TVVO SERMONS PREACHED: One before the Right Honorable House of LORDS, On their Publick Fast, May 26. 1647.

THE OTHER, Before the Honorable House of COMMONS, On their Publick Fast, in Margarets Church in Westminster, Septemb. 29. 1647.

By THOMAS VALENTINE one of the Assembly of Divines, and Minister in Chalfort in the County of Bucks.

LONDON: Printed by M S. for John Rothwell at the Sun and Fountain in Pauls Church-yard. 1647.

A SERMON Preached at Westminster before the Honourable House of Commons at their Publike Fast, Septemb. 29. 1647.

REVEL. 3.18.‘I counsell thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich, and white raiment that thou mayest be cloth­ed, and that the shame of thy nakednesse appeare not, and a­noint thine eyes with eye-salve, that thou mayest see.’

THe Title of the Booke tells you, It is the Re­velation of John, and John tells you chap. 1. vers. 1. It is the Revelation of Jesus Christ, which he vouchsafed to his Servant John, when he was banished into the Ile Patmos, by the crueltie of Domitian the Emperour: Wherein all things necessary to be knowne from that time, to the end of the world are revealed. In which Booke (as in Pauls Epistles) many things, nay almost all, are hard to [Page 2] be understood. Yet that part which containes the Epistles to the seven Churches, having in it Reproofes, Admoni­tions, Exhortations, and Counsell, is more easie and plaine.

This Text is part of that Epistle which was sent to the last of the seven Churches viz. luke-warme Laodicea, the particulars charged upon this Church and the rest, are more easie to understand. The difficultie is, in determining whether these Asian Churches doe typifie other Churches, and what they are, and where they are planted. For the probabilitie of the opinion, that some were aimed at in them, divers reasons might be alleged, as this, that this Booke is not a bare Narration of things heard and seene, but a Prophecie of things that were afterward to come to passe. Others would have the state of the Church in gene­rall deciphered out, but with Reference to particular times, as Ephesus points out the purer primitive times, which did retaine their integritie, but yet the mystery of iniquitie be­gan to worke, so that there was need of caution.

Pergamus and Smirna, point at those times when Aria­nisme and Popery got up, and did domineere. Thiatira re­sembles the times, wherein the Church began to rise, and get from under the power of Antichrist; and they being in their rise, their workes are commended to bee more at last than first. Sardis and Philadelphia, set out the Chur­ches that did not rest in some beginnings of Reformation, but made better progresse. Laodicea is the last, and typifies a Church, which having escaped Babell, did rest in their Gifts, Calling, and Profession, and did judge themselves rich, whereas she was poore, blind, and miserable, and this Church was in a middle way, partly Romish, and partly Re­formed, not very good, nor extremely bad, she did adhere and cleave too much to Rome, and did please her selfe in her Pompe; therefore she is taxed, and secretly threatned to be spued out.

The Epistle to this Church begins vers. 14. wherein is the preface or inscription, containing the Person writing; [Page 3] Amen; the faithfull Witnesse, the beginning of the Creati­on of God, to the Angell of Laodicea: The matter of the Epistle is,

First, A discovery of the Sin, vers. 15.17. Thou art nei­ther cold nor hot, but luke-warme; And thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and hast need of nothing.

Secondly, The reproofe and threatning, vers. 16. Because thou sayest so, and art luke-warme, therefore I will spue thee out of my mouth.

Thirdly, The counsell given, and that is the Text which I have read.

Fourthly, There is a gracious promise made to this Church, vers. 20, 21. If any man heare my voice, and open the doore, I will come in to him, and will suppe with him, and he with me.

The forme of my Text is a Counsell.

The Matter is a Dutie which this Church is counselled unto.

First, The Dutie is to buy.

Secondly, The object of it, or what we are to buy; And that is set out three wayes.

First, What it is; And it is a three-fold Commodity.

1. Gold. 2. Raiment. 3. Eye-salve.

Secondly, What kind; And they are excellent, as ap­peares by the qualities of them. 1. Tried Gold. 2. White Raiment. 3. Good Eye-salve. This last is implyed.

Thirdly, What use; And that likewise is three-fold:

1. To inrich us. 2. To cloth us. 3. To make us see.

The Sense of the Text.

I counsell thee, &c. This manner of speech is not so fre­quent, for God doth ordinarily command, or reprove, or in­struct, or threaten, or promise, and most things in Scripture may be referred to those heads.

