TO MY VERY KIND AND LOVING VN∣KLES, Mr. NICOLAS CRISPE And Mr. ELLIS CRISPE, with theirs.
BEloved in Christ Iesus; that which was prea∣ched sometime at the request of the one of you, unto a a solemne Assembly, whereof he then was Chiefe, is now further presented joyntly to you both▪ (and well to you both, by ba double bond, as well of Na∣ture as Grace, Brethren) together with the rest of yours, as all Branches of one Page [unnumbered]Stocke, through Gods gracious provision, neither farre severed in aboad, and com∣bined sweetly in the holy band of true Love. The maine subject Matter of it is nothing in effect, but a Motive or incite∣ment unto that, which it standeth us all upon, in the first place, and with our best care and endevour, as well to seeke after, as to seeke into: To seeke into, that wee may know it, and learne it; to seeke after, that we may be possessed and seized of it. Since it is that alone wherein cMans Happinesse wholly consisteth: and it is d not the bare notice of it, but the owning and enjoying of it, that can make men truly and eternally happie. That we may therefore know and understand what it is, wherin it consisteth, and by what means it may be attaineds (And * till wee bee thus acquainted with it, wee can never come to be possessed of it) we must make diligent esearch and enquirie into Gods Word. for it is that alone that can ffully and ginfallibly informe us of it: Other Page [unnumbered]writings only so farre forth as they are drawne out of it, agree with it, and are grounded thereupon. This Word there∣fore ought to be h the constant Matter of our daily Meditation; (as containing the fundamentall Lawes and Constitutions of the Kingdom here propounded; together with the Conditions and Capitulations re∣quired on the part of all those that are to partake in it, and the roiall Priviledges and Prerogatives annexed thereunto;) if we desire or expect ever to have part and portion therein. But because ino Art is easily without a Teacher attained▪ and, in this more specially, all koutward tea∣ching without the inward is uneffectuall: As l all holy helpes are to bee used, the mpublike Ministerie especially to be dili∣gently frequented; (n the Church is o the place wherein hee ordinarily teacheth, who hath p his Schoole on earth, though q his Chaire in Heaven:) so earnest praier is to be used for a blessing from God on all such our courses and endevours either publike or private, that he will be pleased Page [unnumbered] with his good Spirit to second and assist his owne Ordinances, that thereby r the eyes of our minds may be opened, & s our understandings so illightened, that we may be able in some due measure to see and discerne this estate what it is, and to con∣ceive & apprehend the Mysteries apper∣taining unto it. Again, because it will lit∣tle availe us to know it, unlesse we have our share in it▪ to be wel seene in the Sta∣tutes & Ordinan••• of it, unlesse we have part in the Immunities and Roialties that are therin to be enjoyed: (It is but a dou∣ble misery for a man to know what is to be had, if he have it not himselfe:) Our next endevour therefore must be (for the effecting whereof also t the assistance of Gods Spirit is humbly and instantly to be craved) to have that which we have lear∣ned, or do learne, out of Gods word, concer∣ning this Roiall & blessed estate, to be ef∣fectually uwrought into us: (and indeed till it be so wrought into us, it is * never truly, soūdly, or effectually learned of us:) That is, we must strive & labour to have true faith, repentance, and other spirituall Page [unnumbered] graces surely ysetled in our soules; wher∣by we may both have a right and title to this Kingdome, and be in some good sort and measure also possessed & seized of it. The rather since that zafter this life none shall partake in it, but those only that in some d•gree or other were possessed of it, while they lived here. As it is with us therefore in regard of worldly possessions; so should it be in regard of this heavenly Inheritance. For worldly possessions, we wil get, if we can, a title to them; when we have it, we will be sure that our title be good, and use all meanes to make it sure: and when we have so done, we are not yet then at rest neither; wee cannot bee quiet, till we be seized and possessed of it, yea til we be in an absolute, quiet, & peace∣able possession, not of some part of it, but of the whole. In like manner should it be with us for this aheavenly Inheritance: we must first labour to get a bright and title unto it: which by cfaith must be procu∣red: for it is that alone on our part, that by dIustification & free eAdoption giveth us a title thereunto. In the next place we Page [unnumbered] must endevour to get some fgood assu∣rance that this our title