AN EXPOSITION VPON THE EPISTLE TO THE COLOSSIANS.

Wherein, NOT ONELY THE TEXT IS Methodically Analysed, and the sence of the words, by the help of Writers, both ancient and moderne is explayned: But also, By Doctrine and Vse, the intent of the holy Ghost is in euery place more fully vnfolded and vrged.

And besides, The very marrow of most Common-places is aptly diffused through­out the body of this EXPOSITION, as the nature of this kinde of Teaching would beare.

And further, Many chiefe Cases of CONSCIENCE are here resolued.

ALL With conuenient Varietie and Breuitie.

Being; The substance of neare seuen yeeres Weeke-dayes Sermons, of N. BYFIELD, late one of the Preachers for the Citie of CHESTER.

Corrected and amended.

1 PET. 5.10.

The God of all grace, who hath called you vnto his eternall glory by CHRIST IESVS, after that yee haue suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, streng­then, and settle you.

LONDON: Printed by E. G. for NATHANIEL BVTTER, and are to be sould at his Shop at the signe of the Pide-Bull in Pauls Church-yard, neare to S. Austins Gate. 1617.

TO THE RIGHT HONORABLE, EDWARD LORD RVSSELL, Earle of Bedford, and the Ladie LVCIE Countesse of Bedford, Grace and Peace be multiplied, with increase of all honor and happinesse for euer.

Most noble Lord, and my very honourable good Ladie,

THIS Epistle to the Colossians con­taines an excellent Epitome of the doctrine expressed in the rest of the bookes of the old and new Te­stament: as will appeare by a briefe delineation or adumbration of the proportion and parts of that sacred body of truth, paralelled with the seuerall parts of this Epistle, vsing the benefit of this Com­mentarie vpon it.

The whole word of God may be diuided into two parts: the first concernes faith, or what we must beleeue;The sub­stance of all Theologie exprest briefly in this Epistle: as is mani­fested by in­stance. the se­cond Loue, or what we must doe. So the Apostles diuided it, as may appeare by the patterne vsed in their times, which stood of two parts, faith and loue, 2. Tim. 1.13. And so is this Epistle deuided; for in the two first Chapters he tells them what they must beleeue, and in the two last, what they must doe.

Now faith lookes either vpon God, or vpon the world. In [Page] [...] [Page] [...] [Page] God two things are to be beleeued: 1. the attributes of the essence. 2. the trinitie of the persons. The attributes vn­fold the nature and proprieties of God; such as are, his power, glory, knowledge, and the like; of the power of God, yee may read, Chap. 1.11. & 2.12. of the glory of God, Chap. 1.11. & 3.17. of the knowledge of God Chap. 3.10.

The Persons are three, the Father, Sonne, and Holy Ghost; of the Father, chap: 1.2.12. & 3.17. of the Sonne, chap. 1.2.13.15. &c. of the Holy Ghost, chap. 2.19. Thus of God.

In the consideration of the world, faith is taken vp espe­cially about the creation of it, and the gouernment of it. In the creation it viewes the mightie workemanship of God, ma­king all things of nothing, euen the very Angels, as well as men and other creatures. Of the creation, chap. 1.16. of Angells also chap. 1.16. both good, chap. 2.9. and euill, chap. 2.15.

The gouernment of the world, is two waies to be considered: First, in the generall disposing and preseruation of all things. Secondly, and principally, faith is taken vp about the consideration of the gouernment of Men in the world: of the generall prouidence, chap. 1.16.17.

The prouidence of God ouer man, may be considered according to his fourefold estate: 1. of Innocencie. 2. of Cor­ruption. 3. of Grace. 4. of Glorie.

In the estate of Innocencie, faith chiefly beholds and won­ders at the glorious Image of God, in which man was created; of this Image you may read, chap. 3.10. by analogie.

In the state of Corruption, two things do offer themselues to our dolefull contemplation: 1. sinne, 2. the punishment of sin. Sinne is both originall and actuall: of originall sinne, chap. 2.13. of actuall sinnes, chap. 2.11.13.3.5.6. of the punishment of sinne, chap. 3.25. & 2.13. & 3.6.

In the state of Grace, faith viewes three things: 1. the meanes of grace. 2. the subiect. 3. the degrees. The meanes is either before time, or in time: before time, tis the election of God; of which, chap. 3.12. in time, the meanes chiefly is [Page] Christ, and the couenant in him. In Christ, two things are to be considered, his person, and his office. The theorie concerning Christs person, is twofold: 1. concerning his two natures. 2. concerning his twofold estate in those natures. The natures of Christ are two, humane and diuine, ioyned in the bond of personall vnion; of the humane nature, chap. 1.22. of his di­uine, chap. 1.15.16, &c. of the vnion of both, chap. 2.9. The state of the person of Christ is twofold: 1. of humilia­tion. 2. of exaltation. His humiliation comprehends, 1. his incarnation, as the antecedent. 2. his obedience to the law of Moses. 3. his passion: of his incarnation and obedience impliedly in diuers places; of his passion, chap. 1.14.20.22, 14, 15. His exaltation comprehends his resurrection, as­cension, and session at the right hand of God: of his resurrection, chap: 2.12: of his sitting at Gods right hand, chap. 3.1.

Thus of the person of Christ.

The office of Christ is to mediate between God and man. The parts are 1. his propheticall office. 2. His priestly office. 3. his regall office. His propheticall office stands in propoun­ding of doctrine, and in making it effectuall by his spirit. His priestly office standeth in two things: 1. Expiation of sin. 2. Intercession for vs to God. His regall office is partly in the gouernment of the Church, as the head thereof: and partly in the subduing of the enemies of God and the Church; of the treasures of wisdom in Christ as a Prophet, chap. 2.3. of the sacrifice of Christ as a Priest, chap. 2.14. of the head­ship of Christ ouer the Church, chap. 1.18. & 2.19.

Thus of Christ.

The couenant followeth, which is considered both in it selfe, and in the seales of it. Though the couenant of workes be accidentally a meanes to driue vs to Christ, yet the proper effectuall meanes is the couenant of grace, which God hath made with the elect in Christ: this being recorded in the word of the Gospell both in the old and new Testament, is the ordinarie meanes, by the power of Christ, to con­uert soules to God, by the preaching of it in the ministery of his seruants; of this chap. 1.6.

The seales of this couenant are the Sacraments, both of the old and new Testament: of the old testament, was Circum­cision, and the rest; of which chap. 2.11. of the new testa­ment, are baptisme and the Lords Supper, of baptisme, ch. 2.12

Thus of the meanes of grace. The subiect of true grace is the Church, the body of Christ vnited to him by mysticall vnion. The Church consists of two sorts of men, Ministers and people; of the Church in generall with her vnion with Christ, chap. 1.18, 19, 20. & 2.19. of Ministers and peo­ple with their duties, chap. 1.25.28. & 2.1. and in diuers other places.

Thus of the subiect also. The degrees of grace in the third estate, are 1. vocation. 2. faith. 3. remission of sinnes 4. sanctification. of vocation, chap. 3.15. of faith, chap 1.4.23. & 2.12. of remission of sinnes, chap. 1.14. & 2.13. of sanctification, in both parts, both mortification, chap. 3.5.8. and viuification, chap. 2.13. & 3.10.

Thus of the estate of grace.

The fourth and last estate of man, is the estate of glorie; which stands of three degrees. 1. resurrection. 2. the last iudgement. and 3. life eternall. of resurrection, chap. 1.18. of the last iudgement and eternall glory, chap. 3.4. And thus of the first part of the patterne of wholesome words, and that is faith: now followeth the second, and that is loue.

Loue comprehends all the duties we owe to God or men, as being the bond of perfection, which ties together all holy seruices. Loue must bee considered both in the adiuncts, and in the sorts of it.

The adiuncts are constancie, wisedom, zeale, care to auoide offen­ces, and the like of loue in generall, chap. 1.4. & 2.2. & 3.14. of constancie, ch. 2.6. of zeale, chap. 4.13. of wisdome and care to auoide offences, chap. 4.5. thus of the adiuncts.

The sorts of works comprehended vnder loue, are two chiefly: 1. works of worship. 2. workes of virtue. The works of worship are either internall onely, or externall and inter­nall also. The internall are, the acknowledging of God, the loue of God, the feare of God, the trust or hope in God, and which [Page] floweth from thence, patience. of the acknowledgement of God, chap. 1.9, 10. of the loue of God, chap. 1.8. of the feare of God, chap. 3.22. of the hope in God, chap. 1.5. of patience, chap. 1.11. The workes of worship that are both externall and internall, are praier and thankesgiuing. of prayer, chap. 4.2, 3. of thankesgiuing, chap. 3.17.

Thus of workes of worship. Workes of virtue either con­cerne our selues or others: the workes that concerne our selues, are chiefly two: the studie of heauenly things, and tem­perance. Temperance containes chastitie and sobriety in the vse of all sorts of earthly things. of the studie of heauenly things, chap. 3.1, 2. of chastitie, ch. 3.5. of sobriety, ch. 3.2.

Thus of vertue that concernes our selues.

Works of virtue towards others, are chiefly nine. Mercy, curtesie, humilitie, meekenesse, long-suffering, clemencic, peaceablenes, thankfulnes and iustice: of the first eight of these, chap. 3.12. to 16. Now Iustice is either publike or priuate: publike Iu­stice is in Magistrates, of which, chap. 2.5. priuate Iustice, is either commutatiue, in bargaining, or distributiue, in giuing that which is right to euery one according to his degree, and so distributiue Iustice is either ciuill or oeconomicall. Pri­uate Iustice in ciuill conuersation with men abroad, is either to Magistrates, of which, chap. 1.5. or to all men, and so consists of truth and faithfulnes with sincerity and obseruance. oeconomical Iustice is that which concernes the houshold; and so containes the duties of husbands and wiues, chil­dren and parents, seruants and masters; of which chap. 3.18. to the end, with the first verse of chap. 4.

Thus also of Loue.

Thus I haue shewed the excellent compleatnes of this worthy scripture: it remaines that I declare some of the reasons that haue emboldned me to make choice of your Honors names for the dedication of my exposition vpon this scripture. Three things swaying Godly men in like case, haue compelled mee, protection, obseruance, and thank­fulnes. the preaching of this doctrine, as by the mercy of [Page] God it wrought abundant consolation and comfortable reformation in many hearers, so did it seldom rest from the assaults and calumnies, which one while prophanenesse, ano­ther while enuie powred out vpon it. Great cause there is therfore that it comming out now to a more publike view, should seeke shelter: and of whom should I seeke it or hope for it sooner then of your Honors, who are pleased by your daily countenance to assure me a iust patronage? For the second, to omit the high reputation which the re­ligious eminencie of both your ancestors hath set your Honors in, and the praises of many singular endowments and gifts, in which you doe worthily excell: there are two things wherein your Honors daily winne a great increase of obseruance; the one is pietie towards God, the other mercie towards the poore. The loynes of the poore daily blesse your Honors, and their mouthes daily pray for you. Your piety is many waies exprest: to omit many vndoubt­ed proofes of it, your Lordship hath much confirmed the perswasion of your religious disposition by your daily and affectionate respect of the word of God and praier in pri­uate, since the Lord hath made you lesse able to resort more frequently to the publike assemblies. And Madam, what thanks can wee euer sufficiently giue vnto God for that rare and worthy example, with which your Ladishippe doth comfort and incourage the hearts of many, in your care of Gods sabaoths, & in your neuer-failing attendance vpon the ordinances of God, with the congregation, mor­ning and euening, not only in your owne person, but with your whole familie. For the third, I doe ingenuously pro­fesse before God and men, that I hold my obligation vnto your Honors in the iust debt of seruice and gratitude to be so great, as the labour here imployed is no way answerable to a meete discharge, no though it had bin taken only for your Honors vse; for to omit the debt which I am in for a great part of my maintenance, and that singular incourag­ment I reape daily in your Honors respect of my mini­sterie; what thankes can euer be sufficient, or what seruice [Page] can euer be enough for that incomparable benefit (which I haue and shall euer esteeme the greatest ou [...]w [...] bless [...]g did euer befall mee; and which (Madam) by your H [...]s singular care and furtherance, after an admiral [...] [...]an [...]r I obteined) I meane the cleaning of my reputation from the vniust aspersions of my aduersaries, and that by th [...] mouth and pen of the Lords annointed, my most dread Seueraigne, whom the God of heauen with all abundance of royall and diuine blessings recompence in all earthly felicitie and e­ternall glory. And the same God of Peace and Father of mercies, sanctifie your Honors wholy, that your whole spi­rits and soules and bodies may be preserued blamelesse vn­to the comming of our Lord Iesus Christ: faithfull is hee that hath called you, who also will doe it. And I doubt not but God that hath inriched your Honors with the true grace that is in Iesus Christ, will daily winne vnto you in­crease of honor from your perseuerance in well-doing: so as thanksgiuing for your sakes shall bee abundantly giuen vnto God by many. Thus in most humble manner crauing your Honors acceptance and patronage of this worke, I end, and shall reioyce to remaine.

Your Honors Chaplaine to be commanded in all seruice, NI. BYFIELD.

THE ARGVMENT OF this Epistle to the Colossians.

THere are foure principall Parts of this Epistle: 1. the Proaeme: 2. Doctrine of Faith: 3. Precepts of life. 4. the Epilogue, or Con­clusion. The Proaeme is exprest in the first eleuen Verses of the first Chapter: The Do­ctrine of Faith is exprest in the rest of the Verses of the first Chapter, and the whole second Chapter: The Precepts of life are set downe in the third Chapter, and in the begin­ning of the fourth. And the Epilogue is in the rest of the verses of the fourth Chapter.

The Proaeme containes two things: First, the Salutation, vers. 1, 2. and secondly, a Preface, affectionately framed to winne attention and respect: wherein he assures them of his singular con­stancie in remembring them to God, both in Thanks-giuing for their worthy Graces and the meanes thereof, v. 3.4, 5, 6, 7, 8. and in ear­nest Prayer for their increase and comfortable perseuerance in know­ledge and the eminencie of sinceritie in holy life, vers. 9.10.11.

The Doctrine of Faith he expresseth two waies: first, by Proposition: secondly, by Exhortatiom. In the Proposition of Doctrine, hee doth with singular force of words, and weight of matter set out both the worke of our Redemption, v. 12.13.14. and the person of our Redeemer: and that first in his relation to God, verse 15. then in relation to the World, verse 15.16.17. and thirdly, in relation to the Church, both the whole in generall, verse 18.19.20. and the Church of the Colossians in particular, [Page] vers. 21.22. And thus of the Proposition. Now his Exhortati­on followes, from the 23. of Chap. 1. to the end of Chap. 2. and therin be both perswades and disswades: he perswades by many strong and moouing Reasons, to an holy endeauour to continue and perse­uere with all Christian firmenesse of resolution, in the Faith and Hope, was alreadie begotten in them by the Gospell: and this is con­tained in the seauen last Verses of the first Chapter, and the seauen first Verses of the second Chapter. Hee disswades them from re­ceiuing the corrupt Doctrine of the False Apostles, whether it were drawne from Philosophicall Speculations, or from the Traditions of men, or from the Ceremoniall Law of Moses; and hee pro­ceedes in this order: first, hee layes downe the matter of his Dehortation, Chap. 2. verse 8. then secondly, hee confirmes it by diuers reasons, from vers. 9. to 16. and lastly, he con­cludes, and that seuerally, as against Mosaicall Rites, vers. 16.17. against Philosophie, vers. 18.19. and against Traditi­ons, verse 20. and so to the end of that Chapter.

Thus of the second part.

Thirdly,3 The Pre­cepts of life in giuing Precepts of life the Apostle holds this or­der: first, hee giues generall Rules, that concerne all as they are Christians: then, hee giues speciall Rules, as they are men of this or that estate of life. The generall Rules are contained in the first seauenteene Verses of the third Chapter: and the speciall Rules from the eighteenth Verse of the third Chapter to the se­cond Verse of the fourth. The generall Rules hee reduceth into three heads: viz. first, the Meditation of heauenly things, vers. 1.2.3.4. secondly, the mortification of vices and iniuries, vers. 5. to the 12. thirdly the exercise of holy Graces, a number of which hee reckoneth, both in the kindes, meanes, and ends of them, from vers. 12. to 18. The particular Rules concerne principally houshould gouernment: for hee sets downe the dutie of Wiues, vers. 18. of Husbands, vers. 19. of Children, vers. 20. of Pa­rents, vers. 21. of Seruants, vers. 22.23.24.25. and of Masters, Chap. 4. vers. 1.

The Epilogue, or Conclusion,4 The Epi­logue. containes in it both matter of generall Exhortation, as also matters of Salutation. The generall Exhortation concernes Prayer, vers. 2.3.4. wise Conuersation, [Page] vers. 5. and godly Communication, vers. 6. Now after the Apo­stle hath disburdened himselfe of those generall cares, then hee taketh liberty to refresh himselfe and them, by remembring cer­taine that were deare both to him and them. And first, hee makes entrance by a narration of his care to know their estate, and to in­forme them of his. To which purpose hee sendeth and praiseth Ti­chicus and Onesimus, vers. 7.8.9. The Salutations then fol­low; and they are of two sorts: for some are signified to them, some are required of them. Of the first sort, hee signifies the Sa­lutations of six men, three of them Iewes, and three Gentiles, vers. 10.11.12.13.14. The Salutations required, concerne ei­ther the Laodiceans, vers. 15.16. or one of the Colossaean Preachers, who is not onely saluted; but exhorted, vers. 17 And then followes the Apostles generall Salutations to all, in the last Verse.

THE PLAINE Logicall Analysis of the first Chapter.

THis CHAPTER stands of three parts: a Proaeme, a Proposition of Doctrine, an Exhortation to con­stancy and perseuerance. The Proame is con­tinued from vers. 1. to 12. the Proposition from vers. 12. to the 23. the Exhortation from ver. 23. to the end.

The Proaeme is intended to winne attention and affection; and stands of two parts, the Salutation and the Preface. The Salutation is contained in the two first Verses, and the Preface in the third Verse, and those that follow to the twelfth.

In the Salutation three things are to be obserued: first, the Persons saluting; secondly, the Persons saluted; thirdly, the forme of the Sa­lutation it selfe.

The Persons saluting are two; the Author of the Epistle,Verse 1.2. and an Euangelist, famous in the Churches, who is named as one that did ap­proue the Doctrine of the Epistle, and oommend it to the vse of the Churches. The Author is described: first, by his Name, Paul: se­condly, by his Office, an Apostle; which is amplified by the princi­pall efficient, IESVS CHRIST, and by the impulsiue cause, the Will of God. The Euangelist is described: first by his Name, Timo­theus: secondly, by his adiunct Estate, a Brother. Thus of the Persons saluting.

The Persons saluted are described; first, by the place of their abode, and so they are the Citizens and inhabitants of Colosse: secondly, by their spirituall estate, which is set out in foure things: 1. They are Saints: 2. They are faithfull: 3. They are Brethren: 4. They are in CHRIST.

The forme of the Salutation expresseth what hee accounteth to be the chiefe good on earth, and that is, Grace and Peace, which are am­plified by the Causes or Fountaines of them, from God our Father, and from our Lord Iesus Christ. Thus of the Salutation.

In the Preface the Apostle demonstrateth his loue to them by two things, which hee constantly did for them: hee prayed for them,Verse 3. and [Page] hee gaue thankes for them: and this hee both propounds generally, vers. 3. and expounds particularly in the Verses following.

In the generall propounding, three things are euidently exprest: first, what he did for them, hee gaue thankes, hee prayed: secondly, to whom, euen to God the Father of our Lord Iesus: thirdly, how long, alwaies, that is, constantly from day to day.

Verse 4.5.Now, in the Verses that follow he expounds and opens this: first, his Thankesgiuing, vers. 4.5.6.7.8. secondly his Prayer, verse 9, 10.11. In the Thankesgiuing hee shewes for what he gaue thankes; which hee referres to two heads, 1. their Graces: 2. The Meanes by which those Graces were wrought and nourished.

The Graces are three, Faith, Loue, Hope, vers. 4.5. Their Faith is am­plified by the Obiect, your Faith in Iesus Christ: and their Loue, by the extent of it, your Loue to all the Saints: and their Hope, by the place, which is laide vp for you in heauen.

Verse 5.6.The Meanes of Grace was either principall, vers. 5.6, or Instru­mentall, vers. 7.8. The principall ordinary outward meanes was the Word; which is described and set out six waies: 1. by the Ordi­nance in which it was most effectuall, viz. Hearing, whereof yee haue heard, 2. By the propertie that was most eminent in the working of it, viz. Truth, by the word of truth. 3. By the kinde of word, viz. the Gospell, which is the Gospell. 4. By the prouidence of God in bringing the meanes, which is come vnto you. 5. By the subiect Persons vpon whom it wrought, viz. you and all the world. 6. By the efficacy of it, it is fruitfull and increaseth; which is amplified by the repetition of the persons in whom, and the consideration both of the time, in those words, from the day that you heard, &c. and also, of the adiuuant cause, viz. the hearing and the true knowledge of the Grace of God, from the day that you heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth.

Thus of the principall Meanes, the ministerie of the Word.

Verse 7.8.The Instrumentall, or the Minister followeth, vers. 7.8. and he is described, 1. by his name, Epaphras: 2. by the adiunct loue of others to him, beloued: 3. by his Office, a Seruant: 4. by his willingnesse to ioyne with others, a fellow-seruant: 5. by his faithfulnesse in the exe­cution of his Office, which is for you a faithfull Minister of Christ: and lastly, by his delight in his people, which he shewes by the good re­port he chearefully giues of them, viz. who also declared vnto vs your loue in the spirit. Thus of the Thankesgiuing.

Verse 9.10.11.Now in the opening or vnfolding of his practise in praying for them, first, hee affirmes that he did pray for them; and then, declares it by shewing what he prayed for. The affirmation is in the begin­ning of the ninth Verse, and the Declaration in the rest of the words to the end of the eleuenth Verse.

In the affirmation there are three things: first, an Intimation of a reason, in those words, for this cause: secondly, a consideration of the time, since the day we heard of it: thirdly, the matter affirmed, we cease not to pray for you.

In the Declaration hee instanceth in one thing hee principally prayed about, and that was their Knowledge; which he sets one, first by the Obiect of it, the will of God: secondly, by the Parts of it, Wise­dome and Vnderstanding: thirdly, by the End, viz. that they might walke worthy, &c. fourthly, by the cause, his glorious power: and fiftly, by the Effects, Patience, Long-suffering, and Ioyfulnesse.

In setting downe the Obiect, hee expresseth also the measure hee desired; hee would haue them filled with the knowledge of Gods will, and that he addeth in the second part, when he saith, all Wise­dome and vnderstanding. The end of all their knowledge hee expres­seth more largely, verse 10. which in generall is the eminence of holy life, which hee expresseth in three seuerall formes of speech, viz. 1. to walke worthy of the Lord: 2. to walke in all pleasing: and 3. to be fruitfull in all good workes: vnto the fuller attainment of which hee notes the meanes to be, an increase in the knowledge of God.

Hitherto of the Proaeme.

The Proposition of Doctrine containeth excellent matter concer­ning our Redemption: where hee proceeds in this order: first,Verse 12.13.14 hee considers the worke of our Redemption; and secondly, the person of our Redeemer. The worke of our Redemption, verse 12.13.14. the person of our Redeemer, verse 15. and those that follow to the 23. and all this he expresseth in forme of Thankesgiuing.

The worke of our Redemption hee describes two waies, after hee hath touched the first efficient cause of it, viz. God the Father: for in the twelfth Verse hee seemes to shew, that in respect of Inchoa­tion, it is a making of vs fit; and in respect of Consummation, it is a causing of vs to enioy an immortall happines in heauen, better then that Adam had in Paradise, or the Iewes in Canaan. And therein hee expresseth, first the manner of tenure or title, in the word Inheri­tance: secondly, the adiunct praise of the company, viz. the Saints: and thirdly, the perfection of it, it is in light.

Now, in the end of the thirteenth Verse hee seemes to shew that our Redemption stands of two parts: first, deliuerance from the power of darkenesse: secondly, translating into the Kingdome of the Sonne of his loue, one of the many excellent priuiledges of which estate, is noted in the fourteenth Verse, to be remission of sinnes, through the bloud of Christ. And thus of the worke of our Redemption.

The person of our Redeemer is described three waies: first,Verse 15.16.17. in re­lation to GOD; secondly, in relation to the whole World; thirdly, in relation to the Church.

First, in relation to God, hee is described in the beginning of the fifteenth Verse; and so hee is said to be the Image of the inuisible God.

Secondly, in relation to the whole World, fiue things are to bee said of CHRIST: first, hee is the first begotten of euery Creature, in the end of the fifteenth Verse: secondly, he is the Creator of all things, verse 16. Where note the distinctions of Creatures: 1. they are di­stinguished by their place; some, in Heauen; some, in Earth: 2. they [Page] are distinguished by their qualitie; some are visible, some inuisible: 3. the inuisible are againe distinguished, by either Titles or Offices, some are Thrones, some are Principalities, &c. thirdly, all things are for him, this is in the end of the sixteenth Verse: fourthly, he is before all things, in the beginning of verse 17. lastly, all things in him consist. verse 17. the end of it. Thus the Redeemer is described in relation to the whole World.

Verse 18.19.20Thirdly, hee is described as he stands in relation to the Church: and so either to the whole Church, vers. 18.19.20. or to the Church of the Colossians, verse 21.22.

As he stands in relation to the whole Church, hee is said to be the head of the Church, in the beginning of the eighteenth Verse, and this he proues, by shewing that he is a head in three respects.

First, in respect of the dignitie of order towards his Members, and so in the state of grace he is their beginning, and in the state of glory he is the first begotten of the dead; that both among the liuing and the dead he might haue the preheminence.

Secondly, in respect of perfection in himselfe, in that all fulnesse dwells in him; which is amplified by the cause, viz. the good pleasure of the Father, who made him head of the Church, verse 19.

Thirdly, in respect of efficacie or influence through the whole bo­dy: for from him flowes Peace and Reconciliation, verse 20. concer­ning which Reconciliation there are eight things to be noted: 1. the mouing cause, which is to be supplied out of the former Verse, as the Coniunction [and] importeth, viz. it pleased the Father: 2. the Instru­ment, by him, viz. CHRIST the head: 3. the Benefit it selfe, viz. to reconcile: 4. the subiect Persons in generall, all things: 5. the End, to himselfe: 6. the Effect, making peace: 7. the Meanes, through the bloud of his Crosse: 8. the Distribution of the Persons who, in those words, things in earth and things in heauen. Thus of his relation to the whole Church.

Verse 21 22.In the description of his relation to the Church of the Colossians, he vrgeth them with two things: first, their miserie without Christ: 2. the remedy of their miserie by Christ.

Their miserie stands in two things: first, they are Strangers: second­ly, they are Enemies, and both are amplified: 1. by the subiect where­in, viz. not outwardly onely, but in their mindes: 2. by the Cause, viz. wicked workes, verse 22.

In setting downe their remedie hee notes: 1. the Meanes: 2. the End. The meanes is the death of the body of Christs flesh: The end is, that hee might present them holy and vnblameable, and without fault in Gods sight, verse 22.

Thus of his relation to the Church of the Colossians: and thus also of the second part of this Chapter, viz. the Proposition of Doctrine.

The Exhortation followes: where is to be considered; first, the Ex­hortation it selfe;Verse 23. and then the Reasons. The Exhortation is to per­seuerance, both in Faith and Hope.

In the Exhortation to perseuerance in faith, there is worthy to be noted: first, the manner of propounding it, which is with an If: se­condly, the dutie required, Continue: thirdly, the manner of the dutie, grounded and stablished: fourthly the obiect, Grace, in Faith.

In the Exhortation to perseuerance in Hope, two things are to be obserued: first, he sets downe the euill to be auoided, viz. vnsetled­nesse or reuolting, in the words, Be not mooued away: secondly, hee quickens them by remembring the cause and fountaine of their hope: viz. The hearing of the Gospell preached.

Thus of the Exhortation, the Reasons follow.

There are seauen Reasons to inforce this Exhortation to perseue­rance. The first is taken from the consent of Gods Elect, Which are through the world, who haue in the preaching of the Gospell receiued Faith and Hope, as their common portion.

The second Reason is taken from the testimony of PAVL him­selfe: and that is two-fold; the first is the testimonie of his Mini­sterie; This is that hee preacheth, and therefore it should bee that they should keepe fast: the second is the testimonie of his Suffer­ings; hee hath endured much for the Doctrine of Faith and Hope; and therefore they should continue in it: and to stirre them the more concerning his sufferings, hee sheweth that hee suffered with great Ioy: which hee confirmeth by expressing the reasons of his ioy; first, because they were the afflictions of Christ; secondly, because hee had his part allotted him by the decree of God; and it was his ioy that hee had almost finished what was left for him to suffer; there was but a little remaining: thirdly, because they were but in his flesh: fourthly, because they were for them, and the good of the Church, Verse 24.

The third Reason is taken from the testimonie of God, who inioyned vnto PAVL and other Ministers this dispensation of the Doctrine of Faith and Hope, with a charge that they should see his Word fulfilled herein, Verse 25.

The fourth Reason is taken from the excellencie of the Gospell: which is set out; first by the nature of it, it is a mysterie: secondly, by the antiquitie of it, it was, and was hid since the world beganne, from Ages and Generations: thirdly, by the time of the reuelation of it, now, in the new world: fourthly, by the persons to whom it is reuealed, viz. onely the Saints, all which should moue to care and constancie in keeping of it. Verse 26.

The fift Reason is taken from the excellency of the Subiect of the Gospell, which is no lesse nor worse then Christ reuealed by the prea­ching of the Gospell. In this reuelation of Christ in the Gospell, con­sider, first, who reueales him, God: secondly, the cause of his reuela­tion, the will of God, hee would: thirdly, the manner, viz. in a rich and glorious mysterie: fourthly, the persons to whom, viz. the miserable Gentiles: fiftly, the effects or fruits of it, which are, first, the inhabita­tion of Christ: secondly, the hope of glory, Verse 27.

Verse 28.The sixt Reason is taken from the end, which is the presenting of them perfect in Iesus Christ, which is amplified by the meanes to bring to this end, which is preaching: and that is amplified, first, by the parts of it, which are teaching and admonishing: and secondly, by the manner, in all Wisedome, Verse 28.

Verse 29.The seuenth Reason is taken from the holy strife of the Apostle, to bring men to this: which is amplified by the great successe which the LORD had giuen. Verse vlt.

A METAPHRASE vpon the first Chapter of the Epistle to the COLOSSIANS.

PAVL, Verse 1 PAVL, an Apostle of Iesus Christ, by the will of God, and Timotheus our Bro­ther. the Messenger or Embassadour-generall for all the Churches of the Gentiles, by Commis­sion from the promised MESSIAH, now come in the flesh, the Lord annointed, sepa­rated hereunto, not for his owne worthinesse, or by any priuate motion of his owne, or by com­mandement of any man, but by the expresse will of God, according to his euerlasting coun­sell; as also Timotheus, a reuerend Brother, an Euangelist of Christ, with full and free testimonie approueth this Epistle written

To the Citizens and Inhabitants of the Citie of Colosse, Verse 2. To them which are at Colosse, Saints and faithfull brethren in Christ: Grace be with you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord IESVS CHRIST. that are separate from the world, and sanctified with true Grace, and faithfully walke in that holy Calling, in brotherly communion one with another, and indissoluable vnion with CHRIST your Sauiour: Grace be with you, and Peace, euen the free fauour of GOD, with all internall, eternall, and needfull externall blessings, from him that both will and can, euen God our Father, through the merits of the Lord our annoyn­ted Sauiour.

We giue thankes vnto God,Verse 3. Wee giue thankes to God, euen the Father of our Lord Iesus Christ, al­wayes praying for you. Verse 4. Since wee heard of your faith in Christ Iesus, and of your loue toward all Saints. euen that God that by an eternall and vnexpressible generation is the Father of our Lord Iesus Christ, re­membring you earnestly and constantly in our daily Prayers, being ex­ceedingly fired and inflamed, since we heard by continuall and true re­port of your precious Faith; by which you haue with firmenesse and stedfastnesse of assurance laide hold vpon IESVS CHRIST, for life and righteousnesse: and the rather, because wee likewise heard of your holy affection to such as haue separated themselues from the pro­phanenesse of the world, to the seruice of God, especially considering that you haue not the glorious Faith of Christ in respect of persons, but loue all the Saints as well as any.

And (as a People not destitute of any sauing Grace,Verse 5. For the hopes sake which is laid vp for you in hea­uen, whereof ye haue heard before by the word of truth, which is the Gospell.) wee reioyce to heare of that liuely hope, by which you haue laid hold on the Promise of eternall glory, which God the Father hath prepared and laide vp in Heauen. And the more are we confirmed in this resolution, constantly, [Page] to praise GOD for these excellent Graces, because they are not so­daine Fancies, or presumptuous Conceits, raised out of the Forge of your owne braine, or conceiued for some corrupt or carnall ends, but were indeede begotten in you by the mighty working of the most sweet Doctrine of Reconciliation, proued in it selfe, and by effect, to be a Word of Truth: euen that word of the LORD, long fore­tolde, now truely reuealed and accomplished also, begetting the true forme of pietie in you, with constancie and true vprightnesse, both of heart and life.

Verse 6. Which is come vnto you, euen [...]s it is vnto all the world, and [...]s fruitful, as it is also among you, from the day that yee heard and truely knew the grace of God.This is the word of Reconciliation which is come vnto you, as by in­credible power and swiftnesse, it is now to the greatest part of the world, euen to people of all sorts and Nations, causing them to shew the soundnesse of their Conuersion, by the daily fruits of amendment of life: and this increaseth continually in all places, as it doth, and hath done with you, since the very first day that you truely heard and effectually beleeued this rich Doctrine of the grace of GOD.

Verse 7. As yee also learned of Epaphras our deare fellow ser­uant, which is for you a faithfull Minister of Christ.And this very Doctrine, which you haue heard of Epaphras, is the selfe same diuine truth that is gone all abroad the world: of Epa­phras I say, whom wee all reuerence as our deare fellow-Seruant, be­ing assured that he is for your best good, a faithfull and most humble Minister of Iesus Christ.

Verse 8. Who hath also declared vnto vs your loue, which yee haue by the Spirit. Verse 9. For this cause wee also, since the day wee heard of it, cease not to pray for you, and to desire that yee might be ful­filled with know­ledge of his will, in all wisedome and spiri­tuall vnderstanding. Verse 10. That yee might walke worthy of the Lord, & please him in all things, be­ing fruitfull in all good workes, and in­creasing in the knowledge of God.Hee hath with great contentment boasted of you, in reporting to vs your spirituall and heauenly affection to God, and godlinesse, and one towards another: and for the same cause since the first time we heard of your praises in the Gospell, wee haue beene importunate without ceasing, praying for you, and beseeching God to increase in you, and make compleate your knowledge of his reuealed will, not only for contempla­tion, but for practise also, with a gracious experience of the working of the Spirit.

That yee might carry your selues in a holy eminency of godly con­uersation, striuing to proportion your Obedience in a greater degree then ordinary, as might become the great measure of Gods Mercies of all sorts towards you, expressing a liuely kinde of pleasingnesse, both in carriage towards God and man, being refreshed with the sweetnes of acceptation in your seruices, and that you might extend your careful­nesse to beare fruit, not in one kinde or some few, but in all kindes and sorts of good workes, daily increasing in a holy acquaintance with the sa­cred nature of God, which is both the effect and cause of all comforta­ble progresse in holy life.

Verse 11. Streng­thened with all might through his glorious power vnto all pati­ence, and long-suffe­ring with ioyfulnes.That so growing vp to a ripe age in CHRIST, in the sanctifica­tion both of soule and body and spirit, in all the Graces and Duties of CHRIST and Christian life, through the assistance of the glorious power of GOD, in the vse of all meanes and helpes appointed of God, yee might accomplish your most holy profession, with singular comfort and contentment, being able cheerefully and with all pati­ence and Long-suffering to beare the Crosses, Tentations, Infirmi­ties, Persecutions, and whatsoeuer Wrongs or Indignities might befall [Page] you waiting for the Promise of GOD, being neuer weary of well­doing.

And as wee haue thought good thus to let you vnderstand our loue towards you, and our reioycing for the prosperity of your soules;Verse. 12. Giuing thankes vnto the Fa­ther, which hath made vs me [...]te to bee partakers of the inhe­ritance of the Saints in light. so wee thought good to write vnto you, both to put you in minde of the most holy doctrine of CHRIST, as also to exhort and beseech you to be constant in the Faith and hope you haue receiued, without listening to the entising speeches of false Teachers, which as wicked Seducers would beguile your soules of that high prise of your most holy Calling.

What thankes can we euer sufficiently giue vnto GOD the Fa­ther of CHRIST and Christians, that of his meere Grace and free Loue, hath by a holy Calling, made vs, in his account, meete to haue a Lot in that heauenly Canaan, in that sweet and eternall fellowship with the spirits of the iust, not onely reuealed vnto vs in this light of the Gospell, but to be inioyed by vs in the light of Heauen?

And hath also already deliuered vs from that wofull estate,Vers. 13. Who hath deliuered vs from the power of darkenesse, and hath translated vs into the Kingdome of his deare Sonne. in which the darkenesse of Gentilisme, and Sinne, and Ignorance, and Aduersitie, and Death, and Damnation, had power ouer vs, & hath translated vs into the Kingdome of Iesus Christ, the Son of his loue, inrolling our names among the liuing, and accounting vs as Subiects of this Kingdome of Grace, and Heyres, euen Coheyres with Christ, of the glory to be reuealed.

And howsoeuer our Sanctification be as yet vnperfect,Verse 14. In whom wee haue redemption through his bloud, that is, the forgiuenes of sinnes. yet are we not onely bought with a price, but effectually and truely redeemed, and in some sort fully too: for in our Iustification we are perfectly reconciled, and all our sins absolutely forgiuen vs, as if they had ne­uer beene committed, through his merits that shed his bloud for vs.

Who is a most liuely and perfect image of the inuisible God,Verse 15. Who is the Image of the inuisible God, the first borne of euery creature. not onely as hee workes Gods Image in man, or because he appeared for God the Father, to the Fathers in the old Law; or because as man he had in him the likenesse of God in perfect holinesse and righteousnes; or because he did by his Miracles, as it were, make God visible in his flesh; but as he was from euerlasting the very essentiall naturall I­mage of God, most absolutely in his diuine person resembling infi­nitely the whole nature of his Father: and therefore is to be acknow­ledged as the begotten of God by an eternall generation: so the first begotten of euery Creature, as he was before them; so is he there­fore the principal heyre of all things, by whom, and in whose right,Verse 16. For by him were all things crea­ted, which are in hea­uen, and which are in earth, things visible and inuisible; whether they be Thrones, or Dominions, or Prin­cip [...]lities, or Powers, all things were crea­ted by him and for him. all the Saints doe inherit what they haue or looke for.

For by him all things in heauen or earth, whether visible or in­uisible were created; yea, the very Angels themselues, of what Or­der or Office soeuer, whether Thrones or Dominions, Principalities or Powers, were all made my him of nothing; and therefore he, and not they are to be worshipped: in short, all things were created by him; yea, and for him too.

Verse 17. And the is before all things, and in him all things con­s [...]st.And hee was from euerlasting with GOD the Father, before all Angels or other Creature was made, and still all things are preser­ued and continued as consisting in him; yea, the very Angels haue their confirmation from him.

Verse 18. And hee is the head of the body of the Church: hee is the beginning, and the first borne of the dead, that in all things hee might haue the preeminence.And he is that glorious and alone Mysticall head of the Church, which in an holy order and relation, by the admirable worke of the Spirit, as a bond vniting together, is a true body vnto CHRIST: and worthily is he to be acknowledged a head vnto the Church, for three great Reasons: first, in respect of Dignity: for hee alone hath the primacy: and ought to be acknowledged to haue preheminence in all things: for if wee respect the estate of Grace, he is the beginning of all goodnesse, and if wee respect the estate of Glory, hee is the first borne of the dead; not onely because he is risen himselfe in his body, from the graue, but also because by his onely power all his members shall rise at the last day: and also, because that in the death of all the righteous, he doth still continue to, and in, the very last gaspe, his assi­stance and holy presence,

Verse 19. For it plea­sed the Father, that in him should all fulnesse dwell.Secondly, hee is fittest; yea, onely fit, to be the head of the Church, because it hath pleased the Father, that in him should all fulnes only dwell, so that he is a head in respect of plenitude, for the behoofe of the members.

Verse 20. And by him to reconcile all things vnto himselfe, and to set at peace through the bloud of his Crosse both the things in earth, and the things in heauen. Verse 21. And you which were in times past strangers and ene­mies, because your mindes were set in euill workes, hath he now also reconciled.And thirdly, hee is a head in respect of influence; for from him onely comes downe to the members, all peace with God, and all the fruits of that reconciliation: for it is hee that made peace, by the bloud of his Crosse, and that hath estated happinesse vpon all the Saints, reconciling them to God: I say, all the Saints, both those that are in heauen already, and those that being yet on earth, hope for that glory in heauen hereafter. And that this is so, you are able out of your own experience to auouch: for whereas by nature you were strangers from GOD and the life of God, you were very enemies to God and all his goodnesse: and this alienation and enmitie was apparantly seated in your very mindes, through the euill workes of all sorts which aboun­ded in your liues;Verse 22. In the bo­dy of his flesh, throgh death, to make you holy, and vnblamea­ble, and without fault in his sight. yet you know that CHRIST taking our Nature vpon him, and in that nature suffering death for you, hath reconciled you to GOD and by the Gospell a-new created you, that hee might present you to GOD, as holy and vnblameable, and without fault in his sight, couering your wants and hiding the euill of your workes, through his owne Intercession, and allowing you the benefit of the Couenant of Grace, through which vprightnesse will be in him accep­ted in stead of perfection.

Verse 23. If ye con­tinue, grounded and stablished in the faith, and be not mooued a­way from the hope of the Gospell, whereof yee haue heard, and which hath bin prea­ched vnto euery crea­ture which is vnder heauen, whereof I Paul am a Minister.Now what remaines, but that seeing wee haue such precious Do­ctrine, you should be exhorted to hold out with all Christian perseue­rance, setling and establishing your hearts in the beleefe of the truth, suffering your selues not to be carried away with any contrary winde of Doctrine, from the confidence of that hope of your reconciliation with God, which hath been propounded and wrought in you, by the preaching of the Gospell; and the rather, because vnlesse you doe so [Page] perseuere, you cannot haue sound comfort in your right to the ben [...] before named. Besides, there are many reasons may induce you to the resolutenesse of perseuerance in the Doctrin you haue already belee­ued and hoped in. First, it is the Doctrine which all Gods Elect, with one consent, haue receiued throughout the world; and vpon it haue founded their Faith and Hope. Secondly, the consideration of what yee see in me may somewhat moue you, and that if you eyther consider my Ministery or Sufferings: for my Ministery, I haue so throughly informed my selfe concerning the Doctrine which Epaphras hath taught you, that I see it in all things, for the substance of it, to be the same which I my selfe haue taught in euery place.

Now for my Sufferings, it is apparant to all sorts of men,Verse 24. Now I reioyce in my suffe­rings for you, and ful­fill the rest of the af­flictions of Christ in my flesh, for his bo­dies sake which is the Church. that I haue endured my part of all kindes of Troubles for the Gospell, which I would not haue done, if I had not had full assurance of the truth of it, neyther doe I repent me of my afflictions, but reioyce in them ra­ther, & that for diuers reasons. First, because they are the afflictions of CHRIST, that is, such as he accounts to be his. Secondly, because I know that in Gods Decree I haue my part of troubles assigned me; and it is my ioy, to think that in so good a cause I haue almost fulfilled them. Thirdly, because these Afflictions extend but to my flesh and outward man. And lastly, because it is for your good I suffer, euen for the confirmation of your Faith, and for the good of the whole body of Christ, which is the Church.

Thirdly,Verse 25. Whereof I am a Minister, ac­cording to the dispen­sation of God, which is giuen mee vnto you ward, to fulfill the word of God. Verse 26. Which is the mystery hid since the world beganne, and from all ages, but now is made manifest to his Saints. I haue receiued this Commission concerning the Gospel im­mediately from GOD himselfe, with strict charge, that for your good I should pursue the execution of it, till not only Faith and Hope were wrought, but till we saw the worke and word of God, euen accompli­shed and fulfilled.

Fourthly, what can there be more excellent and worthy to be be­leeued and trusted in, then this Gospell of IESVS CHRIST, and our reconciliation in him, seeing it is that dreadfull Mystery, which worlds of men haue wanted, as being hid from whole Ages and Ge­nerations hitherto, and now by the vnspeakeable mercy of GOD is reuealed by preaching vnto the Saints, as a peculiar treasure entru­sted to them.

And fiftly, the rather should you hereupon settle,Verse 27. To whom God would make knowne what is the riches of this glorious mystery among the Gentiles, which ri­ches is Christ in you, the hope of glory. considering the admirable subiect of the Gospell: for it is the good pleasure of GOD in this rich and glorious Mystery of the Gospell, to make known to the poore Gentiles, Christ Iesus himselfe, and that by giuing him therein to dwell in your hearts by Faith, and as your assured and onely hope of immortall glory.

Sixtly,Verse 28. Whom we preach, admonishing euery man, and tea­ching euery man in all wisedome, that we may present euery man perfect in Christ Iesus. neyther should you euer cast away the confidence of your assurance and hope, or grow weary heerein, seeing it is the drift and end of all our preaching, wherein wee eyther admonish or in­struct you, leading you through all sorts of wisedome in the word of GOD. I say, the end of all is, to present you, at the length, perfect and compleate euery one of you, in CHRIST IESVS, [Page] in some acceptable measure of Sinceritie and Knowledge in him.

Verse. 29. Whereun­to I also labour and str [...]e, according to his working which worketh in me migh­tily.And s [...]hly, being incouraged with that successe which the LORD hath giuen to my ministery, I will labour, at I haue la­boured, and still striue with all possible diligence and endeauour in this glorious worke: hoping that this also may proue a mo­tiue, among the rest, to perswade with you, to keepe Faith and Hope to the end, with all Con­stancie and holy perseuerance.

CERTAINE OF THE Chiefest things obserued in the Notes vpon this first CHAPTER.

  • WHat rules wee must obserue in alledging the examples of godly men sinning. fol. 4.
  • The assurance of a lawfull Calling serues for many vses. fol 5.
  • Gods Children called Saints in this life, in foure respects. fol. 7.
  • Comforts for the dispised Saints, with answere of some Obiections. fol. 7. 8.
  • How Saints may be knowne. fol. 9.
  • Christian faithfulnesse is to be shewed in fiue things in spirituall things, and in three things in temporall things. fol. 10. 11.
  • Idlenesse in Professors, taxed. fol. 11.
  • Seuerall Ʋses arising out of the consideration of this, that wee are Brethren. fol. 13.
  • How wee may get into Christ, and how we may know whether we be in Christ. fol. 13. 14
  • Spirituall things are the best things for nine reasons. fol. 15.
  • The Motiues and the manner of Thankesgiuing to God. fol. 20.
  • Foure Rules of tryall in our Thankesgiuing to God for others. fol. 21.
  • A Child of God neuer giues thankes but he hath cause to pray; and contrariwise. fol. 21.
  • Foure sorts of prayers for others. fol. 21. & 68.
  • Fiue reasons to warrant praying euery day. fol. 22.
  • The Sorts, Obiects, Parts, Degrees, Benefits, Lets, Signes of Faith, with the mi­sery of the want of Faith, the incouragements to beleeue, and the defects of the common Protestants Faith. fol. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28 29. 30. 31. 32.
  • Indiscretion is not the cause of the reproaches and troubles of Christians. fol. 33.
  • The surest way to get Credit is to get Grace. fol. 34.
  • Foure Signes of Vaine-glory. fol. 34.
  • Seauen Obseruations about Loue. fol. 35.
  • Seauen things to be shewed in Christian Loue. fol. 36.
  • Foure things in the manner of our loue. fol. 37.
  • Motiues to perswade to the exercise of mutuall loue, fol. 38. 39. 40.
  • Eight helpes of Loue. fol. 41. 42.
  • The defects of the common Protestants Charitie or Loue. fol. 42. 43.
  • Eight Differences betweene true Hope, and common Hope: and seauen meanes to breede true Hop [...]fol. 45. 46.
  • What wee must doe if we would haue heauen when we die. fol. 46.
  • What profit good men get by hearing Sermons. fol. 49. 50.
  • The sorts of euill hearers, with their miserie. fol. 50. 51.
  • How the Word is said to be a word of truth: and that it worketh truth in vs six wayes. fol. 52.
  • [Page]Concerning the Gospell, what it containes, who may, and who doe receiue it: and the effects of it. fol. 53. 54.
  • Motiues to fruitfulnesse, what fruit wee should beare, and the meanes to make vs more fruitfull. fol. 55. 56.
  • There is a season for fruit. fol. 58.
  • Seauen things to be done, that we may heare the Word in truth. fol. 59.
  • The causes of fruitlesse hearing. fol. 60.
  • The great commodities of assurance. ibid.
  • Who loue not God, and who loue not men. fol. 64.
  • To loue as Christ loued vs, hath foure things in it. ibid.
  • Incouragements to prayer. fol. 66. 67.
  • Why many pray and speede not. fol. 67.
  • What wee should seeke to know. Motiues to knowledge, and rules for attaining know­ledge. fol. 70. 71.
  • Signes of a naturall man. fol. 73.
  • Who make Schisme in the Church. fol. 73.
  • Rules for Contemplation. fol. 75.
  • Tenne Obiections against Knowledge answered out of Prou. 8. fol. 75. 76.
  • Wherein Wisedome consists: Wisedomes order in seauen things: Wisedomes special­ties in the behauiour; first, of the Heart in fiue things; secondly, of the tongue in seauen things; thirdly, of the Conuersation in eight things. fol. 76. 77. 78.
  • Motiues to holy life: the causes of prophanenes: rules for holinesse, and the gaine of holinesse. fol. 78 79. 80.
  • Nine Reasons against merit. fol. 81.
  • What it is to walke worthy of the Lord: it hath sixe things in it. fol. 82.
  • Eight rules to be obserued if we would please God: and sixe rules if we would please men. fol. 83. 84.
    • How Gouernours in families may walke pleasingly: and how inferiours in the fa­milie may please their superiours: and the like of Ministers and the people, and Magistrates and their Subiects. fol. 84. 85.
  • Seauen things to be obserued if wee would walke in all pleasing towards our owne con­sciences. fol. 85.
  • What workes are not good workes: and what rules must bee obserued to make our workes good: and what workes in particular are goodworkes: and seuen ends of goodworkes. fol. 86. 87.
  • What are the lets of increase of Knowledge: and how wee may know when wee in­crease in knowledge: and what we must doe that we may increase. fol. 88.
  • How God is made knowne, and who are charged not to know God: and how it comes to passe that man knowes not his God: and what wee must doe that we may know God. fol. 88. 89.
  • Signes of a weake Christian or an infant in Grace. fol. 89.
  • What is in the weake Christian, notwithstanding his wants. fol. 90.
  • Comforts for a weake Christian, and helps for his strengthening. fol. 90. 91.
  • Signes of a strong Christian. fol. 91.
  • The extent of the power of God: and what God cannot doe. fol. 92.
  • Of the glory of God, and how many waies it is reuealed. fol. 92. 93.
  • About falling from Grace and Perseuerance. fol. 93.
  • Motiues to Patience: and what wee must doe that wee may bee patient: and seauen things wherein we should shew patience. fol. 94. 95.
  • Of Long-suffering, and how to preuent anger and desire of reuenge. fol. 95.
  • What wee must doe that we might get constant Ioyfulnesse of heart. fol. 96.
  • How the Father may be said to redeeme vs. fol. 97.
    • Markes of a Childe of God. fol. 98.
  • How Christ died for all men. fol. 98. 99.
  • [Page]Fi [...]e sorts of men in the Church not made fit for [...]. fol. 99.
  • The diuision of Canaan by Lot, shadowes out many things in the kingdome of he [...]n. fol. 200.
  • Our inheritance is in light in six respects. fol. 201
  • A threefold light. ibid.
  • A sixe-fold darkenesse in euery vnregen [...]rate man. fol. 102.
  • Nine things in euery one that is deliuered from darkenesse. fol. 103.
  • The excellencie of Christs Kingdome, and the priuiledges of his Subiects. fol. 105.
  • Foure waies of Redemption. fol. 108.
  • The comforts of the Doctrine of remission of sinnes. ibid.
  • The terrour of the Doctrine of remission of sinnes. fol. 109.
  • What a man should do to get his sinnes forgiuen him. ibid.
  • Christ more excellent then all Monarches in diuers respects. fol. 110.
  • Difference betweene image and Similitude: Gods image is in man three waies: the difference betweene the Image of God in man and in Christ: Christ is the Image of GOD three waies: hee is the Image of God as God: and as man three waies. fol. 110. 111.
  • How many wayes Christ is said to be first begotten. fol. 113.
  • Foure words confute foure errors about the Creation. fol. 115.
  • Diuers opinions about the meaning of the words, Thrones, Dominions, &c. ibid.
  • All things are for Christ in diuers respects. fol. 117.
  • The eternitie of Christ described and explained. fol. 118.
  • How all things consist in Christ. ibid.
  • Many obiections about the preseruation of the righteous answered out of the 37. Psalme, fol. 102. But if we would be thus preserued, wee must looke to nine things, noted out of that Psalme. fol. 121.
  • The benefits that flow from Christ as Head of the Church. fol. 121.
  • Of the Church. fol. 122. 123.
  • How Christ is the beginning. fol. 124.
  • A three-fold primogeniture in Christ. fol. 124.
  • Christ was first begotten among the dead in three respects. fol. 125.
  • Christ is first in diuers respects. ibid.
  • What it is to yeeld Christ the preheminence. fol. 126.
  • All fulnesse is in Christ in fiue respects. fol. 127.
  • Tenne fruits of the bloud of Christ. fol. 132.
  • How many waies men sinne against Christs bloud. ibid.
  • Whether Angells be reconciled to Christ or no. fol. 133.
  • Wicked men are strangers in fiue respects. fol. 136.
  • Wicked men are enemies both actiuely and passiuely: and how. fol. 137.
  • The reasons why most men minde not their misery. fol. 138.
  • Sixe distinct things in our reconciliation by Christ. fol. 139.
  • Why the Church is called all things. ibid.
  • Christs body better then ours in fiue respects. fol. 139. Not like ours in two things, and like ours in three respects. fol. 140.
  • How many waies Christ doth present vs to God. fol. 141.
  • How Christians may be said to be holy, vnblameable, and without fault in Gods sight in this life. fol. 142.
  • Internall holinesse must haue seauen things in it. ibid.
  • What externall holinesse must haue in it. fol. 143.
  • Signes of an vpright heart. 143. and Meanes and Motiues.
  • By what meanes men are induced to fall away. fol. 144.
  • How the faithfull may fall away. ibid.
  • Seauen things from which the Elect can neuer fall. fol. 145.
  • Concerning perseuerance, 1. Motiues, 2. Meanes, 3. Helpes. ibid.
  • [Page]How many helpes a Christian hath from the very spirit of God that is in him, and from the Word. fol. 146.
  • The priuiledges of an established and grounded heart: and what wee must do that we might be grounded and stablished. fol. 147.
  • What a free spirit is. fol. 147.
  • Why many after so long profession are so vnsteled. fol. 147. 148.
  • Concerning Hope: 1. what Hope is not true Hope: 2. what persons haue no Hope: 3. what are the effects and properties of true Hope. fol. 149.
  • How the Gospell is preached to euery creature. fol. 151.
  • Why godly men are so cheerefull in affliction. fol. 153.
  • How Paul was said to fulfill the rest of the afflictions of Christ. fol. 154.
  • How our afflictions are the afflictions of Christ. fol. 155.
  • Twelue Arguments against the Crosse. fol. 157.
  • How we may know we are of Gods houshold. fol. 158.
  • What good men get by their Ministers. fol. 157.
  • How many waies the Gospell is hidden: 161. and how reuealed. fol. 165.
  • What a ciuill honest man wants. fol. 165. 166.
  • What we must do to preserue affection to the word. fol. 167.
  • The Gospell is a glorious Mysterie. fol. 168.
  • Nine Ʋses of the Doctrine of the calling of the Gentiles. ibid.
  • How Christ is conceiued in the soule of the faithfull. fol. 170. 171. 172.
  • How we may know that Christ is in our hearts. fol. 170. 171. 172.
  • The Benefits that come by the inhabitation of Christ. fol. 170. 171. 172.
  • What entertainment we ought to giue him. fol. 170. 171. 172.
  • Who haue not Christ in them.
  • The honour, dutie and reproofe of Ministers. fol. 173.
  • Reasons to perswade vs to suffer admonition. fol. 174.
  • How we are perfect in this life. fol. 176.

AN EXPOSITION VPON THE WHOLE Epistle to the COLOSSIANS.

COLOS. 1.1.2.

Verse 1. Paul an Apostle of IESVS CHRIST, by the will of God and Timotheus a Brother.

2. To them which are at Colosse, Saints and faithfull Brethren in CHRIST. Grace be with you, and peace from God our Father, and the Lord IESVS CHRIT.

TWO things are worthy our consideration in this Epi­stle, the Author and the Matter: A Description of the Author of this Epistle. the Author was PAVL, concerning whom memorable things are re­corded: he was an Hebrew, of the Hebrewes, of the tribe of Beniamin, Phil. 3.5. a Pharise, the son of a Pharise, born in Tharsus of Cilicia, circumcised the 8. day, brought vp in the knowledge of the Law, and Pharisaicall in­stitutions, by Gamaliel, a great Doctor among the Iewes,Acts 23.6. acquainted also with the languages of forrain nations, as his quoting of the authorities of Greeke Poets shewes:Acts 22.3. Titus 1.12. and in his youth, for the righte­ousnes externall, which was after the Law, he was vnrebukeablePhil. 3.6. and full of zeale, but withall a violent and blasphemous persecuter.Gal. 1.13.14. His calling was ex­ceeding glorious, his Office vnto which he was called, was great and honora­ble, (viz.) to be Legate of CHRIST,1 Tim. 1. the Doctor of the Gentiles,Acts 9.15. Acts 26.16. the Minister of God, of Christ, of the Spirit, of the new Testament, of the Gos­pell of reconciliation and of righteousnesse;1 Tim. 2. 2 Cor. 6. & 11. & 3. Ephes. 3. 2 Cor. 5. 2 Cor. 3. 1 Cor. 15. He was famous for his labour in the Word, by which hee caused the Gospell to runne from Hierusalem to Illiricum with admirable swiftnesseRom 15.19., as also for his faithfulnesse of mind, for his pure conscience, for his affection to the faithfull, for his humanity and curtesie, for his continencie, for his humility, for his care for the Churches, for his honest conuersation, innocencie and constancie2 Cor. 1.12.. he was of nature earnest, accute and heroycall.

Adde vnto these, the praises of his sufferings, what reproach, what stripes, what imprisonments, what beating with rods, and such like wrongs did he en­dure, fiue times of the Iewes receiued hee forty stripes saue one;2 Cor. 11.22. to 30. once was hee stoned, thrice hee suffered ship-wracke, night and day was hee in the deepe Sea; in iourneying often in perils of waters, of robbers, of his owne Nation, of the Gentiles; in the Citie, in the Wildernes, in the Sea, and among false bre­thren; how hee was daily pressed with wearinesse, painefulnesse, watchings, [Page 2] hunger, thirst, fastings, cold and nakednesse, besides the incumbrances and cares for the businesse of the Churches.

A foure-fold testimony cō ­cerning the doctrine of Paul.Finally, we may consider the testimony giuen to his doctrine to proue it to be without al mixture of error. And this testimony standeth of 4. branches: 1. His immediate calling: 2. His immediate instruction & information. 3. The visible donation of the holy Ghost, which was not onely giuen to himselfe, but he also conferred it, by imposition of hands to others. 4. His working of Miracles,Acts 9. Acts 19.6. 2 Cor. 12.12. Acts 20. for so he saith of himselfe, The signes of an Apostle were wrought among you, with all patience, with wonders, and great workes: hee raised a man from the dead. Neyther could the myracles wrought by him be small, when Hand­kerchiefes were brought from his body to the sicke, and their diseases depar­ted from them;Acts 19.12. yea, Deuils went out of them.

Lastly, this noble Iew, more famous among the Apostles then euer the great Saul was among the Prophets, was beheaded by the Emperor Nero, the 29. of Iune, in the 70. yeare of the Lord. And all this should cause vs with all reuerence, both to teach and learne the Celestiall doctrine deliuered in wri­ting to the Churches by him.

Conceits a­bout the Apo­stles writings.Thus of the Author, the Matter followeth: I meane not to search after the descants and conceits that some obserue concerning the workes of this Wor­thy, as that he should write ten Epistles to the Churches, to answer the num­ber of ten Commandements; and foure Epistles to particular persons, to ex­presse his agreement with the foure Euangelists; onely this in generall for his hearers or Auditorie: hee had the Romanes, the greatest in the earth for po­wer: the Graecians, the most famous for witte and learning: and the Iewes or Hebrewes, of greatest note for diuine vnderstanding of the Law of God. But to leaue this, I come to the Matter of the Epistle, and obserue three things.

  • 1 To whom he writeth.
  • 2 Vpon what occasion.
  • 3 The treatise it selfe.

What Colosse was, and how the people were conuer­ted.For the first, Colosse was a Citie in Phrigia, in Asia the lesse, neere to Laodi­cea and Hierapolis. The Church in this citie was not first gathered by Paul, but as some thinke, by Epaphras, whom they take to haue bin one of the seauenty Disciples, and an Euangelist. Some say they were first conuerted by Archippus who is mentioned, Ch. 4.17. and that Epaphras, one that was borne amongst them,Chap. 4.17. being instructed by Paul, was sent thither to build them vp further.

The occasion of the Epistle: Crosse-teach­ing in his timeFor the second: the Occasion of this Epistle was this; After that there was a Church here gathered by the power of the Gospell, Sathan after his won­ted manner, stirred vp corrupt teachers, who by crosse and contrary teaching did mightily labour to disgrace the Ministery, and hinder the efficacie of the doctrine of their faithfull Minister: these men taught Philosophicall Positi­ons, and vaine Speculations, vrged the ceremonies of the Iewes, and brought in praying to Angels, and such like infectious stuffe. Epaphras hereupon be­ing oppressed with the madnesse and fury of those Impes of Sathan, resorts to Paul, who lay in prison at Rome, and acquainting him with the state of the Church, procures him to write this Epistle.

The Epistle diuided into fiue parts.Thirdly, the treatise it selfe stands of fiue parts: first, an Exordium, ch. 1. to v. 12. Secondly, a Proposition, liuely expressing the doctrine of Christ, and his Kingdom, from v. 12. to the 23. Thirdly, an Exhortation, containing a perswa­sion, from v. 23. of ch. 1. to v. 8. of ch. 2. and a disswasion, from v. 8. of ch. 2. to the end of ch. 2. Fourthly, an institution of manners, giuing rules first in generall, ch. 3.1. to 18. secondly in speciall, from v. 18. of ch. 3. to v. 2. of ch. 4. And lastly, a conclusion, from v. 2. of ch. 4. to the end. Or briefely thus, setting aside the En­trance and the Conclusion, the Apostle entreates of matters of Faith, in the first two Chapters, and of matters of Life, in the two last.

And thus in generall of the whole Epistle, with the persons to whom,The Exordium and the parts thereof. and the occasion thereof. The first part of the Epistle in the Exordium, and i [...] stands of two members, a Salutation and a Preface. The Salutation, vers. 1.2. and the Preface from vers. 3. to the 12.

In the Salutation I consider three things: first,The salutati­on diuided. the persons saluting: second­ly, the persons saluted: thirdly, the forme of the Salutation. The persons sa­luting are an Apostle & an Euangelist; the Apostle is described by his Name,The Persons saluting. PAVL; by his Office, an Apostle; by the principall efficient that preferred him to that office, and both appointed him his seruice, and protected him in it, (viz.) IESVS CHRIST; and lastly by the impulsiue cause, (viz.) the will of God. The Euangelist is described: first, by his name, TIMOTHY: secondly, by his adiunct estate, a Brother.

First, of the words that describe the Apostle; and heere first the meaning of them, and then the Doctrines to be obserued out of them.

Paul.] The Apostle at his Circumcision was called Saul. For,The name of the Apostle. being of the Tribe of Beniamin, it seemes the men of that Tribe did in honour of their King Saul, who was the first of all the Kings of Israel;Why he was called Saul. and by a kind of emu­lation to retaine the first glory of their Tribe (more respecting the outward honour of Saul, in that he was a King, then the curse of God in his reiection) did vse to giue the name of Saul to their Children very often as a name of great honour.

And not vnfitly did this name light vpon this Beniamite: both if we regard him as he was before his calling or after: before his calling, as the olde Saul persecuted Dauid, so did this youngling Saul (comming freshly out of the mint of a Pharise) persecute Christ, who came of Dauid. And after his calling, as it was said of olde Saul, by way of Prouerbe, Is Saul also among the Prophets? So may it be said of this Saul, by way of honour, Saul is among the Apostles: and that not the least of the Apostles, for hee laboured more abun­dantly then they all.

Concerning this other name PAVL, Writers are diuersly minded.Diuers opini­ons about the name Paul. Some thinke that thirteene yeeres after Christ, by the condict of the Apostles, he re­ceiued both his Apostleship ouer the Gentiles, and this name. Others thinke, that hee tooke vnto himselfe this name of Paulus, to professe himselfe the least of all Apostles. Others thinke the name was giuen him for some emi­nent prayse of some quality or action, as Peter was called Cephas, and Iames and Iohn called Boanarges, and Iacob called Israel. Some thinke hee had two names, as Salomon was called also Iedidiah, and Matthew called Leui, and these should seeme to bee giuen by his Parents, to professe his interest a­mongst both Iewes and Romanes. Among Iewes by the Hebrew name Saul, and among the Romanes, by the Latine name Paulus. Some thinke it is but the varying of the language, as Iohn, Iochanan, Iehan, and Iohannes, all are but differing in seuerall languages. Lastly, it is most likely he was called Paul for memory of the first spoyles hee brought into the Church of Christ, not the head but the heart of Sergius Paulus, that noble Romane,Acts 1.3.9. and this is more probable, because in all the Chapters before, hee is neuer called Paul.

Apostle.] This worde in the generall signification importeth one that is sent, and so Epaphroditus is called an Apostle:Phil. 2.15. The significa­tion and Eti­mology of the word Apostle. but the Etymologie of the worde is larger then the vsuall application of it: for, it is vsually giuen to the twelue principall Disciples, and to Paul and Barnabas: and so it is vsed as a tearme of distinction from other Church-Officers: for, for the body, they had widdowes for the sicke, and Deacons for the poore: and for the soule, they had Pastors and Doctors for exhortation and instruction.And what Apostles were. And these were standing and ordinary Officers. Now there were extraordinary, viz. [Page 4] Apostles and Euangelists: the Apostles were men immediately called by CHRIST, and had generall charge ouer all Churches, for plan­ting and gouerning them: the Euanglists were called most by the A­postles, and sent with spirituall charge whether the Apostles saw most conuenient.

The vse and signification of the worde Iesus Christ. Iesus Christ.] These titles giuen to the Messias are not in vaine vsed, or ioyned together: for, by these names both his Office and his Worke are de­scribed. In the one name (CHRIST) shewing what he vndertooke to be, in the other shewing what he was, viz. IESVS, a Sauiour: the one Name, (viz.) IESVS, an Hebrew word, is for the Iewes, and the other Name CHRIST, a Greeke worde, is for the Gentiles: the one shewing that he was GOD (for,Esay 45.21. besides mee there is no Sauiour) the other shewing that hee was Man, (viz.) Christ the annointed. For, in respect of his humane nature chiefly is this annoynting with graces or gifts attributed to Christ.

Againe, Christs were of two sorts, (viz) false Christs, Mat. 24. and true Christs:Diuers Christs the true were eyther Typicall, and so the Prophets, Priests and Kings were annointed (hence in the Psalme, Touch not my Christs, &c.) or Es­sentiall, and so onely the Sonne of Mary.

By the will of God.] These words are expounded, Galat. 1.1. where hee is said to be an Apostle, not of men, as Princes send ciuill Embassadours, or as the Iewes sent false Apostles; nor by men, as Timothy, Titus, Luke, &c. who were ordayned by man:Titus 1.4. and as Titus did ordaine Elders. Or else not by the Commendation, paines or instruction of any man.

Three Do­ctrines from the first words Paul an Apostle.] Here three Doctrines may be obserued: first, great sin­ners may proue great Saints; a great enemie of sincere Religion may prooue Doctr. 1 a great founder of Churches; a great oppressor of Gods Seruants may proue a great feeder of Gods flocke.Great sinners may prooue great Saints. In a word, a persecuter, as we see heere, may be an Apostle. This Doctrine as it doth excellently sample out Gods vn­searchable mercy, so it teacheth vs not to despaire of any, but to continue Vse. 1 to pray for euen the vilest and most spitefull aduersaries, and the most open oppugners, and vsuall traducers of Gods causes and people; and to waite vpon God to see if at any time hee will giue them repentance to build that they haue destroyed, and to gather that they haue so much striuen to scatter. Secondly,2 Affliction of conscience. this Doctrine is of singular vse in the cure of the hardest of dis­eases, viz. affliction of conscience: for in some of the deare Seruants of God (that haue appearing vpon them some signes of effectuall Calling, a right euidence of hope from Gods promises, sweet pledges and signifying seales of Gods fauour, by the witnesse of the spirit of Adoption) yet there ariseth some scruples about eyther the multitude or greatnesse of their sins: now the healing of their errors,Dangerous mistaking. and vncomfortable mistakings doth most an end arise from the right application of such examples as this. I say, a right application: for, the most men doe dangerously and damnably mistake in alleadging the instances of the great sins of Gods seruants.4 Rules to be obserued in alledging ex­amples of great sinners repenting. But if thou obserue these foure rules thou canst not mistake or misapply: First, if thou bring not in the ex­amples of Dauid, Peter, Paul, or any other, to patronize thy sinne, or to de­fend or nourish thy selfe in a sinfull course. Secondly, if thou alleadge them not to wrest Gods promises, as to make the promises of mercy generall, when they are restrayned with their seuerall limitations. Thirdly, when they are not brought out to fortifie a prophane heart against the ordinances of God, as reproofes eyther publike or priuate. Fourthly, when thou dost as well vrge vpon thy selfe the necessity of the repentance was in them, as seeke the comfort of the remission of so great sinnes committed by them: These rules being obserued, the example of Pauls sinnes may with comfort bee ap­plied, as he himselfe testifieth. 1 Tim. 1.16.

Secondly, the Apostle to bring his doctrine into greater request, doth Doctr. 2 in the entrance of the Epistle insinuate himselfe into their respects,Doctrine is seldom effectuall when the per­son of the Mi­nister is despi­sed. by [...]et­ting downe the authority and praises of his office and person: which shew­eth vnto vs that vsually where the persons of the Ministers are not regarded, their Doctrine worketh little. The Doctrine is not long in credit, where the person and function it selfe is contemned.

And this yeelds vs one Reason, why a number of prophane men get so Ʋse 1 little by the doctrine they so ordinarily heare: And the cause is, they are contemners, and scoffers, and reprochers of Gods Ministers; and therefore God will giue them no blessing by their Ministery. Againe, it shewes how Ʋse 2 heauy and hurtfull a sinne it is to detract from the name and good esteeme of Ministers, by tales, lyes, and slanders: for,Defamation of Ministers. though men beleeue thee not in thy slanders, yet it is the property of most defamations, that they leaue a kinde of lower estimation many times where they are not beleeued. Third­ly, it serues to teach all Ministers and others that are in gouernment, to pre­serue by all lawful and holy endeauors the authoritie and credit both of their Persons and Callings. There is no doubt but the base carriage and indiscreet Ʋse 3 and sinfull courses of many Ministers haue brought a contempt and barren­nesse vpon the very Ordinances of God; they can do no good with their do­ctrine, they are so wanting to that grauitie and innocency that should shine in the lights and lampes of Christ.

Lastly, here may be obserued, that he that will beare rule ouer other mens Doctr. 3 consciences, must be an Apostle:Lesse then an Apostle must not haue do­minion ouer mens consci­ences. Ʋse. Doct. No know­ledge auaile­able to salua­tion without the knowledge of Christ. lesse then an Apostolicall man cannot pre­scribe vnto other mens consciences: and therefore it is a prophane insolen­cie in any whatsoeuer to vrge their fancies and deuises, and to presse them, master-like, vpon the iudgements or practises of their brethren, when they are not warranted in the writings of the Prophets and Apostles.

Of Iesus Christ.] No knowledge can bee auaileable to saluation without the knowledge of Christ, and therefore the Apostle in the very forefront of the Epistle, professeth to teach the doctrine of Christ, and to ayme at such a course of framing of doctrine, as aboue all things Christ Iesus may sound in his instructions, and be receiued into honour, application and pra­ctise. And he doth in the very entrance intimate what the corrupt teachers must looke for from him: viz. that hee will batter the whole frame of their building, that haue led men from CHRIST crucified, to vaine Traditions, Philosophicall speculations, Iewish obseruations, and giuen his glory to Angells.

By the will of God.] That is, by his approbation, direction, protection, but especially by his singular vocation. The Apostle then holds his calling from God, and therefore beleeues Gods protection and blessing because God had called him to his function. And as the Apostle, so euery member of the Church holds his particular standing and function from God; hee is ranked into order by the speciall prouidence and calling of God.

And it is to great purpose that men should know it in their owne particu­lar. For first, it inforceth diligence: if God haue set thee in thy calling,The assurance of a lawful cal­ling serues for foure vses. then it stands thee vpon to discharge the dueties of thy calling with all heedful­nesse and painfulnesse. Secondly, it may teach men not to passe the bounds 1 of their calling; for seeing they are in their places by Gods will, they must 2 take heede of going beyond their limits, eyther by vsing of vnlawfull wayes and courses, or by intruding into other mens functions. Thirdly, it 3 doth plainely appoint the particular calling to serue the generall. Eue­ry Christian hath two Callings:Euery Christi­an hath two callings. the one is the externall designement of him to some outward seruice in the Church or Common-wealth, and this is his particular calling: the other is the singling of him out by speciall [Page 6] sanctification to glorifie God, and seeke his owne saluation in the things of the Kingdome of Christ, and this is a calling generall to him, with all belee­uers. Now it is manifest, that Gods commandement is, that men first seeke the kingdome of God, and the righteousnesse thereof. And therefore he ne­uer meant that men should so follow their outward businesse and imploy­ments, as to omit the meanes of knowledge and grace, prayer, reading, hea­ring, 4 conference, and such like. Lastly, the consideration of this, that wee hold our particular callings from God, should teach vs contentation in the willing vnder-going of the daily molestations or troubles and crosses that do befall vs, and to be content with our kinde of life, seeing wee are thus set and placed by Gods will.

The Euange­list described.Thus farre of the Apostle. The Euangelist is described: first, by his name, TIMOTHY: secondly, by his adiunct estate, a Brother.

Doctr. 1 Three things briefely may be obserued here; first, that consent in doctrine is a great meanes and effectuall to perswade both to incorruption in Faith,The profit of consent in do­ctrine. and integrity in liuing. This made Paul to ioyne Timothy with him; and the Vse 1 consideration of this, as it should teach all faithfull Ministers to make them­selues glorious by a brotherly harmonie in matters of opinion: so it doth giue occasion to bewaile that great sinne of wilfull opposition and crosse-teaching,Wilful oppo­sition & crosse teaching. which doth in many places too much abound; a course that is ta­ken vp by some of purpose to hinder the growth of knowledge and sincerity: some of these instruments of the Diuell, hauing for the most part, no life or hart, eyther in study or preaching, but when enuy and malice, and a desire to be contrary, doth instigate and pricke them forward. These are like them of whom the Apostle complained, that were contrary to all men, and forbid vs to preach to the Churches that they might be saued, 1 Thes. 2.15.16. & fulfil the measure of their sins alwaies: God they please not, and the wrath of God is come on them to the vttermost.

Doctr. 2 Secondly, here we may learne that spirituall aliance is the best aliance; for, it is a greater honour to Timothy to bee a brother,Spirituall ali­ance. then to be an Euangelist: for, hee might haue beene an Euangelist, and yet haue gone to Hell when he had done, as Iudas an Apostle did. And this cannot but be exceeding com­fortable, seeing there is not the meanest childe of God but he may attaine to that which was Timothies greatest title.

Doctr. 3 Thirdly, the Apostle doth intimate by the taking in of Timothies assent, that the most glorious doctrine of God doth need the witnesse of men,Gods doctrin needs mans witnesse. such a vanity and secret sinfulnes doth lodge in mens hearts. Which should teach Ministers with all good conscience and heedfulnesse, to weigh well and con­sider throughly of their doctrine before they deliuer it,Vse. because there is a weakenesse too commonly found in the very deare children of God, namely, to receiue doctrine vpon the trust and credit of the Messenger, without sear­ching the Scriptures as they ought to doe.

2 The persons saluted.Thus farre of the persons saluting: the persons saluted are described, both by the place of their habitation, at Colosse, and by their spirituall estate: in which he describes them by foure things: they are Saints, they are faithfull, they are Brethren, and they are in Christ.

Foure general obseruations.Before I come to the particular handling of each of these, I consider foure things in the generall: First, heere we see the power of the Gospell. But a lit­tle before,1. The power of the Gospel. if Colosse had beene searched with lights, as Ierusalem was, there would not haue beene found one Saint nor one faithfull man or woman in the whole Citie:2. Who be the true members of the Church 3. The Church may be true & yet faulty. and now behold by the preaching of the Word, heere are many Saints and faithfull Brethren to be found in her. Secondly, wee see here who be the true members of the Church. The Apostle acknowledgeth none but such as are Saints, faithfull, and in Christ. Thirdly, wee see heere that a Church may remaine a true Church, notwithstanding grosse corrup­tions [Page 7] remaine in it vnreformed, as heere these titles are giuen to [...] C [...]ch much poysoned with humane traditions and vile corruptions in wo [...]ip. Lastly it is to be obserued, that the Apostle ioynes all these together,4 One grace or priuiledge cannot bee without ano­ther. Carnall Pro­testant. to note that one cannot be without the other, one cannot be a Saint vnlesse he be faithfull, and in Christ, and so of the rest. The last clause cuts off the Iewes apparantly from being Saints or true belieuers, seeing they receiue not Christ: and the first clause cuts off the carnall Protestant, so as he cannot be a belee­uer or in Christ, seeing he cares no more for sanctitie: and the two middle­most cut off the Papists and all Heretikes and Schismatikes, seeing they haue with insolent pride made a rent and Apostasie from the true Apostolicall Churches,2 Thes. 2.4. &c by aduancing themselues with their Man of sinne aboue their bre­thren, nay, aboue all that is called God.

Thus farre in generall, the first thing particularly giuen them, is, that they are Saints.

