THE PVRIFYING OF VNCLEAN HEARTS and Hands: OPENED In a SERMON Preached before the Honourable House of COMMONS, at their solemne Fast, January 28. 1645. in Margarets Westminster. By RICHARD VINES, one of the Assem­bly of Divines.

PSAL. 24. 3, 4.
Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? and who shall stand in his holy place?
He that hath clean hands and a pure heart.

Published by Order of the House of COMMONS.

LONDON, Printed by G. M. for Abel Roper, at the signe of the Sun against St Dunstans Church in Fleetstreet. 1646.

ORdered by the Commons assembled in PARLIAMENT, that M. Long and M. Holland do from this House give thanks to M. Vines for the great pains he took in the Sermons he preached this day, at the intreaty of this House, at St Margarets West­minster, (it being the day of Pub­like Humiliation) and to desire him to Print his Sermon. And it is Ordered, that none shall Print his Sermon, but who shall be licensed under his hand-wri­ting.

H. Elsynge, Cler. Parl. D. Com.

I Appoint Abel Roper to print this Sermon.

Richard Vines.

TO THE HONOVRABLE HOVSE OF COMMONS Assembled in Parliament.

SVch Auditours who will suffer the word of exhortation, Heb. 13. 22. as they encourage the Minister to doe his, so they shall be sure to know their duty; which is not ordinarily the happines of great personages. This Sermon was preache upon one of the dayes of your solemn approach and drawing nigh to God. It was no season to present you with fan­cies dressed in cobweb lawn, or thin notions cloathed with ayr. The Popish fasts did but change solid meat into sweet meats. The sub­ject of the sermon is cleansing and purifying; which as it was necessary by the law, before the unclean person might draw nigh to God, so it is required of you, If thou prepare thine heart, and stretch out thy hands towards him; If iniquity be in thy hand, put it farre away: for then shalt thou lift up thy face without [Page] spot, Iob 11, 13, 14, 15. It is a liberty which Mi­nisters claim by vertue of their commission, to speak, exhort, and rebuke with all autho­rity, Tit. 2. 15. You that are the tutelar pa­trons and assertours of just liberties, doe like your selves, in countenancing and encouraging this also: so shall you have the ministery of the Word alwaies ready to help you, to beat your corruptions black and blew, which to doe, is both the duty, and beauty of your sackcloth-dayes.1 Cor 9 17. [...]. The Lord who hath said, That the pure in heart shall see God, Math. 5. 8. And that be that hath clean hands, shall be stronger and stronger, Iob 17. 9. so draw nigh to you in the light of his countenance, and strength of his arm, that you who have defended Religion from being trampled upon, may preserve it from be­ing torn in pieces, and see the good of Jerusa­lem all the dayes of your lives. So prayes,

Your servant in Christ lesus, Richard Vines.

A SERMON PREACHED before the Honourable House of COMMONS, upon the day of the Monethly-Fast, January 28. 1645.

JAMES 4. 8.‘Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you: Cleanse your hands, ye sinners, and pu­rifie your hearts, ye double-minded.

MY worke at this time (by agreement) is to bring up the rere of this text,See M. C [...]t his Sermon upon the for­mer part of this text. that it may appear to you in a full bo­dy; you received (in the fore-noon) the invitation to that, which is not only the main duty, but also the chief good of man, To draw nigh to God: And you have (I hope) tasted of the sweetnesse of that promise [Page 2] which God doth make, or the entertainment which he gives to such; God will draw nigh to you; so the Prodigall son arose and came to his father,Luk. 15. 20. and his father ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. The lost son comes, the compassionate father runs. God an­swers his people in a way of retaliation: if they draw nigh to him, he will draw nigh to them: and this drawing nigh of God to us, is like the neerer ap­proaches of the Sun, which by his heat and prolifi­call influences, gives life and beauty to those things that before lay dead and buried, shrowded in the winding sheet of the winter snow.

That part of the Text which comes under my hand (Cleanse your hands, ye sinners, and purifie your hearts, ye double minded) contains in it,

1. The Prohibens, or impediment prohibiting this mutuall drawing nigh of you to God, of God to you; and that is, the pollution of your hands, the uncleannesse or corruption of your hearts; for it is not possible there should be coalition, or com­munion between God and wicked men; there­fore it is said, Psal. 18. 26. with the pure thou wilt shew thy selfe pure, and with the froward thou wilt shew thy selfe froward: Plato saw this truthPlato in Phae­dane. [...] (saith he) [...], the law of contrariety forbids puritie and filthi­nesse to touch, that is, to have fellowship or com­munion, [...], Touch not the unclean thing, 2 Cor. 6. 17. God is so farre from drawing nigh unto, that he will hide his eyes from unclean hands. The reason why he delighteth not in our fattest Sacrifices, why our incense is an abomi­nation [Page 3] to him, why he hateth our new Moons and appointed feasts, why he will not hear our multi­plied prayers, is the uncleanesse of our hands, Isa. 1. from the 11. to the end of the 15. verse; Thou art of purereyes then to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity, saith the Prophet, Hab. 1. 13. that is,See the word [...] explica­ted in M. Ga­taker his learn­ed Treatise, called, Gods eye on his Israel thou canst not countenance the violence and oppressions of thy people, the grievance and vexation done un­to them by wicked men, much lesse, draw nigh to men of such unclean hands.

