Goſpel-libertie, In …

Gospel-libertie, In the

  • Extensions
  • Limitations

of it.

Wherein is laid down an exact way to end the present dissentions, and to preserve future peace among the SAINTS.

VVhereunto is added good newes from HEAVEN; TO The Worst of SINNERS on Earth.

The former in nine Sermons on 1 Cor. 10.23.

All things are lawfull for me, but all things are not expe­dient.

The latter in three Sermons on LUKE 2.10.

Feare not, for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people.

By WALTER CRADOCK Late Preacher at All-Hallows Great in LONDON;

James 2.12. So speake yee, and so doe, as they that shall be judged by the law of Libertie.

LONDON, Printed by Matthew Simmons, 1648.


AN EPISTOLAR PREFACE, Touching • Things indifferent. , • The Morall Law. , and • Expediency. 

THE Author absent, intrusted the elegan­cy of printing, with that Artist. But be­queathed the Pre-epistling to a Brother-Elder; let him be accountable for his Ar­tifice; I of the Subject-matter. Episto­lar Commendations of Authors of Bookes, as it were to their faces, before all the world, is more common with most, then commendable with candid ingenious modest men on either side. The Pulpit having made the Author more famous, and in a more expedient way than my pen can imitate; and this his booke sufficiently speaking for its self; I shall only preface (as I can amidst these trouble; of times, and mine own businesse) something sutable to the Contents of the Booke.

The Title tels you it is GOSPEL-LIBERTY, mea­ning NEW-TESTAMENT LIBERTY. For that the Author seemes to intend, & attend throughout his discourse. The Contents or Table leades you to the things where hee gives you the just dimensions of his sence therein. And as [Page]often as he is not pleased to be expresse, and punctuall, hee leaves you hints, and generalls, whereby to abound in your own sense. But beware how ye apply, lest ye mis-apply. Mi­nisters in nothing are more in danger in their whole Mi­nistery, then in their managing of the Doctrine of Christi­an liberty: And people are most in danger in the applica­tion thereof. For as the Doctrine is Case-divinity (to me the most comprehensive, and curious, especially in the bring­ing of it down to the infinite of particulars:) so mens con­sciences in these most Gospel-abusing times, are exceedingly complexioned to licentiousness. So that wee may sadly sigh forth this strange paradox. In medio consist it vitium, that is, In the use of middle indifferent things, is com­mitted most vice. For in these things Professors also gene­rally offend. Things expresly forbidden, or commanded, are too grosse, and ignominious; for a face that is but mo­destated by profession: But in things indifferent there ap­pearing a character of lawfulnesse stampt upon them, profes­sors grow too resolute and peremptory in their use, to delibe­rate what, when, how much, &c. is convenient or expedi­ent. And thus they precipitate themselves into licentious­nesse, in these offence-giving, and offence-taking times, to the occasioning of many to spew up that rligion they had ta­ken down. For men now a dayes will not rightly understand the bounds of things indifferent; they cannot beare the weight of the morall Law under its proper notion, which states what things are necessary, by prohibition or injuncti­on; and so do not drink in kindly the Doctrine of Expe­diency: but are at a losse in the application of it, & at every turning goe out of their way. A little of each of these three is all I have to say to the tractable Reader in this Epistle.

1. THINGS INDIFFERENT,chrysost. some call them [...] that is, Things that partake of nether extream, so as [Page]to be diffenced thereby in relation to morall good or evill: but are in that respect (as they say) [...] all alike, neither good, nor evill. The meaning is; That these things considered in themselves, Arist. Rhet. though physically they differ in their essence and kind, [...]. or in their naturall quali­ties, yet morally (I say still considered in themselves) as in relation to good or evill manners, they carry no difference upon them. But if morally they be transformed into any such difference; it is not as they are entia or talia, that is as they are things, or such things, but as they are considered and used.

Indifferency in simple termes or things is thus distin­guished. God, and graces, as physically and essentially, so morally are absolutely and positively and peremptorily good. So that we cannot change their natures, we cannot, (as such) abuse themSo the great Phi­losopher of vertue proving thereby that hap­pines con­sists in vertue. On the contrary, Satan, as Satan, and sin as [...] a swerving from the rule of restitude, are moral­ly all together evill. So that wee (I say we) cannot change their natures; we cannot (as they are such) well use them. But for meat and drinke, mirth or mourning, recreati­on, sleeping, wakeing, severall wayes of Arts, & tra­dings, with infinite more; they all are morally indifferent.Arist. &c. They are morally in themselves neither good nor evill, but as they are used. Meat used to surfeiting or wantonnesse, drinke to drunkennesse, or raginst cloaths to pride, Arts to deceive; trading to covetousnesse, &c. become evill.

Indifferency in complex expressions, or compounded a­ctions, consisting of severall acts or actings, is thus distin­guished. Those exppessions or actions which are clearly, or by evident consequence, commanded or forbidden, those are necessarily either good or evill, morally. Those which are neither so commanded or forbidden, are indifferent.

The Apostle to keep us from failing about [...]. Things [Page]indifferent, calls us to a consideration of things as they are [...] differenced, Phil. 1.10. That yee ap­prove the things that are excellent, that ye may be sin­cere, and without offence till the day of Christ. Sin­cerity is put in the midale, as the heart in the middle of the body, to minister Spirits and life to the other two. As if the Apostle should say, as ye wil approve your selves to be sincere [...] tryed at the beames of the word,Of [...] the light or splendor of the Sun and [...] to discerne or judge. as young Eagles, or Chap mens cemmodities at the light of the Sun, and found right, able to endure the divine light, and not discovered of any wittingly concealed deceit, so ye must [...] Try, and discern [...] things or actions, or expressions as they differ, either from indifferency by reason of circumstances in the use, or from mediocrity of goodnesse by eminent qualities as they may be improved. And so (saith the A­postle) ye may be [...] neither stumbling, nor causing to stumble, [...] Compare 1 Cor. 10.32. same word. neither taking, nor giving offence *.

Under this notion of indifferency there is couched a liber­ty in the use of such things that beare that character. A li­berty either of contradictiō, to use them, or not to use them; or of contrariety, or diversity to use them variously, accor­ding to severall particular circumstances. So as in the ge­nerall we dishonour not God, offend not our brother or neigh­bour, nor prejudice our own good.

Others call things indifferent [...] Things put, Nazianz. or placed in the middle. That is, between that which is absolutely good, or absolutely evill morally, according to Gods description of things in his Word. For God alone who is the only Creator and Law-giver can make things to be in­different, so as none can unmake them from being such.

Therefore if Magistrates or Ministers, or both make things by divine appointment indifferent to be necessary, that is, peremotorily commanding or forbidding them, under [Page]what spirituall pretence soever of Conformity, or uni­formity, or order, or edification, &c. they feign to them­selves a power of impossibles, as if they could physically un­create things from their owne nature in which God create [...] them, or could bind the conscience, where God (the alone Lord of Conscience) hath not at all bound it; and morally they act a part of Antichrist, 1 Tim. 4.1, 2, 3, 4. Now the Spirit speaketh expresly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the Faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of Devils speaking lies, and for­bidding to marry, and commanding to abstaine from meates which God hath CREATED to be received with thanksgiving of them that believe, &c. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be resused; For it is sanctified by the WORD, &c. So that it is high impiety to make that necessary under a pretended religious consideration, (as DOCTRINES, V. 1.) which Gods Creation and regulation in his Word have left indiffe­rent.

Others call things indifferent [...] that is,Basil. as they must be middle things, so feisable things; things that are within our sphere, & faculty, facil to be done. For instance. Tobacco in it selfe is neither good nor bad mo­rally; and the actions of taking or not taking it (now its use is common) are morally indifferent in themselves. If it must necessarily be taken or forborne, the reason is physi­call. If a men doth morally well or ill in taking it, it ae­pends on morall circumstances, as serving God better, or excesse, or &c. But for one to vow be will take it, whiles by nature be cannot beare it, or another to vow he will absolute­ly leave it, when with safety of his health he may not forbear it, is to undertake that which is without and beyond the cir­cle of their power: and so this thing, and those actions about [Page]it are not properly indifferent to such.

Here much might bemost usefully spoken (were I not boun­ded with an Epistle) of the many and large nets men make to catch themselves, and insnare their consciences, by tying themselves about the use, or non-use of things indifferent, where God hath not tyed them. There being this seede (I know not what one name to give it) of Adam in us that we are more eager after that from which we are tyed, whe­ther by God or men, or by our own selves. So far then doth a kind of liquorishnesse of nature, and curiosity of braine, hagge and bewitch us as that we are sicke in conceite to know that which is concealed, and to have that which is denyed. And this is so apparent, that not only Saints, in relation to a divine law, but Heathens in relation to the law of na­ture, have found by experience, Rom. 7. v. 8. But sinne taking occasion by the COMMANDEMENT, wrought in me all manner of CONCUPISCENCE. The Heathens have complained oft of some such thing. (Gens humana ruit, per vetitum nesas. Nitimur in ve­titum se [...]per cupimus (que) negata.

—Video meliora probo (que)
Deteriora sequor —)

Viz. That they were mad after things forbidden, because forbidden. For alas, there wants not Satanicall temptati­ons to rub this itch, and to foment this concupiscence. And perhaps a temptation to make a rash vow, an inconsiderate knot; that after we may be tempted to cut or breake it, when we cannot loosen it. Therefore about things indifferent, if we perceive their use, or non use prove inconvenient to us, conditionall prayer and carefull watching against occasi­ons, are farre better than rash vowes, or peremptosy engage­ments.

For cleering all past, and making way for the rest, under­stand [Page] 1 A Middle; which is either of Participation, as warme water partakes of hot and cold. And so no things or actions, or expressions, are indifferent in themselves and in the same respect, as if they were compounded of goodnesse and badnesse. Or else of Negation, As a stone, or tree, &c. is a midde betweene blindnesse and seeing. For a stone or tree, or &c. may justly be denyed either to be blind, or to see, because neither to see, nor to lose sight belongs to such things. And thus indifferent things, whether entities or acts, are said to be in the middle, viz. when it belongs not to them as such: and considered in themselves, to be either good, or bad morally. Understand 2ly. That the extreames (as we must call them in relation to that Middle) are those two between which the thing indifferent lyeth. Now an indifferent thing lyes either betweene two sorts of beings, the one good, and the other bad: such as is true grace and originall Corrupti­on; or between two sorts of rules, the one commanding, the other forbidding. Understand 3dly, the difference betweene physicall and morall in the businesse in hand. Things con­sidered as they come forth out of Gods creation, or answer to the idea, and platforme of Gods mind, so they fall under the notion of physicall or naturall. Things considered accor­ding to that concernment they may have to, or about man­ners, to render us vertuous, or vitious, holy, or unholy, so they fall under the notion of morall. Understand 4ly, the distinction between things looked on as in themselves, and as looked on in relation to [...] Things as considered in themselves, that is, according to their own natures & pro­perties within the latitude of their own essence: so all entia all things are physically, and naturally good, as entia, as things, Gen 1. Every particular thing, created every day, singly considered was [...] but good, positively was good. And when all was put and joyned together into a world; [Page]thē the Lord saith, Gen. 1. last. It was [...] exceeding good, it was superlatively good. Bonum bono additum (say the Philosophers) facit melius. Good added to good makes better. And therefore from that phrase, Gen. 1. last, Mundus [...]. perhaps the Greeks and Latins call the world faire or beautifull. And thus likewise Satan is good, namely in his nature & essence, he is of angelicall nature; though morally in manners he is stark naught. Again, all actions considered in themselves physically as actions or motions, they are good. For in God we live, move, and have our being, in a na­turall dependence, Acts 17. Yea the actions of wicked men, yea their evill actions as naturall motions are physical­ly or naturally good. And thus things are beheld as in them­selves. On the other side, things are considered as in rela­tion to us, when looked upon as for, or under our use. For our use. And so all things considered according to their nature and ours, are either good for us as foode and physicke, or hurtful for us as poyson. Under our use; And so all things and actions steered towards vertue or holinesse are morally good. But all employed and improved towards vice and un­holinesse are morally evill. Though the object in-essence, and the motion of the action in the nature thereof be good, both of God; yet mans ill managing and using of them is of his own sinfull heart, and so are perverted into evill. As in that common instance. The going of the horse is justly caused by the Rider: but the ill going is from the fault in the horse. Vnderstand lastly, what are Circumstances. Though in na­turall philosophy we usually reckon two, the circumstan­ces of all naturall things; Ubi and Quando. Every cre­ated naturall thing is somewhere, and at sometime; yet in Rhetoricke and morality we count many more.

Quis, quid, ubi, quibus, at (que) cui, cur, quomodo, quando.

That is, who he is that acteth; what he acteth; where; [Page]and by what meanes; and towards, or before whom; and why; and how; and when. And perhaps other cir­cumstances might upon deliberation, or experience, be found out. As to what end, how oft, how much, &c. These & the like circumstances are those that give formalitie of morall good or evill to the use or acting about things indiffe­rent. So that though they be but circumstances, in compa­rison of naturall bodies; yet they are as it were the essen­tials of morali actions.

These things being premised, an open faire way is made for these maximes or main positions about things indiffe­rent.

1. That though actions in their common naked nature have an indifferent respect to morall good or evil, as to feed, to cloath, to walk, to smile, &c. Yet as they are cloathed with particular circumstances, they put on the garbe of good or e­vill manners.

2. That though all indifferent actions in their essentiall and proper nature, are alike distant from evill, and equally propinque and neer to good; yet custome, occasion, opportu­nity, common opinion, &c. have annexed some circumstan­ces to some actions, which picture them as more looking to­wards evill. As to daunce, to be an Accuser, or Executi­oner, or singular at some meere recreations, or to be gay and curious in fashions of apparel. And those things aforesaid annex other circumstances to other actions, whereby they seem to reach forth the hand more toward goodnesse. As to plough, to study, to be retired from frequent converse with the world.

3. Those actions that cleerly tend to order, and edificati­on, are not meerly indifferent. For production of good suppo­seth goodness in the productive cause, which determines them good, and so not meerly indifferent in that respect. Insomuch [Page]that a man is bound to use that gesture in worship, that doth most help his infirmity, and forward his devotion.

4. But some actions of men there are in common conver­sation, yea and perhaps in our devotion too, which are not properly humane, that is, actions of men as men, because they do not proceed from the deliberations of reason, but from the floting of fantasie; as some actings of the hands, movings of the fingers, gestures of the body, formes of counte­nance, &c. whiles we are earnestly minding some most serious thing, all wch undeliberated actions are meerly indifferent.

5. But all actions that proceed from deliberated rea­son, considered in their particular exercise, are either good or evill, in regard of their end. For if they be levelled to a lawfullend, no ill circumstances apparently diverting, or o­ver-disgracing them, they are good. If they aime not at a good end, they are so farre evill, as they want that good in them, which expresly, implicitely, or vertually should be in e­very action a deliberate man doth act, 1 Cor. 1.31. Whe­ther ye eate or drinke, or whatsoever ye doe, do all to the glory of God. You see the Apostle speaks of things in­different, that they should have a good ayme; and it fol­lowes in the next verse, that they should beware of ill circum­stances that might over-ballance with evill, that good aim. For the Apostle immediately sub-joynes these to the former words, Give none offence, neither to the Jew, nor to the Gentile, nor to the Church of God.

6. Though an action may be indifferent inregard of one or two circumstances; yet in regard of all circumstances put together, it must needs be either good or evill. The coyne of money is known by the major part of the image and super­scription.

7. Of all the afore-named circumstances, the person is not the least. For as that is double, the Agent, and the Pati­ent [Page](usually) so it implyes many other circumstances of time, place, &c. which wait upon persons. Therefore great con­sideration is to be had touching the Person. For as the man that will use well his liberty in things indifferent, must not offend himselfe; must not grieve his owne conscience: but Rom. 1.4, 3. must be fully perswaded in his own mind; nothing being impure of it selfe (Rom. 14.14.) But to him that thinketh any thing to be impure or uncleane, unto him it is unclean: and he is happy that condem­neth not himself (v. 22, 23.) in that wch the doth allow;

So 1. He that is such a strong Christian as this, setled in faith, and well skilled in his Christian liberty, must ob­serve these rules towards others.

  • 1. How he carries himselfe towards or before weak Christians.
  • 2. How towards or be­fore strong Christians.
  • 3. Towards or before obstinate unbelievers.

1. Towards weak Christians, weak in their faith, tou­ching things indifferent; not yet confident of what liberty Christ hath left them in the New Testament; his lesson or rule is this, Rom. 14.1, 2, 3. Him that is weake in the faith, receive, but not to doubtfull disputations. One believeth he may eate all things; another who is weak eateth herbs. Let not him that eateth, despise him that eateth not, & v. 15. If any brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably, destroy not him with thy meat for whom Christ dyed; let not your good be evill spoken of & 1 Cor. 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13. Turn to the place, it is very considerable.

2. Towards or before the strong Christian, or firm Be­liever; The rule is this. Thou that art a strong Christian, must not neglect, but use thy liberty before other strong Chri­stians, to confute them if they have failed in dissembling it, and to confirme them in the use of that liberty, Gal. 2.11, [Page]12, 13, 14. The summe whereof is this, that when Peter came to Antioch, Paul withstood him to his face, be­cause hee was to be blamed for his dissembling, and drawing others into the like dissimulation, to wave & lay by their liberty and freedome from Jewish Cere­monies, by Judaizing with the Jews for a time, though they were fully confirmed in their own consciences of their own liberty.

3. Towards the obstinate unbelievers, that are wilful­ly superstitious, or maliciously opposite; the rule is by no meanes to forbear the use of our Christian liberty before such, lest we weaken it, and strengthen them, Mat. 15.14. In the beginning of the Chapter, the Scribes and Pharisees tooke offence at Christ, that his Disciples did eate with un­washen hands, (as intimatingly blaming him for teaching them no better) our Saviour reproves them for observing humane traditions, and withall gives them a better les­son, viz. That not that which goeth into, but that which commeth out of the mouth defileth. The Disci­ples come and tell Christ, that at that saying, the Scribes and Pharisees were yet more offended. Christ instead of any indulgence practised or prescribed towards such, returns this answer, vers. 13, 14. Every plant that my heavenly Father hath not planted shall be plucked up. LET THEM ALONE, they be blinde leaders of the blind (wilfully blind.) And if the blind lead the blind, they shall both fall into the ditch. The like rule some pi­ous learned collect out of Pauls circumcising Timothie, & not circumcising Titus. He circumciseth Timothie be­cause of the weake believing Jewes, Acts 16.3. But bee would not suffer Titus to be circumcised, lest he should in­dulge too much unto [...] insinuating, insi­diatorie, false brethren, Gal. 2.3, 4.

Observe hence by the way a golden rule for these present ☜ dissenting times. Circumcision was not indifferent in the thing. For not long before it was an Ordinance of God, and so necessarily to be used. Since that it was abro­gated by Christs death, and so de jure of equity in regard of the thing it selfe, it could not be used. The reason there­fore that must justifie Paul in circumcising Timothy, must be some such like as this. That though Circumcision in esse, in being now, was not indifferent: but in that regard ne­cessarily to be laid aside; yet at present in the Cognôsse, the generall knowledge of it among men, it had a kind of notion of indifferency upon it. For as yet, in the time of Acts 16. When Paul circumcised Timothy, the stature for it's repeale was not come forth under the hands of the Apostles (as after it was peremptorily set forth, Gal. 5.2.) And so it could not oblige, untill a due promulgation of it. And so mean while, Paul might some how, use it as a kinde of indifferent thing in regard of the severall opinions of be­lievers in this intervall of time. For those that were confi­dent it was in force, would not be offended; And those that thought it abrogated, would not be offended for the sake of those weake believers that would be offended at the omis­sion of it; or at least looke on it as a Blank. But for unbelie­vers that clamoured for it, as necessary, Paul took more care to assert his liberty, then to please them. All which, pru­dently weighed, and skilfully applyed by Saints, may be most soveraign to compose great dissentings, or at least remove grievous scandals taken, if not given (in these peace-lesse and unkind speaking times) among THEM. The godly ☜ Anabaptists (as they are distinguished) take offence at the godly Presbyterian and Congregational men for bapti­zing the Infants of Believers; The godly Classicall Pres­byterians take offence at the Congregation way, that it [Page]doth not receive the regiment of the classes, nor submit to, as necessary, all their appeales, and sentences upon ap­peales; And the godly of the Presbyterian, and Congre­gationall way, take offence at the Anabaptists for not bap­tizing Believers Infants; As the Anabaptists and Con­gregationall way take offence at the Presbyterians, for their set, standing classes, and their peremptory senten­ces upon appeales, enjoyned without all faile to be obeyed, what ever they be, or however they look in the view of Scrip­ture, and godly Consciences. Now if these severall judge­ments, each of them interchangeably in favour to his contra­ry, did but aptly apply the Case aforesaid, of circumcision, ☞ so as at least to attain to this result, That however these things, of Baptisme, Classes, Appeals, &c. are in their BEING; yet the Royall Edict for KNOWING is not yet cleer to the judgement scrupling: the OFFENCE both on the one side, and the other, would be in a great mea­sure, ☞ if not altogether removed, and till God reveale it to those that are otherwise minded, Phil. 3.15. we all should sweete­ly agree as Saints, to defend one another, and the publique safety, against the common enemie of unbelievers or worse.

Thus you have, how the strong Christian, or strong Be­liever ought to carry himselfe in the use of things indiffe­rent.

2. If any be a weake believer, a weak Christian, (and he that is weake in his knowledge, assurance of justification, and faith for mortification, hath little reason to be confident of his strong faith about things indifferent, though it be the ill custome of weaklings to be most peremptorily censori­ous about these things (who so bold as blind Bayard.) I say if any be a weak believer, hee must thus carry himselfe to­wards him that is strong. Dost thou that art weake, see him that is strong, use freely his Christian liberty before [Page]thee, not suspecting thy weakenesse in knowledge and faith in those things? Doe not thou presume rigidly to censure and condemne his knowledge and faith in that liberty Christs blood hath purchased for him. For so runs the absolute rule, Rom. 14.2, 3, 4. One believeth he may eate all things, another who is weak, eateth herbs Let not him which eateth not, judge him that eateth, for God hath re­ceived him. Who art thou that judgest another mans servant?

The non-observation of this rule, sets the present age on fire. Men cry out for, and cry up Gospel preaching; pro­fesse and applaud Gospel spirits; talke also apace of love, sweetnesse, and reciprocall condescension. Thus' tis in the theory; or every man for himselfe. But how is it in the practicke? Thus; the face lookes quite is contrary way, the bels ring backward. This man that will not see hardly his owne sinfull infirmity, will looke keenly into anothers Christian liberty, vote it a sinne, and passe a condemnati­on upon it. And by all meanes lookes that another should be humbled a long time as low as the lowest Hell for his infir­mities, whilst this Censurer himselfe for his own evill acti­ons, equivalent, if not more prevalent, and sinfully eminent, will not be cast down a day, so low as I may say, as Purgatory before men.

This age hath not learned any thing to purpose of that Gal. 6.2. Beare ye one anothers burthens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

No, we adde to one anothers burthens; And if we suppose another be proud, passionate, &c. we trample upon it with a greater pride and passion.

Thus of the 1. generall head. Things indifferent. Next of the morall Law.

2. For the morall law, of the ten Commandements [Page](whose injunctions and prohibitions directly determine the question what things are necessary, viz. must be done, or must not be done, and consequentially what it leaves out, it resolves us to be indifferent) the licentious of this age lay aside, thereby to attain a vaster liberty; to make more things indifferent, then ever God made, and so to doe even what they please. And their pretended reason is, because they conclude it to be of the Covenant of works. And I wish they have not learnt it from Pulpits, unskilfully hand­ling it and putting it wrongfully under that notion. For the morall law of the to. Commandements is cleerly an ap­pendix or part of the Covenant of Grace. For as Love answers to faith in the New Testament; so did the ten Com­mandements answer to the Ceremoniall law in the Old Te­stament. Will any man that is in his wits (according to Scripture) deny that either love in the New Testament, or the Ceremoniall Law in the Old Testament, were of the Co­venant of Grace? The text is plain, Gal. 5.6. In Christ Jesus, neither circumcision availeth any thing (that is then, or at any time in the outside) nor uncircumcisi­on, but faith which worketh by love. And the Lord Christ, and the Apostles have this often up: The law is ful­filled in this one word LOVE. And saith Christ (of the Ceremoniall law) John 5.48. Had ye believed Mo­ses yee would have believed me, for he wrote of mee. I need say no more to mind men, that love in the N. T. and the Ceremoniall Law in the O. T. were of the Covenant of Grace, and that love in the N. T. answers to the ten Com­mandements in the O. T. And is there any thing in the ten Commandements to bespeake them a place in the Cove­nant of workes? Doth commanding? Why then doth Christ so often say to believers, John 14, &c. If you love me keepe my Commandements. It's farre more suita­ble [Page]to a Gospel way and a gracious Covenanting Spirit, ra­ther to be commanded by the authority of his Savi­our, then to pinne all obedience upon the power of his own uncertain love. Luther hints notably to this; Lord (saith hee) thou commandest me to pray; I cannot pray as I would, but I will obey. Though my prayer be not acceptable, yet thine owne Com­mandement is acceptable to thee. And if ever any man, Luther was of a most pure, high Gospel-spirit; deny it who can, that hath read his Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians, now common in English. On the other side what meanes the preface to the ten Commandements, viz. I am the Lord (Hebr. JEHOVAH) Thy God, which have brought thee out of the LAND of AE­GYPT, out of the house of bondage? Doe not these words usher in the Commandements, and set them down a­midst the Covenant of Grace? For here God as our God upon new tearms of redemption, freely offering himselfe to us: not upon the old, namely doe this, and thou shalt live. We are brought out of Aegypt in Christ, Mat. 2.15. That is, we are brought out of sprituall Aegypt, the wick­ed world, as John expounds it, Revel. 11.8. An hint of these things is enough to them that will understand. And doe not severall promises annexed to severall Commande­ments, as to the 2d, 4th, 5th sound of Gospel-grace; to the same tune with the preface? I am importuned to be short, for the accommodation of the Printer; therefore I can but touch things.

It were strange if God many hundred yeares after his Go­venant of Grace, which he promised and plighted with man, Gen. 3. Expounded and further confirmed, Gen. 17. Compare Rom. 4. Should at Sinai make a Co­venant of workes. Learned and pious Polanus (renowned [Page]for both) is bold to speak higher. It were very unreaso­nable (saith hee) to imagine that God should make a Covenant of workes with man after Adams fall, and so, unable to doe any spirituall thing, having made THAT only ONCE, viz. in Paradise, when man was in a CAPACITIE to enter into SUCH a Covenant.

Object. The Apostle Paul often in his Epistles opposeth the Law, to faith, and seemes to understand both the Ce­remoniall, and morall.

Answ. The Apostle doth not oppose the Law to faith, as the Law is considered in it selfe, but as it is misconcei­ved, and misemployed by the Justiciary Selfe-justifier. Cleer enough the morall law is not opposite to faith, Jam. 2.21. to the end of the Chapter, study the place. For the least thou canst make of it will be thus much, that a working faith is the only living justifying faith. Working must justifie faith to be true faith, as faith justifies us to be true Saints. But the justiciary, that would justifie himselfe by working, he lookes upon all law, both morall, and Ceremoniall, yea and upon the law of FAITH too, (as the Apostle cals it,) as on works. Those of the Jewes that were such justici­aries obeyed the morall law, not out of faith, working by love (Gal. 5.) but out of selfe-love to justifie themselves by selfe-wrought righteousnesse, Mark 10.20. Luk. 10.29. And they sacrificed and used other things of the Ce­remoniall law, not as an expiation and attonement, in­cluding Christ as the kernel, but as on workes, by them per­formed, to their cost and labour, and so rested in the deede done, Jer. 7.4. And so the Prophet cals Ceremonies there & then lying vanities: And forbids them, Isa 1. Upon this consideration the Apostle speaks acuratly, and precisely to the false notion of these Jewish justiciaries, Rom. 9.31, 32. [Page]They attained not to righteousnesse, because they sought it not by faith: but AS IT WERE by the workes of the Law, meaning, that the law morall, or Ce­remoniall was not in themselves of the Covenant of works, but by the false notion of justiciaries, they were to them tanquam WORKES, they were as so to them. to this Luther speaks notably (to this effect.) Men (saith he) looke on the law asquint, they looke on the law gi­ven by Moses, as MOSES MOSISSIMUS. that is, MEER MOSAIGALL MOSES, i. e. upon the Out­ward things and performances abstracted by themselves, and so the Law (saith he) kills: And not on the Law as given by Moses AARONICUS, that is, AA­RONICALL MOSES, i. e. as Aaron the High Priest joyned with Moses, typifying Christs Priestly of­fice, (as Moses did his Propheticall and Kingly) where­by attonement is signified for our persons, and for the sins of our imperfect obeying the commands of either law, and so our soules are saved alive. So that as faith and love cannot be separated, nor may they be confoūded in the New Testament; Not confounded to make the law of faith a worke as the Papists and others doe, whiles they adore it as a quality in us, without its object Christ, gras­ped in the hand thereof; and so looke upon it as love, viz. as a working thing in us, or to make love as faith, as if love were the forme of faith, perfecting it; nor separated; not Faith from love; for so faith is dead, Jam. [...]. Nor love from faith, for then it is sinfull, if not a b [...]ard love; For faith must make attonement for the failings of love. So nor may Moses and Aaron, the morall and Ceremoniall law be confounded or separated in the Old Testament. They both were delivered at the same time, and in the same place. As the morall law, Exod. 20. So the Ceremonial, [Page] Acts 7.44. Heb. 8.5. compare Exod. 25.40. Even as Moses and Aaron lived at the same time, and were in joynt Commission in the same businesse, instrumentally to save the people. Not to be confounded by looking on the performance of the ceremoniall, as wee doe on the morall, viz. a matter of meer obedience, as many now transforme many Gospel duties, prayer, hearing, &c. into a legall notion, resting in the deed done, without taking up Christ in them. Nor to be separated, not the ceremoniall law from the morall. For then there is a dreame of faith without obedience, faith without love. Nor the morall from the ce­remoniall; for then there is obedience without faith: and so not sincere, but altogether sinfull.

Obj. The Apostle Gal. 4.24. makes the Covenant at Sinai a Covenant of bondage, and puts it in opposition to Hierusalem above, that is the Covenant now in the N. T. with the universall Church. And so seemes to make two Covenants.

Answ. The Apostle speaks all this in relation to the ce­remoniall law, which formerly was the manner of that re­ligious worship commanded in substance in the 2d Com­mandement to all ages: and so was then the forme and ce­remonie of much of their obedience; which ceremoniall law indeed was a bondage, and kept men in servitude, Gal. 4.1. But can not speak it of the morall law, in that the Apostle himselfe doth so press it upon all believers at the end of every one of his Epistles; annexing it as the doctrine of love, to the doctrine of faith, which he profoundly handles in the former part of his Epistles. So that the Apostle doth there signifie only two severall dispensations, and formes of promulgation, of the same Covenant of grace, of faith and love. The former Ceremonious, in types & shadows; the other plain and spirituall. The [...] called the old Co­venant, [Page]the other the New Covenant (though but two formes of the same Covenant) as the Apostle evidently ex­plains, Heb. [...].5. to the end of the chapter. The 1. in regard of the shadowes, was Moses vailed; the 2d was Moses un­vailed, and spirituall, God shining in the face of Christ, 2 Cor. 3.13. to the end, 2 Cor. 4.6.

By all, it appeares, that we that are believers, may no more divide the ten commandements from our faith, then wee may divide our love from faith.

The 3d and last thing, to which I will speak only a word is Expediency. The Apostle to explain the doctrine, and to di­rect in the practise of expediency, useth four words.

  • 1. CONVENIENT; to signifie, that even in indif­ferent things we must see that all be agreeable to our persons, according to all the circūstances aforenamed.
  • 2. EXPEDI­ENT; Intimating that we should look that those our actions be such as do further and dispatch some good, or else they be not good.
  • 3. PROFIT. As the Apostle saith, what profit is there of circumcision. Hinting, that we should see that such our actions be beneficiall to us or others; wee either doe good, or receive good.
  • 4. EDIFIE. Teaching us that we should rather endeavour edification, then giving offence in the use of things indifferent, or circumstantiall. And in that the Apostle useth so many words to direct us in the right use and acting about things indifferent; that one of the four said ingredients must be in them, or else all is not well.

For a close, observe two rules, which we oppose to two false principles, by which meu usually goe, and so oft miscarry.

  • 1. Touching matter of opinion, they usually say it is a truth (as they conceive) therefore to be contended for at any time, without distinction of expedience. To which we oppose this rule. All truth, though indeed the very truth of God, is not to be uttered at all times, Mat. 7.6. [Page] chap [...], 13, 14, 15, 16, 17. Job. 16.3, 4. Heb. 5.11, 12. neigh these texts for they are strong.
  • 2. Touching practise, they commonly contend, that it is their Christian liberty, and therefore they will use it, and not be debarred from it by circumstances. To which we oppose this Rule, Phil. 4.8. Finally brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are ho­nest, or comely, whatsoever things are just, whatsoe­ver things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, what­soever things are of good report; if there be any ver­tue, and if there be any praise, think of these things.
Nathanael Homes, Teacher of the Church there.

The Contents of the ensuing SERMONS.


  • The scope of the words Page 1
  • The parts of the Text Page 3
  • The meaning of the words Page 4
  • Doct. 1.
    • The Saints in the New Testament not so strictly bound in point of lawfulnesse, as the Saints were in the Old Page 3
    • This latitude is not in the Morall Law But it is, Page 13
    • 1. In freedome from ceremonies Page 14
    • 2. In the externalls of Gods Worship Page 15
    • Reason 1. The Saints under the New Testament are Sonnes. Page 17
    • Reason 2. The Saints now are men of ripe yeares. Page 18
    • Reason 3. The Saints now have more of the Spirit. Page 19
    • Reason 4. Gods designe in the New Testament to set up a spirituall Kingdome. Page 20
    • Reason 5. The Gospel being to be preached to different Nations, Christ ties them chiefly to the substance. Page 23


  • Use. 1.
    • Encouragement for sinners to come to Christ Page 26
    • The wayes of Christ easie Page 29
    • 1. Because the maine work is done already. Ibid
    • 2. Those things that are yet to be done are few, and easie, being compared,
    • 1. With the Jewish service of God in the Old Testament Page 32
    • 2. With the service of Papists Page 33
    • 3. With the service of naturall men Ibid
    • 4. With the service of the Devill. Ibid
  • Object. The service of the Devill seemes sweet. Page 34
  • Answ.
    • 1. It will one day be soure Ibid
    • 2. That sweetnesse is from distemper Ibid
    • 3. It is because men tast not the sweetnesse of Christs ser­vice. Ibid
  • Object. Some of Christs servants have turned back to serve the Devill. Page 35
  • Answ.
    • 1. They are but few. Ibid
    • 2. They were not true members. Ibid
    • 3. The wayes of Christ easie, because he will give his Spirit to doe what he requires. Ibid
    • Believing in Christ three things in it Page 30
    • 1. To give credit to what he teacheth. Ibid
    • 2. To accept of life and salvation from him. Page 37
    • 3. To submit to his lawes. Page 38


  • Use 2.
    • Reproofe of two sorts of people Page 39
    • (1.) Those that erre on the left hand of three sorts,
    • 1. Those that make the way wider than Christ hath Page 40
    • 2. Those that abolish the Morall Law Page 42
    • 3. Those that allow outward prophanesse Page 43
    • (2.) Those that erre on the right hand of two sorts
    • 1. Such as make lawes to tie themselves Page 46
    • 2. Such as make lawes to binde others. Page 47
  • Use 3.
    • Exhortation to Duties,
    • 1. To understand our Christian liberty Page 51
    • Ignorance of Christian liberty dangerous Page 52
    • 2. Not to infringe our Christian liberty Page 55
    • 3. Not to abuse our Christian liberty Page 59
    • 4. To holdfast our Christian liberty Page 60


  • Doct. 2.
    • Though divers things be lawfull to the Saints under the New Testament, yet there are but a few things expedient. Page 61
    • Three sorts of things inexpedient Page 62
    • (1.) Things simply evil Ibid
    • (2.) Things simply good, in three cases,
    • 1. When a greater good comes in Page 63
    • [Page]2. When wee cannot come at the good without doing of evil. Ibid
    • 3. When a greater evil followes Page 64
    • (3.) Things indifferent Ibid
    • Expediency, what Page 66
    • Things expedient must bring profit Page 68
    • 1. To advance the glory of God Page 69
    • 2. The good of our brethren three wayes Page 70
    • 1. To increase love between us and them Ibid
    • 2. To conduce to the peace of the Saints Page 71
    • 3. It must tend to edification Page 73
    • (3.) To win those without Ibid
    • (4.) To our owne souls Page 74.


  • Conveniencie, or Decency what Page 77
  • 1. In respect of a mans person Page 78
  • 2. In respect of his relation Page 79
  • 3. In respect of his profession Page 80
  • 4. In respect of sex Ibid
  • 5. In regard of age Page 82
  • 6. In regard of the season Ibid
  • Christians must walk laudably Page 83
  • Christians must walk orderly Page 86
  • Things done disorderly
  • 1. When the end is missed Page 87
  • 2. When one dutie hinders another Ibid.
  • Use 1. To have an eye to that which is expedient Page 88
  • [Page]Use 2
    • Reproofe of those that eye onely lawful things Page 89
    • 1. It is a signe of an hypocrite Page 90
    • 2. Of an Old Testament spirit Page 91
    • 3. It may damne a man Page 92
  • Vse. 3.
    • The way of the Gospel a strict way Page 94
    • Liberty of the Gospel wherein it is Page 95


  • Vse 4.
    • To be strict in point of expediency Page 98
    • 1. It would end controversies among Saints Page 99
    • To take heed of vaine feares in Gods wayes Page 104
    • 2. The maine is done by Christ already Ibid
    • 3. To studie spirituall things Page 105
    • 4. To get love Page 106
    • Things to be determined
    • 1. By Magistrates Page 107
    • 2. By the Church Page 109
    • 3. By Masters of Families Ibid
    • 4. By particular persons Ibid
    • Cautions for Magistrates, and Churches in determin­ing Ibid
    • 1. It must be in necessarie indifferent things Ibid
    • 2. Things that relate to the Kingdome Page 110
    • 3. Saints to be deals with as rationall men Ibid
    • [Page]4. To take heed of making lawes for the future Ibid
    • 5. Not co impose things on mens consciences Page 111
    • 6. Not to use rigour in determining Ibid
    • Examples of the old Saints be looked to Page 112
    • Customs of the saints and Churches to be looked to Page 113
    • Right reason to be looked to Page 117
    • Reason of three sorts Ibid
    • The law of nature to be looked unto Page 118


  • Motives to eye that which is expedient Page 123
  • Motive. 1.
    • It is the right way to peace Ibid
    • No reason of strife between Presbyterians and Indepen­dents Page 125
    • 1. There are Godly men on both sides Ibid
    • 2. There difference is small Ibid
    • 3. They differ about that which is never like to be Page 126
    • 4. Neither side can prove what they would have Page 127
    • The present cortentions from five sorts of men Page 128
    • 1. Weak Christians Page 129
    • 2. Carnal Presbyterians Ibid
    • 3. Malignants Page 132
    • 4. The godly moderate party Page 133
    • 5. The common multitude Page 134


  • Motive 2.
    • To eye things expedient the way to peace in a mans self Page 138
    • [Page]Guik in Christians whence Page 139
  • Motive 3.
    • He that eyes not expediency cannot doe much for God Page 142
    • 1. He presents Religion to others as an endlesse thing Page 143
    • 2. As burthensome Page 145
    • 3. As ridiculous Page 146
    • 4. Hee deprives himselfe of opportunities of doing good Page 147
    • 5. Hee can doe good but by accident Page 148
    • 6. Hee intends good but to a few Page 149
    • 7. Hee leads others to destraction Page 150
  • Motive. 4.
    • Without eyeing expediency a man cannot be an excellent Christian Page 152
    • 1. Because an excellent Christian hath the minde of Christ Page 153
    • 2. Hee is busied about high things Page 154
    • 3. He relisheth spirituall things Page 155
    • 4. He hath stock enough within Page 156
  • Motive 5. To looke to our Principles against suffering times Ibid
  • Motive 6. To make lawes, where God hath not, offends him Page 158


  • Stumbling-blocks removed Page 162
  • [Page]Objections answered Page 166
  • Hindrances from walking according to expediency
  • 1. Engagements beyond mens principles Page 171
  • 2. Looking on things with prejudice Page 172
  • 3. Devout jealousie of truth and Error Page 173
  • 4. Carnall wisdome Page 176
  • 5. Selfe Page 177
  • 6. Hypocrisie Ibid
  • Helps to walk expediently.
  • 1. Spirituall wisdome Ibid
  • 2. Sobriety in two things
  • 1. To subject our fancies to the word Page 178
  • 2. To follow notions no farther than they agree with the word Ibid
  • 3. Watchfulnesse Page 179
  • 4. Love Ibid.


1 COR. 10.23.

ALL thing are LAWFULL for me, but ALL things are not EXPEDIENT: ALL things are LAWFULL for me, but ALL things EDI­FIE not.

The scope of the words. THese words that I have read to you, they are the conclusion of Pauls an­swer to certaine Questions that the Corinthians (it seems in writing) had proposed to him. What those Que­stions were you may read, from the beginning of the 7th Chapter, to part of this 10th Chapter. I shall onely touch them a little; In the beginning of the seventh Chapter they had written to Paul, and asked him this question, Whether it were lawfull for a man under the Gospel to marrie? [Page 2]Because it seems they thought the profession of the Gospel such a holy thing in old time (otherwise than Professors do now,) that they thought it a kind of defilement to that spirituall and glorious profession to marrie. That was one question. Another was Chapter 7.4. Whether being married they might live with there husbands and wives as before, Paul answers that. They aske him againe, whether a Be­liever being matched to an unbeliever, might turne away his wife, and leave his house? He answers that; Then the servants that were believers, and their ma­sters unbelievers, they wrote, and asked whether they in conscience should seek their freedom? He answers that also. So there are divers questions from that place to the end of the Chapter; as whether it were lawfull for people to marrie in the time of persecu­tion; or for people that were once married to mar­rie any more; he answers that. In the 8th Chapter they have other sorts of questions greater than these; Whether it were lawfull for believers to eat flesh of­fered to Idols? that was a great question: for in those Countries the Gospel was among Infidels, and those that were without they worshipped the devill in I­dols, and sacrificed meat to them; and this meat when it had been sacrificed was carried to the mar­ket and sold: Now they questioned, whether they knowing that that meat was offered to an Idol, might eat of it? Paul answers that; And in the 9th and 10th Chapters illustrates it, and so comes to summe up all his answers in these words, All things are lawfull for me, but all things are not expedient &c. That is, the most of those things that you have proposed, if not all, they are lawfull, I say not they sin if they marrie, [Page 3]they sin not; and for meat offered to Idols, an Idol is nothing in the world. All these things are lawfull, and abundance of things more: but all things are not ex­pedient. As if he should say, I wonder why you Corinthians ask so many questions, whether this or that be lawfull; you may doe lawfull things, and yet damne your soules for ever. I will not hide the liberty of the Gospel from you; It is lawfull to eat meat offered to an Idol: for, an Idol is nothing; and to marrie it is lawfull, so it be in the Lord: but yet in the New Testament you should look higher than that which is lawfull, & unlawfull, you should look what is expedient, and what edifies, and those things that doe not edifie, (as most of these things did not, though they were lawfull in themselves,) you must not use them: for saith he in the verse following, We ought not every man to seek his own things, but another mans good. So that I say the words are the summe of Pauls answer to the Corinthians to these questions; you may finde the particular answers to every one of these questions, if you peruse the former Chap­ters.

So that come to the words they have in them these two things.Parts of the Text.

First, here is a concession; they ask the question if these things were lawfull,1. a concessi­on. Paul grants that they may be lawfull; It is lawfull to marrie, it is lawfull for a believer to keep his unbelieving wife, it is aw­full for a servant to abide with his master, though he be an unbeliever: it is lawfull to eat meat offered to an Idol, Paul grants it, All things are lawfull.

Secondly, here is a restriction, an exception against that rule, that although All things be lawfull, 2. a restrict­on. all [Page 4]things are not expedient, all things edefie not. So that before I goe about to tell you my thoughts from this place: for the setling of you in these wavering times, wherein you grope for light; I will open a little to you these words, that you may the more clearely see the Doctrines.

All things are lawfull for me;

[ALL] By ALL here you are not to under­stand,The mean­ing of the words. ALL universally, as it is often used in the Scripture,All, what meant by it. that is, ALL excepting more, as in Exod. 1.6. The people of Israel, and ALL that generation died. That is, every one that came into Egypt were gone at that time, or as it is Rom. 5. [...]n by Adam entered upon ALL men. That is, every man in the world became a sinner by Adams sin; Now you are not to understand ALL in this place so, as though that all things were lawfull, that is, that there is liber­ty for people to doe what they list now, men may sweare and lie, and curse, that men may be professors, and be cheaters, and couzeners, Professors, and be drunkards, and proud, and covetous. This is not the meaning, Paul doth not meane by the word ALL a universalitie: but by ALL he meanes many things, many things are lawfull,Many meant by all. but many things are not ex­pedient, and that all is taken for many, I might shew at large in Scripture it is very usuall, Psal. 118 saith David, ALL nations rose up against me, and compassed me about. David doth not meane that all the nations in the world did come about him, but he meanes ma­ny; divers people did come together against him. But more plainly in 2 Tim. 2.6. There is one God, and one Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Je­sus, who gave himselfe a ransome for ALL. Hence divers [Page 5]now a dayes do hold a universall Ransome and re­demption, that Christ died for ALL men alike, be­cause of this word ALL, that Christ is said to be a ransome for ALL: but if you compare this place with Mat. 20.28. there you shall see the meaning of it, VVhosoever will be chiefe among you, shall be your servant, even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto (to be waited upon in this world) but to minister and serve, and to give his life a ransome for MANY. That which in the other place is a ransome for all Matth. interprets it for many. So in Mark. 10.45. (for wee must expound Scripture by Scripture, or else we shall run giddily and endlessely into error) for even the Son of man, came not to be ministered unto: but to minister, and give his life a ransome for MANY. There is the same word. So by ALL things in this place, you are to understand many things. All things are lawfull; that is, all these things that you propose, and many more: for I comprehend many more than they questioned, or else he might have said, these things are lawfull: but he makes a generall rule from it, These are lawfull particularly, and all things are law­full; that is, abundance more than these.

[ARE] All things ARE lawfull. Things lawful now, that were not of old. There is some­what in that word Are in the present tense, that is, they are now lawfull under the new Testament, it was not so alway: for they could not say under the old Testament, all things are lawfull, that is, many things: for they were tyed; every thing was either com­manded, or forbidden to them, their meat, their drink, their cloathes, their worship their manner, and circumstance, the place where and the time when; nay they were tyed to their very oyle, and to the snuff [Page 6]of a candle, nay (with reverence) they were tyed cōcerning their excremēts; the Lord made a law for their excrements. Now, all things are lawfull; they were not before; there are not so many bonds and obligations as there were then. Now under the new Testament there are many things lawfull that were not under the old. Indeed sometime they were in­tended by Gods dispensation in cases of necessity, as Davids eating of the shewbread that was not law­full; God passed by it, but there was a law for that There were but a few things (I will not say none) but were absolutely sinful or absolutely lawful in the old Testament.

All things are LAWFULL.

[Lawfull] what is that?Lawfull what it is. A thing is lawfull when in it self it is neither commanded nor forbidden in the word of God: when it is not determined by the will of God whether we shall doe it or not doe it: that is lawfull so when he saith all things are lawfull; he meanes that there are abundance of things left in the new Testament that are neither commanded nor for­bidden by the Lord.

Misunderstand me not:Sin in do­ing of law­ful things. you sin when you doe unexpedient things; and then you are readie to say is it not lawfull? no; though the thing in particular be not unlawfull, yet you sin in that you cross a ge­nerall rule; that is, those things that are lawfull yet you are not to doe them in extreames. As for instāce you may marry, yet you may sin in marrying, not that you cross a particular cōmand: for it is law­full to marrie; but you crosse a generall rule, and so you sin.

