THE VITALL FOVNTAINE; OR, LIFES ORIGINALL. SERMON XXXV.
JOH. 11. 25. 26.
I am the Resurrection, and the life: hee that beleeveth in mee, though hee were dead, yet shall hee live: and whosoever liveth, and beleeveth in me, shall never die.
THese words that I have read to you, they are part of the conference be∣tweene Martha, and Christ, when Christ was comming to Bethanie to awake Lazarus from the sleepe of death. The conference is laid downe from the beginning of the 21. verse, to the end of the 27. and Martha mee∣ting with Christ begins the con∣ference, as wee may see vers. 21. 22. Then said Martha to Iesus, Lord if thou haddest beene here my brother had not died: but I know that even now whatsoever thou wilt aske of God, God will give it thee. Here Martha manifests her affection to her dead brother, and her faith in her living Master: shee manifests the strength of her naturall affection, and the weaknesse and imper∣fection of her faith. The strength of her naturall affection ap∣peares in this, that she was perswaded if Christ had beene there Page 694 present, her brother Lazarus had not died, he would not have suf∣fered Lazarus to have died: which for ought wee know is more then she had sufficient ground for. Then the weaknesse, and im∣perfection of her faith appeares in this, that shee rested too much upon the corporall presence of Christ, that shee ascribed no more powerto Christ, then that by his prayer he could attaine at Gods hands as much as ever any holy man did; namely, the life of her brother. I know, saith she, that even now whatsoever thou askest, God will give it; Whereas Christ being true God, was able to worke any miracle by his owne power.
Now the answer of Christ is laid downe verse 23. Iesus said unto her, thy brother shall rise againe. Christ, to comfort Martha, passeth by her infirmitie, and promiseth to her, that hee will re∣store her brother to life againe, that shee shall enjoy her brother againe: but this promise is only laid downe in generall and indifi∣nite termes; Thy brother shall rise againe. Christ doth not say ex∣presly, I will raise up thy brother to life, but hee speakes only in∣generall termes, Thy brother shall rise againe: which wee are to ascribe to the modestie, and humilitie, that alwais may bee obser∣served in the speeches of Christ; Thy brother shall rise againe.
Then we have the replie of Martha, laid downe in verse 24. Martha said unto him, I know hee shall rise againe in the Resurrection, at the last day. Martha was not satisfied with this promise of Christ: for it seemes shee durst not take it in the full extent of it, therefore shee replyes, that as for the last Resurrection shee knew indeed, that her brother, and all others that were dead, should then rise againe, this did comfort her: but for any other matter of comfort shee could not gather any from the answer of Christ, and his pro∣mise: therefore Christ replies againe in the words of my Text, And Iesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life, hee that beleeves in mee, though hee were dead, yet shall hee live, and whosoever liveth and beleeveth in me shall never die. Christ would have Mar∣tha know that hee was true life, yea, the fountaine of all life, and such a fountaine of life, that whosoever did beleeve in him, and cleave to him, nothing should hurt him, no not Death it selfe. Thus you see briefly the coherence, and the scope of the words. We come now to shew you the meaning of them.
In these words we may observe these two parts. *
First, here we have laid downe a compound proposition.
And then the distinct Exposition, or explication thereof.
First, here wee have laid downe a compound Axiome, or Pro∣position, a copulative Proposition, wherein Christ affirmes two things of himselfe.
First, I am the Resurrection.
Secondly, I am the Life.
Page 695 I am the Resurrection, I am the Life. Now the difference be∣tweene these two, wee may conceive with reverend Calvin to be this;
That is, I have all quickening power in mee, I am able to re∣store, and give life to those that are dead. And then I am the life; I have such quickening power in mee, that I am able to preserve, and continue the life that I have given, or restored to any; I am the Resurrection and the life.
And then followes the Exposition of this Proposition, and of the severall members of it: for the truth of a copulative Proposi∣tion depends upon the truth of both the parts and members of it, therefore there followes the Explication, and confirmation of both the parts of this Proposition.
First of the first part, I am the Resurrection, this is explained, and confirmed in these words; Hee that beleeveth in mee, though hee were dead, yet shall hee live. I have such a quickning power in mee, saith Christ, that I am able to restore spirituall life to that soule that is dead in sinnes, therefore I am able to raise up the body that is dead in the grave; I am able to give spirituall life to the soule, which is greater, and the more difficult worke; and if I be able to doe the greater, I am able to doe the lesse: hee that beleeves in mee, saith Christ, though before he were dead in trespasses and sinnes, yet hee shall live, he shall live the life of grace.
