A SERMON Preached in the Colledge Church OF St KATHARINS, FEBRVAEY the 13th 1698.

By JOSIA POVEY, Brother and Minister there.

LONDON: Printed by J. Mayos, in the Year 1698.

To the READER.

I Used many Arguments to perswade my Audi­tors to desist in their desires of rashly passing this Discourse from the Pulpit to the Press, but not prevailing, I fear the uncharitable will Carp at the Inchoherence, &c.

A SERMON Preached in the Colledge Church of St Katharins. February the 13th 1698.

PSALM 119.

Part of the 1st Verse. Blessed are the Ʋndefiled in the way.

THAT all things do naturally act and are de­sign'd to some extream and ultimate end of their being, is a Truth so secure, either from being deny'd by Philosophers, or disputed by Divines, that none who enjoy a moderate use of their Reason, but will equally pretend to an Evidence and Demostra­tion of it. Thus to be existent and to have a Natural propension to some chief and final End, are terms both [Page 4]Inseperable and Convertible; and that innate Principle whereby every thing is inclin'd to prosecute its own well being and perfection, is no less Necessary then Uni­versal: Neither are they lest destitute of means for the attainment of a proper and peculiar End; Nay, all things are naturally invested with particular Instincts and Im­bred Faculties, whereby they are enabled for the pro­secution of Hapiness. All Vegitables are qualified with faculties, whereby they are impoured to spring out of the Earth and to grow up to Maturity, and naturally produce Seeds and Fruits, by which their Species is Multiplied and Perpetuated; The sensitive Creatures be­ing Endued with quick and acurate Senses, have a lively perception of Pleasure and Pain, and carried on with a vigorous and active Propension towards those pleasures of Sens. Being enabled to resist things unpleasant, and Elect those that are grateful, as if they apprehended the means and the end in which does consist their high­est happiness; nor is Mankind a jaring Noat in this great and Universal Harmony, but all of them, how diffe­rent soever in their Degrees, Fortunes, or Humours, yet by a general consent do agree in this one desire of be­ing Blessed. This is the great end that all their pro­jects and contrivances do propose, this is the Goal to which the whole course of their lives is only directed, this is the reward which all contend for, and every one ex­pects to obtain; in this agree the Godly and the Wicked, [Page 5]the Pure and Debaucht, Remember me O Lord with the favour that thou bearest unto thy People; O visit me with thy Salvation or Blessedness, Sings the Divine Psalmist. Let me die the death of the Righteous, saith Balaam, and let my last end be like his, that is, be Blessed. Thus this eager appetite of being happy, is so incorporated with our Natures, that nothing can divorce that desire, but dissolution; we may with as great facility, new Model our frames, as Extinguish this lively Principle, it bear­ing the same date with our existence, and cannot be put out, while we are yet not dissolved into our Primitive Nothing; so that its Demonstrable, all court Hapines but most mistake werein it consists, one thinks its seat­ed on the top Pinacle of Honour, so with proud Se­janus, climbs so high till he tumbles head-long; another with Mydas, thinks it a Mineral that must be dig'd out of the Earth, so toils to load himself with this thick Clay, till he finds a Grave where he sought his Trea­sure; and indeed most think Hapiness to consist in world­ly fruitions which satisfie sens, and not in being un­defil'd, which only can give delectation to the Soul: and since it is so, shall take this Method.

First, I shall shew you Particularly and Negatively wherein Hapiness does not consist.

Secondly, Shall shew you in General and Affirma­tively, [Page 6]werein it does consist, and how to compass that Blessed State.

Thirdly, What it is to be Undefil'd, and when we may be esteemed so.

And Lastly, Shall give you the Blessed Consequents of so being.

First, I shall shew you (Particularly and Negatively) wherein Blessedness does not consist.

First, It (does not or) cannot consist in Riches.

Secondly, In Honours.

Thirdly, In Beauty.

Fourthly, In Humane knowledg.

Fifthly, In long Life.

Lastly, That a Concurrence and Combination of all these cannot make one Man happy.

First, Riches cannot render us truly Blest and Happy, for that cannot do it that is not desirable for its own Excellency, but for its use and subserviency to the more Ignoble part of Man, and never satisfies, for the more [Page 7]a carnal Man has of them, the more he covets, so that you may as readily extinguish Fire by puting on of Fuel, or fill a Chest with Knowledge, as satisfie a Mans desires with Riches. The Macedonian Monarch, when he had Conquer'd the World was so far from being contented, that he Wept because he could not find out another.

