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.
Page  47


EXOD. 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.

HAVING finished that point, that GOD is a Spirit, which is a particular expression of the Simplicity of GOD, we come to speake of the Simplicity it selfe: which is that Attribute, by which he is one most pure and entire essence, one most Page  48simple, being without all composition; so that there is no substance, and accident, matter, and forme, body, and soule; but he is every way most sim∣ple, nothing in him, but what is God, what is himselfe. The rise that it hath from hence, we shall see hereafter. All those phrases of Scrip∣ture, where God is said to be love, truth, light, and wisedome it selfe, all these shew the Simpli∣city of God: for of no creature can you say so. The creature is wise, and just, and holy, and true: but to say, it is truth it selfe, love it selfe, light it selfe, or wisedome it selfe, that cannot be attributed to any creature. So that this you must know, that God is one most pure, intire and uniforme being or essence: I AM, shewes that he is a being; and if we should aske, what kinde of being he is; he is a most simple and un∣compounded being. And that hee is so, wee will make it cleare by these reasons.*

*Because, if there be many things in him, they must not be the same, but different; if different, one hath one perfection which another wants; if so, there must be something imperfect in God: for if the defect of that were made up, it would be more perfect.

*If there be two things in God, then there is multiplication; now all multiplication ariseth from some imperfection, from some want and defect: for if one would serve, two would not be required. As if one could draw a ship or boate up the streame, two were needlesse; if one medicine would cure, two would be unne∣cessary; Page  49 so in all things else: so that the reason of multiplication is, because one will not serve the turne. Therefore GOD being all-sufficient, it is not needfull, yea it cannot be, that a brea∣king into two should be admitted in him, and consequently, he must be most simple, without all composition, a pure and intire essence, full of himselfe, and nothing besides.

If GOD should have love in him, or justice,* or wisedome, or life, or any other quality different from his essence, as the creatures have them, he should be what he is, not originally of himselfe, but derivatively, and by participation, and so imperfectly; as to be fiery is more imperfect than to be fire it selfe, to be gilded is more im∣perfect than to be gold it selfe: So to be wise, loving, holy, that is, to be indewed with the qualities of wisedome, love, holinesse, is more im∣perfect, than to be wisedome, and love, and ho∣linesse it selfe. Therefore there is not a substance and a quality in GOD, as in the creature: but he is love, and light, and wisedome, and truth, and so the Scripture expresseth him.

Wheresoever there is any composition,* there must be two or three things, so that there may be a division; they are seperable, though not se∣parated; but where division may be, there may be a dissolution and destruction, though it never be: But of GOD, we cannot say, that this may be, and consequently, there cannot be two things in him, but what he is, he is; one most sim∣ple, most pure, and most intire being, without Page  50 all composition and multiplication.

*If GOD be not simple, there must be parts of which he is compounded: But in GOD bles∣sed for ever, there are no parts, because then there should be imperfection, for every part is imperfect.

Againe, Parts are in order of nature before the whole, but in God there is nothing first or second, because he is simply first.

Againe, Parts cannot be united and knit, and compounded together, without causes to doe it; but here is no cause to knit and unite any part together, because he is without all cause, as hath beene shewed before.

*I will conclude this with a reason out of the text, He is a being, I AM hath sent mee unto you. If he be a being, then either the first or second being. A second being he cannot be, for then there should be some before him, and above him, upon which he should be dependent: but this cannot be; therefore hee is absolutely the first being. Adam was the first man, but God onely is the first absolute being. Now the first being was never in possibility to be: and there∣fore he is a pure act in regard of his essence. A∣gaine, there are no qualities springing from him; for if there were, they should have had sometimes no being; and so in possibility to be, and consequently have a beginning, and be a creature: Therefore there is neither Potentia substantialis, nor accidentalis in him, and so hee must be purus actus, as the Schoolemen say; and Page  51 therefore he is most simple, without all composi∣tion. This I speake to schollers; for it is a mixt auditory: and therefore you must give mee a little liberty.

