CHRIST And the COVENANT THE Work and Way of Meditation.

Gods Return to the Soul, or Nation; Together with his Preventing Mercy.

Delivered in Ten SERMONS, (VIZ.)

  • 1. Christs Personal Excellencies, the Object of of our Love.
  • 2. Christ crucified, the Object of our Faith.
  • 3. The New Covenant of Grace opened.
  • 4. Christ the Mediator of the New Covenant.
  • 5. The Way and Spirit of the New Covenant, or New Testament.
  • 6. The Blood of Sprinkling.
  • 7. The sweetness and profitableness of Divine Meditation.
  • 8. The Work and Way of this Meditation.
  • 9. Gods Return to the Soul and Nation.
  • 10. Preventing Mercy.

By W. B.

LONDON, Printed for N. Ranew, and J. Robinson at the Angel in Jewen-street, 1667.

To the READER.

Courteous Reader,

THese Ten Sermons lately taken by an ex­pert band, as they fell from the mouth of the sweet Preacher of them, contain so great a variety of Heavenly matter, so much of the very marrow and quintessence of the Gospel, that thou wilt no sooner begin to read them, but wilt presently find, that the heart of the Re­verend Author of them, hath lay'n long asoke in the blood of Jesus, and that he hath been no stran­ger to his very bosome Love. Buy them therefore with what speed thou canst, and read them over di­ligently, it will be a good bargain for thy Soul, and one of the Richest Commodities that ever thou mettest with at so cheap a Rate. It is put into so small a Letter and Bulk, purposely for thy bet­ter accommodation, and that not only in the ease of thy Purse, but principally that thou mayest make it, as well thy Pocket, as thy Hearts Companion, where e're thou goest.

Farewell.

The Reader is desired to Correct, or Pardon these few faults, or any other literal mistakes that he meets with.

PAge 17. line 9. for love read heart. p. 20. l. 25. f. love r. good p. 21. in the Title, f. faith r. love. p. 25. l. 4. f. think r. thing. p. 29. l. 23. f. cleary r. clearly. p. 32. in the Title, f. Christs r. Christ. p. 35. l. 15. f. Elias r. Eli. p. 41. l. 25. f. gorw r. grow. p. 43. l. 9. for spirit r. sight. p. 64. l. 1. f. for r. if. p. 100. l. 27. f. for. lo. p. 355. l. 22. f. when r. where. p. 356. l. 25. f. Sa­maritans r. the Samaritans. p. 367. l. 24. f. dange r. danger. p. 371 l. 9. f. with that, r. what is that? p. 378 l. 24. f. when r. where. p. 384 l. 12. leave out your. p. 388 in the title, f. and r. of. p. 389 l. 15. leave out be. p. 397 l. 6. leave out a. p. 403. l. 12. leave out and. p. 409 l. 7. f. uno r. unto. p. 419 l. 28. f. a r. the, and line 29. leave out therefore. p. 426 l. 23. f. so, r. see. p. 445 in the title, for wory r. work. p. 451 l. 8. f work r. want. p. 455 l. 25. for aytance, r. assistance. p. 476 l. 12. for not gone, r. not so gone. l. 19. for not gone, r. not so gone. p. 487 l. 23. for ere, r. or.

Christs Personall Excellencies the object of our Love. SERMON I.

John 14.28.

[...]f ye loved me, ye would rejoyce, because I said, I go unto the Father, for my Father is greater than I.

THese words are part of the last sweet Ser­mon, which our Saviour Preached unto his Disciples before his Death and de­parture from them: wherein he labours to allay their sorrow and grief upon the [...]ccasion of his departure: Therefore he tells them [...] the second Verse, In my Fathers house are many man­ [...]s: and at the third Verse, I go to prepare a place for [...].

Then he tells them at the 16, 17, 18, verses, that [...] would send them another Comforter and, I will not leave [...] comfortlesse, I will come unto you.

Then he labours to perswade them unto comfort, [...] their protestation of their own Love unto him. [...] say you love me, saith he, If ye loved me, yo would re­ [...]e, because I said, I go unto the Father, for my Father is [...]ter than I.

[...]f ye loved me, that is, If you loved me so much as you [Page 2] should. 'Tis usuall with Scripture to speak of thing [...] absolutely, when they are meant c [...]mparatively. If you loved me so much as you pro [...]esse, and so much as you should: for they did love him.

If ye loved me, ye would rejoyce, because I go unto m [...] Father.

Joy is the top of Comfort, as Comfort is the top o [...] Peace. Joy is the cream of Comfort. If ye loved me ye would be so far from being troubled at my going that you would be very much comforted: for I g [...] unto my Father, who is greater than I: Than I am a [...] Mediatour, who upon my coming to him, will exa [...] me, and therefore if ye loved me, ye would rathe [...] rejoyce, because I go un [...]o my Father, who is great [...] than I: From whence then I take up this Doctrine.

Doct. That true love unto the Person of Christ, w [...] make us rejoyce in his Personall Exaltment, thou it may be in some respects unto our debasement, or pr [...] sent losse.

For the opening and prosecuting whereof,

1. We must enquire what there is in Christ's g [...] ing to the Father, that is matter of our Rejoycing.

2. I shall labour to shew you, that 'tis our duty rejoyce in the Personall Exaltment of Christ, tho [...] in some respects it may be to our own losse and [...] basement.

3. That true love to the Person of Christ will [...] able us to do this.

4. That 'tis possible, that Christ's own, and [...] Disciples, may be wanting in their Love to Chri [...] Person.

5. What an excellent thing it is to love the P [...] son [Page 3] of Christ, rather than the benefits of Christ: To have our hearts drawn out in Love to his Person, more excellent than to have a love to him upon the account of benefits. And

6. What we should do, that our hearts may be drawn out in love to the very Person of Christ, so as we may be able to rejoyce in his exaltment, though to our own debasement.

First, If you ask what there is in Christ's going to the Father, that is matter of our Rejoycing, of a Disci­ples rejoycing.

I answer, much every way;—much in reference to our own concernments, —much in reference to the concernments of Christ, —much in reference to the concernments of God the Father.

As for our own concernments,

First, If Christ had not gone unto the Father, his [...]atisfaction for our sins had not been accepted, nor [...]ur Redemption perfected, Heb. 9.12. Neither by the blood of Goats and Calves, but by his own blood, he entred in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal Redemp­ [...]ion for us. It doth relate and allude unto the man­ner of the Old Testament: when the blood of Goats [...]nd Calves was poured out, the Priest took the blood [...]nd carried it into the holy of holyest, and sprinkled the mer­ [...] Seat: But though the blood of Bulls or Calves had [...]een poured out, yet if the Priest had not carried it [...]to the holy of holyest, the typicall satisfaction and re­ [...]emption had not been obtained: And so here, though [...]e blood of Jesus had been shed, and poured out up­ [...]n the Crosse, if he had not gone unto the Father, and [...]rried his blood into heaven, into the holy of holyest, his [...]tisfaction for our sin had not been accepted, and ou [...] [...]edemption had not been perfected.

Secondly, If Christ had not gone unto the Father, [Page 4] he had not made the application of his Death, and Blood, and Merits unto our Souls. He came into the world, that we should have Repentance and Remission: both were purchased by his Death: But now if he had not gone unto the Father, there had not been an applica­tion. Both were purchased by his Death on earth, —But was the businesse so left at a loose? no, but by his go­ing to the Father, what he purchased by his Death he doth apply. In Acts 5. it's said, Him hath God exalte [...] with his Right hand, to be a Prince and Saviour, for to giv [...] Repentance unto Israel, and forgivenesse of sins. So that ha [...] he not gone unto the Father, there had not been a [...] application of his Blood, and Death, and Merit unt [...] our souls.

Thirdly, If Christ had not gone unto the Fathe [...] the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, had not come. If go not away, the Comforter will not come. —But wh [...] might not the Comforter, or the Holy Ghost, come though Christ had been here on earth, if he had n [...] gone unto the Father?

I answer, The gifts, graces, and comforts of th [...] Holy Ghost, were the Dona Regia, which were give [...] out upon the Coronation of Christ: for by this goin [...] to the Father he was crowned with glory and honour, [...] in Heb. 2. — When the Holy Ghost comes, he do bear witnesse to our spirits, that we are the childre [...] of God, and God reconciled to us. But how shou [...] God give such a testimony of his Reconciliation un [...] us, if Christ had not first gone into heaven, and give up his accounts of what he had done here on earth. [...] is said expresly in John 7. This spake he of the spir [...] which they that believe on him should receive, for the H [...] Gh st was not yet given, because that Jesus was not yet glo [...] fied. And if Jesus Christ had not gone unto the F [...] ther, and so sent the Spirit, how should we ha [...] [Page 5] known that he had so much care for us, and love to us, when he was in heaven, as by the sending of the Holy Ghost. We are never more fit for the Holy Ghost, than when we are weaned from the carnall presence of Christ: And therefore if Christ had not gone unto the Father, the Spirit, the Holy Ghost had not come.

Fourthly, If our Lord and Saviour Christ had not gone unto the Father, we should have had no Advo­cate in heaven to plead our Cause in heaven upon all occa­sions. 'Tis a great matter (we say) to have a Friend at Court, an Agent there that may plead for us. What a mercy is it to have an Agent in heaven to negotiate our businesse there? why now saith the Apostle; If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous. If Christ had not gone unto the Father, we had not had this Advocate in heaven to plead for us upon all occasions. And

Fifthly, If Christ had not gone unto the Father, we should have no entrance into heaven; heaven was locked up, the Gates of Paradise were shut, and kept by an Angel with a a flaming sword: This Paradise was opened upon the Crosse, This day shalt thou be with me in Paradise; and we enter into it by Christ's going into heaven, by his going into the holy of holi­ [...]est, I go to prepare a place for you; not as sent before to take up your Lodgings, but as one Friend goes before an­other, to make a great entertainment for his Friends. But I say, if Christ had not gone unto the Father, we had had no entrance into heaven. Why now, is it not a matter of Joy, and of great Comfort, that we have entrance into heaven? —That the Comforter is come,—That we have always one in heaven to plead our Cause upon all occasions: These and many other things we obtain by Christ's going to the Father. [Page 6] This for our own concernment. And

Secondly, As for the concernment of Christ: By his going to the Father, he was exalted, and glorifi­ed, (as Mediatour I speak.)

And if you ask what was the Glory and greatnesse that was put upon Christ, as Mediatour, by his going to the Father. —It consists in two things. —The Royalty of his entertainment, when he came unto his Father,— And the greatnesse of his advancement.

And if yo [...] ask yet, what was the Entertainment that he had when he came unto the Father.

Why, it was an Entertainment suitable to such a Father,—and to such a Son. When that great Sinner, the Prodigall, returned unto his Father, his Father fell upon his neck, and kissed him. Bring out the Robes, kill the Fatted Calf,, bring out the Ring: And if such an entertainment for a Prodigall Son, what en­tertainment then for the Naturall Son of God, the obedient Son of God, that had been upon his Father's great concernment in the world? Great was this En­tertainment surely, beyond all my expression. But now more particularly.

1. No sooner did he come into heaven unto his Father, but he was Justified in all that which he did and suffered for us, as you have it in the 1 Tim. 3.16. God was manifest in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, seen of Angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

2. No sooner did he come unto the Father, but he was mightily declared to be the Son of God, as you have it in Rom. 1. Thou art my Son, this day, (that is, upon the Resurrection) this day have I begotten thee. The Apostle explains it concerning the Resurrection in Acts 13.

3. No sooner did he come unto the Father, but he [Page 7] was annointed with a new and fresh Annointing, with the oyle of gladnesse above all his fellows: For as David (the Type) had a double Annointing, one by the hand of Samuel, after which he was thrust out into the Wil­dernesse, and another at the day of his Coronation, so Christ Typified had a double Annointing, one upon his Incarnation, in which respects he saith, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, and he hath annointed me to preach, —and another upon his Coronation, when he was crowned with Glory and honour. And therefore in Heb. 1. he is annointed twith the oyle of gladnesse above his fellows, comes in upon his exaltation. And

4. No sooner did he come into the presence of his Father, but his Father said unto him, Sit thou down at my Right hand; the most honourable place in heaven, sit thou at my Right hand, my Son. —Why now is it not a matter of great rejoycing to us, that Christ going to heaven with our names upon his shoulder, and heart, should have such an entertainment as this, such a welcome as this unto God the Father?

But 2ly. What advancement had he upon his go­ing to the Father?

Why, great was his advancement as Mediatour.

For 1. No sooner did he come unto the Father, but he was Invested with all that glory that he had with God the Father from all Eternity, which he had laid by and vailed, when he took our nature upon him: and therefore in Joh. 17. saith he, And now, oh Father, glorifie thou me with thy self, with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. No sooner did he come into heaven unto his Father, but he was invested with that glory again, that he had vailed to take our na­ture upon him.

2. No sooner did he come into the presence of his Father, into heaven, but God commanded all [Page 8] the Angels to worship him: Worship him all ye An­gels.

3. No sooner did he come into the presence o [...] his Father, to heaven, but he was made Executor and Administrator to his own Will, to see that performed. We die, and leave Legacies, but cannot Administer our selves, nor be the Executors of our own Wills: but Christ lives for ever. I was dead, but am alive; and when he came into heaven, God the Father made him Executor to his own Will, and therefore saith he; Ask the Father in my Name, and whatever ye ask, that will I give you. Him hath God the Father Exalted to give remission and repentance, Executor of his own Will and Testament.

4. No sooner did he come into heaven, into the presence of his Father, but he was made the grea [...] Governour of all the world, and Head of the Church. In Acts 5. Him hath God exalted with his right hand, to be a Prince and Saviour: Lord over all the world, and Saviour of the Church. Agreable to that in Ephes. 1.20. which he wrought in Christ, when he raise [...] him from the Dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principalitie [...] and powers, and might and d [...]minion, and every name tha [...] is named, not onely in this world, but also in that which is t [...] come. And hath put all things under his feet, and gav [...] him to be head over all things to the Church, which is his body. Prince and Saviour, Lord over all the world, and Saviour and Head unto the Church.

5. And to say no more in it: No sooner did he come into the presence of God his Father, (that is greater than he, as Mediatour) but God the Father did take him into fellowship in the matter of divine worship. Whether I or no, Chr [...]st qua Mediatour, or quia Me­diatour, be to be adored with divine worship, I will [Page 9] not now debate; but whatsoever worship was due to God the Father, was given to Christ. Confounded [...]he all they that worship graven Images, worship him all ye gods. All divine worship due to God the Father, is gi­ven to him. Here's an advancement. Now is it not a matter of great rejoycing, that Christ our Head should be thus advanced? Saith the Emperour's Wife, If thou be Caius, I am Caia; —and, If Christ be King, the Church is Queen, Psal. 45. Is it not, I say, a mat­ter of great rejoycing, that Christ our Head should be thus advanced? Now thus he is advanced by his going to God the Father. Thus for the Son's con­cernment. But

Thirdly, What matter is there of rejoycing by Christ's going to the Father, in reference to the Fa­ther's concernment?

Much; saith Christ in John 14.13. Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. That will I do; I am now going from you, and if ye ask the Father in my name, that will I do, —why? not that the Son may be glorified onely, but that the Father may be glorified.

Look when the great Promise of the Father is ful­filled, then is the Father glorified. What's the great Promise of the Father? Acts 1. The coming of the Holy Ghost. By Christ's going to the Father comes the Holy Ghost: Therein was the Father glorified then.

And look, when Every tongue shall confesse that Jesus is the Lord, to the glory of the Father, then is the Father glorified. Now by Christ's going to the Father, be­ing exalted, every tongue doth confesse, that Jesus is the Lord, to the glory of the Father, as in Philip. 2.

And to say no more in it but this: Look, when the great d [...]sign of God upon the world is accom­plished, [Page 10] and Christ the Son glorified, then is the Fa­ther glorified. Now by Christ's going to the Father the great design of God is accomplished, and the So [...] glorified. Thus we have cause of rejoycing in refe­rence to the concernment of God the Father: Loo [...] where you will, —will you look upon your ow [...] concernment, —will you look upon the concern­ment of Christ, —will you look upon the concern­ment of God the Father, there is matter of our re­joycing in Christ's going to the Father. And so have done with the first thing. But then

Secondly, How may it appear, that it is our wor [...] and duty, to rejoyce in the Personall Exaltment o [...] Christ, though in some respect it should be to ou [...] own debasement, or present losse?

Why you see what our Saviour saith here, If ye lo­ved me, ye would rejoyce, because I go unto the Father, wh [...] is greater than I. You lose by my going you think; and indeed in some respects you do. But however it is your duty to rejoyce, because it is for my Per­sonall Exaltment: And you know what Paul saith in another case. Some Preach Christ out of envy, and out of contention, and to adde affliction to my bonds; but however, saith he, Christ is preached, Christ is exalted, and therein I will rejoyce: I will re­joyce, though I be debased, so Christ may be exalted, I rejoyce.

If that we are to Praise God for the Exaltment of Christ, then we are to rejoyce therein; for Praise and Rejoycing go together in Scripture. Now, though I cannot praise God, and be thankfull that God loves me, I may praise God for this, that the Father loves Christ, and be thankfull for his love and his good­nesse to Christ. Christ praised God for our glory and happinesse, though to his own debasement, why [Page 11] should not we praise God for his Exaltment, though it be to our debasement?

If I am to mourn for sin, because it is a dishonour to God, though the sin be to my own profit, then I am to praise God and Christ for his Glory, though it may be in some respects to my prejudice.

B [...]t besides this, the more Communicative any good is, the more we may, and should rejoyce therein. There is abundance of light in the Sun, but if the Sun be not up, and ascended, it cannot give light unto all the world: So now, though there be light in Christ, able to enlighten all the world, yet if this Sun be not up, he cannot give light to all the world: but being now Ascended, he is able to give forth his beams of light unto all the world.

But you will say; How may it appear, that Christ will be as gracious and communicative in his love unto us now in heaven, as he would have been had he been here on earth.

You know what he said when he was here on earth, And let him that is athirst come. John 7.37. In the last day, the great day of the Feast, Jesus stood and cryed, saying; If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. —Now he is in heaven, look into the Book of the Revelation, which he speaks from heaven, he speaks more than that, And let him that is athirst come, there's that, And whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely, here's more now he is in heaven.

And I pray, when did our Lord and Saviour Christ, wash his Disciples feet? Give the glorious testimony of his condescending love unto his D [...]sciples, [...] when he was going to the Father? Jesus knowing [...] that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God: he arose from Sup­per, and laid aside his Garments, and took a Towel and [Page 12] girded himself. Knowing that all power was given in­to his hand, he gives that reason: He did thus con­descend in this way of love, knowing that all power was given into his hand.

Now that he is in heaven, all power is given into his hand, and therefore now certainly he will be as gracious, and communicative in his love and good­nesse, as if he had been here on earth; and rather o­ver and above. Surely therefore it is our work and our duty, to rejoyce in this Exaltment of Christ, though in some respects it may be to our debasement, or present losse. But then

Thirdly, How shall we do this?

Why, true love to the Person of Christ will enable us to do this: It will enable us to rejoyce in the Personall Exaltment of Christ, though it may be to our own present losse and abasement. —It is a sweet thing to the Lover, to suffer for the Person loved: that is, where love fixt upon the Person, and not upon the benefits, If love be fixt upon the benefit, it is not so, but if upon the person, it is so: So if our love be fixt upon the Person of Christ, this love will enable us to rejoyce in the Exaltment of Christ, though it be in our own debase­ment: Christ rejoyced in our Exaltment, though it was to his own debasement, —why? because he lo­ved our persons, who loved us, and gave himself for us, So that true love unto the Person of Christ, will make us rejoyce in his Exaltment, though it may be to our own present debasement,

You will say then, How few are there, that do love Christ indeed: Chr [...]st is hard [...]y loved for Christ: Christ himself is hardly l [...]ved f [...]r himself: To love the Person of Christ, how few are there that do that. And so I come unto the fourth thing.

Fourthly, 'Tis possible that Christ's own Disciples [Page 13] may be wanting in their love to Christ's Person. Tis somewhat strange this: If a Prince or Noble-man should take a poor woman, a Beggar off the Dunghill, and marry her, it would be somewhat strange, that she should not love his Person. If he should not love her, you would not think it so strange: If Boaz should not love Ruth, you would not have thought it so strange, but that Ruth should not love the Person of Boaz, this may seem strange: So now, such beggars were we, when the Lord came and took us off the Dunghill, and said, Now is a time of love. If the Lord Jesus should not love our per­sons, it would not seem so strange; but that we should be wanting in our love to the Person of Christ, this is strange: —yea Friends, 'tis possible that Christ's own Disciples may be wanting in their love to the Person of Christ.

They may be wanting in the manner of their love to Christ's Person.

They may be wanting in the measure of their love to Christ's Person.

If ye loved me, saith he, and yet they left all to fol­low him: possibly then, the best Disciples of Christ, the best men may be wanting in their love to the Per­son of Christ. To make this out a little to you.

1. First of all, The more we love the Person of Christ, the more diligent and observant we shall be in keeping Christ's Commandments, that are pro­perly his. If ye love me, keep my Commandments. Why now, how many are there of God's own people, that are too negligent in keeping Christ's Command­ments; the Commandment of Love, —the Instituti­ons of Christ: and why so, but because they are want­ing in their love to the Person of Christ, If ye love me, keep my Commandments.

2. If a good man may be wanting in his zeal for [Page 14] for Christ, possibly he may be wanting in his Love t [...] Christ's Person: what is zeal, but fired love, inflam [...] love, angered love? Now possibly a man that love Christ in truth, may be wanting in his zeal. Old E [...] loved God, without all doubt, and yet he was wanting in his love to God. Peter loved Christ, Thou knowest that I love thee, and yet wanting in his love by denying of Christ. Good men may be wanting in thei [...] zeal for Christ; why? but because they are wanting in their love to the Person of Christ.

3. The more a man loves the Person of Christ, th [...] more he doth love the Servants, the people of Christ It was a good speech of Jerom, when there was [...] difference between Austin and him: I love Chri [...] dwelling in Austin: even at that very time when there was a difference betwen them. And certainly if we love the Person of Christ, we shall love Christ dwel­ling in the Saints. But now don't we find by wofull experience, that even in good people, their love to the Saints is wanting? why? but because their love to the Person of Christ is wanting.

4. The more a man doth love the Person of Christ, the more he will be speaking and thinking of him: Love is busied and exercised in thoughtfulnesse about the person loved; and in speech. If a man love a Person or Thing, he will be thinking much on't, and speaking much on't. But now by our experience, can­not we go a whole day together, and have no thought of Christ? Don't we sit down at our meals frequent­ly, and not one word of Christ? Good Conference, where art thou? Good and holy Conference, where art? Come to Professors Tables, one Dish after another, one Cup of Wine after another, but nothing of Christ. It's gone, it's gone: what's the reason, but because we are wanting in our love to the Person of Christ? Cer­tainly, [Page 15] if we were not wanting in our love to the Person of Christ, we would be thinking more of him, and speaking more of him.

5. The more we love the Person of Christ, the more we shall desire to be dissolved, that we may be with him in the enjoyments of himself, and those heavenly embracements. I desire to be dissolved, (saith S. Paul) why? and to be with Christ, to have the Per­son of Christ: But how many good people are there that cannot desire to be dissolved; —why? because there is a want in their love to the Person of Christ-Possibly then you see, by all these things, 'tis possi­ble that a good man, Christ's own and best Disci­ples, may be wanting in their love to the Person of Christ. But

Fifthly, You will say, Suppose that my heart be not drawn out in love to the Person of Christ, but my love is rather fixt upon Christ's benefits, spirituall benefits: Is not that good? is it not good that I should have love for Christ in reference unto the be­nefits that I have from him.

Good? yes. I sate down under his shadow with great delight, saith the Spouse, and his fruit was sweet unto my taste: Fruit; that is the Fruit of Justification, the Fruit of Sanctification, of Consolation, and his fruit was sweet unto my taste. 'Tis good, without all doubt, that our hearts should be drawn out to Christ, by oc­ccasion even of his benefits.

But I pray don't mistake me: I grant therefore,

1. It is good, and a lawfull thing to love Christ in reference to his benefits. But

2. 'Tis our duty to love Christ's Person, to have our hearts drawn out with love to the very Person of Christ. But

3. The excellency of Christ's Person is not the [Page 16] object of my Faith, but Christ crucified. But

4. Though Christ crucified be the object of my Faith, yet the Personall Excellencies of Christ are the object of my Love. Yea, it is a more excellent thing yet to love the Person of Christ, than the benefits of Christ. A more excellent thing, to have my heart drawn out in love to the Person of Christ, than to have my heart drawn out in love to him for his be­nefits.

But you will say, Wherein doth our love to the very Person of Christ exceed, or excell our love up­on the account of benefits, though spirituall? Many ways.

First of all, If your hearts de drawn out in love to the very Person of Christ, by your loving him you make him your own. 'Tis not so in other loves: By my lo­ving Gold, I don't make it my own; by my loving Silver, I don't make it my own; but by loving his Person, I make him my own. 'Tis not so in re­gard of benefits: By my loving the benefits of Christ, the comforts from Christ, I don't make Christ my own, but by my love unto the Person of Christ, I make Christ my own.

2. The lesse of Self in your love to Christ, the more pure and clean it is, and so the better. Now if your heart be drawn out in love to the benefits of Christ, your love is more selfish, you love him in refe­rence unto your selves; because you have such enjoy­ments, and such benefits. But if your hearts be drawn out in love to the Person of Christ, your love is lesse selfish; so the more pure, the more holy and clean.

3. If your heart be drawn out unto Christ himself, and the Person of Christ, you will more readily ac­cept of any thing fr [...]m Christ, though it be never so small; yea, though it be afflictive. If that your love be pla­ced [Page 17] and founded upon the benefits of Christ, then you will not so easily and readily accept of any thing from Christ, especially if afflictive. True love inter­prets all things in the best sense; that is, love to the [...]erson, but love to the benefit don't. Love the Per­ [...]on of Christ, and you will interpret every dispensation [...]n a good sense, for you love his Person, but Love to the benefit will not do so.

4. If your love be drawn out in love to the very Person of Christ, then you will sympathize with Christ in all his Concernments of the Gospel, whether matter of joy, or matter of grief. If your love be [...]ounded upon Christ's benefits, you will not sympa­ [...]hize with him so, but love his Person, and you will [...]ympathize with him in all his Concernments.

5. If your hearts be drawn out in Love to the very Person of Christ, then you will abound therein: The [...]nely measure of love, is to know no measure, that is, [...]here the Person is loved: But if love be placed upon [...]he benefit, it knows stints, and limits, and measures. [...]ut if your heart be drawn out in love to the very Person of Christ, you will be abundant therein, and [...]ou will never think you can love enough.

6. If your heart be drawn out in love to the very Person of Christ, then you will long after the presence of Christ, and you will be afflicted for his absence. Love Christ [...]pon the account of benefits, and it will not be so; but love Christ upon the account of his Person, and then it will be so. You will long after his presence, and you will be afflicted for his absence.

7. The more your heart is drawn out in love to Christ, and the Person of Christ, the more you will love the Seed of Christ, the Posterity of Christ, [...]he Children, and the People of Christ. David loved [...]onathan's seed, why? for he loved his Person, not [Page 18] his benefits: so, love but the Person of Christ, an [...] then you will shew kindnesse to the Seed of Christ, an [...] be more loving to the Seed of Christ.

8. The more your heart is drawn out to the ver [...] Person of Christ, the more will your love continue That's perpetuall that hath a perpetuating Cause: Th [...] Personall Excellency of Christ is a perpetuall Caus [...] of love, but the benefit that doth come from Christ [...] not so. Let the benefit be never so great, if your lov [...] be founded upon the benefit that doth come fro [...] Christ, as the benefit dies, your love will die; but your love be founded upon the very Person of Chris [...] and drawn out to the Person of Christ, then will yo [...] love continue and never die.

9. Lastly, as to this: If your heart be drawn o [...] in love to the very Person of Christ, to Christ himself, then you have gained the heart of God the Father f [...] ever. Look into John 16. saith Christ at the 27. ve [...] For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have lov [...] me. Not because ye have loved my benefits, but b [...] cause ye have loved me; ye have gotten the heart my Father, saith he. Therefore doth my Father lo [...] you, because ye have loved me, because ye love [...] Person. Now is it not a blessed thing, Friends, [...] have the heart of God the Father? Why, if your heart [...] drawn out in love to the very Person of Christ, y [...] have gained the heart of the Father for ever. [...] and the Father loves you, and the Son loves you, a [...] they will come and make their abode with you. Oh wha [...] blessed thing is it then, for to have ones heart dra [...] out in love to the very Person of Christ! Certai [...] it is infinitely better to have ones heart drawn out love to the Person of Christ, than to have a love Christ upon the account of benefits, although the b [...] nefits be spirituall benefits.

And if these things be so, why should we not all labour for this love to the Person of Christ? to love Christ, not upon the account of benefits, but for him­self. Oh that I could perswade people to fix upon the Person of Christ in their love: Oh that this day I could perswade you to this divine fixation of your [...]ove upon the Person of Christ. I fear our love is not rightly placed: I fear we have love for Christ beneath Christ himself. 'Tis the great work of a Minister, to wooe for Christ: A Ministers work is to come a wooing for Christ. Can a soul be wooed over unto Christ, and won over unto Christ, and not love the Person of Christ? Now then, as ever you do desire that you may be espoused to Jesus Christ, that you may be married to Jesus Christ, set not your affecti­ons upon benefits, set not your affections upon your own concernments in your love to Christ; be more raised Christians: Oh that your love were rightly placed, fixed upon Christ himself, not on the bene­ [...]its, but on the Person of Christ himself. But

Sixthly, You will say, What shall we do? we have [...]eard what an excellent thing it is, to have love to [...]he Person of Christ, beyond all love to his benefits, [...]hough they be spirituall benefits, what shall we do [...]hat our hearts may be drawn out to the Person of Christ, that so we may be able to rejoyce in the Personall Exaltment of Christ, though to our own debasement.

What shall we do? It is a great, and a good Que­ [...]tion. What shall we do, that our hearts may be [...]rawn out in love to the very Person of Christ?

1. Be sure that you be really, conjugally united unto [...]hrist: There is a double union, —There is a union [...]y way of juxta-position, laying one thing to another: [...] a man's Arm is united unto Bread, when the Bread [Page 20] is bound to his Arm. — There is a union by way o [...] Intus-susception, by taking in; and so a man is united to his Bread, and his Bread to him, when he eats it, they are made one.

So there is a double union (as I may so speak) to Christ; one whereby men are united to Christ by the externall Ligaments of the Gospel, concerning whom our Saviour may speak in John 15. Every branch in m [...] that beareth not fruit, shall be cast out: —And then ther [...] is another union with Christ, which is that he speak [...] of, He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, shal [...] live, that's another kind of union, a closer union [...] Now if you be really, conjugally united to Christ you will love not onely his benefits, but you will lov [...] his Person: Rest not therefore, I pray you, in this ex­ternall union with Christ by the Ligaments of th [...] Gospel, but labour more and more to be conjugall united to Jesus Christ. But

2. If you would have your heart drawn out in lov [...] to Christ himself, and the Person of Christ, then stud [...] much the Personall Excellency and Goodnesse that [...] in Christ's Person. Good is the object of love: Th [...] more excellent the good is, the more suitable the goo [...] is, and universall and obtainable, the more lovely an [...] commanding is that love. Christ is good, an excellen [...] good, goodnesse it self: a suitable good, suitable unt [...] all our wants. If you be poor, he is rich; if you b [...] foolish, he is wise; if you be out of the way, I am t [...] way, saith he; if you want a director in the way, I a [...] the truth; if you be in the dark, I am the light: A sut [...] ble good, and an universall good he is. As all th [...] sweetnesses that are in the flowers of the field, and the garden, are brought in by the Bee into the Hive; a [...] a l the sweetnesses of the flowers are there imbodied on [...]ive; [...]ll [...]he Attributes of God, and the swee [...] nesse [Page 21] of them all are hived in Christ, in whom all the fulnesse of the Godhead dwells bodily. — And he is an obtainable good; called the Rose of Sharon, the Rose of the Field; not of the Garden, but of the Field, that every one may come at; called the desire of all Na­tions. Do you then desire, that your hearts may be drawn out in love to the Person of Christ, study much the Personall Goodnesse and Excellency of Christ.

3. If you do desire that your hearts may be drawn out in love to Christ himself, to the very Person of Christ, why should you not now stand still a little with me, and behold how Christ hath loved you, and your Persons? Shall Christ love you, and your per­sons, and will not you love him, and his Person? Consider a little with me,

1. The more impediments that any love doth break through, the more it calls for love again. What impediments hath not Christs love broke through to come to us? —Broke through all our unworthinesse, —broke [...]hrough the Law, —broke through the Justice of God, — broke through the Wrath of God, —broke through the Grave, —broke through Hell, —broke through all our unbelief.

2. And the more free any love is, the more it call's for love again. Three things there are that call for love, Likenesse,—Benefit,—Love: And where none of these are, the love is most free.

Now Christ hath loved you, but you were not like un­to him when he loved you.

You could do him no kindesse, you had no benefits to bestow upon him.

And you had no love for him: In the day when he said, Now is the time of love, there was no love in your [...]e [...]ts for him; and therefore his love must needs be most free. But

[Page 22]3. The more patient that love is, the more i [...] calls for love again, the more taking it is: Now o [...] Saviour Christ stands knocking at your door: give m [...] leave to say to you, Had Christ come riding Post throug [...] your City, and knockt onely at your door, and sai [...] hasten after me, or you are damn'd for ever, it ha [...] been much; but to stand at your door and knock, day aft [...] day, and year after year, with the unwearied hand o [...] his love. Oh unspeakable patience! unexpressible love yet thus hath Christ done for you, and thus hath Chri [...] loved you, and loved your person; and shall Chri [...] love you, and love your persons, and shall your lov [...] rest any where but in the Person of Christ: Do b [...] consider how he hath loved you, and your person [...] and then your heart will be drawn out to love t [...] Person of Christ. And that's a third. But.

4. If you do desire that your hearts may be draw [...] out in love unto Christ, if you do desire, I say, th [...] your hearts should be drawn out in love to Christ, th [...] Person of Christ, then use Christ much. In any goo [...] thing you have, the more you use it, the more yo [...] prize it; and the more you prize it, the more yo [...] love it. If you have a good Friend, the more you u [...] him, the more you prize him; and the more yo [...] prize him, the more you love him. If you have good Horse, the more you use him, the more yo [...] prize him; and the more you prize him, the mo [...] you love him. If you have but a good Knife, the mo [...] you use it, the more you will prize it; and the mo [...] you prize it, the more you will love it. Would yo [...] love Christ, use him much, and then the more yo [...] will prize him, and the more you will love him. Indeed we don't use Christ enough; and what's the re [...] son we don't love him? but because we don't u [...] him. — Either your sins be great, or else they be smal [...] [Page 23] [...]f your sins be great, you are afraid to use Christ for [...]hem: If your sins be small, you think you need not [...]se Christ for them. Either your wants be great, or else they be small: If they be great, you dare not [...]se Christ for them; and if your wants be small, you will not, you think it not worth your time to use Christ for them. Indeed we don't use Christ enough: Use Christ much, and then you will prize him much; and if you prize him much, you will love him much.

5. If you would have your hearts drawn out in love to the very Person of Christ, go then to God, and be­seech the Lord to circumcise your hearts for to love him. Mark how the promise runs; The Lord hath promised to unite our hearts to fear him, and he hath promised to circumcise our hearts to love him: why then, would you fear the Lord, go to God to unite your hearts unto him, to fear him; —would you love him, go to God, and beseech him to circumcise your hearts to love the Lord, and to love himself. And oh that the Love that now I have been speaking of, unto the very Person of Christ, might this day be begotten in any one heart, or encreased where it is wanting. I fear we are wanting in our love to Christs Person: wherefore think on these things, and the Lord blesse them to you.

Christ Crucified the object of our Faith. SERMON II.

1 Cor. 2.2.

For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

HAving spoken of the Personall Excellen­cies of Christ, the object of your Love, there is a necessity upon me, of speaking something concerning Christ crucified, the object of your Faith, that your Love and Faith may go together; and therefore have made choice of these words, onely for this time.

Wherein the Apostle Paul doth give an account of the reason of the plainnesse of his Preaching: And I, Brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech, or of wisdome: for, saith he, I am to Preach Christ crucified. A gallant eloquent speech, excellen­cy of words, and pleated sentences, don't become a crucified Christ. If I should speak at that rate, my speech would not be suited unto the subject that I have in hand: for I Preach Christ crucified, saith he, For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and h [...]m crucified. Some Books read it, I desire not to know any thing among you; but rather, I judge [Page 25] it, I decreed, I determined not to know any thing among you.

Not to know any thing among you.] Not to make any think known unto you: I would Preach, as if I knew nothing else but Christ, and him crucified. Christ, and him crucified, is the great thing I desire to make known, and that ye should know. So that plainly then the Observation is this.

Obs. The knowledge of Christ crucified, is the most de­sirable thing in the world. The knowledge of Christ crucified, is the most desirable know­ledge, and the most desirable thing in the world.

That which the Apostles taught, and the Churches learned, must needs be the most desirable. Now this is that the Apostles taught, and this is that the Churches learned, and therefore this knowledge of Christ cru­cified is the most desirable. But for the opening and prosecuting hereof,

1. We must a little enquire, what it is to know Christ crucified, and when a man may be said to know Christ crucified.

2. That it is our great work and businesse in the world, to know Christ crucified.

3. What there is in Christ crucified, that is so de­sirable to be known.

4 Whether a man may live under the Gospel, and not know Christ crucified.

5. What are the benefits that we do get, or gain by the knowledge of Christ crucified. And then

6. What we should do, that we may know Christ crucified in a right manner. And

7. In case we do know him, what is our duty that flowes from hence.

First of all, If you ask what it is to know Chris [...] crucified, or when a man may be said to know Christ crucified.

I answer shortly. A man is said to know a thing nakedly and barely, —or else effectually and truly. Bare­ly and nakedly a man knowes God and Christ, when he doth understand that there is a God, and Christ a Saviour of the world: so the Devil said, I know the [...] whom thou art, the holy one of Israel.

But truly and effectually a man is said to know Christ crucified, when he doth know the mind and will of God the Father in Christ crucified, having a disposition and affections suitable thereunto. Words of knowledge note an affection; and words of affection in Scripture note an effect: accordingly therefore in Scripture phrase, a man is said to know, when he doth go round about a businesse, doth consider of it, and look well into it; and so Christ saith, Behold me, behold me: and saith the Apostle, Consider the High Priest of your pro­fession.

This knowledge of Christ crucified, is not a bare knowledge of Christ crucified in the history; but it is a serious looking into the mystery thereof. In Scripture phrase a man is said to know, when he doth approve; approbation is put for knowledge: so at the last Christ shall say, Depart from me, for I never knew you, that is, I never approved of you; knowledge being put for approbation. And so a man is said to know Christ crucified, when he doth understand and know the mind and will of God the Father, in that great mystery, and doth approve thereof.

In Scripture phrase again, a man is said to know God, or know Christ, when he doth believe, or re­pose in Christ: so, This is life eternall, to know thee, and him whom thou hast sent, that is, to believe, knowing be­ing put for believing.

And in Scripture phrase a man is said to know, and to know Christ, when the power, and the efficacy of the Death of Christ is shed abroad into his heart, and upon his life; and so Paul speaking to the Philip­pians saith, I account all things drosse for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ, that I may be conformed to his suf­ferings. So that I say, look when a man doth not onely understand, but doth seriously look into, and consider this great mystery of Christ crucified, ap­prove thereof, rest and repose upon this crucified Christ, having the power and efficacy of his Death shed abroad into his heart and life, then he is said for to know Christ crucified truly and effectually. B [...]t then

2. How may it appear, that it is our work, our great work, to know Christ crucified.

Why if it be the work, and great work of Preach­ers of the Gospel, to Preach Christ crucified; then it is our work, our great work, to know Christ crucifi­ed. Now saith the Apostle, in 1 Cor. 1. We preach Christ crucified, (that's our work saith he) the power of God, and the wisdome of God. When our Saviour Christ wrought any miracle, he said unto them, Go and see thou tellest no man; —but when he died and rose again, Go preach the Gospel, saith he. And what doth the Gospel hold forth but Christ crucified? what is the Gospel but a dead Christ? and what is Chr [...]st but a living Gospel? Now I say, that if it be the work of the Preachers, their great work, to Preach Christ cruci­fied, then 'tis our work, and our great work, to know Christ crucified.

2. Look what that is, that all the Ceremonies, Sacrifices, and Types of the Old Testament, and all the Ordinances of the New Testament do hold forth, that are we to know especially. Now what do all the [Page 28] Sacrifices, all the Types of the Old Testament hold forth, but Christ crucified? and what do all the Ordi­nances of the New? What doth Baptisme? what doth Preaching? what doth the Lords Supper hold forth, but Christ crucified? Surely therefore this is our great work to know. But

3. If Christ crucified be the great and proper, and next object of our Faith, then certainly it must needs be our speciall work and duty for to know Christ, and him crucified. Now Christ crucified is the proper object of our Faith, and being opened and Preached, will both beget and increase our Faith. It is the ob­ject of our Faith, and therefore, saith the Apostle, R [...]m. 3.25. Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood: The Blood, and Death, and S [...]fferings of Christ, is the next and immediate ob­ject of our Faith. Four things there are that do bid for our Faith, which men do ordinarily think we are to trust unto: the power of God, the promise of God, the personall excellencies and fulnesse of Christ, and their own graces. But though we do rest upon the power and all sufficiency of God, yet if you look into Scripture, you shall find, that the immediate object of our Faith is Christ crucified: God is the u [...]timate, Christ the im­mediate object, Ye believe in God, believe also in me, Joh. 14.1. in me nextly and immediately, and in God ultimately: and though we may and do rest on the promise or word of God, yet we do so far rest on it, as we do close with Christ therein: The promises are [...]ut the veins of Christ, whereby his blood is carried into all his body: it is with the promises as it is with the [...]eals, or Sacraments; for what are the Sacraments, but so many reall promises made to the eye? now you do not rest on the Sacrament it self, but you rest on Christ which the Sacrament doth exhibit: so for the [Page 29] promise, though it stay up your heart, as it is the word of God; and though it be objectum quo, the object by which you do it, yet Christ, and a crucified Christ is the objectum quod, the object which you do rest upon. And as for the personall excellencies, and fulnesse of Christ, though those excellencies do draw out your love unto Christ, yet it is a crucified Christ that doth draw out your Faith: The personall excellency of Christ makes him a fit subject for you to rest on, but it is Christ crucified that you build and lay the weight of your soul upon. The brazen Serpent did not cure the Israelites by virtue of it's excellent metall, but as lift up; so, saith Christ, shall the Son of man be lift up on the Crosse, and as lift up on the Crosse he is the object of our Faith: and though our graces are, and may be a good help to confirm our faith of assurance, yet they are not the object of our faith of reliance: for God doth therefore sometimes put the sentence of death upon our graces, that we may not trust to, or rest on them: Christ and Christ alone, and that as dying and cruci­fied, is the object of our faith. And it is not with this object as it is with other objects: take another object, and though it be never so cleary spread be­fore the organ or faculty, yet it cannot cause, or be­get the Act. Suppose the most excellent colour be laid before the eye, will that cause the blind eye to see? no: Or suppose the most excellent sound, or noise of Musick be laid before the ear, can that cause the deaf ear to hear? no; yet sound is the object of the ear hearing; and colour the object of the eye seeing; but if the true object of faith, Christ crucified, be opened and laid before an unbelieving heart, it will cause it to believe: yea, and it will increase faith; and there­fore if you look into the Book of the Hebrews, you shall find, that the great design of that Book, is to [Page 30] raise and increase faith, as appears by the Therefore that are in that Book, Wherefore let us draw near wit [...] full assurance of faith, &c. But how doth the Apost [...] labour to raise and increase our faith? He doth i [...] by opening the Priesthood and sufferings of Christ; an [...] without doubt there is no such way to raise, beget and increase our faith, as to open and spread Christ crucified before the soul. Now it is the great wor [...] of a Minister, to be serviceable to the faith of God [...] people; surely therefore it is his work, and grea [...] work, to make known Christ crucified: and accor­dingly Paul saith here, I determined to know nothing a­mong you, but Christ, and him crucified.

Obj. But the Apostle saith, Henceforth know we n [...] man after the flesh, no not Christ himself: and though w [...] have known him after the flesh, yet henceforth know we hi [...] no more, 2 Cor. 5.16. and if we are not to know Christ after the flesh, how is this true, that it is our great work to know, and make known Christ cruci­fied?

Answ. Yes very well; for the Apostle doth not there speak of the knowledge of Christ crucified, neither doth he say, that we should not know the bo­dy and flesh of Christ still: there have been indeed a generation of men, (and still are) who thought, that when Christ died, rose, and ascended, his body was swallowed up of his Deity, and that he hath now no body, but is all spirit: but the Apostle speaks the contrary; for, says he to the Philippians, Who shall change our vile body, that it shall be like to his glorious body: Christ then, though in heaven, hath a body still, and this we are still to know. And in this Verse he saith, Henceforth know we no man after the flesh, are we there­fore to think, that men have no bodies of flesh here on earth? the same is said of Christ, that therefore [Page 31] cannot be the meaning of these words: but we are not to know Christ after the flesh, that is (say some) upon any fleshly or carnall account, or in any fleshly or carnall manner; but I rather think, that the A­postle here speaketh in reference to the Jews: times were, when we thought, that the Messiah, and salva­tion by him, did belong to the Jews onely; but now (saith he) we know, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not the Jews onely, but the Gen­tiles also, ver. 19. and that Christ did not die onely for the Jews, but for the Gentiles; and he died for all, that they which live should not live unto themselves, but unto him that died for them, and rose again; wherefore (see how it comes in) henceforth know we no man after the flesh; though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more, therefore if any man be in Christ he is a new creature, whether he be a Jew or a Gentile, 'tis all one to us whatsoever he be, if he be in Christ he is a new creature, wherefore now know we no man after the flesh, no not Christ himself, upon any such Jewish and restrained account, for he died for all, one as well as another, wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh, no not Christ himself. And thus this Scri­pture being opened, the one place is not contrary, but a light to the other. And so much in answer to that objection, and for the second thing, namely, that it is our great work and businesse, to know Christ crucified.

