1. He is called, the shepherd of Israel; be­cause his care of Israel hath great resem­blance to the care of a shepherd over his flock.

4. Jesus Christ is called a shepherd, as in ma­ny other places, so in this Text. 'Tis him of whom we are to understand this Text, Our Lord Jesus, that great Shepheard. He is called, [...], to distinguish him from all other shepherds, who in comparison of him are very small and inconsiderable shepherds. [Page 252] Thus much for Explication. The Observations are two, according to the two Metaphors, viz.

  • 1. The people of God are sheep.
  • 2. Jesus Christ is the great Shepherd of these sheep.

Doct. 1. The people of God are sheep. 'Tis a very usual Metaphor whereby godly persons are described in Scripture. Sometimes they are called Gods sheep, Ezek. 34 6, 11, 12. Some­times they are called Christs sheep; so frequent­ly, John 10. and Iohn 21. 16. Feed my sheep, saith Christ to Peter. And sometimes they are called sheep without any mention of the owner of them. Take but two or three Texts for farther confirmation, Psal. 74. 1. Why doth thine anger smoak against the sheep of thy pasture, Psal. 79 13. So we thy flock, and sheep of thy pasture, Ps. 100. 3. We are the sheep of his pasture.

In the handling of this Point, I shall open two things.

  • 1. In what respects they are compared to sheep.
  • 2. How they come to be sheep.

First, They are like sheep in five re­spects.

1. Sheep are very harmlesse and innocent crea­tures. Wolves, they teare, and hurt, and do mis­chief; but sheep are innocent and inoffensive creatures; they neither bite with their teeth, nor kick with the heele as other creatures do. Innocent and harmlesse persons are called sheep in Scripture, 2 Sam. 24. 17. These sheep what [Page 253] have they done? The people of God are [...] [...]m­lesse and innocent generation, though the world looks upon them as turbulent, &c. The [...] know it is the Will of God that they be harm­lesse and blamelesse, Phil. 2. 15. and they desire that they may so walk. They desire and endea­vour that they may walk without offence, that no man may receive the least detriment, or prejudice by them, either in temporals or spiri­tuals. You may see this in the Apostle Paul, Act. 24. 16. the same desire is in all the sheep of Christ; and if they do through mistake or inad­vertency harme any, they are never at rest till they have made them reparation and satis­faction.

2. Sheep are meek and patient Creatures. The sheep is an emblem of meekness. The sheep suffers the shearer to take his fleece, and the butcher his blood, without the least frowardness or resistance. The meeknesse of the lamb is grown into a Proverb. Quum fervet maximè, tam placidum quam ovem reddo. Terent. The people of God are a patient and meek people. They are cal­led in Scripture the meek of the earth, because they excel in this grace, Psal. 76. 9. Zeph. 2. 3. They can endure losses, beare afflictions, suffer persecutions for the Name of Christ without impatience. They do not render reviling for reviling, nor railing for railing. Yea, they re­pay sweet for bitter, blessing for cursing. When Shimei railes on David, Come out thou man of blood, &c. how meekly doth he beare it? Let him curse, for God hath bid him curse David, 2 Sam. 16. 10. When he was so unnaturally used by his Sonne Absalom, how sweetly doth he subject himself and kisse the rod! Psal. 39. 9. [Page 254] A ch [...]e of God may sometimes fall into a sir of frowardnesse and impatience, as Ionah did. Even meek Moses was once too much transport­ed with passion, Numb. 20. 10, 11. but they are much grieved for such angry heats. The frame and bent of their hearts is towards the grace of meeknesse; and what the heart of a per­son would be, that God interprets it really to be. Wicked men are men of blustring and turbulent spirits, but Gods people are of a calme placid temper.

3. Sheep are clean Creatures. Swine they use to wallow in filthy and myry places. But sheep desire and delight to preserve themselves clean, they love pure streames and green pastures. The people of God are a cleane and holy generati­on. See how the Holy Ghost describes them, Psal. 73. 1. Our Saviour calls them the pure in heart, Mat. 5. 8. They study holinesse, they pray for holinesse, they allow no spot, yea they are heartily grieved when they do bemire them­selves, and are never at rest till they be cleansed againe. See the Prophet David, when he had fallen into the mire and defiled himselfe, how earnest he is with God for cleansing, Psal. 51. 2. and again, v. 7. and yet againe, v. 10. Create in me a cleane heart O God. He that hath the nature of a true sheep of Christ in him, though he may fall into sinne, yet he cannot lie and wallow in uncleannesse, as the wicked do.

4. Sheep are simple creatures. Some kinde of bruit creatures are very cunning and crafty, as the Fox, the Ape, &c. but the sheep is of a simple nature. Ye use to call silly men sheepish men. The people of God are a simple plain-hearted [Page 255] people, no [...] onely with [...] [...] without guile, Psal. 32. 2. That [...] of their Father Iacob, Gen. 25. 2 [...]. it is [...] all his posterity in their propo [...]tion, they are plain-hearted men. Though they have hypocrisie in them as they have other corruptions, yet they are not hypocrites. They know not, nor are they desirous to learne the art of dissi­mulation, equivocation. They cannot look one way, and row another; they love not to have oyle in their mouths, and swords in their hear [...]s. They desire to be sincere, without mixture. They cannot carry fire in one hand, and water in the other. They are strangers, and they desire to be strangers for ever to those doublings, and fraudulencies, and subtile artifices which hypocrites use. They can pray, and do pray with David, Psal. 119. 8. Let my heart be sound in thy statutes, &c. Their tongue and heart go both one way; they desire that God would keep their hearts right, and they desire that their tongue may be the interpreter of their heart; they chuse to act, not accord­ing to principles of carnal policy, but the rules of Gospel piety; they had rather be the meanest of Christs Disciples, then the highest of M [...]chiavels Scholars.

5. Sheep are creatures of a tractable nature. They are easie to be led. A childe may drive a flock of sheep with more ease, then many can a herd of other cattel. The people of God are of a ductile, tractable nature. They are more easily guided then other men. Shew them what the minde of God is, let them have the Rule clear, and then a little childe may lead them. We have a Gospel prophecy of the [Page 256] l [...]enesse which grace works upon the hearts of men, when it comes in power upon them, [...]say 11. 6. Other men cannot be ruled by all the importunity that God and men use. Though precept [...]e upon pre [...]ept, and line upon line, Esay 28. 10. yet they will be extravagant and loose; but godly men are of a ductile frame. They desire that God would lead them, and guide them in his way, and they are willing to be led. They will not resist truth, they will not stand out against convictions as other men do. They are plyable and yielding to all divine Re­velations from the Word of God. No man shall lead them by his fancy or opinion without a Rule, though he be never so wise, or never so seemingly godly; but any man shall guide them, and turn any way, even an enemy, an inferi­our, if he can bring a sufficient Authority from Gods Word. Shew us the Father, and it sufficeth.

Secondly, How they come to be sheep? They are not so by nature; for by nature they are Goats, Wolves, Tygers. They have not one property of a sheep in them by nature. They are as bad as the worst by nature, Eph. 2. 2. How then a [...]e they sheep? 'Tis by Grace and Regeneration. Jesus Christ the Lamb of God communicates his nature to them by his Spirit, and so of Goats makes them Sheep. He infuseth into them a new nature, and so makes them sheep.

1. God chuseth them for his sheep.

2. Christ purchaseth them.

3. Having chosen them from eternity, and purchased them, he doth in time by his Spirit change their natures, bring them into his fold, and puts all the good properties of sheep into [Page] them; whereas, they we [...] [...] makes them harmlesse; [...] froward, he makes them p [...]cient [...] were filthy, he makes them cle [...]e [...] they were hypocritical, he makes them p [...]-hearted; and whereas they were before un [...]ly, he now makes them tractable.

The Uses of this Point.

1. The great difference between converted and unconverted. The one are Flowers, the other are Weeds; the one Light, the other Darknesse; the one Wheat, the other Tares; the one Goats, the other Sheep. Grace puts a great difference between man and man, Prov. 12. 26.

2. Let all of us labour that we may be sh [...]ep. Beg of Christ that he would remove the wolvish­nesse of thy nature, and make thee a sheep. At the day of judgement all men would be glad to be placed among the sheep, Matth. 25. 32, 33.

3. Let all the people of God carry themselves as sheep. Study those things which I named before, be sure they be found in you, otherwi [...]e you cannot have any hopes that you are sheep. And to those let me adde two or three duties more, which are fo [...]nd in all the sheep of God and Christ, viz.

(1) Labour to be profitable. Sheep are very profitable creatures Their flesh is for food, their fleece is for cloathing, their milk is for nourishing; their very excrements are profit­able, the Husbandman findes benefit even by them. A beleever should be a profitable crea­ture. It's said of Onesimus, that after he was [Page] [...], he became a profitable branch, [...] 11. Christians should endeavour to be profitable every way as sheep are. You should [...]eed others by your knowledge, you should nourish others by your comforts, you should refresh others by your graces. All your speeches, all your actions should some way or other tend to the benefit of your brethren. An un­profitable sheep is a contradiction. 'Tis a glori­ous thing to profit others. 'Tis one end of all that good which God hath bestowed upon you. The manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withall, As the Apostle saith, 1 Cor. 12. [...].

(2.) Labour to be fruitful. Sheep are a very fruitful creature, they do much enrich him that keeps them, they often bring forth twinnes, Cant. 4. 2. Beleevers should be fruitful; Rich in good works, 1 Tim 6. 18. Filled with the fruits of righteousnesse, Phil. [...]. 11. A Christian should be like th [...]se sheep, which are mentioned Cant. 4 2. Christ feeds his sheep in large pas [...]ures, and in fa [...] pastures, therefore they should bring forth good fruit, and much fruit.

(3) Labour to be [...]ciable one with another. No [...]atures are of a more sociable nature then sheep; they feed together, and [...]old together, and live qu [...]etly together. The sheep is a rare embleme of unity. Beleevers should in this be like sheep, they should maintaine love and uni­ty amongst themselves. This grace, love, and u­nity and onenesse of minde is much pressed in Scripture, Eph. 4. init. Phil. 2. init. Biting and devouring one another, is not to be like the sheep, but rather like the wolf. The great­er noise the devouring creatures make, the [Page] closer do sheep keep together.

1. O that Christians would be [...] this property. Fearful things are [...] them that make divisions in the Church of [...]. Vid. Rom. 16. 17, 18.

2. How great is the advantage which Gods people will get, by uniting amongst them­selves!

First, unity is their strength. Fellow-Tra­vellers, while they keep together, strengthen one another against invaders; if they divide, they are easily destroyed.

Secondly, unity is their glory, Psal. 133. 1. Pearls are called uniones (some say) because they are seldome found two together; others say to denote the preciousnesse of union. U­nity amongst Gods people is the best pearl they can wear, Cant 4. 9.

Thirdly, unity makes way for the communica­tion of gifts, Eph. 4. 15, 16.

Fourthly, remember the communion of Saints, 1 John 1. [...].

Fifthly, remember how often Christ prayed for it, John 17. 21, 22, 23. 'Tis his great honour; onely we must know that all our union must be in the truth, union in the Lord; otherwise it is not the union of sheep, but the union of robbers, Prov. 1. 10, 11, 12, 13, 14.

Doct. 2. The Lord Jesus Christ is the great Shepherd of these sheep. In many places of Scri­pture the name and office of a Shepherd is at­tributed to Christ. Consider these that follow, Esay 40. 11. He shall feed his flock as a Shepherd. 'Tis a prophecy of Christ, as the context shews, Ezek. 3 [...]. 23. God promiseth Christ under this [Page] [...] I will set up one Shepherd over them, and [...] shall [...]eed them; even my servant David; And again, Ezek. 37. 24. David my servant shall be King over them, and they all shall have one Shep­herd, Zech. 13. 7. Awake O sword against my Shepherd, &c. Smite the Shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered; 'Tis applied to Christ, Mat. 26. 31. Our Saviour himself doth give himself this name. John 10. 11, 14, 16. I am the good Shepherd, &c. The Apostle Peter calls him so, 1 Pet. 2. 25. The Shepherd and Bishop of our souls, and Chap. 5. 4 He calls him, [...], The chief Shepherd: when the chief Shepherd shall ap­pear, ye shall receive a Crown of glory that fadeth not away.

Two things I shall open by way of Expli­cation.

  • 1. The parallel between Christ and a shepherd.
  • 2. Why Christ is called That great Shepherd.

First, the parallel between Christ and a shepherd, stands in these five particulars, viz

1. A shepherd [...]ed this stock. 'Tis his work to provide both pasture and water for his sheep. Pastour [...] Pasc [...]nd [...], Ezek. 34. 2. Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? A good shepherd will take care that his flock may have both grasse and water. When they have eat one place bare, he drives them to another; when one fountaine is dry, he leads them to another; he had rather want bread himself then that his sheep should want provision. He feeds them with his own flesh and blood, John 6 5. Jesus Christ provides sufficient food and nourishment [Page] for his sheep. Three things [...]

(1) He hath provided Ordinan [...] [...] very Ordinance is a spiritual [...] fountaine for the feeding of Chris [...] [...] Psalmist speaks of this, Psal. 23. 2. He [...] to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me be­side the still waters. What are those pastures of tender grasse? What are those waters of qui­etnesse, but the Ordinances of the Gospel, the fields where Christs sheep feed, the rivers where they drink? The variety of the Ordinances shewes the variety of [...]eeding, the rich­nesse and fulnesse of the Ordinances, shewes the plentifulnesse of Christs feeding: here are many pastures, and every pas [...]ure so rich, that it can never be eaten bare; here are many streames, and every streame so deep and broad, that it can never be drawn dry: the sheep have been eating in these pastures ever since Christ had a Church on earth, and yet they are as full of grasse as ever. The sheep have been drinking at these streams ever since Adam, and yet they are brim full to this very day; & they will so continue, till the sheep be above the use of them in heaven.

(2) He hath provided shepherd [...] to d [...]spense these Ordinances. The sheep can neither feed them­selves, nor water themselves, unlesse they have some to help them. The Ministers of the Gos­pel do by vertue of their office, open these pa­stures, and lead the sheep into them; they roll away the stone from the mouth of these Wells, and draw water for them, that they may drink and be satisfied. The Apostle tells us, that Pastou [...]s and Teachers are given of Christ, for the edification of his Church, Eph. 4. 11, 12. This was the work of the Prophers in their [Page] [...] [Page] [...] [Page] [...] Apostles and Evangelists in their ge­nera [...]on, and of Pastours and Teachers, the present Ministers of the Church; yea, we shall finde how severely Christ bath charged them, under the paine of his highest displeasure, to be diligent in feeding the flock. See 2 Tim. 4. 1, 2. and he [...]ath allured them by the most glorious promises, that they should be careful in this work, See 1 Pet. 5. 2, 4. and John 21. 15, 16. And he furnisheth them with gifts and abilities for this very purpose. Vid. Luke 12. 42.

(3) He doth by his Spirit blesse the feeding which he hath provided. He hath promised to be present with the sheep and shepherds, when e­ver they come to feed in these pastures, and drink at these waters; he hath promised (I say) to be present to blesse their fo [...]d and water for the good or their soules. He promised it, Mat. 28. ult. and he doth to this day make it good, he doth walk, and he will walk in the middest of the Golden Candle sticks, to bless the seeding of the sheep to the end of the world. He hath pur­chased the Holy Ghost to be bestowed both on the sheep and shepherds for this very pur­pose.

2 A Shepherd k [...]owes [...]. He knows the number of his sheep▪ and he knows them par­ticularly [...] sheep. Those phrases which are [...] concerning the sheeps p [...]ssing [...] rod, [...] ev. 27. 32. and of passing under the [...] of him that tel [...]eth them, Jer. 33. 13. shew [...]e knowledge that good Shepherds have of their flocks: they know one of their own sheep, though it be in the midst of a strange flock; Jesus Christ knows his sheep exactly. He knows his people, qu [...]t sint, & [Page] quinam sint, both the [...] ticular persons, John 10. 11. [...] dungeons, prisons, though the [...] off, and the skin torne by persecution, yet [...] they are within the knowledge of Christ. Consi­der four things.

First, He knows them as they are given to him by the Father in his eternal Election. God the Father hath given all the Elect unto Christ from eternity, Iohn 17. 6. By vertue of this donation doth Christ know them. He hath ta­ken them by number from the Father, and he is to surrender them by number to him againe. Their names are all written from eternity in the Lambs book of life, Rev. 21. 27. while this book continues, they cannot wear out of the knowledge of Christ.

Secondly, He knows them, as he sees in them his own image. Every sheep of Christ doth par­take by grace of the image of Christ. There is a conformity of likenesse between him and them. His Fathers Name is written upon their fore­heads, Rev. 14. 1. What is this Name of God but that Divine nature, which is from Christ communicated to every sheep of the fold? So long as this Name abides on their fore­heads (and it shall abide for ever,) they cannot weare out of the knowledge of Christ.

Thirdly, He knows them as he sees the sprink­lings of his own blood upon them. Every sheep of Christ is washed white in the Lambs blood, Rev. 7. 14. They are cloathed with his righte­ousnesse for the justification of their persons. They have his merits in which they are invest­ed. Now so long as this garment remaines [Page] [...], and it can never be worn off, or [...]ollen off; Jesus Christ must needs know them.

Fourthly, He knows them, as he remembers the service they have done fox him in the world. Every sheep of Christ that hath attained unto years of discretion, hath with care served Christ in its generation. They have often prayed to him, they have often worshipped him, they have to their very uttermost laid out themselves for his glory in the world, &c. Jesus Christ hath re­corded and set down all their good actions; and as long as he remember [...] their works, he cannot forget or be ig [...]orant of their persons. This we may gather from that which stands on record, Mat. 25. 34, [...]5, &c. They have fed him in his hungry members, they have clo [...]thed him in his naked m [...]mbers &c. Christ will never forget these holy actions; therefore he can never for­get the persons of them, by whom they were performed. They have both done for him, and suf [...]ered for him, therefore he knows them, and will know them

3. A Shepherd preserves his st [...]ck. 'Tis the work of [...] Shepherd to defend his sheep. David bazarded his own li [...]e, to de [...]end his sheep from the inv [...]ding [...]on, and [...]venous bear, 1. Sam. 17. 34. Shepherds watch their flocks by night as well as by day, to pre [...]erve th [...]m from the dev [...]uring creatures. So did Jacob, Gen. 31. 40. So did those Shepherds to whom the birth of Christ was first pre [...]ched, Luke 2. 8. Jesus Christ is the desender of his sheep; he preserves them carefully from them that would devoure them. The Devil hath been way-laying them, and attempting upon them ever since the fall [Page] of Adam; and yet the eye o [...] [...] was so diligent and watchful, [...] [...]ver able to get the least lamb o [...] [...] shall he ever be able to gaine one o [...] [...] they be all folded up in heaven. The sheep of Christ are all sealed in their foreheads; so we reade, Rev. 7. 3, 4. Why are they sealed?

First, they are sealed for distinction.

Secondly, they are sealed for secrecy.

Thirdly, they are sealed for security. Neither men nor devils can break open this seale. This similitude is used, Cant. 4. 12. A garden enclosed, a spring shut up, a fountaine sealed; under all those expressions is set out the fence which Christ makes about his sheep for their preserva­tion. Though Christ sometime suffer their bo­dies to be torne and devoured by men, and though he suffer their soules to be assaulted, yet he will not suffer their soules to be destroy­ed. He did once lay down his life for them, John 10. 11, 15. and having died for them, he will preserve them. There is a six-fold defence which Christ sets upon every sheep for his preser­vation from Satan.

(1) His death. The grave of Christ is a fold, in which the sheep sleep safely; his Sep [...]lcher is a hedge about the Church, I mean the ver­tue and merit of his death. Jesus Christ by his death hath overcome the Devil and all his Host, Col. 2. 15. he hath taken him captive, and delivered the sheep out of his hands. Now so long as the death of Christ is in force, (and in force it shall be for ever and ever) the sheep shall be defended. The sea of Christs blood doth encompasse every sheep of the fold; and Satan must either wade thorough, or dry up [Page] [...] before he can annoy the sheep, as [...] eternal salvation. Roare and rage he may, mine or teare in pieces he cannot; the bottomlesse sea of Christs blood flows continu­ally about them.

(2) His intercession. The Scripture makes mention of the Advocateship of Christ for his people, Heb. 7. 25. He lives for ever to make intercession; therefore he is able to save, [...]. This Advocateship of Christ hath three properties. First, it is full. Secondly, 'tis constant. Thirdly, 'tis effectual. This intercession is the s [...]eeps safe-guar [...]. Christ must [...]e outed from the work of mediation, before any of his sheep can be eternally hurt; and outed he cannot be, for his Priest-hood is an everlasting Priest-hood, Ps. 110. 4. Thou art a Priest for e­ver, &c.

(3) The presence of Christ. We learn from Scripture that Jesus Christ is ever present with his sheep; he is not one moment absent from the fold; [...]e by his spiritual presence lodgeth with them every night, and walks with them all the day. Of this presence of Christ the Ho­ly Ghost speak [...], Rev. 14. 1. He stands on the Mount Sion, he stands not in a running po­sture, but in a watching posture. The devil must drive Christ from his standing, before he can snatch away any of the sheep, for he stands there as a guard to them.

(4) The mystical union between him and the sheep. The Scripture makes mention of this u­nion, John 17. 23. I in them, and Thou in me. Every sheep grows in the Shepherds side, as a member of his body. Now this union is an indis­soluble union. As the natural union between [Page] the Sonne and the Father can [...], so neither can the [...] Christ and the sheep. [...] and mighty hedge about the sheep▪ [...] must drag Christ to hell, before he can [...] any of the sheep thither; for they are bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh.

(5) The promise of Christ. Jesus Christ hath engaged his Word, and this engagement is re­corded in the Scriptures, that the gates of Hell shal not prevaile against the Church, Ma [...]. 16. 18. This promise is not a rash, indiscreet; but a delibe­rate, sober, advised promise. 'Tis not the pro­mise of a fraudul [...]nt person; but of a faithful Saviour: for he is the Amen, the faithful and t [...]ue witnesse, Rev. 3. 14. This promise is the Churches safety. Satan must disannul this, before he can devour the sheep; and disannulled it can­not be, for his Word endureth for ever in heaven.

(6) His recommending of them to his Father. Jesus Christ a little before his death, made his last Will and Testament. In this Testament a­mongst other things he did solemnly comm [...]nd the tuition of his sheep to his Fathers care, intreating him by all the dearnesse between them, that he would preserve them from the devil, and all his evil designes against them. This is set down fully, John 17. 11. 15. he had received them from the Father upon his recom­mendation, v. 9. and he had kept them safe while he was with them; now he intreats the Fa­ther, that as he had kept them upon his recom­mendation, so he would now likewise for his sake undertake the tuition of them, v. 12. While I was in the world, I kept them, &c. So long as Christs Testament is in force, so long as God [Page] [...] of Christs bequeathment; and accept of i [...] he will, for ever the sheep shall be safe.

4. A Shepherd gathers his sheep when they are s [...]attered. When either by dogs, or stormes, or by their own vo [...]untary wandring they have been dispersed; the Shepherds work is to gather them againe, Ezek 34. 12. Jesus Christ is a good Shepherd in this respect; the sheep are wanton, they wander and stray: Christ re­duceth them, brings them to the fold. How often doth every sheep wander? so often as they wander. doth Christ reduce them. You know the parable, Luke 15. 4, 5, 6 &c. And he will never leave, till he have gathered them into heaven, where they shall scatter no more. He gathers them from their first dispersion in unregeneracy, when they wander upon the mounts of profanenesse and unbelief, &c. When they are scattered by persecution, tempta­tion, &c. he still gathers them. He gathered them when they were scattered in Babylon; in the dispersion in the Apostles dayes, of which you read, Acts 8. He hath Gentile sheep scat­tered, Jewish sheep dispersed; both these will he gather: the Gentiles, John 10. 16. the Jews, 2 Chr. 16. 6, 7, 8, 9. One end of the Ministery is to gather the scattered sheep, who were never converted. One end of the Min [...]stery and dis­cipline, is to gather them that wander, after conversion. See the office of Christ to this purpose, Eph 1. 10. He is the Centre in which all things meet. All are to be gathered together by him, to him and in him; his meaning is, all the Elect are gathered to a head, as the word signifies, [...], in Christ who is the [Page] Head of the body; and at the [...] day [...] he will gather them all [...] that they shall be free from [...] Mat. 25. 31, 32, 33, &c.

5. Shepherds are to heal their sh [...]ep, Ezek. 34. 4. Christ is a healer.

First, by his promises; they are oyle.

Secondly, By his threatnings.

Thirdly, by Church-censures, Christs physick; that's wine, Luke 10. 34.

Secondly, Why Christ is called That great Shepherd? This I told you, was a discriminating note to put a difference between him and all other shepherds; both those that went before him, and those that should succeed him to the end of the world. There is a vast difference be­tween Christ and other shepherds. It stands in the eight following particulars.

1. In regard of the dignity of his person a­bove others. All other shepherds were onely men, Prophets, Apostles, Evangelists, Pastours and Teachers; the best of them were but men. Though many of them had gifts and abilities extraordinary, yet they were but men; but this Shepherd is both God and Man. He is the Sonne of God, as well as the Sonne of Adam. Never was there any shepherd in the Church before him; never shall any arise after him, of whom it can be said, this Shepherd is equal with God. This is said of Christ by the Father him­self, Zech. 13. 7. Awake O sword, against the man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of Hosts, smite the shepherd. No shepherd beside this, had the honour to be by onenesse and i­dentity of nature, the fellow and companion of God.

[Page] [...] the great Shepherd, in regard of the gr [...]at [...] [...]e hath. Other shepherds, al­though they had many of them singular abili­ties, both for feeding and ruling; yet in re­spect of the abilities of Christ, they were but small. Other shepherds, though they were rich­ly furnished, yet they had not any of them all kindes of gifts. God scattered his gifts and graces amongst them, in some of one sort, in others of another sort, to maintain unity amongst them. See what the Apostle saith to this pur­pose, 1 Cor. 12. 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. Some of them did excel chiefly in one thing, some in another; and then none of them had any other then a stinted and measured portion either of gifts or grace; so the Apostle tells us, Rom. 12. 3, 4, 6. those that had the miraculous gift of healing could not heal that way when they pleased; Tro­phimus have I left at Milesum sick, 2 Tim. 4. 20. Paul would not have left him sick, if he could have cured him miraculously. But now this great Shepherd [...]ath [...]ll k [...]nds of abilities; he is as good at one part of the Pastoral work as at another; the gifts which were scattered amongst the other shepherds, do all meet in this Shep­herd: he is as good at feeding as at ruling, and as good at ruling as at feeding. To one shep­herd is given the Word of wisdome, to another the word of knowledge, &c. 1 Cor. 1 [...]. [...]. but now all these are equally given to Christ: he is as ex­act in the word of wisdome, as in the word of knowledge: he can performe equally, exactly the work of the Pastour, and of the Teacher. And then as he hath all kinde of abilities, so he hath an unlimited fulnesse of all, for John 3 34. God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him. [Page] He hath not onely the fulnesse [...] but of the fountaine; the fulnesse [...] head dwelling bodily in him. And then [...] all the abilities of other shepherds are [...] themselves, but from him; but the abilities of Christ are from himselfe. The Divinity hath filled the humanity with all those gifts which it hath received for the work of a Media­tour.

3. He is the great Shepherd in regard of his propriety in the sheep. Jesus Christ is not onely the Shepherd of the sheep, but the owner of the sheep also. He often calls them his sheep, Joh. 10. He is the possessor of the sheep, as well as the feeder of the sheep. Other Shepherds are onely shepherds, not proprietors. They are forbidden to carry themselves as Lords over the sheep, [...] Pet. 5. 3. The sheep are said to be theirs onely in a Ministerial way, as the care and charge of them is committed to them; but they are Christs in an hereditary way: the Fa­ther hath given them to him, John 17. 6. He hath by his own blood purchased them, Acts 28. 20. and they have voluntarily dedicated themselves to him for a possession; they have by the Baptisme dedicated themselves to Christ. Other shepherds are onely servants, but Christ is the Lord of the flock. This is that which the Apostle mentions, as the difference between Christ and Moses, Heb. 3. 5, 6. Moses was faith­ful in all his house as a servant, but Christ as a Sonne over his own house. 'Tis the horrible pride of that man of sin, that he dares to call himself the head of the Church, because this title is onely proper to Christ.

4. Other shepherds are sheep as well as shepherds. [Page] [...], Apostles, Evangelists, and all the [...] which succeed them, are sheep as well as, shepherds. They are shepherds Ministerially in regard of the Church; but they are sheep Really in regard of Christ. They have as much need of feeding, watering, and governing as a­ny of the sheep have; by the same Ordinances by which they feed others, are they themselves fed; by their preaching and praying, they in­struct, encourage, and comfort themselves as well as others. But now Jesus Christ is onely a shepherd; he feeds others, but hath no need of being fed himselfe. He teacheth others, but he himselfe hath no need of being taught. Preaching, Prayer, Sacraments, all other Ordi­nances, are as useful for other shepherds, as they are for the sheep; but they are not at all useful or necessary to Christ. When he was on earth, he made use of them, to shew his o­bedience to the Law, to teach others their du­ty, to sanctifie them to others that should make use of them; he wanted them not then. He stood in need of nothing for which the Or­dinances were appointed; much lesse doth he stand in need of them now: but all other shep­herds did stand in as absolute need of the Ordi­nances as the sheep did.

5. Christ is the great Shepherd in regard of his Dominion over all other shepherds. He is as tru­ly the Lord of the shepherds, as of the sheep. He is the Master of all the Shepherds which e­ver were in the Church, or which shall be in the Church, to the end of the world, Eccles. 12. 11.

(1) They received their Authority from him, He made them shepherds of the flock, Eph. [...]. 11. [Page] He hath set them over his [...] [...] ­vested them with all the power they hav [...] [...] that do not come into Pastoral office; and au­thority by him, they are not shepherds, but theeves, John 10. 1, 2.

(2) They are to act, and administer all they do as shepherds, in his Name, and in his Name onely. All acts of feeding, all acts of ruling are to be done in the Name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul excommunicated the incestuous person, he did it in this Name, 1 Corinth. 5. 4, 5. In the Name of our Lord Jesus, (saith he) and by the power of our Lord Jesus deliver such a one unto Satan. All Church acts of Government are to be done by the Shepherds of the Church in Christs Name, and by power derived from Christ. And then

(3) They are to be accountable to him for all their misdoings. He will judge them for all their miscarriages, either towards one another, or towards the flock.

6. Christ is the great Shepherd in regard of the successe he can give to what he doth. Other shep­herds may lead the sheep to the pastures, or drive them to the waters, but they cannot make either successeful to the sheep. They can­not give digestion, concoction, growth, 1 Cor. 3. 7. But now this great Shepherd is able to do all this: he can give the sheep an appetite to eat and drink, and he can by his blessing, make their eating and drinking successeful. He can make the sheep strong, and lusty, and vigo­ [...]ous. He can exercise discipline, and give them an heart to submit to it, and to be bettered by it: He can lay a plaister to their wounds, and when he hath done so, can say, the [Page 274] wound shall be healed. He can call them from their wandrings, and speak so effectually, that they shall returne and wander no more.

7. He is the great Shepherd in regard of the great jurisdiction he hath over the sheep. All o­ther shepherds that ever were or shall be, have but a limitted power, they cannot do what they will; they cannot make any rules for the or­dering of the flock; nor can they teach any doctrines to the flock, but what Christ hath taught, 1 Cor. 11. 23. But now Jesus Christ the great Shepherd hath a boundlesse, illimited Au­thority. He can do what he pleases with the sheep; he can, he hath made what Lawes pleased himself for the ordering of the sheep. He can cut, launce, wound, put them in­to fat pastures, into barren pastures, as he pleases. His Dominion is absolute over them.

8. He is the great Shepherd in regard of the latitude and extent of his jurisdiction. Other shepherds are shepherds over particular flocks; but Christ is the universal Shepherd, the whole Catholick Church is his flock; he is the uni­versal Shepherd of the Church. That which the Pope [...]alsly and treasonably challengeth to himself to be the Universal Bishop▪ is most tru­ly [...]ffi [...]med of Christ. The Apostles were shep­herds to the universal Church where they came, but it was onely to the Church that was in their generation, but Jesus Christ hath been, and still is th [...] Universal Shepherd in all generations. He was t [...]e Shepherd of the Church in the Prophets time, he was the Shepherd in the Apostles days, and he will be Shepherd to the e [...]d of the world. This the Psalmist foretels by way of Prophecy, Psal. 72. 8. His dominion shall [Page 275] be from sea to sea, and from the [...] of the earth. Ever since the Church wa [...] C [...]rist was Shepherd; and while God hath [...] in the world, Jesus Christ will continue to be the great Shepherd thereof, Eccles. 12. 11.

The Uses concern both the inferior shepherds, and the whole flock of sheep.

First, Concerning the shepherds. Here are five duties.

1. This may teach them to act for Christ. It becomes all the Ministers whom Christ hath made shepherds, to consider that Christ is the great Shepherd. They are but ministerial, in­ferior, subordinate sh [...]pherds; therefore what­ever their parts be, whatever interest they have in the hearts of the sheep, they are still to re­member that Christ is the great Shepherd, and that it is their duty to lay out all their abili­ties and interest, in gathering together the sheep unto Christ. This is the character of a true shepherd, in all his actings to serve the great Shepherd who [...]e servant he is. John Bap­tist is an eminent patterne for this; he did not serve himselfe but Christ, and therefore was contented to be diminished, to be nothing, so that Christ the great Shepherd might be exalt­ed. See that famous Text, John 3. 26, 27, 28, 29, 30. He humbles himself to the dust, that by his fal­ling Christ might rise.

2. This may tea [...]h them, not to Lord it over the sheep. Ministers though they be shepherds in respect of the sheep, yet they are but sheep in respect of Christ. This Caution the Apostle gives them upon this very account, in 1 Pet. 5. [Page 276] init. The great Shepherd may do what he will, but the inferior shepherd must not do what he will, but what Christ will, 2 Cor. 4. 5.

3. This may encourage them in hoping for re­ward from Christ. The great Shepherd doth take an account of the diligence and faithful­nesse of inferior shepherds: and if they be faith­ful in their work; whatever their successe be, the great Shepherd will abundantly reward them. He that hath called himself the great Shepherd, knows what belongs to the work of a shepherd, and therefore he will consider him according to his work. This the Apostle tells the shepherds, 1 Pet. 5. 1, 2, 3▪ 4.

4. This should teach them to go to this great shepherd, both for Pastoral Abilities and for successe. As they should learn to carry themselves in the managing of their Pastoral work by Christs ex­ample the great Shepherd, to be diligent, pain­ful, watchful, affectionate as he was; so they should, when they want strength, wisdome, encouragement, go to him. The great Shep­herd who hath set them on work, will both strengthen them in the work, and blesse them with successe, though not so much as they de­sire, yet with so much as shall make them cheer­fully go on with their work.

5. To learn of Christ, meeknesse, patience, painfulnesse, faithfulnesse, forbearance, love to some, bearing with infirmities. Zeale to preach with authority, impartiality, courage, self-dis­regarding.

Secondly, concerning the sheep. Here is both Instruction and Consolation.

I. Instruction; they may learne three lessons from hence.

[Page 277] 1. Be ruled and governed by Christ. It [...] shepherds work to governe as well as to [...], [...] signifies both to feed and to rule. The sheep is to follow the shepherd; Those that are Christs sheep in truth, do follow him, John 10. 4. They follow him without disputing, they follow him without murmuring, they fol­low him universally. It doth not become a sheep of Christ to refuse the Shepherds conduct. The Shepherd is wiser then the sheep; they will erre if they follow their own counsel, they cannot wander if they follow Christ. The sheep are safe while they follow Christ, he never led any of his sheep into dangerous places. When you heare the voice of the great Shepherd, be sure to yield obedience. We are to obey the voice of subordinate shepherds, yet no farther then they teach Christs commands; but the voice of the great Sheperd is to be obeyed in all things. Let me adde but this one word to per­swade you to it; Jesus Christ will not be a feeding Shepherd, where he may not be admit­ted to be a ruling Shepherd; the discipline of Christ is an act of mercy to the sheep, as well as his feeding.

2. Create no other shepherds then what Christ sets over you. Christ is therefore called the great Shepherd, because he appoints other shepherds under him to feed the flock. 'Tis the duty of Christs sheep to adhere to these shep­herds, and to reject all others though they come in Christs Name. This hath been the pra­ctise of Christs sheep heretofore, John 10 5, 8. The sheep did not heare him. So Cant. 1. 7. Why should I be as one that turneth aside by the flocks of thy companions? Who are those companions [Page 278] of Christ? false shepherds who come in Christs Name, pretending themselves to be the compani­ons of Christ, when indeed they are nothing lesse. 'Tis the casting off (as much as lieth in us) the Authority of the great Shepherd, to make to our selves, or to follow an [...] [...]ther shepherds then what Christ sends. But how shall we know such shepherds as are sent of Christ?

First, If they preach Christs Doctrine, and that onely. He that preacheth that Doctrine that Christ never taught, is no shepherd sent of Christ.

Secondly, [...]f [...] b [...] according to Christs life. He that live [...] to the life of Christ, is not really to be look [...] [...]on as a shepherd of Christ.

Thirdly, If he enter in according to Christs Rule. He that entreth not in by the doore into the sheep-fold, but climb [...]th up some other wa [...], the same i [...] a thief and a [...]obber. They are our Sa­viours own words, John 10 1. 2. We reade in Scripture but of two wayes of sending shepherds by Christ; the one was by immediate commis­sion, as Prophets, Apostl [...]s, Evangelists were sent. This kinde of Mission was ever ac­companied with extraordinary gifts, either of miracles, or foretellin [...] things to come; who­soever will plead this call, must shew it by extraordinary qualifications. The other ac­cording to eslablished Gospel Rule from Christ, by the Ministery of the Church, viz. by Ordination thorough the imposition of the hands [...] Presbyters, of which we read [...], Tit 1. [...] 1 Tim. 5. 22. 1 Tim. 4. 14. Acts 13. init. Acts 14. 23. I shall say but [Page 279] this one thing to set this duty upo [...] [...] Christs blessing cannot be expected to [...] long with those shepherds which he never cre­ated, Ierem. 23. 32. They shall not profit this people at all. 'Tis spiritual theevery for any man to make himself a shepherd af­ter his own fancy, and to heare such, is to be accessory to this spiritual theft, John 10 8.

3. In all things carry your selves as the sheep of this Shepherd.

First, Heare his voice. John 10. 3.

Secondly, Love his pastures. Rejoyce in, and be thankful for that way of feeding, which he hath established in his Church. Christ could have appointed a more exter­nally glorious way of feeding his sheep: but this plaine way of feeding is most for his glory, best for your good. The Ministe­ry of men best suites with the feeding of men.

Thirdly, Bring forth fruit to him. Who feedeth a flock and ea [...]e [...]h not of the milk of the flock, 1 Corinth. 9. [...]? Do Christ what ser­vice you are able. This Shepherd hath bought you with his blood, and he seeds you with his blood: so great a shepherd should have great in­crease of his sheep.

Fourthly, Know him. 'Tis the honour of Christs sheep that they are known of him, and it is their property, that they know him, Iohn 10. 14. You must not onely know him in his natures, offices, &c. but you must acknowledg him. When he is reviled, reproached, op­posed, yet then must the sheep acknowledge him. When it's death to own him, yet then [Page 280] [...] you [...]dly, openly acknowledge him. He that will not acknowledge the great Shep­herd here, shall not be acknowledged by him as a sheep hereafter.

Fifthly, reject not those shepherds which he sends, 1 Iohn 4 6. Luke 10. 16.

II. For Consolation. This Title of Christ the great Shepherd, is very comfortable for every sheep.

1. That he will provide subordinate shepherds. Though Christ be the great Shepherd, yet the Church wants subordinate shepherds. He feeds the sheep not immediately, but by the Ministe­ry of inferior shepherds. Now he that gave them will preserve them. He will continue them, he will encrease their gifts, he will blesse them with successe. For your good he hath given them, for your good he will uphold them; one­ly you must by prayer importune him so to do. The earnest prayer of the sheep to the great Shepherd, will procure a blessing upon the endeavour of the subordinate shepherds.

2. In case of your present weaknesses. Christ is a healing Shepherd. You are weak, infirme, ready to miscarry. Well, know this for your Comfort, that Christ the great Shepherd will heale your wounds, will consider your infirmi­ties. No sheep are more carefully tendred by the shepherd then the weak and wounded sheep, Esay 40. 11. He shall gather the lambs with his ar [...]e, and carry them in his bosome, and shall gent­ly lead them that are with young. And then

3. In case of wandrings and straglings. You are ready to runne from the fold; you wander thorough your ignorance and blindenesse. Well, the great Shepherd will gather you with his Arm; [Page] his Arme is very long, he [...]an [...] ever the shepherd wil do for [...] will do for you. But I am unworthy, [...] that made you sheep when you were [...] will not suffer you to want any thing that is needful for sheep. Though you be unworthy to be used like sheep, yet Christ is so faithful, that he will fulfil towards you all the duties of a good Shepherd. He is a good Shepherd, as well as a great Shepherd, Iohn 10. 11.

JOHN 15. 5.I am the Vine, ye are the branches. XIV. SERM at Mary Wolnoth. L [...] Octob. 1 [...]. 1652.

OUr Saviour in this Chapter treats [...]hiefly of three things.

1. Here is an exhortation to his Disciples, that they would continue constant in that faith, into which they were implant­ed. This is from verse 1. to verse 8.

2. An exhortation given them to abound in good works, especially in that duty of mutual love one to another; this is from vers. 8. to vers 18.

