Instructions for a right comforting afflicted consciences with speciall antidotes against some grievous temptations: delivered for the most part in the lecture at Kettering in North-hampton-shire: by Robert Bolton ...
Bolton, Robert, 1572-1631.
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SOME INSTRVCTI∣ONS FOR A RIGHT COM∣FORTING AFFLICTED Consciences, with Antidotes a∣gainst some speciall temp∣tations.


PROV. 18.14.

The spirit of a man will sustaine his infirmitie: but a wounded spirit who can beare?

MY Text lies as you see,* in a sacred Cabinet of richest Iewels; I meane the most selected, and wisest Apho∣rismes, or Proverbs, that e∣ver issued out of mortall braine: Every one of them, for the most part, especially from the tenth Chapter, in∣dependant, entire, and absolute in themselues; cleare and manifest by their owne native brightnesse; not nee∣ding Page  2 such reciprocall light, and lustre for each others mutuall discouery, and interpretation. And therefore they are naturally not capable of any coherent Logi∣call Analysis, and other circumstantiall expositions, or∣dinarily incident to other parts of Scripture. Whence it is, that this Booke of Proverbs is compared to a great heape of gold rings, rich, and orient, severally; and eve∣ry one shining with a distinct sense by it selfe: but o∣ther contexts of holy Writ, to gould▪chaines so inter∣woven and enlinked together, that they must upon ne∣cessity, for the rendring unto us aright, and fully their severall senses, be illightened and receive mutuall illu∣stration, one from another.

This present Proverbe doth represent unto us the ex∣tremest Hell upon earth, the greatest misery, and most un-supportable that can possibly befall a Man in this life; I meane the horror of a guilty and enraged con∣science. Which is set out;

First, by the excellency of it's opposite; the invin∣cible ability and mighty strength of that truly stoute and heroicall heart, which is happily upholden with the heavenly refreshing influence of grace, Gods fa∣vour and a good conscience: The spirit of a man will sustaine his firmity: Whence take this first note.

Doctr. The spirit of a man furnished with grace, and fortified with the sense of Gods favour, is able to passe thorow the pikes, and conquer all commers.

Reas. 1. For what and why should that man feare or faint, on whose side the mighty Lord of heaven and earth doth stand? IfaGod be for us who can be against us? Whose mercy to his, is without all stint and limit, like b himselfe, infinite; so immeasurable, that it rea∣cheth fromceverlasting to everlasting; so tender that it supasseth incomprehensibly the compassionate mel∣tings Page  3 of the lovingest d mother; and spared not the dea∣rest blood of his onely e Sonne. Who hath ever in a readinesse for the recovery of his children out of the most desperate danger, and to rescue them out of the hands of the deadliest enemy; besides his owne omni∣potent arme, the least finger whereof can beate the greatest mountaine to powder, and end the hardest rocke in peeces; innumerable hosts of Angels, one of which killed fan hundred foure score and five thousand in one night; charets of fire, even a thousand charets in the whirlewind; that faire glorious Giant, which with incredible siftnesse runs post, as it were, thorow the skye, to stand still or rtore; the impetuous current of the raging Sea to recoyle; the merciles slames of the hungry fire, to become a soft and refreshing aire; the ••placable fury of the most enraged Lions, to couch at first word for his servants sake and safety. Nay if need bee, hee hath Caterpillers and Frogges, Wormes and Lice, even the most impotent and vilest vermie, to fetch blood, and take downe the heart of the proudest Tyrant upon earth, carry he his head neve so high; to eate out the bowels of the bloodiest Nimod or mightiest Monarch, that weares a crowne upon his head, if hee oppose his people. He hath the very ghands, and consciences of all that rise up against them, to bring their owne blood upon ther owne heads, and even Hell and extreamest horror upon their hearts in this life. What then so dreadfull a face of present confusions, or fore-imagined formes of fu∣ture troubles ae able or ought, slavishly to deect, and terrifie, that holy heart, which with a sweet and safe repose is happily, and everlastingly hid under thehwings of that mighty God? who for the deliverance of his, can worke:

  • 1. By weake meanes, See Iud. 7. 1. Sam. 14. Genes. 14. 1. Sam. 17. Iud. 4.21. and 9.53.
  • 2. Without meanes, See 2. Chron. 20. Exod. 14. Page  4 Iosu. 6. 2. Kings 19. 2. Chron. 14.
  • 3. Contrary to meanes, See Dan. 6.22. Ios. 3.16. Dan. 3.25.26. Ionah 2.6. Iosu. 10.12, 13, 14.

2. When the heavenly beames of Gods pleased countenance begin to breake out upon a man, thorow the darke and Hellish mist of his manifold and hai∣nous sinnes, the unquenchable heate of His everlasting love thorow Christ dissolving them into nothing; and fairely shine with a comfortable aspect upon His hum∣bled Soule; ipso facto, as they say, Heaven and Earth▪ and all the Hosts of both are everlastingly reconciled unto him, and become his friends; the stormes and tempests raised by all the powers of Hell are presently calmed for ever doing him any deadly hurt. All the creatures then, pull in their hornes, retire their stings, bite in their poyson, sib'd, and awed by those divine impressions of their Creators blessed image stamped upon them by the Spirit of grace; and dare no more offer any violence or vexation to him, (except upon particular dispensation for his spirituall good and quickening) then to the Apple of Gods owne eye. Heare the promise from Gods owne mouth: And in that day I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, and with the fowles of Heaven, and with th creeping things of the ground: and I will breake the bow, and the sword, and the battell out of the earth, and will make them to lye downe safely, Hos. 2.18. Nay, they are so farre from charging their seuerall stings upon the Saints, that they will change their very natures, to doe them service. They will rather become an astonishment and horror to the whole Creation, then they be hurt. How often have they suspended and put off their native power, and properties, for the protection and good of Gods people? The very Sea, that most raging and roa∣ring creature, must stay his course and current, to give passage and preservation to a true Israelite: The Starres must fight, and the Sunne stand still for the ayde and Page  5 advantage of Gods armies. The Lions must leave their savage rage and trade of blood, and become Lambes and loving unto a Daniel. The Crowes will feed an Elijah: The flames of fire must hold in their heate, from burning a Shadrach, Meshach or Abednego: The de∣vouring belly of a dreadfull fish must be turned into a Sanctuary of safty to a Ionah: A popish Furnace hea∣ted with the very malice of Hell shall become a bed of doune and Roses to a iMartyr of Iesus: The very dead lines of an ordinary kLetter, must represent to a Roy∣all conceite, a meaning quite contrary to the naturall sense and all Grammaticall construction, before a bles∣sed Parliament be blowne up with Popish Gun-Powder: A brittle lGlasse must rebound unbroken from the har∣dest Page  6 stone, to helpe to bind up a broken heart, blee∣ding with griefe, for absence of her Spouse, and wan of the assurance of his love, &c. Nay the divell him∣selfe, though hee walkes about like a roaring Lion seeking with restlesse rage, and desiring infinitely to devoure the Lords inheritance, yet cannot possibly adde one linke to the chaine, in which by the merci∣full and mighty hand of God, he is hampered; nor goe an haires bredth beyond his commission: Though it bee utterly impossible, that that damned Angell should so farre change his divellish nature, as to doe any of Gods chosen, directly, any true good; yet he is everlastingly musled by an Almighty arme, from ever doing them any deadly hurt. He may be suffered sometimes to shake his chaine at them, and roare upon them hideously, to drive them nearer unto God, and fright them from sinne; But he shall never either in this world, or the world to come have his full swinge at them, or fasten his hellish fangs upon their redee∣med soules.

3. Besides all that other excellent, compleate, im∣penetrable armour of proofe mentioned, Ephes. 6. which is able to beate backe victoriously all earthly oppositions, and the very Ordnance of Hell, every one of Gods Favourites is also blessedly furnished with a mighty spirituall m Engine, which is able to batter downe all the Bulwarkes of the Divell, to shake the whole kingdome of darkenesse, and all hellish powers; nay, to offer an holy violence to the very Throne of n God himselfe: witnesse, His most mercifull intreating Moses*To let him alone, Exod. 32.10. As though the Page  7 mediation of a man, could binde as it were, I speake it with lowliest reverence to that highest Maiestie, the hands of his Omnipotency, from doing his people any hurt; and were able to extingvish that unquench∣able wrath in the conception, which once on foote would burne unto the lowest Hell, and set on fire the foundations of the Mountains: I meane that o most pretious, and almost, if not altogether omnipotent Grace of Prayer. This great Master of miracles hath wrought from time to time many and very remarke∣able wonders both in Heaven and Earth. It made the Sun, that mighty creature,* the Prince of all the Lights in Heaven, to stay and stand still upon the suddaine, in the heat of his swiftest course:* It landed Ionah safely upon the shore, out of the bellie of the Whale, and bowels of the Sea:* It drew refreshing streames out of a dry bone for the saving of Samsons life: It turned the Heaven into brasse for three yeeres and a halfe;* and afterward turned the selfe-same brasse into fruitefull clouds, and fountaines of raine:* It killed an hundred fourescore and five thousand of the enemies of Gods people in one night: For the freeing of Elisha from a straite and dangerous siege,* It filled a mountaine in a moment, as it were, full of Horss and Charets of ire: It turned the swords of a mighty Army into the Bow∣ells of one another;* when Iehoshaphat knew not which way to turne himselfe; but was so helpelesse and hopelesse, that he cryed unto the Lord, wee know not what to doe;* only our eyes are upon thee! It loosed Peter out of prison, shoke his chaines off from his hands, and made an Iron gate to open of its owne ac∣cord: * It eraged and inlarged the English Seas to swallow up the Spanish invincible Armado: And which is none of the least wonders, It brought Prince Charles out of Spaine.

But you instance, may some say, in extraordi∣nary examples of extraordinary men, endowed with Page  8 an extraordinary spirit.

Yet sure I am, they are registred by the holy Ghost, to represent unto us, and to all generations of the Church to the Worlds end, the Almighty and won∣der-working power of Prayer. And I am as sure, that the Petitioners were men *subiect to like passions as we are. Perhaps, if thou be a true-hearted Nathanael, since thy new birth, thou wast never so extraordinarily passionate, as Ionah was, when out of a pang of strange distemper, hee thus answered the mighty Lord of Heaven and Earth:*I doe well to bee angry even unto death.