Secondly, That which is got with much care, and cannot be secured, can never make happy, and that Riches are so, St. Mathew assures us in the 13. and 22. there he compares them to Thorns, to shew their vexa­tion: Hosea the 12. and 1. to Wind, to shew their in­certainty; And Experience tells us, That he who Enjoys the greatest hapiness in them, wants one more a secu­rity for the future of what he possesses at present; Do not think, says Polycarp, that thick Clay which has past through so many Hands will ever stick to thy Fin­gers; Wilt thou set thy Heart on that which is not, says Solomom, for Riches take themselves Wings and fly away, they have not only Feet to walk off from us, but Wings and fly away from us; And he that assures him­self of their continuance with him, is as much infatua­ted as the Rustick that thought himself for ever happy, when a flight of Birds Lodg'd on his Farm, purpos'd to feed Deliciously every day, and at night to sleep in Down, but alas! he was soon disapointed, for they suddenly took Wing, and went to his Neighbour; at best the [Page 8]most secure Miser can never have better Fortune, then the Fool in the Gospel, For if Riches go not from a man, he must go from them, for Riches cannot deliver from Death, nor be of any value to a Man in the Grave: He that dies worth ten Pounds is as happy then as he that dies worth ten hundred thousand; Grudg not, saith the Psalmist, tho' a man be made Rich, and the Glory of his House encreased, for he shall carry nothing with him when he Dies, neither shall his Pomp follow him. Yet how many with Judas sell their Salvation for Silver, and loose Heaven to engross Earth. I cannot see when we have those things that are necessary in that State werein God hath placed us, what satisfaction there is to view a mass of Treasure, which we brought not into this world with us, only heapt together, and so leave not the world Richer or Poorer then we found it: only fetch a few turns on the Theatre and entertain the beholders with a short Scene of Impertinences, then de­scend and are never heard of more, and only enrich the Clods with our Avaritious Carcases, amongst which we must shortly lye down: If abundance had been the only Blessing, our Saviour would have left it to his Disciples, and Servants, but in his last Will and Testament, he did not say, My Riches or Honours I give unto you, but my Peace; for that sollid and lasting joys are in the peace of the mind; Yet what a scramble and hurry deluded Mortals make about them, as if the chief and [Page 9]only happiness consisted in them, when the way to be Blessed is not to make their Estates greater, but their Spirits and Desires lower.

Thirdly, Honour cannot make us blest and happy. That which is attended with Cares, Fears, and Incer­tainties, cannot do it.

And First, That Honour is attended with Cares, Prin­ces, and others in Power, experience, who rise early, and lye down late, to receive Addresses, and read Pe­titions, so that Honour must be full of Cares, and un­easie to them that have it.

But Secondly, It must be attended with Fears, because mostly Envied by those that have it not; so consequent­ly none can be safe, since Honours Principal depen­dance rests on the vain and false opinion, and dissem­bled Favour of Men, who oft Hosannah him one day, that is called Belial on the morrow; Alas, the most Ho­nourable is not altogether unlike a King in a Play, no lon­ger Acting a Majestick Part then the Spectators please; nay, the Favorit's of Crowns are like Court Dials, where­on all look whilst the King shines on him, and none when night with him. But if Honour chance to last for Life, yet Death equals the Scepter and Spade; he that's the tallest Caedar of Libanon to day, may to morrow [Page 10]be like a rotten stick, trodden under foot, and meat for worms, and the poorest wretch wou'd not be like un­to him, for when such lay down their Scepter, and pay their tribute to the Tomb, then he that dwelt in his Palace, is Dirt in his Grave, as the Poor that creeps in his Cottage; nor can you then distinguish between the dust of Dives or Lazarus, the dust of him that Grinds in the Mill, or sits on the Throne. Nay a little time and ingratitude renders the Monument and name of the grea­test Monarch, as silent as his Ashes; thus it was with the gallant Archimedes.

But Thirdly, The uncertainty of Power bespeaks its Vanity, its oft, like Lightning, Flashes in the face and is gone, and its well if it does not hurt the man; the small­est Cloud obscures its Brightness, the least stain blemi­shes its Beauty; nay the most trivial accident compleats oft its Destruction.

