One Heart and one Way.

ZACH. 14.9.

And the Lord shall be King over all the earth; in that day shall there be one Lord and his name one.

GOD leaves not himself without witness, nor his Church without witnesses; and therefore he did in all ages raise up Pro­phets not only for his Churches present Direction and Consolation, but also to shew unto them what should come to pass in the latter daies.

God having now opened the graves of his people, commanded deliverances for Jacob, and turned their cap­tivity as the Rivers in the South, sent forth his prisoners by the blood of the Covenant, out of the pit in which there was no water, Chap. 9.11. being now come again into their own Land, they were apt to please themselves with thoughts of ease and peace, as if they should now [Page 466] live in an Ile of providence, where they should enjoy a perpetual summer: therefore in this cap­tivity the Lord doth fore-warn them of greater sufferings that they were to undergo in the last times.

Wherein we have first the Judgement it self de­nounced, setting forth an utter over-throw, and a per­fect conquest: the day of the Lord cometh, when the spoil shall be divided in the middle of thee, ver. 12. which be­ing spoken after their return from Babylon, must needs be understood deultima clade, of the last destruction of their City, and the present dissipation of their Nation.

Secondly, here is a description of their miserable condition at this time: the light shall not be clear nor dark, ver. 6. non stabilis aliqua temporum ratio, there shall be nothing certain: in doubtful times we are subject al­waies to new fears: daily changes are continual dangers: quasi in continuo crepusculo, it shall be neither day nor night, mixtures of hope and fear: they cannot say it is so dark as there is an end of their hopes, &c. nor so light as there is an end of their fears.

Thirdly, after this he comforts his Church with an assurance of deliverance, and that by divers Ar­guments.

First, though it were sharp, yet it should be short, but as one day: for a thousand years with the Lord is but as one day: and a day that the Lord knoweth; that is, he hath limited, for the desolations are determined, Dan. 9.26.

Secondly, the issue shall be happy; though the day should neither be clear nor dark, yet he promises laetum fore exitum, the evening shall be light.

Thirdly, the Author of their deliverance shall be Jehovah: he that before gathered all Nations against Jeru­salem, ver. 2. he that provided the thorns to scatter Judah, provided also the carpenters to fray them away, Chap. 1.20,21. then shall Iehovah go forth and fight against this Nation, ver. 3.

Fourthly, the manner of the deliverance, God shall so do it, that he will make it appear to be his work. God doth many things by second causes, wherein his hand doth not so clearly appear: his hand is in his glove, his arm in his sleeve: but when it doth appear to be wholy his work, then he doth make bare his arm in the sight of the Nations, Isa 52.10 The Lord should be as plainly seen here, as if his feet did stand upon Mount Olivet.

Fifthly, the glorious condition of this Church after this deliverance, and that in these particulars.

First, after this Jerusalem shall be made eminent and honourable: Ierusalem stood in a Valley, and the Mount of Olives hid it, that it could not be seen: but now, the Mount shall cleave asunder in the midst, and all shall become a plain: what ever might hinder the sight of the glory of the City, or else might hinder the flocking in of her own people and of all Nations to her. God will remove great obstacles: Mounts shall not stand in the way of his people, either to hinder their deliver­ance, or to over shaddow their glory; Who art thou Oh great Mountain, that thou shouldst stand before Zorobabel? thou shalt become a plain, cap. 4.7.

Secondly, after this deliverance Jerusalem shall be exalted, as the mother Church, & then living waters shal go forth of Ierusalem unto the uttermost parts of the earth, Ver. 8. which was in a measure accomplished when the [Page 468] Law went out of Zion, but it was not fulfilled; for this fountain in Ierusalem was soon dryed up; and therefore here is some further thing aimed at; for the promise is, summer and winter shall they run, and therefore I doubt not from hence to conclude, that after the coming in of the Iews, great profit and enlargement both in know­ledge and graces shall come upon all the Gentile Churches.

Thirdly, the blessed and glorious Government of this state after this deliverance; the Lord had for their sins broken both the staff of beauty and the staff of bonds, by which he fed them in times past, but now he would return and be their King again; for so I should rather express he Emphatical particle [...] super totam ter­ram illam; And it is exceeding probable, that after their conversion the Lord shall in a more glorious manner undertake the Government of that people: surely it is not for nothing that it is so often repeated, And David my servant shall be their Prince for ever, Ezek. 37.24,25.

Lastly, here is the fruit and consequence of this Go­vernment, and that is double in this verse, Iehovah shall be one, and his name one, &c.

We know the name of God is exceeding diversly taken in the Scripture; but here I conceive is meant the Religion that God hath set forth in his word, and the worship that he hath set up in the Church; so I conceive it is used in Mich. 4.5. All people will walk every man in the name of his God, & we wil walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever: that is, the greatest part of the world, as their gods are Idols, so they are addicted unto a su­perstitious worship of these according to the inventions of men; but as our God is but one, and his rule of wor­ship [Page 469] one: this worship according unto this rule we will keep our selves to, and never change for any humane invention so long as the world shall en­dure.

So that the meaning of the promise seems to be this; whereas before they worshiped many Gods; as there be Gods many, and Lord, many; they served both the Idols of their hearts, and of their hands; now they should turn from dead Idols, and serve only the living God: they should say, What have I to do any more with Idols? and then, Iehovah shall be one: And whereas in the times of their ignorance as they served many Gods, so in the worship of these Gods they had many superstitious and carnal rites, according as every mans fancy led him: and so there were as many names, and several names of wor­ship as they had many Gods. But now the Lord pro­miseth that as all the Idols shall be taken away, so all Idolatrous and superstitious worship also, so that there shall be but one God, and one name. Iehovah one, the rule of his worship one, and his worship according to that rule shall be one.

One name. Philosophers tell us that unum non super­addit enti aliquid positivum sed tantum negationem Compo­sitionis & divisionis. Aquin. par. 1. q 11. a.i. A denial both of multitude and mixtures.

So we see God is One; that is, there is none else: none besides; and that stands in opposition unto many; and God is One, that is, he hath a simple being, & quic­quid est in Deo, Deus est, in opposition unto mixture: so that First his name shall be One, to set out his purity, that his worship it shall not be mixed with the inventions of men no more. Secondly, his name One, that is, the Religion shall be the same amongst them all; it notes [Page 470] the identity of it; so that though now there be many every where, but then they shall have One heart and one way.

I will begin with the first, unity as it stands opposed unto composition setting forth the simplicity of Gods worship; it shall be no more mixed and corrupted with the inventions of men, &c.


When a people turn to God by repentance, and he returns to them in mercy, he will give unto them one name, (that is) he will free them from all superstitious and humane mix­tures in his worship.

In opening whereof I shall show two things: first that in all ages it hath been the main labour of Satan and all the enemies of the Church, when they could not root out the worship of God wholly, then to cor­rupt the simplicity of it by humane inventions, tradi­tions and superstitious mixtures.

Secondly, that when they turn unto God, and God unto them, he will free them from all these▪

First, that the main aim hath been a mixed Religion, contrary to the simplicity of the Gospel, so that if they cannot sowe wholly tares, yet there shall be tares sown amongst the wheat; this hath been alwaies the practice of the envious man, Mat. 13.28. this will appear if we look into the several ages of the Church, and we shall find that the same plot hath been alwaies on foot.

First, look upon the Church of God in Egypt, and there Satan introduced a mixture; they worshiped indeed the true God, as appeared in the Idolatry of the [Page 471] Calf, but they worshipped him not according to the rule that he had prescribed, but after an Idolatrous manner of the Heathen, and so they defiled themselves with the Idols of Egypt, Ezek. 20.7. worshipping the true God according to the inventions of men: Therefore the Lord having purified his worship in the Wilderness, and seeing their proness to this evil, he warns them that when they came into the Land of Canaan, they should not so much as enquire after the manner of worship used by those Nations, not how they served their Gods, Deut. 12.30,32. he saw it was the heart of man was apt to enquire after, if not after a new God yet after new waies of worshiping the true God, continually: the Lord therefore commands them, Thou shalt not do so un­to the Lord thy God: So that to worship the true God in a superstitious and ceremonious imitation of Idolaters, though it be but in the manner of their worship, and though I say it be done to the true God, yet it is in Gods sight abominable.

Yet when God had given them this warning, when they were come into Canaan they were mixed among the Heathen, and learned their waies, and worshipped their Idols, which proved a snare unto them, Psal. 106.36. Ieroboam fled into Egypt from the face of Solomon, and there he learned the Idolatry of the Calves: and when he came to the Crown this was the Religion, and the way of worship, that he had a desire for Politick ends to set up; but yet he would have it to come as neer to the worship of God at Jerusalem as possibly he might: they had their Temple, Altar, and Cere­monies, every whit as chargable, and in humane dis­course as rational as that at Jerusalem; only there must be a mixture of something he had devised out of his own [Page 472] heart, 1 King. 12.33. and therefore the Prophet saith, Hos. 8.14. Israel hath forgotten his maker and buildeth Temples: A man would think that he that builds Temples should have God much in his mind: but they that will appoint a worship of their own which never came into his heart, and build Temples and places for Gods publike worship when he hath appointed but one, that man in Gods account whatever he pretends, he hath forgotten his Maker.

After this, Ahab did not wholly cast off the worship God, but yet he must have his mixture also, and there­fore he joyned unto the Calves the worship of Baal which was yet more hateful, 1 King. 16.31,32. King Ahaz did not who ly cast off the worship of God, yet he brought from Damascus a new fashioned Altar, which it seemed that King was much taken with, and the pattern there­of he sent before hand unto Vriah the Priest to provide him the like against the Kings return, 2 King. 16.10,11. And as we say where God hath his Church, the Devil hath his Chappel; so where the Devil hath his Chap­pel he shall seldom want a Chaplain; he did provide him the Altar against the King came home: So in the times of the Prophets there was still a mixture aimed at, Zeph. 1.4,5. there were some that did swear by God and by Malcome also: and thus in the daies of Iosiah there was a great reformation in matters of Religion, and Idola­trous worship in publick was much suppressed, 2 King. 23. Yet there was a remnant of Baal yet remaining, which is conceived not to be exprest so much in outward pra­ctise by reason of his restraint of authority, but it was much in the hearts of the people, there being in them still a proness unto that kind of Idolatry, that for many years formerly the Land had been infected with­al: [Page 473] and there were Chemarims, which is conceived to be from [...] incaluit (that is) men more zealous and hot then ordinary for those Idolatrous worships, men that did further and promote it with all their power; and if there be a remnant of Baal anywhere, a thousand to one but there will be found Chemarims also, men very hot and zealous to advance and encrease it.

In the Primitive times we know there was a mixture of the Bondage of the Law with the liberty of the Gospel. Of legal Ceremonies, and Evangelical Ordinances: a composition of Iudaism, and Christianity; because they saw there was a question, they thought to take in both for surety as the safest way.

‘After this Popery came into the world, and that is meerly a mixture, a medly in their worship, a mixture of Gods Ordinances, and carnal and heathenish super­stitions: the Pope a mixture of a Prince and a Priest: their Mass a mixture of a Ceremony and a Sacrament: their Canons a mixture partly out of the Word of God, and partly from their own traditions: and to shew that they love the mid-way in all these, their Purgatory a middle place between Heaven and Hell.’

Since that, in the Reformed Churches there be many, that though they have not been fully Popish, yet have greatly desired and much laboured for a reconciliation, as if a middle way between us were the way to peace: who perswade themselves, and seek to their power) to perswade us, that if we yield unto them in Ceremonies, it may be a means to bring them over in Doctrines: and to tell us, were it not for the Iesuites on the one side, and the Puritans on the other, two hot spirits, [...]derate men would soon agree: we read of some, [Page 474] Rev. 13.16. that do receive the mark of the Beast; a mark I conceive to be an expression taken either from a servant or a souldier, who by some badge or cogni­zance are known to what Master or Captain they be­long; for as Christ will have his Church sealed, Rev. 7.3. so will Antichrist have his servants mark­ed.

And this mark the text tels us is double, in the right hand, and in the forehead: the one notes an open pro­fession, and the other an earnest contention to promote the cause.

First, in the fore-head; it is an open profession either in words or practise, when men either practise it, or praise it: when men praise their feasts, keep their fasts, honour their Saints, set up their images, commend their Crucifixes, love their Ornaments, their Copes, their Tapers, choose their names of Priests, and Altars &c. it is as plain hereby as if it were written in their fore­heads, to whom they do belong, and it appears plain­ly that a mixture, a middle way they desire.

Secondly, A mark in the right hand sets forth an ear­nest contention in the cause of the beast, the right hand being the Instrument of action, and that wherein a mans main strength lyeth; and so Antichrist hath his Merchants, his Factors and Agents in most parts of the world, that strive to the utmost of their parts and power in many things, if not in all, to advance the worship of the beast, and to engage men in their quarrel. So that in all ages there hath been a mixture; for Satan would have a Religion like unto Nebuchadnezars Image; he cares not though the head be of Gold, and the breast of Silver, so long as the other parts be either of brass, or else partly of Iron and partly clay.

Now what hath been the cause of these mixtures in all ages? they are two.

First the Ministery: and,

Secondly the people.

First, an unclean spirit working in the Prophets; that is given as one reason when the Lord will cleanse his peo­ple, and take away the causes of their pollution he saith, Zach. 13.2. he will cause the Prophet and the unclean spirit to pass out of the Land: (that is) the unclean spirit that works in the Prophets, for the truth is there is a spirit of uncleanness and prophaness is gone forth into the world.

Secondly, horrible pride in all those in whom this spirit of uncleanness doth take place; for vain man would be wise, Iob 11.12. and he affects a shew of wisdom in nothing so much as in matters of Religion, either in the Doctrine or the worship of God; and this is made a special cause of all humane mixtures, Col. 2.18. being vainly puft up by their fleshly minds.

Thirdly, a vehement desire that some men have ari­sing from this pride to win Proselytes unto themselves, that all men may be of their mind, after their garb in all things; they would have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh: ut multitudine sequacium sese efferant, that they may please themselves in this, how many they have brought about, and how many Disciples they have drawn after them, that become their admirers, &c.

Fourthly, horrible hypocrisie, when men are Sepul­chres within, yet they desire outwardly to appear paint­ed; who having no power of godliness within, yet by new inventions would fain bear the world in hand, that surely they are men of a higher strain for matters of [Page 476] Religion then ordinary, whereof their zeal for a little bodily exercise and outward complement must be the great witness to the world; and this Christ chargeth upon the Pharisees as a special cause of all that corrupti­on and composition that was in the Church of God amongst them, as we see Mat. 23.13,14.

Fifthly, worldly wisdom, politick respects, and fleshly ends; what moved Ieroeobam to set up the Calves, or Iehu to retain them, but because it suited better with their policy, and earthly aims and purposes, then the purity of Gods worship would ever have done; for when men come to this, to count gain godliness, then that will be the best Religion, or the best way of worship, and those the most decent ceremonies that will but further their worldly ends.

So sometimes a correspondency with forraign pow­ers of another Religion: So Ahaz that he might keep his correspondency with forraign powers, with Tiglah Pelezer King of Assyria, he must have the fashion abroad also, 2 King. 16.11,12. outward references have many times a great influence into the matters of Religion.

Sixthly and lastly, there are four sins which are in a especial manner incident unto the Prophets, and the great causes thereof are, Ignorance, Idleness, Covetous­ness and Cowardize.

First, ignorance; that is given as a special cause of many humane inventions amongst the Pharisees; thou blind Pharisee, Mat. 23.26. And the Church of Thyati­ra, many well-meaning men were deluded because they knew not the depth of Satan, Rev. 2.24. many men are deluded because they see not the evil that is intend­ed: the Apostle tels us of Popery, that it is a mysterie of [Page 477] iniquity, 2 Thes. 2.7. Iniquitas, sed mystica, pietatis & fi­delitatis nomine palliata: represented unto men under the names both of piety and loyalty.

Secondly, Idleness and carelesness in matters of this nature, so that if men can enjoy their liberty, live quiet­ly, and richly, for the purity of Gods worship it matters not so much; that is given as the cause. Mat. 13.24,25. While men slept the enemy came and sowed tares. In most ages there have been some secure and quiet times of the Church; when the Prophets have taken their ease, and a spirit of slumber hath come upon them, and then is the time to vent and set forth the inventions of men, and so by little and little, pedetentim, usu ipso & tacita Doctorum approbatione coepit esse in precio, hac aestimatione sensim sine sensu crescente. As a Jesuite speaks of some things in Popery.

Thirdly, Covetousness, a desire of raising them­selves in the world, and to set themselves in a way of preferment: and when men see there is no other way to rise, then they resolve to yield unto this: so it was with them of the Concision, who brought such a Mixture, and caused such a rent in the Church, Phil. 3.19. it was because their God was their belly, and they minded earthly things: So that if there be a Diotrephes that loves pre­ferment, he must and will have both the Dictates and Inventions of men as well as their persons in admiration for advantage sake.

Fourthly, Cowardize, Gal. 6.12. they found out a middle way to mix the bondage of the Law with the liberty of the Gospel, that they might not suffer persecu­tion for the cross of Christ, but that they might be well thought of on both sides. Ieroboham set up Idolatry in Bethel, and an old Prophet of the Lord dwelt there, yet [Page 478] such was his Cowardize, that it seems he had nothing to say against it, but that the Lord must send a Pro­phet from Judah to reprove him, 1 King. 13. and the truth is, had not the Ministers been in many ages a ge­neration of spiritual cowards, they had never had so many inventions imposed upon them as they have had.

Secondly, there are also many causes in the people; but I will only insist upon this one because they re­ceive not the Doctrine of the Gospel in the purity, nor the worship of God in the love of it; and therefore the Lord in Justice gives them up unto an efficacy of deceit, 2 Thes. 2.10,11. They are ready to receive any Do­ctrine without trying the spirits, and to yield unto any command willingly, walk after the Commandment, Hos. 5.11. they are for the most part a lump fit to receive any leaven; the Prophets prophecy falsly, &c. and the peo­ple love to have it so, Ier. 5. ult. for a pompous Religion, that consists much in outward shews, and that which abounds most in bodily exercise, is a thing that is gene­rally well-pleasing unto men, Amos 4.5. and usually when men forsake the rule, then they look more at what will please them, then what will please God: this liketh you O house of Israel: and this was all they looked at therein.

Secondly, when God turns unto a people in mercy, and they return unto him, he will free them from all this superstition or idolatrous mixtures, Zeph. 3.9. I will restore unto them a pure language: which place being compared with that, Isa 19.18. They shall all speak the language of Canaan: Language there notes consensum cum populo Dei in fide & cultu: restoring a pure language, may signifie purity both in Doctrine and Worship: they [Page 479] shall speak no more partly the language of Canaan, and partly of Ashdod, as in times past: but the pure language of Canaan: in Judgement I will make them one Nation upon the Mountains of Israel, and they shall defile them­selves no more with their Idols and their detestable things, and from all your Idols I will cleanse you, Ezek. 37.2,3. And I will give unto them one heart and one way, that they shall fear me for ever, Ier. 32.39.

Now the reason why the Lord will take away these mixtures when he returns, are these.

First, because usually these are the greatest and the most provoking sins of a Nation, Hos. 9.15. all their wickedness is in Gilgal; this was antiently the place of worship, 1 Sam. 15.12. and there they did now worship God according to their own devices; the Prophet tels them, where they did think to please God, it was the greatest transgression that they did commit; for so I con­ceive the particle [...] is to be taken pro summo, in all their thefts, adulteries, drunkenness, &c. they did not all of them provoke the Lord, so much as that they did worship him according to their own inventions in Gilgal. Deo serviendum est non ex arbitrio sed ex imperio: There is nothing to be done but by rule, Gal. 6.16 now where the creature shall take so much upon himself as to set his wisdom above the wisdom of God, and set his thre­shold beside the threshold of the Lord, Ezek. 43.8. it is a provoking sin that the Lord cannot en­dure.

Secondly, because this is a special cause why God departs from any people; now the Lord will never re­turn in mercy unless the cause be taken away that pro­voked him to depart; Ezek. 8.7. every humane inven­tion imposed as necessary to the service of God, is an [Page 480] Image of jealousie, and the aim of it is to provoke the Lord to go far from his Sanctuary: it is finis operis, though not operantis.

Thirdly, because of all Judgements upon a people, this is the greatest; and therefore when the Lord re­turns unto them in mercy he must take away these, Psal. 81.12. I gave them up to walk in their own counsels, it is spoken as of the greatest Judgement could befall them: and so it is for a man to be a rule to himself; for he that is his own rule, must needs be his own end, and he that is his own end, must needs be his own God; and therefore it is a speech of the greatest displeasure, he hath made unto himself Altars to sin, therefore Altars shall be unto him to sin, Hos. 8.11.

Fourthly, when God doth return unto a people in mercy, he doth intend to delight in them, and rejoyce over them to do them good, and that he can never do in any service that they perform, until worship be purged from humane mixtures, Mal 3.3,4. When he hath sat in his Church as a refiner, and hath purged his worship, then shall the sacrifices of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord as in the daies of old: then, but not till then.


Let this teach every one of us a double duty. First, hate all idolatrous and superstitious mixtures in Gods worship whatsoever. Secondly, beware of them. First, hate them as being the thing that causeth the Lord to go far from his Sanctuary: to be unto his people as a way­faring man that tarries but for a night: groan under them as burdens, that so the Lord may return unto his people in mercy, and rest [...] unto his Church a pure [Page 481] language; that they may no longer halt between two opi­nions; no more swear by God and by Malcome; but that he may restore to us one heart and one way.

To move your hatred against it; consider,

First, of all kinds of sin this is most defiling: thou defiledst thy self with thy Idols, Ezek. 22.4. Now what is defilement or filthiness? it is, saith Aquinas, Carentia nitoris quem ex gratia habemus: indeed all sin stains and blemisheth the beauty of the soul, but this sin above others. And if we observe the Scripture, we shall see that they have been men of most corrupt spirits, and the most profligated consciences that have been most set upon humane inventions in the things of God: take the Pharisees for an instance; and indeed it is Just with God, that they that will find out waies of worship for God to be unto themselves means of sanctification, that those should prove in just Judgement a means of deso­lation.

Secondly, it is most inflaming: they have inflamed themselves with their Idols under every green tree, Isa. 57.5. they are said to be for this cause, mad upon their Idols, Ier. 50.38. Now in madness there are two things: furor, and amentia; here is both; first all soundness of mind is taken away, that a man cannot say, Is there a not a lye in my right hand? Secondly, it carries the whole man with fury after it, so that none more violent in their persecutions then such men are who desire or have em­braced for Doctrines the conceits of men.

Thirdly, there is no sin wherein men do manifest more folly; striving to shew themselves wise they become fools, Rom. 1.21. for how highly soever men esteem of humane contributions in Gods worship: yet in Gods account they are no better then playes, and mimical [Page 482] dancings, Exod. 10.6. we know it was that which they intended for a Religious worship; but being in a way of their own devising, the Lord calls it play, and the Apo­stle in 1 Cor. 10.7. renders it: So that they were but childish carriages, antiqui gestus, neither suitable to the holiness of God nor the Majesty of his Ordinances; only fit to please children and no more.

Fourthly, No sin ripens Judgement more, nor ripens a people more for Judgement. So Ezek. 22.4. Thou hast defiled thy self with thy Idols, thou hast caused thy daies to draw neer, thou art come even unto thy years. This provoked the Lord to break both the staff of beauty, and of bands, with which he fed his people, as Zach. 11.7. the staff of beauty, that excellent order of go­vernment that was amongst them, was now turned into confusion: and the staff of bonds of mutual love and amity that was amongst them, turned to division. And let no man be forward in the promoting of humane wisdom this way; for Judg. 8.27. Gedeon made an Ephod, and the people went a whoring after it: but the thing proved a snare unto Gedeon, and unto his house.

Lastly, it is an endless sin: wherein a man knows not where to stay, as Hos. 10.1. According to the multi­tude of his fruit, he increased his Altars, and according to the good ness of his land, he hath made unto himself good­ly Images: as God blessed them in their estates, so they began to bethink themselves of a more pompous way of Religion; for if any mans fancy may be a rule, then may one mans as well as anothers, and so a man shall ne­ver know where to stay.

Secondly, beware of it also; for seeing it hath been a sin in so many ages of the Church, it seems a mans [Page 48] nature is exceeding prone to it; therefore take heed you be not insnared by it: little children keep your selves from Idols: amen, 1 Ioh. 5. ult. and you have great cause to take heed.

First, because they are brought in under beautiful pre­tences; the mysterie Babylon gives the wine of her fornica­tion in a golden cup, Rev. 17.4. and in this she is truly. a Harlot, her hands are snares and bands: she is skilful to allure.

Secondly, take the more heed because they come not in all at once, but by degrees they creep in, [...], Iude 4. Eph. 4.14. they lie in wait to deceive: it is a studied thing, and they have a method in it, and rules according to which they do pro­ceed, and they walk in craftiness: the word is, [...], which properly signifies deceit at dice, so that there is not so much cheating and jugling in the most deceitful sport, as there is used by them that in this kind lie in wait to deceive. Hos. 7.6. it was the way that Ieroboam had to bring in his Idolatry into this state.; his desires and purposes were as hot as an oven; but the people were a great lump, and they could not be presently leavened; and therefore he sends forth his Agents into the several parts of his Kingdom, and they did seek to leaven the people, and in the mean time the Baker slept and ceased from raising: the people were not leavened by and by, nor fitted to receive such corrupt worship, and therefore he did stay a while till it might be done.

Thirdly, take heed of it: for if it once begin, it will strangely encrease: if one that goes before do bring in some, there be those that come after that will add to the plot: as when Popery was set up, we know one Pope [Page 484] added something, and another something more, till at last they made up that patched Religion. If Ieroboam bring in the calves, its a thousand to one but afterwards Omri and Ahab shall set up the worship of Baal.

Fourthly, it is a great dishonour to a Congregation; for it makes all the worship of God unfruitful; for in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the rudi­ments of men, Mat. 15.9. nay it makes them sinful, Amos 4.4. Go up to Bethel and transgress, &c. (imply­ing) that the more they laboured in those services, (it is a bitter Sarcasm) the more they did displease God, and add to their own fin and judgement; this turned Bethel the house of God into Bethaven, Hos. 10 5.

Fifthly, they will surely eat out all the heart of the worship of God in time. 2 King. 16.14,15. when Ahaz had set up a new fashioned Altar, he commande [...] the Priests to burn the morning and evening sacrifices upon the great Altar that he had made; thus we see it puts the Altar of God out of office; and that they might think he had a Religious end in it, he saith, that the Brazen Altar, (that is) the Altar of the Lord shall be for the King to enquire by, si quando placebit; as Iunius well notes upon the place.

Lastly, this will stand a man in no stead in time to come; its spoken with some derision, Hos. 8.5. Oh Sa­maria thy calf hath cast thee off: when the captivity came, the Lord tells them that, because they were very confident that they should be delivered: but now it seems the calf hath cast you off. Canaan was the Lords Land, and he gave it to you, and to your Fathers for an inheritance: but as soon as you cast off God, it is no wonder if the Calf cast off you, and cast you [Page 485] out of the good Land that God hath given you.


Seeing the words are a promise that there shall be one God and one name, consider, promises are objects of faith, grounds of hope, and rules of prayer: and by these things men live, and in this is the life of our spirits, Isa. 38,16. that is, on this we rest, in these we hope, and according unto these we pray: and in this doth the life of a mans spirit mainly consist.

First, then look upon this particular promise as an object of faith; and concerning it we must exercise these four several acts of faith.

First, let thy faith sound the depth of this promise; for there be treasures in the word, and they lie not above ground, they must be digged for, Prov. 2.4 and they be not the smallest to be had in the promises; what doth God here promise? simplicity and sincerity, in whatever concerns his worship and service; for whatever is mixed departs from unity: now of humane mixtures I find in Scripture three sorts, and unto them all I conceive this promise reaches: so our faith must look upon it.

First, in Doctrine, mixing the truth of God with false glosses, and corrupt interpretations, neither agreeing to the wisdom, majesty, or mind of the Holy-Ghost, and this is the mixture here spoken of, Ier. 23.28. what is the chaff to the wheat? and yet if many Sermons were winnowed, though the chaff is nothing to the wheat, yet it might haply prove more then the wheat.

Secondly, in worship; Acts in the worship of God, that have no other ground but the will of man, that is the mixture the Apostle speaks of, Col. 2.23. they did [Page 486] worship the true God, and they did in many things per­form those acts which he required, but they mixed some acts out of their own will, which God never command­ed, neither came it into his heart, Ier. 7.31.

Thirdly, in Discipline a mixture of the Ordinances of God, and of the Commandments of men, some­times turning the power they have from God against them for whose good and preservation it was mainly given; the edge of the sword against the watch-man, Ier. 36.5. he was shut up: it was not in prison, for he fled and hid himself, and therefore it is conceived to be spoken of excommunication: and so they slay the witnesses: which cannot be understood litterally of kill­ing them as men, but Metaphorically killing them as witnesses, Rev. 11.11. If there be a rotten member to be cut off, they strike with the back of the sword; but if a godly man have but a hair to be paired off, they turn the edge and strike a full blow, &c. so vvhen men mix the Ordinances of God with their ovvn corrupt ends, and order all things in matter of Government so as it shall best serve to advance their worldly ends, colour over acts of policy vvith pretences of piety: Say it is Corban, for their ovvn advantage sake, Mark 7.11. let thy faith engage thee to lay hold on the promise in all this, and expect to be delivered from them all, that in every one of these respects Gods name may be one.

Secondly, put forth an act of reliance, affiance, re­cumbence, or vvhatever else doth express an act of an humble and believing soul, casting himself upon a promise to obtain it: cleave to the word, Psal. 119.13. leave thy self vvith the promise: for that is the expres­sion, the poor have themselves with thee. Psa. 10,14 [...]

Thirdly, shut thy eyes against all difficulties, stagger not at the unlikeliness of the means: he that should look upon the Israelites at their division, and see how much division and how much Idolatry there was amongst them, and that of all the Nations round about (but yet the Lord hath said it, and it shall be accomplished in his season) he that shall observe how exceedingly a pom­pous Religion pleaseth them, and how much they are taken with humane additions in Gods service, how firmly it is rooted and with what power it is backed, he will be ready to say, if God should create windows in heaven, this could not be: but know, though there were mountains in this way of his people, yet this could not hinder the accomplishment of a promise; Who art thou O great mountain? before Zerubabel thou shalt become a plain, Zach. 4.6,7. nay and these mountains faith doth often remove and make them become a plain.

Fourthly, wait for the performance of it in Gods due time. Act 1.4. rejoyce for the promise of the Father, though it may haply by sin be delayed. God brought his peo­ple to the borders of the Land of promise, and shew­ed them the good Land, and yet by their unthankful walking, they were led back again fourty years in the wilderness; but however, if it tarry, rejocye for it: for it will speak, and it will not lye, it will come and it will not tarry, Hab. 2.3.

Secondly, let it be unto thee also a ground of hope: the object of hope is good things to come; and that which is grounded upon the promise is lively hope that never makes ashamed; let there be an holy, an earnest expectation and groaning for it, [...], go forth and meet the mercy while it is yet a far off.

And to stir up your hope, consider first, it will be a means to allay your present grief; to see men usurpe the Throne of God, and talk of sitting immediately in the consciences, and to wring those tender wards of conscience that is as soon spoyled as a Ship cast away, 1 Tim. 1.9. to hear the word of God (as preached) set forth by the unnourishing vapours of humane wit, can­not but be a grief to a good heart; so to see the Ordi­nances of God pure in themselves, to be set out with the dressings and blandishments of the inventions of men, like a wall of a marble with a roof of straw; to see people turned away with every wind of Doctrine; and when Ministers shall have cause to complain that have preached long in a place, P. Martyr as Peter Martyr did at the com­ing in of Queen Mary, when he heard in Oxford a Col­ledge bell ring to Mass & the Students flocking there a pace, Haec una notula omnem meam doctrinam evertit: this bell rings a passing peal to all my Lectures, to all my Sermons: to that man to whom the Ordinances in their purity be dearer then his life, it cannot but be a great grief; as the contrary cannot but be a great mat­ter of joy when he shall consider that the time will come when the Kingdom shall be the Lords, and men shall cor­rupt the purity of his worship no more.

Secondly, hereby the Ordinances shall be set up in their glory, and they are surely the glory of a Nation wheresoever they are, 1 Sam. 4: ult. To see Romam in flore, that is one of St. Austines wishes; how much more doth a good heart desire to see Ecclesiam in flore, that God may beautifie the house of his glory? Isa. 60 7.

Thirdly, then shall his people more fully enjoy the presence of God in his Ordinances; for when the Tem­ple is purged, the glory of the Lord will fill the house, [Page 489] Ezek. 43.1,2. and the name of the City shall be Jehovah Shammah, the Lord is there, Ezek. 48. ult.

Fourthly, hereby the consciences of Gods people shall be freed from many an unnecessary burthen; now ye should desire the peace of Jerusalem; they shall prosper that love it, Psal. 1,22 6. suppose your consciences be not touched; what if they be no burthens upon you; yet where is the spirit that said, who is offended, and I burn not? 2 Cor. 11.29.

Thirdly, let it be a rule of prayer, for the promise is the only rule of what we can ask in faith, and prayer the only ground of what we can expect with comfort, and therefore let thy heart say Amen unto this pro­mise, be it unto thy servant according to thy word, Luke 1.38.

And to stir you up to it, consider first the means by which God will do it, and they be all desirable.

First, he hath promised to take away the unclean spi­rit out of the Land: for if the unclean man were taken away, new would arise, therefore the promise is to take away the unclean spirit, Zach. 13.2.

Secondly, he will take off the hearts of his people from these mixtures, that Ephraim shall say, What have I to do any more with Idols? Hos. 14.18.

Thirdly, he will root out all these Idolatrous spirits amongst us, that will not be reclaimed; they that purifie themselves in gardens shall be consumed when God comes to purifie his Church, Isa. ult. 17. there shall be no Canaanite in the Land any more for ever, Zach. 14 ult. and when they are cut off, no more of his name shall be sown, Nahum 1.14.

Secondly, to move you to it, you have Gods com­mand, Isa. 62.6. Ye that are the Lords remembrancers, [Page 490] keep not silence; [...] the Lords recorders: and a main thing that the people of God do record, is the promises which as yet remain unaccomplished unto the Church.

Thirdly, we have a concurrence of all the prayers of the Church of God that have gone before us; for the prayers of the Church be like the acts of a State, they dye not with the man that made them; for they are made unto an eternal God, grounded upon an everlast­ing righteousness, offered by an eternal spirit, and therefore they are eternally acceptable, and of an eternal efficacy; in after ages Davids prayer, Psal. 109.8. took effect upon Judas, Act. 1.2. therefore as we must preach for after ages as the Prophets did, and the Apostles en­tred upon their labours, so must we pray for after ages, and be content that other men in time to come shall reap the benefit of our prayers.

Lastly, God hath begun already, and now we have great cause to be earnest with him to go on with it; Chrysost. hom. for he hath said, shall I bring to the birth, and shall I not bring forth? Isa. 60.9. Experiences of former mercies are a special pledge of future, Psalm 74.14. he smote the head of Leviathan in the waters: and gave him to be meat to his people inhabiting the wilderness; it is spoken of Pharoahs army which God destroyed in the red Sea; that is, the destruction of the Egyptians was a pledge to him of the accomplishment of the mercy that God had promised to cast the Canaanite out of the promised Land, and to give them possession of it; many hard­ships they were to pass through in the wilderness; but God gave them this mercy as food, not to their bodies, but food to their faith, while they were in the wilderness: therefore those former great and glorious promises [Page 491] were accomplished. So that former mercies are food that God gives unto the faith of his people to feed upon till he hath perfectly accomplished whatever he hath pro­mised unto his Church

Let no man say, who shall live when God doth this? but be sure, for thy time, have a stock going in the Churches ship; for there is no knowledge, nor work, nor labour in the grave where thou art going: therefore sow thy seed, and if the harvest come not in thy time, yet thou shalt be no loser; for in glory God will reward thee according to the fruits of thy doing, Ier. 17.10. the Lord tells thee, Go thy way Daniel, thou shalt rest and stand up in thy lot in the end of thy dayes, Dan. 12. ult. comfort and encourage one another with these words.

Grace is Wisdom, AND Wisdom the Principal thing.

PROV. 4.7.

Wisdom is the principal thing: therefore get wis­dom, &c.

WHen the Lord gave Solomon his option, 1 King. 3.5. Ask what I shall give thee: the choice that he himself made was wisdom; Give unto thy servant an understanding heart: and his request pleased God so well, that the Lord gave him wisdom and understanding, [Page 494] exceeding much, and largeness of heart even as the sand upon the Seashore.

And this Book seems to be an Epitome of that large heart that God gave unto the Author of it; the Book of the Canticles indeed sets forth the knowledge and the mysterie of Christ: and Ecclesiastes sets forth the knowledge of the vanity of the creatures; but here en totum Solomonem: that there is not any part of the revealed will of God, or the duty of man for know­ledge, or practice, but in this book it is more or less touched at: And we have great reason to admire the goodness of God, that hath not suffered this Sun to set, but being dead, he yet speaketh; and the Lord having honoured him with wisdom above all men that ever were (except the Lord Jesus Christ) we should heark­en to his advice, concerning wisdom in the text, wisdom is the principal thing, &c.

In the words you have these two things.

First, a commendation of it.

Secondly, an exhortation to it.

First, the commendation, [...] the word signifies either purity, or dignity: and so some inter­preters render it, principium sapientia, wisdom is the principal thing: Montanus and others of a purity in or­der: and so Tremelius renders it, quia caput est sapientiae eam acquirere: the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: this is the chief excellency, therefore let it be gotten in the first place: [...] the word signifies to get a thing as a mans own possession, to have a title to it, and a propriety in it, to make it his own, to have it in his own heart, and to possess it for himself: and whereas there are many waies of gain that men do fol­low in the world, and many other possessions that men [Page 495] do strive for, and seek after, the wise man here sayes, in the middle of all your other gettings; let this be the principal care of every one of you, it being above all others the principal thing: and though the world flow in upon you, and you wash your steps in butter, and be great gainers otherwise, and the earth bring forth her encrease to you, yet with all your other gains get under­standing; whatever you get or lose make sure of this above all: But what is meant by wisdom; By wisdom in this book is meant two things.

First, Christ the wisdom of God. So Prov. 8.30. I was by him as one brought up with him, &c.

Secondly, Grace which is the only wisdom in a man, and so the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: or caput, the chief and the principal part of it: but it is only in the latter of these senses that I shall speak to at this time.


First, that grace only is true wisdom.

Secondly, that this wisdom is the principal thing: which hath more excellency in it then all things else in the world: there is in it a superlative and a transcen­dent excellency above all excellencies in the world.

And that grace only is the true wisdom, this I shall clear to you these two wayes.

First, the Lord (who is only wise) he counts no­thing wisdom but goldiness, and this he doth every­where stile wisdom: there is a great enquiry and search amongst all the creatures where wisdom is to be found: men know not the price of it, neither is it to be found in the Land of the living: Iob 28. ult. (that is) amongst all the creatures, [Page 496] and in all the studies of them; the depth saith it is not in me, &c. it cannot be gotten for gold, it cannot be valu­ed with the gold of Ophir, with the precious Onyx or the Saphyre, &c. and yet the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom unto men, and to depart from evil, that is understanding, Psal. 90.12. teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom, &c. (that is) in Considera­tion of the shortness of them, we may get grace to our selves, which will be immortal, and stand by us when all the creatures both in heaven and earth shall fail and forsake us, Luke 7.37. where grace expressed in the holy conversation of Christ and John, is called wisdom; wisdom is justified of all her children, and Luk. 1.17. souls are said to be converted to the wisdom of the just, &c and therefore a godly man only is called the man of wisdom, Micha 6.9. therefore in Gods account grace only is wisdom.

Secondly, in Gods account all things is folly with­out grace; and therefore Solomon throughout this Book, and so David, Psal. 14.1. the wicked men are the fool­ish men: the fool hath said in his heart there is no God: the wicked man and the fool are Synonoma's, and express the same thing: an unholy man, is a marvellous unwise man. Take a view of that which hath the greatest shew of wisdom, and the greatest name of wisdom in the world.

First, all humane knowledge without grace it is but folly; the He athen most of them were the greatest Ar­tists and Philosophers in the world, those that most en­quired into the secrets of nature, and had brought all humane learning unto the greatest height, as in Athens and Corinth, which were Universities and places far more famous then any other for knowledge, tongues, [Page 497] and all abilities, 1 Cor. 1.20. God hath made foolish the wisdom of the wise (that is) made it manifest so to be, and, whilest they profest themselves wise, they became fools; Rom. 1.22. but they had not the knowledge of the Scriptures, and therefore their knowledge might well be folly: but for the Jews and their Rabbies, they had great knowledge in the Scripture and in divine mysteries; surely their knowledge was wisdom: Christ speaks it to the Phari­sees, the most learned amongst them all, Mat. 23.17. ye fools and blind, &c. so that if a man had all natural abili­ties to the highest pitch that ever was attained, a sharp wit, a piercing apprehension, a solid judgement, a firm and a tenacious memory, and these acted and hightened by industry, and Art, the help of tongues, and the greatest improvement of reading, and exercise, &c. without a principle of grace put into the heart to en­lighten and enliven a man, all this would be but fol­ly; and never be counted wisdom in the sight of God.

Secondly, take the greatest Statist and Polititian the world, which hath also a great shew and name for wisdom; let a man be acquainted with the Laws of all States, let him be able by experience and observation, to judge of the managing of all affairs, let him sit at the stern of the State, and let him with never so great dexterity manage all the affairs of it, and let his coun­sel be as that of Achitophel as an Angel of God, and as an Oracle of God; yet without a principle of grace in the soul, the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God, and he takes the wise in their own craftiness, 1 Cor. 3.19. and their own policies prove their own snares, they are taken in their own nets.

Thirdly, take the greatest men in the world, and they [Page 498] are wise in their own conceits, Prov. 28.11. that they can so manage their affairs as to get an estate, and set them­selves in the face and glory of the times, raise their Bayes, and mount up all the stairs of authority and honour, and make hast to be great, but yet without the power of godliness, Lu. 12.20. it is but, Thou fool this night shall thy soul be taken away.

Fourthly, come to the civil men of the world, and they are the worlds Saints, that can so order themselves in the profession of Religion, that they can keep them­selves unspotted of the world, and be esteemed Saints in their generation, and yet can with wisdom avoid those dangerous waies of extremity that godly men do walk in, as savouring of too much niceness and preciseness, and they can be counted honest men and Saints, yet without the power of grace in their hearts, they are but foolish Virgins, Mat. 25.1. and all the former blaze that they made with the oyl in their lamps, it was but their folly, and no wisdom in Gods account.

So that in the Judgement of the great God, only the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy, that is understanding: there is nothing wisdom but godliness.

And this will appear by these rules of wis­dom.

First, wisdom acts by the highest principles: that is the first thing wherein a mans folly in a state of sin is seen, Eph. 4.18. having their understanding darkned: which is the seat of principles; and according to a mans principles, which are the rules of his actions, such they are: for Eccl. 10.10. Wisdom is profitable to direct: it gives a man a right rule to vvalk by every man is accor­ding to the principles by vvhich he vvalks: lay but [Page 499] these two principles in a mans heart. First, that the Church of Rome is the only true Church. Secondly, that this Church cannot err, and he is immediately a Papist though he act not many of their fooleries, &c. So lay but these principles.

First, that sin is no such great evil as men are told it is.

Secondly, if it be a great evil, yet men think God is merciful, he is not so strict and severe as men speak of.

Thirdly, if God be so strict, yet it is long before the day of Judgement, and therefore it will be long be­fore a man comes to an account, and this will make a man a prophane man immediately, and to pour out him­self unto all evil with greediness. So lay but these two principles;

First, that every man is to love himself best.

Secondly, I am not my brothers keeper: it is nothing to me what other men do, or what they suffer; and this will lay the foundation of all manner of cruelty and in­justice in the world.

Now the high and excellent principles that godli­ness laies in the soul, are such as these; Ile name five to you.

First, that the chief beauty of the creature is ho­liness, every man is in value as much as his soul is worth, and no more; the heart of the wicked is little worth: Prov. beauty is vain, but a woman that fears the Lord she shall be praised; the Kings daughter is all glorious with­in, &c. Psal. 45.

Secondly, the happiness of the creature consists in communion with God, Psal. 63.3. if a man had fellow­ship with the wisest men of the world, yet it would not [Page 500] content him; if this be his principle, that his felictty lies in Communion with God, One day in thy house, saith such a soul, is better then a thousand years else-where.

Thirdly, that sin is the greatest evil in the world, Rom. 7.13. it is filthiness it self, the excrement of naughtiness: sinful sin, &c.

Fourthly, that it is better to suffer then to sin, Heb. 11.25. suffering is but a light affliction in comparison of sin, &c. Heb. 11.25.

Fifthly, the things that are seen are but temporal, the things that are not seen are eternal, 2 Cor. 4.17. such a man sees the fashion of the world still passing away, &c.

One of these principles now will change the man, Iames 1. it is by the word ingrafted in the heart, that the seed of grace appears; the heart brings forth fruit ac­cording to the principle that is put into it: all men judge according to the principles that are in them­selves.

Now there are lower principles by which the most of men are acted, as the course of the world, the example of the multitude, the great ones, the Traditions of the Fathers, and the common principles that go abroad amongst men, and according unto these, men Judge, and walk, and are acted in all their waies: this is the first property of a wise man, he lives by wise and high principles.

Secondly, wisdom is seen in a right Judgement of all things: to conceive of things as they are, and pass­ing a right sentence upon them all.

First, he Judges good things to come, to transcend all the good things in this life: better then all the plea­sures of sin that are present, Rom. 8.18. Heb. 11.26. it [Page 501] is said of Moses, he had respect unto the recompence of re­ward: pleasures at Gods right hand for evermore, &c.

Secondly, he Judges men miserable that have all the jollities and excellencies of the world in respect of the miseries to come, which is the portion of all the fools in the world, that do not buy this pearl of great price: Go to now ye rich men, weep and howl, for you have received your consolation; and, Son, remember that in thy life time thou receivedst thy good things, &c.

Thirdly, it will make a man to judge aright of all the circumstances of mens actions, Prov. 10.5. he that gathers in summer is a wise son: Mat. 25.3. the foolish Virgins come to buy when it is too late, Luk. 19.42. Eccl. 8.5. a wise mans heart discerneth both time and Judge­ment, &c.

Fourthly, he Judges aright of the issues and conse­quences of all things, Prov. 22.3. a wise man fore-sees the evil, and hideth himself, &c. he knows, the wicked are made for the day of wrath: and though they flourish now like a green Bay-tree: yet what will they do in the end thereof, Deut. 22.3.

Thirdly, in the esteem that men have of persons and things; he saies that great men are many times the base­est of men, Dan. 4.17. he setteth over Kingdoms the base­est of men: and the worst condition of a godly man is better then the best condition of the men of the world; he is of S. Pauls mind, I would that you were altogether such as I am, except these bonds; better be a Door-keeper in the house of God, then to dwell with Princes: better never to have known the way of righteousness. Having tasted of the old wine, he cannot desire new, for he saith the old is bet­ter: and it was better with me when I was with my former [Page 502] husband then it is now: the rods and frowns of a father, are better then the kisses of an enemy, &c.

Fourthly, in a mans election, a wise man doth pitch upon a general good before any particular good: it is true, that riches will avail against poverty, and honour against disgrace; but these are but particular good things, they are not profitable for all things; riches avail not in the day of wrath; honour will not support a man in a sick bed, &c. but now, godliness is profitable for all things, 1 Tim. 4.8. it is great gain, &c.

Secondly, he that is wise chuseth that which is most profitable for himself, Iob 22.2. Prov. 9.12. If thou be wise, thou wilt be wise for thy self: Now a man may by other things be wise for his estate, and be wise for his children, but may be a fool for himself.

Thirdly, he chuseth things that are most necessary in the first place; and there is but one thing necessary, &c. Mary hath chosen the better part.

Fourthly, he chuseth the greatest sufferings rather then the least sin, Iob 36.21. and not the greatest sin rather then the least affliction; Mallom mundus a pec­cato Gehennam intrare &c.Anselm. Anselm.

Fifthly, in a mans ends: a mans wisdom is in nothing more seen then in a mans ends: now a godly man hath high ends; the glory of God, and the good of his Church, Rom. 14.8,9. None of us lives to himself; and no man dyes to himself: but whether we live or dye we are the Lords, &c. and whether he doth eat or drink, or what­ever he does, he doth all to the glory of God, 1 Cor. 10.31. so that in the natural and civil actions of a mans life, he hath high ends; whereas another man he hath low and poor ends, even in the most religious and highest actions; if he pray, it is for himself, howl for corn and [Page 503] oyl, &c Hos. 7.14. and it is but to tread out the corn, Hos. 10. all his profession, so much of Religion as will serve his turn and no more; if he preach, it is to gather Disciples after him: and they serve not God but their bel­ly: pollute my name for a morsel of bread and a little bar­ly, saies God: and if they fast, did not you fast unto your selves? will the Lord say: and if they hear, What went you out to hear, but a reed shaken with the wind? these are too mean ends for a Christian spirit: their ends are more raised when they come to perform a duty; they do not care to approve themselves to men only, but to God: that is true honour which comes from God; not as Saul when he had neglected the glory of God and his own salvation, now he takes care for a poor low end, honour me before the people, &c.

Sixthly, wisdom doth set a man upon the noblest actions and the highest employments, Prov. 15.24. the way of life is above to the wise, &c. that is, his conversa­tion is in Heaven, and he seeks the things that are above, and is imployed about them, how he may honour God, and edifie the Church, enlarge the Kingdom of Jesus Christ; how he may get his sins pardoned, his corrupti­ons subdued, his election sealed: Rev. 12.1. how he may have the moon under his feet, or be an intercessor in be­half of the Church, to stand in the gap and turn away wrath: how he may win souls, and be instrumental for the publike good; this he endeavours, and he that doth so is wise: whereas most men are busied about meat and drink, and apparel, building for themselves and their po­sterity, or are taken up with toyes; fine clothes, a pin, a rattle, is the highest things that they have in their eye, as Domitian the Emperour spent his time in catch­ing flies, for all he had the weighty things of the [Page 504] Kingdom lay upon him, nihil aliud quam muscas Captare: Sueton. Sueton.