Fourthly, Gods Favourite is further furnished with an other spirituall weapon of impregnable temper, and incredible might. I meane Faith, p the very Pow∣er, and Arme of God for all true ioy, sound comfort, and light somnesse at the heart-roote in this life. This crowned Emperesse of all those Heavenly graces, that dwell in the Soule of a sanctified man; and which in a right sense may be said vertually to comprehend all the beautie, strength, excellency and power of Christ himselfe; is truely q victorious, and triumphant, r over all the World; s over the very gates of Hell, and all the powers of darkenesse; t over the Divels fieriest darts; u over the devouring flames of the raging fire; x over the roaring furie of the most hungry Lions; y over the varietie and extremitie of exquisitest tor∣tures, temptations, persecutions, all outward miseries; euen z over cruell mockings. It * unresistably beares downe, or blowes up the strongest Bulwarkes, and thickest walles; a puts to flight the mightiest Armies, and b conquers the most invincible Kingdomes. And when all is done, Oh blessed Faith! at the very Page  9 last, and deadliest lift, c she triumphantly sets her foote upon the necke of the Prince of terrors, I meane death, the last and worst, the end and summe of all feared evills: And even in the middest of those dying and dreadfull pangs, beares a glorious part with Iesus Christ the Conquerour in that sweetest Song of victo∣ry, O death, where is thy sting? In a word, it can doe all things. dAll things are possible to him that belee∣veth.

Fifthly, and lastly; and in a word Grace in its owne nature, being the most glorious Creature of thedFather of lihts, and flowing as it were more immediately and sweetly from his blessed face, is of such a divine invin∣cible, and lightsome temper, and hath such an anti-patheticall vigour and ability, against all spirituall darkenesse and dampes; whether of affliction, temp∣tation, troublesome confusions of the times, the val∣ley of the shadow of death, the Grave, Hell it selfe; that it is ever able, either to dispell it, or dissolve it, or support it selfe strongly and triumphantly even in the midst of it. Suppose a soule beautified with Grace, to be seated, if it were possible, in the very center of that hellish Kingdome, yet would it, by its Heavenly strength, and glory, in despite of all infernall powers keepe off at some distance all the darkenesse, torments and horrour of that damned place. Whence it is, that it is so often in the holy Scriptures compared to light. Now what power and prevalent antipathy our ordi∣nary light doth exercise against his most abhorred Op∣posite, darkenesse, you well know, and it is elegantly and punctually for my purpose expressed by One in this manner: We see, and prove, saith he, by dayly ex∣perience how powerfull and dreadfull a thing the darke∣nesse of the night is. For when it falleth, it covereth, and muffleth up the face of the whole world. It obscu∣reth, and hideth, the hue, and the fashion of all crea∣tures: It bindeth up all hands, and breaketh off all im∣ployments: Page  10 The night commeth, saith our Sauiour, wherein we cannot worke. It arresteth, and keepeth cap∣tive all living wights, men and beasts, that they must be still, and rest there where it arresteth them: yea it ma∣keth them fearefull, and faint-hearted, full of fancies, and much subiect to frights. It is of all others such a powerfull, and unconquerable Tyrant, as no man is able to withstand. And yet neverthelesse, it is not of that might, that it is able to overwhelme, or to quench the least light in the World. For we see the darken the night is, the clearer the Starres shine: Yea the least candles light, that is lighted, withstandeth the whole night, and not onely suffereth not the darkenesse to cover, or to smoo∣ther, and oppresse it, but it giveth light also even in the middest of the darkenesse, and beateth it backe for some space and distance on every side of it: so that which way soever it is borne, or wheresoever it commeth, there must darkenesse depart and give place unto the light; all the power, and the dreadfulnesse of it, cannot helpe or pre∣vaile ought against it. And tho the light be so weake, that it cannot cast light farre about, or drive the darkenesse farre from it, as in the sparke of an hot coale, yet can∣not the darknesse cover or conceale, and much lesse quench it; but it giveth light to it selfe alone at least; so that it may be seene a farre off in the darke; and it remai∣neth unconquered of the darke, tho it cannot helpe other things nor give light unto them. Yea (that which is yet more wonderfull) a rotten shining peece of wood, which hth the faintest light that can be found, yet re∣maineth invincible of all the power of darkenesse; and the more it is compassed about with darkensse, the clea∣rer light it giveth. So little is darkenesse able to over∣come, or kepe downe an light; but that it ruleth and vanquisheth, and expelleth the darknss, which else overwhelmeth, and ••areth, and fettereth▪ and putteth all things in feare. Now if this naturall light be so pow∣••full, and so able to prevaile against the darkenesse of Page  11 the night: why should not that spirituall Light, that Gods Spirit doth kindle, and set up in the hearts of Gods Children, be able to afford them light in darkenesse, and to minister sound ioy and sweete comfort unto them, in the very midst of their heaviest, and most hideous af∣flictions. Assuredly, it must needes be unconquerably able, with farre greater power, and in an higher pro∣portion. For our visible light doth spring but from a finite and materiall Fountaine, the Sunne, it selfe a crea∣ture: but the Spirituall light, I speake of, flowes im∣mediately from the glorious face of the onely true, in∣comprehensible and eternall * Light, the Sunnes crea∣tour, who dwelleth in the light that no man can ap∣proach unto, and is an everlasting well-spring of all Life and Light; which it doth so farre represent and resemble in Divine excellencie, and mightinesse, that it thence receives by a secret and sacred influence, fresh successions still of an infinite triumphant power, and prevailing against all spirituall darkenesses for ever. Suppose all the men that dwell within the compasse of our Hemisphere should addresse themselues with all their wit and weapons, with all their power and policie to keepe backe that universall darkenesse, which is woont to seize upon the face of the earth at the setting of the Sunne; yet by all this strong and combined opposition, they should but beate the ayre: But now, upon the very first approach of that Princely light, but peeping up in the East, it would all ly away in a e moment, and vanish into nothing. Semblablely, if all the understandings upon earth, and all the An∣gels in Heaven should contribute all their abilities, and excellencies to illighten with cheerefulnesse and ioy, a guilty conscience surprised sometimes with hel∣lish darkenesse and cloudes of horrour upon sight of sinne, and sense of divine wrath; yet all would not doe, they should all the while, but wash a Blacka∣moore, as they say: but now, let but the least glimpse Page  12 of the light of Grace shine into that sad and heavy Soule, and it would farre more easily and irresistably chase away the very darkest midnight of any spiritu∣all misery, then the strongest Summers Sunne, the hinnest Mornings mist. Give me, if you will, Iudas his heart, or Spiraes horrour; or a vexed spirit torne and rent in peeces with the raging guilt of both those wo∣full men; and let that supposed rufull Soule, weary of its hellish burden, and thirsting sincerely for the wa∣ter of Life, but cast it selfe upon the mercy, truth, and power of the Lord Iesus, so sweetly offering himselfe in that pretious promise, Matth. 11.28. resoluing to take him for an everlasting husband; and ipso facto, as they say, it might be put into a very Heaven upon Earth. For this glorious grace of Faith, the Prince of all spirituall light and lightsomnesse in the truely hum∣bled Soule, thus shed into such a darke and grieved spirit, doth enkindle and set on shining all those f gra∣cious heavenly Starres, that are woont to beautifie the hearts of holy men; hope, love, zeale, son-like feare, humility, patience, selfe-deniall, vniversall obedience, fruitfulnesse in all good workes, &c. Which make them glight it selfe, to hwalke in the light, towards the infinite and iunapproachable light: And therefore they never neede to want lightsomnesse; but have perpetuall pregnant matter of spirituall mirth, and mightinesse of spirit.

The point appeares, and is further prooved by ma∣nifest, and manifold experience: David having bin formerly, wofully wasted with great varietie and ex∣tremitie of dangers and distresses, was at last plunged into a most desperate perplexity. 1. Sam. 30 6. Which had bin able to have swallowed up into despaire, the manliest vigour of the greatest spirit upon earth, not supported with grace. (The like or a lesse, caused King Saul to fall upon his owne sword;) yet He blessed man, by the power of his spirituall peace, and the Page  13 beames of Gods pleased face-shining upon his Soule, did patiently, and sweetly comfort Himselfe in the Lord His God; and stood like an impregnable Rocke unsha∣ken with the raging assaults of any tempestuous sour∣ges. He was at this time hunted by Saul like a Par∣ridge in the Mountaines; cashierd by the Princes of the Philistines as a fllow of suspected fidelity; robd by the Amalekites of His wiues; His sonnes, and His daughters; The Towne, to which He returned for safe∣ty, was burnt with fire; And to make his calamity compleate, and most cutting, even His owne men were ready to stone Him: Now in this great distresse upon the first apprehension whereof He wept, as the story saith, untill He had no more power to weepe; yet com∣ming to Himselfe, and recollecting His spirituall forces, His heavy heart ready to sinke and fall asunder in His bosome, did fetch by the hand of faith, comfortably fortified by sense and experience of former fauours, such heavenly strength from Iehova, whom He had made His portion; that thereupon His courage was re∣vived and raised to that height, that He presently pur∣sued his enemies with extraordinary valour and resolu∣tion, cut them off quite and recovered all. And David saith the text, was greatly distressed: for the people spake of stoning Him, because the Soule of all the people was grieued, every man for His sonnes, and for His daugh∣ters: but David encouraged Himselfe in the Lord his God, &c.