BUT all things are not expedient.

[BUT] that is when I say all things are lawfull, you think you have all libertie by that, but, hold all things are not expedient. Though it be lawfull yet look not only to that but see that it be expedient, and so if you look to the rule of expediency you will walke a hundred times stricter, than men that only looke what is lawfull, and what is not.

[ALL THINGS] That is, divers things are not expedient. [ARE NOT] That is, they are not so altogether, alwayes, in all places, to all persons; all things, in all places, at all times, and in all circum­stances, are not expedient for all persons: for there is nothing almost but in some places, and at some times,Expedient what. and for some persons are expedient [E X­PEDIENT] What is that? It doth not edifie, it doth not beseeme the profession of Jesus Christ; it is not lovely, it is not venerable, it is not true, it is not honourable, it doth not edifie the brethren, it doth not win sinners, it doth not adorne the Gospel, it doth not become our profession. When he saith all things are not expedient, it is, as if he had said, there are abun­dance of things that are lawfull, that doe not honour God, that do not win sinners, and build up the Saints. So now you understand the words.

All things are lawfull for me, but all things are not expedient.

There are three Lessons that I meane to observe from these words, and which (if the Lord will) I in­tend to open to you.

First, you may learne this, that

The Saints under the new Testament, they are not so strictly bound in point of LAWFULNES as the Saints were in the old Testament.

The Second is this, that

The Saints under the new Testament, are as strictly, or rather more strictly bound, in point of expediency, than they were in the time of the old Testament.

For you shall seldom read of expediency in the old Testament, but if a thing were lawfull, for the gene­rallity they might doe it.

Thirdly, you may learne this Lesson, that

If a Christian will walk honourably, and spiritually as becometh the Gospel, he must not onely (so much eye) what is LAWFULL, as what is EXPEDIENT.

These three things are taught here as I apprehend, in the words; And of these let me this day only op­en a little of the former: for you must take them to­gether, you must not without wrong to your owne soules, and dishonour to God, take one Doctrine, and not all; but heare all, and without prejudice compare all, and weigh, and try them.

The first Observation, Doct. 1 That Sts in the New-Testament are not so strictly bound in point of lawfulnes, as in the Old. or Doctrine is, that

The Saints in the new Testament, in point of LAVV­FULNES are not so strictly bound, as the Saints were in the old Testament.

That is, many things in the new Testament are lawful for the Saints to doe, that were not lawfull in the old Testament: or, there is a greater latitude, there is more space, for a Christian, for a believer in his walking and conversation in the new Testament, than there was in the old.

Beloved, There is some truth in this, that you may apprehend presently: for goe no further than these very questions that were here asked; It seemeth that in the old Testament all these things were not lawfull; it was not lawfull for them to eat all kind of flesh, no [Page 9]flesh that was defiled that was offered to Idols, it was not lawfull to eat; swines flesh, and divers other things: Now, all things are lawfull; every creature of God is good. If they had unbelieving wives, strange wives, Ezra 9. Nehem. 9. It was not lawfull to keep them, they must drive them away, and their children: but now it is lawfull for a man that hath an unbelie­ving wife to remaine with her. I say, there is some­what that you presently see, that the Saints in the new Testament, in point of lawfulnes, are not so strict­ly, and absolutely bound up as they were in the Old.

I will give you a few Scriptures, before I come to open it further. Mat. 11. ult. Come unto me all ye that labour, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest; take my yoke on you: for my yoke is easie, and my burthen is light. If you will give me leave to tell you my thoughts upon these words, I conceive that the meaning of it is this, that Christ Jesus saw poore people trudging in the way to Heaven (as they thought) and every one thought to be saved in his own way and labour: as the Papists that do abundance of good works, & by their own righteousnesse they will be saved: And there the poore Jews were under a yoke that they nor their fathers could beare; And by fasting and prayer they did strive and struggle, and all in vaine; Now, saith Christ, Come unto me all ye that are weary & heavy laden. Now I say, (with submission) I think the meaning is not as we usually take it, come to me all yee that are laden with sin, and receive salvation, (though that be true) but yee that wearie your selves with the yoke and burthen of your own righteousnesse, Christs yoke, what. and labouring to fulfill the law; Come unto me yee that are wearie [Page 10]and heavy laden, and I will give you rest: How is that? I will take away the rough yoke, and the heavie bur­then that is on you, and I will give you an easie yoke, (as I shall shew anon) you shal have now saith Christ, an easier, and more comfortable way to Heaven than ever you thought of. Christ doth not onely pittie poore grosse sinners that are not in the way to Hea­ven; but it pitties him to see men goe in odd wayes to Heaven; that labour, and goe about the bush, and tire themselves in their own waies, when there is an easie sweet way that Jesus Christ offers; Come unto me, for my yoke is easie, & my burthen is light. That is, not on­ly in respect that we have more grace in the New Te­stāent than there was in the Old,More grace in the new Testament then in the Old. (though that be true) but in it selfe, the way by Jesus Christ, the way to Heaven, and salvation in obedience to Christ, is a lighter burden and an easier yoke, than the way that the Saints had (as it were) by works in the Old-Testa­ment, or that sinners now have, that are out of Christ.

In Phil. 4.8. Finally my brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure; whatsoever things are of good report. If there be any love, if there be any praise, think on these things. Paul having taught them concerning things to be believed, matters of faith, he comes to matters of obedience; and now he makes a generall rule: as if he had said, You are Saints of the New-Testament, and Christ hath made you an easie yoke; And it is not for me to descend much to par­ticulars for you: but I will make a generall rule, If you finde any thing that is true, any thing that is ho­nest, any thing that is honourable, or venerable, any [Page 11]thing that is lovely, or any thing that is of good report, if there be any vertue, or praise, think of those things, lay hold on those things; I will not tye you, but doe you spie them out; if there be any thing lovely, that makes the Gospel of Christ prayse worthy, or any thing that hath vertue, lay hold upon those things; he ties them not to particulars: For they might say, a thing may be pure, and not lawfull it may be lovely, and ve­nerable, and not lawfull; O, saith he, talk not of lawful,Not to look so much to lawfulness as expedi­ency. you should not walk so much by that rule, but if it be expedient and honour God, and adorne the Gospel, lay hold on those things, And whatsoever yee have seen me doe, that doe.

I will propose one place more, because I desire that you may understand this point, 2 Cor. 9. Where Paul doth shew them by his owne example, that it was not fit for them to look to lawful things only, but to what is expedient: for saith he, may I not lead about a Sister as well as Peter, and others? May I not marrie as well as they? and live by my preaching as well as other men? Doth not the Law of God say, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the Oxe that treadeth out the corne? Yet I did none of these things, I did not marrie, nor take any thing for my paines of you Corinthians; why so? because he might honour the Gospel of Christ, and not loose his glory in that: for, saith he, though I be free from all men, I make my selfe a servant to all, that I might gaine the more; to the Jews I become as a Jew, that I might gaine the Jewes, to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gaine them that are under the law, to them that are without law as without law, being not without law to God, I become every thing to all men, that by all meanes I might gaine some. Paul would be a Jew [Page 12]with the Jewes, and a Gentile with the Gentiles, he would be strong with the strong, Pauls com­pliance. and weak with the weak; how could he complie thus to win and save soules, unlesse there were a latitude given by Christ, where­in there is a liberty that is not determined, and the Saints may apply themselves to, for the glory of God and the good of others? But Paul he was not with­out law to God; that is, in his soule and spirit he did keep close to God. And not only so, but in externals where God had determined: for he would not sin to cōplie with men: but it seems things were not much determined, when Paul could be a Jew with the Jews, & a Gentile with the Gentiles, as if he had not known the Jews, & as he saith, catch them by guile. Not as a cunning abominable creature, but he could be wise & politick for the glory of God, & the good of others; he could be a weak professor with the weake, and strong with the strong, and be circumcised, and shave his head; and when he was among the Gentiles he could shew his freedome, and win them; he could be all things to all men, which he could not have been, if there had not been a latitude in the Gospel, that people may use for the glory of God, and the good of others. So that we have now the lesson, the truth proved.

Now let us open it a little:The Doct. opened. For the opening of it two things are to be considered.

The first is,1. Wherein this lati­tude in the new Testa­ment is. what are those things that you say are lawful now under the new Testament, that were not in the Old? wherein is that latitude? what is admitted that was not then?

Then 2ly why the Lord in the new Testament hath given a larger scope for his people, than God by Mo­ses did in the Old? For could not the Son of God, be [Page 13]so faithfull as Moses that was a servant (I speake with reerence) why could he not be as strict as Moses?

Beloved,not in the ten Com­mandmēts, you are to understand that the morall Law of God, that is, the ten words, as God calls it, the ten commandments, with the spirituall exposition of it, through the booke of God: God hath not given us more scope, & libertie in these, than he did to them, if so much. As, thou shalt not steale; thou shalt not commit adulterie; thou shalt not take the name of God in vaine: God doth not give us leave now to cozen, and sweare, and steale, and be filthy: this is not the meaning, you are bound as much to this, as ever they were.

Only take that with this exception,So bound to obey the Com­mandmēts, though the curse be gone. that if you be Saints and borne againe new creatures, you are bound to doe this [I shall shew upon what grounds and motives anon] but the curse, and plague, and damnation that should seize on you, and that was to seize upon them that went to be saved by it, that is remooved. and gone. There is no damnation to them that are in Christ. But the thing it selfe stands firme, Christ came not to destroy the law, but to establish it; heaven and earth shall passe, but not one iot or tit­tle of it shall passe.The Law the out­ward, & the Spirit the inward rule. I could shew may the law of God is the outward rule, and the spirit the inward rule; and these are not contrarie one to another as men usually make them. These rules are the same to the Saints in the new Testament as well as in the old: and as a Saint under the old Testament was a Saint under the Gospel, as it were: so in the times of the Gospel, a sinner one that is not borne againe is under the law, and under the curse, and damnation of it at this day. So, this libertie, and [Page 14]latitude it lies not at all in the morall law of God, those commands of God those last for ever there is no gap opened there.

Wherein then is it:

It in these two things principally:The liberty of Sts. in the new-Testāent.

One is that now we are freed from all those cere­monies that lay upon them under the law; in the new Testament we are freed from them. I need not name many places.Freedome from Cere­monies. In Gal. 5.1. compared with verse 13. Standfast in the libertie wherewith Christ hath made you free, and be not brought back into bondage. What is that? be not circumcised, and circum­cision is taken divers times for all the ceremoniall law; you observe daies, and times, and moneths, and years, I am afraid of you. Christ hath made us free from all the ceremonies of the law.

But you will say that it is a poore freedome.

A great freedome.You are mistaken; it is a great thing: for if you looke Act. 15. the Apostles and Elders there say of the ceremonies, neither we nor our fathers were able to beare them, they were so heavie. For if we consider the cost they were at, how they were driven to kill beeves, and sheep, and oxen, and to make morning, and evening sacrifice, and burnt offrings, and to be­stow so much money, to be at abundance of cost, and charges, and to goe to Ierusalem every yeare, and to a sacrifice in the Temple, and a great deale of labour; And which is more, there were abundance of ceremoniall restraints; their places they were re­strained to them; they must worship in this place, and not in another: but now in the Gospel, we must lift up pure hands in every place. And then, for the time they had dayes, and moneths, and they had [Page 15]yeares of Jubilee, which are all gone; And for the very creatures, they must have such meat, and such cloathes; they were restrained, and tied in every thing, and crossed that they could not have their minde; If you consider this, it is a great matter that Christ Jesus hath at once removed all these beggerly rudiments away: so I say, there is so much more roome for you, that unlesse Popish Mosaicall spirits bring them in againe, Christ Jesus hath removed them. That is one thing.

The second, and the chiefe is this,2. Libery in in the ex­ternalls of Gods wor­ship. That there is a greater liberty in respect of the externalls of Gods Worship; that is, that God hath not tied people in the new Testament so stricly to his outward wor­ship, as he did the people in the Old; I doe not meane that he hath not tied them for the substance, or for the matter of it;Nor in the substence or matter, or māner. neither doe I meane (to speak properly) that he hath not tied them for the manner; but for circumstance; and some circumstances too, it may be, God hath tied us to. So I meane not matter so much as manner, nor properly the manner so much as cir­cumstances; nor all circumstances: for it may be there are some that God hath instituted and appoin­ted: but there are abundance of circumstances in the worship of God, that are undetermined in his blessed Word, and are left to the spirituall discretion of the Saints, to determine, as may agree most with love, and peace, and charity. As you may see clearly,Punctuall lawes in the old Te­stament. if you compare the one with the other, the outward wor­ship of God in the old Testament, and in the New, you shall see for their outward worship there, they were tied to the snuffe of a candle, there must be so many loopes, and so many pins, and so many ilet [Page 16]holes.Passeover. Nay, come to the passeover, you shall see the Lord made them divers laws; as they must take a lambe of such a yeare, & on such a day of the moneth, and what kind of lambe it must be, and he shews them what they shall doe with the lambe, how they must kill it, and what their posture must be, they must stand and have their staves in their hands: and what sauce they must have, and how they shall roast it, and what they must doe with the rest of it. The Lord did punctually binde them, and stint them in that & other things, the Lord made all his lawes deare to them. But in the new Testament, take the chiefe of the holy Ordinances, the Supper of the Lord, we see Christ when he was betrayed,Lords Sup­per. he took bread and wine, saying, This is my body, and this is my blood, and there is an end. You may ask five hundred questions if you will, what bread it was? and what wine? and how oft it was taken by the Disciples, or administred, but there you heare no further of it.

And so for Baptisme, Baptisme. it is said, John baptized in Jor­dan; as if it had been known before, though it were never heard of. And the Disciples when they were to preach after the resurrection, saith Christ, Goe preach, he that beleeves and is baptized, shall be saved. Go, baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the holy Ghost, and there was an end. They might ask a hundred questions, Shall we doe it in a River, or in a Brook? to young, or to old? in Winter, or in Summer? Who shall doe it? and what shall his calling be? and many such questions: but Christ layes down the summe of the Doctrine, and the end of it, In the name of the Father, and of the Sonne, and of the holy Ghost, and there is no more of it.

And so for Offices, Offices and Officers. and Officers in the new Testa­ment. For Offices, you have a lite or two of Pa­stors, and Preachers, and Deacons, and two or three lines of his duty, and this is all, a briefe touch, and there is an end. Now doe you think that the Sonne of God in the new and glorious Testament, would passe over these things out of carelesnesse? Or did he slight it, as if he cared not how it were done? Might not he have made his Supper as curious as the Passeover, and all those ordinances? He might. But to me there are many clear reasons why he left it so: among the rest this is one, that in the new Testament the Saints are not so strictly, and so straitly bound, as they of the old were.

But you will say,Why Christ hath left the Saints now at more li­berty. How doth it appeare that it was so? Why did Jesus Christ leave it thus? Why did he not binde us hand and foot as they were?

There are these foure or sive reasons.

First, this is one reason that the Apostle hath, why Christ gave this liberty; because they in the old Te­stament were Servants, 1. The Saints under the new Te­stament are sonnes, under the old they were ser­vants. as it were; and we under the new Testament are Sonnes. You shall read, Gal. 4.1. that the heire as long as he is a childe, differs not from a servant. What is the reason that Paul calls them Servants? You shall see afterwards, that they being servants, were tied to such burdens and rules. You expect from a sonne more care than from a servant, and that a sonne should doe more for your advan­tage than a servant. But here is the difference be­tween a sonne and a servant, you will not lay such burdens on a sonne as on a servant. And you tell a servant every day how he shall doe every thing one after another, and call him to account; this is the [Page 18]condition of a servant: But to a sonne you onely say, Walk honorably, and as becomes your selfe, do some good, be imployed, be not idle. A sonne looks to his businesse, and honours his father more though he be not tied. It is base to tie a son as much as a servant. So we being now to be sonnes, truly and really, the Lord hath given us a larger liberty.

Another thing is this,2. The Saints then were children under tu­tors, the Saints now as men in years. that they were sonnes too, (though they were as servants) but they were in their minority, they were under Tutors and Governours, till the time appointed of the Father; and being so, they were in bondage: they were little children as it were in their coats, and we are grown strong, grown men to full age. We are as men in ripe yeares, but they in the old Testament were little children (as it were:) you know you must make lawes for little children: you say to a little childe, take heed of a knife, that you do not cut your fingers; take heed that you doe not goe over the threshold, or over a bridge, or neare the fire, or the water, lest you fall in; and you have lawes how he shall doe every thing: but when this childe is grown up to twenty or foure and twenty yeares, is it not a shamefull thing that a man should tie such a sonne, and say, goe not over the threshold, unlesse you ask leave, nor take a knife in your hand? &c. No, we break those little lawes, and dissolve them by degrees, as the childe growes up to yeares. So when we were grown to full yeares, as we are un­der the Gospel, the Lord Jesus hath broken and dis­solved those little childish lawes, those beggerly Ru­diments: those A. B. C. lawes and accidences wet for children, the child is led by the sleeve, and reads with a feskew: the Lord hath broken these, and the [Page 19]reason is good that these should be dissolved, and the people of God should not be tied as when they were children.

Thirdly,3. The Saints under the new Te­stament have more of the Spirit. another reason is this, that the Saints under the new Testament were to have more of the Spirit of God to teach them within what is the will of God, and what is for the glory of God; therefore they have lesse need of teaching by externall things. A word to the wise is enough; the wiser a man is, the lesse you need to beat things into his head, to say you must turn at this corner and at that: to a foole you say, you must doe this, and doe that; but if it be a wise man that hath brains in his head, you tell him his message, and there is an end. So they were chil­dren, and silly, and things must be beaten into their heads, and they must be told every meeting, and every turning. But in the Gospel God hath promised to poure out his Spirit, as it is, Joel 2. I will poure out my Spirit upon all flesh. And in Hebr. 8. In the new Covenant it shall not be as in the dayes of old. What is the difference? Then every man did teach his neigh­bour, but it shall not be so now, but they shall be all taught of God, from the least to the greatest. Most of their know­ledge in the old Testament by out­ward means. The mea­ning is this, they in the old Testament had little knowledge but what they got by outward meanes; therefore they were to write the law of God upon their walles, and upon their posts, and to speake of it when they did sit down, and when they rose up, and those that had most parts, and breeding, and learning, and most knowledge in the Scriptures, they were the knowingest men: but now they shall not every man teach his neighbour. Not but that it is lawfull for eve­ry one to help another; but the meaning is this, [Page 20]that most of their knowledge shall not come by out­ward externall wayes: But, saith God, I will poure out abundance of my Spirit, and they shall all know me from the least to the greatest. Therefore we see in 1 Joh. 2. that John himselfe being accounted, and that de­servedly, the most spirituall Apostle of all, Little Children (saith he) you have an anointing, and I need not teach you. John would not take upon him to teach them, they had so much of the Spirit. Therefore under the new Testament the Lord having appoint­ed to poure out abundance of his Spirit upon his people, he thinks it unfit to goe and make such end­lesse lawes as were in the old Testament. Now the Spirit of God doth not onely teach us what is the will of God, and the mind of Christ in things lawfull, but in things that were undetermined, that were nei­ther lawfull nor unlawfull; the holy Ghost teacheth us what is expedient, and what is not: and thou hast as much need of the Spirit of God to shew thee that which is expedient and inexpedient, as to know the will of God, and the rule what is lawfull, and what is unlawfull.

Fourthly,4. God would set up a spirituall kingdome in the new Testament. if you would know why Christ hath gi­ven a larger latitude and liberty in externall things, to the Saints now, than to them, it is, because the Lords purpose and designe was, under the new Te­stament, to set up a spirituall kingdome: all the old things, the services and offerings in the old law, were but signes and shadowes of spirituall worship. The Kings daughter is all glorious within; prophesying of the Saints in the new Testament, that their glory should be chiefly & mainly in inward graces. There­fore as in the old Testament there is a great deale of [Page 21] externall worship laid down in every leafe, but the spi­rituall was vailed and covered: so in the new Testa­ment, in every leafe, and line almost, the spirituall worship is set down in the serving of God and Christ and the outward in a sort is vayled.

Now you know by experience how hard it is to break a custome, if we be but 20 or 40 years accu­stomed to a thing,Custeme hardly broken. it is hard to break it. How hard is it to break a drunkard of his custome? as hard as to wash a Blackmore white. Now this people being a customed foure thousand yeares to serve God with offerings, and sacrifice, and Temple, and Jerusalem, it was not easie to breake them of that custome. Therefore the Lord Christ comes, and when hee would set up his worship, he speaks exceeding fairly of that outward worship, because they had fed so long upon it, that they doted, As we at this day (as they) would make a curious outward worship: as of old, they wrung and wrested the Scripture to make it faire, and delicate, and curious, as that that God would have of them.

But Christs designe being to set up a spirituall kingdome, he shewes, that as in the old Testa­ment, unlesse there were something internall, the externall did not please God, My soule abhorres your sacrifices, &c. So in the new Testament much more, the Lord doth not regard outward worship at all, without the inward; and the inward is almost all that God looks after. Therefore consider a few pla­ces of Scripture, Gal. 5.6. There was great question about ceremonies and outward things, saith the A­postle, Neither circumcision availeth any thing, or un­uncircumcision, but faith that worketh by love. For in [Page 22]Christ Jesus, saith he, that is, in the dayes of Christ, in the new Testament, neither circumcision nor uncircum­cision avails, Externals to be look­ed to as for as God hath let them down but faith that worketh by love. Talk not of outward things, stand not so much upon them, (not but that the servants of God must look to externals, as farre as God hath set them down, but talk not so much of them) but faith that worketh by love, see there be that. So in Gal. 6.15. the same words almost: For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, or uncircumcision, but a new creature. In the time of Christ he lookes not whether men be cir­cumcised, or uncircumcised, but whether they be new creatures. So in 2 Cor. 5.17. there are the same words almost: The Apostle poynts out unto us how much God in the time of the new Testament, regards in­ward worship. Therefore we see in Rom. 14. where there was great controversie concerning the eating of hearbs, and the keeping of dayes; Paul answers not directly, but saith, The kingdome of God is not in these things, but in righteousnes and peace and ioy in the holy Ghost. He would not have them strive about these things, but goe to the inward worship; see that there be righteousnes, and peace and ioy in the holy Ghost: so in Heb. 13. when there was clashing about these outward things; It is a good thing [saith he] that the heart be stablished with grace. And so in Timothy; bodily excer­cise profitteth little, but godlines is profitable for all things. Therfore. The designe of God, being to set up a spi­rituall kingdome, the work of grace in the heart, that we might worship him in spirit, the lord hath given more libertie, and is more sparing in laying downe of externall worship.

Lastly, this is another reason [though I could give [Page 23]many more] that the Gospell of Iesus Christ was to be preached to all nations & they being different in customes in clymates in constitution, The Gos­pel being to bee preached to different nations, Christ ties them chief­ly to that substance. and dispositions Christ tied them in his law for the substance, so left the rest to be by the spirit of God in his people, to be determined according to the best advantage for the honour of God, and the good of his people. As for instance, it is a hard thing to make a law for all Eng­land, and for all the Counties and Townes, that that should be good for one Countie that is for ano­ther, and for one Towne that is for another. But if a man were to make a law for Spaine and France, and Italie and Turkie & for all the world, that are nations crosse, and contrary one to another, in their clymate and disposition; that law that were good for one King­dome would destroy another. So here, when Christ made lawes in the old Testament, there was but one nation, and a little nation, and the Gospel was not to remove from that nation; Therefore he comes to particulars, but the Gospel now being to be preached to all nations, he hath left a latitude for his people, that they may apply the Gospel, to all countries and nations for the glory of God, and the good of his people.

As for instance,Baptisme, saith Christ, Baptize all nations, that is, go and use water for their washing) for what­ever men find in the word, I speak not of now) go use water for a spirituall end, to purge their bodies, to signifie the purging of the soule. If Christ had tied men to go into Jordan, as in that countrie it was so hote, they might goe with a great deale of comfort: but if Christ had made Baptisme such an Ordinance, as that in all Climates, and Countries, and Regions, [Page 24]they must go over head and eares in a River; we know in some climates it would have been present death; As with us in this climate, at some times of the yeare to be put over head and eares in the Thames it would be death, at others not. Therefore Christ layes down the substance, and the end; and by the Word of God and sound Preaching, he left the rest for the Spirit of God, in his people to apply.

Againe, to instance in the Supper of the Lord; The Lords Supper. The Lord tooke bread and wine, and blessed, and broke, and gave them; and the drift of all the busines is to shew the breaking of his body, and the shedding of his blood; Now, he hath bound us that we should break bread, and drink wine, that may represent the thing: but he hath not bound us to bread so properly called, or to wine properly so called: for there are some countries that have neither bread nor wine, but only rootes that they called bread, and they have water for their drink; Now, if Christ had said it must be true bread, and true, and reall wine, that must doe the deed, these people could never have the Supper of the Lord: Therefore the Gospel being not to be limitted to one countrie, but to be spread to many nations, Christ hath left a latitude for the conveniency of all nations. So you have the Doctrine, and the Reasons of it. I should come to the Uses; but I must leave them for another day.

ENCOURAGEMENT for sinners to come unto Christ.

1 COR. 10.23.

ALL things are LAWFULL for me, but ALL things are not EXPEDIENT &c.

HAving opened these words to you the last day; I observed these three Doctrines (which by the help of God I shall speak of.)

The first was this, that

There are many things that are lawfull to the Saints now under the new Testament, that were not to them under the Old.

And the second was,

That of those many things that are lawfull to the Saints now, there are but a few that are expedient, or conve­nient.

The third is this, that

Saints, if they will walkes becomes the new Testament, they must not so much (at least not only) eye what is lawfull; but they must eye also what is expedient.

Concerning the first, that

The Saints under the new Testament, are not so strictly and punctually bound, in point of lawfulnes, as they were in the old Testament.

This I proved to you;

And for the opening of it, I proposed two Quests.

First, Wherein doth this latitude consist?

Secondly, How doth it appeare. These I an­swered.

I come now to the Uses of it.

First, Use 1 Encoura­gement for sinners to come to Christ.If there be such a latitude in the wayes of Christ in the Gospel; Then here is a sweet encourage­ment for all poore sinners to come to Christ; It is his owne Use that hee makes, Come unto me (saith Christ) Yeé that are wearie, and heavie laden, and I will give you rest: for my yoke is easie, and my burthen is light. Beloved, Christ pities thee, not only that thou dost not goe to heaven, but that thou goest with a bundle upon thy back: Christ would have thee come in an easie sweete way. As for instance here are some that have gone on fortie, or fiftie yeares, that have kept Fasts, and gone to Church, and prayed norning and evening, and have wept, and howled, and a great deale of labour; Now if you come to Jesus Christ, and receive him, thou shalt finde not only a straight, rea­dy way, but a way unspeakably sweet and easie.

This makes many a man that he runnes from Christ and abhors the profession of Religion,Why men run from Christ. because he lookes upon it as a harsh thing. O, if I be religious, I must not drink, I must not smile; it is a melanchol­ly mopish thing, I shall be bound hand and foot, I will never be tied with such a chaine; as one said, if I be Religious I must not dare to drink a pot of beere with a neighbour: so; looking on the wayes of Christ as hard, that will take away all libertie, that they shall be meere slaves, they are afraid of it.

In Ioh 6. Christ teacheth them, you must eat my [Page 27]flesh, and drink my blood. If they had understood it, it was a sweet doctrine; but they said This is a hard saying and so they ran from Christ. They thought it had, they would be no Caniballs; and away they went, by a misapprehension of the wayes of God. So this is one thing that keeps men from Christ, an apprehen­sion that the wayes of God are melancholly, and mo­pish, and will so restraine them that they shall have no comfort.

But herein thou art deceived: for as David saith, O Lord, thy commandments are exceeding broad. The wayes of God are broad in this respect, (though they be narrow in other respects) it is a sweet way. This I averre, that it is the generall block that keeps men from godlines, either the Ministers presenting the wayes of God in a grim manner makes them fearfull, or peoples misapprehending them in their owne fancie, and through temptation, though the Minister present them right.Ministers lay stumb­ling blocks that keep men from Christ. And usulaly they lay such blocks in the doore and threshold of the Gospel; There are so many contradictions, a man must be broaken, and humbled, and damned almost, and goe by the gates of Hell before he can come to Christ. We say stumbling blocks in the way that people cannot come in; and when they are come in, there are so many that fasten burthens on them, that poore peo­ple see it almost impossible to get in; and when they are in, it is a very Prison. This makes them that they will not come to Christ, and so loose their soules poore wretches But when thou commest to Christ, thou commest not to a Prison, as thou conceivest. Our work is to preach the Gospel; What is that?To preach the Gospel what. to goe tell glad tidings; What is that? To tell you that [Page 28] salvation is given by Christ, that he hath laid down his life; and not only so, that you shal have salvation: but it is glad tidings because, we offer you a better service, if you will come in; that whereas now you are under the devill, and your own works, and in a way to damne your selves, if you will come to Christ you shall have not only salvation, but a sweet service, He will make you Princes with him. Therefore see the language that God puts into our mouthes when he sends us to preach; he sends us not to hire ser­vants: for that Parable is to another end; we are not sent to get Gally-slaves to the Oares, or a Beare to the stake:Ministers to wooe men as Spouses for Christ. but he sends us to wooe you as spouses, to mar­rie you to Christ; and in wooing there must not be harsh dealing; and when a man hath wooed and got a wife she must be kindly used, and not harshly; she hath much freedome, otherwise than when she was a ser­vant, and a drudge. So, we come not as to servants, you shall be wives of Jesus Christ, you shall have li­berty, and Christ, &c all in him shall be yours. There­fore consider this poore soules that lie dead in sins; wee are sent to adopt you, to be sons to God, and spouses to Christ. Nay, we are to invite you to a Feast, Siners in­vited to a Feast. Mat. 12. And the fatlings, and all things are rea­dy. Now, when men come to a Feast, when friends are invited to a Feast, we doe not make lawes on them presently: but say, I pray Sir call for wine, or what you will: So if there be lawes in a Feast, they be lawes of pleasure, and joy, and not otherwise; and though their be lawes of civillity, yet there is liberty, and sweetnes, there is no law that restraines true comfort there. We come to call you to a Feast, not only in Heaven, but the wayes of Christ are a continuall Feast [Page 29]in this world, Gods way is sweet; and if you will come to Christ, you shall not only goe to heaven and be Saints there; but the way is unspeakably sweet. Think of this; I dare say, you have had strange odd thoughts of the wayes of God, that hath kept many of you from Christ; pray to the Lord to present these wayes to you truly; and you will not stand out.

There is a sweet place in Joh. 10. I am the doore (saith Christ) If any come to me,Christ a door how.he shall goe in and out, and finde pasture. I am the doore: But some may say, wee love not to goe in at such a doore, unlesse wee know when it is locked, and when it is nor. No, saith he, I am not a doore that hath locks and bolts, that will bring you into straits; but I am a doore that you shall goe in and out, and finde pasture for your soules. His meaning is not you shall play fast and loose, and if you come in to Christ to day, you shall goe out to the devill to morrow: but it is a figurative speech. That Christ is not a doore that pens men up, but there is the liberty of a field, there is spaciousnes and comfort, and libertie; thou shalt not be tied and bound up, as thou and I a long while were under Hell. Consider this, you that have hard thoughts of the wayes of God, and have been flow in comming to Christ.

But to open this a little. Some man may say.

You say Sir that the wayes of Jesus Christ if they be rightly presented to me,The wayes of Christ easie. they are easie and sweet and comfortable, and there is no such hardnesse in them, how doth that appeare?

It will appeare by these foure things breifly.

First, thou that art a drunkard, o [...] a s [...]e [...]rer, The maine work done aheady. or a poore carnall blinde man or woman; if thou wilt [Page 30]come this day to Jesus Christ; I say it is easie: for all the maine work is done alreadie. I call thee not if thou wilt come to Christ, and tel thee that thou must weepe, and pray and fast it our, and worke thine owne salvation, No; but understand mee well that thy everlasting salvation is done fully by Jesus Christ al­readie: saith Christ, it is finished; that is, there is no­thing in the world for thee to doe if thou wilt come into Christ there is nothing for thee to doe for thy salvation, (to speake properly) Christ hath done that, he hath procured the favour of God, and ever­lasting life for thee, hee hath found out a way to doe away all thy sins; the maine is done to thy hand. Therefore we are sent to preach to Gospel, that is to tell you glad tydings that all is done to your hands, to invite you to a feast: see what feast Mat. 22 to tell you that the fatlings are slayne, and dinner is readie, and all things are prepared, being neither bottle, nor basket If you will come to Christ rightly, Christ doth not accept that thou shouldest doe the least thing to save thy soule, he hath died, and saved it and he bids us tell thee so.

O therefore, Who would be a drunkard, and a wretch, and stand as a sot mopeing all the yeare, and not come to Christ? The Gospel is like the sheet Act. 10. that was full of foules, and of all kind of meat, and there comes a voyce, arise Peter and eat, there was nothing else to be done; So thou must not come and we set thee in a way to get Heaven, and life; but the sheet is let down, here is life, and salvation, and spirituall blessings in Christ; only, arise, and eat: only love the Father, and Christ for it. Here it is true as Christ said, One soweth, and another reapeth; Christ [Page 31]hath sowed everlasting happinesse, only come thou into the harvest and reape.

But you will say: (for some of you are apt to stum­ble) are not duties of Religion, Preaching, & Hearing, and Praying, meanes of everlasting salvation, and yet you say, if wee will come to Christ there is nothing to be done for salvation, but all is done by Christ?

Beloved, that you may understand this,Duties meanes of salvation. and not stumble, know that duties may be said to be meanes two wayes.

  • Properly, or
  • Improperly;

That is thus; Prayer, and Hearing, and Fasting, and all those things are meanes, that is, they doe not imme­diately, and properly procure everlasting life, and sal­vation, for that is false, they are not meanes so; the Papists make them so, If you should heare a Jesuite; he would say that peregrinations and Fastings, and these things are the way to save your souls: this is Poperie. But duties and religious performances are meanes improperly, that is thus, they doe not procure salva­tion, but only the blood of Christ doth that: if we mix any thing else with it, we make it vaine: But they are meanes, that is, they are conduit pipes through which the comfort, and benefit of all that Christ hath done for thee, comes to thy soule; so they are meanes: if thou come in, thou shalt have them as conduit pipes to reveale and convey those things every day: but in a proper sense they are not meanes of salvation: for that, (to speake properly) is only the death and merit of Christ. Therfore, this is one thing to incour­age thee, that if thou now heare the Preacher invit­ing thee to come to Christ, learne one thing more [Page 32]then thou diddest before, there is not a jot for thee to doe for thy salvation, but take it as done to thy hands; beleive it, and love God and Christ, that gave it: there is nothing else to be done, world without end in that sense.

2 Secondly, thou wilt say, is there nothing to be done?

Yes, for other ends that the Gospel specifies, that thou maiest adorne thy profession, and be like Christ, and serve him in thy generation, and honnor him in this world.

But marke,Those things that are left for us to doe are few & easie. even those things they are but very few in comparison of other things; they are not so many, nor so great, and greivous: The comman­dments of Christ are not greivous, saith John. But to open this briefly,Christs way easie, compared. If you paralell, and compare them with foure sorts of people, or foure sorts of wayes; you shall see the easieness of Christs commands.

As first,1. With the service of the Jews in the old Testa­ment, If wee paralell the service of God (I mean under the Gospel) with the service of the Jews, the Saints under the old Testament. I told you what a­bundance of services, and paines, and cost they were at: you know what paines and cost there was in the building of the Tabernacle, and the Temple, if you looke upon particulars: and what cost it was to offer sacrifices twice a day; what a charge it was to bring Oxen and sheep, and what a drudgerie to goe up to Jerusalem; and how they were crossed in their time, and their meat and their clothes. It was a burthen that neither wee, nor our fathers could bears, say the Apostles, & Elders Act. 10.15. Not only in respect of mans corruption, but the thing it self was exceeding heavier but the most of those things are done away in the Gospel.

Secondly, if we paralell it with the Papists religion,2. With the service of Papists. when thou commest to Poperie, if thou be a Papist there are endlesse commands; thou must fast so oft in a weeke, thou must observe so many holy-dayes, and eves, and whipp, and scourge thy self, and goe in pere­grinations; There is none of this trash in the service of Christ.

Then paralell it with the service of naturall men,3. With the service of naturall men. that goe (as it were) by their own righteousnesse to save themselves; It is a hard labour, and a rough way, they must keep every commandment of God, if they miss one, they are damned for ever. Here it is not so, the curse is taken away; In those few things thou art to do for Christ, if thou faile, there is no damnation; the hell and curse is gone.

Fourthly, Compare it with the service of the devill, that all men naturall are in;4. With the service of the devill. you shall see that in the service of the devill, there is abundance of charge, and cost, and paines. As for instance, if you look to a drunkard, he spends the whole weeke, and wastes his estate in the service of the devill. The adul­terer doth not cease to sin; the devill will not give him rest. And the worlding drudgeth all his life to serve the devill. The service of the devill is a great slavery, and drudgery; that a Saint often pities a carnall man, not only for the danger of his soule, but for the drudgery of his life; he pities a worldly man, to see him rise early, and goe to bed late; As we say, he must needs goe that the devil drives. The devil drives the drunkard to the alehouse, and the worlding to his mammon; and eates out the strength and marrow of his bones. It is not so in the service of Christ.

But you will say, Object, the service of the devill is sweet, [Page 34]wee see men continue to be his servants,Men finde sweetnes in the service of the de­vill. and will not be the servants of Christ.

I could speak many things of that, but only a word.1. It will one day be soure. It seemeth sweet to men: But it will be soure one day.

And besides, though it be sweet to them,2. That sweet­nes is from distemper. yet it is a sweetnes that ariseth from their sicknes and distemper. As a child e that will eate no meat sometimes, but coles and ashes: it is sweet, but it is a distemper: he is sicke, there is no such sweetness in coales. And a man in a feaver, he desireth to drink water, it is but his sick­nesse; So if wee be drunk, and sweare, and be whore­moungers, and proud men and women, and delight in worldly things, in pleasures, and the service of the de­vill; it is an evil humour, and corruption that makes us finde that sweetness.

But the maine reason is this,3. It is sweet because you never tasted the sweetns of Christs ser­vice. you find sweetnes in the service of the devill, because you never tasted the goodnes of the service of Christ. I dare say; if there were no heaven, nor hell, if thou diddest know the sweet­nes, and comfort in the service of Christ, thou wouldest scorne, and disdaine, to seeke comfort in a cup of drink, or in worldly things: but that is the reason, thou hast not tasted that the Lord is gracious.

I remember a godly, blessed man, that when carn­all men made bonefites, and the ministers would have reproved them to see what a stir they made on a Candlemas Even: let them alone saith he; that is all the comfort they have; they have noe acquaintance with better comforts if they had, they would leave them. So he was readie to weepe for their joy. So the pleasure, and comfort thou hast in the service of the devill (the Lord pittie thee) it is only because thou [Page 35]art not acquainted with the sweetnes of the wayes of Christ.

If you object, Object. I but some of the servants of Christ have turned the servants of the aevill againe.Some of Christ ser­vants have gone back to serve the devill.

I answer; they are but few, there are more of the devills servants that become the servants of Christ than of the servants of Christ that become the ser­vants of the devill. But those people that do so,1. They are but few. they are but wooden leggs they never drew sap, and sweetnes from Christ; they were never truly members of Christ they did but hang on,2. They were not true members of Christ. they found some sweetnes in the back of Religion in the circumstances of Religion: but if they had tasted of God rightly they would ne­ver have gone away from him. So I say this should encourage thee to come in.

First, that the maine work is done to thy hand.

Secondly, That that, that is left, are but a few, and easie things in comparison of the service of Satan; and of Papists; and of the Jews under the Law; and of naturall men that serve God for life.

Thirdly, to make it more easie yet,3. Christ will give his Spirit to doe that he re­quires. those few things that are to doe, the Lord Jesus will give his Spirit to doe them; he will doe all thy works for thee; he ex­pects not that thou shouldest doe them in thy owne strength: but he hath promised to give his Spirit, and that shall pray according to the will of God, So here thou shalt have a yoke, an easie one; and in that yoke thou shalt have Christ himselfe to draw with thee, I can doe all, through Christ that strengtheneth me, saith Paul. There are but a few things that wee are bound to doe, and those few things Christ will doe for us.

Fourthly, and lastly, Consider those few things that [Page 36]thou hast the Spirit of Christ to doe for thee, how weake soever thou art in thy performance; the Lord Jesus continually accepts of them: that is, the weakest prayer, and the weakest service, of a sincere Saint in the new Testament, it is a sacrifice well pleasing to God.

Who would continue in drunkeness; and lie in sin, & refuse to come to Christ, when the wayes of Christ are so comfortable?

You will say; What doe you meane by comming to Christ? You would have us come to Christ, and you say, here is a comfortable way, and an easie yoke; what is it to come to Christ?Coming to Christ what.

I will tell you that, least we loose all our labour, Joh. 6.35. Iesus said, I am the bread of life; he that commeth to me shall never hunger, and he that believeth in me shall never thirst. So that comming to Christ, is believing in Christ.

But you will say, I am to seek againe; I know not what that is, to believe in Christ.

I will not stand upon the definition, but a word, that thou maiest understand what I meane by belie­ving in Christ.

There are three things in it.Believing in Christ what.

First, it is to give credit to all that Christ tells thee. That is one thing.

Secondly, to receive that life, and salvation; all that Christ Jesus gives thee.

Thirdly, to submit to the lawes that Jesus Christ layes upon thee.

To give credit to what hee teacheth,I say, if thou wouldest know what it is to come to Christ, or to believe in Christ, it is, when thou wilt be taught by Jesus Christ, when thou wilt give credit to [Page 37]the things that he teacheth; As you see Isaiah 2.2. Come (say the people) let us goe up to the mountaine of the Lord, and to the house of God; Let us goe up. Why so? He will teach us his waies, and we will walk in his pathes: for out of Sion shall goe the Law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. This is to come to Christ, when our eares are open, and our hearts are ready to heare and learne whatsoever Jesus Christ shall teach us. There­fore when we say to a drunkard, or to a carnall man or woman that are in their sinnes (as I was) come to Christ; what doe we meane by that? Be not refracto­rie, be not wise in thine owne eyes any more, doe not come, and heare the Preacher, and yet believe as thou list: but lay thy soule at the feet of Christ, and be wil­ling to receive the instruction that Christ teacheth thee. Doe not as children doe with their bread, take it and crumble it on the ground to the dogges, and eat one bit themselves, and throw away another; So doe not crumble the word of God, to take one bit, and throw another bit to thy neighbour, and another at thy heeles when thou goest out of doores; no, but receive all that Christ teacheth thee, though it be contrarie to thy corruption, and above thy reason, yet indeavour to believe it. That is one thing.

Secondly, to believe in Christ, or to come to Christ,2. To accept life and salvation from him. is when thou art willing to accept of, and to receive life, & salvation that Christ offereth. Whereas it may be thou now art a naturall man, this is thy condition; either thou art a sottish creature, and doest not think of life and salvation any where, thou carest not for life, or death, but goest on like a beast; or if thou doest, thou hast a little devotion of thine owne pro­curing; or thou liest desperately in sin, either of these [Page 38]is thy condition. Therefore now this is to come to Christ; looke not what thou art worthy to have: but what God is willing to give; God is willing to be­stow everlasting life freely, therefore looke upon the brazen Serpent that is lift up, and indeavour to re­ceive, and accept of that salvation that is offered by him.

Thirdly,3. To submit to Christs lawes. be willing to submit to the lawes of Christ: for Christ calls to thee as a King. Therefore in Mat. 11. (I believe that is the meaning of the place, though there be more in it) Come unto me yee that are wearie and heavie laden, and I will give you rest; for my yoke is easie, and my burthen is light. What is it to come to Christ? When I am willing to come out of other ser­vices, and to leave other masters. I will serve the de­vill, and my lusts no more: but I will come under the Standard of Christ; Christ hath lift up a Standard & expects that every one should submit to his blessed Law. Therefore put these things together, labour to understand them, and remember them, and the Lord blesse them to thee, that after this day thou maiest not lie sotting in sin: but that every one may come to Christ, that he may teach you & inrich you with life, that hee may rule over you, and that you may be his subjects for ever. There are other Uses of this point that I must leave till the afternoone.


All things are lawfull for me, but all things are not expe­dient, &c.

YOu remember that I proposed to you three Doctrines from these words (tend­ing I hope to the healing of the divisions that are among the godly.) The first was.

That Saints in the new Testament in point of lawfulnes, are not so strictly bound, as the Saints were under the old Testament.

This you had proved, and opened to you in some measure the last day.

In the morning we had occasion from this doctrine by the by, to call upon poore sinners to come in to Christ: because their is such largenes, and liberty and spaciousnes in the wayes of Christ; The yoke of Christ is so easie.

Now I shall goe forward to a Use or two more that remaine of this doctrine, that wee may proceed to the next.

In the next place therefore, Use 2 Reproofe of two sorts of people. we may hence see the errours, or mistakes that are in divers Christians among us, that doe cause contention, we may justly [Page 40] reprove them from this doctrine, we may discover them at least. I will not use any nick-names, it may be you would understand more clearely what I mean if I should: But I see the devill gets much advantage by nick-names, by calling men Prebyterians, and An­tinomians, and Anabaptists, and I know not what; therefore I beseech you beware, how you use those names, (though I say not it is unlawfull) yet there be mistakes, (let us call them as gently as we can) that are generally among us, either

On the left hand, or On the right.

Those that erre on the left hand.And both are to be reproved from this doctrine.

On the left hand, I mean those that make every thing lawfull, and would have no band, 1 Those that would make the way wider than Christ hath. nor tie (as it were) they would make the way wider than Christ hath made it; they would makea greater latitude than God hath made. Now I say, these all come to be re­proved, from this word ALL in the text: for I shewed that by the word all is not meant all things in a uni­versallity, that I may be any thing, I may be a drunkard, and be a Christian, I may be a swearer, and be a Christi­an, I may doe what I list, and yet be a Christian: but (as I said) by all things is meant many things, & those that take it universally will doe nothing. Therefore on the left hand I say, these doe mistake; and of these there be three sorts, all godly Christians I hope they are, (I wish every one to own his share, and my selfe where I am guilty.)

There are one sort of people among us, (you have a name for them, but I will not use it) that doe ap­prehend so much beautie, and lovelines in spirituall things, in grace, and the worke of the Spirit, in the person, and excellencies of Christ, and the like that [Page 41]they looke upon the externall manner of Gods wor­ship, or government as a smal contemptible thing, with a disdainfull eye. Beloved, I make not men of straw to speak to: but I know many godly people that hold so, that say it is ridiculous, and they care not which way the Church of God be ordered, or governed, because the Kingdome of God consists in righteousnesse, and peace, and joy in the holy Ghost; And they smile to see contentions between Presbyterians and others, and think that these are too mean, and too low things for Saints to looke after. Give me leave to tell you my thoughts, I confesse as I conceive that of all others, this is the least error, yet it is an error, and mistake: for though it be true that spirituall things are the maine, and other things are but little to be regarded in comparrison, under the new Testa­ment; yet I may say of outward things as farre as Christ hath enjoyn'd them, as Christ saith of tything mint, and annise, when he speaks of righteousness, These things ought yee to have one: but the other you ought not to have left undone. So this is the maine worke for a Christian to doe, and it is blessed to see a Saint make that his maine studie. But if God make lawes, and give commands, about externall things, outward things, I must not neglect that neither. It is (as one observes) as with the Saints and the world, they both see the misery: but the Saints begin to studie the causes of contention; and the old saying is, happy is he that knows the causes.One cause of conten­tion. One maine cause of contenti­on among us is, God comes now with more light than wee had before; we have more, and more; but this light is not a full light, I mean thus, this light comes, and shines but in part of the will of God to us: that is, [Page 42]we see part of the will of God, and part wee see not, and while we learne one part, we forget another part of the will of God. And this is ordinary among Christians, while they learne faith and justification, they forget puritie, and holines; while they learne Church-discipline, they forget godliness; while they learne holiness within, they forget obedience with­out.

