CHRIST EXALTED above all Creatures BY GOD His Father. OR A Sermon Preached before the Right Ho­nourable, the Parliament of the Commonwealth of ENGLAND. (At their solemne Fast, observed the last day of the last Month called February 1649.)

By VAVASOR POVVELL.

Esa. 2.11.17.

And the Lord alone shal be exalted in that day He hath on his vesture, and on his thigh, a name written, KING of KINGS, and LORD of LORDS, Rev. 19.16.

LONDON, Printed by Robert Ibbitson for Livewell Chapman at the Crown in Popes-head Alley. MDCLI.

Christ exalted above all Creatures by GOD his FATHER.

Hebrewes 2.7, 8.

Thou madest him a little lower then the Angels, thou Crownedst him with glory and honour, and did'st set him over the works of thy hands:

Thou hast put all things in subje­ction under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.

BEfore I come to the words of my Text, I wil endeavor to shew you the main aime and scope of the Apostle in this Epistle, [Page 2]which is to exhort and per­swade these Hebrewes to stand fast,The Scope of the Apostle in this E­pistle is two fold. and to persist in the faith, and to dehort and disswade them from falling,First to per­swade them to perseve­rance. and apo­statizing from the faith.

First, to perswade them to perseverance, and to make both the exhortation and dehor­tation more effectual, he urges severall motives, & prescribes severall meanes. The motives that he uses to perswade them are 4.

1. The first Motive is from Christ.Chap. 4.11. Seing wee have such an high-priest (saith he) that is passed in o the heavens, Jesus the Sonne of God, let us hold fast our profession. The Apostle to make this Argument more ta­king, he shews who and what Christ was, as that he was theChap. 1.2 5.8. Son of God, Chap. 1.2 heir of all things C. 1.2. [Page 3] Creator of the World, the v. 3. brightnesse of Gods glory, the ex­presse image of his Person. The upholder of every creature, the C. 2.3. Prophet C. 2.8. Soveraign, C: 2.10. Cap­tain, 3.11. Sanctifier, v. 9. Saviour, v. 14. Conquerour, C. 4.14. Priest, C. 7.22. surety, andC. 8.1. substance of all, This is the first encourage­ment: And it's a very great one.

2. Another Motive and en­couragement that the Apostle uses, is taken from the Gospell and new Covenant. And this he presses by shewing theCha. 8.6. Ex­cellency of it above the Law, and how it is established upon better promises.

3. A third Motive is, the cloud of witnesses, or the ma­ny Saints that did hold out, and goe on in the faith,Chap. 11. not­withstanding their great tri­als, [Page 4]temptations, and sufferings in the world.

4. The fourth and last Mo­tive is, the wages that they should have, if they did con­tinue unto the end. And this is called aCh. 4.9.15. Rest, Ch. 10.35. Recom­pence of reward, aCh. 11.16 city, aCh. 11.14 countrey, aCh. 12.28. Kingdome.

The meanes that hee pre­scribes to further them to at­tain thereunto, are foure, I will but name them.

  • 1. Faith, Chap. 4. 2. & 6. 12. & 11.
  • 2. Diligence, chap. 6. 11.
  • 3. A Consider at on of Christ, Chap. 12. 2. especially of his sufferings and glory.
  • 4. Keeping communion with his Church and people, ch. 3. 13. & 10. 25.

Secondly, The Apostles [Page 5]scope in the second place, is to dehort, and disswade them from falling:To disswade them from apostacy. And herein hee shewes a three fold falling.

First, a falling (or coming short) of grace; Take heede (saith hee) lest any of you scem to come short of the i. e. of the promise of grace. promise.

Secondly, a falling from the profession of faith, called a de­parting from God Heb. 3.12. . (Note there may bee aSee chap. 6. 6. Or from their owne fled-fastnesse, as Peter ex­presses it, 2 Pet. 3.17. falling from the profession of grace, though not from the truth of grace; from the form, though not from the power; and from the doctrine, though not from the state of grace.)

Thirdly, aChap. 4.11. falling into sin: Take heed lest any man fall after the same example of disobedience. And that hee might affright & prevent them from falling hee puts three things before them.

  • [Page 6]1 The example of the Jewes that were destroyed in the wilder­nesse, Chap. 3. 17.
  • 2 The greatnesse of their sinne if they did fall, Ch. 6. 6.
  • 3 The nearnesse and soreness of their punishment and misery, Ch. 6. 8. & 10. 26, 27, 28, 29, 31.

Obj. But they might ask, how shall we prevent this?

Answ. He resolves them in that, by exhorting them to take heed of unbelief, and the deceitfulnesse of sinne, Cha. 3. 12, 13. So then the summe of the whole Epistle is this;

That those that professe Christ, and christianity, must be carefull, and fearful lest they come short of grace & glory, & lest they return through unbelief into impiety. But to come to the Text, which I have read unto you, which presents it selfe in a three-fold consideration.

  • [Page 7]1 To be divided.
  • 2 Explained.
  • 3 The main Positions or Do­ctrines therein to be stated.

In the words you are to consider three things.The Text divided.

1 By whom they were spoken: And that is either by David, (who spake them before pro­phetically) or else by Paul the2 Pet. 3.15. Author of this Epistle, who cites these words out of the 8 Psalm.

2 Of whom they are spoken: The parties therein are either extraordinary, or ordinary.

The extraordinary are God the Father, and Jesus Christ.

The ordinary areI call An­gells ordi­nary, in com­parison of God, and Christ. God the fa­ther hum­bling Christ. God the fa­ther exal­ting Christ. An­gels and men.

3 What is the subject-matter contained in the words. This is two-fold,

1 The acts of the Father, [Page 8]both in abasing and exal­ting his Sonne. His act in abasing him in these words Thou madest him a little low­er then the Angels. His act in exalting him in these words; Thou crownedst him with glooy & honour, & didst set him over the workes of thy hands: thou hast put all things in subjection under him.

2 The two-fold state of Christ, either his state of hu­miliation, or his state of exalta­tion.

In his state of Humiliation you are to consider three things.

1 The degree of his humiliati­ation, a little lower then the Angels (viz.) in nature, for he took (as I shewed before) mans fraile and fleshly nature upon him.

[Page 9] 2 The time of his humiliation, and in this sense also may those words, a little lower then the Angels be understood, that is for a little time, or for a short space lower then they.

3 The nature of his humiliati­on, which is called in the 9th vers. his suffering.

In this Exaltation there be also three particulars.

  • 1 His Coronation; Thou crownedst him with glory and ho­nour.
  • 2 His Institution: Thou didst set him over the workes of thy hands.
  • 3 His Dominion, which is universall, Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet.

Note that Christs humilia­tion is set down comparatively, but his exaltation is set down superlatively.

[Page 10] Thus much for the divisi­on of the words;The Text explained. now I come to the explanation of them, and therein consider the na­ture of them, and the mean­ing of them.

1 In their nature they are an answer to the question in the sixt verse: What is man that thou art mindefull of him, or the sonne of man that thou visitest him.

2 The meaning of the words is either literall or my­sticall: The literall meaning is this, that God did at first make man (Adam) a little low­er then the Angels,The words in their li­terall sense applyed to Adam. in respect of nature and mortality; but hee crowned him with glory, honour, and dignity, and put all the Creatures under him, and made him as Soveraign & Lord over them all, Gen. 1.27, 28.

[Page 11] The mysticall and spiritual meaning of the words is this;The words in their spi­rituall sense applyed to Christ. That Jesus Christ as man, or mediatour was made a little lower in respect of his hu­mane nature, and his state on earth: and in a little while lower then the Angels; But yet God the Father did exalt him above all creatures, and gave him soveraignty and dominion o­ver the works of his hands, and did put all things under him, and under his feet.

Q. But what doth that expres­sion of putting all things under his feet signifie?

A. 1 It signifies a low sub­jection, Luke 7.38.

2 It signifies a through and perfect subjection, as when people are overcome & made slaves, 1 Sam. 12.31. 2 Kings 9.33

[Page 12] Q. Why are all things said to be put under Christs feet, and yet wee doe not see them put under his feet?

