Heaven upon Earth; OR, THE Best Friend, In the Worst Times: BEING A LEGACY TO LONDON.


The Second Edition. Corrected.

LONDON, Printed for Eben. Tracy, at the Three Bibles on London-Bridge. 1710.

TO My Dearly Beloved in Christ, The CITIZENS of LONDON, with all that bear a Good Will to that CITY.

THE Great and Dreadful God hath been pleading with poor England in these last Years, in such a manner as is scarce to be paralell'd in foregoing Ages: He hath left the Print of his Fingers behind him, and written Di­vine Displeasure in Letters of Blood. The Righteous Judge began his Circuit the last Year in London, and in that one City above one hundred thousand re­ceived the Sentence of Death from his just Tribunal. He hath not yet ended his dismal Circuit, but he ri­deth still from one Shire to another, and doth not only keep his Assizes in one or two Places in a Coun­ty, but he visits most of their Market-Towns, and some smaller Villages also; doing terrible things in Righteousness amongst them. The Wound was scarce healed in the City, the Plague not quite re­moved, before another amazing Judgment is sent to succeed in the Place of it: God doth again break forth upon poor London in greater Fury still, plead­ing [Page]his Cause with us in a lamentable Fire, which in a few Days space, hath turned one of the most glorious Cities in the World to Ashes. The Voice of the Sword was not heard; the Language of the Plague was not understood; wherefore the dreadful Jehovah speaks louder and louder still. He hath now spoke as he did once from Mount Sinai, in Fire, Flames, and Smoak, and in the thundring Crack­ings of falling Houses, Churches, Halls, and stately Buildings; in the Howlings, Skreekings, and dole­ful Outcries of poor Creatures, that were almost at their Wits end. He rode upon the Wings of the Wind, he rode in a Chariot of flaming Fire; nei­ther Bricks nor Stones can hinder his Course, but the Fury of the Lord drove over them all; at whose Pre­sence, the Rocks are thrown down, and torn to pieces. The Bells did ring their own Knells as they were tumbling; and it's to be feared, were more mel­ted at the Anger of the mighty God, than thousands of hard-hearted Men and Women were: The Leads of the Churches were dissolved into Showers, more easily by far, than stupid Professors that were wont to sit under them. That was a black Cloud indeed which no Wind could blow over, till it fell in such scalding Drops! How few of those that were eating and drinking, and roaring but the Day before, dream­ed that such a Storm should rise before the Morning, that would not be laid till it had turned such wicked Inhabitants out of their Seats, and made their Hou­ses a ruinous Heap? I believe if they that were feasting on Saturday, had foreseen what would have come to pass in one Week's time, they would have had but little Stomach to their Dainties. Whereas if Sinners would give any Credit to the Word of Truth, that doth more than once tell them, that when they are most secure, usually they are nearest the Danger. The old World were as merry and as jovial the Day before the Flood, as if no Evil were nigh them. The Men of Sodom little thought when [Page]the Sun rose so gloriously in the Morning upon them, that it would, long before Evening, be so dark a Night with them. And though the World hear of these things a hundred times, yet they will not take warning, but they will be as jocund and chearful within a few Weeks of Eternity, as though all were very well with them. But alas, alas, poor Crea­tures! How miserably is the Case altered with them, when they see their Mistake in another World; then they will cry out that they had little Cause to be so merry; and that Tears and Groans had much bet­ter become Persons in their State than Mirth and Jollity. O that poor Sinners would learn Wisdom by fairer Means! O that they might not be taught by Scorpions, Flames, and Burnings; when the mer­ciful God is so loath to take such a severe Course, if any thing less would do the Work: But if Sinners will persist in their obstinate Rebellions against God, and will not be reclaimed by lesser Judgments, they must expect a greater still; God will make the prou­dest, first or last, to bow or fall, to bend or break, to turn or burn. They which will not hear one Judgment, shall before it be long feel another. If the Sword can't be heard, the Plague shall; if nei­ther the Sword nor the Plague, the Fire shall: If none of these, God hath his Treasuries of Wrath, and can plague us yet seven times more for our Sins. O stupid Creatures that we are, when shall we hear the Rod and him that hath appointed it! What! do all these things come by chance? Was there no­thing of God in that Plague? Nor in these Flames? When was such a Fire heard of, that was not kind­led by the Coals of his Jealousy? I will not say but there was abundance of the Policy and Malice of Hell in this Business; but I will affirm this, that had not our Sins exceedingly kindled the Wrath of God against us first, this devilish Popish Plot should have proved as abortive as some of the former; had not our Wickedness made our City more combustible [Page]than Briers and Thorns, the Jesuite should with more Ease have set the Sea on Fire, and dried up the vast Ocean, or pull'd the Sun out of the Firmament, than to have laid London in the Dust. If there were no­thing of God in this Fire, why was it not as easily quenched as other Fires have been? What meant that unheard of Stupidness that was upon the Spirits of the Magistrates? How came it to pass that the most probable Means to suppress its Rage, should not be made use of? Whence came that great Wind that did like a Pair of mighty Bellows, give a double Strength to those greedy Flames? Whence was it that there was such a general Con­sternation of Spirit, that Men should so forget their Work, and run away, and leave the City to the Mercy of the Fire? I might add a more significant Token of Divine Retaliation than all these, but I wave that, because he that runs may read it. All the Circumstances of this Fire speak aloud, Anger, Displeasure, Judgement.

Those three angry Heraulds, the Blasing Stars I [...], proclaimed War with England, from the just Jehovah, who would not put up such daring Affronts as were offered him by the Inhabitants of this King­dom, without taking notice of them. If ever God's Dealings with a People speak any thing of Displea­sure, then those that England hath been exercised with, do: All his dreadful Providences toward us do read their Commission, from a holy, just, and angry God. But if all that hath been said speak no­thing to the convincing of us, that God himself had the chief Hand in these things; if they all seem but humane Conjectures, I pray hear what God himself speaks, Amos 3.6. Shall there be Evil in a City, and God hath not done it? The Lord takes it as a very great Indignity, not to have the Operation of his Hands regarded; not to have his Judgments taken notice of, as coming from himself; and a hundred to one but they are near a second, who are not sen­sible [Page]of the first; and they near a third, who wild not be warned by the first and second.

Our next Enquiry shall be, wherefore God doth thus contend with us. Such Judgments as these are, never come only to try the People of God's Patience. No: Such great Judgments speak great Sins; and sometimes God writes the Sin in the Forehead of the Punishment: Will it not therefore be our great Con­cern, to find out what may be the Cause of this fiery Displeasure. Truly we need not search long to find the cursed Traytor, that had the chief Hand in this Business. You are all ready to ask the same Questi­on, which Ahashuerus, did Esther, Who is he, and where is he that durst presume in his Heart to have any thing to do in so devilish a matter? I answer as she did; The Adversary and Enemy is thy wicked Heart: Have you never read, That Wickedness burns like Fire? Isa. 9.18. That Sin which we make so much of, that Lust which we hug in our Bosoms, that Dalilah which we do so oft imbrace, hath done us all this Mischief: 'Tis Sin that is the only procuring Cause of Judgment. Holiness may set Men against us. It's nothing but Wickedness that can set God against us. Thine own Wickedness, O England, hath corrected thee, and thine own Backslidings have reproved thee: Know therefore and see, that it is an evil thing and bit­ter, that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God, and that my Fear is not in thee, saith the Lord of Hosts. There is never a Sinner in England but carrieth a Wild­fire about with him to do Mischief with it: The best natur'd unconverted Man that lives, whatsoever fine Name he may be called by, is no better than a Mad­man, that casteth abroad Fire-brands, Arrows, and Death; and yet he saith he meant no harm, he is but in sport. O that foolish Sinners should find out such dangerous things to play with! And such is his Fol­ly still, that when he hath set his Body, his Soul, his Relations, his Estate, his House, and his Neighbours too on fire; he makes a great Outcry, Fire! Fire! [Page]Where did it begin? Who was that careless Wretch by whose Neglect it first came? Could there be such a barbarous unmerciful Monster on this side Hell that would do such a thing? Could any Man living have the least Hand in so hellish an Act? Yes. How! Bring out that—(I know not what to call him bad enough) that we may tear him in pieces, we'll knock out his Brains, we'll send him to Hell, where he shall have Fire enough, if Fire be so good for him; a hundred Deaths are too little for him: O that I had him here (saith the furious Sinner) I would soon have the Heart-blood of him! Who now would i­magine that a Fellow that talks at this rate should be the Man, that was Head and Heart deep in this fi­ring Work? Whereas if the Man were thorowly searched, you might find abundance of sulphurous Stuff about him; and if one should follow him from place to place, he might find that he seldom cometh into any Place, but he leaveth some Brimstone, Gunpowder, and a lighted Match, in some secret Corner behind him.

But general Accusations are no Accusations, wherefore I shall descend to a few Particulars, and name some of those fiery Sins, which, it's more than possible, have made poor England like Stubble and Tinder; and have turned our Capitol City into Ashes. And, O that all the Tribes of Israel would set themselves before the Lord, and make a diligent Enquiry after those accursed Achans, those God-provoking Sins, which have been the Troublers of London! O that we could resolve their Death, though they be never so dear to us: My meaning is, O that upon the Discovery of the Sin that hath kind­led the Wrath of God, and caused him to break out upon us in such flery Indignation, we could in good earnest labour the mortifying of it, as we would en­deavour to see Execution done upon the vilest Trai­tor in the World. What say you Citizens? Will you promise that you will to the uttermost of your [Page]Power, and with the Strength of your Souls, oppose those Sins which have done you so much wrong? And because you are weak, and they are mighty ones, will you call in the Help of the Almighty a­gainst so wicked an Enemy? In hope of this I shall proceed in the Search, and as I go along, as you would not have to do with Fire again, as you value your own eternal Safety, Riches, and Peace; as you would not be harbourless when your House of Clay shall be pulled down; as you desire to have a House not made with Hands, and to live for ever in the New Jerusalem, be faithful in the Examination of your own Souls; and if you find them guilty, arraign, condemn, and crucify that great Malefactor.

What do you think of the Fire of Lust and Un­cleanness? Will not that burn Kingdoms, Coun­tries and Cities, as well as the Bones, Marrow and Strength? London is not the first City that hath been turned into Ashes by that burning Sin. O how hath this Sin reigned in London! How many thousands of Solomon's strange Women were there, not in Cor­ners only, but in their Shops (as I may call them) whole Streets standing in the Attire of Harlots; (I would to God my Informers were mistaken.) It would make a Christians Heart [...]ake to hear what Narratives some have made of these things, whose Profession hath given them too clear Demonstration of the Truth of what they spake. How many of the Citizens Wives themselves have given under­standing modest Persons cause of Suspicion, that they have not been the least guilty in this burning Sin? Nay, how many of them which look very soberly, and go for Religious Persons, have taken these Coals into their Bosoms? May not God justly take up the same Complaint against some of the Inhabitants of this City, as he did once against Jerusalem; that when he hath fed them to the Full; they then committed Adultery, and assembled themselves together by Troops in Harlots Houses; and that they were as fed Horses in [Page]the Morning; every one neighed after his Neighbour's Wife. Shall I not visit for these things? Wherefore saith the Lord to his Servant Jeremiah, I will make my Words in thy Mouth Fire, and this People Wood, and it shall devour them, Jer. 5.7, 8, 9, 14. O that the Hand of some of our great Ones were not chief in this Matter! O what dreadful daring Sins of this Nature have been done in the Sight of the Sun! Have not some of our young Absaloms, even, as it were, spread their Tents to commit Folly in the Face of the whole City, as if Fornication alone were too lit­tle to sink them into Hell, except joined with Sodo­my and horrible Blasphemy; how have they added one to another? And then rejoyced, as if it were an Honour to be a Devil incarnate, and an high Piece of Gallantry to bid Defiance to the Almighty. Pass over the Isles of Chittim, and see, go to Kedar and consider: Was there ever greater Sins in Sodom, or more prodigious Wickedness heard of in France or Italy? Not only Fornication, but Adultery goes now for a venial Fault, a Peccadillo: And so impudent are some grown in their Sin, that they make but a laughing Business of such foul Abominations as these. O unspeakable Madness! What! is there less Dan­ger in this Sin now than there was in former times? Shall that Wickedness which once ascended up to Heaven in a black Cloud, and fell down again in Showers of Fire and Brimstone upon Sodom and Gomorrah, seem to us but Vapours that will quickly vanish? Why should not the Sin of Uncleanness burn London, as well as the Cities of the Plain? Is God less offended with Sin than he was then? Is not God as holy, just, and powerful now as ever? Is his Hand weaker now than ever? No such matter Sin­ners; Sin hath still its old Nature; and if there be any Difference it's now of a deeper Dye, as being committed against incomparably greater Light. Wherefore deceive not your selves, if God condemned Whoremongers and Adulterers then, they are not [Page]like to be acquitted now, if they die in that Sin; and let me add this, that that is a Sin that is seldom tru­ly repented of. O that those brutish Sinners would but seriously ponder these two or three Scriptures, Heb. 13.4. Rev. 21.8. Prov. 6.26. Ephes. 5.5, 6. Jude, ver. 7.

2. What do you think of fiery Spirits, who if it lay in their Power would turn all to Ashes that are not as furious as themselves? How many are there in England, that would be glad with all their Souls to be at this burning Work again? We can't yet for­get the Marian Days, those black and dismal Days, wherein in was an high Crime to desire the Light; wherein poor Creatures must go hood-winked to Hell, or to Heaven in a Flame. We can't let that Powder-plot slip out of our Minds, though some of Rome's Friends could be contented that the Memory of it should quite be quenched, and those Jesuitical Incendiaries should be received into our Embraces. Nay, we can't but shrewdly suspect that that hellish Cabal, had their Heads and Hands, as well as their Hearts in the fireing of London. These, these are the Persons that have always traded much with Fire and Blood; and we can scarce think that so many of them as were in London, have been altogether idle. Who is it that hath rent and torn us into so many pieces? Who is it that foments our Divisions? He must be blind that sees not the Hand of the Jesuite in all these. And are there none we call Pro­testants, that forget what Spirit it is which acteth them, while they are so implacable against those which they should love as Brethren, and not spare to lay down their Lives for them, if called to it. O where is the sweet Spirit that was amongst Christians in the Primitive Times? Did the Commands of our great Master bind none but his Apostles and Disci­ples? Did that Law of Love continue in force only for an Age or two? Doth it signify nothing with us, that Christ did so highly commend this Duty of loving [Page]one another? O England, England, when will thy bitter Heart-burnings be cooled! I speak to the hot Spirits of England. Do you think that he which con­demned James and John when they would have been at this fiery Work, will commend you for imitating of them? Is this forgiving of Enemies? Is this pray­ing for them that persecute us? Is this blessing them that curse us? What is that which we so earnestly contend for? Is it the Faith once delivered to the Saints? Is it, who should love one another most? What is it that we labour so much for? Is it to pluck Firebrands out of the Fire? To quench the Flames of Hell that are ready to seize upon Christ-despising Sin­ners? When God hath sent us into his Vineyard to work, do not many of us play, or sleep, or that which is worse, make use of those Tools which God hath given us to work with, to fight withal, and to beat our Fellow-Servants? If any be angry at what I say, I must add this one Word more to him; I am sure he is guilty. Let me in sober Sadness expostu­late the Case with thee, before thou let fly too vio­lently; let me ask this hot spirited fiery Creature, Are you sure your Zeal is according to Knowledge? Are you certain the things you are so hot about are the weighty things of the Law? Are they as necessa­ry as the Salvation of Mens Souls? Are you sure they are the grand Fundamentals, without which it is im­possible to escape everlasting Wrath? If so, I must confess I blame thee not? Dare you say that those that you are so fiery against, are all in a damnable State? If they were, they have the more need of your Pity, and compassionate Endeavours to convince them of their Misery: But what if those which you so madly breath out Threatnings against, be the Chil­dren of God? I tell you, I would not be found guilty of offending one of those little ones for all that you are worth, if it were ten thousand times more than it is. Do you think that their Father doth not see? Or do you think that the God of Love, which hath made it [Page]your Duty to love your Children, hath none for his? Or do you hope to make your Party good with him, and them too? If this be your Mind, I know what will become of the Stoutest of you all shortly. Do you never look into the Bible, O ye fiery ones, which make nothing of smiting with the Tongue! Did you never read the first Chapter of the Second Epistle of Paul to the Thessalonians? There you may find what Wages you shall have for such Work, what Recom­pence for such Service. Who is it, that the Lord Jesus will give Rest to? And who is that he will take Vengeance of in flaming Fire? When you intend next to trouble any of those that are dear to Christ, read and study that Chapter, and then as you like Fire and Flanies go on in your Work. When you are envying against your Christian Brethren, then before you be too hot turn to Jude 14.15. Re­member that hard Speeches shall be punished with no easy Judgment. Consider how the Great In­dictment runs, Matt. 25. It may be you may think that as to the main Thing, Religion, you are safe e­nough; but did you never hear that it's more than possible that such a one's Religion is but a seeming vain Religion, who bridles not his Tongue, Jam. 1. 26. What do you say to these Scriptures, O ye hot ones! Do you well consider what Fire warms you? And what Furnace those Coals must glow in for e­ver? Your fiery Tongues will shortly be scorched in such Flames, as that they will roar out for a Drop of Water to cool them. What shall be given unto thee, or what shall be done unto thee, thou false Tongue? Sharp Arrows of the Mighty, with Coals of Juniper. O when shall these unnatural Heats be abated! I speak all this to violent ones of all Perswasions soever: And I say again, I am sure none but the Guilty will be offended; but I fear the Fire burns on every side so terribly, that these few Drops will do little to the quenching of it; but however, who can choose but draw Water that knows what precious things are [Page]near the Burning? Who can forbear pulling away some of the Fuel, that understands how dreadful the Fire may be if it burn a while longer. I am the lar­ger upon this, because this great Sin hath already been burning many Years; and hath miserably weakened us, and is now of more dangerous Con­sequence than ever. Is it not enough, England, that thou art compassed about with Flames, but that thou must be still kindling Fires, gathering Fuel, and blowing it up, and that even in thy own Bowels? Is this a time for Englishmen, for Christians, for Pro­testants to be ready to tear one another's Throats out? Wo is me that I dwell among them that are set on Fire! Wo is me that I sojourn in Mesech, that I dwell in the Tents of Kedar! My Soul hath long dwelt with them that hate Peace. I am for Peace, but when I speak, they are for War, Psal. 120. Shall nothing make us lay aside our unnatural Feuds? Wo, wo to those which are so far from quenching this Fire, that they still labour to make it burn more furiously: It may be that Fire which now warms them, may one Day burn them. This fiery Sin also hath not had the least Hand in burning London to Ashes. And what sayest thou, O Sinner, to this Indictment, guilty, or not guilty? O blessed are the Meek! But if thou art guilty, run speedily to the great Conduit, the Fountain, and fill thy Bucket, and pour, pour abundance of Water upon this Fire; nay, upon the very Smoak: Thoa little thinkest what it will else come to at last.

3. Hath there not been a strange Coldness and In­differency in the Things of God? And since preach­ing would not warm us, God will try whether the Fire will: While we heard of the unsearchable Ri­ches of Christ, which should have thawed our Hearts, and turned them into a Flame of Love, we were as cold and as lifeless as if the Tenders of a Christ to the lost Sons of Adam were no such great Mercy, and the Gospel of Reconciliation but an inconsiderable [Page]Kindness. While we heard the Sons of Thunder, our Souls were not rent; while the Flames of Hell have been set forth warmly, we have been as little affected as if the Fire of that burning Pit, were but a painted Fire, and the Torments of the Damned a politick Fable to scare Men into Civility. While we have heard of the Day of Judgment so oft, and have not seen it, we are almost of the Mind, that things will always be as they are; and are ready to think, that because God stays long, therefore he will never come. But hold there Sinner, that would be good News indeed to thee; but flatter not your selves so; God will e're long convince you by an undenia­ble Argument, that Heaven, Hell, and Eternity are the greatest Realities in the World; and that God's Judgment and Damnation are not things to be jested with. Some of us have been ready to talk in our Hearts, as those Atheists did with their Tongues, Isa. 5.19. Let him make speed and hasten his Work, that we may see it. And now God hath answered that Re­quest with a Vengeance. Faith would not see, and therefore Sense shall. God hath let the Sins of Lon­don see a little Emblem of the Day of Judgment; He came like a Thief in the Night, he came irresisti­bly and dreadfully, and in a little space hath de­spoiled us of our Glory, and filled our Hearts with Horror, and our Souls with Astonishment; and if we continue still our old Luke-warmness, we may be visited with new heating Judgments still. But some will say, what do I mean to reckon this amongst the God-provoking Sins? When was there ever more praying? When more of the outward Acts of Reli­gion? What Fasting? How many Solemn Assem­blies?

Did not Israel and Judah do as much as we, think you, when God laid their Country desolate, and burnt their Cities with Fire, and scourged them with one Judgment after another, till he was ready to throw away his Rod, and give them up as utterly incorrigi­ble? [Page]Read but the first Chapter of Isaiah, and you shall find that at that very time they made as glori­ous a Profession of Religion as any People in the World. They listed up their Hands with a great deal of seeming Devotion, they made many Prayers, and they hung down their Heads for a while like Bullrushes, and as to the external Part of Religion seemed to be a People that delighted in God; and yet you see how exceedingly the Lord undervalued all that they did. Why, what was the matter that the Lord takes no more notice of them, than if they were the vilest Wretches on this side Hell? And calls them by a Name which spoke no less, Men of Sodom, and Inhabitants of Gomorrah. Why, the reason was, because they play'd the Hypocrites so abominably; while their Tongues were as hot as could be, their Hearts were as cold as Stones; while they sacrificed the Beast to God, they devoted their Life and Love to their Lusts; and the Sum of all their Religion was, to tell God they were Sinners, and to desire that he would give them leave to be so still, and af­ter they had sin [...]ed as long as they could, bestow a [...] Happiness and Glory upon them in another World that God would be pleased to accept the Shell, and let the Devil have the Kernel. And how can you think such Petitions as these could be well accepted of? Oh that England were not as like them in Si [...] as it is in Suffering! O that we did not give our God as just Cause to complain of us as he did of them We cry out as they did, The Temple of the Lord, th [...] Temple of the Lord: We boast of our Church, of ou [...] Baptisin, and this is all that the most of us have t [...] distinguish us from Pagans and Infidels. O where where are the Men and Women to be found, whos [...] Professions and Actions correspond? How few an [...] there that know what it is to worship God in Spi [...] and in Truth? Nay, is not Godliness and Saint b [...] come a Word of Contempt and Scorn? Doth not b [...] that departs from Iniquity make himself a Prey? An [Page]yet we must go for the most unquestionable Christi­ans. If this be Religion, what is Irreligion? If this be Holiness, what is Wickedness? Should not the Lord visit for such things as these? And if God should not be avenged on such a People as this, they would be confirmed in their Wickedness, and think that Holiness it self approved of the greatest Impieties. The Truth of it is, considering all things, it is a Miracle that our Condition is not far sad­der than it is; it is a wonder that our Fire was not mingled with Brimstone. Pride, Idleness, and Ful­ness of Bread, were the Sins of Sodom; and was Lon­don less guilty? May we not add Oppression, False­ness, Perjury, prodigious Insensibility of former Judgments? The Plague which sell chiefly upon the Poor, began to be thought nothing by the Rich, tho' most of them flew from it; and some of them were as merry in the Country, as if London ailed nothing: but now they also shall feel what it is to lye under the Scourge: And they that would not abate any thing of their Pride and Luxury to keep others from starving, shall do it now whether they will or not, to keep themselves from it. They which would give but little to supply the Exigencies of others when they had it, shall now have but little to supply their own. I tell you some of the faithful Ministers that staid in the City, when they beheld the brutish Stupidness of the Generality of People, much feared another Judg­ment upon the Neck of the Plague. Was there not one more especially, who declared himself thus in publick; O London, London! If thou dost not re­pent, and reform in another kind of manner than thou h [...]st yet done, if God doth not speedily send another great and visible Judgment upon thee, then the Lord hath not spoken this Day by me. O London, London! said a­nother, O that thou hadst known in this thy Day the Things of thy Peace! I tremble, said another, (who is now in his Chamber, hid till the Indignation be o­ver-past) [Page] to see what a Storm is ready to fall upon our miserable rich ones, who are now feasting and faring de­liciously every Day in the Country, whilst we are ready to famish some of us, and dying by thousands in the City. So that we cannot say but that we had fair Warning. Should I go on still to read God's Indictment against us, when should I have done? O where is that sweet Spirit that was once stirring in London! Is not Religion in the Life of it almost out of fashion? Is it not laid aside as a Garb not becoming our present Times? But I believe before God hath done with us he will make us put it on again, as well as our old cast-away-Suits: O how have we forsaken our first Love! O the dreadful Apostacy of some of our Hearts! O how little have those of us that should have en­couraged Holiness troubled our selves with it, ex­cept to suppress, brow-beat and oppose it. Hath it not been a sport to some in this City, to abute the Holy Scriptures, and those that desired to go to Heaven by that Light. Who have been the Song of the Drunkard? What have the profane Wits made the great Subject of their scurrilous Tongues, but sa­cred Things? As if it were the greatest Credit to dishonour our Maker, and true Courage to despise the Laws and Power of an Almighty God. At what a high rate do the Devil's Champions act, as if they were afraid they could never do their Master Service enough, and after all should miss of his Company for ever. But never fear that Sinner; Hell may be had at a great deal cheaper rate. If you desire to be so familiar with God's Judgment, Damning, and the Devil, it may be sooner than you are aware you may have enough of them. Neither have we cause to censure the Layety alone, as only guilty in these fiery Sins: The Ruins of the Churches, and the burning of the Pulpits, speak those which claim the greatest Interest in both, not to be altogether inno­cent. Give me leave to lay my self and you in the [Page]Dust, O ye Ministers of England. Have we been in­deed true and faithful to the Interest of Christ and Souls? Have we not minded the Fleece as much as the Flock? Have we taught the Word in season and out of season? Have we been in Travail to see Christ formed in the Souls of our Hearers? Have we besought Sinners in Christ's stead to be reconciled to God? Have we watched over Souls? Have we war­ned Sinners Night and Day with Tears? Have we taught them publickly, and from House to House? Have we been like burning and shining Lights? Hath the Honour of our great Master been our great­est Design? Have we laboured hard in God's Vine­yard, and in good earnest prayed that God would send more Labourers into his Harvest? Have we preached by holy Lives and sound Doctrine? This 'tis to be a Gospel-Minister. But hath this indeed been the Practice of the Ministers of England? Have we not rather given Campian and his Brethren the Jesuites cause to insult and say, Nihil eorum mi­nistris vilius? Have not abundance of us by our vile and abominable Lives exposed the Sacred Function, and caused the Offerings of the Lord to be abhor­red? Have not our Actions spoke more for the De­vil, than our Tongues have done for Christ? Do not the common People begin almost to question our Office, and look upon it as a Cheat? Are not they far more hardned by ourwicked, or unprofitable Con­versation, than softned by our Preaching? Preach­ing did I say? Perhaps I might have put in another Word? For that was a Work that some of us trou­bled our selves little enough with. And it's obser­ved by some, that we left our Pulpits and made them almost useless, before God burnt them: And when we did preach, did we preach Christ, or our selves? The Moralist (Epic.) thought it a ridiculous thing to call two thousand People together, to tell them that he was a good Scholar, in a Periphrasis of [Page]two hours long; he tells us (though a Heathen) That it was God and Souls that he was to speak for, and not himself. And shall a Christian Minister, judge it greater Wisdom wittily to commend himself, than warmly to commend Christ. Pudet haec opprobria nobis vel dici potuisse, & non potuisse re­felli.

I expect that those which are most guilty should least relish this Accusation; but let me tell such, they have already more disgraced themselves by acting, than I dare by speaking; and as for those that are not guilty, all this is nothing to them. These are no secret things, but such as the World rings of; and Confession of Sin, and Humiliation for them, and reforming of them, will be a surer Guard to our Credit than our hiding them. I may say, shall we be so tender in the Matter of our Honour, and shall not God's be at all vindicated? And if I may not censure others, I hope you will give me leave to ac­cuse my self: And for my part I had far rather judge my self here, than be judged hereafter.

Well now, is England guilty or not guilty? Is not London tried and cast? And shall we not yet humble our selves, and give Glory to the God of Is­rael? Shall we still like Pharaoh harden our Hearts against all these Plagues? O that we may be wise at last! That before it be too plate, we may know the Things of our Peace! O that we may come refined and purified out of this Fire! O that it may purge away our Dross, and take away our Tin! O that like burnt Children we may for ever after dread the Fire! O that those dreadful things which we have seen and heard, may engage us more deeply against Sin, which brought them all upon us! And let me tell you, this is nothing to the Mischief that Sin intends to do us if we look no better after it. O shall we ea­sily be reconciled to that which hath robbed us of so many of our sweetest Enjoyments, that hath spoiled [Page]us of our Goods; which hath turned us out of our Houses, but with a little warning, and given them to our Servant, who will never restore them again, I mean the Fire. Shall we lodge that in our Bosom which hath turned our beloved and beautiful City into Ashes? Shall we look upon that as no Enemy, which hath done us such a great deal of harm? Shall we again join in Affinity with that Prince of Darkness, who first or last undoes all that have any thing to do with him, except to resist him. Shall the Wrongs that this old Adversary hath done to poor London be revenged by a new Covenant with him? Is it a small Injury to dismantle, rifle and burn such a City as London was? O that one Fire might kindle another! O that our Souls were in­flamed with Indignation against Sin! When Sa­tan sollicits you next to Folly, then think of Eden, London and Golgotha; I mean the Injuries that Sin did you in all those Places. Let me a little incense your Souls against that Enemy that we are ready so soon to receive into Favour. Was it not this E­nemy which ran without Pity the last Year from one end of the City to the other, and left in most of our Houses one dead, in some scarce one living? It was this which fed the greedy Grave with some hun­dreds at a Meal. This, this tore our dear and pre­cious Relations out of our Embraces; and shall we still have as much Kindness for it as for the dearest Friend in the World? I wonder how Sin and Satan came to deserve so well at our Hands, that we should prefer them both above all that we have in the World! O how hath the Devil bewitched poor Sin­ners, that they should rather part with their greatest Friends, than the least Sin! What good did Satan ever do us, that we should make so much of his Brats! O desperate Madness! O prodigious Folly, that Men and Women should value Sin above their nearest Relations, above their Souls, their God! [Page]O that Sinners would believe once that Sin is none of their Friend, for all they are so well acquainted with it. 'Tis this which laid our glorious City in the Dust. This is that great Robber (for all he speaks us so fair) that hath made us poorer by some Milli­ons than we were three Weeks ago; and shall we for all that let him go away without Revenge? O that I could prejudice all the Sinners in London a­gainst Sin; O that they may hate it with a perfect Hatred, and then I believe none of them would complain of their Loss. Come and see what De­solations, what dreadful Havock it hath made a­mong our stately Buildings! How are they become a ruinous Heap! How are those brave and magni­ficent Structures, the Gifts of our Noble Ancestors, levell'd with the Ground! Where is our Royal Ex­change? What is become of most of our Halls and Churches? How sad a Spectacle is it now to look upon Lombard-street, Cheapside, and Pater-Noster-Row? How ghostly a Sight is it to see the Place where London stood! Of all that Glory, how little is left! What can we find but a few Bricks, smoak­ing Cellars, and a Heap of Rubbish? How doth the City sit solitary that was full of People, she that was great among the Nations, and Princess among the Peo­ple, how is she become poor! From the Daughter of London all her Beauty is departed. London remem­bred, in the Day of Affliction and of her Misery, all her pleasant Things that she had in the Days of old; When her Daughters were clothed like Ladies, and her Citizens were like so many Princes. But what an Alteration hath Sin made! What—let Sighs and Groans speak the rest. O let it not be told in Gath, let it not be published in the Streets of Askelon! Let it not be spoke in Holland; let not this be reported in France! Triumph not, O Spain! Rejoice not, O Italy! The Cup shall pass over unto Edom, and Baby­lon shal [...] drink the Dregs of it. Shall London be [Page]brought to the Dust, and shall Rome sit as a Lady for ever? Tremble, O Babylon, tremble, for thy Day is coming. The Day of the Lord will be terrible, it will burn like Fire. If Judgment begin at the House of God, where shall the Wicked and Ungodly appear? Rejoice not against me, O my Enemy, though I fall, I shall rise a­gain; but when Babylon falls, she shall fall with a Vengeance, like a Milstone in the mighty Waters. Thy Turn, O Rome, is coming. When thou heardst of the Desolations of London, thou skippest for Joy; thou sittest and thinkest thy self safe, and dost not fear but that thy Glory shall run parallel with the Being of the World, thou shalt be a Queen for ever. But doth God say so too? No; thy Plagues shall come in a Moment, and thy Desolation like a Whirlwind: E're long the Kings of the Earth shall hate the Whore, and tear her Flesh in Puces, and burn her with Fire. Hath the Lord stretched out upon Zion the Line of Confusion, and the Stones of Emptiness, and shalt thou go altogether unpunished? Come near, O ye Nations, and hearken, O ye People; let the Earth hear, and all that is therein; the World, and all things that come forth out of it; for the Indignation of the Lord shall be upon all Nations, and his Fury upon all their Armies; he shall utterly destroy them, and their Slain shall be cast out, and their Stink shall come up out of their Carcases; and the Mountains shall be melted with their Blood; for the Sword of the Lord shall be bathed in Blood, it shall come down upon Idumaea, and upon the People of my Course, to Judgment; for the Day of the Lord's Vengeane is coming, and the Year of Recom­pences, for the Controversy of Zion, and the Streams thereof shall be turned into Pitch, and the Dust there­of into Brimstone; and the Land thereof shall become burning Pitch, it shall not be quenched Night nor Day. This shall be the Condition of the Ad­versaries of Zion, and their Breach shall never be made up: But the Lord will heal the Breaches of London, and build up her Wasts, and she shall yet [Page]be inhabited, and shine in her Glory, if she return to him that hath torn her, he will heal her.

Come therefore, let us search and try our Ways, and turn again unto the Lord. We will bear the Indignation of the Lord, because we have sinned a­gainst him: We will take with us Words, and go unto our God, and say, Heal our Backslidings and love us free­ly. It is time for London to fall down before the mighty Jehovah, to humble thy self, and to lick the very Dust. Thus saith the Lord to the Inhabitants of London, Seek ye me, and ye shall live; but seek not Be­thel, nor enter into Gilgal, and pass not over to Beershe­bah. Take heed of Idolatry, take heed of unscriptu­ral Worship; the Ark and Dagon can't dwell long together. Gilgal shall surely go into Captivity, and Bethel shall come to naught. O let England have a care of Idolatry, that People-wasting and City-burning Sin. Take heed of Popery: Stick to the Scripture as you value your Souls. It may be I may not have much less Cause to renew my Advice than the Prophet had, wherefore I say again, Have a care of Gilgal, Bethel and Beershebah. Seek ye the Lord, and ye shall live, lest he break out like Fire in the House of Joseph, and devour it, and there be none to quench it in Bethel, Amos 5.4, 5, 6. Awake O Lon­don, and repent quickly, for yet there is Hopes! Re­pent in good earnest, and thy God will yet look up­on thee, and raise thee out of the Dust, and take thee off from the Dunghil, and thy Glory shall be double to what it was. The Lord will lay thy Stones with fair Colours, he will lay thy Foundations with Saphires, he will make thy Windows of Agates, and thy Gates of Carbun­cles, and all thy Borders of pleasant Stones; In Righte­ousness shalt thou be established, thou shalt be far from Op­pression, for thou shalt not fear; and from Terror, for it shall not come near thee. Cry, cry mightily unto the Lord, ye that make mention of his Name, and give him no Rest till he establish the Glory of England, and make London a Praise in the whole Earth: For [Page] London's sake I will not be silent, for our Zion's sake I will not hold my Peace: The Place of the Se­pulchres of my Fathers lies wast, the Place of my Na­tivity; the Sanctuary and Shelter of God's People lies desolate. The City wherein sometimes dwelt Righteousness, is fallen to the Ground! London is in Ashes! Christians, how can you bare such a Sight without Tears! This is the Place where your Souls were sometimes fed with Marrow and Fatness; Here thousands and thousands were born to God. Chri­stians, can you forget the Place of your spiritual Na­tivity? Here you enjoyed sweet Communion with the Saints. For your Brethren and Kindreds sake, let London lie near your Hearts! O pray, pray, pray for poor desolate London! They shall prosper that love her. Remember London, O ye praying ones! You Favourites of Heaven, when you are in the King's Presence, speak a good Word for dear Lon­don! Remember her in your Fasts, forget her not in all your Addresses to God, but wrestle with him for a Blessing for her. O let us fall to Fasting, Prayer, and Reformation from Dan to Beersheba! Let us buckle to our Work in sober Sadness. I promise you Englishmen, it's now no time for to be jesting; our Glory is departed! The Fire of the Lord is burn­ing on every side. Come, bring your Buckets, fill them with Tears: O that mine Eyes were Waters, and my Head a Fountain of Tears, that I might weep Day and Night over thee, O London. Hear, O ye that are afar off, lissen to the Groans of Lon­don! Do you not hear her crying out as a Woman in Travail? Wherefore do I see Paleness upon all Faces? Is there not a Cause? Come let us gird Sack­cloth upon our Loins, and cast Ashes upon our Heads for London's Calamity; and if Men and Wo­men can't speak, Ashes, double-burnt Bricks, and that dismal Chasma where London stood, opens its Mouth, and cries, Have Pity upon me, O ye my Friends, [Page]have Pity upon me, for the Hand of the Lord hath touch­ed me! Is it nothing to you, O ye that dwell in the Countries? Come up to London and see, and let your Eyes affect your Hearts. Behold, how many discon­solate Creatures walk up and down upon the Rub­bish of London. Come and see what Desolation the Lord hath made: How dreadful hath his Displea­sure shewed it self, upon some that are better than your selves! Consider how many thousands of suf­fering Families there be which were sometimes able, and some of them willing to relieve others in such a State. Behold the Merchants and Citizens of Lon­don, like Persons amazed, struck thorow with Hor­ror, and filled with Perplexity; and if you have a­ny thing of a Christian in you, let it now be seen: Let your Heart and your Purse too be opened wide; and go home and mourn over that calamitous Place, and weep for their Sins which had a Hand in bring­ing that Misery upon them. Stir up others to pity them: Tell them what a sad Sight your Eyes have seen, and labour to make them and your Heart more sensible of their Sufferings. I may say of theirs too: Can the Head be deadly sick, and the rest of the Bo­dy very well? I believe the Country will quickly feel the sad Effects of London's Poverty. Go home therefore and pour out your Souls before God, and let your Eyes run down with Tears: Let England's Mourning be like the Mourning of Hadadrimmon in the Valley of Megiddo. Pity poor London, O ye Nobles and Gentry of England. This is not a time for an Englishman, for a Christian, to be hoarding up Treasure in, except it be on the Backs and Bellies of Christians: This is no time to be drinking Wine in Bowls, to be slaying of Oxen and killing of Sheep: This is no season to fare as Dives did, except you will be content with his Reckoning. If therefore you have any Bowels, any Compassion, contract all your superfluous Expences for more noble Uses. Act [Page]for the Lord's sake as Men that are not void of Hu­manity, and as those that might have been, and may be in a suffering Condition before you die. Let not your Charity begin and end too at home. Let not your Charity be cold after such a Fire, lest your Turn be next to know what Fire is. Consider for Christ's sake, and for your own sakes too, whether be more necessary, the pampering of Horses, the feeding of Hounds, or the relieving of distressed Christians? Which do you think you shall reflect upon with most Comfort when you come to die? Which do you be­lieve will be the best Account at the Day of Judg­ment, when God shall ask you how you spent your Estates? To say, I spent so many hundreds by the Year in sumptuous House-keeping, so much upon idle unnecessary Attendants, so much at Cards and Dice, so much upon Plays and Whores, so much given to make Men drunk, and so much at the Ta­vern; Or so many hundreds for the feeding and clo­thing of God's Poor; so many hundreds for a Stock to set up diligent young Men, that were undone by the Fire; so much for the present Relief of those that were brought into pressing Exigencies by that cala­mitous Flame, and such like Uses? Which of these do you think will be the most comfortable Account at the Day of Judgment? Remember that those that will not shew Mercy at such a time, shall have Judg­ment without Mercy. Your Sin helped to lay London wast: O that I could be as confident that your Charity and Reformation would help to build it again! O that you may have as great a Hand in its Reparation, as you had in its Devastation! But I say again, if the Groans of London be not heard by you, if her Calamities do not affect you, know this, that the Day is coming when you shall cry and not be heard, when you shall groan and not be pitied.

[Page]O let not me rejoyce till I see thy Glory, O Eng­land, returning. London shall never be forgotten by the while my Breath lasteth. The Servants of God favour the very Dust of our Jerusalem. Once more Christians let me with all Earnestness bespeak your Help. Help all you that love London, that love God, that love your Souls, help with your Tears and Prayers, help with your Hands, Hearts, and Pur­ses: It may be the Lord will be gracious to us, and cause his Face to shine upon us, and then we shall be saved. I say again, and let all that wish well to poor England say so too, Let us gird us with Sack­cloth, and cast Ashes upon our Heads, and cry mightily unto the Lord for her that sits in the Dust. Proclaim a Fast, call a Solemn Assembly, gather the People together, sanctify the Congregation, ga­ther the Children, and those that suck the Breasts, let the Bridegroom go forth out of his Chamber, and the Bride out of her Closet; let the Ministers of the Lord weep bitterly between the Porch and the Al­tar, and let them say, Spare thy People, O Lord, and give not up thy Heritage to Reproach: Wherefore should our Enemies say, Where is their God? Then will the Lord be jealous for his Land, and pity his People; yea, the Lord will answer, and say unto London, I will raise thy wast Places again, and I will build thy Streets, and the Voice of Joy and Gladness shall be again heard in thee; yea, the Voice of Praise and Thanksgiving; I will send you Corn, Wine and Oyl, and thou shalt he satisfied therewith. I will restore the Riches to thee, which the Fire hath taken from thee. I will send Peace into your Walls, and Prosperity into your Borders; I will restore your Teachers which are removed into Corners; I will send the Gospel of Peace in its Power and Purity a­mong you; I will write Holiness to the Lord upon the Foundations of your Houses, upon your Gates and Palaces; your Riches, Trade and Glory shall [Page]return unto you; and you shall be blessed and your Posterity after you: But if you will still do wicked­ly, and will not repent, I do here declare, that all these are but the Beginnings of Sorrows; for all this the Anger of the Lord shall not be turned away, but his Hand shall be stretched out still; and he will yet plague you seven times more for your Sins: And your God will be a consuming Fire, which will again break out and devour what you have sa­ved out of these Flames; and through the Wrath of the Lord of Hosts the whole Land shall be Darkness, and the People shall be as the Fewel of Fire, and no Man shall spare his Brother, and he shall snatch on the right Hand and be hungry; and he shall eat on the left, and not be satisfied; they shall eat every one the Flesh of his own Arm. Manasseth shall be against Ephraim, and Ephraim against Manasseh, and both of them against Judah. For all this his Anger will not be turned away, but his Hand is stretched out still. Wherefore, repent, O London, of thy abominable Uncleanness and Pride; repent of thy Backsliding and Idolatry; repent of thy Per­jury, lying and cheating, repent of thy Luke-warm­ness and Hypocrisy; repent of thy Covetousness, Worldly-mindedness and Cruelty; repent of thy Gluttony and Drunkenness. Ye Daughters of London which were haughty, and walked with stretched-forth Necks, and wanton Eyes, walking and min­cing as ye went, the Lord hath taken away much of the Bravery of your tinkling Ornaments, of your changeable Suits of Apparel, your Mantles and Glasses, Fine Linnen, Hoods, and Vails, he hath stained the Glory of your Pride; and will you again be as foolish as ever? Will you never understand your Sin till God hath burnt the rest of your fine Things and you too? O ye Citizens of London, hath not God written Vanity upon your greatest Enjoy­ments? Have not your Riches taken themselves [Page]Wings and flew away? And will you again after all this set your Hearts upon such short-lived uncer­tain Riches, and undervalue those true and everla­sting Riches. O look upon the World as it is, as an empty, dissatisfying, transitory thing, and too mean a Match for a Soul. Is it not now high time to look after a House that can't be burnt, A House not made with Hands, which is eternal with God in the Heavens? Is it not now high time to get into that City which hath Foundations, whose Builder and Maker is God? Will it not now be for our Interest to look after our Freedom in that New Jerusalem? There we may have a Dwelling more safe than a House of Brick or hewen Stone, which a greater Fire than this was can't demolish or impair.

But if any be so hardned and incorrigible, as to make a Pish of all this, I come to such with dread­ful Tidings e're long; O stupid Sinner, thou shalt behold a far more dismal Fire, and hear far more lamentable Outcries, and see thousands of thousands at their Wits Ends, filled with unspeakable Horror and Perplexity, not being able to save the least Rag to cover their Nakedness, nor to save themselves from those dreadful Flames; and if thou repent not speedily, thou shalt be one of them; and thou also shalt wish thou mightest be so happy as to be covered with the Ruins, or consumed to nothing with the Flames; thou shalt call and cry to the Rocks to cover thee, and to the Mountains to hide thee from that terrible Sight, the Lord Christ the Judge, whose Eyes are like flaming Fire. Belo­ved, the Day of the Lord is coming which shall burn like Fire, in which not Houses and Cities on­ly, but Lands also, yea, the whole World shall be all in a Flame, Heaven and Earth will be on Fire: That will be a Fire indeed! Let your Losses be never so great now, I am sure if you do not repent, they will be infinitely greater then. Those three Nights [Page]were sad Nights wherein you could not take a wink of Sleep for the Fire; but that will be a far sadder Night, which will never have a Day following it, in which you can't be able to take a Moment's Rest for those intollerable Flames. You will then think the burning of your Houses nothing to the burning of your Bodies; and the burning of your Bodies no­thing to the Torments of your Souls. I tell thee, O Sinner, if thou continuest an Enemy to God, God hath not done with thee yet, the worst is still to come. Upon the Wicked he will rain Fire and Brimstone, and an horrible Tempest; and this shall be the Por­tion of their Cup; and the Wicked shall be turned into Hell, and cast into that Lake that burns for e­ver and ever: A Fire that shall never, never, never be quenched. O that's a terrible Fire which shall not burn four Days, nor four Years, nor four thou­sand, nor four Millions, nor four Millions of Millions (O happy were it for Sinners if it might at last be quenched, though it lasted never so long) but it shall burn for ever, for ever, for ever! O that will be a dismal Day when that Fire begins to break out! When the Sinners in Zion shall be a­fraid, and the Hypocrites shall be surprized! Who among us shall dwell with devouring Fire? Who a­mong us shall dwell with everlasting Burnings? Tremble, O Sinners of England, tremble ye Sinners of London, left those unquenchable Flames seize upon you, which are infinitely more dreadful than those which your Eyes have seen with abundance of Ter­ror. That's a Fire which shall be felt more than seen; the Lord deliver poor London from that Fire, and then we shall the more patiently bear this! O that some of them which have saved most of their Goods out of this Fire, may not lose them all, and their Souls too in that! O happy would it be if this Fire should put us all into such a Fright that we may be afraid of Fire ever after! I mean of the Fire of [Page]Sin, of the Fire of God's Wrath, of the Fire of Hell. But let me add a Word or two more to them which have been great Loosers by this dreadful Fire. Re­member that you have that within you which kind­led this great Flame; be as careful to quench that Fire within you, as you were to quench that with­out you, and more too: Fear Sin more than Fire, more than Hell, and then neither of them shall do you any hurt. And again, I say, speedily make sure of such a House, such Goods, such an Estate which is not subject to such Hazards. And now ma­ny of you are turned out of your Habitations, and have lost a great part of that little which you had, and are out of a great deal of your Employments, whereby you might again stand upon your Legs; I must tell you among other Losses, I believe some of you have lost your Friends too. Most of them which in your Prosperity seemed much to respect you, will in your Adversity forget your Acquaintance. Per­haps by this time some of you have experienced that a true Friend is a greater Rarity than you thought it was; and that among all your Acquaintance (if you be very poor) you can scarce go to one that will receive you and yours, and make himself a Sharer in your Sufferings, and you a Sharer with him in his Comforts. You might be welcome while you had a free Trade, and good Comings in, but now their Houses are too straight, and they are sorry that they cannot accommodate you, and with some such poor Excuses you are shaken off; or if they do receive you for a while, they are quickly sick of your Com­pany, and you shall soon perceive that their Coun­tenance is not towards you as formerly. But sup­pose, which I believe too few will find, that some Friend will do all that I speak of; yet where is there such a Friend that will not only supply your pre­sent Exigencies, but also make up your past Losses, and make abundant Provision for you, for the future, [Page]against all manner of Wants? Such a Friend as this I may confidently say you shall rarely find. But now my Errand to you is to bring you Tidings of such a Friend; one that (if you will be quiet, and let him alone to do with you as he pleaseth) will make you a far greater Gainer than a Looser by this Fire. Acquaint now thy self with him, and be at Peace, and hereby Good shall come unto thee. Get but Ac­quaintance with God, and he will provide you a convenient House, he will lay you in the best Wares, and that without Money and without Price, he will make you to forget your Losses, and you shall drive a better Trade than ever you did in your Lives; and you shall say, that as for your part, it is well that you were thus undone. Your Incomes shall be far greater, your Returns quick and surer, your State shall be as much altered for the better, as Job's was at his latter End. Now, if ever, it is seasona­ble looking out for such a Friend. He alone is the best Friend in the worst Times. He knows Job upon the Dunghil, as well as David upon the Throne. He will be most kind when others are like to be most unkind. He will visit you when others will scarce look upon you. In his House you shall be as welcome as ever; in his House are many Mansions; if it were not so, he would have told you. In his City there is room enough, and you shall have Entertain­ment there, and be more welcome than if you staid away; his Doors will be open to them which have no Houses to hide their Heads in. Come to him, ye harbourless ones, he invites you earnestly and heartily, and he will give you Shelter. You that have no Friends, or but sorry ones, come to him now in your Straights, and he will never cast your Pover­ty or his Kindness in your Teeth, except your Car­riage be proud and unbecoming your State: But let me tell you this for your Comfort, that if you do once come to him, he will in no wise cast you out again; [Page]once your Friend, and so for ever. Now, now is the time that such a Friend would be worth the ha­ving: This is a Friend indeed. Now is the time, if ever, to look after something, that greater Flames than those which turned this City to Ashes can't consume. God hath lately read to us a Lecture of the Vanity of all Creature-Enjoyments. The last Year he took a­way many of our dearest Friends (we now see from what:) This Year he hath taken away many of your Estates, and I fear the most of the Friends that you have left will go with them; you must not expect them to be so sweet, loving, and kind, as sometimes they were: (the more will be their Shame.) And will you after this refuse Acquaintance with him, who will be better to you than a thousand of the best Friends that ever Man had upon Earth. If you have lost your House, he will find you a better, one that is admirably furnished, gallantly seated, where you shall sit Rent-free, or pay but a Pepper-corn; he will also bear all your Charges for you, keep your House, and you shall want for nothing as long as an infinite Store will hold out: You shall live higher, sare better, be clothed better, have a better Trade, keep better Company, and have every thing better than before. O that you would but try what this Friend will do for you! And if after you have made a thorow Trial of him, you do not find him far better than I can express, then also let me go for one of the most unfaithful Friends in the World.

My Love to poor London, the Place of my Nativi­ty, is great, and upon many Accounts you may claim a greater Interest in my Affections, than any place in the World besides: And I could not tell how more lively to express my dear Love to you, than by com­mending you to the Care of this great Friend, and by indeavouring all that I could possible to get you acquainted with him, whose Favour is better than Life, and whose Friendship will infinitely supply all [Page]your Wants. I have in this following Discourse gi­ven you a rude Character of this Friend, and I have laboured to shew you what unspeakable Advantage will accrue to you by your Acquaintance with him in such a time as this is: I have given you some Di­rections how you may come to be acquainted with him. Pray for a Blessing upon this Book, which hath cost the Author some Pains, Prayers, Tears, and Groans, that what was here written, might be the Transcript of his own Experience, and might be some way subservient to the Glory of God in the Conversion and Comfort of Souls. Peruse it with Seriousness, and it may be you may find that in it, that may make you more glad, than when your Corn and Wine and Oyl increased. You can now scarce say that you want time for such a Work as this is; if you do, I shall say you shall not want time to repent. I thought if any Providen­ces were wak'ning, such as these were, wherefore I desired to strike while the Iron was hot. O that the Lord would strike in too! O that the Effect of my poor Labours, may be the bringing in of some of them that were formerly without Christ, and Aliens from the Common-wealth of Israel, and Strangers from the Covenant of Promise, having no Hope, and without God in the World, to be acquainted with God in Christ Jesus; that they who were some­times afar off might be made nigh by the Blood of Christ: That you may be no more Strangers and Foreigners, but Fellow-Citizens with the Saints, and of the Houshold of God. O if I may be but an Instrument of the Good of one Soul, I shall think my Labour well spent, and my Losses turned into Gain. If you find any Good in the Use of this Book, give God the Praise, and labour to keep a constant warm Sense of the Excellency of such a Friend upon your Spirit; and commend this Friend to all your Relation [Page]and suffering Acquaintance, that none of them may after their great Losses, lose God, Heaven, and their Souls too. O that will be a dreadful Loss indeed! I again beseech you, forget not to pray for one of the most unworthy Instruments that ever Infinite Goodness made use of in so glorious a Work.

James Janeway.


Christian Reader;

UPon the serious Perusal of this Soul-pro­fiting Piece, I have found so much of the Divine Spirit breathing in it, that I cannot but commend it to thy serious Consideration. The Doctrinal Part is a Posthume of one that lived at a high rate in Acquaintance with God: And no wonder he writes so excellently about it; like Elihu, Job 32.18, 19. I am full of Matter, the Spirit within me constraineth me. Behold, my Belly is as Wine which hath no Vent, it is ready to burst like new Bottles. Or as that Prophet, Micah 3.8. But truly I am full of Power by the Spirit of the Lord, and of Judg­ment, and of Might. This Posthume had likely perished, had not a dear Brother, both [Page]in Natural and Spiritual Bonds, performed the Office of a Brother in raising up of Seed: So as thou hast, as it were. Twins in this Piece; but not like Jacob and Esau, strug­ling; but rather as those Twins conjoined in Body, sweetly sympathizing, rejoycing and con­doling with each other: I am sure both mutu­ally conspire for thy Soul's eternal Welfare. In the Doctrinal Part thou wilt meet with So­lidity of Judgment: In the Applicatory, no want of Judgment, but abounding Affection, and Strength of Argument to perswade and prevail with thee. I confess if thou beest a cu­rious Reader, thou wilt not find Quotations of Fathers to please thy Fancy; but if consci­entious, thou wilt find serious Truths to pro­fit thy Soul. I reverence the Fathers, I high­ly esteem Learning; but Pieces stuft with Greek and Latin Quotations, larded with Rhetorical Flourishes, prove oftentimes but as painted Glass that darken Churches. Here are some few Sparks of Nature's dim Light from some Heathen Philosophers, that may shame thee a Christian, if thou knowest not more, and livest not at a higher rate. Who­ever thou art, I beseech thee, who am one that unfeignedly loves thy Soul, read this Piece but once over with a composed calm Frame of Spi­rit for my sake, and I am confident thou will [Page]read it over again the second time for thine own Soul's sake. Read much, but read not many things; live lowly, but let thy Heart be lifted up in the Ways of God; be resolved for Heaven, and I assure thee here are excel­lent Helps to set thee forward in thy Journey. I am but thy Porter to open the Door, and let thee into this well-founded Fabrick; thou wilt find enough within to welcome thee, and such a Friend, that it will prove thy best Day thou camest acquainted with him. I will not detain thee at the Door; but before thy En­trance (which I would have thee to retain in mind after thy Return) I give thee this so­lemn Charge in the Name of my Great Ma­ster, my dear and precious Lord Jesus Christ, who is King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, and in the Presence of his holy Angels, that after thou hast seriously weighed the Doctrine, considered the Reasons, and solemnly perused the Ʋses, that thou appear before Jesus Christ, these my Elect Brethren, and me, at the Judgment approaching, unacquainted with God, if thou dare. My Heart's Desire to God is, that thou mayest be saved; and so I shall commend thee to God, and the Word of his Grace, that thou mayest receive Re­mission of Sins, and an Inheritance among those that are sanctified by Faith that is in [Page]Christ. From a Lover of Souls, willing to have no Name, so the Name of Je­sus may be glorified in thine everlasting Glory.


JOB xxii. 21.‘Acquaint now thy self with him, and be at Peace: thereby Good shall come unto thee.’

THose who have improved their Expe­rience of things by Wisdom, and ga­thered up the Value of Man's Life by comparing his Desire with his Enjoy­ments, his Troubles and Sorrows with his Con­tent and Joy, have concluded the worth of the Life of Man to be below nothing; they have drawn a black Line upon the whole, and shut up all in Darkness. Thus Jacob of old, in the account which he gives of his Life to Pharaoh, Gen. 47.9. & Job 5.7. And also Solomon, who had an extraordinary measure of Wisdom by Divine Dispensation, who had a large Spirit, like the Sand of the Sea-shore, he gave himself great Liberty in trying what that Good under the [Page 2]Sun for the Sons of Men was, Eccles. 2.1. When he had taken a Taste of all the World's Contents, yet he finds a Bitterness mixed in all Delights, which abideth longer than the Pleasure, ver. 11, & 17. And whosoever shall enter into himself, and feel the Workings of his own Mind, shall be able to read over the Transcript of the same in his own Conscience. Who is he among the Sons of Men, that in his natural Life hath attained to a state wherein he was able to say, Here I will stay, it is now well with me, I desire no Addition to my present Condition? If there be any such, I dare undertake to prove him unacquainted with him­self. Where now shall I fasten the Blame of this universal Evil? Shall we fall out with our Life, as a thing not worth the having? Shall we shrink unto our former Nothing, and cast up our Being and Life into the Hands of God, as that out of which we gathered nothing but Bitterness and Disquiet? Far be this from us, this were to justify that evil and wicked Servant, who said of God, That he knew he was a hard Master, reaping where he had not sown, and gathering where he had not strawed. This would be to accuse God of having made us to an unavoidable Necessity of Misery. How then comes it to pass, that we are all held fast in this common Calamity? It is from thy self, O Man, it is from thy self; this Evil is because of our falling from God. It is a righteous thing with God, that when Man departed from him, he should reap the Fruit of his own Doings; and indeed it is impossible for a Creature of our Composure and Constitution, but to feel it self dissatisfy'd with all worldly material Imploy­ments, and to find Trouble and Disquiet in it [Page 3]self, while it is deprived of its true Good. If we would have a true Account of our Disquiet and Dissatisfaction, this it is. God made Man of all the Works of his Hands, to be the nearest to himself, and hath fitted his Principles for a higher Life, than that which hath the Things of this World for its Object; but Man hath made himself like the Beasts that perish. We have given our Souls into captivity to our Bo­dies; or rather, we are fallen from our Union with God, and are gathered up into our selves, and become deprived of a Sufficiency in Separa­tion from God; then it must needs be, that we being gone down into a lower State than that which we were made to, should find nothing but Dissatisfaction and Emptiness; here we are by Nature, and hitherto we have brought our selves by forsaking God.

Now the great Enquiry will be, what Reme­dy there is for this our woeful Condition; is there any way whereby we may be delivered from this Misery? If there be, what way is it? These Words, which I have chosen to speak to, do contain the Answer to this Enquiry.

Acquaint now thy self with him, and be at peace, thereby Good shall come unto thee. This is the Counsel of one of Job's three Friends to him in the time of his great Affliction. You have heard of the Affli­ction of Job, and how his three Friends came to relieve him with their Counsel; but the Devil, who had a Commission from God to try his ut­most with Job, yet sparing his Life, made use of his Friends, who are to be a Comfort in the Hour of Adversity, to be a great means of his Disquiet, so that he cries out of them, Miserable Comforters [Page 4]are ye all, Chap. 16.2. And the great way of their troubling him, was, by misapplying, by making false application of true Principles. In their Dis­courses there are many excellent Truths; yet by their hard construing, and ungrounded condem­ning of him, they by God are reproved, as not having spoken the thing that was right, Chap. 41. 7. yet in many things their Counsel was suitable and seasonable, of which sort the Words in the Text may be accounted. In this Chapter Eli­phaz had been inquiring into the cause of Job's great Affliction, and holding this for an undeni­able Principle, that the righteous God, being the great Disposer of Affliction, did bring this Evil upon him because of his Sin; he measured the greatness of his Sins by the greatness of his Affli­ctions; he made account, because God's Hand was gone forth in an extraordinary manner a­gainst Job, therefore there was some extraordi­nary Guilt upon him, Ver. 5, & 13. And thou sayest, How doth God judge through the dark Clouds? Thus we have his Apprehension of Job, as one under great Affliction, because of his great Sins; and the Text is Eliphaz his Counsel to Job under this Character; and so is suitable Advice to those that are under Sickness, or great Afflictions, and that are under the Guilt of great Sins.

Acquaint thy self with him, and be at peace, there­by Good shall come unto thee. The Words are a Do­ctrine for the Soul under a Sense of its lost Con­dition, with a Promise very comfortable upon the embracing thereof.

The Doctrine is, Acquaint thy self with him, and be at Peace.

The Promise: Thereby Good shall come unto thee.

[Page 5]These Words, Be at peace, may be referred ei­ther to the former, as an addition to the Do­ctrine; Be at peace, that is, keep your selves in a quiet Submission to the Hand of God; or to the latter, and so, Be at peace, is as much as, Peace shall be to thee.

In the Doctrine we are to consider the Act, and Object.

The Act, Acquaint.

The Object is God.

DOCTRINE. So that the Doctrine is, To enter into acquaintance with God. This Proposition stands forth to the view of every Eye, that it is the Duty of Man to be acquainted with God.

Now the first thing that is before us to enquire after, is, What this Acquaintance with God is.

Secondly, to evidence and clear it to be the Du­ty of Man to acquaint himself with God. Acquain­tance with God implies several things.

1. It signifies a full and determinate Know­ledge of this Truth, that there is a God, and so to know him, as to his Nature, distinct from all o­ther Beings.

There is a three-fold Knowledge of God.

  • 1. A Rational.
  • 2. A Natural.
  • 3. A Supernatural.

First, there is a Rational Knowledge of God, which is a clear Discovery of an Almighty, All-suffici­ent Cause of all things, which is attained by a reasonable discussing Power of the Soul, which argueth from things that are visible and sensible, to an invisible and self-principled Cause of all things. Man found himself brought into the [Page 6]World furnished with an innumerable Variety of Creatures, and none of these having Power to make it self; we see likewise such an accurate Or­der in every particular Creature, and in all the Creatures one with another, that we cannot but see clearly that there is a Supream Almighty Cause of all things, who hath by his Power brought forth all things into Being; who is like­wise the most wise Agent, who by his unsearch­able Wisdom hath curiously framed every Crea­ture, and by his wonderful Counsel hath set them in such an order, that they all serve one another, till at length they all meet in Man, as in the common Center.

Secondly, there is a Natural Knowledge of God, which is the inward Touch, and mental Sensa­tion of a Surpeam Righteous Judge, to whose Trial we feel our selves under an unavoidable Bond, in doing Good and Evil. This is that which is commonly called Conscience; this a Man finds in himself, if at any time he have committed any secret Sin whatsoever, which none in the World knows but himself: He feels it to be a Pressure upon his Spirit, as being under the examination of a Power superior to himself. Now this is no­thing else but a secret Impression that God hath made of himself upon the Minds of Men, by which Man is bound to stand before the Tribu­nal of God. These two ways of knowing of God were very clear to Man in his perfect State; but since the Fall of Man they are much weaken'd and decay'd. But,

Thirdly, There is a Supernatural way where­by we come to know God, which hath repaired our Loss by Adam's Sin, and that is by God's ex­traordinary [Page 7]Revelation of himself in his holy Scriptures; by these we may come to have a more clear distinct Knowledge of God, both that he is, and what he is. To these three ways of letting in the Knowledge of God into the Soul, three mental Acts of the Soul do answer.

First, A rational Discourse, by which we find out God by the Creatures.

Secondly, An inward Sensation, which feels God as just in Good and Evil.

The third mental Act is Faith, which for its Foundation hath the Word of God.

There is a fourth way of knowing God, which is by Experiment; which is when God manifests himself to his peculiar ones, and lets out the Knowledge of himself to their Souls; as when the Sun breaks forth with a bright shining in a cloudy Day. But this belongeth rather to ano­ther Head.

Thus you see the first thing implied in this Acquaintance with God, which is the lowest.

Yet how many are there that have little Ac­quaintance with God in these Signs? May we not come to many who profess they know God, and yet among all their Thoughts, they have had few or none to satisfy themselves concerning him? How gross are the Apprehensions of some con­cerning God? Some Men resist and stifle that natural Knowledge that they have of God, such as those, Rom. 1.20. they did not like to retain God in their Knowledge, and God gave them over to a reprobate Mind, or a Mind void of Judgment, as the Word signifies. Others have lived all their Days upon the Bounty and Goodness of God, and yet have not been led by the Streams to the [Page 8]Fountain, from which all hath flow'd. Others can busy themselves all their time in other things, and little inquire into the Word of God, by which they may be lead to the knowledge of him: But woe to those on whom the Fury of the Lord shall be poured out, because they know not God, Jer. 10.23.

Secondly, Acquaintance with God, implies fre­quent Access unto God. We do not usually reckon our selves acquainted with any Person by a bare Knowledge that such a Person there is, and that we are able to give some general De­scription of him; but when we say we are ac­quainted with any, it is understood that we have been in such an ones company, we have come to him, and been with him: such is our Acquain­tance to be with God.

Under this Head I shall speak,

First, Of that Separation that is of the Soul from God.

Secondly, Of the Return of the Soul to God.

Thirdly, Of the Abiding of the Soul with God.

First, Of the Separation and Distance of the Soul from God. That corrupted Estate in which every Man comes into the World, is a State of Separa­tion from God. This Distance is not to be under­stood as a Physical Natural Distance, for so God is near to every one of us by his Omnipresence, and by his Infinite Power, sustaining us in our Being and Actions, Acts 17.27, 28. Though he be not far from every one of us; for in him we live, move, and have our Being. But this is to be understood,

First, Of a moral Separation from God. There is a great Strangeness between our Souls and God: We reckon our selves to have little to do with him, and to be very remotely concerned in him; we reckon that God takes very little regard of [Page 9]us, we look upon God as far from us, and we think God looks upon us as at a great distance; we love not God, and think that God loves not us.

Secondly, This Separation may be understood of a Judicial Distance, at which God hath set sin­ful Man from himself. Man is kept out from God, as being unfit to approach to him in his Sin­fulness and Impurities; and that is either in this Life, in which condition every one is, till he be made nigh by Christ, and set before the Father without Sin in him; till they are born again of the Spirit, and justified, and sanctified by Christ, Ephes. 2.13. Ye that sometimes were afar off, were made near by the Blood of Christ. Here this judicial Separation is the Execution of that terrible Sentence, Depart from me ye Cursed into everlasting Fire prepared for the Devil and his Angels, Mat. 25.41. Thus ye see the Di­stance at which Man is from God, which is not Physical, but either Moral or Judicial.

Secondly, When we are thus separated from God, if we will be acquainted with him, there is required a returning to God. Acquaintance doth necessarily imply an Union: Now where there was a former Separation and Distance, there is re­quired a Motion to Compliance, and a Return, either in both Parties, or in one at least; so that before ever we can be acquainted with God, there must be a forsaking our former Distance, the Se­paration must be removed. Now God hath done what could be conceived, and beyond what could be expected towards the reducing of us to an Uni­on with himself; whereas he might justly have [...]hrust us away from him for ever, and never [...]ave given us liberty to come near him more, as [...]eing so filthy by Sin, that his Holiness cannot [Page 10]endure us: yet he hath freely set open a Door o [...] Hope for our Return: he did not come thus nigh [...] to Angels when they fell, but they were turned away from him, and are bound in Chains of Dark­ness to the Judgment of the Great Day: it is im­possible for them to return any more. And so i [...] would have been for us, had not God made i [...] possible by an Act of free Love; and he hath likewise revealed his Willingness to receive us, i [...] we return, yea, his earnest Desire, Turn ye, wh [...] will ye die? Yea, his rejoicing in our Return, a [...] a Father rejoiceth to receive a prodigal Son tha [...] hath departed from him. But that God should go further, to close with us while we retain ou [...] Impurities, and remain at a distance from him it is impossible, because of the Unchangeablenes [...] and Simplicity of his Nature, and because of th [...] Purity and Exactness of his Holiness; it mu [...] therefore necessarily follow, that a yielding an [...] return must be on our parts, or else there is [...] possibility of Compliance between God and [...] after that we have forsaken him by Sin. A [...] this is most righteous and equal; for Man d [...] forsake God, God did not forsake Man; M [...] made the difference; Man ran away from Go [...] God follows Man as far as his Holiness and unchangeable Nature will permit him; he calls [...] us to return, he is ready to meet and imbrace [...] in the Arms of his Love, and to receive us i [...] acquaintance with himself, as the Father in th [...] Parable met his prodigal Son, Luke 15.20. [...] saw him afar off, and had compassion on him, ran a [...] fell upon his Neck and kissed him. Herein have [...] shadowed out to us the great readiness of God [...] receive returning sinful Man; but as the Pro [...] [Page 11]Son must return to his Father, so Man must return to God. Now it is Sin that separates be­tween us and God, and keeps good things from us, Isa. 59.2. Your Iniquity hath separated between you and your God, and your Sins have hid his face from you. Therefore while we cleave to our Sins, we are separated from God: till we are separated from our Sins, we cannot be united to God. Thus ye see our Separation from God, and our necessity of returning to God, before there can be any Ac­quaintance with him.