Doctrine 2.

This wisdom is the principal thing; it hath a prehemi­nence and a supereminency above all other things in the world, Prov. 3.14. happy is the man that findeth wis­dom, for the merchandize of it is better then the merchandize of silver, and the gain thereof then fine gold, &c. that is, even the trading for grace in the Ordinances is to be preferred before the choicest worldly comforts.

But wherein doth the excellency of grace lie? In these particulars.

First, the excellency of grace lies in a conformity un­to God; the neerer any creature comes unto God, the more glorious it is, and the more happy: herein lies the happiness of the Angels, yea, and of the humane na­ture of Christ, that is exalted far above all the Angels, in this, that it is more like unto God, and all the glorious Attributes of God did shine forth in him; Now by grace a man is renewed and transformed into the Image of God, 2 Cor. 3. ult. he lives the life of God, Eph. 4.18. hath a life from God, in God, and unto God: which is a higher life then any man in the world lives; his life is a most excellent life, being made partaker of the divine nature, 2 Pet. 1.4. grace doth [...], and a man hath all the vertues of God shining forth in him, 2 Pet. 1.9. a man is holy as he is holy, and merciful as he is merciful: and we do thereby become [...]; imitators of God, Eph. 5.1.

Secondly, from this conformity there ariseth a com­munion: for between light and darkness there can be no fellowship; and if a man say that he hath fellowship with him, and walks in darkness, he doth lye, 1 Ioh. 1.6. they [Page 505] only enjoy the divine presence, that are made partakers of the divine nature; and suitable unto a mans confor­mity, so will his communion be: an unregenerate man that hath no conformity to God, he can have no com­munion with God: two cannot walk together unless they be agreed. Cant. 7.5. the King is held in the Galleries; thou hast ravished me with one of thine eyes, and with the chain about thy neck. Zach. 3.7. if thou walk in my wayes and keep my Ordinances, I will give thee places to walk in amongst those that stand by, &c. and when a mans confor­mity shall be perfect, so shall his communion be: 1 Iohn 3.2. We shall be like him, and we shall see him as he is: An ungracious man can have no fellowship: a man must be in a state of communion, Eph. 2.17. he must be made neer, before he can draw neer.

Now every man by nature is an enemy to God, and cares not for communion with him, but hates any degre of approach to God: he hath another fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness; therefore he can have no communion with God.

Thirdly, grace fits a man for the service of God; for, he hath no pleasure in fools, that is a wise God: eve­ry man by nature is dross and chaff, fit for no honour­able employment: if a man were to stand before a King, Dan. 1.4. he must be learned in all wisdom, and knowledge, and understanding, &c. how much more he that shall stand before the great God, Psal. 4.4. the Lord hath separated to himself the man that is godly: the Hebrew word is [...] to himself for service, and to himself for communion. Psal. 41.1,2. he will set them before his face for ever: when the Lord calls men to any service, he doth qualifie them for that service: Saul for govern­ment; but for a gracious work a common unction will [Page 506] not suffice: and if a man have a new work to do, he must have from the spirit of God a new supply; Phil. 1.19.

The Devil will not imploy instruments in his ser­vice till they be fitted: and therefore there be some sins that men are not tempted unto at first, because their spirits are not prepared for them: Satan tempts and prevails with men by smaller sins, and then they make way for greater: But grace enables a man to do and to suffer which way soever the Lord employs him: be the service never so difficult, a gracious heart will say, Here I am Lord, send me. Phil. 4.13. he knows how to exalt God in a state of prosperity, he knows how to abound: and cast him into a state of adversity, and the knows how to want, Phil. 4.13. and grace doth not only fit a man to do Gods work, but also to aim at Gods end, for he is [...]: wholly anothers: But other men, non obtem­perant dum obsequuntur.

Fourthly, grace turns all things that a godly man enjoyeth into a blessing: but unto an ungodly man every thing is become a curse: he is cursed in his body, cursed in his name, and cursed in his estate, and in all his relations, and in all the creatures that he useth: his Table becomes a snare, Mal. 2.2. I will curse your bles­sings, nay the Ordinances of God that be unto the Saints the savour of life, are unto him the savour of death: it is a means to ripen their sins and hasten their ruine. Tit. 1.15. to the unclean all things are unclean. So that Esau may have the dew of heaven, the fat of the earth, and yet be hated: and Saul a Kingdom, and yet rejected of God: and Judas may have Apostolical gifts, and yet be a Devil, and a son of perdition: they may be blessings in the thing, but curses to the man: sine sum­mo [Page 507] bono nil bonum; without the chief good, there is no­thing good. But godliness brings a blessing into every state, 1 Pet. 3.9. the Saints are the heirs of blessing unto every state, Rom. 8.28. all things work together for good to them that fear God: all things are yours, and ye are Christs: whether it be life or death, things present or things to come, 1 Cor. 3.22. mercies or crosses, Eph. 1.22. Christ is made the head over all things to the Church: for the Chur­ches sake, he doth order all things for their good, and doth as Physitians do temper poyson into a wholsom medicine; Gods people are gainers by their worst estates, and by their afflictions they are made partakers of his holiness: and when their outward man doth decay, the inward man is renewed: and whatsoever God laies upon them, so it works in them the quiet fruit of righteousness, it matters not what befall them in this world: though the rain make the way foul, it is no matter so it make the land fruitful: for these clouds drop fatness: and therefore the soul of a godly man blesseth the hand, and kisseth the rod that smites, and saies, it was good for me that I was afflicted: maledictionem benedixit, paupertatem ditavit. Luther.

Grace is like the Philosophers stone, it turns all into gold. Prov. 3.18. it is said, wisdom is a tree of life unto them that lay hold of her: it puts a man into the same condition that he was before the fall, it brings a man again into the paradise of God, and the Angel with his flaming sword is removed.

Fifthly, it fills the soul with all spiritual excellencies, those that will endure everlastingly: and the soul of man is the darling of a man: if he loose that, what good wil a world do him? & the excellencie of the man lies in his spirit: and the great and eternal difference between [Page 508] man and man lies in their spirit; there are two diffe­rences here below: one man is a King, and another man is a subject: one a master, and another a servant: but these differences are but for the time of this life, and then all these relations shall cease, Iob 3.19. then the servant shall be free from his master, and the Princes robes and the beggers raggs lie down toge­ther.

And here be excellencies also that some mens spirits have beyond others: some have knowledge, common gifts, and common graces: but these shall be alike: for after this life if there be knowledge, that shall cease, and tongues they shall vanish away, 1 Cor. 13. for all this is meat that perisheth, Ioh 6.27. the soul may feed upon it a while, but it will perish, and a mans oyl in his lamp will go out, 1 Pet. 3. ult. all flesh is grass, and the glory of it is as the flower: only the word of the Lord turned into grace, the Law written in the heart, that is immortal seed, &c. God looks chiefly to the excellency of a mans spirit, Numb. 14.24. but my servant Caleb had another spirit, &c. for God is a spirit, and the Father of spirits, and his eyes are wholly upon the spirits of men, and he hates sin in the soul most; and so the excellency of the soul he is most delighted with, is the adorning that is within, Psal. 45.1. the hidden man of the heart, 1 Pet. 3.4. which is in the sight of God of great price: and all out­ward excellencies are but shaddows of this; gold and silver, pearls and perfumes, &c. to have an enlightned, sanctified, sublime spirit, walking above the creatures, and the Heart in Heaven, where the Treasure is; to be brought up to an holy independency towards all things below, and a holy magnanimity and self-sufficiency, this is a spirit with whom God delights [Page 509] to dwell, 2 Cor. 6.16. the word is [...] and they were panes propositionis, set before the face of God for ever.

Sixthly, grace will preserve a man from all evil Prov. 2.11,12. discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee, to deliver thee from the way of the evil man and to deliver thee from the strange woman: there is in every age a Course of the world: for Dan. 7.2. the world is a Sea, and every man is as a drop emptyed thereinto, and swims with the tide: and the happiness of Gods people is to be redeemed from it, Gal. 1.4. In the first three hundred years the world proved persecutors: afterward they turned Hereticks, then Popery rose, and then all the world wondred after the Beast: yet in this time there were some that did watch and keep their garments, that did not drink of the wine of her fornication; who though they came out of great tribulation, yet had washed their gar­ments and made them white in the blood of the Lamb: we see Noah in the worst times, and Lot in a Sodom of fil­thyness to keep their garments. Seneca speaks of a certain place called Ephestion, which he saith Ignis innocuus cir­cuit, that hurts not those that are within, and yet keeps out all evil from them: truly such a fire is grace wheresoever it is.


Let me exhort you to get wisdom, get understanding: for let me tell you, there be dayes coming wherein a little grace will be more worth then all the gold in the world: Mat. 25 a little of the wise Virgins oyl, what would the foolish have given for it? men think they can live without God, and without grace here: but when they come to dye, when the channels of all the crea­tures [Page 510] shall be stopt: and all things take their leave, and God be all in all to them, and then thou hast no interest in him, then thou wilt wish as Cardinal Wolsey once said, If I had served my God as faithfully as I have done the King, he would not have left me, &c. then a man will say with Galeasius, their money perish with them, that do prefer all the gold in the world before one hours com­munion with Christ.

Oh that I could but bring you in love with grace this day: the first step to grace is a high prizing of it, Luke 17.5. Christ raiseth their esteem of it, and there­by encreaseth it.

I will give a few rules of trial, &c.

First, try the heart in respect of thy darling lust, thy right hand, Psal. 18.23. there is no man but hath some lust that is most beloved, and indulged to. Now is thy heart most set against that lust above all other sins.

Secondly, grace enables a man to discern the spiritual presence or absence of God in Ordinances, Ezek. 10. he saw the glory of the Lord to depart when the rest did not; and the soul is drawn out to God in the use of Ordinances, and he follows hard after God, and he hath the spiritual skil to discern when God draws neer, and when the Lord departs; for his communion is not with the duty only, but with God in it: he engageth his heart to draw neer to God, 2 King. 10.13. whereas another man like Jehu, is heedless in the service he performs, doth not labour with all his heart to enjoy communion with God, nor observes whether God be present or ab­sent: a constant heedlesness and regardlesness in the service of God, is a certain sign of an hypocrite.

Thirdly, if sin be cast in, grace doth never leave till [Page 511] it work it out, Mat. 12.35. the regenerate part in a man will be continually expelling corruption: he doth daily wash his feet, and is as a bone dislocated, till he be again reconciled to God, after he hath sinned against him: for he saith, It was better with me when I had peace of conscience then now; when the Lord called me to communion: but sin hath separated between me and God: and therefore in regard of his daily failings also, as well as committing any gross act of sin, he looks upon him­self as Turtullian doth, as nulli rei nisi paenitentiae natus; Tertullian. it is with him as it is with a man in a swound, whilest his soul is in him, there is a principle that will bring him to life again: but if a man be dead, it is not so: there is no inward working in him, because an inward principle is wanting.

But you will say to me, How should a man attain to this?

I will give you these three directions at present.

First, be very sensible that thou art without it by nature, and what a miserable condition it is for a man to be without grace. I desire you will consider: if thou hast not the Image of God upon thee, thou hast the Image of the Devil and thou art under the power of the De­vil, who is perfectly contrary to God, and an enemy to him: and thou shalt be punisht with him to all eternity, if thou continue like unto him: and then consider, all the means thou canst use cannot bestow grace. Christ into the world, and Christ into the heart, are free gifts: Lumen naturae, nature new dressed may make a shew, but it can never be a new man: it is a new creation: an act of Almighty power must pass upon thee before thou art in a state of grace, Eph. 1.19. and let thy heart dwell upon this apprehension.

Secondly, wait upon God forit to this end in all con­verting Ordinances: attend at wisdoms gates, Cant. 1.16. for this is the bed wherein souls are begotten to the Lord, even the Ministery of the word, Cant. 4.2 eve­ry one bears twins. Psal. 110. it is as the dew that falls from th [...] womb of the morning: there are abundance of souls begotten, for it is a dole of spiritual gifts. Rom. 1.12. I have begotten you through the Gospel; Grace is the Law written in the heart: and God is pleased to make use of the Ministery as his pen to write it there.

Thirdly, do not only wait, but cry for it, Pro. 2.2,3. make it thy great request unto God from day to day, that thou mayst have experience of a work of Regeneration; that thou mayst rest in no grace but true grace: nor be satisfied with oyl in thy lamp only, unless thou have it in thy Vessel; that thou mayst not build upon the sand, but on a Rock: for this will be the destruction of most of those that profess Religion at the last day, that they have thoughts to walk in the narrow way, before ever they entred in at the strait gate: O labour that the spirit of God may not only have an influence upon thee in com­mon gifts, but that he may work truth of grace in thee; and that he may not only come unto thee as forma assistens, to assist thee in some common duties for a time, but as forma informans, so as to abide with thee and in thee for ever.

THE Danger of being worse BY MERCIES.

DEUT. 32.15.

But Jesurun waxed fat, and kicked.

AS it is said by some, of the Book of the Revelations; It is both an Historical Prophecie, and a Prophetical History: the same we may truly say of this pre­sent day: It is either a Thanks-giving Fast, or it is a Fasting Thanks-giving: the present mercy calls for the one, the abuse of former, and the fear of the abuse of this mercy also, calls for the other: the present mercy indeed calls for Thanks-giving; but [Page 514] when we consider how mercies have been abused by us, and what cause we have to fear lest this also should be so, this calls to mourning and humiliation: there are two things which every godly man is to look at in a mercy.

First, that he may obtain it.

Secondly, that he may improve it. That he may obtain the mercy; and that he may obtain a right use, & a right improvement thereof: otherwise though it be a mercy in the thing, it will be a curse to the man, as I have often shewed you. That which the Apostle saies of afflicti­ons, I would allude unto in this particular, in Heb 12.10. there is no affliction for the present is joyous, but grievous, but afterwards it brings forth the quiet fruit of righteous­ness: the mercy in affliction lies in the use of afflicti­on. So I may say of mercy, inverting the words, Every mercy for the present is joyous, not grievous, but after­wards it brings forth many times the bitter fruit of wic­kedness and unrighteousness. For its the use of mer­cy makes the mercy a mercy, as the use of affliction doth: the learned do use to say of riches and ho­nours, and all the good things of this life: that they are things indifferent, [...], neither good or bad in themselves, but according to the use that is made of them, and according as the person is that uses them. So I say of all the blessings that we receive from God: they are blessings according to the use that is made of them, and according to the condition of the person that uses them, otherwise they are not mercies: there­fore as the Lord hath been pleased to give us a mercy, so let this be one great end of our humiliation, and of our supplication to God this day, that we may be broken before God for the abuse of former mercies, [Page 515] and obtain of the Lord a right use of this mer­cy.

This Chapter, out of which I have chosen this por­tion of Scripture, was the last song that ever Moses the man of God indited while he was here upon earth, until he ascended up into heaven, there to sing hallelujahs to the Lord for ever: and this song is partly historical, and partly prophetical: there are four things in the context that are historical, that yet notwithstanding are worthy of your observation.

First, the great care that the Lord had of this peo­ple Israel above all the Nations of the world, Verse 8. When the most high devided to the Nations their inheri­tance, he set the bounds of the people according to the num­ber of the children of Israel: It is an observable Scri­pture; the Lord gave the earth to the children of men: so the Psalmist tells you: but yet the Lord will not have the children of men to scramble for the earth, to see who can get most of it; No, the Division of the earth is the Lords; he hath devided the earth, and sepa­rated the sons of Adam: which is the meaning of that dark place, Isa. 7. there were two Kings which the Lord calls, the tails of two smoking fire-brands: and they intend to enlarge their Dominions to take in Iudah, and set up a King there: No, saith God, the head of Syria is Damascus. I have set them their bounds: they are at their height: they shall go no further: the Lord hath divided the earth then to the sons of Adam: but hath divided the earth to the sons of Adam, according to the number of the children of Israel: the fewest in number of all people: the meaning I conceive to be this, that the Lord did take special care in the first Division of the earth, that he would chuse an inheritance in the [Page 516] earth for this people: for so the Psalmist tells us, he chose an Inheritance for them: so that he that chose a people out of the earth to be his peculiar people, he in the division of the earth made choice of a peculiar In­heritance for them: certainly the people of God need not fear an Inheritance then. When the Lord divided the earth among the sons of Adam, he took especial care of them: the Lord in all his Providential Dispen­sations hath a constant respect to his Church, and a con­tinual care of them: and he adds the reason of it, v. 9. though all the earth be the Lords, yet the Lords portion is his people: this is the first thing that is matter of histo­ry in the context.

Secondly, he then sets forth the condition of this people when they were in the wilderness, Ver. 10. he found him in a Desart Land, in a vast howling wilderness: the meaning is not, as if this people were strangers to God till then: or that the Lord took no notice of them, or had no care of them; for ever when they were in Egypt, Exod. 4. then the Lord [...], Israel is my son, my first born: therefore Gods [...] did not then begin: But then they began to be the Lords separated people: they were, its true, Gods people by a Cove­nant before: Now they are brought into a wilderness, and separated from other Nations, therefore because they then began to be the Lords people by a National Covenant, therefore it is said, he found them: there is indeed another meaning of that expression, found: that is, he is alwaies present with them as a help, alwaies found of them: so you find the word used, Psal. 46.1. God is a present help: he is a help found in the needful time of trouble: and so I conceive that place explains it, Hos. 9.10. I found Israel as grapes in the wilderness: as a poor [Page 517] traveller in a desart wilderness hath a great refreshment by this, if he meet with a Vine that hath but a few Clusters upon it: so I found Israel in the wilderness, which was as great a delight to me, even as if a wea­ry Traveller had found Grapes in the Wilder­ness.

Thirdly, here is a further description of the Land of Canaan, Ver. 13. the Lord made them to dwell upon the high places of the earth. It was a Land of Mountains and Vallies, and upon that account called the high places of the earth: but it was a Land also where the Lord de­stroyed the enemies, and carried them without danger in the midst of the greatest dangers, thus they were made to walk on the high places of the earth, as men that walk on high, out of Gun-shot.

And then fourthly, here is the plentie of the Land that flows with milk and honey: where they eat the fine kidnies of the wheat, and drank the pure blood of the grape: a Land wherein there was no lack of any thing that was upon the earth, Deut. 8.7,8. all this is but histori­cal.

In the words that I have read to you, comes in that which is Prophetical: for Moses did not bring them into the Land of Canaan, Moses dyed in the Land of Moab, on the other side of Jordan, and was gathered to his Fathers. It was Ioshua that gave them rest, and divided this Land for an inheritance to them: Moses prophesied when they came unto the Land of Canaan, this shall be their Condition; But Jesurun waxed fat, and kicked: A godly man from a principle of spiritual wisdom, with­out Divination, will be able to give a great guess of men, what they will be: Moses might much guess by seeing how disobedient they had been in the Wilder­ness, [Page 518] what they would prove when they came to Ca­naan: but yet here is a discovery that the Lord made by Revelation to Moses, what the condition of this peo­ple would be: the Lord doth not only certainly know what we are, but he knows what in such cases and con­ditions we will be: Nay, the Lord knows in those conditions that we shall never be put into what we would be, if we were in it: this is clear, the Lord fore­tells to Moses what this people would be when they came to the Land of Canaan: having such a place, and such enjoyments: and this is also clear when David was in Keilah: shall the men, said he, give me up to Saul? they will give thee up: and yet David went out of the City that night, and was never given up: and according to this we may guess, if we consider, there are many of us, some would have wealth, some honour, some would have higher imployment, some more grace, some more comfort, some more assurance, and the Lord denies it. It is because he knows what in such a condition, if thou wert put into it, thou wouldst prove: and that which thou lookest upon as a great affliction, the Lord doth it with a very merciful hand.

But Jesurun waxed fat and kicked: there are two things in the words to be opened.

First their name: and,

Secondly their sin.

The denomination that is given to them here, and the transgression that is charged upon them. I shall briefly explain both these, and then come to the point that I would insist upon from them: the denomination, what is their name, they be called Jesurun. It is used three times in this Book of Deuteronomie: in Deut. 33.5. Moses was King in Iesurun: and in 33. Chapter Ver. 26. [Page 519] Who is God like the God of Iesurun? and in this place; and it is used for ought I can find but in one Scripture more in all the Old Testament. In Isaiah 44.2. Fear not, oh Jesurun my servant, and Jacob whom I have chosen: there are three different apprehensions that men have of it, according to the threefold derivation of the word.

Some from [...] rectum: that signifies right, and they are so called as the people that had only the right way, both to know God, and to worship God: the Lord had given his Statutes to Jacob, and his Laws to Israel, he had not dealt so with other Nations, they were only the right people: and so it may be explained by Isaiah 42.19. where the Lord saith, Who is blind as my servant? Who is blind as he that is perfect? What per­fect, and yet blind? yes, perfect in Ordinances and privi­ledges, and yet blind.

Forelius and others derive it from another word, [...] that signifies dux gregis, Forelius. the first of the flock: the first of the heard: one that goes forth as the Leader of the flock: and so they make it to be a term of Dignity given unto them: that they were those whom the Lord honoured above all the Nations of the earth: they were the head of all people. But,

Thirdly, it is derived from a word that signifies to see, [...] dirigit vel intendet oculos; to intend and fasten ones eye: Now of all people they were the seeing people: and Ierusalem is therefore called, the Valley of Vision: they saw the mind of God so as no people in the world did like unto them: they were the seeing people: the Septuagint renders it, [...] the Beloved people; then if you take in all these it will not be amiss: they were the people that had the right discovery of the [Page 520] way of God: they were a people that God honoured and advanced above all people: and a people that knew more of the mind of God, and saw more of the works of God, then all the Nations of the world be­sides.

Secondly, for the transgression here charged upon Iesurun: this seeing people; It is, they waxed fat, and kicked; I shall speak a little distinctly to them.

They waxed fat; there is in Scripture fatness spoken of in a good sense, the fatness of Gods house; spoken of Psalm 36.9. and my soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness. Psal. 63.5. Est quaedam saturitas pinguis sa­pientiae, & sapientia ista animae quae carent macrescunt; there is in wisdom, and in the things of God abundant satisfaction; saith Austin: Austin. a fatness, and a soul without this wisdom is lean; so then this is not the fatness here spoken of, for that would never produce the other, that is, Kicking against the Lord; Fatness here hath a double signification; it is two things.

First, it signified those that had abundance of out­ward things; and their hearts wholly set upon them; and so rich men that have a great deal of the good things of this life, are said to be fat; Psal. 22.29. they that be fat upon earth have eaten, &c. and so in Isa. 5.17. the wast places of the fat ones shall strangely eat. It is meant of the great and rich men of the world, there­fore they that have abundance of outward things, are said to be fat in Scripture. But that is not all, but you must put the other branch to it: Whose hearts are set upon them, and satisfied with them; these are said to wax fat. When they have much, and their souls are satisfied with that much: in Psal. 17.10. they are in­closed in their own fat: abundance of these outward [Page 521] things hem in their spirits, and incompass them about, called nourishing of a mans heart, in Iames 5.12. not only taking the creatures to nourish their bodies, but their hearts: being satisfied in these things they are said to nourish their hearts; It was a dishonour to the Grecians that they were hair-nourishing Grecians: it is not so great a shame to be a hair-nourishing Grecian, as it is to be a heart-nourishing Christian; that is the first thing.

Secondly, there is another thing in fatness; and that notes to be dull, dead, senseless, stupid; all this doth fatness intimate, in Isa. 6.10. Go make the heart of this people fat, that seeing they may see and not perceive; It notes that a man is become dull, dead, senseless; so then Ieshurun waxed fat; that is, they had many out­ward things, and rested satisfied in them; and in re­ference to the Ordinances of God, and the Judge­ments of God, and the fear of them: they were a dead, senseless, dull people, they were a fat peo­ple.

Secondly, they kickt, as well fed beasts you know use to do; for from thence the Metaphor is taken; and herein there are two things also.

First, it notes they were untamed: their untamed disposition; they did refuse subjection to the Lord; they kickt against his yoke: and so you shall find that mercies do make men rebellious: that is one danger: the Lord saith of Pharaoh, For this cause have I made thee to stand. I have made thee to stand. I have raised thee up, you read it: the meaning is this: the same God that cut off so many thousands in Egypt, he could have taken off Pharaoh in the beginning; what is the reason he did not? that by these mercies Pharaoh might become the [Page 522] greater enemy to God: that he may say, I know not the Lord: Who is the Lord that I should obey his voice? so you shall find in Jeremiah 5.5. I will get me to the great men: but they altogether had broken the yoak, and burst the bands: they were the worst and the most refractory against all the commands of God of every sort of men whatever: and commonly great men have seldom much of this life, but in this manner they kick, as if there were a greater liberty allowed them then other men. It notes their rebellious disposition suitable to that, Hos. 10.11. Israel loves to tread out the Corn: loves to thresh; why? because the mouth of the Oxe was not then to be muzzled: so much of Religion as carries a present ad­vantage with it, so much of Religion and the waies of godliness they love; but they do not love to plough, saith God: I will pass over her fair neck: they were grown great, and by this means they were grown tender, and could not submit: now saith God, I will cause the yoak to pass over thy fair neck.

But there is another thing in it: It not only notes disobedience, but disobedience with contempt, with presumption: and so you shall find in 1 Sam. 2.29. the Lord saith of the sons of Ely, VVherefore kick ye at my sacrifices? It was to offer the greatest contempt and scorn to him that could be: they kickt at the Lords ser­vices: this was their sin: abundance of mercies they received from God: but their hearts were satisfied with the mercies, and this made them grow senseless before God: & being thus fat, they kickt: they were rebellious and disobedient against God, and manifested it with the highest kind of presumption that could be: this Jesurun waxed fat and kickt.

There is but one general Doctrine that I have [Page 523] made choice to speak something to you of at this time.


That a people dearest unto God, that have had the greatest discoveries of God among them, are in great danger to be made the worse by the mercies which they receive: here is Iesurun, Gods people, and a seeing people, that had the greatest discoveries from God, and yet they are a great deal the worse for the mercy that they enjoy: it is a point of great concernment; in the prosecution of it, Give me leave to speak to two things.

First, prove it to you, that even the best men are in danger to become the worse for mercies: for outward mercies, I, even for spiritual mercies.

Secondly, give some grounds and reasons to demon­strate the truth thereof, how it comes to pass that there should be so much danger that a people should become the worse for mercies.

For the proof, that you may understand the more distinctly, let me lay it down in a double distinction of mercy.

Mercies are either Privative or Positive: Privative, that is deliverances, preservations from varieties of evils and dangers, which otherwise we were liable unto; and indeed it is a good rule that some Divines have, Majores sunt gratiae Privativae quam Positivae: our Pri­vative mercies are greater and more then our Positive mercies are, though we perceive them not: the dangers that we are delivered from are more then the present mercies we do enjoy: Now let us see whether Priva­tive mercies make men the worse: when men are de­livered, [Page 524] do they grow the worse for their deliverance? look to this, Deut. 32.26. the Lord speaks of a great Privative mercy: I said I would scatter them into Cor­ners: I would make the remembrance of them to cease from among men; were it not that I feared the wrath of the ene­my, least their adversaries should behave themselves strange­ly, least they should say, Our hand is high: I delivered them from their enemies: when I took no argument from them for their deliverance, then I took an argument from their enemies: the Lord made use of that argu­ment; I would have given them into the hand of their enemies, but I feared least they would wax proud: what good now did this deliverance do this people? in the 32. Verse, Their Vine is the Vine of Sodom, and their grapes are the grapes of Gomorrah: here is the fruit now that these men brought forth of their Privative mercies: that the Lord did not give them into their enemies hands: for all that the people grew more wicked under these, and their grapes were, &c. in this manner they improved their corruptions: then certainly deliveran­ces, Privative mercies, men are in danger to grow the worse by them. In Psal. 78.38. Many a time he turned his wrath away, and would not suffer his whole displeasure to arise: Were the people the better for it afterwards? No, they grew so much the more rebellious. I will give but one instance more of Privative mercies, and it is a fa­mous one: And it were well we made these our look­ing glasses; Jonah is sent to prophesie against Niniveh, VVithin fourtie dayes and Niniveh shall be destroyed: the King with the City were awakened and humbled themselves before God: and the Lord was pleased to defer the Judgement; they were delivered: were the people ever the better, or was this deliverance in mer­cy? [Page 525] No, the people were never the better, as appears if you look to the prophesie of Nahum: where you have the destruction of that people threatned to be at hand: this people that had fasted and prayed, yet not­withstanding vengeance comes upon them with greater fury afterwards. In Nahum 3.3,4. Woe to this City that is full of blood and lyes. God spared her for a time and respited his wrath: but then, his wrath came upon them to the utmost: thus Privative mercies may make men grow the worse: And men may be delivered, and a Nation delivered, and they growing worse for it, the Lord may reserve them to further plagues.

Secondly, there are Positive mercies, and they are of two sorts: and men are in danger of growing worse by both of them.

Either temporal or spiritual mercies: as if the Lord give men the Scriptures, they are in danger to wrest them to their own destruction, 2 Pet. 3.6. if God give them his Gospel, they are in danger to turn his grace in­to wantonness. In the Epistle of Iude, ver. 4. Not the word of grace, but the priviledges of grace; if God give men the Ordinances, they say, The temple of the Lord, the Temple of the Lord; And we are delivered to commit all this abomination, Ier. 7.8,9. and so in Heb. 6.7,8. there is the ground that drinks in the rain of Or­dinances and Influences, and yet brings forth Briers and Thorns; So if men receive spiritual priviledges, they may be the worse for them, Mat. 3.9. Nay spiritual divination, and be in danger to be the worse for it: Paul was so, 2 Cor. 3.7. there was sent a Messenger of Satan to buffet him, least he should be lifted up overmuch: Nay spiritual motions and operations, Heb. 6.5,6. there are men enlightned, that have tasted of the good word of [Page 526] God; been made partaker of the gifts of the holy Ghost, and tasted the powers of the world to come: these are great works, and yet notwithstanding what do these do? these fit a man for the great Apostacy, such as can ne­ver admit of a renovation; thus, When the unclean spi­rit goes forth out of the man, which is a great common work too, yet he returns with seven worse spirits; then certainly spiritual mercies indanger men; they that know most of God and Christ, are in great danger to be the worse for such mercies: And so it is true of temporal mercies too, if you will take no­tice of that, Hosea 1. it is a whole proof of the point in hand: the text tells what is the mother of all the decay there spoken of, even until they are called Loami, they are not my people; What is the mother of all this? Diblaim; and that properly signifies bunches of dryed Figgs; and it is, and was commonly interpreted to be a great dainty among them. Cakes of Figgs were part of Abigals present to David; By this the Lord sets forth their great plenty and abundance; this is the mo­ther; the people had abundance, and their hearts were set upon it; What was the daughter to this people? Gomer, the word doth signifie perfection or defection; commonly Interpreters take it in the last sense; that is, brought forth that great defection, that great consum­ption that came upon the whole Land; then certainly, men may be the worse for temporal mercies; that in­stance I am sure is plain enough, in Dan. 7.2. out of the four winds that contended upon the great Sea, there arose four beasts: When they were grown great so as to be­come Monarchs, they forgate to be men, and became beasts, and never till then: never beasts till they be­came Monarchs: thus there is a great deal of danger [Page 527] that men should grow the worse for temporal mercies; I shall give one instance more in Neh. 9.25,26. they took strong Cities, and a fat Land: and possessed houses full of all goods, &c. and did eat and were filled, and became fat, &c. Nevertheless they were disobedient and rebelled against thee: here were men that were a great deal the worse for their plenty; the Scripture is full of such in­stances; Let this serve for the proof of the point.

But you will say to me, What is the reason? are the mercies of God of such a malignant nature? so inve­nomed that they make men grow thus and thus, the worse? A man would think if any thing would make men the better, mercies would; Its true, had men in­genuous natures as grace brings: But there are four great reasons why it is a dangerous thing for a person or people to enjoy mercy, and not be the worse for mer­cy.

First, is from the corruption that is in the heart of man; It is true, the mercy of God is not a cause why men grow the worse: for it infuses no malignant dispo­sition into the soul of man. But the mercy of God is an occasion, though it be not the cause; as it is said of the Law of God, Rom. 7.11. Sin took occasion by the Law: the Commandment gave no occasion; But, sin took occasion; the command forbids sin; but sin took occasion to act more violently against the command; the more the Dam is made up against the water, the more it swells; corrupt nature takes occasion from the Law; Christ is put for the rising and fall of many in Israel; and so is the mercy of God; it is not properly the cause, but that which sin takes occasion from; Now we are to put a great difference between things [Page 528] as they are in themselves, and the effects that flow from them: the nature of the cause: and the effects that are not proper from it as a cause, but as they look to the substance: there are two things in the torments of hell: somewhat that is essential; somewhat but accidental: somewhat essential: upon what object soever it lights, he is sure to undergo it: But there is somewhat acciden­tal: the wrath of God in the soul, is essential to the tor­ments of hell: So that the Lord Jesus Christ under­going what was due to sinners, the essential part he un­derwent, when it pleased the Lord to bruise him, and to put him to shame: But somewhat is not essential, but may be separated as it is from such a subject, as despair and the like: and you are in this to distinguish between what is the proper fruit of mercy, and what is but occa­sional matter, coming to such a subject, and taking hold of that: and so affliction it is no cause of sin, no more then mercy is: But yet affliction is many times an oc­casion of sin: It is said of Ahab, the more he was af­flicted, he sinned yet more: that is the first reason: be­cause the corrupt heart of man takes occasion to sin from mercy.

Secondly, from the general curse that by reason of sin is come upon all the creatures, and all Gods provi­dential dispensations: you know that antient curse, Gen. 3.19. Cursed be the ground for thy sake. It notes the ground as referring to a mans use, and all the dispen­sations of God towards the creature; there is a double curse come upon the creature in reference to you. First, as it is decaying, and so it is a vexing creature; for this fills the creature with vanity, and that vanity fills the soul with vexation. But the great curse lies in this; it is a polluting and defiling thing now; as it is a means [Page 529] to defile the soul of man: yet notwithstanding this is the curse; therefore to the unclean, all things are unclean: that is, all the providences of God to that man are means to increase that mans uncleanness; and that I think is the meaning of that place, 1 Iohn 2.16. Whatever is in the world, is lust, &c. why, is there nothing in the world but lusting then? the meaning is: there is such a Curse come upon all the creatures towards man; so far as a man is of the world, so far they are objects of lusts to him: and draw out his lusts to improve them: and therefore Job saith of himself, in Iob 31.26. If I be­held the Sun when it shined, and my heart hath been secret­ly enticed: there is an enticing goes along with it: what is the reason of it? because there is a general curse come upon all the creatures, and all the dispensations of God through the creatures, that all these shall be means to insnare and defile the man.

Thirdly from the especial malice of the Devil against mercy: It is true, he is an enemy to all the creatures, and he would destroy them all as creatures out of his enmity to God, as he did the Gadarens herd of Swine. But in a more especial manner the Devil is an enemy to the mercy of God more then to any other creature of God. Why? because the Devils sin is direct enmity, and malice, and revenge: God looks for most glory from his mercy: and therefore of all other things the Devil hath the greatest envy to that, that God may be dishonoured by them: take the first mercy of the Lords dealing with Adam; the Lord made him to be the Monarch of the whole world: But there was one mercy that the Lord vouchsafed him above all the rest, should be the glory of the man: It was a far greater glory to have the woman subject unto him, then to have [Page 530] all the rest of the world: Now upon this mercy the Devil sets his malice: and he received her a rib, but the Devil made her a snare; Satans great aim is, that he may abuse Gods mercy: if God give a man great parts and gifts above all other men, the Devil desires to abuse those parts, as Austin saith of Licinius a young man of great gifts, Cupit abs te ornari Diabolus: Austin. the De­vil desired he might be credited by him: great mercies and great abilities are the special stocks that above all others the Devil desires to graft upon: No fruit so bitter to God as the abuse of mercy: and therefore look to your selves, for it is the Devils great design to abuse your mercies.

Fourthly, there are some mercies that God hath given to persons and people out of a particular displea­sure: you heard of the general curse that came upon all the creatures before. But now I say, there are some mercies that God gives out of peculiar displeasure, and they prove a more peculiar curse. I conceive that will appear plain to you, in Zach. 5.3. there is a curse goeth forth (the general curse went out ever since the fall) It shall enter into the house, and consume it with the timber thereof, and the stones thereof: and so if you ob­serve Mal. 3.2. I will saith the Lord, Curse your blessings: I gave you blessings, and notwithstanding these bles­sings there shall be a peculiar curse: you have it more fully cleared to you, in Eccles. 5.13. riches reserved for the owners hurt: one hath riches, great mercies: they are so; Wisdom is good with an inheritance: But many a man God gives riches to out of a peculiar displeasure: and they are reserved to him for his hurt: No wonder these men grow the worse for mercies, because it is out of a peculiar displeasure that the Lord gives them: as [Page 531] Austin saith of Gods hearing prayers, Austin. he hears wicked mens prayers and gives them things they ask: though not properly as an answer to prayer: God hears prayers with revenge: Gives the things prayed for, but out of a peculiar displeasure: No wonder then that men be the worse for them: take but the instance of Vzziah, 2 Chron. 26. he fought many battles, and the Lord helped him mightily: you will say God intended good to this man sure: No, all this was in displeasure: he mightily helped him till he was strong: and then his heart was lifted up to his own destruction. My Brethren, God doth as much rain snairs on men in mercy, as in any other of his dispensations whatsoever: and therefore look to it: it is a dangerous thing for a people to re­ceive mercy, if they do not improve it.

I shall now speak a few words of Application; there are but two uses that I would make of it.

First, of examination: Look back upon all the mercies that you have received from God; temporal and spiritual mercies: privative, positive mercies. In­deed it is your duty; the expression is, in Psal. 68.26. Bless the Lord from the fountain of Israel: Not only for late mercies received; but look to the Fountain from whence all mercies did first flow: Remember the Lord from Shittim to Gilgal: Micah 6.5. it is from the first beginning of mercy to the latter end of them: ask but the question now of your own hearts: look to your own personal mercies every one in private family mercies: and the publick mercies that God hath afforded the Nation: and tell me, are you the better or the worse for them? have you brought forth fruit answerable to the mercy? or hath not the Lord cause to say, Do you thus [Page 532] requite the Lord oh foolish people and unwise: what are the evil fruits that mercies are in danger to bring forth, by which people are made the worse? and see whether or no a great many of these be not to be found amongst us? and if they be, you may say the thing is a mercy; yet notwithstanding you have little reason to take comfort in it: certainly it can never be a mercy to thee: nothing is a mercy to you, but that which you are the better for.

There are six things that are the ordinary waies by which men do appear to be the worse for mercy: And pray let us see whether all these be not to be found amongst us: this is a day wherein you should lay your selves naked before God.

First, the ordinary abuse of mercy is forgetfulness of God, Deut. 4.14. When thou hast eaten and art full, and dwellest in houses that thou buildest not, and enjoyest wells that thou diggedst not, then take heed least thou for­get the Lord thy God: And indeed this is the first and the most natural fruit of a heart fatted with mercy: for so it is said here, they waxed fat and kickt: they lightly esteemed the rock of their salvation: the mercies of God make men dis-regard God: Now I pray consider: if the mercies that raise thee up, cast God down in thy soul, examine I pray: hath respect to God risen by his mercie? look to it each particular foul, and judge your selves faithfully: I am afraid I may speak it with a great deal of bitterness: respect to God hath not risen by his mercies to this Nation: Nay rather lay aside all things; for the things of God, we have nothing to do with them. Certainly, this is an evil thing, and is an argu­ment that men grow the worse for mercy.

Secondly, when they are settled upon them, and [Page 533] satisfied with them. Let them but keep this mercy, & it will be well with them. Let us enjoy this, & all is well: See how the people are brought in, it is a strange speech, Ier. 2.31. We are Lords, say they, we will come no more to thee: God set them in a good and a prosperous condition; now we will own God no more, we will raign alone: have we seen so much need of God in a mercy? or do we ever come in to God but when some present trouble is upon us? if any great eminent danger be over us, then a fast: otherwise if not for a year toge­ther, it is no matter: as much as to say, we are satisfi­ed with mercies and have enough of them. We are Lords, and will come no more at thee.

Thirdly, when men grow refractory unto duty, and oppose the things of godliness with a higher hand: that is another way by which men grow worse for mercies: An untamed heifer unaccustomed to the yoak: that is the expression; when you shall find such a disposition in you, to reject God, deride his Ordinances, oppose the Ministers, corrupt his Scriptures, or at least endeavour to make them void, by mystical, allegorical interpreta­tions; and thereby make them a sound of words and no more; when men dare proceed to this pass, and have a great deal to say for themselves, and against duty confidently, this is an evil fruit of mercy.

Fourthly, when a people do begin to dote upon their own beauty, God sets them in a good condition, and they begin to rest in it, that evil was the fruit of their mercy, Ezek. 16.15. Thou wast comely through my come­liness that I put upon thee; But thou didst trust in thine own beauty: this is another evil fruit of mercy, men grow more self-confident of their own wisdom, and their own strength, and trust in their beauty; a great [Page 534] Argument that men grow much the worse for mercy.

Fifthly, when men ascribe mercy to themselves, and would take the glory from God, Hab. 1.16. Sacrifice to their own net: and say, this is great Babel that I have built; my wisdom saith one, and my power saith ano­ther; this or that arm of flesh hath got the victory, the hearts of men run out to second causes, to poor instru­ments; this is an argument that men grow the worse for mercies; when they cannot call to mind any former thing wherein the Lord hath been pleased to use them, but with great Elevation of Spirit; And it must not be spoken of but with the greatest advancement of the instrument that can be. And,

Lastly, when men imploy all to their own use, when all mens mercies do but serve their lusts; one man saith, we have obtained this mercy, therefore I will be rich; now I must sit at the stern saith another; the manage­ment of all the negotiations of the State is in my hands; as much as to say, God hath given all these mercies to serve me: remember that place in Isa. 29.1. It is a Scripture I confess you should have much before your eyes: Wo to Ariel, to Ariel the City where David dwelt: why is Jerusalem called Ariel? you have it rendred in the margent, the Lyon of God; that City and that peo­ple which had been as a Lyon to conquer all the neigh­bouring Nations, that none were able to stand before them: yet when they abused all these barely to serve themselves, the Lord hath a woe for them; have these been the fruits that mercies have brought forth amongst us? the Grapes of Sodom: have not we reason now as to bewail our wants, so to weep over our mercies all this day long? and to consider how much we are the worse [Page 535] for those mercies wherein the Lord hath been merciful to you.

There is a second use of Caution, and admonition; do you take heed seeing it is so dangerous a thing, that the same thing be not justly said of you, and charged on you as was here upon Jesurun: that they were the worse for their mercies: the mercies they received did but ripen their sins and hasten their ruine: take heed you bring forth fruits worthy of the mercy you receive: as Christ saith, bring forth fruits worthy of repentance; you may remember, it is said of Solomon, Cant. 8.11. he had a Vine-yard in Baal-hamon, and Solomon let it out, but he expected to have the incomes of his Vine-yard: the Lord deals so with men: whatever the mercies are you do receive, the Lord expects returns for them: and that your mercies should make you thrive and grow more in grace and more in obedience, that you should be the better for them.

But what are the natural fruits that the mercies of God should bring forth, that I may know when they are fruits that grow upon mercy naturally, not from sin occasionally, that I may say, I am the better for mercy?

I shall name to you six particulars, and pray lay them to heart.

First, the proper fruit of mercy is an humble ac­knowledgment of our own unworthyness: when the soul is made more humble under the apprehension of its own unworthiness, that is a mercy indeed: the Lord directs to this in Deut. 26.5. they were to come to bring their first fruits to God when they came to Canaan; they were to come to God and say, A Syrian ready to perish was my Father: and the Lord brought us out of [Page 536] the Land of Egypt: they acknowledge their own un­worthiness of mercy, when a soul can say as Iacob doth, I am less then the least of all thy mercies.

Secondly, the proper fruit of mercy by which a man may be said to be the better for it, is when they ascribe all mercy to God: when they say, VVe have wrought no deliverance in the earth; neither have the inhabitants of the earth formed it: it is not my bow nor my sword that hath saved me: but as David, Psal. 18.2. VVhen God had delivered him from all his enemies, and out of the hand of Saul: Now what doth David say? The Lord is my strength and my rock, he is become my salvation: God is all in all; he looks on no instruments, no second causes.

Thirdly, when mercies do bring a mans sins to re­membrance, the soul stoops under the apprehension of mercy: what will God shew mercy to me! one so re­bellious and disobedient as I! and then the soul reads over the guilt of his sin with new remorse: is this thy Voice, thy act O Lord whom I have so much provoked, that the Lord might have cast me off so long ago? It was so with them in Ezek. 16. ult. when God shews the greatest mercy that ever he will give them: when he will give them sisters for daughters, and exalt her to be the mother Church of the earth; then, they shall remember their waies and their doings, and shall be confounded and put their mouthes in the dust, and never lift up their faces any more when I am pacified towards them: I might have expected that God should have destroyed me rather, and sent me to hell as well as to captivity: but will the Lord yet shew mercy? the soul is in bitterness for this.

Fourthly, when mercies lay upon the men the stron­ger [Page 537] obligations, and a man makes this use of it; looks upon himself as more firmly bound to God; that is the use they make of mercy in Ezra 9.13. after we have received such a deliverance as this, should we rebel? as if they should have said, if this mercy do not make up the banck against disobedience, nothing in the world will do it: this makes a man as David, to cleave to God with full purpose of heart, and to say, this God is my God, is my God for ever.

Fifthly, when the soul studies what he shall return to God for all his mercies: you know that God not only expects returns, but proportionable returns: And I desire you would take notice of it, 2 Chron. 32.26. But Hezekiah rendred not according to the benefit done un­to him. But can our returns be answerable to our re­ceipts? there is a double way to make reckonings even: you can never return so much in the thing, but in the will: and so much the more as the hand of God is large in mercy, so much the more thy heart should be enlarg­ed in returns: and let me offer this to your thoughts: in every affliction it is observed God hath some one special end: though the Lord hath many ends do meet in every action, for therein his wisdom appeareth: But yet notwithstanding some special thing the Lord aims at in every affliction; and therefore Iob goes to God, and saith, Lord, shew me wherefore thou contendest with me: there is some especial thing that the Lord aims at, that he would have his people to endeavour to find out: and so it is in every mercy; though the Lord have many ends in it, yet some special end the Lord aims at in every Mercy, which you should consult with God about: go to the Lord Jesus as your Priest, and de­sire direction from him; enquire what special duties the [Page 538] Lord aims at in this mercy. For you can no more thrive under mercy, then you concurr with God in his ends: set those three ends together, Mich. 6.8. and now oh man, what doth the Lord require of thee; but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? But it is good for you to spend some time to enquire what is the peculiar thing the Lord aims at in every affliction, and in every mercy: that is the way to thrive under, and to be the better for mercy.

Lastly, that soul is the better for mercy when it loves God the more for it, Psal. 18.1. a great mercy David had received, deliverance from all his enemies: Oh I will love the Lord saith he: that is the first thing; he doth not say, I will love the mercy, and I will rejoyce in the mercy: No, I told you it was Austins observation: Austin. It is an adulterous love, the love of an harlot, to love the gift above the giver: Let this be an evidence of your love, that you so delight in the mercy, as you delight in the goodness of the God of the mercy: and that you keep your selves in the way of mercy ever after: why is one particular mercy so sweet? the Scripture speaks of Gods drawing out of loving kindness; how shall the soul obtain it? keep your selves in the way of mercy; then thou shalt be sure to be kept in the way of loving kind­ness continually: there shall be a tract of mercies to thee: take heed therefore that your mercies do make you the better; for otherwise mercies wronged are the most dangerous things that are medled withal.

But how shall I know that I know that I am the better for mercies? Pray observe these four rules, and I have done.

First, thy mercies will never make thee the better, unless they be mercies that proceed from a Covenant­right [Page 539] and interest: What is that? the great promise of the Covenant, is, I will be thy God: that is, all that is in God thou hast an interest in; then there is infinite mer­cy in God; that mercy is my mercy: the God of my mer­cy, and the God of my strength: this labour to be sure of: what mercy soever thou receivest, let it flow from a Covenant-interest, that thou hast closed with the Lord, and chooses him for thy God; no mercy will do thee good else.

Secondly, when a man as he receives all from God, doth direct all to God; that he that is the first cause is made the last end; when the soul saith, of him are all things, therefore to him are all things: I desire to have no benefit from that which God hath no glory from: when a man doth so, it is an argument that the mercy doth his soul good.

Thirdly, consider, this is the mercy that doth you good, when it makes thy soul prosperous: I would not have you judge of mercies by any thing but with rela­tion to your souls: as God gave Gaius a great estate, the host of the whole Church, in Iohn 3.2. I wish thou maiest prosper as thy soul prospers: if God hath given thee a large estate, great employments, or great digni­ty amongst men, is thy soul the better? then thou art the better, but never till then: take the instance of Ie­hosaphat, 2 Chron. 17.5,6. he had silver and gold in abundance; and his heart was lifted up in the way of Gods Commandments: how should I know when God gives me riches in mercy? why, his soul was lifted up, and therefore he had them in mercy.

Lastly, wherein your prayers to God are drawn forth more for a sanctified use of the mercy, then for the mercy it self: this is certain; it is said of ungodly men, [Page 540] that by the prayers of Gods people, their mercies are turned into snares: in Psal. 69.22. let their table be made their snare: and that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap: so their prayers are drawn out, that all the mercies that they receive may cause them to thrive and prosper, that every thing may work for good together for good, as the Lord hath promised to those that love him. And so much now for the point which is of continual use to you: and therefore I be­seech you consider of what hath been spoken.

Vnruly Thoughts quieted, BY Divine Consolations.

PSALM 94.19.

In the multitude of my thoughts within me, thy comforts de­light my soul.