A. They are virtually and potentially put under his feete, but not actually and apparant­ly: that is, Christ is Lord and Soveraigne over all persons and things already by right, though yet many doe oppose and withstand him, and doe not submit & subjugate them­selves to him: As David was the true anointed King of Isra­el, when yet hee was persecu­ted, and forced to flye for his life.

Having thus opened the words, there arise these two main and speciall Observations or Doctrines from them.

That Christs way (as man) to exaltation, Doct. 1. was by humiliation [Page 13]The Text holds forth this Doctrine clearly, that he was first made lower then the An­gels, then set over, or above them; so it is said in the 110. Psalm, the 7. vers. That hee did drinke of the Brooke in the way (that is, he suffered death) be­fore he lifted up the head, or was exalted.

Q. Wherein did the humilia­tion of Christ consist?

A. 1 In taking upon him the nature and forme of his own Creature man: Heebeing in the form of God (saith the A­postle) thought it no robbery to be equall with God: But made himselfe of no reputation, and tooke upon him the form of a ser­vant, and was made in the like­nesse of men: Heb. 2.16. And being found in the fashion of a man, he hum­bled himself.

[Page 14] It is further said, He took not on him the nature of Angells, but he tooke on him the seede of Abra­ham, or the nature of the seed of Abraham, which was great humility, for the Son of God to become the sonne of man: and for the eternal Majesty to be cloathed withChrists humane na­ture was subiect to hunger, thirst, wea­riednes, &c. humane frailty and mortality.

2 Christs humiliation did consist in his subjection to mans miserable condition, as to 2 Cor. 5.21. become sinne, and a Gal. 3.13. curse for man-kind, to come under his own law, and to be judg­ed by his own justice, and lia­ble to his owne wrath. Oh what a low degree of humili­ty was this for Christ to yield toAct. 8.33 a death, much more to thePhil. 2.8. death of the Crosse, which was so shamefull, misera­ble, and cursed.

[Page 15] 3 Christs humiliation did consist in his buriall, and inIsa. 53.9. making his grave with the wicked. For the Lord of Hea­ven to be covered with his owne earth, and the God of glory to be coop'd up in a dark Cave, must needs declare his great humility or humili­ation.

Quest. What was the nature of Christs humiliation, or what kinde of humiliation was it?

A. 1 It was a voluntary hu­miliation in respect of himselfe: For no man did move or per­swade Christ hereunto: nei­ther did God his Father force him unto it; But Christ testi­fies thus of himselfe,John 10.17, 18. I lay downe my life; No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of my selfe, I have power to lay it down. And in another place he saith [Page 16]to hisHeb. 10.9 Father: I come to thy will O God.

2 Christs humiliation was a necessary humiliation in respect of his Creatures that were to be re­conciled, and saved For if hee had not undergone that state of humiliation, the whole Creation had perished, and been lost for ever; For as the ApostleHeb. 8.3. said, It was of neces­sity that Christ should have some­what to offer: So may wee say, that it was of necessity that this man (Christ) did offer him­self, for there was no other fit to doe it.

3 It was a grievous humilia­tion, such a humiliation that there was never knowne on earth the like either before or since. This did not only reach the body, but the soule of Christ, for hee cryed out in [Page 17]hisMat. 26.38. Mar. 14.34. Agony; My soule is ex­ceeding sorrowfull. There be 7 or 8 words in that 53. of Isa. that sets out this humiliation of his, As that he was despised, rejected, striken, smitten, affli­cted, oppressed, bruised, and tor­mented, all distinct words, and aggravating his humiliation and sufferings.

4 Christs humiliation was an efficatious humiliation, even upon the inanimate creatures, for the Sunne was vail'd and ecclipsed, and covered, and hid his face; the whole hea­vens mourned, and put on sackcloath (So that there was Luke 23.44. darknesse over all the earth:) the earth did Mat. 28.51. quake, and the rockes did rent: These senflesse things did expresse a kind of sympa­thy with their Creator in his great sufferings.

[Page 18] 5 Christs humiliation was an advantagious humiliation, both to himselfe, and to his Creatures. To himselfe, that hee came to have a body and Generation, to honour and o­bey him. To his Creatures, a hat all of them have a benefit thereby; for his humiliation was their exaltation, his death their life, and his condemna­tion, their preservation, and salvation.

Ob. But bad all the creatures some benefit by the humiliation & sufferings of Christ?

Ans. Yes, doubtless all the Creatures in earth, & in hea­uen: For God is said to Col. 1.20 re­concile all things unto himselfe by him (i. e. Christ) whether they be things on earth, or things in Heaven. The Angels, they were stablished & confirmed [Page 19]in their state, and stations: They that shall be saved, were perfectly2 Cor. 5.19. Rom. 5.9. justified and re­conciled by his death.

Those that perish had theirJoh. 1.9. Luk. 9.56. naturall lives, and the en­joyment of the Creatures here on earth by vertue of his death; also theRom. 8 1 19.20. 1 22. whole creation (that now groaneth by reason of its bondage (caused by the sinne of man) shall be restored unto a glorious liberty, which would never have beene, had not Christ suffered. Having thus briefly opened the first Doctrine, I will shew you one Use only that you are to make of it, and so I will come to the second Observation.

The Use is, to exhort you to make Christ your example & pattern. Was he humbled be­fore he was exalted? did hee [Page 20]stoop to goe through this low door to his honour? then learn of him this Lesson of all other Lessons; for hee would have you learn it. Learn of me (saith he) for I am meeke and lowly, or meeke and humb e, as theTranslated humble in Jam. 4.6. Greek hath it. If you would be high, then begin low, as a builder that intends to build a great and stately Edifice, hee doth first digge the foundati­on low. Solomon Prov. 15.33. saith, that before honour, is humility. And in another place, thatPro. 22.4. ho­nour is the reward of humlity. Those that would looke after honour, let them come by it as Mordecai came by his honour; he first puts on on sack-cloath, and fasted, and mourned, and then waited at Ahashuerus gate till he was called to honour; he did not sue nor seeke for it, [Page 21]but made it his businesse to honour God, and to help the poore people of God: and so hee was content to take his turn, and to come to honour, after God was honoured, and when his people were advan­ced. There is an excellentIsa. 37.31. promise made to the remnant of Judah (which I shall allude to) That they should take roote downeward, and bring fruit up­ward: As those trees, whose boughes and branches grow and spread most, doe take deepest root, and spread in the earth most: So those that are most exalted and advanced, they are first humbled and af­flicted; for where humility is not before honour, there will bee a humbling and abasing after honour. I beseech you (now you are come together [Page 22]to humble your souls) labour to be humbled; for this is one maine end why wee now are met together, let's take heede then lest wee depart with un­humbled hearts. And that you may be humbled, looke upon Jesus Christ, for there are 2. speciall sights of Christ that do tend much to humble men.

The first is the sight of his misery, or the sight of him in his answerable, low, and suf­fering condition.Rev. 1.7. They shall see him whom they have pierced: And what followes? All the kindreds of the earth shall wail be­cause of him.

The 2d sight is the sight of his glory, (or of him in his glory.) When Isaiah had seen this, he cries outIsa. 6.5. Woe is me, for I have sten the King the Lord [Page 23]of hosts: And this sight was a sight of him in hisVers. 3. glory, as appeares in the third verse. These two sights of Christ my Text represents to you, viz. a sight of him in his hu­miliation, and a sight of his ex­altation. But I come to the 2d Doctrine.

Doct. 2. God the Father hath exalted his Sonne Christ above all creatures, and ha h put, and will put all persons and things under him. This Doctrine flows na­turally from the words, and this God foretold by his Pro­phet in the Old Testament, saying; Behold my i.e. Christ see Isa. 42.1. & 53.11 servant shall deale prudently, he shall be exalt­ed, and Isa. 52.13. extolled, and be very high. This also the Apostle confirms, That Christ is Col. 1.17, 18. before all things, and that among all hee hath the pre-eminence. And in [Page 24]another1 Cor. 15 27. place, that he (i. e. God) hath put all things under him.

But for the further proof of this, I will come to Particu­lars, and there be three parti­culars in the Doctrine to be proved.

  • 1 That God the Father hath exalted his Sonne Christ above all creatures.
  • 2 That hee hath put all persons and things already under him institutively & virtually, &c.
  • 3 That hee will put all persons and things under him really and actually.

