Life eternall or, A treatise of the knowledge of the divine essence and attributes Delivered in XVIII. sermons. By the late faithfull and worthy minister of Iesus Christ, Iohn Preston, D. in Divinity, chaplaine in ordinary to his Majestie, master of Emmanuel Colledge in Cambridge, and sometimes preacher of Lincolns Inne.
Preston, John, 1587-1628., Ball, Thomas, 1589 or 90-1659., Goodwin, Thomas, 1600-1680.
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EXODVS 3.13, 14.

And Moses said unto God, Behold when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, the God of your fathers hath sent mee unto you, and shall say unto me, what is his name; what shall I say unto them?

And God said unto Moses, I AM, THAT I AM, &c.

[Vse 2] A Second use from this point is this: If God be a spirit, then his dominion, government, and provi∣dence is chiefly exercised on the spirits of men.* It is true, his providence is over all things that belong to us: but, as he is in himselfe a Spirit, so he puts forth, and exerciseth this power of his principally in guiding the spirits of men, and Page  26 in that you are chiefly to observe his provi∣dence toward you. And that you shall see in Rom. 14.17.*The kingdome of God, that is, his rule, and power, is not in meate and drinke, for they are outward things, and hee that is a spirit regards them not; but it is in righteousnesse and peace, and joy in the holy Ghost: that is, in the things that belong to the spirit, therein is his kingdome, and dominion chiefly exercised. So also, Psal. 33.14, 15.*From the place of his habi∣tation hee looketh downe upon all the inhabitants of the earth: he fashioneth their hearts alike, hee consi∣dereth all their workes. Marke it, when God lookes downe from heaven, and beholdes the children of men, the chiefest thing that he doth, wherein his government is exercised, is, in that hee fashions their hearts and spirits: and therefore those e∣ternall subjects of his that live with him for ever, and spirits, as the Angels, and the soules of men. Therefore if thou wouldest observe the will of the Lord toward thee, and wouldest see, wherein his providence is chiefly exerci∣sed, looke upon thy spirit upon all occasions; that is, what bents, what inclinations, what hopes, and desires hee hath put into thy soule. If you looke upon men in the world, you shall see them divers in their spirits; one man lusts after riches, honour and preferment; another after gaming, sporting and drinking: now looke upon this temper of spirit as the grea∣test judgement of all others. Againe, looke upon the spirits of other men, they are fashio∣ned Page  27 a contrary way, to deny themselves, to seeke grace, and avoid sinne; to be content to have God alone, to doe his worke, and to leave their wages to God, to live a painfull life, ser∣ving God, and men with their sweetnesse: this is a quite contrary spirit, and this is the greatest blessing. Therefore you shall see, that when the Lord is angry with a man, so that his anger is wound up to the highest pegge, then he gives him over to this judgement: as it is, Psal. 81.12.*So I gave them over to their owne hearts lust, and they walked in their owne counsells: that is, my judgement shall be executed upon their spirits, to leave them to an unjudicious minde. Againe, on the other side, when the Lord would doe a man the greatest kindnesse, then he fashions his spirit another way. Deut. 30.6.*And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord with all thine heart, and with all thy soule, that thou maist live: as if he should say, when I minde to doe you a kindnesse, then I will thus fashion your hearts aright. So E∣zek. 36.26.*A new heart also will I give unto you, and a new spirit will I put within you, and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and will give you an heart of flesh. The Scrip∣ture is plentifull in this. Therefore if thou wouldest observe what the LORD is to thee, looke how hee fashions thy spirit: if thou findest that hee leaves thee to unruly affecti∣ons and lusts, and leaves thee to be glued to that from which thou shouldest be divorced; Page  28 or that he hath left thee in bondage to the feare of men, as a snare to thee, there is no greater judgement in the world than this, as it is the greatest mercy on the contrary. Therefore in 2 Tim. 4.22.*Paul prayes, The Lord Iesus Christ be with thy spirit: as if hee should say, this is the greatest mercy that I can wish thee, and the greatest good that God can doe thee, and there∣fore he wisheth God to be with his spirit.

