THE SAINTS FULNESSE OF JOY in their fellowship with God: PRESENTED In a Sermon preached July 21. 1646.

Before the Honorable House of Commons in Margarets Westminster, Being the day appointed for Thankesgiving for the surrender of OXFORD.

By the least of Saints, and the meanest of the Ministers of the Gospel, W. Cradock.

LONDON, Printed by Matthew Simmons, and are to be sold by George VVhittington, at the blew Anchor neere the Royall Exchange. 1646.

THere was an Order from the Honorable House of Parlia­ment to print this Discourse, such as it is, allowing me the usuall priviledges vouchsafed in this kind; in obedience to which Order, I ap­point Matthew Simmons and Hannah Allen to print the same.

W. C.


PEACE among Brethren is the Pearle that is lost in these dayes; which many pretend to seek, and all justly complaine is wanting; many out-cryes there are for it, in the mouth's of some, whose hearts and principles are full of warre and contention; Their words are Ps. 55. 21. softer then oyle, and yet they be drawne swords; [Page] Yea such is the hypocrisie of this age, that it is become al­most the Character of a Malignant, or Atheist, in all com­panies, with much seeming zeale and devotion, to pray and desire Peace, Union, Reconciliation, neglecting the while all meanes that may conduce to the same.

Others there are (and those not a few) who long for Peace, and that sincerely, but not hitting the right way to attaine to it, doe often cast more Oyle into the flame, and make the breach wider. This following Discourse (though it be the meanest of any that ever hath been pre­sented unto you) points out the surest and readiest way to finde this Jewel, (i.) Fellowship with the Father, and his Sonne Jesus Christ. Fellowship with God necessarily begets fellowship between men. He onely is an enemy to Man, that is not upon tearmes of friendship with God. God is love, and when we are in him, and walke with him, wee cannot but be like him. Could wee fully appre­hend God as our Father, Christ as our Head, all the Saints his members, chosen and beloved, wee should no longer bite, teare, and devoure one another: a spirit of Love, Goodnesse, Meeknesse, Long-suffering, that is in God, and dwells in Christ, would run through all our veines; tempering our hearts, and framing our carriages Euk. 6. Ephes. 5. towards men, as God's in Christ hath been towards us. Yea, it would mollifie our spirits towards all, even the worst of men, and make us live peaceably as much as in us lieth with all men. To give no offence to any man. Rom. 12. 1 Cor. 10. Titus 3. 1 Cor. 4. Mat. 5. To speake evill of no man. To blesse when wee are blasphemed. To give up our cloakes to him that takes away our coat, &c. And because there is a generall distance growne between men and God, an inter­mission [Page] of spirituall fellowship, therefore these Scriptures are become now Apocryphall, which were precious Truths formerly to the Saints, (and it may be still are to a few) who studied rather to conforme themselves to the strictest Rules, then wrest the Rule to their owne carnall sen­ses and corrupt lusts; a practice too common in these times.

Oh that wee could then doe as the wise Traveller, who being wilderd in a Forrest, despairing to finde the way forward, returnes thither where he first lost his way: We have lost our way, our selves, our God, and all almost, by an O­ver-violent contention about Things externall: Wee have cast durt upon each other, that will not be wiped off our names in many Ages, opened the mouth's of the wicked, rejoyced the hearts of Papists, grieved the Spirit of God. Oh how happy should wee yet be, if wee would returne to our GOD, renewing our fellowship with him in the Spirit!

Surely it was better with us then when wee made our Hos. 2 Fellowship with God, Holinesse, Righteousnesse, our chiefe studie, when Christianitie, and the power of God­linesse, was the Cement that united us together; When wee were distinguished from the world, and knowne to one another by the style of Saints, Professors of Godli­nesse, Honest-men.

It is one of my firmest Principles, and by Gods Grace shall ever be my practice, to make union and communion with God my maine worke, to studie peace with all men; To Love, Honour, Receive SAINTS quà SAINTS; To receive, I say, those whom Christ hath received. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, [Page] binde up every one of your soules in that bundle, and so preserve your whole spirit, soule and body blamelesse un­to his comming, which shall ever be the most unfeigned prayer of

Your most humble servant, W. CRADOCK.

A SERMON PREACHED at the late Thankesgiving, be­fore the Honourable House of COMMONS,

1 IOHN 1. 3, 4.‘And truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Sonne Jesus Christ. And these things write wee unto you, that your joy may be full.’

THe chiefe end (Beloved) of your meeting here this day is to re­joyce together, for those manifold mercies, that the Lord hath been pleased to bestow (of late espe­cially) upon you and the whole Kingdom; and I suppose that we (I meane the Ministers) that are called hither by you, are intended to be (as the Scripture saith) as furtherers of Phil. 1. 25. your joy. But truly, Beloved, those mercies of them­selves that are in your thoughts, and that have been spoken of here already at large, (I meane those victo­ries, and surrenders of Garrisons &c.) though I con­fesse [Page 2] they be very great, and glorious, yet they may in a sort be reckoned among naturall things, they are at best but temporall mercies, and so they can produce but a kind of naturall joy. For as wee heard this mor­ning, vide. Mr. Wilkinsons Sermon. the effect must be, as the cause is. And as it is somewhat beneath a Christian to insist much upon those naturall things, thereby to expresse naturall affections; so is it much more below the worke of a Gospel Minister to stir you up to such joyes as these things doe properly produce. Therefore my designe at this time is (as God shall inable me) to raise you up a little above all these things, to lead you to spiri­tuall joy, which indeed is the onely true joy, at least the fountaine of all joy. For take any other joy and abstract it from its spiritualities, then indeed you may say of it with Solomon, it is but as the crackling of thornes; Eeles. 7. 6. it is light, short, superficiall, and will undoubtedly end in everlasting sorrow. Therefore as I would not put you out of your way of rejoycing, so I wish I could scrue you up to the truest joy, that is, to the most spirituall joy, which is fully laid downe here in my text.

And truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Sonne Jesus Christ. And these things write wee unto you, that your joy may be full.

The Apostle in this Epistle writes to Saints, though he doth not describe, or decipher them by their names, condition, or the places of their habitation, (as Paul and Peter and other Apostles doe) yet he styles them by a glorious title, viz. Beleivers, as you may see 1 John 5. 13. These things have I written unto you that beleive on the name of the Sonne of God &c.

And in writing thus to beleivers, his scope as I con­ceive [Page 3] was twofold, or he aimes principally at two things, as you may clearely see if you peruse the whole Epistle.

First, to build them up in their holy faith, to raise their faith to an higher pitch, or degree, whereby they might have, and injoy, more fellowship with God the Fa­ther, and his Sonne Jesus Christ; and so by consequence be more joyfull, holy, and obedient. This you shall see if you compare 1 John 5. 13. with this 1 John 1.

The other thing that the Apostle aimes at is, to in­crease Christian and spirituall love betweene one beleiver and another. And this he speakes much of throughout the Epistle, especially in the 3. and 4. chap. I shall not at all at this time meddle with this latter, my businesse lieth wholly in the former.