For the first; that God the Father hath exalted his Sonne Christ above all creatures, appears, as by severall Scrip­tures, so by two undeniable reasons.

[Page 25] 1 In that hee hath put him to sit upon his owne right hand, 2 Reason-To prove that God hath exalt­ed Christ a­bove all creatures. which is the highest dignity, power, soveraignty, and glory that he could give, and which he hath not given to any crea­ture besides: and this exalta­tion Christ did not assume of himselfe; but the Father said unto him,Ps. 110.1. Sit thou on my right hand untill I make thine enemies thy foot-stoole. Yea, note this, that the Scriptures mention this his being on Gods right hand obovePs. 110.1 Mat. 22.44 & 26.64. Mar. 14.62 Lu. 16.19. & 20.42. & 22.69. Act 2.34. & 7.55, 56. Heb. 1.13. & 8.1. & 12 2. & 10.12. Rom. 8 34. Col. 3.1. twelve times, as sometimes on the right hand of his power, and sometimes on the right hand of the throne of God. When Bathsheba, Solomons mo­ther came to him, hee had no way to shew his respect more to her, then by1 Kings 2.10. causing a seat to be set for her, that shee might sit on his right hand. And [Page 26]amongst us, you know that to set one upon our right hand, is to prefer him, and to have the right hand of fellowship, was an Gal. 1.9. honour among the Apo­stles.

Obj. But are none copartners with Christ in this honour, and doth hee alone sit on Gods right hand?

Ans. There is none but hee that sits upon the right hand of the Father. It is true in deed that the Queen, or the Church is said toPsal. 45.9. sit on the Kings (or on Christs) right hand: also hereafter the Saints shall bee upon his right hand. But this prerogative is peculiar to Jesus Christ alone, who is not only said to sit upon his Fa­thers right hand, but is alsoExod. 15.16. called the right hand of God, and the Psal. 80.17. man of his right hand.

[Page 27] 2 A second Reason to prove that God hath exalted his Son Christ above all Creatures,Reas. 2 is, Because he hath appointed the chiefest Creatures to wor­ship him and serve him; as the Angels, God commanded them to worship himHeb. 1.6. Rev. 5.14. & 19.4. ; Let all the Angels of God worship him. And we find that these glori­ous (and transcendently emi­nent) Creatures did worship, and doe worship him, yea and fallRev. 11.7. downe on their faces (which is the lowest signe of humility) to worship him.

Secondly: The second thing to be proved is, That God the Father hath put all persons and things under Christ. This ap­pears from Christ, being the head of all persons & things: I would have you know (saith the Apostle) that the 1 Cor. 11.3. head of every [Page 28]man is Christ. And in another place, He (i. e. God) hath made him to be the head over all things to his Eph. 1.22 Church: So Christ is of­ten called theMat. 21.42. Act. 4.11. 1 Pet. 2.7. Head of the Corner. But further, that ex­pression (which is more then once mentioned) of putting all things under Christs feet, carries much weight1 Cor. 15 27. Psa. 8.6. Eph. 1.22. Heb. 2.8. with it, and shews an absolute, low, and through objection.

Obj. But you may object (as it seemes by my Text, that the A­postle met with such an Obje­ction) well, speak what you wil of the putting of all persons & things under him; yet wee see no such thing, but rather contrary.

Answ. Though we doe not yet see all things put un­der him, yet the word saith so, and it will certainly be so, which I prove two wayes-

[Page 29] 1 Because the Father hath promised itSee Psal. 2.9. & 89.23. & 110.1. Isa. 2.4. & 11.2. & 32.1. Luk. 1.32, 33. , and doe you think that hee will breake his promise with him? Oh no, his promises faile not, he keepes promise with all men, much more with his Sonne. God gives all his children, yea the youngest their Legacies, & por­tions, and will hee detain from his Sonne and Heire what hee hath promised him, and entai­led upon him; especially see­ing Christ performed so well with him.

2 Christ lives in expectati­on thereof; From (u) henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his foot-stool. Heb. 10.13. i. e. From the time of his ascensi­on, Act. 2.35. Pro. 23.18 Sure Christs ex­pectation will not be frustra­ted: I may say as Solomon said, Surely there is an end, and thine (Christs) expectation shall not be cut off. There is an untill, or [Page 30]a time that God the Father hath set to the reign of his E­nemies: and when that time is expired, he and his Kingdom must be exalted, as afterwards I shall shew.

Thus having confirmed the particulars in the Doctrine, I come next to the Reasons, why God did exalt Christ a­bove all Creatures, I will name four, and no more.

Because hee had an hereditary right to it, Reas. 1. as the Apostle saith, He by inheritance obtained a Heb. 1.4. more excellent name then they. He being Sonne and Heir, his Father could grant him no lesse then a pre-emption & pre-eminence above his fellowes. As under the law the first born had greater priviledges then any of the other chil­dren, and shall not Christ [Page 31]then, who is the first-born of every Creature, have their priviledge?

Because there was no fitter per­son to rule then he: Reas. 2. As under the Law,Lev. 16.21 which typed out Christ. the Lord would have the Scape-goat to be sent into the Wil­derness by the hand of a fit man: so God would have the fittest man to be above all his Crea­tures; and as amongst men, the greatest, wisest, skilfullest, and ablest are chosen and exal­ted over the people: so Christ being eminently qualified a­bove all others, his Father set him up above all his crea­tures, as David made his Son Solomon King over Israel. 1 Chron. 23.1. Reas. 3.

Because Christ had exalted him on earth, Joh. 13.31. Now (said Christ) is the Sonne of man glo­rified, & God is glorified in him: If God be glorified in him, [Page 32] God shall also glorifie him in him­selfe, and shall strait way glorifie him. And this was Christs plea unto hisJoh. 17.4. Father: Fa­ther I have glorified thee on earth, I have finished the worke which thou gavest me to doe. And now O Father glorifie thou mee, &c. It was but just that the Father should glorifie and ex­alt him, he having first glori­fied and exalted his Father: And hee could do no lesse by way of retaliation, if his Son had been but a meer stranger to him.

Because Christ by his sufferings and merits obtained it; Reas. 4. For hee that would drink of such a Brooke in the way, deserv d to lift up his head. David when hee had slain the Philistine, and saved the Army of Israel, did well deserve to command them: So [Page 33]this our Spirituall David, Je­sus Christ, having conquered all his enemies, and redeemed all his people by his death, he might justly claime that pri­viledge above, and over them all. Thus having proved the Doctrine both integrally and particularly by Scriptures, and Reasons; I now come to the explanation, thereof, and for that end shall propound and resolve these three Questions:

First, Over what Creatures hath God exalted and put up his Sonne?

Secondly, Wherein, or in what particulars is Jesus Christ exalted above those creatures?

Thirdly, How, and by what meanes doth God bring all Crea­tures under his Son?

To returne to the first of these.

[Page 34] 1 Quest. Over what Creatures hath God exalted and put up his Sonne?

Answ. Over all Creatures in Heaven and Earth, and un­der the Earth, Philip. 2.10. Mat. 28.19. but particularly he hath power,

  • Over all Angels,
  • Over all Men, and
  • Over all Over all things.

1 Over all Angels, as 1. The good Angels, they are called hisHeb. 1.17.14. ministring Spirits, for theyZev. 5, 8, 9. alwayes attend and waite upon him to doe his ser­vice. 2. The evil Angels (or the Devils) they are also in subjecti­on to, and under the power of Christ; for though Christ did once pray to his Father, to (e) deliver his darling from the po­wer of the Dogge (or the De­vel) [Page 35]yet we finde that at other times Christ rebuked these e­vill spirits,Psal. 22.20 and they were a­fraid of him, least he should come to torment them before the time; which expressed his Soveraignty over them.

2 He is over all men; high and low, good and bad, they are all his Servants, as he testi­fies in the eight of the Pro­verbs, saying, By me Kings reigne, and Princes decree Ju­stice; By me Princes and No­bles rule, yea also all the Judges of the earth. He also is called, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords; and in Daniel 10.21.Dan. 10.21 Michael the Prince of Israel; yea all the Patriarcks, Pro­phets, Kings, Apostles, Evan­gelists, Magistrates, and Mini­sters, yea all people of all Na­tions, Tongues, Kindreds, and [Page 36]degrees, in all Ages were un­der, and will be under his power.