3. The third thing is, what is there in Christ cru­cified, that is so desirable to be known?

I answer, There is the Conjunction of all the Attri­butes of God: The Power, the Wisdome, the Justice, the Mercy, and Righteousnesse of God. In the day that you know Christ crucified, that day doth all the Attributes of God passe before you, which is the Glory of God.

[Page 32]2. There also, in Christ crucified, you may se [...] the wealth and riches, not onely of the Saints, bu [...] of the World: Christs Sepulchre is our Treasury [...] And have made his Grave with the Rich, Isa. 53. Glassi [...] reads it, He hath placed Riches in his Grave: For th [...] wealth and riches of the Saints lie in the grave an [...] sufferings of Christ.

2. There, in Christ crucified, you see the conde­scending love of God in the heighth thereof; the greatest condescension of divine love. There are two Travells of Christ that we read of: Christ once travelling in the greatnesse of his strength, in the 63. o [...] Isaiah, and that is for the destruction of his Enemies, and the deliverance of the Churches. Another tra­vell which you read of in the 53. of Isaiah, He shal [...] see the travell of his soul and be satisfied, and that is, Christ travelling in the greatnesse of his affections, in the day of his sufferings: so that when you know Christ crucified, then you see him, and know the greatest condescension of Divine love that ever was.

4. There also you may see the greatnesse, and the vilenesse, and the misery of sin: for which Christ, the Lord of Life and Glory died.

5. There you may see the greatest Sacrifice for sin, that ever the world did see. Four things, saith A [...]stin, concurre to a Sacrifice, — The thing sacrifi­ced, —the Sacrificer, —the person sacrificed unto, —and those that he sacrifices for; —I will adde a fifth, the Altar: And all these meet in one in Christ upon the Crosse. —He himself the Sacrifice, —the Sacrificer, —the Person sacrificed to, as God; and as Man, the Person for whom was the Sacrifice, and the Altar: so that here's the greatest Sacrifice that ever the world saw.

[Page 33]6. There you may see our great High-Priest in all his Robes and Garments rol'd in blood.

7. Therein Christ Crucified, you may behold and see the Covenant sealed, and all the Promises confirmed, all the Promises being Yea and Amen in Christ.

8. There you may see your Reconciliation with God begun, and the day-break of your eternal happiness: This is eternall Life to know thee, and him whom thou hast sent.

9. There you may see your Right and Title un­to all your Priviledges, and the root of all your Injoyments. As the man being shown a Table full of Silver, still had his eye under the Table to see the root of it; and being led to another Table of Gold, still he lookt under the Table to see the root of it: So here, see but Christ crucified, and you see your Title to all the Ordinances, and the [...]oot of all your Enjoyments.

10. There you may see all your Afflictions san­ [...]ified, all your Curses turned into Blessings upon he Cross of Christ.

11. There you may see the gates of Paradise [...]pened afresh: This day shalt thou be with me in [...]aradise, said Christ upon the Cross.

12. There you may see the Ladder that the An­ [...]els ascend and descend upon for your ministry, as [...]n the first of John and the last.

13. There you may see your desire upon all your [...]piritual Enemies, Law, Sin, and Satan. It is not [...]ely a promise, that you shall have your desire [...]on your Enemies, but you shall see your desire [...]on your Enemies; look upon Christ crucified, [...]d you see your desire upon all these Enemies.

[Page 34]14. There you may see the foundation of you [...] Union and Communion with God the Father.

15. There you may see again, the accomplishment of that great contrivance between God th [...] Father and Christ, in reference to our Salvation.

What shall I say, there in Christ crucified yo [...] may see a full answer to all your wants, to all you fears, to all your doubts. — What do you wan [...] but you may see it in Christ crucified? Do yo [...] complaine of your own unworthiness? Oh! I a [...] a poor unworthy Creature; Do but look on Chr [...] crucified, you see him suffering without the Gat [...] Why, saith Austin, did he suffer without t [...] Gates? not onely to fulfill the Scripture, He w [...] numbred among transgressors: But he suffered wit [...] out the Gates, not in the Holy City, because [...] suffered for the Gentiles as well as the Jews; [...] suffered for the ungodly, for the unworthy. No [...] look upon Christ crucified, and there you see h [...] suffering without the Gates for the most unworthy▪

Or will you instance in your own sin and gui [...] why, do but look upon Christ crucified, and y [...] see that sacrifice for sin, that the world never s [...] the like, and that before your sin was committed▪

Will you instance in the dominion of sin, a [...] your bondage under it? look but upon Christ c [...] cified, and there you see your Ransome: Who g [...] himself a ransome for many, in whom we have [...] demption through his blood.

Will you instance still in your own misery a [...] ruines? Oh we lye like the ruines of London at [...] day, in regard of our state by Nature: Yet do [...] look upon Christ crucified, and there you shall [Page 35] the repairer of the breaches, and the restorer of paths to dwell in. Oh what a blessed thing is it then, to have the knowledge of this Christ cru­cified? Who would not know Christ crucifi­ed?

4. But you will say in the next place, Whether may a man live under the Gospel, and not know Christ crucified? We all know Christ crucified we hope, for, Is it possible that a man should live under the Gospel, and not know Christ crucified?

Surely it is possible a man may live under the Gospel, and not know Christ crucified as he ought to know; for as in the times of the Law, Some that were in the highest forms did not know God. It is said of the Sons of Elias, they were Children of Belial, that knew not God, yet Priests, men of the highest form, and yet they knew not God: So now in the times of the Gospel, men may sit upon the highest form of profession, and yet not know Christ crucified aright as they ought to know. You know how ignorant Nichodemus was, Art thou a Doctor in Israel, and knowest not these things? How unacquainted was he with Christ crucified? yea, Christs own Disciples before Christs death, how ignorant were they of a crucified Christ? when he said, Destroy this Temple, in the second of John, they understood it not: So that possibly men may live under the Gospel, and be in a very high form of Profession, and yet not know Christ crucified is they ought to know.

And to clear it to you. If we did know Christ [...]ucified as we ought to know, why are we not [...]ore sensible of our ignorance of Christ crucified. [...] is both recorded and reported of Bishop Ʋsher, [Page 36] a learned and holy man, that in the midst of all his Learning, still he would cry out of his ignorance of Christ. And that we know by experience, Grace will make one sensible of the sin that is con­trary unto that Grace. Faith will make one sen­sible of ones Unbelief, Humility will make one sensible of ones Pride, Sincerity will make one sensible of ones Hypocrisie; the knowledge o [...] Christ crucified, will make one sensible of ones ignorance of Christ; yet how many are there tha [...] never were sensible of their ignorance of Chri [...] crucified; why? but because they do not kno [...] this crucified Christ, as they ought to know.

2. If we did indeed know Christ crucified a [...] we ought to know, why are we not more cruc [...] fied to the World, and the things thereof? Ga [...] 6. You know what Paul saith, God forbid that [...] should glory in any thing, save in the cross of our S [...] viour Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucifi [...] unto me, and I unto the world. Did we kno [...] Christ crucified as we ought to know, certainly w [...] would be more crucified to the world, and t [...] things thereof; but how few, even among Pr [...] fessors, are crucified to the fashions, wayes and ma [...] ners of the world? and why so? but because fe [...] there be that do know Christ crucified in a ri [...] manner.

3. If we did know Christ crucified, as we oug [...] to know, then why do we prefer other things b [...] fore Christ, when they come in competition w [...] Christ? In the general we do choose for Chr [...] but in time of competition, how often do m [...] prefer other things before Christ, and the kno [...] ledge of other things before the knowledge [...] [Page 37] Christ? Truly saith Paul, I account all things but loss; I did account, and I do account all things loss, and dross, and dung, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ; not onely loss and dross, but I account them dung, unsavory. Time was, when I gloried in my parts, and in my priviledges, but now how unsavory are all these things unto me, in regard of the knowledge of Christ! So Moses chose affliction with the people of God in time of competition, — Why? because he e­steemed the reproach of Christ greater riches, then all the Treasures of Aegypt.

4. And if we did know Christ crucified as we ought to know, why do we boggle, startle at, and go back so often from the Cross and Persecution for the Name of Christ, and not rather glory in the excellencies of Christ when they lye under the greatest reproach? The wise men worshipped Christ in a manger. — The Disciples and Chil­dren cryed Hosannah to Christ riding upon an Ass. Many will honour Christ in a Coach, but will not honour Christ upon an Ass: Many cry up the Kingdome and the Government of Christ when he is upon the Throne, but not when a Crown of thorns is upon his head. Friends, it is one thing to glory in the Kingdome and Government of Christ when it is under Glory, and another thing when it is under Reproach. Many there are that glory in the Kingdome and Government of Christ when it lyes under excellency and glory, few that do glory in the government of Christ lying under re­proach; and why? but because they do not know this crucified Christ in a right manner.

[Page 38]5. If we did know Christ crucified as we ought to know, why are we not willing to take and re­ceive all our mercies and blessings in the way that this crucified Christ hath purchased and bought for us? — What way is that? — Why, Christ hath bought them for us in a way of contraries, Heaven by the way of Hell, mercy by the way of mi­sery, glory and honour by the way of reproach, Victory over enemies, by being overcome by ene­mies; Christ overcame the world, by being over­come by the world. This is the way that the cru­cified Christ went; and if in truth, we were ac­quainted with Christ crucified, and did know Christ crucified as we ought to know him, why should we not be contented to take our mercies and blessings in the way that this crucified Christ hath bought them for us? Joy by grief, hope by fear, and mercy by misery, and overcoming by be­ing overcome: But oh how many are there that are unwilling to take these things thus? why, be­cause few there are that do know Christ crucified as they ought to know. But O friends, shall we live thus long under the Gospel, and not know Christ crucified as we ought to know?

5. You will say in the next place, Suppose yet that we do know Christ crucified as we ought to know, what shall we gain, or what shall we get thereby? what are the great benefits that we shall obtaine or get by knowing Christ crucified in a right manner? Those are many.

1. Thereby you shall know God, — you shall know your selves,— and you shall know men.

You shall know God, God is best known in Christ: The Sun is not seen but by the light of the [Page 39] Sun. Christ (as one speaks) came from Heaven with a Bible under his arm, to make known the will of God the Father to the Children of Men; and with­out Christ, there is no knowledge of God the Fa­ther, he doth reveal the Father, thereby you know the Father.

And thereby also you know your selves: for three things are required to the knowledge of our selves. — We must know our sins, — our mi­sery thereby, — and our inability for to help our selves: know but Christ crucified, you know your sins, — you know your misery thereby, — and you know your inability to help your selves.

And thereby you shall know men; for the more I know the worth of a man, the more I know him; and the more I know the difference between man and man, the more I know men: know but Christ crucified, and you know the worth of a man; and you never know the worth of a soul, or of a man, but by knowing Christ crucified; thereby you know (I say) God, — and you know your selves,— and you know men.

2. Thereby you shall have your hearts drawn out and ingaged to Jesus Christ: When I am lift up, I will draw all men after me. One would think that the scandal of the Cross should drive men from Christ; but there is wisdome and power in Christ crucified, which draws men unto Christ: — Wisdome draws; it drew the Queen of Sheba to behold Solomon: a greater then Solomon is here. — Love draws, it drew Rebecca unto Isaac; here is love indeed in Christ crucified, Christ crucified is the most drawing thing in the world, where Love, and Wisdome, and Power, and Strength, and all [Page 40] meet; thereby I say, your hearts shall be drawn out and ingaged to Jesus Christ.

3. Thereby also your lusts and temptations shall be fully mortified and subdued. There are three sorts of lusts, — the lusts of the eye, — the lusts of the flesh,— and the pride of life, that John speaks of: the Devil tempted Adam and Eve by all these, — by the lust of the eye, They saw th [...] Apple that it was fair to look on: — by the lus [...] of the flesh, that the Apple was good to eat, — and by the pride of life, The Devil told them, that i [...] they eat, they should be like unto God, and he pre­vailed with Adam and with Eve. And according­ly he sets upon the second Adam, and thought to have carried him too, he tempted him by all these. — He tempted him by the lusts of the flesh, Tur [...] these stones into bread; — By the lusts of the [...] eye He shewed him all the Glory of the World; — He tempted him by the pride of life, All this will I giv [...] thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me: but here he missd his prize, and so shal he do when he come [...] and tempts you, if you do but keep close to a cru­cified Christ in the time of your temptations, for by faith we quench all the fiery darts of the Devil, and where are they quenched, but in the blood o [...] Jesus? You blow out a candle, and it is easily ligh [...] again; but if you quench it in blood, it is not so easily light again: if you blow out a temptation, or a sin by a Resolution, it is easily lighted again, but quench i [...] in the blood of Jesus, and it is not so easily light a­gain.

4. Thereby also you shall dye unto all your own righteousness. There is no such way in the world to dye unto our own righteousness, as by [Page 41] the knowledge of a crucified Christ, as in that place of the Philippians, I account all things loss, &c.

5. Thereby also you shall be able to deny your selves in all things, in one thing as well as another. Possibly a man may deny himself in one thing, that he may seek himself in another: I may deny my self in meats and drinks, that I may have the more money; deny my self in prodigality, that I may seek my self in covetousness: It is possible that a man may deny himself in one thing, that he may seek himself in another; a man may deny his pride in one thing, that he may be proud in another: But now the sight of a crucified Christ will teach us to deny our selves in every thing. And therefore the Apostle Paul pressing the Philippians unto hu­mility and self-denyal, he opens before them the sufferings of Christ.

6. By your knowledg of Christ crucified, you shall grow in Grace, in one Grace as well as in another; grow in Assurance, and yet in Repentance; grow in Repentance, and yet in Assurance. The sight of Christ crucified is a friend unto your Repentance, and a friend unto your Assurance. Saith the Apostle, Grow in grace, not in this or that Grace, but Grace in the general: Grow in Grace, and in the knowledg of Christ: so that the knowledge of Christ crucifi­ed, is that whereby you shall grow in one grace as well as in another.

7. Thereby also your hearts shall be established in opposition to all sufferings and afflictions. It will incourage you to suffer, and it will inable you to suffer. Nichodemus came by Night when he first came to Christ; but after he had seen Christ upon [Page 42] the Cross, and seen the sufferings of Christ, how boldly did he own Christ then! The sight of a suffer­ing Christ, will both incourage to suffer, and inable to suffer. All our sufferings are either outward or inward: — If my sufferings and afflictions be out­ward, the sight of a suffering Christ will make me suffer: — If my afflictions be inward and spiritual, what is there that will quiet the Conscience of a poor trembling soul, but Christ crucified? There­by (I say) you shall be established in opposition unto all your sufferings and afflictions, inward and outward.

8. Thereby also you shall have boldness in all your addresses unto God the Father: Wherefore, saith the Apostle, Let us come with boldness to the Throne of Grace,— Why? For we have an High-Priest: An High-Priest, there is the sufferings of Christ; Thereby you have boldness in all your ad­dresses to God the Father.

9. Thereby, even by the knowledge of Christ crucified, you shall be possest of Christ. You know many things, and yet you do not possess them by your knowledge of them: But know Christ crucifi­ed, and you are possest of Christ. Saith the Apostle, My little Children, of whom I travel in birth again, until Christ be formed in you. Christ formed in you, — that is, till the knowledge of Christ be formed in you. The knowledge of Christ brings one into the possession of Christ.

10. Yea thereby you shall be furnished and pre­pared for every good word and work. — For, what is the death and suffering of Christ but Offi­cina virtutum, the Shop of Vertues? — Do you want Faith? Christ crucified is the Object of your [Page 43] Faith, and the Cause of it, as you have heard. — Are you full of fears? Are you afraid because of the Law, and the avenger of blood that is follow­ing you at the heels? Do but look upon Christ cru­cified, and there you see the City of refuge. So many wounds in Christ, so many Cities of refuge. — Are you impatient and froward? why, the sight of a patient Christ will make you patient. — Are you proud? The spirit of an humble Christ, a crucified Christ, will make you humble. If I have gallant and brave cloaths on, and go abroad and swagger with them, and a man comes and tells me, Sir, you owe for these cloaths, its enough to take down my Plumes. So now, Though a man be proud of this or that good thing, yet if he do but see Christ cru­cified, he shall there be told, that Christ hath paid for all; and this will take down his pride.— Do you complain of a hard heart? The sight of a broken Christ will break your heart, or nothing will. So that the knowledge of Christ crucified is that that will furnish you, and prepare you to every good word and work. And therefore, O friends, who would not labour to know Christ crucified? Let me speak a little more.

11. This is the knowledge that is the soul-hum­bling knowledge: Other knowledge puffs up; but if you know Christ crucified, you may glory in your knowledge without pride: Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, nor the strong man in his strength, nor the learned man glory in his learning. If I glory in my wisdom, I am proud; if I glory in my strength, I am proud; but if I glory in that, that I know Christ crucified, the more I glory in Christ crucified, the more humble I am; That is a soul-humbling knowledge.

[Page 44]12. This is that knowledge which is the highest experimental knowledge in the World. A man may have the experience of his own sins, yet be a wicked man: Oh, I have such a proud heart, such a vain heart, may he say; why? for his sins are within him, and he may easily (though a wicked man) have experience of what is within him by nature: But to have experience of a crucified Christ is not by nature. This is the highest experience in the World, Christ in me the hope of glory; this is the most true experimental knowledge.

13. This is that knowledge that will make a man wise indeed: Other knowledge may make a man wise quoad hoc, to this or that thing, but the knowledge of Christ crucified doth make a man wise at large.

And therefore I say, O what a blessed thing is it to know Christ crucified! and who would not labour to know Christ crucified in a right man­ner?

6. You will say then in the sixth place, What shall we do to know Christ crucified in a right manner: For we have heard, men may live under the Gospel, sit upon the highest form of profession, and yet not know Christ crucified in a right man­ner: What shall we do then that we may know Christ crucified in a right manner? — Somthing I shall speak to the manner, and somthing to the means.

As to the manner: If you would know Christ crucified in a right manner, you must look upon him as the Great institution and appoyntment of the Father. When God doth deal with us in a way of Institutions, he hath not respect unto the strength [Page 45] of the Means, or the worth of the Persons. When God deals with us in a way of nature, there is re­spect had to the strength of the Means, or the worth of the Person: As in Physick, God deals in a way of nature, there respect is had to the strength of the Means. But when God deals with us in a way of institution, there he hath neither respect to the strength of means, nor to the worth of persons. Now Jesus Christ is the great Institution of God the Father, and so if we would know him rightly, we must look upon him: For though the stung Is­raelite was cured by the brazen Serpent, yet he was not cured by the brazen Serpent in regard of the mettle of the Serpent, but as it was an appointment, and as an institution: So if a man would know Christ to purpose, he must know him, and look up­on him as the great institution and appointment of the Father, Him hath God the Father sealed. And what is the reason that many go to and get no good by a crucified Christ, but because they never did to this day look upon Christ crucified as the great In­stitution of the Father.

2. If you would know Christ crucified in a right manner, you must then look upon him as sent, you must look upon this crucified Christ under the missi­on of the Father. There are three great Missions that you read of in the New Testament. — There is the mission of Ministers; they are sent out to preach. — There is the mission of the Holy Ghost, I will send the Comforter. — There is the mission of the Son sent from the Father. Now the mission of Christ from the Father, is the original of all the [...] ­ther missions; and you cannot know the other mis­sions rightly, if you do not know this original mis­sion. [Page 46] If you would know Christ crucified in a righ [...] manner, you must know him as sent. In the 17. [...] John saith Christ in his prayer to the Father, But have known thee, and these have known that tho [...] hast sent me. So that if you would know Chri [...] crucified in a right manner, you must know him [...] and look upon him as under a mission from the Father.

3. If you would know Christ crucified in a righ [...] manner, you must look well unto the design, drif [...] and scope of the Father in the sufferings of Chri [...] Then you know Christ when you know the Father, and you know the Father when you know [...] the Fathers Design. What is the great Design of t [...] Father in sending Christ to die, but — To magnif [...] his love, — To save poor sinners, — To justifie th [...] ungodly. Would you know Christ crucified arigh [...] be sure you have an eye to the design of the Father i [...] the matter of a crucified Christ.

4. Be sure of this, That you look as well upo [...] the Testamentalness of Christs sufferings, as th [...] greatness of his sufferings. Some look much at th [...] greatness of the sufferings of Christ, as the Frya [...] and Monks, and never look at the Testamentalnes [...] of Christs sufferings. — Oh, say they, Christ death was a painful, reproachful, and a lingrin [...] death, and thus they aggravate (as truly the [...] may) the sufferings of Christ; but not one wor [...] of the Testamentalness of his sufferings. But Christ death was to seal the Covenant; Therefore if yo [...] would know Christ crucified rightly, you must a [...] well look upon the Testamentalness of his sufferings as the greatness of his sufferings. Thus in regar [...] of the manner, if you would know Christ rightly.

And 2. for the Means, I shall speak two or three things.

If you would know Christ crucified in a right manner, for Means, Then go unto God the Father to create this knowledge of Christ crucified in you. All Light was at the first by a word of Creation, Let there be Light. And as in the old Creation, the Creation of the World, so in the new Creation, Let there be Light, Let there be Knowledge: God that commanded the Light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the know­ledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ. This light comes into the soul in a way of creation; go then to God to create this light.

And be sure that you set open all your Windows that the Light may come in. There are some sick­ly and weak, who would fain have the Light to come into their Chambers, but they are afraid of the cold Air, and so dare not open their windows. So here, some would fain have more light and knowledge of Christ, but they are afraid of the cold, and so dare not open their windows to receive the light. But pray Friends, why should we be a­fraid of new lights? for why should there not be new Lights found out in the Firmament of the Scripture, as well as the Astrologers find out new Stars in Hea­ven? Be not afraid to set open your Windows for any light that God shall make known unto you.

2. If you would know Christ crucified in a right way and manner, Then study much, think much upon this crucified Christ; meditate much, insist and dwell much upon Christ crucified. It is not slight and superficial thinking of Christ crucified that will bring in this knowledge. If I would know a [Page 48] man, I must be conversant with him: So if you would know Christ crucified, you must be conver­sant with him, you must sit down, and consider, and dwell upon Christ crucified in your thoughts and meditations. Now there are four times, wherein it will be good for you especially to think of Christ crucified much. Four cases. — First, In case of some Revelation or Vision that you may be under. When Christ was transfigured, and Peter said, I [...] is good to be here, Christ turns him off, and reads a Lecture to him about his sufferings; why, but to shew that in such times of Raptures and Revelati­ons, is a fit season to think of Christ crucified. — 2. Another time or season is, The time and case of spiritual pride. In case your heart be lifted up within you in reference unto any Priviledge, Gift, or performance, then is a fit time to think on a cru­cified Christ. The Disciples were speaking who should be greatest, That one might sit on Christs right hand, and the other at his left hand; then said Christ Are ye able to be baptized with the Baptisme that I am baptised with, and to drink of the Cup that I shall drink of? The Son of man must suffer, saith he: He turns them about from those thoughts to a cru­cified Christ; why, but to shew thus much, that when at any time our hearts are lift up upon any account, then is a fit time and season to think on a Christ crucified. — 3. The time of dissention and difference among professors and Brethren, is a fit time and season to think on a crucified Christ. When one Disciple desired to sit at Christs right hand, and the other at his left, the rest of the Dis­ciples took it ill, and all quarrelled one with ano­ther: Christ now tells them of his sufferings; Is [Page 49] This a fit time for you to have differences among [...]ou? think of my sufferings. Never more seaso­ [...]able time to think of a crucified Christ, then when [...]rofessors are at variance. Times of dissention call or thoughts of a crucified Christ. — Again 4. In [...]ase that a man be in any great affliction or dan­ [...]er, or fear thereof, then is a good time to think [...]f the sufferings of Christ. Nichodemus comes by [...]ght unto Christ out of fear, and Christ first [...]reaches to him the Doctrine of Regeneration, [...]nd when he had done so, saith he in Joh. 3. the 14. [...]ers. As Moses lifted up the Serpent in the Wilder­ [...]ss, even so must the Son of man be lifted up. Ni­ [...]odemus was afraid to suffer for Christ; now Christ [...]rns him over to his sufferings. The Son of man [...]ust be lifted up; — why? but to shew thus [...]uch, that when we are afraid of sufferings, when [...]e meet with afflictions and troubles, and are in [...]ar thereof, then is a fit time for us to think of [...]hrists sufferings. It is a good thing to think of [...]hrist crucified at all times; but when you have [...]evelations and Visions, — when your hearts are [...]ted up, — when you are in any dissention, — [...]hen you are under any affliction, trouble, or in [...]ar thereof, then is a good time, especially when [...]ou are under spiritual temptations. And thus [...]ow you see the second thing; if you would know [...]hrist crucified in a right manner, study and medi­ [...]te much on him, and insist much thereon: But [...]en

3. If you would know Christ crucified in a right [...]anner, make it your work and your businesse to [...]ow Christ crucified. Solomon gives you a pro­ [...]se in the 2 of the Proverbs and the 3. If thou cry­est [Page 50] after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for u [...] derstanding; if thou seekest her as silver, and search for her as for hid treasure; Then shalt thou und [...] stand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge God, Prov. 2.5. How do men seek for hidden tr [...] sures? how do men seek for gold and silver? th [...] digg into the bowels of the earth, and spare for pains: So saith the Lord, if you digg and search [...] it, you shall have this knowledge. And you kn [...] how it is with those that do digg for gold and [...] ver; though they do not meet with a Myne p [...] sently, possibly they may meet with several spri [...] of water that may stand them in more stead t [...] the Myne: So digging in the Scripture, thoug [...] man do not presently reach the Mine, yet he [...] meet with such springs of comfort in the way, may be a refreshment to him all his dayes. N [...] therefore friends, do you desire to know Chr [...] and him crucified? then remember these th [...] things, — Go unto God the Father to create t [...] light in you; — Dwell and insist much up [...] Christ crucified in your thoughts, and at some ti [...] especially, — And then make it your work a business to know Christ crucified: Digg in [...] Mynes for this Knowledge.

But suppose I do know Christ crucified, wha [...] my duty then?

Why then, if you do know Christ crucified, [...] tainly it doth not become you to conform unto [...] world, and to be uncrucified in your affections the world?

It doth not become you to be the servants [...] men, especially in the worship of God: Ye are boug [...] with a price, be ye not the servants of men.

Certainly it doth not become you to walk proud­ [...]y: What, shall Christ humble himself, and shall we be [...]roud? certainly it doth not become you to walk proudly.

But what shall I do then?

First go and resign, and give up your selves to Christ; shall Christ give down himself unto us, and [...]all not we give up our selves unto him? Resigne [...]nd give up your selves unto him.

2. And then if indeed you do know Christ cru­ [...]fied, take heed that you do not doubt of your [...]terest in God, or salvation by Christ; what, know [...]hrist crucified, and yet doubt? Why saith the A­ [...]ostle, If when we were enemies we were reconciled [...] the death of his Son, much more being reconciled we [...] all be saved by his life, Rom. 5. and chap. 8.32. He [...]at spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for [...] all, how, shall he not with him also freely give us all [...]ings? If God the Father, did give his Son to [...]ath for you, will he deny you other things?

Go away and look no more sorrowfull, let it ap­ [...]are that you know Christ, and that you know [...]hrist crucified.

3. In case at any time, any temptation doth a­ [...]ise upon you, Presently turn and look wishly upon [...]hrist crucified, and there fix. If a man be in a [...]eat temptation, possibly the temptation may be [...]t by, by way of divertisement, turning to another [...]ject; but if that other object be ingaging, [...]en he is helpt thereby, not onely by way of di­ [...]rtancie, but by way of assistance. Now if a tem­ [...]ation do arise at any time upon any of you, pre­ [...]ntly turn your eye, fix it upon Christ crucified, [...]ere stand, and there look, and thus shall you be [Page 52] helped, not onely in a way of divertancie, but in way of assistance.

4. If you do indeed know Christ crucified, the why should you not hold forth the vertues of th [...] Christ, the death of Christ, in your dying unto [...] things below, and say with Paul upon all occa [...] ons, Henceforth let no man trouble me, I bear abo [...] in my body, the marks of the Lord Jesus. You co [...] to tempt me to such a sin, do not trouble me, know Christ crucified; henceforth let no man tro [...] ble me, I know Christ crucified; answer all yo [...] temptations thus, and be peremptory and resolu [...] let no man trouble me, do not trouble me, I kno [...] Christ crucified.

5. Go away and communicate that knowled [...] of a crucified Christ unto others; your knowled [...] is nothing unless you make others to know w [...] you know. — There is a twofold revelation [...] Christ, — Christ revealed to men, and Christ [...] vealed in men, as Paul speaks, When it pleased [...] Lord to reveal Christ IN me. When a man ha [...] revelation of Christ within him, he will com [...] nicate that knowledge. Ye see how it is with [...] Sun shining upon the wall, and with a Candle [...] Lanthorn; the Sun shines upon the wall, and [...] wall enlightens no body, why? because the Su [...] not in it: but there is a Candle in a Lanthorn, a [...] that enlightens others; why? because the Cand [...] within it: So when a man hath a revelation Christ upon him, it falls dead, as upon a mud w [...] and he communicates not that light unto others but if Christ be in me the hope of Glory, then c [...] tainly I shall communicate this knowledge of Ch [...] unto others also.

[Page 53]6. And to end all, if you do know Christ and him crucified, then go and place your selves before the Lord, as David did, when the Lord had made known his mind unto him; Then went King David in, and sat before the Lord, and he said, who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house that thou hast brought me hitherto! &c. And what can David say more unto thee, for thou Lord God knowest thy Ser­vant; for thy Word sake, and according to thine own heart hast thou done all these great things, to make thy Servant know them. So I say, go you and place your selves before the Lord, and say, What am I Lord, O what am I, poor ignorant creature as well as others, that Christ crucified should be made known to me! O the riches and the greatness of the Grace of God: According to thine own heart Lord hast thou done this, to make these things known unto thy poor Servant: Wherefore Glory and Honour unto God the Father, and unto the Lamb that sitteth upon the Throne for ever.

And thus now I have spoken something con­cerning a crucified Christ, as the Object of your Faith; the former time concerning the Excellen­cies of Christ to draw out your Love: Now then let your Faith and Love meet together; and may your Love be quickned, and your Faith strength­ned, I have enough.

The New Covenant of Grace opened. SERMON III.

Heb. 12. 24.

And to Jesus the Mediator of the New Covena [...] and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh bett [...] things then that of Abel.

IN this Scripture you have the difference b [...] tween the Law and the Gospel: The exce [...] lency of the state of the Church under t [...] New Testament, above the state of the Chu [...] under the Old Testament; for saith the Apostle [...] the 18. vers. Ye are not come unto the Mount th [...] might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor un [...] blackness and darkness, and tempest, and the sound of trumpet, and the voice of words: But ye are come u [...] to Mount Sion, vers. 22. and unto the City of the li [...] ing God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innum [...] rable company of Angels, &c.

So that first, look how much Mount Sion dot [...] excell Mount Sinai, — The City of the living Go [...] doth excell the Wilderness, — and the heavenl [...] Jerusalem doth excell the Mountain that might b [...] touched, from whence the Law was given; [...] [Page 55] much doth our state now exceed and excell that of the Jews.

And saith he, Ye are also come unto an innumera­ble company of Angels. The Law was given at Mount Sinai by the ministration of Angels: Look therefore how much our communion now with an innumerable company of Angels, doth exceed that ministration, which was by the ministration of Angels then, so much doth our Gospel state now exceed theirs.

And ye are also come to the general assembly, and Church of the first born. Look how much the Ca­tholick Church, drawn out of all Nations, doth exceed the Jewish Synagogue, so much doth our Gospel Church state now exceed theirs.

And ye are come unto God the Judge of all. Look therefore how much the manifestation of God, as the Judge of all the world, doth exceed the mani­festation of God as a Law-giver upon Mount Sinai unto the Nation of the Jews onely, so much doth our Gospel state and Church exceed theirs.

And ye are come to the spirits of just men made per­fect: — It is true in regard of the Saints in hea­ven, for we are fellow Citizens with the Saints there. — Or if you understand it of the spirits of just men made perfect with Gospel perfection, by the imputation of the righteousness of Christ, it is true: So that look as the state of Heaven doth ex­ceed the state of Earth, and as Gospel perfection doth exceed the imperfect state of the Law, so doth the state of the Church and Gospel now exceed that of the Jews.

And ye are come to Jesus the Mediator of the New Covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speak­eth [Page 56] better things then that of Abel. Look therefo [...] as Jesus Christ the Mediator of the New Covena [...] exceeds Moses the Mediator of the Old; — A [...] as the blood of Christ, the blood of sprinkling, do [...] excell and exceed the blood of all sacrifices in t [...] time of the Old Testament, so doth our Gosp [...] Church state now exceed that of theirs.

I shall not run through all these differences, priviledges, only fall in with this 24 verse.

And to Jesus, that is, ye are come to Jesus t [...] Mediator of the New Covenant, and to the blo [...] of sprinkling, that is, ye are come to the blood sprinkling, that speaketh better things then that Abel. From which two Priviledges with the connection, I take up these Observations.

Observ. 1. That there is a New Covenant strick [...] with the children of men.

2. That Jesus is the Mediator of this New C [...] venant.

3. That now in these Gospel times, we are [...] come to Moses the Mediator of the Old, but un [...] Jesus the Mediator of the New Covenant: And

4. That thus coming unto Jesus the Mediat [...] of the New Covenant, we are also come unto t [...] blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better thing then that of Abel.

Doct. I shall begin with the first; There is new Covenant stricken with the children of me [...]

It was alwayes Gods way to deal with man i [...] the way of a Covenant; that is the most suitabl [...] to man, the most honourable for man, and the mo [...] amicable and friendly: from the beginning there­fore so it was; no sooner was man made, but Go [...] entred into Covenant with him, In the day th [...] [Page 57] thou eatest thereof, thou shalt dye the death; — And then a Covenant he made with the World by Noah; — And then a Covenant he made with A­braham; — And then a Covenant he made with the Jews at Mount Sinai. It hath alwayes been Gods way to deal with man in the way of a Covenant, but now in these latter dayes he hath stricken a New Covenant with the children of men: A New Covenant will I make with the house of Israel saith the Lord, by way of promise, Jer. 31. — A New Covenant hath the Lord made with the house of Israel, by way of fullfilment and accomplishment, Heb. 8. So that there is a New Covenant stricken with the children of men.

For the opening of which Argument:

1. We must enquire what this Covenant is.

2. Why, and upon what account it is called a New Covenant: And

3. What are the wayes and properties of this New Covenant.

4. Who are the Subjects of this Covenant, and persons that God doth strike this Covenant with.

5. We will a little inquire into the benefits there­of.

6. Labour to shew you, what a man should do to get into Covenant with God; — and in case he be in Covenant with God, how he should walk as becometh one that is in Covenant with the great God. Here is matter enough to discourse on many exercises; but, though with difficulty, I shall dis­patch all in this one.

1. And first of all, if you aske me what this Co­venant is, take this description of the Covenant that now we are in.

It is that mutual agreement between God and Man, whereby God the Father doth ingage him­self to shew mercy, love and kindness, to Christ an [...] to his Seed; Christ ingaging both for himself an [...] for his Seed, to be obedient unto God the Father.

First, I say, it is a mutual agreement, and herein a Covenant differs from a Law. A Law properly is a commandment with penalty. No sooner wa [...] man made, but he was under a Law, to be obedi­ent unto God his Maker; and in case he broke it, God by the Law of Nature might punish him But then when God said unto him, In the day tha [...] thou eatest thereof, thou shalt dye the death, then God entered into Covenant, man accepting thereof. Th [...] Child is obliged by the Law of Nature to obey hi [...] Parents; yet this is no Covenant, but a law of Na­ture, for here is no agreement. But the Wife is ob­liged to obey her Husband, and this is a Covenant why? — because it is by mutual agreement; So that I say, this Covenant, First, is a mutual agree­ment between God and Man: But

2. It is that agreement whereby God the Father doth ingage himself to shew kindness, grace and mercy, to Christ and to his Seed.

Unto Christ himself he doth ingage, Isa. 42. [...] the Lord have called thee in Righteousness, and will bold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a Covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles. If thou wilt undertake the work of the Mediator, I do ingage and promise to thee (I the Lord have called thee in Righteousness, and) I will hold thine hand, and I will keep thee.

And the Father doth ingage unto Christ, and his Seed too; for saith he unto Christ, If thy children [Page 59] forsake my Law, and walk not in my Judgements; If they break my Statutes, and keep not my Command­ments, then will I visit their transgression with the Rod, and their iniquity with stripes; nevertheless, my loving kindness will I not utterly take away: which is plainly spoken unto Christ, as you read in the 89 Psalm, from the 26. v. unto the 30. So that I say, it is that agreement whereby God the Father doth ingage himself to shew kindness, grace and mercy, unto Christ and his Seed.

On the other side, Christ ingages both for him­self and for his Seed, to be obedient unto God the Father.

Christ ingages for himself, and therefore saith he in the 40. Psalm, verse 6. Sacrifice and Offering thou didst not desire, &c. Then said I, Lo I come, in the Volume of the Book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God, yea, thy Law is within my heart. They are the words of Christ; Then said I, that is, then promised I. Paulus Fagius observes, that the Hebrew hath no one proper word for Pro­mise; but where God is said to Promise, the word in the Hebrew is onely so, God said, God spake; And indeed if any man will take the pains to consult the Hebrew, and our English Translation together, he shall find it true. I'le give you some instances, and so pass over, Deut. 1.11. The Lord God of your Fathers make you a thousand times so many more as ye are, and bless you, as he hath promised you, Heb. as he hath said. — So in the 1 Kings 8.56. Blessed be the Lord that hath given rest unto his people Israel, according to all that he promised, Heb. according to all that he hath said. — So in the 2 Chron. 6.10. The Lord therefore hath [Page 60] performed his word, that he hath spoken, for I am risen up in the room of David my Father, an [...] am set on the Throne of Israel, as the Lord hat [...] promised, Heb. as the Lord hath said. — So a [...] the 16. verse, Now therefore O Lord God of Israel, keep with thy Servant David my Father, tha [...] which thou hast promised him, Hebr. that whic [...] thou hast said to him. So here in the 40. Psalm Then said I, that is, then promised I, then ingage [...] I unto God the Father, saying, Lo I come, in th [...] the Volume of the Book it is written of me; her [...] Christ ingages for himself.

And he ingaged also for his Seed; therefore Ps [...] 16. O my Soul, thou hast said unto the Lord, sai [...] by way of promise, O my Lord, my goodness is no [...] for thee, but for the Saints that are in the earth, an [...] the excellent in whom is all my delight. And so ou [...] Saviour Christ promises to the Father in the 17. o [...] John; Therefore do I sanctifie my self, That the [...] also may be sanctified. And if you look into the He­brews, you shall find that Christ is called the Sure­ty of the Covenant; Why? — because he doth in­gage for God the Father to perform to us, and he doth ingage for us, that we shall perform to God. So that do you aske what the Covenant is, plainly then it is, That mutual agreement between God an [...] man, whereby God the Father doth ingage him­self to shew kindness, love and mercy, to Christ and his Seed, Christ ingaging both for himself, and for his Seed to be obedient unto God the Father.

2. But then secondly, why is this Covenant cal­led a New Covenant?

Not only because it is an excellent Covenant, as in Scripture phrase, excellent things are called New; a New Song, &c.

Nor onely because it brings a new heart, which is promised in the Covenant.

Nor onely because it is alwayes fresh and green, and new, upon which account Austin thinks, that the commandment of Love is called a New Com­mandment.

Nor is it called New onely because there is no o­ther Covenant to succeed and follow, which is the reason in the 8th. of Heb.

But it is called a New Covenant, in opposition to the Covenant that was made with Adam, and with us in the state of innocency; — and in op­position to the Covenant which was made with the Jews in the time of the Old Testament.

First, New in opposition to the Covenant that was made with Adam in the state of innocency; for then, though God out of free love and grace, was pleased to condescend to enter into Covenant with man, yet then God did deal with us in a way of Supremacy and of Righteousness; and therefore there is mention made onely of the Threatning, In the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt dye the death: But now God deals with us in this Cove­nant in a way of grace, and of great compassion; and therefore in this Covenant there is mention made onely of the Promise.

Again, 2. Though God did enter into Covenant with Adam, and so with us, and promised eternal life in Heaven; not eternal life in this World onely, as some would: For Hell was threatned in these words, In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt dye the death, and therefore Heaven and Salvation was promised on the contrary; yet I say (although God, when he entered into Covenant with us then, [Page 62] did promise Heaven and Salvation) it was upon condition of our personal and perfect obedience, and therefore called a Covenant of works; But now our Covenant runs upon no such terms.

3. Then in that Covenant, acceptation began in the Work, and so to the Person, and therefore saith the Lord to Cain, If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? speaking to him as belonging to the Covenant of works: — But in the Covenant now made, the acceptation begins in the Person, and so to the Work, and therefore saith the Lord con­cerning Abel, the Lord accepted Abel (his Person) and then his Sacrifice.

4. Then also the Lord gave Adam, and us, an [...] ability to stand, but he did not give a promise of perseverance in standing: But now the Lord doth, I will put my fear into your hearts, that you shall not depart from me, saith the Lord.

5. Then in that Covenant, there was no room for repentance, no room for remission: But as in a Court of meer Justice, the Question is not, whe­ther a man doth repent of his Fact or no, but whe­ther, I or No, hath such a Fact been done? So by the Covenant of works, the first Covenant, there is no Question whether a man doth repent or no, But whether the work were done, whether the sin were done: But now in this Covenant, there is room both for repentance, and for remission, (as by and by you shall hear.) And then

6. Though when God made that Covenant with Adam and with us, the tree of Life might be some shaddow of Christ, yet then there was no Mediator, for there was no need, God and Man was not at va­riance, and so no need of a Mediator: But in this [Page 63] Covenant that is now stricken, there is a Mediator, a Mediator of the New Covenant. So that thus you see this Covenant is New, in opposition to the Covenant that was made with Adam and us in the state of innocency.

And Secondly, As it is New in opposition to the Covenant that was made with Adam, the Cove­nant of works; so it is new also in opposition to the Covenant that was made with the Jews in the time of the Old Testament. For the clearing of this,

First of all we must inquire whether there be any difference between the Covenant made with the Jews in the day of the Old Testament, and the Co­venant made with us now: — and in case there be, what is the difference, and wherein it lyes.

And first, If you ask whether there be any dif­ference.

If I should answer with Divines ordinari­ly (wherein they speak the truth) I must say, that the Covenant which God made with the Jews, was for substance the same, though different in admini­stration; but give me leave to express my own sense in my own terms, thus,

1. It is plain and clear, that the Jews that were saved in the time of the Old Testament, were sa­ved by the same Covenant, that we now are saved by; for they were saved by the Covenant that God made with Abraham, so are we, Luke 11. Rom. 4. Gal. 3. Circumcision then was the Seal of the Covenant; and what was Circumcision, but a seal of the Righteousness of Faith? The Ceremonies, Types and Sacrifices, did not belong to the Covenant of works, they were Types of Christ, and therefore it [Page 64] must needs be the same Covenant, for it was a Covenant of works that was made with the Jews, God should have brought them from better to worse for the Covenant of Grace was made with Abraham; but though the Law was added after the Promise, it could not disanul the Promise, saith the A­postle in the 3. of Gal. So that its plain and clea [...] the Jews that were then saved, were saved by th [...] same Covenant that we now are: But

2. Though those Jews that were saved, wer [...] saved by the same Covenant that we now are sa­ved by, yet notwithstanding the Covenant o [...] works was declared, and promulged among th [...] Jews; Wherefore then was the Law added, saith th [...] Apostle? Added then it was. As Sarah and Hagar made types of the two Testaments by the Apostle Were at once in Abrahams house; So the Old Cove­nant of Works, and the New Covenant of Grace, wer [...] at once in the Jewish Church: But

3. Though both these Covenants were at onc [...] in the Jewish Church, the one declared, and the o­ther made with them; though Hagar was in the same house, yet it was in subserviency unto Sarah; and though the Covenant of works was declared, and was there at the same time, yet it was in sub­serviency unto the Covenant of Grace; it was ad­ded, wherefore? saith the Apostle, because of trans­gression, to be a School Master to bring to Christ. It was there in subserviency, and upon a Gospel de­sign: But then

4. Though both these Covenants were thus joyned together, the Covenant of Works, and the Covenant of Grace both joyned together in one state, yet both together did not make a third and [Page 65] distinct Covenant; I am no wayes of Camero's [...]ind, that there were three Covenants, but of the Apostles mind clearly, in the 4. of the Galathians, where he speaks expresly, that there are two Te­ [...]aments, and no more; so that though both were [...]pon the ground together (one declared then to [...]ake them sensible of their sins, and to bring them [...]o the other Covenant) yet both did not make up a [...]hird and distinct Covenant: But

5. Because the Commandment lay uppermost, the [...]hole dispensation was called Law, although the Pro­ [...]ise and the Gospel lay at the bottom; As now, be­ [...]use the Promise lyes uppermost, the whole of the [...]ovenant is called the Promise, though the Com­ [...]andment lyes at the bottom.

Well then, if these things be so, wherein lyes [...]he difference between that of the Jews and Ours?

Thus, first, although the Jews that were saved, [...]ere saved by the same Covenant that we now are [...]ved by; Yet then the Covenant had a special eye un­ [...] the Commandment, and therefore it is called the [...]aw: Now the Covenant hath a special eye to the Pro­ [...]ise, and therefore it is called the Promise.