Now the only meanes and way that the Apostle here takes to attaine to this his aime is by discovering, or lay­ing open Jesus Christ clearely and fully unto them, as we see ver. 1, 2, 3. That which was from the beginning, which wee have heard, which wee have seen with our eyes, which wee have looked upon, and our hands have handled of the word of life &c. He takes this as the chiefe meanes, to build them up in faith, joy, love, and holinesse; a discovery (I say,) or laying open of Jesus Christ unto them: and that not simply or carnally, but in his spirituality and glory. And therefore he useth an elogie for his person which of all other is the most comprehensive that I know in Scripture, he calls him the Word: and then [...]. withall he sets him out with his graces, and the privi­ledges we have by him, comprehending them all in the word Eternall life. For as of all the titles that doe expresse the personall excellencies of the Lord Christ that is the most glorious [...] the word: so of all that [Page 4] hold forth the priviledges that wee have by him, there is not one word that expresseth them so fully as this of Eternall life; for it containes, and comprehends all the grace and glory wee have with him. This is the course and meanes that he takes to wind up the Saints to a higher pitch of faith, holinesse &c.

Neither doeth he propose Christ to them (though in his glory) as a thing uncertaine, but he sets him forth with a great deale of evidence and assurance; there­fore he saith, That which was from the begininng, which we have HEARD, which we have SEEN with our eyes, which we have looked upon &c. The meaning is not properly, that John having been an Apostle with Christ, did sometimes handle him, & sometimes lay in his bosome, and so this to be understood in a corporall way; but the meaning I conceive is this, we have knowne Jesus Christ, he hath been so revealed to us, with that fulnesse of assurance, with that perspicuity and clearenesse; that as in naturall things, you have many senses concur together, to discover them, as eyes, eares, hands, &c. these things are very sure and certaine: so (Brethren) saith John, that I may build you up in faith &c. I would lay open Jesus the word of God, that hath eternall life with him, as a thing that is as sure, and certaine, as if yee had seene him, and tasted him, heard him, and handled him, as wee our selves have done; for as Jesus Christ by the Spirit of God had been made knowne in that cleare manner with that certainty to John, so he goeth about to cleare him with the same assurance also to other beleivers, that they also might have fellowship with the Fa­ther, and with Iesus Christ, as he had. I will detaine you no longer in the coherence of the words.

In the words themselves there are three things to be observed.

First, an Assertion, our fellowship is with the Father, and his Sonne Jesus Christ. It is a glorious one, as any I know in this blessed booke.

Secondly, an Asseveration (if I may so call it,) to this blessed Assertion, TRVLY saith he, and truly our fellowship is with the Father &c. though I confesse the Greeke word [...] is not so emphaticall as our word [truly] in English, yet as it stands here in its coherence comparing it with the beginning of the chapter, and observing the vehe­mency of his expression, we have seen and tasted and handled the word of life, we may well call [truly] a kind of Asseveration to this Assertion.

Thirdly, the end that the Apostle hath to speake thus highly of this his fellowship, is not out of pride, or vaine-glory, as the Pharisee Luke 18. I thanke God I fast twice in the weeke, I am not as other men. John did not speake thus out of pride of spirit when he saith, Truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Sonne Jesus Christ: as if he should meane all o­thers are punyes or carnall people in comparison of himself: no, but with humility and love, out of a desire to doe my brethren good; these things I write unto you that your joy may be full; I write not these things to boast of, and make a shew, but I am forced to write these things because I see with so much certainty the excel­lency that is in Jesus Christ, and doe taste so much sweetnesse in communion, and fellowship with him, that I cannot chuse but write thus unto you that you al­so may have fellowship with him. I will stand no longer upon the explication and division of the words, there is enough already said to lead us to many wholsome blessed truthes that lie in and about these words, if God give us his Spirit, and we had time to looke into them; [Page 6] there are many truthes (I say) that well become Iohn the Divine, as he is called; they are all divine, transcen­dently divine and spirituall: I will only touch 3. or 4. Observations, and then pitch upon one.

The first is this.

The more spirituall or divine Christians are, the more Obser. 1 they wilbe taken up and imployed about spirituall worke.

John is called John the Divine, not as wee call Divines from Office, but from the excellency of Grace, and the clearenesse of divine manifestations, therefore the Ancients compare him to an Eagle; now John in his whole Epistle medleth not with controversies, (especially about outward and externall things,) but being wholly spirituall, he writes altogether spiritual­ly, about spirituall substantiall things from the begin­ning to the end. Mistake me not, I doe not say that it is not lawfull, and sometime convenient, for Ministers and others to have to doe with such things but this is that I only ayme at; whereas divers conceive that it is their spiritualnesse, the excellency of their grace, that they are carried on in Pulpits and Presses so vehemently in wrangling and striving about external things, it is to be feared that much of that zeale, violence, and labour is fleshly; and were wee more spirituall, hundreds (I beleive) of those Questions would be removed, that lie now like stumbling blocks in our way, according to that in the 2. of this Epist. ver. 10. He that loves his bro­ther abideth in the light, and there is no occasion of stumb­ling in him. And were wee filled with the knowledge of God, the love of Christ, humility and selfe-deniall, preferring each other before our selves; certainely a [Page 7] world of these controversies would soone vanish away: As those that are spirituall can speake by expe­rience.

A second thing I would have you to observe, is this:

The best way to bring either a Sinner to God, or to build up a Saint, in any grace, or in any point of godlinesse what­soever, Obser. 2 is the spirituall promulgation, manifestation or de­claration of Jesus Christ in his person, excellencies and Priviledges, doings and sufferings &c.