Thirdly, To our Acquaintance with God, is re­quired an abiding with God. We reckon not our selves acquainted with any Person upon the first Meeting, or when there hath passed but a Word or two between us; but it is supposed to acquain­tance, that we have made a considerable stay with him, and have had frequent access to him. Thus it is between God and us; we must not only come to him, but abide with him, or else we shall never be acquainted with him, John 8.13. If ye continue in my Word, then are ye my Disciples. So I say, if you return to God, and continue with God, then shall ye be acquainted with him in­deed. Acquaintance signifies not a bare Act, but a State or Habit. Now this is the difference be­tween an Act and a State; that an Act is pas­sing and gone; but a State signifies an abi­ding and continuance. There may be a draw­ing nigh to God without abiding and continu­ing with God, upon some deep Conviction, or strange Providence, or eminent Danger; as it is said, In their Affliction they will seek me early. Yet they may soon forget and forsake God. This is but a seeming and practical approaching to [Page 12]God, a drawing nigh in appearance, when the Heart is far from God: but that approaching to God which makes acquaintance with God, is abiding with him: Those that are acquainted with a spiritual Life know these things what they are, and that they are the greatest Realities in the World; they know that sometimes there is a greater nearness of their Souls to God, they are sensible of the Approaches of their Heart to God, and of the withdrawing of their Souls from God; they know what it is for the Soul to feel the Ap­proaches of God, and his Smiles fill their Souls with unspeakable Comfort: and to feel God withdrawing from the Soul, this clouds their Joy, and makes them go mourning: they can tell you at such a time they were brought unto his Banquetting-house, and his Banner over them was Love: They can tell you at such a time Christ came into his Garden to eat his pleasant Fruits; at such a time they heard the Voice of their Beloved, saying, Open to me, my Sister, my Spouse, my Love, my Dove, my undefiled. And when the Soul hath neglected this Knock of Christ to open to him, that then he hath with­drawn: I opened to my Beloved, but my Beloved had withdrawn himself, and was gone. These things are the Experiences of a precious Child of God, which I fear are little felt, and little known a­mongst us: but where these things are not, there is no Acquaintance with God. For,

First, They do know him.

Secondly, They draw nigh to him, they have near access to him.

Thirdly, They have intimate Converse with him. This is another thing required to Acquaintance. [Page 13]We are not said to be acquainted with any Per­son, unless we have had intimate Converse with him. We may be next Neighbours, and yet have no acquaintance, unless our Conversation hath been mutual. So it is between God and us; there may be a nighness between the Soul and God, and yet no acquaintance between the Soul and God. We are nigh to God in our De­pendance upon him, we are near to God by his immediate Providence and Sustentation of us, and by his Omnipotence. There is a Nearness to God by way of Dedication. As God set apart the Children of Israel to be a People near unto himself; so the visible Church of God is nearer to him than those that are not of the Church. There is a Nearness of Dedication among us by Baptism. But all this may be without acquain­tance. There is therefore required to our ac­quaintance with God, an intimate Converse with God. We have great Converse with those who are of the Family or Society with us. Now such is our acquaintance with God, as those who are of his Family. God is called the Father of the Families of all the Earth: and the visible Church is reckoned as God's Family; but in a great Fa­mily there may be little acquaintance with those Persons which be of remote Employments: but to acquaintance with God there must be such a relation as implies familiar Converse. This In­timacy that the People of God have to him, is expressed by the nearest Relations in Scripture. As Abraham is called the Friend of God, 2 Chron. 20.7. Jehoshaphat prays unto God, and saith, Art not thou our God, who didst drive out the Inhabitants of this Land before thy People Israel, and gave it to [Page 14]the Seed of Abraham thy Friend for ever? And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a Man speaketh to his Friend, Exod. 33.11. John 15.15. Hence­forth I call you not Servants, but Friends, for the Ser­vant knows not what his Lord doth; but I have cal­led you Friends, for all things that I have heard of my Father, I have made known unto you. Now by Friend is commonly understood a State of Con­verse and Society one with another. And this Intimacy is expressed likewise by the Relation of Husband and Wife, Isa. 54.5. For thy Maker is thy Husband. Hos. 2.7. Then shall she say, I will go and return to my Husband, for then was it better with me than now. By Husband there is meant God. And the whole Book of the Canticles is a Relation of the mutual Converse betwixt God and his People, betwixt Christ and his Church, under the Relation of a Bridegroom and his Spouse. Now what Converse more intimate than be­tween Husband and Wife? Such is that between a Soul acquainted with God, and God. Again, this is shadowed out to us under the Relation of a Father and his Children, 1 John 3.1. Behold, what manner of Love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called his Sons! And the holy Spirit is given to be the Spirit of Adoption in the Hearts of God's People, Rom. 8.15, 16. Ye have received the Spirit of Adoption, whereby ye cry Abba, Father. The Spirit it self beareth witness with our Spirit, that we are the Children of God. What is signified by this Relation, but a nigh Union and intimate Converse between the Soul and God [...] And this is necessary to our acquaintance with God, even intimate Converse with God. By this [...] [...]ean a Nearness of Imployment, when the [Page 15]Objects of our Imployments are the same, then are we said to converse with God, when we are imployed about those things wherein God is most. When there is, as it were, a mutual Com­merce and Trading between the Soul and God; Man giving himself up to God, and God giving himself out to Man; Man taking up the Interest of God, and God undertaking for the Interest of Man; these and such like actings are the converse which the Soul hath with God. I speak of things which the Men of the World are not acquainted with; but those that are acquainted with God, know these things; and upon the mention of them, their Hearts leap within them. As Face answereth to Face in a Glass, so Experience an­swereth these things. When this String is struck, their Hearts do harmonize; as when a Lute­ [...]tring is struck, the other Strings of nighest Con­ [...]ord with it move also. But these things are a Mystery to the World, and they say as those of Christ's Word, We know not what he saith. And [...] is no wonder, for they are the Actings of a Divine Life, to which all are naturally dead, till they are raised to Newness of Life by the quick­ [...]ing of the Spirit of God. But I proceed to [...]ew what is meant by this Acquaintance with God.

Fourthly, To this Acquaintance with God, [...]here is required a mutual Communication. Where there is Acquaintance between Man and [...]an, there hath been a mutual Interchange of conference and Discourse. Thus when the Soul acquainted with God, there is an Interchange Conference between God and the Soul. The [...]ul openeth its Wants, breaths out its Com­plaints, [Page 16]spreadeth its Necessities before God; God openeth the Treasures of his Love in his Son, the rich Mines of his precious Promises, and the Se­crets of his Good-will to the Soul. Thus Psal. 25.15. The Secret of the Lord is with them that fear him and he will shew them his Covenant. Gen. 18.17. The Lord saith, shall I hide from Abraham the thing that I do? Those that are Friends and Acquain­tance, they will let out their Thoughts and Pur­poses one to another, and they give out them selves mutually into Communion one with ano­ther. Thus Christ knocks at the Door of the Soul Rev. 3.20. Behold, I stand at the Door and knock if any Man hear my Voice and open the Door, I will com in and sup with him, and he with me. Here is Christ offering himself to the Soul, and the Soul is to en­tertain him; at another time the Soul goes to God, and God entertains it: God hath promise that he will open, Mat. 7.28. Knock, and it sha [...] be opened unto you; and to him that knocks it sha [...] be opened. There are frequent Actings among those that are acquainted: And by these are em­pressed to us the Acquaintance of the Soul with God.

Now the Communications that are between the Soul and God, are exceeding transcending a [...] communications that are between Mens acquain­tance. Men may communicate their Thought [...] their Estates, their Assistance to one another; b [...] they cannot communicate their Life, not th [...] Nature, nor their Likeness; but such Communi­cations there are between God and the Soul th [...] is acquainted with him. All Being is a Commu­nication from God the first Being; nay the seve­ral Degrees of Being have several Communi­cations [Page 17]from God, some greater and some lesser; spiritual Beings have a higher Communication than natural; but God's highest Communicati­ons have been to Man in that mystical Union of the Divine Nature to the Humane Nature in Christ; and next in the mystical Union of the Sons of God to Christ, and in him to the Father. Thus Christ is said to live in us, Col. 2.20. I live, saith Paul; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me. Thus Christ prays the Father for his Children, that they may be one, as thou Father art in me, and I in thee; that they be one in us, John 4.17, 21. & John 1.15, 16. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. He that dwelleth in Love dwelleth in God; 2 Pet. 1.4. We are said to be Partakers of the Divine Nature. This Expression implies high Communication of God to Man. Again, there are high Acts of Communication from Man to God (for tho' God receives not from Man, yet Man is to act as giving out himself to God) such as to give up the Will to God's Will. As that of Eli, It is the Lord, let him do what seemeth him good. And that of David, 2 Sam. 15.16. If he thus say, I have no Delight in thee, behold, here am I, let him do with me as seemeth good unto him.

Another Act of high Communication of a Man's self to God, is parting with present Enjoy­ments for future Hopes, in confidence of God's Promise. Thus the Spirit of God works in the Children of God a Readiness to forsake Father or Mother, and Brethren, and Sister, and Life it self for the Cause of God. Thus John Baptist was wil­ling to become Nothing, that Christ might become All; to be cast down, that Christ might be lifted [Page 18] up, John 3.13. He must increase, but I must de­crease. Thus Abraham gives his Isaac to die when God calls for him. Thus Moses esteemed the Re­proach of Christ greater Riches than the Trea­sures of Egypt, Heb. 11.26. Paul counted not his Life dear for Christ, Acts 20.24. These have been the actings of the Souls of those that have been acquainted with God; and such Workings as these, are the feeling of a Child of God.

I have shewed you four things which are re­quisite to Acquaintance with God.

First, Knowledge of God.

Secondly, Access to him.

Thirdly, Converse with him.

Fourthly, Communication to him and from him.

Fifthly, There is likewise required to Acquain­tance a loving Compliance. Amongst Men Ac­quaintance implies Affection. And so it is be­tween God and Man. Never any Soul was ac­quainted with God, that did not love God; and such a Soul is an Enemy to God; therefore very few are acquainted with God: but all that are not acquainted with God, are Enemies to him. If we should come to a Person that is not acquain­ted with God, and say, Thou art an Enemy to God; this would seem a heavy Imputation: but I speak it freely, thou, whosoever thou art, that art not acquainted with God, thou art an Enemy to God; for thou art still as thou wer't born: but we are all Enemies to God according to our cor­rupt Nature, and abide Enemies till we come to be acquainted with God. Love to God, and Ac­quaintance with God go together, are heighten­ed by one another. First, God lets into the Soul by his Spirit a partial Discovery of himself, and [Page 19]by this, with the working of his Spirit, he inclines the Heart in Love to him. Then, on the first working of the Soul toward God, he lets in a clear Light, whereby he draweth the Soul to a further degree of Love. A clear place for this, Eph. 3.17, 18. And that being rooted and grounded in Love, ye may be able to comprehend with all Saints, what is the Length, and Breadth, and Depth, and Height, and to know the Love of God which passeth all Understanding: that ye might be filled with all the Fulness of God. The Love of God fits the Soul to comprehend the glorious Discoveries of God; and the Discoveries of God doth heighten our Love to God. Acquaintance with God makes us like unto God, as in John 3.2. We shall see him as he is. And our Likeness to God, as it makes us the Delight of God, so it makes us delight in God; for the cause of Complacency and Love is a Like­ness between the Lover and Beloved. God doth not love us with a Love of Complacency, till we are like him; nor do we love God, till we are made like God. Now our beholding God, and being acquainted with him, is a great way to our being made like to God, 2 Cor. 3.18. We all with open Face, beholding as in a Glass, the Glory of the Lord, are changed into the same Image, from Glory to Glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. Thus you see that Love is likewise required to our Acquain­tance with God; without it no Acquaintance.

I have in the first part spoken of the Nature of Acquaintance with God in five Particulars. There must be,

First, A Knowledge of God.

Secondly, Nigh Access to God.

Thirdly, Familiar Converse with God.

[Page 20] Fourthly, Mutual Communication between us and God.

Fifthly, An affectionate Love towards God.

The next thing should be to shew that Man is to be acquainted with God; but we will first take a review of these things. We have taken these things into our Understandings; now let us set our Hearts to these things, for in these things is the Life of Religion. If there be acquain­tance with God, then gross Wickedness drops off, as Scales from an ulcerated Body, when the Con­stitution of the Body is mended. In acquaintance with God will be your only true Comfort in this Life; and the Perfection of it, is the very Happi­ness of Heaven. Let us then behold, till our Hearts earnestly desire, till our Souls be drawn out after acquaintance with God. If God be to be known, to be approached unto, to be conversed with by me, will he communicate himself to me? and I my self to him. Oh that he would love me, that I might love him! Oh, blessed are they that know him, as they are known of him! It is good for me to draw nigh to him. A day in his Court is better than a thousand elsewhere. My Soul longeth, yea, fainteth, for the Courts of the Lord My Heart and my Flesh cryeth out for the living God O that I were received into Converse with God that I might hear his Voice, and see his Counte­nance, for his Voice is sweet, and his Counte­nance comely! Oh that I might communicate my self to God, and that he would give himself to me! Oh that I might love him! that I were sick of Love! that I might die in Love! that [...] might lose my self in his Love, as a small Dro [...] in the unfathomless Depth of his Love! that [...] [Page 21]might dwell in the Eternal Love of him! This is Acquaintance with God.

Acquaint now therefore thy self with God, and be at peace, so shall Good come unto thee. We now proceed to the next thing, which is to evidence it to be the Duty of Man, to acquaint himself with God. This then is that into which the whole Scripture runs, as into a Common Channel. The Scriptures are a Discovery of God's Pro­ceedings with Man under a double Covenant, and this is the Great Design of God in both Covenants. The first Covenant was, That while Man did remain in obedience to God, God would give Man free and intimate Acquaintance with himself. But if Man became Disobedient, then he should be dispossessed of an Interest in God, and of Communion with him; which was that Death threatned upon the eating the Forbidden Fruit. The Death of the Body is its being separated from the Soul; but the Death of the Soul, is in Separation from God. Now imme­diately upon Adam's Transgression, Man be­comes unacquainted with God; so that upon the hearing of the Voice of the Lord, they hid themselves from the Presence of the Lord, among the Trees of the Garden. What a woful Case is Man naturally in? He hath lost his Acquain­tance with God, and was in a way, never, never to recover it: Upon God's approach he flees. And such is the Nature of all Sin, it puts a Man into a Disposition to greater Sins: every Departure from God inclines towards a greater. In the first Covenant this is the Whole of it; it is both a Command to keep nigh to God, and a Promise of God's being [Page 22]nigh to them, and a threatning of God's putting them away far from him, Man breaking the first Covenant. The immediate Effect of it was the Sin of Fleeing from God, quite contrary to that Acquaintance. Instead of their former Appre­hensions of God, they seem to have forgotten his Omnipresence; instead of Peace with God, they have nothing but Dread and Torment in the Thoughts of God; instead of drawing nigh to God, they run away from him; instead of Con­verse with God, they choose never to have to do with him more; instead of giving themselves up to God, they, if it had been possible, would have hid themselves from God. Acquaintance with God is the Sum of the first Covenant; Un­acquaintance with God is the Misery of the Breach of the Covenant. This is likewise the great Design and Purpose of God in the second Covenant. The second Covenant is this: When God beheld Man in a Miserable Condition, by reason of the Breach of the first Covenant; in the unsearchable Riches of his Goodness, accor­ding to the Eternal Purpose of his Good-Will towards Man, he made an Agreement with his Son, to send him amongst a Generation of Sin­ful Men, that if he would undertake to bring them back into Acquaintance with the Father, he was willing and ready to receive them again into Acquaintance with him; the Son being the express Image of his Father's Will, and Per­son, hath the same Good-Will to Man with the Father, and is ready to close with his Father's Proposals; and so enters into a Covenant with the Father, to satisfie Divine Justice, and to take away Sin, and to take away the Middle-Wall of [Page 23]Separation, to recover a Chosen Generation, and to bring them back again to God. Thus he became the Head of another Covenant between God and Man. And as the first Covenant was made with Adam for him and his Seed; so the se­cond Covenant is made with Jesus Christ, for him and his Seed. Because that the first Covenant was broken in Adam, therefore the second Co­venant was put into surer Hands, into the Hands of the Son, the second Adam, the Lord from Hea­ven. Now, I say, that the Great Design and Pur­pose of this second Covenant is in reference to Man's Acquaintance with God, is clear. This is held forth to us in that Parable of the Lost Sheep, Luke 15.4, 5. When the Shepherd had lost one Sheep, he leaves the Flock, and seeks for that which was lost. So when Man was lost by Sin, Jesus Christ leaves all, to recover and fetch home that which was lost. We all are gone astray like Lost Sheep, as David saith of himself, Psal. 119. Christ is come to seek, and to save, that which was lost, Luke 19.10. and Ephes. 2.13, 14. But now in Christ Jesus they who sometimes were afar off, are made nigh by the Blood of Christ; for he is our Peace who hath made both one. In Verse the Tenth, is a Description of our State without Christ, being Aliens from the Common­wealth of Israel, being Strangers from the Covenant of Promise, and having no Hope, and without God in the World. This is a Description of our Unacquain­tance with God. But Christ makes up the Breach, and that by a double Act.

First, By Covenant with the Father, to make Man fit for Communion with him.

Secondly, His giving Man Assurance that the Father will receive him upon his Return.

[Page 24]This then is the Great Design in all those Glo­rious Accomplishments of Christ, for this he left his Father's Bosom, that he might bring us into Acquaintance with the Father; for this end did he who thought it no Robbery to be equal with the Father, make himself of no Reputation, and took upon him the form of a Servant, and was made in the Likeness of Man; and being found in Fashion of a Man, he humbled himself, and became obe­dient unto Death, even the Death of the Cross, that he might bring Man into a Re-union with God; for this End did Christ live a Wearisome Trou­blesome Life among a Company of Rebels and Enemies, as if a Man should live among Toads and Serpents: So that he cried out, as weary of any longer abiding with them, Oh Faithless Gene­ration! How long shall I be with you? How long shall I suffer you? For this did he make himself an Of­fering for Sin; that by taking away Sin, he might bring Men to God. This is the Great Purpose of Christ in all his Offices. Ye have heard of the Three Offices of the Mediator, that he is a Priest, a Prophet and a King. This is the end of the Priestly Office. The Purpose of Christ's offer­ing up himself a Sacrifice, was by Satisfying the Justice of God, to make way for Sinners Return to God. This is the End of his Pro­phetical Office, to lead Men into Knowledge and Acquaintance with God. This is the End of his Kingly Office; That Governing them, and Ruling their Hearts by his Spirit, he might ef­fectually bring Men to God, to Acquaintance with him. Now then, since this is the Great Design of God in his Great Dispensation to­wards Man, to keep Men in Acquaintance with [Page 25]himself, and to reduce him when he had lost it! doth it not concern us to do our part for the bringing to pass this great Work? Shall God lose his End in making us, and in setting Man in the World every way furnished for his Service? And shall God lose his End in sending his Son to re­ceive us, when we had forsaken him? Shall Christ leave his Father's Bosom to bring us home to the Father, and shall we refuse to return? Shall he pour out his Soul, an Offering for Sin, that he might make way for our Access to God, That we who were afar off, might be made nigh by the Blood of Christ? And shall we frustrate all by our refusing to go to him? Shall Christ come and offer us his Help and Direction to come to the Father, and shall we abide still Strangers? Shall the King's Son come into our Cottages to invite us to dwell with his Father at Court, and shall we shut the Door upon him, esteeming our Cot­tages better than his Pallace?

Secondly, It is the Duty of Man to acquaint himself with god, because therein is the Im­provement of his highest Excellency. Every one acknowledgeth an Excellency in Man, above all the rest of this lower World: Now what is this Excellency of Man? Is it not that he is made in a Capacity of knowing God, and enjoying God, and having Communion with God? This is the Height of his Glory, Jer. 9.23, 24. Thus saith the Lord, let not the wise Man glory in his Wis­dom, let not the mighty Man glory in his Might, nor the rich Man in his Riches; but let him that glorieth, glory in this, that he understands and knoweth me, that I am the Lord that exercise loving Kindness, and Righteousness in the Earth, and Judgement, for in these [Page 26]things I delight, saith the Lord. Ye see here, where­in Man is to glory, for which he may value him­self as truly glorious. In his understanding, and knowing of God, Man standeth above the rest of the Creatures, in that he is a rational intel­lectual Agent. This is part of the Image of God, even Knowledge, Col. 3.15. Which is renewed in Knowledge after the Image of him that created him. The nigher any thing resembleth God, the grea­ter is the Excellency of that Thing: Now in this we resemble God more than any other Crea­ture, in that we are knowing, understanding Agents; and the highest Improvement of this Excellency of Man, is in the Knowledge of God, and Acquaintance with God, Prov. 20.27. The Spirit of a Man is called the Candle of the Lord; that is, it is a Light set up in the Soul, to direct the Soul to a Discovery of God. This is the highest Improvement of our greatest Excellency, and this is the Excellency of Man above other Crea­tures: This is that whereby one Man excels a­nother. Who are those whose Names are as precious Ointment poured forth? Who are those which have obtained a good Report? Are not they those who were most acquainted with God? Enoch is said to walk with God; an Expression which signifies intimate Acquaintance with God; and therefore was translated that he should not see Death. And Noah, whose Family alone was pre­served when God destroyed the whole World by Water, he was said to walk with God, Gen. 6.9. Among all the Sons of Men he kept close to God; and God took care of him alone. Abra­ham, who was the Father of the Faithful, he was called the Friend of God. Moses, who was the Me­diator [Page 27]of the Old Covenant, he was said to speak, with God Face to Face, as a Man speaketh to his Friend. I might make mention of many more, who were the excellent ones of the Earth; be­cause they did delight in God, and God delight­ed in them, Mal. 3.16, 17. They that feared the Lord, spake often one to another; and the Lord heark­ned and heard: and the Book of Remembrance was written for them that fear the Lord, and that thought upon his Name. And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of Hosts, in the Day when I make up my Jew­els. Ye see how God accounts of those that are of his Acquaintance, that met together and spake of God, and that thought upon his Name; he reckons them amongst his Jewels, his peculiar Treasure: Such Honour have all those that are acquainted with God. Ye see then the Excel­lency of Man above all the rest of the other Creatures. Now if Man fail in this which is his highest Excellency, he will become the vi­lest of Creatures. Every thing if it fail in its chiefest End and Purpose, and highest Excellen­cy, becomes base and of no account: If Salt lose its Savour (saith our Saviour) it is good for nothing. If Man have lost his Acquaintance with God, he is henceforth good for nothing. The Mind of Man is his Eye, by which he is to behold God; now if this Eye be blind, if the Light be Dark­ness, how great is that Darkness! The Jews, in Ezek. 15.1. are likened to a Vine, which, if it be barren, is good for no use: shall Wood be ta­ken thereof for any Work? It is fit for nothing but to burn. So it is in Man, his great Use and Excellency is his Acquaintance with God; now if he fails in this, he is good for nothing. Veri­ly, [Page 28]Man is a base, vile, worthless thing with­out Acquaintance with God. None are less e­steemed among Men than they that want Wis­dom to converse among Men. None are less esteemed before God, than they that know him not, that have not Acquaintance with him, to converse with him. Ye see wherein the Excel­lency and Worth of Man consisteth, and that if there be a Deformity, where ought to be our chiefest Beauty, the whole is accounted as a de­formed Piece. It concerns us then to look that we keep our Glory unspotted, our Excellency in its due Value; that we do not degrade our selves below what God hath placed us in. If we are not acquainted with God, our Souls serve us to little purpose: It is a causing the Prince, the Soul, to go on Foot, and to serve the Body, which should be as a Servant; it is to let the Candle of the Lord burn out in waste.

Thirdly, Another Enforcement of this Duty of Acquaintance with God, is this. If we refuse Acquaintance with God, it is a slighting the greatest of all the Mercies that God bestows. Favours are to be valued, either by their proper Excellencies, or according to the good Will of him that bestows them: both these Ways this is to be accounted the greatest of Mercies. In God's giving us leave to be acquainted with him, he gives out himself to be known, to be loved, to be conversed with, to be enjoyed. What greater Gift can God give than himself? God is the Porti­on of his People, he is the greatest Portion, the su­rest, the most suitable, and the only durable Portion. Thus they that know him esteem of him, Psal. 73.26. My Flesh and my Heart faileth; [Page 29]but God is the Strength of my Heart, and my Portion for [...]ver. Psal. 16.5, 6. The Lord is the Portion of mine inheritance: The Lines are fallen to me in a pleasant Place: yea I have a goodly Heritage. Blessed are the People that are in such a Case; yea, blessed are the People whose God is the Lord. No greater Mercy can be bestowed upon any People, Family, or Person, than this, for God to dwell among them. If we value this Mercy according to the Excel­lency and Worth of that which is bestowed, it is the greatest; if we value it according to the good Will of him that gives it, it will appear likewise to be the greatest Favour. The Great­ness of the good Will of God in giving himself to be our Acquaintance, is evident in the Na­ture of the Gift. A Man may give his Estate to them to whom his Love is not very large; but he never gives himself but upon strong Af­fection. God gives abundantly to all the Works of his Hands, he causeth the Sun to shine upon the Evil, and upon the Good; and the Rain to descend upon the Just and the Unjust: But it can­not be conceived, that he should give himself to be a Portion, a Friend, Father, Husband, but in abundance of Love. Whosoever therefore shall refuse Acquaintance with God, slighteth the greatest Favour that ever God did bestow upon Man. Now consider what a high Charge this is; to abuse such a Kindness from God, is in Act of the greatest Vileness. David was ne­ver so provoked, as when the King of Ammon abused his Kindness in his Ambassadors, after his Father's Death. And God is highly provo­ [...]ed when his greatest Mercies, bestowed in the greatest Love, are rejected, and cast away. [Page 30]What could God give more and better than him­self? And how heavy will this Imputation be These are those that look upon God, as not worth being acquainted with. Let us therefore consider how we shall be able to stand to these Accusations. Shall we not be speechless, when these things shall be charged upon us? Shall we not be confounded, when we stand to the Tri­al of him to whom we had offered these great Indignities? How shall we escape if we neg­lect so great Salvation, so great a Mercy?

Fourthly, it concerns us to acquaint our selves with God, for without it we are in a Necessity of Sin, and Misery.

1. The Soul unacquainted with God is in a Necessity of sinning, Ephes. 4.14. Having their Understanding darkened, alienated from the Life of God, through the Ignorance that is in them, because of the Blindness of their Hearts. For want of Ac­quaintance with God, every Thought and Ima­gination of their Heart is evil continually, Rom. 3.10, 11. There is none righteous, no not one: There is none that understands, there is none that seeketh af­ter God. Not understanding, nor seeking after God, is the necessary cause that there is none doth good. The Soul of Man is an Active Being, which is continually in motion; if it be not in motion to God, and in God, it will be in motion from God. Hence it is that the Prayer of the Wicked is an Abomination; that which goes for Prayer, God abhors, because they are not acquainted with him, Isa. 1.3. The Ox knows his Owner, and the Ass his Master's Crib, but Israel doth not know me, ver. 13, 14. To this, saith he, your Incense is Abomination unto me, their new Moons [Page 31]and Sabbaths, the calling of Assemblies, I cannot a­ [...]ay with; it is Iniquity, even your solemn Meetings. [...]ow the Reason why there is a Necessity of Sin [...]ithout Acquaintance with God, is, because whatsoever is not done with a good Heart, is [...]ot good, Luke 6.45. The good Man out of the good [...]reasure of his Heart bringeth forth good Fruit, and [...]n evil Man out of the evil Treasure of his Heart [...]ingeth forth evil Fruit: For out of the Abundance of the Heart the Mouth speaketh. As an evil Tree cannot bring forth good Fruit, so an evil Heart cannot bring forth a good Action. Now without Knowledge the Heart is not good, Prov. 19.2. That the Soul be without Knowledge is not good. And there is no Knowledge like the Know­ledge of God, and Acquaintance with him, to make the Heart good, Hos. 4.2. Because there is [...]ot Truth, nor Mercy, nor Knowledge of God in the [...]and; therefore by Swearing, and Lying, and Kil­ [...]ing, and Stealing, and committing Adultery, they [...]reak out, &c. Thus want of Knowledge of God, [...]nd Acquaintance with God, we may plainly [...]ee is the necessary Cause of Sin. Now there [...]s no greater Evil on this side Hell, than that of Necessity of sinning, 2 Pet. 2.14. Those of which it is said, they cannot cease from sinning, are called cursed Children. He that chuseth any Sin [...]ther than Affliction, doth it through the Blind­ness of his Mind. This is laid as a heavy Accu­ [...]tion, Job 39.21. For this hast thou chosen rather [...]an Affliction. To chose Iniquity rather than [...]ffliction, is the greatest Folly imagina­ [...]. It is one great part of the Misery of Hell, [...]at they never cease from sinning; and [...]s is the greatest Misery on Earth, our being [Page 32]so much under the Power of Sin? I appeal to any gracious Soul that hath the Feeling of the [...] Burden of Sin; what is its great Trouble and Sorrow? Is it not because of Sin? What are hi [...] secret Moans to God? Is it not the Sense of Cor­ruption? Oh wretched Man that I am, who shall de­liver me from the Body of this Death, saith Paul, Rom [...] 7. He had been complaining of the Mass of Cor­ruption that did still press hard upon him, and in the strong Workings of his Spirit against it, h [...] calls it the Body of Death. It was as grievous to him as if he had been bound to a stinking rotter Carcase. How wretched then is the State of e­very Soul unacquainted with God? who can d [...] nothing but sin, because they want the right Rul [...] of Action, a right Pattern of Imitation, a righ [...] Principle for Action, a right Object for Action a right End for Action, the only Assistance o [...] Action. It concerns us then as we make any Difference between Good and Evil, if we hav [...] any Respect unto Holiness and Purity before Sin and Iniquity, to see to get Acquaintance with God; because without Acquaintance with God we are in a woful Necessity of sinning.

2. Without Acquaintance with God, we a [...] in a Necessity of Misery. Indeed Sin is a grea [...] Misery; and to be in a Necessity of sinning, part of the Necessity of Misery. But beside that, there is a Necessity of Misery of another kind. What is the great Imployment of Me [...] unacquainted with God? Men labour in the ve­ry Fire, and weary themselves for very Vanity Habak. 2.13. This was the Misery of Men, beca [...] they knew not God. But in ver. 14. there is a Pro­mise of better Days, When the Earth shall be fill [Page 33]with the Glory of the Lord, as the Waters cover the Sea. Then and not till then will there be a Deli­verance from labouring in the Fire, when there is the Knowledge of God. The Reason of it is, because true Satisfaction and Peace cannot be, till our Desires and Enjoyments are alike; and this cannot be till the Soul is acquainted with God: For nothing can fill up the Desires of the Soul but God. The Soul of Man is mighty spacious, so that it cannot be filled with the World; and while it feels an Emptiness, it still cries out for more, and cannot be filled till it be filled with the Ful­ness of God, Eph. 3.19. The prodigal Son had no­thing but Husks to feed upon, when he was gone from his Father's House; he would fain have filled his Belly with the Husks, but could not; they were not Food for the Soul. When we are departed from God, we have nothing to feed on but the World, and we would sill our Souls with the World, but cannot; for it is not Food for the Soul. Acquain­tance with God is the Food of the Soul. Job 23.12. I have esteemed the Words of his Mouth more than my necessary Food. So that a Soul that is not acquainted with God, is famished for want of Food, Psal. 42.2. My Soul thirsteth for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? David was acquainted with God, but for want of an actual Enjoyment, how doth he here breathe out the Trouble of his Spirit? As the Hart panteth after the Water-brooks, so panteth my Soul after thee, O God. The Soul is still panting. Some pant after the Dust of the Earth, Amos 2.7. These were of the Serpent's Seed, whose Curse from God was, Dust shalt thou [...]at: but the Seed of Christ, they pant for God, and they that pant after God shall be filled with [Page 34]the Fulness of God: but he that panteth after any thing besides God, will never find any Ful­ness; he will feed as upon the Dust of the Earth. And what can follow but Dissatisfaction and Mi­sery? Acquaintance with God is the only way to be freed from a necessity of Sin and Misery.

Fifthly, Acquaintance with God is the Duty of Man, because God himself doth acquaint him­self with Man. Shall the King seek after Ac­quaintance with the meanest of his Subject, and he refuse Acquaintance with his Sovereign? Shall God acquaint himself with Man, and shall not Man acquaint himself with God? It is ex­pected among Men, that the Inferiour should seek for Acquaintance with the Superiour, and not the Superiour with the Inferiour; but yet God out of his wonderful Love hath sought first to Man for Acquaintance. Thus Prov. 8.31. It is said concerning the Son of God, who is meant by the Eternal Wisdom of the Father, that he rejoyced in the habitable Parts of the Earth, and his Delight was with the Sons of Men. If God thus delights in Converse and Acquaintance with the Sons of Men, how much more ought Men to rejoice in Converse and Acquaintance with God? Isa. 65.1. God saith, I am found of them that sought me not. All Men were departed from God, and not a Man that did seek after God; there is none that understands of seeks after God, yet God is found of them. The good Shepherd seeks his lost Sheep, before the Sheep sought him; Cant. 5.2. When the Soul is a-sleep, it hears the Voice of its Beloved that knocks, saying, Open to me my Sister, my Love, my Dove, my Undefiled. Revel. 3.20. there Christ saith to the revolting Church, [Page 35]that he was ready to spew them out of his Mouth, Behold I stand at the Door, and knock: if any Man will hear me, and open the Door, I will come in and sup with him, and he with me. Psal. 68.18. Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led Captivity captive; thou hast received Gifts for Men, yea, for the Rebel­lious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them. It it not becoming then that Man should open when God knocks? He seeks to dwell among the Rebellious; is it not fit that Man should en­ter into Acquaintance with God, when God doth thus acquaint himself with Man? Thus I have opened to you the Nature of Acquaintance with God, and evidenced it to be the Duty of Man, to acquaint himself with God; let us now make some Improvement of this Truth.

USE 1.

First, Is there to be an Acquaintance between the Soul and God? Let us then stand and won­der at the great Condescention of God! This may surprise our Souls with an Extasy of Ad­miration, that God should dwell with Man, that the mighty Jehovah should have such Re­spect to the Work of his Hands. Psal 113.5, 6. Who is like unto the Lord, who dwelleth on high; who humbled himself to behold the Things that are in Heaven, and in Earth? The Psalmist admireth God, that he humbled himself to behold things that are in Heaven; and how much more then is he to be admired, that he humbled himself to acquaint himself with Man? Let us then be fil­led with Admiration, that God should take us so nigh unto himself: As Psal. 8.4. What is Man that thou art mindful of him! or the Son of Man that [Page 36]thou shouldest visit him! And Job 7.17, 18. What is Man that thou shouldest magnify him! and that thou shouldest set thy Heart upon him! and that thou shouldest visit him every Morning! Man in the Pride of his Heart seeth no such great Matter in it; but an humble Soul is filled with Astonishment; Isa. 57.15. Thus saith the high and lofty One, which inhabiteth Eternity, whose Name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy Place: with him also that is of a contrite and humble Spirit, to revive the Spirit of the Humble, and to revive the Heart of the contrite Ones. Oh saith the humble Soul, will the Lord have respect unto such a vile Worm as I am? Will the Lord acquaint himself with such a sinful Wretch as I am? Will the Lord open his Arms, his Bo­som, his Heart to me? Shall such a loathsome Creature as I find Favour in his Eyes? Ezek. 16. 25. We have a Relation of the wonderful Con­descention of God to Man, who is there resem­bled to a wretched Infant cast out in the Day o [...] its Birth in its Blood, and Filthiness, no Ey [...] pitying it; such loathsome Creatures are we be­fore God, and yet when he passed by, and saw us polluted in our Blood, he said unto us, live. [...] is doubled, because of the Strength of its Nature it was the Time of Love, ver. 8. This was Lov [...] indeed, that God should take a filthy, wretched thing, and spread his Skirts over it, and cove [...] its Nakedness, and swear unto it, and enter into a Covenant with it, and make it his; that is that he should espouse this loathsome thing t [...] himself, that he would be an Husband to it this is Love unfathomable, Love unconceivea­ble, self-principled Love, this is the Love [...] God to Man; for God is Love: Oh the Dep [...] [Page 37]of the Riches of the Bounty and Goodness of God! How is his Love wonderful, and his Grace past finding out! How do you find and feel your Hearts affected upon the report of these things? Do you not see matter of Admiration and Cause of Wonder? Are you not as it were, lanched forth into an Ocean of Goodness, where you can see no Shoar, nor feel no Bottom? Ye may make a Judgment of your selves by the Mo­tions and Affections that ye feel in your selves at the mention of this. For thus Christ judged of the Faith of the Centurion, that said unto him, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my Roof, Mat. 8.8. When Jesus heard this, he mar­velled, and said to them that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great Faith, no not in Israel. If then you feel not your Souls mightily affected with this Condescention of God; Say thus unto your Souls, What aileth thee, O my Soul, that thou art no more affected with the Goodness of God? Art thou dead, that thou canst not feel? Or art thou blind, that thou canst not see thy self compassed about with astonishing Goodness? Behold, the King of Glory descending from the Habitation of his Majesty, and coming to visit thee; hearest not thou his Voice, saying, Open to me my Sister: behold, I stand at the Door and knock. Lift up your selves, O ye Gates, and be ye lifted up ye everlasting Doors, that the King of Glory may come in. Behold, O my Soul, how he waits still, whilst thou hast refused to open to him! O the wonder of his Goodness! O the Condescention of his Love! to visit me, to sue unto me, to wait upon me, to be acquainted with me! Thus work up your Souls into an Astonishment at the Conde­scention of God.

USE 2.

Secondly, Is there to be Acquaintance between the Soul and God? Then let us learn to make a right Judgment of our own Excellency; let us judge of our selves as too high and noble to con­verse with this base and beggerly World. I am of a nobler Original, than to debase my self to such mean things; I am the Off-spring of God, and shall I acquaint my self with Earth? I am of the Family of God, and shall I converse with Sa­tan? Is there Bread enough in my Father's House, and shall I perish for Hunger? Lift up thy self, O my Soul, shake off the Intanglements of the Flesh, break out of that Bondage of the Devil, trample upon the Glory of the World, and scorn to let out thy precious Desires upon Dung and Dross; get the Moon under thy Feet, cloath thy self with the Sun, put on the Son of Righteous­ness, come into the Palace of God, and acquaint thy self with him, for this is thy Glory, this is thy Excellency. Ye precious ones, who can call God Father, and the Son Brother, who have Fellowship with the Father and the Son, who may have Communion with the Holy Ghost? What do you lying among the Pots? What do you raking in Dunghills? What do you conversing with the World? Have a holy Scorn of these things, as below the Dignity of your Souls: know your Worth, esteem of your selves, as of more value than all these lower Treasures. This is your Glory and your Excellency, that ye are of God's Acquaintance, that ye are Sons of God, Heirs of God, and Joint-Heirs with Christ, that ye understand and know God.

[Page 39]There are two things wherein most Men are mistaken.

First, In the Nature of Pride. Some look upon that only as Pride, which manifesteth it self in costly Apparel, and bodily Ornaments, beyond the Degree and Rank of the Person. Some look no further than the Carriage of one Man to­wards another. Now favourably consider with me, that the greatest Pride in the World is Man's undue Esteem of himself toward God; and this is in the Heart of every one by Nature. Every one by Nature doth lift up himself against God, goes about to dethrone God, and to crown him­self: Every one takes Counsel in his Heart against the Lord, saying, Let us break his Bands asunder, and cast his Cords from us. This is the Voice of eve­ry one that dares wilfully to sin, We will not have God to rule over us. Yet this is the working of the Pride of a Man against God, to thrust God out of the Throne of his Majesty, and to set himself in. For what is God's Glory and Respect among his Creatures? Is it not this; that he being the Begin­ning, and Author of all, should be likewise the End of all? And this is the very Purpose of God in making of Man, that having received himself from God, he should have what he might freely give up to God; so that all Man is, and all that he hath, is to be offered to God, as the End and Cen­ter of all. Now a sinning Creature brings God under to serve him, to provide for-him. Now though this Pride of Man against God be not so much taken notice of, yet it is the very daring Sin of the World. It is indeed to be wondred at, that ever Creatures did cast out the first Thoughts of such an Attempt. Now consider how far Man's [Page 40]Pride is from his true Excellency in his Union with God. We are therefore to distinguish be­tween that high Esteem that Man is to have of himself, and Pride. For Man to look upon him­self as a noble Being, and of a Rank above all the natural World, it is not Pride, for thus he is (be­ing a spiritual understanding Agent) in a Capa­city of being acquainted with God, of being u­nited to God, and, as I may say, of exchanging himself with God.

Secondly, Another Mistake of most Men, is concerning their Dignity and Excellency, and in the Rule and Measure of their Excellency. Most measure their Dignity by the Advantage which they have over others in this World: As some in their Power and Authority; some in their Friends and Relations; some in their Riches and Estates; some in their Wisdom and Faculties; some in their Strength and Power. And what more uni­versal Evil is there than this, for every one in something or other to lift himself up in his own Esteem, and in his Thoughts to tread upon others, as something inferiour to himself? But Men lie blinded in their own Delusions, not considering what is the true Excellency of Man; nor know the right Rule by which Man's Worth is to be judged of. The way for us to judge rightly con­cerning our selves, is to see how we stand to­wards God. God is the Perfection of Excellen­cy; and the nigher we are to God, the greater is our Excellency. This is the Greatness of a Na­tion, to be nigh to God, Deut. 4.7. What Nation is there so great which hath God so nigh unto them? And Amos 8.7. God is called the Excellency of Jacob. God sweareth not by any thing below [Page 41]himself; therefore God is here meant. Isa. 60.19. God is called the Glory of his People. The Lord shall be to thee an everlasting Light, and thy God thy Glory. Now God is the Glory of those that are acquainted with him.

First, By Virtue of the Relation wherein God stands towards them. An intimate Relation to those that are Persons of Dignity and Worth, doth communicate Worth and Dignity to those who are so related to them. As the Son of a mean Man is not so highly valued and esteemed as the Son of a Prince. David reckoned it to be a great thing to be Son-in-Law to a King, 1 Sam. 18.18. Who am I, and what is my Life, or my Fa­ther's Family in Israel, that I should be Son-in-Law to the King? Thus are we to reckon it our Dig­nity and Excellency to be in nigh Relation to God, to be Sons of God, to be Heirs of God, and to be the Friends of God; what greater Honour than this, to be in such a nigh Relation to the God of Glory? Now the Excellency that we have from this Relation, ariseth from the Excellency of that Act which is the Foundation of this Rela­tion, and that is our being born of God, as we are Sons, John 1.12, 13. God marrying us to himself as he is our Husband, Jer. 3. Turn, O back­sliding Children, saith the Lord, for I am married unto you. God takes us into Fellowship and Communi­on, and Acquaintance with himself, as he makes us his Friends, and his Acquaintance. This Act of God doth instamp a Worth and Excellency up­on Man, as the Impression of the King's Seal up­on Wax, and makes it of value, Rev. 22.4. It is here spoken as the Glory of the Servants of God, Those that follow the Lamb, they shall see his Face, and [Page 42]his Name shall be in their Foreheads; that is, God hath chosen, and as it were, marked them out for his own: and this marking them, and owning them, it sets a high Dignity upon them, such as secures them from the Curse that is to be upon all besides; as Rev. 9.4. They are commanded to hurt none but those who have not the Seal of God in their Foreheads. This Relation of the Soul to God, gives the Soul an Excellency, as it doth interest the Soul in the Glory and Excellency of God himself; they are God's, and God is theirs, 2 Cor. 6.16. I will dwell in them, and walk with them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my People, ver. 17. He argues from the Dignity of this Relation, that they should count themselves too good to converse with the World; Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separated, saith the Lord, and touch no unclean thing: and I will receive you, and be a Father to you, and you shall be my Sons and Daugh­ters, saith the Lord. Thus you see the Dignity that is upon the Soul by its Acquaintance with God. Our relation to God in our Acquaintance with him, doth enoble us, lift us above the World, make us that we are too good for the Company of those that are not acquainted with God. It is then no Pride in us thus to esteem of our selves, to have high Thoughts of our selves, because of that Ac­quaintance which our Souls are to have with God. It is Pride for to think too highly of our selves: But it is Sobriety to think of our selves according to that Acquaintance which we have with God, Rom. 12.3. I say, through the Grace of God given to me, to every one that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly according as God hath [Page 43]dealt to every Man the Measure of Faith. Here the Apostle commands them to measure the Esteem which they have of themselves, by the Measure of Faith which they have from God; because by Faith they come to be valued excellent in the Eye of God. So likewise we are to measure our Esteem which we have of our selves, by the Mea­sure of our Acquaintance which we have with God: because by Acquaintance with him, we come to be truly excellent. And while we do thus, we shall not think more highly of our selves than we ought to think; for while we account our selves excellent because of our Acquaintance with God, we in lifting up our selves magnify God; and while we thus glory, we glory in the Lord, 1 Cor. 1.31. But now herein we are to beware of two things.

First, That we distinguish carefully between our Capacity of being acquainted with God, and our being actually acquainted with him: for our Capacity, or being so as that we may be acquain­ted with God, is of no Worth, unless we be actu­ally acquainted with him. We are in a remote Capacity naturally as Men, and we are in a more nigh Capacity by the Mercy and Covenant of God; but this adds no true Worth to the Soul without the actual Acquaintance of the Soul with God. Yea, Man is the worse for this, if he be without the other; for if Man being made fit for Enjoy­ment of God, and Communion with him, never attain to an Enjoyment of him, he becomes more vile than those things whose Nature is inferiour, if they attain to the Perfection of that Nature. And it is like to fare worse with Man, if he fall short of the Glory of God, because he was capa­ble [Page 44]of the Glory of God, than with Beasts which are not capable of it. And again, in regard of that more nigh Capacity wherein we are by Je­sus Christ of Acquaintance with God; if we are not really acquainted with God, we shall thereby not only have no Addition of Excellency, but thereby we shall be more vile and miserable: and therefore those who through the Mercy of God have been in the visible Church, and have heard of the good Will of God to Man through Christ, and know that God is ready to entertain them into Acquaintance with himself; if they shall fall short of this, their Condemnation will be greater than that of those who never heard of God's Invitation, and his Grace in Jesus Christ. If we therefore shall glory in our Capacity of being of the Acquaintance of God, and neglect to be really acquainted with him, we do but as the Jews of old, who cried out, The Temple of the Lord are these, Jer. 7.4. And the nigher we are to God, if we do not come to a thorow Clo­sure with him, the nigher we are to the Stroke of his Wrath: as the nigher any is to Musquet­shot, the greater will the Force of it be upon him. Distinguish therefore between our Capa­city of being acquainted with God, and our actual Acquaintance with him.

Secondly, We must beware lest in our Esteem of our selves, we lay the Foundation of our Glo­ry in our selves. There is that in every ones cor­rupt Nature which doth provoke him to it: so that I dare boldly say, that there is not a Man in his corrupt natural State, who doth not some way or other lift up himself in his own Esteem for something of his own. And we are apt to [Page 45]make every spiritual Excellency to be matter for Pride and Self-conceitedness. We do not suffi­ciently eye God as the Fountain, the Author, the Foundation, the Rule and Pattern of all our Excellency. Such is the way wherein God re­ceiveth Man to Acquaintance with himself, that he might hide Pride from his Eyes, and that no Flesh might glory in his Presence, 1 Cor. 1.29. If we therefore lay the Foundation of our Glory in our selves, and please our selves in the Sparks that we have kindled, we shall glory in our Shame, and lie down in Sorrow. This high Esteem which we are to have of our selves, be­cause of our Acquaintance with God, it doth not at all contradict that precious Grace of Humility, but they rather help forward one another; for the more any esteems of himself, because of that re­lation which he hath to God, the less is the E­steem of himself, because of any thing of his own; the more we make God the matter of our Glory, the less do we glory in our selves. The more we apprehend of our Excellency being from God, the less account do we make of all other seem­ing Excellencies. When the Light of the Sun ariseth, then all Star-light disappears.

First, All Dignity we have, seems to arise from that relation which we have to God in Ac­quaintance with him.

Secondly, By Acquaintance with God, we come to have an absolute positive Dignity which is real in our Persons, yet still depending up­on God. As by our Union with Christ we come to have a Righteousness imputed, which is our justification; and a Righteousness likewise in­ [...]erent, which is our Sanctification; so by our [Page 46]Acquaintance with God, we have a Dignity, a [...] it were, imputed by our Relation to God, and a Dignity real, which is that Excellency where­by we are made absolutely better. By Acquain­tance with God, we come to be like God; and the Image of God in us, is the greatest Excel­lency that we are capable of. When Moses had been fourty days in the Mount with God, his Face did shine with such a Brightness, that the People could not behold him: so those that con­verse with God, they retain a Luster, which shines in their Converse with Men. The Image or Picture of any worthy Person, is esteemed by them that esteem the Person; and this Esteem of it, is from a relation which it hath to that Per­son; but now the Children of any Person whom we love, being a lively Image of their Father's Person, have another Value upon them, having not only a Relation worthy, because of their Resemblance in the outward Lineament, buts real Participation of Nature and Disposition which they receive from their Father: So there is an Excellency in those that are acquainted with God, not only as being in relation to him, but as receiving, and being Partakers of the Divine Nature. As Children learn to pronounce their Words according to the Pronunciation of the Mother, or Nurse with whom they converse, (as every one is apt to be formed unto the man­ner and disposition of the Company wherein they most usually are) thus those who converse with God, they become in some measure like unto God; and this is positive personal Excellency which those have which converse with God Thus the Apostle John argueth concerning that [Page 47]Perfection of Glory and Excellency, which here­after is to be upon those that are the Sons of God. But it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. In Heaven we shall be like God, because we shall see God; and on Earth those that converse with God, shall in some measure be like God, according to their measure of Acquaintance with him. And so Paul argues concerning this present Life, 2 Cor. 3.18. But we all with open Face beholding, as in a Glass, the Glory of the Lord, are changed into the same Image, from Glory to Glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. Here we see clearly that be­holding the Glory of the Lord, doth change in­to the same Image of God, and likewise that this Image of God only is the Glory of Man; for that is meant by, from Glory to Glory: that is, from one degree of glorious Similitude, to ano­ther degree of glorious Resemblance and Like­ness to God. Thus ye have seen that the Excel­lency of Man consisteth in his Acquaintance with God; and that by the virtue of his relation to God, he hath an imputed Excellency; and an Excellency by his Propriety in God, in whom is all Excellency; and that by his Converse with God, and Acquaintance with him, he becomes eally like God, which is his inherent Excellen­ [...]y. Let us then reckon of our selves as those who have their Dignity and Excellency from God, and in this let us glory, That we know God, and are acquainted with God. This is the Second Use of this Proposition.

USE 3.

Thirdly, If Man ought to be acquainted with God, then let us all enquire into our selves, whe­ther we are acquainted with him or no. Let [...] every one turn into our own Bosoms, and a [...] our selves this Question; Thou hast heard, O m [...] Soul, that which is thy great Duty, that which is the very end of thy Creation, and thy Re­demption, and that the highest Perfection of th [...] noblest Faculty consists in knowing God, an [...] being acquainted with him, which contains [...] nigh Union to him, and intimate Converse wit [...] him, and mutual Communion to God, and from God, and radicated unmoveable Love to God these are excellent things, O my Soul, what [...] thy Case? Art thou one of those precious one which conversest oft with God, and talk'st oft [...] God, whom he will make up with his Jewels Or art thou one of those wretched Creature who are alienated from the Life of God, by rea­son of the Ignorance that is in thee? Or art the one of those who having been sometimes af [...] off, art now made nigh to God by the Blood [...] Christ, and so art led into Fellowship and Com­munion with the Father and the Son by the Spi­rit? Or art thou one of those who looks upon God afar off, and upon whom God looks af [...] off? I beseech you, every one of you, deal se­riously and accurately with your selves in th [...] Inquiry, for it is most certain that most Men [...] the World, yea, in the visible Church, are n [...] acquainted with God. Thus it hath been in a [...] Generations from the beginning of the World and thus it is at this day: the People of God ha [...] [Page 49]been like a little Flock of Sheep, while the rest are like Locusts, covering the whole Face of the Earth. The People of God have still complained that they are but as the gleaning of the Vintage, and as two or three Olive-berries in the Top of the utmost Branches, when the rest have been gathered. The visible Church of God, in re­spect of the rest of the World, how small a part is it! In the visible Church how few live up to their Religion, by any considerable Profession! How little difference is there between most a­mong us, and Heathens! And of those that pro­fess, and lay Claim to something beyond others, among whom they live, how many betray their Profession by their wicked Practice and worldly Conversation? So that when we have made En­quiry, there will remain very few of those that are really acquainted with God; it concerns us then to be very diligent in Enquiry, what is our Case, how we stand toward God.

Secondly, I shall be the more earnest in pres­sing you upon a diligent Search into what Ac­quaintance you have gotten with God; because, I know that those that have least Acquaintance with God, are most apt to neglect this Enquiry, It may be a tender Soul that hath been much with God, will be ready upon the first Hint to enter into the Secrets of its own Heart, to look over his Evidences, to call to mind, when have I drawn nigh to God? When have I conversed with God? When have I Communion with God? Hath my Life been a walking with God? Have I dwelt with God, and made my Abode with him? Thus the Soul that makes high Ac­count of its Acquaintance with God, will be [Page 50]trying and examining it self; and it may be up­on its more awakened Signs of its sometimes de­parting from God, or feeling some present strange­ness, it will be apt to conclude of it self, surely I am none of those precious ones, whose Life is a [...] Converse with God. But the common Genera­tion of the World, Oh how hardly will they be brought to ask themselves this Question, whe­ther they are of the Acquaintance of God or no [...] How often have they been urged with a great and vehement Affection upon trial how thei [...] Souls stand towards God? and hitherto they have neglected it. Many are so inconsiderat [...] as to think what is spoken is nothing to them They come and sit in the Congregation, b [...] their Hearts are out of reach, out of the Shot [...] the Word; so they go away, and the Word [...] them is, as if it had not been. Many are [...] light, and vain, and frothy in their Spirits, a [...] that the Streams will almost as soon return [...] their Fountain, as they will be perswaded [...] turn in and enquire into their own Souls. I [...] all naturally there is an Averseness to come [...] the Light, that their Works and Hearts may [...] manifested. If I should come to you one [...] one, and beseech you with the greatest Earnest­ness, wherewith I were able, when you g [...] from the Congregation to take Opportunity to go in secret, and enter upon trial with you [...] Hearts, and ask your selves throughly th [...] Question, and let them not alone till you have a clear determinate Answer, whether you are in a State of Acquaintance with God; fear you would go, one to his Pleasures, anoth [...] to his Vanity, and another to his Covetousnes [...] [Page 51]and almost all of you neglect this Work of so great Concernment. Let me therefore urge you with all Earnestness, that you will not ac­count it a small marter, whether you be ac­quainted with God or not; and so neglect this Trial of your selves: But bring your Hearts up roundly to the Examination, yield not to their unreasonable with drawings, force them to answer. If you make any Account of the Charge of God, if you make any Account of the Excellency of Man, if you would not lose the highest Privi­lege of the Creature, if you have any Esteem of the Life of Heaven, know your selves in this, whether you are in a State of Acquaintance with God, and be serious and diligent in this Enquiry.

Thirdly, Because Men are so exceeding apt to be mistaken, and to misapprehend concern­ing themselves, that they are in a State of Ac­quaintance with God, while they are meer Stran­gers unto him; such as those whom our Saviour speaks of, Matth. 7.22, 23. Many will say to me in that Day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy Name, and in thy Name have cast out Devils, and in thy Name done many wonderful Works? And then he will profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me ye Workers of Iniquity. They take it for granted, that because of such Privileges, and Gifts, and common Graces which they had, therefore they were well ac­quainted with Christ; but our Saviour answer­eth, I never knew you; that is, I never had any Acquaintance with you. Such are those who are resembled to us by five foolish Virgins, Matth. 25.11. The five foolish Virgins come when the Door is shut, and say, Lord, Lord, open [Page 52]unto us; but he answereth, Verily I say unto you, I know you not; that is, never had Acquaintance with you: you never knew me in the time of your Life, and I will not know you now: You were ashamed to own me before Men, and I will be ashamed to own you before my Father. Men are so apt to be mistaken in Judgment of themselves, that they think themselves rich and encreasing with Goods, and to have need of no­thing; when they are wretched, miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. And this makes David, Psal. 139.24. to cry out after he had been trying himself, Search me, O God, and know my Heart; try me, and know my Thoughts, and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. This Unaptness in us to make a right Judgment of our selves in our re­lation to God, ariseth,

First, From that deep Root of Self-love that is in us by Nature, whereby we are apt to ap­prehend well of our selves, and be pleased with a good Conceit of our selves, though we are never so bad. And such is the Nature of this Affection, that it blinds our Eyes, and prejudi­ceth the Mind, that it cannot make a right Judgment. As Affection in some Parents to their Children, makes them reckon that which is a Blemish, to be a Beauty in their Children; so doth inordinare Self-love work in Men, in the Judgment of themselves. Men when they judge themselves, they look into a flattering Glass which presents them in greater Beauty than that which is their own.

Secondly, We judge amiss of our selves, because we take not a right Rule for our Judgments, as [Page 53]those whom Paul speaks of, 2 Cor. 10.12. Some commend themselves, but they measure themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves with themselves, are not wise. If we take our selves to be the Rule and Measure, then we cannot discern our own Crookedness and Irregularness.

Thirdly, We judge amiss of our selves, be­cause of the Deceitfulness of our Hearts. The Heart of Man is deceitful above all things, and despe­rately wicked; who can know it? Jer. 17.9. Gross Wickedness is apparent to the pur-blind Eye: But where there is an abstaining from gross outward Sins, there are special Workings of Corruption, such as Pride, Self-love, distrust of God, and love of the World; any of which shut up the Soul against God, as with Bolts and Bars; and these lying inward are not discerned. Other Accounts may be given of the Unaptness to make a due Judgment of our selves: It concerns us therefore to be exact in our Trial, and trust not to a sudden Answer; for we are ready to make a short Work of it, and to save our selves the Labour, and to sit down with charitable Thoughts of our selves. Whatsoever Answer therefore our Hearts give us, let us see cleared, and have such Reason for it, that we may know how to proceed with our selves, upon a right Judgment of our selves. The chief Work of Trial in this particular Acquaintance with God, will be from those Particulars wherein I opened the Nature of the Soul's Acquaintance with God. Let us therefore take those Heads and our own Experience of our selves, and by a rational De­duction, let us find out our own Estate.

[Page 54]As thus, Those that are acquainted with God are brought night to God. Whereas sometimes there was a Strangeness and Remoteness, a vast Separation, now the Partition is taken out of the way, and I am made one in Christ. I have took God to be my Portion, and my Father; I have been a Prodigal, and have departed from him; but I finding my self lost and undone, and that nothing could satisfy my Soul in the World, therefore I resolved I would return to my Fa­ther's House, and try if he would receive me again into his Family; and so I have done. I have cast off my old Converse with the World, and with Corruption; I have broken my League with Hell, and have entred into a Covenant with the Father, through his Son Jesus Christ; therefore I may comfortably conclude that I am now in a State of Acquaintance with God.

But if in the Enquiry into my self I find not these things, if I find that now I am as in former Days; I have felt no such Change in my self, and that all things are with me as they were of old; I never was sensible of any Loss in my self; I ne­ver knew what Strangeness and Nighness to God meant; I never understood what Union with God, and Distance from God was; this signi­fies ill, it is a Symptom of a bad State, of a State of Unacquaintance with God.

2. So again, for our Converse with God. He that is acquainted with God, he hath had his Converse with God, he hath dwelt with God, and God with him; he hath supped with Christ, and Christ with him; his great Business and Em­ployment hath been nigh God, in those things [Page 55]wherein is most of God. If I find my Soul much conversing with God, oft sending out Breathings to Heaven, oft casting my Eye towards God, if I find the great Work of my Mind to be with God, my great Business lies in Heaven, my Treasure is laid up there, and my Thoughts, and Desires, and Joys, and Delights, and Medi­tations are there; I may comfortably conclude that I am in some measure acquainted with God. But if in the Inquiry into my self, I find that I have my whole Converse with the World, that I can afford no time for Prayer to God in my Family, and in secret; if I find all the Day long my Cares, and Desires, and Thoughts, run out most naturally and sully without Control to­wards the things of the World, or that I will mind my self in a natural carnal way, and mind not the things of God; this signifies to me my Unacquaintance with God, and it will be an ungrounded Presumption in me to reckon of my self any other than a Stranger to him.

3. So for Communion and Fellowship, which is in Acquaintance. Those that are intimately acquainted, their Communion in the way of Discourse is very frequent, in making known their Thoughts and Appre­hensions, their Fears and Wants; their Minds are open one to another, and that which is the Propriety of one, is by their Acquaintance communicated to the use of both. If then I can find in reviewing the Workings of my Soul, that there hath been this Sight of Heaven, this Spi­ritual Communion between my Soul and God; that my Heart hath been open to God; that I have gone to God when my Heart hath [Page 56]been burdened with Sorrow, I have discharged it into the Bosom of God, as into the Bosom of a Friend; that in my Doubts I have betaken my self to him, expecting Comfort from him; that upon hearing his Voice I have opened to him, and upon my opening he hath come in with Smiles of Love, and given me Tokens of his Favour; these things signifie a State of Acquaintance with God; but if I know not what it is to have given up my Soul to God, to be his, and to have taken God to be mine; if I have had Experience of receiving no­thing else from God, but a partaking of the things of the World; if I have not been wont to com­municate the Workings of my Mind to God, it betokeneth my Unacquaintance with God.

4. And again, For that friendly Working of Love and Affection in the Soul towards God. Those that are in a State of Acquaintance are sup­posed to comply with each other in Kindness, and Love, and Good-will, and Affection. If then I can upon search into my self, find that God hath the highest Room in my Affections, that my Heart is his, that his Love is prevailing with me, above the Love of all things beside, and that I love those that are his beloved for his Sake, then I have in me a Sign of real Acquaintance with God; for Love is the very Quintessence of Acquaintance: but if in the Search into the Workings of my Mind I can find no such friendly Compliance, but that God was still thwarting and crossing my Designs, that I should find my self better content if there were no God, and that those Workings of my Mind that are about God are sower, harsh, and tearing upon my Spirit, then it is to be feared, that I have no Acquaintance with God.

[Page 57]And hast thou made an impartial Inquiry into thy State? And how stand things between thy Soul and God? Art thou acquainted with him, or art thou not? Consider seriously, O Sinners, that this is one of the weightiest Questions in the World; and if this Question were but well resol­ved, it would put an end to a thousand other Que­stions. He that can say of God and Christ, this is my Beloved, and this is my Friend, he need not very solicitously ask, What News? He hath heard good News from Heaven, which will easily bal­lance all; come what will come, he need not much fear, as long as there stands that one Text in the Bible; That all shall work together for good to them that love God. He hath no Cause to go a begging to the World, and to say, Who will shew me any Good? as long as the Lord hath shined up­on him with the Light of his Countenance. He need not complain, What shall I do? I have lost this or that dear Friend; when he hath found him, who can make up all with one Look, whom he can never lose. In a word, He need not ask, How shall I do to live? and what shall I eat, and what shall I drink, and wherewithall shall I be clothed? So long as he knows that he hath a No­ble Friend, who will ease him of all his Care, and never see him want. Well then, hast thou an­swered this great Question or not? Or wilt thou do by thy Conscience, as Felix, put it off; and say, thou wilt hear of these Matters, at some more convenient Season; and I wonder when that more convenient Season will be, and why not now, I pray? What Season more fit than the present? I am sure God saith, Now is the acceptable time; and do you know better than he? What hast thou [Page 58]to do that is more necessary? Speak out I pray, Is the following of thy Pleasures? Is the serving of Satan? Is the damning of thy Soul, more ne­cessary than the saving of it? Is the Life and Death of a Soul nothing? Are everlasting Glory and Misery small Matters? Is the Love or Hatred of thy God so inconsiderable a thing? Awake, O Sinner, what meanest thou? Arise speedily, and look about thee, Man. Consider seriously as thou valuest thy Soul, what best becomes a Sinner in thy Condition: What answer shall I return to my Master? Are not these things worth the thinking of? Shall I say for all this, that thou art not at leisure to look after an Interest in his Fa­vour, or any thing that tends to it? Shall I tell him that thou hast something of greater Weight, and higher Importance to trouble your Head with? And do you in sober Sadness think so? For you make account, that Excuse is sufficient: I pray then make use of it your self (for I dare not.) When God shall come to ask you, why you did no more vigorously mind the getting Acquaintance with himself, tell him then if you think that An­swer will serve your turn, that you were not at leisure, you had such urgent Occasions which took up the whole of your Time, such and such a Friend you had, who sent for you to the Tavern, and you could not possibly come when he invited you; tell him, if you believe that Plea will hold Water, that you would have been glad to have come upon his Invitation, but that you were ta­ken up with such good old Friends, the World, the Flesh and the Devil. How do you think such an Answer will be taken? You may think to put us off with such kind of Reason as this, but do you [Page 59]hope by this Answer to satisfie your Judge? Be­lieve it, Sinner, God will not thus be put off. Wherefore I do again with all the earnestness I can for my Soul renew my Suit to thee, that thou wouldest act like a Man in his Wits; make some serious Inquiry into the State and Condition of thy Soul: And consider for the Lord's Sake again and again, before you send me away thus, what Errand I come to you on: It is to treat with you about a rich Match for thy poor undone Soul; therefore consider well what you do before you make light of this Business, and know when you are well of­fered; believe it, God will not long send after you in this manner, and you are not like every Day to have such Proffers; Divine Patience and Goodness will not always plead at this rate with you; God will e'er long say, Let them alone; the Lord will e'er long speak to Scornful Sinners in such Language that will make their Ears to tin­gle; he will despise and slight as well as they; and who is like to have the worst of it at last? I leave to any Rational Man to judge. The time is com­ing, whin your ungodly Hearts shall ake to see him whom you might have had for your Husband; when you shall have him for your Judge, whom you might have had for your Advocate. And though we could not get you to be willing to be acquainted with him, no, not so much as to have any serious Thoughts about it, or to make any Enquiry after him to inform your self concerning him; yet you shall have him for your Enemy, whether you will or no. But O let us not part thus! lot me, a Man like thy self, reason the Case a little more with thee; come tell me, poor ignorant Creature, thou that still standest demur­ring, [Page 60]and say'st, Shall I, shall I? What Evil [...] there in thy God, that thou shouldest be thus hardly brought, so much as to discourse this Bu­siness with thy own Soul? What is the reason that thou scarce thinkest it worth the while t [...] trouble thy Head about any thing that doth con­cern your Interest in his Love? Thou that min­dest his Love so little, tell me what do'st thou think had become of thee long before this, if God had regarded thee as little as thou dost him? What wouldest thou have done, had the Lord said to any Disease, the least of his Messengers, fetch that Rebel before me, that values not my Favour; he shall know what my Anger is, seeing he will not prize my Love. O what a lamentable Gase hadst thou been in, had God but done by thee a [...] thou hast by him? Acquaintance with God! me­thinks sinful Man should stand and wonder at such a Word; methinks he should be even sur-prized with an Extasie of Admiration; and say, and will God indeed be acquainted with such a Worm, such a dead Dog, such a Rebel as I [...] Lord, what is Man that thou art mindful of him, or the Son of Man, that thou shouldest make such an Of­fer to him? One would think thou shouldest no more dispute the Matter then Ester did, when that great Monarch made her his Queen. Were it but in sensible Things, that nothing near such an Offer were made (which is impossible) Man would think the very questioning in such a Case a strange Folly. One would think that every one of God's Enemies that have been in open Rebellion against him, and are utterly unable to make their part good against him, when they hear of such Terms of Mercy from their Prince, who hath all their [Page 61]Lives in his hand, should rejoyce at this News, and say, How beautiful are the Feet of them which bring such Tidings? How did Benhadad look, when instead of a Halter he had a Coach? When instead of Rebel, he heard Brother? Whatever we may think of these things, David thought it high time for him to bid such a Messenger welcome, and to open his Heart for the receiving his God: Hear what he saith to his own Heart and others, Psal. 24. Lift up your Heads, O ye Gates, and be ye lifted up ye everlasting Doors, that the King of Glory may come in. And because the Door of Men's Hearts is lock'd, and barr'd, and bolted, and Men are in a deep Sleep, and will not hear the knocking that is at the Gate, though it be loud, though it be a King; therefore David knocks again, Lift up your Heads, O ye Gates, and be ye lifted up ye everlasting Doors: Why, what haste, saith the Sin­ner? What haste? Why here's the King at your Gates; and that not an ordinary King neither, he is a glorious King that will honour you so far, if you open quickly, as to lodge within, to take up his Abode in your House, to dwell with you; but the Soul for all this doth not yet open, but stands still questioning, as if it were an Enemy, ra­ther than a Friend that stood there, and asks, who is this King of Glory? Who? he answers again, [...]t is the Lord of Hosts; he, that if you will not open quickly and thankfully, can easily pull your House down about your Ears; He is the Lord [...] Hosts, that King who hath a mighty Army al­ways at his Command, who stand ready for their commission, and then you should soon know who it is you might have had for your Friend; [...]ft up therefore your Heads, O ye Gates; open [Page 62]quickly, ye that had rather have God for your Friend than for your Enemy. O why should no [...] the Soul of every Sinner cry out, Lord, the Door is locked and thou hast the Key; I have been crying what I can do, but the Wards are so rust that I cannot possibly turn the Key; but Lord throw the Door off the Hinges, any thing in the World, so thou wilt but come in and dwell here Come, O Mighty God, break through Doors [...] Iron, and Bars of Brass, and make way for th [...] self by thy Love and Power. Come, Lord, and make thy self welcome, all that I have is at th [...] Service: O fit my Soul to entertain thee! B [...] where is the Sinner that is in this Note? How seldom do poor Creatures desire God's Company or bewail his Absence? Where (almost) are th [...] Men and Woman to be found, that do in good earnest long to be acquainted with God? Me [...] are naturally Strangers to God, and it is a wonder­ful difficult thing to perswade Men to enter in [...] so much as a serious deliberate Consideration [...] these Things: Though it be so insinitely f [...] their Interest; though the God that made them out of pity to their Souls desires it; though [...] send his Embassadors in his Name to besee [...] them to be reconciled unto God, against whom they have been in open Arms; though in infini [...] Mercy he perswade them to lay down their We [...] pons, and promise them Free and General Par­don, and to receive them into Favour, and to for­get and forgive; yet where is the Sinner almo [...] to be found that with any Thankfulness do [...] close with these Tenders? Now it being a Bu­siness of such infinite Concernment, and it being the very Work and Business of a Minister [Page 63]Christ to bring God and Man into Union, to get Man acquainted with God, I shall in the next place labour to inforce this Exhortation upon the Hearts of Sinners, and do what I can possible to prevail with them that are as yet Strangers, to get acquainted with God, that they may have Peace, and that thereby good might come unto them.