2. Then though the Covenant of Grace was [...]ade with the Jews that were saved, yet it was [...]ven more darkly and obscurely; there was a vail [...]on Moses, that he could not see to the end of [...]ings: But now we all with open face behold as in glass the Glory of the Lord, saith the Apostle, as [...]eaking of the difference between the one and the [...]her, Cor. 2.3.

3. Then also the ministration of that Covenant as very burthensome, now more easie; Take my [...]ke upon you, saith Christ: it is spoken in oppositi­on [Page 66] to Moses too, for my yoke is easie, and my burthe [...] is light, Mat. 11.

4. Then also the Covenant was made with th [...] Nation of the Jews onely, but now it takes in a [...] the World, Jew and Gentile. That Scripture, Is [...] 56. is spoken in regard of Gospel times, Let not t [...] Eunuch say, &c. nor the son of a stranger, that I [...] separated from the Lord, onely let him take hold of [...] Covenant. The stranger now may do it, it belon [...] to the Gentile as well as the Jew: And

5. Then the dispensation was more terrible, a [...] brought forth fear and bondage; but now we a [...] not come unto Mount Sinai, where was fear a [...] trembling, but we are come unto Mount Sion, whi [...] brings forth Love, and Faith, and Sweetness, a [...] Thankfulness.

6. Then also the Covenant was confirmed [...] Promise, and by the blood of Bulls and Goa [...] now it is confirmed by Oath, and by the blood of [...] sus.

7. Then also the Mediator was Moses, that sto [...] between God and them; now Jesus the Mediat [...]

8. Then the Law was a School-Master to bri [...] to Christ, the Covenant of Works was upon [...] ground, and the Law was a School Master; it is [...] so now.

9. Then Christ was in the hand of Moses, [...] Moses is in the hand of Christ: Now the bond-w [...] man is cast out of doors; there was a time wh [...] the bond-woman and Sarah was in the house t [...] gether, but now the bond-woman is gone.

10. Then the Commandments were m [...] carnal, as the Apostle speaks, and the Promi [...] worser, but now the Commandment is spiritual, a [...] [Page 67] the Covenant founded upon better Promises, saith the Apostle, Heb. 7.

11. And (to say no more) look what difference there is between the Letter and the Spirit, in re­gard of efficacy, (for that's the meaning of it) such a difference there is between that and this. We are not Ministers of the Letter, as in the dayes of Moses, but we are Ministers of the Spirit, 2 Cor. 3. So that thus you see why this Covenant is called a New Co­venant. — N [...]w in opposition to the Covenant that was made with man in the state of innocency, and new in opposition to the Covenant that was made with the Jews in the times of the Old Testament.

3. But then thirdly, What kind of Covenant is this? — And what are the properties of it?

Answ. To name but three,

First, It is a Covenant of Grace, in opposition to works, or to all our own worth, or worthiness.

A Covenant of Grace, for it is made with sin­ners. The Covenant that was made with Adam in the [...]tate of innocency, was made with a Saint, having [...]he Image of God upon him, therefore a Covenant of Friendship: The Covenant that God makes now, [...]he makes with Sinners, and it is a Covenant of Re­conciliation, and therefore a Covenant of Grace. Then by that Covenant that God made with A­dam, there was no room for repentance, or for re­mission, now room for both.

For Repentance, I will take away the heart of stone, [...]nd I will give an heart of flesh, saith God.

For Remission, I will remember your sins no more, [...]aith the Covenant; yea, the Covenant of Grace [...]oth so deeply ingage for Remission of sins; That whereas the Covenant of works would own no [Page 68] such things, the Covenant of Grace doth so deep­ly ingage for remission of sins, that it is made the chief, and the reason of all the other, I will write my Law in your hearts, and ye shall all know me; Why? For I will remember your sins no more, Heb. 8. By that Covenant, if we had sinned, we should have provoked God thereby to damn us, and to destroy us: By this Covenant, when a man that is in Co­venant sins, he doth thereby provoke God to pitty him and to have compassion on him. In the Covenant o [...] works the Lord gave a man strength to stand, an [...] left him to himself; but now the Lord hath pro­mised in this Covenant, to cause us to walk in h [...] wayes. When the Israelites had to do with th [...] Aegyptians, the Aegyptians injoyned them their ta [...] of brick, and gave them no straw: Now we ha [...] to deal with so good a Lord in this Covenant, th [...] our tale of brick is lessened; we have straw, a [...] strength, and not onely strength, but God himself Co-worker with us. Yea, what Grace is there th [...] you want, or do complain for the want of, b [...] it is promised in this Covenant?

Do you complain that you are not converted I will write my Law in your hearts, saith God no [...]

Do you complain that you are ignorant? Th [...] shall all know me, from the least unto the greatest [...] them, saith the Covenant.

Do you complain that your heart is hard? I w [...] (saith God) take away the heart of stone, and give y [...] an heart of flesh. Grace, Grace, this Covenant th [...] is a Covenant of Grace, it is a gracious Cov [...] nant.

2. As it is a gracious Covenant, so it is a fr [...] and inconditionate Covenant: — Free in oppositi [...] [Page 69] to all conditions to be performed by us; Pray do not mistake me, I do not say there is no condition in the New Covenant; but the Condition is performed by Christ our second Adam.

Nor do I say, that Faith, Obedience and Repen­tance are not required, but I say, Faith, Obedi­ence and Repentance are required in the New Co­venant as Duties, but not as Conditions.

This I say then, it is a free Covenant, in oppo­sition to all conditions to be performed by us; for when the Covenant of Grace is mentioned in Scri­pture, where do you find any condition annexed to any thing that is there promised? — saith the Lord, I will remember your sins no more: — Upon what condition? — none mentioned; — I will write my Law in your hearts; — Upon what con­dition? — none mentioned; — You shall all know me from the greatest to the least, &c. — Upon what condition? none mentioned. Where do you ever find the Covenant mentioned with a condi­tion?

And plainly thus; if there were a Condition, the Condition must be a distinct thing from the thing promised. If I promise to go a journey with a man upon Condition he shall bear my charges; his bearing my charges, and my going the journey are distinct things. — Now what Condition then can there be? What Faith, Repentance or Obe­dience? Why? these are all promised in the Co­venant, therefore they cannot be the Condition; for the thing promised in the Covenant, and the Condition that we are to perform, must be distinct. I say, if there be a Condition, it must be distinct from the thing promised; but there is nothing that we can per­form, [Page 70] but is promised in the Covenant; therefore there can be no Condition. The Prophet Isaiah tells us, that this Covenant is after the nature of that Covenant that God made with Noah, That the World should be drowned no more; and that i [...] absolute, and upon no Condition. Junius thinks, that upon this account, this Covenant of Grace i [...] called a Testament, for saith he, a Testament is with­out Condition. A man makes his last Will and Te­stament; and though now and then a man may hang a Condition upon a Rebellious Child, yet ordinarily, a man then gives, and he gives freely, without all Conditions; and so this Covenant is called a Te­stament: Why? because no Condition is to be per­formed by us. That is the second thing, it is a free Covenant in opposition to all Conditions to be per­formed by our selves.

3. As it is a free Covenant, in opposition to al [...] Conditions to be performed by us, so it is an ever­lasting Covenant, a Covenant of Salt that canno [...] be broken, which my Covenant they brake, saith God, speaking of the former Covenant; and saith he, in that place of Zech. I took my staff of Beauty, the Co­venant, and brake it. God brake it, that is the for­mer Covenant. But now this Covenant of Grace is an everlasting Covenant, ordered in all things and sure, an everlasting Covenant that cannot be bro­ken. And thus you see what kind of Covenant it is; It is a Covenant of Grace, in opposition to all works and worth in us; — a Free Covenant in opposition to all Conditions to be performed by us: — and an everlasting Covenant: Lo, this is the Covenant that is stricken with the Children of Men.

[Page 71]4. But then fourthly, Who are the Subjects of this Covenant, and who are the persons that God doth strike or make this Covenant with?

First, This Covenant of Grace is not made or stricken with all the particular men in the world; A New Covenant will I make with the house of Israel, not with all the particular men in the world. If this New Covenant of Grace were made with all the particular men in the world, then all the particular men in the world should have the Law of God written in their hearts, and should all know God, and all have their sins pardoned, for so saith the Covenant, by an absolute promise which must be fulfilled.

And upon this account it follows, that Christ did not dye for every particular man in the world, for Christ is the Mediator of the New Covenant; therefore if the New Covenant be not made with eve­ry particular man, Christ did not dye for every parti­cular man; but the New Covenant is not made with all the particular men in the world, as you have heard.

2. As this New Covenant is not made with all the particular men in the world, so neither is it made with all that live under the Gospel. Though Ishmael lived in Abrahams house, and so the skirt of the Covenant might be thrown over him, yet in Isaac shall thy Seed be called, saith God. A man may be in a Church, yet not of the Church; as a man may be in a house, and yet not of the house. This Covenant is not made with all particular men that live under the Gospel.

But who is it stricken with?

Plainly thus; If the Law of the Gospel be written [Page 72] in your hearts, so that it is natural for you to do the work of the Gospel; as it is natural to an heathen to do the work of nature, because the Law of na­ture is written in his heart; then is this Covenant made with you: for thus runs the Covenant, I will write my Law in your hearts.

2. If that you are taught of God, having an holy instinct unto what is good. As the Bee being taught of God, finds the way home to the Hive by an in­stinct; and the Lamb being taught of God, find out his Dam amongst a thousand Sheep. So I say, If you be taught of God, having an holy instinct unto what is good, then are you in Covenant wit [...] God; for thus runs the Covenant, You shall a [...] know me, and every one shall be taught of God.

3. If an heart of stone be taken away, and a yielding heart be given unto you, whereby you yield t [...] Gods Impressions, to Gods Instructions, and to God Corrections, then are you in Covenant with God for thus runs the Covenant, I will take away th [...] heart of stone, and give an heart of flesh; a heart o [...] flesh, is a yielding heart.

4. If you are begotten again to God by the promise, especially the absolute promise, then a [...] you in Covenant with God. There were two Son of Abraham, the Child of the Bond-woman, an [...] the Child of the Free-woman, saith the Apostle, these were Types, — And wherein did they dif­fer? — Why, the Child of the Bond-woman was born after the Flesh, but the Child of the Free-woman was born by the Promise, on [...]ly by the Promise, an absolute Promise, and therefore I say, if you be born again by the Promise, the abso­lute Promise, then are you in Covenant with God.

And to say no more in it but this, If you be the Seed of Christ, then is this Covenant made with you, for it is made with Christ and his Seed; and if you be Abrahams Seed, then are you the Seed of Christ; for you may see how they go together in the third Chapter of the Galathians; Now to A­braham and his Seed were the Promises made: he saith not, unto Seeds, as of many, but as of one, and to thy Seed, which is Christ. And if you do believe as A­braham did, then are you Abrahams Seed. So that thus briefly you see, who this Covenant is stricken with, and who are the subjects of it.

5. But then fifthly, suppose I be in Covenant with the Lord, or suppose I be not; if I be not, is there any great hurt? suppose I be, is there any great good?

Much every way; give me leave to give you a little tast of it.

First, If you be not in Covenant with God, how can you expect any blessing, mercy, or deliverance from God? for do but look into the Scripture, and you shall find, that all blessings, mercies and deli­verances come to the people of God by vertue of the Covenant, and according to the Covenant: — Will you instance in outward deliveranc [...]s, the World is not drowned again? Why? — but because of the Covenant. — Will you instance in spiritual deli­verances? saith the Psalmist, He commandeth re­demption, he remembreth the Covenant; He maketh Redemption effectual by remembring the Cove­nant. — Or will you instance in both together? see what is said in the 9th of Zech. 11. As for thee also, by the blood of thy Covenant, I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit, wherein is no water: It [Page 74] includes both outward and spiritual deliverances: So that now, if you be not in Covenant with God, what deliverance can you expect, or what mercy, seeing they all come by vertue of the Covenant, and according to the Covenant?

But on the other side, if you be in Covenant with the Lord, then are you exalted and honoured, yea, greatly honoured. For if it be an honour to be in League and Covenant with a great Prince, What an honour is it to be in Covenant with the great God? When God did speak to Abraham of striking a Co­venant with him, he falls down upon his face; as if he should say, Who am I, that the great God should be in Covenant with me?

Again, If God be in Covenant with you, look whatever excellency there is in God, that is made over to you for your use. And as that King said to him that was in League with him, My Horse is thine, and my Men are thine, and my Money is thine; so when God enters into Covenant with a poor Soul, — he saith, My Wisdome is thine, and my Power is thine, and my Love and Mercy is thine: Whatever excellency there is in God, is made over to you, being in Covenant with him.

And if that you be in Covenant with the Lord, then all his Retinue, his Creatures, and his Ser­vants, also are in Covenant with you, in the 2d. of Hos. 21. It shall come to pass in that day, I will hear, saith the Lord, I will hear the Heavens, and they shall hear the Earth, and the Earth shall hear the Corn, and the Wine, and the Oyl, and they shall hear Jez­reel. — Why? — vers. 19. I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in Righ­teousness, and in Judgement, and in loving Kindness, [Page 75] and in Mercies: And then it shall come to pass, that I will hear the Heavens, and they shall hear the Earth, &c. So that if you be in Covenant with God, then all his Retinue, all his Creatures, and all his Servants are in Covenant with you too.

And if you be in Covenant with the Lord, then he is in Covenant with you, and your Soul, and your Body both; not on [...]ly with your Body, but with your Soul, and not onely with your Soul, but with your Body, with your whole man; and there­fore if you dye, the Covenant is not dissolved be­tween God and you. The Covenant may be dis­solved between a Man and his Wife at Death, but this Covenant can never be dissolved; and though you sin, and break with God, God will not break with you, I hate putting away, saith he.

And then, you may go to God as upon a Throne of Grace, and look upon God as sitting in a Rain­bow. Oh what a mercy, what a blessing is it to be in Covenant with the Lord?

But in case I be not in Covenant with God, what shall I do to get into Covenant with him? — And in case I be in Covenant with God, how shall I walk so as becometh one that is in Covenant with the great God? Here are two Questions, I shall speak briefly to them and conclude.

First, Do you ask what you shall do to get into Covenant? Are you affraid any of you, that you are not yet in Covenant with the Lord, and would you be in Covenant with the Lord?

Why then be sure of this, that upon a right and good understanding of the nature of this Covenant, you go to God, and make your choise of this Covenant of Grace, to stand and fall by. The word Berith in [Page 76] the Hebrew, for Covenant, some think comes from a root that signifies to choose; a man is in the Co­venant that he chooses, and every man is indeed as his choise is.

But then go and renounce the other Covenant of Works, &c. As the way to have a part in Christs Righteousness is to renounce all your own Righ­teousness; so the way to have a share in this Co­venant of Grace, is to renounce the Covenant o [...] Works.

Then go to Christ as the Mediator of the Co­venant, and desire him to put you into this Co­venant; He struck the Covenant with God the Fa­ther at the first, and he must put you into this Co­venant, for he is the Mediator of the Covenant; go then to him, as to the Mediator of the Cove­nant, to put you into Covenant.

Then leave the weight and stress of your Guilty Soul upon this Covenant of Grace, bear upon this stream of Grace, here lay the weight of all, for th [...] Promise is made ours by resting on it; And what is this Covenant, but an absolute Promise? there then rest, and leave the weight of your Souls.

And to say no more but this; Then go unto the Lord, and give your hand unto God, and your self up to God, as one willing to be led by him into all the things that the Covenant shall require. In the times of the Old Testament, when they made a Covenant, they struck hands together; In Ezra 10.19. it is said, they gave their hands to put away their Wives; and in the former verse, they made a Covenant to do it, They rose, and made a Covenant to put away their Wives: And we find in the 1 of Chronicles, that when David [Page 77] was dead, that all the people came together, Chap. 24.24. And all the Princes, and the Mighty Men, and all the Sons likewise of King David, submitted themselves unto Solomon the King; the word in the Hebrew is, they gave the hand under King Solo­mon; they gave their hand by way of Covenant, and they gave their hand under King Solomon, in a a way of submission. So when we enter into Co­venant with the Lord, we give our hand under God; and therefore if you desire to get into Cove­nant do these things.

Quest. Well, but suppose I be in Covenant with God, as I hope I am, What should I do that I may walk as becometh one that is in Covenant with the great God?

Answ. First of all, If you be in Covenant indeed with the Lord, then God hath honoured you, he hath exalted you, and honoured you greatly; and if God have honoured you, why should not you honour God?

Now first, the more you fall down at the feet of the fulness of Christ, in the sense of your own unworthiness, inability, and insufficiency, the more you honour God: There is one, saith John, who is mightier then I, whose shooe latchet I am not worthy to unloose.

2. The more you cry up those Ordinances and wayes of God, that are decryed by the World, the more you honour God.

3. The more you keep close to God in declining times, the more you honour God.

4. The more you trust God at a dead lift, when all means fails, and when a sentence of death is up­on all the means, the more you honour God.

[Page 78]5. The more you serve God, contrary to your own disposition, and rea [...]h the services of God over the head of your own dispositions, the more you ho­nour God.

6. And the more that you do prefer the things of God in time of competition above other things, the more you honour God.

7. And the more you part with your much for Gods lesser, the more you honour God. What is Honour? Honour is a testimony of anothers Ex­cellency; Now when I can part with my much for Gods little, his little truths and things, I do testifie an excellency in God; I say, the more you can part with your much for Gods little, the more you ho­nour God.

8. And the more you do keep close to the Name and Faith of God and Christ, even where Satans Throne is, the more you honour God: Now then hath the Lord honoured you, and taken you into Covenant with himself; then surely it is your duty for to honour God, and by these several particulars you may honour God.

2. If the Lord have made and stricken a Cove­nant with you, then Friends give me leave to say to you, Why should you be solicitous for your own things? If you be in Covenant with the Lord, and God in Covenant with you, God will take care of your things; therefore why should you be solicitous about your owne things? God is in Covenant with you, he will take care of yours.

And upon this account, in case there be any losse upon the things of God, why should you not be as much affected for that losse, as for your owne losses? For if you be in Covenant with God, [Page 79] and God with you; Gods things are yours, and your things are Gods: Gods things are yours, Why then should you not be as much touched with the losse of any thing that concerns God, as with any thing that concerns your selves?

Yea, Why should not God have the use of all yours? God is in Covenant with you, and you have the use of Gods things, his Wisdome, his Power, his Mercy; Why? — Because he is in Covenant with you, and you are in Cove­nant with him. Why then should not God have the use of your thing also, your Name, and your Estate, and your Body, and your Time? If you be in Cove­nant with God, and God be in Covenant with you, yours are Gods, and Gods are yours; why should not God have the use of yours, as you think to have the use of Gods?

3. If God be in Covenant with you, and you be in Covenant with God, then why should you not live at an higher rate then the best of the Jews did? You are in a better Covenant then the Jews were; though for substance the same (as you heard) yet you are in a better Covenant, and shall not your lives be better?

You have a better Mediator, and shall not your lives be better?

You have better Promises, and shall not your lives be better?

Your state now is called Grace to That: The Law was given by Moses, but Grace and Truth comes by Christ, John 1. Chap. Look therefore upon the Jews, look into the Old Testament, and look up­on the best of them, and think with your selves, am I in a better Covenant? Oh then how am I in­gaged [Page 80] to live better? Oh that our lives were more exalted upon this account. Why should not our lives be better, and we live at a higher Rate?

4. If you be in Covenant with the Lord, and the Lord in Covenant with you, then be sure of this, That you be true to God; be true to God in the matter of his Worship: the Cove­nant stricken between God and you, is a Con­jugal Covenant. A Woman, though she will admit another man into the house with her Husband, yet she will not admit him into the bed, that is a breach of Covenant. Now the Worship of God is the bed wherein Christ doth bed with a Soul; and therefore if you look into the Old Testament, you shall find that Idolatry is accounted Adultry, and Harlotry: — Why? Because they took Idols, and men into the bed with God. Would you walk then as those that are in Covenant with the Lord, away with every thing of mans out of Christs bed, Remember it is a con­jugal Covenant? Whatsoever is of mans coming into the Worship of the Lord, which is the Lords bed, is against your Covenant. When God speaks of a Covenant, he saith, Thou shalt be for me, and I will be for thee, Hos. 3. Chap.

5. And to conclude all, if you be in Covenant with the Lord, and the Lord with you indeed, go away, and walk humbly, and be very thankfull. When the Lord made a Covenant with Abraham, Abraham, saith he, go thoughout the Land, and behold it in the breadth thereof, and in the length thereof; so say I, hath the Lord entered into Co­venant with you, go into the Land of the Covenant, [Page 81] behold the length thereof, and the breadth there­of, and what God hath promised in that Covenant: behold it in the length thereof, and the breadth thereof, and thus will your heart be affected and raised to thankfulness. Thus Davids heart was raised, for saith he, Lord, though thou makest not my house to grow, this is my salvation, I am in Co­venant with thee; And so you may say, Lord, thou makest not my Family to grow, I have never a Child, this is my salvation, I am in Covenant with thee; though thou makest not my house to grow, but I am poor, and my house is pulled down, or burnt down, this is my salvation, the Lord be praised, the Lord is in Covenant with me; thus do, and you shall be thankful.

And this is the last thing, if you be in Covenant with the Lord, go away, walk humbly, and be thankfull, that God should ever enter into this great Covenant, this Covenant of Grace with you, even with you.

And so now I have done with the first argument, that there is a Covenant stricken with the Children of men: The second follows, Jesus is the Mediator of this Covenant.

Christ the Mediator of the New Covenant. SERMON IV.

Heb. 11.24.

And to Jesus the Mediator of the New Covenant and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things then that of Abel.

I Shall now come unto the second Observation raised from the words, namely,

Observ. 2. That Jesus is the Mediator of the New Covenant.

For the opening and prosecuting whereof,

1. We must enquire what is the proper work o [...] a Mediator, that is, a Mediator between God and us.

2. I shall labour to shew you, that Jesus was, and is, the fittest person in the World to mediate be­tween God and us.

3. That Jesus hath undertaken this work of Me­diation, and will certainly carry it on unto du [...] perfection.

4. How and in what respects Jesus is said to b [...] the Mediator of the New Covenant.

[Page 83]5. What are the benefits that we do gain by Jesus his being Mediator of the New Covenant.

6. Give you some doctrinal Corrolaries, and practical Duties that do flow from hence.

1. And First, If you ask, what is the proper work of a Mediator, that is, a Mediator between God and us,

I answer, It is to make peace and reconciliation between God and us. At the first, in the state of innocency, there was peace and friendship between God and Man, there was no enmity in Gods heart towards his creature, nor no enmity in Mans heart towards his Creator; but upon the Fall, a breach and separation was made between God and us, in­somuch as we are all by Nature the children of wrath, God is angry; — And an enmity is in us towards God: The wisdome of the flesh is enmity a­gainst God, saith the Apostle. Now therefore, the work of a Mediator is to reconcile God to us, and to reconcile us unto God, both which you have in 2 Cor. 5. All things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the Ministry of reconciliation, to wit, That God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself: There is reconciliation on Gods part, for it is said, He was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself: Not im­puting their trespasses unto them. — Then at the 20. verse you have reconciliation on our part, Now then, we are Ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us, we pray you in Christs stead be [...]e reconciled unto God. Here is both reconcilia­tions.

Only you must know, That we do not find in express tearms in Scripture, that God is said to be [Page 84] reconciled to us, but we are said to be reconciled to him, because we are the parties offending, and God the Party offended: Now the Scripture alwayes speaks so, that the Party offending, is to reconcile himself, or to be reconciled, as in the 5. of Math. If thy brother hath ought against thee, leave thy gift, and first be reconciled to thy brother. Thou that hast offended, go and be reconciled to thy brother: and so we say in ordinary speech, if a man have justly provoked another, Go and reconcile your self unto him, that is, do that whereby he may be pacified and satisfied. And so God is reconciled unto us, when we do that whereby his anger may be turn­ed away, and he pacified, which is the work of a Mediator.

Quest. But what need a Mediator for this work (say the Socinians) for God was alwayes willing to be reconciled to us, God so loved the World, that he gave his Son: He loved them first, before Christ; what need a Mediator then, say they.

And say the Arminians, to invalidate and iner­vate Election, If we be elected, and so loved from all eternity, what need a Mediator to bring about actual reconciliation in time.

To all which I answer,

Answ. Yes, very much: For,

First, You must know that affections are give [...] to God in Scripture, according to effects and dis­pensations somtimes.

Sometimes God is said to love or hate in reference to his eternal Decree, so Rom. 9. Jacob ha [...] I loved, and Esau have I hated, before they had do [...] good or evil.

Some times God is said to love, or to be angr [...] [Page 85] or to hate, in reference to his dispensations; and so the Elect, that are loved from all Eternity, are born the children of wrath, in regard of legal dis­pensation. Elect we are, and so loved, in regard of Gods eternal good will, and yet under wrath when we are born, in regard of legal dispensation.

2. You must know that this reconciliation with God, or God being reconciled to us, doth not make a real change in the inward affection of God, but in the outward dispensation of God.

3. You must know this; That God may be willing to be reconciled unto us, in regard of his eternal good will, and yet not be actually reconciled in regard of his dispensations. As David was willing to be reconci­led to Absolom, but he was not actually reconciled, and therefore Joab comes as a Mediator between them, to bring about the actual reconciliation. And if you look into the last of Job, you will find, as Ma­covius doth well observe to the purpose in hand, That when God was very angry with Eliphaz and his friends (insomuch as the Lord said to Eliphaz at the 7th verse, My wrath is kindled against thee and against thy two friends) that yet notwithstand­ing, then God puts them upon a means of taking away his displeasure: Therefore take unto you now seven Bullocks, and seven Rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for your selves a burnt offering, and my servant Job shall pray for you, and mediate for you. So that God was angry, and his wrath kin­dled, yet he was willing to be reconciled, and finds out a Mediator to bring about this actual reconci­liation. And so here, although God be angry with his own Elect, in regard of the dispensation, yet notwithstanding he may be willing to be reconci­led, [Page 86] in regard of his eternal good will: But

4. You must know this also, that God may, and doth, Will this for that sometimes, and yet not for this will that, as Aquinas speaks.

For Example, God doth will Rain for Corne, and Rain is the cause of Corn will'd: He doth will Rain for Corn, yet Corn is not the cause of his will willing the Corn. So here, God doth will Christs Mediation for Reconciliation, and the Mediation of Christ is the cause of Reconciliati­on, but yet notwithstanding, the Mediation of Christ, is not the cause of Gods Will, willing Re­conciliation. So that thus now you see, what the proper work of a Mediator is, that is, to me­diate between God and us, it is to reconcile God to us, and to reconcile us unto God; That's the first.

2. Jesus was, and is the fittest person in the World to mediate between God and us. There was no creature fit to Umpire the business be­tween God and us; and therefore Job saith well, at the 9th. Chap. 33. verse, Neither is there any dayes-man betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both — Man was not fit to mediate, because man is the person offending; — Angels not fit to mediate, for the shoulder of an Angel could not bear the weight of Mediation-Work, nei­ther could an Angel satisfie. — God the Father, not fit for this work, the first person in the Tri­nity, for he was the person offended. — The Holy Ghost not fit for this work, for 'tis his work to apply the blood of this mediation; so then, there is none other fit, but Christ fit, Jesus fit, The fittest person.

For first of all, he is the person appointed by the Father. If a man will undertake to mediate be­tween two, and be not chosen thereunto, he is not fit for it, but if chosen, then he is fit. Why Jesus is the person chosen, mine elect Ser­vant, saith the Father, Whom I have chosen, I have given him for a Covenant unto the People, Isa. 42.

2. He was and is the fittest person to mediate between God and us, for he is a middle person, partaking of Gods nature, and of mans. Extreams are joyn'd together by a middle: who more fit to me­diate between two, then he that is a middle between them?

3. He is the fittest person, for he is the fittest to make reconciliation between God and us, to recon­cile God to us, and us unto God.

First, He is the fittest to reconcile God to us; for that God might be reconciled, he must be satisfied, his Justice satisfied, and his Anger sa­tisfied: Now Jesus Christ was God and Man; as Man, he ought to satisfie, but could not; as God, he could satisfie, but he ought not: but as God-man, he both could and ought, and so the fit­test. And again,

2. Who more fit to reconcile God unto us, then he that was the most fit to intercede, that had credit and favour, and love with the Father? Now Jesus lay in the bosome of his Father; This is my beloved Son: and I was the Fathers de­light, saith he in the 8th of Prov. Therefore the most fit to intercede, and so to reconcile God unto us.

[Page 88]3. Who more fit to reconcile God to us, then he that was fit to be a surety, to undertake for us. If a man come to mediate with a person offended, for another: Saith the person offended, but will you undertake he shall do so no more? — Yes, — Why then I am willing. Now Jesus is called our surety, in the 8th. Heb. He undertakes that though we have broken with God already, we shall break no more; and therefore the fittest person to recon­cile God to us.

But secondly, the fittest person also to reconcile us to God.

1. Who more fit to reconcile us to God, then he that can change our natures? Now Jesus is able to change our nature: I find, saith Paul, a Law in my Members, rebelling against the Law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity unto the Law of sin which is in my members: O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death? then, I thank God through Jesus Christ. And Rom. 8.2. The Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, hath made me free from the Law of Sin and Death. And

2. Who more fit to reconcile us to God, then he that can beget good thoughts in us concerning God? So long as a man hath hard thoughts of God, he will never be reconciled to God. Now Jesus Christ lay in the bosome of his Father, and can tell the Soul what volumes of Love there were and are in the bosome of the Father, for it, from all eternity, and so can beget love in the Soul towards God, and so able to recon­cile the Soul to God. You have it clearly in John 1.18. he lay in the bosome of the Father, &c.

[Page 89]3. And then to say no more but this, Who more fit to reconcile us to God, then he that can give the Holy Ghost into our Souls? For as God is re­conciled to us by the blood of Christ, so we are reconciled to God by the Spirit of Christ: Now Jesus gives the Spirit, I will send the Comforter, saith Christ; so that he, he is the fittest person in all the world to reconcile God to us, and to recon­cile us to God, and so the fittest person in all the world to mediate between God and us. And so you have the second thing.

3. But then thirdly, As Jesus is the fittest per­son to mediate between God and us, so he hath undertaken this work of Mediation, and he will certainly carry it on unto due perfection.

First (I say) he hath undertaken it, and there­fore he is called the Mediator, 1 Tim. 2.5. For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and Man, the man Christ Jesus, and he alone is the Me­diator. I confess indeed the word [...], is given to Moses, and Moses in the 3d. of Gal. is called a a Mediator. The Law was ordained by Angels in the hand of a Mediator, vers. 19. that is not Christ. But the Law was ordained by Angels, in the hand, that is, by the Ministry of a Mediator: — Christ was not the Minister of Angels, Moses was; and therefore Moses is to be understood here. The same word that is used concerning Christ, is used here.

But now, although Moses was a Mediator, a Typical Mediator, and did stand between God and the people, as in the 5th. of Deut. to deliver out the Law unto them, vers. 5. I stood between the [Page 90] Lord and you at that time, to shew you the word of the Lord. Though (I say) Moses is called a Me­diator, because he stood between God and the peo­ple, to give and deliver out the Law to them, yet you never find that Moses is called a Mediator in a way of Redemption, or satisfaction, or paying of any ransome; so Jesus onely is: In the 1 Tim. 2. There is one God, and one Mediator between God and Man, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransome for all. And so in the 9th Heb. For this cause he is the Mediator of the New Testa­ment: — For what cause? — Why? vers. 14. How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal spirit offered up himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God; and for this cause is he the Mediator. It is never said so of Moses; — No, but Christ the Mediator, and he onely the Me­diator in a way of satisfaction, and redemption, and paying of a price. Well, thus he hath undertaken the work.

And certainly, he will carry on his work of Me­diation, unto due perfection; for saith the Apo­stle, he is faithfull in all his house, as Moses was: Moses a Servant, he as a Son. Moses the Medi­ator was faithfull in all the house of God, to a pin: Surely Jesus the Son will be faithful in this work of Mediation, and carry it on to the ut­termost.

But then you will say, what assurance have we, that Jesus will carry on this work of Media­tion unto the uttermost, unto due perfecti­on.

First of all, you have the assurance of the first great promise that was made, The Seed of the Woman shall break the Serpents head, Gen. 3. Saith the Lord to the Serpent, I will put enmity between thee and the Woman, and between thy Seed and her Seed. If there be enmity between Satan and us, there will be peace between God and us; where God saith he will put enmity between the Devil and us, he doth there promise, that there shall be peace and reconciliation between God and us; — now this here he saith, — And how shall this be done? — It shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heele. It shall be done by him whose heel in his sufferings is bruised by Sa­tan and his Instruments; It shall be done by Christ.

2. As you have the assurance of the first pro­mise, so you have the assurance of what Christ hath done already; he will not loose what he hath done, he will not loose his work. If Je­sus Christ did not boggle nor startle at, nor fly back from the hardest piece of Mediation, which was to satisfie for our sins, surely he will not give in, and start back from the ea­sier part, which is, to intercede in Heaven, seeing he ever lives to make intercession for us.

3. As you have the assurance of what he hath done, so you have the assurance also of his de­light in this work of mediation. If a man un­dertake a work, be able to carry it through, and take delight therein, he will certainly carry it on. Now our Lord Jesus Christ hath undertaken [Page 92] this work: — he is able, God and Man, — and he hath a delight in this work, I delight to do thy will, saith he, in the 8th Prov. I was by him, as one brought up with him, and I was daily his delight, rejoycing alwayes before him, rejoycing in the habitable part of his earth, and my delights were with the sons of men. Christ's heart was much in this work of Mediation, insomuch, as if you look into the 3d of Mal. you shall find he sits by it, and he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he shall purifie the Sons of Levi: — Why? — That they may offer unto the Lord an offering in Righteousness: then shall the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the dayes of old, and as in former years. — Who is this that sits thus at it? — Why, in the former verse it is said, Even the Messenger of the Covenant, that is, Christ Jesus. Behold I will send my Messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me; theres John the Baptist. And the Lord whom ye seek, shall sudden­ly come to his Temple, even the Messenger of the Co­venant, — (here's Christ) whom ye delight in: — Behold he shall come; and what shall he do? — Why, he shall sit at this work, his heart is much in this work, his delight is in it; and therefore you have the assurance of his delight, that he will carry it on.

4. As you have the assurance of his Delight, so you have the assurance of his Name and Title, JESƲS, Jesus the Mediator of the Covenant. — why Jesus? why not Christ? why not Jesus Christ, as in other Scriptures?

Look into the Book of the Hebrews, and you shall find frequently that Christ is called Jesus, — Why? because this Title was more sutable to the Priestly Office of Christ, which the Apo­stle is opening in the Book of the Hebrews. — It notes also the Deity of Christ: Jesus signifies Saviour; they go here together, Jesus the Me­diator, — Why? because as he is a Mediator in order to our salvation, so he is a Saviour in the way of Mediation; Therefore they go here toge­ther. And therefore as Jesus is able to save to the uttermost, so as Mediator he will perform this work of Mediation to the uttermost. And thus now I have done with the third thing, namely, That Jesus hath undertaken this work, To mediate between God and us, and he will certainly carry it on unto due perfection.

4. But then Fourthly, How, and in what respects is Jesus said to be the Mediator of the New Cove­nant?

Upon a threefold account.

Upon the account of stipulation, — Upon the ac­count of Confirmation, — Upon the account of Suretiship.

First, He is the Mediator of the New Covenant upon the account of stipulation, for he it was that did strike the Covenant for us with God the Fa­ther. See what is said in 2 Tim. 1. Who hath saved us, saith the Apostle, and called us with an holy call­ing, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the World began. So that there was a Treatment between God the Father and Christ [Page 94] concerning us; and Christ received grace for us before the World began. — And as the first Adam did strike the Covenant of works with God the Fa­ther for his Seed, so Jesus did strike the Covenant of grace for his Seed with God the Father, and so called the second Adam. A Mediator therefore of the New Covenant he is, in regard of stipulation, he it was that struck up the Covenant first with the Father.

2. As he is a Mediator of the New Covenant upon the account of stipulation, so upon the account of Confirmation; for he hath confirmed the Covenant. — He confirmed the Covenant by his active obedience while he lived, and by his passive obedience when he died.

By his active obedience while he lived, Dan. 9.27. He shall confirm the Covenant with ma­ny for one Week. Larabbim, you read it with many, but rather he shall confirm the Cove­nant for many; not for all, but he shall con­firme the Covenant for many for one Week.

And he did confirme the Covenant also by his passive obedience, in his Death, Hebrews 9. For this cause he is the Mediator of the New Testament, That by means of death for the Redem­ption of the transgressions that were under the first Testament, they which are called might receive the Promise. For (the Apostle explains it by a Si­militude) Where a Testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the Testator. For a Testament is of force after men are dead; other­wise it is of no strength at all, whilst the Testator liveth. So that plainly then, The Lord Jesus [Page 95] Christ did confirme the Covenant by his Death.

Onely the Question is, how Christ did confirme the Covenant by his death?

The Socinians would make the World believe, that Christ did confirme the Covenant by his death, in a way of Testimony and witnesse-bearing onely; for say they, Christ preached the Gospel while he liv'd, and when he dyed, he did by his death seal it, and confirme the truth thereof: thus they say, that Christ did confirme the Covenant by his death, onely in a way of witnesse-bearing, in a way of Testi­mony.

But surely this cannot be it, for if Christ did confirme the Covenant by his death; he con­firmed not the Covenant onely by witnesse-bearing to the truth, for so the Apostles might be said to confirme the Covenant, for in the 2 Heb. 3. How shall we escape, if we neglect so great Salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him.

And if our Lord and Saviour should onely confirme the Covenant by his death, in a way of witnesse-bearing, then the Martyrs that dyed for the Truth, should confirme the Covenant by their Death too, for they by their death did seal to the Truth, and did bear witness to the Truth, and so they should be said to confirme the Cove­nant; but far be it from us to think any such thing.

But Jesus Christ did confirme the Covenant by his death thus, By performing the condition of the Covenant, and by laying down his blood a price for the mercies and blessings promised in the Cove­nant.

He did confirme the Covenant by his death, (I say) by performing the condition of the Cove­nant. If a man be in captivity, and he that hath him in captivity promises, upon the payment of so much money that he shall be delivered, when the money is paid down, the Condition is per­formed; Why, now Jesus when he dyed, he gave himself a ransome for many, [...], yea, [...], and upon this account, he is called a Media­tor, 1 Tim. 2.5. There is one God, and one Media­tor between God and man, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a Ransome, [...], a Ransome in the room, a Ransome for, or in the room of us.

As the first Adam should have confirmed the Covenant and did not, so the second Adam did confirme the Covenant. — How should the first Adam have confirmed the Covenant? — Why, the first Adam should have confirmed the Covenant by performing the condition there­of. So now our Lord and Saviour Christ, be­ing the second Adam, did confirme the Co­venant, — How? — by performing the condition of the Covenant: Thus he is the Medi­ator of the New Covenant, upon the account of Confirmation.

3. He is the Mediator of the New Covenant upon the account of Suretyship, by being bound [Page 97] unto God the Father that we shall performe to him, by being bound to us that God the Father shall performe to us. In the 7th of the Hebrews, you shall find he is called our Surety, vers. 22. By so much was Jesus made a Surety of a better Testament: — And why so? but to shew, that where he is Mediator, he is Surety. You know what a Surety is, he is bound for the Debtor to performe. Saith Ju­dah unto his Father Jacob, Gen. 43.9. when he would have Benjamin down with him to Egypt, I'le be surety for him, of my hand shalt thou require him; So Christ saith unto the Fa­ther, I will be Surety for these men, and of my hand shalt thou require their performance;— and saith he to them again, I will be Surety for God the Father, and of my hand shall you require his mercies. So that thus now he is a Mediator of the New Covenant, upon an ac­count of Suretiship, upon a threefold account; — upon the account of Stipulation, — upon the ac­count of Confirmation, — upon the account of Suretiship.

5. But what are the benefits that we do gain or get by Jesus being the Mediator of the New Co­venant?

Much every way.

First of all, Is it not a great matter that God the Father should be reconciled unto us? [...]f God be reconciled, you are brought neer [...]nto him, into onenesse with him. Union is [...]he ground of Communion, and Communion is [...]he ground of Communication; surely therefore it [Page 98] is no small matter. Now I say, if Jesus be the Mediator of the New Covenant, God is reconciled to us.

2. If Jesus be the Mediator of the New Co­venant, then you may go with boldnesse, and look the Justice of God in the face; with bold­nesse, for your debt is satisfied: So long as a man is in debt, he steals by the Prison door in the dark; but if his Surety have paid the debt, he dares come (as you say) and whet his knife at the Counter door. Now Christ being your Mediator, the Mediator of the New Covenant, he is your Surety, the debt is paid, and you may goe with boldnesse and looke Justice in the face, and the Devil, and all those Serjeants of Hell.

But thirdly, Is it not a great matter for Christ to be your King, Priest and Prophet? consider it a little: If you observe it, you shall find that all the blessings that came to the Jews or Isra­elites in the time of the Old Testament, came through these three offices, King, Priest, Pro­phet; why, but as a Type, to shew that all our spiritual mercies must come through the hand of these three offices in Christ: Now if Christ be the Mediator of the New Covenant, then he is your King, your Priest, your Prophet; for all these three offices of Christ, grow upon the Mediation of Christ.

For if he be your Mediator, then he will be a Prophet, a Prophet to declare the mind, and the love of the Father to you.

If he be your Mediator, he will be your Priest, to satisfie the Fathers anger for you.

If he be your Mediator, he will be a King to subdue all your Enemies, for he is a Priest after the Order of Melchesedeck, King of Sa­lem. Now is it not a great matter to have Christ our King, our Priest, our Prophet? surely it is: But

4. Is it not a great matter, that all the blessings and mercies of the New Covenant should belong unto you? Friends, have you duly considered what are the blessings of the New Covenant? I'le tell you briefly;

They are all those spiritual blessings which you want, and complaine for the want of. There are seven or eight spiritual blessings that a poor drooping soul doth complaine for the want of.

Oh saith he, I am afraid I am not the Child of God, — or I fear my sin is not pardon­ed, — and I do not find an inward constant frame of Soul to what is good, — And I am a poor ignorant creature, — And I have a hard heart, — And I want the Spirit of the Lord within me, — And I cannot walk with God as I ought to do, — And I fear I shall fall a­way, and go to Hell at last. Why now in the Co­venant of Grace there is supply promised against all [...]hese fears.

Dost thou say, I am afraid I am not the Child [...]f God? Why, saith the Lord here in the Co­ [...]enant, I will be a God unto you, and you shall [...]e my People; There is Adoption for you, Heb.

Do you say, I am afraid my sin is not pardoned? then saith the Lord in the Covenant, Your sin and iniquity will I remember no more, Heb. 8.

Do you say, O but I don't find that constant frame of heart unto what is good? why, saith the Lord in the Covenant, I will write my Law in your heart.

Do you say, O but I am a poor ignorant creature? why, saith the Lord in the Covenant, You shall all know me from the greatest to the least, and you shall be taught of God.

Do you say, O but my heart is hard? why saith the Lord in the Covenant, I will take away the heart of stone, and give an heart of flesh.

Do you say, O but I want the Spirit of God with­in me? why, saith the Lord, I will put my spirit within you.

Do you say, I cannot walk with God as I ought? why, saith the Lord in the Covenant, I will cause you to walk in my wayes.

Do you say, I fear I shall fall away, and goe to hell at last? why, saith the Lord in the Co­venant, I will put my fear into your hearts, and you shall not depart from me. — These, even these besides Heaven, and besides the blessings of this Earth, so all these blessings are promised in the Covenant of Grace; and if Christ be the Media­tor of the New Covenant, then do these blessing [...] belong to you, for he is Surety, as well as Media­tor. But

5. Is it not a great matter to have the Lor [...] Jesus to interpose between God the Father an [...] [Page 101] you, to take up all differences as they may arise? why, if Jesus be the Mediator of the Covenant, so it is, If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous, who is the propi­tiation for our sins.

6. Is it not a great matter for you to enter into the Holy of Holyest, and to have all your duties carried in to God the Father by the hand of Jesus? If he be your Mediator, so it is, Rev. 8.

7. Is it not a great matter, in case that you have to deal with enemies, either for Soul or Body, to have one by, that can and will in­terpose and rebuke them? Why, if Jesus be the Mediator of the Covenant, thus shall it be. He interposed between Laban and Jacob; when Laban followed Jacob, he rebuked Laban. He in­terposed in the case of Joshua, when Satan stood at his right hand: the Lord rebuke thee, as in the 3d Chapter of Zechary. The same word in the Hebrew, that Job useth for Dayes-man, comes from a root that signifies to rebuke.

8. And then to say no more in it but this, Is it not a great matter for one that is in trouble, or affliction of spirit, to have Christ to interpose between God the Father and him, when he lyes under the sense of Gods wrath and displeasure? Why, if Christ be the Me­diator of the New Covenant, then thus it is; Look into the 33. Chapter of Job, and see what a scheme and mold of Conversion-work there is, vers. 14. God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not: — Here is man in [Page 102] his naturall state and condition, going on in the way of his sin, living under the means; and God speaking once and twice, and he perceives it not. Well then at the 15th vers. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumbrings upon the bed, then he openeth the ears of men, and seal­eth their instruction. Here comes a work of Conviction and Conversion, suddenly, unex­pectedly, — and what then? then trouble of Conscience, at the 19th vers. He is chastened also with paine upon his bed, and the multitude of his bones with strong paine, so that his life ab­horreth bread, and his soul dainty meat; his flesh is consumed away that it cannot be seen, and his bones that were not seen stick out; his soul draweth nigh unto the Grave, and his life to the Destroyers: — What then? why then at the 23. vers. If there be a Messenger; Christ is the Mes­senger of the Covenant: If there be a Messenger with him, an Interpreter, an Advocate; if there be a Messenger with him, or an Advocate by him, one of a thousand, as Christ is, To shew unto man his Righteousness, where his Righte­ousnesse lyes, — What then? why then he is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pit, I have found a Ransome. And then, his flesh shall be fresher then a childs, he shall returne to the dayes of his Youth, he shall pray unto God, and he will be favourable unto him, and he shall see his face with joy, for he will render unto man his Righteousnesse. Thus now shall it be, if Jesus be the Mediator [Page 103] of the New Covenant. Oh what a confortable thing therefore is it, for Jesus to be this Mediator of the Covenant! And thus you see in the 5th place what those benefits are that we do gaine thereby.