3 He is above all things, ac­cording to that expression in the first of the Ephesians, Above all Lawes and Ordinan­ces, above all workes and won­ders, above all powers, and privi­ledges, a­bove all gifts and graces, and above all earthly & spirituall excellen­cies and glory. 22. verse. He (i. e. God) hath put all things under his (i. e. Christ his) feet. So in the 1 Cor. 15.28. you have the same words. Thus much in answer to the first question.

2. Quest. Wherein is Christ ex­alted above all Creatures?

Answ. First, Doubtlesse in all things he hath the prehe­minence, but more particular­ly in regard of his Divine Na­ture; I may I hope safely thus expresse, although it is true that the Divine Nature doth not properly admit of degrees, yet neverthelesse the Divine Nature of Christ (to speake [Page 37]with reverence) was much vailed, clouded,As a peece of Gold covered with earth or the Sun darkned by a cloud, or a can­dle hid under a bushel, and ecclipsed by his humain Nature, that few did account him God till after his Resurrection, by which he was Rom. 1.4. declared to be the Sonne of God with power. And so much our Saviours owne words (in the seventeenth of John, vers. 5.) imply.

Obj. But you will say, The Di­vine Nature was never humbled, therefore it was still exalted a­like?

Answ. It is true, the God­head of Christ did not, nor could not suffer, nor be humb­led, yet he that was God suf­fered, as those words in Acts 20.28. import. But note this, when I say, Christ was exalted above all in respect of his Di­vine Nature; I meane, that none had that fulnesse and mea­sure [Page 38]of Divinity, (or the Di­vine Nature) as Christ had.

Secondly, Jesus Christ was exalted in his humane Nature above all Creatures.

1 In that Christs humane Nature was created, and begot­ten in a supernaturall way, even by the over-shadowing of the Holy Ghost, Luke 1.35. or as David speakes in his person,Psal. 139.140. Wonderfully was I made.

2 He was exalted in his hu­mane Nature above all others, in regard his humane Nature was without sinne; as the A­postle speakes1 Pet. 2.22. He did no sinne, neither was guile found in his mouth.

3 Jesus Christ his humane Nature (or his Body) saw no corruption, Act. 2.27. Though he was in the Grave, yet the Grave could neither putrifie [Page 39]him, nor prevaile to keep him within it.

4 The humane Nature of Christ is exalted above all in respect of place, to wit, upon the right hand of God, as I have shewed before.

Obj. Is Christs humane nature (or the very body that he had on earth) now in heaven?

Answ. Yes sure, he that Eph. 4.8, descended is the same also that ascended up far above all hea­vens: and the same Jesus which rose from the dead, and that appeared to his Disciples after his Resurrection, was Act 1.8,9. taken up before them into heaven, and that same Jesus will hereafter (in that very person and na­ture)Jud. v. 14. Rev. 1.7. come from hea­ven.

Fiftly, and lastly, Christ is exhalted in his humain nature [Page 30]above all, because in that na­ture he will judge the world, according to the saying of the Apostle, He wil judge the world in righteousnesse by that man i.e. Christ) whom he hath ordained; this is the second way wherein Christ is exalted above all creatures.

Thirdly, Jesus Christ was exal­ted in his name above al creatures, as the Apostle speaks, God his father hath given him a name, Phil. 2.9. above all other names, that at the name of Jesus Christ every knee should bow. Now whether by name be understood the Pow­er, Majesty, and Authority of Christ; or those names by which he is called in the Scrip­ture, as Jehovah and Immanuel, yet this is most true that there is not attributed to any crea­ture, what is attributed to him, [Page 31]in respect of his name.

Object. But you will say, is not the Church called Jehovah, she shal be called, Jehovah-tzidke­nu, the Lord our Righteousnesse, Ier. 33.16.

Answ. Its true, that with re­lation to Christ she is called Jehovah as in Ezek. 48.35. Je­hovah-shammah the Lord is there, Yet that Text in Jeremiah is not rightly translated. For it is in the Hebrew,Jer. 33.16. [...] He the Lord Jehovah, that is, our Righ­teous one, or Righteousnesse shall call her, that is, the Church should be called by Christ her Righteousnesse, And though many bee called Gods in the Scripture (as the Apostle speakes) yet no one is called Immanuel but Christ one­ly.Esa. 7.14. Mat. 1.23.

Fourthly, Jesus Christ was [Page 32]exalted above all creatures, in his Office, as he was Mediator; For there was (and is) but one Me­diator between God, and Man, the man Christ Jesus, 1 Tim. 2.6. Tis true, there were other ty­picall Mediatours, as Moses, &c. but no true and reall Me­diator, save Jesus Christ. In Christs Mediatourship consi­der,

1 That none was fit to be a Mediator or Saviour but he, for all creatures had need of a Mediatour and Saviour, and therefore could not bee their owne Mediatours, and Savi­ours,

2 None could, or can, forgive sins but he, for he only is exal­ted to give repentance and for­givenesse of sinnes, Act. 5.31.

Object. But had not the A­postles [Page 39]of Christ, and have not the Ministers of the Gospell power to forgive sins, For Christ saith, whatsoever sinnes ye forgive, shal be forgiven, &c. Joh. 20.23.

Answ. The Apostles and Mi­nisters had and have power to forgive sins, but then it is de­claratively, upon their belee­ving in Christ, and no other wayes. For as the Jewes said who can forgive sins but God?

3 None can give Lawes to the Church but Christ alone, and therefore he is called theEsa. 33.22. Jam. 4.12. Law-giver, andEphes. 4.15. & 5.23. Col. 1.18 head of the Church. Note this, that no person or persons, Civil or Eccle­siasticall, were ever called Head, or Heads of the Church but Christ. It is true, the Magi­strates are sometimes called, the Heads of the People, but [Page 44]not of the Church; but un­der the Law Ecclesiasticall persons were not so much as called Heads of the people, nay none of the Tribe of Levi were ever chosen, or called Heads; how much then doe men in our dayes imagine, and assume power to themselves over Christs Church (more then is given them by Christ) so that they thinke they may enjoyne and impose what Laws they please upon Christs Church and people. But let such looke to themselves.

4 None can discerne and know the thoughts of the Children of men but Christ, for he only is theHeb. 4.12. [...] the Discerner, Tryer, and knower of the thoughts, and imaginati­ons of men, and he whoseRev. 1.14. eyes are as a flame of fire, [Page 45]sees through and through the hearts, reines, and inward parts of men.

5 None have powerSee Gen. 18.25 2 Tim. 4.8. Jam. 4.9. to Judge men for ever but Christ, the Pope pretends he can send some to Heaven, some to Hel, and some between both; yet a day will come when hee poore man (or rather beast) must, and shall have a sentence past upon his owne soule, and then where is he, and those he deceived? But so much for the exaltation of Christ as Mediator.

Fifthly, Jesus Christ is exal­ted in his Generation above all o­thers, for who saith the Pro­phet shall declare his Generation? That is, though Christ be kil­led, yet who shall, or can be able to tell the number of his Progeny, and Posterity, and [Page 46]the Branches that shall grow out of this Stem, and Root?

Note that there is a dou­ble Generation belonging to Christ, and a double booke wherein this two-fold Gene­neration is recorded.

1 His naturall Generation, shewing from whom he came according to the flesh; This Matthew calls,Mat. 1.1. The Booke of the Generation of Jesus Christ, &c. According to his Fleshly Generation he was of the Bloud Royall, and next to the Crowne (if he had claimed it) as some conceive, and why should Herod command him whilst he was but yet a Childe to be killed? but that he fea­red he (that was next Heire) would have put him besides the Crowne?

2 His Spirituall Generation, [Page 47]or his Off-springe who are his blessed Seed, called,1 Per. 2.61 Rev, 13, 8. & 21.27. A royall Generation, a Generation of Kings, Princes, and Priests, whose names are written in the Lambs book of life.