2. The removens prohibens, or the removall of that impediment, and that is, cleansing of hands, and purifying of your hearts, for saith the Prophet, Isa, 1. 16. Wash ye, make ye clean, put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to doe evil, learn to doe well, seeke judgement, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherlesse, plead for the widow: (And then it follows) Come now and let us reason together, saith the Lord. Our dissimilitude and unlikenesse to God, is a barre to this mutuall ac­quaintance and communion, for a man unlike to God, cannot but dislike him. As white is no more contrary to black, then black to white: so Gods ho­linesse is no more contrary to our wickednesse, then our wickednes is to his holines: and therefore there can be no drawing nigh together, unles either God recede from his holines (which cannot be) or we be cleansed and purified from our uncleanesse, which [...]s the onely way to make this communion close, sweet and firm.

That the Text is proper and seasonable for this day of our Humiliation is plain, not only by that [Page 4] which immediately followes in the 9. and 10. ver. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep : humble your selves in the sight of the Lord. But by the Text it self, for what is the [...], the main busines of a Fast, but to search for the Lord with all our heart, to lament after him, to draw nigh unto, and meet our God? and what is the [...], or main busines of them that fast, but to bring forth the wicked­nes that is in their hands, and the predominant cor­ruptions that are in their hearts, and as witnes­ses against them, to cast upon them the stone of execution that they may die. A Fast is not meer­ly a sermon and a prayer, there is a propriety in that ordinance or duty. The sermon should spread your sinnes before you, and your confessions and prayer should spread them before the Lord. The sermon puts the ashes on your heads, and dresses your souls in that sackcloth, which you are to wear as mourning garments, in your prayer and humiliation. I wish our Fasts may not lose their property, like physick, which by often ta­king, becomes at length a diet, rather then a me­dicine.

There is in the words triplex [...], a three-fold conjunction.

Sinners and double-mindedcleanse andyourHands
purifieHearts.

I shall first break the shell, by explication of the termes.

The word [ [...]] sinners, as it signifies in generall any sinner, in opposition to a righteous [Page 5] man, Rom. 5. 19. As by one mans disobedience, many were made [ [...]] sinners, so by the o­bedience of one, shall many be made [ [...]] righ­teous: so in speciall it also signifies a wicked man, one of flagitious life, a sinner [...], therefore its often said [ [...]] Publicans and sin­ners, and Luk. 7. 37. a woman in that City which was [ [...]] a sinner, that is, an adulteresse, or a harlot, as it is generally expounded; and if we survey the beginning of this chapter, what brawl­ings, envyings, lusts, self-seeking, did raigne a­mongst this people, we shall see good reason to take the word sinners, for such as did lie in more open and scandalous sinnes, men of unclean hands.

The word [...], double-minded, is once before used in this Epistle, chap. 1. 8. and signifies such as have double, (or as the Syriack expresseth it) divi­ded hearts, it answers the Hebrew expression: [...] a heart and a heart, which the septuagint doe inter­pret word for word,1 Chron. 12. 33. Psal. 12. 2. [...], and Syma­chus (whom Chrysostom on, Psal. 12. 2. calls [...]) renders it, [...], we shall best understand the sense of the word, by comparing it with the opposite thereunto, and that is [...], Ephes. 6. 5. Col. 3. 22. Simplicity, or singlenes of heart, it is a grace recommended to servants, In singlenes of heart as unto Christ, not with eye-ser­vice as unto men; And again its said, In singlenes of heart fearing God: doing whatsoever you doe from your heart, as to the Lord, and not to man; where you have singlenes of heart described, to be the [Page 6] steerage of the heart, by the fear of God in a right line, to intend and aim at him and his glory, in all you doe; for those crooked, serpentine, and sub­till vvindings and turnings of heart, which are called, [...] Psalm. 145. 4, 5. crooked wayes, that are like a vvinding vvay, or vvinding brooke, that runs in and out; or, like a vvinding stayre case, where a man goes but three or four stepps, and then turnes to another point, are set in opposition to uprightnes of heart; such off and on, such in and out hearts cannot be upright, they then are double minded.

1. Whose hearts are not single and entire with God, but divided between God and self, being bi­assed with carnall and vvorldly lusts, policies or ends.

Like the heart of an Adulterer, or Adulteresse (so these double minded ones are also called, vers 4.) which is divided between husband or wife, and some other strange love.

2. Whose hearts are not fixed upon one center, but uncertain, moveable, and inconstant with God, Cap. 1. ver. 8. A double minded man is unset­led in all his waies. The word is, [...], vvhich signifies that he is at no setlednesse within himself, but off and on, by reason of lusts that mutiny with­in him, and carry him away from chusing, and resting upon God alone: and this inconstancie rises from the former, namely, the division of the heart, for it being divided in it selfe by reasonings, self-interests, lusts, cannot be constant in attend­ance upon God. It is but by accident that the [Page 7] weather cock points towards the Sun, namely, be­cause the winde and Sun are both in one corner. If the winde turn, it turns away also.