6. But then sixthly, what are those doctrinal Corrolaries, or practical duties, that do flow from hence?

1. If Jesus be the Mediator of the New Co­venant, what an evil thing is it, and unreason­able, for men to think, or speak, or do any thing that may reflect upon this Mediator of the New Covenant, or to sin against this New Covenant? There are some Opinions that do reflect and cast a black reflection upon Jesus the Mediator of the Covenant.

The Socinian tells us, that Jesus is a Mediator, such a one as Moses was, to declare the mind of God unto us; but not a Mediator in way of satisfaction, to satisfie Gods wrath.

They say he is a Mediator, but not a Surety, to merit for us, or to pay our debt for us.

They say he is a Mediator, but deny the Deity of Christ, and so root up the very mediation of Christ; they cast a very black reflection upon this Mediator.

The Papists they say, that Christ is a Me­diator, and our onely Mediator in a way of Redemption, but we have many Mediators in a way of Intercession, Saints and Angels.

They say that Christ is Mediator, but according to his humane nature only, whereas the Apostle saith expresly, that he offered up himself through the [Page 104] Eternal Spirit: Thus they reflect upon this Me­diator.

And for practise, Is it not a great reflection up­on this Mediator for us to think, that we our selves by our own Tears, and Fastings, and Humiliati­ons, can reconcile God unto us, or pacifie Gods Anger, or make an Attonement for a Nati­on.

Is it not a very great reflection upon this Mediator to say, O my sins are greater then can be forgiven? Is not this a very blameable reflection upon this Mediator of the New Cove­nant?

But there are four or five wayes especially wherein we do sin against the Covenant.

First, by not looking into it, not studying it, not being acquainted with it. Shall the Lord Jesus be such a Mediator of such a Covenant, and shall we not look into the Covenant, and be acquainted with it? Yet Lord, how many poor souls are there that are ignorant of this Covenant? What unthankfulnesse is this, what a sin against the Covenant is this, that Jesus should be the Mediator of the Covenant, and men should not look into it, not study it, not be ac­quainted with it?

2. Sometimes we sin against the Covenant, by altering the mold and the frame of the Covenant, by hanging our conditions upon Gods Covenant, our pad-lock upon Gods door.

3. Sometimes we sin against the Covenant, by slighting that Great Ordinance of the Lords Supper, concerning which Christ hath said, [Page 105] This Cup is the New Testament in my blood: To slight it, saying, these are low things, we are above Ordinances, and these are car­nall things, now thus to slight it, is to sin di­rectly against the Covenant.

4. Sometimes we sin against the Covenant, by our unbelief and doubting. But

5. Sometimes we sin against the Covenant, by turning the Grace of this Covenant into wantonnesse. Is this true? that the Lord hath promised mercy upon no condition to be per­formed by us, then why may we not live as we list, say men? Thus turning this Grace of God in the Covenant into wantonnesse. But is this true, that Jesus is the Mediator of the New Covenant? Why then should we think, speak, or do any thing that may reflect against this Media­tor, or sin against this Covenant? That is the first thing.

2. If Jesus be the Mediator of the New Covenant, why then, why should you not trust in the Lord for ever, build upon him, and be secure as to the mercies and blessings promi­sed in the Covenant? If you come to a Cham­ber to lodge in, and you see that it is laid up­on weak, or lathy props, that the foundation be not sure, you say, I will not venture to lodge here; but if you come to a Chamber that is laid upon a good foundation, you say then, I durst venture to lodge here: Why this New Covenant is founded upon the blood of Christ, The blood of Christ is the foundation of the New Covenant; And therefore why should you [Page 106] not rest, and be secure, confident, as concerning the mercies and blessings promised in the Cove­nant?

Object. O but you will say, I cannot be perswa­ded that Christ is my Mediator; I know that Christ is a Mediator of the New Covenant, but I cannot think that he doth mediate for me. If indeed I were perswaded that Jesus were my Mediator, or that he did mediate for me in particular, Ah then I should trust in the Lord indeed for the blessings of the Covenant: But I cannot be perswaded that Christ is my Mediator; I grant he is the Mediator of the New Covenant, but I can­not say that he is my Mediator, or that he doth mediate for me, and therefore I cannot be satisfied.

Answ. No! What, the Father satisfied, who is the person offended, and you not satisfied, who are the person offending!

No! Why if the Jew had sinned, and the High-Priest had offered an Offering, or a Sa­crifice for him, the sinning Jew would not say, this was not for me, and therefore I am not satisfied, for the sacrifice was not for me; He would not say so, but he would say that he was satisfied: And shall Jesus be our great High-Priest, and shall He make an offering of himselfe for us, and will you say, it is not for me?

But to come a little nearer to your Objecti­on, that I may bring this great doctrine home un­to our hearts.

The Apostle hath said, If any man sin we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous; what think you, are you not within the compass of those words, if any man sin, will not those words reach you?

But if God be reconciled unto you, then Christ hath mediated for you; now God the Father is reconciled to you, for if you be re­conciled to God, and the things of God, then God is reconciled to you. Pray tell me, were you not an Enemy once to the good wayes of God, and the things of God? Yes; — And are you not reconciled now to the things of God? — Yes, I confesse I am: Well, if you be reconciled to the things of God, God is reconciled to you; and if God be reconciled to you, I am sure Christ hath mediated for you. Luther was wont to say, The onely way to make God our Friend, is to cast our selves into his armes when he seems to be our Enemy. Thus have you done, (poor soul?) when God hath seem'd to be your Enemy, then have you cast your selves into the armes of God? surely then God is reconciled unto you, and Christ is your Me­diator.

Againe, If you be the Seed of Christ, then Christ is your Mediator, and Christ hath, and doth mediate for you; for he is a Mediator for his Seed. Now mark it, there are but two Seeds, the Seed of the Woman, and the Seed of the Serpent; I will put Enmity between thy [Page 108] Seed and the Seed of the Woman. There are but two Seeds: how think you, are you the Seed of the Serpent? Either you are Christ's Seed, or the Seed of the Serpent, and that's an hissing Seed, an opposing Seed: Do you think you are the Seed of the Serpent? No, I hope I am not the Seed of the Serpent; why, then you are the Seed of Christ, and Christ doth mediate for you: Now then humble your selves for all your unbelief, and lay the weight of your guilty Soul upon this sweet Covenant of Grace, for Jesus is the Mediator of it.

3. Lastly, This Doctrine methinks looks very wishly upon all sorts; — It looks wishly up­on those that are good, and upon those that are bad; It looks wishly upon those that are Godly, and upon those that are Ungodly; upon those that are Converted, and upon those that are not Converted.

Upon those that are Bad, Wicked, Ungodly, Unconverted, and to them it saith, why should not you, even you come unto God for the Grace of this New Covenant, which is con­firmed by Christ the Mediator? Why should not you, you that are unconverted, goe unto God the Father, and presse him to give out the Grace of this Covenant to you? Hath not the Lord said, Let not the Eunuch say, I am a dry tree; onely let him take hold of my Cove­nant. Neither let the Son of the Stranger, that [Page 109] hath joyned himself to the Lord, speak, saying, The Lord hath utterly separated me from his people; Onely let him take hold of my Covenant, and do the things that please me.

This New Covenant confirmed by Christ Je­sus the Mediator, either it is confirmed for Saints only, or for Sinners also, that are Sinners for the present.

If for Saints onely, why doth the Lord say, I will write my Law in your hearts? Surely therefore it is for some, in whose heart Gods Law is not yet written. And if this Co­venant doth extend to such, who as yet have not the Law written, the Law of Grace writ­ten in their hearts, Oh what encouragement is here for a poor sinner to go to God, and say, Lord thou hast made this Covenant, and Christ hath confirmed it, and he is the Me­diator of it; now this Law is not yet writ­ten in my heart; O make good thy Covenant, and write thy Law in my heart.

And for you that are Saints, this Doctrine looks upon you, and it saith thus; If Christ be the Mediator of the New Covenant, and your Mediator, that God hath provided for you, then go away, and be ashamed of your sins, and of all your doings, the pardon where­of requires such a Mediator, and the blood of the Mediator; Then shall ye be ashamed, saith the Lord, When I am pacified towards you: If [Page 110] Christ be your Mediator, and God be pacified, Oh then be you ashamed.

2. And to you it speaks thus. If the Lord Jesus Christ be the Mediator of this New Co­venant, your Mediator, and mediates for you, then why should not you appeare for Christ on Earth upon all occasions? Shall Christ in­terpose with the Father, and appeare for you, and mediate for you in Heaven upon all oc­casions, and will not you appear for Christ on Earth? What, Christ appeare for you in Heaven, and mediate for you in Heaven, and will not you appeare for Christ on Earth? Yea, un­to you it saith, Why should not you all goe away with your hearts full of Love and Thank­fulnesse, both to God the Father, and to Je­sus Christ? If you were going to the Prison for a Debt, and a man should meet you, and undertake to be your Surety, and pay your Debt, you would love him as long as you lived: Here is the case, we were all going to Prison, Christ comes, undertakes to be our Surety, payes our Debt; then will you not love Christ the Mediator of the New Covenant? Will you not love him, and be thankfull to him, and to God the Father? For though the performance of this Mediation be Christs, the Contrivance is God the Fathers. God the Fa­ther did contrive this Covenant, and God the Father did send Christ this Mediator; [I] have given thee for a Covenant, saith the Fa­ther; and saith Christ, Lo, I come to do Thy [Page 111] Will. Friends, it was the will of God the Father, that Jesus should be the Mediator of this New Covenant. Oh the freenesse of the Grace of God the Father! He was the person offended; and yet, that He himself should find out such a Mediator, of such a Covenant, what Grace is here! Now therefore blessed be God the Father for this Mediator, let us all say; and blessed be this Mediator JESƲS, who hath mediated us into this New Cove­nant.

Goe away (I say) you that are Saints with your hearts full of Love, both unto God the Father, who hath contrived this Mediation, and unto JESƲS, who hath performed this Mediation; And now let your hearts be con­firmed, — let your Hope be confirmed, — let your Love be confirmed, — let your Joy be confirmed, — let your Thankfulnesse be confirmed, — let your Graces be confirmed. A confirmed Covenant, calls for confirmed Chri­stians.

I have done, I cannot say whom we should love most, and be thankful most unto, the Fa­ther or the Son; but this I say, love the Fa­ther with all your heart, and be thankful to him, in reference to his Contrivance; — love the Son with all your heart, and be thankful to him in reference to his Performance, for JESƲS is the Mediator of the New Covenant.

And thus I have done with the second Do­ctrine, namely, that Jesus is the Mediator of the New Covenant: The third follows, and that is, That now in these Gospel times, we are not come to Moses the Mediator of the Old, but unto Jesus the Mediator of the New Te­stament.

The Way and Spirit of the New Covenant, or New Testament. SERM. V.

Hebr. 12.24.

And to Jesus the Mediator of the New Cove­nant, &c.

Doctr. 3. THe Third Observation follows, which is this:

That in these Gospel-times, we are not come to Moses, the Mediator of the Old; but unto Jesus, the Mediator of the New Covenant, or the New Testa­ment.

The latter part of the Doctrine you have in the words of the Text, and the former part in the Con­ [...]ext; for, saith the Apostle, Ye are not come unto the Mount that might be touched, to Mount Sinai: But ye [...]re come unto Mount Sion, and ye are come unto Jesus [...]he Mediator of the New Covenant. So that now in [...]hese Gospel-times, we are not come to Moses, the [...]ediator of the Old Covenant; but to Jesus, the [...]ediator of the New Testament.

For the opening and prosecuting whereof,

First, We must inquire, What is here meant by [...]oming unto Jesus the Mediator of the New Cove­nant, [Page 354] in opposition to Moses, the Mediator of the Old Covenant.

Secondly, Whether it be possible for a man tha [...] doth profess Christ, the Mediator of the New Cove­nant, to have recourse unto Moses, the Mediator of the Old Covenant, or the Old Testament? That is, Whether a Man may possibly be Legal and Mosaical, in these Gospel-times?

Thirdly, When so.

Fourthly, The Danger of it; and,

Fifthly, What we should do that we may stand clea [...] from Moses, the Mediator of the Old Covenant; an [...] come fully off unto Jesus, the Mediator of the New. That we may walk wi [...]h a Gospel, not a Legal Spirit; and be found in a Gospel, not a Legal Way, in these Gospel-times.

First of all, If you ask, What is here meant by coming unto Jesus, the Mediator of the New Cove­nant, in opposition to Moses?

I answer in the general, It doth signifie and note out, that Evangelical and Gospel-state that we are now brought unto, by Jesus, the Mediator of the New Testament; in opposition to the Legal state tha [...] they were in, in the dayes and times of the Old Testa­ment: — But because this is general and commo [...] unto that which goes before, therefore you must kno [...] more particularly;

That a Man is said to come unto Jesus, the Media­tor of the New Testament, in opposition to Moses when now in these Gospel-times, upon all occasion [...] he hath recourse unto Jesus, as, in the times of th [...] Old Testament, upon all occasions, they had recour [...] unto Moses: As now for Example.

In the times of the Old Testament, they came [...] Moses for the Law (under God,) and they receiv [...] [Page 355] the Law from his mouth: What saith Moses? was the saying then. So now in these times of the Gospel, we are to have recourse unto Jesus, and to receive the Law at his mouth, What saith Jesus? And therefore saith our Saviour, It hath been said unto you, Thou shalt not kill; and, Thou shalt not commit Adultery: But I say unto you, and I say unto you — Why? — What, because (as the Socinians would) Christ made any addition to the Law? No: but because now (as for other Reasons) we are to receive the Law from his mouth, from the mouth of Jesus.

And, as in the times of the Old Testament, they had recourse to Moses for their Church, and their Church State: He it was that did give the Tabernacle (un­der God) and the way of the Tabernacle: So now in the times of the New Testament, we are to have recourse to Jesus, What saith Jesus to a Church-way; Not, What saith Moses, now: And therefore, saith Christ, If thy Brother offend thee, tell him of it; and if he hear not, call two or three; and if he mind not, then tell it to the Church; and if he hear not the Church, let him be as a Heathen or Publican to you; for when two or three are gathered together in my Name, I am in the midst of them, Matth. 18. We are to hear what Je­sus saith in this matter, and not what Moses.

And, as then, in the times of the Old Testament, they had recourse to Moses (under God) for their Ministry; and Moses did direct them unto Priests and Levites for their Ministers: So now in the times of the New Testament, we are to have recourse to Jesus for our Ministry; and therefore saith the Apostle, He hath set in the Church Pastors and Teachers: And in Ephes. 4. He hath ascended up on high, and he hath given gifts unto Men, Pastors a [...]d Teachers, and the like. We are to hear what Jesus saith now, and not what Moses, for our Ministry.

And as in the times of the Old Testament, they had then recourse unto Moses for the Ordinances, for their Sabbaths, for their Sacraments, and for their Worship: So now in the times of the New Testa­ment, we are to hear what Jesus saith, and to have re­course to him for these things. — Go, saith our Saviour Christ, and teach all Nations, baptizing them, and teaching them to observe and do what I command you, Matth. 28. — And for the Lords Supper, What I received of the Lord, that delivered we unto you, saith the Apostle. — And for the Sabbath, The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath. Go to him for your Sab­bath; not to Moses, but unto him. — And for Worship, saith our Saviour Christ unto the Woman of Samaria, John 4.23. The hour cometh, and now is, when the true Worshippers shall worship the Father in Spirit and truth; for the Father seeketh such to worship him. You that are Samaritans, you have worshipt God; but you have not worshipt God according to his own appointment, you have not worshipt him in Truth. The Jews, they have worshipt God according to Gods appointment, but not with the Spirit: But now, the hour cometh, when men shall worsh [...]p the Father in Spirit and in Truth. In Truth, in oppo­sition to Samaritans, that did not worship according to appointment. — And in Spirit, in opposition to the Jews, that worshipt God Legally, and without the Spirit. Thus we must hear what Jesus saith.

And as then in the times of the Old Testament, they had recourse to Moses still; when they wanted Bread, he (under God) gave them Manna, and he gave them water out of the Rock: So now, in the times of the New Testament, we are to have recourse to Jesus for our Bread. In John 6. saith Christ, La­bour not for the meat which perisheth, but for the mea [...] [Page 357] that indureth to everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you, for him hath God the Father sealed.

And as in the times of the Old Testament, they had much recourse to Moses for their Faith: If they could not believe, Moses wrought miracles before them, and they believed. Insomuch as its said in the 14. of Exod. last, And Israel saw that great work which the Lord did upon the Egyptians, and the people feared the Lord, and believed the Lord, and his Servant Moses. But now what saith Jesus, Let not your heart be troubled, ye believe in God, believe also in me. Not in God, and in Moses; but, ye believe in God, believe also in me.

And to say no more in it, but this: In the times of the Old Testament, they had recourse to Moses for their Rest. M [...]ses was to lead them up to Canaan, and the Land of Rest: And so now in the times of the New Testament, we are to have recourse to Jesus for our Rest; for saith he himself: Come unto me all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Thus, as in the times of the Old Testament, they were upon all occasions to have recourse to Moses: So now in the times of the New Testament, upon all occasions, we are to have recourse to Jesus, the Me­diator of the New Testament; for saith the Lord by Moses, in the 18. of Deut. 18. v. I will raise them up a Prophet from among their Brethren, like unto thee, (ra­ther, as thee) that is, as I raised up thee; and will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. Which the Apostle applies unto Christ, Acts 3.22. For Moses truly said unto the Fathers, a Prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your Brethren, like unto me (rather, as me, [...] as me) that is, as he raised up me, not like unto me, [Page 358] as the Socinians would argue from hence; That Chri [...] must be but Man like to Moses: For Moses truly sai [...] unto the Fathers, a Prophet shall the Lord your Go [...] raise up unto you of your Brethren, like unto me, ra­ther as me: That is, as he raised up me; Him shal [...] ye hear in all things, whatsoever he shall say un [...] you. So that thus, As they had recourse to Mose [...] upon all occasions, in the time of the Old Testament▪ so now we are to have recourse unto Jesus: And thu [...] we see what it is to come unto Jesus the Mediator o [...] the New Covenant, in opposition unto Moses the Me­diator of the Old Covenant.

2. But then secondly, Whether is it possible for a man that doth profess to come unto Jesus the Media­ator of the New Covenant, still to have recourse to Moses; that is, Whether is it possible for a man to be Legal and Mosaical, in these Gospel times?

Without all doubt it is: and I wish (if it were the will of the Lord) that too many were not found upon Legal ground among Pr [...]f [...]ssors. What think you of the Galatians? Did not they live in Gospel Times? Did not they profess to come unto Jesus the Media­tor of the New Covenant? Yet, see how the Apostle treats them, and reproves them again and again, for their being too Legal, too Mosaical: Ye are fallen from Grace, saith he: My little children of whom I trav [...] in birth again, till Christ be formed in you. Ye are so much for Moses, and the Law, that I travel in birth again, till Christ be formed in you.

As there was a mixture of the Gospel in the time of the Law; so there may be too great a mixture of the Law in the times of the Gospel.

And I pray what think you, Are there not very many that live under the Gospel, in whom sin reigns? Yes, many live under the Gospel in whom sin reigns: [Page 359] And saith the Apostle, Let not sin reign in your mortal bodies, for ye are not under the Law, but under Grace. If you be under the Law, then sin will reign in you: And what's the reason that sin reigns in many that live under the Gospel, but because they are under the Law. As there were two in A [...]rahams house, the Bond-woman, and the Free-woman, Hagar and Sa­rah. So in these Gospel Times, there will be some that shall be freely for the Grace of God, and the Covenant of Grace; some again, that will turn in to the Covenant of works, and be Legal and Mo­saical.

And, If that we be Legal and Mosaical in these Gos­pel times, we shall be more L [...]gal, [...]nd more Mosaical than before. As when a Servant was bound, and the year of freedom came, and he might go free, and would not, then his ear was bor'd, and he was to be a servant for ever: So now; for what is our Gospel time, but a time of Spiritual freedom: And if men will be servants still, and under the Law still, their ears are bor'd, and they are more Mosaical and more Legal than before.

But friends, This ought not to be: for you know what the Lord saith from Heaven concerning Christ, Hear ye him. Once, in the 3d. of Matth. ye have those words from Heaven over Christ, This is my be­loved Son in whom I am well pleased. And a second time ye have those words at the Transfiguration, in the 17 of Matth. 5. This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, hear ye him. — Why are those words (hear ye him) added here? In the 3d. of Matth. these words are not added, but only thus; This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. There 'tis not said, hear ye him, but in the 17 of Matth. 'tis said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, [Page 360] hear ye him.— Why is hear ye him added here?— Why, if you look into the former verse, ye find, Peter answered and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here; if thou wilt, let us make here three Taber­nacles, one for Thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. Moses gave out the Law,— and Elias restored the Law: now they being present; now comes the voice, hear ye him: That is, not Moses, not Elias, but now hear ye him, in opposition to Moses, in opposition unto Elias, hear ye him.

And if you look into the 7th. of the Rom. you shall find that now in these Gospel times, we are to be dead unto the Law; which the Apostle clears by a very great similitude: Saith he, Know ye not Brethren, how that the Law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth: For the woman which hath an husband, is bound by the Law to her Husband, so long as he liveth; but if the Husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her Husband: So then, if while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an Adulteress; but if her husband be dead, she is free from that Law; so that she is no Adulteress, though she be married to ano­ther man: Wherefore, my Brethren, ye also are become dead to the Luw, by the body of Christ, that ye should be marryed to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.

Ye are married to another, therefore ye are dead to the Law— dead, how dead?— why, ye are freed from the Law; he expresses it so elsewhere, freed from the Law— How so? What are we freed from the Commandment of the Law? From the precept of the Law?— No, saith the Apostle: The Com­mandment is h [...]ly, and just, and good— How then are we freed from the Law?

Why, you are free from the Vail of the Law, [Page 361] 2 Cor. 3. And you are free from the Dominion of the Law: Ye are not under the Law, but under Grace, Rom. 6.

And ye are free from the Pedagogy of the Law, the Law is not your School-master to bring to Christ, Gal. 3.

And ye are free from the Covenant of the Law, as a Covenant. And thus are ye in these Gospel times, dead to the Law, and free: But now though we are thus dead, and be thus free, yet possibly a man may be too Legal in these Gospel times, That's the Se­cond.

3. But then thirdly, When may a man be said to be Legal, or Mosaical, in opposition to this Medi­ator, Jesus the Mediator of the New Covenant? And when may a man be said to be Evangelical in op­position to Moses, the Mediator of the Old Cove­nant? Or, in short, What is the Way and Spirit of the Old, and of the New Testament, and wherein do they differ?

First of all, An Old Testament legal Spirit, is a servile spirit, that serveth God upon the account of wages, or reward; mostly, chiefly, or onely. An Evangelical Gospel spirit, is a Filial spirit. Moses therefore the Head of that Covenant, is called a Ser­vant; and Jesus the Head of this Covenant, is called a Son: Moses as a Servant, Christ as a Son, Heb. 3. And if you look into Rom. 8. you shall find its said there by way of difference: For ye have not re­ceived the Spirit of Bondage again unto fear: So you read it, but the words are [...], ye have not received the spirit of Servitude again, or a servile Spirit, or the spirit of Servants: But ye have received the Spirit of Adoption, whereby we cry, Abba Father.— Compare this with Gal. 4. and you shall see the [Page 362] opposition doth not lie between the Spirit of Adop­tion, and Bondage, but Servitude, v. 6. Because ye are Sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying A [...]ba F [...]ther; wherefore thou art no more a Servant, but a Son. In the 1. verse, Now I say, that the heir, as long as he is a Child, differeth nothing from a Servant, though he be Lord of all; but is under Tutors and Governours, until the time appointed of the Father. But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son made of a Women, made under the Law, to redeem them that were under the Law, that we might receive the Adoption of Sons: And because ye are Sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into y [...]ur hear [...]s, crying, Abba Father; wherefore thou art n [...] m [...]re a Serv nt. So that it is a servile spirit, and the spirit of a servant, that is here opposed to this Adoption: And would you know the difference between the spirit of a Servant, and the spirit of a Son?

Why, a Servant serves for wages, and a Son serves out of love and duty: And are there not many in these times of the Gospel, that do serve God onely, or m [...]stly, upon the account of wages and reward. Ye know what men ordinarily say, What need ye be so strict in your life, you may go to Heaven with less ado. So then it seems, 'tis Heaven that is their measure of obedience— Why— because men are legal, and serve God upon the account of wages: 'Tis Heaven, and Reward, and Wages, that's the business. Why, because men are legal.

I grant, It is lawful to have an eye to the recom­pence of Reward, Christ himself had. All love of reward is not Mercenary: But for a man to serve God, mostly, chiefly, onely, upon the account of wages, and for reward, this is plainly Legal. A man of a Gospel spirit, knows that he lives upon a better Purse, [Page 363] than all his own earnings can amount unto. But,

2. A legal Spirit, also is a fearing Spirit, put on rather by the Threatning, than by the Promise; a Gospel spirit rather by the promise than the threatning. In the times of the Old Testament, the Threatning reigned: And, if you look into Deuteronomy, you shall find that when Moses the Mediator of the Old Cove­nant, preached and declared the mind of God unto the people, he begins with Curses, and Threatnings, Deut. 27. They were upon two Hills. and v. 14. The Levites shall speak, and say unto all the men of Israel, with a loud voice; Cursed be the man that maketh any Graven or Molten Image, an abomination unto the Lord. Cursed be he that setteth [...]eight by his Father, or his Mo­ther: And, Cursed be he that removeth his Neighbours Land-mark, and so he goes on with Curses. In the 28. Chap. then comes the blessings: It shall come to pass if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice [...]f the Lord thy God, to observe and do to all his Commandments, which I command thee this day; That the Lord thy God will set thee on High, above all Nations of the Earth; and all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee. Blessed shalt thou be in the City, and blessed shalt thou be in the Field; blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy Cattel, the in­crease of thy Kine, and the flocks of thy Sheep. Mark how the Blessing comes after. First comes the Curse, when Moses the Mediator of the Old Covenant preached.— But now look into the 5th. of Matth. and ye find that when Jesus the Mediator of the New Covenant comes to preach, that he begins with Bles­sing. Blessed are the poor in spirit, and bl [...]ssed are the meek, and blessed are those that hunger and thirst after Righteousness, and blessed, and blessed. First comes the blessing, and then afterwards in the following [Page 364] part of the Chapter comes the Law, and the curse. And if you look into this Scripture, you find the dif­ference also: for saith the Apostle here, We are not come unto the Mount that might be touched, that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest, and the sound of a Trumpet, and the voice of words which they could not endure, so terrible was the sight thereof: But ye are come to mount Sion. Would you know the difference between the dispensations? the one is ter­rible, the other comfortable. — The one is fear­ing, and the other comforting: Look in the 10th. of Rom. The Apostle there also makes the difference be­tween the Spirit of the Law and the Gospel. Moses (saith he, v. 5.) describeth the Righteousness which is of the Law, that the man which doth those things, shall live by them. Do, and live: but at the 6. verse, The Righ­teousness which is of Faith, speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, who shall ascend into Heaven; that is, to bring Christ down from above, or who shall descend into the deep. But what saith it, The Word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart. The Righteousness which is of Faith speaketh on this wise; say not in thine heart who shall ascend into Heaven: It don't hold the soul in suspence and anxiety, and fear, and trouble. Christ hath ascended, and Christ hath descended.

Quest. But you will say, May not a man that is of a Gospel spirit, and that is come to Jesus the Mediator of the New Covenant, be full of fears? May not a good and gratious soul be full of fears about his condition?

Answ. I answer, He may; but his fears do arise from the weakness of his Adherence and Faith. The other's fears do rather arise from the weakness of the ground he stands upon. As for example: Two men are affraid of drowning; one stands upon a Rock, and he is affraid of being drown'd; the other stands [Page 365] upon a Quick-sand, and he's affraid of being drown'd; both are affraid: He that stands upon a Rock, is affraid of drowning, why, because he is affraid he shall be washt off: His fear arises from the weakness of his Adherence: But the other's fear arises from the unsoundness of the ground he stands upon, for it is upon a Quick-sand. So here, are two fears: a gracious Gospel-heart fears, and a Legalist fears. One fears from the weakness of his Adherence; I am upon the Rock, but I am affraid I shall be washt off: But the other's fears arise from the weakness of the ground he stands upon; he stands upon the Quick-sand, upon his own duties, and his own works; so that a legal Spirit is a fearing Spirit: He is put on rather by the Threatnings, than the Promise: The other by the Promise, rather than the Threatning. The one is kept from evil by his delight in good, and the other is put on to good by his fear of evil: That's the second.

3. In the times of the Old Testament, they did very much measure the love of God by outward things: For the Promises (as you know) then were mostly concerning Temporal things; and so they measured the love of God much by those outward things. But now in the times of the New Testament, our Promises are mostly spiritual, and therefore a New Testament spirit, measures the love of God most by Spiritual things, and not by these outward things.

4. A legal Old Testament spirit, trades much, or most, or altogether, with conditional Promises; for the Old Covenant Promises were most condition­al, and ran conditionally: But now when God pro­mises the New Covenant, he gives out an absolute Promise; and therefore a New Testament spirit trades much with absolute promises. For he knows [Page 366] (and you may know) that though a promise be con­ditional, the Lord hath promised the very condition in another Scripture, and that without a condition. And he knows (and you may know) that when God gives a promise with an Oath, though the promise do run conditionally, it shall be fulfilled absolutely.

5. In the time of the Old Testament, they came unto Christ by the promise, for Christ was not yet come, but promised: But now in the times of the New Testament, we come first to Christ, and so unto the Pro­mise; for all the Promises are Yea, and Amen in Christ.

6. In the time of the Old Testament, they came unto Christ by the Law, and, without the Law they might not come to Christ: For the Law was a School-master for to bring to Christ. But now in the time of the New Testament, The Law is not our School-ma­ster for to bring to Christ. And though seldome a­ny go to Heaven, but come by the gates of Hell; And seldome men do come to Christ now, but they have some workings of the Law first: Yet notwith­standing, if I will lay a necessity upon such a prece­dency of a legal work, before I do come to Christ, then I am too legal.

7. In the times of the Old Testament, men did then upon any great discovery of God, flie from God; as when God gave out the Law, they fled from God: And when Christ did a great work before Peter, Lord (saith he) depart from me, for I am a sinful man: But now in the Gospel, the greater the discovery is, the more a Gospel Spirit doth draw near to God: Oh, 'tis good for me to be here! saith he.

8. The time of the Old Testament, was a time of the Letter: And therefore if a man of a legal spirit, can but perform his duty according to the Letter of [Page 367] the Commandment, he is satisfied. But the times of the New Testament, are the times of the Spirit: We are not Ministers of the Letter, but of the Spirit: And therefore a Gospel spirit, though he can per­form his duty according to the Letter of the Com­mand; yet if he don't attain the spirit in it, he is unsatisfied.

9. To say no more in it but this: In the times of the Old Testament God spake by Visions, and Dreams, and Signs: But now in these latter days, he hath spoken by his Son; and we have a more sure word of Prophesie, whereunto we do well that we take heed. So that thus you see that there is a difference, and what the difference is between the way of the Old, and New Testament, between an Old Testament, and a New Testament spirit.

F [...]urthly, But then 4ly. Suppose now that I have recourse too much to M [...]ses in these Gospel times, and not enough unto Jesus the Mediator of the New Co­venant; Suppose I be legal in these Gospel times, is there any great danger in it?

Much, very much: And I pray consider it, that we may be all found upon Gospel ground, in this Gos­pel day. Danger, I say, much. For,

I. The more legal you are in Gospel times, the more sinful you will be, and the less able for to live unto God.

1. The more sinful you will be: For saith the Apostle, Let not sin reign in your mortal body, for ye are not under the Law, but under Grace.

And the less able you will be to live unto God: For saith the Apostle, Gal. 2.19. I through the Law, am dead to the Law, that I might live unto God. Till ye be dead unto the Law, you will never live unto God; and in the Rom. 7. Ye are become dead to the [Page 368] Law, by the body of Christ, that ye should be married to another, even to him, who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit untr God. Dead unto the Law, That ye may bring forth fruit unto God: Never think of bringing forth fruit unto God, while you are up­on a legal ground, and come not off fully to Jesus the Mediator of the New Covenant.— 'Tis observed, that the Law was given out twice in Tables of Stone. And the first time that they were given out, God did cut out the Tables of Stone, and he himself did write the Law with his own Finger in those Tables. The second time Moses cut out the Tables of Stone, and Moses wrote the words of the Commandment upon those Tables. In the 34. of Exod. Hew thee two Ta­bles of Stone, like unto the first, saith God: Well, so he did: at the 28. v. And he wrote upon the Tables, the words of the Covenant, the Ten Commandments. The first Tables were of Gods own making, and the wri­ting was of Gods own Finger: The second Tables were of Moses framing, and Moses writing, and yet the first were broken, the second kept.— What should be the Reason? One would think that the first Tables should have been kept as a holy thing, rather then the second; but the first were broken, and the second kept— why— For a good reason, saith Austine, because when the Commandment was given in the first Tables, then God appeared in a dreadful way, with Thundring and Lightning: When God gave out the Commandments again; the Lord appear­ed in a way of Grace: The Lord proclaimed unto Moses, Exod 34. The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gra­cious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands. Thus God proclaimes himself as a gracious and merciful God, and when the Law comes out now, 'tis kept. No such way [Page 369] to keep the Commandments of the Law, as from the consideration of the free grace and mercy of God. When the Law comes out with a Gospel hand, I then it's kept, and the Commandment not broken. So that I say, the more Legal you are, the more sinful you will be, and the less able you will be for to live unto God.

2. The more Legal you are, the more opposite you are to your own assurance; to a full setled assurance of your interest in God and Christ: We have not recei­ved the Spirit of bondage (you read it,) again to fear; but the Spirit of Adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Fa­ther. Assurance is a work of the Comforter; but the Spirit of servitude, 'tis opposite to the Spirit of Adop­tion, whereby we cry, Abba, Father; 'tis a great Enemy unto true assurance. Now is it not a misera­ble thing for a man or woman to be always fluctuating, and never to have assurance setled: The more Legal you are, the more opposite to your own assurance: But,

3. Though you do serve and worship the true God, yet if you worship him in a Legal way, your worship will be Antichristian — For what's Antichrist, and who is Antichrist? — The Apostle John tells you in the 1 Epist. 4.3. Every Spirit that con­fesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is not of God; and this is that Spirit of Antichrist, whereof you have heard that it should come.

But shall Antichrist deny Christ to be come in the flesh in so many terms? No,

He shall not deny the Incarnation of Christ; for, he shall sit in the Temple of God.

How then shall Antichrist deny Christ to be come [...]n the flesh?

He shall set up such a Worship as was before Christ came in the flesh.

As in the time of the Old Testament before Christ came in the flesh, there was an outward, glorious, and a pompous Worship; so shall Antichrist have.

As in the time of the Old Testament before Christ came in the flesh, there was a Temple, and a great Ca­thedral; so shall Antichrist have.

As in the time of the Old Testament before Christ came in the flesh, there was a High-Priest, and Priests, and Levites; so shall Antichrist have.

As in the time of the Old Testament before Christ came in the flesh, there were Copes, and Ephods, and Linnen Coats; so shall Antichrist have.

As in the time of the Old Testament before Christ came in the flesh, there were Candles, and Tapers, and Musick in the Temple; so shall Antichr [...]st have.

As in the times of the Old Testament befo e Christ came in the flesh, there were Altars; so shall Anti­christ have.

And as in the time of the Old Testament before Christ came in the flesh, here were Sacrifices; so shall Antichrist have his unbloody Sacrifices.

As then, they turned into a Covenant of Works, so shall Antichrist also do. Thus, the more Legal, and of an Old Testament stamp, your Worsh [...]p is, the more Antichristian 'tis. Now is it not a dangerous thing to have our Worship Antich [...]istian Worship in these Gospel-dayes?

4. But again, The Apostle Paul tells us, That th [...] Inheritance is not to the Bond-woman: there wer [...] two Women in A [...]rahams house, Hagar the Bond-woman, and Sarah the Free-woman; and these wer [...] Types of the Law and the Gospel, saith the Apostle▪ The Inheritance is not to the Bondwoman, cast he out; but the Inheritance is to the Free-woman, an [...] to her Children: So then, the Inheritance is not [...] [Page 371] the Legalist; no, the Inheritance is to the Free-woman.

5. Yea Friends, what is this, but a plain Apostasie, or that which tends to Apostasie; now after we pro­fess we are come to Jesus, the Mediator of the New Covenant; to have recourse to Moses, the Mediator of the Old Covenant? All flesh is grass, and wither­eth; but the Word of the Lord endures for ever — and with that— The Gospel that I preached unto you, that will hold (saith he.) Whose house ye are, saith the Apostle, if ye hold fast the confidence of your rejoycing stedf [...]st unto the end.— Whe [...]e lies our confidence but in Jesus, the Mediator of the New Covenant? yea, saith the Apostle to the Legal Gala­tians, Ye are fallen from grace; because they we [...]e re­turned to Moses, and had recourse to Moses. O what a dangerous thing then is it for a man to be Legal in these Gospel-times?

Object. But yet, May not possibly a godly, truly gracious Soul, be too Legal, even in these Gospel-times?

Answ. Possibly he may; for as there is no Duty which a good man doth perform, but a wicked man may perform the same for one Act; so there is no sin that a wicked man doth commit, but a godly man may commit the same for one Act; and therefore this of Legality he may fall into as well as others.

Yet let me tell you this, Though a good and graci­ous Soul may be overgrown with Legality too much, yet he is very sensible of his own Legality; a meer Le­galist is not, he thinks it strange that we speak of a Le­gal Spirit in a Gospel-time.

And though a good man may be too much over­grown, be too Legal, and too Mosaical; yet notwith­standing he doth not, he cannot, wish that there were [Page 372] no Law, because the Law is written in his heart; an­other that is under the power of the Law, could wish with all his Soul, that there were no Law, because he is under the power of it.

Again, Though a good man may be too much over­grown with Legality, yet he doth most savour the things of the Gospel, spiritual things: For every man is according to what he savours. Three men come to a Sermon — One's an Affectionate man — An­other an Expressionate man, a man of parts — An­other a Spiritual man; and the Preacher hath (it may be) all three. He hath Affection, he hath Expressi­on, he hath Spiritual matter: The Affectionate man is most taken with the Affectionate part: The Ex­pressionist, and the man of parts, is most taken with the Expressions of the Sermon; and there he hangs, such and such rare Expressions there were — But the Spiritual man is most taken with the Spiritual matter of the Sermon; for every man is according to the things that he savours. Now, I say, a good man, though he may be overgrown with Legality, yet he savours spiritual and Gospel-things most.

And then again, Though a good man may be too Legal, yet notwithstanding, he don't, he cannot, op­pose those that are Spiritual, and Evangelical, and of a Gospel Spirit. Though a spark of fire be not so great as the flame, it will not oppose the flame; and though a good man be too Legal, he will not oppose and persecute them that are Evangelical, a Legalist will; saith the Apostle, But the Son of the Bond-wo­man, persecuted the S [...]n of the Free-woman. And truly, the more Legal we are, the more we are apt for to persecute. So that thus then we see what a dangerous thing it is to be Legal and Mosaical in these Gospel times.

But Fifthly, What shall we then do, that we may stand clear from Moses, and come off clearly unto Je­sus, the Mediator of the New Covenant?

This I must speak unto: only by the way, give me leave to say three or four things unto you.

First, If we are not come to Moses, the Mediator of the Old Covenant, but unto Jesus, the Mediator of the New; What a blessed, and happy condition are all the Saints in now in these Gospel-times? It was a comfortable thing for the Jews to have Mo­ses with them, that Mediator, that upon all oc­casions he might interpose between God and them. But alas, what was that Moses, to this Jesus, this Medi­ator of ours. Though Moses was the Mediator of the Old Testament, and did stand between God and the People: Yet

1. He was but a Typical Mediator; and there­fore look how much the thing Typified goes beyond the type, the substance goes beyond the shadow: so much doth our Mediator go beyond theirs.

2. Again, Though Moses was a Mediator between God and them, yet he was but meer man; but J sus the Mediator of the New Covenant, is God and man; very God, and very man. In Rom. 9.5. Wh [...]se are the Fathers, and of whom, as concerning the flesh, Christ came, there's his Manhood. Who is over all, God blessed for ever, Amen. God, truly, not nuncupatively; truly God, and truly man.

3. Again, Though Moses was a Mediator, and did stand between God and them in the time of the Old Testament, yet notwithstanding he was unwilling to undertake the work: Send by whom thou wilt, saith he: But now this our Jesus saith, Lo, I come, I delight to do thy Will.

4. Again, Though Moses was a Mediator then be­tween [Page 374] God and them, and stood between God and them; yet he was not able to do that work of media­tion perfectly: I am not Eloquent, saith he; and I am not able to bear all this people, saith he: But now saith Jesus, He hath given me the Tongue of the Learned, that I may administer a word in due season, to them that are weary: He hath born us, and he hath born our griefs.

5. Again, Though Moses stood between God and them, and was a Mediator between God and them, and did sometimes make an Attonement, as in the ca [...]e of the Golden Calf, when they had sinned; yet notw [...]thstanding, he destroyed th [...]ee thousand of them: Peradven [...]ure, saith he, (after he had done it) I shall m [...]ke an Attonement for your sin, Exod. 32. [...]0. And he steps in to God for them: And the L [...]rd said unto Moses, whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot ou [...] of my Book: and, I have heard thee, saith he; neverthe [...]ess, in the day when I visit, I will visit their sin upon them. Now Jesus, he makes an Attonement, slays none, neither doth God the Father make any re­serve with him, he freely forgives those that he makes Attonement for, all at once without any reserves, or after reckonings.

6. Again, Though Moses was a mediator of the Old Covenant, stood between God and the people, yet notw [...]thstanding he is dead; he did Intercede, but he is dead, and Intercedes no more: But Jesus the Med [...]ator of the New Covenant, he ever liveth to make Intercession.

7. And though Moses was a mediator between God and them stood between God and them; Yet they were not able to behold his face, after he had been in the Mount, but a Vail was put upon it: But now as for Jesus, We saw his glory, as the glory of the onely [Page 375] begotten of the Father. And, We all with open face behold as in a glass, the glory of the Lord. What a glorious Me­diator have we now? What a blessed condition hath God brought his people to now? Friends, will you not be thankful for this Mediator, will ye return to Mo­ses now; what, having such a Mediator, will ye now return to Moses, and be legal now? Consider what a blessed state ye are now brought unto.

2. But secondly, If we are now come unto Jesus the Mediator of the New Covenant, and not unto Moses: Why then should we go to men for the Worship of God, and for the Ordinances of God? What, may we not have recourse to Moses, and shall we have recourse to men? Moses spake from God, and spake the words of God unto the people; and, may we not have re­course now to Moses for the Ordinances, and Wor­ship, and shall we have recourse to men for our Worship, and Ordinances? As Gersom out of Au­stine observes: One commandment from a fellow-servant, is more burthensome then a hundred from the Master; and Moses spake the words of God: If Moses Tool doth defile our Christian Altar, how much more doth the Tool of man defile our Altar? That's the second.

3. If we be now come unto Jesus the Mediator of the New Covenant, why then should we despair of any, and not go to God for the worst of men, for we are come to Jesus, the Mediator of the New Covenant. Mark, how i'ts brought in, 1 Tim. 2.5. There is one God, and one Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus.— What then? I ex­hort therefore that Supplications, Prayers, and Intercessi­ons, be made for all men: For Kings. Even for Nero, a persecutor. — Why? For there is one God and one Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus: [Page 376] And therefore you may go to God for the worst of men, For there is one Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus. Three sorts there are that do greedily snatch at this Scripture.— The Socini­an,— and the Arminian,— and the Papist.

The Socinian thinks that here is something for him against the Deity of Christ, because 'tis said, the man Christ Jesus. Whereas in the 3d. verse, it is said, this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour.

The Arminian thinks there's some ground here for his Universal Redemption: For it's said, There is one Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransome for ALL: Whereas the Apostle here doth explain himself, what he means by this All; that is, all, both Iews, and Gentiles: For saith he in the next verse, Whereunto I am ordained a Preacher, and an Apostle, a Teacher of the Gentiles, in Faith and Verity: Explaining his word All, to be meant both Iews and Gentiles.

The Papists also think they have something here for their Opinion, who hold that Christ is our Mediator onely according to his humane Nature: For it's said, the man Christ Iesus. But if we observe how these words are brought in; we find, it is an incourage­ment to pray for the worst of men.—Why— for there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. Be not discouraged, go to God for the worst of men, for there is one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.

4. But then fourthly, If we are come unto Jesus the Mediator of the New Covenant, why then, why should you not come to Jesus? If you be come, why should you not come? That is, if you be come in regard of your state, why should you not come in regard of act, in a way of believing. You are [Page 377] come unto him in regard of your state; why should you not come unto him in regard of your faith, come unto him in a way of believing. Some think, oh 'tis presumption to come to Christ, and to believe and lay hold on Christ: But friends, 'Tis no presumption for any man to do that act, that is sutable to his state; 'tis no presumption to act according to my state that God hath brought me to: Now this is our state; in regard of state, we are come to Jesus, and therefore why should we not come to Jesus also in a way of belie­ving. Especially seeing he hath said, Those that come unto me, I will in no wise cast out.