3. Encouraging arguments against the feare of persecut [...]n, and the hatred of the world; this is from ver. 18. to the end of the Chapter. His exhortation [...]o constancy and perseverance in the faith, is pressed by the parable of the Vine and Branches. As the Branches when they are planted into the Vine, do continue in it, so those that were by faith, and the Do­ctrine of the Gospel plan [...]ed into Christ, ought to continue in him and bring forth fruits. The uttering of this parable, is thought by Piscator, [Page] to be occasioned upon the [...] by our Saviour and his Discip [...] [...] thorow the City. It was [...] from the beholding of [...] teach spiritual Doctrines. From the woman of Samaria's coming to Iacobs Well to dr [...]w wa [...]r, our Saviour takes occasion to speak f [...]lly of the water of life, Iohn 4. 7, 10. From the Disciple [...] intreating of him to eat meat, he takes occa­sion to preach of his zeale in promoting his Fathers work, Iohn 4. 32, 34. From the Peoples flocking about him for material bread, he takes occasion to speak of the bread of life, Iohn 6. 27. And here from the sight of a vine, as he went up and down in Ierusalem, he takes occasion of preaching himself to be the true Vine. That this Sermon was preached as he walked in the City, may (saith Pisc [...]tor) probably be gather­ed from ver. 1. Chap. 18. Where it is said, that when he had spoken these words, he went forth with his Disciples over the brook Kedron; This going forth (saith he) cannot be under­stood of his going forth of the house (for chap. 14. ver. last, he went out of that before) but of his going forth out of the City, where he had preached this Sermon as he walked up and down. It is not much material where this Sermon was preached, though it is more like­ly, that it was preached in some house, then in the streets of the City; especially if that be true which some conjecture, that that prayer, Chap. 17. which belongs to this story, was prayed at the institution of the Supper, it is not (I say) much material. 'Tis Christs Do­ctrine where-ever it was preached. In the words of the Text we have two things.

[Page 284] 1. A de [...]enption of Christ in relation to belee­vers. I [...] th [...] Vine.

2. A dese [...]ption of beleevers in relation to Christ. Ye are the Branches.

By Vine we are to understand not the vine­yard or place planted with vines (though the Greek word here used, as Calvin notes, doth sometimes signifie a vineyard,) but we are to understand it of the vine, or plant it self; especially of the root of the vine into which the branches are ingraffed.

By Branches we are to understand those slips which are by him that keeps the vineyard in­graffed into the stock of the Vine. The words afford a double point.

  • 1. That Christ is a Vine.
  • 2. That beleevers are Branches of this Vine.

Doct. 1. That Jesus Christ is a Vine. We are not to understand it in a proper sense, (for Christ, to speak properly is neither vine, nor door, nor rock, &c. but the eternal Sonne of God, who is both God and man in one person.) but we are to understand it in a Metaphorical sense; he is so called by way of resemblance: there is a very great similitude between Christ and the vine. Twice expressely doth our Savior in this case call himself a Vine, v. 1. I am the true Vine. and v. 5. I am the Vine, and many times covertly in those expressions of abiding in him, to which he exhorts his hearers.

For the opening of this Metaphor, I shall shew three things.

  • [Page]1. In respect of which, [...] called a Vine.
  • 2. Wherein the resembl [...]nce [...] what respects Christ is so [...] Why he is [...] [...]led so?
  • 3. The excellency of Christ above all o­ther vines.

1. For the first. Christ is compared to a Vine in respect of both natures. Although some re­semblances do relate more chiefly to the Di­vine Nature, and some more chiefly to the hu­mane; yet the general is to be understood in respect of both natures. Christ is a Vine in respect of the whole person, as he is Mediatour, God and Man. It will be made evident by this Argument. Christ is a Vine in that respect and latitude, in which Beleevers are Branches ingraffed into him. Now the union between Christ and beleevers is not between them and the humanity of Christ onely, nor between them and the Divinity onely, but between them and the whole person: Not onely is the soule of a beleever united to the soul of Christ, nor the flesh of a beleever to the flesh of Christ; but the whole person of every beleever is united to the whole person of Christ. This is the first particular.

2. In what respects in Christ a Vine? In four respects.

1. In regard of the meannesse of his outward condition. The Vine is not like the Cedar for height, nor is it comparable to the Oak for strength, 'tis but meane to the outward view. Jesus Christ when he came into the world, did not come with any great outward pomp and glory. There was indeed a star at his birth, [Page 286] that [...]ught the wise men from the East to worship him, but for his outward condition generally it was very meane: he was born in a stable, laid in the manger; he was born of a mean Virgin, and his life was but mean here on earth. His Kingdome is not administred with that outward state and splendor that earthly Kingdomes are. Jesus Christ did decline all outward glory and greatnesse. See what the Prophe [...] foret [...]ls concerning him, Esay 53. 2. He shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root [...]t of a dry ground, &c. The reason of this is that which he himselfe gives to Pilate, John 18. 36. His Kingdome was not of this world. He came not to be Ministred unto, but to Minister, Mat. 20. 28 He came to make others great, but to make himself little; to fill others, but to empty himself, Phil. 2. 7. He came in the forme of a servant to be trampled upon, to be reviled, disgraced, and at last cruci­fied. External pomp was not sutable to such a de [...]igne. This is our first res [...]m­blance.

2. In regard of his fruitfulnesse. The Vine is a fruit [...]l plant. Though [...]t hath little pomp, yet it [...] much plenty. The fruitfulnesse of it ap­pears three wayes.

1. It brings forth pleasant fruit. No plant [...]ields more delightful fruit then the Vine; the grape i [...] delightful; the wine is a very pleasant thing: and what is that but the blood of the grape, D [...]ut. 32. 1 [...]?

2. It yields pr [...]fitable fruit. The blood of the grape, if it be moderately and seasonably taken, doth warme the heart and chear the spi­rits. It doth as the Scripture speaks, make glad [Page 287] the heart of man, Psal. 104. 15. [...] repa [...]rer of natures detays. [...]ts both food and Physick.

3. It yields great plenty of frui [...]. Other [...] bring forth single fruit, they bring forth by one and one. But the Vine bring [...] forth cluster [...]. There are sometimes hundreds of berries in one cluster, and many of those clusters upon one Branch. The Scripture useth the Vine to set out plenty of increase. Thy wife shall be as the fruitful Vine upon the walls of thy house, Psalme 128. 3. So Hos. 14. 7. Jesus Christ may well be compared to the Vine for fruitfulnesse, in all these respects.

1. He brings forth pleasant fruit. All the fruits that grow upon Christ are very pleasant, Cant. 2. [...]. I sate down under his shadow (saith the Church) with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste. All the trees of Paradise did not afford such pleasant fruit as grows on this Vine. Consider what the fruits of this Vine are, and it will be granted that they are pleasant. I will name some of the fruits of this Vine. I shall present you with four clusters by which you may judge of the rest.

First, the fruits of his death. There are many particulars in this cluster, I name but six.

1. The satisfaction of Divine Justice. The appeasing of Gods anger towards the Elect, Esay 53. 6. Christ by his death did as perfectly satisfie the demands of justice as though God had never been offended, he made full pay­ment.

2. The reconciliation of beleevers to God. He hath not onely paid what justice required, but [Page 288] he hath perfectly made agreement between God and the sin [...]er; that now thorough, Christ God is as well appeased, and is become as per­fect a friend to the beleever as he was to Adam i [...] Paradise. God hath not in his heart the least gr [...]dge towards his person. Of this the Apostle speaks, Eph. 2. 14, 15. and Col. 1. 21, 22.

3. The working out of a compleat righteousness for the sinner. Such a righteousnesse as that the sinner may with a holy boldnesse chalenge the Law of God to finde fault with it. Of this the Apostle speaks, Rom. 5. 17, 18, 19. This is called in divers respects righteousnesse of God, Rom. 1. 17. The righteousnesse of faith, Phil. 3. 9. Rom. 4. 13. The righteousnesse of Christ, Rom. 5. 18.

4. The destroying of him that had the power of death. Of this you may [...]eade, Col. 2. 15. and Heb. 2. 14. Sa [...]ans supremacy over the soule is abolished, and the captived soul made the Lords freeman.

5. The sweetning and per [...]uming of the grave, and the freedome of the sinner from the fear of death. This fruit is mentioned by the Apostle, Heb. 2. 15.

6. The killing of the power of sinne. Christ by dying for sinne slew sinne, so as that it can never damne any of the Elect. Of this you m [...]y read, Rom. 6. 4, 6.

Secondly, the [...]ruits of his resurrection. These are many; I shall set a few before you; these foure.

1. Spiritual vivifi [...]ntion. The soule of a be­leever is raised up and empowred to walk in [...]nesse of life. This the Apostle applieth [Page] principally to the resu [...] [...] 2. 12, 13. You being de [...] i [...] [...] He [...]ath quick [...]ed together [...]

2. An assured evidence [...] from sinne. This the Apostle [...] resurrection of Christ, Rom. 4. 25. He was [...] again for our justification. The resurrection of Christ from the grave is a full proof that all the debt is paid; the discharge of the prisoner is a cleare testimony of the discharge of the debt. The Prophet puts them together, Esay 53. 8. He was taken from prison and from judge­ment. And hence the Apostle argues against those that deny the Resurrection, 1 Cor. 15. 17. If Christ be not raised, we are yet in our sinnes.

3. An Argument of the resurrection of our bodies at the last day. If the Head be raised, the body shall not lie for ever in the grave; the Resurrection of Christ is a pledge of ours, as the first fruits were unto the Jewes a pledge of the ensuing harvest. The Apostle alludes to that, 1 Cor. 15. 20. And therefore the A­postle saith, that Beleevers are raised up together with Christ, Ephes. 2. 6. They did rise in their representative when Christ was rais­ed.

4. The Confirmation of our hope of heaven. This fruit of Christs Resurrection the Apostle sets down, 1 Pet. 1. 3. We are begotten againe to a lively hope, by the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. The Doctrine of Christs Re­surrection is the nourishment of the grace of Hope.

Thirdly, The fruits of his Ascension. This is a very rich cluster. I shall name a few, these five.

[Page 290] 1. Leading captivity captive. The Apostle mentions this, Eph. 4. 8. By [...]eturning to he [...] ­ven from whence he came, he did publickly [...]ar [...]y his spoile with him, he did declare that [...]ll the enemies of our salvation were perfect­ly brought under. As great Conquerours, when they have subdued their enemies, do lead cap­tive those whom they have overcome; so Christ the great Captaine of our salvation, did by his Ascension let his people see that their spi­ritual enemies were all eternally vanquish­ed.

2. The conferring of M [...]nisterial gifts, yea of the office of Ministery on his Church. Of this the Apostle speaks, Eph. 4 8. The Ministery of the Church is a fruit of Christs Ascension. And tis as possible to pull him out of Heaven, as to destroy that which he so solemnly settled at his Ascension.

3. The more ple [...]tiful effusion of his Spirit upon his Church. Of this fruit of his Ascension our Saviour speaks, John 16 7. If I go not away, the Comforter will not come; but if I go away, I will send him. Christ when he departed, powred forth his Spirit in greater plenty then ever it was before, to supply the want of his bodily pre­sence. And then

4. Preparations of Mansions for his members. This fruit is mentioned, John 14. 3. As a man when he hath espoused a wife, provides a house for her abode against the day of mar­riage: so Christ having espoused the Church, goes to heaven before-hand to make all things ready for their entertainment against the mar­riage day.

5. An assured evidence of their corporal As [...]en­sion. [Page] Christ ascended and [...] as the fore-runner of his Chur [...]; [...] The Apostle tells us that Christ [...] [...]. Not onely for ou [...] [...] our stead to give us an undoubted [...] that we [...] also shall personally entertaine▪ the ascension of the head, is the praeludium of the glorification of the members.

Fourthly, The fruits of his Intercession. These are very many. I shall name these four.

1. Assurance of the Application of all his be­nefits. Whatsoever Christ purchased by his death, [...]e doth actually apply to the Elect by his intercession. The Prophet puts them toge­ther, Esay 53. ult. This is one fruit of Christs intercession; beleevers are sure to be put into full possession of all that which Christ hath merited for them by his blood-shed. This some make to be the meaning of that Scrip­ture, John 14 3. They refer it to his intercession. Christ by his satisfaction obtained for the E­lect a right to heaven, and by his intercession he doth actually apply it to them.

2. The superseding and stopping of all Accusati­ons made against them. The Law accuseth, Satan pleads the Law against beleevers, and hence accuseth them. Christ is interceding con­tinually at Gods right hand to invalidate all these accusations; There can no sooner come in any complaint, but Christ throws it out. Of this fruit of his intercession the Apostle speaks, Rom. 8. 33, 34.

3. Manuduction into the presence of the Fa­ther with boldnesse. Christ is at Gods right hand for this very purpose, that when ever a beleever hath any request to pre [...]er to God, [Page 292] he may take them by the hand and bring the [...] to the Father with confidence. This fruit of his inter [...]ession is set down by the Apostle, Heb. 4. 14. 16.

4. Assurance of the acceptance of our weakest services. This fruit of his intercession is menti­oned, Rev. 8. 3, 4. The ascending of the in­cense out of the Angels hand, before God notes the complacency that God takes through Christ in the obedience of his Saints. Put these together and see whether Christ do not bring forth pleasant fruit. All the Vineyards in the world cannot shew such grapes for pleasantnesse as these are.

2. He brings forth profitable fruit. The wine that comes out of this Vine, doth chear, and refresh and strengthen, and make glad, and that not the outward man, but the soule and conscience also, which no other wine can do. If I should go over all these fruits againe, and shew you the advantage which beleevers have by them, you would then say they were profitable fruits. Healing fruits and strengthning fruits, and quickning fruits. They remove all fears, they bring in all joy, &c.

3. He brings forth plenty of fruit. I have named many, but I have named but a few in respect of what I might name. All the gra­ces of his Spirit are the fruits which he brings forth, saith, love, meeknesse, perseverance, &c. All the promises are his fruits; eternity will be too short to measure all the fruits which grow on this Vine. This is the second resem­blance.

3. In regard of the shadow which he casts over the Church. The Vine is a shadowy plant, it [Page] is in regard of the [...] fittest of any plant for s [...]adowing. [...] Arbors of the vine. Micah 4. 4. [...] shadow to his Church. The Scripture calls hi [...] a shadow, Esay 32. 2. A hiding place from the winde, a covert form the tempest, the shadow of a great rock in a weary land; the words are spo­ken of Christ, as is clear from the first verse, Behold a King shall reigne in righteousnesse: he who is there called a King, is afterwards cal­led a shadow; I sate under (Cant 2. 3.) his shadow: so Jesus Christ is called the Churches onely shadow.

1. He is a shadow to defend them from his Fa­thers wrath. God is in himself a consuming fire. So the Apostle, Heb. 12. 29. His anger is de­clared against all the sinnes of men. He can as well cease to be, as cease to be displeased against sinne in whomsoever it is. Now Jesus is the Beleevers shadow to preserve him from being burnt by his wrath. Yea, Christ hath by sa­tisfying his Fathers Justice for sinne, quenched this wrath as to beleevers; and this satisfa­ction is such a thick shadow, that whensoever the beleever retreats to it, and sits under it, the wrath of God cannot reach him to hurt him, the Screen of Christs perfect satisfaction doth continually stand between God and the belee­ver to preserve him from the fury of Divine an­ger. The wrath of God must kindle upon Christ before it can kindle upon the beleever; and up­on Christ it cannot kindle. He hath once born the wrath of God, and by bearing it hath for ever quenched it. Since Christ hath made him­selfe a sacrifice for sinne once, God hath many wayes declared that he is well pleased with him. [Page 294] Abide under his shadowy vine, ye that are be­leevers, the wrath of God cannot come nee [...]e you.

2. He is a shadow to defend them from the de­ [...]is [...] rage. Satan is full of rage against the god­ly. They have broke out of his prison, they have renounced his service, they have proclaim­ed perpetual war against him and his kingdom, they have by the grace of conversion blotted his Name out of their hearts, this fills him with rage against them. He is continually way-laying them, he is daily fighting with them, he never ceaseth to tempt them, that he may destroy them 1 Pet. 5. 8. Jesus Christ is a shadow to preserve his Church from the fury of this destroyer. By his death he hath bro­ken his head, Col. 2. 15. By his intercession he doth safegard his from all the attempts he makes upon them, Luke 22. 31, 32. The devil must o­vercome Christ, he must pluck off all the leaves of this Vine, before he can devoure the soule of a beleever. Retreat to Christ by faith when Satan hunts you, and continue here, and you may laugh at Satan and all his as­saults.

3. He is a shadow to defend them from the fu­ry of men. The world is a bitter enemy to the servants of Christ. They cannot walk after the fashion of the world, they cannot but reprove the wickednesse of the world, both by their lives and by their speeches too as they have occasion. This makes the men of the world madde against them; you may see this both in the Old and in the New Testament. In the Old Testament, Gen. 19. 9. they were ready to tear Lot in pieces, because he reproved their filthy [Page] wickednesse. In the New Testamen [...] [...] 4. because the godly cannot drink of [...] [...] ­ters they do, therefore do they [...] Jesus Christ is a shadow to preserve them from the worlds fury. He did by his death obtaine victory, as well over the world as over the de­vil, John 16. 33. and he doth shadow his Church in the world from the rage of the world. Some particular members of his Church are perhaps overcome by the world, but the body of the Church can never be overcome; And for the particular persons or Churches that are ruined by them, their ruine tends to their own personal salvation, and to the pre­servation of the whole body; the blood of par­ticular persons or Churches is a sanctified seed which tends to the enlargement of the Church U­niversal.

4. In regard of the influen [...]ial Communications from him to the Branches. This is that which is especially meant in this place; beleevers are compared to the Branches, Christ to the Vine. As the Vine doth communicate sap and nou­rishment to the Branches, so doth Christ com­municate spiritual sap and nourishment to be­leevers. All the Churches springs are in Christ, Psal. 87. 7. Beleevers have nothing but what comes from him, Beleevers can do nothing that is good, but by assistance from him. He is the strength of their strength, the wisdome of their wisdome. God hath put all their stock and por­tion into his hands. They have their depen­dance on him, they have all their supply from him: This is that which is laid down ver. 5. of this Chapter, Without me, or severed from me ye can do nothing. Of this I shall speak more in the next Doctrine.

[Page 296] 3. The excellency of Christ above all other vines. He hath the preheminence in these seven respects.

1. Christ is a Vine immediately of Gods plant­ing. Other Vines are the plantations of men. 'Tis true, In the Creation God did by the Word of his power without the help of any creature, cause the Vine as he did all other plants to spring, Gen. 2. 4, 5. But since the crea­tion of man upon the earth, these plants are the work of his hands. We read of a vineyard planted by Noah after the flood, Gen. [...]9. 20. and we see that since, to this day, vines are still set by the hands of men. But Jesus Christ [...]s the meer plantation of God alone, God prepared him a body, Heb. 10. [...]. God appointed him for the work of Redemption. It could never have entred into the heart of man, nor into the un­derstanding of Angels to have planted the Son of God as a Vine, for the bearing and feeding of man-kind. This is that which our Saviour himself declares, v. 1. of this chapter. I am the true Vine, and my Father is the Husbandman. This order of grace, that Christ should be the head of life and salvation, that the Elect should be in­graffed into him and saved by him, is appointed and set by God alone. He is the author of this Divine husbandry; Men wonder at it, the Angels of heaven do to this very day admire it, and shall admire it to eternity; but God himself is the onely Inventor, and Author of it. It is a work of Gods doing; and it is, and will be, and ought to be marvellous in our eyes, Psal. 118. 23. Behold I [...]ay in Sion for a founda­tion, a stone, a tried stone, &c. Esay 28. 16. This foundation had never been laid, this [Page] Vine had never been pla [...] [...] selfe had not done [...] dry.

2. Christ is a Vine that doth [...] [...] ­rish. Other vines are not alwayes [...] depth of Winter, they have neither leaves no [...] fruit; when the vintage is over they are em­pty vines. But Christ is a Vine that i [...] conti­nually green; the vintage is never over with this Vine, he knows no [...] winter. Jesu [...] Christ yesterday, and to day, and the same for ever, Heb. 13. 8. He keeps his vigor and freshnesse from generation [...] to generation. Jesus Christ flou­rishes now as gloriously as ever he did since the first day he was planted, and he will be as green and lively to the end of the world as now he is. A few yeares put an end to the life of all other vines; they have their infancy, a time when they do not bear; and they have their full growth, a time when they are in their height; and they have their old age, a time when they are past fruit: but Christ knows no such changes; he did beare fruit the very first moment of his planting, and there will never be a time when he will cease bearing. It is alwayes vintage-time with Jesus Christ. Never did the eye of man see him empty, never shall eye see him withering. He is called a tree of life, Rev. 22. 12. because neither mortality nor old age shall ever betide him.

3. Christ is a Vine whose fruits never abate. Go to the fullest vine that ever grew upon the earth, and pluck off but one cluster, and there is a cluste [...] lesse; if you take away but one berry, there is a diminution. But Jesus Christ knows no abatement. All the Patriachs, all [Page 298] the Prophet [...], all the Apostles, the Sa [...]nts i [...] the Ol [...] Testament ever since Adam, the Saints in the New Testament to this day have been feeding upon him, and yet there is not one clust [...] lesse then there was at first. He hath not lost one berry since his first plantation. The reason is that which the Apostle mentions, Col. 2. 9. In him dwelleth all the fulnesse of the God-head bodily. Fulnesse is in Christ, all ful­nesse is in him, all fulnesse is in him bodily, [...], that is personally, not onely in re­gard of efficacy and assistance as in the Saints, but in regard of hypostatical and personal uni­on, and then all this fulnesse dwells in him, [...], dwells in him inseparably, dwells in him undecayingly. [...]ather never so much fruit from this Vine, and yet he still retains his fulnesse. We beheld his glory (saith the E­vangelist) full of grace and truth, John 1. 14. All the old Saints had been eating of him since Adam to that day, and yet he was still full of grace, and so he continues as full as if his fruit had never been touched with hands, nor tasted by any of his Elect.

4. Christ is a Vine of greater ext [...]tion then o­ther vines. Earthly vines are but of a small compasse. A few yards will measure both their length and breadth; but Christ is a Vine of great dimension, his Branches reach all the world over. He hath some Branches in all Nations under heaven, Rev. 7. 9. This Vine spreads it self into all the quarters of the world, Asia, and Europe, and Afric [...], and America; this Vine grows in all these parts of the world. The Uni­versal Church is the Vine-yard, this Church is dispersed thoroughout all Nations, and every [Page] member of this Church▪ is an [...] Vine.

5. Christ is such a Vine as [...] of his Branches. Other vines are often [...] their branches, even of those branches th [...] were truly ingraffed; every child can rob [...] of its branches. But this Vine can never lose a Branch: some branches there are that are seem­ingly ingraffed, they are ingraffed onely in re­gard of visible profession, these may be bro­ken off and burned, yea they shall be, ver. 6. of this Chapter. But for the Branches that are really implanted, they can never be taken a­way. All the strength of men and devils is not able to divide one Branch from the Vine. E­very Branch of the Vine doth tend to the my­stical perfection of the Vine; the Saints are the fulnesse of him that filleth all in all, Eph. 2. ult. He cannot lose one of them without empaiting himself. The devil hath been plucking and hew­ing, but he was never yet able to break off the weakest Branch.

6. Christ is a Vine whose fruit seeds the soule. Other vines they onely bring forth fruit for the body. The outward man is cheared and nou­rished by the grape, and by the liquor of the grape. But now Christ is a Vine whose fruits are for the soule. Wine for the conscience, for the soule, comes out of the fruit of this Vine. When the heart is cold by reason of inward fears, this Wine warmes it: when the heart is heated by reason of violent temptati­ons, this Wine will coole it; when the soule is ready to die, this Wine will revive it.

7. Christ is a Vine whose fruits never surfet. [Page 290] The fruit of all material vines, if it be taken immoderately, breeds distempers and sicknesses. Noah drunk of the Wine of his vine, yard and was drunk; Gen. 9. 21. many bereave themselves of their health and of their wits too, by the ex­cessive use of the fruit of the vine; we have too many examples of this. But the fruits of this mystical Vine have no surfetting quality. A man cannot take too much of them. Eat O friend drink yea drink abundantly O beloved, Cant. 5. 1. The sicknesse and the death of the soule ariseth not from the immoderate using, but from the refusing of the fruits of this Vine. [...]. 8. A Vine that never costs any of his fruits. He brings all his fruits to perfection.

The Uses of this Point.

1. This may help us to understand that speech of Christ, when he saith, This is my body, and my flesh is meat indeed, &c. John 6. 53, 54, 55. The Papists understand it in a proper sense, as if the bread were changed into the substance of his body, &c. They are angry with the Pro­testants because they will not beleeve it. Amongst many reasons which overthrow that fond inter­pretation; this and such like other figurative spee­ches may help us to understand that. Christ some­times calls himself the light, sometimes the door, and here the Vine; not as if he were substan­tially changed into these things, but to shew the spiritual resemblance which is between him and these corporal things. Why there should be a­ny more change of substance, when Christ saith, this is my body, then when Christ saith, I am the door, I am the Vine, I cannot see, but God hath upon the blinde Papists fulfilled that [Page] threatning, 2 Thes. [...] [...] ­dicially blinded their [...] antiscriptural opinions [...].

2. See the excellency; and [...] All these comparisons are but to convinc [...] [...] carnal soules of Christs transcendent excellency, Christ hath in a spiritual sense al the good proper­ties of the Vine, and of all the fruits of the Vine. He hath all the excellencies of Wine. I name foure.

(I.) Wine nourisheth. It helps digestion. Christ is a great nourisher, the soul would decay and dwindle to nothing, if Christ did not continually nourish it and feed it.

(2.) Wine is a comforter, Psal. 104. 15. Jesus Christ is the great comforter of the soul. When the soul droops and languisheth, when it's cast down and dejected, the love and presence of Christ doth chear it again, Ps. 21. 6. David con­fesseth it in Ps. 23. 3. He restoreth my soul. Jesus Christ is the souls restorer.

(3) Wine emboldneth. Being a spiritual creature it doth raise the spirits, and being moderately used, puts courage into the fearful. Jesus Christ doth embolden the soul His presence and his grace fills the soul with a holy courage; he that was fear­ful, dares now speak for God, and act for God; the very tydings of Christs coming expels feare from the hearts of his people, Esay 35. 3, 4. There is no true valour in the soul till Christ be there. All the souls confidence is built on Christ, and on Christ alone. We have no boldnesse in prayer, no boldnesse in approaching to God in any Or­dinance, but is communicated by, and from Jesus Christ, Heb. 10 19.

[Page] (4) Wine is healing. Some kind of wines are pre­fer bed for the healing inward of distempers, &c. The Samaritan poured oyle and wine; Luk. 10. 34. Christ is a great heales, he heales broken hearts and wounded spirits, and all inward distempers whatsoever. There is no health in the soul till Christ be there. Ʋnto you that fear my Name, shall the Sun of righteousnesse arise with healing in his wings, Mal. 4. 2. Christ is that tree of life whose leaves are for the healing of the Nations, Rev. 22. 2. Christ is an excellent and precious per­son. Never look upon the Vine, never see the fruit of the Vine, but meditate on Jesus Christ.

JOHN 15. 5.Ye are the branches. XV. SERM. at Mary Wol­noth. Lon. Octob. 24. 1652.

I Go on to the description of be­leevers in reference to Christ, as it is laid down in these words; Ye are the Branches. The Observation will be this, viz.

Doct. That all true Beleevers are spiritual Branches ingraffed into Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the royal Stock, and all Belee­vers are mystical Branches of this Stock. The Scripture asserts this priviledge in many places, Rom. 6. 5. If we have been planted together in the likenesse of his death, we shall be also in the likenesse of his Resurrection, [...]. Christ is there compared to the Root, and Beleevers to the Branches or Cions that grow in this Root. Erasmus therefore translates it very fitly, Insititii, ingraffed or implanted. The Apostle sets down this mystery under another apt similitude of the foundation-stone of a house, and the super­structory stones, Eph. 2. 20, 21. Christ is com­pared to the foundation, and the Beleevers to stones built upon that foundation. Ye are built [Page 304] upon the foundation of the Prophets and Apostles, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone, in [...] the whole building fitly framed together [...] [...]nto [...] holy T [...]mple in the Lord. There are [...] wayes of being Branches of Christ. The one is by external profession onely. In this respect, all that are members of the visible Church are Branches of Christ. Thus the A­postle saith, that all the Gentiles when they were called into the Church by the preaching of the Gospel, were graffed into Christ, Rom. 11. 17. the Metaphor is often used in that Chapter. This is not that ingraffing which I shall now handle. For though it be an honour and priviledge to be a branch of Christ in this general way, yet is it not a saving priviledge. A man may be a Branch of Christ in this respect, and yet at last be cut off and burned. So our Saviour saith in the verse after the Text. The other way of being graffed or made a Branch of Christ, is by the grace of union. Thus all true Beleevers, and onely true Beleevers are made Branches. This is that which the Apostle elsewhere calls being members of Christ, Eph. 5. 30. and dwelling in Christ, John 6. 56. and put­ting on Christ, Gal. 3. 27. That they are made Branches of Christ, besides these testimonies of Scripture, it will appeare from the Sacra­ments, both of Baptisme and the Supper. This is the plaine language of both the Sacra­ments.

1. Baptisme speaks it. 'Tis the seal and signe of this ingraffing. This is clear from two texts before cited; the one, Rom. 6. 5. If we have been planted together into the likenesse of his death, How is that? see verse before. We are buried [Page 305] with him by Baptisme unto death. The other i [...], Gal. 3. 27. As many of you as have been Baptized into Christ, have put on Christ. Nor as if all bap­tized persons were really made Branches, but because this is sealed in Baptisme as the privi­ledge of all Beleevers. They are as certainly made Branches of Christ invisibly and mysti­cally, as all that are baptized are made members of the Church visibly and exter­nally.

2. The Supper of the Lord doth also speak it. Our eating and drinking of Christ Sacramen­tally is a seat and pledge of our being ingraffed into him spiritually. This is cleare from that Text I cited before, John 6. 56. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. We are therefore nourished by his flesh and blood, because we are united to his body. In the handling of this Doctrine two things are to be opened by way of Explica­tion.

  • 1. How we are made Branches of Christ.
  • 2. What benefit we have by being so.

For the first, How men are made Branches of Christ. There are three things which concur to this work of the souls ingraffing into Christ. The Word of God, The Spirit of God, Justifying Faith.

1. The Word of God. The Word preached is the ordinary and common mediate instru­ment, whereby this great work is wrought. By this Word is the soule first cut off from the wilde stock of corrupt nature, and planted into the true Olive-tree, or Vine, Jesus Christ. Hence the work of planting is in Scripture attributed [Page 306] to the Ministers of the Gospel, 1 Cor. 3. 6, 7. I have planted, saith the Apostle, Apollo watered. God indeed is the great Planter. So v. 1. of this Chapter. I am the true Vine, and my Fa­ther i [...] the [...]. He is the Master-Planter, the Ministers are subordinate-planters; We are labourers together with God. 1 Cor. 3. 9. They are so called, because by the Word preach­ed, this great work is done, This the Prophet clearly affirmes, Esay 61. 1, 2, 3. The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord hath anointed me to preach Christ; that they might be called trees of righteousnesse, the planting of the Lord. These mystical trees are Gods planting; but the instrument wherby they are made such trees, is the Word preached. Hence the Word is called the incorruptible seed of regeneration, 1 Pet. 1. 23. As all the Trees and Plants in the first Creation were set, and sprung up by the Word of God, Gen. 1. 11, 12. So are all these mystical Branches ingraffed by the Ministerial Word.

2. The Spirit of God. The Holy Ghost is the immediate Instrument whereby the soule is in­graffed. It is the Spirit which gives efficacy to the Word, both to cut off the soule from the stock of nature, and to implant it into the Stock of grace. The Word would never be able to tear off any person from his first root, if it were not edged and streng [...]hred by the Spirit of God. The Scripture calle [...]h the Holy Ghost the fin­ger of God, Luke 11. 20. compared with Mat. 1 [...]. 28. He is so c [...]ed as for other reasons, so for this, because he is the immediate instru­ment whereby God works in the hearts of his creatures. Particularly for this work of ingraf­fing [Page] the soule into Christ, the Holy Ghost is affirmed to be the immediate instrument 1 Cor. 12. 13. By one Spirit are we all baptized into one bo­dy, &c. and have been all made to drink into one spirit. And againe, Eph. 2. 21, 22. where the Apostle speaking of this great mystery under another resemblance, saith, that in Christ we are builded an habitation of God thorough the Spirit. The same Spirit which builds us upon Christ into one Temple, doth ingraffe us into Christ as one Vine.

3. Faith. This is the immediate instrumental cause on mans part. Faith is an uniting grace, it knits the soule to Christ, and Christ to the soul. Faith is an incorporating grace, it doth as it were embody the soule into Christ, making it one with Christ, and Christ with it. This is that which the Apostle saith. 1 Pet. 2. 4, 5. To whom coming as to a living stone, &c. Ye al­so are built up as lively stones, &c. Two things are observable in that Text.

First, that the Saints are built together upon Christ the foundation-stone, an holy house to God.

Secondly, how Christ and they are cement­ed together into one building; this is by belee­ving, set out by the expression of coming, which is used ordinarily for beleeving, as Mat. 11. 28. The Spirit of God first works saith in the heart of a person through the Word, and then the soul is by the Spirit through faith ingraffed into Christ, and made a lively Branch.

For the second particular, What advantage the soul hath by being a Branch of Christ, I shall here follow the Metaphor. The same advan­tage the Branch hath by being ingraffed into [Page 308] the Stock, hath a Beleever in a spiritual sense by being ingraffed into Christ. I name these five.

1. Spiritual supportation. The Branch hath this benefit from the Stock into which it is in­graffed, that it is born up and supported by it. The Branch doth not bear the Vine, nor doth it beare it self, but is born of the Vine. A beleever hath supportation from Jesus Christ. We stand on Christs legs, not on our own. I can do all things (saith the Apostle) through Christ that strengthneth me, Phil. 4. 13. The strength of the Branch is in the Vine; so is the strength of a Beleever in Christ. Who is this that cometh out of the Wildernesse leaning on her beloved! Cant. 8. 5. I laid me down and slept, (saith David) I awaked, for the Lord susteined me. Many blasts passe over a beleever, many violent concussions and shakings is he exposed unto, partly by reason of sinne, partly by tem­ptations from the Devil, from men; in all these shakings he hath sustentation from Christ into whom he is implanted. My grace (saith Christ to Paul) shall be sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weaknesse, in 2 Cor. 12. 9. A beleever may with confidence go to Christ, and pray for support in all his weaknesses. A be­leever may go to Christ and chalenge support. Christ would never have made thee a Branch, if he had not intended to support and streng­then thee, Esay 41. 10. there are repeated promises of sustentation. I will strengthen thee, I will help thee, I will uphold thee. In doing, in suffering, in dying is a beleever supported by Christ. A beleever never wants support; but when either through pride he will not have it, [Page] or through slothfulnesse he will not [...] Jesus Christ.

2. Spiritual nourishment. The Bran [...] doth not give nourishment to the Stock, nor doth it nourish it selfe, but it receives nou­rishment from the Stock. A beleever hath nou­rishment from Jesus Christ. The Root feeds the Branch, it conveys its sap to each Branch, whether it be great or little, whether it be near­er the Root, or at a farther distance from it. Christ conveys proper nourishment to every beleever. The Apostle speaks of this, Col. 2. 19. The whole body from Christ by joynts and bands hath nourishment ministred; the Ordi­nances are the joynts and bands by which nou­rishment is carried, but Christ is the great trea­sury from whence it is carried. He nourishes Faith, he feeds Hope, he nourisheth love, &c. Of his fulnesse have we all received, and grace for grace, John 1. 16. Every grace a beleever hath, would die and wither, if it did not receive daily nourishment from Jesus Christ.

3. Spiritual increase. The branch receives its Augmentation from the Vine. The graffe when it's first implanted, is very small; a childe may break it with one of his fingers: but by abiding in the Stock it grows till it come to per­fection. All a Beleevers increase is from Jesus Christ. 'Tis by and through him that we grow from infancy to a perfect man. Two Texts of Scripture do fully set out this benefit of our implantation; The one is, Col. 2. 19. In him the whole body having nourishment ministred, increas­eth with the increase of God. The other is, Eph. 4. 16. Where the Apostle tells us, that by and from Christ the whole body being fitly joyned to­gether, [Page] and compacted by that which every part supplieth, maketh increase of the body. That their knowledge is stronger then it was at first, that the habits of grace are strengthned, &c. This is by vertue of their implantation into the Vine. Christ is the beleevers breast; the beleever by sucking at the brest, growes from a childe to a young man, from a young man to an old man in Christ.

4. Spiritual fructification. The fruitfulnesse of the Branch is from the fulnesse of the Root. The Stock sends out its sap to every Branch, and so every branch buds, and blossoms, and brings forth fruit Abeleevers spiritual fruitfulness is from Jesus Christ. Christ sends out his sap and fatnesse to him, and then he doth according to his kind, bud, and blossome, and bring forth fruits in his season. This is that which followes im­mediately after the Text; He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit, for without me ye can do nothing. 'Tis [...], separated from me ye can do nothing. David, Psalme 1. 3. tells us from whence our fruits spring, namely from our implantation. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, which bringeth forth his fruit in his season. So Psal. 92. 13. 14. Those that be planted in the house of the Lord, shall flourish in the Courts of our God. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age, &c. This preheminencie these mystical trees have of the natural. Old age makes the natural tree barren; but it makes the mystical tree the more fruitful. Consider what God saith to his people, Hos. 14. 8. From me is thy fruit found. This the Church acknowledgeth, when she calleth them Christs fruits, Cant. 4. 16. [Page] They are borne by the Church, [...] produced by Christ. The [...] [...] fruits in regard of benefit, but [...] Christs fruit in regard of production. The Creation, the Preservation, the ripening of [...] are from Christ. They are our fruits in re­gard of Inhaesion, but they are Christs fruits in regard of Procreation. That Christian is either blinded with ignorance, or filled with malice, or swelled with pride, who will not acknow­ledge his spiritual fructification to be from Christ.

5. Spiritual fellowship. The Branch by ver­tue of its ingraffing into the Stock, hath fellow­ship with the Stock, it doth partake of all the good of the Stock. A beleever by vertue of his implantation into Christ hath spiritual fel­lowship with Jesus Christ in all his good things. God is faithful (saith the Apostle) by whom ye are called into the fellowship of his Sonne Jesus Christ, 1 Cor. 1. 9. He that is a Branch of Christ is spiritually married to Christ. Hos. 2. 19, 20. I will betroth thee unto me for ever, in righte­ousnesse, in judgemene, in loving-kindenesse, in mercies, and in faithfulnesse. Marriage gives the wife an interest in all the good things of her husband. His honours, his riches, his relations are now related to her. Her name is set upon all the goods which are marked with her hus­bands name; where he is Caius, she is Caia; where he is Master, she is Mistresse. By our implantation into Christ, all his possessions are ours. His honours are ours, we are called by his name; He Christ, we Christians. His riches are ours, his relations are ours; I ascend to my Father, and your Father; to my God, and your [Page 312] God, John 20. 17. Hereby, 1. We communicate with Christ in his death, Rom. 6. 5. All the fruits of his death are ours, onely by reason of our in­graffing into him. 2. Hereby also we commu­nicate with Christ in the fruits of his resur­rection, Rom. 6. 5. We shall also be in the like­nesse of his resurrection. Hereby, 3. we have communion with him in his life, Rom. 6. 8. If we be dead with Christ, we beleeve that we shall also live with him. He will be for ever unto us a spring of spiritual life. Because I live, you shall live also, John 14. 19. Herein do these spiritual Branches differ from the natural: a natural branch may die, though the Root live; but a spiritual Branch of Christ, can never die while there is life in Christ his Root. Hereby, 4. Do we participate of the Spirit of Christ; the Spirit of Christ is ours, because we are Branches of Christ, in 1 Cor. 6. 17. He that is joyned unto the Lord, is one Spirit. Consider but one Text, which doth fully shew our spiritual fellowship from this very ground. 'Tis 1 Cor. 1. 30. Of him are ye in Christ Jesus, &c. There are three things in this text.

First, that beleevers are in Christ.

Secondly, that their being in Christ is from Gods Donation, Of him are ye in Christ.

Thirdly, that by vertue of their interest in Christ it is, that they come to have fellowship with Christ; he is to them wisdome, &c. because they are in him. He is their wisdom, as he hath revealed salvation to them, as he guides them in the way of salvation. He is their righteousnesse, as he hath perfectly o­beyed the Law commanding, and as he hath [Page] fully satisfied the Law [...] Sanctification to them, as he hath [...] them his Spirit to renue them by regeneration; and he is their Redemption, as he shall raise the [...] up at the last day, and glorifie them. Th [...] much for Explication.

The Uses of this Point are of three sorts.

  • 1. Information.
  • 2. Exhortation.
  • 3. Consolation.

1. For Information.

1. We may learn from this Metaphor, the na­ture of the union that is between Christ and be­leevers. The Doctrine of our spiritual union with Christ, is a stupendious mystery, therefore the Holy Ghost makes use of natural similitudes to set it forth. Among others he makes use of this of the Vine and Branches. Which teacheth us three properties of this Uni­on.

(1) That it is a Real union. The Branches and the Vine are not united appearingly, but truly. Christ and a beleever are united, not i­maginarily, but really. Though it be an invisible union to the eye of sense, yet it is visible to the eye of faith. Though it be a spiritual u­nion, yet it is a true union. Hence it is that the Name of Christ is communicated to all his members, 1 Cor. 12. 12. so also is Christ. Not Christ personal, but Christ mystical. If the union were not in reality, Jesus Christ would never im­part his name to any of them.