What a bitter Sea of unmatched miseries, did breake out upon blessed Iob, which with a sudden unexpect∣ed violence, bearing downe that Hedge of protection, which God had set about Him, (the raines purposely let loose by divine dispensation to Sathans malice in the meane time) did fearefully overflow him to that height and horrour; that He stands registred in Gods Booke as an unparalled Instance of extraordinary suf∣ferings and sorrowes; calamities and conflicts; to all Page  14 succeeding ages, no k story being able to afford the like: The naturall death of one deare childe, strikes sometimes so heavy to a mans heart, that for griefe he growes into a consumption; but all Iobs children, were suddenly taken away at once by a violent stroke: some petty crosse upon his outward state, and cutting off but part of his goods, causes sometimes a couetous worldling to cut l his ōwne throate: But Iob was robd of all; so that it is a prove be to this day; As poore as Iob: Many wives are passionate, and peevish in time of prosperity, whose harts notwithstanding will melt in compassion, and kindenesse, over their hus∣bands, in any kinde of misery; but mIobs wife, tho dearely intreated, by Her most distressed Husband, even for their childrens sake, the mutuall common pledges of sweetest loue; yet would not come neare Him. My breath, saith He, is strange to my wife though I entreated for the childrens sake of mine owne body, Chap. 19.17. Satan. I confesse, is woont to roare and rage fiercely enough about Gods blessed Oes, to doe them all the mischiefe, Hee can possibly; but rarely hath hee so large a reach, and his chaine so lengthned as he had against Iob. The painefull anguish of some one part▪ would not onely deprive a Man, of the plea∣sure of the worlds Monarchy, if he had it in possessi∣on; but also make Him weary of His life. In what a taking then was Iob▪ who from the sole of his foote, un∣to his Crowne had no part free from ore bles and n hor∣ribly iflmed ulcers, exasperated and enraged with the stiging smart of Satans extremest malice▪ who had power given Him to inflict them God himself frownes many times, and withdrawes beames of His plea∣sed face from the soules of His seruants, to their great griefe, tho for their spirituall good; But seldome doth he set them up for His Marke; hunt them as a fierce Lion; set His terrours in array against them; and com∣mand the poyson of his arrowes to drinke up their spirit; Page  15 as Iob complaines: It is no strange thing, neither should it much moove, but only make us walke more watch∣fully, to heare men of the world, and drunken Belialls to belch out from their rotten hearts upon the Ale∣bench such base slanders as these. These Professors for all their faire shewes, are certainely all of them notorious Hy∣pocrites. Tho they looke never so demurely, they are not the men they are taken for, &c. But to have a Mans nea∣rest, familiar, understanding Christian friends to charge Him with Hypocrisie, is a most cruell cut to a troubled conscience: And this was oIob. case. So thus as ob was singular in the universality of His afflictions, so there was a singularity of bitternesse above ordinary in every particular afliction. And what of all this? And yet for all this, this holy man, by the helpe of that pretious p hoard of grace, which his heavenly heart had treasured up in the time of prosperitie; out of that spirituall strength, which He had gotten into His soule by his former humble acquaintance, and conversation with His God, and knowing full well, that tho all was gone, yet He still possessed Iesus Christ as fully, if not more feeligly as ever before; He becomes here∣upon as rare and admirble a Patterne of Patience to all posterity; as He was an extraordinary astonishing spe••acle of adversitie and woe. Consciousnesse of His fore-spent righteous life, which he peruseth Chap. 31. The clearenesse of a good conscience Chap. 16 19 Be∣hold my witnesse 〈◊〉 in heaven, and my record is on high: And his invincible faith, Chap. 19.23, 24, 25 Oh that m words were now written, Oh that they were prited in a hunke! That they were graven with an Iron pen and lead▪ in the rocke for ever. For I know that my Redee∣mer liveth &c. chap. 13. Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him; did so strengthen and stay his spirit Page  [unnumbered] with a divine might, that he bore valiantly, and stood upright under the heaviest weight, and greatest varie∣ty of extreame afflictions, that ever were laid upon a∣ny meere man.

But now on the other side, the tyth nay the tenne hundreth part of Iobs troubles, caused graelesse Achi∣tophell, to saddle his Asse, get himselfe home, put his houshold in order, and hang himselfe.

So true is that which the blessed Prophet tels us Ier. 17.5. &c. Cursed be the man, that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arme, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. For Hee shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good commeth; but shall inhabite the parched places in the Wildernesse, in a salt∣land and not inhabited. Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For hee shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her rootes by the river, and shall not see when heate com∣meth, but her lease shall be greene, and shall not be care∣full in the yeere of drought, neither shall cease from yeel∣ding fruite.

This impregnable comfort springing from grace, and a good conscience, even in evill times, did steele the spirit of blessed Luther with such spirituall stout∣nesse, and so hardened his fore head against a world,* nay an horrible hell of most reproachfull and raging oppositions, that he became a Spectacle, a Miracle of rarest Christian fortitude, and invincible courage to the whole world, and to all posterity. I am perswa∣ded, that holy truth of God, which hee so gloriously proest, and that power of godlinesse, which hee so faith∣fully Page  17 practised, did infuse into the heart of that Man as much unconquerablenesse of resolution, and fearelesnesse of the face of Man, as ever dwelt in any mortal brest, since the Apostles time. Witnesse amongst the rest, that one extraordinary expression of His im∣comparable magnanimity: when his friends were ear∣nest, and eager upon Him, not to venture Himselfe, a∣mongst a number of Perfidious Papists, and bloud-thirsty Tigers; He replied thus: As touching mee, saith He,*since I am sent for, I am resolved, and certainly de∣termined to enter Wormes in the name of the Lord Iesus Christ; yea tho I knew, there were as many Divells to re∣sist me, as there are tiles to cover the Houses in Wormes. This Man of God did upon the two Pillars of His He∣roicall heart, courage and patience, most nobly sustaine the malice and hatred, almost of the whole world. The Divell, and the Pope did concurrently counter∣mine with all their cruelty, and cunning against this vi∣ctorious Champion of Heaven, and mighty underminer of their darke and damned kingdomes. Almost all the Princes, Priests, and people of Christendome, did breed & breathe out nothing but thoughts of indigna∣tion and threats of Death against Him. Millions of la∣sie, and lustfull Monkes, having like so many pestilent Locusts of the infernall Pit, seizd upon the face of Eu∣rope, with their envenomed swarmes, and lying at ease encloistered in Sodomy and bloud, gnashed their teeth at Him with Hellish fury, and like true Frends spet fire in His face. And yet for all this, this holy Saint, (which, I more admire, and prize higher, then the victories of a thousand Caesars, or the most renowned valour of the greatest Alexander) having so many incarnate Divels continually roaring about Him, with open mouth, rea∣dy every houre, and enraged with implacable thirst to drinke up His bloud, and swallow Him up quicke; yet I say, enioyed such a triumphant tranquillity of minde, and unshaken presence of spirit, that like a mightie Page  18Son of thunder by His constant and powerfull preach∣ing, for the space of nine and twenty yeares, so shooke the pillars of Popery, that I am perswaded the Beast will never stand upon His foure legs any more: And writ eloquently and excellently, almost, if not as ma∣ny volumes, as Austin did, that great glory of the Christian World in former times. A petty crosse ma∣ny times will so emasculate,* and weaken, the elevati∣ons of the greatest Wit, that His conceite, invention & stile will fall to a farre lower streine, then ordinary; which contentment, & calmnesse, would raise to their highest pitch & possibility. But the terrible earthquake, as it were, of all Europe▪ and contrary commotions of * Christendome some, did never a whit dis-animate, or shake the heart of this heavenly man; fitly honoured by the name of a third Elias.

But now Francis Spira on the other side, having out of his a inordinate love to the things of this life, wo∣fully wounded his conscience by that infamous 〈◊〉 of the blessed Truth, which He formerly professed, became a spectacle of such spirituall misery and woe to the whole world, that there is not any thing left un∣to the memory of man more remarkeable.

Vpon the very first revise of his recantation, and serou consideration in cold bloud what he had done, he acknowledged himselfe utterly undone and for ever. His spirit suddenly smitten with the dreadfull sense of divine wrath for his Apostasie, and split in pieces, as it Page  19 were, with so grievous a bruise, fainted fearefully, faild him quite, and fell a sunder in his brest like drops of water. Heare some rufull expressions of his desperate state, from his owne mouth: Oh, that I were gone from hence, that some body would let out this weary Soule! I tell you there was never such a Monster as I am; never was man alive a spectacle of such exceeding misery. — I now feele Gods heavy wrath that burnes like the torments of hell within me, and afflicts my soule with pangs un-utterable. Verily desperation is Hell it selfe. — The gnawing worme of unquenchable fire, horrour, confusion, and which is worst of all, desperation it selfe, continually tortures me. And now I count my present estate worse, then if my soule separated from my body were with Iudas, and therefore I desire rather to be there, then thus to live in my body. — The truth is, never had mortall man such experience of Gods anger and hatred against him as I have. — If I could con∣ceive but the east sparke o hope in my heart of a better state hereafter, I would not refuse to endure the most heavy wrath of the great God, yea for 2000. yeeres, so that at length. I might attaine out of misery. — He professed that his pangs were such, as that the damned wights in Hell indure not the like misery: That his state was worse then that of Cain and Iudas, and therefore desired to die. — O that God would let loose his hand from me, and that it were with me now, as in times past, I would scorne the threats of the most cruell Ty∣rants, beare torments with invincible resolution, and glo∣ry in the outward profession of Christ, till I were choa∣ked in the flame, and my body turned into ashes.

Vses. 1. If it be so then, that an heavenly hoard of grace, good conscience, Gods favour &c. happily trea∣sured up while it is called Today, hath the sole, and sa∣cred property, and priviledge, to hold up our hearts, In times of horrour: inabling us in the meane time patiently, and profitably to master all miseries, passe Page  20 thorow all persecutions, conquer all Commers; and at length by the helpe of God, to pull the very heart, as it were, out of Hell; with confidence, and triumph to looke even death, and the Divell in the face, and to stand with boldnesse, before the terrour of the last Day, like an unmooveable Rock, when the Sonnes and daughters of confusion, who have slept in harvest, and mispent the gratious Day of their visitation, shall in∣treate the mountaines, and Rockes to fall upon them: I say, it being thus, let every one of us like Sonnes and daughters of wisedome, in this short Sommers Day of our abode upon earth, and in this glorious Sun-shine of the Gospell, and pretious seasons of grace, imploy all meanes, improove all oportunities, to gather in, with all holy greedinesse, and treasure up abundantly much spirituall strength, and lasting comfort against the evill Day. To which, let us be quickned, by such considerations as these:

1. This wise, and happy treasuring up, of heaven∣ly hoards, and comforts of holinesse afore hand, will sweetely mollisie, and allay the bitternesse, and smart, of that heavinesse and sorrow; of those fearefull a∣mazements, and oppressions of spirit, naturally incident to times of trouble, and feare, which ordinarily doe very grievously sting, and strike thorow the hearts of carnall and secure Worldlings, with full rage, and the very slashes, and fore-tastes of Hell. Of all other passi∣ons of the Soule, sadnesse, and griefe grates most upon the vitall spirits; dries up soonest the freshest marrow in the bones; and most sensibly suckes out the purest, and refinedst bloud in the heart. All the Obiects of lightsomnesse, and ioy, are drowned in an heauy heart, even as the beauty of a Pearle is dissolved in vineger. Now the onely Cordiall, and Counter-poyson against this dampe of light-heartednesse, and Cut-throate of life, is the secret sweetenesse, and shining pleasure of that One pearls of great price;* three orient raies where∣of, Page  12 are righteousnesse and peace,*and ioy in the holy Ghost treasur'd up in the Cabinet of a good conscience. The glory,* pretiousnesse, and power of which hidden trea∣sure, purchased with the sale of all sinne, doth many times shine faireliest upon the Soule, in the saddest times; inspires for the most part into the hearts of the owners, the greatest courage, and constancy of spirit even in the dayes of adversity, and vexation; inables them to digest, and beare without any great wound▪ or passion those crosses, and cruelties, which would breake the backe, and crush the heart of the stoutest Temporizer. Was there not a great deale of diffe∣rence thinke you,* betwixt the heart of Hezekiah, who had walked before God in truth, and with a perfect heart, when He heard the newes of death from the mouth of the Prophet;* and the heart of Belshazzar, when he saw the hand-writing upon the wall. Giue me a great man, who carries a way, the credit and cur∣rent of the times; with all bravery, and triumph wal∣lowes, and tumbles himselfe in the glory and pleasures of the present: Throw Him from the transitory top of His heaven upon earth, upon His last bed: present unto His eye at once the terrible pāgs of approaching death; the ragefull malice of the powers of Hell; the crying wounds of His bleding conscience; the griesely fourmes of His innumerable sinnes; His finall farewell with all worldly delights; the pit of fire and brimstone, into which He is ready to fall: And I tell you true, I would not endure an houres horrour of His wofull heart, for His present Paradise to the worlds end. But on the o∣ther side, let me be the man, whom the corruptions of the time confine to obscuritie, who mournes in se∣cret for the horrible abominations, and crying sinnes, that raigne amongst us, who thinkes that day best spent, wherein Hee hath gathered most spirituall strength, against that last, and sorest combate; and by the mercies of God, and humble dependance upon Page  22 His omnipotent arme, I will looke in the face, the cru∣ellest concurrence of all those former terrors, with •••∣fidence and peace.

2. Secondly, By this spirituall hoarding of comfor∣table provision against the Evill day, we may prevent a great deale of impatiency, dependance upon the Arme of flesh, base feares, sinkings of heart; un-manly deiections of spirit, desperate resolutions, and many passionate distempers of such raging and distracted na∣ture, which are woont to seize upon, and surprise, un∣holy and unprepared hearts, when the Hand of God is heavy upon them. How bravely and Heroically did patient Iob beare and breake thorow, a matchlesse va∣riety and extremity of calamities and conflicts? The softest of whose sufferings would have strucke full cold to the heart of many a Carnalist, and made it to dye within Him like a stone as Nabals did. One of the least, the losse of His goods, I am perswaded, would have caused many covetous worldlings to have laid violent and bloudy hands upon themselues. For in∣stance: Ahitophel, onely because the glory of his state-wisedome was obscur'd, and overtopt at the counsell-Bord, sadled His Asse, gate Him Home, put His houshold in order, and hanged Himselfe. The onely cause of His fainting in the day of disgrace, and dis-acceptation was His false, and rotten heart in matters of religion. While the Crowne sate with security, and safety upon Davids head; He walked with Him as a companion unto the House of God. But when the winde begun to blow a little another way and upon Absoloms side, like a true Temporizer. He followes the blast, and turnes his sailes according to the weather. And therefore His hollow heart, having made the Arme of flesh His Anchor, and a vanishing Blase of honour His chiefest blessednesse, shrinkes at the very first sight, and suspition of a tem∣pest, and sinkes this miserable Man into a Sea of hor∣rour. But now on the contrary: what was the cause, Page  23 that Iobs heart was not crusht into pieces, under the bitter concurrence of such a world of crosses, of which any one severally was sufficient to have made a Man extreamely miserable? The true reason of His patient resolution, amid so many pressures, was the spirituall riches▪ He had hoarded up in the time of His happines. Amongst which the divinest, and dearest Iewel lay nea∣rest unto His heart, as a counterpoyson, to the venome and sting of the Divels deadliest malice. I meane a sound and strong faith in Iesus Christ, the Lambe slaine from the beginning of the world: which now began to shine the fairest in the darkest Midnight of His mise∣ries; and sweetly to dart out many heavenly sparkles of comfort, and such glorious eiaculations as these: Though he slay me, yet will I trust in Him. Cap. 13.15. And that cap. 19▪ 23, &c. Oh that my words were now written, oh that they were printed in a Booke! That they were graven with an iron pen, and leade, in the rocke for ever. For I know that my Redeemer liveth, &c.

There were two cutting, and cruell circumstances largely insinuated Cap. 29. and 30. which did keenely sharpen the edge, and mightily aggravate the weight of Iobs miseries:

The one was this: He had bin*happy. Now as that mans happines is holden the greatest, who hath bin in miserable condition; for He tasteth the double sweete; of remembring his forpassed misery; and enioying his present felicity:* So on the contrary; It is the grea∣test misery, they say, to haue bin happy.

The other was that, which most nettles a generous nature. He being a Man of so great honour and worth; whose rare, and incomparable wisedome, even the Princes and Nobles adored as it were with a secret, and silent admiration, as appeares Cap. 29.9.10. was now contemned of the most contemptible. The children of fooles, and the children of base men; that were viler then the earth, make him their song, and their By-word, cap.Page  24 30.8.9. For when true noblenes, and worth is downe, and any one of the Lords Champions dejected, it is ordinary with all those dunghill dispositions, to whom His sincerity was an Eie-sore; His power and authori∣ty, a restraint to their lewdnesse; the glory of His ver∣tues, fewell to their envy; to run as a Raven to the fal∣len Sheepe, to picke out His eyes; I meane, which yet asts of a truly cowardly, and mercilesse constitution, to wound his very wounds, and to vexe his vexations. This was Iobs case.

But what now ministers comfort to Iobs heart, a∣gainst these corrosiues? Euen consciousnesse of His gra∣ces, and integrities treasur'd up, and exercisde in the dayes of His peace. He reckens up fourteene of them, Chap. 31. From consideration hereof, Hee gathers to∣wards the end, this triumphant resolution against the orest of His sufferings: I would even crowne mine head with the bitterest Invective of my greatest adversary: whence it is cleare, that the two potent pillars of Iobs••rong, and strange patience, which all generations will admire to the worlds end, were a sound faith, and the sanctified fruits thereof, prepared and practised in the time of his prosperity.