Then followes the Explication and confirmation of the se∣cond member of the Proposition in these words, Whosoever liveth, and beleeveth in mee, shall never die. I am the life saith Christ, for whosoever beleeveth in me, and so is restored to spirituall life, he shall never die; hee shall never die, to speake properly, for he shall never perish: he shall never die, this life shall never be taken from him, neither here nor hereafter; not here, for hee shall conti∣nue to live the life of grace: not hereafter, for though the body shall die, yet this separation of the body from the soule, it is not so properly a death, as a passage to life; a passage from the life of grace, to the life of glory. And this body also that is separated from the soule, it shall bee quickned againe, and shall be raised up to live for ever, therefore hee that beleeveth in mee, shall never die. Thus you see the words expounded.
Now from the first member of this Proposition, I am the Re∣surrection; and the Exposition, and confirmation of it in these words, Hee that beleeveth in mee, though hee were dead, yet shall he live. Hence the point of Doctrine I will observe is this, that
Iesus Christ is the Fountaine, and Authour of all life. *
Hee is able to give and restore life to those that are dead; He is Page 696 the Resurrection. Now, whereas there is a double death, and a double Life, and consequently a double Resurrection; we must understand that Christ is the Author of both: in this place weare not to exclude either. Therefore wee will indeavour to expound this generall doctrine in these three particulars.
First, Christ hath such a quickning power in him, that hee is able to raise up those dead bodies of his, that now lie in the Grave.
Secondly, Christ hath such a quickning power in him, that he is able to raise up the soule that is dead in sinnes, to a spirituall life.
Thirdly, wee will shew you why Christ, as in this place, so else-where doth expresse both the state of the faithfull here, and their estate after, under the same phrase of speech, he comprehends both under this terme, I am the Resurrection.
For the first of these, Christ is the Author of life, he hath such a quickning power in him, that hee is able to raise up the dead bo∣dies of his out of their graves. Wee will speake first of this Re∣surrection that is of the body, though it be later in time; Because that naturally we are more apt to conceive of the death, and life of the body, then of the death and life of the soule. And second∣ly, because that the understanding of this Resurrection of the body, will give light to the understanding of the other, of the soule.
And here first wee will shew briefly what this Resurrection of the body is.
And then prove that Christ is the Author, and the Fountaine * of it.
First, the Resurrection of the body is this, when the soule that was actually separate from the dead body, returnes againe to * its proper body, and being united to it, the man riseth up out of the Grave, with an immortall, incorruptible body to lead a glo∣rified life. This is the Resurrection of the body.
Now that Christ is the Author of this Resurrection of the bo∣dy it is evident: For as Christ himselfe by his owne power, raised himselfe being dead in the Grave, Ioh. 2. 19. saith Christ, destroy*this Temple, and in three dayes I will raise it againe, speaking of the Temple of his body. And so againe, Iohn 10. 18. I have power,* saith Christ, to lay downe my life, and to take it up againe: so likewise Christ by his quickning spirit, hee will raise up the bodyes of those that are now dead in the Grave, as we may see Ioh. 5. 28, 29. *Mervaile not at this, saith Christ, for the houre is comming in which all that are in the grave, shall heare the voyce of the Sonne of man, and shall come forth, they that have done good to the resurrection of life, &c. In this regard Christ is called the first fruites of them that sleepe. For as * the first fruites being offered to God, did sanctifie the whole crop; Page 697 and the owner hereby was assured of the blessing of God upon all the rest: so Christ is the first fruits of the dead, and his Resur∣rection it is an assurance to the faithfull of their Resurrection, and the cause of it: both an assurance, a pledge of it, and likewise a cause of it.
Therefore herein Christ the second Adam is opposed to the first Adam: As the first Adam who was the roote of all man-kind did communicate death, and mortalitie to all those that spring from him: so likewise Christ the second Adam by his Resurrecti∣on hee conveyes life, and a quickening power to all his members, as wee may see 1 Cor. 15. 21, 22. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead: for as in Adam all die; Adam he communicates death and mortalitie to all that spring from him; even so in Christ shall all be made alive. Christ hee conveyes life to all his members, and they are all quickened by his Spirit; there∣fore Christ is called a quickning spirit, 1 Cor. 15. 45. The first Adam was made a living soule, but the last Adam a quickning spirit; not one∣ly a living, but a quickning spirit. And this quickning power and vertue, Christ did manifest before his resurrection, by raising up three from death, namely, by raising the Widowes sonne, Luke 7. and Iairus his Daughter, Luke 8. and Lazarus here in this chapter, And at his resurrection also hee manifested this his quick∣ning power, in that he rose not alone, but raised the bodies of ma∣ny of his Saints with him, many of his Saints arose with him, and as they rose with Christ their head, so also they ascended to glory together with Christ their head, and the resurrection of these it was an effect of the resurrection of Christ, it was by the power of Christs resurrection. Of these we may reade Mat. 27. 52. 53. The graves opened, and many bodies of the Saints that slept arose, and came out of their graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy Citie and appeared to many. Thus you have the first conclusion proved, that Christ is the Author of the resurrection of the body.