2. That it is a very strict union. The union [Page 314] between the Vine and Branches, is not a loose union, but a close union; by vertue of this union they are made one tree. The union be­tween Christ and a beleever is a very close u­nion. They are not united together as a wood­en legge is united to the body, onely by ex­ternal bands and ligaments; but as the natural legge is united to the body by inward bands, by those influences of Spirits, Animal and Vital, which descend from the Head to the members. The beleever is not tied to Christ onely by the bands of an outward profession, but made one with Christ by a reall incorporation. Christ and the beleever are made one, not by mixture, as water and wine are made one; but by mar­riage, as the husband and wife are made one. Next to the union of the three persons in one nature, and the union of the two natures of Christ in one person, this spiritual union between Christ and the beleever is the most glorious. This is the first inference.

2. We may from hence learn the high descent of true Beleevers. They are of a very eminent extraction. However they be mean in regard of their natural birth, yet in respect of their spiritu­al birth they are nobly descended. They are the off-spring of the great family of heaven. See what the Apostle saith of them, 1 Pet. 2. 9. [...]. What Heraldry is comparable to this! They are buds of the coelestial Vine. They are Branches of Christ; and by vertue of their union with Christ they come to be made one both with the Father and the Holy Ghost, John 17. 21. That they may be all one with us. They are of the blood royal of heaven. They [Page] are of [...]in to all the persons of the [...]. 'Tis an honour which the [...] Heaven are not advanced unto. To which [...] the Angels said Christ at any time, [...] Vine, ye are the Branches? Though they he a­bove us in regard of their nature, yet are we above them in regard of our union. T [...]e Saints are not contemptible persons: whate­ver they be as men, yet as Saints, as new men, they are better descended then the best bor [...]e of the Sonnes of men. This is the second In­ference.

3. That it is an union wrought by God, not by us. What doth the Branch contribute to its union with the Root? What do we contribute to our union with Christ? we neither cut off our selves, nor graffe in our selves. Man is passive in his first conversion, Ephes. 2. 10. [...].

2. For Exhortation. I shall direct it first to them that are Branches; Secondly, to all others that grow upon their first Stock.

1. To the branches of Christ. I have from this Doctrine these foure things to commend to them, which I would intreat them to lay to heart.

(1) That they would be very thankful for this great priviledge. Blesse the Lord that hath made you branches. Ye are not branches by your natural birth, but ye are made Branches by your spiritual birth. There is this differ­ence between the natural branches and the my­stical. The natural branch is ordinarily better then the stock into which it is ingraffed. Your Gardiners, if they can but get a good graffe; [Page 316] they care not much how mean the root be. A crab-tree is good enough to grasse upon; but here it is quite contrary: the Stock is bet­ter then the Branches. The best of us by na­ture are wilde vines, as the Apostle saith of the Gentiles, Rom. 11. 24. We were cut out of the Olive-tree which is wilde by nature; the more cause have we to admire the goodnesse of God the great Husbandman, that such crabbed, sowre, knotty, crooked branches as we were by nature, should be implanted into such a sweet, glorious, honourable root as Christ is. Behold here (as the Apostle saith concerning the implanting of the Gentiles) the goodnesse of God, Rom. 11. 22. Our visible external implantation is a very great mercy, our spiritual implantation far greater. We were made Branches of Christ.

When we were by nature very unfit;

When we were very unwilling; And

When others as good as the best of us, were passed by, and suffered still to grow on the sowre stock of nature. Blesse God for your root­ing in Christ; your rooting in him is the ground of all other blessings. This is the first. And then,

(2) That they would be fruitful. The Scrip­ture calls frequently for plentifulnesse of fruit from the Saints of God, Phil. 1. 11. he would have us to be filled with the fruits of righte­ousnesse. Great reason there is why it should be so. We are ingraffed into a fruitful Vine: God may well expect we should be fruitful Branches. Reade what the Prophet speaks by way of prediction concerning this very thing, Ezek. 47. 12. By the river shall grow all trees for meat, &c. We should be careful to fulfil [Page] this Prophecy. God may [...] made us branches of such a Stock, [...] very fruitful branches. We may well [...] our implantation, if we be not [...] in is the excellency of the mystical [...] that they are not any of them barren. [...] [...] leevers fruitfulnesse doth greatly honour [...] the Husbandman, and Christ the Vine; [...] his unfruitfulnesse dishonours both, John 1 [...]. 8. Herein is my heavenly Father glorified, that ye bring forth much fruit, &c. Fruitfulnesse doth distinguish between the nominal disciple, and the real Disciple. He that is a Disciple indeed, is a fruitful Disciple. We are therefore made Branches that we may be fruitful. Of all branches the Vine branch is good for nothing if it be not fruitful. I beseech you be fruitful. Let the fulnesse of the root appear in the fruitfulnesse of the Branches. And be sure of this, that ye bring forth the fruits of the Stock. Here is a­nother difference between the natural branch, and the mystical. The natural branch brings forth its own fruits; not the fruits of the stock into which it is ingraffed, but the fruits of its own kinde: but the mystical Branch must bring forth the fruits of the root, the fruits of Christ; His meeknesse, his patience, his heavenlinesse, &c. The end of this and all other priviledges is our fruitfulnesse. So the Apostle tells us, 1 Pet. 2. 9. Ye are a chosen generation, &c. To what end? That ye should shew forth the vertues of him that called you out of darknesse into his marvellous light. This is the second. And then,

3. That they [...]ld be very holy. Take heed of wickednesse you that are the Branches of Christ. Mean and sordid employment is not [Page 318] fit for persons that are of noble or royal descent. Sinne is an unmeet employment for a Branch of Christ. Holinesse becometh thy house O Lord for ever, Psal. 93. 5. The Apostle presseth it from this very Doctrine, 1 Cor. 6. 15. Shall I take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. For a Branch of Christ to lie, or cheate, or defraud, how un­seemly! For shame, let it not be so. He that is borne of God sinneth not, 1 John 3. 9. He that abideth in him sinneth not, ver. 6. He sinneth not that unpardonable sinne; He committeth no sinne as others do, with delight, with allow­ance, with deliberation, &c. Either disown sinne, or disown to be Branches of Christ. When Satan tempts you, when the flesh stirs you up to sinne; say to them, and say with re­solution of spirit, such dishonourable employ­ment is very unfit for him who is a Branch of Christ. Let them that are branches of the devil do the devils work, but let them that are branches of Christ do the work of Christ. He that saith he abideth in Christ, ought himselfe so to walk, even as he walked, 1 John 2. 6. And then,

(4) That they would acknowledge their whole dependance to be on Christ. The branch doth not depend upon it selfe, but upon the Vine. All a beleevers dependance should be on Christ.

1. On him we depend in point of fruition. God hath laid up all that ever we shall have in Christ; All that the branches receive, they receive from the root. All the good which a beleever shall have, it is from Christ. Out of his fulnesse have we all received, John 1. 16. And then,

[Page] 2. On him we depend in [...] the good we receive is from him [...] we do is done by him; he is the [...] good, both in a Passive sense, and in [...] sense, Without the ye can do nothing, John [...] It is very unseemly, and very in congruous [...] Branch of Christ to deny his dependance o [...] the root, either by Word or Action. To ex­pect any thing but from and through Christ, to go about to do any thing without power derived from Christ, is to deny our depend­ance on him. And he that denies his depen­dance on him, shall have no benefit by him. Christ in you the hope of glory, Col. 1. 27. He that will have either glory or grace any other way then thorough Christ, shall certainly come short either of grace or glory. He that will undertake to performe any action, to encoun­ter any temptation without actual rolling him­self on Christ, shall finde the action too hard, the temptation too strong for him to encoun­ter. A Christian may do all things when Christ doth strengthen him, but he can do no­thing till Christ enable him. 'Tis a dangerous thing not to depend on Christ. These two in­conveniences follow upon it.

First, He that doth not acknowledge his depend­ance on Christ for what he doth will not give Christ the glory of what he doth; And what Sacriledge is it to rob Christ of his glory? And then

2ly. He that will not acknowledge his depend­ance on Christ doth stop up the currant of the grace of Christ to himself. If we with-hold our acknowledgements, Christ will with-hold his outflowings. Let this perswade all Christians to [Page 320] own their dependance on Christ. And then,

(5) Strengthen your union with Christ more and more. Grow farther and farther into Christ. The Apostle speaks of growing up into Christ, Eph. 4. 15. A beleever, as soon as ever he is implanted, is inseparably united; but yet the u­nion may be strengthened. As the tree shoots up in height, so the root grows down-ward in depth; and every branch, the longer it grows in the stock, the more firmly is it united. A beleever must get faster and faster hold on Christ every day. He must strengthen his faith in Christ daily. As our faith is strengthened, so is our union with Christ strengthened. The Apostle tells us this in that Col. 2. 6, 7. As ye have received Christ Jesus the Lord; so walk ye in him, rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith. As our faith is stablished, so is our u­nion stablished. Every Sermon, every Prayer, every Sacrament should cause us sink deeper and deeper into Christ. Thus for the Exhortation as it respects them that are Branches of Christ.

2. To them that are not branches. That they would endeavour to be implanted. I know a Christian is meerly passive in his first conversion; the grace of conversion is preventing grace, yet something may be done. The Word of God, I told you, is the mediate instrument of our implantation. Wait constantly on this Word; when ye come to it, lift up your hearts to God, and get others to joyn with you, that God would cut you off from the stock of the wilde vine, and implant you into Christ. Sigh after Christ; when Christ lays hold on you by his Spirit to cut you off, do not resist. Cut your selves off from sinful acts, and God may cut you off [Page] from a sinful cool. This is [...] [...] hortation.

3. For Cons [...]lati [...] This Doctri [...] [...] are branches of Christ affords many [...] of Comfort. There are foure springs, [...] to beleevers, arising from four priviledge [...] ▪ which redound to them from this relation the [...] stand in to Christ. As

1. Surely Christ will be very sensible of all the wrongs which are done you. They come very neere to Jesus Christ, that lay violent hands upon his branches. There is sympathy between the Root and the branches. There is sympa­thy between Christ and beleevers, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me, Acts 9. 4? He that hacks and hews the branches, is injurious to the stock that bears them. He that hews and hacks at a beleever, doth hew at Christ who is the Root of a beleever. And

2. Surely Christ will revive you under all decayings and dyings. Beleevers, these mysti­cal hranches have their winte [...]s as well as the natural branches. They lose their verdure and greennesse sometimes thorough sinne as other trees do. Well, here is your comfort, Christ your stock will send out his sap, he will by the communications of his influences, restore you to your luster and greennesse again: He will cause a fresh and beautiful Spring to succeed a drooping Winter: He will make you fresh and gay after al your spiritual witherings and failings. The Root owes this to the branch, to revive it, to convey sap to it. Jesus Christ having under­taken this work and office, to be the Churches Stock, doth owe this to every beleever, to com­municate sap and moisture to him. God hath [Page 322] put fulnesse into him that he might send out to all the branches. David had once lost his greennesse; Peter was foully withered; many other Saints have languished; but Christ hath sent out his moisture and revived them againe He restoreth my soul (saith David) and leadeth me in the paths of righteousnesse for his Names sake, Psal. 23. 3. A branch of Christ may promise to himself that he shall have spiritual restorings from Christ after spiritual languishings. Christ may for a time let his branches wither, but he will not let them die. And then

3. Surely Christ will beare thee up in all shakings. Beleevers meet with may sore tempests in this world, they have stormes and earth-quakes; fightings without, and feares within. Jesus Christ will not suffer you to be broken off by any of these stormes. In this, the mystical branches exceed all the natural. They may be broken off from the stock, but those cannot. You have seen sometimes strong armes of mighty trees, broken off by strong windes, mighty thunders, &c. But let it lighten and thunder ne­ver so violently, Christ will secure these branches; Once a Branch, and ever a Branch. Simon. Si­mon, Satan hath desired to lift thee, &c. Luke 22 32. He that will pluck off a branch must first pluck up the root. While the stock hath strength to bear the branches, they shall be borne up; onely two things the Branches must be careful of.

1. They must importune Christ by their prayers. They must beg of him what they want, and he will bestow what he hath promised. Jesus Christ cannot deny importunate prayer.

2. They must clasp about him by faith. Faith is [Page] the soule▪ [...] Jesus Christ. A hand [...] from Jesus Christ. And [...]

4. Surely Christ will [...] in glory. Christ is a Root of glory as [...] grace. We are implanted into Christ in g [...]ce, in order to our implantation into glory, [...] we are made meet to be partakers of the inhe­ritance of the Saints in light, Col. 1. 12. He that is in Christ by grace, shall be with Christ in glory, Col. 3. 4.

Luk. 1. 69.Hath raised up an horn of salvation. XVI. SERM. at Mary Wol­noth. Lon. Aug. 29. 1652.

THese words are a part of that ho­ly Song or Prophecie, which was uttered by Zacharias the father of John Baptist, after the use of his speech was restored to him. God was pleased to deprive him of the use of his speech for a time, that he might correct him for his unbelief, as you reade, v. 20. of this chapter. The occasion was this; An Angel of the Lord is sent to him, as he was burning incense in the Temple, to inform him that his wife Elizabeth should conceive and beare him a sonne, v. 13. Zacharias knowing that both himself, and his wife were now so old, that according to the ordinary course of nature they could not expect seed, doth in an un­beleeving manner desire a signe from the An­gel, ver. 18. the Angel gives him a signe; which was not onely a signe, but inflicted up­on him as a punishment; Thou shalt be dumb and not able to speak, ver. 20. The childe being born and circumcised on the eighth day, ac­cording to the Law, God remembers his ser­vant, [Page] and opens his mouth [...] so long shut, [...] God fills his hear [...] [...] by vertue of which [...] which begins, v. 68. and [...] 80. This prophecy hath two parts, [...] Preface or Introduction.

  • 1. That that concernes Christ, v. 68. to v. 76.
  • 2. That that concernes John, v. 76. to v. 80.

(1) Concerning Christ, there are two things uttered.

1. He blessed God for the Mission of Christ. v. 68. Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he hath visited his people.

2. He shews the benefit the Elect have by this sending of Christ. This is two fold.

First, Redemption. This is amplified by many words which signifie one and the same thing. He hath redeemed his people, he hath raised up a horn of salvation, &c.

Secondly, Sanctification. This is set down v. 74, 75. That he would grant us, that being deli­vered, &c. We might serve him without fear in ho­linesse and righteousnesse, &c.

(2.) Concerning John there are likewise two things Prophecied.

1. The nature of his office; He should be an extraordinary Prophet, v. 76.

2. The work of this Prophet, with the suc­cesse he should have in his work, v. 76, 77, &c. Thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to pre­pare his way, &c. God that had raised him in an extraordinary manner, would blesse him with more them ordinary successe, Many of [Page 326] the children of Israel shall he turn unto the Lord his God, as the Angel had told him, [...].

The words which I have read, are a part of that Prophecy which is uttered concerning Christ. They are a glorious title which Zacha­ry gives him before he was borne. A horne of salvation. From which title we gather this Note.

Doct. That Jesus Christ is a horne of salva­tion to the Elect. God hath raised him up for this very purpose, to be unto his Elect an horne of salvation. God hath raised up (saith he) [...], he was not yet raised, but the time now drew neere; God had promised it. Faith looks on what God hath promised, as a thing already done. And then this phrase [In the house of his servant David] is added, to shew the accomplishment of the promise of Christ made to David God had often promised David, that he would raise up one out of his loynes, to sit upon his Throne, and that his Kingdome in Christ should be a perpetual Kingdome, Jer. 23. 5. Jer. 30. 9. Now at this time, the King­dome of David was even cast down, the Scepter was even departed from Judah; the promises of God made to David seemed now to faile, his Kingdome was even broken, therefore is Christ said here to be raised in the house of David, because in Christ the Tabernacle of David was raised up, which was even fallen, according to that Prophecie, Amos 9. 11. And therefore Christ is called also the horn of David, Psalm. 132. 17. because he was raised up to fulfil the promise made to David, for the perpetuation of his Kingdome. And he is called the horne of the house of Israel, [Page] Ezek. 29. 21. 'Tis a [...] in­terpreters generally [...] his Elect an horne of salvati [...].

In the opening of this, three [...] be explained.

  • 1. What salvation is here meant.
  • 2. Why Christ is called a horne of [...] ­vation.
  • 3. How he comes to be a horne of salvati­on to the Eect, to deliver them.

Christ is salvation, 1. Privatively. Christ is salvation, 2. Positively.

1. He is a horne of salvation Privatively, in three respects.

  • 1. In respect of sinne.
  • 2. In respect of Satan.
  • 3. In respect of men.

1. In respect of sinne. Sinne is a thing which doth much endanger the soules of the Elect. 'Tis indeed the onely great endangerer. Nei­ther the devil nor men could endanger them, if it were not for sinnes which betray them into the hands of both. There are three things in sinne from which the Elect need to be saved.

(1) The guilt of sinne. Guilt is the obligation of the sinner to deserved punishment. This doth every sinne expose the sinner unto, Lev. 5. 1, 2, 3, 4. Now Jesus Christ is salvation to them in respect of this. He hath taken all their guilt upon himself, and so freed them from it, so that though there be upon them simple guilt, yet [Page 328] none that shall for ever redound upon the per­son. The Apostle speaks of this salvation, T [...]. [...]. 14. He gave himself for us, that he might red [...]me us from all iniquity. This is that which the Angel tells Joseph from the interpretation of his name, Mat. 1. 21. He saves them from then sinne, by being made sinne for them, as the Apostle speake, 2 Cor. 5. 21. From hence is the justification of our persons in Gods sight.

(2) The Dominion of sinne. The Dominion of sinne is the sovereignty and command which sinne exerciseth over all men by nature. Hence it is that they are called [...]. The Apostle useth this expression, Rom. 6. 16, 17. To whom ye yield your selves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey, &c. Now Christ is a horn of salvation to them in this respect, for he doth by the communication of his Spirit undermine and abolish the Lordly dominion of sinne, and by the infusion of grace, and the communication of the Divine na­ture to them, cause them to become the ser­vants of righteousnesse. Of this the Apostle speaks, Rom. 6. 18. Being made free from sinne, ye became the servants of righteousnesse. This is the work of Sanctification. Of this the Apostle speaks, Tit. 2. 14. Who gave himselfe for us, that he might purifie us unto himselfe, &c. Christ takes off the yoke of sinne, and puts on the neck the yoke of grace. This the Apostle fully ex­presses, Rom. 8. 2. The Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, hath made me free from the Law of sin and death.

(3) The condemnation of sinne. The wages of sinne is damnation, Rom. 6. ult. Jesus Christ is [Page] a horne of salvation to his [...] for he hath [...] the wine [...] anger, and suffered the [...] their sinnes for them. Of [...] speaks, in 1 Pet. [...]. 2 [...]. Who his [...] sinnes in his body, &c. And the [...] af­firms, Rom. 8. 1. That there i [...] [...] to them that are in Christ Jesus. Thus in respect of sinne Christ is a horne of salva­tion.

2. In respect of Satan. Satan is a sworne ad­versary to the Elect. He goeth about continu­ally like a roaring lion, seeking how he may devoure them, 1 Pet. 5. 8. There are three things in respect whereof Christ is salvation to them from Satan.

1. The Dominion of Satan. The Elect are by nature as well as others the bondslaves of Satan, Eph. 2. 2. they are his servants by nature, and by their own voluntary sinfulnesse they have enslaved themselves to his bondage more: Of this the Apostle speaks, 2 Tim. 2. 26. Now Jesus Christ is salvation to the Elect from this estate. He doth at the conversion of the E­lect, cut the cords and unloose the chaines, by which the devil holds them fast in bondage. Of this our Saviour speaks, Luke 11. 21. By his death he did triumph over him, Col. 2. 15. and at the moment of our conversion, he doth actually put us into the possession of this victo­ry. Acts 26. 18. He doth then turn us from the power of Satan unto God.

2. The temptations of Satan. Satan as he tempted Christ the Head, of which we reade, Mat. 4. 1, 2, 3. so doth he not cease to assault and tempt all his members. The more visible [Page 330] Christs image is in any person, the more vio­lently doth the devil assault him. The Apo­stle speaks of this as in many other places, so ful­ly in Eph. 6. 12. Now in this respect Christ is salvation to them. He stands by them, that these temptations may not prevaile over them. He interposeth himself between them and the teeth of this roaring lion; that he may not have his will on them. Of this our Saviour speaks, Luk. 22. 31, 32.

3. The accusations of Satan. The devil is cal­led in Scripture, The accuser of the brethren, Rev. 12. 10. and he is a diligent creature at this work, for he accuseth them day and night before the Lord. There are many imperfecti­ons and weaknesses in the children of God, they do too often step aside out of Gods way, we have too many sad instances of the truth of this in Scripture which I need not name. The Devil takes occasion from these to accuse us, not onely to men, but to God. He that turnes e­very stone to hurry us into sinne, doth when he hath overcome us, represent all to God a­gainst us in the ugliest shape he can, that he may hinder mercy from us. Yes, he is so ma­licious, that when he can have nothing visibly to lay to our charge, he will pretend something, as we see in the case of Job, Chap. 1. 9, &c. Ch. 2. 4, &c. Christ now is a horne of salvation to us in this respect; He stands continually pleading for us at Gods right hand; as soone as Satan puts in a Bill, Christ puts in an answer, and so doth cast out and nullifie all his Accu­sations. Thus is he salvation to them in respect of Satan.

[Page] 3. In respect of [...]n. [...] by men, both in the [...] [...] spiritual estate.

1. In their outward [...]. Men [...] against them: they [...] because they [...] image, they have so much of the [...] Because I have chosen you out of the [...], there­fore doth the world hate you, John 15. 19. The great ones of the world, they rise up often a­gainst them, and vex them, &c. Now Christ is salvation to them in this regard. Sometimes breaking the hornes that devoure them. Some­times melting the hearts of their devourers, making their enemies their friends. Sometimes removing them from them that would break them; alwayes delivering them from the evil and hurt of the attempts made against them, turning them for their greater and best good; He makes their vinegar better then their wine. Of this the Apostle was confident in his own case, Phil. 1. 19. This shall turne to my salvati­on, through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Christ is a horne even of temporal salvation to the Elect in this re­gard. He makes your troubles as good friends to you as your comforts; He makes your worst conditions work together for your best good.

2. In your spiritual estate. Christ is salvation to you from men in two respects.

First, In regard of the corruptions of the world. Wicked men give wicked examples, and by the example of one wicked man others are corrupt­ed. Now albeit the Godly are sometimes in­fected, in regard of some particular acts; yet [Page 332] are they saved from the general corruptions of wicked men, amongst whom they live. Jesus Christ keeps them from soyling themselves as others do. This is that which is recorded of the Angel of the Church of Pergamus, Rev. 2. 1 [...]. and of those few in Sardis, chap. 3. 4. Th [...]s was Noah saved in that corrupt age in which he lived, Gen. 7. 1.

Secondly, [...]n regard of the evil counsels of men. Wicked men are of the same minde with the devil their father. They are daily tempting, inticing, alluring and perswading the godly to walk with them in their wayes. Joseph was tempted by his Mistresse, Gen. 39. 7. This is put in amongst the Catalogue of the sufferings of the old Martyrs, that they were tempted, Heb. 11. 37. Christ the great Counsellor of his Church saved all these from yielding to such temptations. Though they are sometimes en­snared, yet they are againe brought off by Christ from those ensnarements, and Christ gives them power afterward the more to resist them, and to abhor them.

II. Positively, Christ is salvation.

1. In respect of grace.

2. In respect of glory. Jesus Christ is eter­nal salvation unto the Elect. All that salvati­on which hath been mentioned before, is in re­ference to this which is the upshot of all. He therefore saves them from sinne, from the de­vil, from men, that he may bring them to this eternal happinesse. He is called in Scripture e­ternal life, 1 John 5. 20. The Authour of eter­nal salvation, Heb. 5. 9. The salvation of Israel, Psal. 53. 6. The Captaine of our salvation, Heb. [Page] 2. 10. To shew that this eternal [...] from him.

1. He hath merited this salvation for the Elect: 'Tis his purchase.

2. He keeps it for them, and them [...] 1 John 5. 11.

3. He will actually put them into full posses­sion of it, when he returnes from heaven in the latter end of the world; of which he speaks, John 14. 3. Thus much for the first particular, namely the extent of that salvation, of which Christ is said to be an Horn. He is the salva­tion of the Elect Privatively from all evil; Positively to all good, till he have brought them to heaven the place of eternal salva­tion.

2. Why Christ is called an Horn of salvati­on. That we may come to the full under­standing of this, let us consider how the word is used in Scripture. Now we finde that this word doth Metaphorically denote two things e­specially.

1. Glory and dignity; So we finde it used, Lam. 2. 3. where the Church complaining of the misery which had befallen her, hath these expressions, The Lord hath cut off in his fierce anger all the Horn of Israel, That is, whatsoe­ver was glorious or excellent in Israel, God hath now removed. So we may see cleerly if we reade the first verse. The Lord hath cast down from heaven unto earth the beauty of Israel, he hath covered the daughter of Sion with a cloud, &c. and then it follows, He hath cut off all the Horne of Israel. The glory of God ma­nifested in his appearings, when he brought Is­rael out of Egypt, is expressed by this Meta­phor, [Page 334] Hab. 3. 3, 4. His glory covered the hea­vens, &c. His brightnesse was as the light, He had hornes coming out of his hand, &c. So Psal. 9 [...]. 10. My Horn, saith the Psalmist; shalt thou exalt like the horn of an Ʋnicorn; that is, thou shalt encrease my glory and dignity.

2. Serength and Power. So 'tis used, Lam. 2. 17. He hath set up the horn of thine Adversa­ries, saith the Church, that is, he hath encrea­sed the power and strength of thine Adversaries. So when God threatens to weaken the power of Moab, he doth it by this Metaphor, Jerem. 48. 25. The Horn of Moab is cut off, and his arme is broken. The breaking of the arme doth fully expound the cutting off of the Horn. And when God promiseth to give his people pow­er to subdue their enemies; he useth this ex­pression, Micah 4. 13. Arise and thresh, &c. for I will make thine horne Iron. Now then when Christ is called an Horn of salvation, the meaning of the Holy Ghost is,

  • 1. The glory of his salvation.
  • 2. The strength of his salvation.

First, The glory of his salvation. Jesus Christ is a glorious Saviour; and the salvation which he brings to his people is a glorious salvation, in three respects.

1. Consider the person of Christ. God raised up many hornes of salvation for his people, when they were in distresse. The History men­tions them, Neh. 9. 27. According to thy mani­fold mercy thou gavest them Saviours which saved them. Gideon, and Jepthah, and Sampson, &c. they are called Saviours, because they saved in­strumentally the people of God from their e­nemies. But they were but mean Saviours [Page] in respect of Christ, his person [...] They were but men; He God [...] person. Though his glory was [...] eyes of carnal men, yet they that had spiritual eyes did behold it, John [...]. 14. We [...] glory, the glory as of the [...] begotten of the Father. If the person of Christ be compared with the persons of other saviours, it will appeare that he is a glorious Saviour. All other horns of salvation were but wooden horns, Christ is a golden Horn of salvation.

2. Consider the nature of the salvation it self. 'Tis spiritual salvation, 'tis eternal salvation. All those hornes of salvation, which were raised up in sundry ages for the defence of the Church, were but horns of outward salvation, and of temporary salvation. They saved onely the out­ward man, and that neither but for a time. The Church was in as much peril after they had wrought salvation for them, as ever they were before. When Gideon was dead, the chil­dren of Israel fell into as great danger as they were in before. So after the death of Jepthah, and after the death of Sampson, they were o­verwhelmed with as great hazards as before, as you may reade in the story in the book of Judges. But now Christ is a Horn of salvation to their soules, as well as to their bodies. He saves them from their spiritual enemies, Sinne, Satan, as well as from men. He saves them from the wrath to come, 1 Thes. 1. 10. And then he saves them for ever. The Church ne­ver can be, never will be in that danger again as they were before this Horn of salvation was raised. He hath for ever perfected them that are sanctified, Heb. 10. 14.

[Page 336] 3. Consider the glorious manner of the working of this salvation. Never any salvation so glorious at this. There are three things in it.

(1) He saved the Elect by his own power. The power by which all other hornes of salva­tion delivered the Church, was by a power one of themselves; the strength they had was none of their own, but the power by which Christ saved, and still saves his Church, is from him­selfe; the Divinity impowered the Humanity, Psal. 98. 1. His own right hand, and his own ho­ly Arme hath gotten him the victory.

(2) He saved the Elect solely. Other horns of salvation had the concurrence of many be­sides themselves, Gideon, and Jepthah, and Sampson, &c. They blew the trumpet and ga­thered multitudes, to assist them in the battels which they fought for the salvation of the Church. All Israel came after them: But this Horn of salvation wrought the Churches deli­verance alone, Esay 63. 3, 5. I have troden the wine-presse alone, &c. He had no other Horne to help him; He entred the field, and fought the battel alone, and by himself obtained the victory.

3. He saved the Church by his own death. Other hornes of salvation delivered the Church by the death of the enemy. Ehud slew Eglon, but he himself did not die, Iudges 3. 21, 22. Gideon shew Zeha and Zalmunna the enemies of Israel, Judges 8. 21. but he himself was not slain. But now this Horn of salvation got the victory by dying, his Crosse was his Conquest. He tri­umphed over principalities and powers on the Crosse, as the Apostle speaks, Col. 2. 15. He subdued [Page] all the horne of the [...] of his blood. [...] life, his grave is our victory. [...] do fully prove that Jesus [...] salvation; that is, a gloriou [...] [...]lvation [...] first.

Secondly, The strength of his [...] Christ is a strong Saviour; the salvation [...] he works for his people hath strength in it. He hath raised up a mighty salvation for us; so some translations render this text. To this agrees that of the Prophet, Psal. 89. 19. I have laid help upon one that is mighty, I have exalted one cho­sen out of the people. When God committed our salvation to Christ, he committed it to one that was mighty. Christ is not a reed of salva­tion, but a rock of salvation. A strong Re­deemer, as the Scripture calls him, Ierem: 50. 34. Consider four things.

1. What strong enemies Christ was to vanquish, that he might save us.

(1) He was to save us from sinne. Now sin was very strong, it grew fast and deep in the heart. Sinne is interwoven in the very consti­tution of every man. Christ could not save the Elect, if he did not pluck up the very roots of sinne. He was to save them from the guilt, from the power, from the filthinesse, yea from the very being of sinne. Had he not been very strong, he could not have subdued such a potent enemy as sinne was.

(2) He was to save them from the devil. The devil is called in Scripture, The strong man, yea, the strong man armed, Luke 11. 21. One devil hath more strength then all the men in the world, and there are many Legions of [Page 338] devils which are in the possession of the Elect by nature. The devils are called principalities and powers, for the greatnesse of their strength, Eph. 6. 12. Jesus Christ, if he had not been ve­ry strong, could never have routed these migh­ty spirits. Consider,

2. The manner how he was to save us. He was to beare and undergo the wrath of his Father for his Elect; a heavy burthen, which they were notable to bear. The grappling with sinne and Satan was but easie in respect of this, to beare the wrath of God without sinking. The Prophet speaks of this, Esay 53. 5, 6. all the punishment of the sinnes of men was laid on Christ. He treadeth the wine-presse of the fierce­nesse and wrath of Almighty God, Rev. 19. 15. There it's spoken of him as the Executioner of his Fahters wrath, but he did first tread it as a sufferer. And he did beare all this alone. And he was to undergo it without sinking and fainting. Had he not been a strong salvation, he had perished under this burden. To beare the wrath of God, is a greater work then the subduing of all the devils strength. He could have done this by a word; but to satisfie the justice of his Father, could not be done without his personal suffering. Consider

3. The multitude of the persons he was to save. Thousands and millions, an innumerable mul­titude the Scripture affirmes them to be, Rev. 7. 9. All the Elect of God which did then live; yea, all that had been, all that should be to the end of the world. Had he not been a strong Savi­our, he could not have saved so many. And (which doth shew his strength more) All these were at first unwilling to be saved by him. The [Page] Elect, when Jesus Christ [...] them, and to apply the salvation [...] which he hath merited for them, are [...] un­willing to be saved; they runne away from him, they like their condition so well, that they desire not to be removed out of it. They [...] ­ject Christ, yea they fight against Christ and the salvation that he brings, until he have sub­dued their hearts, and of unwilling made them willing, by the power of his irresistible grace. And then they willingly and freely adhere to him; Draw us, and we will runne after thee. Consider

4. The perfection and fulnesse of his salvation. His salvation is a compleat salvation. This is that which the Apostle saith, Heb. 7. 25. He is able to save [...] to the uttermost, o [...] to perfection. What is it to save to the uttermost or to perfection?

1. 'Tis to save the whole man.

2. 'Tis to save from all evil to all good.

3. 'Tis to save to eternity. Jesus Christ doth perfectly save in all these respects. He will never leave off his Elect till he hath brought them to glory. Christ is called a Horne of salvation, because he saves both Offensively and Defen­sively; he saves his people, and wounds his e­nemies, It's a Metaphor from horned creatures, which do save themselves, and offend their assailant. Thus much for the second par­ticular; Why he is called an Horn of salvation.

3. How Christ comes to be an Horn of salvation. This is expressed in this word [...], God hath raised him up. This phrase notes these three things.

1. Gods decree whereby Jesus Christ was from [Page 340] eternity designed to this work. The Scripture [...]lls that by a solemne Decree of all the three Persons, Jesus Christ the second person, was de­signed for this work of salvation. He was set apart by the determinate Counsel of God, to be the Authour of salvation unto the Church. The Psalmist speaks of this, Psal. 2. 6, 7. Yet have I set my King, &c. I will declare the Decree; the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Sonne, this day have I begotten thee.

2. Gods Mission of Christ. As he was be­fore all time appointed for this work; so he was in the fulnesse of time sent to accomplish it. In the fulnesse of time God sent forth his Son made of a woman, made under the Law, to re­deeme them that were under the Law, Gal. 4. 4, 5. Of this Mission the Prophet speaks largely; Esay 61. 1, 2, 3. The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, &c. He hath sent me to binde up the broken hearted, &c. To this belongs that so­lemne publick promulgation of the Father, whereby he proclaimed Christ as his salvation to the world, Mat. 3. 17. by an immediate voice from heaven, This is my well beloved Sonne.

3. The Act of God in furnishing Christ with such qualifications as might render him fit for such a work. As he established him by his De­cree, and by his publick Mission sealed him for this work; so he did furnish him with all those qualifications which were necessary for the carrying of it on for the good of his E­lect. This furnishing of Christ relates to two things.

1. The preparing of a body for him. A hu­mane nature was necessary for him, that [Page] was to be the salvation [...] must be made to Justice by the [...] that committed the trespasse. And [...] be­sides the Divine Nature was not capable of sa­ving that way that salvation must be wrought, namely by suffering. God therefore fitted Christ with a body, in which body by the grace of personal union the God-head was caused to dwell. Of this the Apostle speaks, Heb. 10. 5. Sacrifice and meat-offering thou wouldest not have, but a body hast thou fitted me.

2. By conferring upon the humane nature ful­nesse of all those spiritual qualifications and endow­ments which were necessary for him, to the carry­ing on of his work. Strength, wisdome, judge­ment, mercy, love, patience and many other graces were needful for this work of salvation. God therefore furnished Jesus Christ with all these, Esay 11. 1, 2, 3. And as he had variety of all these graces, so did God bestow upon him a fulnesse, of all these; not a limited, stint­ed fulnesse, as he bestowed upon others; but an unmeasurable fulnesse of all grace; A ful­nesse of redundancy, which from him might flow out to all the Elect for the filling of them with a fulness of sufficiency. Of this the Scripture speaks, John 3. 34. and Iohn 1. 16. In all these re­spects God hath raised him up to be a Horne of salvation. Thus much for the opening of the Doctrine.

The Uses of this Doctrine.

Ʋse 1. For Information, in two things.

First, The miserable condition of those that are without Iesus Christ. Who are without Christ? [Page 342] Not onely Jewes, and Turks, and Pagans, but all unbeleevers in the Church. Whosoever is without true saving faith, is without Christ. 'Tis faith that makes Christ Actually ours Faith unites us to Christ, and Christ to us. Their mi­sery is very great. Christ is a horn of salva­tion, the onely Horn of salvation; he that is without Christ, is without salvation: God hath put the salvation of men into Christs hands, 1 Iohn 5. 11. He hath given us eternal life, and this life is in his Sonne. And he that hath the Sonne hath life; but he that hath not the Son hath not life, ver. 12. God himself cannot save him that is without an interest in Christ. He hath set down this way of salvation, and he cannot deny himself. It is a question a­mongst the Schoolmen, whether God could have saved sinners without Christs satisfaction. They generally conclude upon good grounds that he might; but now 'tis not so much as a question. God hath resolved, that whosoever is saved, shall be saved by Christ; and without mu­tability, he cannot save men another way. Better never to have seen the light, then to die without an interest in Christ. And he that doth not beleeve truely in him, hath no saving interest in him, Iohn 3. 18. How shall I know whether I do truly beleeve or no? I shall here to help you, lay down a twofold note of true faith.

1. It is a heart-purifying grace. This effect of faith the Apostle mentions, in Acts 15. 9. Whosoever hath true faith in Christ, will find his heart purified and cleansed thereby. The efficient cause of the purification of the heart is the Spirit of God, who is called the Spirit of [Page] Sanctification, 2 Thes. 2. [...]3. The [...] cause is Christs blood; 1 Iohn [...]. 7. The instru­mental cause is faith. This grace purifies the hear [...] as it is an instrument whereby the blood of Christ which purifies, is conveyed to the soul▪ and as it doth take hold upon the promise of cleansing; the promise is, I will sprinkle clean water, Ezek. 36. 25. Faith applies this promise and improves, and so purifies the heart. If you have not purification of heart, you have not faith; and if you have not faith, you have not Christ as a Horne of salvation. Now that heart may be said to be purified, that hath these three pro­perties.

1. If it bewaile impurity. Impurity that is truly lamented, is in Gods account as if it were removed, Rom. 7. 23, 24. If thy pollution be thy greatest burden, thy heart is purified in Gods sight.

2. If it be cautious of every thing that may de­file. A heart that is purified, dares not wil­lingly come neere any defiling puddle, it will avoid occasions, temptations of defilement, Iob 31. 1. Carefulnesse of shunning defilement is an infallible note of purification.

3. If it be through inadvertency defiled, it will not be quiet till it be made clean. A purified heart cannot lie in any uncleannesse when God hath once discovered it to him. Thus David, when he saw his pollution, with what earnest­nesse doth he run to the Laver that he may be washed? Ps. 51. 2, 7.

2. Saving faith hath very high and precious thoughts of Christ. This character is laid down by the Apostle, in 1 Pet. 2. 7. No unbeleever can tru­ly have precious thoughts of Christ, nay they [Page 344] have low thoughts of him, as 1 Pet. 2. 7, 8. and Cant. [...]. 9. Try your faith by this note. Now if Christ be truly precious;

(1) He shall reig [...] and rule over thee. His precepts will be as precious as his promises. His Sovereignty will be as precious as his sacrifice; his yoke will be as desirable as his merits; the Apostle opposeth saith and disobedience, 1 Pet. 2. 7. Where Christ is disobeyed, he is not belee­ved in.

(2) If Christ be truly precious to thee, his dis­honours will pierce thy soul. The dishonours done to him in his truths, worship, govern­ment, will be a greater grief to thy heart then all the dishonours that are done unto thy selfe.

(3) If Christ be truly precious to thee, it will be thy meat and drink to do him any ser­vice. Thou wilt make it thy study to set him up, and to make him great where ever thou comest.

(4) If Christ be precious to thee, all his Or­dinances will be precious. Thou wilt have a high esteeme of his Word, of his Sacraments, of his Sabbaths, and that for his sake, who hath instituted these things. If it be not thus with thee, thou art an unbeleever; and if an unbe­leever, thou hast for present no saving interest in him that is the horne of salvati­on.

Secondly, The impossibility of the perishing of any of the Elect. Their eternal salvation is a thing of absolute certainty. They can never perish. They may seem to be lost sometimes in their own apprehension. I said (saith Jonah) I am cast out of thy sight, Jonah 2. 4. He was in his own [Page] eyes, as if he had been a cast-a [...]ay [...] impossible it should be so, as in other [...] so in this, because Christ is the horne of their salvation. He that hath wrought their salva­tion is able to preserve salvation for them, and them for salvation. If Christ be able to save you, ye shall be saved. When you look up­on that in your selves, that may seem to hinder your salvation, look upon that that is in Christ to maintain your salvation. You shall be as certainly saved, as Christ himself is saved. Fa­ther, I will that they whom thou hast given me may be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory, &c. John 17. 24. Your salvation is now fully accomplished; he that was able to accomplish your salvation, is able much more to apply it now it is accomplished. Consider these seven Notions to make this out.

(1) Christ will not lose the merit of his blood, nor be deprived of the end of his death; and he must do both these, if one of his Elect should miss of salvation.

(2) Christ did not conquer for the Devil, but from the Devil; Christ will not be at the charge and cost of redemption, and when he hath done, suffer the devil to go away with the spoile.

(3) Christ will not impoverish himself to enrich the Devil; and impoverished he should be, if one of the Elect should perish: for every Saint helps to make up his mystical fulnesse. So the Apostle tells us, Eph. 1. ult.

(4) Iesus Christ will not rob his Father to en­rich the Devil. Now if any Saint should perish eternally, God himselfe would be robbed; [Page 346] for every Saint i [...] his inheritance, Ephes. 1. 1 [...].