Once more, poor Sinners, That God which can in a Moment stop thy Breath, and send thee into Hell, doth offer to be Friends with thee. If thou wilt come upon his Invitation, well and good, thou art a happy Man for ever; if not, thou wilt rue the Day that ever thou were born: yet, through Mercy the Matter is not gone so far, but that thou mayest (if you will now at last in good ear­nest humble thy self to him) be received in­to Favour. Behold, a Pardon, Mercy and Grace! Stand astonished, O ye Heavens, at this Infinite Condescention! Wonder O ye An­gels, and pry into this Kindness. Was there ever such Condescention, Love, and Goodness heard of? If thou didst but understand, O stupid Sinner, what an Offer is made to thee, thou couldest not but adore that Goodness that can pardon and forget such Offences, and re­ceive such a Creature into Favour; thou would­est also cry out with as great Admiration as he did; what manner of Love! You would think it Mercy not to be parallel'd, a Kindness never to be forgotten, a Proposal by no means to be [...]ffused. Now that I may, if possible, prevail [Page 64]with some that are yet afar off, to come near, shall enforce this Exhortation with many power­ful Motives, the least of which (were Men bu [...] well in their Wits as to Spiritual Matters, were the World not to a wonder Fools, in the great Affairs of their Souls and Eternity) might easily prevail. O that I might prevail! O that some might be perswaded! O that God would pu [...] Life and Power into these Words, that they might prove Effectual to the intended Ends! O that some poor rebellious Sinners might be made to close with the most advantagious Offers that even were, or could be made to Creatures in our Con­dition!


The first Head of Motives that I shall insist upon to inforce this Exhortation, shall be taken from the Nature of the Person that I would have you acquainted with. Consider well what kind o [...] Friend you are like to have of him; and if, after you have well weighed what I shall (with God's leave) say, you can find out any one in Heaven or in Earth that will be a better Friend to you and stand you in more stead; if in all the World you bring one that deserves better at your Hands and is more worthy of your choicest Love, and Acquaintance, if I bid you to your Loss, why then let me bare the Blame of a Cheat for ever And if after Trial, thorow Trial, and intimate Acquaintance, you find your self deceived, an [...] that it was not worth the while to give your self so much Trouble, why then let me be branded t [...] Eternity for the veriest Lyar and Impostor in the World. For my part, I envy not Men their Hap­piness [Page 65]but I wish with all my Heart, that Men would do that which may be most for their Inte­rest. It was the Counsel of Epictetus, none of the weakest Men, though a Heathen, Make choice of that which is really most excellent; and if there be a Friend to be found better than thy God, the first thing thou dost get an Interest in him. But consider whe­ther there be not a Contradiction in the Terms, Better than the best; it's perfect Nonsense. I know it's impossible for any one that hath right Appre­hensions of God; such can't but believe him to be infinitely Lovely, Wise, and Powerful, and to be obeyed in all things, and all the Reason in the World to acquiesce in his Will, who is so good and so wise; such will place Happiness in nothing below his Favour. Wherefore I think Plutarch was not mistaken, who affirmed, That Man's Life was given him of God, only to get the Knowledge of God. But I shall be a little more par­ticular in speaking to the excellent Qualifications of him, whom I would fain get every poor Sinner acquainted with.

First, He is the most loving and kind Friend. Poor ignorant Creatures that are Strangers to him, they talk at a mad rate concerning him: those that know him not will be speaking bad, and thinking worse of him; but, O did they but know what God is to them that are acquainted with him, had they but conversed with him themselves, did they but see what Entertainment [...]e gives, had they but been in his Company, and experienced what some have experienced, had they [...]ut beheld how affectionately he embraces them [Page 66]which come to him; they would quickly say that it was a false Report and wicked Scandal, that the Devil and the World, which know not God, had raised of him; they would soon cry out, that they would not for a World but that they had been at his House, and that they have cause to bless God for the Day that ever they knew such and such who brought them acquainted with such a Friend; they will never while they live, for the future, believe any thing that is spoken against God or Christ, let who will speak it. Is this the God they had such hard Thoughts of? Is this the Kindness that they did so slight? Is this the Friend that they were so loath to come to? And thus an ingenious Soul will even be ashamed that it should ever harbour such low Thoughts of him, whom now to their Comfort they have found beyond Apprehension kind. Believe it, Sirs, you can't conceive what a Friend you shall have of God, would you but be perswaded to enter into Covenant with him, to be his, wholly his; I tell you, many that did sometimes think, and do as you do now, that is, set light by Christ and hate God, and saw no Loveliness in him, are now quite of another Mind, they would not for ten thousand Worlds quit their Interest in him. O who dare say that he is a hard Master? Who that knows him will say he is an unkind Friend? O what do poor Creatures ail that they do entertain such harsh, sower Thoughts of God? What, do you think there is nothing in that Scripture, Psal. 31.19. O how great is thy Good­ness which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee? Doth the Psalmist speak too largely? Doth he say more than he and others could prove? Ask him [Page 67]and he will tell you, in ver. 21. that he blesseth God these were things he could speak to, from his own personal Experience, and many thou­sands as well as he, to whom the Lord had shewed his marvellous Kindness; and therefore he doth very passionately plead with the People of God to love him, and more highly to express their Sense of his Goodness, that the World might be encouraged also to have good Thoughts of him. What Nation under Heaven can say they have not tasted of his Goodness, Psal. 33.5. All the Earth is full of the Goodness of the Lord. Read over the hundred forty fifth Psalm, and let us hear then what you have to say against God. Some indeed may speak of the Might of God's terrible Acts: Some that have despised his Love, have felt his Power and Justice; as for these we cannot think them competent Judges in this case, they will not, it may be, commend God's Goodness: Yet even they cannot, will not condemn God of Injustice, but exclaim against themselves for their unspeak­able Folly in slighting his Kindness when it was tendered to them. But as for others, ask them, and they will declare the Goodness of God, they will abundantly utter the Memory of his great Goodness, and sing of his Righteousness. Do but try, poor Sinner, do but try, come a lit­tle nearer, and believe your own Experience; and if after a thorow Knowledge of God, and a real Acquaintance with him, you can say that his Favour is not to be sought after, his Love not worth the desiring; why then I have done, I have no more to say. I am sure if God were, as the Devil and the World represent him to be; in so many thousands of Years, among so [Page 68]many thousands and millions that have been ac­quainted with him, and enter tained by him, some of them would have complained before this, we should at one time or other have heard something against him. Now I challenge all the World to produce me but an experienced solid Saint, that when he acted like himself, and after he had been in the Company of God, and had been feasted by him, could say that he kept a short House, especially could we but enquire of those that sit down at his Table, and are always in his Presence; which of them all have a Word to say against him? But of that more hereafter. No no, it is in Sinners themselves, there lies the Fault; they believe the malicious Father of Lyes, they easily credit the unexperienced ignorant World: And how little reason you have to believe so malicious Enemies before the Word of Truth, I leave your selves to determine. O why will you take up a Slander against your Creator so easily? Why will you receive such great things wherein your eter­nal Welfare is concerned, upon Trust? Do but search diligently, turn over the Bible, con­sult the Experiences of wiser Men, and see whe­ther things be not as I tell you. And how doth the matter stand now poor Heart? What must the Devil be believed before God? What is God a hard Master still? of all the Creatures in the World, some of you have little reason to say so. Hast thou not been fed, cloathed, and delivered a thousand times by him? Who is it that provided so richly for you? Who filled your Barns? Who restored your Heatlh at such and such a time, when the Doctor gave you over? Was that one of his Unkindnesses? Are these [Page 69]the things for which you slight him? God him­self makes a Challenge in Jer. 2.5. What Ini­quity have your Fathers found in me, that they are gone far from me, and have walked after Vanity, and become vain? Neither said they, Where is the God that brought us out of the Land of Egypt, and led us through the Wilderness, through a Land of Desert and Pits, through a Land of Drought, and of the Shadow of Death, where no Man dwelt: And I brought you into a plentiful Country, to eat the Fruit thereof, and the Goodness thereof, and yet you know not me, faith the Lord. Was there ever such Ingrati­tude heard of? Pass ye over the Isles of Chittim, and send unto Kedar, and consider diligently, and see if there be such a thing: Hath a Nation changed their Gods? But my People have changed their Glory for that which doth not profit. And what say'st thou, O un­grateful Israel? Have the Heathens more reason to cleave to their Idols? Are the Pagans more be­holding to their Stocks and Stones than thou art to the living God? And now what hast thou got by all this? Hast thou increased thy Riches? Are thy Barns more full of Gorn? Are there ever the more Cattel in thy Pastures? Are thy Presses more full of Grapes? Art thou not now grown poor? Is not the Heaven become as Brass, and the Earth as Iron? Do not thy Cattel groan for want of Food? Are not thy Vines and Fields grown barren? Why, you may thank your selves for all this; you did not know when you were well. Return therefore, O backsliding Israel, and [...]hou shalt know the Difference between my Ser­vice, and the Service of Devils, Jer. 2.30, 31. [...]et me therefore again plead with thee, O God­ [...]espising Sinner. If for all this thou wilt not be [Page 70]perswaded, let me expostulate the Case with thee, as God did with Israel. Did not God bring thee into a World every way furnished for thy Use? Hath he not subjected the Creatures of the World to thee? Who waters thy Fields out of his Trea­suries? Who opens the Clods of the Earth, and sends thee out of his Store-house Provisions Year by Year? What would quickly become of thee, if thou hadst not a fresh Supply from him every Year, nay, every Moment? Oh! is this his Un­kindness for which thou hatest him? And is it for this that thou hast such sower Thoughts of him? And if all this were too little, he would do greater Things than these: Hath he not sent his Son out of his Bosom? Doth he not offer thee Heaven and Glory? What canst thou in reason ask, that is good for thee, that he would deny thee, if thou wouldst but be acquainted with him? And if this be an unkind Friend, I do not know who is kind; if this be not Love, I know not what is. What could he have done more to express his Love to the World than he hath done, Isa. 4.4. Ask David what he thinks of God, he was well acquainted with him, he dwelt in hi [...] House, and by his Good-will would be never ou [...] of his more immediate Presence and Company Enquire, I pray, what he found amiss in him [...] that you may know his Mind the better, he hath left it upon Record in more than one or two Pla­ces, what a Friend he hath had of God, Psal. 16.6 The Lines are fallen to me in pleasant places: yea, have a goodly Heritage. Why, what is that you boast of so much, O David? have not others ha [...] Kingdoms as well as you? No, that's not th [...] thing, a Crown is one of the least Jewels in [...] [Page 71]Cabinet, The Lord is the Portion of mine Inheritance, and of my Cup. So in Psal. 23. quite through. Nay, doth he not sometimes come out and becken to the poor beggerly starved World, to come and eat their fill of the same Dish; O taste and see that the Lord is good, Psal. 34.8. If you will give any Credit to his Word, he will tell you, No Friend like to God, Psal. 73.25, 26, 27, 28. Whom have I in Heaven but thee? and there is none in Earth that I can desire besides thee. My Flesh and my Heart faileth, but God is the Strength of my Heart, and my Portion for ever. For, lo, they that are far from him shall perish: Thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from thee; but it is good for me to draw near to God. Let others think, or do as they please, as for him he values the Light of God's Countenance a­bove Corn, and Wine, and Oyl, Psal. 4.6, 7. 1 John 3. 1. Cant. 1.4. And what sayst thou now poor Creature? Art thou still of the same Mind? Wilt thou have God for thy God and Friend, or no? Is he Good and Kind, or not? Is his Favour worth the desiring and seeking after? Psal. 94.8. Ʋn­derstand O ye bruitish among the People, and ye Fools when will ye be wise: If God himself may not be believed, if David his Servant may not be credi­ted, hear what one of your Brethren, a Heathen I mean, saith in this Case. I shall translate his Words into English; they are as follows, The Goodness and Providence of God to Man is so great, that if he were well in his Wits, he would do nothing publickly or privately, but praise God, and speak well of his Name, Ar. Epic. l. 1. c. 16. Doth it not become Man, while he is Plowing, and Digging, and Eating, &c. to be Singing, Great is that God that hath given us Land to Till, Instruments to work [Page 72]with; great is that God who hath given us Hands and Feet, and other Members; above all, that he hath gi­ven us an understanding Soul? And seeing most Men are blind in these things, is it not fit that some that are more wise and able should publickly praise God for all these Things? And now I am a lame old Man, but Partaker of Reason, God is to be praised by me, this is my Work, and this I will do, and I will not leave this Station as long as I live; and I wish that all the World would joyn with me in singing a Song of Thankfulness to this good God. Hear what a Testimony he gives of the Goodness of God; Hark how he invites you to joyn in that sweet Consort of Singing Praises to your Maker; hark at what a rate he talks, that never read a Bible, or heard of a Christ, or knew what this Acquaintance with God that I am spea­king of, meant; how bravely doth he set out the Goodness of God? What say you? Will you yet be perswaded to think well of God? Methinks I am loath to see my good Master thus slighted and undervalued; methinks it grieves me to see thee too, so foolishly to refuse such an Offer. I shall conclude what I have to say upon this Head, with another notable Expression of the same Divine and God-admiring Stoick, Idem, c. 6. If Men would study the Nature of Things, and had but grateful Minds, they might see Cause sufficient to praise God from every Creature in the World. It is not there­fore because God hath no Goodness or Beauty in him, that Men do no more earnestly desire Ac­quaintance with him; but because their Eyes are shut, or they look upon him through a wrong Perspective. This is the first Qualification of this Friend, which may commend his Acquaintance [Page 73]to you, that he is the most loving and good Friend.

Secondly, He is a most comfortable Friend. It is a vulgar, and yet a dangerous Errour, which the Devil would fain keep up the Credit of, That a Religious Life, is a sad, melancholy, pensive Life; and that upon our Acquaintance with God, we must bid an everlasting Farewel to Joy, Plea­sure, and Comforts. And is it true, that a Chri­stians Life is so uncomfortable a Life? What then doth David mean to take his Harp so oft in his Hand? What makes him so frequently to warble out those melodious Notes? How sel­dom is his Viol out of tune? Why is he so oft Singing and Rejoycing? Read the last Psalms at your leisure, and then tell me, whether that be the Language of a sad, mournful, melancholy Man? Do you never hear him speak of God, his exceeding Joy? Doth he not tell God plainly sometimes, that he can scarce relish any thing but that which comes from his Table? Nothing else can comfort him. Hence it is in Psal. 119.76, 77. that he puts up this earnest Request to God; Let, I pray thee, thy merciful Kindness be for my Comfort. As for his part he could take comfort in nothing below that, and that was it that the Lord had graciously promised to feed his Servant with, as [...]ong as he lived; whereupon he urges God with his Promise, According to thy Word unto thy Servant. And that none might think this to be only God's [...]ommon Kindness that he means, he adds, Let by tender Mercies come unto me, that I may live. God's common Mercies would not serve his turn, [...]hat was a Dish that the World fed upon as well the; if he might not have these sweet Dainties, [Page 74]peculiar, spiritual, fatherly Mercies, he could not live, he should even pine away for Hunger. Wherefore he saith a little after, That his Soul did even faint for God's Salvation. And the Soul that hath had a full Meal here; O how is it raised? How doth it cry Roast-meat, Cant. 4.1. The King hath brought me into his Chambers; and what had you there? Nay, that's more than the Soul can express; only this she can say, The taste of that Mercy, she hopes to keep in her Mouth for ever; she shall remember his Love more than Wine. Nay, so comfortable a Friend is God, that those who have an Interest in him can rejoyce in such times, when others would be weeping and wringing their Hands. God's Company is so refreshing, that it turns a Prison into a Palace; it brings Joy and Pleasure into a Dungeon. Stand forth O ye suf­fering Saints, and speak your Experiences; the World objects your State to us as a sad State, and they think you have good reason to accuse God, and if any have any thing to say against the Com­fortableness of a Religious Life, and this Friend, it is you. Well then, will you promise, O Sin­ners, to stand to the Judgment of the greatest Sufferers. We will enquire of them that have been sawn asunder, tormented, roasted for God's Sake; look into that little Book of Martyrs, and you shall find, as uncomfortable as their Stat [...] was, yet they would not accept of Deliverance, none of them all that would open his Mouth a­gainst this Friend for all this. What say you O Paul and Silas, now your Backs are raw, and your Feet are in the Stocks? Their Singing speaks significantly enough for them that they were not over sad; and they are so busie in crying Hallelu­jahs, [Page 75]that they can't attend to give an Answer to so sorry a Question. What say the Martyrs out of the Flames? Doth not their Love burn as hot then as ever? Did ever any of them from Abel to the last that suffered in Christ's Cause, say, that God was an uncomfortable Friend? Do not all the Children of Wisdom from first to last justify Wisdom, and say, That all her Ways are Ways of Pleasantness, and all her Paths, Peace? Of those that have God for their Friend and know it, bring me any of them all that complain of God. How doth he come and chear them up when all the World is against them? John 16.33. What made that Holy Man in Psal. 23. say, That though he should walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death be would fear no Evil. What, not fear then? Why what Friend is it that keeps up your Spirits? that bares you Company in those black and dismal Regions; he will soon tell you God was with him, and in those slippery Ways he lean'd upon his Staff, and these were the Cordials that kept his Heart from fainting. I challenge all the Gal­lants in the World out of all their Merry Jovial Clubs, to find such a Company of Merry Chearful Creatures as the Friends of God are. 'Tis not the Company of God, but the want of it that makes sad. Alas, you know not what their Com­forts be; and Strangers intermeddle not with their Joy. You think they can't be merry when their Countenance is so grave; but they are sure you can't be truly merry when you smile with a Curse upon your Souls. They know that he spoke that Sentence who could not be mistaken, Prov. 14.13. Even in Laughter the Heart is sorrowful, and the end of that Mirth is Heaviness. Then call your Roaring, [Page 76]and your Singing and Laughter, Mirth; but the Spirit of God calls it Madness, Eccl. 2.2. When a Carnal Man's Heart is ready to die within him, and with Nabel to become like a Stone; how chear­fully then can those look that have God for their Friend! Which of the Valiant ones of the World can outface Death, look joyfully into Eternity? Which of them can hug a Faggot, and embrace the Flames? This the Saint can do, and more too, for he can look infinite Justice in the Face with a chearful Heart, he can hear of Hell with Joy and Thankfulness, he can think of the Day of Judg­ment with great Delight and Comfort. I again challenge all the World to produce one out of all their Merry Companies, one that can do all this; Come muster up all your Jovial Blades together; call for your Harps and Viols, add what you will to make the Consort compleat: bring in your richest Wines; come lay your Heads toge­ther, and study what may still add to your Com­fort: Well, is it done? Now come away Sinner, this Night thy Soul must appear before God. Well now, what say you Man? What, doth your Courage fail you? Now call for your merry Companions, and let them chear thy Heart. Now call for a Cup, a Whore, never be daun­ted Man; shall one of thy Courage quail, that could make a Mock at the Threatnings of the Al­mighty God? What so Boon and Jolly but now, and now down in the Mouth? Here's a sudden Change indeed! Where's thy Merry Companions, I say again? All fled! Where are thy darling Pleasures? Have all forsaken thee? Why should­est thou be dejected, there's a poor Man in Rags that's smiling? What, art thou quite bereft of [Page 77]all Comfort? What's the Matter, Man? What's the Matter? There's a Question with all my Heart, to ask a Man that must appear before a God to Morrow Morning. Well then, it seems your Heart misgives you; what then did you mean to talk of Joy and Pleasures? Are they all come to this? Why, there stands one that now hath his Heart as full of Comfort as ever it can hold; and the very Thoughts of Eternity, which do so daunt your Soul, raise his; and would you know the reason? He knows he is going to his Friend, nay, his Friend bares him company tho­row that dirty Lane. Behold, how good and how pleasant a thing it is for God and the Soul to dwell together in Unity! This 'tis to have God for a Friend. O Blessed is the Soul that is in such a Case; yea, Blessed is the Soul whose God is the Lord, Psal. 144.15. Psal. 69.15, 16. 2 Cor. 1.3. John 14.16. Isa. 51, 11, 12. Neh. 8. 10. Psal. 30.5. Psal. 43.4. Prov. 14.10. Isa. 29. [...]9. Rom. 14.17. 1 Pet. 1.8. Nay, David when [...]he seem'd to be somewhat out of tune, leaves this upon Record as undoubted Truth, Psal. 13.1. That God is good to Israel, even to such as [...]re of a Clean Heart; Let the Devil and his In­truments say what they will to the contrary, I will never believe them; I have said it before, and I see no reason to reverse my Sentence; Tru­ [...]y God is good. Though sometimes he may hide [...]is Face for a while, yet he doth that in Faith­ [...]ulness, and Love; there is kindness in his ve­ [...]y Scourges, and Love bound up in his Rods; he [...] good to Israel: do but mark it first or last, The [...]ue Israelite in whom there is no Guile, shall be re­ [...]eshed by this Saviour. The Israelite that wrestles [Page 78]with Tears with God, and values his Love above the whole World, that will not be put off without his Father's Blessing, he shall have it with a Wit­ness; He shall reap in Joy, though he may at present so [...] in Tears: Even to such as are of a clean Heart. Th [...] false hearted Hypocrite indeed that gives God only his Tongue and Lip, Cap and Knee, but re­serves his Heart and Love for Sin and the World that hath much of Complement, but nothing o [...] Affection and Reality; why, let such a one never expect, while in such a State, to taste those re­viving Comforts that I have been treating of while he drives such a Trade, he must not expect much of God's Company; but of that hereafter. What a Charge doth God give to his Minister to keep up the Spirits of his People. Comfort y [...] comfort ye my People, saith their God, speak [...] comfortably to Jerusalem. It's a gross Mistake, [...] think that God loves to see his, drooping an [...] hanging down their Heads; no, no, he counts [...] his Honour to have his Servants chearful. [...] why then should any of the precious Sons an [...] Daughters of Zion walk up and down, as if the [...] Friends Company were not sufficient to sola [...] them, even in the lowest State that a Child [...] God can be conceived to be in. While you thi [...] God is honoured by you, you can't imagine wh [...] wrong you do him. The World stands by a [...] looks upon you, the Devil bids them look [...] still, and asks them, how they like such a du­pish Life, and the Service of such a Master, [...] whose Servants and Friends lead such a dolef [...] Life. Stay, hold there Satan, that's a Lye, a [...] a loud one too; there are and have been thousan [...] of God's Children that have lived, as it were [Page 79]the Suburbs of Heaven, while they have been up­on Earth; many thousands there have been, that have spent their Days in true solid Joy and Peace; many that have gone from one Heaven of Com­fort here, to another of Glory and Comfort in that other World. As I said before, so I say a­gain, It is not the Company of God, but the want of it, makes those sad which you see so; besides, let me tell you, Tears and Joy are no way inconsistent. It may be also those Tears, that sad Countenance may be for thy sake; when he sees what Comfort thou despisest, and knows what a God, what a Friend thou refusest, he can't but weep; it's no Rarity for the People of God in the midst of their spiritual Enjoyments to pity poor foolish Sinners, that slight those things which they know to be so refreshing: Thus Da­vid did when his Heart was solaced with the love of God, when his Soul was ready to be o­ver-burdened, over-powered with the abundant incomes of God's Kindness, he can't but with Grief and Pity think of their State, who have nothing to live upon but Husks, whil'st he feeds thus high. O let my Soul be but acquainted with God, let me but taste more of those true Com­forts, drink of that River of Pleasures that is at his right Hand, and then I could spare these low­ [...]r sensual Pleasures, then I should scarce envy [...]ie most merry ranting Blades their Comforts; I will not say, but then I should with Sorrow think of their Wants. It was spoken by Galeacius Ca­ [...]xiola, one that sometimes had none of the least [...]hares of worldly Enjoyments, and might have [...]ad more, could he have dispensed with the Ab­ [...]ence of this Friend, could he but have been wil­ling [Page 80]to have wanted those spiritual Comforts Let him perish that values not one Hour's Communion with God, and the Comforts of a Divine Life, abov [...] all the Pleasures and Comforts that the Earth can af­ford. Give me such Comforts, such a Friend whose Smiles may refresh me upon a Death-bed whose Presence may revive me when nothing else can. Naturalists tells us of a Bird call'd Chara­dius, that being brought into the Room where [...]ny one lieth sick, if he look upon the sick Person with a fixed Eye, he recovereth, but if he tur [...] away his Eyes, the Person dies. It is true, I am sure, of this Friend, in whose Favour is Life, and in whose Frowns there is Death. [Ar Epie, l. 3. cap. 24.] Can you help me to such a Friend (may all say with as good Reason as he) that [...] keep me from all Fears. O for such a Friend This is instead of all Pleasures to me, to thin [...] that God is my Father, and to know that I have loved and obeyed him to the utmost of my Pow­er, not only in Words but in Deeds; this, this is the Pleasure, here's a Friend indeed. No [...] what do you say to all this, is God to be desired Is his Acquaintance to be sought after? Can such a Friend be too much valued? The Truth of it is I would not give a Rush for any of your Comfort [...] which come not from a Sense of our Interest i [...] Christ, and which have not a solid Foundation Scripture Consolations. It is not he that smiles but he that can look up to God as his, and loo [...] into his Soul, and see things there in a goo [...] Composure, and kept in a chearful Subjection to his Maker and Redeemer; this, this is the State here dwells Joys and Comforts that deserve su [...] a Name. This lower Region sometimes is stor­my, [Page 81]but above there is a constant Calm. Sen. And is God still to be slighted? Are his Favours, is his Acquaintance little worth? I know you can't be an Enemy to Comforts and Joys; why let me tell you, here's the Well of Consolation, here's the Fountain, and all other Joys which are drawn out of the Cisterns will e'er long be dry. Come away therefore, poor Soul, and do not refuse such Joys as all the Carnal World can't parallel for their Hearts. And this is the next Motive, taken from the Consideration of the Nature of this Friend, which I would perswade you to get acquainted with.

First, He is a loving and kind Friend.

Secondly, He is the most chearing, comforting Friend.

Thirdly, He is the most able and powerful Friend. He hath all Power in his Hand; and as long as he is but thy Friend, who e'er is thy Foe, thou shalt never be over-power'd, never be crush­ed. Thou may'st challenge all the Devils in Hell, and all his Instruments upon Earth to do their worst, God is on thy side, thou needst not fear. Thou art in thy self a poor weak Creature, easily conquered and broken by a thousand Enemies; but if thou hast a God to fly to, thou also mayest sing as well as those did, Isa. 26.1. Thou also hast a strong City, Salvation hath God appointed for Walls and Bulwarks. Thy Enemies may rage indeed, they may threaten, but that's all; the Dogs may bark, but they cannot bite. Should all the Kings of the World muster up their Forces, and be led in­ [...]o the Field by that great and politick Warrior, [...]he Prince of Darkness; should they all resolve they will sit down before this City and block it up; [Page 82]should they raise their Engines, and mount their best Artillery; should they discharge their migh­ty Volleys; should they resolve to prosecute their hellish Designs to the utmost, and attempt to storm this City, may not the Inhabitants sit down with scorn, and pity them which are so prodigal of the Blood of Souls; would it not be as fruitless a Project, [...] if they should endeavour to scale the Clouds, and to pluck the Sun out of the Firma­ment, and to Dethrone the Almighty? For God himself is in the midst of her; and if Omnipo­tence can protect her, if Salvation it self can se­cure her, she need not be afraid; every Denizen in that City hath an Interest in that great General the Lord of Hosts, who can muster a thousand thousand Soldiers at a moments warning; and if they be too few, he hath ten thousand times ten thousand at his Command, all of them expert Warriors, and able to lead an Army; the least of them with the General's Commission would not turn his back to the greatest Force that all his Enemies can possibly raise; how safe then must he be that hath such a Guard? How unlike is he to be overcome that hath such a [...] Defence? The Gates of Hell shall never prevail against him. The God of Heaven is on his side, the Almighty is up in Arms in his Defence, the Lord of Hosts is for him. It is he that made proud Pharaoh to stoop, it's he who made a Path for his in the midst of the mighty Waters, it's [...] who led his by the Hand of Moses and Aaro [...] through the Red Sea, it's he who look'd th [...] Egyptians into Confusion, and made their Cap­tains and Princes to quake, who died the Se [...] again with the Blood of those cruel Oppressors [Page 83]This is our God in whom we have trusted, this is he who is able to save to the uttermost those that come under the Shadow of his Wings for shelter. O who would not love thee, O God, who that knows thee, would not be willing to have such a Friend, in whose Court there is sure Protection from all the Sons of Violence, none of his Favourites need fear an Arrest, Psal. 27.3, 4. The Lord is my Light and my Salvation: of whom shall I be afraid? The Lord is the Strength of my Life; whom should I fear? When the Wicked, even my E­nemies and my Foes came upon me to eat up my Flesh, they stumbled and fell: though an Host should en­camp against me, my Heart shall not fear: though War should rise against me, in this will I be confident. No wonder then that he counts it infinitely for his Interest, to keep his League with God; no marvel he counts this his best hold, his one thing necessary, ver. 4. One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after, that I may dwell in the House of God all the Days of my Life, to behold the Beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his Temple; for in the time of Trouble he shall hide me in his Pavil­lion, in the secret of his Tabernacle shall he hide me, he shall set me up upon a Rock: and now shall mine Head be lifted up above mine Enemies round about me. It was a Heathen that said, There is no stronger Forti­fication than the Love of the Citizens, Seneca. He had spoke to much better Purpose, and more Truth, had he said, There can be no surer Fortifica­tion than the Love of God. Hear how the Apostle boasts, when he is quartered in this Garrison; I can do all through Christ that strengtheneth me; yet not I, but Christ that dwelleth in me. O how safe must he needs be that hath Almighty Power for [Page 84]his Guard: And this is the Condition of every Soul that hath Acquaintance with God; he hath an able Friend: behold him marching out in Ma­jesty, and challenging all the World to compare with him, Isa. 40.18, &c. To whom will ye like God? or what Likeness will ye count unto him? Wh [...] among the Sons of the Mighty dare shew his Head whe [...] he appears? Who is there that is a Match for him [...] where is the Man that thinks himself able to grapple with the Almightty? Stand forth thou valiant Cham­pion, gird up thy Loyns like a Man, and shew thy Pow­er and Majesty: hast thou an Arm like God? or canst thunder with a Voice like him? Deck thy self now with Glory and Excellency, and aray thy self with Majesty and Beauty, cast abroad the Rage of thy Wrath, and behold every one that is proud, and abase him; look on every one that is proud and bring him low, and tread down the Wicked in their place, hide them in the Dust together, and bind their faces in secret: then will I confess unto thee, that thine own Right Hand can save thee. Alas the poor Worm shrinks, the Thunder of God's Voice makes him tremble, one glance of his Glorious Face makes daring Man to eat his Words, and quake. You see then, O Sinner, how they are like to fare that enter into the Lists a­gainst him, and rush upon the thick Bosses of his Buckler. Chear up, O Christian, the very Looks of thy Captain will make thine Enemies like dead Men. Thou canst never be brought into such a Condition, as that thou shalt be beyond the Help of him whose Power is Infinite. Who would have thought but that Israel was a Lost People, when Pharaoh was behind them with a huge Ar­my bravely Harnessed, and the Sea before, Moun­tains, Deserts and Enemies on each side of them? [Page 85]And yet even then the Lord lets Israel and Egypt too know what it is to have a Living God for them. In what a low Condition were the People of God in Haman's time, when that wicked Decree was passed, and they look like them whom it was next to impossible to save: and yet their mighty Friend did deliver them from that Death too. Time would fail me to speak of the famous Acts of his Power and Might, in delivering the Three Children, Daniel, and many others, who through Faith in this Friend, and with his Assi­stance have subdued Kingdoms, and wrought Wonders. This 'tis to have God for a Friend! He it is who can shake Rocks, and remove the Mountains out of their Places; he it is that can set the Stars in aray, and make them to sight his Bat­tels against the Wicked; it is he that can soon cool the Courage of daring Sinners, that venture to strike at him through his People's Sides. If the proudest of them all say, Who is the Lord? it may be a company of Frogs, or Flies, or Lice, shall take up his Quarrel, and say, Who is that bold Sinner that durst make such a Challenge: behold, we are here to answer him. Should God but alarm his stoutest Enemies with but such Forces as he raised sometimes in the like case, Joel 2.6. How would their Faces gather blackness, and their Joints be unloosed? Was not that blaspheming Prince that asked, Who was that God that could deliver out of his hands? soon answered with a Vengeance: Who ever hardened himself against him and prospered? or any to oppose him or his, is for a Worm to contend with a Giant, for Thorns and Straw to [...]ight with the Flames. David knew what Friend [...]e had for his Second, when he fought a Duel with [Page 86]that monstrous Philistine. Is not all this enough to prove the Power of God, whom I would commend to weak Man for a Friend? And that which puts Life into this Motive, all this Power of God is employed for the People of God, and upon their Reconciliation with God, it is all engaged for their Security, Psal. 84.11. The Lord God is a Sun and a Shield, &c. And he that hath this Shield, may laugh at the shaking of the Spear. And what say you now to such a Friend; would it not be good fighting under such a Banner, where one should be sure never to be conquered? Though the Coasts be now clear, as you think, and the Enemy hath not taken the Field; but what if he should what force hast thou to resist him? Hast tho [...] Strength enough of thy own to oppose thy God (for I shall tell you, that if you look to your Bu­siness no better than you have done, you will find him amongst your Enemies) and art thou able to stand it out against the Devil and the World? for as fair as they speak you, e'er long you may find to your cost, they will break their League, and side with the strongest. And now you that are contented to live without God, that are so confi­dent of your own Strength, and think you have no need of the Alliance of the Mighty God; be­fore you venture thus desperately into the Field let me request of you to muster up all the Force [...] and let's see their Number and Power, and so [...] Acts of their noble Gallantry; let's see some De­monstrations of your Power, that we may tremble before you, and that we may be induced to be­lieve that you are strong enough to look your Ene­my in the Face. Canst thou by thy Power rai [...] such another Building as this is? Canst th [...] [Page 87]spread out the Heavens as a Curtain, or cover the Sun with Darkness? Canst thou call to the Light­nings, and will they answer thee, and say, Here we are? Shouldest thou speak to that hasty Cham­pion, and command him to stand still one quarter of an hour, would he obey thee? Come try thy Strength, and if these things be too much, what dost thou talk of Power? When thou art but a Worm, why dost thou boast, as if thou hadst more Strength than all the Angels in Heaven. Alas poor—I know not what to call thee, that art not able to deal with a Flye or a Frog, dost thou think thy self a Match for the Almighty? Well then, is it not good Prudence to agree with the Adversary quickly, while he is in the way? Will it be counted Cowardize or Folly to submit thy self, when as if you persist, you are sure to perish, and if you accept of his Terms, all that Strength of his is yours; and if God be for you, what need you care who is against you? Your Enemies may do their worst, and you laugh at them; they may kill you, but they cannot hurt you. Here, here's the Wisdom of those the World calls Fools: Epic. Enchirid. c. 79. They see Men are weak like them­selves, and therefore they will make sure of such a Friend that may stand them in some stead against their most Potent Adversaries. And this is ano­ther Qualification of this Friend which I would commend to your Acquaintance, he is an able Friend.

First, He is the most kind and loving Friend.

Secondly, He is the most comfortable Friend.

Thirdly, He is the most able and powerful Friend.

[Page 88] Fourthly, He is the most active Friend. He is not indifferent whether his Friends sink or swim, neither is he active in his own Affairs, and remiss and slow in theirs; but he minds his Friends and his Acquaintance as himself, he concerns him­self in their Interest, and that to some pur­pose. It would be sad indeed for the People of God, if God should stand neuter, when their Affairs are in agitation. But God takes up their Interest, and makes it his own; they have com­mitted Themselves and their All to him, and he will not see them wronged. His Eye runs up and down through the whole World, to shew himself strong on the behalf of them that fear his Name; he keeps constant Watch and Ward about his: and he that can injure any of his out of his Sight, shall go unpunished, Isa. 27.3. The Lord speaks this concerning his dear ones, under the Metaphor of a Vineyard, and doth this great Husbandman neglect his Vine­yard? Doth he not dig, manure, and stone it, and keep out the wild Boar and Foxes; doth he not prune it, and tender it charily? I the Lord do keep it, none shall come into it to gather the Fruit of it without my leave, I will water it every moment. So that you see what Pains God takes for his. They that dare to engage any of God's Dar­lings, shall have enough of it before they have done: whosoever they be that do any of his wrong, shall soon know to their cost, that they had an active Friend that will not let their Injuries pass over unobserved. Do not think that God stands by all this while looking on like an idle Spectator; do you believe that he sits in Heaven, and looks down upon the Earth for nothing? no, [Page 89]his Designs are carrying on apace, and God can make Haman hold Mordecai's Stirrup, and lead his Horse for him, and to proclaim the high Respect that the great King of Heaven hath for him; I mean, make the greatest of his Peoples Enemies do that which shall at the long run, promote the real Interest, Comfort, Honour and Peace of his People. Be not deceived, O Sinner, that sitest, and talkest, and actest, thou thinkest without Controle, thou speakest against no ordinary Per­sons, not thy Brother, but God's Friends, His Anointed Ones, for whose sake he hath rebuked Kings. And because God doth not presently brandish his glittering Sword, and sheath it in thy Bowels; therefore thou thinkest him to be like thy self, a Hater of them; but know this for a certain, that their God whom they serve, their God whom they love, he can and will deliver them; he that sits in the Heavens laughs, and the Lord hath all their Enemies in Derision: and they themselves shall e'er long prove the Truth I am now affirm­ing, that the Saints Friend is an active Friend. Sinners and Saints too shall both e'er long know that God doth his Work quick enough. What speedy Dispatch doth God make when he begins to avenge the Quarrel of Zion? And nothing in the World doth provoke Divine Justice to shew it self with a Witness, as the unmerciful Oppres­ [...]ing of his People. When God comes to deal with Babylon, and all her Upholders, what short work [...]oth he make of it? Isa. 47. It was so before, and [...] will be so again, Rev. 18.8. Her Plagues shall [...]me upon her in a moment, even then when she thinks [...] self most far from Danger, when she talks of sit­ [...]ng like a Lady for ever, and reckons upon Ages, [Page 90]God soon confutes her. Let the Enemies of God People, whoever they be, look to it, if they who they oppose be of the Seed of the Jews, [...] Friends of God, before whom their Predecessor in all Ages have fallen, they shall not stand When God begins he will go through stitch, [...] will make short work of it. When the Iniqui [...] of the Amorites is full, when the set time to de [...] ­ver Zion is come, then, then you shall soon [...] Zion hath an active Friend; The Lord will roar [...] of Zion, and make the Beasts of the Forest to tre [...] ­ble. Therefore in the Faith of this, the Virg [...] Daughter of Zion can despise her Enemies, [...] can laugh them to scorn: The Daughter of Je [...] ­salem can shake her Head at them, and say, Wh [...] hast thou reproached, blasphemed, and against wh [...] hast thou exalted thy Voice, and lift up thine Eyes even against the holy one of Israel, Isa. 37.22. [...] God ever come too late to help his? Did he ev [...] stay too long to do them any good? Hasty unbe­lieving Man may think so, but the wisest kn [...] God's time is time enough; make sure of th [...] Friend, and you will find it: God so works the dark, and we see him not, his Paths are the deep Water, and we behold not his Step his Ways are sometimes in the Clouds; but [...] for all that the Wheels of his Chariot run sw [...] ­ly. How long was it after Rab-shakeh's Blasphe [...] before his Host was discomfited by an unseen Po [...] ­er? How long doth Pharaoh oppress Israel bef [...] he knows that God saw it? How long was it [...] fore proud Haman tumbled after the hatching devilish Decree? How long is it after [...] staying of the Witnesses that their Murderers gin to quake? What a while is it many times [Page 91]fore an earthly Friend (especially if there be any Inequality or Decay in their Estates) be brought to act with any Life for his Friend, when it will stand him in some Trouble, Hazzard, and Cost? Such Friends are Rarities. When you come at Midnight, and ask for to borrow Bread, he is a bed and can't rise from his Children: and thus he would put you off with some lazy Excuse or other. And if he do answer your Desires, per­haps'tis more to be rid of you, than out of true Affection. But when doth God put off his thus? when doth he say, I am not yet at leisure, and I can't yet help you? God doth indeed many times let his stay long, as Men count long before he visibly helps them. But are invisible Helps to be slighted? Is it nothing, that even when he seems to delay, that he bares up their Spirits, and makes his People even then to praise, love, and rejoyce in him more than they did before; where­as others would be cursing and fuming, and let­ting fly at God in a time of less suffering. It is nothing that he sends his Cordial after Cordial to keep them from fainting? Doth not one Servant or other come from his House Day and Night to comfort them? Doth he not send Letters to them, and visit them by his refreshing Spirit? Doth he not shew them by Faith how things work apace, even when their Enemies little think of it? so that they would not change Conditions with the hap­piest of all their Persecutors. They know that they have such a Friend that will not be a [...] rest till he hath brought them safe to Heaven; they know that, let the Wind sit in what Corner it will, it shall sill their Sails, and bring them nearer the Har­bour. As little as the World think this Friend of [Page 92]God is minded by him, why, yet for all that, he dare trust his God with Estate, Body, and Soul, and a thousand times more if he had it; they know in whom they have believed, they understand who it is they trust. Let's see any of the Men of the World that count themselves so wise in their Choice of a Friend: Let's see any of them all that can bring a Friend that hath been so active for them as God hath been for his. One hath chosen Silver and Gold and a great Estate, and such a one in the World's Kalender is writ down for one of the Wisest in his Choice. Well, let's see now what this Friend can do for you; your Body is upon the Rack, your Hands are weak, your Legs tremble, your Stomach fails, your Sleep de­parts from you; where now is your Friend, call for him speedily, come let's see now if he be a Friend indeed, let's see it. Can he give you one Hours Sleep? Can he help you to one Moment's Ease? Can he give you no Refreshment, no Help? Take him, lay him by you on your Bed; O it is so hea­vy I can't endure it: lay it in your Bosom; O I can't breath for it; take it away, take it away, it will not do. Why, Sir, do you know what you say? It is your old Friend, which you valued above God himself, it is as a Bag of Gold; I know it, I know it, but it presses me down, it's so heavy I can't bare it, away with it, away with it: and is this the Friend that you prized so ve­ry highly, is this all the Kindness that he hath for you now. Is this all the Help that he can give you at such a time, when a Friend should stand one in some stead? And who would trust such a Friend? Were you not told as much long ago, how you should be served at last? Would [Page 93]God, think you, have done no more for you, if you had valued his Acquaintance as much as you did Gold and Silver? Try once more what your Friend will do for you; pray him now, if ever, to shew himself a Friend. Cry aloud, Sir, he is your God, your Friend, either he is Talking, or he is Pursuing, or he is in a Journey, or per­adventure he sleepeth and must be awaked, 1 Kings 18.27. but will not hear; can he not help? Well then, at last be wise, and trust him no more, make a better Choice before you are quite ruined; choose a Friend that can do something for you, for I perceive he that you trusted so much can't. What say you to one that is never well (with Reverence be it spoken) but when he is doing some Kind­nesses or other for his? It's he who was projecting great Things for his Friends before they had a Be­ing; it is he who will, e'er long, do Wonders for them, who seem to be forgotten, the Dead I mean; he will gather up their scattered Bones, and restore that Flesh which the Worms had de­voured; it is he, who will in the twinkling of an Eye, raise, or change these vile Bodies, and make them like the glorious Body of his Son; it is he who will acquit you against all the Accusations of the Law, Conscience and the Devil; it is he that will set a rich Crown upon your Head, the least Jewel in which doth sparkle more than all the Diamonds in the World; and before all this, it is he that doth infinitely concern himself in all thy Affairs; not a Kindness done for thee, but he will reward; not an Injury but he observes; not a Word thou speakest, not a good Thought thou thinkest, not an Action that thou dost that [...]s good, but he hath a hand in it: and thou shalt [Page 94]shortly know all this, and wonder that thou shouldest no more love, admire, and delight in such a Friend, who kept thee Sleeping and Waking, who did all thy Works in thee and for thee, Matth. 25.35. Rev. 2.2. Psal. 12.5. Psal. 18.4, to ver. 18. Deut. 33.26, 27. There is no [...] like unto the God of Jesurun, who rideth upon the Heavens for thy Help, and in his Excellency on the Sky. The eternal God is thy Refuge, and underneath thee are the everlasting Arms: and he shall thrust o [...] the Enemy from before thee, and shall destroy them. And this is the next Qualification of this Friend, which may commend him to your Acquaintance. He is an active Friend, he is the most kind and loving, he is the comfortable and refreshing, the most able and powerful Friend, the most vigorous and active Friend.

Fifthly, He is the most humble and condescen­ding Friend. He doth not scorn to be acquainted with the Meanest, the Beggar may be as welcome to him as the Prince; the Poor and Rich are all one to him, he is no respecter of Persons. He takes as much notice of Job upon the Dunghil, as David upon the Throne. He knows any of his Friends in Rags, as well as in Silks, in Sheep-skin and Goat-skins, as well as in Scarlet and fine Lin­nen. Nay, I may well venture to speak it, such have usually most of his Company. Look up, poo [...] Creature, and consider what a Privilege the hast; behold God himself, the King of Glory willing to be acquainted with thee; hark, he call thee, the Gospel is Preached to the Poor, the Great Ones of the World hold Scorn to look up­on thee; the Rich disdain thy Society; Laza [...] is fitter for the Company of Dogs than Dives, [Page 95] [...]e thinks; but it is well for poor Lazarus God is not of the same Mind; for when Lazarus is recei­ved into the Court, Dives is shut out among the Dogs. David doth not like that the Lame and the Blind, and such like Creatures should be in his Palace, none of those must dwell in his Zion, but of such as these is the Kingdom of Heaven, such as these dwell in that Jerusalem, with such God is and may be acquainted, he doth more fre­quently visit the Smoaking Thatch'd Cottages, than the Glistering Courts. Who are the Per­sons that live in Heaven upon Earth? Who are those honoured Ones that are most in their Princes Presence, who have this King's Ear most? Are they not such as I have been speaking of? It is their Company that the great God is most plea­sed with, he loves to hear their Voice, and see their Faces; how is he delighted when he hears a Knot of poor honest Souls together, praying and talking of his Excellency, and discoursing of the Glory and Beauty of their Noble Lord and friend! He accounts the shining ruffling Gal­ [...]ants but Rubbish in comparison of these: and though now these precious Sons and Daughters be [...]rampled under Foot, and counted as Dirt in the [...]treet, yet e'er long the World shall know their Worth, when they shall see them made up among God's Jewels, Mal. 3.16. God hath chosen the poor in the World Rich in Grace. What sayest thou to this, O Poor Man, doth not thy Heart [...]ap within thee for Joy? In this World, if a poor Man have any Business of Consequence to do, [...]y Petition to put up, though it be never so Just, though it be for his Life; yet how difficult a thing it for him to get Audience? How hard is it for [Page 96]such to have Access to their Prince? But lo! here's a Prince that is more above the greatest Monat [...] in the World, than he is above the meanest Wor [...] and yet so infinite is his Condescention and Good­ness, that the Meanest may be admitted into h [...] Presence and welcome. He will hear their Suits, an­swer their Requests, and be as free with them, and give them leave to be as free with him, as if they were the greatest Persons in the World: Are there not many thousands of poor Christians that ca [...] Subscribe to this Truth? Are there not man [...] who know not what it is to feed on Dainties, and fare deliciously every Day, that have no more than Pilgrims, that upon the matter live from Hand to Mouth, whose greatest Dainties are Brea [...] and Cheese, and Small Beer? And yet they com­plain not of hard Usage, they think their Master a good Master for all this? Are there not many that have no Servants to command, not a Foot [...] Land to Till, no Bags of Money to tell over, n [...] Change of Raiment to put on, and yet for all this are Company for God? These are those that can tell you strange Stories of God's wonderful Kind­ness; they will tell you, at such a time in such [...] Duty the Lord came in and sweetly revived them at another time he brought them into his Banquet­ting-house, and his Banner over them was Love at another time he brought them some Cluste [...] from that goodly Vine, and they sat down un­der his Shadow with great Delight, and his Fruit was pleasant to their Taste; and on such a Sab­bath they were taken into Mount Pisgah, and had a lovely Prospect of that goodly Land. Who a [...] the Persons that can speak most Experimentall of Communion with God? Alas, alas, few [...] [Page 97]the great Ones of the World know what these things mean; nay, the very first Step towards Zion, they have not trod, I mean, they know not what Conversion and Regeneration signifies; they are as greatly to seek here as Nicodemus him­self. Not many Noble; O methinks, that Scrip­ture should make some of the Ungodly Great Ones of the World to quake, as much as that Hand­writing upon the Wall did one of their Predeces­sors. O the infinite Goodness that reveals these things to Babes, which are hid from the Wise and Pru­dent! even so Father, for it hath seemed good in thy Eyes. O that God should look upon such and such poor contemptible Creatures, and pass by the Grandees of the World; that such poor Creatures may converse with his Holy Majesty every Day, and go as freely and as frequently as to the dearest Friend in the World, and not be grutched, but the oftener the welcomer. Lift up your Heads with Joy and Thankfulness, O ye Poor of his [...]lock; though the Great Ones scorn your Compa­ny, and disdain to set you with the Dogs of their Plock, though they think it below them to speak to you, much more to converse with you, yet the mighty God, your great Lord, doth not think it below him to converse with you. That's a strange Expression, yet he spoke it that cannot lye; there­fore, O ye humble despised one, that value the Favour of this Friend above the World, and prize his Loving-kindness above Life it self: hear and read it, and make the best of it, it's yours, feed upon it, it's a sweet bit indeed, Isa. 66.1, 2. Thus saith the Lord, Heaven is my Throne, and Earth is my Footstool; where is the House that ye will build me, and where is the Place of my Rest? For all these [Page 98]things hath mine Hand made, and all those things have been, saith the Lord: but to this Man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite Spirit, and trembleth at my Word. I shall have occasion hereafter, a little to open these Words under another Head, wherefore I shall now but name it. O what Encouragement is here for the most despicable Creature in the World, that may be as happy in the Acquaintance with God, as the Mightiest Lord in the World. Here's one that will not be ashamed to own thee, when others will take little notice of thee. Thou thinkest these Things strange, it may be, and so they be indeed, but yet not more strange than true. It doth not a little engage the Affections of the Meaner Rank, if a Person of Quality do but give them a kind Look; especially if they may have freedom of Access to him, O what a Privi­lege they count it; but such a one to undertake the whole Managing of a Poor Man's Affairs, for him to come to his House, and to look into his Cupboard, and to take care of supplying all his Wants, and coming frequently to him, and Sup­ping with him, and he with him, and to make great Provision for him, as if he were a Prince; where is such a thing as this heard of? But if such a thing were, it were a light matter in comparison of what I am speaking? Where do we ever read of a great King sending Embas­sador after Embassador to a poor Begger? What History doth record such a Story as this, that a great Monarch should make earnest Suit for many Years together to a worthless Slave, that he can hang when he will, that hath not a Rag to her Back, to make her his Queen; this is rare indeed, [Page 99]this is beyond President among Men; but yet it is that which the great God doth not disdain to do; Nay, let me tell thee, whosoever thou art re­maining in a State of Nature, that readest these Lines, that at this very time God is doing no less than all this comes to for thee; and I in the Name of my great Master do come to expostulate the Case with thee; that God that gave thee thy Breath, and can take it away as soon as he plea­seth; that God that made Heaven and Earth, to whom all Nations of the Earth are but as the drop of a Bucket to the vast Ocean, who holdeth the Sea in the hollow of his Hands, that weigheth the Mountains in Scales, and the Hills in a Ballance: that God that hath no less than a Heaven to re­ward with, and a Hell and everlasting Flames to punish with, he it is, that doth by me be­seech thee to be reconciled unto him, he it is that would be your Friend, your Acquaintance. O un­heard of Mercy! O infinite and unparallel'd Con­descention! I have oft thought there are two great astonishing Wonders in the World? The one is God's infinite Mercy and Condescention to Rebellious, Apostatized Man; and the other is Man's Insensibility and Ingratitude; that there needs such a Stir, and so many Words to perswade him to close with this Wonder of Kindness, and that so very few should be prevailed with. See this set forth to the Life in Ezek. 16. Isa. 1.2, 3. Psal. 11.3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. The Lord is high above all Nations, and his Glory above the Heavens. Who is like unto the Lord our God, who dwelleth on high, who humbleth himself to behold the things that are in Heaven, and the things that are in the Earth: he raiseth up the Poor out of the Dust, and lifteth the Needy [Page 100]out of the Dunghil, that he may sit with Princes, &c The Psalmist therefore had no small reason to cry out with admiration, Psal. 8.4. What is Ma [...] that thou art mindful of him, and the Son of M [...] that thou visitest him? What is Man that thou take [...] knowledge of him, or the Son of Man, that thou m [...] kest account of him? Psal. 144.3. Job 17.17, 18. What is Man that thou shouldest magnifie him, and that thou shouldest set thy Heart upon him; and the thou shouldest visit him every Morning, and try h [...] every Moment? Behold his Majesty, and yet how he stoops? Nahum 1.4. Psal. 18. Job, chap 37, 38, 39. Isa. 40. Psal. 138.6. Though the Lord be high, yet hath be respect unto the Lowly: b [...] the Proud he knows afar off. That which (Senec [...] Epist. 17.) the Moralist speaks of Wisdom, may be said of God, Epist. 61. It is lawful to come to him without rich Attire and great Attendance; come nakes and you shall be as kindly entertained, as if you did shine in Cloth of Gold, and were besparkled with Di­amonds. He will not give freer Access to the Rich than the Poor, neither doth he value a Strong Health­ful Person, before a Sick and Crazie one, a Beautif [...] and Well-trimm'd Gallant, before a Cankered, Old, Deformed Creature. Thus far Seneca and the Scrip­ture speak the same Language. Neither Job's Boyls, nor Lazarus's Soars, made God keep ever the further off from them. I knew one all of a Scab with the Small Pox, whom this Friend came to visit, and in that Condition, how many Kisses had that sweet Creature from God? O it would do ones Heart good to have such a Friend! And this is the next Qualification of this Friend which may commend him to thy Acquaintance be thou never so Poor, never so Vile and Sin­ful [Page 101]in thy own Eyes, such as thy self he hath made welcome; and upon his Word, wilt thou but come away speedily, thou shalt be welcome too. Sixthly, He is the most faithful Friend. Where is the Man that can tax him of the least Unfaith­fulness? Which is the Man that can say, that he ever forsook any of his in their greatest Exigency? He hath been trusted more than once with more than the World is worth a thousand times over; and they which trusted him most, never ac­cused, never thought their choisest Jewels, their whole Estate could be left in safer hands: his Pro­mise, and his Performance have kept touch, he never failed his in the least Punctilio or Circum­stance of time. Ask Abraham, who was one of God's Friends, God tells him that his Seed shall inherit Canaan, and that they shall be Strangers in a Land that was not theirs four Hundred Years; and did he not at the expiring of the time, though it was at Midnight almost, bring them out of Egypt: God keeps his time with them to a minute. Ask Joshua whether he did not live to see this Promise made good? Inquire of David, and he will tell you again, that no Friend is so trusty. The Unfaithfulness is on Man's side, there indeed, there I say is many an unhandsome thing done, and yet for all that God doth not (as you shall hear hereafter) presently break with them; if they forget that they are Children, he will not forget that he is their Father; if God should have done thus by them, many thousands of them that are now in Glory had been somewhere else. He promiseth indeed great things unto his Friends; but does he not do as he saith, if not in the very thing, yet in that which is better; [Page 102]and who would account himself wronged, if on [...] that promised him ten Pound in Silver, should in the stead of it give him ten thousand Pound in Gold and Jewels? I believe such a one would not be thought to be worse than his Word, no [...] the Person to whom he made this Promise, count himself injured. And this God doth frequently, did Men but understand the Worth of what God pays them with. It may be God doth not clothe [...] them in Silks and Sattins, (neither do I know that he ever promised to do so) but yet he clothe [...] them with the Righteousness of Christ, and be­stows those glorious Robes upon them, in which they look more trim and neat than in Cloaths of Gold; he hath made him such a Suit that is the handsomer for the much wearing; he may eat and drink, and sleep, and work in it, and keep it on his Back Day and Night, and it shall not be wrinkled; it is the better for use: He is a faith­ful Friend, and none that ever had to do with him can say any thing to the contrary; he never forgot any Business that any of his Friends desi­red him to do for them, he never neglected it or did it by halves; where did any of them com [...] to him to reveal some secret, loathsome Distem­per to him, that he reproached them with it? To which of them did he promise a Heaven, and p [...] them off with this World: When this Pilot un­dertakes to steer their Course, their Vessel sh [...] never split upon the Rock, run upon the Sand [...] or spring a Leak, so as to sink in the Seas; to be sure he will see them safe in the Harbour. A [...] Epict. l. c. 26. He was no Christian, yet I sup­pose none will deny but he spake good Divinity who said, If a Man will choose God for his Frien [...] [Page 103]he shall travel securely through a Wilderness, that hath many Beasts of Prey in it, he shall pass safely through this World, for he only is safe that hath God for his Guide. Doth he not speak a little like David himself, Psal. 37.26. Who never expected to come to Glory, except he were guided by his Counsel? Now if a poor Heathen could say thus, and see good reason to trust God, and admire his Faithfulness, as he doth frequently; and so doth Seneca, justifying God's Faithfulness in all his Dealings with the best Men in all their Sufferings, and the Prosperity of the Wicked; what then shall the heavenly Christian say, who hath expe­rienced so much of God's Faithfulness in answer­ing his Prayers, in fulfilling his Promises, and sup­plying all his Exigencies. David will tell you as much, and justifie God in his most severe Dispen­sations toward him; In very Faithfulness hast thou afflicted me, Psal. 119.75. In our Earthly and Bodily Affaris, we should never count that Phy­sician faithful that will rather open a Vein, or put his Patient to exquisite Torture to save his Life, than let him die easily. We believe a Fa­ther may whip his stubborn child with more Love than let him alone. To prevent the Ax or Hal­ter with a Rod, is no Cruelty. Faithful are the Wounds of a Friend, Prov. 27.6. It was not for nothing that the Psalmist sticks so close to God, he had a little Experience of the Unfaith­fulness of other Friends, Psal. 38.9, 11. His Lo­vers and his Friends stood aloof from his Sore, and his Kinsmen stood afar off. May not a great many complain as well as Job, That their Brethren have dealt deceitfully as a Brook, and as the Stream of Brooks they pass away, Job 6.15. A Friend may [Page 104]forget one, a Brother may disown one, Father and Mother may cast one off, but here's a Friend that sticks closer than all. Nay, he is a better Friend to his than they are to themselves; when they love themselves so little as to undo them­selves, he loved them so well as to save them; when they loved themselves, so as to poison themselves, he loved them, so as to give them a powerful Antidote; when they like Children would have the Knife, he takes it out of their Hands least they should cut their Fingers; when they are so careless as to surfit themselves, he is so Faithful as to keep them short, and diet them; and all this I hope they that understand them­selves will not call Unkindness or Infidelity. Da­vid had in his time some Friends that made no bones of hazarding their Lives for him; some of them were willing to quench his Thirst though with their Blood, and yet for all that in all his Life he never met with so faithful a Friend as his God, Psal. 89.8. O Lord God of Hosts, who is a strong God like unto thee, or to thy Faithfulness round about thee? He had rather trust his God than any of them all. God is a real, true, faithful Friend; he tells us things as they be; he doth not speak more of things than the Nature of them doth re­quire; he doth not tell the best, and hide the worst; he doth not speak all of Heaven, and no­thing of Suffering, but saith plainly, All that will live Godly in Christ Jesus, they must suffer Per­secution; and Christ saith, Those that will be his Disciples, must take up their Cross and follow him, and that through many Tribulations, they must enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. He speaks of sowing in Tears, as well as reaping in [Page 105]Joy; of Affliction as well as Glory. And when he speaks of the Glory of another World, he doth not too highly advance his Excellency. When he speaks of his Wrath, or Hell, or Sin, he doth not make them greater Evils than they be. The Lord is faithful in all his Dealings, and that they which love him know right well. Whatsoever doth happen in the World, doth happen justly and faithfully; and so if thou wilt but well observe, thou shalt find. And what sayest thou after all this, thou who hast tried many and many a Friend, so called, and hast by sad Experience first or last found them all Unfaithful, and art almost ready to say of all Men, that they are Lyars, and that Truth and Reality are Rarities; thou thinkest there is scarce a Man upon the Earth to be trusted? And wilt thou never be affraid of such a Friend? Wilt thou at last be wise, and be acquainted with a Friend that never proved unfaithful? Behold, such a one that would be glad with all his Heart to entertain you, would you but forsake your old treacherous Acquaintance. Here, here's one that never fails, not forsakes those that put their Trust in him. The Heavens shall depart, and the Hills he removed out of their Places, but his Faithful­ness, his Love shall never depart from his; and wilt thou not think such a Friend after all this worth the having? Come, come, never stand fretting thy Heart out with Discontents, Men will be Men, that is, Unfaithful as long as the World lasts. Do you expect as long as Sin reigns in Mens Souls, that as long as Satan doth so much act [...]herein, that they should forget to be Selfish, Co­vetous, Deceitful? But now God will always be [...]ike himself, a God, Faithful, True, Holy, Just; [Page 106]and if any one in Heaven, or in Earth can con­demn God justly, of the least Unfaithfulness, my Mouth shall soon be stopped. In this thing I con­fess my self to be of Antoninus his Mind, who said That if there be a God, as there is most certainly, w [...] that God must necessarily be most Faithful, most Wis [...] most Good; but if there be no God, it is not worth th [...] while to live in a World, in which there is nothing b [...] Sin, Confusion, Disorder, and no hopes of a Redress [...] the Excellency of our Being, our Reason, would mak [...] our Misery more exquisite, and our Lives less desira­ble. But blessed be God it is not come to that pass, that we should need question the Being of [...] God; for as one saith wisely, Thou hast far mor [...] reason to question thy own Being than God's. Now, say again, Methinks he that hath been so oft per­plexed with many unfaithful, unworthy Carriage from them which he called Friends, should be a [...] last perswaded to try what this one Friend would do for him. O what abundance of Sorrow would it prevent, if Men would but trust God mor [...] and Men less. This, this is the Friend sick and well, rich and poor, living and dying, alway the same. Make sure of this Friend, and tho [...] art safe; thy All is then in safe and faithful Hands.

Seventhly, He is a rich Friend. The Earth is the Lord's, and the Fulness thereof; Cattle upon a thou­sand Hills are his. He it is that hath the absolut [...] Disposal of Crowns and Scepters, he it is that ca [...] easily raise all his Favourites to a high Estate. [...] the World and all its Glory can do his any goo [...] if Kingdoms and vast Dominions can advantage them, he can with better reason than he did [...] Christ, say, All this is mine, and if thou wi [...] [Page 107] [...]ove me and worship me, I will give you as much of it as will do thee good; and who would account it a Kindness to be given that which will do one hurt? But these are but Toys and Trifles in comparison of what God hath to bestow upon his Friends. Lift up thine Eyes, and behold those glistering Stars; look upon that stately Canopy that hangs over thy Head; why, all this is no­thing almost to the Glory which shall be revealed; there is a far greater Disproportion between what we see and enjoy at the best here below, than there is between the Footstool and the Crown. O could you but by Faith draw the Curtain and see what is within; O did you but know what's be­hind those Hangings which you see wrought so curiously, the Work of his Fingers! O that, that's the Place, there's a House indeed, there's a Palace, couldst thou but by Faith and Meditati­on take a view of it; could you but make a Voy­age into that Far Country, and see that City of God, and discourse with the Inhabitants of the New Jerusalem; what Discoveries should you then have of the Riches, State, and Grandeur of that Prince's Court! Shouldst thou but see those Trea­suries opened, and know the Worth of God's Jewels, thou wouldst wonder what Men and Wo­men meant, that they should need so much Per­swading to be acquainted with him that had such things to bestow; you would judge him worse than mad, who should not joyfully embrace any Overtures of this nature; in a Word, they would reckon that Person besotted that should not with all possible Gratitude, close with such kind of Pro­posals. Come along therefore with me, poor Soul, thou that art not worth a Groat, and hast [Page 108]never a Friend that can or will give you any thing to speak of, come along with me, and take a short Prospect of the Territories of this mighty Mo­narch, let's get up to Mount Pisgah, and make a Survey of that goodly Land, let's take a turn or two in the Courts of his Palace; consider well the Pleasantness of this Seat, how rarely it is accom­modated, the Richness of the Furniture, the No­bleness of the Inhabitants, the Sweetness of that Harmony that sounds Night and Day in that Tem­ple, the unconceiveable Costliness, Riches, Glo­ry, and Excellency of every thing. Do but look a little about thee, are not thine Eyes even da­zelled at the sight? Do you see what Building that is, whose Walls are Jasper, and the City is all of pure Gold, like unto clear Glass, and the Foun­dation of the Walls of that City are garnished with all manner of Precious Stones, Rev. 21, &c. And what think you now, where is the Prince up­on Earth that ever was Master of such an Estate? What are his Attendants? The meanest of those that stand in his Presence, is no less than a King; the least of his Servants is more Rich and Glori­ous than the mightiest Potentate that ever trod upon Earthly Mold, that was a Stranger to God. This God doth not grudge to give that which is more worth than a thousand Kingdoms to his Darlings. I might tell also at what a rate they live, who are fed always at his Table, and what dainty Dishes they feed upon; I might speak of their Cloathing and Robes, all which speak the Riches of that Lord which maintains his Servants so highly. But what am I doing, Can I grasp the Heavens in my Arms? or take up the Sea in the hol­low of my Hands? Can I measure the Heaven of [Page 109]Heavens, or weigh the Mountains in Scales, or the Hills in a Ballance? Could I do all and a thousand times more, yet could not give you an account of the Estate of him who would be your Friend, your Husband: at the best, I can but give you a super­ficial gross Relation of it; and when I have said all that I can speak of, and all the Men in the World with all their Tongues have spoke what they can too, nay, let Angels with their hea­venly Rhetorick do what they can to set out the Glory of his Kingdom; I say, when all this is done, you must remember all falls short of what it is; and that since the beginning of the World Men have not heard, neither can it enter into the Heart of Man, to conceive what a God is worth, what a Friend you may have of him, if you will but speedily be acquainted with him. His King­dom hath no Bounds, and his Dominions reach further than both the Indies. The small Love Tokens that he sends now and then to his Beloved into a Far Country, are of infinitely more value than all the Lockets of Diamonds, and richest Pearls and Jewels in the World, Prov. 8. Behold how merrily Rebekah looks upon a sorry Jewel or two presented by Eliazer from his Master, how soon is her Heart conquered? And why should we not be more taken with Things of far greater Worth? What, is all this as much as nothing with you? Methinks your Hearts should be all in a fire; methinks you should quickly say, O that I could but see him! Who will bring me acquainted with him, he shall have my Heart, my dearest Love? Methinks, should I ask you the same Question that they did Rebekah, Wilt thou go along with me to such a Friend? You should [Page 110]readily, without any further Dispute say, Yes, with all my Heart, and think long to be up and going. Why then do you talk of a Year, a Month longer? O what ail poor Creatures to make us stand waiting so long for an Answer? Do you ever expect a better Offer? Do you look to ad­vance your selves somewhere else? Can you hope for a better, a richer Match? Go then and search out among all thy Lovers which make suit to thee, which of them can feed thee with such cost­ly Vines, which of them can clothe you in such Royal Apparel? Which of them can make you such a Joynture? Consider wisely and speedily, that I may turn to the Right Hand or the Left. What say'st thou, can'st thou amongst them all better thy self? Is there any one like him? Is there any of the Sons of the Mighty comparable to him? Are any of the Kings, or Great Ones of the Earth able to make you such an Offer, or should they, can any of them make it good? What, have you yet resolved upon the Point of not? What is it you stand for, I pray do you question the truth of what I speak? Do you make account I speak of the Highest, and make the best of things? Why, then let me tell you further, I have not, I cannot tell you the half of what you will find to be true, if you would come to be throughly resolved, or of what you will believe hereafter, to your Sorrow, if you still refuse him. And I must further add to what I said before, that whatever Riches God possesses, he will Joyn­ture you in, as soon as you shall in good earnest be willing to accept him for your Friend; all that I can speak of, and more too, you may call your own. Ask, and it shall be given without pre­scribing [Page 111]how much more than you can ask or [...]hink shall be given you. Your Lord and Hus­band is not so niggardly as Ahashuerus, who said, What is thy Request, and what is thy Petition, Queen Esther, and it shall be given thee, to the half of my Kingdom? But God saith, What is thy Re­quest, and what is thy Petition, poor Soul, and it shall be granted to the whole of my Kingdom; what is it thou wantest, what Attendants dost thou lack to wait upon thee to my Court? Are they Prophets, Apostles, Ministers, Angels, they shall be given, 1 Cor. 3.21. Do but try him; he [...]ids you ask, and you shall have: Let me give you this one Memento, Ask like one that hath to [...]o with a rich King, who hates to do any thing below himself; remember it is he that delights to [...]ive like a God: Widen therefore thy Desires as [...]arge as Heaven, be bold and speak a great Word, and I warrant thee thou shalt not be denied; tell God, that seeing in his infinite Goodness and Con­descention, he hath been pleased to give thee [...]eave to ask without restraint, thou dost humbly [...]equest his Son for thy Lord and Husband; him­self for thy Father, God, and Friend; his King­dom for thy Dowry; the Righteousness of his [...]on for thy Ornament; Cloathing, and Beauty, the Comforts of his Spirit, and abundance of his Grace to bear thy Charges handsomly, till thou [...]omest to his House. This is high indeed! but thy Great and Noble Lord loves dearly to hear such Covetous Petitioners, who will be put off with [...]othing but such great Things. When do any of [...]hese go sad from his Court? When do any of [...]e Seed of Jacob seek his Face in vain? This, this the Generation of Thriving Ones, who seek for [Page 112]Life, Immortality and Glory; who seek thy Face O God of Jacob. And now what do you say, will you believe all this? Dare you take my Word I am perswaded none of you all think I dare tell you a Lye, and do you any wrong; but for all that, I do not desire you should take my Word nor the Word of any Man living in a thing tha [...] concerns Eternity; but take his Word who can­not lye, Psal. 8.18. Riches and Honour are wit [...] me; yea, durable Riches and Righteousness, ver. 15. My Fruit is better than Gold, yea, than fine Gold and my Revenue than choice Silver. The Wise Man tell us, That Wealth makes many Friends Prov. 19.4, 6. And that many will intreat the Fa­vour of the Prince; and that every one is a Frien [...] to him that gives Gifts. If this might be in Spi­rituals, I should not fear, but that I should pre­vail with all my Hearers, to seek the Friend­ship of God; if their real Interest did weigh with them, if true Riches and Wealth could win their Affections, if the most substantia [...] good Things might signifie any thing, if soli [...] Reasons might biass them, I should not fea [...] going away without them. But, alas, alas, ho [...] little Power have all these things with the sensua [...] World? What are Men and Women turn'd to What Sots and Brutes are they in the Concern of their Souls, and the Affairs of that other World? Men run up and down hunting afte [...] good things, and have taken a false Seat, the [...] hope to catch that at last which they will fee [...] upon, and satisfie themselves with. I tell thee O Man, who askest, who will shew us any good Here, here it is; Riches thou meanest: well the [...] let it be so; and if I do not prove that what [Page 113]offer thee from my great Master, to be a thou­sand times more worth thy seeking than Gold or Silver, and better Coin than that which bore Coe­sar's Stamp upon it, than say you were cheated. Thou tellest over thy Moneys very fast, methinks, but are you sure all that is Gold which doth so glister? Is all that currant Silver? Will it go in another Country? Is it not possible, but that you may be mistaken? Here, here is the Gold that is tried, it will go any where; here is one that will give you, will you but desire earnestly his Acquaintance, such Treasure that will not pe­rish, such Silver that hath no Tin, such Gold which hath no Dross, such true Riches that can't be taken away from you. Ask that Saint which looks so merrily, that lives so bravely, how he got his Estate, and how he came to be so rich all of a sudden; he will soon tell you how, and where his Treasure lies, and yet not fear being robbed. He hath of late been acquainted with a Friend that hath given him that which makes him e­sbeen himself more worth, than if he were pos­sessed of ten times more than ever Alexander or Coesar was. A Friend of Cyrus in Xenophon being asked where his Treasure was, which made him to think so highly of himself? his Answer was, Where Cyrus his Friend was. A Christian may with much better Reason and Chearfulness, if asked, where his Riches and Estate lies, an­wer, Where God his Friend is. Ask the poorest of them that are acquainted with God, the weakest of all his Children, what they will sell their Por­tion for, and what you shall give them for to re­ign up all their Interest in God, to quit their [...]laim to this Inheritance: Would they not all be [Page 114]of Paul's Mind, and even scorn the Motion, and count the Glory of a thousand Worlds but as Dung and Dross in comparison of the Excellen­cy of the Knowledge of Christ Jesus their Lord, Phil. 3.8. Nay, hear what one says that was far less acquainted with God than any of them which I have been speaking of, when he talks of such a kind of bargain as this. (Epict.) Offer me a Kingdom, and you offer me to my Loss. For, saith the same Author in another place, A good Man may look up to Heaven, as the Seat of his Friend, and not fear want. Inquire of David what Portion God gave him? And he will soon answer you, A goodly Portion indeed; and that he gave him no less than himself, and that the Lines are fallen to him in pleasant Places, and that he hath a goodly Heritage; Psal 16. and therefore he counts him­self richer than if he had all his Enemies in Chains, and their Royalties at his Disposal; he takes him­self to be a far happier Man than if he were ab­solute Monarch of the Universe, and were to give Laws to the inferiour World; he reckons him­self now as well to pass, and better too, than Adam, when he was sole Landlord of the World. It was true spoken of some Body; I do well remem­ber who: He that hath rich Friends, must not look upon himself as poor. O then that you would be in­deed Friends to your selves, and have respect to your own real Interests! And what, will not thi [...] mighty and powerful Argument, which weighs a [...] much as a thousand others, prevail? And do you still say, what Profit will there be in serving the Lord and what Advantage shall I get if I be acquainted with him? To what account will it return? again answer, to a very good Account every way [Page 115]Try but this Trade with the wise Merchant, and you shall soon feel the Benefit of it. (Bolton) Conceive to thy self Mountains of Gold, and Rocks of Diamonds; and to this a vast unmeasurable Tract of Ground, Land of Inheritance, the most fertile Soil in the World, bringing in such a Burden every Year that shall trouble the Owner to reap it; imagine his Pasture as great as his Arable, and all cloathed with thousands of Cattel, small and great, and none of them barren neither; suppose his Barns and Store-houses could ne­ver be emptied; and his Presses should burst out e­very Year with new Wine. Again, let the Merchant store his Cellars with the most pure Oil, and furnish him with such rich Spices as the Queen of Sheba brought to Solomon; suppose he were provided with all the ex­quisite Rarities that the Air, Sea, or Earth can af­ford, yet for all this he were a Beggar, in comparison of one that hath God for his Friend: Such a one possesseth him that possesseth all things. Well then, be perswaded at last to be wise. I remember the Moralist (Sen. Epist. 6.) brings in one acting like a wise Man, and a good Proficient in Philoso­phy, who begins to be a Friend to himself. And this is that which I am pleading with you for. If I came to rob you of all Hopes of Happiness, and to give away all that you have or expect, and to turn Mendicants; If I came to perswade you to espouse a beggarly Interest, and to match your self so as that you should be sure to be un­lone, I should not wonder, if after I had spoke much, I should prevail but little. But when it such a Cause that I am pleading, when it is for [...]our own unspeakable Advantage, when it is Ri­ [...]les, true Riches that I would have you look af­ter, an Estate that I would have you mind, which, [Page 116]may be had for the looking after, have I not cause to admire what need a Man should have to use so many Words? Had you Money to spare, and could I tell you of a Brave Purchase, that you might have an excellent penniworth, I am per­swaded I should not be very unwelcome: could I tell you of a vast Estate that you might have, upon the matter, for accepting or looking after, I be­lieve I need not spend ten Years in earnest beg­ging and intreating you to look after such a thing. Should I offer to bring you to the Place and Per­son of whom you might buy it, should I not soon have your Company? Should not your Necessa­ries be quickly made ready for such a Journey? Would you not be up betimes in the Morning? Nay, would you not travel all Night, and think it no Folly nor Madness, both to lose some Rest and to take some Pains, so you might but come to possess what I speak of. Nay, were there but a Possibility of obtaining it, at least a Proba­bility, I perswade my self you would not fail to look after it the very first thing you did. I am ready to think you would neither spare for Pains or Costs, so that after all you might but make sure of enjoying it. Why, what then is the mat­ter that I can do no more in the Business that I am about? I am sure I bring you Tidings of a better Bargain, a braver Purchase, and surer Inheri­tance, and what need I then spend so much time in arguing with you? Good Lord, what mea [...] People? Are they out of their Wits, and quit [...] beside themselves? What, is a Feather better than a Crown, Brass than Gold? Is a Glass to b [...] prefered before a Diamond, sinite Enjoyment before everlasting Riches, Darkness before Light [Page 117]the World before God? O how is Man sunk be­low himself? What hath Sin made Men and Wo­men? If this be not Folly and Madness, what is? Such may go for wise Men in the World's Ac­count that make such Choices; and it's possible a Man in Bedlam may say his Neighbour that tore all his Hair off from his Head, is well in his Wits. O that this were not the Condition of the far grea­ter Part of the World. And what meanest thou, O my Soul, that thou art no more affected to see such vast Multitudes of brain-sick frantick Sin­ners, that make light of the Tender of the Go­spel, that take them for their Enemies, who would do their utmost to make them happy for ever? I must profess I am even ashamed of my own Heart, that I do not mingle my Words with Tears; that I should speak for God and Souls, with so indif­ferent a Spirit! Well, now you have heard of a great Match by which you may be made for ever; are you for all this of the same Mind you were? Well then, complain not if you be a Beggar. Re­member how you were offered, remember you might have been worth more than a World. O that inconsiderate Souls did but know, and indeed know what an Offer this is! O that they would not carelesly undervalue such a Proposal! O what shall I do? How shall I perswade you? What Arguments will prevail? O thou great and mighty God, give Men and Women but a spiri­tual Understanding of these things, make them deeply apprehensive of their Excellency and Re­ality, and then I should soon have them with Thankfulness complying with these Tenders which thou commandest me to make unto them. when shall it once be! How long shall the De­vil [Page 118]and an unbelieving Heart undo so many Mil­lions? How long shall Satan triumph over Souls, and cheat them thus miserably of their All? O pity, pity dear Lord, the besotted foolish World, and give me more Compassion to Souls, that I may with incomparably greater Earnest­ness and Tenderness plead thy Cause with them, and resolve to give them no Rest, till I have perswaded some of them in good ear­nest, to look after the great and weighty Af­fairs of Eternity, and the making sure of this Friend.