3. Thirdly, by fore-provision of Gods favour, grace, good conscience, and such spirituall store, wee shall be able worthily to grace, and honour our pro∣fession; truly to enoble, and winne a great deale of glory, and reputation to the state of Christianity: when the ambitious Rufflers, and boisterous Nimrods of the world shall see and observe, that there is a gratious in∣visible vigour, and strength of Heaven, which mightily supports the heart of the true Christian in those times of confusion & eare, when theirs shall be like the heart of a woman in her pangs, & fall asunder in their breasts, even like drops of water. That He is as bold as a Lyon, and unmooveable like Mount Zion in the Day of di∣stresse, and visitations of God; when they shall tremble Page  25 at the shaking of a leafe, & call upon the Mountaines to cover them. That He shall be able then to say with Da∣vid, Psal. 46.1.2. The Lord is my refuge, and my strength, &c. Therefore will I not feare, th the earth be remooved, and tho the mountaines be carried into the middest of the Sea: But they shall cry, out of the bitternes of their spi∣rits, with the hypocrites, Isai. 33.14. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire! Who amongst us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? God is much honoured, and His truth glorified, when it appeares in the face of men, that a poore neglected Christian, or in the worlds language, a precise foole, is able by the power of grace, and influence of his favour, to affront and out-face all the frownings, and malignant aspects of the proud Gi∣ants of the world. And he is the Lords noblest Cham∣pion, and a Professour of the truest, and heavenliest dye, that holds out in the wetting, and shrinkes not in the Day of adversitie. Chrysostome speakes to the people of Antioch like himselfe, a Man of an invincible spirit, against the tyrannies of his times:*In this, saith He, should a gracious differ from a gracelesse man, that hee should beare his crosses couragiously; and as it were, with the wings of Faith, outsoare the height of all humane mi∣series. He should be like a Rocke, being incorporated into Iesus Christ, inexpugnable, and unshaken with the most furious incursions of the waves and stormes of worldly troubles, pressures and persecutions. And blessed bee God, that even here upon earth, in this vale of teares, there is such a visible and vast difference, betwixt a wic∣ked and godly man. The one is like the raging Sea that cannot rest: the other stands fast like a Rocke, which shall never bee remooved. An unregenerate heart is ever restlesse, commonly in these three regards at the least: First, by reason of an endlesse, and unsatis∣fiable appetite after pleasures, riches, honours, revenge, or what other Darling delight it hath singled out, and made speciall choice of to follow, and feede upon with Page  26 greatest contentment, and sensuall sweetnesse, God hath iustly put that property, or rather poison into all earthly things doted upon, and desired immoderately, that they shall plague the heart, which so pursues them; by filling it still with a furious and fresh supply of more greedinesse, iealousies, and many miserable discontent∣ments: so that they become unto it, as drinke unto a man in a Dropsie, or burning Fever, serve onely to in∣flame it with new heate, and fiery additions of insatia∣ble thirst, and iordinate longings. Secondly, because of the many secret grumblings, and stinging reclamati∣ons of a gauled conscience against its present guilty courses, and forbidden pleasures. Thirdly, in respect of a continuall ebullition, as it were, of confused and contrary lusts, out of the empoysoned Fountaine of ori∣ginall corruption, which fill it with many damnable di∣stractions, and tumultuations of Hell. But now if be∣sides this inward boyling, it bee also tossed with out∣ward troubles, what a miserable Creature is a carnall Man? Euen as the Sea, if besides its internall agitations; by the restlesse motions of estuation, descention, revolu∣tion, and reflection; it be also outwardly turmoyl'd with stormes, and tempestuous winds, How ragefull & roa∣ing wil it be? But the other is like a strong unmoveable mountaine, that stands impregnable against the rage of winde and weather. And all the cruell incursions, and ungodly oppositions made against it, either by men, or Divels, are but like so many proud, and swel∣ling waves, which dash themselves against a mighty Rocke. The more boysterously they beate against it, the more are they broken, and turned into a vaine foame and froath. Come, what come will, His heart is still in His breast, and His resolution as high as Heaven. Pestilent then is that Principle of Machiavel,* a Fellow not to bee named, but by way of detestation, and sa∣vours rankely of cursed Atheisme. Whereby He tea∣ches in sense and summe; That Heathenish Religion Page  27 did inspire Her Worthies of Old, with invincible, & victo∣rious spirits: But Christian Religion begets effeminat∣nesse, deiections and seare. He speakes to this purpose, which to me seemes strange: That such a profound Professour of the depths, or rather diuelishnesse of po∣licy should dote so sottishly. And yet it is no such strange thing: for many times we may observe; that deepest Policy, by the curse of God upon it, for opposition to goodnesse, turnes into extremest folly. And all counsels, and politicke constitutions against Christ, are but the brainelesse infatuations of Ahitophel. For that which this fellow holds there, holds strong contradiction, both to common sense, and a thousand experiences to the contrary. For the first, and in a word, Let the great Master of mischiefe, and of most abhorred atheisticall*Principles of State, tell me; whether a reall assurance of a Crowne of life, and endlesse ioyes in another world, be not more powerfull to raise a Mans spirit, to the highest pitch of undaunted noblenesse of spirit, and unconquerable resolution, then a vaine breath of im∣mortall fame amongst miserable men after this life? And in this lies the sinew of His proofe. For the second; Let the Acts of the ancient Iews be indifferētly wayed, from whose magnanimity, in causes of most extreme hazard, those strange and unwonted resolutions have growne, which for all circumstances, saith a great Di∣vine, no people under the roofe of heaven did ever hi∣therto match. And that which did alwaies animate them, was their meere Religion. And let the Chroni∣cles also, say I, of later times be searched, and wee shall find from time to time, many renowned Worthies to have for ever ennobled the matchlesse and incompara∣ble courage of Christianity with in imitable impressi∣ons of valour, and visible transcendency above all hu∣mane boldnesse, and affected audacities of the most va∣liant Pagans. To begin with great Constantine, the first mighty Commander of a Christian Army: with what Page  28 victorious glory did He confound, & cut off many po∣tent a Heads of Paganisme? Thrice was the whole world most famously fought for: betweene Alexander and Zerxes, Caesar and Pompey, Constantine & Licinius. This last was most b illustrious, wherein Constantine the Great did mightily conquer, and triumphantly carry all before him; the heroicall and royall spirit of Christia∣nity, trampling victoriously upon the desperate rage of the most furious, foole-hardy Pagan Tyrants. I might here passe on to Theodosius, and his miraculous con∣quests, and so along, but the disgression would bee too unseasonable. Therefore I leave you for the prosecuti∣on of this point, to Anti-Machiavel. Even in later times, wofully plagued under the reigne of Antichrist, with a vast degeneration from primitive purity and power, Christian Religion, tho empoysoned with Popish su∣perstition, yet did so farre inspire it's Warlike Profes∣sors with extraordinary spirits,* that in point of man∣hood they did wonders, to the astonishment of the whole world, and all succeeding Ages.*Godfrey of Bul∣loigne, that famous Warriour, with his followers, con∣quered in lesse then foure yeeres, all the goodliest Pro∣vinces of Asia, and drave out the Turkes. In that dread∣full and cruell conflict in Solomons Temple, as himselfe reports in a letter to Bohmund, King of Antioch, their men, by the greatbslaughter of the enemy stood in blood above the ancles. At that terrible, and bloody battell at Ascalon, as most report, they slew an hundred thousand Infidels, &c. The valour and victories of Hunniades, whose mighty spirit, and incredible courage, for any Page  29 thing I know, have no parallell in any precedent Story, were so great, and did like a violent tempest, and impe∣tuous torrent so batter and beate downe the enemies of Christ, that Hee was rightly reputed the cBulwarke of Europe▪ and thundring terrour of the Turkes; amongst whom His name became so dreadfull, that as the story d reports, they used the same to feare their crying chil∣dren withall. Hee fought e five times with the Turkes upon one day, and five times foyled and put them to flight: f with the losse of three thousand, He killed that valiant Viceoy of Asia, Mesites Bassa, with His sonne, and twenty thousand Turkes moe: g at that famous battell of Vascape, wherein he got the greatest victory that ever any Christian Prince before that time obtai∣ned against the Turkish Kings, with fifteene thousand souldiers, He overthrew Abedin Bassa, sent against Him most ragingly, by reason of a late shamefull losse, ac∣cording to Amuraths instructions, by the slaughter of the Hungarians, to sacrifice unto the Ghosts of their dead friends and companions, with an Army of fourescore thousand fighting men. Scanderbeg also, was such a Mirrour of Manhood, & so terrible to the Turkes, that nine yeares after His death, passing thorow Lyssa where His Body lay buried, they digged up His bones with great devotion; reckoning it in some part of their happines, if they might but see or touch the same: and such as could get any part thereof, were it never so little, caused the same to be set, some in silver, some in gold, to hang about their necks, or weare upon their bodies, thinking the very dead bones of that late invincible Champion would animate their spirits with strange, and extraordinary elevation, and vigour: h Besides an admirable variety of other rare exploits, at one time, with the losse of sixty Chri∣stians, i He slew Amesa with thirty as some say, but at Page  30 least twenty thousand Turks: c He kild with His owne hand above two thousand enimies: When He entered into sight▪ the Spirit of valour did so work within Him, and the fiercenes of His courage so boyled in His brest, that it was woont to make bloud burst out at d His lips▪ and did so steele His Arme, that He cut off many over∣thwart by the middle. But take notice by the way, a profession of Christian religion inspired these renow∣ned Worthies, with a marchles height of courage, and might of spirit: so the e mixture with Popish Idolatry did then, and doth to this day unhappily hinder all thorow successe, and constant prevailing against that most mighty, bloud-thirsty Turkish Tyrant, the ter∣rour of Christendome, who drunke with the wine of perpetuall felicity holds all the rest of the world in scorne, and is the greatest, and cruellest scourge of it, that ever the Earth bore. And besides, that the f Ido∣latry Page  31 of the Romish Church most principally and with speciall curse, blasts, and brings to naught all underta∣kings of the Christian world against that wicked Em∣pire; the practise also of some pestilent Principles pro∣per to that Man of sin hath plagued the most hopefull enterprises in this kinde. For instance: The king of Hun∣gary, by the helpe of Hunmades, was in a faire course, and forwardnes, to have tamed, and taken downe, nay to have for ever crusht, and confounded the insolency and usurpations of that raging Nimrod; but then comes in the Pope with a beastly tricke and utterly dashes and undoes all. For He, out of His Luciferian pride, by the power or rather poison of that Antichristian cut∣throate Position; Of keeping no oath, nor faith, with In∣fidells, and Hereticks, unhappily undertooke to b ab∣solve Vladisaus the King, & the rest whom it did con∣cerne▪ from that solemne oath for confirmation of a concluded peace, taken of Him, upon the Holy c Evan∣gelists; and of Amurath, by His Ambassadors, upon their Turkish Alcaron. Whereupon, they resolutely breake the league; raise a great Army presently, and against their oath, and promise set upon the Turke with periury, and perfidiousnes accompanied with Gods curse, exposed the Christian party to a most horrible o∣verthrow in that d bloudy battaile of Varna, and cast upon the Profession of Christ, such an aspersion, and shame, that not all the bloud of that rope of Popes, which constitute Antichrist, could ever be able to expi∣ate.

Looke upon the story, and consider what a reproch and inexpiable staine doth rest upon the face of Chri∣stian religion, by this wicked Stratagemme of Popish treachery, and that even upon record to all posterity: For Amurath the Turkish Emperour in the heate of Page  32 the sight, pluckt the writing out of His bosome, where∣in the late league was compris'de, and holding it up in his hand, with his eyes cast up to Heaven, said thus: aBehold thou crucified Christ this is the league thy Chri∣stians in thy Name made with Me: which they have with∣out cause violated. Now if Thou be a God, as they say Thou art, and as wee dreame reuenge the wrong now done unto Thy Name and Mee, and shew thy power upon Thy periu∣rious people, who in their deeds deny Thee their God.

2. Secondly. Sith a stocke of grace, and the comforts of a sound conscience, be onely able to crush all crosses, out-face all aduersaries, take the sting out of all sor∣rowes and sufferings; and serve in the evill Day as a soveraigne Antidote to save the Soule from sinking in∣to the mouth of despaire, and extremest horrour; then three sorts of people here offer themselves to be censu∣red, and are to bee frighted, and fir'd out of their dam∣ned security, and cruell case.

1. Those fooles, Sonnes and daughters of confusion and sloth, who having a price in their hands to get wise∣dome, yet want hearts to lay it out for spirituall provisi∣on before hand. They enioy by Gods rare, and extraor∣dinary indulgence, and favour, life, strength, wit, health, and many other outward happinesses; nay the most glorious Day of a gracious visitation, that did ever shine upon Earth; many golden and goodly oportunities, many blessed seasons and sermons to enrich their foules abundantly with all heavenly treasures: and yet they are so farre from spending their abilities, entertaining those mercifull Offers, and apprehending such happy aduantages for their true and eternall good, that they most unworthily, and unthankfully, abuse, mispend, and dis-imploy all their meanes, time and manifold mercies, to serve their own turnes, attaine their sensuall ends, and possesse the Present, with all the carnall contentment they can possibly devise. These vassals of selfe-love, and slaves of lust, are so lull'd upon the lap of pleasure by Page  33 the Syren songs of Satans solicitors; and so drunke with worldly prosperity, by swimming down the current of these corruptest times with full saile of sensuality and ease, that they fall asleepe, for all the while of the happy Harvest in this life for Inning grace into the Soule un∣der the Sun-shine of the Gospell; wasting their preti∣ous time of gathering spiritual Manna, in grasping gold, clasping about the Arme of flesh, sruing themselves by all wajes and meanes into high roomes, crowning them∣selves with Rose-buds, & tumbling voluptuously in the pleasures and glory of this false and flattering world. But alas poore soules, what will they doe in the evill Day! When after the hot gleame of earthly glory, and a short calme & cut ouer the Sea of this world, they are come into the Port of death, to which all windes drive them, and having there let fall that last Anchor, which can never be weighed againe, shall be set in the land of darkenes; the dust whereof is brimstone, and the riuers burning pitch; where they shall meete with whole Ar∣mies of tempestuous and fiery plagues, and the enveno∣med Arrowes of Gods unquenchable anger, shall sticke fast for ever in their Soule & flesh; where they shall ne∣ver more see the Light, nor the Land of the living, but be drowned in everlasting perdition, in the Lake, even a boyling Sea of fire and brimstone, where they can see no banke, nor feele no bottome. What will these slee∣pers in Harvest say, when they shall be awaked at that dreadfull Houre out of their golden dreames, and in their hands shall finde nothing; but the iudgement of God growing upon their thoughts as an impetuous storme, death standing before them unresistable, like an armed Man; sin lying at the doore like a bloud-hound, and a guilty conscience knawing at the heart like a Vulture? When they shall lie upon their last Beds, like wild Bulls in a net, as the Prophet speakes, full of the wrath of God; saying, in the morning, would God it were Even: and at Even, would God it were morning, for the Page  34 feare of their heart, wherewith they shal feare, and for the sight of their eyes, which they shall see. I say in what case will they be then? Then, But my words doe faile mee here, and so doth my conceit. For as none knowes the sweetnesse of the Spouses kisse, but the Soule that re∣ceives it; so neither can any one conceive this damned horrour, but He that suffers it. The Lord of Heaven in mercy awake thē in the meane time, with the peircing thunder of His sacred and saving Word,* that they may be happily frighted, & fired out of their amased Soule-murdring sloth, before they feele in Hell, those fearefull things, wee so faithfully forewarne them of.