The Lord Christ (5.) will not suffer the Spirits Temple to fall into the eternal possession of the Devil. Now the Elect are the Temple of the Holy Ghost, 1 Cor 6 19.

(6) Christ will not empty Heaven to fill Hell. E­very Saint helps to fill heaven.

(7) Christ will not bear a Name in vaine. He will neither mock himselfe, nor mock his Father, nor his people. Now if he should be called an Horn of salvation, and not actually his Elect of salvation; he would be the greatest mock that ever was in the world.

2. Ʋse. Reprehension. Those are to be bla­med that erect other hornes of salvation.

1. The Papists; they do set up their own works as a horne of salvation; at least they joyne works and Christ together, as con-causes of salvation; the Scripture layes the whole merit on Christ, they lay a part of it on works. Greater dishonour then this cannot be done to Christ. If he be of himselfe sufficient, what needs the addition of other things? but he is sufficient, Heb. 1. 3. chap. 7. 25. Hear what the Scripture saith concerning those that look for salvation by works, Gal. 5. 4. As many as seek to be justified by the Law are fallen from grace. How did it fall out with Israel that followed af­ter the Law of works? the Apostle will tell you, Rom. 9. 30, 31, 32. Yea I shall adde this; Jesus Christ will be a horne of destruction to those who will not make him the sole horn of Salva­tion.

2. Much like to these are many ignorant Pro­testants, who think to be saved by their duties, [Page] by their prayers, and by their repentan [...] [...] men should consider, that Christ must [...] them from the guilt of all their duties, as well as from the guilt of their sinnes. Our holiest services have a mixture of unholinesse in them. Domine lava lachrymas, was Austins prayer. And it must be ours. The filth of our holy things must be expiated by Christ, 'tis thorough him that they are accepted. You may read this Gos­pel in the Ceremonial Law, Exod. 28. 36, 37. The holy services we do are not accepted, be­cause of any worth that is in us or them, but because of the engraved plate which is upon the forehead of Christ.

3. Ʋse. Exhortation.

1. This should provoke all sinners to close with Christ. The great work of the Ministery is to bring Christ and the soule together. They are the friends of the Bridgroome, and it's their office to woo sinners to come in to Christ. Here is encouragement enough in this text. He is a horn of salvation, a horn of Gods raising; flie to him for salvation; salvation is to be had in Christ, salvation is to be had no where else, Acts 4. 12. Under the Law offenders did flie to the hornes of the Altar, 1 Kings 2. 28. He that flies to the hornes of this Altar shall be sure to be safe. Onely two things must be ob­served.

(1) All sinne must be cast away; The wicked man must forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, Esay 55. 7. Jesus Christ will not be a horn of salvation to an impenitent sinner. He came not to save men in their sinnes, but to save them from their sins, Mat. 1. 21.

[Page 348] (2) Christs own termes must be embraced. Christ came not to save men upon any termes, but upon his own termes. Now the termes of the Gospel are, A voluntary resignation of our solvet to be at Christs disposing: To do his Will, to submit to his Scepter. The soul must say, as Saul did to Christ, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? Acts 9. 6. That soul that doth cast away sinne by repentance, and surrenders himself to Christ, to be in all things ruled by him, shall, whatever his condition hath been be­fore, finde Christ an horn of salvation to him. Do not say, my sinnes are great, &c. The greatest sinne thou didst ever commit, is thy so long standing out against Christ, John 3. 19. Murther, Adultery are great sins; but the souls refusal to come in to Christ is a greater sinne: those are sinnes onely against the Law; this is a sinne against the Gospel, this is a sin against the Remedy, this is a sinne that bindes and continues the guilt of all thy other sinnes upon the conscience. He that doth not close with Christ, saith one of these things; either that he hath no need of Christ, or else that Christ is not able to save him.

2. This teacheth Gods people whither to go, when their salvation is endangered. Sometimes Satan by hot temptations, sometimes corrupti­on by its violent out-breakings, do so exceed­ingly prevaile upon the servants of God, as that in their apprehension their salvation is in a great hazard; they feare the Crown will be pluckt away from them. God lets them come into such jeopardy, that they may exercise all their graces, and thrive the faster. They pray, they watch, yet Satan gets ground; sinne [Page] overpowereth them, so that the [...] [...] to conclude, that the hope of [...]. In such case your onely refuge must be to [...] is horn of salvation. David when sinne was [...] hard for him, goes to God, Psal. 65. 3. We must flie to this horn, and by his strength de­fend our selves, and vanquish our enemies. There are several branches of this Horn, which must be improved at such a time. His Death, his Resurrection, his Ascension, his Intercession; All his Attributes, all his Promises, these are several little hornes growing out of this great Horne. This Horn will give you strength to overcome, this Horne will keep what he hath purchased for you. He hath pushed down Sa­tan, sinne, the world already; and if they get head againe, he can easily subdue them. He is not onely the Horn of your salvation, but the Captain of your salvation, Heb. 2. 10. [...]. It was his free-will at first to un­dertake it: but having undertaken it, 'tis his office to perfect it. When salvation is at a ha­zard; go to him, fight in his Name, and he will give you victory.

3. Blesse the Father for Jesus Christ. This ho­ly man that pend this song, he begins it with praises. Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he hath visited and redeemed his people; and hath raised up an horne of salvation. Never think of a horn of salvation, but have in your hearts and mouths a Benedictus Dominus. If every thought of heart were a rapture, we could never sufficiently extol the love of God in raising up Christ for us. Especially, if he have made Christ an horn of salvation to us in particular. What storms did Christ go thorough? what deeps did he [Page 350] wade over, that he might be to us an Horne of salvation? He that is not thankful for Christ, can be truly thankful for nothing. When God gave Christ, he gave all. Naturallists speak much of the Unicorns horn; Christ is the true Uni­corn.

4. Do not, O ye servants of God, despondingly fear the attempts of your enemies. Gods Church, though it be the worlds great friend, yet meeteth with many enemies; many bloody hornes are goaring at it to destroy it; Look into all the ages that are past, and you will finde it. Pharaoh was a horn, and a bloody one. Nebu­chadnezzar was a horn. You read of four horns, Zech. 1. 18, 19. In the New Testament you read of hornes; Herod, the Heathen Emperours; these were bloody horns. You read of a little horn, Dan. 7. 8. This is Antichrist. Oppose this horn of salvation to all these horns of destructi­on. 1. This horn is longer then they; they reach to one Kingdome, he the world over. 2. This horne is stronger then they. 3. This horn is long­er-lived then they, Vid: Micah. 4. 12, 13. No horn hath yet been able to stand. None shall, Psal. 75. 8. 10. That horn of Christ, that with one push overthrew many Legions of Devils, is it not strong enough to bring down men?

PSAI. 72. 6.He shall come down like raine upon XVII. SERM. at Mary Wol­neth. Lon. Novem. 14. 1652. the mowen grasse.

THis Psalme was penned by Da­vid, as appeares from v. 20. It was composed by him a little before his death, when he had made his sonne Solomon King. Upon the occasion of Ad [...]nijahs rebellion, we read in 1 King. 1. 33, 34, &c. that Solomon was by the appoint­ment of David annointed King of Israel and Ju­dah. David having set him in his Throne, doth in the close of his life make this Psalme, wherein he doth prophetically foretel, and ac­cordingly prayes for the prosperity of him and his Kingdome, under which he doth also Pro­phecy of the felicity of Christs Kingdome, of which Solomon was a type. Here are some pas­sages which cannot be properly understood of Solomon, or his Kingdome; but are chiefly to be understood of Christ and his Kingdome, as that in ver. 7, 8, 17, &c. He shall have domi­nic [...]. His Name shall endure for ever. Therefore it is to be expounded of Solomon and his King­dome [Page 352] as they were typical of Christ the true Solomon and his Kingdome. Here are three parts of the Psalme.

  • 1. Matter of petition, v. 1, 2, 3.
  • 2. Matter of Prophecy, v. 4. to 18.
  • 3. Matter of praise, v. 18, 19.

The Text falls under the second head, which I called matter of Prophecy. David doth de­scribe by the Spirit of Prophecy the Kingdom of Solomon, but especially the Kingdom of Christ, which was prefigured by Solomon's King­dome. This Kingdome is described two wayes.

1. By the righteousnesse of it, v. 4. There are both the parts of righteousnesse. The defend­ing of the good; He shall judge the poore of thy people, and save the children of the needy: The punishment of the wicked; He shall break in pieces the oppressor.

2. By the blessed fruits of it. These are several, as namely,

1. The holy feare and reverence of God, ver. 5. They shall fear thee as long as the Sun and Moon endure, thoroughout all generations.

2. The propagation of his Kingdom by the cal­ling in of the Gentiles, ver. 8, 9, 10, 11. He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, from the river to the worlds end.

3. The great blessing which should accrue to his Subjects, and the great glory of the King. This is v. 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17. He shall redeeme their soule from deceit, &c.

4. The great encrease and edification of his Church. I name this last, because it is in the text, and the verse following the text. He shall come down like raine, &c. In which we have.

[Page 353] First, a Prophecy of Christs communications to his Church. He shall come down.

Secondly, the nature of this communication. As the raine, as the showers.

He shall come down. [...] There is a foure-fold descending of Christ which the Scripture mentions.

1. His incarnation, the manifestation of himselfe in the flesh.

2. The abasing of himselfe in condition. He did not onely assume humane flesh, but all the natural infirmities of our flesh; he took upon him the form of a servant, lived in the meanest and lowest condition of the sonnes of men. Of this descension the Apostle speaks, Phil. 2. 6, 7.

3. The subjecting of himself to death. His a­biding under the power of the grave for three dayes and three nights. This is the lowest piece of his descension. Of this the Apostle speaks, Eph 4. 9. In that he ascended, what is it but that he also desconded first into the lowest parts of the earth? These descensions or comings down of Christ are included one in another. When he took our nature upon him he did truly descend. Not as if the Divine nature came where it was not before, but because God did in the incar­nation of Christ, manifest himself after such a manner as he never had done before; For God cannot properly be said to ascend or descend; he being a most simple and spiritual Essence, is not moved from place to place as creatures are, but he is said to ascend or descend in regard of the manifestation of his presence, either by the effects of his presence, or by visible species or shapes, which appearing or disappearing, [Page 354] he is said to ascend or descend. Although men might look upon his descension as having re [...]erence to his incarnation▪ Yet

(4) There is another descension which we shall rather expound this of: the distillations of his grace, and spiritual blessings upon his Church. These indeed are glorious descensions. When Christ lets fall the influences of his grace, then doth he come down in a glorious manner. Every drop of grace is a Metaphorical descension. Christ doth spiritually come down, when he lets any spiritual vertue drop down in his Or­dinances upon the souls of his people. Of this kinde of descension the Church speaks, Esay 64. 1.

Like the raine. [...] Some think our English word water comes from this Hebrew word matar, because they are so neer in sound one to another. Rain is the distillation of a moist cloud, which being dissolved by the heat of the Sunne▪ and by the collision of other clouds, sends down its water to the middle Region of the aire. The reason why it falls down by drops, and doth not come like a torrent, is be­cause the cloud is not dissolved all at once, but by little and little.

Ʋpon the mowen grasse. Detondere, [...] from [...] The Hebrew word used here hath a double sig­nification. It signifies a shorn fleece of wool, and it signifies a meadow newly mowen. This hath occasioned divers readings; some reade it, He shall come down like the rain into a fleece of wo [...]ll. So the Septuagint: they that follow this read­ing make it an allusion unto the dew that fell upon Gideons fleece, Judg 6. 37, 38, 39. when all the land beside was dry, and againe upon the rest [Page] of the land when the fleece was dry▪ [...] read it according to our translation. He shall come down like the rain upon the mowen grasse, This seems to be more agreeable to the meaning of the Holy Ghost; especially because of the clause following, which is added by way of Explication. As the showers that water the earth.

As the showers. [...]. Rain and showers differ onely as lesse and more; raine signifies smaller showers, and showers signifie greater raine, Deut. 32. 2. Raine falling in multitude of drops is called a shower.

That water the earth. [...] The word Zar­ziph, which is here translated water, is onely used in this place in all the Bible; it signifies to water by dispersion, to water by drops. The showers are dispersed in drops all over the face of the earth, in a very regular and arti­ficial way. God hath divided (saith Job) a wa­ter course for the overflowings of waters, Job 38. 25. The raine is from the cloud spouted out by drops after such a manner, that every part hath its share. Thus much for Explica­tion.

The Observation is this.

Doct. Jesus Christ is to his Church as the rain to the mowen grasse, as the showers of rain that drop down upon the earth. Jesus Christ is the spiri­tual raine of his Church. Jesus Christ is a my­stical shower to the hearts of his people. When God gave Christ out of his bosome, he did then, if ever, raine a golden shower upon the world. The Prophets do use this Metaphor in their predictions of Christ, Esay 45. 8. Drop down ye heavens from above, and let the skies [Page 356] poure down righteousnesse, &c. Though it be expressely a prediction of that great return of the Church from their captivity. Yet as Calvin well observes, it relates to the spiritual King­dome of Christ, when all this should be com­pleatly fulfilled; The heavens did never drop down salvation, they never rained righteous­nesse so abundantly, as when they rained down him who is the Lord our righteousnesse. In the handling of this Doctrine I shall open three things.

  • 1. What that is which in Christ may be compared to the rain.
  • 2. Wherein lieth the resemblance between Christ and rain.
  • 3. Wherein lies the disproportion: there I shall shew how Christ excels all other raine.

For the firste This Metaphor of raine doth relate to three things of Christ. It respects three particulars.

1. It hath relation to his Doctrine. It is u­sual in Scripture for Doctrines to be compared to the raine. My Doctrine (saith Moses) shall [...] at the raine, my speech shall distil as the dew, [...] Ordinarily the preaching of the Prophets Deut. [...]. [...] [...] c [...]lled Dropping, Ezek. 20. 46. Drop thy word [...]oward the south, and Prophecy, Ezek. 21. 2. Drop [...]y word toward the holy places, Prophecy against the land of Israel. I finde divers Expositors in­terpreting that Text of Christs Doctrine. Saith Chrysostome, the coming down of the rain upon the grasse, or upon the fleece of wool, as he renders it, signifies the preaching of Christ in the [Page 357] Synagogue. And certainly Christs Doctrine (if ever the Doctrine of any person) may be well compared to the raine. His Doctrine is from above, and it hath all the properties of raine. The Prophet makes the comparison, Esay 55. 10, 11.

2. It hath relation to the spiritual Government of his Kingdome. The administration of judgement is many times set out by the descending of the raine. Job speaking of himselfe as a Magi­strate, useth this Metaphor, Chap. 29. 22, 23. My speech (saith he) dropped upon them, They waited for me as for the raine, and they opened their mouth wide as for the latter raine. Evill Governours are compared to a parching drought whereby the estates of the Subjects are wi­thered, they are like those destroying Garde­ners that pluck up the very roots of the herbs, but good Governours are like Gardeners that do daily water the flowers, and so cause them to thrive. Jesus Christ is such a Governour as seeks the wealth of all his Subjects, he drops down rain upon them, whereby they are multiplied and increase. The Prophet speaks of this, Hos. 6. 3. His going forth is prepared as the morning, he shall come unto us as the raine; as the latter and former raine unto the earth. Christs government tends not to the impoverishing, but to the en­riching of his Subjects. In his dayes shall the righteous flourish, verse after the Text. Jesus Christ is not a waster, but a waterer of the spi­ritual estates of those that are under the Go­vernment of his Scepter. The Psalmist com­pares his Scepter to dew, Ps. 110.

3. It hath relation to the influences of his Spi­rit. The influences of Christs Spirit are com­pared [Page 358] to the raine. The Prophet useth this Metaphor to set out the distillations of his Spi­rit upon his C [...]u [...]h, Joel 3. 18. It shall come to passe in that day that the mountains shall drop down [...]to [...]i [...]e, and the [...]ill [...] shall flow with milk, &c. When Jesus Christ h [...]d communicated▪ his Spi­rit to the Church▪ See wh [...]t she saith, Cant. 5. 5. I opened to my beloved, and my hands dropped with myrrh, and my fingers with sweet [...]lling myrrh up [...]n the handles of the lock. Christ did there come down as the raine; by the secret vertue of his Spirit, he caused many precious drops to fall upon the soul of his Church. Calvin ex­pounds this Text of the secret distillations of Christs grace upon his people; so that whether we respect Christs Doctrine, or his spiritual Government, or the secret influx of his Spirit; in regard of all these doth he come down as the raine upon the mowen grasse, and as the showers that water the earth. This is the first thing. Qui respectus.

For the second, Quae propo [...]tio, Wherein stands the resemblance between Christ and raine. I shall mention three particulars.

1. The raine is the immediate and proper work of God The Scripture doth by this put a differ­ence between the true God, and Idols, Jer. 14. 22. Man can neither set abroach the vessels of heaven to cause raine, nor can he stop them when God hath set them abroach. The key of the raine hangs at Gods girdle. Man may speak long enough to the clouds before they give a drop of moisture, but if God do but lift up his finger they are dissolved. As he brings forth the wine our of his treasures, so doth he draw the raine out of his Cellars. Je­sus [Page 359] Christ comes down like the raine in this re­spect, for he is the immediate and proper gift of God. This raine had never fallen from heaven, if God had not of his own accord be­stowed it; had all the Angels of God been conven'd in an Assembly, how to restore lost man, they could never have found out this way. The Scripture attributes the whole work of giving Christ to God alone. My Doctrine is not mine, Joh. 7. 16. but his that sent me. His Doctrine is from God John 12. 49 His Scepter is from God, Psal. 110. 2. His King he is called, Psal. 2. 6. He prepared him a body, Heb. 10. 5. This raine hath no Father but God a­lone.

2. The raine is very useful to the earth. Jesus Christ is very useful to his Church. Consider this in five particulars

(1) The raine hath a cooling vertue. When the aire is heated through the scortching beams of the Sunne, the raine doth refresh and coole it; we find a great cooling after one nights rain, even in the heat of Summer. Jesus Christ hath a cooling vertue, when the soul burnes with lust, when it is scortched with fiery temptations, one shower from Jesus Christ cools it againe. Jesus Christ by the droppings of his Doctrine, and by the secret distillations of his grace, quencheth the unholy heats of the soule. God complaines of his people; that they are as an O­ven heated by the Baker, Hos. 7. 4 The best of Gods children finde in themselves such inordi­nate heats. Sometimes they burn with world­linesse, sometimes they are hot with envyings, sometimes they rage with passion and distemper­ed anger. Jonah had a flame of anger in his [Page 360] soule, when he fell so foul upon God, Chap. 4. init. There's no way to extinguish such burnings, but by the cooling drops of Jesus Christ; he sends down a shower upon the heart, and [...]o brings it to its own temper againe. How did Christ cool Paul when unconverted, Acts 9. 1, 3, 4.

(2) The raine hath a mollifying nature. When the earth is like iron under our feet by long droughts or hard frosts, a few good showers supple it, and make it tender, Psalm. 65. 10. David speaking of the earth, saith, Thou makest it soft with showers. Jesus Christ hath a soften­ing vertue; sometimes the heart is hardened by the deceitfulnesse of sinne. The soul is like the frosty earth, no hammers will break it, no judgements will dissolve it; at such a time a few drops from Jesus Christ will soften it. The heart of Peter was once grown as hard as a stone, he denies Christ, forswears Christ, curses himself if ever he knew him, Luke 22. 55, 56, &c. no sooner doth Jesus Christ open the cloud, and raine upon him, but he melts into teares, v. 61. The heart of the Church was once fro­zen very hard. Christ comes and knocks, she sleeps, he continues knocking, she gives him a scornful answer, Cant. 5. 2, 3. no sooner had he let fall some drops of myrth, but she is soften­ed, v. 4. Before, her bowels were troubled at his knocking, but now her bowels are more troubled that she made him knock twice. Christs Word and his Spirit have a softening power and vertue; the unconverted hardnesse of the heart is moll [...]fied by this rain. If Christ would but now drop a few drops from heaven, the veriest flint in the Congregation would be turned into a [Page 361] fountaine of waters. How comes the stony heart to be turned into an heart of flesh, but because these showers fall upon it? One good shower of this raine upon the heart of a Judas would make it like melting wax. And then,

3. The raine hath a cleansing vertue. A good shower makes the very chanels cleane, store of raine makes the very sinks sweet. You ob­serve the fields have a sweet perfume after rain. Jesus Christ hath a cleansing and sweetning vertue. Those hearts that are as filthy as sinks, those soules that are as nasty and stinking as your common shores, after a good shower of this raine, are both cleane and fragrant. Ma­ry Magdalen was a very sink of sinne, she was full of devils; yet when this raine fell powerfully upon her, how cleane was she? See what the Apostle saith, 1 Cor. 6. 9, 10, 11. What a company of filthy creatures are these? For­nicators, Idolaters, &c. yet v. 11. one good shower washeth these cleane. Christ hath a cleansing vertue. Let the soule be never so le­prous or filthy, a few good showers from him will make it cleane; The Prophet calls him a fountaine for sinne and for uncleannesse, Zech. 13. 1. And then,

(4) The raine hath a fructifying vertue. The feed which is sowen doth not thrive, the grasse in the pastures doth not grow, if God with­hold raine. All the labour of the husband­man comes to nothing, if either the former or the latter raine be denied. The Psalmist sets out this vertue of the raine, Psal. 65. 9, 10, 11, 12, 13. want of raine brings a famine upon the earth. Those three yeares of famine, which followed [Page 362] one after another in the dayes of David, were occasioned by want of raine, 2 Sam. 21. 1. com­pared with v. 10. The sonnes of Saul were to be hanged, till God by sending raine, did sig­nifie that he was appeased. The raine is the very life of the fruits of the earth; the clouds are the sucking-bottle of the fruits of the earth; they dwindle if these bottles continue for any space stopped up. See Jer. 14. 4, 6. There is in Jesus Christ a fructifying vertue. He makes the barren soul bring forth, and be a fruitful mother of children. See v. 16. after the text, John 15. 5. He that abideth in me and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit. The Word of Christ is a fructifying word. The Spirit of Christ is a fructifying Spirit; the Church is ac­quainted with the fructifying vertue of Christ, therefore she goes to him, Cant. 4. 16. if Christ do not raine, there will be no fruits: but if Christ will drop down his dew, the pastures will be green. All the labour and paines of the spiritual husbandman will come to nothing, if the raine come not down from Christ. And if he please to poure down showers, let not the Eunuch say, I am a dry tree. Though your heart be as dry and withered as the rod of Aaron was; yet if Christ will raine upon it, it shall both bud, and blossom, and bring forth Almonds. The husbandman useth to say of his corne in a time of long drought, that it is stocked, yet that corne when the raine comes, will shoot up. Grace is sometimes stockt in the soul; yet if Christ rain plentifully upon it, i [...] will get up and gather strength again. Da­vids grace was stockt, when he lay sleeping in his blood, and uncleannesse, for so many months [Page 363] together; yet when God opened this cloud and poured moysture upon him, he revived.

(5.) The raine hath a recreating [...]. It causes a gladnesse and cheerfulnesse in the heart [...] of men, and it begets a kinde of brisknesse in the sensitive creatures: the birds chirp, the beasts of the field rejoyce in their kinde: yea, there is a kinde of joy in the ve­ry inanimate creatures. The Prophet speaks of this in Psal. 65. 13. The pastures are cloathed with flocks, the valleys are covered over with corne: they shout for joy, they also sing. When raine comes after a long drought, there is me­lody made by all creatures in this lower world. Jesus Christ hath a cheering vertue, he doth fill the soul with joy when he comes down in­to the soule. The heart that was dead, and dull, and heavy, is made pleasant and joyful, when these showers fall upon it. When Jesus Christ comes to the soul, he brings joy to the soule, Esay 9. 3. They joy before thee, according to the joy in harvest, and as mon rejoyce when they di­vide the spoile. When the Eunuch had his soul bedewed with this raine, He went on his way rejaycing, Acts 8. 39. The ground of his re­joycing you may see, v. 32, 33, 35. Philip had acquainted him with Christ, and Christ upon Philips preaching had rained down a soaking shower upon his soule, that created a holy gladnesse in his heart. Christ is the onely cheerer of the heart. He can remove spiritual melancholy, he can take off spiritual heaviness, and put unspeakable joy into the soule. 'Tis true, many of the members of Christ want spiritual joy. This ariseth either from the restraining of this raine, or from their not discerning of [Page 364] this raine. When ever the distressed soul shall come to the feeling of these showers, it will re­joyce and be no more sad. The Doctrine of Christ is a cheering Doctrine. The whole Do­ctrine is called [...] a Doctrine of good tidings. All the Ordinances of Christ are cheering Ordinances. I will make them joyful in my house of prayer. God hath planted Jesus Christ as a root of joy to his people. As he is a plant of salvation, so he is a plant of con­solation, no joy is either real or lasting, which is not bottomed upon Jesus Christ. That soul that hath received this raine into his heart shall have some joy here, and he shall have everlasting, full, soul-satisfying joy in Christ, and with Christ, and from Christ in the other world. This is the second, Christ is like raine in respect of usefulnesse.

3. Christ is like the raine, if we consider the manner of its descending. There is a great simi­litude between the manner of Christs descensi­on upon the soule, and the descension of the rain upon the earth. I shal instance in seven particulars.

First, The raine comes down successively and gradually, now a little and then a little. The raine doth not fall down all at once; but it comes now a shower, and then a shower, as the earth stands in need of it. God pierces now one cloud, and then another in a pleasant suc­cession. Jesus Christ comes now a little and then a little, as the condition of the soule re­quires. A drop in one Ordinance, and a drop in another Ordinance. A shower falls in this Sermon, and a shower at another Sermon. This is that which the Prophet mentions, Esay 28. 10. Precept must be upon precept, line upon [Page 365] line, here a little and there a little. Now one comforting influence comes down and then an­other; now one quickning impulsion, then another; now one promise is rained down, then another.

(1) Jesus Christ would have his people in a constant dependance on himself.

(2) He would have them wait constantly up­on every Ordinance.

(3) He would not have them surfet, either upon his Doctrines or comforts, therefore he observes a succession in his distillations of good things upon them.

(4) He would have every Doctrine, and every comfort soak into their hearts, Luke 9. 44.

(5) Christ would have nothing lost, which he is pleased to bestow.

(6) Christ would endear every drop of his grace to his people.

(7) The soules of his people are like narrow mouth'd vessels, they cannot receive much at once without spilling.

(8) We are such bad husbands, that Christ dares not trust us with much at once. For these and such like reasons, doth he cause all he gives, to distill in a way of succession. Jesus Christ doth in a way of wisdome, parcel out all the good which he raines down upon the souls of his people.

Secondly, The rain comes down irresistibly. When God doth by his Word of command speak to the cloud to distil its moisture upon the earth, it is not in the power of all the crea­tures in heaven and earth to hinder its falling down. As the clouds cannot open their own veines till God give the word, no more can [Page 366] they [...]ch themselves when God sets them a bleeding. Jesus Christ comes down upon the hearts of men with an irresistible power and efficacy, whether we understand it of his Do­ctrine, or of his Scepter, or of the influences of his Spirit, he doth descend with a forcible and mighty power. His Word is called a powerful Word, Heb. 4. 12. The Word of the Lord is quick and powerful, [...]. His Scepter is cal­led a Scepter of strength, Psal. 110. 2. The Lord shall send the rod of thy strength out of Sion. His Spirit is a Spirit of might, and its said to work mightily in the hearts of his people, Col. 1. 29. [...]. Let Pelagians and Arminians talk what their wilde fancy dictates, of the res [...]stibility of grace; the Scrip­ture mentions no such thing: the raine will come down whether men will or no; and let the earth be never so hard, it will soak into it. When Christ by his Word and Spirit descends, it is with a mighty power, that the soul is not able to resist it. I shall shew the power of Christs Word, Spirit and Scepter, in three great works;

Conviction, Conversion, Consolation. To speak particularly to these.

1. For Conviction. When Christ comes down with an intention, thoroughly to convince the conscience, of sinne and righteousnesse; the soul though it may stand out for a time, yet it is through the mighty smitings of Christs Word and Spirit so powerfully over-ruled, that it cannot but yield: we have an instance of this in Paul, Act. 9. 6. Jesus Christ doth with such an invincible evidence come upon his conscience; that though he was in a violent motion carried on in a [Page] contrary course, yet he yields up himselfe as a prisoner into his hands, crying out, Lord, what wilt thou have me do? He hath no strength to stand out any longer, nay not so much as to dispute it with Christ. Of this convincing power the Apostle speaks, 1 Cor. 14. 24, 25. Jesus Christ, when he comes down with a purpose to bridle the con­science, doth deal so effectually, that the proud­est sinner is brought upon his knees, and made to passe sentence against himself. Yea, with such a mighty power doth he come down upon the soule, that even those who are not savingly brought in, have their mouths stopped, and are unable to say any thing for themselves. Thus it was with those that brought the woman taken in the act of Adultery, to Christ, John 8. 9. They were so mightily convicted by the Word and Spirit of Christ, that they were not able to abide in his presence, but shrunk away one by one as men self-condemned. Thus it was when Christ des­cended in the word of Stephen, Acts 6. 10. Though they would not yield, yet they were so powerfully convinced, that they could not resist the Spirit by which he spake. Christ doth so demonstratively smite the conscience, that carnal reasoning hath no door of evasion. Of this powerful conviction we may understand that of the Prophet, Esay 11. 4. Where speaking of Christ he saith, that he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall slay the wicked. When Christ sets upon the work of conviction; he comes with so much efficacy; that he smites some to submission, all to silence.

2. For Conversion. When Christ descends upon the soul in the work of Conversion; [Page 368] what strength doth he put forth? the strong holds of sinne are battered down, every high thing that exalts it self against the knowledge of Christ, is brought into captivity, to the o­bedience of his Scepter, 2 Cor. 10. 4. Devils are cast out of the possession which they have kept for many yeares without the least disturb­ance. Strong lusts are mortified, and the ve­ry constitution of the soul is changed. What aileth thee O thou sea, that thou fleddest, thou Jordan that thou wast driven back? ye moun­taines that ye skipped like rams, &c. Ps. 114. 5, 6. The Prophet speaks those words of the power­ful entrance of the children of Israel into Ca­naan. The like is done by Christ in the con­version of a sinner. Jordan is driven back, the whole course of the soul is altered, The moun­taines skip like rams; There are many moun­taines in the soul of a sinner, as p [...]ide, unbe­lief, self-conceitednesse, Atheisme, profaneness, &c. These mountains are plucked up by the roots in a moment, when Christ begins the work of Conversion. See how the Prophet doth allegorically set out the powerful descen­sion of Christ in this work, Esay 11 6, 7, 8. The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, &c. All the woolvish, ravenous and brutish qualities and affections of the soul are powerfully subdued and brought under. All that have known a person before, wonder at the great change which is wrought, and he wonders more at himselfe then all others can do. Christ put his bridle of power into his lips, and turned the current of his soul he scarce knows how. When Christ came upon the heart of Elisha, what a migh­ty power was put forth, 1 Kings 19. 19, 20, 21. [Page 369] Elijah casts his mantle upon him, the Spirit of Christ descends in that action, and see how the man is changed. He left the oxen and ran after Elijah, forsakes all his friends to wait upon the Prophet. When Christ by his Word and Spirit descends upon the heart of the Jay­lor, what a strange work is wrought upon him! Acts 16. 33, He takes the Apostles the very same houre and washes their stripes. Had any one that had over-night seen him beating the Apostles so cruelly as he did, told him, well, before the morning-light thou shalt wish that all those stripes had been upon thy own body, thou shalt before the Sunne arise wash those bloody stripes with thy tears; would not he have thought him mad? and yet all this came to passe. Jesus Christ comes down with so much power, that though the will would stand out against him, yet it cannot resist. Many a person comes to Church, perhaps with an intention to laugh at the Preacher; Christ poures down a shower upon him, which hath so much power, that he that came a scor­ner, departs a mourner. Zacheus is upon the Sycamore tree, Jesus Christ lets a few drops upon him, and he is so powerfully subdued, that he comes down speedily at the first call, Luke 19. 5, 6. Matthew sits at the Excise-office gathering tribute▪ Christ raines down but one shower, and that hath so much power, that the man leaves all and follows him, he cannot stay to take one mans money more, he ariseth from his profitable seat, and runnes after Christ, Matth. 9. 9, 10. Peter and Andrew are busie (as Christ passes by) mending their nets: Christ distils a few drops upon them in that call of [Page 370] his, Follow me and I will make you fishers of men, and how mightily are they overpowered! they will not stay one tyde more, yea they will not give another stitch, but arise and follow him, Mat. 4. 18, 19, 20.

3. For Consolation. When Christ comes down with a purpose to comfort a sadded heart, he comforts it with power. See the promise, Esay 66. 13. I will comfort you, and ye shall be comforted. The Consolations of the Word and Spirit of Christ come with such efficacy, that the soul cannot shut them out, the mourn­ing is presently turned into dancing. The Consolations of Christ are called strong conso­lations, Heb. 6. 18. not onely in regard of the matter of them, but in regard of the reception of them; where ever they come, they come with strength. Hannah is in bitternesse of Spi­rit for a time; Jesus Christ doth but, as she is at prayer, poure down a few fresh drops upon her; and she goes away, and is no more sad, 1 Sam. 1. 18. Mary Magdalen stands at the Sepulchre full of sorrow, she weeps many a bri­nish [...]eare, John 20. 11. Jesus Christ doth but open the cloud and drop a few drops upon her, and what j [...]y is in her heart? Take the most me­lancholy and persive sinner: though he be like Rach [...]l that would not be comforted, yet one promise of Christ rained down upon him, and set on by his Spirit, will make him lay aside his mourning garments. Though Mini­sters cannot answer the objections of sorrow­ing Christians, ye [...] Christ can answer them so powerfully, that the soul shall have nothing to answer againe. This is the second particu­lar.

[Page 371] Thirdly, The raine comes down voluntarily, undeservedly. The Prophet tells us how the dew and showers fall; They tarry not for man, nor wait for the sonnes of men, Micah 7. 5. The raine doth not expect any humane concur­rence or causality. Though it come down upon us, yet it comes down without us. The raine descends for our advantage, but not for our deserving. The distillation of Christ comes down undeservedly on our part. The soule meets with many a shower from Christ, when it deserves no such thing. The good either of Christs Doctrine, or his Scepter, or his Spirit are not merited by us. Should we have no raine from Christ till we did deserve it, we should suffer an eternal drought. The first grace of Christ is preventing grace. I am found of them that sought not after me, Esay 65. 1. And all the after-grace of Christ, is undeserved grace. We do as little to deserve the influences of Christ, as we do to deserve the distillations of the clouds. All that Christ doth for us is onely from the meer motion of his own grace, Esay 55. 1. Of his own will begat he us by the word of truth, James 1. 18. We must say, Grace, grace to all the soul-fatning drops that come from Christ. He forgets that Christ comes down as the rain, that dreams of merit. All the sonnes of men want Christ, but none of the sonnes of men can deserve Christ.

Fourthly, The raine comes down unexpected­ly. Sometimes when the skie is black with clouds, the winde riseth and driveth them away with­out so much as a drop: At another time the raine falls plentifully when no shower is expect­ed. Jesus Christ comes down upon the soules [Page 372] of his people many times, when they look for no influences from him; the Church observes this, Cant. 6. 11, 12. I went down into the gar­den of nuts, to see the fruits of the valley, and to see whether the vine flourished, and the pome­granates budded. Or ever I was aware, my soul made me like the chariots of Aminadab. Here a shower fell upon her head when she did not look for it. The soul sometimes comes to an Ordi­nance ful of misgiving thoughts, expecting no good; and before it depart, it's wet from top to toe with the distillations of Christs Spirit. The Church found it so, when she had the least reason that could be to expect it, Cant. 5. 5. She might have expected to have found flames of brimstone in regard of her dealings with Christ, and behold she findes the droppings of sweet-smelling myrrh. Sometimes in the night-watches Christ raines upon the soule, when it, never expects any such thing. David made his bed to swim, Psalme 6. 6. he could not have watered his couch with his teares, if Christ had not first watered his heart with his grace. Sometimes the soule comes to the Throne of grace parched with hardnesse, perhaps as dry as the rock in the Wildernesse, and Christ suddenly sends down a shower, that it goes savour [...]y weeping from his presence. Did not our hearts burne within us, while he talked with us by the way? Luke 24. 32. Jesus Christ did des [...]end suddenly upon them while they were in conference with him. Sometimes a ser­vant of God takes the book of God into his hand, when his soul is dry and withered, and before he hath read half a Chapter, he findes the clouds melting, and his soul bedewed with a [Page 373] shower of grace, never did a shower comedown so suddenly, as the grace of Christ hath sometimes comedown upon the soul.

Fifthly, The raine comes down not for its own benefit, but for the benefit of the earth. What advantage hath the cloud by all the moisture that drops down from it? It empties it selfe that it may enrich the ground. Jesus Christ doth by his Word, and Spirit, and Scepter, de­scend for the benefit of men. His Doctrine, the influences of his Grace, are for the enrich­ing of his Elect. Christ came down at first in his incarnation for our sakes, 2 Cor. 8. 9. and all his other descensions are for our good. For the filling of our empty soules, for the quick­ning of our dead souls, for the comforting of our straitned and distressed souls, it is that Christ comes still down into the world. His preaching, his knocking, his striving is onely and meerly for our benefit. What profit is it to God, that thou are righteous? Job 22. 3. Christ hath no more advantage by all the drops he sends down upon thy soule, then the clouds have for all the showers they let fall upon the earth.

Sixthly, The rain comes down variously sometimes after a more stormy manner, sometimes after a milder manner. Christ comes down somtimes by promises, comforts, enlargments in a way of mildness; some­times he descends in a way of severity, by re­bukes, threatnings. The Church hath as much need of stormy showers as milder showers, of cold raine as of warmer drops. Christs more angry drops are as useful for his people, as his more pleasant drops. His chiding and frowning distillations make his comforting [Page 374] droppings more sweet. His milder showers comfort us, but his stormy showers try us more; If Christ should not rebuke us as well as comfort us, he would indeed lose us. The great raine of his anger keeps us from stragling, when [...]he small raine of his love occasions us to wan­der.

Seventhly, The raine comes down plentifully. Not a drop or two, but whole showers. Though it come not down all at once, yet as much comes down as is useful for the earth. Jesus Christ comes down plentifully, he doth not scant the soul, he doth not give one comfort, but many comforts. Eat O friends, drink abundantly, Cant. 5. 1. He hath enough in him to give. The soul wants more then a little. He is not niggardly, but bountiful, therefore he gives plentifully; and then as the raine falls down in many places at once, so doth Christ. All the earth for many miles together is sometimes rained upon at o [...]e and the same time; the rain wa­ters many fields at once. Jesus Christ comes down abundantly; he can, if he please, water many soules, yea many Congregations at once. So many Churches, so many Fleeces; so many Congregations, so many Pastures. Christ can rain upon this Congregation, and he can water other Congregations at the same time. Jesus Christ, if [...]e please [...] an send down such a shower as shall water every Congregation, yea every soul in the world a [...] one and the same time. As the drops of a shower cannot be numbred, no more can the drops which fall from Jesus Christ upon his Church. If we receive not plentifully from Christ, 'tis because we ask not plentifully.

[Page 375] For the third particular. Quae disproportio? And here I shall shew the excellency of Christ above all material raine, in six particu­lars.

1. Christ comes down from the highest hea­vens. The raine descends from the visible hea­vens. Philosophers divide the aire into three Regions; the highest, the middle, and the lowest Region. Now they all hold that the raine descends onely from the middle Region: there it is generated, and from thence it de­scends upon the earth. But now Jesus Christ comes down from the invisible Heavens. There he sits at the right hand of God, Acts 5. 31. and from thence doth every drop which distills upon the hearts of men descend. This is that which Peter tells the Jewes, Act 2. 33. Be­ing by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this which now ye see and hear. All the good of his Word, of his Scepter, of his Spirit, comes down from the Heaven of heavens. There the royal throne is, and from thence doth the raine fall. You must look above the highest Region of the aire, yea above the highest star in the firmament, if you expect any drop from Jesus Christ.

2. The raine that descends upon the earth, doth first ascend from the earth. A cloud which is the womb of the raine, is a cold and moist vapour exhaled by the heat of the Sunne, out of the earth or waters, into the middle Region of the aire, where it is by the cold condensed, and there hangeth, till by the heat it be dissolved into a shower. So that the showers which do drop upon the earth, are first drawn out [Page 376] of the earth, Psal. 135. 7. But now all the drops which distil from Christ, are generated in hea­ven. Jesus Christ is not beholden to the earth to furnish him. What ever he distils, either in his Word, or by his Spirit, is originally in and from himself. Out of his fulnesse have we all received, and grace for grace, John 1. 16. Christ doth not exhale vapours from the earth, but sends down vapours from himself to the earth. All his materials are in himself, and from himself; if Jesus Christ could not raine upon us till we did furnish him with materials, we should be out of hopes of receiving one drop from him to the day of our death. We can furnish him with materials for fire and brimstone, but the ingredients of his comfortable raine are from himself alone.

3. The raine is not necessary at all times. There are seasons when the husbandman craves no raine. He is sometimes afraid of showers, and wishes for Sun shine rather then showers. As snow in Summer and raine in harvest, so ho­nour is not seemly for a foole, Prov. 26. 1. But now Jesus Christ is never unnecessary. This raine can never faill unseasonably. There's no time but the drops of Christs doctrine come welcome to the soul. There's no moment wherein the in­fluences of Christs Spirit are not grateful to the soule. That day that is not a rainy day, is a mournful day. The earth may be too full of raine, but the soule can never be too full of this heavenly moisture. Si dixisti sufficit, pe­riisti.