Eighthly, He is a sympathizing Friend. It goes to his Heart (with Reverence be it spoken) whe [...] any Injuries are done to any of his; when his Friends are wronged, it touches him to the Quick He is as tender of them, as of the Apple of his Eye. Again, He that despiseth you, despiseth [...] Never was tender-hearted Mother more piti [...] over her only Child, than God is to them which love him; never was any Friend so much con­cerned for another as God for his. [...] What else mean those high Expressions of Pity in Isa. 63.9. In all their Afflictions he was afflicted, and the Ang [...] of his Presence saved them: In his Love and in hi [...] Pity he redeemed them, and he bare them, and carrie [...] them all the Days of old. It was not once or twice that God did so by them; but in all their Afflicti­ons, he was afflicted; which was not expressed [...] some cold formal Words, such as these. Alas poo [...] Creatures, they are quite undone, their Enemi [...] are very barbarous, but he shew'd it in that mo [...] real Demonstration, by saving of them by the A [...] gel of his Presence. A verbal Kindness costs little and helps little. But suppose his Friends are carri [...] [Page 119]captive, are they not quite out of the Reach of his Help? No, his Love, Pity and Power, will find them out in any place under Heaven; and if they be Slaves, he will redeem them, though he gives Kingdoms and Nations for their Ransom. In his Love and in his Pity he redeemed them; and when by hard Usage they are grown so weak and seeble, that they can scarce go nor creep, why, he will carry them in his Arms, and bare them. And thus he did of old; and his Affections are rather greater than lesser now than they were then. The Mother can be weary of carrying a dirty screaming Child; she thinks it less trouble to whip him, or to let him lie till he hath cried himself weary; she is loath to lug such a trouble­some thing up and down all the Day long. But yet such is the Tenderness of this Father, that he carries his all the Day long, though they be so heavy, so unquiet, so dirty. But of that present­ly. How oft do you read of strange Pity in the Book of the Judges; when they had by their own Folly more than once brought themselves into Calamity, how do his Bowels yern over them; and when any of his are groaning under any Tri­als or Temptations, what sending and running is there? How many Cordials are prepared for them? What calling to this Servant and that Servant to attend them with all the Care that may be, and to comfort them in this State: And in case of abuse, how doth he shew his Love to them? If you should ask Pharaoh, he would tell you, that God's Friends are edge-Tools: Why else doth the Lord lay a­bout him with so much Indignation, when they are oppressed. Nay, for their sakes he rebukes Kings, saying, Touch not mine Anointed, and do my [Page 120]Prophets no harm; if they do, be it on their Peril. How did he bare the Afflictions of his People Is­rael in Egypt? did he stand still as if he were un­concerned? Did he shut his Eyes and not see? Or did he stop his Ears to their Cries? No, no, he sees the Sufferings of his in Egypt, and that both Enemies and Friends too shall know the one to their Comfort, and the other to their Cost, Exod. 3.7. How doth he awaken for their Help, and gird on his Sword upon his Thigh, and march out with Fury? how doth he clothe himself with Ven­geance, as with a Robe, and brandish his glitter­ing Sword, and sheath it in the Hearts of his and their Enemies? Wherefore is it that God hath so many Controversies with Edom, Ammon, and A­malek? Why doth he muster up his Forces with Violence against Babylon? Whose Quarrel doth he engage in? What was the Ground of that War? If you read over all the Indictments that are be­fore this great Judge, you will find this a com­mon one, their Hatred of his People; and this to be sure he will not put up. And that which puts an Accent upon all this, is the unworthy Car­riage of most of them towards him all this while: But of that under the next Head, which is this.

Ninthly, He is the most patient Friend. Never any one in the World could have disgested such Af­fronts, born such Indignities, as God hath many a time, and even from the best of those that he takes into this Intimacy with himself. Had it not been for this Covenant of Friendship, Judah and Ephraim too had been soon unpeopled; as for them they soon forgot their Covenant, yet for all that God remembers his; though Ephraim forget to be a Child, yet God can't forget to be [Page 121]a Father. Read that Text and wonder, Hos. 11 [...] 7, 8. And my People are bent to back-sliding: though they called them to the most high, yet none at all would exalt him. Though they had many compassionate Prophets that called after them Day and Night, when they saw them turning their Backs upon God, yet they were not minded. Who now would conceive that God should ever think a Thought of Kindness towards them more? Yet hear what God saith, How shall I give thee up, O Ephraim? how shall I deliver thee, O Israel? how shall I make thee as Admah? and how shall I seat thee as Zebulun? My Heart is turned within me, my Repentings are kindled together. I will not execute the fierceness of mine Anger. I will not return to de­stroy Ephraim; for I am God and not Man, the holy One in the midst of thee, and I will not enter into the Gity. Well, now tell me if ever there were such a compassionate, meek, patient Friend. Ephrains was up in open Arms against his Maker, he did rebel most unworthily against his good Lord and Friend, to whom he was bound by infinite Engage­ments. Ephraim had quite cast off God, and he will have nothing to do with him; and Judah is not far inferiour to his treacherous Brother; and what will God do? One would think, as I said before, he should ease himself quickly of such false Friends; one would think that after such Unfaithfulness, he should for ever banish them his Court; one would soon conceive that he should think of Disinheriting such Rebellious Children; for theirs was not the first, second, nor third time that they had served God thus; who then could imagine that he should ever trouble himself with them any more? Should one not look eve­ry [Page 122]Day when he should quite cast them off? Why, God seems sometimes to threaten as much, and seems ever and anon to act towards them as if he would never look upon them more while the World stands. Go, faith God, to your Idols, let them save you? What do you come to me for, you have refused to have me for your God; go cry to your Gods, and let them deliver you. Thus he seems to turn away his Face; yea, for all that, see how soon he forgets his Displeasure; Ephraim is his Child, his dear Child, and he can't but pitty him; and how shall I give thee up, O Ephraim, &c. How hardly is God brought so much as to chastise his Children; he never corrects them, but when there is an absolute need of it; ask the Church under the Rod, and she can't but say as much, Lam. 3.32, 33. For though he cause Grief, yet will he have Compassion according to the multitude of his Mercies. For he doth not af­flict willingly, nor grieve the Children of Men. He calls Judgment his Work, his strange Work: and when he doth correct his stubborn Children, how doth he many times give them a Lash and? Kiss, a Frown and a Smile? O what would have become of the Holiest Men living, if God should upon every Provocation have broke with them. If God should mark Iniquities, O who should stand? Which of the fallen Sons of Adam hath not abused his high Kindness? And yet for al [...] that, how is his Patience and Goodness exercised towards them; well might the Psalmist make tha [...] the burden of one of his Songs, O that Men would praise the Lord for his Goodness, and for his wonderful Works towards the Children of Men; and that of a­nother, For his Mercy endureth for ever. What [Page 123]Created Being could have born the thousandth part of that from any Hand, that God doth eve­ry Day from his dearest Children? What Pee­vishness, and unfriendly Quarrelling, what Mur­muring and Repining doth he bear, even from them for whom he hath done such great Things? How strangely do they carry themselves! how seldom and complemental in their Visits of him! how cold and formal in their Addresses to him! how frequently are they conversing with his basest Enemies! how much Treachery und Underhand-dealing doth he find in them! Yet for all this, how great are his Kindnesses, and how open are his Arms, upon their Acknowledgment, to re­ceive them again! Little do we think what Un­kindnesses the Lord overlooks; and indeed except we knew what it was to be infinite in Holiness, could we any way conceive how infinite his Pati­ence is, Psal. 106.43, 44. Many times did he de­liver them: but they provoked him with their counsel, and were brought low for their Iniquities. Never­theless he regarded their Affliction, when he heard their Cry, and he remembered for them bis Covenant, &c. Here, here's Patience, here's Love and Good­ness with a witness! What Prince under Heaven would trust a Rebel, that hath been in Arms a hundred times against him, and that at the best doth serve him with so little delight? What Friend would continue his Familiarity and Kind­ness there, where he hath found abundance of Falseness? And who but thou, O God, is so Mer­ciful and Gracious, Long-suffering, and Abun­dant in Goodness and Truth? As for the trou­ble that any of his meet with, most commonly they may thank themselves for it; and it's always [Page 124]sent them in kindness: there is none of them all but may say, This is my Iniquity, This is the Fruit of my Back-sliding, this I have got by my Estrangement from God.

Tenthly, He is an Honourable Friend, and to be acquainted with him is the highest Honour in the World. This Word Honour, sounds great in the Ears of this proud World; what running and catching to get a little of it! How do many undervalue their Lives, and make nothing to ha­zard their Blood for a little of that Men call Ho­nour; some prize it above Riches and Wealth, and care not almost at what rate they purchase it; and yet in the mean while they are furthest from that which they so greedily desire, and they run away from that which they seem to pursue. Poor Ignorant Man is fearfully mistaken, he calls that his Honour which degrades him, and takes that for his Glory which is his Shame: How is he pleased with that which when he hath, he neither sees nor feels, and scarce knows what it is! (Epict.) What is it, O Man, that thou loosest thy Sleep for? What is it that thou art at so much Charge to buy? That rather than you will want it, Estate, Blood, Life and Soul, and all must go for it? Knight, Lord, Earl, &c. Worshipful, Right-worshipful, Honourable, Excellent, Gra­cious, are big Words, and make a great Noise; but is this the true Honour? Will these Words without the Thing do a Man so much good? A Man, I said, and so doth God say too; and Death will make the biggest of them all know as much e'er it be long, for all those big Words? What if his Breath stinks that speaks these Words, and his that hears them, be not much sweeter. (Antoni­nus) [Page 125]Is it such an Honour to have a company of Fools to call him wise, that it may be is like them­selves? Is it worth a Soul to have it said when I am in Hell, there lived a brave Gentleman, that kept a noble House, and brave Table, his Celler was always open, one might come when one-would, and drink as long as one could stand, and never hear, Why do you so? And be always wel­come: that is in plain English, where a Man might be incouraged to damn his Soul. There li­ved a Noble Gallant Person who bid defiance to the Almighty, that had Courage enough to go to Hell merrily, and had a desire to carry as many a­long with him as might be; Damning, Swearing, Cursing, was their Language; Eating, Drinking, Sleeping, Whoring, and Persecuting the People of God, their Business. And are these your Ho­nourable Persons? Nay, Go higher, To bustle up and down in Cloth of Gold, with a vast Retinue; to have Men on this side and that side, bowing and cringing; and is this such a Business? Is it worth the while to keep such a stir about that which a wise Man may want, and a Fool have (Anton.) Will those Names, that Grandeur and State, those high Titles, render you more acceptable to God? Will they procure you a freer Access into the Pre­sence of that great King? Will those great Words scare Death? Will he say when he comes to your House, This is a Person of Quality, I must not be so bold as to come near him? Will your Honour procure you a Protection from the Arrests of this Serjeant? Where is the Honourable Personage, the Gentleman, Knight, Lord, King, or Monarch, that hath lived a thousand Years? (Lucian) Are the Worms afraid to gnaw thy Heart? Will thy [Page 126]Flesh never putrifie? Will your Servants, or your Master either honour you in Hell? And is this all that you keep so much stir for, that can do you no good in the Grave, or in another World? Can that be better worth than Heaven, than God? O that we might but know what it is, that great Thing is, which is preferred before Christ and everlasting Glory? Again, I ask, What is it that the Grandees of the World do so much idolize? Is it to be called Wise, Great, and Noble? But what if the Wise God call such a one a Fool? (Epict.) What if he know neither himself, nor his God, nor his Interest? Hath he much greater reason to boast than a Feather that some body will say it is heavy; or Dung, that the Swine saith it is sweet. (Juven.) What Profit is it for a Man to be made Great for betraying his Country, and flattering a Tyrant, who yesterday was the Son of a Stage-player, and to morrow shall be shor­ter by the Head? What good will it do a Beggar that is ready to be starved, to be told that he is a Prince, a brave Fellow, worth some thousands by the Year? But would you know which is the ready way to true Honour? I tell you, it consists not in the Favour of them that must die like them­selves, and before that few Years be over, must stand but upon even Ground with the Meanest; it con­sists not in the sorry Acclamations of them which measure a Man's Worth by his Estate, and their Dependance upon him; it consists not in the Praise of them whose Commendations some wise Men have counted a Discredit. But he hath shewed thee, O Man, what is truly Honourable; to do Justly, to love Mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God, Micha 6.8. To bare Relation to God [Page 127]as a Father, and to carry themselves as his Chil­dren, to be a Servant, and a Friend of God, this, this is Honourable, truly Honourable, this is the heighth, the top of the Creature's Preferment. To converse with, and delight in his Maker. To love, admire, and rejoyce in God, and to love God, to take Complacency in the Soul; this is something indeed, this is Honour, a wise Man would not g [...]utch to venture his Estate, his Blood, his All for this. And how few of the Gallants of the World understand the nature of this Honour? How do most of them account that which is the only true Badge of Nobility, a term of Disgrace; and that which speaks a Person highly Honourable, and to have brave Blood run­ning in his Veins, to be low, sordid, and much beneath them; as if it were below a Creature to serve his Maker, and a pitiful Preferment to be advanced to Glory. O that Men of Parts and Learning, that Persons of Quality should be so mistaken! O what's become of their Reason? Is it an Honour, a Preferment for a Man to be­come a Brute? We are ready to pity Mad-men, and to laugh at Fools; but whether there be not more reason to bemoan the Condition of most of the Honourable Persons in the World. I leave Christ and Christians to judge. Well then, will you be informed after all this by him, who hath all Preferments and Honours in his Gift, I mean the great King, and he will tell you that Glory and Honour are in his Presence, 1 Chron. 16.27. Man's only Honour and true Dignity lies in his Nearness, and Acquaintance with God. A pra­ctical Knowledge of his Maker is the Creatures greatest Preferment. David was of the mind, [Page 128]that it was none of the lowest Honours to be God's Servant, Psal. 84. It is upon the account of Israel's near Relation to God that Moses reckons them the happiest, the most honourable People in the World. Because God had avouched them to be his peculiar People, therefore they might well be said to be high above all the Nations which God had made, in Praise, in Name, and in Honour, Deut. 26.18, 19. And upon this account, might a Wise Man have his Choice, whether he will wear a Crown, and be a Stranger to God; or Rags, and be one of his nearest Servants; he will not stand long before he determine the Case, he will soon answer with him, That he had rather be a Door-keeper in the House of God, than dwell in Taber­nacles of Wickedness. If Men's Actions may speak their Judgments, most of the Gallants of the World are of a far different Opinion. But, O let me dwell for ever in his House, and stand always in his Presence; happy are they that see his Face, happy are they that behold his Beauty. This, this is Man's Crown, this is his highest Honour and Dig­nity, for God to be mindful of Man, and for his Maker to visit him; this sets him but little be­low the Angels, this crowns him with Glory and Honour, Psal. 8.45. This is that which puts a true Personal Worth upon any one; and therefore the Psalmist thinks those the excellent Persons, in whom is his Delight. Upon this ac­count the Scripture saith, The Righteous Man, who is in Covenant with God, is more excellent than his Neigh­bour. The pur-blind World, they judge altoge­ther by the outward Garb; they see the Face, the rich Apparel, they see the Estate, but they see not that inward Excellency and Beauty that may b [...] [Page 129]under but mean Habit; they are ready to despise the Noble Worthies of the World, such as can look upon Kingdoms as small things in compari­son of what they have an Interest in. Who can call God Father, and Christ Brother. Have you never heard of a King in mean Apparel, of a Prince without his Robes upon his Back; or his Crown upon his Head? And will you say that therefore he was but a common Person? But those heavenly Creatures that have a more spiritual re­fined Sense, that understand something of things and Persons, are quite of another Mind, they can look upon great ones in the midst of their Gal­lantry, without a Friend in Heaven, as mean Per­sons that have no Interest to speak of; and many of them, for all their Greatness, to be in a far worse Condition than Dogs and Toads. They can also look upon a poor despised Saint, a con­temned Christian, though as to a carnal Eye, he should look as if he could scarce speak Sense, to be a Favourite of Heaven, a Person of Quality; such a one as this he values as the Son of a King, a Citi­zen of Zion, one of the Royal Race, one of that Glorious Retinue, that stand always in the Pre­sence of God to serve him, the least of which are Kings and Priests to their great Lord, Rev. 1.6. By Faith he sees their Crown, and looks upon that Roy­al Diadem, which shall e're long be put upon their [...]incely Heads. This was the great Preferment they sought, this was the Honour they most de­ [...]red; as for the World and all its Glory, they an well spare it for those that shall never be ad­vanced to any higher Dignity, to any better Pre­ferment. As for the Saint, as contemptible as [...] looks, he hath higher Designs, nobler things, [Page 130]greater Honours in his Eye; and if that which the World so admires were the highest Glory that a rational Creature were capable of, the Top of Man's Preferment, why then he could look upon Brutes themselves as his Equals, except in this, that their Pleasures are more certain, and their Miseries less understood.

It is storied of Constantine and Valentinian, two Roman Emperours, that they subscribed them­selves Vassellos Christi, the Vessels of Christ; and that Numa Pompilius esteemed it a higher Honour to be a Friend of God, than a Lord of Men. Consi­der, poor Sinner, consider what Honours you slight, what Preferments you refuse, what Dignity you undervalue, when you make light of Acquaintance with God. Had that brave Stoick, Epictetus I mean, known God in Christ, he would much more have wondered at the Incon­siderateness of them, which make nothing of be­ing related to God as a Father, he would much more have pitty'd them which cleave to their lower, meaner Kindred, Beasts, who had rather be like Swine than God, and rather be Companions to their Servants than their Maker. Seems it to you but a light matter to be a King's Son? Is it but a small matter, think you, to call God Fa­ther? Is it nothing to be born to a Crown Immor­tal, that fadeth not away? This is Honour, this is Preferment worth the having, worth the look­ing after, worth the venturing one's Life for This is true Nobility, to stand thus nearly related to him, before whom the Angels do vail their glorious Faces, and at whose Feet the four and twenty Elders lay their Crowns. The Queen o [...] Sheba thought Solomon's Servants happy, who stood [Page 131]always in his Presence, and heard his Wisdom; but what would she have said, had she but known the Honour and Glory of this Prince! O blessed are those that stand always in thy Presence, O God, blessed are thy Servants, blessed are those which see thy Glory, and hear thy Wisdom, bles­sed are they that may have free Access to thee. O let me have this Preferment, though I live like Job at his lowest, and dye like Lazarus. Let o­thers sue for the Favour of Princes, let them make the best of what the World can give, let them desire that which hath been dangerous to more than Haman; I hope I should never envy them, might I but have more frequent and intimate Converse with God, may I be but acquainted with him; O may I have but a Heart more to ad­mire, love and delight in him, and serve him with the Strength and Intenseness of my Soul while I am here, and stand for ever in his Presence, and behold his glorious Face with Joy hereafter. O my Soul, what meanest thou, that thou still speak­est so faintly and coldly of such insinitely glorious things? Why doth not a new Life animate thee at the very mention of these things? Hast thou not far more Cause to raise up thy desponding Spirits with Chearfulness, than old Jacob, when his Son Joseph, who was Lord of that Land, sent for him into Egypt? Thy Father, O my Soul, thy Brother is Lord, not of Egypt, nor of Goshen, but of Eden, of Zion; he is the King of that glorious City, the New Jerusalem; Heaven is his Throne, and Earth is his Foot-stool, and yet behold the Waggons that he hath sent for thee, behold the provision that he hath sent to maintain thee com­fortably in thy Journey from Egypt to Canaan; [Page 132]is not this enough? O my Soul awake, up and see him before thou dyest; behold, he is com­ing, the Bridegroom is coming, Joseph is coming, to meet thee with a gallant Train, in a glorious Equipage; it is but yet a little while, and thy Husband will come and fetch thee in Royal State, attended with a numberless Retinue of Saints and Angels. O hadst thou but an Eye to behold their Chariots and Horsemen coming up­on the Mountains; he is coming, he is coming, he will be here quickly, he will not tarry, he is at the Door. Contemplate sometimes on these things, and a little antedate that Glory by Spiri­tual Meditation, do but think what a brave Sight that will be to see the Mountains covered with Chariots of Fire, and Horses of Fire, when the Heavens shall bow before thy Friend, and the Earth shall melt at his Presence, and yet thy Heart not faint within thee; when the King shall come in the Clouds to fetch his Friends to his own House, where they shall dwell for ever. This Honour have all the Saints.

Eleventhly, He is a suitable Friend. It is Suitable­ness that sweetens Society. I can easily believe, a poor Country Peasant can take as much Con­tent in the Company of a poor Man like himself, as in the Society of a Prince; an unlearned Coun­try Man is no way fit to converse with Courtiers, and States-Men; the Vastness of the Distance would so much swallow his Mind, and the Unsuit­ableness of his Spirit to such Company takes off that Content which otherwise he might enjoy. But yet in Spirituals, though the Distance between God and Man be beyond a Possibility of our Con­ception, [Page 133]and the Disproportion infinite; yet the Soul of Man being immediately from God, and Spiritual like God, and having a Divine new Nature infused into it by the Spirit in Regenerati­on, it finds an infinite Suitableness, Pleasure and Content in the Injoyment of God's Presence, and it is not sunk, but raised by an Union, Converse and Society with its Maker. The Truth of it is, did Man but understand his own Original a-right, he would think it infinitely below his noble Pa­rentage to converse with, and have intimate de­lightful Society with any but God, and those which bare the same Relation to God with him­self, or to bring poor Strangers acquainted with him as well as themselves. There is not a Match upon Earth fit for the Soul of Man to be matched to: But in that other Country there is a Match indeed every way suitable, a Spirit for a Spirit, an everlasting God for an everlasting Soul, a precious Jesus for a precious Soul, a holy God for those which he hath made holy like himself; and that is none of the least of Man's Happiness, that notwithstanding that infinite Distance that is naturally between him and his God, yet that God should make in his Creature such noble Dispositi­ons, and such Divine Qualifications, that there should be the greatest Suitableness in the World between God and the Soul, and the Soul and God; and they both take wonderful Content in the En­joyment of one another. This is in part here, but compleated in Glory. This we may find oft in Scripture expressed in the nearest Relations, and dearest Affections. Hence God is said to be a Father, and they his Children; a Husband, and they his Spouse. Now what greater Suita­bleness [Page 134]can there be than between Father and Children, Husband and Wife? God is also said to delight in them, and they in him; to rejoyce in their Company, and they in his; and how could this be, except there were a Suitableness in them one to another. Their Wills are suited; what God wills they will, and what God loves they love; and so what they love, as his Friends, God loves; one doth not thwart and contradict the other. O how sweet then must the Company, the Communion of such Friends be! O were our Hearts as they should be! Were we more like God, we should quickly experience the unspeak­able Joy of our Souls, how suitable a Friend he is to a Soul; we should soon find, that as Clay and Stones are as unsuitable Food for the Body, so the World is unsuitable Food for the Soul to feed on, and that it is God alone that can fill and sa­tisfy the vast Desires of it. O, I say again, were we but as we came out of our Maker's Hands, or rather were we trimmed up in our eldest Brother's Robes, and brought into the immediate Presence of this great King, were we set before that glo­rious Throne, where the infinite Brightness of his Majesty shines so that the Angels themselves do vail their Faces before him; yet for all that we should not long stand silent, as if the Place and Company were unsuitable to us, it would not be long before we should carry it as those that were nearly related, and had intimate Acquain­tance with him that sits upon the Throne. O the un­speakable Sweetness that will be in the Enjoyment of his Company! No Tediousness, no Irksomness at all upon our Spirits. We shall quickly under­stand our Work, our Privilege. O infinite Good­ness! [Page 135]O boundless Love! O let me be always so­lacing my Soul in the Contemplation of these things! O let the very Thoughts of them be a Heaven upon Earth to my Soul! But here, O here's the Grief while we are here in a strange Country, there is something (in all the poor fal­len Children of Adam, nay, in those of them that are recovered, and by Grace brought into are-union with God) there is, I say, something in God unsuitable to them, and in them unsuita­ble to God; and this, O this makes our Lives so uncomfortable: But converse with God will wear off a great deal of that. When thou comest to lay off thy Rags, and to put off thy old Suit, and to put on that new one that is making for thee, I mean after Death, when thou comest to Glory, thou wilt find the Case strangely altered with thee. In Heaven there will be a perfect Harmo­ny, Suitableness and Agreement between God and thee for ever; and thou wilt take infinite Complacency and Delight in him, and he in thee. And thus shalt thou spend Eternity in uncon­ceivable Joy, Delight and Pleasure. This is Hea­ven, a perfect Suitableness to God, and enjoying him for ever. O when, when, when shall it once be! Come Lord Jesus, come quickly: Come, O blessed Father by thy Spirit, and burn up what is un­like thee! O create a greater Suitableness between my Soul and thee! O come thou down to me, or take me up to thee! O could we but talk with one of those happy Creatures that hath been in the very Pre­sence of God in Glory, and should we ask him, whether he were not weary of the same Work, of the same Company, the same Place; what An­swer do you think he would make you? No more [Page 136]weary than a Man upon the Rack, but just be­fore would be of perfect Ease; no more than a [...] healthful hungry Man is of eating; no more weary than the Sun is of running, than the Fire of ascending, or a Stone of falling towards the Center. Sen. Epist. 10. I know not where I had ra­ther be than with him. I was once upon Earth as you are now, and now I am in Heaven, and in neither of both these Places can I find one that I can take more De­light in than God. I must say as he, Psal. 73.24. Whom have I in Heaven but him? And there is none upon Earth that I can desire in comparison of him. I ca'nt desire a better Employment than a de­lightful constant attending upon my God: Can I have better Company than such a Father? Can a greater Happiness be conceived than eternal Glo­ry, a pleasanter Place than Heaven? That which I can speak, you can't hear; and could you (though in this perfect Glory) I can't express what you will find and feel when you come hither. O had I but known so much as I do now, when I was in your Condition upon Earth, I should with incom­parably greater Earnestness have sought after Ac­quaintance with God than I did. In his Presence is Fulness of Joy, at his right Hand are Pleasures for evermore: Now I feel, now I know it. I thought one Smile sweet upon Earth, but now I see and fell infinitely more; what you enjoy now, is a Shadow, in comparison of what you will enjoy hereafter. O what do you mean that you prize his Favour no more, that you get no more inti­mate Acquaintance with him? What do you mean that you are so unwilling to come to this Place of Joy? O, were you but possest of what I speak of, you would say what I say, you would [Page 137]never be weary of praising and serving him, you would never wish your self out of his Presence, and think it not possible to be in more suitable Society. Is it so, O my Soul, what then dost thou here? Make haste, O my Soul, stay no lon­ger here below, but know thy Privilege, under­stand where thy Comforts are.

Twelfthly, He is a wise Friend, All the Men and Women in the World have great, mighty Affairs to manage; and they want Skill, Wisdom and Discretion, for the right Management of these Things, they are wofully to seek as to their great Business; they are wise to do evil, but in Spiritu­als they are become stupid, sottish Fools; and as to the carrying on of their great Work, they do it with the greatest Imprudence in the World: and they will most certainly for ever undo them­selves, except one that is wiser than themselves undertake to help them. All things go backward with them, and they labour in the very Fire whilst they act without God, and it is impossible it should be otherwise, as long as there is such a Dispropor­tion between Man's Business, and his Spirit; Man is Carnal, and his Work is Spiritual. Would an ignorant poor Creature, that is but one Remove above a Beast, be fit to manage the great Matters of Government? How ridiculously would he be­have himself in a Chair of State! how strangely would an unlearned Man bungle, should he go a­bout to open one of the profound Demonstrations of Mathematicks! But a natural Man is far more Unskilful than any of these, as to the carrying on of that great Imployment that he hath to look af­ter, while he is on this side Eternity; his Business is to serve his Maker, but what pitiful Work doth [Page 138]he make of it? Man is made for an Everlasting State, he is sent into this World to provide for another; a Good, a Happiness there is, which he is to look after; he once had a fair Estate, but he hath spent and lost it all, and he is to see to the recovering of it again. He hath been in Arms against his Lawful Sovereign, and been guilty of the highest Treason, and thereby hath forsitted his Life, his Soul; now he hath his Pardon to sue out, and how doth he go to work in this one thing? to mention no more. Why he goes to beg a Pardon arm?d Cap-a-pe, and with his Sword drawn, he comes to ask Pardon for one Treason, and he is found acting of another. Lord have merey upon me, and give me leave to break thy Laws, is the sum of all his Prayers. He talks of Heaven, and yet makes all the hast he can to Hell; he is told he is out of the way, but he laughs at him that tells him so; and that's his best: Sometimes he rages, and desires with all speed to remove him that would set him in the Road to Zion; he calls for a Harchet to cut down the Bough upon which himself stands. And this is your Man of Wisdom. The Man is under sail in the midst of Rocks and Sands; and if he would but look, he might see many doleful Spectacles, the tops of Masts, Ship-wreck'd Souls I mean; and though the Pilots tell him of the danger, yet he says, he will never believe but that's the best and safe [...] Road to the Harbour, and so on he goes as if he were sure he could not miscarry; and all this while he will not be perswaded but that he acts very wisely; he judgeth it one of his greatest Comforts, that he runs to Misery without any hindrance; and how can it otherwise be, except [Page 139]Men were spiritually Wise? And who can teach Man this Wisdom? Who shall instruct him? Who shall help him, now his Affairs are upon the Mat­ter almost desperate? Why, if thou wilt but hear, here is one that will yet undertake your foul Cause; if you will be advised by him, he will set all at rights. And O how doth he call after you! How willing to give you his Advice! How desirous to assist you, Prov. 1.20, &c. Wis­dom cryeth without, she uttereth her Voice in the Streets: She cryeth in the chief Places of Concourse, in the openings of the Gates, she uttereth her Words, saying, How long, ye simple ones, will ye love Sim­plicity? And ye Scorners delight in Scorning, and Fools hate Knowledge? Turn ye at my Reproof: Behold. I will pour out my Spirit upon you, I will make known my Words unto you. And will you set at naught all his Counsels, and have none of his Reproofs? Will you rather be ruined than be beholding to him for Advice? Let me put in one Word; if this wise Counsellor be not for you, he will be against you; and if you find any that can order your sad Affairs more to your Ad­vantage, I pray make use of him; but if you will be ruled by him, you can't miscarry, as ill a Con­dition as you are in; though thou beest quite broke, yet he will give you such a Stock as that you may set up again, and such Directions as that you can't but thrive, if you will but follow them. It is he that teacheth his Spiritual Frugality, not to part with that for a Trifle, which will be a rich Commodity e'er long; it is he who per­swades us to make the best Use of every thing; it is he that teacheth Fools more true Wisdom than the great Politicians of the World, though [Page 140]the World judge them weak, yet they have wit enough to make a good Bargain, to value Hea­ven before Hell, to fly from everlasting Burnings. They are wise enough to know what is for their real Advantage, and what not. This is he that would bring thee acquainted with him, it is he who gives his so much Understanding, as to know the true Worth of things; and the Difference be­tween Good and Evil, Finite and Infinite, Time and Eternity. Who is it that David goes to for Counsel, when his politick Enemies combined a­gainst him? Where doth he advise? Who brings him out of all his Intricacies? Is it not he that I am perswading you to go to, who was never out witted, who can easily turn the Counsel of Achito­phels into Foolishness; it is he who can infatuate the great Sages of the World, and make them weaker than Children in their Counsels. And this is he who will be a constant Counsellor to all those that are his Friends, his Acquaintance, Seneca, Epist. 41.81. gives excellent Counsel in­deed, which if we will precisely follow, our Mat­ters can't but succeed. Art thou never in any Streights? Are all thy Affairs carried on with so much Prudence, both as to Time and Eternity, that thou stand'st in no need of Advice? Art thou sure that this will always be thy Condition? If not, why then wilt thou not be perswaded to strike in here? Why, if you will believe them, which to their Comfort have tryed him again, and again, it is your un­speakable Interest and Wisdom to get God for your Friend, and then whatsoever you do, shall prosper by his Advice: A poor Christian can outwit all the Policy of Hell, and shew himself more wise than those which call him Fool, and [Page 141]count him mad, Psal. 73.24. David durst trust none else to guide him; but with his Conduct he doth not fear but that he shall come safe to his Journey's end, Thou shalt guide me by thy Counsels, and bring me to thy Glory. And again he saith, by the Help of this Counsellor he was wiser than his Teachers, Psal. 119.18. Hear therefore what you had best to do as Matters stand with you, Prov. 4.11. He will teach thee in the Way of Wis­dom: He will lead thee in the right Paths. When thou goest, thy Steps shall not be straightned, and when thou runnest, thou shalt not stumble, &c. 1 Cor. [...]1.15. Because the Foolishness of God is wiser than Men. That which looks most contemptibly, if throughly understood, will be found to have more depth in it than the wisest Men of the World can reach. To choose such a Friend, this is Wis­dom, this is Prudence. The godly Man knows that he hath a great Cause to be decided e're long, and that it will be no lost Labour to make the Judge his Friend. Well what say you, Sinners, is this considerable that I do now propound, or is it not? Can you plead your own Cause, can you clear your Title to Glory without him; if not, be well [...]dvised before you slight such a Motion, as I now do make to you.

13. He is an immortal Friend. I, that's a Friend indeed. If one Friend could be sure to live [...]ust as long as the other; and were Friends sure never to want the Advice, Comfort, Society, and Help one of another, it would not a little advance the Worth of a Friend. But where is such a one to be found? What Histories can give us an Ac­count of such Amities? Let Persons be united in never so close an Union, conjoined in the fastest [Page 142]Knot that Nature can tie: Yet Death will first or last dissolve it. So that sometimes I have been almost of this Mind, as to all worldly Friends, considering them abstract from God (for Grace in any Friend doth unspeakably sweeten the Rela­tion, and such a Relation will not die) if we compare the Shortness and Uncertainty of pos­sessing, and the Bitterness in loosing, with the Sweetness of enjoying; that it's somewhat diffi­cult to resolve, whether such short-liv'd Comforts are worth the looking after. Not but that I think a Friend, a true Friend, a great Mercy, and much to be desired; but really, if our Affections be not for God's sake, if our Love be not regula­ted by Religion, I can easily believe that the Bit­terness in losing doth over ballance the Pleasure in enjoying. And who would much trouble him­self to get that with Care, which must be posses [...] with Fears, and will be parted with with Tears. All worldly Enjoyments will serve us thus. When we expect most from them, and please our selves to think what Content we enjoy in them, ten to one, if God love us, but that he either imbitters or takes away that Comfort from us. One saith I had a dear Husband, such a one as never Wo­man had, but he is dead, I have lost him. Another saith, I had a precious Child, a Brother but he is gone. And every Body will be in this Note, first or last. And if the Case be thus who would be so foolish as to let out the Strength of his Soul, upon that which he may soon be de prived of? But here, here's a Friend whom you need not fear over-loving nor losing, a never dy­ing Friend, one that will be sure to out live you (Ar. Epic. l. 3. c. 22.) Say of what you will, that [Page 143]is mortal, and you have disgraced it enough; for how can that be of any great Worth which can die, and when I have most need of it I may want; but this can't be said of God, he only is immortal, and not subject to Changes. As for the Favour of Princes and Great Ones, at the best, it is but an Ʋncertainty; for it may be all thy Hopes are bound up in his Life, and that Hour which puts an End to his Days, puts a Period to thy Comfort? But it is another kind of Friend, that I would have you acquainted with. O why do Christians dote upon that which is so short­liv'd? Make but choice of this Friend, and you shall never say of him, he is dead, I have lost him. Wherefore put not your Trust in the Son of Man, in whom there is no Help; for his Breath goeth forth, and he returneth to his Earth—But happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his Help, whose Hope and Love is fixed upon the Lord his God, which made Heaven and Earth, &c. That God who is called the Living God, Psal. 146.3, 4, 5, 6.

14thly, He is a present Friend, a Friend that is always in all Places. Man's Condition may pos­sibly be such, as that he may be deprived of the Company of his dearest worldly Relations, he may be sequestred from the Society of his most helpfull and necessary Friends! How oft have the dear Children of God been clapt up in Dungeons, not only from the Sight, but from the Knowledge of their most affectionate Acquaintance? It's no un­usual thing for them to be banished from their Native Country. Wives and Children, a­mong Savage Men and Beasts; they have no Man to make their Complaints to, but such as will in­prease their Sorrows. How frequently may they be in such a Condition, as that they may not see, [Page 144]hear, or speak to any Friend? What Bolts and Bars, what Walls and Guards to keep them from them, which if they could not free them from, yet might in some measure alleviate their Misery? But now God is such a Friend, who cannot, who will not be kept out from his by Walls of Brass, or Bars of Iron, he will find out his Friends in the darkest Hole, and bare them Company there in spite of all the Powers of Hell. O how reviving are his Visits? What Cordials doth he bring a­long with him. This is that which makes the People of God so very chearful, when their Ene­mies make account their Condition is such, as that it hath no Mixture of Joy or Comfort in it. Was that a Prison or Heaven where those Martyrs were singing Halelujahs? Was that a time to be so merry, when all the World disowned them, when they were loaded with Reproaches, and I­rons, and Chains, counted the Troublers of the Nation, Madmen, Hereticks? The Case is clear: The sight of this Friend made them forget their Scorns, and think their Chains Gold, and their Prison Liberty. It was God that spake it, and he hath been found to be as good as his Word, Isa. 43.1, 2. Thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and that formed thee, O Ifrael, Fear not: For I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy Name, thou art mine. When thou passest thorow the Waters I will be with thee: And thorow the Rivers, they shall not overflow thee: When thou walkest tho­row the Fire, thou shalt not be burnt: Neither shall the Flame kindle upon thee. Who was that which bore the three Children Company in the fiery Furnace? Who was that which went into the Lions Den to visit Daniel? Who brought [Page 145] Paul alive to the Shore when the Ship in which he went was wreck'd? Was it not this Friend that I am now speaking of? I might be large in reci­ting the miraculous Preservations which God hath vouchsafed to his, which is a manifest Token of his Presence, when none can come near; besides, he will not be far off. In the greatest Extremities, when none durst own them, then God reckons it time for him to shew himself. It was not for nothing that the Psalmist could speak so chearfully when others were quaking, Psal. 46. 12, &c. What was it that bore up his Spirits, when there were such dreadful Commotions? What Refuge hath he to shelter himself under in time of such Calamity? In what doth his Strength lie that he is so confident? Whence doth he ex­pect a Supply, that he holds it out so bravely, when his Enemies are so numerous, and his Friends so scarce? Why, David hath his invisible Friends, as well as visible Enemies. Ask him, and he will tell you, That God is his Refuge and Strength, and he is his Confidence, and he will come in when he hath the greatest Need; he will be a ve­ry present Help in trouble. And that is the rea­son that David will not fear, though the Storm were far greater than ever yet he was in; though the Earth were removed, and the Mountains were cast into the midst of the Sea; though the Foun­dations of the Earth were shaken, though the Sea should roar and threaten the Earth with another Deluge, he can sleep as securely as a Person little concerned; and this be can speak, not only for himself, but for the whole City of God; God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved. The Saint hath a Friend that will bare him company [Page 146]in all Places, in all Dangers, and in his Compa­ny he need not be afraid. Let the least Child that God hath, give but one Cry, and he will soon awake. It can't but be so from the Spirituality of his Nature, the Immensity of his Being, and the Infiniteness of his Love. It was Orthodox Divinity and Doctrine that Ar. Epictetus, l. 2. c. 14. preached (though but a Heathen) when he said, That the first Lesson that became a wise Man to learn, was, that there was a God, and then, that no­thing in the World could be concealed from him, and that he knew not only our outward Actions, but our most secret Workings, our closest curtain Businesses; and not only so, but even our Thoughts, Projects and Principles: which speaks him every where, and con­sequently ready at Hand to help his Friends at a dead lift. Wherefore (saith the same Author, Idem, l. 3. c. 22.) think not that thou art alone when thou art in thy Chamber, in thy Bed, when thy Curtains are drawn, when thou art lock'd up in a Prison never so dark un­der Ground; if thou art good, thou shalt have two Companions in spight of the Malice of all thy Enemies, a good Conscience, and thy God. This made that brave Moralist to dare his Enemies to do their worst to exclude his Friends from him. Can (saith he) any Man be banished out of the World? Where­soever you send me, there will be the Sun, Moon, and Stars; but if not, God is there, I am sure, with whom I may talk, to whom I may pray; he will bare me com­pany, though all the rest of my Friends be kept from me. And as long as you can't banish me from God, nor keep him from me, I shall reckon my self at Liber­ty; and should I be sent out of this Worldinto another, even there I should find my Friend; and he will scarce complain that is removed from a Place where almost all [Page 147]are his Enemies, to a Place where even all are his Friends. One would have thought these poor Heathens had been reading, Psalm 139. Do you hear, O Christians, what Language those fore­mentioned Persons speak? And shall these that never had the thousandth part of that Advantage for the knowing of God, speak and act thus, and shall Christians have such low Thoughts of God? Because we do not see God, shall we therefore not believe that he is present every where? He that denies God's own Presence, had upon the Mat­ter as good deny his Being; for were it not so, how could he judge the World with Justice? How could all things be sustained by his Power? God takes this as a very high Indignity, that any should in the least question this glorions Attribute; Jer. 23.23, 24. Am I a God at hand, and not a God a­far off? Can any hide himself in secret Places, that I shall not see him, saith the Lord? Do not I fill Hea­ven and Earth, saith the Lord? And is not this a Friend worth the having, who will be sure not to be absent when you have need of him? The Wick­ed indeed say, how doth God know, and can he see through the thick Clouds, and therefore they sin with Confidence, and oppress the Friends of God without any Fear; they hope God doth not behold, they think Omniscience knows not. I wish there were not something too like this some­times in the Thoughts of God's People too; but let me only leave that one Scripture with the first fort, Psal. 94.9, &c. He that planted the Ear, shall be not hear? He that formed the Eye, shall he not see? He that teacheth Man Knowledge, shall not he know. The Lord knoweth, &c. As for the desponding Christian that begins to think God is out of the [Page 148]Reach of his Prayers, let me ask thee, O thou of little Faith, when did God ever absent himself from his in a time of need? When was he quite out of the hearing of their Cry? Know indeed he may hide himself, yet then he is near them also, to try their Love, and hear their Voice, for God loves to hear his Children cry; (earthly Parents may correct their Children for crying, but God chastiseth his Children usually for their Silence.) When he seems furthest off, he is but behind the Curtain, he is there where he with Pleasure sees how earnestly his Children look up and down for him: And then when they are ready to sit down weeping as if they had lost their Father; when they think they are quite forgot, and their Enemies be­gin to triumph, and to ask, Where now is your God? Then he lets both Friends and Foes know that he is near. And what say you to all this, you that as yet are [...]trangers to God? Have you gotten such a Friend as he is, that will always be at your Elbow, that can and will come to help you (when other Friends are far enough off) whe­ther Man will or no? Have you got such a Friend? If not, why then will you not now accept of his Acquaintance, who will be such a Friend to all that love him? No good Man is without the Com­pany of God, he walks with God, he talks with God, he eats with God, he drinks with God, and is entertained by him, and he sleeps in his Arms. God is with him in his Shop, in the Rode, at Home and Abroad, and who can mis­carry that hath so helpful a Companion always with him? When thy Burdens are too heavy, do but complain, and he will either take them off thy Back, or put under his own Shoulders, and help [Page 149]thee to go away lightly with them, he will assist thee in six Troubles, and in seven he will give thee Help.

15. He is a Soul Friend, Soul Friends are the best Friends. As Soul Affairs are the mightiest Af­fairs; so those that give us the greatest Help in those Matters ought to be valued. God is the great Soul Friend; expect not to find him a Friend to thy Lust, this scares the Wicked from him, who would be glad to be acquainted with God, if he would gratify their Lusts, and please their wicked Humours, and give them eternal Happi­ness after a Life of Wickedness, that is, would ungod himself for their sakes. But hold there Man; you shall sooner see the Sun black, and have Fire cold, and find a Heaven in Hell, than have God a Friend to your Sins. God doth not promise to furnish all his Acquaintance with Pro­vision for their Sensuality, he will not put a Knife into thy Hands to stab himself, or to cut thy own Throat. There are too many of such Friends in the World, and Men are generally so foolish as to count them Friends, which deserve another Name; these are they which help Men to Hell, and shew them the shortest Cut to eternal Misery, and this must go for a special Kindness. Sure Men and Women will scarce be always of this Mind. Must Poison in a guilded Cup go for a Cordial, and a Kiss, though with a Dagger, be taken for true Love. Seneca had more wit than to reckon such among Benefactors. He that can teach me the way to true Happiness, he that can help me to a­ [...]orn, dress and trim my Soul; he by whose In­structions I shall be more in Love with Vertue, [...]d out of Love with Sin; he by whose Di­rection [Page 150]I may be acquainted with my self, and made truly to value that which is really most ex­cellent, this shall be my Friend, this shall be my Companion. And where are such Friends to be found? How few of them in the World? Do not most, that go under that sweet Name of Friends, do one another the greatest Unkindness that can be imagined! How do they incourage one ano­ther in an evil way, Prov. 1. Psal. 2. How do Men tug and pull to get one another a-pace into Damnation; and if the wise World may be Judges, none must go for a Friend, but he that would do me most Mischief; none must be counted an Ene­my, but he that desires to do me the most real Kindnesses. This sounds strangely: Yet for all that, did it lie in my way, I could easily prove it. Yet I must confidently affirm, that every one's Experience, first or last will say as much. Some thing of this I have taken notice of in my con­versing with dying Men. I remember, once more particularly, being by a poor Creature that was just a going into another World, one of his old Friends looked in to see him, at the sight of which Person he gnashed his Teeth, and could not in­dure him in the Room, but cry out, This was he that brought me to this, I may thank him, or [...] had not been in so sad a Condition upon a Death­bed. But this by the by. Open Enemies are bet­ter than such Friends. I say again, do not expect to have God such a Friend. God loves, his too well to let them undo themselves; he knows th [...] worth of Souls, and pities them that would par [...] with their Souls for a Trifle, and therefore [...] tells Men plainly, that which may be really pre­judicial to the Health of their Souls; he can't b [...] [Page 151]let them know what is Food, and what is Poison: What else is the meaning of those vehement Ex­postulations? Why doth he send so many Mes­sengers one after another? To what purpose else doth he tender such Promises, such Incouragement? Be it known therefore unto thee, O Man, if thou understand'st the Worth of thy own Soul, and would'st have that Soul of thine do well for e­ver, and would'st have a Friend for thy Soul, that there is but one such a Friend to be found in the whole World, and that is God. O hast thou no Regard at all for thy precious and immortal Soul? Dost thou never think of that excellent Thing within thee? Dost thou not care though thy Soul starve, be naked and miserable for ever? Is it nothing to thee, that thy Soul hath not so much as a Shelter to hide it self under, when a dread­ful Storm shall rise, and Death shall turn it out of his old Tenement? Dost thou not believe that it must have a Being somewhere for ever, and that either in everlasting Glory or eternal Burnings? and are these small Matters with you? What, will you for all this take no care in the World about these grand Affairs? Had a special Friend com­mitted but a Dog to thee to take care of, you would have thought your self engaged in Grati­tude and Honour, to have suited your Care of him, to your respect to the Person from whom you had him. (Epict.) But dost thou not know, O Man, that thy God hath committed a Soul to thy Care, and hath told thee what thou shalt do to preserve the Life and Health of this thy Soul, that it may be in good plight when he shall call for it. He doth tell thee what is its most natural Food, and what is not whol­ [...]some. He tells thee what thou shalt do to have that [Page 152]Soul within thee everlastingly happy. And is all this of so little Consequence, as to go in at one Ear and out at the other? Are these things to be in­different in? If Man's Soul were like the Soul of a Beast, the Case were altered; if when his Breath went out of his Body there were an end of him, the Matter were the less considerable; if he had ever a Friend in another World, that could do as much for him as God can do, I should have little to say in this Business. But since this is impossi­ble, how can I bear to see thee neglect the making sure of such a Friend? How can a Christian with any Patience think, that those that he lives with, and dearly loves, should miss of such a Friend, without whom their Souls must be everlastingly miserable. If it were only for your Bodies or Estates I should scarce use so many Words, nei­ther I believe need I; but when it is for your Souls and Eternity, who can be silent? Once more consider what a Friend thou mayst have; it is a Friend for thy Soul. Alas Man, it is thy Soul, thy precious Soul that lies at Stake; that Spirit within thee, which is more worth than a World; it is that which is in hazard, and here is a Friend that offers thee to make that Soul of thine happy for ever. Thy Soul hath abundance of Enemies: Some would debase it, others would rob thee of it, others would clap up a hasty Match between that Noble Creature and a Servant, the World, I mean: And there are very few that have a­ny true Kindness for it, and thou knowest not the Worth of that Jewel, thy Soul; but here, here's a Friend, if thou wilt but leave it with him, he will take care of it, it shall not be marted away for nothing. Here's one will do that for its Securi­ty, [Page 153]Honour and Happiness, that all the World besides can't do. If therefore thou hast any Love for thy poor Soul, if thou settest any Price upon that precious Thing within thee; in a word, if thou wouldst have thy Soul do well in another World, O strike in here, close with these Ten­ders, listen to the Counsel of him who offers you the best Advice in the World. He, he it is that now offers thee that thou canst never value e­nough; he it is that will feed, clothe, and porti­on that Soul of thine, and after that marry thee to his only Son, by which Match you will be made for ever. O did Men and Women but know what a Soul is, did they imagine what a dreadful Mis­carriage of a Soul is, did they but in any measure understand the things of their Peace, could they but conceive what God could and would do for their Souls, I need to spend but little time in perswading them to commit their Souls to him, to be acquainted with him, who will be sure to take special care of their Souls, that they may do well, whatever is neglected. O could you but see, did you but know what a sad taking they are in, that go into the other World with a poor na­ked Soul, and know no body in the World there, and have never a Friend that doth take any no­tice of them, you would then think I spoke what I do with reason enough, and that my Words were too short, and my Expostulations too faint in a Matter of such Concernment. O Sinners, I tell you, nay, God tells you Soul-matters are the greatest Matters in the World. I am sure Christ thought so, or else he would not have been at so much cost about them; those that are in their Wits, and understand themselves, they know as [Page 154]much too, and so will you, e're a few Years, it may be Hours, be past. Those that now make but a pish of all this, when they have been but one Quarter of an Hour in another World, will say as I do, that a Soul-Friend is the only Friend, and that Soul-Concerns are the great Concerns, things of weight and moment indeed; and that it would have quitted the Cost to have taken some Pains to have look'd out for such a one that could have stood the Soul in some stead in that other World; and that above all it would have been no Folly nor Madness to have accepted of the Kind­ness of one that desired earnestly to be acquainted with them, and to do their Soul a good Turn. O that they had but been so considerate, as to have embraced such a Motion when it was offered! And this brings me to the next Qualification of this Friend.

16. He is a necessary Friend. There is an ab­solute Necessity of being acquainted with him. It's possible for a Man that hath very few Friends upon Earth, to live as happily as he that hath many. Multitude of Acquaintance, such as they are, may contribute much to a Man's Care and Sorrow. And as for most Friends, such as are commonly so called, it is better to have their Room than their Company. A Man may live without the Acquaintance of Nobles, he may be as free, chearful, and rich without the Know­ledge of such as them. One may live holily, and die joyfully, and may be happy for ever, though he never saw the Face of a Prince, though he was never at Court, though he lived and died a Stran­ger to all worldly Friends. One may be disown­ed by his Father, hated by his Mother, slighted [Page 155]by all his Relations, and have never a Friend un­der the Sun that will own him, and yet for all that be in a State of truer Felicity, than those that are daily attended with Troops of Visitors, whose Gates are seldom shut, whose Houses are never empty: but amongst all that comes, God never comes to them, as for his Company they are Strangers to it; this Man I may write misera­ble for all his great and many Friends. And him that hath the Company of God in Acquaintance with his Redeemer I'll call happy, though he have never a Friend in the World besides. Multitude of Friends seldom add much to our Comforts, but always to our Cares. A Man may go to Hell for all his great Acquaintance with Men; but it's im­possible, if we are greatly acquainted with God, to miss of Heaven. When Men are unkind, if God be kind, it's well ballanced; but if God frown, whose Smiles can comfort? I may be hap­py, though I am very little in Man's Favour; but it's impossible to be happy without God's Favour. To be a Stranger to God, is to be a Stranger to Peace, Joy, Heaven. O it's sad being without God! If I should declare the Judgment of most in the World, at least if their Practice may speak for them, they see very little Need of Acquain­tance with God. They do not write, Must, up­on the things of Religion. They must eat, they must drink, they must sleep, and if they want a­ny of these things, they count themselves in a sad Condition. But further, they must riot, they must be drunk, they must whore, they must have what their Lust calls for, let it be what it will, they must get into the Favour of such and such a great Person whose Displeasure they have incur­red: [Page 156]These are things that the World say must be; they are reckoned among the necessary things: but they do not say they must have a Christ, they must be reconciled to God, they must deny them­selves, they must seek first the Kingdom of Hea­ven; No, these are indifferent things amongst them, these are things minded by the by, if not matter of scorn and jesting, these the World think unnecessary things. It's necessary their Flesh should be pleased, it's necessary the Devil should be obeyed, it's necessary they and theirs should be some body in the World, these are Mat­ters of weight, for these they think it worth the while to toil and moil, to ride early and late, and to lose their sleep, and think they can never do too much; and all this while they see no need at all of getting a Friend for their Souls, no need at all of knowing, loving and delighting in God, Well, seeing the Case is thus, seeing it is no great matter whether you know God, or be known of him; be not then troubled at the Day of Judg­ment, if God look upon you as a Stranger then, be not grieved (seeing the Knowledge of God is nothing with you) if God say he knows you not; if God's Presence be no such material thing, com­plain not them for the want of it; be content, if you can, to hear him say, Depart, I know you not. O, but shall I thus leave you, poor ignorant Sin­ners? Consider for the Lord's sake, for thy Soul's sake, whether it be a necessary thing to avoid e­verlasting Burnings; is it a necessary thing to be saved? Is eternal Glory and Heaven necessary? dare you say these are unnecessary things? If these be necessary, then I am sure God and Christ are necessary; For this is Life Eternal to know God, and [Page 157]him whom he hath sent, Jesus Christ. O how will the Case be altered e're long with the God-hating and Christ-despising World? when they shall be quite despoiled of all that which they prized a­bove the Knowledge of God, when all their Friends shall appear to be Enemies, when all their Hopes shall be swept down like a Spider's Web. O will they not then be of this Mind, that it was no such slight matter that I was so earnest with them about, that Acquaintance with God was no such unnecessary thing as they took it to be, and that there was more need of getting an Interest in Christ, than of running to a Play-house, or a Whore-house. How will they rend the Skies with their Fruitless Wishes? How will the Moun­tains eccho with their doleful Lamentations? O that God would but know them, O that they might not hear that Word, Depart! But seeing all that to little purpose, how then will they ex­claim against themselves? O that they should be such Fools, that they should be so madly besot­ted, as to neglect the looking after Acquaintance with God. Time was, that God would have had them to come to him, he called after them, and sent for them again and again, but they would none of his Company, they desired not the Know­ledge of the most High; they said to him, De­part from us: And now they have what they then desired; now they see that the Ministers had cause enough to say what they did, and a thou­sand times more. As troublesome as it was to hear of Hell, it's worse to feel it. They see now Must is for the Soul, and not the Body. O that Men and Women would be now as serious in their Judg­ments about these things as they will be shortly? [Page 158]Consider, O Man, that as little as thou mindest these things, these are the only things that are necessary. Thou must have a God for thy Friend, a Christ for they Saviour to save thee from thy Sins, or else thou must be damned, or else thou must be cursed for ever. Thou may'st lie racked upon thy Bed of Sickness, where none can help thee; thou may'st rot in a stinking Dungeon, where no Man can relieve thee; thou may'st be roasted in the Flames, and yet for all this be a happy Man. Worldly Ease, Pleasure, Health, Riches, are none of those absolutely necessary things. A Man may go to Hell and have them all, and a Man may go to Heaven and want them; Thou may'st have Eternal Rest in another Life, though thou hast scarce a Day of Ease in this. One may be a Favourite of God, though as mi­serable as Job. But what will you say of that Man that hath not a God to go to? This, this is the miserable Man with a Witness? O that seeing Mens Lives are so short, they would wise­ly husband their precious time in minding no­thing but necessary things! O that Unnecessaries might be cut off. When I am about to under­take a Business, let me ask my Soul this Question: O my Soul, is this a Business of absolute Necessi­ty? Hast thou not something of greater Impor­tance that is yet undone? We enter not into the Lists for Honour, where it is no great matter, whether we conquer, or no; we perswade not Men to busy themselves about Toys, we are not so importunate about a thing of nothing. No Sirs, as unnecessary as you think these things we speak of are, e're long you will say as much as we do, and more too; you'll shortly find, that it was as [Page 159]much as your Life and Happiness was worth that lay at Stake. These are things we must mind you of, or else we hazard our Souls; and they are things that you must mind also, or else you ha­zard yours. I want significant Words enough, to express the Weight and Importance of these things. O that what is wanting of that Nature, might be supplied with Tears, Groans and Com­passions. I am through Mercy ashamed of my own Heart, (O that I were more so) that I should speak of such serious Matters so slightly. It is not now a time to jest, O my Soul, when thou art to discourse with miserable Men and Women, which refuse their Happiness, and doat upon their Misery. Thou art now about a Work that concerns Souls, and their eternal State. Tell me, dear Friends, do you in sober Sadness believe that you have immortal Souls? Do you indeed know that your Souls are naturally Enemies to God, and that if you be not reconciled to God, that you must be dealt with as Enemies? Do you really believe all this? Do you believe what a dreadful thing it is to look such an Enemy in the Face when he shall sit in Judgment? Further, do you believe what it is to lie down in devouring Flames, and to dwell with ever lasting Burnings? Do you not think it a fearful thing to fall into the Hands of a living God? And if you do not, let me tell you, you are worse than mad; if you do believe all this, why, then let me ask you again, whether you conceive it unnecessary to use the utmost Care and Diligence to get acquainted with him: who can deliver you from the Wrath to come? O Friends, I call you so, and I be­lieve most of you love me dearly! O that you [Page 160]would do me one Kindness; I should count it the greatest Kindness that you can do me! Why, what is that you say! Why, it is but to pity your own Souls, and to mind that one thing ne­cessary, and to pity them that are mourning for your dry Eyes, and hard Hearts? What say you to all this? If you have any thing to say against the Necessity of these things, I am ready to plead the Case with you, &c. Well, if it be not neces­sary to know God and Christ, and lay in Provi­sion for Eternity, what then is necessary? If it be not necessary to serve, love, and delight in him, who can deliver from everlasting Death, and re­ward with everlasting Life; what then is? Once more, for your Souls sakes consider what you do, when you vigorously pursue worldly things, and look upon the Favour and Displeasure of God, as small things! O write not these things down amongst the superfluous things which are to be minded by the by. Remember this, that it is very possible for a Man to be exceeding holy, and yet to be altogether unknown to the World; but it is altogether impossible to be truly happy, and yet unacquainted with God.

17. He is a tryed Friend. Thousands and Mil­lions can from their own Experience say all this, which I have said of him, and much more; but I shall pass this over at present, having hinted it already, and because it may be I may touch upon something of the same Nature hereafter.