Now I come to those Consectaries which flow from hence; and they are these three.

If God be such a simple, first, pure,* and absolute being, then hence you may see, what a stable foundation our faith hath to rest upon;* we are built upon the lowest foundation in all the world, that is, upon the first, most absolute, and simple, and pure, and intire being; which I say is the lowest foundation, that depends upon no other, but all upon it: and this is the happy con∣dition of all Christians, and of them alone. An∣gels, men, heaven and earth are foundations to some things which are built upon them: but they are all built upon this, and therefore de∣pendent. For if this foundation shake it selfe, (for so he hath power to doe) they all fall to ru∣ine: But God is the first, simple, and lowest foun∣dation, being the first absolute and simple be∣ing; therefore he that is built upon him, hath the greatest stability, which is the transcendent happinesse of Christians, above all men in the world. And this is a great priviledge of theirs, which you shall finde upon this ground magni∣fied and set forth in Psal. 46.1, 2.*God is our hope and strength; therefore will we not feare, though the earth be removed, and though the mountaines be carried into the midst of the sea, &c. As if hee should say, Though there were a subversion of Page  52 Kingdomes, and an overthrow of all the Chur∣ches, yea a confusion of heaven and earth, (as there shall be at the last day) though the moun∣taines were rent from their foundations, and cast into the middle of the sea, yet Christians should be sure all the while, because God, who is the first, absolute, and simple being, and so the lowest foundation, is their hope and strength; that is, he is a foundation lower than all these, that when all these things shall come to ruine, yet GOD on whom wee trust, shall be a sure helpe, and comfort.

Beloved, this is to be considered, that you may know what your comfort is, and upon what foundation you are built.

*If GOD be most simple, without all composi∣tion, then this will follow, that he cannot be hindred in any thing that he goes about to doe,* but is most independent as in being, so in working, by reason of his simplicity. There is no crea∣ture but may be hindered: for in the best of the creatures, to wit, in the Angels, there is an es∣sence, and an executive power by which they worke: Even as you see it in the fire, there is the substance of fire, and the qualitie of heate by which it workes: now where there are two things, an essence and a faculty by which it workes, something may come betweene, and hinder the working and operation. As in the Babylonish furnace, GOD separated betweene the fire, and the heate, that it could not burne the men that were cast into it, Dan. 3. So he doth Page  53 with the Angells, he comes betweene the sub∣stance, and the executive power, and often hin∣ders them from doing what they would: But in GOD, seeing hee is most simple, and intire, there is not an essence, and executive power, (as the Schoolemen call it:) therefore there can nothing come betweene to be an impediment; there is not any action that he intends, but he workes it absolutely and of himselfe. Therefore we are to consider, that that GOD which we have to worship and serve, that nothing can come be∣tweene, and hinder him in working, but what he will doe, he doth: and therefore wee should learne to feare before him, and to trust in him, and to acknowledge the greatnesse of his pow∣er, and to know the ground of it, seeing he is so absolute and wonderfull in all his workes.

Hence likewise it followes,* that all the At∣tributes of GOD are equall among themselves,* not one higher than another, or larger than an∣other; for if he be simple, and there are not two things in him, then his Attributes, or his es∣sence, and himselfe are the same; and if so, one cannot exceed another; his mercy is not be∣yond his justice, nor his justice beyond his wise∣dome. Therefore though he doth put forth one Attribute now, another then, yet wee must not thinke that his mercy is greater than all his Attributes: therefore that place in the Psalmist, His mercy is above all his workes, is commonly misunderstood. The meaning is not, that his mercy exceedes all his other Attributes, but Page  54 that his mercy is over, and upon all his workes. As the warmth of the hen is over all the egges, to warme, and cherish, and hatch them: so Gods mercy is over all his workes, to cherish, and nou∣rish, and perfect them; that is, it is shewed forth upon them all. For it is not a comparative speech, as if his mercy did exceed all his other Attributes: for if all his Attributes are himselfe, they must be equall, there is no difference in re∣gard of height or largenesse betweene them. And thus the place is to be understood: for so the word signifies in the originall, and not ac∣cording to the common acception. So much for the Consectaries, now wee will come to uses of practise.