2. Cleanse and purifie, [...], these words are promiscuously, and indifferently used by the Septuagint, to interpret the Hebrew vvords that signifie to cleanse and purifie; [...] and there is in these words an allusion to legall uncleannesses, and the purifying of them; for as in the law, be­fore an unclean person might draw nigh to God, he must be purified from his uncleanenesse: so those that will draw nigh to God, or would have God draw nigh to them, must cleanse their hands, and purifie their hearts. Eo lavatum, ut sacrificem, nunc lavabo ut rem divinā faciam. Plaut. in aulul. [...]. Plutarch. in M [...]io.The Heathens had their ceremonious washings, and purifyings, as preparative to their sacrifices and prayers; and this heart-purifying, and hand-clean­sing, is that purgatory thorow vvhich vve must go, if we will draw nigh to God in vvorship and com­munion; God will be served with cleane crea­tures.

3. Hands and hearts. The heart is the womb, vvhere lust is vvarmed and conceived; the shop, where the forge, anvill, bellowes, fire are for the forming of lust, and making of it ready. The hands are put for the executive and instrumentall powers, that bring it forth to light, and act it, [...], Rom. 6. 13. the vveapons of unrighteousnesse unto sin: In short, the outward and inward man being filthy and unclean, must be purified from corruption of heart and life. For he that hath cleane hands, and a pure heart; [Page 8] Psal, 24. 4. 5. shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousnes from the God of his salvation.

I shall now come to the matter of the Text which I will handle.

1. In the two parts of it distinctly. Cleanse your hands, purifie your hearts.

2. As these two parts are in connexion one with the other: cleanse your hands, and purify your hearts.

3. As they stand both together, in reference to our drawing nigh to God, and his drawing nigh to us. Draw nigh to God, and he vvill draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, &c.

You may easily see that here is very little specu­lative, or notionall matter, but practicall, and such as will fall most properly into use, and into matter of application. We have now to deal vvith your hearts and hands, and not your brain. Here vvill be no fine thin wafers which vvill melt upon your tongue, and vanish in a little sweetnes; and yet such novelties and running banquets are all for the palate of these queasy times; ô Religion! how art thou turned into a kinde of Philosophy of opinions, in danger to be a meer sceptick, or terra incognita, an every thing, a nothing, a thing for a vvanton fancy to play withall, a smooth tongue to talk of, made up of a brain and a mouth, with­out heart and hands. How can it be otherwise when the tree of knowledge is so much preferd be­fore the tree of life?

From the first part, Cleanse your hands, ye sin­ners, I observe,

1. A corrupt and wicked life argues a man to be a stranger to God, and God to him.

2. They that will draw nigh to God, must cleanse their hands.

A corrupt and wicked life argues a man to be a stranger to God, and God him;Doct. 1. for other­wise a man might draw nigh to God, and have unclean hands too, which the Text supposes that it cannot be. That power which drawes a man into acquaintance with God, doth pro­portionably kill sinne. That power which flowes from God in acquaintance with a man, kills sinne too: whether I goe out to the sunne, or the sunne come in to me, the darknesse is expeld: sinne hath not dominion o­ver them that are under grace, Rom. 6. 14. the knowledge of God sets a man loose from his bondage to the enslaving lusts he before served, ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free, John 8. 32. draw nigh to God, and be unclean if you can. That faith which is uniting to Christ, is a purifying faith; rebellion against the Commandements of God, is inconsistent with communion with God; you may fast, and pray, and ask, that you may consume upon your lusts, ver. 4. like a cutpurse in a Church, who comes not thi­ther to seek God, but his prey.

They that draw nigh to God, must cleanse their hands;Doct. 2. I will wash mine hands in innocency, so will I compasse thine Altar, O Lord, Psal. 26. 6. Where you may observe, that thanksgivings and praises, which the Psalmist calls sacrifices of shout­ing, [Page 10] or loud musick, Psal. 27. 6. and wherein they used (as one saith) th [...] agere circum altare, [...] Lori [...]ut [...] Psa [...]. 16. 6. are to be performed with washen hands: so in your prayers, the Lord requires that you should lift up pure hands, 1 Tim. 2. 8. and what a sweet reflecti­on may you make upon your deliverances which are wonderfull, when you can say, I was upright with God, and I kept my self from mine iniqui­ty? Therefore hath the Lord recompensed me according to my righteousnes, according to the cleannesse of my hands in his eye-sight, Psal. 18. 23, 24. If ye fall into straits, and be plunged into depths of misery; If your face be foul with weep­ing, and on your eye lids be the shadow of death; what a lifting up of the head will it be unto you, to be able to say, Not for any injustice in my hands? Job. 16. 17. If the Lord shall deliver this Island from the oppression and injustice under which it hath groaned; what a crown and comfort will it be to you, that it is delivered by the purenes of your hands? Job. 22. 30. To conclude. If there be a frustration of our counsells, and our endeavours bring forth nothing but winde; You shall finde the reason why God makes all void and ineffectu­all, Isa. 59. 6. Their webs shall not become gar­ments, neither shall they cover themselves with their works; Their works are works of iniquity, and the act of violence is in their hands.

That nothing may be lost, let us pick up the particulars that are offered unto us in this point.