18. He is an everlasting Friend. I shall be but brief in speaking to this Head, because what might have been spoken of this, fell under that of his Immortality. Yet because it is impossible to conceive God immortal in himself, and yet by [Page 161]reason of Man's Default, his Kindness to him to be finite; so it was in respect of the Angels that fell from him. But now blessed be free Grace, Man stands upon surer ground than ever he did, the Children of God have a firmer Bottom by far than Adam had when he was in Paradice; his State is more secure, being once united to God in Christ, than that of the Angels of Heaven in their first Creation. For that their State was mutable, is, de facto, proved; but now blessed be rich Goodness, if we can but make sure of Re­conciliation with God, again it is impossible for us to miscarry. God hath sworn, and he will perform it, that the Heirs of Glory might have the more strong Consolation, Isa. 54.9, 10. For this is as the Waters of Noah: For I have sworn that the Waters of Noah should no more go over the Earth, so have I sworn that I would not be wrath with thee, nor rebuke thee. For the Mountains shall depart, and the Hills be removed, but my Kindness shall not de­part from thee, neither shall the Covenant of my Peace be removed, saith the Lord, that hath Mercy on thee. God's Children need not fear disinheriting; his Gifts and Callings are without Repentance. If God loved us while we were Enemies, how much more being reconciled will he continue his Love to us: once a Child of God, and a Child of God for ever: once in Favour, and never out of it a­gain; Rom. 8.35, 39. Who shall separate us from the Love of Christ? Shall Tribulation, or Distress, or Persecution, or Famine, or Nakedness, or Peril, or Sword. Nor Heighth, nor Depth, nor any other Creature shall be able to separate us from the Love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Who can pluck us out of the Arms of the Almighty? [Page 162]Who, or what is that which can alienate our Fa­ther's Affections from us? If the Promise of God, which saith, I will never, never, never, never, never leave nor forsake you, be valid, if his Oath bind him, if the Blood of Christ continue always to be satisfactory, if his Mediation can prevail, if the Nature of God be unchangeable, we are well enough, we are safe, if this be but clear that we are really reconciled to God, if we be ac­quainted with him. We are kept by the mighty Power of God through Faith unto Salvation. If they had been of us, saith the Apostle, no doubt they would have continued with us. It is possi­ble indeed, yea, common for Men to pretend Love to God, and to seem to have a true Friendship for him, and yet not to be truly so. To have a Name to live, and to live, are two things. It is not unusual to bare God company (as I may say) abroad, and yet at home to have some body that they have a greater Kindness for. It is common to go along with God (if I may so call it) in the external Actions of Religion, and yet to desert him at last, Isa. 58.1, 2, 3. Mat. 7.21. There are many that seem to bid fair for Heaven, and if Cap and Knee will do, God shall have that; they will give him the Husk and Shell, that they may keep the Kernel for one that they love better. Thousands there are of such Persons in the World; and these profess abundance of Kindness for God, they come oft to his House, and sit down there, and make as if they were his Friends, and his Ac­quaintance; and some of God's Servants, by a Mistake, may bid them welcome, but yet for all this they may be Strangers; only they have heard of God, and can talk of him, and it may be have [Page 163]given him many transient Visits, but yet they want the real Properties of Friends: they never knew what it was to be brought nigh to the Fa­ther, by the Son; to have a Sense of their lost State and Estrangement from God, and under a Sense of this, to make earnest Inquiry after him; they never knew what it was to converse with God, to have an intimate Acquaintance with him, to be sending out the Breathings of their Souls af­ter him, and to be unsatisfied without him; they took up a Trade of lifeless Duties, and that was all. As for the Life and Power of Religion they never understood it; Communion with God, they heard oft of, but never understood what it meant, they never savoured and relished the things of God, nor with any Suitableness or Complacency ingaged in his Service: And as for those more se­cret Actings of Religion, to take up the Interest of God, to design his Glory, to be deeply con­cerned for his Honour, observing their Affecti­ons, and the Workings of their Hearts in Duty; to take notice of Answers of Prayers, or to look after their Petitions, when they are out of their Mouths, they know not what these things are. So that from hence it appears that God and they were never really acquainted; no wonder then that they do forsake God, and are forsaken of him. The building might look neatly, and the House seem to be strong; but because it was built upon the Sands, it need not seem strange, if it fall when the Winds rise, and the Waves beat against it: But I say it, and say it again, the House that is built upon a Rock, will not, cannot fall: If a Man be really united to God in Christ, and the Work of Grace throughly wrought upon him, it [Page 164]is impossible that God should forsake such a one. God can't but be true though Man be false, he can't but value the Satisfaction and Intercession of his Son, he can't forget his own Nature, Isa. 44. 15, 16. Can a Woman forget her sucking Child, that she should not have Compassion on the Son of her Womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Be­hold I have graven thee upon the Palms of my Hands: Thy Walls are continually before me, &c. I do not say but that God may suspend the refreshing Inti­mations of his Love; nay, he may quite hide his Face, and his dearest ones may look upon them­selves as free among the Dead, they may reckon themselves such as have no Acquaintance with God, and yet for all this be exceeding dear to God; this is clear'd by every Day's Experience. Nay, I may say, I believe that there are very few of them which know what God's Presence, Smiles and Love is, but know in some measure what it is to have his Face hid, to walk in the dark, and to see no Light. It is no unusual thing of a Child of God to question his State, to fear whether all that he ever did were not in Hypocrisy and For­mality; have not the best been made sometimes to question (especially upon some notable Fall) whether what they did formerly did not pro­ceed from meer common Grace, or some less spi­ritual Principle than the Life of Grace, and a Di­vine Nature within them. Were there ever any of the Sons of Adam, whom rich Mercy hath plucked as Fire-brands out of the Fire, to whom the Lord hath shewed his marvellous Kindness, and Love in Christ, that hath kept their Watch so exactly, that have walked so closely with God, so as never to have the least Frown from him? Were [Page 165]there ever any that lived all their Days under a constant lively Sense of their Interest in divine e­verlasting Love? If there be, they have fared bet­ter than Job did, they enjoyed more than ever Heman or David did. A Child of God may oft be in a sad State, but yet he is always in a safe State: The Purpose of God stands firm. Though for a small Moment he seem to forsake them, yet with everlasting Mercies will he gather them? O Ever­lasting! That's a sweet Word indeed in the Saint's Ear; he would not that one Word should have been out of the Bible, left out of the Promise, for a World, Isa. 54. If thou beest once truly ac­quainted with God, thy State is as safe, thy Con­dition as sure as if thou wer't already in Heaven. God may and will chastise his with Rods, but his loving Kindness he will never remove from them, his Mercy indures for ever. All that God gives to his Friends and Acquaintance, that is spi­ritual, is like himself, Everlasting. God is not like short-spirited Man, every Moment changing, one day doating upon an Object, and the next day hating it as much. An earthly Prince may one Moment set his Favourite at his Table, and the next command that he should be hanged. But far be it from the unchangeable God, that he should do thus. As for the great ones of the World; it hath been counted by some, and those none of the weakest, no small piece of Policy, to keep out of their Knowledge: Their Favours are so dearly bought, their Kindness so uncertain, their Dis­pleasure so dangerous, and yet so easily procured. But here it is far otherwise. It is God, and God alone that is an everlasting Friend, in whose Pre­sence there is Fulness of Joy, and Pleasure for e­ver [Page 166]more. O these everlasting Things are great Things! An everlasting Friend, an everlasting Inheritance, everlasting Glory, everlasting Joy, everlasting Life, and everlasting Death, they are Matters of Weight! O why should not our very Souls be over-powered with the very Thoughts of such things! O this Unbelief, this Unbelief!

19. He is one that is willing and desirous to be acquainted with you. What I have said before had signified little to us, were it not for this. It's a Misery, and no Comfort, to hear and know the great things which we must go without. But this is that which puts Life into all those power­ful Motives which I handled before. God is the most loving, most strong and rich Friend, and withal he hath in him a sweet Inclination to be ac­quainted with us. The Terms that he offers are the most reasonable in the World. This, this is the Comfort of the poor fallen Sons and Daugh­ters of Adam; that though they have run away from God, though they have left their Father's House, and turn'd Prodigals; yet their tender-hearted compassionate Father is ready to receive them again, his Arms are open, he meets them; while they are yet a great way off, he runs to them and falls upon their Neck, and kisses them, and expresseth the greatest Kindness to them, and Joy for their Return. O unparalell'd Love! O infi­nite Goodness! God hath expressed this his Wil­lingness to receive poor lost Sinners abundantly throughout all the Scripture. If God had not been willing to have been Friends again with Man, what needed he to have given himself the trouble of parting with his dearest Son, and send­ing him into the World to manage this great [Page 167]Work of reconciling Man to himself? Why else was that precious Blood shed? And to what pur­pose should he send so many Prophets, Apostles, and Ministers, for so many hundreds of Years, rising up early, and sitting up late? Why are they commanded to cry aloud, to use so much Ear­nestness, to compel poor wandring Strangers to come to his House, but that he might be acquain­ted with them? Can any one conceive that he should do all this without the least Design of Kind­ness? If all that God hath done to the reconci­ling Man to himself, doth not speak his Willing­ness to be reconciled to them, what can? Isa. 5.4. Nay, so willing is he to receive them, notwith­standing all their Backslidings, that he teacheth them how they may address themselves to him most acceptably, he puts Words into their Mouths which they may use with good Success when they come before him, Hos. 14.1, 2, 4. Nay, that Sin­ners may be the more confirmed in their Expecta­tion of his Favour, he hath most solemnly sworn, That he delights not in the Death of Sinners, but had rather that they should return and live. Wherefore else is it that we are so straightly commanded, as we will answer the Neglect upon our Peril before God at that terrible Day, that we preach the Word in season and out of season? To what pur­pose should Paul expose himself to so many Ha­zards both by Sea and Land? Why should he teach this Doctrine of Reconciliation Night and Day with Tears? Doth he not tell you that he did all this by Divine Dispensation, and that it was as much as his Soul was worth to wave this Work? And doth not all this speak his Willing­ness to be Friends again with Man? Could not [Page 168]God have sent Legions of Angels with flaming Swords in their Hands, when he sent his Son, and thousands of Prophets, Apostles, Ministers and Teachers? Might he not have proclaimed War against them for ever, when he followed them with the Embassadors of Peace? If he had had no Thoughts of Agreement with them, could he not have spoken to them in Thunder and Lightning, with Fire and Brimstone, as well as in the still Voice of the Gospel? He could if he had pleased have made them to have known the Breach of his Covenant, by giving them up to the Will of their cruel Enemies. God could as easily have cut off a whole World of us, as we can crush a Moth, and easier too. But he is willing to shew forth the Riches of his Patience and Goodness, that there­by Sinners might be brought to Repentance. How doth God further express his Willingness to receive returning Sinners, by engaging them by many temporal Favours? Who preserved that tender Creature in the Womb, and brought it out of those dark Chambers into light? Who kept that helpless Infant after it was in the World? Whose Flax and Wooll do we wear upon our Backs? To whom is it that we are beholding for every Crumb we eat, and every Drop we drink? Who spreads our Table for us, and makes our Cups to overflow? Who brought us from the Brink of the Grave, when we had received the Sentence from our Doctor and our Disease? And what is the Language of all these Mercies, but re­turn, O backsliding Sinner, for in me is thy Help found. Love, delight in, and be acquainted with him, from whom thou hast received so many Kindnesses. If thou wouldest accept of him for [Page 169]thy Lord, Husband, and Friend, who hath sent [...]ee these Tokens, thou shalt have other Favours [...]han these be. Is not this the meaning of all the common Mercies that we daily receive from him? Why, was not thy Breath stopt with an Oath in thy Mouth? Why is it that so many thousands that were born since thy self, are gone to their eternal State, when thou art still standing? What hast thou done to engage God more than others, that Worms should not be feeding on thee, when thou art feeding upon the Fat and Sweet? What is the English of all this? What are all these Droves of Mercies which God sends to thee, but to cool thy Enmity against him, and to make thee, who art marching out in thy war­like Furniture, to meet him with Tears of Joy and friendly Embraces? Is not, Love the Giver, written upon all his Tokens? What means his frequent visiting of thee, but desire of Acquain­tance with thee? Had he had no Desire at all to know you, and to be known of you, do you think he would have call'd so oft and so kindly at your Door, would he have stood knocking with so much Patience, and have spoke to you so loving­ly, if he desired still to be a Stranger to you? Is this like one that desires your Ruin? Did God ne­ver plead with thee by his Ministers, and urge the same Argument that I do now? Did you ne­ver hear such kind of Expostulations as these? Why wilt thou go on to despise thy God, and to refuse his Love? What reason hast thou to har­bour such hard Thoughts of him? Doth he de­serve such Unkindness at your Hands? How long ye simple ones will ye love Simplicity? Why will ye make light of that you can't possibly over­value? [Page 170]The Favour of God, and Acquaintance with thy Maker. How oft have you grieved his Spirit by your unworthy Contempts? How many times have you given him cause to complain of your unhandsome Usage, when he in very Pity and Compassion came to visit you: He hath rea­son to say now, as well as of old, Hear O Hea­vens, and give ear, O Earth, for I have nourished and brought up Children, and they have rebelled against me, Isa. 1.2. Do ye thus requite the Lord, O ye foolish People, and unwise? is not he thy Father that bought thee? Hath he not made thee and established thee? Deut. 32.6. O that they were wise. And be instructed O Jerusalem, lest my Soul depart from thee, Jer. 6.8. Is not this the Voice of Mercy? Have not these been Expostulations of the mighty God with his rebellious Creatures? And yet how do they stand it out all ihis while, as if God were like to get so much by their Acquaintance? Re­turn, O foolish Sinner, if thou makest any thing of Salvation and Damnation, if thou valuest ever­lasting Glory, if thou thinkest the Commands, Threatnings, and Promises of the Almighty to be minded, come away and make no Delay. O why wilt thou go on thus madly to undo thy self? Come away, poor Soul, for all this it is not yet quite too late, thy Glass is not yet quite run, thy Soul is not yet fully fixed in its unchangeable State. Once more I make such an Offer to thee, as I am sure none but a mad Man will refuse; such an Offer as none of the Kings and Lords of the World can make. The great and mighty Monarch of Haaven tenders thee an Alliance with himself; he sees how far thou art spent, how poor and low thou hast brought thy self by a dan­gerous [Page 171]and long War against thy Maker; he fore­sees what a Condition thou wilt be in after a few more merry Hours, except thou repent and turn. Wherefore in Compassion to thy precious Soul he hath commanded us to follow thee, and not to set thee be at quiet till thou hast given us a Pro­mise, that thou wilt return and humble thy self to thy God; and what shall we still lose our La­bour! Shall all this come to nothing! O Prodigy of Unkindness! O wonder of Patience! Thou hast slighted the Friendship of thy God, thou hast set light by Christ, and undervalued Heaven and Eternity for ten, twenty, thirty Years already, and yet the Lord sends us once more in his Name to ask you whether you are willing to have God for your Friend; God hath not yet said, Cut him down, bind him hand and foot, and cast him into that Lake that burns for ever. Bring those mine Enemies that would not that I should reign over them, and slay them before my Face. God hath not yet spake that dreadful Word, Depart. O what is it thou stay­est for? What is it that makes this Business to hang so long? What Lover is it that doth so long hold back thy Heart? What is the matter that we can no more speedily and effectually manage this great Affair? What is it that thou dost pre­fer before God? What is it that thou thinkest more worthy of thy warmest Love than Christ? What is that great thing that thou stickest not to venture thy Soul for? Act like a Man that is ra­tional and not beside himself. If the World be God, if Earth be better than Christ, then choose that; if Christ be God, then choose him. How long will you stand halting between two? Love that which will last longest, be acquainted with him [Page 172]that is willing and able to do most for thee. Is the World worth more now than it was in David's time, when he preferred the Favour of God be­fore thousands of Gold and Silver? Is the Price of it raised? Can it bribe Death, and stop the Mouth of Divine Justice, and procure thee a real Respect in another World? Go chaffer and see what Bargain thou canst make; tell God that thou wilt give him thousands for thy Brother's Life, and as much more for the lengthning the Lease of thy own to Eternity. What doth God say? Is the Bargain made? Is it not enough? Why, add a World to it, will that do? If it will not do this, if this Purchase be too great for thy Purse, then go lower; can all thou hast keep thee from Fears, get thee a Stomach, procure thee Ease, rectify thy Constitution; will it do this, or will it not? If not, why should'st thou value that which can do so little for thee, before that which can do all things for thee? Be perswaded at last to be wise. What is God like to get by your Love, or lose by your Hatred? What have you to boast of? What Excellencies to set you out? What Portion to advance you, that you stand thus up­on your Terms? Come, let's hear a little what it is thou thinkest so highly of thy self for. I am sure your over-great Beauty can't commend you; for a Black-moor may with better reason brag of Comliness, than such a deformed loathsome Crea­ture can of Beauty. I am sure your Helpfulness will not speak for you; for thou art a crazy, de­crepid, sickly Creature, that will cost God more to cure thee, than thou art worth a thousand times. It can't be for thy Estate that thou art so much desired, for all thy Gold is adulterate, [Page 173]thy Jewels counterfeit, thy All forfeited; and [...]hat is it then that thou hast yet to boast of? Come and set it before us, that we may acknow­ledge our Mistakes. Are the Clothes upon thy Back (as fine as thou art) thy own? Is the Food that thou eatest paid for? And is this the Crea­ture that must be wooed with so much Earnest­ness? Behold all ye Inhabitants of the World, and admire! Hear, O Heavens! This is that—(I want a Name to call her by) which thinks it below her to be match'd to Christ, and an un­dervaluing to be acquainted with her Maker, and a shame to have God for her Father! From the Crown of the Head to the Sole of the Foot there is nothing but Wounds and Bruises, and putri­fied Soars, running plague Soars that are broken are her greatest Beauty: And here's a thing to be lov'd with all my Heart! Ezek. 16. Whosoever thou art that readest these Lines, this was once thy Condition, in these Ornaments he found thee, when God came to ask thy Heart, this was thy Dress, though thou art thus highly advanced. And such were some of you, but ye are washed, but ye are cleansed.

And after all this, O Sinner, art thou still as stout and proud as ever? Is Christ so willing to bring thee to his Father? Is he willing to clothe thee from Head to Foot with glorious Robes, such a Dress as may become thee in the Presence of a King? Doth he offer to lead thee in his Hands to his own Palace? Is God so willing and desirous to be your Father, and Christ to be your Husband? are all the Ministers of Christ so willing to do their utmost to bring this Match to Perfection? Shall they lie at you Day and Night to give your [Page 174]Consent, and to be willing; and are you still un­willing? Well, if all this signify little, and you miss of Christ at last, and be not acquainted with God; after all, remember it was your own Doings▪ And that you thought it greater Wisdom to mar­ry the Servant than the Master, to obey the Re­bel rather than your loving Prince. Remember you preferred Darkness before Light, Hell before Heaven. I call Heaven and Earth to record this Day, that I have set Life and Death before you and you stand as if it were so difficult a matter to resolve which were the best. This founds strangely, and every one will be ready to write Fool upon that Man's Forehead that acts thus Hold Man, be not too ready to pass thy Censure before thou look within thee. Dost thou see an absolute need of Christ? Dost thou adore his in­finite Love and Kindness? Dost thou give up thy self to him for thy Lord, and receive him for better for worse, come on it what will? Or dost thou not rather spend thy Thoughts, and let out thy Affections upon the Vanities and Plea­sures of the World? Dost thou not love Father and Mother, Wife and Children, Brethren and Sisters, House and Lands more than him? Why, if this be thy Case, I must say thou art one of the Fools that loves Death and ha [...]est Life, thou cal­lest that Folly in another, which in thy self thou countest Wisdom. I wonder who it is that you strive to please all this while! Is not the Hand o [...] Joab in all this? Hath not Satan been deep in re­tarding this Match? Hath not he a Design to marry thee to some painted Lust, though he u [...] do thee for ever, and must he be pleased rath [...] than God? Is it more necessary to gratify him th [...] [Page 175]ever yet intended to do any of the Sons of Adam [...]ny Kindness, rather than thy best Friends? Come away for shame, and let us lose our Breath [...]o longer; and let that time we spend in plead­ing with you for God, be spent in singing with you, and praising God for you, and congratula­ting your happy Acquaintance with God, and you, matching to his only Son.

20. But because Man is so wedded to the World, and dotes upon his Lust, that all the Ar­guments that we can use are most commonly un­successful; I shall add one more upon this sort of Motives drawn from the Qualifications of him whom I would fain have you acquainted with, and that shall take in all that can be said on this Head, and that is this, consider that he is alto­gether lovely, he is made up of Love, Goodness, and all Excellencies; and whatsoever Pleasure, Delight and Content you find in the Creature, it is transcendently in him, he is the chiefest of ten thousands: Ask of them that by Faith have seen him, inquire of the Spouse in the Canticles, and ask her what is her Beloved, more than another Beloved? What there is in God and Christ more than in the World, and she will almost wonder, that any one that is rational should ask so foolish a Question; she thinks you might with as much Judgment and Reason have ask'd, what there is in Heaven, more desireable than in Hell? What there is in Ease more than in Torments? In Gold and Jewels, more than in Dross; in a living, healthful, beautiful Creature, more than in a stinking rotten Carcase? Did you but see his Face, you would soon think that there were something in him more than in another; could you but see [Page 176]his Eye, your Heart would be in a flame: Di [...] you but understand what it is to be brought into his Banquetting-house, you would say that they are neither Fools nor Mad-men, that can find i [...] their Hearts to scorn the Beauties and Glories [...] this World in comparison of one look or smil [...] from God; and believe that his Love was better than Wine, to be preferred infinitely before the greatest worldly Pleasures, and think that the Virgins had reason enough to love him, Cant. 1 [...].4. How high doth the Church run in his Com­mendations? How doth she endeavour to set him out to the Life, that every one may admire hi [...] Excellencies, and be taken with his Beauties as well as her self; neither doth she fear to loose him by this, nor indeed is unwilling that others should fall in Love with him as well as she, Cant. 5.9, 10, &c. She begins first with his Face, it is white and ruddy, the most exact Beauty, so that she must be blind that is not taken with him; and so she goes on as well as she can to set him out; but he is so infinitely above her Commendations, that she wants Words to express her self, therefore she speaks one great one, He is altogether lovely; and if you will not believe, come and see. Do but look upon him by Faith and Meditation; contemplate his Beauties, and then if you have any thing yet to object, if after you have had a true sight of him, and have well weighed all, you do not find that there is in him infinitely more than I can tell you, why then let me bear the blame for ever.

Well, now let us gather up all these things to­gether; and if a Multitude of Arguments, and if Weight and Reason, if Vehemency and E [...]nest­ness may prevail; I should have some good Hopes [Page 177]that I should not want Success in this Work, nor you of the Acquaintance with God, and everlast­ing Glory. Therefore I say again, if Kindness and Love be taking, who so sweet and obliging as he? If Comfort, Joy and Pleasure, be desireable, who is there, when the Soul is surrounded with a Multitude of Perplexities, that can so much delight, refresh and raise it? If Power, Glory and Majesty, if Ability to defend from Injuries, and revenge Wrongs, might signify any thing with poor shift­less Creatures, who is there that ever yet pre­vailed against him? Who ever contended with God and prospered? If Vigour, Activity and Care in all the Affairs of his Friends can intice the dull helpless Sinner to receive him; who will take more care for, and do more for them than he? If his Humility may engage us, if Freedom of Access, notwithstanding that infinite Distance that is between us and him, signify any thing as to the commending of him to our Acquaintance; where can a poor Beggar be more welcome than at the House of this mighty Prince? Can Faith­fulness in the greatest Streight raise the Esteem of a Friend? Who ever yet trusted him that was deceived? Are Riches and Wealth taken? Who is there that can give a Kingdom for a Portion, a Love-token, and give everlasting Glory and Heaven for a Jointure, but God? Doth Pity in Misery, Simpathy in Suffering, Compassion in Distress, indear and commend a Friend, who is more tender-hearted than he? Are Honours and Preferments such great things? Who is that which will make all his Favourites Kings and Priests, and set them upon Thrones, and reward and commend them before the whole World? Is [Page 178]Suitableness a considerable Qualification to make up this Match? Who so suitable for the Soul, a Spirit, as God a Spirit? Who can satisfy its vast and infinite Desires, but Infinity it self? Have poor simple Creatures that have quite un­done themselves by their Folly and Indiscretion need of a wise Counsellor to wind them out of their sad Intricacies? Who is there among the profound Politicians and grave Sages of the World to be compared unto him? Doth a dying Man that hath a never-dying Soul, that is to pass speedily into an eternal State, lack a never-dying and immortal Friend, that may stand him in some stead, when all his Relations are dead and rotten? Is not God immortal? Are not Friends sometimes furthest off from one, when one hath most need of them? Is not he then a Friend highly to be pri­zed, who can, who will never be absent? Doth not God fill Heaven and Earth? What think you of a Soul-Friend? Is not such a one worth the looking after, who takes care that your Soul to be sure shall not miscarry? Whoever did more for Souls than Christ? Will it not be true Pru­dence to make sure of such a Friend as we must have for our Friend, or we are miserable for ever? And where is such a one to be found, but he that hath the Keys of Heaven and Hell? Which is most considerable, Time or Eternity? And whom shall I most value, him that promiseth present Pleasures that are lost as soon as felt, or him that will bestow everlasting Favours? And are there not at God's right Hand Pleasures for evermore? If the Trial and Experience of so many Millions may speak his Commendation, will not all that ever knew God say, truly God is good to Israel. [Page 179]Will God's Willingness, Desire, and Earnestness prevail with you to come to him? What is the Substance of the whole Bible? Doth not almost e­very Chapter speak the Desire that God hath to be reconciled to Man? If the Perfection of all Excellencies meeting in one can render him ami­able; how can he be slighted, who is altogether lovely? And what say you now, are you resolved, or are you not? Shall the infinite Majesty of Heaven condescend to offer himself to be loved and embraced by sinful Dust? Shall God say, I will be thy Father? And shall not the Sinner say, I would be thy Child? Why should not the Heart of every Apostate rebellious Traytor, that hath forfeited Estate, Life and Soul, leap at such good News, and say, Will God for all this lay aside the Controversy, and conclude a Peace? Will he re­ceive the Rebel to Mercy? Will he open his Doors to his Prodigal? And is there yet any Hope? Is it possible that such Sins as mine should be forgiven? Can it be conceived that such a Creature as I should be imbraced? What, look up­upon me, will God indeed take me into Favour? Yes, thee, behold he calls thee, he offers thee his Son, a Kingdom, a Crown, behold the Fa­ther meets, he makes hast to meet his returning Prodigal; behold the King hath sent to invite thee to the Feast; nay, he will give thee his only Son in Marriage, the Wedding-Garment is made rea­dy, the Bridegroom is coming, the Wheels of his Chariot run apace, the Friends of the Bride­groom are come to bid you make ready: Up, deck your self, put on your glorious Apparel, make hast, make hast ye Virgins, your Compani­ons are ready, all stay for you, the Bridegroom [Page 180]is at the Door? Behold he is at the Door, and will you still let him knock? What! Father, Husband, a Kingdom? What Words are these? Wilt thou O mighty Jehovah be my Father? Wilt thou O blessed Jesus be my Husband? Shall I have a Kingdom? What me, a Child, a Spouse for the King of Glory, an Heir of Glory! Grace! Grace! Amen, Hallelujah. Be it to thy Servants accor­ding to thy Word! But who are we, and what is our Father's House, that thou hast brought us hitherto? And now O Lord God, what shall thy Servants say unto thee? For we are silenced with Wonder, and must sit down with Astonishment, for we cannot utter the least Title of thy Prai­ses? What meaneth the Highth of this strange Love? O that the God of Heaven and Earth should condescend to enter into Covenant with his Dust, and to take into his Bosom the viperous Brood, that have often spit their Venom in his Face! We are not worthy to be as the Hand­maids, to wash the Feet of the Servants of our Lord? How much less to be thy Sons and Heirs, and to be made Partakers of all those blessed Li­berties and Privileges which thou hast settled up­on us; but for thy Goodness sake, and according to thy own Heart, hast thou done all these great things. Even so Father, because so it seemed good in thy sight. Wherefore thou art great, O God, for there is none like thee, neither is there any God besides thee. And what Nation on Earth is like thy People, whom God went to redeem for a People to himself, and to make him a Name, and to do for them great things and terrible? For thou hast confirmed them to thy self, to be a People unto thee for ever, and thou, Lord, art become their God. Wonder, O Heaven, and be [Page 181]moved, O Earth, at this great thing! For, behold, the Tabernacle of God is with Men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his People, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. Be astonished and ravished with wonder, for the infinite Breach is made up, the Offender is received, and God and Man are reconciled, and a Covenant of Peace entred, and Heaven and Earth are agreed upon the Terms, and have struck their Hands and sealed the Indentures. O happy Conclusion! O blessed Conjunction! Shall the Stars dwell with the Dust? Or the wide distant Poles be brought to mutual Embraces and Cohabitation? But here the Distance of the Terms is infinitely greater, Rejoyce O Angels! Shout O Seraphims! O all the Friends of the Bridegroom and Bride prepare an Epithalamium, be ready with the Marriage Song. Lo here is the Wonder of Wonders? For Jeho­vah hath betrothed himself for ever to his hope­less Captives, and owns the Marriage before all the World, and is become one with us, and we with him; he hath bequeathed to us the precious things of the Earth beneath, with the Fulness thereof, and hath kept back nothing from us. And now, O Lord, thou art that God, and thy Words be true, and thou hast promised this Good­ness unto thy Servants, and hast left us nothing to ask at thy Hands, but what thou hast already freely granted. Only the Word which thou hast spoken concerning thy Servants, establish it for ever, and do as thou hast said, and let thy Name be magnified for ever, saying, The Lord of Hosts he is the God of Israel. Amen. Hallelujah. And how do you like this Musick, O ye the lost Sons and Daughters of Adam? How do you relish these [Page 182]Dainties? What do you think of this Match? Some you see have been so wise, as with the greatest Gratitude they can for their Souls, to close with those happy Offers of Grace; you hear how brave­ly such and such have bestowed themselves, and now they are made for ever. And what do you say to the same Proposals? Have they so much reason to bless the Day that ever such a Mo­tion was made? Have they cause to rejoyce for ever for those blessed Overtures, or are they all to be slighted by you? Will Christ be worse to you than them? Is Heaven and Happiness less neces­sary for you than them? Will the Loss of a Soul be more inconsiderable to you, than it would have been to them? Will not Heaven, Christ and Glo­ry be as well worth your Acceptance as theirs? What, are you willing to be shut out when the Bridegroom comes to fetch his Spouse home? Can you bare it, to see such as you thought your Inferiours, advanced, and your self despised? What shall I say? What Words shall I use? What shall I do to prevail? O that I could pity you a thousand times more than I do! O that my Eyes might weep in secret for thy Folly! O that you also might do as some have done before you! Though indeed they be but few that be so wise! O that you would also bestow your Heart upon Christ! Give him your Heart-love, or he will have your Heart-blood. Do not make your self miserable to please any living; do not slight Christ, because most do so; go not with them to Hell for Company. But that if it be possible I might perswade you, I shall add some more Mo­tives, to prevail with you to get acquainted with God, which I am certain will either work that [Page 183]lessed Effect, or rise up against you to the Aggra­ [...]ation of your Confusion, in that great and terri­ble Day.


The next Head of Motives which I shall insist upon, for the in forcing of this Duty of acquaint­ing your selves with God, I shall take from the glorious Effect of this Acquaintance with God. 1. The first Effect of this Acquaintance with God is, it makes the Soul humble, and conse­quently fits the Soul for greater Communications from God still, and to do God the greater Ser­vice; but of that Particular afterwards. Acquain­tance with God it makes the Soul humble. When God comes into the Soul, he brings such a glori­ous Light along with him, that he makes the Soul to see, not only his Beauty, but its own De­formity, Psal. 119.130. The Entrance of thy Word giveth light: it giveth Ʋnderstanding to the Simple. Before the Soul was acquainted with the Word of God, and by that had some Discoveries of God made to it out of the Word, why it was in the dark, and saw nothing at all of its own Vileness, it took no notice of that Sink, that Hell that was within it, considered not its own Treason against the Lord of Heaven and Earth, and the dange­rous Hazards that it did run, every moment up­on that account; but the Soul thought very well of its own State, it flattered it self in its own Ini­quity, the Man thinks he is rich and increased in Goods, and hath need of nothing; but when he comes to look into his Purse, to open his Treasu­ry, and to tell over all his Gold and Silver in the light, why then he perceives a sad Mistake: All [Page 184]his Silver is Dross, and the best Riches that he hath is but Dung. When the Light comes in, he sees the Darkness of his Understanding, the Per­verseness of his Will, the Disorderliness of his Af­fections, the Distemper of the whole Soul. He before took himself for a beautiful Creature, but by this Light and this Glass he sees his Beauty is great Deformity, he beholds heaps of Lusts craw­ling up and down, which before lay undiscerned, and then that Man that reckoned himself so happy, cries out, O wretched Man that I am, who shall de­liver me? What shall I do to be saved? I am undone, undone, how shall I live, where shall I dwell for ever? Time was that the Man admired what the Ministers ailed to keep such a Stir about Sin, but now he wonders that they are no more earnest in their preaching of it down. It was a little while ago, that he thought himself whole, but now he feels himself sick to the very Heart, wounded, fainting and ready to dye; he made full account that he was pure, but now he cries out unclean, unclean; it was not long since he said with Indig­nation, Am I blind also? But now he cries out, and will not he silenced, have Mercy upon me, Jesus, thou Son of David, and grant that I may receive my Sight. His Language is much altered; he can now say, was ever such a Sinner as I par­doned? Will such a Prodigal ever be received? Shall such foul Offences as mine be forgiven? If God should look upon me, and give me a Christ, and pitty me, and cast his Skirts over me, while I lye in my Blood, if the Lord should look upon me, it would be such a Wonder that all that ever heard of it may justly admire. Now the Man which thought himself the best of Saints, believes [Page 185]himself as bad as the worst of Sinners! When a Man begins to be acquainted with God, he be­gins also to know himself; He that saw no need of washing by Christ, would now have Hands, Feet, Head and Heart all wash'd. He that thought himself sometimes far enough from Hell, now begins to ad­mire that he did not fall into it: And although there be a sweet Alteration in him for the better, and Saints begin to delight very much in him, yet he wonders that any one should see any thing in him, that should cause any Affection in them towards him, much more to inflame their Hearts in such vehement Love to him; if he hear of any Reproaches that are cast upon him, he is ready to say with that wise Stoick, (Epict.) If he had known me better, he would have spoke much worse of me. If any praise him, he judgeth that it proceeds from their Ignorance of his Weakness, rather than from any Knowledge of his Worth; and if he hear any such Language, he is ready to tremble for fear of his own Heart, and cries out, not unto me, not unto me, but unto his Praise be given: yet not I, but Christ which dwelleth in me. Thus it is with one that begins to have some saving Knowledge of God; and the nearer he comes to God, the further he goes from himself; the more he sees of him and his Righte­ousness, the less he sees of his own; the more he is exalted, the more he debaseth himself; like those four and twenty Elders, he lays his Crown at the Feet of God. Thus it was with Job, when God, as I may so say, stood at a greater Distance from him, he is ready to speak a little too highly he stands much upon his own Righteousness, he stiffly justifieth himself; but when the holy God comes a little nearer to him, when he throws off [Page 186]that dark Cloud with which he had mantled him­self, and when he caused that glorious Brightness to break forth upon Job, and made him to see a Glance of his Holiness, Wisdom and Justice, then how is he even ashamed and confounded with­in himself, that he should ever stand so much up­on his own Justification, Job. 42.5, 6. I have heard of thee by the hearing of the Ear: But now mine Eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor my self, and repent in Dust and Ashes. When he comes to be better acquainted with God, how strangely is his Note changed; and I might say, when he was thus a­based! How speedily doth God raise him to a wonder. A Man may hear of God twenty Years together, and yet never abhor himself with Dust and Ashes, never see any Vileness that is in his Nature, never be brought off from his own Righ­teousness, never admire that he is kept out of Hell! O but when he comes to see God, and to be acquainted with him, then how doth he cry out of himself at God's Ear, as deserving nothing but Wrath; then he hath not a Word more to say for the Goodness of his own Heart; now he can say with Astonishment! O infinite Patience! O unmeasurable Goodness! O the Depths of God's Love! He must be merciful in­deed that can pardon such Sins! That must be Goodness indeed that can be so to me! That is Love with a Witness, that can imbrace such a [...] loathsome Monster? What was it that made A­braham call himself Dust and Ashes? What made David to say he was a Worm and no Man? What made Isaiah speak so debasingly of himself? Why these were the Friends of God, they had Visions [...] that holy One. When is it that the People of G [...] [Page 187]are most ingenuous in their Confessions? When do they most freely pour out their Souls before God? When is it that they most readily open their Soars, and desire that they should be searched, but when this great Chyrurgion comes to their Chamber? Those which before were whole, are now sick, full of plague Soars, Head and Heart sick, dangerously sick, and no whole part in them; they can say more against themselves now than ever the Minister could; they can aggravate their Sins, and lay Loads upon themselves; and they see themselves vile, and even are ready to wonder that the Earth did not open and swallow them up before this, they admire that God should indure them so long, and think it no small Miracle that they were not crushed in the Egg, that they were not cast from the Darkness of the Womb, to the Darkness of Hell. Now they can cry out of O­riginal Sin, and the Indisposition of their Souls to any thing that is good, and Inclination to that which is bad. They say as well as David, That they were born in Sin, and in Iniquity did their Mo­ther conceive them; they think every thing too good for them, all Mercy on this side everlasting Misery. They count every Bit they eat, and e­very Drop they drink more than they deserve. They think themselves unworthy of the least of God's Mercies, Gen. 32.10. Others say Thanks­givings, but he feels them; others say Confessi­ons, but he feels them. It is one thing for a Man to speak of his own Unworthiness, and a­nother thing to lie under the Sense of it. The Heart and Tongue are two distinct Members. The Heart may speak that which the Tongue can't utter, and the Tongue may utter that which [Page 186] [...] [Page 187] [...] [Page 188]the Heart never felt. But a Man that is brought into Acquaintance with God speaks what he ex­periences, or rather his Experience is greater than he speaks, so that he doth not dissemble with God, when he confesseth his Sin before him. They lay themselves as low as Hell; this is Humility, and this is an Effect of Acquaintance with God. Hence it is that Paul saith of himself, Eph. 3.8. Ʋnto me who am less than the least of all Saints is this Grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable Riches of Christ; and to make all Men se [...] what is the Fellowship, &c. He wants Words to express God's Greatness, and his own Smallness. Now what was it [...]h [...]t made Paul speak and think thus of himself? There was a time when Paul would have spit in any one's Face that should have spoke as much against him, as he did against him­self. What is it that hath wrought such a strange Alteration in this great Rabbi, and made him so little? Why, this Acquaintance with God, the sight of Christ was the thing that laid this proud Pharisee in the Dust, and made him blind also. Mark this, always the more heavenly any Man is, the more humble. See Ezod. 3.11.2 Sam. 7.18. If I should appeal to the Experiences of Saints, and ask them, when they had the lowest Thoughts of themselves, would they not say, when they were nearest God? Now would you walk hum­bly, you must walk with your God; would you see more of your own Deformity? Why then you must labour to see more of his Holiness, more of his Beauty. Contraries set near one another, ap­pear more visibly.

2. Another excellent Effect of Acquaintance with God, is, that it will make a Man fall upon [Page 189]Sin in good earnest. When the Soul sees how in­finitely good God is, it can't but see an unspeak­able Evil in Sin, which is so directly contrary to him. When the Soul hath really entred into a League with God, it presently bids Defiance to all his Enemies; when he begins to be at Peace with God, he presently commenceth a War a­gainst his Adversaries. Friendship with God makes Enmity against Satan. That which for­merly the Man rolled under his Tongue as a sweet Morsel, is now like Gall and Wormwood to him. He that sometimes did commit Iniquity with Greediness, can now say, that it is the greatest Folly and Madness in the World; he knows that it is an evil and a bitter thing, as sweet as it ta­sted when his Pallate was distemper'd; he that gloried in his Wickedness, now accounts it the greatest Shame in the World, and hates the Gar­ments which are bespotted with the Flesh, which sometimes he took for beautiful Raiments. The burnt Child dreads the Fire; Sin hath cost his Friend dear, and him dear too. The Child can't love that Knife which stabb'd his Father. He knows how sweet God is, and how much he hates Sin, and that if he would have God's Company, he must bid an everlasting Farewel to his dearest beloved Sin; and therefore rather than he will of­fend so dear a Friend, he will hew Agag in pieces before the Lord. He will as soon cut off one Hand with the other, and be pull'd Limb from Limb, as again draw his Sword against his covenanted Friend, and again venture into the Field in the Cause that sometimes he did so deep­ly engage Body and Soul in. He that thought be­fore that it was no great matter to damn, curse [Page 188] [...] [Page 189] [...] [Page 190]and tear, but a Trick of Youth to whore, and no harm to do what one had a mind to, to eat and drink, and talk, and sleep as one lists, to give one's Lust whatsoever it call'd for; he that could once make a Mock of Sin, and sleep secure­ly upon the Top of a Mast, and thought it a piece of Gallantry to dare the Almighty, and was ready to laugh at them which durst not be so prodigal of their Souls, as himself; the Case is now wonderfully altered with him, he now sees the Harlot stript naked, he beholds how loath­some the Whore is now her Paint is washed of, Sin and Hell are alike to him; tempt him to Fol­ly, and he will soon answer in Joseph's Language, How shall I do this great Wickedness, and sin against God? He that sometimes thought Sin the only Pleasure, and looked upon the Devil and the World as the only Friends, now sees his dange­rous Mistake, and blesseth God that his Eyes are opened before he comes into another World; he knows now that Holiness is the only Pleasure, and God is the only Friend; and Sin, and the World are as mortal Enemies as the Devil himself, he believes that if he venture upon Sin, he must ven­ture upon the Displeasure of his Friend, whose Favour he set more Store by than all the Delights under Heaven, and whose loving Kindness he judgeth to be better than Life it self. When the Soul is once acquainted with God, how strange­ly are its Apprehensions of things altered? Now he calls Things and Persons by their right Name; Good he calls Good, and Evil, Evil; whereas before he called Evil good, and Good evil, and put Light for Darkness, and Darkness for Light; he now believes that the zealous Com­passionate [Page 191]Ministers that spoke so much against Sin, had reason enough to have said ten times as much as they did; he sees that it was not for no­thing that they were so earnest with him; he hath tasted the Gall, Wormwood, and Poison that is in Sin; he plainly sees what is the great Make-bate between God and Man, he hath now the Wit to understand what it is that hath kept good things so long from him: Tell him now of a Re­vel, a Whore, he had as live thou shouldst per­swade him to part with his Strength and Liberty and grind in a Mill, he reckons you might as ra­tionally desire him to leap into a bottomless Pit, to take up his everlasting Lodging in a Bed of Flames, and to make light of Damnation. Let Men and Devils use what Arguments they will to prevail with him, now to close with Temptati­ons, he is sure he hath a stronger against them; he hath a sensible Argument within, which will answer all, if they had ten thousand times as ma­ny more than they can produce: The Love of Christ makes him abhor the Motion; God is my Friend, dashes all. Shall such a one as I take up Arms against God? Shall I that have found him so infinitely good? Shall I that have experienced the Faithfulness of this Friend to me, be so infi­nitely ungrateful as to be thus abominably un­faithful to him? Shall I that have forfeited my Life and Soul, and instead of Hell have received Heaven, instead of Damnation, Salvation, shall I instead of Thankfulness again rebel? Because the Grace of God abounds, shall sin abound? God forbid. To argue from Mercy to Sin is the De­vil's Logick: To argue from Mercy to Duty is true Christianity. One that is acquainted with [Page 192]God can expostulate the Case with his own Soul, and say! What meanest thou O my Soul to stand parlying with Satan? Hast thou known what that hath cost thee already? Look back to Eden. Who was it that dispossest thy Grandfather of that brave Seat? What did Eve get by discoursing with such a Cheater; have you not lost enough already, but you must be venturing still? Was it nothing for God of a Friend to become a Stran­ger, an Enemy? Was it a slight Matter to be di­vested of all that Glory that once thou didst shine in, but that now again after thou art brought in­to some Favour, thou must be tampering with that Gamester, who had like to have robbed thee of all? Art thou talking of returning again to Egypt? What hast thou so soon forgotten the I­ron, and the Clay? Is this all the Thanks that you give the Lord for his unspeakable Mercy? Doth he that hath done such things for you de­serve no better at your Hands? Is this your Kindness to your Friend? What was it, O my Soul, that that undone Creature said unto thee? Did he say, it is a little one and thy Soul shall live? What did he ask, a few merry Hours that I should spare my self, that I should not be righ­teous overmuch? Did he so? A special Friend? I thank you for nothing? And why didst thou not answer the Tempter as Solomon did Bathshe­ba, when she ask'd a small thing (as she thought) for Adonijah? And why dost thou not ask the Kingdom also? And why did not Satan ask thee to part with Heaven, and thy Interest in Christ, and those Favours? As the Lord liveth, as small a Request as thou think'st his was, that Word was spoken against thy Life, thy Soul. Avertu­ous [Page 193]Man, or as the Stoick calls him, (Anton.) One that hath God for his Friend, when Temptations are presented, he remembers who he is, and how he stands related to God, and how little grateful such an Action would be to his Friend. And thus he doth resist the Temptation with a great deal of Gal­lantry, when he remembers himself. Nay, sometimes Temptations to sin do make Grace more to abound; the Water which was intended to cool Divine Love, proves Oyl, and makes that Noble Flame to burn more vehemently, Cant. 8. 6, 7. He desires to exercise that Grace which is contrary to the Vice which he is tempted to with more than ordinary Vigour. He stands like a Rock in the midst of the Sea unshaken; he is stedfast and unmovable, like a Pillar in the Tem­ple of his God. He is much of the same mind, in that Point, with that brave Heathen, who spake thus to himself when Temptation was strong: (Ar. Epict. l. 2. c. 18.) Deliberate Man, yield not rashly, 'tis a great Work that lies upon thy Hands, 'tis a divine Work, 'tis for a Kingdom, the Kingdom of God. Now remember thy God, let's see what thy Love to thy God is, remember his Presence, he beholds how thou standest deliberating whe­ther thou shouldesrt fight for him or against him; for shame shew not thy self so basely disingeni­ous: Remember what thy God, thy Friend did for thee at such and such a time: Remember how kindly you were entertained by him the last time you were at his House. Whose Sword is that you wear by your side? who gave you it? Did not God give it you to fight against his Ene­mies? And will you draw it against himself? Remember from whence you had all that you do [Page 194]enjoy, and can you find in you Heart to take God's Mercies, Gold, Silver, and Food, and bestow them all upon that which he hates? Will you quarter and keep in pay with God's Coin, his greatest Enemy? And if you feel your Heart still staggering, and scarce able to keep its Ground, then remember God stands by, Christ looks on, and sees how gallantly any Champion of his will demean themselves on his Quarrel; and that there is not a more lovely Sight upon the Earth, than to behold one of his Friends, rather venturing their Lives than they will bear that the least Indig­nity or Affront should be put upon their God! O happy are they that can always act as in the sight of God! And if the Soul can have but a constant, fresh Sense of its relation to God, and his Eye, it is impossible but that it should have Sin, which is so directly opposite to him: Happy are those who by the Thoughts of God are inraged against Sin! Is it not enough, saith that heavenly Soul that is acquainted with God, that I have done such and such things against God, when I knew him not, but that I should again ingage against him after I have been obliged by a thouland Mercies, after I have tasted and seen how good the Lord is? Is it a light matter that I did so long fight against him then? And shall I now renew my Rebellions, when I have had so much Experience of the Folly and Madness of such a War, where I shall be as surely conquered as I draw my Sword? And hath God kept me by a Miracle of Mercy out of Hell, and after I had run out so wretchedly, and un­done my self, set me upagain; after I had plaid the Prodigal, received me again into Favour, and shall I after all deal thus basely by him: No, I'll [Page 195]a thousand Deaths before I will willingly yield to any thing that may be in the least offen­sive to him, whom my Soul hath such an infinite Reason to love above the whole World. The Knowledge of God's Service, and Satan's too, makes a Soul to distinguish; he that knows what it is to be made free by Christ, abhors his old Ma­ster, he remembers full well the great Hardship that he then underwent, when he had nothing to live upon but Husks; he calls to mind the Clay and Mortar, he can't forget the cruel Vassalage that he served under; Garlick and Onions were his Dainties, and truly he can't desire to leave his Manna for such kind of Food; he is not in Love with the Whip and Scourge, he doth not dote up­on the Fetters, the Iron which went into his Soul, but he is glad with all his Heart to be free from those Task-masters which made him to serve with Rigour, he hath no mind to return to his old Work: My meaning in all this is, he that was a Servant and a Drudge of Satan's, and a Slave to his Lust, when he once comes to taste the Sweet­ness of Spiritual Liberty, to be made free by Christ, he hath no Desire again to be inslaved, but doth with the greatest Detestation, reject all the Pro­prosals and Promises that the Devil makes to bring this Business about; he knows Satan too well to love his Service, he remembers that all his Pay was Promises and no more, he remembers that he fed him with Poyson, and made him do that which had like to break his Bones, and undone him for ever; he sees what Satan's Designs were, and what had become of him quickly if he had gone on in his Service; he believes Chains to be Chains, though they be of Gold; he believes that [Page 196]Poyson will kill him, though it may be sweet in the Mouth; he hath now such a Sense of the Evil and Baseness of Sin, as being so infinitely loath­some to God, as that he hates it with a perfect Hatred; he hath a Will in some measure confor­med to the Will of God; and what his Friend, the Lord loves, he can't hate, and where his God hates he can't love: Psal. 139.22. Do not I hate them O Lord which hate thee? And am I not grieved with them which rise up against thee? I hate them with a perfect Hatred, I count them mine Enemies. Now what is it that stirs the Psalmist's Choler so much? Why, he had been working upon his own Heart, in the former part of the Psalm, the Doctrine of of God's Omnisciency and Goodness, and by Me­ditation upon this Subject he was brought under a lively Sense of the Greatness of Divine Kind­ness; and while his Heart did thus muse, the Fire burnt, his Soul was in a flame against Sin, ver. 17. How precious are thy Thoughts unto me, O God! O when the Soul hath sweet Thoughts of God, it will have sower Thoughts of Sin. When the Soul loves God dearly, it can't chuse but hate Sin entirely. None behold such Deformity in Sin, as those which behold most Beauty in God. Hence it is that some of the People of God have (nay all of them which are really acquainted with God, are of the same mind) counted it more desireable to leap into the Flames, than to venture upon a known Sin. It was no Untruth in the absolute Position, though falsly applied by Job's Friend, that it is a great Wickedness to choose the least Sin before the greatest Suffering, Job 36.21. What was it that made Paul so weary of himself? What Burden was it that made his Back to ake? What [Page 197] [...]ains caused those bitter Groans? Rom. 7. Was [...]t not Sin? And why did not Paul groan before [...]s well as then? Was it because he then had no Sin [...]t all, or less Sin than when he had made that bitter Complaint? No such matter, but because he had then less Acquaintance with God. But now he [...]s become acquainted with God, the more he doth abhor himself for Sin. He now knows better than he did, his Eyes are opened, and he sees Sin in its Colours, and he looks upon it as so great an Evil, that he doth want Words to express the odi­ous Nature of it; therefore because he can't find a worse Word, he calls Sin by its own Name, sin­ful Sin; which he thought a more significant Epi­thite, then if he had called it Devilish Sin. What makes the Children of God to be so weary of this World, and so desirous to be upon the Wing? Why, it is because of better Acquaintance else­where; they know that then they shall put off that Carrion that now they carry about with them, Sin I mean, which, like a dead Carcase bound to a living, doth now stink so abominably in their Nostrils; they know that then they shall have a sweeter Smell, and themselves also smell more savoury in the Nostrils of God. They know that Poverty shall be swallowed up with Riches, Want with Fulness, Sin with Holiness, Misery with Happiness, they have an Inheritance, a Ci­ty wherein dwelleth Righteousness, and nothing that is unclean shall enter into it; and when they come thither, they know the Case will be altered with them, and that though now they bare a­bout with them a Body of Death and Sin, yet [...]hen they shall have a Body as pure, as bright [...]nd glorious as the Sun, they shall be presented [Page 198]by Christ to the Father without Spot or Wrinkle, or any such thing. He knows that as long as he is thus sullied by his Sin, his great Friend will not take so much Pleasure in his Company. Isaac and Ishmael, the Ark and Dagon, God and Sin, can't dwell in the same Heart; therefore he desires to have less of Sin's Company, that he may have more of God's; none of Sin's Company, that he may have always God's Company. Observe that constantly in your own Experience and o­thers, those which walk most close with God are most tender, as to the Matter of Sin: and those which are less in Converse with God, are more bold in their venturing upon Sin, and after it is committed they have less Regret. What is the reason that one can swallow any thing almost, and another is afraid of the least Appearance of evil; he hates the Garment spotted with the Flesh, he is as fearful of clothing himself with Wickedness, as of putting on the Garments of one that hath had the Leprosy or Plague upon him; he hates vain Thoughts, because he loves God and his Laws, Psal. 119.104, 113.

3. Another glorious Effect of Acquaintance with God, is, that it makes one to have very low and undervaluing Thoughts of the World. When the Saint hath been with Paul raised up to the third Heaven, when he hath had some intimate Converse with God, he can look the World into almost nothing; nay, if it stand in Competition with Christ, he counts it but as Dung and Dross [...] comparison of the Excellency of the Knowledge of Christ Jesus his Lord, Phil. 3.8. he can then set a higher Value upon the Light of God's Coun­tenance, than upon Corn, and Wine, and Oil. [Page 199]It is because that poor Creatures know no better, that they doat so much upon the World; did they but know what it is to have one Look of Love from God, were they but acquainted with the Glory of another World, they would soon disre­lish every thing else; nothing will down with them which have been feasted in God's House, but those royal Dainties. Taste the World who will, saith the Saint, give me but more Grace, more of Christ's Company, let me but maintain an inti­mate Familiarity with God, let me be but better acquainted with him, and be more frequently re­freshed with his Smiles, this is all that I desire up­on Earth, this is all that I expect to make my Hap­piness compleat in Heaven. Whom have I in Hea­ven but thee? and there is none upon Earth that I can desire in comparison of thee. It was not without good Reason that the Psalmist prizes the Commands of God above Gold and Silver: it was no Mistake in Solomon to count Wisdom more excellent than the finest Gold, and more precious than Rubies. That spiritual Merchant knew what he did when he sold all that he had for that Pearl of great Price; he was sure he should be no Loser by such a Bargain. Bring me a heavenly Creature that hath had a View by Faith of the Glory of God's Countenance, that hath been in his Compa­ny, that hath been brought into his Banquetting-house, such a one I am confident can easily spare that which most keep such a fearful Stir about, he can spare the World for them which are like to have no better a Portion. Give him but more of those spiritual Pleasures which he hath had in Communion with God, and he desires no more. He can now speak it, and speak it in good Ear­nest, [Page 200]that there is no Comparison between this World and another; he can now call this World a Shadow, and the Glory of it Grass, and write Vanity, Emptiness, and Vexation upon its beau­tiful Face, and contemn all its Smiles and Frowns, and look upon its greatest Lovers, as Persons that deserve to be pitied rather than envied, whose Portion is so small, whose Happiness so short, and whose Misery and Mistake is so great and dismal. It is a common thing for Men to declaim against the World, and to say, it is but a little muck; it's no unusual thing for its greatest Lovers to speak against it, and say, that it is that which passeth away; but yet for all that they pursue it more than Heaven, and are more earnest for it, than the Salvation of their Souls, and more troubled at the Thought of parting with it, than at the Thought of their parting with God; and the Loss of it troubles them more than if we tell them of the Loss of their Souls: Such as these will not say but that God is infinitely more to be loved than the whole World; but yet if the World and God stand in Competition, they stand not long dispu­ting which must give place, the World hath the uppermost Room in the Heart. But whence is this Mistake? how comes the Servant to ride, and the Master to go on foot? why is the World preferred before God? Why, hence it is, Men know not God, they are not acquainted with his Excellency; the World is sensible, he sees it, he feels it, he tastes it, and so he doth not the things that are invisible: and no wonder then that Sense bears the Sway; the Man wants Faith to realize Invisibles, he wants Senses spiritually exercised. But now he that knows God, and is [Page 201]acquainted with spiritual things, he hath quite another Apprehension of the World, and that not only from Faith, but sometimes from a spiri­tual Sense, and he can say that Divine Pleasures, Riches, and Enjoyments, do as sensibly refresh him, yea, abundantly more than ever the World did. And when he hath been newly taking a Walk in that heavenly Paradise, he looks back upon this World with Grief and Indignation, that he should ever love the World with his Heart, when there was one that did infinitely more de­serve his Love, when there was a God, Christ and Holiness to be loved; that he should be such a Child, such a Fool as to run after Butterflies, quar­rel for a Feather, hunt for a Shadow, while God, Christ, and Glory, those great Substances, lay by unregarded. Now he grudges that any thing should have his Love but his God; his dearest Re­lations, if they stand in God's way, must be run over, despised, hated. That which the Men of the World fight, and kill, and spare not to damn their Souls for, he sees now to be a pitiful worth­less thing, which can't defer Death a Moment, nor stand him in any stead in another World. He's all for that Coin which will go currant in an­other Country; and if he be but rich in Promi­ses, rich in spiritual Relations, rich in Grace, he takes himself for no unhappy Man; let the World speak or think what they will of him, he doth not much pause upon it, he believes that he is but a Pilgrim and Stranger here, and if he meet with no great Kindness, it is but that which he expected. The truth of it is, he is almost afraid of the Smiles of the World, not being ignorant of this, that whom it kisses, it intends to betray, he can't be [Page 202]over-fond of that which in all probability will keep God and him at a greater Distance, and make his Passage to Glory next to impossible. He reckons that it's better being rich in Grace than rich in Purse; and that he which lays up for his Body, and provides not for his Soul, is the greatest Fool in the World. Tell such a one as Mo­ses of Riches, Honours and Preferments, he thinks them but poor sorry things for a Man of Israel to be taken with, and he will rather see them in the Dirt, than part Company with his suffering Bre­thren, much less with God. It is storied of A­naxagoras, that he seemed to be very little con­cerned when his Country was in a Flame, upon which being taxed by some, he made this Re­ply, There is none of you all care more for your Coun­try than I do for mine; pointing with his Finger up to Heaven. Thus it is with the People of God; let others talk of Riches and Honour, but there is none of them all that value true Riches as they do; but here is the Difference, one thinks he hath Riches, when he hath the Command of a great deal of Gold and Silver, the other knows he hath Riches when he hath Christ and Grace, and can have good Returns out of that other World. And which of these are the wisest will e're long be seen. One looks upon Heaven and Glory as a Shadow, a Fable, and the Things of this World as the only Realities; the other he looks upon Heaven, God and Eternity, as the greatest Realities, and most worthy of his highest Valuation, and the Things of this World as flying Shadows, which can't fill the Arms of him that doth embrace them: And under this Apprehension and Sense of things, no marvel that he doth pre­fer [Page 203]the Substance before the Shadow. He believes with that Worthy, he was born for other things than to eat and drink, and sleep, or to take his Pleasure, or to get an Estate; he knows that the business in this. World is to provide for another, to get his Peace made with God, to contemplate Heaven, and to get thither; and therefore you must not count it strange that such a Person as this is somewhat cold, and remiss in his carrying on of lower Designs; he knows that the dispro­portion between finite and infinite, Time and Eternity, is no such inconsiderable one as the most count upon. Again, he hath more than once experienced this, that the very Joys and Comforts that are to be had in the enjoying of Communion with God, even in this World, are unspeakably more intense and refreshing than the highest sen­sual Pleasures in the World. One that is acquaint­ed with God will take the Word of his Friend for true, which Word tells him, that whatsoever is presented to his Sense, the World and all that is therein, must e're long be burnt up; whereupon he thinks it no Imprudence at all to hazard pre­sent Injoyment for future Hopes; no Folly to look after something that will bear the Flame. He thinks it scarce worth the while to be born to possess, if it were a whole World, except he were sure of having something after it that were better than what he met with here; he had rather have one Smile from his Friend than thousands of Gold and Silver; he would not for a World be to have his Portion here, tho' it be never so large a one: he had rather by far be with Lazarus upon a Dunghil, than sit with Dives in a Chair of State, before the richest Fare that the Sea, or Air, [Page 204]or Earth could afford him: he would not change Conditions with those that enjoy the most of the Things of this World; he can thankfully want that which most commonly makes its Possessors miserable. O could you but talk with a Man that lives in Heaven, while he is upon Earth, and could you but see and hear how much he slights that which you adore! Give me neither Poverty nor Riches, but Food convenient for me, is the highest that he dare pray for: he had rather live, in a smoaking Cottage, and have God for his Companion, than d well in the greatest Palace, and have the Devil for his Neighbour, Counsellour, or Master. When a Man hath been in Heaven by Contemplation, though his Body be upon the Earth, yet the best part of him, his Affections, his Love, Joy and Heart, is still there. Sen. Ep. 41. One that doth converse with God here, he is indeed that earthly Lump, his Body is below, but could you see his Thoughts, could you look into his Heart, and see the inward Actings of his Soul, you should see the Man out of the World discoursing with God, he sticks close to the Company of his Friend; He is like the Sun beams, who though they touch the Earth, yet they still abide there from whence they are sent, and are most intensly hot nearest the Fountain, the Sun. So the Soul and Thoughts of a Child of God, they may, nay, they can't but glance upon the World; but it's most vigorous spriteful Actings are towards God, and the Heat of its Affections are abundantly more re­miss and cool when they beat upon earthly Objects. He that knows what it is to have the Company of God, is almost ready to wonder how any one can be content with any thing below God; and as for himself, he takes himself for little better than a [Page 205]Prisoner, while his Soul is pent up in a Body which is so unweildly as to all spiritual Employments, [...]ill it be refined by the Grave. He would not be to dwell here for ever for a World, though he might enjoy more Content than ever any since the Fall did. A Soul acquainted with God is a noble Creature indeed, it scorns petty low things, it thinks no Estate big enough for it, but that which is infinite; he looks upon himself as a Ci­tizen of no mean City, a Denizen of Zion, a Free­man of the New Jerusalem, one of the Royal So­ciety, over which Christ, that King of Glory, is the President, his Inheritance is greater than that which the Sun compasseth in its course. O when (saith such a one) shall I leave the Cities of Cabul, and dwell with the King at Jerusalem! O when shall my Soul be safely ark'd! O when shall I be upon the Wing for Heaven! O when shall I leave this Body there whence if first came! When shall I go out of this Cell, this Cage! O that I were once safe in Heaven! O that I were in the imme­diate Presence of God, and might stand for ever before him, and have his blessed Society for ever and ever. Neither am I now quite without him; but how little, O how little is it that I now en­joy! O when shall I enter into the Possession of that better longer Life! I stay and long for that separating, or rather uniting Hour, which will separate my Soul from my Body, from my Dross, but perfectly unite me to God. Look then, O my Soul, upon all that thou seest below, but as so many Inns and resting Places for a Pilgrim to take some little Refreshment in, and then to be gone. That Day, O my fearful Soul, which thou sometimes fearest as my last, is the Birth­day [Page 206]of Eternity. O what mean we to love our Prisons, Fetters, Burdens! What ail we to be so much pleased with our Miseries, and afraid of our Happiness? O this Unbelief! O were Christians but more in the Company of God by Faith and Meditation, they would look upon God as great, and the World as a very small thing. He that knows God to be great, sees eve­ry thing below him little. It is an infallible Ar­gument of a Divine and Excellent Soul, and one that hath Acquaintance with God, when he can judge all beneath God, as low, fordid, base, and utterly unworthy of the respect of his Soul.

4. Another glorious Effect of Acquaintance with God is, that it will ease us of all Sorrows, or cure all Sorrows. As soon as any one hath but a saving Knowledge of Christ, he is in such a Condition as that he need not trouble his Head with Care, nor his Heart with Fear; no more than a rich Heir that hath a tender-hearted, loving, wise Father, need not trouble himself what he shall do for Bread and Cloathing; as long as the great Cause of Fear is taken away, so long he is well enough. As for those that are unacquainted with God, they either are always afraid, or have Cause al­ways to be afraid: but as for a Child of God, that Scripture buoys up his Soul under the mightiest Waves of Fear, There is no Condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, Rom. 8.1. He that is in Covenant with God, may in this World undergo some petty Injuries, some Insurrections may be made against him; but this is his Comfort, he is sure never to be quite over-power'd, never to be finally conquered! O the Disquietments and Fears that Strangers and Enemies are compassed [Page 207]with, or will be! And O the Joys, the Security, the true Security that some have; at what a rate do they live! and how bravely do they die! Mark the perfect, and behold the upright Man: for the End of that Man is Peace. This was touched up­on before, when I opened the Nature and Quali­fications of this Friend, and therefore I need say the less here; yet it being the great Inquiry of the wisest, how they may be sheltred from this Storm? What shall they do to be cur'd of these Heart-qualms? how they may be freed from Fears? I shall not altogether pass it over in this Place. I can't but incourage poor Strangers, as they value the truest Comforts, as they would be free from Fear and Trembling when the Founda­tions of the Earth shall be shaken, when the Mountains shall tremble, and melt at the Pre­sence of God, the mighty God of Jacob, when the Heavens shall be rolled together as a Scroll, and be all of a Flame: Make sure of this Friend; it is impossible that one that hath such a one for his Friend should much be daunted, when he hears of Was and Rumours of Wars, when the Pesti­lence rages, when there are dreadful Earthquakes in sundry Places, and such Distress of Nations and Perplexities, that the stoutest Heart shall sink that hath not this to support it: Then a Child of God may lift up his Head with Comfort, because his Redemption draweth near. There is a vast Difference between a godly Man and a wicked, as to their Affections, Fears, Joys, Desires, Hopes. The godly thinks long for that which the wicked wishes with all his Heart might never be; the Day of Judgment. The righteous Man is even delighted with the fore-thoughts of that, the [Page 208]Thoughts of which doth put a Damp upon all the Comforts of the ungodly; he rejoiceth in that which makes his Neighbour to tremble. As for Death, a gracious Heart that hath kept his Watch, and maintained a sweet and constant Correspondency with God, and hath had his Heart in Heaven, and can look upon the great Jehovah as his Friend, can't be very much affright­ed at his Approach: He is not much appaled when he looks out at the Window, and sees this Messenger making hast to his House; and when he knocks at his Door, he dares let him in, and can heartily bid him welcome; he understands whence he comes and what his Errand is, and though he look somewhat grimly, yet as long as he comes to conduct him to his Friend's House, he can dispense with that; he hath more reason to speak it than he which did. (Plotinus) Let me make hast away to my Country; there are my excel­lent Ancestors, there dwell my noble Relations, there is the constant Residence of my dearest Friends. (Tull.) O happy will that Day be when I shall come into that glorious Assembly, when I shall have better Company than Homer, Orpheus, Socrates, Cato, when I shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, in the Palace of their Friend and mine! O happy Day when I shall come to my Father's House, to that gene­ral Assembly, the Church, of the first-born, to an in­numerable Company of Angels, to Jesus, the Media­tor of the new Covenant, and to the Spirits of just Men made perfect. A Man's Knowledge of other things may add to his Fears, and make his Mise­ries greater; but the more Knowledge we have of God, the less our Fears and Sorrows must needs be: and when our Knowledge of God is perfect, [Page 209]all our Fears and Sorrows shall be for ever blown over. I can't omit a brave Speech of that noble Stoick which comes to my Mind, (Ar. Epict. l. 1. c. 7.) If the Acquaintance and Favour of Caesar can keep you (as you are made to believe) from some Fears? how much rather to have God for your Father and Friend? how little Cause have such to be afraid at any time of any thing. Death it self is not evil to a Friend of God; he may say, come, let us go quickly to our Fa­ther's House, our Father calls us. And doth this seem a small Matter to you? believe it, when you come to die you will be of another Mind then; you will think that's a Cordial worth any Money, that will raise your Spirits at such a Time, and make you with a smiling Countenance to pass into an everlasting State. It is but a Folly to expect that any thing in the World should do this for us, but the Knowledge of our Interest with God. It's possible indeed to get some stupifying intoxicating Stuff, that makes a Man to die like a Beast, with­out any great Horror, the Devil's Shop will fur­nish poor dying Creatures with enough of that: Nay, he is glad if he can keep Men asleep till Death awaken them; but miserable is that Man who is beholding to the Devil for his Cordials; miserable is he who hath nothing to keep him from a Hell upon Earth, but his own Ignorance and the Devil's Word. I promise you, 'tis none of the joyfulest Spectacles to an inlightned Soul, to look upon one that lived wickedly, and died peaceably. You would think that a poor Man, that is going to Execution, had little Cause to smile, though he should ride to the Gallows upon an easie going Horse, or in a Coach. The Swine is usually very still, when the Butcher is scraping away the Hair [Page 210]of his Throat in order to the Sticking of him: It's no unusual thing for a vile unsanctified Sinner, to leap with a mad Confidence into Eternity; but he alone hath a solid Peace who hath God for his Friend. This is the only Man hath just Cause to sing for Joy, when his Soul is going into ano­ther World. It was none of the worst Counsel which he gave, whosoever he was, who said, that it doth highly concern us seriously to think of ter­rible things which we must most certainly see e're long, and to lay in such Provision as may make us fit to grapple with them when they come. O for that which will keep us from crying out hereafter, What shall I do? Wo is me, I am undone! Were it so that there were such rare Extraction to be made which would certainly prolong our Lives as long as we would, and make us always cheerful, what Striving would there be to get such a Re­ceipt! O how would the great ones bring out their Bags to purchase it at any rate! How wil­lingly would they mortgage all their Lands, part with their richest Jewels to buy it! and yet how little will they expend for that, which if they had would prove far more effectual! O would Men and Women but understand themselves, and mind their Business, what sweet Lives might they lead, what a Calm might there be constantly upon their Spirits! How cheerfully might they live! and how joyfully might they die! Tully saith that he and many others had been gathering the most pow­erful Herbs that they could find to cure all Fears, but, saith he, I know not what is the matter, the di­sease is still stronger than the Remedy. And dost thou not know, O Tully, what's the matter? why, then I will tell thee, one principal Ingredient was [Page 211]left out, viz. Faith in the Blood of Christ, and U­nion with God by Virtue of that Blood. He that is by Christ brought acquainted with God, need not much fear Griefs, Sorrows, and such things Christ was acquainted with for him; he hath un­sting'd Death, and sweetned the Grave: All his Troubles are now but as Physick, the Poyson of them is corrected; though the Pill be bitter, yet it's of his Friend's Composing, and therefore you may take it without any turning away of your Head. Shew me a Man (said old Epictetus) that is happy, truly in his Life, and happy in his Death; hap­py in his Health, and in his Sickness; happy when poor, scorn'd, tormented and banished, in a word, happy in all Conditions. O that I could but talk with such a Man! O that I could see such a Spectacle! such a one as my Eyes never yet beheld. Why, I will tell thee the Reason of it, O Epictetus, It is because thou never sawest a Christian, one that was ac­quainted with God; for let me tell the World, Through Grace I have seen such a Sight, and do believe it to be the most lovely Sight on this side Heaven. I have seen one smiling when his Jaws have been fal­ling, and Eye-strings breaking, rejoicing, when most about him were weeping, and accounting it a high Act of Patience to be willing to live; and how do you like such a Condition? Is it better to lie quivering, shaking and groaning, or rejoi­cing, and praising, and admiring of Free-Grace, and setting forth the Riches of God's Love and Goodness? Which of these would you chuse? I can easily believe that few are so bad, but that they could be contented as well as Balaam to die the Death of the righteous, and to have their latter End like his? But would you die joyfully? why [Page 212]then you must live holily; get acquainted with God, and then this may be your State. I re­member Seneca speaks of one Paecuvius, who when he was drunk cry'd out [...] (I have been alive) very merrily. But had he well understood him­self, he would have thought he had had much bet­ter Reason to have cried out, I am dead, I am dead. But however, what he said ungroundedly and wickedly, a Child of God may easily and thankfully say, when he is going to his last Sleep, he may with Joy and Cheerfulness say, I have li­ved, and thro' Grace, I have kept a fair Corre­spondency with my God, my Friend, whom I am now going to dwell with for ever. Do not think therefore that I come to take away your Comforts and Joys, when I come to perswade you to get Acquaintance with God, no such Matter. I would have you learn to rejoice, but yet I would that that Joy should be born from above, that the Foundation of it should be the Knowledge of your Interest in God's Love. Other Joys may make you have a smiling Countenance, but they do not raise and fill the Soul; for I must tell you, I am far from thinking that every one that laughs is joyful, and without Fears. Give me a Man that knows that God is his Portion, and Heaven his Inheritance; that knows with what Friend, and in what a happy State he shall live in after Death, this, this is the cheerful Man; such a one as this is can overlook momentary Sorrows, he understands full well that the Case will be quickly alter'd with him; and the Thoughts of eternal Happiness do swallow up his temporal Miseries: Tell one of God's Acquaintance, of Poverty, he values it not, so long as he knows he [Page 213]hath a brave Estate that can't be confiscated, Ri­ches that none can take from him, a Treasure that Thieves can't break through to, and steal. As for all worldly things, he knows that before a few Years are over he must part with them however; he is of that Man's Mind, who having a considerable Sum of Money, and precious Jew­els hid in his Saddle, and a little odd Money in his Pocket, was set upon by Thieves; who rea­dily went to his Pocket, and took what was there, and look'd no further: Now the Man scaping clear with his main Treasure, is so joyful, that he takes no Notice of what was stole from him. Thus a Child of God, if he loose his Estate, his Liberty, and all his outward Injoyments, he counts all these but inconsiderable, as long as his Soul is safe, his great Treasure is out of their Reach. Tell him of Torments, Racks, Flames, or what the Policy of Hell can invent, he is not ignorant of this, that the more he suffers for Christ's Sake, the greater Cause he hath to rejoice, to be exceeding glad, for great shall be his Reward in Heaven; and while they add to his Sufferings they add to his Glory: and tho' against their Will while they would injure him, they do him the greatest Kindness; this light Affection works for him a far more exceeding and eternal Weight of Glory. As long as his Torments want that dread­ful Epither, Eternal, he doth not much pause; the Thoughts of God's Love make Man's Hatred in­considerable? O how sweet are the Thoughts of his Friend, when his Enemies are most bitter. Blessed be God, as for those intolerable Torments, he knows its beyond Man's Power, and far from God's Will to inflict them upon him, and so long [Page 214]he cares not much: All other Tortures are but a Flea-bite to the Pains of Hell, and an enraged Conscience; he can almost dare the World and the Devil to do their worst, as being Confident of this, that as long as he is dear to God, his Soul is out of their Reach. Threaten him with Banishment, he remembers that he hath a Friend that will find him out, and bear him Company wheresoever he is. Tell him of the barbarous Unkindness and Treachery of former Friends; he reads that his Betters have been worse handled by their pre­tended Friends; above all, this cheers him, to think that all his Friends will not serve him so, he hath one Friend that will never forsake him, ne­ver be unfaithful to him. Now bring a wicked Man upon Earth, that is without his Sorrows, I know there is none, no not one; there is none of them all, but if he were within the Sight of those devouring Flames would tremble. Those that have Wickedness enough to dare God, will not have Courage enough to look him in the Face, when he shall appear in flaming Five, to execute Vengeance upon the ungodly; he that will not now be troubled at the Doing of Wickedness, will be troubled hereafter at the Suffering for it. Let Sinners say what they will, I am sure they can't be long without Fears, to behold Christ, and his dear Servants coming together in the Clouds, with Millions of mighty Angels to judge the World; I am confident it will be such an ama­zing Sight as can't choose but cool their Courage, and make the stoutest Heart of them all to ake; I am sure that as light as they make of Damnation, and God's Displeasure, that the Day is coming, when they will believe it was no such Cowardise [Page 215]to be afraid of an angry God, to fly from the Wrath to come, and to run away from so formi­dable an Enemy as Sin. So that it's clear, that a wicked Man will first or last be a fearful Man, a Magor missabib, Fear on every Side, shall be his Name. But now he that doth exceedingly fear to offend God, need not exceedingly to fear any thing else; and he that fears not God, hath cause enough to fear every thing? O Sirs, it's a brave thing to be able to take Death cheerfully by the Hand, and to walk with him joyfully into another World; and this I say again, a Man ac­quainted with God may do: he hath this to com­fort him, Death doth more properly give him Life, than take it away from him; and that as soon as he is dead his Sin shall die too, and his Grace live and act without Controul; then he shall live a Life of Joy, a Life of perfect Holiness, such a Life as Saints and Angels live, such a Life as Christ lives, the Life of God, a Life without Death, an everlasting Life; and why then should he be a­fraid of Dying? As for his old Companion the Body, it is gone to rest, and will e're long be awa­ken'd and rise from his Bed, more vigorous and fit for those noble Employments which it must be en­gaged in for ever: and Soul and Body shall meet with more Comfort, than now they part with Pain, when the Body shall be in another kind of Dress than now it wears, and that also shall in some Respects be like the Soul, agil, holy, immortal. This is such a Man that I can call happy, and so e're long will those that now scorn and persecute him call him too. Blessed is he that in his Life is holy, and cheerful, but most cheerful and perfect at his Death. This is the happy Portion of God's [Page 216]Acquaintance, this is the Heritage of the Friends of the Bridgroom. I have read of a wise Man, that would commend, and be thankful for every thing, because he was sure a Friend of his had the Management of every thing, whose Understand­ing was infinite, and whose Wisdom was un­searchable, who could and would work his own Honour, and his Friend's Comfort, out of every thing, yea, though seemingly evil; for the great­er the Evil seems to be, the greater will be the real Kindness which makes so much good out of it. O but I have lately lost many of my most near and precious Relations! If thou art one of God's Friends, let me tell thee for thy Comfort, you will meet them at your Friend's House, when you come thither. It was no unsuitable Advice that he gave no his Friend Lucilius, to cheer him up after the Loss of a dear Friend, Let us consider, my dear Lucilius, that we our selves should be glad to be in that Place, and to enjoy that Company, which you are so sad that your Friend is gone to; and he that you say is lost, is not so, but happy before you. We do not judge rightly of things. Well then, would you know what a Man is? would you pass a true Estimate of him, and understand his Worth and Value? Why then consider the Man without his Riches, lay aside his Honours, take away all his Externals from him; nay further, let's see the Man naked out of his Body, and how doth the Soul look? Is it now rich, beautiful, joyful? can it stand confidently before God? doth it appear cheerfully in the Presence of its Maker? Why, this is something. It matters not much whether his Body were fed with Pulse or Dainties, cloathed with Rags [Page 217]or Scarlet, it matters not whether his Soul went out of his Mouth, or at a Wound, whether he died in a Bed of Down, or in Flames. Methinks, by this time you should be ready to think that Religion is an excellent thing, that God's Ac­quaintance is desireable, and that no Life is like the Life of a Christian, all whose Sorrows end in Joys, whose Miseries make him more happy, whose Shame for Christ will make for his Glory; in a word, whose Death brings him into Life. This is the Generation of them that seek thee, that seek thy Face, O Jacob.