*Now to set on this point a little further, and to make this plaine to you: you shall see it in these three things.

[ 1] 1. Because all other things, as riches, poverty, health, sicknesse, &c. he dispenseth these pro∣miscuously, so, he gives riches to wicked men, &c. because as it is Eccles. 9.1.*His love, or ha∣tred, cannot be knowne by these things. Whence I reason thus; That wherein the love and hatred of God is most seene, therein his providence chiefly exerciseth it selfe: but in the fashioning of the spirits of men, there, and there chiefly, is his providence seene; for other things come alike to men, to him that sacrificeth, and to him that sacrificeth not.

[ 2] 2. The disposing of other things is much in the power of men. A Prince, or a man hath power to kill, or to save, he can give riches, and honor, and take them away, at his pleasure: But to rule the spirits, to compose, and guide the apprehensions, and affections of the soule, that belongs to God alone; a man is no more a∣ble to doe it, than to rule the raging sea. For Page  29 as it is proper to God alone, to compose the winde, and to rule the waves: so it is proper to him alone to rule the turbulent affections, to compose, and guide them. If there be any dis∣ordered affection in the heart, as an immoderate love of any thing, or an impatient desire to any thing, who, is able to remove it, but the Lord who is a Spirit? So, who can implant holy af∣fections in thee, but he alone? as, for example, to thinke a good thought, a man cannot do it with∣out him, who is the Father of spirits; so to per∣swade a man, no man can doe it, it must be the Lord, as Noah saith; God shall perswade Laphet to dwell in the Tents of Sem. So to see the hai∣nousnesse of sinne, and the evill of it, no man can doe it but by the spirit of God, as it is said. Iohn 16.9.*The Spirit convinceth men of Sinne. So to wil this, or that, which is good, it is he that workes both the will and the deed. A man cannot choose but bee swallowed vp with worldly griefe, except God keepe him, he cannot chose but feare the face of man, except God assist him: for this is one of Gods prerogatives royall, to rule in the affections, and apprehension of men.

[ 3] 3 Because the guiding of a mans spirit, is of the greatest consequence of all other things else. Now God is a wise commander, and there∣fore he will not exert, and put forth his power, but in things of greatest moment: but the guid∣ing of our affections is all in all to us. For, in a mans outward estate, what things soever befall him, all are nothing; but what his apprehensi∣on Page  30 is of them, and how he is affected to them, makes them crosses or comforts: if a mans spirit be whole, the greatest crosse is nothing, and the least is intolerable, if his spirit be broken. As, againe, what are all pleasant things, if a man hath not a heart to apprehend them? As to Paul, what was all his persecution? as long as his spirit was whole within him, he carried it out well: and what was Paradise to Adam, and a kingdome to Ahab, when their spirit was bro∣ken? It is the apprehension that makes every thing to a man heavy, or unheavy, pleasant or unpleasant, sweete or sower: and therefore this is the use to be made of it, to behold Gods pro∣vidence cheifely on our spirits, and not onely in our owne spirits, but what he doth vpon the spirits of others also. It is a thing we stumble at, when we see a wicked man prosper, and car∣ry all things in the world before him, we should not say, where is Gods providence, and the truth of his promise? but see what he doth upon the spirit of that man. If thou seest such a man more malicious to the Church, and children of God, growing more carnall, and abominable in his courses, therein is Gods curse seene more, than in all the dispensation of outward curses: for that treasure of sinne which he layes up for himselfe, will draw on a treasure of wrath, which will be executed in due season. There∣fore beholde your spirits alwayes, and Gods providence upon them. Lament. 3.65.*Give them sorrow of heart, thy curse upon them: the Page  31 words signifie, which is thy curse upon them. Therefore if you see an obstinate heart in a man, that is the greatest curse of all. As in re∣ceiving the Sacrament, there wee doe pro∣nounce a curse to him that receives it unworthi∣ly, and prophanes the Lords body: but, it may be, he goes on and sees it not; but now looke upon his spirit, and see how GOD deales with that, whether his heart doth not grow harder, and more obdurate, which is the greatest curse? You may observe this every where. If thou seest one that hath a vaine and idle spirit, that cannot studie, that cannot pray, that cannot choose but be carried away by an unruly lust to this or that thing, believe it, this is a greater judge∣ment than all the diseases in the world, than all shame and disgrace, that wee account so much of, than poverty and crosses: as it is the grea∣test mercy, on the other side, when a man is able to serve GOD with an upright heart, and to be sincere in all his carriage. Thus it is with men, and this thou shouldest observe in thy selfe also from day to day. Let us not observe so much, what accidents befall us, what good is done to us, or what crosses wee have, (it is true indeed GOD is seene in all these things) but chiefly looke what GOD hath done to our spirit, what composing of minde, or what tur∣bulency of affections, or what quietnesse, what patience, or what impatience; and for this be chiefly humbled, or be chiefly thankfull: for to take away from Christ the praise of sanctifi∣cation, Page  32 is as much as to take away the praise of his redemption. Herein thou shalt see his love or hatred manifested to thee; his greatest judge∣ment shewed to thee, or his greatest mercies.