[Vse 1] 1. If simplicity be one of GODS excellencies; then let us labour to come as neere to it as we can, by bringing our hearts to be content with a simplicity of condition:* for this is a sure rule, The more composition, the more weaknesse, the more impediment, and withall the more exposednesse to dissolution and decay. Therefore GOD is not subject to weaknesse and impediment in wor∣king, because he is most simple, not having es∣sence, and faculty, so that any thing should come betweene and hinder him; and therefore also is he not capable of dissolution: & therfore the nearer any come to this simplicity, they are (as I say) lesse weake, lesse subject to impedi∣ment and destruction; and the safer, and stron∣ger, and happier they be. As for example, the Angells, so farre as they fall short of the sim∣plicity of the eternall GOD, who is blessed for Page  55 ever, so farre they are subject to all this: they have faculties different from their essences, and one from another, as understanding, will, and their executive power; hence they are subject to weaknesse. For they may fall into sinne, as you know the first Angels did, and their faculties jarred one with another, and fell out of tune: and having an executive power, they are also subject to impediment; whence neither the good Angels, nor the bad, can doe what they would, but they are and may be hindred.

In the next place consider man, and as hee is much more compounded than the Angels, so he is more weake, more subject to impediment, more liable to decay and ruine, as sicknesse, di∣stemper, crosses, death: for he hath not onely a rationall faculty, as the Angels have, but sensitive; a sensitive memory, a sensitive fancy, and a sensitive appetite; he hath also a body consisting of di∣vers members, needing many externall helpes, as aire, diet, houses, exercises, and so he is sub∣ject to many weaknesses, many hurts, many impediments, and losses of all sorts.

[Object.] You will say, this is a mans naturall condi∣tion indeed, but how shall this be helped?

[Answ.] The naturall condition cannot be changed▪ but it may be exceedingly helped; as, if wee bring our hearts to be content with a more or lesse simplicity of condition, that is, if the dis∣position and constitution of the minde be such, that it be not dependent upon many things, but upon few; this is done, when the thoughts and Page  56 affections of the minde doe not lie scattered, hanging or lying upon this or that thing, so that you cannot live without it; but when the mind is recollected and gathered up, so that you can be content with a simplicity of condition, with GOD alone for your portion; so that you can live with exceeding little, not requiring a mul∣titude of things, upon which the contentment. and satisfaction of the minde doth depend. As for example; some men cannot live without sports and pleasure, and a great living to main∣taine them: another must have great learning and gifts, and eminency, and praise that fol∣lowes it: Another hath his heart so wedded to a convenient house, wife, children, compa∣nions, &c. that if any of these be taken away, he is dead in the nest: Not to speake of their vaine, base, distempered affections, they must have a hundred things, their fancy is infinite, and all must be to their minde, or else they are still complaining. Now the more things a man needes, the more compound, and lesse simple he is, (as I may so say) and consequently, the weaker he is, and more apt to be hindred, more apt to be hurt and disquieted; because if you touch any of that multitude of things, upon which his heart is set, he is presently troubled; which is more easily done, as the things are more, upon which his affections are placed: but he is best, who is come to that selfe-suffici∣ency of minde, and to be content with that sim∣plicity of condition, that he can say of any of Page  57 these things; I can live by them and without them, I can live without liberty, I can live without friends, I can live without sports and pleasure, without worldly credit, and esteeme, without wife, and children, without riches, without conveniency of aire, garden, orchards. This is the condition that wee should labour to grow up to: and the neerer wee grow up to it, the better wee are, and the safer is our con∣dition.

[Object.] But will not you have us to use such things?