5. Another Effect of Acquaintance with God, is, That it will make us more highly to honour him. Here Familiarity is far from breeding Con­tempt. Those that are Strangers to God see not his Worth and Excellency, they honour him not, but they have the most vile, low, contemptible Thoughts of the infinitely glorious Majesty, and they think any thing will serve his Turn, they make more bold with him than they would do with a Man like themselves, they put him off with the Leavings of the World: When they have been feeding their Lusts, and serving their Plea­sures, and gratifying the Devil all the Day-long, then they come between sleep and awake, and pretend a great deal of Love to him, and Anger with themselves for their Sin; whereas God knows, they do but play the Hypocrites in all they do, and mean nothing that they say: Lip-Devotion, Knee-Religion God shall have, and but a little of that too; and that pitiful Stuff that they present him with, they think God is very much beholding to them for. As for the sancti­fying the Lord God in their Hearts; as for in­ward [Page 218]ward hearty Love, as for high Prizings and Ad­mirings of God, as for a real honouring of God, and worshipping of him in Spirit, and in Truth, it is that which they understand not; and as for them which do, they laugh at them, as if they were guilty of the greatest Folly in the World. But now he which converseth with God, beholds such a Beauty, Excellency, Majesty, and Glory in him, that it is ready quite to swallow up his Soul; he speaks much of God, but yet he thinks more; he wonders that a God of such infinite Goodness should be no more loved; that a God of such infinite Greatness, Justice and Holiness, should be no more feared; that a God of such un­speakable Power should be no more obeyed; and while he remembers his own Contempt of God in former times, and the too mean Thoughts that he hath at present of him, he doth even stand a­stonished to think that he should be on this side the State of the Damned. He that before thought every thing too much for God, now thinks no­thing enough for him. The Man is strangely changed by his new Acquaintance, so that he may not improperly be called a New Man, all things are new with him. In Honour to this new Guest he hath got on new Cloaths, he is clad with Righ­teousness, as with a Garment; new Food, it is his Meat and Drink to do the Will of his Father which is in Heaven; new Drink, Wine on the Lees well refined, he draws all out of those Wells of Conso­lation, the Promises: he hath new Thoughts, Words and Actions; God, Invisibles, and all the things of Faith are now Substances with him. Now the Threats or Promises of a God are not counted small Matters; Heaven, Hell, and Eternity go for [Page 219]he greatest Realities, because God saith they are such. So he that sometimes lived without God in the World, had no Respect at all to his Glory, but valued himself and his most base Lust, and the Devil himself before God, doth now respect God's Glory in all that he doth, he ventures upon no­thing deliberately, but what may please him; Religion runs through all he doth; he eats, he drinks, and sleeps, and clothes himself; he prays, he works, he recreates himself with a Design for God. The grand Project he is still carrying on, is the Honour of God. He will undertake nothing of Importance, before he confult with, and hath the Advice and Direction of his Friend. What­soever he hath that is worth any thing, he sends it to this Friend, he presents him with his First Fruits, he sacrificeth his Male, the best of his Flock; desires that his Friend may be always at his House, and that he may have the best Enter­tainment that he can possibly give; and he is a­shamed at the best, that he can make him no more welcome, who he so highly honours; he is grie­ved that his Entertainment is no better; he would fain give God his first and last Thoughts, his warmest Affections; he would gladly have the Strength and Vigour of Body and Soul spent in his Service; he studies how to improve all Mer­cies and Enjoyments for God, to take hold of all Opportunities that he can possible, and to make the best of them for the promoting that grand Design which he hath on Foot, his Honour. He thinks not Wife and Children, Houses and Lands, Body, Soul, and all that he can make in the World too good for him. Whatever Temptations he conquers, whatsoever Sin he slays, whatsoever [Page 220]piece of Gallantry or Prowess he hath done in his Inroads upon Satan's Kingdom, he gives the Ho­nour of all to the Valour, Conduct, and Assistance of this his Noble Ally and Friend. He sets the Grown of the King of Ammon, like Joab, upon the Head of this King David. He hath such a high Esteem for God, that he thinks nothing well done, but when it is done exactly as he would have it; he thinks every thing then best, when it is done according to God's Will: And he counts it no small Weakness to be unwilling that infinite Wisdom rather than Folly should have the managing of all the Affairs of the World. He desires to maintain a quick and lively Sense of the Divine Majesty upon his Soul, and that he may here and hereafter give him, as he hath infinite Cause, all Honour, Glory, and Praise.

6. Another Effect of this Acquaintance with God is this, it would put abundance of Life and Vigour into the Soul; it would, as it were, oyl the Wheels, and set them a running. There are none in the World that act at so high a rate as those do, which are most acquainted with God. O how undefatigable are they in their Pains! With what Earnestness and Faith do they pray! As if they saw the glorious God before them, and were talking with him; with what Reverence, Seriousness and Delight do they read, meditate and hear the Word, and do all that they do! They know in some measure what it is to present their Bodies and Souls as a living Sacrifice to God through Christ; they understand what it means to be fervent in Spirit serving the Lord; they will not serve God with that which cost them no­thing, kneeling down, and saying a few formal [Page 221]Words before God in the Evening, repeating the Lord's Prayer, and the Creed, and the Ten Commandments between sleeping and waking, doing no body any wrong, and the like, is not e­nough to serve his Turn, his Conscience will not be thus put off; but he labours with all his Might to stir up his Soul to lay hold upon God, he is not content to go off from his Knees without his Father's Blessing. This is the Friend and Ac­quaintace of God, this is the brave Israelite, that Spiritual Prince that will not let God go till he hath prevailed with him. He doth not go to his Work, as if he cared not whether he work'd or no; he is not sick of the Service of God, but he rejoyceth and works Righteousness, his Work is his Pleasure, and he goes on merrily with his Business. Those that are intimately acquainted with God, are not so cold, faint, and dull in the Service of God, as others be. Such a one as knows God very well, and hath been oft made welcome by him, why, he comes with a great deal of Confidence, and knocks at God's Door, and, for his part, he will not go away, though the Door be not presently opened, but he con­tinues knocking, because he is sure that his Friend is within, he knows that he is never from home, and that he can never come unseasonably to him. He comes to Prayer as if he were going to storm Heaven, he gets Spiritual Things by Violence, he comes to Duty as to fight for a Crown, he is shamed to offer the Lame and the Blind to God, but he chooseth for the best in his Flock; he de­ [...]es to improve his Interest in God to the Height; his Favourite of Heaven comes frequently to the [...]ing to beg some great thing or other, and he is [Page 222]sure that his Friend will deny him nothing, that it is not a greater Kindness to deny than give he knows that his King hath a large Purse, and as large a Heart, and he is not willing to lose such excellent things that are to be had for the asking for; he is not ignorant that spiritual things are worth the seeking for, and therefore he will seek, and seek earnestly; he hath tried more than once, and he remembers to his Joy, that wonderful things are to be had, if we will but take Pains for them, and prefer our Petitions, or rather get them preterr'd by that great Master of Requests, the Lord Jesus Christ, and follow our Business close, that it can't possibly miscarry let it be what it will; the Comfort in enjoying will abundantly pay all the Charges we can be at in seeking; therefore he lays about him as one that is in good earnest; the Confidence that he hath in the good Will of God, it puts Life into all his Petitions. A poor Greature that very rarely injoys any Communion with God, that is very little or not at all acquainted with him, is ready to take up with a few formal complemen­tal Performances, he is weary of his Work before he hath well begun it, he is quickly out of Breath; but now one that is very well acquainted with God, is not so soon weary of his Company; it may be, he may be somewhat cold when he sets out, but by that time he hath gone a few Turns with his Friend, his Blood grows warm, he is sometimes so taken up with God in Duty, that he can scarce tell when to have done? O he thinks it's good being there? O it was a sweet Season! These are the Actings and Experiences of some noble Souls. I have heard some Christi­ans [Page 223]say, that had not God made it their Duty to [...]ollow their Callings, they could be glad with all [...]heir Hearts to do nothing else, Day nor Night; [...]ut hear the Mysteries of God's Love in Christ o­ [...]ened, read, pray, meditate, and be immediate­ly engaged in the Service of God. Sure some­thing is the matter with these Persons more than ordinary, that their Palate should be so spiritu­alized, as that it is their Food, their Wine, their Dainties, to be actually imploy'd in the great Acts of Religion. The more any one is acquainted with God, the more Delight he takes in the Or­dinances of God; as one of God's Children, he desires the sincere Mik of the Word: Before he was acquainted with God, he found it far other­wise; then nothing almost would down with him, the pure Word could not be relished, except it was adulterated with Flourishes of human Wit. He had very little Appetite to good wholsome Food, his Stomach was ready to turn at it, ex­cept it were so cook'd and sawc'd, and set out, that an understanding Man could scarce tell what to make of it! What do you say to this, you that are so faint and cold, in what you do, in the Service of God? Come a little nearer, get bet­ter acquainted with God, and you shall sind such Entertainment from him, that you will scarce he able to keep long from his House; get oft into his Company, and you shall feel your Soul strengthened with new Spirits, animated with a strange Life, Heat and Warmth. You will not complain that the Sabbath is the longest Day in the Week; you will not say, What a Weariness is it? When will the New Moons and Sabbaths be at [...]n end? But you would think long till the Sab­bath [Page 224]Day come, and when it is come, the Plea­sure that you take in the Work of that Day would make you to think it the shortest Day, and gone too soon; and when you have spent it in the most diligent Attendance upon God, you would wish it were to begin again, or that you were to begin such a Sabbath, that would never have an End. This is the Condition of one that is very intimately acquainted with God; his near­ness to his Master makes him to follow his Work, and he knows he shall lose nothing by it; some­thing will be coming in e're and anon, which will more than quit his Cost: So that when God calls, he is at hand, and readily answers, Speak, Lord, for thy Servant heareth. When God hath any Mes­sage, any hot Service to do, he accounts it his great Honour to be employed in it, and saith, here I am, send me. I believe he that spoke it (Ar. Ep. l. c. 6.) might be a little Confident, when he said, Lay what thou wilt upon me, O God, I have Power to bear it, it shall not be my Burden, but my Ornament: Yet I am perswaded one that is ac­quainted with God, can say it, and say it again in good Earnest; Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? wilt thou have me to Preach for thee, to run through Fire and Water for thee, to die for thee, to go or come? O Lord do but bare me Com­pany, and give me Strength, and it shall be done: I can do all things thro' Christ that strengthen­eth me. This is one of God's Champions, he watches, he keeps upon his guard, he fights stout­ly, he stands his Ground, in every thing he de­means himself gallantly, he quits himself like a Soldier of Christ; and that which makes him thus valiant is because he is so near his Captain. Ask [Page 225] Epictetus what made Socrates do as he did, and he will tell you, (l. 3. c. 22.) It was because he was a Friend of God, his Servant, and Partaker of his King­dom. This is strange Language of a Heathen! but had he known what it was to live under the most lively Sense of God's Love. To have had such intimate Converse with him as some Christi­ans have had, what would he have said? As for the Saint that keeps close to God, he keeps close to Duty; his Work is to serve, love, and praise God: this is his Business, both by himself, and with others.

7. Another excellent Effect of this Acquain­tance with God, is, it will make a Man Patient under all the Dispensations of God's Providence, in all Conditions to be content, in Quietness to possess his Spirit: Acquaintance with God will make him be at Peace, not to open his Mouth a­gainst God, whatsoever he lays upon him. What was it that kept such a Calm in Paul's Heart, when there was such a constant Storm without him? was it not his Sense of his Interest in God's Love? though all the World were his Enemies, yet as long as Christ was his Friend he doth not care; though Men and Devils be against him, yet if God be for him, he pauseth not much upon it: though Men be never so unjust, yet God will never be so, that's his Comfort. It's a small Matter for him to be judged with Man's Judgment, as long as he is sure that God will acquit him; he knows that Justice it self will do him no Wrong, infinite Goodness could not be unkind, and that Wisdom it self could work glorious Effects out of these Things, which the World call evil; if he do re­ceive Evil at the Hands of God, he is consident he [Page 226]deserves more; if it be good, and but a little, he is thankful, because he deserved none at all. Let the worst come to the worst, if all the Devils in Hell, and all his Instruments upon Earth should combine against him, as long as he is sure of the Love of God, and that none of them all can pluck him out of the Arms of the Almighty, he is not very much concerned; Heaven will make amends for all; whatsoever he suffers it is nothing to the Displeasure of a God, it is nothing to everlasting Burnings. He believes that if his Persecutors did know what he knows, they would as soon eat Fire, as do as they do; therefore he rather pities them, than is angry with them, as seeing that their Day is coming. How seldom have you ei­ther Paul or Silas complaining of their Sufferings! How rarely bemoaning their Condition? And what is it that makes them so patient? What have they to sweeten such bitter Draughts? why, God loves them, and so long, they do not much care though others hate them. Man's Frown can't sink a Soul to Hell, nor his Favour make one happy for ever. It is but a little while, and all Tears shall be wiped away from their Eyes. The Kindness and Faithfulness of God is enough to make a Man cheerfully to hold up his Head, when all the World is against him. When the most Spiritual Christians do complain, it is more of themselves than of their Persecutors! O my unbelieving Heart! O that I should love God no more! O that my Heart should be no more taken up with the great Things of Eternity! This is the Condition which those that are most Spiritual are in, Poverty, Imprisonment, Banishment, and all those things which most call dreadful, when [Page 227]they come to a Man that is much in Communion with God, they find him patient, meek and calm, these are not the things which put him upon the Rack; God is his Friend, and that answers all.

8. Another glorious Effect of Acquaintance with God, is, That it will make all our Enjoy­ments doubly sweet. He hath what he hath in Love; he need not be afraid of Poyson in any of those Dainties which come from his dearest Friend's Table; he may eat his Meat with a joy­ful Heart, and not tremble for Fear of the Reck­oning at last; what he enjoys is freely given him; all his Dishes have this brave Sauce, they are sea­son'd with Love, and come out of the Hand of a Father. He that is the great Proprietor, hath gi­ven him Leave to use these things, and hath pro­mised also to give him better things than these. He knows that this is not his Portion, that this is nothing to what he shall possess; it is no small Comfort to him to think that he shall never want any thing that is needful for him, or that if he be brought into some Exigencies, he hath a Friend that he can go to when he will, and be heartily welcome; he hath a Portion, an Estate in another Country, that can never be spent, though he live at never so high a Rate, and the more he spends upon it, the greater it is; he hath a Key to that Storehouse which can never be emp­tied; he hath an Interest in him in whom all Fulness doth dwell: his Friend is noble, let him but ask and he shall have, seek and he shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto him. God is so free, that he takes Care of all his Creatures; yea, so great is his Royal Bounty, that it doth largely provide for his Enemies; and shall his Friends, his Chil­dren [Page 228]starve? Hath he not done so in ancient Days? When his People were in the Wilderness he sent them their Diet from his own House, he fed them with Angels Food. But if this should not be, if he kept them short, that may be done with as great Kindness to them as the former: fasting may fatten the Soul more than Feasting doth the Body; and this makes all welcome. If he have a great deal, he rejoiceth to think that he shall have more still one day; if he have but a little, he is satisfied; and so his Condition is made more comfortable to him, than the greatest Enjoyments of the wicked are to them.

9. Another Effect of this Acquaintance with God, is, That it will make a Man wise. He that before he was acquainted with God had not the Wit to know his Friends from his Foes, by his Converse with God is made more wise than the great Sages and grand Politicians of the World. Upon his Acquaintance with God, he is soon able to know Right from Wrong, to distinguish be­tween Good and Evil. He hath now the Wisdom to look after the Salvation of his Soul, to seek the Kingdom of Heaven in the first Place, and not to be laughed and jeered into Hell. He is so wise, that he doth outwit the Devil himself; he doth get so much Wisdom by his Acquaintance with God, that God will reveal many of his great Se­crets to him. I know one my self that was little different from those which are commonly called Naturals, whom when the Lord had wonderful­ly wrought upon, and brought near to himself, after his Converse and Acquaintance with God, his very natural Understanding was exceedingly refined, and afterward he became more discreet and [Page 229]it to manage worldly Affairs. But however this [...]e, I am sure the Knowledge of God gives Un­derstanding to the simple. A good Ʋnderstanding have they which love the Lord: and the Fear of the Lord is the Beginning of Wisdom. Converse with Men of Wisdom doth not a little improve a Man; but Converse with the wise God it makes a strange Alteration indeed, they are made wise unto Sal­vation. Of such as these David thought it best to make his Privy-Council. These are the Per­sons that are the fittest to advise with in Busines­ses of the greatest Importance in the World; they have learned the Art of managing the Af­fairs of greatest Concernment with the great­est Care and Prudence. I know the wise World usually look upon these Persons as the veriest Fools living. To converse with God, to take all possible Care to make their Calling and Election sure, to do what one can to be happy for ever, goes amongst them for a ridiculous thing, and more than needs. But it is no great Matter, they will not be beat from their Work thus; they should be Fools indeed if such things as these should make them turn their Backs upon God; they will not be jeered out of Heaven, they pass not upon Man's Censures. He is wise that God calls so, and he will be found to be a Fool which God saith is so. As for the Man that is acquainted with God, all his Actions speak him a Man of Prudence, one that hath a deep Reach with him, he is a Man of an excellent Fore sight, he sees the Clouds a gathering a great way off, the Storm before it ri­sech, and he hides himself; in him are hid the Treasures of Wisdom, he makes no foolish Choice, he is a Child of Wisdom; he doth in some Mea­sure [Page 230]understand himself, and knows where his In­terest lies, and is faithful to it; he makes no fool­ish Bargains, when he parts with Dung for Dia­monds, Brass for Gold, Earth for Heaven, Sin for Holiness, present short-lived Pleasures for sure and everlasting Delights, the Devil for God. How say you, ye mad Gallants, that look upon the Saint as a Fool, and Religion as a ridiculous thing? are these such foolish Actings? Is it so undiscreet a Choice to prefer Heaven before Hell? If this be to be a Fool, I wish I were more such a Fool; if this be so contemptible a thing, O that I may yet be more vile! Let me say further, as great a Folly as it is, there are none of you all, but e're long will wish you had been such Fools. A few Years will make you all of another Mind, when you see what those which you counted Fools have got, and what you with your Wisdom have lost; then let's hear you calling them Fools for chusing Christ for their Portion; and your self wise for despising him, and chusing of this present World for your Portion. Now, it is their being acquain­ted with God, that hath made them thus wise; Time was, that they were as very Fools as any in the World, till they fell into God's Company; and ever since that, they have acted with a great deal more Prudence: their being much in God's Company hath much improved them. They may thank God for all that Skill that they have attain­ed to; for he it is that teacheth them, he is al­ways at their Elbow to direct them; when they are about to be cheated, he whispers them in the Ear, lets them understand the Fraud; and when God speaks, they lissen to his Counsel. It was no Falshood which Seneca spake (though he under­stood [Page 231]not the Meaning of this Doctrine of Recon­ciliation) in the Commendation of Wisdom. Wis­dom (saith he) is a great spacious Thing, it instructs us both in Divine and Humane Things, it teacheth a Man how to demean himself in relation to things past, present, and to come: It informs him about things that are fading, and things that are lasting; and by it he knows how to put a true Estimate and Value on both: this learns one the Difference between Time and Eter­nity. Thus far Seneca. But where is this Wisdom to be found? not in Aristotle nor Plato's Writings. The grand Maxims of this Wisdom were little un­derstood in the Peripatetick or Stoick Schools; Flesh and Blood, Humane Wisdom improv'd to the Height, reveal not these things to us. Where then is this Wisdom to be found? and where is the Place of Understanding? Man knows not the Price of it naturally: The Depth faith, It is not in me, it can't be got for Silver, &c. Destru­ction and Death say, We have heard the Fame thereof with our Ears. There is talk of Wisdom in Hell, there they can say what Reports were made to them of the Excellencies of Christ, and how ear­nestly they were offer'd to be instructed in the Ways of Wisdom. But in Hell there is no Wis­dom, though the World of them which by their wisdom knew not God be there. Where then is Wisdom? God understands the Way of it, and he teacheth Man Wisdom, and those that will come to him, submit to his Instructions, may learn; the Lesson is short, yet learnt but by few: he tells Man, that to fear and love his Maker, and to be brought into Union, Friendship, and Acquaintance with God, that is Wisdom; and to depart from Iniquity, that is Understanding, [Page 232] Job 28.12, 13, 14, &c.

10. Another Effect of this Acquaintance with God, is, It will make a Man rich. As soon as any one is acquainted with God, he is set in a thriving Way. Man at the first had his Estate in his own Hands, and he kept up his Trade for a little time, and but for a little time; for though his Stock was great, yet meeting with the Ser­pent, that great Cheater, he was miserably over­reached, and so sadly impaired in his Spiritual Estate, that he broke presently; and had not Je­sus Christ step'd in and bailed him, and been his Surety, he would soon have had all his Creditors upon his Back, and have been laid up in that dis­mal Prison, till he should have paid the utmost Farthing; but through the Kindness of Christ, the grand Creditor had Patience, and offers to make up the Business, and compound upon better Terms than the Sinner could possibly expect. Christ undertakes to heal the infinite Breach, to bring God and Man acquainted, and to set him up again, in case he will but accept of the gracious Terms of Agreement; and thus undone Man, that was before in a beggarly Condition, upon his return to God, is set in a better Way than ever; God, his Friend, now takes such order for him, that he shall be sure never to break again: he will be his Cash-keeper, he will have the Over-sight of all, he will teach him such an Art, that he shall be sure to get by every thing that he trades in, he shall gain by his Losses, grow rich by his Poverty, and drive the best Trade, it may be, when he is for­ced to shut his Shop-doors, I mean in a time of a violent Persecution. Whatsoever Losses or Crosses come, he is sure he shall never be undone as long [Page 233]as his Friend hath so great a Bank; he hath a Key, and he can go to an infinite Treasury, when he pleaseth, and fetch out Supplies for any Exigen­cies or Occasions; and when all those that made such a great Show in the World, and that were taken for Merchants, that were exceeding well to pass, shall be proclaimed Bankrupts, and be found not worth a Farthing, and be carried to Prison for Debt; then he hath Mony in his Purse, Coin that will go currant in any Country. In the mean time, though he be thought to be worth nothing, to drive but a pitiful poor Trade, yet when he comes to dye, and when an exact Inven­tory is taken of all that he is worth, he is found worth thousands: And no wonder when he hath such a Partner, that will be sure to see that his Business shall be managed to the best Advantage; and that he shall never be out of Purse upon this account, the Man can't choose but thrive; he will have something to show for his Gains, when o­thers have nothing. When the rich ones of the World shall be begging a Drop of Water, he is at the Fountain. If we should take a Surview of that Man's Estate, that is acquainted with God, you must lift up your Eyes to those everlasting Hills, you must look East, West, North and South, all this is his, things present, and things to come; mount up to the Top of Carmel, your sight is too short, you see not the hundredth part of his In­heritance, all this is nothing, he hath a brave E­state in another Country, he is rich in Bills and Bonds, when he comes to Age, he will have no Man knows what fall to him; and whence hath he all this Wealth; hath he not got every Penny of it since he was acquainted with God. But [Page 234]I shall be but brief upon this Head, because I have handled, what might have fallen in here before; but the World laughs when I speak at this rate, and think that I am much mistaken; the godly Man rich! That's strange! What rich with scarce Cloaths to their Backs, rich and fare so hardly, rich and possess nothing! This is strange Wealth. I grant it, it is so, for their Estate is in Invisibles; it is not he that possesseth much, but he that wants little is rich: Will you call nothing Riches, but Gold and Silver, and Houses and Lands? Is Vir­tue, Grace, Holiness no Riches? And will you call these little, because he hath not so much Trouble and Vexation with his Estate as some have? Is Heaven, Glory, the everlasting Enjoy­ment of God nothing? Is the possessing that which is more worth than a thousand Worlds, no Ri­ches; if to have all things that are good for them; if to have more than their Hearts can conceive; if to be filled with all spiritual Plenty, be coun­ted Poverty; let me be thus poor, rather than enjoy the Revenue of all the Princes, and great Ones of the World? And what do you think of this, you that are worth never a Penny? Are you desirous to have a great Estate? You that go backward, and get nothing, would be set in such a way, as that you may be sure never to break? Why then, get acquainted with God, and you can't but grow rich.

11. Another glorious Effect of Acquaintance with God, is, that it makes a Man like God, which is the Top of the Creature's Honour. Com­pany is of an assimulating Nature. He that be­fore was unholy, and like the Devil; by Conversion to God, and Converse with him, is made holy like [Page 235]God. He that before was cruel, fiery, un­merciful, by his Acquaintance with God is made kind, meek, and lovely. He that in his natural State was a Non-conformist to the Laws of his Maker, when he is well studied in this Point, is the stiffest Conformist, he sticks close to the righteous Cannons of the holy God, and will not by his good Will turn to the right Hand, or to the left. He that was sometimes very unlike God, when he is brought nigh unto him, his Counte­nance is changed, his Features are altered, and the Lineaments of God's Image appear very live­ly in his Face, and the more he is in God's Com­pany, and the older he grows, the more he grows like him. O how doth such a one shine! What a Majesty, Glory, and Beauty is there in his Face! The oftner he comes to God, the more he is taken with his Excellency, the more he labours to in­timate him. He studies what God is, and as far as his Nature is capable of it in this Life, he desires to be like him. If God be true and faithful, he dare not be false; but he will hate the way of ly­ing; if God be free and bountiful, he thinks it ve­ry ill becomes one of his Children to hide his Face from his own Flesh, to shut up his Bowels, to be void of natural Affection. If Purity be so emi­nent in God, he knows that Impurity would not be commendable in himself. In a word, he desires in every thing to carry himself, as one whose highest Ambition is to speak, act, and think as one that would be like God. It was bravely spo­ken of him (Sen. Ep. 73.) especially if we consi­der what the Man was, who told his Friend that call'd him to Heaven, in compendium, To get as much Happiness as this Place, this Soul, while in this [Page 236]Body is capable of, that is, to get God for his Friend, to be like him. This is a short Cut to Glory, a Soul carried to Heaven, or Heaven brought down to the Soul. A full and perfect Conformity and Likeness to God is the very Glory of Glory; and a partial Conformity to him upon Earth, is his unspeakable Honour in this Life. O were Men and Women better acquainted with God, they would sparkle and shine in their Generation, so that their Enemies should be forced to say, that a Saint is another kind of Creature than a sensual Sinner. O why stand you then so far off from God! Come nearer him, and the Rays of his glorious Image will reflect from your Lives; be acquainted with him, and you shall be like him; keep much in his Company by Faith, secret Prayer and Meditation, and you will be more holy, di­vine, spiritual.

12. The last Effect of this Acquaintance with God, which I shall name, is this, it will make a Man better, far more excellent in all States and Relations; all his Friends will have the better Life with him, the whole Family, it may be, where he dwells will fare the better for him? If he be a Child, he is more dutiful to his Parent than he was, while he was unacquainted with God? If he be a Servant, he is more diligent and faithful than before, he serves not with Eye-Service, but doth what he doth with Singleness of Heart, as unto the Lord? If he be a Master, it makes him more exemplary, and makes him to take care that his Houshold should serve the Lord; he had rather his Servants should make bold with him than God, he is concerned for the Honour of God in his Family, as much as his own; if he be a Fa­ther, [Page 237]he is careful to bring up his Children for God, he is more spiritual in his Affections to them, and desirous to leave them God for their Father, Friend, Portion; as he is a Neighbour, he follows Peace with all Men, and Holiness, because he hath seen God? How sweet and amiable doth Acquaintance with God make a Man! How ready to heal Divisions! How full of Goodness and Cha­rity! How ready to do good unto all, but espe­cially to those that be of the Houshold of Faith! How compassionate, and tender-hearted! How ready to provoke others also to love, and good Works; so that the whole Parish lives the quie­ter, all the Poor fare the better, all the Neigh­bourhood, some way or other is beholding to him; one that knows God himself, doth what he can to get others acquainted with God too? How sweet­ly doth he commend the way of Wisdom? With what Earnestness and Pity doth he plead with Sinners, and labour to teach Transgressors the Paths of God, that Sinners may be converted un­to him. How doth he set before them the Neces­sity of a Change, the Danger of their present State, and the excellent Qualities of this Friend, that he would bring them acquainted with, tel­ling them, that time was, that he also was as they are, and thought his Condition as safe as they do theirs; but that it pleased the Lord by his Word to open his Eyes, and to reveal to him the Need that he had of Christ, and to inable him to ac­cept of him, and to prize him above the whole World. In all Conditions and Relations he com­mends Religion, and shews that Godliness, where it is in the Power and Life of it, is a brave thing, which makes so great an Alteration in a Man for [Page 238]the better? If he be sick, he rejoyceth, and thinks chearfully of Death, the Grave and Eternity; and in this State demeans himself so, that Standers by can't but be convinced of the Reality of Invi­sibles, and to think, sure there is something more than ordinary in Acquaintance with God, which makes Men so undaunted, and with so much Gal­lantry to meet Death; sure their Condition is bet­ter than ours, or else they could never be so joy­ful at such a time as this is; then he tells of the Use of a Christ, the Benefit of a Redeemer in a dying Hour, and how infinitely it is for ther In­terest, in time, to provide for Eternity? If he be well, he desires to improve his Health for God, and to serve his Maker with the Strength of Bo­dy and Soul. If he be poor, he shews a Pattern of Patience, Meekness, Thankfulness, and lets the World understand that Godliness with Content is great Gain? If he be rich, he desires to be rich in good Works also, and to trade with such Tri­fles as Gold and Silver, for rich Commodities, as Grace, Peace and Glory; with the things of this World, for the things of another: To lay up for himself Treasure, which neither Moth can cor­rupt, nor Thieves break through, and steal; and to make to himself a Friend of the unrighteous Mammon; to be a faithful Steward of those Ta­lents that his great Lord and Master hath com­mitted to his Trust; he shows how great a Good it is to be great and good too. This is the Man which doth adorn the Gospel; this is the Chri­stian, which doth credit his Profession; this 'tis to be intimately acquainted with God! O how useful might Men and Women be in their Generations, were they but more in God's Company? O what [Page 239]a Savour would there be of their Graces in the place where they live? How would poor Creatures that receive Good by their holy Counsels, and suitable Lives, bless God for the Day, that ever they were born, and adore that Goodness, which brought them near such and such a one, by whose Means God hath brought them out of the Vassa­lage and Captivity of Satan, and by whose Help they have got acquainted with a Friend that is more worth to them than a World; for one that hath God for his Friend, can't but desire that others also should have an Interest in him; they know how ill it will go with them that know not God, and this makes them to do what they can to bring God and Man acquainted; they would make those that are good better, and them that are bad good? If those that he converseth with, or stands related to, were Enemies, he lets them know that a Christian can love him dearly, whose Sin he hates entirely, and that a Child of God can pity them, that have no pity at all for him. I might add how oft are a great many wicked ones spared from temporal Judgments, for the sakes of the Righteous that are amongst them.


The next Head of Motives to enforce this Ex­hortation, might be taken from the Danger of not being acquainted with God. If you could live securely without God, and be in a safe Condition, though you still remained a Stranger to him, the Business then were not so very considerable; if you could find any in Heaven that could do as much for you as God can, I should not be so ear­nest [Page 240]with you to get an Interest in his Favour; if you could by any means possible be everlastingly happy any other way, if without this Friend get to Heaven, and without his Alliance avoid utter Ruin, I should have had the less reason to use so much Importunity; I might then possibly have spared my self the Trouble of speaking these things, and you the Trouble of hearing them. But when I see and know that it is as much as their Life and Soul is worth, to slight and under­value the Motions that I am now making to you in Christ's stead, how can I with any Faithful­ness and Love to your Souls hold my Peace? How can I stand looking upon Men and Women that are about to murder their own Souls, and forbear crying out? How can I endure to see poor Creatures running with all the Speed they can to that dismal Place, from whence there is no Re­demption, and not endeavour to stop them? Would you have me so cruel to your Souls, as not to tell that which doth infinitely concern their Well-being? For, let me tell you, God will not stand neuter, he will be either for you or against you; he is the Lord of Hosts, and he will fight on one side or other. Now see to you Matters, as the Nature of them doth require What do you think of having a God against you? If God be against you, who will be for you? That is no Peace, saith my God, to the Wicked. These fest Condition you can be in, while God is you Enemy, is sadly hazardous; such a one hangs by a twined Thread over everlasting Flames; h [...] stands upon the Brink of that bottomless Pit, and one Shove, one Slip sends him going for ever he stands upon a Pinacle, which one little Bl [...] ­may [Page 241]blow him off, and then where is the Man to all Eternity? If he fall thence, there is no rising again; if he once go into that other World, there is no Recovery of him, if one would give a World to bring him back again. I say it again, if God be not your Friend, he will be your Ene­my; and what do you think of such an Enemy? It is but a Word, a Look, and they fall. Let me tell you, that except you speedily humble your selves, you shall find that we do not make the Danger greater than it is: According to his Fear, so is his Wrath; you may know soon enough to your Cost, what the Displeasure of a God is, how dreadful his Arrows, how sharp his Sword. Not a Man of them shall 'scape that will not accept of Peace upon his Terms, and that quickly too. O that will be a sad Day, when God shall say, Bring them out and slay them before my Face. If God be your Enemy, who do you think will be your Friend? To which of the Saints or Angels will you fly? Where will you go for shelter against the Storm of that terrible one? What Armour will defend you from the Dint of his Weapons? What in the World can stand that Man in any stead that hath such an Adversary? Especially when he comes to give his Definitive Sentence a­gainst him for high Treason. Dives may say, Fa­ther; and Abraham, Son; but what Comfort for all that had the miserable Child from his holy Father? Doth he not in stead of cooling his Tongue with a Drop of Water, lay more burn­ing Coals upon it; and, if it be possible, make the Heat of it greater; Son, remember that thou in thy Life time hadst thy good things. Thus Abraham, by putting him in mind what his Condition was, [Page 242]makes him with the greater Sorrow to feel what it is. The Memory of former Joys under present Sorrows, make them sting the more. Well then, if you would not hereafter reflect with an aking Heart upon your lost Enjoyments, think with a serious and thankful Heart of the present Offers, that you may in Eternity reflect with Joy upon your short Sorrows in time. If you will not be acquainted with God, you shall be acquainted with the Devil, and know whose Company is best by woful Experience. If you will not believe his Word, you shall feel his Sword. If his Kind­ness and Goodness will not melt you, his Power and Justice shall break you; for he that now is so patient, will e're long roar like a Lyon, and tear in pieces, and there shall be none to deliver; he will break his stubborn Enemies with a Rod of Iron, and dash them in pieces like a Potter's Ves­sel. Those that will not know his Love, shall know something else; I will not say what, for it is inexpressible. But only this remember, it is such a God that you will have to deal with, before whom the Mountains quake, and the Hills remove out of their Places, before whom the great Ty­rants of the World have fallen; and shall you stand? Where are all those Giants? Where are the Inhabitants of the old World? What is become of Nimrod that mighty Hunter, and all his Fel­lows? Where are all those daring Sinners, that scorned to accept of a Pardon, Mercy and Peace, and which had the Courage to grapple with Om­nipotency it self? Who got the Day? Who had the worst of it at last? And art thou stronger than they? Is thy Power greater, thy Understan­ding deeper, thy Allies more considerable than [Page 243]theirs? A Fly may be too hard for Pharaoh, but Pharaoh can never be too hard for God. Because Judgment is not speedily executed against thee, thou thinkest therefore it may be it is because God cannot deal with thee, and upon this Account thy Heart is fully set in thee to do wickedly; but know thou, for all this that God will bring thee to Judgment. Consider this, that as fair as it seems to be now, the Winds may rise, the Clouds may gather of a sudden, the Heavens may be overcast in a moment; and what will you do then? When Heaven and Earth shall be in a flame, then you will be scraping Acquaintance with God; then you would be glad to be owned by him, then you would willingly Christ should take notice of you, and say, You Blessed of my Father; then you would stand at the Door and knock, and cry, and pray, and plead, and say, Lord, Lord, have I not been oft at thy House? Have I not eat at thy Table, and taught in thy Name in our Streets? And yet thou shalt be dismissed with this short and sharp An­swer, Depart, I know you not. How do you like such an Answer as this is? How will you take it when you stand begging at the Door for one Crumb of Mercy, one Drop of Christ's Blood; to be sent away with a bitter Scorn and Denial, or else to be answered with Silence? Whereas you were invited to the Feast as well as those that went in, and you would not hear, though God sent Messenger after Messenger to fetch you, you thought your Oxen better Company than your God, you took more Pleasure in your Dogs, than in the hunting after those nobler things. What do you think of such Expostulations as these? What Replies can you make to these Accusations? [Page 244]E're long you will find these things Realities; e're long all your Friends will be dead and gone, and if they would help you they cannot; your E­state will be consumed, your Houses will all be burnt, all your Attendants, except Care and Fear, will shortly forsake you, your Gold and Silver will not e're long be worth a rush; and what will you do then? Nay, the greatest Friends that you had will become your Enemies. Little do you think, as kind as they seem to be, what your good Fellows, the World, and the Devil, will do against you; little do you think how false your Friends will prove when it comes to that, that they see that all is going? then they also will help for­ward your Ruin. Those that you durst have trusted your Life with, will accuse you and help to cast you. Those which incouraged to sin, will witness against you for Sin. Your good Fellows, your Confederates in Wickedness, your dear Friends, that you loved more than God, that you did not spare to venture your Life and Soul for, O it will make your Heart ake to see such come in a­gainst you, which you thought loved you so dear­ly! O to have a Wife, a Child, a Husband, an old Friend to come before the Judge, and to make known such things as you hoped had been buried for ever. It will make your Ears to tingle, to hear one crying out, Lord if it had not been for him, I had turned and repented; it's long of him that I am in this woful Condition; I was resol­ved many a time, and oft to seek after another World, and to provide for my Soul, but he would not let me alone when I began to be serious, he laughed and jeer'd me, and would never be at quiet till he had made me as bad as himself; he [Page 245]carried me from the Ale-house to the Tavern, from thence to a Play-house, from a Play-house to a Whore-house, from thence to the High-way, from thence to the Goal, from the Goal to the Gallows, and from thence I came hither; and I may thank him for all this. O how will men look when they see the best Friends that they had, come in thus against them! This 'tis to trust to faithless Friends; this 'tis to make light of Acquaintance with God. Your Gold and Silver will be Witness against you, and will eat your Flesh as with a Canker; your Children, Relations good and bad, will speak bitter things against you; your own Family will curse you, and say, Lord, we never heard any thing of God, except in an Oath from his Mouth; we never heard any thing of Religion, except it were in Derision of it in his Family; and those of us that were a little serious, and began to think of our Souls, he would snub and brow-beat, and never give us a kind Look till we did as he did; nay, the Devil who now doth so much flatter Sinners, and make them believe that he is so much their Friend, will then shew himself; he will then be as cruel as he now seems kind; he that now tempts to sin so impetuously, will hereafter accuse for Sin violently, and torment for Sin unmercifully. The People of God which weep over Sinners, and pray for them, and wish them well with their Souls, will then see Justice executed upon their nearest Relations, without the least Sorrow; nay, they also will come in against them too, and say, Lord, I told them of this woful Day. O Lord thou knowest I forewarned them of that which is now come to pass, I pleaded with [Page 246]them with all the Compassion that I could, and they scorned my Pity, they would not pity them­selves, but made light of that glory which they are going from, and of that Hell that they are go­ing to; and now, O Lord, thou art just and righ­teous, that thou hast thus judged them. This will be the Language of those that are your best Friends; the People of God they will be your E­nemies one Day, if you will not now mind the making of your Peace with God; they must and will be on God's side against all the World, they must and will take part with their Friend, and clear him when he judges, and justify him when he con­demns you. O that you that are now Strangers to God, would but consider of these things! O that you would but think what this Battle may be, where the Combatants are so unequal. Stand still O Sun in the Valley of Ajalon, till the Lord have avenged him of his Enemies: Muster your selves, O ye Stars, and fight in your Cour­ses against those miserable Sinners, that have waged a War against their Maker; plant your mighty Cannons, shoot down huge Hailstones, Arrows of Fire, and hot Thunderbolts? O how do the wounded fall? How many are the Slain of the Lord, Multitudes, Multitudes in the Valley of Decision, for the Day of the Lord is terrible. Behold God's Enemies falling by thousands, be­hold the Garments rolling in Blood, hear the prancing of his terrible ones, the Mountains are covered with Horses and Chariots of Fire. God's Souldiers run from one Place to another with their flaming Swords in their Hands, arm'd with the Justice of God's Jealousy, Power and Indignation! O the dreadful Slaughter that is [Page 247]made. Millions, Millions fall, they are not a­ble to stand, not one of them can lift up his Hand, their Hearts fail them, Paleness and trem­bling hath seized upon the stoutest of them all. The Bow of the Lord is strong: From the Blood of the Slain, from the Fat of the mighty, the Bow of the Lord turneth not back, the Sword of the Almighty returns not empty? How do the migh­ty ones fall in the midst of this Battle! A hot Battle indeed in which none 'scape? Who is he that cometh from Edom with dyed Garments from Bosrah? This, that is glorious in his Apparel, and travelling in the Greatness of his Strength, the Lord of Hosts is his Name. Wherefore art thou red in thy Apparel, and thy Garments like him that treadeth the Wine-fat? I have trodden the Wine-press alone, and of the People there was none with me: For I will tread them in mine Anger, end trample them in my Fury, and their Blood shall be sprinkled upon my Garments, and I will stain all my Raiment, for the Day of Ven­geance is in my Heart, and the Year of my Re­deemed is come. And I will tread down the Peo­ple in mine Anger, and make them drunk in my Fury, and I will bring down their Strength to the Earth, the Hand of the Lord shall be known, the Power of the mighty Jehovah shall be felt, and his Indignation towards his Enemies; For behold he will come with Fire, and with Chariots like a Whirlwind, to render his Anger with Fury, and his Rebuke with Flames of Fire: For by Fire, and by his Sword will he plead with all Flesh: and the Slain of the Lord shall be many, and the Saints shall go forth and look upon the Carcases of the Men that have transgressed a­gainst [Page 248]me: for their Worm shall not die, nei­ther shall their Fire be quenched, and they shall be an abhorring unto all Flesh. Upon the wicked he shall rain Snares, Fire and Brimstone, and hor­rible Tempest. This shall be the Portion of their Cup! This 'tis to fight against God! This 'tis to defie the Lord of Host! This 'tis to refuse a Peace that would have been so unspeakably ad­vantagious! To speak a little plainer, this is all that Sinners are like to get by their standing it out against the Tenders of Grace and Mercy. And are you still defirous to engage in this dread­ful War? Will you still bid Defiance to the Al­mighty, and make nothing of such things as you have heard of? Is the Loss of your Blood, the Loss of your Soul, your utter undoing for ever, no great matter with you? Well then, go on, bold Sinner, arm thy self Cap-a-pee, gird thy Sword upon thy Thigh, get thy Shield and Buck­ler ready, prepare to meet thy God: Go up, O thou valiant Warriour, and let's see thy Valour, behold thy Enemy hath taken the Field; go up, and look thy God in the Face if thou darest, come shew thy self a Mark for God, and turn not thy Back like a Coward, venture upon the Mouth of the Cannon, rush upon the thick Bosses of God's Buckler, if you long to perish everlastingly. You have heard what the War will cost you, and as you like it now, do. And what do you laugh at all this? well then, go on, but be it upon your peril, your Blood be upon your own Soul: As for me, I could not have said much more than I have, to disswade you from this desperate Enterprize; I foresee what a Case you will be in, when you are in the Heat of the Battle, and I desire to weep in [Page 249]secret for thee, as one that will most certainly be undone, if thou dost not speedily alter thy Mind; wherefore my Loins are filled with Pain, Pangs have taken hold upon me, as the pangs of a Wo­man that travelleth: I am bowed down at the Thoughts of thy Misery, I am dismayed at the seeing of thy Destruction. The Sinner ventures for all this! He is marched into the Field! Set a Watchman, let him declare what he seeth. Who meets that furious Wretch? A Lion, a Lion roar­eth, he is torn in Pieces, and none can save him; he is gone, he is gone, he is gone for ever! and who may the Mad-man thank for all this? Who could help it? He would venture, though he was told as much. Well then, see what's like to be­fall the Enemies of God: You hear what is like to be the Condition of all them that will not be ac­quainted with God, first or last: You likewise may behold what a Case you your self shall be in e're it be long, except you do speedily repent of your Folly, and meet your Adversary in the Way, and humble your self before the mighty Jehovah; Speak quickly; What will you do? Turn, or burn? Repent or die? Yet you do but hear, you do not feel; but thousands and millions feel what the Displeasure of God is, what the Breach of his Covenant is, and what the Effects of a War with the Lord of Hosts is. O be wise by their Falls; let their Destruction be your Instruction; take heed what you do, lest you be the next that God shall deal with as an Enemy: As yet God offers to be Friends with you; but whether God will do as much to morrow as he doth to day, I do not know. I tell you but so, it's hard put­ting it to the venture. Remember you had large [Page 250]Proffers of Grace and Pardon made to you, God hath sent us to let you know his Will and Plea­sure, and we demand of you from him to give us your Answer speedily. And what can't you yet resolve? Is it so difficult a Business to determine what to fix upon? O foolish People and unwise! O unspeakable Madness! How just must their Condemnation needs be, who are offer'd Salva­tion so often, and refuse it? who are so oft told of Damnation, and yet run into it? in a word, who might have God for their Friend, and had rather have him for their Enemy.

4. The next Head of Motives, by which I might inforce this Duty of Acquaintance with God, may be taken from the Examples of them which made all the Friends they could to get ac­quainted with God. Behold a Cloud of Witnes­ses, which do all with one Consent speak high in the Commendation of this Friend, that I am per­swading you all that I can to be acquainted with Are you wiser than all your Neighbours, is the ignorant Objection of some that would take it ve­ry heinously, if we should call them Fool, when we put them upon a serious Diligence in Pur­suit of the best things? Why, let me retort this Objection upon themselves, Are you wiser than Enoch and Noah? Have you more Understanding than Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? Have you more Wit than David? Are you wiser than Heman, Daniel, and many others of those brave Worthies which were the Wonders of the World, the Non­suches of their Age, and a Pattern to future Gene­rations? This was the greatest Piece of their Wisdom to walk with God, this was the best o [...] their Policy to get so potent an Allie; this spake [Page 251]them to be Men of a deeper Reach, and a larger Understanding than others, because they made it their Business to get acquainted with God, and thus to make their Interest as large as Heaven, and their Peace and Prosperity as sure as the Oath of a God could make it. Do you think that all these Men were mistaken? Did their Wisdom lie only in a prudent Management of their worldly Affairs to their best Advantage; what then, did they mean some of them to leave all that they had so chearfully upon the Command of God? dare you say that they prized the Favour of God at too high a Rate? As for their parts, they thought they could never value such a Friend as God too much. What else was the Meaning of their longing, panting, and breathing after him? Why else are they so glad of his Company, his Presence? How loth were they to do any thing that might be in the least displeasing to him? What bitter Moans did they make, if he did but withdraw a while, if he did but a little absent himself from them? how wonderful desirous were they of en­joying Communion with him? How earnest to live in his House for ever? Dare you say that they were all Fools and Mad-men for refusing the Embraces of this present World, for slighting its Smiles, and undervaluing its greatest Kindnesses, and choosing the Favour of God, though with the Scorns and Reproaches of the World, rather than to hazard his Anger, whose Wrath burns to the Bottom of Hell. Behold what a glorious Compa­ny of these stand upon Mount Zion, with Harps in their Hands, with those hundred and fourty and four thousand, and the Lamb with an innu­merable Multitude of all Nations, People, and [Page 252]Languages. Why, all these were of the Friends and Acquaintance of God, or else they had never had those Crowns, Robes, and Palms in their Hands. Now, why should not our Souls be as dear to us as theirs were to them? Will not Heaven be as good for us as them? is it not as needful for us to get a Friend of God, as them? Will not God do as much for us as them, if we will but do as they did, walk with him. The Truth of it is, the number of them which are sa­ved is but few, in comparison of the Multitudes of them which know not God, and go the broad Way; yet for all that take them absolutely, they are abundance; so many that the Scripture saith they are innumerable. Do but read over the Hi­story of some of their Lives, turn over the holy Records, look sometimes into those sacred Chro­nicles, and behold how cheerfully they served God, how actively they followed the Lamb wheresoever he goes, through thick and thin. Hear what their Language is now they are got home safe, now Christ hath brought them to Glory, and they are at their Friend's House. What do they talk of? What is their Discourse about? Do they complain what a sad Journey they had of it through a howling Wilderness, after they had passed the Red Sea through a thousand Sorrows and Trials? Do they say that now they are at their Journey's End, they are weary, and wish they had never taken so long and tedious a Journey? Do they not rather speak the quite contrary, and that if it were to go again, they would do it with far more Speed and Cheerful­ness than they did? Listen, hark, methinks I hear them from the Walls of the New Jerusalem [Page 253]crying out, Come away, come away, fall on brave­ly, follow your Business gallantly but a little while longer, and the City is your own; fetch your scaling Ladders, run up apace, mount the Ramparts, fear nothing though the Devil play his Artillery upon them, yet it is but Powder, he shall never give you a mortal Wound; resist him and he will fly, and the Field is yours; the Spoil, the Crown, the Honour will pay for your Pains, Blood, and Danger. Fall on brave Souls, fall on; the valianter you be the more safe you are. Me­thinks I hear those noble Saints encouraging of you to get Acquaintance with God, and saying to you that are yet afar off, Come near, come a­way poor Souls, come away, what do you mean thus to delay? O little do you think what a Friend we now find of God; it was but a little, a very little that was told us of the Excellency of Christ, and the Glories of this Place, to what we experience; It was no false Report that we heard when we were upon Earth, of the Happiness of Heaven: O here's a Prize worth the running for; a Kingdom, a Crown worth the fighting for, an Estate worth the looking after. We have not now our stint, we are not dieted with those Spi­ritual Dainties, we have not now and then a Sip, a Draught, a Bit in a Corner, but we are at the Fountain, we are daily feasted with infinite Plea­sures, our Hearts are full, brim full, they run o­ver, we swim in an Ocean of spiritual Enjoy­ments; these things are beyond your Capacity now to understand. Were we to live upon Earth again, and did we know what we do now know, we should ever pine with our earnest Longing for God, the living God, to be in his immediate [Page 254]Presence, and to be at that Angelical Work of praising, serving, and loving him for ever. Wherefore, Brethren, let us encourage one ano­ther, Come let us go up to the House of the Lord; his Dwelling is in Salem, his Palace is upon Mount Zion. Why should not we go on as merrily in the Paths of Wisdom, as the wicked in the Road of Hell? How do the Devil's Champions encourage and hearten one another up? How do they laugh, sing, and roar, as if their Life were the only Life? for shame, let's tell them they lie in their Teeth. Who hath the best Company, they or we? the Patriarchs and Prophets, the Apostles and thou­sands of Martyrs, are gone Singing before; some of our dear Relations, Fathers, Brethren and Si­sters are newly welcom'd by Christ to his Father's House, and they are blessing that rich Mercy that hath conducted them to such a Place, to such a Friend; we have many thousands of Saints mili­tant, that are going along with us as fast as they can, and God himself will bear us Company, and why do we yet linger? O that we were upon the Wing! O that our Souls were like the Chariots of Aminadab! O that the Lord would strength­en poor short-winded Creatures! O that we could run and not be weary, and walk and not faint! O that we might have now and then a hearty Meal, and that in the Strength of them we could travel to the Mount of God! O that that Acquaintance might now be happily begun, which may never have an End! O that God would visit us oft, and get into our Hearts! O that he that gave those Worthies in former times so much Grace, would pour out of the same Grace in A­bundance upon our Souls! O that he would shed [Page 255]abroad his Love in our Hearts! O that we could maintain a constant Intercourse with him here, till we come to a perfect Enjoyment of him in Glory hereafter! O that we may see thy Face, thy blessed Face by Faith! O that thou wouldest cause thy Glory to pass before us! O that thy marvelous loving Kindness might be made known to a Company of poor Creatures of us, whose Desire is to fear thee, who would fain love thee with the Strength of our Souls! O blessed are they that love thee, that are beloved by thee!

5. I might also insist upon another Head of Mo­ [...]ives, which is named in the Text, which is this, Acquaint now thy self with him and thou shalt be at Peace. Though there be nothing but War on e­very side, you shall have Peace. This Peace of God, whatsoever you may think of it, is unspeak­ably advantagious; the Benefits that would accrue to a Soul upon this Peace are infinite; it is a Peace that passeth all Ʋnderstanding. When we have this Peace concluded, we may drive a brave Trade, without Disturbance, for the richest Commodi­ties. If we were thus acquainted with God, we shall have such a Peace as that we may laugh at the Shaking of the Spear, and not be much di­sturb'd when we hear of dreadful Things abroad in the World. He that is acquainted with God may safely venture up and down, he hath God's Pass, a strong Man of War for his Convoy, he hath such powerful Allies that he need not fear; as long as he is at Peace with God, he is sure not to be quite overcome by Man. He is at Peace with himself, when the Air ecchoes with Drums and Trumpets, and the roaring of Guns, a Musick that pleaseth the Devil's Ear: He may still re­joice, [Page 256]because he hath a Bird within that sings sweetly; there is a Harmony between his Will and God's, a Harmony between his Heart and his Mouth. This is no such contemptible thing, and if you knew what a wounded Spirit, a Fire in the Bosom is, you would say so. This Peace that such a one hath is a well-grounded Peace; not such a one as is built upon Ignorance, and Hardness of Heart; but such a Peace as results from the Sense of the Pardon of Sin, and Reconciliation with God, through the Blood of Christ; That Blood of Christ hath washed his Conscience from dead Works. Sins he had, and hath, but some of them he sees lying dead like the Egyptians upon the Shoar, others striving for Life with a Death's Wound upon them; and though he have Enemies still living, yet they are such as shall never have the absolute Dominion over him: as long as the great Quarrel between him and God is at an end all is well enough, the Law hath nothing agains [...] him, all his Accusers are silenc'd; Christ hath fulfilled and satisfied the Law for him; the grea [...] Creator hath given a full and general Acquittance [...] all Debts are discharged for him, and therefor [...] the Man hath little reason to trouble his Head much with Cares and Fears; now he may go up and down any where, and not fear the Serjeant his noble Surety hath paid that vast Debt, he hath laid down the ten thousand Talents upon th [...] Nail, so that the Man is at Peace with God, h [...] is also at Peace with all the Creatures in th [...] World, from the glorious Angels that are i [...] Heaven, to the meanest Insect or Plant; they ar [...] so far from doing him any real Harm, that the [...] all are Servants to the Friends of God, they a [...] [Page 257]stand ready to oppose their Enemies; and those of them that are mortal are ready to lay down their Lives for one that stands thus related to God For when any enters into Covenant with God, God also makes a Covenant for them with the Beasts of the Field. Great Peace have they that love God's Law, and nothing shall offend them; such a one is at Peace with Death and the Grave. We read of some profane Monsters that made a Covenant with Death, and were at an Agreement with Hell: but this Covenant will soon be broken, because he that hath the Keys of Death and Hell, the Power of Life and Death, never subscrib'd to the Articles of their Agreement. But now the godly Man hath a Friend that hath made a Cove­nant for him, a firm Covenant with Death and Hell, so that none of them shall ever do him the least Wrong. As for Death, Christ hath taken out its Sting; as for the Grave, Christ hath spi­ced and season'd it, its Power is master'd, its Terribleness is taken away; it's now no Prison, Christ hath open'd the Doors of it, and now it is but a Chamber of Repose, a Bed to rest in; and he that hath already open'd this Door, when it was bolted, barr'd and double lock'd, can, and will, e're long, open it again, and awaken his from their Sleep; and is this inconsiderable? Is not such a Peace as this desirable? Who that is well in his Wits, would not be glad to be in so secure a Condition as this Peace will put him in? And who are like to have the Benefit of this Peace, but the Friends of God! O therefore if you va­lue your own Peace, if you would be undistur­bed from Storms without, and Heart-quakes within; if you would have all the Creatures in [Page 258]Heaven and Earth at Peace with you; if you would have Death unstung, and the Grave a Cham­ber, and not a Prison, why then, get acquainted with God, and you shall be at Peace.

6. The next Head of Motives I might take from these Words, Thereby good shall come unto you. Acquaint your self with him, and be at Peace, and thereby good shall come unto you. But I shall here be but brief. Think of what you will that is good for you, and if you are acquainted with God, you shall have it for asking for; or that which is far better than that which you desire: For the Lord God is a Sun, and a Shield; he will give Grace and Glory, and no good thing will he with-hold from them which walk uprightly; that is, from those that are acquainted with him. All his Ways are Mercy and Truth, to such as be in Covenant with him; and all shall work toge­ther for good to them that love him. Enlarge thy Desires as wide as the Heavens, request what you will, ask never so much and you shall have it; and what would you have more? If it be the good of Profit that you desire; what greater Gain than Godliness? Who can give such Re­wards to his Servants as God? Who will give greater Portions to his Children than this Father? Who is like to thrive better than he, who hath such a vast Stock, such a great Trade, such quick and great Returns, and above all such a Partner? O that those that are all for Profit and Gain, that cry out, What Advantage shall it be to me, if I serve God? and what Profit to me if I am ac­quainted with him? O that such would but do that which will be most for their Profit, I would desire no more of them than this: O that they would [Page 259]but try what a gainful Trade Religion in its Pow­er is! The greatest Merchants that ever walked the Exchange, if they be not acquainted with God, and have not Christ for their Factor, are but Pedlars to the Saint. One that is acquainted with God, gets more in one Hour, in one Pray­er, at one Sermon, in one Meditation, than all the rich Men of the World are worth, put all their Estates together: One receives his Peace, the other his Pounds; the one hath by way of return, a great deal of troublesome Lumber, the other his Box of precious Pearls, and a Jewel of an infinite Value. O little doth the laborious Worldling think what poor and small Gains his are, when he gets most, to what this spiritual Merchant gets! he would not sell what he gets sometimes in one Morning, for all the Riches of both the Indies. He trades in such Commodities which will not suffer Damage upon the Sea; his Vessel is light and strong, the Master of it never made a loosing Voyage. All his Wares are un­valuable; and though his Ship be in many a dreadful Storm, though sometimes she be becalm'd, though it be long before she return; yet as long as she hath such Provisions within, such a Pilot, such Anchors, she can't miscarry; she will come into the Harbour richly laden. The World will not believe this, but I am sure there is never a Man breathing, but will sooner say that no Gain is like the Gain of Christ and Glory. One Re­turn from Heaven, one Answer of Prayer, one Smile from God, one Look of Love, the Head of one Goliah, the Death of one Sin, one Soul brought home to Christ, one drooping Soul com­forted, is a greater Mercy (for all the ignorant [Page 260]World make nothing of such things as these) than to be invested with the greatest Honours, than to be possessed of all the Riches, than to enjoy all the Pleasures that the whole World can afford. But O were Mens Eyes opened, were Men within sight of those devouring Flames, then they would believe that a Christ was worth the having, Grace a Pearl that can't be over-valued, and that no Trade was comparable to a spiritual Mer­chant, no Art like that by which one may turn every thing into Gold. But if it be the good of Pleasure you look more after; can there be great­er Pleasures than those which are in the Presence of God? Can there be any greater Pleasures than to rejoice in God, and to be made welcome by him, than to drink Flagons of that excellent Liquor which is better than Wine? Can there be better Musick than to hear so many millions of sweet Voices singing Hallelujahs! O, there's a Consort, there's Melody indeed! If you desire that other Good, the Good of Honesty, a rare Accomplishment, Perfection of Grace, Purity of Soul, wherewithal shall a young Man choose his Ways, but by taking heed thereto according to his Word. Well then, lay all these Motives together, and let's see whither they will any whit prevail. If the Nature of the Person with whom I would fain have you acquainted, if all these admirable Qualities that are in him (if I may so call them) may signisie any thing, if all those glorious Effects of Acquaintance with God weigh any thing with you, one would think by this time you should be well resolved. If the Danger of not being acquainted with God, may make you a­fraid of standing it out; if good or evil, if Peace [Page 261]or War, if Life or Death, if all this be as much as nothing, what then is something? If the fre­quent pleading of Mercy, if the Blood of Christ have any Voice, if the Expostulations of his Am­bassadors may be heard, why should you not then be perswaded? If all this will not move you, what can we say more? if we could shew you Heaven, and the Glories of another World, could we let you see the Face of Christ, could we any way in the world reach your Hearts, and perswade you by any Means to mind the Things of eternal Peace, we would do it will all our Hearts. If we were sure to get you with us, and to bring you acquainted with God, we could willingly come begging on our bare Knees to you, and beseech you to be reconciled to God. We see that dismal Day a coming, and are grieved to think what a sad taking you will be in then; we know the Case will then be altered with them, which will not be perswaded to be reconciled to God. O what a woful Condition will they be in, which have heard or read these Sermons, and yet for all that would not mind the looking after Acquaintance with God; How will such wish that they had never been born, or that they had their being in some of the dark savage Corners of the World, where they might never have heard of the Doctrine of Reconciliation, being acquainted with God, and Union with Christ, Peace with their offended Maker, rather than ha­ving heard of these things to make light of them! O to hear of such a Friend, and to have him for an Enemy; to hear of Peace, and to choose War; to hear of Heaven, and go to Hell, this is sad indeed. It would have been far better for [Page 262]such, that they had never known the Ways of God, than after they have known them, to go in the Ways of Folly. O that Men and Women had but such serious Thoughts of these Things as they will have e're long! O that they would but believe Heaven, and Hell, and Eternity, to be such Realities as shortly they will! O that Mens Hearts were but affected with things, as they will be when their Souls are just a-going, or a little after they are in another World! But O the mi­serable Condition of the World! O the lamen­table State of Professors, that make no more of the Favour or Displeasure of God! Nay, may I not say, O the Folly of the Children of God them­selves, that are no more in God's Company, when they know they may be so welcome, when they have tasted so oft of his Kindness, when they were made so much of the last time that they gave him a Visit. Are not Men in a deep Sleep, that they do not hear? are they not blind that they do not see? are they not ignorant, foolish and mad, that they do not understand their Inte­rest any better? It is not without good Reason that the Spirit of God doth so oft cry out upon Sinners, for their Folly; the Scripture saith not in vain, That there is none that hath Ʋnderstanding, no not one. No wonder that they which have but half a Cure see Men like Trees, that those which never had a through Work do not prize Christ. O but that those which have been brought nigh by Grace, who were sometimes afar off, that such should be so much Strangers; for those that have met with such kind Entertainment at his House for these to keep off so, to come so seldom; so them which have fed so high at the King's Table [Page 263]to fall to their Trash, their Husks, this is a Shame indeed; as if the Devil kept a better House than God. Christians, doth God deserve this at your hands? How unkindly do you think he takes this from you? what will the World say? look how his own Acquaintance despise him? how will the Devill insult? O how do the Hearts of your Fellow-Christians ake to see how strange your Carriage is? how do they tremble to think, what if that fine House be built upon the Sand? Christians, you which seldom, or complemen­tally visit God, bethink your selves well what you do when you begin to be cold in your Affe­ctions to this Friend, remember from whence you are fallen; and repent, and do your first Works; remember what Entertainment you have sometimes had at God's House; forget not all his Kindnesses; of all the Creatures in the World you have no cause to carry your selves so towards God. I tell you again, the World stands by, and looks on to see what there is in you more than in others; they mark your Lives more than you are aware of, it may be; wherefore look to your selves, take heed how you carry your selves before them. O why should they see your Faces pale, when you may feed so high­ly? O shew them by your Countenance, that you feed upon wholesome Food! O let your Breath smell sweet, let your Discourse be more savoury of the Things of God! Labour to maintain a sweet, constant, unintermitted In­tercourse with God, to walk with him. O little do you think what you loose by your coming so seldom to this Friend. I appeal to your own Experience, was not that Dish you eat [Page 264]last at his Table sweet? and what do you think that God doth not still keep as good a House as he did? do you believe that he hath spent all his best Wines? can that Fountain ever be emp­tied? is there not Bread and good Chear enough in your Father's House? Believe it, God hath other kind of Entertainment, richer Cheer, bet­ter Fare still to make you welcome with, if you would not be so strange, if you would but come oftner to him. As for Christians, methinks I need not use so many Words to perswade you, methinks you that know how sweet his Compa­ny is, should desire to be never out of it. Chri­stians, I tell you plainly, if ever you expect true Peace in your Life, and true Joy and Comfort at Death, it's your only Way to keep close to God, visit him oft by secret Prayer and other kind of Duties, and then you shall ever and anon me [...]t with that which will sweeten your greatest Dil­gence, and abundantly make Amends for you Pains. Knock at his Door, ask for him, and re­solve to stay till he come; though he come not a the first, second, or third Knocking, yet I am sure he is within, and will come at last, if you will but wait; and when you have once again met with him, O let him not go, but tell him seriously that you can't bear his Absence, he shall be your God and Friend living and dying, Death it self shall not part you. Go also and tell your Friends you have found him whom your Soul loves, that you have met with Jesus, and see if you can get them to come out and see him, bid them to tast and see how good the Lord is; com­mend him all you can to your poor Christless Friends. But you are not the Persons that I in­tended [Page 265]to speak to, only thus a little by the by, [...]hat I may a little warm my own Heart and yours [...]n this great Duty of maintaining an intimate lose Converse and Acquaintance with God. But my Business is to go out into the High Ways and Hedges, and to invite poor wandring Strangers that have nothing to live upon themselves, and that do not know what a noble open House God keeps, that never tasted of his Kindness in Christ, to come to this Royal Feast, and to eat their Fill of such Food as they can never eat too much of, never be surfeited with. Ʋnto you O Men I call, and my Voice is unto the Sons of Men. O ye simple ones, understand Wisdom, and ye Fools, be ye of an understanding Heart, Prov. 8.4, 5. Hear O ye Deaf, and see O Blind: Let the Dead hear the Voice of God, and live. Then hear what I have been speaking of: I have almost done my Message, consider well of these things as you tender the Displeasure of God, as you value your Souls, be serious; remember what it is that I have been discoursing to you about, read it over again, and study on it; read and pray, pray and read, and turn this Exhortation into Prayer; take with you Words, and say! O that this might be the Ser­mon that might bring me acquainted with God! O that this might be the Man that might bring me to some Knowledge of Christ! O that this might be the happy Day wherein a Match may be concluded between my Soul, and the precious Jesus! But alas, alas, where are the Hearts that are thus smitten? Where are the Souls that are [...]ny whit taken with this infinite Beauty? How few have any real Love or good Will for Christ? O who hath believed our Report, and to whom is the [Page 266]Arm of the Lord revealed? Though I and many hundreds more have been pleading thus with Sin­ners; though some of the Embassadors of Peace weep bitterly, that their Message is no more kindly entertained, though their publick Preach­ing be followed with private Prayers and secret. Groans, though they expostulate the Case with poor refractory Creatures with all the Earnest­ness that they can for their Lives, though we use the most powerful Arguments that we can, and deliver them with all the Vehemency, Serious­ness and Compassion that we can for our Souls; yet how are the greatest part of our Hearers un­concerned? Is not a great part of our Auditory as stupid and senseless as the very Stones they tread on? The more is our Sorrow; we fear as to the most of them that hear us, what we speak is lost. It may be they may be a little affected just at the hearing, or for an Hour or two; but O that these Truths might have a lively and abi­ding Impression on Mens Hearts! I fear, O that they were causeless Fears! I fear that most of you that have heard of these things will go away, and quickly forget what weighty things you have heard; perhaps some of you may say, the Man was very earnest, and some of his Expressions were piercing. O Friends, I hope it is not your Commendation that I desire? O that I may with a single Heart respect God's Glory! I say again, I would not be pleased with your Praise, nor would I fear your Dispraise; it's your Souls [...] want, and may but I manage my great Work in this successfull, and see you acquainted wit [...] God, before I leave you for ever, I hope I shoul [...] he contented to be trod in the Dirt. O that m [...] [Page 267]Heart may not deceive me! O that my Compas­sion to your Souls were greater, a thousond times greater! O that I could never speak to you of such things as these without Tears. I must a­gain, and again, profess I am asham'd of my Heart, that it is no more sensible of these weigh­ty Affairs! But O mighty and glorious God, if thou pleasest, thou canst our of the Mouth of a Babe and Suckling ordain Strength! O that thou wouldest make the Worm Jacob to thresh Moun­tains! O that thou wouldest make use of the most unworthy and weakest Instrument, in that ho­nourable Service of bringing home some Souls to thy Self. O if but any one Soul, if but one Soul that was estranged from God, might by these Lines be brought acquainted with him, if I might pre­vail with any other stubborn Enemy to lay down his Weapons, and be Friends with him, I should think my Pains well bestowed, though (if that will make you to regard it ever the more) this Work hath cost me many an Hour's study, and it hath been interrupted with many bodily Di­stempers, Groans and Sorrows, Fears and Sighs. Yet if after all my Travel, I may hear of any Chil­dren born of God; if I may meet but one Soul the better for it, by it brought to Glory, I shall have abundant Cause to bless my God, and to rejoice that my Labour hath not been in vain in the Lord. But if I might have more, I should have more Cause to adore infinite Goodness, and Rich Grace! O my dear Friends! O precious and immortal Souls! What shall I say to you? What shall I do for you? O did you but know how hardly I fetch my Breath at this time, did you but see what a crazy Creature he is that writes to [Page 268]you, did you but know how faint he hath been sometimes in speaking to you, you would go nigh to pity him. O pity your selves! O pity your own Souls, that e're long must be turned naked out of your Bodies, and hear the Expostulations of a dying Man that would gladly live with you in everlasting Glory, and meet you all among the Friends of the Bridegroom, that I may see you among the Sons of God, in your great Meeting, when the Father shall send his Servants the An­gels to fetch all his Children home to his own House. O pity your Souls, and let not all my Pains be lost, trample not under your Feet the Blood of the Covenant, neither count it a com­mon thing; remember that the slighting of Christ is a dangerous thing; the Loss of his Fa­vour, and the Loss of your Soul, must go toge­ther? O how shall I leave you? How shall I part with you, shall I go before my Work is done. What shall I say more? What Arguments shall I further make use of? O that I knew what to say that I might prevail! And are you still resol­ved to put me off with frivolous Excuses? Can you put off your Consciences thus? Are you still con­tented to be Aliens and Strangers? If you are know this, that I must leave these Lines to bear Witness against you; Remember this, that you were told of these things again and again. Those that can forget Sermons here, shall remember them hereafter; if you be not the better for this Discourse, you will curse the Day that ever you heard it; it will be a cutting Reflection, when another Day you shall say to your own Soul, at such a time, such a one did beseech me in Christ's stead to be reconciled to God, and I would not. [Page 269]Cursed Man that I was! I made nothing of all he Offers of Grace and Mercy, I made little ac­count of these intolerable Torments which now nake me to gnash my Teeth. Hear, O unhappy Creature that art yet alive, be not yet past Hope? O that thou mayest see thy sad State before it be quite past Remedy! O let me take up a Lamen­tation for thee, as one whose Condition is be­yond Expression deplorable! O that I could speak as affectionately to you as one did lately, who spent his Strength and Life amongst you all, viz. That I can neither eat nor drink, nor sleep qui­etly, whilst I think of the Danger that precious Souls run every moment, while they are unac­quainted with God! O that mine Eyes were Wa­ters, and my Head a Fountain of Tears, that I might weep Day and Night for poor Christless Creatures, that laugh and are as cheerful as if no Danger were near them, whereas that dismal Day approaches apace, wherein they must bid an everlasting Farewel to all their Pleasures, and [...]ie down for ever under the scalding Wrath of in angry God! O stand astonished, O Heavens, and wonder, O Earth! Here's a Man that had rather be a Beast than a Man, a Devil than a [...]aint, that prefers Hell before Heaven, that [...]oves Death and hates Life; here's a Man that [...]akes nothing of going to Hell, Damnation is a [...]hing that he jests with; 'tis but damning, he [...]aith: But damning! Is that so light a thing, a [...]hing to be laughed at? Well, if that damning be [...]othing, never complain of it, when you feel it; [...] it be nothing, never groan nor bite your [...]ongue, nor gnash your Teeth for it; if Hea­ven, and your Soul, the Favour of God, eternal [Page 270]Happiness, be but such small Matters, never com­plain for the Loss of them. Well then, belike you are pleased very well with your Choice, and you do choose rather to enjoy the Pleasures of Sin for a moment, than the Pleasures of Holiness, which last for ever. There stands a Sinner that hears all this, and frets and foameth at the hearing of it; it's a Torture to his Soul to be within the Sound of such Truths? Why, act like one in his Wits: If the hearing of Hell and Damnation be so troublesome, what will the feeling of it be, thinkest thou? But that I may, if possible, pre­vail, I shall leave a few serious Questions with you, which I charge you in the Presence of God seriously to consider of, and to give a wise An­swer to these following.