Saints.] This Word is diuersely accepted in Scripture.The accepta­tions of the word Saints. Sometimes it is giuen to the Angels, and so they are called Saints, Deuter. 33.2. Iob. 15.15. Secondly, men are said to be holy by a certaine Legall or Ceremoniall san­ctitie, Leuit. 11.44. And in this sence the superstitious are holy: This is the holinesse and sanctitie of Papists and Popish persons, which place all their holinesse in the obseruation of Rites and Traditions, and superstitious Cu­stomes. Thirdly, all that stand members of the Church, by the rule of Cha­ritie, or in respect of outward visibility and profession, are called Saints, and so all that couenant with GOD by offering Sacrifice,Psal. 50.5. are called Saints Lastly, and properly it is a tearme giuen to men effectually called: the chil­dren of God truely conuerted are called Saints; not because they are perfect­ly holy without all sinne, but in foure respects. First,Gods chil­dren are cal­led Saints in foure respects. in respect of Separa­tion, because they are elected and gathered out of the world, and ioyned vnto Gods people, and dedicated to holy seruices and vses, & thus the word is often taken. Secondly, in respect of vocation; and therefore the Apostle 1 Cor. 1.2. When he had said they were sanctified, he said by way of explica­tion, they were Saints by calling. Thirdly, in respect of regeneration, because they are now new creatures. And lastly, in respect of iustification or impu­tation, because the holinesse and sanctitie of Christ is imputed to them.

The sence being thus giuen, the doctrine is plaine,Doct. Men may bee Saints in this life. that men may be Saints in this life: there are Saints in Earth as well as in Heauen. This is apparant also in other Scriptures, as Psalm. 16.3. To the Saints that are in earth. And Psal. 37.28. Hee forsaketh not his Saints. And Psalm. 132.9.16. Let thy Saints reioyce. So in the Epistle to the Ephesians, ch. 2.20. Citizens with the Saints, &c. chap. 3.8. Paul calleth himselfe the least of all Saints, &c. chap. 4.12. For the gathering together of the Saints; with many other places.Vse. The vse of this serues first, to confute the grosse folly of the Papists that acknowledge no Saints till three things come to them: first, they must be Canonized by the Pope:Three things needfull for popish Saints. secondly, they must be dead first: thirdly, it must be an hundred yeeres af­ter their death. This last prouiso was well added, lest their treasons and most vile practises should be remembred. Secondly, this serues for the seuere re­proofe of numbers in our owne Church, that liue as if there were no sancti­tie to be looked after, till they come to heauen. Thirdly, the Scripture is not without singular comfort to the poore despised Saints:Comforts for the despised Saints and se [...] ­uants of God Psal. 16.3. Psal. 30.4.5. I will take them in order as they lye. Deuter. 7.6.7. If wee be sure wee be a holy people to the Lord, then this is our comfort, that God accounts of vs aboue all the peo­ple vpon the earth: and no man loues his Pearles or precious Iewels so much as God loues the meanest Saint. Dauid saith, these are the Nobles of the earth. And Psal. 30.4.5. These are willed with all cheerefull thankfulnesse to laud and praise God, and that before the remembrance of his holines (as they [Page 8] before the Arke, so wee before all the Tokens and Pledges of Gods loue, both the Word and Sacraments, and sweet witnesses of the Spirit of Adop­tion, and all other blessings as Testimonies of Gods fauour.)

Obiect.Oh but it seemes the Saints haue little cause of ioy or praise, for they are much afflicted, and that by the iudgements of God too, eyther in their con­sciences within,Solut. or in their bodies, or estates, or names without. The Pro­phet answeres: that the Lord endureth but a while in his anger, but in his fauour is life, Psal. 37.28. though weeping may abide at euening, yet ioy commeth in the morning. And in the 37. Psalm. 28. vers. a charge is giuen to flye from euill, and doe good: in which words a Saint is desciribed by his practise.

Obiect.Oh but what shall they get by this precisenesse? Sol. They shall dwell for e­uer: Solut. no men haue so certaine, sure, and durable estates, as those that make conscience of their wayes, hating the infection of all sinne, and delighting themselues in well-doing.

Obiect.Oh but wee see they are much maliced and hated, disgraced and wronged in the world.Solut. Sol. The Lord loueth iudgement: if men right not their wrongs, God will;Psalme 7. nay, it is a delight vnto the Lord to iudge the righteous, and him that contemneth God euery day: those spitefull aduersaries of sincerity shall ne­uer escape Gods hands.

Obiect.Oh but we see not onely wicked men, but God himselfe smiteth and affli­cteth those that be so holy.Solution. Sol. Though God afflict and chastize his people, as a Father his beloued Sonne, yet he forsaketh not his Saints.

Obiect.Oh but the Saints themselues are full of great doubts, whether they shall perseuer,Solut. or God will change. Sol. It is Gods vnchangeable promise, they shall be preserued for euermore. Psal. 85.8. Againe, in the 85. Psalme, though the Church be in great perplexities in respect of outward afflictions, yet this comfort the Saints haue: First, that though Gods stroakes seeme to bee the stroakes of warre, yet Gods words are the words of Peace: the Word and Spirit of God are sure fountaines of rest and peace to the heart and conscience of Gods af­flicted people. Secondly, when God smites his people, hee euer hath a regard to this, not to smite them so long, as they should bee driuen to turne againe to folly: by folly hee meaneth sinne, for all sinfull courses are foolish courses. The Lord by crosses intends to bring them out of sinne, not to driue them in, and if men finde not these priuiledges true, it is because eyther they doe not hearken, that is, obserue and marke the Word, Spirit, and Workes of God, or else because they are not his Saints. In the 149. Psalme, there is an Honour giuen to all the Saints: Psal. 149.5.6.7.8.9. viz. that they should with a two-edged sword, execute vengeance vpon the Heathen, and corrections vpon the people, they should binde Kings with chaines, and Nobles with fetters of iron: thus should they execute vpon them the iudgement that is written. So forcible and powerfull are the publike threatnings and censures of the Saints assembled in their holy ranckes, as also their priuate prayers, that all the swords of great Princes cannot so plague the enemies of the Church, as doe the Saints by these wea­pons: So fearefull are the corrections and iudgements which the Saints by prayers and censures may bring vpon whole troopes of wicked men, as no swords or fetters in nature can be comparable to them.

Dan. 7.27.When Daniel had described the greatnesse and glory of the Princes, Po­tentates and mighty States in the foure Monarchies, at last hee comes to speake of a Kingdome which is the greatest vnder the whole Heauen: and that is the Kingdome of the Saints of the most High. So glorious is the state of the poore despised Seruants of God, euen heere in this world, in the King­dome of grace. Daniel 7.27. And if there bee such suing, on earth, to be­come free-men of great Cities, especially to liue in the Courts of great prin­ces, how great is the felicitie of euery childe of God, who is no more now a [Page 9] forreiner or stranger, but a Cittizen with the Saints, Ephes. 2.20. and of the hous [...]ld of God.

To conclude, this may be a great refreshing to euery childe of God against al the discomforts of this present transitory life, that in that great and last, and terrible day Christ will be glorified in them, and made maruellous in the Saints. 2 Thes. 1.10. And last of all, though the Saints be here despised and trodden vnder foot, iudged and condemned by men, yet the time will come,2 Cor. 6.2. when the Saints shall iudge the world.

Oh but some one will say, all the difficulty lyeth in this,Qu. Who are Saints? to know who are Saints. Ans. To this end,Ans. besides the foure things generally laid downe before, I will for triall alleadge two or three places of Scripture: first, in Deut. 33.3.Deut. 33.3. When Moses had praised the loue of God to the Iewish Nation,The first signe hee specially commendeth Gods speciall care towards the Saints of that Na­tion, whom, as most deare to him, hee had alwaies in his hands,Psal. 16.3.5.6. and giueth this signe to know them by, (viz.) They are humbled at his feete, to receiue his words.

Secondly, Dauid hauing spoken of the excellency of the Saints on earth,Dauids foure signes. to proue himselfe to be one of the number, he yeeldeth his reasons from foure 1 experimentall signes: First, the Lord was his portion, though hee had hopes or possession of great things in the earth, yet Gods fauour was that hee did most prize,Psal. 16.5.6. and spirituall things were vnto him the fairest part of his inhe­ritance, and though he had many crosses, yet the line was fallen vnto him in a faire place: so long as hee could see grace in his heart, and the GOD of grace to loue him freely. Secondly, he could as heartily praise GOD for 2 spirituall blessings, (viz.) Counsell, Knowledge,Psal. 16.7. and direction out of the worde of God, as wicked men could for temporall Honours, Riches, Plea­sures, and such things as they loue best. Thirdly, his reynes did teach him in 3 the night. Some thing can wicked men learne by the Word without, but God did neuer honour any with the feelings of the Spirit of Adoption, but onely the Saints.

Obiection. Obiect. Oh but might not Dauid bee deceiued in that signe by illusi­ons, &c. Ans. Dauid giues two reasons why hee could not: first,Solut. Difference be­tween illusiōs & the feelings of the Spirit of Adoption. his feelings did not make him more carelesse, presumptuous and sinfull, as illusions doe wicked men, but they taught him, that is, hee learned by them many worthy lessons, and directions, and encouragements to holy life, and neuer did hee conceiue a greater hatred against his sinne, then when his reynes taught him: secondly, he shewes that hee had them in the night; that is, when hee was a­lone and withdrawn from company, and the things of the world, and world­ly occasions. Fourthly, his last signe is, that hee did set the Lord alwaies before 4 him: hee could be content to walke euer in Gods presence, and to haue him the witnesse of his actions, hee was not carefull onely to approue himselfe to men (as wicked men may doe) but his chiefe care was to walke in all good conscience before God,

Lastly, in the fourth of Esay, Esay 4.3.4. the Prophet fore-tels of men that vnder the Gospell should bee called holy or Saints, and these hee describes by their hap­pinesse, they shall be written among the liuing in Ierusalem; and by their holines, which will discouer it selfe by these signes: first, they are not acquainied with 1 the damnable and hatefull extenuations and qualifications of sinnes: they are not heard to say, it is a little sinne, a small fault; no, their sinnes in their eyes are filthinesse and bloud. Secondly, they are men that haue felt the 2 power of GOD in the practise of mortification; they are new creatures, they are washed and purged. Thirdly, the Spirit of God in them hath beene a 3 Spirit of Iudgement, and a Spirit of burning: a Spirit of Iudgement, not onely in respect of knowledge and illumination, but also because it hath kept [Page 10] an Assize in the soule of the sinner, hee hath beene arraigned, indicted, and hath pleaded guilty, and beene condemned: a Spirit of burning, both in re­spect of the inward purifying of the heart from the drosse that cleaues vnto it, as also in respect of zeale and ardor, for the glory of God: And thus farre of the first thing giuen vnto the people of God: they are Saints. Now fol­loweth the second.

The accepta­tions of the word faithfull. Faithfull.] This worde is diuersly attributed in Scripture. It is giuen to2 Cor. 1. God, and God is said to be faithfull in the accomplishment of his promises. It is giuen toReuel. 19.11. Christ, and hee is called faithfull and true. It is giuen to thePsal. 89.37. Psal. 19 7. & 111.7. Sunne in the Firmament, because it keepeth his certaine course. It is giuen to the Word of God, so as whatsoeuer it promiseth or threatneth men may certainely binde vpon it, for heauen and earth may faile, but one iot of it shall not faile. Lastly, it is giuen to Men, especially and most ordinarily to such men as are true beleeuers, and walke in all good conscience both be­fore God and Men: and as it is thus taken, the words of the holy Ghost, Prou. 20.6.Prou. 20.6. may be taken vp, Many men will boast, euery one of his owne goodnes, but who can finde a faithfull man? These are they that Dauid so earnestly search­eth for, and hauing found them, doth so stedfastly set his eyes vpon them, and entertaineth them into his Court, Psal. 101.6.Psal. 101.6. The names of these wee doe for the most part take vpon our selues, but the signes of these are but spa­ringly found amongst vs. That we may examine our selues, I will consider what is required of vs that we may shew our selues faithfull.

Faithfulnesse in spirituall things Hereunto fiue things are re­quisite.The Christian mans faithfulnesse ought to shew it selfe, first, in spirituall things; secondly, in temporall things: vnto faithfulnesse in spirituall things fiue things are requisite. First, faith in Christ, to get sound reasons from the Word and Spirit of God, and a sure euidence for the particular perswasion of the heart, that God in Christ is graciously reconciled with the sinner. He 1 cannot bee a faithfull man that hath not a iustifying Faith: all that time of a mans life, onely receiueth hee this honour, to be accounted faithfull, when aboue all things hee trauels after the sense of Gods fauour in the forgiuenes 2 of his sinnes. Secondly, faithfulnesse stands in the performance of all those Promises, Purposes and Vowes, which men in their distresse inward or out­ward doe make vnto God.Psal. 78. And therefore the Israelites are charged not to 37 bee faithfull, because when the wrath of God turned vpon them, and the strongest of them were slaine, and their chosen men were smitten, and that 31 their daies did consume in vanitie, and their yeeres hastilie, then they crie 32 vnto him, and seeke him in their distresse, they returne and seeke him earelie, 34 they acknowledge that GOD is their strength, and the most High their Re­deemer: 35 but when the Lord had beene mercifull vnto them, forgiuen their iniquities, so as hee destroyed them not, and called backe his anger; then they 38 returned and prouoked the LORD againe, they flattered him with their tongue, they tempted GOD and sinned still, and therefore they are censured 37 thus: Their heart was not vpright, neyther were they faithfull in Gods Coue­nant. 3 Thirdly, it shewes it selfe in constant sincerity in Gods worship, when men will worship God according to the rules of his reuealed will, with­out mixture of mens inuentions, or the customary sinnes of prophanenesse and hypocrisie.Hos. 11. vlt. And thus Iudah is said to be faithfull with Gods Saints, be­cause as yet the worship of God was preserued amongst them in the auncient puritie, in which the old Patriarkes and Saints, did sincerely worship the God of their Fathers: hee is a faithfull man that will worship God no other­wise then the Saints haue done, that is, precisely, according to his will re­uealed 4 in his Word. Fourthly, faithfulnesse is exercised in the conscionable imployment of the Gifts, Graces, and Talents receiued in our generall cal­ling, to Gods glory, the increase of our gifts, and the inriching of our soules [Page 11] with true spirituall gaine. And thus hee is said to bee a good Seruant and faithfull, that hauing receiued fiue Talents, hath gained with them fi [...]e mo [...],Mat. 25.21.23. or two Talents and doth gaine two moe, and this we doe, when hauing recei­ued Knowledge, Faith, Loue, Hope, Patience, Spirit of Prayer, &c. wee doe by a constant and daily practise bring them out into exercise for our selues and for others. Thus doing, two commodities wee shall reape: first it is a signe of our faithfulnesse: secondly, the gifts will increase, and to him that 5 hath such gifts to vse them, shall be more giuen. Lastly, faithfulnesse shewes it selfe in mens sinceritie, diligence, constancie, and care to promote and fur­ther the causes of God, and the Church, with the conscionable discharge of all such dueties as belong vnto such seruice. Thus Timothy is praised to bee faithfull in the Lord, 1 Cor. 4.17.1 Cor. 4.17. And thus the Apostle and Apostolicall men were faithfull, when they could doe nothing against the truth, but for the truth: and thus men are faithfull that can patiently beare,2 Cor. 11.8. and willingly take vp the Crosse of Christ, and that daily; so as they may further the building vp,Luke 9.23. and e­dification of Gods people. Those then are not faithfull that doe the worke of the Lord negligently, that set their hands to the plough, and looke backe, that minde their owne things, honours, pleasures, profits, and preferments, and those that in the time of temptation fall away: these specialties of faithfulnesse receiue a great increase of praise if two things come to them: first, that mens hearts be faithfull; that is, that though they haue many wants and infirmities, and faile much and often in well-doing, yet the desire, delight, endeuour, resolution and affection is in all pleasing and firmnesse to walke before God, without eyther hypocrisie or presumption: this was Abrahams praise, Nehem. 9.8. Second­ly, that men continue faithfull vnto the death, Nehem: 9.8. with all constancy and holy per­seuerance, beleeuing in Christ, and worshipping GOD, euen to the ende of their dayes, this is called for, and crowned, Reuel. 2.11. Thus of faithfulnesse in spirituall things.

Faithfulnesse in temporall things stands in three things. First,Reu: 2.11: Faithfulnesse in temporall things. in the sin­cere, diligent, and carefull discharge of the duties of our Callings. It was a singular prayse in Daniel, that when his enemies sought occasion against him, they could finde none concerning the Kingdome,Daniel 6.5. hee was so faithfull 1 and without blame, and therefore they must take him (if euer) concerning the Law of his God. Then doth the glory of Gods people shine,A Caueat for Professors. when toge­ther with their constant zeale in matters of religion, they are found carefully diligent and faithfull in their callings; then whatsoeuer befalls them for the Law of their God, they may beare it with all comfort and constancy, as did Daniel. But how doth it blemish the glory of profession, when men can say and see that Professors are idle, deceitfull, busie-bodies, and carelesse in their places and callings? they cannot build so much by profession, as they de­stroy by their scandalous and carelesse courses.

Secondly, in the right vse and profitable disposing of our riches, euen 2 the outward things God hath giuen vs. This lyeth vpon vs, as one of the to­kens of our faithfulnesse: nay, this is necessary to the being of this praise: In the 16.Luke 16.9. of Luke Christ exhorts to the wise and liberall bestowing of our riches vnto the necessities of the poore, and for other holy and needfull vses. And because there lye in the hearts of carnall men, many Obiections against this Exhortation, therefore hee forceth it with reasons that meete with mens car­nall conceits.

And first, whereas men out of an ouer-great estimation and liking of these Obiect. 1 earthly things doe easily obiect that they must be carefull of the sauing, and sparing in the vse of their riches: for they are all the comfort they haue in this world.Solution. Hee answereth that men should not so much loue these earthly things: for they are riches of iniquitie, that is, sinne (that makes a man [Page 12] miserable and accursed) is most an end mixed with riches:Verse 9. eyther they are wrongfully gotten, and sinfully kept, or they are causes of much sinning a­gainst God, or men, or himselfe.

Obiect. 2 Oh, but what good shall a man get by parting with his goods? Sol. They shall receiue him into euerlasting habitations: Solut. they, that is, eyther the Angels, or the Poore, or thy Riches shall let thee into heauen; euen to sure dwelling places: and this should moue the rich; because the time will come when thou shalt want, and all the riches in the world cannot helpe thee.

Obiect. 3 Oh, but a man may bee saued and enioy these euerlasting habitations, though hee doe not so part with his riches.Solut. Sol. Hee cannot: for, a man cannot bee saued without Grace, and God will neuer trust him with Grace (the true treasure) that is not faithfull in bestowing riches:Verse 10.11. and good reason; for, if God gaue a wicked worldling grace, hee would neuer be faithfull in v­sing it: for, he that is vniust in the least, that is, Riches, would be vniust in much, that is, Grace.

Obiect. 4 Oh, but our goods are our owne, and therefore why should we giue them to others?Solut. Sol. Ver. 12. That is false, for Grace onely is a mans owne, but Ri­ches are anothers;Psal. 24.1. Prou. 3.27. for God is the Lord of the whole, and the poore is the ow­ner of a part.

Obiect. 5 Tush, but a man may haue a good heart to God, and yet not deliuer out his goods to other mens vses, nor leaue his content that he hath in the fruiti­on of them.Solut. Verse 13. Sol. That is false too: for, a man cannot serue two Masters: one man cannot serue God and Riches. And thus our Sauiour meeteth with the Obiections of worldly men. The wordes also containe notable reasons to perswade to faithfulnesse, which lieth in this good vse of Riches: first, they are riches of iniquity: secondly, the right vse of them makes way for heauen: thirdly, hee is like to be a godly man in the vse of Grace, that is a faithfull man in the vse of Riches: fourthly, God else will not trust vs with Grace: fiftly, he will else be a very vniust man, and his riches wicked: sixtly, Grace onely is his owne goods, and to be without Grace is to liue and dye a beggar: lastly, thou canst neuer serue God and Riches.

Thirdly, in temporall things Faithfulnesse shewes it selfe in the vpright­nesse and harmelesnesse of our carriage towards others; as in keeping of pro­mises, Psal. 15. in the honest discharge of the trust laid vpon men, eyther in Church or Common-wealth. Nehem. 13.13. Prou. 13.17. in witnesse-bea­ring, Prou. 14 5.25. in iust gaines and lawfull meanes vsed for profit in our dealings with others, Prou. 28.20. And such like dueties of iustice.

Thus then we see who is a faithfull man, euen hee that knoweth his owne reconciliation with God by faith; that performeth his vowes to God; that sincerely worships God, and laboureth the increase of holy graces; that will doe nothing against the trueth, but for the truth; that is diligent in his cal­ling, that is seruiceable with his riches; and lastly, that is iust in his dealing.

Priuiledges of the [...]ithfull.Now, if wee be such, then is our estate most comfortable: for first, God will bee faithfull to vs in the accomplishment of all his promises: second­ly, 1 the Worde will be faithfull, euen a sure fountaine of true comfort and 2 helpe in all distresse: thirdly, Christ will be a faithfull, both High Priest in 3 heauen, by his intercession making request for vs to God, and both to earth and heauen he will be a faithfull witnesse, Hebr. 2.17. Reuel. 15. & 3.14. so as while we liue, we shall finde the testimony of IESVS in our hearts, and when wee die hee will not bee ashamed of vs before his Father and the holy Angels; and lastly, wee shall be sure to haue a faithfull reward.Prou. 11.18. And this of the second title giuen to Gods Children.

3 Brethren.] The Children of God are said to be brethren in a foure-fould relation:1 To Christ. 1. to CHRIST: 2. to the Apostle: 3. to the Saints abroad: 4. to [Page 13] the Saints at home. For the first, are wee brethren to CHRIST?1 To Christ. then it should teach vs two things; first, to liue comfortably, for an higher est [...]te of Vse. 1 excellencie canst thou not haue; secondly, to liue nobly, like the Sonnes of Vse. 2 the most High, not basely, like the Sonnes of the Earth. Why wallowest thou in base and filthy pleasures? why dotest thou vpon vncertaine and sinfull profits? why doth thy heart degenerate to regard, and so aspire after worldly preferment? Remember whence thou art descended, and with whom alyed,Romanes 8. and walke as becomes the coheyre of Christ.

Secondly,2 To the A­postle. are they Brethren to the Apostles and other great Gouernours of the Church? it should then teach Ministers, Magistrates, and Masters of Families, so to rule as to remember that they rule their brethren: Ʋse. neyther to neglect their good, (for why should thy brother perish?) nor with proud in­solency or tyrannie, eyther in correction, or seuere carriage to Lord it ouer them.

Thirdly, are they Brethren to the Saints abroad?3 To the Saints abroad and are they of the same familie with them? then it should teach them to pray for them, and to lay the distresses of other Saints and Churches to their hearts: for, though they be remoued in place and carnall knowledge; yet are they neere in the mysti­call vnion, if it be considered that the same Mother bare them; and the same Father begat them.

Lastly, are they Brethren to the Saints at home?4 To the Saints at home. then they should learne to conuerse brotherly, to liue and loue together, as becommeth Saints and Brethren. Oh that it could sinke into mens mindes, or that this were writ­ten in mens hearts! then could there be nothing more glorious and comfor­table in this earth, then this communion of Saints, especially in the fellowship of the Gospell.

In Christ.] Men are said to be in CHRIST three waies: first, as the Plant 4 in the Stocke: Iohn. 15 secondly, as the Member in the body: 1 Cor. 12.12. thirdly, as the Wife is one with the Husband, Ephes. 5.25.

Dost thou aske then how thou maist get into Christ?How thou maist get in­to Christ. Ans. Obserue three things.

First, before thou canst be ingrafted into Christ, thou must be cut off the 1 old tree; eyther a new man or no man; eyther lose the World, or neuer finde Christ; eyther disarme thy selfe of all vaine confidence, loue, delight, and support from the world and wordly men, or the arme of the Lord will ne­uer beare thee vp and nourish thee.

Secondly, a true Member is not but by generation in nature, nor canst thou 2 be a true member of Christ but by regeneration: great oddes between a wod­den legge, though neuer so exquisitely made, and a true legge; all members in Creation be begotten, and in Grace begotten againe.

Thirdly, as they are not Man and Wife, where there is no sure making by 3 Contract or Marriage going before; so neyther can any be in Christ, vnlesse hee be receiued vnto the Couenant of Grace: and, as it is a mad thing in Na­ture, for any woman to say; Such a man is my Husband, for hee is a kinde man, and did cast his eye vpon mee, or did me a pleasure at such a time, &c. So, it is as great spirituall madnesse for any Soule to plead interest in Christ, when they can alleadge no more but his generall loue to man; or that hee offered Grace to vs in the Word and Sacraments, or that wee together with the Gospell receiued outward blessings, or such like; when men can shew no contract, no mutuall entercourse betweene CHRIST, and the SOVLE, no manner of euidence for their hopes, no witnesses from the Word, Spirit, or Children of God, for their spitituall Marriage.

Againe, would a man know whether hee bee in Christ?Who are in Christ. these Compa­risons likewise resolue his doubt, by a three-fold Answere: first, hee is in [Page 14] Christ, if he blossome, grow, and beare fruit, euen such fruit as is to eternall life. If a man bee abundant in the workes of the Lord; and grow in such graces as are communicated onely to the faithfull, hee is certainely a true Plant in this Stocke: for, by growing and fruit, is the Plant that is ingrafted knowne from the sprigge that is lopped off, and lyeth by, and is withered. A life barren and void of the workes of Pietie and Mercy, is a manifest signe that the person is not in Christ.

2 Secondly, if there be in our soules the sense, and feeling, and motion of spirituall life, then are wee members: for, in a wodden legge is there no sense nor naturall motion. When men haue as much sense and feeling, sa­uour and delight in the things of the Spirit, as the Word, Prayer, fellow­ship in the Gospell, with the exercises of holy Graces in the duties of Gods worship, or things otherwise belonging to the Kingdome of Christ, as the carnall man hath in the profits,Romanes 8. pleasures, and fleshly things of this world: These certainely are men after the Spirit, and by the Spirit mystically vnited to Christ the head: and on the other side, a more plaine and palpable signe cannot be giuen to proue demonstratiuely, that a man is not in Christ, then when a man findes no taste, hath no feeling, can take no delight in spirituall Meanes, Graces, or Persons, and yet is easily affected with the least profits and delights of the world.

3 Thirdly, it will appeare by the holy communion betweene Christ and the faithfull Soule, by his co-habitation and spirituall entercourse, when Christ meetes a Christian with holy Comforts, with heauenly refreshings, with sacred answeres, with spirituall direction, and other sacred signes of the presence of Christ, in the vse of the meanes, sporting himselfe with the Christian Soule: this entercourse I say, this secret and chamber-meeting, 4 these inward and hearty feelings, wrought by the Worde and Sacraments, by Prayer, and Fasting, by Reading and Conference, are certaine and sure signes and seales to prooue a marriage going before. And thus farre of the foure titles giuen to the Children of God, and also of the second thing, viz. the persons saluted. Now followeth the Salutation it selfe.

Grace and Peace be vnto you, from God the Father, and from the Lord Iesus Christ.

Of Saluta­tions.IT hath beene an ancient custome, both in the Iewish, Christian, & Pagan world, to beginne Letters and Epistles, with Salutations; and in these they were wont to wish to their Friends, that which was accounted the chiefest good. Hence the Heathen as they were opinionated about the chiefe good, they did differently wish good things to their friends in their salutations. Some wished health, [...]. some wished welfare or safetie; some, to doe well; some, ioy and a merry life; as they were eyther Stoickes or Epicures. But the Apostle finding that true felicitie was in none of these, doth religiously wish that which in the Kingdome of Christ was in greatest request, (viz.) Grace and Peace.

The accepta­tions of the word Grace. Grace.] This worde is diuersly taken. For kindnesse, 2 Samel. 16.17. for abilitie to affect or perswade, Psalm. 45.2. for the happinesse that is had from Christ in this world; and so it is opposed to glorie, Psalm. 84.11. for the preaching of the Gospell, Rom. 1.4. Titus 2.12. for approbati­on from God, Pro. 12.2. For the spirituall liberty that wee haue from Christ: and so it is opposed to the Law, Rom. 6.14. lastly, it is taken for the loue and fauour of GOD, receiuing the Sinner into couenant in Christ, as it is an euer-flowing spring of celestiall Grace to the soule iustified: and so it is taken heere.

Peace] This word also is diuersly accepted, for rest and ease from paine,The accepta­tions of the word Peace. Psal. 38.4. for familiarity, so the man of my peace, Psal. 41.9. for concord, Ephes. 4.3 for prosperitie in generall, 1. Chron. 12.18. Psal. 125.5. Ier. 29.11. for all that felicitie we haue by Christ, Luke 19.42. for glory in heauen, Esa. 57.2. Luke 19.38. Rom. 2.10. Luke 1.79. for reconciliation it selfe, Luke 2.14. Esay 53.5. for the meanes of reconciliation, Ephes. 2.14. for the signes of reconciliation, Esay 57.19. Psal. 85.8. for tranquilitie of conscience, Rom. 14.17. & 5.2. Lastly, it is also taken for all that rest of conscience with­in, and Synecdochically it signifieth all those blessings spirituall which ei­ther in this world, or that other better world we receiue from Christ, toge­ther with Gods fauour and grace: neither is temporall prosperitie excluded, though not principally meant; and so I thinke it is taken here.

The meaning being thus found: I consider the obseruations first gene­rally.

First, in that the Apostle doth in the very Salutation sow the seedes of the whole Gospell, we might learne euen in our ordinary imployments, to mind Gods glory and the saluation of others.

Secondly,Three reasons why children may be taught the principles they vnder­stand not. we may hence see that it is lawfull to draw abridgements of ho­ly things, and commend them to ordinary vse: as here these graces to an ordinary salutation from man to man; and so I thinke of teaching the Lords Prayer and Commandements, with other Scripture, to children or seruants, that yet vnderstand not, and that for such reasons as these: first, that so they might haue occasion much to thinke of the things are so much and com­monly vrged: secondly, that if any time of extremitie should come, they might haue certaine seedes of direction and comfort, to guide and support them: thirdly, that their condemnation might be more iust, if hauing Grace and Peace, and other principles of Catechisme so much in their mouths, they should not get them into their hearts.

Thirdly, a question may here be moued:Quest. how the Apostle can here in these words wish vnto them their chiefe good or felicitie, seeing these are not all the graces or blessings needfull to our happinesse?Ans. I might answere this di­uersly. 1. Here is a Synecdoche, all are vnderstood, though not all named: 1 or thus, these are the beginnings of all graces and blessings: or thus, one or 2 two graces is worth a world besides: or thus, these are chiefly aboue others 3 to be sought: but lastly, it is certaine these cannot be had without the most 4 of sauing graces: as for example, true Peace cannot be had without Christ, 5 nor without godly Sorrow, Confession, Knowledge, Meekenesse, Desires, Faith, Humilitie, Loue, and the like, as men may easily see, if they will bee informed either by Scripture or experience.

But the maine Doctrine which generally I obserue out of these words,Doct. is this; that spirituall things from God in Christ are the best things,Spirituall things are the best things. and most to be sought, and desired, and wished, both for our selues and others. The reasons are: 1. They serue for the excellentest part, (viz. the soule) 2. They serue for eternitie, and these outward things but for this life: 3.Reasons. Spirituall things are giuen by God in Christ; the other by God without Christ: 1 4. They onely are able to satisfie the Soule: 5. In respect of continuance; 2 for outward things can last but till death, but then their workes will follow 3 the faithfull into the graue, yea, into heauen; and therefore much more 4 these graces: 6. Spirituall things are onely proper to the Saints; tempo­rall 5 things are common both to good and bad: 7. These are to be had by 6 vertue of an absolute promise; the other but conditionally assured: 8. These 7 are more pleasing and acceptable to God. Gods acceptation prooues them 8 best: lastly, What shall it profit a man to winne the whole world, and loose his owne 9 Soule? Math. 16.

Vse. 1 The vse is first for the iust reproofe of the wonderfull carelesnesse and strength of folly, that hath possessed the most people, in the prophane neg­lect, nay, contempt of spirituall things, with the meanes of them. Indeede, if men could be rid of Death, the Graue, Hell, and Gods Curse; or if these things could be had without seeking, it were to some purpose for men to sleepe still and neuer wake. Many are the sleights of Sathan. Some are stubborne, and will not regard: some with very preiudice runne wittingly to hell: some confesse it to be meete that the best things should be chiefe­ly sought, but forget: some purpose, but giue ouer, for difficulties in the be­ginning: some no sooner ridde of terrour, but as soone off care for the life to come.

Vse. 2 Secondly, this doctrine may be a singular comfort to vs, if wee can finde grace and peace in our hearts, how euer it be with vs in our bodies or estates otherwise.

Vse. 3 Thirdly, it should teach Parents to be more carefull to leaue grace in their Childrens hearts then treasures in their Chests for them: and friends should more endeauour to helpe one another in the comforts of an holy fellow­ship in the Gospell, then in the ciuill furtherances they doe so much engage themselues to.

Vse. 4 Lastly, it should teach vs to learne the lesson giuen by our Sauiour Christ, Math. 6.Math. 6. Ver: 19. to 25. Ver: 25. to the end. neither to inlarge our affections to the immoderate desires of su­perfluitie in outward things, nor yet to racke our hearts with the faithlesse and fruitlesse care of things necessarie. This latter branch is vrged with eight or nine worthy reasons: but of these in another place afterwards. And thus much generally.

Grace] If Grace (that is, Gods fauour, and the graces spirituall that flow from thence) be of so great worth and excellencie; diuers things may be in­ferred 1 by way of profitable instruction, for our vse, out of seuerall Scrip­tures. First, if it be so great a priuiledge to obtaine grace from God, wee should striue to be such as are within the compasse of the promise of grace;James 4.6. 2 especially, we should get humble and lowly hearts: for, God giues grace vnto the humble, but resisteth the stubborne, wilfull, and proud sinner. Againe, if Gods Loue, and Christs Grace be Iewels of so great value, it should teach vs, when Grace is offered in the meanes, or any way bestowed by Gods Spi­rit,1 Cor. 6.1. neuer to receiue it in vaine: so as it should be tendered without effect, 3 or kept without aduantage; but especially, let it euer be farre from vs, to turne the grace of God into wantonnesse, Iude 4. to abuse either the promises of Grace, or the pledges of Gods Loue, to become either bawds for perseue­rance 4 in sinne, or props to secure and bolde presumption. And aboue all things wee should with all watchfulnesse take heede of wronging the Spi­rit of Grace, Heb. 10. eyther by resisting, tempting, greening, quenching, or dispising 5 it. And further; wee should learne by all good meanes, as constant hea­ring,2 Tim 1.6. 2 Tim. 2.1. prayer, reading, conference, and meditation, to stirre vp the Graces giuen vs, to labour for spirituall strength in Grace, and to search so carefully into the euidence of Faith, for what wee haue, and Hope, for what wee want, as neuer to giue ouer to examine our selues by the signes and pro­mises 6 of Gods Loue, till our hearts were setled and stablished in Grace. Lastly, Gods Children should solace themselues in the feeling and experimentall knowledge of Gods grace;Iob 15.11.12. so as their hearts should neuer carry them away to make them account the Consolations of God small, or to despise the Grace giuen them; but rather in the middest of all combats with temptations within, or afflictions without, to support their Soules with that gratious Promise, My Grace shall bee sufficient for you, 2 Cor. 12.9. and my Power made knowne in your weakenesse.

Peace.] The second thing here wished for, and to bee desired of all that loue their owne good, is Peace, that is, tranquillity of heart, with other spirituall blessings accompanying it with outward things also, so farre as they may further our happinesse: but the Scripture layes a restraint vpon the getting of this peace, and giues rules for the vse of it. For if euer wee would haue Peace, wee must first be righteous persons, that is, men that are broken in heart for our sinnes, humbled at Gods feete for forgiuenesse; and such as hang vpon the Worde of GOD, to receiue the certaine meanes of our soules reconciliation, and the righteousnesse of CHRIST impu­ted vnto vs: such, as to whom there is a way, and their path is holy. Esay 35.8: But on the other side, vnto the wicked is no peace: and they are taken by the Pro­phet for wicked men, that are neuer humbled in the duties of Mortifica­tion for sinne, that in the hardnesse of their hearts frustrate the power of Gods Ordinances, so as they cannot worke vpon them:Esay 57.21. these haue no Peace, neyther with GOD, Angels, men, the Creatures, or their owne Con­sciences.

Againe, hast thou gotten peace and tranquility of heart, euen rest and ease from CHRIST, then let this peace preserue thy heart and minde, Phil. 4.6. Col. 3.15. and let it rule. Be carefull to reiect all matters in thoughts, or opinion, in affecti­ons, or desires, in words, or actions, that it might any way interrupt thy peace: but by all meanes nourish it, delight in it, and let it guide to all holy medita­tions, and affections, and gainefull practises, and endeuours. Let the peace of thy heart, and Gods spirituall blessing be a rule for all thy actions. And lastly, with all good Conscience and holy conuersation hold out, that when Christ shall come, eyther by particular Iudgement to thee in death, or by gene­rall iudgement to the whole world in the last day,2 Pet: 3.14. Esay 9.6.7. Luke 1.79. thou maist be found of him in Peace, so shall Christ be vnto thee a Prince of Peace, and guide thy feet for euer into the way of Peace.

And thus farre of the good things he wisheth vnto them, now follow the efficient causes (viz) from God the Father, and our Lord Iesus Christ.

Diuers things may be here obserued.

First, a proofe of the Trinitie, or, at the least, a plaine proofe of two per­sons, the Father and the Sonne, vnited in one essence.

Secondly, GOD is here plainely affirmed to be a Father, and that hee is in diuers respects: first, to all by Creation: secondly, to all the faithfull by Adoption: thirdly, to Christ, by the grace of Vnion as man, and a naturall Fa­ther, as God.

Thirdly, heere wee may obserue, that grace and blessings must not bee looked vpon without some honourable meditation of God and Christ the giuers.

Fourthly, seeing beleeuers haue a God, a Father, a Christ, a Sauiour, a Lord, they are sure to be in a happy case, and may haue what is needfull, if they will seeke for it.

Fiftly, wee may obserue, we can haue no comfort in the enioying or hope of any fauour or blessing, spirituall or temporall, vnlesse, first, God be our Father; secondly, we be in Christ.

Lastly, if GOD be a Father, and CHRIST a Lord, it stands vs vpon to looke to it, that we performe both honour and seruice. And thus of the Salu­tation. The Preface followeth.

Verse 3. Wee giue thankes to God, euen the Father of our Lord Iesus Christ. alwaies praying for you.’

The Diuision.THE Salutation hath beene handled already, the Preface followeth, and is contained in this Verse, and those that follow to the 12. Verse: in which the end and drift of the Apostle is, to winne affection to the Do­ctrine afterwards to be propounded: and this he doth by shewing his excee­ding great loue to them, which he demonstrates by two things which hee did for them, (viz.) he both gaue thankes vnto God in their behalfe, and also made many a prayer for them: which spirituall duties are better kindnesses and signes of true affection and respect, then all ciuill curtesies or outward complements are or can be.

These things in the Preface are first generally set downe in this Verse, and then particularly enlarged in the Verses afterwards: first, the Thanksgiuing, from ver. 4. to the 9. Secondly, Prayer, v. 9.10.11. In this Verse hee doth two things: [...]rst, hee giues thankes: Secondly, he prayes. In the Thankes­giuing consider, first, what hee doth, in these words, Wee giue thankes: Se­condly, to whom he doth it, in these words; To God, euen the Father of our Lord Iesus Christ. Thus farre of the order of the words.

The Doctrines follow, which must bee considered generally from the whole Verse, and specially from the seuerall words.

Two generall Doctrines.The first generall Doctrine is this, that it is not enough to salute others kindly, but we must doe and performe the sound duties of loue: this is from the coherence, and condemnes the sinfull barrennesse of many that know a necessity of no duties of loue, vnlesse it be to salute curteously.

Secondly, wee see heere that Tyrants may take away the benefit of hea­ring, reading, conference, and such like; but they cannot hinder vs of pray­ing. Paul can pray and giue thankes in prison, for himselfe and others, as well as euer before. Let wicked men doe their worst, Gods children will still pray vnto God And looke how many promises are made in Scripture, to the prayers of the Saints, so many consolations are inuiolably preserued vnto them, against the rage of whatsoeuer extremitie wicked men can cast vpon them: this is a singular comfort.

Miserie breeds vnitie. Wee] Doct. Miserie breedeth vnitie. The Apostle that in more prospe­rous times iarred with Peter and Barnabas, can now hold peace and firme vni­tie with meaner men; and therefore he saith Wee, not I. And thus wee see it was in the times of persecution in Queene Maries daies, the Bishoppes and Pastors that could not agree when they were in their Seates and Pulpits, wil­lingly seeke agreement when they are in prison, and must come to the Stake. And so it many times falls out in common Iudgements, as the sword and pestilence:Esay 24.2. in such times the words of the Prophet are fulfilled, Like People like Priests, like Seruant like Master, like Buyer like Seller, like Borrower like Lender, like Giuer like Taker to vsury. Great and preuailing Iudgements take away all that vanity of conceit and swelling of pride, which difference of gifts and places bred before.

The Lord for his mercies sake grant, that at the length there may be found some remedie to cure the wound and heale the breach which proud conten­tion hath made, and continued, with effects prodigious and vnheard of: lest the Lord be at length prouoked to plague with more fierce and cruell Iudge­ments; and worke vnion, at least in one furnace of common calamitie: the same God, for his Sonnes sake, worke in all that any wise loue the pro­speritie of Ierusalem, on all sides, that they more regard the glory of God and the good of the Church, then their owne greatnesse either of place or [Page 19] respects amongst men, and that they may more seeke the truth then victo­rie. And as for those that neither loue the truth nor peace, the Lord open their eyes and conuert them, or else giue them to eate of the fruite of their owne wayes.

Doe.] It is not safe to put ouer good motions.Not safe to deferre good motions. Note. When Paul findeth fit­nesse to pray and giue thankes, he doth not omit the occasion. In spirituall things delay is alwaies dangerous, but in sinfull motions the only way many times is to deferre the execution. Many sinnes are preuented by the very be­nefit of taking time enough to execute them.

Giue thankes. It is good to praise before thou reproue.] Paul giues them to vnderstand before he comes to dispraise their vices, and the corruptions crept into the Church, that hee takes no­tice of their praise-worthy vertues: hee reserues his taxation to the second Chapter; and this course hee holds with them for diuers Reasons. First, to assure them of his loue, and that he did it not of malice, a thing especially Reasons. 1 to be looked to in all admonitions, in familie, or else-where, as well to praise for vertue, as dispraise for vice. Secondly, hee holds this course to let them Reasons. 2 see that he did account them as Christians, though they had their infirmities. It is a secret corruption in the affection of the reproued to conceiue that the Reproouer likes them not at all. They are not fit to reproue others, that can­not loue them for their vertues at the same time that they dispraise their faults: and therefore they are farre short of holy affections, that say, I ne­uer liked him since I saw that fault by him. Thirdly, hee did thus, that they Reasons. 3 might the more hate sinne, seeing it did darken their graces, which else would more appeare. Fourthly, that they might be made thankefull them­selues for their owne graces; a shame that others should praise God for his Reasons. 4 mercies to vs, and we neuer praise God our selues. Lastly, it carrieth with it Reasons. 5 a secret taxation of vnthankfulnesse, as the cause of their fall: for, had they beene more thankfull for the sinceritie of the preaching of the Gospell, and for the riches of the grace of Christ offered, the honourable opinion of the ex­cellencie and sufficiencie thereof, to giue all sound contentment, would haue preserued them from mixing the worship of God with mens traditions, or ad­mitting contrary doctrine, and from dishonouring the mediation of Christ with Angell-worship. Then did Popish traditions ouerflow, when the Scrip­tures were contemned, and the light of them suppressed: and in generall, an vnthankfull man is euer a vicious man.

More specially, in the dutie here mentioned two things are to be con­sidered.

  • 1. What they doe: Wee giue thankes.
  • 2. To whom: (viz.) to God euen the Father, &c.

We giue thankes] Eucharist is sometimes appropriated onely to the Sacra­ment of the Lords Supper, but most commonly is generall to all holy thank­fulnesse, especially to God.

There is a flattering thankefulnesse to men,Acts 24.3. Luke 18.11. and a Pharisaicall proud con­ceited thankesgiuing to God.

Concerning the spirituall mans thankefulnesse to God, I propound three things onely in the generall briefly to be noted: First, Reasons to incite vs to the practise of continuall thankefulnesse to God. Secondly, for what things we are to be thankfull. Thirdly, what rules to bee obserued for the manner of performance of it.

There are many reasons scattered in Scripture,Motiues to thankfulnesse. to incite vs to Thanke­fulnesse: first, because it is a speciall part of Gods worship, or one way by which we yeeld worship to God. Hence,1 Cor. 14.16. that the Apostle accounts it a great losse, if the people cannot say Amen, when the Teacher blesseth in the spirit, or giueth thankes. Againe, when he would exhort them to liberality, hee vrgeth [Page 20] them with this reason, that the supplying of the necessities of the Saints would cause much thankesgiuing to God, 2 Cor: 9.12.13. 1 Cor. 4.16.2.. And in the 4. of the 2. of Corin. he sheweth that the thankesgiuing of many would breed both a plenty of grace, and an abounding of much praise to God. Secondly, the Apostle hauing dehorted the Ephesians 2 from Fornication and all Ʋncleannesse, and Couetousnesse, Filthinesse, Iesting, and foolish Talking; hee addeth, but rather vse giuing of Thanks Ephes. 43.4.. As if hee would note, that thankefulnesse for Gods Blessings and Graces duely performed, 3 would preserue them from the filth and power of these base vices. Besides, it is a thing that becommeth the Saints, nothing better. Thirdly, it is a signe of three worthy things, wherein it behooueth euery man to be well assured: first, it is a signe of a heart that hath rightly receiued Christ, and is firmely rooted, built, and stablished in the Faith Col. 2.6.7.. Secondly, if men in all things let their requests be shewed vnto God with giuings of thankes, it is a signe of the peace of God, euen that the peace of God that passeth all vnderstanding, will preserue their hearts and mindes in Christ Iesus Phil. 4.6.7.. Thirdly, it is a signe, nay, a very meanes of a contented mind. He that can pray vnto God for what he wants, and is able thankefully to acknowledge what he hath in possession or promise, hee will in nothing be carefull, Phil. 4.6. as it appeareth in the same place to the Philippians. Last­ly, it is one of the sixe principall meanes to make a man reioyce alwaies, as the Apostle writeth, 1 Thes. 5.18.1 Thess. 5.18. Thus of the Reasons.

For what wee must giue thanks.Secondly, wee must consider for what wee must giue thankes. First, for spirituall things as well as temporal, as for the Word2 Cor. 4.16., for Mercies in praierCol: 4.2., for Victory ouer a sinneRom. 7.26., for KnowledgeRom. 1.21.. Secondly, in aduersitie as well as in prosperitie, and that in all sorts of afflictions; in dangerActs 27:35, in wrongs. Thirdly, in outward things wee must bee thankefullCol. 3.17. 1 Cor. 10 3., not onely for great things done, for our states or names, but euen for the lesser and more daily fauours, as for our foode, and the creatures for our nourishment. And in speciall manner haue the Saints in all ages bound themselues to a set course of prayer and praise ouer and for their food: and therefore their grosse swi­nish prophanenesse is so much the greater, that sit downe and rise from their meate,Scripture for prayer and Thankesgi­uing for our very food. like brute beasts, without any Prayer or Thankesgiuing. If any aske whether there be any expresse Scripture for Grace before and after meate, I answere, there is, and alledge these three vndeniable and plaine places of Scripture, 2 Tim. 4.3.4. Iohn 6.23. Rom. 14.6.

Thirdly, for the manner of Thankesgiuing, it may bee found in that phrase vsed by the Prophets in the olde Testament of Sacrificing the calues of their lips Psal. 5. vlt. Hos. 14.3..The manner of Thankes­giuing. For heere foure things may be obserued. First; it must be a dead Calfe, to note that all Thankesgiuing must proceed from humble and mor­tified minds; and therefore the Pharisies thanks did not a whit iustifie themLuke 18:11.14.. Secondly, it must be a sacrificed Calfe. Now, in the Sacrifice three things were required; an Altar, Fire, and to lay the hand vpon the head of the Beast: An Altar, for not onely our prayers must be made in the name of Christ, but our prayses also must be tendered to God in his mediation, or they will ne­uer be accepted, no more then a Calfe not laid on the Altar: neyther is it enough to lay the Calfe on the Altar, but Fire must be put to it: to note, that the bare throwing out of words of thankefulnesse, though in the name of Christ, will not serue, vnlesse wee doe also get some feeling ardencie and zeale to burne the Sacrifice. Thirdly, we must lay our hands on the head of the Calfe; that is, in all humilitie wee must confesse our vnworthinesse of all the blessiings or graces wee giue thankes for. Againe, in that they offer a Calfe, it signifieth that wee should not offer our thankefulnesse to God of that that costs vs nothing: wee should desire to expresse our praise by doing some thing to further Gods worship, or relieue the necessities of others. If GOD blesse vs at home, wee should carry a Calfe to the Temple. Lastly, we must [Page 21] not sacrifice to a strange God, when we giue thankes, and that men doe when they sacrifice to their nets, as the Prophet speaketh, that is,Hab. 1.16. when men attribute the glory and praise of God to the meanes or second causes.

Thus of thankfulnesse in the generall.

But that which is here entended, is,We must giue thankes for others. Foure rules of triall. that we should giue thankes for o­thers as well as for our selues, which is not a curtesie but a dutie. This du­tie of praising God for others, growes exceeding commendable, if wee can exercise it in these particulars. First, if wee can giue thankes for those bles­sings vpon others, which the world accounts shamefull to enioy, as Zeale 1 for Gods glory, religious Sinceritie, and vprightnesse of heart, the Crosse for Christ his sake, and such like. Secondly, if wee can first giue thankes, 2 that is, be more apt to praise God for the vertues of others, then be forwards 3 to taxe their faults and frailties. Thirdly, if we can doe it for all sorts of men, 1 Tim. 2.1. euen our enemies. Fourthly,1 Thes. 3.9. if wee can bee thankefull for the true ioy wee 4 haue had in other mens prosperities.

To conclude this point, if wee would haue others to giue thankes for vs,As any are more heauen­ly minded, they are more frequent in praises. we should labour to be such, as for whom thankes may be giuen. And thus of what they doe: Now, to whom.

To God.] These words hauing beene vsed in the very Verse before, teach vs two things. First, that it is no cloying to a sanctified minde to be much and often, yea, vpon euery occasion in the honourable mention and lauding of God, ascribing in euery thing glory to God: so, in heauen they shall ne­uer be weary of Gods praises, no not vnto all eternitie. And certaine it is, that the more men grow in sanctification, the more easie and apt are their hearts to entertaine all occasions of communion with God, without weari­nesse or deadnesse.

Secondly, (to God) shuts out the praises of themselues or of men. It is fit our reioycing and praise should be directed thither from whence the blessing came.

The Father] These words are considered in the former Verse. Thus much of his Thankesgiuing.

Praying for you] First,A childe of God neuer giues thankes but he hath cause to pray, and contrari­wise. in generall from the ioyning together of these two duties, two things may be obserued: First, that a childe of God neuer giues thankes but he hath cause to pray: for, if it be for temporall things, hee must pray both for their sanctified vse, that they become not occasions of sinne; and for their preseruation according to Gods will: if it be for spiri­tuall things, he hath reason to pray for increase, strength, and preseruation against falling, and such like. Secondly, on the other side, I say also, that a childe of God doth neuer pray, but hee may finde reasons to giue thankes, wee may finde mercies in any miserie; yea, it is a singular mercy to haue a heart to pray, and to haue so many large promises made to them that call vp on God in their distresse. But the maine particular Doctrine is, that we ought not onely to pray for our selues but for others. And the Apostle, 1 Tim. 2.1. seemes to make foure sorts of prayers for others, viz. Deprecations, Requests, Foure sorts of prayers for others. Intercessions, and Giuing of Thankes: Deprecations are Prayers for help against hurtfull things; Requests are Prayers for profitable things; the word rendered Intercessions, is by some taken to signifie complaints vnto God against such as wrong them, for whom we pray: or else, it is a more set or serious implo­ring of Gods aide with the vnited forces of the godly: and lastly, Giuing of Thankes stands in the lauding of God for blessings or graces: and in the 6. of the Ephesians, and in the 1 of Tim. 2. the Apostle sets downe rules to bee obserued in Praier for others: in the Ephesians hee requires that they pray,Ephes. 6.18. 1. at all times: 2. with all manner of Prayers: 3. in the spirit: 4. with watching: 5. with perseuerance: 6. With spirituall importunitie: and lastly, for all Saints: [Page 22] And in Timothy he requires that they pray;1 Tim. 2.8. 1. euery where; 2. with pure hands; 3. without wrath; 4. without doubting.

Alwaies.] To pray alwaies, is to consecrate euery day and night to God by Prayer: and besides, to pray vpon all occasions, with lifting vp our harts vnto God; or by vsing short prayers, which they haue beene wont to call Eiaculations. Neither was it the dutie of Paul onely, to pray alwaies, that is, to keepe a set order of Prayers; but it is our dutie also to set apart time euery day,Reasons to warrant pray­ing euery day. euening and morning, to pray vnto God our selues, and our house­holds. And because these exercises of Religion are by the most wholy neg­lected, and in roome of it, vile prophanenesse staines mens houses, I will here set downe, by the way, some few reasons to warrant a daily set course 1 of praying.Math. 6.11. First, our Sauiour CHRIST teacheth vs to pray for the bread of the day, euery day: as God will not promise vs bread for a weeke, a month, a yeere; so neither will God accept of a prayer for the necessities of a weeke, month or yeere before hand, but will haue vs to make as much conscience to 2 pray daily, as we haue sense of daily wants. Secondly, we are commanded to pray continually: 1 Thes. 5.17. now, what sense can be probably giuen of these words, if that a daily set course of prayer bee not included. Thirdly, the Saints 3 prayed euery day, an auncient practise some thousand of yeeres a goe; Da­uid prayed seauen times a day; and Daniell, three times a day. Let wicked and prophane people say, what needes all this prayer; but let vs be assured, that as holinesse and grace growes in any, so are they more abundant in this worship of praier: the holiest men haue euer prayed most: for though they haue not most neede, yet they haue alwaies most sense of their owne needes 4 and others to. Fourthly, if our foode must bee euery day sanctified by the exercise of the Word and Prayer, then much more haue wee neede to sanctifie our selues,1 Tim 4.2. our housholds, our callings, and our labours by daily Prayer.

Lastly, Prayer is called Incense and Sacrifice. Now the Iewes held it an ab­homination 5 of desolation, Psal. 141.2. & 51.17. if the morning and euening Sacrifice were wanting: neither do wee lesse need to seeke daily the benefits of the attonement made by the sacrifice of Christ, and his intercession; then did the Iewes: and wee are euery way as much bound, as often to professe our faith in CHRIST slaine, as they did in Christ to be slaine.

And thus of the demonstratiue and vndeniable signes of the Apostles loue to the Colossians, as they are generally set downe in this Verse.

Verse 4. Since wee heard of your faith in Christ Iesus, and your loue towardes all Saints.

Verse 5. For the hopes sake which is laide vp for you in heauen.

IN these words and the rest that follow to the 12. Ʋerse, hee doth particu­larly explicate the two signes of affection: first, he sets downe his Thankes­giuing to Verse 9. secondly, he prayes, Verse 9. to 12. In the Thankesgiuing hee giues thankes for their Graces in these words: secondly, for the meanes of grace in the rest of the words to the 9. Verse.

Their Graces are three; Faith, Loue and Hope.

1 Of Faith] In the handling of the Doctrine of Faith, I consider it: First, in the coherence,Diuers things concerning Faith, noted from the co­herence. Heb. 11.6. 2 Cor. 13.5. as it stands in the Text: Secondly, as it is in it selfe apart from that which went before or comes after. From the generall considera­tion of the Coherence I obserue, First, that wee can neuer be reconciled to God, or attaine the chiefe good without Faith, Without Faith it is impossible to please God. Therefore it is good for vs to proue our selues, whether we bee in the Faith, and to know whether Christ be in vs except we be reprobates.

Secondly, this Faith is not naturall: wee are not borne beleeuers, wee are 2 all concluded vnder sinne, and kept vnder the Law, and shut vp to Faith afterwards to be reuealed Gal. 3.22.23 It is the worke of God; yea, of the power of God 2 Thes. 1.11.: It is the gift of God Ephes. 2.8.: All men haue not Faith 2 Thes. 3.2.: It must be gotten with much striuing 1 Tim. 6.12.. As not by nature, so not by naturall meanes: and therfore we must seeke for bet­ter grounds, then I haue beene alwaies thus: neither will it auaile thee to shew thy education, ciuilitie, morall vertues, outward holinesse, &c.

Thirdly, whatsoeuer we gaine by the word of God, if wee gaine not Faith 3 and Loue, all is vaine; Knowledge is vaine, Zeale is vaine, &c. therefore it behooueth vs to gather in our thoughts, and to minde that one thing that is necessarie.

Lastly, though Nature deny strength to beare or power to giue this grace, 4 yet there is power in the word of God preached, to beget euen Faith as well as other Graces: Faith commeth by hearing, &c. Rom. 10.17.Rom. 10.17. and Gal. 3.2.5.Gal. 3.2.5. he saith, They receiued the Spirit, by the hearing of Faith preached, &c. Heare, and your soule shall liue. Esay 55.4.Esay 55 4.

Thus much of the Doctrines from the Coherence.

That the nature of this grace may appeare, the seuerall acceptations of the word, the sorts, obiects, parts and degrees of it must be considered. Faith is in Scriptures diuersly taken: sometimes it is giuen to GOD,The accepta­tions of the word Faith. and signifi­eth his faithfulnesse in his promises, as Rom. 3.3. Shall their vnbeliefe make the faith of God of none effect. And when it is giuen to man, it is taken: First, for Fidelitie, as it is a vertue in the second Table, Mat. 23.23. Secondly, some­times it is taken for the Doctrine of Faith, Rom. 12.6. According to the Ana­logie of Faith. Thirdly, sometimes for Profession of Religion; thus Elimas is charged to haue laboured to turne the Deputie from the Faith, Acts 13.8. Fourthly, sometimes for Christ himselfe, by a Metonymie, who is both the obiect and cause of Faith Gal. 3.25. Fiftly, for Knowledge only: thus the Di­uels are said to beleeue, Iames 2. Sixtly, for the gift of working Miracles: If I had all Faith, so as I could remoue mountaines, &c. 1 Corin. 13.3. Lastly, for that grace by which felicitie and the thiefe good is applied; and thus it is called the faith of Gods Elect, Tit. 1.2. and by Diuines, iustifying Faith.

Secondly, there are diuers sorts of Faith:The sorts of Faith. I will not speake of Faith gene­rall or speciall, infused, or acquired, formed and vnformed, but leaue them to the troublesome Schoole-men; onely I rest in the vsuall distribution which hath ground in Scripture: thus Faith is Historicall, Temporary, of Miracles, and iustifying.

First, Historicall Faith Historicall Faith. is to beleeue the doctrine of the word of GOD to be true: and therein is supernaturall; and differeth from all humane know­ledge whatsoeuer; neither is it in the power of Nature alone to perswade men that the Scriptures are Gods word, further then the remnants of Gods former image doe giue a glimpse of it, and is cleared by the spirit of generall il­lumination.

This Historicall Faith doth both vnderstand the Doctrine, and giue assent that it is true, yet doth not iustifie: and therefore their case is so much the more fearefull, that haue not so much as their ignorance any way redressed, nor gotten so much as any knowledge by the Word of God.

Secondly Temporary Faith Temporary Faith. goeth yet further: for, such as haue that Faith doe not onely get knowledge, and yeeld assent to the truth, but also professe the truth with some earnestnesse, not sticking at it, to giue their names in some more speciall manner then others, to a respect of Religion; yea, they reioyce inwardly in the doctrine of the Word: and lastly; bring forth some kinde of fruit, and amend some faults,Luke 8.13. Heb. 6.4.5. onely because the Word of GOD would haue them so to doe. Therefore is this Faith vnprofitable, because [Page 24] they neuer had the particular assurance of Gods fauour in forgiuenes of sins, nor will bee brought to dislike, much lesse to humble their soules for those speciall sinnes wherein they haue transgressed; but nourish some one particu­lar presumptuous sinne or sinnes, which raigning in them doth wholly en­grosse and take vp that inward worship which is due to God onely. And this is the Faith of our better sort of people.

Thirdly, Faith of Miracles Faith of Mi­racles. was that Faith by which many in the Primitiue Church were able to worke Miracles, and was of two sorts: eyther Faith to heale, or Faith to be healed: this Faith may bee in such as are reprobates, as Matth. 7. some shall say, Haue wee not cast out Deuils by thy name? to whom Christ shall answer, Depart, I know you not.

Fourthly, but that Faith in the enioying of which is comfort for euer­more is iustifying Faith. Iustifying Faith. The nature of this Faith will appeare if wee con­sider:

  • The Obiects
  • The Parts
  • The Degrees

of it.

The obiects of Faith.First, of the Obiects: this Faith may be perceiued by that which it carri­eth the minde vnto, and from which it seeketh the comfort of the chiefe. good: and thus the obiect is three-fold.

  • The Merits of Christ.
  • The Promises of God.
  • The Prouidence of God.

So that, wouldest thou trie thy Faith? consider then what it is that thou makest thy refuge, and the foundation of thy comfort. What is it that thou most laboured after? is it the assurance of Gods fauour, by the application of Christ? is it the distinct applying of such and such promises of life in Scripture? dost thou liue by thy Faith in the course of life? if so, thou hast met with the right Faith, without Christ it is not possible to attaine the chiefe good, neyther is it enough to beleeue that Christ dyed for sinners, &c. vn­lesse we labour in the day of our visitation, for the certaine and particular ap­prehension of the efficacie and merit of Christs righteousnesse, for the parti­cular assurance of Gods fauour in remitting such and such our transgressi­ons. And because it is not easie at all times to discerne by the working of the Spirit of Adoption, the imputation of righteousnesse from Christ, therefore hath the Lord discussed the cases of conscience so comfortably in Scripture, that if men examine themselues before the conditions of Gods promises, they may finde in diuers of them the cleare determining of their estate. Here may bee iustly taxed the grosse ouer-sight and securitie of many, (otherwise the deare Seruants of God) that are no better acquainted with the promises of life, vpon the truth of which depends their happinesse, and both present and future comfort. And lastly, by the same Faith, whereby the iust are saued, by the selfe same they liue in the course of life in this world: the ground of his Faith for his preseruation, is the prouidence of his God, whiles the men of this world wonderfully please themselues in sacrificing to their nets, ascri­bing in their affections, the stay of their maintenance, vnto their labour, friends, inheritance, &c.

The Parts of Faith.Secondly, that the nature of this Faith may yet bee further opened, the Parts of it must be considered. Faith is eyther in the minde, or in the heart; and by the change of both it may be discerned.

Faith in the minde.In the minde it shewes it selfe in two things: Knowledge, Iudgement.

There is something in the very illumination of the Vnderstanding of the Saints, which is of the nature of Faith. Hence it is that the Prophet Isay saith of Christ,Isay 53.11. By his knowledge he shall iustifie many: that is, make iust.

Iudgement is either of truth or of goodnesse.

Iudgement of truth, is, when we giue glory so farre forth to the way of life, and the meanes of Reconciliation, that our hearts being conuinced, our vnderstandings doe clearely resolue, that this is the way to bee happie, and no other.

Iudgement of goodnesse, is, when we doe not onely beleeue the Doctrine of happinesse to be true as before, but to be the onely good tidings our hearts can rest vpon.

Faith, as it shewes it selfe in the heart, stands in three things.Faith in the heart.

  • Desires.
  • Fiduce or Confidence.
  • Perswasion, or Apprehension and application.

It may not be dissembled,Desire to be­leeue is of the nature of Faith. that there are in the world many definitions or descriptions of Faith, such as doe not comprehend in them that only thing which is the chiefe stay of thousands of the deare Seruants of God; and that is, Desires, which may not be denied to be of the nature of Faith, I expresse my meaning thus: that when a man or woman is so farre exercised in the spirituall seeking of the Lord his God, that he would be willing to part with the world, and all the things thereof, if he had them in his owne possession, so that by the Spirit and Promises of God he might be assured, that the sins of his former life, or such as presently doe burthen his Soule, were forgiuen him; and that hee might beleeue that God were now become his God in Christ: I would not doubt to pronounce that this person (thus prising re­mission of sinnes at this rate, that hee would sell all to buy this Pearle) did vndoubtedly beleeue, not onely because it is a truth (though a Paradoxe) that the Desire to beleeue is Faith: but also because our Sauiour Christ doth not doubt to affirme that they are blessed that hunger and thirst after righte­ousnesse, because they shall be satisfied. And, to him that is a thirst, Math. 5.6. Reuel. 21.6. Psal. 10.17. I will giue to drinke of the water of life freely. And Dauid doubteth not to say, The Lord hea­reth the desires of his poore.

Fiduce, or Confidence in the heart, is a part of Faith, and shewes it selfe in this, when the Soule resteth vpon Christ, and the Promises of God, as the only ground of all that happinesse which he must euer get vnto himselfe.

Perswasion, or an apprehending application is the last thing in Faith, and that in the beginnings of Faith is more in the power of the Spirit then in the sense and feeling of the conscience; yet herein it appeares, that though the Soule be tost with many temptations, and feares, and terrors, yet more or lesse, one time or other, they are much refreshed with a sweet ioy arising they know not how, from the very perswasion, that they belong to God in and for Christ.

So that if wee would try our Faith, we must examine what knowledge we haue gotten, what Iudgement of the way of life, what Desires wee haue of re­mission of sinnes, how our hearts are setled, and what it is that supports vs.

There are two Degrees of Faith, a weake Faith, and a strong Faith: The Degrees. [...]. a weake Faith is described before, for all the former parts of faith are found in the weakest Faith that is: a strong Faith hath in it a certaine and full assurance of Gods fauour in remission of sinnes, so as doubts and feares are stilled and ouer-come; and such was the Faith of Abraham, commended Rom. 4.18.19.20.21. and this faith may be attained vnto by all sorts of the seruants of God, if they liue and may vse the benefit of the ordinances of God; yet a grosse fault in the definition of Faith, as it is made by many, must be carefully shun­ned, and that is, that they make the Genus to be a full assurance which is one­ly proper to a strong Faith and is not vsually found in the weake Faith, and yet that Faith is such as doth iustifie for the present, and will saue for euer.

The Benefits come by faith.And that we may be affected with an holy desire after this necessary grace, two things are further to be considered.

  • 1 The Benefits men might haue by Faith.
  • 2 The wofull estate of those that want it.

The Benefits may be ordered into fiue rankes.

  • 1 What Faith deliuereth vs from.
  • 2 What it preserues vs against.
  • 3 What the weakest Faith getteth.
  • 4 What we might get if we laboured for a greater growth in Faith.
  • 5 How it fits vs for heauen.

For the first: Faith doth deliuer vs;

1 First, from the darkenesse and blindnesse wee liued in before; Whosoeuer beleeueth in mee shall not abide in darkenesse. What Faith deliuereth vs from John 12.46. Isay 25.8. Wee no sooner by Faith taste of the Bread of life, but the vaile of ignorance, which naturally couereth all flesh, is torne and rent, as the Prophet Isay sheweth notably, Isay. 25.8.

Secondly, it deliuers vs from those wofull euills, which as so many ab­hominations, 2 doe defile both the Vnderstanding and Affections: Faith pu­rifieth the heart. Acts 15.9. No wonder though men bee continually surcharged with euill thoughts, and most vile affections, and strange euills within, seeing wee are so hardly gotten to set about the earnest labour after spirituall applicati­on of the merits and righteousnesse of Christ, which righteousnesse neuer can be imputed by Faith, but grace is infused by the Spirit of Sanctification at the same time. Neither is there any more clearer testimonie of the want of iustifying Faith, then the continuall preuailing of euill thoughts and af­fections.

3 Thirdly, it deliuers vs from the Law, not onely from the Ceremoniall Law, and other biggerly Rudiments, but also from the Morall Law in two things onely; first, from the Curse of it, which is wholy taken away by the imputation of Christs Passion: secondly, from the Rigour of it; so that, as it is commanded in the Gospell, it may not exact of Beleeuers an impossible perfection, but onely an Euangelicall and accepted vprightnes: wee are not now vnder the Law, Rom. 6. but vnder Grace, as the Apostle shewes in the Epistle to the Romanes and Galathians at large. And hence it is that the same Apostle saith, that the Law is not giuen vnto a righteous man, 1 Tim. 1.9. but vnto the lawlesse and disobe­dient, meaning that so long as we continue in our naturall estate, so long we haue this, as one part of our miseries, that wee are liable to the curses and impossible exactions of the most righteous Law, but from the time that we are effectually called, and gathered vnto CHRIST, wee are not vnder the Law in these two respects, which is an admirable mercy.

4 Fourthly, Faith deliuers vs from the power of the first death, being by Nature dead in sinnes and trespasses, Iohn 5.29. hauing no more sense of the things that belong vnto the Kingdome of Chtist,Ephes. 2.2. then a dead man in nature hath of the benefits of life. By the power of Faith eternall life is begunne here, which is called while we liue here, the life of Grace, and after death is stiled by the name of the life of Glory.

Iohn 3.16.Lastly, it deliuers men from eternall destruction, for Whosoeuer beleeueth in him, shall not perish.

Thus of the first sort of benefits.

Secondly, Faith hath a power to preserue vs, and, that in three things.

1 First, it preserues from many fearefull spirituall diseases in the soule: hence commeth that Metaphoricall speech of being sound or whole, Tit. 1.13. Heb. 10.39. or healthfull in the faith. Hence, that he saith, Wee follow Faith vnto the conseruation of the Soule. Heb. 10.39.

Secondly, it preserues vs against the vse of ill meanes: for, He that belee­ueth 2 maketh not hast. Herein is a speciall triall of Faith,Isay 28.16. and is a worthy te­stimonie of vprightnesse, when men can so rest vpon God, that they will not be entangled with those profits that either the time makes vnseasonable, as the Sabbath, or the meanes make sinfull, as deceipt, lying, &c. but can chear­fully beleeue, that the same God that now tries him with the occasions of profit in such time and manner, can giue him as much profit at a lawfull time, and by lawfull meanes. It is most difficult for an vnsanctified minde to for­beare either time or meanes when profit and pleasure intise.

Lastly, how miserable is our life here many times in respect of the temp­tations 3 with which Sathan doth fire vs?Ephes. 6.16. Now if there were in vs consciona­ble respect of certaine application of Gods fauour, there is a secret power in Faith, as a Sheild, not onely to keepe off, but extinguish the fiery darts of the Diuell. And the true reason why our life is continually assaulted, and why the world lieth vanquished vnder a thousand miseries, is onely be­cause men doe not labour for a particular assurance of GODS loue in Christ, which being once had, wee should soone see an happy victorie o­uer the World, Hell, and Death, in respect of the beginnings of many hea­uenly contentments.

In the third place we are to consider the benefits which the weakest Faith 3 obtaineth: and they are especially sixe.

First, it iustifies and giues vs a portion in the most meritorious intercession 1 of Christ at the right hand of God; it is no sooner had but it makes the sin­ner iust before God: this is euery where proued.

Secondly, it gathereth men into the familie of Abraham, Gal. 3.7.9. and that as Sonnes 2 yea, the least Faith makes a man blessed with faithfull Abraham, so that if Abrahams case were happy, then is euery Childe of God so.

Thirdly, it makes men not onely the Sonnes of Abraham, but the Sonnes: 3 of God also by Adoption. As many as receiued him, Iohn 1.12. to them hee gaue power to bee the Sonnes of God, euen to them that beleeue in his name.

Fourthly, by Faith the Sonne of God, by an vnutterable presence, doth 4 dwell in the hearts of the Sonnes of men. Ephes. 3.16.Epes. 3.16.

Fiftly, the meanest Faith, that is a true Faith, doth euer come attended 5 with many holy Graces: and therefore to dispute of Faith, Acts 24.25. is to dispute of Temperance, Righteousnesse, &c. Acts 24.25.

Lastly, Faith according to the measure of it, is the foundation of all the 6 hope that makes men happy:Heb. 11.1. therefore it is called the ground of the things which are hoped for, and the euidence of things not seene.

Fourthly, if men would labour for the increase of Faith, and once get a 4 certaintie concerning Gods fauour, they might enioy many blessings more then they doe, euen in this life.

First, it might be vnto vs according to our faith: what greater indulgence can 1 be desired from God?Math. 9.29.

Secondly, men might liue by their Faith, that is, they might haue from 2 their Faith continually arguments both of comfort and direction,Heb. 2.5. euen in their carriage about the things of this life.

Thirdly, we might haue the sense of peace with God, accesse vnto Grace, 3 wherein we might stand,Rom. 5.1.2.3.4.5. and be filled with ioy in the hope of the glory of God to be reuealed; yea, to be made able to hold vp their heads, & reioice in afflictions, &c. 4

Fourthly,2 Tim. 3:15. there is a power in Faith to put such life into the sacred Scrip­tures, that they would be able to make vs wise, euen to saluation. 5

Fiftly, how hard a thing it is for the Creature to haue accesse vnto the Creator with any boldnesse or confidence, the lamentable experience of the world shewes; insomuch that the Apostle saith, wee are naturally without God [Page 28] in the world, Ephes. 3.12. able to minde any thing, and to effect any thing but God. But now this which is vnpossible to Nature, is become possible to faith, as the Apostle shewes, Ephes. 3.12. And how vnspeakeable a mercy it is to haue a comfortable communion with God, and easie accesse for our prayers, the Saints may conceiue but not vtter.

6 Sixtly, by Faith wee might be able to ouercome the world; so as wee might easily contemne the glory of earthly things,1 Iohn 5.4. the Millions of euill examples and scandalls, the thousands of temptations, allurements, disswasiues, lets, and impediments, which the world casteth in our way, and with which wee are often entangled, insnared, and many times most shamefully vanquished, to the dishonour of God and our Religion: the wounding of our Profession and our Consciences, &c. If men had that power of Faith which the ordi­nances of God were able to giue; how might they astonish Epicures, Papists and Atheists, which now differ little from them?

7 Seuenthly, Faith would euen make our friendship and mutuall societie a thousand times more comfortable then now it is, as the APOSTLE inti­mates, Rom. 1.12.Rom. 1.12.

8 Eightly, by Faith wee might worke righteousnesse, and attaine to innocen­cie of life,Heb. 11.33.34. wee might receiue the Promises, with all those sweet comforts con­tained in them, which are matters of as great wonder, as to subdue Kingdomes, to stop the mouthes of Lyons, &c.

9 Ninthly, Faith would make vs to contemne the pleasures of sinne, and account affliction with Gods people better then perfection of pleasure for a season, Heb: 11:25. as it is ob­serued in Moses, Hebr. 11. whereas now euery base delight is able to capti­uate our affections, and we haue scarse strength to stand against one temp­tation.

10 Tenthly, Faith by continuance in the Word of God, would make vs free, euen Gods spirituall free-men, Iohn 8.32. so as wee should clearely see that no naturall Prentise or Bond-slaue could finde so much ease and benefit by his release, as we might by Faith.

11 Lastly, we might haue the cleare apprehension of the remission of all our sinnes past, as is manifest, Rom. 3.25. Acts 10.43. onely for sinnes to come, God giues no acquittance before there bee a debt, and the discharge sued out.

5 And as Faith furnisheth, or would furnish men with these wonderfull be­nefits in this life, so it prouideth an assurance of an immortall inheritance in heauen for all eternitie, as these places shew, Acts 26.18. Iohn 6.47. 1. Pet. 1.9. 2. Thes. 1.10. with many other.

Thus much of the benefits by Faith.

Quest. Obiect. Oh, but what if men doe not beleeue? Ans. First, I might answere that it is yet a comfort, that though thousands neglect Faith, yet their vnbeliefe cannot make the faith of God of none effect: Ans. The miseries of such as haue not faith. Rom. 3.3. though the whole world contemne the doctrine of Faith, and please themselues in their spirituall securitie, yet God knowes how to shew mercy to his seruants that desire to beleeue in him and feare before him.

2 Secondly, I read in S. Marke that CHRIST maruailed at their vnbeliefe; and iustly:Marke 6.6. they were affected with his doctrine, it was confirmed by mira­cles, and yet they beleeued not: we miserable men are a wonderment to God, Christ, and Angels, and an astonishment to Heauen and Earth for our incre­dible incredulity.

3 Thirdly, I read in S. Mathew, that hee did not great workes there for their vn­beliefe sake. Math. 13.58. Surely we are iustly debarred the benefit and comfort of many of the workes of God, which might discouer the glory of his goodnesse to vs, onely because of our vnbeliefe.

Fourthly, if the Iewes were cut off for their vnbeliefe, being naturall branches, 4 and such as God had reason to fauour as much as any people vnder the Sunne, how fearefull then is the case of many of vs,Rom. 11.20. that can haue no other standing then by Faith.

Fiftly, Nothing is pure to the vnbeleeuing. 5

Sixtly, If we beleeue not we cannot be established. Titus 1.15.

Seuenthly, if men refuse to beleeue when they haue the meanes of Faith, 6 their sentence is already gone out, He that beleeueth not is condemned already. Isay 7:9.

Eightly, It is a matter of ease and profit, and pleasure, to liue in sinne, 7 John 3.18. especially some sinnes: but what is it to die in them? Except that yee beleeue 8 that I am hee, yee shall die in your sinnes. Iohn 8:24.

Ninthly, consider the contrary to the benefits before; if we get not faith, 9 we abide in darkenesse, we are vnder the rigour and curse of the Law, subiect to the dominion of heart pollutions, dead in sinne, full of spirituall diseases, hasting to euill meanes, pierced through with fierce temptations, wicked in Gods account, not iustified, neither the Seede of Abraham nor of GOD, without Christ, without hope of immortall blisse, without peace with God, comfort in afflictions, without Grace, without communion with God. The Scriptures (while we are in this estate) are but as a dead Letter, wee are easily ouercome of the World, vnconstant in friendship, without the Co­uenant of Promise, entangled with euery pleasure and baite, and as Bond­slaues, abiding in the guilt and power of sinnes past.

Lastly, how fearefull are those threatnings, Marke 16.16. Reuel. 21.8. Heb. 3.12.

There remaine yet foure things to be considered:The incou­ragements to beleeue.

  • 1 The Incouragements to beleeue.
  • 2 The Lets of Faith.
  • 3 How Faith may be knowne.
  • 4 How farre short the Faith of the common Protestant is.

For the first: we haue many incouragements to beleeue:

First, because wee haue a Sauiour, in respect of merit, both in suffering 1 and dying, able to deliuer vs, his Redemption being both precious and plentifull.

Secondly, hee is ready to make Intercession for vs, at the right hand of God, 2 when we set our selues in any measure to seeke Gods fauour.

Thirdly, wee haue certaine and sure ordinances, vnto which if wee seeke 3 we may finde.