[Answ.] Yes, but not to bee wedded to them, but so weaned from them, that you may use them, as if you used them not; whereas there are some that have their hearts so glued to them, that it breaks their hearts, when they have their friends or children, or estates, or credit faile them, or if they bee hindred from their liuings, pleasure and conueniences: but hee is in the happiest and best condition who can live alone, and can bee content with God alone; that can fetch so much comfort and helpe from him, that hee can hee without friends and companions, with∣out wife, and children; and if hee be put into a country towne farre from all sutable acquain∣tance, yea if he be shut up in a close prison, yet he can walke with God, and doe as Paul and Silas, have his heart filled with joy and peace through believing. This is the safety and strength of a man. For even as the body, the more sicke it is, the more helpes it needes; and the lamer it is, the more props it must have, Page  58 one for his arme, another for his legges, ano∣ther for his back: whereas a stronge man can walke upon his owne legges, hee needs noe other helpe: even so the soule, the more sicke and lame it is, the more it needs; but he which hath a strong inward man which is in health, let him have GOD, and shift him from vessell to vessell, from condition to condition, let him bee stripped of all, yet hee can goe upon his legges and can live without all. So saith the Apostle Pàul, Phil. 4.*I have learned in what estate soever I am, therewith to bee content: that is, riches or not riches, honour or not honour, yet his minde had a bottome that he could stand alone, and bee happie without them. Thus I say, the more a mans affection is inlarged to a multitude of things, the weaker hee is, and more subject to bee disquieted, by any thing: but the more his minde is contracted, and gathered into a narrow compasse, and con∣tent with a greater simplicity of condition, the safer, and stronger hee is, and lesse subject to bee disquieted by any creature; because let come what will come, whatsoever condition hee is put into, he hath a bottome to stand up∣on, he hath some thing to comfort his heart.

[Object.] But how shall a man get his minde to such a frame?

[Answ.] You shall have a meanes prescribed in 1 Tim 6.6. Godlinesse with content is great gaine: that is, godlinesse is alwayes joyned with contentment, it is alwayes the cause of contentment, and there∣fore Page  59great gaine. So then, be a godly man, that is, make thy heart perfect with GOD, serve and feare him alone, be content with him alone for your portion; he is All-sufficient, his com∣munion will breed contentment and satisfaction enough to thy heart, so that thou shalt be able to live with a very slender outward condition. And this is the onely meanes to have the minde drawne from these things that other men are so glued to; and that is, to labour to be content with GOD alone, to serve, and feare him, to grow up to him more and more: for hee is All-sufficient, there is no such way in the world to contract the minde, as to have GOD to be knit to him, to serve and feare him, and to be assu∣red of his favour and love in all conditions. Be∣loved, what a miserable thing is it, to have such changeable happinesse, for a man to be so de∣pendent upon many things which are so excee∣ding mutable? Therefore it should bee our wisedome to bring our mindes to be content with a narrownesse or scantnesse, or simplicity of condition, to let the minde be drawne into as narrow a compasse as may be; and so to come as neere to this excellency of GOD, as our pre∣sent humane condition will well permit us.

[Vse 2] 2. Seeing it is said, Be perfect as your heavenly Fa∣ther is perfect, holy as he is holy,* and good or kinde to the evill, as he is, causing the raine to fall upon them, and his Sunne to shine upon them: So upon the same ground we may say, Be simple as he is simple: that is, you must labour to grow up to Page  60 a simplicity of minde; and such a simplicity as is in almighty God you cannot reach too: but to have a heart immixed, to bee cleansed from drosse, as the gold is, you should labour to get this simplicity of minde, a thing often com∣mended in scripture. What this Simplicity is, wee have briefly touched heretofore, and we will now open it to you more fully.

There are two things required to simplicity or singlenesse of heart.

[ 1] 1 That the heart looke but upon one single object.

[ 2] 2 That it bee so cleansed from all admix∣ture of sinfull affections, that the frame of it may bee fitted to doe so.