Quest. 1. Are those things which you have heard true, or are they not? Doth not the Scrip­tures speak the same things which I do? Dare you say that the Word of Truth is false? Do but open the Bible, dip where you will, what is that you read there? Is it not something that hath a Tendency to what I have been teaching of? O that you would but give your selves the trouble of searching the Scriptures, to see whe­ther these things are so. To what purpose do you think should we spend our Breath? To wha [...] purpose should we follow you with such Exhor­tations, if we had not some Grounds for what w [...] say? If there be no such thing in the Word o [...] God, why then do you not say so? Why do you not shew us it, if there be such a Place tha [...] saith, there is no need of Repentance, that Man' [...] Condition is safe enough already, and that he ma [...] do well enough, though he be never reconciled [Page 271]to God? Do you think that we take Delight in vexing Men and Women? Do you conceive that [...]t pleaseth us to displease you, and to get your Hatred? Do you not believe that a great many of us, if it might consist with God's Honour, and yout Welfare, had not far rather be excused? Can any Man imagine that so many thousands of Prophets, Apostles and Ministers, in such distant Ages, and in such distant Places, should all agree in this, to impose a Falsity upon the World? Would any Man be so mad as to invent such things as these, which are so contrary to Mens Dispositi­ons, if he had not abundant Warrant from God himself? Is it possible that Men should make such Complaint, and shed so many Tears, and be in such Agonies about these things, if there were nothing at all in them? Are all the Experiences of so many thousands of Saints, but meer Fancies? Speak Christian, speak, what do you say to this? Are all thy Joys, thy Answers of Prayers, those sweet Dishes that thou hast sometimes fed upon, out Dreams? Doth not thy very Blood stir in thee, at the very putting such a Question to thee? Canst thou not say that thou hast seen, that thou hast felt, and that thou hast known undoubted­ly, that spiritual things are Realities, the great­est Realities in the World, and that thou hast been as much affected with them as ever thou wert with the things of Sense? Let me, the meanest of ten thousand, tell the stiffest Atheist in the World, that I have seen these things so realized, that I shall sooner believe that I am turned to a [...]tone, or am dead, than believe that Spirituals [...]e Nullities and Fancies. I am confident if there [...] any credit to be given to both Eyes, and Ears, [Page 272]then these things are true; and had you seen but what I have seen in dying Saints, and heard what I have heard, you would easily have been convinced that there is something in Communion with God, something in Spiritual Joys. I am sure, if there be any Truth in the Scriptures, if the Word of God be true, if Christ and the A­postles were not all mistaken, then these things are true. If I should tell you a Business that did concern your House, or your Children, or Body, or any worldly thing whatever, upon my own per­sonal Knowledge, would you not readily assent to what I say? I am perswaded you would be far from suspecting the Truth of what I affirmed; I am ready to think that there is none of you all that think that I dare tell you that which is false. O then, why will you not believe me in a Business of far greater Consequence? And if you ask me to what purpose do I spend so much time for no­thing? What need I speak at this rate? What will I make Infidels of you all? What do I think that you are such Atheists as not to believe that the Word of God is true? Well then, you your selves are Witnesses that the Word of God i [...] true, and that you do believe all that is contain­ed in it, and by rational Inferences deduced from it: I shall therefore take it for granted that you give your Assent to these things, if you be Christians in Profession, your very Name speaks as much. Now my next Question shall be this.

Quest. 2. Are these things of Weight and Im­portance, or are they not? You hear that they are Matters that concern your eternal Life o [...] Death, Soul-Affairs; and are not these Matter of the greatest Consequence? If Acquaintance [Page 273]with God, the Happiness or Misery of a Soul, your making or undoing for ever, be inconsidera­ble things, what then are great things? Is it a Matter of greater Importance, to loose the Sight of a lascivious Play? Is it an Affair of greater Weight to have the Frowns of a wanton Mistress, or the Frowns of a God? You said even now, that the Word of God was true, if you will stand to that, I desire no more; how is it written? Read a Verse or two, turn to Matthew 5.20. Except your Righteousness exceed the Righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the Kingdom of Heaven: And John 3.3. Except a Man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God. And God will pour his Wrath upon the Heathen, and upon the Families that call not upon his Name. Doth not the Scripture say, that is the one thing necessary? Are not these things called by the Lord Christ, the weightier things? Mat. 13.23. I hope you will not say, that God is mi­staken, and that the Scripture speaks more of these Matters than needs: What, are you gone from your Word so soon, did you not say that the Word of God was true, and are you now of another mind, because you find that it requires more Strictness than you are willing to submit to? But are you ashamed of that, and are you convinced of this also, that the Doctrine of Reconciliation, Ac­quaintance, and Peace with God, are Affairs of the highest Importance in the World? And do you indeed believe this? And will you stand to it? Well then, my next Question shall be this: Quest. 3. What do you mean then to mind such things as you acknowledge to be most un­questionably true, and of the greatest Conse­quence, [Page 274]with so much Indifferency and Coldness? What reason have you then for your strange Neg­lect in your prosecuting of them? What say they are the greatest things in the World, and will you say they are least to be looked after? Is it a­ny Prudence and Wisdom to be very serious a­bout Trifles, and to trifle about the most seri­ous things? Are Heaven, the Love of God, and the like, by your own Confession the most weigh­ty, and will you make light of them? O Folly and Hypocrisy! Out of thy own Mouth thou shalt be con­demned. Dost thou know that Heaven and Hell are before you? Dost thou know that the one is unspeakably glorious, and the other unspeakably dreadful? And yet for all this dost thou stand demurring which of these thou shouldest choose? and darest thou for all this venture on in a way which leads to the Region of eternal Darkness? and though those that know the way better than you, and see you ride on so hastily and merrily, call after you with Earnestness, yet dost thou still turn thy Back upon them? Consider whether you act in these Affairs, like one that is well in his Wits. Is God the best Friend in the World, and yet his Kindness least to be regarded? Man, what hast thou to say for thy self? O what Brutes, and how irrational are Men in their spiritual Matters! How do they contradict themselves! How do they say one thing, and do the quite contrary! O let me in a word or two renew my Expostulation with them which are loath to be accounted Fools! What reason hast thou to undervalue the Favour of God so as you do? What reason have you thus foolishly to cast away your selves, and to slight Acquaintance with your Maker? Let me plead [Page 275]with you in the Language of a Reverend Divine (R. B.) of our own. Look up your best and strongest Reasons; and if you see a Man put his Hand into the Fire till it burn off, you'll marvel at it: But this is a thing that a Man may have reason for, as Bishop Cranmer had when he burnt off his Hand for subscribing to Popery. If you see a Man cut off a Leg or an Arm, it's a sad Sight; but this is a thing that a Man may have good Reason for, as many a Man doth it to save his Life. If you see a Man give his Body to be burnt to Ashes, and to be tormented with Strapa­do's and Racks, and refuse Deliverance when it is offered: This is a hard Case to Flesh and Blood, but this a Man may have good Reason for, as you see in Heb. 11.33, 34, 35, 36. and as many hundred Martyrs have done. But for a Man to forsake the Lord that made him, for a Man to run into the Fire of Hell when he is told of it, and intreated to turn that he might be saved; this is a thing that can have no reason in it, that is reason indeed, to justify or excuse it. For Hea­ven will pay for the Loss of any thing that we can lose to get it, or for any Labour that we bestow for it; but nothing can pay for the Loss of Hea­ven. Read on in Mr. R. B's Call to the Ʋnconver­ted, Page 169. Do you still believe the Word of God to be true, and the things contained in it to be the most weighty, and yet will you still pass them over, as if there were nothing at all in them? Quest. 4. My next Question that I shall pro­pound to you, and desire your serious and speedy Answer to, is this, Do you believe that you can find a better Friend-than God? Can you mend your self any where else? Is there in Heaven or [Page 276]Earth any that can do as much for you as God can? Is there any one that can take you off when you come to be accused for High Treason against the King of Heaven, and to be arraigned before that just Judge? Have you got that which will quit your Cost in getting of it, and countervail the Loss of a Soul? What is it that still hath an Interest in your Heart, that is thought to be an equal Competitor with God for your dearest Love? If it be indeed that which will shield you from the Arrests of Death, and the Wrath of the Almigh­ty; if it be that which can shelter you from the Storm of his Displeasure; if it be that which will do you as much good as Heaven, and make you as happy as God can; why then I have little to say; make your best of it. But consider well what you do first, be sure that you be not mistaken, have not many thought as you think, and have found their Mistake when it was too late?

Quest. 5. Do you think that this World will last always with you? Do you not believe that e're long you must die, and your Soul appear be­fore God, and by him be sentenced to its everla­sting State? Where is all the Glory of those great Monarchs which despised God, and oppressed his People? What is become of all their Pomp? Which of them that flourished three thousand Years ago stand alive now in Glory? And are you better than they? Shall the Worms which have made a Prey of them, spare you? Is Death more favourable now a Days, than he was before? Is not the world still as it was, but Vanity? Is not all Flesh still but Grass, and the Beauty of it as a Flower that is cut down and withereth suddenly? Well then, this being granted, that nothing is [Page 277]more certain than Death, and that it is appointed for all Men once to die; would you not then be glad of something that will stand you instead after Death, a Friend in another World? Why then do you not speedily get acquainted with him, who a­lone can befriend you in that dreadful Hour?

Quest. 6. What do you think will become of you, if after all this you go on in your old Ways? What will become of you do you think if you should die without the Knowledge of God? What Hopes have you of Life and Peace, if you bid Defiance to the Lord of Life, and contemn the Prince of Peace? How shall you escape if you neglect so great Salvation? What do you think that those which did once as you do now, slight Christ, and never look after Reconciliation with God, are now a doing in another World? What would you do in this Case? Should one come to you either out of Heaven, or out of Hell, how wonderfully do you think you should be affected with the Narration which they would give you of the Affairs of the invisible World? Why then will you not now be affected with what we say? For assure your selves, whatever you may think, our Testimony is as true, and hath a better Foundation of Credit, than if one should tell you he came from the Dead, and speak to you of these things.

Quest. 7. Another Question I would propound to you, is this; Are you willing to bear the Displea­sure of God? Can you undergo the Weight of that Wrath which made his Back to ake, who was mighty to do and suffer? Can you with any Pati­ence heart that dreadful Word pronounced by the Mouth of that Judge, which will see to the Execu­tion of his Sentence, Depart from me ye Cursed into [Page 278]everlasting Torment; Depart from me ye Workers of Iniquity, for I know you not? Can you endure with­out any Trouble that scalding hot Wrath, which is abundantly more painful than Fire and Brim­stone, more intollerable than to be shut up in a burning Fiery-Furnace, or to be boyled in a Cal­dron of melted Lead, or whatsoever Torments the Wit of Men and Devils can invent? Can you with any Patience bear the Stone, Gout, Tooth-ach, Cholick, or some such Distempers of Body which last but for a while? O how long do you think the time when you are in that Condition? How do you toss and tumble? What lamentable Moan do you make? Do not you think you can't be too much pitied in that Condition? How then will you be able to lie down in those Torments, the least Drop of which is abundantly more painful than the greatest Torment that ever you felt in your Life? If these seem dreadful to you, why do you not go the way to avoid them? Which is by get­ting an Interest in him, who hath the Keys of Hell at his Girdle; For there is no Condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, to them that are brought into a State of Reconciliation and Ac­quaintance with God by his Son our Mediator.

Quest. 8. Are you contented to lose everlasting Happiness? Can you willingly see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and a great many from all the Quarter of the World, to sit down in the Kingdom of Heaven, and your selves cast out? How do you like to have those which you scorned to look up­on, to be set at the Table at the Feast, and your self shut out with the Dogs? Would you not be glad to have a Word of Comfort spoke to you, when your Soul is just taking its leave of your Bo­dy? [Page 279]Would you not be glad then to be conveyed by the blessed Angels into the Presence of God, and to be crowned with an immortal and glorious Crown? Would it do you any harm to be perfect in Holiness and Happiness when you die? Would you not be glad to be saved when others shall be damned? In a word, do you not desire to be re­joycing and praising of God in endless Pleasures, when others shall be weeping and cursing of God in endless Torments? Why then do not you live the Lives of the Righteous, if you would die their Deaths, and have your latter End like theirs? If you would be glorious and happy for ever, why do you not endeavour to be holy and spiritual in time? If you would have God your Friend in ano­ther World, what do you mean that you labour no more to be acquainted with him in this World?

Quest. 9. How would you take it at any Man's Hands, to be served as you serve God? Suppose you should take up a poor Child that came to your Door to beg, that had scarce a Rag to cover his Nakedness, nor a Morsel of Bread to put into his Mouth, and no where to hide his Head; suppose you should strip this poor Beggar of his Rags, and clothe him in very good Apparel, and take him in­to your own House, and take as much care of him, as if he were your own Child: Suppose after this you should bid him do you some small piece of Service, and he instead of it should say, Command your Man, and do your Work your self; and in stead of answering your Kindness, should offer you the greatest Abuse in the World, and afterwards conspire with a Company of Rogues to rob and murder you; how would you like this? Should [Page 280]you think that such a Fellow as this did not de­serve a Halter rather than your Favour? But now, if after this you should send to this ungrateful Wretch, and tell him, that you are willing to for­get all that is past, and to receive him into the greatest Favour, and never to cast his former Wickedness in his Teeth; how would you take it at his Hands, if he should stand I know not how long disputing whether he should accept of your Kindness or no, whether he should choose the Goal and Gallows, or your House? but if af­ter all this you should send Messenger after Mes­senger, and offer to give him all that you have in the World, and to bestow your only Daughter upon him, and to settle presently a great Estate upon him with her; how would you take it if this vile ungrateful Beggar should put you off a great while together with some poor Excuse or other? how would you like it if he should make light of all your Offers, and tell you he thanks you for no­thing, and should undervalue your Kindness? Would you not soon resolve not to trouble your self any longer with such an unthankful Monster? would you not let him take his Course, and not much pity him, if he afterwards see the Diffe­rence between a Father's House and a Goal, be­tween Liberty and a Prison, between Riches, Glory and Pleasure, and Poverty, Dishonour and Sorrows? would you not bid him never expect Kindness more at your hands; but seeing he would not be rul'd, to take what follows? What do you say, would you not do thus? I am per­swaded you would. But should I unriddle this Parable, who do you think would be condemn'd? your own Mouth would accuse you, and you [Page 281]would be your own Judge. Thou art that Man that hast dealt thus disingenuously with God; thou art that Beggar to whom the Lord hath shewed much Kindness, and offered more; he hath sent Messenger after Messenger, and at last he hath sent his Son to invite thee to his own House, and he offers to make you as happy as Heaven, Glory and Happiness it self can make you; and you stand still demurring, and add one Delay to another, and are far from that grateful and speedy Compliance which the Nature of the thing doth require; and instead of coming at God's Call, and a thankful Owning of this mar­vellous Kindness, how basely dost thou prefer thy Company, thy Lust before him, and offer the most intolerable Affronts to his Majesty, and make nothing of his unparallel'd Goodness, and continuest in open Rebellion against him? What then hast thou to say for thy self, why God should not with a just Abhorrency cast thee off for ever? But now that God should still offer thee as high as ever, and (instead of doing as I have said, and as you yourself would have done in case of a less Contempt) still follow you with such a gracious Proposal as this is, that I now make unto you: is it not a Miracle of Mercy, a Prodigy of Kind­ness?

Quest. 10. And now what will you do? Will you still for all this go on in your Contempt of God? Will you still refuse to know him, and never mind Acquaintance with him? Will you still be indifferent whether you have God for your Friend, or your Enemy? Now you have been tender'd such a Match, will you make another Choice, will you bestow your Heart somewhere [Page 282]else? And when you have done that, dare yo [...] stand to your Choice, and say, that you have done very wisely in refusing God, and in embracing this present World? Will you maintain it a [...] the Day of Judgment, that you have done well to refuse Acquaintance with himself, and to run the hazard of his Displeasure? But you will not, you say, trouble your Head with such melancho­ly Fancies as these are, they are enough to put a Man besides his Wits; you hope to do as well as others, and so long you care not. Well then, it seems you are resolved; though let me tell you, if you are contented to fare as most shall fare at last, you must be contented to be damned; for the Scripture is exceeding clear in this, that the Number of those that go to Heaven is a very small Number; and if you will not take my Word for it (for indeed I would not that you should take my Word, nor any Man's Breathing without Warrant from God's Word, in things of so high a Nature) look into the Scripture, and at your Leisure, ponder a while upon these following Texts, Luke 13.23, 24. Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that shall be saved? And he said unto them, Strive to enter in at the strait Gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. Mat. 20.16. Many are called but few are chosen. And Luke 12.32. Christ saith, his Flock is a little Flock. And the Church com­plains of the Fewness of her Number in this Lan­guage; Mic. 7.1. Wo is me, for I am as when they have gather'd the Summer-Fruits. I might heap up abundance of Scriptures of the same Nature, all which speak this to us, that it is not so common a thing to go to Heaven, as most People reckon [Page 283]upon. But yet, if thou be resolved, come what will come, not to change your Mind; if after so many Warnings and Pleadings, you still continue of this Judgment, I must speak a dreadful Word, Your Blood be upon your own Soul. I have blown the Trumpet, I have done what in me lies to con­vince thee of thy dangerous State, while thou art a Stranger to God, and to bring thee to a speedy Acquaintance with him; but thou hast after ma­ny and many a Tender given in this Answer, that as for God thou dost not desire to be acquainted with him; as for your matching with his Son, it's that which thou carest not for hearing of, except thou mightest have his Estate without his Sove­reignty; thou wilt not have him for thy Hus­band, except he will let thee do as thou list, and run a whoring from him when thou pleasest. Thou wilt not have Heaven, except thou mayst have it without Holiness; and as for the Invita­tions of God, thou still makest light of them, neither Promises nor Threatnings signifie much with you. Well then, when you find by woful Experience what you have done, know whom you must lay all the blame on. I call Heaven and Earth to record, and you your selves are Wit­nesses, that I have with all the Pity and Earnestness that I could for my Soul, told you of these great things: but you think the flattering Offers that the Devil makes to be more advantagious than those which God makes, and his Service to be pre­ferr'd before the Service of Christ, and the Friend­ship of the World to be esteemed before the Friendship of God; and the Pleasures of Sin, which are but for a Season, you value before those Rivers of Pleasures which are at the right Hand [Page 284]of God for evermore. Now, if you continue in this Mind, blame not me if you miscarry for ever; you must whether you will or no, stand to your Choice. Do not say but you were told of these things! this is not the first time by many, but it may be the last that you may ever hear for all that I know. Remember you were once well of­fered. Do you think that God will always bare with such unworthy Abuses? Shall God's Ju­stice never be righted? yes, yes, be not deceiv'd, slighted Kindnesses will cost dear at last. What have you yet to say for your self? Do you think that I mean you any Hurt by all this? except you count Salvation a Wrong, and Kindness it self an Injury. But if all this will not do, go then and make the best thou canst of all thy Friends; let us see how well and how long they will entertain thee: e're a few Days, it may be, shall be at an End, we shall hear how you like your Choice: when they shall turn you out of Doors, and tell you plainly, they can do nothing for you, you must shift as well as you can; as for them, they can't provide for themselves, much less for you. And then let's see who hath made the best Choice, he that is acquainted with God, and chosen him for his Friend, or he that hath taken the World for his Friend? Let's see who will do most for their Friends, when a Time of Trial comes. When Heaven and Earth are all in a Flame, when the Trumpet is sounding, when the Judge and his Attendants, Christ and all his holy Angels, are coming, when the Prisons, the Graves, are o­pened, and the Prisoners are brought forth, then let's see who will have the cheerfullest Counte­nance, he that holdeth up his hand at the Bar, or [Page 285]they that sit upon the Bench with the Judge; for know you not that the Saints, the Friends of the Judge, shall sit with him when he judgeth the World? We shall know when the Storm riseth whose House was best, that which was built upon the Sand, or that which was built upon the Rock. O that People were now of the same Mind that they will be of at the Day of Judgment! O that they would consider, that if they will not now be at leisure to think of these things, they shall be at leisure to repent of them hereafter. Do not talk of Scorns and Reproaches, and Suffe­ring, what do you think that Heaven will not make Amends for all that? Which is most to be feared, the Scorns of God, or the Scorns of Men? Which will do you most Hurt, Man's Contempt or God's? Where is the Man that will be laughed out of a great Estate? because a Fool saith, that a Jewel is not worth the taking up, will you therefore never stoop to take it up? The Truth of it is, if you intend to make any thing of your Profession, you must be willing to be counted a Fool, and a Mad-man: but you must remember, it is by those that are so them­selves. O be not affrighted from your Duty by the Talk of the Rabble. If the thing be evil, let the Vice of it scare you; but if it be good, let not the Fear of them which are very incompetent Judges in such a Case, divert you from it. Do you think that such poor Excuses will be taken at the Day of Judgment? what do you intend to say to God then? Lord, I would have laboured to have known thee, I would have taken some Care of my Soul, and I would have taken some Pains a­bout the Things of Eternity, but that I saw that [Page 286]almost every one that did with any Seriousness look after such Matters, were scorn'd, laugh'd at and persecured. When I had got into the Com­pany of those that were godly, and I had half a Mind to go with them to Heaven, then my Friend fell to jeering of me, and ask'd me whether [...] meant to be mad, to undo my self to turn Puri­tan and Phanatick? Do you, I say, believe tha [...] such a Plea will stop the Mouth of the Judge, and keep him from pronouncing the Sentence against you? will this hold the Hands of Justice? [...] the Thoughts of this quench or cool these dread­ful Flames? Be better advised, O be better ad­vis'd for your Soul's sake, and consider how such Creatures will befool themselves. Who would upon such a Trifle, part with Heaven? that would be laughed out of Glory, and jeered into Hell Is your Mind yet alter'd? Have you any Thought or Resolutions to look after your Soul and Ac­quaintance with God? Are there none of yo [...] all that ask by this time, what shall I do to be ac­quainted with God? Are there none of you th [...] begin to think that it is high time to look out for a Friend in a time of Need? Have I all th [...] while been beating the Air, and laboured in vain▪ Shall I leave you all as I found you? God forbid▪ Methinks I hear some poor Souls crying out by th [...] time, O that I had but such a Friend as would bring me acquainted with God! O that I ha [...] but a saving Knowledge of Jesus Christ! O that I did but understand what it means to have Com­munion with the father, and the Son, through the Spirit! I see my self undone and lost for e­ver, except I have an Interest in this Friend. [...] who will bring me to him? How shall I get ac­quainted [Page 287]with him? O that is a seet Language; That's a very good Question, What shall I do to be [...]aved? but do you speak in sober Sadness? do you speak in jest or in earnest? If any one would give you Advice and Direction, would you follow it in spite of all the Opposition of Hell? What do you say, will you labour to keep exactly to those Directions that shall be given? If you will, I do not question but that you and God will be acquainted before you die. But, O let me not [...]ake a great deal of Pains, and all to little purpose, [...]s to you; do not now serve me as the Jews did Jeremiah, come and ask Counsel of God, and take the Devil's. But in Hopes that some poor Souls may in good earnest desire Directions with an In­ [...]ent to follow them, I shall give them as follows.


If you would be acquainted with God, labour to get a through Sense of your great Estrange­ment from him, and of the Danger of such an E­strangement. This is that which makes People [...]o well contented with their Condition, because they see no great Evil nor Danger in it. Men are ready to think very well of their Condition, al­though they be Enemies to God, and no Friends to Christ. Enemies to God, they scorn your Words, though all this while they express the greatest Contempt of him conceivable; though they re­gard neither his Commands, Threatnings nor [...]romises, though they value the Company of a [...]runkard, a Whore, before the Company of God; though they do all that they can against God, [...]ve nothing that he loves, though they fide with God's greatest Enemies, yet they abhor to be­thought [Page 288]thought to be any other than Well-wishers to Christ, and the Friends and Servants of God; though they never come near God, yet they take it very ill, if they be not reckon'd amongst his Acquaintance and special Friends. Where is the Professor almost living, that doth not count it a high Piece of Uncharitableness, if one do not ca­nonize them among the Saints, though they live more like Brutes! How hainously do they take it, if any one do but question their State? They, ignorant of God! They, Enemies to the Cross of Christ! They, blind! They, unconverted! Who is that Man which dare question their Con­dition? They hope to fare as well as any precise Puritan of them all; they will hope to be saved, say what you will then, you shall never beat them out of their Trust in God. And though in Faith­fulness to their Souls, we beg of them to make a more diligent Enquiry into the State of their Souls, because we know that the Heart is so deceitful, and we have very great cause to suspect that they know not God; yet they will go on very cheerfully with this Confidence, until Christ himself shew them their Mistake, and tell them plainly that he knows them not, and that he ne­ver accounted them any of his Friends. But now did Men but throughly understand their natural Estrangement from God, were they but indeed sensible of the Vileness of their Hearts, did they but take Notice of the Rebellions and Treasons that are within, the Case would be far otherwise with them than it is. O this, this is the reason why so many millions of Professors miscarry ever­lastingly, and never come to desire the Friend­ship of God, because they never believed that [Page 289] [...]hey were any otherwise than Friends; they do not suspect themselves at all, but think that they are rich and increase in Goods, and have need of nothing, whereas the Lord knows, and Christians know too, that they are poor and blind, and na­ked. But now when Men begin to be thorowly sensible of this Enmity that is in their Natures against God; when they see what Mutinies and Rebellions there are in them against their most gracious Lord and King; and when they are made to understand the Consequences of this War, then how sensibly do they cry out, what shall they do? was there ever any poor wretched Creatures in a worse Condition than themselves? was ever any ones Heart worse than theirs? are there any out of Hell that are such Monsters of Sin as they are? O what shall they do? they see the Fire kindled, and themselves hanging over everlasting Burn­ings: now all the World for a Christ; they be­lieve now that God and Man are not Equals; that there is no contending with the Almighty; who can stand before his Indignation? and when they see God's Sword drawn, and the Point of it set a­gainst their Heart, when they behold the Terrors of the Lord setting themselves in Array against them, and themselves like to lose all, then how welcome would the News of a Parly be? how glad would they be then to hear of a Pardon? then down go their Weapons; they will sooner come before God with a Halter about their Necks, than a Sword by their Sides; they will fight now with no other Weapons but Tears and Prayers: as for their Armour they brake it pieces, and lay it at the Feet of their offended Prince; and O if they might but have any Hopes of Pardon, it would [Page 290]revive their Hearts; if they might have but a Look of Kindness from God, it would be a greater Comfort to them than all the whole World be­sides could afford them. To whom can a skilful Physician be more welcome than to the sick? Christ came to seek the lost, and such as these we are sent to incourage: but till the Soul comes to this pass, a Christ is not valued at all by it: if Sinners be not made thus to understand them­selves, why, though we should plead with never so much Earnestness with them, we do but beat the Air, all that we can say signifies very little. The Man thinks his great Work is done, though his Hands have been all this while in his Bosom; he is far onwards in his Journey to Heaven, tho' he never set one Step out of his own Doors; he hath an Interest in God, and is very well acquain­ted with him, and hath an assured Considence of his Condition, that he shall be happy, though he have not one Dram of Grace. He is a good Churchman, he hath sate at the Lord's Table, and the like: But O how many are there which shall see and know that it is more than possible, to come oft before God, and to complement him much, and to sit oft at his Table, and yet not to be any of his peculiar Friends, and special Ac­quaintance; now if ever you would make any thing of Religion, and be made highly to prize God's Favour, and to be really acquainted with him; you must labour to understand your Distance from him, and the unconceivable Hazard that you run, while you are in a State of Separation from God; that there is but one Step between you and the State of the Damned; for what would become of you, if God [Page 291]should say to you, this Night thy Sould shall be re­quired of you. How easily can God in a Moment stop your Breath, and send your Soul and Body into that Lake which burns for ever and ever? and is it not then time for you to look about you? O this Ignorance of our selves, how doth it expose us? (Ar. Epict. l. 1. c. 26.) He was not a whit mistaken, who said, That the not knowing of our selves, was one of the chiefest Causes of our Sin and Misery, and that the Consideration of the State of the Soul, and the thorow Ʋnderstanding its Depravedness, was the Beginning of Wisdom; for its Weakness being well known, a Man will not afterwards trust it in the Determination of the greatest things; but Man will be desirous to consult that great Oracle, the Will of his Maker; and finding his old Guide is blind, and hath oft misled him, thereupon he is the readier to be ac­quainted with such a one, who may direct him in the Way to true Happiness. If you would therefore be acquainted with God, you must get well acquain­ted with your selves; you will upon the Know­ledge of your self, be afraid of your self. He was none of the weakest Men who said, That a true sense of Folly is no small Sign of some Proficiency in Wisdom. Look into thy self, O Man, search every corner, behold what abundance of Armour there is in such and such a dark Cellar; but is this Ar­mour strong enough to incounter a God withal? Canst thou with these Fig-leaves defend thy self against the Arrows of the Almighty? behold what a Condition thou art in, if thou stirrest a Step further. Yield speedily, and throw down thine Arms, or you are a dead Man. Do you know this? Do you really believe this? Is it possible? What do you believe that your Trea­son [Page 292]is found out, and that you are within a little of Execution, and yet not tremble, and yet not seek nor desire a Pardon. When a Man through­ly understands how things stand between him and God, and how unable he is to carry on a War a­gainst him, he will speedily cast about, how he may conclude a Peace upon any Terms. As soon as Benhadad knew what a Condition his Army was in, when he saw the Crowns of his thirty Kings shaken, and his Warlike Captains cut in Pieces, or to tremble, and be like Women; when instead of a mighty Army of gallant Warriours in martial Order, behaving themselves bravely in the Field, he saw their Carkases upon Heaps, their Garments rolled in Blood, the Shields of his mighty Ones cast away, and himself wofully de­serted, how speedily doth he send away his Ser­vants, with Ropes about their Necks, to beg Peace upon any Terms? When the Gibeonites heard what dangerous Fighting it was against Jo­shuah, they were not long before they found Means to make a Covenant with him. So the Soul, when it doth seriously consider what a sad Condition it is in, while it continues in Rebellion against God; it's Impossibility to stand it out long, and utter Inability to conquer him: when it perceives the Designs of Satan, who first caused this Difference between the Soul and God, and hath still instigated and stirred it up to persecute with all the Violence that might be; I say, when the Soul sees this before it be quite too late, O how doth it bewail its Condition, how doth it cry out, O wretched Man that I am who shall deliver me? O what will become of me, if I make War still against God? And as for flying, whether [Page 293]shall I fly from his Presence, and where shall I hide my self out of his Sight? And how shall I look him in the Face, whom I have thus desperately and ungratefully opposed? Can such a Traytor as I possibly expect any Mercy; if the Lord should look upon me, and not immediately cast me into Hell, it would be a Miracle of Patience. And thus the Man that begins a little to understand himself, speaks to himself; and after that, he with Ephraim, smites upon his Thigh, and be­moans his Condition exceedingly! O that he should ever take up Arms against his gracious Prince? O what shall become of him? Well, I have heard that the God of Heaven is a merci­ful King, I will go and cast my self at his Feet, if I perish, I perish. If I continue in this Rebel­lion, there is no Hopes, if I fly there is no esca­ping! and if I yield, I can but perish! O sad, sad is my Condition, wo and alas, what shall I do in these dreadful Perplexities: But why do I stay here? the Avenger of Blood follows after me a­pace; well, I will go to my God, through Christ, and I have heard that this is the only Way, and that there is not the least Hope in the World, a­ny other Way, to get a Pardon, to escape the Wrath to come! O that the precious and mer­ciful Jesus would pity me, and stand my Friend now if ever! O that he would speak a good Word for me, Have Mercy upon me, Jesus thou Son of David have Mercy upon me! O make Peace for me, by thy Blood; if thou wilt, thou canst do more with a Words speaking, than all the Saints and Angels in the World; if ever any poor Creature in the World had need of Mercy, then have I. O Mercy, Mercy, Mercy for thy Blood's [Page 294]sake! But because I shall speak to this under ano­ther Direction, I shall be the briefer. Now when a Man is at this pass, he is in a fair Way for Peace; but now as long as a Man is ignorant of all this, he is quite in another Note, he will never buckle, and therefore he shall be broken. Therefore con­sider well your Condition; observe the Actings of your own Soul; if you be one of the Friends and Acquaintance of God, what means your breaking and hating of his spiritual Laws? what's the Reason, if you love God, that you can take no Delight at all in his Company, no Pleasure in his Sabbaths? if you are a Friend of God, how hap you come no oftner to his House, when he dwells so near you? Why do you knock no oftner at his Door? why are you so rare in your Visits? is this your Kindness? is this like a Friend? How comes it to pass that there are so many Arms found [...]id in your House? what are they all for? what is the Meaning of all those Meetings that you give to God's Enemies! what do all those Whis­perings, Plots, and Projects signifie? is this Friendship? can you mean any good by all this? What do you say of your Condition? do you ever complain, and that feelingly, of your Enmi­ty against God? did you ever observe what a des­perate wicked Spirit you have against your Maker; and were you ever made sensible of the Danger of such a State, and ashamed and grieved to the ve­ry Soul that you should ever engage against so good a God? Why then I am confident you can't but cry out with all the Strength and Earnestness of your Soul for a Peace, you can't but desire to meet with your Adversary quickly, while he is in the Way. But if you see nothing at all of the [Page 295]Treachery and Baseness that is in your Heart, search, and search again, it's your ignorance and Blindness, and not the Goodness of your State, that makes you to know nothing by your self. What, are you better than David? he was so jea­lous of his own Heart, that he dar'd not to trust to his own Examination of it, but he desires the great Heart-searcher to help him in this Work. Are you more excellent than Paul after his Con­version? had he more Reason to complain of him­self than you have? O be at leisure to look with­in, and get David's Candle and Lanthorn to go into those dark Corners of your Soul with it, and it may be you may see that within which may make your Heart to ake, and your Joints to qui­ver, and your Spirits to faint within you. Paul was sometimes as confident as you, he took no Notice of the Enmity that was within against God, though he was as full of it as an Asp is of Poison; yet before he came acquainted with God the Case was altered with him; he was of another mind when that Light shined about him, and he cried out, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? he now thinks it is hard kicking against the Pricks, dange­rous opposing of God, and persecuting of Christ in any of his Members; and he desires nothing in the World so much as to be reconciled to God, and to have him for his Friend, whom before he fought against as an Enemy.


My next Direction to those which would be ac­quainted with God, shall be this: Get an hum­ble Heart, which is the consequent of the former. God will exalt none to this high Honour of being [Page 296]his Friends, but such as have low Thoughts of themselves. The humble are the Persons that he will raise, these are they that he will converse most with, these are the great Favourites of Hea­ven which God doth delight to honour, Psal. 34.18. The Lord is nigh to them which are of a broken Heart, and saveth such as be of a contrite Spirit. God is nigh to them, (with Reverence be it spo­ken) God takes so much Complacency in the Com­pany of such, that he can't endure to have them far from him, he must have them always nigh to him, always under his Eye; as for these broken ones, he will to be sure not leave them long, not go far from them, but will be ready at Hand to set their Bones, to bind up their Wounds, to keep them from festering. It may be he may put them to much Pain before he brings the Cure to Perfe­ction, but it is to prevent future Aches. He is a foolish cruel Chyrurgeon, who for fear of putting his Patient to some Pain, never searcheth the Wound, but skins it over presently: and a wise Man will not think him unmerciful that puts him to exquisite Pain, so he make a thorough Cure of it. Thus God doth by his Patients sometimes, when the Nature of their Distemper calls for it. But however, he will be sure not to be out of the Way when they want him most. It's possible they may look upon themselves as forgotten by God, they may not know their Physician when he is by them, and they may take their Friend for an Enemy, they may think God far off when he is near; but when their Eyes are opened, and their Distemper is pretty well worn off, they will with Shame and Thankfulness acknowledge their Error; nay, they do from their Souls confess that [Page 297]they do not deserve the least Look of Kindness from God, but to be counted Strangers and Ene­mies; but God will let them know that he loves to act like himself, that is like a God of Love, Mercy and Goodness; and that they are the Per­sons that he hath set his Heart upon; he will have them in his Bosom, never leave them nor forsake them; and though these contrite ones ma­ny times look upon themselves as lost, yet God will save them, and they shall sing a Song of Thankfulness amongst his deliver'd ones. Again, the Sacrifices of God are a broken Heart: A bro­ken and a contrite Spirit, O God, thou wilt not despise, Psal. 51.17. The proud Sinner he may bring his stalled Oxen, Multitudes of Rams and Sheep, and his Rivers of Oyl, and yet all this while not he accepted. There is another kind of Sacrifice that would be ten thousand times more accepta­ble to God. We read that Sacrifices have been despised, Prayers, long Prayers, have been re­jected; Sabbaths, New Moons, and solemn As­semblies, the Lord hath sometimes abhorr'd; but we never read that he despised the Sacrifice of an humble Heart, the Prayers of such always have an Answer one Way or other; their poor Performances, their Chatterings, and Mourn­ings, are sweet Melody, and powerful Rheto­rick in God's Ear. Who are the Men that have most of God's Company? who are they which he doth most frequently visit, are they not such as look upon themselves as the chiefest of Sinners? These are they which are wrapped up into the third Heaven. None have so much of Heaven upon Earth as those that wonder that the Earth doth not swallow them up, and that they are [Page 298]not in Hell. But O, saith the humble Soul, God is the high and mighty God, and infinite in his Holiness and Justice; how then can such a Creature as I ever expect that he should so much as cast his Eye upon me? yes, sweet Soul, such is the infinite Condescention and Goodness of God▪ that he will sooner look upon thee than another▪ And if you can't credit my Words, hear what he speaks himself, Isa. 7.15. Thus saith the high and lofty one that inhabiteth Eternity, whose Name is Holy, I dwell in the high and holy Place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble Spirit, to re­vive the Spirit of the humble, and to revive the Heart of my contrite ones. The Thoughts o [...] God's Majesty, Eternity, and Holiness may, and with good Reason too, awe that Soul that hath low Thoughts of it self. Every Sinner hath Cause enough to cry out with Astonishment, Will God look upon such a vile sinful Wretch as I am Will he that is infinite in Holiness take any No­tice of me, except to shew his Displeasure a­gainst me? What shall I do? sure such a Crea­ture as I can't without a Miracle have a Smile from God. God may indeed look upon me in his Wrath, and vex me in his sore Displeasure. God may justly look me into Hell; but that he should look upon me in Kindness, or take any special Notice of me in Love, that would be a Wonder indeed. What, God dwell with me! Yes, with thee, if thou hast but high Thoughts of him, and low Thoughts of thy self; the meaner thou thinkest of thy self, the greater Worth he sees in thee. God will not only look upon thee, nor will he only knock at thy Door, and call at your House, or give you a transitory Visit, but he [Page 299]will come and dwell with thee. Now dwelling speaks a continued Abode with one, and thus God will continue with the Humble; never remove from them, for any considerable time, till Eter­nity hath an end, till himself, and the Soul cease to be, which will be never. God will not be a Stranger to humble Souls, but he will come to them, and bring that along with him, that shall make him and them welcome too. God never comes to his Friends, but he brings good cheer along with him. When the Soul gives God the best Entertainment, it is all at his Cost, his Bread, his Fatlings, his Wine, his Oyl, his Cordials, his rich Dainties. Where God comes, he will keep a noble House, and there shall be Mirth and rich Cheer, good Store, Isa. 66.1, 2. Thus saith the Lord, Heaven is my Throne, and Earth is my Foot­stool: Where is that House ye will build me? And where is the Place of my Rest? For all these things hath my Hand made, and all those things hath been, saith the Lord; but to this Man will I look, even to him that is poor, and of a contrite Spirit, and trembleth at my Word. God seems to have low Thoughts of Heaven it self in comparison of an humble Soul: This is the Palace, where this great King will keep his Court; this is the Place of his Rest. God is not so much delighted and pleased in any of his brave Seats, as in this of an humble Heart; here he dwelleth most commonly; this was the great Purchase of his own Son; this was the Ma­ster-piece of his Power and Goodness; this was the Project of infinite Wisdom and Counsel. What shall I do to be saved? Is a Language that makes Hell in a Rage, and Heaven to rejoice. God is never so well pleased as when he beholds the [Page 300]Beauty of his own Grace shining in a poor los [...] self debasing Creature. The Spouse is adorned with Humility, when Christ gives her that Visit Cant. 1.4. God hath far more Kindness for one that lyes under a Sense of his own Vileness, tha [...] thinks himself unworthy to tread upon God's Earth, or to breath in his Air, than for the most confident righteous Pharisee in the World. Such an humble Soul will be much in admiring of God, and will set a high Price upon his Kindness; a Look, a Smile, a Visit! O how welcome are they to those poor trembling ones! Wherefore God doth with Frequency and Love visit them; he knows that he can never be unwelcome to such, they will count it the highest Honour, that the most High should come into them in their low Condition. Wherefore if you desire to have any intimate Acquaintance with God, labour to be more and more sensible of your own Unworthi­ness, study your Heart and Nature well, and be more curious in the Observance of the Baseness and Treachery of your own Soul; endeavour to have as mean Thoughts of your self as Paul had, who did not stick to call himself the chiefest of Sin­ners: Humble your selves before the Lord, and he will exalt you; he that is little in his own Eye, is great in God's. When was it that Jacob met with God, but when he had been humbling of himself? As you may read at your leisure, Gen. 23. There is many a Professor that holds out ma­ny a Year in a Course of external Performances, and yet never knows what it is to have any inti­mate Acquaintance or Converse with God: Whereas I am perswaded, if the Business were throughly examined, it would be found that [Page 301]they were never made deeply sensible of their un­ [...]one State out of Christ; never understood the [...]esperate Depravedness of their Hearts and Na­ [...]re; that they never lay under any lively Sense [...] their Separation from, and Enmity against God; and they were never brought off from their [...]wn Righteousness, and saw themselves poor, beg­ [...]arly, starved Creatures; and in this Condition [...]ame to buy Wine and Milk without Mony, and without Price. But this Humility, it is an excel­lent Grace, it makes the Soul fit for the richest [...]njoyments of God, and to do God the greatest [...]ervice. Were it possible that God should con­ [...]erse much with a proud Man, he would make strange use of it, he would steal God's Crown, and put it upon his Head; but God would not [...]ndure Proud Angels near him, and can it be ex­pected that he should take proud Men in their Places? The more any one grows in Grace, and Acquaintance with God, the more he sees of his own Unworthiness, the more he admires Free Grace. Why me, Lord! Why me! Will be the Language of those which converse with God: And while they are thus admiring God, and lay­ing themselves low, he comes again with his Soul ravishing Kindnesses; and thus by Humility they are more acquainted with God, and being more acquainted with God, they are made more hum­ble, and the one encreaseth the other. Thus the humble Soul is raised higher and higher, till he come to an eternal Possession of God in the high­est Heavens. When an humble Saint lives as it were in Heaven upon Earth, he scarce thinks himself worthy to live upon the Earth. When a­ny one speaks well of him, and admireth the Grace [Page 302]of God in him, he looks upon himself as an unprofitable Servant, and he durst not assume th [...] least Glory to himself; not unto me, not unto me [...] but unto thee, Lord, be the Praise given. Wh [...] am I, poor Wretch? O did you but know what [...] Heart I have, did you but see the Workings o [...] my Thoughts, could you but tell how things are indeed you would rather admire at God's Pati [...] ence, than Man's Excellency. This he speaks not that he is worse than others, but because h [...] hath a more spiritual Sense of his State than [...] thers have: Neither doth he speak thus in pro [...] Policy, thinking to make others to have a better Esteem of him for his Humility; but he doth really feel the Pressure of that Filthiness of Sin, which makes him thus to groan out these Complaints The Reason why God doth converse most wit [...] the Humble, is because they will be most thankful, and most fruitful, and make the wisest Improvement of his Favours. Wherefore, if yo [...] value the Comfort of a Spiritual Life, if you desire Communion with God, if you would hav [...] a Heaven upon Earth, endeavour to get an humable Heart: To walk humbly, and to walk wi [...] God, go together.


If you would be acquainted with God, yo [...] must visit him often, be much at his House, kno [...] at his Door many times in a Day, and resolve [...] continue knocking till he open; and if he do [...] come presently, wait for him; you would do [...] much for your Prince, and it may be to a me [...] ner Person. We can't expect to be acquaint [...] with them that we will not come near. It is [Page 303] [...]o purpose for that Man to speak of Acquaintance [...]ith God, who never speaks to him, comes at [...]im, or enquires after him. Neither will a slight visit or two in a transitory complemental manner serve the Turn; a Man may do this, and yet not be said to be acquainted with God. A Stranger may come once to your. House that was ne­ver there before, and never intend to come a­gain; and I believe you will scarce write such a one down amongst your special Friends and Inti­mate Acquaintance. So in Spirituals; for Ac­quaintance and Converse with God are no such slight things as the World commonly takes them to be. If you would make any thing of this great Work of getting Acquaintance with God, you must not jest in it, you must give God many so­lemn and set Visits, and carry your self with all the Observance and Respect to him that you can for your Soul. This is that which keeps many thousands of Strangers from the Life of Grace, [...]nd intimate Acquaintance with God, because they know not what those more peculiar Visits of God mean; they understand not what it is to draw nigh to God in secret; they come not to him with those more spiritual Acts of Religion; they pray, it may be, in their Families, and it may be that but seldom (but by the way, never let such pretend to the Knowledge of God, who call not upon him in their Families) but what they do, it is but in a poor formal perfunctory. manner be­tween sleep and awake; and will you call this Acquaintance with God? Will you call this an Act of Adoration and spiritual Worship? Is it to [...]ow down a while before God, and to read or speak a few Words, and there's an end? Their [Page 304]Work is over, their Task is done, and they are glad of it. But now such as these do not come into God's Chambers; they come to his House, as I may so say, but they regard not whether he be at home, whether they speak to God, and have an Answer from God or no. They call indeed, but desire not much to be heard; they knock, but are not very careful to stay till the Door be opened. But alas, alas, such as these can't tell what it is to enjoy Communion with God. They have got, it may be, into some Course of exter­nal Performances, by reason of the Example of their Superiours, Education, or by being under the Sound of the Gospel, and from some Force that natural Conscience doth put upon them, which will not be content except something be done. But such as these may not be said to visit God in that manner that I would perswade them to, which would be acquainted with God; for all this they stand a great way off from God, and may be termed Strangers and Foreigners. How seldom are they upon their Knees in secret? How rare a thing is it for them with Isaac, to go into the Field to meditate? They visit their Farms, they visit their Flocks, they visit their Swine, they go often to visit their sottish drunken Com­panions, whilst God and Christ, their Bible, their Closet, their Hearts are fogotten, and sel­dom or never visited. And is this true Kindness to one's self? Is it any Wisdom to slight such a Friend as God would be to us, and to make so much of such sorry Companions? O stupid and dull Souls! O what do we mean so strangely to forget our selves! For who is like to get by it, God or we, when we come and feed at his Ta­ble, [Page 305]and spend upon his Cost? O little do People think what they might enjoy, would they pur­posely set themselves to meet with God, and go to his House with a strong Resolution, not to come away from him till they have seen him, or heard from him. Now the great Duties in which the Soul may be said to visit God in, and in which God doth many times give out much of himself to the Soul, are these.

  • 1. Solemn Meditation:
  • 2. Secret Prayer.
  • 3. Fasting.
  • 4. Community of Experiences, and Commu­nion with the Saints.

1. Meditation. When the Soul doth fix it self upon the Thoughts of some Spiritual and Divine Object, such as the Love of God in Christ, the Glory of another World, &c. This is, as it were, going out to meet the Lord, and to take a Walk with our Beloved; this is the getting up to Mount Pisgah to take a Survey of that goodly Land. When the Soul doth, as it were, bathe it self in the Contemplation of Christ's Beauty, and labours to enamour it self more and more with his Love; and to throw it self, as I may so say, into that Ocean of Divine Goodness; it will scarce leave [...]ill it be wound up to the highest Pitch of Ad­miration of that infinite boundless Love which should do such glorious things for so vile and contemptible, for so rebellious and unthankful a Wretch as that is, O what manner of Love is this! O that I were sick of Love! O that I might die sick of Love! O that I were once in the Embraces of my dearest Lord and Husband! O that I could do nothing else Day and Night but praise, love, [Page 306]and admire this infinite boundless Love! And did Christ indeed offer up his Life for my Sin? Did he not think his precious Heart-blood too dear for me? And shall I think my Heart-love too dear for him? What, for me, Lord, which am the chief­est of Sinners! Here, here's Kindness with a Witness. Stand still, O my Soul, and admire, stand looking upon this lovely Sight till thou art all on fire. These are the pure Flames, here thou needest not to fear to exceed; widen thy Soul, let thy Affections run without controle. More Fire still, blow hard, it doth yet but smoak; O for some Coals from the Altar! O for more Fire, more Fuel! O that my Heart were vehemently inflamed in the strongest Love to him, who still deserves a thousand times more! Help me all ye Angels to bless and adore his marvelous loving Kindness. Christ is a Friend to Publicans and Sinners indeed, or such a one as I had never been on this side of Hell. O Love, Love, Love! What shall I render unto the Lord? O that Men would bless the Lord for his Goodness, and for his won­derful Works to the Children of Men! O what meanest thou, O my Soul, that thou art yet so cold? Awake, awake Psaltery and Harp, I my self will awake and praise, admire and love thee, O my God, whose Love to my Soul is beyond Expression. And thus while the Soul is musing, the Fire begins to burn; while the Spouse is thinking of her glorious Husband, he knocks at the Door, she draws the Latch, and he comes in smelling of Mirrhe, Aloes and Cassia; he comes and kisses the Soul with the Kisses of his Lips, his Love is better than Wine, he comes and takes the Soul into his Arms. O the sweet Pleasure of Di­vine [Page 307]Love, infinitely transcending all carnal Af­fections! O the Joy that is at this Meeting, far surpassing humane Apprehension! O the sweet Entertainment that God and the Soul gives each other at such a time! I appeal to the Experience of those that have been much exercised in this great Duty of Meditation, if they have been in good earnest in the Work, I am confident they can say something to this Point. What sayest thou, O Christian, which art used to imitate Isaac? Didst thou never meet with another-guess Com­panion than Rebeccah? As he met with a Wife, so thou hast met with thy Husband? When thou hast been in the Field, or Closet, at this Work, hath not Christ then taken you by the Hand, and led you into his Garden, and made you to tast of his pleasant Fruits? Hath he not brought you in­to his banquetting House, and brought out some of his choicest Dainties? Are not those Flaggons more full of Spirit, more cordial and refreshing than Wine? O little do any but those who have tried it think what a Life they might lead, if they would with Seriousness engage in this Duty. Speak, O ye gracious ones, that make Conscience of this Soul-ravishing Duty; speak I beseech you, and do not smother the Kindnesses of God to you; speak, and let him have the Praise: It may be by your venturing your Experience, hundreds may be encouraged to set upon the same Work, and hundreds may also have the same Experiences. What do you say? Have you not found the Be­nefit of this Duty? Did you never find Meditati­on a sweet Work? Was it worth your while or [...]o, to sequester your selves a while from the World to talk with your Beloved? Did you ever [Page 308]repent of your Labour, and think your time lost? Have you not been able to say that at such and such a time, when you were in the Mount, that it was good being there? Could you not have been almost content to have left the dearest Re­lation, and to have quitted your Interest in all Creature-Comfort, so you might have had fuller Enjoyments of God; could you not have been contented to pass from Contemplation to Vision and Fruition? Why, speak then for the Lord's sake, and for the sake of precious Souls, and keep not such a Thing as this is in; let your unexperi­enced Neighbours know what a Soul-ravishing and Soul-raising Duty Meditation is. Let me ask thee which readest these Lines, did you ever try what there was in this Duty of Meditation? I sup­pose, if you converse much with such Books as speak of Communion with God, you can't bu [...] desire something of it, and I am perswaded you have sometimes wept since you began to read this Book, to think how little you experience; I be­lieve you would be glad with all your Soul to know what it is to be acquainted with God, and to have such a Friend as I have been speaking of Why let me ask you again, did you ever try what Meditation is? (you may read much of the Excel­lency of this Duty, and Directions about it [...] Mr. Baxter's Saints Everlasting Rest) did you eve [...] get out of the World, and intensely fix you Hearts and Thoughts upon any of the glorious Attributes of God? Did you ever set before your Eyes his Love in Christ? If not, O try and fall to this Work seriously and speedily, and you shall soon find the Sweetness of it; you will soon say that you lost many a good Meeting, many a dain­ty [Page 309]Bit for want of going for it. A carnal world­ly Heart I must confess may possibly spoil this Du­ [...]y, as all others, and grow formal in it, and be [...]veary of it, and cast it off (though, let me put in this, I believe it's marvelous rare for a Hypocrite to have any thing to do in such a secret Duty as this is) but if they were true to the Interest of their own Souls in the Management of this Work, I am confident they would be every Day more and more in Love with this Duty: For I am per­ [...]waded that when the Soul is in good earnest, nay, I can speak it positively, there is no Duty doth so much raise and warm the Soul; there is no Duty wherein the People of God enjoy his sweet Com­pany more than in this. This opens the Trea­sures, of God's Kindness; this takes his Love-to­kens and presents them to the View of the Soul; this unlocks the Cabinets, and fetches out those precious Jewels: By this the Soul doth, as it were, talk with its Beloved; and in this Christ doth, as it were, take the Soul by the Hand, and lead it into his Palace, and shews it all those glorious things, which it shall shortly have in her Possessi­on for ever. And how can this choose but en­gage the Soul to express its Gratitude to the height in answer to such Love; and when the Soul is in this Frame, Christ will not be behind hand with her, no Love shall be lost between them; if the Spouse walk out to look for her Beloved, she shall find him before she hath done.

2. Another Duty by which the Soul doth visit. God in a special manner, is Secret Prayer; by this the Soul knocks, and God is quick of hearing, and none of his Friends shall wait without Doors so long as to catch cold. By this the Soul doth [Page 310]as it were storm Heaven, by this it gets into the Presence Chamber, and presents its Requests. In this Duty, a Christian doth as it were turn the Key of Heaven's Doors, and by this he unlocks the Door of his own Soul; and so there is free Ac­cess on both sides, the Soul visits God, and God visits the Soul, and this creates an Intimacy. The poor wounded Creature opens his Wounds, and then the great Physician comes with the Balm of Gilead. When Jacob is thus weeping and praying alone, he meets with God, he meets a Blessing, he wrestles, he conquers. This Duty of Secret Prayer, and that other of Meditation are two fat­ning Duties, by which the Souls of Believers come to God's Table, and eat, and drink of strength­ning Food, and for want of these many poor Souls are thin. O why do Christians, why do Profes­sors maintain no fairer Correspondency with God in such Duties wherein he doth manifest himself more than ordinarily to the Soul? The Reason of this may be because God accounts himself more highly honoured, and more truly loved by them which are much in these, than by others. By this a Man doth as it were honour the Goodness of God, in that it shows it is worth the while to steal out of the World, and to leave the best Company on Earth to go to God: He honours the Truth of God, by being earnest for what God hath promised though it be unseen; he honours the Omnisciency of God, by contenting himself with his Eye and his Ear alone; he sanctifies his Omnipresence, by believing that his God can hear him and be with him in what Corner soever he creeps into. I might be large in speaking of the Excellencies of this Duty, but I refer it ra­ther [Page 311]to another Place. But I would not be mi­staken in what I have delivered, as if I would by this exclude Family Prayer, no, far be it from me; for God in these doth many times exceedingly re­fresh his. But because a Man can't possibly judge so well of himself by publick Prayer, as he can by secret: And Hypocrisy and Pride do not u­sually so much attend secret Duty, as more pub­lick. It's possible in more publick Duty that a Man may be much raised and be very warm and high in his Expressions, and almost ravish the Hearts of his Hearers, whereas he may be all that while acted only by a proud Heart, and for all that I know the Devil himself may help a Man thus to pray sometimes. This I am confident of, he is not afraid of such Prayers as these, which tend so much to the hardening of a Sinner, and makes him believe that his Heart is warmed with Com­munion with God, when as it is possible it is no­thing but a secret self-pleasing, that those that joined with him might think very highly of him, as one that was spiritual in his Performan­ces. O the Heart of Man is deep, and desperate­ly full of Deceit! But now, there is none of this Temptation in secret Closet-Prayer, and there a Soul may be more particular in its Complaints and Petitions, more earnest in pleading with God, and may use such Expostulations, Postures, Gestures, such Intermissions, and Groanings, and Pauses, as would be very unfit for more publick Duty. Wherefore I lay somewhat the more Stress upon this Duty of Secret Prayer. But this I say again, where one of them is practised consci­entiously, the other will not be neglected: I might add the Practice and Experience of God's [Page 312]Children to inforce this Duty. David would never have been at it so oft at Midnight, if he had got nothing at all by it. Peter would scarce have forgot to eat, when he was an hungred, ex­cept he had met with a Bit in a Corner to stay his Stomach.

3. Easting, especially private Fasting, is another Duty, wherein God meets the Soul, and the Soul visits God. This is as it were Execution Day, the Day when the Soul brings out all the Enemies of God to be crucified; this is the Day wherein the Idols are searched for, brought out and buri­ed or ground to Powder, and these are things which God will come to see with much Delight. By this the Soul is as it were adorned, her Defor­mities done away, and she is trimmed up to meet her Beloved. When a Saint fasts from Sin, and abstains from sensual Pleasures, then it is many times feasted by God, and refreshed with spiri­tual Enjoyments.

4. Another season wherein God meets the Soul, and the Soul is visited by God, is, when Christi­ans are met together to communicate Experiences, or to discourse together about the great things of God. What though most of the World are a­shamed to own Religion when it is out of fashion? What though but few dare meet together to speak of God's Goodness, and to praise him, and call upon his Name? Why, Christ says, Though there be but two or three of them, he will make the number one the more, he will be in the midst of them: And though they dare but whisper, it may be, and their Meetings to serve God, and do good to one another, may be prohibited by the publick Magistrate, and consequently what they do in [Page 313]this Kind must be done with a great deal of Ha­zard, yet the People of God stand not long dispu­ting, they know what to do in this Case, yet they would be wise in it too: not to dare the Magi­strate, and to do what they do to confront Au­thority, but in the Uprightness of their Souls they desire to meet together to worship God accord­ing to his own Will. Yet for all this, though they manage their Business with never so much Secresie, God will take Notice of them, he hear­kens and hears, and a Book of Remembrance is writ­ten for them that call oft upon his Name, and God will make them up among his Jewels. But I shall have Occasion to speak of something to this Purpose afterwards, and therefore I pass it over the more briefly.


If you would get acquainted with God, get Christ along with you, when you go to God. You are like to speed no way so soon as this way: nay, let me say, all that I have said before signi­fies nothing at all without this. There is no Name under Heaven, by which we can be saved, but by the Name of Christ! and whosoever comes to the Father, by him, he will in no wise cast out. God can't deny his own Son any thing, he can never forget that great Undertaking of his, by which he glorified his Father's infinite Justice, and infinite Love, and did him more Honour than all the Saints and Angels in the World. His Son, the Lord Christ, hath such an Interest in his Fa­ther, that he can as soon despise his own Honour as to refuse any Request that is presented to him, by his Son. If Christ come to him and say, Fa­ther, here is a poor Sinner that I have undertaken [Page 314]for, and that flew to me for Refuge. Look up­on him for my sake; why, the Father's Arms are presently open; he will not reject his Son's Peti­tions. The Truth of it is, this is the greatest Cause of the Miscarriage of poor Creatures, that go about to do that themselves, and by them­selves, which they can never do alone. They go to God all alone, and no wonder then they meet with a Frown; for there is no Name under Hea­ven, by which a Man can be saved, but by the Name of Christ; and out of Christ, God is a con­suming Fire; and there is but one Mediator, the Man Christ Jesus. And there is but one Advo­cate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. That which Joseph said of Benjamin, God saith of Christ, except you bring Benjamin along with you, you shall not see my Face; except you bring Christ along with you, you shall not see my Face. There is a notable Story, which is commonly by Divines applied to our present Purpose, and that not without good Reason; it is concerning a Law among the Molossians, where whosoever came to the King with his Son in his Arms should be ac­cepted into Favour, let his Fault be what it will. So let a Man be what he will before, yet if he come to God in Christ, he can't be thrust a­way. O therefore if thou wouldst have any Countenance from God, beg for a Christ to bear thee Company into the Presence of God. I will tell you this for your Comfort, Christ hath a lo­ving Design in his Heart to do such Offices of Kindness for poor Malefactors that understand something of their Danger. If you see your self lost for want of Reconciliation with God; Christ he stands ready to lead you into his Father's House. [Page 315]O did you but know how willing he is to bring un­done lost Penitents to God, it would make your Heart leap within you for Joy. Behold, how oft he asks after you; what doth that Sinner mean to ruin himself? I would with all my Heart bring him out of all these Perplexities, and un­dertake to make God and him Friends, if he would be but rul'd by me; and upon this Ac­count he sends up and down many hundreds of his Ministers, to tell Sinners as much, that they may not be undone everlastingly. Doth not Wisdom call? doth not Christ plead the Cause, and expostulate with Sinners? and who would not, that hath any Understanding at all of his State out of Christ, with all possible Thankful­ness, be encouraged to accept of his Kindness? Christ hath done as much as this comes to alrea­dy, for many Millions, and his Father never said to him, Son, why do you trouble your self and me with so many of these wretched Creatures, let them alone to take their Course. Where did God ever express himself in this Manner? did he ever take it unkindly that his Son should eve­ry Day bring such Guests to his House, and be continually begging one Boon or other for them, or putting up some Petitions upon their Account, or pleading with his Father for them when they do offend. Is God displeased at such Work as this? is he not as willing to receive such, as his Son is to bring them? and both Father and Son more willing to save the Sinner, than he is to be saved? O Kindness! Christ loves the Sinner better than he loves himself! and as I said before, so I say again, the Father doth not grutch any thing that Christ gives or doth for poor Sinners. The [Page 316]Righteousness of Christ, it is that Wedding-gar­ment, in which we may sit at the King's Table, and are welcome; these are the Robes of our el­der Brother, in which we can't miss of our Fa­ther's Blessing. O how many poor Creatures have walked in the dark many Years, because they have not been brought off from themselves, but have sought that by themselves, which is to be sought only by Christ; because they have looked for that in the Law, which is to be found only in the Gospel; and no wonder their Busi­ness went on so slowly, when they went the quite contrary Way to work. When any comes to God without Christ, they come like Simon Magus, with their own Money in their Hand to buy a great Commodity, which is not to be purchased with such kind of Coin. If you come to God through Christ, you may come with Boldness to the Throne of Grace; but if you come without him, you do but come with Madness upon the Point of the flaming Sword.