5. If we be come unto Jesus the Mediator of the New Covenant, and not unto Moses: Why then should we not all stand clear from Moses, and come fully off to Jesus, the Mediator of the New Covenant?

But you will say, What should we do that we may be found upon Gospel grounds, with a Gospel Spirit. I confess I have been too legal; legal in my perfor­mances, legal in my obedience, legal in the matter of my comfort; what should I do now that I may stand clear from Moses, and come fully off to Jesus this Mediator of the New Covenant.

1. Improve all your former legal workings and fears, unto your dying to them; improve them so as by them, to die to them. Many it may be of you here, have been under legal workings, and terrors: Either you have, or you have not; if you have not been under any legal workings or terror, thou art one of a hundred.

If you have, why should you not improve those legal workings, so as by them, to die unto them: saith Paul, I through the Law, am dead unto the Law.— VVhat's that?— I through the Law, am dead un­to the Law, that I might live unto God. I through [Page 378] affliction, am dead unto my affliction.— I through the disappointment of Friends, am dead unto my Friends.— I through sin, am dead unto my sin.— I through the Law, and the terrors of the Law, am dead unto the Law. Now then, Improve your former terrors, so as by them to die unto them. You have been under them: I, but have you improved them, have you so improved them, as thereby for to die unto them?

2. Observe what those things are that are com­manded by Moses, in the Old-Testament, and go un­to Jesus the Mediator of the New Testament, for grace to perform them. There is nothing command­ed in the Old Testament, but it's promised in the New. There is nothing commanded by Moses in the Old Testament, but Christ the Mediator of the New Testament, is ingaged to perform it for you, and to give you grace to do it: The Law commands, and Grace helps: The Law was given by Moses, but Grace and Truth, comes by Jesus Christ. Observe therefore, what that is that is commanded by Moses in the Old, and go to Jesus the Mediator of the New, for Grace and Strength to do the same.

3. Then be sure that you stand when the Spirit breathes: Now the Spirit brea [...]hes— in the pure and clean preaching of the Gospel: Received ye the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by the hearing of Faith? VVould you be brought off from Moses, and stand clear from Moses; choose to stand under such a Preaching, where the Spirit breathes, and that's a Gospel Preaching.

4. Then put your selves upon the stream of the free Grace of God, without having any foot on your own bottom: Some men will learn to swim, and they are loth to lean themselves upon the stream of the [Page 379] water, but keep a foot at the bottom; and they never learn to swim, till they take up the foot: Some would fain be Evangelical, but they cannot lean themselves upon the stream of Grace, but keep a foot at the bot­tom still, upon some thing of their own.

Some there are that do, and work, and when they can work no further, then they eke it out with Christ's Mediation. So indeed they make the Mediation of Christ but an Eekment to their own working: But a­way with these Eekments: Oh, let Christ be all, let Christ be all! And therefore,

5. Study much the body of Jesus, and the allsuffi­ciencie of the Mediation of this Jesus the Mediator of the Covenant: The sight of Gods Alsufficiencie, will draw one off from the Creature: And the sight of the Alsufficiencie of the Mediation of Christ, will draw one off from Moses. Put thy self often unto this Disjunction: Come O my soul, either there is e­nough in the Mediation of Jesus, or not: If not enough, why do I go unto Christ at all; if there be enough, why should I not stand clear from Moses, and upon pure Gospel ground? Thus therefore do.

Quest. But, Suppose I have come to Jesus the Mediator of the New Covenant, what should I do that I may walk up unto this condition? What should I do, and how should I so walk, as one that is indeed come unto Jesus, the Medi­ator of the Covenant; that yet I may stand upon Gospel ground, and not touch at all upon Moses?

Answ. First, If you be indeed come unto Jesus, this Mediator of the New Covenant, and would walk sutably thereunto: VVhy then, should you not still throng and press after the Appointments, Instituti­ons, and Ordinances of Jesus? The Law and the Prophets were untill John, but from John the Baptist, the King­dom of Heaven suffers violence; that was sutable to the [Page 380] Gospel.— And what was the suffering violence, but peoples pressing after the Gospel: So now, to press after the Kingdom of Heaven, suites with a Gospel state; to press after the Ordinances, and Appoint­ments of Jesus, suites with a Gospel sta [...]e.

But secondly, Labour more and more for to know your Christian [...]iberty, in Conjunction with strictness of life. Some there are that are very strict in their lives, but they don't know their Christian l [...]berty; some again know their Christian liberty, yet abate in their strictness of life: But blessed is that knowledge of our Christian liberty, that is in conjunction with more strictness of life. Oh blessed! blessed is that know­ledge of our Christian liberty, where strictness of life, and holiness, grow up together with it. There­fore I say, labour more and more to know your Chri­stian liberty in conjunction with strictness, and holi­ness of life, this suites a Gospel state; then shall you do as those that are come unto Jesus. But then,

Thirdly, In regard of your Faith: Be sure that you close with Christ himself, the absolute Promise; and live in continual dependence upon Christ, this Jesus, this Mediator. For as living upon an old Stock, and a Stock received, suited with a covenant of works: So living in continual dependence upon Je­sus for fresh Grace, suites with this covenant of Grace whereof he is Mediator.

Fourthly, In regard of your repentance and sor­row for sin, the more your hearts do melt, and thaw under sense of love, that you have sin'd against God: For the Law rends and tears; but the Gospel melts and thaws.— The more that you grieve for sin, and rejoyce in God together.— The more you grieve for sin that is pardoned, and because 'tis pardoned: For a legal Spirit grieves for sin, onely that it may be [Page 381] pardoned; but a Gospel spirit because it is pardon­ed.— And the more you grieve for sins that are secret, the sins of your spirits, especially unbelief: For saith Christ, I say unto you, he that locketh upon a woman, &c. The more I say you are found doing these things in reference to your Repentance, the more your Repentance suits with the Gospel, and with a Gospel state. And then,

Fifthly, As to the matter of your Obedience.

1. The more gracious you are upon the account of Grace, the more Evangelical. And,

2. The more free you are in your actings towards God, the more Evagelical; those that Jesus makes free, are free indeed.— Free— Not from duty, but free in duty; free from sin, but not free to sin: A legal Spirit is restrained from evil, and constrained to good. Labour to be free in all your actings to­wards God. And,

3. Then again, The more you are conformed unto God the Father who hath given you this Medi­ator, and to Jesus this Mediator; the more Evange­lical you are, and the more you suite with this Gos­pel state unto which you are come.— Now a man is conformed unto God the Father, when he doth good to men for evil; Bless them that curse you, so shall ye be the children of your Father.— Then a man is conformed to Jesus this Mediator, when his life is inammeled with Meekness, and Humility; Learn of me, saith Christ, for I am meek and lowly. Friends, the Law frets, and the Gospel sweetens.

4. And then, In case that you have to deal with the things of the w [...]rld: The more you are estran­ged from the world by Faith, and can forsake the things thereof for Christ, and his Wayes, and Truth, bearing witness to his Truth and wayes; the more [Page 382] you comply and comport with a Gospel state: If thou wilt be perfect, saith Christ to that Legalist, go and sell all that thou hast, and come and follow me, and thou shalt have treasure in Heaven. And,

In case that you meet with sufferings, look upon all your sufferings as part of Christs purchase for you: Your sufferings are your servants; for all things are yours; for you are Christs, who is the Head of the Covenant.

And in case that you are under any spiritual de­sertion, Then praise God for his love to Jesus, when you cannot praise God for his love to you: A true Gospel spi­rit, will praise God the Father for his love to Christ his Son, when he cannot praise God for his love to himself, because he wants assurance.

Again, if you would yet walk up unto this condi­tion of the Gospel (whereunto now we are come) then whatsoever you do, be sure that you do it upon Gospel Principles: Principles of Love, principles of Thankfulness, principles of Ingenuity: Principles are the springs of Actions: If your principles be E­vangelical, your actions will be Evangelical; if your principles be legal, your actions will be legal: Stock therefore, and store your selves with Gospel princi­ples, principles of Love, principles of Thankful­ness, and principles of Ingenuity; doing all in the Name of Jesus, this Mediator of the Covenant.

And when you have wrought, and done all, Rest upon Jesus this Mediator, as if you had done nothing: Yet repent, work and do, as if you had no such Me­diator: I say, Work, and pray, and read, and medi­tate, and confer, and repent, as if you had no Mediator for to rest upon, but onely your works; and yet rest upon this your Mediator, as if you had done no work at all: Thus do, and thus shall you comply and comport with your Gospel state.

Which that you may do, consider, This is that you are now called unto; you are now come to Jesus, not to Moses; you are now come to Jesus the Mediator of the New Covenant: VVhy then; As in the time of the Old Testament, they had recourse unto Moses, so now in the times of the New Testament, ye are in all things to have recourse unto Jesus: VVhat saith Jesus to this business? Here's VVorship, VVhat saith Jesus to it? Here's an Ordinance, VVhat saith Jesus to it? Here's an Officer of the Church, VVhat saith Jesus to it? This is suitable unto the state that now you are come unto.

And thus shall all your Convictions, Graces, and your duties, be refined; you shall have much in a little room: A legal work may be great for the bulk, yet be but little; a Gospel work though but little, hath a great deal in it, for 'tis refined.

And thus also shall you have the wedding Garment on: For pray, What is the wedding Garment, but a Gospel disposition, sutable to a Gospel dispensation; this is the wedding Garment. Not Faith, nor Re­pentance, nor this, nor that particular Grace, But a Gospel disposition, sutable to a Gospel dispensation, is the wedding Garment; and thus shall you be cloathed with it.

Thus also your Onely shall stand in its proper place: For mark where the Apostle places your onely; Onely, saith he, let your Conversation be as it becomes the Gos­pel; there stand a Christians onely, upon a conversa­tion becoming the Gospel.

Thus also shall you please the Father: The more that you come to Jesus the Mediator, whom the Fa­ther hath appointed: And the more your Conver­sation suites thereunto, the more you please the Father: You can never please the Father more, than in coming to the Son.

Now therefore, as ever you do desire that you may please the Father;

As you do desire, that your onely may be found in the right and proper place;

As you do desire, that you may be found having the wedding Garment on:

As you do desire, that all your Convictions, Graces, Duties, may be more refined, and so preserved and kept:

As you do desire, to be found doing according to the state whereunto you are called; so let it be your work, your and business, to stand clear from Moses, and to stand upon clear Gospel ground, and to come off fully unto Jesus the Mediator of the New Cove­nant: For, saith this Doctrine, In these Gospel times, we are not come unto Moses, the Mediator of the Old Testament, or of the Old Covenant, but unto Jesus, the Mediator of the New Covenant: And so I have done with this third Observation. There is a fourth thing yet behind, which concerns the Blood of Sprinkling, that speaketh better things than the blood of Abel.

The Blood of Sprinkling. SERM. VI.

Hebr. 12.24.

And to the Blood of Sprinkling, that speaketh bet­ter things, than that of Abel.

VVHen I made entrance into these Words, I took up four Observations from them: And having gone through three of them, I now come un­to the fourth; which more largely runs thus.

Observ. 4. That it is a very great priviledge which in these Gospel times we are partakers of, To come unto the Blood of Sprinkling, that speaketh better things, than that of Abel.— For the clearing and prosecuting whereof,

First, I shall shew you what this Blood of Sprink­ling is, what are the grounds and use of this Sprink­ling.

2. That this Blood of Sprinkling, is a speaking-Blood, and speaketh better things than that of Abel.

3. That we are now come unto this blood of Sprinkling.

4. What are the priviledges of coming to this Blood of sprinkling, and of being sprinkled with this Blood of Sprinkling. And then,

[Page 386]5. What we must do that we may get our hearts sprinkled with this Blood of Sprinkling.

First, If you ask, what this Blood of Sprinkling is.

I answer, That it is no other than the blood of Je­sus, the Mediator of the New Covenant — called the Blood of Sprinkling; Because it was, and is, the thing specified by all the Sprinkings of Water and Blood, in the Old Testament. In the dayes of the Old Testa­ment, it was their way and manner then, to mix wa­ter and blood together, and to sprinkle it upon Per­sons and Things: which was a Pattern and Type of this Blood of Jesus; as you read from the 13. verse, unto the 24. of the 9. of the Heb.— When our Lord and Saviour Christ died upon the Cross, there came water and blood out of his side, saith John. And if you look into the 1 of John, c. 5. you shall see that John, his beloved Disciple, insists much upon it, at the 6. v. This is he that came by Water and Blood, even Jesus Christ; not by Water onely, but by Water and Blood. Again, This is he, even Jesus Christ, that came by water and blood: which blood of Sprinkling, is the blood of Jesus, saith Peter expresly, in his 1 Epist. 1.2. Elect according to the foreknowledge [...]f God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Iesus Christ: So that plainly then, and briefly, this B [...]ood of Sprinkling, is the blood of Iesus. Called the Bl [...]od of Sprinkling, in refer­ence unto those Types and Ceremonies of sprinkling blood, in the time of the Old Testament.

For our better understanding whereof, I shall la­bour to shew you briefly, what were the grounds and reasons of their sprinkling blood, in the times of the Old Testament, and how that is appliable to the blood of Jesus.

If you look therefore into the Old Testament, you [Page 387] shall find that they sprinkled blood upon a fourfold account.

To confirm and ratifie the Covenant between God and them.

To make an Attonement for their sin.

For the sanctification, and purification of their Persons and things.

And for the preservation of their Persons.

Accordingly therefore, saith the Apostle, Heb. 9.19. the Book was sprinkled: so in the 24. of Exod. the meaning of it is given, v. 7. And he took the Book of the Covenant, and read in the audience of the people, and they said, all that the Lord hath said, we will do, and be obedient; and Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, behold the blood of the Covenant: and the 9th of the Heb. tells us, That he sprinkled the Book it self; — And why so? — But to shew thus much, That it is the Blood of Jesus that doth ratifie and confirm the Covenant now made, between God and us; as at large in that 9th of the Hebrews.

2. Then also in those times of the Old Testament, they sprinkled blood, to make an Attonement for the sins of the people; as you have it in the 4th of Levit. 6, and the 20. verses. And the Priest shall dip his fin­ger in the blood, and sprinkle of the blood seven times be­fore the Lord, before the Vail of the Sanctuary. The Mercy Seat, and the Altar, were sprinkled;—the rea­son is given at the 20 v. And he shall do with the Bullock, as he did with the Bullock for a fin offering, so shall he do with this: And, The Priest shall make an Attonement for them; and it shall be forgiven them. And why so? But to shew that it is the blood of Jesus, whereby we have Attonement, as in Rom. 5.11.

3. Again, In the times of the Old Testament, they did sprinkle blood for the purification of mens Per­sons, [Page 388] and of Things. As you have it in Levit. 14. v. 7. And he shall sprinkle upon him that is to be cleansed from the Leprosie seven times, and shall pronounce him clean. And why so? But to shew that it is the blood of Jesus that doth cleanse us from all Iniquity, as in the first Epist. of John, Chap. 1.

4. Then in those times, they did sprinkle mens persons, for preservation from the destroying Angel: when the destroying Angel came to destroy the Ae­gyptians, the posts of the Israelites were sprinkled, that they might be preserved. — And why? But to shew that it is by the blood of Jesus, that we are preserved from the destroyer. In the 1. v. of the 1. of Jude, its said, Jude the servant of Jesus Christ, and Brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ; or preserved by Jesus Christ: and Christ our passover is sacrificed for us, saith the Apostle to the Corinthians. So that thus now you see briefly, what were the grounds and reasons of their sprinkling blood, in the times of the Old Testament, and how all this is applicable to the Blood of Jesus.

And if you look wishly into the Scripture, and compare things with things, you shall find that Moses in the times of the Old Testament, did divide the blood of the Covenant, part whereof was sprinkled upon the Altar, poured down at the foot of the Al­tar, to oblige God to the Covenant. — And part of it was sprinkled upon the people, to confirm their souls in the certainty of the Covenant, and to oblige them to observe and keep Covenant with God. So, with the blood of Christ. And therefore when our Lord and Saviour Christ speaks at the Lords Supper, he saith, This Cup is the New Testament in my blood, shed for many, for the Remission of sins. The first part [Page 389] part of the words: This Cup is the New Testament in my blood, hath regard to us, shewing that our souls are to be confirmed in this, that we are in covenant with God.— The second part of the words, shed for many, for the remission of sins, relates unto God, shewing the use of Christs blood, to satisfie God for our sins, and to obtain our Remission.

And if you would know, What is the use of this Sprinkling; I say, Sprinkling of the Blood; notes Application: What are we the better for the Blood of Christ, if it be not applyed to us, and sprinkled on us. There are two great Attributes of God, that we have to deal withal, in the great matter of our Redem­ption.— The Justice of God— and the Mercy of God. That the Justice of God might be be satisfied; Christ was made a sacrifice on the Cross, and his blood shed on Earth, that the favour of God might be obtained: Christ carries (as our great High-priest) his Blood, (the vertue of it) into Hea­ven, and sprinkles the Mercy-seat seven times.

And that we might be sanctified, and reconcil'd to God, this Blood is sprinkled upon us too. As it's sprinkled upon the Altar, and the Mercy-seat, that God might be reconciled to us; so 'tis sprinkled upon us, that we might be sanctified & reconciled to God: And that thereby we might be assur'd that God is in cove­nant with us. As when the Jews were sprinkled with blood, the Priest saying, This is the Blood of the cove­nant, they were assured thereby, that they were in covenant with God: So when we are sprinkled with the blood of Jesus, we are, or may be, assured that we are in the covenant of Grace with God. And thus now you see, what this Blood of Sprinkling is,— upon what account 'tis sprinkled,— and what is the use of the sprinkling thereof. And so I [Page 390] have done with the first General.

Secondly, This Blood of Sprinkling (which is the blood of Iesus) is a speaking Blood, and speaketh better things than that of A [...]el, or than Abel.

It speaketh, in regard of its continual, and per­petual Virtue, and Operation: But here are two things,

First, What this Blood of Sprinkling speaketh.

2. How, and in what sense, it speaketh better things than that of Abel.

First, What this Blood of Sprinkling speaketh.

1. It speaketh a necessity of satisfaction, for, With­out blood there is no Remission.

2. It speaketh the Righteousness of God: If God have burnt down such a City as this, to declare his Righteousness; how much more doth the shedding of the blood of Iesus, declare the Righteousness of God: To declare, I say, his Righteousness, saith the Apostle, in Rom. 3.

3. It speaketh the highest Obedience, that ever the Sun saw. That the Son of God should be obedi­ent unto death, laying down his blood, is the highest Obedience. As the disobedience of the first Adam, was in the matter of the Tree; so the obedience of the second Adam, was in the matter of the Tree: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body, on the Tree, saith the Apostle.— As the disobedience of the first Adam, was in the transgressing a positive com­mandment, which was the symbol of obedience to the whole Moral Law: So the obedience of the second Adam, doth consist in being obedient unto a positive command­ment, which was the symbol of his obedience to the whole Law of God: This c [...]mmandment received I of my Father, saith he.— And as Moses the Head of that Covenant, was faithful in all his house; in so much [Page 391] as its said of him, As the L [...]rd Commanded, so did he: so Jesus the head of this second Covenant was faith­ful in all his trust, and as the Lord Commanded so did he, As the Father gave me commandment, saith he, even so I do, John. 14. last. So that the blood of sprink­ling, speaks the highest obedience in the World,

4. It speaketh also the worth of souls, If a Phy­sitian have a Patient ready to die, and nothing will work his cure but the heart-blood of the Physitian, and the Physitian should vouchsafe thereto, and let him have his heart-blood to drink; Would it not argue that the Physitian thinks this mans life is of great con­cernment and of great worth, so 'tis here. And what doth this argue but that Jesus did look upon the souls of men, as of Infinite worth and Concernment.

5. This blood of Jesus, and the blood of sprink­ling speaketh the evill of sin: The hainousness, the sinfulness, the evill, of sin. There are many things that do speak the evill of sin, but of all things methinks the blood of sprinkling, the blood of Jesus, speaks the evill of sin loudest; Give me leave to name some, that so you may compare them and this together.

First, The separation from God, and union with Satan, speakes the evill of sin. As by Grace we are united unto God, made One with God, and separa­ted from the Devil: so by sin we are separated from God, and united unto Satan, and made one with him.

2. The Condemnation of the whole World by the sin of Adam, speaks the evill of sin: If the eating of the Apple, committing that one sin, brought Con­demnation upon all the World, how g eat must the evil of sin be!

3. The fire of Hell speaks the evil of sin, for what is the fewel that the fire of hell feeds upon, but sin; take sin away, and the fire of Hell will die, it will be quencht.

[Page 392]4. The spoyl of Dutyes speaks it: One sinful thought, is enough to spoyl a prayer, to spoyl a Duty, to spoyl a Sermon: And if one drop of Inke shall black a whole Glass of milk, how black is that Inke!

5. The horror of Conscience speaks it; for, If but one sin set on upon the soul by God, doth put a man into such horror of Conscience, how great is the evil of sin!

6. The troublesomness of the relicks of sin in the Saints speaks it: Sins in the Saints are but wasps without their sting, And if the wasps without their sting be so troublesom, how troublesom are the wasps that have their stings in them; how trouble­som is sin in it self!

But seventhly, and above all, The Blood of sprink­ling speaks the evill of sin. For if the guilt of sin be so great that nothing can satisfie for it, but the Blood of Jesus, and the Filth of sin be so great that no­thing can fetch out the stain thereof, but the blood of Jesus, How great, How hainous, How sinfull must the evil of sin be? The Blood of sprinkling speakes the evil of sin: And then

6ly As the Blood of sprinkling speaks the evil of sin, so it speakes the riches and the freeness of the Love of God. 'Twas love in Jonathan to part with his Garment for David, What love is it in Christ, to part with his Blood for us? It was love that made Christ weep over Lazarus, They said, Behold how he loved him! And if his Tears speak his love, what doth his Blood? 'Tis love to give a cup of cold water to a Disciple, what is it then to give ones warm Blood unto Enemies,

Three things there are that do make a gift greatly free. 1. The greatness of the gift given,

— 2. The unworthiness of the Person given unto

[Page 393]3. And the greatness of the person that gives.

1. As for the gift it self, What greater than the Blood of Jesus?

2. As for the Persons given unto, who more un­worthy then sinfull men?

3. As for the Person that doth give, who greater then God in the three Persons? The Father gives Christ to die: The Son dies and gives his Blood: And the Holy-Ghost comes and sprinkles it; for it is the work of the Holy-Ghost to sprinkle: this is another thing that the Blood of Jesus speaks; It speakes the Riches and the freeness of the love of God: these are the things that this blood of sprinkling speaketh.

And now if you ask, How, and in what respects it speaketh better things than Abel, or then that of Abel: (For it may be translated both ways according to the several copies, But take it according to our translation: better than that of Abel, or then the blood of Abel.) How and in what respects doth the blood of Jesus speak better things than the blood of Abel?

Why it speaks better things than the Personal blood of Abel — And it speakes better things than the Sacrificed blood of Abel.

It speakes better then the Personal blood of Abel: for the blood of Abel cryed for vengeance against his own Brother, But the blood of Jesus cries for mercy and for remission for his Enemyes: Father forgive them they know not what they do, said Christ when their hands were imbrewed in his blood:

But others think rather that these words are to be understood of the sacrificed blood of Abel. And because Abel is the first that stands upon record in Scripture for offering a sacrifice with blood, It is as if the Apostle should say, The sacrifice of Jesus on [Page 394] the Cross, and the blood of Jesus, speaketh better things than the sacrifice of Abel, or of all the sacrifi­ces in the Old-Testament. And Indeed, This is more sutable to the scope of the Apostle here; For the design of the Apostle here, is, to shew the ex­cellencie of New-Testament sacrifice, and of the way of the New-Testament, above the Old. And if you look into the Scripture you find, that though in the Fourth of Genesis, it [...]s said, Abels blood cryed, yet notwithstanding i [...] is not said that Abel or his blood speaketh: bu [...] [...]n the Eleventh of the Hebrews 'tis said that, in point of sacrifice, By faith, Abel speaketh: By faith Abel offered unto God a more ex­cellen [...] sacrifice then Cain, and by it he, being dead, yet spe [...]keth. In point of sacrifice by faith, he yet speak­eth.

And would you know how the blood of Jesus speaketh better things than the sacrificed blood of Abel, or than all the sacrifices of the old Testament. Thus.

1. The blood of Jesus, and the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross, doth give efficacie unto all those sacri­fices: What a [...]e all the Types and Ceremonies, but dead things without the thing Typified?

2. And though Abel offered an excellent sacri­fice, he did not offer his own Blood: But Jesus did; he offered up himself by the Eternal Spirit, as in the 9th of the Heb.

3. And though Abel, and the Fathers of the Old Testament offered excellent sacrifices, yet they offered often, and so those sacrifices could not make the Commers thereunto perfect, saith the Apostle, But Christ offered himself once for all. And so he hath for ever perfected them that are sanctified. Heb. 10.

[Page 395]4. Though Abel and the Fathers in the Old Testament did offer excellent sacrifices, yet their sa­crifice was after their sin committed; when they had commited a sin, then they were to get a sacrifice, and possibly they might have died before the sacrifice; was offered: but the sacrifice of Christ is, before our sin is committed; we cannot die between the sin and the sacrifice.

5. And though Abel and the Fathers of the Old Testa­ment offered excellent sacrifices, the blood whereof was sprinkled on the people, yet that was but to the purifying of the flesh, for saith the Apostle at the 13th v. of the 9th Chap. If the Blood of Bulls and of Goats, and the ashes of an Heifer sprinkling the unclean, sancti­fieth to the purifying of the flesh &c. But the sprink­ling of the blood of Jesus, purgeth our Conscien­ces from dead works. How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the Eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your Conscience from dead works, to serve the living God. Upon which words saith Capellus, you have here the excellencie of this offering above all other offerings in the World: a­bove the offerings of the Heathen, above the offer­ings of the Jews, above the offerings of the Chri­stians. Above the offerings of the Heathens; for they sacrificed to Devills, but he offered himself without spot to God. — Above the sacrifice of the Jews; for their blood of sprinkling sanctifyed to the puri­fying of the Flesh, but this to the purging of your Conscience from dead works. — Above the offering of the Christians; for though Christians offer up spi­ritual sacrifices to God, as prayers, and thanksgivings, yet not without spot; but he offered himself through the Eternal spirit without spot to God.

6. And then, Though A [...]el offered an excellent [Page 396] sacrifice, and so the Fathers of the Old Testament; yet notwithstanding those were for themselves, and for those times. Abel offered for himself, and the Jews for themselves, for that time onely; but Christ offered a sacrifice for all the World, He is the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the World, and a Lamb slain from the beginning of the W [...]rld.

7. Again though Abel offered an excellent sacri­fice, and the Fathers of the Old Testament offe [...]ed excellent sacrifices, and the blood thereof was sprink­led; yet it was not sprinkled upon all things, but in the 9th Heb: 'tis said, Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the Tabernacle, and all the Vessels of the Ministry, and almost all things are by the Law purged with blood; It was but almost, but now by the blood of Jesus all things are purged and cleansed, not almost, but all things are purged and cleansed. Thus now you see what this blood of sprinkling speak­eth, and how it speaketh better things then the blood of Abel; better than his Personal blood, and better than his sacrificed blood, and that's the second General.

3. Now 3, unto this blood of sprinkling are we come in these Gospel-t [...]mes. We are not come unto the blood of Bulls and Goats, and heifers, but we are come unto the blood of Jesus the blood of sprinkling.

For what is the dispensation that we are now un­der, but the dispensation of a cruc [...]fied Christ? There are two Comings of Christ mention'd in the Scripture A coming in a way of meanness, riding upon an Ass: his first coming is in a way of humiliat [...]on, riding upon an Ass, and accordingly his Kingdom is a King­dom of Patience. And there is a coming second Coming of Christ, when he comes riding upon the Clouds in power and Great Glory, and accord­ingly his Kingdom then shall be a Kingdom of power [Page 397] and Glory. When Christ comes the second time we shall be under Glorious dispensations, but now we are under the first Coming of Christ, and therefore what is the Dispensation that now we are under, but the dispensation of a crucified Christ?—What doth a Preaching signifie and hold forth, but Christ cruci­fied? We Preach Christ crucified, saith, the Apostle— What do the Sacraments hold forth, why: This Cup is the New Testament in my Blood, saith he. So that now we are under the Dispensation of a crucified Christ. In the times of the Old Covenant, they did believe in God, and God himself was the first object of their Faith, and so they came to Christ: now, in these times of the New Testament, the first and immediat object of our Faith, is the blood of Christ, Faith in the Blood of Christ, Rom: 3. So that (I say) It is the blood of Jesus that now we are come unto.

Well but though in these Gospel-times we are now come to the blood of Jesus, the blood of sprinkling; yet, it may be, this blood of sprinkling may not be sprinkled upon my soul. When may the blood of sprinkling be said to be sprinkled upon a mans soul? How shall I know, whether this blood of sprinkling be sprinkled upon my soul in particular; that's a Que­stion of great Concernment: Thus therefore,

1. If it be your great work in all your Tempta­tions, and upon all Occasions to apply your selves unto the blood of Jesus, then is the blood of Jesus applyed to you, and so sprinkled on you: The blood of Jesus is sprinkled on us by the Spirit of God, and when it's sprinkled by the Spirit of God, it is ap­plyed. If you do make applications of your selves to Christ, certainly Christ hath made applications of Himself to you: for all our grace is but a reflexion of his Grace; we love him, because he loved us [Page 398] first, and we choose him because he chose us first, and we apply our selves to him, because he hath ap­plyed himself unto us first. If therefore in all Temp­tations, and upon all occasions, it be your great work to make an application of your selves unto the blood of Jesus, then hath the blood of Jesus been applyed to you, and sprinkled upon you.

2. If you ever have had such a sight of the blood of Christ, as that thereby you are purged from an evil Conscience, Then hath this blood been ap­plyed to, and sprinkled on you; They go together. In the 10th Heb. 22, its said, Let us draw neer with a true heart, in full assurance of Faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil Conscience, or purged: (the 9th of the Hebrews, calls it purged;) having our hearts sprinkled from an evil Conscience. What is that? why an evil Conscience is an evil Conscience two wayes — either because it is a sluggish Conscience, and don't stirr us up unto our duty, and accuse for sin; — or else because it is a cla­morous and despondent Conscience. Now if you have had such a sight of the blood of Jesus as hath quickned your Conscience, and wakened your Con­science, and yet pacified your Conscience at the same time, Then have you been sprinkled with this blood of Jesus. You see how they go together, in the 10th Chap. 1.2, 3. v. But,

3. If you have a continual sight and remembrance of the blood of Iesus in all your goings out, and your comings in, Then hath the blood of Iesus, been sprin­kled upon you: When the destroying Angel passed over the houses of the Israelites, the Posts were sprin­kled with the blood of the Lamb: The Posts; And why their Posts? But that in all their goings out, and their comings in, they might have an eye thereunto: [Page 399] So now, how is it with me? Do I, not onely find the virtue of the Lord Christ within me? But that in all my goings out, and comings in, I have an eye unto his blood; then is his blood sprinkled upon my posts, and applied unto me.

4. If that you do walk in the Light, as God is in the Light; then the blood of Iesus hath been, and is, sprinkled upon you, and applied to you: 1 John 1.7. But if we walk in the Light, as he is in the Light, we have fellowship one with another, and the Blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.— If we walk in the Light, as he is in the Light?— What's that?— How is God and Christ in the Light;— why he is in the Light certainly, in regard of Grace and Holiness. So he is in the Light, and to that pur­pose the Apostle speaks here: So then, Although you cannot walk in the Light of Comfort, but as a child of Light walking in darkness; yet if you do walk in the Light of Holiness, walk in the Light, as God is in the Light; then certainly, the blood of Iesus Christ hath cleansed you, and so hath been sprinkled upon you.

5. If you are indeed separated and set apart for God, and for the Work and Service of God, then is the blood of Iesus sprinkled upon you: He that is dipt in this bloud of sprinkling, is separated. You shall observe, that when the Priests were Consecra­ted, the tip of the right Ear was sprinkled with bloud, and the Thumb of the right hand, and the Toe of the right Foot:— And not onely the Priests, when they were consecrated were so sprink­led: But when a man was cleansed from his Leprosie, he was so sprinkled also. You have them both in Levi [...]. concerning Aaron, Levit. 8.23. He slew the Ram, and Moses took of the bloud of it, and put it upon the tip of Aarons right ear, and upon the thumb of [Page 400] his right hand, and upon the great Toe of his right foot: This in regard of Aaron.— In regard of the Leprosie, you have it in the 14 of Levit. And of the rest of the Oyl that is in his hand, shall the Priest put upon the tip of the right Ear of him that is to be cleansed, and upon the Thumb of his right hand, and upon the great Toe of his right Foot, upon the blood of the Trespass-offering: And so in regard of Blood, as well as of Oyl — what's the meaning of this, that the tip of the right ear was to be toucht with bloud, and the thumb of the right hand was to be touched with bloud; and the toe of the right foot with bloud, both when the Priest was consecrated, and when the Leprosie was cleansed? But to shew thus much, That the whole man is to be set a part for God.— The Ear of his understanding and knowing part, is to be set aside for God. — The Thumb of his hand, the belie­ving part, (by Faith we lay hold) is to be set apart for God.— And the great Toe of the right foot, the Practical part of life and conversation: The whole man is to be set apart for God, where this sprinkling comes: So that look therefore, when a man is set apart for the Worship and Service of God, Ear, and Hand, and Foot, set a part for the Wor­ship and Service of God; then he is said to be sprin­kled with this blood of Sprinkling.

6. Once more, If that you have had such a pro­spect of Christ crucified, and have seen what great and wonderful things Christ hath done and suffered, insomuch as your hearts have been astonied there­withal; then have your souls been sprinkled with this blood: See how they go together, Isa. 52.13, 14, 15. Behold, My Servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high, (speaking of Christ). As many were astonied at him, (his Visage was so [Page 401] marred, more than any mans, and his Form, more than the Sons of men) so shall he sprinkle many Nations; the Kings shall shut their mouths at him, for that which had n [...]t been to [...]d them, shall they see, and that which they had not heard, shall they consider. Where this bloud is sprinkled, there comes Astonishment at the Mirror, and Wisdom and Mystery of a crucified Christ. So that thus now you see, that we are come unto this bloud of Sprinkling; and how a man shall know whe­ther his own soul be sprinkled with this bloud of sprinkling in particular. And is this a small mat­ter?

4. The fourth thing tells us, It is a priviledge, and a very great priviledge to come unto the bloud of sprinkling; it is a very great priviledge, to be sprin­kled with this bloud of Sprinkling.

It was a very great priviledge for the Jews, to have a sacrifice by them at hand, when they had committed sin, to have the bloud of sprinkling by them.— But alas, what's that to this, what was that sacrifice to this of Christ, and what was that bloud to this of Christ; and what was that sprinkling unto this sprinkling of the bloud of Jesus? Look what difference is between the Type, and the thing Typified.— Look what difference there is between the bloud of Bulls and Goats, and the bloud of Je­sus.— Look what difference between Carnal, and Spiritual things; so great a difference is there be­tween the coming to the blood of Bulls and Goats, and the coming to, and being sprinkled with the bloud of Jesus.

Let me open this a little to you, if you be indeed come unto this blood of sprinkling, and be sprink­led with the blood of Jesus;

Then look whatsoever benefits do flow from the [Page 402] blood of Jesus, all those doe belong to you: And do you well consider what are the benefits that do flow from the blood of Jesus? Let me name some to you.

1. Thereby (in the General) we have redemp­tion: In whom we have Redemption through his Blood. saith Paul, Ephes. 1.

2. Thereby the Covenant of Grace, is ratified and confirmed, Heb. 9. at large.

3. Thereby the Church of God is purchased, Acts 20. purchased by his bloud; By the bloud of God.

4. Thereby the Wall of Partition, made between Jew and Gentile, God and us, is broken down, Ephes. 2.13.

5. Thereby all things in Heaven and Earth, are reconciled, Col. 1.20.

6. Thereby are your souls justified, and your sins pardoned; In whom we have Redemption through his bloud, The forgiveness of our sins, Ephes. 1.

7. Thereby are you washed, and cleansed, and sanctified; The blood of Jesus cleanseth from all iniqui­ty, 1 Iohn 1.

8. Thereby is your great adversary Satan routed, and overcome, and spoyled; Rev. 12. They overcame him by the bloud of the Lamb.

9. Thereby Christ is made welcome by his Fa­ther, when he comes into Heaven in your name, to intercede for you. In the times of the Old Testa­ment, the high Priest went into the Holy of holiest, and carried bloud, and sprinkled the Mercy-Seat seven times: But the high Priest did not sit down. Now in the 10. of Heb. 11. it's said: And every high Priest standeth dayly ministring, and offering of­ten times the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one [Page 403] sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down at the right Hand of God the Father. The high Priest did not then sit down, but now when Christ comes into Heaven with your names upon his Heart, to sprinkle the Mercy-Seat with his bloud; Come my Son, saith the Father, sit down and welcome, upon this account.

10. And thereby also have you entrance into the Holy of holiest, as in the 10th. of the Heb.

11. And if indeed you be sprinkled with this bloud of sprinkling, then are you at one with the Mercy-Seat: 'Tis the same blood that's sprinkled upon the Mercy-Seat in Heaven, and that's sprinkled upon your souls here on Earth: The same bloud in the time of the Old Testament, that was sprinkled upon the people, was sprinkled upon the Altar, and the Mer­cy-seat; so the same bloud that's now in Heaven, sprinkled upon the Mercy-seat, is sprinkled upon your hearts.

12. If you are sprinkled with this bloud of sprin­kling, then all the Promises are yours; for all the Promises are, Yea, and Amen in Christ: And if Christs bloud be sprinkled on you, and applied to you, then may you apply the Promises to your selves.

13. And if indeed, you be sprinkled with this bloud of sprinkling, then are all things clean unto you; for as the bloud of sprinkling, is sprinkled up­on your souls, so are all your Injoyments be sprinkled with it.

14. And if you be indeed sprinkled with the bloud of Jesus, then may you go away, and say; Now are all the blessings of the Covenant mine: The day that you are sprinkled with the bloud of Iesus, you may say; now know I, that my sins are pardoned: Mercy is mine, and Pardon is mine, and Adoption is mine. As, when the Psalmist had a sight of God, he cried [Page 404] out, and said: Gilead is mine, and Manasseh is mine; So the day that you have this sight of God, in being sprinkled with the bloud of Iesus, you may cry out and say: Not, Gilead is mine, and Manasseh is mine; But, Pardon is mine, and Adoption is mine, and Heaven is mine, and God is mine for ever: Oh! Who would not labour to get his soul sprinkled now with the bloud of sprinkling?

5. You will say (in the fifth and last place) 'Tis a great priviledge to be sprinkled with the bloud of sprinkling: We grant it. But what shall we do, that even we may get our souls sprinkled with the bloud of Iesus, the bloud of sprinkling?

First of all you must know, That there is a two-fold sprinkling, with the bloud of Sprinkling.— There is an Initial sprinkling,— and a Renewed sprinkling: As there is an Initial Repentance, and a Renewed Repentance; so there is an Initial Sprink­ling, and a Renewed Sprinkling.

An Initial sprinkling, and that's a mans first Con­version, when he is justified, according to that in the 1 Cor. 6.11. Such were some of you, but you are wash­ed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified, in the Name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. Here's the Initial sprinkling.

The Renewed sprinkling, is upon a two-fold ac­count,— 1. Upon the account of some great sin com­mitted,— and 2. Upon the account of some special duty to be performed.

A fresh sprinkling there must be upon some great sin committed: So in the 51 Psalm, saith David, Wash me throughly from mine iniquity: He had sin'd a great sin, but his sin was pardoned, Psal. 51. Title, A Psal [...] of David, when Nathan the Prophet came unto him that was, after Nathan came to him.— And what di [...] [Page 405] Nathan say, he told him his sin was pardoned, yet saith David, v. 7. Purge me with Hysop, I must have a fresh sprinkling; after some great sin committed there must be a fresh sprinkling with the blood of Jesus.

And upon duty to be performed, especially some great duty to be performed, there must also be a fresh sprinkling. In the 10th Heb. 22. Paul saith, Let us draw neer with a true heart, in full assurance of Faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil con­science, and our bodies washed with pure water:—why our bodies washed with pure water? It relates to the washings in the Old Testament: when the Priests were to come to offer a sacrifice, there was a Laver, and they were then to wash themselves; so, saith the Apostle, let us draw neer to God, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water; because upon a new address to God, a fresh sprinkling with the blood of Jesus is to be had. 'Tis not enough to have an old sprinkling with the blood of Jesus, but upon all our approaches to God, especially after some great sin committed, or some special duty to be perform­ed, we must come and get a fresh sprinkling with the blood of Jesus.

2. You must know also, that though you have bin very great sinners, yet you are not uncapable of this sprinkling with the blood of Jesus. The Apostle saith in that place of the Corinthians: Such were some of you;— what such? v. 9. Know ye not that the un­righteous shall not inherit the Kingdome of God. Be not deceived, neither Fornicators, nor Idolaters, nor Adul­terers, nor Effeminate, nor Abusers of themselves with man-kind, nor Thieves, nor Covetous, nor Drunkards, nor Revilers, nor Extortioners, shall inherit the King­dom of God. And such were some of you; but ye are [Page 406] washed, —how?— why ye are justified in the name of our Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God, which sprinkles, which applies the blood of Christ: So then, though ye have bin great sinners, yet you are not uncapable of being sprinkled with this blood of sprinkling.

3. You must know this also, that there is nothing on this side the blood of Jesus, this blood of sprink­ling, that can cleanse you: If any thing should bid for our cleansing, methinks it should be our sufferings and persecutions for the name of God; but look in­to the 7th Rev. 14th it's said, These are they which came out of great Tribulations, and have washed their Robes, and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb. — They have washed their Robes, —how? what, with their great Tribulations? — No, They came out of great Tribulations, but their Tribula­tions dont wash them: these are they that came out of great Tribulation, and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. No­thing on this side Christ, and this blood of sprink­ling, can cleanse your souls. But,

4. Though there be nothing on this side Christ that can cleanse your souls, but the blood of Jesus, yet it is the Spirit of Christ that must sprinkle it. The blood of Jesus is then sprinkled, when it is ap­plied: now this is the work of the Holy Ghost, I will sprinkle you with clean water, I le wash you with water? As it is a derogation to the blood of Christ to go to any else for cleansing; So 'tis a derogation to the Spirit of Christ to go to any else for sprinkling, or to go to any else for that application of the Blood of Christ. 'Tis onely the Spirit of Christ that must sprinkle this blood upon your and my soul.

5. Though this sprinkling must be done only by [Page 407] the Spirit; Yet notwithstanding this blood of Jesus is sprinkled by the ordinance in the hand of the Spi­rit; by the preaching of the Gospel. He preaches not that sprinkles not the blood of Christ in preaching; and especially by that great ordinance of the Lords Sup­per. You may observe therefore, that the same words that were used in the Old Testament when they sprinkled the blood, This is the blood of the Covenant, as in the 9th of the Hebrews, are used by our Saviour Christ at the Lords Supper: This Cup is the New Te­stament in my blood, &c. Why so? but to shew thus much, that this ordinance of the Lords Supper, is the Hysop in the hand of the Spirit, whereby the souls of believers are sprinkled with a fresh sprinkling: Oh therefore who would not come to this ordi­nance of the Lords supper in a right way and manner.

6. But then again, you must kn [...]w [...]lso that you must come for sprinkling with the great'st sense of unworthines that may be. I [...] you look into the 19th of Numb. you shall find that he that sprink [...]d the blood, was to be unclean until the evening, v. 7. Then the Priest shall wash his cloaths, and he sh [...]l b [...] t [...]e his flesh in W [...]ter, and afterward he shall come into the Camp, And the Priest shall be unclean until the evening. At v. 6. The Priest shall take Cedar-wood, and Hysop, and Scarlet, and cast it into the midst of the burning or the Heifer; and then the Priest shall wash his cloaths, and come into the Camp, and shall be unclean until the evening. And at the 8th v. He that burneth her sh [...]ll wash his cloathes in Water, and bathe his flesh in Water, and shall be unclean until the evening. And a man that is clean shall gather up the Ashes of the Heifer, and lay them up without the Camp in a clean place, and it shall be kept for the Congregation of the children [Page 408] of Israel for a Water of separation: It is a purificati­on for sin, and he that gathereth the Ashes of the Heifer, shall wash his cloaths, and be unclean until the evening. — What's all this, but to shew thus much; That they might not come to this sacred Expiation, but with the greatest sense of their unworthiness; Plainly shewing thus much, That there is no med­ling with this blood of sprinkling, but with the greatest sense of our unworthiness of the blood of Jesus. Now therefore, do you desire that you may be sprinkled with this blood of sprinkling? then, when­soever you go to the blood of Jesus, and look upon it, go with the greatest sense of your unworthiness of this blood; then go to the Spirit of God (whose work alone it is) to apply and sprinkle, and then stand and wait where the Spirit stands with his Hy­sop to sprinkle the souls of men: and so shall you be made partakers of this great priviledge.

But suppose that I be sprinkled with the blood of Jesus, and that this blood of sprinkling hath indeed fallen upon my soul, what is my duty then?

1. Then, Go away and doubt no more. When the sinning Jew was sprinkled, do you think he doubt­ed whether he were pardoned or no? No surely, he did believe that he was pardoned, and that he was in Covenant with God. For those words were used, This is the Blood of the Covenant. And shall you be sprinkled with the blood of Jesus, and will you doubt whether you be in Covenant with the Lord by Grace or no? &c.