4. The raine is s [...]metimes hurtful to the earth. Immoderate raine is as prejudicial as immode­rate drought. A poor man that oppresseth the [Page] poore, is like a sweeping raine that leaveth [...] food, Prov. 28. 3. As parching heat doth sometimes dry up the fruits of the earth: So excessive raine doth often drown the fruits of the earth. Sometimes men and cattel are drowned; some­times houses with their inhabitants are swept away by overflowing showers. But now Jesus Christ is never prejudicial to the soul. If ever this raine do any annoyance to men, it is by accident, because it is not received or impro­ved. The distillation of Christs Doctrine is sometimes the savour of death, 2 Cor. 2. 15. but this is onely because men are not bettered by it. The Scepter of Christ doth break many in pieces, Psalme 2. 9. but this is because men do not submit to it. The influences and stri­vings of Christ by his Spirit, are sometimes the occasion of the hardning of mens hearts, and so consequently of their destruction: but this is, because they do resist and oppose them. This raine hath intrinsecally no hurtful de­structive property in it. If it ever prove de­structive, it is because of some evil quality in them upon whom it falls.

5. The raine is no distinguishing Argument between good and bad. It falls promiscuously upon the righteous and unrighteous. This our Saviour tells us, Matth. 5. 45. The raine in­deed sometimes falls in one place, when it doth not fall on another, Amos 4. 7. but on what­soever City or Village it falls, it comes down equally on all. As fat drops fall upon the sluggards field, as upon the field of the most diligent man. But now this spiritual raine is more distinguishing. Though all where the Gospel is preached have the same common [Page 378] Doctrine, and all have some common influ­ences of Christs Spirit, yet there are special drops distilled upon the Elect, which others never partake of. Some are hardned, others are softned; some are rained upon to conver­sion, others are rained upon for obduration; some are melted and dissolved, others are stiff­ned and enraged. The peculiar drops of special grace are not communicated to all alike from Jesus Christ. Arminians may talk of U­niversal grace, that Christ doth no more for Peter then for Judas; but the Scripture speaks of peculiar grace which is not communicated to all. Why is it that thou wilt reveal thy self to us, and not unto the world. John 14. 22. There is hidden Manna which Christ never intended to bestow on all. There are secret drops which Christ lets fall on one soul in a Congregation, and doth not distill upon others. This raine falls with a most exact distinction. He hath mercy on whom he will have mercy, (saith the A­postle Rev. 2. 17.) and whom he will he hardeneth, Rom. 9. 18. Christ hath excluded some from the benefit of his prayers, John 17. 19. And they that are shut out of the benefit of his prayers, are ex­cluded from the saving merit of his blood. His propitiation is not extended further then his mediation, 1 John 2. [...], 2. The peculiarity of the descending of this raine is cleerly shew­ed by our Saviour in the answer he gives to that question of his Disciples, concerning his preaching to the people in Parables, Mat. 13. 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15. Though the raine of Christs Doctrine fall down indifferently upon all, yet the special grace of understanding, applying and im­proving that Doctrine, is not given unto all.

[Page 379] 6. The rain can make nothing spring where nothing hath rooted. The showers are able to make both grasse, and corne, and other plants grow up; but if either the earth be barren, or if there be no foundation of roots, the showers can do nothing; the raine can make nothing grow up out of rocks. It cannot make wheat grow where none was sowen. But now Jesus Christ doth not onely make seed grow where seed is sowen, but he makes seed grow where none was sowen. Christ by the drops of his Doctrine, and by the influences of his Spirit, makes the rocks bring forth fruit. He doth not onely cause plants to spring in good soyle, but by the dropping of his grace, turnes a barren soyle into a fruitful soyle; one good shower from Christ will make the barren Heath as good ground as the fruitful valley. The Word of Christ is called seed, 1 Pet. 1. 23. it doth not onely make seed grow, but it is seed it self. Christ by raining down, turnes the Thorne-tree into an Apple-tree. He changes the thistle into wheat. Other raine brings up something where something was, but this rain brings up something where nothing was. O­ther showers bring forth figs from Fig-trees, but these showers bring forth figs from thistles. Other raine brings up a crop where a crop was sown, but this raine brings forth a crop where none was sown. Those three thousand you reade of Act. 2. 37. had not one root in them when Peter began to preach; but before he had done raining upon them, their hearts were a nursery of all living plants.

The Uses of this Point.

1. How justly may Christ expect fruitfulnesse from his people. My beloved (saith the Pro­phet) had a vineyard planted in a very fruitful hill. And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones, &c. and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, Esay 5. 1, 2, 3. It is but equal that they that live under Christs Doctrine and Scepter, and under the influences of his Spirit, should bring forth both good fruit, and plenty of fruit; the people of God are compared to a tree planted by the rivers of water, which bringeth forth his fruit in his season, Psal. 1. 3. Christ is spiritual raine, he is both cleansing raine and fatning raine. They that live under such drop­pings, will be one day found inexcusable, if they be not very fruitful; those pastures that are ma­nur'd every year, if they have seasonable Sun­shine and showers, are laid open to the wilde champion if they be not fruitful. Remember seriously that of the Apostle, and lay it well to heart, Heb. 6. 7, 8. No Argument can be used to plead for those that live under these fat showers without abundance of fruit.

2. Behold the necessity of Christ. Is not rain necessary for the ground? are not seasonable showers necessary for the fields and pastures? can any plants live long if they be not watered? No more can any plants that are in the soul live without continual supply from Christ. The Doctrine of Christ is not unnecessary, the Scep­ter of Christ is not unuseful, the influences of Christs Spirit are not in vaine. Christ in all these [Page 381] respects is as necessary to the soule, as the raine and dew are to the earth. He is either blind, or proud, that doth not see an absolute necessi­ty of Christ. Egypt is fruitful though it have no raine; the yearly overflowings of the river Nilus is instead of showers. Jesus Christ is as the river Nilus to our Egypt: did not he by the overflowing streams of his grace water our hearts, they would neither bud nor blossom, nor bring forth; He is both the husbandman that plants our fruits, he is the soyle that beares them, and he alone is the rain that waters them. Never think of the need the earth hath of the rain, but meditate of the need your souls have of the droppings of Jesus Christ.

3. How blinde and wicked are they that are offended at the Doctrine of Jesus Christ! When Christ was on earth, many were scandalized at his Doctrine. And there are many still even amongst Christians, that are offended at it. He is to this day a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, to them that stumble at his Word, Rom. 9. 33. Men finde out many wayes of stumbling at the Doctrine of Christ. To instance in a few.

(1) Some are offended at the strictnesse of his Doctrine. Christ by his Doctrine doth con­demn, not onely the outward acts, but the in­ward motions of sinne in the heart, Mat. 5. 28. He commands the plucking out of the right eye, &c. Duri Sermones durioris Magistri, have some said of these Precepts, which are indeed the commendation of Christs Doc­trine.

(2.) Some are offended at the simplicity of his Doctrine. Thus the wise Greeks were offended [Page 382] at him. The Apostle mentions this, 1 Cor. 1. 17. 18. They were of opinion that Tully and Demosthenes did far excel the Doctrine of Christ for eloquence.

(3) Others are offanded at the spirituality of his Doctrine. They think his Doctrine is too mystical and sublime. This was that which made many take offence at him, John 6. 51, 52, 60, 61. They thought it was a strange kinde of Doctrine, that Christ should give them his flesh to eat.

(4) Others are offended at the Divisions which follow upon his Doctrine. Though the Doc­trine of Christ be in it self a Doctrine of peace, yet accidentally meeting with the corruptions of wicked hearts, its an occasion of division, Luke [...]2. 49. I am come to send fire on the earth, and Matth. 10. 34, 35. Think not (saith our Saviour) that I am come to send peace an earth. I am not come to send peace, but a sword, &c. These accidental divisions which follow upon Christs Doctrine, cause many to be offended at him; And if any can receive his Doctrine, yet they are offended at his Government. This is a general offence, Psal. 2. 2. 3. Let us break their bonds asunder, &c. His Scepter is too strict, too severe, &c. Let all that are offended with Christ any way, know that these are ground­lesse offences. They are Scand [...]la accepta, not scandala data. For Christ comes down not as poison to destroy men, but as the raine to pre­serve and nourish men. Take heed therefore of being offended at Christ; remember he comes down, both in his Doctrine and Government, not for the ruine, but for the salvation of men. Christ hath all the good properties of the raine, [Page 383] but none of the bad properties. Whosoever is offended at him, is offended at his own mercy.

4. Lay your hearts open to receive the distilla­tions of Christ. When any of this raine de­scends, let the vessels of your souls be set wide open to receive it. When Christ drops in his Doctrine, when Christ distils upon you by his Spirit; let your hearts be in a readinesse to drink it in. The raine doth no good unless it be taken in. All the drops of Christ will do you no good, if you do not take them in. When men are beleaguered in a City and want water, they set out all their vessels, when a show­er comes, that no drop may be lost. Gods children are in this world as in a besieged City; you want raine, O let not one drop of Christ fall besides you. Open your mouths wide, that you may take in, yea take down all the pleasant drops of Christ. Two things are necessary for those that would have this raine. First, they must get under the cloud. The publick Ministery is the cloud by which the raine droppeth, Esay 5. 6. abide where you see these clouds gather­ing thickest. And when Christ drops down thorough these clouds, be sure your vessels be set out uncovered to receive what-ever falls.

5. What a miserable condition is it to be without Christ! It's made the top of all misery, Eph. 2. 12. He that is without Christ is as parched land without raine. The Scripture threatens with▪holding of raine as a sore judgement, Amos 4. 7. I have with-holden the raine from you, when there were yet three moneths to the harvest. 'Tis threatned as a judgement against them that [Page 384] came not up to keep the feast of Tabernacles, that on them there shall be no raine, Zech. 14. 17. If it be so sore a judgement to want the natu­ral raine; what is it to want this spiritual raine? Pity such as want Christ, more then you pity those that want other raine.

6. When ever you see a shower fall down upon the earth, meditate on Jesus Christ. For this rea­son doth Christ resemble himself to all these things, that we might have remembrancers eve­ry where to put us in minde of him. Let every drop of raine be a natural preacher, to put some serious thought of Christ into your hearts.

1 PET. 2. 6.Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner XVIII. SERM. at Mary Wol­noth. Lon. Decem. 19. 1652. stone, elect and precious.

THe Apostle at the second verse of this Chapter, doth earnest­ly intreat the scattered Jewes, to whom he writes this Epistle, that they would as new borne babes receive the sincere milk of the Doctrine of the Gospel. He presseth this by many Arguments; As

1. God had appointed this to be the soules nourishment. The milk of the mothers breast was not more nourishing to the new-borne Ver. 2. infant, then the Doctrine of the Gospel is to the souls of regenerated Christians.

2. God had sanctified these to be the meanes of their spiritual growth. As the childe grows by sucking the milk of the breast, so do Christians grow by drinking in the Doctrine of Ibid. the Gospel.

3. The Doctrine of the Gospel containes in it the sweetnesse of the love of God and of Je­sus Christ towards them that beleeve, he that hath tasted of this sweetnesse cannot but thirst af­ter Ver. 3. it.

[Page 386] 4. By receiving into their hearts this doctrine, they should have the closer communion with Jesus Christ. To whom coming as to a living stone, ye as lively stones are built up, &c. This he confirmes by an argument taken out of the Old Testament, which is here cited and improved to illustrate the thing in hand. This is in the Text, wherefore it is contained in the Scripture; Behold I lay in Sion, &c.

Two things are considerable in the Text.

  • 1. The denomination or litle given to Christ. A chief corner stone.
  • 2. The Explication of this Title by the pro­perties of it. These are two.
  • 1. He is an Elect or chosen stone.
  • 2. He is a precious stone.

I shall first begin with the denomination, A chief corner stone. The sum is this.

The Church of God is here compared to a spi­ritual edifice, or building; Every true beleever is compared to a mystical stone in this building; And Christ is here resembled to the Corner stone. The Note from that first particular will be this, viz.

Doct. That the Lord Jesus Christ is the chief Corner stone of the spiritual structure of Gods Church Both Prophets, and Apostles, and Christ himself, give ample Testimony to this truth.

1. The Prophets which were before Christ do bear witnesse to this. See Esay [...]8 16. From this Testimony my Text is borrowed. Behold I lay in Sion f [...]r a [...]undation a stone, a tryed stone, a preciou [...] corner stone, a s [...]e foundation. And the Prophet David long before him, Psalme 118. 22. speaking of Christ hath these words, [Page 387] The Stone which the builders refused, i [...] [...] b [...] Headstone of the Corner.

2. The Apostles which succeeded Christ, they concur with the Prophets. See that famous Testimony which is given before the greatest of Christs adversaries, by Peter and John two of his Apostles. Though Peter was the onely spoke [...]man, yet doth John also agree with him, Acts 4. 10, 11. Be it known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the Name of Jesus of Nazareth, doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the Stone which was set at nought by you builders, which is become the Head of the Corner. Hear also the Testimony of Paul, which is both full and clear to this purpose, Eph. 2. 20. Ye are built upon the foundation of the Prophets and Apostles, Jesus Christ himself being the chief Corner stone.

3. We may adde to these the Testimony of Christ himself, hear it from his own mouth, as it is recorded by three of the Evangelists, Mat. 21. 42. Mark 12. 10. Luke 20. 17. Jesus said unto them, did you never read in the Scriptures, the Stone which the builders refused is become the Head of the Corner? In the mouth of all these witnesses is this truth fully established. Two things I sha [...]l here open.

  • 1. In what respects Christ is compared to the Corner stone.
  • 2. How he excels all other corner stones.

1. For the first. Christ is called the Corner stone in foure respects.

1. In regard of sustentation. The corner stone doth uphold the whole building: if the corner [Page 388] of the house fall, the whole structure comes to the ground. The Holy Ghost speaking of the slaughter of Jobs children, saith, There came a winde from the Wildernesse, and smote the foure corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead, Job 1. 19. Some stones may drop out of the middle of the building, and yet the building may stand, but if the cor­ners or foundation shrink, the whole fabrick is dissolved. Jesus Christ is the susteiner and up­holder of his Church. Therefore he is called the foundation stone, as well as the corner stone, Esay 28. 16. He is the great pillar that beares up his Elect. The Churches peace, the Churches grace, the Churches comfort, the Churches sal­vation are all upheld and maintained by him. Solom [...]n reared up two pillars of brass in the Porch of the Temple, the one he called Jachin, that is, he shall establish; the other Boaz, that is, strength, 1 Kin. 7. 21. These two Pillars amongst other things did typifie the invincible stability and strength of the Church, whereof the Temple was a sign and figure. The Lord Jesus Christ is to his Church, both Jachin and Boaz; he is both the establishment, and the strength of his Elect; he is that golden pillar that beares up all. The Poets have a fictitious conceit of Atlas a great Astronomer, that he beares up the heaven up­on his shoulders; That's but a fable, the great body of the heaven is a burden insup­portable to any creature. Jesus Christ is real­ly the great Atlas, that bears the whole bur­den of the Church with all its concernments upon his shoulders. Eliakim was in this a type of Christ, the Prophet saith of him, Esay 22. 21, 22, 13, 24. that he shall be fastned as a naile [Page 389] in a sure place, and he shall be for a glorious throne to his Fathers house; And they shall hang upon him all the glory of his Fathers house, the off-spring and the issue, all vessels of small quantity, from vessels of cups to all vessels of flagons. This Eliakim was a figure of Christ, for Rev. 3. 7. that which is here promised to him, is attributed to Christ; These things saith he that hath the key of David, he that openeth and no man shutteth, and he that shutteth and no man openeth. He is that golden naile, upon whom all the concernments of the Church both small and great do depend. From vessels of cups to vessels of flagons, all hang upon him. The Prophet Esay foretelling his birth, doth attribute this to him, Chap. 9. 6. When he saith, that the Government shall be upon his shoulder. God hath devolved the whole care and weight of his Church upon him, and upon him must we roll it.

2. In regard of Ʋnion. The corner stone is that Medium by which the walls of the house are united into one building. Pull out the corner stones, and the two sides of the house are separated one from the other. Jesus Christ is he and he alone that doth unite the several stones of the spiritual building one to another. This may be considered two ways.

(1.) In reference to the uniting of the Jews and Gentiles. Before Christ, the Jew and Gentile were divided and separated one from another. This separation did commence and begin after the return of the Israelites out of Egypt into Canaan, which place was assigned unto them by lot, as we reade in the book of Joshuah. Then were the Jews in a more conspicuous man­ner formed into one Polity or Common-wealth, [Page 390] and from that time the separation began. That which made this separation was the Ceremoni­al worship which God established in that Church or Nation, according to which they and their posterity were to worship God. This separati­on continued from that time, untill the death and resurrection of Christ. During all this long tract of time, there was a manifest separation between the Jew and the Gentile, But now Christ hath as a corner stone made a firme uni­on between these two, so that the Jew and Gentile are brought together under the same worship. This is done by the abolition of the Ceremonial Law. Christ hath taken down this wall of separation, and so made both one Church. The Apostle treats largely of this, in Eph. 2. 13, 14, 15, 16. He is our peace who hath made both one, and broken down the middle wall of partition between us, &c. The Jew and the Gentile are now made one house by the death of Christ.

(2) In reference to the spiritual union of belee­leevers one with another. We reade often in Scripture of spiritual fellowship and communi­on between beleevers. The Apostle, Phil. 2. 1. speaks of the fellowship of the Spirit, and Phil. 1. 5. He makes mention of their fellowship in the Gos­pel. So 1 John 1. 7. saith the Apostle, If we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fel­lowship one with another. This spiritual commu­nion or fellowship doth consist,

First, In mutual affection one to another. One Saint loves another, though they have never seen the faces one of another.

Secondly, In participation of the same graces and priviledges. They are all like one another: [Page 391] They partake of the same gifts, of the same Graces; the same Reconciliation, the same Adoption, the same Sanctification; the same Salvation that be­longs to one, belongs to them al. This is that which the Apostle mentions, Eph. 4. 4 5, 6. From hence it is that the Scripture calls the salvation of the Elect, Common-salvation, Jude 3. because it's common to all the Elect. The same graces which are wrought in one Saint, are wrought in another, though perhaps different in degree.

Thirdly, In the performing of mutual offices one to another. They pray one for another, they give thanks for the good of one another, they grieve for one anothers evils, they beare one anothers burthens, they rejoyce in one an­others comforts, they supply one anothers wants, both outward and inward as far as they are able. The Apostle speaks of these mutual of­fices, which beleevers by vertue of that fellow­ship which is between them owe one to another, in that, 1 Cor. 12. 26 Now it is in and through Christ, that union and communion of Saints one with another is made. Our communion with Christ is the foundation of our mutual commu­nion which we have one with another, John 17. 23. I in them and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one. 'Tis this uniting corner stone that brings every particular stone of the building into one. For our mutual union one with another, is in him who is the head of the union. The Apostle speaks fully to th [...]s, in Eph. 1. 10. That he might gather together in him all things, both which are in heaven, and which are in earth. The Greek word is very significant, [...], to gather to a head. All the Saints of God that are, were, or shall be, both [Page 392] those that are gloriously triumphing in heaven, and those that are yet militant on earth, are gathered together to a head in Jesus Christ. Membership with him is the foundation of mu­tual membership which we have one with ano­ther. This is the second.

3. In regard of Direction. The corner stone is that which gives the builders direction, how to lay and place all the other stones. If the se­veral stones of the wall be not laid level to the corner stone, the whole building is spoiled. He that would build right, must have his eye to the corner stone. Jesus Christ is a be­leevers Direction and Rule in all spiritual things, that which is not done by Christs Command, or example or by some direction from him, is not wel done. Learne of me (saith our Saviour) for I am lowly, and meek-hearted▪ and ye shall finde rest to your souls, Mat. 11. 29. Jesus Christ is the be­leevers pattern. His Word and his example we must have an eye continually upon, if we would not miscarry. He that saith he abideth in Christ, he ought so to walk as he walked. 1 John 2. 6. Lay all things level to Christ, and then act vi­gorously. I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you, John 13. 15. No­thing will either be lasting or comfortable, which doth not runne parallel with the line of Christ.

4. In regard of Beauty. Skilful builders place the strongest stones in the corner, because of bearing; and the fairest stones, because of beau­ty. If the corner stones be graceful, the whole building is the more comely, Psal. 144. 12. More Art is bestowed on the corner stone, then on a­ny other part of the building. Iesus Christ is [Page 393] the beauty of the spiritual building. If this one stone were taken away, the whole build­ing would be an uncomely heap. One Christ hath more b [...]auty in him then ten thousand Sain [...]s. Psalm. 45. 2. Thou art fairer then the chil­dren of men. The fairest Saint is but an Ethiopi­an, if compared with Christ. He is in respect of his beauty compared to the Lily and Rose, which are the most beautiful of all flowers, Cant. 2. 1. The blinde world looked upon him as deformed, Esay 53. 2. There is no forme nor comelinesse in him, but those that know him, admire his beauty. Look upon him in his Divine Nature, and so he is more beautiful then the Sunne. Look upon him as man; and so he is exceeding beautiful. No doubt but his body, for the outward feature of it was very comely. 'Tis a Rule which Divines have. That which God doth immediately, he doth most exactly. And for his soule, that had more grace in it then is in all the sons of men laid together. His soul was unsoyl'd by sinne, and it was rich­ly furnished with all grace. God shewed more of his Art and skill in Iesus Christ, then upon all the stones of the building besides. The beauti­ful Angels are black, if compared with Christ. This is the first particular.

2. For the second. Christ differs from all other corner stones in five respects.

1. He is a living stone. The corner stones of all material buildings are inanimate. But Christ hath life in him, 1 Pet. 1. 4. He hath life in himself, and he communicates life unto the whole build­ing. From him all the stones of the spiri­tual house are called lively stones, ver. 5. Ye also as lively stones are built up a spiritual house.

[Page 394] 2. He is a stone of Gods immediate laying. God himself did both polish and place this stone. Other corner stones are fashioned and laid by men, but this is fashioned by God himselfe. This is in the Text, Behold I lay in Sion a chief corner stone. He is therefore called by the Prophet, Dan. 2. 34. A stone cut out of the mountaine without hands; that is, without the hands of men. There was no humane help for the polishing of this stone, God himself is the chiefe and onely Architect.

3. He is a Corner stone that can never drop out of the building. Other corner stones will in time loosen and fall: the corner stones of that Temple did at last fall, but this corner stone can neither fall, nor be weakned. Christ sticks as fast now, as he did the first day he was placed.

4. He receives no strength from the other stones. All material corner stones, as they strengthen the building, so they receive strength from the building. The other stones are some defence to the corner stone: but Christ receives no strengthening from any stone of the building. What need hath Christ of support? If he had, what can weak Saints do to support him? The Saints help to strengthen one another, they contribute no strengthening at all to him.

5. Christ is a Corner stone that reaches from the bottome to the top. In other buildings there are many corner stones, because no one is large enough to serve for all: But Christ is so large that there is no need of any other. The building is a carrying on every day, and will be, till all the number of the Elect [Page 395] be brought in: but let it rise never so high there will not need one corner stone more. If there were but one corner st [...]n [...] in o­ther buildings, the whole structure would be spoiled. This spiritual structure would he spoil­ed, if there should be one corner stone more. One Christ supplies the need of the whole Church.

1 PET. 2. 6.A chief corner stone, elect, precious. XIX. SERM. at Mary Wol­noth. Lon. Decem. 26. 1652.

I Proceed to the Application, which is for Information. which is for Exhortation. which is for Consolation.

1. For information. It teach­eth seven lessons.

1. The perpetssity of the Church. The Church of Christ is a stable build­ing; it may shake, and totter, and be ready to fall, but it cannot utterly fall. The Church of God may erre both in Doctrine and manners. The best of men are but enlightned and san­ctified in part, there is a remainder of blind­nesse and ignorance in their minde, and of re­bellion and stubbornesse in their wills and affe­ctions, therefore they may erre both in Doctrine and manners. The Church of Ephesus is char­ged by our Saviour, that she had left her first love, Rev. 2. 4. The Church of Galatia is said to be removed to another Gospel; And that which be­fals Chap. 1. 6. one or two Churches, may befal an hundred Churches. Our Divines prove against the Pa­pists, that general Councels have erred. The [Page 397] Church of God may sometimes he hid under persecution, it may want the publick preach­ing of the Word, with the publick Administra­tion of the Sacraments. Our Divines prove a­gainst the Papists that the Church of God is not alwayes so apparently visible as they would have it. In the dayes of the Prophet Elijah, the Church of God was under a great eclipse. See what he saith, 1 King. 19. 10. The children of Is­rael have forsaken thy Covenant, &c. The Church was very low, when so intelligent a Prophet could not finde one besides himself that cleaved to God, yet what answer doth God give him v. 18? Yet have I left me seven thousand in Is­rael, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him. Hear what the Prophet Azariah saith to King Asa to this very purpose, 2 Chron. 15. 3. For a long season Israel hath been without the true God, and without a teaching Priest, and without Law. As the Sunne and Moon do not alwayes visibly shine out to the world, but sometimes suffer an eclipse, so doth the Church of God; yet neverthelesse the Church of God can never be utterly exterminated. If we consider the nature of the thing, the Church may be abolish­ed, and cease to have a being in the earth; but if we consider the Decree of God, so the Church can never cease. God ever had since the promise made to Adam in Paradise, a Church in the world, and he ever will have a Church in the earth, till all the members thereof be made triumphant in heaven. The gates of hell shall never prevaile against it, Mat. 16. 18. It may be brought low, but it cannot be thrown down. These material fabricks, [Page 398] where the Church of God meet for holy wor­ship, may be thorough the fury and covetous­nesse of men be taken down, that one stone shall not be left upon another. See how the Church complains of the havock made by those Sacrilegious invaders, Psal. 74. 7, 8. The Church was not destroyed, though the Temple and Sy­nagogues were destroyed. This spiritual build­ing of the Church shall stand, though all other structures fall. The great reason is, because Christ is the foundation and corner stone. Other buildings may fall though the foundati­on stand; but this building cannot fall, unlesse the foundation be destroyed.

2. That the Church of God is a very glorious building. Amongst many other titles which are given to the Church, this is one; it's called a glorious Church, Eph. 5. 27. It shall be glorious when it comes to heaven, of which that Text is properly to be understood; And it is glori­ous even here on earth. I am black, but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon, Cant. 1. 5. A glorious and high throne from the beginning is the place of our Sanctuary, Jer. 17. 12. All the Edifices and Palaces on earth, are but ugly cottages, it they be compared with this spiritual building, the Church. The Temple of Solomon was the most excellent fabrick that ever the earth carried, Its called a glorious and beautiful house, Isa. 64. 11. and yet that was but a type of this building. See how it is described in the Revelations, chap. 21. 10, 11, &c. It must needs be glorious, because all the stones are living stones. Every stone hath the glory of God on it, and then besides, which makes it beautiful indeed, Christ him­self [Page 399] is the corner stone. How gloriou [...] must that building be, where Christ himself lies as the foundation stone! To be the least stone in this building, is far better, then to be the greatest pillar of any material building.

3. The Beleevers union with Jesus Christ. The Scripture doth frequently tell us the my­stery of the spiritual union of Christ and Be­leevers. They are not onely one by participa­tion of gifts and graces; they are not onely one in will and affection, as the members of the Primitive Church are said to be, Acts 4. 32. but there is a real spiritual union between them. [...]in them, and thou in me, John 17. 23. This Priviledge is proved, as by other expresse Scri­ptures, so by this Metaphor; As the corner stone, and the superstructories are united in one building; so Christ the corner stone, and all the living stones built upon him are made one mystical house. The Apostle mentioneth this from this very similitude, Eph. 2. 20, 21. Christ and beleevers are made one holy Tem­ple; onely there is this difference between that union, which is between Christ the corner stone and the living stones, and the corner stone and superstructory stones of material buildings: Every beleever is as neerly united to Christ as any beleever. In other buildings some stones are more neerly united to the foundation then others are; but in this building every Be­leever is equally united to Christ the corner stone.

4. The horrible pride of the Papists. They are so intollerably proud, as to apply this Title to the Pope, making him the corner stone of the Church. They apply that in Esay 28. 16. to [Page 400] the person of the Pope, as if he were the foun­dation of the Universal visible Church. They say that the Pope is in the Church as the Sun is in the firmament, and that the ruining and shaking of the Pope, would be the shaking and ruining of the whole Church. The Scripture teaches us a better foundation. Both Prophets and Apostles were ignorant of this Romish foundation; they built not on the Pope, but on Christ, Eph. 2. 20. The Pope is the corner stone of the Apostatical Church, not of the A­postolical Church, He is the foundation stone of the adulterate Church, not of the chast Church; he is the foundation of the Syna­gogue of Satan, not of the Spou [...]e of Christ. The Church would be sure to fall, if it had so weak and so wicked a foundation as that man of sinne is Christ did not say, upon thee Peter, but upon this rock will I build my Church, Mat. 16. 18. Peter, whose successor the Pope boasts himself to be, did publickly preach Christ, not himself the corner stone, Acts 4 11. It is no ho­nour, but a great disgrace to be a stone of that building, whose foundation stone is the son of perdition.

5. Behold from this Text the truth of the two natures of Christ. The Scriptures teach that Jesus Christ is both God and man. Both these na­tures are asserted in this Text. The Divinity is confirmed from the close of the verse, He that beleeveth on him shall not be confounded. If Christ were not God, it were idolatry to beleeve on him. No meer creature is without sin, to be relied upon without sin. And then the truth of his humanity appeares from hence, that he is the corner stone of the spiritual building. He could [Page 401] not be a part of the spiritual house, if he were not of the same nature with the other stones of the building, so often as you read faith in Christ required, beleeve his God-head, and as often as ye heare him called the corner stone of the Church; beleeve the truth of his man­hood.

6. The greatnesse of Christs strength. The Scripture doth attribute Almighty power to Christ as well as to the Father. His name shall be called the mighty God, Esay 9. 6. The strength of Christ appears by the great works he hath done and doth do. He set up the world by his power, Without him was not made any thing that was made. John 1. 3. He doth by his power­ful providence govern the world; Providence belongs to Christ as well as to the Father; My Father worketh hitherto, and I work, John 5. 17. And then his power appears in this, that he is the chief corner stone that upholds the Church; if there were not Almighty power in him, such a burden would break him to pieces. Next to the bearing of his Fathers wrath; no such hea­vy burden, as the susteining of all the concern­ments of the Church. Consider what a vast fabrick the Church is, it's a very huge building. And then consider what potent enemies it hath, a world of wicked men, legions of powerful Spi­rits; and then consider how weak every stone is in it self. And then consider the multitude of its concernments, and it will appear, that he that bears up this building, must needs be a per­son of vast and infinite strength. Thou hast laid strength (saith the Prophet) on one that is mighty, Ps. 89. 17.

7. The nearnesse of Christ to his Church. The [Page 402] Name of the Lord is called Jehovah Shammah, Ezek. ult. ult. Christ hath promised to be with it for ever, Mat. 28. ult. He seemes sometimes to be far off, to try how his people will carry themselves in his absence; the nature and in­genuity of the childe is best seen in his Fathers absence. But though he seem to be at a distance, yet he is neere; he may be out of their sight, but he is never out of their call; The Lord is neer to all them that call upon him. This Meta­phor sheweth this, the corner stone is not farre off from the roof, and yet Christ is neerer to his people, then the corner stone is to the next stone of the building. He is not onely with them, but in them, Iohn 17. 23. Thus much for In­formation.

2. For Exhortation. It commends these four things to all us Christians.

1. Take heed of building upon any other founda­tion. The Evangelist makes mention of a double foundation, which our Saviour speaks of at the close of his Sermon on the Mount, Matth. 7. 24. 26. The rocky foundation is onely one, name­ly Jesus Christ, or which is all one, faith in Christ. The sandy foundation is manifold.

Some build their hopes of salvation on their good works. This is the foundation of the Papists. They hope to be saved by their doing. They may do well to consider what the Scripture saith of this foundation, Luke 17. 10. And Romans 9. 30, 31, 32, 33. building on works is not a divine, but a humane foundati­on.

Some build upon outward profession. This is the foundation of carnal professours. They may do [Page 403] well to consider what our Saviour saith, Luke 13. 26, 27.

Some build upon their good meanings. They have as good a heart to God as the best. This is the foundation of ignorant Protestants. What­soever foundation of salvation, grace or com­fort, besides Christ, is laid, is a sandy foundation, and will appear to be so at the day of judgement. The Apostle cuts off all other foundations be­sides this, 1 Cor. 3. 11. He did not speak igno­rantly, for he saith, v. 10. that he was a wise Master-builder. They are not wise Master-build­ers, but ignorant botchers that build, or teach others to build, either hope of comfort, or of salvation upon any other foundation. In one word, all foundations of salvation besides Christ, how spacious soever they be, will prove at last foundations of damnation, Arminian, Socinian, Popish corner-stones will moulder.

2. Acknowledge upon whom all your spiritual good doth depend. All your graces, all your com­forts, all your priviledges are bottom'd on Christ. Christ lies as the foundation of all. The Scripture affirms all our good to be bottom'd on Christ.

  • Our Election, Eph. 1. 4.
  • Our justification, Eph. 5. 1.
  • Our Adoption, Eph. 1. 5.
  • Our Salvation.

He is called not onely a Saviour, but salvati­on in the abstract, Esay 62. 11. say ye to the daughter of Zion, behold thy salvation com­eth. What ever good we have, or hope for, it is for Christ and from Christ. He is made to us of God wisdom, righteousnesse, sanctification, [Page 404] redemption, as the Apostle saith, 1 Corinth. 1. 30. that you sink not, it is from Christ a­lone.

3. Cast the care and burthen of all your concern­ments by faith on Christ. There are two Texts of Scripture enjoyning this duty; the one is in the Old Testament, the other in the New. That in the Old Testament is in Psalme 55. 22. Cast thy burden on the Lord, and he will susteine thee. That in the New Testament, is in 1 Pet. 5. 7. Casting all your care on him. Those two words Burthen, Care, take in all our concernments whatsoever. There are many burthens, as, a burthen of sinne, a burthen of duty, a burthen of suffering, a burthen of losse, a burthen of successe, issues and events are a heavy burthen sometimes. Lay all this on Christ. And then how many cares is a be­leever liable unto? A crowd of cares comes in daily. Cast these by an act of faith on Christ. He is the corner stone, he hath under­taken to bear the burthen of all. You honour him, as well as ease your selves, by casting all on him, the stresse of all.

4. Be stable. Stedfastnesse is often commend­ed to Christians, as 1 Corinth. 15. ult. Be stedfast, unmovable, and 2 Pet. 3. 17. Let those stones totter and shake, that have a shaking founda­tion. The instability of beleevers is some dis­paragement to Christ, the corner stone on which they are built.

3. For consolation. This may comfort be­leevers.

1. Against their own weaknesse. Who that [Page 405] knows his own heart, but findes his graces weak? Every temptation shakes him, as if it would shake him to pieces. Remember to thy comfort, Christ is the corner stone of thy grace, as well as of thy salvation. He hath strength though you be weak.

2. In case of the totterings of the Church. Such blasts arise sometime to threaten its ruine. Remember the corner stone; yea he is the corner as well as the corner stone.

1 PET. 2. 6.Christ the chief corner stone, elect, and XX. SERM. at Mary Wol­noth. [...]ond. Jan. 16. 1652. precious.

I Proceed to the properties of this Corner-stone, First, it is an Elect stone. Secondly, 'tis a precious stone.

For the first, Elect. This word hath a double signification. It sig­nifies choice, excellent. And it signifies elected, or chosen. Gerhard thinks [...], in this place is used not participially for elect or chosen, but no­minally for excellent and precious. But I ra­ther conceive that it is here used participially, for elected or chosen. This signification have our Translators given it. I am induced to think it is so used here for two reasons.

1 Otherwise this and the next word [...], would signifie one and the same thing. And it's not probable that the holy Ghost in such short speeches should use two words to signifie the same thing.

2. Because ver. 4. of this Chapter, where the same words are used, this word signifies not choice, but elected o [...] ch [...]n, for so it's said [...]. Now this Text is but a re­capitulation [Page 407] of what is there said. It refers to the act of God in chusing Christ for the cor­ner stone of the Church. The point is this.

Doct. That Iesus Christ is chosen by God for the corner stone or foundation of the Church. God the Father hath elected him for this ser­vice.

Here are two things to be opened.

  • 1. What this election hath reference to.
  • 2. Why Christ was thus elected.

1. For the former. This election referres to foure of acts God concerning Christ.

1. To his eternal designation of Christ to this work. The everlasting determination of God was, that Christ should perform this office in and for his Church. Of this our Apostle speaks, in 1 Pet. 1. 20. [...].

2. To his publick mission. As he was foreor­deined before all time, so he was publickly sent in the fulnesse of time, Gal. 4. 4, 5. The Scrip­ture often mentions the mission of Christ, Esay 61. 1. he hath sent me, &c.

3. To the divine unction. God hath anointed the humane nature, filled it with all grace and with abundance of grace for this work. The Prophet speaks of this unction, Esay 61. 1. and more fully, Esay 11. 2, 3, 4. This is that which our Saviour calls, Gods sealing of him, John 6. 27. This sealing refers to two things.

First, the solemne appointment of God. God hath authorized him publickly under his broad seale for this work.

Secondly, God hath furnished him for the work, by communicating to him the fulnesse, the unmea­surable [Page 408] fulnesse of his Spirit. For the Spirit is not given to him by measure, John 3. 34.

4. To the publick testimony given by God to Christ. God hath given very solemn Testi­mony and approbation to Christ.

(1) By audible voices from heaven, once at his baptisme, Matth. 3. 17. A second time at his tranfiguration, Mat. 17. 5.

(2) By serious recommendation of him in the Gospel to men, that they should rely upon him. The Evangelist makes mention of this 1 Iohn 5. 10, 11.

2. For the latter. The great moving cause is, his meer mercy to his Elect. No other was able, Christ was sufficient to discharge this great work. Out of his rich love did God chuse him, upon this hinge all turns, Iohn 3. 16.

But if the reasons be demanded why Christ should have such solemne election, &c. These may be considered.

1. The offices which Christ undertook, did call for this divine Election; he was to be Prophet, Priest, King, fit therefore it was that he should be thus solemnly set out. Prophets must be sent, else they are none of Gods, Ier. 23. 21. Christ was a Prophet, therfore he would have a formal Autho­rization from him whose Prophet he was, Deut. 18. 18. Christ was a King Psalme 2. 6. Therefore fit he should be sufficiently authorized, hence is that, Psalme 110. 1. Christ was a Priest, there­fore he must be lawfully consecrated, Heb. 5. 4, 5, 6. no man taketh this honour, &c.

2. Else that which Christ did would not have been accepted of God, nor would it have been meritorious for his Church. It would have been sacriledge for Christ to have made himselfe a [Page 409] corner stone, if God had not chosen him for the work. This is my well beloved Sonne in whom I am well pleased, Matth. 3. 17. God would not have been well pleased with Christ, if he had not elected him for the work he undertook. And then

3. For the comforting of Christ, in undergoing that which he was to suffer for the carrying on of this work. He must endure the wrath of God, the contradiction of sinners, before he could be the corner stone. Divine appointment comforts a man in the hardest sorrows, Gen. 31. 9. Thou saidst, return to thy country. The consi­deration of this, strengthned and comforted Christ in all he suffered, John 18. 11.

The Uses of this.

1. The Father and holy Ghost have a hand in the work of mans salvation, as well as Christ, we scarce take notice of the Father in the work of redemption, as if he only did look on and approve what Christ did, he acts in it as well as Christ; he chose Christ, he sent out Christ, he fitted Christ for this great work. Though the second person was he that was incarnate, yet both the first and third person concurre and contribute to the work. The divine e­lection is the first wheele that moves in this work.

2. That the work of our salvation by Christ, is not a rash work. 'Tis not a work of inconsi­deration, or precipitancy, but a serious work. There was much deliberation, and consultation about it. Here is mention of electing Christ. [Page 410] It's a work of infinite and unsearchable wisdom. The mystery of godlinesse the Apostle calls it, 1 Tim. 3. 16. The manifold wisdom of God, Ephes. 3. 10. here is depth of wisdome in this work.

3. That the Elects salvation by Christ is a work well pleasing to God. It's called the pleasure of the Lord, Esay 53. 10. It is a great contentment to God to see it carried on; it cannot be o­therwise, when he himself hath elected Christ to it. That which a man chuseth and con­trives, he is pleased when it is carried on. God that hath chosen Christ for the foundation, will carry on the work in his hand.

4. Why Christ is called Gods Elect and Gods Ser­vant, Esay 42. 1, 2. not as if he were inferior to God in regard of his divine nature, Zech. 13. 13. Phil. 2. 6. but because he is chosen of God to be the foundation; He is chosen to be the head of the Election, all the Elect are cho­sen.

5. Let us with confidence cast our selves on Christ. Can we chuse better then God hath chosen? 'Tis an undervaluing, not onely of Gods love, but of his wisdom to chuse another foun­dation. God will take it ill if we reject his choice. Adventure on him you may. Believe and trust in him without doubting. He that hath elected Christ, will not reject those that accept and relie on Christ. The Election of God will mightily aggravate the refusal of Christ. Encourage faith by this, He that beleeveth in him shall not be ashamed.

6. Very great comfort to them that have [Page 411] built on Christ. God doth not chuse mouldring stones, but firme stones. If God have any wisdome to chuse, Christ is suf­ficient to beare all their weight. He hath laid help on one that is mighty, Psalme 89. 19. Let what blasts will come, this Elect stone will hold.