The knowledge of heavenly things comes into the soules of people now a dayes, as the Sun shines on the earth; How is that? You know when the Sun shines in our horizon, it doth not shine to the other end of the world, it is night with them when it is day with us; So, when the light shewes one thing, another truth is lost; And this is the reason of division, light is come, but it is not a full light, it reveales not all the will of God, but teacheth one, one thing, and another, another. We see not all together. This is one thing wherein men mistake; though I much com­mend them for their prizing of spirituall things, yet if their be a real command of God in outward things I humbly beseech you that you would not disdaine, and despise it. That is all I have to say to them.

There are a second sort of people that mistake on the left hand,2 Those that abolish the morrall Law. and make the rule wyder than it is; those that goe farther than those; that is, that doe not only slight, external worship, & government &c. As farre as God hath laid it downe but breake downe the pales, even to the morall law of God, and think that the way is now so wide that even the ten commandements, that the morall law it self is done a­way; there are some conceive so. But concerning that I think there is no subject that I could prove more [Page 43]fully, with stronger arguments, yet I will not trou­ble you nor my self now; and I shewed before how Christ came not to destroy the morall law; neither for that use that Paul makes of it, to reveale sin, to make us esteeme of Christ, or to be a light, the Spirit being within: for they are not contradictorie as some sim­ply think and speak; but the Spirit within, and the law without is a lanthorne. Only the damnation is gone: but there are other motives to obey it; heaven and earth shall passe, but the law of God shall not passe. So now you see two sorts. And I hope, if there be any such here that they will also take their shares: for if every one would here with humilitie and take his part I hope there would soone be an end of most of our contentions.

The third sort goe farther than those on the left hand,3 Those that allow out­ward pro­phaness, & only serve God in their spi­rits. they make it so broad this all things are lawfull. That not only in point of goverment, or of the mor­rall law (for those that hold against the morrall law they hold that we ought to doe the things, but not upon the same motives; they hold that we are not to be whoremongers, and drunkards, &c.) but the third sort say, if we worship God in our spirits it is no mat­ter what we doe with our bodies, we may worship God in our spirits, and goe to masse, and doe any thing, the bodie is but as a toole in a carpenters hand.

It is not worth the while to confute those, I could give many reasons to the contrary. Christ hath redeemed soul, and bodie, therfore we must gloryfie God in both. And you know the soule and bodie that goe on in sin shall be damned the one and the other: there­fore the bodie hath need to looke to it as well as the soul. And we are commanded to beare witnes to the [Page 44]truth of God, how can we doe it if the bodie may doe any thing? we need never suffer persecution, as all that are in Christ must; if I will be content to serve Christ in my soule only, I will not suffer persecution, I will goe to masse, and sweare, and be drunk &c. A­gaine, we are called to be like Christ and he was holie in soule, and bodie; how can we be like him if we will be holie in our souls only and not in our bodies? Nay it is impossible: for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh: that is, if the soule be holie, the bodie will be so too: if there be wickednes in the heart there must be wickednes in the bodie, and if there be holines in the soul, there will be also in the bodie. If any hold an opinion to make contentiō by it, let them take it as an admonition from the Lord to consider what they do. Thus you se the errors on the lefthand. As I desire power of the Lord to tell you what think, so I desire that you would indeavour to understand.

The errours on the right hand are contrarie to this,2 Errors on the right hand. when as Paule saith All things are lawfull as the one makes it universall that every thing is lawfull, so the other makes nothing lawfull almost. My meaning is this; they on the right hand having an old Tastament spirit (mark that word, for from thence is the con­tention) having a spirit not suitable to the new Testament; though (mistake me not) they differ but in degrees cheifly, and principally) they make lawes and ties, and bonds, and knotts, and knacks and many ridiculous things to tie, and bind themselves, where Christ Jesus in the new testament hath not bound them; and hence comes chiefly the contentions, and controversies of these times betweene two sorts of people; you know who they are. Though I constant­ly [Page 45]conceive that in the things themselves, the one may be in when the other are out, and the other may be in when they are out; the one partie may be in in some­things, & the other may be in when they are wrong in somethings: yet though they be never so violent, though they be ready to devoure one another, and ready to set the Kingdom, & nation on fire, and say, we will have our way, and you shall not have yours: yet (marke it) they both agree in this; all these conten­tions they come from the same principle. (I speake not of every particular man, but of the generality of both wayes) it comes from an old Testament spirit in the one, and in the other. And though they be contrary as light and darknes, point blank enemies, yet as I have sometimes seen two rivers, run con­trary wayes that have sprung from the same head, and hill: so the one and the other; (if I mistake not) of the great controversies at this time, it comes from an old Testament spirit in the one as well as in the other.

What is an old Testament spirit?

I speake not to make the breach wider;Old Testa­ment spirit what. but desire that it may be healed: therfore I say that you may take notice of it, & take heed of it, an old Testament spi­rit is this, that there is in both a disposition to make a curious externall peice of government; as curious, nay say they, why not more curious than Moses made in the Old? I say, in externall things. And out of this principle every one will have his brat, and straine and squeeze the Scripture one this way, and another that, and make fine peices that will never stand.

Only with this difference, that the one side, (that in this are the honester of the two) they endlessely make [Page 46]lawes, and ties for their own consciences, and the o­ther party they make lawes, and ties, upon the consci­ences of others.

The one party is alway scrupulous;1. Such as make laws to tie themselves. And why should not the Lord be more honourable than the ser­vant? and Moses that was a servant was faithful in the house of God; and he made a curious peice, even to a snuff, to aloope, to an ilet hole, and there must cer­tainly be a curious peice if we could see it: Not know­ing that Gods purpose is to make his worship glori­ous in spiritualls, and so they goe on a long and search the Scripture to every jot, and tittle, & squeese blood out of it, and so tie knots, and will not stoop an ace to their bretheren for a Kingdome; Thus they binde themselves as the silk-worme, or the spider with their own web; And when they have made lawes, they lay such a stresse on them that if they misse in a nick, they conclude there is no Church, nor no Common-wealth, &c. I could give divers instances, as in that of dipping over head and eares: because the word bapto signifies over head and eares sometimes, and because the pre­position em signifies to go into, from that they binde all the Saints all the world over to goe into rivers; so that if a man be not dipped but only sprinkled, because of the preposition em, that makes a nullitie of the Church, that it is no Church, and so consequently there shall be no Church at all: so from prepositions and particles, they make rules that Christ hath not tied them to.

I speak not to disparage the least tittle of the Scripture: for Heaven and earth shall passe, before one jot or tittle of it shall passe: But take this too, it is not every tittle or affix, nor every preposition, nor every [Page 47] example, nor every precept, that can make an absolute rule to binde all the Saints, all the world over: there­fore though there be no preposition, nor no tittle in the word, but there is use for it, yet it is not to be put to that use, that every thing there must binde all the Saints in all the world, that is a mistake.

The other sort of people have the same principle also,2. Such as make laws to binde others. they would have a curious externall peice in the new Testament: but with this difference, that they would not be so scrupulous to themselves (for many of them walk large & broad enough) but their fingers itch to make lawes, and ties to binde the consciences of others, and so they look upon the old Testament, and see that a compleat peice; how the Passeover was pre­scribed, how they must take the lamb, and at what age, and how long they must keep it, and when they must kill it, and what posture they must use, and what sauce they must have; they see it a curious peice, and they look on the new Testament (though they speak not so) as if Christ had left it very darke, and short, and briefe. And indeed to speak the truth, if the de­signe of Christ had been to make a curious externall peice under the new Testament as under the old, they did think right, no man could disprove them: but Christ of purpose left things briefe, as I shewed be­fore; How moderately, and spairingly, and covert­ly the Lord mentions Ordinances in the new Testa­ment: now they concluding that the worship of God in the new Testament must be more glorious than in the old, and in outward things; there upon they make Canons, and eech it out; and in so doing, they make such ties upon indifferent things, and things that Christ hath not determined to the Saints, that though [Page 48]the things be otherwise good in themselves, yet they have this evill, one of the greatest in any Church in the world; they bring the glorious sonnes of Sion under the New-Testament back againe to the Old.

So it hath been alway from the beginning:Popes practise. for wee see the Popes heretofore, they alway looked on the new Testament as a lame thing, short, and dark; there­fore they made Canon upon Canon, and Article upon Article, every Pope made Canons, and lawes, and de­cretalls till they were endlesse, to determine things that are undetermined, that are left to the wisdom of the Saints in their riper age, (all a long an old Testa­ment spirit,) that they might make a curious out­ward peice.

And so the Bishops,Bishops practise. they looked on the new Te­stament as dark, and lame, and they would take it and digest it into a method; and make other bookes in­stead of a new Testament, that a man might be a pro­testant and never see the Bible, and a man might be a good Catholik and never see the Bible; So they made the thirtie-nine Articles, and decrees, and Canons to eech out the new Testament, and the minister must say this with a loud voyce, and that with a low voyce; and now he must sit, and now he must stand; and hee must read one lesson here, and another there; and here he must read the first, and there the second Ser­vice; and if he were rich he must weare long clothes, and if he were poore he must weare short. What an abominable thing is it to tie the sonnes of God that are not babies, now under tutors, with paltrie things, when the Spirit of God in the least Saint is better able to determine than all the Bishops.

Therefore this makes my heart to bleed;Presbytery & Inde­pendency. I am not ashamed nor afraid to tell you my serious thoughts concerning these two wayes, (if you will, call them PRESBYTERY and INDEPENDENCY) For that of Independency, as I never saw, nor was apprehensive what harme it could do to overthrow the Parliament, or to destroy the Kingdome, as men say; Wee must have but one Religion, and hang them, and draw them, and banish them: as I am not sensible of these feares; so on the other side, if you call that Presbytery, that godly men call so; when a godly Church appeales to godly Ministers, to determine that which they cannot determine themselves; I cannot see but in some cases, and some times, and some Churches, such a thing may be convenient and expedient; and if that were all in Presbytery, I would never speak against it, I say, take Presbytery as godly men expresse it, (not as ignorant men take it, for they mean tyranny) I see no such great danger in that, that Presbytery will be a thing to destroy us, but there may be some things in it conve­nient: but I professe before God and the world, my greatest feare, and griefe, and trouble is that from Presbytery, and Independency, between the one, and the other, they are both in a way to make the Saints un­der the new Testament, the glorious sonnes of Sion all babies, and to tie little knots, & querks upon their own souls, and the souls of others, to bring them to the old Testament againe. Where Christ hath bound us let us be bound: but where he hath made us free let us doe all to the glory of God, and for expediencie and edification.

Therefore strive not about strawes, whether wee shall appeale to other people when we cannot doe [Page 50]things of our selves,A ridicu­lous thing to tie the Sts where Christ hath not tied them. but go to the root, the principle of both in the generality tends as strongly the one as the other, to make babies of the Saints. What a shamefull, strange, ridiculous thing would it be, if a Doctor, or Batchelor of Divinity should come from Oxford with gray-haires and a learned man, and you should make him a little coate, and put him on a sachell, and give him a Horne-book, or A B C, and put a festraw in his hand and turne him to schoole; What a great disparagement would it be? would it not be ridiculous, and intolerably foolish? So God will be served in the new Testament, in Spirit: and Christ now hath made the Saints free in abundance of things, and for us to make little knick-knacks, little lawes to tie the Saints hand and foot, and to binde them faster than ever they were under Moses; To tell the Saints in the new Testament, here you must put out your hand, and here, that they cannot sanctifie a Sabbath, or make a Sermon, but they must be told when they must sit, and when they must stand, and what they must doe, this is the misery, this, this, this makes the hearts of Christians to bleed. There is something in Presbytery that might be expedient, and somewhat in Independency, and it would easily be de­cided; but this is the plague, we would bring the sons of Sion in the new Testament to be babies. I foresee this, and point it out for you, to take notice of that old Testament spirit, that wee may not make lawes up­on our selves, where God hath not made lawes on us: therefore pray to the Lord to end that, and then nei­ther of the other will hurt you. That is the second Use.

Only there might be an objection, whether it be [Page 51]not lawfull for the Magistrates, or the Churches, or the Ministers to make lawes to tie their subjects, or members, in things that Christ hath not absolutely determined? But concerning that I mean to handle the objection more fully when I shall speake concer­ning expediency; therefore I shall leave it till then. And to hasten over this Doctrine briefly, I come to the last Use.

Use 3 Exhortati­on to du­ties.As the former Use was to point out the mistakes, so this points out the duties to which I am to exhort you that this being so, that there is such a libertie, and latitude (yet not a universall latitude) that ther­fore you would learne these foure things that I shall exhort you to.

First, that every one would endeavor to understand and be acquainted with your Christian libertie, 1. To under­stand our Christian libertie. under the new Testament, to studie it. O! say not here is an example, or a precept, or a command, and I know not what, as many are readie to say: beware what you bind your conscience with: studie your Christian liber­tie: be not as the horse and mule, without understanding: labour to know what Christ commands that if you doe it not, you sin, and to know what Christ hath left as expedient for you to doe, or not to doe according to edification, that is the way to peace.

But you will say, this is dangerous; Object. this will make us all libertines; it is dangerous for people to know their libertie. For then they would be giddie and loose, & prophane.

When I was a child I have many times heard that if a horse knew his strength no body could rule him. Answer Know­ledge of Christian liberty not dangerous. So if we were horses, & mules without understanding, if we were not men and women in growen age under the new [Page 52]Testament having the Spirit of God, the knowing of our libertie would doe us hurt; but you shall see that Paul (and he was wise) alway, in all places, he was as carefull to lay downe their libertie, as to reprove those that abuse their libertie: as in all those places in the Corinthians; he tells them what was expedient, but if you marrie you sin not; and so for meat offered to Idols, though it might be inexpedient, yet an Idol is nothing. So sensuall men that have not the Spirit if they pervert and abuse their liberty, yet wee must not be wiser than the holy Ghost, and Paul, and keep the liberty of the Saints from them, but acquaint them with it.

Besides, we must indeavour to understand our liber­tie in the new Testament; because that for want of knowing their libertie under the new Testament, Not know­ing our Christian liberty keeps us under aspi­rit of bon­dage. the generality of the Saints are kept under the spirit of bondage; there is a spirit of bondage nourished inevita­bly, you cannot avoide it, as [...]ong as you are ignorant of your libertie under the new Testament.

As how?

I will tell you, there is a spirit of bondage, that is, continuall guilt on your consciences, continuall feare in you.

How comes it?

Guilt in the the Sts whence.Marke it, most of the guilt and feares of the Saints is, ordinarily not from the doing of ill, but from the misdoing of good: that is, they apprehend themselves bound to such a dutie, and God calls them to another dutie, and there is guilt ariseth from that, they doe one thing, when their consciences tell them they are bound to doe another; As for instance, it is your dutie to pray morning and evening in your families, [Page 53]it is so, and more, seven times a day if you can: but you make all things lawfull, you will doe nothing up­on expediency, you make it so of necessitie, that if you misse in the one, or the other you sin. As for instance, you have taken apart your family to pray, and you are called at that time to relieve a poore man, and though you have done a better deed, yet because you binde your selves where God hath not bound you, there is guilt on your consciences. So, you make an­other law to read Chapters twice a day, you have bound your selves, and you sin if you doe it not; but a greater dutie comes that is worth the reading often Chapters, yet because you neglect that you sin, and carry guilt on you: So three parts of foure of your guilt, it ariseth from ignorance, you know not which God will have: I pray when I should read, or I preach when I should pray, or when I should do good to my brother, it comes from ignorance. God hath not tied us to the number of Chapters, or these things: but as it may be for expediency, for the glory of God, and the edification of our brethren; which if you did know, when a greater dutie comes you would take it in hand; So you make a law, you must begin read­ing with Prayer, it is sinne to read without praying. It is convenient to pray at all times: but if you make it an absolute law, there will be guilt upon your con­science when you omit it, though the occasion be ne­ver so great. Labour to know your Christian liberty.

Shall I goe a little further?Ignorance of Christi­an liberty hindere from win­ing others. For the want of know­ing and understanding your Christian Liberty, there is this misery, that you are not able to win the souls of others.

Why so?

Because you have tied your selves hand and foot that you cannot stoop to win souls. Saith Paul, 1 Cor. 9. To the Jew I became as a Jew, and to them without law, as without law: I was weake to the weake, I was all things to all, that I might win some. As if he should say, Christ hath given me a great deale of liberty to this end, that I might accommodate, and apply my self; (beware of mistaking me) not to accommodate my selfe to my own ends, to please my lusts: but he hath given me a latitude to stoop to mens dispositions, and wayes to win their souls. Now, if Pauls religion had been as many now, that is, to be tied hand and foot, that either all was lawfull or unlawfull, he would not have bended an ace to win the world; therefore let us learne to know our liberty.

I could give many sad instances, how hence men tied knots, that it is not lawfull to come into such a house as this; it may be it may not be expedient, but they make it absolutely unlawfull. One man makes it unlawfull to come into a Pulpit; it may be it is inex­pedient: but they will not have it lawfull; and so hun­dreds of souls are starved, they make ties where God hath made none; and so we cannot do good to others for want of knowing our liberty.

Lastly, let us studie to know our liberty; for the want of knowing our Christian liberty,Ignorance of Christi­an liberty the cause of conten­tion. is the maine cause of contention, of the contentions of these times I mean.

How is that?

I will tell you how, On the one side, the one partie will doe nothing through the yeare, but look at all as absolutely lawfull, or unlawfull. Wee are come to a [Page 55]fine passe, that you must pray before you read, or else you sin &c. And men are so hide-bound, and tied, that they will not condescend to their brethren an ace. We are bound to condescend to others, and to be of one minde, that we may doe good to such, as wee were formerly: but saith one, I will not forgoe the truth for a world; and one man calls this truth, and another that. Men are bound head and heeles, and will not condescend one jot to others, this is for want of the knowledge of our liberty. Christ hath given us such a latitude, take heed of abusing it, of going be­yond it, yet take heed to studie it.

One the other side, it makes their fingers itch to set out lawes for others, to tell the Saints when they shall put out their hand, and when they shall pul it in; as the Preists in the Law, when they shall speak with a loud voyce, and when with a low, when they shall be down, and when up. If men knew their liberty it would save a world of labour. That is one dutie, labour to know and understand your liberty, you will be slaves and undoe your selves else.

The second dutie is, doe not enfring your liberty, 2. Not to en­fring our liberty. doe not lessen it. As how? I would not have you make lawes and ties upon your selves for every little thing, where God hath not made it.

You will say, it is true, where God hath not made them, we would make none: but God hath given us examples; Is not that a law to us? and he hath given us precepts; Are not those lawes?

Every ex­ample makes not a law.It is not every example, nor every precept that makes a law to the Saints.

Not every example; if you look on the example of the Apostles, they did many things that you are [Page 56]not to follow, they killed a man and his wife, Acts 5. they cast out devills, they smote men with blindnesse, they anointed with oyle; yet presently they would not tie the Churches all the world over.

Look upon the Churches, they did sell their lands in the beginning of the Acts, and they brought the money to the Apostles, and laid it at their feet; this example was not a rule, for the Churches after did not so: but made collections and contributions; there­fore take heed of making examples rules. Nay, the ex­ample of Christ Jesus himself in many things is not a rule, for he walked on the Sea, and whipped the buyers and sellers out of the Temple. What Christ did, and did not command, we are not to follow; And why not the like of the Apostles? what the Apostles did, and commanded wee are to follow: but what they did and is not commanded it may be, is not warrant­able.

Besides, the Saints had feasts of love, as we see in Jude These are blots in your feasts. Continually when they came to the Supper every one brought his meat, as we see 1 Cor. 11. Where are those examples now? Be warie of examples. Indeed examples with precepts make a rule, and it is very commendable to follow them: but where it is without a precept take heed of making it a law.

And then for precepts,many pre­cepts that binde not all the Sts there are many in the Book of God that doe not binde all the Saints uni­versally.

There are personall precepts, as for the Israelites to steale from,Severall sorts of precepts. and cozen the Egyptians, and for Abraham to sacrifice his son, those are not in force.

As there are personall, so there are carnall pre­cepts, [Page 57](I speak with reverence) that is, commands where the holy Ghost speaks in the person of a pro­phane man, as in Ecclesiastes, Be not righteous over much. The holy Ghost speaks in the language of prophane men, and rather shewes the nature of prophane men, than what men should doe; and there are abundance of such in Job: Take heed that we make not lawes of these for all Saints, and all ages, to binde their consci­ences.

And then their are temporall precepts, that were meerly ceremoniall in the old Testament; and in the new Testament, as in Acts 15. the Apostles forbid things strangled and blood, this was a temporall com­mand, as I could shew at large: but this temporall did not binde all, in all things, because after there was a precept to contradict it, as we see the holy Ghost bids to eat whatsoever is set before us; and Every creature of God is good, if it be sanctified with the word and prayer. There is nothing to be refused, it is an universall word, So, what will you make of that, salute one ano­ther with an holy kisse? VVhy follow you not that pre­cept?

There are precepts of Indulgence that binde not, as in Gen. 3. Of every tree in the garden thou shalt eat: but of the tree in the middest of the garden eat not. Now here was a command for Adam to eat of every other tree, as well as not to eat of that: but the former is a pre­cept of indulgence, and this precept did not binde ab­solutely; so that if he had not eaten of every tree, hee had not sinned. And so in the matter of divorce, the man was to give his wife a bill of divorce; this did not binde, if a man did take his wife in adulterie, and would live with her, he did not sin: but if he did turne her a­way [Page 58]he must give her a bill of divorce. There are many others; you see every example, and every precept bindes not,To learne how much precept or example make an absolute rule. therefore be wonderous warie how you make lawes, and rules to binde you. Ask godly men this question (for I am not able to answer it) what precept or example, or how much precept, and ex­ample, doth make an absolute rule for all Churches in all ages? answer that question, and most of our contentions are gone. It is not enough to say Sir, I goe according to the Scripure, the word saith this; and this proposition saith so: but ask godly men how much precept and example goes to make an absolute necessarie rule for all ages, answer that, and then thou walkest safely. But the want of knowing our Christian liberty undoes thee.

You take the Book of God, as if it were all aphoris­mes and Theorems, and Canons; No, the Book of God (to speak with reverence) is like the Common Law of England, and there we know sometime what is right by the Judges opinion, sometime by paralell cases, sometimes by expediency. Now you say, let such a man bring me Scripture; what Scrirpture? any line whatsoever, and they (simple people) bring a place or two, and make an absolute rule to binde you, and all the world.

Remember, the greatest miserie to an honest heart (next to an old Testament spirit, that is the rise of all) is this, a misdrawing of rules out of the word of God: you take a word and doe not compare it with other Scriptures, and see whether it be temporarie and doth absolutely binde: but you goe with your book under your arme, and think all wise men are out, & you have Scripture for it: beware of that. Therefore (as I said) [Page 59]learne what precept or example, or how much goes to make an absolute rule, to all the Saints in all ages, that they must not break; when you understand that you may draw rules.

So, let me speak to the other party,Not to binde o­thers with lawes where Christ hath not bound them. make not lawes upon the Saints, where Christ hath not made any: for the Saints are noble spirited men, and a noble spirited man had rather doe a hundred things, then be bound to one; I would doe a hundred things that Christ hath not commanded, and leave undone a hundred things that Christ hath not forbidden, rather than be tied to one thing by men that Christ hath not commanded; I had rather doe a hundred things for edification that Christ hath not determined. If you binde the Saints, it will make them leave that undone that they should have done.

The third dutie is, abuse not your libertie,3. Not to abuse Christian liberty. you are called to liberty (saith the Apostle) I cannot de­ny it, I must make it known: but abuse it not for an occasion to the flesh, or as a cloak for maliciousnesse. Abuse not your liberty, for your own ends to avoid persecu­tion, or to get wealth &c. Abuse it not by making it larger and broader than God hath made it; it is dan­gerous to add commandments to the law of God, that he hath not made, and so it is as dangerous to destroy that, that God hath made: therefore saith David Psal. 119. Lord, it is time for thee to put to thy hand: Dangerous to take a­way any of Gods lawes. for men have destroyed thy law. It is safer, and better for a man to break the Law of God five hundred times, than to take away one law that God hath made, to make the way larger, and wider than God hath made it; As, because I said God hath not absolutely bound you to pray twice a day; some man may goe home [Page 60]and therefore he will not pray at all, thou art a wretched man, when lawfulnesse is gone, thou wilt doe nothing for edification, and expediency. Take heed, that you may doe that that is for the building up of your own soules, and for the edification of your brethren.

To conclude,4. To hold fast Christian liberty. the fourth, and last thing is, hold fast your liberty; let not men take away your liberty; be not servants to men. If I be the servant of men (saith Paul) I should not be the servant of Christ; and yet he saith, I am your servant, that is, doe not tie me, and I will serve you and doe any thing: but if you binde a Saint, and make lawes where Christ hath not bound him, you shall never bring him to it, a Christian had rather doe a hundred things that God hath not com­manded: he can doe it, but he is loath to be bound ab­solutely to one; The way to get the Saints to do any thing, is not to binde, and tie them hand and foot, I mean in things that God hath not determined. There was a stir in the Church about Timothy, the Church then had but little knowledge, and they heard that Paul conversed with the heathens, Paul advised with the Church, and he circumcised him, and shaved his head, he doth all this to get their love: but afterward when they would have circumcised Titus by a law, hee would not yeild a jot; though I did it in love concer­ning Timothy, yet I will not be bound by any man to circumcise Titus: But held fast his liberty. So much for that Doctrine.


All things are lawfull for me, but all things are not expe­dient, &c.

YOu may remember, I observed three lessons from these words.

First, that

There are divers things now lawfull to the Saints under the new Testament, that were not to the Saints under the Old.


There is a greater latitude in externall things (for so I opened it) for the Saints in point of lawfulnes un­der the new Testament, than their was to the Saints un­der the Old-Testament. That Doctrine wee have finished.

I come now to the second Doctrine, which is this, That

Though divers things be LAWFULL to the Saints un­der the new Testament, Doct. Though many things be now law­full: but few are expedient. yet there are but a few things EX­PEDIENT.

All lawfull things are not expedient, nor fit for a Saint to doe under the new Testament; Though there be divers things that are lawfull, that God hath not commanded or forbidden, that God hath not deter­mined [Page 62]in his word; yet of those things there are not many expedient for a Christian to doe, that is, at all times, in all places, &c. For our proceeding in this point I shall shew you two things:

First, open it a little to you, (for that is the chiefe.)

Secondly, wee will prove it briefly for methods sake; And then by the help of God bring in the third Doctrine fitly, I hope, as a Use, or Appli­cation.

All lawfull things I say, are not expedient: For the opening of it I shall shew these two thing;

First,1. Whatmeāt by lawfull things. what is meant by lawfull things.

Secondly, what is here meant by expedient things.

I spake somewhat of it before: but that you may understand me concerning the first: there are three sorts of things according to the Scripture that may be said to be inexpedient, or inconvenient for a Saint to doe:

First, it is inconvenient, inexpedient for a Saint to doe things that are purely, Things that are simply evil and simply evil, though it be not properly said to be inexpedient, as unlawfull, yet in a sort it is inexpedient alwayes, to all people, in all places, they are never sit to be done, they are both un­lawfull and inexpedient, as it is in Ephes. 5.3. Fornica­tion, and all uncleanness, or covetousnesse, let it not once be named among you, as becometh Saints: neither filthines, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient. which are not expedient, not seemly; Fornication, and whoredome, and filthiness, such things are never ex­pedient, or beseeming a Christian, to be a whoremon­ger, or a drunkard, or a cheater, (as I feare too many are) it is never expedient. So in Rom. 1.28. The Apostle [Page 63]saith that the people were Filled with all unrighteous­nesse, they changed the naturall use to that which is against nature; and the men leaving the naturall use of the women, burned in their lust one towards another, men with men wor­king that which is UNSEEMLY. That is, they committed Sodomie man with man, and all sorts of wickednes, and fornication, and covetousness, and maliciousness; being full of envie, murther, debate, de­ceite, &c. And what follows? The Lord gave them up to a reprobate minde, to do things that are not CONVENI­ENT; which were not seemly. That I may trouble you no farther with that; evill things, that are simply evil are never convenient at any time, for any man to doe.

Secondly,2. Things that are simply good in three cases a thing may be inexpedient sometimes that is simply good, hic et nunc at sometime, in some place, and to some persons it may be inexpedient in these three Cases.

First, when a greater good comes in,1. When a greater good comes in. a lesser good ceaseth, it is inexpedient. As for example, to read a chapter and expound to your families, it is expedient: but if my neighbours house be on fire, and his wife and children in it, it is inexpedient for me to expound, I am to leave that when a greater good comes in: as in Luke 13. to raise up a beast, or to waite upon ones parents being sicke on the Sabbath day; when a greater good comes in, the lesser good is inexpedient.

Secondly,2. When wee cannot come at the good without doing of evil. a thing simply good may be inexpe­dient, when I cannot come to the good unlesse I will doe that that is evil; As if a man cannot preach in publicke except he will take the Caviliers oath, it is inexpedient, because I cannot come at the [Page 64]good but by doing the evil.

Thirdly,3. When a greater e­vil will follow the good. a thing simply good may be sometime inex­pedient, when necessarily, and directly, and inevitably there will follow something that is grossely evil, that is a greater evil than the good, we doe, is good. I doe not say that evil by accident should terrifie us from doing of good, for then wee should never doe good. It may be you may stumble to heare me, and are the worse. And a hundred things that fall by accident, these should not terrifie me: but when evil appeares directly to follow, in some cases it is not expedient to doe good. We are commanded to reprove the works of darknesse: but Mat. 6. if a man be a dogg or a swine, that is, in the height of darknesse, and wickedness, a man is not to reprove him, because he will fall upon him, and rent him: for instance, I see a wicked man, and I have reproved him, and I am in danger of my life if I tell him of his evils; I am at my liberty whe­ther I will reprove him, or no; So, God sent Paul to preach to all Nations, yet he preached only to them of reputation, Gal. 2. That is, to wise understanding Christi­ans, and kept it from other people: he was bid to preach to all Nations; but because he saw he should run invaine, and undoe his ministery if he should doe it at that time, by reason of that he did not doe that that was simply good in it self.

But thirdly,3. Things in­different things may be said to be inexpedient, that are (as you call them) indifferent things, and by those I mean, not only, nor chiefely, outward exter­nall things, civill things, as eating, and drinking, and sitting, and walking, and the like: but I mean in a gene­rall sense every thing; those things whatsoever they [Page 65]be that God hath not absolutely, and peremtorily de­termined in his will, and word in the new Testament, whether in Doctrine or Discipline in his Worship, (if I may so speak, though improperly,) or whatso­ever he hath not absolutely determined; those things I call indifferent. And though there be abundance of things that are not so determined that are lawfull for Christians to doe, yet alway those things are not ex­pedient, and convenient for them to doe.

And before I proceed farther to open this (which is the greatest thing) I desire you to take two cauti­ons.Cautions.

First, in opening to you this expediency that I am to speak of, and the rest, I shall make use of many Scriptures, that sometimes mingle things simplie evil with things undetermined; now take it not, as though every thing that I shall name in a text I call things indifferent.

Secondly, doe not conceive by what I have said,2. Nor to weaken things de­termined. or by what I mean to say, that I goe about to innervate, or to weaken any thing that God hath determined in his word, God forbid: but my drift is to shew how you should walk in respect of those things (be they what they will) that God hath not determined: but left at liberty. So, observing that;

We come to the next thing, to shew what is expe­diency.

All things are lawfull: but all things are not EXPE­DIENT.

That is, divers things are lawfull: for I speak not properly of the two other, things simplie good, and simplie evil: but of things undetermined; and seeing every thing is not expedient; What is the meaning [Page 66]of that? what is the expediency of things?

By the word expedient in this text,Expedien­cy what. I suppose the Lord takes one word that comprehends all those rules that are to order and guide us in our conversati­ons, in the use of things that are not absolutely com­manded, or forbidden. It is a large word, ALL things are not expedient; that is, all things are not fit, not meet, all things are not worthy the Gospel, they are not decent, they are not comely, they do not edifie, they are not con­veniēt, not lovely, not veērable, not of good report. I beli­eve it comprehends all, & implies all, though it signifie some one thing more especially in particular.

Now, because the words are many, and it would be tedious to shew all the rules, or expressions in Scripture, that teach us how to carrie our selves in these things, and finding the rules coinsidere, and ma­ny of the expressions to signifie the same thing: There­fore I will reduce all to foure heads, or generall rules, or expressions, that the holy Ghost useth concerning things undeterminea by the Lord in Scripture.reduced to 4 heads

1 First, I will take expediency in its own native signi­fication, and look what light we can get there.

All things are not expedient.

The mean­ing of the word expe­diency.The meaning of the word wee shall see a little by that that follows, the Apostle explaines himselfe, all things are lawfull: but all things edefie not. That is, that is not expedient, that doth not edifie, that doth not add any thing to one. The word sumpertí signifies gaine, or profit, or wealth, and that in a compound manner, it signifies some commoditie that one gets. Every thing is not expedient, that is, it is not profitable, it doth not bring gaine, it doth not doe good; as the Apostle saith after, Let no man seek his own: but anothers [Page 67]wealth. So it is translated in one place, profit 1 Cor. 12.7. The manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withall. And as one observes it signifies not barely profit: but great gaine, as Piscator saith, when men bring every one a stock of money to make a com­mon bank, when one hath one gift, & another another, to make a common bank for the good of the Church: it signifies profit in a compound manner.

Concur­rence of things to profit or expedien­cy.But I thinke as properly, or rather more proper­ly that the word may also signifie the respect of things, it signifies not only profit or commoditie, but a concur­ence of things to helpe on that profite, as thus. A thing is expedient when it brings gaine, and commodi­tie to some person, this is expediencie. As for instance, suppose a Collonell have a command to go to the Ar­my, it is lawfull, but the question is whether it be expe­dient; now if he have order to goe and not mony, or if he have a Commission, and money, and have not Armes, or if he have Armes and not souldiers, it is not expedient for him to go, here is not a concurrence of all circum­stances to a profitable and good action: but when all come together, as when he hath instructions, and order, and armes, and souldiers, and mony, when all concur and come in, then it is wondrous expedient.

Neither mistake mee, it is not necessarie to make a thing expedient, either civell, or spirituall circum­stances concur, as the proverbe is, there is no commo­ditie but there is a discomoditie, there is no such busi­nes, but some thing may jarr: but a busines is said to be expedient when the generallitie, when the most, or the most materiall things concurre, though some bee a way, if some meet it may be expedient. As if a Cap­taine have souldiers, and monie, and armes, though hee [Page 68]have not faire weather, or want a Coat or such a thing, yet it may be expedient for him to goe. So in spiritu­all things, a thing that is undetermined is inexpedient when the circumstances are so thwart, and crosse that it is like to bring no good, but hurt: but when the cir­cumstances or most of them meet, that it is like to bring profit, then it is expedient: for alwayes circum­stances doe jumpe so, to make the busines profitable or gainefull, but hurtfull, and unprofitable.

But you will say, Quest. what gaine or profit is that that you expect an action should bring, before a christian be allowed to doe it, and to determine on it?

Beloved, Answ. it should bring gaine foure wayes (as I may so speak.) Our books translate it well, though that be not proper, we have not words to expresse it; we must not take the word in the proper sense, no more than the word wealth, in the next verse after the text: for the word signifies gaine, or profit, or commoditie, or wealth, or advantage, &c. I say it should bring gaine

  • To God.
    Expedient actions must bring gaine, or profit 4 wayes.
  • To My brother.
  • To Those without.
  • To My own soule.

That action that is lawfull, that is undetermined, if it doe not profit these foure wayes, or either of the foure; If it doe not bring advancement to the glory of God, or something to the good of my brother, or something to win them that are without, or something for the setling of the peace of my own conscience, it is not for me to doe it, never let me talk it is lawfull, it is not expedient.

1. To ad­vance the glory of God.First, for the glory of God, you shall see 1 Cor. 10. [Page 69]the same Chapter where the text is, Every thing is lawfull, but every thing is not expedient; What is that expediency? Let no man seek his own, but anothers wealth. It is somewhat that brings gaine; what gaine? If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and yee be disposed to goe, whatsoever is set before you, that eat, asking no questi­on for conscience sake: but if any man say unto you, this is offered in sacrifice unto Idols; eat not for his sake that shewed it, and for conscience sake, not thine own conscience, but his. You may understand that when a Christian was invited to a feast, and meat that was offered to an Idol was upon the Table, he might eat: but if an un­believer did say, this was offered to an Idol, and will you that are a professor eat of it? for conscience sake eat not: not for thine; but his conscience that shewed thee: but mark the reason, for why is my liberty judged of another mans conscience? and he expostulates, For if I by grace be a partaker; why am I evil spoken of for that, for which I give thanks? He seems to bustle, never talk of it, is it not lawfull? And I give thanks, and it is sancti­fied by the word, and prayer, saith the Apostle, whether yee eat or drink, or whatsoever you doe, doe all to the glory of God. You are so brisk, and it is lawfull, and every creature is sanctified, it is true: but take this rule, see the action conduce something to the glory of God, or else leave it there; whether ye eat, or drink, or what­soever you doe, let it be something whereby the name of God, and the wayes of God, and Religion may be honoured by your doing of it. It is not for the glory of God for thee to use meat offered to an Idol at an unbelievers Table, he having told thee of it, for hee will say, here is a sweet profession, this is their religi­on, he cares not what he doth. When a man doth things [Page 70]dishonourable to religion, or to God, (for otherwise wee cannot glorifie, or unglorifie God, wee can­not reach him,) but when we dishonour religion, or make God evil spoken of, we doe that which is incon­venient, and though the thing be lawfull, if it doe not honour God, we must not doe it; That is one thing.

The second thing is,2. To the good of our bre­thren 3 wayes. you must see if it be an action that is expedient, as it must bring honour to God; so it must bring gaine and good to my brother also; next to God, I must looke to my brother, O! there is lit­tle looking to that: you must not only looke what is lawfull or unlawful, but have a care what issue this hath towards thy brother; seek not every man his owne: but one an others wealth; how is that? The good of our brethren is laid downe in scripture three wayes.

Either that it increase love betweene you and your brethren,

Or else that it helpe on the edification of your bre­thren

Or increase and nourish peace betweene you and your brethren.

Either at least, or all these three must bee in it, or else you must not meddle with it.

For the first in 1 Cor. 8. when they proposed the question whether they might eat meat offred to Idols: 1. To in­crease love between us & them. saith the Apostle; yee all have knowledge, you are brisk, and say, wee know what is lawfull, and what is not, saith he, but love edifieth. As if he should say, you looke not whether it tend to love or no, have a regard to that. So in Rom. 14.14.15. I know (saith the A­postle,) and am perswaded by the Lord Iesus that nothing is uncleane of it selfe: but to him that esteemeth any thing uncleane, to him it is uncleane. I know every thing is [Page 71] lawfull to the saints; but if thy brother be grived with thy meate, thou walkest not charitably; that is thou dost not walke in love. I know it is lawfull, but if it greive thy brother, thou walkest not in love, and thou shouldest regard that, or else thou wilt not walke wisely. So in 1 Cor. 16.14. Let all your things be done in love; what­soever thou dost see that it conduce to nourish, & in­crease love among the people of God. If it be a thing that cooles the love of my brother to me, & be a thing that is not commanded nor forbidden. I must not do it.

Then secondly, see whether it conduce to bring a­ny thing to the peace of the saints, and people of God;2. To the peace of the Sts. and if it bring love it will bring peace; for the fruit of the Spirit is, love, joy, peace; peace alway goes with love; and wee are taught Philip. 2.3. that wee should doe nothing with strife and contention; but though it be a thing that is lawfull, yet if I must strive, and breed contention, I must leave that lawfull thing out. In the common-wealth with us it is one of the greatest things to keep the peace. As for instance, if a man be in debt, and owe a man mony &c. if the o­ther breake the peace & fight with him, the other shall answer at the Court day for his debt, but the magi­strate will clap him up presently. And so to break the peace among the saints, it is not a little thing; you may please your selves by it, but the Lord is wonder­ously offended with those that break the peace.

We must fellow peace with all men,To avoid strife & contenti­on.prosecute it; that is get the same disposition to peace as men have to per­secute Religion. We must have peace with all men much more with the brethren.

This is a time that we live in, when men take toyes in their heads right or wrong, indifferent or unlawfull, [Page 72]and they looke not to the issue of those toyes: for ought thou knowest it may overthrow the Nation, and divide the Churches, and rend the Saints, and thou carest not for peace. If I love Christ I must keep his com­mandements. Even in things commanded we must re­spect peace much more in things that are not absolute­ly cōmanded: therfore we see in 1. Cor. 14.33. there was a great deale of stir and contention about prophesy­ing and praying, and speaking with strange tongues; mark the counsell that the Apostle gives. The spirits of the prophets are subiect to the prophets: for God is not the author of confusion, but of peace; as it is in all the Churches of the saints, you shall finde in the margine; God is not the author of tumults or unquiet, but of peace. One would say, I have Gods will, and command, and I doe that which is right, saith he that spake in an unknown tongue, and another prophesied, and another sang, and every one thought he did well, you are mistaken saith the Apostle God is not the author of unquiet, that is a dis­position that will hurrie you to the confusion of the Churches, therfore it is not of God Compare it with 1. Cor. 11. where the Apostle speaks concerning women being covered or uncovered, and he shewes what he thought was fit in those countries: but (saith he) if any be contentious we have no such custome, nor the Churches of God That is, if you wrangle, and strive, and keep a coile, I will not beare you out, we have no such custome, nor the Churches of God, to breake the peace, and to make strife and contention. As in the out­ward common-wealth, so in the spirituall common­wealth of Israel, let him look to it that first breaks the peace. It must not be opinions and crotchets of yesterdayes making, that must break the peace of the [Page 73]Churches day by day; it is a dangerous thing: there­fore in 2 Thes. 3.15. I beseech God by all meanes to keep peace among you; the Lord of peace himself, give you peace alwayes, by all meanes. It is three times repeated; there­fore surely you must eye that.

Thirdly, look whether it tend to edification:3. To edi­fication. for all things edifie not; That is, doth this conduce to doe my brother good, will his soul be the better for it? As it must increase love between thee and him, or else do it not, if it break love, or break peace. So see if it edi­fie him, whether it build up his soule, or no; will his soule be the better for it? It may be thy brother is a weak Saint, and thou maiest hinder his soule from growing in grace by doing a lawfull thing; for saith the Apostl, all things are not expedient, & all things edi­fie not; Therefore see that it tend to edification: But here is your religion, what doe I care let it trouble him or no, or better him or no; Is it not lawful to do this? Is it not lawfull to play at cards, and dice, and such things? O, see if it edifie, or else abhorr it, as if it were forbidden as the tree in Eden; avoyd lawfull things if they edifie not.

Thirdly,3. To win those with­out. see whether it conduce to the winning of the souls of others that are without. The Lord hath put us into the world, to win the Elect out of the world, and wee must have an eye to that; few Christians ob­serve that (the more is the miserie) we onely raile and speak evil of them: but wee should walk as lights in the middest of a crooked generation. As Paul saith concer­ning marrying, and taking money for his preaching, I could (saith he) marrie as well as Peter, and make you pay for every Sermon I preach, for thou shalt not muz­zel the mouth of the Oxe that treadeth out the corne: but [Page 74]God forbid, though these things be lawfull I become all things to all men that I might win some, I caught you by guile saith he; What was Pauls guile? Not a sinfull thing; it was no jesting with them, nor it was not so much in necessarie duties: but in lawfull things, there being a latitude in the Gospel; Paul did so walk and carrie himselfe as that he might win poore sinners to the Lord, Jews, or Gentiles. But you onely looke if it be lawfull; O, you should look whether you offend your brethren, whether you break the peace, whether you doe not harden others; you must walk decently to them that are without. In our walking we must do no­thing that may harden others. There are a world more hardened by the indiscreet doing of good, and the care­less, indecent doing of lawfull things, than by the sin­full actions of the Saints; as I shall shew after.

Fourthly, and lastly, thou must look whether it bring any gaine, 4. To our own souls. or advantage to thy own peace, to thy conscience, to thy self, for though it be a lawfull thing yet if it trouble, and gravell thy conscience, thou must not doe it, saith Paul, I have endeavoured to keep a good conscience towards God, and towards men. And generally among the Saints they have more guilt in their consci­ences, Why Christians are most troubled about the use of law­ful things. and more trouble in their soules about the use of lawfull things, than about sinfull; it is partly from their ignorance not knowing their liberty, and partly indis­cretion, and the strength of their lusts, that many times they eat, when they should not, or they eat more than they should, or they sleep when they should not: there­fore you shall have poore people complaine, Sir, I am readie to starve my self, I am such a glutton I eat so oft, and I eat so many bits, and of so many dishes, and I cannot eat but my conscience saith, it is too much [Page 75]whereas I should eat but one dish, and so many cuts; they make lawes, and they break them after, and make themselves guilty, and then conscience checks them.

I confesse there is much ignorance in weak Christi­ans not knowing their Christian liberty, in meats, and drinks: but much is for want of discretion, and because there is a great deale of unsanctifiedness in the heart, in the directing and managing of lawful things for the glory of God, and for their own peace, and quiet: for they follow their lusts, and abuse lawful things that an­other man might doe without sin. Therefore whatso­ever it is, say not, the Minister saith it is lawfull, though it be, yet it may be poyson to thee, for it may be inex­pedient; doth it trouble thy conscience, get knowledge to see the lawfulnes of it, or abstaine from it; gall not thy conscience. So then to end that, you see accord­ing to the signification of the word expedient, (taken in the proper signification,) the first rule, that all law­full things are not expedient. Though many things be allowed, that God hath not restrained, nor determined: they are neither commanded, nor forbidden by the word of God; yet every thing is not expedient, that is, every thing doth not advance the glory of God, and love among the Saints, and peace, and edification. Every thing doth not conduce to win others out of the world, and every thing doth not help the peace of our own conscience.

Decency what.

1 COR. 10.23.

All things are lawfull for me, but all things are not ex­pedient, &c.

I Have observed to you from these words three things.

The first was this, That

There are divers things that are now law­full to the Saints under the new Testament, that were not to the Saints under the Old.

I have finished that Doctrine.

The second is this,

Though divers things be lawfull to the Saints under the new Testament, yet but a few of those things are expedient, and fit for a Saint to doe.

For the opening of it I propounded two things;

First, what I mean by lawfull things: I instanced in three sorts.

Secondly, what is meant by EXPEDIENT? The word comprehends all the rules that are to order and guide us in the use of things that are not determined, [Page 77]that are not commanded nor forbidden. It is a large word, All things are not expedient. That is, all things are not fit, all things are not meet, not worthy the Gos­pel, not decent, not comely; they doe not edifie, they are not convenient, they are not lovely, they are not venerable, they are not of good report. Now, because the words are many, and it would be tedious to goe over all, I reduced all to foure heads, or expressions, that were as so many generall rules.

First, I shewed you what was meant by the word ex­pedient, in its own proper native signification.

I shall now goe forward to the second rule,2. Con̄ve­niency or decency. or the second sort of expressions; which indeed are many, yet they come all almost to the same. There is one word translated it is decent; another it is comely; ano­ther it is fit; another it beseemeth; another it becometh; another it is worthy: all these, though in the Scripture in the originall severall words are used, yet because I will not trouble you, nor confound your memories with them. For methods sake, and your plainer in­struction, we may bring them together to signifie one, and the same thing, that is, conveniency or decency. So, All things are lawfull: but all things are not expedi­ent. That is, many lawfull things are not decent, they are not comely, not fit, not convenient, not beseeming a Saint, a Christian to doe. You shall have this word oft in the book of God, as in that place Ephes. 5.4. (only remember the caution I gave you; I doe not say that all that are mentioned there are indifferent things: but it is for my purpose to open the word, fornication, and uncleannesse, and foolish talking, & idle jesting, which are not CONVENIENT; which doe not become Saints. So in 2 Cor 14. after that great dispute con­cerning [Page 78]Prophesie, and Tongues, &c. The Apostle ends all with this, Let every thing be done DECENT­LY, and in order. There is the same word, convenient­ly, and in order.