This is the best meanes; therefore John useth onely that, he layes down Jesus Christ as one that had beene seene, heard, & felt, (as it were) to be the [...], the eternall word that brought eternal life, and he expects that this should worke in the soule faith, joy &c. I beseech you beare with mee beloved, I feare we spend a great deale of our time almost in vaine, and waste much of our la­bour, when we would bring our owne hearts, or others to a duty, or stir up a grace, we use and urge so many morall Motives and Meanes; not that I say but wee may use motives and meanes spirituall and morall, but if we did study to open Iesus Christ fully to the soule, Iohn 3. 14. if we did lift up the Brazen Serpent so as poore peo­ple might behold him, we should not need the tenth part of those meanes, exhortations, and paines that we now take: For in the Gospel wee shall see (and it is our wisdome to follow the scripture; the neerer that, the better) the Apostles when they went forth to preach they told them a story (if I may so speake with reverence) of one Jesus Christ that was the word of God, and that was become man, and how he was crucified at Jeru­salem, and how he was raised from the dead, and all this in a plaine, simple, spirituall way and manner, and while [Page 8] they were telling these blessed stories, the Spirit fell upon people, and they beleived, and had faith wrought in them. Faith is not wrought so much in a rationall way, (I meane in a way of ratiocination) as by the Spi­rit of God comming upon the soules of people by the relation, or representation of Christ to the soule; and this our Lord himselfe hintes. As Moses lifted up the Serpent in the wildernesse, even so must the Sonne of Iohn 3. 14. man be lifted up, that whosoever beleiveth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. You know the very be­holding of the brazen Serpent, when people were stung, God so ordered it that the very beholding should bring help (though we know not how) to those that were wounded, and stung by those Serpents: so God hath ordained in his blessed wisdome that the discovery of Jesus Christ, the beholding of him, the eying of him by faith, should be that, which shall transforme us in­to his image, and so conforme us to any duty, as the Apostle saith, wee are transformed while wee behold him with open face to his glory. Hence it is that in Scripture 2 Cor. 3. 18. all godlinesse and every point of godlinesse, is often called the knowledge of Christ. For instance, justification in Scripture is called the knowledge of Christ; By his know­lede shall my righteous servant justifie many. So also san­ctification, Esay. 53. 2 Pet. 3. 18. Grow in grace & in the knowledge of Christ. After that by the knowledge of Jesus Christ they were cleansed from their sins &c. Truly, Beloved, every grace is 2 Pet. 2. comprehended in the knowledge of Jesus Christ, did we know Jesus Christ aright, savingly, spiritually, effectu­ally, we should be full of faith, full of godly feare, full of humility, full of self-deniall, full of diligence, and readines to every good word and worke, so that our maine defect is in that, but I passe by that also.

A third thing be pleased to observe from the cohe­rence of these words, that

Divine objects, seene by faith (if it be a saving and right faith,) carries with them as much evidence, certainty, and assurance, as any naturall thing that wee apprehend by any, or all our naturall senses.

We have seen, heard, and tasted, the more of our senses are imployed to apprehend a thing, the more assu­rance, confidence, and evidence it carries with it. Put the five senses together to discover any naturall object whatsoever, that cannot be more sure and certaine to us, then all spirituall objects apprehended by a spiritu­all Christian, through a lively faith, are to him: there­fore it is said that faith is the evidence of things not seen, Heb. 11. 1. of things invisible; he doth not say that faith is an opini­on, a probability, a conjecture or a wild guesse, but faith (saith he) is the evidence of things not seen, that is, of things that by naturall reason you cannot see, yet making them as reall and as evident as any thing wee doe see by reason, sense, and all.

And thence (Beloved) you see that godly men in all ages have been so free to part with their credit, to renounce their profit, to lay downe their lives, for spirituall things sake: now did they not apprehend a reality and certainty in them, surely they were no lesse then mad men, to forgoe substances for shadowes. It were no lesse then madnesse for a man to give himselfe up to be a prisener, when he might be free, to be a foole when he might be accounted wife, to be poore when he might be rich, if he did not see a reality in spirituall things for which he willingly forsakes and leaves all these other.

The Saints in all ages have done so, wee read in the [Page 10] Epistle to the Hebrew of Moses and Abraham how Heb. 11. they forsooke all, Abraham forsooke his countrey, Moses forsooke Pharaohs house, and they were no children; for Moses was forty yeares old, saith the Scrip­ture, when he refused the pleasures of Pharaohs house to imbrace afflictions with the poore Saints. Whence was this thinke you? Moses saw him that was invisible, how? by faith, for all that chapter hath reference to, and is but an illustration of the first verse: Faith is the Heb. 11. evidence of things not seen, and all the rest are exam­ples of the same. He saw him that is invisible, and by the same eye that he saw God, he saw all that belonged to God, and therefore saw that it was better to indure afflictions with the people of God, then to injoy the pleasures of sin for a season.

And that is the reason on the other side why we see all carnall men, and Hypocrites whatsoever, some time or other (when in any speciall manner God would have them deny themselves &c.) to faulter, and flagg, and at last fall utterly, which indeed are to be pitied, rather then censured by us men, in the flesh. For here is the case, there comes a command to a carnall hearted professor (that professeth godlinesse, but hath not learned Christ, as the truth is in Jesus) requiring him to forsake his credit, and undergoe shame, to forsake his wealth, and be poore &c. this carnall heart having not the Prospective-glasse of faith; he sees not any reality in spirituall things to counterpoize this losse, then doth he basely leave Christ, and throw off all his profession. Therefore I said we should pity them, as Christ did the young man when he bid him sell all, he was sorrow­full, Mat. 19. 22. saith the text. If he had seen riches in Christ, he would have sold all and rejoiced, and thought he had [Page 11] made a very good bargaine: but I wave these things.

I had another thing, I will onely mention it, because happily the Lord may doe some good by it; with all humility I commend it to my brethren, as the un­worthiest Minister of the Gospel.

We that are Ministers should in all our Ministeriall workes, propose some solid spirituall scope, or end to our Ministery, and to every part of it; as John did here, and the Apostles in every Sermon and Epistle.

Beloved, I have knowne in my observation (which it may be hath been too critical in the workes of others) many learned, godly (and otherwise able) Ministers, who took much paines, preached solidly, and yet in the end reaped some of little little, some no appearing fruit at all, of all their sweat, and labour: some of them pro­fessing in their old age they knew not that soule that ever was brought home to Christ by their Ministry. And this to my apprehension seemed to be the chiefe reason, (as to the worke of man) they never did pro­pose any particular end, or distinct scope to their worke, which indeed they could not well doe as having no spirituall acquaintance with the estates and conditions of their Auditors. He that would convert sinners, or edify Saints, ought to study soules, as well as bookes. And those Ministers I have observed to worke most excellently, and labour most succesfully, who have been accustomed to converse most with their hearers. I have also alwaies thought (in reference principally to the discharge of my owne worke) that the meere preaching of two Sermons a weeke as it doth not reach the practise of the Apostles, so is Act. 20. 26. it not one halfe of the worke of a Gospel Minister. As [Page 12] our frequent, familiar spirituall converse with our hearers doth furnish us with more skill to deale with the soules of others, so it conduces much to the quick­ning of our owne, without which wee shooting (as it Rom. 1. 11. 22. were) at rovers must often misse the marke, if ever we aimed at any: without which we are as expert Smiths that make curious keyes and never consult with the wards of the locke, whereas a rude ilshap'd key that is fitted to the locke is of much use, the other of none at all. This surely (might I crave leave to speake) is a comon neglect in us, and a considerable defect in most of our Ministries, which makes many of us labour as it were in the fire. Neither is it sufficient for us to say, when Gods work doth not prosper in our hands, that yet our judgemnet is with the Lord &c. unlesse we have in Isa. 49. 4. all things done the worke of a Minister, which as I said before, is not halfe done till wee have attained to some compleat measure of acquaintance with the soules of our people, nor at all will be done till wee have the skill of speaking to their very hearts, and particular estates. It was once a speech of a reverend Minister, Mr. W [...]oth that blessed Apostle of South-wales. who (because of the multitude of his hearers was often necessitated to preach in the Ch. yard) That there was not one person in that Congregation whose spirituall estate he did not fully know; and the successe of his worke was answerably, exceeding great and glorious: neither (said he) is there any Sermon I preach, wherein I teach them not at least one lesson more then any one of them all knew before, and yet I learne from them throughout the weeke, as much or more then they doe of me on the Lords Day. But (Reverend and beloved) I acknowledge with all sin­cerity it becomes me rather to learne, then to teach, onely I beseech you beare with me thus farre.