Former Ages have given us larger Testimonies of it, and our Age no Strangers to it: Valerianus Crown'd with the Imperial Diadem, was like a Crane kept in a Cage. Marius the Great General, and Mighty Warrior, beg­ged his Bread at the Ruins of Carthage, where he had formerly Enricht his Soul with Victory; and Zerxes that Darkned the Air with his Arrows, was forc'd to escape in a Fishing Boat: Nay he that was Adorn'd with [Page 11]Royal Robes, and Sway'd the Scepter one day, was Vested as a private Man, and Rifl'd by a Peasant on the Morrow; which may teach us that its Grace, not Ho­nour can make us truly Blest and Happy, and that its oft better to live in the Vallie, where the Storms blow over, than to Inhabit on the highest Hills, where con­tinual Hurricanes disturb, and not to keep that cheif in our Affections which we cannot secure in our Possessions (but to be practisers of Piety, which will make us Ho­nourable to all Eternity.)

Thirdly, Beauty without Grace cannot make Blest and Happy: That which may by every little accident be lost, cannot make happy, and that Beauty is so, is evi­dent, the least Distemper decays it, a Fit of an Ague, Small Pox, or Feaver fades it, a few years out of the Grave, or a few moments in it, wholy spoiles it; Nor is Beauty the peculiar Prerogative of the rational being, for that the most Powerful and Charming is out-done by Birds and Flowers: Its only a colour'd piece of Clay, or like a fair Picture, take away the Varnish, and ther's nothing: It's a Traytor in Retirement, and oft car­ries Poyson and Disapointments in its most Endearing Enjoyments. Its a Hellena that hurries to the Destructi­on of Troy: Its a Dalilah to intrap Sampson: a Jeza­bel to infatuate Ahab: And a Bathsheba to allure David: And its Excellency without Piety is perceptible by none [Page 12]but the Purblind, and its Charms, nay Existence, is only derived from Delusion and Empty Opinion. Isaiah 3.19, 20. Esteem not then the Daughters of Jerusalem, but those of Zion, whose Beauty is within: Who are Ʋndefiled in the way, and walk in the Law of the Lord.

Fourthly, Humane knowledge Abstracted from Su­pernatural Grace, cannot make Blest and Happy, that which is attended with Vexation, Labour and Error can­not make happy, the wisest of Mortals assures of the First, our own Experience of the Latter; for Wisdom, none Transcended Solomon, he understood Nature and Art, Words and Things, Interest of States, Intreagues of Court, for Policy and Government, none was like him, nor shall any arise hereafter comparable to him; yet he pronounces Humane Knowledge, vain and Vexa­tious. In much Wisdom, says he, there is much Grief, and he that encreases Knowledge, encreases Sorrow.

Secondly our own Experience assures us, that the lit­tle knowledge we have, is got with much trouble, and our grief is Augmented that we understand no better; What we know is the least part of what we know not, and the more we do know, the nearer we approach the Sun that blinds us; for since the Infernal Raven hath pick't out the Eyes of our Understanding, with a Splin­ter of the Tree of Knowledge, we only groap for Truth, [Page 13]and stumble at Error. Every Age brings forth new pro­jects, as it does a new Generation of Men; every Age confutes old Errors, and begets new; so that Humane Knowledge makes no Man happy, nor does Blessedness consist in Intellectuals, but to be Undefil'd in the way, that is Wisdom, and to walk in the way of the Lord, that is Understanding, to know the Statutes of Heaven, and Laws of Eternity, makes happy; Abstracted from these all our policy, only lights us into the Territories of Darkness, serves only as Pisgahs top did Moses, shews us Canaan, never brings us thither. But the Study of Divine Wisdom, exalts our Nature, presents new plea­sures, fils the mind with Beautiful Ideas; is like a Tra­vellor that ascends, every new step, enlarges his Hori­zon, and lights him to Everlasting rest.

Fifthly, Long Life cannot make blest and happy, that which Encreases trouble, cannot, and that long life does so; Experience Evidences, those that see most days, see most miseries, Coughs, Cares and Consumptions, attend them, such only Live to see their nearest and dearest Relations goe to the Grave before them. This made old Peleus Gray Head, go down with sorrow to the Grave; this made Hecubà and others Bark with the Inhabitants of the Kennel, Howl amongst the Tombs, and sail to their Sepulchres in a Sea of tears. I might instance a thousand more calamities incident to the life of man, so that [Page 14]were it not for the Expectations of another life, man would be the most miserable of Animals in this; It was an apt Expression of the Philosopher upbraiding one that desired long life, [...].