THE Psalm in the Hebrew is without a Title, and therefore I can say nothing either of the Author, or the Occasion, but the Se­ptuagint adds a title, and Jerom from them; Psalmus David quarta sabbati; Ierom. upon which Austin and Ierom have their several conjectures, [Page 542] which will be to little purpose to humble you withal; only from the contents thereof Musculus and Calvin both do observe, that the Psalmist doth here speak de persecutionibus domesticis, some that proved great per­secutors at home, and they do referr it unto Saul, and unto his government: it is true, they had many ene­mies round about them; all the neighbour Nations, the bordering Nations, they were their evil neighbours; the Holy-Ghost calls them so in Ier. 12.14. but yet it seems they had more cruel inmates within, worse then all the neighbours without: a home-born slaverie amongst all upon earth, is the greatest misery; home-born Oppres­sion among all upon earth is the greatest tyrannie: yet notwithstanding, so it seems it was; for that is the hu­mor of some men, as if they were only ad dominium, and all others admancipium nati; they born to rule, all other men born to serve: and such was Sauls party; Cush the Ethiopian, Psal. 7.1. Jews by profession, but Gen­tiles in Religion: this misery grew so great upon Da­vid, that he chose rather a voluntary exile, then to subject himself unto the cruelty of those, or that hy­pocritical faction which bare rule in his own Nation: as Salv. l. 5. de grat. p. 6. such was the oppression in that time of the Roman Governors, ut-unum Romanorum erat omnium votum, liceat iis vitam agere cum Barbaris: This seems to be the great subject of the Psalm. In the words that I have read to you, there are two things to be considered.

First, Davids affliction (if he were the Author of the Psalm) and that arose from a multitude of perplexing thoughts within him. And,

Secondly, here is Davids Consolation too in the midst of this affliction: thy comforts delight my soul: [Page 543] amara vulnera, sed suavia medicamenta, Austin. so Austin saith: From these two Branches there are two Observations that I have made choice of to speak something to you at present.

The first is this; That in evil times the misery of the Saints of God is more from thoughts within, then troubles without.

Secondly, That God provideth Consolations in, and answerable unto the afflictions of his people, which shall have a power to revive and delight their souls.

Doctrine first.

To begin with the first of them. In evil times the misery of the Saints of God is more from thoughts within, then from troubles without. There are three things in the opening of this truth, that I shall endeavour briefly to demonstrate to you.

First, That the best men they are not freed, while they live here, from unruly un-subdued thoughts.

Secondly, That in times of trouble, these thoughts come in by multitudes: a mans thoughts are never so tumultuous as in troublesom times. And then,

Lastly, That the great part of afflictions doth lie more in these tumultuous and unruly thoughts within, then in all a mans troubles and afflictions without: winds without do not cause an earth-quake, but wind within, [...].

For the first, even the best men while they live here, they are not freed from unruly and unquiet thoughts. Thoughts, they are the immediate issues of principles; the buds and the blossoms of the principles that are in a mans heart: and so long as godly men live here, they [Page 544] will have corrupt principles in them; so long will these principles bud and blossom into unruly and inordinate thoughts, while a man is in an unregenerate estate: all the imaginations of the thoughts of his heart are evil, and only evil, Gen. 6.5. because he hath nothing but a prin­ciple of sinning in him: when he is regenerate, yet so long as a corrupt principle remains in him, so long there will arise in him unruly unsubdued thoughts: it is very true, there is a great deal of difference between the thoughts of regenerate and unregenerate men: for in a regenerate man there is a holy government set up in his thoughts, they are brought into subjection unto the government of Christ, even [...], every thought: in 2 Cor. 10.5. for let a mans change in his words, in his actions be never so glorious, even an Angel before men, yet if his thoughts remain the same, I must say it, he is still a child of Belial, he is still in the gall of bitter­ness, and bonds of iniquity: therefore there is a great deal of difference between the thoughts of a regene­rate and an unregenerate man; and indeed the main re­generation lies in that, and is principally discovered in it, purity in the inward parts: in Isa. 55.7. let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; the great change lies in the inward man: therefore there is a great deal of difference between the thoughts of a re­generate and an unregenerate man: and though there be rebellious thoughts in the best men, they are not the top thoughts in the man: you have an expression in 1 King. 18.28. how long halt you between two opinions? [...] the word in the Hebrew is taken from a word that signifies the top branches of a tree: as you find the same word used in Isa. 17.6. a few berries upon the uppermost boughs; there you have the same word used: [Page 545] and therefore Mercer renders the word, how long halt ye inter duas prominentias: Mercer. that is they had 2 top thoughts; they thought as highly of Baal as they did think of God; and they did set up Baal in the same authority that they did set up God: the word of God is said to cast down [...], every top thought, 2 Cor. 10.5. he doth so far bring them into order and sub-ordination, that though they be unruly thoughts, yet they are under controle, and under a higher Kingdom and dominion: now a godly man hath never those: though he hath sin­ful thoughts, yet they are never his top thoughts: they are thoughts that are brought into captivity; but yet my Brethren for all that, there will arise in the best men abundance of unruly and unquiet thoughts, yet for all this they do arise in the souls of godly men: even in the best men, the corrupt principle in them is still bubling up, the Sea within them is casting out mire and dirt: and that from a threefold ground: I will but touch it, and pass to the second particular.

First, from the corruptions of the unregenerate part, the remainder of corruption in the best men, it is like fire in an Oven, the Holy-Ghost compares it so, Hos. 7.4,5. and he hath violent irruptions, their hearts are as hot as an Oven, these thoughts arise from the irrupti­ons and the breakings forth of the unregenerate part.

Secondly, from the invasion of some enticing crea­ture-objects amongst them, as David saw Bathsheba: Achan saw, and he desired; considered, and desired: so likewise it is said, in 1 Ioh. 2.16 Whatsoever is in the world, is the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life: is there nothing in the world but lust? the meaning is, take all the creatures to an unregene­rate [Page 546] man, and they all of them become the objects of lusts, all of them are but means to draw out lust: so that there is a threefold curse come upon the creature since the fall unto all unregenerate men; it is not only a deceiving creature, because it is empty: and it is a vexing creature, because it is promising and then deceiving: but withal, it is a defiling, a polluting creature: thus from the in­vasion of objects, from without, are these thoughts drawn forth. And then,

In the last place: from the injections of Satan: for what are unruly thoughts? it is Satan doth himself many times immediately inject: so the Devil put it into the heart of Iudas to betray Christ: the Devil put it into his heart: there are some thoughts that come immedi­ately from hell, like fierie darts: the best men then are not in this life free from unruly, inordinate, unquiet thoughts. But,

In the second place; In troublesome times these thoughts come in by multitudes: never so tumultuous as in evil times: that as it is said of the thoughts of God, and of his love, Psal. 40.5. Thy thoughts to us-ward are innumerable, there is none can reckon them up to thee; So (my Brethren) it may be said of our thoughts that proceed from our fears, when either guilt within, or danger without presents it self, our thoughts then are innumerable, they flie within a mans Spirit like Atomes in the air, no man is able to reckon them up to his own self: observe Dan. 5.6. a hand-writing appears to Bel­shazer: the hand smote him not, did but write upon the wall, yet notwithstanding Belshazer was troubled: What was the reason? his thoughts troubled him. The Dis­ciples they had an apparition of the Lord Jesus, Luke 24.38. they supposed they had seen a spirit, saith the Text [Page 547] why he hurt them not, yet notwithstanding Christ saith, thoughts did arise in their hearts, thoughts did arise: but in a special manner that place, Iob 6.4. The terrors of God are set in Battle-array against me: how came the ter­rors of God? the terrors of God were let in by thoughts, by thoughts, that was the way, and they did not come single in he saith, but they came a whole ar­my, and an army in battalia; thus did the Lord let in af­flictions by his own thoughts upon Jobs person: and thus in evil times it alwaies is so; an army, an host of thoughts come in upon us: they fall upon a mans heart like bubbles in the rain: and the reasons are these two.

First, because in troublesom times the souls of men are awake; commonly troublesom times awaken mens spirits: in times of prosperitie & peace, there is usually a Spirit of slumber upon men; but when the Lord emptieth a man from vessel to vessel, that hath been before settled upon the lees, then abundance of the lees appear; when God (I say) empties a man from vessel to vessel, then how full of projects is the heart of man? never brought into danger, but the man his thoughts rise; Oh how shall I escape? what shall I do? and how shall I make provision for my self? evil times awaken men that were before lulled asleep by securitie. But,

Secondly, Satan takes special care to assail the hearts of men with thoughts in an evil time, daemonum est ma­las cogitationes suggerere. Bernard. Bernard: Cogitationes onerosae. Idem: his great care is to keep men in peace in prosperous times, to keep the house and all that he possesseth in peace; but let troublesom times come once, then he doth stir up in the soul all manner of unquiet and distracting [Page 548] thoughts, and thereby he labours to add unto the af­fliction: as it is in temptations to sin, their strength lies in the multitudes of them, and in the intention of them: Satans great care is, that he might impress the same image upon you that is on himself; and your great care should be, to keep your selves that the wicked one touch you not; touch you not, how is that? tactu quali­tativo, so to touch you, as to leave an impression of his own devilishness upon you: a conformity in you to him: non nocet sensus ubi non est consensus: quod resisten­tem fatigat, vincentem coronat: now Satan is an unquiet Spirit, alwaies full of tumults and restlesness: why now such a disposition in evil times doth he labour to raise up in you also, that so there may be the same image in you that is in himself. Thus the best men are not freed from turbulent thoughts, and in evil times they come by multitudes.

But then, which is the main thing that I am to stick upon: That a godly mans affliction is more from these thoughts within, then from any trouble without; and that will appear by these six considerations: I shall desire you to observe them.

In the first place, because the eye of God is mainly upon a mans thoughts in troublesom times, and your thoughts especially displease him. When the apparition was made to the Disciples, Christ saith, Why are you fearful? Why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Luke 24.38. Christs eye was mainly upon their thoughts: and indeed these are the things that do in a special man­ner displease God: the first buddings and risings of corruption doth appear in a mans thoughts: and God doth eye sin in the rising of it, in the thoughts, in an especial manner: sua quisque cogitatione stat vel cadit: [Page 549] quia spiritus sanctus auferet se à cogitationibus quae sunt sine intellectu: eritque templum Dei, spelunca Diaboli: Bernard. Bern. de inter domo. It is true, that thoughts are free from the eye and censure of men, because they are secret and invisiible: But they are known to the eye of the Almighty: He sees our thoughts afar off: and therefore some humble souls are more grieved for the provoking the eyes of the glory of God, by the rebellion of their thoughts, then for the exorbitancy of their actions: when the times are troublesom and your thoughts with­in you grow unquiet and tumultuous. Now what is it in an affliction, that is the main thing in affliction? That which doth displease God, and draws out sin in the soul, that makes it to be an affliction indeed: Chrisost. and therefore I remember Chrysostom (speaking of a god­ly man) layes down this for a general rule, which we should do well to take with us: he saith, that unto him there is but one thing only that he fears: & what is that? that he should displease, or offend God; that is the great thing he is afraid of, he fears nothing else: [...]; he fears nothing else: why then my Brethren, what is it in an affliction that makes an affliction grie­vous? That which draws out sin in me; now the blooming of corrupt principles is in thoughts, there they bud: and therefore I say, there is many a godly man, that considering the eye of God is alwaies upon his thoughts, is much more affected; I say, much more af­fected with the continual excursions of his Spirit that prevail, and unruly thoughts, then he is with all the deviations of actions whatsoever. That is the first ground why the main of the affliction lies in this. But,

Secondly, there is another reason of it, and that is this: this lets the affliction into the inward man: when once the thoughts grow unruly, this lets the affliction into the inward man: while you keep afflictions with­out you they can never hurt you: therefore Jesus Christ saith, fear not them that can kill the body, and have no more that they can do; all this is but without you, and so long I say they can never hurt you: but if the affli­ction gets within, then it is like wind in the bowels of the earth: then it causeth the earth-quake: Godly men for this cause have taken more care to guard their Spi­rits that they may keep afflictions without, then to be delivered from the afflictions: there are two Scriptures that I shall offer, marvellous considerable, Hab. 3.16. that is one, I tremble in my self (saith he) that I might rest in the evil day: rest, there is a double rest: there is a rest of deliverance, he meant not so: but there is a rest of quietness, and confidence and that all the peo­ple of God labour for: keep the afflictions without you, let it not invade your inward man; that is the promise, Psal. 127.2. So he gives his beloved sleep: observe that Scripture; it is in vain to rise early, and go to bed late, and eat the bread of carefulness; so he gives his Beloved sleep: what is that? Animum tranquillum, placidum laborem; Calvin. so Mr. Calvin: that let his condition without be never so troublesom, let him be forced to break his bodily sleep never so often, yet the inward sleep, the inward rest, and tranquillity of his mind is reserved; he gives his Be­loved sleep. My Brethren, so long as temptations are kept without you, they will never hurt you: it is true of afflictions too: take a man that keeps an affliction out of his thoughts, that is, from unruly, and turbulent, and tumultuous thoughts: Huic non est onerosa pauper­tas, [Page 551] non sentit injurias, ridet opprobria, contemnit damna, Bernard. Bernard: this man alas, poverty, or injuries, or dis­graces, or loss of goods, truly all these are no great matter to him: why? because they are only afflictions without: they have not invaded his inward man: That is the second ground.

Thirdly, unruly thoughts in evil times, are the great part of the affliction, because this opens the door to the Devil; in patience possess your souls, saith Christ: but my Brethren, when your doubts once grow unruly, the Devil enters, Eph. 4.26,27. Let not the Sun go down upon your wrath, nor give place to the Devil: violent, and unruly thoughts, of what kind soever, they do but open the door to that wicked one: every man by nature is the Devils house, in Matth. 12.43,44. and though in godly men Satan be cast out, yet he will attempt a re-entry; and therefore he saith, I will go to my house from whence I came out: it is true, it is not spoken of a godly man there, but Satan in the best men will attempt to re-enter: now, when any affliction shall be the means to open the door to Satan, this I say is the great part of the affliction.

In the fourth place, it is the great part of affliction, because unquiet thoughts do raise up in the soul distra­cting and vexing passions: for your passions rise by your thoughts, and the affliction of the soul lies in this: all the rest is but the affliction of the body, but the af­fliction of the soul lies in tormenting passions; you have that expression frequently used, as in Isa. 58. and many other places; a day for a man to afflict his soul: and that soul that is not afflicted; then the soul hath its afflictions as well as the body. What are the souls af­flictions? they are tormenting and vexing passons: [Page 550] as that there needs no other misery befall the body, then if God should leave it to the jarring of its own humors: so there needs no other plague befall the soul, then if the Lord should leave it to the violence of its own pas­sions; this would be like Vulters gnawing upon the heart of a man; these stir up in a man, fear, and sorrow, and amazement those tormenting passions of the soul; these be soul-afflicting affections: do but consider what it is that torments the Devils; they are reserved in chains of darkness to the judgement of the great day; those chains of darkness I conceive to be in a great measure their own dark and guilty thoughts, by which they are bound over to wrath, in these chains they are reserved. What shall the never dying worm be? Nothing but the furious risings of the thoughts of a mans heart, the fu­rious reflections of the mans soul upon himself: why then a man needs no greater misery, if God should but leave him to the tyrannie of his thoughts; for these raise up in his soul perplexing, distracting, and tormenting miseries.

Fifthly, unruly thoughts are a great part of a mans afflictions; for these draw out in a man passionate and unruly speeches: you have such an expression in Iob 20.2. My thoughts caused me to answer: mens thoughts mightily press forwards to words: & by this means pas­sionate speeches rise from unruly thoughts; these I say, do exalt folly. Solomon in Prov. 17.27. hath such an ex­pression; a man of understanding is of an excellent Spi­rit; you read it so, [...] he is spiritu frigidus: a man of a cool spirit: whereas another man, he is tinder unto every injection: but I say, such a man exalts folly, a great part of affliction is in this.

There is one thing more, and I beseech you consider [Page 553] it: unruly thoughts in the time of trouble, they do rob the soul of its richest ornament, those glorious inward qualifications which are the souls beauty: I will name but three to you. It is inward quietness: and sere­nity; it is contempt of the world: and it is holy mag­naminity.

First I say, It robs the soul of its inward quietness and tranquillity; and a quiet spirit is in the sight of God of great price: the soul of a man should be alwaies like the upper region of the air, calm and sereen, what storms so ever, or blusterings there are below. And,

Secondly, contempt of the world: Love not the world, nor the things of the world: it is but [...], an out­side thing: now, a godly man he is able to say, there will come a time when I shall take my leave of all these things with joy; and I say, to be dissolved and to be with Christ is much better: Nay, there will come a time in the general conflagration of all things, when I shall be able to stand upon the honours of this world, the ruines of all things, and a man is able to say quum mundus exarserit, as he saith, cogitat se nihil habere de tanta mole perdendum: though all the creatures were de­stroyed, yet the man could say, I have lost nothing, my portion is not here; the things of this life are given me, Non in praemium, sed solatium. Prosper. Prosper. Licet omnia ami­serunt, nunquam fidem, pietatem, interioris hominis bona: Hae sunt opes Christianorum: now that man that struggles, his spirit is marvellously robbed of this glorious quality. And so likewise,

In the last place, that holy magnaminity and great­ness of mind which should be in us; the greatness of a Saints mind should be answerable to the greatness of his God, and answerable to the greatness of the promises [Page 554] that are made to him; a holy greatness of mind, built upon the greatness of his God, and his interest in him. Now unruly thoughts cross this: Who art thou that art afraid of a man that shall dye, and the son of man that is as dust, and forgettest the Lord thy Maker? We are not careful, Oh King, to answer thee in this matter: their thoughts were not troubled: in re tam sancta nulla est deliberatio: now this preserveth true greatness in a man, that as David, in Psal. 112.8. saith, My heart is under­propped: so Montanus reads it, suffultum est cor meum; Monta. that let the affliction be what it will be, he hath something within that bears up, and underprops his spirit, and he is acted neither by hopes nor fears from below: Qui nil sperat nisi a domina, nil timet praeter dominum, Bernard. Bernard: then this is a truly nobleness: Now unruly, and unquiet thoughts rob the soul of these glorious qualifications; and this hath made some of the Antients exceedingly complain of the troublesomness of their own thoughts: I remember Bernard cries out, Cogitationum tumultus à Corde quotidie amovere volo, nec valeo: sine cogitationi­bus esse non possum: introeunt, & exeunt: Bernard, Bern. de inter. dom. On the tumults of my own thoughts! I would re­move them every day, but alas I am not able, still my thoughts encrease: What is the reason of this? sure­ly, the main of every affliction lies in this, the unruli­ness, and unquietness of a mans own thoughts.

I, but you will say to me; what great cause had David, or this Psalmist to have such a multitude of un­quiet thoughts? let us look to that a little, before I pass from this first point: we will go no further then this present Psalm, and you shall find, that if any man had cause to be troubled, that he that penned this Psalm had cause of troublesom thoughts, and that wil appear, [...] [Page 559] our hopes are past, Ezek. 37.12. then saith God, Lo my people, I will open your graves: when they say, our bones are dry, our hopes are lost, then the Lord saith, I will open your graves: as God brings evil upon wicked men seasonably, because he watcheth over them for evil; therefore in Zeph. 2.4. it is a considerable ex­pression: I will drive out Ashod at noon, at noon: Tem­pus incommodissmum cum sol maxime fervet. Drusius. Drus. In the worst time, when the Sun was hottest, and therefore in those hot Countries, it was the greatest evil. I will watch over them, and bring the affliction at the season­ablest time: so I wil give my people seasonable comfots, because he watcheth over them for good, as he watcheth over the other for evil.

Nay, not only in the affliction, but according unto the affliction, so shall the consolation be, and therefore Ierom reads it, secundum multitudinem; Jerom. according to the multi­tude of my thoughts: so were the multitude of Gods consolations; God will give it in the time, and the sea­son of it; but withal, the Lord will give it according unto the measure; when he doth bring great afflicti­ons, he provideth for you strong consolations, that as the affliction aboundeth, so the consolations shall abound; the Lord tells you, that his rewards shall be according to the measure of his mercies: it is an admirable expression in Hosea 10.12. according to the measure of mercies your rewards are; the Lord measures your consolations ac­cording to the measure of your afflictions. Thus then you see the truth of these two points. Let us see now what these consolations were that upheld the heart of our Psalmist here in those sad times: thy comforts de­light my soul: what were they? I will go no further then the Psalm neither, and you shall find that [Page 560] there were eight that were the great stay of his heart in those times.

As in the first place; he did consider God beholds them: it is a wrong that is done to his people under the fathers eyes: that was the first thing that he did stay his heart on; the people of God do say, Surely thou art our father, though Abraham know us not, and Israel be igno­rant of us: we have no greater comfort that we can look at, no friends below, yet notwithstanding our groans are not hid from thee. That was the first com­fort.

Secondly, God did not only see it; Surely thou hast seen it: but withal he did comfort himself with this: God would revenge it; therefore he calls him, thou God to whom vengeance belongs, the God that revengeth: habes ultorem Deum, Hierom. Hierom: he was a God that did avenge the cause of his people: he hath said, vengeance is mine; and of the Lord Jesus Christ when Steven was stoned, Acts 7. it is said, he saw Jesus standing at the right hand of God; Jesus standing; why the Scripture every where saith, that Christ is gone to Heaven, and is sate down at the right hand of God, but he seeth him standing up at the right handof God; what is the rea­son? that is, tanquam causae suae judex & vindex, saith one, as one that was the Judge of his cause, and the avenger of his wrong: I, this is another great ground of comfort upon which the heart is stayed: My God is a God to whom vengeance belongeth. Then,

In the third place: by all these the Lord teacheth his people, for so he saith in the 12. Verse, Blessed (saith he) is the man whom thou chastenest, and teachest out of thy Law; that is another stay of heart in the worst of rimes: the rod (saith he) hath a voice: hear the rod, [Page 561] and who hath appointed it: Nay, the rod teacheth a man that it is better to be under the saddest affliction, and have the graces of that condition drawn forth, rather then to be under the greatest prosperity, and the sins of that condition drawn forth: do but observe Iam. 1.4. Let the brother of low degree rejoyce that he is exal­ted: I, you will say, he hath good reason for it: but, Let the brother of high degree rejoyce that he is made low; a hard matter to rejoyce in that my Brethren: a godly man can as truly rejoyce in an afflicted condition, so as the graces of that condition be drawn forth in it, as he can rejoyce in a prosperous condition, much rather if the sins of that condition be drawn forth in it: there­fore there is a teaching in the rod, when a man is brought to that indifferency of Spirit, as I remember the Father brings in David speaking, Vis me Pastorem ovium aut regem populorum? ecce paratum est cor meum: Lord saith he, shall I be a Keeper of sheep again, or Lord shall I be a King over Israel? Lord, my heart is ready, my heart is ready, willing to embrace each condi­tion: This is another thing: the rod is a Teacher, the rod hath a voice. Besides,

In the fourth place: There is a rest God hath prepa­red for his people in the most restless condition: so he saith in the 13. Verse, that thou mightest give him rest in the day of evil: there is a shaddow of Gods wing, and the people of God in the worst condition, they can lie down under this shaddow with great delight: Look into that precious Scripture, Hos. 14.8. I am like a green fir­tree, saith God the Lord; like a fir-tree; Why? in two things: it is [...], densam umbram habens: so the Septuagint renders it: a tree that yields a thick shaddow: and it is a tree likewise that is alwaies green, [Page 562] perpetuo virens, never casts its leaves as other trees do in the Winter; so saith the Lord, such is my defence, you may lie down under my shaddow in quiet: and he gives them rest in the day of evil. And,

In the fifth place; he comforts himself with this: the Lord knows that the thoughts of man are but vanity; with that he comforts himself, that all these designs shall come to nothing, all their thoughts are but vanity: the Lord hath appointed that he will take the wise in his own craftiness, and his hand shall not perform his enterprise: the Lord hath said, by iniquity shall no man be established: the Lord hath said, he will not suffer the hypocrite to rule, least the people be ensnared, that is the expression, Iob 34.3. Now let their designs be what they will be; with this he comforts himself, yet notwithstanding the Lord knows the thoughts of men to be but vanity. That is another ground of comfort.

And then; In the sixth place, that I may draw to a conclusion; that while they labour for their own exaltation, God is preparing for their destruction: that is another thing that he comforts himself with; for so he saith, till the pit be digged for the ungodly; till the pit be digged; all this while I do not envy their rising saith he, but rather pitty their ruine: Impatientia humana non vult habere Dei patientiam. Ierom. Jerom: for God is preparing a pit all the while: that is ano­ther great ground of comfort in the worst of times; for my Brethren, there is a judgement written that must be executed, and many times (as Austin well ob­serves upon the place) faelicitas peccatorum fovea est ipsorum: Austin. even their very prospering in an evil way, is the pit in which they find their ruine: that is another thing by which he comforteth himself.

Seventhly, (That I may draw to an end) though for the present the Lord seems to neglect the con­dition of his people; yet he comforts himself with this: that God seemed to neglect for the present, but saith he, he will bring forth judgement to righte­ousness; it is true indeed, Gods judgement for his people seems now to have left them, it is hid: but saith he, the Lord will appear for their safety, and he tels them plainly; that will he executes Iudgement for his people; Iudgement shall return to righteousness; it is true indeed, there will come a time, when the Saints shall rule the world, there will come such a time, I am afraid it is not at hand yet: I am afraid so, for that place in Dan. 7. I rather chuse to ex­pound it by that in Isa. 60.12. That Kingdom and Nation that will not serve thee shall perish: not a Gentile, but a Jewish Nation: but I say, there will come such a time, when Judgement shall re­turn to righteousness, and then that prophesie of Lactantius shall be fulfilled, Oriens dominabitur, & Occidens serviet: Lactant. there will come such a time, and with this now he comforteth himself, that though the Judgements of God seem to lie hid, and be deferred, yet it shall not be so alwayes, but Iudgement shall return to Righteousness. And then,

In the last place, he comforts himself: the Lord will bring upon them their own iniquity: their own iniquity; that is, they shall fall in their own devices, they shall be dashed in peices upon the stumbling block of their inventing: he takes the wise in their own craftiness: and he burneth them like Bees in their own hive [...]: and so you shall [Page 564] find in Daniel 7.25,26. where, the little horn is said to speak great words against the most High, and to wear out the Saints, and to change times and laws; What then? why then it is said, the Iudgement shall sit, and dominion shall be taken from him, and to consume, and destroy, even to the time of the end: for saith he, Our God will bring upon them their own iniquities: These were now the thoughts wherewith he comforted himself, and by which he did overcome all those troublesom and tumul­tuous thoughts that were in his Spirit.

My Brethren, I should speak something to the Application of it; I shall say no more but this, because I see I have trespassed.

You have heard, that the great afflictions of good men in troublesom times, is more from thoughts within, then from dangers without. You have heard, that answerable unto these thoughts God provideth consolations which do sustain, and cheer the heart.

My Exhortation to you is;


Live in the faith, and walk in the strength of these truths: labour I say to live in the faith, and to walk in the strength of these truths: that there are consolations that can quiet the heart of man in the midst of the greatest struglings and tu­mults of Spirit that can be. And that afflictions never do you harm, but when they invade your Spirits by your own thoughts.

Consider I beseech you these things, and then [Page 565] let thy affliction be never so great, and though your thoughts be never so tumultuous, yet there are consolations, there are I say consolations of God, which will certainly be a means to delight your souls.

And so much now shall serve for a brief open­ing of this Scripture unto you. Comfort and encou­rage one another with these words.

Gods Throne Erect, IN The Assemblies of his Saints.

REV. 4.6.

Round about the Throne were four beasts full of eyes be­fore and behind, &c.

THE Comma of this Book is set forth, Chap. 1.19. write the things that are, and the things that shall be hereafter: and into these two parts this Book is divided. First, a Relation of the things that are refer­ring to the seven Churches of Asia, Saint Johns special charge. Secondly, a revelation of the general estate [Page 568] of the Church to come, and that from Johns time unto the second coming of the Lord: And this second part begins at Chap. 4. where the Church is made the scene of all things prophesied of in this book; the vision of the Throne, the Beast and the Elders, are the representa­tion of the Church where the Lord hath his Throne, of whom are the Judgements executed upon the Chur­ches enemies for the Churches sake.

The whole subject of this Book contains,

First, a representation of the Church upon earth; for there the Lord is worshipped, for they fall down, and they cast down their crowns, and they are those that were re­deemed by the blood of the Lamb: Chap. 5.9. and the An­gels are reckoned as distinct from them, Chap. 5.11. they are round about the Throne, and the beasts, and the Elders; it sets forth their office, and their watchfulness over the Saints in their worship.

Secondly, it is a representation of the universal Church in all times, and in all places: for Chap. 5.9. they are such as were redeemed out of all Nations, and kindreds, and tongues: therefore all that have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb in the Churches of the New Testament, unto them is this Revelation, and them it doth concern.

Thirdly, it is this Church universal as it is constitu­ted and made up of particular instituted Churches; for if we look upon the Church invisible, it hath no Offi­cers in that, only the Lord Jesus Christ who is the head; and if we look upon the universal visible Church, there are no Officers in it, but here are El­ders and Bretheren, Officers and members, which do Constitute a particular visible Church, that do meet together to worship God, as being the [Page 569] plat-form into which the Lord would have all the So­cieties and Congregations of his people gathered to­gether in.

There are in the words three things.

First, a Throne. Secondly, the Beasts; which are four round about the Throne. Thirdly, the qualifications of these Beasts, they are full of eyes before and be­hinde.

First, here is a Throne, and there was one that stood up­on it. Verse 3. here it is an allusion to the Tabernacle and the Temple, where the glorious presence of God amongst his people was manifested: that is plain.

First, from Ier. 17.12. A glorious high Throne is the place of our Sanctuary: and therefore that is resembled unto the throne of God.

Secondly, it is said Rev. 16.17. there came a voice out of the Temple of heaven from the Throne, saying, It is done, &c. therefore a Temple is his Throne, or, his Throne was the mercy-Seat in the Temple, from whence God did manifest his presence to be in the midst of them.

Thirdly, it will appear by what is said to be before his Throne; the golden Candlesticks with the seven lamps of fire and the Sea of glass: which was an allusion unto the laver of brass in the Temple; all were ornaments or utensils of the Tabernacle, or the Temple: It is true, that we read of another Throne which shall be erected after the thousand years of Satans binding be accomplished, Rev. 20.11. and he who stood upon it, was he before whose face the Earth and the Heavens fled away, and the dead both small and great did stand before him to be Iudged of those things that are written in the Book, according unto their works, and the earth and the Sea gave up her dead, &c. [Page 570] But that is a Throne of Judgement, and this a Throne of Grace: and this sets forth the presence of Christ in the midst of his people in Gospel Ordinances, and Administrations unto the second coming of the Lord.

Secondly, the four Beasts set forth the people of God incompassing the Throne of God, and therefore Psal. 7.7. the Congregation of his people are said to compass him about: it is an allusion unto the manner of the peoples compassing the Mount of God and the Taber­nacle in the Wilderness, when the 12 tribes did pitch round about the Tabernacle in four squadrons, 3 tribes in each of them, as appears Numb. 1.52. and Ch 2 and each of these had the images of Beasts in their Ensigns. First, Iudah & those with him; & their Ensign was a Lyon.

Secondly, Ruben and those with him; and their En­sign was an Ox.

Thirdly, Ephraim and those with him; and their En­sign was the Shape of a man.

Fourthly, Dan and those with him; and their Ensign was the shape of an Eagle. And answerable unto these the Church of God compassing the throne of God about, is expressed by this Hieroglyfick, the Ensign be­ing put for the tribe, as if we should put the Lyon for England, the Cross for Scotland, and the Eagle for the Empire, as it is said, Rev. 12.13. the woman was helped with the wings of a great Eagle to flie into the Wilderness; Aquila Imperii Romani Insigne est, &c.

Thirdly, these Beasts were full of eyes before and be­hind, and their wings also are full of eyes: it notes unto us that they are persons excellently skilled in the my­steries of God, they are very knowing Saints, for of such should the Churches of Christ be made up; Before and behind, that is, they are all eyes, to set forth the [Page 571] greatness and compleatness of their knowledge in the mysteries of God, and the mind of Christ; or before and behind, that is, saith Brightman, Bright. they know not only the mysteries of the waies of God that are past, but the prophesies of the will of God for time to come: or else, their great heedfulness in all their waies, specially towards God, they look before to what they are to do, and to the issues and consequences of things that are to come: and they look back upon the experiences they have had of things that are past, and they consult and compare both.

And their wings are said to be full of eyes within: wings do note their readiness and speed in the Executi­on of all the duties that God doth require of them; but the duties they do they are not carried to by a blind re­solution only, coeco impetu: but there are eyes in their wings to direct their actions, that whatsoever they do, they do it with wisdom, and they walk by rule in all their actions, and not at an adventure with God; and their wings are said to have eyes within; that is, though the wisdom and the reason of their actions be not dis­cerned by others, yet they have light for what they do in themselves, they guide their own way, it is the wisdom of a man that directs his own steps, &c. Other men have eyes without, and they can see into other mens waies, and to direct them: but they judge not of their own waies, that they may lead them with Judgement: It is an expression like unto that of the Angels, Ezek. 1.8. they are said to have the hands of a man under their wings, &c. which doth note two things.

First, that Angels do all things by a secret and in­visible manner: they work mightily, but their hands are not seen: they are under their wings; that execu­tive [Page 572] power that is in them is secret.

Secondly, that they do all things rationally, they do manage all their works with judgment, that though they flie, and do make haste in the execution of their Commission: yet, their haste doth not precipitate their wisdom, but they manage all things with prudence, even as with the hands of a man: and so it is here, they have wings, and therefore are hasty and speedy in their execution of the minde of God, but yet they do all things with wisdom and judgement; for their wings have eyes within them, they are full of eyes, and there is a great deal of spiritual prudence that lies secret and hidden in all their administrations and operations.


The Lord doth sit upon a Throne in the middle of his people; Here I will shew:

First, that Christ is present with his people, with the Churches upon earth unto the end of the world.

Secondly, he is present with them, as upon a Throne.

Thirdly, shew you the grounds or the reasons of this his presence. And,

Fourthly, make an application thereof unto our selves.

First, that there is a presence of Christ wth the Church: that there was such a presence with the Church of the Jews, that is plain, Levit. 26.11,12. the Lord saies, My Tabernacle shall be with you, and I will walk amongst you, &c. the Tabernacle was the place where the wor­ship of God was set up, and it was the place of his pre­sence, and a special sign of his presence; and his walk­ing [Page 573] there, notes a continual residence there, as he saith of Sion, here will I dwell for ever, this is my rest, for I have desired it: and this is applyed by the Apostle unto the Churches of the New Testament, 2 Cor. 6.16. Ye are the Temple of the living God: it is not there spoken of them as particular persons, though it be true that the bodies of the Saints are called, the Temples of the Holy-Ghost; of each particular Saint; but it is spoken there of them as a Church, as a people embodyed, and the Lord saith, they shal have a special presence amongst them, even as there was a special presence of God in the Temple; and therefore Christ is said to go down in­to the Garden to feed in it, and to gather Lillies: as Cant. 6.2. for as a garden enclosed, is my beloved unto me. Chap. 4.12. and the same course and walk does the Lord keep still, Rev. 21.3. Behold the tabernacle of God is with men, and he dwels with them: and God himself will be with them and be their God, &c. he walks in the middle of the seven Golden Candlesticks, and they are the se­ven Churches, and so twill be in the latter daies, &c.

Secondly, the presence of the Lord is as the pre­sence of a King upon his throne: there is a throne of Christ upon the Firmament over the heads of the living creatures, which sets forth the authority and soveraignty that Christ hath over the Angels which act the wheels, and by whom all things are governed; they have the spirit within them, and his voice without them, Ezek. 1.26. for the throne of Christ is exalted above all the Angels of God, above all principalities, and powers, and dominion, and every name that is named, &c. but this is a throne of Christ in the Heavens; but there is a throne of Christ (as upon the Firmament) so there is his [Page 574] throne and his Sanctuary also, and that is the presence here spoken of.

First, it is a throne of glory and majesty; the Throne, the Scepter, and the Crown, are inter regalia, that be­long unto the royalty of the great King; all these be­long unto Christ; the Crown, he is crowned with glory, and honour, and he hath a Scepter, which is sometimes the Word, Psal. 110.2. and sometimes the Sword, Ezek. 21.10. what if it destroy the King, and reach unto the greatest amongst men? for judgement shall in a special manner reach them, Verse 14. It was part of Solomons glory, that he built unto himself a high throne of Ivory; and a King sitting upon this throne appears in his glory: and therefore at the last day, when that great white throne of Christ shall be erected, Rev. 20.11. it is said of him, that he shall sit upon the throne of his glory, and there­fore Ezek. 10.4. and the glory of the Lord went up from the Chimney, and stood over the threshold of the house, and the house was filled with the cloud, &c. and so there is in the middle of his people, 2 Cor. 3. ult. we beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord; there is that discovery of Christ to be glorious amongst his people, as there is nowhere in the world beside; they see he is altogether lovely: they can see a beauty and an excellency in him above all the world; they are able to describe him in his glory from head to foot; when other men say, What is thy beloved, there is no beauty or comliness in him, that he should be desired: now as the Lord did to Moses when he did desire him, shew me thy glory, the Lord causeth his goodness to pass before him: and so Iob 42.5. Now my eyes see thee, &c. it was such a discovery of glory as he never had before, and so it was with Isa. 6.34. and so Rev. 22.4. they shall see his face, and his name shall be [Page 575] writ in their fore-heads: as in Heaven the habitation of his holyness and glory, there are such discoveries given forth of God, which also are voluntary, and in such a degree as he pleaseth; for there is a Lumen gloriae, as well as gratiae, that is, from the spirit of illumination; and as God is pleased to discover more or less of his glory, so have the Saints in heaven more or less glory; for their glory consists in vision, the more they see of him, the more they enjoy him, and the more they are made like unto him: so it is in this life also: there is a Vision of faith, and it is more or less according unto the different degrees of the Spirit of illumination, Eph. 1.17. and it is this revelation of Christ that is the ground of be­lieving in him, Ioh. 6.40. he that sees the son and believes in him; and so Isaiah sawe his glory and spake of him, Ioh. 12.41. There are different discoveries made unto the souls of the Saints of the excellency of his person, the King in his beauty: the all sufficiency of his righteous­ness, the glory of his holiness, the fulness of his spirit, the compleatness of his victories, &c. We see what a common work did to Balaam, and how mightily it af­fected him and transported him: how much more then a saving and a supernatural work upon the souls of the Saints? the vision of Christ in his glory will be much illustrated: as it is by a discovery of sin in its filthy­ness, when the Lord sets a mans sin in order before him: the Law entred that the offence might abound, Rom. 7. not to make it to be more then it is, for the Law adds no evil unto sin, but it discovers it, that a man sees it to be the most hateful thing, that which before he loved more then his life, and could venture all to attain it; now he would give any thing to be rid of it: so there is a visi­on of Christ that is manifested unto his people in the [Page 576] Gospel, by which they are really and spiritually affe­cted, and carried out into love and admiration of him, the vail of the covering that is upon all flesh, being taken away; and according to the reality and fulness of this discovery, so doth a mans affections rise towards him, Ioh. 14.21. I will manifest my self to him: he had a ma­nifestation before, but he shall have a further manifesta­tion; for the Lord doth arise in the soul as the Sun of Righteousness, as the morning; his goings forth are prepa­red, as the morning that shines more and more unto the per­fect day; and the more of the glory of Christ is disco­vered in the Gospel, the more the man doth see the King upon his Throne; for he doth sit upon a Throne of glory in the middle of his people; as it is with sin, there is a rational conviction of sin, and that is light without heat; and so there is a rational revelation of Christ, that will harden the heart, but will never melt it: as there are Consolations from men taken out of the word, but they will never satisfie the soul: so there are dis­coveries of Christ from men, which is but by the hear­ing of the ear; but there is a sight of him, and it is that only doth affect the heart, &c.

Secondly, it is a throne of soveraignty; a throne doth belong to a King, and so is a note of supream au­thority: so in the government of the Angels, the voice that commands them is from the throne that is in the Firmament over their heads, Ezek. 1.25. so doth the Lord sit upon his throne, and all his people are gathe­red about him, that they may sit down at his feet and re­ceive his Law, Deut. 33.3. and he gives Laws unto the consciences of men, for the word is mighty in operati­on, and sharper then a two-edged sword, dividing between the joynts and the marrow, and discerns the secret intentions [Page 577] of the heart, Heb. 4.12. The efficacy of the Law depends upon the authority of the Law-giver: and therefore till that be seen, the Law is of no power: when a man doth see that it comes from him that is Lord of the conscience, and Judge of the conscience: as what is the reason that at the day of Judgement the conscience shal be specially awakened, to accuse, or excuse men, Rom. 2.15,16. it is because then the majesty of the Law-giver shall be then most gloriously seen, and in the authority of the Law giver lies the efficacie of the Law: that as upon Mount Sinai the mountain did shake when the Lord did utter his voice; so there shall be a shaking and a ter­rour struck into the hearts of men; they shall have a dread and an awe upon them of that Majesty and au­thority from whence it comes, though before they re­garded it not. It is wonderful to see the impressions that are made upon the souls of unregenerate men by this authority, when they have but a glimps from a common work of this King upon his Throne. Oh how it damps lust, brings down strong holds of sin, over­comes all their reasonings, and unsettles a mans former sinful peace, that the bed is too short, and the covering too narrow: the man cannot lie down as formerly under a re­fuge of lies; his sweet morsels now are not sweet to him, but his mouth is filled with gravel. As to have seen the River Iordan to run backward in its own channel: and to see the Sun to go back in its own orb, it was a mighty word that must do this; to see that the fire could not burn in the furnace of Babylon, and yet their natures with their natural properties still to be continued: even so mighty a work there is upon the souls of unregene­rate men: but for a Law to come forth from the Lord, and that very word to be written upon the heart, and [Page 578] to be put in there as an indelible character never to be blotted out, though indeed sin may soyl it and blur it, yet it can never be blotted out nor obliterate, 2 Cor. 3.2,3 that the conscience shall stand in awe of it, that a man shall not dare do any thing that is contrary to it, as Psal. 119. My heart stands in awe of thy word: that though he had never so great an inclination within, and never so violent temptations without, that he cannot get the authority of it off from his spirit: and not only to do this by force, but willingly and cheerfully: thy Commandments are my delight, that he loves the Law of God, and delights in it according unto the inward man; if a man should come and speak to a Marble, and with his voice thereby words should be written, so that they could never be blotted out again, we would say this were a mighty voice; there is the same power put forth when the Lord Jesus is in the middle of his peo­ple, giving Laws unto their consciences as the King up­on his Throne: when the Law comes from Christ upon his throne, it puts a kind of moral impossbility upon the man, that he saies, How can I do this great wickedness and sin against God! we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth; we cannot but speak the things that we have heard and seen; there is an inward impulse of spi­rit that a man cannot do otherwise: as it is in the Law of sin, it doth so command the man, that the man can­not do otherwise, because there is a Law within him, and that hath the commanding power over the man, that though sometimes they would strive or give any thing it were otherwise, yet they cannot resist it, there is amoral impotency, he is not able to resist the doing of evil.

Thirdly, it is a Throne of grace, and therefore it is [Page 579] commonly so called, Heb. 10.22. Let us come with boldness unto the throne of grace; a King upon his throne doth pronounce pardon and give gifts: and therefore when the Lord Jesus did enter into his glory, and take possession of his Kingdom, thed he did shed abroad his Spirit abundantly: but it did come from the King upon his throne: then he doth delight to give gifts as a King, and to shew mercy as a King.

First, sitting on his throne he doth dispence the greatest gifts from it; it is from his presence in his Ordi­nances that he doth dispence the spirit, Rev. 4.5.14. the seven spirits are before the throne: it is not spoken of the person of the Spirit, for that is but one, but of the gifts of the spirit, which because they are many, therefore for their variety, their multiplicity, and their perfecti­on are said to be seven spirits: therefore there they are to be dispenced by Christ at his pleasure: but it is as he sits upon the throne, that he doth it, Rev. 2.21. The River of the water of life clear as Chrystal, proceeded out of the Throne of God and of the Lamb: By this all light is meant; for Doctrine is compared unto water, as cor­rupt doctrine to a flood, Rev. 12. and also all grace is compared unto water, Rev. 4.6. there was before the throne a Sea of glass clear as Chrystal: so now it is clear­ed again; those Doctrines that had been mudded and darkned under Popery, and by all the smoak that arises out of the bottomless pit: now they begin to clear again, and there is no mudd in them, &c. the spirit is given by the hearing of faith, Gal. 3.2. that is by the preaching of the doctrine of faith: for faith is there put for the doctrine of faith, as also that place, contend earnestly for the faith that was once given to the Saints: it is there­fore in vain for men to expect spiritual gifts and graces [Page 580] anywhere else: for it is only from the King upon his throne: and the seven spirits are only to be found be­fore the throne; if a man had gone into any other Pool then Bethesda, and expected the moving of the water, it had been no wonder if he had returned asha­med: and if the Israelites will go out to gather manna upon the Sabboth day, when the Lord told them it should not fall, it is no wonder if they found none: and so it is with all that will go out of Gods way, and Christs way, and yet will expect the influences of the spirit, and that the Angel should move the waters, and that they shall find manna, though the Lord hath told them the contrary, &c. they shall but sow the wind and reap the whirlwind.

Secondly, it is upon a throne that he doth grant pardon, Zech. 6.13. he shall be a Priest upon his throne: both the offices of a King and Priest shall meet in one person, and they shall both concur unto the same emi­nent and glorious ends, which shall be peace: both the making of peace and the speaking of peace; as the Priest under the Law was to offer the sacrifice to pro­cure peace; and as King he doth speak peace, he sends a Messenger one of a thousand to declare to a man his righte­ousness: if a man had a pardon from a thousand sub­jects, it would do him no good; but when the King sit­ting upon his throne, shall give him a pardon, then he saith, that his soul is delivered from going down into the pit; when a man comes into the presence of Christ, and sees his glory, and hath a discovery made to him, and he sees his name written in the heart of Christ, though Christ come as a Judge sitting upon his throne, and his soul is set before him, either to be accused or condemned, and Christ saith, be of good cheer, thy sins be [Page 581] forgiven: eat thy meat and drink thy wine with a merry heart, for God accepts thy works: let his soul be delivered from death, for I have found a ransom: hereupon, the man revives, and his flesh comes again as the flesh of a young child: and he doth return unto the dayes of his youth, and walks no more drooping under his own darkness, that made his strength decay, and made him grow old in his youth: now he grows young when he is old; renews his strength as the Eagle: and Rev. 16.17. the voice from the throne saies, It is done.

Fourthly, it is a Throne of Judgement; for out of the throne comes thunderings, and lightenings, and voices, Rev. 4.5. there do not only mercies and graces ascend upon the Saints, but there are also very terrible things against the enemies of Christ, and these Judgements are either temporal, or spiritual: either upon the ene­mies of Christ, or upon the Saints.

First, upon the enemies of Christ there are great Judgements that proceed out of the throne: he did de­liver Iudas unto Satan in an Ordinance, when he stood upon his throne, and so he doth bind men over unto wrath: for his sitting on this throne of Iudgement, is but a praeludium to the Iudgement that he shall pro­nounce against his enemies in the great day, Isa. 6.10. Go, make the hearts of this people fat, and make their ears heavy: of all Iudgements none are like spiritual Iudge­ments. And also great temporal Iudgements, Rev. 8.3,5. there was a golden Altar before the throne, and from the incense offered upon that Altar, there came forth thunderings, and lightenings, and voices, and earth-quakes, &c. this is all the Trumpets of Iudgement that sound­ed against the Churches enemies, they did all come forth of the throne; though the prayers of the Saints [Page 582] did procure them; and all the ruines and over-throws that ever have befalen the enemies of Christ, and the Gospel, have proceeded from this throne, when God is exalted amongst his people; and let us comfort our selves with this, the Lord raigns for ever: he doth still sit upon the same throne of Iudgement, and therefore so long as he sits upon his throne, he will scatter away every evil thing, as it is said, Prov. 20.8. A King that sitteth on his throne of Iudgement, seatters away all evil with his eyes, &c. let what enemies there will arise, they shall fall by the thundring, and lightning, and voices that come from this throne.

Secondly, against Gods own people: for, his throne is established by righteousness, and therefore he will not spare his own people when he is in the middle of them: but as he doth delight himself in their graces, and therefore loves to be in the middle of them: so he will punish their corruptions also: and there are some spiri­tual Iudgements for them also, Rev. 2.4,5. Yet I have something against thee, because thou hast lost thy first love, and I will come against thee quickly except thou repent, and will remove thy Candlestick from thee: which is the greatest spiritual Iudgement that can befall a people; that though they that were godly, should continue god­ly still, and they could never be cast out of the number of the invisible Church, yet they shall be looked upon as a visible Church unto Christ no more, but he will take away the Ordinances, and will depart from them, and they shall fade away in their iniquities: and so for temporal Iudgements also, as sickness, yea and tempo­ral death, it is a sentence that the Lord Iesus doth pro­nounce from his Throne, 1 Cor. 11.30. For this cause many of you are sick and weak, & many of you fall afleep; & [Page 583] yet they are therein chastised of the Lord, that they might not be condemned with the world: it is done in mercy, and not in wrath; in much compassion unto their souls doth the Lord lay affliction upon their bodies, yea even un­to death it self: for they that are embraced with everlast­ing loving kindness, may sometimes dye under a tem­poral displeasure, as it seems Iosiah did, and so have ma­ny other Saints.


First, be exhorted to see Christ as present upon the throne: for without this you come not to him, but un­to the duty: he doth call unto you, behold me, behold me: that worship that is terminated in any thing below him, is a false worship; and that faith also that doth not raise the soul up to him, is a feigned faith: but what are the signs of his presence? how should a man know whe­ther he be present or no? these three things being pre­mised, you may try whether you have ever found him thus present, &c.