But this Text hath another face, and comes in another [Page 4] forme; It is a counsell or wholesome advice to this Church, which in the precedent verses, is instructed, reproved, and threatned; and here counsell is added to the former, and in it you may discerne much Love and Wise­dome; Love desiring her good, and advising her to a way that might prevent her Ruine; Wisedome likewise ap­peares, in that the Lord Jesus Christ, offering to sell these Commodities, doth not command us to buy them, nor force us to have them, but doth, as men that bring their Commo­dities to the Market, shew them, and set them forth, com­mend them, but leave it to their owne choice to buy what they please; yet if a friend come, they will advise him to buy, and give their word, and pawne their credit for the goodnesse of the Commoditie: So the Lord Christ would have you take his word for these Wares, and to goe through with the bargaine, and not want them any longer.

And that we may see reason to buy them, consider what they are, Gold, Raiment, and Eye-salve. We are by nature poore, here is gold to inrich us; and we are naked, here is raiment to clothe and cover us; we are born blind and here is eye-salve to cure us; gold for our estates, raiment for our bodies, eye-salve for the chiefe of our senses.

What pincheth more then Povertie? What shames us more then Nakednesse? What grieves us more then Blind­nesse? Here is a remedy for every of these Maladies, here is a plaister for every wound, and by the epithites given, you may perceive that here are no drugs, no counterfeit wares, but all of the best, the very best that Heaven can afford; tryed gold, pure raiment, excellent eye-salve; What more precious then tryed gold? What more glorious then white raiment? What better for a blind man then good eye-salve? But I need not set forth the goodnesse of these Wares, they will commend themselves.

Yet a word to tell you what they are, (if I can) but there is some difficultie in that.

Laodicea was a true Church, for it was planted in the Apostles times, and Paul gave charge that his Epistle to the [Page 5] Colossians should be read in the Church of the Laodiceans, and that they should reade the Epistle from Laodicea, Col. 4.16.

Therefore they had ordinances, and we cannot conceive but that they were pure, for those times did not admit of impuritie in the Ordinances of Christ: We cannot thinke they wanted Officers, for the Apostles would looke to that in all the Churches; nor can we imagine they wanted Dis­cipline and Government; a Church Constituted so early in the first day of the Gospell could not but be well erected. And in the reproofe of this Church, they are not taxed for want of these, or any of them; nay, they write to Paul (as Calvin thinks) and if there had beene such a defect in their Church, the Epistle to the Colossians would not have supply­ed that want, for it speakes nothing of Government, and he gives order it should be communicated to them.

Therefore according to the tenor and scope of the charge brought against this Church, we may safely say, that their graces and gifts, were not so good, so rich, so right, as should have beene; for their works are challenged, vers. 15. I know thy workes, and their zeale was not good, it was not hot enough: Therefore I thinke the constitution of the members of their Church was not good, they were not zea­lous, not fervent in spirit; and if that be a heat arising from many graces, or if but one, yet a defect therein proves a want and decay in others, so that their graces were not gol­den but rather copper; and Laodicea being a rich Citie, and dealing in Merchandize, they might rather looke after the materiall gold, and after pure raiment for the body, then these golden and silver graces. The Chuch in the Constituti­on of it might be good, yet the members resting in their Church-priviledges, and in the abundance of outward things, might be wanting in their graces, the doctrine of faith might be pure and sound, and yet the grace of faith might not be good and saving in them; their worship might be pure, and yet they not zealous for that God they wor­shipped. In this great house of the Church of Laodicea, [Page 6] the members, many of them, were not vessells of gold and silver, but of wood and earth. 2 Tim. 2.20. therefore they are justly reproved.

Other things might be faultie in this Church, but I name this, as being cleare, and it will make way for our better instruction.

Let us begin with some Observations; and first, you may see plainly in your view, from the beginning of the Text this to be offered.

1. Observ. That the Lord Jesus Christ, doth not al­waies command like a King, but sometimes counsells like a Friend.

We read in Ephesi. 3.10. of the manifold wisedome of God, [...] multiformis sapientia, a wisedome that hath many faces, and lookes variously; sometimes God speakes like a King, and sometimes like a Judge, and some­times like a Friend; In precepts Authoritie, in reproofes Anger, in threatnings Severitie, in counsells Love, and care of our good most appeares.

To counsell one, it is to propound something to his consi­deration that is fit for him to thinke of, and usefull for him to doe, and it supposeth some principles in a man whereby he is counselable; and there is nothing to which we are counselled, but the same things are also commanded, onely the manner is more taking, and the matter must be of im­portance, else we take it not into consideration, Prov. 22.20. Have I not written unto thee excellent things in counsells and knowledge.

To counsell us.