[ 1] For the first, I pray you marke that in Iam: 1.8.*A double minded man is unstable in all his waies: 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, By a double min∣ded man there is meant, one whose minde hangs betweene a double object, so that he knowes not which of the two is more eligible; his minde is in an even ballance, where neither scale doth praeponderate: On the contrary, he is a simple or a single hearted man, who is not thus divided betweene two objects, but he so resolveth and pitcheth upon one, that hee sub∣ordinates all the other to it. As for example, a double minded man, hath an eye to GOD and his credit, to GOD and his pleasure, to GOD and his friends, he would faine graspe both, and is willing to part with neither: such a man goes not straight on, but he walkes une∣venly Page  61 in his courses; 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 that is, while hee is quiet and no temptation doth assaile him, then he walkes with GOD in a strait rule, but let a temptation come, and put him to it, then he steps out of the way, hee will not let his credit or his profit goe. As a weather-cocke, let there bee no winde at all, and it stands still like a fixt thing: but as soone as the wind comes it turnes about. So is it with such a man, while he is quiet, while religion costs him no∣thing, he walkes on in an even way, but let a temptation come and assault him, and be∣cause he hath not a single object, vpon which he is resolved, therefore hee goes out, and walkes unevenly. Contrary to this is hee that hath pitched upon one object, upon GOD a∣lone; hee saith, let me have the Lord alone, and and heaven alone, though I have noe more, thus I have pitched, thus I have resolved, that let what will come, I will part with all, when it comes into composition with this. Beloved, you never have a single heart till now. This singlenesse of heart David expresseth in himselfe, Psa. 27.4. One thing have I desired, that I will require, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all my dayes and behold thy beauty: that is, this one thing have I chosen, I have pitched upon it, I care for nothing besides; if other things come, so it is, but this I require, that I may walke with the Lord, that I may bee in his house all my dayes, that is, that I may injoy the vse of GODS ordinances, and walke with him; and behold Page  62 his beauty in them. And such a speech was that of Christ to Martha; One thing is necessary; that is, if you looke to any thing else, it is in vaine: you ought to take him alone, as a wife takes a husband, that must have none besides, (for so it must be.) And this is the first thing required to simplicity and singlenesse of spirit. The second is this.

[ 2] Let the heart be cleansed from all admixture of sinfull affections, and so brought into such a frame, that it may be apt to looke onely upon one object, upon God alone. And this I take out of Matth. 6.22. The light of the body is the eye, if then the eye be single, the whole body shall be light, &c. even as the eye guides all the members of the body, the hands, feet, &c. so doth the heart or minde guide all the actions of a man. Now as the eye, if it be vitiated or distempered with drunkennesse, or surfeit, or the like, it doth not represent things single, but double, and treble, and so makes a man to walke unevenly: so sin∣full affections, which are contrary to the sim∣plicity of the minde, doe so distemper it that it cannot looke upon God alone, as upon one sin∣gle object, but it hath an eye to other objects with him, and he is distempered betweene them, and so he walkes unevenly. As for example, feare will make a man to walke in a double way; all miscarriage and double-dealing car∣riage comes from feare; were it not for feare, men would be plaine, and simple: therefore feare of men, or any creature, losse of credit, life or Page  63 liberty, this is a snare, and distempers the eye; and till the heart be cleansed of these, you will never walke evenly. And so doth covetous∣nesse distemper us, and voluptuousnesse, or any 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 in any kinde, any over-eager desire, or too much haste to accomplish the end which a man propounds to himselfe. So Iacobs too much hasting after the blessing made him not to looke single upon God; but to goe a double and uneven way in using unlawfull meanes to obtaine it. And Ieroboams too greedy desire of the Kingdome, made him to joyne God and the Calves together: for two severall principles cause two severall motions. And so is it when there is any inordinate affection, be it what it will be, there is not a simplicity of heart; and if there be not, you will never looke upon God a∣lone, but upon some creature, upon some ob∣ject or other. Therefore, Iames 4.8.*Cleanse your hearts you wavering-minded. As if when the heart was cleansed from corruption, the minde would be freed from wavering, and brought to simplicity: were the heart purged, there would be a constancy and evennesse in our mouth, and in all our wayes.