Alass, ther's no object so deplorable as a Gray Head, and an Unsanctified Heart, but the Hoary Scalp is a Crown of Glory, and only to be desired by such as excel in Piety. Such aspiring Spirits were not given us, to be tyed ever to a Perishing Body; Nor can we think it worth the while, that the maker of the Universe shou'd Create a Soul, and send it down into the Body (or World) on purpose to superintend these trivial affairs, to keep alive a silly piece of Earth, whilst it Eats and Drinks, to move it too and fro in chase of Shadows, and to hold it up while others bow the Knee and do it Homage, No, our Creator has put us into this world in order to our Tran­slation to a better, we are not always to live among Mire, and be tyed to a Perishrng body; we come into this World not to take up our aboad and rest, this life is only to Exercise our virtues, and qualify us for the world to come, we live not so much to Enjoy it, as to Conquer it's Temptations, and dispise it's flatteries, and if we live long enough to do this we may thank God; for what Labouring man wou'd not willingly be at rest, what Mariner is not glad that he hath weathered [Page 15]all Storms, and steer'd to his desired Haven, where his soul shall Enjoy Divine pleasure, to big to be describ'd. When Craesus ask'd Solon, who he thought happy? he told him one Tellus, a man that was dead, for tho death breaks the Ʋnion between the Body and Soul, yet it cannot break that Ʋnion between the Soul and Christ, if undefil'd; then why should we think a Temporary Life such a Felicity? then why shou'd it trouble us to leave men to live with Christ and Angels? why shou'd we be so un­willing to leave this body of dust? where we shall sin no more, be sick no more, and troubled no more, but pass from death to life, from a vally of tears to Eternal joys; then why should we not with Scipio desire to be dissolved, when we hear of Immortality and Glory, undoubtedly death to him that is undefil'd in the way, is only as a passage through a dark entry into a Glorious Pallace, a putting of these Rags of the flesh, and a put­ing on the Robes of Righteousness, a laying down a Sheep-hook, and a taking up a Scepter, a laying down a Crown of Thorns, which Prick, Torture, and Tor­ment us, and a putting on a Crown of Glory which will for ever Comfort and Delight us.

Lastly, A concurrence and combination of all these cannot make so much as one man Happy, the Heathen Philosopher in search found a conveniency, but no [...] self-sufficiency; for if one man had all the [Page 16]Excellency and Power, all the Highest and Greatest Treasures and Glory under the Sun, had he all the Bo­dily perfections, which are distributed amongst the nu­merous Train of mankind, and all conspired together to make this one man happy, he wou'd infinitly come short of his Design: And this miserable one Person at last would wofully Experiment, that all these Glittering and Guilded Representations, with which this flattering World had dazled and deceived his Eyes, were but like Painted Sepulchres, glorious and gay without, but with­in fill'd with Rottenness, Darkness, Horror and Death; or like Egyptian Temples, with a Specious outside, but Inhabited with Crocodiles and Dragons instead of Gods; I say, had one man all the Ethics of Aristotle, all the Morality of Seneca. all the Learning at Athens, had he all the cuning and trickes of Achitophel, the strength of Goliah, the Treasures of Nebuchadnezar, the Honour of Haman, the Beauty of Absolon: Nay, had he the knowledg of the Scribes, and the Devotion of the Pharises, he would at last discover himself to be a stranger to true Felicity, and utterly unacquainted with the blest condition, and that on these following accounts.

At the Fall of our First Parents the Earth was Curst, so cannot yeild to Man any true Comfort; It must now bring forth Thorns and Bryers, that is Cares and Trou­bles, [Page 17]and so its a Delusion to expect a second Paradice here, or to hope for true Happiness any where but in Heaven, because all here is mutable, and we Mortal. Wordly comforts are transient and vanishing, they can­not extend themselves to Eternity, and thus they want the very life and accomplishment of true Tranquillity; here we cannot write for ever on our Riches, here we cannot write for ever on our Honours or Pleasures, there will be a period put to all Humane Glory; all our Ri­ches, Pomp, and Grandeur, must abandon us at the Frontiers of the Grave; six Foot and a Shrowd, then will serve