Fourthly, what greater ioy to Angells or Saints, then the comming home 4 of the lost Sheepe? none greater in the house of the Father, then the Pro­digall Sonne returned.

Fiftly, there is no difficulty so great either in respect of sinne, or the 5 meanes, &c. but it hath beene ouercome by euery one of the Saints, to shew that we may be cured and get Faith.

Sixtly,Esay 55.1. Iohn 3.16. God maketh a generall Proclamation without exception of any 6 in particular that will beleeue, but he may be saued.

Seauenthly, Christ himselfe most graciously inuites men. 7

Obiect. Oh, but he doth not call mee. Answ. He cals all,Mat: 11.28.29.30. Reuel. 3.18. Iohn 7.37. Obiect. Solut. Obiect. Solut. Obiect. therefore he ex­cepteth not thee: but least men should encourage themselues in sinfulnes, he addeth a limitation, All that are weary and heauy laden. If we can once finde that sinne is the greatest burthen that euer our soules bare, and that once wee could come to be weary of them, we might haue comfort in Christ.

Obiect. Oh, but if I should take that course, I should lead a dumpish and Melancholy life. Ans. It is a false imputation cast vpon Religion and Christ, for the promise is, I will ease you.

Obiect. Oh, but to exercise such a communion with God and Christ, [Page 30] requires so many graces that I can neuer get them.Solut. Ans. Learne of mee, that I am lowly and meeke; as if he should say, Get this one grace which I my selfe haue laboured in; and thou maist continue in the case and comfort once had from Christ without interruption. If men still thinke this improbable, he wils them to put it to triall, and they should certainely finde rest to their Soules.

Obiect. 3. Solut. Obiect. Oh, but to be thus yoaked is a most irkesome and impossible ser­uitude Ans. This he reiects as most false, and saith, My yoake is easie, and my burthen light, both in respect of the power of the meanes, and the secret com­forts of God, able to support the Soule.

8 Eightly, we are commanded to beleeue, and therefore it is a heauy sinne to disobey.1 Iohn 3.23.

9 Ninthly, God doth beseech men to be reconciled. Wonder at this admira­ble Clemencie in our God.2. Cor. 5.20. Nay, then perish and that iustly, if so great and infinite goodnesse cannot perswade. These things should the rather af­fect, if we consider who it is, that proclaimeth, inuiteth, commandeth, be­seecheth; namely, GOD who is able to doe it, and speakes out of his Nature. If a couetous man should offer vs any great kindnesse, wee might doubt of performance, because it is contrarie to his nature; but it is not so with our God, his name is gracious, and his nature is to be faithfull in performance where he hath beene true in offer or promising.

Thus much of incouragements.

The lets of Faith. Lets in the Minister. Rom. 10.The hinderances of Faith follow to be considered of. The lets of Faith are sometimes in the Minister, sometimes in the People.

Ministers are guilty of the want of Faith in their Hearers: First, when they teach not at all, because Faith cannot be had without hearing. Secondly, if wee teach not Faith, and that plainely; if they intend not the chiefest part of their labours to informe men in the doctrine of Faith (vnder which is contained the whole doctrine of the Sinners conuersion with his God) though they informe manners both for Pietie and Righteousnesse, and busie themselues in other contemplatiue Diuinitie, yet haue they not answe­red their Calling, but are wofull hinderances of Faith in the hearers.

Lets in the People.Secondly, in the People Faith is letted three wayes:

  • 1 By errors in their Iudgements.
  • 2 By corrupt affections in the Heart.
  • 3 By certaine things that befall their Conuersation.

There are fiue especiall Errors, with any of which whosoeuer is infected Faith is letted.

First, when men thinke they are bound to follow their Callings, and to mind their worldly imployments; and therfore cannot spend the time about thinking of Sermons,Luke 14.16. &c. Our Sauiour, Luke 14.16. in the Parable, showes, that though men giue Heauen faire words, yet they take not a course to get it: but what lets them? Is it Whoredome, Drunkennes, Idolatry, Murther, breach of Sabbath, &c. No such matter, but onely the abuse of lawfull pro­fit and pleasures. What more lawfull then a Farme? what more honourable of all pleasures then Marriage? onely obserue that the voluptuous person saith flatly, He cannot come: and the worldly man, I pray you haue me excused.

Obiect. Obiect. Oh, but I confesse, it were a great fault to leaue minding heauen­ly things, to get superfluity and more then needes, as Farme vpon Farme. But I want necessaries, if I had but sufficient my minde should not bee so taken vp,Solut. &c. Ans. Our Sauiour shewes that this is no sufficient excuse, by bringing in the man that had bought his fiue yoake of Oxen, then which what could be more needfull, seeing hee could not follow his Husbandrie without Oxen?

Secondly, a second Error letting Faith, is a close opinion of merit, which 2 stickes fast in our nature.

Thirdly, Faith is hindered, when the minde is fore-stalled with an opini­on, 3 Psal. 50. Esay 1. that an outward seruing of God will serue to bring them neere enough to God. If they heare Seruice and Sermons, and receiue the Sacraments &c. they haue done so much as they thinke is enough.

Fourthly, many therefore neuer labour to get Faith, because they thinke 4 it is impossible to take any such course, that they should get any assurance of the remission of their sinnes in this life, or if it be possible for others, yet it is not for them.

Lastly, others thinke it possible to be had, and it is good to bee humbled 5 so farre as to seeke it with teares and prayers; and they thinke they doe well that will not giue ouer, till they haue comfort that way, but yet they thinke all this adoe vnnecessary, and that they may be saued without it.

In the Heart Faith is letted fiue wayes.Lets in the heart.

First, when men nourish the secret euills of their hearts, both in thoughts and affections, and make not conscience to repent for them. An euill heart is alwaies an vnfaithfull heart;Heb. 3.12.13. therefore men are exhorted to take heede of being hardened through the deceitfulnesse of sinne.

Secondly, Wordlines is a great let of Faith, when men suffer their thoughts and affections to be continually taken vp with minding of things here be­low, though they cannot be charged with any great couetousnesse.

Thirdly, there is in mens affections an vnwillingnesse to part with worldly pleasures and delights, and they are loath to loose their credit with their car­nall friends, which they say they must doe if they take this course.

Fourthly, the world is full of common hope and presumption of Gods mercy: men say, God is mercifull, when they haue neither comfort from the Pro­mises of God, nor ground of assurance, nor witnesse of the spirit of adoption.

Fiftly, Faith is letted, and men are kept from vsing the meanes to get Faith, and to seeke God while hee may be found, onely through a feare least if they should examine themselues, and search whether they had a true faith or not, they should finde they had none, and then they should be troubled, and driuen into Melancholy despaire, &c.

Lastly,Lets in con­uersation. there are some things in mens carriage which greatly let and hin­der Faith.

First, a prophane contempt of the word of God, either men will not heare, or 1 but by starts, or they attend not, or not apply it to themselues, or not me­ditate of the doctrine afterwards, or not labour for the power of it in pra­ctise, &c.

Secondly, the example of the multitude hinders muchMath. 7.13.14. Luke 13.23.24, especially the ex­ample 2 of wise men and great men in the worldJohn 7.45. to 50..

Thirdly, some when they go about the duties of mortification and Faith, they are turned off before they get Faith; either because they finde hard­nesse of heart, or are ouer charged with temptations or doubts of audience and acceptance, and that God will neuer looke after such broken desires, &c. 3 or else because they haue not comfort presently, they grow desperate and say they shall haue none at all, or else are vanquished with thoughts of Atheisme iniected, which many times preuailes so strongly, that they can hardly bee recouered againe to any care to labour for Faith, till either bitter crosses or feare of Death or Hell awaken them.

Lastly, Closenesse is a great cause of want of Faith, when people will not discouer their doubts and feares, especially to their Pastors being wise and mercifull, and yet know not what to doe, and cannot get information from publike hearing. Here may be taken vp a iust complaint of the strangenesse [Page 32] betweene the Shepheards and the Flockes: the one thinking hee hath done enough if he preach to them, and the other if they heare him.

There remaines two Vses of this Doctrine of Faith.

Ʋses.First, seeing there are diuers sorts of Faith, and that many benefits may be had by a true Faith, and seeing that on the other side, there are wofull ef­fects of the want of Faith, &c. It should teach vs to try whether wee haue Faith or no: and that this may be knowne, we must vnderstand;

First, that before Faith can be wrought, the heart must bee mollified by afflictions,The signes of Faith. by the continuall dropping of the word of God, by the know­ledge of our miserie, by Legall feare, or lastly, by terrors from God.

Secondly, before Faith can appeare, Repentance will shew it selfe, and that especially in two things:

First in godly Sorrow for sinne past.

Secondly, in the change of the thoughts, affections and life.

As for godly Sorrow, it may not be denied, but that it may be without ter­rours in some, but neuer so easie in any, but these three things are true: 1. That they grieue because they cannot grieue. 2. They hate their speciall sinnes. 3. They reforme both inwardly and outwardly.

Thirdly, Faith, after the softning of the heart and Repentance, shewes it selfe in sixe things: First, in an honourable opinion ready to belieue all the word of God, though it make neuer so much against our pleasure or profit. Se­condly, by the Combate betweene the flesh and spirit. Thirdly, by the holy Desires after remission of sinnes, and holinesse of life, witnessed by constant Prayers, and diligent Vse of the meanes. Fourthly, by a fixed Resolution, re­posed vpon the way of God, though they finde not comfort presently. Fift­ly, by the forsaking of the world, and pleasures of sinneHeb: 11:25.. Lastly, by the purging out of the euills of the thoughts and affectionsMath: 5.7. Acts 15.9.. As for Ioy, Peace, Thankefulnesse, Admiration, Loue, and desire to conuert others, &c. they belong to Faith growne, not so apparantly to Faith begunne.

Vse. 2 Lastly, here might iustly be taxed the defects and wants that are found in the common Protestant.The defects of the com­mon Prote­stants Faith. The Faith of the Protestant at large, is faultie: First, because hee knowes no time of spirituall birth, and yet he can tell to a day when he was borne in nature. Secondly, they seeke not vnto the meanes spirituall to get Faith. Thirdly, they rest in other things in stead of Faith, as Knowledge, Hope, &c. Fourthly, their Faith is commonly either Historicall or Temporarie; for either it is enough to beleeue that Christ died for sin­ners, or else if they beleeue the Articles of the Creede to be true, and bee no Papists, but sound in the matter of Iustification, and receiue the Sacrament, especially when they are sicke, all is well, or if they beleeue the word of God to be true, or especially if they can be willing to heare Sermons, &c. Fiftly, they regard not Gods promises to apply them, nor to liue by Faith, they hold both to be absurd. Sixtly, they want the iudgement that Diuines call the iudgement of goodnesse. Lastly, they doe not beleeue that application is of the nature of Faith.

Heard of.] In that their graces are heard of, and by seuerall relation the fame of them is spread, foure things may be obserued.

Obser. 1 1 It is hard to haue any sauing grace, but it will bee perceiued and obser­ued,Grace will be heard of, and obserued, if it be true Grace. and that for diuers causes:

First, Grace cannot be without fruit externall, and by their fruite yee shall know them.

Secondly, God doth not ordinarily giue sauing Grace, but it is gotten in or after some great affliction. A man may get much generall knowledge, and goe farre in a temporary Faith, without any great paine or perplexitie, but the paines of trauaile do vsually accompany the birth of any sauing Grace. [Page 33] Neyther is there any such hearkening after a childe borne in nature, as there is after an afflicted conscience now ready to bee deliuered of any eternall Grace.

Thirdly, Grace cannot be receiued but it workes a great change and alte­ration Vse. 3 of disposition and practise, of affection and carriage, it will worke an alteration generall, inward and outward. Now all this stirre in reforming is lyable to obseruation.

Fourthly, the Diuell vsually lieth still whiles men please themselues with Obser. 4 the effects of Historicall and Temporary Faith, because they feed presumption; but so soone as Iustifying Faith is got in the least measure, and workes by pu­rifying both the heart and life from beloued sinnes (though it worke neuer so weakely) he bestirres himselfe and his agents by carnall counsell, tempta­tions, reproches, slanders, difficulties, and a thousand deuises, to make this birth painefull, and if it were possible, abortiue: the Flesh boyles, the Diuell darts fire by iniection, the World hatefully pursues and wonders at the sud­daine restraint and retyring, if Men runne not into the same excesse of riot. Iohn 16. 1 Pet. 4.4. Esay 59.15. Hee that restraineth himselfe from euill maketh himselfe a prey.

Lastly, the Graces of God are like Lampes on a hill in a darke night, and Obser. 5 like shining Pearles, and therefore cannot be hid.

Ʋse is, first, for confutation of their resolution that will serue God,Ʋses. but it must be secretly; they will be sincere, but they like not to doe it so as euery body may note them; they will goe to heauen, but for ease, it must bee in a fether-bed, and for closenesse it must be out of their Closets:Indiscretion not the cause of the reproa­ches and trou­bles of true Christians. these men meane to steale their passages; and these kinde of people commonly thinke, that the true cause why others are so talked of, is, their indiscretion, and rash and needlesse thrusting out of themselues into obseruation; but in the whole businesse they deceiue themselues: for it is not possible to be friends with God and the World; to haue God, his Word, People, and Spirit, to witnesse to vs, and to haue the World to praise and applaud vs. And for In­discretion, it is a preiudice let fall by the Diuell, and taken vp by carnall men without considering that reproachfull obseruation hath beene the lot of the wisest and holiest Saints that euer liued; yea the portion of the Prince of the Saints. Secondly, it may be an especiall comfort to all the Seruants of God, that finde their names encountred with strange reports, and the World so­dainely bent against them round about (when yet many times they rather finde purposes then practises of Grace) I say, they may gather comforts di­uersly: first, it is the portion of all Gods people: secondly, it is a signe they are now no more carnall persons; for, if they were of the world, the World would not thus hate his owne: thirdly, their praises are with the Saints,Iohn 7.7. and as now they taste of the cup of their affliction, so they shall reape the incom­parable priuiledges of their communion.

A Question in the second place may be propounded: and that is how their 2 Faith can be heard of? seeing it is an inward Grace,Quest. how it can so outwardly be knowne? Answ. Faith in it selfe hidden and secret,Ans. Faith makes it selfe knowne diuers waies. doth in people conuer­ted, make it selfe knowne by certaine demonstratiue effects of it, as by Con­fession in time of persecution, when the defence of the truth in any part of it is required; by constant Profession, notwithstanding the scornes and disgraces of the World; by Victorie ouer the World, when men retire themselues, and will not liue by example, contemne all earthly vanities, and vse the world as if they vsed it not; by their loue to the word of God more then their appointed food; by the reformation of their owne liues; by the exercise of Faith in their callings, not hasting to vse ill and vnlawfull meanes, not sacrificing to their owne nets; and lastly, by their loue to Gods people.

Seeing Grace and Fame are companions, wee may learne that the surest 3 [Page 34] way to get a good name,The surest way to get credit is to get Grace. Philip: 4:3. Math. 18. Psal. 15.4. Psal. 16.3. Prou. 19.1. is to get Grace: for then their names are written in Heauen: they are knowne of Angells, they are imprinted in the hearts of Gods people. A good man honoureth them that feare God: And Dauid saith, They are the onely excellent ones, and all his delight is in them: And of the same minde is Salomon, euen of the poore Childe of God, Prou. 19.1. Yea, they haue a name in the very conscience of wicked men, yea, their very enemies: which appeares in this, that they spend more thoughts about them then the greatest Potentate, and would gladly die their death; yea, a faithfull man is honoured when he seemes contemned. And on the other side, a wicked man is euer at the greatest in his owne eyes, and is not able to conceiue, that they that so much depend vpon him,A sinfull per­son is a shame­full person. and crouch to him, should contemne him, as certainly they doe: for euery sinfull person is a shamefull and vile person. Yea, so soueraigne and sure a meanes is Grace for the attayning of a good name,Esay 25.8. that it causeth the staines and blemishes of former infamous sinnes to be blotted out. When God takes away sinne in the Soule, hee will take away rebuke from the name. And this, God (that hath the hearts of all men in his hands) workes both wonderfully and secretly. Who doth not honour Dauid, Peter, Magdalene, and Paul, notwithstanding their great sinnes and faults?

4 The last thing here to be inquired after is, whether it be not Vaine-glory to seeke fame and estimation,It is not al­waies vaine-glory to seeke fame. Eccles. Math. 5. Phil. 2. Foure things make glory vaine. and to be heard of amongst men. Ans. It is not simply a sinne to seeke an honest report amongst men; let them contemne their names that meane to bee allowed to liue in presumptuous sinne: A good name is better then riches. And Christ commandeth that our light should shine that men might see our good works. And the Apostle wils them to hold forth the light of the word of truth in the middest of a crooked and froward generation. But glory is then vaine, first, when it is sought in vaine things: secondly, when men seeke praise for the shew of that that is not: thirdly, when they make it the chiefe end of their actions: fourthly, when it makes men proude and vicious: otherwise it is an honest ioy that comes of a good name, and a rea­son to beare many crosses in other things patiently, where men may support themselues with this comfort of a good Name.

And of your Loue to all Saints.

HItherto of Faith, by which wee embrace CHRIST, the head. Now it remaines that I entreate of Loue, by which we embrace the SAINTS, the members. By the one wee are ioyned to Christ, by the other to the mem­bers of Christ.

Iohn 3.17.Loue is either in God, or in man: In God it is an Attribute: in man an Affection, or a quality in the affection.

Loue is a vice three waies.Loue, in man, is either a vice or a grace. It is a vice, when it is set vpon a wrong obiect, or is disordered, and that three wayes; first, when wee loue 1 things vnlawfull as Sinne; secondly, when wee loue things lawfull, but too 2 much, as the World; thirdly, when Loue is turned into Lust, and so is the 3 mother of Fornication, Adultery, Incest, and such like.

As Loue is a grace (for I omit bare naturall affections) It is onely in the Saints, and so they loue, first, God and Christ, as the fountaines of all Na­turall and Supernaturall blessings: secondly, they loue the meanes of com­munion with God and Christ, and thus they loue the word of God, Psalme 1.2. and thus they loue the second appearing of Christ. 2. Tim. 4.8. thirdly, they loue man, and so their loue is either to all men, to their enemies, or to the Saints. Of this last heere.

Concerning this loue to Gods children, if the coherence and the generall [Page 35] consideration of the words be obserued, seauen things may be noted; first,Concerning loue 7. things may be noted from the co­herence. that the loue to Gods children, is a grace supernaturall as well as faith; Hereby we know that we are translated from death to life, because wee loue the brethren. And againe, Let vs loue one another, for loue commeth of God, and euery one that loueth is borne of God. Hence it is called, The loue that God hath in vs. Yea it is Obseruat. 1 deriued from that precious loue wherewith God loue Christ.

Secondly, we must first be ioyned to Christ by faith,1 John 3.14. 1 Iohn 4.7. 1 Iohn 4.16. Iohn 17.26. before wee can get any sanctified affection to man; all humane affections in carnall men want their true comfort, profit, and constancie, because they are not seasoned by faith in God; till a man doe labour for his owne reconciliation with God, he Obseruat. 2 can neuer get a sound affection to Gods children, nor reape the heauenly priuiledges of communion with Saints.

Thirdly, to loue Gods children for any other respects, then because they Obseruat. 3 are Saints, is a meere Naturall affection, not a Spirituall grace; a wicked man may loue a childe of God, for his profit, pleasure or credit sake, for his company sake, or for his amiable qualities, in conuersing, and such like: but the right loue, is to loue them, as they are sanctified, as they are begotten of God, 1 Iohn 5.1. and for Spirituall respects, and thus hee that giueth a Disciple a cup of cold wa­ter, in the name of a Disciple, shall not loose his reward. Math. 10.41.42.

Fourthly, nothing can make more to the praise and credit of men then Obseruat. 4 faith and loue, the highest praise of a mans good estate is to bee able to shew that he beleeueth his owne reconciliation with God, and that he loueth Gods children; He doth not say he was glad at heart when he heard of their riches, honours, &c. But when hee heard of their loue to the Saints, and their faith in Christ.1 Thessal. 3.6 The good tydings of the faith and loue in the Thessalonians was a great consolation to Paul in his affliction, and all his necessities. No better newes can be brought him, and therefore hee prayes the Lord to increase them, not in riches and the pleasures of this life, but to make them abound in loue one to another.

Fiftly, whosoeuer doth actually beleeue, doth actually loue, they are in­separable Obseruat. 5 companions; Faith worketh by loue: Galat. 5.6. Ephes. 6.23. 1 Tim. 1.14. Hence he wisheth the people not barely loue, but loue with faith: so as commonly they are together in the same degrees also: If no faith, no loue; if a shew of faith, but a shew of loue, if a purpose of faith, but a purpose of loue, if a weake faith, a weake loue; if an interrupted faith, an interrupted loue; if often at oddes with God, of­ten at iarres with men, they are begotten by the same seede, giuen by the same God, receiued by the same Saints, and lodged in the same heart.

Sixtly, there is no hope of heauen, if no loue to the brethren; Hee that Obseruat. 6 saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkenesse vntill this time. And,1 Iohn 2.9.10. 1 Iohn 3.16. Whosoeuer hateth his brother, is a man-slayer: And we know that no man-slayer hath eternall life.

Seuenthly and lastly, he that loues one Saint truely, loues any Saint; and Obseruat. 7 therefore the Apostle in the praise of their loue commendeth it, for that it was towards all the Saints: to haue Gods children in respect of persons, is not to respect them at all aright; he that cannot loue grace any where, loues not any for grace.

The vses of all these obseruations briefly follow; first, heere is reproofe,Ʋses. and that first of such wicked wretches as can loue any but the Saints; these are in a wofull and damnable case, whatsoeuer their estate be in the world; second­ly, of such as allow themselues liberty to hold Gods children in suspence, they do not hate them,1 Iohn 5.1. but yet they will be better aduised before they be too for­wards to ioyne themselues with them: But let these be assured, that till they be loued, God will not beloued.

Secondly, heere we may make triall by our Loue to Gods children, both [Page 36] of our faith and hope; as also of our loue to God; and lastly, the manner of our affection viz. for what wee loue other. For naturall affection hath his naturall rewards: Lastly, the doctrine of loue is a comfort two waies, first, if thou beginne to loue Gods children, it is a comfortable signe thou art not without loue to God, and faith in Christ: secondly, it is a comfort against slanders, reproches, and molestations from wicked men; thou hast as much credit with them as God: if they loued God, they would loue thee. It is a great comfort when a mans enemies be enemies to Religion,Note. sinceritie, and holinesse of life.

Thus farre of loue in generall; In particular I propound foure things to be further considered: first, the nature of this grace: secondly, the reasons to perswade vs to the conscionable exercise of it; thirdly, the helps to fur­ther vs: and lastly, what defects are in the loue the world commonly boasteth of.

1 For the first, that the Nature of this sacred grace may bee the better con­ceiued, two things would be weighed; first, what things ought to be found in our loue;What things ought to be in our loue. Seauen things ought to be shevved in our loue. Rom. 12.15. secondly, in what manner loue is to be expressed.

And for the former of these two, true Christian loue hath in it these seuen graces or duties: first, Vprightnesse in our owne things, both in respect of Right and Truth: secondly, Peaceablenes in the quiet order of our conuer­sation: thirdly, Curtesie in needefull and louing complements: fourthly, Tendernes in the things that befall others, so as wee can reioyce for them as for our selues: fiftly, Liberalitie: sixtly, Society: seuenthly, Clemencie: Con­cerning these three last duties or branches of Loue, it will bee expedient to adde something for further explication of them.

Liberalitie Liberalitie is required, and it standeth of two maine branches; first, Hospi­talitie, and then the workes of mercy, Hospitalitie is required in these places, Rom. 12.13.Wicked hos­pitalitie. 1. Tim. 3.2. 1. Pet. 4.9. Heb. 13.2. But this dutie stands not in the entertainment of drunkards, and vicious persons, or in keeping open house for gaming and such lewd sports and disorders, or in feasting of car­nall men: for this is so farre from being the praise of great men, as it is a most shamefull abuse, and one of the crying sinnes of a Land, able to pull downe the curse of God vpon such houses,True hospita­litie. and such house-keeping; but Hospitali­tie stands in the kinde entertainment of strangers that are in want, Heb. 13.2. and in welcomming of the poore, that are in distresses: and lastly, in the friendly, and Christian, and mutuall exercise of Loue, in inuiting of Gods children to our houses or tables.

Workes of mercyWorkes of mercy. are the second branch, and those are required of vs as the needfull duties of our Loue: and these workes are either in temporall things, and so are Almes-deedes; or in spirituall things. Loue must shew it selfe in Almes-deedes, Rom. 12.13. Leuit. 25.26. Luke 6.35. that is, in distributing to the necessities of the Saints: in re­lieuing those that are impouerished and fallen into decay, by giuing or lending, though they should not be paide againe, vpon the hope of a reward in hea­uen;1 Cor. 8.3.8. and this to be done both to our power and without compulsion, for that will shew the naturalnesse of our Loue. Thus being ready to distribute and communicate, 1 Tim. 6.18.19 men may lay vp in store for themselues a good foundation against the time to come: and that that is well giuen will be a greater helpe in time of need, then that that is spared and kept.

Spirituall mercie.There are workes of mercy also in spirituall compassion ouer the soules of men: and thus the poore may be mercifull to the rich, to wit, in labouring to winne them to religion and sinceritie, in praying, admonition, incourage­ments, and such like needfull duties: and these are the best workes of mercy that we can doe for others, whom we loue or pittie.

Societie.Thus of Liberality, another thing required vnto the exercise of Christian [Page 37] Loue, is Societie: It is not enough to wish well to the Saints, or salute them kindely, or relieue them according to their occasions, but we must conuerse louingly and daily with them, make them our delight, company with them, and in all the mutuall duties of fellowship in the Gospell to sol [...]ce them, and our selues with them: This is that that Peter requires, [...]. 1 Pet. 2:17. Rom: 12:11. when hee chargeth that we should loue brotherly fellowship: we should not liue like Stoikes, without all society; nor like prophane men, in wicked society, but wee should both in­tertaine a brotherly fellowship, that is, society with th [...] brethren, and loue it too. This was their praise in the primitiue times;Acts 2.42. that they continued in the A­postles doctrine, and in fellowship and breaking of bread and prayers, making con­science, aswell of Christian society, as of hearing, praying, and receiuing the Sacraments.

The holy Apostle Saint Paul blesseth God for the Philippians, that they did not onely make conscience of receiuing the Gospell,Philip: 1:5. Phil. 2.1. but also of fellow­ship in the Gospell, and that from the very first beginning of their entrance in­to Religion. This was the comfort of their loue, and fellowshippe of the Spirit.

The last dutie of loue is Clemencie, and this stands in the right framing of ourselues in respect of others: and vnto the practise of clemencie, diuers things are required of vs.

First, to couer the faults of others, Loue couereth the multitude of sinnes: 1 Secondly, to auoyde the occasions of stirring the infirmities of others.1 Pet: 4:8. And heere we are bound to forbeare our libertie in indifferent things, rather than 2 we should offend our brother: If thy brother be grieued for thy meate, Genes. 13.18. Rom. 14.15. now walkest thou not charitably: It is to be obserued, that he saith, thy brother: for it mat­ters not for the cauells and reproaches of idolatrous and superstitious per­sons 3 that neuer regarded the sincerity of the Gospell: Thirdly,1 Cor. 13:7. to take things in the best part, Loue belieueth all things, it hopeth all things: Fourthly,Ephes: 4.16. in our 4 anger both to be short (Let not the Sunne go downe vpon your wrath) and al­so to be more grieued for their sinne with whom wee are angrie,Ephes: 4.16. then kindled against their persons; as it is said of our Sauiour,Marke 3.1. Hee looked round about vp­on them angerly, mourning for the hardnesse of their hearts: Fiftly, to appease 5 the anger of others; and that either by soft answeres; Pro: 15:1. 1 Cor: 6.7. Gen: 13.18:6. Mat: 17.25.26 Rom: 12:21. Ephes: 4:31. or by parting with our owne right; or by ouercomming euill with goodnesse.

Lastly, clemency stands in the forgiuing of trespasses done against vs; Be tender hearted, forgiuing one another, euen as God for Christ his sake forgaue you: So that vnto Christian loue, is requisite a peaceable, curteous and tender car­riage, hospitalitie and a liberall distributing to their wants, both in tempo­rall and spirituall things, a couering of their faults, auoiding of occasions of scandall, a louing composing of our selues in matters of wrong, and a daily and cheerefull association with them.

Thus farre of the gratious branches of Christian Loue. Now the man­ner how wee should loue Gods children, is to bee considered:Math: 19:19. & 22:39. Foure things in the manner of our loue. 1 Pet: 2.22. [...]. first in gene­rall, we should loue then as our selues: and therefore in all our dealings to doe as wee would bee done by: wee are to loue man in measure, viz as our selues, but God aboue measure. But to consider of the manner of our loue more specially, the particulars may bee referred to the foure heades mentioned 1 Pet. 2.22. First, wee must loue brotherly, that is, not as we loue our beasts, or as wee loue strangers, or as wee loue our enemies, but as wee would loue our dearest naturall brother, with all tendernesse and naturalnesse of our af­fection: Secondly, wee must loue without faining, without hypocrisie: [...]. Rom. 12.9. 1 Iohn 3.18. [...]. and this is explicated to bee not in word and tongue, but in deedes and in the truth: not onely, truely, for it cannot bee a true loue vnlesse it arise from a holy agreement in the truth: Thirdly, it must bee with a pure heart, and then [Page 38] we loue with a pure heart, first, when our affection is grounded vpon know­ledge and iudgement: Phil. 1.9. secondly, when it is expressed in a Spirit of meekenesse: Thirdly, when it is free from wrath or aptnesse to be offended, from enuie, from pride,1 Corinth. 4 21. and swelling and boasting, from selfe loue, when men seeke not their owne things,1 Cor. 13.4.5. and from euill suspitions: Fourthly, when it is exercised in holy things,1 Cor. 13.6. so as no affection can make vs reioyce in the wickednesse of them we loue: Fiftly, when it is manifested in long-suffering, and all-suffering, when we beleeue; 1 Corinth. 13.7. all things, and hope all things.

[...]:Lastly, wee must loue feruently: and this hath in it Speedinesse, Prou. 3.28. Dili­gence 1 Thes. 1 13., (called Labour in loue Heb. 6.10.) Cheerefulnesse 2 Cor. 9.17., Earnestnesse and heate of affection (and this is to follow after Loue Galat 5.13. 1 Thessal. 3.12., and to the end it is without in­terruptionEphes. 5.2.3. Motiues. Math. 24..

Now, because these are the last daies, wherein the most haue no Chri­stian Loue at all, and many haue lost the affection they had; so as their Loue is growne colde, and the most euen of the children of GOD in all places are exceedingly wanting to their owne comfort and spirituall con­tent, in the neglect of the duties of Loue one to another, but especially in the duties of a holy fellowship, and mutuall societie in the GOSPELL, and the rules of Clemencie: and that men might bee kindled with some sparkes of desire to redeeme the time, and gaine the comforts they haue lost, and seeke the blessings of GOD in a holy Societie, I haue thought good in the second place to propound out of the Scriptures Motiues, as they lie heere and there scattered in the holy Writings, to incite and perswade all sorts of men, especially Professours, to a more conscionable respect of this mutuall loue.

From exam­ple.The first Motiue may be taken from Example, and that both of God and CHRIST; God made his infinite Loue apparant to vs in that hee sent his onely begotten Sonne into the world, that wee might beleeue in him, and hee might bee a reconciliation for our sinnes, 1 Ioh. 4.9.10.11. and therefore ought wee to loue one an­other, yea so to loue one another. Shall the most high GOD fasten his loue vpon vs, that are so many thousand degrees below him; and shall not wee loue them that are our equalls, both in Creation and Regeneration? Shall the Lord be contented to respect with an appearing loue, and shall we thinke it enough to carry good affections to our brethren, without manifestati­on of the outward signes and pledges of it? Was there nothing so deare vn­to GOD as his Sonne, and did hee giue vs his Sonne also to assure vs of his loue; and shall the loue of the Saints be euer by vs any more accounted a burthensome and costly loue! Hath God sent his Sonne, out of heauen in­to the world, and shall we stie our selues vp, and not daily runne into the company of the members of CHRIST? Was CHRIST sent that wee might haue the life of Grace in holy and heauenly and mysticall vnion, and shall not wee as fellow-members in all the duties of a Christian societie stirre vp, nourish, and increase that life so giuen?

Note.As Sinceritie is the life of Religion, so Society is the life of Sinceritie. Was Christ giuen a reconciliation for our sinnes, and shall not wee striue to ouercome one another in the religious temper of our affections, and the free and wil­ling couering or forgiuing of trespasses and wrongs? Our Head, our Sa­uiour, our Lord, our Prophet, our Priest, our King (that wee might per­ceiue his loue) laid downe his life for vs; 1 Ioh. 3.16. and should not wee imitate so in­comparable an example, though it were to lay downe our liues one for ano­ther?

From Com­mandement.The second Motiue is, from Commandement: it is not a thing arbitrarie for vs to loue our brethren as is before expressed. Curtesie, peaceablenes, libera­litie, society and clemency, are not things we may shew, or not shew, at our [Page 39] pleasures, but they are necessarie; such as if they be wanting, a sin is commit­ted, nay grieuous sins, euen against the commandement of Christ, Ioh. 13.Iohn 13.34. As I said to the Iewes, whither I go can ye not come, so to you also I say now, a new com­mandement giue I you, that ye loue one another, euen as I loued you. Hee shewes here, that whereas they might be grieued that they should loose Christs bo­dily presence, he had appointed them a course for their solace, and that was instead of Christ, as fellow-members in Christs absence in the world, to striue by all meanes to delight themselues in louing society one with another. And this Commandement he calls a new Commandement, not in respect of the matter of the duty; for that was alwaies required, but in respect of the forme of obseruing it; for the old generall rule was, That thou shouldest loue thy neigh­bour as thy selfe: but now that forme (as I haue loued you) hath in it somthing that is more expresse, and for the incomparable sufficiencie of the president, is matchlesse, and more full of incitations to fire affection. Againe, the per­son that giues it, and the time, is to be considered: I now giue this commande­ment. Men are vsed, that haue any sparks of good nature in them, to remem­ber, and carefully to obserue the last words of their dying friends, especi­ally if they charge not many things. Why, these are the last words of Christ, the night before his death; euen this one thing hee doth especially charge vpon vs: Namely, while we abide in this flesh, and are hated of this world, and want those glorious refreshings would come by the presence of Christ, to vnite our serues in a holy bond of peace and loue, to be kept and strengthned by mutuall indeauors in the performance of all the duties of holy affection,Iohn 16.12. & that till Christ shall gather vs vnto the glory that he hath with the Father.

The third Motiue may be taken from the benefites that may be gotten by loue: and these are diuers.

First, there is much comfort in loue: the Lord doth vsually and graciously 3 water the society, conferences,From profit. Philip. 2.1. prayers and other duties performed mutu­ally by the Saints, with the deaws of many sweet and glorious refreshings, by which they are daily excited, inflamed, and incouraged to a holy conten­tation in godlinesse.

Secondly, Loue is the fulfilling of the Law: not onely all the duties belong­ing 2 to humane societies (of which he there intreates) are comprehended vn­der loue, as by that great band that tyeth all estates and degrees; but also,Rom. 13.10. How Loue is the fulfilling of the Law. is the fulfilling of the Law by effect; in that, first it causeth astinence from do­ing euill to our neighbour: Secondly, it causeth men to make conscience of fulfilling the Law, and that which is there generally spoken if it be appli­ed to the loue of the Saints may haue his speciall truth in this, that there is nothing in outward things doth more fire the heart of a man to the loue of, and labour after a godly life, then a daily louing societie with Gods chil­dren, in whom we see godlinesse, euen in an experimentall knowledge, not layd before vs in precept, but described vnto vs in practise, with the rewards and fruits of it. Yea loue may be said to be the filling vp of the Law, [...]. as the word seemeth to import in this, that it clotheth the duties of the Law, with the glory of a due manner, and seateth them vpon their due subiects, with the vn­wearied labours of constant well-doing.

Thirdly, the due performance, and daily exercise of the mutuall duties of 3 loue, would be a great testimonie and witnesse vnto vs for the satisfying of our consciences in the knowledge of such great things, as otherwise are ex­ceeding hard to be knowne, as first it is not euery bodies case to haue the Spirit of grace, or when they haue it to discerne it, yet by this loue it may be discerned, for it is one of the inseparable fruits of the spirit: Secondly,Galat. 5.22. many men follow not Christ at all, and among the followers of Christ a great number are not true Disciples.Iohn 13.14. Now by loue may all men know that we are [Page 40] Christs disciples: Iohn 3. Thirdly, the winde bloweth where it listeth: And, that which is borne of the flesh is flesh: and therefore great Masters in Israell and Teachers of other men may be ignorant of regeneration;1 Iohn 4.7. yet thereby may wee know that we are borne of God, and doe rightly know God, if we loue one another.

Job. 23.8.9.Fourthly, if wee would seeke God to finde him; behold, If wee go to the East, hee is not there: if to the West, yet wee cannot perceiue him, if to the North where he worketh, yet wee cannot see him: he will hide himselfe in the South, and we cannot behold him: 1 Iohn 4.12. How much more is the way of God in the heart of man vnsearchable? And yet though no man hath seene God at any time; if we loue one another, God dwelleth in vs.

Fiftly, the election of man before time, is like a bottomlesse gulfe, and the making of man blamelesse and holy in heauen is a dreadfull mysterie, and yet those two glorious branches, whereof thone sprowts foorth euen beyond time, and thother reacheth vp to heauen, nay into heauen; are both fastned vpon this stocke of loue in respect of one way and manner of comming to know them.Ephes. 4.1.4.

1 Iohn 3.14.To conclude, Saluation it selfe, euen our owne saluation is knowne by the loue to the brethren, as is cleare 1. Iohn 3.14. and in diuers other places of that Epistle.

Zeph. 1.14.Lastly, the day of the Lord is a terrible day, a day of trouble and heauines: the strong hearted man shall then crie bitterly: then the heauens being on fire shall bee dissolued and passe away with a noyse, 2 Pet. 3.10.11 1 Thessal. 4.16 and, the elements shall melt with heate: the Lord himselfe shall descend from heauen with a showt, and with the voice of the Archangells, and with the trumpet of God: then shall all the kindreds of the earth mourne, and they shall see the Son of man come in the cloudes of heauen with power and great glory: Math 14.3. And who shall be able to stand in that great and fearefull day? euen all such as haue finished their course in the loue of God and his chil­dren;1 Iohn 4.17. as certainely as we now finde loue in our hearts, so surely shall we haue boldnesse in the day of iudgement.

4 The fourth Motiue may be taken from the miserable state of such as finde not in themselues the loue of Gods children;From the mi­serie of such as loue not Gods chil­dren. 1 Iohn 2. & 3. First, it is a palpable signe they abide still in darknesse, and vnder the bondage of the first death: and in dan­ger of the second death.

Secondly, a man can neuer enter into the kingdome of Heauen without it; for euery man can say, a murtherer shall not be saued (so continuing:) Now it is certaine, God hates a man that loues not his children aswell as hee doth murtherers;1 Iohn 3.15. he that loueth not his brother, is a man-slayer, and wee know that no man-slayer can inherit eternall life.

Ephes. 3.17.Thirdly, till we loue Gods children, we can neuer know what the length, breadth and depth of the loue of God and Christ is to vs. God shewes not his loue to vs till we shew our loue to the Saints: Lastly, for want of loue in the heart, and the duties of loue in conuersation, the mysticall body of Christ is excee­dingly hindered from growing, both in the beauty and glory which other­wise would be found in the Church of Christ.Ephes. 4.16.

5 Lastly, to incite vs yet more to the exercise of loue, I propound three places of Scripture more.

The first place is, Ephes. 4.12. to 17. where may be obserued 4. things, gotten by a holy vnion with the members of Christ and Christian societie and affection.Ephes. 4. It furthers our gathering into the body: It is an exceeding great helpe in the beginning of our effectuall vocation: Secondly, it furthers our edification in the building, and fits vs for our roome among the Saints. God­ly society doth frame vs and square vs, and many waies fit vs for our place in this building: Thirdly, louing affection to the members of Christ and mutuall society doth much profit vs, in respect of our growth in the body: and [Page 41] that till we become perfect men, and attaine to the age of the fulnesse of C [...]st: Verse 13.16. Fourthly, this holy loue is a great fence to the iudgement against false and deceitfull doctrine: he is not easily carried with euery winde of doctrine, nor vnsetled with the vaine deceits of men, that can follow the truth, and the meanes thereof in a setled and well grounded loue to Gods children. But on the other side, how easily are such men deluded and throwne off from their purposes and comforts that did neuer ioyne themselues to Gods chil­dren?

The second place is, 1. Peter 4.7.8. where the Apostle exhorteth to sobrie­tie in the vse of the profits and delights of the world in meates and drinkes, riches, recreations and apparell, and withall to spend their time here in spi­rituall duties, especially Prayer; watching thereunto, both to obserue all occasions and opportunities to pray, as also noting the mercies of God wee finde in prayer, with our owne corruptions in the manner, and the glo­rious successe of praier, in preuailing with God: But aboue all things, hee wills them to haue feruent loue: and yeeldeth two reasons or motiues; first, the end of all things is at hand: and therefore it is best louing and making much of those, that after the dissolution shall be great heires of heauen and earth: secondly, Loue couereth the multitude of sinnes, it hideth the blemishes of our natures, and fitteth vs for the comforts of Society. Notwithstanding the infirmities accompany euen the Saints while they are in this vale of miserie.

The third place is, 2 Pet. 1.7. &c. where he largely perswadeth men to get holy graces into their hearts, and to expresse holy duties in their liues: among these, as chiefe, he instanceth in brotherly kindnes and loue; to this end he brin­geth diuers reasons: first, it will set our knowledge aworke, which else would 1 be idle and vnfruitfull; Verse 8. and where should we vnloade our selues of the fruits of knowledge, which men get in Gods house, better then in the houses of the people of God: secondly, he that hath not these things, is blinde; or if 2 he haue sight and wit enough for this world, yet he is purre-blinde, [...]. so as hee can see nothing that is farre off (as eternall things are) but onely things neere, such as are carnall things: the want of loue to Gods people is a palpable signe of a pur-blind carnall man: thirdly, the want of loue, and the other graces there named, is a signe of a spirituall Lethargie, euen that a man is fallen in­to 3 a forgetfulnesse of the purging of his old sinnes, that is,Verse 9. it is a signe that a man lieth vnder the guilt and filth of all his former sinnes, and neuer feeles the weight of them, or considers the danger of them: Fourthly, Loue, with the fruits of it, doe make our calling and election sure: Fiftly, louing society and 4 brotherly kindnes is a great meanes of perseuerance,Verse 10. if ye doe these things yee shall neuer fall: Lastly, by this meanes an entrance shall bee ministred vnto vs a­bundantly, 5 into the euerlasting kingdome of our Lord Iesus Christ; both because it 6 mightily furthereth faith and hope: As also,Verse 10. Verse 11. because by these meanes eternall life is begun on earth, in respect of communion both with God & the Saints.

Thus farre of the Motiues; Helps follow. These helpes are such as serue.The Helpes. both for the begetting & nourishing of a holy loue, to and with Gods people.

There are eight things that are great furtherances of holy life.

First, the conscionable hearing of the word of God, for in Gods house 1 doth the Lord fire the heart and holy affections, and teach the right orde­ring of them. How came those Colossians by their loue to the Saints, no o­therwise but by hearing the word of truth, which discouered vnto them who were Gods children, and did daily fence them against the scornes and re­proches which the world laded them withall.

Secondly, we must get faith and hope as the coherence shewes: for till wee 2 be soundly humbled to seeke Gods fauour, and find our hearts possessed with [Page 42] the care for and hope of a better life, we cannot receiue Gods children aright into our hearts: But no man was euer truely touched in conscience, and had vnfained desires of remission of his sinnes: Neither did euer a man seriously seeke after the things of a better life, but he did loue Gods children aboue all the people of the earth: and it is true of the measure, that as we grow in faith and hope, so we should grow in loue and in the comforts of Gods fauour.

1 Pet. 1.22.Thirdly, would we loue brotherly, without faining, and feruently; then we must get our soules purified, through the spirit, in obeying the truth, i. we must make conscience of the duties of mortification (as of so many purges) to clense our thoughts and affections, of dwelling and raigning lusts and euills: for se­cret sins intertained and delighted in within the affections and thoughts do exceedingly poyson affection both to God and man: this is that the Apostle meaneth where he saith,1 Tim. 1.5. Loue must come out of a pure heart.

2 Tim. 1.7.Fourthly, we must stirre vp the spirit of loue. The spirit of God is a spirit of loue, and we must stirre it vp by nourishing the motions of the same, putting courses or waies of expressing loue into our mindes; and by prayer, medita­tion, or any other meanes that may inflame our hearts to a holy affection.

2 Tim. 1.13.Fiftly, it profiteth much hereunto to get and keepe in our minds, a patterne of faith and loue, euen a draught of the things that concerne faith in God, and loue to the Saints: that we might alwaies haue a frame of all holy duties that concerne this holy affection: this was their care in the Primitiue times, as appeareth, 2 Tim. 1.13.

Sixtly, to be sound in these 3. things, Faith, Loue, and Patience, requires most an end Experience, and a daily acquainting our selues with the things of the Kingdome of Christ. When we are driuen by often crosses to seeke comfort in Gods children, and by much obseruation do finde the worth of the comforts that arise from holy Society with them; Many are the incre­dible weakenesses that discouer themselues in the hearts of yonger and wea­ker Christians: but it is a shame for the elder men, if they be not sound in loue, Tit. 2.2.Tit. 2.2.

Heb. 10.24. Note.Seuenthly, we must by all holy meane [...] strengthen, and encourage, and set our selues vpon perseuerance in the profession of our hope, for if once wee giue ouer profession, it will be easie to see loue vanish; a wauering profession is vnconstant in Loue.

Lastly, if we would neuer forsake the fellowship we haue one with an other, as the manner of some wicked hypocrites and damnable Apostataes is, then we must with all Christian care, Consider one anothers weakenesses and wants; and be continually prouoking, Heb. 10.25. inciting and incouraging one another to loue, and to good workes.

Thus of the helps.

In the last place I propounded to be considered, the defects that are found in the loue that is abroad in the world,The defects of the com­mon Prote­stants loue. with which the common Protestant pleaseth himselfe. I will not here complaine that loue is turned into lust, and that that damnable infection hath stained heauen and earth, & polluted our houses, brought a curse vpon our Assemblies, and debased our gentrie, disho­noured our Nobles, corrupted our youth, and made heauy our elder Age: or shew how it hath brought vpon vs famine and pestilence: but to let this passe, I will speake of the honester loue, and wherein thinke you standeth it?

First, in the ciuiller sort, in complements: neuer more complements and lesse loue: Secondly, in freedome from suites at Law, and quarrelling; they are in charity with all the world, if they can shew that they neuer were quar­relsome, or that they are friends againe: Thirdly, in the baser sort it is meere Ale-house friendship, their loue stands wholy in going to the Ale-house to­gether; these are the onely fellowes and good neighbours; and commonly, [Page 43] here is set vp the Diuels bench, and Proclamation made of free [...] for filthy Rib [...]uldry, for drunken spewings, and Viper-like sl [...]nders [...] against good men. Fourthly, many out of their ignorance, know [...] o­ther loue then of themselues, or for themselues of others: But yet more plainely the defectiuenesse of the common Protestants loue appeares di­uersly.

First, by the vsuall sinnes which are rise amongst them, euen such as bat­ter the fortresse of Loue. How can they please themselues in their charitie, if we consider how Malice, Reuenge, Anger, Slandering, Back- [...]iting, and all sorts of prouocations to anger, are euery-where abounding? What more vsuall then Selfe-loue? what more common then Enuy? Shall I instance? The Trades-man while hee is rising is so fleshed with successe, and stuffed with the greedy desire of profit, that hee cares not whom hee wrongs, nor how much hee becomes preiudiciall to other mens trade: But this man is not so filled with Selfe-loue, but the declining Trades-man that hath ouer-liued his prime, is euery way as well filled with Enuy. And thus men are not in charitie neither full nor fasting.

Secondly, it appeares to be defectiue in the Obiects of Loue, in a chiefe Companion of Loue, in the Parts of Loue, and in the Manner of louing.

For the first: the onely men that are chiefly to be loued, and our affecti­on to be spent vpon, are the Saints; that is, such religious persons as make conscience of all their wayes: but are these the men the common Protestant loues? Oh times! oh manners! what men finde worse entertainment in the world then these? Is not the least endeauour after holinesse chased and pur­sued with open hates, dislikes, slanders? Can a man refraine himselfe from euill, and not be made a prey? Doth there any liue godly, and they perse­cute him not? Away false wretch: saist thou, thou art in charitie with all men, and yet canst not beare the Image of God in a childe of God?

For the second: all true Loue ought to be accompanied with Faith; yea, it ought to be founded vpon Faith: and therefore herein is the common loue of the world defectiue, that a communion with men is not first sanctified by vnion with God. These men that boast so much of their charitie neuer made conscience of seeking the assurance of Gods fauour in Christ, neither euer trauailed vnder the burthen of their sinnes, so as to seeke forgiuenesse as the true blessednesse.

Thirdly, the common Protestant is exceedingly to blame in the very maine duties of Loue; no tendernesse of heart, no true Hospitalitie, and for mercy to the poore the olde complaints may be taken vp,Hosea 4.1. Esay 57.1. There is no mercie in the Land: Mercifull men are taken away. Wee may now adaies waite for some Samaritane to come and proue himselfe a neighbour: and for societie and fellowship in the Gospell with Gods people, it will neuer sinke into the vn­derstanding of these carnall men, that that is any way expedient: and final­ly, in all the branches of Clemency before expressed, where is the man that makes conscience of them?

And for the last, it is easily auouched, that the Loue that is found in the most men, is neither brotherly nor without grosse fayning and hypocrisie, nor proceedeth it from a heart in any measure purified; and lastly, it is so farre from being feruent, that it is stone colde.

Thus of Loue.

Verse. 5. For the Hopes sake which is laid vp for you in Heauen.’

IN these words is mentioned the third Grace, for which the Apostle giues thankes, and that is Hope.

Hope is here taken both for the thing hoped for, viz. the glory of heauen, as also the Grace by which it is apprehended, but especially the latter.

Heauen is diuersly accepted in Scripture, sometimes it signifieth the ayreDeut. 28.12. Math. 16.16.; sometimes it signifieth the whole vpper world that compasseth the earthGen. 49.25. Math. 3.16.; sometimes for the Kingdome of Grace and the meanes thereofMath. 3.2. & 11.11.; but most vsually for the place of the blessed, and the glory thereof; and so it is taken here.

Hope, as it is here considered by the Apostle, lookes two wayes: first, by relation to, and coherence with Faith and Loue, [for the Hopes sake:] second­ly, by a full aspect vpon the obiect of it, which is intimated in the Metaphore [laid vp] and expressed in the word [Heauens.]

Doctrines from Cohe­rence.First, of Hope, as it is to be considered in the Coherence.

There is an admirable Wisedome and Mercy of God, in the very maner of dispensing of his Graces; for hee makes one Grace crowne another, and Obseruat. 1 become a recompence and reward to another: as here for Hopes sake Gods Children breake through the difficulties of Faith,One Grace crowneth an­other. and the impediments and discouragements of Loue. When God sees how many waies the heart of man is beset in the spirituall combat, about the getting and exercise of those two Graces, hee is pleased by his word and spirit to trumpet out victorie by shewing the glory of heauen, and to set on the Crowne of Hope, as the assured pledge of full and finall victorie: it is Hope that pluckes vp the heart of man to a constant desire of vnion with God by Faith, and of com­munion with man by Loue. And the true reason why so many men vtterly neglect the care to get a iustifying Faith, and an inflamed affection to Gods Children, is, because they haue no taste of the comforts of the euidence of a better life by Hope.

Obseruat. 2 Secondly, Faith and Hope are two distinct things: Faith beleeues the Pro­mise to be true, with particular application of the Promise to ones selfe; and Hope waites for the accomplishment of it: Faith vsually is imployed about reconciliation and a godly life; Hope for the most part, is taken vp with the retyred and affectionate contemplation of the glory of Heauen, the com­ming of Christ, the resurrection of the body, and temporall blessings, and deliuerance, as they are shadowes and types of the last and great saluation.

Obseruat. 3 Thirdly, Hope is no more naturall then Faith and Loue: the carnall man is without Hope in the world: Ephes. 2.12. not that wicked men are cleane without all pro­fession of Hope; for, few men are so vile but they professe and stoutly auouch their hope in God; but this Hope is vaine, emptie, without euidence or pro­mise, such as can neuer profit them: and therefore in the eight of Iob hee saith,Job. 8.13. that the Hypocrites Hope shall perish, his confidence also shall be cut off, and his trust shall be as the house of a Spider. It is to be obserued, that he calls wicked men (euen all carnall and vnconuerted people) Hypocrites, Euery carnall man is an Hy­pocrite. and that fitly, for euery Sinner is an Hypocrite in some degree; and if there were nothing else to proue it, their very Hope and willfull Confidence in the mercies of God, without all warrant from the Word, or testimonie of Gods Spirit, or their owne Conscience, would vndoubtedly proue it: and for the vanitie of their hope it is fitly expressed in the comparison of the Spiders webbe. The silly Spider with many dayes labour weaues her selfe a webbe, in appea­rance able euery way abundantly to couer her, and fit her turne, but at the end of the weeke, the Maide with a Besome sweepes all downe. This poy­sonfull Spider is euery vnregenerate man or woman, this webbe is their Hope, in the framing of which they daily busie themselues, and in the co­uerture of which they vainely repose themselues; but when any Seruant comes out of the Lords armie to sweepe with the Besome of Iudgement or Death, the whole building of these imaginarie hopes come sodainely and [Page 45] totally downe. In the 11. of Iob and the 20. verse it is said,Iob. 1 [...].20. The eyes of the wicked shall faile, and their refuge shall perish, and their hope shall be sorrow of mind: In which words the holy Ghost shewes that the time shall come, when those vaine hopes shall be driuen out of the soules of the wicked, and in stead thereof they shall be filled either with desperate sorrowes on earth, or with eternall sorrowes in hell. What hope hath the hypocrite when hee hath heaped vp riches, if God take away his soule? Iob 27.8.Iob. 27.8. Noting that if carnall men (againe called Hypocrites) will not forgoe their fond presumptions while they liue, yet by too late experience they shall finde them vaine when Death comes.

Obiect. Obiect. But then they meane to pray God to forgiue them, and hope by their repentance then to finde mercy for their soules. Sol. Solut. In the 9. verse it is answered thus; Will God heare his crie when trouble comes vpon him?

Quest. But will not God heare mens prayers in the troublesome time of death? Ans. Not the prayers at that time made by such men:Obiect. Solution. for they are Hypocrites, hauing vpon them but the names of God and godlinesse, and will neuer in sinceritie pray vnto God at all times, neither in their death doe they pray vnto God because they delight in the Almighty; and therefore hee shewes Verse 10. that seeing they delight not in God and godlinesse, and will not pray at all times; that is, as well in health as sicknesse, in prosperity as in aduersitie, while they might yet sinne, as well as when they can sinne no longer: therefore their hope of mercy in death shall faile them.

Quest. Quest. But if true Hope be not naturall, what is the difference betweene the Hope of the faithfull, and this common Hope, that so ordinarily goeth vp and downe the world vnder the colours of it, or how may wee try our selues whether we haue a right Hope or no? Ans. Ans. The true Hope is de­scribed in seuerall Scriptures, by diuers properties, which are no where to be found in carnall men.

First, the true Hope layes fast hold vpon the merits of Iesus Christ onely, 1 and striues constantly to be established and assured. The signes or properties of true Hope. 1 Tim. 1.2. Psal. 31.24. But the common Hope is neuer emptied of carnall confidence and presumption, that God loues them for some good things or parts that are in them; neither doth it brooke assurance, for with one breath carnall people are assuredly confident of Gods mercy, and encounter the Doctrine of infallible assurance.

Secondly, true Hope makes a man more humble, but the common Hope 2 makes men more wilfull and obstinate against God and his Ordinances.Lam. 3.29.

Thirdly, true Hope makes a man cheerefull vnder all sorts of Crosses, by 3 vertue of the very reasons grounded vpon Hope;Rom. 5.2.5.4 but the common Hope of it selfe will not yeeld a mans heart support against any Crosse.

Fourthly, the faithfull man can suffer for his Hope, but a wicked man 4 can shew no chaine vnlesse it be for his sinne.Acts 28.20. Rom 8.24.

Fiftly, true Hope rests vpon Gods promise, though neuer so vnlikely to be performed by outward and ordinary meanes; but wicked men with their 5 common Hope are perhaps able to beleeue they shall liue well so long as they see and feele meanes, but without meanes they are without Hope.Rom. 4.18.

Sixtly true Hope will acknowledge as well as know; but the common Hope 6 cannot abide profession of Religion,Tit. 1.2. it is enough there be a good heart to God.

Seauenthly, true Hope is industrious in the vse of all meanes to come to 7 the end hoped; but the common Hope is singularly sloathfull,Psal. 37.3. it boasts of a sufficiencie of knowledge, and yet neglects the sincere vse of all Gods Ordi­nances; it affirmes deepely of going to heauen and yet cannot tell of one teare for sinne, nor one houre truely spent in mortification: but trust thou in the Lord, and doe good.

8 Lastly, the true Hope seekes Gods presence, and striues in sence to drawe neere to God;Psal. 73.26. but the common Hope is then at best rest when the heart is furthest off from the care, desire, or sence of Gods presence, either in Gods house or abroad.

4The fourth thing that I obserue from the Coherence, concerning Hope, is the worth of the Grace. It is one of the three golden abiliments to adorne a Christian soule: and this I note the rather because it should moue vs to vse carefully and constantly all the meanes that serue to breed or increase true Hope in vs, and to get by prayer and practise all those things that cause Hope. And that we may get and increase our Hope, wee must labour for, First, true Grace, 1. Thes. 2.16. Secondly, sauing Knowledge, Psal. 9.10. and 78.7. Thirdly, Experience, Rom. 5.4. Fourthly, Patience and comfort of the Scriptures, Rom. 15.4. Fiftly, the ioyes of the holy Ghost, and peace of Conscience in beleeuing, Rom. 15.13. Sixtly, aboue all, and for all these, the Spirit of Reuelati­on, Ephes. 1.18. Seauenthly, the often meditation of Gods Promises.

Thus of Hope, as it is considered in relation to Faith and Loue.

Which is laide vp for you in Heauen.] In these words Hope is described in the obiect of it.

Laid vp] (viz) by God in his secret Coffers, as a most worthy Iewell: this Metaphore giues occasion to obserue three Doctrines.

Doctr. 1 First, that Grace and Glory are a mans best treasures, and therefore wee should labour for them more then any thing else, and if we haue a comfor­table euidence of them, to be contented though we want other things.

Doctr. 2 Secondly, that Hope is no common Grace, in that amongst many faire vertues which are common to wicked men, hee locketh vp this Grace of Hope as a speciall Iewell hee intends to keepe onely for his owne Children.

Doctr. 3 Thirdly, that the euidence and grace of Gods Children be in Gods kee­ping, and laid vp safe in heauen, and therefore cannot be lost; and besides, when they die, there is of theirs in heauen before they come.

Heauen] Here I obserue two things.

Doct. There is a Heauen.First, that there is a Heauen for the Saints after this life: the Doctrine of Heauen is onely proper to Religion; Nature hath but a darke glimpse of im­mortalitie, or any being after this life, and is full of stronger Obiections then Answeres: and as any are more lewd in life, they are more sencelesse of immortalitie. But concerning the estate of the blessed in heauen, Nature is wholy ignorant,Ʋses. yea, the doctrine hereof is so diuine, that Religion it selfe doth not fully purtray it out in this world to any, yet as any are more holy it is more discerned. The consideration of heauen may vrge vs to ma­ny duties in generall: if euer wee would haue heauen when wee die, wee must get holinesse both imputed or infused while wee liueMath. 5.16 2 Pet. 1.7. Math. 7.21. 1 Pet. 2.11.14. Psal. 15. Wee must bee sure wee be of Gods FamilieEphes. 3.16., and that we are borne againeJohn 3.5. Luke 13 5., In particu­lar, we should therefore acquaint our selues with the Lawes and Mysteries of Gods kingdome Mat. 13.11 52.: and if we may come by the meanes to be effectually in­structed in the way to Heauen, we should account of this Pearle, and rather then loose it, sell all we haue to buy it Mat. 13.44 45.. And wee should aboue all things la­bour for the meate that perisheth not, but endures to euerlasting life Iohn 6.27.: in as much as in the Ministerie of the word is many times found the Keyes that open vn­to vs the Kingdome of heauen Mat. 16.19. Rom. 10.6.. And in as much as riches may prooue a sin­gular hinderance, we should take warning, and see to it that they do not in­tangle vsMat. 19.23.. And because in Heauen are our treasures, we should set our affections there Math. 6.20 Col. 3 1., and prepare for our change and departure2. Cor. 5.1.2. 1 Thes. 1.10.. Giuing allowance to no sinne, no not the leastMat. 5.10:19: constantly professing and confessing Christ before men; that he may not denie vs in that day Mat. 10.32.33. & 5.10.. Yea, where God meanes to bestow heauen, he bestowes heauenly qualities on men in this life, they are poore in [Page 47] spirit Math. 5.3.: they are eager after heauen and the things thereofMat 11.12.: they are like Children, void of earthly carking and distressefull caresMat. 18.2.: they are mercifull Mat. 25.34.36.: they loue their enemies Math. 5.44..

Secondly, the meditation of Heauen serues for reproofe not only of A­theists, that would deny it, or Papists, that claime so great glory for their base merits; but also of the most Protestants: for, are not the most such as can discerne the face of the Skie, and yet haue no discerning of the season, to get Grace and Heauen? to say nothing of those that by their grosse and horri­ble sinnes haue forfeited ouer and ouer the claime of any interest in the king­dome of heauen, liuing in daily blasphemies, whoredoms, drunkennesses, &c. Yea, doe not the better sort giue Heauen faire words, and yet haue their ex­cuses why they will not come to Gods Feasts when hee inuites them?Luk. 14.17. And thus while men blesse themselues Gods curses vsually deuoure them.

Lastly, it is a Doctrine of wonderfull comfort to Gods ChildrenHeb. 12.23. Luk. 11.20.;Note. nei­ther is this the peculiar aduancement of some principall Saints, as Abraham, Dauid Math. 8.11. & 13.31., &c. neither should the miseries of this life before we come to heauen trouble vs, seeing there is no comparison betweene the troubles of this life and the glory of the world to come, where there shall be no sinne, sorrow, labour, weakenesse, disgrace, feare, death; where we shall enioy the sweet presence of God, Christ, Angels, and iust men, with vnspeakeable Ioyes, perfect holinesse, exquisite knowledge, and a totall righteousnesse, and all this for euer.

Secondly, from hence also doth plainely arise this second Doctrine, viz. Doctr. 2 that the hope of Christians is in another world; there is their stay and com­fort. When they seeke by Faith the comforts of Gods fauours, and by Loue separate themselues to the communion with Gods Children, they finde pre­sently such a rent from the world, and all sorts of carnall men assaulting so their rest, that a little experience learnes them the knowledge of this truth, that in this world, and from the men of this world, and the things thereof,Rom. 8.24.25. they must looke for no peace or contentment.

The Vse is first, for Instruction, to teach vs therefore to vse the world as if wee vsed it not, and so to care for earthly things and persons, as to resolue Vse 1 that Heauen is our portion, and there onely must wee prouide to find some rest and contentment; yea,Heb. 11.13. therefore as strangers and Pilgrimes we should seeke and prouide for our abiding Citie.

Secondly, this Doctrine giues occasion to answere that imputation that Vse 2 is cast vpon many professors, viz. that forwardnesse in Religion makes them mindlesse of their businesse; and much hearing of Sermons makes them care­lesse of their callings. Men may here hence informe themselues, that howso­euer Religion ties men to honest cares and daily diligence to prouide for their families (else the very Scripture brands such Professors to bee worse then Infidels, that make Religion a maske for idlenesse) yet seeing our hope is not in the world, therefore Gods children doe well first and chiefely to seeke the kingdome of God and the righteousnesse thereof; and so to minde an earthly calling as it hinder not an heauenly, and prouide meanes for a temporall life, as not to hinder the hope of an eternall life.

Thirdly, this Doctrine may much settle and comfort Gods Children against the scornes and hates of the World and all sorts of carnall people, Vse 3 the World will loue his owne.

Obiect. Obiect. Oh but why should they hate vs? Ans. Because you are not of the world, and Christ hath chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you: Solut. And therefore both prouide for it, and beare it when you finde it.John 15.19.

Obiect. Obiect. But wee will not be so rash and indiscreete to prouoke men to hate and reproach. Sol. Vers. 20.Solution. They haue persecuted Christ who was the [Page 48] fountaine of all wisedome: and therefore it is a vaine perswasion for any childe of God to thinke by any discretion, wholy to still the clamours and hates of wicked men. And those men are grossely deceiued and preiudiced that thinke the true cause of the troubles of Gods children is their owne indiscretion.

Obiect. Obiect. It is strange they should hate vs so; wee neuer did them wrong. Sol. Vers. 21.Solut. All these things will they doe vnto you for my names sake: it is not your euill doing, but your holy profession of the Name of Christ, which is named vpon you, that they hate.

Obiect. Quest. But how comes it they should dare to be so presumptuous and so palpably malicious?Solution. Ans. It is because they haue not knowne my Father, ver. 21. their ignorance of the Maiestie and Iustice of God is the cause of it.

Obiect. Obiect. If it be of ignorance, it may be easily pardoned them. Sol. Ver. 22. If I had not come and spoken vnto them, Solut. they should haue had no sinne, but now there is no cloake for their sinne; that is, if Christ by the preaching of the Word had not discouered their sinnes, and set before them the way of godlinesse, then it had beene no such grieuous and monstrous sinne, but in as much as many men doe lie in wilfull ignorance, and will not be informed of the vilenesse of their course; therefore, before God, of all sinners, they are without colour or excuse.

Obiect Obiect. But may they not haue good hearts to God though they do thus intemperately and vniustly maligne and abuse the Preachers and Children of God?Solut. Sol. Ʋers. 23. He that hateth Christ in his Ministers and members hateth the Father also, and cannot haue a good heart to God.

Obiect. Obiect. But it may be that Christ and Christians are hated the more se­curely by wicked worldlings, because they see nothing but their basenesse and humiliation.Solut. Sol. Vers. 24. If I had not done workes among them which none other did, &c. By which words our Sauiour shewes that no workes of God for, by, or amongst Gods Seruants, can be so great testimonies of the vn­doubted certaintie of the goodnesse and holinesse of their cause; but wicked men will still, against all right, hate them. And therefore wee should so informe our selues by this and other Scriptures (vers. 25.) as to set downe our rest, that in the world we must haue troubles, and in Christ and heauen peace, and therefore lay vp hope in our hearts, as God hath locked vp our treasures in Heauen.

Thus of Hope. Thus also of the Grace for which he giues thankes.

Whereof yee haue heard before by the Word of truth which is the Gospell.

Vers. 6. Which is come vnto you, euen as it is vnto all the world, and is fruit­full as i [...] is also among you, from the day that yee heard and truly knew the grace of God.’

IN these words, with those that follow to the ninth Ʋerse, is contained the second part of the Thankesgiuing (viz.) his praise to God for their meanes of Grace.

The meanes is either

  • Principall, Ʋers. 5.6. Or,
  • Instrumentall, Vers. 7.8.

The principall meanes is the Word, and this is described by six things: First, by the ordinance in which it was most effectuall, viz. Hearing. Second­ly, by the property which was most eminent in the working of it, viz. Truth. Thirdly, by the kinde of Word, viz. the Gospell. Fourthly, by the prouidence of God in planting it amongst them, is come vnto you. Fiftly, by the subiect persons vpon whom it wrought, You (the Colossians) and the whole world. Sixtly by the efficacie, It is fruitfull from the day. Thus for the order of the words.

From the generall I obserue, out of all the words, two things.

First, that Nature directs nor to the apprehension either of Grace or Glo­ry: Doctr. 1 The naturall man cannot perceiue the things of God: 1 Cor 2.4. these Colossians had neuer knowne the face of God, nor gained the grace of Christ, had not God sent them the meanes. Briefely, this may informe vs of the lamentable condition of such as liue in their naturall estate, onely pleased with the de­sire or possession of the riches or gifts of Nature; and withall, shewes vs the Fountaine of the want of Sense or care of Grace, and holinesse. In the most Sense comes not from Nature, but from the Word:Who is a na­turall man. and he is a Naturall man that is still lapped and couered with the vaile of Ignorance, whose wisedome is crosse to Gods Wisedome, that lyeth in grosse sinnes like a dead man without sense, that serues some particular gainefull or pleasing sinne,Esa: 25:8. Rom. 8.6. Ephes: 2:1. Rom: 6. without vsing aright any ordinance of God against it, and is without the spirit of Adoption, his heart neuer broken for sinne, and without desire of righte­ousnesse.

Secondly, it is a worthy blessing of God to any people, to haue the Word Doctr. 2 of God amongst them. This is that men should be exceeding thankefull for to God, Psal. 147 19.20. Esa. 2.3. And by the contrary, the want of the Word is a terrible famine.

Ʋse 1.Ʋses. For reproofe both of mens prophanenesse in neglecting and con­temning of the Word; as also of our great vnthankefulnesse for such a mer­cie. 1 2. For comfort to Gods children, that enioy the Word and esteeme it. 2 The Word should satisfie vs whatsoeuer else wee want, both because it doth abundantly make amends for all other wants: and besides, it fits vs with strength, patience, and comfort, to make vse of other wants. 3. For 3 instruction, not onely to such people as want the Word to seeke for it, and to plant themselues where they may haue it, but also to such Landlords and great men, and rulers of the people, as would bee thought louers of their Countrey, to vse all meanes to see the Countrey and the Parishes vnder their power, prouided of this holy treasure.

Thus of the generall Doctrines out of the whole Verses.

The first thing in speciall, is the kinde of ordinance in which the word was effectuall, (viz.) Hearing.

Whereof] That is, of which, Heauen or Hope.Doctr. It is a great mercy of God to heare of Heauen before the time come it should be enioyed, or lost. If we heard not of Heauen till death or iudgement, wee should continue still in our slumber, drowned in the lust after profit or pleasures; we should be so far from finishing our mortification, as wee should hardly beginne to set a­bout the washing of our owne vncleanenesse both of hands and life; wee should looke vpon Grace and Holinesse with a dull and feeble eye: yea, it is good euen for Gods children to heare of it before they haue it, both to sup­port them in their crosses and discouragements, as also to plucke vp their mindes to holy contemplation, and to weane them from the loue of base things; yea to inflame them to a greater desire to magnifie and glorifie the singular grace and mercy of God in these dayes of their pilgrimage.

Ye haue heard.] No man can get eternall graces,Doctr. or an enduring content­ment, arising from the hope of a better life, without the hearing of the word of GodMath: 17:5. Luk: 16:29:30 John 8.47..

Quest. But tell vs distinctly, what good shall men get by hearing of Ser­mons? Answ. Many are the singular benefits come to men thereby.What good comes by hea­ring Sermons. First, the holy Ghost is here giuen, Acts 10.44. Secondly, mens hearts are here opened, Acts 16.14. Thirdly, the feare of God doth here fall vpon men, Acts 13.16. Fourthly, the proud and stony-heart of man is here tamed; melted, and made to tremble, Esa. 66.2. Fiftly, the faith of Gods [Page 50] Elect is here begotten, Rom. 10.14. Sixtly, Men are here sealed by the holy Spirit of promise, Epes. 1.13. Seauenthly, here the Spirit speaketh to the Churches, Reuel. 2. Eightly, Christ here comes to suppe with menReuel. 3.10.. Let men tell of their experience, whether euer their hearts tasted of the refreshing of CHRIST, till they deuoted themselues to the hearing of the Word. Ninthly, The painefull distresse of the afflicted Conscience is heere or no where cured: by hearing, the bones that God hath broken receiue ioy and gladnesse, Psal. 51.8. Tenthly, what shall I say, but as the Euangelicall Pro­phet saith? If you can doe nothing else, yet heare, and your soules shall liue. Esa. 55.4. Liue I say, the life of Grace, yea and the life of Glory: for Salua­tion is brought vnto vs by hearing, Act. 28.18. and 4.16.

Vse. 1 The vse of this point is, First, for instruction: Let him that heareth heare Ezech: 3:27.: yea, let all reioyce in the mercies of their God, that haue tasted of this boun­tie of the Lord: blessed are your eares, in as much as you haue heard: Many Prophets, and righteous men haue desired to heare the things that you heare, and Vse. 2 haue not heard them. Math. 13.16.17.. Secondly, for humiliation; vnder the consideration of the lamentable estate of such people as haue not the Word preached vnto them. How doe the thousands euen in Israell, perish through the failing or wanting of Vision? Is there not almost millions of Men and Women that haue scarce heard (by preaching) whether there be any holy Ghost? Oh the cruell torments that abide those soule-murtherers! Shall I name them? I wish their repentance, that so they might haue a new name; but because lamenta­ble experience shewes that the vnsauory Salt seldome findes wherewith it may be salted; therefore it is the dutie of all Gods people to bowe the knees of their hearts to God, beseeching him to inflame the hearts of those that are in authoritie, with such bowels of compassion, that they would in due time purge the Church of them, that so their names may no more bee heard amongst vs. Whiles men lie sicke of the spirituall Lethargy in their owne hearts, they are little troubled with the distresse of others, but if men would euen in Gods sight duely waigh, without shifting and preiudice, these propositions, viz. that the hearing of the Word is the ordinarie meanes to conuert mens soules to God, Rom. 10.14. 1 Pet. 1.23. &c. And that except men be borne againe they cannot enter into the Kingdome of God, Mourne and pray. Iohn 3.3. if I say these things be weighed, how should our bowels turne within vs to consider the case of some hundreds of Parishes in this famous Kingdome, that in the mid­dest of this great Light, in this respect, yet sit in darkenesse? Thirdly, for the reproofe of the disorders and vitious dispositions of men in the hearing of the Word. Many are the sorts of euill hearers: exceeding many are the wicked humours of men, by which they sinne against the Word heard: the Scripture hath noted and taxed diuers corruptions in men, in hearing, and fearefully threatned them. For the better explication of this vse I con­sider two things; First, the sorts of euill hearers: Secondly, their state in respect of it.

The sorts of euill hearers.The sorts of euill hearers may be distinguished into two kindes: some are openly impious and audacious; some more ciuill and restrained. Of the first kinde. First, some are so wayward nothing can please them, either the Preacher is too terrible, or he is too comfortable. If Iohn fast, hee hath a De­uill, if Christ eate, he is a glutton Mat. 11.16. &c.. Secondly, Some heare and are scandalized Math. 15 12.: Men are so wedded to their owne conceits, and stuffed with preiudice, that they many times wilfully study, and striue to frame scandale and offence out of the words of the Teacher. Thirdly, Some heare, and are filled with wrath and enuie, and that sometimes so as they cannot restraine the signes of their rage and fretting, no not in the Sermon-timeLuke 4.24. Acts 7.54.. They gnash with their teeth, and their harts are ready to burst for anger. And this comes many times because men [Page 51] cannot abide wholesome Doctrine, but are giuen to fables 2 Tit. 4.3:4.. Fourthly, Some heare, and their mouthes make iests, while their hearts go after their lusts Ezech: 33:30., they heare and mocke Acts: 17.32. Fiftly, Some make the auditory of Christians the studie of all man­ner of base filthinesse: thither comes the Adulterer, the Couetous, the deceiuer, the accuser of the Brethren, &c. and there they damnably frame their dogged and swinish imaginations. Sixtly, Some heare, and if they finde any power in the Doctrine of the Preacher, they enquire whether hee be not a Puritane; for they haue heard so much euill of that Sect euery where, that that one colour may serue to make them cautelous, and better aduised then to be much troubled with his DoctrineActs 28:22.. Seuenthly, Some will heare if he speake of this world 1 Iohn 4.5.: He is an excellent Preacher, that in their vnderstanding giues them liberty, and sowes pillowes vnder their fleshly and worldly elbowes. Eightly, Some heare fearefully, as loath to be drawne to the Sermon of any that rebukes sinne, as the people of Israell were to come neere the MountHeb: 12:19.. Ninthly, Some (like the chiefe Priests and Pharises) when they perceiue that the Preacher rebukes their sinnes, seeke to lay hands vpon himMat: 21:45:46., and as farre as the feare of the people restraineth them not, they pra­ctise to remoue him.

The ciuiller sorts of hearers are diuersly sinnefull in their seuerall humors: First, some heare but it is to be rid of their diseases, that is, to see whether by hearing Sermons, and comming to Church, they can asswage the trouble of their mindes, and dull the stinging cares of their hearts. Secondly, some are like the young man, for they goe from the Sermon sorry that the word requireth such things as they are not willing to doeMath. 19.. Thirdly, Some heare and say, God forbid Luke 20:76.: It is pitty it should be so as the Preacher sayes. Fourth­ly, Some heare because a great report goeth of the TeacherMath: 3:8.. Fiftly, But aboue all others, they are strang hearers that are mentioned Math. 22.22. they heare and admire, and yet leaue and forsake for any reformation or practise of what they heare.

Vnder this rancke I may referre the three sorts of hearers, Math. 13. The first sort suffer the Diuell presently to take away the Word. The second sort choake it with cares and lusts. The third forsakes the profession, and hea­ring, and liking of it, in the time of temptation or persecution. Thus of their sorts.

The state of men transgressing against the Word,The misery of euill hearers. by refusing to heare it aright, is exceeding fearefull; if they could see their miserie they would doe as the Prophets require, they would cut their haire and cast it away, vnder the sense of the horror of Gods indignationJer: 7:22:29. &c.. The dust of the feete of Gods messengers will rise in iudgement against such hearersMath. 10.14.. It shall be easier for Nini [...]eh, and Tyrus, and Sidon, and Sodom, and Gomorrah, then for such hea­rersMath. 12.41. &c.. Yea, all their suites for mercy are abomination in Gods sightProu. 28:9.. A hea­uie eare is noted for a singular iudgement, Math. 13.13.14. &c. Esa. 30.8.9. Yea, because men will not heare the Word they must heare the rod, Mich. 6.9. and their eares (if they belong to God) must be forced open by corrections, Iob. 3.3. To conclude, if all this cannot affect men, then I say, as the Lord said to the Prophet of such persons, Hee that leaueth off to heare, let him leaue off, Ezek. 3. vlt. Thus of the first part of the discription (viz.) the ordinance, in which it is most effectuall, (viz.) Hearing.

The second part is the propertie of the Word, which is most eminent in the working of it, (viz.) Truth.

Word of Truth.] Hee meaneth not the personall Word, which is Christ, but the enunciatiue Word, made knowne either singularly by Reuelation, Oracles, Ʋisions, Dreames, or commonly by tradition of Doctrine, from hand to hand for 2000. yeeres; or by a more excellent manner, after­wards [Page 52] by Scripture: the Word of holy Scripture is here meant.