to it is good: that which must by the gtriall of our faith be effected▪ For h (to omit, that by seeming titles many oft are deluded) though our title to it be never so good, yet we may not be aware of it, and so misse may wee of much comfort, until we have taken some due triall of it. And lastly, we must strive and contend to get our selves more and more possessed of it: which must be done i by the kexercise & lgrowth of our faith, and other the graces of God in us, and by m a constant usage of all good means wher∣by the same may be nnourished,ocorrobo∣rated, & pencreased. For q the more spiri∣tuall grace spreadeth & groweth power∣ful in us, the more ground get we of our corrupt nature: And r the more cōquest we make of this our inward corruption, the further proceed wee in possession of this our sheavenly Inheritance. Now because so long as wee live here in t an estate of Imperfection, (for u no perfection is to be had, or to be hoped for of us while we are here) we can never fully be acquaintedPage [unnumbered] with the Rules and Rights of this King∣dome, or the parts and parcels of this Inhe∣ritance: For so long as *we know these, as o all other things, but in part,p we cannot but of some part of them remain ignorant still: Nor can we attain to such a full and plenary assurāce of our right to it, but that some doubt & scruple about it wil be som∣time troubling us: For since that as our o∣ther parts, so q our faith also is imperfect; and our notice of it as weake ordinarily, as our faith it selfe is; & that where faith is so imperfect, there must needs be some rinfi∣delity more or lesse mixt with it; it can hardly be avoided but that some *wave∣ring should be: especially cōsidering that we have to deal with a most wily Adver∣sary, that is wont oft to be questioning of this our right & title, & by many subtil quirkes, and fallacies, & colourable preten∣ces, endevouring to shake this our assu∣rance: And much lesse can we attaine to any full and absolute; (while but sin part as yet we are sanctified, & but tin hope on∣ly glorified;) yea or quiet and peaceable possession of it▪ u the enemy being & abi∣ding Page [unnumbered] yet within our gates, & x daily wor∣king our disturbāce: For this cause ther∣fore, and in regard hereof, is our Seeking of this Kingdome, not to be practised for a spurt, or taken up for some time, & then to be let fall and laid downe againe, as if no further need were of it, but y last it must, and continue z so long as this life lasteth. Still asearching we must be in∣to it, that we may b grow better acquain∣ted with it: and still cstrengthning our assurance, that we may take dfaster hold of it: and still striving to egrow in grace, that we may f get further possession of it: And a principall part must it be of our daily Prayer, that gThis Kingdome may come; that not only it may hcome into us to take possession of us, but that iwe may come at length also to a full fruition of it, k attaining to thelend of our faith, and hope, and sanctification, the eternallmsal∣vation of our soules and nbodies. This is the course that in this discourse you are encited unto; which I doubt not but that you have also made both an happie entrance into, yea and good progresse in Page [unnumbered] already; yet if any spurre may be found therein, that may helpe to pricke you on (or any of you, or any other that have more need than you) to a more eager opursuing, putting on, and pressing hard (with the Apostle) to the marke-ward, for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Iesus; or if any rub may thereby be removed, that either hath beene, or hereafter may be cast into your way, ei∣ther by the World, or p the Prince of it, or any homebred confederate of his, whereby you might bee (as the people were by qAmasaes corps) either stayed, or turned aside, or disheartned, or slacked in this your religious course; a plentifull recompence I shall esteeme it of my paines therein taken, and I beseech God to that purpose to give his blessing thereupon. I have unto the Sermon annexed a short Cateche∣ticall Summe, which may helpe, though not your selves, being now past such helpes, yet your younger ones, that are r not past the breast yet, (for which sort in mine owne Family at first I contrived it;) in the enquiry after, and discovery of Page [unnumbered] the way to this Kingdome▪ wherein from the grounds of sacred Scripture is briefly declared, how at first we were spossessed of it▪ how we came to be tdeprived of it, and by what means we may be ure∣stored againe to it: As also it may helpe to fit and prepare them for the partici∣pation of the Sacramēt of the Lords Sup∣per. Commending both to Gods Bles∣sing, and my selfe to your Prayers, I take leave, and rest
Yours in the Lord Iesus, THOMAS GATAKER.