First, the Lord is present unto no unregenerat men in their duties: they that live without God, do pray with­out God, and they fast without God: there­fore they must first desire his presence unto their con­version: for as I have often told you, an unregenerate mans services are no more accepted by God, then when he swears, or lyes, &c. for his services proceed from the same principle that his sins do, &c.

Secondly, God is not alwaies present unto the Saints, but he doth sometimes withdraw himself, as the Spouse complains, My beloved hath withdrawn himself, [Page 584] they seek him, but they find him not, he doth hide his face, and he doth cover himself with a cloud, that though they seek the Lord, yet he is a stranger unto them, if they walk in the waies of sin, &c.

Thirdly, even when he is present to the Saints, yet he is not present to all of them in the same measure: some have a fuller presence of God, and a clearer dis­covery; as some have a clearer Revelation of his mind, so some have a clearer discovery of his presence then others in this life: and it is so with the Saints even in glory, that they behold his face continually; yet they have divers degrees of glory: some have a more full and per­fect discovery of God then others have.

When God is present to the Saints here;

First, the heart will be over-awed; there is nothing will over awe the heart but Gods presence; how dread­ful is this place, saies Iacob; he had a discovery of God to him as present with him, and it made the very place fearful to him; the heart of man is very fearless of God naturally; when a man doth come into the presence of God without Consideration, and goes out of his pre­sence without fear, it is a sign that God was not present.

Secondly, if God be present, thy heart will be car­ried out to loath thy self; for he that sees God in his glo­ry, will surely abhor himself in dust and ashes. Iob 42.5,6. and will see himself undone: there is no soul that ever enjoyed the presence of God, but it makes him nothing of himself; and so do the glorious Angels in heaven; God is all in all unto them, and they are in themselves nothing.

Thirdly, if the Lord be present with thee, thy heart will fall in love with him, and thou wilt be carried out in admiration of him: when a man sees the beauty [Page 585] of God and his glory in the Sanctuary, a man would dwel there for ever, he would dwel in the house of the Lord all the dayes of his life conversing with God, and he would not be weary, but it is wearisom to converse with du­ties only: Moses was not weary when he was in the Mount conversing with God 40. daies, his heart was so taken up with him: and the reason why men love him no more, and are no more carried after him, is, be­cause they see him no more; and the Saints in heaven therefore are carried after him more then we are, because they have more of his presence.

Fourthly, he that sees God present sitting upon his Throne, will surely fear to sin against him; therefore all sinners cast God behind their back, they cannot sin else; he that sees God alwaies present and walks before him, he dares not transgress, he is still in the sight of the Iudge: he must draw the curtain that offends but in the sight of a temporal Iudge, as he did before his fathers picture: therefore the Angels souls in heaven are impeccable, because they have alwaies a living and blessed presence of God with them, that they cannot turn aside unto any thing else, being in this infinitely satisfied, &c.

Fifthly, it would make a man sincere before him; open thy heart, for thou art in his presence that knows the heart, and weighs thy actions, and ponders they pathes, and if we could hide it before men, there is no hiding of it before him: he sits upon his Throne that shall be thy Iudge: so much hypocrisie as there is in any man in duty, and the more any man doth cover his sin before God, the less of his presence is with that man; it is dangerous to compass God about with lyes, and when a mans heart doth not fulfill after his lips, but in [Page 586] his confessions and supplications hath reserves: God will make his presence terrible to such a man.

Sixthly, where Christ is present, the soul is unwil­ling to part with him: it holds him, and it would not let him go: it saies, Oh that he might be with me alwaies, it is good to be here; the impression of thy presence, I will have it ever more kept in the heart of thy servant, and the soul is carried after him to seek his face, and there is nothing else will satisfie him: and he fears nothing so much as his departing, his soul withers with the thought of it; but if thou findest none of these, yet Christ is present when the soul mourns for the want of him, and groans after him; he puts in his finger at the hole of the door, and my heart failed when he spake; that a man cannot be quiet if he find him not: now he will after him again, and is restless till he find him; there is a presence of Christ, though the soul discern it not: for it is this makes the soul follow hard after him.

Vse. 2.

Answer the great ends of his presence amongst his people.

First, the Lord is present to manifest his love to you, Cant. 7.12. Come my beloved, let us go forth into the field, let us remain in the Villages; there will I shew thee my love.

Secondly, to enjoy communion with you, for the Tabernacle of the Lord is with men, and he will dwell with them.

Thirdly, that your graces may flow forth, Cant. 1.12. and that he may delight himself in the fruit of his own pleasant things.

Fourthly, that he may improve your graces and per­fect them.

Fifthly, that you may be acquainted with him, and may know the way of approach to him, Iob 21.22. it is be­ing accustomed to come to him as to a friend, there is an opening of heart and imparting of secrets.

Sixthly, That by this taste you may long for his ap­pearance: for all grace here is but first fruits of glory, and so is all Communion: it is but to give you a tast, that you as searchers of the good land, having tasted the fruit of it, your hearts may be the more set upon a full enjoyment: if the glimps of his presence be so sweet, what is his continual presence, which is fulness of joy and pleasures for evermore?

The Keepers of the Vine-yards, must keep their own Vineyard.

CANT. 1.6.

My mothers children were angry with me, they made me Keeper of the Vine-yards, but my own Vine-yard I have not kept.

THE duties of godliness are of two sorts, either ordinary or extraordinary, and both are alike necessary in their sea­son: Your vessels for daily use, your ordinary washing is commonly suffici­ent, but you do sometimes scow [...]r them when you will have them bright: and your ordinary tilling your Land is enough usually, but you do [Page 590] soil it when you would have it fruitful, &c.

And of this nature is the duty that now we set up­on, and being extraordinary must not be reduced to an ordinary practise, for which cause your stata jejunia, are by our Divines generally condemned, being con­trary to the nature of an extraordinary service,Ames. Ames. cas. p. 19.

In extraordinary duties we may expect an extraor­dinary presence, and we are to look for it; indeed there is not a service but the Lord hath promised a blessing to it: they are all wells of salvation, out of which the soul may with joy draw water: they are all of them but fasciae Christi, the garments with which he goes forth amongst men, & they all of them smell of Myrrh, Aloes, and Cassia, Psal. 45.8. but yet this King of Saints, though he keeps a constant royal Table, at which with the Saints he himself sits, Cant. 1.12. yet he some­times makes a feast like a King, and gives to all his people extraordinary entertainment, he doth never go forth amongst his people but he doth spargere missilia, dispence a dole; but there are extraordinary times when the bounty and munificence of the King more appears, and then the prisons are opened, and the Conduits run with wine, and the Cocks with rose­water, &c. And the great ground of faith to raise your expectations is, that the Lord Christ hath in his own person and practice sanctified the duty of fasting to this end: Why did Christ fast, seeing he had no disobedi­ence, or bodily distempers, nor no distemper of Spirit? &c. Why was he baptized, seeing he had neither sins to be pardoned or subdued? there were two special reasons for it.

First, that he might fulfill all Righteousness, and all [Page 591] duties laid down in the Word, that he might perform them; as that in his active obedience there might be a consummatum est, as well as in his pas­sive.

Secondly, that he might sanctifie the duty, and leave a blessing upon it unto us; for he did fast as Me­diator, with reference to his body. Christ did all as the first fruit, which did sanctifie the whole crop. Maledi­ctioni benedixit, paupertatem ditavit, ignominiam glorifi­cavit: Luther. Luther. Surely, he that is able to sanctifie death in his own person, is able also in his person to sanctifie duty, and this is the duty that the Lord hath highly honoured in all the great reformations that ever were in the world. In the example of Moses, Elias and Christ himself: and therefore we may expect, if we se­riously intend reformation, God will honour and bless it unto us also. But, if it be such a fast as the Lord hath chosen, and in which he delights, it must be a day for a man to afflict his soul, for that is the duty of a fast, Isa. 58.5. I know the Hebrews do put soul for person, and the humiliation should reach to the whole man, but yet so as that which is the main in the man do not pass un­humbled, nor un-affected: rend your hearts and not your garments, it is the soul hath the great hand in the sin, it is the soul that is the sole and the arch-rebel against the Law: now only to humble the body is but Mountebank-like, to lay salve to the weapon, but not to the wound. And it is inforced, Lev. 23.29. that soul that is not afflicted that day, shall be cut off from amongst the people, &c.

And there is nothing that will afflict the soul like to sin, it being of all evils the greatest, when it is felt, and [Page 592] by the lively coming of the Commandment, it revives, and the man dies; answerable unto the reformation, such must be the humiliation; now there is a double reformation that we do profess to endeavour: personal, and National; there can be no expectation of the latter without the former, therefore both must be laid to heart, and that chiefly in your own particulars, by you whom the Lord (we hope) will use in this great work: he that will be a vessel of honour for the Masters use, must be purged; and when Ioshuah was to negotiate a publick reformation, and to administer a publick service, his fil­thy garments must be taken away, and he cloathed with change of rayment, Zach. 3.4. there are no mens sins that are of such dangerous consequence as yours; and your personal sins have an influence upon your publick imployments and services; and the sins of such a man do send up a prohibition, and will blast the wisdom of his head, and the labour of his hands; and their per­sonal sins are a great ground and cause of National sins: Ita nati estis ut bona vel mala vestra ad Rempublicam per­tineant: Tacit. Tacit. In omnibus peccantibus pecco: Prosper. it is a sad saying of Prosper: if ever you would have National Iudgements removed, and mercies to be conferred, you must be affected with National sins first; for as an un­godly man cannot love his brother, because he doth not love himself, Non diligit proximum, quia non diligit seipsum: and so he can never be affected with other mens sins: his eyes cannot gush out Rivers of tears, because men do not keep the Law of God, &c. because he is not af­fected with his own; for sin is filthiness, and therefore it is the more loathsom to a man the neerer he is to it; therefore my work at this day shall be to set your own sins before you, that you may pluck out the beam that [Page 593] is in your eye first, and ye shall be able to see clearly to pluck out the beams that are in the eyes of the Nati­on, and to affect your hearts with your own personal guilt and neglects: if the Lord be pleased to make me instrumental this day, that it be unto you a day of atonement, I shall look upon it as a great mercy, and a great step unto our National deliverances and pro­tections; and as for more publick mis-carriages and the other parts of the work of this day, I hope God will be with the spirits of those his servants that afterward are to carry on the work of this day.

Here we have the Churches condition set forth to us, which shall be the same for the first 6000. years wch being ended; according to the Jewish accompt, postea sabbatum; the time of Satans seduction is at an end for Poperie, but the time of his persecution is not; the witnesses are not yet slain, &c. but there will come a time when in this respect Satan also shall be bound. In fine sexti millessimi anni malitia omnis aboleatur e terra: Lactant. Lactant. de divin. Imper. p. 576. It is black as the Tents of Kedar, but yet comely as the Curtains of Solomon; there is a very great comliness under the Churches blackness, with which in her suffering she supported her self

Here we have also the causes of the Churches blackness, which is the Sun in general: it was not natu­ral and blackness that grew out of her self, but from the Churches adversaries: the Sun hath lookt upon me, persecution hath scorcht me; but yet it was not only from enemies without, though it is true; as the Lilly amongst thorns, so is my love amongst the daughters, tot hostes, quot extranci: Tertul. but it is from those of the same family; the Churches enemies are those of her own [Page 594] house, my mothers children; matris filios, non patris vocat: men born in the same Church, and claiming the same interest in the Church with the true members; qui ma­xime conjuncti videbantur qui sese Ecclesiae nomine vendi­tant; Mercer. Mercer. Hostes Ecclesiae intestini, authoritate sua ad ipsius perniciem abutentes. Beza. Beza. They were angry with me: the word [...] signifies iram vehementem, ex­candesentiam, bitter fierce anger, anger exasperated and kindled as a flame; the same word is used, Isa. 41.11. All they that were incensed against thee shall be ashamed, and the men of thy strife shall perish, [...]. so the Septuagint: they strive with me, or they fought against me: the bitterest indignation against the Church, and the bitterst opposition is from those within it self, her mothers children: the ground of the greatest persecu­tion of the Church is laid in the composition and con­stitution of the Church: and therefore the flourishing and prosperous condition of the Church in the latter daies is upon this gronnd, Isa. 54.12,13. When the foundations are laid with Saphir, the windows made of Agates, and the gates of Carbuncles: de hominibus, non de doctrina; Calvin. Calvin. Then great shall be the peace of the Church; in right cousness shalt thou be established, and thou shalt be far from oppression, &c. To constitute Chur­ches of a mixed multitude, as it laies the matter of all Church corruption, so it laies the foundation of the bitterest Church persecution.

Now how did they vent their displeasure? it was by putting them upon difficult and distracting imploy­ments: for I do not understand that of Churches, becaus the Church is in Scripture commonly called a Vine-yard: the Vineyard of the Lord of Hosts is the house of Israel, Isa. 5. and the Lord brought a Vine out of Egypt, [Page 595] and planted it, &c. neither did these mothers children take so much care of Churches, but they laid all the care of the Churches upon them, and they took none at all; both the care of Church and Common-wealth was laid upon them: and by this means they were di­stracted and hindred from that which is proper unto themselves, and should have been the special part of their care: or else with Zanch. I understand vineam pro quacunque cura aut occupatione rustica: Zanch. the keeping of a Vineyard is matter of great labour and continual watchfulness. Cum aliquid conatu maximo studioque cu­randum esse dicitur, vineae nomen supponitur; vinea pro maximo negotio sumitur; & ratio est, quia vinea assidui­tatem, perpetuum & indefessum laborem Agricolae deside­rat: So it was used after a sort perpetually for any hard and continued labour, as Horace hath it, l. 2. ep. 1. Vt vineta egomet caedam mea: and this is called pruning his own Vineyard; But this is a Metaphor most common­ly put for the Church, Isa. 5.1. Mat. 5.20. hire La­bourers into the Vineyard, Mat. 21.33,39. But are carnal men in the Church so sollicitous for the Church, that the Vineyard must have a Keeper, they that en­deavour to break down the wall thereof, and leave it open unto the beasts of the field? and if they would have a Keeper, whether they made so good a choice as that the Church should be Keeper? Surely, they would never have placed them in authority that they were so angry with; they would have exalted some of their own spirit, and party as commonly the manner of men is; be they never so vile (which is one of the great abominations of the times and this age) and they by their power over the Vineyard could make Keepers who they would; they could set who they pleased over [Page 596] the Vineyard: Surely the meaning is this, they did themselves witheraw the shoulder from the publick work, and left it in the Churches hands; that either they must now stick to it, or all must fall to the ground, and the Vineyard be wholly laid wast; as for their part, the work was hazardous; they were to meet both with Foxes, and with a wild-Bore also, one to de­stroy the grass, but the other to root up the Vineyard; and therefore it is good to withdraw the hand, and let all be made waste; let all former labours and cost be lost, and all the culture that hath been used about it, and let us forfeit all our hopes; though we have looked for fruit, yet let the enemy gather it, though the Vine-yard have been watered with blood at the root, which Historians say, is above all other, a means to make it fat and fruitful: If Gilead abide beyond Iordan, and Dan remained in ships, Reuben did hear the bleating of the flocks, and Asher abode in his own beraches, and Issachar be couched between two burdens: in this case Zebulon and Nepthali are by their brethren made Keepers of the Vineyard, for the burthen is laid upon their shoulders, or else all must be laid waste, and all trodden down by the beasts of the field, and so they did not make them­selves Rulers of the Vineyard; but the necessity that their brethren put upon them did it; and that this is the meaning, you may see by the word in the Hebrew, [...] posuerunt: they did put me Keeper, it was a thing that I did not seek after, but it was that which they put upon me, and that through the necessitie that they brought me into; and upon this the interpretation of Mr. Brightman and Cotton, and they that make this a prophetical history, do fully agree; for they say this is spoken in the person of Iudah, the two tribes of the [Page 597] sons of the mother here spoken of, and the ten tribes that were their brethren and made up one Church of God together with them, & they by their withdrawing themselves did put a necessitie upon the tribes to main­tain the worship of God, and the Church of God amongst them; but the evil begun in their withdraw­ment, and so there was a necessity put upon the children of Iudah, to appear for God and to keep the Temple, the worship and the Ordinances thereof; and so by this means the care of the Vineyard was devolved upon them, the rest having disserted it, and almost it hath fallen to the ground; Gods people ar many times ne­cessitated unto publick services, because others sinfully and unworthily desert it.

But yet the Church of Christ being thus put upon imployment, utters a sad complaint, but mine own Vine­yard I have not kept: Luther saith, it is gravis quaerimo­nia, Luther. a very sad complaint: and Bernard, Ego huius loci occasione meipsum reprehendere soleo, quod animarum suse­perim curam, qui meam non sufficerem custodire: sancta acsi dicat sponsa, se curis alienis intentam, non curasse quod maxime curatum oportuit: Bernard. And as Mercer hath well ob­served, Emphasi non caret [...] vinea mea quae mihi, Pro­vinciam scilicet sibi a Deo concreditam vocat: Mercer. in which in a more special manner man is concerned, and unto which in all his publike imployments he is engaged to have respect.

Hence the observations are plainly three.

First, the Keepers of the Vineyard have more pe­culiarly Vineyards of their own to keep; which is by God committed to them, of which they can say in a special manner, My Vineyard which is mine.

Secondly, their keeping of the Vineyard may [Page 598] many times hinder them from keeping their own Vine; the care and imployment about the publick, though conscienciously undertaken, yet may be a de­version to a man from something that doth more specially concern him, and as a duty lie upon him.

Thirdly, a man cannot look upon his publick ser­vice with comfort, if he do neglect his own vine: for it is that which the Church in the middle of all her publick imployments doth here bitterly complain of.


The Keepers of the Vineyard have yet a more peculiar charge from God of their own Vineyards: There are two sorts of Watchmen, Cant. 3. the Watchmen that go about the City, and there are the Watchmen of the wall: and both are for the safety of the City, as here the Keepers of the Vineyard are, and the safety thereof; and I know its a high honour to be employed by God in such a work, and therefore they have very eminent titles given unto them both in the Scripture; they are called the Angels of God, and they are for protection, they pitch their Tents about you, Rev. 2.1. 2 Sam. 14.17. they are fathers, Iob. 29.15. No men have more ho­nourable titles: pietatis & potestatis nomen: A term of care and tenderness, as well as of authority and power; they are also the sheilds of the earth, Psal. 47. ult. and a shield is a kind of partition wall between a man and danger, all is for preservation. But yet they that are themselves the Keepers of others, and for the good of others, they have all of them some­thing [Page 599] of their own committed unto them by God to keep.

And this Vineyard that is committed unto persons to keep, is two-fold.

First, keep thy heart.

Secondly, keep thy house. For they are in a special manner thy own Vineyard.

First keep thy heart, Prov. 4.23. above all keeping, keep thy heart: it was the great care of David, Let my heart be sound in thy statutes: I will run the way of thy Commandments when thou shalt inlarge my heart; and it was the grand honour of David, that his heart was up­right with God; and it is made the pattern of his sinceri­ty to the Governors that followed, &c. and it was the grear comfort of Hezikiah when he came to dye, after he had ruled the people skilfully all his daies, Remem­ber that I have walked before thee with a perfect heart: and it is this that is the bitter reflexion upon all the good that Iehu had done after that glorious testimony of God to him, thou hast done all that was right in mine eyes, and which was in my heart. 2 King. 10.30,31. but he took no heed to walk in the Law of the Lord God of Israel with all his heart, &c.

And the grounds of it are these four.

First this is properly your own: it is the soul is the darling, it is the soul is the man, it is [...]: there­fore he that doth lose his soul, is said in another place to lose himself. It is true that there is a great trust committed unto a man in other things, but yet they are all but this worlds goods: a mans estate is no more, and a mans honour is no more: nay a mans inward gifts and abilities of his mind are no more: they do all dye with him; if there be tongues, they shall cease, and know­ledge [Page 600] it shall vanish away, 1 Cor. 13.12,13. Now if pro­priety be an engagement, as we do love persons and things because they are our own, Christ loved his own, he loved them unto the end, &c. Surely there is nothing that is your own like unto your heart; therefore keep thy heart above all keepings; for if thou lose thy soul, thou art a lost man, and a Son of perditi­on.

Secondly, this Vineyard above all others is in dan­ger, and the most fought against. First by sin, 1 Pet. 2.11. it is against the body and state, and brings all plagues upon both, but it is eminenter against the soul, Numb. 16.38. sinners against their own souls; so that as it is really the act of the soul, the sin of the soul; for sin is in the soul as grace is; it is radicaliter in corde, & redundanter in corpore, as sin is mainly the act, Micha 6.8. the sin of my soul, &c. it is the mischief of sin which doth really light upon the soul, and it is to the prejudice thereof.

Secondly, Satan mainly fights against the soul, he is Abaddon, the destroyer, he seeks to devoure all the man. I, but its the soul that is the sweet morsel that he doth continually with greediness gape after; he doth take away the word: it is, Mat. 13. least they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and be converted: it is the conversion of the soul that he really is an enemy to and when he knows he can hinder the salvation of a soul, there is no such pleasure to him; for there is no walking in the narrow way without entering at the straight gate; Satan is the envious one [...]: now as the greatest mercie is that of the soul; so the greatest envy of Satan is that which reacheth unto the soul.

Thirdly, the main Judgements of God are upon the soul; as the greatest blessings from God are spi­ritual, so the greatest Judgements from God are also spiritual; and that is, when he doth suffer the soul to prosper in a way of sinning, Hos. 8.11. they made them Altars to sin: Altars shall be unto them to sin. Mag­na est ira quando peccantibus non irascitur Deus, Ierom. Jerom. Tu dixisti Domine, & ita est, ut omnis malus animus sibi ipsi sit poena: Austin. Aust.

Thirdly, answerable to the prosperity of the soul, so do all things else prosper; all prosperity is to be measured by it, oh. 3.2. So Paul did measure all his prosperitie, 2 Cor. though his outward man did decay, so his inward man was renewed, it was that he could rejoyce in, because he measured his prosperitie be that of his soul: and otherwise for a man to have an enate, ho­nour and a high place in the world, and to mount all the steps of honour, and to prosper in it, in waies of briberie and blood: all this is but that Psalm 106.15. [...], which Muis translates repletienem emaciantem, Muis. a fulness that doth cause a leanness in the soul; to be indutus purpura cum conscientia pannosa; truly that man doth not prosper whose soul prospers not, though all things else be according to the desire of his heart, &c.

Fourthly, this will have a very great influence upon your government: and therefore keep this Vineyard, Psal. 47. ult. Magistrates are said to be Shields of the earth, they should be scuta Deo, as well as hominibus; to keep off the Judgements of God, to stand in the gap with Moses and Ioshua, who did this in a common slaughter and David in a publick famine &c. And is he like to prevall with God for a people, who hath neither [Page 602] communion with God nor interest in him? is he like to turn away Judgement who is every day instrumen­tal in procuring it, and who is also to be fuel for the same consuming fire? And in respect of men also, there is a power over the bodies and estates of men, and there is a power over their hearts and in their con­sciences; and such a one God doth give unto gracious Magistrates, as we see he gave his people of old, as David, &c. There is a double Image that a Magistrate must bear; an Image of God in him as a man, as well as upon him as a Magistrate; and the heart of men will stoop to them that are such Magistrates: Let me tell you, It is not a Scepter, a Sword, nor a Mace, a Navy, nor an Army, that can long govern a Nation. An evil heart will destroy a mans wisdom, and will blast his government, and make it unsuccessful, whatever he be, though he be never so great a Polititian, and never so much admired and cryed up by men, yet if he be not a godly man, be shall not prosper: the Lord was with him, and whatever he did, he made it to prosper. I, that is the true ground of all success in government: there­fore be sure keep your own Vineyard &c. But you will say How shall we make our Government prosper? Take there directions

First, keep a good conscience [...]. And in this [...]xercise my self daily, saith Paul, to keep a conscience void of offence. Government is a burdensome thing, and therefore it is said, that Christ hath the Go­vernment upon his shoulders, Isa. 9.6. It is not barely work for the head only, wherein lies the strength of the man; it is a great misery to lay a great burden on a galled back. Do not live and be acted by principles without you, as the manner of men is; Persius — Nec te [Page 603] quae siveris extra: is a good Motto for a Christian: Nec spe nec metu: a good Motto for a Souldier: Sit miser qui miser esse potest, as Luther saies; the applause of men, or the reproach of men, is but a small matter unto him who resolves to keep his integrity, that his heart may not reproach him when he dyes: in the middle of all thy employment lay thy ear to thy heart, and observe the speaking of conscience within thee, whether to ac­cuse or condemn thee; for that is but divini judicii prae­indicium: Men in their day, judge before the time, and therefore many such Judgements shall be repealed; when the hidden things of darkness shall be manifested, and the counsels of the heart revealed.

Secondly, be you diligent in making of your calling and election sure, 2 Pet. 1.10 and indeed your condi­tion requires it more then other mens, because your services and your hazards are greater then other mens: There are (as some observe) two cases in which God doth give his people early assurance sometimes, when he doth make others wait longer for it, for God doth dispence assurance after the nature of temporal bles­sings, according to no ruled case, but in a priviledge way.

First, When he hath an intention men shall dye be­times, and therefore he will perfect their graces early.

Secondly, when God hath great Services immedi­ately to employ men in after their conversion, which was the case of Paul. It is too much for any one to con­flict with dangers without, and terrors within at once, when a man carries his life in his hand, and if then the thoughts of eternitie seise upon him, and distract him in his way; but when a man can say, I know my Redeemer [Page 604] lives: and when this earthly house is dissolved, I have a building not made with hands eternal in the heavens: and a man can with this light of the Lord walk through darkness; then the man can walk upon the high places of the earth, and his soul tread down strength.

Thirdly, keep your souls constantly in waies of communion with the Lord; it is an excellent rule for Magistrates, Mich. 6.8 to do Iustice, and love mercy, and walk humbly with their God, that the unction of God may be upon your hearts as well as upon your offices, that you may be every day annointed with fresh oyl: ye have need of new direction every day answerable to your fresh occasions and occurrences; and it is a happy thing when a Magistrate can go to God in a straight, as David at Keilah, Lord, will Saul come down? I beseech thee tell thy servant: and when there is a continual secret entercourse between him and God, as 1 Sa. 9.15. and the Lord told Samuel in his ear; a man hath his urim and thummim to consult with, an Oracle to go to from day to day; and you have need of new assistance and encouragements daily, answerable to the new diffi­culties that do present themselves, and ye are the nails upon which all the burthen hangs, Isa. 22.24. and therefore you had need be fastned in a sure place; there­fore it is that which the Lord did promise unto Jesus Christ when he did undertake the government of the world, Isa. 42.6. I have called thee in righteousness, I will hold thee by the hand, he shall not faile nor be discoura­ged: and truly there is nothing in the world can do it, unless the Lord daily stretch a banner of love over you, &c.

Fourthly, keep your selves from the sins that do or­dinarily [Page 605] attend high places and imployments, Psalm 18.23. It is Davids great care to keep himself from his own iniquity: and they are commonly these.

First Pride, having your hearts lifted up above your brethren; it is a hard matter to keep a mans heart low in a high place, and to be like a spire-steeple, minimus in summo, smallest at top; for you are made of the same clay with other men: only, as it is with the rainbow, it is but a common wattery cloud, and only by reflection it is enameled; rara virtus est humilitas honorata. Bernard. Bernard.

Secondly, Coveteousness. It is one of the qualifica­tions required in a Magistrate, Exod. 18.21. that he be one hating covetousness; and the bain of Magistracy is when every one is for his gain from his quarter, Isa. 56.11. the word in the Hebrew is [...] ab extremi­tate sua: as far as he can reach and extend his authori­ty, all is to fetch in gain for himself, and for his own ad­vantage: for so, dives potestas pauperem facit [...]rempubli­cam: Salvian.

Thirdly, Mercilesness, in laying heavy burdens upon others, which you will not touch with the least finger: The four persecuting Monarchies are compared unto beasts for this cause, Dan. 7.2. Ye are called Fathers in the Scripture, & you should have compassion answerable to that relation you are called Gods and should in this in a special manner shew your selves children of your heaven­ly Father: it is a sad thing when it shall be said of you, their possessors slay them, & hold not themselves guilty; their own Shepherds pitty them not, Zach. 11.5,6. but spe­cially there is a tenderness to be used to the conscien­ces of men: those I mean that are truly consciencious: [Page 606] and when by their general walking and by long expe­rience you have in the judgement of charity ground to judge of it to be conscience, and not will, nor humour; suppose it be an error or a want of light in some things in which their judgement is not truly informed, shall we not say, God will reveal even this unto them; See the in­dulgence of God unto a froward child, Isa. 5.7. I have seen his waies, and I will heal him, &c. and of Christ to Thomas who was a little willful also in his unbelief. The complaint of old was under our former Gover­nors, that if a wicked man had a dead member to be cut off, they did turn the back to the sword of Justice: but if a Saint had but a hair to be pared off, then they did turn the edge of the sword and strike a full blow: let it not be so said of you, when you rule over men, and those your brethren, whose Representatives you know you are, and profess your selves to lead by the cords of men, and the cords of love: amor nescit cogi: for they will never give Governors a place in the hearts of men, Ezck, 34.18 I will judge between the fat and lean cattle: for the fat eat up the good pasture and tread down the resi­due; they drink of the good water, and they foul the refi­due with their fect, &c. this doth provoke the Lord to come in to Judge between them, yea to feed them with Judgement, &c.

Fourthly delayes in Judgement: to defer Justice, is the next door to injustice: and he in whose power it is to do a man right, doth him wrong all the time his right is delayed: therefore let Iudgement be executed speedily, and let Justice run down [...] River, and Iudgement as a mighty stream: the [...] Nation is great in this respect that men [...] their undoing upon a [...]om­mitte [...] from day to [...] they [...], or else if a [Page 607] Committee be procured it is with respect unto some few particular businesses in which themselves are en­gaged and when they are ended one is gone this way, and another that, as if nothing were to be done for love of Justice, but barely to pleasure friends by whom they have been sollicited; and by this means men do commonly say, the remedy [...] worse then the disease; and the best is a brtar and as a thorny hedge: as it is, Mich. 7.4 the sheep come for succor, their flesh is torn away: you should Iudge, [...]; when as it is the Apostles rule, and it will hold in all publick administra­tions, and ye should be nails for the small vessels as well as the great cups and flaggons. Your Iustice should be as large as Solomons wisdom, to reach as well to the hysop as unto the Cedar.

Secondly, you have another Vineyard, and that is your house, which in a more special manner is yours also: for Magistrates have the subjects only in imperi­um, but not in patrimonium: and for this Joshua 24 15. I and my house will serve the Lord; if he cannot by his authority work it amongst the people, yet he re­solves it in his own family: though he cannot thrust them out of the Nation, yet he will put them out of his house and family; and it was the misery that David did bewail when he came to dye, though my house be not so with God, &c.

He that cannot rule well his own house, how is he able to rule the Church of God? &c. and here give me leave to press a few things.

First, walk you exemplarily in your family. Psal. 10.1 3. I will walk in the middle of my house with a perfect heart: the matter is not so much what you are abroad in common view; there is many a man that is like un­to [Page 608] to the carbuncle, that which Rurus saith, Translucet ad modum ardentis prunae: Rurus. and yet if you touch it, it is key cold.

Secondly, let the Ordinances of God be set up in your family, that at least if you cannot joyn unto other Churches, you may have a Church in your house, which was the honour of some of the private Saints in Scripture: Ahraham had his Catechised servants, Gen. 14.14. the Hebrew word is, [...] and it was the great honor that God did put upon him, I know that he wil teach his family to fear the Lord: There are many men that make great shows of Religion abroad, that if we look into their families, there is little difference between them and the families of the Heathen that know not God.

Thirdly, do not countenance those that are evil for any respect. Asa would not bear with the Queen his Mother if she set up an Idol in a grove, but he depo­sed her from being Queen, &c. Ierom. there is no relation that is to stand between God and duty: per calcatum perge patrem: Ierom. And in this case its our duty as it is Ieroms rule: and in such cases Iesus Christ put no dif­ference between his Mother and another woman. VVhat have I to do with the woman? &c. and David, Psal. 101.6,7. My eyes shall be upon the faithful in the Land, that they may dwell with me; he that is perfect in his way shall serve me: he that works deceit shall not dwell in my house: it is grace only that makes the difference with God; surely it should be the main difference with us also▪ it is a common evil in a Magistrate, their servants op­press the people, but so did not [...], said that godly Ma­gistrate, for the fear of my God, &c. and Zeph. 1.9. there will come a day when the Lord will punish them that leap [Page 609] upon the threshold, and fill their masters houses with vio­lence and spoyl: qui praeda onusti, laetabundi, limen transili­entes: Drusius. So Drusius. They did rejoyce that they had gotten a booty, and in such servants that are for their turn the masters can rejoyce; but thou dost then covet an evil covetousness unto thy house.

Fourthly, be diligent to know the state of thy fa­mily, and by consequence in bewailing the sins of it, Pro. 27.23. be diligent to know the state of thy flock, & look well to thy herds: de diligenti rei familiaris administrati­one intelligitur: Cartwr. Cartwright. Next unto the state of a mans own heart, it is an evil to be a stranger to the state of his own house; and a man should be much in bewailing family evils and decaies, as we see it in David when he came to dye, though he make my house not to grow, &c.

For, there is a curse on the families of men, and that curse many times cleaves to the house, as we see it in the family of Ely, though a godly man; and of David, I will bring evil upon thy house, &c. And there shall not be an old man in the house of Ely for ever; Consider what a sad thing it is for God to curse a family. To en­tail mercies and promises on a family is sweet, &c. and as bitter is the entailing of a curse.

Doctrine 2.

The Keepers of other Vineyards, do many times neglect their own Vineyards; See the instance of Iehu in the Magistracy, and of them in the ministery, Mat. 7 we have prophesied in thy name, & we have eat and drank in thy presence, and in thy name have cast out Devils: and we have done many mighty works for thee in the world.

Men employed in the highest affairs in Church and [Page 610] state, and God hath used them as instruments of much good to others, yet they themselves may be cast­awaies: and the reasons are these.

First, their imployments do take up their hearts: there is something of the thorn in every earthly em­ployment, and it sucks the strength of the soul, and a mans heart is apt to be drawn out inordinately to them, and to be over-shot into them, that there is no place for any thing else to grow there: and those sweet retirements of soul with God from day to day he is a stranger to, when he wakes and should be with God: now a crowd of worldly affairs press in upon him, and so by this means his soul is drowned in them. It is strange to observe the highest degrees of temporary Believers, and that is the thorny ground; they were men that had great works upon them, and were in high esteem in the Church: men of great gifts and eminen­cy; and those that had suffered much for God, and the Gospel: and yet, licitis perimus omnes: they perish in the unlawful use of lawful things: the creatures had taken up their hearts, and they were set upon them, and lose their souls in the persuite of them, and calme­ly lay down in their graves, and be cast away in a calm before they are aware.

Secondly, they do take off the heart; for pectora nostra duas non admittentia curas; there can be no place; for, intus existens prohibet alienum: when a mans heart goes out unto a thing, as Davids heart went out after Absolom: and their hearts in Ezek. 31.33. went after their covetousness; set it upon God, and duties often­times, but its attendance is taken off by the affairs to which it is accustomed.

There is that poyson in the creature, it is not only [Page 611] deceiving, but its defiling, and there is that curse unless a man be very watchful, that will creep upon him in all imployments about the creature whatsoever; the heart will be taken off from God thereby; there is a strange kind of Idolatry, summus seculi reatus, that doth vent and discover it self in the hearts of men in this kind, that the heart shall be taken off from duty whilest he is in the way of duty, and a lower imploy­ment shall dead his heart unto that which is higher and more excellent, and yet the man shall please and satisfie himself fully in the one, with the constant and daily neglect of the other; and yet this shall be given unto him as a Rattle to stil his conscience if it cry, that he is called to publick employment; if he be diligent in that, he thinks he hath done enough, &c.

Thirdly, a man that hath so neglected his own Vine­yard, cannot look upon it but with grief, notwithstanding all his care of other Vineyards committed to his trust and care; and it is a sad thing in these respects.

First, it is said to think how I have neglected the great duties for which I came into the world; it is true, you are to serve your generation by the will of God: and there is a respect unto God to be put upon your mean­est actions; Do all to the glory of God, and it is this bent of the heart through Christ that makes them to be ac­cepted of grace in ordine supernaturali: But yet though there be duties done to men wherein God is served, yet the main of the man is to be laid out in the service of God, and the duties between God and the mans own soul; walk in and out before the people, yet Solomon my Son, know the God of thy Fathers and serve him, &c. it is sad to see the great Commandment neglected, &c.

Secondly, it is sad to think how many precious op­portunities and advantages I have lost: how many sweet motions and admonitions of the spirit have I posted unfruitfully over, and made the Lord to speak in vain in sweet illapses of the Spirit: the Lord hath called upon me, but my worldly thoughts did lodge within me still, and there was no place in my heart for such calls from God, and insinuations, &c. Surely there is a way of enjoying God even in worldly im­ployments, and God would never have put the soul up­on them, that he might serve God in them to their own disadvantage, that they should have loss of him by it: Enoch walked with God, and he begat sons and daughters, Gen. 5.19. he did not retire and separate himself from the affairs of this life, &c. And the Angels that are imployed by Christ in the things of this world; for the spirit of the living creatures is in the wheels, and they are finite creatures and cannot be in a two-fold ubi at one and the same time, and yet they lose nothing of the beatifical vision all the time of their administra­tion; but their Angels, yea even while they are imploy­ed for them, behold the face of their Father who is in hea­ven, Mat. 18.10. and we need not lose our vision by our imployment, if the fault were not our own, and and therefore it is sad, because it is our own sin that is the cause.

Thirdly, it is sad to see so many glorious works rejected, and so much labour lost, that shall never re­dound unto the mans account: as we see in Iehu, it was a great work and service that he did: and so that of Cyrus, but yet neither of their services stood upon re­cord in reference to an eternal acceptation: Now to see a wise Counsellor, and a Statist, and a valiant Souldier, [Page 613] and a painful minister lay out himself unto the utmost, and eat the bread of carefulness all his life time; and yet when he comes to give up an account, all is but a Cypher, because his main work went not on, because he took no care of his own Vineyard: therefore the Lord rejects his care of others: as one saies, Si mihi daretur optio, eligerem Christiani rustici sordidissimum & maxime agreste opus, prae omnibus victoriis & triumphis Alexandri, Caesaris, on Gen. 31. for his work to be burnt, and the man to suffer loss when he hath bestowed a great deal of pains in the building of it, &c.

Fourthly, it is more sad for the person to perish, and after all this to be cast away, that he that did save others, should himself be destroyed: he that was instru­mental to save Kingdoms, and to settle Nations, that he himself should perish: and he that did cast out De­vils should be himself condemned with the Devils: who would not pitty such a man that had gone along with and acted with the better party all his life time, and seemed very industrious and zealous in it also, as Iehu did, and been active in reformation and resolute, and yet the man cast away, because of the neglect of his own Vineyard: for as Heaven and Hell divide the world: so will Christ, and he is making preparation for it at the last day, Psal. 125.5. he will lead them forth with the workers of iniquity, with whom they seemed to have little acquaintance in times past: but the Lord will put every man thus in his own place, with those of his own rank, whatever now he may seem to be a covering Cherub. Ezek. 28.14,16.


Now for the Lords sake, I beseech you, as you are [Page 614] made Keepers of the Vineyard, so be sure that you do keep your own Vineyard; if you could settle the Com­mon-wealth in the most happy and flourishing conditi­on that you could desire, all this would be nothing to thee, thou shouldst never see when God comes; for no man can receive benefit by others that keeps not his own Vineyard; let me tell you the sweetest fruits that the soul seeds on all his life time, are those that he ga­thers from his own Vine; and to quicken you to it, take but these few considerations.

First, ye must all appear before the Iudgement seat of Christ: as he told his friends when he came to dye, he should not appear before God as a Doctor, but he shall be dis-robed of all those any further then they refer to his works done in his body; but as a man only he shall ap­pear and be Judged: death doth pluck the Princes Crown off his head, and the Iudges robes from off the back, and the Lord shall Iudge you without respect of persons: not so much how you have kept others, but how your own Vineyard: tantus quisque est quantus est apud deum: the Lord doth not value any man by his greatness, or place, or his honour, or his office, but as he is instrumental in service, and as he did keep his own Vineyard.

Secondly, it is a comfortable argument to such a man, that he is placed in such a publick imployment in mercy, if it doth not cause him to neglect his own Vineyard: and if he doth neglect it, it was in Iudge­ment that he was placed there: that creature which doth draw the heart off from God and duty, was given in a curse: and though it be a blessing in the thing yet it is a curse to the man: if the table be a snare, its a curse: Iratus dat amanti quod male amat: and so it is [Page 615] of imployments also: there is a difference between the graces of a condition and the gifts of it. Iudas had the one, and so had Saul: but it was Paul and David had the other; and therefore the one might keep other Vineyards, but the other they also keep their own, and that was a token they were called in mercy; if there­upon thy heart neglects God, and thou grow remiss in reference unto thy eternal estate, take heed this be not [...] to thee, and after all thy Religion, this is the time when God will turn thee off.

Thirdly, know that if you neglect your own Vine­yards as Magistrates, there is a Iudgement will come upon you: remember Ezek. 21.10. Christ in his Iudgements will put no difference, he will lay you aside as a vessel in which there is no pleasure, and cast you out also as an abominable branch, Zach. 11.16. there is a Iudge­ment threatned on Magistrates, thy right arm shall wi­ther, and thy right eye shall be put out: he shall lose the gifts for government: for they be of that nature that they may decay and be utterly lost, as it was with Saul when the Spirit of the Lord departed from him; and all his authority and ruling power with the people shall be taken away, and the place that he had before in the hearts of the people, he shall lose for ever.

Fourthly, if you perish, there will be more re­joycing then at the downfall of any men in the world: therefore do not gratifie the enemies so much, that watch for your halting: and with Triumph the enemy will say, How is the hammer of the earth broken? you that God hath made victorious, and you have set your foot upon the necks of your enemies; yea how would Sa­tan rejoyce at such a fall, and all the damned spirits would sport themselves as it were, Isa. 44.9,10. art [Page 616] thou fallen from heaven O Lucifer the son of the morning, &c. and there are no men in the world that will pe­rish with so much shame and confusion of face as you will do if the Lord reject you: Therefore to conclude all, suffer this word of exhortation: seeing your mothers children have made you Keepers of the Vineyard, look up­on that charge, and let it not be neglected; for the ac­count of Nations will be dreadful when you come to give an account of your Steward-ship: but however, above all keepings, keep your own Vineyard.

State Prosperitie, IN Keeping close to the Word.


Then shalt thou make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

HEre Ioshua a holy man, and a godly Magi­strate, is to undertake a great service; he was to divide unto Israel the Land of Ca­naan for an inheritance, which God had pro­mised unto their Fathers to give them. But great duties are commonly beset with great difficulties; therefore the heart of a man must have something to bear it up [Page 618] that is stronger then it self: suffultum est cor meum, &c. my heart is under-propped, Psal. 112.8. there is a double courage: both which we find in Ioshua.

First, more particular in reference unto a service in­joyned, and that is a courage in ventering upon dan­gers: for the sons of Anak be there, and their Cities wall­ed up to heaven: they are a mighty warlike people, and in possession, and fortified: Yet be strong, for I have commanded thee; there is a particular faith or considence that the Spirit puts into the hearts of the Saints: and this particular faith works from a particular courage, that though weak, yet by faith are made strong and be­come valiant in fight, Heb. 11. and with this God gives to his people two things, as Plut. saith were in Hanni­bal, Plurimum andaciae ad capienda pericula; & plurimum Consilii inter pericula ipsa: he was bold in attempting, and yet wise in managing of the most difficult servi­ces; his courage wrought not rashness in him, nor his counsel wrought not slothfulness.

Secondly, there is a more particular courage in re­ference to duty: be very couragious, and observe to do ac­cording unto all that the Lord commanded thee: difficul­ties and dangers are properly the objects of courage; and many a man may be as couragious as a Lyon in a particular service, and yet when he comes, to observe all that is commanded, in point of duty, his heart may fail him: men daring in dangers, are many times men fainting in duty; many a man in a particular service may have his heart with Iehu as an Adamant, to destroy all the house of Ahab, &c. but yet when he comes to a general obedience, he is as weak as water; for Iehu took no heed to walk in the Law of the Lord God of Israel with all his heart: there are duties that are discounte­nanced, [Page 619] and a man must go alone; at my first answer no man stood with me, all men forsook me, saith the Apostle, &c. but yet then a man must not forsake the service he is doing, either for God or his people; and there are some duties which lie upon a man, and which he un­dertakes, that enemies may oppose and observe him in, as they did Daniel; yet he would venter his life to gain an hour at prayer; and there are some duties that a man may with courage resist enemies in, and conquer all their opposition, yet he may be betrayed by his friends: as we see in Rehoboam, 2 Chron. 3.7. there were gathe­red to him vain men, children of Belial, and they streng­thened themselves against him, but it was when he was young, (and yet he was fourtie years old) but he was young and tender-hearted, and could not withstand them: so also it is said of Zedekiah, that the men of his peace set him on and prevailed against him, &c. they that no ene­mies could conquer, have been overcome by their friends; wild counsellors they will prove ill friends: and thy feet will sink in the mire, and they will turn away back: they will leave thee to shift for thy self in the greatest of thy streights, nay they will be the worst enemies against thee; as an Ivy twists about an Oak, and lives by the sap of it, but he hath a root of his own, and yet by his embraces he eats out the heart of it, and he doth flourish and grow green, but the Oak doth wither, who is thus imbraced and loseth its ver­dure from day to day, &c.

And the rule of this courage must be the Law: Re­solution without a rule, is like a horse without a bridle, which hath no restraint; its running well but out of the way: and it must be according to the Law known, and rightly understood, for he must meditate therein day [Page 620] and night; it must dwell richly in him that is in authori­ty: it must not be the Law unlorded, Mat. 15.6. the word is in the Greek, [...] not by the traditions of men, nor by the frenzies and inspirations of men: for there is a kind of mystical Divinity that is brought forth by men, that cannot be contented to be wise according unto what is written; that turn all the Scripture into fan­cies, and Allegories, and far fetched imaginations: there is wisdom from beneath, and there is inspirations from Hell, when Satan will transform himself like an Angel of light, as well as there is inspirations from heaven: but let me tell you, we must know no Law within us, but that which is derived from the Law with­out, and answers to it as the Counterpain to the Co­py; and we must know no other Christ, but he that was born at Bethlem; and was crucified at Ierusalem: and no other Antichrist but mystical Babylon the mother of Har­lots, which is the City that rules over the Kings of the earth; and to speak of another spiritual Christ and Antichrist, apart from these, and so to turn all into fan­cies, this is not the Law as delivered by God, but as framed by men whose fancies go beyond their faith, and their pride exceeds them both.

And this Law he should not only have in his heart and in his eye, but he should have it alwaies in his mouth; he is not to depart from thence; non tantum sibi privatim, sed toti populo.

The knowledge that he hath of the Law of God, he should hold forth to the people in his government, and let him profess the truth which he doth believe; the same duty lies upon him, both as a Magistrate and as a man: or else, the ten Kings could never as Kings, destroy the whore; else as a Magistrate let him never be [Page 621] called Christian, if he bear not the testimony of Christ; let him be Christian as a man, if he do profess Christ; but let him not be so as a Magistrate, that thinks he is born to do no more for Christ under whom he acts, then a Pagan is: All Magistracy came in by sin: nomen istud culpa meruit, & non natura: Austin. est Remedium corruptae naturae: Luther. A natural subjection there should have been, but no civil subjection of one man to another; and it is by Jesus Christ after the fall, the government being put into his hands, Prov. 18.15,16. by me Kings raign; it is not spoken of Christ barely as God, but as Medi­ator in a Covenant, and Decree: so that the Govern­ment of all Nations belongs to him, he is King of Kings; and they that will serve him must not only do his work, but serve his end: now his end is that the Providential Kingdom be subordinate to the Spiritual, Eph. 1. ult. and that must be their aim also, or else they will never be accepted of Christ: as we see it in Iehu: notwith­standing the great services he did, yet because his end was not Gods, therefore they were not accep­ted.

We come not to Magistrates for a Confession of faith in this, as if the Gospel had not strength enough of it self to defend it: there was a time when Magi­strates were not Christian and yet the Gospel wanted not its defence: and when the Magistrate is Christian, we know Diabolus nondum factus est Christianus, Austin. Aust. We have the same Law-giver, who is the Judge: and we know, the Churches support tarries not for man, it waits not for the sons of men, Mich. 5.7. it hath in a rea­diness to revenge all disobedience. I do profess, that were it not that we desire to be sensible of Gods dis­honour, and dare not but be faithful unto your souls, and [Page 622] the Nations good, because we know that the soul of the Lord will be dis-joynted by these means, we should never so much as move you in this kind: for we know, that the [...] and stubble the fire will consume them: and we know, that the day of the Lord will come, when he will destroy Antichrist with the breath of his mouth, and the brightness of his coming: and all these which are but appendixes will vanish with them; only we would not have you neglect your duty, and thereby bring a guilt upon your selves and upon your government; and we would not have you lose your share in the honour of it before God and the Nations: and after such solemn professions and publick expectations to the contrary, and now to be put off from them by fancies, suspitions of impositions, and that from men that never desired any thing from you but a publick owning of those things, which we know you dare not deny to be truths: and a not-countenancing (if we may not attain a dis­countenancing) of the contrary.

Neither is profession enough, but there must be an answerable practice: the Magistrate must observe to do all that is commanded therein: it is obedience that is the life of the Law: he must be ready to do every good work: without practice the Law is but a dead letter to a man: and it is the fruit of grace, Eph. 2.10. created in Christ unto good works: dead works flow from a dead man; a man that is living will act lively; and its the glory of our profession, let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, &c. If we speak never so high and Angelical, yet if our conversation be not in heaven, we do nothing our waies are in hell, when our words seem to be in heaven: the Angels and those that stand by, they receive that they may do: they go and come [Page 623] as lightning: they are ready and speedy in it, and they that do so shall have a place amongst them, Zach. 3.7. and there is the same distance between God and great men, that is between him and mean men: for he re­gards the rich no more then the poor, they are all the work of his hands; they shall be all judged alike, and shall all stand up alike before the Judgement Seat of Christ; distances amongst men may perswade the vain mind of man that there is something that makes them differ: but with the Lord it is not so: and it is a small thing, as well as a vain, to profess we know God, when in works we deny him.