But you will say;decency or conveni­ency what. What is this decency, this conveni­ency?

Beloved, if I should goe no farther you understand this, that every lawful thing doth not become a Christi­an, you know what is the meaning of that; you say, such a garment doth not become such a man, and such apparrel doth not become such a woman; What is that? A decent thing negatively is a thing that doth not any way disparage a man in any relation: for it may be de­cent in some respects, and yet wonderously disparage him in another; as an old man, and a rich man, as he is a rich man, he is able to buy little gaudie things as well as children playing in the streets: but as he is an old man to buy a capp and a feather he will not, because it would be a disparagement to him in that relation. So a decent thing is a thing that so beseems a man that it doth not disparage him in any relation.

But you will say, what relation is that wherein a Christian needs to fear disparagement by doing of law­full things? I will instance in some: for in these things it is impossible to descend much in particulairs.

First, if you looke upon the person of a Saint,In respect of his per­son. What is he? He is the son of God an heire of heaven, a coheire with Christ, they are Kings, and Queenes in all countries. Saints, put them together they are the new Jerusalem the spouse or bride of Christ; they are the Kinred of Christ and divers other relations they have. Now every thing is not decent for a King; a hun­dred things there are that an ordinarie man may doe [Page 79]that doe not beseem a King. Everything doth not be­seeme an heire: and there are a hundred things that o­thers may do that doth not beseem a chast bride: a chast wife. So there are many things (I may say in a sort) that would not be unseemly for a carnall man, yet they are very inconvenient for a Saint to do: therfore saith the Apostle, foolish talking and idle jesting which doe not become Saints; but in a sort may become a carnall man; not but that that which is ill in a Saint is ill in him, but it is not accounted so in a carnall man: he may sit at the alehouse and drinke halfe a dozen juggs, and be a good fellow: but if a Christian drink but two, carnall men will be readie to say, there goes a pro­fessor, I see him at alehouses &c. A carnall man may do it; though it be a sin in him, yet in point of decencie a carnall man may sit two hours at the taverne better then a Christian may halfe an houre.

But thou wilt say, it is lawfull I may doe this, and that; I may weare, or I may eat this and that.

I but is it decent? I have told you that storie though it be a morall heathen storie: when the King was walk­ing with his son, and saw children playing in the dirt, saith he why doest not thou goe, and play with them? saich he to his father if I did see any Princes play, I would, but those are roguish boyes; It is not for a Prince to play with them: So, when you see men doe filthy, uncleane soule things, say, if it did become a Saint I would doe so; He is a glorious creatue not on­ly in respect of good and ill; but in lawfull things: you see the glorie of a Saint, first in his person.

Secondly, looke upon his relations, consider his place that God hath put him in, his calling, 2. In re­spect of his relation. and con­dition. It may be God hath made him a minister, it [Page 80]may be a magistrate, every lawfull thing that becomes an ordinarie man, doth not become a minister, nor a magistrate. It may be he is a servant he must consider, (though it be lawfull) whether it become his con­dition. See one instance; servants are commanded not to answer againe Tit. 2.9. this becomes his place not to answer againe. Being a servant: but for another, if one neighbour should tell another you have done me wrong, I would answer I have not, if I were in­nocent: but a servant is forbid to answer againe: so that it may become one man to doe it, but not an­other in another condition. There are divers instan­ces, but I give you but one.

Then thirdly,3. In re­spect of his Profession. his relation is the profession of Reli­gion, I spake some what like it before concerning his person: the holy Ghost gives that rule Ephes. 4.1. I beseech you brethren that you walk worthy of your calling. And so in Phil. 1.27. Only, let your conversation be such, as becometh the Gospel of Christ. These are blessed rules for a Saint to walk by; You know that when we turne to the Lord, our persons are not so much eyed as our profession: therefore if there be any thing amiss in our buying, or selling, or in our charitie, profession smarts for it; men are ready to say, there is the man that follows religion, there is the man that prayes in his family, there is the man that writes Sermons; there is the Lady, or Gentlewoman that keeps dayes of humi­liation; Profession suffers for it: Therefore, I must eye what is seemly for one of such a profession as I am of, to doe.

Fourthly,3. In re­gard of sex. you must eye also your relation, for your sex that is to be eyed. Many lawfull things become a man that doe not become a woman, and some become [Page 81]a woman that doe not become a man; Therefore con­sider, (which women seldome doe,in regard of sex. they will speake first, and determine things, and order businesses, ne­ver considering their sex,) consider if it be a decent thing, if you doe that which is convenient, if you doe so as befits your sex, as well as other circumstances, Col. 3.18. Wives submit your selves to your own husbands; why should wee doe so? might they say, as it is fit in the Lord; that is, it is a decent thing to doe it: though in some things they might contest, and see as much as their husbands, & have more reason in their precepts, yet (saith he) submit as it is FIT. It is not decent for a woman to rule, and to master, and to speak all, & order all, and her husband to be but a drudg;

You will say, what evill is it, is it unlawfull? O, it is undecent to come to a house where the woman rules, it is as if people went with their heeles up­ward, it is uglie and undecent. So in 1 Tim. 2.9. In like manner also let the women adorne themselves in modest ap­parel, with shamefastnes & sobrietie, not with broided haire, or gold, or pearles, or costly array. Why? is it not lawful to weare gold, or silver? &c I cannot say but it is lawfull, but mark what he saith next: but which be­cometh women professing godlines. There is their sex, and there profession, it must become both. Therefore in 1 Pet. 3.3. he wisheth woman to teach their hus­bands by silence; if they be godly, and meek women, that is the best lecture they can read to their hus­bands, that they may be wonn by their chast conversati­on, whose adorning (saith he) let it not be that outward a­dorning of plaiting the haire, and of wearing gold, or put­ting on of apparrell: but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which in the sight of God is very [Page 82]precious. I will not say saith Peter but it is lawfull to weare broided haire, and gold, and pearle: but it is not an ornament to a spirituall eye, it is no ornament, no more than to see a Cart-horse dressed with a leather. To see a woman spend her time vainely in trimming: but this is an ornament, a meek spirit. An ornament; what is that? That that beseems and becomes a woman; it becomes that sex, to see a modest meek spirit, there­fore eye the sex also.

Then if you will have things decent,4. in re­gard of age eye the age; In 2. Tit. 1.2.3 he that wisheth them not to doe things inconvnient; he teacheth old men, and young men, and old women, and young women: so that that which is decent in old men is not decent in young; it is decent for old men to rebuke the younger: but you must not rebuke an Elder: it is not fit for a young man to rebuke an Elder. If it be a carnal child it is fit for his father to rebuke him for his naughtines: but if he be a godly child he must not goe home and wrangle with his pa­rents, you must looke to the age.

Lastly, looke to the season, every thing is beautifull in its season. 5. in re­gard of the season. And a word spoken in season is like apples of gold with picters of silver; that is; very handsome. So your words and actions must be seasonable, or else they will never be convenient, There is a time for all things, Therfore in Rom. 13. The latter end; Apostle saith, brethren, it is high time to make you readie, our sal­vation is nearer than when we beleived. The night is far spent, the day is at hand, let us cast of the workes of dark­nes and put on the armor of light; let us walk decently. ( [...] It is decently in the margine; it is ho­nestly in the booke) as in the day time. As if hee had sayd, heretofore it was night, and darknes, there was little knowledg, and little preaching of the Gospel: [Page 83]in the night men weare any foule cloathes, but in the day it is not decent for a man to walk with the cloathes of the night: therfore put of your night capps, and weare cleane cloathes, walk decently as in the day, looke to the time, frame your conversations accord­ing to that. And that I conceive the Apostle drives at Ephes. 5. Where hee commands us to walke [...] strictly, I rather like the translation we have Circumspectly, because it hath better coherence with the text, See that you walk circumspectly, not as fooles: but as wise, redeeming the time, because the dayes are evil. I see nor how because the dayes are evil, we should re­deeme the time by walking strictly: but walk circum­spectly, fit your opportunity and time, observe it, take nitice of it. As indeed what bad times were there a­bout halfe a score yeares agoe: men were faine to watch opportunities to pray, and to goe to Sermons, or to fasts; So walk decently, that is, serve the times, ob­serve opportunities Ro. 12. take notice of every op­portunity, to doe things fitly, and seasonably, I onely give a few instances. So you understand All things are lawfull, but all things are not expedient: that is, all lawful things are not convenient, they are not decent, it may be they are not seasonable. It may be that fits an old man that doth not fit a young; It may be it is fit for the husband, that doth not befit the wife; it may be it is no harme in a carnall man, that doth not be­seem one that is a professor of religion. Thus you must walk, thus it becometh Saints to walk, you must look to decency, and conveniency.

The third rule,Christi­an, must walk laud­ably. or expressions to order things that are not determined, they are many, but they all come to this, they imply a thing laudable, or commendable, [Page 84]that is a degree higher: for decency is a thing that keeps us, that we doe not disparage our selves in our relations, and make us worse: but wee are called upon to walk laudably; not only, not to cast dirt on religi­on: but to bring honour, and to add glory to it; not only, not to disgrace it; but so to walk that the eye that seeth us, and the eare that heareth us may blesse us. Let no rotten communication proceed out of your mouthes: but that that may minister grace. Not grace to the soul: but that it may be gracious, and lovely, and amiable; I will shew you but one place, the glorious golden rule of the Saints walking in the new Testament, Phil. 4.8. where the Apostle coming to speak of ordering their conversation, saith he, Finally brethren, whatso­ever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, what­soever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatso­ever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good re­port; If there be any vertue, Things true what. if there be any praise, think of these things. Doe these things, meditate on these things. Whatsoever things are true, I conceive that the meaning is this, I look on these things, not as if the Apostle did give rules of good, and evil: but sets down an excellent way for indifferent things, whatso­ever things are true; If there be any thing that carries no resemblance of deceit and falshood, take that: but if it be a busines that you must say, and unsay, and doe, & undoe, that you must be both an honest man, and a knave, meddle not with that, though it be lawfull, let it be for another.Things honest what. And whatsoever things are honest, or what­soever things are grave; as the Originall is, or vene­rable, as it is in your margine: for there is honesty be­fore, honestus is as much as honorabilis, whatsoever is grave, and venerable, that doe. A Saint should have [Page 85]such gravity in him, that he should avoid any thing that is beneath him. A Saint is a glorious creature, he is an heire of heaven, they are the sons and daughters of God; every little childish thing becomes not him. Therefore gravity is opposed to lightnesse, and frothi­nesse. He goes farther, If any thing be pure. Things pare what. There are many things that you cannot say are unlawful, yet there are many druggs among them that are like sin, I could give instances; there are many nooks, and nicks, and carriages that are like sin, that are mingled. O, if a thing be pure, take that; if it be honest, and just, and plain, and true, Things lovely. take that. Whatsoever things are lovely, what­soever things are of good report, If there be any vertue, or any praise doe that. To speak briefly, and plainly, there are many hundreds of lawfull things that are not love­ly for a Saint; I could name divers; Is it not lawfull to doe this, and that? it is lawfull, but it is not lovely; a Saint should doe nothing but that which is lovely. And whatsoever is of good report. Of good report. A young-man and a maid may be in an ale-house, or a Taverne, I doe not say it it unlawful, if they be honest there: but it is not lovely, it is not of good report, people talk not well of such things. So you have twenty words in buying and selling, and you will aske twenty shillings, and take halfe so much, and say, is it not lawful? I say, it is not lovely; it is not lovely in the eye of a Turk for a Profess­or to ask twenty for that for which he will take ten. The Apostle goes on, if their be any vertue, or praise; that is, if there be any thing that carries praise to reli­gion, or that seems to have vertue, or excellency, or worth in it, keep to those things, meditate upon them, goe about them; though not for the praise sake.Praise worthy. VVe do not a thing that hath praise in it to have the praise, [Page 86]but doe the thing that is commendable of it self,Praise on­ly to God. and let the praise be to God: As in that place, Mat. 6. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorifie your father which is in heaven. I must walk that my light may glorifie my Father: but that must not be the end of my walking, that men may see my good works, Christ forbids that. So the end of my actions must not be to get praise, yet I must choose (as becometh a Saint) to doe those actions that have praise, and vertue in them, the praise must be to God, and to religion, and it will be to the doer al­so. Therefore, what is this now that all things are law­full, but all things are not expedient? That is, all lawful things are not true, they are not pure, they are not love­ly, they are not of good report, all lawfull things have not vertue in them; many lawfull things bring no praise: this is the meaning of the Doctrine.

Lastly, there is one word more,Christi­ans must walk or­derly. all lawfull things are not expedient; that is, as they doe not conduce to the profit and good of others, they are not conveni­ent, they are not laudable and commendable: So lastly, it comprehends this, they are not orderly, that is the last rule. Every lawfull thing is not orderly: we break order many times in doing of lawfull things. The Apostle summes up all in this, Let every thing be done decently, and in ORDER. I speak, not only that wee are to doe things orderly that Christ hath instituted, though that be true, yet that is not my drift: but in things that are not determined, they must be done or­derly, and not confusedly. As the thiefe on the crosse said concerning Christ, that he did nothing out of its place; that is, hee did not only not doe evil: but hee did not doe good in a disorderly way. So in Ephes. 5. [Page 87]we are said to be washed by Christ, and to be without, spot or wrinckle; every thing in the meet place of it. So a Christian should walk orderly, not only in that which is good: but in indifferent things.

But you will say, What is it to walk orderly?

Beloved, you crosse order, and doe lawfull things disorderly, when you doe them either preposterously or confusedly.

But you will say, I understand not that.A thing done dis­orderly.

I will tell you more plainly; you doe a thing dis­orderly two wayes.

First when in the doing of an action you cast it so as that you misse of the end of that action;1. When the end is missed. or do not attaine to the end in the best way. As for instance, the word in the originall in the Thessallonians to walk orderly: it is taken from an Army; you say an Army is orderly set in battalia in the feild. When is an Army in order? Then when it is set in such a posture as it may best attaine to its end; what is that? to defend themselves and overcome their enemyes: a disorderly Army is like to be undone, and routed, and to doe noe good, so to doe a thing orderly, to pray and to read, and to heare, and all that belong to those when we so passe them as we may best attaine, the end of praying and hearing, and all these things, then we doe them orderly: for we cannot tie the saints to pray this way, and to preach on that fashion: but we must doe every thing in the best order, as may conduce to the end of prayer, and preaching &c.

Secondly, people doe thing;2. When one dutie justles out another. disorderly when they make one thing to justle, & put out another, that is dis­order. 1. Cor 14. The Apostle bids them doe all things decently and in order. They had before in prophes [...]ing [Page 88]spoken three or foure at once, so they missed of the end; the Church was not edified. Secondly, they made the gifts of some vaine, they justled and put out one another. So when you, in the worship of God, or any thing that God hath not determined, doe so as that you attaine the end; and when things suit, that one is not justled out and undervalued by another then it is done orderly. So, this is the sence, there are many things that are lawfull, but are not expedient. That is many lawfull things, if I doe them at such a time I shall doe them disorderly; As, it is lawfull for you to speake, but if you speake while I am a preach­ing, it is disorderly for we shall not attaine the end of preaching, you will put me out, and make but a squab­ling, so put these foure generall rules together, & you understand the doctrine; that all things that are law­full are not expedient.

If I were not desirous to make an end of this I could prove the doctrine (though it need not much proofe) by scripture, and by parallelling it with other things, with naturall things. As in the Civill law, many things are lawfull that are not convenient; it is lawful for me to keep my child barer in apparrell than my servant; but it is not convenient. It is lawfull to keep my servant, better than my wife, but it is not convenient: It is lawfull for a man to sleepe all day and to work all night, (I meane by the lawes of Eng­land) but it is not convenient. There are abundance of things that are lawfull for the saints that are no way expedient for them to doe, But I passe that, and hasten to the use and application, briefely a word at this time, Use To eye what is expedi­ent. and leave the rest for another time.

From this that hath been said, learne this use, [Page 89]which is the Third doctrine but for brevitie I make it the use or the application Of all: that this being so, that every thing that is lawfull is not expedient; then it is the dutie of Christians to eye, and observe, not only (I had almost said not so much, but certainly not only) to eye what is lawfull, but in all their waies to looke what is, expedient; that is, to see that it be orderly, convenient, laudable, lovely, & of good report, else, though it be lawfull, meddle not with it. There­fore you shall see that the Apostle in all these questi­ons from the seaventh Chapter to the middle of the eleaventh as you have many questions, and in all or most of those, the Apostle diverts the question. They aske him if it were lawfull to marrie? and being mar­ried, if it were lawfull to put away their wives? and if it were lawfull to eat meat offered to Idoles? The Apostle doth not punctually answer to one of them, whe­ther it were lawfull or no, but shewes what was conve­nient. As if he should have said; in all these, and whatsoever else, eye what is convenient, and expedient, as much, and sometimes more than what is lawfull. Reproofe of those that only regard what is lawfull.

Therefore this being so, this points out clearly a generall fault among you. That there are many pro­fessors among us, this is the rule of their walking, they only eye what is lawfull, and what is unlawfull; they goe about, and trouble every minister, and make endlesse questions, Is this lawful and is that? is it lawfull to play at Tables, and at Cards and to weare long haire and naked breasts? I will not dispute the law­fullnesse but I pray thee eye if it be seemly, and of good report among the Saints, whether it be convenient, whether it advance any bodies good, eye this. There is a profession among you, and a multitude of profess­ors, [Page 90]this is their religion, they put their wayes un­der the new Testament, in eye, only what is absolutely lawfull or unlawfull, good or evill, and their questions are, is it lawfull to doe this and that Sir? They will goe as neare hell (as one saith) as the halter will reach; as farr as they have law, thy will goe to the brink of the pit, as far as it is lawful; though it may be they offend others, and harden others that they will not come into God; and breake the peace be­tweene them, and their brethren, and yet care not, it is no matter, is it not lawfull? O, wretched unhap­pie people, that eye only the rule of lawfullnes, and unlawfullnes. What shall I say to them? I have three words to say.

1. It is a signe of an hypocrite.First, I say to such people, that usually, it is the signe of an hypocrit, (though it be not a certaine signe, it is a very shrewd one:) it is a signe of a hollow heart that was never right to God, that eyes only what is lawfull, to doe it, and unlawfull to avoid it: it is a signe of a base heart that will do no more than needs must. Why? It is a signe that there is no love to God, he will doe so much as God flatly commands, and avoid that that God forbids, or else he knowes he shall be damned: but a heart full of love will alway be asking, what is pleasing, and seemly. A drudg or servant in the house hates her master, and had as live be hanged as to serve him, if shee knew how, but shee must: but a wife that loves her husband dearely, will shee doe every thing that shee may? shee may goe to bed, and lie til noone if she will: he will not be angrie with her; and though her husband bid her doe nothing, yet shee will studie what is lovely, and decent, and comely, & pleasing, and will not he take it kindly when he comes [Page 91]home? O, there is no love in thee, a thousand to one but thou hast an hypocriticall heart: for if there were love to God, thou wouldest never stand so much upon lawfull, and unlawfull, as what is decent, and comely &c. hypocrites will goe as neare hell as they can, that is their designe, and the readie way thither is to goe to lawfull things only, and not things expedient.

Well Secondly,2. It is a signe of an old Testa­ment spir­rit. if it be not the signe of an hypocrit (for I canōt say certainly it is) yet it is a signe of an old Testament spirit; divers of you rightly understand not that word, it sounds harsh to you, & if you be stran­gers I wonder not at it: but if you be those that con­tinually heare me open the old Testament; & how our fathers were saved by the same Christ, and by the same Covenant that we are, &c. I wonder that you should stumble; for as you understand the book of God, in reading it, you cōpare one thing with another: so you must understand mens preaching, comparing one Ser­mon with another. Now when I say an old Testament spirit, I mean not another kind of thing than is the spirit of the new Testament: an old Testament spirit is the same, but onely it is a low spirit, a childish spirit; the difference is as between a childe in his coates, & a man of riper yeares, it is the same man still: but it was a lower spirit, meaner principles, and they walked ac­cordingly: so that for the generallity for them (unlesse it were some choice spirits, that were the Pen-men of the holy Ghost;) they were children under tutors: so an old Testament spirit is a low mean spirit, that walks as those godly people in their child-hood in the old-Testament, that is my meaning; therefore mistake me not. Now, when I say thou art lead by an old Testa­ment spirit, I mean, thou hast a heart fitter to live un­der [Page 92]the law (in the time of Moses, when they were pu­nies, and babies, and children, under tutors, than for the times of the Gospel; Such a heart doth every thing as far as it is lawfull: So, many things are lawfull, and he will doe them, or so many are unlawfull, and hee will avoid them: For under the Law the Lord told them every thing, what was lawfull and what was not, and he made them little lawes, as we doe to our chil­dren for feare of cutting their fingers, or for going over a bridge, &c. But it is not so now; remember the rule Phil. 4.8. If there be any thing that is lovely, or of good report, 3. A man may be damned for doing of lawfull things. or hath praise, or vertue, doe that.

Thirdly, and lastly, I say this to such (for thy comfort, if thou wilt have it so) that thou maiest loose thy soule forever, and be damned in hell for doing of lawful things: not for doing lawful things, but for do­ing them in a way, thou maiest go and strive to avoid ill, and to doe good, and in a way of doing lawful things thou maiest goe to hell, much more in unlawfull; my meaning is, when men eye only lawfull things, and never look what is convenient, they may goe to hell in doing it. Have you not heard of a Proverb licitis perimus, &c. Saith the heathen, we perish in lawful things? I have known many professors that have gone such wayes that men might clearely say, yonder is an old back-sliding professor, that goes directly to hell; yet he will say, convince me of evil. It may be I can­not in point of lawfulness; yet I know he walks not honourably, he brings not glory to God as a Saint of the new Testament should, he walks low, and carnally, and meanly, every day more and more. A man may avoid the reproofe of unlawfulnes, and yet goe every day towards hell, it is ordinarie, and he is blinde that [Page 93]sees it not. It is the case of some here I feare that the people of God generally conceive they are in a back­sliding condition, and one saith to such a one I feare you are going from the Lord, and that you have an­other spirit than you had, and another gives him ad­monition, and he falls upon them all, and saith, con­vince me, and so waves all reproofe, and hee may doe so, and be damned when he hath done. It follows not that thou art in a happy condition, because thou art able to wave and to winde off reproofe, thou maiest keep off reproofe, and yet be in a backsliding condi­tion, and going to the devill.

I have heard of a godly Minister that hath another expression; a man may be damned, and thrown to hell for doing of justice, for seeking of his own; As there is a man Mat. 18. though it be but a Parable; his Lord forgives him his debt; and he comes and takes another man by the throat, and casts him into prison, hee did him no wrong; Why should he couzen me of my money? But the Lord comes and throws the man into the place of torment, not for doing unlawfull things properly: for he asked but his own; So, ma­ny times a rich man that is worth tenthousand pound he takes a poore creature that is not able to pay any thing, and throws him into Prison, and then saith, he oweth me so much; doe I doe him any wrong? have I it not in black and white? shall I not ask for my own; thou maiest doe right, and seek thy due, and yet be damned; Is it not lawfull thou wilt say? I cannot say but it is lawfull: but thou walkest not as a Saint, it is not lovely, it is not decent, it is not expedient. I feare there are many such professors; think of this: There­fore now in the new Testament, seek not what is law­full [Page 94]only, but what is venerable, and pure, and just, and decent, and comely, for a Saint to doe; That is one Use.

To conclude, the next Use, and the last that I shall make at this time,The way of the Go­spel a strict way. is this, Learne hence what a strict way the way of the Gospel is; it is no way of liberty, or loosnes you have bin thinking all this while that I have been making of a way of loosnes or liscentiousnes [...] see hence it is a strict way: for though there be very many things lawfull, more than you imagine; yet there are but a few that are expedient; and whereso­ever the Gospel makes the way broader in point of lawfulnes, it fetcheth it out againe in point of expedi­encie. Take two professors, the one of an old Testa­ment spirit that lookes only to that which is lawfull, and let him be as strict as hee can for his life in doing that which is lawfull, and avoiding that which is unlaw­full or else he shall be damned. Take another Christi­an that out of love to Christ doth eye that which is ex­pedient as well as that which is lawfull the latter shall outstrip the other a hundred degrees, he shall be an Angel in comparison in strictnesse. It is no such liscentious way as you conceive.

But you will say, wherein will he be strict, shall he doe works of supererogation? shall he make duties as the papists doe? if God have not bound and com­manded him, what pleasure hath God in that he doth?

I answere, there are but a few things that God hath commanded in the new Testament; but there are some things that he hath cōmanded that are absolutely re­quired in themselves, but when I say he is not bound, I meane, not to the thing simplie, to take that way, or [Page 95]to doe that thing: but there is nothing in the world, when it comes to be done, when it comes to action, and is covered with all circumstances, but it is either expedient or not, and when a thing becomes expedient; and is so presented to a Saint, then though he be not bound to the thing simplie, yet he is bound to it when it becomes expedient: According to discourse, men say, by the rule of nature, much more by the law of the Gospel, in two things that are both lawfull, if one be more expedient than the other wee are bound to doe that. Therefore it is no supererogation, or following of his fancie, but that that is commanded of God, though he had not determined it simplie before, yet when it comes to action he is bound to doe it: for that very thing at another time may be cast so, that he sins absolutely if he doth it not. Here is the mystery, all expedient, decent things, I am not loose to doe them or not doe them: but of all expedient things that that is best at that time, hic et nunc, I am bound to doe it: Therfore it is not a way of loosenes nor of supereroga­tion, but we are bound though not in a legall way (to the thing simplie in it self) as they were in the old Testament.

But where is the priviledge, and spaciousness in the wayes of Christ that you spake of?Liberty of the Gospel wherein it is. Now you say, the Gospel by this becomes as strict, as they were be­fore; Where is the priviledge?

Wert thou so mad all this while, as to think that this liberty, was only a greater liberty for thee to be wicked, and sinfull, and for thy lusts? I hope thou do'st not meane so; it is not so; liberty to sin is bon­dage: but it is a liberty to good, in doing good; not a liberty properly for the ease of our persons, (though [Page 96]that be somewhat) for there is many a Saint under the new Testament in doing that that is expedient, works as hard as the Levites in slaying of the cattell: but hee works not task work, as they did. So the liberty is not that thou maiest doe lesse good, or more evil: but the liberty is this, that now God allowes thee to doe good in a more honourable way to thy self, and more advantagious to the honour of God; that is all: As for instance, you know an apprentice that is with his master, he is bound, he is not a free-man, he doth the busines of his master, and works hard too: now, when the man comes to be a free-man, to be a house keeper, and set up his trade, this freedom doth not make him doe lesse than he did before: for the Proverb is, there is but one servant in a house, that is the master, hee hath more charge, and care, but he doth it in a more honourable way as a free-man, and not as a drudg; So the Lord doth with us, he hath broken the little lawes that bound us as children; we must serve him as much and more than we did before, but in a more honour­able way, for our honour, and the advancement of his glory.

As for instance, if a man send a childe or a foole to market to buy or sell commodities, you must tell him the price of every thing, and charg him that he shall not sell it under, and tell him when he shall come home, and who shall help him; but send a wise man thither, and you bind him not with those lawes, but you say, thou knowest what it cost, make the best of thy market, and come when thou canst, he hath his freedome, and yet he will doe more than the other: so there is advantage for the master and honour for the servant; and though the servant doth as much [Page 97]when he is a free man as he did before; yet we natu­rally love not to be under childish discipline: there­fore it is a great priviledg that we are freed in the Go­spel, & such a priviledge that it is a step to perfection in heaven. In heaven we shall serve God as the Angels, and I thinke not that the Angels are tied with little lawes, endles, externall lawes, but it is their nature, and disposition to serve God unweariedly world without end: so that as we are astep to heaven above that that was under the law, so that those bonds are broken, and there is a new Covenant in the stead of them: so when we shall goe up with Christ, many,Use of the Gospels easinesse. if not all these that we have now shall be broken, and shall be translated into our nature. Therefore what I say concerning the easines of the way to heaven, I meane not that thou shouldest make that use of it, it is easie therefore I may be carelesse, and do it when I will: but it is easie therefore I will take more paines to doe it. As I have seene when I was a boy at schoole, two children take the same lesson, and both have said it was an easie lesson; it is an easie lesson saith the one, I will doe this after dinner, when I have played enough; saith the other it is easie, therefore I will not be discourag­ed but set upon it: they made a contrary use of it. So it is an easie; and sweet way to heaven in the new Testa­ment that Christ hath made, be not so wicked to say, therefore I will do it time enough: when I am readie to die, it will be time enough, but as the other said, it is easie therefore I wil not be discouraged by the grace of God: it is a wide doore therefore I wiil goe in presently, I will not be disheartned.

To be strict in point OF EXPEDIENCY.


All things are lawfull for me, but all things are not expe­dient, &c.

WEE proceed to another Use, that wee should make of this Doctrine; that

Though many things be lawfull to the Saints in the New-Testament, yet there are but a few that are expedient.

Two Uses I named before.

The next is a use of Exhortation to you all that feare God; Use 3 Exhortati­on to be strict in point of expedien­cy. this is the thing that I desire, and exhort you to, that as I would not have you make lawes, and little quirks that God hath not made; doe not straine the Scriptures of the New-Testament in making more lawes than Christ hath made, do not bind your selves, or others more than God hath bound you; yet not­withstanding I exhort you, that in point of expediency, and conveniency you would endeavour to be strict: [Page 99]keep your selves as loose from the former as God hath left you, and strive as strictly as you can to observe the latter: for then you will be excellent Christians most of you, if you would doe lesse out of lawfulness, and more out of expediency. Whereas now you cannot goe about any thing to doe it, unlesse you have an ab­solute command; and when you have done that task you never looke farther; beware of that, in every action, though it be lawfull, doe it not, till you can set about it decently, and orderly▪ consider; is it convenient? is it expedient? doth it adorne religion? eye that; let nothing passe in your hearts or lives, till you eye the expediency, as well as the lawfulnesse of it.

You may conceive that it is but a small thing, and a notion; yet I know, and am able (I think) to make it good, that the want of this is one of the chiefest mi­series on your souls, especially in respect of your con­versation each to other; therefore to set on this duty upon mine own soule, and yours, I will propose three or foure weightie motives; It will be strange to many of you, and it will be harsh to flesh and blood: nature will do something if it be bound, but if it be let loose, if God have not absolutely bound it, it will doe no­thing. Therefore;

Motive 1. It would end con­troversies among the Saints.The first motive is this, that this I conceive if you apprehend it spiritually, it would be the readiest way in the world to reconcile the Saints, and to end many, if not most of those controversies that are at this day among good people: And this was the chiefest end why I took this text in hand; therefore I shall speak a little more largely of this: For now the godly goe one against another, and all Jure Divino; every one will have an absolute rule for all the Saints, and every [Page 100]one will make the best of their game, and so screw and wrest the Scriptures; and I think, all the people that strive in these dayes are guilty of this.

How shall we doe to have peace among the Saints?

Let us agree upon cleare undoubted rules (that are not many) about the worship of God, about doctrine, The way to peace. & discipline, that we may be able to stop the mouthes of men by Scripture: let us agree, (as easily we might if this truth were written in our hearts) for gene­rall rules that are plaine and absolute: that I cannot only prove that it was done by the Saints of old, and commanded: but so done and commanded, as that it is an absolute rule for all Saints in all ages. And what shall wee doe for the rest? Doe as it is decent, and ex­pedient, and as it may edifie &c. And all the strife would be over; if wee did agree on that, and walk so far together, wee should easily judge after, what were expedient, and fit to be done.

As for instance in two cases; There is now among good people a great deale of strife about baptisme, Baptisme. as for divers things, so for the point of dipping (though in some places in England, they dipp altogether;) How shall we end the controversie with those godly people? (as many of them are) Look upon the Scrip­tures, and there you shall finde, that [...], to baptize, it is an Ordinance of God, and the use of water, in way of washing for a spirituall end, to resemble some spi­rituall thing: It is an Ordinance of God, but whether dipping or sprinkling, that we must bring the partie to a River, or draw the River to him, or use water at home, whether hee must be in head, and foot, or be under the water, or the water under him; it is not proved that God hath laid down an absolute rule for it. Now, [Page 101]what shall we doe? conclude on the absolute rule, that God hath laid downe in Scripture, and judge of the rest according to expediency; Take the maine rule, which is this, Baptisme is an Ordinance of God, that is, the using of water upon believers for a spirituall end; then comes in the case of expediency, then let us judge whether sprinkling, or dipping, be more expedient, and then there would be no strife: For there is scarce a man in this place, that if he were perswaded that dip­ping were not an absolute rule; but it were to be judged according to expediency, he would rather have in a modest way the use of water, than to have men and women, and weak people (it may be) in the winter time over head and eares into the River; hee would rather make use of water in a more civill, and safe, and lesse dangerous way. I give you but an instance.

And so for that other great controversie that is amongst godly people; that is, (as you call them) Independents, and Presbyterians, there is a great con­troversie amongst these godly people.

I know also by the way that there are a companie of people that would arrogate the name of Presbyterie though improperly,False Presbyte­ry. the name doth not beseeme them, that is, those that have been the Bishops crea­tures, and are all for fire and fagot, there are some such among us & they would arrogate the name of Presby­tery, I would not have them doe it, it doth not befit them. But it is a devise of the devill to put nick­names, upon people and upon things in all ages. Nay, I will tell you a greater mystery, one of the cheifest things I mourne for in England: The Devil puts con­trary names up­on men &c. things what is that? the devill doth not only put soule names on things, but he calls things not only by different, but by contrarie [Page 102]names; he calls one thing by the name of another, as to call a knife a spoone, and a spoone a knife, so he takes good names, and puts them upon foule things, and puts foule names upon good things; so he jumbles things, and drives all among the common people, so it may be there are some that would take the name of presbytery; so, that if we looke upon the nature of the thing, as godly men, and as the word of god describes it, it is farr from it. But concerning these I have no­thing to say, only I seeke peace with all: but I shall hope to reconcile the Saints, and these people, when the seed of the serpent, and the seed of the woman are reconciled.

But the true presbyterie, True Pres­bytery. that take the name conscien­sciously, and rationally, they are godly people, and I shall speak a word tending to peace betweene them, and the godly that are called Independents. How shall I doe that from this doctrine? The true Presbyterie (not as I conceit or according to mens fancie, but ac­cording to their writing, and books, and profession of godly learned men) I find not that in any thing al­most they dissent from that that you call independency, till you come to one thing; for they agree that the Church must be a companie of Saints, and that there is power in Chruch-Ordinances as long as they doe it well: but here is all the difference, that godly, ration­all, consciencious men lay down,Difference between Presbyte­ry and In­dependen­cy. betweene Presbyterie and Independents, that the one, the Presbyterians they say that when any Church doth amisse, and cannot agree, and doe things orderly, they would appeale to godly Ministers, and they should judge the busines, and deter­mine among them. No say the Independents, we will only goe to them for councell and advise, but they [Page 103]shall have no power to determine the busines. This is the difference between the consciencious Indepen­dents and Presbyterians: for others that persecute with fire and fagot, I account them not the Presbyterie.

What shall we doe in this case?

I tell you, it is fit, as I conceive, that we should all walk together by the same rule as far as we have war­rant;To walke all by the same rule as far as wee have warrant. we agree in all the maine things, let us walk so till we come to that one that they differ in, and a hun­dred to one if ever we come to it; the strife among Gods people of Presbytery and Independencie, would cease (take away those that strive to make bate) It is as if you and I should strive who should goe into the gates of Venice first, and a hundred to one if any of us come there. Let us goe along in the substantiall things wherein we agree. And what shall we doe then? I tell you as, for the matter of appeale, the Pres­bytery, truly called as they cannot fully prove, that there is an absolute rule that they should doe so; so, the other cannot prove that they may not. What is to be done then? This, that when all things come to that that they cannot agree in a Church, it may be expedient, and convenient, that we appeale to others to end our busines; if this were done, downe would goe the difference between Presbytery, and Independents. This is the way to peace, and union, and agreement among the Saints.

But you will say, Sir, this is the way to confusion: for there being but a few things lawfull, and abundance of things that are not expedient, now who shall judge what is expedient, and what is not? shall every particular man determine of his owne head? then there will be a confusion worse than ever: for so many men, so many [Page 104]minds, therefore surely this is not the way to peace.

To answer that (to take in some obiections as I passe) to cleare the truth, I must tell you foure or five things.

The first is,1. Take heed of vaine feares in Gods wayes. that if this be the way of God (which I hope I have proved to you) then take heed of your wisedome that runns, and sees inconveniences in Gods wayes. Feare it not, if it be Gods way God can perserve it, and blesse it; feare not inconveniences in your vaine thoughts, leave the event to the Lord. As you know that unhappie man Uzzah, when he saw the Arke shake, he must goe and hold it. When you are sure that this is the will of God, set not your wits on work as people doe, they reason from intricacies, and absurdities, and this and that that may follow: It is good to be sober, and not to be curious when we see clearly that this is the will of God, leave it to the Lord to direct them, and guide them, and blesse them as he pleaseth. That is one answer.

2. Christ hath done the maine already concern­ing wor­ship.Secondly you say, it will be all confusion, who shall judge, shall every particular man? This is the second answer, It is very probable, if every man shall goe and set up what government he will, and worship God as he pleaseth; if all the worship of God were to be determi­ned, according to every mans humour, or every nation, and custome, and fashion, then it would breed confusion, but Christ hath done that for the maine; the substance is done, and the matter, nay the manner and forme in a great measure; nay, it may be some circumstances. But if all were to be done againe, that we were to shape, a Religion, and customes and lawes wholly, and as a Godly Ancient saith, if we were to frame the house to the curtaine, and not the curtaine to the house, If we [Page 105]were to frame Religion to every countrie where we come, this would breed confusion: But Christ hath done the maine, only there are somethings that fall out in Worship, and Doctrine, and Discipline, that must be mannaged by the rules of expediency, that I gave you before.

I answer,3. To stu­dy spiritu­all things. it is probable, that in case wee should goe on thus, according to the rules, agreeing in the cleare generall rules, and goe accordingly in particulars, as is expedient; yet it is to be doubted that according to the spirit we have now, and our temper, wee shall goe to greater confusion; and so wee shall as long as wee have carnall sleight spirits, (as generally Christians have) they will lead us to confusion.

What shall wee doe then?

Every one set his soule about the studie of spirituall things,The more carnal the more busie about out­ward things. endeavour to see the beautie, and excellency of them, and to feed more upon them, & that will avoide that stir, and contention, 1 Cor. 3. Are yee not carnal? Why so? one said, I am for Paul, another, I am for Peter; I am for Presbytery, and I am for Jndependency, are yee not carnall; as if he had said, I warrant you spiritu­all things grow not in your soules. I never saw a spi­rituall excellent Christian following curiosities about externall things. I will tell you a mystery from your experience: you observe sometimes your soules are in better temper than at others; sometimes you see the things of the Kingdome of God, the riches of Christ, and the opperations of the Holy Ghost more clearly; and you shall finde that according as your soules are screwed up in the sweetness, and contem­plation of spirituall things, so you are lesse and lesse disposed to make chrotchets, & knots in outward things: [Page 106]therefore the way is, labour to be spirituall. If wee were full of faith, and peace, and joy, in believing, and full of the Holy Ghost, there would be no confusion a­bout these things.

Especially, get love in your soules,4. To get love. for that is the reason wee are in a lovelesse condition, therefore wee run to confusion; and so we shall (goe which way we will) unlesse wee get love in our soules; John hath a cleare place for it, 1. Jo. 2.9. He that saith he is in the light, and hates his brother, he is in darknes untill now; he that loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no occasion of stumbling in him. A man that loves his bro­ther, and is full of love, there is no occasion of stumbling in him. Mark those people, take a man that is full of love, he hath not crotchets and fancies to make bate, and strife between men, there is no occasion of stumbling in him: But hee that hates his brother is in darknesse, he walks in darknesse, and knows not whether he goes, because the darknesse hath blinded his eyes. When peo­ple hate their brethren, and doe not love them as they should, they are in darknesse, and goe they know not whether, and so love growes lesse and lesse, and darknes more and more among us, and we are groping daily, and going to confusion; Therefore the Saints and the Ministers should joyne to get spirituall things, espe­cially love; and then there would be no such confusion, In 1 Cor. 13. Love doth nothing unseemly: the word is dirived from the Latine word (indecore) Love doth nothing amisse, but doth every thing seemly; if we were full of love we should be able to answer a hundred que­stions that now wee are not able to doe. But we want love to our brethren, and therefore we are in darknes, and every one gropes, and goes he knowes not where.

Let me give you another answer, you say, this is the way to confusion; and who shall judge of this? must every particular man?

Mistake me not wilfully; I doe not say that every man is to determine all indifferent things,Things are to be determi­ned. all things that are undetermined by the Lord: But I say, that Magistrates are, and Churches, and Masters, of Fami­lyes, and private persons, they are all to determine these things respectively.

As thus, the Magistrate is to determine those things in particular persons, or Churches that respect the Kingdome, that have relation to the State, and Nation. Churches are to determine things that belong to them; Masters of Familyes the things that belong to them, and particular persons those that belong to them.

As for instance,1. By Ma­gistrates. concerning Magistrates (I speak not at all, what his power is in lawfull things that God hath commanded,) but in things undetermined by the word of God, those things that relate really and true­ly to his State, and Nation he hath power to determine. As for instance,For the time of meeting to worship. suppose in this City the Saints did use to meet at twelue or one of the clock in the night generally, as wee doe in the day; and suppose that thereupon there were divers insurrections in the City, that did procure a great deale of trouble, and danger to the City; suppose that this were reall; (for people must not talk, O, this will destroy the Kingdome, and the Parliament, when there is no such thing) for ought I know the Magistrate may come and determine the case, and make them meet at twelue of the clock in the day, and not in the night, if it be prejudiciall to his Kingdome; For, take this generall rule, the way of the [Page 108] Gospel in it selfe is not really prejudiciall to Magi­stracy.

Or thus, suppose in this countrie, or in a colder that people did goe and baptize in Rivers; Manner of baptizing. (whereas this is not an absolute command: but only the using of water, lay down that) & by that means divers subjects die, and lose their lives, suppose this were reall; here­in for ought I know the Magistrate may determine a course, and take another way, because herein is preju­dice to his subjects.

Or in a plainer case, suppose in this City there be abundance of godly people,Places of meeting. and there are divers Mini­sters to preach, and the Magistrate is ready to set it up; the question is where wee shall finde places fit to di­stribute those people, every one to heare the Word: Christ Jesus hath not commanded this house, or yon­der, or any house more than another: but now there are houses fitly seated, and large about the City; the Mi­nisters, and Magistrates knowing the indifferencie of them, for ought I know the Magistrate may determine those places for the hearing of the Word, and other exercises.

The reason is this, because in such multitudes as are in the City, if they should meet confusedly, in this, and that, and the other house, there might be a­bundance of sedition, and tumults under that pretence, that no Magistrate were able to rule the City.

I speak it not, that you may persecute godly people, or that it is altogether unlawfull for the Saints to meet in another place: but he may doe it in relation to his Kingdome, and State; as thus, lest there be distur­bance in my City, you shall meet respectively in such places, and so he may distribute them; such kind of [Page 109] circumstances they may determine.

So the Church: 2. By the Church. those things that are among them that relate to the Church they may determine. So Ma­sters in Familyes may determine things there, as for in­stance, whether he will repeate the Sermon, or read a Chapter at night, or in the morning; (God hath not determined the one,3. Masters of Familyes or the other) or whether he will expound a Chapter in the morning, or in the evening, if hee have not time for both. And so actions that con­cerne a mans owne person, that relate not to the Church, or the Family, or State; 4. Particu­lar persons the Saints by the Spi­rit of God may determine things personally to themsel­ves: you understand that.

Cautions for Magi­strates and Churches in deter­mining.But to cleare this a little, I say, that Magistrates may determine these circumstances; There are these six cautions for Churches, and Magistrates in determining of things that God hath not determined; which they should doe well to observe.

As first, they may determine in necessary indefferent things: As thus, for instance,1. It must be in ne­cessary in­different things. there was a great strife among us before about wearing of the Surplice, about wearing of white, or blacke, here the Magistrate nor the Church cannot determine, because it is not a nece­ssary indifferent thing; for there are collours enow be­sides between them: But if it were this, whether I should goe naked, or cloathed; if it relate to the King­dome the Magistrate may doe it, if to the Church the Ministers may determine it.

That is the reason that we blame the Bishops, they say, they are indifferent things, the Surplice is indiffe­rent, if it were a necessary indifferent thing they might urge it, but there is no necessity of it; Therefore men must observe that rule, or else they will run end­lessely, [Page 110]and under the name of indifferent doe any thing.

2. It must relate to the King­dome.Secondly, observe this Caveat; see that it relate to the Kingdom; for, for ought I know, a Magistrate is not a spirituall Officer, as a Magistrate: but a thing made by the wisdome and providence of God, to rule over the outward things of the world: So are Emperours, and Kings &c. And for a Magistrate to intrude into the Church, that he will determine all busines, what they shall doe, and what they shall pray, I think this is not right: But if there be any thing that relates to his Kingdome, and Nation, therein he must look, and hee may determine over a Saint, and over a Church.

3. the Srs. must be dealt with as ration­all men.Then thirdly, whether it be Magistrates, or Churches that goe about to determine such things, they must deale with the Saints as rationall men, and not make their will a law, and tell them, this we will have done and give no reason, or rule; No, the Saints must be dealt with as men: therefore they must give them some rules, and reasons for what they doe; They doe not by meere power determine of things so properly, as being many, and wiser, they are put to informe the people what is right. Therefore that Lordlinesse, and Tiranny, and domineering over the faith of the Saints is not fit.

4. Take heed of making lawes for the futureThen fourthly, Churches, and Saints, and Magistrates in determining of indifferent things must be warie of making lawes for hereafter; for there are few things that are expedient, but may sometime or other be law­full; therefore, what is expedient now to doe, beware how you make it a standing law to binde men to it. Nay, in Civill things, there is no law of the Land in an extraordinary case: but if they make it an ordinarie [Page 111]rule, a standing law it will be inconvenient. So, in spi­rituall things, about six score yeares agoe, in the re­formation, it was a great thing to come out so far as they did: but the Surplice, and the Crosse, and kneeling, at the Sacrament stayed still; and the States men did well, it was good that they did so much; because they then could not have them all off, meaning in the next age when things were setled to remoove them: but they made a law, and it was a point of good policie; yet when that law was made, there arose another King that knew not Joseph; another Generation came, and made the Surplice, and the Crosse, the ruine of good people, to drive them to New-England, and to impri­son them. Therefore it is good to be wary in making of standing lawes.

5. To be­ware how they im­pose things on the consci­ences of the SaintsFiftly, Magistrates, & Churches must be warie how they impose these things upon the consciences of men as necessarie things, they may decide them to be expedi­ent, and so perswade them to obey: but if they come to impose them as necessary; as that the Surplice sig­nifies innocency, and the Crosse mortification; when they impose them Jure Divino it is not right.

6. Not to use rigour in deter­mining.Lastly, beware of severity, and rigour in determining those things that God hath not determined; for in those things a poore Saint, though they determine them, yet if he have no measure of light he cannot in conscience do it, but he is condemned by his conscience. And if he use all his light, and reverence the Magistrate, and use all the Ordinances of God, yet in some cases God gives him not light to doe it: Now to goe with fire, and fagot, with banishment, and imprisonment, as they did under Episcopacie, there was more rigour used for not wearing the Surplice, than if a Minister had [Page 112]been drunk twenty times in a yeare; they imposed these things with severity; yet come to them, and ask what good was in them? the Bishops would say, they were but indifferent things, and yet they would punish the want of them more than the breach of the Command­ments of God: therefore beware of that. So to that objection, that this would breed confusion if every man should determine them, you have foure an­swers.