N="1"1. That God invites [...], great sinners to draw nigh to him, and promiseth to draw nigh to [Page 11] them, O ye sinners, no such strangers to God, but they may come into favour, intimacy, and com­munion with him; great sinners are oftentimes made great Saints: God engraves his image in unto­ward wood, that the churlishnes of the matter may the more commend the workman; he calls them to him, being yet overwhelmed with sinne, and in their drawing nigh to him they are cleansed; as Christ sent the Lepers to the Priests, but [...], as they were going they were cleansed, Luk. 17. 14.

2. He bids these sinners cleanse and purify, their hands and hearts? but how can corruption cleanse it self? can unsavoury salt season it self? No. God purifieth the heart by faith, Act. 15. 9. and every man that hath this hope, purifieth himself, 1 John 3. 3. Christ is he that comes by water and blood, 1 Joh. 5. 6. that is, by all manner of puri­fying, typified by legall purifications. This is (saith a learned man) one of the mysteries of this law (of purifying) that a clean person was him­self made unclean,Ainsworth in Numb. 19. by touching the holy water, sprinkling it upon the unclean: and this is the great mystery of the Gospel, that he whose blood cleanseth us from all sinne, 1 John 1. 7. and in whom being a clean person is no sinne, should yet be made sinne for us, and for our clean­sing. And as an unclean person is said to pu­rify himself, Numb. 19. 12, & 20. because that (though there was a peculiar water for that pur­pose, and that also to be sprinkled on him by another) it was his duty to come unto that pu­rifying [Page 12] water, and make use of it: so are you to purify your hearts, and cleanse your hands, by comming unto that blood of sprinkling, Heb. 12. 22, 24. Faith will bring you to this puri­fying blood: one touch of Christ by faith, drawes vertue out of him, which will drie up your running issues. Humiliation, though it doe not properly cleanse your hands, yet it plucks off the gloves, and makes them bare for washing: and godly sorrow with its seven daughters as they are expressed, 2 Cor. 7. 11. are cleansing things. This is the way of your cleansing and purifying, this is your duty, and this through grace is your ability; for the re­generate being principled, doth act; being puri­fied, doth purify himself; and being kept by the power of God, doth also keep himself, as it is said, 1 John 5. 18.

3. Sinners are to cleanse their hands: but what are those sinnes? they are generally those outward sinnes, or waies of wickednesse where­in men use to walk, and which doe denomi­nate a man [...], a sinner of deeper die; but in speciall we finde some more eminently cal­led sinnes of the hands, as oppression and vio­lence, Ionah 3. 8. blood, Isa. 1. 15. bribes, Isa. 33. 15. injustice, Iob. 16. 17. as there are also eye-sinnes, ear-sinnes, tongue-sinnes, &c.

4. Why is cleansing the hands set before purifying of the heart? for the rule is, make the tree good, and his fruit good: in vain, doe we goe about to sweeten the stream, when the [Page 13] fountain still sends forth bitter water? To this I answer, that though it be but a sollicitous trifling, to vex every prius and posterius which vve meet vvith in Scripture, and is but a curiosity to take pains to say nothing, lest we might seem to leave any thing unsaid, yet there may some account be given of this transposi­tion: as 1. The Scripture sometimes puts that first, which is visibly first, the signe before the cause, as when it is said, Calling and Election. 2. Because conviction begins at some grosser sinne, there the conscience begins to take fire: and God vvho hath the ordering of sin, makes some great sin very serviceable and usefull, to be, as it vvere, an entring wedge to break the knotty heart all to pieces. 3. Because grace having once got footing in the heart, presently enters the field against this kinde of sins, as ha­ving greater guilt, and by their bulk making the greatest interception of the light of Gods countenance, and more inconsistent vvith a state of salvation, then those rebelling and molest­ing corruptions vvhich are vvithin.

For the reason of this point,Reasons. That they who draw nigh to God, must cleanse their hands. I shall offer onely this. That these sins of our hands, do keep us at distance from God, and God at distance from us; your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, Isa. 59. 2. This is the worst effect and fruit of sin; that it is privative of our union with, and fruition of God: De­part [Page 14] from me, is as terrible a word as everlasting fire: It is [...]. Jude 13. the blacknesse of darkenesse, the lustings of corruption which are in the regenerate, are (as I may call them) trans­parent sins, they obstruct not our communion with God; like the motes which are infinite, but hinder not the suns bright beams from us; but these hand-sins or wickednesse of life, are opacous, and put us into the shade, by their interposition between God and us, and doubtlesse while we are in love with sin, God is as unpleasing to us as we are unpleasing to him, nor would we any more draw nigh to him then he to us. Give me leave thus to convey the notion that I have upon this point, Commerce is one thing, Communion is ano­ther: As a man will have commerce or trade with an enemy, a stranger, any body, to trade with him for profit, and to gain some commodity which he hath in his hands; but Communion, which is in way of love, friendship or acquaintance, he cares not for, nor would by any means admit of; so a man, whose hands and life are full of sin, and his heart full of enmity to God, may yet have some commerce with God in duties or or­dinances, to serve his turne upon God, uti Deo at fruatur mundo, and to make use of him for his own ends; as its said, ver. 4. You aske, that you may confame upon your lusts; but communion in way of league and friendship with God, and fruition of him in way of speciall love and favour, he neither can have, nor will, except he also give a bill of di­vorce to his best beloved lusts.