To rouse them out of this cruell carnall security, let them entertaine into their most serious thoughts such considerations as these:

Consider,

1. Why thou camest into this world. There is not so much as one Age past, since Thou layest hid in the loathed state of being nothing. Above fiue thousand yeeres were gone, after the Creation, before there was any newes of Thee at all. And thou mightst never have bin; God had no neede of Thee: He gave Thee a Beeing onely out of His owne meere bounty.u Infinite millions shall never bee, which might have bin, as well as Thou Gods omnipotency is equally able and active to have prodced them as Thee: And no parts of that vast A∣bysse of Nothing, can possibly make any resistance to Almightinesse.

And besides being so, that Thou must needs have a Page  35 being, there is not any Creature, that ever issued out of the hands of God, but thou mightest haue bin that, either for the kinde, or for the particular. All is One to Him, to make an Angell, or an Ant: To create the brightest Cherub, or the most contemptible Flie: For in every creation, no lesse then Omnipotency must needes bee the Efficient, and no more then Nothing is ever the Obiect. Now what a miraculous mercy was this, that passing by such an a un-numbred variety of incomparably inferiour creatures, He should make Thee an everlasting Soule like an Angell of God, capa∣ble of grace, and immortality; of incorporation into Christ, and fruition of Iehova Himselfe blessed for e∣ver? Nay and yet further, tho thou wast to haue the Being of a reasonable creature; yet there was not an houre from the first moment of time unto the worlds end, but God might have allotted that to Thee for thy comming into this world. And therefore Thy time might have bin, within the compasse of all those foure thousand yeares, or there abouts, from the Cre∣ation untill the Comming of Christ in the flesh; when as all without the Pale, and Partition-wall, were with∣out the Oracles and Ordinances of God, and all ordi∣nary meanes of salvation: Or since the Gospell re∣vealed, under the raigne of Anti-Christ; And then a thousand to One, thou hadst beene choakt, and for ever perisht in the damned mists of his Devillish Do∣ctrines. What an high honour was this, to have thy birth and abode here upon earth appointed from all eternity in the very best and blesseddest time; upon the fairest Day of peace, and which is infinitely more, in the most glorious Light of Grace, that ever shone from Heaven upon the Children of men? And so of the place; Bee it so, that Thou must needes bee in this golden Age of the Gospell, and gracious Day; yet thy lot of living in the world at this time might have lited (for any part of the earth, might have received Page  36 Thee, where Thou couldest have set but thy two feete) amongst Turkes, Pagans, Infidels, a whole world to b Christendome: Or if thine appearing upon Earth, must necessarily bee within the confines of Christen∣dome; yet Thou mightest have sprung up in the Po∣pish parts of it; or in the scismaticall, or persecuted Places of the true Church in it. It was a very singular favour; That thou shouldest be borne, and bred, and brought up in this little neglected Nooke of the world, yet very illustrious by the presence of Christ in a mighty Ministry; where Thou hast, or mightest have enioyed in many Parts thereof the glorious Gos∣pell of our blessed God, and all saving Truth with much purity and power. Now put all these together; and tell me in cold bloud, and after a sensible and serious ponderation thereupon▪ Doest thou thinke, that all this adoe was about Thee, all this honour done unto Thee, and when all is done, Thou art to doe nothing, but seeke Thy selfe, serve Thine owne turne, and live sensually? Camest Thou out of Nothing into this world to doe iust nothing, but c eate and drinke and sleepe▪ to game; goe in the fashion; and play the good fellow▪ to laugh and be merry, to grow rich and leave tokens of thy pleasure in every place? &c. If any after so much illightning, bee so prodigiously mad, as to continue in such a conceite, I have nothing to say to Him, but leave Him as an everlasting Bedlam, abandon'd to that folly, which wants a name to expresse it. Turne then thy course for shame, nay, as Thou hast any care to be saved, and to see the glory of the new Ierusalem; as Thou desirest to looke the Lord Iesus in the face with comfort at that great Day; as Thou fearest to receive thy portion in Hell-fire with the Devill, and His An∣gells, even most intolerable and bitter torments for ever and ever; at least in this thy day, in this heate and height of Thy spirituall Harvest, awake out of thy sen∣suall sleepe, come to thy selfe with the Prodigall; strikPage  37 upon thy thigh; and for the poore remainder of a few, and evill dayes, addresse thy selfe with resolution, and constancy to pursue the One necessary Thing, and to treasure up much heavenly strength and store against thine ending houre. Get thee under conscionable Meanes, and quickning Ministery, and there gather grace as greedily as the most gryping Vsurer graspeth gould; contend with an holy ambition, as earnestly for the keeping of Gods favour, and an humble famili∣arity with His heavenly Highnesse by keeping faith and a good conscience, as the proudest Haman for an high Place, and pleased face of an earthly Prince. And why not infinitely more? This was the end, for which thou wast sent into this World; This onely is the way to endlesse blisse, And this alone will helpe us and hold out in the Euill day.

2. That,* upon the little ynch of time in this life, depends the length and breadth of all eternity in the World to come. As we behave our selves here, we shall fare everlastingly hereafter. And therefore how ought we to ply this moment, and prize that eternity? To decline all entanglement in those inordinate affections to the possessions, and pleasures of the Present, which hinder a fruitfull improovement of it, to the best ad∣vantage for the spirituall good of our Soules; Let us be mooved with such reasons as these, which may be collected from the words of a worthy Writer, which run thus with very little variation:

1. If we could afford our selues but so much leasure as to consider, That he which hath most in the world, hath, in respect of the world, nothing in it: and that he which hath the longest time lent him to live in it, hath yet no proportion at all therein, setting it either by that Page  38 which is past, when we were not; or by that time in which we shall abide for ever: I say, if both, to wit, our propor∣tion in the world, and our time in the world differ not much from that which is nothing; it is not out of any excellency of understanding, saith Hee, but out of depth of folly, say I, that we so much prize the one, which hath (in effect) no being: and so much neglect the other, which hath no ending: coveting the mortall things of the world, as if our Soules were therein immortall, and neglecting those things which are immortall, as if our selues after the world were but mortall.

*2. Let adversity seeme what it will; to happy men, ridiculous, who make themselves merry with other mens miseries; and to those under the crosse, grievous; yet this is true, That for all that is past, to the very instant. the portions remaining are equall to either. For be it, that we have lived many yeeres and (according to Salomon) in thē all, we have reioyced; or be it, that we have measured the same length of time, and therein have ever-more sor∣rowed: yet looking backe from our present being, we finde both the one and the other, to wit, the joy and the woe sayled out of sight; and death, which doth pursue us, and hold us in chace, from our infancy▪ hath gathered it.*Whatsoever of our age is past, death holds it. So as who∣soever he be, to whom Prosperitie hath bin a servant and the Time a friend: let him but take the accompt of his memory▪ (for we haue no other keeper of our pleasures past,) and truely examine, what it hath reserved, either of beauty and youth, or fore-gone delights; what it hath saved, that it might last, of his dearest affections, or of whatever else▪ the joviall Spring-time gave his thoughts contentment, then unvaluable; and he shall finde, that all the art, which his elder yeeres have, can draw no other vapour out of these dissolutions, then heavy, secret, and Page  39 sad sighs. He shall finde nothing remaining, but those sorrowes, which grow up after our fast-springing youth; vertake it, when it is at a stand; and overtop it utterly, when it begins to wither: in so much as looking backe from the very instant time, and from our now being; the poore, diseased, and captive creature, hath as little sense of all his former miseries, and paines; as he, that is most blest in common opinion, hath of his forepassed pleasures, and delights. For whatsoever is cast behind us, is just*nothing.

To ponder also profitably upon eternity, that we may apply our hearts unto wisedome, and so improove this short moment upon earth, that it may goe well with us for ever; let us take notice of, and sensibly to heart, this one quickning passage, confidently averred by a great Writer. aIf God, saith He, should speake thus to a damned Soule: Let the whole world be filled with sand from the earth to the Empyrean heauen, and then let an Angell come euery thousandth yeere, and fetch on∣ly one graine from that mighty sandy mountaine; when that immeasurable Heape is so spent, and so many thou∣sand yeeres expired, I will deliver Thee out of Hell, and those extreamest horrours; that most miserable forlorne wretch, notwithstanding, that he were to lie thorow that unconceiveable length of time in those intollerable Hellish torments, yet upon such a promise would infinitely re∣joyce, and deeme himselfe not to be damned. But alas! when all those yeeres are gone, there are thousands upon thousands moe to be endured, euen thorow all eternitie and beyond. How heavy and horrible is the waight of Page  40 everlastingnesse in that burning Lake, and those tor∣menting flames, when a damned man would thinke himselfe in Heaven in the meane time, if he might have but hope of comming out of them, after so many infi∣nite millions of yeeres in them?