I wil add one more, and I shall go no farther at this time; and that is, if you will avoid confusion herein, and follow this truth. You know I have shewed you certaine rules by which you should goe to avoide con­fusion, and they are as Land marks, or as booyes in the water to guide you. As for instance, here is a thing that God hath not determined, then cast about; Is it decent, is it convenient, is it expedient, doth it doe others or my self good? Or will it trouble my conscience, and make Religion evill spoken of? Cast about by these rules, and every one that hath tryed them shall walk safely without danger: Therefore make use of those rules.

But it may be, you will say, those rules will not reach every case, therefore I shall be at a stand.

Therefore to them I will add three or foure more, and so conclude at this time. You have had foure al­ready; Expediency that is one measure, then decency, and conveniency, then commendableness, or laudableness, lastly, Orderlinesse.

5. Rule. Examples of the old Saints.And if those rules will not fit, look on the examples of the old Saints in the book of God; and putting the case alike, (or else it is a dangerous rule, you are not in all things to follow the example of Christ himself, [Page 113]hee did many things that are not for your example, though wee may not make an absolute rule of every example, yet they may be good patterns when the case is alike) if we cannot judge whether this be expedient, doe as the Saints of old did. As for instance, Paul in Act. 20. when he was taking his leave of his friends he bowed his knees, and prayed on the place, and called on the Lord as they parted; I think not that this is an absolute rule, that the Saints in all places are tyed to; that they sin without they pray when they part: but if you have time, and other circumstances, then it is commendable, and safe to follow his example. So to gather money for the maintenance of the poore of the Church, it is a necessary dutie that God requires: but when to doe it, or how, put the case the same, accord­ing as you have opportunitie you should do well to doe it on the First-day of the week: but it is not an absolute rule. So, if a stranger that is a Christian come to tra­vell through the country Paul bids, bring them on their way: I think not that a man absolutely sins if he doe not bring a stranger on his way: but put the case alike, and it is safe, and commendable to follow the Saints, and so in a hundred things. And this will help you out when you have no other light.

6. To look to the custome of the Saints and Churches.Secondly, let me add to this a strange rule (you will think it so, if I cannot make it out) that is this, you must take notice of the customes of the Saints, and of the Churches of God: If you cannot finde by example and judge what is convenient, and expedient, and hon­ourable, in the old Saints; goe to the custome of the Churches, and the Saints that now are, look what is the practise of the generation of the Saints; and when there is no other light, that will help you.

Custome, in civill things, it is the strongest law of Eng­land, and in morrall things it is strong; God saith a blackmore may be washed white, sooner than they that are accustomed to doe evill will leave it: But in this, in spiri­tuall things,Custome the weak­est rule in spirituall things. custome is the weakest rule, the customes of the Churches, and of the Saints is the dimmest light: yet in many cases we leave you to the customes of the Churches, when there is no other light to go forward with; and a Saint, he may guide, and steere his course well by it. Therefore you shall see in Psal. 73. David reasons the case, why am I whipped every morning? I have washed my hands in vaine, and it is in vaine to be a Saint. He corrects himself, if I should say so, besides my own foolishnesse, I should condemne the Genera­tion of the Saints, God deales so with them. So I re­member a word between a Minister and a Gentleman, the Minister disputing with the Gentleman,Of being covered, or uncovered in hearing. whether he might put on his Hat in the Sermon time; the Minister holding strongly that he ought not, the o­ther holding that he might, so when the Gentleman could not answer the Minister, saith he, Sir I will not dispute with you: but I am very loath to doe that, by doing whereof I must of necessitie condemne the Gene­ration of the faithfull, I will not stand against your arguments: but I will not say, it is a sin for a man to put on his Hat, because I should condemne the Genera­tion of Saints, and godly people in England. Though we see no command, nor know nothing offensive, yet let us beware how we doe that by our owne practise, that will condemne the Saints. So in this case, the say­ing holds, that when a man is at Rome, let him doe as they doe at Rome, that is, in things that are not deter­mined, when we have no other light, let us goe accord­ing [Page 115]to the custome of the Churches. In some Churches they use not to put on their Hats, but to be bare in hearing the Word; while I am there I will even doe so; when I come there I will not put it on. God hath not determined it, and there it is the custome of the Saints, here to be singular is naught. The Saints should be singular from wicked people, and from good peo­ple in evill things, but in things that God hath not determined, we should not be singular from them.

As to instance, in one case, in singing of Psalmes among us, that troubles many of you.Of singing Psalmes. We know that God hath commanded us to sing Psalmes, and Hymns, and spirituall Songs; we all agree in that, that is plain in the Word: But he shewes not there whether they ought to be songs of our owne composing, or the Psalmes of David; or in what tune wee should sing, in this, or that tune; or whether we should sing one, or two, or three, or more, this is not determined. More­over I know not which is more expedient, that twenty, or forty sing, or one alone. What shall I doe in this case? Look on the custome of the Churches of God, that hath been practised by the Saints for time out of minde, and when God hath not determined it, and they have done so, therefore I will goe along with them, if it have been a generall custome in the Church wee ought not rashly to reject it. I tell you for my owne part, when I observe any custome in any Church, any thing that is laudable, and comely, that God hath not determined, there is a kind of honour, and reverence that striks my heart, though God doe not command it, or forbid it, yet being the custome among the Saints, it works a reverence in my heart; therefore he rein make [Page 116]use of this when all other lights are out.

Neither doe I say this alone; doth not the Scrip­ture say the same?Of long haire. 1 Cor. 11. there was a great dispute concerning long haire, and short haire; whether women should cut their haire, & men should weare long haire, see how the Apostle resolves the case verse 14. Doth not even nature it self teach you, that if a man have long haire it is a shame unto him. Why, how doth nature teach it? The word generally is taken for nature: but divers godly wise men conceive that by nature is meant the custome of the countrie that they lived in; doth not nature teach you? that is, is it not contrary to the generall custome of the countrie, (much more of the Saints) for a man to weare his haire [...]e a woman: But if a woman have long haire it is a glory; for it is given her for a covering. But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custome, neither the Churches of God. VVhether you relate this custome to the beginning of the ver. If any be contetious we have no such custome; we do not strive and contend, or if you relate it to the other, if any man strive about long haire; we & the Churches of God doe not walk so, they doe not weare long haire: but which way soever you take it; therefore men should weare short haire to avoide contention. Of preach­ing.

So in Acts 16. when Paul and the women met toge­ther by the waterside, verse. 13 it is said they came to a Rivers side, where prayer was wont to be MADE; and there they sate down, and preached, and prayed: he doth not say it was supperstition to come on a green place by a River: but it was a custome, and Paul goes thither, and teacheth them, and opens the Word to them. So that in those things that are not determined, custome is a great help to men in many things.

Thirdly, I add a third rule, and that is, right reason, Right rea­son. naturall reason, or right reason. Think not evil of these that I name custome, and reason; Reason of three sorts. because they are taken in a bad sense sometimes. But to understand this, there is three sorts of reason usuall in Scripture.

Spirituall reason Rom. 12. the Apostle bids us give our bodies, and soules to the Lord, a reasonable sacrifice; 1. spiritu­all. that is, in a spirituall way of argumentation, it is fit that I should give my selfe to Christ; that I mean not here.

There is corrupt, carnall reason, 2. corrupt this leads us out of the way, this is never good.

Thirdly, there is common reason, 3. common naturall reason. right naturall reason in us, which many of the duties of the New-Testament are grounded on. If you say; what is that? It is a light in the soule, that is a Relique of that light that was in Adam. VVhen God made Adam, Right rea­son what. and all other creatures, he made all good, there were good things, and every thing in a good order; and he made Adam like himselfe, God looked, and he saw everything that it was good: God put a light in him to judge of the Sun, Moone, and Stares; Adam had this light in a sort, to judge of Heaven, and Earth, and hee saw that all was good. When Adam fell, he lost a great deale of this light, and there came darkness, and confusion; Yet the light is not growne so dimme, as the other faculties are grown loose: for all carnall men (excepting none) they have light to judge beyond their power to practise, that is the reason the Heathen said, I see good, and better things, but doe the worst. So the carnallest man in the world hath some light to judge good, and evil, more than he hath strength to doe; whence is this? It is a stamp of that light, that in Adam was compleat at the [Page 118]first. Now this right reason, it often helps the Saints when they have no other light; As in 2 Cor. 14.23. The Apostle reproves them for speaking with strange tongues in the Church, that the people understood not; what argument doth he use? saith he if an Ideot come in, and heare you babble together, will hee not say you are mad? that is, take a man that hath the least spark of reason, of naturall light, and when hee sees that you goe out of the order of the creation, hee will think you are beside your selves. Take a simple man bring him to Smithfeild, & let him see a goodly horse, and though he never read in bookes to know the pro­perties of a horse, nor to heare him described, yet hee can say, this is a hansome horse; whence is this? hee hath the same sparke of light, that was compleat in Adam. Take a woman that hath a painted face, and naked breasts, and take another that goes handsomly, and attires her self modestly, and put it to an Ideot, and let him judge which is the hansomest, by the spark of right reason in him. Therefore in 1 Cor. 11. saith the Apstole, if the woman be not covered, let her be shorne. Is it COMELY, judge yee? that is, in the eye of reason; we know by the light that we have from Adam, that it is an unseemly thing. And so in many other cases: but I can not stand upon them; this will help you out when nothing else will.

But to conclude all, you have had expediency, and decency, and commendablnesse, and orderlinesse, and now the example of the Saints, the custome of the Churches, and right reason, The law of nature. and now lastly, the Law of nature, observe that; The Law of nature what is that? There is in our nature that law that God once wrote in our hearts, and some reliques of that old edition; And [Page 119]that which we have by grace, is but a new edition, and many times in a new Print the old coppy doth help: so, many times we read the will of God by the old coppy; by the law of nature. This is the ground, there is no institution, or command, unlesse it be extraordi­nary, that is contrary to the naturall command of God written in the heart; I say unlesse it be extraordinary: Gods or­dinary commands agree with the law of nature. as for Abraham to offer Isaac. Therefore if I finde any thing that I suppose to be an institution, that is contrarie to the law of nature, I may conclude that it is not the will of God. As for instance, in two lawes of nature.

1. Every man by the law of nature to love him­self.First, it is the law of nature, every man is to love himself, though not more than Christ, or more than his neighbour, yet it is a good law that God hath made that he shall love his neighbour as himselfe: there­fore it is the law of nature, for a man to love himself. And modesty also is a law of nature; Therefore Sem, 2. Modesty a law of nature. and Japhet when their father was naked, out of modesty as well as honour, they went backward and covered him. Now, if there come a case that God hath not absolute­ly determined, (as hee hath not determined any thing point blank against the law of nature; for it is but an­other edition in a larger character) if it be a case that we know not how to doe; judge by this law. As sup­pose in baptisme; that we conclude it to be an Ordi­nance of God, to use water to a holy end: But how wee shall baptize, whether by sprinkling, or going into a River (because it is probable some of them did) if we have no other light goe to the law of nature; for either men, and women must goe in naked, or clothed, if they goe naked, it is point blank against the law of modesty, and so against the law of nature: and if they [Page 120]goe in clothed if no house be neere, we know by expe­rience, and reason that it is enough to murder many a man, so he shall destroy himself, therefore I conclude that God will not have me goe that way.

But if it be the will of God, notwithstanding the inconveniency, we should doe it.

I reason thus against you, we know by reason, and ex­perience that this may destroy a mans life, & it is im­modest; therefore I conclude it is not the will of God, it is not sure, and safe to walk by it. Put these rules together, and you see in all cases that God hath not determined, you have a sure light to goe by. There are other motives, but I must leave them till the next time.



All things are lawfull for me, but all things are not exep­dient, &c.

WEE are come to the third Doctrine, which for brevities sake, I brought in as the Use, and Application of the two for­mer. That seeing many things are lawfull to the Saints under the New-Testament, that were not to the Saints under the old; and seeing that of those many things that are now law­full there are but a few that are expedient. Therefore the Saints would be exhorted, in their walking not on­ly to eye that which is lawfull, but also that which is expedient.

The last day I propounded one motive, which yet I have not finished, it was this; That this is the readiest way to end the controversies, and to settle peace among the Saints. I shal not repeate what was then delivered: but proceed in this Use (because it is the chiefe of all) to answer an objection, or two.

The first is this, you will say Sir, you pretend to seek peace by this; is this the way to peace? me thinks you seeme to crosse all people in your discourse, you speak against Anabaptists, and Independents, and Pres­byterians: and is this the way to peace.

Beloved, to that briefely, I answer in generall, it is the way to peace, Motive 1. The right way to peace. the right way. How? Thus, in all fallings out between man, and man in civill things; what is the way to peace, and reconciliation? The or­dinary way is to divide stakes, to abate every one a lit­tle, every one to come to condescend each to other, that is the way to peace. We should doe with our brethren, just as God doth with us, or wee with him, when we are fallen out; you know that sin is enmity a­gainst God; how comes there to be peace, & reconcilia­tion? you know the way is, God comes, and meets us, and we are to meet him;Every one to condis­cend a lit­tle. as it is in Amos, Prepare to meet thy God O Israel. We meet the Lord, and hee meets us (as we see in the parable of the Prodigall and his father) and so there is peace, So there will never be peace among the Saints, as long as every one stands upon his points, and will not abate an ace: but he will goe his way, and doe what he list. The Apostles rule Rom. 12 is, brethren saith he, condescend to them of low degree: There is the way; Be of the same minde one with another: verse 16. That is, away with jarrs, and discen­tions, I beseech you be of the same minde in the Lord. If we were of the same minde we should soone be at peace. Every one loves those that are of his mind: but which is the way? The way is, minde not high things, goe not so high as to minde high things, and care not whether your brethren be edified, or whether they stumble: but condescend to them that are low; come down a little, [Page 123]every one abate a little, this is the way to peace. And so in Act. 15. when there was dissention about circum­cision, it is notably worth your observation; when they were come to the Saints at Jerusalem, and the Apostles were about the controversie; they answer not punctually, they doe not blame the Gentiles, or the Jewes; but they divide stakes, and desire that the Jewes would not force circumsion upon the Gentiles, and they desire that the Gentiles would not stand on things strangled, and blood, those things of all others did give most offence to the Jewes: for it was notorious in­famous for them to doe so; therefore they should condescend to them so far, and the other should conde­scend to them againe, and so there was like to be peace, and the Churches had joy; the honest humble hearted were glad. So, till people are willing to come down, and condescend to their brethren there will never be peace.

Neither doe not conceive that it is not possible in things spirituall, as well as civill; It is not impossible, there is a way in spirituall things also: The Lord hath promised one heart, and one way; it is not impo­ssible for us to be as one man, to goe in one way. Thus in generall to answer the objection.

But in particular; you say, you crosse Independents, and Presbyterians; and is this the way to make peace?

Heare me with patience;Hurtful. principle among In­depen­dents. Concerning Independents as you call them, (though they will not own the name, but you fasten it on them) I must speak this, that con­cerning their practise, and that that they doe ordina­rily; I cannot condemne them, neither doe I know any godly, judicious Presbyterian, that will be against [Page 124]most of their tenets: But know concerning those that you call Independents, that they have divers principles that are destructive: among the rest, I warne you of one principle that will be wholly destructive to your owne peace, and the peace of others, (though you see it not) The fancying, and conceiting of a curious peice of dis­cipline in the New-Testament, in every tittle as it was in the old. It will necessarily, & infallibly follow, that any man that holds that must come to this, that we must have signes, and miracles, and Apostles againe. Experi­ence shewes that when men stand upon that, and can­not make it out, they conclude that there must be Apostles, and miracles, as of old; because they conceite that there must be a more curious peice in the new than in the Old-Testament, and they are not able to finde it; As one that puzzeled himself, and doated on such a thing, he cast his bible aside, and said we must of necessity have miracles, and Apostles, as they had be­fore. Therefore though for the generality your practise be good, yet labour to get out of that princi­ple, or else remember it will be your ruine, and the ruine of all your Churches.

But then you say, you herein crosse Presbyterians, too.

Presbyte­rians judg­ment. In a word, let me tell you, that those that are now called Presbyterians, that are pious, and godly, and preci­ous men: as many of them as I knew under Episcopacy were of this minde; they either held that there was no externall way of government at all, or else they held that there is a latitude that we are not so absolutely, and punctually tyed in every thing: And if halfe a score yeares agoe there was such a latitude, it were a strange thing if these Presbyterians, should goe now to frame [Page 125]such a curious peice in every point. So I say, if those that are called Presbyterians agree with themselves, and their own principles, & what they were ten yeares since, they agree with this Doctrine, and therefore there is no cause of offence to them.

But I have not yet done;No reason of strife between Presbyte­rians and Indepen­dents. because I am willing that there should be peace; let me come a little home to particulars. And I will shew you this, that there is no true reason in the world (but that the devil bewitcheth men) why there should be any contention, and strife, be­tweene Presbyterians, (I mean godly, religious peo­ple) and those that you call Independents. There is no true reason at all why there should be this contenti­on, and I will demonstrate it foure wayes.

1. Because there are godly on both sides.The first is this; because they are on both sides godly, precious men. I doe not say that all are on ei­ther side, but the generallity of them. And you know Abraham, and Lot, when there was like to be a falling out about a greater thing, a matter of Land, saith Abra­ham, let there be no strife between thee and me, for we are brethren; If thou wilt take the one hand I wil take the other. So these are godly men, as I acknowledge both sides to be; why should people be ready to nourish strife, and contention between them.

2. The bu­sines of difference is small.But the second reason that there should be no strife and contention between them, is because the busines, the things that they differ in are very small, it is a very small inconsiderable thing. I speak not of those (as Paul saith of oppositions of science falsly so called; So I speak not) or Presbytery fasly so called; that is, Episco­pall men, that I know no rule they goe by: but of godly men that out of judgement, and conscience hold Pres­bytery. As a reverend godly man, writing of Presbyte­ry, [Page 126]the case between us, and our brethren, saith he, it is not the rending of the garment, it is but the rufling of the fringe. It is so far from being a fundamentall difference, that it is scarse a materiall difference, nay, it is not in the forme; we agree both in the same forme of government. We (saith he) agree in this that there shall be such a government, and what this government shall be; only here is the difference, whose it shall be to whome it shall belong; nor so much in that, as where it shall be; whether in a Church, or in a Congregation of Ministers belonging to divers Churches. And so being but the rufling of the fringe, what mad men are wee to set the Kingdome on fire, and make our lives burthensome, and draw new, and heavier miseries on our selves now, than ever we felt by our very enemies? Therefore being between brethren, and for a thing so small, why should there be strife among us?

3. It is a­bout that that is ne­ver like to be.Well, thirdly, (which to me is the maine, the chiefe) that this difference, whcih is between brethren; and about that that never was, and it is a hundred to one that it is a thing that never will be; wee strive about a thing that is a great way off, it is a hundred to one if any of us ever come to the practise of that we strive for. Wee all agree there shall be a company of Saints, a company of visible Believers; and that there shall be power in the Church to order, and governe things; that the Church shall determine, as it did in Jerusalem. Let us goe so far, let us have Churches reformed, and set the power in them, and let them rule, & then if there be occasion for people to appeale, God will either open mens eyes, or else in expediency (as I shall shew by and by) they shall be directed: But wee strive (as I told you,) as if you and I should strive who should [Page 127]enter into the gates of Venice first, and wee know not whether either of us shall come there. We strive about to morrow; we have present miseries enough, we need not strive about things that are to come ten yeares hence; and it may be will never come. Wee are fooles: are we sure that the Kingdome will stand? or that wee shall have our lives? and yet wee goe and strive about a nick, that is, the farthest of all things. Whereas, as for outward things sufficient for the day is the griefe thereof. Goe on in love, and when it comes to that wee shall see more light. This is the greatest indiscretion in England, to strive about a thing that is never like to come to passe.

4. Because neither side can prove what they would have.Fourthly, and lastly, there should be no strife, be­cause as the Presbyteriall godly men they cannot, nor will prove such a thing to be an absolute rule for all the Churches, and for all Saints. Say there were such a rule in Acts 15. Doth it follow that it is a rule for all Churches, and for all Saints? VVhy doe we not also sell our lands, and give to our brethren? Let them but shew me a ground why that example should be made an absolute rule. Therefore as a man cannot shew, nor never will, an absolute rule to binde all the Saints through the world, to doe so. So, on the other side, the Independents cannot prove but it may be expe­dient in divers cases: therefore the one seemes to act necessarily; the other probably, to be expedient by right reason, and the law of nature. If a Church cannot agree among themselves; and what cause of strife is there in this?

Suppose one should say to me, come out of that house, or else you will be destroyed, the house will fall upon you; I beleive not that there is a necessity [Page 128]but I think it is expedient, because the house is old; he thinks it is of necessity, and I think it expedient; is there any cause of strife in this? So put these together and see how we are deluded by the Devill, and our own hearts, to make strife about a thing that may ne­ver be; Therefore, there is no reason for it.

But that I may satisfie you a little more, you will say; what, is there no more difference between Pres­byterians, and Independents? I have heard that there is more difference between them, than between the Cavaleirs, and the other party; that they are ready to cut one anothers throats. If there be no more be­tweene them; how comes this contention among them.

I think, of all the contentions that ever were among the Saints from Christs time till now, there was never such a mystery in any contention as there is in this. And (but that I would not take up so much time) I could goe neere to open this mystery; how the devill and our own hearts, have got the strangest mystery to set the Saints together by the eares, that ever was: but I cannot stay upon that.

But if you ask me how it comes to passe? You know a little sparke will bring a great flame; a little contention is as the letting out of waters. It is no wonder, it is the nature of contention to multiply, as it is the nature of fire to grow bigger; it comes from the devill, and our own hearts.

The pre­sent con­tentions from.If you ask me how it comes from men?

I say, it comes from five sorts of people, and it may be you, and I, and the most of us, have a hand in blow­ing this fire: the Lord shew it to us all, that we may labour to be peace makers, and so be blessed.

Weak ChristiansThe first sort of people are weak, carnall Christi­ans, there may be those that are called Independents, that are carnall. I mean not carnall as though they had no grace: but in the Apostles sense, 1 Cor 3. Are yee not carnall? that is, those that have but a little grace, and have a great deale of rashnes, and peevishnes and giddiness, and pettishnesse, and censoriousnesse. They are people that have a great deale of zeale many of them: but it is without knowledge; without wisdome to man­age it. They see part of the will of God, and of the truth of God, but not all (as the Sun shines on one part of the earth, and the other is dark) and in that part they see the substance, but eye not the circum­stance: they care not if all the world be against them, or whom they edifie, or whom they destroy, if they have the command of Christ they will doe it. And these peo­ple though they be godly, as a godly man saith of them, there is a new light comming into their souls: but they have not grace to mannage it, and so they goe headlong; It is a good light: but they have not grace to mannage it, and that light by reason of their cor­ruptions, and temptations kindles contention in the Churches.

They must be sharply reproved.Therefore if wee would have peace (which is our great desire) wee must admonish, and rebuke them sharply; they are full of censoriousnesse, and pettishnes, and have many harsh, and unseemly words. These must be reproved, and there must be a course taken to binde up their spirits, or else it will be hard to have peace.

Then secondly, there is another generation of peo­ple, that exceedingly blow up the fire,Carnal Presbyte­rians. that are con­trary to those, that is, a generation of carnall men, [Page 130]that have nothing of God in them; that usurp to themselves commonly the name of Presbytery, they would be called (though falsly) Presbyterians. Though Presbytery be an honourable word, and it is an honourable thing, and they be honourable men that hold it, and godly men. But many that would be called Presbyte­rians, taking a good name, & misapplying it to them­selves, they are wolves in sheeps clothing; they talk of reforming the Church, and yet they would set the Saints as so many Tigers together by the eares. I mean not by these, any godly men: But you may know them if you take notice of their persons; usually they are the Prelaticall men; such as were surrogates to Bishops before, double beneficed men, rich Parsons, Prebends, and Canons; These men that know not the power of godlinesse, whose hearts were at Oxford, and they would have been there too: but that they see more hope of preferment here; there are none that talk so much of Presbytery as they; and in these hoods, and vailes they studie to devoure the people of God; be­ware of them.

But you will say; why, may not a double beneficed man, and a surrogate be a godly man?

He may be,Their principles and be truly converted, I condemne not all, but it is very rare. Therefore goe farther, and you shall see the same principles in them that was in the Bishops, pride, and crueltie, and rage, against the Saints, and fire, and fagot about the surplice, and kneeling &c. worse than was in the Bishops; they have the same principles, and breath out threatenings against the Saints, fire, and bannishment, and yet they croak of re­formation; they are wolves in sheeps clothing.

So,Their ends if you look on their ends, they are the same, [Page 131]they were rich men then, and so they are now; they are covetous, and greedie, and sensuall, and proud, griping for livings, and meanes, and wealth; they chop, and change livings, and use devises to get more meanes still; they are the same men still: And yet these own the name of Presbytery, and every one that is against them, is against Presbytery; (There is the mystery of iniquitie) and shortly, if these get their wills,The devil changeth names with per­sons and things. every godly man in England shall be accounted, either to be an Independent, or an Annabaptist, or an Antinomian; or some other scandalous note, that doe not approve of their courses. And as they say, every man shall be a Round-head that is rich, that hath somewhat to loose among the Cavaleers; So these men having a minde to faction, meaning to rule the world, and to enjoy the sweet, and the fat of it, they put foule names upon the Saints. And so, many godly men that preach against Antinomians, and Anabaptists, they must be accounted Antinomians, or Anabaptists; And this is ordinary among these men: therefore wonder not at this, for be sure of it, that alway there will be some to persecute the people of God, and put foule names up­on them to cover the busines. And observe from the beginning of the preaching of the Gospel, carnall people have taken good names to themselves, & throw ill names upon godly people. So you shall see in Po­perie; what were they? Catholiques, a good word: and what were true Christians? Lollards; Hereticks, and Shismaticks. And so in King Iames his time; what were the good fellows? Orthodox men; and what were the Saints? Puritans; So now, what are the sides in the Armies? the one are Cavaleers, a word of honour, and Knight-hood; and what are the other? Round-heads. [Page 132]So Episcopacy, it is a good word, and a thing that God in Scripture commends: but by degrees carnall men they stole the name, Episcopacy, and Bishops, and under that they persecuted the Saints. So the Saints have the worst end of the staffe still, the worst names. As for these men, there is nothing to be done, but to discover them, and to pray for them that the Lord would open their eyes; I mean not any godly man, Independent, or Presbyterian; and therefore if thou be offended at this, thou shewest thy self to be a man that fearest not God.

The third sort are Malignants, a lower sort of peo­ple,3. Malig­nants. that are ill affected to the Parliament, and so out of a designe, that they see the Parliaments party, the godly Presbyterians, or Independents, they have born the brunt, as they know; and if wee could take away the godly party of them (say they) we should do well enough; the rest would run to the King, and doe I know not what: And what course take these? They come to the Independents, and present Presbytery to them, and say it is worse than Episcopacy, and it is of Rome, and use obominable bitter words; and so fill poore soules, especially the weak, with such conceits, as if Rome it selfe, and the Pope himselfe were coming to rule all.

Then for the other side (though they care neither for Presbytery, nor Independency: but are down right Athiests) they goe to the Presbyterians, and they say that the Independents are destructive to the Common­wealth, that they have strange principles; that they will not fight in the warrs, because they may not have their liberty, they leave all to us, and they will be at no losse; and if that party were rooted out, we should [Page 133]be stronger say they; and so they make them as hide­ous as they can. Though it be untrue: for it is well known that they ran not away, but fought as couragi­ously as any: but they represent them so; and when they have brought them both together by the eares, then they laugh in their sleeves.

You will say, there are some you know that are great Independents, and they are wonderously vexed because they have not their designe.

But let me tell you, they grieve, and mourne bitter­ly, not because they could not set up Independency: but this is their greatest griefe, that the devill drives such a designe, and giddie people doe not take notice that by the divisions among us, the Malignant party drives on, and the Parliaments party will be in danger to be broken: you see the Armies have been scattered, and ready to go together by the eares by this meanes. Brethren, beware of these; say to them as he did Exod. 2 You will come and kill me as you did the Egyptian yesterday; take them up sharply and send them going, you are fire-brands of hell to set us together by the eares.

4. The godly mo­derate party.Fourthly, there are another sort of people, that is, the godly party, that you call the moderate party on both sides, those that are godly men: and there is flesh, and spirit in these also, and they have a hand in it. As for the Independents, those that are moderate, they hearken too much to the headie people, I spake of before, and are provoked: So, on the other side, the godly men of the Presbytery, they adhere too much to those wolves, in sheeps apparrell, and the crueltie that they threaten against the Saints, they connive at it too much; Hence the wonder is how so many that were [Page 134] moderate in the Bishops time, would now be readie to become persecutors of others. Wonder not, the rea­son is this, not because they are not godly, and graci­ous men: but because there is some corruption in them, and they are drawn by carnall company that have not the feare of God, and have not grace, and strength enough to resist; Therefore if wee will have peace on both sides, we must reprove those people, and not talk as others talk, and doe as others doe. Those that you call Independents must not hearken to people that talk without reason, in respect of their brethren. And those that are godly of the Presbytery must reprove those men that are full of fire, and fagot, and nothing else: rather reprove them, then connive at them.

5. The common multitudeFiftly, and lastly, (and so to end for this time) the last sort of people are the common, superstitious multi­tude. They exceedingly blow up the fire: how? They cry out of divisions, there are so many Religions a­mongst us; there is this religion, and that; and they are all for conformity; and O that the Synod would set­tle some government, they care not what, if it be Rome it self; and it is dishonourable that we should have divi­sions, and stirres among us: Thus the blinde multi­tude cry; whereas it is better to have division, than an evil uniformitie. It is true, the time will come that all shall be of one heart, and one way, but it hath never yet been. There were abundance of differences in the Apostles times, in the first Churches between the Jewes, and Gentiles, and they were alway wrangling about blood, and about the Law, and Geneallogies; yet they were the Churches of God, & deare to the Lord. So I say, every little difference, and discent makes not [Page 135]a new religion; No, opinions are profitable (in a sort) in the Churches, that some should discent from others sometimes.

Therefore, for the multitude (to conclude this use) labour to appease the multitude, the multitude are ignorant, labour to instruct, and teach them. Pres­bytery, and Independency are not two religions: but one religion to a godly, honest heart; it is only a little rufling of the fringe; therefore make not the breach wider, and blow not the fire more. The Lord give you, and me, every one of us, wherein by any of these sorts of people we finde our selves guilty, to endea­vour to reforme, and to follow the things that con­cerne our peace, that however our enemies will not receive termes of peace, yet we may be at peace among our selves, which the Lord grant.

The vvay to peace in a mans selfe.


All things are lawfull for me, but all things are not ex­dient.

THe last lesson from these words was this, That a Christian under the New-Testament ought not only to eye, what is lawfull, what is absolutely commanded, or forbidden: but to eye also what is expedient, and what is inex­pedient; what is convenient, and what is inconvenient, what edifies, and what edifies not. We opened this to you, and came to a Use, where we are at this time to exhort you, that this may sinke in­to your hearts, to wit, that you would not make lawes to your selves in the New-Testament, where Christ hath not bound you; and where Christ hath left you free, and hath not determined things.

Secondly, I exhorted you, that you would be care­full, [Page 138]and vigilant, and wise, to take notice in all things what is expedient, and to doe the same; and to presse it on you, we proposed one Motive to you, which was the maine drift of all the discourse we intend upon this Scripture, to wit; that this is the ready way of peace, and to end strife, and contention among the Saints. Now how that is, I have opened to you as I was able, and so finished it this morning.

Now to set it on a little more upon your souls (not to repeate any thing) there are two or three words more that might stir you up. Consider it, for I know it is a harsh truth to many of your eares, I feare you have many prejudices against it: but I beseech you consider it well, it is of great consequence, it is one of the master stones in your foundation; I mean in your walking, and conversation, towards men at least. I say, therefore I will add certaine motives more: and as the first was the way to peace among the Saints, to end controversies that are among them;

Motive 2. The way to peace in a mans selfSo secondly, it is a way to peace, a way to end the controversies of a Christian with himself; For Belo­ved, I dare say, and I am able to make it good, and have known it by experience in other Saints, that the most of your guilt, and the most of your trouble that is within you,most of the guilt on Christi­ans. it ariseth not from doing of things simply sinfull, or neglecting things simply comman­ded but from some disorderly doing of lawful things: and that is two wayes.

1. Doing lawfull things with com­mō hearts.Either that you doe lawfull things; as eating, and drinking, and sleeping, (and divers other things) with common hearts, and eye not God in the doing of them; you doe them in a carnall fashion, without holines: for we must be holy in all manner of conversation. You [Page 139]are not holy when you are eating; you have not a ho­ly frame of soule when you are sleeping: therefore your sleep, and your meat, and such like things, they produce a world of guilt, and trouble, you doe them with common hearts, as the Pharisees said, the Disciples eat with common hands.

2. Doing lawfull things in­expedient­ly.Or else secondly, it is from doing lawfull things in­expediently, you eye not what is expedient. Meat, and drink, and sleep, and talking, and walking, and cloathes, and recreations, they are lawfull: but in all these you look not what is expedient. And I mean not only (Be­loved) those civill things that I named to you, but also in religious things, wherein God hath not determined: you make laws to your selves, and then you faile in keeping of those lawes, as usually when God sees men make lawes to themselves, let them keep them them­selves if they will; it is just with God, not to give power to keep lawes that are not of his own making;God will not give strength to keep lawes that hee hath not made. God will not help you: you make lawes I say, and you have no strength to keep them, and then there ariseth a world of guilt, and trouble. As thus, God commands us to pray alway, to be earnest in prayer, to read the word, to teach our children, to help our neigh­bours, to doe good to their souls, and bodies. Now you have made a law, that you will pray in your fami­ly so oft, and pray privately so oft, and read so many Chapters a day, and keep so many dayes of humiliati­on, once a week, or so; here is a law of your own mak­ing. I say not but it is expedient to do so sometimes, and many times; but you make it an absolute law, that when God comes and calls you to another thing con­trary to your law,Trouble of conscience in Christi­ans whence. then there is nothing but guilt, and horrour, on your soules.

As for instance, you make a law that you will pray twice before you goe forth every morning; private­ly, and in your familyes, and it is a good course if things be according, because you are bound to pray al­wayes: but you make an absolute law, and there comes another busines of greater weight, you have prayed once, and you are going to the other, and it may be your neighbours house is on fire, or a poor man is in want; you goe, and you cannot choose, but then there is gall, and guilt upon your soules, because you have neglected prayer. Whereas God hath not bound you to these things, but hath left you to doe this, or that according as it may be most for the honour of God, & the everlasting advantage of your own souls. Hence if you observe, and looke upon your own souls when you finde your selves in trouble, you shall ordinarily see the truth of this doctrine: Ask the question, whence is this trouble? why are your soules so sad? you shall finde six times for one that the trouble, and guilt ariseth from these things, from making of lawes, and we are not able to keep them; whereas if wee would make an absolute law of nothing, but what God hath made, and doe the rest in expediency, we might be able to let goe that, and doe this that is expedient, wee should doe abundance more good, and with peace of conscience.

Christians ful of que­stions whyAnd hence it is, that weak Christians, (good peo­ple) are so full of questions, and cases, and trouble themselves, and Ministers endlessely. Why so? be­cause many professors walk only by rule, by law; this is their religion, they will avoide that which is evill, and doe that which is good: This is good, but this is not all; and seldome in my experience have I seen a [Page 141]spirituall heart, that is spirituall indeed, much trou­bled with those cases of conscience in outward things

Spirituall Christians their car­riageThe reason is this, because a spirituall Christian hath two eyes, the other hath but one: that is, when a spirituall Christian falls on an action, he asks first, is it lawfull, or unlawfull? he easily resolves that: but hee goes farther, is it convenient? doth it tend to the glory of God? will any be better for it? will my own soule be the better? is it decent? And it is six to one but he findes it expedient, and he considers the lawful­nesse no farther, that is gone, and an inexpedient acti­on to a spirituall man it is as abominable as an action altogether unlawfull. Therefore we see Paul how re­solutely he speaks of eating of flesh, The earth is the Lords and the fulnes thereof; and make no conscience of what is before you, yet he saith if eating of flesh offend my brother; mark his high language, I will never eat flesh while the world standeth, rather than I will offend my brother; that is, I would soone answer the case of con­science, I will not trouble ministers, or my self about that. Weak Christians not minding this, they ask only, is it lawfull? Is it lawfull to weare long haire? is it lawfull to play at tables? &c. They goe no farther, and so there comes guilt upon their soules.

I heard once (I speak it not with prejudice) of some godly women, that were godly persons,Baptisme doubted of they made great doubt of their baptisme; and going by the rule that I told you before, making a curious peice in the New-Testament, and laying such stresse upon every nick, that all was overthrown if that were wanting, they were baptized the first, and the second, and the third time, and still they feared there was a fault, that [Page 142]they could not sleep in their beds, for horrour of conscience least there should be a nick, or flaw in the least, in their baptisme, and so were still studying a way to doe it better. So it will be in all cases when men make lawes where God hath not made them, there will trouble and guilt follow, in that they are not able to performe them.

I speak it not to weaken, or innervate any of the people of God, in absolute commands: but where God hath left a latitude (as I have proved) let us take notice of it, and order all things for the glory of God, and the edification of our selves, and others. And that is another motive.

Briefly,Mot. 3. He that eyes not expedien­cy cannot doe much for God. the third is this, to perswade you to this (for I feare many doe not understand this, and you are hardly brought to it, because your hearts are con­trary to the real principles of the Gospel, whereof this is one) as it is the way to end controversies among the brethren; and the way to keep peace within our selves. So thirdly, unlesse you will receive this truth, and labour to understand it, if you goe by the other way, taking every thing jure divino, to be an absolute rule to binde people in all the world, and then when you have put stresse on them, and broken them, you conclude there is no Church, nor no believers: such a soule will never be able to do much for God, he will never be able to honour God much; he may please himselfe, as such doe, and think that he is growen in grace, and hath out-stripped others and he may trou­ble the Kingdome, and rend the Churches, and make debate among the Saints: but take this for certaine, he shall never be able to honour God much, he shall doe little in his generation. I mean (that I may come to [Page 143]particulars) he will neither be able to do much in win­ing of sinners, nor in strengthening of weak Saints: for in those two wayes are the greatest opportunities we have of honouring God; If yee love me feed my lambes, saith Christ. He cannot doe it; why so?

1. They present religion to others as endlesse.First, because such a man, or such a people that are set in such a way (as many are in these dayes, and many godly people) they present Religion to others alwayes as an endlesse thing, as a thing that hath no end. And therefore when they perswade weak Christians to be religious, they look upon their religion as a bot­tomlesse pit; as Solomon saith, The lips of a whore is a deep pit. They think here is a religion indeed, if we close with this people we shall not know where to stay; the last moneth they were in one religion, and the last yeare in another; and so they seek a knot in a bulrush, they seek for curiosity where God hath not laid it, & there­fore they are ever wandering. They perswade us to be of this Church, and of this religion, and we shall be safe, say carnall men; how earnest are they to have us be with them, and two moneths agoe they were as ear­nest for another, and it may be two moneths hence they will be for another; and so they run from them. Therefore in 2 Tim. 4. when there was a great deale of stir among the Christians, about Genealogies, and old wives tales, and vaine stories; Paul bids Timothy take heed of them. Why? because they were endlesse, that is, if a man goe to them, they goe from one fancy to another, he knows not where to finde them. When Paul would cleare himself from an ill report they had of him among the Corinthians 2 Cor. 1. he takes this for one argument, our conversation was in simplicitia, we walked in the light of the Sun before you, and hee [Page 144]comes with another argument, our yea was yea, and our nay was nay; He brings this as an argument to regaine their thoughts for religion: for it was not for his own honour sake that he carried himselfe stayedly among the Saints (which is lovely:) for weak Christi­ans look on such men, and on religion as a weak swim­mer looks on the streame of waters, saith he, I will goe in the shallow, for if I goe in the streame, I shall not know where to stay, I shall be carried down to the Sea. So, though men may think that this is growth in grace, to grow from one fancy to another in externall things. As one that asked a woman, why she was not baptized againe? saith he, you grow not in grace, as if he should say; there is no growing in grace without these outward things. As I remember (without disparaging the person, he is unknown to you) a man that was a member of a Church; and because he saw infants baptized, and himself was not, he broke off from them and said there was no Church, and all the streame did run for two moneths together on baptisme, there was nothing talked of but that, and concluded, the Ana­baptists and all were Antichristian, and there was no Church, nor any thing till we had Apostles againe; as I told you, that any that hold that principle and follow it closely, and rationally, they will infalliably come to Apostles, and Miracles, and Signes from heaven. And reason shewes it; for they will frame such a curious peice, like Moses, that shall be an absolute rule to binde every thing, and nothing shall be expedient, or inexpedient: but all cammanded, or forbidden, nuzzel­ing, and searching for this peice and cannot finde it; they will give over, and say, let us have Apostles, &c. And so how shall they win poore sinners, when they [Page 145]see they whirle about? will they ever delight in your religion, when it is thus presented to them? Carnall people, though they cannot answer their objections, yet they will say, these people we know not where they stand, therefore we will not meddle with them: Such people as studie crotchets and put such stresse on them, they can doe little good; whereas if they would walk by expediency, they would win people to the Lord. Therefore, suffer not thy heart to be above the word of God to master it, but put thy heart under the word of God, and let it square thee, try thy heart by the word of God; or else I know who will have the worst of it.

2. They present re­ligion as burthen­some.Another reason is, as they present religion as an endlesse thing; So as a wondrous burthensome thing, as an intollerable task to them. And our nature, flesh and blood is so averse to goodness, that it is loath to under goe even the sweet yoke of Christ. In the second Psalme there is a prophesie of the people under Christ, Let us break their bands (say they) and cast away their cords from us. VVhich is only meant of the law of Jesus Christ, which is an easie yoke, and a light burthen; now when people shall goe, and add abundance to this, and make as many more lawes, and more grievous than Christ hath made, and shall present such a masse to the people, no wonder that they start off and run from them: For present Christ as lovely, and amiable as you can, yet a carnall heart accounts it a burthen, and runs away. That is the reason (to my knowledge) that in some countries people have laboured much, & done little good; VVhy? this was the greatest stumbling block, they made lawes concerning haire; it must be of such a collour, the scarfe, and the band, and the hand­kercheife [Page 146]upon it, & so cast dams upon people; they law such lawes that they would not come neare them, but railed against godlines, and some were readie to hang, & drowne themselves, and from thence it comes, they make nicks & knacks where the scripture makes none. So that though all men do not so, yet generally carnal men conceive some such thing. I remember a story of a learned man, that there being a wild Gentleman of a great estate, set to him to traine him up, and bring him under a little: the young man hated and abhorred him, and had as leiv be hanged as come neere him: for he thought he should loose all his liberty: but the old Gentleman would walk, and the young man with him, and when the young man would bowle, he would bowle with him; and when he saw it was not such a task, as he thought it had been, he proved a godly zealous man; So this is a mighty hinderance of doing good to o­thers, to make religion to seeme gastly, by little in­ventions, and knacks that men make that Christ hath not bound them to; a carnall heart will not come into such a prison.

3. They present re­ligion as rediculous.Thirdly, they can doe little good to others, because they present religion to carnall men as a ridiculous thing to be laughed at. How so? I will tell you, car­nall men however you conceive of them, they have oft a spirit of illumination, common knowledge, and right reason: and by common knowledge, and right reason, they may be able to judge farther than many Christians, what is the will of God, and what is not, in externall things, though they be strangers from the power of those things. Therefore when you come to carnall men, and scatter such lawes, and commands, and rules among them, though they be strangers from the power, [Page 147]yet they are able to judge as well as your selves, whe­ther they be the lawes of God or no: for they have un­derstanding, and reason, they have Scripture, and they have common illumination: therefore when people make such lawes, (whereas they should respect what is expedient, and take the lawes that Christ hath made) they expose themselves to be laughed at, they are so far from gaining of soules.

But Fourthly, (because this is a great thing) for that reason we came into the world to win soules,4. By not eyeing what is expedient men de­prive themselves of oppor­tunities of doing good. and to feed the lambes of Christ; therefore I shall shew you farther that by so doing you deprive your selves of abundance of opportunities to do good, that though they would never so faine do good as much as others, yet they are deprived of the opportunity to doe, or re­ceive good. My meaning is not, that any should doe evil that good may come of it: neither doe I mean that men should doe lawfull things, if they be in a doubt­ing condition: but my meaning is, they should en­deavour to remoove all prejudices, and misconceits of things, whereby they lay blocks in their own way. As for instance, how many godly men in this land, godly, and holy, and of great gifts, & that desire to doe good, and it may be out of a conceit, or rather (with reve­rence) out of conscience of the Pulpit, or the places we preach in, have hid their tallents, and have laid downe their work, and kept in their gifts, and become unpro­fitable. And how many hundred Christians are there that are godly, and holy people out of conscience of the calling of the Ministers, or the house that they meet in, have with the griefe of their soules, and many a heavy heart, shut themselves in a hole, foure or five women together, and lost the use of those blessed gifts. [Page 148]If they had studied whether it had been convenient, it had been worth the while to dispute: but God hath made no law for preaching in a pulpit, or in a pew, or in a house of stone, or not of stone: but making an ab­solute law that it must hold in all cases, they fall into these snares that are greivous.

I speak not this that you should persecute such, for they are godly people, and it is a signe they have tender consciences. I mean not so; nor doe I perswade them to do things without some knowledg, that they should not doe it doubtingly: but I desire you to receive this truth, whereby the occasion of such scruples may be remooved. There be foure things;

The first thing is this, that clearly demonstrates that they cannot doe much for God,5. If they do good it is by acci­dent. or the honour of God: because if they doe any thing for God, for the winning of others, it is, as I may say, by chance, by accident: for it is a thing beside their intention. This is their religion; it is not to studie how I may honour God, and bring in sinners: this scarsly comes in their thoughts, but what is truth, and what is false, what is lawfull, and what is unlawfull. Therefore divers that else are godly men, let them have a nick right, or wrong they never consider the Congregation, how they may doe most good: but they think this is truth, and every truth must be preached in every place, at every time, to every people, this is their religion; they never look if it may doe good. Wheras a Christian that makes no more lawes than Christ hath made, and studies what is expedient, and would win souls, hee must be wise, and watchfull, and circumspect, and able to see what may conduce to edification. Therefore men in Scripture that were sent to win soules; they are cal­led [Page 149] fisher-men; the Apostles were: and fisher-men must be cunning, it is not every baite, that will catch every fish, he must baite and waite, and be cunning, and wise. Saith Paul, I took you by guile; I had a way to win you, and insinuate into you: men must make it their studie if they will win souls to the Lord, to look not only that they preach truth, but what truth, to what people, and what way they doe it. Therefore Paul Gal. 2. when hee came among people that were not able to receive the truth concerning justification, and concerning ceremonies, he preached to them of good repute; that is, choice Christians that were able to beare it, that they might communicate it to others, or else he should loose his labour, and run in vaine. So in Act. 19. where there was great strife about the Temple of Diana, Paul when he came there, he knew that the peoples hearts were set on their Temple, and the worshiping of their Idol, therefore he doth wisely to doe their souls good, he might have said, I preach the truth; and down with the image of Diana; but when the busines was done, bespake not a word against Diana, and the Temple; he hated the image, and the Temple: but he went the wisest way to work to win them. That is another reason.

6. They in­tend good only to few.A sixt reason is this, these people cannot doe good for the winning of others, and for the feeding of the poore lambes of Christ; why so? If they doe any I told you it is by accident, it is beside their intention, or if they intend any, it is a few of their owne minde and judgement, those that are in fellowship with them only, and the rest they look on them as unbelievers, though they be never so holy, and the Spirit of God have sealed to their soules; yet they are unbelievers, [Page 150]and are in an Antichristian estate, and have the mark of the Beast on them, and goe from them as if they had the plague on them. I say, thou mayest doe good to those people that are of thy owne minde: thou canst never doe good to others with such language under such notions; whereas others that walk according to the truth that I teach, they walk equally to all Saints, and as Paul saith, I became all things to all men, that I might win some. He labours to win sinners, to nourish the weak, if they have any thing of Christ hee loves them, & if they have nothing he endeavours to work it. VVhereas the other looks on them as Turks and Infidels, and can doe them no good.