I come now to make application of this Point to you,Generall Use. and the Use is in the text, Cleanse your hands, ye sinners. It's unacceptable worke to be set upon, for a sinner to cleanse and purifie, and to cleanse his hands too, which are full of profitable sins, Turne ye every one from your evil way, and from the violence that is in your hands, Jonah 3. 8. It is a wonder that the ship wherein we are, so laden with sins of all rankes and subordinations of men, King, Princes, Jud­ges, Lawyers, Gentry, Ministers, people (es­pecially in such grown seas as we have been in) should live to this day; for you know we en­terd into this wildernesse, wherein we yet wan­der, with our former Egypt-sins upon our backs, and we alas did not first make even before we went upon a new score; we fast, we pray, we Covenant, and yet we are as double minded, as foul handed as before; ungodlinesse, unrighteous­nesse, self-seekings, hypocrisie, religiousnesse for our ends abound amongst us, and contempt of the Ministery more then ever, so that preach­ing of the word by the Ministers of this King­dom, which for soundnesse, spiritualnesse and successe, hath not been (I was going to say) pa­ralelled, (I may truly say) exceld in any part of the world, is by very many now judged to have been a Monopoly, and fit among other Mo­nopolies to go down and to be made a common trade. Not many years ago, when it was both danger and disgrace to hold forth the profession of the name of Christ in truth, what appetite [Page 16] had Christians to the sincere doctrine of Christ, and of regeneration and mortification of sin? How did they, in their private meetings, lay siege to the throne of grace with united strength, and antidote themselves against the in­fectious air of those times? whose eyes were thought too dear for those faithfull messengers of God at whose feet they sate? what contend­ing was there for the faith once delivered to the Saints? what burning love had they each to o­ther? what onenes of heart and minde? Now alas, some of those good ears of come are mil­dewd, and many run all up into straw, and do not eat so well; Religion vapours it self out into notions and disputes of no value, breaks into parties, and is broken in peeces by mutuall animosities;Ammianus Marcell. lib. 21 de Constan­t o Grotius de ve­ritate, lib 1. in initto. so it is observed, that that sincere and true godlinesse, which flourisht and was warme in Christians un­der the persecuting Emperours, post Constantinum caepit refrigescere, after Constantine, when it vvas both safe and honourable, it began to cool, and to break out into ambition, pride, contention, &c. If you will not own your sins, we that are Mini­sters must cry aloud, Isa. 58. 1. Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my peo­ple their transgressions, and the house of Jacob their sins: and observe, I pray you, to whom the Pro­phet is commanded to cry aloud, namely, to such as sought the Lord daily, and delighted to know his wayes, as a nation that did righteousnes, and forsook not the ordinance of their God; such as did aske of God the ordinances of justice, and [Page 17] took delight in approaching to God, that fasted and afflicted their souls, ver. 2, 3. such as made re­ligious duties the panders to their lusts, and the covert of their injustice and oppression, hiding their filthy sores under a velvet plaister; Sin lies fast asleep and most secure in such men, the forme of religion is a buffe-coat to their sins; and therefore cry aloud, and cry impartially against the sins of all sorts of men, so as not to lick the sores of great ones, and bite the sores of poor ones, for that is rather to upbraid men with their poverty, then reprove them for their sins. You know that Physicians, Chyrurgians (and so Ministers) are sometimes allowed to be cruell; and the truth is, I fear we have lapt up the pills of reproof in so much pap and sugar, that by allaying the bit­ternesse we have frustrated the operation. Oh that you were all of you too generous to be flat­terd, and that you would search out particularly your own personall and bosome sins, swearing, drunkennesse, whoredome, injustice, oppression: for whiles we speak generals, no man thinks that the Cock crows to him, and so goes not forth to weep bitterly; upon a generall inditement of a man to be a felon or thief, there can be no pro­ceeding to sentence, except the fact in particular be exprest; so while you say only in generall, We are sinners, and do not arraign your selves upon particulars, saying, This is my iniquity, you can ne­ver judge and condemne your selves as you ought. So much for the generall.