Now to come lastly, to the lesson that I shall insist on; from the words themselves: the other lessons lay but about the words of my text, and were raised onely from the coherence. And truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Sonne Jesus Christ▪ And these things write wee unto you, that your joy may be full. The lesson that I would observe from these words is this.

Fulnesse of joy, is a fruit or consequent of our fellowship with the Father, and his Sonne Jesus Christ.

Now what this fellowship is; to open it at large is not possible to be done at this time: I will pitch upon one thing onely therein, and that is a great piece, if not the chiefe in our fellowship with God, and Jesus Christ: that is, our oneness or union with the Father and his Sonne Jesus Christ: For there can be no commu­nion, where there is no union; there can be no fellow­ship betweene God and us, if wee be not one with him.

And though fellowship with God and Jesus Christ, are not separated in themselves, and are seldom men­tioned in Scripture apart; yet because I would not lay the foundation of my discourse larger and wider, then I have time to build thereon; I must therefore crave leave for this time to lay aside with all reverence, one blessed person in the Trinity, and speake of our fellow­ship, to wit, our union with Christ, and so contract the doctrine to a little narrower compasse, thus:

Fulnesse of joy is a fruit of our union with Jesus Doctr. Christ.

I contract it to this, as for the times sake, so also be­cause I desire rather to goe to the bottome of one truth, then to start up many: I will give you two places of Scripture to prove this.

The first is in Joh. 15. from the beginning to the 12. [Page 14] verse: I am the vine, and yee are the branches, &c. you know the parable. These things have I spoken to you (Saith Christ) that my joy may remaine in you, and that your joy might be full. Understand this Scripture (briefly) thus. Our Lord Christ was now going to Heaven from his Disciples, and here in these chapters 14. 15. and 16. he takes a great deale of paines to comfort them, to make them as chearefull as he could, in parting with him, and he gives them many blessed words of comfort chap. 16. 23. chap. 14. 13. to feed on, as that their prayers should be all answered: And though he did goe to Heaven it should further their prayers, and they should have the Spirit the sooner, the Comforter: And among the rest, he tells them, I am the vine and yee are the branches: there is a world of chap. 16. 7. comfort and joy in that; though wee goe asunder and are now to part, yet yee are branches graffed into me, nothing can separate us, I am the vine, and my Father is the husbandman, he will have a care that I nourish these branches to everlasting life: and the reason wherefore I tell you all this is, that your joy may be full, that when I am gone to Heaven, you may for ever remember the union that is betweene us, which Heaven and earth and hell shall never breake or dissolve: this is one Scripture for the confirmation of this doctrine.

The other is in Joh. 17. 11. compared with ver. 13. our Saviour prayeth there, Holy Father keep them through thine owne Name, those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one as wee are one. Christ Jesus now prayes for his in Heaven, though they know it not but by faith: But here he prayes in their very hearing to comfort them. And as Christ preached to them that he was one with them, so he prayed to his Father in their hea­ring, that they might be one, and kept one as he is one [Page 15] with his Father: whereto is all this? These things I speake in the world: why so? he might have done it in Heaven; but I doe it in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves: as if he had said, I know it is an exceeding great joy to my poore disciples to heare me preach, that I & they are one, but it is more to heare me pray thus for them, for they know, that thou never denyest me any thing, Iohn 11. 42. and I pray, that they and I may be kept one for ever, as thou and I are one. So much for the proofe of the doctrine. Now I shall indeavour to open, and explicate this a little to you; which that I might doe, there are two or three Questions, (though I shall not be able to reach them all) that would be necessary to be resolved:

The first is this, What is meant by fulnesse of Quest. 1 joy?

The second is, What kind of union or onenesse is this, Quest. 2 that beleivers have with Jesus Christ?

The third is, Wherein doth this union stand? whereof Quest. 3 doth it consist? And I hope by that time. I have opened the first, and second, I shall not need to speake to the other.

The first Question then is this, what is meant by ful­nesse Quest. 1 of joy in this place?

You must understand that joy ariseth alway from Sol. 1 the apprehension of some good, either presently in­joyed, or hoped for: Good is the object of joy, whether that good be really good, or seemingly good, whether wee injoy it for present, or hope to injoy it hereafter, it workes joy in us. There are 4. sorts of good, and but foure in the world worth mentioning, (I meane of generall good things which may cause men to re­joyce;) and of those 4, the three first will not bring in fulnesse of joy, they have but a little, short, scanty joy with them; & the fourth doth the deed.

The first is outward mercies, as health, wealth, pro­sperity, victories, peace, deliverances, &c. Beloved, these are outward mercies, temporall mercies, (as we call them) and these (I confesse) bring in some joy to the soule, but not full joy; which is true both of the ha­ving of them, or being instrumentall in them.

1. The having of them: it is comfortable to have peace after warre, and to have plenty, and trading, our shops, and high-wayes open &c. wee may re­joyce in these things. For godlinesse doth not unman 1 Cor. 7 30. us, it doth not hinder the course of any true naturall affection in us: neither doth God blame us for rejoyce­ing in these things. But surely the having of these things doth not bring in full joy, because it is possible these things may be curses, as well as blessings: and at the best they are but externall temporall blessings, they sinke not to the bottome of the heart, and they last but for a season.

2. No, nor being instrumentall in procuring them. I confesse that as the Apostle saith (citing the words of Act. 20. 35. our Lord) it is a more blessed thing to give then to receive, so it is a great deale more happy, and a far more com­fortable thing, to be instrumentall to procure peace, and welfare to others, then the injoyment of those things our selves.

And this is for your comfort (without flatterie be it spoken) I meane our Parliament and our Armyes, it is much I say for your comfort and it may bring a great deale of joy to you, that not onely you have out­ward mercies, as peace &c. but that you have been the chiefe instruments to procure all our mercies. And as I said it is a great deale more comfortable to doe good, then to receive it, to be instrumentall in procuring these things, then the meere having or injoying of them. [Page 17] For in Scripture you shall finde Cyrus, though else (it Esa. 44. 28. may be) he was a carnall naturall man, yet he is called the Shepherd of God, his Anoynted: because he was an instrument, whereby the Saints injoyed peace and Esa. 44. 28. deliverance. You shall never reade in Scripture that Esa. 45. 1 men are called Gods Anoynted, simply for having worldly things: nay, there is sonmewhat like the con­trary, they are called the men of the world, that have their portion in this life, and woe to you that are full. But al­though Psal. 17. 14. Luk. 6. 24. 25. this latter may bring more joy then the other: yet truly, Beloved, it will not bring in, full joy: why? because as Paul speakes of preaching, a man may be a meanes to save others, and he himselfe a castaway; a 1 Cor. 9. ult. man may be as Noahs Carpenters, that helped to build an Arke for him, and themselves drowned: therefore though it may bring thee joy, yet if Christ be not in thy soule, if thou have not union and communion with the Father, and his Sonne Jesus Christ, it will be but a poore comfort to thee to say, I have saved a Towne, I have wonne a City, I have subdued such an enemy, reduced such a Garrison, broken such an Army: this may bring joy, but not full joy.