Sixtly and lastly, Jesus Christ is exalted above all in Dominion and Government, and of this his Dominion, Go­vernment, and Kingdome, the Scriptures doe amply testifie, and clearly speake, Esa. 6.9. & 22.21. For as Ioseph (who was a Type of him) was Gover­nour in all the Land of Ae­gypt; so Christ governes all the Nations of the earth, Psal. 105.22. Psal. 67.4. & 22.28. And as God sent Ioseph into Aegypt to teach the Princes of Aegypt, so hath God sent his Sonne Jesus into the world, to teach and rule the Princes of the earth. Be [Page 48]wise therefore ye Princes, and o­bedient to him ye Iudges of the earth. You may more particu­larly consider this Kingdome of Christ, as being divided into three parts:

  • A Coelestiall,
  • A Spirituall, and
  • A Terrestriall.

1 For the Coelestiall or hea­venly part, I desire you to turne to two speciall places which speake thereof,2 Tim. 4.18. Luk. 22.16 many more I might name, but I intend not to insist upon that part, yet be not unmindfull that there is a Crowne, and a Kingdome pre­pared for those that love Christ, Jam. 1.12, & 2.5. and that waite for his appear­ance.

2 For the Spirituall part of his Kingdome, which concerns us to know here, observe [Page 49]these soure things.

1 The word of the Kingdome, which is sometimes called the Gospel, Mar. 4.23. Mat. 13.11 and sometimes the My­steries of the Kingdome of Hea­ven; the Gospel is the Law by which Christ doth rule and governe the Subjects of his Kingdome.

2 There be the Keepers of the Kingdome, which is Skil, Mat. 16.19 and power to open the Gospel, and to open and shut the doore of the Church of Christ accor­ding to his will; the keyes that were committed to Peter was nothing else (I suppose) but a Cal, and power as the first Mi­nister, to preach the Gospel unto the Gentiles.

3 There be the Subjects of this Kingdome, Rom. 1.7. 1 Cor. 1.7 Act, 11.26 and those are cal­led in the New Testament Be­leevers, Saints, Christians, the [Page 50]redeemed and called of God, 1 Cor. 1.24. Rom. 16.16. or Churches of Saints, all which words imply that they must be in Christ, and have grace, who are members and sub­jects of this Kingdome, and not all the riffe-raffe (as we speake) of the world.

4 There be Officers belonging to this spirituall part of the Kingdome, which the King of Glory hath left, and appoin­ted; as Apostles, Evangelists, Prophets, Pastors, Teachers, and the like, Ephes. 4.11.

5 And lastly, there is the seate of this spirituall King­dome, the subjects of this Kingdome are seated and pla­ced in the heart of their Sove­raigne, and Saviour Jesus Christ, Cant. 8.6. As Paul said of the Philippians, Phil. 1.7. that he had them in his heart, so may [Page 51]Christ say much more of his Members, that he hath them in his heart, and that he hath borne them from Eternity. This Kingdome (especially the Word of it) is also seated in the hearts of Beleevers, as Christ said, The Kingdome of God is within you, Luk. 17.21. So the Apostle saith, The King­dome of God was in the Romans in righteousnesse, peace, Rom. 14.17. and joy of the Holy Ghost. Thus having ended the second part of Christs Kingdome, I now come to the last part, which is, Christ reigning on Earth, and over the World; there are se­verall things disputable here­in; as,

1 Whether Christ shall come and reigne in his owne Person and humane Nature upon the earth; and

[Page 52] 2 If he doth reigne, who shall reigne with him? whe­ther all the Saints, or whether those only that suffered under Antichrist? or whether the people of the Iewes only? But in regard these questions are controverted, we'l come to those things which are with­out controversie concerning this point, and they are four.

1 That Iesus Christ hath a right to all the Kingdoms of the world, as it is said in the 1 Cor. 10, chapter, The earth is the Lords, and the fulnesse thereof; and in Psal. 72.8. He shall have domi­nion from sea to sea, &c. One speciall place besides that (I conceive) is applicable to Christ, it is in the 21. of Eze­kiel 27. verse, I will overturne, overturne, overturne it, and it shall be no more untill he come, [Page 53]whose right it is, and I will give it him. Here are three over­turnings answerable to the three parts of the City in the Revelation, and all these over­turnings are to bring Christ the right Heire to his posses­sion.

2 The Lord hath power to dispose of the Kingdomes of the earth to whomsoever he pleaseth, as it is said in the 4th. of Daniel, the 17. vers. That the most high is in the Kingdome of men, and he giveth it to whom­soever he will. So in the fifth of Daniel, 21. and in Psal. 75.7. God is the Iudge, he putteth down one, and setteth up another; And who can (or dare) say to the Lord, What dost thou?

3 Jesus Christ accounts no men so worthy, and so fit to rule his Kingdome (under [Page 54]him) as his Saints, therefore he makes promise thereof to them. And the Kingdome, and Dominion, and the greatnesse of the Kingdome under the whole heaven, Dan. 7.27. shall be given unto the Saints of the most high, &c. and know you not saith the Apo­stle Paul, that the Saints shall judge the world? And Christ said unto his Apostles (though poore Fishermen) Ye shall sit upon twelve Thrones, Cor. 6. i, 2 judging the twelve Tribes of Israel. You know among men, if a man be exalted to Honour, Office, or place, he will preferre his owne friends and Servants, e­specially if they be fit men, and can manage those places; even so doth Christ, who findes places for his people, and fits them for those places; and in­deed none are so fit to manage [Page 55]any worke as the Saints, for they only doe their worke in a right manner, and to a right end.

Fourthly and lastly, the Scriptures declare, that Christ shall reigne in the world, and in the Nations of the world. To instance in a few, in the se­cond of Daniel, the 44. verse, The God of heaven will set up a Kingdome which shal never be de­stroyed, which shal stand for ever; And this Kingdome which is called, the stone hewne out of the Mountaine, shal destroy and breake in peeces all the remaining powers of the other foure Monar­chies. So in the 11. of the Re­velation, 15. vers. The King­domes of this world shal become the Kingdomes of the Lord, and of his Christ. And else-where it is said, His Dominion shal be [Page 56]from Sea to Sea, and that he should have the utmost parts of the earth for his possession. And in Esaiah the second, and Micha the fourth, there are promises that his Kingdome (called the Mountaine of the Lord) should be set upon the top of the Mountaines. Surely these and many more Scriptures have somewhat of speciall concern­ment in them, that relate to this Kingdome of Christ.

Obj. But you will say, Iesus Christ himselfe when he was on earth, denyed and resused an earthly Kingdome, Joh. 18.36. for he saith, My Kingdome is not of this world.

Answ. Tis true, that Christ did then deny and refuse an earthly Kingdom, for then was his comming in his humiliati­on, rather then in his exalta­tion; [Page 57]and to purchase a King­dome, rather then to possesse it. The time when Christ spake those words was at his departure out of the world,It is more then pro­bable that Christ will come in great po­wer and glory, as (the Jewes did expect him) to call and redeeme them, Mar. 24.30. Luk. 21.2 Mark 13.26. Zach. 12.10. Rev. 1.7. but he told the Jewes else­where, and at another time; That they should see him, and say, Blessed is he that commeth in the name of the Lord, Luk. 13.35. Let us take heed that we doe not over-looke Christs exalted state on earth, as the Iewes did formerly his state of Humilia­tion; but I doe observe, that many people in these dayes doe stumble at three things.

1 That the Saints should rule and governe the world; but is there not all the reason in the world they should, seeing that the world is upheld for their sakes; also that they have been Sufferers in times [Page 58]past, and are Conquerers of some parts of it at present, and doth not Christ promise, that he that over commeth, and keepeth his works unto the end, to him will be give power over the Nations, Rev. 2.26.

Object. But some will say, The weapons of the Saints anciently were faith, teares, prayers, and patience, and they did then rather choose afflictions, and persecutions, then make resistance, and seek to reign over others.