The proper­ties of the Word.There are many properties of the Word of God, wherein it doth excell. First, it is diuine. The testimonie of Gods mouth. Wonderfull, 1. Thes. 2.13. Psal. 119.18.88.129. Secondly, It is eternall and incorruptible, a liuing Word, or the Word of life. Psalm. 119.89.144.152. Philip. 2.16. 1. Pet. 1.22. Thirdly, It is swift, Psal. 147.15.18. Fourthly, It is powerfull and terrible, Hebr. 4.12. The sword of the Spirit, Hos. 6.5. Esa. 11.2. Heb. 4.12. Eph. 6. Fiftly, It is nourishing and healing, it hath a propertie to nourish and heale. Psalm. 107.20. Sixtly, It sanctifieth both our persons and the vse of the crea­tures. Seauenthly, It is comfortable, ioyfull, sweete, Psal. 119.14.111.143.162. Eightly, It is apt for generation, it hath a quickening power, Psalm. 119.25.28. 1. Pet. 1.22. Ninthly, It is preseruatiue both from sinne, Psal. 119.11. and from shame, Psal. 119.22. So will not gold and siluer. Tenthly, it is wise and exceeding large, Psal. 119.96.98.99.100.104. Eleuenthly, It is light, and pure, and iust, Psal. 119.105.130.140.128.138. But heere the Word is commended for the Truth of it, and that as a most eminent proper­tie in mens conuersions.

Truth is taken diuersly: for a vertue in speech, in the second Table: for Truth of Doctrine, Iohn 5.33. for the substance of a type, Iohn 1.17. for vp­rightnesse and sinceritie, Iohn 3.21. for the true forme of a thing, Rom. 1.28.

How the word is said to be a word of truth.Here the word of God is said to be the word of Truth, in regard of the vse of the word in the conuersion of a sinner; and that, first, as it is apprehended to be in it selfe: secondly, as it is by effect in the hearer. For the first, before a man can haue experience of the power of the Word in the gathering of his soule, he must know it to be a word of Truth foure wayes.

First, that it is the very word of God, and therefore true: considering the admirable antiquity of the Story before all other Histories: the dreadfull miracles by which it was confirmed: the certaine euent of the vaticinies or prophesies, the immutable and euery way sufficient frame of piety, righte­ousnesse and diuine worship, contained it it: the dureablenesse of the wise­dome thereof, which no punishments could euer extort out of the hearts of the professors thereof: and lastly, the dreadfull iudgements vpon the ene­mies of it.

Secondly, that it is true, whatsoeuer Doctrine it reuealeth, though it make neuer so much against our profits, or pleasures, or lusts: till a man be brought to this, the Word neuer worketh soundly.

Thirdly, that there is an especiall glory of Truth in the promises, both in the promise it selfe and the condition.

Fourthly, that we acknowledge Truth in the performance of what God hath promised, and so giue glory to his faithfulnesse: and thus of the word as it is apprehended in it selfe.

The word worketh truth in vs six wayes.In the second place the word is the Word of Truth by effect, because it worketh truth in vs, and imprinteth it selfe in vs, and fits vs for godlinesse Tit. 1.2. and thus it worketh Truth in vs six waies.

First, In that it worketh knowledge, and so Truth in the vnderstanding. Secondly, In that it worketh in the Truth of worshippe, Iohn 14.23.24. Thirdly, In that it worketh in vs plainenesse and vprightnesse, in the exer­cise of Grace and Holinesse, and so it is opposed to hypocrisie, Ephes. 4.24. Fourthly, In that it worketh Truth of Constancie, that is, an euerlasting resolution to heare and keepe the Word of Truth, Iohn. 8.37. 1. Iohn 4.6. Fiftly, In that it begets in vs the sinceritie and Truth that becomes our cal­lings and behauiour in the world; as, we are free from lying, calumnies, per­fidiousnes, slandering, boasting, flattery, &c. 1 Cor. 5.8. Sixtly, In that it makes all our conuersation vertuous, & so guids vs to do the truth; Ioh. 3.22. Iam. 3.17

Vse is both for Instruction, and for Reproofe.Ʋses.

For Instruction, therefore wee should labour that the Word may bee a Word of Truth to vs, and to this end; First, wee should pray God to giue vs the spirit of Truth, Iohn 16.13. Secondly, wee must repent, that wee may come to the knowledge of the Truth, 2. Tim. 2.25. Thirdly, wee may not rest in the forme of Truth, Rom. 2.20. Iohn 3.22.

For reproofe of foure sorts of men. First, such as will not receiue the loue of the Truth: With these gaine is godlinesse, 1. Tim. 6.5.2. Thes. 2.10.12. Secondly, such as strangle the light of the Truth either of Nature, con­science, or the Word; and with-hold it in vnrighteousnesse, that striue against the light of the truth in their hearts, that they might sinne the more freely, Rom. 1.18. Thirdly, such as will not obey the Truth which yet they admire, commend, affect, &c. Gal. 3.1. and 5.7. Fourthly, such as by their wicked liues cause the way of Truth to be blasphemed, which Truth they both heare, and professe to obey. Thus of the second part of the description.

Thirdly, the word of God is described by the kind of word, viz. the Gospel.The doctrine of a mans re­conciliation with God, is principally to be taught and learned.

Which is the Gospell] By the Gospell is meant the Doctrine of the reconci­liation of Man with his God after the fall. Concerning the Gospell, wee may in the generall here obserue; That of all other Doctrines, the Doctrine of a mans Reconciliation with God, is especially to be vrged and explained by the Preacher, and to bee most minded and enquired into by the hearer. The knowledge and experience of this point acquaints a man with the sa­uing power of God:Rom. 10.15. neuer doe men indeede see the beautie of the feete of Gods seruants, till they haue trauelled about the obtaining of their peace with God. If Ministers would bend the very force of their ministeries about the sound and daily inforcing of the Doctrine of mans particular assurance of his peace and reconciliation; it would produce, by Gods blessing, singular fruite. This Doctrine would iudge the very secrets of men, and giue them a glimpse of their last doome. It is a most preuailing Doctrine, and therefore extreamely enuied in the world. The high Priests and Scribes with the El­ders of the people many times shew they cannot abide it, Luke 20.1. Hence it is that life is not deare vnto Gods faithfull seruants, so they may in the comfort thereof fulfill their course and ministration, receiued of the Lord Ie­sus, in testifying the Gospell of the grace of GodActs 20.24.. Of all other Doctrines the Deuill labours to keepe the world ignorant of the necessitie and power of this2 Cor. 4.3 4.: But woe is to those Preachers that teach it not1 Cor. 9 16., and horrible wofull shall the estate of those people appeare to be at the last day that obey it not 2 Thes. 1.8.. And therefore we should striue to keepe afoot the sparkles of light in this point, and whatsoeuer wee loose in hearing, this Doctrine should neuer runne out.

In particular, concerning the Gospell, I enquire into three things. First, wherein this Doctrine lieth. Secondly, who receiue this Doctrine of the Gospell. Thirdly, what are the effects of it.

For the first; the Gospell, or the Doctrine of it, lyeth in two things.What the Gospell prin­cipally vrgeth.

First, in our true repentance for our sinnes, and secondly in the infallible assurance of faith in Gods fauour, in Christ, forgiuing vs our sinnes, Math. 3.2. Mark. 1.15. and this duly waighed, First, reproues those that dreame of saluation, and the benefits of the Gospell without mortification: and se­condly, it should teach vs to nourish faith by all meanes, by nourishing of desires; by remouing of lets; praying for it; waiting vpon hearing; behol­ding the faith of Gods children, and deliuering vp our soules to some able and wise Pastor.

The second Question is, Who receiue the Gospell.Who receiue the Gospell. Answ. We must con­sider, First, who may receiue it: and that is answered Marke 16.15. euery [Page 54] Creature, that is, any Man or Woman, of what Nation, Language, Pro­fession, Calling, State, and Condition soeuer: and secondly, wee must con­sider, who doe receiue it; and this may be answered generally, or more spe­cially; generally, none receiue the Gospell but they finde in it the very power of GOD to saluationRom. 1.16.. None but such as are begotten againe by it to God1 Cor. 1.16.. If there be no change in thy life, thou hast yet no part in the Gospell: without conuersion, no glad tidings. In speciall, the persons that receiue this treasure, are signed out by diuers properties in Scripture: they are poore in spirit Mat. 11.5. Luke 4.18.: they finde such neede of it, that heauen suffers violence, and they presse to it Luk. 16.16. Math. 11.10., and they so highly esteeme the comforts of it that they can be content to lose libertie, friends, meanes, and life too, for Christs sake and the Gospell Mark. 8.35. & 10.29., and it workes so forcibly vpon mens soules, that they con­secrate themselues to God, to sinceritie and godlinesseRom. 15.16., and learne consci­onably to practise the seruice of God in their spirit, minding the reformati­on of their thoughts and affections within, as well as of their words and actions withoutRom. 1.9..

The effects of the Gospell.And thirdly, for the effects of it; great are the praises of the power of it; it begets men to God: it is the power of God to saluation: it iudgeth the secrets of men. Of these before. It brings abundance of blessings, Rom. 15, 19. it makes men heires and coheires with CHRIST: it is a witnesse to all Nations, Matth. 24.14. And lastly, life and immortalitie is brought to light by it, 2 Tim. 1.10.

The Ʋses.The consideration hereof should much encourage Ministers to presse this Doctrine, and neuer cease to preach it in the Temple, and from house to house, and make vse of all opportunities when a doore is opened vnto them; either in respect of power in their owne hearts, or in respect of ten­dernesse and affection, and desire in the peopleActs 5.42. 1 Cor. 1.12.. Gods people also should so labour for the assurance of Gods fauour, and peace in Christ by the word, as they should store their hearts with prouision of that kinde, not onely for their death-bed when they die, but renue the perswasion of it in their hearts daily, the better to fit them, euen in their callings and speciall standings. This knowledge is not onely a Crowne and shield for their heads, but shooes also for their feete, against the filth of the times, and thorny cares of the world, and all the difficulties of a daily diligence in their standingsEphes. 6.15..

Thus of the third part of the description. The fourth followeth.

The manner of prouidence in planting it amongst them, in these words.

God sends the Word before we seeke it. And is come vnto you.] Where wee may obserue, that if the meanes of happinesse finde vs not out to worke vpon vs, wee would neuer looke after it: if God were not more carefull to send it, then we to seeke it, it would ne­uer be had. Wee see this by common experience, that whole multitudes of people liue without any sense of the want of the Word, and did not God by some great prouidence send it them, and perswade them to the vse of it; it would neuer be had: and this comes to passe because men are dead in sinne, and sicke of a Lethargie in the very vse of the light of Nature, in matters of godlinesse; and besides, there is an incredible inclination in our Na­tures to seeke for contentment in things below, and to bee pleased with any condition, rather then soundly to digest a sense of the necessitie of v­sing the meanes for happinesse in better things. And lastly, this neglect of seeking the Word, comes from errours about mens estate, while they thinke that they may be in Gods fauour, and like enough to be saued, with­out any such adoe.

Thus of the fourth part.

The fift thing in the description is, the subiect persons to whom the Gos­pell came, (viz.) the Colossians, and all the World.

Ʋnto you, as it is euen vnto all the World.] Hence wee may note, First, the 1 Truth of God in his promises: hee promised flourishing Churches of the Gentiles; and loe, it is effected: the Word is gone out into all the World. Secondly, That the true triall of all Doctrine is by enquiring, whether it bee 2 agreeable to that Doctrine wherein the world was ouercome to GOD. Though an Angell from Heauen should preach otherwise,A triall of Doctrine. yet his Doctrine were to bee detested as accursedGal. 1.8.. And therefore wee may iustly complaine of the Papists, and all popish men that chaine men downe to a necessitie of looking vpon the hundreds of yeeres neere vnto vs, and will not beare it that men should seeke ground for their Conscience, by ouer-looking all the hundreds of yeeres since Christ, and minding onely conformitie to the Doctrine that first founded the Churches of the Gentiles; all Doctrines since then, though in the purest times, are to bee receiued no further then they agree with the Doctrine of Christ and his Apostles.

Thirdly, that men are bound to seeke the word wheresoeuer it may bee heard: for if this had not beene so,Men must seeke the word when­soeuer it may be had. how could all the world receiue the light of the Gospell? and further, wee may see that the want of Teachers was no warrant to commit the Churches to the care of such as could not teach; a necessity lieth in the people to seeke the word where it may be had. And therfore those Church-gouernours sinne greeuously, that in this light, create so many insufficient men, and set them ouer the flocks of CHRIST. For if want of able men had beene a reason, the Apostles should haue seene into this necessity, to ease the labour and care of the Churches, but it is a more greeuous sinne to admit, ordaine, and place them, and yet see many worthy and able men wholly want places.

Fourthly,All the world cannot signi­fie euery par­ticular man in the world. wee might heere note the vanity of their argument that would proue vniuersall grace, because Christ died for all men; for in this place here is not onely the world, but all the world; and yet here cannot in any reason­able sence be meant all the singular men and women in the world; for there were many thousands of particular persons, to whom the Gospell came not, and therefore by all the world (as heere, so in that question) may bee vnder­stood all the Elect world: or if the world vniuersally, then it is true in respect of offer, or not excepting out of any of any Nation; or by all the world is ment men of all sorts and conditions in the world.

Fitftly,The swiftnes and power of the Gospell. Wee might heere note the incredible power and swiftnesse of the Gospell, that could ouercome, and that in so short a time; and the rather if that wee consider that the Magistrates generally drew the sword against it, and there were not wanting Ministers to oppugne it, euen false teachers of all sorts: and besides, the people had beene so long time settled in their false Religion: and lastly, if wee looke vpon the meanenesse or the fewnesse of those that were Gods Embassadours to the Gentiles.

Thus of the fift part of the description.

The last thing by which the word of GOD is described, [...]. is the efficacy of it, and here the Apostle sheweth: first, what it doth, It bringeth fruit: and, It encreaseth.] for so it is added in some Copies: secondly, vpon whom, as euen in you.] thirdly, when it began to bee so, viz. from the day that you heard, &c. fourthly, what made it worke so, viz. the hearing and true knowledge of the grace of God. And is fruitfull.] Concerning fruitfulnesse required as an ef­fect of the word, I consider foure things. First, the Reasons to mooue vs to fruitfulnesse. Secondly, the sort of Fruits wee should beare. Thirdly, the meanes to make vs fruitfull. Lastly, the Vses.

For the first, there are many things might mooue vs to make conscience of glorifying God in our places, by bearing the fruit of the Gospell, euen ex­pressing the power of it in our liues.

First, it is a speciall glory to GOD, and to our adoption and callingIohn 15.8.. Secondly, it is a testimony that we are indeede Christs DisciplesJohn 15.8.. Thirdly, the practizing of those things which are within the compasse of Gods pro­mises (such as are all the fruits of righteousnesse) is the very ground-worke of true prosperityPsal. 1.3.. Fourthly, To this end did God by election before time, and speciall vocation in the Gospell, choose vs, and call and single vs out of the worldIoh. 15.16.. Fiftly, It procures vnto vs an vnstained and inoffen­siue glory, euen vntill the day of ChristPhil. 1.11.. Sixtly, If a man endeauour to bring foorth fruit, and to walke as becomes the Gospell, hee is sure to speede when hee hath any suit to GodJoh. 15.16.. Seuenthly, against such there is no lawGal. 5.23.. Eigthly, it shall bee to vs according to our fruitIer. 17.8.. Ninthly, The fruits of righteousnesse are better treasures for a Christian, then all richesIer. 17.10.. Tenth­ly, If wee bee not fruitfull wee shall bee cut off from CHRIST, and vtterly for euer remaine frustrate of all his merits and vertueIoh. 16.2.4.6.

What fruits wee should beare.Now for the second; the fruits that wee should beare, are such as these. The forsaking of our particular beloued raigning sinnes (this is all fruit Esa. 27.9..) The exercise of the true loue and feare of God in a conscionable, both wor­ship of God, and practise of Life: the fruits of zeale for Gods glory, humi­lity, patience, and the exercise of the duties of Mortification; as Prayer, Sorrow, Fasting, and the rest; Fidelitie in the diligent discharge of the du­ties required of vs in our Families and Calling; Sobriety in the vse of Gods Creatures, Contentation, Iust-dealing, and to be rightly ordered in matters of Report: Finally, workes of Mercy, and all duties of Loue.

What wee must doe that we may bee more fruitfull.Thirdly, that wee may be more fruitfull; first, wee must labour for grea­ter tendernesse in our hearts, and plow our ground deepe with long fur­rowes of Mortification: the seed will not grow if it fall vpon the trampled and smooth heart of manMatth. 13.: the stones must be taken from the rootsEsay 6 2.: secondly, we must learne to make God our trust, and Gods promise our treasure, else in many parts of Christian fruitfulnesse, worldlinesse will teach vs to deny to obeyIer. 17.8.9.: thirdly, we may not neglect to send forth the leaues of profession: for as these leaues are of medicinable vse Ezek. 47.12., so they are good inducements to force a necessitie of more fruit; if no profession, there will bee little fruit. Fourthly, wee should labour to bee abundant in storing vp of sauing know­ledge; for the wisdome that is from aboue, is full of good fruitIam. 3.17.. Fiftly, wee should seeke the prayers of Gods Ministers for vs, and subiect our selues to be directed by their care and painesLuk. 13.6.7.: though the vngratefull world con­temnes Gods Messengers and Vine-dressers, yet the truth is, that if many times they did not rise vp in the gap, woe would bee vnto men for their bar­rennesse. Sixtly, we should make vse of our crosses, and learne humility and acknowledgement of our sins by them, breaking our hearts in Gods sight, and beseeching him for the compassions of a Father, to be shewed to vs, that so we might after much exercise vnder our crosses, bring foorth the quiet fruit of righteousnesse Heb. 12.. Seuenthly, wee should importune the Lord for our sakes to visit the great Leuiathan, the Diuell, and to receiue vs vnder his protection to watch vs, and daily to water vsEsa. 27.1.2.3.4. &c..

Lastly, in the first Psalme are diuers rules; first, we must not sit with wic­ked men: secondly, wee must priuately and constantly exercise our selues in the Word of God: thirdly, wee must seate our selues vnder the powerfull ministery of the word, neere the Riuers of these waters of life: and lastly, we must take heede of procrastination, delay no time, but with great heedeful­nesse respect the season, or due time of fruit: all the yeere is not Seeds-time or Haruest.

Vse.The Vse is for bitter reproofe of the barrennesse and peruersenesse of our hearts. Some men are so ignorant that they know not that they owe any [Page 57] thing of necessitie vnto Religion. Some beare fruit, and more then enough of it, but it is onely to the fleshHos. 10.1. Rom: 6.. Some heare the Preacher with Herod, glad­ly, but they mend but what they list. Some rest in the meanes of fruitfulnes. It is enough with them, for their praise, that they haue the meanes and free­quent it. Some will beare fruit, but they choose which fruite; for some will doe somewhat in ciuill righteousnesse in their dealing with men, but are little or nothing in sincere pietie to God. Others beare faire Leaues of profes­sion in the first Table, but in the second Table beare such wilde fruit, as it is a shame to behold it in this light; and a sorrow it ought to be to them to heare God, with disdaine, expostulate about it. Some are good abroad, but naught at home: but at the hands of all these will the Lord of the Vineyard require fruit, and iudge them according to their workes.

And increaseth.] This also is added in some Copies. Here I obserue two things. First, In what it increaseth. Secondly, By what meanes. For the first, the world increaseth fiue wayes.

First, in the number of hearers, so Act. 9.31. Secondly,The word in­creaseth fiue wayes. in the power of working, the efficacie of it is, and is felt of godly mindes, more and more. Thirdly, In the fairenes of the leaues of profession. It is noted of a good tree that his leaues shall not faile; and it is certaine that the word maketh the glo­ry of profession both more and more inoffensiue. Fourthly, In the goodnes of fruit, it causeth men to bring forth more and better fruite at the last then at the first: yea, Christians refreshed with the daily comforts of Gods word, bring foorth new fruit euery moneth Ezech. 47.12.. Fiftly, in the height of growth Gods Children are made euery day more heauenly-minded then other.

Secondly,What wee must do that we may in­crease. that the word of God may increase by making vs to increase in fruitfulnesse, we must doe fiue things. First, wee must labour to continue neere the waters of the Sanctuary Ezech. 47. Psal. 1.. We should neuer, but in case of necessitie, withdraw our hearts from the directions and comforts of a daily and setled effectuall Ministery. Secondly, we must take roote downeward, and then the world will be filled with fruite Esay 27.6.. The Tree groweth two waies, vpward in bran­ches, and downeward by rooting it selfe more and more in the earth: so ought a Christian to grow vpward in the externall fruites of holy life, and downe-wards in the rootes of faith, hope and other holy graces; and it is certaine, if men be carefull to fasten their rootes more and more, there will be a happy increase in the outward life of man. Thirdly, wee must arme our selues against the heate of tribulations, or persecutions, as against the meanes of failing Jer. 17.8.. Fourthly, wee must abide in Christ John 15.4., labouring to nourish the sence of his presence, and the contentment arising from the Communion with his members, &c. Lastly, wee must be much in the exercises of Mortifi­cation, euery branch that beareth fruit the Husbandman purgeth, that it may beare more fruite Ioh. 15.2.3..

Before I passe from these words, it is to bee obserued, that hee saith not they were fruitfull, or increased: but the word is fruitfull, &c. To note that when men haue giuen their names to the Gospell, that which befalleth them is said to befall the Gospell: partly, because what good men do, they doe it by direction from the Word, and assistance of the spirit of Christ: and partly because the world attributes what is done by professors of the word, to the word they heare: if their liues be full of good fruits, the word of God is glorified, but if they bee any way vicious, the word is blasphemed Rom. 2.. Then they say, this is their preaching, this comes of gadding to Sermons, and tossing of their Bibles, &c. The Vse is both for Instruction and Com­fort. For Instruction, therefore Gods Children should worke out their salua­tion with feare and trembling, and labour to be filled with the fruits of righteous­nesse, liuing inoffensiuely, and holding foorth the word of life in all holy conuersation, [Page 58] shining as lights in the middest of a froward and crooked Nation Phil. 1.11. & 2.15.16.. For Comfort also, because the Lord is pleased to communicate the honour of his word to his people, so as where the word is in credit, they shall be in credit, and if they be despised, they are not despised alone, but the Word is despised with them.

Thus of the first thing in the efficacie of the Word, viz. what it doth. The second thing is vpon whom it worketh, or the subiect-persons.

As it is also in you] Doct. Doct. It helpes not vs that others (though many) bee wrought vpon by the word, gathered, made fruitfull, and increased: vnlesse we be sure of the efficacie of it in our selues. It had beene a small comfort to the Colossians to know that the word was fruitfull all ouer the World, if it had no power amongst them. There is a windie vanitie preuailes in the heades of many hearers, they thinke they doe worthily when they com­mend the Sermon, praise the Preacher, tell of the working of the Word in such and such, though they perceiue not that vnto them it is but a dead let­ter. Many are full-mouthed, but haue emptie hearts and hands: but it should be our discretion to labour the cure of this loosenesse and wandering of heart, and not to suffer our soules to be led aside from considering our owne way by any such smooth wiles of Satan. Thus of the persons; the time followeth.

From the day.] Here I obserue three things.

There is a season for fruit.First, that there is a season for men to be fruitfull in. We are naturally dry trees, or no trees: Wee are but dead stockes: neither if wee should stand in Gods Orchard to all eternitie, would we of our selues beare the fruits of the Gospell, or exercise our selues in those faire fruits that are vnto eternall life: if before this day the Citie of Colosse had beene searched with lights, there would haue beene found no true fruits of Grace or Righteousnesse amongst them: our season to beare fruit is then when God calles for it. At some time of our life, God (giuing vs the meanes) doth set before vs the wav of Life and death, affects vs inwardly with sence of our miserie, or the glory of conuersion, or the necessitie of our repentance. Now when the Axe of Gods Word is laide thus neere to the roote of the Tree, it is then time to beare fruit, or else we are in danger. The consideration hereof, as it shewes that the workes of ciuill honest men are but shadowes or blasted fruite: so it should inforce vpon vs a feare of standing out the day of our visitation. Con­sider with thy selfe, God calls now for repentance, and the duties of new o­bedience. If now thou answere Gods call, and pray God to make thee such as hee requires thee to be, thou maiest finde fauour in his eyes; for God is neere them that call vpon him if they seeke him in due time, while hee may bee found: but if thou delay; consider first, that thy heart of it selfe without dres­sing, will neuer be fruitfull: secondly, that thou art not sure of the meanes hereafter: thirdly, if thou werest sure, yet who can prescribe vnto the most high? Hee hath called, and thou hast not answered; therefore feare his Iustice, thou maist call and he will not answere.

Secondly, that it is exceeding praise-worthy, and a singular mercie of God, if the word of God worke speedily vpon vs; if wee yeeld and stoope with the first; if it make vs fruitfull from the first day. This liuely working of the word, first is a seale to the word it selfe; for hereby it is out of all doubt, that it is the true word of God, and this effectuall worke of Grace vpon our consciences, doth fence vs against a thousand obiections about the Word: secondly, it is the Ministers seale; as soone as hee seeth this power of Doctrine; hee hath his seale from God: the fruitfulnesse of the people, is the Preachers testimoniall2 Cor. 3.2.: thirdly, so soone as we finde the Word to bee a sauour of life vnto vs, it becomes a seale to our owne Adoption to life; and [Page 59] therefore we should againe, euery man, be admonished, to take heede of de­laying the time; for not onely we want the testimony of our owne happi­nesse, while we liue without subiecting our soules to the power of the word, but exceedingly prouoke God against vs: wee should consider that the holy Ghost saith peremptorily, Now is the Axe layd to the roote of the Tree, and euery Tree that bringeth not foorth fruit is cut downe and cast into the fire. Note that hee requireth present fruit, or threatneth present executionMat. 3.10. Iohn 15.2.. Neither may we harden our owne hearts with presumption, because wee see not pre­sent execution vpon this rebellion of man against God, and the offer of his grace: for wee must know that men are cut off by more wayes then one. Some are cut off by death, as an open reuenge of the secret rebellion of the heart, not opening when the spirit of grace knocketh. Some are cut off by spirituall famine; God remouing the meanes from them, or suffering them to be their owne executioners, by withdrawing themselues from the meanes. Some men are cut off by Gods fearefull Iudgement, being cast into a repro­bate sence. Some are cut off by Church-censures, God ratifying in Heauen, what is done in Earth by the Church.

Thirdly, hence wee learne, that if we would be truely fruitfull, wee must be constantly so; not lose a leafe, much lesse giue ouer bearing fruitPsal. 1.3. Ezech 47.12.. So­daine flashes will not serue turne: the Lord knowes not how to entreat them, whose goodnesse is but like the morning deawHos. 6.4.. Either (from the day) constantly, or not (vpon the day) truely. Thus of the Time.

Fourthly, this efficacy is limited; First, by the kinde of Doctrine which especially makes men fruitfull, viz. the Doctrine of the grace of God: se­condly, by the application of it, both by Hearing and Knowledge, and both are limited, in that they are required to be in the truth. [...].

That yee heard and knew the grace of God in truth.] In the opening of these words I consider, first, the words apart: secondly, the Doctrines out of the whole. For the first: heere are three things to be considered: 1. what grace of God the Gospell propounds to men: 2. what we must doe that we may haue the comfort of this, that we doe truly heare: 3. what it is to know truely.

For the first,Fiue things principally to be acknow­ledged from Gods Grace. the Gospell requires of men a deepe sence of the singular Grace or free Mercy of God towards men, and that principally in fiue things: first, in giuing Christ to mankinde fallen; and finding out so hap­pie a meanes of our deliuerance: secondly, in accepting of the mediation of Christ in particular for the beleeuer, in the age that hee liueth in: thirdly, in forgiuing sinnes past, through his patience: fourthly, in blessing the meanes, for mans sanctification: and lastly, in allowing vnto men their lot in the inheritance of the Saints in heauen.

Secondly, that we may haue the comfort of this,That we may heare the word in truth seuen things are to be done. that we doe truly heare the word, seuen things are to be done: first, we must deny our owne carnall reason, wit, parts, and outward praises, and become fooles that wee may bee wise 1 Cor. 3.18.: secondly, wee must feare God, and set our soules in Gods presence Psal. 25.14. Acts 10.33.: thirdly, wee must come with a purpose and willingnesse to bee reformed by itPsal. 50.16.: fourthly, wee must labour for a meeke and humble spirit, mourning ouer Pride, Malice and PassionIam. 1.22. Esay 57.15. 1 Chron. 34.27.: fiftly, wee must heare all Deut. 5.27., both at all times, that is constantly; and all doctrines that concerne the grace of God: sixtly, wee must heare with faith and assuranceHeb. 4 1. 1 Thess. 1.5. How men may be said to know and yet not truly.: lastly, wee should especially in hearing, wait for a blessing from God, in the particular knowledge of Gods grace to vs, else all hearing is to little purpose.

Thirdly, men may be said to know, and yet not truely: first, when they know false things, as in the Church of Rome, to know the doctrine of Pur­gatory, Intercession of Saints, Image-worship, the Supremacie of the Pope: or in Germany, to know the Vbiquitie of Christs humane nature, vniuersall [Page 60] grace, falling from grace; or that the Sacraments conferre to all, the graces they signifie, and such like. Secondly, when men haue the forme of words, and vnderstand not the meaning. Thirdly, when the notions of the truth are entertained in the minde, and not let downe into the affections; when men haue knowledge in their heads and no affections in their hearts: the Law should be written in their hearts. Fourthly, when men know things by opinion, not by faith, as the most men know the greatest part of Religion. Fift­ly, when our knowledge is not experimentall in practise. Sixtly, when men know other things, but not the grace of God to themselues.

Thus of the words apart. The Doctrines follow.

Doct. 1 First, men may heare and yet not know. Knowledge is not attained by all that heare:The causes why many hearers get not know­ledge. and this comes to passe either as a curse for mens home-sinnes vnrepented: Where Manners will not be informed, their Faith cannot: or by reason of pride and conceit of our owne wits, and that wee neede not bee informed: Thus the Pharises are blinde though they heare Christ himselfe: or it comes to passe by reason of mens faultinesse in hearing, they heare carelesly, or without application, or with preiudice, or not all: or else it is be­cause men smoother their doubts, and seeke not resolution in priuate by con­ference, or seeking the law at the Priests mouth: and in many, fruitlesse hear­ing is caused by want of catechising, when people are not fitted for preach­ing by information in the principles before.

Doct. 2 Secondly, the hearing and true knowledge of Gods grace to a man in particular, doth make fruitfull: the salutiferous appearance of Gods grace in a mans heart, workes in a man a desire and endeauour to shew all good faith­fulnesse that may adorne that doctrine, by which hee comes to know God to be his Sauiour. It teacheth men to deny vngodlinesse and worldly lusts, and to liue godly, righteously, and soberly: it purgeth vpon iniquitie, and inflames the zeale of good workes Tit: 2.10:11.12.14.. When GODS Children haue the tydings of grace giuen vnto them, it kindles in them a singular incouragement to goe about Gods worke, and to hold out to lay the very last stone with ioy Zach. 4:7..

Doct. 3 Thirdly, as other Doctrines, so especially the doctrine of our reconci­liation with God,The doctrine of Gods grace hard to the most. or of our particular assurance of Gods grace to vs is ex­ceeding hard, and men are strangely turned off from the right knowledge of it. This comes to passe (where it is effectually preached) because it is hindred by common hope, and by a resolution in many to part with no sinne for the attaining of it; and by a naturall darkenesse in the vnderstanding of man in matters of the Kingdome of Christ, and by the speciall malice of the Deuill, and by pride in other knowledges. And lastly, by an incre­dible auersnesse in our natures, that will not bee brought to set time apart to minde this point seriously, and to apply our selues vnto the meanes that might further vs thereunto.The great commodities of assurance. Whereas if men were assured of Gods fauour, and possessed of sauing grace, the profit of the knowledge of it, would ap­peare to be exceeding great: though the heart of man be exceeding dull, yet it could not but meruailously refresh vs to thinke of the pardon of all our sinnes; yea, if wee were sure of this point, and had trauelled soundly about the experience of Gods grace to vs in particular, it would for euer set­tle vs in the plerophorie of our religion. A man needs neuer care for disputes and the thousands of Volumes, about which should be the true Church or true Religion? for if a man by sound reasons from the word and Spirit of God, had gotten the assurance of Gods loue, hee would become as Mount Sion, that could not be mooued. This also would make a man able to con­temne all earthly mutations, and liue in firmenes of heart, in some measure, out of the feare of any afflictions, or of death it selfe: and besides, it would [Page 61] preserue vs from the poyson and infection of earthly pleasures, and vaine delights and profits. And to conclude, it is to enioy a kinde of heauen vp­on earth, as being an entrance into the first degree of eternall life.

When men get from vnder the Law to liue vnder Grace, it workes not onely a dissolution of the dominion of sinne, but a consecration of the members for the seruice of righteousnesseRom: 6:14.13: of the fulnesse of CHRIST do all the faithfull receiue euen grace for grace 1 Pet: 1:13:;Joh: 1:14:16 the truth of Sanctification and new Obedience, together with the perfection of Redemption and Iu­stification. To conclude, euery faithfull man may say as the Apostle said, By the grace of God I am that I am 1 Cor: 15..

The vse is first for instruction, euen to labour so much the more earnest­ly for the certaintie of assurance of Gods grace and free fauour to vs in par­ticular, because it will make vs abundant in the worke of the Lord, and in­rich vs with those things that may further our reckoning against the last day. But that wee may speede in suing for Gods grace, and waiting for the tydings of his speciall loue, wee must labour to be good men, and shew it by this, that wee be men of holy imaginations Pro: 12:2.. Our vnderstanding will neuer be capable of this knowledge till the euills of the thoughts be in some mea­sure purged out and subdued. Besides, we must take heede of scorning and contemning the meanes of gracePro: 3:34., and labour for a hatred of euery sinne; for till then wee neuer get any sound experience of Gods fauour. So long as a man makes a mocke of any sinne, and securely against the light will com­mit it, so long he remaines vnder the power of folly and vnregenerationProu: 14:6.: but especially wee must labour to get and grow in humilitie; for God be­stowes his graces on the humble1 Pet: 5:4. Iames 4:7.. And if God euer comfort vs with his grace, let vs so learne to make it our portion, and to trust perfectly vpon it1 Pet: 1:13:: as not to receiue it in vaine2 Cor: 6:2., but obey all the counsell of God and his Ministers that beseech vs to expresse the power of it in our liues.

Secondly, the doctrine of the power of Gods grace doth bitterly reproue foure sorts of men: First, such as neglect Gods grace, and seeke not any par­ticular euidence for it. Secondly, such as fall away from the grace of God, and giue ouer the vse of the meanes of graceGal: 1:6.; which apostasie many times befals such men as will not wash off the pollution, nor by mortification stay the springing vp of some bitter roote or other within their hearts. Such Apostates, when they were at the best, had in their hearts some imperious lusts and passions or other, that they made not conscience of to subdueHeb: 12:15.. Thirdly, such as turne the grace of God into wantonnesse: men that before they haue any reason of comfort, vpon the bare hearing of the promises of the Gospell, take libertie to liue licentiously, and follow their sinnes with pre­sumptuous abuse of Gods mercy. These are vngodly men, ordained before to condemnation Iud: 4.. Lastly, such as cannot abide the doctrine of GODS grace, but despise and hate the very Spirit of Grace, how sore shall their pu­punishment beHeb. 10:29.?

Thus farre of the Thankesgiuing for the principall meanes of Grace. The Instrumentall followes.

Verse 7. As yee also learned of Epaphras our fellow-seruant, who is for you a faithfull Minister of God.

Verse 8. Who hath also declared vnto vs your loue, which you haue in the spirit.

HEe hath giuen thankes for the Ministery:Diuision. now hee giues thankes for the Minister: who is here described by his name (Epaphras) by the ad­iunct Loue of others to him (beloued) and by his Office (a Seruant,) by his willingnes to ioyne with others [...], a fellow-seruant, by his faithfulnes [Page 62] in the execution of his Office (which is for you a faithfull Minister of Christ:) lastly, by his loue to his people, which hee shewes by the good report hee thankefully giues of them. Vers. 8.

Doct. 2 From the generall consideration of all the words I obserue.

What a Mini­ster should be.First, it much matters to the efficacie of the doctrine what the Ministers be: hee that would profit his hearers must be; First, able to teach. Second­ly, hee should be beloued, not a man against whom the hearts of the peo­ple had conceiued vncurable preiudice, or such a one as was scandalous. Thirdly, hee had neede to be a fellow-seruant, one that will draw with o­thers. Fourthly, hee must consecrate his seruice to God and the Church. Fiftly, he must be faithfull. And lastly, one that will loue his people.

Doct. 2 Secondly, Ministers of greater gifts, or places, or learning, may here learne how to carry themselues towards their fellow-Ministers: Paul commends Epaphras, confirmes and countenances his doctrine, and giues him the right hand of fellowship. Which example much condemnes the haughtie pride and arrogancy of many great Cleargy-men, in whose eyes their brethren are despised; sometime swelling against them with enuie, sometimes openly pursuing them with censures, especially if God blesse their labours with any good successe; easily setting out with the formost to detract from their iust praises for gifts, sinceritie, or paines: woe and a fall will be to the great pride of Cleargy-men.

Thirdly, the Apostle striues to winne a greater estimation to the Minister that so hee might the better fasten their respects to his Ministery, to note that where the Messenger is not in credit, the Message is easily neglected or contemned. And therefore as men would desire good successe in the Mi­nistery of the Word, they should labour to get and retaine an honourable opinion of the Ministers. And to this end consider that they are called Gods Coadiutors 1 Cor: 3., Ministers of the Spirit 2 Cor: 3:6., Gods Stewards 1 Cor: 4:1. Tit: 1:2. 1 Tim: 3:4., Candlestickes Reuel. 11:4., the mouth of Christ Reuel: 1:16., Starres, Angels Reuel: 1.20.; and haue many other titles of dignity.

From these words (as ye also haue learned of Epaphras,) I obserue: First that if men would bee effectually wrought vpon by the word, they must plant themselues vnder some setled Ministerie: they that heare now one, and then another, at one end of the quarter heare a sermon of this man, and at the o­ther end of that man, haue their knowledge much like their paines.

Secondly, he is a true member of the Church that can shew sound grace and knowledge, learned of the Teachers of the Church. It is neither the account of the world, nor profession of true Religion, nor comming to Church, demonstrates necessarily a true member of the Church, but the ef­fectuall subiection of the soule to be formed and wrought vpon by the Mi­nistery of the Word.

Thirdly, it is an ordinary infirmity in the better sort of hearers that in many points they receiue Doctrine vpon the credit of the teachers, yeelding no other reason, but Epaphras taught so; which should awaken affection and conscience in Ministers, out of the feare of God, and sound and infallible knowledge and premeditation to deliuer what they doe deliuer, and to vt­ter nothing for certaine but the word of God.

From these words (the beloued, our fellow-seruant,) I obserue, first, that common affliction for the cause of God, workes in men tendernesse of loue. The Prison makes a great Apostle imbrace with singular loue a poore and meane Minister; the smell of the prison, and sight of the stake, (if such times should euer come againe) would frame a better amity amongst our Church­men; ambitious men might then lay downe their personall and guilefull eagernesse of hast and hate; and humorous men would then bee ashamed to deuise how to inlarge the dissention, by coyning new exceptions, and [Page 63] vrging of peremptory new scruples: modest and humble men on both sides that haue sought the peace of Sion, would then haue double honour.

Secondly, that hee that is faithfull is beloued; beloued I say of God and Gods houshold. It is an ill signe in a Minister that hee is not sound, when hee findes no tokens of Gods loue in his heart, nor signes of respect with Gods seruants in his life.

Thirdly, that to be Gods Seruant is an high dignitie: it is here the speciall glory of an Apostle, and was acknowledged and proclaimed to be the best part of a Kings title, Psal. 36. the title of it. Which may serue for comfort to poore Christians: they can get no Wealth, offices, nor Honours in the world; but here is their ioy, they may get to bee Gods seruants, which is better and more worth than all Honour. Besides, it condemnes the aspiring of the Cleargie: yet when they haue done all they can to make themselues great men, hee is a better man in Gods bookes, that by faithfull seruice can winne soules to God, then he that by his money or paines can only purchase many liuings and great dignities to himselfe.

Which is for you a faithfull Minister, or Deacon.] Concerning the word [...], rendred Minister, it is expressely a Deacon: and it is a title of Of­fice, Seruice, or Administration, giuen sometimes to Christ, hee is called, The Deacon of Circumcision Rom 14.8.; sometimes to MagistratesRom. 13.4.; yea, sometimes to WomenRom. 16.1.; sometimes to a speciall calling or sort of Church officersPhil. 1.1. 1 Tim. 3.8.12.; some­times, to the Ministers of the Gospell both ordinary and extraordinary: so Timothy is a Deacon, 1 Tim. 4.6. so Iudas, Acts 1.17.15. But the Doctrine I obserue is:

That euery faithfull Minister is Christs Deacon: and this may comfort painefull Ministers; for to be Christs Deacon is no base office; or to be called so, a title of disgrace: for it is a title giuen to Christ, and the greatest Magi­strates. And concerning them is that promise that hee that receiueth one of them in Christs name, shall not be without his rewardMar. 9.35. with 37.. Besides, Christ saith of them, that where hee is, there shall his Deacon or Seruant bee, and his father will honour him, though the world doe notIohn 12.26.. Further, it may refresh them that they are said to be Deacons, not of the Letter, but of the Spi­rit, 2 Cor. 3.6.7.8. Lastly, wee may see what power these Deacons haue, Math. 22. They call, they perswade, they are heard of the great King, if they complaine and informe; and they binde men hand and foote and cast them into vtter darkenesse. Onely, if Ministers would haue the priuiledges of Christs Deacons, they must put on and practise their properties. First, they must become as little Children: for humblenesse of minde and confidence in Gods fatherly care and prouidence, and for freedome from maliceMark. 9.35.36.. Se­condly, they must follow their Master Christ, in doctrine, in life, and in sufferingsIohn 12.26.. Thirdly, seeing they haue this Deaconship, as they haue receiued mercy, they should not faint, but cast from them the cloakes of shame, and not walke in craftinesse, nor handle the word of God deceitfully; but in declaration of the truth should approue themselues to euery mans conscience in the sight of God 2 Cor: 4.1.2. So as for the daily expressing of their doctrine vpon the hearts and liues of the people, their people might be their Epistle 2 Cor. 3.2.3..

Thus of the 7. Ʋerse. Out of the 8. Verse I obserue diuers things.

First, from the word [declared,] as it is here vsed and applyed to reports, I note, that those things are to be reported and spoken, that may giue light to the hearers. A good mans report tends to cleare things in the mindes of them that heare him: there should be light and a Lantherne in our wordsProu. 6.23.. To this end wee should vse wisedome, and truth, and meekenesse, when wee speake: Wisedome, by preparing our selues to speake: Truth, to report things as they are: and meekenesse, to auoide passion; for anger is a great [Page 64] darkener. We should also take heede of diuers sinnes in both Tables, that greatly corrupt the hearers, not onely in the generall, but in this, that they greatly darken and make muddy the vnderstanding of man. As in the first Table, discourses or disputes of Atheisme against the Word, Religion, or Ordinances of God; Apologies for Idolaters or Idolatrous Religion, in whole or in part; the very naming of vices or Idols without disgracing or hating of them; Impatiencie or murmuring against God, and such like: And in the second Table, flattery, tale-bearing, false accusing, rash iudge­ment, answering of matters before they be heard, are great darkeners of the vnderstanding.

Secondly, in that Epaphras intending to complaine of them for their cor­ruptions in opinion and worshippe, doth here first declare their praises and graces of Gods Spirit. It shewes that it is a worthy grace to be apt to expresse others iust praises, especially when we are to speake of their faults; for that will shew that we are free from enuie, ostentation or disdaine, and that wee seeke not our owne things, that wee are not suspitious, nor thinke euill, nor re­ioyce in euill.

Loue in the spirit] Loue is either in God or in man: in God there is the personall loue of Christ, the loue of the Creature, the loue of man, and the loue of goodnesse or good men: [...]. In man there is both the loue by which hee loues God, and the loue by which hee loues man. I take it, here it is meant of whatsoeuer loue the Spirit worketh in man. Of Loue I haue spoken at large before, here onely I note briefely two things in generall. First, the ne­cessitie of Loue: Secondly, the tryall of it; both in the negatiue. For the first. If the true loue of God, and Gods children, bee not in vs, wee haue not faithGal. 5.6., nor the Spirit of God; for Loue is the fruit of the Spirit Gal. 5.22. 2. Tim. 1.7.: nor the Seale of our ElectionEphes. 1.4.: nor a pure heart or good conscience1 Tim. 1.5., nor strength to holde out against errours2 Thes. 2.20.. And for triall: first, of our loue to God. Wee must know, that hee loues not God that will not come to CHRIST for life John 5.42.; that keepes not his Commandements Iohn 15.10.; that is ashamed of the Crosse and profession of Christ Rom. 5.5.; that loues not the word, so as to hide (as precious treasure in his heart) the instructions and comforts of the Word1 Iohn. 2.6.; that is not inflamed and inwardly constrained to an ardent desire of holy duties in that place God hath set him in2 Cor. 5.13.14.; that serues the lust or loue of his profit, sports and carnall delight1 Ioh. 2.15.. And for triall of our loue to men, hee loues not his neighbour; first, that cannot doe it in the Spirit, that is, in spirituall things, and from his heart, according to the directions and motions of Gods Spirit: secondly, that doth or worketh euill to his neighbour Rom. 13.10.: thirdly, that wilfully will offend his brother in a thing indifferentRom. 14.15.: fourthly, that will not pray for his neighbourRom. 15.30.: fiftly, that is not prone to shew mercy1 Cor. 8.8..

Quest. But how must I loue my neighbour. Answ. As Christ loued vs; and that hath foure things in it. For, Christ loued vs first, and though wee were his inferiours, and for our profit, and with an euerlasting loue: so should wee; first, wee must loue with a preuenting loue; secondly, wee must loue, though they be meaner persons in place or gifts then wee; thirdly, we must loue them for their profit and good, not for our owne; and lastly, wee must loue continually and feruently.

Verse 9. For this cause, we also, since the day we heard of it, cease not to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be fulfilled with the knowledge of his will, in all wisedome and spirituall vnderstanding.

Verse 10. That yee might walke worthy of the Lord, in all pleasing, being fruit­full in all good workes, and increasing in the knowledge of God.

Verse 11. Strengthened with all might, through his glorious power, vnto all patience, and long-suffering with ioyfulnesse.

THese words are the second part of the Preface, wherein he sheweth that hee praied for them, which hee both generally affirmes,The Diuision. and specially declares.

The generall affirmation is in these words: For this cause, wee also, since the day we heard of it, cease not to pray for you.

The speciall Declaration is in the words that follow: And to desire that yee might be fulfilled with the knowledge of his will: and so forward to the end of the 11. Verse.

In the affirmation are three things: first, an Intimation of a reason, (for this cause;) secondly, the Notation of time, (since the day wee heard of it;) thirdly, the Matter affirmed, (we cease not to pray for you.)

In generall wee may plainely obserue that the desires of our hearts,We are nei­ther borne, nor borne againe for our selues. and endeauours of our liues ought not to be imployed for our owne good one­ly, but for the good of others. Wee are neyther borne nor borne againe for our selues. Sanctified and holy men haue beene full of constant and ardent affections and desires after the good of Gods Children: The mani­festation of the spirit is giuen to euery member to profit withall 1 Cor. 12.7.. Religious Loue seeketh not his owne things1 Cor. 13.: wee should not seeke our owne things, as many doe, but that which is Iesus Christs, viz. that which tends to his glo­ry, and the profit of his members: yea, Christians should serue one another by loue: hee is not of God that hath not holy affections to promote so farre as in him lyeth, the good of Gods Children1 Ioh. 3.10.. Herein are the Chil­dren of God, and the Children of the Diuell vsually knowne: certainely that which any man is in Religion, hee is relatiuely; if not fit to serue the body,Note. then not fit to be of the body; hee is not a Saint, that seekes not communi­on of Saints.

This may serue: First,Ʋses. to shew the miserie of such as haue no inflamed de­sires after the good of Gods Children. Secondly, it may giue vs occasion to examine our selues, what good the body of Christ reapes by vs. If any Christian of lesse power, gifts and meanes in the world, aske; what good can I doe to Christians? I answere, if thou canst doe nothing else, thou canst pray to God for them, and desire their good, reioyce in their prospe­ritie, and mourne for their miseries: neither let this be thought a meane and vnprofitable seruice to the body; for wee see here a great Apostle imploy­ing himselfe about such worke: yea, thou dost benefit the body by kee­ping an holy order in thine owne worke, walking inoffensiuely. If one stone flie out of the building it may breede great annoyance to the whole. Thirdly, this should teach vs to auoide what lets our desires or abilities to serue the Brethren by loue, and what may wrong the body: Take heede of worldlinesse, euen these carking cares, or plodding thoughts, about earthly things: vse the world, but serue it not: take heede of irreligiousnesse or the common prophanenesse of the world: take heede of rash censuring, and the customary liberty of speech to iudge, and master-like to taxe the actions of others: lastly, take heede of presumptuous and scandalous courses of life. And here also may be gathered a comfort to afflicted consciences, that are [Page 66] distressed, because they finde not what they would in themselues: they must know that one great way of triall of sinceritie, is by the constant vpright­nesse of their hearts, in the desires of good to the Church and people of God. And therefore though they cannot speake so much good of themselues as were meete, yet it is a great grace of God, that they haue inflamed affections to wish all spirituall prosperitie to Gods people, and to blesse them in the Name of the Lord.

Doctr. When thou seest the word begin to work in any place pray feruently to God. For this cause.] Doct. When we see the Word of God beginning to worke effectually in any people, and that they wax fruitfull, it is the dutie of all that loue Sion, to bestirre themselues, and cry mightily to God, with vnces­sant prayers for them. If it be asked what we should pray for, or wish vnto them. I answere, wee should pray; first that God would restraine the Di­uell and all wicked men, that profession bee not dishonoured in the birth of it, by scandalous persons: for it is one of the first practises of the Diuell, to thrust up wicked men into profession,What thou shouldest pray for. that so the glory of sinceritie might be darkened. Secondly, that the word might haue free passage without interruption or hurtfull opposition. Seldome doth powerfull preaching make a diuision in the heape, but the Diuell and diuellish men striue to wring the Fanne out of Christs hand, that the winnowing may cease. The Do­ctrine that separates the precious from the vile, and without respect of per­sons, yeelds comfort to the gracious, and terrours, as the onely present portion of the prophane, is exceedingly opposed of the world. Thirdly, that they may grow in grace. But, to omit other things, the Apostle here shewes by his owne example that we should pray; first, that they may truely know the will of God in Christ: secondly, that they be discreete and wise in carriage, as well as in vnderstanding: thirdly, th [...]t they may walke worthy of the Lord, &c. fourthly, that they may increase in knowledge: fiftly, that they might perseuer, being strengthened with Gods might: lastly, that they may lead a patient and ioyfull life. And wee should be thus carefull of the good of others, both because God requires it, and the Saints haue practised it; and besides, if thou haue any grace, thou standest or fallest with others, in respect of the credit of profession.

Since the day that wee heard of it, wee cease not to pray for you.] First, from the coherence of these words with the words following, wee may note the great efficacie of Prayer, how mightily it preuailes with God: it is a way by which a Christian may exceedingly helpe himselfe and pleasure his friends The prayer of the righteous auaileth much, both for helping of the body, and healing of the souleIames 5.16.. If two sound-hearted men agree in earth, in a suite to God the Father in heauen, they preuaile with incredible successe, they get what they would haueMat. 18.19..

And that wee may be incouraged to Prayer, there are diuers things that might vndoubtedly perswade vs to resolue of the efficacie of prayer.Incourage­ments to prayer. First, Gods Commandement; certainely God will not require prayer but that hee meanes to heare itPsal. 50.15.. Secondly, The Nature of God, he is a Father, and hath the compassions of a Father. Though Abraham would not know his seede, if they had suites to him, and Iacob be ignorant of his posteritie; yet God will heare and redeeme Esa. 63.16.: Though a mother should forget her motherly compassions, yet God will not forget his Esa. 49.15.: and therefore if earthly fathers, that haue a great deale of ill nature in them, can giue good gifts to their children, and that because their children aske them, how much more shall God our Father, who is perfectly compassionate, giue good things; yea, the best things, yea, the very fountaine of all good, his holy Spirit, if wee aske him Math. 7.9.? Thirdly, the manner of Gods pre­sence of grace; when wee haue any suites, hee is not farre off, or hard to come to, as earthly Princes are, and great men in world many times; [Page 67] but hee is neere to all that call vpon him in truth Psal. 145.18; yea, for more assurance of this, that hee is ready to receiue petitions, it is sayd, His eares are open to the cry of the righteous: he is so farre from being absent, that there is not so much as any little impediment in his eare. God is euer ready to heare, if our hearts were ready to pray. Fourthly, The property of Gods liberality; hee holdes it a great blemish and dishonour to his bounty, either to deny when hee is as­ked, or to reproach when hee hath giuen; either to except against the per­son, or to sticke at the greatnesse of the giftIames 1.5.. Fiftly, the assistance of the spirit of Adoption; The Spirit helpes our infirmities, though wee know not how to pray as wee ought, yet that shall not let audience; for The Spirit it selfe will make request for vs, euen in the sighes which cannot bee expressed Rom. 8.26.. Sixtly, The merits of Christ and his intercession; hee hath prayed for vs, so as what we aske the Fa­ther in his Name, hee will grant it Ioh. 14.13.14. Seuenthly, The hate God beares to the ene­mies of his people; Gods Seruants shall speede in their suites, euen because of them that rise vp against them. Lastly, our prayers are furthered by the very Faith and Holinesse of our godly and spirituall Ancestours, the posteritie speedes the better for their sakes: yea, without question we speede the better in England, because we are the seede or Successours of the Martyrs.

Obiect. Obiect. But I haue prayed for my selfe and others, and yet finde not successe. Sol. First, if thou speede not,Solut. it is either because thou art not a righ­teous personPsal. 34.16. & 109:7.: or thou art disordered in thy carriage in the family1 Pet. 3.7.: or thou didst not continue in prayerLuk. 18 1. to 8.: or thou dost aske amisse.

Quest. Quest. But how may I know whether I did aske amisse? Ans. Ans. Thou didst aske amisse: first, if thou didst pray and doubtIames 1.6. Job 21.15.. Secondly, if thou didst make prayers thy refuge, but not thy recompence, when thou camest to pray thou consideredst what thou didst want for thy selfe, not what thou shouldest render to God; thou vsedst prayer to serue thy turne, but when thou hadst sped, thou didst not returne by prayer to render vnto God his honourPsal. 116.12.. Thirdly, if thou didst not make conscience of the vse of other ordinances of God; for God will not giue all to any one ordinance. Fourth­ly, if thy prayers were ignorant, proud, hypocriticall prayersMat. 6.. Fiftly, if thou wast not in charitie but broughtest thy gift, and diddest not forgiue, or seeke reconciliation with thy brotherMat. 5.. Sixtly, if thou didst aske of God for wrong ends, or wrong things, as to spend on thy lusts Iames 4.3.: or for temporall things onely or cheefelyHose 7.14.: besides, many times it comes to passe that men speede not, because they are not humble. Wee should so prize and esteeme holy things, as wee should exceedingly reioyce, if wee could get but the crummes that fall from the Fathers table. This Humilitie is euer ioyned with great Faith and wished successe in all suites to God. Againe, it is to bee noted, that men may bee deceiued about the successe of Prayer: for the decree for our succours may goe foorth at the very beginning of our suppli­cations, though the knowledge of it bee not reuealed vnto vs till afterwards. Further, God heareth prayers diuersly; sometimes, hee heareth to grant the verie thing we desire; sometimes he heareth, and granteth, and giueth, not the verie things wee desire, but that which hee holds to bee best for vs, and for the distresse wee are in: so hee was sayd to heare CHRIST, Hebr. 5. Lastly, God doth heare and grant, and yet deferre to giue, and that for our great good many times: hee deferres that hee may prooue vs, that our faith may bee the more kindled, that his benefits may bee more sweet when they doe come, and that wee may know by the want, that it is his gift, when they are bestowed, and that wee may bee more carefull of the good vse of his gra­ce [...], gifts and benefits, when we haue them. Thus of the Coherence.

For you] Doct. We are bound to pray for others as well as our selues.Doctr. In this place I consider in this point only two things. First, the kinds of prayers [Page 68] for others: secondly, the sorts of persons for whom wee must pray.

The kindes of Prayers for others.For the first; I obserue heere in the originall, two words, [...] and [...], in the translation, Prayers and Desires: as I take it, all the sorts of prayers for others may be referred to these two heads: and these two dif­fer not so much in the matter, as in the motiues to prayer; [...], Pray­ers, are such suits vnto God, as wee are vehemently mooued to, by the con­templation of God and his Attributes. The difference betweene [...] and [...] is somewhat shadowed out by Oration and Adoration. [...] heere rendered Desires, are all suites vnto God, arising from the deepe sence of mans estate, [...]. either in dangers, wants, or blessings: and vnder this kinde may bee placed the three sorts of prayers in 1 Tim. 2.1. for our desires for others, are either Deprecations, in which wee desire God to turne away, or keepe from them some great euill; or Intercessions, which are either com­plaints of wrongs, or most importunate supplications vnto God for their con­uersion and the pardon of their sins: or lastly, Thankesgiuings for Gods mer­cies and blessings.

The persons for whom we must pray.Secondly, to the Question, for whom wee must pray. It is shortly an­swered, 1 Tim. 2.1. for all men, excepting dead men, or such as sinne vnto death, or such, concerning whom the will of God is reuealed for their per­dition, as the man of sinne: so as also by all men, wee vnderstand all sorts of men,2 Thess. 2. not all the particular men of euery sort: for wee may not desire salua­tion for all the men that God hath made (vniuersally considered,) seeing the counsell of God is vnchangeably past concerning reprobates: But that which in this Text is principall, is, that Ministers and People must pray one for another. Ministers must pray for their People: thus doe the Apo­stles in euery Epistle; yea, Samuel saith, God forbid I should cease praying for you; as if hee knew it to be a detestable thing for a Minister to bee so retch­lesse or carelesse, as either not to pray, or not to continue to pray for his people. The people must also pray for their Ministers, and that especially for these things, that God may deliuer them from the rage of the disobe­dient, and the practises of their enemiesRom. 15.30.; that God would open their mouthes, and giue them vtterance Ephes. 6.19., with a fitnesse to discouer the secrets and mysteries of Christ Col. 4.3.; and that their Gospell may runne and grow, both in efficacie and credit 2 Thes. 3:1:2; yea, in as much as they labour about sauing other mens soules, the people should by prayers labour to further the saluation of their Ministers.

Wee cease not.] Note. First, hee that loues the people of God truely, loues them constantly.

Secondly, that a heart truely sanctified is much in prayer, cannot giue it ouer. It is a wofull thing to neglect prayer, but how cursedly miserable is their case whose hearts rise against prayer, and cannot abide it, but persecute it in others?Not ceasing, what it im­plies.

Thirdly, the not ceasing in prayer, hath in it constancie and perseuerance in prayer; and teacheth, that as wee are bound to pray, so are wee bound to perseuer in prayer; yea, if wee must not cease to pray, it implies: first, that wee must pray in all places: secondly, that wee must watch to pray: thirdly, that wee must beleeue, and hope wee shall obtaine what wee pray for: fourthly, wee must not appoynt God either time or meanes: fiftly, that wee must pray with all manner of prayers; for all these fiue things are requisiteIohn 4:21. 1 Tim. 2.8. Mat. 26.41. Col: 4:2. Ephes. 6.18. 1 Pet: 4:8. Iames 1:6:7. Heb. 10:36: &c Heb: 2.3.: or if any of them bee wanting, there will not bee constant and faithfull prayer. Yea, not ceasing, notes that there is singular comfort in prayer, else men would neuer hold out.

Solut. Obiect. Obiect. But, not ceasing, implyes, multiloquie, vaine babbling. Sol. Not so: a man may pray earnestly and often, and yet not vse many wordsEccles: 5:1. Mat. 6..

Obiect. Obiect. But, to pray without ceasing, is to bee tyed to vse idle repetitions; [Page 69] for how can men bee furnished and finde matter to pray so often and so much?Solut. Sol. A Christian is furnished many wayes with needefull occasions of continuall prayer. First, hee is tyed to a dayly Sacrifice both morning and euening, by Prayer and Prayses. Secondly, hee findes continually new Mercies, and those require new songs of praise and prayerPsal. 40.4.. Thirdly, as his knowledge encreaseth by the vse of the meanes, hee findes an increase of matter, to driue him to prayer, and make him pray better. Fourthly, new infirmities breaking out in himselfe and others, and that dayly, giues an occasion to renue his suites to God. Fiftly, the Creatures, and his cal­lings must bee sanctified by the Word and Prayer. Sixtly, varietie of crosses breaking in vpon him, giues him cause to runne to God for the sanctifying or remoouing of them.

Let such pray seldome as thinke they owe God no Sacrifice, or receiue no blessings from God, or care not for knowledge, or finde no infirmities in themselues, or haue no crosses, or neede no blessing vpon their callings and labours: but let all that feare God stirre vp themselues to pray without ceasing, because God [...]equires it, and hath made gracious promises; because they finde daily necessities, and may heereby exercise their faith, and shew their loue to God and to others, after the example of the Saints, and by the motion of the Spirit of Adoption, which will not be idle in them.

Thus of the Affirmation. The Declaration followes.

That yee might be fulfilled with the knowledge of his will in all Wisdome and spiri­tuall vnderstanding, that yee might walke, &c.]

In this Declaration hee describeth the knowledge hee prayes for, by fiue things:

  • 1 By the Obiect of it; The will of God.
  • 2 By the Parts; Wisdome and vnderstanding.
  • 3 By the End; That yee might walke, &c. Ʋers. 10.
  • 4 By the Cause; His glorious power, Vers. 11.
  • 5 By the Effects; Patience, Long-suffering, Ioyfulnesse.

The Obiect is described in these words; fulfilled with knowledge of his Will. And here is, 1. the Obiect it selfe, Will of God: 2. the Meanes of apprehen­sion (viz.) Knowledge: 3. the Measure, filled with it.

Of his will.]. Will is a propriety in God.Proprieties in God. Proprieties in God are either Personall or Essentiall: the Proprieties of the Person are such as these; in the Father, to beget and send foorth; of the Sonne, to be begotten and sent forth; and of the holy Ghost, to proceede: the Properties of the Essence, are of two sorts: some note the Essence, as they say, à priori; and these are such Proprieties as are incommunicable, that is, are so in God as they are in no Creature, as Infinitenesse and Simplicitie, free from all mixture, parts or composition: some note out the Essence à posteriori; and these are such as are first and principally in God, but in the second place communicable to the Creature; and of this sort are Power, Wisdome, amd Will in God.

The will of God is either, The Will of Gods good pleasure; or, The Will of his pleasure.

The Will of Gods good pleasure is in things where the effect is good.

The Will of his pleasure is in things where the effect is euill;Bene placiti. Placiti. and so hee wils in respect of the end, but not in respect of the meanes to the end, as Sinne, and some Miseries.

The Will of Gods good pleasure is heere meant: and this is secret or reuealed. The reuealed Will is heere meant.

The reuealed Will of God is of foure sorts. It is 1. His determining Will concerning vs, what shall become of vsEphes. 1.5.. 2. His prescribing Will, where hee requires either Obedience; and this is reuealed in the Law: or Faith and [Page 70] Repentance, and so it is reuealed in the GospellEphes. 1.9. Acts 22.9.. 3. His approouing Will, and that is that Will, by which hee graciously accepts, and tenderly regardeth those that come to him in Faith and RepentanceGal. 1.4. Mat. 18.14. John 1.23.. 4. His disposing Will, and this is the will of his prouidence1 Cor. 1.1. Rom. 1.10. [...].. The prescribing Will of God is wholly reuealed, the other three but in part, and by consequent.

Thus of the Will of God.

Knowledge.] This is the Grace by which the Will of God is apprehen­ded. The originall word is three waies accepted: Sometimes, for Knowledge; so ordinarily: Sometimes, for Acknowledgement; as it is translated in these places; Luke 1.4. 1 Cor. 16.18. 2 Cor. 6.9. Sometimes, for Knowing againe. All three sences may be heere well considered off.

First, of knowing Gods Will. Heere I consider three things: first, what we must know: secondly, why: or, the motiues to perswade to seeke for know­ledge: thirdly the meanes to be vsed thereunto.

What wee should seeke to know.For the first: wee must know that God doth approoue of vs in Christ: the approouing will. And this is so necessary, that our hearts can neuer bee rid of the occasion of feare of our Reprobation, till wee doe know it2 Cor. 13.5.. Se­condly, we must know what God hath determined of vs: his determining will. To this end hath God giuen vs his Word and Spirit, that wee might know what hee hath prepared for vs, if wee loue him1 Cor. 2.9.. Thirdly, wee must labour to know what hee requireth of vs: his prescribing will. It is sayd of Dauid, Acts 13.22. that hee did all the wils of God; and so should wee also labour to know, and by practise expresse the power of all Gods wils: and the rather, seeing we haue fulfilled, not the will, but the wils of the flesh from time to timeEphes. 2.3. Motiues to knowledge..

For the second: there are many things might enflame vs to the desire of knowledge. For this is the glory of Gods Elect, not riches, not strength, not carnall witIer. 9.24.. It is the singular gift of Gods grace, and speciall portion of his ChosenMarke 4.11.. It is a great sinne, and greeuous curse to want itHos. 4.11.: but a damned plague to contemne itIob 21 14.. Knowledge? Why? it is more excellent then all things: all but losse and dung in comparison of itPhil. 3.9.. Without it, Zeale is little worthRom. 10.2., and Sacrifice is in vaineHos. 6.6.. What shall I say; This is eternall life to know God, and whom he hath sent Iesus Christ Iohn 17.3. Rules for attaining knowledge..

Thirdly, what must wee doe that wee may attaine to the knowledge of Gods will? I answer: First, wee must get to bee true members of Christ: for No man knoweth the Father but the Sonne, and they to whom the Sonne reuealeth him Mat. 11.27.. Secondly, we must conscionably practise what we doe already know by the light of Nature, or generall light of Religion, and then Christs gracious promise lyeth for the further reuelation euen of sauing knowledgeIohn 7.17.. Thirdly, men neuer soundly prosper in the attainment of sauing knowledge: till they haue beene in the furnace of affliction of Conscience: after men haue beene wounded in spirit and their hearts smitten within them, they will then know, and endeauour themselues to knowHos. 6.1.3..

But this Question may be excellently answered out of two places of the Apostle Paul.

First, in the 12. of the Rom. 1.2.3. The Apostle shewes that a man must doe fiue things, if hee would know what the good, and acceptable, and per­fect will of God is. First, hee must deuote himselfe to a religious course of life: this hee calles sacrificing of our selues to God, Ʋers. 1. Secondly, hee must no more follow the fashions of the world. Thirdly, hee must by prayer, and the vse of all the meanes, repent for the sinnes of his minde, and get a new minde to put his knowledge in. Ver. 2. Fourthly, hee must be pro­uing and trying, often examining himselfe, and trying his euidence concer­ning the faith of Gods good will to him, as the hope of his glory. Verse 2. [Page 71] Fiftly, hee must not bee ouer-curious to prie into such knowledges as con­cerne him not; but be wise to sobriety, labouring especially by hearing and practise, to get within compasse of the knowledge of his owne Iustification, Sanctification, and Saluation, Vers. 3.

Againe, in the 5. of the Ephesians, Ʋers. 14. to 22. to gaine the true light of Christ, and vnderstand Gods will, the Apostle shewes that wee must doe nine things. First, wee should awaken our selues out of the spirituall slum­ber of our hearts; labouring, by prayer and meditation of our danger, to force open the eyes of our mindes; Awake thou that sleepest, Ver. 14. Secondly, wee must forsake the company of wicked and carnall men, that haue no taste nor feeling of things that belong to the kingdom of God; Stand vp from the dead, Verse 14. Thirdly, wee must walke circumspectly (precisely, the originall word is) being resolued to make a conscience of all our wayes: [...]. or else in vaine to goe about to digge for knowledge, Ʋerse 15. Fourthly, wee must allow much time for hearing, and reading, and conference; euen as men that meane to redeeme all the time past they haue vnprofitably spent, Ʋerse 16. Fiftly, wee must bring a minde willing and desirous in all humi­lity, to vnderstand Gods will: a froward spirit cannot prosper; or a man wise in his owne conceit, Verse 17. Sixtly, wee should in speciall take heede of drunkennesse, or any kinde of tipling, wherein is excesse, Verse 18. Seuenth­ly, wee must labour for a cheerefull spirit, and a glad heart, and shew it by singing of Psalmes, making melody in our hearts to God: a heauy spirit is dull of apprehension, Verse 19. Eightly, wee must giue thankes for all things, rea­dily acknowledging euery mercy, and reioycing for any successe in the meanes, Vers. 10. Lastly, wee must submit our selues one to another, euer wil­ling to learne in any thing of any body, Ephes. 5.21. Hee that scorneth en­formation is a foole.

Thus of Knowledge.

Secondly, it is not enough to know, but wee must acknowledge the will of God, that is, by a constant and open diligence in the vse of the meanes,Of acknow­ledgement, or profession. and conscionable heedefulnesse euen in all things in practise, wee must hold foorth the light of the truth, in a religious profession of it, in commu­nion with the Saints, and separate from sinners: this is required in Gods Elect as well as Faith, Tit. 1.1. Neither is it a precise humour in some few, but God would haue all come to the acknowledgement of the truth 1 Tim: 2.4.; not to heare it, or to know it onely. Without this, I will not say absolutely, a man cannot bee in Christ; but this I say, with the Apostle, A man cannot bee perfect in Christ, and of ripe age Ephes. 4.13.. By this acknowledgement wee escape an exceeding great deale of filthinesse that is in the world 2 Pet. 2.20.: and because that many men will by no meanes drawen to acknowledge the way of God, therefore by a iust iudgement of God they are deliuered vp to a reprobate sence Rom. 1.18.. Only two things are to be vrged vpon professours heerein: first, that they doe soundly repent of their sinnes before they make profession, and enter vpon acknowledge­ment1 Tim. 2.4.; or else acknowledgement will bee a vaile for filthy Hypocrisie: se­condly, that they take heede of sinning presumptuously after acknowledge­ment. Feare the curse, Heb. 10.26.

Thirdly, wee must know againe: this hath three things in it. First,Of knowing againe. we must bee often viewing and looking ouer our euidence, to bee sure of the whole and euery part of it, as wee would doe if wee had assurances for matters of the world. Secondly, because sinnes after calling doe greatly darken know­ledge, therefore wee must not onely renew our repentance, but our know­ledge also. Thridly, wee must know the truth of God, not onely in our mindes, by vnderstanding and thinking of it; but wee must know it againe, in the affections of our hearts in respect of sence and feeling, and againe [Page 72] after that, in the practise of our life; for that is experimentall knowledge, and the very power of godlinesse.

Ʋse.This Doctrine of the knowledge of the will of God, reprooues many sorts of men. First, such as desire not knowledge at allIob 21.14.: and so perish for want of itHos. 4.6. 2 Thess. 1.8.. Secondly, such as sometimes desire knowledge, but they will not vse the meanes, or not constantly, or not all the meanes. Thirdly, such as will know something of the prescribing Will of God, but neuer heede his approouing or determining Will. Fourthly, such as, though they vse the meanes for Knowledge, yet will at no hand abide Acknowledgement. Lastly, it reprooues the carelesnesse euen of Gods people many times, neglecting to make their Calling and Election sure, by looking often ouer their euidence, and renuing their knowledge, and labouring the cure of their natures from slum­ber and relapses. Thus of Knowledge.

Obser. 1 Filled, or fulfilled.] From the obseruation of the measure I note foure things. First, that wee must not rest in beginnings; wee must bee filled with all knowledge Rom. 15.14.: not onely get Grace and Truth, but bee filled with itIohn 2.14.: so full of Wisdome Acts 6.3.5., of Faith and Power Acts 6.8., of Good-workes Acts 9.36., of Ioy in Gods fauourActs 2.28., of all Hope Rom. 15.13., full, euen with the fulnesse of him that filleth all things Ephes. 1. vlt.. But it is contrary with the most men: for wee may complaine out of diuers Scriptures, euen of them that they are filled, not with Grace, Knowledge, Faith, Workes, &c. but with the Leprosie of all spirituall Infe­ctionsLuke 5.12., with all DeceitActs 13.10., with Wrath, euen when they heare Gods wordActs 19.28., with worldly Greefe and PassionsIohn 16.16., with all kindes of VnrighteousnesseRom. 1.19., with DrinkeEphes. 5.18., with the measure of their Fathers SinnesMatt. 23.32.; yea, so wretched­ly vile are the liues of many, that they shew themselues to bee filled with the Diuell himselfeActs 5.3.: but the workes almost of none are perfect, or filled before GodReu. 3.2..

Secondly, that there is something in Grace or Knowledge still wanting: Obser. 2 wee know but in part. Mans heart may be compared to a Vessell, the meanes to a Pipe, the Spirit of God to the Wheele that beates the water into the Pipe, the Minister is the Seruant that opens the Cocke; and then the reason why we know but in part, is, either the Cocke alwayes runnes not, or not alwayes in the same measure: and sometimes our Vessels are filled with other things, as the cares and lusts of the World, and so they runne ouer; and vsu­ally our Vessels runne out, and lose what we receiue by the meanes.

Obser. 3 Thirdly, the knowledge of the will of God, and spirituall things, onely can fill and satisfie the heart of man, all else is meere vanity and vexation of spiritEccles. 1.2. Nothing can fill but know­ledge & spiri­tuall things.. Earthly things cannot fill, neither the knowledge of them, nor the vse or possession of them, because they are not infinite nor eternall: be­sides, there is nothing new, nor are they of a like nature with the Soule: they are enioyed with vexation and much sacietie, for our affections will not loue them still; yea, most an end the vanity of mens mindes so turneth deuises, concerning their knowledge or vse, that death or losse takes them or vs away, before they can finde out that way of vsing of them, that could satisfie and fill the heart.

Obser. 4 Lastly, nothing but the will of God bindes conscience: the Apostle of purpose layeth the foundation in the Preface, concerning the knowledge of, and resting vpon Gods will, that so be might the more easily beat downe their Traditions and Philosophicall Speculations, of which he meant to en­treat in the next Chapter. Now, if this Doctrine bee true, as it is most true, then Apocryphe Scripture, Councels, Fathers, and Princes Lawes, doe not binde further then they are agreeable to Gods will; and therefore much lesse Popes Decrees, Traditions, and humane Inuentions.

Thus of the Obiect of Knowledge.

In the next place it is described by the parts of it,The differen­ces betweene Wisedome and Vnderstanding. in the next words [In all wisedome and spirituall Vnderstanding.] Where the Apostle shewes that sa­uing Knowledge hath two parts, (viz.) Vnderstanding and Wisedome. Con­cerning the difference betweene the two originall words, in this place ren­dered Wisedome and Vnderstanding, there is a great stirre amongst Interpre­ters. Some say that the one proceedeth out of the principles of the Law of Nature, and the other out of the principles of Faith. Some take the one to be a knowledge concerning the end; the other, of things that are for the end. Some thinke by Vnderstanding is meant apprehension; and by Wise­dome is meant Iudgement, or dijudication. Some thinke, that Synesis, ren­dered Vnderstanding, receiueth the will of God in the whole; and that Sophia, Wisedome, conceiueth it in the parts, and with weighing of all circumstances: by the first they consider what is lawfull, and by the second what is expe­dient. Some say that the one of them conceiueth the obiect of felicitie; the other, the meanes by which men attaine it. Some thinke they differ thus, that the one vnderstands of God absolutely, by Scripture, as he is; and the other considers of God by relation, or comparison with the creatures, by experience, as hee is tasted to be good: but the plainest and soundest diffe­rence is this, that Vnderstanding is contemplatiue knowledge; but Wisedome is actiue knowledge: the one giues rules for practise, the other for Iudge­ment and Contemplation. But before I consider of them apart, I obserue two generall Doctrines.

First, that sauing Knowledge and Wisedome is not naturall,Two generall Doctrines. but from a­boue, and had onely by CHRIST, here it followes Faith and Loue: it is wrought by the power of the Gospell, it is prayed for; and lastly, it is plainely said to be spirituall: See more, Iames 3.17. 1 Cor. 2.14. 2 Cor. 1.30. Tit. 3.3. and it may serue for many vses.

First, it should inforce vs to labour to become spirituall men, as wee would desire to haue any thing to doe with the knowledge of Gods will:Vses. for if wee be not more then naturall men, it is certaine wee know not the things of God. Be sure therefore thou be no naturall man.

Quest. How may a naturall man bee knowne.How a natural man may be knowne. Ans. Hee is a naturall man: First, that hath in him onely the spirit of the world, 1 Cor. 2.12. Se­condly, that knowes not that wisedome of God that is in a mysterie, that is, his Reconciliation and Saluation by Christ, 1 Cor: 2.7.10.14. Thirdly that loues not God, Ʋers. 9. as they doe not that loue not the word, people, and way of God. Fourthly, that knowes not the things giuen of God by the Spirit, Vers. 12. Fiftly, that accounts spirituall things foolish things, and religious courses foolish courses. Vers. 14. Sixtly, that hates sinceritie, and walkes after his owne lusts, Iud. 19.18.

And it is worthy to be noted, that the Apostle,Who make the Schisme in the Church when he fore-tels of these wicked loose persons and prophane men, liuing in the Church, he saith, they make Sects; and it is most sure, that not onely Heretikes and false-Teachers, that draw men out of the bosome of the Church, to diuide them from our Assemblies, but euen wicked men, that wallow in sinne, make Sects and Schisme, and diuision in the Church, though they otherwise come to the Word and Sacraments as the people of God doe: for the Word is seldome effectuall in the working of it in any place, but wee may finde the Diuell stirring vp carnall and naturall men, that striue by all meanes to pursue such as desire to feare God, lading them with reproaches, and blowing abroad slanders, and wilfully both disgracing them, and shunning their pre­sence; and when they haue done, call them Sectaries, and other Hereti­call names: them, I say, that excepting their care and conscience to walke vprightly with God and vnrebukeable amongst men, liue in peace by them: [Page 74] but though men are deceiued, God will not be mocked; these are the men that God meanes to indite for making of Sects in the Church, as well as Heretikes.

Secondly, seeing true Wisedome is from aboue, it should worke in vs a dislike both of hellish wisedome and earthly wisedome:Diuelish wise­dome. 1 Cor: 2:8. Exod: 1.10. by hellish wise­dome I meane such wisedome as was in the Priests when they killed Christ, or that that was in Pharaoh, who counts it to deale wisely, to oppresse Gods people: It is diuellish wisedome to bee cunning or artificiall in hiding the practise of sinne: it is diuellish wisedome to haue skill in defending sinne: It is diuellish wisedome that is vsed in the refining of sinne; as for example, drinking of healths began to grow to that detested head, and was accom­panied with that filthy villany and abhomination, in respect of the excesse of it, that certainely the Diuell should neuer haue gotten the most men in a short time to haue had any thing to doe with such a damned beastlinesse; now the Diuell not willing to loose his homage and sacrifice, inspires some men to bring in a libertie to drinke in lesse glasses, and with allowance of choyse of drinkes or Wines, and now the sinne is refined, it goes currant.