3. That it would not profit a man, tho he should gaine the whole world, if he lose his owne Soule, and that a man can give nothing in exchange for his Soule: Christ him∣selfe said so. Suppose thy selfe crowned with the con∣fluence of all worldly felicities, to have purchased a Monopoly of all pleasures, honours and riches upon the whole earth, to be attended with all the pompe and state, thy heart could desire. Yet what were this mo∣mentany golden dreame to a reall glorious eternitie? How stinging would the most exquisite delight be, cu∣riously extracted out of them all, accompanied with this one conceite; the Soule is lost everlastingly. All these painted vanities, might seeme perhaps a gaudy Paradise to a spirituall Foole, who hath his portion in this life; But what true pleasure can a Man, in his right wits, but morally and illightned no further then with Philosophy, take in them; sith, setting other respects aside, they are so fading, and He so fraile. For the first: God hath purposely put a transitory and mortall na∣ture into all things here below. They spring, and flou∣rish, and die. Even the greatest kingdomes, and stron∣gest Monarchies, that ever were, haue had, as it were, their infancy, youthfull strength, Mans state, old age, and at last their grave. See the end of the mightiest states that ever the Sun saw, shadowed by Nebuchad∣nzzars great Image. Dan. 2. 35. There was never Empire upon earth, were it never so flourishing or great, was ever yet so assured, but that in revolution of time, after the manner of other worldly things, it hath, as a sicke body, bin subject to many innovations and chan∣ges, and at length come to nothing. Much more then, the pride and pompe of all other inferiour earthly glo∣ry Page  41 hath fallen at last into the dust, and lies now buried in the grave of endlesse forgetfulnesse. For the second; Imagine, there were constancy and eternity in the fore∣named earthly bables, yet what Man of braine, would prize them worth a button, sith His life is but a bubble; and the very next houre or day to come, He may ut∣terly be cut off from them all, for ever. To day hee is set up, and to morrow he shall not be found: for he is tur∣ned into dust, and his purpose perisheth. Take them both together thus: Set upon the head of the Worthiest Man, that the earth beares, yet wanting grace in His Soule, all the most orient imperiall Crownes, that ever high∣est ambition aimed at, or attain'd unto; put upon Him the royallest roabes, that ever enclosed the body of the proudest Lucifer; fill Him with all the wisedome, and largest comprehensions, which fall within the wide compasse, and capacitie of any depths of policy, or my∣steries of state; furnish Him to the full with the exact∣nesse, and excellency of all naturall, morall and meta∣physicall learning; put Him into the sole possession and command of this and the other golden world: In a word crowne Him with the concurrence of all created earthly excellencies, to the utmost and highest straine: And lay this Man thus qualifyed and endowed upon the one scale of the ballance, and vanity upon the o∣ther, and vanity will overweigh Him quite. Men of high degree are a lye: to be laid in the ballance, they are altogether lighter then vanitie, Psal. 62.9. The rich Foole in the Gospell teacheth us, that there is no man so assured of his honour, of his riches, health or life; but that he may be deprived of either or all the very next night. Besides, by a thousand other causes, meanes, and wayes, He may also be suddainely snatched away from the face of the earth in anger, for setting his heart and rest, upon such rotten staves of reede, transitory shadowes, and indeed that which is nothing. Wilt thou cast thine eyes upon it which is nothing? for riches, (con∣ceive Page  42 the same of all other worldly comforts) taketh her to her wings as an Eagle, and flieth into the heaven, Prov. 23.5. How truely then is that mad and miserable Man a Sonne of confusion, who spends the short Span of his mortall life in wooing the world, who was ne∣ver true to those that trusted in her, ever false-hearted to all Her Favorites, and at length most certainely un∣does spiritually and everlastingly every Wretch that is wedded unto Her; who passeth thorow a few and evill daies in this vale of teares, in following feathers, pursuing shadowes, raising bubbles and balls, like those which Boies out of spittle and sope in their pastimes, blowing up with their quills, ere they be tossed three times, burst of themselues, I meane worldly vanities, but in the meane time suffers His immortall Soule, more worth then many mate••all worlds, and for which, He can give nothing in exchange, to abide all na∣ked, destitute and empty, utterly unfurnished of that comfortable provision, and gracious strength, which should support it in the day of sorrow; and leaves it at last to the tempestuous winter-night of death, and all those desperate terrours that attend it, like a scor∣ched heath-ground without so much as any drop of comfort, either from Heaven or earth.

2. A second sort, worse then the former, are such, as are so farre, from treasuring up in this time of light, and mercifull visitation, soundnesse of knowledge, strength of saith, purity of heart, clearnesse of cōscience, holinesse of life, assurance of Gods favour, contempt of the world; many sanctified Sabbaths, fervent prayers, holy conferences, heavenly meditations, dayes of hu∣miliation, righteous dealings with their Brethren, com∣passionate contributions to the necessities of the Saints, workes of iustice, mercy and truth, a sincere respect to all Gods Commandements, a carefull performance of all spirituall Duties, a conscionable partaking of all Gods Ordinances, a seasonable exercise of every grace, Page  43 hatred of all false wayes, an hearty and invincible loue unto God and all things that He loues, or any wayes belong unto Him, His Word, Sacraments, Sabbaths, Ministers, Services, Children, Presence, Corrections, Comming, &c. which are the ordinary provision of Gods people against the evill Day, I say, they are so farre from prizing, and preparing such spirituall store, that they hoard up stings, scourges, and scorpions for their naked soules, and guilty consciences, against the Day of the Lords visitation; I meane lies, oathes, blas∣phemies; Adulteries, whoredomes, selfe-pollutions; variety of strange fashions, gamings, revellings; drun∣ken matches, good-fellow meetings, wanton dancings; usuries, falshoods, hypocrisies; plurality of ill gotten goods, Benefices, Offices, honours; filthy iests, much idle talke, flanderous ••les; scoffs, raylings, oppositi∣ons to the Holy way &c. And that with a cursed gree∣dinesse and delight. For they cry One unto another out of a boysterous combination of good fellowship, with much eagernesse and roaring: Come on therefore — Let us fill our selves with costly wine, and oint∣ments, and let no flower of the Spring passe by us. Let us crowne our selves with Rose buds, before they be wi∣thered: Let none of us goe without his part of our volup∣tuousnesse: Let us leave tokens of our pleasure in every place: For this is our portion, and our lot is this. Let us lie in waite for the righteous: because hee is not for our turne, and be is cleane contrary to our*doings, &c. But alas! what will bee the conclusion of all this, or ra∣ther the horrible confusion? Even all their ioviall re∣vellings, roaring Outrages, and sinfull pleasures, which are so sweete in their mouthes, and they swallow downe so insatiably, shall turne to gravell and the dgall of Aspes in their bowels, and to fiery enraged scorpions in their consciences. Where lurking in the meane time, in the Page  44 mudde of sensuality, and lust, breede such a never dy∣ing worme, which if God thinke fit to awake upon their last Bed, is able to put them into Hell upon earth, to damne them above ground, to knaw upon their Soule and flesh, with that unheard-of horrour, which seizde upon Spir'as woefull heart. a Who protested being fully in his right minde, that Hee would rather be in Cain's or Iudas his place in Hell, then endure the present unspeakeable torment of His afflicted spirit.

To beate them from this bedlam desperate course of greedy hoarding up such horrible things unto them∣selves, against their ending houre; Let them consider;

1. Besides the eternity of ioyes for the one, and of torments to the other hereafter, the vast and unvalua∣ble difference in the meane time, in respect of true sweetenesse and sound contentment, betweene the life of a Saint and a Sensualist; a Puritan, as the World calls Him, and a goodfellow, as hee termes Himselfe. Let us for the purpose peruse the different passages of one day; as bChrysostome excellently delineats them, and represents to the life. Let us produce two men, saith He; the one drown'd in carnall loosenesse, sensualities, and riotous excesse; the other crucified and starke dead to such sinfull courses and worldly delights: Let us goe to their houses and behold their behaviour.

We shall find the One, reading Scriptures, and other Page  45 good Bookes, taking times for holy Duties and the ser∣vice of God; sober, temperate, abstemious; diligent also in the necessary duties of His Calling, having holy con∣ference with God, discoursing of Heavenly things, bearing himselfe liker an Angell, then a Man: The other, joviall, a vassall of luxury and ease, swaggering up and downe Ale-houses, Tavernes, or other such conventi∣cles of good fellowship, hunting after all the wayes, meanes and men to passe the time merrily, plying his pleasures with what variety, hee can possibly all the day long, rayling and roaring as tho He were enraged with a Devill, tho He be starke dead, while He is alive. &c. Which is accompanied, with murmuring of the family, discontent of the wife, chiding of friends, laughing to scorne, of enemies, &c. Whether of these courses now doe you thinke were the more comfor∣table? I know full well the former would bee cried downe by the greatest part, as too precise: and the lat∣ter would carry it, by a world of men: but heare the Puritane Fathers impartiall holy censure, quite crosse to the common conceite, and humour of flesh and blood. It is excellent and emphaticall, arguing His re∣solute abomination of the wayes of goodfellowship; and infinite love and admiration of the holy Path. Ha∣ving given to the Goodfellow His hearts desire all the day long in all kindes of voluptuousnesse, and delight: yet for all this, *Who is he saith He, that is in his right minde, and hath His braines in His head, that would not chuse rather to die a thousand deaths, then spend but one day so? This peremptory passage would bee holden a strange Paradoxe from the mouth of any moderne Minister, and so appeares to the carnall apprehension of all those miserable men, who are blindfolded and baffled by the Devill to the eternal losse of their Soules. But besides that, it might bee made good many other wayes, it is more then manifest by comparing that threefold sting, that dogs every sinfull delight at the Page  46 heeles, &c. See my Booke of Walking with God▪ pag. 17. with the comfortable contentment, and secret sweetenesse, which might and should attend all well-doing, and every holy duty done with uprightnesse of heart. The very Philosophers doe tell us of a congra∣tulation, a pleasing contentednesse and satisfaction in doing vertuously according to their morall Rules. What true, solid, and singular comfort then, doe you thinke may bee found, in those godly actions, which spring from faith, are guided by Gods Word, directed to his glory, and whose bewailed defects and failings are most certainely pardoned by the bloud of his Son? Now what an extreme madnesse is this, for a Man to sell His salvation for a life of pleasures; abhorring the wayes of Gods Childe, as too precise, and painefull; whereas besides Hell for the one, and Heaven for the other hereafter; in the meane time every day spent so sensually, is a true Purgatory: And every day passed in the contrary Christian course, is an earthly Para∣dise.