A second good that men looke on as that which pro­duceth joy, (which is a little higher then the former,) is the common gifts and graces of the Spirit of God, as working of miracles, healing the sicke, dispossessing men of Devills, and those gifts that among us are now extant, as the gift of illumination, prayer, preaching, expounding the Scriptures: and if you looke on these things as divided from Christ, either the having of them, or the exercise of them, both these things may bring joy, but not full joy.

The having of them. Judas, Simon Magus and [Page 18] the disciples whom our Lord compares to the second and third grounds, had these gifts amongst them, some Matth. 13. more, some lesse: and they rejoyced, saith the text, Mat. 13. but you know Iob saith that the joy of the hypocrites is but for a moment. And notwithstanding all these gifts, (yea and the performances or plausible duties which flowe from them) without union with Christ men are but hypocrites, wee may call them so, and so their joy is not full being but for a moment.

Secondly, there is some joy in the acting and exer­cising of common gifts, and graces, as wee read in Luk. where the disciples had been abroad casting out De­vills, and rejoycing therein, our Lord checkes them: In this, saith he, rejoyce not that the spirits are subject to you, Luke 10. 20. but rather rejoyce that your names are written in Heaven. The meaning is not, you shall not at all rejoyce, for Christ to have a company of poore fishermen persecu­ted in the world, to worke on people so as to dis­possesse them of Devills, to heale the sicke &c. doubt­lesse they were in a sort allowed to rejoyce, but the meaning is this, Rejoyce not, that is, expect not com­pleate joy from these things, take no such great delight and pleasure in these things, but rather rejoyce that your names are written in Heaven, that is, in a manner the same as if he had said, that you have union and communion with the Father, and his Sonne Jesus Christ.

The third good thing wee use to rejoyce in, is farre higher then this, and yet produceth not fulnesse of joy, that is, the saving graces of the Spirit of God. I pray Beloved understand me in this warily. There is a great deale of joy surely in the having or exercising any saving spirituall grace. Therefore the Apostle [Page 19] saith, righteousnesse, and peace and joy in the holy Ghost. Rom. 14. 1 Wheresoever there is righteousnesse & peace in the heart, there joy in the holy Ghost followes. And in doing any thing out of a sincere spirit, out of the power of grace, there is much joy, which God allowes us. I meet him (saith God) that rejoyceth and worketh righteousnesse. Esa. 64. 5. There is no act of righteousnesse that is done in sinceri­ty, but it is as meate and drinke to us, as our Lord Christ saith, John 4. yet for all this, there is not, there cannot be fulnesse of joy from the apprehension of any grace, or the exercise of it in our soules: For if you take grace and abstract it from our head Christ but in your thoughts, and imaginations, (for so you may doe) it is but as a dead thing, (as blessed Preston saith,) it is but a creature, and would perish as other creatures, were we not united to a Fountaine of grace, he that hath most grace in him, his grace would die and be extinct. Grace is as the beames of the Sun in a house through a win­dow: cut off the beames from the Sun, shut the win­dow, & they are gon. So I may sum up all these things, and comprehend them (respectively) in those words of the Prophet; Behold al yee that kindle a fire, & compasse your Esa. 50. ult. selves about with sparkes, walke in the light of your fire, and in the sparkes that yee have kindled. This shall yee have of mine hand, yee shall lie downe in sorrow. Beloved, all these put together, certainly make many fine sparkes of joy, some more, some lesse, but if you goe no further, yea (if it were possible) that you, who have saving grace should rise no higher, and seeke joy no where else, all that yee should have at the hand of God in the end would be, yee should lie downe in sorrow.

But lastly, there is a fourth good that brings indeed fulnesse of joy, and that is the Good (if I may so say) that [Page 20] is in God himselfe by Iesus Christ: (For wee cannot thinke a thought of God but only in Jesus Christ,) and that, and that onely brings fulnesse of joy.

If you ask how? It brings it especially 3 wayes.

First, this good is exceeding full and perfect, the others are scantie, and imperfect. Things fully good bring full comfort and joy. If a man looke on his owne grace, for instance, love, he shall see little of love, but a great deale of envie and hatred: or if there be a little delight in God, there is withall a great deale of awkwardnesse, and aversnesse, but if wee looke into the fulnesse of Christ, wee shall see unsearchable treasures, riches that have no end. Ephes. 3. 8.

Secondly, the good in Christ hath a: perpetuity in it; as David saith, in thy presence is fulnesse of joy, and in Psalme 16. the next words, pleasures for evermore. Beloved, there is an end of all the comforts of this world. As the Apostle saith, those that rejoyce should be as though they rejoyced not, they that buy as if they possessed not, for the 1 Cor. 7. fashion of this world passeth away, and there will be an utter end of those things that are below: But what is in God, and in Jesus Christ, wil be full and fresh to all eternity.

Thirdly, a Saint hath a right and interest in all this Good to all eternity, and here comes in the fulnesse of joy and not before.

The second Question for the opening of this truth is this: What manner of union this is, that wee have with Jesus Christ, that brings in this fulnesse of joy?

For answer to that, take notice of these 4 things.

First, it is a very neere union that a poore Saint hath with Christ: I say Saints, because poore sinners, drunkards, enemies to godlinesse, they have not yet any share in this union or benefit from it: God may in [Page 21] his time give it them; but Saints and beleivers, they have a neere union with Christ.

You will say how neere?

If an Angel were to speake to you he cannot satisfie you fully in this: only as farre as our understanding can reach it, and the creatures can serve to illustrate these things, thus. Whatsoever by way of comparison can be alleadged, concerning the combination of any one thing with another (whatsoever it be in the whole Creation of God) that, and much more, may be said of our union with Jesus Christ. To give instances out of the Scripture: see what one stick is to another being glewed together, see what one friend is to another, (as Jonathan and David that are said to be woven and knit each to other) see how neere the Father and the Child are, how neere the Husband and Wife are one to another, see what union is betweene the branches and the vine, the members and the head, nay one thing more, see what the soule is to the body, such is Christ and so neere is he and neerer to the person of every true be­leiver: as Paul saith, I live not, but Christ liveth in me, as if he should say, Jesus Christ is to my soule and Gal. 2. 20. body, as the soule is to the body of a naturall man, that acts & quickens it naturally: Beloved, there is a marvel­lous neerenesse in this union.