This blood of sprinkling speaketh, and you have heard what it speaks; — now then I pray take heed that you don't refuse him that speaketh from Heaven; mark how it follows, in the very next words to the [Page 409] Text, We are come to the Blood of sprinkling that speak­eth better things then that of Abel. See that ye refuse not him that speaketh, for if they escaped not who refused him that spoke on Earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from Heaven. Why man or woman! 'tis Jesus that speaketh to thee, Jesus the Mediator of the Covenant that speakes un [...]o you to believe: What, are you sprinkled? go away then and doubt no more: but take heed that ye refuse not him that speaketh from Heaven.

And secondly; Then also conclude and say; Now know I that I shall be preserved from the destroyer. When the Isralites posts were sprinkled with the blood of the Lamb, They could say; Now know I that I shall not be destroyed by this destroying Angel? Art thou sprinkled with the blood of Jesus, say then: Now know I that I shall not be destroyed, but that the Angel shall pass over me in the destroying day.

3. Then also go away and be Contented with your Condition what ever it be: And well you may, if you be sprinkled with the blood of Jesus you are made partakers of the greatest priveledg that can be, and will you not then be contented with your Con­dition? Go away and be contented with your Condi­tions, saying I have now received the greatest prive­lege, for I am sprinkled with the blood of Jesus. therefore will I be contented with my Condition? What ever it be.

4. And then go away and praise God, and be very thankful; Be very thankful to God the Father, and to the Lamb with whose blood you are sprinkled. Look into the 5th Rev. and you shall find, there are 3 quires of Praisers, and all praising upon the ac­count of this blood: And when he had opened the book, v. 9. the 24. Elders fell down before the Lamb, [Page 410] and they sung a new song: The four and twenty Elders (these are men) saying, Thou art worthy to take the Book, and to open the Seals thereof, for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood: By thy bloud, here's the foot of the Song.

Then comes in the Angels, another Quire, prai­sing God, v. 11. And I beheld, and I heard the Voice of many Angels round about the Throne, and the Beasts, and the Elders, and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voices; Worthy is the Lamb that was slain; see the foot of the song still, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain. Men praise upon this account, Angels praise upon this account also.

There's a third Quire, and those are other Crea­tures, vers. 13. And every Creature which is in Heaven, and on the Earth, and under the Earth, and such as are in the Sea, and all that are in them, heard I, saying; Blessing, Honour, Glory, and Power, be unto him that sitteth upon the Throne, and unto the Lamb: The word slain is not there, but to the Lamb, that's all one: Now shall there be such praising God upon that ac­count, for the Lambs being slain. And are you indeed most concerned, and sprinkled with this blood of Je­sus, this Lamb, and will not you praise God? O! Go away, and be for ever thankful!

5. Go away and sin no more: Be not defiled with sin, for you see it cost dear to cleanse you. The bloud of Sprinkling, the bloud of Jesus.

6. And go away and honour God, yet more in be­lieving. It may be there are some here, that never honoured God to this day, with a believing smile: Man, Woman, art thou sprinkled, indeed sprinkled with the bloud of Jesus? Go away then, and honour the Lord, with one smile of Faith this day.

[Page 411]7. And to conclude all, Art thou indeed sprinkled with the bloud of Jesus; then go away, and be sure that you never sell your Birth-right, for a mess of Pottage: Mark, how this Text comes in. In this 12 of the Heb. the Apostle speaking of prophane Esau: Take heed, saith he, lest there be any Fornicator, or Pro­phane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat, sold his Birth-right: For ye know how that afterwards, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place of Repentance, though he sought it care­fully with tears; for ye are not come to Mount Sinai, but ye are come to Mount Sion, and ye are come to Jesus, the Mediator of the Covenant, and to the bloud of Sprinkling. What then? O! Take heed you do not sell your Birth-right, for a mess of Pottage!— What is your Birth-right? The Gospel is your Birth-right, you are born there-to (through Grace:) And, What is your little estate, but a mess of Pottage; and what is your great estate, but a great boul of Pottage. O! Do not sell your birth-right for a mess of Pottage. You are sprinkled, and the bloud of sprinkling is upon you. Then hold fast, keep your birth right, and never sell it for a mess of Pottage; for ye are come unto Jesus the Mediator of the New Covenant, and to the Blood of Sprinkling: That speaketh better things, than the bloud of Abel. And thus now I have done with the fourth Argument, and with this Text.

Think on these things, and the Lord bless them to you.

The Sweetness and Profitableness of Di­vine Meditation. SERM. VII.

Psalm. 164.34.

My Meditation of him shall be sweet.

THe Psalm, is a Psalm of Thanskiving; wherein the Psalmist doth call upon, and provoke him­self to praise the Lord, upon the account of his Greatness, vers. [...]. Bless the Lord, O my soul; O Lord my God, thou art very great, thou art clothed with Hon­our and Majesty.

Which greatness of God is Illustrated, by the work of Creation, and Preservation.

By the work of Creation, from the 2. vers. unto the 25.

By the work of Preservation; from the 25. unto the 33,

Having called upon himself thus to praise the Lord, he resolves to do it; I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live, I will sing praise unto my God, while I have my beeing.

And saith he, My Meditations of him shall be sweet, I will be glad in the Lord.

My Meditation of him shall be sweet.

Take the words as they lie in themselves, and you have this Doctrine presently.

Doct. That 'tis a sweet thing for a gracious soul to meditate on God: Meditation work, is sweet work. A gracious soul doth find sweetness, in meditating on God: David was a gracious man, and he found sweet­ness in this work of Meditation on God. 'Tis the property then of a gracious soul, to find sweetness in meditating on God.

For the opening and prosecuting of which Argu­ment;

First, We will inquire what this Meditation is, what is the true Nature and Notion of Meditation.

2. How, and in what respects, a man may be said to meditate on God.

3. How it may appear, that it is a sweet thing to meditate on God, and the things of God.

4. I shall answer unto some Objections.

And then shew how the work of Meditation, is to be carried on with sweetness: Which is my designe in the choice of these words.

I. As for the first, What the work of Meditation is, what's the true Notion of it: 'Tis several wayes ex­pressed in Scripture.

Sometimes it's call'd, a Remembring of God, in the 63 Psalm, When I remember thee upon my Bed, which is explained by that which follows, And medi­tate on thee, in the night watches.

Some times it's called, a Thinking on God; so in Psalm, 48.9. We have thought of thy loving kind­ness, O God.

And sometimes it is called, a Musing on God: and so in the 143 Psalm, I remember the dayes of old, I meditate on all thy works, I muse on the work of thy hands. Thus it is severally exprest in Scripture

Great Authors, do describe it several wayes.

It is a vehement application of the soul, unto a thing, for the Investigation and Experimental know­ledge thereof. So Gerson, and others.

It is a studious action of the mind, whereby a man labours to find out some hidden truth; so Austine.

It is the exercise of a mans soul, whereby calling to Remembrance what he doth know already; he doth further think on't, and debate on't within himself, for his own profit and benefit; so Mr. Greenham.

But plainly and briefly thus:

It is the vehement, or intense application of the soul, unto some thing, whereby a mans mind doth ponder, dwell, and fix upon it, for his own profit and benefit.

First, There must be the application of the soul, to some thing; and therefore sometimes it is expres­sed by laying of a thing to heart: The Righteous are taken away, and no man layes it to heart; no man considers on't: If ye will not lay these things to heart, Mal. 2.2. &c.

And as there must be an Application, so there must be a vehement and intense Application of the soul, unto a thing. For every Consideration don't make Meditation: Consideration heightned, makes Medita­tion.

Meditation is the work of the whole soul: The Mind acts, and the Memory acts, and the Affections act; Let the Words of my mouth, and the Meditations of my heart: It is an intense and a vehement applica­tion of the soul unto truth.

But thirdly, There must be also a Fixation of the soul upon the thing: It is not every slight and tran­sient thought, that makes Meditation; My medita­tion shall be of thee, all the d [...]y, Psal. 119. 'Tis, Actio [Page 414] cunctabunda, saith Alvares. A man may think on God every day, and meditate on God no day: There must be a fixation of the soul upon some truth; a dwelling and fixing of the soul, upon some thing.

But then, This must be in reference to ones own profit and benefit. Though I do think, and think much of sin, if I do not think thereof to leave it, it is not Meditation.— Though I think on the life and the death of Christ, if it be not to conform un­to him, these thoughts will not amount to Meditati­on.— Though I think on the love and goodness of God, yet if it be not to get my heart inflam'd with love thereby, it will not amount to Meditation.

Plainly then, Meditation for the true Nature, and the Notion of't, is a vehement, an intense applicati­on of the soul, unto a thing; whereby a mans mind doth dwell, and insist, and abide upon it, for his profit, and benefit: that's the first.

2. But then Secondly, How and in what respects may a man be said to meditate on God?

Why look when a man doth meditate on the Name, Nature, Titles, and Attributes of God, then he is said to meditate on God.

On the Nature of God: so in Psal. 63. When I remember Thee upon my Bed, and meditate on Thee in the night watches.

And look when a man doth meditate on Christ the Son of God, then he is said for to meditate on God: For Christ is God: and therefore saith the Apostle; Consider the high Priest of your Profession, looking unto Jesus.

And look when a man doth meditate on the Word of God, the Law and Statutes of God, then he is said to meditate on God, Psal. 1. He delighteth in the Law of the Lord, and therein doth he meditate.

And look when a man doth meditate on the works and Concernments of God, then in Scripture-phrase he is said to Meditate on God; And so in the 77. Psal. I will Remember the works of the Lord; I will Remember thy wonderes, and I will meditate also of all thy works: So that briefly; Then a man is said to meditate on God; Not onely when he doth me­ditate on the nature of God; but when he doth me­ditate on the Son of God, meditates on the Word of God, meditates on the Works and Concernments of God. And that's the second.

3. But how may it appear that it is a sweet thing to meditate on God? That meditation-work is sweet work, and that it is a sweet thing to a gracious soul to meditate on God?

Something first in the General, and then more particularly in reference to a gracious soul. In Ge­neral:

It is a sweet to meditate on God. Will you in­stance in the Nature, Name, and Attributes of God?

First is it not a sweet thing to Injoy God? Injoy­ment of God is the life of our lives. And how do we Injoy God? God doth come down to us, and we do Ascend and go up to him: Some-times God doth come down into our souls? Some-times there is an ascent of the soul unto God. And what is the Ladder whereby we ascend unto God, and take our turnes in Heaven with God, but believing Meditation?

The more perfect any thing is, the more sweet it is to lay out ones thought there on. Now God is all per­fection; There is nothing not perfect in God: If you have a nose-gay made up of flowers, and but one weed, the sweetness of the nose-gay is spoyl'd; There are perfections in God, and no weeds among them. If [Page 417] there be a Musical Instrument and one string out of order, all jarr's. There is no string out of order among Gods perfections: perfection and nothing not perfect in God. You account it a sweet thing to see your Lands, and your estate lie together, a sweet thing to see all your Children together: Do but look and meditate on God, and you see all your wealth lie together.

And if the Names, Titles, Attributes of God be your relief in all Conditions; Then it must needs be a sweet thing to meditate on God in this respect. Why now; The name of the Lord is a strong Tower, the righteous fly thereunto and are safe. A sweet thing it is therefore to meditate on God in this respect.

2. Will you Instance in the meditating on Christ the Son of God? You know what is said by the Spouse in the Canticles. I sate down under his shaddow: Sate down, how? 'Tis meditation sets the soul down un­der the shaddow of Christ— And then his fruit, whether Justification be the fruit, or sanctification, or Consolation; Then his fruit was sweet unto my tast.

And If Jesus Christ be our standing relief against all Temptations, and Desertions; Then it must needs be a sweet thing to meditate and think much on him. Now he is our Brazen Serpent, our standing relief against all our Temptation, and our Desertions.

But 3ly. will you Instance in meditating on the Word of God? 'Tis a sweet thing to behold the light; and the word is a light, and Lanthorn unto our feet. Is it not a sweet thing to taste honey? David saith The word of the Lord was as hony and the hony-Comb. And the more 'tis meditated on, the more fully tasted.

And if the Consideration, and the meditation of the word of God be our great relief against all the [Page 418] scorns and reproaches, and oppositions of the World, then certainly 'tis a sweet thing to meditate on the word of God. Now do but look into the 119th Psal. and you shall find David speaking thus; Remove from me reproach and contempt; Princes did sit and speak a­gainst me—what relief had he?—But thy servant did meditate in thy Statutes. Here's his relief, Prin­ces, Great-men; They sate and spake against me, and they reproach'd me, and they opposed me, but here was my relief, I did meditate in thy word.

But Fourthly, will you Instance in the works of the Lord? There are Three sorts of Gods works.

There's the work of Creation.

And the work of Providence.

And the work of Redemption.

As for the work of Creation: If it be a sweet thing to behold and to consider the workmanship of the Finger of human wisdome: What a pleasure and sweetness is it to behold the workmanship of the Finger of Infinite wisdome?

And as for the works of Providence: If the medi­tation and the Consideration of the Providence of God be our great help against the pain of unbelieving thoughts; Then it must needs be a sweet thing to meditate on God in this respect. Friends, ye tha [...] know God, have experience how painful unbe­lieving thoughts are; Great is the pain of unbeli [...]ving thoughts—well, but what help against this pain?— The Consideration of the Providence of God: Sait [...] our Saviour in the 10th Mathew, The very hairs o [...] your Head are all numbred, fear ye not therefore, ye ar [...] of more value than many Sparrows,—what then— take no thought, here lies your relief; The Consideration, and the meditation of the special providenc [...] of God, is your help against painfull unbelief,

And as for the work of Redemption, There all the Attributes of God do meet: There is Wisdom, there is Power, there is Mercy, there is Righteousness, there is Faithfulness: And, If it be a sweet thing to behold the Beams of the Sun, what a sweet thing is it to behold all the Beams of Gods glorious Attributes, meeting in one work; which work the very Angels desire to look into, where the Glory of God is: Certainly, It is a sweet thing then to meditate on God, in regard of his works; These things more generally.

But now more particularly, as to our case.

How may it appear, that it is a sweet thing for a gracious soul, to meditate on God: It will appear to you by divers Arguments.

First, It is a sweet thing for a good and gracious man, to meditate on God, and the things of God, because it is natural to him. Natural works are plea­sant works: It is a tedious and an irksome thing to row against the stream of Nature; but Natural works are pleasing works. Now as it is a natural thing for a worldly man, to think and meditate on the world, and the things thereof; so it is natural to a gracious man, to think and meditate on God, and the things of God. I pray, What is the reason, that wicked men take so much delight in thinking, and medita­ting, and musing, on their sins and sinful wayes, but because sin is natural unto them: Why, a good man being made partaker of a Divine nature, 'tis natu­ral to him therefore to think on God, and the wayes and things of God; and therefore pleasant, there­fore sweet.

But secondly, As it is natural to a gracious man to think on God, and the things of God, so 'tis sutable to him. As 'tis a natural work, so 'tis a sutable work: sutable things are pleasant; the more sutable any [Page 420] thing is unto us, the more it pleaseth us, all pleasure and delights, arises from the conjunction of sutables: If you have never so great an estate, if it be not suited to your heart, you have no delight in it. If you have never so small an estate, if it be suitable to your heart, you are delighted and pleased in it. Now, what in all the world, so suitable to a gracious soul as God? Is the Object of a man's understanding Truth? God is truth. Is the Object of his Will Good? God is good. Is the object of his Affections Love? God is love. Is the soul of a man Immortal, Immaterial? God is so, an Immortal, and an Immaterial Beeing. Is the Soul of a man Eternal, a parte post? God is so, God is eter­nal and unchangeable. Are our desires infinite? God is Infinite. What is there that the soul of man can want, but it's answered in God? A sutable good he is surely, therefore it must needs be a sweet thing to me­ditate on God, and the things of God.

But Thirdly, and Especially, As it is a suitable thing for a gracious soul to meditate on God, so 'tis profitable. Gain is sweet: Now it is a very gainful thing, and very profitable for to meditate on God, and the things of God: Meditation work, is gainful work.

For first of all, Meditation is a great help to Know­ledg: The more you think, and meditate on what you read and hear; the more you know, and though you read never so much, and hear never so much, if you don't meditate on what you read, or hear, it will amount to little, you will be never the wiser: If a man doth meditate, he proves the wiser. Mark what David saith, Psal. 119. I am wiser then mine Enemies, v. 89. I am wiser then my Teachers, I am wiser then the Antients, v. 98. Through thy Command­ments, thou hast made me wiser then mine enemies.[Page 421] It may be so, they might be fools.— But saith he, I have more understanding, then all my Teachers, v. 99. I, but this Teacher may be some young man, newly come from the University.—I have more understand­ing then all my Teachers: I but, saith he, I und [...]r­stand more then the Antients. Pray how? For thy Testimonies are my meditation. Through thy Command­ments, thou hast made me wiser than my enemies; for they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my Teachers, for thy Testimonies are my Meditation. Meditatio sapientiae Parens, Meditation is the P [...]rent of Wisdome. If you read over a Book, and there be ma­ny Notions and good things in the Book, yet if the Notions be not made your own, if you be not Master of the Notions you read, you are never the better. If I read, and read, and find such and such Not [...]ons in a Book, if I be not Master of those Notions, I am little the better for my reading. 'Tis Meditation that makes you the Master of the Notions that you read, or that you hear, otherwise, it is but the Book's Notion still. By meditation after a Sermon, a man may look further into a truth, than the Preacher ever intended: Meditation is a great help to Knowledge: that's the first.

2. As Meditation is a great help to Knowledge, so it is a great friend to Memory. Meditatio firmat memoriam: Meditation strengthens Memory, it fastens the things that we hear or read, in the memory. Many complain they have bad memories: Oh! their memo­ries are very bad, they cannot remember: what's the reason that we remember no more what we read, and what we hear, but because we meditate no more up­on what we have heard, or read: Meditation is a great help to Memory.

3. As Meditation is a great help to memory, so it [Page 422] is an Heart-warming work, a Friend to warmth of heart. If a thing be cold, you chafe it, if a mans body be cold, you chafe it, and rub it; and by chafing and rubbing of a cold part, you put life and warmth in­to it: Meditation chafes the soul, and rubs the soul with a truth. And what's the reason that our hearts are no warmer by what we read, or hear, or observe, but because we meditate no more on't. Meditation is a heart-warming work.

4. As it is an heart-warming work, so it is that which will keep your hearts, and souls, from sinful thoughts. When the Vessel is full, you can put in no more: If the Vessel be full of puddle water, you can't put in Wine; if the Vessel be full of wine, you cannot put in puddle water. If the heart be full of sinful thoughts, there is no room for holy and hea­venly thoughts; if the heart be fill'd with holy and heavenly thoughts by Meditation, there is no room for evil and sinful thoughts. And what's the reason that mens hearts are so full of sinful and evil thoughts, but because their hearts are no more full of God; they think no more, they meditate no more of God: Thereby (I say) you will be kept from sinful thoughts.

5. As it will keep you from sinful thoughts; so it will fit and tune your hearts for every Duty: For Prayer, for Thanksgiving, for holy Conference and Communication of good things to others.

For Prayer, 'tis Orationis Mater, &c.

As it is the Sister of Reading; so it is the Mother of Prayer. Though a mans heart be much indisposed to prayer, yet, if he can but fall into a meditation of God, and the things of God, his heart will soon come off to Prayer. Meditation lies so near unto Prayer, that in the Hebrew, the word that signifies to Pray, signi­fies [Page 423] to Meditate: And therefore you shall observe, that whereas in some Books 'tis said, that Isaac went out to Pray, in other Books 'tis said, that Isaac went out to Meditate. Meditation is a friend to Prayer.

And it is a Friend to Thanksgiving; and therefore saith the Psalmist here in the Text, I will sing praise unto my God, my meditation of him shall be sweet; they go together.

And it is a great help unto holy Conference, (which I am afraid is too much wanting among us) Private meditation on God and the things of God, is a great help unto holy Conference. Psal. 45.1. My heart is inditing a good matter — What then? I speak of the things which I have made touching the King: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer. — When? — When the heart hath been at work in Meditation, Psal. 77.12. I will meditate also of all thy works.— What then? — and talk of thy doings. See how Conference comes in. I will meditate also of all thy works, and talk of all thy doings. So that thus then, Meditation will fit and prepare you, and tune your hearts to Prayer, Thanksgiving, holy Conference, and other Duties.

6. As Meditation is a great friend to Prayer, and to other Duties; so it is a help unto growth in grace, and the Knowledge of Christ.

A help to grow: The more we meditate on what we read and hear, the more we grow. And what's the reason, that men grow no more after all that they have heard and read, but because they meditate no more. The best Scholar Reads and Meditates, and Meditates and Reads. And the best Christian reads and meditates, and hears and meditates. The grow­ing Christian doth. Suppose now you have a load of Dung, or Marl, to lay upon the ground, you lay it [Page 424] upon the ground, to make it fat and fruitful; but if it be laid upon the ground and not spread, will it make the grass or the corn grow; no, it will hinder the growth of the grass: The spreading of it makes the grass grow: So now, come and lay down a load of Truth upon a poor Soul, and let it lye unspread, it rather hinders his growth; but the Hand of Me­ditation spreads it. And, I say, What is the reason that s men grow no more, but because it may be Ser­mon, or Truths, like loads, are laid down upon the Soul, but no spreading by the Hand of Medita­tion.

7. As Meditation-work is a great friend to growth in grace; so thereby also your hearts shall be kept savoury and spiritual in the midst of all your outward and worldly Imployments. Oh, saith one, that my heart were but more savory and spiritual in all my outward Imployments, and in my Calling. Why, Meditation carries a Still up and down in the soul, whereby it doth extract and distill the Virtue and the Juice of all the leaves of Providence, that it meets with in the Calling. You see how it is with a Cow, or with a Sheep, though the grass that the Cow or the Sheep eats be green; yet by Concoction, and di­gesting of it, it turns white, and turns into milk: so now, though that which you read, that which you meet withal in your callings be but ordinarily as the common grass, yet if you can digest it, it will be milk unto you. And how are these things digested, but by Meditation?

Friends, Thereby you steal out of your calling to get unto God.

Thereby your hearts are perfum'd as you walk a­long in your calling and in your place.

This is that, that will keep your hearts savoury [Page 425] and spiritual in all your outward and worldly imploy­ments: that's a seventh thing.

8. Thereby also you shall fill up all the chinks and crevices of your lives and spend your spare times for God. There is no man but hath his spare times, more or less: Some more, some lesse, but all have their spare times: That look as it is with a Book, all Books have their margents, some Books have a greater margent, some a lesser, and a narrower margent, but all Books have their margents; so all men have their margents, their spare times: some have a greater margent, and more time to spare than others, some have a lesser and a narrower margent, and lesse spare-time than others. But all men have their margents, and their spare times. Some men know not what to do with their spare time, therefore they call in for Dice, and call in for Cards, and call in for Vanity. Some, when they are out of Imployment, they dare not be alone. Have but the skill of Meditation, to meditate on God and the things of God, and you will never be afraid to be alone: your margents will be all filled up, all the chincks and crevices of your lives shall be all filled up with God: Therefore, O what a profitable thing is this work of Meditation!

9. Thereby you shall be also able to draw good out of evil: here's the Philosopher's stone: What a great ado hath there been in the World about the Philosopher's stone, to get that: Why? because of the profit of it; thereby Lead is turned into Gold, and other mettals turned into Gold: but here's the Philos [...]pher's stone indeed; Meditation will turn all into Gold; turn evils into good, bring good out of evil, grace out of sin: There is a deal of d [...]rt li [...]s at your door, and there's no flowers grow out of it; bu [...] bring the same dirt into your Garden, and then fl [...]wers grow out of it. So [Page 424] [...] [Page 425] [...] [Page 426] now, if sin lye at your door, there are no flowers grow thereon; but bring your sin, your dirt into your Garden of Meditation, and you shall have flowers grow out of your dirt.

10. Lastly, Thereby you shall converse with God, and enjoy God. The happiness of our life lyes in our enjoyment of God, and in our converse with God. There is a converse with God in this life, a [...], our Conversation is in heaven, our Trade is in heaven: and how do we come to trade in hea­ven, why, we go up to God in Meditation, and there we take our walks with the Almighty: thus we trade with God, thus we converse with God: Surely therefore, this work of Meditation is sweet, for 'tis profitable, as you have heard in these ten particu­lars.

4. Again, As the work of Meditation is very pro­fitable, natural, suitable; so it is very contentful, and satisfying to a gracious Soul. What person in Love, is not satisfied in thinking, and meditating on the person loved? What gracious loving Child, is not sa­tisfied in thinking on his Father, that's absent in an other Country? So what David saith, in the 63d. Psalm, My soul shall be satisfied, as with marrow and fatness— When?—When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches. I shall not only be contented, but my Soul shall be satisfied— how?— In a way of Meditation: 'Tis Meditation-work that is soul-satisfying work.

5. And as it is soul-satisfying work, so this work of Meditation to a gracious soul, is a most delightful work: What greater delight, than to think on that God in whom he doth most delight? Is it delightful to a wicked man to sit and muse, and meditate on his sinful wayes; and will it not be delightful to a gra­cious [Page 427] soul, to sit and think, and muse, and meditate on the Lord? Certainly, it is a work that is most de­lightful to a gracious soul.

Object. But how can it be so delightful? 'tis a hard work, Meditation work is hard work, and therefore how can it be so delightful to a gracious soul?

Yes, very well, for though it be hard in regard of its practice, yet it may be sweet and delightful in regard of its profit. Is it not a hard work to the Husbandman to plow, to sow, to reap; and yet de­lightful in regard of its profit? Is it not a hard wo [...]k for a man to be digging in the Mines, digging up of Silver; and yet delightful in regard of the profit? Is it not a hard work for a man to make such ventures at Sea, through all storms; and yet it is delightful in regard of its profit; the profit of the Voiage makes it delightful: Why, you have heard now the profi­tableness of the work of Meditation—It is an help to Knowledge, thereby your knowledge is raised— Thereby your Memory is strengthened — Thereby your Hearts are warmed — Thereby you will be freed from sinful thoughts — Thereby your hearts will be tuned to every duty — Thereby you will grow in grace — Thereby you will fill up all the chinks and crevices of your lives — And know how to spend your spare time, and imp [...]ove that for God— Thereby you will draw good out of evil— And thereby you will converse with God, have com­munion with God, and enjoy God: And I pray, is not here profit enough to sweeten the voiage of your thoughts in Meditation?

But, Secondly, Hard work you say, and therefore how can it be delightful!

Friends, The harder the work is, the sweeter it is, being overcome: 'Tis a sweet thing to overcome: [Page 428] 'Tis hard thing to fight, but 'tis a sweet thing to overcome: The harder the Nutt is to crack, the sweet­er is the meat when it is crackt; the harder the Scripture is that is to be opened, the sweeter is the kernel, the truth when it is opened. When God opened the Rock, the Waters that flowed out were as sweet as ho­ney. Now meditation makes a Conquest of the work.

3. Though it be a hard thing to meditate on God and the things of God, yet notwithstanding do but consi­der why the wo [...]k is hard, and you will say that the difficulty of the work is no Impeachment to the suavi­ty, or the sweetness thereof. There are two things that make meditation hard:

The one is, because men are not used thereunto, men are not exercised therein:

And another is, because they don't love God enough:

Every thing is hard at the first: Writing is hard at the First, Painting hard at the first, and the getting Languages hard at the first. A Trade is hard at the First. So certainly the work of meditation will be hard at the first: There is nothing not hard to those that are unwilling, There is nothing hard to those that Love. Love makes all things easie: Is it an hard thing for a Lover to think or meditate on the Person lo­ved? Is it a hard thing for a Child at a distance from his Father to think or meditate on his Father, and his Father's love and kindness, is this hard? Indeed to a Rebellious Child 'tis hard, to a Child that's run away from his Father 'tis hard; but for a loving and an obedient Child, it is not hard. And what's the reason that the work of meditation is so hard to many of us, but because in truth we are not used there­unto—or because we are rebellious Children, and don't love the Lord as we ought to do.

Quest. But you will say, May not a wicked man me­ditate on God, and find sweetness in the Work?

Answ. I answer, that 'tis possible that a wicked man may separate, and sequester himself unto this work of reading, studying, and thinking on the word and Law of God: 1 Sam. 21.7. Now a certaine man of the servants of Saul was there that day, detey­ned before the Lord, and his Name was Doeg. He was there, separated, cloystered for the studying of the Law, and yet a Doeg, a great persecuter. And who doth not see it? Fryers, and Monks separate and Cloyster up themselves at this very day, and spend much time in that which they call Meditation.

Yea possible it is, that a wicked man may not one­ly think and meditate on the Law of God, but he may find some sweetness therein; for if wicked men do delight in their approach unto God, as in the 58. of Isaiah, Why may they not delight also and find a sweetness in their meditation concerning God.

But 3dly. Though a wicked man may meditate on God, and the things of God, and find some sweet­ness in the work of meditation, yet with this diffe­rence. There is a great deal of difference between the sweetness that a wicked man finds in the work of meditation, and the sweetness that a good man finds in the work of meditation. For though a wicked man may meditate, and find some sweetness in the work; yet not withstanding the sweetness doth rather arise from the satisfaction of his natural Conscience, than from the Connaturalness and suitableness that is be­tween his heart and the work. Possibly a Doeg, a wicked man may be Convinced that he ought to read the scriptures, and to meditate the [...]ein, and ha­ving don so his Conscience is satisfied, and he finds sweetness therein; But [...]his sweetness doth rather a­rise from the satisfying of his n [...]tural Conscience, than from any Connaturalnesse and suitablenesse [Page 430] that there is between his heart and the work.

2. It is one thing for a man to find a sweetness in this work of meditation in reference to his own im­ployment, Calling, or livelyhood; another thing for to find a sweetness in it in reference unto God, to his own practice, and holiness of life and Conver­sation. Suppose I be a Preacher: 'Tis my duty to study the Scriptures: And studying of the Scripture I meditate, and when things come off well, I have a sweetness therein; Yet all this may be in reference to my calling, to my imployment, and to my lively­hood. But now a gracious man he meditates on God and the things of God in reference to God, to his holiness, and practice; Mark what David saith. 119th Psal. I will delight my self in thy Command­ments; which I have loved. My hands also will I lift up unto thy Commandments, which I have loved; and I will meditate in thy statutes. Lord, saith he, I love thy Commandements: And upon that account I meditate in thy Commandements: And I don't onely medi­tate, but my hands also will I lift up unto thy command­ments. For practice, I will not onely lay my eie to reading, I will not onely lay my head to studying, but my hands also will I lift up unto thy Command­ments; to take hold on them, and to practise them. So that thus a gracious soul, as he meditates on God and the things of God, and he finds a sweetness; so 'tis in reference unto God, and to his own practice and holiness in Conversation.

But 3dly. Though a wicked man may meditate on God and the things of God, and find a sweetness in so doing; yet he doth also find as great, if not a great­er sweetness in other things, and in meditating and musing upon his Sins, and in the World, J [...]b. 20.12. Though wickedness be sweet in his mouth, though he [Page 431] hide it under his tongue, though he spare it, and forsake it not, but keep it still within his mouth, as a sweet pel­let; here is his great delight. Though he may me­ditate on God, and the things of God, and find some sweetness there, his great delight is here, in his sin; And he finds rather more delight and pleasure in mu­sing on his sin, and sinfull course, and meditating on the World and the things thereof, than he findes in meditating on God and the things of God. But now a Gracious man delights in the Law of the Lord, and therein doth he meditate: why, but doth he not also stand in the Counsel of the ungodly?—No, he walk­eth not in the Counsel of the ungodly, but his delight is in the Law of the Lord, and in his L [...]w doth he meditate: —he standeth not in the way of sinners: Possibly he may meet with sinners, and wicked men occasion­ally; but he doth not walk with them ordinarily, he doth not stand with them, but his delight is in the Law of the Lord, and therein doth he meditate.

But to say no more. Take a wicked man, and though he may meditate on God, and the things of God, and find some sweetness therein, he doth not do this ordinarily, meditate ordinarily, and con­tinually, God is not in all his thoughts, God may be in some of his thoughts, but God is not in all his thoughts. But this meditation of God and the things of God, is the ordinary work of a good man, he de­lighteth in the Law of the Lord, and therein doth he meditate day and night. Meditation on God and the things of God is his ordinary work; So that thus now you see the difference, and thus you see the Doctrine cleared: 'Tis a sweet thing to a gracious soul to me­ditate on God and the things of God, meditation-work is sweet work to a gratious soul.—Sweet for it is Naturall,—Sweet, for it is suitable—Sweet, [Page 132] for it is profitable.—Sweet, for it is satisfying —Sweet, for it is delightful: And, If these things be so;

What shall we say of those that never spent any time yet alone in meditating on God, and the things of G [...]d? Never spent a day, never spent halfe a day, never spent an hower in private meditating on God and the things of God. Shall we say, these are Godly? Why, in the time of the Old Testament the beasts were unclean that did not chew the Cudd; in the New Testament it's made the property of the High­way Ground, that the seed falls upon it, and it is not covered over with meditation, and consideration.

What, Is it the property of a gratious soul to me­ditate on God, and doth he find so much sweetness in meditating on God and the things of God? and have I liv'd Twenty years, have I liv'd Thirty years, have I liv'd Fourty years, and never spent an hower yet in private in meditation on God and the things of God, how can I think I am Godly?

If this Doctrine be true, that a gracious holy man finds a sweetness in meditating on God, and medita­tion work is sweet work to a gracious soul, then, Friends, why should you not all labour to be found here, in this work of meditation. I fear we are strangers hereunto: many come and hear Sermons, and write Sermons one time after another, and af­terwards they stand up upon dusty shelves, and are never meditated on: But is this true that a gracious man finds so much sweetness in the work of meditation, and that it is so profitable a work? why should we not all labour to be found herein?

You will say then unto me, Meditation is a sweet work we confess, and very profitable; but what should I do that I may be able to cary on this work of [Page 433] meditation with sweetness? I have found it hard some times, and after I have begun it I threw it off. Some­times I have thought that the work of meditation is Incumbent onely upon Preachers, but I see it is sweet, and profitable and good for every one. What shall I do then that I may be able to carry on this work of meditation with sweetness?

That I shall speak to, more largely: Only for the present give me leave to say some thing to it by way of premises; I'le onely speak to Four Cases, and so conclude this Exercise.

Would you meditate on God and the things of God with sweetness? First, In case that you would medi­tate on the Nature, and Attributes of God, be sure that you divide your thoughts, for variety is most re­freshing: All the Attributes of God are worthy of our thoughts; do not therefore stand poring on one excellen­cie, or upon one Attribute; but when you are most fear­full, put your thoughts upon that in God which is most cheer­full: When you are most cheerful, put your thoughts upon that in God, which is most dread-ful: ever more divide your thoughts, if you be to meditate on God, and the Name and Nature and Attributes of God.

And Secondly, be sure of this, That you meditate, not in a way of Reason only, when you come to me­ditate on God, but in a way of Faith. For, Who can give the Reason of the Trinity in Unity, and the Uni­ty in Trinity? How can men know and understand this, that the Second Person should be begotten of the Father from all Eternity, and yet be co-equal with the Father: here Reason halts. Saith one truly, Dispute not with G [...]d, lest you [...]e c [...]nfounded; Dispute not with Satan, lest y [...]u be overcome. And I say, If you would not fail and miscarry in your work of Medita­tion, be sure that when you are to meditate on God, [Page 434] the Nature, the Names, the Attributes of God, that then your meditation be carryed on in a way of Faith, and not of Reason only.

3. And then be sure of this, that you never think of God out of Christ: I thought upon God and was troubled, saith the Psalmist, Why? he did not think of Christ too. I thought upon God and was troubled. I, but think upon God in Christ, and you will not be trou­bled: Never think of God but in Christ: Tis an horri­ble thing, saith Luther, to think of God out of Christ. This is the first thing, in case that you would meditate on God, the Nature, the Names, and Attributes of God; divide your thoughts, meditate in a way of Faith, and not in a way of Reason—and never think of God out of Christ.

2. In case that you would meditate on Christ the Son God, be sure of this, That you think on Christ, and meditate on Christ, as your great example, as well as your gift, And your gift, as well as your example; There is both in Christ, when your hearts are most brisk, think on Christ, as your example; and when your hearts are most low, think on Christ as your gift. But if that you would meditate on Christ, carry on both; think on Christ as well for your example as for your gift, and for your gift, as well as for your example.

And never think on Christ out of the Gospel: For as you may not think on God out of Christ, so you may not meditate on Christ out of the Gospel: Christ is a living Gospel, and the Gospel a dead Christ.

And in all your meditations on Christ, be sure that you observe, what that Title of Christ is, that is most suitable to your condition, and then meditate thereupon.

But thirdly, In case you would meditate on the Word of God;

First know, that there are four parts of the Word. —There's the Commandement.— The Pro­mise.— The Threatning.— The Example. These four divide the whole Word of God. Precept, Promise, Threatning, Example.

If you have to deal with a Commandment, or Precept, remember this, That there is no Precept and Commandment, but is back't and surrounded with several Promises; Promises of assistance, and Promises of reward.

In case you have to deal with a Promise, Know this: God is as punctual in performing, as he is gracious in promising.

In case you have to deal with a Threatning, Then remember this: that God threatens, that he may not fulfill, but he promises, that he may fulfill. As God pro­mises that he may fu [...]fill, So he threatens that he may not fulfill.

And in case you have to deal with an Example, Remember this, that there is no Example, but hath a Promise, or a Threatning, in the bowels or bosome of it.

But Secondly, If you would meditate on God in [...]eference to his Word: Then look upon all the Word of God, as your Fathers Letter, and your own [...]vidence. If a Child be beyond Sea, and a Letter [...]ome from the Father, the Child reads it; he reads [...], again and again, and thinks on it: Another, that [...] a stranger to the Letter, though he see it, he don't [...]ead it so often over, nor meditate so often on't, [...]ut the Son doth. Why? 'tis my Fathers Letter, [...]ith he, and so Ile read it, and meditate on't, and [...]ink on't. So some men do not look upon the Scrip­ [...]res as their Fathers Letters sent from Heaven to [Page 436] them: But those that are good, they look upon all the Chapters there as their Fathers Letters; and I will read it over, for it's my Fathers Letter, and I will think on't much, for 'tis my Fathers Letter. Thus then, Look upon the Word as your Fathers Letter.

And look upon the Scripture also as your own Evidence: A man hath an Evidence for Land, and, it may be, the parchment is a dusty thing, yet he takes a great deal of pains in reading it over, and thinking on't; Why, (saith one that stands by) Why will you spend so much time in reading of a dusty Parchment? But, O Friend, saith he, Friend, it's my Evidence for my Inhe­ritance. So now, when men come to the Word, and do not look upon it as their Evidence for their Land, they have no list to meditate on it, but when a man comes to the Word, and can look upon it as his Evidence for a great Inheri­tance, then he loves to meditate on it. Remem­ber therefore these two things, — That all that is in the Word, is either Commandment, or Promise, — Threatning, or Example: — And look upon the Word as your Fathers Letters and as your own Evidence. And then,

Fourthly, In case that you would Meditate on the works of God.

First, Be sure of this, that you look upon al [...] the works of God as Enammelled and Embroider­ed with so many Attributes of God: For the more you see the Attributes of God shining forth upon his Works, the more sweetnesse you wil [...] take in the meditating the [...]eof. But if you don't se [...] the Attributes of God shining forth upon his Works you will take no sweetness in meditating thereon.

Then be sure, that you don't take things apart, an [...] [Page 437] separate from another, but take all together: They are set one over against the other. If you part the Works of God, you will find no beauty nor sweetnesse in the consideration of them; but put all together, the design, and end of the Work, and the whollness of the Work gives a beauty to it. Take heed therefore that you don't separate between piece and piece, but carry all togethe [...], and the end thereof.

Thirdly, If you would meditate on God, in refe­rence to his Works, be sure of this, that you never go to read Gods Work, but by Gods Candle: The Work of God is a great Book; but the work of God cannot be read but by Gods word: God hath a Candle of his own to read his W [...]rk by: When you go to read his Work, be sure you carry his Candle along with you, and so shall you be sure to read it the better. I have done.

Be sure you look upon every work of God, as coming out of the hand of your Father, that you may say, O this is my Fathers work, and this is my Fa [...]hers work. London is destroyed, but this is my Fathers work: You have heard of that honest good man of Chelmsford, when it thundred and lightned, insomuch, as all the Town were afraid that Dooms-day was come; how he got upon a Stall in the Street, and said, This is my Fa [...]hers voice: And so when you look upon any work of the Lord, look upon it as your Fathers work, and then you will take a sweetnesse and contentment in the Meditation thereof.

And thus I have given you some taste: But how this work of Meditation is to be carried on with sweetness, I reserve for the next Exercise; only for the present, you have heard what a profitable thing it is, to medi­tate on the things of God: What now remains, but to get up and be thinking and meditating on God, and the things of God.

The Work and Way of Meditation. SERM. VIII.

HAving show'd how sweet and profitable the work of Meditation is, to meditate on God, and the things of God; we came the last day to this Que­stion, or Objection:

But if the work of Meditation, be so sweet and pro­fitable: What shall we do, that this work of Medita­on, may be carried on with sweetness and profit?

I am a stranger to this work of Meditation; I have often read the Scriptures, and not meditated on them. I have often heard the Word, and not meditated thereon: I have sometimes begun to meditate, but finding it a hard work, I have left it off again. And sometimes I have thought that this work is incumbent onely upon Students, and Preachers: But if it be our duty to meditate on God, and the things of God, what shall we do that the work of holy Meditation, may be carried on with profit, and with sweetness?

For answer hereunto, four or five things, I shall speak unto.

First, I shall labour to shew you, that it is our duty to meditate on God, and the things of God.

2. That this work of Meditation, is every Mans work,— and every Dayes work:— And such a work as is Consistent wi [...]h ev [...]ry busi [...]ss, and condition.

[Page 439]3. I shall lay down some means for the right per­formance of this work.

4. Give you some Rules and Directions, how this work of Meditation should be carried on with sweet­ness and profit, in a right manner.

And then draw forth some Arguments, or Motives to press you all hereunto.

I. First, It is our work and duty, to meditate on God, and the things of God: Will you instance ac­cording to our Explication at the first.

Will you instance in the Nature, Titles, and At­tributes of God? Why, it is our work and duty so to meditate on God: For wicked men are blamed, that God is not in all their thoughts; If they be blamed for this, that God is not in all their thoughts, then surely God is to be in all our thoughts.

Good and holy men are commended, and reward­ed for this: They that feared the Lord, spake often one to another, and a book of Remembrance was written for them that feared the Lord, and that Thought on his Name. They are commended,— and they are re­warded. In the day when God makes up his Jewels, they shall be found among them, Mal. 3.

And who doth not know that it is our duty to praise the Lord: not onely to be thankful to God up­on the account of benefits received, but to pra [...]se the Lord upon the account of his own Excellencies; and how should the heart be tun'd and framed unto this praising of God, but by meditation on the Name and Nature, and Titles of God? Psal. 48. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, v [...].— How doth he tune his heart to this praise? We have th [...]ught of thy loving kindness, O God.

The more that the heart of any man is laid in with meditation, the more pregnant will his words be in [Page 440] the praises of God. So that thus then, it is our du­ty for to meditate upon this account.

But Secondly, Will you instance in Christ the Son of God? As it is our work and duty to meditate on the Nature, Titles, and Attributes of God, so to spend and to lay out our thoughts upon Christ the Son of God. You may observe therefore, that this word Behold, is oftener prefixed, and set before the Mystery of Christ, than before any other Depth, or Mystery in Scripture.— And why so? But to shew that this Depth, and this Mystery, is that especially that calls forth our Consideration, and our Meditation. There are four things concerning Christ, which do call for our meditation.

The Personal excellency of Christ.—

The Offices of Christ.— The Life, and —The Death of Christ.

As for the Personal excellencies of Christ, you read what the Apostle saith, in the 7. c. of the Heb. v. 4. Now consider how great this man was, Mechisedec, the Type of Christ: And if the Type were so great, Christ is greater.— And if we are to consider the greatness of the Type, much more to consider and meditate on the Greatness, and Personal excellencies of Christ typified.

And as for the Offices of Christ, you read what the Apostle saith, in the 3. chap. 1. v. Wherefore, holy Brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our Profession, Christ Jesus.

And as for the Life of Christ; you know what the Apostle saith, in the 12. chap. 2. v. Looking unto Je­sus, the Author and Finisher of our Faith.

And for the Sufferings of Christ, you read what follows; Who for the joy that was set before him, endured the Cross, despising the shame; for consider him (v. 3.) [Page 441] that endured such contradiction of sinners against him­self, &c. So that thus then, we are to meditate on God upon this account; laying out, and spending our thoughts and meditations upon Christ the Son of God.

But Thirdly, Will you instance in the Word of God? Why, as we are to meditate on Christ, the Son of God, so we are to meditate on the Word of God: Psal. 119.15. I will meditate on thy Precepts, v. 23. Thy Servant did meditate on thy Statutes, v. 48. And I will meditate on thy Statutes, at the 93. v. O how I love thy Law, it is my meditation all the day. The Word of God we are to meditate on; to medi­tate on God, and the things of God upon this ac­count. Now here are four things, that will lead you out to meditation.

The exactness of the Commandment.

The faithfulness of the Promise.

The terrour of the Threatning.

And the weightiness of the Examples, all which meet in the Scriptures, and in the Word of God. And accordingly we are to meditate on the Word of God, upon this account.

Fourthly, Will you instance in the Works of God? VVhy, as we are to meditate on the Word, so we are also to meditate on the VVorks of God. The work of Creation, the work of Providence, and the work of Redemption. The works of God are sought out of all those that have pleasure in them, Psal. 143. I remember the dayes of old, I meditate on all thy Works, I muse on the work of thy hands. Thus David did, and thus should we also do; so that thus then you see, that it is our work, and our duty, to meditate on God, and the things of God, in reference to his Nature, Name, and Attributes.— In reference to his Son,— In reference to his VVord,— and [Page 442] in reference to the works of God. And that's the first General.