Now particularly to you (Honoured and Wor­thy) Particular Use. [Page 18] that are Members of the Honourable House of Commons, as you are single persons, search your selves, consider your wayes; Is there any thing in your hands to be cleansed? You are to purge the corrupt leaven out of your own houses, your selves, your families, your places of office and trust are the proper sphere of your activity; you are for Ecclesiasticall reformation, and the sweep­ing out of corruptions out of the house of God: but are you as intent upon personall reformation of your own waies? do your own houses lye clean? have you reall principles of godlines in your own hearts? or are you carried meerly by the Parliamentary genius or stream, by a rapt motion? In one word: are you not afraid of holines? These are things sadly to be consi­dered. For can you think that in good ear­nest one black-more should goe about to wash another? would you not say, Why doth not he first make himself white, that the other may thereby be perswaded he can make him so too? If any of you should lie in known sinnes or lusts, can you comfortably, conscientiously, and zealously contribute to the reformation of o­thers? you may indeed doe that which is right in the sight of God, but where is your com­fort, if it be not done with a perfect heart? He must needs be afraid to hedge in the Sacra­ment, and to make it inacessible to the scanda­lous and prophane, or to settle a faithfull and searching ministery in the place he lives in, that knowes he shal but thereby make a rod for himself. [Page 19] I beseech you therefore to search your selves, that you may not be Carpenters to build an Ark for others, and your selves be lost. It is a great ho­nour to be a Member of this Parliament, but it is as great a burthen too, as ever English men underwent: and I shall crave leave to tell you further, that you may become the greatest sin­ners in the world by it, for now the sinnes of the Kingdom: may become yours; the Here­sies, blasphemies, and crying wickednesses of oppression and injustice may become yours; they are other mens sins by commission, they are your other mens sinnes by your omission of that opportunity, and duty of your place to provide for remedies preventive and removent of them, so farre as they may come within your knowledge, and the reach of your power. That which Scripture calls partaking in other mens sins, addes more guilt to men of all sorts, especially Ministers and Magistrates, then is generally thought of. Take heed of making your selves partakers of those sinnes and abominations, which you hate the thought of: and the Lord keep alive your zeal by this quickening consi­deration.

2. So much being spoken to any of you re­spectively, as single Members: Give me leave to addresse my self in a word or two to you the Honourable, and for ever to be renowned body. Is there any thing in your hands, the cleansing away whereof may cause you to draw nigher to God, or God to draw neerer to you? [Page 20] you have had a miraculous hand with you this last year; and there is with you as a token of Gods drawing nigh to you, such a chain of suc­cesses and victories, consisting of so many links, without any flaw or breaking off between them, as very few people have to show in the world again; I beseech you watch the door against the entrance of that which usually attends either great parts, or great benefits received, and that is pride: as we easilyer take cold when we are warm: so its naturall to man to be puft up with successe. I shall offer to you this hum­bling consideration; when Israel was in the act of leading two hundred thousand of Iudah in triumph, having gotten a mighty victory over them; there was a Prophet that prest upon the Conquerours a seasonable argument, that took very much with them, and wrought them in­to a more equall temper, and it was this, 2 Chron. 28. 10. but are there not with you, even with you, sinnes against the Lord your God? So say I to you: are there not sinnes with you, even with you? reflect upon, and examine your selves. There are very many hard cases in the Kingdom. I am not so out of my self as to lay them at your door, as you are a body, because indeed I cannot, (and yet if I could, I durst doe it) but I most humbly give caution to you, who are the shields, the healers. There are many for­lorn and desolate persons, that follow you with cryes for the price of their husbands and fa­thers lives or limbs. It is not charity, but ju­stice [Page 21] to refresh their bowels: many have given down their milk freely, and yet after all have their breasts bitten untill they bleed, by unlaw­full plundering, spoyl and violence: many in­struments imployed, are very sharp bitten and prey for themselves. The intention of the Physi­cian and of the Leech is not the same. He intends to draw out the blood in due proportion, as his patient can bear: Shee hath no other gage of her sucking, then till she be full as she can hold. It were justice to squeese these spunges, that have suckt themselves full, and to leave them as dry as they were at first. Let difference be made of mens faults in their punishments: there is no reason, that Peter who denyed his Master of infirmity, and Iudas that betrayed him delibe­rately, should be both in one praedicament. Let not justice be byassed by partiality. A Judge ought to look with no other eye, but the eye of the law, which looks at things, and is blinde to persons. Let justice be speeded, [...], Arist. Ethic. lib. 5. cap. 7. that expenses and attendance eat not out the principall in que­stion, Amos 5. 24. Let judgement run down like water, and righteousnes like a mighty stream; and above all, shake your hands from bribes: whe­ther bribes by presents, or by kinred, friendship, favour, one puts out the eye as well as another, and there may be quid pro quo bribes, when a man will lend his vote to one, to have it paid him a­gain, in a cause when he will call for it, and opi­nion-bribes, (as I may call them) when a man will endeavour to carry another thorow, because he [Page 22] is of his opinion and judgement in other things; Oh let justice dwell in your tents, and in your hands. And if in this ataxie, or confusion of things it be impossible to prevent, or remedy many mis­carriages, as I think it is, (considering that many who run in to the common scathe-fire, doe not intend the quenching of it, but the seeking of an opportunity, in that confusion, to rob them that are in misery, and to fish for themselves) then my prayer shall be that of Hezekiah, 2 Chron. 30. 18, 19. The good Lord pardon every one that prepa­reth his heart to seek God, though he be not cleansed according to the purification of the Sanctuary.

And so I passe on to the second particular in the Text, Purifie your hearts, ye double minded; whence I take up these two points.

  • 1. Double minded men have corrupt hearts.
  • 2. This double mindednes hinders both our drawing nigh to God, and his drawing nigh to us.