But you will say, though wee looke so on them wee would doe them good if they would hearken to us.

It may be so, and it is probable you would do them good: but I tell you you shall never be able to doe it in that way; VVhy? because as Paul saith, 1 Cor. 8. Knowledge puffeth up, but love edifieth: If you love them not you can not edifie them. If I did know a man that should teach mee, and loved me nor, I cannot, I will not be edified. VVhen good people that are sealed that they are the Lords, and that Christ is in them; when people shall come and call them Antichristians, and that they have the mark of the Beast on them, and that they are unbelievers; are they like to doe them good? they are not, because love doth not intervene.

7. They lead others to de­struction.Shall I add one word more, and end that? Lastly, they cannot win others, or doe good to others; why so? (It is a foreword, I am death to speak it, but I know it is true) because they are so far from edifying, that those that goe that way, according to that princi­ple, [Page 151]they lead many silly souls to their own destruction; How? I will demonstrate it thus, the principle is this, that nick that is new, they lay such stresse on it, that he that followes that is a believer, and a Saint, though he be stark naught; now there is no poor car­nall man, there is no soule so wicked, and wretched but hee would be willing to doe something for himselfe, and when he findes so easie a way to Heaven, that it is but observing such an externall thing, he will be of that way, though he be a whoremonger, an adulterer. As it is in Popery (though I compare not the persons, but there is the same principle in both) how comes their Church to be so great? they come to poore people that know not what to doe for salvation, and they say, come, be of our Church and you shall be saved; take such a Religion on you, confesse your sins to the Preist, and doe this, and that, and then you shail be saved. It is the same principle; you place salvation, and heaven in externall things, and most of your owne making, and then poore soules that would goe to heaven, and goe the nearest way they could finde, they come, and they will observe those externall things: and then what is the end of it? After all this adoe there will be a carnall prophane heart, that was never changed, that Christ was never in. I have seen more than one that have been asked; what evidence have you that Christ is in you? I have walked in such a way this twenty, or two and twenty yeares, or so long, and I am come out from Antichrist. A man may doe so, and be a damned creature when all is done; I have seen some (though I think there be scarse any Christians in the world besides that have done it) that have in­vented a world of tricks, and qu [...]rks out of the Scrip­ture, [Page 152]and have made them absolute lawes, and none must be held but they; and besides I have seen such boasting, and such blindnesse in spirituall things, that with charity a man may say there is not grace in such souls. Therefore poore carnall souls are gulled when such tricks are put on them; carnall hearts run there, and think to be safe, and crow over others: & in the end they prove carnal. This is not the way to win others, or do good to others. So you have three motives.

The fourth Motive that should move you to hear­ken to this truth,Mot. 4. Without looking to expedien­cy a man cannot be an excellent Christian. to labour to understand it, and re­ceive it, and to walk by it, for otherwise you will never be excellent Christians; remember that word: spiritu­all, excellent Christians never make such tricks: you shall alway observe that the Eagle lookes not after flies; I have never seen, and I have considered with my self, I have scarsly ever, if ever seen a spirituall Christian goe that way; you shall observe in your selves (if I be not deceived) that when your soules are in a spirituall temper, full of the love of God, and communion with Christ, and in a holy spirituall frame, you shall not finde such a disposition in you to make such a glorious business of little externall things, nei­ther that God hath commanded, though wee must not neglect that, much lesse those that God never com­manded: So the excellency in Christianity, or the beauty of holiness. I would set it out (as a godly man in another case,) by the naturall beauty of a man or a woman; VVhat makes a man or a woman beautifull. It is not onely the having of so many limbes; another man may have as many leggs, and fingers, and toes as a beautifull man hath, and yet not be beautifull; but what is the beauty of a man? a [Page 153] sumety, or harmony and proportion, between the humours of the bodie with in, and the members without; as a man is not beautiful that hath a great head, and a little hand, that is no proportion; So a Christian that walks by the rule of lawfulnesse, and unlawfulnesse only, by what is lawfull, and commanded, and what is forbidden, hee will not be a beautiful Christian, that is but a limbe of Christianity: but excellent Christianity ariseth from proportion between our actions, when an action is not only good, but it is done expediently, it is done decent­ly, and orderly; As a Lute, or a paire of Virginals that have as many strings as they need, yet there may be no musicke: So there is no beautie in a Christian that saith, what is truth, and what is falshood, and what is lawful, and what unlawful; But the beauty is when a man ordereth his wayes, as that he doth things for the ho­nour of God, and for the good of others, and of his own soule: this makes an excellent Christian, the other can­not be excellent Christians. The reasons, and grounds of it (that I may touch them breifly)

Reason. 1 An excel­lent Chri­stian hath the minde of Christ.The first is this, (I spake a little before of it) be­cause an excellent Saint, or a happy Saint, hee hath the minde of Christ Jesus, we have the minde of Christ saith the Apostle; VVhat is that? Thus, he hath the law, and will of God in the New-Testament written in his heart, there is just the same finger as was in penning this blessed book, with the same letters, and characters and the same order: thence it comes to passe, as wee see among lambes, and sheep, put a lambe among a thousand he will goe to his own dam: You are not able to give a reason, much lesse the poore creature: so the will of God is written in the heart of a Christi­an; one comes and tells him of a nick of outward sancti­ty; [Page 154]though hee be not able to give an answer against it, yet there is a kind of sagacity in him, the law of God is written in his heart; and therefore he will not obey that: he knowes not why, but he cannot touch it; So though a Christian have reason in most of his wayes, yet the maine principle that leads him is somewhat above that. Those Saints that have not their hearts touched with this landstone will be carried about to any nick, till they be undone.

2. Hee is busied a­bout high things.Another ground is, because an excellent Saint is busie, and imployed about higher things, and therefore he cannot finde time to take up all his thoughts to studie externalls. As some people all their preaching, and praying, and discourse is about such things in exter­nalls. A Saint may look upon it, and talk respective­ly, but he is so taken up about knowing of Christ and his love, and bringing his sovl into communion with him, and conformity to him, that he hath not while to doe it. That a man may say, and say truly, that there are divers people that trade in externall things; as Phara­oh, the people are idle; So it is a hundred to one but thou hast an idle soule within, that is left at randome, thou knowest not what termes God and thy soule are in; And therefore you shall finde in severall places in Timothy, there was a stir about Genealogies, they might have said it is Scripture, and truth. Take heed of them saith Paul; How shall Timothy take heed of them? see the rule 1 Tim. 4.8. he calls him to other busines, he takes him and puts him upon another work, Bodily exercise profiteth little; What shall he doe then? exer­cise thy self to godlines. Why, this is godlinesse, might they say: No; it is a hundred to one saith Paul, but they are people that are remisse in godlinesse, that are [Page 155]taken up with fables. So in v. 12. Let no man despise thy youth: but be an example to the believers, in word, in con­versation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. That is, in these spirituall things. So in chap. 6. 11. there was a great deale of stir about outward things; what must Timothy doe? O man of God flie these things, and follow after righteousness, godlinesse, faith, love, patience, meeknesse. That is, take up thy soult, impoly it in spirituall things, and I warrant thee thou shalt not be so studious in making little knots, and knicks, and lawes.

3. Hee relisheth spirituall things.Another thing why an excellent Christian cannot be so, is because the excellent Christian findes such sweetnes, having tasted how good God is in his love, in his Sonne; there is such sweetnesse in spirituall things that you cannot feed them with such husks. Bring a spirituall Saint, and tell him, here is a Church and Congregation, there is none like it in the world, they are all Antichristian but this: bring him there, and there all their prayers, and their discourses, and ser­mons, it is onely of Churches, and Officers, and I know not what, and they are endlesse upon that, and Anti­Christ is Babylon, and this is Jerusalem, and Sion; a spi­rituall soule cannot feed on this, he cannot live there, no more than a fish on the shore. As Job saith, as the mouth judges of tastes, so doth the eare of words. Wee can give no reason of our tasting, why a thing is sweet, or soure, and so of hearing: but there is a secret thing within, that cannot savour those external things, and husks that feed not the soul; and a Saint being a sheep of Christ he knowes his voyce.

Another reason is this, that an excellent Saint hee hath such a good stock, or estate within, that he cannot [Page 156]but contemplate his enjoying of God,He hath stock enough within. as much as may be, he needs not go abroad so far to those things. Whereas on the other side, generally those people that take up all their time & discourse in those wayes, you shall find usually that they are banckrupts, The course of back­sliders. or back­sliders, they have crakt estates; for when men backslid from God, and have lost their communion with Christ; what then? they will make it up in outward things to the utmost, even to superarogation. As in Isaiah, when the people had backslided, and revolted, they brought abundance of sacrifices, God was weary of them; he complaines not of the want of them: but he saith, I will have none of them, away with them; the kernell of the soule is gone. So in Micah 6. those wicked people that did enjoy nothing of God in their soules, say they; How shall I come before the Lord? shall I bring a thousand rams, or ten thousand rivers of oyle? shal I give the fruit of my body for the sin of my soule? O no; the Lord will none of them. So, when soules are broken, and banckrupt, generally those people for a while keep up a profession in externall knacks. Therefore back­sliders that run from God, and are ashamed to be prophane, for a yeare or two, they take up an external Religion, and make endlesse knacks, and will be brave people, and by and by down goes that too. Usually when the devill drawes people from God, hee eates the kernell a yeare, or two before, and then he knows they will throw away the shell.

Mot. 5. To look to our princi­ples a­gainst suffering times.Only, one thing more to move you to consider this truth, and to endeavour to set your selves this way, is this, that all of you, or most of you I think, look on these times, (especially that are coming) as suffering times, and you doe well so to doe, and it may be there [Page 157]is more reason to looke for it than before, it is fafe to make that account, and if it prove otherwise it will be the sweeter; you make account to suffer, many of you (it may be) on right grounds feare sorer sufferings than foremrly, If you mean to suffer, consider before hand, look to your principles, take heed that you suffer not as evil doers; that is, take heed that you be not brought to the stake to suffer for nicks, or conceits, or things of your own making: for however many of Gods own people have often suffered for such nicks, and with comfort; it was the mercie of God, because they had honest hearts; and many times carnall men, Scipio, and Cato, and those suffered valliantly out of a naturall resolution; yet you cannot be sure that you shall have comfort in your suffering, without it be for the truth of God, that God hath laid down: There­fore as Jeremy saith in the Lamentations, so I say to you Wherefore is the living man sorrowfull? man suffers for his sins; And what followes? let us search and trie our wayes. Beloved this is the benefit of affliction, nor only to make us search our wayes, and to reforme what is amisse in that: But to make the wise to search their principles, their beliefe, and their liberty, and their te­nets, and to hold only that, that they are with joy able to lay down their lives for. As in a storme when the Sea-men see it comming, they search the Ship, and see if there be any superfluous goods, and they cast it over­board. VVhen the Constable comes if there be any stollen goods in the house, our with that; so if a storme be coming, consider; here is a nick that I have made will it hold? shall I burne for it? It will be fearfull when you shall suffer, either to relinquish, & so shame religion, or else to suffer for that that you know not [Page 156] [...] [Page 157] [...] [Page 159]whether it is right, or wrong, therefore search your wayes, and your tenets against sufferings come, that you make no more lawes than you may be able to die for.

Lastly, (to conclude at this time) this should move you to consider,Mot. 6. It will offend God to make laws where hee hath not or abused liberty. how much the Lord will be offended with you, and that justly, in case when you come to judgment you be found to have either bound your sel­ves where God hath made you free, or have used your liberty to his dishonour; for both these I drive at. God hath given us liberty in the New-Testament, a great deale of liberty; he hath given us that honour as sonnes, hee hath not bound us with little lawes, as in the Old Te­stament, he did them as little children. Now if we use this liberty to his dishonour, and not seek in every thing to advantage our own soules, and to further his glory, there will be a fearfull reckoning.

Let mee tell you a word, that may seeme strange to some of you; That the Lord may be more offen­ded with a Christian for doing an inexpedient thing, or for not doing an expedient thing, than for forgoing a thing absolutely commanded; As thus, God oft gives us an absolute command, and he sends another dutie in that makes him suspend with the former (as I have shewed) as a lesse duty is no duty when a greater comes in place: but when it is expedient compleatly, God never dispenseth with such an action, but it is a sin not to doe it. As for instance, suppose you have a sonne that is at age; and you have an Apprentise and you bid him doe so much work, & you go home to your house, and bid your sonne studie to doe that that may be for the honour of his father, but you tie him to nothing. And when you are from home the sonne meets with [Page 160]an opportunitie that might have inriched his fathers house for ever, if he had taken it, but he did it not, and the servant is negligent, and doth not doe his work in your absence; When the father comes home, and the sonne shall say, I had an advantage to have advanced you, and us all, but I did not take it, his father did not command him to lay hold of the opportunitie; but judge you, would you be more angrie with the sonne, or with the servant, that neglected only a few trifling things. So you have opportunitie to make God hon­ourable (as I may with reverence speak) in such a Court, in such a Committee, at such a time, in such a thing that God hath not absolutely cōmanded, or forbidden. This is the reason if you compare Jude with 2 Pet. why there are such woes threatned against those that turn the grace of God into wantones, they bring upon themselves swift dam­nation. Why so? God bestoweth grace and hath made them free, and redeemed them, and they turne all to wantonesse, and loosnesse. Therefore I will conclude only with one instance, and that is thus, suppose you had a servant in your house, the master workman of the shop, that you doe not use to tie to any thing, he is a good servant, and hath wisdome to do himself good, and to advance the familie, & you have a little young Apprentise, and you tie him to doe so much work a­gainst you come home; and both neglect it, the great man, and the boy, they have done nothing; What will you say? You will say to the man, I thought you had had more wisdome, I thought you would have gi­ven good example to the childe, that you had been a man of wisdome, and would have been trustie when I was gone from home, and for you to be idle, and to let goe such a market, and such customers; you would be a [Page 160]hundred fold more angrie with him than with the o­ther. Thus the Jewes were children, and were tied to an ilet-hole, and to the snuffe of a candle. Now the Lord hath left us free for his honour, and our advantage. Now, when we shall come to reckon before the Lord, and God shall finde carnall professors that never laid hold of an opportunity to honour God; what will God say? I thought you would have honoured me, you have another Gospel for clearnesse, and glory, and you have more wisdome, and the offer of my Spirit, and yet you were drunken, and carnall professors, you had so many opportunities, and you let them goe, and did me no honour; but lived as droanes, and did goe out as the snufe of a candle; I will pay you for all. The summe is, not to neglect any known commandment, but to make no more than God hath made, and to make out the rest in expediencie; that is the way to honour the Lord. Therefore to conclude, I wish, and exhort you, as James saith, So speak, and so do, as those that shall be jugded by the law of liberty. O, the law of liberty will be a se­vere law one day. God hath called us to be sonnes, he hath given us a great deale of liberty, whereby we may serve him more to his glory, and with more honour to our selves, if we abuse this, and walk carnally, and ill-favouredly, it will be a severe law to us, and a severe day to such professors.

Stumbling Blocks REMOVEd.


All things are lawfull for me, but all things are not ex­pedient.

WEE are come to the last Doctrine that wee observed from these words, namely,

That a Christian in his walking should eye, not only what is lawfull, and what is unlawful, but also what is expedient, and what is inex­pedient.

I have delivered to you almost all that I have to say to you concerning this point also. Something there is to cleare, or rather to fasten this upon you, that so I may finish the point at this time.

But beloved, I see the devill seeks to hinder us, and to cast blocks in our way, therefore before I goe for­ward, I must speak two or three words to clear a litt [...] of the way; For wee that are Ministers are compan [...] to Carpenters, in our building the house of God, and [Page 162]when a Carpenter goes home at night, and leaves his work, he findes rubbish in his way in the morning that must be removed;Stumbling blocks re­moved. and so it is in our Ministrie. Now for the removing of this, consider, and understand these three things, that so I may proceed.

First, that whereas we have spent foure, or five Lords dayes in opening this doctrine to you, ayming at peace among the Saints: (for, for the other the seed of the Serpent they will never be reconciled) I would have you understand this, that I have not all this while pro­perly, and directly spoken against any mans way what­soever. It is true, I have had occasion to speak of those that you call Familists, and Antinomians, and Inde­pendents, and Anabaptists, and Presbyterians (though I be wary to use any of these words, because I desire peace, but in all that I have said hetherto of any of these mens wayes, I did not properly speak against any of their wayes; but what I spake was by way of illustration,The scope of the whole work. only to illustrate, and cleare the thing in hand; what is that? This, that I professe my selfe an open adversarie, and enemie to, of any thing in the world; all my drift hath been to illustrate, and cleare out, that Old-Testament principle, that is the root of all mischeife almost. What is that? That principle in you whereby you will goe, and make lawes in exter­nall things under the Gospel, where Christ hath not made them, and in the mean while neglect, or destroy love, and peace, and edification. This principle is that that I have followed, and if I have spoken of Anabap­tists, or Presbyterians, or Independents, it hath been to ferret out this principle, that like leaven to my un­derstanding hath soured us all; and if the Lord direct us that we may have this out, that is my designe, and endeavour.

There are two sorts of people among you;2. Sorts of people. which doe somewhat discourage, and hinder us in the work.

The one is, divers that are wonderous well pleased, I will not say, but some are pleased to edification; 1. Some that are pleased with the doctrine for faction they are pleased because they be edified; I hope so. But I feare others are exceedingly taken: because I have occasion to mention all these sorts of people, therefore they are pleased, because every one hopes to get the other to his faction. As if he be a Presbyterian, it is nutts to him to heare any thing spoken against the Independents; and if he be an Independent, to heare the Presbyterians spo­ken against: so I feare you are pleased, because you are in faction; and every one is glad to have the Preacher side with his faction. This pleaseth corruption, but doth the soule no good.

Others, on the other side are offended exceedingly at what hath been said, why so?2. Some offended because their par­ty is spo­ken a­gainst. because hearing any thing spoken of that patty they are of (whatsoever it is, by way of illustration, to cleare, and follow, and hunt out this principle, they take it hainously; why so? because religion (I must tell you) is all in faction, among us; therefore though you your selves acknowledge that there are some godly men that are Independents, and some godly men that are Presbyterians, yet it is so in faction, that if a Preacher raile against Presbytery he is an excellent Preacher, and on the other side, if he be bitter against Independents he is a rare man, and so you goe along in faction, that no man living is able to doe your soules good.

I bewaile it, and it will be your misery; you in this City, of all places in Christendome, (excepting none) are miserable people. Here is a populous place, and abundance of Preachers, and abundance of itching eares, [Page 164]and greasie hearts as the Psalmist saith, and you will not be tyed by the Magistrates to your Parishes, and I de­sire not that, but you will not be tied by the Ministers, to suffer the word of exhortation, but you make a trade of wandering from Minister to Minister to try their eares, and as soone as you have heard a word that crosseth your corruption, and your fancy you are gone. As if a poore soldier should come with a wounded arme, or a broken legg, and desire a Chirurgeon to put on a plai­ster, and when hee feeles it smart, away he goes from that Chirurgeon to another, and so to a third, &. a fourth. So, you are miserable souls, without Gods mercy like to perish for ever; you have hearts as fat as brawne, as fat as grease, as some translate it. VVhat is that? Our work is upon your hearts, we are Gods hammers the word is called so by Ieremiah: Now take a greasie thing and put it under a hammer, and it will slip on one side, and on another, and you can never strike it justly: So you, if there be any thing that crosses your humour; it is a hard saying, and away you goe; and were it not for your own meserie it were no great losse. Therefore let me tell you, it is a principle that I am an enemie to wheresoever it is, and it is that I have bin hunting out; and let every one take his share to open it, and labour to finde it out for his good; I would begine with my selfe, and I professe before you, that there is no princi­ple, that hath mislead my soule, (to my greife) as this principle. Let me take my share, and you yours, and suffer not your hearts to be above the word of God, and to run wild when any thing comes to do you good, but suffer the word of exhortation for your good; That is one thing.

Secondly, this is another thing, in all that I have [Page 165]said (and I have spoken much concerning this) I have not in all this, (woe to me if I should) sought to inner­vate, 2. nothing comman­ded by God week­ned. or weaken any jot, or tittle, of any absolute com­mand of God, concerning any good commanded, or any evil forbidden. Think not therefore (as I said before) here is a latitude, Paul hath broken downe the hedge, and wee may doe what we list; No, in all things that God hath determined I have carried it so that I would not have the good omitted that he hath commanded, or the evil done that he hath forbidden. For I know what the Spirit faith in the close of the booke of the Revela­tions, He that adds to this booke, God shall add to him all the plagues that are written in this booke, and he that puts to any thing, God shall put his name out of the booke of life, and I know that he that breaks the least commandment, and teacheth men so to doe shall be least in the Kingdome of hea­ven. Mat. 5. Therefore I have not in all this sought to weaken any one tittle, or thing absolutely determi­ned.

3. Not to abuse this doctrine to strife.Thirdly, and lastly, the maine aime of all was peace; therefore I would admonish you all of being like the Spider to draw poyson out of the sweetest flowers. If wee studie to make peace, & thou pickest occasion of more warre, to jangle, and wrangle more; woe to thee, for if Christ say Blessed are the peace makers; than Cursed are the peace breakers; Those that any way give just occasion to break the peace of Gods people. And I am affraide notwithstanding all that hath been said, there are some among us, that I may say of them as David saith of some in his time, when I speak of peace they prepare for warre; So, when we speak of peace, and use means to re­concile the Saints, they pick occasion of jangling, and wrangling. This is but to cleare the way;

So now, I proceed to that that remaines which con­sists in two things.

The one is to point out breifly some hindrances in the way of the Saints that must be remooved, or else wee shall never walk according to this rule.

Seconly, to shew some few meanes (as we call them) externall meanes that God hath directed me to, how to come to square our hearts, and lives, according to this rule.

But before I come to that there are two ob­jections in the way, which I shall answer breifly.

The first is this, Object. you will say, Sir, for all you say you ayme at peace, and you endeavour peace; yet notwith­standing me thinks you seem to innervate the word of God, you seem to make a great deale of the word of God unprofitable: for if we must not make an absolute rule of every thing here; what doe we with it? There will be a great deale void: for you told us that every example, no, not every precept, doth not make an abso­lute rule to binde the Saints; so it seemes there will be a great deale void; and what shall wee doe with it?

To answer that briefly, I deny that there is any thing in this blessed booke that is unprofitable: Answ. 1 Nothing in the Scripture but is of use. but I deny this also that every thing in the New-Testament is profit­able to make a rule of, I will shew you two places of Scripture, the first is in Rom. 15.4. Whatsoever things were written afore time, were written for our learning, But not every thing a rule. that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. That is, there are many things that are for comfort, there are many things that teach men the my­steryes of faith, there are many ends to the word of God besides making rules to binde us in our conversations. [Page 167]It is more fully in 2 Tim. 3.16. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, and re­proofe, and correction, and instruction in righteousnesse. It is profitable for doctrine, that is, to teach the mysteryes of heavenly things to be believed. And for reproofe; to shew us where we sin against God, to help to convince us, as the Greek word signifies. And for correction; to help to heale our backsliding. And for instruction in righteousnesse; that is, to make rules, and lawes. So all the blessed booke is profitable: but I deny that God ever gave this booke to that end, to make rules and canons of every thing.

Secondly, to answer that,2. The Scripture not all de­livered in Canons. those things that are rules for us to walk by, you must understand that they are not delivered to us in Theorems, or Thesis, they are not given in Canons, or Aphorismes; the word of God is not given so: Or more plainly, not as the ten Com­mandments were; where every thing was, thou shalt doe this, and thou shalt not doe that; it is not given so: but as our Common Law, as a rule to walk by: but wee must be very warie of drawing rules. We draw it sometime from the letter of the Statute, sometime from paralell cases; sometime from the case of such a Judge upon such a party, sometime from right reason; sometime from presidents. So, think not to finde rules in Scrip­ture all in Canons, to binde all; No, there are few rules for conversation that are so. Indeed speculative things, matters of faith, are laid down in Terminis, what to doe▪ but in matters of conversation it is not so. Therefore be wondrous wary how you draw a rule to walk by. As for instance, in the booke of. God wee read that Abraham by the command of God he must kill Isaac: you cannot draw this rule or Doctrine [Page 168]thence that every man must goe, and kill his childe: but wee may draw this rule, that wee must part with the dearest thing we have to obey God, So Paul circumci­sed Timothy, we cannot draw this doctrine, or rule thence, that we must goe and cicumcise one another; but wee may this, that in things that are undetermined wee should doe things so as we may avoyd offence; Paul wisheth Timothy to take care of his cloak; wee cannot draw this rule, that we must leave our cloaks behinde us, and send our neighbours for them: but this wee may, that wee ought to be carefull of those earthly things that God hath bestowed upon us.

Beloved, it is not unwillingnesse in honest hearts to walk by the rules of God that undoes their soules: for an honest heart will not balk the word of God, it will goe by that rule, misdraw­ing of rules from Scripture. but it is the misdrawing of rules from the word of God. I pittie to see with what hearts, and conceits many draw rules from the word of God. As for instance, taking that text of our Saviour, some are made evnuches of men, they have gone and dismembered themselves. And so the Papists, in that Parable of Dives, & Lazarus, out of Abrahams bosome, they would prove purgatorie. And so the Userers, because God compares himself to one, they would prove it to be lawfull. And so Mat. 22. they were to compell men to come to the feast; therefore men must compell others to be of what religion they please; Beware of this, and remember these two things; that all in this blessed booke is not for conversation; they have their use be­sides that. And secondly, be warie how you draw rules; Therefore weak Christians when they draw rules out of the booke of God; say not onely Sir I walk by Scripture, here is my rule; but ask godly peo­ple; [Page 169]doe I draw this rule right? here is a text; is this a right consequence? doth this rise clearly from it? You should doe so. But if you can get a line of Scrip­ture, they hale it by the end, and run headlong, and make a rule of it: but beware of that.

To be wary of draw­ing rules from scripture.Therefore let me call upon you againe, I beseech you remember that request I made to you, that you would learne how much precept, or example, or what kinde of precept, and what kinde of example goes to make an absolute rule to all the Saints in the New Te­stament, determine that, or you can doe nothing. As in a Court when a Delinquent comes to be tryed, they ask him who he will be tryed by; some are tryed by the Peers, others by the Countrie. So, lay down a Stan­dard out of the word by which you may judge: there are none that have taken paines yet in it. It may be God may give some Christians opportunitie to do a little hereafter in that busines. But otherwise, never say, I have Scripture for it on my side, men make Scrip­ture speak any thing. Therefore all the miserie of an honest hearted soule is, not that he walks not by rule: but that he misdrawes his rules; he pulls them by head, and shoulders, and drawes them not right.

The second Ojection is this, but you will say, Object. 2 this is very strange, that Moses by your confession should make a curtous peice to an ilet hole, to the very burying of their excrements, and that Moses was so faithfull in his house, and that the Sonne of God should not be so faithfull in the new Testament; this is a common argu­ment, it is strange that the Sonne of God should not be so faithful in laying down every tittle as Moses was who was but a servant.

But to answer that, it sounds to me like that reason­ing [Page 170]that I heare among simple people; when wee say they must goe to hell if they continue in their sins; say they, is not God stronger than the devill? There­fore they must goe to heaven, though they continue unbelievers; doth that follow?

So here, must it follow that Christ is not faithfull as Moses, because he hath not made so curious a peice in externall things in the New Testament? That is not the thing. VVhat was faithfulnes in Moses? To de­clare and deliver to the people all the Ordinances, and Statutes of God; though Moses did not deliver all: for David delivered much concerning singing, and other things: But all that God told him he delivered; and so he was faithfull. So; what was faithfulnes in Christ? That all that he had seen, and heard of his father, he told to his Disciples. Therefore, I retort the argument thus, and that truly, and rightly; that Christ Jesus did not deliver any such curious peice in externall things in the New Testament, therefore Christ Jesus was faith­full; he being faithfull there is no such thing to be found there: To make it a little plainer by an illu­stration, suppose a Gentleman in the Countrie should have a Son, and a servant, both faithfull as he judgeth; and he should send his servant into Cheap side, or some other Market, to buy a great deale of meat, and spice, and suger, and cloathes, and the like; and he should send his sonne with letters to the Parliament, with messages to the Committees of State; they both goe home, they have both done their errand; now should that Gen­tleman say that his sonne was unfaithfull, because hee did not bring as much luggage home as the servant? No; it was the message of the servant to fetch luggage: but it was the message of the son to deliver his message. [Page 171]So, the message of Moses it was luggage, to teach them endlesse, externall lawes, and things: but the designe of the Sonne of God, his message was to declare the sercret spirituall mysteryes of his Father to the peo­ple of God in the New Testament; therefore it is no sence, much lesse truth to say, that Christ was unfaith­full, because he hath not as many curious ties in out­ward things as Moses. So I have done with those ob­jection..

Now breifly, to end all at this time, there are two things remaine.

First, to point out the hindrances, that keep us from walking according to this truth.

And secondly, to shew you certaine meanes that may further you in it.

Hindran­ces.The hindrances are these foure, or five.

The one that you must take heed of engaging your selves with any party in Religion beyond your owne principles. 1. Engage­ment in parties be­yond mens principles. Religion is already in a faction among some Saints, men are readie to cry, I am for Paul, and I am for Apollo, and I am for Cephas. Now I would not have you persecute others by no meanes: but I would have you love all Saints, all that call on the name of the Lord with a pure heart; and honour all Saints without faction: but take heed of running into any of these partyes whatsoever, beyond your owne principle, fur­ther than you have a cleare light, that you can an­swer comfortably for it, at the last day before the Lord.

Hence is this running into faction; that I beleive there are thousands of men and women, that professe themselves now Presbyterians, that know not, not un­derstand what Presbytery is; men scarsly know what [Page 172]they say, and yet I am a Presbyterian, & run into facti­on. So, many in that way that you call Independency, that out of some motive of truth that they see in it, & their good neighbours, and friends that are of it; they run a long in it; and what followes? When they come to suffer, in death, or the like case, they either goe back with shame, and greive their brethren, or else they go on uncomfortably, for that that they have not a seale to their conscience. So now I may say in some mea­sure, that people generally believe as the Church be­lieves, as the faction that they joyne themselves to be­lieve. Therefore beware of this, this is not a time for men to see with other mens eyes; Try all things, & hold fast that which is good. Let every man prove his own work. Love all Saints if there be any thing of God in them: but walk not according to any mans rules, or princi­ples, farther than God cleares it to your soules.

2. Looking on things with pre­judice.The second t [...]ing is this, that if you would walk by rule, take heed of looking upon any thing; truth, or error with the eye of prejudice. People look now a dayes upon all things (that are controverted especial­ly) every one hath a glasse before his eyes, one blew, another red; one lookes on a thing as it is accompa­nied with shame, and persecution, as it hath such nick­names on it. Others look on other things, as they are approved by wise men, and followed by the multitude, as they bring profit, and credit, remove all these things from any thing that you would judge aright of, these are false glasses; therefore truth or error, that that is most persecuted in the world, you must judge as if it had all the preferment, and advancement in the world. This I have often thought, those that shall come a hundred yeares hence that shall be godly, if the world [Page 173]last so long, will wonder at our follies, and think us mad men in most of our controversies, and wranglings, because that prejudice, and peevishnesse and passion, and those mists and glasses shall not be before their eyes, they will be able to judge of things as they are. As we have read of a controversie many yeares between the Saints about keeping of Easter, in the East, and Westerne Churches; some would keep it at one time, and some at another; we think they were mad to strive about it, and it had been no matter if it had never been kept. And so in the Convocation, for a quarter of a yeare in the Synod, the Bishops of Canterbury, and Yorke they strove who should sit uppermost; we think they were mad; but they were great things in those dayes; when they had no better light. So those that shall come after will wonder as much at us. Therefore labour to be as wise as thy Childe will be fortie yeares hence; look on things without prejudice and then thou shalt see clearly.

3. A de­vout jea­lousie con­cerning truth and error.Thirdly, take heed, if thou wilt walk by the rules of the Gospel (and by this that I have laid down before thee) of a devout jealousie that is in you, of all things that are upon the right hand; I shall endeavour to open it a little, I know that generally men are jealous of those opinions that are on the left hand. I mean thus, most men are very apt to believe that it is the truth of God whatsoever it is; if it bring credit, and preferment, and profit, and the like;Carnall men think that truth that goeth with pro­sperity. and they are easily convinced that error brings povertie, and shame. As the people in Jer. 43. when the Prophet comes to teach them that they should not goe into Egypt, & they had a minde to goe contrarie to Gods word, verse 2. Th [...] said the men, thou speakest fasly, the Lord our God hath not [Page 174]sent thee to say, goe not into Egypt to sojourne there. They were jealous that it was a false message; that it was no truth, but error, to tell them a thing contrary to their own lusts. So Ahab that had foure-hundred false Pro­phets; he thought that Micajah did not speak truth; Why? because it was contrary to his prosperity; hee said not, goe and prosper as the rest did. So, most men are apt to doe now; men are strangers to the life of God, and are blinde, and they think not that the way to hea­ven is through many persecutions: therefore any Pam­phlet, or any sermon, though from a carnall drunkard, it will easily confirme them in the truth, (as they call it) that goes with prosperity: But whatsoever is on the other side is error, if it bring not gaine.

But these men I may say, they be friends to the world, and enemies to God, and they are not worthy to be cal­led Christs Disciples;God will one day in­terpret his own word. And there will be a time when God will come to interpret, and expound his own word. You shall all be judged by the word of God, and you shall be judged as God interprets that word: therefore you that follow truth now on that fashion; I say to you, as learned Mr Dyke said, it is an observable speech: when he was speaking of non-residents, or pluralists, hee brings him answering for himself before the Lord, as it were at the last day: There God will tell thee, if thou haddest loved me thou wouldest have fed my flock; thou wilt say, I fed them by my selfe, or by my Curate; but saith hee; What if that be not the meaning of the place when thou com­mest there? So, you take any thing for truth if it hold with gaine, and prosperity, you will wrest any Scrip­ture: but when God shall interpret his owne Scriptures, and you shal be judged by them; what if that be not the meaning of those Scriptures as your Pamphlets, and [Page 175]carnall Sermons say; Looke to it.

Godly men think that truth that goeth with per­secution.But one the other side, there is a devout jealousie in a godly man, that he thinks that that is alway truth that goeth with persecution, and that error goeth with peace; and herein the honest heart oftner misseth the will of God than the other way, As honest Jehoshaphat, when foure-hundred Prophets bid them goe to Ra­math Gilead, and prosper, he thought this too good to be true; he suspected it was not the way of God it was so smooth, there was too much peace; hee would have Micajah tell them the truth. So when the Saints of God see peace, and prosperity goe along with a way, they are jealous that it is not the way of God. As for in­stance, if you tell a man that the way to Canterbury, or York, is a rough, & dirty way; if a man be going thether and find a peice of faire way, he is jealous he is out of his way; because he was told it was a rough, foule way. So Christ saith, that wee must suffer persecutions, and through many tribulations we shall enter into heaven: now when a Saint findes a little peice of faire way, he thinks he is out of the way, it cannot be peace and prosperi­tie; that is the portion of the wicked; herein an ho­nest heart is ofter deceived than in the other. There­fore to direct you, know, that peace, and prosperitie are not alway companions of the truth; yet sometimes riches, and honour, and prosperity are with the truth; Peace and prosperity sometimes goe with truth. as I might prove out of the Proverbs; Riches and honour are in the right hand of wisdome. Many times there is ho­nour though not ordinarily, the ordinarie way is per­secution, but sometimes there is honour and wealth with truth and righteousnesse, when there is persecu­tion and trouble to the wicked: therefore though it be a good rule generally, yet it is not absolute. There­fore [Page 176]let me speak to you poor lambes, and weak souls, that I am six times more jealous of you that you should be out in this devotion, that you should be car­ried aside to the right hand, or to the left. I feare not you that are drunkards, and swearers, and cozeners, &c. But you poore creatures, you will finde some course that hath more persecution, and that must be the truth, and so you run and misse the will of God. In Exod, 23.1. the Lord saith Thou shalt not follow a multitude to doe evil; And what followes in the next verse? thou shalt not favour a poore man in his cause. If he had said thou shalt not favour a rich man it had been no won­der; for men are apt to favour them: but he saith fa­vour not a poore man; many times a man in judge­ment out of a kind of devotion, and charity, and mercy may stick to a poore man against a rich man, and yet pervert justice: therefore thou shalt favour neither rich nor poore in justice: but as Solomon saith Pro. 4. Let thine eyes look straight before thee, and thine eyelides right on; turne not to the right hand, nor to the left, remove thy feet from evil. Look straight on saith he; I know the ordinary way to heaven is persecution, and afflictions: but sometimes it is otherwise; therefore let me keep the way of God whether it bring peace or trouble.

4. Carnall wisdome.The fourth thing that we must beware of is carnall wisdome; for by this that I have said, those that are carnally wise will lay hold of this latitude that I have spoken of, and be glad of the Doctrine, and think now I have found a way to escape persecution. Take heed of carnall wisdome; wherein is it? In a word, carnall wisdome will make things absolutely commanded, and forbidden to be expedient, or inexpedient; or else it will call those things expedient that make for a mans owne [Page 177]lust, and not for the honour of God.

Fiftly, take heed of sel [...], for thou wilt never be able to walk by this rule till thou love thy brother as thy selfe. Therefore in the verse next after the text,5. Selfe Let every man not look on his owne good: but on his neighbours wealth; not to please himself: but to please all men in all things. Take heed of self love; for then you will judge all expedient that is for your own lust.

6. Hypo­cresie,Lastly, beware of hypocresie, endeavour to be sincere. An Hypocrite will never come to this mold while the world standeth; beware of Hypocricie, that is, as a god­ly man saith; we should soone end the controversie if every one would labour for an upright soule, and to honour Religion before the world; There be the hind­rances.

Helps to walk expe­diently.Now I will name those few meanes to help us in our conversation, they are but three, or foure at the most that I would have you take notice of.

1. Spiri­tuall wis­dome.The first is spirituall wisdome, endeavour after this to be filled with it: for you may have zeale, and you may have no knowledge, and you may have knowledge & zeale, and yet have no wisdome: therefore to some God hath given knowledge saith the Apostle, and to some wisdome, Therefore labour for spirituall wisdome. What is that? Wisdome, to be able to discerne what is convenient, and expedient, how to fit circumstances to make an honourable, and profitable action: I mean not carnall wisdome, and discretion, but spirituall; For without that, all your zeale will be as water out of the channell, as fire out of the chimney, onely to rent the Churches, and to trouble the Nation. That is one.

2. SobrietySecondly, begg of the Lord to give you sobrietie of [Page 178]spirit, not to be wise above what is written: it is pride in your hearts that makes you misse the will of God; begg sobrietie, and that in two things briefly;

First, I discerne that you want this sobrietie in that people generally will bring their crotchets, [...]. To sub­ject our fancies to the word and fancies that they have hatched themselves to the word of God to make the word of God a cloak only; a thing to prove their owne fancies; whereas you must doe the contrarie, raile every lesson out of the word of God: Therefore as the word is in Ephes. 4. the Apostle bids us not to be carryed with every slieght of men; with dyce playing of men, as the Greek is; that is, men use the Scripture as they use dice, they make it speak any thing, as a dice player that is cunning he will throw aimes ace, or sise sinck. So I have seen a man that hath alleadged the example of Noah to defend his drunken­nesse, &c. O, it is an abominable thing to make the word of God a bawd, (I speak with reverence) to our witts, and fancies, as wee too often make it.

I have seen a man once that kept halfe a dozen men about him to goe to assizes, and Courtes to sweare, and he would carry any businesse; only tell him what they should sweare, and he had half a dozen, or halfe a score that would doe it: you think this was an abominable thing. Beloved, you doe a more cursed thing when you make the Scripture to second your own fancies, you make the word of God to speake what your fancy would have it.

2. To fol­low noti­ons no further than they agree with the wordSecondly, sobrietie in this; many of you raise a no­tion, and start it from the word of God, but in the pur­suite of it you goe without it; then you goe to meta­phisicalls, and so draw one conceite out of another; be­ware of this: as you raise any thing out of the word; [Page 179]so follow it no farther than the light of the word goes before you, and there lay it down.

Thirdly, pray, as for wisdome and sobrietie, 3. Watch­fulnesse so for a watchfull heart; you must be watchfull Christians if you will walk by this rule; Thereupon in the Gospel you are often called upon to be watchfull: you must be fer­vent in spirit serving the Lord, or as some will have it serving the seasons, or opportunities,. If you will studie what is expedient, you must looke to circumstances, time and manner &c. Or else you cannot walk by this rule; Especially in this time, and age wee live in, and in this City that wee dwell in: for I know not the man this day in the world that knows, (if he might have his will how to order the Church affaires in this City, I know a hundred that can order all the Kingdome besides, but not here. Therefore you have the more need to walk warily, and circumspectly, to looke round about to see what may edifie, and what may hinder our brethren, and what hinders most: you must have your eyes in your head if you will live in London as a Saint. I pray the Lord to give you circumspect hearts.

Last of all, pray to the Lord to fill you with more love, above all things put on love, 4. Love Col. 3. which is the bond of perfectnesse. If you doe all the rest, if God doe not raise your hearts to more love of God and the bre­thren, you will not goe far enough; Love doth nothing amisse, it doth nothing unseemly. If you have love you will find all waies, and opportunities to doe things to the glory of God, and the good of others. So I have briefly run over that that I intended from these words. I have been the more briefe in some things; because I would not trouble you another time from this Scripture, I leave what hath been said with you, & desire the Lord to blesse it to you.


GLAD TYDINGS from HEAVEN; TO The Worst of SINNERS on Earth.


Late Preacher at Hallows Great in LONDON;

LUKE 2 10.

Feare not, for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people.

LONDON, Printed by Mathew Simmons 1648.

To the Christian Reader;


THe nature of man is prone to be inquisi­tive after newes, especially in these unset­led, distracted times amongst us, it is a great part of the imploiment of people and takes up much of their time, as if Lon­don, were Athens, and the people thereof Athenians, Act. 17.21. (who spent their time in nothing else: but either to tell, or to heare some newes.) And yet the news wee beare is sometimes bad, sometimes uncertain, and many times false. Divert thy thoughts awhile from earthly things, and in this ensuing Treatise thou shalt heare, what newes from heaven in the Gospel. The Law indeed brings us tidings: but it is like the message of Ehud, to Eglon, it brings a dagger with it that stabs mortally:Judge 3.21. but the ridings of the Gospel is like that message of the young Prophet to Jehu, 2. King. 9.6 to make him a King.

There is nothing truly terrible, but the Gospel brings tidings of our freedome from it, (if we be believers) nor nothing truly amiable, but it tells us of our interest in it. How welcome to a poore captive is newes of deliverance from slaverie? The Gospel brings us tidings of our deli­verance from sin, Satan, death, hell, from wrath, and damnation, it tells us of riches, and glory, and King­domes, and Crownes, and whatsoever may satisfie the capacious soule of man.

God hath appointed different conditions for men, and Angels, the Angels that stood they are so confirmed that [Page]they cannot fall; the Angels that fell they are determined under eternall wrath that they cannot rise, but God from everlasting in his love, and mercy had appointed that fal­len man should have a way of recovery, as a board after shipwracke, whereby he might come safe to the shore. And God in time was pleased to come out of his hidden eternity, and to discover this love of his to the world, and hath sent his Son to puhchase it, and his Spirit to apply it, and his servants to tell (not this, or that perticuler man) but all Nations, Mat 28.19 Luk. 2.10 Joh. 3.16. that whosoever believeth in Jesus Christ shall have everlasting life this blessed tidings is brought by the Gospel.

And let none say this newes is to good to be true, for God who is truth it selfe (as it were on purpose) to antici­pate the infidelity of man, hath said it, and sworne it, and sealed it with the blood of his deare Son, that we might have strong consolation; Heb. 6.8. and hath made this fabrick of the world to be as a stage to act the redemption of his peo­ple on, which being finished, it shall be no more.

It should stir us up to love, and blesse the Father, and his Son Jesus Christ, and the holy Spirit; and to imbrace the Messengers that bring those glad tidings, to account their very feet beautifull, the meanest part of the body, and up­on the moutaines,Isa. 52.7. the barren places of the earth. And I doubt not but many poore soules can from experience blesse God for the worthy Authour in those barren mountaines, where he converseth, and else where, and say of him as Da­vid of Ahimaaz, he is a good man, and bringeth good tidings. 2 Sam 18.27. Though others being hardened spit at such lights, and labour to extinguish, who God in just judgment will cause to stumble, and fall, and lie downe in eternall dark­nesse. But I shall detaine thee no longer from the the work; but commend it, and thee in Gods blessing, and rest.

Thine in the Gospel of Christ.


MARKE 16.15.

And hee said unto them, goe yee into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature.

YOu may easily understand who spake these words, and to whom they were spoken. In these words, our Lord Jesus Christ after his resurrection, when he had all power in Heaven, and Earth given to him, he sends forth his Apostles to Preach, and he bids them Goe into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature. This was their Commission they were to have now, to go preach the Gospel; Indeed they had a Commission before, but it was only to the Jewes; and it was a little, but by spirts: but now Christ was risen from the dead, and had received all power in Heaven and Earth, he sends them for good and all (as it were) he gives them a full and compleate Commission, Goe yee into all the world, [Page 2]and preach the Gospel to every creature.

The words opened.Before I come to the Lesson that I mean to insist upon, there are two things here in the words that must be opened, that you may see the foundation, or ground of this Lesson; And that is,

Gospel what meant by it.First, what is meant by Gospel? Goe, and preach the Gospel.

Then, what is meant by creature? Goe preach the Gospel to every creature.

For the first, what is meant by Gospel? I will not stand upon the severall acceptations of it, onely you may understand that both in the Scripture language, and also among the Heathen, Gospel hath been taken for Glad tidings, good newes in generall; any Good newes, or Glad tidings have been called Gospel; So the Greek word signifies, so some conceive the English word Godspel, being old English, signifies Gospel, that is, good speech, good newes, good hearing, good tidings: but in a peculiar sense in Scripture it is taken for that Good tidings of grace, and salvation by Jesus Christ. And so in this sense we read of it in the old Testament, and in the new. In the old Testament, you shall read in Heb. 4.3. that our Fathers they had the Gospel as well as we: but (Beloved) you are to take notice, that though our Fathers had the Gospel, that is, the glad tidings of life and salvation by Jesus Christ, from Adam, from the beginning of the world, yet they had it but dimly, and darkly; and they had it mixed with a great deale of Law, a great deale of bad tidings (as I may speak) they had a little good newes with a great deale of bad. So Adam had a little good tidings The seed of the woman shall bruise the Serpents head; and there was bad tidings also, there was the curse upon the Serpent, and upon [Page 3]the woman, & the man; the woman should bring forth in paine, the man must eat his bread in the sweat of his browes; And so in all the old Testament, there was a little Gospel in the Prophecies, and Gospel in the sacri­fices, and Gospel in the visions, but abundance of law mingled with this Gospel; the one spake sad tidings, as well as the other did good; for you know the Law spake curses and damnation to those that in every point did not observe it: But in the new Testament, espe­cially after the resurrection of Jesus Christ, when he went up to Heaven, we read that there was perfect Gospel, or only good newes, and glad tidings, for the bad newes was now all gone. And so it is to be understood here, Goe preach the Gospel. As if he should say, I doe not (my disciples) bid you goe and give them now good newes, and then bad, to give them a little of the Law, and a line of Gospel: but goe preach the Gospel empha­tically, that is, meerly, purely Gospel; for now Christ is risen from the dead, and now the Gospel in the pu­rity, and simplicity is erected, Goe preach the Gos­pel.