First, It is a rationall way, and fit to worke upon a man, and God that tryes alwaies to doe us good, takes this course to counsell us, Hos. 11.4. I have drawn thee with cords of a man, and bands of love; I have dealt with thee more human [...], for man is counselable, but so is not a beast; coge pecus, you force a beast, but man is to be perswaded; speake reason, and expresse love, and you cannot be despised or sleighted, reason cannot be gain-sayed; though the man will not con­fesse [Page 7] he is conquered by your argument, yet the understand­ing secretly must assent, and love cannot be contemned; the partie may, but love cannot; but when the Wise God shall speake reason, and manifest his love, we should not despise his counsell: Nay, many joyne together in this coonsell, so the word imports, [...] to counsell with others, [...], consilium quod aliqui simul ineunt, God counsells you, his Spirit counsells you, his Messengers counsell you, and your owne Consciences counsell you. For as [...] is a knowing together, so [...] is conselling together; di­vers sit in counsell together about the good of man; and hereby it appeares how we should esteeme of the kindnesse of God; the word is Mat. 12.14. [...], they held a counsell that was against Christ, but the blessed Trinitie hold a counsell for the good of man; Let us make man, let us redeeme man, and advise him for his good.

Secondly, It is very fit and proper for the action of buy­ing, you shall not be compelled to buy the Commodities here offered, but you shall use your reason, whether a poore man should not doe all he can to get good gold, and a naked man clothing. But here I must needs explain this point, lest we should thinke that a man were left to his owne liberty in the point of his conversion, and this simile of counselling to buy must not be extended beyond the scope; and we say, That the will of man is over-ruled, and over-powred by the Spirit of Christ, so as it cannot but come in upon the offer of grace, and the will is determined to one thing, not left to it selfe, to take or refuse what is tendered to it; and it is no absurditie (whatever Arminians thinke) to say, in the conversion of a sinner there is a violence offered to the corruption of the will, and yet the will not wronged, a suspending of the libertie of the will, and no destroying of it.

If you consider a man affrighted out of his sinnes in a way of terrour, as the Gaoler, Act. 16.29. who came trem­bling; you may say he could doe no other. Suppose a man pursued by a Beare or any ravenous Beast, if he have the [Page 8] use of his leggs, and of his reason, he cannot but runne a­way from the danger; Hell frights the sinner, Conscience flyes in his face, and he cannot but come to Christ.

The propensitie and act of the creature may be suspen­ded, and not destroyed; the Lyons could not devoure Da­niel, the fire could not burne the three young men; God did suspend the act of those creatures, but their natures were not destroyed, for their enemies found the Lyons to be fierce, and the fire to burne; the will of man chooseth to come, and cannot doe otherwise, for it is moved and guided by a supernaturall power.

Thirdly, God doth counsell us, for in all things of any importance we take counsell, here is more need, and if we follow our owne counsells we perish, Prov. 11.14. Where no counsell is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsel­lers there is safetie, Prov. 20.18. Every purpose is established by counsell, and with good advice make warre. If in other things we take advice and not this, it shewes we are more carelesse of Heaven then our affaires on earth.

1. Use. Take counsell of him that is wise, and reject it not; leane not to your owne wisedome, for that will de­stroy you. A man that followes his owne thoughts in mat­ters of Religion, is sure to misse his way, and lose his hope: The counsell of God is good, we cannot say so of the wisest man, but his counsell is good at all times, for he knowes all things and all events, which no man doth, Prov. 19.20. Heare counsell, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.

2. If we doe not, we set up our owne thoughts and wisedome above Gods, and we oppose Christs Propheti­call and Kingly Offices.

3. Grace makes us teachable, and men should inquire what they ought to doe, Act. 2.37. Men and brethren, what shall we doe? Act. 9.6. Lord, what will thou have me to doe? And they obeyed and followed the directions of the Apo­stles; David did blesse God for Abigails counsell, 1 Sam. 25.22, 32. And if we receive not the counsell of God, we [Page 9] shall in the end bewaile our folly, and read our misery, arising from our own rebellious and desperate denyalls of grace; and as the Pharisees reiected the counsell of God against themselves, so doe many in these dayes.

I counsell thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, and white raiment.

2. Observ. It is the wisedome of men to buy grace, and the meanes of grace, whatever they cost them.Qualis emptio abs (que) pretio? Quomodo hoc convenit mag­nificentiae Dei si emenda est il­lius gratia? pa­rum laudis ha­bet [...]ns cujus aquae venales habentur.