Double minded men have corrupt hearts:Doct. 1. for its said, purify your hearts, ye double minded. Doublemindednes is a division of heart between God and some other preponderating lust, or self-interest; and so where there should be no divisi­on, but singlenes and integrity, there is division; For all the heart, all the minde, all the soul, and all the strength, is that which God calls for. There are some that have no heart, they have no thoughts of God, no relish of him, no byasse to­wards him▪ it was an ill omen in sacrifices, quan­docor desecisset, when there wanted a heart; there [Page 23] can be no expectation of any returne of heartles prayer, heartles performance of duties; and this is the common posture of spirit of the ignorant, and secure worldlings. There are some that have double hearts, they pretend to have a zeal of God, and they professe the name of Christ, and hang out the Christian colours: but through hypocri­sy and partiality to their own ends, and self-re­spects they halt between God and Baal, or en­deavour to comply with two masters, or they part their friendship and love between God and the world, as ver. 4. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? There are some that have one heart, and this is that which God promiseth to his Covenant-people, and wherein he delights, when the heart is totum homogeneum, whole and undivided from him, then is it a perfect heart, and of a happy temper or constitution, being of chast love, affection and faithfulnes to God, not vitia­ted or deflowred by carnall copulation with other base lusts or ends; do but observe our Saviour in that saying of his, Math. 6. 22, 23. how he oppo­seth unto a single eye, an evil one; If, saith he, Thine eye be single, and then when you would have expected that double should have been opposed to single, he saith, But if thy eye be evil, thereby signifying, that if it be not single, it is naught and evil; and whereas one might think, that a dou­ble eye hath more light then a single: our Savi­our tels us the plain contrary, that a single eye makes the body full of light, but a double eye [Page 24] fills it full of darknes; Its true, there is in a double minded man, some eye to God, that is, so as to use his name to serve self-ends, or to colour and cover his sinister aims and intentions. As a har­lot whose heart goes after unchast loves, will yet have a husband too, (that is) to colour and hide her lewdnes; such are these which are dou­ble hearted: they have a Sabbath for God, and six dayes for their lusts: they retain to God, and wear his cloth, and sometimes wait and attend, but they are their own men for the most part, and work for themselves; Religion unto them is but the stalking horse, under the sides whereof they creep, to get a shoot at their own game; how often doth God in Scripture finde fault with this kinde of professours? when ye fasted, saith he, Zech. 7. 5. did ye at all fast unto me, even unto me? and again, when they howled upon their beds, they have not cryed unto me with their heart, they assemble themselves for corn and wine, and they rebell against me, Hos. 7. 14. An Israe­lite that is without guile, that hath but one heart, is a rare man, and worthy of an Ecce. Behold, in­deed an Israelite.

In the opening of this point, I shall follow the threed of that explication of this word (double minded) which I gave in the beginning.

1. This double mindednes is an uncertainty of the heart with God, not fixed upon a center, but off and on, as times, occasions, and interests doe lead on, or draw off, so farre you will goe with God, as your way and his doe fall out to hold [Page 25] together: and untill you must pull down Jerobo­ams calves, as well as Ahabs Baal, and then you part with him when it comes to such a pinch; so also in adversity or affliction, we make nautarum vota, mariners vowes (as they doe in a storm) and when we are on shore, and landed out of danger, we eat the Covenant we made before, Psal. 78. 24. &c. When he slew them, then they sought him, and they returned and enquired early after God, and they remembered that God was their rock, and the high God their Redeemer. Nevertheles, they did but flatter and lye unto him, for their heart was not right with him, nor were they stedfast in his Covenant. If the heart was right with God, it would be cer­tain and stedfast with him. Constancy is but the daughter of sincerity. Its a hatefull thing to set sail to every winde, and to change colour so often, being no faster tyed to God in the tempest, then we can be loosened in the calm; Be what you were in the storm: in your affliction you will abide to be spurred withoutkicking, and are ve­ry tame under reproofs: but when you are lifted up and are at shore, then to put you in minde of your vowes and Covenants in the day of your trouble, is as an unpleasing a thing, as to put a Mariner at shore in minde of his vowes or pro­mises made at Sea. Its no great danger to re­prove men sharply when they are low, any cow­ard may strike a man that is down, but (believe it) when men are aloft and high, and may more safelyer be dealt withall by stroaking, then by [Page 26] the spurre, then it is somewhat to come nigh the heels of truth, for it may haply strike out his teeth.

2. This doublemindednesse is a division of the heart from God. 1. It is divided between the promises of God, and the difficulties opposite, when a man laies his dead body and the dead womb of Sara in the skales, against the promise of having Isaac, this is sense fighting against faith. 2. Between conscience and lust, conscience di­ctates, lust bypasses, the inferiour appetite muti­nies against the superiour light, and leades it cap­tive, video melior a probòque, deteriora sequor. 3. Be­tween Religion and policy: and then Religion commonly goes by the worse, Jeroboam and the Kings of Israel, to comply with their politick re­spects, set up, and continued a self-devised wor­ship. 4. Between God and the world, or God and our own ends, as they here in the Text: when we make God a meer servant to our selves, and move upon a private center of our own: the heart is cunning and subtile in squinting towards its own ends: visibly we will be for God: under hand we seek our selves: so the planets in their daily motion from East to West, move as the fixed starres, but they have another motion of their own, which is creepingly by stealth, and more unperceivable then the other.