Indeed were it in our power to Procrastinate our days, could we strike off the nimble Chariot Wheels of time, and with Joshua, Bid the Sun stand still; could we Lengthen out our days to some thousands of years, and those to be imployed in the most Entire and Choicest of Worldly Fruitions, without interruption or decay, it would seem a little more plausable to place our Hapiness here, But alafs, who is there Ignorant of this said Truth, that the Life of Man is but a Span Long; Are not my days few, saith Job, I go where I shall not return, even into the Land of Darkness and shadow of Death; and none knows but the next breath he draws to cool, and fresh his Lungs, may be that Gale of wind to waft him on the Coasts of Eternity: For when God is but Angry, all [Page 18]our days are gon; Man is sick and dies, Man perishes, and where is he, to day hees set up, and to morrow he shall not be found, for he is turn'd into dust, and his purpose Perisheth, and his pomp terminateth in a ne­glected Grave; and in a few Months, after the Mourners have gone about the Streets, and the Solemnity of his Funeral is over, is forgotten, as if he had never been; and if so, why should a thinking Man place his Happi­ness here? Why should an Eternal Spirit Address a Vapour? Why should an Immortal Soul court a Phan­tom, since the Spirit of Man cannot delight in any thing that's Terrestial? here indeed are Diversions that please and tickle the Senses, but cannot give the least Delecta­tion to the Soul, nor any wise satisfie the Capacity of a Mans heart; for if a Man could give Silver as Stones, and Caedars as the Wild Figtrees, that grow abundantly on the Plains; could he provide Men Singers and Wo­men Singers, and be croun'd with the Possessions and Delights of the Sons of Men, could carrouse it continu­ally with Belshazar in full Bouls; yet all these, or the highest degrees of Luxury, could not desend the most daring Belshazar from the Sting of a Tormented Con­science; for in the midst of Laughter, the Soul and the Heart too if Wicked, will be sad, then all the Jewels in Sauls Crown cannot Comfort, or create a chalm within.

For if a Man have a defiled Conscience, tho he were [Page 19]deckt with Majesty, and arrayed with Beauty and Ho­nour, tho he wash his Paths with Butter, and the Rocks power him out Rivers of Oyle, tho he purchase a con­fluence of all created beings, and could leave tokens of his pleasure in every place: Were he the Universal Governour of the Ocean, and could not only Trace, but Control and Command the Motions of the Sun and Stars; yet the Restless and Ambitious Curiosity of his Soul, would aspire beyond the highest Heavens, prye after some unreveal'd Excellency, some absconded Feli­city, which the whole extent of this finite Material World with all her perfections, could in no ways afford, there being an inherent Insufficiency riveted in the very Essence of Sublunary beings; that we can never allay our thirst at these Puddles of Egypt, but if wee'd be sa­tisfied we must be undefiled, and so soar aloft to the Cysterns of the Coelestial Canaan: For that nothing can Extinguish the thirst of a mans Soul, but the Waters of the Well of Life, and the unfathomable Sea of the com­forts of another World.

And those that hope for happiness in any Worldly fru­itions, without walking in the way of the Lord, O! how is their Ignorance to be pittied; O! with what compassionate Tears shou'd that Carnal state of man be lamented, by all that understand the worth of a Soul: What hart doth not bleed for miserable man that is per­petually [Page 20]mockt with Shadows, cheated with false delu­sive appearances, infatuated and betrayed by their own Senses, whilst they rise up early, and lye down late, to seek rest in trouble, and life in death, that run away from true Blessedness, whilst they pretend to pursue it; Descend patiently to the Chambers of Death, and Dream of nothing but an Earthly Paradice, till they are amidst the infernal Regions.

Now if their Circumstances are thus, to be Lamented that hope for happiness in Riches, Honours, &c. or a Concurrence of all these, then sure it concerns all to enquire what will make them blest and happy. My se­cond General propos'd.

True happiness consists in being invested with as good a state and condition, as our Natures are capable of re­ceiving; but since the united sufficiencies of all created beings are not enough to satisfie our boundless desires, and to make us truly and for ever perfect and happy. The Soul of man being unsatiable in its appetite, as its immortal by nature; It only remains then that our a­spirings must terninate in an infinite and eternal being, in acquaintance and Fellowship with God the fountain of all Blessedness, who alone being infinite, is able to fill the Soul of man which is Immortal; and therefore we may be assured, that true happiness can consist in nothing else [Page 21]but a Regenerate state, in a devout contemplation of God, in being a Child of his, an heir of Salvation, in supernatural Grace, and the blessed consequents thereof.

These are the Sources and Fountains of all happiness, these the parents of Joy and Peace; those Rich and mighty Cordials that raise Nature, make all Purity, all Glory, lay all Storms, compose all Mutinies in our Bo­soms, extinguish Troubles, prevent Fears; such a one can commune with his own Heart without uneasiness; reflect on's Actions without regret, is ever raised above Malencholy, being continually cherisht by Coelestial influences, and ever incircled in Gods Love. These are the never failing Fountains that perpetually feed and sup­ply those Rivers of endless and unspeakable Blessings; these are the Springs which for ever maintain that Ocean of Infinite and Eternal joys; these are those inestimable Jewels, which whosoever is securely possest of, his heart is so fil'd with love and admiration, that for ever he im­ploys his dearest and most noble thoughts on them, ever sixing his Eyes, and uniteing his heart to God the su­preme Good.