*The Third Vse is that which the Scripture makes of it. Iohn 4, 24.* If God be a Spirit, then worship him in Spirit and truth.* What it is to worship God in spirit and truth, you shall see, if you compare this place with that in Rom. 1.9*For God is my witnesse, whom I serve with my spirit in the Gospell of his Sonne, that without ceasing I make mention of you alwayes in my prayers.* The meaning of it is this. When Paul had taken a solemne asseveration, GOD is my witnesse, &c. doe not thinke, saith hee, that I have done this feignedly, I am no such man; in preaching the Gospell of Iesus Christ, I doe it in my spirit: that is, I doe it not for by-ends, for feare of men, or the like, but I doe it in my spirit, that is, plainly, heartily, and sincerely.

So that to worship GOD in spirit, is, to have a plainnesse, and sincerity in our worshipping him, that is, to doe it heartily what we doe to him; in our praying, and worshipping him, when it is not formally, and customarily done, but our spirit seconds it within, this it is to wor∣ship him in spirit. So that the scope of our ex∣hortation is, that you would worship GOD chiefly in your spirits. As it is said of singing Psalmes, Col. 3.16.*Admonish one another in Psalmes, and hymnes, and spirituall songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And the Page  33 ground of it is, because GOD is a spirit, and therefore he beholdes at any such time, when you come before him, the inward behaviour of your spirits: that is, he observes when you come to preach, or pray, what squint-eyed ends, what vaine glory, what respect to men you have. Yea, he observes how farre naturall conscience leads you, so that you do it as a task, out of custome, &c. he observes what worldly-mindednes, and carnall affections creep into the soule, at that time, that makes you either to post off the duty, or else to doe it in a customary manner. All this doth he behold, he lookes to the inward carriage of the spirit: and therefore doe you looke chiefly to the inward carriage, to the inward frame of your minde.*

[Quest.] But what is that more particularly?

[Answ.] I will shew it to you in these three things.