Obj. But how can wee buy? What shall wee give to God for these rich Commodities? And how can it stand with the bountie of God to sell them to us? And how doth it under-value the grace of God when it is offered to sale?

Solut. For answer to this objection, and for opening of the point propounded, wee must know, That the grace or favour of God cannot be bought at all. And wee must di­stinguish between [...] and [...], the free grace of God, his good will and pleasure, which is from all eternitie, and the fruits thereof, the gifts of the Spirit, together with all the meanes by which the Spirit workes in the hearts of Gods Elect: These latter are here offered to you to be sold, not the former.

We cannot properly buy so as to give a valuable conside­ration for these Heavenly Commodities; to buy, is to give a price to the seller, for which he makes over his right to you, and puts you in possession of that which was his.

But properly we cannot buy so as to give a valuable con­sideration: And that because,

First, All things are Gods already, unlesse it be your sinnes, the Cattell upon a thousand Hills are mine, saith God, Job 41.11. Whatsoever is under the whole heavens is mine: So that you cannot pay God with his owne, for if I buy of a man I give him somewhat that is mine, and receive of him somewhat that is his.

Secondly, All things that we have are inferiour to grace, and the meanes of grace, they are but transitory and fading, but Heavenly things are lasting and durable, and there is no [Page 10] proportion betweene the largest offer of thousands of Rams, and ten thousand Rivers of Oile, and the least dram of saving-grace, and we must not thinke that mony or mo­ny-worth can purchase Heaven or grace; nay, to take off our thoughts, the Lord tells us his mind, Isa. 55.1. Buy wine and milke without money.

But what must be done?

First, Buy it with thy prayers and teares, and tell the Lord thou hast need of them, and cannot live without them; Rome teacheth her children to buy grace with the improve­ment of parts of nature, and to buy Heaven with their good workes, and tell us of such perfection in some workes, that there is no sinne in them; but when they offer so largely, God must trust them, for they have no ready money; but we teach our Chap-men to turne poore beggers, and you may get more by begging at the hands of God, then by working, and yet we beg a stock of grace that we may goe to worke.

Secondly, Buy it with thy labour and toile, travell for it if thou hast it not at home; the sonnes of Jacob goe into Egypt if there be no Corne in their owne Countrey, and what paines men take to get the Commodities of the world, they should doe more for Heaven; in former times, before this Parliament sate, there was a great scarcitie, the markets did rise, there is now more plentie; but the evill of the present times is, that there is a price in mens hands, and they have not hearts.

Thirdly, It may be it will cost thy purse, if with the Merchant in the Gospell thou hast found the Pearle, buy it though thou sell all▪ Mat. 13.46. and it would further your accounts, if your Bills of expence for Building, for Purcha­ses, for Portions, nay, for Sports and Recreations, (which rises to great summes) you could bring in somewhat an­swerable for the Gospell and Religious uses.

Whatsoever it will cost thee, breake not for price, buy it at any Rate.

First, It will inrich thee, you may buy Land too deare, and Gold too deare, but grace and the meanes of grace [Page 11] cannot be bought too deare, nay, the dearer bought the bet­ter, you will keepe it the better, and esteeme it the more: The more it costs a Christian to get Christ, and obtain assu­rance of Gods love, the better it is, Prov. 3.14. The mer­chandise of wisedome is better then the merchandise of sil­ver, and the gaine thereof then fine gold, more precious then the rubies, and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared to her.

Secondly, It is of generall use for all persons, and at all times, when you shall throw away your gold and silver, a dram of grace shall be in great esteeme and will comfort your soules: Religion is not like a Souldier in time of Peace, or a Chimney in Summer, but of good & necessary use at all times; in prosperitie to teach you moderation, in adversity to beare up your spirits, in life, in death it is a Crowne to you.

Thirdly, This Bargaine proves better then was concei­ved; temporall things seeme better then they prove, and no man finds that in them which he imagined; but spiritu­all riches afford more to the soule then at first was beleeved; here that's true, It is naught, it is naught, saith the buyer; but when he goeth apart he boasteth, namely, of his great pennyworth, Prov. 20.14.

Therefore be as the buyer in these particulars:

First, find thy need of these Commodities, let thy soule say to God, give mee Christ and Faith, or else I dye; you must not so thinke or speake of any thing else.

Secondly, See the goodnesse of them, you cannot know the excellency of them till you be instructed and have ex­perience, you cannot see till you have this eye-salve; and therefore no wonder if the Lord Christ offer his Commo­dities, and put off but little, because men know not the worth of them.