Now in the next place, the second conclusion is this, that
Christ is the Author and Fountaine of spirituall life also. *
Hee is the Author of the Resurrection of the soule; and the resurrection of the soule it is this, when the Spirit of grace, (of which we were all deprived in Adam) returnes againe to the soule of a naturall man, and so quickens the man, that the man begins to rise out of the Grave of sinne, and to lead a new life, a spiritu∣all life, the life of grace: this is the resurrection of the soule.
Now that Christ is the Author of this Resurrection also, of this spirituall Resurrection: wee may demonstrate this by a mul∣titude of Divine testimonies, but wee will single out some few of the chiefe, wee need goe no further then this Evangelist which Page 698 affords plentifull testimonie for the confirmation of this truth: As in Ioh. 4. 10. There Christ speaking to the woman of Samaria,* he said unto her; If thou haddest knowne the gift of God, and who it is that said unto thee give me drinke, thou shouldest have asked of him, and hee would have given thee living water. Here the Spirit of Christ it is compared to living water, by an allusion to the water that continually springeth out of a Fountaine. And the Spirit of grace is compared to living water from the effects of it: because the Spirit of grace restoreth spirituall life to the soule, and then preserveth this life; therefore it is living Water, and Christ is as the Fountaine of this water that yeeldeth, and giveth this living, quickning water of the Spirit.
Againe in Ioh. 5. 21. there Christ chalengeth this power to himselfe, As the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickneth them; so*the Sonne quickneth whom hee will. As Christ when he was upon the earth, hee raised whom he would from the death of the body, so now being in heaven, hee raiseth whom he will from the death of the soule. Yea, the voyce of Christ sounding in the ministrie of the Word, accompanied with his quickning Spirit, is of power and efficacie to raise those that are dead in sinnes, as wee may see Ioh. 5. 25. Verily, verily, I say unto you, saith Christ, the houre is*comming, and now is, when the dead shall heare the voyce of the Sonne of God, and they that heare it shall live.
Againe in Ioh. 6. 35. there Christ stileth himselfe the Bread of life, and the Living bread; Iesus said unto them, I am the bread of*life; and in verse 48. I am the bread of life; and againe verse 51. I am the living bread. Christ is the living bread, the bread of life, who as he hath life in himselfe, so he communicates spirituall life to all those that feed upon him. And here is a broad diffe∣rence betweene this Bread of life, and ordinary bread, ordinarie food: for though ordinarie food can preserve naturall life where it is, yet it cannot restore life where it is not: but Christ is such li∣ving Bread, that he restores life to those that are dead in sinnes, and preserves that life that hee hath restored, thus hee is the living Bread.
Againe Ioh. 15. 1. there Christ compares himselfe to a Vine, and the faithfull to so many branches; I am the true Vine, saith Christ, and my Father is the husband-man. And in verse 5. I am the Vine, yee*are the branches. Now as the branch of the Vine sucks juyce and sappe from the stocke and roote of the vine; so all the faithfull re∣ceive spirituall juyce and life, from Christ their head. As Adam hee is a common root of corruption, and spirituall death to all that come from him; so Christ is a common roote of grace, and spirituall life to all those that are his members. And in this re∣gard Christ is compared to a head, and the faithfull to his mem∣bers, Page 699Collos. 1. 18. Christ is the head of his body the Church. Christ is * the head; and the faithfull are his members: therefore as in the naturall body, the head that is the principium, the fountaine of sense and motion: it is the head that by certaine nerves and si∣newes conveyes sense and motion to all the members of the body: so in the mysticall body the Church, Christ is the head that con∣veyes spirituall life and motion, to all that are his members, to all the faithfull. Thus you see the second conclusion explained and proved also, that as Christ is the Author of the resurrection of the body, so hee is of the resurrection of the soule too, it is he that raiseth the soule to spirituall life.
Now in the third place we are to shew you the reason why * this double quickning power is here comprehended under one terme, I am the Resurrection. Now that this double power of quickening, is to be understood here under this one terme, wee need not, I hope, spend time to prove: for that Christ speakes here of the spirituall resurrection, and the spirituall life; this I take to be evident from Christs owne exposition in the words following; Hee that beleeveth in mee, though hee were dead, yet shall hee live: Hee that beleeveth in me, though he were dead in sinnes and trespasses before, yet hee shall live the life of grace, therefore I am the Resurrection.
Againe, that the resurrection of the body is not here excluded, it may appeare from the scope and intent of these words of Christ: for the scope of these words here, is to perswade Martha that hee was able of himselfe, by his owne power to raise up her dead bro∣ther, to restore him to life, saith hee, I am the resurrection, I have power to restore spirituall life to the soule that is dead in sinne, and this is the greater worke; therefore I am able to restore natu∣rall life to the dead body, to restore the body that is dead in the Grave to life againe.