[ 1] 1. See that thy spirit be as neare him as thy lippes are, Isay 29.13.* Hee complaines of a sort of people, that draw nigh unto God with their mouth, and with their lips doe honour him, but have removed their heart farre from him, and their feare towards him is taught by the precepts of men. So Ier. 12.2.*Thou oh Lord art neare in their mouth, and farre from their reines. Now if thou wouldest worship him in spirit, see that thy spirit be as neare him as thy words are. As, for example, in prayer thou confessest thy sinnes, and profes∣sest that thou doest hate them, thou prayest for mortification, and grace, & for weanednes from the world; herein thy words and Gods will doe Page  34 agree, they are consonant, and when yet, it may be, the inward inclination of thy heart is farre enough off from this expression: therefore bring thy spirit neare to God as thy lippes are, and then thou worshippest him in spirit. To shew you more plainly what this farrenesse off of the spirit is; take a covetous man, and put him upon the racke of any exigent, where hee must part with all to save his life, he will say as much as need to be in this case: but his heart is set as close to his wealth, as ever it was before, so that he is loath to part with any thing. And take a thiefe that comes before the Iudge, hee confesseth his fault, and begges pardon, and saith that he will doe so no more: but yet his heart sits as neere to his theft, he is as farre from honesty as ever he was before. So take a man, when he comes into some exigent, (for that u∣sually is the time) as at the receiving of the Sa∣crament, or at his day of death, he comes and professeth to the Lord, that hee will follow no more his wicked courses; but he will become a new man, here his words draw neare, but looke to the bent and inclination of his heart, to the radicall constitution of it, and that is farre from holinesse, there hee sits as close to his sinne as hee did before. Therefore, if thou wouldest worship God in spirit, take care that thy spirit draw neare to him upon all such occasions, as thy words doe. A man in his ordinary course, it may be, prayes, and his prayers are good: but how farre his heart is from it, that his life Page  35 shewes. It is a strange thing, that at the Sacra∣ment, men come and make confession of their sins: and yet their spirits are far from it, and that their practise shewes. Consider this; you are the men that the Prophet doth speake too, you draw nigh to GOD with your lips, but your heart is farre from him. And this is the first particu∣ler.

[ 2] When you worship God with all the might and strength, and indevour of the minde and all the faculties of it, this is to worship God in spirit. 2 Sam. 6.14.* It is said of David, that hee danced before the Lord with all his might: it was a worship of God, a spirituall worship of God, wherein David, by his outward act of dancing, did expresse his exultation, and re∣ioycing in the Lord. Now the text saith, that he did this with all his might, with all the might of his spirit; (for so you must understand it.) It is a Metaphore taken from the body, when a man useth all his strength, and might to doe any thing, he vnites all the forces of his body to it: so a man worshippeth God in spirit, when all the faculties of the soule, are concentred and united together in the performance of such a dutie. And therefore it is called a wrastling with the Lord, as Iacob did: and it is called a stri∣ving with God, as Paul saith, that you strive together with me in prayer: Rom. 15.30.* that is, when the soule, and the minde are joyned all to∣gether, when hee bends the whole soule to the worke, this is to worship God in spirit. Such Page  36 an expression you haue, Act. 20.* where Paul went bound in the spirit to Ierusalem; that is, his spirit did not hang loose, but it was girt up in a resolution to goe through with the worke, whatsoever came of it, his spirit was bound. Now, when thy spirit hangs loose upon the du∣ty, halfe on, and halfe off, when a man cares not whether hee doth it or no, this is not to worship God with the spirit; but when thy minde is girt up, and thou dost it with all the intention of thy soule, then thou dost it hearti∣ly, as it is Col. 3.22.*Servants obey in all things your Masters according to the flesh; not with eye-service, as men pleasers, but in singlenesse of heart fearing GOD: where eye-service, and heartily are op∣posed. Eye-service is, when a man doth it in the outward shew, and appearance onely, and what is the other, to doe a thing heartily? That is, when a mans strength and his soule doth goe with the duty: and the contrary to this is, the loosenesse of the minde, and the wandring of it about other things, when the body, and the words are well imployed, but the minde doth not goe with them; this is not to worship God in spirit, when the spirit sits thus loose to God. And this is the second thing, wherein this worshipping of God in spirit, doth con∣sist.