II. Now secondly, This work of Meditation, is every mans work.— It is every dayes work.— And it is that work that is consistent with every busi­ness and condition.

First, (I say) 'Tis every mans work; it is the work of the wicked;— and it is the work of the Godly.

'Tis the wo [...]k of the wicked, for it is their first step unto Conversion: The Prodigal bethought himself and returned unto his Fathers house. The Prophet Hag­gai, calling upon the Jews to repent, saith, Consider your wayes. I considered my wayes, and turned my feet unto thy Testimonies, saith David. Consider your wayes; or, as in the Hebrew, set your heart upon your wayes.— And when doth a man set his heart upon his wayes, but when he doth seriously ponder and meditate on his wayes? Th [...]s work of Meditation therefore, I say, it is the work of the wicked: It is their first step unto Coversion.

And 'tis the work of the godly; Meditation-work, is a godly mans work.— For either he is weak, or strong;

If he be weak, he hath need of it that he may be strengthened.

If he be strong, he hath need of it that he may be quickned. There is no man but hath need of Me­ditation.

If a man be a Beginner, he ought to meditate that he may proceed:

If he be a Proficient, he ought to meditate that he may be perfect:

If he be Perfect with Gospel-perfection, he ought to meditate that he may hold on his perfection, Psal. 1. [Page 443] It's made the general description of a good man, He delighteth in the Law of the Lord; and in that Law doth he meditate.

And Secondly, As it is every mans work, so 'tis eve­ry dayes work. There are some special times (as you will hear) which are more fit for meditation. But this work of meditation is every dayes work: When I awake, saith the Psalmist, I am ever with thee. How? By prayer and meditation: I have set the Lord alwayes before me.— How, but by meditation and prayer? What time is there that is not fit for this work of Meditation?

Is the Sabbath day unfit for it? No: There is a Prayer for the Sabbath, Psal. 92. to meditate on the works of God.

Is the week-day unfit for this work of Meditation? No, the Sabbath day is our market day; and then af­ter we have bought our ma [...]ket on the Sabbath, we should Rost it by meditation on the week: We don't go to the Market on the market day to buy meat into the house, onely for the market day; but for all the time till the market day comes about again: Indeed, Solomon saith of the Sluggard, that he is so sluggish and slothful, That he doth not roast what he h [...]th taken in hunting: The Sabbath day is the hunting day for souls, wherein the Venison is taken: On the week day we are to roast it, and to live upon it by medita­tion, and otherwise.— And what's the reason that many don't live upon their Venison, that they have taken on the Lords day; but because they don't roast it by meditation on the week day, and so are in the number of Solomen's sluggards; the sluggard roast­eth not the Venison that he hath taken in huntin [...] I am sure that David, in the 119. Psal. saith, that his meditation was at work, all the day long; It is my [Page 444] meditation all the Day, not a piece on't, 'tis every dayes work, 'tis all the dayes work. Yea in the first Psa [...]. he takes in the Night too. He delighteth in the Law of the Lord, and therein doth he meditate Day and Night. So that that's the Second thing: Me­ditation work is every days work. As 'tis every mans work, so 'tis every dayes work. And,

3. As it is every dayes work, so it is that work that is consistent with every business, and with every con­dition. A Garment that will fit the back of every condition. What dunghil-condition, but this flower of Meditation may grow thereupon? In Judg. the 5th 'tis said there, v. 11. They that are delivered from the noise of Archers in the places of drawing water; There shall they rehearse the righteous acts of the Lord.—There, where? why in the places of drawing Water; When they are in the field, drawing waer: And if that be a fit place be rehearse the righteous acts of the Lord, certainly then it is a place fit for meditation: And if that the place of the Drawing Water, then the very place of scraping Trenchers, and sweeping the kennel may be a place fit for meditation? If that the place of drawing Water, be a place fit for rehearsing the Acts of the Lord; what place, what condition, what business, but Meditation may accompany it?

Possibly a man may be sick, and he may be kept from Books, or he may be kept from hearing; but yet he may meditate on God, and the things of God.

Possibly he may be thrown into Prison, and he may be kept from Books and Bible, yet he cannot be kept from Meditation. It's said of Mr. Glover, that Great Martyr in Queen Maryes time, that lying in Prison a Coventry, it was told him, he should be remooved to a close Prison at Litchfield, and all Books taken a­way from him; At that he was much troubled, but saith [Page 445] he, I sat down and considered, and meditated with my self, Is God the God of Coventry, and not of Litch­field? Is not God the God of Litchfield, as well as of Coventry: And when I had thought on this thing, and meditated thus, my heart was quiet within me. Surely there is no condition so sower, but Sweet Meditation may grow thereon: Now if this work of Meditation be a work that is Consistent with every business, and every condition—every dayes work, and every mans work, why should we not be found in the practice of it?

3. But you will say 3dly, What help, or what means to this work of Meditation? What shall I do, how and by what means should this work of Medita­tion be performed?

First, If you would Meditate on God rightly and duly (to speak first by way of means, and then for the rules of direction afterwards) be very sensible of your want, and of your neglect herein. A man is never more fit for a duty, then when he is very sen­sible of his neglect therein sensibleness of neglect of former duty, fitts one for future duty. If a man have very great possessions, and he lose them, he is very sensible of the loss thereof, why now look in­to the 17th Job, and you shall find there are Thought-possessions: saith he, My dayes are past, my purposes are broken off, even the thoughts of my heart. In the Heb. even the possessi [...]ns of my heart. As if he should say thus; Time was that I had very great Thought-posses­sions, I thought on God, I enjoyed God, I possessed God; but now I have lost these my possessions of God, and the thoughts of my heart, the possessions of my heart are broken off. Thus sensible J [...]be was of the loss of his Thought-possessions. And the more rich our Thought-possessions are, the greater is our loss [Page 446] And the more sensible we are of the loss of our thought-p [...]ssessions, and of our Meditations, the more fit we shall be for this work of Meditation. First therefore be very sensible of your want and neglect of this work of Meditation thus long.

2. If you would meditate indeed on God and the things of God, labour more and more for a Serious Spirit: A frothy, leight, and giggling disposition, is never fit for Meditation: Labour therefore to be serious. And there are three or four things that will poise and make your hearts serious.

The sight of the glorious Majesty of God.

The sense of your Eternal Condition, Eternity, Eternity.

Humiliation for Sin.

And converse with those that are serious. Be serious, and you will be more fit for Meditation: That's the Second.

3. If you would indeed meditate on God and the things of God, labour more and more for a Fixed Spirit: Fixation of Spirit is a great friend to me­ditation. An unsettled, an unfixed soul, cannot meditate: Fix therefore first. And there are ma­ny things that may fix your Spirits.

The great and weighty Judgments of God that are upon us, may help to fix us, and hang lead upon our heels.

In case you are to come to Meditation, or any other Work, come free, and don't leave any businesse standing at the Door: for a hundred to one, but your hearts will step out unto it, at the time of your Work, whether Meditation, or Prayer, or any thing else. Therefore come free unto every Duty, if you would be fixed.

And labour for Intention of Affection. In Medi­tation, [Page 447] Prayer, or any other Work, be Intense: We use to say, when the Candle burns, the Mouse doth not nibble, but when the Candle is out, then the Mouse nibbles: when our hearts are warm and lively in Prayer and Meditation, we are free from distractions; the Mouse nibbles not.

And in case you meet with any distraction in Medi­tation, or other duty, don't stand to Correct your heart in the time of the duty, but go on with your work. If a woman carries a Child abroad among friends, and the Child cries and makes a disturbance, the mother don't then correct the Child there; but calls the Child to an account when she comes at home: for saith she, Else would my correction be a further disturbance to the company: So here, when you meet with distractions in duty, if you call your hearts to an account then, it will be a further disturbance; but on with your present duty, correct afterward; and thus shall your hearts be the more fixed, and fixation of heart is a great help to Meditation.

4. If you would indeed meditate on God and the things of God, be sure that you lay out such objects as may give entertainment to your thoughts. For if there be no Corn in the Quern, what grinding will there be? Have therefore objects laid out to exercise your thoughts withal, upon all occasions; And so when you have any spare time, your Objects lying by, you will be presently upon the work of Meditation: only let those Objects be such as are drawing, alluring, thought-begetting Objects, and Thought-entertain­ing Objects: But then

5. If you would meditate on God and the things of God, strengthen your Love and Delight; for Me­ditation grows upon the stalk of Love and Delight: And the more a man doth love God and the things of [Page 448] God, the more he meditates thereon: Psal. 119. O how I love thy Law?—what then—It is my Me­ditation all the day: this was much; his meditation all the day,—What's the reason? — Why, his Love was beyond expression; O how I love thy Law! It is my meditation all the day. Love loves to be thinking on the person loved. It carries the Picture of the Person or thing loved up and down in its bosome; the more you love, the more you meditate; and the more you delight, the more you meditate. Can a Woman forget her Child? no, why? because she loves it. Can a Worldly man forget the World, his Money and his House or Land, can he forget this? no, why? because he loves them: What's the reason we meditate no more, but because we love God no more? Do but strengthen your love to God and the things of God, and your delight in God and the things of God, and you will meditate more. This is the fifth means unto the work of Meditation, Strengthen your love to, and your delight in the Lord: And then

6. If you would meditate on God and the things of God, Then labour to get a deep Impression of the things of God upon your heart and soul. 'Tis deep impressions that calls for meditation. A man reads the word of God, and it may be understands it, but he don't meditate—Why? — because the word made no impression upon his heart as he went along. But if he read it, and understand it, and hath an im­pression made upon his soul as he reads it, then he thinks on't afterwards: As in hearing the Word of God, a man hears the Word of God in Publick or in Private, and he meditates not thereupon — Why? — Why, because it has no impression upon him. Possibly a man may think of the free grace of God, yet if it make no impression upon his soul, he don't [Page 449] go away and meditate on it. If a man think on the Wrath of God, and it make an impression upon him, he goes away, and is still in the thoughts thereof: What's the reason, that many poor souls, troubled in Conscience, are alwayes thinking of Hell, and Judgement, and Wrath, but because the Wrath of God hath made a deep impression upon their souls; and the more deep the impression is upon your soul, the more full will your meditation be: You see how it was in former times, when they went in procession, at the end of the Parish, they would take up a Boy and whip him,— Why? that he might remember the bounds of the Parish: for, Passion is the best Door-keeper of Memory. And as passion is the Door-keeper of Memory; so Impression is the Door-keeper of Meditation.

7. If you would meditate on God and the things of God, Take heed that your hearts and your hands, be not too full of the world, and the employments thereof. The more full your hand is of worldly im­ployments, the more you will think thereon, and the more you think thereon, the less you will think of G [...]d and the things of God. And what is the reason that ma­ny meditate and think so little of God and the things of God, but because their hearts are so full of the World, Where their treasure is, there will their hearts b [...].

O saith one, I would think on God, and I would meditate on God with all my heart, but meditation-work is a work of time, it will cost time, and I have no time; my hands are so full of business, and so full of imployment, I have no time for this work; Me­ditation is not a transient Thought, but it is a work of time, and will ask time, and I have no time. Mark therefore what David saith in the 119. Psalm. Lord incline my heart unto thy testimonies, [Page 450] how so? Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity: The way to have ones heart enclined to the Testimo­nies of God, is to turn away ones eyes from these outward vanities. Would you therefore meditate on God, and the things of God, then take heed that your hearts, and your hands, be not too full of the world, and the imployments thereof.

8. Lastly, If you would meditate on God, and the things of God, go then to God for this skill of medi­tation. Friends, There is an Art, and divine Skill of meditation, which none can teach but God alone: Would you have it, go then to God, and begg of God these things.

First, Begg of God that he would change your na­ture: For if your soyl be not changed, nothing but weeds will grow still, not the Flowers of meditation, but the weeds of vain thoughts; go first to God to change your Nature, to change your Soyl.

2. Go to God and beg of him that he would san­ctifie, and sequester your mind unto himself, that your whole mind may be under God's sequestration▪ Every man is as his mind is: A mans mind is a profus [...] thing, and it is as full of thoughts, as the Sun is full o [...] Beams. If God don't take it in, and bring it unde [...] his sequestration, it will be full of evil; go then t [...] God, and desire him to sanctifie your devising, you [...] thinking, and your projecting Faculty.

3. Go to God, and beg of him that he would la [...] out drawing objects before you, that may draw o [...] your thoughts, and your meditations: 'Tis God th [...] must present such objects.

4. Go and beg of God your Thoughts also, an [...] beg of God these thought-possessions, that Go [...] would give you thoughts. And then,

5. Beg of God a fixed heart: for fixation of hea [...] [Page 451] is a great friend to meditation. And then,

6. Beg of God the Spirit; for the Spirit is our Remembrancer, to bring all things to our remem­brance. Thus do, and you shall in some measure be able to carry on this work of Meditation in a right way, with comfort and sweetness. These things by way of means: By way of means;— be sen­sible of your former work of meditation;— la­bour to be more serious;— get a fixed heart and spirit;— lay out objects that may entertain your thoughts upon all occasions;— strengthen your love to, and delight in God;— labour to get Impressions, deep impressions made upon your souls, to the things of God;— and take heed that your hearts and hands be not too full of the world:— And then go to God for this skill of Meditation.

4. But then fourthly, What are those rules and directions that will help therein? How and in what way and manner should this work of Meditation be carried on, with sweetness and success?

First of all, In all your Retirements (for the work of Meditation, is a work of Retirement) in all your meditations, be sure that you retire in to God him­self: Don't retire into your retirements, as the Monks and those do retire into a monkish devotion: But in all your Retirements, be sure that you retire in to God himself.

2. Take heed that you be not Legal in this work of Meditation. Legal work is sowre work; Medita­tion work is sweet work. A man is legal in this work of Meditation, when he doth make it a mere task, when he doth in his meditation, think on God out of Christ: I thought upon God, and was troubled; to think upon God out of Christ, is sowre work: I [Page 452] thought upon God and was not comforted, but was troubled, saith the Psalmist. So that, to make our meditation work a meer task, is a legal work; to think upon God out of Christ, is a Legal work; and to pass through God unto Christ, also is Legal. For, In the times of the Old Testament, they c [...]me to Christ through God, but in the time of the New Testament, we go to God through Christ. An Old Testament way is a Legal way, would you therefore have this work of Meditation carried on with sweetness; Take heed of a Legal spirit in this work of Meditation, which will sowre all.

3. Be sure of this, That nothing fall within the compass of your meditation, but what falls within the compass of the Scripture. It may be you may think of God, and you may think what God was do­ing before the world was made, this you have no Scripture for; therefore is no work for your me­ditation. — It may be, you think you are a Re­probate; for say you, I have the marks of a Repro­bate upon me: But where doth the Scripture give any marks of a Reprobate? The Scripture gives marks of a wick [...]d man, that possibly may be converted. But now, If you would carry on the work of meditation in such a way as it may be done with sweetness, be sure that it be bounded with the Scripture; and let nothing fall within the compass of your meditation, but what falls within the compass of the Scripture.

4. In all your settled meditation, Begin with Reading, or Hearing.— Go on with meditati­on, — End in prayer. For as Mr. Greenham saith well, Reading without Meditation, is unfruitful; Medi­tion without Reading, is hurtful; To meditate and to read without prayer upon both, is without blessing.

If you do read and not meditate, then you wil [...] want good affections.

If you do meditate, and not read or hear, you will want good Judgment, and be apt to fall into some ill Opinions.

If you do read, or hear, or meditate, and not pray, you will want the blessing of the Lord upon both: Read, or hear first; then meditate; and then pray upon both. I speak of settled meditation, and let one be proportioned unto another. There must be a proportion between the one and the other, in a settled meditation; and therefore if that you would meditate rightly, I say in all your meditations, begin with reading, go on with meditation, and end with prayer.

5. If you would have this work of Meditation carried on with profit and sweetness, joyne with your Meditation, the examination of your own souls, in case you meditate on God and Christ, think with your selves by way of examination, But have I an Interest in this? I have been now thinking and medi­tating on the excellencies of Christ, but have I an Interest in him? Come Oh my soul, thou hast been meditating on God, and on the excellencies of Christ, but hast thou any share, hast thou any Interest there­in? Joyne examination with your Meditation, then it will be profitable, then it will be sweet; other­wise it is but Contemplation, or but a study; but joyne examination with your Meditation, so 'tis sweet, and so 'tis profitable.

Sixthly, Observe what those times and seasons are that are most fit for Meditation, and be sure you lay hold thereon. Though Meditation-work is every dayes work, yet there are some times and seasons that are more fit for Meditation. Shall I name Four or Five.

1. Look when the Lord hath made any deep Im­pression [Page 454] upon your soul by word or work, then is a time for your meditation; for Impression calls for meditation

2. The Morning is a fit time for Meditation before the World come in. What more fit for God than the best of time; the Morning is the best of time, there­fore a fit time for Meditation on God.

3. The Sabbath Day is a fit time also for Medita­tion, therefore the 92th Psal. is appointed for the Sabbath, A Psalm for the Sabbath Day, saith the Title to the Psalm.

4. The time of Gods special dispensations is a fit time for it; Look when there is a special dispensation of God abroad, either of Mercy or Judgment, then is a fit time for Meditation. In the 9th Psal. The Lord is known by the Judgement which he executeth, the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands, Higgaion Selah. — whats that? it comes from the Heb. Ha­gah, which signifies to Meditate. When the wicked are snared in the work of their own hands, here's wo [...]k for meditation. Look (I say) when there is a special dispensation of God either in Mercy or Judgment, that's a fit time for meditation.

5. Look what time that is that lies next, or near, or close to, any great work or service, that's a fit time for meditation: As for example. Suppose we be to receive the Lord's Supper: The time that lies next before it is a fit time for meditation. Suppose a man be to be call'd out for some great service or Imploy­ment: The time that goes close before it is a fit time for him to sit down and meditate with himself upon the work: For the more a man doth prepare for a work, the more likely he is in reason to perform it well. Now, Meditation is a good preparation: Look therefore what that time is that immediately before, or close to the work of the Lord, that's a fit time for [Page 455] Meditation.—Thus now you see what the special times are for the work of Meditation.—The time of Impressions—The morning time—The Sab­bath day—The time of special dispensations, either of Mercy or Judgment—And the time tha goes Immediately or next, or close before the great work and service of the Lord. And, If you would meditate rightly, observe what the fit times for Me­ditation are, and be sure you lay hold thereon.

7. I'le name but one more. Though there is a great deal of profit and sweetness to be found in this work of meditation, and it's every dayes work, yet take heed that you don't so meditate on one of Gods excellencies, as to neglect another; nor don't so spend your whole time in the work of meditation, that this work of meditation should eat up other du­tyes: God would have us rise from this work of me­ditation, as from any other duty, with an hungry appetite. Friends, God would have us rise hungry from every duty, and not glutted, variety is refresh­ing, he hath given many duties that we may not pore upon one. In case therefore you have bin at the work of meditation, either God hath come in upon you with his speciall Influence, or not: if he hath, praise the Lord for his AYtance, it's mercy that you have had one good thought of God, but Meditation is more than a thought, meditation is thought upon thought; praise God, that's the way to have more,— And In case that God hath not come in upon you in the work of meditation; then yet be not discouraged, for God would not have you glutted, and God would lead you to some other work, and one duty, one work, is not to eat up and devour another. I say with one; Let not your time be the measure or rule of your Meditation, but your Meditation the rule of [Page 456] your time; Yet take heed, that you don't spend so much time in musing and considering, and medita­ting, as that this work of Meditation should eat up any other Duty, but quicken thereunto. And thus you see some means, some helps, to this work of Meditation; Some Rules and Directions for the right carrying it on sweetly: What now remains, but that you up and be doing; turn your hand to it. You have heard the duty proved: You have heard the sweetness and profitableness thereof cleared: You have heard what Objects we are to lay our Thoughts out upon: And you have heard some means, as helps unto the Work: And some Rules and Directions for the carrying of it on: O then, you that never spent hour in meditation all your dayes, if there be any such here; Now bethink your selves, and now give up your Thoughts to God. —You that have gone one year after another, and one week after another, and never spent any time in meditating on God or the things of God, O now be­think your selves: And that you may do so, and be provoked hereunto, give me leave to lay down some Arguments and Motives to press both your souls and mine, unto this great work of Meditation. The Ar­guments are divers: Thus

First, Friends, The more acquaintance you have with this work of Meditation, the more time you will get, and the lesse you will lose. A man that hath the skill on't, need never lose an hour. Who knows the worth of time? This little spot of time doth our Eternity depend upon: Yet, Lord, how many are there that lose their precious hours and time— But what's the reason?—They have no hand at this work of Meditation: When their business is over, they might otherwise turn their hand to this [Page 457] work, and lose no time. The more acquaintance you have with this work of Meditation, the more time you will get, and the lesse you will lose.

2. Hereby, even by this work of Meditation, you shall get into the Secrets of divine things. There is a Secret and a Mystery in ever Trade: A man don't know the Trade, till he knows the Secret and the Mystery of it: It's said, The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him. Knowledge brings us to the door of Truth: But Meditation hath us into the House, and into all the Rooms thereof: Thereby (I say) you shall get into the Inwards, and the Secrets of the things of God.

3. Thereby also you shall suck out the sweetnesse of all those divine and precious things that you know. As a man by musing on his Sins, sucks out the sweetness thereof; so by meditating on the things of God, you suck out the sweetness of the things of God into your own souls.

4. By this work of Meditation, you shall have a Testimony in your own Souls, that you are truly godly. Every man is what he is most in private. A good mans work lies most under-ground, lies most out of sight. In the time of Moses, the beasts were clean that chewed the Cud, and unclean that did not chew the Cud. In the time of David, 'tis made the Descripti­on of a godly man, He delighteth in the Law of the Lord, and therein doth he meditate. Hereby then, you shall have a testimony in your own hearts, that you are truly godly. But you shall not only have a testimony that you are truly godly, but practise it, and thereby you shall be very godly: for the more constant you are in godliness, the more godly you are. By the work of Meditation, you will be constant in the work of Godliness— The more extensive your godli­ness [Page 458] is, the more godly you are: Now by meditati­on, you can extend your thoughts, beyond your hands: As by sinful musings, a man can extend his thoughts beyond his power to practice; so by medi­tation on God and the things of God, a man may ex­tend his thoughts concerning godliness, beyond his power to act — As in sin, a man by his thoughts may be naught where he hath not an outward power to be naught; so by holy meditation, a man may be good where he hath not a power in his hand to pra­ctise. The Psalmist saith, in the 45th. Psalm, The Kings Daughter is all glorious within, her garment is of wrought gold, vers. 13. Her clothing is of wrought gold, is not that glorious? clothing is outward, but saith he, she is all glorious within; 'Tis not the wrought gold without makes her glorious, but she is all glo­rious within: Though the garment, and though her clothing be of wrought gold, yet her glory lyes with­in. Here lies the glory of a Christian, to be glori­ous within:— And how can we have this inward Holiness, Grace, and goodness, and Glory, unless we be versed in this work of Meditation?

6. Thereby also, you shall offer up your selves unto divine Imbraces; and upon this ground of Me­ditation, will God give out his loves unto you: In Cant. 7. saith Christ, There will I give thee my Loves, v. 12.—There— where? Let us get up early to the Vineyards, let us see if the Vine flourish, whither the tender Grap appear, and the Pomgranates bud forth. Here's the publick Assembly.— What's this to meditation?— Yes, in the former v. Come my beloved, let us go forth into the Field, let us lodg in the Villages, places of Retirement; There will I give thee my Loves, upon the ground of Retirement. There will he give forth his loves. O! What a great mercy [Page 459] is here, by this work of Meditation, you do not onely offer up your selves unto Divine imbraces: But, There upon Meditation-ground, will God give out his loves unto you.

7. Thereby also, your souls and hearts shall be subdued unto God: As in sin, so here, Friends, It is not a sinful thought that doth subdue my heart into sin; 'tis not a sinful suggestion that subdues my heart into sin: But, A Complacential dwelling of sinful thoughts in my heart, subdues my heart into sin. So 'tis not a tran­sient good thought that will subdue the soul, or the heart unto God; but it is a Complacential dwelling of good thoughts in the heart that doth subdue the heart unto God, and that's done by Meditation. Thereby therefore, I say, Your very hearts shall be subdued unto the Lord: Oh what a mercy is this!

8. By this work of meditation on God, and the things of God; You shall live on God: Possibly a man may come to the Court where the King is, and not live upon the King, because he don't stay there; but those that stay at the Court, they live upon the King, for they stay there. Now by a thought, I don't stay upon God; but by a frequeut meditation on God, I shall live in God; for then I stay by God, and I do stay on him.

9. Thereby also you shall have a constant relief a­gainst all your afflictions, both inward and outward.

Inward, Psal. 143. Have mercy upon me, O Lord, for saith he, v. 4. My spirit is overwhelmed within me, my heart within me is desolate: What then?— I remember the dayes of old, I meditate on all thy works: Here lies the relief against spiritual fears, and over­whelmings of soul, even to meditate on God as one ought to do, in a right manner: I am overwhelmed, but I'le meditate on all thy works, and muse on the work of thy hands.

As for the Outward afflictions, Psal. 119. the place cited before, v. 23. Princes also did sit and speak a­gainst me, but thy Servant did meditate in thy Statutes. Reproach from an ordinary man, is affliction enough; but for Kings and Princes, to speak against one, this is a great matter. What relief then? But thy ser­vant did meditate on thy Statutes. So that by this, you have a constant relief against both outward, and in­ward afflictions. And,

10. Thereby also you shall be freed from that un­kindness, that God will take at your hands, if you don't meditate on him, and the things of God. Friends, If you don't meditate on God, and the things of God, God will take it very unkindly at your hands: What man that is abroad beyond Sea, hearing that his wife frolicks it at home, and never thinks on him, will not take it unkindly? We are absent now from God, and to frolick and be vain, and go up and down, and have no thoughts on God, no meditation on God; How unkindly must God take this at our hands? 'Tis a sleight, If a man speak unto you, and you don't think of what he speaks, 'tis a sleight to him: So to read what God saith, or see what God doth, and not think on't, not to meditate on it; what is this but a sleight unto God?

Respect and Meditation, go together, Psal. 119.15. I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy wayes. So then, The want of meditation, and think­ing on what God saith, and what God doth, is a great sleighting of him, 'tis a want of respect, and God will take it unkindly:— And what then?— Why he will deal by you as you do by him; if you think not on him, he will not think on you; and in the day of your extremity, when you call and cry to him, because you thought not of him, he will not think of you. But to end all.

God knows, and your own souls know, how you have lain musing in the way of sin; how some times you have lain devising mischief upon your beds: How often you have chewed the Devils Cud; what swarms of unclean thoughts, of proud thoughts, of unbe­lieving thoughts, have possessed your hearts? Oh friends! Shall we lie musing upon our bed, in a way of sin, and shall we not think, and muse, and medi­tate on God, and the things of God? What shall we not be the same for God, that ever we have been for sin? O, we have had our sinful musing times, therfore now why should we not have our holy musings also?

And to conclude all, Meditation, holy medita­tion, is a very great friend to heavenly Conversati­on: Sweet meditation of God, is a very great friend to holy Conversation: Private meditation, a great friend to an outward holy Conversation.— Now then,— As ever you desire, that the holiness of your Conversation may be advanced; That you may be as godly now in your thoughts, as ever you have been ungodly.— That God may take nothing unkindly from you.— That you may have a con­stant relief against all afflictions, both inward and out­ward. — That you may live on God.— That your hearts may be subdued into God.— That God may give out his Loves unto you.—That you may be very godly — That you may have a Testimony in your own souls, that you are truly godly; That you may suck out the sweetness of all the things you know; That you may be let into the secret of Godliness, and not stand at the door of Knowledg onely.— That you may ne­ver lose a pretious hour, but redeem your time. Now to the work of Meditation: And you that have neglected it so long, be not ashamed to begin it at last.

Gods Return to the Soul or Nation. SERM. IX.

Psal. 90.13.

Return (O Lord) how long, and let it repent thee Concerning thy Servants.

This Psalm is a Psalm of Moses the man of God, Saith the title.

Wherein he doth strengthen his Faith, and the Israelites Faith in God.—And shews the misery and frailty of mans life—petitions God for his mercy.

He sets down the misery and frailty of mans life, in the body of the Psalm — But before, in the be­ginning of the Psalm, he doth strengthen his own, and others Faith in God.

A man is never fit to look upon the troubles of this World, and the miseries thereof, till his heart be establisht in God by beleeving. This therefore he doth in the first place, by several Arguments of Comfort.

First drawn from their interest in God v. 1. Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all Generations: As if he should say, We are now in the Wilderness, and so no abiding place, well: Thou hast bin our dwelling place in all Generations.

Faith finds that in God which we want here below, and that's the way to true Comfort.

The Second is drawn from the eternity of Gods essence and beeing. v. 2. Before the Mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the World, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.

The Third is drawn from our Resurrection! Though now we die, and are destroyed, yet at the 3. v. Thou turnest man to destruction, and say [...]st, Return ye Children of men.

Our Resurrection is an easy work with God; it is but saying. Thou sayest, Return ye Children of men.

The Fourth is drawn from the shortness of the time that lies between our Death and the Resurrection! for it will be said, There's a great deal of time between our Death, and the Resurrection: But saith he, you must account as God accounts, for at the 4th. v. A Thousand yeers in thy sight are but as yesterday, when it is past; And as a watch in the night. These things being thus premised: Now you may read over the miseries and troubles of this World. Which you have at large from the 5. v. unto the 12. v.

But what then, what is the work and Duty of the Psalmist then?— Why, then he Petitions God.

He petitions first for Wisdome: That by all the troubles and miseries of this life, he may provide and lay in for eternity. So teach us to number our Daies, that we may apply our hearts unto Wisdom. v. 12.

And then he petitions for the return of Gods love, Returne (O Lord) how long, and let it repent thee concerning thy Servants.—Where you have the mat­ter of the Petition—The explication, — And the reason thereof.

The Matter of the Petition, in those words, Re­turn, O Lord.

The Explication thereof, And let it repent thee, con­cerning thy Servants.

And the Reason, How long? Thou hast been long absent; O Lord, how long wilt thou be absent? how long wilt thou be angry? Return, O Lord, how long? And let it repent thee concerning thy Ser­vants.

God is said, To return, when after some Judgments for sin, he doth shew forth some fresh tokens of his love and favour.

God is said To Repent, when he doth change his dis­pensations of Anger into Love. And this is that which the Psalmist doth here most desire: From whence, I take up this Doctrine or Observation.

Obs. When God is in any measure departed from his people, it is their great desire, that God would return unto them, and repent him concerning his Servants. — For the clearing and prosecuting of which,

First, I shall labour to shew you, that God doth sometimes forsake, desert, and depart from his own people for a time.

2. That they are very sensible of such departures, and think it long.

3. That then, in the time of those departures, their great desire is that God would return, and

4. That when God doth return unto his people, then he doth repent him concerning his Servants; and

5. What we should do in case God should be in any measure departed from us, that he may return again unto us.

First, As for the first: God doth sometimes de­sert, and forsake, and depart from his people for a [Page 465] time. Not in regard of their Union, so he never departs; But in regard of Communion, and manifestation, so some­times he doth: Though nothing is hid from the heat of this Sun, yet our souls may be hid from the light of this Sun: God doth sometimes depart from his own people.

For first, He is the Sovereign Lord over all: And what if God will, to make his power and sovereignty known among his own people, sometimes withdraw, for­sake, and depart from them. Two times you read in the Book of the Canticles, that Christ withdraws from the Spouse: Once upon occasion of her sin, and security; And then she meets with blows, Cant. 5. Once upon an account of his meer pleasure, Cant. 3.

As whom God will he shews mercy to, and whom he will he hardens: So whom God will he is present with, and whom he will he is absent from, He is the Sovereign Lord over all. But

Secondly, What if God will that his people should have a taste of hell in this life, that so they may be sensible of, and very thankful for their deliverance from hell, and the wrath to come. There are three things in hell — Torment of Body, — Horror of Conscience, — Loss of God.

By our Pains and Torments, Gouts and Stone, we think of the Torments of Hell, or may think.

By the horror of Conscience that we meet withall, we may think of the horror of Conscience there.

And by Gods withdrawing, and Gods departing from us here, we may think of the losse of God for ever there.

These things are not in perfection here: In hea­ven there is nothing but the presence of God, and all the comforts there flow from that Fountain.— In hell there's nothing but the absence of God, and all the [Page 466] miseries there flow from that Fountain.— This life lyes between both. And what if God will (that we may be sensible of the great deliverance from the wrath to come) give us a taste of hell, by his withdrawings and by his departings from us for a season.

Thirdly, I am sure, 'tis very fit that we should be conformed unto Jesus Christ. As Christ was confor­med unto us, in reference to our Temptations; so 'tis fit we should be conformed to him, in reference to his Desertions. Christ was deserted, Christ was for­saken, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Surely, the Disciple is not above his Master. But

Fourthly, I am sure of this, That God loves to see the workings of all our graces, our Faith, and Love especially: There are some graces that do not open nor shew themselves, but in the Sunshining day of Gods pre­sence. When the Sun shines, the Marigold opens. When the Sun shines, the Fish that lay at the bottom of the water in a cloudy day, swim at the top of the water, and are seen. In the Sunshining day of Gods presence, then our Thankfulness, our Joy, our Assu­rance floats, and are to be seen upon the top of the water. But there are other graces, that are best seen when God withdraws, and when God is absent,— Faith in God,— And love to God especially.

Faith in God, For Faith works best, when it works all alone, without the Auxiliaries of Comfort. 'Tis no great matter for a Wife to believe her Husband's Love, when he is at home, and daily and hourly shewing kindness: But when he is abroad, and absent and she hears not from him, then to believe his Love, is somewhat: So to believe the Love of God towards us, when he is present, is no great matter, though it's good: But when God is gone, when God is absent, then to believe his love, is Faith, worthy of God, as Parisiensis speaks.

Thus also, our love unto God doth and will ap­pear: For when God is present with us, and shines upon us, then we see Gods love to us; but when God is absent from us, by our longings after him, then we see our love unto God. Now I say, What if God will, to draw out all our graces, and that he may see the workings of our graces, Faith, and Love especially; what if he will withdraw and absent himself from his people for a time? But,

5. What if God will, for the good and benefit of others, withdraw and absent himself, and depart from his own people? In the Book of the Cant. we find that when Christ doth withdraw from his Spouse, and she could not find him, Chap. 5.6. she searches after him, enquires for him, makes great complaint: Then the Daughters of Israel say, Whither is thy be­loved gone, O thou fairest among women? whither is thy beloved turned aside, that we may seek him with thee? So long as he was present, others were not drawn on for to seek him with her; but now he is absent, and she looks after him, and complains for want of him, now others are drawn to enquire after him.

And why so? But to teach us thus much, that God will so over-rule the desertions of his people, that his with-drawment from them, shall draw others to him. And thus now you see, there is reason, and good rea­son, why God should some times depart from, for­sake, and be absent, even from his own people for a time: And that's the first thing.

2. Secondly, The Saints and People of God, are very sensible of his displeasure: How long Lord? They are most sensible of this, they look upon it as a very tedious thing, and m [...]st afflictive, to lie under Gods depar­ture: How long Lord?

Words of Expostulation, note Affection, especi­ally [Page 468] if they come with an Ingemination: And so you have it in the 13 Psalm, How long wilt thou forget me, O Lord, for ever; how long wilt thou hide thy face from me, how long shall I take counsel in my soul. Four how longs: How long, how long, how long, how long. 'Tis a very tedious thing, and most afflictive to the people of God, to lie under Gods departures.

It was so with Christ: ye may measure the hearts of the Saints, by the heart of Christ. The First in every kind, is the Rule of the rest. Christ was the first of Saints. Now though our Saviour Christ met with ma­ny afflictions and troubles in his death, you shall find, he is most sensible of Gods departure: My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? He doth not say, O my Disciples, why have you left me, and why have you forsaken me; but, my God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? That is not the greatest affliction, that weak men account the greatest: That is not the greatest burthen, that a weak man accounts the greatest, but that which a strong man accounts the greatest burthen, is the greatest burthen. Why now, that the Rock of Ages, Christ himself should complain under this of Gods forsaking; what doth this argue? When Paul cries out, Oh wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from this body of death: Will you not conclude thereby, that the body of Death was a great burthen, that the sin of our Nature was a great burthen? So, when Christ himself shall cry out, and complain of Gods forsaking, and departing, will you not conclude then, surely this is a burthen in­deed! This is that the Saints and People of God, are the most sensible of.

2. It is the property of a gracious soul, to be most affected with the inside, and the spiritual part of mercies, and of deliverances: Though God give [Page 469] them outward deliverances, they are not so much af­fected with the outward part, as with the inside, and the spiritual part of the deliverance. And therefore in Mich. 7.18. Who is a God like unto thee, that par­doneth Iniquity, and passeth by the Transgression of the remnant of his heritage: he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. It was an outward deliverance that God gave them, but the Church is most affected with the spiritual part on't.

And as they are most affected with the spiritual part of a Deliverance, so they are alwaies most affected with the inward, and the spiritual part of an Afflicti­on. — What's that?— The Anger of God, the Displeasure of God, the Desertion of God, the Departing of God. This is the thing that the Saints therefore are the most affected with, and the most sensible of.

3. That is most afflictive to a gracious soul, which is most contrary to him, and to his will; All that is affliction, which is contrary to ones will. It was no great matter in it self, that Mordecai did not pull off his Hat, and bow his Knee to Haman; it was no great afflicti­on in it self, but it was contrary to Haman's pride, and that's an affliction that is contrary to ones will. Now what is the will, and what is the desire of the Saints, but the presence of God? That they may ever be at their Fathers Knee, that they may ever be in his Arms, and held in the Im [...]races of his Love, held in his Smiles; this is the thing that they do most desire. And therefore in the very beginning of the Cant. Kiss me with the kisses of thy Mouth: This therefore, being the thing that they do most desire, the contrary must be the most afflictive.

4. That must needs be most afflictive, which hin­ders them in all their Injoyments: Without the presence [Page 470] of God, they have no injoyment, their injoyments are as no injoyments; the presence of God with them, is the top of all their injoyments. If the Sun be down, 'tis not all the Torches, and Candles lighted up, that will give you a day; and if God be gone, 'tis not all your Creature-comforts, will give you joy. Take away the word MY, and take away the word GOD; you take away the comfort of the word GOD, if you take a­way the word MY. And therefore, Whereas the Lord had used to call the Israelites his people, and God had a little forsaken them; he saith to Moses, Thy people, and the people, but not my people. But then,

5. Thereby the Saints and people of God, are ex­posed to great temptations: When God goes, the Devil comes. And so far as God doth go, so much the De­vil comes; if God do forsake and depart from a man, as to final rejection, then the Devil comes in a way of possession. If God departs from a man, in a way of desertion, then the Devil comes in a way of temp­tation; as God goes, so the Devil comes. Now, Is it not a grievous thing for the Saints, and People of God, to be exposed to Temptations? Thus they are by the departure of God, and by the absence of God, by the withdrawments of God. No wonder therefore that Gods departure is the most afflictive to them. And that's the second.

3. But then thirdly, As the departings of God, are the most afflictive to a gracious soul; so when the Lord is in any measure departed, it is the great de­sire of the Saints and people of God, that God would return. Not that God would take away his hand, the Psalmist doth not say so; We are afflicted, Lord, take away our affliction; no, but return, O Lord, how long. They do not say, We are in this or that distress; Take away this distress and misery from us: No, But return, [Page 471] O Lord. This is the great thing that they do most desire: When God is gone in any measure, or departed from them, their great desire is, that God would return unto them; and it must needs be so. For,

First, What is the presence of God, but the most desirable thing in the world: When the dayes of re­freshing shall come from his presence. 'Tis the presence of Christ, that will make the Day of Judgment, a Day of refreshing. God's presence, is the Saints pleasure: In it there is a filling up of our indigent Nature:— In it there is the obtainment of our last end, with the knowledge thereof:— In it there is an universal good. Gods presence is the most desirable thing in all the world: No wonder then, that when God is departed in any measure, the Saints should above all things in the world, desire that God would return again. But,

Secondly, God never returns empty handed to his people. If a Husband be long absent from his Wife, he will not return empty handed; I am sure, God will not return empty handed unto his people: When he hath stricken them, he will let out more love unto them, then ever before. It was a sad and a sharp dispensation, that the Basket of good Figgs should be carried away Captive, with the Basket of bad Figgs; but see how God returns unto them, not empty handed, Jer. 24. The word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel, like these good Figgs, so will I acknowledge them that are carried away Captive of Judah, whom I have sent out of this place, into the land of the Chaldeans, for their good; for I will set mine eyes upon them for good. and I will bring them again to this Land; and I will build them, and not pull them down, and I will plant them, and not pluck them up; and I will give them an heart to know me, that I am [Page 472] the Lord, and they shall be my people, and I will be their God; For they shall return unto me with their whole heart. See how God returns! when he returns, he doth not return empty handed unto his people: When God returns unto you, he will not onely pay you the principal of your Injoyment; but will pay you all your forbearance-mony too. But,

Thirdly and especially: Take the Saints and people of God, and where do they live, but in the love of Christs Per­son, not of his benefits, not of his Comforts, but they live in the love of his Person; Look into the Book of the Cant. and you shall find, how the heart of Christ is drawn out in love to the Person of the Spouse; Let me hear thy voice, saith he, for thy voice is sweet, and thy Countenance is comely: how fair is thy love, my Sister, my Spouse; thy lipps. Oh my Spouse, drop as the Hony-Comb, and so he goes on insisting in his love upon the Per­son.

So doth the Spouse also towards him, my beloved is altogether lovely, and as you read, my beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among Ten Thousand. And so she goes on. Thus love is drawn out towards the Person of Christ: Now, If this be the spirit, and if this be the disposition of the Saints and the people of God, that they live in love to the Person of Christ, then no wonder that when Christ is with-drawn, they do above all things desire that he would returne again. This must needs be, for they live in the love of his Person, and not of his benefits, not of his Comforts; Therefore above all things they say, Return, O Lord, return.

Fourthly when the Lord doth return unto his peo­ple, he doth then Repent him concerning his Ser­vants. Return, O Lord, how long, and let it re­pent thee concerning thy Servants, For the [Page 473] opening and cleering of this, four things briefly.

First, What it is for God to Repent.

2. Whether God doth at any time repent, or will at any time repent.

3. How it may appear that when God returns un­to his people, that then he will repent him concern­ing his Servants. And,

4. How should we know in the Day and time of Gods departure from us, that God will again return unto us.

1. As for the first: If you aske what it is for God to repent.

I Answer. It is to change the dispensation of his anger. God don't repent by the changing of his affection, but he repents by the changing of his dispensation. As when a man is writing, and he blotts out what he hath written, he repents that he had wrote such a thing; So when God is writing hard things against his people in a way of dispensation, and he shall blott out that dispensation, then God is said to re­pent: So it repented the Lord that he had made man, in the 6. of Gen.

2. Secondly, If you ask, Whether God doth, or will at any time repent.

I Answer. yes; Expressly, in the 32 Exod. 14. And the Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people. 'Tis a direct Answer of prayer to the very words. At the 12. v. Moses prayes; Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil ag [...]inst thy people. And at the 14. v. The Lord repented of the [...]v [...]l which he thought to do unto his people. God doth and will some times repent.

Onely you must know; God will more easily repent of his Judgments, than of his Mercies. And you must know that the gifts of God are of two sorts.—Ordi­nary [Page 474] and Common gifts, and so God repents of them, and he takes them away, It repented the Lord that he had made man—Of the gifts of God that con­cern effectual vocation, so God repenteth not; For the gifts and callings of God are without repentance. Those gifts that concern our effectual Vocation, those God repents not of.

3. But then Thirdly, how may it appear that when the Lord doth return unto his people, that then he will repent him concerning his Servants.

Why that appears by the thing it self. If a man say he will go from such a Town and never return a­gain, and then do return, he doth repent him con­cerning the thing, by his return: And so concerning God. In the 18th Jer. At what instant I shall speak concerning a Nation, and concerning a Kingdom, to pluck up, and to pul down, and to destroy it, If that Nation against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. Well,

4. But then 4thly. How shall we know in case God be absent, or God be departed, how shall we be able in the time of Gods absence, or departure, to know that God will return again. Suppose that God be withdrawn from my soul in particular, I am this day under a spiritual desertion, how shall I know that God will return again to me. Or suppose that God have forsaken, and departed much from the Nation, how shall we know whether God will return again or no?

Indeed it is a very hard thing to bear the departures of God; But yet if I did know that God would re­turn again, I should be comforted; How therefore shall I know, both in reference to my own soul in particular, and in reference to the Nation, that God will return again?

Here are two cases, and I shall speak all along to both.

If your Question do relate unto your own particu­lar case and soul. I Answer thus;

You may know it by your Relations. If you be in Covenant with God; God will return again to you though now he be absent; Though he afflict you with Rods, his loving kindness will he not take away, nor suffer his faithfulness to fail. Will a Father or Mother leave their Child? no; I am sure God will not. Joseph was under a great displeasure with his Bre­thren, yet notwithstanding at the last he could hold no longer, but he bursts out, and saith, I am your Brother Joseph: And so though you be under some great dis­pleasure from Christ, yet there is a time when Christ will break forth and say unto you, I am yous Brother Jesus. And I say, if you be in Covenant with God, you may conclude it, for so doth the Psalmist, Psal. 42. ult. I shall yet praise him. My soul, thou art cast down and disquieted, but be quieted, for I shall yet praise him.—Why, he is the health of my Countenance, and my God. You may know it then by your Relations. But

2. Though God or Christ be gon, and in a great measure departed from your souls, yet, If you cannot leave God, God cannot leave you. In our conversion, God comes to us before we come to him. But in Aposta­sie we depart from God before he departs from us. How is it therefore with you? Can you say truly, My soul cannot leave God, then conclude and say, God will return again, and cannot leave you. But

3. Though God be very much gon, and departed from you in a great measure; Yet if in the time of his absence he doth send you letters and tokens of love, you [Page 476] may know for certain he will return again. Possibly God, or Christ may appoint an affliction to bring you a to­ken, or to bring you a message of love in the time of his absence—Possibly, he may appoint or order some providence to bring you a Token, or some message of love.—Possibly he may order and ap­point upholding mercy, to be a pledge to you of de­livering mercy. And believe it, upholding mercy is alwaies a pledge of delivering mercy. How is it therefore with you, are you deserted, is Christ gon; yet have you not had the upholding presence of God all this while? then be of good Comfort, Christ is not gon but he will return again.