Vse.For the use of this point, let me turne the words of the Text once more upon you, by way of ex­hortation; Parify your hearts, ye double-minded, cast [Page 27] out those dividing lusts, policies, ends, which draw you away from God; and pluck off those false byasses of self-interest, and self-seeking, which cause you to wheel off from the true mark or scope of all your desires and endeavours: you will be found faulty if your hearts be divided, Hos. 10. 2. simplicity of heart is of great account with God; there is asinina simplicitas, & colum­bina, the simplicity of the asse, and of the dove; the former is a defect in the understanding, the later is the grace of an honest heart; and this sure is that which is of esteem with God. In matters of judgement and justice between man and man, you are to have two eyes, to look both waies but as they that take aim shut one of their eyes, lest the sight should be distracted; so in your aims and ends, your eye is to be single, in intend­ing God, and not self: let Christ increase, though you decrease.

The greatest matter above-board, and which all mens expectations and mouthes are full of, is the setling of Religion and of the Church. Re­ligion is (rerum-publicarum quoddam quasi coagu­lum) that which caements Common-wealths to­gether,Cunaeus lib [...]. cap. 15. though now it be made the ball of con­tention, and the great divider of us into parties; we divide it, and are divided, being farre more then double-minded thereabout. Oh that God was first set into possession of his right, and that his Tabernacle was pitcht, before any of the lots, for our own liberties or interests were drawn. [Page 28] This was the oath that David swore in his affli­ctions, Psal. 132. 2, 3, He sware unto the Lord, and vowed unto the mighty God of Iacob. Surely I will not come unto the Tabernacle of mine house, nor goe up into my bed. I will not give sleep to my eyes, or slum­ber to my eye-lids, untill I finde out a place for the Lord, an habitation for the mighty God of Iacob; and this is the first Article in our vow and Cove­nant. What the reall impediments are, doth not fall within my way: but the self-interests are to be searched out. Not yet, say some, and their reason is the same, with that of the common sort of peo­ple, against inclosures in former times: If every mans owne should be inclosed, they should lose their freedom of common, and that liberty they u­surped all the field over, or (as others hope) that after we have turned round awhile, we may haply returne to the same posture we were in be­fore, and having lost our way in the mist, may come back again to the same place whence we set out at first. If any, (say others) let it be a George on horse-back that stands at door with a wooden dagger, but keeps no body from going in, the theef passes under his nose into the house, as well as the true-man. Not this, say some of those that are toward the law, for then haply many contentions might be quencht at the bottom of the chimney, before they flame out at the top: and such may be the want of grist, as it may tend much to the hinderance of their mill. Nothing thats one, say the Libertines, for we have gon loose [Page 29] so long, that now we cannot goe strait laced. Its irksome to wilde birds to be coopt up in a cage un­der discipline.

Those that have been such proficients in the school of liberty in a few years, as to commence teachers and preachers of the Word, or have grown to be such illuminates, as they pretend, will no more rejoyce in, or accept of a Government which may degrade them, or resolve them into the first matter or elements of their composition, then Souldiers of fortune (as they are called) can re­joyce in a peace concluded and setled. There might be named many other such like ends and interests, which carry stroke with men, and are the causes of our divisions; which would in great part be quenched, if the game was plaid on all hands, by conscience and singlenes of heart: let us therefore search out those self-respects which lie close in us, that we may finde the head of that Nilus which thus overflowes the banks. That double-mindednes which keeps us at distance from God, doth also keep us at distance from one ano­ther, and therefore that we may be [...], Phil. 2. 2. of one accord, I doe for my own part con­ceive it much conducing, that whatsoever touch­ing the settlement of the Church, shall passe your hands, may (in the main parts thereof) goe forth into the world, seconded with the reasons and grounds of it: for doubtles, the reason which in­duced you to set the stamp of authority upon it, will avail much to make it passe currently with o­thers. [Page 30] You know, the Gorgons head which struck all men dumb in former times. The Church, the Church, is not likely to have the same operation now, in this seeing and searching age: though men will willingly be subjects to your authority, yet also, as they are men, they will be slaves to reason. There is in your hands already (Renowned and Honourable) something which was printed by your appointment, for your satisfaction, in one main proposition, which if it might see the pub­like light, might give light to many who are yet in a cloud or mist.

So much for this point. There is yet a second, arising from these words: Purify your hearts, ye dou­ble-minded. And that is,

A double-minded man through the uncleannes of his heart,Doct. 2. keeps at distance from God, and God keeps at distance from him. He that is byassed with some predominant lust, cannot close with God sincerely, universally, neither will God impart himself to such a man; For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord, Iames 1. 7. would any of you settle an acquaintance or friendship with a known Vertumnus, that will be a parasite at one time, and a Iud [...]s at another? God is choice of his friends, he owns not such as serve their lusts, and are in heart divided from him. I have no time left me for this point: as neither for the consideration of both parts of this Text in connexion together: clean hands, and pure hearts: [Page 31] nor lastly, for the consideration of them both, with reference to our drawing nigh to God, and his drawing nigh to us; wherein I might have shewen you how communion with God, and the power of godlines are linked together; Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you: cleanse your hands, ye sinners, and purify your hearts, ye double-minded.

FINIS.

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