1 PET. 2. 6.XXI. SERM. at Mary Wol­noth. Lon. Febr. 13. 1652. [...] Precious.

I Go on to the second proper­ty of this corner stone, as it is laid down in this word [...], precious. The word here used [...], signifies that which is of great worth or value in it selfe, and that which is much prized and esteemed by another. A thing and a person may be valuable in it self, and not valued by others. And then a thing may be highly in it self esteemed, which is of no great worth; but this word signifies both, That it denotes the worth of things or persons, you may see, Luke 14. 8. When thou art bidden to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room, lest a more honourable man then then be bidden of him, [...]. That it signi­fies [Page 412] the valuation, or high esteeme of things or persons appears from Phil. 2. 29. The Apostle writes to the Church about Epaphroditus that they would receive him, and (saith he) hold such in reputation, [...]; make much of such, let them be deer to you. 'Tis opposed to [...], which signifies one of no esteeme or account amongst men. The Observation is this.

Doct. That Jesus Christ the chief corner stone of the Church is exceeding precious. As he is a stone of Gods chusing, so he is a choice stone. He is therefore precious because he is of Gods choice. Christ is a corner stone precious in him­self, and it is our great sinne, if he be not pre­cious unto us. Christ is not onely [...], pre­cious, but he is [...], of very great price, Matth. 13. 46. What is that pearle of great price, but Jesus Christ himself, for the obteining of whom a wise Merchant will readily part with all that he hath. Nothing is worth a mans All, but Jesus Christ. But in comparison of him, all things (even the best) are nothing worth. Jesus Christ is a precious stone, as well as an elect stone.

In the handling of this Doctrine, I shall open two things for Explication.

  • 1. In what respects Christ is precious.
  • 2. Why he is so meanly esteemed by the great­est part of men.

1. For the first. Christ is precious in foure re­spects.

1. He is precious in the account of God. Jesus Christ is the delight both of the Father and of the holy Ghost. God values him as a pearl of great price.

[Page 413] (1) He is in Scripture called the Son of his bosome. The onely begotten Sonne who is in the bosome of his Father, John 1. 18. As men and women shew their esteeme of jewels and pearls by wearing them at their bosome, so doth God testifie his high esteem of Christ by laying him in his bosome. The Sonne of God never was, never will be out of the bosome of the Father.

(2) The publick testimony which God gave from heaven to Jesus Christ at his baptisme, is an evidence of the high esteeme he hath of him, Mat. 3. 17. This is my well beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.

(3) He is so precious in Gods account, that the Father will accept of none but through him, nor will he reject any, whom he recommends to him.

(4) The great designe of God in the Gospel is to put honour upon Christ. He commands all men to honour the Sonne as they honour the Father. All the good he bestows upon men is in Christ and through Christ alone.

(5) The Father would never have put such a trust into his hands, as the redeeming and saving of the Elect, if he had not been of precious ac­count in his sight.

(6) His present session at Gods right hand in heaven, is a full and manifest proof how dear he is to him. God hath set him there as a testi­mony of the highest account of him, 1 Pet. 3. 22.

2. He is precious in the esteeme of the Angels. The Angelical host did him honour at his birth, Luke 2. 13, 14. They tuned their instruments and sang with a loud voice, Glory be to God in [Page 414] the highest. As God hath commanded them to worship him, Heb. 1. 6. so they do continually worship him. They are ready at his beck to do his will. They do ascend and descend upon the Son of man, John 1. 51. Not as if they ministred to Christ alone, but because out of respect to Christ, and to do him honour, they do at his com­mand go forth to serve his Church as he gives them charge. The Angels worship the Sonne with the very same aderation wherewith they worship the Father. Christ is very high in their books.

3. He is precious in the esteeme of the Saints. Whether ye take it of the Saints triumphant, or of the Saints militant; for the Saints triumphant, see how they adore him, Rev. 5. 8, 9. And the Saints militant, they have an high esteeme of him. They glory and triumph in him. They venture their whole salvation upon him. They disesteeme all other things in respect of him. I account all things (saith the Apostle) but losse for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, Phil. 3. 7, 8. They are joyful when they can have communion with him. See what follows in the verse after the Text, unto you that beleeve he is precious; he is but a nominal be­leever that doth not account Christ precious. See how the Church speaks of him, Cantiles 5. 10. He is white and ruddy, the chiefest of ten thousands.

4. He is precious in himself. This I shall shew you in these three particulars.

1. In the glory of his person. Never did such a person appear in the world as is Jesus Christ. He is truly God, and truly and properly man. The Divine and humane Nature never hypo­statically [Page 415] met in any person, besides the person of Christ. The Apostle saith of him; that he is the brightnesse of his Fathers glory, and the ex­presse image of his person, Heb. 1. 3. He is the head of principalities and powers, Col. 2. 10. The highest and most glorious of the Angels being compared to Christ, is but a dark and a fullied creature. He excels the Angels in the glory of his person, far more then they do the meanest of men. All the Divine attributes are appropriated to Christ as he is the Son of God, as well as to the Father. He is eternal, Micah 5. 2. His goings forth are from everlasting. He is immutable as the Father is; Heb. 1. 12. He is omniscient, Heb. 4. 13. He is omnipotent, Esay 9. 6. In one word, he is as God every way e­qual to the Father, Phil. 2. 6. There are such mysteries in the person of Christ, as shall be matter of admiration both to men and Angels to all eternity. There is in Christ [...], though not [...], identity of person, and diversity of natures, and these united with­out composition and confusion, both natures reteining their distinct properties, and yet both making but one person. This is the first.

2. In the glory of his qualifications and endow­ments. Jesus Christ is endued with such rare gifts and graces as never any before. See how the Scripture expresseth it, Psalme 45. 7. God e­ven thy God hath anointed thee with oyle of glad­nesse above thy fellows, Col. 2. 3. In him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, Col. 1. 19. It plea­sed the Father, that in him all fulnesse should dwell. The fulnesse of grace in Christ excels the fulnesse of all other persons in these three respects.

1. In him are all kindes of fulnesse. He hath not [Page 416] onely the fulnesse of parts, but the fulnesse of degrees also. The best of the Saints have onely the fulnesse of parts. There may be additions made to their fulnesse. But in Christ is fulnesse of degrees. There can be no additions made to his fulnesse. The Spirit which is given to o­thers in measure, is given to Christ without mea­sure, John 3. 34. And then

2. In Christ there is the fulnesse of redundancy as well as the fulnesse of sufficiency. All other per­sons have onely a fulnesse of sufficiency. The Angels albeit they want nothing which is agree­able to their estate, yet they have no overplus to redound to others. But now in Christ is the fulnesse of redundance; he hath not onely the fulnesse of the vessel as others have, but he hath the fulnesse of the fountaine, whereby he is able to communicate unto others, Zech. 13. 1. A fountaine shall be set open for sin and for unclean­nesse. He hath the fulnesse of the root, the fulnesse of the heap, the fulnesse of the Sunne. Hence it is that men are invited to him, to be made partakers of his fulnesse, Esay 55. 1. All the fulnesse that is in the Saints, is communica­ted from him to them, according to that of the Evangelist, John 1. 16. Of his fulnesse have we all received, and grace for grace.

3. All this fulnesse which is in Christ, is in him after a peculiar and special manner. The Apostle sets this out by that phrase of dwelling, Col. 1. 19. That expression notes a threefold difference in fulnesse, as it is in Christ, from fulnesse, as it is in the Saints.

(1) 'Tis in him originally. That fulnesse which is in the Saints, is in them derivatively. They have it from another, Christ hath his fulnesse [Page 417] from himselfe. The Divinity doth fill and re­plenish the humanity with all kindes of grace.

(2) 'Tis in Christ essentially. As he is God, his fulnesse is his essence. Therefore doth the A­postle say, that the fulnesse of the God-head dwels in him [...], bodily, Col. 2. 9. that is, person­ally and essentially.

(3) Tis in him unchangeably. It is main­tained constantly at the same height. It doth not abate, nor is there any potentiality of aba­ting. It's alwayes high tyde with Jesus Christ. That fulnesse which is in the Saints, is the ful­nesse of a dish, which is abated, if one drop be taken away; but the fulnesse of Christ is as the fulnesse of the fire, which though it kindle hundreds of sticks, yet is not abated; or as the fulnesse of the Sunne, which though it send down its beames continually upon the world, yet the light of it is not darkned. Never any person endowed with so many excellencies in such a measure after such a manner as Jesus Christ. No perfection can be named or imagi­ned, which is not to be found transcendently in Jesus Christ; wisdome, beauty, meeknesse, pa­tience, heavenlinesse, &c. All Christian vertues are called the vertues of Christ, 1 Pet. 2. 9. [...], both because they were all eminent­ly in Christ, and because as they are in the Saints, they are communicated from Christ. This is the second.

3. In the worth of his sufferings. The Scrip­ture calls the blood of Christ, [...], 1 Pet. 1. 19. 'Tis precious, not onely because of the dignity of the person who shed it, called there­fore [Page 418] the blood of God, Acts 20. 28. but be­cause of the great value and merit of it, and because of the precious effects of it. By the vertue of this blood which Christ shed, remissi­on of sin is purchased, the redemption of the Elect is perfected, Rom. 3. 25. Heb. 9. 12. By his own blood he entred once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. By the pre­ciousnesse of this blood is God and man recon­ciled, Col. 1. 20, 21, 32. By this blood is the conscience sanctified, Heb. 9. 14. By this blood is the way to heaven opened for all the Elect, Heb. 10. 19. The sufferings of Christ are so pre­cious, that if ten thousand worlds were, there would be redundancy of merit in Christ to save them all. This is the third.

2. For the second. Christ is so meanly esteem­ed of by men, of the greatest part of men, be­cause of three things, viz. Ignorance, Pride, Pre­judice.

1. They are ignorant of him. The greatest part of the world is quite blinde in spiritual things, 1 Cor. 2. 14. As in other spiritual things, so in this of the worth of Christ. A blinde man can see no more excellency in a precious stone then in a common stone. A blinde Christian can see no more worth in Christ, then in ano­ther person. This you may see from that que­stion, which is propounded by the daughters of Jerusalem, Cant. 5. 9. What is thy beloved more then another beloved, O thou fairest among women? &c. Their very question bewrays their ignorance; had they known any thing of him, they would not have said, What is thy beloved? [Page 419] The wisdome of the Gospel, whereby Jesus Christ is made known, is hidden wisdom, 'Tis wisdom in a mystery, 1 Cor. 2. 7, 8. which none can un­derstand but those that are savingly enlighten­ed. This ignorance of Christ under which the greatest part of men are held, ari­seth

(1) Partly, from the negligence and slothfulnesse that is in men. They are idle and will not take paines to study the Word of God, which sets out Christ. They cast the Scriptures from them. Our Saviour saith, John 5. 39. That the Scriptures testifie of him; men do not search this blessed book as they should; either they read not at all, or else they reade superficially; they do not pray that God would discover Christ to them in and by the Word. Hence they are ig­norant of him.

(2) Partly, from their Atheistical unbelief of what they heare reported by others. Though they cannot but hear sometimes the reports of Christ in the publick Ministry, yet they will give no ass [...]nt of faith to them, but oppose and reject them as the fancies of men. This is that which the Prophet alledgeth, Esay 53. 1. Who hath beleeved our report, and to whom is the arme of the Lord revealed? Ex iis qui Evangelicum audiunt vix centesimum quemque fidelem fore, saith Calvin upon the place. Scarce the hundreth part of those that heare the Gos­pel do yeild a cordial assent to the Gos­spel.

(3) Partly, from a judiciary hand of God upon them. God usually punisheth voluntary blind­nesse with a penal and judiciary blindnesse. This [Page 420] is that which the Prophet is taught of God, Esay 6. ult. Go and preach to this people, saying, Seeing, ye shall see, and not perceive; and hearing, ye shall heare, and not understand, &c. The A­postle makes application of this Text, to the un­beleeving Jewes, who would not receive what he had with so much clearnesse proved concern­ing Jesus Christ, both out of Moses, and out of the Prophets, Acts 28. 23, 24, 25, 26. When men that live under the Gospel shut their own eyes, God doth ratifie it by an act of his justice, and saith, Be thou blinded for ever. When a man hardens his own heart, God is pleased to ratifie it in heaven, and saith, Let that heart never be softned. See that of our Saviour to this pur­pose, John 12. 37, &c. Now because men neglect the study of the Gospel which shewes what Christ is, because they refuse to assent to, and close with what the Ministers of God report out of the Gospel concerning Christ, because God punisheth the voluntary blinding their eyes, with a judicial blinding, therefore do they remaine ignorant of the precious­nesse of Christ. And because they are ig­norant of him, therefore they disesteeme him.

2. Their pride. The greatest part of men, e­ven of those that live under the Gospel, are puft up with arrogancy and self-conceit. They dreame that they are in so good a condition al­ready that Christ cannot make them better. They are ful of vaine confidences; some fleshly boast­ing or other they have in their hearts; some carnal City of refuge they erect for themselves besides Christ, and this makes Christ lesse pre­cious [Page 421] to them then he would otherwise he. We are the circumcision saith the Apostle, which worship God in the Spirit, and rejoyce in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh, Phil. 3. 3. He that creates any fleshly ground of con­fidence to himself (and all confidences are fleshly which are not bottom'd on Christ;) such a man will not much rejoyce in Christ Jesus. Now there are in the mindes of men abun­dance of false confidences and carnal imagi­nations; the Apostle hints at them, though he do not expresly name them, 2 Corinth. 10. 4, 5. There are many significant words used by the Apostle, [...], munitions, fortifi­cations, strongs holds, [...], reasonings. Abundance of fond reasonings are in the mindes of men; they reason themselves into heaven upon very poor and slender premisses. [...], strange heightnings of themselves have men in which they rejoyce, which will be found groundlesse another day, [...], Swarmes of foolish thoughts have men by nature, which they bandy up and down in their soules. One man makes wealth his strong hold; Another reasons himselfe in­to heaven because of some Church Privi­ledge; A third is mightily heightned up­on his civil righteousnesse; A fourth thinks all is well with him, because others have a good opinion of him. Every man by nature abounds with some or all of these. There­fore is Christ so mean and inconsiderable in their esteeme.

3. They are prejudiced against Christ. Though no man hath any reason or good Argument [Page 422] against Christ, yet have they many preju­dices which they take up against him. And these prejudices lay him low in their hearts. What those prejudices are, I shall name when I come to handle that in the eighth Verse, where Christ is said to be a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence. I shall shew what prejudices men have against his Do­ctrine worship, followers, &c. And while prejudices lie against Christ, he will never finde that esteeme which is meet. A man can never think highly of any person or thing against which he hath taken up a prejudice, though they be never so deserving. Ahabs prejudice against the Prophets of the Lord, would not suffer him to heare them, 1 Kings 22. 8.

1 PET. 2. 6. XXII. SERM. at Mary Wol­noth. Lon. Febr. 20. 1652. [...] Precious.

I Proceed to the Uses which are 1. Information. 2. Examination. 3. Exhortation.

1. For Information. This teach­eth a twofold lesson.

1. The exceeding great glory of the Church of Christ. The Scripture tells us that the Church of God is a glorious body. Though the Church (taken in its more large acception, as it contains all visible professors) be in many respects lesse glorious, because o [...] the mixture that is in it, it being a field, wherein is both wheat and tares; Mat. 13. 24 25. Mat. 3. 13. Mat. 13. 48. a barn floore, wherein is both good corn and chaff; a net, in which are fishes good and bad; yet the Church of God, more strictly taken for the number of them that are effectually called the invisible Church, is a very glorious society; The Apostle calls it a glorious Church, Eph. 5. 27. [...]. It's glorious as in regard of the holinesse of the members, so chiefly in re­gard of Christ the glorious foundation. A house whose corners are laid with precious [Page 424] stones, and whose superstructory stones are all lively stones, must needs be glorious. Never such a building in the world as the Church of God is. See how the Evangelical Prophet de­scribes it, Esay 54. 11. O you afflicted, tossed with tempests and not comforted, behold I will lay thy stones with faire colours, and lay thy foun­dation with Saphires, &c. 'Tis much like that description which is made of it, Rev. 21. 10, 11, 12 &c. Every thing which is in the Church makes for the glory of it. Glorious in its mem­bers, who are cloathed with the glory of God; glorious in regard of the worship which is there used, and of the Ordinances there dispensed, in regard of the Doctrine there there main­tained. Calvin I remember, understands by those precious stones mentioned, Esay 54. 11, 12. The variety of the gifts and graces of God to his people. Paul understands by the same precious stones the doctrine taught in the Church, 1 Cor. 3. 11. The Church is glorious, both in respect of the doctrine, and of the various gifts and gra­ces of God dispensed amongst the members of it. But the great glory of all lies in the foundation-stone, Jesus Christ. That must needs be a preci­ous building, which hath its foundation on such a precious stone as Jesus Christ is, who it as far above all precious stones, and a great deale more, then they are above common stones. For the setting out of this, consider how Christ excels all other precious stones.

1. He excels them in largenesse. Other pre­cious stones are but of a small dimension, and of a very little weight. You may put many of the largest, that ever were seen, into a small Cabinet, but Jesus Christ is very great. As God, [Page 426] he is infinite without dimension, filling heaven and earth with his presence. See how the Pro­phet speaks of the infiniteness, and incomprehen­siblenesse of Christ in regard of his divine nature, Esay 40. 12, 13. Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand? and meted out the heaven with a span? and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountaines in scales, and the hills in a ballance. That all this is spoken of Christ, appeares from verse 11. where he is prophecied of, as the Shepherd of his flock.

2. He excels them in duration. Other pearles and precious stones are of a perishing nature, they may be defaced, broken, dissolved; they may lose their beauty. There's a day coming when they shall be melted away into nothing. Cleopatra dissolved a pearle of very great worth, by the Art of Chymistry, and drank it at one draught to her Antonius. But Jesus Christ is a durable precious stone. Neither time nor eternity will be able to dissolve this stone; His beauty cannot be lost or dimished; He never will have any flaw, or crack, or spot in him, in the eyes of those that are able to judge aright of him. His brightnesse is an unfading brightnesse. The heavens and the earth fade, and wax old like a garment, but Jesus Christ is still the same, and his years have no end, Heb. 1. 11, 12. And

3. He excels them in the multiplicity and perfe­ction of his properties. There is not any preci­ous stone that hath all excellencies and vertues in it. Some excel in one property, some are ex­cellent for another vertue. Whether their me­dicinal vertues be considered, or their other [Page 426] excellencies, as their colour, their forme, their roundnesse, &c. One excels most in this kinde, another in that. But the vertues and excel­lencies of all pearls and precious stones meet in Christ. Whatsoever perfection is to be found in any created stone, the same is to be found in Christ. The properties of the Saphire, the Diamond, the Chrysolite, the Sardonix, the Amethist, and of all other stones meet in Christ alone. And then they are all in him in a farre more transcendent manner then they are in any of these. His brightnesse is above the bright­nesse of the Diamond, his whitenesse far ex­ceeds the whitenesse of the Pearl. The medi­cinal and physical properties that are in Christ, are far more excellent then those that are in o­ther precious stones. Some Pearls, they say, do strengthen the heart; others clear the sight; o­thers remove the vertigo or dizzinesse of the head, and many other useful properties are recorded by learned men; but none of them are so excel­lent in any of these kindes as Christ is, for he removes and heales the distempers of the soule and minde, as well as of the body; he cures the spiritual eye-sight, Rev. 3. 18. He cures the troubles of the conscience, which no other pre­cious stone can do, being never so artifici­ally used. He being rightly applyed and taken, cures the soul of sinne, removes guilt, which none other precious stone can do. The neck­lace of pearle cannot cure the wounds of con­science, the girdle of diamonds cannot remove tremblings from the spirit; the costly jewel in the bosome cannot quiet the heart, throbbing for sin or Gods departure; all this Christ can do. And

[Page 427] 4. He excels them in this, that he hath no hurtful qualities. Other precious stones have a killing quality, powder of diamonds they say is poysonful, put in the bowels or throat, takes a­way life presently. But Jesus Christ hath no de­structive quality. He is occasion of hurt to none, but to him that refuseth him. Put all these together, and it will appeare, that the Church of God which is erected upon, and united unto such a precious foundation, must needs be a glo­rious Church.

2. The great riches of true beleevers. A mem­ber of Christ, how poore soever he is in regard of outward riches, yet he is the richest man in the world, for he doth possesse Christ, who is a stone of invaluable worth. If you knew a man had an estate worth all the precious stones in the world, you would account him a very rich man. A believer hath one precious stone in his possession, which is of greater worth then all the precious stones, which now are, or ever were in the world. When other men boast of their jewels, do you boast of your Christ. When others tell you what rich sparkling dia­monds they have, do you bring out this preci­ous stone and lay it before them. When you hear other men speaking of the costly foundation of their houses, do you think what a glorious foundation your soules are built upon. He that wants Christ is the truly poore man, whatever he enjoyes. He is rich, we say, whom God loves, he is rich that inherits Christ; if thou haddest thy house full of diamonds, thou wouldest judge thy self a wealthy man. If Christ be thine, thou hast much more. I counsel thee to buy of [...]ne Gold that thou mayest be rich, Rev. 3, 18. 'Tis [Page 428] not the gold of the earth, but Christs gold that makes men rich. Though thou hast no house to put thy head in, not a footbredth of land to tread upon, though thou hast not one penny in thy purse, yet if thou art a true beleever, thou art more wealthy then the greatest Emperour or Monarch in the world, that hath not Christ for his portion. Thou hast a precious stone which wil serve to spend upon to eternity, & never waste nor diminish. Thus much for Information.

2. For Examination. Let us try whether Jesus Christ be precious to us. Many are deceived in their thoughts about Christ. Abundance think they esteeme him to be a precious stone, who do indeed account him but an ordinary stone. It will be necessary therefore to lay down some notes to distinguish a true esteeme of Christ from a false esteeme. I shall name these four, viz.

1. Whether you are willing to part with eve­ry thing you have, that you may enjoy Christ? Our Saviour layes this down as an evidence of a real prizing of Christ, Mat. 13. 46. he went and sold all that he had and bought it. Not as if Christ were our purchase, for he is the Fathers free gift, John 3. 16. but the meaning is, that he that esteemes Christ as a pearle of price, will let nothing stand in the way between him and Christ; he will part with every thing, ra­ther then go without him. By this the Apo­stle Paul evidences his esteeme of Christ, Phil. 3. 7, 8. What things were gaine to me, those I counted losse for Christ, &c. He that esteemes Christ aright, will leave all his sinnes for Christ. He will leave his honours and preferments in the [Page 429] world, when he cannot keep them and Christ together: as that noble Marquess [...] did, he will part with all his morality, civil righte­ousnesse, rather then not enjoy Christ. No termes are hard, no conditions difficult, so that Christ may be possessed. He that will not let every thing go that hinders him from Christ, doth not esteeme Christ truly precious. That young man in the Gospel did declare that Christ was not precious to him, because he would not part with his riches to enjoy him, Luke 18. 23. He went away sorrowful, for he was very rich.

2. What desire have you of fellowship with Christ? He that esteems Christ precious indeed, thinks he hath never enough of Christ. The Church testifies her dear esteeme of him, by her passionate desire of communion with him, Cant. 1. 13. Abundle of myrrh is my welbeloved to me, he shall lodge all night between my breasts. The breast is the place of affections. There the heart is, that shall be Christs Chamber; preci­ous stones that are valued, are laid up in the sa­fest Cabinet. Where Christ is valued aright, he is laid up in the best Cabinet, the very heart. The soul that values him aright, is never wea­ry of his presence. He will neglect no oppor­tunity, he will misse willingly no meeting, where he thinks Christ may be found. Tell me, O thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest! Cant. 1. 7. Jesus Christ is much in the thoughts of him that truly esteemes him; he is never at ease, but when Christ lies with him; he likes no discourse so well as that that hath Christ in it. He is a man even swallowed up with the medi­tations of Christ.

[Page 430] 3. Is every thing of Christ precious to you? He that hath right appreciations of Christ, doth account him every way precious. His precepts are as precious as his promises; his life is as precious as his death; his holy steps are as precious as his blood. Many men think they account very highly of Christ, who do in­deed account meanly of him. They cry him up in his sufferings and satisfaction, and cry him down as much in his obedience. The promi­ses of Christ are sweet, but the precepts of Christ are bitter. His meritorious death is high­ly extold; but his exemplary life is but meanly accounted of: his Priestly office is glorious to them, but his Kingly and Prophetical offices are contemptible. They would have Christ to save them, but they desire not Christ to sanctifie them. They do indeed cry up Jesus, but they cry down Christ. They prize his blood, but they despise his graces. They like Christs in­tercession, but they do not like his Sovereign­ty; they would have him glorifie them in hea­ven, but they will not allow him to command them on earth. All such partial prizing of Christ is no prizing of Christ. As the right receiving of Christ is to receive him wholly, so the right prizing of Christ is to prize him whol­ly. He is not prized at all, if he be any way despired. The Apostle tells us, that Christ is made unto us of God, wisdom, righteousnesse, sanctifi­cation, redemption, in 1 Cor. 1. 30. He that doth e­steem him aright, must esteem him in this latitude; he is to be honoured as much as he is a Sancti­fyer, as he is to be honoured as a Redeemer. The Church values Christ wholly, Cant. 5. 11, 12, &c. His head, his lock [...], his eyes, his hands, his lips, [Page 431] &c. Many do much value the hands of Christ by which he gives rewards, but they do not value the lips of Christ, by which he gives com­mands. A true prizer of Christ esteemes his mouth as much as his hands, yea he esteems the precepts of his mouth as well as the promises of his mouth.

4. What opinion have you of those that are like Christ? It is an eternal truth, that who­soever hath a right esteeme of Christ, cannot but value those that are like him, and that meer­ly because they have his image. Heare what the Apostle saith expresly to this purpose, 1 Joh. 5. 1. Every one that loveth him that begat, lo­veth him also that is begotten of him. He that saith he looks upon Christ as precious, and hates them that are like him, is a lyar, & the truth is not in him. God will set such men down not for the prizers, but for the despisers of Christ. Thus much for examination.

3. For Exhortation. This may commend se­veral duties to us all.

1. Blesse God for this precious stone. The more excellent Christ is, the more should our hearts he enlarged to blesse God for him. How exceeding great is his love to his Church, that hath laid for their foundation such a precious stone as Christ is; had he not greatly and dearly loved you, he would not have parted with this precious stone out of his bosome. He had given you nothing, if he had not not given you Christ, and now you have Christ he will not deny you any thing. The Apostle argues strongly, Rom. 8. 32. He that spared not his own Sonne, &c. how shall he not together with him al­so [Page 432] freely give us all things? God hath taken a­way all ground of questioning other things, from them to whom he hath given Christ. He that gives a man freely his best jewel, will not stick with him for a few common stones. Let not a day go over your heads without praises to God for Jesus Christ.

2. Let this encourage every one to build on him. We have encouragement enough to build on him, because he is elected of God; and en­couragement also, because he is so precious. Build not your salvation on those rotten stones of merit, or free-will, &c. but upon this precious stone Jesus Christ. He undoes himself, who leaves this precious corner-stone for any meane coner-stone which God hath never de­signed. He is an unwise Christian that refuseth a foundation of precious stone to build on a sandy foundation.

3. Whatever hath reference to Christ, let it be precious. The Apostle speaks of precious faith, 2 Pet. 1. 1. Faith is precious, because it layes hold on so precious a Christ, and on so precious pro­mises, and because it works such precious effects, &c. We should have a care that that faith which hath to do with Christ be actively precious. 'Tis precious when its right bred, and when it's active, when it's of the best sort. So love Christ with a precious love, not with ordinary, but with choice affection. Fear Christ with a pre­cious feare. Obey Christ with a precious o­bedience, that is, obedience of the best kinde. Worship Christ with precious worship. It will be another character that Christ is precious to us, when we have a care that every thing that refers to him be choice and precious. Cursed is the decei­ver, [Page 433] saith the Prophet, Ma [...]. 1. 14. that hath a male in his flock, and sacrificeth to God a corrupt thing: for I am a great King; that's the reason rendred. Gods greatnesse should make men offer of the best they have. Christ is a very precious stone. Whatever relates to him, its fit should be preci­ous as he is precious.

4. Esteeme more highly of him then you have done. Let your thoughts of him be raised and sublimate. Consider three things. 1. The more you prize him, the faster you will stick to him. He is easily seduced from Christ, that hath low thoughts of Christ. High appreciations will help us much against seduction. 2. The more you prize him, the better you will obey him. The esteem of a person maketh service done with more freedom of Spirit and readinesse of minde. 3. The more you prize him, the more cheerfully will you suffer for him; respect of the person for whom we suffer, makes hard and heavy burthens light. Amor meus crucifixus. No reproaches will damp that soule to whom Christ is precious.

1 PET. 2. 8.A stone of stumbling, and a rock XXIII. SERM. at Mary Wol­noth. Lon. March 13. 1652. of offence.

THe Apostle having in the former Verse declared what Christ is to beleevers; doth in this verse proceed to shew what he is to unbeleevers; he is to them a corner-stone, sanctified and ap­pointed of God, to support and bear them up against all shakings from within, and assaults from without; he is to these, through their disobedience and incredu­lity, a stone of stumbling, and rock of offence, upon which they dash themselves to pieces without recovery. Here are two words used, but they denote one and the same thing, onely they are doubled, to shew the certainty and rea­lity of the thing threatned.

[...] do not much differ in this place. [...] may denote a single stone, [...] a multitude of stones. And then for the other words,

[...] & [...], Though they do something differ in their Etymologies, yet as to the sense and meaning in this place they do not [Page 435] differ, as is well observed by Estius and other learned men.

[...] is from [...], to dash against a thing, it signifieth a stone or any other impe­diment cast in a mans way, against which he dasheth his foot, and so stumbleth or falleth. And then for the other word,

[...], it comes from [...] to halt, and is used for any thing which is an occasion of raine. Stephanus observes, that it is a word pe­culiar to Scripture, never used in any prophane Author. It signifies properly, as learned men observe the bridge in the trap, which by its fal­ling down catches, the creature in the snare, and so ruines it; and from thence is used to de­note any thing which is occasion to others of stumbling or falling in the wayes of God.

Now, offence or scandal is twofold. It is ei­ther Scandalum Datum, or Acceptum. Activè, or Passivè. Of­fence given, or offence taken.

1. Offence given, or Active scandal, is, when the errour or fault is on his part, which layes the scandal. This is twofold, Scan­dalum, Contristationis, Or Lapsus.

Scandalum Contristationis. An offence or scan­dal of grief when any thing is done or said which gives just occasion of sorrow unto our brethren. Of this the Apostle speaks, Rom. 14. 21. and v. 15.

Scandalum lapsus. An offence or scandal of falling is, when any thing is spoken or done whereby an occasion of sinning is given to our [Page 436] brethren. Of this the Apostle speaks, 1 Cor. 8. 9, 10, 11. This is done either by evil counsel, Mat. 16. 23. Rom. 16. 18. Rev. 2. 14. By evil ex­ample, Esay 9. 16. Mat. 15. 14. Or by abuse of Christian liberty, in the use of things indifferent, Rom. 14. and 1 Cor 8.

2. Offence taken, or passive scandal, is, when things or words which are both good and sea­sonable, are by sinister and perverse malignity of minde made an occasion of offence. Thus the doctrine of Christs crucifying was an offence and scandal to the Jewes, 1 Cor. 1. 23. It was foolish­nesse to the wise self-conceited Greeks, and it was a stumbling block to the malignant Jews.

Now when the Apostle saith, Christ is a stone of stumbling and rock of offence. We are to understand it passively, not Actively. Christ Je­sus, nor any thing of Christ, is no just occasion of offence to any; he lived and died without giving just offence to any. His counsel was good, his example was holy, his whole conversation was so ordered, that none could justly be of­fended at him. And yet through the wicked­nesse of their hearts, many did then, and do still, to their own ruine, take offence at him. The Observation is this, viz.

Doct. The Lord Jesus Christ is to wicked men a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence. Though Christ be in himself a precious corner-stone of Gods own appointment and chusing, yet do wicked men make him to be unto themselves a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence. It's very common and ordinary for wicked men to be offended, and to stumble at Jesus Christ. [Page 437] Many places of Scripture do make mention of the offence which the wicked should take at Christ. See Esay 8. 14, 15. Though these words be not spoken directly, yet they are spoken typically of Christ. Adumbratus fuit Christus, qui non instar arcis, sed offendiculi potius Israelitis futurus erat, saith Calvin upon the place. Though Christ be in himself a Sanctuary, and be so to the e­lect, yet to the ungodly and carnal, he is both a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence. As, many are gathered and saved by him, so shall many be broken, and snared, and taken because of him. To this agrees that old prophecy of Si­meon concerning Christ, Luke 2. 34. Behold, saith he, this childe is set for the fall and rising againe of many in Israel, and for a signe which shall be spoken against. And as it was foretold of him, so we read in the Gospel, that it was fulfilled concerning him; many were causlesly offended at him. In the handling of this point, I shall open these two things.

  • 1. What it is in Christ at which men stumble and take offence.
  • 2. Whence it is that they do take of­fence.

We shall shew first the matter of the offence. Secondly, the occasion of this causlesse of­fence.

1. For the first. There are many occasions of offence which men take at Christ, I reduce all to these three heads.

First, some stumble and take offence at his p [...]r­son. I mean the meannesse of his person. This was the great stumbling block of the Jewes. They looked for a Messiah of noble birth and Parentage, that should sway the Scepter of [Page 438] David with much outward pomp and glory. They expected that all those prophesies, which speak of the glory of Christs person, should have been literally fulfilled, therefore they took of­fence at him. His birth was mean, his paren­tage low and ordinary, his attendance small, his education and breeding contemptible, this made them stumble. The Prophet foretels this of the Jews, Esay 53. init. he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, &c. There is no forme nor comelinesse in him that we should desire him. They looked for outward splendor, and because they did not finde it, they were offended. The Evangelist speaks fully of this, Mat. 13. 54, 55, 56, 57. Is not this, say they, the Carpenters son, &c? They did not consider that the Son of man came not to be ministred unto, but to Minister, that he came to be a servant, that he was made under the law, and therefore were scandalized at his meannesse. We may adde to this his shameful and ignominious death which he suffered, this was a great offence to the Jews. They do to this day upbraid Christians with that curse, Jer. 17. 5. Cursed is the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arme. Christ crucified is to this day a stumbling block to the Jewes.

Secondly, some stumble at his Doctrine. The Doctrine which Christ preached, and which by his appointment, is published, is very glorious, yet it is an occasion of offence to the world. The Arians are offended at the Doctrine of his Divine na­ture. The Manichees at the doctrine of his hu­manity. The Socinians are offended at the do­ctrine of his satisfaction. The Papists at his do­ctrine of justification by faith alone. The Pelagi­ans [Page 439] and Arminians are offended at his doctrine, of nullifying the power of nature in things su­pernatural. The Antinomians stumble at his do­ctrine of the ratification of the moral law, &c. The Pharisees were offended at his doctrine a­gainst tradition, Mat. 15. 11, 12. But to come to particulars.

1. The strictnesse of his doctrine is a stumbling block to many. The doctrine of Jesus Christ is very strict, it condemnes not onely actual sinne, but the very sinful risings of corruption in the heart. He that looks upon a woman, saith our Saviour, to lust after her, hath committed adulte­ry with her in his heart, Mat. 5. 28. so v. 29. If thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee, &c. Duri sermones durioris Magistri, have some said of these words. They are hard sayings of a hard master. If we consider the duties of the Gospel, they are not onely barely to be per­formed, but they are to be performed cordially, sincerely, else they are not accepted. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy minde, and with all thy strength. Corrupt nature would have full swinge and liberty, the Doctrine of Christ will not allow it, therefore is offence taken at it.

2. The spirituality of his Doctrine offends others. The Doctrine of Jesus Christ in the Gospel is a very spiritual doctrine, John 6. 63. The words which I speak to you, saith Christ, they are Spirit, and they are life. 'Tis the honour of Christs Doctrine, that it is not fleshly, but spiritual, and they that are spiritual love it, because of its spi­rituality. You may see the spiritualnesse, and efficacy of the Word, Heb. 4. 12. it's quick, and [Page 440] powerful, and mighty in operation, sharper then a two edged sword, piercing even to the divi­ding asunder of soul and spirit, &c. Now be­cause men are carnal, they are offended at a spiritual word. The Apostle calls it [...], James 1. 21. A carnal heart doth not love the word should be an engraffed word. They are contented it should come into their eares, but they do not love it should sink into their hearts, therefore are they offended at it.

3. The mysticalnesse of his Doctrine, is a stum­bling stone to others. The Doctrine of Christ in his Gospel is a doctrine very mysterious, 1 Tim. 3. 16. 'Tis in many things above reason. The Doctrine of the Trinity of persons in the unity of essence, is above reason that God should be one, and yet three. The Doctrine of the the two natures in the person of Christ. These and many others are above reason. The do­ctrine of self-denial. The doctrine of losing a mans life to save it, the doctrine of regenera­tion, of the resurrection of the body, these are very mysterious. And because they are so, of­fence is taken at them, read John 6. 51, 52. how were the Jews offended, because he had preach­ed that, except men did eat his flesh and blood, they had no life in them? They strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? nay, not onely the Jewes, but ma­ny of the Disciples also were offended at this doctrine, v. 60, 61. The mysticalnesse and height of the Gospel, and doctrines of it do offend now to this day.

4. The simplicity of his doctrine is an offence to others. The Doctrine of Christ in the Gospel is laid down with great plainnesse. Though the [Page 441] Gospel be sufficiently Rhetorical, yet it is writ­ten with much plainnesse. The pen-men of Scripture did purposely avoid the entising words of mens wisdome, lest they should corrupt the hearts of men from the simplicity that is in Christ. 'Tis the excellency of the Gospel, that it is set down in plainnesse and simplicity. Painting is fitter for harlots then for chaste women. Na­ked truth is best; if other dresses be put upon it, it is corrupted. The wise Greeks stumbled at this stumbling stone. They thought Tully and Demosthenes were more eloquent then the Apo­stles and Prophets. The Apostle speaks fully to this, 1 Cor. 1. 17, 18, 22, 23. Many are to this day offended at this very thing, they think there are not those strains of wit in the writings of the Apostles as are in other writings, when as the truth is, the highest eloquence, is the eloquence of God in the Scriptures.

5. The severity of his Doctrine is a stumbling stone to others. The Law and Gospel do both threaten damnation for disobedience, and im­penitence. The axe is laid to the root of the tree, saith John, Mat. 3. 10. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit, is hewen down and cast into the fire. He that beleeveth not is con­demned already, Mark 16. 16. Many are greatly offended at this. They would have smooth things, but they love not this severity. They do not consider that as the Gospel is severe a­gainst sinne, so is it exceeding full of comfort to all penitent sinners. And then,

6. The consequences of his Dactrine is an of­fence to others. I shall onely mention two things which do ordinarily follow the doctrine of the Gospel, they are these.

[Page 442] First, reproaches and persecutions. Seldom do men receive the Doctrine of Christ in pow­er, but the devil and his instruments raise per­secution lesse or more against them. You may trace the Gospel by the blood of those that have professed it. They gnashed upon Steven with their teeth, saith the story, Acts 7. 52, 54. and at last stoned him with stones, that he died. Quid est predicare (saith Luther) nisi furorem po­puli in se derivare? To preach the Gospel, is to draw the fury of the world upon a mans self. And to professe the Gospel in sincerity and zeal, is to make a mans self a prey to the wicked. This offends many. Our Saviour foretels this. See two texts, Mat. 13. 21. and Matth. 24. 9. 10. The presecution which hath followed upon Christs Doctrine, hath made thousands scandali­zed at Christ.

Secondly, Divisions and contentions. Though Christ be the Prince of peace, and his Gospel the Gospel of peace, yet accidentally, by reason of mens corruptions it causes great divisions, Luke 12. 49. I am come, saith our Saviour, to send fire on the earth, and what will I, if it be already kindled? so Mat. 10. 34, 35. These are not the effects, but the consequence of the Gospel, it meets with mens corruptions, which, because they will not have destroyed, they are inraged. This offends many. Hence some have pro­fanely wished that the Bible were burnt, they have looked upon it as the great make-bate, and incendiary of the world. Thus is the Doctrine of Christ made a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence.

Thirdly, Some stumble and take offence at his Kingdome. I meane not onely at his internal [Page] Administration of his Kingdome by his Spirit in the heart, but also at the external administra­tion of it. I shall reduce all I have to say to these two heads.

  • 1. The government of his Kingdom.
  • 2. The subjects of his Kingdom.

1. For the government of his Kingdome. Mul­titudes are offended at this. The Officers by whom he hath appointed to administer this Kingdome. Men do take much offence, though causlesly at these, decrying, reviling them as if they were not of God. Ye take too much upon you, ye sonnes of Levi? all the Lords people are holy, Numb. 16. 3. All men are Ministers, all may preach; there's no such office as Minister in the Scripture. There's no such thing as Ru­ler in the Church. The censures they also give offence to many. Admonition, Suspension, Ex­communication, men are greatly offended at all these. The government is too strict, too se­vere, 'tis tyrannical, these are the bitter words of men. The holy Ghost foretold how men should stumble at the government of Christs Kingdom, Ps. 2. 2, 3. Let us break their bond [...] a­sunder, and cast away their cords from us. Christs government is a general offence.

2. For the subjects of his Kingdom. Men are offended at Christ, because of his subjects many ways. Consider these foure things.

1. Many are offended at their paucity. Though Christs subjects be many simply considered, yet comparatively they are but few. Narrow is th [...] way that leadeth into everlasting life, and there are very few that finde it, Mat. 7. 14. Satan hath a [Page 444] hundred servants to Christs one. Caleb and Joshuab onely entred into Canaan of all the men that came out of Egypt. This causes many to stumble at Christ. Shall we be wiser then others? This one man came in to sojourne, and he will needs be a judge, say those sonnes of Belial concerning Lot, Gen. 19. 9. It's a great scandal that so few come in.