Now the reasons why this double power is here comprehen∣ded under one terme, I am the Resurrection; the chiefe reasons I take to bee these two.
First, this double quickning power is here comprehended un∣der one terme, in regard of the Analogie, and proportion be∣tweene these two, betweene the restoring of the body to life, and the restoring the soule to life.
Secondly, in regard of the certaine inseparable connexion be∣tweene these two.
First, I say in regard of the Analogie and proportion betweene * these two, the resurrection of the body, and of the soule; now the proportion and analogie consists especially in these foure things.
First, as in the resurrection of the body, the living soule must Page 700 first returne to the dead body, and quicken it before it can rise againe: so here in the Resurrection of the soule, the Spirit of grace must returne to the soule that is dead in sinnes, and quicken it be∣for it can rise againe: so that there is a similitude in regard of the first beginning, and principle of this Resurrection.
Againe, secondly there is an analogie, and proportion, in re∣gard * of the point and terme, the state from which the Resurrecti∣on is: for as in the resurrection of the body, the body riseth from the state of corruption, from the bondage of the Grave; so here in this resurrection of the soule, the soule and the whole man ri∣seth from the state of spirituall corruption, from the bondage of sinne.
The third proportion is in regard of the estate to which a man riseth: for as in the resurrection of the body, a man shall rise * againe without those infirmities that the body had before, he shall rise to lead another kind of life, a glorified life: so in this resurre∣ction of the soule the sinner riseth, and is raised up to lead a new kind of life, a spirituall life: and therefore it is called Newnesse of life, Rom. 6. 4. that we should walke in newnesse of life: both in re∣gard * of the new principle, and fountaine of it, the spring of grace in the soule. And in regard of the new effects, and new ope∣rations, which are answerable to the new roote.
Fourthly, there is a proportion also in regard of the perpetui∣tie * of both: for as in the Resurrection of the body, the body shall rise an immortall body, not subject to death any more; so here in the resurrection of the soule, when the sinner is restored to spiri∣tuall life, he is raised up to a durable immutable estate, hee shall continue to live this life of grace, and the immortall seed that is put into him, it shall never die: so Christ saith verse 26. Hee that beleeveth in mee, saith he, and so liveth, hee shall never die; he is rai∣sed to an immutable estate, to such a life as shall never be subject to spirituall death againe. Thus you see the analogie, and propor∣tion between these two, and in this respect they may both be com∣prehended fitly under one terme.
Secondly, in regard of the infallible connexion betweene these * two: for wheresoever the resurrection of the soule to the life of grace goes before, there the resurrection of the body to the life of glorie will certainly follow after: for as the spirituall death of the soule did necessarily draw after it the mortalitie, and death of the body, so the spirituall life of the soule doth necessarily draw with it the immortalitie, and the resurrection of the body: there∣fore as in the Sacrament the name of the thing signified, is given to the signe, in regard of the neere conjunction, and relation be∣tweene them: so here in regard of the neere conjunction betweene these two, that they are never separate, therefore they may both Page 701 fitly be comprehended under one terme. Thus wee have ende∣voured to expound the general doctrine in these three particulars. Wee have shewed you that Christ is the Author and fountaine of the Resurrection of the body: hee hath the quickning power in him whereby he is able to raise those bodyes that are dead in the grave. Then he is the Author of the Resurrection of the soule too; he is able to quicken those soules that are dead in sinnes. And then we have shewed the reasons why these two, the Resurrecti∣on of the body, and of the soule, are both comprehended under one phrase of speech, I am the Resurrection. Now I come to the Use and Application of that, that hath beene delivered. And the Use of the point is
First, for comfort.
Secondly, for tryall and examination.
Thirdly, for exhortation, and direction.
First, the Use of the point may be for comfort here, here is mat∣ter * of sound comfort to all those that are the faithfull members of Christ Jesus: if thou be united to Christ by faith, Christ is the Fountaine of life, he will be the Fountaine of spirituall life: there∣fore here is comfort against Death, against the death of the soule, and against the death of the body.
Comfort first against the death of the Soule, comfort against * sinne, thatis the ill of all ills, and is the death of the soule. If thou be united to Christ; Christ by his divine power he is able to free thee from the power and dominion of sinne, from the bondage of sinne. Dost thou complaine that thy understanding is darke and blinde? remember Christ is able to give thee more light, Ephes. 5. 14. Awake thou that sleepest, and stand up from the dead, and*Christ shall give thee light. Dost thou complaine that thy heart is hard and stonie? remember that Christ is able to soften thy hard heart, and to give thee a heart of flesh, as he hath promised, Ezek. 36. 36. I will take away their stonie heart, and give them an heart of*flesh. Dost thou complaine that thy affections are unruly, and set upon wrong objects? remember to thy comfort, that Christ is able to rectifie these affections, hee is able to plant in thee the true love, and feare of God, as he hath promised, Deut. 30. 6. I will cir∣cumcise*thy heart, and the heart of thy seed; that thou shalt love mee with all thy heart, and with all thy soule. And in Ier. 32. 40. I will put*my feare in their hearts, that they shall never depart from mee. Dost thou complaine that thou canst not beare afflictions patiently? remember that Christ thy head, he is able to strengthen thee, and hee will doe it, as he did the Apostle, Phil. 4. 13. saith he, I am able to doe all things through Christ that strengtheneth me.