4. If your case and condition be such, that al­though you cannot find Christ, Christ is gon: though Christ be gon, and departed from you, and you cannot find him, yet, If you can direct others to the find­ing of him when you cannot find him, then certainly he is not gon, but he will return again unto you. The Spouse in the Canticles seeks after Christ: saith she, he hath withdrawn himself and I cannot find him. Chap. 5. The Daughters of Jerusalem say, whither is thy beloved turned aside, that we may seek him with thee? —my Beloved is gon down into his Garden, to the beds of spices. Mark, she could not find him her self, and yet she can direct others to the finding of him— What doth this signifie, but plainly teach us thus much, that though Christ be gon, and we cannot find him, yet if we can direct others to the finding of him, he is not quite gon, but he will return again. Now is it thus with you, when Christ is gon cannot you direct others to the finding of him? If you can, then build upon it, he is not so gon but he will return again.

But then, Secondly, suppose that the Lord be departed [Page 477] from this Nation much, we are under a very great displeasure of the Lord this day: God is departed from us, how shall we know now in the time of Gods de­parture, that he will return again to this Nation.

First, you know how it is with a man that doth leave his house: though he go away, yet if his Child­ren be there, and his goods be there, his Plate and his Jewels there, he will either come again to them, or send for them to himself! Believe it, Christians, God hath a very great Cupbord of Plate in this Nation, Christ hath much plate in England, as much as in any Nation in the World, and he will not lose his plate. There are three things very pretious in the eies of God—His truth—His worship—His Children: Such plate the Lord hath much of here, and he will not lose his plate, therefore he will return again. Though he may afflict, and afflict sorely, yet he will return a­gain.

2. God will never go, while prayer staies. If there be a praying spirit, and a spirit of prayer be up in this Nation, conclude that God is not quite gone, but he will return again.

3. You may know it by the Providential Pledges, that the Lord sends you. God was very much dis­pleased with Jonah; you know, he threw him over-board into the Sea; but then he appointed a Whale to receive him, to give him entertainment: To pro­vide a Chamber of Preservation, even in the Belly of destruction. What did this signifie? It signified thus much, that God would deliver him afterwards; this Providence, was a Pledg for after-deliverance. So David was hunted in the Wilderness by Sau [...], but in the Wilderness, God gave Saul into his hand? What did that signifie? That present deliverance, did signifie to David, an after-deliverance. Now though God be [Page 478] gone, and greatly departed from us here: Have you not many Providential Pledges of his Love? What think you of the house, that should have been blown up with fire lately? What doth it signifie, but thus much, That God doth mind to restrain the remnant of their rage: How many Pledges, Providential pledges, have we had of Gods return; therefore let us say: Yet God will return again. But,

4ly. If your estate and condition be such, upon which the Lord will deliver for his Names sake, and with a Notwithstanding; then why should you not conclude that God will return again: Friends, There is a time when God will deliver his people, for his Names sake; and with a notwithstanding all their sins, and notwithstanding all his own displeasures: Neverthe­less, he saved them for his Names sake, Psal. 106.— And when is that, that God will deliver a people for his Names-sake, and with a n [...]twithstanding?— Look into the 44. Psal. and you shall see when. Look when a people do suffer for his Names-sake, then God will deliver for his Name sake: Arise for our help, and redeem us for thy Mercy sake. Why? at the 22. v. For thy sake we are killed all the day long, and accounted as Sheep for the slaughter: Therefore, Lord, arise for thy Name sake. For, for thy sake are we killed. When a people suffer for God's Names sake, then God will deliver for his Names sake, then God will deliver with a notwithstanding.— How is it with you now? You are in a suffering day, but are not all your sufferings for the Name of Christ? Be of good comfort then, though God may be departed, and your City destroyed, yet he is n [...]t quite gone, but will return again. But then,

5ly. What shall we do that God may return a­gain? Answer, Still I will cary it on in answer to both the Cases.

If this Question do relate unto your own particu­lar souls: If you say, God is now gone from me, what shall I do that God may return to my soul again?

I answer briefly, First, Be sure of this, that you keep your door open, the door of your hearts open for Christ's return. When the Master is abroad, the servant fits up to keep the door open for his coming in.

2. Be sure of this, that now in the time of Christs absence, you neglect no duty though very uns [...]voury to you. The more unsavoury the duty now is unto you through the absence of Christ, the more acceptable unto Christ.

3. Be sure that you go and stand there where Christ uses to be. And let me tell you this, If you cannot find him where he uses to be, you shall find him where he uses not to be, as you read in Cant. 3.

4. Then, be sure of this, that you be not foolish with other lovers in the time of his absence; L [...]st he bear thereof and come home no more.

5. Be sure of this also, that you do gather in upon Christ by all those words, and by all those things whereby he seems to put you away from him. As the Woman of Canaan, true Lord, but the Dogs eat of the Crumbs— which made Christ turn in again, Oh Woman, great is thy Faith, be it unto thee even as thou wilt. But then,

6. Be sure that you send unto him one way or other, and tell him that you are sick of love unto his Person: Then he returns. And,

7. Now say, Lord, though thou killest me, yet will I trust in thee. Friends, it was Faith that brought Christ and your souls together at the first; and it must be Faith that must bring Christ and your souls toge­ther after a desertion. Whatsoever therefore the [Page 480] displeasure of the Lord be upon you, say, Lord; Though thou killest me, I will trust in thee; Though I cannot see thee, yet I will trust in thee, and wait upon thee.

But then, Secondly, suppose it be the case of the Nation.

God is departed in a great measure, who doth not see it? What shall we therefore now do that God may return unto us again.

Friends, Truly it is not an easie thing to bring God back again, when he is in a way of displeasure to­wards a people: The Lord was angry, and sorely dis­pleased with Jonah: The Mariners prayed, Jonah confest his sin, and yet the storm ceased not, yet God goes on. I say, 'tis not an easie thing to bring God back to a Nation, when he is once in a way of dis­pleasure against a people.

And some times the Lord will never return unto a people again: The case of the Gaderens in the mat­ter of their Hogs: The whole City came unto Christ, and besought him to be gone. And away he went, and we don't read that ever he came there again.

Sometimes he will return again, but with reserves of after-Judgments: In Exod. 32. Moses prayed, and the Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people, v. 14. But, saith he, v. 34. Nevertheless, in the day when I visit, I will visit their sin upon them. Nevertheless: For all I thus repent me, and for all I do thus return unto them; never­theless in the day when I visit, I will visit their sin upon them: Sometimes I say, he doth return with reserves of after-Judgments, yet if you look into the 3d. of Deut. the thing is exprest: The Lord will judge his people, and repent himself for his Servants, when he seeth that their power is gone, and there is none shut up or left.

Well but then, what shall we do? It is too ma­nifest, God is in a great measure gone from us, and departed from us, what shall we do now that God may return again unto this Nation?

First, Be sure that you make your peace with Christ. Christ is this day offended, his Gospel and Institutions trampled upon. A Prophet will the Lord your God raise up among you, hear ye him; if not, he will not pardon you; that is, Christ. He that sins against the great Remedy, shall be judg'd without remedy: Christ is the great Remedy; It is a danger­ous thing to sin against Christ. O, saith Christ, Je­rusalem, how often would I have gathered you, and you would not be gathered; your house is left unto you de­solate. And in Matth. 22. you read, That after that great invitation to the Supper, those that were invited refused, They made light of it, went their wayes: and the remnant took his servants, and in­treated them spitefully, and slew them: But when the King heard thereof, he was wroth, and he sent forth his Armies, and destroyed those Murderers, and burnt up their City. It is a Gospel quarrel: And there­fore I say, Is the Lord gone and departed from us? O make your peace with Christ, it is Christ that is offended: O make your peace with Christ, else never look the Father should return again. But then,

2. If you desire that God may return again unto you, Then let us all return unto the Lord with all our hearts, Joel 2.12. Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, with fast­ing, and with weeping, and with mourning: Who knoweth if he will return, and repent, and leave a blessing behind him? Who knows, if you will turn [Page 472] unto him with all your heart, but he will return to you, and leave a blessing behind him?

But look into Hosea 6. Come, and let us return un­to the Lord; for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up; after two dayes will he revive us, in the third day he will raise us up, and we shal live in his sight. God will return.

Well, but what assurance have we of it? are we certain God will return? — Yes, vers. 3. His go­ing forth is prepared as the morning. As sure as a Morning is after Night, so sure will God return: his going forth is prepared as the Morning; as cer­tain he will return as the Morning doth.

I, but when will God return?

In due season: He shall come unto us as the Rain, as the latter and former Rain unto the earth, that is, he will return in due season, his return of love shall be as the Rain, as the former and the latter Rain in their season. Would you now therefore, that God should return to you, O now do you return unto God.

And that you may do so, only thus.

First, Be sure of this, that you pray and beleeve, beleeve and pray. Some pray, but do not believe; some say they believe, but they do not pray. That which prayer cannot do, nothing can do; and That which faith will not do, prayer cannot do. The pray­er of faith shall heal the sick; and who knows but it may heal a poor sick Nation also: And therefore I say, pray and beleeve, and believe and pray.

2. Be sure of this, that in all your addresses unto God in prayer, you come to the bottome in the matter of your Confession. If you have dayes of fasting, and prayer, and humiliation, be sure that you come [Page 473] to the bottome in the matter of your Confession, to confess the Original sin of all the displeasure that is come upon us: Otherwise, though you fast, and pray, and confess, yet if you do not confess and be­wail that sin which is the original of all our mise­ries, you do but cry Lapwing cry, farthest off from the Nest, and it will do us no good.

3. Be sure of this also, That you put away the evil of your doings, and do the contrary good; put a­way the evil of your doings, especially your Ashta­roth. Friends, though you fast and pray, and humble your selves; if you do not reform, all your fasting and prayer will not bring God back again. All the dayes of fasting and prayer that you keep, will do nothing, unless there be reformation. Yet I confess still, God must have a latitude, and he will some times save and deliver before we are prepared for it; but I say, ordinarily, though you fast, and pray, and cry never so much, yet if you do not re­form, all your prayers will not do: And though you do reform, yet if you do not reform, and put a­way your Ashtaroth, that sin that hath brought this displeasure, your Reformation will not do. And though you do thus also, yet if you do not do the contrary good, it will not serve. Look to that therefore.

4. Be sure of this, That you go out of your selves, and lay down all your worldly interests at the feet of the Lord, saying, Come Lord, Return O Lord: not return, O my Trade return; not return, O our Ships return; not return, O our Peace return; but return O Lord, return O Lord. Friends, the more you go out of your selves, the more fit you are for God to return unto you.

[Page 474]5. And to conclude it, If you desire that God should return unto you, and that you may return to God, go then to God, and pray, and say, Turn us O Lord, and we shall be turned. And thus I have spoken to this case.

Yet there is one thing more. It is a tedious thing to lye under Gods departure: There may be hopes that God may return again; But what shall we do in the interim till God returns again?

I will briefly speak to it, and have done.

If your Question do relate unto your particular Souls, and you say, God is now gone from my soul, what shall I do in the interim till God return a­gain?

First, be sure that you carry it as the afflicted Spouse of Christ in the absence of your husband; and for that you may read at large in the book of the Canticles.

2. Be sure of this, That you maintain your inte­rest, and let not the sense of your interest in God and Christ be dissolved. Return O Lord, how long! and let it repent thee concerning thy servants. Still they keep their interest, Thy servants still. And so the Spouse, I am my Beloveds, and my Beloved is mine.

3. Be sure of this, That you never come to say, God will never return again; though you say, Lord, how long! yet never say, God is gone, and will re­turn no more. Poor drooping, afflicted and de­serted soul, be sure of this, that you never say, God will never return; lo, he cometh leaping over the Mountains, over difficulties to you; Only be you willing to go leaping over the Mountains of diffi­culties for to meet with him.

And 2. If your question do concern the publick, or the Nation, What shall we do till God do re­turn again?

I answer, Then go and lament after God. Is God gone and is God departed in a great measure from this Nation? now go and lament after God. Twenty years when the Ark was taken, the children of Israel lamented after God in the Ark. How long how long God may stay at a distance from us, God only knows; in the interim let us all now go and lament after God. And

2. Be sure that you keep his Ambassadors with you. When he calls home his Ambassadors, he proclaims Warr against a Nation; but so long as he hath a­ny Agents among you, he is not quite gone. And

3. If ever God begins to return to us again, be thankful for the beginnings of his return. He that is thankful for little, shall have much; and he that is thankful for the beginnings of return, shall have a whole return. Thus do then, and who knows but that the Lord may yet return, and leave a bles­sing behind him? That he may do so, let us now pray, and say with the Psalmist, Return O Lord, how long, and let it repent thee concerning thy Ser­vants.

Preventing Mercy. SERMON X.

Psalm 21.3.

For thou preventest him with the blessings of good­nesse.

Thou hast given him his hearts desire, and hast not with-holden the request of his lips, Selah. For thou preventest him with the blessings of goodnesse.

THis Psalm is a Psalm of Thanksgiving, wherein the Psalmist doth profess, that he will joy in the Lord, vers. 1. The King shall joy in thy strength O Lord, and in thy salvation how greatly shall he rejoyce! Why so? be­cause that the Lord had heard and granted his Pe­tition, Thou hast not with-holden the request of his lips, vers. 2. yea, more then so, Thou hast given him his hearts desire, vers. 2. yea more then so, thou hast given him more then he asked, for he asked life of thee, and thou gavest it him, even length of dayes for ever and ever, vers. 4. Yet more then so, thou hast not onely given him his hearts desire, an answer to his Prayer, and more then he prayed for, but thou hast prevented him with the blessings of goodness. As if he should say, Lord, I never asked a Kingdome, [Page 477] I never thought of a Kingdome, but thou hast prevented me with the blessings of thy goodness, and thou hast set a Crown of pure Gold on my head; blessings of goodness in the Hebrew is put for good blessings, wherewith the Lord did anticipate the Psalmist; for thou preventest him with the blessings of goodness; in the consideration of which pre­venting Love and Grace, his heart was much warmed, and affected.

From whence then I take up this Note or Do­ctrine.

Doct. That it is a sweet thing, and worthy of all our thankful acknowledgements to be prevent­ed with the blessings of Gods goodness, or Gods good blessings.

Preventing mercy is sweet mercy, soul-refresh­ing mercy, which a thankful gracious heart doth well observe, and in the observation thereof is much refreshed therewithall.

For the opening and prosecution of which Ar­gument, first I shall labour to shew that it is no new thing for God to walk in the way of pre­venting mercy with the Children of Men. Second­ly, How, and in what respects God will prevent us with his mercies, or his blessings. Thirdly, What those choise blessings are, wherewith God will pre­vent the Children of Men. Fourthly, Why God will carry on the work of his mercy in a way of preventing Love. Fifthly, What there is in this preventing Love, that should be so sweet and soul-refreshing to a thankful gracious heart. And Sixthly, In case that God hath prevented any of us with his love or mercy, what is our duty that doth flow from thence.

[Page 478]1. It is no new thing for God to walk in a way of preventing love and mercy with the Chil­dren of Men: Thus he hath alwayes dealt, doth deal, and will deal so; thus he hath alwayes dealt, so with the World, so with the Nations of the World, so with great Towns and Places, so with Families, and so with particular Souls.

1. As for the World; Did not God first come with his mercy to the World, before the World made after it? God so loved the World, that he gave his onely begotten Son: But how did he give this gift? Did we beg it first, did we seek it first, or did he first prevent us with it? When Adam, and all the World in Adam had sinned, fallen, did A­dam and the World first go to God for Christ, or for the promise of Christ; or did God first give out the promise of Christ, before Adam or the World sought it? The Seed of the Woman shall break the Serpents head; God first gave out this promise of Christ, before Adam or the World sought it. Thus in regard of the World.

2. And as he hath dealt thus with the World, in regard of preventing mercy, so with the Nati­ons of the World: with the Nation of the Jews; so in the 16 of Ezek. When thou layedst in thy blood, and no eye pittied thee, I passed by thee, and said unto thee, live. So when the Nation of the Jews shall yet be converted again: He is found of those that seek him not: it is spoken of the calling of the Jews. And as for the Nations of the Gentiles, sayes our Saviour Christ to his Disciples, go teach all Nations. Did the Nations of the Gentiles come to Christ, and say, Lord, the Nation of the Jews have reje­cted thee, now then let the Gospel come to us, and [Page 479] we will receive it? No, but sayes our Saviour Christ, Go, teach all Nations, whatever they be, Rich or Poor, High or Low, whatever they be, Go teach all Nations, and I will be with you, for their Conversion, for their Salvation, to the end of the World. Thus in regard of Nations.

3. So also in regard of Towns, great Towns, Places, Corporations. What worse Town then that of Capernaum, which afterward was exalted to Heaven? But did Capernaum first come to Christ, or did Christ first go to Capernaum? Christ first went to them, Mat. 4. Ye read of several Towns in the Acts of the Apostles that did receive the Go­spel by the hands of the Apostles, Iconium, Derbe, Lystra; but did these Towns first seek to the Apo­stles, and say, Pray come and Preach Christ to us, or did the Apostles first go to them? The Apostles first went with Commission from God to them. Thus in regard of Towns.

4. And as God dealt thus with Towns, pre­venting Towns and Corporations with the means of Grace, when they never thought on it, so in regard of Familes. Who doth not know how God by his mercy did prevent the Fa­mily of the Jaylor, converting that Family by his preventing Love? Who doth not know how God dealt by Zacheus and his Family: Zacheus got up the tree, may be, in curiosity among the multitude to see Christ go by, but Christ seeing him, invites himself to his house, Come down Zacheus, for to day I must abide at thy house. Did Zacheus first invite Christ? or did Christ first invite himself? Christ first invited himself. Thus in regard of Families.

[Page 480]5. And as for particular souls, you know how it was with Mathew the Publican sitting at the re­ceit of Custome; Come and follow me, says Christ, preventing of him. And you know how it was with Paul, I was a Blasphemer, and I was a Persecu­tor, but I obtained Mercy: How so? Did he seek it first? No, sayes he, I went breathing out threat­nings against the people of God, and God met me, And unhorsed me, God prevented me with his grace and mercy: Thus Paul. And pray tell me, what do you think of that whole Chapter, Luke 15? There are three parables; the parable of the lost Groat, of the lost Sheep, and of the lost Son. The Woman lost her Groat, and swept to find it; but did the Groat make first towards the woman, or the woman make after the Groat first? The Shepherd lost his Sheep; but did the Sheep make first after the Shepherd, or the Shepherd after the Sheep? Indeed it is said concerning the lost Son, that he first takes up a resolution, I will return home to my Father; but when his Father saw him afar off, he ran and met him, and imbraced him, and welcom­ed him home; Why? but to shew that the work of Grace and Mercy shall be all along carryed on in a way of preventing love. Thus it was with the World from the beginning, thus with the Nations of the Jews and Gentiles, thus with great Towns and Corporations, thus with whole Families, and thus with particular Souls: It is no new thing therefore for God to walk in a way of preventing love towards the children of men. That is the first.

II. Well but then secondly, How, and in what respects will God prevent us with his [Page 481] mercies, or with his good blessings?

He will prevent us with his Mercies,

1. First, In reference to our own deservings; when we deserve evil, we shall receive good. Is it not a great prevention, when a man shall deserve evil, to receive good? Thus will God deal with men sometimes: He hath not dealt with us after our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. Did not Moses deserve a sharp chiding, and to be beaten out of his excuses, when God sent him upon his work, and he stood excusing the matter so long? Exodus 4. he said, O my Lord, send I pray thee by the hand of him whom thou wilt send: and the anger of the Lord was handled against Moses: What was the issue of it? Instead of blows, mercy, in­stead of chiding and threatning, a promise; And he said, is not Aaron the Levite thy Brother, I know that he can speak well, and lo, behold he cometh forth to meet thee, and when he seeth thee he will be glad in his heart; and thou shalt speak unto him, and put words in his mouth, and I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach ye what ye shall do: Here is good in the stead of evil. Thus God prevents us with his mercies, in reference to our own deservings.

2. As God doth prevent us, thus in reference to our own deservings, so he doth prevent us also in reference to his own proceedings of common pro­vidence. Look when God doth give in a mercy, that is beyond the reach of the second cause, that is stronger or greater then the root of the second cause will bear, or beyond common providence, then God is said to prevent us with his mercy: Now thus God doth many times give in a mercy, [Page 482] that the Root of the second cause cannot bear. So he gave Elizabeth a Child, and Sarah a Child, when they were old; With this staff came I over this brook (sayes Jacob) and lo, I am become two bands. And thus Israel said, A Syrian ready to perish was my Father (Deuteron. 26.5.) and he went down into Aegypt, and sojourned there with a few, and be­came there a Nation, Great, Mighty, and Populous. A Syrian ready to perish was my Father: As if a man should say, I came here to London poor, having but my Pen and Inkhorn by my side, and now I am risen up to a great Estate, beyond all my own Parts, Wits, and Endeavours, for the Lord hath prevented me with the blessings of his goodness. Thus God doth sometimes prevent us with his mer­cy, in reference to his own proceedings of common Providence, or the course of Nature.

3. And then again Thirdly, As the Lord doth thus prevent us with his mercy in reference to his own proceedings of common providence, so he doth prevent us with his mercy in reference to our own preparedness. Look when God doth give in a mercy that we are not prepared for, then God is said to prevent us with his mercy. Now was it not a great and choice mercy for the Ark to be brought home again to Israel? Yet notwithstanding you shall find they were not prepared for it; before they were prepared, God gave them in the Mercy, the Ark came back, 1 Sam. 6. Chapter, but their preparation you read of in the 7 Chap. And Sa­muel said to all the House of Israel, if you do return unto the Lord with all your hearts, then put away the strange Gods, and Ashtaroth; and the Children of Israel did put away Baalim & Ashtaroth, and served [Page 483] the Lord onely. This was after the Ark came home; so then the Ark returned before they were thus prepared. And you know what is said in the 57 of Isa. For the iniquity of his Covetousness I was wroth, and smote him, I hid me and was wroth, and he went on frowardly in the way of his heart: What then? vers. 18. I have seen his wayes and will heal him, I will lead him also, and restore Comforts to him, and to his Mourners; over, and beyond all preparations, for he went on frowardly in the way of his heart, and he was not prepared but not­withstanding his want of preparation, I have seen his wayes and will heal him, and will restore com­forts to him, and to his Mourners. Thus God doth sometimes prevent us with his mercy, in reference to our own preparedness for his mercy.

4. As God doth prevent us with his mercy, in reference to our preparedness for his mercy, so he doth prevent us with his mercy, in reference to all our Prayers. Look when God gives in a mercy be­fore we pray for it, then God is truly said to pre­vent us with his mercy. It is ordinarily said, God will not set in his mercy before our Oven be hot; but if God should never set in his mercy till our Oven and Hearts be hot in Prayer, we had been an unredeemed people to this day: though God will answer Prayer, yet he will be found also of them that seek him not. Do ye say, why then should we pray? I answer, that you are to pray, not on­ly because it is your duty to pray, but, the more God works in an extraordinary way, the more it is our duty to be found in the use of ordinary means: And what if I say, that the same mercy may come as an answer of prayer, and yet in a way of preventing [Page 484] love too? What say you to the case of Hezekiah? When he was sick he prayed, and God heard his prayer, and health came as an answer of prayer, and yet he was prevented, for fifteen years more God gave in to him, which was beyond his prayer. You know how it was with Zacharias; sayes the Lord, I have heard thy prayer, and gave him a Child, yet he did not pray for a Child, for he could not believe that he should have a Child; so that God gave him a Child in a way of preventing mercy, and yet it was in answer of prayer too. So here in the Text, Thou hast given him his hearts desire, and hast not with-holden the request of his lips, for thou hast prevented him with the blessings of thy goodness; Why? why although the mercy received may be an answer of prayer in regard of the body of it, yet it may come in a way of pre­venting love, as to the moreness of it; so it was with David, so with Hezekiah, and so with Za­charias. That's a fourth thing, God doth sometimes prevent, as in reference to our prayer, giving in mercy beyond all our prayers.

5. And then fifthly, As God doth prevent us in reference to our prayers, so in reference to our believing thoughts or expectances. When the Lord turned the Captivity of Zion, we were like them that dreamed: why were we as them that dream­ed? Why, truly we never looked for it, nor ex­pected it, we did not think on it, it was beyond all our expectations. Thus God doth prevent us sometimes in reference to our expectances, to our faith, and to our thoughts.

6. As he thus prevents us with his mercy in re­ference to our thoughts, and faith, and expe­ctance, [Page 485] so in reference to his own promises, and the conditions thereof; if I promise a man a kind­ness upon a condition, and do that kindness for him when he hath not performed the condition, then I prevent him with kindness. Now the Lord hath promised many a mercy upon a condition, and yet given the mercy when we have not per­formed the condition; I said (sayes David) I would confess my sin, and thou Lord forgavest my ini­quity. Lord, thou hast made a promise of for­giveness, upon condition of our confession and humiliation; I did not go so far, I did but say, I would confess my sin, and thou prevented'st me with thy forgiving Love. Thus now you see, how, and in what respects God doth prevent us with his mercy; he doth prevent us with his mercy in reference to our deservings, in reference to his own proceedings of Common Providence, in reference to all our Prayers, in reference to our Faith and Expectance, in reference to our Prepared­ness, and in reference to his own Promises, and the conditions thereof. That's the Second.

III. Well but then thirdly, what are those choice blessings, wherewith God will prevent his people?

What not? But the greater the blessing is, the more it is steeped in Preventing Love. There are outward blessings, and there are inward blessings, there are temporal blessings, and there are eternal blessings; Now though the preventing love of God doth shine forth in all, yet the greater the blessing or the mercy is, the more it is irradiated with the beams of preventing Love.

Will ye instance?

[Page 486]1. First, Will ye instance in the great matter of our Redemption? What greater mercy or bles­sing then our Redemption, in and by Jesus Christ? that's of Grace; in whom we have Redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our sins, accord­ing to the riches of his Grace. And when Christ came into the World in reference to our Redem­ption to take our Nature upon him, do but see what a pack of wicked men were then extant up­on the ground, in the Luke 3.1. Now in the fif­teenth year of the Reign of Tiberius Caesar, (there s one) Pontius Pilate being Governour of Judea, (there's another) and Herod being Tetrarch of Ga­lilee, (there's another) and his Brother Philip Te­trarch of Iturea, Annas and Caiphas being High-Priests, the Word of God came unto John the Son of Zacharias in the Wilderness. And why was Christ born in such a time as this, and among such Com­pany, but all to shew, that the work of our Re­demption was to be carried on in a way of Prevent­ing Love.

2. Or will ye instance in the matter of our Con­version: What greater mercy or blessing then our Conversion? yet look into the 33 of Job, and you shall see, how that Mercy comes swimming down the stream of preventing Love. God speaketh once, yea twice, and yet man perceiveth it not; What then? In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumbrings upon the bed; then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their in­struction.

3. Or will ye instance in the matter of our Ju­stification: What greater mercy or blessing then that of our Justification? Yet this also comes [Page 487] swimming down the stream of preventing Love, for he justifies the ungodly. And in the 4th of the Romans it is said of Abraham, that he was ju­stified, not yet circumcised, for we say, that faith was reckoned to him for righteousness, vers. 9. How was it then reckoned, When he was in cir­cumcision or in uncircumcision, not in circumcision but in uncircumcision? Why, why not in circum­cision, but in his uncircumcision? but to shew that this mercy of Justification must be carryed on in a way of preventing Love.

4. Or will ye instance in the matter of our Sanctification? What greater mercy then to be truly sanctified? Yet this also comes swimming down the stream of preventing Love; I will wash ye with clean water: Such and such were some of you, but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified in the Name of the Lord. This also in a way of preventing Love.

5. Will ye instance in the matter of Conso­lation? What greater mercy t [...]en for a poore drooping soul to be truly comforted? This also comes in a way of preventing Love; e're ever I was aware, before I was aware, saith the Spouse, My Soul was as the Charets of Aminadab; I was unwilling to receive the Promise, my Soul re­fused to be comforted, but, e're ever I was aware, my Soul was as the Charets of a willing people, of Aminadab, that is of a willing people. When Christ was dead, how sad was Mary; Christ did but come unto her, and say, Mary, and she was comforted.

6. Will ye instance in the Revelation of the truths of the times? What greater blessing, then [Page 488] for a man to be well acquainted with the truth of the times, in opposition to Antichrist? Now sayes John in the 1 of Revel. (when these truths were given out) I heard a voice behind me; be­fore I was aware God prevented me, acquainting me with these truths of the Revelations.

7. Or will ye instance in outward blessings or mercies? then I'le appeal to you; In the great turnings of your lives, hath not God prevented you with his blessings? It is true, we are to trade in a way of Prayer to gain outward blessings, and mercies; but I say, when ever did you meet with any great turn of your life, but it was cast by preventing Love before Prayer came in? So that do ye ask what are those choise blessings wherewith God will prevent his people? You see here what they are. So I have done with the third thing.

IV. Now Fourthly, Why will God carry on the work of his Mercy in a way of Preventing Love?

1. First, Because the heart of God is full of love to the children of men. Ordinary love will shew kindness upon kindness; but where the heart is full of love, it delights to prevent the per­son loved with kindness. Now the heart of God is full of love for the children of men. That's one thing.

2. God will so carry on the work of his Grace and mercy, that all his mercies and blessings now may be conformed to the womb that bare them. The Child follows the womb that bare it: The first in every Kind is the Rule of the rest. Now Ele­ction is the womb of all our mercies; and doth not [Page 489] preventing Love sway there? I have loved Jacob, and hated Esau, before they had done either good or evil; there's preventing love. Now I say, God will so carry on the work of his mercy, that all his mercies and blessings may be conformed to their first original Election, and there preventing mercy is very sweet.

3. But thirdly, God will so carry on the work of his mercy, as it may be most taking and effective upon the souls of the children of men; and what is more taking then preventing love? What more Operative, what more Powerfull, what more tak­ing I say? You know the Parable; some were invited to the Supper, and some not invited, some came, and some came not; who were those that came? who were those that came not? those that came not, were such as were invited; those that came, were such as were in the Lanes, High-wayes and Hedges, compelled to come in. Ay, preventing love is the most taking; now God will so carry on the work of his mercy, as it may be most tak­ing, and most effective upon the souls of the children of men.

4. Again, God will so carry on his mercy, as that it may be holding and sure. The more any mer­cy is laid upon that which is in God himself, and the less laid upon that which is in us, the more holding and sure it is: Now Mercy laid upon Grace is sure, and therefore God will carry on the work of his Mercy in a way of preventing love, that his mercy may be sure, that it may be holding.

5. Again, God will so carry on the work of his mercy, as that it may be most ingaging, and most obliging with the hearts of men. What is [Page 490] there in all the world that is more ingaging to an ingenious spirit then Grace? And what is there more gracious then preventing love? Thereby a soul is engaged to God. Ah sayes a poor soul, I was going on in the way of my sin, lay snort­ing in my sin, and never thought on the good wayes of God, unless it were to oppose them, and speak against them; but then, before I was a­ware, I know not how, God did reveal himself, and his wayes to me; Oh now what shall I do for God! I will spend, and be spent for God; any thing for Christ, who hath thus overcome me with his preventing love. Of all those that are called the Ancients, Austin did most magnifie the Grace of God; Bradwardin called him the Son of Grace; and of all in those dayes, none that we read of tasted so much of the preventing mer­cy of God as he: When he was young he pray­ed for the mortification of his sin, and yet he confesses that he secretly desired that God would not grant his prayer, yet God prevented his prayer. Another time being alone, he heard a voice saying, tolle lege, tolle lege, take and read, take and read; and he opened the Bible, and pitched upon some words in the first of John, that proved the be­ginning of his Conversion. Another time going a Journey, he misses his way, and missing his way, he escaped his Enemies that lay in the way for him; several times God prevented him, insomuch that he brake out into this expression, Lord, I did not first come to thee, but thou didst first come and stir me up to come unto thee. And who ever magnified the freeness of the riches of the Grace of God like Paul? and why? Of all the men in [Page 491] the world, he lay under the greatest preventions of Divine Love: no wonder therefore Paul of all men magnified the free Grace of God, for he of all other lay under the preventions of Divine Love.

6. Again further, God will so carry on the work of his Grace, and Mercy, that no flesh may glory in it self, that we may not rest upon any thing that we do, or have, or suffer. When we are to come to duty, we are unwilling to it; after we have performed it, we are as apt to rest upon it, as before we were unwilling to come unto it: what is the reason, but because men think that they do come to God before God comes to them; but let a man be once fully convinced of Gods pre­venting Love, and he rests no more upon what he doth, but sayes he then, if God hath pre­vented me in reference to my prayer, why should I rest on my prayer, if God hath prevented me in reference to my duty, why should I rest on my duty, sayes Paul to the Corinthians, He calleth things that are not, that no flesh may glory in his sight, And in Job 33, sayes Elihu there, In deep sleep, in a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumbrings upon the bed, then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction; Why? That he may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man. There is no such way in the World to take down the pride of man, to keep him from resting upon duty, as to be well seen, well expe­rienced, in the preventing love of God: And there­fore God carries on the work of his Grace and Mercy in a way of preventing love, that no flesh may glory in it self.

[Page 492]7. God will so carry on the work of his mercy and goodnesse, and of his grace, that men may be made most gracious, and in case they sin against him, they may be reduced to true repentance. What is there in all the World will make one so gracious as a sight of Grace? and what gives one a greater sight of Grace, then preventing love? And what is there in all the world that will reduce a soul to true re­pentance (having sinned) like preventing love? It is said of Peter, he went out and wept bitter­ly; all his tears came out of the eyes of prevent­ing Grace; Christ looked upon him first, it was preventing love that brought forth that repen­tance. I say, no such way to reduce a poor soul that hath sinned to true Repentance, as the con­sideration of Gods preventing love. Do you there­fore ask why God is pleased to carry on his mercy thus, in a way of preventing love; for these six or seven reasons. And so you have the fourth thing.

V. Well but then in the fifth place, What is there in this preventing love that is so sweet to a gracious soul, to a thankful heart?

1. The more immediately that any mercy doth come out or Gods hand, and the less it runs through ours, the more sweet it is. Water is sweetest out of the Fountain. Now preventing mercy comes immediately out of the hands of God, and runs not through our hand at all, nor through the hand of the second cause at all, therefore must needs be very sweet.

But Secondly, The more costless, or less costly to us, any mercy is, the sweeter it is. Possibly a [Page 493] kindness may cost more to keep it, then it is worth. Suppose a man promise me or give me wood; the cutting down of the wood, and bring­ing it home, may cost me more then the wood is worth: So a kindness may cost one more care then the thing it self doth amount unto. But now preventing mercy cost me nothing, it is cut down to my hand, it is brought into my hand, it is costless mercy, it cost me nothing, surely therefore it is very sweet.

3. But then again Thirdly, The more perfect, and compleat, and entire any mercy is, the sweeter it is. Half-mercies are not so sweet as whole. Preventing mercy is compleat and entire. In the 16 of Ezek. you may see what a compleat mercy is there given, I washed thee with water (vers. 9.) I throughly washed away thy Blood, and I annoynted thee with oyntment, I cloathed thee also with broy­dered work, and shod thee with Badgers skin; and I girded thee about with fine linnen, and I covered thee with silk; I decked thee also with Ornaments, and I put bracelets upon thine hands, and a Chain on thy neck, and I put a Jewel on thy forehead, and ear-rings in thine eares; and a beautifull Crown upon thine head; and so he goes on. What mercy was this? It was preventing mer­cy, I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thy own blood, and said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, live, yea, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy bloody, live. So then, preventing mer­cy is the most compleat mercy; and it must needs be so, for it comes immediately out of Gods hand, and not through the hand of the second cause. That that comes immediately put [Page 494] of Gods hand, not running through the hand of the second cause, is most compleat. Upon this account our Justification is more perfect and com­pleat then our Sanctification, because it comes im­mediately out of the hand of God, and not out of our own hand. In Justification our guilt is re­moved, in Sanctification our filth is removed; our guilt is offensive to our selves, our filth is offensive to God: Now one would think, God should rather take away all our filth that is offen­sive to himself, then all our guilt that is of­fensive to us; no, but our Justification is perfect, our Sanctification not perfect; why? because our Justification comes immediately out of the hand of God, and doth not run through our own hand; for though we be justified by our Faith, yet it is as Faith is Gods Instrument, not as our act: Now the more immediately that any mercy comes out of the hand of God, and the less out of our hand, the more perfect and compleat it is: So doth preventing mercy do, and therefore must needs be very sweet.

4. Again Fourthly, The more that any mer­cy doth correct difficulty and sweeten duty, the sweeter is that mercy. Now preventing love doth correct difficulty, and it doth sweeten duty: See it in Zacheus; what an hard and great work was he upon! Lord (sayes he) the half of my goods I give to the poor: Stay then, suppose his Estate was a thousand pounds, he would have but five hundred pounds left; and Lord, sayes he, If I have taken any thing from any man by false ac­cusation, I restore him fourfold. Suppose he had wronged men to the value of a hundred pounds, [Page 495] there's four hundred pounds more gone, so there's but a hundred pounds left of a thousand: What an hard work is this! yet mark how easily he comes off to this hard work, Behold Lord: why he had drunk deep of preventing love, Zacheus come down, sayes Christ, for to day I must abide at thine house. Christ doth not come and say, Zacheus, give half thy goods to the poor, and if thou hast wronged any man, restore him fourfold, and then I will come to thy house; no, but Za­cheus, Come down, for this day I must abide at thy house, preventing him with his love, and then this hard work comes off easily. There is no­thing will correct difficulty and sweeten duty more then preventing love, therefore preventing love must needs be sweet. And thus now you see what there is in preventing love, that is so sweet to a gracious soul. That is the Fifth.

VI. But now Sixthly and Lastly, You will say, Suppose I have tasted of preventing love and mercy, suppose I have had experience of it, for I must needs say, this is my case; for I was going on in the way of my sin, and God prevented me many a time with his preventing Grace: I have been backward to, and dull in duty, and God hath many a time prevented me with assisting Grace: I have been full of unbeleef, and said, I am cast off, and shall never see the face of God again, but the Lord hath prevented me with his comforting grace, and with the shines of his face: I was galloping to Hell as fast as I could, but God hath prevented me with his saving Grace. And as for my outward Estate in the World, I was low, and knew not what to do, and God pre­vented [Page 496] me with such a Gift, such a House and Land; what hath my life been but a Bundle of preventing mercy; if any have drunk deep of this preventing grace, I may say, I have much more. Now what is my Duty that doth flow from hence?

1. If you have tasted of Gods preventing love and mercy, if God hath indeed prevented you with the blessings of his goodness, why then should not your hearts be filled with the sense thereof? why should not your thoughts be much thereupon? How God hath prevented you at such a time, in such a thing. The more sense you have of Gods preventing love and mercy, the more hum­bly you will walk with God, and the more closely, especially considering that God will not upbraid you. If a man takes a Beggar from the Dunghil, and makes her his Wife, prevents her with his love and kindness, the sense of his preventing love, will make her walk humbly all her dayes, unless the man upbraid her with it; if he upbraids her with it, it will not make her walk humbly; but unless he upbraids her with it, the sense of it will make her walk humbly all her dayes. Friends, God doth prevent us with his love, and will not up­braid us with his preventions; and therefore why should we not walk humbly, and why should we not think much thereon, and have our hearts filled with the sense thereof. The more neces­sary and useful any mercy is, the more we are en­gaged to think thereon. Some mercies are more necessary, and some less necessary. Those mercies and blessings we put God upon the giving of with our own desires, we may suspect are less necessary; [Page 497] but those that God gives us in a way of pre­venting love, we may think them most necessary. This is the w [...]y of preventing love, surely there­fore we are ingaged to think much thereon; thus ye become Gods Darlings by his prevent­ing love. The World hath its Darlings: such a one lyes long in bed, takes little pains, yet the World flows in upon him, the World prevents him, he is the Worlds Darling; another man is up early and late, takes a great deal of pains, and yet is Poor; but here's a man, do what he will, yet he grows Rich, for he is the Worlds Darling: So now you have blessing upon bles­sing, and in a way of prevention, What doth this argue, but that you are Gods Darlings? And will you not think much of this? O think much thereon.

2. If you have tasted of this preventing love and mercy, go away and be very thankfull to God upon this account. Shall David be thank­full to the Lord for preventing him, taking him from the Sheep-fold, and will not you be thank­full for preventing mercy? Shall Ruth be thank­full to Boaz for preventing her with his Kind­ness, spreading his skirt over her, and will not you be thankfull to the Lord for his preventing love to you? Why should ye not all say with David here, He hath prevented me with the blessings of his goodness. Indeed I was a great sinner, but he hath prevented me with his Justifying Mercy; and I was a wandring creature, as a lost sheep, but he hath prevented me with his Redeeming Mercy; Gpd spake once, and twice unto me, and I heard [Page 498] it not, but in the deep sleep of my soul, then did he open mine ears, and seal instruction on me before I was aware; therefore all that is within me blesse the Lord. O you that are thus prevented, blesse the Lord for this his preventing mercy, his sweet mercy.

3. But thirdly, If you have tasted of Gods pre­venting mercy, and have indeed been prevented with the blessings of his goodness, even your ve­ry prayers have been prevented with the blessings of his goodness; Why then should ye not be early up, and sooner at your prayers, that if it may be, you may prevent Gods mercy with your prayers, as God hath prevented your prayers with his mercy. When a Master comes into the Cham­ber where his Servant lyes, and finds him in bed, what sayes the Servant, if he be ingenious? This my Masters coming into my bed-chamber before I was up, is a plain rebuke to my sloth, I will be up the sooner hereafter. So sayes a gracious inge­nious soul, Gods preventing my prayer with his mercy, is a plaine rebuke to my prayer; where­fore awake prayer, up prayer, through the grace of God I will never be so tardy again with my Prayer, and Duty; but as God hath prevented my prayer with his mercy, so through grace, I will prevent his mercy with my prayer for the time to come.

4. If you have tasted of Gods preventing mer­cy, and God hath indeed prevented you with the blessings of his goodness, why then should ye not all labour to be like unto God in your deal­ings with men, preventing them with your lov­ing [Page 499] kindness. You think it a great matter to for­give a man that hath injured you, upon acknow­ledging of his fault; but God prevents us with his forgiveness, before we acknowledge, and be humbled; therefore why should you not labour to be like to God therein? If a man hath done you a wrong, or injury, do not stand upon it to have his acknowledgement, but say, I will be like to God, God prevents me with his love before my acknowledgement, therefore through Grace I will prevent this man with my kindness before his ac­knowledgement, I will forgive him. Thus labour to be like unto God in all your dealings with men.

5. But Fifthly and Lastly, If you have tasted of this preventing love, and God hath indeed prevented you with the blessings of his goodness, why then, why should ye not trust in the Lord for ever? Whatsoever your condition be, trust in the Lord, and believe for ever now, for your souls, for your bodies. Some there are that doubt of their Salvation, of the salvation of their Souls: Ah, sayes one, I am afraid I shall not be saved, because my prayer cannot be accepted; But will the Lord be found of those that seek him not, and will he not be found of you that seek him? Though your prayers are poor prayers. Ah sayes ano­ther, I am afraid the Lord will not receive me when I come to him, he will not receive me, No, But if the Lord comes to us first, and makes a tender and offer of his Grace to us, if he seeks us, will he not receive them (think you) that seek him? Surely he will. Some there are that doubt [Page 500] in reference to their outward condition, and say, they shall want Provision, shall want Estates to maintain them; but hath the Lord prevented you with his mercy in the great turns of your life, why then should you not trust in the Lord though you see no means at all how you should be sup­plyed? Heretofore God hath prevented you with his mercies; and why should you not say, God hath prevented me heretofore, therefore now I'le trust in him, though I see no means of supply? Whatsoever your condition be, trust in the Lord now upon this account, and believe, believe. Let me say this to you, Would you believe? Do you desire to believe? Yes, I desire to believe; do ye? Then let your eye be fixed upon Gods prevent­ing love. What is the reason that men do not believe, but because their eyes are fixed no more stedily upon preventing love? The more you know God is willing to help you, the more you will believe; I believe that, you will say. Now I pray then tell me, Suppose a man comes to a Beg­gar, and before the Beggar asks, the man gives him money; will not the Beggar conclude that this man was willing to relieve him? Yes. Thus now it is, we beg and we beg, but it is as no beg­ging, then comes the Lord and prevents us with his mercy; will you not say, the Lord is willing to shew mercy? Surely he is: Now therefore, seeing God is thus willing to shew mercy, O then believe you that have gone doubting, and fear­ing, and trembling all your dayes, for shame now believe. Have you tasted of Gods preventing mercy time after time, in the matter of your Ju­stification, [Page 501] in the matter of your Sanctification, in the matter of your Consolation, and in refe­rence to your outward Concernments? O trust in the Lord for ever upon this account, and magnifie the freeness of his Grace. Now go away, and say, through free Grace, I'le doubt no more: Upon all occasions trust in the Lord, O you that have been made partakers of preventing mercy.

FINIS.

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