This expression of simplicity you shall finde in Matth. 10.16.*Beholde I send you as sheepe among wolves: be wise therefore as serpents, and innocent as doves. The meaning is this: I send you (saith our Saviour) among men as cruell as wolves, that will persecute, and hurt, and devoure you; wherefore be wise as serpents, that is, as serpentsPage  64 have many wiles, doe winde and turne to shel∣ter off a stroke, and defend their head, so doe you: but on the other side, take heede of being too fearefull of this persecution, so that when to endure it comes to be a duty, you doe not shrinke backe and withdraw your selves, but in such a case let your hearts be simple, cleansed from such an inordinate affection, as that feare is; and even take that blow, as the doves doe, which have no wiles as the serpents have to de∣fend themselves. So that in any such case when a duty is to be done, as the professing of my name, or the like, here you must take the blow as willingly as the dove doth, there is no avoid∣ing in such a case; therefore take heed that your hearts be simple, that there be no feare there, so that you must be haled to the duty. And this is the very meaning and scope of the words. In∣nocent as doves, that is, let no sinfull inordinate temptation admixe it selfe, and so deprive you of this simplicity of heart, because you doe not like my service.

This you shall see lively exemplified in Saint Paul, 2 Cor. 1.12. For our rejoycing is this, the te∣stimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and god∣ly sinceritie, not with fleshly wisedome, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you wards. Saint Paul was a very prudent man, and therefore ha∣ted above all the Apostles, as Saul was angry with David, because he walked wisely, he was so subtle to escape out of his hands, which is as if Page  65 the hounds should complaine of the hare, that she hath so many trickes to escape from them: but, as I say, he was a very prudent man, and he used the serpents wisedome to save himselfe, as he did when the assembly consisted of Sadduces and Pharises, he put a division betweene them, and so escaped himselfe, as it were through the middest of them. So the first part was true in him, he was as wise as a serpent, to keepe the blow off from himselfe. But now (saith the A∣postle) if carnall wisedome shall come in, that is, if my understanding shall suggest a thing in∣ordinate, and shall say, Goe, and give a bribe to Faelix, and thou shalt escape imprisonment, goe and take a gift of these Corinthians, and thou shalt have something of thine owne, and shalt not be so dependent on the almes of others; now, saith he, when carnall wisedome shall sug∣gest any such thing to mee, I would not admit of it, but I walked in simplicity and godly pure∣nesse toward all men, but especially toward you, Corinthians; here was in him the simplicity of the Doves.