Secondly, it is the most reall union, these things make for our joy, for it was not in vaine that Christ spake of these things before he went to Heaven, that their joy might be full) I say it is a most reall union. As there is a greater neerenesse; so there is a greater reality in our union with Christ, then is betweene any naturall things whatsoever, they are but shadowes of spirituall things. It is not a notionall union, as some conceive that [Page 22] Christ and wee are united as the object is united to the understanding; for when a man conceives of any thing, that thing is united in an abstracted metaphysicall way to the understanding: so hypocrites may have a great deale of union with Christ, they may goe far, and have much knowledge, and light in the apprehension of spirituall things. You may see the difference of this union, by comparing that union an husband hath with his wife, and that union which his minde and under­standing hath with any other person; it is not as when a mans understanding conceiveth of another woman, by meere imagination, and thought of her, there is a kind of union betweene her and his understanding: But this is another kind of union that is betweene a man and his wife, by the bond and tye of Matrimony, that is a reall union, that is conceived by some to be the mea­ning of that place Hos. 2. I will marry thee in faithfulnes & judgement, or in truth, as some read it, I will marry thee in truth: I would not have you think the union be­tweene Christ and the Saints is nothing but a poore empty Notion or imagination, but I will marry thee in truth, (i.) thou shalt be my wise in reality, as much, or rather more really, then man and wife are united by Marriage.

Thirdly, It is a totall union that is betweene Jesus Christ and his poore Saints: (Oh, this is full of com­fort if you looke on it spiritually) that is, whole Christ is united to the whole beleever, soule and body. Thou hast all Christ, whatsoever thou canst conceive to be in the Father, or in Jesus Christ, 'tis really and wholly thine: as I could give instances had I time out of Scripture. Thou art one with him in his Nature, in his Name, thou hast the same Image, and grace, and Spirit [Page 23] in thee as he hath, the same precious promises, the same accesse to God by prayer as he, thou hast the same love of the Father, all that he did or suffered thou hast a share in it, all is thine, thou hast his life and death, as the Apostle saith; so on thy part he hath thee wholly, thy Cor. 4. nature, thy sinnes, the punishment of thy sinnes, thy wrath, thy curse, thy shame; so he would have thee all, thy wit, thy wealth, thy strength, all that thou art, or hast, and canst doe for him, so thou hast Jesus Christ: It is a totall union, My Beloved is mine, and I am his, whole Christ from top to toe is mine, and all that I am, have or can doe, for evermore is his, it is totall.

Lastly, it is an inseparable union, it can never be bro­ken. I will make (saith God) an everlasting Covenant with them, that I will not turne away from them, to doe them good, I will put my feare in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me Jeremiah 32. This is a glorious word, but the poore Christian will say, Tis true, thou wilt not turne away from me, I know thou wilt not, but I shall turne away from thee. I turne every day towards sin and Satan. Why, saith God, I will put my feare in thy heart, tbat thou shalt not turne away from me, we shall be kept together for evermore, and never separated. Thence Paul triumphantly challenges al enemies in heaven, (or rather in Hell,) to doe their worst to breake this knot; Who shall separate us from the love of God in Christ? shall tri­bulation, Rom. 8. distresse, famine &c? come all that can together, and see if that blessed union betwene me & Christ, shall ever be broken or dissolved by all that you can doe.

Now (Beloved) a word, or two of Use. I will wave the other Question, that happily would be necessary for the further opening of this Doctrine, because I will not weary you: you see what fulnesse of joy is, and what [Page 24] this union is: and by what you have heard already you may easily convince your selves, that fellowship and uni­on with Jesus Christ, will bring fulnesse of joy to the soule. The uses are these briefly.

The first is this, you may hence behold (if the Lord Vse. 1 open your eyes, for so it must be) what a glorious state and condition God hath placed a Christian in, a poore Saint, be he never so meane, or miserable otherwise in the eye of the world: his condition what is it? He is one with Jesus Christ, as Christ is one with the Father. There is a blessed place in Zachary where Jesus Christ is called Gods fellow. Awake oh sword against my shep­heard, Zach. 13. 7. against the man my fellow, Christ is one with the Father, he is his fellow, and every Saint is Christ's fel­low: he is anointed with the oyle of gladnesse above his Psal. 45. 7. fellowes. Christ is Gods fellow, and wee are Christ's fellowes. There is a kind of analogicall proportion (not Geometricall of equalitie, as they call it) betweene Christ and Saints in every thing: run them over in your thoughts, and take a view of all Christ, what he is in his Person, in his glory, in his Spirit, in his graces, in his Fathers love, and in the accesse he hath to the Father, in all these with what more you can imagine in Christ, wee are in a sort fellowes with him.

Only with this difference (that you may not stum­ble) Christ hath the preheminence in all things, every Col. 1. thing in its owne order, The Father is above all, and wee by him: all comes from the Father first to Jesus Christ, 1 Cor. 15. and all wee have is by Marriage with Iesus Christ, and wee must abide in our union with Christ, as he doth abide with his Father. Moreover betweene him and the person of the Father, there is an Essentiall union, and ours is virtuall by the power of the Spirit of God; he [Page 25] by his union hath all good things without measure, and wee by ours in measure: as it pleaseth him to distribute. But excepting these things, Jesus Christ and wee are fellowes, for so God calls us.

Therefore (Beloved) did but the Lord by his holy Spirit unvaile all your eyes, and give you but one glance of what the estate of a Saint is, that is united to Jesus Christ, who in this place would not be a Saint? who would not be a Christian? who would be a drun­kard, a swearer, a persecuter of godlinesse? who, I say, would be such a one, that knowes the treasure, riches, and happinesse of a Saint in Christ? our ignorance of this makes men refuse Christ, and goe on in sin. For every man naturally bargaines (as he apprehends) for his gaine, and never for his losse: that is the reason I say, that we bargaine not for Heaven and for Christ, because wee thinke it is for our losse, and this because God hath not opened our eyes to see the unsearchable riches and treasures that are in Jesus Christ.

Besides, were the happinesse of a Saint rightly under­stood and seriously considered, who would be a back­slider? you heare what a Saint is, he can goe and say to his soule and his fellow Saints, our fellowship is with the Father, and with Jesus Christ. Who would relinquish Christ and all in him for some base lust? O saith the Author of the Epist. to the Hebrewes, let there not be a Heb. 12. 16. prophane man &c. Esau was a prophane man, he had godly parents, and was religiously educated, yet the Apostle calls him prophane, why? because for a little morsell he sold his birth-right; and there is a farre greater disproportion betweene the riches of Christ, and the base lusts that wee hanker after, then betweene Esaus inheritance and Jacobs pottage; therefore looke [Page 26] to your selves in these things, you that are ancient Professors, who begin to backslide apace, and take this as a meanes to help thee when thou goest to get such a ones favour, to make such a one thy friend, to get such an office, and the like, wherein thou must yeild to sin, and joyne with sinners in their wicked designes, see what a bargaine thou makest: Thou relinquishest Christ Jesus, and all thy portion in him, to purchase these vaine frivolous things.