And now Secondly, The way to compas this Blessed state, our dearest Redeemer tells us in his Sermon on the Mount Mat. 5th. also, the Patriarches, Prophets, Apostles, and wisest of Mortals from their own experi­ence [Page 22]assure us, that there is no Happiness without Holy­ness. Therefore they passionately excite us, to elevate our affections above these contemptible vanities and Fal­lacious Ideas, and to esteem them as Dross in compari­son of those sublimated Excellencies which are at Gods Right Hand, and if any ever hope to be happy here or hereafter; he must be Innocent, Charitable, Humble, Harmless, and Honest, he must love Righteousness and hate any thing that is foul or ill, he must have a heart first fixt on Heavenly things, and subservient to these; the necessary affaires of his honest and lawful occupati­on. And thus let the way of the Lord be your path then doubt not of being Blessed for his Graces will enli­ven you, his Blessed Spirit will be your guide, his Ho­ly Angels your guard, his Word your Light, and Bles­sedness your end, for Blessed are the undefiled in the way, that walk in the Law of the Lord. Which leads me to my third proposed, to tell you what it is to be undefiled: and when we may be esteemed so.

First, To be Undefiled is to practice the precepts in the 15th. Psalm. and to continue in a general and sincere course of Piety and Charity, St. James in his first Chap. and last Verse tells you, That pure Religion and undefil'd before God is to visit the Fatherless and Widow in their affliction. and to keep your selves unspoted from the World. You'l answer we may visit the Fatherless and [Page 23]Widdow, but we cannot be unspoted; Its own'd that we cannot wholly put of the Rags of Corruption till we wholly put on the Roabes of Righteousness, for that this Heredetary Corruption Sin will stick to our Flesh, tho we wash this Ethiope with all our Hysop it will be black, tho we rub this Leopard with all our Nitre, it will have some spots. The flesh will be a Solicitous Dalilah about us, and within us, will Sojourn in our Mesec, and dwell in our Tents of Kedar, for while we are in this Village, where our Martha dwells, our affections will have a tast of Earth, we may correct our Corruptions, but cannot wholly destroy them, we may and must be without blame, as to gross Inniquities, but cannot be with­out blemish, as to sinful Infirmities, till we pass this Egypt, and arrive at the Coelestial Canaan, for there, and there only are the Spirits of Just men made perfect and undefiled.

God never had but one Son here without Sin, Ex­cept him the best of Saints have been subject to it, and are Enjoin'd to confess their daily Trespasses; for to tred always firm in the paths of Righteousness without ever sliping, to walk so uprightly as never to fall, by security, weakness, or inadvertency; is a task not for a man but an Angel: if there be any Souls so happy as to triumph over all Infirmities, and [Page 24]so watchful as never to be surprized, they are pecu­liar Jewels kept in undiscern'd Cabinets. Tho some of the Patriarchs, Apostles, and blest Martyres ariv'd to such Sanctity, that they seem'd uncapable of Ac­cessions; St. Paul said, He was Crucified to the World, &c.

Yet in this Age of ours, not to be subject to disorder­ly desires, not liable to Irregular Motions, wandring thoughts, dulness in Duty, is only the Priviledge of Souls cloathed with Immortallity; for our understand­ings are not so clear and bright, but they may be de­ceived, nor the bent of our affections so strongly set, but they may be perverted. Where is the Love that has no drfect? where is the hope that has no fear? we have se­cret Dispositions in Nature, to folly and error, we have ebs and flowes of Blood, and Spirits; Distempers within, roughness of Conversation without, Irksome Adversity and Flattering prosperity, Nay, we have Souls ingaged with our Senses, and these with the World, we are so surrounded with variety of objects, which through the Intervention of our senses, leave their Ideas in the head, that the Eye of the mind can no more help looking on them, then not to wink when a blow is given; so that we must almost forget our Nature to be undefiled wholly, amongst so many Snares.