Thirdly, No deceit in this bargaine, you shall not be o­ver-reached, faire and plaine dealing to them that will buy the truth; Rome sells you sophisticated and adulterated Wares, and her Tradesmen have darke Shops, and false [Page 12] Lights, and will not have the people to know, or be able to judge of these Commodities; they must not looke into the Scriptures, nor understand the Doctrine of Faith, but take all upon their word, and beleeve as the Church doth; but the Text offers tryed gold; And wee must try all things, and hold that which is good.

Mat. 6. [...]0. [...] Domi [...]us [...] quo s [...] vel [...] ad [...] de­beant pe [...]petuò [...]. Mus [...] Quia minus ra­tione co [...]se [...]ta­ [...] est quam [...] su [...] locare ubi vel sp [...]te [...] ab ho­ [...]ibus?Fourthly, Theeves cannot breake through and steale these Commodities; As there is a greater excellency, so more certaintie in them. In all the troubles and persecutions in the world, if you keepe your courage and resolutions, and would not part with your riches, neither Devills nor men can rob you of them; you may have the gold and silver in your Chests taken from you by violence, and your estates wrung out of your hands, but your graces cannot be lost unlesse you consent to lose them; and they being of so high a nature, and so great worth, get them whatever they cost you, and keepe them carefully as you doe your gold.

First, The more to perswade you to this, consider fur­ther of this two-fold Simile of tryed gold and white rai­ment. He that hath gold hath all things vendible, he may have House, Lands, an Office, Honour and Preferment, and whatever (of this nature) he can desire: for gold will procure it, and gold vertually includes all things that are to be sold.

1 Cor. 3 22.So he that hath Christ, and Faith, and other graces, hath all things Heavenly; all are yours, none can speake such Language as Beleevers; other men may have a great deale, Esau may have enough,Ge [...] [...]3 9. but Jacob hath all. None so rich as the people of God, they have in their possession all the fine gold and rich raiment, they are well clad, and richly furni­shed, and they should live answerably; they have got such a bargaine at the hands of Jesus Christ as hath made them for ever, and they should rejoyce in their condition; rich men please themselves in telling their gold, and thinking of their wealth; let the Christian looke upon his graces and priviledges with delight, and take great contentment in them.

Secondly, He that hath tryed gold needs not feare the touch-stone, he that hath tryed graces needs not feare fur­ther tryalls; It ought to be the care of every one to see that his graces be of a right kind, that he have gold, not brasse: Many Protestants in the Church of England have too much pleased themselves with Copper Faith, or they have taken a guilded glistering piece of wood for gold; there is that which lookes like faith, and zeale, and love, but is not so indeed. Wee should try all things, wee take not a piece of gold or silver but weigh and ring it, because wee would not be deceived; and it were a shame for a man to put off his Commodities, and thinke he hath made a good bargaine, when the money that he receives is false and counterfeit Coine. It is an evill thing to rest in a shew or forme of godlinesse, all that comes of it is to be thought by our selves and others that wee are Religious: The Pharisees had a name, they were esteemed by the ignorant people to be de­voute; but what will that availe in the day when our workes must be tryed by fire? It is onely gold a solid me­tall that will indure the fire, hay and stubble, and all light stuffe will burne and consume away.

Luther speakes of one Arsenius that had eminent gifts, and made a profession of Religion, and was more forward then others; who being sick, his friends and acquaintance visited him, and for his comfort told him that he could not but have a great deale of joy and peace that was farre be­fore many others in Religion; he answered them, That he had not so much comfort as they imagined, and he now found it to be with his soule, not according to what they thought of him, but according to the judgement that God passed upon him, and God judgeth (said he) not after an outward appearance, but with a righteous judgement.

It were a vain thing in a man, that being Arrested and go­ing to Prison, should charge the Officers with doing him wrong, because he was esteemed by all his nighbours a rich man, and worth many thousand pounds; in such a case the name of a rich man will neither free from danger, nor pay [Page 14] debts. But he that hath this tryed gold hath enough to pay his debts, and a stock to live upon besides, he feares no danger, no trouble, no persecution, not death, no not the fiery tryall, for his tryed gold will hold out and passe for currant, when all gilding will wash off and waste away. Great then may be the comfort of such as looke after truth and the realitie of graces, they are happy both in life and death, they are rich, and shall carry their wealth with them into Heaven: You must part with your friends when you dye, and you must leave your riches behind you, but your graces shall goe with you.Vincent. in Specul. Mora. To set out the dignitie of them above your materiall gold, One tells you a Story of a man that had a Suit, and when his Cause was to be heard, he ap­plyed himselfe to three friends to see what they would doe with him; one answered him, he would bring him as farre on his journey as he could; the second promised him to go with him to his journeys end; the third ingaged himselfe to goe with him before the Judge, and to speak for him, and not to leave him till his Cause was heard and determined. These three are a mans Riches, his friends, and his graces; his riches will helpe him to comfortable accommodations while they stay with him, but they may take their wings and flye away from him before he dye. His friends and kindred they will goe with him to his journeys end, bring him to the grave, and interre his body, & then they leave him to his graces;Misericordia comes defun­ctorum. It is true of that and all o­ther graces. Rev. 14.13. they go further, & accompany the soule when it goes before God, and speake for him, and doe more for him then the other can doe: Blessed are the dead that dye in the Lord, they rest from their labours, and their workes fol­low them