Another Use I will touch but briefely, this is the reason, why the Lord takes it so well or ill at our hands Vse. 2 that wee use his people kindly or unkindly; why should the Lord be so much offended to see his poore Saints (that are ready to beg at your doores,) oppressed and wronged, persecuted, &c? because even they are one with Jesus Christ. That is the reason why on the o­ther side, he takes it so kindly that wee doe any thing for them, that wee be tender and carefull of the good of his poore Saints, because it is to me, saith Christ: He that bestowes a cup of cold water to one of his little ons in the Mat. 10. 42. name of a disciple, shall not lose his reward. Why so? he that receiveth you receiveth me, that is the reason; so in Mat. 25. I was hungry and you fed me, naked and you cloathed me, thirsty and you gave me drinke: When did we see thee Mat. 25. hungry or thirsty or naked? In as much as yee have done it to the least of my members, yee did it to me.

See on the contrary, he that toucheth a Saint toucheth the apple of Gods eye. And the reason he is so angry is, Zach. 2. 8. because now the Father, and Jesus Christ, and the poorest Saint, are really and totally one, each with o­ther; strike at one, strike at all. Therefore I beseech you make this use of it, be kind to the poore Saints, not­withstanding their meannesse, outward weaknesses [Page 27] and frailties, though they bee poore, base, and vile, yet they have a glorious head and Husband. Thou thinkest it is an easie thing to suppresse a poore Saint, to overthrow him, and overcome him: and indeed it were so, but that he hath a great partie in Heaven, greater then all the world, therefore there is no in­chantment Mr. Wilkin­sons Sermon. against Israel, as you heard from the Lord this morning.

Thirdly, I would give you (in these times when every body speakes of reformation of Religion, Vse. 3 and the like) one word of direction, in point of Church fellowship, or communion, one with another, (i.) Take heed you doe not make any outward exter­nall thing, the maine pillar and foundation of your Church-fellowship, of your Christian Communion. As (v. g.) if any should conceive the way to con­stitute a Church to be by an externall Covenant, a for­mall confession, baptizing this way, or that way, (I meane by dipping, or sprinkling) or by conjunction of opinion in some controverted point: (I doe not at this time condemne or commend any of these things for the matter of them, but only this I drive at) if you build your Christian fellowship and communion upon any one of these things, or such like, making them the maine pillar of Christian communion; it will be more like a carnall faction, then a spirituall communion.

Take therefore the Apostles rule in the text, we have fellowship with the Father, and his Sonne Jesus Christ. And what followes? these things wee write, tbat you may have fellowship with us, and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and his Sonne Iesus Christ. That is the maine and prin­cipall ground of all Church fellowship, of Christian fellowship, of the Saints one with another. Therefore [Page 28] when I have communion with a Saint, I must not looke so much whether he be of such an opinion, or whether he have taken the Covenant, or have been baptized I speake not this as if my opinion were for rebaptiza­tion or against the baptizing of the infants of beleevers, the contrary appeares by my practise: but only, that such difference of opinion should not hinder their mutuall recei­ving each o­ther to fellow­ship and com­munion, who are in fellow­ship with God and Iesus Christ. once or twice or ten times, but see if he have fellow­ship with the Father, and with Jesus Christ; if he hath, he is one of the body, and a fellow-member, and wee must fall in immediately with him; though withall, I am to use all meanes, in love and meeknesse, to recall him from his error according to the rules of Scrip­ture.

But you will say, how shall it be knowne that he is such a one?

I will name but two generall rules, the best, and the clearest that I know in the whole Scrip­tures to satisfie you in that.

In the first place consult with that in Coloss. 2. 19. not holding the head, saith the Apostle. That is, when a man sees a Christian, for matter of doctrine, judgement or opinion, to hold the head Jesus Christ to be the Sonne of God, and justification by him, sanctification from him, according to the Scriptures &c. though in externall things, it may be he doth not as yet see this or that Government so cleare in the word, or any o­ther circumstantiall truth controverted amongst the Saints, (these and such like things cut him not off from the head) these things doe not un-Saint him, Rom. 14. And therefore woe be to thee if thou reject him.

The second rule is laid downe in the words fol­lowing my text; if ye walke in the light, saith the Apostle you have fellowship: (q. d.) Brethren I would have you to have fellowship with us: But if we walke in dark­nesse wee lye, and doe not the truth: but if wee walke in the light as he is in the light, wee have fellowship one with an­other. [Page 29] What is this light? It is holinesse of life and conversation. If a man doeth righteousnesse he is borne of God, 1 Iohn 3. as if he had said, this is the rule that I goe by, he that walks with God, calls on his name, teacheth his family, hates that which is evill, takes paines in that which is good, &c. him I account to be a man that is borne of God, he walkes in the light, with whom I ought to have fellowship and communi­on.

Beloved, I had many more Uses, as to examine our selves by what I have said, whether wee have commu­munion, and fellowship with Jesus Christ: whether the Image of Christ be on us: have wee his graces? are wee like Christ? remember that word Rom. 8. 9. which will sound terrible in thine eares when thou comest to dye, If any man have not the Spirit of Christ he is none of his: hast thou the Spirit of Christ? did Christ walke, and talke, and plot, and designe against the peo­ple of God as thou doest? Remember if thou be one with Christ, thou hast the same Image, the same Spirit, the same Grace, the same life, in a word, thou doest not Gal. 2. 20. live but Iesus Christ liveth in thee.

This may comfort us also, (if wee apprehend it spi­ritually) if wee be poore, wee are married to one that is rich; if full of wants, there is a fulnesse in Christ to sup­ply us; if tempted by Satan, in him wee are more then Con­querors, wee shall tread Satan under feet; if trampled on Rom. 16. 20. by the world, yet wee are Kings and Queenes. The same annointing that is powred on him the head, runs downe to the skirts of his garments.

And it should be an incitement to all of us who pro­fesse our selves believers, to walke in the light, to walke as those that are married to Christ: Doeth it become a [Page 30] Sonne of God, a member of Christ, to be proud, to be froward, to sharke, to cheate to be a worldling, as many professors in this adulterous generation are? walke therefore I pray as children of the light. And so I have done.

But it may be you will say, What is this to Oxford, Farringdon, or Worcester, the businesse of the day? Truly Beloved, Jesus Christ is good for all things, at all times. And as touching the mercy of God in these things to us and the Kingdome, the Lord hath been pleased to teach you this morning more largely and fully then I am able to doe, the Lord sanctifie it to you and me: a few words indeed I had concerning that subject, but they are for the most part, spoken to you already by our Reverend Brother, therefore I shall but touch upon them.

First, it is a word of information to us all (I am sure I have it from the Lord, and his word) that wee learne from our mercies, (Oxford especially) that every proud and high thing that exalts it selfe against Christ and his people, God will throw downe.