Answ. Its true, that faith, teares, prayers, &c. are the best weapons, and with these the Saints doe cheifly warre. But yet it is as true, that the Saints may lawfully fight, for wee read that they are to have a two edged sword in their hands, Psa. 149.6 as well as the high prayses of God in their mouthes, and in [Page 59]another place we read, that they that lead into captivity (mean­ing the Roman party) should be led into captivity themselves. But you will say by whom?Rev. 13.10 Sure­ly, by the Army of the Lamb, who are called, and chosen,Rev. 17.14 and faithfull. There is a Generati­on of new, & upstart Courtiers that would beg the Saints for fooles, and deale with them as Ziba did with Mephibosheth; and by false wayes, get what appertaines unto them out of their hands: Or as a cunning fellow that would come to a rich man, and tell him it is hard for him to go to heaven with all that riches, and this he doth, that he may dispossesse him of his riches, that so he himselfe may have them: but I hope the Saints are more wise then to be cheated out of their [Page 60]rights and priviledges by a ge­neration of men, who would have Saints to be their slaves, who are themselves slaves to Satan.

2 Some stumble at present proceedings, and at the deal­ings of God in these dayes. Saying we have neither pre­cept nor example for what we do. I will not speake particu­larly and largely to this point, yet I would stirre up and pro­voke people to look upon the hand of God, which is so evi­dently and eminently exalted & lifted up, though as the Pro­phet said of some, They will not see, but yet they shalsee, and shal be ashamed. But let us peruse a few Scriptures (instead of many that might be produced) that justifie this to be no other then the hand of God, in the 110 Psal. 5. [Page 61]verse, The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through Kings in the day of his wrath. So it is in the He­brew [...] in gentibus So in the 149. Psal. 7 and 8. verses, there judgement is said to be executed in the Nation, and thein Kings to bee bound with chaines, and their Nobles with fetters of iron, So in Rev. 19.18. The foules of the aire were called to eate the flesh of Kings, of Cap­taines, and of mighty men, &c. So in Isay it is prophesied, That Kings should shut their mouthes, and bow before Christ and his Church. What, are all these Scriptures to be understood allegorically? No sure, it is more then probable, that in the same manner as Christs great and wicked enemies opposed him and destroyed his people, they shall be opposed and de­stroyed.

[Page 62] 3 Many stumble at this, That meane men are exalted, and the great and noble ones laid aside, and not made use of. But if the Scriptures be sear­ched and considered, this will not appeare any new or strange thing. In the 21 of Ezek. 26. Thus saith the Lord God, remove the diadem, and take off the Crowne; this shall not be the same, exalt him that is low: and abase him that is high. So in Dan. 4.17. The most high (said Nebuckhad­nezar) ruleth in the King dome of men, and giveth it to whom­soever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men. Also in Psa. 113.7, 8. God is said to raise up the poore out of the dust, and to lift the needy out of the dunghill, that hee may set them up with Princes. Is this so strange unto men? what have we not ex­amples [Page 63]enough to wipe off this aspersion? What were Mo­ses, Josuah, Gideon, Jephtha, Saul, David, and many others? were they not mean men, and not tramed up or educated ei­ther for Civil or Military im­ployment? who would have thought a Thresher as Gideon was, a Keeper of his fathers As­ses as Saul was, or a poor Sheep­heard as David was? should be sit to lead & rule such a people and Nation as Israel was. Let us not then looke so much upon men, for the Lord seeth not as man, 1 Sam. 1. 6, 7. for man looketh on the outward ap­pearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart. And the reason why God exalts them that are low, is, that he may glorifie him­selfe the more. Therefore be not vexed at Gods dealings, for he saith, he will come upon [Page 64]Princes as upon morter, and as the potter treadeth the clay, Esa. 41.25.

I come to the last Question which is, How God doth bring all creatures under his Son?

1 By the rod of his mouth, or the Gospell, which is the power of God,Psa. 110.2. Rom. 1.16 Rev. 1.16. and the sword of God, by which the Lord doth bring downe many to the obe­dience of Christ, as the Apostle speakes, 2 Cor. 10.4, 5.

2 By the rod of his hand,Psa. 29. or as the Prophet David calls it an iron rod, by which he will break, and dash in peices his Ene­mys, like a potters vessel. They that will not bow by the sweet and gracious words of Christ, must be broken by the heavy blows, and strokes of Christ, and where the kindnesse and goodnesse of Christ will not [Page 65]take place, there his wrath and indignation must and will take place. Thus having cleared the Doctrine, let me begge your patience a little to apply it.

1 Vse. The first use then is, an use of Exhortation, and that is two-fold; the first exhortation is unto sinners, (and it is of great concerne­ment to you) To submit unto the Lord Jesus;First, by kissing Christ, is meant o­beying him, so the word is taken, 1 Sam. 10.1. Kisse the Son least he be angry, and so ye perish from the right way, Psal. 2.12. there are many of you here this day that stand in neede of Christ, who yet have not stooped, and bowed to him; I beseech you for to incite your hearts to consider these mo­tives.

1 Because Christ hath con­quered the whole World, and it can be no lesse then Rebel­lion, [Page 66]and Treason in you to re­sist or disobey him.

2 He is your right and law­full King, and will you like the Iewes refuse your King?

3 Because Christs yoke is very easie, as he saith himselfe for encouragement unto men;Mat. 11.29, 30. Take my yoke for it is easie, and my burden, for it is light.

4 If you submit unto Christ, he will free you from all ty­ranny and slavery you are now under; he will deliver you from Sathan, and sinne, who now rule over you.

5 Because Christ will have no Successor to call you to an account for your disobedience, and loyalty to him, for he shall abide a King for ever, and you shall never change your Lord, for he is the last Monarch, and of his Kingdome there shall be no end.

[Page 67] 6 Because that all the love and mercy which the Lord hath revealed to you, and be­stowed on you, they are to bring you to obedience unto him.

O consider! what mercies God hath heaped upon you, he hath given you Houses, Lands, Children, Servants, Honours, pleasure, and dominion, and he hath made your enemies to stoop to you; O now what doth the Lord expect from you? but that you should sub­mit unto his Son. The second exhortation is unto you all.

Secondly, If God hath ex­alted Christ, then doe you al­so exalt him. There is not a more blessed work to be done, (now the worke of Redemp­tion is done) then this. You should exalt Christ.

[Page 68] 1 Because God the Father hath exalted him; what, will you not be like unto God?Est. 6.6. What shall be done to the man whom the King delighteth to ho­nour (said Ahashuerus to Ha­man) If a man knew what such a one deserved, and though Mordecay was his enemy, yet he must have a hand in advan­cing him. Oh! but then what shall become of the man whom the King of Heaven de­lights to honour, and to ex­alt?

2 It is the worke of Angels day by day to exalt Christ; and if those Creatures who are a thousand times more glo­rious, excellent, and perfect then we are, fal downe, and cast their Crownes before the Throne,Rev 5.12. & 7.12. saying, Worthy is the Lambe that was slaine to receive [Page 69]power, and riches, and wisdome, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing; how much more willing, and ready should we be, for Christ hath done more for us men, then for them.

3 You have been the cause of humbling Iesus Christ, for by, and for your transgressi­ons, he was brought from his Throne (and the glory which he enjoyed with his Father) to suffer reproach, shame, sor­row, and the cursedst death that was, and will you not be a meanes (what in you lyes) to exalt, and honour him whom you have so much abased.

4 You should exalt Christ because that is the way for you to be exalted; know this assuredly, that that which humbled and abased your Sa­viour, [Page 70]will never exalt and ho­nour you. Sinne was that (though but yours, and impu­ted to him) which abased him, and can you conceive that it will exalt you? Oh no! Righ­teousnesse exalteth a Nation (saith Solomon) and God promised, That whosoever would honour him, should be honoured by him, 1 Sam. 2.30.