And the fruit of all this is, that thou maist make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success: the words have many efficacies; prosperous, that is, to have all things go well with him: and his undertaking to answer his design: whereas many times it doth not, but the contrary: and the counsels of wise men are turn­ed backwards: and though they conceive one thing, yet another is brought forth: it is as the Greek [...]; a man that goes well on in his way: and it is the same word used, Psal. 1. Whatsoever he does shall prosper: and the other word for good success, it doth signifie to do wisely: the Septuagint [...]; viam tuam diriges, & intelliges eam, Jerom. Jerom. Res tanta est ex qua omnis ratio Magistratus bene gerendi pendebat, inculcanda est. Massius. Massius in loc.


The only way for a godly Magistrate to rule wisely and prosperously, is, in all his government to have respect unto the word, and to keep close thereunto.

First, this is the way to walk by an un-erring rule: let me tell you, the policies of men will deceive you, for they do many times deceive themselves: the wise are taken in their own craft, and burnt as Bees in their own hives; and the Devil doth commonly make use of the wisdom of the wise; also cupit & diabolus, &c. Satan hath his [...], and his [...]: any man can act the Devils lusts, but all men cannot understand and reach his depths; therefore the Devil will make use of wise men in the world this way: but this is a rule in which a man shall never err, never miscarry, Prov. 19.16. he that keeps the Commandments, keeps his soul: and, as ma­ny as walk according to this rule, peace be upon them: it is the way to peace only.

Secondly, this is the only vvay to rule with God, Hos. 11.12. they rule for God; ye Iudge not for men, but for the Lord: and it is a great happiness to have God rule with them: there are tvvo great Judgements that in a special manner vve should fear: the one is to have God to depart from our Magistrates, and the other from our Ordinances, 2 King. 18.6,7. Hezekiah clave to the Lord, and departed not from him, but kept his Com­mandments; so the Lord was with him, and he prospered in all things he took in hand: every Government doth stand upon a double Covenant.

First, between God and the Magistrate.

Secondly, between the Magistrate and the people: 2 King. 11.17. between the Lord and the King and the people, that they should be the Lords people: likewise be­tween the King and the people: So that a people coming under the authority of men, and obeying them for con­science sake, it is still with respect unto the authority of God, that they will so be under government, as they [Page 625] wil be the Lords people still; & therefore the care of Ma­gistrates should be, not only that they rule in a way of providence, Dan. 4.17. but in a way of grace, Mag­nus Caesar, sed Deo minor; and whilest the Magistrate rules according to the word of God, and hath respect to it in his Government, so long God rules in and with the Magistrate, and therefore all that he doth under­take shall prosper.

Thirdly, this is the only way to have the spirit to be their guide in Government: he hath undertaken to his people to be [...], a Leader; not only as Saints, as he is to all the Saints in general, but also in their particular places, and callings, and imployments, Ioh. 16.13. he shall lead you into all truth: it is not to be un­derstood in omnem veritatem absolute, but necessariam: all that is necessary to your calling, imployments and con­dition in which he hath set you; and where shall a man hear the voice of the spirit speaking, but in the word? it is in the Sanctuary of the Lord: there David found the rule: he was shewed the way; the way of the spi­rit is in the word: it is the light that shines in a dark place, unto which you do well to give heed.

Fourthly, this is the way to come under the favour­able aspect of many gracious promises of success and prosperitie in your undertakings and administrations, 1 King. 2.3. Keep the charge of the Lord thy God, his Statutes, his Commandments, his Judgements, his Testi­monies that thou mayst prosper in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thy self, 2 Chron. 22.13. On­ly the Lord give thee wisdom, that thou mayst keep the Law of the Lord thy God: then shalt thou prosper, &c. 2 Chron. 24.20. Zachary was cloathed with the spirit: and he had need be so, that speaks to an apostatizing Magi­stracie, [Page 626] and to a revolted and backsliding people: and, he said that they did transgress the Commandment of the Lord, and therefore they could not prosper: and Zach. 11.16. there is an Idol Shepherd, (or a foolish Shep­herd) it points unto the folly of the Government that was afterward to arise: that is, when they did forsake the Law of the Lord, and what wisdom was there in them then? Their Arm, their power and authority with the people; and their Eye, their counsel shall be nothing, but they shall err, and cause the people to err in every work of their hands, the Lord will mingle a perverse spirit upon them, &c.


Then surely this is the way for you to prosper, and this will be your wisdom in the sight of the Nations, to keep close to the word: and here I shall exhort you to keep close to the word,

First, in the Doctrine of it.

Secondly, in the worship it holds forth.

Thirdly, in practice.

First, for Doctrine: Let the word be alwaies be­fore you, that you may receive it, and give a testimo­ny to it: there is a form of Doctrine, a pattern of whol­some words: there is a personal foundation, and there is a doctrinal foundation, Heb. 6.1. Rev. 21.14. which the Saints ought to build upon; & all the superstructures, let them be for clearing the truth and establishing, not for subverting of the faith: Sit profectus fidei, non permutatio; under persecution Satan acted another part; Cogit homines negare Christum, nunc docet: Austin. Austin.

Here are three things that I shall speak to.

First, that the great interest Christ hath in the world is Truth. First, it is that by which Christ rules and conquers, Psal. 110.2. Rev. 6.2. Secondly, it is that upon which the Church stands, Eph. 2.20. Churches are said to be the great interest of Christ in the world: and indeed it is true, that for the Saints sake, and the Churches sake, the world stands; but he now that would destroy truth, overthrows the foundation upon which the Church is built: we speak of persecution, and there is a great cry of persecution; but the greatest persecution that ever was or can be to the Church, was not in destroying their persons, but in over-throw­ing the truths upon which the Church is built: there­fore Hereticks have been the greatest persecutors, &c. Thirdly, truth is that by which holiness is main­tained in the world, Ioh. 17.17. sanctifie them by thy truth, thy word is truth. Now for men to cry up holiness, and decry truth, it is oppositio in adjecto: the Lord loves his people, but he loves his truth above all; and it is dangerous to set a mans self against that which Christ specially will own and advance, he hath exalted his word above all his name.

Secondly, no Nation did ever prosper, that did ever set themselves against Truth; and no Magistrates did ever prosper in their Government, that did set them­selves against Truths, and did countenance and favour them that did it: to give you a few instances: First, consider, the Jews Idolatry before their captivity, was their great sin: but afterward they departed; Non prius facti sint haeretici quam esse Idololatrae destissent: then here sies sprung up; and it will appear that their op­posing of truth, and suffering these to get ground, [Page 628] and make merchandize of the people, was the destru­ction of the City, rather then the Army of the Ro­mans that came against them, as Josephus, &c. The Rulers, they favoured those that opposed Truth, and did aide themselves, and took their parts, and contend­ed for them: the Roman Empire it was the flood: the Arrian heresie their Emperours favoured it, and taking part with them that brought in the Goths and the Bar­barous Nations upon them, and extinguished all the glory of their antient Government: the Star worm­wood in Augustulus falling from heaven: And the Eastern part, the seven Churches of Asia, the Doctrine of the Ni­colaitans, and the doctrine of the woman Iezebel, brought the Saracens upon them: I might instance in many other; but here at home though there was a persecuti­on before, and it may be in regard of restraint, as great well nigh as was afterward, but yet their sins never came to a ripeness till they did begin to make void the Law of God, and labour to bring in the Doctrine of Poperie amongst us, and Arminianism; and the Rulers took part with them, and favoured the Doctrine, and Teachers: and that brought in corrupt worship, and this filled their measure, and then did God awaken the souls of his servants to cry to him; and indeed, what can the righteous do when the foundations are destroyed? and the Lord was pleased to hear and to awake: when men in authority will favour and countenance those that endeavour to overthrow truth, then God will pour contempt upon them, &c. and if there were no more but this, it will clear it, that the Churches are the great interest of Nations which have been formerly: and if destroying of the truths of God be the greatest persecution of Churches that can be, and the [Page 629] greatest wrong that is done or can be done unto them, and let the Churches be corrupted, let me tell you, the end will be with a flood: they were the sins of the sons of God that in a special manner brought the flood upon the world.

We may speak of Poperie, and cry out of Anti­christ: but for the Antichrist that denyes the Father and the Son, that they never did directly, but conse­quentially: and yet if the main Doctrine of Antichrist be received, favoured and countenanced, and the Teachers of them, surely the greatest part of Anti­christ is amongst us: Bernard speaks of one Peter Aboliardus in his time, Bernard. Cum de Trinitate loquitur sapit Arius: cum de gratia Pelagius: cum de persona Christi Nestorius. There are some men that are nothing else, all their Religion is a bundle of old and absolete he­risies.

I speak not this to stir you up to an imposition of Doctrines upon the consciences of men, which is com­monly objected, and that all our dictates must be re­ceived: a liberty and an indulgence I pray you to al­low in those things wherein it may be granted: but a bounding of mens spirits by the word, is not bounding of the spirit, & an imposing those things, at least not to be disputed, which the Scripture saith without the be­lieving of them men cannot be saved, this is no dan­gerous imposition: but yet this I press not, but only that as you are in authority, you would not counte­nance such Teachers, and that you would give your te­stimony unto the truths of God, and let the Nation, yea all the Nations of the earth know, that you are not departed from the faith to follow such lying vanities; and this should I look upon as a glorious answer of the [Page 630] prayers of this day, and that you do not involve your selves and the Nation in the ruine of these things threatned and feared in the judgement of most that are godly and considering Christians.

Thirdly, hence also I cannot but infer, that they are the greatest enemies unto the Church of God, and to any Nation, that do endeavour to corrupt the Do­ctrines of Religion, and are to be looked upon as such; though they may be men of great parts, and other­wise for a State interest useful; yet if the bent of their spirits do run out this way, to corrupt the Doctrines of godliness, & to oppose and decry them that do sup­port them, let me tell you, all the service that they can do you, will not countervail this loss; for though they may be cryed up for Saints, yet these are the great Engineers for Satan in the world: as Iraeneus hath a story of Cerinthus, whom he calls, [...],Iraeneus. and they are the greatest designers for Popery: I will not say it is finis operantis, but operis it is: as Contzen the Jesuite, Error cui patrocinium deerit, sine pugna con­cidet: This I speak as that which I am perswaded in my conscience will and doth provoke God both against you and your Government, &c.

Secondly, keep close to the word in the matter of worship: services tendred unto God must be word-ser­vice: and if not, you will never prosper: for else,

First, it is worshiping of Devils, and not God, Rev. 9.20. Now to bring in worshiping of Devils amongst you and not God, will be that which will cause the Lord to depart from you.

Secondly, it is an image of Idolatry: and so much the greater, if there be a hand of the antients of Israel [Page 631] in it, Ezek. 8.3. it will provoke God to depart from a Nation.

Thirdly, this hath destroyed the most flourishing Churches and Nations, Hos. 8.5,6. Thy Calf Oh Sama­ria hath cast thee off, &c. and the Eastern part of the Empire, Rev. 9.20. It was their Idolatry in worship that did it.

Fourthly, it will bring vengeance upon the Nations as well as on the Churches, Hos. 8.7. They have sown wind, and reapt the whirl-wind: Ezek. 10.2. fire from the Altar, and scattered over the City, it burns the hot­test. 2. Chron. 7.20. I will pluck you up by the roots out of the Land, saies God.

Thirdly, keep close to the word in point of practise also: personal holiness the Lord requires of them that would prosper in their way, and have God with them in their Government. 1 Sam. 12.24,25. they had set up a new Government, and the Lord had answered their desires; I but he saith, fear the Lord, and serve him in truth, and with all your hearts, and consider how great things the Lord hath done for you: but if you shall still do wickedly, &c. there the wickedness of a people indulg­ed by the Magistrate, will bring a Judgement upon the Government, 1 King. 14.5,7. if thou shalt walk be­fore me as David thy Father walked, in integrity of heart, then, &c.

Here you see the Apostacy of the Governors will bring a Judgement upon the Nation, nay though it be but a personal Apostacy: hear, and fear, and tremble, you that are the Rulers of the Nation.

Secondly, this is the way to get you honour in the hearts of men when you reform your lives: purifie your hearts, and your houses as well as your hearts; [Page 632] there is a double image that the Magistrate must gain authority by, an Image in you as men, as well as upon you as Magistrates: the Elders were crowned, and also cloathed with white garments, Rev. 4.9.

Thirdly, not keeping close to the word in point of practice, is the way to provoke God to lay you aside, and not to delight in you: he loves vessels fitted for the Masters use; when you are faithful to God in waies of holiness, as well as unto the Nation in waies of Justice, Isa. 8.2. And I took unto me faithful witnesses to record, Uriah the Priest, &c. A man may be faithful in dis­charging some trust put upon him by men, but yet be unfaithful to God in waies of holiness: Contah was a despised broken Idol, a vessel in whom God had no pleasure, one that God will set himself to disgrace; God will pour out contempt upon Princes, and all ungodly Magistrates; and if you also walk unholily, there will be a shame poured upon all your glory: they must be called, and faithful, and chosen, that God will delight to use. Con­sider the Judgement upon Shebna, he and all his lumber was cast down, Isa. 22.16,17,18. if men in authority be vain-glorious and self-seeking, though they have made many men their creatures, and raised parties to strengthen their interest, God will sweep away all such rubbish.

Fourthly, this will be a testimony to you, if you walk holily and faithfully, that you are called to the imployment in mercy and not in wrath, if the graces of the condition God hath placed you in be exercised: indeed a man may exercise parts and gifts, but [...]at doth not make a man acceptable in the sight of God: if the imployment a man is in do draw out and im­prove his corruption, certainly it was in wrath, not in [Page 633] mercy that he was placed in it: therefore Remember your first love, 2 Chron. 17.3,5,6. walk in your first waies, that yee may have an interest in God to attain mercy from him for your selves and for the people: Oh how powerful would the prayers of gracious Ma­gistrates be? and how able are they, as Moses was, to stand in the gap, and to turn away wrath: they are the shields of the earth, Psal. 47.9. and they are to be scuta Deo & hominibus, to keep off Judgements from break­ing in upon the people from God, as well as violences one from another: and can a man do that? can he think to turn off wrath from a Nation, who doth ex­pect Judgement upon himself daily, and is in continu­all danger of it? And if there be any amongst you that are unsound-hearted under all your shews, the Lord will discover you; for, Iob 34.30. He will not have the hypocrite raign, lest the people be ensnared: the word signifies a man that walks in a cloud, or hath an artificial covering, that men may not see and observe his steps: God hates such men in authority, and for his peoples sake he will not have them raign: therefore let me exhort you to be sincere and truly holy in your own persons: many of you have been judged so to be; continue in it, manifest it, let it appear that you are better by authority, not worse: you are called Gods upon earth; Oh how unworthy the name of a God will such be? A drunken God, an unclean covetous God? &c. Oh let such things be not so much as named amongst you, but with abhorrency, as becomes Saints: see to whom the promise of protection is made, and of exaltation also, Isa. 33.15. he that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly, he that despiseth the gain of oppression, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his [Page 634] ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from see­ing evil, he shall dwell on high, and the place of his defence shall be the munitions of Rocks: bread shall be given him, and his waters shall be sure, &c.

Ile add but a few considerations, a little to quicken you to this duty. Ile but name them.

Consider, first the mercies that you have received, Deut. 8.10. a people purchased with mercy, redeemed with a mighty hand; saved, yea with great salvation.

Secondly, the opportunities you have had, Prov. 17.16. opportunity is a price, talentum maximum: there is a time when the Angels stir the waters: and if you miss an opportunitie of doing good, God may never honour you with one again.

Thirdly, remember the promises that you have made in the daies of your distress, &c. What have you held forth to the Nation, nay to all the world, with hands lifted up to the most high; and vowed the endeavour of a reformation; and it is a snare after vows to make enquiry; the delay of a vow was visited upon Iacob twentie years after, &c.

Fourthly, consider the expectation of the Nations: all the eyes of the Saints all the world over are upon you, and they look what you will do: God hath made your cause leading; let not your example hinder them that follow you in the way that you have gone, &c.

Fifthly, it will be a mighty testimony of your up­rightness, that your heart is for God, and that you are set against evil things & persons, &c. Psal. 139.21,22. David appeals to God in it: Oh that many of you could do so, as he said, amicum amo in Deo, inimicum propter deum: they are your corruptions that are snares both to you and the Nation.

Sixthly, what account can you give to God? you must all appear before God, and come to Judgement: and to whom much is given, of him much shall be required: and they can never give an account to God in Judge­ment, that cannot give an account before hand unto the Word by which they shall be Judged: This is the way to prosper, and that the fear of you may fall upon all the Land that you shall tread upon, as the promise is, Deut. 11.25. God gives men favour many times in the sight of their enemies, and he makes them a fear to all round about them: and by this you shall establish the Government that you have begun, and God shall give you in the hearts of his people, and ye shall pro­sper in whatsoever you take in hand, then shall you make your way prosperous, then shall you have good success.

CHRISTS Instrumental Fitness, FOR His Fathers Ends.

ISAIAH 42.2.

Behold my servant whom I have chosen, &c.

CHrist is the Treasure hid in the Gospel, and the Pearl of great price: he is the Sun in the Firmament of the Scriptures, whom to know is everlasting life; and therefore men are to lift up their heads, to pry into him; for the Angels do bow down theirs, and the Cherubims bow down theirs toward the Mercy-Seat: And in Christ there are mainly two things that should take up our studies; his personal ful­ness, and his instrumental fitness; for the one, it [Page 639] pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; we saw his glory, as the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth: and for the other, this Text holds it forth; and that in these three things.

First, he is a servant, [...] the term notes a subor­dination to do the work of another, and to serve ano­ther mans ends: to have no will of his own, but what is his Lords: the Philosopher saith, that servants are but [...], living Instruments and they are [...]. and the less instrumental any one is, the less a servant he is; the nature of the relation lies in this properly, to be instrumental to another, 1 Cor. 3. ult. All things are yours, ye are Christs, and Christ is Gods, &c. there is a three-fold subordination; as the creatures be your ser­vants, and were made wholly for you, and ye are Christs servants, so Christ is Gods servant, 1 Cor. 11.3. the head of Christ is God, and the head of the woman is the man, &c. So that there is a subordination and a sub­serviencie instrumentally in Christ.

Secondly, he is a chosen servant; the Lord had a work to do that was extraordinary, that men and An­gels his ordinary servants could not perform; and that is to bring the creature as fallen from God, to God again, in reconciliation and Communion; and there­fore the Lord must raise up a new servant of purpose, who only could do this great work: and therefore the word is, [...] which doth signifie first probare, and then eligere: First, examine and approve, and then to chuse: to chuse after a tryal and examination, my tryed, approved and chosen servant.

Thirdly, God having chosen him, he doth so fully answer his will, that he saith, his soul delights in him, or is satisfied: for the less suitable servants are to their [Page 638] masters ends, the less delight they can take in them, for all delight ariseth from suitableness: but he did the work of his master so fully, that the Lord had a perfect delight and full contentment in him; and therefore whereas we render, whom I upheld, it is in the origi­nal [...] innitar in eo, Montanus Montanus: upon whom I rely: other servants are unconstant; God puts no confidence in Angels, but leans and relies on Christ.


The Doctrine from hence is this: That Iesus Christ as Mediator, is God the Fathers servant, and hath in him an Instrumental fitness to serve all the Fathers ends.

First, for the proof of this, the Lord doth everywhere stile him his servant, to set forth his subordination, and his instrumentality to God, Isa. 43.10. ye are my wit­nesses, and my servant also whom I have chosen: potissime spectat ad Christum: it is spoken of Christ who was the great Prophet, and under whom all other Prophets were witnesses unto God: and therefore Rev. 1.5. he is called, the faithful and true witnesse. Isa. 52.13. he speaks of the great restitution of his people the Jews; put on thy strength O Zion, &c. the Lord hath made bare his arm, &c. My servant shall deal prudently, and pro­sperously, he having undertaken the Churches restaura­tion, the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand, Zach. 3.8. There were great difficulties that did hinder them in building the Temple: a mighty Samaritan fa­ction, a mountain, the whole power of the Persian Monarchie against it: but saith the Lord, be not dis­couraged; for, I will bring forth my servant the Branch; [Page 640] Ezek. 37.24,25. Servum vocat propter officium, & germen propter Humanitatem, Cameron. Cameron. David my ser­vant shall be their King for ever: David was dead long ago, but this is at the return of the last captivity of the Jews, when the two sticks shall become one, and then Ty­pical David shall be King over them: and he shall sit upon the Throne of his Father David, and become the glory of his people Israel.

The Temple was the type of Christ, Joh. 2.19. there was no service to be done in the Temple, but there were all manner of necessary utensils for it; there were Altars, Lavers, Censors and Snuffers, &c. to shew that Christ the spiritual Temple was himself furnished with whatever was necessary for the service required of him, to be performed by him, Psal. 80.17. Let thy hand be upon the man of thy right hand: which is expounded three waies.

First, as an expression of special love and favour, so Iacob called his youngest son, Benjamin the son of my right hand.

Secondly, it is an expression of special honour: Solomon did set his mother at his right hand; and so Christ glorified in heaven, is said to sit down at the right hand of God.

Thirdly, an expression of instrumentality; the right hand being the main instrument of action, therefore Christ being dearest to God, because most servicable; in this respect Christ may be well stiled, the man of Gods right hand.

But how came Chirst to be a servant? Servants are of two sorts. First, nati, some are ad mancipium nati, born servants, as Ishmael, for partus sequitur ventrem, and therefore was a bond-man. Gal. 4. Hence it is, [Page 641] he is made the type of all uuregenerate men; the two mothers are the two Covenants; Isaac theson of the one, a type of the regenerate: Ishmael of the unregenerate, who are born slaves, because they are born under a broken Covenant; Hence is that Covenant said, To gender to bondage. Secondly, facti, some are made, and that also two waies. First, by constraint, or by pur­chase, or by conquest; and in al these waies the creatures are servants to Christ. Secondly, by consent, when one being sui juris, doth freely and willingly consent and enter into Covenant with another, to yield up his will unto him, to do his work, and to be subservient unto his ends: Now Christ was not born a servant, for he was the only begotten Son of God. There is a three­fold service introduced by sin.

First, a service of men to Satan, Ioh. 8.44. to be led Captive by him at his pleasure; and in the highest man­ner, as a God, to worship him: hence he became the God of this world.

Secondly, that civil subjection of one man to ano­ther; there was a Dominion that man had over all the other creatures: and there was a natural subjection of children to their parents: but a civil subjection of man to man came in by sin, by the curse: Nomen illud culpa meruit non natura, Austin. Austin.

Thirdly, Christ as Mediator becomes a servant un­to God the Father; had man stood, all the creatures had been every way fit for the ends for which they were created, and they would have answered Gods ex­pectation in them all; but when sin came into the world, there is now a new work to do, to raise up the decaies of mankind, [...], to take away sin, and let the sinner live: and this no creature in heaven or earth was [Page 642] fit for: the Lord must make a new servant, raise one a purpose for it, and unto this Christ did give consent freely and willingly: he took upon him the form of a ser­vant, Phil. 2.7. Heb. 10. he saith, Loe I come to do thy work O God, &c. Now that it may appear there was in him such an instrumental fitness for all God the Fa­thers ends, we must examine what these ends are for which he is appointed: and they are of two sorts. First, principal. Secondly, additional and over-plus ends, &c.

First, the principal ends are four: two of them are in respect of God, and two of them are in respect of man. First, in respect of God. First, the highest ma­nifestation of all his glorious excellencies; the Lord had shewed forth much of himself before, but he will now set forth a new System of all his attributes, and he will so manifest them in Christ, as they were never known before: and if he had created millions of sons, they would never have been so fit instruments for the manifestation of God as Christ is. First, God had shewed much wisdom before in the creation of the world, but much more in its reparation, &c. but now to take away sin, and let the sinner live, sin damned and the sinner saved, and that by so unimaginable a way as by the second person to be made flesh, it is that which the Angels admire and study, &c.

Secondly, God had before shewed a great deal of mercy and goodness to the creature, making him after his own Image, and entred into Covenant with him: but for to take up a creature into personal union with himself, and to make up one person, and he never to put off that clay again for ever: how great is this good­ness?

Thirdly, God had shewed much Justice before, both upon Angels and men: but all this was but Justice up­on creatures, yea guilty creatures; now Gods Justice is far greater: he will not spare his son when sin was but imputed, and it is said, he delighted to grinde him to pow­der, the word in the Hebrew, [...] Isa. 53. as the word is used, to beat a thing in a morter, &c. it was the high­est act both of mercy and Justice, that he did not spare his son, that we might thereby be freed from the pu­nishment due to sin.

Fourthly, it was the highest act of soveraignty; he had an absolute soveraignty over all the creation be­fore: he gives what Law he will, and appoints to what end he will: but for the Son to become a servant, he that thought it no robberie to be equal with God, and yet to take upon him the form of a servant, &c. and to be made under the Law, herein the soveraignty of God was marvellously declared, &c. therefore if God will mani­fest himself unto the world, there is more seen of him in Christ then can be in all the creatures in heaven and earrh.

Secondly, for Communication of himself in the highest way. Now this is the highest way of all other: for the ground of Communication is union: and the higher the union is, the more glorious the Communi­cation. Now the Lord having taken the Lord Christ into the highest union with the God-head, there must needs be the fullest Communication, and so God will dispense nothing unto the creatures but by the son, 1 Ioh. 5.11. and the more abundantly the Lord doth communicate himself unto Christ, the more gloriously will Christ communicate himself unto us; for he hath made him the second Adam, A publick person, a foun­tain, [Page 644] a common Treasury, and by him he will dispense himself to us; therefore in respect of God the Father, whether we consider Gods intention by manifestation, or self-communication, Christ is the fittest Instrument to accomplish Gods ends in respect of God.

Secondly, in respect of us, and so Gods ends are set down, Luk. 2.14. peace and good will towards men: reconciliation and communion; and there is a fitness in Christ for them both.

First, for reconciliation; there must be satisfaction given unto God, something answerable to the wrong that God hath sustained by sin; for it must be [...], for if he will make the peace, he must pay the debt; and this none was able to do but Christ. Consider, sin hath wronged God in point of goods, and hath destroyed all the creatures; but Christ hath a world to lay down, for he is heir of all things, he is haeres natus, and he laies down his natural right, and takes it by a new title, as it were, Heb. 1.3. he is become haeres constitutus, an heir appointed, &c. Sin did wrong God in point of ser­vice, it took away the service of all the creatures from him, but now Jesus Christ becoming a servant, he can do God more service then all men or Angels could have done to eternity, and that in a higher and far more glorious way: and sin did also wrong God in point of honour; and there it is impossible for a creature to make satisfaction. If all the Stars should be Ecclipsed, they do never answer an Ecclipse of the Sun, it is nothing in comparison of the Suns Ecclipse; but if the Sun should be contented to be Ecclipsed, as Christ the Sun of righteousness, he who in glory thought it no robberie to be equal with him: and Ioh. 17.2. he had a glory with God before the world was: and he did lay, [Page 645] down this glory for a time, and now he having finished his work in the daies of his humiliation, he desires that it may be restored to him again, glorifie me with that glory which I had with thee before the world was: for upon earth he had emptied himself, and took upon him the form of a servant; satisfactio est redditio aequivalentis; but this no creature could do, and therefore none could make peace for us, or ever accomplish Gods end in our reconciliation.

Secondly, God will take man also into Communi­on with himself; man is Non solum instauratus, sed me­lioratus, Austin. Austin. And there is none can do it but Christ having once paid the debt, and received his discharge, the Angel rolled away the stone, as a publike Officer, to let him out of prison; he went unto the Father, and sate down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, and he that is gone so neer unto God who is the Son of his love, that lies in his bosom, which is the seat of secrets, and of love, who can give us Communion with him, and bring us unto the Father but he? Eph. 3.12. we have a [...]. Who can give Son-ship, but he that is the Son? and who can give an inheri­tance, but he that is the heir? who can renew our Image, but he that is the Image of the Father? and who can set us at the right hand of God, but he that is him­self set down there? therefore as union is the highest ground of the highest Communion, so all the Com­munion that we have depends upon the Communion that he hath with the Father; and he being the neerest, we have the greatest ground of boldness and of con­fidence, when we come unto God by him: thus he is every way a fit instrument for all the principal ends, whether they respect God or man.

Secondly, there are some additional ends to be ac­complished also, and Christ sutes them all.

First, consider the Lord establishes the earth for the Elects sake; that all the creatures that are for mans use be not destroyed, it is for the Elects sake: for Justice did require as speedy vengeance upon men, as it did up­on the Angels, Isa. 49.8. now it is by the second Covenant that God doth establish the earth, by under­taking to pay the debt; for the sentence had been exe­cuted immediately, had not this Covenant taken place; and therfore, Col. 1.17. it is by him that all things con­sist, therefore his name is called Adonai, which doth sig­nifie a basis, which doth support and uphold the build­ing, that it fall not to ruine.

Secondly, will God have the services of all the creatures brought about unto him again, that they shall do him more service then ever they should have done, and bring him in more glory one way or other? 2 Pet. 2.1. they are said to deny the Lord that bought them: he hath bought all the world, some as sons, to live with him and enjoy him for ever; and some as slaves, as wicked men and Devils, to do him service: the persons of the one, and the services of the other, 2 Tim. 2.20. the world is a great house, in which are Vessels, some of honour, and some of dishonour, but all for the masters use: and all the cross actions and sinful ends of men and Devils, he doth as a skilful Physitian temper as so many cross ingredients that make one wholsom medi­cine: or as a skilful Musitian, out of the discord of se­veral strings, makes a sweet and a pleasant harmo­ny.

Thirdly, if he will have the world ruled; for accord­ing to the rules of the first Covenant, he will rule [Page 647] men no more, but he must destroy them: and there­fore God the Father cannot govern immediatly: to­gether with a change of the Covenant, there must needs be a change of the Government: Now who shall govern the world? there is none so fit to do it as Christ himself; and therefore Isa. 9.6. the Government is upon his shoulders. Ioh. 5.23. and therefore the Saints of God do rejoyce in this, that the Lord raigns, and that not only in the Church, as some have concei­ved, but in all the Kingdoms of the world, Psalm 8. Heb. 2. What is man that thou rememberest him? thou hast put all things in subjection to him: and for him are all things: and by him are all things: it is spoken of him as Mediator, God-man, Eph. 1. ult. he is made head over all things to the Church; over the Church, and over all things in the world for the Churches sake, and so he is the person that dispenseth both Covenants, and he is the great Executioner of all the decrees of God: for God hath committed all Judgement to the Son; yea, as he is the son of man.

Fourthly, will God have the creatures reconciled one to another? there is none so fit to do it as Christ; sin did make a breach in the whole creation: and when man sinned, all the creatures became enemies to him, and one to another, that a man is affraid of the stones of the field; Job 5.23. but now in Christ there is an [...], Eph. 1.10. and in him Angels and men are recon­ciled, Ioh. 1. ult. and all the creatures, Hos. 2.18. there is a Covenant that the Lord made with the beasts, and the creeping things, &c. So that being one with Christ, all the creatures being his servants, they do all become your servants, Heb. 1.14. 1 Cor. 3. ult. all things are yours, for ye are Christs, and Christ is Gods.

Fifthly, would God have the creatures not only re­stored but inriched? First, those inferiour creatures that the sin of man hath defaced, as we see in this earth, but the old ruines of glory, and the beauty of them all is gone, 2 Pet. 3.13. we look for new heavens, and a new earth, &c. Acts 3.21. there shall come a time of the restauration of all things; and who shall do this? Rev. 21.5. he saith, Behold I make all things new: and it is admirable to consider the restauration of things, and that golden age which the Lord hath promised in the latter daies of the world, when all persecuting Monar­chies shall be taken down &c.

Secondly, in men, will the Lord not only restore, but redeem; melioratus est; he will give them a higher righteousness, the righteousness of God in him, even that righteousness to which the God-head gave efficacie & excellency; the members of Christ have a higher and a neerer union then the Angels had; for theirs was but a moral union, but the Saints have a mystical union, & a higher Son-ship then the Angels had; for theirs was but by creation, but ours by adoption, & a more glorious in­herirance in this that we enter into our Masters Ioy, &c.

Thirdly, the Angels that never fell have, First, a glorious head in him, who hath undertaken both guid­ance and influence.

Secondly, a high imployment, principalities and pow­ers, which came in with the second Covenant; when Christs administration upon earth shall cease, then also he will put down all rule, and authority and pow­er, &c.

Thirdly, they receive the Spirit of God that acts them, Ezek. 1.12. and they receive [Page 649] many gifts from this spirit, even a spirit of Prophesie, Rev. 19.10.

Sixthly, will God have the world Judged? there is none fit but he that is the Son of man to Judge the world; Acts 17.31. he will Judge the world by the man whom he hath appointed; and who is able to do this but Christ? to take the accounts of all the world, or tell them what they owe unto God, and what is due in punishments or rewards from God unto them again, he only can open the Books: the Book of Conscience, and the Book of Gods decrees: and discover the hidden things of darkness, and make manifest the counsels of the heart, &c. and when he hath performed this last and great service, and given up the Kingdom of the Church to God the Father, then God shall be all in all in the Son, as well as in the Saints: and it will appear that he is the highest end, and his glory the utmost aim of both: and that all the glory that Christ hath, he hath as the Fathers servant, and so it is with the Saints also, &c.

Thus if we consider all the ends of God, Christ hath in him a fitness that doth answer them all.

Use 1.

Take notice of the goodness of God in this: it was a great mercy to provide a Mediator, and an act meer­ly of free-grace: and to do all this for you when you fell from him, when he did not catch after the Angels but let them go; but the Lord adds to his mercy much in the suitableness of it, that your Mediator should be taken up amongst your brethren, and he that sanctifies, and they that are sanctified to be of one; for it is the [Page 650] suitableness of the mercy that doth make it much the greater; for God to give Adam a help, when amongst the creatures there was none found, was a mercy; but now for the Lord to give him a meet help, a friend of a suitable spirit; and a calling suitable to a mans dispo­sition (for all sweetness doth arise from fitness) O what a great mercy is this, for God to give a man such a relation, which is as his own soul! Now how should this sweeten the Lord Christ unto a man? and how should we study his suitableness unto Gods ends? as he is Gods servant, we should labour to bring our hearts into such a holy frame that the Lord may de­light in our suitableness also, with all his ends and pur­poses; we should take comfort in a suitable wife, estate, employment, but above all in a meet Me­diator.

Secondly, this doth plainly argue, that God will give us all things, Rom. 8.32. A wise builder doth make his building in some measure answerable to the foundati­on; surely he that hath laid a foundation of Saphires, he will not build upon it mud-walls, and cover them with a roof of straw; he hath laid the foundation in Christ his only son: and if he did not spare him, surely he will with him give us all things, &c. So he that hath fitted you with a Mediator answerable to all Gods ends and your ends, he will surely fit you with all things; so that thou shalt want nothing that thou standst in need of: he will give thee a sutable estate, and feed thee with food conve­nient for thee; he will dispense mercies to thee in the fittest time, for the Lord waits to be gracious; he takes measure of mens spirits; you may think, It would be fit for me to have such a mercy, but the Lord denyes it you; let me tell thee, mercies in thy time, without [Page 651] Gods time, will do thee hurt: if thou have a mercy be­fore thou be ripe for it, before God see a fitness in thee to receive it, it will be unseasonable; God takes mea­sure of mens spirits I say, and defers mercies that his children long for, till they be made meet to receive them; therefore if God with-hold any good thing from thee, do you conclude, Surely it is not fit for me; for else he that hath fitted us with a Mediator, he would never fail to fit you with all things else.

Use 2.

If an instrumental fitness be an honour to Christ, then it must needs be so unto us, to be vessels of ho­nour fitted for the Masters use: and here Consider,

First, to be employed by God is the greatest honour to the creature, as the greatest dishonour is for God to lay a man aside, 2 Tim. 2.21. &c. The great title of ho­nour that Moses had, was the Lords owning him as his servant, Moses my servant, &c. and David my servant: and the Angels, their great honour lies in their services, they are principalities and powers, Rom. 15.20. but in all this they are ministering spirits; and Paul, yea so have I strived to Preach the Gospel, [...]. He lookt upon it as his duty, and as his glory also: their ambiti­on lay in this, who should do most work, not who should receive most wages; truly to be a Door-keeper, Psal. 84.10. the meanest office, the lowest employ­ment for God is an honour to the greatest Prince in the world: and therefore if the Lord employ men in eminent services, it is the greater favour and the greater honour.

Secondly, it is a great honour to be useful amongst the creatures; Eliakim was highly exalted by God, I will fasten him as a nayl in a sure place, &c. Isa. 22.23,24. Much people shall hang upon him, &c. Mich. 5.7. And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the Lord; and Elijah a man mighty serviceable to God in his generation, he is called the Chariot of Israel, and the horse-men thereof, &c. It is the honour of godliness to be profitable for all things, &c.

Thirdly, the Lord is exceedingly pleased with the services of his people, Hos. 9.10. I found Israel as grapes in the Wilderness, &c. but they are then more specially acceptable, if their services proceed from a spirit suited and prepared for them: for a good work from an unprepared heart, is a provocation unto God, and a sign of hypocrisie in the man, 2 Chron. 12.14. and truly if our services be not acceptable to God, they will never be comfortable unto us.


The great Question therefore which we should study all our daies, should be, What will make a man fit for service?

I will give you a few things briefly.

First, he that will be fitted for service, must be act­ed by the same principle Christ was, and he must do all from a principle of union and unction; Christ did his from a personal union, and from an unction without measure, being cloathed with the Spirit; but we, from a mystical union, and an unction from the same spirit, ac­cording to our measure, 1 John 2.20. having received this spirit as a spirit of regeneration and sanctificati­on: for there are no services of an unregenerate man, [Page 653] that can either please God or profit himself, because of the corrupt principle from which they flow; for he prayes from the same principle that he sins, and the spirit of Satan doth as truly work in him in the one, as it doth in the other; and therefore his religious per­formances are turned into sins, only his sins proceed from a principle of open enmity, and his duties from a principle of secret flatterie. Semen naturae, &c. and therefore saies Luther, Bona opera non faciunt bonum vi­rum, sed vir bonus facit opera bona: Luther. A good tree bring­eth forth good fruit: fructus non faciunt arbores bonas vel malas. The tree goes before the fruit, and the fruit is answerable to it; therefore if the tree be evil, and thou have not in thee an inward principle of union and unction, thou art not fitted for service, &c.

Secondly, Christ was fitted for service by this, that as he did not his own will, so he sought not his own glory, but did all his services from a principle of self-denyal. I seek not mine own glory, but the glory of him that sent me; that was all the gain he sought for, that his Father should be glorified: Non tantum posses­sio, sed proprietas acquiritur à Domino. There is a two­fold faithfulness, as there is a two-fold integrity: there is an uprightness particularly in some one act, as there was in Abimelech, In the integrity of my heart did I this, Gen. 20.6. and Isa. 8.2. and I took unto me faith­ful witnesses, Uriah the Priest, who was not faithful to the things of God, &c. a man may be faithful in parti­cular actions between man and man, and yet be very false and unfaithful in the universal course of his life between him and God, as this Uriah was, who made the new fashioned Altar for Ahaz. Whilest the Lord Christ was upon earth, he had not the possession of [Page 654] any thing in the earth; though he was Lord of al, he was maintained by the benevolence of his servants, denyed himself in his honour, and in his ease, had no will of his own, but the will of duty overcame the will of na­ture: O why should not we aspire to be like our Ma­ster! &c. but how few make this example theirs! Hos. 10.11. Men are willing to tread out the corn, &c. but it is hard to find men that in service are carried with a single eye; it is easie with Jehu to pretend Reformati­on, and also proffer to do much for God, under a cloak of covetousness or preheminence, to make them­selves rich and great; I fear that is the design of ma­ny, and its strange to see what poor respects will sway with men in this kind, in things of the greatest conse­quence, as Saul, honour me before the people; and Mal. 1. the Table of the Lord is polluted by the Priests, they offered polluted bread, they would have been glad it had been better, but the people were newly come out of Captivity, and did snuff at the sacrifices, and therefore they said they must take what the people would bring, else they should get nothing; the worship of God would cease they thought, potius omnia rejiciunt; and so men do, [...]; Men that bend with the times, and maintain truth in an artificial middle way, &c.

Thirdly, Christ did all his services from a principle of love and desire to please God, Joh. 14. ult. he did all, that the world may know that I love the Father. Christ indeed loved the Church, but his great argu­ment that prevailed most with him, is love to his Fa­ther: Amor est pondus animae: the byas of his soul: Amore desiderii, to be united to him; Amore complacen­tiae, delighting in him; and the love of benevolence too [Page 655] returns all to him again; for this principle lies at his heart as coals of Juniper, &c. and all this was to please God; for Christ did not please himself in what he did; there is self-pleasing, and men-pleasing, which acts many men in their services; but there are few with Christ and Paul, that do all they do that they may please God. Iohn 8.29. I am not alone, but the Father is with me, for I do alwaies the things that please him, &c.

Fourthly, Christ was zealous for God in all things, and the things of God were dear to him: with how much earnestness doth he assert the truth against the Hereticks, the Pharisees, Sadduces, and Herodians in his time? he whipt buyers and sellers out of the Temple: nay if his Disciple be an Instrument of Satan, he saith, Get thee behind me Satan, &c. 2 Ioh. 10. if they bring not this word, receive them not: give them no entertain­ment, shew no friendship to them, nor familiarity with them, least you thereby encourage them in an evil way, as Polycarpus saies to Marcion the Heretick, No­vi [...]te esse primogenitum Satanae. Men are but as Car­buncles, have a great shew of zeal for God, but when they come to act any thing, they are key-cold, &c. Translucent ad modum ardentis prunae.

Fifthly, he acted with resolution, and was not dis­couraged for want of success. Isa. 49.4. I have labour­ed in vain, I have spent my strength for nought, &c. Yet surely my Iudgement is with thee, &c.

There is a curse pronounced upon him that doth the work of the Lord negligently, or deceitfully, &c. and he saith, though Israel were not gathered, my reward is with the Lord. Duty is ours, success is Gods, should be a Christians Motto; when we undertake any service [Page 656] for God, we should cast our burden upon him alone, all the burden of success: for many men do promise themselves much success, and undertake a great ser­vice for God, and think to go through the difficulties they meet withal, yet afterward they say as he did, Old Adam is too strong for young Melan­cthon, &c.

Sixthly, Christ did serve God so in his publike Ministery, that he neglected not his private Com­munion; he Preached publikely all the day, when it might have been said, Master spare thy self; yet he got into a Mountain at night alone to pray: he rose up a great while before it was day, to spend some time in secret fellowship with God: and is not this our duty to maintain our private Communion? It is an evil way we are all subject to, to neglect private benefits to our souls, under the pretence of publike service and em­ployments: and let me tell you, sins of omission at the last day will be their destruction, when many shall guash their teeth and say, I have been employed in sa­ving Kingdoms: I bore up the Pillars of the earth, but now I am shut out: I have been employed in that great work in saving souls, but now I my self am a cast-away: I shone as a star upon earth, but now I must for ever be in the horror of darkness. Oh who would not tremble at these sad apprehensions, and la­bour for a suitable frame of spirit with the Lord Christ, in all our services! that the Lord may say unto us, Well done good and faithful servant, enter thou into the Ioy of thy Lord.


EZEK. 1. ver. 16. the close of it.

And their appearance and their work was as it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel.

THE scope of this Chapter sets forth the Providence of God in the Government of the world; for all things pass under a Providence: he that made all things to their ends, doth rule and act all things unto the same ends. This is set forth by a threefold Vision in this Chapter: and those three Visions present [Page 658] unto you a four-fold subordination of causes in the Providential Kingdom of God; for I must a little give you light into the whole Chapter.

First you find in the 26. verse (for that is first in nature, though it be last in place) there is a Firmament, and upon it the likeness of a Throne; and one sits upon the Throne in appearance like the Son of man; this is the Lord Jesus Christ, the glory of God in the person of the Mediator, into whose hands the Providential Kingdom of God is committed, together with the change of the Government: There was a necessity of the change of the Government; therefore Ioh. 5.22. the Father Iudgeth no man, but he hath committed all Iudgement unto the Son: for which cause God the Fa­ther calls Christ the Mediator my King; he rules for him: he is my King, Psal. 2.6. There is a twofold Kingdom of God committed to the Mediator, the man Christ Iesus: the spiritual Kingdom by which he rules in the hearts of his people: so he is King of Saints. The providential Kingdom likewise by which he rules in the affairs of the world, and so he is the King of Na­tions. Christ now is described here, as being King in the Providential Kingdom; that is the first in the Or­der of causes, in the Government of the world.

Secondly, Christ, though the Government be committed unto him, yet he doth not rule immediate­ly, but he rules all things by the spirit, and that in the Providential, as well as in the Spiritual Kingdom: that is set forth to you in the 12. and the 20. verses of this Chapter; Whether the Spirit was to go, they went; and wheresoever the Spirit was to go, thither was their Spirit also for to go. Here is a Spirit that acteth the Angels as [Page 659] well as the Saints, and all inferiour Agents. The Spi­rit is the Vice-Roy of Christ; Mark what I say: as Christ is Gods Pro-Rex, and rules for him; so the Spirit I say of the Mediator is the Vice-Roy of Christ, and rules for Christ in the administration of all things; there­fore observe, though it is true the Spirit of Christ is not to the Angels a principle of Sanctification; for they stand in the same righteousness in which they were created: yet the Spirit is unto the Angels a Spi­rit of direction, and that in all their waies, Rev. 19.10. the Angels receive a Spirit of Prophesie from Christ. I am of your Brethren the Prophets, saith the Angel there: an Angel, a Prophet? yes, and he that hath the testimonie of Jesus; what is the testimonie of Jesus? the testimonie of Iesus is the Spirit of Prophecy: Why then the Angels have a spirit of Prophecy from Christ: the Spirit of Christ the Mediator is the prin­ciple of their Doctrine, though not of their Sanctifi­cation. That is the second thing in the Order of causes in the Government of all things.

Thirdly, this Spiritacteth the living creatures: that is the third Vision; that is the third subordination: you read in the beginning of this Chapter, of a Vision of living creatures, with four faces, &c. What were these living creatures? why look into the 10. Chap. and the 20. verse, you have it there expounded by the Spirit, I perceived (saith the Prophet) that they were the Cherubims; the living creatures that are there spo­ken of were the Cherubims; they are the Angels that be called the living creatures: for this cause the Angels now being imployed by Christ in the Govern­ment of the world, they be called in Scripture Prin­cipalities and Powers. There is a double Government [Page 660] come into the world with the Kingdom of Christ, that should never have been els; the government of Angels, the Government of Magistrates; it is true, both are eminent Ordinances of God, but yet both introduced and occasioned by sin: a natural subjection of man to man there should have been, if man had not falen; but a civil subjection of man to man there should not have been: Nomen istud culpa meruit & non natura, Austin: saith Austin: and for that cause, when Christ shall give up the Kingdom to the Father, he will put down both these: the authority of Magistrates, and the authority of An­gels: he will put down all rule, and all authority, and power: these authorities began with the Kingdom of Christ: and before Christ shall give up the Kingdom to the Father, he will put them all down. Calvin. So Mr. Calvin expounds the place, in 1 Cor. 15.24. Consider then the spirit of Christ: Christ sends forth his spirit: the spirit acteth the Angels: that is the third in the sub­ordination of causes: Only my beloved, there are two strange benefits that the people of God have by the Government of Angels. First, the Angels rule for them. Secondly, the Angels pray for them: the Angels rule for them, Heb. 1.14. they are ministring spirits for the good of the Elect; he gives his Angels charge over thee: Then the Angels pray for them: see an Angel praying to Christ, Zach. 1.12. and there­upon Christ prayeth to the Father: here an Angel prayeth for the Church, and attaineth an answer of prayer, Dan. 4.16,17. the thing is by the decree of the Watchers, and the demand by the command of the Holy ones: it is spoken of the Judgement brought upon that great tyrant and oppressor Nebuchadnezzar: the demand, you shall read that in the petition: the re­quest, [Page 661] it is the request of the Watchers: so the Angels are called; and I remember it is an observation Origen hath, when we pray (saith he) there are millions of heavenly Angels, Celestial Spirits do joyn with us, they do pray with us, unspoken to, unasked. Then I intreate you consider, that is the third subordination in the Government of all things.

Fourthly, the fourth in this subordination, in the Government of the world, is, the Spirit rules the An­gels, the living creatures. But then here is another Vision, a Vision of Wheels: I, so all things here be­low are called; it is resembled to the Moon, because it is in a continual change, Rev. 12. that is to say, they have the Moon under their feet: resembled to the Sea, Dan. 7.2. because the Sea is in perpetuo fluxu, it is al­waies ebbing, and flowing, never at a stay: there is an unquiet principle in it self: So here suitable thereun­to, it is resembled unto Wheels: why? they are in con­tinuo motu, alwaies moving, they are never at a stay; their very form of which they are made, fitteth them for nothing else: all things here belovv are compared to wheels. Now I intreate you consider, who it is that acteth these wheels: Christ sendeth the Spirit, the Spirit acteth the living creatures: Now the living crea­tures are the wheels, and the Text saith, the Spirit of the living creatures is in the Wheels: In the 20. verse so it is said, When the living creatures moved, then the Wheels moved; when the living creatures stood, then the Wheels stood: Why? because the Spirit of the living creatures is in the wheels; the Spirit of Christ acteth the Angels, the Angels have a great influence in the acting of things below. Now concerning these wheels, here are seven things spoken: and truly they [Page 662] are all of them weighty truths; truths of very exceed­ing great consequence, and of very great use for the present times; and therefore I shall in a word offer them to your consideration. This, that is in the text is the last of them.