If you would be acquainted with God, come much where he is wont to be, frequent his House, lie always at the Doors of Wisdom, engage much in his Ordinances. This was that course that Da­vid took when he wanted God's Company, away he goes to the House of God; and, O what Ear­nestness doth he use when the Doors of the Lord's Tabernacle were shut, to get them open again? what Moan doth he make when he was for some time sequestred by his Enemies, from the Enjoy­ment of God in his publick Ordinances? As the Hart pants after the Water-brooks, so did his Soul [Page 317]pant after God, the living God. O when should he appear before him? when should he again behold the Out-goings of God in his Sanctuary, as some­times he had done? How amiable are thy Tabernacles, saith he, O Lord God of Hosts! And one thing have I desired, and that will I seek after, that I may dwell in thy House, and see thee, and inquire in thy Taber­nacle, Psal. 42. Psal. 84. Psal. 27.4. He thought God was like to be found no where so soon as at his own House; he was sure he was never from home. David can never forget what Usage and Entertainment he was wont to have there, and that this great Friend was used to have a standing Table, an open House, and that when his Guests were set, he would come and bid them welcome: eat O Friends, drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved. See therefore that you get into that part of God's House where he doth most frequent­ly come, get under the most powerful Ministry; O hear the Word with all the Reverence, Atten­tion, and Affection that you can for your Soul; miss not any Opportunities that God puts into your Hand, least that should be the Time in which you might have met with God: Lie at the Pool of Bethesda, and wait for the moving of the Wa­ters; set your self as in the House of God, and remember, though you see not God, that he is al­ways present in all Places, but he is there more especially present where his People meet together to attend upon him in his own Ordinances? Wherefore when you come to hear the Word, set your self as in the Presence of God, and hear as for your Life and Soul, Deut. 32.46. Set your Hearts to all the Words that you shall hear; for it is not a vain thing, it is your Life. Isa. 55.2, 3. [Page 318] Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your Soul delight it self in Fatness. In­cline your Ear, and come unto me; hear, and your Soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting Cove­nant with you, even the sure Mercies of David. He that hath Ears to hear, let him hear what the mighty Jehovah is speaking to his Soul. Where­fore I say it again, set your self as in the very immediate Presence of God; and when you hear a Word that you are very nearly concern'd in, put up such a short Ejaculation as this. Now Lord, strike this hard Heart of mine; now Lord, come in I beseech thee; O that this Word might be the Key which might open my Heart for the King of Glory to come in! O command thy loving Kind­ness this Day to break into my Soul! O that this might be the Day in which Salvation might come into my House! O that this might be the Man that might be my Spiritual Father, that this might be the Messenger, one among a thousand, that may bring me good Tidings! O that this might be the Sentence, that this might be the Hour of Love! O that this might be the Day that I may have in everlasting Remembrance! O that I might presently, without any more Delay, set out for Canaan! Cry out with as much Earnestness as that poor Man did, who brought his possessed Child before Christ; O Lord, I have brought my unbelieving Heart before thee, to cure, it exposes me a thousand times to unspeakable Hazards; but, Lord, if thou wilt but speak the Word, it shall be dispossessed: I would believe, Lord help my Unbelief. I have brought my hard Heart before thee, Lord soften it, and let me not go from time to time [Page 319]with these dreadful Diseases hanging about me, to infect and undo my self and others. O melt me, O Lord, melt me, and let me have such a Look from thee, as Peter once had, which made him to go out and weep bitterly. But I shall speak a little more of this Nature, under another Direction.


If you would be acquainted with God, you must get acquainted with some of his Friends, and they will do all they can, and be glad of it too, to help you to be acquainted with him, they will not spare to give you their utmost Assistance in this great Business. And when they shall hear you asking, what you shall do to know God, they are glad at their Heart, and will not be at quiet till they have got thee home with them to their Father's House; they watch for your Soul, and no greater Joy than to help forwards such a Work as this, than to be employed any Way in the Service of your Souls. They are glad when they hear any Saying, Let us go to the House of the Lord, and asking the Way to Zion, with their Faces thither-ward. O! Christian Society, good Company is of exceeding use: one good Servant in a House, the whole Family may fare the better for him. Laban and Potiphar, though ignorant e­nough in Spirituals, could not but observe this, that the Lord blessed their Families, for the Sake of one godly Servant. I do not speak this only with respect to Temporals, because of that Diligence and Faithfulness in their Places, that Religion will put them upon; but with Respect to Spirituals, they will be dropping something that may tend to the awakening, and convincing [Page 320]of their sleepy, unbelieving, ignorant Companions: they have an inward Principle which puts them upon communicating what Grace they have re­ceived; they know the more they impart to o­thers, the more they shall have themselves; they have a Compassion for Souls, and would fain have as many as they can along with them to Heaven: they will be teaching little Children to pray, and instilling something that the very Babes may set forth God's Praises, and they will be pleading with God for them. But this only by the by. Now if those that are gracious endeavour what they can to bring in those that are open Enemies; how much more will they be ready to give all the Help they can to you that earnestly desire it? Now when any one comes to this pass, that he sees a Difference between the godly and the wicked, and to say that the righteous is more excellent than his Neighbour, and to have an earnest De­sire to associate themselves with them, it is a very great Sign that God hath an Intention to do such a Soul good. Wherefore if you would be brought to the Knowledge of God, go speedily to them that know him well, and they will tell you great things of him, and how they came first acquainted with him, and how this Acquaintance hath been kept up; they will tell you where they first met him, they will give you to understand that at such and such a time, when they little thought of God, they were strangely brought acquainted with him. When they came (out of Fashion, or Curiosity, or to laugh at him that taught them, or it may be to pick some Quarrel with him) to hear such a Man; they were made to see what they never took any great Notice of before, that they were [Page 321]in an undone Condition by Nature, and that ex­cept Christ would pity them, there was no Reme­dy, but to Hell they must go; whereas before they thought themselves as safe as could be: But then they saw it was no light Matter to be out of Christ, and Aliens from the Common-wealth of Israel. After this they were made to understand something of Christ's Undertaking for poor lost Sinners, and they heard of his exceeding willing­ness to receive the chiefest of Sinners, and that then they began to see an Excellency in his Love, and Goodness, and to be somewhat more taken with the Kindness of Christ than ever they were before, and they felt some Longings after the precious Jesus, O that they had but a Christ for their Souls! and that after this they were by the Spirit of God, in some measure, enabled to cast themselves at the Feet of Christ for Mercy, and that upon his own Terms, knowing that if Mer­cy came not that Way to them, they must sink for ever; and that upon this Act of Recumbency after they had for some time waited upon God in the Way of his Ordinances, they began to tast and relish the Things of God, and at last they met him whom their Souls loved. Inquire of them, I say, and they will talk thus to you, and tell you also, that there was a time wherein they were foolish, disobedient, and unto every good Work reprobate, and miserably neglectful of their Souls, that they did not at all mind their eternal Wel­fare, but made light of Christ, made a Mock of Sin, and made nothing of eternal Dammation. And they will direct and encourage you also. Let me tell you, they have an Interest in God, and their Prayers for you may be more advantagious [Page 322]than you are aware of. Yet I would not that you should make Christs of the Saints, nor forget what is the Work of the Mediator alone. Saints are to be valued, but Christ is to be valued insi­nitely more. Get acquainted with some warm rare experienced Christian, and make him your Bosom-Friend, and observe him, and you shall see much of the Beauty of Religion shining in him, and you shall see how cheerfully and comfortably he walks: now ask him what his Practice is, and go you, and do likewise; have a Care of harbour­ing ill Thoughts of the People of God, or for the Sake of one Hypocrite, of censuring a thou­sand sincere ones. Judge you whether this be just and equal doing? How would you like it, if one that bares some Relation to you, should do some vile abominable thing, and bring himself to an untimely End, and People should say all the whole Family is like him? though it may be you are grieved to the very Heart that such a thing should be done by any in the World, much more by any that bears any kind of Relation to your self. I tell you, as contemptibly as the World speak of the Godly, they are not such odious Creatures as they are represented to be. The Saints they are not Troublers but Peace-makers, they love to make Peace between Man and Man, and what in them lies also between God and Man: your Converse with such as fear the Lord will make you like them, at least they will endeavour as much. (Ar. Epict. l. 3. c. 16.) He spoke no Untruth, who said, That Company is of an assimu­lating Nature. Aliving Coal laid to a Heap of dead ones, may kindle them all; but they are more like, ex­cept it be blown up, to put the live one quite out; [Page 323]therefore, saith the same Author, You must be very cautious of your Company. It is storied of Socrates, that he had a rare Art of making his Fa­miliar Friends of his Mind. Some active Chri­stians take as much Pains to make their Familiars of Christ's Mind. Prov. 13.20. He that walketh with the wise shall yet be wiser, but a Companion of Fools shall be destroyed. Prov. 10.20, 21, 32. The Tongue of the just is as choice Silver, but the Heart of the wicked is little worth. The Lips of the Righteous feed many, but Fools die for want of Wisdom. The Lips of the Righteous know what is acceptable, but the Mouth of the wicked speaketh froward things. Such as these will do what they can to make you out of Love with Sin, and in Love with God. Such as these will from their own Experience be setting forth the Goodness of God, and tell you that which may stand you in stead as long as you live: it may be they may tell you, that when God began first to work upon their Soul, he was pleas'd to make use of the particular Application, and the spiritual Conversation of such a Christian Relation; and when God came in with Comfort, and spake Peace, such a one led them to such a Promise, which was like a Cordial to their fainting Soul. When they were abroad, (they will tell you) and were necessitated to the Company of them which were Strangers to the Life of Religion; and were at such a time troubled with horrible Temptations; that they were in a Wilderness Condition, and thought that never any that walked Heaven-ward, could be in the like State; but now when they got acquainted with the People of God, they found that as Face answereth Face in a Glass, so their Experience, and the Experience of many of [Page 324]the dear Children of God was axactly alike; and that that which they thought none in the World could parellel, they find that most of the Chri­stians that they meet with, know as well as them­selves, and at the first Hearing, are able to go on with the Story before them, so that they have sometimes wondred how any one living should know their Hearts and Thoughts so well, to whom they did not communicate them. I think it not altogether impertinent here to insert an Obser­vation of my own. I remember when I was once speaking concerning the Duty of Christians in re­lation to their unconverted Friends, and urging them upon doing what they could for God, and Souls, in the Places where God had set them: in speaking to this Subject, I said, that there was not the meanest Christian, but might be an Instru­ment of the Conversion of a Soul. Upon this I rehearsed a couple of Experiences that I had of two Persons, Strangers one to the other, who gave this Account of their Conversion; they were upon the Matter both alike, and therefore I shall tell but one of them, which take as follows. There was a poor, civil, yet very carnal Creature, a Servant in a religious Family, who did from his Soul abhor the Spiritual Conversation of those in the Family, insomuch that he was resolved to run away from his Service, he was so weary of such Doings: But one Night, hearing a strange Sound somewhere, he rose out of his Bed, and went to listen what was the Matter; upon which he heard one distinctly praying on the other Side of the Wall, he still hearkening, heard one praying ve­ry earnestly for him (who did not know but he might be asleep) and opening the Condition of [Page 325]his Soul so particularly, and with so much Ten­derness, that he was wonderfully awakened, to think that one that he hated should so much love him, and pity his Soul, and to consider how it was possible any one in the World should know his Thoughts so well as that Person did who prayed for him; upon this, he began to be very much startled to think of his Condition, concluding thus, Surely I am in a lamentable State, and they see it, or else they would never do as they do, they are praying for me when I am asleep, they love me when I hate them; upon this the Man was very much troubled, and his Trouble daily increased, till he was forced to open his Condi­tion to the Person who had been praying for him, which was a poor Maid-servant; upon which the Work of Regeneration was carried on very sweet­ly, and the Man became an excellent Christian, whereas the Instrument that God used in this great Work was but a poor Servant. Now when I re­hearsed this thing, which was the Condition of two, as I said before, a third Person stood by, (whom I never saw in my Life before) who fell a Sweating for Trouble, that any of his Friends should tell such a thing of him to me, and thought I had meant himself in all the Particulars, though I heard not a Word of the Man before in my Life. This by the by. I could not but hint this for the Encouragement of Parents to get their Children into Families that are really religious, and to en­courage all to associate themselves to such as fear the Lord. You see by what hath been spoken, that Acquaintance with the People of God, may be of great Use for the bringing the Soul acquaint­ed with God.


If you would be acquainted with God, enter­tain all the Messengers that he sends to you kind­ly. When God calls, answer; and when he sends any of his Servants to you, bid them welcome; Let the Feet of those which bring glad Tidings be beautiful in your Eye; Do not think much if they deal plainly and roundly with you, know that it is out of Love to your Souls (God is their wit­ness) they see that your Condition requires it, and that a Man in your State is not to be jested with. The Lord knows that they take little Pleasure in grieving of People; they do it that you may rejoice for ever, they watch for your Souls, and therefore you must account them wor­thy of double Honour. But of all the Messengers that God sends, have the greatest Care of dealing unkindly with, and grieving his Spirit; when you have any Motions upon your Soul by the Spirit, labour to cherist them with all the Care and Tenderness that you can. Turn not. Convictions away with, I am not at Leisure, or I will hear you of these things when I have a more convenient Season: but as soon as you find your Heart begin to relent, cry out unto the Lord, and say, O Lord, I beseech thee, carry on thy Work effectually upon my Soul! O that I may have through Work! O let not these Convictions wear off from my Soul till they end in a real Con­version! O let me not prove but a half Christian! Any thing in the World, Lord, so that I may but be made a Christian in good Earnest! O let me not return with the Dog to his Vomit, and [Page 327]with the Sow that is washed, to her Wallowing in the Mire! Deliver me, O God, from sinning away these things, and getting into a cold World, and from shaking off all, least I prove worse than ever, and my latter End be more miserable than my Beginning. Labour to be very curious in the taking Notice of God's Absence or Presence; and when you find your Soul raised in any Duty, and your Heart somewhat drawn out after God, then be sure to own God's Goodness, and bless the Lord for it; Record his Kindness, forget not his Mercy, pass not over such great Things in Silence. Little do Men think what a Hazard they run, when they quench the Motions of God's Spirit. You may read in Cant. 5. How dearly the Spouse had like to have paid for such an Unkind­ness? What, shall God send his Spirit to visit you? Shall the infinite Majesty so far condescend as to knock at your Door, and will not you open? why then you may thank your selves, if he never knock more. But if you will now open to him, he will come in to you, and sup with you, and you shall sup with him.


Seek his Acquaintance most earnestly, if you would have it. O why do Men and Women jest with Matters of the greatest Weight and Impor­tance in the World? What do People mean to play with their Souls, the Wrath of God, and Damnation? O Sinners, have you nothing else to play with? no lower Matters to sport with? Believe it, Sirs, Heaven and Glory are not got with sitting still with our Hands in our Pockets. We think it worth the while to rise early, and [Page 328]to sit up late, to get an earthly Estate; we count it no foolish thing for a Man to be very diligent about his worldly Affairs. The poor Country­man plows and sows, harrows, weeds, reaps, inns, thresheth, and a great deal more, before he can eat his Bread; and shall we look for a rich Crop, and do nothing at all but eat and drink, and sleep? Is this the Way to be rich? is this the Way to be happy for ever? If you intend to do any thing in Religion to any purpose, you must buckle to your Business at another guess Rate than most of the Professors of the World do. We must take as much Pains about our Souls as Men do about their Bodies or Estates. Is there any Com­parison between the Soul and the Body; between a worldly Estate, and an heavenly Inheritance? Hath a Man more Reason to look after tricking up his Body that must die, or look after the a­dorning of his Soul, that must live somewhere for ever? Which are Matters of the greatest Con­sequence, Eating and Drinking, and Pampering the Flesh, and taking our Pleasure; or looking after Life, Salvation, and eternal Joy? Do you think that the Scripture faith in vain, That we must strive to enter in at the strait Gate? Is it a bare seeking that will serve the Turn? Will a, Lord have Mer­cy upon me, and bowing the Knee, do as well as the greatest Seriousness and Diligence in the Would? Do you think that God will be put off with the Skin and Garbage instead of Sacrifice, with the Shell instead of the Kernel, with Chaff instead of the Corn? Doth not Christ say, That many shall seek to enter in, and shall not be able? O why do not lazy Professors read the Scriptures with Trembling? Let all those that are angry with [Page 329]us for putting them upon making Religion their Business, and using all Diligence to make their Cal­ling and Election sure, read that one Scripture over again, Luke 13.24. Strive to enter in at the strait Gate: for many, I say unto you, mill seek to enter in, and shall not be able, &c. It was Christ who spoke that Word. If we tell you of the Danger of a formal Religion, you will soon fall upon us as E­nemies to your Peace, and those which impose too much Strictness upon you: We therefore do here produce our Commission for what we say, or ra­ther we desire you but to read your selves what Christ spoke as touching this Matter. O it might justly make a Christian's Heart to ake, to think how many thousands of Professors willbe disown­ed by Christ in that Day, who will make many fair Pleas for themselves, and pretend a great deal of Acquaintance with him. Consider, I be­seech you, here is no Fear of Excess; never any Man in the World that was too sollicitous about his Salvation, never any Man took too much Pains for Heaven. Awake, O Sleeper, what mean­est thou? arise, and call upon thy God. If you make any thing of the Loss of a Soul, look about you; if you think the Wrath to come considera­ble, be serious; if you would not be burnt by the Fire of his Indignation; you must take hold of his Strength, and make Peace with him, and God will be at Peace with you, Isa. 27.5. It is not without Cause, that the Prophet doth complain, Isa. 64.7. There is none that calls upon thy Name, that stirs up himself to take hold on thee. There is none that calls upon God's Name! One would think that that were strange; What, none call upon his Name, when so many of them made many [Page 330]Prayers, as you have it in the first of Isaiah? What, did they nothing but look upon one ano­ther, when they had their solemn Assemblies? Did they say nothing to God, when they came before him? Did they do nothing at all in that 58. of Isaiah, when they are said to seek him dai­ly, when they seemed to delight in his way? Yet in God's Esteem, all this goes for nothing at all, this Prayer is no Prayer, this is only wording of it with God. But Prayer it is another kind of thing, it is the stirring up of the Soul, and awake­ning all its Strength to wrestle with God, to lay hold upon God, and to prevail with the Al­mighty; and where are such as these to be sound, who is this that engages his Heart in the Ser­vice of God? It is one thing to engage the Tongue, and another thing to engage the Heart. Men come to pray with a common Spirit, and are many times weary of the Work before they have well begun it; what they do, they do it lifelessly: They can follow their worldly Imployments with Life and Delight. They have a Male in their Flock, but that's too good for God; a lame, blind, star­ved weak thing must serve his Turn: And is this the way to have the Blessing? Are such as these like to have any Thanks for their Kindness? Let them try how any of their Friends would take such a Present. Now would you have the Blessing of Acquaintance with God, you must wrestle for it, and not let God go without it: You must be fer­vent in Spirit, serving the Lord; You must fight the good Fight of Faith, and lay hold on eternal Life: You must grasp about Christ as a Man that is a drowning would grasp any thing that were thrown out to save him: You must use all Diligence to [Page 331]make your Calling and Election sure: You must work out your Salvation with Fear and Trembling: You must seek for Wisdom as for Silver, and search for her as for hid Treasure. Then shall you understand the Fear of the Lord, and find the Knowledge of God. What excellent thing is there, that is got without pains? Whoever came to be an exquisite curious Artist in any Skill whatever, that never served an Ap­prenticeship to it, nor at the least gave his Mind to it? Where is there a famous Physician that ne­ver studied in his Life? Who gets a Victory by Sleeping and Carlesness? Who expects to have Riches drop into his Mouth, when he goes all the Ways that can be to make himself a Beggar? Doth the Husbandman look for a good Grop without plowing or sowing? Why then should we expect such great things as Heaven, Eternal Happiness, and the Favour of God, without looking after them. Whatsoever the lazy formal Professor may say, the Kingdom of Heaven is not obtained thus: There must be running, watch­ing, fighting, conquering, holding fast, holding out, and all little enough; it requires all the Strength of thy Soul to engage in this great Work; it requires some Resosution to do such a Work, as every Christian must do, or else his Re­ligion signifies little. Further, it calls for some time too, it is not a thing to be minded now and then by the by, between sleep and awake, when the Devil and the World have had as much Ser­vice as they call for. Were it for your Bodies that I were now pleading, were you like to get any great matter in the World by following of my Directions; could you be show'd a way how to get a great Estate, Honours, and long Life, I am [Page 332]verily perswaded a few Words might prevail much. Why, if you will believe the Word of God, I am telling you of other kind of things than these be, greater Matters by far; and yet how little are Men and Women affected? As if we spoke but in jest always, when we spoke about things that did concern Souls! How little time do Men spend in their Inquiry into these things? Ask Epictetus (Ench. c. 63.) and he will tell you that it is a Sign of a low Soul; to bestow much time upon thy Body, and the Thoughts of it, and little upon the Soul; to be long eating, and long drinking, and long a dressing, and short in Pray­er, short in the Thoughts of the Soul, and short in the Service of God; and that it is a Sign of a base degenerate Spirit to be very curious about Toys, and inconsiderable Trifles, and to be neg­ligent about Matters of the greatest Importance, to slubber over the great Works of Religion with the greatest Slightness. Remember, O Man, thy great Work, it is to take care of thy Soul, to look after a Companion, a Friend for thy Soul, to get Food and Cloathing for thy Soul, that fa­mish not with hunger and cold. To be indifferent in all Externals is the greatest Prudence; but to be indifferent about Spirituals and Eternals is the greatest Madness. We are all Souldiers, and must fight in such a War wherein we must never lay down our Arms. The Favour of God is worth the striving for, it is as much as Heaven and Glo­ry is worth. If your Estate or Life lay at Stake, would you not be willing to use all the Interest you could to make the Judge your Friend? Would you go up and down laughing as if you had nothing to do? Would you eat and drink as merrily as e­ver, [Page 333]and say, it is but dying, it is but being a Beggar, it is but the undoing of my Wife and Children? Would you not look upon a Man that should argue at this rate to be little better than frantick? And I pray which is most considera­ble, the Death of the Body, or the Death of the Soul; the Loss of a temporal, or the Loss of an eternal Inheritance. Most Mens Diligence in Temporals will condemn their Negligence in Spirituals. Christ said, Seek ye first the Kingdom of Heaven, and the Righteousness thereof; but most Men say, I will seek first the Earth, and the Glo­ry thereof; and if God will give me Heaven and Happiness after I have served the Devil and the World as long as I can, I shall be contented to have it. No such matter, never expect it, God must sooner cease to be, than to gratify you in this. Wherefore do you think did David follow his Work so close? Why did all those noble Wor­thies in the Church of old take so much Pains? Why should they not much stick to venture E­states and Lives too? Will you condemn them all as guilty of too much Curiosity, and unnecessary Preciseness? Do you think that their Labour was in vain? Are all those disappointed, who willing­ly parted with present things for future things? I must tell you, if you expect to sit down with A­braham, Isaac and Jacob in the Kingdom of Hea­ven, you must do as they did. Heaven will not be obtained now upon any lower Terms than then. Your Souls are as precious as theirs, and Heaven will be as well worth your minding as theirs, and God will look upon you as well as up­on them, if you will value his Favour as they did. Never look to have God give you that which you [Page 334]will not thank him for. What do you say after all this? Will you sit down before your Work is done? Open thine Eyes, and consider what thou hast to do, and then tell me if it be not the great­est Folly imaginable to be slight in these Affairs. O how can'st thou eat, drink, or sleep, whilst thou hast such a great Work to do which is undone! O give not sleep to thine Eyes, nor slumber to thy Eye-lids, but deliver thy self from the Hand of the Hunter, and as a Bird from the Hand of the Fowler. Go to the Ant thou Sluggard: Consider her Ways, and be wise; which having no Guide, Over­seer, or Ruler, provideth her Meat in the Summer, and gathereth her Meat in the Harvest. How long wilt thou sleep, O Sluggard? When wilt thou a­rise out of thy sleep? Yet a little sleep, a little slum­ber, a little folding of the Hinds to sleep, so shall thy Poverty come, as one that travelleth, and thy Want as an armed Man. And will you now labour to get Acquaintance with God, as you would to get Food for your Body? Will you endeavour as much to make sure of his Love, as you would do to make sure of a Pardon, in case of the Forfeiture of your Life? If so, we have some Hopes, the Work may have some considerable Issue.


If you would be acquainted with God, be much in expostulating the Case with God, and in ur­ging those Arguments which the Scripture doth afford you in such a Case. Take with you Words, and come unto the Lord, and spread your Re­quests before him, and say,

O Lord, thou hast sent thy Servants the Ministers, and hast invited me to come unto thee, and thou of­ferest [Page 335]Peace and Reconciliation, and to be acquainted with me. O God I desire from my Soul, to come up­on thy Call, and would fain be acquainted with thee. I see my self in an undone State, while I am a Stran­ger to thee: But, O Lord, I have a cursed base Heart that keeps me back from thee, and I can't tell what in the World to do. O Lord, I beseech thee help thy poor Creature to come unto thee, lead me by the Hand, let thy Goodness and Love constrain me, conquer me by thy Kindness; come Lord into my Soul, and let me see thy Face, and look upon thee till I am in Love with thee. O why art thou a Stranger to me? Wilt thou for­sake me for ever? Shall I be one of those thine Ene­mies which shall be slain before thy Face? Shall I be one of those that shall dwell with everlasting Burnings? O Lord, pity, pity, pity, for Christ's sake, a poor Crea­ture that would fain love thee, and be acquainted with thee. I am convinced that I must be damned without thee, and come to thee of my self I cannot. O draw me! O carry me! O compel me! Constrain me, make me willing in the Day of thy Power: I cannot get loose, my Heart is too hard for me, my Lusts are too strong for me, my Temptations are too many for me to con­quer of my self. O Lord help me. Turn me, and I shall be turned. Pluck my Feet out of the Snare, or I shall utterly be destroyed for ever. Forgive mine I­niquity, make me a clean Heart, make me thy Servant. Tell God that thou hast heard of his Goodness and Mercy, and that the King of Israel is a mer­ciful King; and that it is his Nature to pity. Say to him, O I am a poor undone Creature, and wilt thou send me away without Mercy? Will the God of Grace send me away without Grace? Hast thou not called me, O God? Thy Servants tell me so, O Lord speak and give me Ears to [Page 336]hear; O Lord, I am come in upon thy merciful Proclamation, and I desire to lay my self at thy Feet; Mercy Lord, Mercy upon what Terms thou pleasest. Didst thou not say in thy Word, Ho! every one that thirsteth, come and buy Wine and Milk without Money, and without Price. Have not thy Servants pleaded with me to come? And hast thou not sent for me? O! a Blessing, a Blessing for me, even for me, O my Father? Hast thou not a Blessing for me? Shall I be sent away as I came? O Lord, I come at thy Word! Do not say unto me, Be gone out of my Sight. I cannot go, I will not go; whither shall I go from thee? For thou hast the Words of eternal Life. Though I cannot say, Be just to me a Saint, yet I will say, Be merciful to me a Sinner. You may read more in R. A. his first Part of his Vindiciae Pietatis, Page 232. the whole Treatise is excellent. Plead the Blood of Christ; you may safely say, that if there be not enough in Christ to save you, you do not desire Salvation, for in him there is all Ful­ness. You may plead your own absolute Necessi­ty. Tell God, that if ever a poor Creature in the World had need of Mercy, you have; tell him that you are resolved not to be content without his Love. You may plead his Promise, in which he hath said, That he will take away the Heart of Stone, and give a Heart of Flesh; and that he will put his Fear in our Hearts, and write his Laws in our in­ward Parts. You may plead also the Power of God, whereby he is able to subdue all things unto him­self; and many such like Arguments you may find in many Places in the Scripture. But because I have touched upon this before I shall pass it by.


If you would be acquainted with God, look af­ter it speedily, defer not a moment, your Enemy is marching on apace, you may be surprized, your Soul is hasting upon its eternal State, your Glass is almost run, there are but a few Sands behind; therefore seek the Lord while he may be found, and call upon him while he is near; e're long it will be too late; wherefore what thou doest, do quickly. What is the Voice both of Scripture and Providence? Doth not the Word of God say Now, and commend the present time above all. Acquaint now thy self with him; Remem­ber now thy Creator; Turn now unto the Lord. Let a poor Heathen (Epict. En. c. 75.) shame you into greater speed in this necessary Work. I shall translate his Words into English: How long, saith he, will you defer the looking after the best things? How long will you abuse your Reason? Have you not heard such Precepts which you ought to agree to, and you seemed very well to like of? What kind of Teacher is it that you stay for? For whose coming do you defer before you will mend and turn? You are come now to Years of Discretion (if I should say you were not, you would be an­gry) if you will neglect and delay, and add one Delay to another, if you will add one put off to another, and make one Resolution and Purpose after another, and set one Day after another, in which you will think of these things; consider that all this will do you no good, for all your Resolutions and Purposes, for all that I see, you are like to die a common Man; therefore now live as a perfect growing Man, and follow that [Page 338]which is most excellent unalterably. If any thing of Difficulty intervene, remember that now is the time for you to shew what Respect you have for your God and your Soul. Remember the Goal is not far off, and that now you must not falter; and that as you demean your self now, it may be, you may be happy or miserable while you have a Be­ing. This is the Language of that excellent Mora­list. I add, what is it, O Sinner, that thou stay­est for? Is it for the Day of Judgment? Would you be taught by Flames, the worth of time? You may then indeed learn; but believe it, your Knowledge and Learning will do you little good; you may then learn what it is to be miserable, but you can't learn how to get out of it; you will know what you have lost, but then you will never know how to repair your Losses. How ma­ny thousands of them which have set a Day, in which they would return and repent, have set, and set, and set it again, and what with one thing or other they could not be at leisure to re­pent till they came to Hell; and there indeed they have leisure enough to repent, and they do re­pent too, if Hell-Repentance would do any thing: I believe that all that come there do repent and believe too, more than they did while they were alive; but then it's too late. They that are now in those dreadful Flames, many of them thought, it may be, of repenting before they dy­ed as well as you, and did just as you do. O that you would understand your selves before your State be like theirs! How infinitely doth it con­cern you to improve time, and to comply with the present Tenders of Mercy that are made to you: For e're long it may be too late for you too. [Page 339]O know this therefore, that now thy God makes thee a gracious Offer of Pardon; and if you refuse now, this may be the last time, this may be the very Cast for Eternity. God may say before to morrow, This Night thy Soul shall be required of thee. Go to therefore, you that talk of trading for the great Things of Eternity, I do not know when, thirty or forty Years hence, Do you not know that your Life is but a Blast? When your Breath goes out of your Nostrils, you are not sure that you shall draw it in again. What then do you mean to talk of Delay? Have you not staid long enough already? Consider Man what thou dost. He that saith he will be good to morrow, he saith he will be wicked to Day. And what if God should say, thou shalt have the Pleasure of Sin to Day, and the Sorrow of Sin to morrow? Thou shalt be hardned to Day, and damned to morrow? If your House were on fire, you would scarce say, I will go and sleep four or five Hours, and then I will rise and call my Neighbours to help to quench it. If your Child were a drown­ing, you would scarce say, I must needs stay till I have drunk a Flaggon or two more, and about half an hour hence it may be I may go and see whether I can get a Boat to help him out. If you were condemned to dye to morrow, you would scarce say, I will have Musick, and Sack, and good Company all Night, and then I will send a Mes­senger if I can get one, to ride a hundred Mile to try whether he can get a Pardon for me. Yet thus for all the World thou dost do in the great­est Affairs of thy immortal Soul. O the Folly of Man (saith Seneca) who thinks to begin to live, when a thousand to one but he will be dead and rotten! I may [Page 340]say, O the Madness of Sinners, who make account to be looking after Heaven then, when it is like­ly their Souls may be in Hell! Judge now whe­ther this be Wisdom. Now you think Time one of the poorest Commodities in the World, it's a very Drug which lies upon your Hand, a Day or two, a Week, a Year is no great matter with you: But believe it, the Case will be altered with a Witness e're long. Seneca wondred when he heard some as king one of his Friends for to spend two or three Weeks with them, when he saw how easi­ly the Request was granted, as if they asked as little as nothing, when they asked time of him; Thus (saith he) one of the precious things in the World is thrown away as little worth. When you come to lie upon your Death-bed, we shall have you have other Thoughts of Time: Then a World, if you had it, for one of those Hours, that you could not tell how to spend. You now study how to rob your self of your precious time, you invent Pastimes, not considering how swiftly time flies, and how much you will prize it before long. O remember no Body can give you a moment of that time when you want it, that you are now so pro­digal of. When time is past, if you would give a World to recall it, it could not be: If you would give thousands for the renewing of this Lease, it would be refused. Therefore live quick­ly. Man's time runs away first. Optima quaequae dies miseris mortalibus aevi, prima fugit—Seneca. And then my Author comments very bravely up­on the whole Verse.

I think that Proverb, though it be an Italian one, is worth our remembring, He that will lodge well at Night, must set out betimes in the Morning. [Page 341]That which keeps us from living to Day, is the Thoughts of living to morrow: So that we lose this Day while we expect the next. Comenius speak­ing of the Tiger, saith, That when he hears the Sound of the Trumpet, he tears and bites himself. This will be the Work of the merciless Tigers of the World; that spend their time (in which they should be providing for Eternity) in hunting God's People, and taking their Pleasures; and it may be think to be a little more mild before they die; but of a sud­den the Trumpet sounds, away, away, and O then what a lamentable taking are they in! How do they wish for time again, or that they had spent that which they had better? Wicked Men never know the Worth of Time, till they come to a Death-bed, or a while after. O then, they that made nothing of spending thirty or forty Years, would lay down all they are worth for one Year, one Month, one Day, one Hour; but it's then too late. O how do they gnash their Teeth! With what Horrour do they think of past Mer­cies, and future Miseries! Men fear generally that Death will come sooner then they would have him; they bewail that their Lives are short at the longest; whereas if Men would wisely husband that time that God hath given them, it would be long enough: O happy is that Man that hath done his great Work before his Sun is set! O foolish Men that complain of God for making their Lives so short, and complain not at all of themselves for making them ten times shorter: For most Men live not at all the Life of Religion, and may be called dead. Others have a Name to live, and yet are little better than the former. Most that live spiritually, begin their Life after they have [Page 342]been many Years dead: And though we sit and condemn others as guilty of great Imprudence in these Affairs, yet how do we at the same time justify them, by being as profusely expensive of precious time as they? O where's the Man almost to be found, that doth improve Time to as good Advantage as he should? Among other Symptoms of a Fool, this is none of the least, To be always be­ginning to live. What an unhandsome Sight is it to see an old Man learning his Letters? O remem­ber Man, thou hast a great Work to do! O re­member thy precious Time runs away with an unspeakable Swiftness! What do you mean, to sit with your Hands in your Bosoms? Look about thee, O Sinner, 'tis not time a Day for you to be sleeping or playing; Methinks a Man in your Condition should be up and doing with all the Diligence that you could for your Soul, and la­bouring to make your Calling and Election sure; me­thinks we should hear you asking, what you shall do to get a Pardon for your Sins, to get God re­conciled to you. Methinks you should be enquiring what you should do to redeem your Time, and to spend every moment of it so to the best Advan­tage as that you may appear chearfully before your Master at Night. That I may inforce this weighty Direction, I shall propound a few seriou [...] Questions to you.

Quest. 1. Do you think that these things are ne­cessary, or are they not? If they be necessary why do you not mind them speedily? If they b [...] not necessary, do not look after them at all.

Quest. 2. Do you expect to be in a better Capa­city to look after these things hereafter? Do yo [...] hope for more Strength, when you are worn ou [...] ­with [Page 343]Sin and Age, when your Back begins to bend, and your Joints to shake? Do you think you shall be more at leisure, when your Work will be much increased? Know this, that Sin grows upon you daily, it preys upon your Vitals: He that is not fit to Day, will be less fit to morrow. As for Leisure, I must confess you may have Leisure e­nough in another World, to think of these things. But I wish you well to consider whether it be great Wisdom to repent in this World, or in a­nother. I would be loath to be repenting in ano­ther, it's sad weeping indeed there, where Tears shall never be dried up. I have told you oft that God saith, To Day, and it is both wickedly and foolishly done of Man to say, To morrow. I must tell you but so, that it is a dreadful Hazard that every delaying Sinner doth run: It is a Question whether God may not deny his Grace, stop the Preacher's Mouth, stop his Ears, and stop your Breath: And where are you then, with your to morrow? Delays in these Affairs always cost dear; they have cost many thousands dear already, and if you make no more hast than you have done, they will cost you dear too.

Quest. 3. When would you get acquainted with God? When he hath shut up his Door? When would you run this Race? When you have lost your Legs, or can but creep with Crutches? Is that the best time to do your Work in, when it is next to impossible to do it?

Quest. 4. Who deserves best at your Hands, the Devil, the World, and the Flesh, or God? Resolve me this I pray? Whom do you call your Master? Whom have you most Reason to make hast for?

[Page 344] Quest. 5. How would you take it, if any of them which depend upon you, should serve you as you serve God?

Quest. 6. Do you think you can make too much Hast? Who is afraid of being rich too soon? Although a Man may with Reason good enough be afraid of that which may make his Happiness far more uncertain, and his Miseries more intolerable. Who fears to make too much Hast, when his Prince sends for him with Speed? O that Men did but know who it is that calls them, and whether they are going, and what they have to do, when they come to their Jour­ney's End!

Quest. 7. Are you sure you shall live till you are an Hour older? You are strong and health­ful it may be, but did you never hear that such have had but a very little Warning? Have you never known a Man well one Hour, and dead the next? If you have not, I tell you of one now, that was very well one Moment, and dead the next, my self being an Eye-witness of it. It's possible there may be but one small Moment be­tween a strong working healthful Man, and a breathless Corps.

Quest. 8. What do you think will become of you, I ask again, if you put off Repentance till it be too late?

Quest. 9. What would you do, if you were sure you should die, or the Day of Judgment come before you were a Week older?

Quest. 10. Do you think to get acquainted with God in another World, when you do not mind him here? Will God, think you, own them hereafter, that disown him here? Will he [Page 345]know them in Heaven, who would not know him upon the Earth?


If you would be acquainted with God, take heed of those things, which keep God and Man at a Distance, and make the Lord take no Plea­sure in us. In general, take heed of all Sin, Wash you, make you clean, put away the Evil of your Do­ings from mine Eyes; cease to do Evil, learn to do good; seek Judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the Fatherless, and plead the Cause of the Widow. Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord, Isa. 1.17, 18. You must wash your Hands in Inno­cency, if you intend to compass his Altar, to sit down at his Table. In Psal. 101. David is ex­ceeding desirous of God's Company, and he cries out, O when wilt thou come unto me! he thinks long to have a Visit from his old Friend; he would gladly walk with him. Now what Course doth he take to get God's Company? Why, he goes the best Way to work in the World: He will set no wicked thing before his Eyes. He knows it is to no purpose for him to expect much of God's Company, while he doth entertain his greatest Enemies; therefore he turns them out of Doors: I hate, saith he, the Works of them that turn aside, it shall not cleave to me. And that God may dwell with him, and make his House, as well as his Heart, a Temple for himself; he will not suffer a wicked Person to live in it; he will have none in his Family, but such as shall be ready to serve God, and bid this his great Friend wel­come.

But more particular, if you would have much [Page 346]of God's Company, and be intimately acquainted with him; take heed more especially of those particular Sins, which make God most to estrange himself from Man; as,

First, Take heed of Pride: That was the Sin which made the first Breach between the Crea­ture and the Creator; the Sin that sunk the An­gels, that made God and them, who were very good Friends once, to be bitter Enemies; this hath made the Breach infinite, the Feud everlast­ing, the Wound incurable. And this made the first Quarrel between God and Man. When Man thinks himself too good to be but a Man, he must be a God; be quickly is too bad to be a Man, he is but one Remove from the Devil. To be a Fa­vourite of his Prince is not enough, except he may step into the Throne; it's therefore high time for his Prince to remove such from his Presence to a Prison, from the Court to the Dungeon. It was Pride that cast Adam out of Paradise; and do you think that that Sin is less hateful to God, and less dangerous to Man, than it was five thou­sand Years ago? Did it then spend all its Poison? and can it now do no Harm? Do you believe that God will take that into his Bosom now, that formerly he abhorr'd to look upon? Now Sin hath increased its Strength and Deformity, and heightened its Enmity against the infinite Ma­jesty of the holy Jehovah, shall his Hatred against it decrease? Will he be more willing to accom­pany proud aspiring Rebels now than then? No such matter, God is still as holy as ever, and hates all Sin, especially Pride, as much as ever. Do you think that it is for nothing that the Word of God speaks so much against this Sin? Can it be [Page 347]that the Holy Ghost would say, Prov. 11. That every one that is proud is an Abomination to the Lord, except God did indeed hate them? Why should God threaten such so much if he took any Pleasure in their Society? Though Hand join in Hand, yet the proud shall not go unpunished. Now we call the proud happy, but shall we call him so when the Day of the Lord shall burn as Fire, and all the proud shall be as Stubble: And the Day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord, and it shall leave them neither Root nor Branch. When the Lord shall tread down the wicked, and they shall be like Ashes under his Feet, Mal. 3.15. and 4.1, 3. There is not one proud Man in Heaven, I am sure; nor a proud Man up­on the Earth that shall have much of God's Ac­quaintance. And let me say, he that sets himself above God (for that's the Pride I mean) whilst he stands in that State, must never expect that God should look upon him with any Kindness. Heaven and Hell will as soon be agreed as God and such a one shall be united. The proud now overlook others that are their Betters, and scorn their Maker; but shortly they shall be paid in their own Coin; they shall be scorned too. If all the proud Nimrods, Pharaohs, and Belshazzars in the World should enter into a League, and com­bine against the Almighty, and say, they will cast away his Cords from them, and that they will never debase their noble Spirits so low as to stoop to his Commands; yet none of them all shall go unpunished: they shall be like Stubble be­fore the devouring Flames, and like Chaff before a mighty Whirlwind: God is not afraid of their big Looks, Prov. 21.4. Prov. 6.17. Prov. 15. 25. Isa. 2.12. Luke 1.51. Jam. 4.6. God will [Page 348]clothe himself with Vengeance, and the mighty Jehovah will gird his Weapon upon his Thigh, and march out in Fury and Indignation, and draw his glittering Sword, and resist the proud, and teach them what it is to bid Defiance to the Lord of Hosts. We shall soon see, who shall be upper­most, God or they. And when the proud Sinner lies conquered at his Feet, how doth he, with in­finite Scorn look upon him, and say, Behold, the Man is become like one of us! This 'tis for a Man to attempt the Dethroning of the Almighty! But it may be, most may think themselves little concerned in that which I now speak; wherefore I must add this one Word. Be it known unto thee, O Man, whosoever thou art, that think'st thou hast no Pride; I am sure thou art one of those that are in that black Roll which have pro­claimed War against Heaven; thou art the Man that shall never be acquainted with God whil'st thou art in that Mind. It may be thou may'st speak Peace to thy self for all this, and flatter thy self as if God and you were Friends; but let me tell thee, I come with heavy Tidings in my Mouth to thee: if thou turn not, he will whet his Sword, he hath bent his Bow, and made it ready, he hath prepared for thee the Instruments of Death; the Day of thy Calamity is near: the dreadful Jehovah is upon his March, and if you ask me whether there be not Peace for thee, I an­swer as Jehu did to Jehoram, what Peace, O haughty Sinner, so long as the Pride of thy Heart is so great, and thy Rebellions against thy Maker so many; there is no Peace, saith my God, to the wicked. Wherefore, as your value your Soul, as you tender your everlasting Salvation, and de­sire [Page 349]to be owned by the Lord in the Day of your Distress, take heed of Pride. Go quickly, and humble your self, and make sure your Friend; labour to pull down every high Thought, and e­very proud Imagination; and let your arrogant Spirit bow before the mighty God; there is no Way will do but this, as ye have already heard; you must set the Crown upon the Lord's Head, you must lay your selves at his Feet, and lick the very Dust. Your Betters have done so before you, and have thought it their Honour to lie at the Feet of Christ; this they looked upon (with good Reason too) as the first Step to Preferment. If therefore you would be acquainted with God, take heed of Pride.

Secondly, take heed of a worldly Mind. What Concord is there between Earth and Heaven? what Agreement between God and the World? What Delight can his Holiness take in him, who had rather be wallowing in the Mud, and tread­ing of Clay, than bathing himself in Divine Con­templation; that thinks it higher Preferment to sit by his Bags of Gold, than to stand in the Presence of his God: a greater Happiness to be rich, than to be Holy: that had much rather be in a Fair, Market or Exchange, getting Mony, than with his God, getting Pardon, Grace and Heaven, How pregnant is the Scripture of Proofs for the evidencing of this Truth? to name one or two of a hundred, Rom. 8.7. To be carnally mind­ed is Enmity against God: for it is not subject to the Law of God, neither indeed can it be. What do you say to this Scripture? Those which walk with God, live in the World, and yet they live above the World; they all look for a City that hath [Page 350]Foundations, whose Builder and Maker is God. It was not for nothing that the Apostle John lays so strict a Charge upon those which he wrote to, That they should not love the World, nor the things of the World: for if any love the World, the Love of the Father is not in them, 1 John 2.15. Whence is it that so few great ones go to Heaven, and that it is next to impossible for such to be saved? Is it not because they have chosen Mammon for their Friend, rather than God? He hath their Heart, their Love, their Time and Service, and they have little to spare for God, and therefore God hath but a little Happiness, a little Heaven, a short Glory for them, they shall have but a little of his sweet Company, little Acquaintance with him. Why doth James speak so terribly to the rich Men, and bid them go, and weep and howl? was it not because their Riches were like to undo them? Did the wealthy Man in the Parable live ever the longer for his Riches, or fare ever the better for his Greatness, when he came into ano­ther World? there is no question but he might have more Flatterers; there is no Doubt but he had more worldly Friends; but bring me a Man upon the Earth, that lets his Heart without Con­troul fly upon the World, cleaves to it, and takes it to be his best Friend, that knows God, that's acquainted with his Maker, that prizeth his Redeemer. It was a wise Man who said, That it's absolutely impossible to mind Externals and Internals, this World and another, with Earnest­ness, at the same time: but it was Wisdom it self who said, That no Servant can serve two Masters; for either he will hate the one, and love the other, [...] else he will hold to the one, and despise the other; [...] [Page 351]cannot serve God and Mammon, Matth. 5.24.

3. Take heed of Hypocrisie. Who are the Per­sons that God doth denounce his dreadful Threat­nings against? are they not such as honour him with their Lips, when their Hearts are far from him? with what Abhorrency doth he look upon such, and all that they do? Isa. 1. They never bring their Heart to visit God with, and therefore they have little Reason to expect that he should bring his Dainties to entertain them with.

4. If you would be acquainted with God, take heed of being acquainted with wicked Company. We read that many wicked Men have fared the better for the Company of the godly; but we scarce ever heard that any godly Man ever fared the better for being in the Company of the wick­ed, except they went on God's Errand amongst them. This is clear in the Case of Lot, who first lost his Goods, and was made a Captive by being in Sodom; and though they were restored to him again for a while; (one would have thought that should have been a fair Warning how he came a­gain into such Company) yet because that would not do, a while after you may read how dear Lot paid for dwelling in Sodom. Poor Man! he lost all that he had, and was fain to fly away without either Flocks or Herds, and little more than his Clothes on his Back; and that which was more sad, to leave some of his own dear Relations behind him, roasting in those dismal Flames. Whereas, had he never come to Sodom, or upon the Sight of their Wickedness speedily left them, it had been much better with him in many Respects. Jeho­saphat fared never the better for joining in Affini­ty with his wicked Neighbours, it had like to have [Page 352]cost him his Life. But were it only Loss of Tem­porals that a Man hazarded by such Society, the Danger were not so considerable, but the Peril is greater than so, for by it they make God stand at a Distance; they must never look to have such Company and God's Company both together; I mean, when they do unnecessarily or delightfully converse with such. If therefore you intend to be acquainted with God, you must not have them always in your Company whom he hates, and which hate him, and will labour all they can to cool your Affections towards him. Wherefore, be ye not unequally yoaked with Unbelievers: for what Fellowship hath Unrighteousness with Righteousness? and what Communion hath Light with Darkness? and what Concord hath Christ with Belial? or what Part hath he that believeth with an Infidel? and what Agreement hath the Temple of God with Idols? for ye are the Tem­ple of the living God, as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my People; wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing, and I will re­ceive you, and I will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my Sons and Daughters, saith the Lord Al­mighty, 2 Cor. 6.14. to the End. But I would not here be mistaken, as if I would commend an ungodly proud▪ Separation from all that are not just of our Mind; or as if a Man ought to have nothing at all to do with wicked Men; no, no, every one ought to do what he can in his Place for the good of Souls. O that Christians would thus converse more with their poor, ignorant, carnal, Christless Neighbours! O that they would [Page 353]thus be more acquainted with the Wicked, and then they should have never the less of God's Com­pany, but the more; but it is an unnecessary de­lightful associating of our selves with them that I mean, especially such of them which will stifle e­very spiritual Discourse, and divert you from a­ny thing that tends to the promoting of the In­terest of Religion; and such as have frequently expressed their Detestation of the way of Holi­liness, and make but a Mock at your serious Counsels, stop their Ears to wholsome Advice, or make some undecent Reflections upon the strict Profession of Godliness; such as labour to make you believe that all Religion, but that which will consist with their Wickedness, is but a Fancy. As for such as those, abhor their Company, fly from them as those that have the Plague, the Marks of Death are upon them, and you may write, Lord have Mercy upon us upon their Doors, but go not in lest you be infected.

5. If you would be acquainted with God, take heed of Unbelief. Unbelief will make your Soul depart from God, and God quite to depart from your Soul. This, this is one of those dreadful and God-estranging Sins, which leads on whole Legi­ons against the Almighty. This is that bold da­ring Sin, which gives Truth it self the Lye, and saith, That the Word of God is false, his Pro­mises airy, his Threatnings but a Wind: But know this, O Sinner, such a Wind they be, that will rise to a dreadful Storm, and turn your strong Confidences up by the Roots, and blow them into Hell, if you make no more of them than you do.

[Page 354]6. If you would be acquainted with God, be­ware of Sensuality. To be sensual and devilish are near akin. To be Lovers of Pleasures and Haters of God, are usually Concomitants; in a world, to fare deliciously every Day, and to be despised of God, are no strange things. But I wave the fur­ther Prosecution of these things, because they are so largely and excellently handled already by so many of our brave Worthies. See Mr. Baxter's Saints Rest, and R. A. his Vindiciae Pietatis.


If you would be acquainted with God, resol­vedly and freely give up your self to him, and enter into a most solemn Covenant with him. And here I shall make bold with that Reverend Author which R. A. doth mention in his Vindi­ciae Pietatis, and present you again with that ex­cellent Form with the Preparatories to it, which I have lately met with in the forementioned Au­thor. After your most serious Addresses to God, and after a deliberate Consideration of the Terms of this Covenant; and after a thorow search of your own Heart, whether you either have alrea­dy, or can now freely make such a Closure with God in Christ, as you have been exhorted to: and when you have composed your Spirits into the most serious Frame possible, suitable to a Transaction of so high a Nature, lay hold upon the Covenant, and rely upon his Promise of gi­ving Grace and Strength, whereby you may be enabled to perform your Promise. Resolve in the next Place to be faithful, having engaged your Hearts, and opened your Mouths, and subscribed with your Hands to the Lord; resolve in his [Page 355]Strength never to go back. And being thus pre­pared, and some convenient time being set a­part for the purpose, set upon the Work, and in the most solemn manner possible, as if the Lord were visibly present before your Eyes; fall down on your Knees, and spreading forth your Hands towards Heaven, open your Hearts to the Lord in these or the like Words.

O most dreadful God; for the Passion of thy Son, I beseech thee to accept of thy poor Prodigal, now pro­strating himself at thy Door; I have fallen from thee by mine Iniquity, and am by Nature a Son of Death, and a thousand-fold more the Child of Hell by my wicked Practice; but of thine infinite Grace thou hast promised Mercy to me in Christ, if I will but turn to thee with all my Heart: Therefore upon the Call of the Gospel I am now come in, and throwing down my Weapons, submit my self to thy Mercy. And because thou requirest, as the Condition of my Peace with thee, that I should put away mine Idols, and be at Defi­ance with all thine Enemies, which I acknowledge I have wickedly sided with against thee; I do here from the Bottom of my Heart renounce them all, freely co­venanting with thee, not to allow my self in any known Sin, but conscientiously to use all the Means that I know thou hast prescribed for the Death and ut­ter Destruction of all my Corruptions; and whereas I have formerly inordinately and idolatrously let out my Affections upon the World, I do here resign my Heart to thee that madest it; humbly protesting before thy glorious Majesty, that it is the firm Resolution of my Heart, and that I do unfeignedly desire Grace from thee, that when thou shalt call me hereunto, I may practice this my Resolution, through thy As­sistance, [Page 356]to forsake all that is dear unto me in this World, rather than to turn from thee to the ways of Sin; and that I will watch against all its Temptati­ons, whether of Prosperity or Adversity, lest they should withdraw my Heart from thee; beseeching thee also to help me against the Temptations of Satan, to whose Suggestions, I resolve, by thy Grace, never to yield my self a Servant. And because mine own Righteousness is but menstruous Rags, I renounce all Confidence there­in, and acknowledge that I am of my self a hopeless, helpless, undone Creature, without Righteousness or Strength. And for as much as thou hast of thy bot­tomless Mercy offered most graciously to me, wretched Sinner, to be again my God through Christ, if I would accept of thee; I call Heaven and Earth to re­cord this Day, that I do here solemnly avouch thee for the Lord my God, and with all possible Vene­ration, bowing the Neck of my Soul under the Feet of thy most Sacred Majesty, I do here take thee the Lord Jehovah, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, for my Portion, and chief Good, and do give up my self, Body and Soul, for thy Servant; promising and vow­ing to serve thee in Holiness and Righteousness all the Days of my Life.

And since thou hast appointed the Lord Jesus Christ, the only Means of coming unto thee, I do here upon the bended Knees of my Soul, accept of him as the only new and living way, by which Sinners may have Access to thee; and do here solemnly join my self in a Marriage-Covenant to him.

O blessed Jesus, I come to thee hungry and hardly bestead, poor, and wretched, and miserable, and blind, and naked, a most loathsome polluted Wretch, a guilty condemned Malefactor, unworthy for ever to wash the Feet of the Servants of my Lord, much more [Page 357]to be solemnly married to the King of Glory; But since such is thine unparalell'd Love, I do here with all my Power accept thee for my Head and Husband, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, for all Times and Conditions, to love, and honour, and obey thee before all others, and this to the Death. I embrace thee in all thy Offices, I renounce mine own Worthi­ness, and do here avow thee to be the Lord my Righ­teousness; I renounce mine own Wisdom, and do here take thee for mine only Guide; I renounce mine own Will, and take thy Will for my Law.

And since thou hast told me that I must suffer if I will reign, I do here covenant with thee, to take my Lot as it falls with thee, and by thy Grace assisting, to run all Hazards with thee, verily supposing, that neither Life nor Death shall part between thee and me.

And because thou hast been pleased to give me thy holy Law, as the Rule of my Life, and the Way in which I should walk to thy Kingdom; I do here wil­lingly put my Neck under thy Yoke, and set my Shoulders to thy Burden, and subscribing to all thy Laws, as holy, just and good; I solemnly take them as the Rule of my Words, Thoughts and Actions: promising, that though my Flesh contradict and rebel, yet I will endeavour to order and govern my whole Life according to thy Direction, and will not allow my self in the Neglect of any thing that I know to be my Duty.

Only because through the Frailty of my Flesh, I am subject to many Failings, I am bold humbly to pro­test, that unallowed Miscarriages, contrary to the set­tled Bent and Resolution of my Heart, shall not make void this Covenant, for so thou hast said.

[Page 358] Now Almighty God, Searcher of Hearts, thou knowest that I make this Covenant with thee this Day, without any known Guile or Reservation, beseeching thee, that if thou espiest any Flaw or Falshood herein, thou wouldest discover it to me, and help me to do it aright.

And now Glory be to thee, O God the Father, whom I shall be bold from this Day forward, to look upon thee as my God and Father, That ever thou shouldest find out such a Way for the Recovery of undone Sin­ners. Glory be to thee, O God the Son, who hast lo­ved me, and washed me from my Sins in thine own Blood, and art now become my Saviour and Redeemer. Glory be to thee, O God the Holy Ghost, who by the Finger of thine Almighty Power hast turned about my Heart from Sin to God.

O dreadful Jehovah, the Lord God Omnipotent, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, thou art now become my Covenant-Friend, and I, through thine infinite Grace, am become thy Covenant-Servant. Amen. So be it. And the Covenant which I have made on Earth, let it be ratified in Heaven.

The Conclusion.

AND now my Work is done, I must leave you; and whether I shall ever speak to you, or see you, or write to you again while the World stands, I know not: My Body is frail, and I am a poor dying Man, and before it be long, my Mouth will be more stoped than it is, and yours too: And therefore it's high time for us to look about us. As for my part, I have with all the Seriousness that I could for my Soul spoke to you, about the great and weighty Affairs of your [Page 359]Souls and Eternity. I again call Heaven and Earth to witness, that I have set Life and Death before you; I have in the Name of my great Ma­ster been wooing of you to accept of his Son for your Lord and Husband; himself for your God, Father and Friend. I have told you what the Lord doth require of them that would be in Co­venant with him. I have given you a rude De­scription of him whom I would have you ac­quainted with. I have told you of some of the glorious Effects of Acquaintance with God. I have told you of the Danger of being a Stranger to God. I have told you how thankfully some have closed with these Offers, and how well they like their Choice. I have further showed you what a peaceable State you shall be in, immedi­ately upon your Spiritual Alliance with this great and noble Friend. I have told you also of some further Benefit and Good that will come unto you upon your Acquaintance with God. I have gi­ven you to understand how desirous the Lord is, notwithstanding all that is past, to forget and forgive, and to receive you into Favour, if you will in good earnest return to him with speed. I have again and again propounded this Match to you, and told you as much as I could well do in so short a time, I have staid a great while for an Answer. I have put the Business forward all that possibly I could; because I see how foolishly and madly you make light of those advantageous Of­fers, that are made to you, I have again and a­gain pleaded with you, as if I were ready to starve, and begging an Alms of you; nay, if it had been for my very Life, I could not have spoke with more Earnestness. I have expostulated the Case [Page 360]with you, and asked you several weighty Que­stions, and you have not, you cannot answer a­ny one of them, but you must condemn your self; and by your own Confession, you have no­thing in the World to say against the Excellency of this Friend. And therefore you must either speedily come in, upon the Invitation, and close with those gracious Overtures that are made to you, or you must without any reason in the World (your self being Judge) cast your self away. And in hopes that all that have heard me, will not be so mad as to make light of these things, but be asking with some Seriousness, that great Question? How shall I do to get acquainted with God, how shall I do to get a Friend for my Soul? What shall I do to be saved? I have laid down some Directions for those that are unfeignedly desirous to be reconciled to God, I have told them that they must labour to be thorowly acquainted with that Strangeness, and Enmity that is in their Hearts against God; and of the unspeakable Danger of their being Strangers to God. I have further directed them that would be acquainted with God to labour to get humble Hearts. I have advised that they visit him of­ten, if they would be intimately acquainted with him; and that not in a transitory way, but to make a solemn set Visit of it, and to be sure that they do not forget to get Christ along with them. I counselled them also to be much in those Places where he is wont to walk; and to get in­timately acquainted with some of them that know him very well, and will do their best to get them to be acquainted with him. I have told you, that if you would be acquainted with God, you must [Page 361]kindly entertain, and make much of any Messen­gers that come from him to you; and if Men would make sure Work, I desired them as they loved their Souls, that they would follow this great Business with the greatest Earnestness and Seriousness in the World; and that, what they do, they would do speedily. I informed you what Arguments the Scripture puts into our Mouths, which we may urge at the Throne of Grace. I intreated you for your Soul's sake to take heed of those things which kept God and Man unacquainted; as namely, all Sin in general, but more particularly, Pride, Worldly-minded­ness, Hypocrisy, delight in wicked Company, Unbelief, and Sensuality. Lastly, I direct all such as would be at Peace with God to give up themselves to him resolvedly and freely, in a so­lemn Covenant.

And have I been beating the Air all this [...]ile? What will you do after all this? What [...]as [...] be­come of all these Sermons? Dare any of you all still be contented to be unacquainted with God? Can you be very well satisfied, after you have heard of such a Friend, to be a Stranger to him? Can any of you look upon your State as safe, while God is your Enemy? O how shall I leave you, with Hearts full of Enmity against your Maker! Alas, alas, poor Hearts! You look very merrily, as bad a Condition as you are in, but did you but know how near you are to everlasting Burnings, I believe it would put a Damp upon your Spirits, and spoil your Mirth. O how shall I leave that poor Sinner, that stands as a Person altogether unconcerned! Whereas Death stands ready for his Commission, to fetch him away be­fore [Page 362]God; and where are you then? O where are you then, if you come before God as a Stran­ger? O what shall I do for thee? What shall I say to thee, to prevail with thee! O what Ar­guments will perswade thee! O how shall we part! Brethren, my Heart's Desire is that you may all be saved. O that you may all know in this your Day, the things of your Peace! O that I could mingle all my Words with Tears! O pi­ty, pity, for the Lord's sake, pity your precious Souls! O come not here to ask Counsel of God, and then go away, and take the Counsel of the Devil! And what will you yet make light of all the Tenders of the Gospel? Is Peace, Pardon, Reconciliation, and Acquaintance with God, still nothing with you? Will you for all this take up with a lifeless Religion, and never mind a more spiritual intimate Converse with God? As the Lord liveth, thou speakest that Word against the Life of thy Soul. But if thou wilt go on, and de­spise God, who can help it? I have told you, and told you again, what the End of these things will be. Well once more I ask thee in the Name of God, wilt thou have God for thy Friend or no? That is, wilt thou love him above all the World? Wilt thou accept him for thy Lord and Husband? Wilt thou be ruled absolutely by him? Wilt thou lay down thy Weapons, and turn on God's side, and fight under his Banner? Wilt thou have Ho­liness here, and Happiness hereafter? One would think, this is a Question that one need not be long a resolving. Come, come away, for the Lord's sake; for your precious Soul's sake, as you would be owned at the Day of Judgment; as you would rejoice when most of the World shall be [Page 363]filled with unspeakable Horror, and Perplexity; as you would not hear that Heart-rending Word from the Mouth of the Judge, Depart, I know you not, come away, I beseech you! Come away! O ye my dear Friends, the Cloud hangs over the World, and e're long it will fall with a Vengeance. O come out of Sodom, linger not for the Lord's sake, lest the Dint of that Storm fall upon you. Fire! Fire! Fire! Awake! Awake! Awake! The Fire is kindled. What meanest thou, O Sin­ner! If thou sleepest a little longer in that Bed of Security, thou art a dead Man, thou wilt be awakened with Horror, when thou shalt know thy Danger, but not know how to avoid it. And do you still stay? Make hast! O make hast, your Glass is almost out, your time almost spent, and Death is hastning apace upon you; I speak it a­gain, make hast, come away, I can't, I can't hold my Peace. How can I indure to see the Ru­in of thy Soul, and say nothing! O follow those Directions which I have given thee out of the Scripture! Seek the Lord while he may be found, and with all possible Speed, Seriousness, and Gratitude, accept of his Kindness, while you may. Methinks some of your Hearts seem to be affected; methinks your Countenances speak you to have some Thoughts of returning; some of you look like Persons almost resolved to set upon this great Work. O that it may not be almost, but altogether! Speak in such Language as this to your own Souls. What meanest thou, O my Soul, thus to stand disputing? Is this a time for thee to stand still, as if thou hadst nothing to do? Hark, how the King of Glory calls! Hear how his Messengers invite you! Consider how [Page 364]long they have stood waiting for thee! And shall they go away without thee? O foolish Heart and unwise; wilt thou answer all these gracious Offers with a flat Denial? Or that which is little better, wilt thou put off all God's Messengers with some sorry Excuses? Awake, O my Soul, and look about thee! How canst thou refuse when Mercy calls? How canst thou deny when Kindness it self asks, intreats, beseecheth thee? Awake for shame, up and put on thy wedding-Garments, O that this Mind might be in you al­ways! O that thou wert up and ready! And then happy were the Day wherein thou wert born; then happy were the Day that ever you heard of a Christ, of Acquaintance with God, and Reconciliation with your Maker. O then how glorious shouldest thou be for ever! I re­joice to see the Day of thy Marriage a coming; when thy Lord and Husband shall bring thee home in the greatest State, and in infinite Glory to his own House, where thou shalt sit like a Queen for ever and ever. Behold his Harbin­gers are coming! Behold how many Messengers the Lord hath sent to prepare his Way! Awake, O Zion, and put on thy beautiful Garments! Rise up, O Royal Bride, and put on thy prince­ly Robes! Clothe thee with the Son, and put the Moon under thy Feet. Go out and meet the King thy Husband. Behold, O Jacob, the Wag­gons of Joseph are coming! Behold, O Daughter of Zion, the Chariots, the Chariots of thy King and Husband are a coming! they are a coming! O why doth not thy Heart leap within thee! O why do not thy Spirits even faint for Gladness! Why dost thou not say it is enough, I will go out [Page 365]and meet my Lord before I die? When will the Sun be up! When will the Day break! When, O when will the Shadows fly away! I will get me up to the Mountains of Mirrhe, to the Hills of Frankincense. I am travelling for Zion, my Face is towards Jerusalem; who will ascend the Holy Hill with me? Who will bare me Company to my Husband's House? Let us go up to the Lord's House; come away, the Sun is risen, the Shadows are flying away; thousands are gone al­ready. Let Barzillai and Chimham, old and young too, go along with the King to Jerusalem. Come from the High-ways and Hedges, come with your wedding-Garments, come quickly and he will make you welcome. The King hath sent to invite us to a Feast, a Feast of fat things, of Wines on the Lees well resined. Come, for the Table is spread, all things are ready, and his Servants stay for us. And will God enter­tain such Creatures as we are! And will the Lord open his Doors to such loathsome Beggars? Will the Father receive such Prodigals! Return then unto thy Rest, O my Soul, for the Lord will deal bountifully with thee. Who is that which I see coming in the Field? Who is this that comes from the Wilderness? that comes to meet us? Hark! Methinks I hear the Trumpet soun­ding: Hark! What's the matter! How do the Mountains eccho! How doth the Air ring again! What Noise is that which I hear! What glorious Train is that which I see! Whence do they come, and whither do they go? It is my Master's Son (dear Soul) thy Lord and Husband with his Royal Attendants. Behold he comes! He comes apace! Leaping upon the Hills, skip­ping [Page 366]upon the Mountains. He is coming! he is coming! he is even at the Door! E're long thou shalt see the Mountains covered with Cha­riots and Horses of Fire; the Earth will tremble and shake; the Heavens and the Earth will be all on a flaming Fire; the King of Glory will come, riding upon the Wings of the Wind, accompa­nied with Millions of his Saints and Angels: He is coming, he is at the Door. Go vail thy Face; alight and meet thy Husband. He will bring thee into his Father's Palace, and thou shalt be his Wife, and he will love thee for ever: and thou shalt re­member thy Widowhood no more. Even so, come Lord Jesus, come quickly, Amen. Amen.


BOOKS printed for Eben Tracy, at the Three Bibles on London-bridge.

THE Works of William Smith, A.M. in three Parts. I. The History of the Life, Death and Resurrection and Ascension of our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; with the Lives and Deaths of the Holy Evange­lists and Apostles. II. The Lives, Acts, and Martyrdoms of those Blessed Christians, who were contemporary with, or immediately succeeded the Apostles: As also, the most eminent Fathers of the Primitive Church, who pro­fessed and suffered for the Christian Faith. III. Pious Breathings: Or, The Souls Ascent to the Throne of Grace; containing Forms of Devotion, both upon ordi­nary and extraordinary Occasions. With a rational Ac­count of all the Feasts and Fasts observed by the Church of England. Adorned with forty curious Cuts,

The mute Christian under the smarting Rod; with sovereign Antidotes against the most miserable Exigents: or, A Christian with an Olive-leaf in his Mouth, when he is under the greatest Afflictions, the sharpest and sorest Tryals and Troubles, the saddest and darkest Providences and Changes; with Answers to divers Questions and Ob­jections that are of greatest Importance; all tending to win and work Souls to be still, quiet, calm and silent, under all Changes that have, or may pass upon them in this World, &c. The Tenth Edition, corrected. By Thomas Brooks, late Preacher of the Word at St. Marga­ret's New Fish-street, London.

The Spiritual Pilgrim: Or, the Christian's Journey to New Jerusalem. In three Parts. The first shewing his Journey and Adventures in his Way from the City of Sin to the Town of Morality. The second giving an Account of his Journey from the Town of Morality to the City of Repentance. The Third treating of his Journey and Ad­ventures in his Way, into which he came at the City of Repentance, till his safe Arrival at New Jerusalem. The whole being a lively Prospect of the several Passages of a Christian's Life, from his first Conviction to his thorow Conversion, and thenceforth till his Death and happy Reception into Heaven. By Henry Wilson.

[Page]Several Practical Discourses concerning the Doctrine of Christ's Satisfaction. By J. Mauditt, V.D.M.

The Present State of Great Britain, under the auspi­cious Government of her most Sacred Majesty Queen Anne. Containing, I. A general Description of England, Scot­land, and Wales, through their several Cities, Counties, Districts, Principalities, &c. II. Of the present Geniu, Language, Trade, Laws, and Religion of the Britains, III. Of the several Ranks and Orders of Men; the No­bility, Gentry, Clergy, and Commonalty. With a par­ticular Account of Precedency, from the first Peer to the meanest Peasant. Taken from the Authorities of the best Lawyers, both Common and Civil, as well as Antiqua­ries, Heralds, &c. such as Cambden, Selden, Segar, Ferne, and many others. IV. Of the present Monarchy of Great Britain, its Greatness and Power; the Sovereign's Pre­rogative, Dignity, Title and Arms; Her Court, Forces, and Revenues of the present Princes and Princesses of the Blood Royal, and the Succession to the Crown, as set­tled by Act of Parliament. V. Of the High Court of Par­liament, Privy-Council, and all Courts of judicature. With the newest and most perfect List of Her Majesties Officers in Church and State, and of the present Parlia­ment and Convocation of Great Britain.

The Marrow of the Mathematicks made plain and easie to the Understanding of any ordinary Capacity; con­taining the Doctrines of Arithmetick, Geometry, Astio [...] ­my, Gauging, the Use of the Sector, Surveying, Dialling, and the Art of Navigation, &c. illustrated with several Cuts for the better Explanation of the whole Matter. After a new, compendious, easie Method, by W. Pichering, Merchant-Adventurer. To which is added, Measuring Surfaces and Solids, such as Plank, Timber, Stone, &c. Joiners, Carpenters, Bricklayers, Glasiers, Painters, and Pa­viours Work: Each Proposition being wrought Vulgarly, Decimally, Practically, and Instrumentally, with a small Tract of Gauging Wine, Ale, or Malt, without Inches, or Division, by which any one may gauge ten Backs, or Floors of Malt, in the same Time another shall gauge one, by the Way now used: Altogether new, and submitted to the Censure of the Honourable Commissioners of Excise. By J. L. P.M.

This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. This Phase I text is available for reuse, according to the terms of Creative Commons 0 1.0 Universal. The text can be copied, modified, distributed and performed, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.