2 Use. The second use is, an use of examination, to try whether we honour Christ, yea or no, and whether we ex­alt our selves or him? There be severall Scriptures that shew how men exalted them­selves, as in Dan. 11.14. The robbers of Gods people are said to exalt themselves. So it is said of Adonijah, That he exalted him­selfe, saying, I wil be King, 1 King. 1.5. Also Ephraim [Page 71]exalted himself, Hos. 13.1. And God complained by Hosea, cha. 11. ver. 7. That none would exalt him. Now that I may a little discover this SELFE-EXAL­TATION (and the Lord dis­cover it unto you, and the plagues of your owne hearts, from the highest to the low­est) This wicked Selfe comes to be Indited and Arraigned (before you this day) as an Enemy and Traytor to the Crowne, and dignity of Jesus Christ, as a destroyer of Na­tions, and as a Murderer of Soules and Bodies; and as the universall Disease which hath infected all sorts of men. For to finde out this Malefa­ctor it is needfull that we make strict enquiry, & search, and for that end we wil begin at home, or with the Ministers, who [Page 72](I feare) are not only possest with this enemy, but out of them it goes forth into all the Land, and from them it hath its originall and rise; there­fore I thinke in my conscience that we Ministers are to con­fesse this sinne, and to take shame to our selves for it. And that we may doe so, let us con­sider how we are guilty here­of, I shall hint out some parti­culars.

1 We are guilty of Selfe, in our preaching, when wee preach our selves, and not Je­sus Christ; contrary to the opinion and practice of the Apostle, who saith, We preach not our selves but Jesus Christ the Lord, 2 Cor. 4.5.

Obj. But you will say, how, and when is that?

Answ. When we preach hu­mane [Page 73]Learning, or the wis­dome of the world in the stead and roome of the pure Gospel and Word of Christ, or else when we mix and mingle both together, contrary to the Scriptures, which say,1 Cor. 2.4. That our preaching should not be with en­ticing words of mans wisdome, but in the demonstration of the Spirit, and power. Or further, when our maine worke is to prepare a fine peece (as they call it) or a handsome quaint Sermon, or Oration, composed of Divi­nity, History, ancient sayings, and witty sentences; and all these neatly compiled, and put together like a Posie, and then delivered, and acted like a Play, then the blessed Word of God.

In the Primitive times, and for two or three hundred years [Page 74]after Christ (as a learned and godly man observed) the Mini­sters of the Gospel spake as the Holy Ghost gave them utte­rance, but when Antichrist be­gan to prevaile, that blessed, plaine, and ancient way of preaching was lest and lost, and since even till now men have made a meere trade of preaching, and its become the fruit of study, and brain-know­ledge, and the exercise of na­turall gifts and parts, rather then the breathings and teach­ings of Gods Spirit.

2 Ministers declare that they have much of Selfe, when they appropriate and assume to themselves a power over the Saints and Churches of Christ, so as to give rules to them, and to im­pose Lawes upon their Con­sciences;2 Cor. 1.24. but Paul having a [Page 75]more speciall Call, professed, That he had no dominion over the faith of the Saints, but was a constant helper of their faith and joy, but never exercised power but with the common consent of the Church where he was.

3 Selfe appeares much in some Ministers by the contempt they shew to their brethren, who are younger then they, as e­steeming them younglings, and terming them upstart boyes, that get up into Pulpits; But let these men consider how un­like Moses they are, who wished that all the Lords people were Prophets. Secondly, let this be considered by them, that God hath not limited and con­fined his discoveries to old men, but as Elihu said,Job 31.8, 9 There is a spirit in man, and the inspi­ration [Page 76]of the Almighty giveth them understanding. Great men are not alwaies wise; neither doe the aged understand judgement.

Thirdly, such men were once young themselves, and Paul commands that no man should despise Timothies youth. Last­ly, young men have the pro­mise of the Spirit as well as old men, Act. 2.17.

Fourthly,Phil. 2, 21. Ministers (for the most part) seeke their owne things, and not the things of Jesus Christ, as the Apostle complaines, and it may be said as the Prophet said,Esa. 56.11. That every man lookes to his owne way, and for gaine from his owne quarter.

Fifthly and lastly, There is another roote of bitterneste, and appearance of Selfe in the hearts of Ministers (the Lord root it out) that we love men [Page 77]more because they are of our opinion, then because they are Saints, and friends of Jesus Christ. Hereupon we make opinion, and not union with Jesus Christ (which ought to be the ground) of communi­on, and fellowship one with another. Having briefly shew­ed wherein Selfe appeares in Ministers, I now shall humbly take leave to speake to you who are Magistrates, whom God hath made honourable, and imployed in weighty and honourable undertakings. This Selfe, doubtlesse is among you also; and if you would take the Candle of the Lord, and search narrowly in your owne hearts, you might finde this enemy harbouring, and hiding himselfe in your breasts and bosomes. And for a [Page 78]helpe herein consider:

1 That Selfe appeares in those who desire and endeavour to creep and get into places of Authority for their owne private interests, and gaine. They de­sire their places more then they deserve them, and they looke more after their places then their places want them. An example hereof you may finde in Absolon, and in his words:2 Sam. 15.4. O that I were (said he) made Judge in the Land, that any man which hath any suit or cause, might come unto me, and I would doe him justice. Ma­ny are like the bramble in Jo­thans Parable,Judg. 9.15. that would rule over the Trees of the Wood, but poore is the service and shelter of a Bramble, fit only to stop a hole in a Hedge; no better are some, that seek (and [Page 79]serve in) places of trust. See whether any of you are guilty herein, or any of your Ser­vants, and under-officers; where-ever this is found it is abominable, and odious.

2 Magistrates seeke them­selves, when they make the utmost advantage of their pla­ces, when they have got into them;2 King. 5.21, 22. Elisha pu­nished his Servant with the same plague (or Leprofie) which Naaman had, ver. 27. a just punish­ment. as Gehazi the Servant of Elisha, tooke advantage of getting for himself from Naa man, when his Master refused & denied it. So the case may be with you, that though you your selves scorn, and despise bribes, and gifts, yet some of your Officers and Servants may take them; but if you doe ei­ther winke at, approve of, or let such things goe unpunished in them, God will impute the same to you as well as unto [Page 80]them;Neh. 5.15. Who can say there is not a lye in his right hand, Esa. 44.10. take therefore that blessed Nehemiah for your ex­ample, who would not suffer his Servants to beare rule over the people (as former Rulers did) because of the feare of God.

3 This is a signe of much Selfe, when men will comply with Saints, and seeme to be religious out of policy to pro­cure a good name, and esteeme among men; as it is said in the eleventh of Daniel, the 34. vers. That many should cleave to the people of God by flatteries. A notable example hereof wee finde in Ezra, (the fourth Chapter, and the second vers.) of some that came unto Zerub­babel, and to the chiefe of the Fathers, and said unto them; Let us build with you, for we seeke your God, as yee doe, &c. But marke the answer; But Zerub­babel [Page 81] and Jeshua, and the rest of the cheife of the Fathers of Israel said-unto them, you have nothing to doe with us, to build an house unto our God. As for such po­lititians (that come in the even­ing of the day, and at the end of the worke for their owne ends) God will discover, and confound them, with their basenesse and perfidiousnesse.

4 Examine whether you keep, and detaine in your hands, that which is due unto others. I doe not speake this in way of reflection, or reprehension, but in way of caution, and ex­amination, therefore I beseech you look into your own hearts and see whether it be so or no with you; for as you have ma­ny opportunities to inrich your selves, in these dayes, so you will not want temptations to [Page 82]improve them for your owne advantage: but observe this that of all times, this is not a time to be building our own nests, for either shortly we are like to have enough, or none at all; and honest men shall either share all, or be no sharers at all: but I do not fear the lat­ter.

Fiftly and lastly, men do ex­alt themselves, when they do oppose the glory of God, and the publique good, for their own private,Act. 19.24, 25. and personall in­terests; and of this sort there is not a few, who like Demetrius and his fellow Tradesmen, cry out that their Trade and Pro­fession is gone, if such things shall be tolerated, and such and such Acts passed. But wo­full is that Profession, or occu­pation that is maintained by [Page 83]the corruptions of the peo­ple.

Having put Magistrates, and Ministers upon selfe-examina­tion, let us now come to speake a word to the common sort of people. Nay, what I shal fur­ther speake in this Use con­cerns all. Consider then,

1 Whether you do prefer your owne righteousnesse be­fore the righteousnesse of Je­sus Christ; for of all Selfes, this is the most dangerous, and that rocke which most men split, and undoe their soules at. This was that which did undo the people of Israel of old,Ro. 9.31, 32. and this is that which is like to be the bane of many professors; Oh! therefore I beseech you consider the impurity, imper­fection, and insufficiency, of your own righteousuesse to ju­stifie, [Page 84]or save you, and looke upon that, free and full righte­ousnesse of Jesus Christ, and exalt it by beleeving on it, And submitting to it.