[Page 25] Such sagacity of Judgment, such strength of reso­lution, such felicity of circumstance, we can never soar to, but that some venial defect may lurk in the most sanctified Soul, but we must have a care of mis­taking contracted habits for frailties of nature, of cherishing any ill motions, or throing our selves into the way of Temptations, when we have warnings without or misgivings within, for then they cease to be Sins of surprize, or infirmity become Mortal, bring dishonour to God, injury to our Neighbour, and de­file our Nature. Therefore,

Secondly, Here's the Characteristic of the good man that shall be esteemed Undefiled, he is one tho he stumble accidentally on a Temptation, yet he lies not in the Mire, but rises again presently, and keeps on his Journey, gets ground of his Passions, and is ever accompanied with earnest desires, and serious endea­vours, he presses after the Mark of the high calling, and when any Temptations ofered, yeilds not to it; for its not his Sin to be Tempted, or to feel that he is so, but the Evil is in yeilding and doing, since his acti­ons are at his command, tho not always his mind: Its Corruption allures, but consent defiles, therefore the good man, so soon as any unlawful object is represented to him, he resists the Lure, and the Fight of Rephidim [Page 26]begins, sometimes Israel prevails, and sometimes Ama­lec, but he still holds up his hand, that is, lets his thoughts be Elevated, and his mind Soaring, till he hears the shout that Israel hath the day: And when he hath once got the Victory, sets a strict watch at the Cinque port of his Senses, and so soon as the Devil shews him the World, dispises it, and the Devil too, with a, Get thee behind me Satan; And when ever he is Assaulted, by any darling Sin, he never parleys, but if in danger of being overcom'n, immediately throwes himself into the Armes of his Blessed Saviour, in full assurance that he hath given his good Angels, more power to preserve him, then the Evil to hurt him, and rests his hand on the Pillar of Faith and Prayer, till Amelec fly before him.

Now such a man that thus struggles for the Consola­tion of the Spirit, more then for sensible things, that soars alost on the Wings of Faith and Love, that Prunes the Luxuriancy of untaught Nature, and Animal incli­nations, that adornes himself with those three Heroick Virtues, Faith, Love, Humility; that is fervent and frequent at Publick and Private Devotions, is a constant Communicant, is just in all his dealings, is Generous in Charity, like the Sun reaches his rayes to all, is ac­tive in the work of Angels, thankful to God, Meek and Courteous in Behaviour to men, is modest in Prosperi­ty, [Page 27]chalm and resign'd in Adversity, that acts as upright­ly as if he were to dye to day, and give an account at night.

Now such a man that thus fears the Lord his God, and does all the good he can to men, may be as well as­sured, he is in the state of Salvation, as that Jesus is Risen; such a Man may be satisfied he is undefiled ac­cording to Gods Will, tho not according to the purity of his August Essence; and may be confident that his defects for Christs sake shall be Pardoned, and the spots that he hath contracted, shall be by the Roab of his Righteousness covered, and shall compass the Blessed Consequents of being Undefiled: My last proposed,

First, If God sees it good, you need not doubt of being Externally blest, since the service of God hath a Friendly regard to worldly Prosperity; Godliness saith the Apostle, is profitable to all things having the pro­mises of this life, 1 Tim. 4.8. for that piety inclines Men to be serious in their thoughts, temporate in their lives, and diligent in their callings, which Enriches; Read Deut. 28. Wicked men indeed may prosper by industry, but its not by the blessing, but sufferance of God, and such cannot be secure in what they posess, since none are safe from Ruine, but in the favour and protection of God the giver, Psal. 73, 12.18, 19 vers. For the Elect's sake, God made the World, Enrich't and Redeem'd it.

[Page 28] Therefore if thou would'st be blest with Riches, then be undefiled, and thou hast the God of wealth, and the Minerals of the world, to supply thy wants; if Honours thou hast him that makes the Heavens Bow, and Scepters and Diadems obey: if Wisdom, the treasures of Eloquence and Riches of Eternal Know­ledg are in his bosom; all which God will certainly give thee, if for his Glory and thy good.

Indeed God does not in the Gospel promise Wealth, Honour &c. to every man; on this Theatre all are not to act the part of Princes, and Prelates, because the perfection of human Affaires, requires a Diver­sity amongst men (Kings and Subjects, Masters and Servants) Bishops and Deacons, el's a general Aequa­lity would usher in a general confusion.

But Secondly, If thou hast not an affluence of Tem­porals, yet if undefiled, thou art secure at least of Christs Legacy, internal Peace, which is the greatest Blessing, since a man is nothing but his mind, and if that is out of order, the greatest Treasures, the highest Honours, and the softest Pleasures, cannot make happy, but posessing peace of mind, tho never so poor, thou Enjoyest infinitely more comfort in it, then in the affluence of all created beings, without [Page 29]it, and all that walk in the paths of virtue, need not doubt of compassing this Peace; since such act ac­cording to their Primitive Institution, and are in the state they were intended, and in that condition for which God design'd them; But in the revers, those take much pains to loose their Labour, that hope to finde Peace in the paths of Impiety.