But here the weake Christian will bee ready to object: but I * have so many strong corruptions in me that I am afaid, that I am Page 702 not yet raised out of the grave of sinne, that I am not yet raised out of my naturall estate.
To which I answer, remember this to thy comfort that the first Resurrection is unlike to the second in this regard; in regard * of the measure and degree of it: as soone as ever the soule quic∣kens the dead body, the dead body leaves the Grave, and the state of corruption wholly, and all at once; but it is not so in the Re∣surrection of the soule. When the spirit quickens the soule, the soule begins to rise againe from the grave of sinne, but yet the bands and fetters of sinne, and corruption still remaine upon the sould. Indeed as soone as the Spirit of grace quickens the soule, the soule presently hates all sinne, and begins to shake off these fetters of sinne and corruption, and shakes them off by little and little; but I say, it shakes them not off all at once. In this spiritu∣all Resurrection, sinne indeed receives a deadly wound, but yet it is not wholly abolished. In the spirituall Resurrection sinne is like a beast, whose throat is cut, that lies striving and strugling for life: so sinne hath life in it, but yet it hath a deadly wound: there∣fore remember to thy comfort, that that will bee true here be∣tweene the power of grace, and the remainders of sinne, that is affirmed of the house of Saul, and the house of David, 2 Sam. 3. 1. * there was long warre betweene them, But the house of David grew stronger, and the house of Saul waxed weaker and weaker. So it will be betweene sinne and grace, sinne will grow weaker, and wea∣ker, and grace stronger and stronger.
But yet the weake Christian may object further: but I feele the spirit so weake in me, and the flesh so strong in me, that I am afraid * the flesh will prevaile, and so I shall returne againe to my naturall estate.
To this I answer, remember that this is contrarie to the nature of a true Resurrection to returne to death againe: for at the last * Resurrection, the bodyes that are raised shall be immortall, never to die againe: so here those soules that are quickned to the life of grace, they are raised to a durable, immutable, immortall estate never to die againe. That which Christ saith of those that shall bee accounted worthie to attaine the second Resurrection; the Resurrection of the body, it is true here also: hee saith those that shall be accounted worthy of the world to come, of the Resurre∣ction to life, they shall never die: for they are as the Angels of hea∣ven, Luke 20. 35, 36. Those that partake of that Resurrection can * never die: so here those that partake of this spirituall Resurrecti∣on to the life of grace, they shall never die: this Resurrection to the life of grace it shall continue in them. For the Spirit of grace when he once commeth into the soule, and quickens it, it conti∣nues there, and remaines there for ever: it is as a Well of water Page 703 springing up to eternall life, as Christ speakes Ioh. 4. 14. Whosoever shall drinke of the water that I shall give him, shall never thirst, but the water that I shall give him, shall bee in him a well of water springing up to everlasting life. Now wee know a streame of water is of a va∣nishing nature, yet if it bee nourished with a continuall Foun∣taine that can never be drie, the streame will continually runne: so it is with the streame of grace in the soule, it is nourished with a continuall fountaine, such a one as can never be dried up. Thus you see here is comfort against sinne, against the death of the soule. Those that are united to Christ by faith, they may be assured that Christ will be to them a Fountaine of spirituall life.
Secondly, here is comfort against the death of the body, against * naturall death. If thou be united to Christ, thou needest not to feare temporall death, remember that though the body bee dead bee∣cause of sinne, yet the spirit is life, as it is Rom. 8. 10. The body, that * is dead; that is, it is mortall and subject to death because of sinne, but the spirit, the soule, that liveth, it passeth from the life of grace here, to the life of glorie. Yea, and the body too that is laid in the Grave, notwithstanding shall be raised againe by the quick∣ning power of Christ. Remember Christ is thy head, and there∣fore hee being risen from the dead, thou shalt not perish. You know as long as the head of the naturall body is above the water, none of the members of the body can be drowned: so it is here, as long as Christ is risen, none of his members can be held captive in the Grave. Remember, Christ is the first fruites of the dead, the first fruites of them that sleepe: therefore his Resurrection may bee a pledge, and an assurance to thee of thy resurrection; As wee have borne the Image of the earthly, saith the Apostle, so wee shall beare the Image of the heavenly, 1 Cor. 15. 49. As wee have borne about * us these corruptible bodyes, so when we rise againe, we shall rise with immortall, and incorruptible bodies, and live a glorious life with Christ, and so be made conformable to Christ our head, therefore feare not the death of the body. Remember that Death can destroy nothing in thee but sinne, therefore feare not.