[ 3] The Third which hath not much, but yet some difference from the former, is this, when the spirit of a man beholds God alone; when his eye is upon him, when hee comes to wor∣ship Page  37 him, and upon nothing besides. If a man will have an eye to men, to the praise, or dis∣praise that shall follow the performance of the duty, he doth so farre worship men. But hee serves God and worships him in spirit, when his heart is left naked, and stripped of all other re∣spects in the world, and so filled, and over∣awed with the presence of God, that all other respects doe vanish. This it is to worship God in singlenesse of heart; and this is opposed to outward performance Col. 3.22.* for eye-ser∣vice is but onely a bodily and outward wor∣ship: but when a man doth it with singlenesse of heart, then it is not eye-service as there; that is, it is not outward onely. Now, singlenesse of heart is this; when the minde hath but one single object to looke upon; so that to looke, not upon any creature, but upon God, and none besides. This is to worship God in singlenesse of heart, which is the same with holinesse of spirit. As the holinesse of the vessell in the old law was when it was set apart from all other services to God alone, so the holinesse of a mans spirit is, when it is separated from all by-respects and aimes, and is wholly devoted to him (whence our word, Devotion doth spring) and when a man worships God with this naked∣nesse, with this singlenes and holinesse of spirit, then he worships God in spirit. But when thou commest to performe any duty, as to preach a Sermon, or to pray, and thou lookest what men will thinke of thee, and what praise and credit thou shalt get by it, this pollutes your spirit; so Page  38 farre as you doe this, there is not singlenesse, but doublenesse of spirit, and here is eye-ser∣vice in GODS account.

Therefore looke alwayes to worship him in spirit, remember the argument here used, GOD is a Spirit: that is, looke how the corporeall eye of man beholds the body, when thou com∣mest to Church, and can see the negligence of thy behaviour, and uncomely gesture; so GOD, that is a spirit, he beholds the vanity and loose∣nesse of thy spirit within, the turning and rou∣ling of it this way, or that way; therefore take diligent heede to thy spirit; labour to approve thy selfe to him, care not what any creature saith or thinketh of thee; and this is to worship him in thy spirit.

Now here are two Questions to be answered.

[Quest. 1] If GOD must thus be worshipped in spirit, and it is the behaviour of that which he lookes to, what necessity is there then of a bodily, comely, and outward gesture? how farre is this required in his worship?*

[Answ.] The spirituall worship of God is never well performed, but when it is signified by the comely gesture of the body, as farre as wee may. I say, they must concurre, the body must goe with the spirit, (though indeed he chiefly lookes to the spirit) for they are both his, 1 Cor. 6.20.* Besides, the body doth exceedingly helpe the spirit, and it doth testifie, when you come before others, that holinesse and reverence, which you have of Gods glory and majesty. Page  39 Therefore to perswade you to this, you must know, that when ever you come to worship God, there ought to be a great solemnity in e∣very part of his worship, which cannot be without the concurrence of the body and spi∣rit of man, they cannot be disjoyned: And you shall see the necessity of this, in these 3 things.

[ 1] 1. Because, though holinesse be seated in the spirit, yet it doth & will appeare in the body at the same time. You know, the light of the can∣dle is seated in the candle, yet it shines through the lant-horne, if it be there; so, though holi∣nesse be seated in the spirit, yet it will appeare in the body, if it be there. It is so in all other things, and therefore must needes be so in this: As, take any affections that are in us, as a blush∣ing affection, when occasion is, it will appeare in the body, whether we will or no; so an im∣pudent face is discerned and perceived also; so awefulnesse, and feare, and reverence, they will shew themselves, and looke out at the windowes of the eyes, and appeare in the face, except we willingly suppresse them. Now, if these will doe so; surely it holds in this also. If there be a reverence of the minde, it will be seene in the behaviour of the body. Therefore you see; Eliah, when he prayed earnestly, the dispositi∣on of the body went with it, he put his face downe betweene his legges. So Iesus Christ, when hee prayed for Lazarus, hee groaned in his spirit, and wept. Now if he did so, (who might be exemp∣ted, if any might) then doe not thou thinke that Page  40 thou canst have a holy, reverent disposition of the minde, and it not appeare in the body, it cannot be. Therefore you shall finde, that this is called the heart every where, because the af∣fections are seated there; and now the body is accordingly affected as the heart is affected; for what affections a man hath, such is his heart.