Earthly wise­dome.Earthly wisedome is of two kindes: for either it is a skill to get goods, or else it is humane learning and policie, both allowable in themselues, but neither to be too much liked or trusted to: for as for the skill to get riches, What would it profit a man to winne the whole world and loose his owne soule? and the praise of humane wit, learning, policie, &c. is much curbed by certaine terrible places of Scripture. The conceit of this wisdome makes the Crosse of Christ of none effect1 Cor: 1:18.; and a man may haue a great measure of it, and be famous, and yet be without God, without Christ, and without the couenants of promise, and without hope in the world Ephes: 1.12.: for, not many noble, nor many wise hath God chosen 1 Cor: 1.26.27. Yea, God many times hides the mysteries of the Kingdome of Grace from these great Wise-menMath: 11.27, and sets himselfe of purpose to stayne their pride, to destroy their wisedome, and to infatuate their counsels. Where is the Scribe (learned in the Scripture?) where is the Disputer of this world (skilfull in humane learning and policie1 Cor: 1.19. & 2.6.?) Hath not God (to vexe the ve­ry hearts of these men) tyed conuersion of soules, ordinarily, to the foo­lishnesse of preaching?

Doct. 2. It is not enough to get Pietie, vnlesse wee get Wisedome also, 1 Cor. 1.24.30. Acts 6.3. Ephes. 1.8.17.

Vse is, first, for confutation of those that hold all labour for the attaining of spirituall things to be folly; of most men those to be fooles that make such adoe about the vse of the meanes of Saluation. But it is certaine that Christ, that giues godlie men righteousnesse, giues them Wisedome. Religion doth not make men foolish, but giues wisedome to the simple Psal: 29.7.. Secondly, Pro­fessors should be aduised to make conscience of discretion in their carriage, as well as holinesse: and to this end they should take heed, 1. Of pettishnes and peeuishnesse; a vice, should be onely found in the bosome of foolesIob 5.3.. 2. Of conceitednesse; a foule vice, to be so wise in their owne conceit, that their owne wayes should alwaies so please them, that they thinke better of themselues then of seauen men that can giue a reason Prou: 12.15. & 26.12.16.. 3. Of rash medling with other mens businesse, or prying into their estatesProu: 17.27.: mens eyes should not be in euery corner of the world. Lastly of vnaduised opennesse; in all compa­nies; without respect or heedfulnesse, to poure out all their mindes Pro: 29.11..

Thus of the generall Doctrines.

The first part of sauing Knowledge is here rendred Vnderstanding, and is Contemplatiue Knowledge.

Contemplatiue Knowledge hath in it two things, Apprehension and Medita­tion; that is, the power to discerne Doctrine, and the power to meditate [Page 75] of it; both are needfull, and in both men are exceeding wanting; especially in the power of Meditation. If you aske mee what the obiect is about which wee should meditate, it is answered before; it is the Will of God, determi­ning, approuing, prescribing and disposing. And it is no wonder, that men get so little knowledge, or are so vnable for contemplation, because euery one is not capable of it; the Scorner may, in a passion, seeke wisedome, but hee cannot finde it Pro: 14.6.. Besides, the meanes must be vsed: especially in Contempla­tion, it is exceeding hard to hold any course constantly, but the ground must be from matter of praier, or hearing, or reading. Further,Rules for con­templation. many things are required to fit a man to capablenesse, and power of holy Contempla­tion: First, Chastitie of heart, and affections; for such as are caryed about with lusts are euer learning, but neuer come to the knowledge of the truth 2 Tim: 3.6.. Second­ly, Meekenesse, or rest of heart from the hurry of disordered affections and troubled passions; hasty affections and a foolish minde are inseparable; hee that is passionate can lift vp no holy thoughts, but hee can easily exalt folly Pro: 14.29. Thirdly, A good minde, that is, an vnderstanding, not exercised in imagining and plodding of euill: men of wicked imaginations are vtterly disa­bled for contemplation. Fourthly, Humilitie, or a tender sense of ones owne wants and vnworthinesse: the proud-conceited man, for matter of Medi­tation, is of an emptie minde, vnlesse it be that they dote about questions, or strife of words, or vaine disputations, that tend to nothing but strife or vaine ostentation1 Tim: 6.4.5.. Besides, a heart fatted and fleshed with presumptuous hopes, or profits and pleasures, and hardened through long custome and practise of sinne, is almost wholy blinded in the things that belong to the Kingdome of CHRIST; These men haue eyes, and see not; and eares and are as if they heard not Math: 13.14.

To passe from this point of Knowledge Contemplatiue, I conclude onely with the consideration of the 8. of the Prouerbes, where it is the drift of the holy Ghost to perswade men to seeke to store their hearts with knowledge, both for sense and Vse. Wisedome cries to be heard. God would faine fasten knowledge vpon all sorts of men. Now if any should aske why Wisedome is so importunate, or wherefore they must set all aside to get her; there are three Reasons giuen. First, because wee are naturally foolish, and not wise in heart: there is no inward substance of sound knowledge in vs, Verse 5. Secondly, the things to bee imparted are the most excellent in heauen and earth, Ʋerse 6. Thirdly, no knowledge but this,Diuers obie­ctions against Knowledge answered. but it is stained with errour or lewdnesse: now in the Scripture wee are sure of two things, Truth and Puritie.

Obiect. But the Doctrine of Religion, as it is reuealed in Scripture, is ex­ceeding crosse and contrary to our natures. Sol. It is answered, that there Obiect. 1 is no frowardnesse in it; it is in vs, not in the Doctrine it selfe, Verse 8.Solut.

Obiect. But the study of sauing knowledge is exceeding difficult. Sol. That Obiect. 2 is answered, Vers. 9. My words are all plaine to him that will vnderstand, Solut. and straight to him that would finde knowledge: If there were a constant desire and endeauour in men, they would finde great successe.

Obiect. But it is not a profitable course nor gainefull. Sol. That is denied, Obiect. 3 Vers. 10.11. Knowledge is better then Siluer, or Gold, or precious Stones; Solut. and it is more thrift to get it then to get riches.

Obiect. But I see that many that follow Sermons, and study the Scrip­tures, are very indiscreete, and men of no reach nor parts. Sol. It is answe­red, Obiect. 4 Vers. 12. that Wisedome dwels with Prudence or Discretion,Solut. and finds forth Knowledge and Counsels: and if men were compared, in their present know­ledge, with what they were before, it would appeare that they haue gotten more discretion, &c. then euer they had, & therefore it is a meere imputation.

Obiect. 5 Obiect. Many great professors are men of wicked liues. Sol. Ʋers. 13. The feare of the Lord is to hate euill, Solut. as Pride and Arrogancie, and the euill way, and a mouth that speaketh lewd things: and therefore if any such bee of wicked liues, they are hypocrites, thrust vnto profession by the Diuell, of purpose to shame the study and endeuour after sauing knowledge.

Obiect. 6 Obiect. But the most that follow Sermons, and read the Bible so much, are base persons,Solut. and men of no fashion in the world. Sol. That is denied, Vers. 15.16. For, the holy wisedome of the Word hath beene the fairest ornament, and help, and support to Kings, Princes, Nobles and Iudges; By mee Kings raigne, and Princes decree Iustice.

Obiect. 7 Obiect. But this knowledge fills men with terrours and Melancholy. Sol. That is denied:Solut. for it is a most louely study; I loue them that loue me. It is only terrible to such as so loue their sinnes, as they will not part with them.

Obiect. 8 Obiect. It is a knowledge neuer attained in any perfection. Sol. That is denied too,Solut. Vers. 17. They that seeke me earely shall finde me: men get no ripe­nesse in knowledge, because when they vse the meanes, their heads are full of cares or lusts, &c. or they waite not vpon the opportunities and aduan­tages of the meanes: they seeke not earely.

Obiect. 9 Obiect. But, at the least, it is an enemy to Thrift, and a hinderance to mens outward estates.Solut. Sol. That is false too, and hee giues two Reasons for it, Vers. 18.19.20. For first, the most durable riches (that is better then all gold or pleasure) is righteousnesse, and this is gotten by the knowledge of the word. Secondly, that that most an end impouerisheth men, is the hand of God, or of men; and sinne vsually and disorder is the originall cause of all losses or pouertie. Now Wisedome causeth a man to walke in the wayes of righteousnesse, and so to inherit substance; and as God sees it meete for them, to fill their treasures.

Obiect. 10 Obiect. But a man can neuer obserue the rules of holinesse required in the word,Solut. and vrged vpon men by preaching. Sol. The word doth not on­ly shew men what they should doe, but it giues power to doe it: It causeth men to walke in the way of righteousnesse, Vers. 21. Lastly, to put all out of doubt. Knowledge: Why? It is the very glory of Christ, and dwelt with God in the very beginning of the world; yea, it was begotten from euer­lasting, when there was no depths, nor the mountaines setled, nor the earth framed, &c. from Vers. 22. to 32. The exhortation is in the end of the Chapter, that as men would assure themselues to be Gods Children, or to be blessed in their wayes they should heare instruction in this point and bee wise, and daily watch at the gates of Knowledge: so should they get the life of grace and obtaine the fauour of God, when others that despise knowledge, and the meanes of it, shall be so wounded in soule, that they shall certainely die eternally, Vers. 32.33.34.35.

Thus of Contemplatiue Knowledge.

Wherin wise­dome or dis­cretion con­sists. 1 Wisedomes order in sea­uen rules. Wisedome, or Actiue Knowledge followes: the consideration hereof is ex­ceeding difficult: for it lyeth in the prescribing of the discretion in practise. Wisedome in practise stands principally in two things: first, in Order of pra­ctise: secondly, in the Specialties of good behauiour.

Wisedomes Order lieth in the prescribing of Rules concerning the priority and precedencie of things in practise: she tels what must be first done, and chiefly; and thus she giues seauen Rules.

1 That Heauen be sought for before the earth, and remission of sinnes in Christ, before any other thingMath. 6.32..

2 That men choose present affliction rather then future; rather suffer now with hope of reward in another world, then take pleasure now, to endure the paines to come2 Tim: 2.3. to 8..

[Page 77]3 That God be serued before man, whether it be other men or thy selfe: thus it is wisedome to let God haue the first place in the morning, before thou serue thy selfe in thy calling: thus it is wisedome to obey God rather then man, when the Commandement of God and the commandement of man lieth before thee, and are contrary one to anotherActs 5.: thus also the duties of the first Table are to be done before the duties of the second Table, in equall comparisonMat: 22.38.39..

4 That death be prouided for before life; first learne to dye, and then it is easie to learne to liueDeut: 32.29..

5 That opportunitie be preferred before time: Worke in haruest: walke while ye haue the light: delay not whilst thou hast the meanes, seeke God whilst hee may be found.

6 That the first place in dignitie ouer any, be accounted the greatest place of seruice vnto allMath: 9.34..

7 That in duties to men, wee first regard to practise the duties of the fift CommandementEphes: 6.3..

Secondly, concerning behauiour; Wisedome bindes the Heart, the Tongue,Wisedomes specialties in the behauiour. 1 Of the heart, in fiue things. the Conuersation.

First, in binding the heart to good behauiour, she chargeth fiue things.

1 That in the dearenesse of affections, and clearenesse of knowledge, in the puritie of our thoughts, God be loued aboue allMarke 12.33.

2 That wee draw weapon vpon euery imagination, or what else exalts it selfe against Contemplation, and the obedience of Christ, neuer ceasing till those inward sinnes be led away captiue2 Cor: 10.4..

3 That wee grow in Meekenesse, as wee grow in knowledgeIames 3.13.: and that we be wise to sobrietie, desiring the knowledge onely that can profit vsRom: 12.13..

4 That wee rest not till wee be dearely resolued, in Religion, Gods Loue, and our owne SaluationPro: 24.15..

5 That the feare of God, throughout all our whole life, bee our chiefe treasure Esay 33.6. 2 Of the tongue, in seauen things..

Secondly, in binding the Tongue to the good behauiour, she chargeth:

1 That our words be few, when we speake either to God or menEccles: 5.1. Iames 1.19. Eccles: 10. vlt.:

2 That wee doe not so much as whisper against the Lords AnnointedDeut: 28.58. Command. 3..

3 That we presume not to come neere the sacred Name of God to take it vp in vainePro: 17.15..

4 That we censure not the iust, nor iustifie and defend the wickedPro: 17.15.. It is not safe for the Prince to smite with the tongue the meanest seruant of GodPro: 17.26..

5. That wee answere not a matter before wee heare it Pro: 18.13..

6. That we iudge nothing before the time 1 Cor: 4.5.: and speake euill of no man, but be soft, shewing all meekenesse to all men Tit: 3.2.3..

7 That wee seeke a due season for good wordsPro. 15.23..

Thirdly, in binding the conuersation to the good behauiour, she chargeth:3 Of the con­uersation in eight things

1 That men walke exactly, accurately, precisely: it is translated circum­spectly Ephes: 5.15..

2 That with all delight men set their hearts to keepe Gods Commande­ments and doe themDeut: 4.5.6.: and by good conuersation men shew their workes Iames 3.13..

3 That men meddle with their owne businesse1 Thes: 4.11..

4 That profit and pleasure giue place to godlinessePsal: 4.6. 1 Tim. 6.6..

5 That men trust not faire pretences, but haue some sure triall before wee commit our selues to anyIohn 2.24..

6 That wee feare and depart from euill before the crosse comeProu: 16.6. Esay 27.11.: it is e­uery bodies course to talke of repenting when misery is vpon them: but a wise man will redeeme his owne sorrowes, and feare GOD whiles the [Page 78] curse hangs in the threatning though it come not yet into execution.

7 There is a speciall wisedome in knowing how to giue place to the time, so farre as may stand with keeping of Faith and a good Conscience: Thus Paul forbeares to speake directly against Diana of the Ephesians for three yeeresAct: 19.10.26..

8 That temporall things be ordered to conformitie with God.

Hitherto of the Parts of sauing Knowledge.

Verse 10. That yee might walke worthy of the Lord in all pleasing, being fruit­full in all good workes, and increasing in the knowledge of God.’

IN these words the end of Knowledge is at large set downe: to this end we should fill our selues with the knowledge of Gods will, that our conuer­sations might be rightly ordered, to the glory of God, the profitable plea­sing of others, and the storing vp of good fruits vnto eternall life, in the saluation of our owne soules. Neither doth hee thinke it enough (for those that haue by the Gospell gained much Knowledge) to do good, or liue well, but they must raise their endeauours to an eminencie, and this he expresseth in three formes of speech.

First, they must walke worthy of the Lord.

Secondly, they must walke in all pleasing.

Thirdly, they must be fruitfull in all good workes.

And if any should aske how all this can be attained, hee answeres in the end of the Verse, when he saith, increasing in the knowledge of God.

The generall Doctrine.The Doctrine out of the whole Verse is, that the life of Christians ought to answere their profession, knowledge, and the meanes they enioy. In the inlarging hereof I consider foure things. 1. The Motiues to excite vs to an holy endeauour after innocency. 2. The Causes why so many men in the visible Church, inioying the meanes, haue attained to so little innocen­cie. 3. What we must doe that wee may thus walke. 4. The Benefits would be gotten by a holy care of Christian Innocencie.

Motiues to holy life.The Motiues are such as these:

1 We are not in our owne power, to liue to our selues, but are tied to liue to him that died for vs 2 Cor. 5.15..

2 Our soules and bodies are destinate to incorruption in the Heauens: and therefore wee should set our selues so to liue, for this short space in this world, as we might deliuer them vp vndefiled in the day of the Lord.

3 Haue wee euer found vnrighteousnesse in God Jer: 2.8.? shall wee then serue Sa­than, that neuer did vs good, and forsake the Lord our God? When our hearts are tempted to sinne, wee should say: Shall I thus requite the Lord for the innumerable benefits he hath bestowed vpon me?

4 The long night of sinne and ignorance and hellish darkenes and danger (by the light of the Gospell, by the meanes of Christ our Sauiour) is past, and a short season remaines vnto vs, to glorifie God, and worke out the assu­rance and fruition of our owne saluation. Shall wee not then arise from the sleepe of sinne, and now cast away the workes of darkenesse? Is it not now time to arme our selues against the sluggishnesse of our owne Natures, and the cor­ruptions that are in the World; to walke honestly, as becomes this day of grace and fauourRom: 13.11.12.?

5 The miserable euents of seruing the flesh might moue vs. If wee haue the meanes, and make a shew, and yet liue carnally and scandalously, wee may deceiue our selues, but God will not be mocked: wee shall reape as we sow; if wee sow to the flesh, wee shall of the flesh reape corruption Gal: 6.7.8.. And for these things the wrath of God commeth vpon the Children of disobedience Ephes: 5.6.. And therefore [Page 79] let no man deceiue vs with vaine words: and if Ierusalem will not be instructed, my soule (saith the Lord) shall depart from her, and shee shall be desolate, as a Land that no man inhabiteth Ier. 6.8.. And contrariwise, if wee would sow to the spirit, and neuer be weary of well doing, nor faint or faile, in due season wee should reape: reape I say of the Spirit, euen life euerlastingGal. 6.7.8..

6 We should be much moued by the dreadfull relation wee stand in, to God, to Christ, to the holy Ghost, and to the Church: to God; for wee are his Seruants, and therefore ought to be holy as hee is holy 1 Pet. 1.: wee are his Children and therefore ought to proue it by our obedienceMal. 1.. To Christ; for hee hath washed vs in his bloud, and shall wee pollute our selues againe? hee was in his owne practise a perfect patterne of innocencie, and shall wee not learne of himMat. 11.28.? wee are his Members, shall wee shame and dishonour our Head? our Sauiour is in Heauen, and shall we be buried, like Moles, in the loue of sensuall and earthly things? or rather, ought not our affections and conuer­sations to be where Christ is, euen in heauen, at the right hand of the FatherCol. 3.1. Phil. 3.21.? To the holy Ghost; we are his Temple, and shall we defile Gods holy place? To the Church; which is the Citie of the holy God, which hee hath consecrated to himselfe: and therefore were it not wickednesse to prophane it with impuri­tie? Let vs liue as the Citizens of GodEphes. 2.20..

Lastly, in the 1 Thes. 4. I finde an Exhortation to holinesse, and it is infor­ced by fiue reasons: first, it is the will of God, Vers. 3. Secondly, a holy life is an honorable life, Vers. 4. Thirdly they are Gentiles, not Christians, that liue prophanely, Ʋers. 5. Fourthly God is a certaine auenger of all vnrighteousnesse, Vers. 6. And finally, we are called vnto holinesse, Vers. 7.

Secondly, if it bee asked,How it comes to passe, that such multi­tudes liue without holi­nesse. how it comes to passe that such multitudes of people, liuing in the bosome of the Church, are touched with so little care of holinesse of life? I may answere, diuers things.

1 The Vaile of Ignorance lyeth vpon their heartsEsay 25.8., and grosse darkenesse still couers those people Esay 60.2.3. Though the light be come, and the glory of the Lord; Yet for the most part these men abhorre the light Iob 24.13., and therefore are their waies darke and slippery Psal. 36.6..

2 Mens hearts goe after their eyes, and mens senses are made Maisters of their liuesIob 31.7., and therefore are their affections onely stirred with carnall things, they take their directions from their owne flesh, and walke in the way of their owne lustsEccles. 11.9..

3 Many times their brethren deceiue them Iob. 6.13.: I meane, they are misled sometimes by their owne mistaking and misapplying of Gods promises, and sometimes by the sinfull dawbing of wicked Teachers that set themselues to strengthen the hands of the wicked, and discourage the hearts of the righteous; crying Peace, and safety, where there is no peace. Vngodly men these are, that gaine­say the doctrine of those faithfull men, that would cure this sinfull generati­on, by a meete seuerity of doctrine.

4 The most men see no necessity of the restoring of their soules: they cannot bee perswaded of the necessity of Regeneration and conuersion by the Word, and when they come to the meanes they seeke not to God to lead themPsal: 23.3..

5 Men are double-hearted, and diuide one part to the flesh and the world, and another to God; the more open part of their liues, some pretend to di­rect, with some respect of holinesse, but the secret and inward part is full of all rottennesse: and yet men will not see, that God and Sinne, God and Ri­ches, God and the Flesh, cannot be serued both of one man, at one time.

6 They are incorrigible, will neyther be heal'd by the word, nor bee for­ced by the workes of God, They will not vnderstand, though all the foundations of the earth be moued Psal: 82:5..

What we must doe that wee might be holyThirdly, that we might attaine vnto this holinesse of Conuersation:

1 Wee must grow out of liking with our owne waies, and our present carnall course, and forsake that way, and returne from itProu: 9.6. Ezech: 18..

2 We must get out of the way of sinners, for he that walketh with the vngod­ly will be like themPsal: 1.1..

3 Wee must mightily labour for knowledge, and bee much in contem­plation: and to this ende exercise our selues in Gods word day and night, and dwell in Gods house. Coherence with Verse before, and Psal. 1.2. Prou. 8.20. and 2.11.12. Psalm. 84, 4.5. Esay 2.3. yea, wee should by conference aske the way one of anotherIer: 51.4..

4 Wee must get into Christ; for hee is the way, and till wee labour our ingrafting into Christ, and settle our selues to seeke a Sauiour, euen vnto vs by faith, all our workes are in vaine.

5 That our conuersations might be more holy, and vnrebukeable, wee should first labour to get holinesse into our hearts; for if grace be within, duties will be without; if corruption be mortified in the Soule, which is the fountaine, it will haue no great sinne in the life, which is the streame which flowes from the heart: first, we should guide our hearts into the way Prou. 23.19, for there­out commeth life Prou. 4.23..

6 Wee must submit our selues to Gods corrections: learne obedience by the things we suffer Heb. 5.8., obey the checkes of our conscience, and be contented to eate the bread of affliction Esa: 30.20.: beare the words of rebuke and admonition 1 Thes: 5.13.: for hee that refuseth correction will certainely goe out of the way of life Prou. 10.17..

Lastly, we should commit our way to God, and by constant and daily prayer beseech him that hee would shew vs the way, and lead vs forth Psal: 25.4.; and then, that he would stay our steps in his paths, that our feet doe not slide Psal: 17.5.: and to this end, that he would remoue out of our way, all impediments, and euery lying way Psal. 119.29.: and that he would daily quicken vs in the way, against the sluggishnesse of our owne NaturesPsal. 119.37.: and bend our hearts to his holy feare, but especially euery morning wee should beseech God so to assist vs, and guide, and streng­then vs, to doe the duties of the day, and that hee would see to and defend the thing of the day in his day 1 Kin: 8.58.59, by the vertue of Christs intercession, and his words, which are neere vnto God day and night.

The gaine of godlinesse.Fourthly, thus doing, and endeauouring our selues to know and doe Gods will.

1 The Lord would know vs by name, and take notice of our wayes, euen with the knowledge of approbationPsal: 1. vlt..

2 Our liues would be full of ioy and chearfulnessePsal. 138.5.: yea, they that haue ta­sted of the ioyes of a Crowne, shall leaue the Throne and Pallace, to seeke the sweet delights of the faithfull, and to sing their songs.

3 God would walke in the middest of vs Leu: 26.11..

4 Yea, hee would keepe his Couenant and Mercy with vs 1 King: 8.23..

5 We should be protected against all hurtfull troubles, being eyther pre­serued from them, or in them: if we walke in the day we shall not stumble Ioh: 11.8.9.: yea though we went through fire and water, yet Gods holy presence and strong arme would be with vs Esay 43.3. Psal: 23.3.: yea, we might dwell with euerlasting burnings, that is, with­in the knowledge of Gods terrible presence, and sight of his great iudgments, when the hypocrites of the world would be afraid Esay 33.14.16..

6 Or if there were sorrowes and griefes vpon vs in this world, yet heauen shall come, and we shall rest in the beds of eternall ease, whatsoeuer betides vs, we shall not lye downe in sorrow Esay 57:2: & 50: vlt..

7 Thus to liue, is, to rule with God, and to be faithfull with his Saints Hos: 11.12..

8 Thus shall we scape the vigor of the Law Gal: 5:18., and the flames of Hell Rom: 8.1..

Lastly, if we cōtinue faithfull to the death, there is laid vp for vs a crown of life Reuel: 2.10.

Thus of walking, or holy conuersation in the generall: now in particular, that we might walke in an holy eminency, three things (as is before noted) are heere vrged.

First, that wee should walke worthy of the Lord.] That is, so to know and consider the singular mercies of God in Christ, as to endeauour to expresse our thankefulnesse in the obedience of our liues, in such a measure as might become the mercies of God. Before I open the words further, I consider in the generall, two things.

1 That the obedience of the faithfull is raysed by the contemplation of the mercies of God: which should teach vs,2 Generall obseruations. as wee desire more to abound in good fruites, so to be more in the assurance, and often meditation of Gods loue to vs: more knowledge of this kinde would worke more obedience; and a confused knowledge of Gods mercy is vsually accompanied with an vnconstant obedience. Besides, this reprooues the dangerous and sinfull abuse of Gods mercies in the common people, that vse to plead their safetie (notwithstanding their sinnes) by the alledging of the mercy of God to sin­ners: whereas it is most certaine, that the right knowledge of Gods mercy would make men afraid to sinne; There is mercy with thee that thou maist be fea­red, saith the PsalmistPsal. 130.4.: and it is the infallible signe of a true conuert, that hee doth feare God and his goodnesse Hos. 3.5.: euery man can feare God and his Iustice, especially in some kindes of iudgements; but a childe of God doth neuer more tenderly feare God, then when hee hath greatest taste of Gods mercies.

2 The Papists would finde merit of workes in this Verse: both because ho­linesse of life is so much vrged, as also because heere is the word [worthy] vsed as if the Apostle should grant, that they might be worthy of, and merit the blessings of God.

My answere is, First, that merit cannot be founded vpon Scripture;Against merit of workes. and secondly, it cannot bee founded vpon this Scripture. For the first, we can­not merit for many reasons in Scripture: first, wee are not our owne men, wee are so tyed vnto God that gaue vs beeing in Nature and Grace, that when wee haue done all wee can doe, our owne mouthes must say wee are but vn­profitable Seruants Luke 17.. Secondly, all our sufficiencie to doe any good is of God, not from our selues 2 Cor. 3.5. Phil. 2.13.. Thirdly, God gaines nothing by vs. If thou be righ­teous, what giuest thou to him? or, what receiueth hee at thy hands Iob 35.7.? Fourth­ly, men talke of their well-doing, but what shall become of their sinnes? If the Papists will first goe to hell for their sinnes, and stay all that eternity there, then afterwards if God create another eternity, they may haue hearing to relate what good they haue done: the curse of the Law will be first ser­ued; the punishment of Adams one sinne barred the plea for any reward for former righteousnesse. Fiftly, what comparison can there be betweene the glory of Heauen, and our workes on earthRom. 8.18.? Sixtly, it is worthy to bee obserued, that it is mercy in God to set his loue vpon them that keepe his Com­mandements, Exod. 20. Command. 2. Seauenthly, wee are so farre from meri­ting, that we are taught to pray God to giue vs our daily bread, wee haue not a bit of bread of our owne earning. Eightly, the Sanctification of the most righteous is but begunne in this life. Lastly, vnto all these Reasons adde the further Testimony of these Scriptures, Dan. 9.9. Rom. 4.5. and 11.9. 1. Cor. 4.4. Phil. 3.8.9.

Secondly, This place hath no colour for merit: for (to passe ouer that reason, that the Scripture requireth good workes, therefore our workes merit, as a most false and absurd argument:) the wordes [worthy of the Lord] cannot be applied to merit by any meanes: for in as much as the Lord had bestowed many of his fauours already vppon them, and giuing his hand [Page 82] and writing, and seale for the rest, they cannot by any workes afterwards be said in any colour to merit what is past. They are vrged, Matth. 3. to bring foorth fruites woorthy repentance: now it were absurd to thinke that the fruits afterwards borne, should merit repentance, which God gaue before; for that is to affirme that not onely a wicked man might merit his own con­uersion, but that hee might merit it by the workes hee would doe after his conuersion, which I know not that any Papist will affirme: and the like rea­son is there of the phrase here vsed.

Quest. Quest. But, letting the Papist goe, what is it to walke worthy of the Lord?]

Ans. Answ. It is so to cleaue vnto God, that we refuse not (out of the holy esti­mation of Gods free mercies) to forsake our selues and the world, and to te­stifie our obedience to the Law and Spirit of God, in vprightnesse with all thankefulnesse. But that this may appeare more plainely, if we would walke worthy of the Lord;

1 In generall, our righteousnesse must exceede the righteousnesse of the Scribes and Pharisees; we must be so farre from resting in the custome and practise of the vile sinnes that abound in the world, that wee must not be satisfied, with this, that we be ciuill honest men, and well thought of in the world: for Gods mercies challenge more at our hands then ciuill honestyMat. 5.20..

If we would walke worthy of the Lord we must doe sixe things.2 In particular, if we would walke worthy of God:

1 Wee must walke with God in the sence of Gods presence, and in the light of his countenance, so knowing his Loue as wee forget not his pre­senceGen. 17.1.. And because the wandring and vnmortified heart of man is not easily brought to this, therefore we must humble our selues to gaine a better a­bility to walke with our God Mich. 6.8..

2 Wee must set the Law of God (as the onely rule of our actions) alwaies before vs Psal. 119.1.; and by all meanes be carefull to obey the motions of Gods Spi­rit, euen the Law in our mindes, that is, to walke after the Spirit Gal. 5.21., and according to the Spirit Rom. 8.1..

3 We must labour to glorifie God, by endeauouring by an open light, to approue our selues to the world, in shewing the power of Gods grace in our workes, and the newnes of our liuesIames 3.15. Math. 5. Rom. 6..

4 We must be contented to deny our owne reason, wit, desires, delights, and profits, and to take vp any crosse God shall lay vpon vsLuke 9.24..

5 Wee should go beyond all ciuill honest men in this, that wee would respect all Gods Commandements, and make conscience of euery sinne, by Prayer and endeauour to auoid it, and to obey God both in our soules and bodies; and in euery part of both.

Lastly, we should so admire Gods loue, in deliuering our soules from death, and our feet from falling, &c. that wee should seeke Gods face in the light of the liuing, and neuer to come empty handed, but Gods vowes should be vpon vs, and we should euer be rendring praise. Thankefulnesse is all wee can giue to GodPsal. 56.12.13..

In all pleasing.] This is the second thing required in our conuersation: we should not thinke it enough to liue iustly and religiously, but wee must liue pleasingly also, and this is true: 1. In respect of God: Let vs haue grace that wee may so serue God, that wee may please him Hebr. 12.28. 1 Cor. 7.31.. 2. In respect of our owne Conscience, preseruing the rest and goodnesse of the conscience. 3. In re­spect of men: thus the wife careth to please her husband, and the husband to please his wife 1 Cor. 7.34. What we should do that we might not onely serue God but please him too. It is not enough to be perswaded that that we doe, be good; but we ought to looke to it, that it be pleasing. So, in all dueties to God, and in our carriage to men.

Quest. But what should wee doe, that wee might so serue God, as please him too? Ans. This is answered in diuers Scripture.

[Page 83]1 Be sure thou be not in the flesh; for no such can please God Rom. 8.8.: and they are in the flesh that can relish nothing but fleshly things; that take no care to pro­uide for the life of Grace and peace of Conscience; vers. [...]. that will not bee subiect to the Law of God; vers. 7. that haue not the Spirit of Christ, vers. 9. and that dye not to sinne, vers. 10.

Obiect. Obiect. But there are many wise men, to whom these signes agree, and may not they for their good parts otherwayes be pleasing to God? Sol. No;Solution. so long as they are fleshly persons, their wisedome, bred in the flesh, is so farre from pleasing God, that it is enmity to God.

2 Thou must let the will of God reuealed in this word, be the rule of all thy actions, a light to thy feete, and a lanthorne to thy paths; for in the Word is contayned both what he requires, and what will please him.

3 Thou must make conscience of little sinnes as well as great sinnes: if a man breake the least Commaundement, and then by doctrine or defence maintaine it to be a small matter, our Sauiour Christ shewes that this is not onely displeasing to God, but it will cause God to cast men out of heauen with indignation: on the other side, whosoeuer shall make conscience to obserue Gods Commandements in the things the world counts lesse matters, and shall constantly by doctrine or profession declare his sinceritie heerein, hee shall be exceeding pleasing to God, and God will shew it, by making him great in the Kingdome of HeauenMat. 5.19.. What commandement could bee lesse then the commandement about the not eating of bloud, and yet with many words, their obedience herein was vrged, and that with this reason; as they would haue all things goe well with them and theirs, and doe that which is pleasing or right in Gods sight Deut. 14.24.26..

4 Thou must desire and pray for the best things; thou must so thinke of profits and pleasures of this world, as especially thy heart must desire, and thy lips request of God the wisedome and grace that is from aboue. It did ex­ceedingly please God that Salomon asked wisedome and not riches, or long life1 King. 10.3..

5 Thou must get an humble and contrite spirit; a hart able to see and hate sinne, and mourne ouer it; and with a tender sence of thine owne wants and vnworthinesse, to implore Gods fauour, and the renuing of his mercies.

6 Thou must so professe respect of Piety, as thou be carefull in all things to deale iustly and truely with men, delighting in all the occasions and meanes to shew mercy: hee cannot please God that doth not endeauour to please men; Sacrifice is an abhomination, when men doe not iudgement and iu­stice Prou. 21.3.: and God delights in men that will deale truely Prou. 12.22.. If a man will deale iustly, and loue mercy (not be mercifull onely,) and when hee hath occasi­on to come to God in the dueties of Piety and Worship, will come in all humilitie and contrition of heart, this is that (saith the Prophet Micah) that is required; yea, that is good, that is exceeding pleasing and accepta­ble to GodMich. 6.5.6 7.

Thou must bee tender-hearted and mercifull, to supply the necessities of the Saints: for workes of mercy are Odours of sweet smell, sacrifices accepta­ble, well pleasing to GodPhil. 4.18..

7 Thou must take heede of such sinnes as Gods hates with a speciall ha­tred; for there are some euils, which a man beeing guilty of, God will at no hand be pleased with him: as first, the sinnes of the third Commandement, swearing and cursing, and the like; for God hath told vs before, that what sinnes soeuer hee will beare with, yet hee will not hold vs guiltlesse if we take his Name in vaine Command. 3. Deui. 28.58.. Secondly, lukewarmnesse in Religion, when men are neyther hot nor cold; this is so exceeding loathsome vpon Gods stomacke, hee cannot be at rest till hee haue spued such persons out. Thirdly, for a [Page 84] man to blesse his heart when God curseth, and to pleade his hopes, when God threatnethDeut: 29.19.. Fourthly, to feare God by mens traditions Esay 29.13.. Fiftly, pre­sumptuously to breake Gods SabaothJer. 17. vlt.. Sixtly, through impatience or vn­beliefe in aduersity, to with-draw our seluesHeb: 10.35.36. &c. &c. and without faith it is vn­possible to please God. Seauenthly, to offer vnto God the blinde, the lame, and the sicke, the torne and the corrupt thingMal. 1.8.9.10.13.14.. Eightly, to bee found in the fashions of the world, either in life or attireRom: 12.2.. Ninthly, out of fro­wardnesse and malice, to crosse and persecute such as feare God; God these please not 1 Thes: 2.15.16..

Thus of walking in all pleasing, in respect of God.

What we must doe that wee may please men. Quest. 2. What must we doe that we may walke pleasingly amongst men?

Ans. I consider of this first generally, then more particularly. That wee may please men we must obserue these Rules: 1. We [...] must be carefull to please God, else it is iust with God, that though we striue to please men, yet we should not attaine to it, because wee are not in the first place carefull to please God. 2. We must get that Philanthropian, loue of men into our hearts, but especially Philadelphian, the loue of the Brethren, for this ingenders care and diligence to please, and makes the labour thereunto seeme no basenesse or burthen. 3. In the generall corruption of our callings wee must liue innocently. Samuel is much set by, and pleaseth the people, when hee stands by Hophni and Phinehas, men so egregiously corrupt. 4. If wee would please in conuersing, wee must learne to beare infirmitiesRom: 15.2.. 5. Wee must practise those vertues that especially winne fauour: as curtesie, meeke­nesse, candor, faithfull dealing, (though it be to our hinderance) wee must giue soft answeres, ouercome euill with goodnesse, bee slow to wrath, and forgiue, and not reuenge. 6. Wee must hate those vices, and auoid them, which in conuersation appeare hatefull amongst men; as back-bitingRom: 1.29. 1 Tim: 5.13. Pro: 26.20., dis­couery of secretsPro: 11.13. bitter wordsEphes. 5.3.4., boastingPro: 27.1.2., suspiciousnesse1 Cor: 13., rashnesse in reproofes and admonition, offensiue carriage1 Cor: 10.32., and the stirring of the in­firmities of othersGen: 13:8..

In particular, we must be carefull to please, in the Familie, in the Church, in the Common-wealth. In the Familie: 1. The Gouernours must labour to walke in all pleasing; and to this end, they must gouerne in the Lord, and cast the impression of Religion vpon the soules of their people, that the reason of their obedience may be the will of God;How gouer­nours in fami­lies may walk pleasingly. they must retayne wisely their authoritie: it is not the way to please, to loose the reynes, and lose their authoritie: they must take notice of vertues as well as vices, and reproue in loue, not in passion, and auoide that behauiour that irritates and prouokes to wrath.

How Inferi­ours in the fa­milie may please their Superiours.2 Inferiours, if euer they would please GOD, must bee carefull to please their Masters, Parents, and Husbands, as bearing the Image of God: and to this end, they must pray God to make them able, both to obey and please, they must be teachable, and not such as must bee continu­ally told of the same fault: they must auoyd answering againe; for, as a sullen silence is hatefull, so prating, and hast to answere doth prouoke Tit: 2.9.10.. Lastly, they must auoyd such sinnes as proue in their places specially hatefull; as pride, lying, vnfaithfulnesse, (viz.) to be such as cannot be trusted in any thing; stubbornnesse, slownesse, especially when they are sent vpon busines.

How Mini­sters may walke in all pleasing.As in the Familie, so in the Church, Ministers must walke in all pleasing: and to this end they must practise what they preach, and auoyd enuy, pas­sion, contention, and partialitie; they must be wise and gentle, apt to teach and instruct in meekenesse, though they be opposed2 Tim: 2.24.25.; they must be vigilant, sober, of good behauiour, giuen to hospitality; they must not be pot com­panions, or quarrelsome, or couetous, more desiring and delighting in the [Page 85] the gaine of the Benefice, then the profit of the peoples soules: they must order their families as well as themselues, and keepe their children in su [...]ie­ction and grauitie1 Tim: 3.2.3.4.. Peace, peace, and dawbing with vntempered morter, will not make them pleasing, though many striue to winne applause by such daubing: for the conscience of the men that are so soothed doth secretly contemne these plausible seers.

The Hearers also must striue to please their Teachers,How the hea­rers may please their Teachers. and that they may doe so, they must yeeld them meete honour, and sufficient maintenance, but especially they must labour, from the heart, to yeelde obedience to the doctrine of their Teachers: for that pleaseth a faithfull Minister more then all dignities or riches.

3 The Magistrate must striue to bee pleasing to the people,How the Ma­gistrate may please the people. and for that purpose, they must be men fearing GodExod: 18., studious of the ScripturesI [...]sh. 1.9., lo­uers of the goodMich: 2:3., iust, hating couetousnesseExod: 18. [...], louers of the Common­wealth, industrious to acquaint themselues with the estate of their flockes, walking in and out before the people, with all wisedome, courage, and gra­uitie, carefull to purge out those vices, which as euill humours, disease the publike body, for this easeth and pleaseth the body afterwards: such as will charge and remunerate, as well as punish; countenance the good as well as restraine the euill: such as in factions and emulations will cleaue to neyther side: men that conceiue a generall care for the persons, goods, and good name of the Subiect: guiding them to holinesse as well as happinesse, to sanctitie as well as safetie.

The people againe must striue to please their Rulers,How the peo­ple may please their Rulers. by reuerencing them, and obeying them, though against their profit, with constancie and for conscience sake: they must pray for them, and speake well of them. It was with­out doubt a great contentment to Dauid that whatsoeuer hee did pleased the people 2 Sam: 3.36.

Thus of walking in all pleasing in respect of others.

Thirdly, wee must walke in all pleasing towards our owne Consciences,How we may walke in all pleasing to­wards our owne con­sciences. prouiding by all meanes for the rest, peace and contentment of our owne hearts within, and that this inward peace and pleasing may bee had, many things are profitable and auaileable: 1. Sorrow for our sinnes; for this sor­row will be turned into ioy Iohn 16.20.; whereas the end of all carnall laughter will bee sorrow and vnquietnesse of heartLuke 6.25.: and there is no peace to the wicked, and he is wicked that is not contrite in heartEsay 57. vlt.. 2. The Faith or beliefe of our Iusti­fication in Christ; for being iustified by faith, our soules haue peace Rom: 5.1.: wee must seeke the rest of our hearts in Gods fauour in Christ, for hee is the Prince of Peace Esay 9.6.. 3. The loue of Gods Law; for great peace and rest haue they that loue Gods Law Psalm: 119.165.; yea, it is added, and nothing shall offend them. 4. Diligence and constancy in the vse of Gods ordinances: it is a secret ioy to the heart of eue­ry one that is a friend to the Bridegroome, to heare the Bridegroomes voyceIohn 3.29.; and to be much in prayers is a way to bee much in ioyIohn 16.24.. 5. Meeke­nesse; while angry and wrathfull persons fret themselues, to their owne singular euill, meeke men shall delight themselues in abundance of peace Psa: 37.8.11.. 6. Iust dealing in all businesses with all men: for, the worke of righteousnesse is peace, and the effect of righteousnesse is quietnesse and assurance for euer Esay 32.17.. Lastly, would wee attaine that peace and pleasing contentment that passeth all the vnderstanding of the carnall man, we must take heede of worldly care. In nothing bee carefull.

Obiect. But wee haue so many crosses, how can wee but care? Sol. Let Obiect. 2 your request be knowne to God. Solut.

Obiect. We haue prayed, and are not rid out of them. Sol. Adde suppli­cation Obiect. 3 to your prayers.Solut.

Obiect. Solution. Obiect. We haue prayed, and that earnestly, and daily, and with much importunitie, and yet are disquieted still. Sol. Be thankefull for the mercies thou hast; vnthankfulnesse hinders the restfull successe of prayerPhil. 4.6, 7..

Fruitfull in all goodworkes.] The Sonne of man is ascended, and hath giuen authoritie and gifts vnto men, and vnto euery seruant his worke: hee calls for obedience, and detests sleeping, and requires all watchfulnesse to the speeding of all his workes, and what he saith to one, he saith to all, Watch Mat. 13.34.36.: This is shewed vnto all that turne vnto God, that they must doe workes meete for repentance Acts 26.20.; considering the season, that it is now high time to awake out of sleep: the might is farre spent, and the day at hand, and therefore we should arme and addresse our selues, to cast away the workes of darknes, and to labour in the light Rom. 13.12, 13.. Good workes are the best apparell of Christians, professing godlinesse1 Tim 2.10., and their most durable riches and treasures1 Tim. 6.18, 19.. To this end hath the light of the gracious and sauing Doctrine of God shined, that men might be famili­arly instructed to conceiue the necessitie of doing all the workes, both of pietie, righteousnesse, and sobrietieTit. 2.12.. Yea, to this end did Christ giue him­selfe for vs, and redeeme vs at so high a rate, that he might purifie a peculiar people to himselfe, zealous of good workes Tit. 2.14.. We are the workemanship of God, crea­ted in Christ Iesus vnto good workes, which God hath ordained that we should walke in them Ephes. 2.10.: and it shall be to vs according to our works Rom. 2.6.: and therefore it should be our Wisdome, to shew by good conversation our workes Iames 3.13.: and our Loue, to prouoke others vnto good workes Heb. 10.24..

Concerning good Workes, I propound three things:

  • 1 What workes are not good workes.
  • 2 What rules must be obserued to make our workes good workes.
  • 3 What workes are good in particular.

1 For the first: the works that are done to be seene of men are not good worksMat. 23.5.. The workes of persecutors are all noughtIoh. 8.39, 40.:What workes are good workes. all works are nought that haue not repentance going before; for good workes are the workes of the peni­tentActs 26.20.: all the workes that are done too late are thrust out of the Catalogue of good workes; as to cry to God after a man hath stood out all the oppor­tunities and seasons of graceProu. 1.28.. It is a signe mens workes are not good, when they hate the light, and cannot abide to be reprouedIoh. 3.19, 20.. And of the like na­ture are those workes that are guided after the example of the multitude, of which men say, they doe as the most doeExod. 22.. Lastly, doth not the world hate thee?Ioh. 7.7. then suspect thy workes.

2 For the second: that we may haue comfort, that God will account our workes good works:What rules must be obser­ued to make our workes good works. 1. They must be warranted by the word of God: if wee doe truth, we must goe to the light that our deeds may be manifest, that they are wrought in God Iohn 3.21.. 2. Our persons must be made good by iustification, we must be created in Christ Iesus Ephes. 2.10.. Would we worke the workes of God, we must beleeue in him that God hath sent Ioh. 6.28, 29.. 3. Our workes must be finished Iohn 4.34.. 4. By mor­tification, we must purge our selues, that we may be meete for the Masters vse, and prepared for euery worke we would haue accepted as good2 Tim. 2.21.. Lastly, the ends must bee good: and the ends of all good workes are, 1. The glory of God: 2. The discharge of our obedience: 3. The edification of our neigh­bours: 4. The testification of our Faith and Thankfulnesse: 5. The esca­ping of the punishment of sinne, and the destruction of the wicked: 6 The answering of our high calling in Iesus Christ: 7. The obtayning of the glo­ry of Heauen.

3 For the third: in our conversation with men there are diuers kindes of good works;What vvorkes are good vvorks in par­ticular. some spirituall, some corporall: they are good workes to in­struct, admonish, incourage, reproue, and pray for others; to pull an infant, or weake man out of a flaming fire, is a good worke, and such it is to recouer [Page 87] a sinner, by admonition, counsell, &c. It is a good worke to couer infir­mities; yea, a multitude of them: and to forgiue trespasses, and to ouercome euill with goodnesse: so also they are good workes to grieue with them that grieue, in giuing honour to goe one before another, to lift vp the iust praises of others, to lend to the needy, and to giue liberally and cheerefully towards the relieuing of the necessities of the poore, especially them of the houshold of Faith.

To conclude, from the manner of phrase, [bearing fruit in euery good worke] these things may be obserued: First, that good workes are fruites: for they are such things as shew our Faith, proue our planting, and yeeld vs comfort in Gods acceptation of them. Secondly, that a religious minde will labour to get fruit of euery sort; hee will not know a good worke, but he will desire to carry some fruit of it. Thirdly, a Christian man carries his fruit, both because hee carries the blessing of his well-doing, and because hee is neuer without some fruit, as also he shall be sure his workes will go with him, when all things else shall leaue him.

Thus farre of the eminency of Christians in holy conuersation.

Increasing in the knowledge of God.] Whereas a Question might bee asked what should wee doe that we might attaine to the holinesse of life before des­cribed? These words containe an answere to it, that they must increase in the knowledge of God.

The words in themselues stand of three parts: First, the Grace, Knowledge: Secondly, the Measure of it, increase: Thirdly, the Obiect, of God. Of the Grace it selfe I haue intreated before, onely from the repetition two things may be obserued.

First, we had need to be often vrged, and put in minde,2 Obseruati­on from the repetition. Wee need to be often stir­red vp to seek knowledge. and stirred vp to seeke knowledge, we are naturally so vnapt to spirituall things, that line must be vpon line, and precept vpon precept Esay 29.. Of our selues there is none of vs haue any great mind to vnderstand or seeke after God Psal. 14.2.: or if we begin, we soone leaue off to vnderstand to doe good Psal. 36.3.; and some of vs are so wayward and wilfull, that we know not, nor will not know, but walke on in darkenesse, though all the foun­dations of the earth be moued Psal. 82.7..

Secondly, men are not onely to seeke knowledge, that they may be con­uerted and sanctified, and liue a righteous life; but euen after all these are at­tayned, we must still be industrious to get more knowledge:We must still seeke to get more know­ledge. because know­ledge inlarged giues the comfort and sence of grace receiued: else a man may haue Faith, and yet for want of knowledge liue without the comforts of it. Besides, it furthers the sanctification of our callings, and the Creatures wee vse1 Tim. 4.3.. Further, it makes vs able to discerne things that differ, and in matters of saluation to trust our owne FaithPhil. 1.10. 1 Iohn 4.1.; and it keepes downe corrupt affecti­onsEsay 11.7.9. and in what measure we retain our ignorance, we retaine feare, and the spirit of bondage.

Increasing.] The adiunct increase followes. Here are two Doctrines. Doct. 1

First, that wee must increase in knowledge; else that we haue, will decay, and knowledge is giuen but in part, and not all at once. Besides, it is a spe­ciall part of GODS Image; and therefore of great both necessitie and honour. If men bee neuer weary of seeking for wealth and riches, why should a Christian be weary of seeking Wisedome, which is better then all treasures?

Secondly, that increase of knowledge is a great furtherance of holy life: Doct. 2 the preuailing of sinne in the life of the Iewes was caused by the preuay­ling of ignoranceEsay 1.3.. Therefore there is no mercy, nor pietie in the Land, because there is no knowledge of God in the Land Hos. 4.1.2.. God shewes his righteous­nesse to them that know him Psal. 36:10.. And therefore neyther the Papists must tell [Page 88] men that Ignorance is the Mother of Deuotion: nor the common Prote­stant so idly aske, what needes all this knowledge?

More particularly, three questions may be here resolued.

What are the lets of increa­sing. Quest. 1. What are the lets of increase? Ans. There are many lets. 1. Ill opinions about knowledge: as that it is vnprofitable, vnnecessary, &c. 2. A­buse of our Callings. 3. The loue of other thingsIer. 9.23.24.. 4. The smothering of doubts, difficulties, and preiudice in the vse of the meanes. 5. Securitie; when a man growes proud of what hee doth know, and presumes of Gods mercy for what he wants. 6 Presumptuous sinne, as it hinders other graces, so it casts men behinde hand in knowledge. 7. Resisting of Gods Spirit, pric­king the conscience to get it awake, and smothering of terrorsHos. 6.1.2.3.. 8. Internall euils nourished, as lustTim: 3.7., euill thoughtsPro. 14.22., passionProu. 14.29. How we may know when we increase with know­ledge. What we must doe that wee may increase in knowledge, &c.

Quest. 2. How may we know when we increase in knowledge. Ans. We increase in knowledge. 1. If we increase in affection to the meanes: for God is neuer wanting in the successe. 2. If we increase in the power of godlinesse: it is certaine, wee grow in knowledge if wee grow in grace. 3. If wee grow stayed, and setled, and more resolued in the doctrine of Gods grace, and pra­ctise of holy life.

Quest 3. What must we doe that wee may increase? Ans. We must ob­serue these Rules. 1. We must practise what we doe already knowIohn 7.17. 2. Wee must not be ouer-curious, or suffer our selues to be drawne aside, with fond questions, controuersies and speculations, but be wise to sobrietyRom. 12.13.. 3. Wee must redeeme the time, and watch to all the opportunities, for the vse of the meanesEphes. 5.16.. 4. Wee must vse the world as if wee vsed it not. 5 We must ac­knowledge, that is, confesse and professe what we know, least God by our vn­thankefulnesse and fearefulnesse, be prouoked to scourge our spirits with a slumber or reprobate senceRom: 1.28.. 6. Wee must minde our owne way Prou: 14.8.. Lastly, we must vse Gods ordinances, and all of them, and without interruption, con­stantly and cheerefully.

Thus of the Grace it selfe, and the Measure of it: the Obiect followes.

Of God.] Our knowledge must be of God foure wayes:Our know­ledge must be of God foure waies. for first, it must be spirituall and diuine knowledge, not humane, naturall, and earthly. 2. It must be of God; as hee is the author of it, we must seeke it from aboue, by prayer. 3. It must be of God, as he is the end of it, it must draw vs nearer to God. Lastly, God must be the obiect of it, we must know Gods Name. In this last sence here are two things imported.

First, that euen after regeneration there may be sometimes some working of the seedes of Atheisme. So wretched is the euill nature of man, that in this respect there is cause many times to hang downe the head with horror, shame and bitter mourning of heart, and confusion of face.

Secondly, that increase in holy conuersation doth abate the mouings of Atheisme: as any be more holy, so they are more freed from the trouble of them. Be first holy, and then be an Atheist, (professed or resolued,) if thou canst.

Concerning the knowledge of God foure things are to be considered: 1. How he is made knowne: 2. Who they are that God chargeth with this, that they know him not: 3. How it comes to passe that man knowes not his God: 4. What we must doe, that we may know God.

How God is made knowneGod is made knowne, 1. in his Sonne: in Christ, God is as it were visi­bleIohn 14.9.. 2. By his Spirit1 Cor. 2.10.11. 3. By his worde; both by the testimony it giues of God, and by the relation of Prophesies accomplished, and Miracles won­derfully wrought; it shewes a God, as it is a sacred treasury preseruing the memory of wonderfull things. 4. By his workes; and that either in generall, as God hath stamped vpon them some markes of his invisible thingsRom. 1.; or in his [Page 89] particular workes, as the founding of the Earth, the hanging of the Cloudes, the spreading out of the Heauens, the recoyling of the Waters, leauing an habitation for man; terrours of Conscience, Plagues vpon wicked men at their wish, answering of Prayers, Miracles, the Soule of Man, and state of Diuels.

2 There are many sorts of men; yea, euen in the Church,Who they are that know not God. besides profes­sed Atheists, that are hated of God, and charged with this, that they know not God: as, 1. All that keepe not his CommandementsEsay 1.5. 1 Iohn 2.4.: 2. All that heare not vs1 Iohn 4.6.: 3. All PersecutorsJohn 16.3.: 4. All that honour not such as feare God1 Iohn 3.1.: 5. All that deny the Natures or Offices of the Sonne of God1 Iohn 2.23. The causes of this ignorance of God..

3 This wretched Atheisme and Ignorance of God, and euill thoughts of his Nature, Presence, Attributes, &c. is caused: first, by corruption of our natures in the Fall: 2. It is increased by the custome of all sorts of sinnes: 3. If it preuaile, it may come by some speciall iudgement of God, who be­ing prouoked by other sinnes, doth leaue men to a spirit of slumber, or eter­nally reiecting them, doth leaue them to a reprobate sence, or in the power of the sinne against the holy Ghost.

4 That we may know God and increase in it, wee must view his workes,What wee must do that we may know God. search his Booke, obey the motions of his Spirit, humble our selues to seeke the signes of his presence, and for the better successe in all, labour for a pure heartMath. 5.6..

Hitherto of the Obiect, Parts, and End of Knowledge: the Cause fol­loweth in these words.

Verse 11. Strengthened in all might, according to the power of his glory.’

IN the words I note, 1. The thing it selfe, Strengthened. 2. The manner of it, in all might: 2. The ground of it, according to the power of his glory, or glorious power.

From the Coherence I obserue that wee must bee strengthened in Grace, before wee can be filled with Knowledge: till Grace preuaile, euill motions Doct. 1 and temptations grow many times too hard for the seedes of Knowledge: and the Diuell steales away much of the seede.

Strengthened.] There are two sorts of Christians fearing God: some are Doct. 2 strengthened with all might; Two sorts of Christians. some are feeble in the Knowledge and Grace of God. There are strong Christians and weake; infants, and men of riper age. It is profitable more exactly to consider of both: and in the weake Christian I consider, 1. Who are weake: 2. What helpes to make them strong in the might of God.

For the better vnderstanding of the first, I propound three things. 1. What the Infant or weake Christian wanteth, by which hee discouers his weake­nesse. 2. What he hath, notwithstanding his wants. 3. The happinesse of his estate, though he be weake.

They are but Babes and infants in Grace: 1.Who are In­fants in grace. That know not the loue of Christ, with particular, distinct, and full assuranceEphes. 3 19.20.17.. 2. That are not able to practise the more strong and purging duties of mortificationMath: 9.15. &c.. 3. That serue any passion and vnruly affection1 Cor: 3.1.2.3. 4. That are vnsetled in the way of lifeIohn 14.5., and tost with the winde of contrarie doctrineEphes: 14.. 5. That sticke at ac­knowledgement, and dare not stand out to the profession of the truthEphes: 4.13.. 6. That cannot digest some truths of God, as being strong meate, and in their account hard sayings. 7. That are inexpert and vnskilfull in the word of righteousnesseHeb: 5.12.13. (especially, if they be ignorant in the principles,Iohn 6.60. & 16.22.) other signes may bee gathered from the contrarie estate of the strong Christian afterwards.

[Page 90] What the weake Chri­stian hath.2 Yet the weakest Christian (whatsoeuer hee wants) hath these things: 1. Hee discernes the season of Grace, and the day of his peace and redemp­tion, which the wise-men of the world doe notMath. 16.3.. 2. Though in his owne account hee can doe but little for the truth, yet hee will bee sure to doe no­thing against the truth, if hee may know it2 Cor: 13.8.. 3. Hee is not in the flesh, hee is more then a naturall man, hee is borne againe1 Cor: 15.50. Iohn 3.5. Rom: 8.8.. 4. Hee hath an earnest ap­petite and constant desire after the sincere milke of the Word 1 Pet. 2.2.. 5. Hee beleeues whiles hee struggles with vnbeliefe. 6. The strong man armed, which is the Diuell, is so cast out by Christ, that hee preuailes not as hee was wont. 7. He can deny his reason, pleasures, profits, and beloued sinnes, and take vp his Crosse in some measureLuke 14.26.27.33.. Lastly, such a dore may bee opened to them that haue little strength, as no man can shut, and such courage they may haue, that they will sticke to the word, and keepe it as their best treasure, whatsoeuer they lose, and by no meanes be induced to deny Christ and his NameReuel. 2.8.9.

His happines though he be weake.3. His case is happy though weake, for hee hath such a High Priest, and Sauiour, as knowes how to haue compassion on the ignorant Heb. 5.2., and is touched with a feeling of his infirmities Heb. 2.18., and hath wrought the reconciliation of all his brethren, and was tempted himselfe: and therefore will succour the weake when hee is tempted Heb. 2.18.: and will see to it, that more shall not bee laide vpon him then hee is able to beare 1 Cor: 10.; it being his charge and office to prouide, that the bruised Reede be not broken, or the smoaking Flaxe quenched, till iudgement be brought foorth vnto victory. And at all times the weakest Christian may goe boldly to the throne of Grace, and obtaine mercy to helpe in time of neede Heb. 4. vlt. Helpes for the weake Chri­stian..

The helpes for strengthening of the weake, are of two sorts: some with­out vs, some to be vsed by vs.

Without vs, there are many things that may strengthen, and incourage, and animate the weake: 1. There is proposed a glorious inheritance to them that ouercome. 2. We haue the example of all the Saints. 3. We haue a strong and sure foundation2 Tim. 2.19.. 4. We haue a strong God, and his power is engaged to exercise it selfe in our weakenesse, and to keepe vs vnto saluation, without falling, till hee present vs faultlesse before the presence of his glory Iud: 24. 1 Pet: 1 5. 2 Cor: 12.9. 5. Wee haue a strong word of God, able to builde vs vp, and make vs wise, and saue our soules Acts 20.32. 2 T [...]m. 3.16. Iames 1.21., as being Gods Arme, and mightie instrument, of his power1 Cor. 1.18. Rom. 1.10.. 6. The spi­rit of God is a Spirit as of Grace, so of Power 2 Tim 1.7., and helpeth the weake, as in PrayerRom. 8.26., so in euery Dutie and grace. 7. Wee haue a strong Sauiour: Christ doth strengthen and incourage the Christian three waies: first, by his owne example, becomming a patterne to vs to follow: secondly, by appli­cation; for vnto all that lay hold on him by Faith, hee is a Priest after the power of endlesse life Heb: 7.16.; the Wisedome of God, and the Power of God 1 Cor: 1.24.: thirdly, by operation, for hee hath borne our infirmities, by his one offering hee hath and doth consecrate and make perfect our persons and workes, in Gods sightHeb: 2.10.; he doth vnite vs to the Father Ioh. 17.21.23; hee giues vs his Fathers glory, both in that he giues vs such Graces as will bring to glory, and in that hee giues vs credit where himselfe and the Father are in credit. Thus of the helpes without vs.

If any aske in the second place, what wee must doe, that wee may bee strengthened. I answere: 1. Wee must pray for Knowledge and Faith, to discerne and beleeue Gods power and promise: Ephes. 1.8. &c. And in the fourth of that Epistle there are fiue things more to be done, that wee may at­taine to a ripe age in Christ, first, wee must subiect our selues to bee taught, and wrought vpon, by such Teachers as are set ouer vs by Christ. 2. Wee must resolue and settle our selues in the doctrine of the foundation and the Principles of truth, that wee bee not tossed to and fro with euery winde. 3. Wee must so be satisfied with the voyce of Christ in our Teachers, that [Page 91] we cast aside all respects of the voice of strangers, not opening our [...]res willingly to the sleights of cunning men, that will lie in waite to deceiue vs. 4. We must take heede of personall discords with any that feare God, follow­ing the truth in loue. 5. Wee must mutually striue to yeeld and seeke helpe to and of one another, that euery ioynt in this mysticall body, according to the measure of the part may supply and make vp the increase of the body by ver­tue of vnion with the Head, and communion with the MembersEphes. 4.11. to 17.. Besides, if we would increase in strength, wee must let Patience haue his perfect worke, making conscience to mortifie corrupt passions, as worldly griefe, anger, frettingIames 1.4., &c. And lastly, wee must bee carefull to keepe what God hath giuen vs, that no man take away our crowne. Neglect of grace receiued is a great hinderance of strength and increase.

Thus of the weake Christian.

A strong Christian discouers himselfe by diuers things. First,Of the strong Christian: and how he may be knowne. hee is spiri­tuall, that is, such a one as not onely hath a taste and desire after spirituall things, but is also ruled by the Word and Spirit of God, that hee restraines the euils of the flesh both in heart and life, so as hee giues not occasion ey­ther of scandall to the weake, or of scorne to them that are without1 Cor: 3.1.. Second­ly, hee is able to be baptised with the baptisme that Christ was baptised with, and to drinke of the cup that Christ dranke of: he is not onely willing to beare ordi­nary wrongs and crosses, but is prepared for the worst the world or Sathan may doe to himMat: 20.22.23.. 3. Hee can beare the infirmities of the weake, and in con­uersing, deny himselfe, and please his Brother in that that is good to edifica­tion Rom: 15.1.2.. 4. Hee is full of goodnesse and knowledge, and is able to admonish Rom: 15.14., and comfort others, with the comforts hee hath found himselfe 2 Cor: 1.4. 5. Hee sinnes not in word Iames 3.1., that is, hee is able to gouerne his tongue with Wisedome, Meeke­nesse, Grace and Truth. The ordinary faults of speech are not found in his Tongue. 6. He is not carefull for his life, to take thought for what he shall eate, or what he shall drinke; nor doth he disquiet his heart about his body, what he shall put on: for these outward things hee can easily trust his heauenly Father Math: 6.25.30. 7. He can loue his enemies, endure wrongs without resistance or reuenge; or if hee vse the helpe of the Magistrate, hee can seeke it without malice or cru­eltie: hee can blesse them that curse him, and pray for them that despight him, and doe good to them that hate him Math: 5:38. to the end.. Lastly, in Faith hee is strong, like Abra­ham, Rom. 4.16. to the end. Hee can beleeue things to come as well as if they were present, Vers. 17. hee can beleeue aboue hope and vnder hope: Vers: 18. hee looketh, not to the meanes, but to the promise: Vers. 19. hee vanquisheth doubts: Vers. 20. hee is as thankefull for promises, as others would bee for performances: Vers. 20.21. for these things were not onely true of Abraham but may be true in vs also, Vers. 23.24. who may haue as great helpe from Christ as euer he had, Ʋers. 25.

Thus of the strong Christian.

In all might.] Note how the Apostle presseth to perfection: before,Why all might in all knowledge, all pleasing, all good workes; now, in all might. And wee had neede to be strengthened with all might, because not one part of the soule onely is to be looked to, but the whole soule, spirit and life throughout: nor haue wee one Grace to tend, but all sorts of Graces from God: nor doth there abide vs one trouble, but calamities, indignities, and temptations of all sorts. Wee haue not one aduersary to encounter, but many, and of many sorts; inward, outward, visible, inuisible, publike, priuate, at home and abroad. Neyther doe wee stand vpon our guard at one time, but must looke to our selues in all these respects at all times.

It must be all might that we should labour after in foure respects:All might in foure respects.

First, it must bee a Might that extends to the strengthening of all the [Page 92] faculties of the soule, powers of the body, and duties of the life: our Mindes must bee strengthened in the approuing of truth and goodnesse, and in re­probating of euill and falshood1 Cor: 14.20.: our Memories must bee strengthened in retayning and recording the secrets and hid things of God, which are com­mitted to it: the Will must be strengthened in the Election of good, and re­iection of euill: and our Affections neede strength also: thus wee were to be strengthened in PatienceIam: 1.4., Ioy1 Thes: 5.16., Loue1 John 4.18., MercyCol: 3.12., Hope and Confidence1 Pet: 1.13., DesiresPsal: 27.4., in ReuerenceHeb. 12.28., in Hatred of sinnePsal. 139.21.22., Contempt of the WorldPhil: 3.8. Esay 30.22.. So doe wee neede strength to euery dutie of holy life.

Secondly, it must be a Might that is gotten from the vse of all the meanes, wee must be strengthened in the power of euery ordinance of God, and sup­ported with the vse of euery helpe to make vs strong.

Thirdly, it must be a Might shewed in the vse of all the Armour of God. Wee must strengthen our selues with euery piece of Armour, whether it bee Armour of Defence, as the Girdle of Truth, the Brest-plate of Righteousnes, the Shooes of the Gospell of Peace, the Shield of Faith, the Helmet of Hope: or Armor of Offence, as the Sword of the Spirit, Gods Word, and the Darts of Prayers Ephes: 6.12..

Fourthly, it should be a Might extended to all possible degrees and power of euery Grace and dutie: thus in mercy wee should communicate in all good things Gal: 6.6. our seruice should be an heartie Seruice Ephes. 6.6., wee must loue the Lord with all our hearts, with all our soules, with all our might Deut. 6.5..

According to the power of his glory.] In the handling of these words, I con­sider them, first, apart: secondly, as they are ioyned together: and thirdly, the Doctrines out of them.

Here are two things laid to pawne for the strengthening of the weake Christian, Gods Power, and Gods Glory.

The extent of Gods power. Power is one of the Attributes they call in Schooles relata: the Power of God is infinite, both in respect of Essence (for it is as large as the Essence; yea, it is the Essence it selfe) and in respect of Obiects, hee hath not done so much, but farre beyond our capacities, hee could doe infinitely more: and so is it infinite in respect of continuance. Yet to speake of it according to our capacities;What God cannot doe. it is restrayned, 1. By his Will; hee cannot doe what his Will is against: 2. By his glory; hee can doe nothing against his owne Glory: 3. By his Nature, hee cannot lye &c. because it is against his Nature: 4. In some respects by the nature of the Creature; so as whatsoeuer destroyes the essentiall definition of the Creature, God cannot doe: as God cannot make a man vnreasonable, and yet hee remaine a man; hee cannot make a body infinite, and it remaine a body still: 5. Sometimes by the condition and qualities of the Creature; as, Be it vnto thee according to thy Faith: 6. By impossibilitie; I say, by that which is simply impossible, for there are many things vnpossible in respect of vs, which are not onely possible but easie to God. And therefore the common-people reason foolishly; God can saue mee, therefore hee will doe it: and the Papists as wilfully; Christ can be present in the Sacrament, therefore hee will. For besides that they will neuer prooue his body can be in all places, at one time, truely and locally present, remayning a true body; they also reason but absurdly, till they finde his will to be there in their manner.

What the glory of God is.The Glory of God is taken somtimes for the signe of his presence, Exod. 16.10 for the meanes of his worship: 1 Sam. 4.22. for praise and honour: 2 Chron. 29.11. But here it is taken for the excellencie of God aboue all creatures, as it may be reuealed.Wherin God excels the creature. God is more excellent then all Creatures, in Trinitie of Persons in one essence, in perfection of Nature, in infinitenesse of being, in eternitie, in puritie and singlenesse, in immutabilitie of Nature, Will, and Qua­lities; in vnderstanding, in prescience (which absolutely falleth to no creature) [Page 93] in the Idea of Vertue, and in omnipotencie. By reason of mans fall and custome in sinne, Gods glory is much darkned: so as now man of himselfe cannot so conceiue of the wonderfull excellencie of his Creator.

Gods Glory is reuealed vnto man, 1. By his Workes Psal. 104.31.:How many wayes Gods glory is reuea­led. especially his dread­full and great workesEsay 24 16.. 2. By the Signes of his presence Exod. 16.10.. 3. By the meanes of his worship 1 Sam. 4.22. Psal. 89.7.. 4. By the Confession of guilty persons Iosh 7. 1 Sam. 6.5. Mal. 2.2.. 5. By the Prayses of his seruants: and therefore to giue glory, is translated, to giue thankes Luk. 17.18.. 6. By Christ, who is the Lord of glory 2 Cor. 2.8., the King of glory Psal. 24., he maketh the Glory of God, as it were visible in his flesh. 7. By Man 1 Cor. 11.7.. 8. By the Spirit of Reuela­tion Ephes. 1.17.. 9. By the Gospell 1 Tim. 1.11. Who see Gods glory..

But if you aske who of all men see Gods glory; I answer, onely the Saints, in the brightnes of itPsal. 89.7. Esay 26.10.11; to wit, such as haue the Gospell shining in their hearts 2 Cor. 4.3. &c. Esay 61.1, 2, 3., &c. such as acknowledging Gods threatnings, turne vnto him by true repentanceIer. 13.16.: such as lead an holy and innocent lifePsal. 138.5. &c. Esay 58.7.8, 9.: such as haue a true and liuely FaithIohn 11 40. Esay 46.12.13 Foure reasons why the pow­er of God is said to be the power of his glory. About falling from grace & perseuerance. Proofes that Gods elect cannot fall away. This doctrine doth not tend to securitie..

Thus of the words apart.Iohn 1.14.

Power of his Glory.] There are foure Reasons why the Power of God should bee said to bee the Power of his Glory, or glorious. 1. Because it will neuer leaue strengthening, till it bring to Glory. 2. Because the power of all the meanes of saluation is from heauen, and therefore a glorious power. 3. Because Gods Glory sets his Power aworke, in as much as by promise it lyes ingaged to his people. 4. It is a glorious Power, because of the persons and things that are vsed in Gods worke, as God himselfe, the Sonne of God, the Spirit of God, ordinances that are of God, and men specially consecra­ted by God.

Doctrines. First, the perseuerance of Gods children is most certaine: so long as there is Power in God or Glory, they cannot fall away by losing their happinesse.

This point hath abundant and apparant confirmation out of the old Testament in these places, Psalm. 145.10.13.14. Esay 42.3. Ezech. 36.24, 25, 26, 27. Ierem. 32, 40. Hos. 2.19. Out of the Gospels, Matth. 16.18. and 24.25. Iohn 4.14. and 5.24. and 6.39. and 10.28, 29. and 13.1. Out of the Epistles also, Rom. 6.8, 9, 10, 11. and 8.30. and 11.29. Ephes. 4.12.17. Phil. 1.6. 2 Tim. 2.19. Hebr. 7.16. 1 Ioh. 2.19. and 3.9. 1 Pet. 1.5.13.18.20.23.

Secondly, there is little reason of presumption in this Doctrine: for, as Power will preserue, so Glory will reuenge: if such as are in couenant with God returne to sinne, woe vnto them, Gods Glory will not beare it; and he hath many wayes to scourge them: for by their sinnes they may bring vpon themselues crosses of all sortsPsal. 89.22. Esay 30.20. Zach. 13.7, 8, 9. Mich. 7.9.18., terrors of ConsciencePsal. 51., losse of many gifts, and want of sense of all grace, Gods presence, and the ioyes of his promises, and SaluationPsal. 51. Cant. 3., Church censures1 Cor. 5., the want of many blessingsIer. 5.24, 25., sore tra­uell and terrours vpon their returne againePsal: 51. Motiues to Patience., terrible buffets, both of the Word and Spirit, &c. And therefore we should worke out our saluation with feare and trembling. It is a fearefull thing to fall into Gods angry and scour­ging hand.

Hitherto of the Obiect, Parts, Ends, and Causes of Knowledge: the Effects follow, which in the end of the Verse are noted to be three, viz. Pati­ence, Long-suffering, and Ioyfulnesse.

Patience.] This is a vertue that well becomes a Christian, and a blessed fruit of the tree of life, much to be desired of man: though it may seeme troublesome to the flesh to endure crosses and afflictions, yet if all things be considered, it is a vertue of great praise. God himselfe is magnified of Men and Angels for his patience and forbearanceRom. 2.4.. It is the admirable [Page 94] glory of the Sonne of God, that in the great worke of his Father, about the gathering of the Churches, in the middest of the oppositions of the world and euill Angels, hee should not cry, nor lift vp, nor cause his voyce to be heard, and yet hold out without failing or discouragement Esay 42.2.4.: yea, as the Cap­taine of our saluation, hee was made perfect by suffering Heb: 2.10.. This is the praise of the Saints, (which they may remember with comfort) that they haue en­dured many and great fights of afflictionsHeb: 10.32.. The Souldier cannot please his Captaine, vnlesse hee endure hardnesse; nor hee that striueth for Ma­steries be crowned, vnlesse hee toyle in the Combat; nor the Husbandman reape, vnlesse hee patiently endure the labour of sowing, and waite till har­uest2 Tim: 2.3.5.6.. All that will liue godly must suffer 2 Tim: 3.12.: the holy exercise of Christian Pa­tience is a good signe that men are good hearers of the Word, and that they practise what they heareLuke 8.15.. Men are not therefore miserable because they suf­fer muchMatt: 5.10.: Christians neede not to be ashamed to suffer2 Tim: 1.22.: they may bee troubled on euery side, yet not distressed: they may be perplexed, and yet not despaire: they may be persecuted, and yet not forsaken: they may be cast downe, and yet not destroyed 2 Cor: 4.8.9.. Patience is a vertue full of good fruites: it appeaseth strifeProu: 15.18. & 25.: it helps away the Crosse, (it is impatiencie and stubbornnesse that makes the Father continue to beate his childe) it fits vs for perseuerance with comfort, as the Coherence shewes, The patient abiding of the poore shall not perish for euer Psal: 9.: but they shall receiue, at the length, a crowne of life Iames 1.12.. The worth of this grace appeares by the hurt of impatiencie: for Impatiencie exalts folly Pro: 14.17., depriues a man of the possession of his owne soule Luke 22.19., dishonours all a mans gifts and graces, and all the good things hee hath before doneIob 4.6. &c., &c. Let vs therefore runne with patience the race that is set before vs. Thus did Christ endure the Crosse, and now weares the CrowneHeb: 12.1.2.3. The things we common­ly beare are nothing to that Christ and the Martyrs haue borne: wee haue not yet resisted vnto bloud Vers. 4.: by suffering wee may reape the comfort that wee are Sonnes and not Bastards Vers. 5.6.7.8.; besides the profit of our sufferings, which God e­uer intends to the patient, viz. the holinesse of the heart, and fruitfulnesse of the lifeVer. 9.10.11. What wee must doe that wee may be patient..

That wee may be patient, first, wee must get Wisedome, and if we want it, aske it of God. It is Ignorance makes men passionate: a great vnderstanding is slow to wrathPro: 14.29. Iames 1.3.4.6.. Secondly, wee must get Faith to beleeue our owne recon­ciliation with God: our hearts neede not to be troubled, if we beleeue in God the Father, in Iesus Christ Iohn 14.1.. When the heart is possessed with peace in the assu­rance of Iustification by Faith, then it is easie to be patient in tribulation; yea, to reioyce in afflictionRom: 5.1.2.4 John 14.27.. Thirdly, we must be much in the meditation of the comforts of another life. Fourthly, we must be often and constant in pray­erRom. 12.12.. Fifthly, the hearing of the word faithfully and conscionably breedes a patient minde: and therefore is the Word called a Word of Patience; Reuel. 3.9. the Comforts of the Scripture beget both Patience and Hope Rom. 15.4.. Sixthly, wee must be temperate in the desires after, and vse of outward things; therefore are men vnquiet vnder the losse, absence, want, or desire of earthly things about their bodies or estates, because they haue not sobriety and temperance in their hearts and carriage2 Pet. 1.6.. Seauenthly, if we would haue patience, wee must be carefull by godly Sorrow and Confession to cast off the sinne that hangeth on so fast: it is our wretched corruption of Nature that makes vs so vnquiet, it is nothing without vsHeb. 12.1.. Lastly, we must be diligent in our callings, and trust vpon God, and cast all our care on him. Idlenesse and vnbeleefe are the great nurses of impaciencie.

We must shew Patience in seuen things.Thirdly, wee must exercise Patience in seauen things. 1. In bearing the common crosses that accompany our mortall estate of life, and therein to put on, as neare as wee can, Iobs minde, and in all losses or wants to giue [Page 95] glory to God, acknowledging that he hath as much right to take away, as reason to giue. 2. In bearing with the infirmities of such as are about vs, with whom wee converse, that shew themselues to be so, out of weaknesse, Rom. 15.1.3.4. 3. In enduring persecution of all kindes for the truths sake, 2 Tim. 3.12. 2 Thes. 1.5. Reu. 2.8. 1 Pet. 4:12. &c. 4. In tentations there is vse of Patience, both in waiting vpon God for succour, and issue, and in keeping the soule at as much rest and quietnesse as may be: it is the Diuels desire to set vs on a hurry, hee knowes his tentations will then worke best, Iames 1.4. 5. In the expectation of the performance of Gods promises, and our spirituall happinesse in Christ, Hebr. 6.12. and [...]0.35, 36, 37, 38. 6. In the troubles of the minde and conscience, beleeuing Gods truth, and wayting for the appearing of his face, and the healing of the soule. 7. In perseuerance in well doing vnto the end, Mat. 24.13. Rom. 2.7. Reuel. 2.2. Gal. 5.9. 1 Iohn 3.2.

Long-suffering.] This vertue, in case of wrongs,Motiues to Long-suffe­ring. must order vs aright in our selues and toward other: in our selues it must restraine Anger and desire of reuenge; and great reason, for God himselfe suffers wrong, and that long too, and it is Gods commandment we should suffer longMat. 5.21.22.45. Rom. 12.21.: besides,Exod. 34.6. 1 Pet. 2.22. iniuries befalls vs by Gods prouidence2 Sam. 16.10.; and reuenge is Gods rightRom. 12.19.. Moreouer, these raging and reuengefull affections are great hinderances both to Pray­er1 Tim. 2.8., and to the profit of the WordIames 1.21.. And lastly, anger lets the Diuell into a mans heartEphes. 4.21..