But sad is the condition of evill men, for when they ap­peare before God, there will be no Intercessor for to speak for them, their sinnes will dogge them even unto the Tribu­nall Seat of God, and drag them downe to Hell.

Wee have done with the tryed gold, now a word or two of the white raiment; by which is understood our Justifica­tion, and Sanctification, Ordinances and Graces, and to [Page 15] shew the glory and puritie of them they are set out under white raiment. White is a pure colour, and betokens inno­cencie; by nature wee are naked, but here is a glorious gar­ment. White is more excellent then Scarlet, for it is a natu­rall colour, and all naturall beautie is above that which is artificiall;Mat. 6.29. Mat. 17.2. Solomon in all his glory was not like the Lillies of the Field. When Christ was transfigured on the Mount his raiment was white; and the glorious condition of the Saints in Heaven is set out in this,Rev. 19.14. that they shall be clothed with fine linnen, white and cleane.

No doubt this Church was exhorted to looke after their Justification, to joyne nothing with the righteousnesse of Jesus Christ who is set out to be white and ruddy,Cant. 5.10. and to preserve the doctrine of it pure and cleane; and also San­ctification is herein comprised, so that the former point is now propounded under another comparison of white rai­ment, and wee are to be perswaded to buy it: And there­fore con [...]ider,

First, It is of necessitie to have raiment, wee must not goe naked; It is a shamefull imagination in such as in imi­tation of Adams perfection will pray, and preach, and heare naked; they should be ashamed of it:August. 14. de Civit. dei. c. 12. And wee see that nature teaches us to looke for a covering for the body, and the Text perswades us to get this white raiment for the soule; food and raiment must be had, and men of quality will have garments answerable to their condition; and whereas there is varietie of clothing for the body, nothing will serve the turne for the soule but this white raiment,Rev. 3. wee must have long white robes, the righteousnesse of Jesus Christ is long enough to cover us all over,Rev. 7. but every thing else is too short and narrow; he finds us naked, and gives us his owne robes, that our nakednesse may not ap­peare; and he makes a garment for us; he causeth inherent graces to grow and abound in us, but wee must not thinke that our graces helpe to cover us as a piece to be added, for nothing can adde to our Justification, or to our title, wee may as soone guild gold with clay, as by any graces or ser­vices [Page 16] of ours make our selves in a better condition. Wee must put on the Lord Jesus Christ, Rev. 13.14. and that's sufficient to present us faultlesse and blamelesse before God.

Secondly, It is for honour and ornament white clothing was used in Kings Courts, and he that hath this raiment shall be in the Court of Heaven; great men are distingui­shed by their apparell, yet some are so proud that they care not what they lay upon their backs, and you cannot know by their out-side what they are, but this white rai­ment is onely for the Kings Children, and they are glorious within. Dives base in heart, having nothing but rottennesse within, yet was clothed with Purple and fine linnen; but the Saints are made glorious and excellent when this rai­ment is upon them, and in Heaven when no apparell shall be upon their bodies, yet that stola corporis shall be glori­ous, as that the beames thereof shall be much better then any garment to cover them, and no nakednesse can appeare to cause any shame.

1. Use. And hence you are to be exhorted to get this white raiment: None but mad-men goe naked, none but beggars goe in patched clothes; here is a garment, and it is glorious; It is made ready for you, and there wants no­thing but putting it on. And what contempt will this be, that apparell be brought home to you, laid on the Table by you, and you will not put it on, and weare it, but gee in your owne rags, and live and dye in your sins?

Secondly, This raiment will fit you, and well become you, and you will appeare glorious, and be so indeed: A Stage-Player that personates a King hath clothes answera­ble, yet is a base fellow; and in the end of the Play, when he puts off his clothes it appeares so: but this will befall none that have true faith in Christ. Hypocrites will be un­cased, but all else shall weare their clothes unto eternitie, and never put them off. Nay, they cannot be without them; this white raiment shall never decay, nor be worse for wearing, it will fit all persons, and at all seasons; and therefore buy it at any rate.