No, its only a Religious life can make us happy, for that ever yeilds comfort, when we stand most in need of it, in times of Affliction or Death, Holiness being of that Blessed Nature, that it makes all Light within, tho there be nothing but Darkness without.

Riches, Honours, Pleasures and Preferments, (saith a Pious Author) are coy, and keep distance, and when we loose them, leave us with a weeping Eye, and heavy Heart; but Virtue never leaves us till we force and chase it from us: Its the Sovereign Cordial in all conditions, its not lost in the many Misfortunes that surround us, it continues sweet and comfortable in Misery, gives Cou­rage in Adversity, makes us rich in Poverty, is such a Phy­sitian that puts us to little Expence, yet gives such Cor­dials, as chear the Body, Spiritualize the Soul: Nay, is the precious Pearl that purchases our Peace to all Eter­nity, and shines on our Souls even here with Beams of Everlasting Glory.

[Page 30] For such thoughts of Spiritual Ravishment and Un­utterable rapture, are many times inspired by the Spi­rit of Comfort, into the hearts of Gods Children, who have oft in a sweet showre from Heaven, a whole Sea of Comfort powred on their Souls; and by the Glori­ous fruition of inward Peace and Joy, have such a lively perception and foretast of Everlasting pleasures, as is be­yond the power of the Heart of Man to conceive, or the Tongue of Angels to express, as if with one hand they had already laid hold on the Crown of Life, and had got one step within the Gates of Heaven; for the Angels whom they fill with joy, with a careful tender­ness and alacrity, become their Guardians, and servis­able to them.

All the Creatures are in League with, and reconciled unto them, and with a secret reverence do adore that Sa­cred Character of Divinity that is imprinted on them, for by being Undesiled. These regain all, that Adam by his fall lost, and are happier in this state of Integrity, then Adam in that of Innocency; for the Undefiled are now Sons of God, and Heirs to his Kingdom: Nay, for ought we know, such may hereafter Equalize, if not, Transcend the splendour of Angles, for tho the Undefi­led are lower then Angels by Creation, yet they are superior by Adoption: Angels have only Glorified Spi­rits, but the Undefiled shall have Glorified Souls, and [Page 31]Spiritualized Bodies too, even like our Saviour; for the Felicity and the Eternity of such shall be like his, as in the 1 Epistle St. John, 3 Chap. 2, 3 Verses.

And if the Pious enjoy such Transcendant Peace and Glory, who in his wits then wou'd not deny himself the pleasure of a moment, to be pleased for ever? Who then wou'd not be a Christian for a few years, to Reign with Christ for ever?

Did you see as I oft do (in my Visits of the Sick) I say did you see Sinners in that stormy night, when Ven­gence reaches them, or Death pangs seizes them, you could no more describe their Fears and their Cares, then fathom the Firmament: But on the contrary, if you were sensible of the Transports of Peace and Comfort that Pious Souls enjoy in the time of Afflictions or Death, it wou'd make the greatest Debauch turn Puritan, and the most refin'd Epicure a Mortified Saint; it wou'd charm the Cup out of the hand of the Drunckard, and lure the Sinner from the softest Embrace.

For when the Undefiled resign their already Mortified Bodies into the cold hands of Death, their Souls being con­scious of an upright and unspoted Life, have created Eyes so Fortified, that many enjoy Transcendent Rayes of the Beatific Vision before Departure. Nay, being supported [Page 32]by the Spirit of Comfort, feel no sting in Death, discover no darkness in the Grave; no amazment at that Great and Terrible day of the Lord, when the Sun shall be turned into Darkness, and the Moon into Blood, when the Heavens shrivel together like a Scrole of Parchment, and the high and mighty Mountains skip out of their pla­ces, like roused Hindes.

Then Lastly, The Undefiled shall be Eternally Blest, they shall not only look down with Cheerfulness into the Grave, but in to the other World without terror, where they shall not see a Court of Justice, but a Throne of Grace, where they shall not see a severe Judg, but a kind Father, and a Saviour, who died for them, ready to pronounce them Blessed, and set the Crown of Glory on their Heads; where they shall ever be in the conversation of Excellent Persons, brave minds, Charitable Souls, and dear Friends; be eas'd of all their Pains, resolved of all their Doubts, freed from all their Fears, and happy be­yond their Hopes; having Scepters made to fill their Hands, and mighty Glories to Crown their Heads, and forever enjoy Gods dearest delights, and highest Glories; for, Blessed are the Ʋndefiled in the way that walk in the Law of the Lord.

FINIS.

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