Quest. 1. But how should I preuent it being wronged? Ans. First, carry some of thine owne sinnes alwayes in thy minde, that being prouoked thou maist turne the course of thine anger thither. Secondly, auoyd the occasions, which are both contentionsPhil. 2.3. and contentious personsProu. 22.26.. Thirdly,Quest. bee daily iealous ouer thine affection, and keepe them downe by prayer.

Quest. 2. What if passion do sodainely surprize me? Ans. 1.Ans. How to pre­uent anger & desire of re­uenge being wronged. Conceale itProu. 12.16.. 2. Depart from them with whom thou art angry1 Sam. 20.34 Gen. 27.43.44.. 3. Appoint at the least that bound vnto thine anger, that the Sunne goe not downe vpon thy wrath Ephes. 4.26..

Towards others we must shew the practise of this vertue thus.

In things that might displease vs; but not hurt vs, endure them without any notice at all: and in things that doe hurt, if they be lesser iniuries,Quest. see them and forgiue them; and in the greater wrongs,Ans. thou must seeke the help of the Magistrate, and the Law, after thou hast sought all priuate meanes, by intreaty, offers of peace, desire of Arbitration, &c. follow the Law with loue to thy aduersarie, without passion or rage, and in the issues bee moderate, without shewing extremitieMath. 5.25. & 18.15. Rom. 12.18. 1 Cor. 6.5. Gods people haue cause to be ioyfull..

Ioyfulnesse.] A Christian estate is a ioyfull and comfortable estate. Sauing knowledge makes a man liue ioyfully and comfortably. True ioy is one of the fruits Gods Spirit beareth in the heart of a Christian; yea, it is a chiefe part of that kingdome that God bestoweth on his people on earth. None haue cause of ioy but the children of Sion, and none of them but haue great reason to shout for ioy, to reioyce and be glad with all their hearts Zeph. 3.14., Zeph. 3.14. Is it not a great Mercy to haue all the iudgments due vnto vs for sinne, taken away? and the great enemy of our soules cast out? Is it not a great honour that Iehouah, the King of Israel, should be in the middest of vs? and that our eyes should not see euill any more? What sweeter encourage­ment then that the Lord should cause it to be said vnto vs, feare not? and againe, Let not your hands be slacke? If we haue great crosses, enemies, dan­gers, wants, temptations, &c. wee haue a mighty God; if there be none to helpe vs, he will saue; yea, he will reioyce to doe vs good; yea, he will reioyce ouer vs with ioy; yea, he so loues vs, that he will rest in his loue and seeke no [Page 96] further. Shall man be sorrowfull when God reioyceth? Shall the Lord re­ioyce in vs, and shall not we reioyce in GodZeph. 2.14. &c., &c. And if these reasons of ioy be contayned in one place of Scripture, how great would the number of reasons grow, if all the Booke of God were searched? such a ioy and con­tentment is the ioy of Christians that crosses cannot hinder it. Life is not deare to a childe of God, so that he may finish his course with ioy Acts 20.24.. They suffer the spoyling of their goods with ioy, knowing that in heauen they haue a more endu­ring substance Heb. 10.34.. Yea, in many crosses they account it all ioy to fall into tentation James 1.2.. They seeme as sorrowfull, when indeed they are alwayes reioycing 2 Cor. 6.10..

Quest. What might we doe to get this constant ioyfulnesse and vnmo­ueable firmenesse and contentment of heart?Quest. Ans. In generall thou must bee sure to be Gods seruantEsay 65.13, 14.,Ans. a man iustified and sanctifiedJer. 33.8. Esay 61.10. & 12.5.: thou must know that thy name is written in the Booke of lifeLuk. 10.20.,What wee must doe that we might get constant ioy­fulnesse of heart. which cannot be with­out Faith1 Pet. 1.8. Phil. 1.25. Rom. 15.13. & 12..

In particular, there are many things which haue a sure promise of ioy and comfort annexed to them.

First, thou must lay the foundation of all eternall ioyes, in godly sorrow for thy sinnes, Iohn 16.20. Mat. 5.4. Psal. 126 5.6.

Secondly, thou must hang vpon the breasts of the Church (viz. the Word and Sacraments) continually, with trembling and tender affection, wayting vpon the word of God: the Law must be in thy heart, thou must buy thy libertie herein at the highest value, Esay 66.2.5.11. and 51.7. Mat. 13.44.

Thirdly, in thy carriage thou must be a counsellor of peace, Prou. 12.20. and liue in peace, as neere as may be, 2 Cor. 13.11.

Fourthly, take heede thou be not insnared with grosse sinne, Prou. 29.6.

Fiftly, wouldest thou reape ioy? sow good seede: to bee much in well-doing, procures (as a blessing) a secret and sweet gladnesse vpon the heart of man: a barren life is an vncomfortable life. Many would reape, that will not be at the paine to sow, Iohn 4.36. Gal. 6.7, 8. He that vseth his Talents to aduantage, enters into his Masters ioy (a ioy liker the ioy of God then man, meeter for the Master then for the Seruant, yet such a Master wee serue, as will crowne vs with this ioy) Mat. 15.21.

Sixtly, be constant, beare fruit, and get the knowledge of the loue of Christ, and abide in it, Iohn 15.10.

Lastly, in the 2 Thes. 5.16. to 24. there are seauen things required in our practise, if wee would alwayes reioyce. 1. We must pray alwayes: if we be much in prayer wee shall be much in ioy. 2. Wee must in all things giue thankes: a heart kept tender with the sense of Gods mercies, is easily infla­med with ioyes in the Holy Ghost. 3. We must take heed of quenching the Spirit: when a man puts out the holy motions of the Spirit, hee quencheth his owne ioyes. 4. We must, by all meanes, preserue an honourable respect of the word publikely preached: despise not prophecying. 5. And whereas there be some things we heare, doe specially affect vs, and concerne vs, wee must be carefull with all heedfulnesse to keepe those things whatsoeuer wee forget: try all things, but keepe that which is good. 6. In our practise wee must not onely auoyd euill, but all appearance of euill, else if wee disquiet others with griefe or offence of our carriage, it will be iust with God we should finde little rest, or contentment in our selues. Lastly, wee must endeauour to bee sanctified throughout, inwardly and outwardly, in soule, body and spirit, hauing respect to all Gods Commandments, and retayning the loue of no sinne, so shall wee reape the blessing of all righteousnesse, and procure to our hearts the ioyes that are euerlasting.

Hitherto of the Preface.

Verse 12 Giuing thankes vnto the Father, which hath made vs meete to bee partakers of the inheritance of the Saints in light.’

HItherto of the Exordium of this Epistle, as it contained both the Salu­tation and Preface.

The second part both of the Chapter and Epistle followeth,The order of this second part of the Epistle. and is con­tained in the 12. Ʋerse, and the rest to the 23. And it hath in it the propo­sition of Doctrine. This Doctrine propounded stands of two parts: for it concerneth eyther the worke of Redemption, or the person of the Redee­mer. The worke of Redemption is considered of in the 12.13. and 14. Verses: the person of the Redeemer is entreated of from Verse 15. to the 23. The worke of Redemption is two waies considered of: first, more general­ly, in the 12. Ʋerse: secondly, m [...]re particularly, Verse 13.14.

In the worke of our Redemption, as it is propounded in this Verse, three things are to be obserued: 1. The efficient cause [God the Father] 2. The subiect persons redeemed [vs.] 3. The Redemption it selfe, as it is either in the inchoation and first application of it on earth, and so it lyeth [in making vs fit;] or in the consummation of it, what it shall be in the end: and so it is praised, first by the manner of tenure [inherit;] secondly, by the adiunct companie [Saints;] thirdly, by the perfection of it [in light.]

Giuing thankes] The blessings of God vpon euery true Christian are such, as they require continuall thankefulnesse to God for them: such I say, for the worth of them, for number, for freenesse of gift, for continuance, and as they are compared with what God bestowes vpon others in the world.

To the Father.] A sanctified heart that hath sense of grace, so sees God, the first cause of all blessings, through the second and next causes, that it maketh God the principall obiect both of praier and praises: it is a great sin not to acknowledge the instrument by which wee receiue any good; but it is a great impietie not to giue that which is due, to the principall Efficient.

The Father.] Father is a tearme of relation, and is giuen sometimes to the whole TrinitieMath. 23.9. Luke 3.38.: sometimes to ChristEsay 9.6.: sometimes to the first Person in Trinitie; so commonly, and so here.

God may be said to be a Father in this place two waies: first, in respect of Christ; secondly, in respect of the Christian.

1. In respect of Christ, God is a Father both by Nature, and by personall Vnion: and in this sense two questions may be moued.

Quest. Quest. 1. Whether prayer is to be made to the whole Trinitie, or but to one person. Ans. Ans. It is to bee made to the whole Trinitie, Acts 7.59. 1 Thes. 3.2. 2 Cor. 13.13.

Obiect. Obiect. But praier is here made to one person. Sol. Solut. Though but one per­son be named, yet the rest are included: for the Persons may be distingui­shed, but seuered or diuided they may not be.

Quest. Quest. 2 Is the Father a Redeemer, in that Redemption is here giuen to him? Ans. Ans. The actions of God are two-fold: some are inward, as to beget, to proceede, &c. Some are outward; as to create, redeeme, &c. Now the outward actions are common to all the three Persons; they are distinguished onely in the manner of doing: the Father beginnes, the Sonne executes, the holy Ghost finisheth: as in the workes of Redemption, the Father redeemes vs, in that hee beginnes it, by deuising this course, and willing it from eternitie, by calling, sanctifying, sending and accepting of CHRIST in time: the Sonnes redeemes vs, by taking our nature and in obeying the Lawe, and suffering death, euen the death of the Crosse for vs: the holy Ghost [Page 98] redeemes vs, by applying the merits and benefits of CHRIST to euery Beleeuer.

Vses.2. In respect of the Christian: God is a Father, and the meditation here­of should serue for a three-fold Vse. 1. For tryall: 2. For instruction: 3. For Consolation. For tryall: for it stands vs much vpon to bee assured of this, that God is our Father in Christ by Adoption: for this is the foundation of true hope for what we want, and of true thankefulnesse for what wee haue. Now such men as are borne of God by regeneration,Markes of a childe of God as well as of man by generation, are wont to be described in Scripture by such markes as these. They haue in them the Spirit of Adoption both in the working and witnesse of itRom: 8.15.16.. Rom. 8.15.16. Gal. 4.6.7.Gal: 4.6.7. They are separate from sinners, they cannot delight in the workes of darkenesse, or in the wicked fellowship with workers of iniquitie, they hate vngodly company2 Cor: 6.17. &c. 1 Iohn. 2.15. &c., &c. They haue conso­lation and good hope through grace 2 Thes: 2.16.. Christ is to them their way, the truth, and their life: and they loue their Sauiour more then any Creature, and shew it in this, that they will rather obey his words, then the commande­ment of any man or AngellIoh: 14.6.21.. They are a people that in respect of Mortifi­cation, purge themselues by voluntary sorrowes for their sinnes; and in re­spect of new obedience, Come to the light, that their workes may be manifest that they are wrought in God 1 Ioh: 3.1.2.3 & 1.6.7. 1 Pet: 1.17. &c.. They honour God with great honour, and ten­der his Name more then their owne creditsMal: 1.6.: they worship God, not for shew, or with the adoration of the lips and knees only, but in spirit and Truth John 4.23.. They labour for the meate that perisheth not, and esteeme it aboue their appointed food Iohn 6.27.. Lastly, they loue their enemies, and pray for them that persecute them, and are willing to doe good to them that hate them and hurt them Math: 5.45. &c..

Secondly, if God be our Father, it should teach vs; First, to care lesse for the world, and the things thereof: wee haue a Father, that both knowes our wants, and hath all power and will to helpe vs and care for vsMath: 6.32.. Secondly, to come to him in all crosses, and make our moane to him that seeth in secret: for if euill fathers on earth, know how to giue good things to their children when they aske them, how shall not our heauenly Father giue vs whatsoeuer wee aske in the Name of Christ Mat: 7.11.. Yea, it should teach vs patience vnder, and a good vse of all crossesHos: 12.9.. Thirdly, to be willing to die and commend our spirits to God that gaue them; seeing in so dying, we commit them into the hands of a Fa­ther. This made Christ willing to die, and this should perswade with vs alsoLuke 13.46.. Lastly, it should teach vs to glorifie God as a Father: wee call God Father (many of vs) and thus wee speake, but wee doe euill more and more, and dishonour him, not liuing like the children of the most HighJer: 3.4.5.. If hee be our Father, let the light of our good workes shine before men, that they may glorifie our Father Math: 5.6.. Herein is God the Father glorified, that wee beare much fruit Iohn 15.8..

Thirdly, this point serues for Consolation, and that many wayes: First, against the feare of our owne weakenesse; It is not our Fathers will that one of the little ones should perish Mat. 18.14.: None is able to take them out of his hand Iohn 10.29.. Se­condly, against our doubts about prayer: Whatsoeuer you aske the Father in Christs name it shall be giuen you Iohn 16.23.. Thirdly, against all the troubles of this world: if hee haue beene a Father of Mercy, to forgiue thy sinnes, and giue thee grace, hee will be a Father of Glory, to crowne thee in a better world in the inheritance of his SonnesEphes: 1.17..

Who hath made vs fit.] Doct. Wee are neither naturally happy, nor vni­uersally so: not naturally; for wee are made fit, not borne so: not vniuersally; for hee hath made [vs] fit, not all men. Christ died for his sheepe onelyIohn 10.; for his Church onelyEph [...]s: 1., not for the World Iohn 17. How Christ died for all.. And therefore when the Scrip­ture saith, Christ died for all men, wee must vnderstand it; first, in respect of [Page 99] the sufficiencie of his death, not in respect of the efficiencie of it. Secondly, in respect of the common oblation of the benefits of his death externally in the Gospell vnto all. Thirdly, as his death extendeth vnto all the Elect: for all; that is, for the Elect. Fourthly, for all, that is, for all that are saued, so that none that are iustified and saued, are so, but by the vertue of his death. Fiftly, for all, that is for all indefinitely; for all sorts of men, not for euery man of euery sort. Lastly, hee dyed for all, that is, not for the Iewes onely, but for the Gentiles also.

Qu. Quest. Are not all in the visible Church that are sealed with the Sacrament of Initiation made fit? An. Ans. No: for Nicodemus was circumcised, yet not as then fit for heauen; and Simon Magus was baptised, & yet perished in the gall of bitter­nesse; and many of the Israelites were signed with the same Sacraments of righteousnesse, and yet were destroyed with fearefull plagues1 Cor: 10.; the Pharisees were baptised with Iohns Baptisme, & yet in great danger of wrath to comeMath: 3. Fiue sorts of men not made fit..

There are fiue sorts of men that liue in the Church, that are not made fit: First, such as are in heart disioyned, so as indeede they care for the doctrine of no Church: and thus Atheist and Epicures are vnfit. Secondly, such as are in heart fastned to a false Church, though in shew they bee members of the true: thus Church-Papists are not fit. Thirdly, such as receiue Religi­on and care for it, but onely as it may fit the humours of such as are in autho­ritie, and may serue the currant of the present times: and thus temporising Polititians are not made fit. Fourthly, such as admit some parts of Gods worship, and stand in professed enmitie, and dislikes of the rest: and thus the common Protestant of all estates and degrees; they thinke if they come to the Church to seruice, and be no Papists, it will serue turne, though they neglect, yea, contemne, yea, commonly despight Preaching, priuate Prayer, true Fasting, religious Conference, and Fellowship in the Gospell.

Fiftly, and lastly, among the better sorts that are hearers, and constant hearers, there are many not made fit for the Kingdome of God: for many hearers rest in an Historicall Faith and externall righteousnesse, eyther be­traying the seede, by suffering the Fiends of hell, those inuisible fowles of the Ayre, to take it away, or choking the seede by worldly cares, or if they get a taste of the good word of God, and of the powers of the life to come, by their wicked reuoults and backe-slidings, they shew themselues not fit, nor worthy the Kingdome of God.

Who] Doct. God onely can make men fit for his Kingdome: he onely can rescue vs from the power of darkenesse and Sathan: it is hee onely is the Lord of righteousnesse: it is hee onely that can pardon our sinnes: it is hee onely can heale our rebellions, and take away our iniquities: hee onely is the fountaine of all inherent holinesse: he onely is stronger then all, to preserue vs to the end, and crowne vs with glory.

Made fit.] The word may be rendred eyther made fit, or worthy, so it bee vnderstood of the merit of Christ imputed to vs, in whom onely wee are worthy of heauen.

Wee are made fit by Redemption, by vocation, by Adoption, by Iustifi­cation, by Sanctification, and by Glorification: for each of these addes something to our sufficiencie. The Vse is, to teach vs to magnifie Gods ex­ceeding mercy, that doth not onely giue vs heauen, but make vs fit for Heauen. The greatest King in the world,Note. if hee set his loue vpon a base slaue or vassall, well hee may giue him an Earledome or great Office, but he can­not giue him fitnesse for his place, and gifts to execute it: hee may change his estate, but he cannot change his nature. But God doth not onely giue a Kingdome to his Seruants, but hee endues them with royall inclinations, desires, and behauiour.

The Rhemists vpon this place note, that wee deserue saluation con­dignely; but wee neede not answere them: for Thomas Aquinas, the ordi­nary Glosse, and Cardinall Caietan vpon this place, crosse them. Aquinas saith thus; Dixerunt aliqui Deus d [...]t dignis gratiam, &c. Some haue said God giues grace to the worthy, but not to the vnworthy: but the Apostle excludes this, because whatsoeuer worthinesse thou hast, God hath wrought it in thee: and to this end alledgeth, 2 Cor: 3. We are not sufficient of our selues to thinke a good thought. The Glosse thus: Hee makes vs worthy, not in the Law, but in Light: that is, through God, who is light of light, by whose grace we are inlightened. Ca­ietan thus: worthy, that is, fit; by lot, that is, onely by Gods gift. Note, onely by Gods gift, the Papist saith.

To be partakers of the inheritance of the Saints in light: or, as it is in the ori­ginall, verbatim, Vnto the part of the lot of the Saints in light.]

The lot of the Saints, is by some taken for the sufferings of the Saints; by others, for their happinesse, as it is had in this life, in the right or inchoation of it; by others, for heauen, and that as it is held by true title here in this world: so I take it here.

How the lot­tery of Ca­naan sha­dowes out our inheri­tance in hea­uen.The word lot leadeth vs by allusion to Canaan, and the diuision thereof; and the comparison holdeth in many things. As none had right to the Land of Canaan, but Israelites; so none haue right to heauen, but the Saints: and as Canaan was furnished with buildings and all commodities, but not by the IsraelitesDeut: 8.7. &c., &c. so Heauen was prepared of old, before the Saints en­tred itMath: 25.: The builder and maker of it, was not the Saints, but God2 Cor: 5.. And as the Canaanites were throwne out, that Israell might enter; so the Diuels were throwne out of Heauen, that the Saints might enter. And as without a Io­shua, though there were a Land, there would be no lot; so without a Iesus, though there were a heauen, there would be no inheritance: and though the Land were giuen by lot, yet it must not bee possessed without a Combat; they must first fight, and then inherit: so must Heauen suffer violence, and before it be had, wee must wrestle with Principalities and Powers: and as all their lots were knowne to Ioshua; so euery Christian, in his standing, is knowne to Christ: as Ioshua had what hee askedIosh: 19.50.; so our Ioshua obtaines what hee askes, though hee aske the ends of the earth Psal: 2.. And as the compa­rison hath those things for information, so may diuers instructions be gather­ed from hence also: and first, if wee would haue any lot in Heauen, wee must be sure wee be true Israelites. Balaam seemes a friend to Israell, but hee is so farre from inheriting with them, that hee is destroyed by them; the sword of the Lord rootes him out: this will bee the portion of all Hypo­critesIosh: 13.12.. And wee should labour for a particular warrant in the knowledge of our owne portion: this would incourage vs against all difficulties. Caleb dares fight with the Anakins if Ioshua giue him Hebron Iosh: 14.6.11. &c., and feeble and com­playning Ephraim shall ouercome and inlarge himselfe, if Ioshua particular­ly incourage himIosh: 17.. And as no Cananites ought to bee left in the Lot of Is­raell; so no wicked workers should be suffered to remaine in the assembly of the Saints, to be prickes and goades in the sides of the righteous. And as they that haue their inheritance allowed them already, must not rest, but fight till their brethren haue restJosh: 1.12.; so they that haue comfort in their owne con­uersion, must strengthen their brethren. And if any haue too little roome, the way is not to murmure and doubt, but to fight it out for more; so must Dan Iosh: 19.14.: so should weake Christians not giue way to discontentment, but striue in the spirituall Combat, till more grace, and roome for the inlarging of the heart be gotten. Lastly, as seauen Tribes are iustly taxed and censu­red by Ioshua, for their negligence and sloath, in not seeking speedily to pos­sesse the Land God had offered themIosh. 18.2.; so may the most of vs bee iustly [Page 101] rebuked for grieuous securitie about the heauenly Canaan. Many rest in the probabilities and hope of a title: nay, the most rest satisfied in such a condition as is without title and without hope, vnlesse they amend: yea, the better sort diuers of them, haue but a title: and therefore it iustly falleth out, that these are buffetted by Christ, as they were disgraced by Ioshua: and as they must stand to the curtesie of the viewers of the Land, for the report of the goodnesse of their part; so must these secure Christians stand to the curtesie of their Teachers for how much knowledge and comfort they shall thinke meete to impart vnto them, concerning their inheritance in heauen and heauenly things.

Partakers of the inheritance of the Saints in light.] The happinesse of the faithfull is an inheritance, illustrated here, first, by the persons that must enioy it: it is not common to all, but appropriated to Saints: secondly, by the qualitie of it, it is in light.

Christ is the great heyre of all things Heb: 1.1. Psal: 2., the Christian is coheyre with Christ. It is a doctrine that hath much comfort in it: a Christian holds by the fay­rest tenure, and firmest, and surest too: for though his life be changeable, and his dayes on earth must haue an end, yet his inheritance endures for euer, and whiles hee liues God will know him all his dayes for no worse a man then his owne heyrePsal: 37.17.18.. And the consideration of the inheritance of the Saints, should teach vs diuers things: first, to pray, that God would remember vs with the fauour of his people, and visite vs with his saluation: and that then hee would open our eyes to see the glory of such an inheritancePsal: 106.3.4 Ephes: 1.18.: Secondly, to honour the righteous, and not despise poore Christians, seeing God hath made them his heyres, and rich in faith Iames 2.5.. Thirdly, to endeauour with all care to walke worthy of such honour, as to be made Gods heyres. And lastly, to be willing to suffer any thing in this world for Christ, seeing in the world to come wee must raigne with him as coheyresRom: 8.17.18.

Of the Saints.] Onely Saints inherit, and therefore be sure thou be a Saint, be sure thou be more then flesh and bloud1 Cor: 15.50.; be sure thou lye in none of the sinnes God hath threatned with the losse of this inheritanceEphes: 5.5. 1 Cor: 6.9. Gal: 5.21.; bee sure of the imputation of the righteousnesse of Christ Rom: 4.13.14 Tit. 3.7.; bee sure thou haue in thee the spirit of the Sonne Gal. 4.7. Ephes: 1.14.; bee sure to commit thy selfe to the word of grace Acts 20.32..

In light.] The Christians inheritance is said to be held in light in sixe respects▪

First, because hee now obtaines it in the times of the Gospell, which times in comparison with the times of the old Testament, are called times of light: the light of the Iewes being spread abroad among the Gentiles, and exceedingly enlarged by the rising of the Sunne of righteousnesse.

Secondly,A three-fold light in man. because this inheritance can neuer be assured without the light of knowledge. In the vnderstanding of man there is a three-folde light of knowledge; Naturall, Euangelicall, and Celestiall: the Naturall light is the light of Reason: the Euangelicall light is the light of Faith: and the Celestiall light is the light of Heauen. Before we can see our inheritance in the light of Heauen, wee must first see it in the light of Faith: and as for the light of Reason it will do no good for any euidence in this tenure.

Thirdly, because this inheritance is held with true ioy on earth, and per­fect ioy in heauen: and Ioy is expressed by the word light, in many places in Scripture.

Fourthly, in respect of the admirable communion that a Christian hath with God and Christ, who is light of light; that true light, Iohn 8.12.

Fiftly, because of the certainety of this inheritance, it is said to bee held in light. It is worthy the noting, that Catharinus, a Papist, writing vpon this place, thus vnderstands the meaning of Light: and is much [Page 102] offended with those that pleade for vncertaintie of assurance.

Sixtly, in light, that is, in Heauen: and the light of Heauen in an excellent light, both for the perfection of it, and the continuance of it. It is a perfect light: for there shall be on Gods part a cleare reuelation, and on mans part a cleare vision: and for continuance; that light shall neuer be ouercome of darkenesse; nay, it shall neuer admit any mixture of obscuritie, in as much as Heauen is a Citie that needes not the Sunne nor Moone to shine in it, for the glory of God doth lighten it, and the Lambe is the light thereof, Reuel. 21.23. In the meane while till God translate vs to this light of heauen, let vs labour to settle our heartes in the light of Faith and certaintie, and glad our hearts with the light of the Spirit and ioy, choosing rather to die then to forsake the face and presence of God, the fountaine of all true light both in earth and heauen.

Verse 13. Who hath deliuered vs from the power of Darkenesse, and translated vs into the Kingdome of his deare Sonne.’

IN this Verse our redemption is considered more particularly: for as it is by inchoation in this life, it stands of two parts: the first is our deliue­rance from the power of Darkenesse, and the second is, our translating into the kingdome of CHRIST.

A sixe-folde darkenesse in euery vnrege­nerate man. Darkenesse.] This Darkenesse imports the miserie of vnregenerate men, from which the Children of God, in the daies of Redemption are deliuered: and it notes not onely the darkenesse of Gentilisme, proper to the Pagans of that time, but also the darkenesse of Sinne, of Ignorance, of Infidelitie, of Aduersitie, of Death, and of Hell: for euery vnregenerate man is coue­red with a sixe-fold darkenesse. First, the darkenesse of SinneRom: 13.13.. Secondly, the darkenesse of Ignorance, which as a vaile, couers all fleshIohn 8.12. Esay 25.8. 2 Cor: 3.17., Thirdly, the darkenesse of Infidelitie; for as there is the light of Faith in the regene­rate; so there is a darkenesse of vnbeliefe, that possesseth euery vnregene­rate man. All men haue not Faith; it is the gift of God: both the Prophets and Apostles haue complained, Who hath beleeued our report Esay 13.1. Rom: 10.16.? Fourthly, the darkenesse of AduersitieEsay 8.22.: miseries of all sorts breaking in vpon the soule, body, state, and names of men. Fiftly, the darkenesse of Death: for Death is the house of Darkenesse, and this is the wages of Sinne Psal: 88.12.. Lastly, the wicked man is in danger of vtter darkenesse, euen of the darkenesse of hell. Out of all this we may see the extreame miserie of all carnall persons, vpon whom the Kingdome of darkenesse breakes in, and preuailes so many waies: and therefore accursed is their misery that can liue in this estate with­out sense, or remorse, or feare. If Securitie as a wretched Lethargy, had not ouergrowne mens hearts, how could they eate, drinke, sleepe, marry, giue in marriage, &c. when they finde themselues in the power of such fearefull and horrible darkenesse?

Power.] This darkenesse gets power, and preuailes ouer the world, by the vnwearied labour of the Prince of darkenesse: who as hee seduced our first Parents, to extinguish the faire light in which they were created, (whence flowed an vniuersall darkenesse vpon all mankinde) so doth hee still, as God of the vnregenerate world, worke effectually, in blinding mens mindes more and more, that the light of the Gospell might not shine in their hearts, both by hindering by all the waies hee can, the meanes of light, and by leading man on from sinne to sinne, till custome haue worne out sense, and bred a very liking of darkenesse more then the light. And thus poore man runnes from darkenesse to darkenesse, and from dungeon to dungeon, till hee fall vnto the euerlasting dungeon of vtter darkenesse, [Page 103] and this would be the end of all flesh, were it not that God of his infinite mercie hath prouided a meanes in Iesus Christ to deliuer the Elect from the power of this Darknesse.

Deliuered.] Euery man hath great reason to thinke of this deliuerance out of the Kingdome of darkenesse, wherein naturally hee is: for while he so continueth, he knoweth not whither he goeth Iohn 12.35. 1 Iohn 2.11.: he hath no fellowship with God 1 Iohn 1.5.: his deedes are all euill Ioh: 3.19.20: his ignorance will not excuse himIohn 1.5.: yea, it will bee his condemnationIohn 3.19.: his feete treade not in the way of peace Luke 4.79. [...]..

Who hath deliuered vs.] Here are foure things: 1. What, [deliuered;] 2. Whom, [vs;] 3. When, [hath;] 4. Who, viz. God the Father.

Deliuered.] The originall word doth not signifie, onely, to let out, or lead out, or buy out; but it noteth forcibly to snatch out. Man is not gotten so easily out of Sathans hands: nor will the World and Flesh let him goe without force, or without blowes.

Quest. Quest. What must wee doe that wee may be deliuered from this power of darkenesse. Ans. Ans. Beleeue in Iesus Christ, who is the true light Iohn 8.12.. Know that all true light is begunne in the assurance of Gods loue to thee in Iesus Christ: seeke this knowledge. To this end, attend vpon the preaching of the Gospell, by which, life and immortalitie are brought to light Iohn 8.12.. And because this Sonne doth not alwaies shine, Walke in the light while you haue the light Iohn 12.35.. and because a man can neuer sincerely seeke the comforts of God in Iesus Christ, or constantly loue the word of the Kingdome (the fountaine of light) but that there will be great opposition from Sathan and the World. Therefore euery one (that is a weary of this darkenesse, of Ignorance and Vnbeliefe, and feeles what darkenesse of Aduersitie his sinnes haue brought vpon him, and feares the darkenesse of Death and Hell) must arme him­selfe, resolue and prepare and fight for his owne deliuerance, putting on the whole Armour of light, vsing all the meanes with Faith and diligence, and then shall Gods power be made knowne in his weakenesse; and the strong man armed, which is the Diuell, shall be cast out by him that is stronger then hee, euen by Iesus Christ.

At the time when this deliuerance from the power of darknes is wrought there are at the least these nine things in euery one that is truely deliuered.Nine things in euery one that is deli­uered from darkenesse. First, hee seekes knowledge with great estimation of it. Secondly, hee is carefull to amend his waies and to auoide sinne. Thirdly, hee feeles and resists temptations. Fourthly, hee renounceth the world, as being neither besotted with vanitie, nor swayed with example. Fiftly, hee fights against his owne flesh. Sixtly, hee loues the word of God. Seauenthly, he forsakes euill company. Eightly, hee mournes ouer, and praies against some speciall sinnes. Ninthly, hee loues all the children of the light. These are not all things that are wrought in man in the day his heart is changed and hee deli­uered: but lesse than this can bee in no man nor woman that is truely deli­uered from the power of darkenesse.

Who.] Doct. It is God onely that deliuers vs from darkenesse. This is needfull to be considered of, both that carnall men may know they can ne­uer see the light, if they vse not the meanes God hath appointed: and that godly men might not despaire vnder the sense of their wants; for as God hath called them to the light, and giuen them meanes, so he is able to create light at his owne pleasure.

Ʋs.] Doct. The Saints, euen the dearest of all Gods Children, haue beene ignorant, sinfull, and miserable, as well as any other.

Hath.] A Question may here be asked:Quest. how it can be said that Gods chil­dren haue beene deliuered, seeing they are ignorant, sinfull, fleshly, full of afflictions, and subiect to dye still? Ans. Ans. They are deliuered in respect of [Page 104] Inchoation, though not in respect of Consummation; though they bee ig­norant, yet the vayle is not whole, but many pieces are torne off; though they be in a dungeon in this world, yet a great window is broken downe, and much light appeares; though there be sinne in them, yet it raignes not; though they must die, yet the sting of death is pulled out; though they en­dure the same afflictions that wicked men doe for the matter, yet they are not the same for nature and vse: they are not curses or punishments, but onely chastisements, and tryals, or preuentions.

The consideration of this, that wee are not all at once deliuered from the power of darkenesse, may defend often preaching, and the frequent vse of all good meanes, publike or priuate. This darkenesse will not away with one dayes shining; these clouds will not bee dispelled with one blast; what's the light of one candle, when the night hath inclosed the whole ayre?

And translated vs into the kingdome of his deare Sonne.] Or, as it is in the Ori­ginall, of the Sonne of his loue.

These words containe the second part of our Redemption on earth in this world: the redeeming of vs is the translating of vs: and this translation is amplified by the condition of life into which wee are translated, which for the excellencie of it, is into a Kingdome; and for the author of it, is into the kingdome of Iesus Christ, the Sonne of Gods loue.

Translated.] The word, is a Metaphor and the comparison is taken from Plants in nature, and there are diuers things signified vnto vs, concerning our Redemption, in the similitude of translating Plants. As trees are transla­ted in Winter, not in the Spring; so commonly our Redemption is applied in the dayes of speciall affliction and sorrowJob 33.14. vers. 31.: and as the Plant is not first fruitfull and then translated; but therefore translated, that it may beare fruit: so wee are not therefore redeemed because God was in loue with our fruits; but therefore translated out of the kingdome of darkenesse, that we might bring foorth fruit vnto God. And as a tree may be truely remoued, and new planted, and yet not presently beare fruite: so may a Christian bee truely translated, and yet in the first instant of his conuersion hee may not shew foorth all that fruit he doth desire, &c.

What transla­ting hath in it.In particular, translating hath two things in it: first, pulling vp: secondly, setting againe. The pulling vp of the tree, shadowes out three things in the conuersion of a Sinner. First, separation from the world: hee cannot be in Christ that hath his heart rooted in the earth, and keepes his olde standing amongst these trees, the wicked of the world. Secondly, deliuerance both from originall sinne in the raigne of it (which is the moysture of the olde earth) and also from hardnesse of heart, (for translating hath remoouing of the mould and stones that were about the roote.) Thirdly, godly sorrow raised by the sense of the stroakes of the Axe of Gods threatnings, and by the losse of many sprowts and branches that were hidden in the earth: A Christian cannot scape without sorrow; for hee hath many an vnprofitable sprowt of vanitie, and sinfull profit and pleasure hee must part with. The setting of the tree notes both our ingrafting into Christ by the Spirit of God through Faith, and our communion with the Saints, (the fruitfull trees in Gods Orchard) as also it notes our preseruation by the infusion of the sappe of holy graces.

Our natures are translated, not destroied.And it is worthy to be noted that he saith (translated vs) to teach vs that there remaines in man the same nature after Calling that was before: for, our natures are not destroyed in conuersion, but translated: there re­maines the same faculties in the soule, and the same powers in the body; yea, the constitution and complexion of man is not destroyed: as the melan­choly man doth not cease to be so after conuersion, onely the humour is [Page 107] sanctified vnto a fitnesse for godly sorrow, and holy meditation, and the easie renouncing of the world &c. and the like may bee said of other humours in mans nature.

Into the Kingdome.] The kingdome of God is either vniuersall ouer the whole world, or spirituall ouer the faithfull Soules on earth, or blessed soules in heauen, till the day of Iudgement: or it is both spirituall and cor­porall, ouer all the Saints, after the day of iudgement for euer. It is the Kingdome of Grace by inchoation, in the way, present, here below, that is here meant, not the Kingdome of Glory by Consummation in our Coun­trey aboue.

The Kingdome of Christ here on earth,Christs King­dome better then all other Kingdomes. though it be not so visible and pompous as other kingdomes are, yet it excels all the kingdomes on earth: for when all other kingdomes are not onely shaken, but translated or remou­ed, or dissolued, the kingdome of Christ will endure to the end: and in Christs kingdome the number of possessors doth not diminish the largenesse of the possession of each: whereas in other states many Kings make little King­domes. Besides, wicked men may not onely be Subiects but Kings in other kingdomes; but this Kingdome though it be euery where, yet it is wanting to the ignorant and sinners Christ raignes in this Kingdome by his Word and Spirit: and his gouernment is taken vp especially in two things; first, the collection of his Church; and secondly, the maintenance of it.

Great are the priuiledges of the Saints vnder the gouernement of Iesus Christ; they are qualified with eternall graces;The priui­ledges of the Subiects of this King­dome. they are comforted with the daily refreshings that flow from the sense of Gods fauour; they are confirm­ed in the assured peace with Angels and good men; they are estated into an euerlasting inheritance; they daily reape the benefits of Christs Intercessi­on; they often suppe with Christ, and are feasted by the great King; they liue alwaies in the Kings Court, in as much as they are alwaies in Gods spe­ciall presence; they partake of the priuiledges, Prayers, and blessings of all the righteous; and they haue the Spirit of God in them, to vnite them to God and Christ, to leade them in the pathes of holy life, to comfort them in all distresses, to warne them if they goe out eyther on the left hand or the right, and to helpe them in their prayers, making request for them, when they know not what to pray as they ought.

Obiect. Obiect. The World sees no such glory in the estate of Christians in this Kingdome. Sol. There lyes a vayle ouer the eyes of all worldly men:Solut. and besides, this Kingdome though it be in the world, is not of it: though it be here, yet it is not from hence: and the afflictions that commonly couer the face of the Church, doe hide from carnall men the beautie of it; and by reason of the opposition that is betweene the Kingdome of Christ and the Kingdome of Darkenesse, though the world know the glory of Christians, yet they will not acknowledge it.

Obiect. Obiect. The faithfull themselues discerne not any such excellencie in their earthly condition. Sol. Wee must distinguish of Christians:Solut. some are but infants in grace and babes: these may be entituled to great things, and yet haue no great sense of it; as the Childe in Nature hath no great discerning of the inheritance hee is borne to; or his owne present condition wherein hee excels others. A kingdome is neuer the worse because the infant Prince cannot discourse of the glory of it. Some Christians fall away, for the time, into grosse sinne or error: and these are in matters of grace like the drun­ken man, or Paraliticke in nature, their discerning is lost with their vpright­nesse: other Christians either want the meanes in the power of it, or are tossed with great afflictions, or are in the fit of temptation; and then they haue but a darke glimpse of their felicity in Christ: but the strong Christian [Page 106] that hath digested the assurance of Gods loue in Christ, and is exercised in the word of righteousnesse, sees such a glory in the Kingdome of Grace, and doth acknowledge it with such vnmoueable firmenesse of heart, that all the powers of either earth, or hell, cannot alter his iudgement, in the high estimation of such a condition.

Vses.The Vse of this Doctrine concerning Christs Kingdome, is:

First, for Consolation: Gods Children should much exult and reioyce in their estates; and in as much as Christ sitteth as king for euer, all that are in his Temple should speake of his glory Psal: 29.10.18.: and if there were nothing else for a Christi­an to ioy in, yet let all the children of Sion reioyce in their King Psal: 149.2.. Yea, the thought of this, that God is our King, should vphold vs, and fence vs against all crossesPsal: 74.12.: for Christ is a hiding place for the winde, and a couer for the tem­pest, as riuers of waters in a dry place, and as the shadow of a great rocke in a weary Land Esay 32.2.. And therefore let our eyes neuer grow dimme in viewing this glory, or our eares grow dull in harkening to the word of this Kingdome.

Secondly, for Reproofe and terrour vnto all wicked men that harden their hearts, and refuse to returne. What greater losse then to lose Christs Kingdome? and what fairer seruice then to serue the Sonne of God? Who would not feare thee, O King of Nations Jer: 10.7.: accursed is the estate of all such as subiect not their neckes to Christs yoake: that refuse to let him raigne ouer them by his Word and Spirit: that come not vp to doe their homage in Ieru­salem, euen to worshippe this King, the Lord of HoastsZach. 14.17.. If Iesus Christ be a great King, then where shall they appeare, that say to the King Apo­stata Iob 34.18.? Euen all such I meane that dare reproach the way of Christ, and deride the sinceritie of such as desire to imploy themselues in the businesse of the Kingdome, &c. Is hee a great King, how dare wee then offer that vnto him which they durst not offer to a meane King on earth? What meane the blinde and the lame in Gods house Mal: 1.13.14? how dare men so securely offer vp their blinde lip-seruice, and lame deuotions? It is a Kingdome that is offered, why doe wee then trifle? why doe they excuse? What meanes these fond excuses; I haue married a wife, and cannot come: I haue bought fiue yoake of Oxen, and must goe proue them: I haue bought a Farme, and must goe see it? I haue this pleasure and that profit, and therefore cannot come? Will they lose a King­dome vpon so silly a pretence? when thou needest not to lose either Wife, Farme, or Oxen. God doth not bid thee leaue thy Wife, thy Labour, thy Calling, thy Liuing, but onely wils thee to attend thine owne further ad­uancement in the season of it: seeke lawfull profit, but seeke Grace first, Vse thy lawfull pleasures, but chiefly seeke the pleasures of God, euen these spirituall ioyes that are more worth then a Kingdome.

Thirdly, for Instruction: it should teach vs aboue all things to seeke our happinesse in this excellent estate vnder the gouernement of Iesus Christ. Wee should, in respect of the worth of it, forsake our Fathers house, and the immoderate desire of any earthly thing: so that the King will please to delight in vs Psal: 4.5.. Wee should open our hearts wider, that the King of Glorie, by his Word and Spirit, may come in Psal: 24.10.. Wee should labour for all those Graces, by which an entrance is ministred into this Kingdome 2 Pet: 1.8.11: and whatsoeuer we are vn­certaine of, wee should make our Calling and Election sure: and though we bee neuer so many waies opposed, yet seeing wee fight for a Kingdome (nay, in a Kingdome) wee should hold it alwaies a good fight 1 Tim: 6., and continue constant and vnmoueable: and if Christ lead vs into his Chambers Cant: 1.3. of pre­sence, and delight vs with the sweete ioyes of his presence, wee should re­member such princely loue and ioy in him alwaies: Let the Christian sing and make a ioyfull noyse to the rocke of his saluation, and let him worshippe and bow downe, let him serue with all reuerence, and heare without all hardnes of heartPsal: 95.1.3.: [Page 107] let no discontentment possesse the heart of the true Christian: for to serue Christ is to raigne, and all his Subiects are Kings, and the worst estate of the meanest Christian is a rich Kingdome.

Of his Sonne] Quest. Quest. Why is it called the Kingdome of the Sonne, ra­ther then of the Father.Ans. Answ. Because God hath giuen all the power to the Sonne, and this Kingdome is assigned ouer to him. The merit of this happinesse is onely in Christ, and the vertue that gathers vs into this king­dome is onely from CHRIST, and no man commeth to the Father but by Christ.

Sonne of his loue.] Christ is the Sonne of Gods loue: first, because hee is most worthy of all others to be beloued. As Iudas is the Sonne of perdition, that is, most worthy to be damned. Secondly, because hee was from euer­lasting begotten of the loue of his Father: hee is Gods naturall Sonne. Thirdly, because he is infinitely filled with the sense of his loue: so they are said to be the Children of the marriage, that are full of ioy, in respect of the marriage. Fourthly, because it is hee by whom loue is deriued into others: It is hee that makes all other Sonnes, beloued. Lastly, in respect of his hu­mane nature: he is that Sonne vpon whom God hath shewed his principall loue, in respect of the gifts, with which that nature is admirably qualified. The meditation of this, that CHRIST our Sauiour is the Sonne of Gods loue, is very comfortable; for hee is like to speede in any thing hee requests the Father for vs, and hee will be sure to preserue vs, that himselfe is a Kings Sonne, yea, Gods Sonne, yea, a King, and God himselfe, and so infinitely beloued of the Father: it is an excellent thing to be Christs member, seeing hee inherits so great loue: and if God gaue vs this Sonne so deare to him, how shall hee denie any thing, seeing neuer can ought bee so precious, but that with Christ hee will willingly giue it?

Verse 14. In whom wee haue redemption, through his bloud, euen the forgiue­nesse of sinnes.’

IN the former Verses our Redemption is considered, as God the Father is the efficient cause of it. In this Verse it is considered as CHRIST is the Instrumentall cause of it: in the Verse foure things are to be noted. 1. By whom wee are redeemed (viz.) by the Sonne of Gods loue, implyed in the first words. 2. Who are redeemed [wee,] that is, the faithfull. 3. How wee are redeemed, (viz.) by his bloud. 4. With what kinde of redempti­on, not by redemption from losse in estate, or seruitude in body, but from sinne in the soule.

In whom.] Doct. The Sonne of God is the redeemer of the sonnes of men: hee that had no sinnes of his owne, did worthily cancell other mens: hee that was in no debt, paid our debts. In this worke of Redemption wee may see Pietie it selfe beaten for the impious man: and Wisedome it selfe derided for the foolish man: and Truth it selfe slaine for the lying man: and Iustice it selfe condemned for the vniust man: and Mercy it selfe afflicted for the cruell man: and Life it selfe dying for the dead man. None can re­deeme vs but Iesus Christ: hee onely is God and man, he only was deputed hereunto, he onely it is that is the first borne, the brother, and the kinsmanLeuit: 25. Two things required in a Redeemer.. Two things are required in a Sauiour or Redeemer, viz. Right and Power: and the title or right must be either by propriety or by propinquitie. In power and propriety the Father or holy Ghost might redeeme, but in pro­pinquitie Christ onely is the next kinsman.

Secondly, it is to be noted, that hee saith (in whom) not (by whom) to teach vs, that the comfort of our Redemption is not then had when Christ, [Page 108] as Mediator, doth pay the price: but when, as our Head, hee receiueth vs to himselfe: we must be in Christ before wee can bee pardoned: it is a vaine thing to alledge that Christ died for vs, vnlesse wee can cleare it, that wee are the members of Christ by conuersion and regeneration: wee must be in Christ before the Diuell will let go his hold: wee must bee in Christ before wee can receiue of the influence of his grace; for that descends onely from the Head to the Members: wee must be in Christ before we can be couered with his garment: and if wee be not in the Vine we cannot perseuer.

Wee.] Quest. Quest. How could the obedience and sufferings of one man serue to redeeme so many men? Ans. Ans. It is sufficient because he did all willingly; because also hee was himselfe innocent and without fault: but especially be­cause this obedience and suffering was the obedience of him that was more then man.

Againe, it is to be noted that hee saith (wee,) not all men, haue redemp­tion, as the Vniuersalistes dreame.

Haue.] Quest. Quest. Had not the Fathers before Christ, redemption in him as well as wee? Ans. Ans. They had: first, in Predestination, because they were here­vnto elect: secondly, in efficacie, in as much as they that did beleeue in Christ, had the vertue of the redemption to come. Hence, that Christ is said to bee the Lambe slaine from the beginning of the world.

By his bloud.] Christ shed his bloud many waies: as when hee was cir­cumcised, in his Agonie in the Garden, when hee was crowned and whip­ped, when hee was crucified, and when with a Speare his side was pierced; but here it is by a Synecdoche taken for all his sufferings.

Foure waies of redempti­on.There haue beene in former times foure waies of redemption. First, by Manumission, when the Lord let his Vassaile voluntarily goe out free: but thus could not wee be redeemed; for the Diuell neuer meant to manumit vs. Secondly, by Permutation, as when in the warres one is exchanged for an­other: and thus could not wee be redeemed; for who should bee changed for vs? Thirdly, by violent ablation, as Abraham redeemed Lot, by force rescuing him: but this way did not stand with Gods Iustice. Fourthly, by giuing a Price, and thus wee are redeemed: but what price was giuen? not Gold and Siluer, nor the bloud of Goates; not thousands of Rammes, or ri­uers of Oyle; not the Sonnes of our bodies, for the sinnes of our soulesMich: 6.4.5.: nay, if a whole thousand of vs had beene burned in one heape, it would not haue expiated for one mans sinne: but the price was the bloud of Iesus Christ1 Pet: 1.19., and by this price wee may see how hatefull a thing sinne is in Gods sight;Ʋses. and wee may resolue that wee are not our owne men, any more to doe what we list. Neither ought wee to be seruants of men 2 Cor: 5. The comforts in the doctrin of forgiuenes of sinnes.. Besides, if there had beene merit in the workes of the Law, the Sonne of God needed not to haue shed his bloud: and seeing it is shed, wee neede no other Mediator, nor workes of satisfaction, or supererogation.

Forgiuenesse of sinnes.] The doctrine of remission of sinnes is many waies comfortable: it is a comfort, 1. That sinnes may be remitted1 Iohn 2.1.: 2. That this remission may be applyed particularly;Esay 43.25. Ier. 35.34. Micha 7.19. Psal: 32.1. thou maist haue it, and keepe it for thy selfe1 Iohn 1.9.: 3. That if our sinnes be once forgiuen, they can neuer bee laid to our charge more; they returne not: 4. That where God forgiues one sinne, hee forgiues all sinnes1 Iohn 2.6.: 5. That where God forgiues sinne, hee heales the nature; where hee iustifies bee sanctifies. An earthly Prince may forgiue the Felon, but hee cannot giue him a better disposition; but God neuer forgiues any man, but hee giues him a new heart alsoEzech. 36.26.27. 1 Iohn 1.9. & 21.4. Acts 5.31.. 6. That where God forgiues the sinne, hee forgiues the punishment alsoPsal. 32 4. Math 9.2.5.. Lastly, that by remission of sinnes we may know our saluationLuke 1.77..

Secondly, as it is a comfortable Doctrine to faithfull men, so it is a terrible [Page 109] Doctrine to wicked men, and that many waies: first,The terror of the doctrine of forgiuenes of sinnes. all mens sinnes are not forgiuen: secondly, all neede remission of sinnes: thirdly, if sinne be not forgiuen, it makes men loathsome to GodPsal: 32.1.; which the word (couer) im­porteth: it sets the Soule in debt: it separates betweene God and vs, and hinders good things from vs Esay 59.2.: it defiles: it remaines vpon Record, written with a penne of Iron, and with the point of a Diamond Ier: 17.1.:Psal: 51.1. it causeth all the disquietnesse of the heartPsal: 38.3.: it is the cause of all Iudgements: It brings death Rom: 6. vlt. What a man should do to get his sinnes forgiuen him..

Thirdly, a Question is here to be considered of, viz. What should a man doe that hee may get a comfortable assurance that his sinnes are forgiuen him? Ans. He that would be assured of remission of sinnes must doe these things. First, hee must forgiue other men their trespasses against him, else hee cannot be forgiuenLuke 4.18. 1 Iohn 1.9. Hos: 14.3. Zach: 12.12. Chap: 13.1.. Secondly, hee must search out his sinnes by the Law,Math: 6.14. and mourne ouer them in Gods presence, striuing to breake and bruise his owne heart with griefe in secret, in the confession of them to God, Luk. 4.18. 1 Iohn 1.9. Hos. 14.3. Zach. 12.12. to the end, & 13.1. Thirdly, wee must take heede of the sinne against the holy Ghost: which beginning in Apo­stacie, is continued in Persecution of the knowne Truth, and ends in Bla­sphemie; and is therefore a sinne vnpardonable, because the sinner is vtterly disabled of the power to repent. And howsoeuer all sinnes against the holy Ghost are not vnpardonable, but onely that sinne that hath the former three things in it; yet the man that would haue euidence of pardon, must take heede of all wayes of offending against Gods Spirit: and therefore must take heede of speaking euill of the way of godlinesse, of contemning the meanes of Grace, by which the Spirit workes, and of tempting, grieuing or vexing of the holy Ghost within his owne heart or others. Fourthly, he must daily attend vpon the preaching of the Gospell, till the Lord be pleased to quicken his owne Promises, and his heart to the ioyfull application of the Comforts of Gods Loue, conteined in his Word. And when men come to Gods presence to seeke so great a mercy as the pardon of sinne, they must aboue all things, take heede of wilfull hardnesse of heart, least their vnwillingnesse to be directed by Gods Word, be requited with that curse that God should grow vnwilling that they should repent, and hee should forgiue them Marke 4.11.12. Acts 26.18.. Fiftly, the Prayers of the faithfull are very auaileable to procure the pardon of sin Iam. 5.16.. Sixt­ly, he must with due preparation be often in receiuing the Sacrament of the Lords Supper, which is to the worthy Receiuer, a worthy Seale of Remissi­onMath 26.28.. Seauenthly, he must amend his life and belieue in Iesus ChristMark: 1.4. Acts 5.31. & 10.43..

Verse 15. Who is the Image of the inuisible God, and the first begotten of euery Creature.’

HItherto of the worke of Redemption: now followeth the person of the Redeemer, who is described as hee standeth in relation.

  • 1 To God. Ʋers. 15.
  • 2 To the vniuerse or whole World, Vers. 15.16.17.
  • 3 To the Church, Vers. 18.19. &c.

In all the Verses in generall,That Christ is GOD. may be obserued the euident proofe of his diuine Nature. For, as the Verses before, when they mention Redemp­tion in his bloud, proue him to be man; so these Verses, ascribing to him, Eternitie, Omnipotence, &c. prooue him to be God. That our Sauiour is God, may be further confirmed, by these places of Scripture: Gen. 19.24. Iudg 2.1.4.14. Psal. 45. Prou. 8.22. Iob. 19.25. Isay 7.14. and 9.6. and 35.2.4. and 40 3.10.12. and 43.10.11.23. and 45.22. Ier. 23.5.6. Hos. 1.7. and 12.4. Mich. 2.12. and 4.1. Iohn 1.1. &c. 1 Iohn 5.20. Reuel. 1.6.

Christ more excellent then al Monarches in diuers re­spects.Besides, the Apostles drift is to extoll the excellencie of Christ, by whose bloud we are redeemed. Howsoeuer hee appeared in forme of a ser­uant, yet hee exceeded all Monarches, that euer were on earth: for Christ is the essentiall Image of God, whereas the greatest Monarchs are Gods Image, but by a small participation. Hee is the Sonne of God by generation, they are so onely by creation or regeneration. Hee is the first borne, they are but yonger brothers at the best: Hee is the Creator, they are but Creatures: All things are for him, whereas they haue right and power ouer but few things: hee is eternall, they are mortall. Things cannot consist without a Redeemer in Heauen; but so they may without a Monarch on earth: hee is a mysticall Head, and by his Spirit vniteth all his Subiects to him, and by influence preserueth them: but so can no politicall heads doe their Subiects. Other things I might instance in the Verses following, but these shall suffice.

The first thing in particular by which the Redeemer is described is his re­lation to God in these words: Who is the Image of the inuisible God.]

Here three things are to be considered: First, the Person resembling, Who: Secondly the manner how he resembleth, viz. by the way of Image: thirdly, the person resembled, in his Nature, God: in the Attribute of his Nature, Inuisible. For the first, if wee be asked of whom hee here speaketh, it is ea­sily answered out of the former Verses: It is the Sonne of GOD, the Sonne of his Loue, Ʋerse 13. And thither I referre the consideration of the first poynt.

Difference betweene Image and Similitude. Image.] Our Redeemer resembles God by way of Image.

There is difference betweene the Image of a thing, and the Similitude of it. The Sunne in the Firmament expresseth God by Similitude; for as there is but one Sunne, so there is but one God: And as no man can looke vpon the Sunne in his brightnesse; so no man can see God with mortall eyes, &c. But yet the Sunne is not therefore Gods Image. Gods Image is in Man, and in Christ.

Gods Image is in man three waies.Gods Image is in man three wayes: First, by Creation; and so it is in all men, euen worst men, in as much as there is in them, an aptitude to know and conceiue of God, &c. Secondly, by Recreation; and so it is in holy men, that doe actually and habitually know and conceiue of God, &c. but this is vnperfectly. Thirdly, by similitude of glory; and so the blessed in heauen conceiue of, and resemble God, and that (in comparison with the two former) perfectly.

The diffe­rence be­tweene the Image of God in Man and in Christ.But there is great difference betweene the Image of God in man, and the Image of God, in Christ. In Christ, it is as Caesars Image in his Sonne; in Man, it is as Caesars Image in his Coyne. Christ is the naturall Image of God, and of the same substance with God, whom he doth resemble: but the Christian is Gods Image only in some respects, neither is he of the same nature with God. Man is both the Image of God, and after the Image of God; The Image of God because he truly resembles God;Imago, and ad Jmaginem. and after the Image of God, because hee re­sembles him, but vnperfectly. But Christ is the perfect Image of God, and not after his Image. Some expresse the difference thus: Christ is the Image of the inuisible God, but Man is the Image of the visible God, that is, of Christ.

Christ, is the Image of God three wayes: 1. in Operation, because it is he that worketh Gods Image in vs: 2. in Apparition, because hee appeared for God, to the Fathers in the old Law: 3. in Person, and that in both natures, both as God and Man; for the most perfect Image of God, is Christ, God: the perfect image of God is Christ, Man: the vnperfect Image of God, is Man.

That Christ is the Image of God, as he is God, is apparant by that place, Phil. 2.6. and Heb. 1.4. And here, two things are admirable: first, that this Image is an infinite Image, like the thing resembled: secondly, that the Image is the same in Number, not in Specie onely, with the thing resembled.

Christ as man, is the Image of God, 1 Tim. 3.16. And that three waies: First, as the God-head dwels in Christ bodily: in respect of the vnutterable presence of the diuine Nature. Secondly, as by his Miracles and great works, he manifested the Diuine Nature, and shewed God in the world. Thirldly, as his Humane Nature is qualified with Knowledge, Righteousnesse, Purity, and other gifts: for if man be Gods Image in respect of this, Christ is so much more. To conclude, Christ as he is God, is not onely the Image of the inuisible God, but the inuisible Image of God: but as man, he is the vi­sible Image, of the inuisible God.

The Considerations of this Doctrine,Vse. that Christ is the Image of the inui­sible God, may serue for sixe Vses. First, to teach vs the admiration of that God, whose Image is of so admirable praises. Secondly, to shew the fearefulnesse of their estate, that turne the glory of the incorruptible GOD into the Image of corruptible Creatures.Rom: 1.23. And this is the sinne not onely of the Gentiles, but of the Papists also. Thirdly, it should wonderfully quicken vs to all the duties of humblenesse of minde, and meekenesse, and make vs rea­die in all things, to serue one another, without wrangling, or contention, in loue; seeing hee that was in forme of God, equall with GOD, Phil: 2.1.2.3.6 put vpon him the forme and Image of a Seruant. Fourthly, wee may hence learne, that if wee would know God, wee must get into Christ; for in him onely is the Father knowne: hee that hath seene Christ, hath seene the Father Iohn 14.9. 2 Cor: 4.4.. La­bour then in the businesse of Mortification and Iustification, and then that knowledge of God, which is impossible to Nature, will bee possible to Grace. They haue the firmest apprehension of God, not that haue the most Wit or Learning, but that haue the most grace in Iesus Christ. One may bee a great Scholler, and yet a great Atheist. The surest way is to know the Creator in the Redeemer. Fiftly, seeing it is Christs honour to bee Gods I­mage, let it bee our honour to bee Christs Image, which wee can neuer bee, vnlesse wee put off the olde man, and his workes Col: 39.10.. And see to it, that the light of the Gospell be not hid from vs, by the God of this world, for the Gospell is the Gospell of glory2 Cor: 4.4. & 3.18. Gal: 4.19. [...]., 2 Cor. 4.4. and 3.18.9. &c. Gal. 4.19. Now, wee may bee framed like to the Image of Christ, in three things: 1. In KnowledgeCol: 3.10.: 2. in SufferingsRom: 8.29.: 3. in holinesse and righteous­nesse of heart and lifeEphes: 4.21.24.: Lastly, shall the Diuell make men worshippe the Image of the beast Reuel: 13.; and shall not we for euer honour this euerlasting Image of our God?

Inuisible God.] God is inuisibleIohn 1.18. 1 Tim: 6.16. Iohn 9.11. &c. & 23.9.10. Vse.; God cannot bee seene, because hee is a Spirit, not a body; and because of the exceeding thinnesse and puritie of his nature, and because of the transplendency of his glory; and lastly, because of the infinitenesse of his Essence.

The Vse is, first, to teach vs to walke alwaie in feare and trembling, seeing we serue such a God, as sees vs, when we see not himPsa. 65.5. &c.: secondly, this should checke the secret and beastly discontentment of our hearts, which are many times moued to vexation, because our God is not visible; whereas we should therefore the more admire him, that is so absolutely perfect: It were im­perfection to be visible. And yet notwithstanding, though God be not vi­sible to sense, hee is visible to vnderstanding: and though Nature cannot see him, yet Grace can. Now, if any aske what hee might doe that hee might see God, I answere, that he that would see God: first, hee must looke for him in the Land of the liuing k: seeke for him amongst true Christians: hee must [Page 112] first know and loue his brother: and then hee shall know and see God 1 Iohn 4.12.. Hee that would know the Father, must bee acquainted with the Childe. Se­condly, he must with feare, and reuerence, and constancie, waite vpon the manifestation of God in his house; in that light we shall see light. Wee must eate at Gods Table, and it must be our contentment to taste of the fatnesse of his house, and to drinke out of the riuer of those pleasures, if we would with cleare light see GodPsa. 36.8.9.. God is to be seene in SionPsalm: 84.5.7.8.: Gods goings are seene in the Sanctuary Psal: 68.24.. Thirdly, he must learne Gods Name; for he that knowes his Name, sees his Nature. When God would shew his glory to Moses, hee pro­claimes his name to himExod. 33.19. & 34.6. &c.. Fourthly, hee must be sure to get into Christ by Faith, being borne of God by regenerationIoh: 6.46. & 14.7.. Lastly, hee must bee pure in heartr: hee must especially striue against the corruptions inward, in his thoughts and affections. Thus of the second vse.

Math: 6.7.Thirdly, the consideration of this, that Gods is inuisible, should incou­rage vs to well doing, euen in secret; seeing wee serue such a God, as can see in secret Math. 6.4..

Hitherto our Redeemer is described, as he stands in relation to God: now, in the second place, he is described as he stands in relation to the Creatures. And Christ is in relation to the Creatures fiue waies: 1. as the first begotten among them: 2. as their Creator: 3. as the end of them, all for him: 4. in respect of Eternitie, as he is before all things. 5. as all things in him consist: All things depend vpon Christ as their preseruer, as their auncient, as their end, as their Creator, and as the first borne.

The first begotten of euery Creature.] Two things are here to be considered of Christ: 1. that he is Gods Son, by generation: 2. that he is the first begotten.

For the first: God hath Sonnes by Nature and by Grace; Christ is borne as Man, [...]. and begotten as God. Things are begotten three waies: 1. Metapho­rically, onely by comparison, or in some respects: 2. Corporally: 3. Spiritu­ally: some things doe beget without themselues, as bodies doe; but this is more ignobly and basely; some things beget within themselues, as doth the Spirit or soule, more perfectly. But the most perfect and vnutterable glorious generation, is the begetting of the Son of God, by God. The way of God in eternity, who can finde out? and his generation who can tell? His waies are not as our waies; yet a glimpse of this great work, we may reach to two waies:

  • 1 By way of Negation, as they say in Schooles.
  • 2 By way of Comparison.

First, by denying that vnto God, which hath imperfection in it. In the generation of the Creatures we may see something into the generation of the Sonne of God. There are eight things in the generation of the Creatures, which are not in this begetting of the naturall Sonne of God. 1. The Crea­tures beget in time, because themselues are first begotten: but this is not in God, Christ is of the Father, but not after the Father: there is here a prioritie in order, but not in time. 2. The Creatures beget by affection (this is imper­fection) but God begetteth by Nature. 3. The Creature begets without him­selfe, so as Sons are diuers, and diuided from the Father, because they are fi­nite: [...], not, [...]. we are of like nature to our Fathers, but not the same nature: but it is not so in God; for Christ is not diuided from the Father, as he is the naturall Sonne of God. 4. The generation in the Creature is not without corrupti­on, or diminution of the nature of the Begetter: but here, God the Father begetteth without corruption or diminution, by a way diuine, inenarrable, and incomprehensible. 5. Our Children are lesse then their Parents; but Christ is as well Coequall as Coeternall. 6. The Creature communicates but a part of his substance, but God communicates the whole. 7. The father and sonne, among the creatures, are two in number, one in Specie onely; but [Page 113] in God it is not so: for the Son of God is another, but not another thing; he is another, viz. in Person, but not another thing in Essence. Lastly,Alius, but not aliud. the creature begets mortal creatures, & propagates but a being for a time, but God begets a Sonne immortall by nature, such a one as can neuer die in the nature so be­gotten.

Secondly, this generation is shadowed out by some comparison with crea­tures: the riuer and the spring are two, yet not diuided; so is the Sun and the Beames of it, the Sauor & the Oyntment are together, and yet the Oyntment is not corrupted: but the principall comparison is in the minde & the word; the Minde begets the Word naturally, without passion or corruption, with­in it selfe; so as the Word begotten, remaines in the Minde, the Word afterwards, clothed with a voyce, goeth into the eares of men, and yet ceaseth not to be still in the Minde: This in many things, as you may see, is like to the generation of Christ, by the Father. But all these are but shadowes; the glory of the thing it selfe cannot be expressed by any words of man or angels.

The consideration of this Doctrine should inflame vs to the loue of such a Sonne, who being as hee was, coequall and coeternall with the Father, yet was pleased to delight himselfe in Gods earth, which is man.Prou. 8.22.31.32. And wee should for euer hearken and attend to the words of this wisedome of God, who tea­cheth vs the secrets of the very bosome of his Father. And seeing this is the Sonne, of whom GOD hath spoken to the dreadfull astonishment and wonder of Heauen and Earth, woe vnto them that sinne against the Sonne, and prouoke him to anger: How shall they bee broken to pieces like an ear­then Vessell? But blessed are all they, that with all feare and trembling,Psal: 2.5.7.9.11.12. and with all reuerence and affection, subiect themselues to the Scepter of his Kingdome, and trust in the loue of the Father, through the merits of the Sonne. Thus of the consideration of Christ, as he is begotten of God: it is here added that he is first begotten.

First begotten.] Christ is the Sonne of GodIohn 1.14.: Hee is the onely begotten Son of GodIohn 1.18.: hee is the naturall Sonne of GodRom: 3.8. Primogenitus.; and here is tearmed the first be­gotten Sonne of God. Hee is first begotten, as God, two waies: 1. in Time, hee was before all other things. Of this afterwards: 2. in Dignitie, he is the foundation of all that respect, by which others are made Sonnes: hee is first be­gotten, as Man, not in time, but in dignitie and operation: first, in respect of the miraculousnesse and wonderfulnesse of his birth and conception; so are none other borne: secondly, in respect of his Resurrection, in which God did as it were beget him againe: thus he is afterwards said to be the first borne of the dead: thirdly, in respect of preheminence; as hee hath the right of the first borne, being made heyre of all things.

The Vse is diuers: First, let all the Angells of God worship him. Secondly,Heb: 1.6. it should kindle in our hearts godly sorrow for our sinnes. If we can mourne for the death of our first borne, how should we be pierced to remember,Zach: 12.12. that our sinnes haue pierced Gods first borne? Thirdly, we should neuer thinke it strange to suffer in this world,Rom: 8.29. seeing God spared not his owne first borne. Lastly, it may be a great comfort to Christians; and that two wayes: first, because they shall be accepted with God, in, and for, Christ, who is the first borne, and hath receiued a blessing for all the rest: secondly, because in Christ they themselues are accounted as Gods first borne, in comparison of other men: God will vse them as his first borne, Exod. 4.22. Heb. 12.23. Psal. 89. [...]7. By this Gods Children are made higher then the Kings of the earth, Psalm. 89.27. and therefore woe shall bee to them that wrong Gods first borne, Exod. 4.22. And therefore also euery Christian should so esteeme his birth-right, as by no meanes, with prophane Esau, for any lust, profit, or pleasure to sell it, Heb. 12.16.

Verse 16. For in him were all things created, that are in Heauen, and that are in Earth, visible or inuisible; whether they be Thrones or Dominions, or Principa­lities or Powers. All things were created for him and by him.’

IN this Verse foure things are to be considered: first concerning Creation it selfe, in the generall: secondly, who created: thirdly, what was created: fourthly, the distinctions of Creatures.

Created.] God workes not as the Creatures doe, God workes in an in­stant: Angels worke sodainely: Nature workes by little and little, and by degrees. There is a threefold effusion of the goodnesse of God: 1. by Gene­ration: 2. by Spiration: 3. by Creation.

The Workes of God are either Internall and immanent, and are in the Es­sence of God, by an act internall and eternall; and thus Predestination is Gods worke; or externall and transient, passing to the Creatures, by an act externall and temporall. And these workes are either workes of Nature, or workes of Grace:Qua est in fieri. qua est in facto. the workes of Nature respect her, either as shee is in making, or as she is made: the latter workes are workes of Prouidence, the former, are workes of Creation.

A difference must be made betweene creating, generating, and making. A thing comes into being, of nothing, by Creation: of something, by ma­king: and of a substance, by generation. Creation is of God, by himselfe: Generation is of Nature according to God.

Doctr. Doct. The World, euen this whole Frame of all things, was created, and had a beginning. This wee may know by Faith, out of ScriptureGen: 1. & 2. Psal: 33.6.9. Job 38. & 39.; and by Reason, from the state of Creatures: their alterations, subordinations, de­bellities, and expirations, proue a beginning; and that they are not eternall.

Obiect. Obiect. This drownes our thoughts, that wee cannot conceiue of Eter­nitie, Solut. what it was before the world was. Sol. It is not meete wee should ac­count our selues able to iudge of Eternitie. What doe Plants iudge of Sense? what doe the Beasts iudge of Reason? how canst thou be fit to iudge of E­ternitie, that, thy selfe, hast no certaine continuance in time?

Thus of Creation in generall: the second thing is, who is Creator.

Opera ad extra sunt indiuisa. In him, or by him.] The whole Trinitie did create the world; because it is a rule, that the workes of God that are without, are vndeuided; so as that which one Person doth, all the three Persons doe. Yet there is difference in the Order:Pater est causa. [...]. Filius. [...]. Spiritus sanctus [...]. for the Father moues and wils it, the Sonne workes it, and the holy Ghost finisheth it. Creation is giuen to the Father, Acts 17.24. to the Sonne, Iohn 1.3. to the holy Ghost Gen. 1.2. Psal: 33.6.

But in this place, the honour of the worke is specially giuen to the Sonne; And it is to be noted, that the originall hath more then barely [by him,] for it is said, in him, &c. The Creation of the world, was in Christ, in two respects: First, it was in him, as in an examplar; the Frame of the world, to be made, was in him, as the Image of the Fathers vnderstanding: for, in the building of a House, there is a double frame; the one in the head of the Carpenter; the other, the Frame externall of the house, built after the patterne of that, that was in the Carpenters head: So is it, in the Creation of the World. Se­condly, it was in him, as that decreed, and fore-appointed head and foun­dation, in which all the other things should be placed and consist: thus he is said to be the beginning of the Creatures of God. Reuel: 3.14.

This worke of Creation ascribed vnto Christ, proues his Deity, Eternitie, and Omnipotencie. Thus of the Creator.

Mundus Ar­chetypicus.Thirdly, it followes, what was created, viz. All things,] The whole world. By the world I meane not the frame of all things, as it was in Gods Essence [Page 115] from Eternitie: nor man onely, which is called a little World:Mundus Mi­crocosmus. Mundus Ma­crocosmus. but this whole Vniuerse, and great building, consisting of all sorts of Creatures. Concerning this creation of all things, I onely note two things: First, how they were created: secondly, the errours that sprung vp against this Do­ctrine.

Now, All things were created.] First, most freely, without any necessitie that compelled God thereuntoPsal. 33.9. & 115.3.. Secondly, without any labour, motion, or mutation of himselfe, with a becke onely; and by his omnipotent Word Psal. 33.9.. Thirdly, of nothing: of nothing I say, negatiuely, in the Creation of the first masse of all things; and of nothing priuatiuely, in the second Creation of things, out of the first masse or Chaos. For though in the order of nature, and by men, nothing is made of nothing, yet this extendeth not to God and the first Creation. Fourthly, most wisely, so as there flowed in the Creation, a goodnesse to euery Creature, so as they were all good, in Gods accountGen: 1.31.: This Goodnesse in Man and Angels, was Gods Image in them. Fiftly, in time, with time, in the very beginning of timeGen: 1.1.. Sixtly, in the space of sixe daies; not at one time onely, and this shewed the Creatures disabilitie, that could not forme it selfe when the first matter was created: Herein God also shewed his power, and that hee was not tied to second causes, as hee declared when hee gaue light to the world, while yet there was no Sunne.

Then herein hee teacheth men to dwell long vpon the meditation of the Creation, seeing God himselfe did prolong the Creation for so many daies, which yet hee could haue dispatched in an instant.

There were foure errors about the Creation:Foure words confute foure Errours. Some said the world was eternall: some said, though it were not eternall, yet it had a materiall begin­ning, it was made of something: Some said, God made the Superiour Crea­tures himselfe, and the Inferiour by Angels: some, made two beginners of things; they imagined that one Beginner made things incorruptible, and an­other, made things corruptible. The very first Verse of the Bible, confutes all foure Errours: the word, in the beginning, shewes the world was not eter­nall: the word Creation, notes, that it was made of nothing; when he saith, God created all, hee excludes Angels: and lastly, when hee saith, God crea­ted Heauen and Earth, hee shewes hee was the onely beginner of all sorts of Creatures.

Fourthly, the distinction of the Creatures followes:Sorts of Crea­tures. here they are distin­guished three waies: 1. by Place, some are things in heauen, some things in earth: 2. by Qualitie, some are visible, some are inuisible: 3. by a subdiuisi­on of the inuisible; some are Thrones, some are Dominions, &c.

Thrones, or Dominions, or Principalities, or Powers. Diuersitie of opinions a­bout the mea­ning of Thrones, Do­minions, &c.] These words are diuersly interpreted. Some thinke, there is no necessitie to vnderstand them of An­gels; but in generall of all Empire, and of the order of oeconomie, among the Creatures, in Marriage, Lawes, or Gouernments, in heauen or Earth. Some restraine the words, to order amongst men onely. Some vnderstand by Thrones the Pallace of Gods Maiestie, and the seate of blessed immortality; and the rest of the words they interpret of Angels. But the commonest opinion, and most auncient, is to vnderstand all the words of Angels onely: But in this there is not agreement, for some thinke the Apostle speakes by way of Concession, as if hee should say: Be it so that Angels are Thrones and Dominions, &c. (as the Iewes and false Apostles affirme, when they go about to perswade you to Angel-worship) yet if that were granted, Christ onely were to be worshipped, because hee made all those; and what excellency they haue, they had it from him. Others thinke that the Apostle reckoneth vp the excellent'st things in humane gouernment, and giues them to Angels, to sha­dow out their glory; and consequently, the glory of Christ that made them. [Page 116] I thinke there is no hurt in their opinion, that giue all these words vnto An­gels:Why Angels are called by these names. And they are called Thrones, Dominions, Principalities, & Powers, because God by them gouernes the Nations, and as some thinke, moues the Heauens; restraines the Deuils, workes Miracles, foretels things to come, protects the faithfull, and exerciseth his iudgements vpon the world: yet so as these names may be giuen to all Angels, in diuers respects, and vpon occasion of diuers employments: Or they may be giuen to some Angels for a time, and not for euer. Or if it bee yeelded that those names doe distinguish the diuers sorts of Angels,The Vses of the doctrine of Creation. and their order; yet it will not follow, that wee can tell their sorts, as the bold Dionysius, and the Papists haue aduentured to doe.

Thus of the doctrine of Creation; the Vses follow, and they are,

  • 1 For Reproofe.
  • 2 For Consolation.
  • 3 For Instruction.

The doctrine of Creation cannot but bee a doctrine of great reproofe and terrour to wicked men; because those goodly Creatures, being Gods workemanship, will plead against them, and make them inexcusable in the day of CHRIST; in as much as they haue not learned to know and serue God with thankefulnesse and feare, that shewed his Wisedome and Power, and other the inuisible things of God,Rom: 1.19. in the making of all those Creaturesr. And besides, from the great power of God, in the Creation of themselues and other Creatures, they may see that they are in a wofull case, that by sin­ning striue with him that made them: for hee hath the same power to de­stroy themEsa: 45.19..

And further, if God made all, then he knowes all, and so all the sinnes of the sinner; and in that hee made all, hee hath at his command as Lord by creation all Armies, to raise them against the wicked for their subuersion.

Secondly, the Doctrine of the Creation may comfort Gods Children many waies: first, it may comfort them in the faith of the worlds dissoluti­on: it is hee that created Heauen and Earth that will accomplish it, that time shall be no more, I meane, not times of mortalitie, sinne, labour, infirmi­tieReuel. 10.6., &c. Secondly, it may comfort them in the successe of Christs kingdom on earth. Though it be a great thing to gather men againe into couenant with God, and to open the eyes of men, blinde with ignorance, and to deli­uer the soules of men that haue long lyne in the prisons of sinne and mise­rie; yet wee may be assured that God, by the ordinances of Christ, will ac­complish all the great things of this spirituall kingdome; because hee was a­ble to create the Heauens and Earth. And God himselfe doth remember his power in the Creation, to assure his performance in our regenerationEsa. 42.5.6.. Thirdly, it may comfort vs in our vnion with Christ; for what shall sepa­rate vs from his loue? in as much as hee is vnchangeable himselfe, nothing else can, for they are all his Creatures, and must not crosse his resolued willRom: 8.. Fourthly, it must needes bee a comfort to serue such a God, as hath shewed himselfe in the Creation to worke so wonderfully. Blessed is hee that can re­ioyce in God, and his seruice, and is refreshed with the light of his counte­nance, and assured of his louePsal: 89.11.15.. Fiftly, the wonders of the Creation serue to shew vs how wonderfull the workes of Grace are; in the working of which, the Lord vseth the very tearme of creating. To regenerate a man is as glo­rious a worke as to make a worldEphes. 2.10. & 4.24. 2 Cor: 5.17. Gal: 6.15.: the protection of a Christian hath in it also diuers of the wonders of the Creation. The peace that comes into the hearts of Christians, as the fruits of the lippes, is createdEsa: 57.18.: a cleane heart is a rare blessing, for it is created alsoPsal: 5.18.. Sixtly, it is a comfort against the force [Page 117] of wicked men, and their wrongs: the wickedst men are Gods Creatures; Hee created the destroyer to destroy, and the Smith that bloweth the Coales, and him that bringeth forth an instrument: and therefore all the weapons that are made against Gods Children cannot prosper. And it is a part of the Christians inheri­tance, to be protected against the malice of the wicked, that would de­stroy himEsay 54.16.17. & 43.1.2.3. Lastly, it may comfort Gods Children, in the expectation of their saluation; for God hath promised, as certainely as hee hath created the Heauens, he will saue Israell, though it should bee as hard a worke as was the spreading out of the Heauens Esa. 45.15.17.18.19..

Thirdly, the doctrine of the Creation should teach vs diuers duties.

First, the admirablenesse, and varietie of Gods workes should prouoke vs to contemplation: How deare are thy thoughts vnto me? Psal. 139 17.

Secondly, in affliction; wee should willingly commit our selues to God, and trust in him, though our meanes be little, or vnlikely; for he is a faithfull Creatour: his loue to vs affords him Will to doe vs good, and the creation proues his Power1 Pet: 4.19. Esa: 45.12.7.22..