2. Many are offended because of their meannesse and poverty. Few of the great men of the world submit truly to Christ. Not many wise, not ma­ny noble, not many mighty hath God chosen, saith the Apostle, but the foolish things of the world, &c. 1 Cor. 1. 26, 27. Our Saviour did foresee that this would be an occasion of stumbling to men, therefore he layes in a caveat against it, Matth. 11. 4, 5, 6. Go and tell John, saith he, what you have seen and heard. The blinde receive their sight, &c. and blessed is he that shall not be of­fended in me. The rich and wealthy oppose and re­ject Christ. Silk and Scarlet, Gold and Silver do very rarely follow Christ. This offends ma­ny, John 7. 48. say the Pharisees, have any of the Rulers beleeved in him, but this people that knoweth not the Law is accursed.

3. The miscarriages of which they are guilty. The best of Christs subjects being but sanctified in part; and having such a subtle divel to assault, do too frequently miscarry and fall into sinne. This causes many to be offended. Wicked men though they never observe the holy actions of the godly, yet they will observe their infir­mities. One sinne is more talked of then an hundred acts of holinesse. This is a stumbling block to the wicked. See what God saith of Davids sinne, 2 Sam. 12. 14. They that [Page 445] would learne nothing by Davids piety, did take offence at his sinne. Though it be un­reasonable that men should be offended at Christ for the failings of his servants, yet it is ordi­nary.

4. The sad Apostasie of those that have professed subjection to him. There are in Christs family many rotten-hearted profes­sours. The falling of these is an occasion why many are offended at Christ. Our Sa­viour speaks of this, Matthew 26. 56. The fall of such hardens the hearts of ma­ny against Christ and his Religion, John 6. 66.

Thus much for the first particular, the occa­sion of this offence.

1 PET. 2. 8.A stone of stumbling, &c. XXIV. SERM. at Mary Wol­noth. Lond. March 27. 1652.

SEcondly, Quae causa? How it comes to passe that so many are offended at Christ? The Rea­sons are such as these, viz.

1. Ignorance of Christ. Blind­nesse is one great cause of na­tural stumbling, John 11. 9, 10. If any man walk in the night he stumbleth, because there is no light in him. The spiritual blindness of the minde is one principal reason why the world stumbleth at Christ. They know not the glory of his person, they know not the excel­lency of his Doctrine, they know not the nature of his Kingdome, therefore they take offence at him. This is that which the Apostle men­tions, 1 Cor. 2. 8. This ignorance of Christ ari­seth partly from want of studying his Word. They do not search the record which is given to Christ in the Scriptures; partly, from their infidelity, they will not believe the report given of him, by such a have the knowledge of him. The Prophet speaks of this, Esay 53. init. The worlds blindenesse is the cause of the worlds offence. [Page 447] Consult those two texts, and the trath of this will appeare. The one is, Prov. 3. 21, 22, 23. The o­ther is Mat. 15. 14. The blindnesse of the Pha­risees did arise from the grosse ignorance of the Pharisees.

2. Precipitancy and rashnesse. Though a man have eyes to see, yet if he be heedlesse and rash, his foot may stumble in a plaine way. A carelesse eye occasions a stumbling foot. The greatest part of men are heedlesse in spiritual matters, They rush on as the horse rushes into the battel, Jer. 8. 6. The Scripture speaks of ponder­ing the steps of our feet. 'Tis the Wise-mans counsel, Prov. 4. 25, 26. Most men neglect this counsel in the things of Christ. They walk at all adventure, turning their eyes, now this way, now that way, and through their carlesnesse and in­discretion in not examining things, they take of­fence and fall. The Apostles advice is, to try, and prove all things, 1 Thes. 5. 21. Advisednesse and deliberation in the matters of God is a special vertue. Most men are of a hurrying spirit, and this makes them stumble.

3. Heart distemperednesse. A man that hath either un intoxicated head, or a diseased body, soon stumbles. Wicked men have hearts full of distempers. There are many unmortified lusts in their hearts, which they are not willing to part with, pride, passion, uncleannesse, &c. These are indulged. These they will not part with. They love some sinne better then Christ, and be­cause they cannot have Christ and their sinnes, they are offended. This is hinted to u in the text. Such as stumble at the Word, are said to be disobedient. He that allows any sinne unrepented of in his heart, will sooner or [Page 448] later stumble at Christ. See Luke 16. 14. The Pharisees who were covetous, derided Christ. Our Saviour tells them they could not serve God and Mammon, and they being given to covetousness were scandalized, and derided him, [...], they snuffed at him as the word signifies. Walking in uprightnesse, and being without of­fence are joyned together, Phil. 1. 10. An by­pocritical and profane heart will be a stumbling heart. He that walks up to the knees in mire may easily stumble. Wicked men walk up to the very loynes in the mire of sinful distempers, and this causes them to be offended at Christ. The way of the righteous (saith Solomon) is made plaine, Prov. 15. 19. It's raised up as a Causey. Godly men walk in plaine even wayes, wicked men walk in rough, uneven, myry wayes, there­fore they stumble at Christ. They are burthen­ed with the load of sinne, therefore they stumble.

4. Hatred of Christ. Hatred will take offence at every thing done or said by the person hated. As love doth interpret all to the best, so hatred interprets all to the worst. Ahab hated Mi­caiah, and therefore took offence at every thing he said. You may read the story, 1 Kings 22. 8. Now wicked men ha [...]e Christ with a perfect ha­tred. There is dissimilitude between Christ and them, and because of that cruel hatred. They are impure, Christ is pure; they are unholy, Christ is holy. As similitude breeds love, so dissimilitude creates hatred. You reade, Luke 19. 14. that Christs own Citizens hated him. Christ is hated not only by foreigners, but by them of his own houshold. Where there is hatred, there will be offence, Mat. 24. 10. Many shall be [Page 449] offended and they shall hate one another. Till the soul lay aside its hatred it will not cease to stum­ble at every thing of, &c.

5. Ʋnbelief. Infidelity is the cause of stum­bling. This may be gathered clearly from the text compared with the foregoing ver. unto you that believe he is precious, but unto them that are un­believers he is a stone of stumbling. Most men walk by sense, and not by faith▪ they see the out­side of Christ in his Gospel, but they do not see the beautiful inside of Christ, they see that in Re­ligion which appeares unpleasing and bitter; but they want faith to see that which is sweet and lovely, therefore they are scandalized.

6. The bad example of others. Examples have a very great efficacy and operation, whether they be good or bad; good examples are great strength­nings to them that are good; and bad examples are great provocations to them that are bad, the Apo­stle speaks of this 1 Cor. 8. 10. Asahels lying dead in the way occasioned a stop in the march of others, 2 Sam. 2. 23. One wicked man eyes the example of another, and because he sees that such and such were offended at Christ, especially if they be learned, wise, &c. he upon that very example takes offence likewise. Thus much for the expli­cation.

The Uses are for Information. Exhortation.

For information. It teacheth us these four les­sons.

1. This may fortifie us against being dejected because of the offence which wicked men take at as causlesly. It is too frequent to see wicked men scandalized at the people of God even for their holy actions. [Page 450] They are offended with you for your prayers, for your non compliance with them in their sin­ful wayes, for their strict observing of the Sabbath, &c. The Apostle mentions this, 1 Pet. 4. 4. The best actions of the godly are occasions of stumbling to the wicked. Well; this text may greatly help the people of God against being offended, so as to despond because of such causlesse offence. If Christ was a stone of stumbling is it any great matter if we be stones of stumbling? If they were offended at Christ, will they not be offended at us? It is enough for the Disciple that he be as his master. Gods people should take care that they give no occasion of stumbling to the worst of men; but if they will take offence at the holy practises, Gods people should set but very little by such offences, Mat. 15. 14. especially considering the close of the text; whereunto they were appoin­ted.

2. How unfit and incompetent Counsellors are wicked men in the matters of Religion? They may be Oracles in and about civil and worldly thing [...], but for the things of Christ they are of no judge­ment or understanding. Christ is to them a stone of stumbling, they dash themselves in p [...]eces upon him. They reject him, they despise him both in his person and doctrine, and therefore are not to be consulted much lesse followed in their ad­vice abort these matters. Artifice in su [...] arte con­sul [...]on. 'Tis a vaine thing to ask advice from men about those things wherein they have no skill. Wicked men have no spiritual true skill in the matters of Christ. They are more like to seduce us then [...]n direct us in these matters. 'Tis unsafe to make them our Counsellors who are [...]o prejudi­ced against the things of God. Who would put [Page] himself under the conduct of a blind man, especi­ally in a way which he had never travelled? The mischief of a wicked heart.

3. There is nothing so good but a wicked heart will turn it to its own detriment. As there is no thing so bad but a gracious heart will suck some good out of it, so there is nothing so good, but an ungracious heart will suck some hurt out of it. A wicked heart is like a spider, it will contract poyson out of the sweetest Rose. Nothing better then Christ, and yet a wretched sinfull heart will make him a stumbling stone; Word, Ordinan­ces, Promises, Mercies of all sorts are made pit­fals and snares by a naughty heart. A wicked heart undoes it self more by the mercies it re­ceives then by all its evils. Its a fearful impreca­tion of David against the wicked, Psal. 69. 22. Let their table become a snare, &c. A wicked heart is of sinful ingenuity and wittiness to undo it selfe by the best things.

4. This may be some relief to the poor Ministers when they see men scandalized and enraged against their persons or doctrines. Its a great grief to their sp [...]rits to think how the truths they preach fall under contempt, the administrations of Ordinan­ces divine quarrel'd at: well, it was so with Christ, his person that was b [...]tter then ours, his doctrine that was purer then ours, his admi­nistrations that were more glorious then ours were. If God will have his Ministers lye as stum­bling blocks upon which sinful men shall fall so as to destroy themselves, they must be content if God will have them preach, men judicially to im­penitency and hardnesse of heart, as Esay did Ch. 6. 10. they must bear it. Christ hardly preached a Sermon or made a prayer or dispensed any Or­dinance [Page 452] but the greatest part of them that were present, were scandalized at him. He was set for the fall of many in Israel, as well as for their rising, Luke 2. 37. If God will have his Ministers to be so to any, it is not strange, especially because they are, and shall be a sweet savour to God, both in them that perish, and in them that are sa­ved, 2 Cor. 2. 15.

2. For Exhortation. First, to the godly; and Secondly, to the wicked and ungodly.

1. For the godly.

First, Blesse God that Christ is not a stumbling stone to you. That neither his person, nor his do­ctrine, nor his Kingdome do offend you. The time was when you were off [...]nded with Christ as much as any; and if God should leave you to your selves, you would stumble upon him again. That you are enabled to close with his person, to embrace his doctrine, to submit to his govern­ment without offence, is a mighty mercy, espe­cially now, when so many are scandalized, Mat. 11. 6.

Secondly, Labour so to carry your selves, that ye may not occasion others to be offended at Christ, 1 Cor. 10. 32. Paul was very careful of it himself, Acts 24. 16 The sinfulnesse of Professours will make men take offence at Christ. The doctrine of Christ the government of Christ will be stum­bled at, if you have not care of your ways more then ordinary. If you take not heed to your selves, both in matter of opinion and practice, you will pave a way to make many fall upon Christ himself. Your miscarriages refl [...]ct dishonour both upon Christs person and doctrine. Give no offence saith Paul to the Corinthians, 2 Cor. 6. 3. That the Ministry be not blamed; Christianity [Page 453] will be blamed, yea, Christ himself will be bla­med, if you be not careful to avoid miscarria­ges. And besides you will be instrumental to damne the souls of your brethren for whom Christ dyed. Remember that of our Saviour, Mat. 18. 7. Wo unto that man by whom the offence cometh.

2. For the wicked. Take heed of making Christ any longer a stumbling stone. It's a very sad thing to stumble at Christ. Let me shew it you in these five particulars.

1. It's a very sinful thing. The sinfulnesse of it appears in this.

(1) It's a charging of wickednesse upon Christ. He that takes offence at Christ, what doth he but say, that there is something in Christ which is matter of exception? To make Christ a stumbling stone, is either to professe that Christ is blame worthy, or that thy self art foolish. What a high sinne is it to asperse Christ the holy one with any mis­carriage? he was holy harmlesse, undefiled separate from sinners, Heb. 7 26 And

2. Its the inlet to other sinnes. It hinders the soul, 1. From loving Christ with that love that love that is meet. 2 From obeying Christ. 3. From beleeving in Christ. 4. From recommending him to others. 5. From being thankful for Christ. 6. It turnes the soul upon the sinne of blaspheming and reviling Christ. 7 I [...] hinders the soul from suf­fering for Christ. He that stumbles at Christ is in the high-way to all kinde of sin against Christ; he may easily be perswaded to set up another Christ.

2. It's a very dangerous thing. It's dangerous in these two respects.

For first, It makes all that Christ hath done or suf­fered [Page 454] of no effect to us. He that stumbles at Christ cuts himself off from all the merits and benefits of Christs death, Resurrection, Ascension, Interces­sion. We may say of such a one, as Paul doth of circumcision, Gal 5. 4.

Nay, secondly, It makes Christ, damnation to a person. That of our Saviour is a dreadful Text, Mat. 21. 44. To turne salvation into damnation will be a double damnation; better to have been damned without a Christ, then to be damned with a Christ; better a thousand times to have been destroyed without a Redeemer, then to be de­stroyed by a Redeemer; better to die without a Saviour, then to die by a Saviour.

What should be done that we may stumble no more? 1. Get a clear knowledge of Christ. 2. Be acquainted with those that embrace him. 3. Be truly offended at sin. 4. Pray that God would root out of your hearts all occasions of offence. 5. Remember what Christ hath done for you, and what he is still a doing for you; His doctrines, his offices, his government; All that at which of­fence is taken, is for your benefit and salvation. 6. To take offence at Christ, is to stumble at Gods wisdom, mercy, goodnesse in giving Christ, and in fitting Christ.

MAL. 4. 2.The Sunne of righteousnesse shall arise XXV. SERM. at Mary Wol­noth. Lon. April 10. 1653. with healing in his wings.

THe Prophet Malachy hath in this book many contests with the Jewes for several impieties which raged amongst them. At the thirteenth verse of the for­mer Chapter he contends with them for their Atheisme and blaspheming of the providence of God. Your words have been stout against the Lord, and ye have said, it is in vaine to serve the Lord. They that work wickednesse are set up, and they that tempt God are delivered. Amongst other answers which the Prophet gives to this blasphemous charge; he tells them there was a day coming, when Gods dealings shall be manifest, that they themselves should discerne a clear differ­ence betwen them that served God, and them that served him not, ver. 18. This difference which should be made between the godly and the wicked, is amplified in the first verses of this Chapter; for, Behold the day cometh, &c. His dealing with the wicked and disobedient, is set down fully, ver. 1. The day of the Lord cometh, [Page 456] that shall burne as an oven. This day, though it be particularly meant of the day of Christs first coming, as is cleare by the context, ver. 5. which is by our Saviour himself interpreted of John Baptist his forerunner, Matth. 11. 14. yet as some good inte [...]preters think, it may have a further reference, namely, to the day of his se­cond coming, when all this shall be fully ac­complished. His dealing with the godly is set down, verse 2. 3. In which are two things.

1. The grea [...] happinesse which the godly should enjoy in thes [...] own persons, verse 2.

2. The conquest they shall obtaine over the wicked, verse 3. Ye shall tread down the wick­ed, &c.

In the happinesse which is promised to the persons of the godly, as it is set down, in this Verse we have these three things observable.

1. A description of their persons, unto them that fear my Name This is an ordinary and usual description whereby the people of Go [...] are di­stinguish [...]d from all others, Mal. 3. 16. Eccl. 8. 12. Isa. 50. [...].

2. The authour of their happinesse. The Sunne of righteousnesse.

3. The nature of their happinesse. This is set down two ways. 1. Generally, he shall arise up­on you. 2 Particularly, This is let down three ways. T [...]ere are three great blessings which they should enjoy by the rising of this Sun upon them.

(1.) Spiritual healing.

(2.) Spiritual freedome. Ye shall go forth.

(3.) Spiritual increase. Ye shall grow up as calves of the shall.

I shall wave the description which is here made of the persons of godly men. And proceed [Page 457] to the Authour of their happinesse, which is said to be, The Sunne of righterusnesse, for it is to o­pen this expression that I have now chosen this text; in the handling of which I shall have oc­casion to open the particular benefits which should accrew to the godly, healing, freedome, growth, The Sunne of righteousnesse. The Sunne is used in Scripture in a double sense.

1. Properly. For that creature which God hath set in the heavens, and called by that name, Psal. 136. 8.

2. Metaphorically, or improperly; and so it's used for several things, which carry some simili­tude to the natural Sunne. And thus its used seve­ral wayes.

First, for Gods special favour, Psal. 84. 11. The Lord God is a Sunne and shield.

Secondly, for comfort, Job 30. 28. I went mourning without the Sunne, that is, without comfort.

Thirdly, for prosperity and settled peace. Esay 60. [...]0. Thy Sun shall no more go down, neither shall thy Moon withdraw it self.

Fourthly, for eminency and height of condi­tion and state, Rev. 16. 8. The fourth Angel poured out his vial upon the Sunne, which Mr. Mede makes to be the Germane Empire, the Pa­pal Sunne of the heaven.

Fifthly, for Christ himself. So 'tis used in this text, he that is called the Messenger of the Covenant, chap. 3. 1. is here called the Sunne of righteousnesse. The Observation is this.

Doct. That the Lord Jesus Christ is the Sun of righteousnesse. Zacharias the father of John Baptist gives him a name parallel to this, Luke 1. 78. [...], The day-spring from on high [Page 458] hath visited us. In the handling of this Do­ctrine, I shall by way of Explication open these three things.

  • 1. In what respects Christ is called the Sunne.
  • 2. Why he is called the Sunne of righte­ousnesse.
  • 3. How he doth excell the natural Sunne.

1. For the first. Christ may be compared to the natural Sun in three respects.

1. In respect of his own person. The natural Sun hath a shadow of two excellencies which are in the person of Christ. As,

(1) His glory and Majesty. Of all the visible works which God hath made, there is not any so glorious as the Sunne; it's full of splend or, and glory: The Sunne is Anima munds, the very soul of the world. The brightnesse of the Sunne is so transcendent that the weak eye of man is dazzled with the beholding of it. See how David de­scribes this creature, Psal. 19. 5. He is as a bride­groom coming out of his Chamber. Never was any bridegroome, no not the greatest Prince in the world, in such attire on his wedding day, as the Sunne is every morning at his coming out of his Chamber. So glorious is the Sunne, that he draws all the eyes of men to look upon him at his appearing. The Lord Jesus Christ is a glori­ous person. The Sunne is but blacknesse if it be compared with Jesus Christ. His face is ten thousand times brighter then the Sunne when it is cloathed in its best apparel. He is the bright shining of his Fathers glory, and the expresse image of his person, Heb 1. 3. When he was transfigured upon the mountaine in the sight of his Disciples, [Page 459] the text saith, His face did shine as the S [...]nne, and his rayment as white as the light, Matth. 17. 2. Could we but see the face of Christ as it is now shining at the right hand of God, we should say the Sun were but like sackcloth in comparison of it; how much more bright is he in his God­head? this is so glorious, that no man can see it and live. The face of Jesus Christ is that which makes and constitutes the very glory of heaven. And then.

2. His omniscience. The Sunne in the firma­ment travels up and down, and beholds every part of the world. David saith, there is nothing hid from the heat of it, Psalm. 19. 6. Jesus Christ as he is the Sonne of God is perfectly omnis­cient. The Apostle speaks of his omniscience, Heb. 4. 13. There is no creature that is not ma­nifest in his sight, &c. Yea, he sees every thing not by moving up and down as the Sunne doth, but by one fixed and constant view. There can be no fence made to keep out the sight of his eye, he doth simul & semel, together and at once behold all creatures with all their motions, thoughts, and imaginations. This is the first.

II. In respect of his effects and workings upon his people. There is a great resemblance between the Suns effects upon the creatures, and Christs ef­fects upon his people. I shall instance in eight particulars.

1. The Sunne hath an enlightning vertue. The Sunne is the great luminary which God hath appointed and made to carry the light abroad to the inhabitants of the earth. The presence of the Sunne makes day. The Sunne is the great torch of heaven, by which men and [Page 460] other creatures see what to do, and where to go, Gen. 1. 14, 16. By his light we see it and all o­ther things: Jesus Christ hath an enlightning power, and doth actually enlighten the hearts of men. The soul is by nature in dark­nesse, and never sees till Christ beame down his light upon it. All men by nature in regard of spiritual light, are as that blinde man was, John. 9. 1. without any spiritual sight. They see neither sinnes, blacknesse, nor their own misery by rea­son of sinne. They see not Christs beauty, not graces excellency till their eyes are opened. They have thick skales upon their eyes, as Paul had before his conversion, Act. 9. 18. Therefore they are called darknesse, and their state a state of darknesse, Eph. 5. 8. Now Christ gives them light. When he riseth upon them savingly, then, and not till then do they see their condition, and the way out of it, Eph. 5. 14 As the Sun is speculum munds, the worlds looking glasse; so is Christ speculum Animae, the souls looking glasse. All spiritual light which is given to the soul, is in and thorough Je­sus Christ. So the Apostle tells us, 2 Cor. 4. 6. The Gospel is the vehiculum lucis, the great chariot that carries this light abroad, but the fountaine of it is this bright Sunne of righ­teousnesse Jesus Christ. Spiritual illumination is Christs work. This is that which the Evan­gelist saith, John 1. 9. John Baptist carried the [...]orch, but Christ himself was the light. Till this Sun be up, the soul lies in grosse darknesse, but when it appeares then light comes Presently, Esay 60. 1. When the glory of the Lord is risen upon the soule, then is darknesse expell'd, and the soul shines forth. The heart that is as dark [Page 461] as any dungeon; when the beames of this Sunne are darted down into it, is as light as a Paradise. Christ turnes Egypt into Goshen. And then,

2. The Sunne hath a warming vertue. Though it be not formally hot, yet it is hot in its effect. Psal 19. 6. The beames of the Sunne warme the earth and the ayre, the bodies of the ratio­nal and irrational creatures. Experience teacheth that the Sunne hath a heating power; the light and motion of it causes heat. The Lord Jesus Christ hath a warning vertue in him. The heart that is as cold as yee is heated and warmed by the influences of his Spirit into a good temper. The luke-warme heart, when Christ shines up­on it is set into a burning heat. The beames which are cast from Christ in his Ordinances, put the cold soul into a spiritual sweat. We have an instance of this in the two Disciples, Luke 24. 32. They were in a freezing temper till Christ overtook them, but when they had con­tinued a while in that spiritual sun-shine, their hearts were put into a violent flame. Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked with us by the way? The forerunner of Christ tells the Jews, that he that came after him, did baptize men with the holy Ghost and with fire, Matth. 3. 11. Christ can kindle the sparks of grace which seeme to be as dead, and put them into a burning flame. Many a Saint hath come to the Ordinances with his heart like the cold earth, and before he hath departed, Christ hath sent him away like a burning lamp; the cold water hath been put into a vehement boyling that the heart hath runne over again, eruct [...]vit cor meum, Psal. 45. 1. Peter grew cold at the high Priests fire when [Page 462] the beames of Christ were withdrawn, but when Christ shone upon him his cold heart was heat­ed, when Elisha had lien a while upon the Shu­namites dead childe, his flesh waxed warme, 2 King. 4. 24. Though a soule be as cold as death, if Jesus Christ do but once stretch himself upon it, it waxes warme. And then,

3. The Sunne hath a comforting vertue. The Sunne is in Scripture put for comfort, Job. 30. 28. To walk without the Sunne is to walk with­out comfort; and Solomon tells us, that it's a pleasant thing for the eyes to behold the Sun, Eccles. 11. 7. Weak and sickly persons, when they are brought into the Sunshine, finde their spirits cheered by it. The Lord Jesus Christ hath a heart-comforting vertue. He is the first inlet of comfort into the soul. He is the preserver of joy in the soule; and he it is that restores joy unto the soul after dejections and droopings of heart. Noah was herein a figure of Christ; see what his father Prophecies of him, Gen. 5. [...]9. Jesus Christ is the true Noah, the great com­forter of his people in all the griefs and sor­rows of this world. Christ is the foundation of all true comfort to thy soule. Tolle Christum, tolle sol [...]um, that reconci [...]iation which he hath made between God and man, is the very basis of all consolation. Whatsoever in God, in the Scriptures yeilds any comfort to the soul, is so on [...]y in and through Christ. that comfort which is not built upon Christ, is bastard comfort, which will end in terrour. The Spirit of God is called the comforter, John 15. 20. his office is immedi­ately to cheer the soul. How doth he comfort but even by making application to the soul of a sinner of that which is merited for him? All [Page 463] the arguments whereby the spirit comforts the heart are drawn from Christ, he seales up to the soul that Christ is his, and so fills it with comfort. And then,

4. The Sune hath a healing vertue, this is in the text. There would be no health amongst men or any other living creatures, if there were no Sunne. The world would be a Hospital if the Sunne were not.

First, the Sunne dries up cold moistures, exhales vapours which would infect the bodies of men and other creatures.

Secondly the Sunne helps on the growth and vegetation of all healing plants, and in both these respects hath healing in his wings. The Lord Jesus Christ hath a healing vertue; he heals both as medicine and Physician. His blood is the Physick that heals, and he himself is the Physi­cian that applies it to the soul. The Scripture speaks of Christ as a healer, Esay 61. 1. He heals the soul of the guilt of sinne by the grace of ju­stification, and he heales it of the filthinesse of sin by the grace of sanctification. The Prophet Esay speaks of this, chap. 53. 5. By his stripes we are heal­ed. If Christ do but lay his hands upon the dis­eased soul, it is cured whatsoever infirmitie be upon it. The very border of his garment, if it be but touched with a hand of faith, cures all the bloody issues of the soul. You have a rare cure done by the touch of Christs garment, Mat. 9. 20. There are thousands of soules in heaven that have found perfect cure of strange diseases under the wings of Christ. And then,

5. The Sun hath a melting and softning vertue. Though it patch and harden the clay, yet it softens the wax; the hot beames of the Sunne melt the [Page 464] yee, and mollifie the ground when it's frozen into hardnesse. The Sunne when it was up melted the Manna, Exod. 16. 21. The Lord Jesus Christ hath a melting and softning vertue; if he do but send down one hot gleam upon the soul, it's dis­solved and melted like wax. We have an exam­ple of Christs softning vertue in Peter, Luke 22 61, 62. his heart was grown as hard as yee by his threefold denial of Christ, and yet one beame from the eye of Christ thawed this yee into teares. The Lord turned and looked upon Peter, and he went out and wept bitterly. Christs eyes are like a flame of fire, Rev. 1. 14. These heavenly beames of Christ are able to turne the flint-stone into springs of water. Those three thousand mentioned, Acts 2 37. were as hard as marbles, for they had their hands in the blood of Christ, v. 36. yet when Christ did shine upon them in the minstery of Peter, they are so soft that any frame may be put upon them, Men and brethren what shall we do? The Jaylor, a rough hardned sinner that drew blood from the backs of the Apostles; yet when Jesus Christ did but spread his hot wings upon him even at mid­night, how is he softned? Acts 16. 29. 30. he that was lately like a stone, is now like wax, a­ny impression may be put upon him. There is not the most stiff necked sinner in this or any o­ther Congregation, but if Christ put out his pow­er, he can distil him into tears of repentance. And then,

6. The Sunne hath a vegetative vertue, It doth bring on the growth of plants and flowers, and all vegetables. The Sunne darws the sap from the root into the branches, and makes it th [...]ust out into buds, blossomes, and fruit, and [Page 465] when the fruit is knit, it ripens it and brings it on to perfection. This is mentioned, Deut. 33. 14. To this Bildad alludes. Job 8. 16: He is green before the Sunne, and his branch shooteth forth in his garden. Though the soyle be never so good, and the husbandry never so exact, yet without the Sunne nothing comes to perfection; the fruitfulnesse of the earth is to be ascribed to the Sun more then to the Earth or Tillage. Jesus Christ hath a vegetating vertue, he brings on the spiritual growth of every grace in the soul; did not this Sunne send down his beams the spi­ritual plantation would come to nothing. The Scripture attributes all Christian growth to Christ; he is the root which feeds grace; All supplie comes from him. God hath stor'd all our nourishment in Christ, from him to be com­municated as we stand in need. The Apostle sets this out in two texts, Col. 2. 19. Ephes. 4. 16. And the Prophet in the text makes it one effect of Christs rising upon the Saints. They shall grow up as the calves of the stall. You may thank Jesus Christ for the thriving of your graces, as well as for the planting of your graces, John 15. 5. And then,

7. The Sunne hath a purifying vertue. When your garments are mouldy, you hang them out in the Sunne; when your roomes are musty, you set open the windows to let in the Sunne that they may be sweeten'd. Jesus Christ hath a pu­rifying vertue, he makes the heart sweet, and he keeps it sweet. See how this Prophet describes him, Chap. 3. 2, 3. he is like a refiners fire, and like fullers sope, &c. When the heart hath ga­thered any defilement, when it growes mouldy and musty, there's no way to get the ill favour [Page 466] out; but to bring it under the shine of Jesus Christ. And then,

8. The Sunne hath an elevating vertue. By the heat and power of the Sunne are many things exhaled and lifted up from the earth, which o­therwise would lie there; many meteors and im­pressions there are in the aire, which are exha­led from the earth by the power of the Sunne: Jesus Christ hath an elevating vertue, he it is that doth exhale and lift up the earthly hearts of men to heavenly things and heavenly meditations. The heart of man naturally is so deep buried in the earth, that if Christ did not by his heat which he sends down in his ordinances lift it up; it would never have one thought of heaven: he hath an attractive power to draw up the hearts of men to himselfe, John 12. 32. It is from Jesus Christ that ever you had one serious thought of heaven or heavenly things. The Apostle applies our spiritual raisednesse to Christ, Col. 3. 1, 2. It is from Christ as the merit of it, and it is from him as the worker of it in us; the power of our spiritual resurrection at first is from Christ, and the power of Christ is that that helps us to raise our selves higher from day to day; did not Christ send down his exhaling power, we should lie like stones and never ascend, he descends and then we ascend.

III. Christ is called the Sunne, to shew the cleer­nesse of the Gospel worship, in respect of the legal dis­pensation God used towards the Fathers. This is Calvins Note upon the text; God did never shine so clearly to the sonnes of men in the per­son of Christ. The Ceremonial Law with all the appendixes thereof, was but dark: Gospel worship is clear. The Apostle compares the Law [Page 467] to a shadow, Heb. 10. 1. that was but Moon light or star light, Gospel worship is Sun-light, 2 Cor. 3. 10. The Patriarchs saw Christ, and hoped in him, and were saved by him as well as we, but it was more darkly: In the Gospel the heavens were opened wider then ever. God did never ma­nifest himself so fully and clearly to the world as he hath done by Jesus Christ. The Apostle speaks of this Heb. 1. 1. [...], Hence is that of the Prophet to the Gospel-Church, Isa. 60. 1, 2. 19. 20. All former light was but like the dawning light of the morning in respect of this mid-day light of the Gospel. The Gospel Revelation is full, and perfect. John 1. 18. God was declared before, but never so fully as by Christ. The fathers looked for additions, but Christ brought to light the whole will of God: No further Revelation is to be expected till we come to heaven, 2 Pet. 1. 19.

MAL. 4. 2.‘The Sunne of righteousnesse shall arise with healing in his wings.’

SEcondly, for the second, Christ is called the Sunne of righteousness in two respects;

1. In regard of himself. He is the holy and just one. He hath not, nor ever shall have the least spot of unrighteousnesse in his own person; he was born righteous and innocent: That holy thing that shall be borne of thee, shall be called the Son of God, so saith the Angel to the Mother Virgin, Luke 1. 35. [...] is more then [...]. It hath the force of the abstract. And he lived and dyed righ­teous. The Apost [...]e speaks of him, Heb. 7. 26. As of one holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners. He was without spot and without guile, made like un­to us in al things sin only excepted. Satan himself, though he be the father of lies, and full of bitter enmity against Jesus Christ, is forced to give this testimony to him, that he is the holy one of God, Mark 1. 24. He could neith [...]r have redeemed himself from death, nor have saved us from the wrath of God, if he had not been perfectly righ­teous.

[Page] 2. In regard of his Elect; He is their righteous­nesse: so the Prophet calls him, Jer. 23. 6. Je­sus Christ is the beleevers righteousnesse two wayes.

1. He is their righteousnesse in regard of justi­fication. It is thorough the Imputation of his righteousness unto them, that they are made righteous in the sight of God; God looking upon them as invested with the righteousnesse of Christ, accounts them righteous. Of this the Apostle speaks, Rom. 3. 21, 22, 25, 26. All ar unrighteous in themselves, and it is through him alone that they come to be righte­ous.

2. He is their righteousnesse in regard of san­ctification. Of this the Apostle speaks, 1 Cor. 1. 30. where he tells us, that Christ is made unto us, of God sanctification, as well as righteousnesse; Jesus Christ may be as truly called our righteous­nesse of sanctification as well as of justification. He is so in four respects.

(1) He is the meritorious cause of it, Eph. 5. 25, 26. Grace is as truly the purchase of Christ as glory; he hath brought holinesse for us, as well as heaven: sanctification is no lesse the price of Christs blood then salvation. We are 1 Cor. 1. 2. sanctified in Christ Jesus, propter Christum saith Piscator, i. e. propter satisfactionem il­lius.

(2) He is the material cause of it. It is by the blood of Christ that the filthinesse of the soule is done away. Christs blood is the soules laver in which it is washed and made white, Heb. 9. 14. And then,

(3) He is the exemplary cause of it. Our sanctification is according to that copy or pat­tern [Page 470] of holinesse which is in Christ himselfe. This is the meaning of that speech of the Apostle, Joh. 1. 16. As the print which is made upon the wall answers the engraving or stamp which is up­on the seal; so doth the believers holinesse answer our holinesse of Christ, not in degree and mea­sure, but in kinde and quality.

(4.) He is the efficient cause of it. 'Tis Christ that doth by his spirit through the Ordinances work holinesse in his Saints. He stubs up the roots of sinne and sets the routs of grace in the soul. Of this the Apostle speaks 1 Cor. 6. 11. And it is he that doth both preserve it and carry it on from one degree to another til it come to perfection. So that both in regard of his own person and in re­gard of his elect, he is called the Sunne of righte­ousnesse.

This is the second particular. 3 For the third. Christ excels the natural Sun in these eight parti­culars, viz.

1. The natural Sunne shines but in one hemi­sphere at once. Though it circuit about the earth in a little time, y [...]t it doth not sh [...]ne in all places at once. Yea there are some parts of the world in which the Sunne doth not shine for many moneths together. Though it be a great body, yet the wings of it are not large enough to com­passe the earth all at once, when it riseth to us it sets to our Antipodes, But now Jesus Christ is able to shine over the whole earth at once. Though there be many parts of the world in which Christ hath never appeared, yet his wings are large enough to over-spread the whole earth. This Sunne of righteousnesse shines in England and in America and all the Christian world o­ver at the same moment of time. That which is [Page 471] said of the land of Judea concerning the King of Assyria, Esa. 8. 8. That the stretching out of his wings should fill the bredth of the land, is true of Christ in reference to the whole world; The stretchings out of his wings are able to cover the breadth of the whole world at one moment.

2. The naturall Sunne gives light but not sight. If a man want the benefit of seeing, he hath no more benefit by the Sunne, in respect of seeing; then if there were no Sunne at all, but the Sunne-beames descend with never so much power upon a blind Bartimeus his eyes will not thereby be o­pened. But now this Sunne of righteousnesse hath a power to give sight as well as light, he did in the dayes of his flesh open the eyes of many that were naturally blinde you read of one, Joh. 9. of two others, Mat. 20. 30. 34. And he doth still open the eyes of them that are spiritually blinde. It was he that by Ananias opened the eyes of Saul, Acts 9. 17. The truth is, no man doth ever spiritually see till the beames of the Sunne descend upon him, he is the spiritual day-spring that gives them power to see who are un­der the power of the grosse darknesse of sin and iniquity.

3. The natural Sunne hath endamaging qualities as well as healing qualities. It is many times of­fensive and prejudiced both to men and fruits.

(1.) It doth fully and deface the beautiful countenance of men, Cant. 1. 6. If the eye of the Sunne do but look upon us directly, it chang­es the colour of the face into a sworthy hue.

(2.) The hot beames of the Sunne do some­times by their vehement shining make men faint, [Page 472] when the Sun beat upon the head of Jonah, he fain­ted, Ch. 4. 8.

(3.) The fruits of the earth are many times scorched and withered to nothing by the violent heat of the Sunne, Mat. 13. 6. If God do with­hold the raine, and send out the burning heat of the Sunne, the fruits of the earth mourn and lan­guish. But now Jesus Christ the Sunne of righte­ousnesse hath no hurtful quality, his beames nei­ther make the face black, nor the spirits faint. He ripens the fruits of grace in the soul, but he ne­ver withers them, his beames are destructive to none but to such as will not suffer him to shine upon them. Those fruits that have no root, Christ withers, but where there is root and [...]p, the beams of Christ are never prejudicial. The Sunne hath a hardning vertue, but Christ never hardens any, unlesse it be by accident, because they will not suffer his beames to enter into their hearts. 'Tis rather the want of Christs beames, then the pre­sence of them, that occasions hardning in any heart.

4. The natural Sunne is the creature of this Sunne of righteousnesse. Jesus Christ as he is God, made this Sunne that shines in the Firmament, and put into it all the glory which is in it. For the Evan­gelist tells us, that all things were made by him, and without him was not made any thing that was made, Joh. 1. 3. He gave it both the light and heat which it gives to us. He hath set and appointed it the course which it runs, and which it hath run since its creation, and he doth by his provi­dence order its setting and rising for the good of the world. He is the light of all that light which the Sunne hath He is the fountain both of the being and preservation of all that influence which [Page 473] the Sunne doth cause to descend upon the world. The dependence of the Sunne of righteousnesse is upon himself, but the dependence of the natural Sunne is upon him.

5. The natural Sunne doth communicate his light and heat equally to all. He shines as much upon the house and lands of the wicked as he doth up­on the righteous. He doth impart and dispense his influences alike to all, in the same manner and in the same measure. This our Saviour notes as an act of the bounty of God, Mat. 5. 45. But now it is not so with Jesus Christ the Sunne of righteousnesse; He gives light and heat to one and not to another. Though all that live under the shining of the Ordinances do receive so much from Jesus Christ as is sufficient to leave them without excuse, yet doth he cause peculiar beames to fall upon the hearts of some which do not fall upon another.

He shines upon one only to conviction, on ano­ther to conversion. He shines only upon the eares of some; He lets down hot gleames into the very hearts of others, 2 Cor. 4. 6. We have an instance of this in Paul, and those that were in company with him, Act. 9. 6, 7. They saw the light, and heard a voice too, a confused voice which they did not understand, and therefore chap. 22. 9. Paul saith, they heard not the voice of him that spake. They heard an inarticulate sound or a confused voice, but they knew neither who spake nor what was spoken, therefore they heard the voice, and yet heard it not; but now Paul both heard the voice and understood it, and was con­verted by it, which we do not finde recorded of any of the rest. Some common beames doth Christ cast forth upon all, but his special beames [Page 474] and influences are imparted to none but the E­lect. Nor is this any derogation to the freeness of the grace of Christ, or to the fulnesse of it. The fulnesse and freenesse of grace consists more in the greatnesse of that he bestowes, then in the multitude of them that enjoy what he gives them: Read of hidden Manna, of a white stone and a new name which Christ gives to some and not to others, Rev. 2. 17. This Sunne of righte­ness shines sometimes on one in a house and leavs the rest still in darknesse.

6. The natural Sunne is an inanimate thing. Though it be in some sence called the fountaine of life, yet it is in it self without life. It hath nei­ther the rational, nor the sensitive, nor the vegeta­tive life. And in this respect the least-living crea­ture is more glorious then the Sunne; a living dog is better then an inanimate jewel. But now Jesus Christ is a living Sunne. This Sunne of righteousnesse hath life as well as light and heat, Joh. 1. 4. All that spiritual life which is in the soul is communicated from Christ, and preserved by Christ, the soul is dead till it be imbreathened by Jesus Christ. And hence it is that Christ is so often in Scripture called our life, as Col. 3. 3, 4. because he gives and maintaines both the natu­ral and spiritual life. Yea the brightest beame the soul ever had from Christ here, is but a little glimpse in respect of what shall be in heaven. There he shall shine.

  • (1.) Perpendicularly.
  • (2.) In all his strength.
  • (3.) Without over-casting.

7. The natural Sunne is the servant of men. It is called Shemesh in the Hebrew, from a root that signifieth to minister because it is the great ser­vant [Page 475] of the world in giving light. But now Jesus Christ is not our servant, but our Lord, whom men and Angels must worship. It is grosse Idolatry to worship the natural Sunne. Job vindicates himself from it, chap. 31. 26. Josiah demolished all Sunne worship in his reformation, 2 King. 23. 5. Its idolatry to worship the Sunne, but its grosse impiety not to worship Christ, the very Angels of heaven are commanded to worship him Heb. 1. 6.