First, in the 18. verse it is said, the Rings of these wheels are full of eyes within; things in the world are not carried by the wills of men, coeco impetu, by a kind of blind force, as if men ruled the world: No, my Brethren, in all the turnings that there are in the world, know, the wheels be full of eyes; all things are carried and ordered by a wise and a fore-seeing Provi­dence.

Secondly, the wheels go upon their four sides, in the 17. verse, that is, they are constant, and settled in their motion: men may turn from one side to another, as it is common for them to do; they may change their principles, and act quite contrary: they may destroy that which formerly they have endeavoured to build; but yet notwithstanding the wheels go upon their four sides still; there is no turning of Providence out of that way: you may use your art, you may use your power, use your policy, the Wheels will still go on upon their four sides: Gods providence is stable, and settled in its motion.

Thirdly, the wheels return not when they go: that is another; God hath not in waies of Providence retro­grade motions: when the Lord begins, he doth use to make an end: in decretis sapientum nulla est litura: wise men make no blots: if God go forth against a people, if God go forth against a person, truly, the Lord car­ries on his work: as the wheels are constant in their motion, so likewise they are so settled, that they are [Page 663] carried on, there is no returning; they returned not as they went.

Fourthly, the Rings are said to be high, and exceed­ing dreadful, in the 18. verse. The actings of Provi­dence are very terrible: I say the actings of Provi­dence are very terrible: when men look upon them with an eye of reason, truly they cannot but stand ama­zed; when you shall see God cutting short the Spi­rit of Princes, plucking up Kingdoms, destroying fa­milies, deposing Kings: when you shall see the Lord causing the Mountains to skip, and the Towers to fall; the Rings be exceeding high, and therefore exceeding dreadful: such high actings of Providence when they are seriously considered, cannot but strike terror in the minds of men.

Fifthly, the wheels are sometimes lifted up from the earth: Mark ye, so the text saith: sometimes they go upon the earth: Providence acteth in an ordinary way; sometimes the Wheels are lifted up from the earth, they go out of the ordinary rode; God acteth in extra­ordinary waies of Providence. Now I intreate you consider, the Lord doth not go alwaies by ruled cases: many times rules are prescribed, but none must pre­scribe to him; many times the Wheels are lifted up from the earth.

Sixthly, the Wheels sometimes stand, they do not alwaies go; for so you see, when the living creatures stood, the Wheels stood over against them: they sometimes stand I say, they do not alwaies go: there is many times a seeming cessation of Providence; Pray observe it; there is many times I say, a seeming cessation of Providence; the Angels seem to let down their wings, and the Wheels seem to be at a stand: many times [Page 664] things are becalmed, that you would think surely now the business is like never to go on, all things are at a stand: by and by the spirit of God acteth the living creatures: the living creatures again, they act the Wheels: You know how it was in the building of the Temple, sometimes the work was at a stand for divers years together; by and by the Spirit of God stirred up the heart of some one or other again, and then the work was revived, then the Wheels went again. Con­sider I humbly pray you; sometimes there seems to be a cessation of Providence, but yet the Lord will carry on his work.

In the last place: and so I come to the text. Thereis a Wh [...]el in the midle of a Wheel: there is a double interpretation given of it; you may do very well to take in both, though it is the last that I shall stick to. A Wheel in the midst of a VVheel.

First, it notes motionem transversam: I say there is in it motio transversa; that is, it implyes a motion that is cross and thwarting, like the motions of Watches, or some curious work, where one Wheel moves one way, and yet it acteth another Wheel that moves quite the contrary way; this is Gods ordinary way in Provi­dence; he accomplisheth things by transverse, and cross and contrary motions. So you may observe a Saul labouring for to establish the Kingdom upon his Posteritie, was the great means to settle the Crown upon Davids head: God doth many times carry on things by a transverse (I say) and a contrary motion.

Secondly, there is likewise not only a transverse motion, but there is also motio complexa, a complex motion: and so the word signifies, a Wheel in the midst [Page 665] of a Wheel: a motion that is intricate, intangled one in another, like to some curious water-works, that you shall see the Wheels do not only turn cross, con­trary one to another, and one wheel moving this way, shall act another wheel moving that way; but withal, it is a hard matter for a man that is not skilful in the Art, to be able to discern which way it is the Wheels are turned so one within another. A man that is not skilful in a Globe, would wonder to know what the meaning of those many lines and circles should be; they all go one within another: so, here is a wheel in the midst of a wheel; Providence is so intricate, so complex, so mysterious, it is impossible for a man that is not an Artist in Providence, to be able to see the waies, and the goings forth of God in them. That now is the sense of this Scripture, as I conceive: and the Observation that I shall give you from it, is this;


The actings of Providence are very intricate, and my­sterious: I say, the actings of Providence are very in­tricate and mysterious; that it will pose men of the greatest parts, and of the greatest graces to be able to discern the waies of God in them. My Brethren, there is the wisdom of God in a mysterie, in his Works as well as in his Word. This I shall briefly clear to you by a few instances out of Scripture; then I shall shew you some of those intricate and mysterious actings of Providence for the manifestation of the truth of the Doctrine, and then shall come to the Application thereof.

First then for the proof of it, take these three in­stances.

The first is that in Psal. 97.2. Clouds and darkness are round about him; righteousness and judgement are the habitation of his Throne: how doth the Lord when he doth minister judgement and righteousness in the world, how doth he carry himself? truly he doth in­fold himself in a dark cloud; clouds and darkness are round about him, saith he: as it is said of the Virgin when she conceived, the spirit of God over-shaddowed her: so my Brethren, the Lord is pleased to act things in Providence in an over-shaddowing way: that is the first instance for the proof of it.

Secondly, look into Psal. 36.6. Thy Iudgements are as a great deep, thou savest both man and beast: it is spo­ken of the actings of God in the demonstrations of Providence: and he saith, there is no tracing of God, no more then you could trace a mans foot-steps in the bottom of the Sea: thy Judgements are as a great deep. The Apostle in Rom. 11. useth an expression suitable, how unsearchable are his waies! waies that are without foot-steps, you cannot trace them, you can­not say, here God hath gone, he hath walked so my­steriously: how unsearchable are his waies, and his wis­dom past finding out.

Thirdly, look into Psal. 77.19. Thy way is in the Sea, and thy path in the great waters, and thy foot steps are not known. Why, the actings of God in the world, they are beyond the reach of the wisest men, the greatest Polititians, that the truth is, when they look upon the waies of Providence, they cannot yet tell whether God will go forward, or backward: for his way is in the Sea, and his path in the great waters, [Page 667] his foot steps are not known: actings of Providence are very intricate, and mysterious: a wheel in the midst of a wheel. I will give you some instances of it, that by this means, the meaning of the Doctrine may be the more clearly seen. There are six instances as projects of providence, that I shall set before you, wherein you must acknowledge that the Lord works very mysteriously.

The first is this, God carries on all things by a se­cret and an invisible vertue, that though you see the hand without, yet you see not the spring within. It is said of the Angels, the living creatures, that they had wings, but they had the hands of a man under their wings: the hand; what is the hand? it is symholum roboris, it is instrumentum operationis, it is an expreffion of strength, it is the great instrument of action; Now there were hands put forth, they worked effectually; I, but secretly; the hands be under their wings: so ob­serve I beseech you, there is a Spirit of the living crea­tures in the wheels: the text saith, all things are acted by a secret, a hidden, and an invisible vertue: that though there do nothing appear, yet still the thing is carried on, no body can tell how; For instance; The Lord would build the Temple: there was the highest opposition that could be: a Samaritan faction at home, and that backed with the power of the whole Persian Empire: yet notwithstanding there is an invisible ver­tue carries on the work: that all this power cannot hinder, but this mountain must become a plain before Zerubabel, Zach. 4.7. Well, that is first, it must needs be mysterious I say, because, though you see the act­ings [Page 668] without, yet there is an invisible vertue within, that you do not see.

Secondly, mens spirits are many times raised unto an extraordinary pitch beyond the spirits of men: drawn out to higher resolutions, they pitch upon higher thoughts and purposes then ever the times re­quire: why now mark, here is a mysterie in this, that at one time a man should rise higher then at another time, and their resolutions, and courages rise higher, and they should dare to encounter with those difficul­ties that even formerly they did tremble to think of: What is the reason of it? Oh here is the mysterie of Providence; in Zach. 12.8. the weak shall be as David, and David as an Angel of God: What is that? why, the Lord makes it as a special promise; he saith, how he would raise the spirits of men, that he that formerly was weak, weak in body, weak in heart, he should now be as David, as valiant, and as stout a Souldier, as skilful and expert in war, as ready to encounter with the greatest difficulties, and look the stoutest Gyant in the face; the weak shall be as David; and David a man that had but such a degree of spirit as David had, now truly he should have the spirit of an Angel: Mark ye, God raiseth the spirits of men; a mighty mysterie of Providence lies in it: When the worm Jacob shall thresh Mountains: I, when it is a worm, and a worm shall un­dertake to encounter Mountains: When a Barly Cake shall over-throw a Tent; when Cities shall be like to figgs that fall into the mouthes of the eater: and Captains and valiant men shall be like those Grass-hoppers in a Sunny­day; here is a great mysterie of Providence, that they that are men of might at one time, shall not find their [Page 669] hands at another: What is the reason? My Brethren, the works of Providence are very intricate and mysteri­ous.

In the third place; God puts impressions and ap­prehensions upon men many times, that they run to their own ruines: I say, there be apprehensions raised, and left upon the spirits of men, that they run to their own ruine, as the horse rusheth into the Battle: sometimes impressions of discouragement: Mark, Judges 7. there was a man dreamed that a Barly Cake over-threw a Tent; God sets on an impression of discourage­ment: this is nothing (say they) but the sword of the Lord, and the sword of Gideon.

Sometimes impressions of encouragements, 2 King. 3.22,23. this is a strange story. There comes out a mighty Army of the Moabites to encounter with the Israelites: in the morning as the Sun began to rise, they saw the Sun shine upon the water, and it looked red like blood: presently, what was the im­pression? say they presently, the Kings have destroyed one another; arise Moab to the spoyl: Mark, God set on such an impression, such an apprehension upon their spirits, that they by this means run on to their own ruine, as you shall see in the ensuinng story. And so likewise when the Red sea was divided before the children of Israel, such a desperate spirit seized upon Pharoah, that in their pursuite he should follow them into the Red Sea. Consider, here lies the mysterie of Providence, God sets on such an apprehension upon the spirits of men, that they shall run on to their own ruine.

In the fourth place: God many times raiseth up In­struments, and he qualifies them for his work: girding [Page 670] up their loyns, and strengthening their hands, that they shall go through that at one time, that you would have thought ten thousand instruments could not have done it at another. This now is Gods season. Cyrus, the Lord raised him up; I will hold his hands (saith he) I will gird his loyns, Isa. 45.1,2. and then God laies the same in­strument aside again at another time: Mark, many times the Lord will make a combination, and there shall be a conjunction of Instruments, and afterwards the Lord will make use of these, even to destroy one another: here are the mysteries of Providence. Abi­milech and the men of Shechem joyn, they make him King; who would have thought but that certainly the men of Schechem would have stuck to Abimelech for ever, having now renounced the house of Jerubaal? but mark, when they had done the work that God ap­pointed, their conjunction falls: why then, then fire comes out of Abimelech & devoures the men of Shechem, and fire comes out of the men of Shechem and destroyes Abimelech: Here now are the strange mysteries of Providence.

In the fifth place: God many times destroyes men by those means by which in all humane judgement they think they shall be preserved: I say, God doth usually destroy men by those means by which in hu­mane judgement they think they shall be preserved. The people of Israel when they were in any necessity, then by and by unto King Jareb, which some expound to be a helping King: sometimes in the way of Assyria, sometimes in the way of Egypt; yet notwithstanding, they were destroyed by those that they brought in to their help. When Israel was low, why truly they would needs have a King: the King ruined their Nati­on [Page 671] almost: the earth is weak (I should read it) the Land is weak, and the inhabitants thereof, I should bear up the Pillars thereof: Saul was weak, and destroyed the Land. When David came to the Crown, he did bear up the Pillars thereof: I beseech you consider it, it is an ordinary thing therefore, Isa. 44.25. the Lord turneth wise men backward; the meaning of it is; take all their counsels, and the events no way answer the de­sign, but the quite contrary. the quite contrary unto what they did design is brought to pass; wise men are turned back. Now these are the strange actings of Providence. They bound Paul that he should not preach: My bonds tend to the furtherance of the Gospel. They banished the Church out of Jerusalem, on pur­pose that so they might have destroyed it: but that is the Churches preservation, when Ierusalem is destroy­ed. These are the strange actings of Provi­dence.

In the last place: when things are brought to the lowest ebb, the means weakest, and the confidence of the enemy and their expectation highest, then many times God is pleased to destroy the power of the mighty. When Gideon hath but three hundred men, he is fit to fight Gods Battles; yea, Sisera must fall by the hand of a woman. This is mighty consider­able, in Nahum 1.10. When they are drunk as the drun­kards, and folden together as thorns: that is, when they are unanimous as one man, their combination strong, they are folded together as thorns, you cannot pull them asunder, and by this means they are drunk with confidence as a drunkard; for such a drunkenness is there spoken of: What then? they shall then be con­sumed like stubble that is drie: they are never so neer [Page 672] destruction; these are the mysterious actings of Pro­vidence; why certainly then the Government of the world is like a Wheel in a Wheel; the actings of Pro­vidence are very intricate and mysterious. I am sorry the time hath so out-gone me: indeed it was the Ap­plication I aimed at. Let this serve for the Explica­tory part: let us now come to the Applica­tion.

If this be so, I have two Uses to make of it; but it is the last I shall insist upon.

The first is; In all actings of Providence subscribe to his wisdom.

The second is: In all actings of Providence submit to his will. Well, these are the two Uses.

First, I say, If there be such great mysteries in Pro­vidence, then subscribe to his wisdom; acknowledge that God only is able to govern the world: he is won­derful in counsel, and mighty in working. Luther. I remem­ber it was a handsom reproof that Luther did once give to Philip Melancthon when the Protestant cause lay very much at the stake: Melancthon was mightily troubled how things would go: Luther sent him this message, Monendus est Philippus (saith he) ut desinat esse mundi gubernator: you must admonish Melancthon that he leave off to govern the world: alas government of the world belongs to God: Subscribe to his wisdom; say only, that he is fit to rule the world. That I did think a little to have enlarged my self upon, but I dare not, because I shall transgress. But the second I would willingly, though I begg a little time of you to speak something of it

As you should subscribe to his wisdom, because his [Page 673] providence is mysterious. So likewise submit to his will, I say submit to his will. Oh, it is a sad thing, that those that profess obedience unto Gods com­manding will, should yet harbour in their souls so much discontent at Gods effecting will then notwithstand­ing. Truly, this is an evil that may befal a gracious heart. I will give you the example of a Saint: Ionah, in Ionah 4. God had caused a Gourd to spring up as a shade to Ionah in the night, and the Lord smote the Gourd at the root and it withered: the text saith, Ionahs heart rejoyced because of the Gourd, his heart was shortned to the present contentment, and upon that cause God takes away the Gourd: Ionah is angry with this act of God. Now, I intreate you, if it be but a smal content, a conceit, a petty advantage, why yet not­withstanding, if God act contrary to my design, that party goes not up that I would have, it may be, or I have not those waies of advantage, or friends one way, that I could make another, for that cause truly that man is angry; this is (consider I beseech you) this is the true cause of all the grudgings in the world, and of all those repinings and discontentments that there are in the world, because men do not submit their wills un­to the effecting will of God. Now, I beseech you be pleased to observe two or three things.

Observe in the first place; you sin in this in a high degree in three things; you sin in a high de­gree.

First, you exalt your wisdom above Gods, and it is as much as if you should say: truly, things go not so well now as I could wish them; if the government of the world were in my power, truly matters should be better ordered; you do plainly say so; that party [Page 674] should prevail, that I would have prevail, and those waies should be carried on that I would have; for, (my Brethren) he that correcteth another mans act, doth in that (at least) suppose he is wiser then he.

Secondly, hereby you exalt your wills above Gods, your will is the rule of goodness, not Gods. Now I intreate you observe, was the Devil ever guilty of higher Atheism then this? for a man to say, it is true, thus, and thus it is, and I must needs acknowledge it, that God judgeth the world: but yet I should rather have judged it to have been better if it had been thus: what is this to say? truly, this is my will that is the rule of goodness, and not Gods: for if it had been as I would have it, it had been better. You little consi­der when men are carried out in passion in such things as these are, you little consider the abomination of them. Nay,

In the third place, You hereby put God out of his Throne, for the government of the world; such a man saith with Absolom, Here is no man to do you Iustice; if the Government of the world were in my hand, things should not be carried on with such confusion and disorder; the Church of God should not be brought to that distress, nor the world put into such disorder as now it is: Consider what a high sin is this: well, that is the first. But,

In the second place; I intreate you consider this: do you think now when the Providence of God is so mysterious, and thy will riseth against the actings of Providence, do you think you will turn God out of his way? do you think I say, that you shall turn God out of his way? No I beseech you, observe it in [Page 675] Isa. 31.2. the Lord will not call back his Word, saith the Text; it is not all your grudging (my Brethren) will make God go back; No, I entreate you, observe there in the 3. ver. I will rise up against the help of those that work iniquity; I, both they that work iniquity, and they that help them shall fail together, saith the Text: they and their helpers: it is true, many think by calling in help, by joyning partie to partie, counsel to counsel, they shall certainly prevail, and so by this means scat­ter parties upon different interests and ends made up into one; Why, but what is the meaning of this? truly, they that could not prevail by themselves, must never look to prevail by their helpers: saith God, I will rise up against them that help them: do not think you shall turn God out of his way, because it pleaseth not you, the way that God goes in: No, thou mayst set thy self in a way against God, and fall before him. I will give you two instances of this: and truly they are very remarkable ones. One is that of Ahaziah the King of Iudah: Ioram the King of Israel is wounded: Ahaziah. his brother in Law goes down to visit him: you will say, this was but a brotherly curtesie: was there any harm in this? nothing but civilitie. I, but Ahaziah goes down at the same time when God was going forth in Judgement against Ioram, and against the house of Ahab, and what follows? truly, Ahaziah dieth in the way: the same instrument that destroy­eth Ioram, destroyeth Ahaziah, that he perisheth in civilitie. I will give you another instance of a godly man; so that you may see it is dangerous to have a pre­engaged will against the actings of Providence. Iosiah, he wrought the great reformation that was in Iudah after the revolt of the ten Tribes, yet after he had [Page 676] wrought this reformation, yet this man he must be standing in the way of Gods Providence. Pharo-Neco King of Egypt was appointed by God to execute a Judgement of God upon Charchemish a Citie that be­longed to the King of Assyria upon the borders of Euphrates; he desires Iosiah that he might have liberty (that being the shorter cut) to pass through his Coun­trey; Iosiah he refuseth it, and a man would have thought he had good reason for it too; he had had a great deal of experience heretofore of the crueltie of the Egyptians, they had been ill neighbors; and he was likewise in league and covenant with Nebuchadnezzar the King of Assyria, he did owe fealtie, and allegiance, he had taken the oath of allegiance to him: and what should he not be faithful to his King? upon this ground now he goes forth. (So Peter Martyr) — (So Doctor Usher in his late Chronologie) a kind of suddain fierceness there rose in the man, and what followeth? why, truly he dyeth in the way. Iosiahs good reform­ing, tender hearted Iosiah, yet he meets God in the way of his Judgements, and he dyeth in the way: therefore I say, take heed, think not your opposition will turn God out of the way: O, submit your wills, his Providence is mysterious. But that I may a little give you some grounds for it, for the quieting of your hearts: take notice but of that expostulation first by the way: take notice of that expostulation of God unto Samuel, 1 Sam. 16. How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him? Saul was not yet de­posed from the Kingdom, Saul raigned still: I, but Gods will was manifested to Samuel; Samuel mourn­eth, God reproveth his mourning: as if he should have told him: Why dost thou dote upon a man, as [Page 677] if the good of the whole Common-wealth lay upon him? rather look out for better for the time to come. God doth not love those passions, neither will he al­low them in his own people, that cross his will when it is manifested; how long wilt thou mourn for Saul, see­ing I have rejected him? Now to bring about your wills to the effecting will of God, I beseech you be pleased but to consider these two or three things; they are mighty quieting considerations, and so I have done.

In the first place; consider this: all the govern­ment of the world is committed unto Christ, I have told you: I say the Government of the world is com­mitted unto Christ: the Father judgeth no man, he hath committed all Iudgement to the Son; it is the speech of Christ that acteth the living creatures, and the living creatures act the wheels as you have heard. Now (my Brethren) should not you be willing to leave all in Christs hand, seeing God hath committed all into his hands? There is a double title Christ hath, he is bound to be faithful in both.

1. As it is an office, in which he is imployed by God the Father: And,

Secondly, as the Church is his own inheritance; Now I intreate you consider, if all be committed to Christ, the government of all things; then I say, leave it with submission of will unto that hand into which God the Father hath placed it.

Secondly, I entreate you consider this (which is a mighty quieting consideration) Christ governs the Providential Kingdom, all for the good of the Spiritu­al Kingdom. I say, Christ subordaineth the Kingdom of Providence unto the Kingdom of grace, Eph. 1.22. [Page 678] he is made the head above all things unto the Church, he undertakes the government of all things for the Churches sake, and he orders all things for their good, he is the head over all things unto the Church. It may be alas poor creature, when thou lookest upon Provi­dence God walketh in the dark to thee: and how Christ will bring good out of all these, thou canst not tell; leave it to him now: he is called the Artist, the skilful Artist. You have the place, Prov. 8.30. I was by him as one brought up with him; you read it so. I do a little wonder at the translation: I was by him as one brought up with him: it is in the Original, I was by him as an Artificer: you have the same word so transla­ted in Cant. 7.1. by the hand of the cunning work-man; the very same word is used: now it may be, if a man unskilled should come and look upon a man that were a curious Artist, it may be a Chymist, or the like, he would wonder how he should be able to bring such great effects out of such unlikely things: yet notwith­standing the man is contented to look on with delight, and resteth upon the man for his art; for he saith, he knows how to bring it to pass, though I do not. Jesus Christ is a curious Artist; when you see him, take con­tent in it, and rest: for the art is in him, he knows how to bring it about, though you do not. That is ano­ther very quieting Consideration. But.

In the third place; the Lord hath discovered to us the ends for which he worketh, and I am sure his ends shall be effected: Now, if God will carry on his own ends, truly, what if some of my inferiour mistaken ends miss, should I be discontented? no, let God car­ry on his own ends; he will carry them on.

But you will say: What are his ends? His ends up­on [Page 679] the world at present are these.

First, he will shake the things that are made, Heb. 12.27. that the things that cannot be shaken may remain.

Secondly, he will make way for the ruine of Anti­christ and Poperie in all the forms of it. I say, that is another end, and that he may destroy Antichrist, and ruine Poperie in all the forms of it. And,

Thirdly, that he may make waie for the accom­plishment of that glorious promise; the Kingdoms of the earth shall become the Kingdoms of the Lord and his Christ. Now I entreate you observe; If these ends of God be carried on, as they shall certainly be: then, what need have you to be disquieted, because some of your inferiour injudicious mistaken ends be not brought about? truly this is that that comforteth a Godly man: and I confess it hath been in all these troubles and confusions that have been amongst us, the Land reeling too and fro, staggering like a drunken man, it hath been the principal, the main support to me: a godly man can never miss his utmost end: Now this I know is a rule the School-men give: finis ultimus perficit tam agentem quam actionem: the utmost end is that that perfecteth the Agent and the action: the utmost end: why now that man can never be miserable that attain­eth his utmost end. Here is the miserie of all ungod­ly men, they may attain many inferiour ends, subordi­nate ends: I, but their utmost end they never obtain, therefore they are for ever miserable. But now here is the happiness of a Saint, he never fails in his utmost end: but as Austin saith of Gods answering his prayers, he did answer the hinge of my prayer, that he did: sometimes I prayed for the thing, but God did not give me the thing: I, but the hinge on which my [Page 680] prayer moved, that is, that all might tend to Gods glory, and my good, in that God answered my prayer; and so shall a soul say at last: there were many things that my mistaken judgement did think would have conduced to such an end; but God saw it not good: therefore I obtaining my utmost ends, he lets Gods will go on in the world: and for my part I am satis­fied, though many of my inferiour ends I miss. These are the quieting principles that should be in your hearts, when you submit to the will of God in his mysterious actings in the world. I dare not detain you any longer. Consider I beseech you what hath been spoken, and the Lord give you wisdom and understand­ing in all things.

Christs care in Glory, FOR his Churches good on Earth.

REV. 2. ver. 1.

These things saith he who holdeth the seven Stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven Golden Candlesticks.

THe Works that God the Father gave his Son the Lord Jesus Christ to do, are of two sorts. They are either Acts of Ministery, or Acts of Majesty: the first he finished when he was here upon earth: For he said, he had finished the work given him to do: And he is ascended up to Glory, that so he might perform the second: (that so he might be both faith­ful [Page 682] to God, and merciful to you:) For though he be ascended up into heaven as our Lord, yet he sits in heaven still as the Fathers Servant: For this Cause though he hath changed his place, yet he hath not changed his office: you shall have him therefore in this Book of the Revelations (which was indited from heaven) described sutable to all his offices, according to the various Condition of the Church, as Brightman hath well observed, pro varia Conditione Ecclesiae. Brightman. He is described as the Churches Priest, in Chap. 1. ver. 13. He was seen wearing a Garment down to his Feet: In allusion to the priestly Ephod, and the curious Girdle under the Law: for that I understand by that Vestis talaris there, and not a description of his Im­puted righteousness as some conceive it: then Christ though he be in glory, remains the Churches Priest: for he wears his Priestly Garments there.

And he remains still the Churches King, in Chap. 4. ver. 3. I saw a throne, and one that sat upon it was to look upon like to a Iasper and a Sardix stone, spoken of Gods ruling the Church in the Person of his Son.

And he is described to be the Churches Leader and Commander. In Rev. 19. ver. 11, 12. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many crowns. Clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: And the Armies that were in heaven followed him upon white Horses.

And he is described as the Churches Prophet too. In Chap. 6. ver. 7. There he is set forth as a Lamb that hath seven horns and seven eyes: And he came and took the Book out of the hand of him that sat upon the throne, and opens the seals thereof: And therefore he it is that receives all the discoveries of God towards his Church; and he it is that doth dispense it unto the [Page 683] Church. Chap 6. ver. 2. And there was given a bow and a crown, and he went forth conquering and to con­quer: Spoken of Christs prevailing by the Preaching of the Gospel: as he is described in Psalm 45.4,5. So that though Christ hath changed his place, yet he hath not changed his office, nor his Company: while he was here on Earth, he conversed with his people, and he walks still in the midst of the Golden Candlesticks.

And to manifest that he was still in office for his Churches good, that whatever he is, even after his ascension, he is all for the Churches sake: therefore shortly after he departs; he did as Princes use to do upon the days of their Coronation, spargere missilia, he scattered abroad, poured out certain extraordinary Gifts, to manifest that still he had respect unto the Church: But these lasted but for a time; for this Cause after he had in his bodily presence been absent, yea and seemingly silent for about sixty years (for its Ge­nerally conceived, that this book of the Revelation was penned about the latter end of the raign of Domi­tian the Emperour, which was sixty years after Christs ascention) now it was that he gave this Revelation unto his servant John, that it might be a standing monument unto the Church, what his affections were, though he were now in Glory: therefore he leaves this unto them for their direction, that they might know what to expect in after Times, and what to pray for, and also for their Consolation: though sad occurrences were to come, yet the Lord lets them see the Event and Issue of all should be for good.

This is the scope of the Lord in this prophesie; he writes in this Book of two things: The things that are, and the things that shall be hereafter. Among which [Page 684] there are several prophesies that concern the seven Churches of Asia, of which, this is the first to the Church of Ephesus.

It may here be enquired, seeing there were so many other famous Churches in the World; the Churches of Rome, of Galatia, of Corinth, &c. to whom those Epistles were written; how comes it to pass, that the Lord Jesus singles out only the seven Churches of Asia, to write Letters from heaven to them, passing by all the rest of the Churches?

There are four Reasons I meet with among Inter­preters that are given hereof.

First, Because Patmos (which was the Place of Iohns Banishment) was nearer to these Asian Churches, and the Conveyance to it easie by the Aegean Sea; By this means being in Exile, he did indeavour to do them good, being shut out from the like opportunity from Churches more remote.

Secondly, Because these Churches were in an espe­cial manner part of St Iohns Charge; for though it be true, that the Apostolical Authority was universal over all the Churches, as their care reacht to all the Churches, and was not limited to a particular Con­gregation, as the Ministers of the Gospel now is: in Acts 20.28. Attend to the flock, over which the holy Ghost hath made you a Bishop; though the Apostles were sent forth to all the World, yet it plainly appears from Gal. 2.9. that they did by mutual consent divide the World among themselves, and did every of them take a several part of the world as their more especial Charge, as they that write the lives and travels of the Apostles do clearly set forth; among the rest these of Asia the less, are conceived to be the especial part of [Page 685] Iohns Charge, and upon this Ground he takes especial care to write to them.

Thirdly, Some conceive it was, because the Lord did foresee that of all the Gentile-Churches these were neerest to Judgement and ruine, to have the Candlestick removed from them, unless their re­pentance did prevent, and therefore he especially takes Care to apply the Remedy where there was the great­est danger in the Disease.

Fourthly, Some give a further Reason, making these seven Churches of Asia, types of all the Gentile-Churches afterwards unto the end of the World: What reason there is out of the Text for that, I shall not speak to: only this I am sure of; the Lord when he bids Iohn write, he writes the things that are, which are distinguished from those that are to be here­after; and therefore I am not to confound them: But this is most true, if these Asian Churches were not types of all the Gentile-Churches, yet certainly they were as it were the patterns, and all the Gentile-Churches were to take warning by them, that the same Corruptions were as truly incident to all the rest of the Churches, which had now overgrown them: and Iohn having opportunity to write to these, doth by them admonish all the rest.

The words that I have now read unto you, are a Glorious description of the heart of Christ in heaven, and of the care that Christ hath of his Church in Glo­ry. It is true, that of him the whole family in heaven and earth is named, and he it is to whom Angels, Principalities and powers are made subject after his ascention into Glory, 1 Pet. 3.22. He it is to whom the Providential Kingdom of God is committed; for, [Page 686] he hath committed all Judgement unto the Son, Joh. 5.23. But yet notwithstanding though he takes Care of the whole providential Kingdom, yet he hath an especial eye on his spiritual Kingdom, he doth not forget his Lambs: the Kingdom of Christ in this world is made up of two Parts or Branches, Officers, or Members; both which are described in the Text.

Christs care that he takes of officers; this he holds the Stars in his right hand: his Care of the Members, this he walks in the midst of the Golden Candlesticks.

A short exposition I intend to give you upon this: First, The Care that Christ takes of the Officers of the Church; and that you see is described thus, he holds the Stars in his right hand. Two things I must here explain.

First, here is a description of the Persons, they are Stars.

Secondly, The act of Christs Care towards them, he holds them in his right hand.

First, By Stars are meant the Officers of the Church. And that clearly appears from the Exposi­tion given by the Spirit of God in Chap. 1. ver. ult. The seven Stars of the Angels of the Churches: where I pray observe, I cannot interpret Angels singularly, as referring to any one kind of Officers, as some do: But Collectively, as referring to all the Officers of the Church. The Reasons I shall hint you to, pray note them: because it hath been some kind of Controver­sie in these latter days.

The first is from the Title Angel, upon what Ground called Angel; It is a name first given to Christ, and from Christ derived and applyed to those special Ministers and Officers imployed under him; this [Page 687] I make appear from Gen. 48.15. The Angel that re­deemed me from all adversity; the Angel the Redeemer, that is his name; Called therefore the Angel of the Co­venant, in Mal. 3.1. Now from hence, because God in­titled his Son thus, this very name doth Christ himself convey to all those that are Officers under him: and that it is a name borrowed from the old Testament, I shall clearly make manifest: and therefore it must be used in the same sense: In the Old Testament I find it applyed to all Church-Officers: to Prophets, in Haggai 1.13. Then spake Haggai the Angel of the Lord, in the Lords Message; there he is called the Angel of the Lord: yea, all Gospel Ministers are so stiled. In Iob 33.23. When a mans soul draws nigh to the grave, and his life to the destroyer: that is under the guilt of his own conscience: if there be an Angel, an interpreter: so you are to read it: not only Prophets neither, but Priests are called Angels too: So you shall find, Iudges 2.1. There came an Angel of the Lord from Gil­gal to Bochim: a man would have thought it had been an Angel come from heaven: But it is an Angel that came frome Gilgal to Bochim: It was a Minister among men, as Interpreters expound it: But its ordinarily interpreted of Phineas the Priest: And his Message drew such tears from the people, that its called Bochim, the place of weeping: so some expound that place, in Eccles. 5.6. spoken against rash vows: lest they say before the Angel of the Lord, it is an over-sight: the Angel of the Lord, who is that? Look to the 5. of Leviticus ver. 5. it will help you to expound that text: It was commanded of God, that all rash Vows, the errors of them, should be confest unto the Priest: therefore if the title Angel were given to all [Page 688] Church-Officers under the New: And cannot in rea­son be applyed to any one sort of Officers, as some have done it lately to Bishops.

The second expression is that of Stars, and that will evidence the thing unto you: By stars, in the Scri­pture, are meant all men of great place or power, either in State or Church: Persons of great place and authority in the state; Matth. 24.9. where the Lord describing the sad Desolations that should befall Jerusalem, he saith, Stars shall fall from heaven: when some people read that place, they conceive its spoken of the day of Judgement, and not of the downfal of that State: these shall be brought down from their state and honour; and that is the meaning of that place, Rev. 8.27. the Sun shall be smitten, and the third part of the stars. And its meant all persons of great place in the Church; observe Dan. 8.10. from whence in all probability these expressions are taken: Antiochus waxed great over the host of heaven (for so the Church is called) and cast down some of the Stars to the ground, and trampled upon them: persons of great place are commonly called stars: and the edge of the persecu­tion commonly turns upon them. When the Lord speaks this to the comfort of his servants, that he holds the stars in his hand; it were but small comfort to in­feriour officers to tell them, the Lord holds the stars in his hand: that is great men, the highest officers, but not you, when as its spoken of them all: the Church is the host of heaven, and all the officers thereof are the stars in Christs right hand: that is the first thing.

Secondly, What is the act of Christs care towards these? the text saith, he holds them in his right hand: [Page 689] it signifies two things, according to a double expression in the Scripture: the right hand of Majesty, in Heb. 1.3. and so Christ is said to sit at his right hand. The right hand of power, Luke 1.76. I conceive the latter is here intended, and to be understood of that power that he doth use in mercy to put forth, for the prote­ction, deliverance, and preservation of his people: hence it is that in Psal. 20.6. all deliverance and pre­servation is called the salvation of his right hand: Rivet. and therefore, De clementissima Protectione. Psalm 22.7. he will protect them with his right hand in this life, and he will exalt them with his right hand in the life to come.

Here give me leave to hint to you four things, before I pass from this; mark them well, for they con­cern you.

First take notice from hence, that Church-Officers are but stars, and they shine but with a borrowed light, with a derived light; they have their light from the Sun of righteousness, the fountain and the Father of lights, Mal. 4.2. they must be Seers before they can be Pro­phets; What hast thou that thou hast not received? take heed therefore, though its true, that one star differs from another star in Glory: yet let no man exalt himself in regard of his own light: thou art but the vessel, and hast no more light then the Lord is pleased to put into thee: and remember while the stars shine tis night; though whilest the night lasts the stars are needful: whilest we live here, even the best men, they walk in the dark: and therefore the most glorious times of the Church stand in need of these stars. But the day hastens when these stars shall disappear for ever, for Christ will put down all rule, and all authority, and power, [Page 690] 1 Cor. 15.28. there shall be no more use of Magistra­cy or Ministery for ever: But yet though the day approacheth, it is night still: the greatest light, and the most glorious discoveries of all the Ministers in the world, cannot make day in the soul, or in the Church, unless the Sun of righteousness discover himself: therefore let the people seek out for further direction, and get a light from Christ the Sun of righteousness; which is a light that all the Ministers & Officers in the world cannot impart: for all the light that they can bring in, is but star-light; and they are a woful people, and disconsolate souls, that only live and walk by star-light all their daies.

Secondly, The stars are in the right hand of Christ, that is, at his dispose; therefore sure he ap­points them their Orbs where they shall shine; he re­moves the stars as well as the Candlestick; that ex­pression is very observable, in Isa. 62. How Beautiful are the feet of those upon the mountains, that bring glad tidings! What beauty is there to be seen in their feet! the meaning of it is, there is a beauty in the Message that they bring: the Lord having made the Gospel ambulatorie and itinerarie, that it is carried about from house to house, and from place to place, by the feet of the Ministery. Remember, you that enjoy the Gospel, that sad expression in Jerem. 7.12. Go to my place in Shilo, where I set my name at first, and see what I did there. Why, what did God there? he forsook the Tabernacle of Shilo. Remember the stars are in the right hand of God, and he appoints them where they shall shine: and one of the saddest Judgements that can befall a people in this life, is for God to seal up the stars: thats Jobs expression in Job 9. that they [Page 691] shall not bring out a beam of light, but the people shall be left in the dark continually.

Thirdly, the stars are in the right hand of Christ; then surely there is protection for them, and a merciful care over them; they do but lose their labour that think either to pluck the Saints out of the right hand of God; or the stars out of the right hand of Christ. Surely he will preserve a Ministery in his Church unto the end of the world; or else blot that text out of your Bibles, Eph. 4.12. He hath given gifts for the work of the Ministery, for the gathering and perfecting of the Saints until we all come, &c. Why did the Lord institute the Ministery? For a double end: the one for the Gathering, the other for the Perfecting of the Saints: then so long as there are any of the Saints to be gathered: or any to be perfected, the end of the Ministerie is not accomplished: God will uphold it until it hath attained the end of its institution. Con­sider therefore what enemies those are unto the Church of God, that endeavour to remove the stars out of their Orb: for, its that leaves a people under pure darkness, and a perfect night, and therefore its the worst and the most pernicious design that ever was set on foot in the world: one strikes at their calling, another at their maintenance: though the truth is, the intent of the work is the same, the Ministery, what­ever the design of the workmen may be: Well, sup­pose God should grant your desire, for there is a ge­neration of men that have been long hacking at the Ministery: Suppose it should be as you would have it: give me leave to tell you two things; one is, when the stars are darkned, in Scripture it denotes great judge­ments, great plagues to come upon a people; Ioel 2.10. [Page 692] The Sun and the Moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. But further to clear what kind of Judgement you must look for: and pray mark, for I speak nothing but Scripture unto you: in Dan. 8.10,11,12. When the stars were cast unto the ground; the text adds, The daily sacrifices were taken away, because of transgression; cast down truth to the ground: the daily sacrifice, the worship of God; and truth, the word of God; Both will soon go down, if once the stars be cast to the ground, and trampled on by the feet of pride.

Lastly, take this hint from it too: Its a great judge­ment, not only to have the stars sealed up from you: but to have the stars to fight against you: an expres­sion that you have in the 5. Judges, the stars in their courses fought against Sisera; there is not a worse Army can be engaged against a people: observe, Psal. 68.12. The Lord gave his Word, and great were the number of them that published it. What follows? Kings with their Armies did Flie; It relates to the Ascention of Christ; that is plain by ver. 18. thou hast ascended on high, &c. the Lord did give his word at his ascention, and there were a multitude of them that published it, and by this means Kings, Armies were put to flight: they conquered by the word: there is not such another way to rout Kings and their Armies: Look into the 47. of Ezek. ver 10. and you shall see, this shall be the glory of the last times: the most glorious and most flourish­ing times of the Church: And there shall be Fishers, the text saith: and the fish that shall be taken by them, shall be like the fish of the great Sea, exceeding many: a number of converts: take heed of the stars fighting against you, for you have need of these stars in the [Page 693] best and purest times. But the second thing I mainly intend, the care that Christ takes of the body, which is described in the latter expression: he walks in the midst of the seven Golden Candlesticks: he takes care as well of the meanest Member, as of the greatest Of­ficer. Psalm 45. The unction doth run down upon the s [...]irts of his Garment: so doth his protection and his provision also: to explain this, here are three things to be opened.

Why the Church is called a Candlestick?

Why a Golden Candlestick?

And what is it for Christ to walk in the middest of it?

First, Why is the Church called a Candlestick?

In Revel. 1. ult. The seven Candlesticks are the seven Churches: there are four notions in it, and you must take in all, or you will not understand the meaning of the Word.

First, A Candlestick hath no light in it of it self, but light must be put into it: and therefore the Candlestick under the Law, to which this here is an allusion, the Priests were to light the Candles: a Candlestick hath no more light then is put into it, and it must be con­tinually maintained by a new supply of oyl, as you see it described in Zach. 4.11. There are Olive-trees that grow on each side the Candlestick, and they drop the oyl, &c: here is no oyl prepared by the art and industry of men, but it is Natural Olive-oyl that doth of it self drop: and therefore the supports and supplies of the Church are compared unto the rain, and unto the dew, that waits not for man, and tarries not for the Sons of men.

Secondly, The use of a Candlestick is for no other [Page 694] end then to hold up, and hold out the light, and to this very End the Lord hath instituted Churches: the great Ordinance under the Gospel is the Church, though alas, we little consider it: now pray observe, the great End why God instituted Churches was this: that he might have a company of Saints, that might hold forth his Word, and hold up his Worship: and for this Cause, the Church is called the pillar and ground of truth: 1 Tim. 3.16. The pillar of truth, why so? as one well observes, as a pillar holds forth a Proclamation; truth that upholds the Church: but the Church holds out the Worship of God.

Thirdly, A Candlestick is a thing moveable, and with the removing of the Candlestick, you carry away the light also: and therefore the thing that the Lord threatens, is, that he will remove the Candlestick out of its place; the Lord removes the Candlestick from place to place; though the Land remain, the Church is gone, that is a dangerous Judgement: not only an immediate removing of the Ordinances, but of the Church, for which all Ordinances were appointed: the Kingdom of God shall be taken from them; he will call them Loammi, they shall be no more a people to him: the Lord will remove the Candlestick, and the glory of the Lord shall depart.

Lasty, Its an allusion unto the Candlestick under the Law in the Tabernacle, in Exod. 25.31. which was a type of the Church of God; for all things were done unto them in types, and yet with this difference: Under the Law there was but one Candlestick in the Tabernacle; but here are seven Candlesticks: what is the reason? there is a double Ground, and both of them Conside­rable.

First, Because the Church of God, under the Gospel should be of a larger extent then under the Law: and for that Cause happily it is, that the dimen­sions of Johns City go so far beyond that of Ezekiels; though it be spoken of the same thing, and of the same time: yet Ezekiels City, that is but 4500. Cubits, and Saint Johns is twelve thousand furlongs. A great difference; But Ezekiel saw it with Legal apprehensions, he had a sight of Gospel-Ordinances by a darker light only: But John saw it with a Gospel light, and he describes the latitude and the dimensions thereof according thereunto.

Secondly, And that is the main reason: there was but one Candlestick in the Tabernacle, because the Church of the Jews was but one; and though they had many Synagogues, yet they met all in one stem, they were united all in one shaft; but the Churches of the Gentiles are many, and for that Cause, though there was but one Candlestick under the Law, yet there are seven under the Gospel; and that is the meaning why a Candlestick.

Secondly, Why is the Church is called a golden Candlestick?

Upon a double Ground.

First, Because Gold is the purest mettal, and the Lord will have his Church such; they shall differ as much from other men, as Gold doth from the com­mon clay in the streets; the Lord is very exact in every thing in the Church; he is very curious of what mettle such Candlesticks be made of, and there­fore it is not every society or constitution of men that will be lookt upon as a Church to Christ; but when the Lord lays the Foundation of a Church, he doth it with [Page 696] Saphirs: Isa. 54. Non est de doctrina, sed hominibus; there is a double Foundation of Churches, as Divines do observe, doctrinae & personae; the Church is found­ed on doctrines, but here of persons; the First founders of which the Church is built, they must not be common stones; for if the Church become corrupt, if the Gold become Dross, if the house of the Lord become an outward Court, then the Lord will take no care either to build or to measure it: and there is Golden Do­ctrines, 1 Cor. 3.12. The light that doth shine forth in this his Candlestick; and then the Lord is curious with what oyl the Candlestick is maintained; for the Lord will not have it maintained with common oyl, that Persons may put in themselves, but God will not delight in them; It is a strange expression, that in Zach. 4.12. These, empty golden oyl out of them­selves: their parts, their pains, and all, it must be golden oyl.

Secondly, Because Gold of all other mettals is the most precious, and of the highest esteem; there is as much difference between the Church of God and other men, as there is between Gold and Dirt in the street; as between Diamonds and Pebbles in the Lords esteem: make Israel a Church, and then, all the earth is mine, saith the Lord, but thou art my peculiar treasure, in Exod. 19.5. they are to God above all people; the truth is, they are the first fruits of all the creatures; the Church is called so, Iames 1.18. The first fruits were best, and were dedicated to God, and they did also consecrate the whole crop; you all claim a title to Church-membership; look they be golden Candlesticks; the Lord hath his scales to weigh you, and his touchstone to try you, and let me [Page 697] tell you, the less Gold there is in any Church, the less value God sets upon it.

Thirdly, How is Christ said to walk in the midst of the Golden Candlestick? It denotes a promise of espe­cial presence and fellowship: this is the promise that the Lord made unto the Jews, Lev. 26.12. I will walk among you, and I will be your God, and my soul shall not abhorr you: 2 Cor. 6.16. I will dwell and walk amongst them: it notes his presence with them in all ways of love and Communion: for Amos 3.3. Two cannot walk together unless they be agreed: When God hath Communion with us, he is said to walk with us; therefore we read of his goings in the Sanctuary; this then is the meaning, he affords his especial presence and Communion. Now here is an observation that I shall hint unto you.

There is a gratious presence of Christ with his Church in all Church-administrations.

Two Scriptures hold forth this gloriously unto you; one is Psalm 27.4. I would see thy beauty and glory as I have seen in thy sanctuary: thy beauty, what is beauty? It is a symmetry and a proportion of parts: now when you look abroad on the works of God, you see one Attribute manifested in one work, and another in ano­ther: you see not these parts put together: and so the beauty of them doth not appear: God doth great things when he manifests an attribute when he would shew his love, he gives his Son: when he would mani­fest his mercy, he pardons sin; so that in the Works of God, the Atributes of God are thus scattered, you cannot see them together. But come to the Sanctu­ary, and there you see beauty: all the Attributes of God are displayed there: for as Christ as Media­tour, [Page 698] is the stage on which all the Attributes of God are acted; for he is the Image of the Invisible God: so is the Church the stage or scene on which Christ acts all these Attributes. Rev. 11. There is the special presence and beauty of God to be seen there, beyond what there is in all the world beside.

Secondly, There is the great Glory of God to be seen in heaven; and you shall find that there is a great resemblance between his presence in his Church and in Glory: In Heb. 12.22,23. When you read it, you will see but little difference between that and heaven, that you can scarce know it from heaven; we are come to the heavenly Jerusalem, to the General as­sembly of the Church of the first-born, whose names are written in heaven; to God, the Iudge of all, to Iesus the mediatour of the New Testament, &c. Let us com­pare a little the presence of Christ with his Church, with that of his presence in Glory: take the parrallel in these five particulars.

First, Christ in heaven is present in Majesty and Glory: It is called the throne of his Glory: and such is his presence in his Church too: And therefore ob­serve it, he is said to sit upon a high Throne in the midst of his Churches. Rev. 4.3. The name of the Church is called Iehovah Shammah, on that account, the Lord is there; Ezek. 11. Christ doth nowhere but in heaven discover so much of his Kingly Majesty, as he doth in the middle of his Churches and Church-administrations: and if the Lord once take away the vail that is upon our eyes, then we shall be able to see the glorious presence of Christ in Gospel-admini­strations. As I remember, Iunius when he read the Scripture, and the Lord had taken the scales off his [Page 699] eyes, to fee the Majesty of it, repente divinitatem argu­menti, Scripti majestatem authoritatemque senserim, lon­go intervallo omnibus eloquentiae humanae praeeuntem, horrebat Corpus, stupebat animus; Iunius. he saw a majesty so far beyond all humane eloquence, that he confesses his soul stood amazed at it; so it would be to you; only there is a vail before your eyes.

Secondly, In heaven the Lord is present as reveal­ing his mind and will unto his people; the Saints in heaven know the whole mind of God, concerning what ever belongs to Gods Glory or their own duty: there we shall know as we are known, 1 Cor. 13.12. and so he is present in the midst of his people; In Deut. 23.3. As his Saints sit dowe at his feet, they all receive of his words; he gives forth what his will is concerning his Glory, and their Duty: nay, look to Revel. 4.22. They shall see his face, and his name shall be written in their foreheads. It is not spoken of the Glory to come; it is new Ierusalem that comes down from God out of heaven; and yet such Glorious Discoveries there shall be of the will of God, and the mind of Christ unto his people, as if so be they saw Gods face in heaven; such a Glorious presence of Christ there is with his Churches.

Thirdly, In heaven there shall be a glorious and full Communication of all Grace; not only in refe­rence to the secrets of his Counsel, they know his Will; but he will withold none of his graces from you; as your Communion shall then be perfect with him, so shall the Communication of all his grace be to you. Now you know, It is death that puts an end to sin: mark it, it is death that puts an end to mortifi­cation; for he that is dead is free from sin, 1 John 3.3. [Page 700] But it is the Beatifical vision that perfects Sanctifica­tion, and reddit nos impeccabiles makes the soul impec­cable, as the Schoolmen observe; there is a great re­semblance of this too in the Ordinances of the Go­spel, and Christs presence in them. Beholding as in a Glass the Glory of the Lord, we are transformed into the same Image. 2 Cor. 3. ult. For there are before the Throne seven lamps of fire, and the seven spirits of God. Revel. 4,5. The Throne is Compassed about with a Rain bow signum gratiae, and it is not of many colours, but of one; to shew, how steady, and constant, and unchangeable, Christ is in his ways and dispensations towards his people.