Thirdly, the greatnesse of the workes in Creation, should imprint in vs Reuerence and Feare, and force vs to the duties of the adoration and wor­ship of God, Reuel. 4.11. & 5.13. Psal. 104.31. & 100.13.

Fourthly, the knowledge of the glory and greatnesse of the Creator, should inflame in vs indignation against Idols, and the worship of the crea­ture, Ier. 10.3, 7.10.11.12.14.16. Rom. 1.25.

Fiftly, the remembrance of our Creator, and Creation, should worke in vs an abatement of our pride and iollitie, and dull the edge of our fierce ap­petite to sinne, Eccles. 12 1.

Sixtly, the consideration of our equalitie in our Creation, should keepe vs that we transgresse not against our Brethren: Wee haue all one Father, and one GOD hath created vs Mal: 2.10. Iob: 31.14.15.. Thus of the Creation.

The third thing in Christs relation to the Creatures, is, that All things are for him.

For him.] In diuers, respects: first, as it is hee onely,All things are for Christ, in diuers respects in whom the Father is well pleased; and so the loue of God to the World is for his sake. Secondly, as all the Creatures doe serue to point out the Sonne, as well as the Father, and that because they shew Christ, as the wisedome of the Father. And be sides, their changes and corruptions doe cry for the libertie of the sonnes of God in Christ: and further, they are all at commaund, for the propagation, and preseruing of the kingdome of Christ. Thirdly, as he is heyre of all thingss, they are for him, that is, for his glory; so as hee is not onely the Efficient, but the finall cause of all things. The Carpenter makes his House, perhaps fot one more honourable then himselfe, but not so Christ in making this great House, the World. The consideration of this point, that all things are for Christ, should teach vs diuers things.

First, wee should lesse dote vpon the world, and the things thereof,Ʋses. in as much as these things were principally made for Christ, and not for vs. And secondly, wee should vse all these things as helpes to lead vs to CHRIST, Thirdly, in the vse of the Creatures, wee should be carefull to expresse the glory of Christ, by giuing thankes, by magnifying his Wisedome, Power, Goodnesse, &c. and by distributing them; according to his appointment, as to the poore, and to the maintenance of the worship of God: for seeing they are his, and for him, wee should despose of them as hee requires. Lastly, it should keepe vs from the vse of all ill meanes: for seeing it is for Christ, wee should not lye, deceiue, vse false weights, runne to Witches, or take any o­ther vngodly course; for hee needes not our lye, nor desires to bee helped by any sinnefull course.

The fourth thing which Christ is commended for, is his Eternitie.

Hee was before all things.]

Eoure things in the immen­sitie of Christs diuine nature.The Immensitie of Christs Diuine Nature hath foure things in it. First, infinitenesse in respect of it selfe. Secondly, incomprehensiblenesse in respect of our sense, and vnderstanding. Thirdly, incircumscriptiblenesse, in re­spect of place. Fourthly, Eternitie, in comparison of time. That Christ is eternall these places proue, Prou. 8.22. &c. Mich. 5.2.4. &c. Reuel. 1.8.11. and 21.6. and 22.13.

The Eternity of Christ may be thus defined: it is a pleasant, and at once, perfect possession of endlesse life.The Eternity of Christ, de­scribed and explained. And hereby may the eternitie of Christ appeare, to differ from the eternity of all other things. The Heauens haue an endlesnesse of Essence, but they want life. The Diuels haue an endlesse, not onely being, but life; but it is not a pleasant life. The Saints in Heauen haue a pleasant life till the day of Iudgement, but they haue not whole pos­session. The Angels in Heauen haue a whole possession, but it is not at once, but successiuely, both in reuelation and ioy: I say, it is whole in them, be­cause their whole Nature or Essence is possessed of pleasant and endlesse life. And lastly, Christs eternitie differs from all eternitie, of all the Crea­tures, because no creature hath the former things absolutely perfect; that is, such a possession of endlesse life, as vnto which nothing is wanting, for they want many of the perfections that are in Christ, though they bee perfect in their owne kinde.

Seeing Christ was before all things, wee should preferre him before all things: wee should acknowledge his Title as heyre of all things: as the eldest among all things, wee should willingly heare him speake, and honour his words; wee should trust in him, and liue by faith, &c.

And in him all things consists.] That is, hee vpholds, rules, and gouernes all things by his prouidence: and this is the fift thing by which our Redeemer is described in relation to the World. That prouidence is giuen to the Son, as well as Creation, these places proue, Heb. 1.2.3. Prou. 8.15. Iohn 5.12. Christ is not like the Carpenter, that makes his house, and then leaues it: or like the Shipwright,How al things consist in Christ. Conseruando. Prescribendo. Mouendo. Ordinando. Disponendo. that frames his Ship, but neuer after guides it. All things are said to consist in him, in respect of Conseruation, in that he keepes all things in their being: in respect of Precept, in that from him are prescribed the Lawes, by which Nature, Policie, and Religion are gouerned: in respect of Operation, in that all things moue in him: in respect of Ordination, in that hee appointeth all things to their end: in respect of Disposition of the meanes to the end: and lastly, as the vniuersall cause of Nature, and naturall instincts in all Creatures, by which they further their owne pre­seruation.

Obiect. But we see the meanes by which all things are wrought and pre­serued, as by their causes? Sol. The meanes notwithstanding, all things, consist in Christ: first, because Christ vseth not the meanes necessarilie: se­condly, hee ordaines the meanes as well as the end: thirdly, the meanes is many times euill, in matter or forme; yet the worke is made good by Christ: fourthly, he is not tied to the meanes, but he can worke either with, with­out, or against the meanes: fiftly, all meanes, hath his efficacie from Christ. But the words would be particularly weighed.

As Christ is God, al things consist in him foure wayes. In him.] All things consist in Christ, both in generall, as hee is God; and in speciall, as he is Redeemer. Foure waies, all things consist, in, or by CHRIST; as hee is God: first, in respect of Vbiquitie, hee comprehends all things, and is comprehended of nothing. The Nations are but a droppe of his Bucket, and time it selfe is but a drop of his Eternitie: secondly, in respect of power, in his power this whole frame stirreth: thirdly, in respect of Omniscience, [Page 119] and Wisedome, for all is within his knowledge, and receiueth order from his Wisedome: fourthly, in respect of decree; for the world to be made did from euerlasting hang in the fore knowledge, and pre-ordination of Christ.

As Christ is Redeemer, all things consist in him three wayes: first,And as he is Redeemer, three waies. because he is that attonement which kept the world from being dissolued for Adams sinne: secondly, because the respect of him and his Church, is that that keepes vp the world to this day: if his body were once compleat, the world would not stand one houre: thirdly, because the promise made to man, con­cerning his prosperity, in the vse of all Creatures, are made in Christ.

All things.] Euen all things which are, or are done in Earth, or Heauen;Act: 17.25. things visible, or inuisible, which haue either being, life, sense, or reason, past, present, or to come, aduersitie as well as prosperitie, &c.

Consist.] This word notes foure things: Order, Continuance, Cooperation, The word Consist, notes foure things. and Immutabilitie.

First, the Creatures consist, that is, by an excellent Order, agree together in a glorious frame: for God is the God of order, and not of confusion.

Obiect. There be many miseries, euils, and mischiefes in the world,Obiect. 4. and therefore how can there be order in all things? Sol. First,Solut. there may be or­der in respect of God, though not in respect of vs. Secondly, it followeth not that there is no order, because wee see none: O the depth! &c. Rom. 11. Thirdly, many of the reasons of the fearefull miseries that are in the world, are reuealed. As the iustice of God, in punishing of a sinnefull World, ey­ther whole Nations, or particular persons, the humbling of his Children, and the preparing of them for Heauen, and such like. Fourthly, there may bee Order, in respect of the whole, though not in respect of euery part.

Obiect. 2.Obiect. 2. There bee many sinnes in the world, and those consist not in Christ, neither tend they to order. Sol. The truth is,Solut. that those come into the world by the Deuill and man, and they are by the prouidence of God not effectiue, but permissiue. Yet so as there is operation in foure respects about the sinnes of the world: for first, Christ is the Author of the Motion in generall; though not of the euill of the Motion. Secondly, Christ, worketh, in that he withdraweth grace, being prouoked thereunto. Thirdly, he worketh, in determining, or setting a measure vnto sinne, that it passe not his bounds. Fourthly, he worketh, in conuerting the sinne to a punishment of the sinner, or in working thereout an occasion of humiliation, and of grace in the penitent.

Secondly, Consisting notes the continuance together of the Creatures, for by the prouidence of Christ it is that no substance in Specie that was at first made, euer ceased; but there are still as many Creatures as euer were: and the very singulars of euery sort, doe consist in Indiuidu [...], as long as pleaseth Christ: and the like may be said of the essentiall qualities of all the creatures.

Thirdly, Consisting, notes the Cooperation of the Creatures, so as by the prouidence of Christ, all things worke together for his glory: and all things are ready at Christs will and commaund by ioynt mouing, &c.

Fourthly, Consisting, notes immutabilitie, in the prouidence of Christ.

Thus of the Doctrine: the Vses follow.

And first, the meditation of the prouidence of Christ,Vses. serueth for great reproofe of wicked mens securitie in sinne, who carelesly adde sinne vnto sinne, so it may bee hid from men: as if they were of the minde of those that thought God did not see, or had forsaken the earth, and the care of mens actions below. But seeing all things consist in Christ, wicked men cannot stirre but Christ discouereth them, as plainely as any thing that is in his owne heart. Yea, seeing all things consist in CHRIST, it checketh the doubtfulnesse, and mistrustfulnesse, that is in the hearts of Gods Children; [Page 120] as if in their crosses God did not care for them, or that they should be helpe­lesse. This is at large reproued in these places, Esa. 40.27. & 49.14. &c. & 54.7. &c.

Secondly, seeing all things Consist in CHRIST, it should teach vs to trust in Christ, and not in the second causes: and it should make vs lesse carefull for our preseruation, neuer asking what wee shall eate, or what wee shall put on Math: 6.: yea, seeing be rules all things, let vs willingly subiect our selues to his Scepter, and let him be our guide vnto death Psal: 49.14..

What we must do that it might go vvell vvith vs. Qu. But what must we doe that it might go well with vs, by the prouidence of Christ? Ans. First, we must be Saints, if we would haue Christ to keepe vs and preserue vs: that is, such men as hide not their sinnes, but confesse them, and forsake them, and liue innocently1 Sam: 2.9. Esa: 48.17.18. Psa: 5.8. & 7.10. Hos. 14.9.10. Pro: 28.13.. Secondly, true prosperitie must be learned out of the Word, we must be taught to profit: And the next way to get Christ to blesse vs in our Houses, is to waite vpon his direction in his House; for all prosperitie depends vpon Gods promise, and if wee would prosper, we must doe such things as are of promisePsal. 1.3. & 23. Esa: 48.17.. Thirdly, wee must in true humilitie and sense of our owne vnworthinesse, rest vpon the prouidence of Christ. It is iust if I prosper not in my estate, if I will not trust God with it. Fourthly, we must pray God to direct the workes of our hands con­tinually Psal: 90.7.. Fiftly, wee must take heed of crueltie, and despising and backe-biting of Gods poore afflicted SeruantsPsal: 41.1.2.3. & 140.11.12.13..

Lastly, if all things consist, and are preserued in CHRIST, then much more the righteous are preserued with a speciall preseruation, and in a pecu­liar safetie. In the 37. Psalme this point is excellently and at large handled, both by direct proofe, and by answere to all the vsuall Obiections against their safetie. That they shall be preserued, is affirmed Verse 3.17.23.25.28. The Obiections answered; are many.

Obiect. 1. Wicked men flourish. Sol. a righteous man should neuer grieue at that; for they shall soone be cut downe, like the grasse, and wither as the greene hearbe, Vers. 12.

Obiect. 2. Righteous men are in distresse. Sol. Vers. 6. The night of their aduersitie will be turned into the light of prosperitie: and as surely, as they can beleeue when it is night that it shall be day, so surely may they bee per­swaded, when crosses are vpon them, that comfort and deliuerance shall come.

Obiect. 3. But there are great plots laid against the righteous, and they are pursued with great malice, and their intended ruine is come almost to the very issue. Sol. Vers. 12.13.14.15. The Lord sees all the plots of wicked men, and laughes at their spitefull and foolish malice; while they are busie to destroy the righteous, and hope to haue a day against them, the Lord seeth that their owne day is comming vpon them: euen a day of destruction, a day of great iudgement, and eternall miserie; their Bow shall bee broken, and the Sword that they haue drawne shall enter into their owne heart.

Obiect. 4. But the iust haue but small meanes. Sol. Vers. 16.17. A little that the righteous hath, is better then the riches of many wicked; for the armes of the wicked shall be broken, and the Lord vpholdeth the iust.

Obiect. 4. Heauy times are like to befall them. Sol. Verse 19. They shall not be ashamed in the euill time, and in the day of famine they shall haue enough.

Obiect. 6. But the wicked waxe fatter and fatter, and they preuaile in vexing the righteous. Sol. Verse 20. Indeed the wicked are fat, but it is but the fat of Lambes, their prosperitie shall soone melt, and as they bee like smoake in vexing the godly, so shall they bee like smoake in vanishing away.

Obiect. 7. But the righteous doe fall. Sol. Vers. 24. Though bee that fall, yet hee falls not finally, nor totally; for hee is not vtterly cast d [...]e [...] and besides, there is an vpholding prouidence of God in all the falles of the righteous.

Obiect. 8. Wee see some wicked men that doe not so fall into aduersitie, but rather are in prosperitie to their dying dayes. Sol. Vers. 27. Though they doe, yet their seede shall be cut off.

Obiect. 9. But some wicked men are strong yet, and in their seede spread also. Sol. Vers. 35.36. Note also, that those spreading Bay-trees many times soone passe away; and they, and their houses, are sometimes vtterly cut off.

Obiect. 10. But vpright men are vnder many and long crosses. Sol. Vers. 37. Yet, his end is peace.

Obiect. 11. But no body stands for the godly, when they come into que­stion. Sol. Vers. 39.40. Their saluation is of the Lord; hee is their strength, he will helpe them, and deliuer them, &c.

But if we would be thus deliuered, obserue

1. That wee must not vnthankefully fret at Gods prouidence, verse 1. 2. Wee must trust in the Lord and doe good, vers. 2.3. 3. Wee must delight our selues in the Lord, and not place our contentment on earthly thinges, vers. 4. 4 Wee must commit our wayes to God. Vers. 5. 5. Wee must get patience, and humble affections, vers. 7.8.9.10.11. 6. Wee must be of vp­right conuersation, vers. 14. 7. Wee must be mercifull, vers. 25.26. 8. Wee must speake righteous things, and get the Law into our hearts, vers. 30.31. 9. Wee must keepe our way, and waite on GOD, and not vse ill meanes.

Verse 18. And hee is the Head of the Body, the Church; hee is the beginning and first borne of the dead, that in all things hee might haue the preheminence.’

OVr Redeemer is described before, both in his relation to God, and to the World. In this verse, and the rest that follow to the 23. hee is de­scribed as hee stands in relation to the Church: and that two wayes. First, in relation to the whole Church, vers. 18.19.20. Secondly, in relation to the Church of the Colossians, vers. 21.22

The praise of Christ in relation to the whole Church, is first briefely pro­pounded, and then more largely opened. It is propounded in these words. And he is the head of the Body, the Church.] There is great oddes betweene the worlds subiection to Christ, and the Churches: for the faithfull are sub­iect to Christ as the members are to the Head; but the wicked are subiect as vile things vnder his feeteEphes. 1.22..

Great are the benefits which come to the Church from CHRIST, as her Head. I instance: in sixe, viz. Loue, Sympathie, Audience, Aduocation, Vnion, The benefits flow from Christ as the head of the Church. and Influence. First, Infinite Loue: no man so loues his Wife, as Christ loues his ChurchEphes. 5.27.. Secondly, Sympathie, by which Christ hath a fellow-feeling of the distresses of all his members, that which is done to them, hee takes it as done to him, whether it be good or euillMath. 18.5. & 25.40.45. Heb. 2.17. & 4.15.. Thirdly, Audience, and wil­ling acceptance of all the desires and prayers of all his members: the Head heares for the Body. Fourthly, Aduocation, no naturall Head can so plead for his members, as doth our mysticall Head for vs. Fiftly, Ʋnion, wee as members, are honoured with the Vnion of Essence; in that hee hath taken our nature: with the Vnion of Office, so as the members [Page 122] are annointed Kings, Priests, and Prophets, in their kinde, as well as Christ: and also with the Ʋnion of Vertue, and benefits: by which Vnion wee partake of his Righteousnesse, Holinesse, and Glory. By Vertue of this Vnion with Christ, the faithfull haue the euerlasting presence of Christ; to and after the end of the WorldMath. 28.. The last benefit is influence; influence I say, both of Life (for the second Adam is a quickening spirit 1 Cor. 15.) and Light, (for Christ is the Fountaine of all true Wisedome1 Cor. 1.30.: the Head seeth for the Body, and the Body by, and from the Head) and Grace, (for of his fulnesse wee receiue all grace,) and Motion, for all good desires, feelings, words, and workes, come from the working of the Head in vs.

Our head is more glorious then all poli­ticall heads.The politicall Head is the glory of the World; and the misticall Head is the glory of the Church: yet the misticall Head excells the politicall many wayes. For,

  • 1 CHRIST is the Head of such as are not together in the being of Na­ture or Grace.
  • 2 CHRIST is a perpetuall Head; the other is but for a time.
  • 3. CHRIST is a Head by Influence, the other but by Gouerne­ment.
  • 4. CHRIST is an absolute Head; the other but subordinate to Christ, and his Vice-gerent.

That Christ might become our Head, wee must consider what hee did in fitting himselfe thereunto: and secondly, what hee doth in vs. For him­selfe, hee tooke the same Nature with his Church; else had the Church beene like Nabuchadnezzars Image. Yet as hee tooke our Nature, so wee must know that hee bettered it. The Head differs in worth from the Body, be­cause therein is seated the minde, which is the noblest part of man: so in the humane Nature of Christ, dwells the Godhead bodily; and by expiation, in his owne person, Christ takes away the sinnes of the Church, which else would haue letted all Vnion. And lastly, hee exalted his suffering Nature, and seated himselfe aloft, as meete to haue the preheminence, and become Head of all the faithfull: And as the Head is thus fitted, so are the Mem­bers: for, 1. they are collected out of the World, by the sound of the Gos­pell: (Let them lie hidden in the world that meane to perish with the world.) 2. They are framed, formed, proportioned, and begotten, by daily hea­ring. 3. They are ingrafted in an vnspeakeable, and inuisible Vnion; pre­sently in truth, afterwards in sence.

Church.] This word is diuersly accepted: it is taken sometime in euill part, for an assembly of wicked men; and so there is the Church of the ma­lignant Psal. 26.5. Acts 19.32.40: sometimes for the faithfull in heauenEphes. 5.27.: sometimes for Christians on Earth1 Tim. 3.15. Acts. 5.11.: and this not alwaies in one sense: sometimes for the Pastors of the Church, and Gouernours, as some thinke, Math. 18.17. sometimes for the People, and the Flocke1 Pet. 5.2. Act. 20. [...]8.: sometimes for particular Churches. And lastly, sometimes for all the Elect of God, that haue beene, are, or shall be: so Math. 16.18. Ephes. 1.23. and 5.23. And so here.

The Church of Christ is glorious in three praises.

  • 1 She is One.
  • R [...]: 2.18.12.
    2 She is Holy.
  • 3 She is Catholique.

She is One, in respect of one Head, and Seruice: in respect of one Spi­rit and Binder, and in respect of one Faith and Constancie in doctrine. Shee is Holy, by segregation from the sinnefull world, by the inchoation of the grace of Christ, and by imputation of his righteousnesse. She is Catholique, especially, in the New Testament; in respect of place, the Elect may bee in any place: in respect of men, for it is gathered of all sorts of men: and in [Page 123] respect of Time, for it shall continue vnto all times, euen till time b [...] no more.

Thus of the Doctrine concerning Christ and the Church. The Vses follow.

The first Vse is for Confutation: and that three waies.Vses.

First, in vaine doe the wicked enemies of the Church pride themselues in the greatnesse of Learning, Power, Meanes, &c. thinking to suppresse the being or glory of Christs Church on Earth; for the stone that the Buil­ders refused, will proue the Head of the corner.

Secondly, in vaine doe the Papists goe about to maintaine their ministe­riall Head; for the Church is neither without a Head, nor many-Headed. And it is absurd to excuse it, that the Pope is but a Head vnder Christ: for the body were monstrous that had two Heads, one aboue, and another vnder.

Thirdly, in vaine doe carnall men pleade their hopes in Christ, when they can yeeld no sound reason to prooue they are Christs Members. They are not members of this body vnder this Head, that want Faith; that haue not the spirit of Christ; that are not quickened with the life of Grace; that are not wrought vpon by the word of Christ, nor built vpon the foundati­on of the Prophets and Apostles, that feele no influence of graces from CHRIST; that want the knowledge of Prophets, or mortification of Priests, or victory ouer the World, as Kings; that eyther pride them­selues in their owne ciuill righteousnesse, or can fall away wholy, and for euer.

The second Vse is for Instruction: and first, as Christ is considered to be our Head, wee should.

1 Pray, that God would open the eyes of our vnderstanding, that wee might with sense and affection see what the hope of cur calling is Ephes. 1.19.22. &c., to become mem­bers of such a Body, vnder such a Head.

2 Take heede of all pollutions, that might any way tend to the disho­nour of our Head, whether it be of Flesh or Spirit 2 Cor. 6..

3 Consider our place in this Body, and vnder this Head, and not pre­sume to know about what is meete Rom. 12.4.5..

4 Vse all meanes to grow in this Body, and not pull it backe, or shame our Head by spirituall securitie, or vnprofitablenesse: and to this end wee should sticke fast to the words of the Prophets, and not suffer our selues to bee carried about by euery winde of doctrine, and follow the truth in Loue Ephes. 4.14. to 16., without pride or discord.

5 Obey as the Members doe, in Vnion with the Head by faith; in Com­munion with the fellow-Members by Loue, and with a naturall volunta­rie, and not extorted obedience.

Secondly, if the Church be the body of Christ, and wee Members of this Body, wee should learne to carry our selues one towardes another, in all humblenesse of minde, and long-suffering, supporting one another, and keepe the bond of peace in the vnitie of the spirit Ephes. 4.2.3.4.5.. And wee should labour to profit one another with the gifts God hath bestowed vpon vs, that our graces, as holy oyntment, may runne downe from member to member: and all our Loue should be without dissimulation Rom. 12.6.9.: in giuing honour, going one before another, in as much as what honour one member receiueth, is done in some respect to all. And wee should willingly distribute to the necessities of the Saints, and reioyce with them that reioyce, and weepe with them that weepe Rom. 12.10.13.15.16., out of the Sympathy of Members: by all meanes shunning to giue offence in the least thing; especially not censorious, or contentious in matters of in­differencie1 Cor. 10.24.14..

Lastly, all discontentments with our place or calling, or estimation in the body, and all contempt, or enuie, at the gifts or place of other Christians, should be banished out of our hearts1 Cor. 12.15.22.23.26..

Thus of the excellencie of Christ, in relation to the Church, as it is briefly propounded: the explication followes.

The head hath three Priuiledges, or excels all the Members in Order, Perfection, or Vertue, and Efficacie. The preheminence of Christ is three wayes considered. First, in respect of the dignitie of Order, verse 18. of order I say, toward the Members. Secondly, in respect of perfection in him­selfe, in the fulnesse of grace, verse 15. Thirdly, in respect of Vertue, Effi­cacie, and influence toward the whole body, verse 20.

The primacie of CHRIST in order, or relation to the Members, is twofold. First, in the estate of Grace, Hee is the beginning. Secondly, in the respect of the state of Glory, He is the first begotten of the dead.

Christ is said to be the be­ginning, in three respects. He is the beginning.] Christ may be said to bee the beginning, in three respects. First, as he is the first fruits, for whose sake the rest are accepted, and blessed. Secondly, as hee is the repayrer of the world, decayed by mans sinne. Thirdly, as hee is the beginning of the good things that are in the Church: hee is both the obiect and efficient cause of Faith. Mortifi­cation flowes from his death, and new Obedience from his Resurrection; Iustification is wrought from his obedience.

Ʋses.And this shewes the miserie of all carnall men, that are not members of Christ: in respect of the life of Grace they are dead: in respect of Faith they are Infidels: in respect of Iustification they are without God: in respect of Re­pentance they walke in trespasses, and sinnes: in respect of Communion of Saints, they are strangers from the Common-wealth of Israell. There can bee a beginning of no true felicitie without CHRIST. Christ is said to be the be­ginning of the creation of God Reuel: 3.14.: and from thence is inferred a most seuere re­proofe of mans lukewarmenesse in matters of Pietie, Repentance, and Grace, Reuel. 3. vers. 15.16.17. And if Christ be the Authour and begin­ning of Faith and grace, it should teach vs to perseuere in the Faith, and con­tend for the truth, and keepe that is committed to vs, with all Patience, Wise­dome, and ConstancieHeb. 12.2.. And in as much as he is Alpha, hee will be Omega: as he is the beginning, so he will be the end; and therefore blessed are they that doe his Commandements. And let him that is righteous bee righteous still: and let prophane men, that will not by Faith and Repentance seeke vnto Christ, be filthy still Reuel. 22.11.13.14..

The first begotten of the dead.] Christ, as head of the Church, holds his relation both to the liuing, as their beginning, and to the dead as their first begotten.

There is a threefold primogeniture of Christ: Hee is the first begotten. First, in respect of eternall generation; as he is the Sonne of God. Of this before. Secondly, as hee is borne of the virgin Mary; for shee is said to bring forth her first begotten Sonne Math. 1.. Thirdly, when God raised Christ out of the Graue, hee is said to beget his Sonne, for so the words of the second Psalme: Thou art my Sonne, this day haue I begotten thee, are applyed to the Resurrection of CHRISTAct. 13.33.. In that Christ is said to be the first begot­ten of the dead, three things may bee noted, as implied heere, concerning the members of Christ: and three things concerning Christ himselfe as Head.

First, concerning the Members, these things may be gathered:

1 That not onely wicked men, but the true members of Christ die, Heb. 9. Psal. 89. 2. Sam. 14. The consideration of this, that the godly must dye, may serue for many Vses: first, Why doth vaine man dye then without wise­dome [Page 125] Iob. 4.21.? secondly, how shall wicked men escapeJob. 21.32. Esay 28.? their Couenant with death must needes be disanulled: thirdly, it should cause vs deepely to digest the va­nities of this lifeEccl. 2.16.17: fourthly, it should cause vs to take heede of E [...]es, Least yee die; for it is out of all question, die wee must, and therefore meere it were, we should prouide for it, without mincing or procrastinating: lastly, wee should incourage our selues, and die like the members of Christ, with all willingnesse, Faith and Patience.

2 The gouernment of Christ reacheth as well to the dead as to the liuing Members. This the faithfull were wont of old to note, when they would say a man were dead, they would say, he was ioyn'd to his people. This should bee a great encouragement vnto godly men to die.

3 From Coherence; that if wee would haue Christ to bee the first begotten to vs when wee are dead, wee must subiect our selues to his Ordinances, that hee may be the beginning of true Grace to vs while we liue.

Secondly, concerning the Head, these three things may be noted:

1 That hee was among the dead, and this was good for vs: for thereby hee dissolued the power the Diuell had to inflict death, or the feare of it, vpon his MembersHeb: 2.17. Heb. 9.15., and thereby hee finished the expiation of all our sinnes, there­by hee ratified Gods Couenant, thereby he kils the power of sinne in vs, and thereby he takes away the curse of our naturall death.

2 That hee was not onely among the dead, but he was begotten among the dead, that is, raised from death to life; and this also was profitable for vs, for he rose to our Iustification, Rom. 4, 23.24. to our viuification, Rom. 6.4. to our deliuerance from wrath to come, 1 Thes. 1.10.

3 That hee is not onely begotten, but the first begotten among the dead; and that in three respects. First; as hee was more excellently raised then any of the dead are; for hee carried no corruption to the graue; and hee saw no corruption in the graue, and hee was but a short time vnder the power of the graue. Secondly, in respect of time; hee was the first that rose from the deadActs 26.23.. Thirdly, in respect of efficacie; it is hee by whose power all the rest rise1 Cor. 15.20.22..

This must needes be a great comfort to vs while wee liue,Iohn 5.21. & 11.28. against the time our bodies must go into the house of darkenesse, the darkesome lodging in the graue; onely, let vs seeke the vertue of the Resurrection of Christ in this world, and the experiment of the vigor of it, first vpon our soules, in plucking vs vp out of the graue of sinne, to walke before God, in new­nesse of lifePhil. 3 9..

That in all things hee might haue the preheminence] These words are added for further amplification or Explanation of the former. They giue vnto Christ a primacie and preheminence in all things: First, ouer both liuing and dead: as hee is the beginning to the liuing, and the first begotten to the dead. Christ then hath the preheminence, he is first in all things, Mat. 28.18. Rom. 4.9. Phil. 2.9. Ephes. 1.23. Hee is first many waies: first in Time, He is first in diuers re­spects. as before all things: first in Order, hee hath a primacie of order, hee is the first to be reckoned and admired in the Church: first in the dignitie of Person, hee excells in both Natures all that is in the Church or euer was: first in Degree Iohn 1.5.: first in Gouernment Mat. 20 27. Luke 19.4. Esay 9.: first in Acceptation with God Mat. 17.5.: lastly, hee is first Effec­tiuely, as the cause of all the respect, order, and excellencie in others: hee i [...] the Roote out of which springs all the glory in the Church.

The vse is, first, for Terrour to all those that sinne against Christs prehe­minence, as they doe in a high degree; that hauing begunne in the Spirit, Vses. will end in the flesh: such as hauing knowne the way of righteousnesse, afterwards turne from the holy course, with the Dogge to the vomit, and with the Swine to the wallowing in the mire 2 Pet. 20.21. Reuel. 2 4.19.. Secondly, the consideration of Christs primacie and [Page 126] preheminence, should learne vs to take heede of climbing in the Church; it is dangerous to desire to be chiefe; it is almost the sole power of the Head of the ChurchMath: 20.27. Marke 9.35. & 10.44. 3 Iohn 9.10.. Lastly, let it bee our care both in heart and life, to yeelde Christ the preheminence; which we shall doe, if we labour to know nothing more then Christ crucified; if wee minde the things of Christs Kingdome, more then the things of this life; if wee make him our chiefe refuge by Faith, for all happinesse and reconciliation;How we may in life yeelde Christ the prehemi­nence. if wee make him our ioy; reioycing more in Christ then carnall men can doe in the World, (for a discontented life denies Christ the preheminence;) if the zeale of Gods house can eate vs vp; if in all our actions wee performe the worship of God first; if we stick not to confesse and professe Christ; if wee honour the faithfull, and con­temne the vile, and ioyne our selues to such as feare God, though they bee despised in this world: and lastly, when wee can in all things rather chuse to please God then men.

Verse 19. For it pleased the Father, that in him should all fulnesse dwell.’

THere is great reason Christ should bee acknowledged head, as in the former Verse, by reason of his primacie and preheminence; so in this Verse, by reason of the plenitude that dwells in him: No naturall head so full of senses, as hee is full of Grace.

It is to be noted in the generall, that the head should excell the members in gifts: and therefore it is a fault in Cities, when the people chuse vnto themselues vnmeete men to be their Heads. God may chuse Saul following his Fathers Asses, because if he make Princes, he can giue spirit vnto Princes; but it is not so with men; they may giue the Office, but they cannot giue the gifts to execute it. And it is likewise a great shame to such Rulers of the peo­ple, as are so farre from repressing disorders, that they are disordered them­selues and their housholds. So domesticall Heads likewise, if they would not see swearing, lying, whoring, passions, idlenesse, &c. in their Children and Seruants, they must be free from ill example themselues, and be as heads excelling the rest of the family in gifts and good behauiour.

It pleased.] The mouing cause and foundation of all the grace shewed to the Creature, is the good pleasure of the will of the CreatorEphes. 1.5. 2 Thess. 1.11.. Why is Israell plantedPsal: 43.3.? why are the great mysteries of God hidden from the wise, and reuealed to BabesMat. 11.27.? why hath the little Flocke a KingdomeLuke 12.32.? why hath God mercy on some and not on othersExod: 33.19.? why hath Iob riches, and why are they taken awayIob. 1.? why is Iudgement and righteousnesse in a for­lorne world that deserued nothingIer: 9.24.? why is Iuda as Potters clayIer. 18.6.? why is the world saued by preaching1 Cor. 1.21.? why are some predestinate to be adoptedEphes. 1.5.? why is the Mysterie of Gods will opened now and not beforeEphes: 1.9.? To conclude, why is all fulnesse in the Head, or any grace in the Members, but onely, be­cause it pleased him?

Ʋses.The vse of this is: first, to teach vs to doe likewise, that is, to doe good without respect of desert; it is Royall, yea, it is Diuine: Secondly, it should teach vs, if we would get any grace or blessing from God, to examine our selues, whether wee be in his fauour, and to labour in all things so to serue him, as to please him. Thirdly, to subiect our Reasons and Affections to Gods Will, though hee should shew vs no other Reason of his doings, but his Will: for wee must alwaies know that things are alwaies iust, because hee willed them. Fourthly, in our troubles, and vnder crosses, it should teach vs patiencePsal. 39.9., and to labour to pacifie God, by Prayer and Humiliati­on, in the Name of Christ, and to acknowledge the soueraigntie of God, referring our selues to his pleasure for deliuerancePsal. 40.13.; not trusting vpon the [Page 127] meanesPsa. 4.4.3.6.. Lastly, it may be a comfort that nothing can befall my Christian, but what pleaseth God.

Doct. 2. God is well pleased inEsay 42.1. CHRIST: He [...] loues him infinitely; hee can bee content hee haue any thing, yea, all things: and therefore it should teach vs to flie to Christ for helpe, and heare him Mat. 17.5. 2 Pet. 1.17.. And wee should neuer seeke nor acknowledge any other Mediator or Aduocate, seeing God is well pleased in him.

That in him should all fulnesse dwell. All fulnesse is in Christ in fiue respects.] Doct. There is a fulnesse and absolute compleatenesse in Christ. 1. In respect of Members; so the Church is the fulnesse of Christ Ephes. 1.23.. 2. In respect of the inhabitation of the Diuine Nature in the Humane; for the God-head dwels in him bodily Col. 2.9.. 3. In respect of Power; so all power, and fulnesse of authority was giuen to him, ouer all things in heauen and earth Mat. 28.. Fourthly, in respect of merit, for here is great fulnesse, if we con­sider, either who merited, not man onely, but God also: or when hee me­rited, viz. from the very moment of Conception: or for whom, not for himselfe, but for millions of others: or what hee merited, viz. remission of all Sinnes, Graces of all kindes, Glory that will last for euer. 5. In respect of Grace; there is a compleatnesse of Grace in Christ, not onely in respect of the grace of personall Vnion, or of Office, or of Adoration, but in re­spect of habituall graces, or gifts, and endowments of his soule. The last is heere meant; all fulnesse of gifts dwell in him.

The VsesVses. follow.

First, Great is the mystery of godlinesse; God manifested in the Flesh, iustified in the Spirit, &c. 1 Tim. 3.16.. Secondly, this is ioyfull newes to all Christs members; for of his fulnes they receiue Grace for Grace. Thirdly, this confutes Papicolists in the opinions of their head: hee cannot bee a Head, in whom there is not ful­nesse to serue the whole body: and therefore the Pope can bee no head of the whole Church. Lastly, let the rest of Christ bee glorious to our soules Isay 11.10.. Hee hath the words of life, whither shall wee goe from him? Thus in generall.

This fulnesse hath increase of praise three wayes:

  • 1 It is all fulnesse.
  • 2 It is in him.
  • 3 It dwels in him.

For the first: there is in Christ all fulnesse, both in respect of the number of GracesEsay 11 2., and in respect of the measure of themIohn. 3.34.: and therefore let the Christian reioyce in the Lord 1 Cor. 1.30.; and in all wants of the soule, seeke to him by Prayer in Faith; for from him, and out of his fulnesse, may bee had Wise­dome and Sanctification 1 Cor. 1.30., Counsell and Strength Esay 11.2., Ioy and Gladnesse Esay 61.3.; yea, a Christian should bee couetous, seeing heere is enough to bee had; and there­fore should labour to be full of Knowledge Esay 11.9., and of the feare of God Prou. 19.23., and of good fruits Iames 3.17. Phil. 1.11.. This also reprooues the Iusticiaries, and Sancti-colists, Pharises and Saint-worshippers. A fulnesse is no where to be had but in Christ, and there is so much as needeth no supply from Saints or Angels. It shewes also, that the common Protestant serues an Idoll in stead of Christ, in as much as hee gets in his relation to Christ, no more Ioy, Grace, and Holinesse. The true Christ hath all fulnesse, not onely in himselfe, but by influence, for the good, and according to the state of his Members.

For the second; this fulnesse is in Christ: and this hath matter of great weight; for thereby is implyed the misery of all vnregenerate men. There is no fulnesse, compleatnesse, sufficing felicitie wheresoeuer, to bee had out of Christ. And besides, the Emphasis imports great comfort to the true con­uert; for this fulnesse is in Christ. God doth not looke to haue the mem­bers actually absolute in themselues, it will serue turne that all fulnesse bee in the head. And in as much as the perfect blisse of a Christian is in his [Page 128] Christ, it is well for his safety, against the malice of Sathan, who now may bite the heele, but cannot touch the head. And from hence we must learne, if we would euer get, by participation and influence, any grace from Christ, we must by Faith and effectuall calling, get into Christ.

Thirdly, in that hee saith, this Fulnesse dwells in Christ; it notes the con­tinuance of it: the personall Vnion shall neuer bee dissolued, and there­fore the habituall graces of Christ, shall neuer bee abolished. And these Graces had neede continue in him, for in him rests the calling of the Elect, not yet gathered, and the perseuerance of the Saints.

Vses.The Riuers must needes be empty if the fountaine be dry. This is com­fortable, wee may now beseech him to helpe our vnbeleefe, as well as the man in Gospell. Wee may finde ioy and victory in CHRIST crucified, as well as Paul, his Grace will still bee sufficient for vs. There dwells in him still fulnesse of wisedome to keepe vs from errour: fulnesse of Grace, to keepe vs from Apostacie: fulnesse of Ioy, to keepe vs from Despayre: fulnesse of power to preserue vs against all euill men and euill Angels: onely, refuse not knowledge, when hee offers the meanes: wincke not when the Sunne shines: Shut not the doore, when hee knockes: fight, when hee giues thee Weapons: and cast not away thy confidence, and let no man take thy Crowne.

Hitherto of the plenitude in the Head.

Verse 20. And by him, to reconcile all things to himselfe, and to set at peace, through the blood of his Crosse, both the things on Earth, and the things in Heauen.’

IN these words the Redeemer is described as a Head by influence: the A­postle shewes vs, the good comes from Christ, as our Mediator: and the summe of all is, that hee reconciles vs to God.

In this Verse there are eight things to be noted.

First, why, or the moouing cause; and that is, It pleased him; for that must bee supplyed out of the former Verse, as the Copulatiue (And) shew­eth. Secondly, by whom, or the Instrument; By him. Thirdly, what, to reconcile. Fourthly, whom, in generall, All things. Fiftly, to whom, or to what end, viz. To himselfe. Sixtly, the effect, making peace. Seuenthly, the meanes of merit, By the bloud of his Crosse. Eightly, what in particular, viz. things on earth, and things in Heauen.

Reconciliati­on is our first step to happi­nesse.The principall poynt in the whole Verse to bee obserued, is, that man hath then attayned the cheefe good, when his soule is reconciled to GOD: this is the summe of all that which Christ hath procured for his Church. Blessed are the people, whose God is the Lord. Others may bee more rich then they, but none more happy; for heereby man is ioyned to the fountaine of all good, and not onely hath interest in his fauour, but reapeth vnspeake­able benefits by communion with his Attributes, Word, Workes, Holinesse and Glory. Our reconciliation with God giues vs a title to a better happi­nesse then euer Adam had, it estates vs in the possession of eternity, and frees vs from immortall woe.

Vses.All this should encourage, with all care and constancy to seeke Gods fa­uour, and forsake our sinnes, that we may be reconciled, whatsoeuer it cost; sparing no labour or teares, till wee se the face of God with ioy Ier. 50.5., This shewes also, the wofull estate of such men as are left to themselues, and haue this peace and reconciliation hid from their eyes. And of all Iudgements, it should most greeue vs to be separate from God. If to bee reconciled bee our greatest happinesse, to misse the comforts of Gods presence and loue, can­not [Page 129] but be an extreame affliction. And to this end, wee should beseech God to deliuer vs from a blinde or stony heart, or a sleepy conscience, or impure affections: for these, if they raigne in vs, hinder the vision of God.

And.] This carrieth vs to it pleased the Father, in the former Verse.Our reconci­liation is foun­ded in Gods good pleasure. Whence wee may note that our reconciliation stands with the euerlasting good pleasure of Gods will; and therefore it followes: 1. That our recon­ciliation cannot bee hindered or altered: 2. That it ariseth from no sudden motion in GOD, but is anciently decreed: 3. That wee are not reconciled for our merit; for it was decreed before we had done good or euill: 4. That the reasons of the reiection of some, and the gathering of others in time, are iust, though not alwayes exprest, because there is no decree without Gods counsell: 5. That if euer wee would haue the comfort of our Ele­ction, wee must make sure our Reconciliation; wee can neuer know Gods eternall loue to vs, till wee finde the experience of his fauour in our Recon­ciliation: the Prisoner knowes not what fauour is in the Kings breast, till his Pardon comes.

By him.] Doct. Christ is the instrument of our Reconciliation:Christ is the meanes of our reconcilia­tion. the first Adam tooke God from vs, the second Adam restored God to vs. Man would needes become God, and therefore lost God from vs: God out of his loue becomes man, and restores vs againe to God. The world is now restored by the same wisdome it was first made.

Gods Image is restored in vs, by him that is the eternall Image of the Father. The middle Person in the Trinity is the Mediator betweene God and Man, the naturall Sonne makes men Sonnes by Adoption: it is Christ that both can and ought to reconcile vs. He could not doe it if hee were not God; he ought not to doe it if he were not man1 Tim. 2.5. Rom. 3.25. 1 Cor. 1.3. 1 Iohn 2.1. 1 Cor. 3.11. Acts 4.13..

This Doctrine yeeldes vs matter of admiration of the loue of Christ,Ʋses. if we consider what either hee was, or what wee were. The Lord in the forme of a Seruant, procures the saluation of the Seruant: hee that was the beginning of Gods workes, repaires him, that at best, was the last of them. God descen­ded from heauen to earth, that man might ascend from earth to heauen: God is made the Sonne of man, that man might be made the Sonne of God: hee that was rich became poore, to make vs rich; the immortall became mor­tall, to make vs immortall. Hee is a Physician to vs sicke, a Redeemer to vs sold, a Way to vs wandering, and Life to vs dead. Secondly, this should teach vs in all suits to God, to seeke to Christ the Sonne of God: it is he must offer vp our Prayers, procure our Pardon, and make our Peace; yea, it is hee and none other. Thirdly, wee should seeke the testimony of Iesus, as well as his Ransome: if hee witnesse to our Reconciliation, wee neede neuer doubt of it: if hee giue no witnesse, wee can haue no assurance. The Testi­mony of Iesus is giuen, partly by the Promises of the Word, (hee putting spirit and life into them for our particular comfort,) and partly by the wit­nesse of the Spirit of Adoption, in the vnutterable feelings and ioy of our hearts1 Tim 2.6. Esay 55.6. 1 Cor. 1.6..

Reconcile.] The word imports a restoring of one to Amitie, from which he was by his owne fault fallen. There is a three-folde estate of man: there is the estate, 1. of Innocency; and heere the man is at Amity with God, 2. of Corruption; and heere is mortall enmity betweene God and man: 3. of Grace; and heere they are made friends, and the League renewed. Into the first estate wee came by Creation; into the second by Propagation; and into the third onely by Regeneration. The distinct knowledge of this three-folde estate of man, cle [...]res Gods Iustice, from the blame of all those plagues, broke in vpon man-kinde, through corruption: and it should scarre wicked men out of their wretched condition, as they are by nature [Page 130] seruants of corruption. And it greatly commends the mercy of God, that could loue vs when wee were enemies.

In the performance of this worke of Reconciliation or Mediation, there are six distinct things done by Christ: the first is Discretion, or Dijudication of the cause: hee takes notice of the state and businesse of the Church. Se­condly, hee doth report the Will of God, the Couenant and Conditions of agreement with God, to the Church. Thirdly, hee makes Intercession for the offending party. Fourthly, hee satisfies and expiates for sinne. Fiftly, hee applyes that Satisfaction. Sixtly, hee conserues the Elect in the state of Reconciliation. Discretion and Relation belong to the Propheticall office: Intercession and Satisfaction to the Preisthood;Who are not reconciled to God in Christ. Application and Conser­uation to his Regall Office. Enquire then whether thou bee reconciled to God in Iesus Christ. I consider it negatiuely; thou art not reconciled, if thou bee not enlightened and inspired with the holy Ghost, to lead thee into all truth. For if Christ did reconcile thee, as a Prophet, hee must teach thee both by his Word and Spirit. Againe, thou art not reconciled, if thou haue not consecrated thy selfe to kill the beasts, thy sinnes, in sacrifice before the Lord; and by the Spirit of Intercession, to powre out thy soule in Gods sight. When Christ reconciles as a Priest, he powres vpon man the spirit of Compassion and Deprecation Zach. 12.12.: Thou art not reconciled, if Christ beget thee not by the immortall seede, or rule thee not by the Scepter of his Word, or conserue thee not in vprightnesse, with respect of all Gods Commande­ments.

Why the Church is cal­led all things. All things.] That is, the Church or Elect of God; all the faithfull. The Elect are called All things: 1. because of their number, there is a world of them2 Cor. 5.19.: 2. Because there is for their sakes a reconciliation with all the Crea­tures in generall; for corruption is taken from the whole, though not from euery part: 3. Because God doth not receiue their persons into fauour, but all things that belong vnto them, that may concerne their felicitie: 4. Be­cause whatsoeuer they haue, in heauen or earth, comes by vertue of this Re­conciliation.

Vses.The Vse is: 1. to teach vs to take notice of the worlds vanitie: What is all the world, if Gods Children were out of it? Nothing. The Elect are all things, worth all, better then all. Kingdomes and Scepters and all the glory of the earth, is nothing in Gods account. And all is now corrupt with sinne, God would haue it knowen, hee stands not bound to any in the world, or the whole world, but onely to the Elect. 2. It should teach vs to know no man after the flesh, that is, not to respect men for their Lands, apparrell, titles, parentage, &c. but for Grace2 Cor. 5.16.. 3. Wee should not much wonder at thee disorders are in the world: for were it not for the Elect, it would soone appeare, by the ruine of all, how little God cared for rebellious Re­probates. 4. It is a great comfort, no one of the Elect shall perish; for all things be reconciled. 5. It should teach vs to make much of them that feare the Lord. Let them be in stead of all things in our account. Lastly, seeing all things are reconciled, now let vs keepe the peace, euen the vnitie of the Spirit, in the bond of Peace Ephes. 4.6.

To himselfe.] Some reade, in him. There is difference betweene for Christ, by Christ, and in Christ. For, noteth the meritorious cause: In, noteth the coniunction with the head: By, noteth the instrument.

To himselfe foure wayes. Doct. We are reconciled in Christ or vnto Christ. This is true foure waies. 1. As hee is the person, by whom we are reconciled: 2. As his glory, is the end of our reconciliation. 3. As his glory and holinesse, is the patterne af­ter which our happinesse and holinesse is proportioned. 4. In respect of his loue, prouidence, custody and protection, vnto the which wee are receiued.

The Vse of all may bee to teach vs: 1, To take heede of opposing,Vses. dis­gracing, or persecuting of such, as are reconciled to God; for, hee that tou­cheth them, toucheth the apple of Christs eye. Note hee saith, to himselfe. 2. In the vse of all things, to carrie our selues so, as wee prouide to giue ac­count, and giue the things to God which are Gods, and as good Stewards dispose all things in that time, and according to those rules, Christ hath ap­poynted. 3. Seeing wee are now brought so neere vnto God, wee should humble our selues to walke before him in all reuerence and feare: And to this end, wee should labour for purity of heart, that wee might see God Mich 6.8. Mat. 5.7. Heb. 12.29. 1 Sam. 6.10.: Yea, wee should hate all spirituall pollutions, and bee zaalous in all good workes. And seeing God hath chosen vs to himselfe, wee should set vp the Lord, to bee our God, to serue him with our whole heart, and haue respect to all his Commandements 1 Pet. 2.9.11.12. Tit. 2.13. Deut. 26.16.17. And to this end wee should labour for speciall since­ritie in the profession of Religion: an ordinary care will not serue the turne: if wee will liue with the multitude, wee may perish with the multitude2 Chro. 15 3.. But let vs cleaue to the Lord with a perpetuall Couenant, and resolue to receiue him as our guide vnto the death Ier. 50.5. Psal. 49. vlt. 1 Who made peace..

Set at peace.] The effect of our reconciliation is peace. Concerning this peace, I propound fiue things.

1. Who made it: no other can set a peace among the Creatures, but hee that reconciles men to the Creatour: he is the Prince of peace Esvy 9.7.; the chastice­ment of our peace was vpon him Esay 53.; He is our peace Ephes. 2. [...]3. 2 With whom they are at peace..

2. With whom the faithfull are at peace: they are at peace, first, with themselues; Peace rules their hearts Col. 3.15.. Secondly, with good AngelsPsal. 34. Heb. 1.14.. Third­ly, with the seede of Abraham, the Iewes; the partition wall is broken downe Esay 2.15.. Fourthly, with Gods Ordinances, God creating peace, or els the Word would alwayes bee goring and smiting with the stroakes of warre, and words of vengeance Esay 11.4. & 57.19.. Fiftly, with the godlyEsay 11.6.7.. Sixtly, with all CreaturesIob 5. Heb. 2.18. Psal. 91.13.. Onely there can be no peace: first, with the Powers and Principalities; for after the two strong men haue fought, there is no more peaceEphes. 6.12.: secondly, with the World, the World hath hated the Master, and therefore the seruants may not looke for better entertainmentIohn 15.8. 3 The effects of this peace..

3. The effects of this peace, which are principally two: first, the restitu­tion of soueraignty and dominion ouer the Creatures: secondly, the safety of the Christian in all estates; for from this peace flowes great securitie and protection, euen to the poorest Christian, either from, or in dangersIob 5.15 &c. 4. What we must do to at­taine the sense of this peace..

4. That wee may attaine the sense of this peace, wee must bee reconciled to GodHos. 2.18.: we must be sincere worshippersHos. 2.17.: we must keepe vs in our wayes Psal. 91.13.: wee must get a meeke and quiet spiritPsal. 37.12.: wee must in nothing bee carefull, but in all things shew our requests vnto God Phil. 4.7.: wee must loue God and shew it by the loue of the knowledge of his NamePsal. 91.14. Vses..

Ʋses. First, Gods Children should know this priuiledge for themselues, it will be a preseruation against sinne. 2. Hence wee may gather the miserie of all carnall persons that are not reconciled to God. They want the pote­ction of Angels, they are vnder the gouernment of the God of this world; the Creatures are armed against them, they are stript of the royall priuiledges arising from the communion with Saints; yea, God fights against them, in, and by themselues, as by terrours of conscience, and by vnquiet affections and passions, giuing them ouer to an vnruely heart. What are Enuy, Ma­lice, Lust and Rage, but so many weapons to fight against the soule? Yea, God fights against the sinner, by the deadnesse of his heart, which both affa­misheth the soule in spirituall things, and takes away the contentment of outward things.

By the bloud.] Heere he notes how wee are reconcililed, viz. by the bloud [Page 132] of Christ, this is that bloud of sprinckling Heb. 1 [...].24., the bloud of the immaculate Lamb 1 Pet. 1:19., the bloud of the euerlasting Couenant Heb. 13:20., Christs owne bloud Heb: 13:12. The fruits & effects of Christs blood.

Many are the fruits and effects of the bloud of Christ: 1, We are elected through it1 Pet: 1:2.: 2. It ratifies the Couenant of GodLuke 22:20. Heb: 9:18.: 3. It is that Reconci­liation, iustifying vs from our former sinnesRom: 3:25. & 5:9. Ephes. 1:7. 1 Ioh: 1:7. Reuel: 7:14.: 4. It ioynes Iew and Gentile together in one Citie; yea, in one houseEph: 2:13: &c: 5. It purgeth the Conscience from dead workesHeb: 9:14. & 10:4.: 6. It turnes away wrath, and saues vs from the de­stroying AngellHeb. 11:18.: 7. It makes Intercession for sinnes after CallingHeb: 12:24.: 8. It makes perfect in all good workesHeb: 13:20.: 9. By it the Faithfull ouercome the DragonReuel. 12:11., and AntichristReuel: 19.23.: Lastly, it opens the Holy of Holies, and giues vs an entrance into heauenHeb: 9:7. & 10:19..

The Vse is: first, to teach vs, to take heede of sinning against the bloud of Christ; for, if it be thus precious, it must needes diffuse a horrible sinne-guiltinesse, vpon such as transgresse against it. If Abels bloud, wronged, cryed so fearefully; and the bloud of Zacharias, what shall the bloud of Christs doeMat: 23:30:35. Luke 11:50. How many wayes men sinne against Christs bloud.? And men sinne against Christs bloud: 1. By resisting the meanes of application of Christ crucified: 2. By prophane Swearing and Cursing: 3. By ascribing remission of sinnes to the workes of the LawRom: 3:20:24:25.: 4. By committing the sinne against the holy GhostHeb: 10:26.29: 5. By returning to the lusts of our former ignorance1 Pet: 1:14.: 6. By prophane and vnworthy receiuing of the Sacraments1 Cor: 11.: And in the Sacraments men offend against the bloud of Christ:Vses. First, when they come to it with an opinion of reall presence, either by Transubstantiation or Consubstantiation; for thereby they deny the truth of the bloud of Christ by consequent, and open a gap to the ado­ration of Christ, in, or before, Bread or Wine. Secondly, when men vse the Sacraments but as bare signes, not discerning spiritually the presence of the Bloud and Body of the Lord. Thirdly, when men come thither vn­bidden. being not called, nor within the compasse of the Couenant by con­uersion. Fourthly, when men come to eate this Lambe, but without the sowre hearbes of godly Sorrow for their sinnes, and Repentance. Fiftly, such as come without Faith (by which they lay holde on Christ,) and Loue (by which they are ioyned to Christians.)

Thus of the first Vse.

Secondly, the consideration of the dignitie of Christs bloud should teach Christians to esteeme their new birth. It is better to bee borne of the bloud of Christ, then of all the blouds of men Ioh: 1:13.: seeing by his bloud wee haue the attone­ment, wee should reioyce in GodRom: 5:11.: and comfort our selues in this great pre­rogatiue, that our many sinnes and infirmities are done away in the Inter­cession of Christ, his Blood speaking better things then the Bloud of Abel Heb: 12:24..

Thirdly, wee should neuer bee much perplexed for the ordinary troubles befall vs; for if wee looke vpon the Authour and finisher of our Faith, hee endu­red the shame and contradiction of sinners, yea, and shed his bloud too: whereas we haue not yet resisted vnto bloud Heb: 12.2:4..

Fourthly, it should enflame vs to a desire of all possible, both Thanke­fulnesse, giuing glory to him that shed his bloud for vs Reu: 1:5.: and Obedience, stri­uing to walk worthy of the effusion and application of such precious bloudHeb: 13:20., striuing after perfection in all well-doing.

Of his Crosse.] It was needfull our Sauiour should be vpon the Crosse, that so hee might bee the accomplishment of what was signified by the Heaue Offering and the Brazen Serpent, and that so hee might beare the speciall curse of the Law for vs: of all deathes, the death on the tree, beeing by a speciall Law of God made accursed.

Vses of Christs crosse.The consideration of this, that Christ suffered on the Crosse, should teach vs both Humiliation and humility: we should bee pricked in our hearts, to [Page 133] thinke of it that our sinnes caused him so to bee pierced Zach. 12.12.: and wee should put on all humblenesse of minde, when wee see him that was equall to God, a­basing himselfe for vs, in the forme of a Seruant, to dye on a treePhil. 2.8. &c.: yea, the more basenesse hee suffered, the more wee should glory and reioyce in his sufferings: nothing should glad our hearts more then CHRIST, and him crucified. Gal. 6.14.

Further, Christ dyed on the Crosse, to breake downe the partition wall, and to slay Hatred Ephes. 2.16. 1. Cor. 1.13.: And shall Enmitie and Discord liue, when Christ is de [...]d? Shall hee be nayled, and shall not our vile affections bee nayled downe with him? Besides, it should bee our care to see to it, that the Crosse of CHRIST be not made of none effect 1 Cor. 1.18., which is, when by Faith it is not applied, when the Doctrine of Christ is not GODS power in our soules; when our Flesh is not crucified with the Lusts of it Gal. 5.24.: and when wee take not vp our Crosse to fol­low Christ Math. 10.38.: And lastly, when wee are so bewitched that wee cannot obey the truth.

By him. By him repea­ted for foure reasons.] This is repeated in the Originall (though the Translation expresse it not) for foure Reasons: first to shew how hardly men are drawn to ascribe from their hearts, their happinesse vnto Christ. Secondly, to shew the ne­cessitie of it: It is not possible to be saued, but by the imputed righteous­nesse of CHRIST. Thirdly, to shew that all things in Christs action and Passion, were meritorious, least men should superstitiously dote or dreame vpon his Bloud, or the word of the Crosse, or the signe of it, or the like. There is no merit in Bloud, but as it was in him. Fourthly, to conclude the worshippe of Angels, which abuse beganne then to grow among the Colossians.

Both the things vpon earth.] This All things, by a distribution, is againe re­peated, to medicine the doubtfulnesse of Gods Children, which question it, whether Christs merits extend vnto them; as also to inflame vs to an ad­miration of the vertue of his death, by considering how farre it extends.

On Earth.] Note here two things. First, that eternall life is begunne in this life: wee should neuer see Gods face in Heauen, if wee taste not of his fauour on Earth. And if this must be begun on earth, why doe men deferre so great a worke as their reconciliation, as if it belong to heauen rather then to be done on earth; yea, this taxeth the slownesse of heart, and discontent­ment of Gods Children, This knowledge, ioy, affection, &c. is the same thou must haue in heauen. And wee should learne hence, to liue on earth, like the Citizens of Heauen, Citizens will not liue so rudely as the Country Swaines, much more oddes ought there to be betweene Sarazens and Haga­rens, if I may so say; much difference betweene them that dwell in SION. and those that haue no portion but in SINAY. Gods Children are the Sonnes of the Free-woman, and Citizens; wicked men are the Children of the Bond-woman, and Forrainers, and strangers from the Common-wealth of Israell.

Secondly, where hee saith, vpon the Earth, and yet in Heauen, I might note the vncertainetie of our abode on earth: wee haue nothing to possesse but the outside of the earth, which is ready to shake vs off daily.

All things in Heauen.] For the meaning of these words, wee know,Whether An­gels be recon­ciled in Christ or no. that there are in Heauen, both Angels and Saints. And it may bee questioned whether Angels be reconciled in Christ or no. Though Angels sinned not, yet Angels haue gain'd by Christ a more perfect adhering to God, and esta­blishing in their standing, encrease of knowledge, and of IoyLuke 15.10.; yea,Ephes. 3.9. the Angels are reconciled by Christ thus, that is, they are made friends with vs, with whom they were at enmitie: yet I thinke this is not meant here, but the Saints onely are intended, because it seemes, he entreateth here of Christ, [Page 134] not onely as head (for so hee is head of Angells) but as Mediator betweene parties fallen out. Whence wee may note two things: first, that the very Saints now in hea [...]en, once needed the merits of Christ; none come there but were first reconciled, which may be a comfort to the afflicted spirits of mourning and drooping Christians, if they consider that the greatest Saints did neede remission of sins as well as they. And besides, it pounds to pieces merit of workes, inasmuch as these Saints came not into heauen, but by the merits of Christ. Secondly, wee may learne that Christ merited not onely our persons, but our grace and glory.

Verse 21. And you hath hee now also reconciled, that were in times past strangers, and enemies, because your mindes were set in euill works.’

HItherto of the description of the Redeemer, as hee stands in relation to the whole Church: In these two Verses hee is described by relation, in particular, to the Church of the Colossians. In this description consider two things: First, the miserie the Colossians were in, without Christ: Se­condly, the remedie in Christ. Their miserie is both propounded and ex­pounded: It is propounded to stand in two things: viz. Alienation and enmitie: It is expounded in two things; viz. that they were thus miserable; first, in their Mindes; secondly, in their Workes: the remedie followes in the next Verse.

Before I come to consider of their miserie, there are certaine wordes of Coherence to be weighed, viz. And you hath hee now also reconciled: where obserue first, the word of Connexion, And: secondly, the benefit repeated, reconciled: Thirdly, the person whom, you: Fourthly, the time when, hath now: Fifty, the person who, Hee.

Six things ob­serued from the coherenceFrom the generall consideration of the matter contained in this Verse and the next, with the Coherence, six things may be obserued.

First, that CHRIST is a true Head, to euery particular Church.

Secondly, that then is any people happy, and not before, when the Go­spell gathers their soules to God.

Thirdly, they cannot be miserable, that cease to be strangers and enemies to God, whatsoeuer their outward estate be.

Fourthly, Doctrine must be applied. For the humiliation of Gods Ser­uants, so to Dauid. For the conuincing of the wicked, so to Ahab. For the triall and detection of the temporary Faith, so to Herod. For the hardening of the reprobates, and their reiection, and cutting downe by the Sword of Gods seruants, and for the speciall consolations and directions of Gods Seruants, And therefore Ministers should imploy themselues in application, and to that end should study for power of matter, as well as forme of words, and turne themselues into all formes, requesting, beseeching, re­proouing, &c. with all diligence and sinceritie. The People also must know that their profiting lies in application: and to this end, they should at­tend, meditate, repeate, pray, striue against Securitie and Obiections, kee­ping aliue the sparkes that are kindled in their soules. When a man can conscionably apply the Word, it shewes, hee truely hates sinne, and is a true hearer.

1 Cor. 2.11.Fiftly, men may know particularly, they are reconciled; which both checkes Securitie, in not labouring for this knowledge; and confutes Pa­pists, and drowsie Protestants, that say it is presumption to thinke so.

Sixtly, Experience giues sure testimonie to the Doctrine of the Gospell: then wee know profitably, when wee know the doctrine in our owne case, as the Colossians here their Reconciliation. Wee neede not wonder [Page 135] then, if wee see that the most powerfull parts of practicall Diuinitie haue little or no testimonie, or if it bee, it is darke and seldome, from the most men; yea, from many Church-men. The cause is, they neuer had expe­rience themselues. And we should learne to esteeme their iudgement most, that doe draw Religion most into practise; for God will shew the humble his way.

And you.] In the gathering of Soules, God workes beyond desert, and many times beyond probabilities. If we respect the men, they were Gentiles, hardened by hundreds of yeeres, in custome of sinnes: if wee respect the meanes, it is Epaphras, none of the greatest of the Apostles. Which should teach vs to liue by Faith, and vse Gods ordinance with confidence: As in the businesse of conuersion, so in matter of preseruation, knowing that God is not tyed to desert or meanes.

Also.] Doct. The Church and Kingdome of Christ is in this world still in progresse; Christ hath not done, when hee hath conquered Rome spiritu­ally, that had conquered the world before corporally, but here is a fresh in­crease and a new; You also. And thus it will be still, till the end of the world: and therefore wee should euery one doe what wee can to helpe forward the Kingdome of God, and the adding of such soules as yet belong to the vocation of Christ. And this wee may doe, both by furthering the Gospell preached, and by seeking a holy seede; getting within the Couenant our selues, and by education, labouring to amend what by propagation we haue marred. Yea, the consideration hereof; should much encourage vs in the combate against Sinne and the World: for in the warre, Souldiers vse to ga­ther spirit and valour vpon the tidings of new supplies.

Now.] Men are not reconciled till redemption bee applied: Christ dyed before, but they were not reconciled till now: It is not safe for men to rest in the Historicall beliefe of Christs death: either learne to die to sinne, to crucifie thy flesh, and to take vp thy Crosse daily, or else forbeare to mention CHRIST; for it is in vaine, thou hast no part as yet in Christ.

Hath.] Though Sanctification, while wee tarry in this world, be vnper­fect, yet Reconciliation is past so soone as a man is turned to God. Gods rich fauour may stand with the many wants and infirmities of man: but then we must remember it is free and gracious: for if wee be perfectly reconciled and yet not perfectly sanctified, then it must needes follow, wee are not re­conciled from our owne workes.

Hee.] That is Christ, which being againe mentioned, shewes, 1. that hee is God, seeing Roconciliation is here giuen to him, which was before ascri­bed to the Father. 2. It proues that in the one essence of God are more Per­sons then one. 3. It proues that Christ died willingly: hee is not onely the meanes but the vndertaker of our ReconciliationHeb. 9.14.: hee is not onely the Sa­crifice, but the Priest also.

Reconciled.] The repetition or application of this word and worke to the Colossians, shewes that there is one constant way, that God holds vnalterably with all his people. No sort of men can be happy, vntill they be reconciled: if men will not minde their peace, and sue out their pardon in Christ, their hope will faile them; there is no other way to be saued.

Thus of the words of Coherence: There remaines both their miserie in this verse, and the remedie of it in the next verse.

Strangers and Enemies, &c.] In generall wee may first obserue,Good to thinke much of our misery. that it is profitable for men to know and meditate of their naturall miserie, though men be neuer so vnwilling to it; yea, though they be already deli­uered from it. For the consideration hereof shewes men the neede of a [Page 136] Sauiour, and as a Schoole-master traines them vp to Christ: it mollifies the stony hearts of men; it breedes watchfulnesse ouer our nature, when wee know it is so poysoned and corrupted: it makes vs compassionate ouer o­thers in their distresse or infirmities: it sets an high price vpon spirituall things, and makes vs account Gods fauour our greatest ioy: it makes vs cleaue to God in a perpetuall Couenant. To omit many other commodities that arise hereof, it reproues the seldom teaching and learning of the doctrine of mans naturall miseries.

wicked men are strangers in fiue re­spects. Strangers.] Vnregenerate men are strangers in fiue respects: 1. In re­spect of Heauen, not onely pilgrimes here, but without promise of a better life, so continuing. 2. In respect of God, without God in the world. 3. In re­spect of Gods people, not fellow-Citizens, but ForrainersEphes. 12.. 4. In respect of the speciall prouidence of God, Strangers to the Common-wealth of Israell. 5. In respect of the Life of GodEphes. 4.17.: And that if wee consider either the rule of life, they account the Law a strang thing Hos. 8.; or the fountaine of life, viz. Re­generation, They are dead in sinne Ephes. 2.1.; or the Obedience of holy life, Their ima­ginations are onely euill, continually Gen. 8..

But if any aske how this strangenesse comes; the word in the originall seemes to note it; for it is estranged, which is more then Strangers; for it im­ports they were not so created, but made so. They were made so; 1. Ori­ginally, by the transgression of the first man, from whence flowed the first strangenesse betweene God and man; man running from God, and God refusing to delight in the sonnes of men. 2. By their owne actuall sinnes, which separate betweene God and them Esay 59.2.. Alienation is to the workers of iniquitieIob. 31.3. The hurt of liuing thus estranged..

Quest. But what hurt is it to carnall men to be thus estranged? Ans. There is no saftie against dangers, where God is not to protect men: there is no comfort in affliction, where one can neither looke to God, nor the Saints, for succour and comfort.

The God of this world doth rule effectually in all the Children of dis­obedience, they are in bondage to the world, they are in bondage to their owne flesh, euen to a passionate, blinde, hard heart, and rebellious nature. They want the delightfull refreshing of all the blessings of God, his ordi­nances, graces or outward fauours: All glory is departed from men, when God is gone. Besides, obstinacie may cast them into a reprobate sense and eternall death may swallow them vp.

That wee may bee deliuered from this strange estate of separation, the bloud of Christ must bee applied, wee must become new Creatures, our peace must be preached, accesse must be had to God by prayer, wee must be ioyned to Gods Children, we must bee built vpon the foundation of the Prophets and Apostles, and our soules must become Temples for the holy Ghost to dwell in: all this is set downe in the second of the Ephesians from Vers. 13. to the end of the Chapter.

And to this end we must take heede of working iniquity Iob. 31.3.: of IgnoranceEphes. 4.17.: of an vncircumcised and an vnmortified HeartEzech. 44.7.: of strange DoctrineHeb. 3.9.: of the strange womanProu: 6.: of strange Fire, that is, Will-worship: and of the Manners of strange Children; for all these, by effects, will estrange.

Lastly, if it be so great a miserie to be estranged, woe be to them that lye in this miserie, and regard it not: the lesse sense the more danger; and most faultie is that frowardnesse in any, that professe to feare Gods Name, that voluntarily bring a curse vpon themselues, by estranging themselues from the societie of the faithfull. But let all that know Gods mercie in their recon­ciliation, reioyce in their deliuerance from this miserie.

Enemies.] Vnregenerate men are enemies both actiuely and passiuely: [Page 137] Actiuely, they are enemies to their owne soules;Enemies they are both actiuely and passiuely. for hee that l [...] iniquitie hates his owne soule: 2. to holinesse of life, they hate to be reformed Psal. 50.: 3. to Gods children, for it is certaine, they shall be hated of all carnall men, for Christs names sake John. 15.8.: 4. to the light, hee that doth euill hates the light Iohn. 3.22. Amos. 5.10.: 5. one to an­other, they are hatefull and hating one another Tit. 3.3. Who haue God.: 6. to God. Obiect. Sure no man hates God. Sol. Many men doe hate God, as appeareth by the threatning in the second Commandement: and the Scripture else-where, notes such as in Gods account hate him; such are these: 1. Such as with-stand the truth, and labour to turne men from the Faith, Acts 13.8. 2. Such as are friends to the World, Iames 4.4. 3. The carnall wise men of the world, whose wisedome is enmitie to God, Rom. 8.7. 4. All workers of iniquitie, Psal. 37.18.20. & 92.9. 5. All Scoffers, that reproach Gods Name, Truth, or People, Psal. 74.18.22. 6. All that hate Gods Children, Psal. 81.14.15. & 83.2.3. & 129.3.5. Iohn 15.18.23. 7. All those that refuse to subiect their soules to the Scepter of Christ, and will not be ruled by his ordinances: These are called his enemies, Luke 19.27. And among other, such are those loose people that liue vnder no setled Ministery. Lastly, all Epicures, whose God is their belly, and minde onely earthly things, and glory in their shame, Phil. 3.17.18. Passiuely, they are enemies to God, who hates them, Psal. 5.4. to Gods or­dinances, which smite, and pursue, or threaten them, Psal. 45.4. to all the Creatures, who are in armes against the sinner, till hee bee at peace with God: and in particular to the Saints, who hate the company and assemblies of the wicked. Psal. 26.4.

And all this shewes the great misery of wicked men: and how can they but be miserable, that are in the estate of enmitie? All seueritie will bee ac­counted Iustice, all their vertuous praises but faire sinnes: stript they are of all the peculiar priuiledges of the Saints; and that which men would de­sire to doe their enemies, God will certainely, by an vnauoydable proui­dence doe to them. All the Creatures are against him: a wicked man is as hee that should alway goe vpon a Mine of Gunne-powder: eyther by force or by stratagem, the Creatures will surprise him. O that men would therefore labour to mortifie actiue hatred in themselues, that the passiue destroy them not; and seeke to Christ, in whom onely this enmitie can bee remoued.

Againe, this makes against merit; for what could wee merit that were ene­mies? And let such as are deliuered, and haue felt the bitternesse of this en­mitie, take heede of secret sinnes after Calling, vnrepented of, least GOD returne and visite them with the strokes of an EnemieIob. 13.24. &c. Jer. 30.14. Esay 63.19. [...]..

In the minde.] It greatly matters in the businesse of mans happinesse, how the mindes of men are ordered: 1. Man makes it the fountaine of all his actions; it is his priuie Counsellor: hee speakes first with his minde, hee obeyes his mindeEphes. 2.3.: it is the shop, whence hee frames all his engines against God and Man. 2. The Diuell especially labours to be possessed of this fort, and to haue it in his custodie2. Cor. 10.4.. 3. The godly man repenting, first labours to be renued in his minde Ephes. 4.23.. 4. God especially lookes after mans minde, which appeares in that hee gaue a Law to the minde Rom. 7., setting as it were a Guarde to rule and appoint it: and the inward worship of God is here performed. We must loue God with all our minde Marke 12., and pray in minde 1. Cor. 14.. God makes a speciall search after mens mindes: it is his speciall glory to search the heart, and minde of man2. Chron. 18.: and if God be enraged, the strength of the battaile is di­rected against the minde, and his worst strokes light there: one of his last curses is a reprobate minde.

The consideration hereof may serue for reproofe of the great carelesnesse that is in the most, for the mind, and the inward man, and the purity thereof. [Page 138] Thought is not free, as many fondly thinke; hee will neuer truely repent for euill workes, that doth not first care to repent for euill thoughts, and such like corruption in the minde. There should man begin his repentance, where God begins the discouery of our miserie.

And let vs learne to be more watchfull against the sinnes of our mindes, and be more grieued for the drosse and corruption wee finde there, and learne more to hate the sinnes of the minde, such as are ignorance, distra­cted seruice, false opinions, emptinesse of holy meditations, euill, disho­nourable, impure, and vnchast thoughts against God or man; pride, malice, frowardnesse, vanitie, security, and vnbeliefe.

Doct. 2. There is in vnregenerate men a strange minding of sinne, they imagine mischiefe, they haue a spirit of fornication, profound to decline, deepely set: they trust in their owne wayes; so as many times, they regard neither Gods word, nor the rod, nor the threatnings of God, or rebukes of man; neither can they be stirred with the foure last things. This shewes, as mans misery, and death in sinne, so the wonderfull mercy of God, in forgiuing such sins: It is a comfort, that sinnes of set knowledge may bee forgiuen. And hence may be gathered a difference betweene the sinnes of the regenerate,Plena volunta­te. and the sinnes of the vnregenerate; for the godly sinne not with a full minde, they are not set in euill; sinne rebels in them, but not raignes. Lastly, this may let vs see how little cause wee haue to stand vpon our mindes or reason, or naturall parts, in matters of Hope and Saluation.

In euill Workes.] If the dependance, and the words themselues be duely considered, wee may here gather fiue things: First that the euill workes of the sinner, cause the strangenesse and enmitie aforesaid. Secondly, that a wic­ked man can like himselfe well enough, though his very workes, and out­ward behauiour be euill: He can blesse himselfe in his heart, when his iniquitie is found worthy to be hated Psal. 36.2.. Thirdly, that where the life is euill, the minde is euill; the heart cannot be good, where the workes are nought. Fourthly, that hee that allowes himselfe in one sinne, will pollute himselfe with many sinnes. [Workes] Fiftly, when God lookes vpon the workes of euill men, they are all euill:Note. note a difference; if the carnall man looke vpon his owne workes, they are all good; if a godly man looke vpon them, they are partly good and partly euill; but if God looke vpon them, they are all nought, be­cause his person is nought, his heart is nought, his end is nought, the man­ner is nought, &c.

Hitherto of their miserie, both as it is propounded and expounded.

Quest.A Question may be asked, how it comes to passe, that men haue so little sense of their miserie,Ans. and are so loath to take notice of it? For answere here­unto wee must vnderstand, that this comes to passe, because the God of this world, hauing possession, blindes their eyes, and men doe not examine themselues-before the Law of God. And they are with-drawne by the de­ceitfulnesse of sinne, which in particular they haue allowed themselues in: neither doe men remember their latter ends, or the Iudgement of God be­fore their death. Their eyes are not annointed with eye-salue; a number haue not the word to direct them, and some are deceiued by false Teachers, which cry peace, peace, where there is no peace. And the most are deceiued with false opinions and conceits; for eyther they thinke, that such like places as this, are true of Gentiles, and not of them: whereas vnregenerate Israel is as Ethiopia vnto God: Amos 9.9. or they feare that this knowledge will make men melan­choly. Yea, some are so foolish, they say, this course driues men out of their wits: thus Paul is mad, and Christ hath a Diuell: or they thinke, late Re­pentance will serue the turne, and then they may haue time enough to consider. Thus of their miserie.

Verse 22. In that Body of his Flesh, to present (or make) you holy, and vnblameable, and without fault in his sight.’

IN this Verse the remedy of their miserie is set downe: where obserue: first, the Meanes: secondly, the End. The Meanes is by that body of his flesh through death: the End is to present vs, &c.

In that body of his flesh, through death.] Heare are two things: 1. the Nature of Christ: 2. the Sufferings of Christ. But first in the generall, I obserue two Doctrines.

First, there is no remedy for the sinner, but the death of his Sauiour: how foolish mankinde hath beene distracted about the cure for their mise­rie, is lamentable to consider: Adam gets Figge-leaues, and Israel a foolish CouerEsay 30.. As for Death and Hell, men are at a poynt, they haue made a coue­nant with them. Or they thinke they are helped of their misery, if they can forget it: they can blesse their hearts, that they will not feele the smart of any curses Psal. 36.2. Deut. 29.19.; or they will make satisfaction, the sonnes of their bodie shall serue for the sinnes of their soules Mich. 6.; or else the Temple of the Lord, their going to Church must make God amendsIer. 7.. Others couer all, with the garments of their owne ciuill righteousnesse: others put their trust in the wedge of gold, and say to it, thou art my confidence. But vnto vs, there is no name by which we can be safe, but the name of Iesus Christ. Hee must rescue vs, that first crea­ted vs: hee makes vs partakers of loue, that was the Sonne of Gods loue: hee makes vs adopted sonnes, who himselfe is Gods naturall Sonne.

Secondly, It is profitable to bee much in the meditation of Christs suffe­rings, that it might sincke into our minds, that we must goe out of ourselues for happinesse; and such meditations open a way to godly sorrowEzec. 12.12.. They tend to the mortification of sinne, and they encline the heart of a Christian to bee willing to suffer with him: for hee suffered as the Master, wee are but Seruants: hee suffered for others sinnes;The good that comes by meditating of Christs suffe­rings. wee deserue more then wee can suffer by our owne sinne. Hee suffered all sorts of crosses, and infinite much: we suffer but light affliction. And the thought of his sufferings, may make vs willing to contemne the world, seeing heereby wee discerne that his king­dome is not of this world. Yea, wee owe vnto Christ the remembrance of his sufferings. It is a small thing he requires of vs, when he wils vs to thinke on him often, what he hath endured for vs.