2 Examine your selves whe­ther you doe preferre Christs will or your own wills. Oh how eager are many in these dayes, for things that are not in the Scriptures, and to set up Institu­tions which Christ hath not ap­pointed: Aske what is the wil of God, and then what reason you have to obey it? Gods will carries reason with it, why it should be obeyed, for it is good, because God com­mands it, Oh say then as Christ said, not my wil but thine be done, and as Paul, Lord what wilt thou have me to do? Thus much for the second Use.Use 3.

The third Use is an use of [Page 85]Incouragement to althose that endeavor to exalt Jesus Christ: more particularly to you that are in Authority, who may say (as Samuel) hitherto hath the Lord helped us: 1 Sam. 7.12. and with David, 2 Sam. 7.18 Oh Lord God what is my house that thou hast brought me hitherto? You may call England Jeho­vah shammah (as the Church in Ezekiel the last verse) the Lord is there. Hee that will rightly and impartially looke, may see that the Lord is not yet departed, and so long as he abides among a people there is no fear, but great hopes (not­withstanding the greatnesle of their sins) that hee will pros­per and carry on his own work in their hands.

Object: But you will say, How shall we know that the Lord is yet with us, and not departed from us.

[Page 86] Answ. Among many other signes of the Lords presence, with you, Consider these few.

1 That you yet doe those things which are for his glory, your late actions, and your ve­ry late Acts testifie this, howe­ver prejudiced and disconten­ted men, would make those things your sins, which God (I beleeve) accounts and ap­proves of, as acceptable services done for his glory.

2 Surely God is with you, for his people are with you; You have all or most of the Congregations of Saints in the Nation with you, and for you. And note this that whensoe­ver God doth depart from any Authority, Power, or Peo­ple, God doth first take away the hearts of his people from [Page 87]them, that they neither ap­prove of them, joyn with them, nor pray for them: This we find in Samuel, who left Saul. and came no more to see him, 1 Sam. 14.35. and what followed? within a ve­ry little time after,1 Sam. 28.16. the Lord also departed from Saul and became his enemy. I hope I may say of you, as it was said of Ju­dah,Hos. 11.12 That you yet rule with God, and are faithfull to the Saints.

3 This is a signe that God is with you, that the Lord puts a spirit of zeal in some of you for a perfect Reformation; and also a spirit of assurance, that God will carrie on the Worke of your hands.

4 The concurrence of Gods Providence in effecting those great things which you have undertaken, both in this land and in Ireland, doth bespeake [Page 88]the Lord to be with you. The heavens smile, and the earth laughs and rejoyces at the ex­ecution of Justice, yea, some do observe that the Lord hath shewed himself more gracious to this land in externals, since you have appeared and acted for him of late so impartiallie and couragiously: however some (as the Prophet speaks) will not see the hand of the Lord that is so evidently lifted up. Esa. 62.11

5 And lastly, This is a sure sign that the Lord is yet with you, because you have decree­ed and don nothing against the Saints of God, nor imposed a­ny thing upon their conscien­ces, though you have beene frequentlie moved thereto. Remember stil those many Ser­mons that you have had to stir you up to be kind to the Lords [Page 89]little ones; they are (as you once excellently heard, the in­terest of Nations) and God wil deale well or ill with you, as you favor them, or frown upon them, therefore look upon the Saints next Christ, as your safest and strongest sanctuarie. Give me leave I beseech you, to put you in mind to be tender also to some tender consciences, who peradventure cannot sub­scribe and submit to your pow­er and authoritie, favor them, and be not provoked against them, though some would stir you up thereto, who perad­venture have no other ends but to weaken your hands, and to make you more odious to the people.

Object. But some will say, though God hath been hitherto with us, and yet abides amongst us, [Page 90]yet we have many grounds to fear that the Lord may leave us, and that there wil be a stop in the work now in our hands.

Ans. Sure the Lord hath not put you upon a worke that hee means to lay aside, for it is tem­ple-worke, and such a Temple-work as hath not bin underta­ken by any before. The work you are upon tends to set up Jesus Christ, & to pul down An­tichrist, fear not therefore, but go on for the Lord wil prosper you.

Obj. But peradventure some o­thers wil say, sin remains stil among us, and God is provoked now as much as ever, how then can the work go on?

Ans. God sometimes takes occasions from the sins of men to shew mercie to them, and to spare them. I have time onely [Page 91]to name you a few places, Gen. 8.21. Esa. 57.17. Hos. 2.13, 14. Joh. 20.25.

Obj. But that which doth most trouble us herein is, to know whe­ther the witnesses be slaine yea, or no?

Ans. 1. Suppose the witnes­ses were not slaine, yet it is an honor to be a witnes to Christ, and to suffer Martyrdome for his sake, and in his cause.

2 If they be not slaine, yet the time of their slaying and being dead is but short; but,

3 It is more then probable, (yea I am very confident) that they are slaine, and have been a slaying all the time and reigne of Antichrist; now Christ begins to take his great power, and to reigne, and now the Judgement is set, and po­wer put into the hands of the [Page 92]Saints, and one of the ten Hornes is cut off, and never to be put on againe; yea this yeare, 1650. that is comming, (according to the interpreta­tion of many, yea most godly Writers upon Daniel, and the Revelation) is to be the Saints yeare of Jubilee; and though it be also at Rome a Jubilee this yeare, (when they are at the height of their pleasure and pride) yet ere long God will visite them to some pur­pose; therefore up in belee­ving, and be doing, for your Lord is with you. I have three things to exhort you to in three words, and the rather let me minde you herein, be­cause God hath so prospered and blessed you in your Coun­sells and Armies, and set you up over your enemies:

[Page 93] 1 Decree nothing that is unjust;Esa. 10.1. There is a woe pronoun­ced against those that decree un­righteous decrees, and that write grievousnesse, which they have prescribed. The Lord keepe us from sinning by a Law, though we through weaknesse do daily sin against a Law.

2 The second thing I would minde you of, and stirre you up to, is the removing of all such things as are yet offensive to religious people, particularly such Laws as continue in force against them, and all supersti­tious Relicks, which keep the people still in blindnesse.

3 Doe what you can to sa­tisfie the desires of those that are distressed; as (1) Those that suffered for, and in the Lords Cause, to whom you have given promises, engage­ments, [Page 94]and encouragements of releefe, and redresse. (2) Think upon poore Prisoners, whom you have partly releeved al­ready, but they complaine that the remedy is yet too short and insufficient to heale the disease, (as this day I have been desired by Letters from severall of them) to move you in. (3) The poore of the Na­tion (called Beggers) are to be thought of, and not to be suf­fered (to the dishonour of God, and the shame of the Na­tion) to be out of a calling, and imployment, and many to starve and perish; remove also what oppressions and burdens you can from the necks of the people of the Land, remem­bring and considering that text in the third of Esaiah the fif­teenth verse.

[Page 95] I crave leave for one word more,Last use. and it is to stirre you up to thankfulnesse. This day might have beene a day of praise as well as of prayer, for God hath given all of us cause of rejoycing, and thankful­nesse; you that are in Autho­rity blesse the name of the Lord, that he hath not suffe­red you to be broken in peeces, praise him; O praise him that he hath honoured, preserved, and prospered you so much. Also let the Ministers blesse the Lord, that there is liber­ty, and a doore open for them to preach the Gospel, yea let all people blesse the Lord, that they have a breathing and re­freshing time; a time of peace, a time of plenty, a time of Christian Liberty to professe Christ, and to worship him [Page 96]according to rule and Consci­ence; above all let us praise God that Christ is exalted: Also let us blesse God for Ire­land (yea poor Wales) that those people that were so contemp­tible, are like to have the grea­test presence of God amongst them. I have done, only I shall pray that the Lord would make you as Ezra, a helper; as Nehemiah, the consolation of God; as Zerubbabel, an opposer of Babylon; & as Eliakim, fathers to the people of this Nation; I doubt not but this Generation, and the Ages and Generations to come, will (as they have cause) blesse God for you, and the things done by you in these dayes.

FINIS.

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