Thirdly, And if you feare your money will not hold out to make such a great purchase, then know, that your God will not stand with you for price; hee saith not you must have so much Faith as Abraham had, so much Zeale as Phineas, so much Courage as David, so much Wise­dome as Solomon, or else you cannot be saved: No such thing is said in Scripture; but if you see the useful­nesse of these Commodities, and desire them, and will use all good meanes to obtaine them, you shall certainly have them; nay, you have them already. For this is one difference betweene Temporall and Spirituall things, the evill of the one sort cleaves to you before.

Fourthly, You have them, you are covetous before you be rich; but in those Heavenly Blessings you looke after, you have them, and the good of them, when you first make after them. He that really and unfainedly desires Christ, and Faith, and other graces, hath them already in some degree, and shall have more, for all supernatu­rall desires come not from nature, but our Union with Christ.

Fifthly, And the last thing to be urged, is, That such as have this white raiment should carefully keepe it: A spot in a pure colour is a great blemish, and soone discern­ed. It is pittie to see Christians walke loosly or indiscreet­ly, but worse if scandalously;Rev. 16.15. If they bee blessed that watch and keepe their garments, what will become of them that defile them? It is a glorious thing to maintaine an unspotted profession to the end. And in case wee have taken a fall, and fouled our clothes, let us not lye still, and wallow in the mire, but rise, and wash our garments till wee make them white in the blood of the Lambe.Rev. 7.14. Men must have clothes though they goe upon trust, and runne into debt; and when they have them they should keepe them carefully; For the Wise man bids you to have your garments white at all times.Eccl. 9.8. How will this condemne [Page 18] many that live in the visible Church, that have never a ragge to cover their nakednesse, and yet are contented with it? Others take up a profession of Religion, and yet keepe not their garments cleane; they goe unhand­somely and slovenly.1 Joh. 3 9. It is said, That hee that is borne of God cannot sinne, he hath another nature given him; and while he is himselfe, he cannot goe against the principles of grace, as a neat cleanly man would not doe a slovenly act though no body should see him; and a curious worke­man cannot bungle, so a godly man cannot sinne and tum­ble [...]n the mire, for he is a Sheepe, not a Swine. It is re­ported of the Ermin, which is a neat creature, that if a puddle be on the one side, and Dogs on the other, he will choose to dye rather then defile himselfe. I wish wee could see this cleanlinesse in Christians; It ought to be so, and Schoole-men give a good reason for it, because grace workes not by feare onely, but by hatred: A man feares a drawne Sword when the point is set against his brest, and it is in the hand of an enemy; but if it lye on the Table, or be in the hand of a friend, it is not feared. Men may feare sinne when God doth threaten to run them through, but if he put up his Sword their feare is removed; there­fore the kindly worke of grace is by way of hatred and loathing; a man would not take a Toade in his hand though he knew the poyson would not hurt him; this ha­tred and loathing of all filthinesse and pollution should be in those that have this white raiment, and then they would keepe their garments cleane.