[ 2] 2. Consider this; If thou findest thy selfe apt to a carelesse, negligent behaviour, and carriage of the body, when thou commest to GOD, and pretendest this, that he is a spirit, and must be worshipped in spirit; I say, consider, whether this be not an excuse that thy flesh makes to this end, that it may be lazie, and have some ease to it selfe, from a false acception of that principle, God is a Spirit, that so it may give way to an outward lazinesse of the body. Therefore looke narrowly to it, thou shouldest stirre up the out∣ward man, that thou thereby maist stirre up the inward man, when thou commest before God in any worship.

[ 3] 3. Consider, that to make any thing an or∣dinance, there must be an application of the whole man to it; otherwise, it is but a lame performance, and God will not reckon as the obedience of an ordinance. For this truth must be remembred; That an ordinance of God per∣formed as it ought to be, doth usually carry a blessing with it. A prayer, a Sacrament recei∣ved as it ought, a fast kept as it should, moves the Lord to give a blessing, if thou doest not Page  41Ponere obicem, thou shalt not goe away empty; for it is alwayes accompanied with a blessing: as it is said to Ananias, Acts 9.*Goe to Paul, for behold he prayes: when it is a prayer indeed, God can holde no longer. Doe you thinke, that Paul never prayed before, when he was a Pha∣rise? Yes; but it was not as he ought, he never prayed indeed till now; now consider, when thou commest before the Lord to performe any duty to him, thou wilt say, it may be, that my spirit is well disposed, though the gesture of my body be not according? but I say, deceive not thy selfe with this, but looke that it be a tho∣row performance. For as it was in the old law, a lame sacrifice was accepted as none: so a lame prayer, a lame hearing the word, a lame perfor∣mance of any exercise God reckons as none. Therefore in these things God sends them away empty as they came. What better are they? doe their hearts get any thing? Beloved, God is a fountaine, and if he meet with a fit pipe, (as is an ordinance rightly performed there he usu∣ally conveyes his grace: but if he meet with a foule pipe, and obstructed, there hee doth not conferre any blessing.

Now, if thou saist, I have thus behaved my selfe, and have not beene answered? Doe not deceive thy selfe; for if it be truly performed, you shall be answered: so that looke, if it be truly done, expect a blessing, GOD will not suffer his ordinance, at that time, to be a pen without inke, or a pipe without water. I hope Page  42 there be none of us here that neglect prayer to GOD morning, and evening, that live as if there no GOD in the world, as if they were not his subjects: if there be, GOD will wound the hoa∣ry scalpe of such. But these are not the men I speake to; but they are those that doe it from day to day, they pray from time to time, and o∣mit it not; these are the men, whom wee are to advertise in this case. Take heede, though you pray every day, yet it may be thou hast not made a prayer all thy life yet, and this is the case of many. For, if thou considerest what an ordinance is indeed, thou shalt know that the Lord doth not reckon all petitioning as a pray∣er, nor set it downe for the ordinance. And it may bee the case of the Saints sometimes, (though we speake not now to them) they may pray often, and yet the Lord not register, nor set it downe for a prayer, and therefore it may never come into remembrance before him. And this I take to be Davids case in the time of his adultery; the ground of which you shall see, Psal. 51.16, 17.*Open thou my lips (O LORD) and my mouth shall set forth thy praise: David had, as it were, mistaken himselfe, he thought that he had prayed, and offered a sacrifice, but, saith he, I was deceived all this while, I was not able to open my mouth to any purpose; therefore, Lord, open thou my mouth; I brought sacri∣fice in, but thou regardest it not, till my heart was humbled; Therefore, a broken and a con∣trite heart, O GOD, thou wilt not despise. Page  43 Therefore you deceive your selves, that goe on in a customary performance of holy duties, and thinke that you pray for all this; that thinke this worship to be in the spirit onely, when your outward man carries it selfe negligently; this is but a lame performance, they must goe both together. Therefore looke that it be an ordinance, which then it is, when not onely the spirit of a man is well set, but the whole man is applied to the duty, that is, when all the strength of a man goes to it.

[Object.] If you say, May not a man pray sometimes, when he is walking, or lying, or riding by the way, or the like?