Fourthly, In heaven there is convolutio animae in deum, as the Schoolmen express it; the soul is wholly as it were resolv'd into God: Roled & transform'd into God, that is, God wholly takes up the whole soul; that is all I mean: I would not be understood after that new fan­cy, that men are deified with God: But as it is said of the angels, they behold the Face of your heavenly Father continually. Mat. 18.10. never look off from him to eternity: there is a glorious resemblance of this in the Lords presence with his Churches; their eyes are fastned upon the Lord their eyes watch for the Lord, mere then they that watch for the morning; their soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness, which is in the house of God; there is that sweetness in the presence of God in his Ordinances, which is next heaven it self, when a man is made to drink out of the rivers of his pleasure: some of Gods people can say so, one day in thy Courts is better then a thousand elswhere: there is a sweeter tast of God in Ordinances then there is any­where in the world besides.

Fifthly, in heaven there is the presence of Christ among his Saints and Angels: if we should see the Lord sit upon his Throne, and all his Angels and Saints gathered together round about him, oh what a glorious presence this were! but its so in all Gospel ad­ministrations: there is not only Chrst sitting on his Throne in the midst, Rev. 4.24. Elders compass his Throne; but then in Rev. 5.11. the text saith, there is a guard of Angels round about the Elders: Every time you come to worship God, Remember there is Christ upon his Throne, and Church-Officers compassing the Throne; and Church-members the people: and then the Angels as a guard about them. Consider but that place in Zach. 3.7. If you will keep my waies, I will give you Galleries to walk in amongst those that stand by. A man shall be taken into fellowship and Communion with the Angels; then there is a glorious presence that Christ affords unto his people; he walks in the midst of the golden Candlesticks.

For the Application.

First, how should this command reverence in every soul of you when you come to have to do with any Church administrations! you do not consider the King will come in to see the guests; you think it is but to hear a Sermon, to joyn in prayer, to go unto the Sacrament: but consider not that you have to do there with the Lord Jesus Christ, who is present in Majesty and Glo­ry: take heed therefore of all rash approaches to Christ, and dealing rashly in any Gospel-institution. Oh that the Lord would but set on this very appre­hension on the hearts of those that profess to fear God in the Nation, that they would take heed of rashness in dealing with Church-institutions! in Lev. 26.24. [Page 702] If you walk at adventure with me: Rashly with me, so the word is many times used, [...] temere, sine personae discrimine; then God will walk at an adventure with you: do not draw neer to the Lord Jesus Christ at an ad­venture; for he is present at all Church-administrati­ons; there is a strange prophaness of heart that men shew in it: and usually an hasty heart makes a rash mouth, as Solomon speaks: take heed therefore in all Church-administrations, of rashness; for Christ is here, and he hath said, you shall reverence my Sanctuary, for I am Jehovah: Let all be done with reverence and godly fear.

Secondly, Is there such a gracious presence of Christ in Gospel administrations, labour to see it there, labour to have your souls affected with the spiritual presence or absence of Christ there; The Prophet Ezekiel could see the glory of the Lord go up from the Cherubims; but the people could see no such thing; the Ordinances remained, and they were well pleased: yet though the Ordinances were not removed, the glory of the Lord was gon; and therefore have your hearts affected with this: look upon it as your great afflicti­on, that it should be with you as it was with the Disci­ples after Christs resurrection; the Lord appeared to them, but their eyes were with-held, they did not know him. God discovers himself gloriously in Church-admini­strations, and all the time thine eyes are with-held, and thou dost not see it: I remember it was Bernards drift, and it argueth I confess a very holy Spirit in the man; Dico mihi (saith he) in languore desiderii mei, quis amat quod non videt? moriar ut te videam: Bernard. he sighs in the lan­guishing of his desires, and intreats God to discover himself to him: Lord, I am willing to dye, to have a [Page 703] further discovery of thy self: A man should come into the presence of God, with high expectations of the beatifical vision; and every new discovery will in­creas the desire to enjoy more Communion with God; and therefore press the Lord with fervent prayer, as he doth in that place, De amore Dei, ca. 1. quod obiter vidi accenso desiderio vix patienter expecto: auferas a me ma­num tegentem: and the Lord can make a short cut of it when he will; habet & gratiae sapientia sua compendia; Desire the Lord to take that hand of his from him, that hid him from his eye; is there such a presence? be not satisfied until thou seest it.

Thirdly, Remember Christ is present, but he is present in holiness; there is no attribute of God so terrible to a sinful creature, as that of his holiness; Justice and wrath are no way so terrible as his holi­ness: and this attribute Christ shews forth in his pre­sence in Ordinances: this attr [...]bute the Angels of God in glory do admire, in the 6. of Isaiah; and when the Saints come to worship, what do they cast down their Crowns unto? unto his holiness, Rev. 4.8. Holy, holy, holy Lord God of hosts; It is not a vain presence, but its a very holy presence.

Lastly, take notice he is present in jealousie: You cannot serve the Lord: Why? in Joshua 24.19. for he is a jealous God: now there is a double fruit of Gods jealousie, and do you tremble at the hearing of it.

First, if you come at an adventure with God in Church-administrations, the greatest temporal Judge­ments shall be inflicted upon you: look to Ezekiel 10.2. The Angel of the Lord takes fire of the Altar, and scat­ters over the City; the Jews thought that the fire of the Altar did tend to nothing but to expiate their sin: [Page 704] no, saith God, it shall burn the City to; no fire burns as coals of Juniper, like that fire.

Secondly, if the Lord spare you in temporal judge­ments, he will pour out spiritual judgements. I only put you in mind of one place of Scripture, in Ezekiel 47.11. But the myrie and the marish places thereof, they shall not be healed, they shall be given to salt: What is the meaning of it? here is waters of Doctrine and Grace issue out of the Sanctuary: wherever these come, there is glorious healing: but there shall be under these Ordinances, myrie and marish places, where the water standeth; new plagues shall light upon these places, they shall be given to salt: they shall be delivered over to perperual barrenness: let never fruit grow upon that soul, nor that people more; these are the spiritual Judgements that God will pour out upon those that walk at an adventure with Christ in Gospel administrations: for there is a glorious presence of Christ in them; he walks in the midst of the seven golden Candlesticks. So much for a brief Explication of this portion of Scripture.

Gifts and Talents Shall be accounted for.

LUKE 12.48.

To whomsoever much is given, of him much shall be re­quired.

CHrist having before exhorted his Disciples to a continual, watchful and constant pre­paredness for his coming, (the coming of the Lord) as it is the great hope of the Saints, they long for and hasten to the com­ing of that day of God; so it is the great care of the Saints, they knowing the terror of the Lord; and they are to give their utmost diligence to be found of him [Page 706] in peace, that they may be like unto the servants that wait for their Lords return, because they know not the hour when the Son of man will come. Upon this Peter propounds the question, ver. 41. Lord. speakest thou this parable unto us, or even unto all? Christ answers not directly, who is the faithful and wise Steward: Non negat ad omnes pertinere, praecipue tamen ad Apostolos. What I say unto you, I say unto all, watch, Mark 13.37. where the same Exhortation is given.

These Verses set forth two high aggravations of sin when the Lord comes to reckon with his servants. First, the knowledge that they have. Secondly, the gifts and talents that they have received. First the knowledge that they have; he that knows his Masters will and doth it not, shall be beaten with many stripes; its true, that knowledge is a great gift, in so much that the Jews have a proverb, [...] Pauper non est nisi scientia destitutus. There is no man poor but he that wants knowledge; to be richin knowledge, is to be indued with all riches: but yet knowledge is given unto many a man in wrath, and not in mercy, to aggravate the contumacy, and so the condemnation of a man. Nihil aliud est scientia nostra quam culpa quoad hoc tantum legem novimus ut majori offensione peccemus, Salv. Salv.

Its a great misery to live without the Ordinances of God, to be out of the Valley of Vision, and in the dark places of the earth; better is the bread of affliction, and the water of trouble, then a famine of hearing the word of God, Amos 8.11. yet it is much better to be with­out a teaching-Priest, and without the Law, then to enjoy them to no other end, but with the higher hand to sin against them, there is no burthen like unto that [Page 707] of the valley of vision, Esay 22.1. No woe like un­to that of Ariel, Esay 29. The word is by some rende­red the Lyon of God, because of the strength of that City, and its power to subdue other Nations: that it is as a Lyon of invincible strength, no beast of the field could stand before it: but others do render it the Altar of the Lord, and it is the name given to the Altar, Ezek. 43.16. The Altar shall be twelve cubits long; it is Ariel; so that they that had the ordinances of God, and the sacrifices of God amongst them, there is a wo unto them above all other people, though it were the City where David dwelt: so that they that abuse their knowledge, and walk not answerable un­to it: here you see, the Lord will surely reckon with them for their knowledge in the great day that he hath appointed to judge the world.

Secondly, not only the knowledge, but the gifts of men, the gifts that men have received, they will also aggravate their sin and increase wrath in the day of their account: the Lord will require nothing, where he hath given nothing; he will reckon with his ser­vants only for the talents that they have received: he doth not expect to reap where he hath not sown; but where he hath committed a depositum, he will require it, and he will account with men according unto what their receits have been; and answerable un­to that, so will their Judgement be; there shall be different degrees of punishment, answerable unto the different measure of Talents abused and neglected; [...]. Ch [...]ysost.

The Observations out of the text are four.

First, What ever a man hath here, is both given to [Page 708] him as a gift, and committed to him as a Talent. Secondly, They are not given or committed unto all in the same measure, but unto some much, and unto some little, in different measures. Thirdly, Whe­ther a man hath much, or little, it is given or com­mitted to him, as that which he shall be called to an account for, it shall be hereafter required of him. Fourthly, The more any man hath received, the more shall be required of him in the general day of Judge­ment; mens accounts shall be answerable to their receits.


Whatsoever men receive from God, they are given them, or committed unto them; There is that over­flowing fulness in him who is the fountain of living waters, that there is no man but receives something from him, much or little every man doth receive, and these blessings are to be considered in a double respect; either as given, or as committed.

First, They are all given, and are to be looked upon as dona, gifts meerly of grace: a man can receive nothing, unless it be given him from above, Iohn 3.27. Every good gift comes down from him who is the father of lights. James 1.17. All good things are from above, and they come unto us only in a way of gift. There are but four ways of the conveyance of any thing one from another.

First, Ex debito, by way of debt, which is due to be paid, and so the Lord is debtor unto none: who can say they gave unto God first, and he shall be recompenced? and though by his promise, he seems after a sort to be­come [Page 709] come a debtor unto us; yet its true, reddit debita, nulli debens; the rice of his promises are meerly his own grace, and his obligation by them is not so much unto us as his own faithfulness; that is true of Aquinas, touching all the blessings of God bestowed upon men, Opus justitiae divinae semper supponit opus miseri­cordiae, & in eo fundatur. Aquinas.

Secondly, Ex pretio, By way of purchase, and so we have nothing to pay, for they are not our own.

Thirdly, Ex merito, by way of desert, and so we can have no right; for, when we have done all that is commanded, we are unprofitable servants; it cannot be agreeable to a created nature to merit any thing at the hand of his creator; even the Lord Jesus Christ himself cannot be said absolutely, and in a full sense to merit as Mediator, at the hand of God the father; and therefore grace was the foundation even of the merit of Christ himself; there is gratia unionis, and gratia unctionis, according unto that ordinary saying of the Schoolmen: Etiam meritum Christi habet Gratiam in­visceratam: and if the Mediatour who paid the debt, could not merit, much less can we.

Fourthly, It must therefore be ex dono, purely, meerly of gift; all our receits from God are of his grace: he shews mercy for his own sake.

Secondly, They are not only given unto them, but they are also committed to them, and so, that they are to be looked upon as deposita committed un­to them: the one implyes grace in God, and cals for thankfulness; the other, trust in us, and cals for faithfulness; the Lord is that great wise man spoken of in Luke 16.1. and he hath put his goods into their [Page 710] hands, that they may preserve and imploy them: as there is no man that is sine dono so there is none absque officio they are all of them stewards but not proprie­taries, and the time of their stewardship will have an end, and then will the day of their account be: that as it is said of the Jews, that the Scriptures, the Oracles of God, that they were committed unto them, Rom. 3.2. The word is [...], they were concredited to them, or left to them as a depositum, which they were so to keep, as they were to transmit unto their posterity so its true of all the pledges that the Lord doth betrust his people with, they are committed unto them, con­credited with them, as goods left in the hand of Of­ficers; for every man is a Steward of some of the graces of God: and under this double notion all men are to look upon the blessings and mercies that they enjoy, not only as gifts bestowed from the grace of God, but as pledges committed unto their trust: and here interpreters upon this place do point us unto a double distinction.

First, Ratione rei, so they are gifts to be received, that the free grace that is given may be acknowledged. Man in his fall had forfeited all his right to the bles­sings of God for he was now under the curse of the Law: But the Lord did by a second Covenant give all things into the hand of the Son; the Father loves the Son, and hath given all things into his hand; for he is ap­pointed heir of all things; which cannot be understood of him as God, for so he is haeres natus; but as Mediatour, so he came under an act of the will of God, and is now haeres constitutus, Heb. 1.3. So that now the Lord Jesus raigns, all Judgement being committed to him; the donation and dispensation of all things is [Page 711] now in his hand: he hath now a double ground of be­stowing of gifts: one is from common bounty, and the other is from peculiar mercy; the one by right of providence, and the other by right of promise, un­to the one as servants, unto the other as sons; the one as their portion in this life, and the other but as added unto the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, Matth. 6.32.

Secondly, as Talents wherein our diligence and faithfulness is to be exercised, both in imploying and in improving; for there is no Talent but its given to trade withall, and being employed it will be encreased, for men do gain by trading; they are as the bread that Christ fed the Disciples with, it multiplyes in the break­ing; and as the widdows oyl, it encreaseth in the spend­ing: for all that a man hath received here, it is in refe­rence unto trading, whether it be grace or gifts: for all is given that a man might imploy it, and by imploying it, improve it.

Secondly, Ratione personae, as they are data in salu­tem propriam, and commendata in salutem & aedificati­onem aliorum.

First, some there are that are heirs of salvation, Heb. 1.14. and all the dealings of God do tend to prepare them for that great end, but to qualifie them for their inheritance, being they are as yet but in their nonage, that they may be made meet inheritors, &c. [...], Col. 1.12. there is a spiritual preparation by which the soul is fitted for so great mercies as the Lord doth in­tend in reference to eternity, to bestow upon man: and so the Saints have an interest in the soveraignty of God over all things in the providential, in reference unto the spiritual Kingdom; that as the Lord Jesus [Page 712] Christ hath undertaken the government of it in order unto this end, Eph. 1. ult. and therefore all things work together for good, Rom 8.28. the word is [...], all things (that is) omnis creatura, omnes even­tus [...], shall work together, that is, not of themselves, but by a gracious concurrence or co-operation of God with them; and Ministers are said to be, [...], workers together with God, 2 Cor. 6.1. by a gracious concurrence of the principal cause together with the instrument; for instrumentum agit dispositive in virtute principalis agentis. Others do refer working together unto the creatures themselves, that is not apart, they may not seem so, but by a blessed disposition and a sweet com­bination and concatenation, they do work together for good; the Greek word is, [...], that is, ad aeternam salutem; for sine summo bono nil bonum: There is no­thing good to him that is without the chief good, there is nothing good but that which is in order to the chief good; the Ordinances of God are good, and they are therefore good, because they are Ordinances that God hath appointed for so good an end as to fit us to enjoy the chief good, Heb. 6.7. The ground that drinks in the rain that it may bear fruit meet for him that dr [...]sseth it, and so receive a blessing from God; and so Paul, &c. is yours, 1 Cor. 3.22. that is, given for your sakes, and with a special tendency to your good; and so also it is true of providences, there shall be delive­rance, Isa. 35.7,8. The parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water; that which had nothing but barrenness, now shall become fruitful; and that which was no way profitable but hurtful for men, a habitation of Dragons, that shall now bear grass for the use of man; for the Lord will make a way for their [Page 713] return into their own Land, and it shall be a way of ho­liness, that is, via sanctitatis & sanctificata; for a way in which they that are holy shall walk, and a way that shall tend to make them to become more holy. Joel 3.17. Then shall Jerusalem be holy, and no strangers shall pass through her any more; their deliverance shall come upon their holiness; and Dan. 11. ult. when Daniels people shall be delivered by the overthrow of the Turkish Empire; for that great Empire shall fall by the hands of the Jews in the glorious Land; and it is the coming together of bones, Ezek. 37.7. the noyse and the shaking that is spoken of, is tidings out of the North and the East; and there he shall come to an end, and none shall help him; and whereas Canaan was not called the holy Land, nor Jerusalem the holy City, after the death of Christ, yet until this time it was called so, ver. 41. the glorious or the pleasant Land: but now it should be a mercy bestowed upon a holy people, and it should be sanctified to make them holy, and now it is called the glorious holy Mountain; and so its said of Jehosaphat, 2 Chron 17.3,4,6. His Kingdom was established, they all brought him presents, he had silver and gold, and he walked in the wayes of David his Father.

Secondly, there are some things that are given un­to men, but it is for the good of others, & such as tend not unto their own salvation at all; So some men shall be raised and exalted, not for their own sakes, Isa. 44.28. Cyrus is my Shepherd, saith the Lord; he shall perform all my pleasure; I will hold his right hand and subdue Nations before him; I will loose the loyns of Kings, break the gates of brass in pieces, and cut asunder the bars of Iron, give him the treasures of darkness, and the hid­den riches of secret places, for Jacob my servants sake, [Page 714] and for Israel my elect, Isa. 45.1,3,4,7,14. There is au­thority given also for the sake of others, as many times power and success is given for the sake of others, and yet they that are in power, &c. themselves have no good by it, he hath not known me, saith the Lord. So there is many a man makes riches his glory, that his house is increased, but it is not for his own sake, but the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just, Prov. 13.22. He that by usury and unjust gain increaseth his substance, he shall gather it for him that will pity the poor: Prov. 28.8. And a man may say of such Bees in all their gatherings, Sic vos non vobis, its not for your selves, but it is for the good of others that all this is done: and indeed all good things that ungodly men do receive, it is not for their own good, as it is not for their own sake; it is for the Saints sake, and it is by their Cove­nant, and therefore Luther saith, omnia conservantur propter verbum & sanctum semen: Deus non curat Politi­am & Oeconomiam nisi propter Ecclesiam.

It is true that there are many that receive great mer­cies, great deliverances, but its not for their own good, but for their hurt. Eccles. 5.5. Biches are for the hurt of the owner: and so it is also of honours and victories, which are mercies in the things, but not to the men: as Cyprian saith of the Sacrament, Petro [...]emedium, Iudae venenum: so it is of all blessings, unto one in per­niciem, unto the other in salutem, to the good of others which he himself had no good by.

Doctrine 2.

The gifts bestowed by God, and the talents that are committed, they are committed, they are not given unto all in the same measure, but according to different [Page 715] measures: some have much, and some have little: some have two Talents, and some have five Talents: and here are two things to be considered.

First, He doth not give in the fame measure unto all persons: it is true, that there is no servant that is without his talent to trade with: for the Lord doth not expect to reap where he hath not sown, or to gather where he hath not strawed: but yet he doth not sow alike plentifully everywhere, and that neither of grace, nor of gifts, nor of opportunity. First, Not of grace, Ephes. 4.7. Unto every one of us given accord­ing to the measure of the gift of Christ, but not to every one according to the same measure: and he gives grace unto us by measure: imperfectionem quandam necessa­rio importat, tum partium tum graduum: if we under­stand it of [...] gifts, so no one man receives all gifts: and if we understand it of grace, though the Saints have all grace in the habit, yet there is but a measure, and it is not in fulness and perfection, as Christ is said to receive the spirit without measure: John 3.34. Non significat infinitatem: for it is in the humane nature, which is not capable of infinite per­fection: but the meaning is, he had it without measure, in opposition unto our measure: that is, he had all gifts and graces in him, and he had them all in their perfection, and in the highest degree that ever was communicable to a created nature: Bodius. Bodius in loc. All have not the same measure of grace: nay the Saints that have grace, they have not the same mea­sure of all grace: but as in sin there are some peculiar corruptions in the body of sin, so there are some peculi­ar graces, & as it were proper excellencies; for though all grace grows in the growth of any one that is re­generate, [Page 716] yet there are some graces that do grow in a man more then others, according as the Lord is pleased to act them and to draw them forth; as in Abraham his faith, and Iosephs chastity, in Iob patience, and in Iohn Love; graces that they were eminent for.

Secondly, All have not the same Gifts, but God hath appointed unto every one a measure of faith; Rom. 12.3. And it is not put for the grace of faith, but for the gift of Knowledge of the doctrine of faith; and 1 Cor. 1.7. There are some that are [...], men that come behind others in gifts, and there are some that do excel others in Knowledge, in parts; they do prophesie, but in Part; but yet some have a greater part of knowledge then others have; I speak with tongues more then you all, saith Paul, 1 Cor. 7.7. There is an [...], as God gives to every man his proper gift, some after this manner, and some after that.

Thirdly, All have not the same opportunities; op­portunity is the spring-time both of gifts and graces: Phil. 4.10,11. Ye were willing, but ye wanted oppor­tunity: but now you care, [...], Reviviscere, it is to wax green again: it is true it was winter, and your care did not appear, nor your love to me, because ye had not opportunity; but now opportunity coming is as the sun waiting upon your graces; now they do grow green again. 1 Cor. 6.9. A great door and ef­fectual is opened to me. Ostium pro occasione & opportu­nitate, if given, a man may enter and make a progress, which if missed, the door is shut, and there is no en­trance for that man, he can do nothing: the people of God have this promise, Rev. 3.8. I will set before [Page 717] thee an open door, and no man shall shut it: if at any time the Lord do open a door, and give his people any opportunity, Satan and the adversaries do endeavour all they can to shut it; yet the people of God many times by their own folly, by their unobservancy com­monly shut their own doors upon themselves: the Saints have two doors which they should especially look upon: one is Hos. 2.15. a door of hope, and the other is a door of service: and if the one be shut, truly there is no great ground to expect that the other should be opened; shut the door of service, and in a great measure the door of hope must needs be shut; but all men have not the same doors opened unto them: some have much more then others have.

Fourthly, All have not the same success, and yet they may have as great gifts and graces, and may take as great pains, yet success is proportioned to neither of these; Paul plants, and Apollo waters, but it is God that gives the increase. 2 Cor. 10.13. We do not saith the Apostle, boast of things without our measure, but according to the measure of the rule: re­gula est donum dei, the rule is, that every man shall thrive and prosper in his work according to the bles­sing of God upon, and concurrence of grace with his labours; mensura personae secundum mensuram Re­gulae: for it is this blessing and concurrence that is the rule of our success in all our labours: and so Paul had this measure, even unto them in preaching the Gospel, and all the great things that by his ministery the Lord had wrought among them, but it was according to the measure of this rule abundantly: the Lord Jesus in his labours complains, I have laboured in vain: The word is [...], it signifies to labour with weariness, [Page 718] it is toyling labour, it is hard, sore, exceeding, ex­tream labour; it answers the word in the Greek [...], sore labour, and it was spending [...] humidum Radicale, a mans natural moisture, and yet it was in vain, the success answers not the labour; the Disciples did convert more souls by their Ministery, when they were sent forth to preach the Gospel to all Nations, then the Lord Jesus Christ did in the days of his flesh, as he was the Minister of Circumcision; not that they laboured more, and with more faith, ful­ness and integrity, but yet he had not the same suc­cess: as wicked men have the same wicked spirits that other wicked men have, and take the same pains in their wickedness, but yet they have not always the same success in their wickedness; as we see, loose the four Angels which are bound by the River Euphrates, [...]ev 9.14 the divided Empire of Rome, &c. First for the West it was possessed by ten Kings who made one body with the Beast, or Antichrist with them made up the Beast; and the Eastern Empire was invaded by the Saracens and Turks, and they seized upon a great part of it, but yet could go no further then the River Euphrates: there was yet Asia the less and all Greece still re­maining under the power of the Roman Emperours with Constantinople their royal city. Now the Turks hovered about for the space of two hundred years in four Colonies or Armies at Iconium, also Aleppo, Da­mascus, all bordering upon Euphrates: but now they are loosened, and they make an inrode upon this part of the Empire also; not that they had not a will and endeavoured it before, but they were bound: but now the Lord doth give success unto their en­deavours for the execution of that remaining ven­geance: [Page 719] now they are said to be loosed, and now this part of the Empire is also immediatly over-run by them.

Secondly, As it is true of Persons, so it is of Ages also; they are not measured unto all ages al [...]ke, but unto some much, and unto some little.

As first of light. All ages do not enjoy the same light; they do not see the days of the son of man; Kings and righteous men have desired to see the days that you see, and have not seen them, and to hear the things that you hear, yet have not heard them: Plus uno die vident pueri quam per totius vitae tempora philosophi. Gerhard in his Chronology speaks of Infoelix seculum exhaustum ho­minibus ingenio & doctrina claris; Gerhard. there are dark times, and there are times also when the light of the Moon is as the light of the Sun, and the light of the Sun sevenfold: Esay 30.26. One age hath much, and ano­ther age hath little.

Secondly, They have not the same deliverances: for three hundred years she travelled under cruel persecution under the power of the Red Dragon, but at last the Church brought forth a man-childe, who was exalted upon the throne of God, as the fruit of all their travels, all their prayers, and as the price of all their blood, principem à quo libertatem & exemplum fidei mundus accepit. Sulpic.

There is a time when the Lord doth lift up the rod of the oppressour, and there is a time when he doth break their yoke from off the neck; there is a time when the enemies do plough upon the backs of the people, and make long their furrows; and there is a time also when God doth cut their harness, and they are able to plough no longer; there is a time when God gives [Page 720] his people to be troden down as [...] in the streets, and there is a time when no stranger shall any more pass over it; there shall be no more a grieving thorn, or a pricking bryer; there shall be none to hurt or destroy in my holy Mountain, &c. there is a time when God doth bend Ju­dab for him, and when he doth raise the worm Jacob to thresh the Mountains, &c and the Lord delivers the land out of the mouths of the Enemies, &c.

Doctrine 3.

Whether men have received little or much, it is all in reference to an account: there is a time when the King will take an account of his servants: for he will come to reckon with them, Mat. 18.23. There is not a ta­lent that the Lord bestows, but it is in reference to this account; all mercies received must surely be counted for: every one of us must give an account of himself unto God; and there are not only personal, but there are national accounts: he that is Judge of all the world, he is the Judge of all Nations, Isa. 5.3. Iudge I pray you between me and my vineyard: he that re­fers unto men to judge, he will be the Judge himself also, and he will surely judge them with righteous judgement. For,

First, All their mercies are recorded by him: they may forget them, but he records them: what is a great part of the Scriptures, but the records of God? Chronicles of his several mercies and deliverances that he hath bestowed upon his people in succeeding ages, Micah 6.5. Remember from Shittim to Gilgal: it was the place of their Transgression when they com­mitted abominations with the daughters of Moab, and sa­crificed unto Baal Peor, did eat the offering of the dead: [Page 721] and Gilgal was the first place that they set their foot upon in the Land of Canaan, when the Lord rolled away from them the reproach of Egypt, from whence it had its name: and in the very places the Lord wrote in their names the memorials of his mercies, that the very names of the places might be a witness of his mercies to them, in memoriam, and in testimonium; Jehovah jireth, Gilgal, Berachah, &c. as you record your victories by the names of Dunbar, and the name of Worcester, &c. the 78. Psalm is nothing else but the Lords records in which he hath written the memorial of that continued Tract of mercies which he gave unto them: and the Lord wrote the memory of their mercies in the months, Exod. 12.2. This month shall be unto you the beginning of months; the Lord changed the beginning of their years in the remembrance of his mercy. Ver. 14. This day shall be unto you for a memori­al. How should the third of September be for a memo­rial unto you? &c. though the Canon of the Scri­pture be consigned, and the Lord will write this story by an infallible spirit no more to remain upon records amongst men: yet they are all of them recorded before him, as the Law is written in the hearts of the people of God, not with paper and Ink, but by the spirit of the living God; so doth the Lord record his mercies which he doth multiply upon his people, not with pen and Ink, but by the spirit of the living God, in the heart of God for ever: as its said of the sins of men, Deut. 31.34. Is it not laid up in store with me, and sealed up amongst my Treasures? they are laid up amongst the treasures of God: so God hath treasures of mercy also, as well as of sins by him, &c.

Secondly, they are numbered by him, as the Mi­racles [Page 722] of Christ in the daies of his flesh were number­ed, as its said, this was the first Miracle that he did, and this was the second Miracle that Jesus did after he came out of Judea into Galilee: So also the Miracles that Christ did work in glory are all numbered; as the Lord numbers the several degrees of his enemies downfal, in seven Seales, seven Trumpets, and seven Vials; so he doth number also the several degrees of his peoples de­liverances; and 2 Numb. 14.22. he doth number their sins answerable unto the number of his mercies; they have seen my Miracles in Egypt, and in the wilder­ness, and they have provoked and tempted me now these ten times: it is true that the mercies God bestows on us are a multitude of mercies, and it is as easie for us to number the stars as it is to count them all; but though we cannot do it, yet God can do it, and he doth it, who can tell the number of the stars, and call them all by their names, Psal. 71.15. David saith, that he would shew forth the salvations of God all the day long, for I know not the number of them, &c. and we must consi­der God hath his set number of mercies for a people; if they abuse them and walk unworthy of them, he will not shew mercy for ever, he will not draw forth his loving kindness from generation to generation: Cessat de­scensus si in perpetuum ascensus cessat; as Belishazers Kingdom was numbered, the Lord wrote a memorial for him, so he will write a memorial upon some mercies, as the number of sins is finished, as Antichrist hath his Numbers, the number of the beast is the number of a man, &c. and mercies may have their number also: even your mercies: the Lord may say, Now your pro­sperity is numbered, your deliverances & victories are numbered, I will deliver you no more, as our Lord Christ [Page 723] after his satisfaction is said to finish transgression, and make an end of sin: so men by their transgressions may finish and make an end of mercy also, it may come to its full number. Now why doth the Lord in this man­ner record and number the mercies he hath bestowed upon a people? surely it is in reference unto a Judge­ment: he will call them to an account for the place where he set them, on a fruitful hill; the wall he made about them of protection, the wine-press of Ordinan­ces that he set up in them, and the overthrow of their enemies that he wrought for them.

Thirdly, the abuse of mercies is by God imputed to men, and punished by him: wo to Ariel: Ariel was either the Altar of God where the sacrifices were of­fered, or the Lyon of God, quod vicinas Gentes subju­gasset: and yet there is a woe unto them: Have I been a Wilderness to you, or a Land of darkness? and what ini­quity have your Fathers found in me? therefore I will be a Lyon unto Ephraim, and as a Leopard I will observe them. And what are these but ultimi judicii praeindicium? for now the reasons of Gods Judgements are secret, and no soul sees them, but the Lord will make it appear in the day [...]; the day of Revelation of his righte­ous Judgement, and all the Nations of the world shall see that it is not without cause all that the Lord hath done: therefore particular Judgements are resem­blances of the general Judgement; its said, the Sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, Rev. 6.12,13,14. There was a great earth-quake, and the Sun became black as a sack-cloth of hair, &c. which some have misapplyed unto the day of Judgement, because of the resemblance in the description of it: but it hath a great resemblance because it was all in reference to [Page 724] it; therefore all the mercies that people do receive, they are in reference to an account.

Doctrine 4.

Fourthly, answerable unto mens receits, so shall their account be; they that have received much, shall ac­count for much: and they that have received little, shall but for a little; he that hath received five talents must look to reckon for five: and he that hath received but two, shall count for no more; it is some kind of com­fort unto them that have received but a few talents, that they count but for a few; as he did comfort his friends that had but one eye, he should count but for the sins of one eye; and it is a comfort unto godly men many times, who have little of the things here below, that their account for them shall be less then many another mans; and it is a great ground of fear and ter­rour unto them who have received much from God; surely great will their account be; some shall account for an hundred talents, and others but for few: indeed much mercy is sweet in the receit, but it is sad in the account; and yet thus it must be upon a double ground.

First, because all the mercies of God are given un­to eternal ends, and therefore they shall all of them be brought forth and accounted for in the eternal Judge­ment; its true that the Lord hath some temporal acts that he doth in time, but he hath no temporalends; they are all of them eternal: and all that men do, all their actions also are in reference unto eternal ends; there­fore they shall all be brought forth at the eternal judge­ment; so shall all that the Lord doth also, and though [Page 725] the frame of this world shall stand but for a season, yet the Lord will have an eternal glory thereby, when all the creatures shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption, into the glorious liberty of the sons of God; so though there be great variety of mercies given to the children of men, yet the glory that God shall have by them shall be everlasting glory: as it is in our acts of sin, though it be but for a season, yet the misery will be everlasting: so though Gods acts to the creature in this life be but temporal, yet the glory of them will be everlasting; there is not any one of these temporal mercies that you enjoy, but the Lord doth them to eternal ends, and therefore he will reap by them eter­nal glory; and therefore some make that the mean­ing of that place, Eccles. 3.14. What ever the Lord doth, he doth for ever; ab imutabilitate; men can change none of the works that they do; indeed men may do works in one age, which the next age may destroy and pluck down; but men cannot do so of the worksof God: what he doth, there is no man can add to it, or take from it. For the ends of all Gods works they have all of them reference to eternity: he doth them all for an eternal end, which shall remain; when the work is destroyed, yet it shall attain its end, and shall redound unto his eternal glory.

Secondly, because all the Judgements of God shall be righteous Judgements; now, righteousness doth con­sist in a proportion; therefore it shall be exactly an­swerable unto mens sins which they have committed; and to the mercies which they have received; it must neither exceed nor fall short: there is a great deal of difference between acts of soveraignty and dominion in God when the will of God only is to be looked up­on, [Page 726] and the acts of his Justice wherein he will deal with the creature by a rule, and will plead with him in a rational way, so as he shall in the Judgements of God be his own Judge also; therefore he is said, Esa. 28.17. to lay Judgement to the line, and Righteousness to the plummet, that is, summa equitate jus reddere. Forer. Forer. Therefore the Lord will be very exact in it, in setting mens accounts in order before them; for Jesus Christ shall Judge as man; by the man Christ Iesus; and there­for it shall be done in such a way as men may be cap­able of, and may understand the reason of his proceed­ings; that so they may justifie the Lord: and there­fore the Saints are said to Iudge the world, because they shall be assessors with him when they shall hear the mercies that he hath bestowed, and how he doth re­quire of men his own again in that great day of their account.


If it be so that answerable to mens receits shall their account be; then let us consider our mercies that God hath bestowed upon us; what persons, what peo­ple can equal us in mercies? surely such will our account be without parallel; we are all for receiving mercies, at receits we are good: but who doth think of his ac­count? Go to now you rich men; weep and howl you great men; men of great gifts, men of high place, men of great interest, let me tell you, answerable unto all this will your account be; ye that pride your selves in what you have received, and never consider what will be required for all this: as it is a great Iudgement to sow much and to bring in little, so you are the most mi­serable [Page 727] men alive, to have received much and returned so little.

The same is also true of Ordinances: you that re­ceive much, Manna from heaven is rained upon you every day, consider what your returns are: the ground that drinks in the rain, that comes oft upon it, and bears briars and thorns, is nigh to cursing; surely you that keep daies of Thanksgiving now, and do not live thankful­ly, do not return to God accordingly, you will have a time when you shall curse the day of your mercies, and wish that the light of it had never dawn'd upon you.

But what is the thing that shall be required? it shall not be in the thing, but in the fruit: the mercy indeed God bestows upon us, but he expects the fruit from us, and that he will surely require of us: and more particularly he will require these four things.

First, with what hearts did you receive this mer­cy? did you receive it with a heart set upon the mercy it self, or else was your heart carried out towards the God of the mercy? Hannah received mercy in a son: I but, saith she, My heart rejoyceth in the Lord, 1 Sam. 2.1. Can any of you say, it is not the thing we rejoyce at so much as the presence of God, and the appearan­ces of God, and the return of prayers; and without this the mercy would have no sweetness in it? how were our hearts carried towards God in the receiving of it? how are they drawn out in the remembrance of it? Ordinances are nothing without the enjoyment of God in them; even heaven is nothing without the en­joyment of God there: and therefore mercies are no­thing of themselves any further then the soul savours God in the mercies: as he said, Give me mercies O [Page 728] Lord, but give me thy self in them; give deliverances, but give me thy self in them: To love the gift more then the giver, it is an adulterous affection: the Lord hates it, Zach. 11.5. Blessed be the Lord, for I am rich: and so many may say, I wish there were none such amongst you, that say, blessed be the Lord, for I am preserved, we are delivered, and say that in an hypocri­tical and formal way: men may bless God whose spi­rits are not at all drawn out to God: and to rejoyce in a mercy from God, and not in the God of the mercy, is to rejoyce in a thing of nought; creatures without God are vanity, and mercies without God are a lye; so it is with the soul that is filled with the blessing, but not with the Lord; and as the heart should be fil­led with the love of God, so also it should be filled with the fear of God. Hos. 3.5. They shall fear the Lord and his goodness. There are no dispensations of God more aweful to a gracious heart, then the disco­veries of goodness: how shall I be ever able to answer this goodness of God, sayes a gracious heart? as the neere [...] the Lord comes to any in waies of grace, the more the fear of God is exalted in their souls: I am undone because my eyes have seen the Lord of Hosts: so the more God draws neer unto a man or a people in the wayes of mercy, how dreadful is it to the soul! it rejoyceth with trembling; but men usually being delive­red from the fear of their enemies, they are deprived of the fear of their Redeemer; its a sad Judgement when mercy hardens mens hearts from the fear of God.

This is all that the Lord requires, Deut. 10.12. What doth the Lord thy God require of thee but to fear the Lord thy God? &c. Surely the Lord that looks with [Page 729] what heart we receive our punishments, and therefore he requires that men should accept the punishment; he doth also look with what hearts men do accept their mercies, their deliverances; and in our services that we perform to God, we should eye with what hearts God receives them, Mal. 2.13. That he receives it not with good will at their hands; We should also be sure that God looks into our hearts to see how we accept his mercies; mea non placent nisi mecum, tua non sati­ant, domine, nisi tecum. Bernard.

Secondly, how they are remembred by us? They remembred not his hand, nor the day that he delivered them from their enemies, was the charge upon them. Psal. 78.42. They soon forgot his works; nihil citius se­nescit; there is nothing that obtains in our hearts an act of oblivion sooner then mercies, but they kept a yearly remembrance of it; there was an Ordinance for the remembrance of it made to that purpose in their generation, but it was not with affection and with like, it was but a formal thing. Now that is in Scri­pture said not to be known, which is not known with an affecting knowledge; and so that is said not to be remembred, which is not remembred with an answer­able affection and impression of spirit; the Lord looks what impression Ordinances leave upon us, and what impression mercies also leave upon us, and how the heart is moulded and fashioned by the one and by the other; the Apostle saies, in Heb. 2.1. That we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things we have learnt, lest we should let them slip, &c. the word is, [...], and as we are to do so in the Ordinances that we par­take in; so also we had need of the same mercies that we receive, and to remember the affections that [Page 730] were stirred up in us when we did partake of them; so it is on the other also, and if that be not done, the truths we hear are forgotten, and so are the mercies also if our memories prove leaking vessels; charta bi­bula, let the mercies be what they will, that the Lord writes upon us, yet they run abroad in us, and come to nothing, that they cannot afterward be read by us: there is a demy-appearance of mercies; as spiritual appearances of comfort, if there be barely the remem­brance of them that it was so, but be no affections stirr'd up in it, the soul is not cheared by it; so it is in the re­membrance of mercies also, only a dull [...], and no more: in regard of our own attainments, we should forget that which is behind; but in regard of the Lords mercies, we should never so press towards that which is before, that that which is behind should be for­gotten; and the least mercies should be regarded with most life; They shall say no more the Lord lives that brought his people out of Egypt, but the Lord lives that brought his people out of the North Countrey, &c. Jer. 23.7,8. Those mercies which were then called crowning mercies: I should think so too, if I could see the crown set upon the head of Christ in them, the King exalted in his glory, &c.

Thirdly, how they have been improved, and what hath been returned unto God for them, What shall I return unto the Lord? &c. Hezekiah returned not accord­ing to all that God did for him.

Let me put some questions to you, to what ends you think God hath wrought deliverance for you? First, was it that the Truths of God might be corrupted? In Ierusalem there shall be deliverance and holiness: and is the first step to holiness the subversion of Truth? [Page 731] it remains as a brand upon their Tayls for ever, Rev. 9.7,10. Their faces were as the faces of men, and they were locusts; they conquered wheresoever they came, but they had a sting in their tails; they corrupted Religion wheresoever they came, and is the way to holiness to corrupt truth? that cuts up holiness by the root: shall it be said, this is the Army that conquered all enemies, but generally poysoned the people whom they con­quered? and shall it be said in this age, men asserted the liberties of men, but corrupted the truths of God? shall we contend for every thing but truth? and this is a Truth, there are fundamentals in Religion: let scorners say, what are fundamentals? let me say, how long halt you between two opinions? &c.

Secondly, were you delivered that your brethren might be oppressed, that some few men might share Nations between them? I looked for Iudgement and be­hold a cry; I, and its a cry that will enter into the ears of the Lord of Sabboth, every man is for gain from his quar­ter: and no man abates of his own private interest, whatever he can stretch forth his hand unto he takes, let the people be opprest, yea authority over-awed, rather then we be retrenched, we groan under the peo­ples oppressions, and yet we are the greatest oppres­sors, let all opposition be removed, that so none but we may oppress.

Thirdly, to trample the Ministery under your feet, and to remove that standing Ordinance, to pluck the stars out of the right hand of Christ; but yet they will be preserved notwithstanding all opposition: and take the Jesuites counsel Contzen, begin with them first, that there may be none able to maintain any thing in the [Page 732] Religion which we oppose, & error cui patrocinium deerit sine pugnâ concidet.

Fourthly, was it that the Ordinances of God might be by every one prophaned, and to turn liberty unto Libertinism, a free liberty to make Arminians, Socini­ans? &c. and all manner of abominations, and they must not be restrained, no nor discountenanced, though the Apostle will not allow a man to shew that common humanity to them that he would do to a Heathen: Receive them not into your house, because they bring not this truth; is there nothing men have to dally with but the truths of Christ? is there nothing to be turned into wantonness but the grace of God? it is the word of his grace; were we delivered to commit all these abominati­ons? &c.

I beseech you, nay, charge you, to beware of these things: else first your mercies will be witnesses against you, and let me tell you, then the witness of mercies and of conscience, there are not any more dreadful, but him who hath said, I will be a swift witness, &c.

Secondly, your deliverance is then not in mercy, but in wrath; mens pleasures may become plagues, and their liberty their destruction.

Thirdly, if you forsake God, then your deliveran­ces will be your ruine, Josh. 24.20. if you depart from him after he hath done you good, he will turn and do you hurt; but consider the Lord doth make glorious pro­mises to his people, Jerusalem shall be a quiet habitation, &c. and the glorious Lord will be unto us a place of broad Rivers, Esa. 33.21. Rivers, first for fruitfulness, Deut. 10.7. a fruitful land, a land of Rivers, &c. Secondly, defence, Amos 3.8. Whose rampant was the Sea, and [Page 733] whose wall was from the Sea. Thirdly, for plenty, Esa. 23.3. The harvest of the River is her revenue, and this is a Mart of Nations, &c. And whereas Siloah was a little River, what they wanted in the creature should be supplyed in God, he would be a place of broad Ri­vers to them. But Rivers may give access to enemies, as well as do good to the inhabitants; there were but two sorts of ships, some for burthens, and some for war: but no galley with oars, or ships for war should pass; but the supplies from God shall be without any inconvenience, they shall receive good from God without evil, &c.

Fourthly, consider how mercies shall be avenged, there is no provocations like unto them of sons and daughters, because there are none that are so much against mercy; and those mercies that are not returned in thankfulness and obedience, wil surely be required in punishment: in rewards the Lord doth not return unto men according to their services, but he doth reward men in the [...] of mercy, Hos. 10.12. but punishments shall be answerable to abused mercy, and that either here or hereafter: there is no people so highly the people of his curse as those that have been the people of his mercies, and those to whom he hath shewn most love: you have I known of all the Nations of the earth, &c. therefore you will I punish, Amos 3.3. and its mercy and light that will be the great aggravations of mens sins hereafter; the Lord doth come to ask fruit here in waies of grace, but he will exact hereafter in waies of Justice, for he will not lose any of his mer­cies; but if he hath them not returned here in way of thankfulness, he will hereafter in a way of torment, [Page 734] as mens mercies have been, so shall their torments be; the greater vessels of mercy men have been in this life, the greater and the larger vessels of wrath they shall be in the life to come, for mercy here doth but inlarge the heart for wrath hereafter.

The upright Heart, AND Its DARLING Sin.

PSALM 18.23.

I was also upright before him, and kept my self from mine iniquity.

DAvid now being grown old, his enemies being subdued, the promise that God made to him fulfilled, and the King­dom settled upon his head, and he was not only delivered from the danger of the hand of Saul, but also from the fear of the house of Saul▪ he cannot let the remembrance of such a mercy pass without a song of praises (though for particular deliverances he made particular songs be­fore) [Page 736] that God might have praise is his end in bestow­ing mercy, and it should be our end in desiring mercy; and they are our greatest assurance of enjoying of mercies, when Gods enlarging of his hand is also a means of enlarging of our hearts, for he doth expect no other sacrifice but the calves of our lips: Here are four or five things that David here takes notice of.

First, he sets forth the greatness of the danger that he was in, the sorrows of death compassed me round about, &c.

Secondly, the glory of the deliverance, and that was as an answer unto prayer.

Thirdly, the fruit of it; and to be unfruitful un­der mercies is the greatest barrenness, for they drop fat­ness, and not only the fruit of the lips, words in labris nata; but it must be from inward and hearty affecti­ons, e sulco pectoris: God expects special fruit under mercies, or under crosses, and if he comes to find fruit upon a figg-tree dunged, he will be much displeased if he find none: Now the fruit of the mercy is three­fold.

First, the love of God is enlarged and inflamed, the more mercy a gracious heart receives, the more abun­dant he is in love to God, for our love to God is but by reflexion, we love God; because he loved us first: and the more the soul tasts of Gods love in a mercy, the more it doth draw forth in him love to God again; much was forgiven her, therefore she loved much: so much is given to a Saint by God, therefore he loves God much.

Secondly, his confidence in God is enlarged; the Lord is my rock and my fortress, my deliverer; and when I [Page 737] call upon him, I shall be saved from mine enemies, the Lord is the God of salvations, and to him belong the issues from death, and this God I have an interest in, he is mine by Covenant, and he is by my experience all this to me.

Thirdly, he is by this quickned and encouraged un­to prayer, therefore I will call upon the Lord, and I will pray to him in all dangers, and my cry shall come before him, it shall enter into his ears, &c. The proper fruit of mercy indeed, is the inflaming of a mans love to God, and the strengthening of a mans faith, and his encou­ragement and the inlarging of a mans heart in prayer.

Fourthly, he sets down the grounds of all these mercies.

First, Gods free-grace [...] because it was Gods good pleasure, and from this fountain do issue all Gods mercies to the Saints, as Christ resolves it, Mat. 11.25. Even so Father, for so was thy good pleasure; nay the greatest blessings that ever were bestowed upon a crea­ture, and the highest advancement that the creature was capable of, the union of the humane nature with the God-head, to be ex nullo merito sed gratis.

Secondly, in the person to whom the mercy is be­stowed, for as God stands in a peculiar Covenant-re­lation to his people, so he hath a peculiar providence over them, Job 29.4. The secret of the Lord is upon their Tabernacle, and according to their integrity the Lord will appear for them, and own them in trouble: God is with his people at all times, but he is nearest to them in the worst times. And here there was first, Justitia causae; the Lord hath undertaken the cause of the oppres­sed, [Page 738] and the relief of the innocent. Now they charged me with treacherie, with a design to kill the King, and to take the Kingdom as a man that raised sedition, and civil wars in the Nation, the Lord knows, in this my integrity, according to the uprightness of my heart, and the cleanness of my hands hath he recompenced me. Se­condly, Justitia personae, a legal righteousness there cannot be, so there is none righteous, no not one; but there is that which in Gods account goes for righte­ousness evangelical, and that is sincerity and truth in the inward parts, God delights in the works of his own spirit, and in rewarding the graces that he himself hath wrought in a man; Qui tribuit ut benefacerem, secundum puritatem factorum retribuit mihi. August. Aust. in loc. Now he shews wherein this sincerity doth appear in these three things.

First, I have not departed from God wickedly; that is, with a purpose and resolution of heart to continue in a way of sinning, and that is the property of sincerity; a man indeed may be over-taken and surprized by a temptation, but it is not with a resolution to forsake God, and to cleave unto the sin, or rest in it, he will not sleep in it, spare it or favour it; that is, to do wic­kedly against God, to have a double heart, and a double eye: to look upon two objects, partly at God, and partly at sin; so to keep God, as to keep some sin also, as it is with all false hearted men in the world, they look not upon god alone, let them pretend to Reli­gion never so much, yet they look not unto God alone but upon something else together with God; as Herod he regarded John, but regarded his Herodias more; and the young man in the Gospel, comes to Christ, yet he looks after his estate; and Iudas followed Christ, [Page 739] yet looks after the bag, this is to depart wickedly from the Lord.

Secondly, all his Iudgements were before me: a sin­cere and an upright heart hath a respect to all the Com­mandments; as its said of David, Acts 13.22. A man after Gods own heart, he must fulfil all his wills; not on­ly easie duty, but difficult duty; not only those that are in fashion, but those that are out of fashion, and are discountenanced amongst men; in the least as well as in the greatest; for the whole Law is written in the heart; and his obedience thereunto is universal, Rom. 6.17. And the more of Gods authority there is in the Law, the deeper impression it hath upon the spirit.