Creature what meant by it [To every creature] What should be the meaning of that? We know that in the Scripture language, crea­ture most usually signifies not men but beasts, & things without life, as in Rom. 8. you have it twice, or thrice The creature groaneth; the beasts, and the woods, and every thing that God hath made, as being a name somewhat too low for men in the ordinary Scripture expression. Yet so as it comprehends men: for men also are sometimes called creatures. Now, what should the meaning of this be, that now the Gospel being to be purely, and fully, and compleatly set up, whether the Lord Jesus would have them preach, and make [Page 4]known glad tidings to all creatures, that is, that even the bruit beasts, and these creatures without life, that they should have glad tidings, and good newes from the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. I will not averr that it is so, that that is the meaning of it: but surely (beloved) there is no creature under hea­ven, but hath a great deale of glad tidings, and good newes from the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ: for we read Rom. 8. that the creature groanes, and the creature exspects deliverance, and redemption. All these creatures by sinne are brought into slavery, and cer­tainly they shall partake of the libertie of the Sonnes of God: there is a redemption for them out of slavery, as well as for men by the redemption of the Lord Jesus Christ: But what that shall be, or in what sort I can­not determine. Now whether you will understand it so, that our Lord Christ meant not men and wo­men only, but that by creature, the poore creatures that are without life, and bruit beasts, and all might under­stand the precious worth of this Gospel.

Gentiles called creatures.Or take it more restrained as generally the godly doe, that by creature here is meant the Gentiles, in op­position to the Jewes, for they knew that they were to preach the Gospel to the Jewes, which they also did be­fore the resurrection: but now saith Christ, Goe preach the Gospel to every creature. That is, now I will have no distinction of persons, I doe not now say, take heed of the way of the Samaritans: but goe which way you will, goe to the Gentiles, to Sinners, to any men, or women that you can call creatures, Scithians, Barbari­rian, bond or free, goe and preach the Gospel to them, bring them glad tidings, and newes, that Jesus Christ hath brought life, & grace, & salvation freely for them.

That this is the meaning, compare it with Mat. 28.19. Goe therefore, teach all nations baptizing them in the name of the father, and of the Son, and of the holy Ghost. Here it is, goe preach to every creature, there it is goe teach all nations, I will have no partition, or distincti­on between them saith Christ. I gave you leave, and often bid you teach the Jewes before: but now goe teach the Gentiles; for the world was then divided in­to those two parts, Jewes, and Gentiles, goe teach the Gentiles, goe teach every creature.

But some may say; Quest. Why doth not our Lord then say, goe teach the Gentiles as well as the Jew? Why doth he call them creatures?

I answer, Answ. it is not an ordinary expression to call men creatures in the Scripture:Gentiles the worst of sinne [...]. But the reason (as I conceive) is this, because the Gentiles were great sinners and the greatest of sinners. And that you shall see clearly in divers places, as in Mat. 5. where Christ forbids us to take care for to morrow, what we shall eat, and what we shall drink; why? for (saith he) after these things the Gentiles seek; that is, the worst of sinners, and we must not be like them. So in Ephs. 4. the Apostl would not have them darkned in their understandings, and walk as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mindes. So in 1 Pet. 3. It is an ordinary expression in Scripture, where great sinners are spoken of, either they are called Gentiles, or else compared to Gentiles, Col. 2. Are wee not Jews, and not sinners of the Gentiles? that is, the Gentiles were the greatest sinners that were; now they being the greatest sinners, the Lord calls them creatures, and not men: because it is an ordinary expression in Scripture to call wicked people beasts ra­ther than men, Isaiah 11. they are called Beares, and [Page 6] VVolves, and Tigers, and Foxes, and Doggs, and Bulls, &c. So in Hos. 1. compared with 1 Pet. 3. You that were not a people saith Peter, hath God made his people. They were not a people; God will not ordinarily vouchsafe wicked men and women the name of people: but they were not a people. What were they then? They were Dogs for filthinesse, Foxes for cunning, Tigers for cruelty, and Beares, and such kind of creatures. Therefore the Jews were called the people of the Lord, not onely to distinguish them from others: but they were called the people of God, as we see in Exodus, it was a privi­ledge to be accounted a people first, and then the people of the Lord. Therefore the Lord Jesus because hee would not have his Disciples make any exception, hee calls them creatures; as if he should say my Disciples, though they be so sinful that according to the ordina­ry Scripture language you cannot call them men, and women, or people, yet they are creatures, and goe preach the Gospel to every creature, go to the Gentiles, the great­est sinners in the world, whom I will not vouchsafe to call a people, yet they are creatures, goe preach the Gospel to them. So that now I am come to the lesson which we are to observe, and that is this;

That the Ministerie of the Gospel (especially after the resurrection of Jesus Christ) Containes nothing but glad tidings, Doct. The Mini­stery of the Go­spel con­taines no­thing but good newes to the worst of sinners. and good newes even to the worst of sinners.

Creatures that were so bad that they could not be called men and women, yet saith Christ, goe preach the Gospel, pure Gospel, glad tidings to them. I say the Mini­stery of the Gospel if it be rightly dispensed doth not containe a tittle in it but perfect good newes, and glad tidings to the heart of the worst of sinners. For this is [Page 7]the proper difference between the Law and the Gospel. The Law speaks good newes but only to the righteous, Difference between the Law and the Gospel if thou doe well thou shalt be rewarded; if thou fulfill the Law thou shalt have life; the Law speakes well to a man quatinus as a righteous man: but the Gospel quite contrary, the proper object of all the good that the Gospel brings, it is to a man quatinus as a sinner, not as a regenerate man, and a righteous man, and a humble man, but as a sinner. And here is the excellency of the Gospel, the more sinfull any man is, the more su­table this Gospel is to him, the more sin abounds, grace abounds much more; therefore you shall read Rom. 4. they that had the benefit of the Gospel they are called ungodly, he that justifieth the ungodly. They are called aliens Ephes. 2. they are called strangers and enemies, and men without strength, Rom. 5. they are called the chiefe of sinners, 1 Tim. 1.9. So to enemies, aliens, strangers, lost people, unrighteous, ungodly, and the like; the Gospel brings perfect good newes, and glad tidings of life, and grace, and salvation by Jesus Christ.

Now this in some measure you know, but this that I tell you I feare you doe not know, that the Ministery of the Gospel it is only good newes, there is not one word of bad newes, not one line, not one sillable,Nothing but good newes now in the Go­spel. or tittle, but only glad tidings, sweet, and good newes to the heart of the worst of sinners. Therefore to shew you this truth a little more fully; Before our Lord Christ went to Heaven there was some Gospel, but there was much Law; and as our Lord Christ was a Minister of the Gospel, so he was of the circumcision, as the Apostle calls him, I mean before his resurrecti­on; yet it is said in Luk. 4. he took the booke of Isaiah [Page 8](and some think this was the first Sermon that ever he made) and he read this place and opened it to the people. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because hee hath anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poore; he hath sent me to heale the broken hearted, to preach deliverance to the Captives, to recover sight to the blinde, to set at liberty them that are bruised; to preach the acceptable yeare of the Lord, &c. Beloved, there is nothing in all this but on­ly good newes, glad tidings; as that the poore should have salvation by Christ, that the broken hearted should be healed, that the Captives should be delivered, that the blinde should receive their sight, and that them that are bruised should be set at liberty, and them that are slaves should have the yeare of Jubilee, the acceptable yeare of the Lord; there is not a tittle in all this but only good newes, and glad tidings.

Take another place,Heb. 12.18.19. &c. opened. and that is Heb. 12.18. there you shall have the difference between the old Testament and the new, or between the Law and the Gospel (if I may so speak) the Law; that is, the administration of the Gospel in the time of the Law, where there was a little good newes, but mingled with a world of bad, and terrible newes. Yee are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto black­nesse, and darknesse, and tempest, and the sound of a Trumpet, and the voyce of words, which they that heard entreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more. For they could not endure that which was commanded: And if so much as a beast touch the mountaine it shall be stoned or thrust through with a dart. Here is nothing but what is terrible, and sad newes: as a mountaine that was so ter­rible that it might not be touched; when God did give his Law upon mount Horeb, or mount Sinai; and [Page 9]that mountaine all burning with fire; If we see a house burning with fire it is terrible: but to see a mountaine all over burning with fire, and with blacknesse, and darknesse, and tempest too! A fire though it be ter­rible yet there is somewhat comfortable, because there is light: but that fire was full of blackness and dark­nesse, and darknesse is a sad thing. And there was tem­pest, and lightning, and thunder, and a voyce of words, a voyce of terrible words, that bid them doe such and such things that they had no power to doe, and yet they must doe them, or be damned. It was terrible, in so much that Moses himself, that used to see God, face to face, said, I quake exceedingly: and if a beast touch the hill he must be stoned to death, or thrust through with a dart. Here was nothing but terrible objects in the administration of the old Testament, in the giving of the Law upon mount Sinai: But come to the new Testament, of the Gospel as it is set up since Christ went to the holy of holies, after his resurrection. You are come now to mount Sion, and that was a pleasant place, if you take it according to the letter it was the pleasantest place about Jerusalem. And you are come to the City of the living God, to the heavenly Jerusalem. And, what a beautifull thing that is, you may read in Revel. 20. and 21. a City with 12 gates, and every gate a whole pearle. And to innumerable companies of Angels. Whether that be meant, that now, in the times of the Gospel, God sends out Angels to minister to the Saints more frequently, or diligently than formerly; or as most men understand it, Ye are now come to a myrd of Angels, or to an innumerable company of Angels, that is, ye are come to an estate by Christ in the Go­spel, wherein you are at least equall with Angels. And [Page 10]you are come to the generall assembly, and Church of the first borne; as if he should say, you are come to a Church where all are Patriarches, for the Patriarches were the first borne heretofore; Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and they were honourable men. Every Saint in the time of the Gospel is in as honourable, and glorious a condition as any Patriarch; you are not come to a Church of ordinary Saints, but to the Church of the first borne, whose names are written in heaven. And you are come to the judge of all. You will say that is a terrible thing; No, it is a blessed thing to see God in the light of the Gospel to be a judge: Therefore in 2 Thes. 1. and divers other places, he comforts the Saints in their persecutions, and sufferings with this, that God will come to judgement, God is the Judge of all, it is a comfortable thing. And then you are come to the spirits of just men made perfect, to such an assembly of Saints, and Church of the first borne where the spirits of men are made perfect, that is beyond my expressi­on, and conception; there is a perfection of the Saints in their love, and in their graces incomparably to that it was before. And yee are come to Jesus the Me­diator of the new Covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling; You are come to such an estate, and to such a Testa­ment where Christ is the Intercessor, and his blood speaks not as the blood of Abel, it doth not cry for vengance, but alway for grace, and mercy from his father to you. You see in the administration of the New Testament, or of the Gospel, there is not one sillable, or tittle, but what is amiable, and sweet, and comfortable even to the worst of sinners. And therefore the Spouse in the Can­ticles, speaking of Christ (as I suppose) she commends Jesus Christ from the crowne of the head to the sole [Page 11]of the foot as all beautifull, and amiable, and then she summes up all, Thou art all faire my love, there is no spot in thee. Jesus Christ in the new Testament, or Mini­stery of the Gospel is all faire, altogether amiable even to the worst of sinners, there is no spot in him. So you have the Lesson breifly.

Every par­ticular in the Gospel glad ti­dings.Now that which with the help of God I will further doe, is to give you a weiw of the summe of the whole Gospel in particular, that so you may look upon every peice of it, and you shall see that there is not a jot from the beginning to the end, but it brings glad ti­dings to the worst of sinners.

The Go­spel shewes mans wretched conditionFirst of all you may take notice that the Gospel doth hold forth to sinners their lost wretched condition they are in; In the Gospel poore sinners come to learne what a damnable wretched condition they are in whereas men without it think they are well, they doe no body hurt, they give to the poore, and lend, and the like, and yet they are going the broad way to destruction. Now we see not only by Scripture but by experience the Gospel tells them they are dead in sin, that they are children of wrath, that they are under the curse of God go­ing the broad way to hell.

But you will say, is that good newes for a man to heare the Preacher say he is in a damned condition, and a child of wrath, &c.

Beloved, it is sweet and good newes; if the Preach­er should make thee a damned creature, or dead in sin it were bad newes: but when the Gospel brings thee a light to see that thou art so whereas otherwise thou in thy blindnesse wouldest goe downe to hell in it, it is blessed, and good newes; it is better to see it here than for ever in hell where there is no remidie. And [Page 12]there is no man, or woman in this place that belongs to God, but they can blesse God, and his Son Jesus Christ that by the Gospel the Lord hath discovered to them their wretched condition that they were naturally in. That is one thing.

2. The wrong wayes and meanes that men use for sal­vation. A second instance is this, that the Gospel holds forth to sinners, all the wrong wayes that they goe, and all the wrong meanes that they use to save their soules; this is by the light of the Gospel. Man naturally is ei­ther dead in sin, or asleep; or if he be a little awaked, he takes a thousand wayes to goe to heaven, and none of them Gods way, none of them the right way. Every carnall man sometime or other, hath some designe in his head to save his soule: one man thinks to doe it by his equity, and justice in his dealing, and trading; ano­ther by his hospitality, and charity to the poore; another by hearing of Sermons, and performing of duties, as in the time of Poperie how many yeares did they spend, & spent their strength and time, and their money, and when all came to all, all was lost; all their ways were the wrong way to Heaven. Now, the light of the Gospel discovers all these false wayes, and shewes that you will come short of the glory of God, and the salvation of your soules; and will con­vince you that There is no Name under heaven by which you can be saved, but only the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Consider, is not this good newes that God should come first by the Ministery of the Gospel, and shew thee thy wretched condition; and then when thou hast spent thy time, and strength in false wayes to be reconciled to God, and to save thy soule, the Gospel comes and discovers all these that thou maiest go seek the true way?

3. It holds forth Gods love to sin­ners.Thridly, the Gospel holds forth to poore sinners that there is a love, an eternall love, an infinite love in Gods breast to poore sinners before ever the world was made. You know in reason a man would think that God should hate such a one as I am, God foresaw what a creature I would be when I was borne, and how I have lived; and reason would think that love should proceed from something amiable in the object that should produce love, some beautie, or bountie, as wee say: but God sees me to be wicked, and sinfull; and therefore reason would think God must damne me world without end. Now the Gospel comes to such a sinner, and tells him the case is otherwise, it is not so, poore sinfull man or woman, and though God hate sin above all things in heaven, or hell, yet God loved thee knowing what thou wouldest be; God knows the reason of it, we doe not; it is as it is said in Deutreno­mie, I loved thee, because I loved thee. God hath an in­finite, speciall love to thy poore soule, yet hates thy fin; from before the world was made, and the Moun­taines were brought forth; So God loved the world, that he gave his Son &c. There was a love in God, out of which he gave his Son Jesus Christ to die for us. This the Gospel, and the Spirit of God in it, reveales to the poore soule, that when I was an enemie to God, hee was my friend; when I hated him, he loved me; nay before I was, God had thoughts of an infinite, eternall love to me

4. Gods love fruit­ful.Then fourthly, the Gospel holds forth to a sinner, that as God had an infinite love towards him, so it was not a cold love that ended in nothing: but out of this love God would send his Son Jesus Christ into the world to save sinners; This is one maine principle of [Page 14]the Gospel, that the Father out of his love sent his own Son, that was the Image of his person, the Son of his love, and delight into this world, to lay downe his life, and to die for sinners. Were it not for the Ministery of the Gospel we could never know this: how could we know but by the Gospel that the Lord Jesus Christ did come to die to save sinners? So God loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that hee that believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Fiftly,5. Christ came to work re­demption. breifly (for I doe but give you a few touches of instances.) it holds out to us that as the Father out of his love seat his Son; so that Jesus Christ actually, and really is come into the world, and took our nature upon him soule and body, and the infirmities of both, and sanctified our nature that he took, and in that na­ture became our Surety, a Publick person for us; our Advocate, a second Adam. That he was conceived, and born of the Virgen; and that he lived here, and so did the will of God, and fulfilled his Law; and con­versed many yeares among men, and that therein while he did so, he gave us many blessed experiments of his love, and mercy to poore sinners, in healing the sick, in giving sight to the blinde, in raising the dead. And while he conversed among men, he taught, and disco­vered in a great measure the mysteryes of his Fathers counsells to us, that else we could never have known, and gave us a holy patterne, and example of life, in humility, and patience, and delligence, and prayer, and thankfulnesse. All these things are good newes, and glad tidings to poore sinners, every part of them.

Then the Gospel tells us, that this Lord Jesus Christ [Page 15]after he had walked among men for many yeares to­gether, that then as a Publicke person,6. Christ died for us and second Adam, and our Surety, he did lay downe his life, and die for our sins.

But you will say, Where is the good newes from that? Hence it is that poore sinners are reconciled to God, they are made friends with God. Hence it is that poore sinners are redeemed from all their ene­mies, sin, and death, and wrath, and curse, and hell; all these by the death of the Lord Jesus are remo­ved.

Then the Gospel tells you that Jesus Christ, as hee died for our sins, so he rose againe for our justification, he rose againe from the dead the third day,7. He roase from death whereby poor sinners are assured that they are justified and freed from all their sins, and whereby they shall rise to grace here, and their soules and bodies shall rise to glory hereafter with Christ, and whereby they shall rise out of all afflictions also in due time; For the resurrecti­on of Christ is the ground of our resurrection out of afflictions in this world; and every tittle of this is glad tidings, and good newes to poore sin­ners.

Then the Gospel tells you that after his resurrecti­on he conversed with his Disciples, 8. Con­versed with his discipls and not with the world, and that he met with his Disciples from one mountaine to another, from one Towne to another, for a few dayes after, and there he made many preci­ous Prayers to his Father for them, and for all that should believe in him; and there he gave them instructi­ons, and directions how they should order the Churches of God, and Preach the Gospel to the end of the world.

And then you know the Gospel tells us that he went up into heaven, 9. Ascen­ded into heaven. and from heaven, as soone as he came there, he sent his holy Spirit to us to unite us to Christ, to be our Intelligencer, to make known the heart of Christ to us, to lead us into all truth, to comfort us in all distresses, and to make intercession in us till we come to heaven, where he is.

And the Gospel tells us this good newes that when he went to heaven he made way for poore sinners to come there,10. Inter­cedes for us. and that there he intercedes for us, and there succours us, and pities us when we are in the flesh as he was once.

Then the Gospel tells us that in due time he will come againe from heaven as he went,11. shall come to judge­ment. and bring a Crowne with him, and actually subdue all his peoples enemies, and give them the same glory that he hath, and they shall be one with God for ever as he is; he will come and take poore sinners to himselfe, that they shall be where he is, and as he is, world without end.

The Gospel tells you moreover that all this love,12. Gods Covenant. and grace, and mercy, and salvation by Jesus Christ, here, and in Heaven, it is all made sure to us by an ever­lasting Covenant, sure & perfect in every point, as David saith. And this Covenant is sealed with the blood of the Testator, the Lord Jesus, that it might be sure: and he hath also sent Pastors, and Teachers to make known this Gospel; and he hath given the seale of the Lords Supper, and Baptisme to confirme this Gospel. Put all together, and from the first to the last, you shall not finde in the Ministery of the Gospel (if it be truely, and soundly opened) any sillable but what is wholesome, and comfortable, and sweet and glad tidings to the worst sinners.

Only, to cleare it more fully to you, there are some objections that you may make: (for Beloved it were a happy thing if we did fully understand this Lesson, and fully believe it) therefore that it may sink into your hearts, I will tell you all that I know can be said against it.

One objection is, you will say, Object. Concern­ing out­ward things. the Ministery of the Gospel is not so very good, because we poore sinners doe not heare any thing in it for the body; we doe not heare any thing in it of honour, and wealth; we see peo­ple as poor after they receive Christ as ever they were, and it may be poorer; and if God did mingle in the Gospel earthly things with heavenly, than it were good newes, worth the hearing.

Beloved, concerning that I answer but in two words. Answ.

All the happinesse of this world consists either in honour, or wealth. As for honour, if you believe in God, if you receive Jesus Christ, the Gospel brings you ti­dings, that whereas now you are poore people that no body cares for, you shall be Kings, and Queens, as Christ is a King, so you shall be Kings, and his daugh­ters shall be Queenes. Psalme 45. Nay you shall be Princes in all Lands. You know earthly Kings are but Princes in their severall Kingdomes, as the King of Spaine, and the King of England, &c. But the Saints, for honour are Princes in all Lands. Psal. 149. They shall binde Kings in Chaines, and Nobles in fetters of Iron; such honour have all his Saints. You must look on it (beloved with a spirituall eye. And if there be any reallitie in that that they call honour, this is not a notion, but there is more reallitie in spirituall honour than in Carnall. Spirituall honour reall. Take carnall men that call you honourable, and worshipfull, and the like, you know all these are but words, and a [Page 18]puffe of winde, when they are present: but they are hatefull, and hate one another when they are gone, as the Apostle saith. But if a man receive Christ in the Ministery of the Gospel, there is true honour; that is, such a man will be respected in the hearts of others; not only in the eyes of God, and godly men, but in the hearts of the wicked: for in their hearts they will say, such a man is an honourable man, such a woman is an honourable woman, they will not do any thing against their consciences, and disobey Christ, they had rather die. Beloved there is more realitie in this honour; you shall be Princes, and Kings, and Queenes.

Angels waite on the SaintsAnd then you shall have innumerable companies of Angels, you shall be in as glorious a condition as they, and somewhat better, you shall have them to waite on you. You consider not this, because you settle not your selves to search spirituall priviledges: you shall have an innumerable company of Angels to waite on you; that is better than to be Lords, and Earles, that have an innumerable company of Swearers, and drun­kards, and whoremongers for their serving men, that it were a great deale more ease if they could spare them, to be without them: but you shall have a company of Saints, and Angels to waite on you.

Saints right to outward things. And though the Gospel tell you not of outward riches, for Christ himselfe, saith, The foxes have holes, and the foules of the aire have nests: but the Son of Man hath not whereon to lay his head. Yet the Gospel tells you that you have so much title to wordly things, that Godlinesse hath the promise of this life, and of that which is to come. And that God will be a Sun, and a shield to those that feare him, and he will withhold from them nothing that is good. Is not that tidings enough of riches and wealth, [Page 19]when God will withhold nothing that is good? God will give food, and raiment, they have it by promise; wicked men have it by providence, as the doggs, and fowles, have it. Therefore, for all that objection this truth runs cleare.

Object. The Go­spel brings persecuti­ons. But secondly, another will say, the Gospel indeed brings tidings of Christ, and salvation, but it brings ti­dings also of afflictions, and persecutions: the Gospel saith, Whosoever will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. And Christ saith, I come not to bring peace, but a sword; I come to set the father against the sonne, and the son against the father & the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against her mother. and saith the car­nall heart I like not this newes, I love to be at peace with God, and all the world (as their phrase is.)

Concerning that, Ans. 1 they are privi­ledges. though it be true that the Gospel brings afflictions, yet it is true the Gospel tells you that these sufferings of yours. In the first place they are priviledges, the Gospel tells you it is a peice of your hap­pinesse to have them, 1 Cor. 3. Whether it be Paul, or Apollo, or Cephas, or life, or death. Death, what is death? Afflictions are called death, In death oft, that is, afflicti­ons; they are but little deathes, and one great death ends all; the greatest death is a priviledge, your afflictions, and povertie, and reproaches, will be a priviledge. How is that? You have it in Ro. 8. They all work for good to them that love God. For your good here, and your glory hereafter; for faith the Apostle 2 Cor. 4. These light afflictions that are but for a moment, they work for us, an ex­ceeding, exceeding weight of glory. The English word cannot expresse it; compare it with Rom. 8. The af­flictions that wee suffer, are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed. The Spirit of glory riseth [Page 20]on you. The Lord doth you good by it for the present, and it works for a Crowne of glory hereafter; For this is a true saying, if we suffer with Christ, we shall reigne with him. Therefore though the Gospel bring sufferings with it, yet take them as the Gospel expresseth them, they are sweet, and good tidings; they are priviledges to you, and will turne for your good here, and your glory hereafter.

2. They are mode­rated. The Gospel moreover tells you for your fuller satis­faction that the Lord will lay no more upon you than you are able to beare. And he will be in the affliction with you, in the fire, and in the water; the Lord Jesus will be with you there, and in due time he will make you a way to get out, Beloved, put all together that the Gospel speakes of afflictions, and sufferings, construe them to­gether, & you shall see that there is nothing in all that, but glad tidings, and good newes.

I but saith another, the Gospel, (if it be Gospel that we use to heare from our Ministers) it is not good newes, Object. for our Ministers preach against Drunkards, The Gos­pel requi­res men to forsake sin. and Swearers, and Whoremongers; and when I sweare the Mi­nister saith I shall never goe to Heaven; And he saith the Gospel will have a man forsake his sins, and repent, and the like, this is not good newes: it is good newes that God will save me, but it is not good newes that I must leave my sins, and all my wayes of pleasure that I am in. It is good newes that the Gospel will have me saved but it is not good newes that the Gospel will have me a Puritan, and be purified, and purged from my sins.

Concerning that, it is very true that though the Gospel speak not properly against drunkards, Answ. and whore­mongers, and Swearers; yet the Gospel saith that drun­kards must leave their drunkennesse, and Swearers, must [Page 21]leave their swearing; and the Gospel calls every man to repentance, from every sin, yet notwithstanding that it is no bad newes.

First, take Christs Argument Mat. 5. Doth thy right eye offend thee? pul it out and cast it from thee; 1. Leaving of sin pro­fitable. doth thy right hand offend thee? cut it off, and cast it from thee. That is as some interpret it, there are some sins that are as pleasant as the right eye, & as profitable as the right hand, and thou wer't better to cut them off: why so? It is better to goe to heaven with one eye, than with two eyes to go to hell; and it is better to goe to heaven with one hand, than with two to goe to hell. Is it not good tidings when a man is taught to make a good bargaine? is't not good tidings when the Gospel tells a man he must throw away his sinnes, and it is better to crosse himself a little in his lusts and goe to heaven, than to goe lusts, and soul, and body, and all to hell? Is it not good newes, when a mans house is on fire, if one come and shew him how to save a peice? It is better than to have all burned. Now the Gospel teacheth you to leave sin, and it is good newes, Why? I will tel you, because when the Gospel bids thee leave sin, it puts in thee a new nature that is contrarie to sin to hate it more than hell, and the De­vill himself, and then if God bid thee leave thy sins, The Gos­pel teach­eth to hate sinne. it is the best newes in the world; as for instance, there are many men, and weomen I believe here, that if the Lord should say to them, as he did to Solomon, I will give thee whatsoever thou wouldest have in heaven, or earth, there are some in this place that would say, O Lord I would leave my pride, I would have a humble heart, and a heart that should not love worldly things, and a heart that should not be froward, and waspish. If the Gospel should leave the heart as the Law did, and [Page 22]bid you throw away your sinnes, and give no strength to doe it, it were bad newes: but if the Gospel give you a new nature, to hate sin, and when it bids you leave, it gives you power to take it away; it is sweet, and pleasant newes.

Another objection that others may make is, Object. The Go­spel requi­reth dutie. that the Gospel brings tidings, that when we receive Christ, as wee must leave sin, so we must set on the doing of good, I must not be my owne Master, as the Minister saith, one while I must fast, and another while I must pray, and teach my Children, and my Familie, and this is a hard task, an endlesse work, I cannot beare it, to pray every morning, and evening &c.

I answer, Answ. 1 Not on paine of damnati­on this is good newes. Why? because in the first place, when the Gospel tells you any such thing the Gospel doth not bid you doe them, or else you shall be damned, as the Law did: but the Gospel saith thus, thou poore drunkard, or thou proud woman, here is a gracious God that hath loved thee, and out of love hath sent Jesus Christ to die for thee, and hath ap­pointed his Ministers to make it known to thee: and here is everlasting redemption, and salvation by him, on­ly because thou art a sinner, there is no other reason in the world; now thou art safe, free from damnation, and hell, feare not that, that is gone, Christ hath died to re­concile thee to God, and Christ hath loved thee, there­fore obey him, if not thou shalt not be damned, that is done away alreadie; Indeed the Law saith, thou shalt be damned for not doing it: but saith Christ, in the Gospel, I have died, and have forgiven thee thy sins, and if thou wilt be a Villane, & not respect my Father that hath loved thee, and I that have died for thee, so it is: but if thou wilt obey me, thou shalt be a good childe, [Page 23]Thus the Gospel speaks; now there is no bad newes, for me to heare of my dutie, to heare that the Lord Jesus, Christ commands me, when I see my salvation sure, I worke not for life, as those under the Law, for the Law is a voyce of words, it bids me doe this, or that, or I shal be damned; and if I went a little awrie, I should lose all my labour; no, I see my salvation is safe, hell, and damnation are shut out of doores, God is my Father, and I am his childe, I am in an everlasting Covenant, there is nothing in Heaven, or Hell, shall be able to separate me from the love of God. Now I am redeemed from my enemies, and without feare, as the Scripture saith, why should I not serve him, and studie to doe what he commands me?

Besides, admit the Gospel bids thee doe many things, the Gospel also gives thee power to doe them.2. The Go­spel gives power to do what it requireth. It is not a voice of words as that on Mount Sinai, Heb. 12. that is, words, that had a voice, but no power; thou shalt doe this, and not that, but it gave no strength, and the people were not able to beare the word. for they were bid, not to commit adultery, not to sweare, not to steale, and there was no strength, but a voyce: But the voyce of the Gospel is a voyce of power, it is called The day of Gods power, the power of God to salvation; The Arme of God, the strength of God. Therefore whatsoever the Gospel commands, it gives a sweet power to the heart to doe the same, and then it is no bad newes. If a man bid me pay a thousand pounds for my neighbour, and give me a thousand pounds in my hand, it is easie to doe it. The Gospel bids me deny myselfe, and subdue my lusts, if it did give no power it were a terrible thing: but if with­all the Gospel carry the Spirit of Christ into the heart and kill sin, and make me able to deny my selfe, then it is good newes.

3. Gospel duties few and easie.Besides, the duties that the Gospel bids me doe, they are few for number, and easie for nature; and for the end of them, it is not for life, and salvation, that is safe, there is no danger of that; and there is a Spirit to them And also there is a sweetnesse in Gospel obedience, that there is nothing on this side glory, so Pleasing to the soule that hath believed, as obeying of Jesus Christ, Ro. 6. You have your reward in holines. Godly men say that this is the meaning of it, that holiness is a reward to it selfe; the doing of good things is a reward to it selfe. To say nothing of the reward hereafter, that there is a Crowne of glory,1. Cor. 15. your labour is not in vaine in the Lord. You that work for him: but the very doing of Gospel dutie, with a Gospel spirit, it is no other than meate, and drink. Our Lord Christ Job. 4. when he was hungrie, and thirstie, when hee was wearie; one would have thought he might have done many things more plea­sing, than to be teaching a sillie woman; when they came with meate, hee would not leave that that he was doing, I have meate (saith he) that you know not off; who gave it thee said they? Saith he, It is my meate, and drink, to doe the will of him that sent me. So, when wee have the heart, and the nature, and the spirit, of Christ, it will be sweeter than meate, and drink, out of love, to do any thing that Jesus Christ commands us.

Againe, Object. The Gos­pel re­quires Faith. it may be, some man will say, the Gospel for the most part brings good newes: but there is one thing in the Gospel that me thinks is no good newes to poore sinners; saith a poore soule, the Ministers use to preach, and to tell me, that the Law saith, doe this, and live; and the Minister tells me, that the Gospel saith, believe, and live; he saith that there shall be all happi­nesse, and good to me, if I believe; and saith the poor [Page 25]soule, for my part it is as possible for me to keep the ten Commandments, as to believe, and the Ministers say, that there is no good thing in the Gospel that I can partake of except I believe; I would like it well but for that one thing, I would, but I cannot believe.

To answer this, if the Gospel held forth Christ, Answ. The Gos­pel breeds faith. and salvation, upon believing (as many oft preach) it were little better tidings than the Law: for it is as easie for a man of himselfe to keep the ten Comand­ments, by obeying; as to believe of himself, to have faith to receive Christ: Therefore, that is a misun­derstanding of the Gospel, the Gospel saith not bring faith with thee, and then here is all grace, & salvation; No, for whence should I have faith? Whatsoever is of the flesh, is flesh; and what is of me is flesh, and abomi­nable to God; therefore the Gospel expects not that any sinner should bring faith, for he hath it not; nay, it is a sin to endeavour to have it of himselfe: But the Gospel as it brings salvation, so it breeds faith in the heart of a sinner. The same word that makes known salvation, the same word breeds, and begets faith in the heart to receive it. That God that gives his almes to us, gives a purse to carry it: that God that gives Physick to a poore soule, will give a hand to receive it. It were strange if God should expect faith from a poore sinner, whereas, for ought I know, and lear­ned men hold, that Adam in innocencie had not the faith that we are justified by; and for ought I know the Angels in heaven have it not; and whence should a poore sinner have it? It is God that gives repentance to Israel; and God is the author, and finisher of our faith. Heb. 12. And in Philip. 1. It is given to you to beli­eve. Therefore, when I heare of grace, and glory, and [Page 26]salvation by Jesus Christ, I must not consider where I shall have a vessell to carry i [...] home, where I shall have faith to receive it: but it carries the vessel with it, and I goe, and take the promise, and by the holy Spi­rit that same Gospel that brought the grace will work faith, or else, it were as harsh as the Law. Therefore never stand off about faith: for he that gives grace, and salvation, will work faith.

Againe, Object. Discipline and go­vernment. in the Go­spel. it may be objected by some; wee confesse that the Gospel is good newes, and blessed be God it is performed also. But it seemes that there is in the Gospel, or annexed to it a discipline, or a government whereby wee shall be ruled; thus saith one, thus saith another; and if we receive the Gospel of Christ, we must receive the Government of Christ say the Mini­sters, and wee feare that will be no good newes to our poor soules.

Ans. Two wrong go­vernments since Christ. As for that, in few words as I am able, I confesse (Beloved) that in, or with the Gospel of Christ, there is a Government, or there is a discipline, that may (in a sense) be called an externall discipline over the Saints or people of God. And it is true that all the govern­ments that have hetherto been in the world, since our Lord Christ went to heaven, men have called them the Governments of the Gospel, and fathered them up­on Christ, and the Gospel: and truely if they had been so indeed as men pretended, that is, if those kind of governments that wee have had, had been part of the Gospel, surely than there had been a great deale of bad newes, and heavie tidings in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As for instance; There have been but two great go­vernments, or disciplines (if I may use that word) in the world since our Lord went to heaven,

The one was Papacie.

The other Episcopacy.

Papacie. Episcopacy. Wee have been governed either by the Pope that stiled himself, the Successor of Peter, and the Romish Governour, or by Episcopacy in latter yeares, in many parts; though Papistrie made the greater stirr in the world. Now these two differ in degrees, otherwise they are of the same kinde. And if these were the government of Christ, and the discipline of the Gospel, we may well say, there hath been sad tidings, and heavie newes from the Gospel for many yeares.Evils in both go­vernments. Give me leave to instance in a few substantiall things in these two Governments.

1. Concer­ning their power.This was one thing that was in both these Govern­ments; The Ministers, (such as they were, by what titles soever they were stiled; for they had many sorts) they took all the power of governing, and go­vernment wholly, and solely into their owne hands; they called themselves the Church of God; we must looke to the Church, that is, the Bishops, to their lawes, &c. They called themselves the Clergie, that is, Gods inheritance, as the word in the Originall sig­nifies. True it is, there is a power, a sweet Gospel power in the Ministers, that is somewhat peculiar from the people: But to take all power into their owne hands; and to leave the people, and call them the laity, the dr [...]sse, the vulgar, to leave them as vassalls, and slaves, and to call themselves, the Clergie, and the Church, and the like: If this had been Christs discipline, there had been some hard, and heavie tidings in the Gospel of Christ.

Secondly, as they took this power into their hands, so they used this power as Lords over Gods inheritance, [Page 28]contrary to the command of Jesus Christ 1 Pet. 5.4.2. Their Lorldlines in two things. You shall not Lord it over Gods inheritance. Now you know they were Lords, that will appeare in two things.

1. In im­posing lawes on mens con­sciencesFirst, they made Lawes upon the consciences of men, besides the Lawes that Jesus Christ made; you know they had their Synods, and their Convocations, and their great Councels, and the like, and there they would have Canons, or Lawes every time they met for the consciences of poore Saints; This was no good newes.

2. In forc­ing men to obey those lawes.And then forcing men to aver those lawes that they had made; as they had made a law that people should not goe out of their Parishes; they must every one heare his owne Minister, though it may be he was an Ignorant, drunken, dumb, prophane wretch, and if they did not, they were forced, and compelled to doe it, Beloved, this was not according to the Gospel of Jesus Christ: for if it had, surely it had been no good newes

3. Forcing Ministers & Officers on the people.Thirdly, in the second Government that we have had hetherto, they imposed Ministers, and Officers upon the people, the people never had yet liberty under these two Governments, to choose men accord­ing to Gods own heart, that would feed them with know­ledge, and understanding: but such as the Bishops sent they must receive, whether they were good or bad, they must take them as they found them; and those usually were either Ignorant unlearned men; or pro­phane unsanctified men, and these were sent by them as Lords, and the people were forced to receive them.

Then fourthly, in this government, all the power [Page 29]which they had (which they took all to themselves) they exercised it onely,4. Their power ex­cercised a­gainst the Saints. (almost) against the Saints and people of God either as Schismaticks, or Lol [...]ards, or Heretiques, or Puritans, or the like; either for do­ing that that was good, or for things that were trifles, according to their owne judgment. For doing that which was good, for fasting and praying, for meeting to teach one another, and to seek the Lord, these were called Conventicles. Or for trifles that they in their consciences held indifferent, as the wearing of the Surplice, and the Crosse in baptisme; they them­selves said they were indifferent things, and trifles, and yet men must be silenced, and people bannished beyond Sea for these things. This government wee have had, and there was little good newes and glad tidings to the soules of the poore Saints from all this.

5. Restrai­ning the Spirit in preaching, & prayingFiftly, they did restraine the Spirit of God in the Saints both in preaching, and praying. In preaching, the Ministers were tied, they must preach such, and not such things, and they must be in danger to be fined, if they did not keep to the houre. And for Prayer, when it may be the poore Ministers soule was full of groanes, and sighs, and he would have rejoyced to have poured out his soule to the Lord, he was tied to an old Service-Booke, and must read that till he grieved the Spirit of God, and dried up his owne spirit as a chip, that he could not pray if he would; and he must read it for an houre together, and then it may be come in­to the Pulpit: but his spirit was gone.

6. Their lawes backed by secular power.Againe, they backed all their lawes with the secular power, and punnishments; they never rested till they had twisted their owne lawes, with the secular lawes [Page 30]the Civill lawes of the Land. Every law of theirs was steeled, and backed with some Civill severe law, to confiscation of goods, or imprisonment, or such a fine, to the cuting off of eares, the slitting of noses, the bur­ning of cheekes, to banishment, yea to death it selfe; as you know how many precious Saints of God (even by those that pretended the government of Christ, and his discipline) were burned in Smithfeild; and how many suffered strange torments, and punishments, yet their persecutors pretended the discipline, and government of Christ. I give you but a few instances; These were the governments we have had hetherto, for thirteen, or fourteen hundred yeares, either from the Pope, or the Bishops, Papacie, or Episcopacie. And truly Beloved, there is not a title of good newes, or glad tidings to the hearts of holy Saints, and tender consciences in all this, as your selves may judge.

Now what we shall have the Lord knows I know not, but only thus much I say, that what ever it will be, if it be according to these straines that have been heretofore, than I confesse there will be a great deale of heavie tidings, and hard newes, even in the Gospel of Jesus Christ; if men call it Gospel, or any thing belonging to it. For my part, as I am wholly igno­rant what Government men will set up and call it Christs, right, or wrong; So I am not ignorant of the feares, and jealousies that are in the hearts of god­ly people of this, and that thing: but be sure, if it be the government of Jesus Christ, and his discipline, there will be nothing but good newes, and glad tidings to the honestest heart, and tenderest conscience; and if it be not such a government, it is not of God; for I have proved plainly, that there is nothing in the Gospel [Page 31]of Jesus Christ, but good newes, and glad tidings to the worst of sinners. But if it be a government that I shall be compelled against conscience, and my goods confiscated for this, or that trifle, this is not accord­ing to the Gospel; for there are none of these terri­ble things in the Gospel of Christ, it is all sweet.

The two worst things in the Gospel good newes, I will give you but one instance, and passe it over; In the government of Christ according to the Scrip­tures, the two worst, and harshest things that you shall finde there, you shall see clearely that they are good things, and good newes for a poore Christian to have them set up over his soule.

As first of all, you know that in the Gospel,1. Reproofe the government or discipline, call it which may you will. We finde in some cases that the Lord Jesus, will have us not only comfort, and exhort, and teach one another: but in some cases he will have us reprove one another,Benefit of Gospel re­proofe. and have our Ministers reprove us also, but in love, and tendernes. This is one of the harshest things; and this if you look right on it with a spirituall eye, truly it is glad tidings for a poore Saint, when he hath for­got himself, by the violence of some lust; Then for a sincere hearted Brother, or Sister in the spirit of meeknes, and love to reprove him, and set his bones in joynt. You have some of you found in experience that a sweet, and wise reproofe hath been as pleasing to you as any Sermon of consolation that ever you heard. And therefore you see in Scripture how the Lord sets downe reproofe, that you may not be affraid of it Levit. 19.17. he tells you that reproofe is an argu­ment of love, Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart, but rather reprove him. It is an argument of love. A man that reproves another wisely, and meekly [Page 32]he loves him: for otherwise his poore soule is going in the way towards hell, from God, and fellowship with God, going on in sin. Now a man that reproves him he brings him backe againe from sin, and that strangnes from God that he was in a course to run in­to; therefore I say, there is no such evil in re­proofe.

Besides, the Scripture saith it is a precious thing Ps. 14 [...].5. David saith Let the righteous smite me, and it shall be as balme, it shall be a kindness; let him reprove me, and it shall be an excellent oile, it shall not breake my head. It shall be as excellent oile, or balme to heale his soule. Reproofe is called a profitable thing also, 2 Tim. 3. The Scripture is profitable for instruction, and reproofe, &c. If reproofe were an evil thing, one could not say that the Scripture were profitable for such an end.

It is a great judgment of God, when God casts a man into such a condition that no body will reprove him. It is a thing that I am many times affraid of, truly almost to trembling, least a man should so car­rie himselfe to the Saints, and so estrange himselfe that they will not reprove him; O, it is fearefull when a man stands on his owne bottome, and on his owne leggs, that men shall say, there is a Professor, he is so proud, and so foolish that none will reprove him. Saith God to Ezkiel, Thou shalt not be a reprover to this pea­ple; and in Hosea 3. Let no man strive, or reprove an­other. Why so? saith the Lord in the end of the Chapter, Let him be as a backsliding heifer, Ephraim is joyned to Idols, let him alone. It is a pitifull thing when God shall leave a man as a heifer, that is turned into the meddow to grasse, let him alone. They used to plow [Page 33]with heifers in those dayes as we doe with horses and Oxen, and the horses, and Oxen are called from the house to the Plow, and are driven and beaten: but when the Oxe is turned to grasse to be fatted, let him alone, he lies downe, and riseth when he will; so these peo­ple were so wicked, that no man should reprove his brother, but he should be as a lambe in a fat Pasture. So that reproofe, that is one of the harshest things in the government of Christ in the Gospel, it is a good, a precious, and profitable thing. It is a great judgment to be without it: therefore though that be used, the doctrine holds true, that there is nothing but good newes, glad tidings in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

There is another thing, that is, Excommunication, 2 Excomu­nication. cutting a man off from the people of God, or delivering him up to Satan. A man may say that is a terrible thing; It is terrible as I said before, when there is secular punishment with it, confiscation of goods, and losse of estate, and freedome: but according to the Gospel of Christ you shall see, that even the delivering men up to Satan, Christ Jesus intends it in love, for the good, and salvation of their soules; It is harsh, but it is good newes, 2 Cor. 5. saith the Apostle, In the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ when yee are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, to deliver such a one unto Satan, for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus; speaking of the incestuous person. If men will be so wretched as to sin grosly, the Lord Jesus hath ordered that such a man shall be delivered to Satan; for what? that he may be damned, and to bring him to hell? No, for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. And truly Beloved, [Page 34]I have seen, more than one that have blessed God for that Ordinance, that have been brought to humble their soules, and sweetly, and closely to walk with God againe, by the blessing of God on that Ordinance. Now I have told you the worst in the Gospel, either reproofe, and that but upon great occasion; or else delivering to Satan, and that must be upon extraordi­nary occasion; yet both are sweet, and profitable, and precious for the good of the soule; Therefore the truth of the Doctrine holds cleare to you, that there is nothing in the Gospel, look which way you will, but good newes, and glad tidings to the worst of sin­ners.

Object. No peace to the wicked. There is one objection more, and so I proceeed to the Uses. Some body may say out of the Prophet Isaiah, There is no peace to the wicked saith my God. Isa. 57. ult. And Isa. 48.12. The wicked are like the troubled Sea, when it cannot rest, whose watters cast out mire, and dirt. The Prophet seemes to comfort the godly, but wicked men have no peace: then a man may say; how doth this stand with your Doctrine? you say that the Gospel holds forth peace, and glad ti­dings, and good newes to wicked men, even to the worst of sinners.

Ans. three Wayes. 1. It is ra­ther Law than Gos­pel.The are three wayes to answer it, in few words.

The first is, that however Isaiah was in a sort an Evangelicall Prophet, and spake many things of Gos­pel by way of Prophesie; he saw things for us, and not for himselfe, as Peter saith; yet these kinde of expressi­ons are more properly Law, than Gospel; for it is cer­taine there is no other language in the Law but that, there is no peace to the wicked; Transgresse once and be damned for ever: but the language of the Gospel is [Page 35]contrary, it comes and gives peace to the wicked, and justifieth the ungodly, he preacheth peace to them that are neere, and to them that are affar off; And who were they? The Gentiles that were emphatically sinners: are we not Jewes (saith the Apostle) and not sinners of the Gentiles? Therefore this was rather Law, than Gospel.

2. God will not make peace with sin, though hee doth with sin­ners.Secondly, there is no peace to the wicked, or to sin­ners, saith my God. You may understand it also in this sense, that the Lord will not make any peace with sin, though he send messages of peace, and reconciliation to sinners; though God be reconciled to a sinner, hee will never be reconciled to sin.

3. No peace to men that continue in sin un­der the Gospel.But the third, and last, and most proper as I take it is this, There is no peace to the wicked, saith my God; that is, there is no peace to men that continue in sin after Jesus Christ hath been offered them, and they have re­fused him, then there is no peace to them. Observe for it is a thing of great concernment: it becomes not a Minister of the Gospel by any meanes to pro­nounce, wrath, and curse, or damnation to a sinner, qua a sinner, as a sinner, he is not a Minister of the Gospel, if he doe, he is a Minister of the old Testament, that saith, here comes a drunkard, eo nomnie, because he is a drunkard God will plague him, and damne him; this is the language of the old Testament.

But you will say; will you speak peace to drunkards, Object. and sinners?

Answer How judg­ments are pronoun­ced against sinners.Wee speak judgment, and curses, and damnation to them, when once wee have first offered Christ, and they refuse him. And for this reason, and no other according to the Ministery of the Gospel, I am to pro­nounce, damnation, and curse, to wicked men, because [Page 36]they refuse Jesus Christ: because they doe not believe in Jesus Christ.

You will say, Quest. is it absolutely evil for a Minister to speak against drunkards, and Swearers, and whore­mongers, and to say the curse of God will fall on them, &c.

Ans. Con­tinuance in sin a signe of unbeliefe.No; Why? because I speak against a drunkard, not properly because he is a drunkard, but his drun­keness is a signe that he continues in unbeliefe, and so hath not received Jesus Christ: So we are to under­stand the Scriptures. There is a drunkard, a Sot, a jearer of godliness, I say the curse of God will come upon him, and the damnation of hell is ready to over­take him; why? not because he is properly such a one, but because those are signes that he is an unbelie­ver. When God shall come to judge the world; There are people that he will judge eo nomine because they are drunkards he will throw them to hel, as those in the Mountaines of Wales, &c. Because they have but a little light, and they did not follow that, they shall be condemned, and the heathens shall be condemned for their ignorance, &c. But under the Gospel all are wrapped up in unbeliefe: So that this is the pin of Heaven, or Hell, the very wards that opens, or shuts, that you be believers, or unbelievers. But I will not stand longer on that.