This consideration may comfort us, as against our owne death, so against the death of our friends; Let us therefore receive com∣fort hence, as Martha in this Chapter; I know that my brother shall rise againe in the Resurrection at the last day, and that did comfort her.
But here this question may bee demanded; but is not this Re∣surrection * of the body, a benefit common to the wicked? are not they partakers of this benefit from the resurrection of Christ, as well as the godly? shall not they be raised, and quickned, as well * as the godly, by Christ his Resurrection?
To this I answer, that this Resurrection of the body to life, it is a benefit proper to the faithfull, to the true members of Christ: Page 704 for though unbeleevers, and wicked persons shall bee raised up againe, yet
By a different cause.
And to a different end.
I say first, by a different cause: the wicked that are out of Christ, cannot have any benefit from the Resurrection of Christ, * because they are out of Christ, therefore they shall bee raised in∣deed; but not by a quickning power flowing from the resurrecti∣on of Christ: but by the divine power, and command of Christ, as a just Judge: and they shall bee raised by vertue of that curse pronounced in Paradice, Gen. 2. In the day thou eatest, thou shalt die the death; that includes eternall death: therefore this curse must be executed upon them, and therefore they most rise out of the Grave againe, that body and soule may die eternally: but the faithfull members of Christ shall bee raised by the quickning power of Christ, as their head and Saviour.
Againe, as the wicked shall be raised by a different cause, so to * a different end: for they shall not be raised to life to speake pro∣perly, that state is stiled eternall death, therefore their Resurrecti∣on is stiled the resurrection of condemnation, Ioh. 5. 27. they that have done good shall come forth to the resurrection of life, and they that have*done ill to the resurrection of condemnation; they shall not rise to life, but to eternall death: but the godly only shall attaine this Resur∣rection of life, and therefore they only are stiled the sonnes of the*resurrection, Luke 20. 36. So much may suffice for comfort.
A second Use of the point may be for tryall and examination, * since we professe to be Christians, to be members of Christ: let us here trie the truth, whether wee be so indeed or no. Christ is the Resurrection: he is the Author of the first Resurrection to a spi∣rituall life. The first thing that Christ doth in the soule of a sin∣ner, is to raise the soule to a spirituall life: therefore examine whether thou have feltthis quickning power or no, this first Re∣surrection to a spirituall life. When Christ was upon the earth, he had power to raise up all those to life againe that died, but yet hee raised but few; there are but three that wee read of, those that we named before. The Widowes sonne, Iairus Daughter, and Lazarus here. So likewise Christ now hath power to quicken all those that are dead in sinne, to raise them to spirituall life, but yet he quickens but few, in comparison of those that continue still in their sinnes. Therefore let us all examine our selves upon this point, whether we have attained the first Resurrection or no. If we be true members of Christ, we partake of the first Resurrecti∣on: for Christ is a fountaine of spirituall life to all his members: therefore examine this, looke to the first resurrection, to the Life of grace, thou maist know it briefly by three signes.
Secondly, by newnesse of life.
Thirdly, by thy continuall progresse in both.
First, by thy forsaking of sinne, whether hast thou left those * sinnes thou formerly livedst in? As in the Resurrection of the body, as soone as the soule is united to the body, presently the man leaves the Grave, he leaves the societie of the dead and comes forth: as Lazarus as soone as he was quickned, and his soule retur∣ned to his body, presently hee came forth, Vers. 44. Hee that was dead came forth out of his grave. Examine therefore whether thou be come forth of the grave of sinne? whether hast thou left the societie of sinners, of prophane persons? and whether hast thou left the grave of thy sinne? Is there not some lust, some sinne that still holds thee captive in this Grave, to which thou willing∣ly, and wittingly obeyest? If thou live in any one knowne sinne, if thou be ruled by any one lust, whatsoever it be, be it swearing, or drunkennesse, or uncleannesse, or covetousnesse, or lying, or open and publike prophaning of the Sabbath. I say, if thou live in the practice of any of these, or the like knowne sins, this is a plaine case, thou art still in the noysome grave of thy sinnes: thou art not risen out of the grave of thy sinnes, and therefore thou art not quickned by the Spirit of Christ; and if thou art not quick∣ned, then thou art not a member of Christ, thou art not a true Christian.