In that body of his flesh] These words note Christs Nature: yet wee must consider which Nature: in Christ there were two Natures in one person, personally vnited: his diuine and humane Nature. His diuine Nature was from Eternity, Immutable, Immortall, Impassible. His humane Nature, was conceiued, and borne in time; Mutable, Mortall, Passible; one and the same: without time begotten of the Father, the Sonne of God, without Mother; and in time borne of the Virgine, the Sonne of Man without Fa­ther: Sonne to both, Naturall and Consubstantiall. These Natures are in one person, for, that God and Man might become one in Couenant; one is be­come God & man in person. These Natures are personally vnited: this vnion is personall, but not of persons; and it is a vnion of Natures, not naturall.

In these words the Apostle speakes of the Nature assumed, viz. his Hu­mane Nature. And there are two things to bee noted in these words. First, that hee saith, that body, not the body. Secondly, that hee saith not simply, his body, but that body of his flesh.

That body.] Heere hee poynts out a speciall excellency in the body of Christ, aboue all other bodies in Heauen and Earth:Christs body more excel­lent then all other bodies. for his body was with­out sinne, formed by the ouershadowing power of the holy Ghost; so is no mans else. 2. It is assumed into personall vnion with the diuine Nature. [Page 140] 3. It was honoured with speciall Prophesies, Types and Sacrifices. 4. This body was offered vp as a full expiatory Sacrifice. 5. It is to be re­membred to the end of the word, in the Sacrament.

Christs body not like ours in two things. Body of his flesh.] To note, that it was a true Body, like vnto ours; and to distinguish it from his Sacramentall and Mysticall body. In two things Christs body was not like ours, and in three things it was like. It was not like: first, in the manner of subsisting: it was not independent, or a per­son of it selfe. 2. In the vicious accidents of the substance of it, no sinne, either could or ought to infect it: Could not; because originall sinne was restrained by the Holy Ghost: Ought not, because in it a purgation for our sinnes must be made. In three things it was like ours: first, in substance, hee tooke our whole Nature; hee was the seede of the Woman, of Abraham, of Dauid, In 3. things it was like. the Sonne of man, &c. And hee tooke the parts of our Nature, both soule and body. 2. In properties, and thus hee assumed both the proper­ties of the whole Nature, in that hee was finite, and create. And in the parts, as in the soule, hee assumed, Vnderstanding, Will, Memory: and in the Body, Figure, Quantitie, and Circumscription, &c. 3. In infirmities, for hee assumed not onely our Nature, but the infirmities of Nature. But wee must know that hee tooke the defects, or infirmities, thay call miserable: not those they call damnable.

Thus of the Doctrine of his Nature: his Sufferings follow.

Through death.] The death of Christ doth reconcile vs, in as much as it ratifies the couenant, and takes away the guilt of the sinnes of the former Te­stament, and the vertue of it eats downe the power of present sinnes, and de­stroyes the power of our naturall death.

Christs death differs from ours, in three things.Christs death differs from the death of all the Elect, in three things. First, in that in death hee sustained not his owne person, but dyes as our surety, and so is a sacrifice for sinne. Secondly, hee was in death a whole burnt of­fering; for as hee dyed in body, so his soule was an offering for sinne, in as much as hee sustained the sence of the infinite wrath of God in his Agonies. Thirdly, in that his death was the death of him that was the Sonne of God. Hitherto of the doctrine, of the Nature and sufferings of Christ, the Vses follow.

Vses of Christs death.First, for Instruction. The consideration of all this should teach vs, 1. to value reconciliation, with all the graces that flow from it, according to the worth of the meanes by which they are procured. If there were no other way to know the worth of Gods Fauour, Knowledge, Spirituall refreshings, and Graces, yet by the price, payd for the purchase of them, wee may dis­cerne they are worth more then all the world. 2. Is it not possible for vs to hate sinne, vpon the consideration of so pregnant an example of the odiousnesse of it, when the imputation of sinne brought the Sonne of God on his knees, to his death. O the soule Lethargie, that hath ouergrowen vs! 3. That wee may haue the profit of the Incarnation, and Passion of CHRIST, in his naturall body, wee must bee carefull to get into his my­sticall body. 4. The Apostle vseth the Meditation of Christs humiliation to the death, as an argument to perswade vs to Compassion, Mercy, Fellow­ship in the Spirit; Vnitie, Humility, Clemency, and meeknesse of minde, Phil. 2.1. to 9.

Secondly, wicked men may here see what smart they are like to feele from the vnpartiall iustice of God. Doth hee not spare the body, the flesh, the bloud, the life, of his owne Sonne, when hee became but a surety for sinne? How shall vngodly men, euer enemies, and neuer sonnes, that themselues haue committed sinne, escape, when the day of wrath shall come?

Thirdly, godly men may heere see great reason of comfort, not onely by [Page 141] considering the great loue of Christ, and the great benefits must needs flow from his death; but if two things bee weighed: 1. the honour done to our Nature, in that in the humanity of Christ it is ioyned to the diuine Na­ture. This makes amends for that breach that is made by the damnation of millions, in our nature. 2. The great certainty of Gods couenant,1 Tim. 3.16. Phil. 2.6.7. of Grace and Mercy. For a mans couenant, if it be once confirmed, no man abrogates it, or addeth, or taketh from it: therefore,Gal. 3.9. much more Gods Couenant shall stand vnchangeable, being ratified and confirmed by the death of Christ.

Thus of the Meanes.

The end followes, in these words: To present you holy, and without spot, and vnblameable in his sight. And in these words, is both the presentation, and the sanctification of Christians to be considered.

To present you.] The originall word is very significant, and diuersly ac­cepted: it signifies to restore: so Acts 9.41. to assemble, Acts 2.26. to make present: so Acts 23.23. to make ready, furnish, purge, or make cleane, Acts 23.24. to make acceptable, 1 Cor. 8 8. to make manifest, 2 Tim. 2.15. to proue euidently, Acts 24.13. to assist, and stand too, Rom. 16.2. 2 Tim. 4.16. to offer by way of dedication, or gift to God, 2 Cor. 11.2. Luke 2.22. Col. 1.28.

It is true that Christ restores vs, collects vs,Ephe. 5.27. Ephes. 1.6. brings vs into Gods pre­sence, clenseth vs, makes vs acceptable, assists, and defends vs, and mani­fests vs to be holy. But I take it principally in the last sence, hee presents vs by dedication to God. Thus Christ shall present vs wholly, both at the day of iudgementRom. 14.10., and in the day of death, when hee shall deliuer the soule to God. Thus also Christ doth present vs in this life: 1. When by the preach­ing of the Gospell, hee seuers and segregates vs from the world, and brings vs into Gods houshold. 2. In Iustification, when clothing vs with his owne righteousnesse, hee becomes our Iustification. 3. In new obedience: and that two wayes: first, when hee presents our workes, couered with his in­tercession. Secondly, when hee causeth vs to present our selues to GOD, both by Prayer and consecration of our selues to Gods Seruice, and holines of life. It must bee euery mans care then to seeke his presentation from Christ, and to that end, by Couenant, Prayer, and practise, deuote himselfe to a subiection, to all the ordinances of Christ.

Thus of Presentation: Sanctification followes.

Holy, vnblameable, and vnreproueable in his sight. How the words are to be vnderstood] At the first sight I should encline to vnderstand these words, either of Iustification, or our consummate holinesse at the day of iudgement; but that the sway of Interpreters force me to expound them of Sanctification. It is greatly to bee waighed, that a man in this life should be here sayd to be holy, vnblameable, and vnreproue­able, or as the other Translation hath it, without fault in his sight. For the better conceiuing of it, wee must compare with these words, other Scripture, wherein is giuen vnto the godly, that they haue cleane hands, and a pure heart, Psal. 24.4. that they are pure, Prou. 21.8. vpright in heart, Psal. 97.11. sanctified throughout, 1 Thess. 5.23. perfect,1 King. 8:61. or vndefiled in their way, Psal. 119.1. perfect, 2 Cor. 13.11. Phil. 3.15. Matth. 5.48. faultlesse, Iud. 24. without spot, and blamelesse, 1 Pet. 3.14. walking in all Gods wayes, 1 King. 8.58. and that they keepe Gods couenant, Psal. 25.10. & 78.8.10. & 132.22. Thus Noah is sayd to be perfect, Gen. 6.9 Ezekiah walked before God, with a perfect heart, Esa. 38. Dauids heart was perfect, 1 King. 11.4. Zachariah and Elizabeth were both righteous before God, and walking in all the commandements of the Lord blamelesse, Luke 1.6.

The question is, how those sayings should bee true, and in what sence they are meant: And for the cleering of the doubt, the way is not simply to reiect the propositions, as impious, and vntrue, and hereticall, as some igno­rant [Page 142] and malicious persons doe: but seeing they are the sacred words of Scripture, to consider what it is may bee attained, and what Gods requires of vs. To thinke with the Papists, or Anabaptists, that any mortall man can performe the obedience required in the morall Law, perfectly; so as neuer to commit sinne against the Law, is a most blasphemous, detestable, and cursed opinion, for there is no man that sinneth not: the best of the Saints haue had their thousands of sinne. But those places are to bee vnderstood of the righteousnesse of the Christian, as hee is considered to bee vnder the coue­nant of grace, and the Gospell, not of Legall perfection, but of an Euange­licall innocency and vprightnesse. Not as their workes are in themselues, but comparatiuely, either with the workes of wicked men, or as they are in their desire and endeauour, and as they are presented in the intercession of Christ, who couers th [...] imperfections that cleaue to the workes of the faithfull. Sometimes the faithfull are sayd to be perfect, that is, strong men in CHRIST; compared with the weake Christian, and Infant in grace: so that wee see what a Christian in this life may attaine vnto; the rigour of the Law being taken away, in the couenant of grace, and the imperfections of his workes, and frailty, being couered in Christs intecession.

Holy.] This word Holy, is the generall; and comprehends the other two. For holinesse is either internall, and that is expressed by the word [...], vnblameable, or externall, and so it is exprest in the word [...], vn­reproueable. Holinesse is giuen to God, and so essentially Luke 1.49.; to the spirit of God, and so effectiuely, because it workes it in others; to Christ, as he deriues it by influence to his membersActs 3.14. Luke 1.35.; To Angels, Matth. 25. to sacrifices, by way of type; to the Couenant of GOD, as it promiseth holinesse to the faithfullLuke 1.71.; to the Prophets, as Teachers of holinesseActs 3.21.; to the Scriptures, as the rule of holinesseRom. 1.2.; to places, for the holinesse of the subiect: but heere it is a glorious adiunct, conferred vpon the faithfull by Christ.

Foure things obserued a­bout holinesse.Concerning holinesse of heart, and life, in generall, there are heere foure things to be noted. 1. The necessitie of it; wee can neuer be reconciled or glorified without it, Tit. 2.12.13. 2. The difficultie of it, lesse then the power of Christ crucified, cannot make men lead a holy life. 3. The me­ritorious cause of it: holinesse is merited by Christ, as well as saluation. 4. The order: men must first bee reconciled to God, before they can get holy grace, or lead a holy life.

Ʋnblameable.] Christian perfection hath two things in it. First, vpright­nesse of heart, noted by this word. Secondly, vprightnesse of life, noted by the word following.Internall ho­linesse hath seuen things in it. Internall perfection or holinesse, must haue these things in it. First, the staine of former sinnes must bee washed away with the teares of repentanceIer. 4 4.. Secondly, the inward worship of God must bee set vp in the heart: some impressions men haue of an externall worship, but of the inward worship, men are naturally almost wholly ignorant. God is inwardly worshipped, by the constant exercise of grace from aboue, as Loue, Feare, Trust, Delight, Desire, &c. 3. There must bee in vs an assurance of Gods fauorHeb. 10.22. Acts 15.9.. 4. There must be a freedome from preuailing euils in the mind or affections; in the minde, as ignorance, wicked thoughts, errours; in the affections, as impatiency, lust, seruile feare of men, maliceProu. 19.2. Psal. 41.6. Iam. 1.4., &c. 5. Hypo­crisie must not raigne, our desire must be more to be good, then to seem soPsal. 125.4.. 6. Our whole heart must be set vpon Gods whole Law, to haue respect vnto all Gods Commandements. God abhors a diuided heart Hos. 10.2., & a double heart Iam. 4.8.. 7. The minde must be set vpon heauenly things, and conuerse in heauenCol. 3.1.. Where these things are happily attained vnto, there the heart is vpright, whatsoeuer defects, or infirmities be in it: these things are different in Chri­stians, in the degrees; for there is an infancy, and weaknesse in sanctification, as well as Faith.

The signes of an vpright heart are these: first, it desires perfe [...] Phil. 3.:Signes of an vpright heart.: se­condly, it will not cease well-doing for crossesJob 2:3.: thirdly, it will [...] God, though aloneIosh. 24:15.: fourthly, it will not follow the eye, it is not sens [...]llIob 31:7.: fiftly, it reioyceth in the loue of CHRIST, aboue all thingsCant: 1:3.: sixtly, It will [...]te for lesser sinnes, as Dauids did, 2 Sam. 24. seuenthly, it is constantPsal: 78:37. Rules..

That we may attaine an vpright and vnblameable heart. In generall wee must get a new heart Ezek: 36:27.. In particular, 1. we must by mortification circumcise our heartsDeut: 3:6.: 2. we must get Gods Law written in our heartsIer: 31:33.: 3. wee must seeke and loue purity of heartProu: 22:11.: 4. wee must keepe our hearts with all dili­genceProu: 4:17.: lastly, we must walke before GodGen: 17:2. Motiues..

Motiues to inward holinesse. First, wee shall neuer see the righteousnesse of God imputed, till we be vpright in heartPsal. 36:10.. Secondly, a pure heart is one of the cleerest signes of a blessed manMatth: 5:6.. Thirdly, God searcheth to finde what mens hearts are, as well as what their liues are2 Chro: 28:9.. Fourthly, the eyes of the Lord behold all the earth, to shew himselfe strong, with all them that are of a per­fect heart 2 Chro: 16:9.. Fiftly, light is sowen for the righteous, and ioy for the vpright in hart Psal: 97:1 [...]. What exter­nall holinesse must haue in it. Lastly, the whole 125. Psalme encites heereunto.

Ʋnreprooueable.] This word notes the externall vprightnesse, or Christian perfection of life. Externall innocency must haue in it diuers things. 1. we must be free from the grosse sinnes of euery Commandement. 2. wee must cease from our owne workes Heb: 4:10., keepe vs from our wickednesse 2 Sam. 22.23.: and not turne after the wayes of our owne heart Esa: 57:17.: that is, wee must bee sure to cease from our par­ticular beloued sinnes: 3. our families must be well ordered, both for peace, labour, and pietieTit: 1:6:7.: 4. wee must bee free from IdolatryD [...]ut: 18:3.: from the custo­mary sinnes of the tongueJam. 3:3:: from the raigne of hardnesse of heartProu: 21:29.: from hasting to bee rich; for hee that hasteth to be rich cannot be innocent, as the Prouerbe is. Lastly, wee must loue our enemies, Matth. 5. vlt. That wee may attaine heereunto, wee must walke in the way of good men, Prou. 2.20. wee must set Gods Lawes euer before vs, and let them be our warrant, 2 Sam. 22.23. we must not be destitute of heauenly gifts, 1 Cor. 1.6.8.

In his sight.] These words may bee referred, either to our presentation, or to our sanctification. And whereas some would thinke that they ouerthrow the former sence of the words, and prooue, that hee entreats heere of our holinesse in Gods sight by iustification, they are deceiued; for they may find these words giuen to sanctification, ordinarily in Scripture, as Luke 1.6.7. Heb. 13.21. 1 Iohn 3.22. Reuel. 14.5.

The words being referred to Sanctification, import foure things.

First, that what we are, or doe, is in his presence: so the words vsed, Luke 2.18. & 13.26. Acts 10.33.

Secondly, that God is a witnesse of all wee doe: so the words vsed, Luke 8.47. 2 Cor. 7.12. Gal. 1.20.

Thirdly, that God accepts of what is truel [...] good, in any measure, Luke 1.75.

Fourthly, that God highly prizeth all that is good in the good, Luke 1.25. 2. Tim. 2.3. & 5.4. As the words there vsed shew.

Verse 23. If yee continue grounded, and stablished in the faith, and bee not mooued away from the hope of Gospell, whereof yee haue heard.’

THe second part of the Epistle,The diuision of the third part of the Epistle. viz. the proposition of Doctrine hath beene handled hitherto, from the twelfth verse vnto these words. In these words, and those that follow, to the end of the second Chapter, is con­tained the third part of the Epistle, viz. matter of exhortation: wherein hee both perswades and disswades. The perswasion is contained in this [Page 144] verse, and the rest, vnto the eight verse of the next Chapter. The disswasion is from verse 8. of Chapter 2. to the end of the Chapter.

In the perswasion, the Apostle exhorts them to perseuerance, both in Faith and Hope: whereis to bee obserued: 1. the matter to which hee ex­horts, in the beginning of this verse, and the reason to enforce the exhorta­tion, in all the verses following. The matter to which he exhorts is two-fold: first, to perseuerance in Faith, in these words, if yee continue grounded and sta­blished in the faith: secondly, to perseuerance in hope, in the next words: and be not m [...]ned from the hope of the Gospell, whereof yee haue heard. From the co­herence & generall words of the Exhortation, we must obserue, that Gods children after they haue gotten true grace,Considerati­on of the do­ctrin from the Coherence. and are comforted in their recon­ciliation, must looke to their Faith and Hope. It is not enough once to get Faith and Hope, but after they are conceiued in vs, they must be daily loo­ked to: for the iust must liue by his faith: It must be to him according to his faith, not according to his friends,Heb. 2:5. Heb: 11. Ephes: 3:16. Acts 15.9. 2 Tim: 3:15. 1 Iohn 5:4. money, labour, meanes, &c. By faith he must draw vertue out of all Gods ordinances: by faith hee must purge his heart of his daily sins: by Faith and Hope, he walkes with God, and ouercomes the world. This may greatly reprooue mans carelesnesse; men looke to their Grounds, Cattell, Shops, &c. but who lookes to their Faith and Hope?

If you continue grounded and stablished in the faith.] Heere are two things: first, the manner of the propounding of the exhortation, viz. with an If: secondly, the exhortation it selfe: where note; 1. the dutie, continue: 2. the manner of the duty, grounded and stablished: 3. the obiect, in Faith.

Why propoū ­ded with an If. If.] The Apostle propounds this Exhortation with an If, because hee speaketh to a mixt multitude, among whom were many that would not continue; and thereby shew they were not truely reconciled. Yea, it was needefull that the godly amongst them, should haue it thus doubtfully set downe, that so they might be more carefull to settle and establish themselues in the Faith, that they might hold out in it.

Men will fall away: looke for it.As this (If) lookes vpon the wicked, it shewes, that in places where the Gospell gathers soules to God, many that for a time were forward, and great­ly affected, will afterwards fall away. And therefore Gods seruants, both Ministers and People, should looke for Apostacy, and not bee ouermuch troubled when they see any fall away.

What makes many fall away.It is not amisse to consider by what meanes or motiues men are plucked away from the loue of the truth. Some fall away for hard sayings Ioh: 6:30:42 52:60:61: &c., some can­not follow Christ long, because of their carnall friends: others are corrup­ted with lewd company: others cannot beare the reproofes of their faults; and if they bee reprooued, either they will lift Amos away from Bethel, or they get themselues away from hearing Amos. Some heare this Sect euery where so ill spoken of, that they will be better aduised ere they settle vpon such courses. And the rather, because they doe not see the multitude set out with them, or great men yeelde any countenance to such strict courses. Others are seduced by time-seruing flattering, false, or corrupt teachers, who (labou­ring to hinder the efficacy of the doctrine of painefull Ministers) hope to ac­complish either the stopping of their mouthes, or, the increase of their bonds, crat lest their disgrace with the people Ezek: 13.19:20:22. 2 Tim: 3.12:13:14. Heb: 3 12:13. The faithfull may fall away in some re­spects.. Others are ensnared with the earthly things, and forsake the sincerity of the truth, to embrace this world with Demas. Ma­ny fall away for the Crosse, and all are catcht with the deceitfulnesse of some sinne.

Quest. But may the faithfull fall away and not continue? Answ. The faithfull may lose, and fall from 1. some degrees of innocency of life 2. Some degrees of the working and efficacie of Gods Spirit. 3. Some degrees of Communion with Christ. Their Communion may be lessened, [Page 145] though their vnion can not be dissolued. 4. from Faith,Quoad sens [...]. Quoad gradum Quoad act [...]. Quoad doctri­nam. Quoad media doctrinae. Seauen things from which the Elect can neuer fall. Psal. 94.14.145:14. Motiues to continuance. of which [...] [...]kes mention heere. And thus they may fall; in respect of sense: in resp [...] of some degree: in respect of some acts of faith: in respect of some Doctrine of Faith: and lastly, in respect of the meanes of the doctrine of Faith: But there are seauen things from which the Elect can neuer fall: first, eternall life, Iohn 10.29. secondly, confirming grace in some measure, Psalm. 14.5. thirdly, remission of sinnes past, Esa: 43.25. Fourthly, the seed either of doctrine, or grace, 1 Iohn 3.9. Fiftly, the spirit of sanctification. Sixtly, the habite of Faith, Luke 22.32. Seauenthly, vnion with CHRIST, Iohn 17.22.23.26.

Continue.] Three things I propound concerning perseuerance. First, some reasons to moue vs, to labour, to hold out, and continue. Secondly; rules to be obserued, that wee might continue. Thirdly, the helpes the faith­full haue to further their perseuerance.

For the first: Vnlesse we continue, wee shall neuer haue the full truth of God, nor be made free by it: nor haue sound comfort, that wee are the Dis­ciples of ChristIoh. 8.31.32.. Neither is any man fit for the kingdome of God, that puts his hand to the plow, and lookes backe Luke 9.62.. The branch cannot beare fruit, except it a­bide in the Vine Iob. 15.4.. And, if they continue not with vs, it is because they were not of vs 1 Ioh [...] 2.19.. It had beene better (for men) neuer to haue knowne the way of righteousnes, then after they haue knowne it, to turne from the holy Commandements, deliuered vnto them. For if after they haue escaped the pollutions of the world, through the knowledge of Iesus Christ, they be againe entangled, and ouercome; the latter end will be worse then the beginning 2 Pet: 2:19.20.. Yea, the very children of God by backe­sliding, may fall into a miserable condition; the powers of Hell may assault them Psal. 77.11.. They may go to the graue with vnrecouerable affliction: yea, they may lose some graces, without all restitution in this world: as the ioy of their saluation, plerophorie, or full assurance, &c.

For the second: If thou wouldest continue,Eight rules [...]or Continu­ance. thou must obserue eight rules. First, thou must get a continuing faith: get thee an infallible assurance of God fauour, arising from the wise Application of Gods promises, and the sure witnesse of Gods spiritJoh. 6:40.. Secondly, thou must at first be throughly cleansed of all thy filthinesse; making conscience to repent of all sinne, and haue respect to all Gods Commandements. And thou must bee sure thou get a new heart: for the old heart is deceitfull, and will not hold out in any thing that is goodEzek. 36.26.27.. Thirdly, thou must continue to vse the meanes of preserua­tion▪ thou must still heare, pray, read, conferre, meditate, and receiue the Sacraments; for the spirituall life is preserued by meanes, as well as the na­turall. Fourthly, thou must ioyne thy selfe to such as feare God, in the soci­etie [...] and fellowship of the Gospell. The affections, and desires of many, are blasted, and soone vanish, like a morning cloud, for want of communion with such as are able to direct, comfort, admonish, or encourage themIer: 32:39:40 [...]hil: 1:5:6.. Fiftly, thou must see to it, that thou get knowledge, as well as affectionHos. 2.19.20 Psal: 145.20.14.; and affection as well as knowledgen. Sixtly, thou must so receiue the truth of [...]he doctrine of Christ, as thou be also ready and willing, to confesse it, and professe it, amidst the different opinions, and humours of menMath: 16.16. Seuenth­ly, Thou must be a sheepe; meeke, tractable, profitable, sociable, innocent: for boisterous, conceited, peruerse, vnteachable natures will neuer hold longIohn 10.28..

Lastly, thou must be euer wary, and take heede of crosse teachings, and the puffs of contrary doctrine: and withall, take heed of coldnesse, in fol­lowing the truth, and of discord with such as feare God. Many times per­sonall discords worke through mens singular corruptions, apostacy from the truth once receiuedEphes: 4:13.14..

The summe of all in; that, if we get a iustifying faith, and be once assured of Gods fauour; if wee at first make a through reformation; if wee daily sticke to, and wait vpon the meanes; if wee conuerse with Gods children; if we haue wise affections, that are warmed with pietie, and shewed with dis­cretion; if wee make a sound profession of the sinceritie of the truth; if we be meeke, and teachable, and follow the truth without coldnesse, or con­tention, wee shall neuer fall, but continue as Mount Sion, that cannot bee moued. And out of all this wee may discerne the cause of the backe-sliding of many, either they were deceiued by a temporary faith; or neglected the constant vse of Gods ordinances, or were sleighthie in mortification; or they forsooke the fellowship of the Saints; or they were tost with contrary doctrine; or they were people of vnruly affections; or were seduced by se­cret lusts.

Helpes for continuance.For the third: though it be a hard worke to continue, by reason of the infirmities within vs, and the impediments from without vs; yet a Christi­an hath great helpes to further him in perseuerance: hee hath helpes, first, from the Saints, and is furthered by their example, by their exhortations, and by their prayers Heb: 12:1. & 10:24. 1 Tim: 2:1.: secondly, from the immortall seede which is within them, which hath as great aptnesse to grow as any seed in Nature: and is a seed that is sowen, for continuance, euen for Eternitie it selfe1 Iohn 3:9.. Thirdly, from the easinesse and grace of the Couenant, in which they stand in fa­uour with God. And here it would be obserued how the words of the Co­ [...]enant runne: for when God saith, He will make his euerlasting Couenant, his promise is, that hee will not turne away from them, to doe them good: and his feare he will put in their hearts, that they shall not depart from him Ier: 32:4.. And in another place he saith, hee will not onely clense them, but hee will giue them a new heart, and take away the stony heart out of their bodies, and put his spirit within them, and cause them to walke in his statutes, and to doe them Ephes: 36:26.27.. Fourthly, from the spirit of God, which is in them; for the spirit sets the soule at libertie 2 Cor: 3:17.: and furnisheth it with graces Gal: 5:22.: sealeth vp vnto the day of redemptionEphes. 1.14.: strengtheneth the inward man Ephes. 3.16.: shewes the things giuen of God 1 Cor: 2.12.: is a perpe­tuall Comforter John 14.16.: Leadeth into all truth John 15.13.: frees from condemnation, and the rigour of the LawRom: 8:1:3:10. Zach: 12.12., Rom. 8.1.3. is life for righteousnesse sake, vers. 10. morti­fies the deedes of the flesh, verse 13. beares witnesse that they are the children of God, verse 16. is a spirit of prayer, to cause them to cry Abba Father, verse 15. helpes their infirmities, and makes request for them, verse 26. Fiftly, from CHRIST: for from Christ they haue protection, Iohn 10.18. Influence, Iohn 15.1.4.5. Intercession, by which hee couers their sinnes and infirmities, presents their workes in his merits, and mooueth the Fa­ther to keepe them from euill, &c. Iohn 17.9.11.15.17.22. Sixtly, they haue helpes from his Ordinances; for by Prayer, when they aske according to Gods Will, they may bee sure to haue any thing, 1 Io [...]n 5.14. And by the Sacraments, Faith is confirmed, and sealed, and Grace nourished.

How many wayes the word furthers continuance.And by the Word they are many wayes furthered. I take but onely the 119. Psalme, to shew how our continuance is helped by the Word. It re­dresseth our waies, verse 9. It keepes from sinne, verse 11. It strengthens against shame, and contempt, vers. 22.23.143. It quickens, and comforts, verse 25.28.50.54.93.111. It makes free, verse 45. It makes wise, verse 98.100. It is a Lanthorne to our feete, verse 105.130. It keepes from declining, verse 102.104.118.155.160.165. Lastly, they are helped by the promises that concerne perseuerance, and preseruation, and falling away: such as are con­tained in such Scriptures as these, Iohn 13.1. 1 Cor. 10.13. Rom. 8.29. Psal. 84.12. 1. Tim. 4.18. Reuel. 2.25.26.

Grounded, and stablished in the faith.] It is not enough to get Fa [...]h, and continue in it; but wee must be grounded and stablished: and when he [...], stablished in the Faith, wee must vnderstand, the Doctrine, profession, exer­cise, assurance, and effects of Faith. And this establishing, and grounding of our hearts, hath in it, particular Knowledge, Certainety, Resolution, and Contentment.

To be thus established, would fortifie vs against all the changes,The priui­ledges of an established and grounded heart. and alterations of estate, or Religion in aftertimes: and as the Coherence im­ports, it would much further vs, in the attainement of an vnstained and vn­rebukeable life: whereas of doubting can come nothing but the shunning of God, the libertie of sinne, and desperation, and the like. Besides, this grounded establishment in Faith, would free our profession from the disho­nours, which an vnsetled or discontented Faith, or life, doth cast vpon vs. Atheists, Papists, Epicures, and Belly-gods, if this were in vs, would be astonish­ed to see the power of Religion, in our resolued contentment, and to consi­der how vnmooueable wee were; so as the gates of Hell could not preuaile against vs. Besides the vnsearchable solace that a peaceable and restfull con­science would breed in vs.

That wee might be thus grounded, and stablished,What we must doe, that wee might bee grounded and stablished. diuers things are care­fully to be obserued. 1. Wee must be founded on the Prophets, and Apo­stlesEphes. 2.20.; we must be daily conuersant in the Scriptures. 2. We must be much in praier, but in practise of prayer wee must nourish the hatred of euery sinne; and daily labour to encrease in the reformation of euill. And it is a great helpe to be much with such as feare God, and call vpon God with a pure heart. It would much establish vs, to see the faith, affections, feruencie, and power of Gods spirit in other, in prayer2 Tim. 2.19.22.. 3. There is a secret blessing of God, in setling a mans heart, followes vpon well doing: so as to bee abun­dant in Gods worke, is a great meanes of stedfastnesse; whereas a fruitlesse and barraine life, is both vncomfortable, and vnsetled1 Cor. 15.58. 1 Tim. 6.19.. 4. Wee must pray God to giue vs a free and ingenuous spirit Psal: 51.12. What a free spirit is.: wee must pray to God to giue vs a minde, cheerefull, speedy, full of incitations to good, glad of all occasions to doe good, free from the staine of the sinnes of the Time, Na­tion, or calling, and from the raigne of former lusts, inclineable to serue God, and our Brethren by Loue: fearing the Gospell more then the Law, and Gods goodnesse more then his iustice. 5. Wee must set an order in Faith and Life. It is exceeding behoouefull in matter of opinions, to deli­uer vp our soules to some sounde frame of Doctrine, in which wee will euer quietly rest; and in matters of life, to gather out of the Commandements a platforme of liuing, that might fit our owne casePro: 4.26.. 6. Wee are not vsu­ally setled, and soundly stablished, till wee haue beene shaken with affliction, and haue gotten the experience which the Crosse learnes vs1 Pet. 5.10.. Lastly, wee must consecrate our selues to God, endeauouring daily to practise what wee daily heare: for hee that commeth to CHRIST, and heareth his sayings, and doth them, is like a man which hath built a House, and digged deepe, and layed the foundation on a Rocke; and when the flood arose, and the streame beat vehemently vpon that house, it could not shake it, because it was founded on a Rocke Luk: 6:48.49..

Quaest. Quest. What should be the reason why many after long profession, and much hearing, and some comfortable signes of assurance,Ans. at sundry times conceiued, should yet be vnsetled, and distracted,The causes why many af­ter long pro­fession, and some signes of hope, are still so vnset­led. and shew so much perplexi­tie and want of firmenesse, either in contentment or practise?

Answ. This is occasioned diuersly. First, sometime for want of a di­stinct direction, or carefull examination, about the application of the signes of Gods fauor: some Christians haue not the signes cleerly & distinctly col­lected: others that haue them, & know the vse of them, grow sloathfull and [Page 148] negligent, and are iustly scourged with the want of the glory of this esta­blishment.

Secondly, sometimes it comes to passe, for want of vsing priuate meanes more conscionably; as Reading, Prayer, or Conference.

Thirdly, it is so sometimes with Christians, because of some sinne they lye in, without repentance; there may be some sinne, which they too much fauour; and are loath to forsake, whether it be secr [...]t, or more open.

Fourthly, Vnfruitfulnesse, and barrennesse in good workes may cause it: for if Faith did beare fruit vpwards, it would take roote downewards.

Fiftly, many are grieuously pressed, vnder legall perfection, being not able distinctly to discerne the benefit of the Couenant of grace, in freeing them from the curse, and rigour of the Law. The ignorance of this one point, hath, and doth couer the faces and hearts of millions of Gods Ser­uants, with a perplexed confusion, and feare without cause.

Sixtly, many professors liue in much vnrest, for want of discerning things that differ, and the right vse of Christian liberty.

Seauenthly, there is a kinde of luke-warmenesse in practise, after hearing, which is in many scourged with the withholding of this rich grace of spiri­tuall stedfastnesse. I say, luke-warmenesse in practise: for it may bee obser­ued, that many heare with great affection, and continue to be stirring, in expressing their liking of the Word, and yet are exceedingly negligent in the conscionable and daily practise of such rules, as in the ministerie of the Word they seeme to receiue with admiration, and great liking.

Eightly, this comes by reason of the want of patience, and a meeke spirit: some Christians are froward, passionate, transported with violent affections, either of anger, or worldly griefe: and these seldome or neuer, gaine any long rest, or continuall contentment: troubled affections, greatly hinder setlednesse, euen in the best things.

To conclude, many professors reuolt to the world, and giue themselues to an vniustifiable liberty, in following either their profits, or their plea­sures. And therefore no maruell, though Grace and true Religion, thriue so slowly in them, when they eate vp their hearts and liues with these cares and delights of life.

Hitherto of Faith. Now of Hope.

Be not moued away from the hope of the Gospell, whereof yee haue heard.]

Though by Faith wee are interressed in Gods fauour, and our soules gar­nished on earth with diuers graces, as the fruits of Faith, and our liues pro­tected with caelestiall priuiledges; yet the glory of our kingdome is neither of this world, nor in this world. Hope must guide vs to future things, as well as Faith to present: and therefore the Apostle Peter doth with great reason teach vs to blesse God, for begetting vs againe to a liuely hope 1 Pet. 1.3.: our whole hap­pinesse may be branched out into these two parts. First, what wee haue al­ready on earth; and secondly, what wee looke to haue hereafter in Heauen. The one, Faith procures, the other, Hope assures. Now in that wee haue not all our happinesse here, but hope for it elsewhere, it should teach vs di­uers things.

First, wee should effectually pray vnto GOD to giue such sound wise­dome, and reuelation, by his word and spirit, that wee may indeede know this hope of our calling Eph: 1.18..

Secondly, in all troubles, wee should bee the more patient, seeing wee holde our full and finall deliuerance (when wee shall feele no more troubles or crosses) by Hope. Perfect saluation is had here onely by HopeRom: 8..

Thirdly, when our friends go out of the world, such as were deare vnto vs in the bonds of grace, we should not mourne immoderately for them; for [Page 149] that were to proclaime our want of knowledge, or want of sense and feeling, in the thoughts of the happinesse of another world1 Thes. 4.13.. Yea, fourthly, seeing the greatest part of our happinesse is yet to come, wee should learne to place our ioyes in the contemplation of Heauen, according to the Apostles dire­ction; who biddeth vs reioyce in Hope Rom: 12.12.. And lastly, wee should prepare for death, and wait when the time of our changing should come, that wee might enioy the glorious libertie of the Sonnes of God.

Not moued away.] Doct. It is not enough to haue hope, but wee must get to be vnmoueable in it: for as the Authour to the Hebrewes shewes, wee should be diligent to get and haue a Plerophorie, or full assurance of Hope to the end Heb: 6:11.. Wee must holde fast the confidence, and reioycing of hope Heb: 3.6.. This is our sure and stedfast Anchor, to which wee should in all stormes haue our refuge, to holde fast by it Heb. 6:18:19.

The Vse is two-fold: first, it may reproue that vnsetlednesse,Note. and discon­tentment is found in men, in the times of their affliction, when euery crosse can moue them away from their confidence. We would think him a strange man, that in time of peace, would walke vp and downe with a Helmet on him, and when hee were to go into any battell, or fray, in the middest of the fight, when it was at the hottest, would take his Helmet, and throw it off him. And yet so strange are we. In prosperitie wee out-bragge all men with our hope in God, and our strong confidence; but when the Diuell, or the World, beginne to deale their blowes, and to molest vs with sharpest assaults, then we grow heartlesse, or impatient, and throw away our hope, when wee haue most neede of it. Secondly, it should teach vs to labour after this vnmoue­ablenesse of hope; which, that it may the better be done, two things are to be looked to. 1. that our hope be a true hope: 2. that we vse the meanes to make this hope vnmoueable.

And for the first, wee must consider three things. First, what hope is not true hope. Secondly, what persons haue no hope. Thirdly, what are the effects or properties of true hope. Some things of many, in each of these, shall be instanced in.

First, there is a hope, of which men shall one day bee ashamed: such is,What hope is not true hope. mens hope in their richesPsal. 52.7.; in the arme of fleshIer: 17:5.; in oppression, vanitie. and sinnePsal: 62.10.: in the instruments of deliuerance, as the Bow, or Sword, &cPsal: 44:6.: in the deceitfull conceits of their owne brainesEsa: 28:15., or in their ciuilitie of life. (This is to trust in Moses Joh: 5:45. Who haue not true hope..) All these, and other such like hopes, are e­gregiously vaine.

Secondly, there are many sorts of men in the world, concerning whom it is plaine in Scriptures, they haue not hope. For in the generall, there is no hope in any vnregenerate man1 Pet: 1:3. Ephes: 2:12.; and in particular it is cleere, there is no true hope; First, in the ignorant, Psalm. 9.10. Secondly, in prophane men, that make no conscience of sinne, Psalm. 115.11. Thirdly, in the pre­sumptuous, that blesse their hearts against the curses of the Law, Deuter. 29.19. Fourthly, in the Hypocrite; for though hee haue wouen to himselfe, out of the bowels of his poisonous breast, a faire webbe of hope, yet it shall be as the house of the Spider, one swope of Gods Beesome shall easily lay him and his hope in the dust of miserieIob. 8.13.. Lastly, it is not in workers of iniquitie, that make a Trade of sinne, and euery day plodde about mischiefe.

Thirdly, true hope is most stirring in affliction, and then it shewes it selfe by foure things.Which are the effects or pro­perties of true hope.

First, By Profession: it will not onely know, but acknowledge that truth, which is according to godlines Tit. 1.1.2.. It will confesse, & professe; wheras the common hope, seldome, or neuer at any time, holds it conuenient to be so forward.

Secondly, by Abnegation; for it will endure scornes, losses, temptations, oppositions, &c. It is not moued away by the carnall reasons of the flesh; the disdaine of carnall friends; the violence of vnreasonable aduersaries, or the like: the chaine will not feare it, nor the reproach shame it1 Tim. 4.10.. It will be busie, though it haue no thanke for his labourAct. 28.20.: And it will not hast to ill meanes, to get out of distresseEsa. 28.15.16.: Whereas the common hope is frighted with the noyse of a chaine, and put out of countenance with a scoffe of dis­grace: it will speake CHRIST faire, but loose nothing for his sake: it likes preaching well, but it will neuer beleeue it is so as the Preacher sayes: it loues GOD aboue all, but yet it must haue a care to see to it, at any hand, that such and such friends be not displeased: it will be better aduised then to be in danger of such and such troubles. And if it be hard bestead, it will ven­ture to send to a Wizard, to vse now and then a lye, or an oath, or a little fraud, and false dealing, &c.

Thirdly, by Mortification: Hee that hath this hope, purgeth himselfe, that he may be pure, as Christ is pure 1 John 3.3.. It stirreth vp to much praier, confession, sor­row, fasting, and spirituall reuenge. Hee that hath most hope, is most in the humiliation of his soule. It is not as the world conceiues, that Mortificati­on is the way to desperation: but the common hope hath no hands to doe good workes; nor eyes to shedde these teares; nor stomacke to abide this fasting; nor flesh to endure this reuenge; nor tongue to speake this language.

Fourthly, by Perseuerance: It will not cease from yeelding fruit Ier. 17.8.. Iob gui­ded by this hope, resolues to trust still in God, though he kill him Iob. 13.15.: but the com­mon hope will be sure then to fayle when there is most neede of help.

What wee must do, that we might be vnmoueable.Now that wee might be vnmoueable in this Hope, wee should waite pati­ently vpon Gods ordinances, that wee might abound in the comforts of the Scriptures, increasing in Knowledge and WisedomeRom: 15:4. Prou: 24.14.: but especially, wee must sticke to the Word preached, and neuer giue it ouerEphes. 1.1.4.: nourishing e­uery grace of Christ2 Thes: 2.16.: and wee must be much in prayerPsal. 62.8. & 61.2.3., and soundly care­full to deny all vngodlinesse, and worldly lusts Tit. 2.12.13. Iob: 11:14:15..

Thus of the Duty, and the Obiect [Grace.] Now of the Meanes, by which it was wrought, which was the Gospell preached.

Of the Gospell.] Doct. The Gospell is the ordinarie meanes to breede hope in a mans heart2 Tim. 2.10. Rom. 1.16., and therefore it is called the Gospell of the kingdome; and the Gospell of Saluation Math: 4.13. Ephes. 1.13.. And the Gospell breedes hope, as it shewes vs the Do­ctrine of our reconciliation with God; and as it containes the promises of the Couenant of Grace; and as it shewes our deliuerance from the rigour and curse of the Law: and lastly, as it shewes Christ crucified, with all his merits.

Of which ye haue heard.] Doct. The Gospell is then most effectuall when it is preached: and more particularly, what efficacie is in preaching, may appeare by these Scriptures following: Psal. 51.8. Esay 55.4. Luke 4.18. Rom. 10.14. 1. Cor. 1.21. &c. Act. 10.36.42. & 15.21. 2. Cor. 1.19.20. Gal. 3.1. 1. Tim. 3.16. Tit. 1.3.

Againe, in that the Apostle alleadgeth the efficacie of the Doctrine they heard, to proue that they ought not to be moued away from it: wee may note, that that Doctrine which conuerts soules to God, is true; and men ought to continue in it. The Apostle, 2 Cor. 3.2. proues his Doctrine to be true, by this seale of it: and this must comfort faithfull Teachers, against all the scornes of men, if they gather soules to GOD, and breede hope in Gods people. And the people must hence confirme themselues in their re­solution, to sticke to their Teachers, when God hath giuen this Testimonie to their ministeries. Thus of the Exhortation.

The Reasons follow:

  • 1 From consent of the Elect, Verse 23.
  • 2 From the testimony of Paul, Verse 23.24.
  • 3 From the testimony of God, Ʋerse 25.
  • 4 From the excellency of the Doctrine of the Gospell, Ʋerse 26.
  • 5 From the excellency of the subiect of the Gospell, Verse 27.
  • 6 From the end or profitable effect of the Gospell, Verse 28.
  • 7 From the endeauour of Paul, Verse 29.

Which was preached vnto euery Creature vnder Heauen.] These words con­taine the first reason, and it stands thus: In as much as the doctrine taught you, is the same Doctrine that hath beene taught to, and receiued by all the Elect; therefore yee ought to continue in it, and neuer be mooued from the Grace wrought by it.

Quest. Quest. But was the Gospell preached to euery Creature vnder heauen? Ans. Ans. Some vnderstand the meaning to be this: that the Apostle intends to note, by the preaching of the Gospell to euery Creature, onely thus much;How the Go­spell was prea­ched to euery creature. That it was now no more confined in Iudea, but was published to Gentiles as well as Iewes: and so it was preached to euery Creature, in as much as all mankinde had as much interest as the Iewish Nation. Others thinke the speech imports no more, but that the fame of the Gospell was spred by the Marchants and other that lay at Rome, Ierusalem, and other great Cities, vnto all knowen Countries of the world. Others thinke it is no more then if hee had sayd, it was published farre and wide: as in Iohn they say, the whole world goeth after him; but they meane a great multitude; an vsuall Hyperboli­call speech. Lastly, others thinke, that when he saith, it was preached, he mea­neth it should be preached to euery creature; the time past being put for the time to come, to import, that it shall as certainely be done, as if it had beene done already. But I take, it is meant of the preaching of the Gospell by the Apostles and Euangelists, in the conuersion of so many Nations to the Faith of Christ.

There may bee seuen Obseruations gathered out of this speech of the Apostle. First, that Doctrine onely is true which is agreeable to the Do­ctrine of the Apostles, by which the world was conuerted to God. Se­condly, wee may see that no power is like the power of the Word of God: heere it conuerts a world in a short time: And our eyes haue behelde that it hath almost in as short time restored a world of men from the power of An­tichrist. Thirdly, we may by this phrase bee enformed, that the words, all, and euery one, are not alwayes in Scripture to bee vnderstood vniuersally, of all the singular persons in the world, as the Vniuersalists conceiue. Fourth­ly, they were but a few Fisher-men that did this great worke, and they were much opposed and persecuted, and in some lesse matters they iarred some­time among themselues. Whence wee may obserue, that Doctrine may bee exceeding effectuall, though 1. but few teach it; 2. though they bee but of meane estate and condition; 3. though it be opposed by crosse and con­trary teaching; 4. though it be persecuted; 5. though the people be in dis­posed and nuzled in sinne and superstition, as these Gentiles were; 6. though the Preacher be often restrained; 7. though there be some dissention in lesse matters. The fift thing that may be gathered hence, is, that in the conuersion of sinners, God is no respecter of persons; men of any age, nation, sex, con­dition, life or quality, may bee conuerted by the Gospell. And sixtly, it is plaine heere, that preaching is the ordinary meanes to conuert euery crea­ture: so as ordinarily there is none conuerted but by preaching. Lastly, if any one aske what shall become of those nations, or particular persons, that neuer yet heard of the Gospell; I answer, the way of God in diuers things [Page 152] is not reuealed; and his Iudgements are like a great deepe: It belongs to vs to looke to our selues, to whom the Gospell is come.

Thus of the first Reason.

The second Reason is taken from the testimony of Paul, and hee giues a double testimony; 1. By his Ministery; 2. By his Sufferings.

Wherof I Paul am a minister.] Out of these words many things may be noted:

First, in that the Apostle, notwithstanding all the disgraces and troubles that befell him for the Gospell, doth yet lift vp the mention of his Mini­stery therein, as an inducement to the Ephesians: It may teach vs, that the glory of Gods truth is such, as no man neede to bee ashamed to teach or pro­fesse it, nay, there can be no man or woman, to whom it may not bee their cheifest glory, whatsoeuer carnall worldlings or timerous Nicodemites con­ceiue of it.

Secondly, in that so great an Apostle doth not disdaine to yeelde his te­stimony, of purpose to shew that Epaphras their Preacher had taught no­thing but what hee had likewise taught: it sheweth that it is the property of faithfull and humble Ministers to strengthen the harts and hands of their Brethren; though they be their inferiours, and then it will follow, that they are proud, and enuious, and malicious persons, that by crosse teaching la­bour to encrease their bonds, whom God hath honoured with successe in their labours in the Gospell: such are they, that in many places striue to pull downe as fast as others builde, making hauocke in the Church, and ben­ding their whole might in their Ministery to hinder the sincerity of the Go­spell, and the conuersion of sinners.

Thirdly, in that the Apostle vrgeth his owne testimonie, [I Paul,] it sheweth that the testimony of one Apostle is better then a thousand others; One Paul opposed to many false Teachers: which should teach vs to con­uerse much in the Doctrine of the Apostles and Prophets (which are of like authority.) And the rather, because the best of other men may erre; nay, haue erred: and therefore a heape of humane testimonies should bee of no value against one Scripture. And as the people should try the Spirit by this witnesse, so should Preachers make conscience of it, to take more paines to enforme the consciences of the people, by the testimony of the Word, then by humane authority, of what sort soeuer.

Fourthly, in that heere is but one Paul, that comes in, to confirme the truth of the Gospell, it shewes that many times the soundest Teachers are the fewest in number. Heere it is so in the best times of the Church: so it was before; there was but one Michaiah for foure hundred false Prophets: so in Christs time there was a swarme of Pharisaicall, proud, vaine glorious, hypocriticall, silken Doctours, that loued the cheefe roome, and sought pre­heminence, teachers of liberty and strife, defenders of traditions, and their owne glory and greatnesse, when Christ and his Disciples were by their enuy scorned, as a few precise singular fellowes.

Fiftly, in that the Apostle stileth himselfe by the name of Paul, and not of Saul, it may intimate that men truely regenerate hate the vaine name of their vnregeneracy: it is a foule signe when men can glory in the titles and names of their lewdnesse and sinne past.

Lastly, in that the Apostle tearmeth himselfe a Deacon, (for so the word translated Minister, is in the originall) it notes his great humilitie: it was a happy time in the Church, when the Apostles called themselues Deacons: and then beganne the Church to decay in true glory, when Deacons would needes be Apostles.

Thus of the second Reason, and the 23. Verse.

Verse 24. Now reioy [...] I in my sufferings for you, and fulfill the rest of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh, for his bodies sake, which is the Church.’

THese words containe the Apostles second testimony, and it is taken from his sufferings for the Gospell: and hee conceiueth that they haue great reason to perseuer in the loue of the truth, since hee hath with ioy en­dured so many things for the confirmation of the doctrine hee had taught.

In these words I note two things: First, the Apostles ioy in affliction: secondly, the Reasons which mooued him vnto his reioycing. His suffering in which hee doth reioyce, hee amplifies by the time [now;] and the diuers sorts of crosses he endured, which hee expresseth indefinitely, when he saith plurally, [my sufferings;] as also by the vse of them, [for you,] that is, for confirmation of your Faith and encouragement. The Motiues are foure, first, because they are (the afflictions of Christ,) secondly, because they are laid vpon him by the Decree of God; his measure is set him, and hee hath al­most done his taske, hee is ready to dye: thirdly, because they are but (in his flesh:) fourthly, because they were for the good of (the Church.)

Now reioyce I in my sufferings.) Doct. Gods Children haue much ioy;The godly reioyce in afflictions. euen in affliction they are cheerefull, and with great encouragement, they beare their CrossesRom. 5:3. James 1.2. 2 Cor. 7.4. & 8:2. Heb. 11.37. 2 Cor. 1.5. &c.: and if any aske the reason why they are so glad in their af­fliction and trouble; I answer, Gods Seruants are the more cheerefull vnder crosses, because they know: first, that the Prince of their Saluation was conse­crate through affliction Heb. 2.10: The reasons why the god­ly are so cheerefull in affliction.. Secondly, that their Sauiour did therefore suffer, that he might succour them that suffer Heb. 2.18. Iohn 16.33.. Thirdly, that the sting is taken out of the Crosse, and therefore it is not so painefull to them as it is to the wicked men. Fourthly, that the same afflictions are vpon their brethren that are in the world 1 Pet. 5.9.. Fiftly, that the way to life is such a kind of way, a strait & narrow troublesome way Mat. 7.4.. Sixtly, that after all their troubles are a while borne in this world, they shall haue rest with the blessed in heauen, when the Lord Iesus shall bee reuealed, and better and more enduring substance, then any here they can want or loseHeb. 10.34. 2 Th [...]ss. 1.6.7.. Yea, that their afflictions are to bee accounted a part of that treasure that they would lay vp against the last day. Seauenthly, that God will in the meane time comfort them in all their tribulation 2 Cor. 1 4.. Eightly, that their manifold temp­tations serue for great vse; as for the triall of their precious Faith, and re­fining of all Graces, with the purging out of much drosse and corruption in their natures1 Pet. 1.6.7.. Ninthly, that no afflictions can separate them from the loue of God in Christ, with many other reasons, which I might instance in, besides those mentioned in the end of this Verse. If any yet aske, how Gods Seruants haue attained to such Ioy, since there are worlds of people, that in their troubles, could neuer be induced to conceiue of such contentment, by any reason could bee brought them; I answer, that there are diuers things in Gods Children, which are not in wicked men; which are great causes of, and helpes to ioy in tribulation: As, first, they will receiue the light, and treasure vp holy knowledge, which they finde singular vse of in their Trou­bles: whereas an ignorant mind is vsually attended with a distempered hartHebr. 10.32.34.. Secondly, they haue Faith in God, and carry about in their hearts the warme and enflamed loue of Iesus Christ, and are therefore able to trust in Gods prouidence in any distresse1 Pet. 1.7.8.. Thirdly, Gods Children hold such a course as this when as [...], the sufferings, which are mala poena, euils of punish­ment doe fall vpon them, they presently run and reuenge themselues vpon those inward [...], mala culpae, euils of sinne; euen their secret passions and affections, and by crucifying them, they worke their peace and tran­quility within themselues: for no man would bee hurt by his afflictions [Page 154] without, if he would mortifie his passions withinGal. 5.24.. Fourthly, they are much in Prayer, and keepe a good Conscience, in an vpright, innocent, and sin­cer conuersation2 Cor. 1.5.11:12.. And lastly, the word is a continuall Fountaine of ioy in all troubles, which keepes them from discouragement, or vnquietnesse. Psal. 119.

For you.] These words may bee referred either to reioyce, or to Sufferings: It is true, Gods seruants doe feele great ioy one for another1 Thess. 3.7.. And to thinke of the grace or prosperity of other of Gods Seruants, is many times a great comfort in trouble. But I rather thinke the words are to bee referred to [Sufferings] and then the sense may be, for you, that is, for the doctrin, which as the Apostle of the Gentiles, I taught you: Or for the confirmation of your Faith, and encouragement to like patience. And the rather, because the offering of him vp for the sacrifice and seruice of their Faith, was as the con­secration of the first fruits to God, vpon which followed a greater blessing vpon the whole Church.

Vses.The consideration heereof should teach Gods people, not to faint at the troubles of their Teachers, since they are for them, (though to carnall rea­son it seemes contrary,) yea, the Apostle, Ephes. 3.13. saith, it is their glory. Which also shewes the vaine paines that wicked men take, when they perse­cute faithfull Teachers: for though they thinke thereby to plague the peo­ple, that so greatly relie vpon them; yet indeede God turnes all so for the best, that those sufferings are for them, and not against them. And if wic­ked men were thus perswaded, they would spare such wicked labour: and if the godly could beleeue this, it would make them vnmooueable in trou­ble; for what shall make against them, if this kind of rroubles make for them?

And fulfill the rest of the afflictions of Christ.] Some of the late Papists ga­ther from these words, that CHRIST did not suffer all that was needefull for mans deliuerance from sinne, but left a deale to bee suffered by his mem­bers, especially men of principall note: and hence grew their Supererogation, Satisfactory paines, and Indulgences. But that this cannot bee the meaning of this place, is cleere, first, because that doctrine is contrary to other Scrip­tures, as Esay 53.4.5.6.8.10.11.12. Iohn 19.30. Heb. 10.1. to 15. Heb. 9.14.25.26. 2 Cor. 5.14. 1 Iohn 2.1. Psal. 49.7. Secondly, themselues be­ing Iudges, this sense brings in a grosse absurditie: for if the words bee vn­derstood of the suffering Christ left to his people to endure, for satisfaction for sinne, then it will follow, that Paul suffered all was wanting, and so there should remaine none for any other to suffer; for hee saith, hee suffered the rest of the sufferings of Christ. Thirdly, Caluin and Fulk say, that none of the Fa­thers did heere thus vnderstand the words:August. tract. 84. in Iohn. and it is plaine, that S. Augustine is flat against this sense, when hee saith, Though Brethren die for Brethren, yet no bloud of Martyrs is shed for remission of sinnes: this Christ onely hath done. And Leo, a Pope, could say, The iust receiue, not giue Crownes. And out of the fortitude of the faithfull, arise examples of Patience, not gifts of Righ­teousnesse. Fourthly, the next Verse cleereth this: for hee did thus suffer, according to tae dispensation giuen him of God. Now, hee was giuen to edifie, not to redeeme the Church. Fiftly, their Schoole-Diuines are against them; the Glosse hath it thus, Provobis, i. Confirmandis in doctrina Euangelij. Aquinas doubts not to say, that to affirme that the Passions of the Saints are added to make vp, or fulfill the Passion of Christ, is hereticall. Caietan referres the word, quae desunt vnto in carne mea. The plaine meaning is, that the Apostle did en­dure that measure of afflictions that GOD in his counsell had appoynted him to endure for the Name and Gospell of CHRIST, and the good of the Church, in the confirmation and encouraging of mens mindes in the truth of the Gospell.

Of Christ.] His sufferings may bee sayd to bee the sufferings of Christ,How our affli­ctions are the afflictions of Christ. ei­ther as Christ is taken for the whole mysticall body, (which is not strange in Scripture; for by Christ, in 1 Cor. 12. hee meaneth the body of Christ,) or as hee is the head of the Church: and so the afflictions of Gods seruants may be sayd to be his sufferings; either because they bee such as hee should suffer himselfe, if hee were on earth; or because they were layd vpon him by Christ, for the Churches good; or because they were for Christ and his do­ctrine; or because they deserue nothing, but all the praise is Christs; or be­cause of the sympathy of Christ with the Christian, who accounts them as if they were his sufferings. And in this latter sense I thinke cheefely, these words are to bee taken: for it is certaine, Christ doth so feele the miseries of his people, that hee accounts them in that respect, to bee his owne miseries, as these places shew, Heb. 4.15. Rom. 8.17. Matth. 25.42. &c. Phil. 3.10. 1 Pet. 4 13. 2 Cor. 1.4. Acts 9.4. Hence grew that witty diuision of Christs sufferings into [...] and [...]; so as the first should be vnderstood of the sufferings hee endured in his owne person, and the latter of the suffe­rings he felt in his members.

The consideration of this,Ʋses. that Christ accounteth the afflictions of his members to be his owne, may serue for diuers vses: For first, it shewes that they be in a wofull case, that haue ought to doe against Christs Ministers, or any of his Seruants. They would easily graunt it, that the Iewes were brought into great distresse, by the wrongs they did to Christ himselfe; then must it also follow that they cannot scape scot-free, that despise, reuile, tra­duce, or any way abuse the Messengers or Seruants of Christ, since hee ac­counts it as done to himselfe. Secondly, this may b [...]e a wonderfull motiue to stirre vs vp to be industrious in well-doing, and in helping and releeuing the poore Members of Christ, since wee are sure to haue thankes and reward from Christ himselfe, as if wee had done it to him. Lastly, in all our suffe­ [...]ings wee should striue that wee might be assured that our sufferings are his sufferings. And that it might be so, wee must be sure of two things: 1. that wee bee found in him Phil: 1:9:10.; for vnlesse wee be the members of Christ, we cannot haue the benefit of this Sympathy: 2. that we suffer not for ill doing2 Pet: 4:15. &c..

Rest of his sufferings.] Doct. So long as Christ shall haue a member on earth, there will rest something for him to suffer in his members: and there­fore wee should learne not to promise our selues rest and ease while wee are in this world.

To fulfill.] The word signifieth, either to doe it in stead of another, as if the Souldier fight in the Captaines roome; or to doe it in his owne course or turne, according to the appoyntment of his Gouernour, and in such pro­portion as is required: and thus I thinke it is taken heere. It is certaine, that all the Afflictions of the members of Christ come from Gods decree, and the continuance and measure of them is appoynted of GodReu: 2:8:10. Esay 27:7:8:9. 1 Thess: 3:3:4.. And there­fore it should encourage euery Christian the more cheerefully in his course, and when his turne comes, to take vp his crosse and follow Christ, and neuer stand much vpon the malice of men, or the rage of Diuels, but to looke principally to God, with this assurance, that God will deliuer him when his measure is full.

In my flesh.] Doct. 1. God doth afflict the flesh of his Seruants, hee spareth not the best of his Seruants heerein. Vse is, to teach vs,Vses. therefore not to pamper our flesh, but to bee resolued to suffer it willingly, to bee vsed like the flesh of Christ and the Saints. But especially, we should take heed of taking care for the flesh Rom: 13: vlt,, or seruing the flesh Gal. 6.: It is an vnseemly thing in a Chri­ [...]tian to make very much of his flesh, but it is worse to spend his cares about t, but worst of all to let hi [...] whole husbandry bee onely for his outward man.

Why some of Gods seruāts are so vnmoueable in affli­ction.Secondly, great things may be suffered, and yet the soule be vntouched: as heere the Apostles sufferings (which were exceeding great and manifold) reach onely to his flesh; they enter not into his soule. And the reason why some of Gods Seruants are so vnmooueable in their crosses, is, because they conuerse in heauen, and their spirits walke with God, and so are without reach of these earthly perturbations. Besides, when a mans heart is settled and grounded in the truth, and in the assurance of Gods loue, what should disquiet his soule that knoweth nothing to mourne for but sinne, and the absence of God? and nothing ioyous, but what comes from the light of Gods countenance?

Note.Thirdly, he that hath felt the troubles of the soule for sinne, is not much troubled with the crosses that are but outward. The vse is, for great reproofe of carnall Christians, that are seldome obserued to greeue, but when some­what ayleth their flesh; but on the other side, are not at all touched with the miseries of the soule. As also, wee should learne of the Apostle, in all outward crosses, to say with our selues, why should I bee troubled or dis­quieted? or rather, why should I not bee ioyous, since what I endure is but in the flesh? and since the Lord doth spare my soule, let him doe whatsoeuer pleaseth him.

Lastly, we may heere note the wonderfull loue and compassion of Christ, that pittieth not onely our soules but our flesh, accounting what wee suffer, to be as his sufferings. Is it not enough that hee should accept of the contri­tion of our soules, but that also hee should regard the sorrowes and troubles of our flesh?

Two kindes of sufferings: 1. of the Church; 2. for the Church. For his bodyes sake, which is the Church.] Sufferings are of two kindes: Eyther, of the Church; or for the Church. Of the Church, are also of two kindes: Eyther, Chastisements, or Trials. Sufferings for the Church are like­wise of two sorts: Eyther, Expiation, and so Christ onely suffered; or Mar­tyrdome for confirmation of Doctrine, or encouragement in practise, and so the Saints haue suffered for the Church.

The principall Doctrine from hence is, that the particular sufferings of Gods Seruants, especially the Ministers, serue for the good and profit of the whole body.Vses. The Vse is manifold: First, wee should heereby bee enformed to minde the good of the Church, and to seeke the aduancement of Reli­gion, and the good of religious persons, aboue our owne estate. Our care should bee most for the body of Christ, and wee should reioyce in any ser­uice wee could doe to the Church of God. Secondly, such as are called to suffer, should labour to shew all good faithfulnesse, zeale, constancy, and holy discretion, seeing their sufferings concerne more then their owne per­sons. Thirdly, this should stirre vs vp to pray for such as are in trouble for good causes, since their afflictions are some way for our sakes2. Cor. 1.11.. Fourthly, this may encourage poore Christians, that complaine they haue not meanes to doe good; they may be hence enformed, that if God call them thereunto, they may doe good, yea, to the whole Church, by their sufferings: no wants can hinder, but that the poorest Christian may profit others, by prayer, fastings, counsell, admonitions, comfort and suffering. Fiftly, since the sufferings of the righteous are for our confirmation and encourage­ment, wee should vse the meditation of such sufferings, when wee finde our selues inclineable to discouragement, or impatiency, or doubting. Lastly, this greatly reprooues carnall Christians, which are so taken vp generally with the care of their naturall bodies, that they haue vtterly neglected the care and seruice of the mysticall Body. And in as much as men are gene­rally so barraine in doing good, it is a plaine signe there is no hope that euer they would suffer for God.

Secondly, further hence may be noted, that the Doctrine or sufferings of the Saints, are no priuiledge or benefit to any but the true Church; and there­fore Papists haue no cause to boast of Peter and the Saints, so long as they remaine a false Church.

Thirdly, we may also obserue hence, that they only are of the true Church, who are of the body of Christ; and therefore we must be sure, we be mem­bers of Christ, before we glad our hearts with our priuiledge in the Church. And a member of Christ thou art not, vnlesse, 1.Who are members of Christ. thou beleeue the remis­sion of thy sinnes; for we are ingrafted onely by Faith: 2. Vnlesse thou haue had in thy soule an influence of holy graces from Christ, as from the head: 3. Vnlesse thou worke the workes of Christ, and bring foorth the fruits of a re­formed life; for thereby thou must try whether thou bee a true plant in this Vine. And lastly, if thou be of this body, thou hast some roome in the af­fections of Gods Children, or else it will be hard to prooue that thou art a fellow member.

Fourthly, here wee may see, that seldome comes there any good to the Church, but there is suffering for it; it cannot be redeemed but Christ must dye: and if the merit of this Redemption be applied, Paul must dye. It is an ill signe thou hast no true grace, when thou sufferest nothing for the grace thou trustest to: It is an ill signe that God is not with the Watch men of Ephraim, when they suffer nothing for the efficacie of their doctrine. Ney­ther may any thinke this may be preuented by meekenesse or wisedome, for the treasures of both these were in Christ, and yet hee was a man full of sorrowes.

And for conclusion,Arguments a­gainst the Crosse. out of the whole Verse wee may gather together a number of Arguments against the Crosse: 1. Paul suffers: 2. One may re­ioyce, notwithstanding afflictions: 3. The longer wee beare the crosse, the better able wee shall be to endure it; this may bee gathered out of the word [Now.] 4. They are such as Christ accounts his: 5. They come from the decree of God: 9. Their measure is set by God: 7. Wee beare them but in our course, others haue gone before vs, and after vs must others follow: 8. Christ suffered the great brunt of Gods wrath; our sufferings are but small reliques, or parcels, that are left behinde. 9. The measure will once be full, and that shortly: 10. They are but in the flesh for the most part: 11. Christ respects the troubles of our flesh, as well as the affliction of our spirit: 12. Wee may profit the Church by our sufferings.

Verse 25. Whereof I am made a Minister, according to the dispensation of God, which is giuen to mee, for you, to fulfill the word of God.’

IN this Verse is contayned the third generall Reason: and it is taken from the testimonie of God. Wherein hee shewes, that they ought to continue in the Doctrine they had receiued; because God by a speciall dis­pensation, had ordained him, and the rest of the faithfull teachers, by their ministeries, to serue to the good of the members of Christ, by fulfilling and accomplishing thereby whatsoeuer concernes the saluation eyther of Iew or Gentile.

In this dispensation I consider fiue things: First, who is the Authour of it; GOD: Secondly, what kinde of dispensation it is, [...] viz. a houshold Ad­ministration, for so the word importeth: Thirdly, what hee dispenseth; viz. the seruice of his Ministers: Fourthly, how hee dispenseth; viz. by graunting out a Commission to them in particular, vnto mee is giuen: Fiftly, to what end; viz. To fulfill the word of God.

From the Coherence with the 23. Verse, I note, that if men would bee established in Faith and Hope they must be subiect to the power of the mi­nisterie of Gods Seruants. From the Coherence with the former Verse, I note that if the Ministers of CHRIST doe finde that their seruice is auaile­able and powerfull to profit the soules of the people, they must not thinke it strange, that they fall into many tribulations.

From the generall consideration of the whole Verse, I obserue, both the dignitie and the restraint of the Ministery. The dignitie of a Minister stands in three things: first, that hee is Gods Ambassadour: Secondly, that by his Commission hee is sent vnto Gods people, who are the onely Worthies of the world: thirdly, that a great part of the efficacie of the word, rests by Gods appointment vpon him and his Office. The restraint is likewise in three things: first, hee is a Minister or Seruant; not a Lord or Sauiour: secondly, he receiues his commandement from God: he must not runne of his owne head, nor hold his office by meere humane ordination: thirdly, the word of God must be his ground and rule, for all his dealing, in dispensing the things of God.

Of God.] God is the dispenser of all good things to the Church, but in speciall of the Ministry of his Seruants, both in respect of the Embassage, and the calling of the Embassadour; and in respect of the efficacie of the Embassage; both in the preparation and power of the Teacher, and in the hearts of the hearers.

Vses.Which should teach vs especially two things: First, in the Churches want of able Ministers, to seeke to God, the great Lord of the Haruest, to send foorth more Labourers. And secondly, we should reuerence Gods Ministers, in as much as they are the Dispensers of Gods Secrets 1 Cor: 4.1.. Ministers also may hence learne, to execute their Commission with all diligence2 Tim: 4.1.2.: In the decla­ration of the truth, approuing themselues to mens Consciences, in the sight of God 2 Cor: 4.2. & 2.17.: with discretionMath: 24.45 & 13.52., as becomes Seruants of God Tit: 1.7. &c., rebuking sinne with all zeale and powerMich: 3.8.. Lastly, hence ariseth the wofull estate of such Mini­sters as preach not the Gospell1 Cor: 9.16., and of such People as heare not Gods Ministers1 Iohn 4.6., eyther for want of meanesPro: 26:18., or through wilfull vnbe­liefeLuke 16:31..

Thus of the Person dispensing.

This kinde of dispensation is [...]: God gouerneth his Church with a houshould gouernment, as a Father gouerneth his familie, not as a Ty­rant, that rules what by right hee ownes not; nor as a Monarch, that knowes not the thousand part of what he rules; nor as a Captaine, that traines his Souldiers onely to labour and danger while their treasures are at home; nor as a Schoole-master, that rules children that are not his owne: but as a most prouident and louing Father, that keepes none but hee ownes them, and knowes them particularly, and prouides for them, and all at homeMath. 20.1. Gal. 6.10. Ephes: 3.16. & 2.19. Math: 13.27. & 21.33. Vses. How we may know whe­ther we be of Gods house­hould..

The vse is: first, for Instruction; If wee would haue God to rule vs, with this most familiar and fatherly prouidence, wee must then be sure, that wee be of his Houshould. And that wee may try, first, by the manner of Gods taking possession of vs: for before he comes thus to rule vs, there is a strong combate betweene Christ and the Diuell, that strong man. And if sinne and Sathan rule still in our hearts, the Lord is not there, neyther can wee serue two MastersMat: 12:29 Luke 16.13.. Secondly, by our affection to Gods glory and his people: if wee be right, the zeale of Gods house will eate vs vp. Thirdly, by the gifts of Gods Spirit: as namely, by the spirit of prayer; for Gods house is a House of Prayer, and all his houshould can and doe pray. Fourthly, by the priuiledge of the house; for if we be admitted of God, the Sonne doth make [Page 159] vs free Iohn 8.35.. Fiftly by the soueraignty of Christ, for as many as haue this [...]nour, they doe submit themselues to be ruled, by the word, and spirit of ChristLuke 1.33.. If the Sonne cannot rule vs, the Father will not owne vs. And further, if we finde our selues to be of this houshold, wee should liue in the houshould of God; shewing all faithfulnesse in vsing our talents, and carefulnesse in dispen­sing those earthly things that God hath trusted vs withall: And also obseruing the orders of Gods house; and not receiuing appointment from the exam­ple, will, custome, or traditions of menGal: 4.8.9. What good men get by their ministers.

The third thing is, what hee dispenseth, viz. The ministry of his seruants, whereof I am a Minister.] The Church hath great need of Ministers

Quest. But what good doe they to vs? Ans. They are Gods Embassa­dours, to reconcile vs to God 2 Cor: 5:20.: they are the arme of the Lord, to collect vs out of the world2 Thes: 2.14. Esay 53:1.: they are the light of the world Mat: 5:15., and the Salt of the earth Matth: 5.13.: they are our spirituall Fathers to beget vs to God1 Cor: 4.15. 1 Pet: 1.23., and Nurses after wee are begotten1 Thes: 2.7.: they are our Intercessours to God, being our mouth in pub­like and in priuate, rising vp in the gap, praying to stay Gods anger: they are Stewards ouer Gods houseLuke 12:42., and the Keyes of heauen are deliuered to themMath: 16. Iohn 20.23. Math: 18.18.. All which should stir vs vp to honour and loue them, with a singular loue for their workes sake.

Which is giuen to mee.] Ministers must bee called by speciall commission from God, as well as by outward calling from man.

To fulfill the word of God. Diuers things may be hence obserued. First, the Word is that speciall treasure, and the chiefe portion that God hath left, both to Ministers and People. Secondly, whatsoeuer the word seemeth to be vn­to carnall men, yet it is certaine, God will see to it, that all that is in it shall be fulfilled. Thirdly, the Preachers of the Gospell, are the meanes to set the word a working. And therefore no wonder, though troupes of people that are not subiect to the ministery of the word, finde little power it it. Besides, it euidently confutes those that thinke by reading at home, to get enough both for knowledge and saluation: for it is preaching that by Gods blessing and ordination doth put life into the word, and brings it into accomplish­ment. Fourthly, Quest. How may wee conceiue of it,How the Mi­nisters fulfill the Word. that Gods Ministers do fulfill the word? Ans. The word is said by them to bee fulfilled foure waies: 1. if we respect preaching it selfe: 2. if wee respect the manner of preaching: 3. if we respect the suffering that followes preaching: 4. if we re­spect the efficacie of preaching.

For the first: Paul may be said to fulfill the word, in that he doth preach, as he was by his commission appointed; he was charged by God to preach, and in obedience to Gods word or will, hee did preach it. It is not enough for Ministers to receiue commission to preach, but they must fulfill it: and therefore woe to those Loyterers, and Non-sidents, that care more to fill their barnes, then to fulfill their ministration.

For the second: Ministers are said to fulfill the word, when they execute their Commission in a due manner: and this they doe; first, when they preach with all diligence: secondly, when they hold out to the end, not ta­king paines for a Sermon or two, or a yeere or two, till they can get prefer­ment, but with all constancy, perseuering in the labour and worke of their Ministry, till their course be ended, and the fight finished 2 Tim: 4.8.: thirdly, when they reueale all the counsell of God, that is needfull for their hearers: thus Paul ful­filled the word, Act. 20.18.

Thirdly, Ministers fulfill the Word by afflictions, for thereby they con­firme the hearts of their hearers: as also, thereby is fulfilled vpon them that which is in Scripture so oft fore-told, should befall the faithfull dispensers of the wordIoh. 15. & 16 & 17..

Quest. Can all Ministers shew their b [...]nds for the Gospell? Answ. Nay, some can shew the liuings they haue lewdly gotten, their ease, their dignities, their resisting of the word, faithfully taught by others, the disgraces they haue cast vpon their Brethren; but alas, their paines or sufferings may easily be reckoned. But w [...]e vnto them; for, for all the euill they haue done, they haue brought euill vpon their owne soules: the Lord Iesus shall consume them with the breath of his co [...]ing.

Lastly, in respect of the efficacie of the word, it is fulfilled by them; for many great things, threatned or promised in the word, were to bee accom­plished by them, some extraordinary, some ordinary. The extraordinary, were bound to certaine times, such as were heretofore, the calling of the Gen­tiles, and the induration or obstinacie of the Iewes; and such as are now in doing, or to be done, as the reclayming of the world, by the euerlasting Gospell, the downefall of Antichrist, and the gathering of the Iewes: These things haue beene promised in the word, and haue, are, and shall be, won­derfully fulfilled by the ministry of Preachers. The ordinary are fulfilled in the Church at all times: and thus the Word is fulfilled in the elect, and in the reprobate. In the elect, Ministers fulfill the Word; 1. In conuerting those by the word, which were fore-ordained of God Rom: 1:16. & 15.19.. 2. In conueying Christ to their soules: so as the word is not a bare history of the merit, and grace of Christ, but is fulfilled in the application of ChristRom. 8.4. 2 Cor: 2.14. 1 Cor. 1.17. Gal: 3:1:3:5.. 3. By diuiding the word amongst them, as the food of their soules, to preserue them. 4. By the ap­plication of the Promises, which are effectually in the Ministery fulfilled in the hearts of the hearersLuke 4:21.. Lastly, in causing the Elect to fulfill the Word, both in obeying the WordRom. 15.18., and in perseuering in the doctrine to the end. In the Reprobate they fulfill the Word: 1. In hardening them, 2 Cor. 2.15. 2. By making them inexcusable by illumination: 3. In occasioning many sinnes through their owne wilfull corruption, Rom. 7.8. 4. In slaying them, or by sentence cutting them off, Esay 11.3. Mat. 16 16. 2 Cor. 10.6.

The Vse of all this is: 1. To shew the necessitie of continuall preaching, seeing by it, the word must be fulfilled: many are still to be conuerted, and all to be comforted, directed, strengthened, reproued, &c. 2. To iustifie the continuall trauaile of faithfull Ministers, that will neuer giue ouer to exhort, reproue, conuince, &c. They are enioyned to see the word of God fulfilled, and therefore no wonder though they will not let men rest in their sinne and securitie. 3. To teach vs in all temptations or afflictions, to run to the word preached, for thereby God will certainely performe all needfull consolation, or direction, or humiliation. 4 To informe Ministers, that they must adde indefatigable paines, since so much is to be fulfilled by them. 5. To admo­nish stubborne sinners, to take heed of prouoking God, for if the word may not be fulfilled in their saluation, it shall be fulfilled in their induration.

Verse 26. Which is the Mysterie hid since the world beganne, and from all ages, but now is made manifest to his Saints.’

THese words are the fourth generall Reason, taken from the excellencie of the Gospell: which is here described in foure things: 1. By the nature of it, a Mysterie: 2. By the antiquity of it, since the world beganne, or from ages and generations: 3. By the time of the full reuelation of it, viz. Now, in the new world by Christ: 4. By the persons to whom it is reuealed, viz. the Saints.

The Mysterie.] The Gospell is a great Mysterie1 Tim: 3:16., a [...]idden MysterieRom. 16.25., hidden in God Ephes: 3.9. 2 Tim: 1.9.: because it was a secret in the purpose and grace of the Father, before the world began. Hidden in Christ, because hee was that store-house in which the Father laid vp all his treasuresCol. 2.3., that concerne mans life and immor­talitie: [Page 161] and because he was the me [...]itorious ca [...] of all our happines. Hi [...] in the Word Rom: 16.26., because the Scriptures of the Prophets and Apostles, are the sacred fountaines of knowledge; and originals, from the bowel [...] of which flow the comforts of the Gospell to the Church. Hidden also in the darke shadowes of the Ceremoniall Law. Hidden from Adam himselfe in Para­dise, so long as he acknowledged his happines by the Couenant of workes. Hidden from the Gentiles many hundred yeares, while they serued dumbe Idols, and had not the Sunne of righteousnesse shining among them. Hidden from the Iewes in part and comparatiuely, because in a manner all the Iewes were ignorant of the manner of Christs Kingdome, and of the calling of the Gentiles, and such like: comparatiuely, in respect of vs; they had the light of a Candle, but we haue the light of the Sunne: and therefore Iohn is said to be least in the Kingdome of God. Hidden from the naturall man still, who cannot perceiue the spirituall things of God 1 Cor: 2:7:14; no, though otherwise he abound with wit and learning. Hidden also from the very faithfull, comparatiuely, in respect of what they shall know in the kingdome of glory; and in respect of the differences of degrees among themselues now.

Quest. But why is the doctrine of mans happinesse so obscure to many,Quest. euen in the Church, in these dayes? Answ. Ans. Man is by nature couered with the vaile of originall blindnesseEsay 25.8.; and besides, hee is bewitched with the de­ceitfulnesse of his actuall sinnes Heb: 3:13., the God of this world, with his wiles and subtilties, his deepenesse and his methodes, blindeth many thousands, to their destruction, that he may hide the Gospell from them2 Cor: 4:3.