That we might draw it to a little more par∣ticulars, you shall see an other expression of this, Ephes. 6.5. Servants be obedient to them that are your masters in the flesh, with feare and trem∣bling, in singlenesse of your heart as unto Christ: that is, servants, take heede even with feare and trembling, that you admit not by and sinfull re∣spects in performing your duty, as there are many motives, as feare, hope, reward, and a ne∣cessity Page  66 to doe it, but keepe your hearts single that you may looke onely upon Christ and his com∣mandement, and then you shall be faithfull in your service; but if other respects mingle them∣selves with this simplicity, you will doe but eye-service, you will doe it in a double and dissem∣bling manner, not plainely, and heartily, and simply. Therefore let us put in practise this simplicity upon all occasions, in all other things whatsoever. Rom. 12.8.*He that distributeth let him doe it in simplicity: that is, men are subiect to by ends in their good workes; as in giuing almes, or shewing a kindenesse to men, there may be many by-respects, as that they may make use of them heareafter or the like, but, saith hee, keepe you your hearts simple, to looke upon GOD alone in them. So in conversing with men, when you professe love and kinde∣nesse, you are subject to by ends in doing it, but they are commended, Act. 2.46. that they did eat their meat with gladnesse and singlenesse of heart: that is, what love they professed one to another, it was simple and plaine, not double. Compare this place with that in 1 Pet. 1.22. Se∣ing you have purified your selves in obeying the truth through the Spirit, vnto vnfained love of the bre∣thren; see that yee love one another with a pure love fervently: that is, when there is nothing else, when the heart is simple and plaine, when there is nothing but love, noe mixture, noe by ends in it. So likewise when you come to preach the Gospell, doe it in simplicity of heart, that Page  67 is, let there be nothing besides: as the Apostle saith of himselfe, he preached Christ and not himselfe, so we should doe every thing in sim∣plicity of heart. And so you should behave your selves in your elections, to looke with a single eye to the oath by which you ought to be guid∣ed: doe nothing for feare or favour of men, or for any sinister respect. I wish I could speake and give this rule to all the kingdome at Parli∣ament times. For it is an errour among men to thinke that in election of Burgesses or any others, they may pleasure their friends, or themselves, by having this or that eye to their owne advantage or disadvantage that may arise from it: whereas they ought to keep their mindes single and free from all respects; so that when they come, they may choose him, whom in their owne consciences, and in the sight of God, they thinke fittest for the place, and that you may doe so, you are to get a single and a simple heart to doe it.

[Vse 3] 3 If there bee in GOD this simplicity that we have declared to you, * then goe to him upon all occasions; goe not to the streame, goe not to the creatures, which have what they have, but by derivation and participation: but goe to him, that hath all that he hath naturally, and abundantly, not sparingly, as they have, that have it by participation. As when a man is in any miserable condition, wherein hee desires pitty, and would bee respected and relieved, what wilt thou doe in this case? Wilt thou Page  68 goe to weake man, and have him to pitty thee? No, goe to the great GOD, in whom there is mercy it selfe. Amongst men, he that is the fullest of pitty, he hath but a streame of it, a drop of it, therefore seeke not so much to him; no not to parents, their pitty falls infinitely short of what is in GOD; remember that he is mercy it selfe, that is, thou shalt finde infinitely more mercy in him, then can be saide to be in man; the most that can be said of man, is, that he is mercifull, but that which can be saide of GOD is, that the very thing it selfe is there. If you have a firebrand, and light it by the fire, it is something, but fire it selfe is another thing: man he hath a little mercy, but if you goe to GOD, he hath a sea of mercy, and he is never dry; Therefore whatsoever thy mise∣ry or distresse bee, whether of conscience or e∣state, be sure, that thou goe to God and say to him, If evill parents can bee so mercifull to their children when they aske it of them, what then shall I have of him that is mercy it selfe? Matth. 7.11. So likewise for wisedome; if thou hast a doubtfull case, and knowest not what to doe, thou goest to thy friends (which in deede is a good meanes, and ought not to bee neglected, for in the multitude of councell there is peace:) but remember this, that there is but a little wisedome in them, and therefore they will councell thee but a little; but goe to God, that is wisedome it selfe, Pro. 8. Goe to him, for hee will give thee wisedome liberally, and with∣out Page  69 reproach. Iam. 1.5. thinke of him, that hee is the fountaine of wisedome, and fullnesse it selfe. So if thou needest grace, thou woul∣dest faine have more, thou wouldest have thy faith strengthened, and thy love and zeale more fervent, goe to CHRIST then, from whom wee receive grace for grace, and that is made to us wisedome, sanctification, and redemption; goe to God that is grace it selfe. Goe not to men, for what they have, they have it from him; therefore looke upon all oc∣casions, that thou goest to the Lord: when thou wantest comfort, goe not to thy pleasure, and sports, and friends, and acquaintance, but goe to God that is the great God of hea∣ven and earth, that hath it in him abun∣dantly; and in him thou shalt find more abundance, then in a∣ny man of the world.