Againe, Secondly thou mayest know it by the newnesse of thy life: whether dost thou feele a spirituall life wrought in thee? * and whether doth it appeare outwardly? Dost thou feele a spi∣rituall life wrought inwardly? That spirituall life that Christ re∣stores to the soule, is universally spread through the whole foule. As when the soule of a man quickens the body, it quickens the whole body, every member of it; so here the Spirit of grace quickens the whole soule. Therefore examine whether dost thou find spirituall life wrought in thy whole soule or no? whether dost thou find this change wrought in thy understanding and judgement? whether hast thou a new judgement, and thoughts, and opinion of God, and of the wayes of God? a new opinion of Christ? a new opinion of the members of Christ? Whether dost thou find this change in thy heart and affections? whether hast thou new desires, new affections, spirituall inclinations? whether are the studies, and desires of thy soule set upon heavenly things? If yee bee risen with Christ, seeke those things that are above, Collos. 3. 1. Whether are thy affections and meditations heavenly * and spirituall? Dost thou feele this change inwardly in thy soule?
Againe, doth this spirituall life appeare outwardly also by thy Page 706 speeches and actions? Doth it appeare outwardly in thy speeches, is there a change there? canst thou now speake to men in the lan∣guage of Canaan, and to God in the voyce of his Spirit crying Ab∣ba, Father?
Againe, is there a change in thy outward actions? hast thou left the societie of sinners? and dost thou converse with living Christians? Dost thou love those that excell in vertue? and dost thou manifest the graces of the Spirit in the conscionable perfor∣mance of all the duties of thy generall, and particular calling? As soone as Lazarus was quickned, presently as he left the Grave, so he conversed with living men, and walked in his Calling: so examine if thou have left the societie of the dead, and converse with living Christians, and delight in them; and whether thou walke on conscionably in the place that God hath set thee in, ma∣king the word of Christ the rule of all thy actions. If it bee thus with thee, if thou feele this spirituall life wrought in thy soule, and it appeare outwardly in all thy speeches and actions, this is a good signe thou partakest of the first Resurrection to the life of grace.
In the third place, thou maist know this also by thy progresse in * both these. First, by the progresse of thy Mortification: Is sinne daily more and more mortified in thee? Dost thou daily get ground of thy corruptions? Is sinne in thee like the house of Saul, as that waxed weaker and weaker, so doth corruption in thee daily? Is sinne in thee like an old man, as it is in every member of Christ? and therefore it is stiled the old man: an old man growes weaker, and weaker, till at the last he dies: so it is with sin in every Christian, examine if sin be such an old man in you, that it growes weaker daily.
Againe, thou maist know it by thy progresse in thy vivificati∣on: Dost thou grow in grace daily? Is grace in thee, as the house of David, as that grew stronger and stronger, so doth grace in thee? Is grace like a young man, as it is in every member of Christ? and therefore it is stiled the New man: because it is as a young and lustie man that daily growes stronger, till he come to his full strength, doth grace in thee grow stronger daily? and dost thou goe forward in thy Christian course? It is the dutie of a Christian to walke on daily in his Christian course, Rom. 6. 4. * wee must walke on in newnesse of life. If thou find this progresse in thy mortification, and vivification, it is a good signe indeed that thou hast attained to the first Resurrection of the soule, to a spirituall life. Therefore let mee intreate you to set upon this worke of examination of your owne hearts diligently, and faith∣fully. Let not the multitudes of worldly businesse: let not the allurement of vaine objects, and vain companie; let not the appe∣tite Page 707 and desire of base pleasures drive these thoughts out of your heads: but examine your owne hearts whether you partake of the first Resurrection, or no. Deceive not thy owne soule: for though conscience may now sleepe, thou mayst thinke thou art in a good estate; yet let me tell thee, the time will come when thy consci∣ence will awake, that if thou continue to wallow in any one sin, if there be no change in thee in thy life, in thy heart; if in stead of growing better, thou grow worse, and bee hardned more and more in sinfull courses, thy conscience will tell thee to thy face, thou art a dead man, thou hast no part in Christ: for Christ is the Resurrection, the Fountaine of spirituall life: thou hast not yet attained the first Resurrection to the life of grace, and therefore if thou goe on in this course, thou shalt not attaine to the second Resurrection to the life of glory. So much for that Use.
The third, and the last Use of the point is for exhortation, and * direction. If now upon examination, thou find that thou hast not yet attained to this spirituall Resurrection; then let me counsel thee to give no rest to thy soule, till thou hast attained it: for remem∣ber that this is the first step to heaven, and if thou set not the first steppe to heaven, surely thou shalt never come thither. As the Resurrection of Christ was the first degree of his exaltation: so this spirituall Resurrection that we have spoken of, it is the first degree of a Christians exaltation: therefore get this in the first place; yea, get this, and all will follow. If thou attaine this, thou maist be assured of the second Resurrection also, to the life of glory. Remember that Christ by raising himselfe from the dead by his owne power, declared himselfe to be the eternall Sonne of God: Hee was declared mightily to bee the Sonne of God by his Resur∣rection: So if thou canst by a power and vertue drawne from Christ, rise out of the grave of thy sinne, then thou shalt declare thy selfe to bee the member of Christ, the Sonne of God, the daughter of God: therefore labour to attaine this first Resur∣rection.