[Answ.] I answer, There be two times of prayer, one is ordinary, and in private, when you may have all opportunity to doe it in a holy, and solemne manner, and then you ought to doe it solemn∣ly. The other is, when you pray occasionally; and there the occasion and disposition doth not admit such outward solemnity; as when a man gives thankes at meate, or prayeth when hee rides; Here the Lord accepts the will for the deed: GOD requires not this upon all occasi∣ons; yet when you may, you ought to doe it, in a reverent manner, not onely of spirit, but of the bodie also. You may gather it from Christ, he fell on his face and prayed, Luke 22.42. and Da∣niel,* and Abraham, it is said that they bowed themselves to the ground: And it is said of Christ, that hee lifted up his eyes to heaven, when he blessed the loaves. Why are these set Page  44 downe? If any man might be freed, Iesus Christ might; but it pleaseth the holy Ghost to set downe that circumstance of him, that he fell on his face, and that hee lift up his eyes to hea∣ven.

Indeed, in this case when it is hurtfull to the body, there it may be omitted; the Lord will have mercie rather than sacrifice, even mercie upon your bodies. So also, when you finde that it hurts the inward man, and hinders it, when the heart doth it out of a conceit, that it may performe it the better, then there is a libertie left unto you to dispense with it.

As I say for prayer, so for other duties: when a man comes to heare the word, hee saith, my minde is intent enough, though I make not such a shew; yet notwithstanding know this, that thou must behave thy self reverently when thou commest before God. You shall see in Luke 4. when Christ preached,* it is said, that the eyes of all the people were fastened upon him. Why is such a corporall gesture noted in the text? is it in vaine? No, because it is a comely gesture, therefore it is to be regarded.

[Quest. 2] How should we conceive of GOD in prayer, seeing he is a Spirit, and a Spirit we never saw: what conceit and apprehension of GOD should we have then when we come to call upon his name?

[Answ.] Wee may not conceive him under any cor∣poreall shape, for he is a Spirit: and therefore they that thinke they may worship the huma∣nity Page  45 of Christ disjoyned, are deceived: we are not to worship it as separated from his Deity; for we are to worship the Trinity in the Vnity, and the Vnity in Trinity, which we cannot doe, if we worship his humanitie as separated from his Deity. Therefore when you come to pray before GOD, you must remember * that he is a Spirit, filling heaven and earth, strong, gracious, mercifull, full of goodnesse and truth, &c. concer∣ning which three things are to bee conside∣red.

[ 1] First, That he is a Spirit.

[Object.] But how shall I conceive of a Spirit?

[Answ.] How doest thou conceive of the soule of an∣other man when thou speakest to him? thou never didst see it, yet thou knowest that there is such a spirit that fills the body, and that doth understand what thou sayest, and speakes to thee againe; so remember this of the Lord, that he is a Spirit. Compare Ier. 23.24. with this:*Can any man hide himselfe in secret places, that I shall not see him, saith the Lord? Doe not I fill hea∣ven and earth, saith the Lord?

[ 2] Secondly, That the Lord fills heaven and earth, as the soule fills the body: so that thou must thinke that hee sees all things, and heares all things. Indeed the Lord is not in the world, as the soule is in the body, but in an incompre∣hensible manner, which we cannot expresse to you; yet this is an expression which wee may helpe our selves by, and is used every where in Scripture.

Page  46 [ 3] Thirdly, consider his Attributes, that hee is a Spirit filling heaven and earth, and hee is ex∣ceeding fearefull, powerfull, almighty, excee∣ding gracious and long-suffering, abundant in mercy and truth, that hee hath pure eyes, and cannot see any iniquity: Deut. 24.* So Exod. 34.6.* As Moses could not see him, but his Attri∣butes, his backe parts; so thou must conceive of him, that he is exceeding strong, potent, and fearefull, one that will not holde the wicked in∣nocent, but shewes mercie to thousands of them that feare him; and to sinners, if they will come in unto him: And thus you must conceive of him, when you come before him.