Thirdly, I was also upright before him, and I kept me from mine iniquity. A sincere heart hath the most seri­ous resolutions, the most unfeigned detestations, and therefore the greatest and the most diligent watchings against his own iniquity, that sin to which his nature is most prone, and wherein he is most apt (and hath com­monly been) to be ensnared.

In the words are two things. First Davids profes­sion of his sincerity. Secondly, his testification of it.

First, I was upright [...] perfect, there is a two-fold perfection; First a legal perfection, which is a perfect conformity in nature, and in life to the Law of God; such as was in Adam in the state of his innocency, and this the Papists contend to be attainable even in this life; but here, Who can say my heart is clean? or I am purged from my sin? therefore surely this was not the perfection David here speaks of, for his fail­ings were known and confessed by himself, and [Page 740] remain upon record, known and read of all men.

Secondly, there is an evangelical perfection, a per­fection according to the tenour of the second Cove­nant, and this is two-fold.

First, in a mans Justification, and so a man is perfe­fectly justified that is in Christ; for, we are made the righteousness of God in him, 2 Cor. 5.22. So we are said to be compleat in Christ, and by his blood to have no more conscience of sin. So the Church is said to be all fair, and to have no spot in her; and so, by one offering the Lord hath for ever perfected them that be sanctified; Heb. 10.14.

Secondly, a perfection of Sanctification, and this is perfect in the parts of it, that is, 1 Thes. 5.23. when a man is sanctified throughout; that is, in every part, though he be not perfectly sanctified in any part; perfect holiness is the aim of the Saints upon earth, though it be only the reward of the Saints in heaven; and here God accepts of the will for the deed, and looks upon the things that they aim at as already at­tained, for his end; in their predestination was their con­formity to the image of his son, Rom. 8.29. And accord­ing to that end, the Lord looks upon them as Christ shall present them, without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; so that they that are perfect, First, in the per­fection of their holiness. Secondly, in their aims. Thirdly, it shall at last end in perfection, When that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away, and they shall be the souls of just men made perfect, Heb. 12. And it is this last that is the perfecti­on God ascribes to his people; to Noah, Gen. 6.9. to Abraham, Gen. 17.2. Job 1.1. there is a perfection with men, as Paul saith he was, Phil. 3. Concerning [Page 741] the righteousness of the Law blameless; but though I know nothing by my self, yet I am not thereby justi­fied; for the eyes of the Lord they are pure eyes, and he looks not as man looks; men look upon the appear­ance, but God looks upon the heart. There are three expressions of this in the Scripture. First, to walk with God, as its said of Enoch, Gen. 5.22. and Noah, Gen. 6.9. Secondly, Abraham, Gen. 17.2. God says, Walk before me; the word is, [...] in the sight and pre­sence of God, having alwaies a respect unto his all­seeing eye. Thirdly, there is a walking after God, Numb. 14.24. Caleb walked after God: and to follow the Lamb wheresoever he goes; that is, in reference un­to the precepts of God, the providences of God, and the pattern and example of God, and these three ex­pressions set forth a choice perfection. First, in all a mans waies to have an eye to Gods presence. Second­ly, to see God going before him in his precepts, and his providence, and example, to be imitators of him. Thirdly, to walk with him; that is, in all these to en­joy Communion with him, and to approve a mans heart unto him, as David doth here, I was upright before him.

Hence observe: First, that a godly man may have his heart upright and perfect, even in the imperfect on of his waies.

Secondly, a man that is sincere is in Gods account a perfect man: sincerity is the truth of all grace, the highest pitch that is to be attained here.

Thirdly, sinceerity of heart gives a man boldness, even in the presence of God, notwithstanding many failings. The Lord doth charge the Angels with folly, Iob 4.18. how much more man that dwells in a house of clay? [Page 742] David whose faith had failed, and he said, I shall one day perish by the hand of Saul; and his tongue had faltered also to Abimilech the Priest; three or four several lies he had told, yet David can say to God, that he was per­fect with him, for all that; it is a strange boldness that the Saints have in the presence of God, by vertue of the New Covenant, all their sins shall be laid open at the last day as a canceld bond, that they wonder how they shall look upon them and not blush, but the same spirit of son-ship that shall give them perfect boldness then, doth give them boldness in a great measure, be­gins in this life; that they shall be able to say, Neither height nor depth, &c. Nothing shall separate us from the love of Christ.

Now for the testification of it, how did he prove this perfection? Why by this, I have kept my self from mine iniquity; the word in the Hebrew, [...] some interpreters do refer unto his enemies that he had ma­ny corrupt affections that were ready to break forth, and in all this time he had very great temptations, but yet his care had been to keep them under, that they got not the power over him; sometimes his unbelief did arise, and he was full of despairing thoughts: to see that all men were lyers, and the promise of God would fail them: sometimes the revenge of his spirit did arise, that he had motions to avenge himself with his own hand, and sometimes the impatience of his spirit in reference unto the mercy promised, that he could not stay Gods time, but to have used indirect means to accomplish it: but he did watch against all these, and did not suffer them to carry him headlong, &c. But there are some Interpreters that commonly refer itun to someproper and peculiar evil, and way of [Page 743] sinning that David had respect unto here, which the Fathers commonly call peccatum in delitiis, a mans special darling, and beloved sin; and what ever that was, David testified his uprightness by it, that his care was to keep himself from it.

[Keep himself] who made man his own Keeper? its the Lord that is his Keeper: He is the Keeper of Is­rael, and the preserver of man; if a man cannot keep him­self from sorrow, how is he able to keep himself from sin? God indeed in our first conversion works upon us as he did upon the earth or Adams body in Para­dise, before he breathed a soul into it, and made it a living creature; such a power as Christ put forth up­on Lazarus in his grave; for we are dead in trespasses and sins; but yet being living, he must walk and act of himself, the Lord will have us to co-operate together with him, for we are built upon Christ, not as dead, but as living stones, 1 Pet. 2.5. The grace whereby we are made alive is his, and the power is his, he it is that works in us both to will and to do: when we perform any thing, and yet by his grace we do it also: ille facit ut nos faciamus, quae praecepit. August.

So we are said to cleanse our selves, 2 Cor. 7.1. and to purge our selves, 2 Tim. 2.21. and to keep our selves, 1 Joh. 5.19. he keeps himself that the wicked one touch­eth him not, &c. Grace is the new creature a new nature: & therefore hath sympathy and antipathy answerable thereunto, to desire the things that make for it, and to rise up against the things that are against it, as all other natures in the world have a principle to seek their own preservation.


Hence the Doctrine is, Even the best and dearest of Gods people have some sins that they are more prone to then others; which may be called their own ini­quity.

Secondly, that the main power of grace is seen and exercised in a mans preservation from these.

Thirdly, that for a man by the power of grace to be active against these, is a special testification of an upright heart.

Here first, we are to enquire what is a mans own iniquity?

Secondly, what is it for a man to keep himself from it.

Thirdly, how and in what respects is this a sign of a sincere and a perfect heart?

Fourthly, apply it?

First, what is a mans own iniquity? Here consider, in every man by nature sin doth reign, and a man is in just judgement given up unto the power of it; quod venditur, transit in potestatem ementis: but the reign of sin is double, virtual and actual; virtual, so every sin doth reign, for it is original sin, the Law in the members that is properly the King, and in preparation as the Kingdom of sin shall require; sometimes it requires a man to commit this sin, and then another, and many times makes men commit those sins that before they abhorred and started at the thought of, as we see it in Hazael.

But the actual reign of sin, is commonly of some particular master-lust, which is as the vice-roy over all [Page 745] the rest of the sins in the soul, and commands them all as Lord paramount, and makes them all subservient and subordinate unto it, and this is according to custom, calling, constitution, abilities, relations, and according to the different administrations of the spirit of God; for though God be not the Author of sin, yet he is the Orderer of sin. So that, it is that way of sin and death that a man choseth to himself, he having looked abroad upon all the contentments of the world, his own corrupt inclination doth chose unto himself to follow with greatest sweetness and content­ment, and delight, as that wherein the happiness of his life consists; that as in the body there is in every one some predominant humor; So there is in the body of sin also; That as in the natural man, though there be all the faculties, yet some faculties are in some more lively and vigorous then in others, some are more witty, some are more strong, some quick of sight, some have a ready ear, and others a nimble tongue, &c. So it is in the old man also, there is all the power of sin in an unregenerate man, but in some more dexterous one way then another; as men in the choice of cal­ling, some have a greater inclination to one thing then to another, so it is in the choice of contentments also: as in the appetite for food, so it is in lust, being nothing else but the appetite of the creature corrupted to some sinful object.

As in the regenerate man, though there be the whole new man wrought, all graces at once, yet there are some peculiar graces wherein some men excell above others; Abraham in faith; and Moses in meek­ness; Job in patience; Joseph in chastity; David in height of spiritual affections; Solomon in wisdom; and [Page 746] in zeal Hezokiah: and therefore we shall in Scripture read it after, that there was none before him, nor none such shall arise after him; it is to be understood in re­ference unto their peculiar graces, wherein they did excell, as their proper excellency; so it is in the old man, there be peculiar corruptions, the whole body of sin is in every man, but yet some sins are more predo­minant in some men more then others, as Jeroboam for idolatry, and Herod his uncleanness, Baalam his ambi­tion, Cam his envy, Corah his gain-saying, and Esau his prophaness, Ismael was a scoffer, and Judas his cove­teousness, the young man in the Gospel was a world­ling, &c. and this is the sin that a man may truly and properly call his own; and though the raigning power of this sin be broken in a mans conversion, yet there are the remainders of corruption that Satan will assault a man again withall, and varnish it so over, that the man shall fall in love with it; and as Tertullian saith of an apple which is rotten on the one side, men may not be drawn to like it when that is discoverd, yet if it looks well on the other side, a man may be induced by that fair appearance to taste it, &c. And Satan will think to enter at the same door, and by the same Dalilah that he formerly prevailed with, he will try to prevail again; and the former pleasure of the sin will offer it self to a man, so that even to a godly man it will be a hard thing to keep himself from this iniquity.

Secondly, what is it for a man to keep himself from his iniquity? I shall a little open this to you in six par­ticulars.

First, he takes care to keep the evil of that sin al­waies in his eye, and to keep himself lo [...] in this consi­deration, that he hath been guilty of it in times past: [Page 747] as we see, Pauls darling lust was persecution in the daies of his unregeneracy, and he never lets that go out of his mind, to humble him, 1 Tim. 1.15. I was a persecu­tor, and I was an avenger: and when the blood of thy Mar­tyr Stephen was shed, I was consenting unto his death, and kept the cloaths of them that slew him, &c. And last of all, Christ was seen of me, as of one born out of due time, not worthy to be called an Apostle, the least of Saints, the greatest of sinners, I persecuted the Church of God; what sins soever he left out in his confession, he never for­gets that from day to day.

Secondly, there is no sin that the heart of man is more perfectly set against: ind eed as a godly mans op­position unto sin is universal, as well as his obedience unto God, there will be a hatred of every false way; but yet he hates that sin most, and breaks out against it with the greatest detestation, by which God hath been most dishonoured, and whereby his conscience hath been most inslaved in times past, Hos. 14.8. They shall say, what have I to do any more with Idols? they did for­merly think their choicest gold scarce good enough to frame their Idols of, but now they think no place bad enough to cast them upon, Esa. 2.20. and 30.22. To the moles and to the bats, and they shall cast them away as a menstrous cloath, and say unto them, Get you hence, &c.

Thirdly, he is in this above all other sins most jea­lous of his heart; he fears it in respect of every occa­sion, and opportunity, and temptation. Peter, his evil was frowardness and self confidence; there was no sin that after Peters fall he was further from, Joh. 21.21. Lord thou knowst I love thee; no more comparisons now, &c. So Austin being often insnared in unclean­ness [Page 748] in his younger time, he was most careful to avoid all occasions of it afterwards, &c.

Fourthly, this sin he prayes most against; and if it be a Devil, thats the way to cast it out, and usually it will not go out any other way, he doth it by fasting and prayer, and calls in the assistance of Christ and his Al­mighty power for his preservation.

Fifthly, he turns the edge of the threatning against this sin; for the same method that the spirit of God doth use, that doth the soul also use, for sin will die by no other sword, Dan. 4.27. Nebuchadnezars sin had been cruelty and oppression, now he would have him break it off, by shewing mercy to the poor, as before he had made many poor: Iohn Baptist that preached to Herod, who heard him gladly, yet he sticks at his Herodias: & Paul being to preach to Felix, a corrupt and a lasci­vious Judge, he doth it of righteousness, and tempe­rance, and judgement to come; and John met with their peculiar sin, which was selfishness in the people, extor­tion in the publican, and violence and rapine in the souldiers; and Christ to the woman of Canaan, Go call thy husband, Ioh. 14.16. And to the young man, One thing thou lackest, go sell all that thou hast; so, a man that knows the corruption that oftnest leads him cap­tive, he sets the edge of the word against it.

Sixthly he doth endeavour to grow up in the con­trary grace, and strengthens it by all means; as we see Zacheus his sin was worldliness and defrauding, now he grew in restitution and liberality; the sin of the Jaylor was cruelty, now he grows up in courtesie; and Paul was a persecutor, but now a preacher: he thinks he can never do enough to advance and exalt that which before he did labour to his utmost endea­vour [Page 749] to destroy, I laboured more abundantly then they all.

Thirdly, How doth this prove a sincere heart?

First, This doth shew a man to be truly affected with Gods dishonour; there is no way of evil wherein he hath so much dishonoured God as in this; now look­ing upon sin, as a wrong unto God, that wherein he hath dishonoured God most with, that he is affected most with.

Secondly, This is a sin that he hath found the pow­er of Satan most in, and his own weakness most un­able to resist, and therefore against this sin he sets himself with the greatest earnestness, this his sin did lie at his door in the guilt of it, Gen. 4.7. which is a miserable thing, talem habere Janitorem. This he did in the guilt of it, most fear, and therefore this in the power and dominion of it he doth most hate, which he doth shew a holy revenge against.

Thirdly, This shews the truth of a mans self-deni­al, and his hatred against sin: there be some members in the body of sin, that a man can be content to have them pared when they grow troublesom excrements, or prejudice him in his reputation or advance in the world: but now for a man willingly to cut off a right hand, and pluck out a right eye, when a man comes to that once, that he will not spare his darling, he may be sure he hates sin indeed.

Fourthly, This shews forth the sincerity of a mans love to God: for Christ saith he that loves Father or Mo­ther more then me, House or Land, that will not part with these when God shall call for them, he is not worthy of me; now if a man part with what is deerest, then his love to Christ is in truth; Abrahams love to God [Page 750] appeared in this, that he did not spare Isaac; so we should do as a token that Gods infinite love com­manded us to part with it; as he spared not his son, so shall we commend our love to God in this also, to part with that morsel that we have tasted the greatest sweetness in.


Try the uprightness and sincerity of your hearts by this: can you say that you have kept you from your own iniquity? many men profess Religion, and may go far in a form of Godliness, and yet still their hearts run on after their former darlings. Job 20.11,12,13. A sin that many a man carries with him to his grave, and a man lies down in his grave with his bones full of a sin, that hath been bred and grown up with a man from his youth.

But how should a man know what that sin is?

First, It may be that which you may count a small sin, and that which may lie in lawful things; the yong mans darling was covetousness, and the thorny ground, their lusts ran out in a lawful way, Mat. 13 22. A mans individual love to a wife, to a child, &c. may draws a mans love from God, and ruin him, &c.

Secondly, this sin may be so far snibbed and pruned by the word, that for a long time it may not appear, Heb. 12.15. A root of bitterness, yet it may lie hid as a root in the ground a long time, and a man may cast it out at last, and afterward he may return unto his vomit.

Thirdly, A mans darling may change with the change of a mans condition, and some occasion that [Page 751] may present it self; what was Sauls and Jehues Sin before they came unto the Crown we know not; but surely it was that wherein their lust did afterward run out, the establishing of the Kingdom upon their posterity: wantonness may be the darling of a mans youth, and worldliness the darling of his age, and a mans being raised unto honour, and having the op­portunities that he had not in times past, the lust may run in another channel, he having now such an oppor­tunity that before he never expected.

How may a man know what it is?

First, It is that where a mans treasure is, Mat. 6.21. there a mans heart is. Now all things do taste best at the fountain, and grapes at the wine-press: Now a mans thoughts are the immediate issues of the soul; let me ask thee where are thy thoughts in the midst of thy imployments? thou art impatient till thou have leasure to take up thy mind wholly with thy treasure; and as Sampson, when thou returnest unto thy self, thy retreats unto thy Dalilah.

Secondly, What sin is most sweet to thee, and brings thee in most delight and pleasure? Iob 20.11. It is sweeter to a man then any thing else, all other sins have not that sweetness that this one sin hath: it is the meat that his soul lives upon from day to day, Psal. 11.3. Wicked mens dainties.

Thirdly, this sin a man favours most, and hides most, he cannot endure to have it crost, as we see in Haman, Hest. 5.13. being crost in his ambition, if his darling be not pleased, all other things will do a man no good; and Herod also, he will part with any thing, till it comes to his Herodias: this is a sweet morsel, he [Page 752] hid it under his tongue: cannot endure to hear it repro­ved, &c.

Fourthly, this sin makes all the rest of a mans lusts serviceable unto it; indeed men in their unregenerate state do serve divers lusts and pleasures, but all other lusts are subject and subordinate to this one.

Fifthly, if God have had any dealing with thy soul, any treaties by his spirit in common works, what kept thee off from Christ? what was the remora that thou couldst not come? it was Iudas covetousness, and Herods un­cleanness, and the young mans worldliness, after many heating motions, and they cool again, that man is in an ill condition, Ezek. 7.19. The stumbling block of their iniquity, Luke 8.13. There is a [...], an op­portunity of temptation when such fall away.

Sixthly, what sin is it interrupts thee most in holy duties? for when all other lusts are kept out, Satan will be sure to set these darling sins on to speak for him, and the corrupt part within a man will joyn with him that these may have audience, and when a subservient lust may not then be entertained, the darling may, Ezek. 31.33. Ioh. 13.27,30. after Christ had been upon the Mount, Satan tries their Communion by that, how their master-lust will take with them.

Try your hearts, how you stand affected unto this from day to day, and so judge of the truth of your re­pentance and mortification, and the measure of it by the subduing of your master-sin, for there is not a grea­ter sign of an unsound heart, then for a man to reserve and delight in a master sin, and that root of bitterness will in time spring up, and thou shalt again be defiled; and thou wilt afterwards return with the dog to his vo­mit, [Page 753] and it will be as a secret curse from God to thy soul, and this sin being only kept under for some time, it will as a dam to the water rise the higher, and as fire covered, break forth with the greater violence, and make way for seven worse spirits, and so thy latter end will be worse then the beginning.

I should now have enlarged these motives, to stir you up to take heed of this sin; as,

First, this sin will be the ground of thy Apostacy; the stumbling block of thy iniquity.

Secondly, this sin God will in Judgement give thee up to: restraining grace is a mercy: now for a man to have his lust let out, for a man to be as wicked as he will, to be let alone in sin, is a great Judgement, &c.

Thirdly, this will be thy torment for ever, Rev. 1.8. so much pleasure as she hath had, so much torment give her; the worm of conscience shal be in the gnawing of this sin above all others, &c.

I should also have shewed you, that these darling sins are either personal, or national, or Church sins: and I should have given you instances of each of these: as First, for personal stubborness in Pharoah, gain-saying in Corah, envy in Saul, churlishness in Nabal, ambition in Absolom, intemperance in Felix, &c. Secondly, National; Curiosity in the Athenians, Acts 17.21. and cruelty in the Babalonians, robberie in the Caldeans, &c. Thirdly, Church sins, Idolatry was found in Is­rael, having those amongst them, that teach false Do­ctrine of Balaam; and the Nicolaitans in the Church of Smyrna; suffering the woman Jezebel to deceive and se­duce my servants, in the Church of Thyatira; having a name to live in the Church of Sardis; being luke-warm in the Church of Laodicea; and abusing Church-power [Page 754] to the persecution of the Saints in the Church of Rome; no man may buy or sell that hath not the mark of the beast, and there is sellingof the souls of men, and making merchandize of them, &c.

First, personal sins. I should now have proved that there are such sins. Secondly, how a man should know what it is in him that is his Darling sin. Thirdly, that this sin above all other sins is to be denyed. But I cannot more enlarge; The Lord give you the spirit of wisdom and understanding. Let us look to God for a Bles­sing.

An Alphabetical Table of the Principal Heads and Matter in these preceding Ser­mons.

  • Acts of God that he exer­ciseth, are of two sorts, p. 235
  • Adam, man was in him two waies p. 343
  • Afflictions prevent sin p. 180
  • Afflictions are for instruction, ibid
  • Afflictions are for sanctification, p. 181
  • Agreement between God and Man is twofold p. 340
  • All Israel, a double sense of it, p 272
  • All Things are the Saints See after page 163. in p. 146
  • Angel applyed to Church-Officers, p. 686
  • Angels differ in office p 49, 71
  • Angels additional glory shall be made out to them ibid
  • Angels, why impeccant p. 148
  • Angels that never fell, what they have by Christ.
  • Anger of God is two-fold, p. 176
  • Antichrist, a three-fold discovery of him p. 75
  • Antichrist, the fruit and consequen­ces that will follow upon his de­struction p. 86
  • Antichrist riseth in a double Beast, p. [...]78
  • Army hath three things to make it orderly p. 93
  • Authority threefold, erected by Christ p. 3 [...]3
  • Babylon the great is fallen p. 70
  • Babylon, who speaks it? ib.
  • Babylon, why so called? p. 74
  • Babylon, how is it said, it is fallen, p. 75
  • Babylon shall certainly fall p. 76
  • Babylons causes of destruction, p. 77
  • Babylons destruction shall be double p. 81
  • Babylons destruction is matter of Triumph to the Saints p. 84
  • Babylons consequences of her de­struction p. 86
  • Babylons ruine, how to improve it, p. 87
  • Barrenness perpetual, why inflicted for the neglect of the Gospel, p. 19
  • Barrenness spiritual, are of three sorts p. 20
  • Barrenness perpetual, why God gives men over to it p. 23
  • Barrenness hath three several steps and degrees p. 25
  • Battle bow, what it is p. 393
  • Beast that the woman rides upon, what is it p. 73
  • Beast hath three names given to it, ibid.
  • Beast full of eyes, what it notes, p. 570
  • Beasts, the four what they set forth p. ibid.
  • Blessed in the end: That a man may be so, directions for it p. 225
  • Bondage: see Covenant.
  • Candlesticks golden, how Christ is said to walk amongst them, p. 697
  • Calling of the Jews. See Jews.
  • Capernaums exprobation p. 311
  • Capernaums exaltation p. 312
  • Cases two, in which God gives his people early assurance p. 603
  • Christ hath a double reference to us, p. 143
  • Christ, how he hath freed us from the Law p 344
  • Christ is God the Fathers servant, p. 638
  • Christ in him, there are two things that should mainly take up our studies p. 637
  • Christ, how he came to be a ser­vant p. 640
  • Christ had in him instrumental fit­ness for his Fathers ends p. 642
  • Christ hath a double Title p. 677
  • Christ, though in heaven yet he is still in office p. 682
  • Christ, why he singles out the seven Churches of Asia to write unto, p. 684
  • Christs care of the Churches Offi­cers p 686
  • Christs care, what is the act of it, and what is noted from it, p. 688, 689
  • Christs care of the Members, p. 693
  • [Page]Christians duty. See Perfection.
  • Church, her power and glory in time to come shall be visible p. 2
  • Church, her perfection stands in two things p 91
  • Church, her order consists in three things p. 92
  • Church-officers are of two sorts p 95
  • Church hath three things in it dif­ferenced by the Lord p. 110
  • Churches (All) accepted of officers, p. 115
  • Church without officers a true Church p 116
  • Church compleat with officers, ibid.
  • Church-authority is spiritual p. 1 [...]3
  • Church-power for spiritual ends, p. 124
  • Church comforted with assurance of deliverance p. 466
  • Church, her glorious condition af­ter deliverance p. 467
  • Church, why called a Candlestick, p. 693
  • Church, why instituted p. 694
  • Church, why called a golden-Candlestick p 695
  • Church hath a double foundation, p. 696
  • City, what is meant by it p. 5
  • Cleansing, men have great need of it p. 434
  • Cleansing, rules to know a man comes nearer the perfection of it, p. 437
  • Cleansing, the Motives to it, p. 440
  • Communion with God keeps up [...]n the soul such qualifications as make afflictions easie 150
  • Communion is the first fruit of frui­tion p 163
  • Consenus the Jesuites advice p. 53
  • Consolations provided for Gods people answerable to their affli­ctions p. 558
  • Consolations of David, or of the Psalmist, what are they p. 559
  • Converse. See Heedlesness.
  • Covenant twofold, with a twofold head p. 142
  • Covenant hath a double property, ibid.
  • Covenant made with mankind, p. 338
  • Covenant the second, to judge whe­ther we be under it or no p. 348
  • Covenant, he that is under the first, how he is in bondage p. 349
  • Covenant, what is spoken to them that are under the first p. 551
  • Covenants two in the Galat. what is meant by them p. 336, 337
  • Covenants two, made with two se­veral heads p 340
  • Covenants under which men are, God deals with them indifferent­ly p. 45
  • Courage twofold p 618
  • Corner shall come out of him, what is that, p. 391. See Magi­strates.
  • Crown, commonly belongs to the Saints p. 48
  • Crowns peculiar belong to some Saints ibid.
  • Curse twofold upon the creature, [Page] in reference to Man p. 528
  • Curse hath two things in it, p. 215
  • Curse threefold upon the creature, to all unregenerate men p. 546
  • Davids temptations and afflictions, p. 134
  • David had three things discovered to him of unregenerate men, p. 135
  • David was taught something of his own people p. 136
  • Day of Trouble. See Trouble.
  • Daies five, great in Scripture, p. 167
  • Day, none such like it p. 170
  • Death of the Saints hath something that is peculiar to them in it, p. 215
  • Deaths consequences p. 217
  • Decree, why so called p. 455
  • Deliverance, how to know it when it is near p. 185
  • Deliverance, to what ends did God work it p. 730
  • Desertion is an act of Justice, p. 237
  • Desires of most men, two things in it. p. 187
  • Destruction, how men bring it upon themselves p. 205
  • Destruction, how dangerous to Na­tions ibid.
  • Discoveries, there are different of the excellency of Christs per­son to the Saints p. 575
  • Dishonour, how to God p. 204
  • Dispensations present, compared with the rules of the word, p. 183
  • Devil draws men from Christ two waies p. 52
  • Devil, how he is gratified p. 204
  • Dominion is twofold. See p. 148. follow p. 163
  • Draw near to God, in evil times is good p. 137
  • Draw near, what is it, ibid.
  • Draw near, why is it good p 146
  • Draw near to God, how to be im­proved p. 152
  • Draw near to God, how we should, p. 154
  • Duties difficult in Religion. See Officers, People. p. 56
  • Die, when Godly men die, they are to be lamented p. 221
  • Die, the death of the righteous, Considerations of it, Page 224. See wisemen.
  • Election. See Pastors.
  • Ends 4. principal appointed Christ to accomplish p. 642
  • Ends additional accomplished by Christ p. 646
  • Ends of God, what are they on the world at present p. 679
  • Estrangement of sinners. See Sin­ners.
  • Evangelists appointed by the Apostles to set up Officers p 115
  • [Page]Evil twofold that befell the crea­ture. See p. 148. follow p. 163
  • Exactors, what it is p. 394
  • Ezekiel, some light into his 8. last Chapters p. 3
  • Faith and hope differ. See p. 152. follow p. 163
  • Faith, its acts p. 184
  • Faith must be striven for p. 189. or else dangerous ibid.
  • Faith hath several acts p. 485
  • Fast, why Christ did so p. 590
  • Fat waxed, it hath a double signifi­cation p. 520
  • Fearlesness of Judgement. p. 153
  • Fellowship hath peculiar times, p. 157
  • Fit for service, what will make a man p. 652
  • Fitness instrumental, a great honour to God p. 651
  • Forsake God, he that doth it shall be forsaken of him p. 234
  • To Forsake God, what is it p. 248
  • Forsake God, how men do so. See p. 247. follow p. 248
  • Forsaken, the grounds of it are diffe­rent p. 243
  • Forsaken of God, what is it p. 258
  • Forsaken by God, the misery it brings p. 265
  • Foundation double p. 228
  • Fruitfulness is an Argument of Christs delighting in a man, p. 21
  • Fruits of mercy. See Mer [...]
  • Fulness of sin p. 153
  • Galleries wherein Gods people walk are two p. 145
  • Gifts of the spirit are of two sorts, p. 41
  • Gifts that Christ bestows, he hath a double ground for it p. 711
  • Gifts are not bestowed upon all persons in the same measure, p. 714
  • Gifts are not measured unto all ages alike p. 719
  • Gifts, God will reckon with men for them p. 706
  • Glory additional, shall be made out to the Angels p. 49
  • Godly mans description p. 209
  • Godly men die not as others do, p. 211
  • Godliness, its duties are of two sorts, p. 589
  • Goodness of God, the evil in not re­turning according to it p. 2 [...]9
  • Goodness of God. Take notice of it, p. 649.
  • Gospel neglected, whe punished with perpetual Barrenness p. 19
  • Gospel wherever sent, it is with a threefold reference p. 310
  • Gospel Ordinances set up in purity and honour to the meanest, p. 314
  • Gospel, how to walk towards it, p. [...]27
  • [Page]Government civil is lawful p. 114
  • Government, how to make it to pro­sper p. 602
  • Government doth stand upon a double Covenant p. 624
  • Government of Angels, by them Gods people have a double bene­fit p. 660
  • Grace of God, what is meant by it, p. [...]92
  • Grace of God, to turn it into wan­tonness, what is it p. 194
  • Grace of God direct: to take heed of turning it into wanton­ness p 203
  • Grace only is truly wisdom p. 495
  • Grace, the excellency of it wherein it lies p. 504
  • Grace, Tryals for it, p. 510
  • Grace, how to attain it, p. 511
  • Grace was the foundation, even of the merit of Christ himself, p. 709
  • Graces excell in some more then in others p. 745
  • Greatness of spirit that is holy, wher­in it lies p. 59
  • Growth of grace in some respects as necessary as truth of Grace, p. 46
  • Habitation of his holiness, what is meant by it p. 363
  • Hand, Gods right hand, what it notes p. 640
  • Hear, take heed how, and what p. 295
  • Heaven hath not in it four things, p. 6
  • Heedlesness in conversing with God, a provoking evil p. 302
  • Heedlesness constant, a certain sign of a corrupt heart p. 305
  • Heedlesness, directions against it, ib.
  • Hell, what makes it p. 381
  • Hells torment hath in it two things, p. 528
  • Hiding place for Gods people is twofold p. 219
  • Holy, how a man should know it, p. 49
  • Holiness, what is it p. 33
  • Holiness is twofold ibid.
  • Holiness the only way to happiness, p. 38
  • Holiness, quoad principium, is called regeneration, p. 39
  • Holiness, quoad incrementum, is called sanctification p. 44
  • Holiness, quoad exercitium, is called Obedience p. 47
  • Holiness weighs the best p. 224
  • Holiness, the Motives to it p. 422
  • Holiness, the perfection of it con­sists in three things p. 425
  • Hope is conversant about things to come. See p. 152. follows p. 163
  • Iacob put for all the Tribes p. 165
  • Idols, take heed of them p. 483
  • [Page]Jehu's service p. 289
  • Jehu's heart not right with God, p. 291
  • Jehue's censure p. 293
  • Jealousie of God hath a double fruit p. 703
  • Jesurun, the word opened p. 518 519
  • Iesurun waxed fat p. 520
  • Iews, National conversion p. 274
  • Iews, God hath not cast them off, p. 268
  • Iews shall be ingrafted again, ibid.
  • Iews shall be converted by sight, p. 277
  • Iews, calling the manner of it, p. 280
  • Iews, calling the time of it p. 281
  • Iews, when converted, what shall be amongst them p. 282
  • Iews conversion, the grounds for it. See p. 283. follows p. 288
  • Iews conversion, the use of it. See p. 282. follows p. 288
  • Iews objections concerning them answered. See p. 278. follows g. 288
  • Iews sacrifices of two sorts, p. 358
  • Inheritance of the Saints. See 145 follows p. 163
  • Iniquity our own, how to keep from it p. 159
  • Iniquity a mans own, what is it p. 744
  • Iniquity our own, what is it for a man to keep himself from it, p. 746
  • Interest in Christ, rules to know it, p. 348
  • Ioy in Scripture is twofold p. 65
  • Iudgements, what they are upon men unfruitful under Ordinances, p. 11
  • Iudgement hath a set time. See Na­tion.
  • Judgement determined in the time of it, is set forth by divers expres­sions p. 544
  • Iudgement, the means that did formerly prevail in the time of it, doth not now prevail, p. 455
  • Iudgements, their manner how exe­cuted in an ordinary way, p. 13
  • Iudgements, none like spiritual, p. 15
  • Iudgements of God are an evidence of reprobation, and an earnest of condemnation p. 17, 18
  • Iudgements upon Babylon. p. 82
  • Iudgements, the use of them, p. 235
  • Iudgements, signs fore-going, p. 458
  • Iudgements beginning, a token that the time of Judgement dravvs near p. 361
  • Keep close to God in evil times [...] good p. [...]
  • Keep thy heart upon what g [...]ou [...] p. [...]
  • [Page]To Keep a mans self from their ini­quities, that attend high places, p. 605
  • Keep thine own house, rules for it, p. 607
  • Keep thine own Vineyard; Consi­derations to quicken p. 614
  • Keep close to the word, Considera­tions unto it p. 634
  • Keepers of the Vineyard, have a more peculiar charge of their own Vineyard p. 598
  • Keepers of other Vineyards, many times neglect their own p. 609
  • Kickt, notes two things p. 521
  • Kingdom providential p. 658
  • Kingdom of God committed to the Mediator, is two fold ibid.
  • Kingdom of Christ in this world is made up of two parts p. 686
  • Knowledge, God will reckon with men for it p. 706
  • Law. See Christ.
  • Loss of godly men is to be consider­ed p. 221
  • Loss of righteous men is to be laid to heart p. 227
  • Love electing aimes at a twofold end p. 141
  • Love of Christ to the Saints is two­fold p. 157
  • Lusts, some acts are more then others p. 158
  • Madness hath in it two things, p. 481
  • Magistrate made choice of by the people p. 114
  • Magistrates, why called the Corner-stone p. 392
  • Magistrates good, are as a Cor­ner-stone to a Common-wealth, p. 397
  • Magistrates business is, to uphold a Common-wealth ibid.
  • Magistrates, how said to be the Corner-stone p. 399
  • Magistrates care and duty to rule well ibid.
  • Magistrates bear a double Image, p. 405, 602
  • Magistrates hands must be first in union p. 409
  • Magistrates, what manner of men they must be that are fit for this work p. 416
  • Magistrates in their Government are to have respect to the word, p. 623
  • Magistrates opposing truth never prosper p. 627
  • Man natural, if considered as fallen, hath reason to be awaken­ed p. 354
  • Man natural awakened, is to seek the change of his Covenant, p. 347, 352
  • Mark of the Beast is twofold, p. 474
  • [Page]Marish and mirie places, what is meant p. 9
  • Marish places, and men unfruitful under Ordinances resembled, ibid.
  • Marriage hath a double end, p. 21
  • Members duties towards their Pa­stors p. 105
  • Members have a threefold power, p. 119
  • Members are not to intrench upon the officers power p. 120
  • Mercy National, hath six things ob­servable p. 64
  • Mercy for Gods people. See Peo­ple,
  • Mercy, in it every godly man is to look at two things p. 514
  • Mercy discovers six waies, by which men are the worse p. 532
  • Mercy,
    • the fruit of it p. 535
    • — It is threefold p. 736
  • Mercy, the grounds of it, p. 737
  • Mercies are of two sorts p. 523
  • Mercies, the reason why they make men the worse p. 527
  • Mercies, the use of them, p. 531
  • Mercies, how to know they make men the better p. 538
  • Mercies are sweet in the re­ceipt, but sad in the account, p. 724
  • Mercies, for receiving them, what is the thing that will be required, p. 727
  • Ministers, how its possible to re­concile them p. 413
  • Ministers have a threefold refe­rence p. 443
  • Ministers are servants of the Na­tion p. 444
  • Ministers are Prophets of the Na­tion p. 446
  • Ministers and people, the causes of mixture in all ages, p. 475
  • Mixtures in Religion, what they should teach us p. 480
  • Mixtures humane are of three sorts p. 485
  • Mixitures, the means God uses to take them away, and the motives to believe it p. 489
  • Motto,
    • for a Christian p. 603
    • — a souldier p. 665
  • Mould, two things in it p. 291
  • Mysterie, what it is p. 268
  • Nayl shall come forth out of him, p. 393
  • Nayl hath in it a twofold Analogy, ibid.
  • Name, one p. 469
  • Nation that is sinful, hath a set time of Judgement appointed unto it, p. 449
  • Obedience in some sense as necessa­ry to salvation, as faith p. 47
  • Obligation of God to man is two­fold p. 339
  • Officers duty p. 111
  • Officers and offices appointed by Christ ibid.
  • Officers appointed by the Holy-Ghost, ibid. Wherein he doth two things p. 111
  • Officers set by the Apostles, accord­ing to Christs Institution, p. 115
  • Officers set up by the Evangelists ac­cording to the Apostles appoint­ment ibid.
  • Officers accepted of by the Chur­ches ibid.
  • Officers appointed for several ends, p. 116
  • Officers, the glory of a Church, ibid.
  • Officers have an office p. 118
  • Officers power, threefold p. 119
  • Officers, if they had not power, what would follow ibid.
  • Officers are the Churches servants, p. 120
  • Officers have the management of the Churches affairs p. 121
  • Officers must account for the souls of their people p. 125
  • Officers will give a different account at the last day p. 128
  • Officers in a Church, what manner of men they ought to be p. 130
  • Officers chosen without gifts, will prove miserable to the Church, p. 132
  • Oppression, what it is p. 394
  • Ordinances of worship shall con­tinue, till the worlds end p. 7
  • Ordinances, all manner shall be in Gods City p. 8
  • Ordinances that have men unfruitful under them, resembled to Marish places, p. 9. [...]ee their Judgement in p. 11.
  • Ordinances, the purest have some given up under them to perpetual Barrenness p. 12
  • Ordinances must be pure p. 155
  • Ordinances, some objectjons a­gainst them answered, p. 325
  • Ordinances, how to walk towards them p. 327
  • Ordinances, what to do for them, p. 329
  • Parables of the Virgins p. 40
  • Pastors office, what is it p. 94
  • Pastors election, the priviledge of the people p. 95
  • Pastors duties, which they owe to their people p. 97
  • [Page]Pastors duty in point of teaching, p. 98
  • Pastors are to pray for their people, p. 99
  • Pastors, how they must watch over their people p. 100
  • Pastors dispositions p. 102
  • Peoples duty p. 111
  • People of God have a double right to mercy. See p. 155. follows p. 63
  • People of God, why they are not spared p. 172
  • People, Gods own dearest brought into streights ibid.
  • People have many causes in them of mixture p. 478
  • People are freed from mixture, when God returns p. 479
  • People, Gods own dearest in dan­ger, to become the worse for mercies p. 523
  • Perfection, in striving to it, here is the Christians duty p. 4 [...]4
  • Perfection of purification consists in three things p. 426
  • Perfection, in striving after it, it is not in vain p. 431
  • Perfection is twofold p. 739
  • Perfection Evangelical, according to the tenor of the second Cove­nant is twofold p. 740
  • Perfection, how David proves it, p. 742
  • Perfection that the Church should undergo is threefold p. 377
  • Peter Martyrs remarkable observa­tion p. 488
  • Power, all of three sorts p. 62
  • Praises are to be returned for mer­cy p. 69
  • Prayer, how abundant to be in it, p. 89
  • Praeterition an act of soveraignty, p. 235
  • Presence of Christ ( [...]hat there is) with his Church p. 572
  • Presence of Christ, the ends of it, p. 586
  • Presence of Christ, here compared with his presence in glory, p. 698
  • Presence of Christ, what appli­cation to make of it p. 701
  • Principles, God looks upon before the actions p. 43
  • Principles that Godliness laies in the soul p. 449
  • Promises, three great, the Saints have under all their afflictions, p. 700
  • Promises are,
    • Objects of faith p. 485
    • Grounds of hope ibid.
    • Rules of prayer ibid.
  • Projects of Providence p. 667
  • Prophesies are to be eyed by the peo­ple of God p. [...]
  • Prophesies in Ezekiel concerning the Church, unto what time to be referred p. 3
  • Prophets have 4 sins incident speci­ally to them p. 476
  • Providence, over all the Saints in especial, See p. 159. follows, p. 163
  • [Page]Providence, her actings very myste­rious p. 665
  • Providence, in all the actings of it, submit to the will and wisdom of God, or else mark the conse­quences p. 672
  • Purification, wherefore to strive after the perfection of it, p. 428
  • Purity perfect, objections concern­ing it answered p. 429
  • Raised, how God is said so be, p. 365
  • Raised up, when God is, how to know it p. 372
  • Receiving little or much, it is to be accounted for, p. 720. and the Son of God himself will be the Judge ibid.
  • Receipts answerable thereunto shall mens account be p. 724
  • Receipts, what improvement to make of them p. 726
  • Reformation is twofold p. 592
  • Regeneration, in it a man receives two things p. 42, 43
  • Relations are of two sorts, p. 142
  • Religion, Luther found in it three things very difficult p. 56
  • Religion alwaies attempted to be corrupted p. 470
  • Reprobation hath three consequen­ces p. 18
  • Rest is twofold p. 550
  • Returning to God is twofold, p. 137
  • Revelation, the Book of it divided into two parts, and what it con­tains p. 567, 568
  • Revelation of Saint Iohn, when and for what end was it penned, p. 683
  • Righteous men dying, are taken from the evil to come (a special mercy) p. 319, 320
  • Rise up presently, two things causes God so to do p. 368
  • Romes destruction, matter of joy to the Saints p. 84
  • Rule of the word, what is it, p. 298
  • Saints have a double right to heaven p. 45
  • Saints, some of them are taken up into Heaven betimes, p. 47
  • Saints great work in this life, p. 63
  • Saints have three Titles given them, ibid.
  • [Page]Saints have two things terrible, of which they are afraid p. 99
  • Saints at the last day will have something that will be even mat­ter of sorrow p. 129
  • Saints and Angels why imperant in heaven p. 148
  • Saints Inheritance. See Inheri­tance
  • Saints great comfort in their straits is to see God arise for them. p. 366
  • Saints labour in their straits to awaken God 368
  • Saints comfort must needs be great from Gods arising. 369
  • Salt given to a double interpretati­on p. 12
  • Sanctification consists of two parts p. 243
  • Scripture wrested. See, Searchers
  • See God, what is it p. 34
  • See God, as he is in himself. 36
  • See God, in his Saints p. 37
  • Servants are of two sorts p. 640
  • Service acceptable to God must be heedfully done 294
  • Service who the person is that per­forms it. p. 300
  • Service introduced by sin threefold p. 641
  • Silence in the World is twofo [...]d p. 379
  • Silence of all ungodly men hath a double ground for it ibid.
  • Silence to keep it upon a fourfold account p. 380
  • Silence why to be kept p. 383
  • Sin causes a double distance p. 137
  • Sin, the Misery by it, stands in two things 347
  • Sin is filthiness p. 423
  • Sin, darling how should a man know what it is p. 750
  • Sin the reign of it is double p. 744
  • Sin darling how a man may know what it it p. 751
  • Sins darling are of three sorts p. 753
  • Sin darling motives to take heed of it p. 753
  • Sins some more peculiarly break a mans Communion p. 158
  • Sins some especially cause God to depart from his Sanctuary p. 332
  • Sins of Judah what did ripen them p. 458
  • Sins of the Prophets. See Pro­phets.
  • Sins even the best are proue more to some, then to others p. 744
  • Sinners State twofold p. 139
  • Sinners in a State of estrangement cannot pray ibid.
  • Sinners may draw near to God
  • Sincerity is Gospel-perfection p. 34
  • Sincerity. David shews wherein it appears p. 738
  • Souls, the trust of them, the greatest p. 127
  • Souls they ascend into heaven two ways p. 144
  • Spirit is double, that acts all man kind 42
  • [Page]Star, what is meant by it p. 688
  • Star, in Christs right hand what no­ted from that p. 689
  • State of Man is twofold p. 340
  • Strive for the Faith. See Faith.
  • Strive with whom p. 191
  • Subordination of Causes fourfold in Gods providential kingdom p. 658
  • Talents are not alike given to all persons in the same measure p. 714
  • Things whatever men receive from God are given to them, or Com­mitted to them. 708, 709
  • Things have four ways of Convey­ance each for other p. 708
  • Thoughts in troublesom Times come in by multitudes p. 546
  • Thoughts within more troublesom to a godly man then troubles with­out p. 548
  • Thoughts unruly in troublesom times rob the soul of its chiefest ornaments p. 553
  • Thoughts such a multitude in Da­vid, whats the [...]ause p. 554
  • Throne, what it alludes to p. 567
  • Throne of God, what it is p. 594
  • Throne, what doth Christ delight to give upon it. p. 759
  • Throne out of it proceed Judge­ments p. 581
  • Throne, to know when God is pre­sent upon it. p. 359
  • Times of doubtful expectations and disputations p. 31, 32
  • Times there are peculiar for fellow­ship p. 157
  • Times of trouble what is meant by it. p. 166
  • Time of trouble reserved for Gods own people. p. 173
  • Time twofold set unto men p. 225
  • Time there is when God seems to sleep p. 366
  • Time for Judgement set to a sinful Nation. p. 449
  • Time hath its set bounds 453
  • Time of Judgment, Old means prevail not in it p. 457
  • Time of Judgement may, and must be kown. p. 457
  • Time of Judgement against its com­ing p. 463
  • Translation must have a double Change p. 347
  • Tree of life p. 341, 342
  • Tree that is barren hath a double curse 22
  • Troubles of Gods Peoples are grea­ter by how much more their light grows p. 174
  • Troubles,
    • 1. With what mind doth God bring his people into them p. 176
    • 2 In what measure he will
    • 3. do it. p. 179
    • [Page]Fourthly, unto what ends God doth it p. 179
  • Troubles have a day, the use thereof p. 182
  • Truth is the interest that Christ hath in the world, p. 627. See Magi­strates.
  • Truth is the Mother of holiness, p. 52, 54
  • Vineyard, a man's own to neglect is a sad thing p. 611
  • Vineyards committed to keep, is two­fold p. 595
  • Vision of God is twofold p. 35
  • Ʋnion with Christ, the end of it, p. 21
  • Ʋnion, the waies of it p. 409
  • Ʋniversality, the great note of sin­cerity p. 61
  • Ʋnregenerate men (all) that are in a state of nature under the Co­venant of works p. 343
  • Voice that spake in Ignatius p. 138
  • Voice in the Revelation is twofold, p. 81, 364
  • Voice of trembling, what apprehen­sions of it. p. 164
  • Walking holily hath a double goodness in it p. 224
  • Walking
    • with God.
    • before God.
    • after God.
    Sets forth a choice perfection, p. 471
  • Wantonness, what is meant by it, p. 193
  • Wantonness in corrupt Teachers, p. 195
  • Waters issuing out of the Sanctuary, what is meant by it p. 8
  • Watchmen of two sorts p. 598
  • Waies of holiness, the best waies, p. 223
  • Wedding-garment what it is p. 40
  • Wheel in the middle of a wheel, what it notes p. 664
  • Wheels, what things spoken of them, p. 662
  • Wickedness, depths appears in Satans influences p. 199
  • Will whole of God, is the ground of prayer p. 431
  • Wills ours, how to bring them to Gods effecting will p. 677
  • Wings, what they note p. 571
  • Wisdom, what is meant by it p. 495
  • Wisdom without grace is folly p. 496
  • Wisdom, nothing is it but godliness, p. 503
  • [Page]Wisdom, is seen in a right Judgement of all things p. 500
  • Wisdom the principal thing p. 504
  • Wise-man, how he dies p. 213
  • Witnesses at the last day, three great against those that profit not by the means p. 130
  • Word of God, what compared unto in Scripture. See 152. follows 163
  • Word hath in it two sort of rules, p. 183
  • Word, keep close to it.
    • In the 1. Doctrine of it p. 626
    • In the 2. in the worship of it, p. 630
    • In the 3. practise of it p. 631
  • Word, in not keeping close to it, what consequences follow p. 630
  • Works, God the Father gave to Christ, are of two sorts, p. 681
  • Worship of God is twofold, p. 250

Some Errata are in the Printing, and some words not enough plain, which the judicious Reader will observe, and may correct as he meets them here and there: such as are;

PAg. 18. l. 23. make it [...], [...] for [...]; p. 50. l. 27. r. bitter; p. 60. l. 17. make it plain, [...], and p. 81. l. 11. [...]; p. 82. l. 8. sum­mam; p. 92. l. 10. make it plain, [...]; p. 112. l. ult. for is, r. in; p. 156. l. 27. Rediunt; p. 146. l. 2. [...]; l. 24. potestatem; p. 149. l. 11. om­nis; p. 155. l. 12. praeveniens; p. 165. l. 4. tremble; p. 171. l. 31 certam promissionem; p. 174. l. 18. persecutionem; p. 183. l. 6. finituri; p. 187. l. 7. raro; p. 200. li. 25. luce veritatis extincta; p. 216. l. 19 double; p. 22. l. 25. wish; p. 232. l. 3. plane; p. 262. l. 25. Astructive; p. 368. l. 29. proeme; p. 283. margent, r. Austin; p. 284. l. 14. blot out Secondly; p. 285. l. 13. r. Christ was not glorified; p. 329. l. 28. r. quam; p. 384. l. 14 deposeth; p. 386. l. 26. Lex; p. 393. l. 13. proportion; p. 437. l. 19. [...]; p. 467. l. 3. Hornes; p. 542. l. 1. trouble; p. 541. l. 7. Quartus; p. 574. l. 18. Cherub. p. 581. l. 13. descend; p. 677. l. 15. Spirit of Christ.

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