I my selfe was a spectator, an eye-witnesse, when the Lord delivered that City, that University, into the hands of our Army: and being there I did study and strive according to the small portion of grace I had received, to meditate what I might learne for Gods glory and the good of my soule from that businesse; and amongst all the meane thoughts I had, this came in with the greatest glory into my soule, that beholding that University that I had formerly knowne and heard much of lately, I was filled with admiration, to see how all the pride of that place was brought downe in one day. Thought I surely the designe of God in these dayes, [Page 31] is to bring downe one proud thing after another, that exalts it selfe against Christ. It was a gallant University; what a strong impregnable Garrison was it also? There was all the Military art of the Kingdom, there was the Law, learning, policy, and wit of the Kingdome, and some conceive the wealth of the Kingdome too had for a long while been there also, there was line upon line, and Bulwarke upon Bulwarke, and fence upon fence; and it was the very Center of all the enemies of God; when they had been routed abroad, or frighted at home, then presently away to Oxford as to a sure refuge: yet Oxford though it were never so rich, so learned, so for­tified, so filled with Princes, Nobles, finest witted schollers, and best skilled soldiers, most experienced Politicians, though it was the very Queene of England, yet Oxford it must stoope downe and fall.

And in these times for my part I apprehend nothing (with more clearenesse and evidence) of Gods mea­ning in all his worke in these dayes, then that it is his glorious designe to bring downe every high looke, and every Oh thou op­poser of God & godlinesse lay this to heart. proud thing that exalts it selfe against Christ. These are the last times, read Esa. 2. you shall see it at large: and wee have seen by experience also what course God hath taken with many. You know foure or five yeares agoe, off goes the head of one great man, then a little afterwards some others arose, and downe they goe al­so. And now at Oxford, they had as I said, art, wit, and strength, policy, nobility, wealth, and what not but Grace? (which were the very words of some of them,) and where are they? Take it for a truth of God, if any start up yet in their roome, if any grove grow up to eclipse Gods glory, or shadow his house, if any thing or person will exalt it selfe against Christ, I am con­fident, [Page 32] it is Gods purpose and glorious designe to cut them off, God will bring them downe to the dust.

Learne therefore to walke humbly before the Lord, and doe not strive any longer against the streame; and though the Lord have given you such power and peace that you have no enemies, yet take heed least any of you step up in their stead; for be assured, be you never so great, (as God is in Heaven, and wee are on earth,) that man, family, faction, or crew, that will goe about to oppose God or his people, God will throw them downe: lie low therefore on the ground, and give glory to Jesus Christ.

I had also a word of exhortation, but my Brother hath prevented me, and spoke most of my thoughts concerning that already, only if you will give me leave to minde you, I desire you to take heed of provoking that God, who hath done all this for you. I will instance in two or three things.

First, I am afraid some of you make too much hast to be rich, now trading, Customers, Offices &c. come in; Pro. 28. 20. Oh pause a while and consider what God hath done, and whence he hath raised you, and make a spirituall improvement of that first.

Secondly, oh that you would be exhorted now to heare the cause of the poore, and the widow, oh that you would be like Job who made the widowes heart to sing: O he is a blessed Magistrate, a blessed Parliament-man, Iob. 19. 13. a Prince, a King, that can say so, I made the poore widowes heart to sing, I did take their Petitions, and would have them read, & did see something done in the Committees before I gave over, and not trifle out the time; when peoples livelyhoods and lives were at the [Page 33] state, I have not been of those whose profession is to give only faire words, and yet doe nothing for their reliefe; I desire with humility that you would take that, as an admonition from the Lord.

And then take heed of insisting too much upon formes. Truly I am not of their opinion that would sublimate Religion into airy notions and Chimaraes out of all forme, but yet take heed that you insist not too much: (i.) so as to lose the power of godlinesse while you pursue the forme. The Saints in England doubtlesse heretofore, though they had lesse beauty by reason of the want of Discipline and government then o­ther Churches beyond-sea, yet they had (as you were not long since sweetly taught in this place) more fruit­fulnes See Mr. Tho. Goodwins Sermon be­fore the House of Com. Feb. 25. 1645. & power, then most reformed Churches a broad: and it is much to be feared, if we our selves now, were compared with our selves heretofore, wee should bee found to have more power, holinesse, truth, love and diligence in Gods service heretofore then now wee have. Therefore take heed that out of zeale to set up a forme of Government &c. you doe not forgoe and for­get the power of godlinesse the while.

Another thing I would take the boldnesse to minde you of, (now we are in peace,) is, to hasten to the help of our Brethren: you know what Moses said to the Num. 32. two Tribes, when they staied on the further side of Jordan, you have gotten fine seates for your selves, and you will build houses and sheepfolds for your cattell &c. you will let your brethren goe over to fight, while you sit here; this was the manner (saith he) of your Fathers to provoke the Lord, but if you doe so be sure your sin ver. 33. will find you out. So I say unto you, if you will now goe and build houses, and settle your selves in the world &c. [Page 34] and will not send over for the effectuall reliefe of Ire­land, though you lie never so close and safe, your sin will finde you out, this sin will hunt you as a hound; (so the allusion is) it will lye at the doore as a Mastiffe at the threshold. Therefore as the Lord hath begun to Gen. 4. smile upon us, and to cause the Sun to shine upon Eng­land (upon a great part of it at least) oh forget not poore bleeding Ireland.

And what if you should spend one single thought upon poore contemptible Wales? it's little indeed, and as little respected, yet time was the enemy made no small use and advantage of it, how inconsiderable soever wee deeme it; oh let not poore Wales continue sighing famishing, mourning and bleeding, while you have your daies of Feasting, rejoycing, Thanksgiving and pray­sing God. Oh how loath I am to mention it to you? is it not a sad case that in thirteene Counties there should not be above God grant there be more I Know not so many. thirteene conscientious Ministers who in these times expressed themselves firmly and constantly faith­full to the Parliament, and formerly preached profitably in the Welch Language The general practice of Godly mini­sters in Eng­land. twice every Lords Day? Yet (praised be our God) some few there be (though I my selfe am unworthy to be reckoned amongst them) who are ready and willing to spend and be spent for the glory of God, and the good of their countrey: oh that you would allow them some small competency of maintenance for their incouragement; be it, if you please, but meere food and rayment. That little estate they had is wasted for their sincere affection to your service, and there­fore (may I crave leaue to speake it) as it would be a worke of piety in you to send them forth to preach, so also a worke of equity, you should relieve them and provide for them.

But last of all, let that be now my exhortation, which is my constant petition both publiquely and privately to the Lord, for the Honourable Members of both Houses of Parliament, Let faith and patience have their perfect worke in you. That is, you may perhaps see new troubles arise, Satan may rage yet more then ever, (the last times will surely be the worst) bee not weary of well doing, let not your hands or hearts fall by any discouragement you may meet withall; you have had a world of experience, how God hath helped you and con­founded your enemies, how oft hath he brought them to ruine even by their owne designes? beware therefore of unbeleife, if you come into any new straites, never faulter any more, but trust perfectly in that God that hath hitherto never failed you, who hath wrought many a glorious salvation and deliverance for you, (which wee here behold and celebrate this day) to whom be praise and glory evermore through Jesus Christ.


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