Use. And now give me leave to make a further applica­tion to you that are the Great Councell of the King­dome; and let me tell you, that the people of this Land looke for this pure gold and white raiment, and to pur­chase them they have offered faire; Their Plate, their Mo­ney, their Horses, their Servants, and their Sonnes; they begin to feare they shall not have these Commodities [Page 19] which they have bidden well for, because in all this time they had little else then ends of gold and silver; wee will perswade them to waite longer, and to helpe you by their prayers, that you may become the happie instruments of the Kingdomes good, in making the gold and raiment in the Text, as plentifull as the materiall gold was in Solo­mons time. To effect this, you have need of Solomons wisedome; the present Divisions and Distractions of the time require it; and unlesse God interpose his owne pow­er and wisedome, wee conceive, wee shall bee still under the troubles of Warre, such as were in Davids time; And though you doe well to thinke of building the Temple, and yee contribute somewhat towards it, yet wee doubt whether wee that are alive shall see it done, and injoy the peace and happinesse of Solomons time; Yet however, let me represent unto you the state of the people in this Land, which is much like to these Laodiceans, they are poore, and naked, they have thought themselves rich in their Clergie, and honoured above others in their outward pompe and glory; and for their wealth and goods, they have abounded, and had need of nothing; now they see themselves poore in every kind, and they lament their povertie, they are naked also, both in regard of raiment and armour, and Aaron hath made them so, Exod. 32.25. They hope that you will take care to inrich them, and provide such as will clothe them. You did purge the Sonnes of Levi, and tooke away many that were no better then drosse and Tin; you now give over. It is much feared, least many Congregations shall still be poore and naked; the people desire a golden ministery, such as have golden gifts and graces, and then they hope there will be golden Christians; and the golden dayes will come, in so much as in you lyes, you should pittie and relieve the Kingdome herein, by setting up a godly ministery, and countenancing it against the reproach and contempt of [Page 20] these present times, which is greater then heretofore hath beene knowne. Wee thought the witnesses had been slain, because it is said, in Rev. 11.3, 7, 9. that after they had Pro­phesied in sackcloth a long time, then they were killed, and then they were unburied three dayes and a halfe; There is no doubt but godly Preachers (among others) were the witnesses that gave testimony to the truth, and they have Prophesied mournfully, even in sackcloth a long time together, and then they were slaine, they were sus­pended, which was a civill death; they were not killed as men, but as Prophets, and they were in the streets as dead men, not suffered to execute their Ministeriall Fun­ctions; and this was for three dayes and a halfe, and the time of continuing the suspension of many Ministers by the Bishops, which was three yeares and a halfe, did fall out so pat and punctuall, as it might well be thought to be the slaying of the witnesses in England. It is not ne­cessary to make this killing of the witnesses, to be in all places at the same time, but that it fell out among us at this time; the words following in the Text plainly shew; for af­ter that time of three dayes and a halfe, the Spirit of Life entred into them, and they lived againe as Prophets, and were restored, and great feare fell upon men. Those that were Actors in killing them, desired them to goe and de­sire their freedome, which was quickly and easily gran­ted, they were glad to be rid of them:Ornati [...];ūmo honore & glo­ria ad exemplū Ch [...]isti qui post mortem debel­latam sublatus est in caelum quod autem vox auditur jubens ascen­dere eo signifi­catur non as­piraturas pro­phetas ad hoc honoris suo in arte sed alio­rum authori­tate collo can­das esse in isto fa [...]igio pu [...]a Sol [...]ni aliqua principum san­ctiore. Bright­man in Locum. And further, to confirme this, It followes in the Text, that there was a great voice from Heaven, saying unto them, Come up hi­ther. Heaven is the highest part of the visible World, and it resembles men in highest place and power, King, and Parliament; And this great voice from Heaven was from the State; and you said to poore despised Preachers, Come up hither; You gave them countenance and incourage­ment, even before their Adversaries; You said to the proud prelaticall idle Clergie, Come downe hither; and I [Page 21] thinke you said well; But to the godly despised Ministers of the Gospell, you said, Come up, ascend higher; and you gave them respect; But now there is a voice from the Earth, which saith, Come downe hither. The people that Petitioned you against the maintenance of the Ministery, they say, Come downe to us, you are too high, doe as wee doe, worke for your living as wee doe. Whether this voice from Heaven or Earth shall prevaile? Wee leave it with you and the God of Heaven to deter­mine: Onely let me give you an Item, to take heed in this case of doing, as David did betweene Mephibo­sheth and Ziba 2 Sam. 16.3, 4. Hee accused Mephibosheth that hee aspired after the Kingdome, and looked af­ter great matters; and when the Innocent lame man had opportunitie to make his owne defence, yet Da­vid unjustly gave away halfe his Land to his Accuser, 2 Sam. 19.29. They are like enough to say of us, W [...]e would get higher, and wee looke after great matters; but take heed of dividing upon such a false surmise; and give one halfe away to satisfie their desires, and leave the other halfe for us to live upon in a poore manner. But I forbeare the further pressing of these things, and in a word returne to the first Branch of my Exhorta­tion: I beseech you give us nothing but gold; let not your Authoritie countenance any thing but what is good and precious; You are Gods Merchants, and you should have put off more then you have done: Many things come before you, little is setled. It were an evill thing, for many Causes to come before a Judge and nothing to bee determined; The Lord quicken your spirits, and guide you in your way. And for you the people of this Land, bee wise to judge of things as they are indeed; There is gold to bee had, and white rayment, the Lord Jesus Christ would sell you these; You sometimes cheapen them, and inquire [Page 22] after them, but you goe not through with the bar­gaine. Who would want gold in his purse, and good raiment upon his back, if hee could have them? You may have these if you will, and it will bee a horrid thing in the day of your account, to render and returne poore naked soules before Go, that might have beene inriched and clothed.

FINIS.

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