Now I proceed to shew what profit we may have by this Doctrine, by way of Application.

Use 1 To learne that in the Gospel salvation [...] offered [...] sinner, [...] sinners.There be divers speciall Lessons that I would have you learne hence.

The first is this, that this truth that I have now taught you, it is the doore of the Gospel, the very en­trance into Christian Religion; the first stone as it were [Page 37]in the Christian building in the Profession of Religion, in Gospel Profession. There is a kinde of devotion and Profession, but it is not built according to the Gospel: but if you would walk according to the Gos­pel learne this lesson first, that is, that God gives life, and salvation through Christ to sinners, as sinners though they be hard hearted, backsliding, and the cheife of sinners, yet as long as they be sinners, and but sinners they may alway looke upon Jesus Christ, and salvation in his hand to bestowed on them. This is a truth that thou must learne, and be taught it of God, or else thou canst not goe one step into the Profession of the Gospel; for (beloved) till you know and learne this, you will be like men in the dark, you will be groping for Christ Jesus, but you will never be graffed into him, you will never be knit to Christ. I say this is the first step to Religion to understand this truth aright, that the Gospel brings glad tidings of salvation to be given to the worst of sinners: there­for though I see no good in me at all whereby I might receive good newes from the Law, and though I doe not see that I am a humbled sinner as such a Preacher teacheth, or a believing sinner, or a broken hearted sin­ner, as another Preacher saith, yet I say I am a sinner, and a sinner quasi, Unsetled­nesse in re­ligion whence. a sinner is the proper object of the Gospel. You will be off, and on, and never be knit to Christ, but will be as a bone in and out till you come to that; for if you goe and lay hold on Christ any other way, in any other consideration, that you are humbled sinners, or broken hearted sinners, or mortified sinners, as soone as ever temptation tells you that you are not humbled enough, you will be gone againe, the bone will be out of joynt againe, and so you will be [Page 38]as a reed tossed of the winde, you will never be fastened to Christ; whosoever holds Christ upon any quali­fications on his side, must let him goe one time, or other. As for instance, if he thinke the Gospel be directed to broken heartednes, and he can weep at a ser­mon, to morrow his heart may be hard, and then hee thinks, he is a devill that was but now a Saint. There­fore many Christians after many yeares Profession of Religion never felt their souls knit, till God right­ly, and truly taught them this lesson: but then they were knit to Christ, and their soules were never in and out, they were never loose more; because they were able in all temptations to retreat to this truth as a refuge. For let the devil tell a man he is no Saint, the soule can say, I am a sinner; if the devill say, thou art an hypocrite, I, but an hypocrite is but a sinner, I am a sinner still, though I be not a broken hearted sinner; so let the devill, and hell say what they will, they shall never beat him from that refuge; And saith the soul being a sinner I am the proper object of grace and life, and salvation in the Gospel, and though I have no com­fort as a Saint that I am in the Kingdome of Heaven, yet at least I have comfort that I am a sinner, and I may be there: though I have no comfort that I am in, yet I have comfort that I am neare, and the doore is open; though I be not a Siant I am a sinner, and if I have no reall interest in Christ as a Saint, yet I have interest in the promises of Christ as a sinner; and though I cannot serve God chearfully as a Saint, yet I will serve God as comfortably as I can, as one that may be a Saint. In Matth. 13. It is said of the Merchant man, he found the feild wherein was the treasure, he rejoiced. I re­member a worthy man of this countrie, he saith, hee [Page 39]rejoyced not that he had found the pearle the treasure: but he rejoyced that he was come neare a good bar­gaine, he was come to the feild where it was; so though I be not assured that I am a Saint, yet a sinner may rightly receive this truth with joy as a sinner, because he is neare a good bargaine.

Many doe little for God, why.This is the reason that you have many Professors that mislearne the first principles of religion of which this is the greatest, they will never doe any thing for God but when they are assured of their salvation, if there be the least doubt that the work of grace is not right, they mope, and will doe nothing for God, but vex, and fret, and tug, and when their qualifications are gone that they builded on, then they think they are hypocrites, and damned creatures, and God shall have no service from them; when other people that it may be have not fully assurance they are Saints, not one day of three in the whole yeare, yet there is a current, and streame of obedience, and love, and delight in God in some measure, and they goe on constantly, though not so strongly, doing and suffering his holy will; Why? because they have learned the Gospel aright, they obey God in the notion of sinners; saith the soule, I see a great deale of love in God to poore sinners, and the Gospel containes nothing but glad tidings to sinners, and though I have nothing in me that may make me the childe of Christ, yet the way is open, therefore I will goe on with the work, let him doe what he will. Thus the soule is knit to Christ that come what will, it will never be beaten off from Christ I never knew my owne soule knit to Christ till God had taught me this, but it was off, and on, as a bone in and out, a Saint to day, and an Hypocrite to mor­row, [Page 40]to call God Father to day, and Enemy to morrow. The Gospel is directed to a sinner, quasi a sinner, not as this, or that sinner, but as a sinner; there is the object of salvation. This makes a Saint I say go with constancie, if I cannot goe to Christ as a Saint, yet I can as a sinner; so he hath something that k [...]epes him that he is not as many Professors, that are ready to kill, and hang, and drowne themselves, because they see the Gospel is made to Saints, and they see they are not Saints, then they are in a worse condition than sinners. Learne this you that are Professors of Religion, that are in and out, that have spent ten, or twentie, or thirtie yeares, and your soules are not knit to Christ, begg of the Lord to teach you this lesson.

The next Lesson that I would teach you from the Lord is, Use 2 To labour for a per­fect spirit of adopti­on. that this being so, that in the administration of the New Testament, or the Ministery of the Gospel, there is nothing but glad tidings no object but what is amiable and good; then all you that have received Jesus Christ, let me exhort you to this, labour to get up in you a perfect spirit of adoption, my meaning is this, you know there is a spirit of adoption, and a spirit of bondage, the spirit of adoption is a frame of heart, a temper of spirit like that of a childe to his father. And you know it is ordinary with the Saints, that they have a little adoption, they can cry Abba father, a little, and low, and at sometimes: but there is a great deale of the spirit of bondage mingled with it, there are some­times feares, secret whisperings in the heart, O, thou art not right, Christ is not in thee; if he were, it is im­possible thou shouldest be so weak, and so easily over­come, and there will be some flaw in the heart, and soakings in of guilt, that w [...] eat out a mans peace, [Page 41]that sometimes he shall call God father, another while he will look strangely upon God, and be afraid to come to God, and be loath to goe upon his knees before him, and be glad when he is got out of his pre­sence; there is a spirit of bondage mingled with the spirit of adoption. Now in the New Testament wee should labour for a full spirit of adoption. Full spirit of adopti­on what. What is that? that is, that there may be nothing in my heart towards God, but pure love, because in his dealing to me there is not a sillable but love, and grace, and glad tidings to me, and my heart and life should be answer­able.Feares, & horrours, whence. For the reason of all the horrour that you finde in your hearts, and all your feares and troubles that arise there, they are from this error in your mindes, this opinion that is not quite rooted out, that there is in the Gospel administration some ill, and bad ti­dings, there is some love, and some hatred; some mer­cy, and some wrath; you think that it may be God is your father, and it may be he is your enemie, and that because you have sinned he will damne you to hell. This is naturall, and ordinary. Now if you were con­vinced that there were nothing in the Gospel since our Lord Jesus is gone to heaven, and is at the right hand of his Father, there is nothing in his dispensation but love, and mercy, and no wrath; hell, and damnation, and sin, &c. are all thrown away, and if I be perfectly righteous, and perfectly justified from all my sins; if I have the spirit of Christ given me, and am one with God for ever, by an everlasting Covenant, and shall have life, and a Crowne of glory for ever, and my sins shall not be laid to my charge; O, what a cleare, and sweet spirit should I have in Gods service! and not a muddie, and dogged, and froward spirit that ariseth from guilt soaking into the soule. When I view this [Page 42]truth over, and pull it by peice-meale, and see that there is no gall, nothing in the Gospel, first, or last, but what is amiable, and beautifull, and blessed newes to sin­ners; then there should follow this consideration, why should there be any thing in my heart, and spirit towards God, but amiable thoughts, and love, &c? why should there be any of those coares of unbeliefe, and distruct, and feare, and horrour? Those mixtures of adoption, and bondage? Why should there be hel­lish feares, or guilt in me, since there is no wrath, not anger at all in God? Why should not the carriage of my heart be clear towards him, as his is in his Sonne, by the administration of the Gospel towards me?

Labour for a perfect spirit of adoption, that you may not have any of those bublings of bondage in your spi­rits that now over take you, and are twisted, and woven with that little adoption that you have. For, who is there among us to this houre, but when he comes be­fore the Lord, and hath a little smiling in his soule to see his favour, and a little joy, and delight to come at him; and yet there is some feare, and trembling, as Peter when he was on the waves, and what if God will not receive me? &c. Therefore studie to keep up the spirit of adoption. It is a hard thing to keep up the temper of a childe in the soule, especially, when God lets a man fall into temptations, and folly, and weak­nesse, &c. But though it be hard labour to keep up that temper, at least thus much, that thou never come to so low a condition (which was the prayer of one that was a good man) wherein thou canst not with a full mouth, and with a cleare heart call God father, and thee his childe, though the unhappiest, and unworthiest [Page 43]childe. If thou come below this, if thou call on God with feare; and canst not cry abba, abba, that is as much as daddie, daddie, as our babes use to say, if thou doe not come so high, thou art spoiled, and undone, desire God to teach you this Lesson also.

The dam­nation of them that refuse the Gospel just.Thirdly, if this be so that the Ministery of the Go­spel is all glad tidings to the worst of sinners; then I ap­peale to you all, and let every man put his hand upon his owne breast, and if this be a truth (as I hope it hath been cleared) you shall all be your own judges; how just will the damnation of that sinner be that will not receive the Gospel. If there were in the Gospel ridged tidings, sad newes, (as people are apt to fancie to themselves) then it were no wonder if one perse­cuted it, and another despised it, and another neglected it, and another turned it into wantoness: But when it comes in such a [...]reame that there is nothing but love, and light, and salvation, and grace, and all freely laid down at the feet of a sinner for his receiving; nay, he shall have power, and grace to receive it, he shall have salvation, and a vessell to carry it in; judge how justly thy damnation will be in the last day, man, or woman, whosoever thou art that settest thy selfe against the Gospel, and wilt not receive salvation.

Damnati­on menti­oned fre­quently in the new-Testament why.This is the reason why damnation comes out so rife in the new Testament, it is scars ever mentioned in the old Testament, that I know of damnation is not men­tioned in the old Testament, nor hell, but as it is taken for the grave, &c. But when grace, and the Gospel, and life comes, damnation comes at the heeles of it; How can yee escape the damnation of hell? Then comes the worme that never dieth, and the fire that never goeth out. The reason is, because then damnation is proper; Then [Page 44]when a man will not receive salvation, not because he cannot, no man is damned because he cannot receive Christ: but because he will not receive this salvation, and grace. Therefore saith Christ, Mat. 28. Goe preach the Gospel, he that believeth shall be saved, he that believeth not shall be damned. That is, saith that godly Dr Preston, go tell every wicked man this good newes, that Christ hath brought salvation: But it may be they will not believe what we say to them, there is no more in the long and short, but in a word tell them they shall be damned. That is the reason in Mat. 22. where the Ministery of the Gospel is compared to a feast of dainties, and one slights it, and another despiseth it, and another rejecteth it; and when the Master of the feast came it is said, he found one without a wedding garment, and that the man was speechlesse; he was as a man saith Beza with a halter about his neck, saith hee goe, Binde him hand, and foot, and cast him into utter darknesse, there shall be weeping, and wailing, and gnash­ing of teeth. He was speechlesse, he had nothing to say. and truly, I have had more experience lately, than ever I had in my life, I saw a man that was accounted all his life a professed Athiest, and I was with him in the roome when one in the company opened the Gos­pel from one end to the other (as I have endeavoured in my poore abilitie to doe now) and all the riches, and the salvation of it, how free it is, how there is no core, nor nothing but what is amiable; Saith the man when he had done, judge yee, will yee not think it just if yee be damned, if ye will not receive, and obey this? Saith he it is so, I deserve to be damned without mercy. Consider this, you will say so too, you will be made to confesse how just your damnation will be for refu­sing [Page 45]it. If there were any thing in all this that were harsh, and cruell, and rough, and ridged it were some­what: but when God hath cast the Gospel into such a mold, and way that every thing smiles, and all is roses; and yet a wretch shall go and persecute it, and slight it, and neglect, and despise it, I leave such a man, let him judge himselfe at the last day worthy of damnation: for he shall have judgment without mercy, that rejecteth this mercy; When men have this mercy without mixture of judgment, it is fit that those men should have pure judgment without mixture of mercy.

Whose de­struction God laughs at.This is the reason that the Lord laughs at mens destruction, Pro. 1. when it comes as a whirlwinde. Now wee must understand that God doth not laugh at any mans destruction, as a transgressor of the Law, for he hath cast himself into a necessity of sininng, and hath damned himself, and he cannot help it. And God will not laugh at the destruction of the Gentiles, and hea­thens that have not heard of the Gospel: but when God comes by his Ministers, and opens, and unbowels all the mysteries of the Gospel to people, and hath laid all before them clearly, yet then for people to love darknesse rather than light, and to continue drun­kards and whoremongers, and swearers, and villanes, and jearers of Gods people, and laugh at his Ordinances, this makes the Lord laugh at their destruction. I beseech you therefore, all you that yet never received the Gos­pel of Jesus Christ, Vse 2 Gospel Ministers to be im­braced. consider what I have said.

In the fourth place, if the Gospel, and the Ministery of it be good tidings, and glad newes to the worst of sin­ners; Then Beloved you should me thinks imbrace with all affection the true, and sincere Ministers of this Gospel, these Messengers that bring you these [Page 46] glad tidings we. are (as the Apostle saith) the offscour­ing of the world, a spectacle to men, and Angels. Truly, there are no Ministers in the world that are more persecuted, and hated, and despised, than the humble, sin­cere Ministers of the new Testament, of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, nor never were; This is a sore, and a strange thing, if we did bring one word that were sad, and greivous, and harsh to you, it were no wonder, but if all that wee speake be the voyce of the dove, doves language, all sweet; come to the Gospel Ministery, if there come a poore man full of sadnesse, the Mini­stery of the Gospel speaks a word of comfort to him, if he be in darkness, and he knowes not which way to goe, waiting on a Gospel Ministery there is light to finde his way. If he be in feare, and know not his estate what he is, a Gospel Ministery will give him assurance of Gods love; so it brings glad tidings to some souls every houre. Is not this than madnesse in men that of all creatures in the world they hate that man, and those Messengers that bring these blessed glad tidings. There is a Prophesie in Isaiah 52.7. How beautifull upon the mountaines are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace, that bringeth good tidings of good things, that publisheth salvation; that saith to the righteous, thy God reigneth. How beautifull are their feet? much more their lips; you doe not in this as you doe in naturall things, if a man come, and bring glad tidings of taking of such a Towne, or of such a victory, though it may be there is losse, and little good in it, we all welcome it, and he is rewarded presently, and hath all wayes of encouragment, and yet when people shall come, and by the Spirit of God make known all the love of God in Jesus Christ, and all the [Page 47] riches of the Gospel in Jesus Christ, that your hearts should so rise against it, that you should receive and entertain so many prejudices against it, it is a strange, and wonderous thing. Therefore you should doe well me thinks, as you read in the booke of God, 2 Sam. 18.27. of two men that did bring tidings to David of the warrs, and the watchman said Me thinks the runing of the formost is like the runing of Ahimaaz the son of Zadok; and the King said, he is a good man, and comes with good tidings. He would have the watch­man open the eate quickly; why, because he was a good man, and did bring good tidings. So wee should, especially if men be good, and holy, and humble, and feele the power of that they speake, and expresse it in their lives, say as David, that is a good man, and bring­eth good tidings; he will teach me if I be ignorant, hee will comfort me if I be sad, he will direct me if I have lost my way; hee will build me up if I thrive not in grace. The consideration of this truth me thinks should bannish all those strange thoughts, and pre­judices that wee have against the Ministers of the Gospel.

In the first place another lesson is this, Use 5 To hear­ken to, and inquire af­ter the Gospel. if the Gos­pel be such good newes, such glad tidings, then you should hearken much after it, and inquire much into it. We all (you know) are naturally greedie to heare newes, and we know how much time is spent (here in the City especially) in reading Diurnalls, inquiring after tidings, and how much money is cast away that way. Wee should doe so much more about these glorious tidings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is not enough to heare a Sermon, or to read a Chapter once, or twice a day, as it is the manner of some, that [Page 48]will not bring us to know the mysteryes of the Gospel, but we must search the Scripture, and compare spirituall things, with spirituall things. As in earthly tidings, if a man tell of such a victorie one way, and another after him another way, and a third a third way, you compare what they say, and their letters, and newes, to finde out the truth. So you should be earnest in seeking God, and begg his Spirit, compare Scriptures together, see what the Scripture saith in such a place, and how in another place, and this is the way to find out the mystery of the Gospel.

Gospel ti­dings great and true.These tidings are great, therefore inquire into them, and they are true tidings, they are not fables, and tidings of common concernment to every Saint; therefore let this be the use that thou and I should make of it, to desire the Lord to lead us into the depth of those mysteryes, and to set our selves to studie it more, and more; for the further we goe the more wee shall finde, as in a myne; It is not as in your newes, many times you have a great deale of good newes, & in a day, or two it vanisheth to nothing: But here you shall finde, first the feild, and then the pearle. Pro­fessors are grown carelesse, they were wont to read Chapters morning, and evening, that was ordinary, but thou must doe more if thou wilt understand the mysteryes of the Gospel, compare one Chapter, and one Scripture with another, search the Scriptures, and goe to God to open the meaning of it.

Sixtly, [...] Use 6. To spread these glad tidings to others. spread these glad tidings as much as you can to others. You know when people receive good newes they run and tell it to others. The poore shepheards Luke 2. when they heard the newes of the Messiah, they left their sheep, and ran to the Townes to tell it. [Page 49]So, when Christ was risen Mary runs to tell the newes to the Disciples. Beloved, when we understand this good newes we should endeavour to spread it. People buy Diurnalls for their friends, and fold them in their Letters, and send them about the Kingdome; let us doe so with these spirituall tidings, that we may send them forth. O, I would to God that wee did see how the poore Countries in the North, and West of Eng­land, in many places, in Townes, they have not so much as a Service-booke, not so much as reading; if God settle, and compose these times the Lord give you hearts to joyne together to finde out a course, to send the Ministers of the Gospel to bring the glad tidings to poore people, that lie in the Mountaines of darknesse, and in the shadow of death.

Gospel-preaching not to be hindred.And let us not be so curious, or scrupulous, as to hin­der people that they should not preach the Gospel. Suppose people have no degrees in the University, or it may be have not the knowledge of the tongues, (though that were to be wished) let us not pick quar­rels with them to stop their mouthes, and to hinder the preaching of the Gospel. And let us not think so hardly in these dayes, of those men that God hath raised to preach the Gospel. It is strange you shall have your Pulpits ring, calling them Tub-preachers, and Tinkers, and Coblers. We should think better of them; Why? they are filled with good newes, and they goe and tell it to others. We doe so usually in other things, when we have good newes, we run to our friends, and neighbours, and comrades, and make it known.

New light discovered in these dayes.This is an age wherein God comes and fills his people, with the glorious light of the Gospel, and poore wretches, they cannot chuse but speak what [Page 50]they have seen, and heard; therefore be not so capti­ous, and furious. The Lord hath spoken, who can but pro­phesie? Amos 3.8. When God fills peoples souls with the knowledge of Christ; who can keep it in? It is as the new wine spoken of in Job, it cannot be kept in. And surely the time is comming that young men shall see visions, and old men shall dreame dreames, and God will poure out his Spirit upon all flesh, and they shall pro­phesie; It is prophesied in Joel, and this is to be made good in the new Testament. And therefore if wee see that the Lord fills young men, or tradesmen, &c. and gives them hearts to goe, and tell the good newes to others; why should you be so extreamely troubled, and spend your spirits in rage at it?

I use not to tell stories, but let me tell you this one thing; since I have been from you of late, I have ob­served, and seen, in the Mountaines of Wales, the most glorious work that ever I saw in England, unlesse it were in London; the Gospel is run over the Moun­taines between Brecknockshire, and Monmouthshire, as the fire in the thatch; and who should doe this? They have no Ministers: but some of the wisest say, there are about 800 godly people, and they goe from one to another. They have no Ministers, it is true, if they had, rhey would honour them, and blesse God for them; and shall we raile at such, and say they are Tub-Preachers, and they were never at the University? Let us fall downe, and honour God; what if God will honour himself that way? They are filled with good newes, and they tell it to others; and therefore vex not at them, and say, O, what times are these! and what will become of us? Why, what is the businesse? O, such a man he was never Master of Arts, hee was [Page 51] never at the University, and he takes upon him to preach; when it may be he hath more of God in him than I, and a hundred that have all this.

Only take two Cautions.Cautions

Learning not to be disparagedFirst, I speak not to disparage learning, or learned men, it were to be wished that there were more godly, and learned men also in England, and Wales.

Men not run before they be sent.Secondly, take this Caution, that because God fills many with the Gospel, and they doe a great deale of good, take heed least any of you run before you be sent, that is, that a man goe not rashly, and believe his owne judgement rather than the judgement of the Saints; as divers in this City they think they are fit to preach, and other people of God that are better able to judge of their gifts think not so, and yet they will run presently. Take heed of pride, and rashnesse, but if God fill a man with the tidings of the Gospel, and others of the people of God see it sparkle out as a vessel full of new wine, who am I that I should resist, if with humility hee make known this tidings to others?

If the Gospel be such a thing (as I desire you to spend some thoughts in considering of this truth) then this should comfort us, Vse 7 Comfort against present troubles. and help our patience a lit­tle in these trouble some times; that though all be out of order, and we suffer such losses, yet blessed be God we have the voyce of the turtle still in the Land; thou maiest say, though I have hard newes at home; trading is low, and my stock is small, yet blessed be God I have the Gospel, that is, I have abundance of glad tidings made known to my eares, and to my soule every day. This is some comfort, you have lesse of outward things, but more of inward (I suppose) then ever.

Another thing is this, Vse 8 if this be so, then it is a cau­tion that is necessary to be observed by us that are Ministers,1 Not to corrupt the Gos­pel. they must take heed of two things.

First, take heed of currupting, and adulterating this blessed Gospel, and glad tidings with their owne wisdome, it is glorious enough of it selfe, every addi­tion of humane wisdome makes it worse; take heed of sophisticating the word of God, of playing the hucksters, as the Apostle saith 2. Cor. 3. wee are not those that play the hucksters, hucksters mingle apples and peares: they mingle their commodities, take heed of that.

And then take heed of mingling the Law, 2. Not to mingle Law and Gospel. and the Gospel together. It is true the Law is necessary, and is added to the Gospel; but God intends not in the new testament that it should be mixed and mingled with the Gospel. As to instance in a few; many ministers undoe the soules of people, I know this by expe­rience that a Gospel-heart, that is but weake in Gospel light, and grace, had rather lie a yeare in close prison than to be a yeare under a ministerie, jumbling old and new together the Law and the Gospel, for it routs, and onfounds a poore soule. As to preach terrour and damnation to a sinner qua a sinner, properly as a sinner; though we be called ministers of the Gospell, yet this is a part of the ministerie of the Law: for the Law brings curses for a sinner, and blessings for him that doth well; now when we quatinus as a sinner damme him,2. It is legall to do good or abstain from evill for fear of judgment. and curse him, we harden him, and make him run further from God then before.

Secondly, when men have drawen men to good, or dri­ven men from evil with judgments, either spirituall, or temporall: this was the way of the ministery of the old [Page 53]testament. When people shall take all the judgments of the old testament, and perswade a man to do this or to take heed of that, or else thou shalt have judgment fall upon thee, and thou wilt bring judgment, upon the Land. Beloved, this was the way of God certainly and the way of the ministery of the old testament; but I never knew a saint a void evil, or doe good for feare of such judgments. Therfore looke to thy owne experi­ence; men may play at dice with the word of God that way; if a mans wayes like them not, they may say they will bring judgment upon the Land, as Indepen­dants, or as such, and such men; but these are but bug­beares, why? because in the Gospel, the saints are dili­vered from the hands of their enemies that they may serve God with out feare: they know that in God there is no cloud, God may chasten, and correct them out of love but there is no danger otherwise. And then againe they are delivered from men, they are not the servants of men.

Cause of divisions.I doe think for my part constantly, that the mayne cause of all the divisions, and stirrs, and contentions a­mong us is because there's so much of the old testament in our ministery especially, and our profession must be accordingly; for our strength will be according to our meat. And truly a man may be a Godly man, and yet may be a minister of the old testament; and if you take a man, let him be a Godly man, if his grace be bred in him by the ministery of the old testament, and nourish­ed in him by that: and take another saint that hath grace planted, and bred by the ministery of the Gospel, and nourished by that, the former man though he be godly, must of necesity persecute the latter. I pitty them when ministers rale against this man, and against that, [Page 54]and they know not why, yet they may be Godly men. Ishmael might be a Godly man for ought I know; he was a type, not of wicked men, but of men under the old Covenant, If ever you will have peace and comfort, in the Land, beg of God to remove an old testament spirit from our preachers, from our prayers, and our princi­pals, and to set up the new testament, Jesus Christ in the Gospel, and then certainly the promise shall be fulfilled, we shall be all of one heart and one way, and one mind, but it will never be otherwise as long as some reach to the ministery of the new testament and others goe in the old, as Ishmael, and Isaak could not be re­conciled, no more will these.

I will conclude all only with this last word, Vse 9 To receive the Gos­pel. seeing it is cleare out of the word (and so truly I hope you apprehend it through Gods grace that the whole Gospel is Good, it is nothing but sweet and glad tidings to the worst of sinners, much more to saints; then I ex­hort you in the name of Jesus Christ that you receive this Gospel. O there is no reason why thou should­est be so shie of Christ when we speake faire, and offer faire to your soules, and beseech you earnestly, and give you reasons why you should receive Christ, you har­ken but a little, and you goe away so shy, there are some sinners still: beloved there is no reason for it, God deads plainly; there is no tittle in the Gospel but it is really good and glad tidings to the worst of sinners; therefore receive it. What is that? Indeavour to be­leive it,1. To be­leve it. for the Lord Jesus that is the faithfull witnesse hath sayd it: and children heretofore used to say, it is as true as Gospel; and though it be Gospel, and truth yet you will not beleive it.

Then indeavour to imbrace it with joy,2. Embrace [...] with joy and affecti­on as in 1. Thess. 1. see how they received the Go­spel [Page 55]in joy with much affliction. What if it bring a lit­tle affliction with it, that thou be jeared; receive it with joy, it is joyfull, and glad tidings.

And then resigne thy self give thy self wholy up to walk according to this blessed Gospel, 3. To give up our selves to it and not to turne it into wantonnes, or abuse it, but that thou maiest give thy self bodie and soule as a living sacrifice to Jesus Christ, that since he died for thee, and hath given thee abound­ant righteousnes, and everlasting salvation, and all blessed, and glad tidings in it, that thou maiest give thy self, and all that thou hast, and art freely to live to that Je­sus Christ, and to obey his blessed commands. These are the uses that you and I should indeavour to make, that this truth may remaine, and abide with us, that there is nothing in the whole ministery of the new testament but good tydings, and glad newes to the worst of sinners.


An alphabeticall Table of the principall Heads contained in the foregoing SERMONS.

  • ABuse, see Li­berty Accident Part. Page How men come to doe good by accident Part. 1. Page 148
  • Adoption Spirit of adoption to be la­boured for Part. 2. Page 40
  • Full spirit of adoption wha Part. 2. Page 41
  • Affliction see moderated
  • Age Decency in regard of age Part. 1. Page 82
  • All what meant by it Part. 1. Page 4.
  • Angels. Angels waite on the Saints Part. 2. Page 18
  • Ascended Christ ascended into heaven Part. 2. Page 16
  • Backsliders Backsliders their course Part. 1. Page 156
  • Baptisme Baptisme, how appointed Part. 1. Page 1 [...]
  • Baptisme, the substance of it only set downe Part. 1. Page 23
  • Baptisme, the way to peace about it Part. 1. Page 100
  • Manner of baptisme determi­ned by the Magistrate Part. 1. Page 108
  • [Page]Baptisme doubted of by some Part. 1. Page 141
  • Believed, Believing Believing in Christ what Part. 1. Page 36
  • Gospel to be believed Part. 2. Page 54
  • Binde Not to binde others where Christ hath nor bound them Part. 1. Page 59
  • Bishops Bishops their practice Part. 1. Page 48
  • Bondage Spirit of bondage whence Part. 1. Page 52.
  • Brethren Expedient actions bring good to our brethren Part. 1. Page 70
  • Burthen Religion presented by some as a burthen Part. 1. Page 145
  • Scripture not all delivered in Canons Part. 1. Page 167
  • Carnall, see outward
  • Freedome from Ceremonies Part. 1. Page 14.
  • Why men run from Christ Part. 1. Page 26
  • See sinners, Spouse, minde
  • Christian, see spirituall, Question, excellent
  • The Church may determine concerning Gods worship how Part. 1. Page 1 [...]
  • Cautions for Churches in de­termining Ibid
  • The ten Commandments of force in the new Testa­ment Part. 1. Page 13
  • Upon what ground Saints obey the Commandements Part. 1. Ibid
  • See weakened
  • Coming to Christ what Part. 1. Page 36
  • Common see heart Paul's Compliance with men Part. 1. Page 12
  • Concurrence of things to ex­pediency Part. 1. Page 67
  • Condition of men by nature, shewed by the Gospel Part. 2. Page 11
  • Conscience of Saints to be warily dealt with in impo­sing lawes on them Part. 1. Page 111
  • Contention one cause of it Part. 1. Page 41
  • Ignorance of Christian liber­ty causeth Contention Part. 1. Page 54
  • Contentions to be avoided Part. 1. Page 71
  • Contentions among Saints how to end them Part. 1. Page 99
  • No reason of the present [Page]Contentions Part. 1. Page 125
  • Contentions whence they are Part. 1. Page 128
  • Gospel not to be Corrupted Part. 2. Page 52
  • Gods Covenant in the Gos­pel Part. 2. Page 16
  • Of being Covered, or uncover­ed in heating the word Part. 1. Page 114
  • Creature what meant by it Part. 2. Page 3
  • Gentiles called creatures, why Part. 2. Page 4
  • Credite to be given to what Christ teacheth Part. 1. Page 36
  • Custome hardly broken Part. 1. Page 21
  • Custome of Churches, and Saints to be looked to Part. 1. Page 113
  • Custome the weakest rule in spirituall things Part. 1. Page 114
  • Damned, Damnation A man may be damned for doing lawfull things Part. 1. Page 93
  • Damnation of Gospel refu­sers just Part. 2. Page 43
  • Decency what Part. 1. Page 78 see person, relation professi­on, sex, age, season
  • Those that eyenot expedien­cy lead others to destructi­on Part. 1. Page 150
  • Things that God hath deter­mined not to be weakened, Part. 1. Page 65
  • Things concerning worship to be determined how Part. 1. Page 170
  • Service of the Devil hard Part. [...]. Page 33
  • see sweetnesse
  • Christ died for us Part. 2. Page 15
  • Sweetnesse in sinne from di­stemper Part. 1. Page 34
  • Division, the cause of it Part. 2. Page 53
  • Christ a doore, how Part. 1. Page 29
  • Duties meanes of salvation how Part. 1. Page 31
  • Duties not to justle out ore another Part. 1. Page 78
  • Duties how required in the Gospel Part. 2. Page 22
  • THE wayes of Christ easie Part. 1. Page 29
  • Things left for us to doe easie Part. 1. Page 32
  • Christs wayes easie how Ibid
  • What use to be made of Gospel easinesse Part. 1. Page 97
  • [Page]Gospel duties few, and easie Part. 2. Page 24
  • Expedient actions tend to edifi­cation Part. 1. Page 73
  • Disorderly actions misse their end Part. 1. Page 87
  • Religion presented by some as endlesse Part. 1. Page 143
  • Enfringe, see liberty,
  • Engagement to parties inex­pedient Part. 1. Page 171
  • Encouragement see Sinners,
  • Things simply evill inexpedi­ent Part. 1. Page 62
  • Good to be ommitted when their comes a greater evil Part. 1. Page 63
  • Every example makes not a law Part. 1. Page 55
  • Example of old Saints to be looked to Part. 1. Page 112
  • See rule
  • Benefit of Gospel excommuni­cation Part. 2. Page 33
  • What makes an excellent Chri­stian Part. 1. Page 152
  • Expediency what Part. 1.7. Page 66
  • Expediency to be looked to as well as lawfulnesse Part. 1. Page 11
  • Few things expedient Part. 1. Page 61
  • Meaning of the word expedi­ent Part. 1. Page 88
  • Helps to expedient walking Part. 1. Page 177
  • See strict
  • Externalls how far to be looked to Part. 1. Page 22
  • See Worship
  • Some men pleased with doctrine out of faction Part. 1. Page 163
  • Faith required, and bred by the Gospel Part. 2. Page 25
  • Sinners invited to a feast Part. 1. Page 28
  • Vaine feares in Gods wayes to be avoided Part. 1. Page 104
  • Feares, and horrours whence Part. 2. Page 41
  • Things left for us to doe, few Part. 1. Page 32
  • Few turne from Christ to serve Satan Part. 1. Page 35
  • Who they be that intend good but to a few Part. 1. Page 140
  • Gods love fruitfull Part. 2. Page 13
  • Danger in making lawes for the future Part. 1. Page 110
  • Gentiles the worst of sinners Part. 2. Page 5
  • see creature
  • [Page]Expedient actions advance Gods glory. Part. 1. Page 69
  • Who they be that doe little for God. Part. 1. Page 143
  • Why men doe little for God. Part. 2. Page 29
  • Godly men how a cause of the present distractions. Part. 1. Page 133
  • see judgement.
  • Things simply good may be un­expedient. Part. 1. Page 63
  • A lesse good must give way to a greater. Ibid
  • Good when to be refrained Ibid
  • see evill, easinesse.
  • To preach the Gospel, what. Part. 1. Page 37
  • Liberty in the Gospel, what. Part. 1. Page 95
  • Gospel, what meant by it. Part. 2. Page 2
  • Difference between the Law & Gospel. Part. 2. Page 7
  • Gospel, to be enquired after. Part. 2. Page 47
  • To give up our selves to the go­spel. Part. 2. Page 55
  • see strict, new, Ministers, corruption.
  • Two wrong governments. Part. 2. Page 27
  • Grace more in the new Testa­ment than in the Old, Part. 1. Page 10
  • Guilt in the Saints, whence. Part. 1.52. Page 138
H Haire.
  • Of wearing long haire. Part. 1. Page 116
  • see Papists, natural, Devil.
  • Doing lawfull things with com­mon hearts brings guilt Part. 1. Page 138
  • Excellent Christians busied a­bout high things. Part. 1. Page 154
  • Hinderances to expediency. Part. 11. Page 171
  • Gospel tidings not to be hinde­red. Part. 2. Page 49
  • A signe of an hypocrite to re­gard only lawful things. Part. 1. Page 90
  • Hypocrisie hinders expedient walking. Part. 1. Page 177
  • Hold, see Liberty.
  • Things honest, what. Part. 1. Page 84
  • Spirituall honour reall. Part. 2. Page 17
I Jealousie.
  • DEvout jealousie touching truth and errour. Part. 1. Page 173
  • [Page]The service of the Jewes in the old Testament Part. 1. Page 32
  • Lawfull things done inexpedi­ently bring guilt Part. 1. Page 139
  • Ignorance, set contentions others Independency Part. 1. Page 49
  • Hurtful principles of Indepen­dents Part. 1. Page 123
  • see Presbytery, contention Indifferent things what Part. 1. Page 64
  • Interpret see word
  • Christs intercession for us Part. 2. Page 16
  • Gospel to be imbraced with joy Part. 2 Page 54
  • Godly men differ in judgment Part. 1. Page 125
  • Christ shall come to judgment Part. 2. Page 16
  • Judgments how denounced Part. 2. Page 35
  • Magistrates may determin in things that relate to their Kingdome Part. 1. Page 110
  • Knowledge see outward liber­ty
  • Christians must walk laud­ably Part. 1. Page 83
  • Why God laughs at mens de­struction. Part. 2. Page 45
  • Of those that abolesh the morrall Law Part. 1. Page 42
  • Those that make lawes to tie themselves Part. 1. Page 46
  • Those that make lawes to binde others Part. 1. Page 47
  • Danger to take away any of Gods lawes Part. 1. Page 59
  • Not to make lawes where God hath not Part. 1. Page 158
  • Mens lawes forced on people Part. 2. Page 28
  • Law and Gospel not to be ming­led Part. 2. Page 52
  • see example, Gospel
  • Things lawfull now that were not of old Part. 1. Page 5
  • Lawfull, what meant by it Part. 1. 6. Page [...]2
  • Sin in doing lawful things Ibid
  • Saints now their liberty in point of lawfulnesse Part. 1. Page 8
  • Christians troubled in the use of lawfull things Part. 1. Page 74
  • Men reproved that regard on­ly [Page] lawfull things Part. 1. Page 89
  • see expedient, rule, submit heart
  • Learning not to be disparaged Part. 2. Page 51
  • Errors on the left hand Part. 1. Page 40
  • Liberty of Saints in the new-Testament Part. 1. Page 14
  • Why Christ hath left that liber­ty Part. 1. Page 17
  • To understand our Christian liberty Part. 1. Page 51
  • Knowledge of Christian liberty safe Ibid
  • Christian liberty not to be in­fringed Part. 1. Page 55
  • Christian liberty not to be abu­sed Part. 1. Page 59
  • Christian liberty to be held fast Part. 1. Page 160
  • see others, contention, Gospel
  • Life see salvation
  • New light discovered Part. 2. Page 49
  • Expedient actions increase love Part. 1. Page 70
  • Love to be practised by Saints Part. 1. Page 106
  • Love to a mans selfe natures law Part. 1. Page 119
  • Love a help to expedient walk­ing Part. 1. Page 179
  • Gods love in the Gospel to sin­ners Part. 2. Page 13
  • Things lovely what Part. 1. Page 85
  • MAgistrates how far they may determine concerning Worship Part. 1. Page 107
  • Cautions for Magistrates in determining Part. 1. Page 109
  • see, time, place,
  • Malignants cause of the present contentions Part. 1. Page 132
  • Many see all,
  • Masters of families how they may determine concerning wor­ship Part. 1. Page 109
  • Meanes, see dutie
  • Members of Christ who Part. 1. Page 35
  • Saints in the new Testament growne men Part. 1. Page 18
  • Excellent Christians have Christs minde Part. 1. Page 153
  • Ministers forced on people Part. 2. Page 28
  • Gospel Ministers to be imbra­ced Part. 2. Page 45
  • see stumbling-blocks
  • Afflictions moderated to the Saints Part. 2. Page 20
  • Modestie a law of nature Part. 1. Page 119
  • Common multitude cause of the present contentions Part. 1. Page 134
N Nature.
  • THe law of nature to be loo­ked too. Part. 1. Page 118
  • Gods ordinary commands agree with the law of nature. Part. 1. Page 119
  • Contrary names put upon men and things. Part. 1. Page 101
  • Names of persons and things changed by the Devill. Part. 1. Page 131
  • Service of naturall men hard. Part. 1. Page 33
  • Magistrates may determine in necessary indifferent things. Part. 1. Page 109
  • The Ministery of the Gospel no­thing but good news. Part. 2. Page 6
  • Latitude of Saints in the new Testament. Part. 1. Page 12
  • see grace, liberty.
O Offended, see law.
  • OFfices and officers in the new Testament. Part. 1. Page 17.
  • Saints tyed more strictly of old. Part. 1. Page 8
  • see lawfull, grace.
  • Punctuall lawes in the old Te­stament. Part. 1. Page 15.
  • Old Testament spirit, what. Part. 1. Page 45
  • Sign of an old testament-spi­rit. Part. 1. Page 91
  • How men deprive themselves of opportunities. Part. 1. Page 147
  • Christians must walk orderly. Part. 1, Page 86
  • Things done disorderly, how. Part. 1. Page 87
  • What hinders men from win­ning others. Part. 1. Page 53
  • see law.
P Papists.
  • HArdnesse of Papists ser­vice. Part. 1. Page 33
  • Men offended that their party is spoken against. Part. 1. Page 163.
  • see engagement.
  • Posseover strictly observed. Part. 1. Page 16
  • What actiins tend to Peace. Part. 1. Page 71
  • The way to peace. Part. 1. Page 100.122
  • No peace to the wicked, how. Part. 2. Page 34.
  • see selfe, prosperity.
  • Some men thinke truth alway [Page]goes with persecution Part. 1. Page 175
  • Persecution of Saints a previ­ledge Part. 2. Page 19
  • Decency in respect of a Christi­ans person Part. 1. Page 78
  • Place of meeting to worship how to be determined Part. 1. Page 108
  • Pope, his practise Part. 1. Page 48
  • Power given in the Gospel to doe what is required Part. 2. Page 23
  • Practise, see Pope, Bishops
  • Things worthy praise what Part. 1. Page 85
  • Praise only to God Part. 1. Page 86
  • Of preaching Part. 1. Page 116
  • Precepts of severall sorts Part. 1. Page 56
  • see rule
  • Prejudice inconvenient Part. 1. Page 172
  • Of Presbytery Part. 1. Page 49
  • False Presbytery Part. 1. Page 101
  • True Presbytery Part. 1. Page 102
  • Presbytery, and Independents wherein they differ Ibid
  • Presbyterians judgments Part. 1. Page 124
  • Contention from carnall Pres­byterians Part. 1. Page 129
  • Principles and ends of carnall Presbyterians Part. 1. Page 136
  • see contention
  • Principles see Presbytery
  • Priviledge, see persecution
  • Outward prophanenesse by whome allowed Part. 1. Page 43
  • Decency in respect of professi­on Part. 1. Page 80
  • Profit meant by expediency Part. 1. Page 66
  • Profit how brought by actions expedient Part. 1. Page 68
  • profitable see sin
  • Truth goes not alway with pro­sperity Part. 1. Page 173
  • Prosperity sometimes goes with truth Part. 1. Page 75
  • Of singing Psalmes Part. 1. Page 115
  • Things pure what Part. 1. Page 85
  • Christians full of Questions why Part. 1. Page 140
  • THe Saints must be dealt with rationally Part. 1. Page 110
  • Reason of three sorts Part. 1. Page 117
  • Right reason, what Ibid
  • Rediculous to tie the Saints where Christ hath not Part. 1. Page 50
  • Religion presented by some as rediculous Part. 1. Page 146
  • Christ come to work redempti­on Part. 2. Page 14
  • [Page]Decency in regard of a Christi­ans relation Part. 1. Page 79
  • Religion, see endlesse, burthen
  • Things of good report what Part. 1. Page 85.
  • Benefit by Gospel reproofe Part. 2. Page 31
  • Right hand errours Part. 1. Page 44
  • Rigour not to be used in deter­mining things Part. 1. Page 111
  • The Law the outward, and the Spirit the inward rule Part. 1. Page 13
  • What precepts or examples make a rule Part. 1. Page 58
  • To walke all by the same rule Part. 1. Page 103
  • Every thing in Scripture not a rule Part. 1. Page 166
  • see Scripture
  • SAlvation to be accepted of from Christ Part. 1. Page 37
  • Wrong wayes to salvation Part. 2. Page 12
  • Rules mis-drawen from Scrip­ture Part. 1. Page 168
  • Heed in drawing rules from Scripture Part. 1. Page 169
  • see Canon, Rule,
  • Decency in regard of season Part. 1. Page 82
  • The way to peace in a mans self Part. 1. Page 138
  • Self a hindrance to expedient walking Part. 1. Page 177
  • Ministers not to run before they be sent Part. 2. Page 51
  • The Saints under the old Testa­ment servants Part. 1. Page 17
  • Decency in regard of sex Part. 1. Page 80
  • Engagement to sinners to come to Christ Part. 1. Page 26
  • Leaving of sin profitable Part. 2. Page 21
  • God makes no peace with sinne Part. 2. Page 35
  • Salvation offered to sinners as sinners Part. 2. Page 36
  • see lawfull
  • singing, see Psalmes
  • Difference small between Inde­dependents, and Presbyteri­ans Part. 1. Page 125
  • Sobriety a help to expedient walking Part. 1. Page 177
  • Saints in the new Testament sonnes Part. 1. Page 17
  • Expedient actions for the good of the soul Part. 1. Page 74
  • The service of the devil will one day be soure Part. 1. Page 34
  • Saints in the new Testament have more of the Spirit Part. 1. Page 19
  • Christs Kingdom spiritual Part. 1. Page 20
  • [Page]The Spirit enables to doe what is required Part. 1. Page 35
  • Spirituall things to be studied Part. 1. Page 105
  • Spiritual Christians their car­riage Part. 1. Page 141
  • Spirituall things by whom re­lished Part. 1. Page 155
  • Spirit by whom restrained Part. 2. Page 29
  • see rule
  • Ministers to woe men as spou­ses for Christ Part. 1. Page 28
  • Strength not given to keepe lawes of our owne making Part. 1. Page 139
  • Men strive about unlikely things Part. 1. Page 126
  • Men strive about that they can­not proue Part. 1. Page 127
  • Doctrine not to be abused to strife Part. 1. Page 165
  • Gospel way a strict way Part. 1. Page 94
  • To be strict in point of expedi­ency Part. 1. Page 98
  • Stumbling-blocks keep men from Christ Part. 1. Page 27
  • Stumbling-blocks removed Part. 1. Page 162
  • Saints now tied chiefely to the substance of things Part. 1. Page 23
  • see supper
  • To submit to Christs laws Part. 1. Page 38
  • To look to our principles against times of suffering Part. 1. Page 176
  • Supper of the Lord how or­dained Part. 1. Page 16
  • Substance of the Lords Supper set downe Part. 1. Page 24
  • Sweetnesse in the Devils ser­vice whence it is Part. 1. Page 34
  • Sweetnesse in Christs service not tasted Ibid
  • EVery thing in the Gospel glad tidings Part. 2. Page 11
  • Gospel tidings great, and true Part. 2. Page 48
  • Gospel tidings to be spread abroad Ibid
  • Tie, see ridiculous
  • Time of publique worship by whom to be determined Part. 1. Page 107
  • Comforts against troubles Part. 2. Page 51
  • Things true what Part. 1. Page 84
  • Saints of old as children under tutours Part. 1. Page 18
  • Signe of unbeliefe Part. 2. Page 36
  • understand, see liberty
  • Unsetlednesse in Religion [Page]whence Part. 2. Page 57
  • VVatchfulnesse a help to expedient walking Part. 1. Page 179
  • Weak Christians cause conten­tions Part. 1. Page 129
  • Nothing commanded by God to be weakened Part. 1. Page 165
  • Some make the way wider than Christ hath made it Part. 1. Page 40
  • Expedient actions tend to the winning of others Part. 1. Page 73
  • see others
  • Carnall wisdome a hindrance Part. 1. Page 176
  • Spirituall wisdome a help to expedient walking Part. 1. Page 177
  • God wil interpret his own word Part. 1. Page 174
  • Fancy to be subjected to the word Part. 1. Page 178
  • Notions to be followed as they agree with the word
  • The maine work of salvation done already Part. 1. Page 29
  • Liberty in the externalls of Gods worship Part. 1. Page 15
  • No liberty in the substance of Gods worship Ibid
  • The maine work done concern­ing worship Part. 1. Page 104
  • Yoake of Christ, what Part. 1. Page 9.

THe number of the Pages in the latter three Sermons, begin­ning with 1, 2, 3, &c. For thy ease in the use of the Table I have set down what is contained in the nine former Sermons, as Part 1. In the three latter as Part 2. Whereby with ease may be found any head in either.

T. S.

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