But here this question may be demanded: but by what meanes * now doth Christ convey this spirituall life to his children? and how shall I get to bee partaker of this Resurrection? by what meanes shall I attaine this first Resurrection to this spiritu∣all life?
To this I answer briefly, that by the same meanes by which * Christ workes faith in the soule, by the same meanes hee raiseth a sinner to life: for he that beleeveth liveth, and he that liveth be∣leeveth; hee that beleeveth is raised to life: therefore by the same meanes that Christ workes faith, by the same meanes he raiseth a sinner to life. Therefore the outward meanes is the Preaching of the Word; the inward, the Spirit of grace. By such meanes Page 708 as Christ will raise the bodies of the dead at the last day, by the like meanes hee now raiseth the soules of those that are dead in sinne. Now Christ will raise the bodyes that are now dead in the Grave, at the last day. First, by his voyce, Iohn 5. 28, 29. and by the sound of the Trumpet, 1 Cor. 15. 52. The Trump shall sound,*and the dead shall be raised incorruptible. And hee shall raise them by his quickning Spirit. So by the like meanes Christ now raiseth our soules that are dead in sinnes: therefore if thou desire to bee raised out of the grave of sinne, let me counsell thee,
First, to attend diligently to the word of God, upon the prea∣ching of the Gospell. The word of Christ, is a quickning word, as Christ saith, Ioh. 3. 63. My Word is spirit and life. The voyce * of Christ is a quickning voyce: as Christ by his voyce raised La∣zarus out of his Grave; when Christ said to Lazarus, Come forth; presently Lazarus quickned, and came forth: so the voyce of Christ in the ministerie of the Word hath a quickning power, to raise sinners from the death of sinne: therefore when the Mini∣sters crie aloude, and the Prophets lift up their voyce as a Trumpet, then hearken.
Secondly, be frequent, and fervent in Prayer for the Spirit of of grace, and of Christ: before thou heare, pray; and after thou hast heard, pray that the Spirit of Christ may accompany his Word, that so this may be a meanes to awaken, and to quicken thee out of thy naturall estate, and to raise thee out of the death of sinne. Thou must pray to God to give thee a hearing eare, and a beleeving heart: that so the sound of the Word may not be as the sound of a Trumpet in the eares of a dead man, but that thou mayst be quickned by the voyce of Christ. And though thou have continued a long time in thy sinnes, yet bee not altogether discouraged: remember that Christ is able to raise thee, though thou have continued never so long in thy sinnes: for hee that was able to raise Lazarus that was dead and buried, and now stinking in the Grave, he is able to raise up thee also.
In the last place (in one word) if upon examination, thou find thou have attained to this spirituall Resurrection, then here is a ground of exhortation, To
Here is a ground of Exhortation to Humilitie and Thankful∣nesse, to joyne them both together, because they usually goe to∣gether: the proud person is alway unthankfull; and the humble man is alway a thankfull man. Now if thou have attained to this Resurrection, thou hast great cause to be humble, and to bee thankfull.
First, thou hast great cause to bee humbled, because thou hast Page 709 nothing but that thou hast received: thou hast great cause to bee humbled, because thou puttest not any hand to this worke, no more than the dead body of Lazarus could helpe to the raising of him. No more then a creature being nothing, can helpe to its owne creation; no more can a sinner helpe forward this worke of his Resurrection, therefore thou hast cause to be humbled for not putting the least helping hand to this worke, it is wholly su∣pernaturall. Therefore let not any one arrogate any thing to the power of his free-will, but remember the worke is wholly super∣naturall.
Secondly, as we have cause to be humbled, so to be thankfull too, doe but consider the desperate, and dangerous estate of sinne whence thou art raised, and then make thy humble confession with the Israelites, when they brought their first fruites before God, Deut. 26. 5. A Syrian ready to perish was my father; hee went in∣to*Egypt with a few; and became a Nation mightie, and populous, and the Lord brought him out of Egypt with a mighty hand, and an out-stretched arme, with terrour and signes, and wonders, and hath brought us to this place, and hath given us this Land, even a Land flowing with milke, and honey. The like deliverance the Lord hath wrought for thee, therefore bee thankfull, and make thy thankfull acknowledgement with the Psalmist, Psal. 115. Not*unto us, but to thy Name give the glorie. And then desire God, as he hath by his mercie brought thee to the Kingdome of grace, so by his power to preserve thee to the Kingdome of glorie. And desire Christ, as he by his quickning Spirit, hath made thee partakers of the first Resurrection to the life of grace; so to make thee partaker of the second to the life of glorie.