8. The natural Sunne is onely useful for the time and state of this life. Whether the heavens shall be abolished and annihilated at the day of judge­ment or only renewed; is a great question amongst learned men. If they shall be only renewed (as they probably will be) yet they shall not be use­ful to men in that way they now are. The glori­fied bodies of the Saints have no need in heaven, of the light of the Sunne to shine upon them as now they have, Rev. 2 [...]. 5. The Saints in heaven shall be above the shining of Ordinances and a­bove the shining of the natural Sunne? Every glorified body shall shine as the Sunne in the King­dome of their Father. They shall be farther above the Sunne, then the Sunne is now above them. But the Sunne of righteousnesse is useful in hea­ven; the Saints shall have the benefit of Christs shining upon them for ever and ever. This Sunne of righteousnesse shall cast his beames upon the soul and body glorified for ever, Rev. 7. 17. All the glory of heaven is communicated to the Saints through the Lord Jesus Christ.

The uses of these are Information. Exhortation. Consolation.

[Page 476] 1. For Information, It teacheth us these foure lessons.

1. Behold from hence the glory of the Gospel. The Apostle calls it [...] the glorious Gospel, or the Gospel of glory, 1 Tim. 1. 11. The Gospel is exceeding full of glory; there's nothing in it but that which is very glori­ous. This is enough to proclaim the glory of it, because in it the Lord Jesus Christ is discovered; the Gospel is the Orbe in which the Sunne of righteousnesse shineth, it is the Chariot in which Christ rides. It is the Golden vessel which carries this glorious light about the world. The Gospel is the true Bethshemesh or house of the Sunne: it is called the Word of Christ, Col. 3. 16. Be­cause by this Word Jesus Christ is discovered and manifested to the world. David doth admire the heavens for this, that in them God hath set a Tabernacle for the Sunne, Psal. 19. 4. The Gos­pel is that glorious Tabernacle which God hath set and established for this great Sunne of righte­ousnesse. Where the Gospel is not, Christ is not known, remove the Gospel, and Christ the Sunne of righteousnesse is totally removed.

2. The exceeding great glory of heaven. The Scripture makes mention of heaven as of a glori­ous place. Amongst other things this shewes the glory of it, that this Sunne of righteousnesse shines in it, Rev. 21. 23. and 22. 3 This will fur­ther appear if we consider how far Christs shin­ing in heaven dazzels his shining here on earth. I will instance in these three particulars.

1. In heaven Christ shines upon the soul immedi­ately. There is nothing to interpose between Christ and the soul; his shinings in this life are immediate through the Ordinances, We see his [Page 477] beames in this life through the thick glasse of Or­dinances, the Churh tells us the manner of his shining in this life, Cant. 2. 9. We have his beames here only by reflection, but in heaven they are immediately darted down upon the soul. There is no Temple in heaven, Rev. 21. 22. Christ himselfe is the Temple. Now if the mediate beamings of Christ upon the soul he so glorious? What abundant glory will there be in his imme­diate shinings!

2. In heaven he shines with his full strength up­on the soul. All have here on earth but small beames of this Sunne; A beam in one Ordinance, and a beam in another, here a little and there a little, as we are able to bear it; the eye of the soul while it is unglorified, is not able without daz­ling to look upon Jesus Christ shining in his full strength. Thou shalt see my back parts, but my face cannot be seen, Exod. 33. 22, 23. but in hea­ven the soul shall be able to take a full view of Christs face, 1 Cor. 12. 12. All that ever we have seen of Christ in this world will be but darknesse in respect of that full sight of his glory we shall have in heaven.

3. In heaven Christ shines without intermission. The soul here doth often lose the sight of Christs face, every day is not a Sunne-shine day. There are some dark and gloomy dayes even to them that have the greatest interest in Christ, Esay 50. 10. but in heaven the Sunne is alwayes up. There are no clouds to Eclipse the light of Christs face in that region. There's no night in heaven, Rev. 27. 25. That which causes the soul here to lose the sight of Christ shall not be in heaven. No sinne enters into that holy place; if the immedi­ate, perfect, uninterrupted shining of Christ can [Page 478] make a place glorious, heaven is a most glorious place.

3. The miserable condition of those that have no interest in Jesus Christ, The Scripture makes it the top of all misery to be without Christ, Eph. 2. 12. This text beares witnesse to it; How un­comfortable would the world be if there were no Sunne? If God had not made the Sunne, the world would have been but an uncomfortable prison. What a muse and astonishment are men put into when the Sunne is Eclipsed but for a few houres? How doleful is their condition upon whom the Sunne of righteousnesse hath never ri­sen! They have neither spiritual light, nor spiri­tual warmth, nor spiritual healing, nor spiritual softnesse that are without Christ. They want both the righteousnesse of justification, and of sanctification that have not a saving interest in this Sunne of righteousnesse. There are no peo­ple upon the earth that stand in more need both of your compassions and prayers then those that want Jesus Christ. And they are so much the more miserable, because they want eyes to see their misery.

4. That there is no righteousnesse either of justi­fication or sanctification without Christ, he is called the Sunne of righteousnesse in both these respects, and therefore till he arise upon the soule, it hath no righteousnesse in either of these re­spects.

1. For the righteousnesse of justification. The Papists they teach and maintain that a per­son must have in himself inherent righteousnesse to justifie him before Gods tribunall. They say that Christs righteousnesse is not the proper cause of justification, but that whereby God is pleased [Page 479] to accept of the habits of righteousnesse in us, placing the matter of justification either in some­thing habitually inherent in us, or flowing from us. This Doctrine doth devest Jesus Christ of this name which God hath here given him. He is called the Lord our righteousnesse, Jer. 23. 6. If he be our righteousnesse, then we are not our own righteousnesse. I would not be found, saith a good Divine, in the righteousnesse of the best prayers I ever made at the day of judgement. To take off men from this Popish doctrine, I shall lay down these Arguments against it.

1. The righteousnesse of God and the righteous­nesse of man are opposed in Scripture as things incon­sistent in the matter of justification, Phil. 3. 9. To mingle these two together, were to wear a gar­ment of linnen and woolen, which God forbade in his Law. He that submits to the one cannot submit to the other. So the Apostle teacheth us expresly, Rom. 10. 3. he that trusts to the righ­teousnesse of man cannot trust to the righteous▪ of God. Our righteousnesse is that which we do in obedience to the Law, but Christs righte­ousnesse is that by which we are reckoned righte­ous in the sight of God.

2. If righteousnesse be by workes then it is not of free grace but of due debt. This is the Apostles argument, Rom. 11. 6. The Papists answer this, by understanding, by works, there the works of nature and unregeneracy only, and not of works flowing from faith. But this is a meer falshood; for the Apostle proves, Rom. 4. 2. that works flowing from faith cannot justifie before God. Abraham was regenerate, Abrahams works were works flowing from faith, yet were not those works his righteousnesse but Christ apprehended by faith.

[Page 480] 3. That righteousnesse by which and for which a person is justified must exactly answer Gods justice. It must be so every way perfect, that justice it self can require no more, but the best of our works are imperfect and defective. They are so in our own sight, much more in the sight of God, Esay 64. 6. Not only our righteousnesse, but our righteousnesses are a silthy ragge, Psal. 130. 4. Da­vid was a man after Gods own heart, yet doth he acknowledge that if God should weigh iniquity none should stand. Job had a very high testimony from God, Chap. 1. 1. yet he durst not stand up­on such termes, Chap. 9. 3. 15. 20. 30, 31. Ne­hemiah did many good works, yet he comes to a Psalme of mercy, chap. 13. 22.

4. This Doctrine makes a man his own justifier, which is contrary to Scripture. The Scripture ascribes the work of justification to God, Rom. 3. 26. and Rom. 8. 33. To make mans works the cause of his justification, is to make him a justifier, which is the work of God alone.

5. This Doctrine make [...] the merit and sacrifice of Christ either needlesse or insufficient. This is the Apostles Argument, Gal. 2. ult. To affirme ei­ther of these is a great wickednesse. To say it was needlesse, is to make God cruel to his Sonne. Why should he poure out his blood if there was no necessity of it? To say it is insuffi [...]ient, is to vi­lifie his person, to contradict Scriptures which saith, he is able to save to the utter­most.

6. This Doctrine establisheth boasting. Now the great designe of God in the justification of a sinner, is to exclude boasting, Rom. 3. 27. The Law of works layes a foundation of boasting, but the Law of faith excludes boasting.

[Page] 7. This Doctrine robs the soul of all consolation, and leaves it unsetled and perplexed. A man can never be free from troubles that builds the hopes of his justification upon himself, Rom. 10. 6, 7. The scope of the Apostle in that place is to put a difference between the righteousnesse of the Law, and the righteousnesse of faith. Amongst other this is one, the righteousnesse of faith settles the heart; it saith not, who shall ascend, &c? It knows Christ hath ascended and descended, that he hath done all and suffered all, and so quiets the conscience: He that trusts to his own righteous­ness can never be setled, but will be still disputing. And therefore the Papists who cry up justificati­on by their own works, cry down assurance of salvation. And they cannot do otherwise, for justification by our own righteousnesse and assu­rance of salvation are inconsistent. Thus I have proved the righteousness of justification to be from Christ.

2. For the righteousnesse of sanctification. This is also from Christ, he that is without Christ, is without sanctification. Till this Sunne be risen upon the soul, there is no holinesse in the soul. A Christlesse condition, is an unsanctified condition. A man must prove himself interested in Christ, before he can be able to assert his Sanctification; we are said to be sanctified in Christ, 1 Cor. 1. 2. you must thank Christ as well for the righteousness of sanctification, as for that of justification. Till these beames shine upon you, you have no grace in you.

[Page 482] 2. For exhortation.

  • 1. To all in general.
  • 2. To you that have no interest in Christ.
  • 3. To them that have an interest.

1. To all men in general; I would recommend two things.

1. Blesse God for Jesus Christ. We have great cause to blesse God for the light of the Sunne, innumerable are those benefits we receive by this creature. 'Tis our guid, 'tis our life, by the influ­ences of it nature is revived, the body is cheered and all things usefull for our life are refreshed; the world had been an Egypt for darknesse, a Wil­dernesse for barrennesse, an Hospital of diseases; if God had not made the Sunne: the beauty of the creation would have been hid, the benefit of the creation would have been lost if this lamp of hea­ven had not been hung out: much more cause have we to blesse God for his mystical Sunne, Eph. 1. 3. This will be the work of heaven to all eternity, had not this Sun from heaven visited us, our condition had been as miserable as the condi­tion of devils.

2. Never see the Sunne but meditate on Jesus Christ. A spiritual Christian may learn very much Divinity from the works of creation. Though the whole book of Creation without that revelation of the Gospel could not have made Christ known to the world: the Phyloso­phers turn'd over every page of that great book, but they could spell nothing of Christ out of it; Yet now, we that have the Gospel may help our knowledge of Christ by the book of creation. Christ is resembled to so many creatures that we [Page 483] can hardly see any creature, but it preacheth something of him, when your eyes behold the light of the Sunne, when you feel the warmth of the Sunne, when you perceive the influential vertue of the Sunne upon the creatures, then think on Christ: the very Sun in the Firmament wil rise up in judgment against us that have Christ revealed in the Gospel as a Sunne, if we do not fill our hearts with daily thoughts of him.

2. To them that are without the saving beams of Christ. I have onely one thing to presse upon them. That they would endeavour that this Sunne may shine upon them; yea, that it may shine into them be not contented to live without the Sunne. I know it will be said, what shall we do that Christ may arise upon our hearts?

1. Be sensible of your want of Christ, he that sees and bewailes his own darknesse, will hardly dye without light. One reason why Christ doth not shine upon us, is, because we think we have light in our selves, we think we saw Christ without the Sunne, therefore we are suffered to walk in blind­ness without the Sun. This our Saviour declares expresly, Joh 9. 3 [...].

2. Stand in those places where the Sunne usually shines. He that would have the Sunne shine on him, must not keep in dark Cellers and Vaults, but must come into the open aire. The ordi­nary place of Christs shining, is where his Gospel is preached; the preaching of the Gospel is the East where this Sunne ariseth, 2 Cor. 4. 4. 6. The Gospel is the Orbe of this Sunne; be that con­stantly waits here, will at l [...]st fee [...] the warm beams of Christ coming down upon him, especially if he make it his designe to enjoy the beams of [Page 484] Christ in his Gospel.

3. Take heed of shutting your eyes when the Sunne begins to appear. He that shuts his eyes will never see the Sunne, though it shine in all its brightn [...]sse. Stand with your eyes open, yea, with your eyes fixed, looking for Christs appearing, and he will cause his beames at last to fall upon you. To you on whom this Sunne hath arisen. I have things to recommend to you.

1. Do you w [...]lk as the children of the Light? Put away darknesse, ignorance, blindnesse, and be full of spiritual light. God may well expect much light from those on whom Christ hath shined. Stumbling in a childe of God is wors [...] then falling in another man. If you be ignorant of Gods Wi [...]l of your du­ty you are inexcus [...]bl [...] becau [...]e the Sunne of light is risen upon you, [...]. [...] 1. Ephesians 4 17, 18, 19, 20

2. G [...] and keep [...] warmth in your hearts. The Sun [...]e hath an heating vertue. C [...]ldness [...] of sp [...]t is a temper unbefitting a childe of God. If a man be cold in winter when the Sunne is at a great distance, 'tis more excusabl [...]; but to be cold when the Summer Sunne shines hot upon him, argues great distemper. To be luke-warme when Christ is risen upon you, is inexcusable. Christ expects heat and fervency from you in all your duties, hot love, hot devotion, fervency of spirit in the service of God is expected from you, R [...]m. 12. 11. you will shame the beames of Christ, if you have not a holy warmth in all your services; My heart (saith David) was hot within me, Psal. [Page 485] 39. 3. Ex omni parte caluit igne Dei, i. e. a-more Coelestium. A cold-hearted Christian shames the Sun.

3. Be very fruitfull. The Sunne hath a fructifying vertue, it ripens every thing. Christians must be carefull that their graces be ripened: raw, lean, weak graces shame the beames of Christ; you must be sure to grow in grace, to perfect holinesse, 2 Cor. 7. 1.

4. Keep your soules sweet. The Sunne hath a sweetning vertue. A mouldy musty heart disparageth Christ, you must be as the smell of a field which God hath blessed.

5. Be raised up in affection to heavenly things. The Sunne hath an exhaling vertue. Christians must be higher then others, Revel. 12. 1.

6. Nourish spirituall softnesse. The Sunne hath a molifying vertue. A hard frozen heart is a shame to Christ. Davids heart was like melting wax, Psalme 22. 14. Josiahs heart was tender, 2 Kings 22. 19. A frown from God, an angry word from God, must melt a Christians heart. If your hearts be hard, Christ may justly draw his beams from you; if the Sunne of righteousnesse doth not melt you, it is because you are clay, not wax

3. For consolation. Great comfort ariseth hence to godly men.

1. Against spiritual darknesses. Sometimes Gods people see neither Sunne nor Starres, Esay 50. 10. Well, be comforted, Christ is the Sunne of righteousnesse, he will arise and scatter all those black mists that trouble you; your Sun is not [Page 486] set, it is only eclipsed, the light of it will shine a­gain.

2. Against all your own unrighteousnesse. The ser­vants of God finde much unrighteousnesse and guilt in themselves: because of it they are cast down, and go heavily. Well, remember Christ is a Sun of righteousness, he is as full of righteous­ness as the Sun is of light, and his righteousnesse is for thy benefit. 'Tis as much thine, as if it were thine own.

3. Against the want of sublunary comforts. Gods people have often but little of these things. Well, yet the Sun is up, what folly is it to complaine for want of Moon-light or Star-light when the Sunne shines! If God hath cloathed you with the Sunne, the want of Moon and Starres may well be en­dured.

CANT. 1. 3.Thy Name is as ointment poured XXVII. SERM. at Mary Wol­noth. Lon. May 15. 1653. forth.

THe scope of the Holy Ghost in this song is to discover the exceeding great love that is between Jesus Christ and his Church. We may see here Christ and his Church as it were striving who should expresse their love to each other most. At the second verse in this Chapter, the Church doth passionately desire to be made partaker of further Communion with Christ, Let him kisse me with the kisses of his mouth. Those who have once tasted of the sweetnesse of Christs love are exceeding­ly carried out after a further degree of his love. The reason of this passionate desire is ver. 2, 3. namely, from the sweetnesse of his love. This is set out by a double comparison.

1. His love is better then wine. v. 2.

2. Its more desireable then precious ointments. This is mentioned in the beginning of the third ver. Because of the savour of thy good ointments, [Page 488] and amplified further in the text, Thy name is as ointment poured forth. The words are a proposition in which we have,

1. The subject. Thy Name.

2. The predicate. Oyntment poured forth.

By the name of Christ, some would understand the Doctrine of the Gospel. So Ainsworth, by his name (saith he) is meant the Doctrine of grace, the Law of faith. His Doctrine is sometimes in Scrip­ture called his Name, as the Iles shall wait for his Law, Esay 42. 4. Which is expounded, in his Name shall the Gentiles trust, Mat. 12. 21. And it is most certain that his Law is far more sweet then the most precious oyntment. But yet by his Name in this place we are better to understand his person as it is set forth in the Gospel, his per­son is often called his Name, as Mat. 10. 22. Ye shall be hated of all men for my Names sake, and Act, 9. 16. I will shew him how great things be must suffer for my names sake, that is, for my sake.

The Observation is this.

Doct. That Jesus Christ is like ointment poured forth.

Jesus Christ is spiritual ointment. His Name both in the Hebrew and Greek signifies anointing, or anointed. He is called in Dan. 9. 26. Messiah, which the Septuagint render [...], anointing. The Prophet Esay, chap. 10. 27. calls him the a­nointing. It is reported by Historians, that at the birth of Christ in Rome, a sudden fountaine of [Page 489] Oyle sprung up and flowed for a day and a night together, our Annotatours mention it in their Exposition of this text. The Oyles or Oint­ments used in sundry cases under the ceremonial Law were some way or other typical of Christ the true ointment.

In the handling of this Doctrine I shall open these foure things by way of Explication.

1. In what respects Christ is compar­ed to ointment.

2. Why he is compared to ointment poured forth.

3. How this ointment is poured forth.

4. How Christ excels all other oint­ments.

1. For the first.

1. Christ is ointment in regard of that divine uncti­on wherewith he was anointed by God. The Scripture makes mention of Christs being anointed with the graces of the Spirit as our Mediator. This was typified by the anointing of the Priests under the Law, especially of the high-Priest; you may read at large of the holy ointment, and of the anointing of Aaron and his sons with it, Exod. 30. 23, 24, 25, 30. It was also typified by the anointing of Kings and Prophets; ye may read much in Scrip­ture of the anointing of these. Elisha was a­nointed to the office of a Prophet, 1 Kings 19. 16. and Kings were also anointed. We read of Davids anointing, 1 Sam. 16. 1. of Solomons a­nointing, 1 King. 1. 34. 39. All these were types of Christ, the great King, Prophet, and Priest of his Church, the anointing Oyle did typifie the [Page 490] graces of the Spirit, the anointing of Aaron with that Oyle did typifie Christs anointing with the Holy Ghost. Our Saviour was anointed with the Holy Ghost, Esay 61. 1. This Peter menti­ons in his Sermon, Act. 10. 38. God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power. Now this ointment was shed upon the Lord Jesus in such great plenty, that he may well be called by the name of ointment, Psal. 45. 7. he had more of this spirituall ointment poured upon his humane nature, then all the Saints, put them altogether. The Spirit was not given him by measure, but above measure, Joh. 3. 34. He was from his conception filled with the holy Ghost; He was full of grace and truth, Joh. 1. 14. He had not only drops, but whole rivers of Oyle poured upon his head; He may be denominated ointment from that abundance of spiritual oint­ment wherewith he was filled; his God-head a­nointed the manhood with an unspeakable ful­nesse, Col. 1. 19. And,

2. Christ is ointment in regard of the excellent vertues which are in him. He hath all the good properties of ointment. I name five, As

1. Oyntment is very fragrant and odoriferous. Precious oyntment yeilds a very sweet small. When the woman in the Gospel had poured her box of oyntment upon the head of Christ, the text saith, the whole house was filled with the o­dour of it, John 12. 3. The Lord Jesus Christ is very odoriferous, he is sweet in himself, and he is exceeding sweet in the nostrils of his Saints; the perfume in the Law was type of him, Exod. 30 34. He doth perfume all persons and places where ever he comes. If there be but one drop of Christ poured upon the soul, the whole soul [Page 491] is perfumed with the smell of it. When Christ had but put his finger into the hole of the door, how was the hand of the Spouse perfumed as with sweet smelling myrrh! Cant. 5. 5. That soul wants its spiritual smelling which doth not finde a sweetnesse in Jesus Christ. Every thing in Jesus Christ is very fragrant.

(1) There is a fragrancy in his person. He is a bundle of precious myrrh, Cant. 1. 13. His life and holy conversation yeilded a sweet smell in the world, Psal. 45. 8. All thy garments smell of myrrh, aloes and cassia. The graces of the Spirit, of which his life was full: His righteousnesse, meeknesse, piety, patience, what a sweet smell do they cast abroad in the Gospel to this very day!

(2.) There is fragrancy in his death. His death was a sweet favour unto God, Eph. 5. 2. His dead body was enbalmed with sweet spices, John 19. 39. not that he had need of any such; His body did never see corruption, Psal. 16. 10. So fragrant was the death of Christ, that he hath perfumed the grave, and made it as a bed of roses to all the Saints.

(3) There is a sweet fragrancy in his interces­sion The intercession of Christ is so sweet, that it perfumes heaven it self. See how it was ty­pified under the Law, Lev. 16. 12, 13. The o­dours of the sweetest incense are not so fragrant to the nostrils of men, as the odours of Christs intercession are to God. So fragrant is his in­tercession, that the services of his people, which are unsavory in themselves, come up as a cloud of incense before the Lord. See this Cant. 3. 6. It's spoken of the Church because it's the femi­nine gender, Quae ista? All this sweetnesse [Page 492] which is upon the Church and in her services, is, because they are perfumed with the incense of Christs mediation.

(4) There is a fragrancy in the word of Christ. The breath of Christs mouth is sweeter then any perfume in the world: this is that which the Church mentions. Cant. 5. 16. His mouth or palate is [...] from [...] sweetnesses, so it is in the original; all his promises, all his precepts are very favoury.

5. There is a fragrancy in all his Ordinances, Prayer, Sacraments, Preaching, singing of Psalmes are in themselves, and to a gracious heart, like sweet smelling oyntment. The Church mentions this, Cant. 2. 3. No such sweet aire bloweth un­der heaven as doth in the Church of God, where the Ordinances of Christ are dispensed in power and purity. In one word, there is nothing of Christ but is more sweet then the best oyntment that ever was compounded by man. This is the first property of oyntment, it's very sweet.

2. Oyntment hath an exhilarating vertue. It cheeres the spirits, and makes the heart glad. This is observed by Solomon, Prov. 27. 9. Oyntment and perfume rejoyce the heart. When Solomon ex­horts men to a cheerful life, he makes mention of oyntment, let thy head want no ointment, alluding to the custome of the ancients, who in their banquettings and feastings used such signes of joy. And the Prophet ex­pressing the jovialty of those Epicures, Amos 6. 6. saith, they anoint themselves with the chief oynt­ments. The Lord Jesus Christ hath a cheering vertue. The heart of a sinner is never truly mer­ry, till it be anointed with the graces of Christ, and the comforts of Christ; Christ is the [Page 493] onely remover of spiritual heavinesse. The oynt­ment is the onely cure for spiritual melancholy, Mat. 11. 28. All spiritual refreshing is from Jesus Christ. He was anointed with the oyle of gladnesse, that he might work gladnesse in the hearts of others. This work is committed to him by God the Father, Esay 61. 3. There's not one drop of the oyle of joy, but what comes out of this great olive tree, the Lord Jesus; that gladnesse which doth not proceed from Christ, and which is not bottom'd on Christ, is world­ly madnesse, not true joy. He is called the con­solation of Israel, Luke 2. 25. He hath laid the foundation of Israels comfort, and he it is that doth convey to them all their com­fort.

3 Oyntment hath a mollifying and suppling ver­tue If there be any hard tumour or swelling upon the body, we use oyntment to soften it. The holy Ghost alludes to this, Esay 1, 6. Where speaking of the state diseases, he saith, they have not been mollified with oyntments. Jesus Christ hath a mollifying vertue, let a heart of Adamant be but once anointed with this oynt­ment, and it becomes an heart of flesh. It was by this oyntment that the hard heart of Ma­nasseh was softned. God by his Spirit chafed this oyntment into it, and it became tender. And it is by the Application of this unction through the warm hands of the Spirit of God that the stony hearts of sinners are softened from day to day. Thou that hast now a tender heart, wouldest have carried thy stony heart with thee to thy grave, if this precious oyntment had not been spread upon it.

4. Oyntment is of a shining nature. It hath a [Page 494] brightning and beautifying vertue. Those Vir­gins that were prepared for the Persian King, did use divers oyntments to make themselves beautiful. Est. 2. 12. they used six moneths sweet odours, and six moneths oyle of myrrh. This oyle, as those that write of it say, had an abstersive vertue; it did help to get wrinkles out of the skin, and so to beautifie the face and make it bright; Naomi therefore bids Ruth, when she sends her to Boaz to anoint her self, Ruth 3. 3. And David, speaking of oyle, saith, it makes the face to shine, Psal. 104. 15. Warriors of old, that they might make their armour glister, and so render themselves formidable to their ene­mies, used to anoint them with oyle; the Pro­phet alludes to this, Esay 21. 5. Arise ye Prin­ces and anoint the shield. The Lord Jesus Christ hath a brightning vertue. As he is bright and beautiful in his own person, Psal. 45. [...]. so he makes his people beauti [...]ul. Christ is very bright in his own person. There is no scar, no spot, no deformity in him. That which was said of Ab­solom, is much more true of Christ, 2 S [...]m. 14. 25. Though men that are blinde see no beauty in him, as the Prophet complain'd long since, Esay 53 2. yet in the eyes of God, in the eyes of the Angels, in the eyes of the Saints he is singularly beautiful; And as he is bright in himself, so doth he beautifie others. All the wrinkles of sinne, all the spots of the soul are done away by means of this oyntment. This oyntment, if it [...]e spread upon the soul, turnes black [...]mores into Nazarites. All the brightness of the Saints is from hence, Ezek. 16. 14. Thou wast comely through my comelinesse which I put up­on thee. Hereby the old wrinkles of original sin, [Page] which are as so many deep furrowes [...] the soul, hereby the latter spots of actual sin are ta­ken away as if they had not been: you may read much of the brightnesse and beauty of the Saints, Cant. 4. init. Cant. 7. init. All this beauty i [...] ac­quired by the application of this beautifying oint­ment. Jesus Christ is the Churches Golden a­nointing-pot; he that would have his spots re­moved, must daily drop this ointment upon his soul. This ointment if it be applyed by faith will fetch off the red spots of cruelty, the black spots of discontent, the blew spots of envy, the heat spots of passion; it will put a shining luster upon the soul.

5. Ointment hath a healing vertue, the Sama­ritan poured into the wounded man wine and oile, Luk. 10. 34. Wine for cleansing and Oile for healing; your Chyrurgions make much use of ointment search the Dispensatory for the truth of this; Jesus Christ hath a healing vertue. If the spiritual wounds of the soul, though they have been of long continuance, be anointed with this ointment, they are in a short time finely healed. Christ himself was that Samaritan, his blood was the wine that cleansed, and the Oile that healed those desperate wounds. There is no other balme in Gilead besides this ointment that can cure the least sore upon the inward man, without the application of this ointment you will certain­ly dye in your sins.

2. For the second. Christ is compared to ointment poured forth, in three respects.

1. To shew his communicativenesse, Jesus Christ is ready to make distributions unto his people of all that grace and goodnesse which is in him, he doth not keep his grace and vertue within him­self, [Page 496] but lets it drop down upon his members; the [...]o [...] of ointment stands continually open that his Elect may take out of it according as they stand in need; the ointment which was poured upon the head of Aaron at his Consecration, ran down to the very skirts of his cloathing, Psal. 133. 2. This was to typifie the communicativenesse of Christ. Jesus Christ hath received the ointment of the Spirit, not for himself, but that he might a­noint al his members; and he is very mindful of the trust reposed in h [...]m; he received for his members, and he is willing they should receive from him, Joh. 1. 6. Many are willing to have the patrimony of others poured into their treasury, but they care not to poure out againe; but Christ, as he was willing God should poure out grace in­to him, so is he as willing to poure it out up­on us.

2. To shew his exceeding fulnesse. Christ hath so much that he can spare for others. 'Tis pour­ed out and yet it doth not decay, there is in Christ an undecayable fulnesse; he is like the widowes cruse of oile, 2 Kings 4. 6. never leaves running till the soul want a vessel to receive him.

3. He is compared to ointment poured forth, be­cause the fragrancy and other excellent vertues of ointment are best discovered in the pouring of it forth. Ointment in the vessel doth neither smell nor shine so as when its poured out; the excellen­cy of Christ lies in the using of him, when we come to poure out his graces, then, and not till then do we finde the sweetnesse of them. Taste and see that the Lord is gracious, Psal. 34. 8. the gra­ciousness of Christ is not apprehended till it come to be casted.

[Page 497] 3. For the third, how Christ is [...] The great and ordinary way of [...] this name of Christ, which is [...] ointment. [...] Ordinances which he hath appoi [...]ted, Preach [...]g, Prayer, Sacraments, these are the means [...]f [...] ­ing forth Christ; the Ordinances are as the [...] ­blaster Box wherein this precious ointment is kept; you read in Zech. 4. Of a golden Candlestick with two Olive-trees standing by it, &c. the O­live-tree is Christ, the Candlestick is the Church, the Lamps are the several members of Christ, the pipes which convey the Oyle to the Lamps are the Ordinances of grace, Christ fills the pipes, and the pipes carry the Oyle to the Lamps. The Ordinances are the Golden Cruse in which the Oyle is kept, and by which it is defused to every particular Saint as he hath need. The preaching of the Gospel is called the bearing of his Name be­fore the Gentiles, Acts 9. 15. When the Gospel is preached and the Ordinances dispensed, then is the ointment poured forth. The Apostle gives testimony to this, 2 Cor. 2. 14. Thanks be unto God which maketh manifest the savour of his know­ledge by us in every place. He that would smell the savour of Christs ointment, must wait consci­onably upon the Ordinances. The Ordinances are the consecrated pipes through which the Oyl runs. 'Tis true, the Spirit of Christ fills these pipes, and makes them effectuall to them that are saved; but yet the Ordinances are the instrumen­tal. Every Prayer; every Sermon, every Sacra­ment conveys a drop of this ointment to the soul. He that turnes away his face from the Ordinances, makes himself uncapable of tasting the ointments of Christ.

CANT. 1. 3.Christ is as an ointment poured forth. XXVIII. SERM. at Mary. Wol­noth. Lon. May 22. 1653.

FOurthly, for the fourth, how Christ excels other oyntments; I shall open that in these five particulars.

1. He excels all other oyntments in worth and value. Some oynt­ments are of great value, but none ar [...] comparable to Christ. That oyntment which [...] poured upon t [...]e head of Christ, is said to [...] [...]ry costly, John 12. 3. and yet it was but [...] [...] at three hundred Romane pence, v. 5. but [...] is oyntment of invaluable worth. All the [...]ld and silver on earth, all the pearles and dia­monds in the world are not worth the least drop of this oyntment. He that hath it would not part with one drop of it for ten thousand rivers of oyle, he that wants it cannot purchase it for all the riches of the world; one drop of this oynt­ment is worth a sea of other oyntments.

2. He excels all other oyntments in duration. The vertue of other oyntments may be lost. Take the most fragrant oyntment in the world, keep it with never so much care, yet it will cor­rupt in time. Other casual accidents may fall out which may corrupt it. You know what So­lomen saith, Eccles. 10. 1. Dead flies cause the [Page] oyntment of the Apothecary to send [...] savour. The best oyntment [...] compounded by the art of man; may lose its [...] ▪ and be offensive, but Jesus Christ is incorrupti­ble oyntment; he can never lose his savour, no time can putrifie him, no accident can cor­rupt him. This oyntment hath continued ever since the promise made to Adam, Gen. 3. 15. yet the vertue of it in every respect, is as precious as it was the very first day; his Name is as glori­ous, as fragrant, as beautiful, as shining now as it was when the Ala [...]aster box was at first pou­red forth. The Psalmist sp [...]ks of this very ex­pressely, Psal. 72. 17. His Name shall endure for ever, his Name shall be con [...]nued as long as the Sunne, and daily shall he be p [...]aised, all Nations shall call him blessed.

3. He excels all other oyntments in his fulness. O­ther oyntment is of a waiting nature, take but one dram of oyntment out of the largest vessel, and there is an abatement; take but one drop out of a river of oyntment, and there is a drop less, but this oyntment doth not grow lesse by spend­ing. Christ hath anointed thousands of his E­lect in all the ages that are past, and yet the vessel is as full, as if one drop had not been ta­ken out of it. This Olive tree hath been empty­ing it self for many ages into the golden bowle, and yet it continues running with as full a stream as it did the very first day.

4. He excels all other oyntments in vertue and operation, this may be branched out into six par­ticulars.

(1) He anoints the soul as well as the body. Other oyntments are poured only upon the out­ward man; the soul, the conscience is not the [Page 500] better for the multitude of oyntments that are poured upon the body; the face of a person may shine with oyntment, and yet his soul be black and filthy; but this oyntment reacheth to the conscience and inward man. Yea, this oyntment is principally for the inward man, the heart is the chief place on which this oynt­ment is poured, 1 John 2. 27. the anointing which ye have received of him, abideth in you. Other oyntments are outward oyntments, that abide upon us, but this is an inward oyntment which a­bideth in us. 'Tis unctio spiritualis.

2. This oyntment hath the good properties of all oyntments. Some oyntments are fragrant to the smell, but they are not healing; others are heal­ing, but they are not sweet: No one kinde of oyntment hath all excellercies in it; but now in Jesus Christ all excellencies meet together, the good properties of every oyntment do all center in Christ, he is equally excellent every way. You cannot say in what respect Christ is best, he is so excellent every way.

3. This oyntment doth charge the very na [...]ure of the person upon whom its poured. Other oynt­ments cannot change a person from what he is. They cannot make a sinner a Saint, they cannot alter the nature of a person. But Jesus Christ changeth the nature of persons. If this oyntment be poured upon the head of a sinner, he is pre­sently turned into a Saint, if it fall upon a dead man, he becomes a living man; if a drop of this oyntment fall upon a weed, it is presently turn­ed into a flower When this oyntment was poured forth on Soul, he became a Paul, from a Persecu­tor of the Gospel, he was changed into a preach­er of the Gospel. This oyntment turnes a filthy [Page 501] Sepulchre into a curious garden, [...] an into a Nazarite as white a [...] show.

4. This oyntment upon whomsoever it is poured▪ doth abide upon him for ever. A person may be anointed with material oyntment, and in a short time lose all the sent and savour of it, as if he had never been anointed; but whoso­ever hath been once anointed with this oyntment, will smell of it as long as he lives. If Jesus Christ do but drop one drop of this oyntment upon the soul of an infant, he carries the sa­vour of it with him to his grave, 1 John 2. 27. The unction which ye have received of him, a­bideth in you. The scent of this oyntment may be very weak in the children of God, but it can never quite be lost. David once by his sinne had brought such an ill savour upon his soule, that the smell of the holy oyntment was almost quite lost. My wounds stink and are corrupt through my foolishnesse, Psal. 38. 5. yet after a while his old savour did return againe, the fragrancy of his oyment did ovecome the ill sa­vour of his sinne. The soul and body may be separated, but Christ and the soul cannot be sepa­rated.

5. This oyntment hath a present efficacy upon the soul. The effects which are wrought by o­ther oyntments are not so suddenly done. Oynt­ment heales, but not in a moment; oyntment makes the face smooth and cleare, but it must have some convenient time: the Virgins which were to stand before the Persian King, must be anointed six moneths before their beauty was perfect, Est. 2. 12. hard swellings are mollified by oyntment, but not at one dressing. What e­ver operation the best oyntment hath, it requires [Page 502] a convenient time to accompl [...]sh it. But whate­ver i [...] done upon the soul by this oyntment, is done in a moment. [...] sooner is this oynt­ment dropt upon the soul, but the spots are done away, it cures the most festred sore with once dressing. Assoon as ever the Application is made, the effect follows. One moment is as good as an age for this oyntment.

6. The smallest quantity of this oyntment is as effectual as the greatest quantity. A little of o­ther oyntment doth little or no good. A drop will not cure a wound, a small quantity will not perfume a great roome, a drop or two will not supple a hard tumour. But now one drop of this spiritual oyntment is as effectual for the maine work as a whole ocean. One drop of Christ softens the heart. one graine of this oyntment perfumes the soul. There is infinite vertue in every drop of Christ. He that is made partaker of any part of Christ, hath the merit and vertue of whole Christ. As our Sa­viour tels Peter in another case, Iohn 13. 10. he that is washed needeth not to wash save his feet. He that hath the least measure of this oyntment, shall as certainly finde all the effects of it, as if he had the whose vessel poured upon him.

5. He excels all other oyntments in the manner of composition. All other oyntments are com­pounded and made by men; they are called the oyntments of the Apothecary, Eccles. 10. 1. God created the materials, and he it is that hath given man skil and understanding how to make use of them, but the composition is made by men. But this precious oyntment is not [Page 503] made by men, but by God. It is he that hath compounded this golden box of oyntment. It was God that anointed Christ with the holy unction of the Spirit, Psal. 45. 7. and it is he that hath designed him to be oyntment unto o­thers. Yea, the truth is, this oyntment is God himself. Though the humanity be a creature, yet the Divinity is the Creator. Christ is not on­ly unguentum Dei, the oyntment of God, but unguentum Deus, that oyntment which is God himself.

The Uses. These I shall draw
  • 1. From the general Doctrine.
  • 2. From the particular resemblances.

First, In general. We may take notice of,

1. The excellency of Christ. He is compared in Scripture to all things that are necessary, and to all things that are pleasant and delight­ful. One great piece of the study of Christi­ans in this life, is to search into the excellency of Christ; To know what Christ is in himself, and what he is to us comprehends a very great part of a Christians study in this life. Paul desired to know nothing but Jesus Christ and him crucified, 1 Cor. 2. 2. This one resemblance shews him to be a precious one, he is so excellent, that all the choice things in nature are made use of to shadow out his glory. His Name, saith the Prophet, shall be called wonderful, Esay 9 6. how wonderful is that Name which is com [...] ­sed of so many excellent things!

[Page 504] 2. This should draw our hearts exceedingly to­wards the Lord Iesus: It should beget in us de­sire after him and delight in him. Precious oynt­ment; draw the affections of men towards them. The best oyntment is but a drug to Jesus Christ. If we be not enamoured with him, we do despise him. He that looks on him as oyntment, can­not but be greatly delighted in him. It fol­lows in the text, Therefore do the virgins love thee, draw me, we will runne after thee. That man doth not value Christ as oyntment, that doth not love him and desire to be drawn after him.

3. The excellency of grace. 'Tis the graces of the Spirit in Christ that makes him compared to ointment; his sweet oyntments are his meek­nesse, patience, holinesse and the rest of those heavenly graces. True grace is a choise thing, the Scrip [...]ure compares it to the choisest things in all the world, Cant. 4 13, 14. Next to God, and Christ, and the Spirit; there's nothing in heaven or earth comparable to Christ.

4. That the grace of Christ is not a thing com­mon to all. His common graces are commu­nicated to all, his special grace is more confi­ned. His Name is oyntment. The holy oynt­ment in the Law was poured upon none but up­on consecrated things and persons. Exod. 30. 2 [...], 24, 25, 30. It must not be poured on mans fl [...]sh, v. 32. Christ is compared here to this oyntment. A select number, the Elect of God onely, those that are spiritual Priests, these, and these onely [...]e made partakers of Christ and his graces. Thu [...] much for the general do­ctrine.

[Page] Secondly, particularly.

First, from the fragrancy of Christ [...] may learne four thing.

1. How unsavoury they are that want Christ. Wicked men have animam pro sal [...] their soules keep their bodies sweet, but what have they then to keep their soules sweet? the holy Ghost compares men that are in the state of nature to that which is most unsavory, Psal. 14. 3. They are unsavory both in their persons and in services, that want this oyntment. A heart unanointed casts the worst smell of any corrupt thing in the world.

2. Acknowledge from whence it is that all your fragrancy proceeds. If there be any good smell upon your souls, it is because this oyntment hath been poured forth upon you. Jesus Christ mentions the sweet smell of his Spouse, Cant. 4 10, 11. and indeed every beleever is a sweet savour unto God. The precious oyntment of the graces of Christ poured upon your head at your conversion, is the onely reason of this good savour; 'tis great pride and ingratitude not to own it.

3. This teacheth us all how to make and keep the soul sweet. Satan labours to make it musty by breathing the ill ayre of sinne into it, and if you would have it smell sweetly, you must anoint it with this oyntment every day. Drop but every day a drop of this oyntment upon it by prayer, meditation, or some other holy duty, and it will preserved sweet notwithstanding the thick fogs of sinne and temptation. Carry Christ in your bosome, and you will smell very sweet in every company.

[Page 506] 4. When ever you smell any sweet savour, think on Christ. The best use which we can make of perfumes and oyntments, is to make them remem­brancers to put us in mind of him who perfumes both earth and heaven. And then,

Secondly, from the cheering vertue of this oyntment, learne two things.

1. Whither to go for heart reviving. When you finde your spirits dull and melancholy, when your hearts are tired out, and your souls languish, smell to this precious oyntment, and it will revive you. It's Christs work to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite. The smell of the oyntment, ei­ther of Christs satisfaction, or of his promises, or of his intercession is the speediest and surest way to be rid from the power of spiritual heavi­nesse.

2. Let them that have this oyntment, maintaine spiritual cheerfulnesse. God calls for spiritual gladnesse, as well as spiritual sorrow, Phil. 3. 1. A well grounded cheerfulnesse, honours religion as much as holinesse. The