2. Secondly, Let them marke well the different Ends of these men.

Tho the one now carries away the credite and cur∣rent of the times, and with all bravery and triumph tumbles Himselfe in the pleasures, riches, and glory of the world; and the other is kept, as they say, under batches, neglected and contemptible to carnall eyes, trampled upon with the feete of pride and malice by the prouder Pharisees, and hunted with much cruel∣ty and hate by Men of this World: Yet watch but a while; and you shall see the End of this upright man▪ whatsoever his sorrowes and sufferings, troubles and temptations have beene in this life, to be most certain∣ly peace at the last. Marke the perfect man, and be∣hold the upright, for the end of that man is peace. Psal. 37.37. He either passeth fairely, and calmely thorow the Port of Death, to the Land of everlasting rest, and Page  47 reioycing; or else, if a tempest of extraordinary temp∣tation seize upon Him in the Haven, when He is rea∣dy, to set foote into heaven, which is the Lot of many of Gods dearest Ones, for ends seeming best to the e∣ver-blessed Majesty; as, perhaps to harden those aboue Him, that hate to be reformed, &c. Yet all the hurt he hath thereby, is upon the matter, besides serving Gods secret holy pleasure, an addition to His happinesse; for an immediate translation from the depth of tem∣porary horrour, as in Maister Peacocke, and Mistris Bretlergh, to the height of endlesse joy, makes even the joyes of Heaven something more joyfull. Hee feeles those never-ending pleasures, at the first entrance more delicious and ravishing, by reason of the suddaine change, from that bitternesse of spirit in the last com∣bate, to the excellency, and eternity of heavenly blisse. His Soule in this case after a short eclipse of spirituall darkenesse upon His Bed of death enters more light∣somly into the full Sunne of immortall glory. But what doe you thinke shall bee the end of the other Man? He is in the meane time, it may be, in great power, and spreading Himselfe like a greene Bay tree, revelling in the ruffe and top of all worldly jollity and wealth, wallowing dissolutely in choisest delights and vamest pleasures; yet waite but a while, and you shall see him quickely cut downe like grasse, and wither as the greene herb. For God shall suddenly shoote at Him with a swift arrow. It is already in the bow; even a bow of steele shall send forth an arrow, that shall strike Him thorow, and shall shine on his gall. His power, and his pride shall bee overthrowne in the turne of an Hand. All his imperious boisterousnese shall melt away as a vaine foame. The eye which saw Him, shall ••e him no more; neither shall hi place any more behold him. He must downe into the grave naked and stript of all power and pompe; all beauty and strength: a weaker and poorer worme, then when he f••st came out of the Page  48 wombe. Here further for this purpose and fuller ex∣prssion of my meaning in this point, how a worthy friend of mine, instancing in the exemplary and dread∣full downe-falls of Haman, Shebnah and others, labours to fright gracelesse great Ones, out of their luxury and pride; security and sinfull pleasures; by consideration of their Ends. Oh then saith he, ye rich and great, ye proud, and cruell, Ambitious and honourable, take from their wofull examples, the true estimate of your riches, and your power, your pleasure and your honour, wherein ye trust, and whereof yee boast, but as Israell in Aegypt, of a broken reede. Consider that like sinnes, will have like ends: That God is to day and yesterday, and the same for ever: That the pride and cruelty; oppression and luxury of these times have no greater priviledge, then those of the former: But when for a while, you have domineered farre and neare, Had what you would, and done what you lit, dispeopled Parishes and plaines for your Orchards and walkes; pulld downe many hou∣ses, to set one up; from betweene whose battlements, and turrets at the top, you can see no end of your meadowes, your fields, and your lands; the measuring whereof as the Poet speakes, would weary the very wings of the kite: When your Clientary traine hath bin too long for the streete; and your bare respect hath shooke the hat from the head, and bent the knee afarre off: when you have clapt whole Manours on your backs; or turnd them downe your throates: when you have scoured the plaine with your horses, the fields and woods with your bounds and the heaven with your hawkes: when with pheasant tongues you have furnisht whole feasts; and with the Queene of Aegypt drunke dissolved pearle, even fifty thousand pounds at a draught, and then laide your head in Dalilas lappe: When, if it were possible, yo have spent your whole lives, in all that royall pompe, and pleasure, which that most magnificent King and Quee•• did Hist. 1. for an hundred and fourescore dayes: 〈◊〉Page  49 word, when you have wallowed in all delights, and stood in pleasures up to the chin: Then even then, the pit is digged, and death, of whom you dreame not, stands at the doore. Where are you now? Or what is to bee done? Come downe, saith Death, from your pleasant Prospects; Alight from your Iades; Hood your kites; Cupple up your curres; bid adew to pleasure; out of your beds of lust; Come naked forth, and downe with mee to the chambers of death: Make your beds in the dust; and lay downe your cold carkasses among the stones of the pit at the roots of the Rockes. And you great and delicate Dames, who are so wearied with pleasure, that you can∣not rise time enough to dresse your heads, and doe all your trickes against dinner: To wash your bodies with muske, and dawbe your faces with vermilion and chalke; To make ready your pleasant baites, to poy∣son mens eyes, and their soules. You whorish lezabels thinke you now, you are meate for men? Nay come head-long downe to the dogs. If not suddenly so, yet di∣spatch and put off your caules, eare-rings, and round tyres; your chaines, bracelets and mufflers; your rings, wimples and crisping pinns; your▪ hoods, vailes and changeable sutes: your glasses, sine linnen, with all your Mundus muliebris. Isa. 3. And put on stinke, in stead of sweete smell; baldnesse in stead of well-set haire; burning in stead of beauty: Wormes shall make their nests in your brests; and shall eate out those wanton windowes, and messengers of lust. Yea rottennesse, and stinch; slime and filth shall ascend, and sit downe in the very Throne of beauty; and shall dwell betweene your eie-browes.

All this is very wofull, and yet there is a thousand times worse. Besides all this, Thou, that now laies a∣bout the for thee world and wealth; for transitory pelfe and rotten pleasures; that lies soaking in luxury and pride, vanity, and all kinde of voluptuousnesse; shalt most certainely, very shortly, lie upon thy Bed of death, like a wilde bull in a net full of the fury of the Page  50 Lord; either sealing thee up finally in the desperate senselessenesse of thine owne dead heart, with the spi∣rit of slumber, for everlasting vengeance, even at the doore; or else exemplarily enraging thy guilty consci∣ence upon that thy last bed, with hellish horrour, even before hand. For * ordinarily, the more notorious servants of Satan, and Slaves of lust, depart this life, Page  51 either like Nabal, or Iudas: Tho more by many thousands die like hard-hearted sots in security, then in despaire of conscience. If it bee so with thee then, that thine heart, when thou shalt have received the sentence of death against thy selfe, die within thee as Naballs. (And most commonly, saith a worthy De∣vine, Conscience in many, is secure at the time of death: God in his iustice so plaguing an affected security in life, with an inflicted security at death.) I say then thou wilt become, as a stone: most prodigiously blockish; as tho there were no immortalitie of the Soule, no losse of eternall blisse; no Tribunall in Heaven, no account to bee made after this life, no burning in Hell for ever. Which will make the never-dying fire more scorching, and the ever-living worme more stinging; by how much thou wast more senselesse, and fearelesse of that fiery lake into which thou wast ready to fall. Death it selfe, saith the same Man, cannot awaken some con∣sciences, but no sooner come they into hell, but conscience is awakened to the full, never to sleepe more, and then she teareth with implacable fury, and teacheth forlorne wretches to know, that forbearance was no payment. But if it please God to take the other course with thee, and to let loose the cord of thy conscience upon thy dy∣ing Bed; thou wilt be strangled even with Hellish hor∣rour upon earth and damned above ground. That Worme of Hell, which is a continuall remorse, and fu∣rious reflexion of the Soule upon its owne willfull fol∣ly; whereby it hath lost everlasting ioyes, and must now lie in endlesse, easelesse and remedilesse torments, is set on worke, whilest thou art yet alive, and with desperate rage, and unspeakeable anguish will feede upon thy Soule and flesh. The least twitch whereof, not all the pleasures of ten thousand Worlds, would ever bee able to countervaile: For as the peace of a good, so the pangs of a guilty conscience are unspeak∣able. So that at that time, thou maist iustly take unto Page  52 thy selfe Pashur's terrible name; Magor-Missabib; Feare round about: Thou wilt be a terrour to thy selfe, and to all thy friends. And that which in this wofull case will sting extremely; No friends, nor Physicke; no gould, nor silver; no height of place, nor favour of Prince; not the glory and pleasures of the whole World; not the crownes and command of all earthly kingdomes, &c. can possibly give any comfort, delive∣rance or ease! For when that time and terrour hath overtaken thee, which is threatned Prou. 1.24. Et seq. Because I have called, and yee refused, I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded: But yee have set a naught all my counsell, and would none of my reproofe: I also will laugh at your calamity, and will mocke when your feare commeth. When your feare commeth as de∣solation, and your destruction commeth as a Whirle∣winde; when distresse, and anguish commeth upon you. Then shall they call upon Me, but I will not answere; they shall seeke mee earely, but they shall not finde mee: for that they hated knowledge, and did not chuse the feare of the Lord. They would none of my counsell: they de∣spised all my reproofe. Therefore shall they eate the fruit of their owne way, and be filled with their owne devises. I say, when this terrible time is come upon thee; then will the mighty Lord of Heaven and earth come a∣gainst thee,*as a Beare that is bereaved of her whelpes, and will rent the caule of thy heart, and will devoure thee like a Lion:*He will come with fire, and with His charets like a Whirle-winde, to render His anger with fury, and His rebuke with flames of fire: All his ter∣rours at that houre will fight against Thee, and that unquenchable anger,*that burnes to the very bottome of Hell, and sets on fire the foundations of the mountaines: The empoysoned arrowes of His fiercest indignation shall be drunke with the bloud of thy Soule, and sticke fast in it for ever. In a word, the fearefull armies of all the plagues and curses, sorrowes and un-sufferable Page  53 paines denounc'd in Gods Booke against finall Impe∣nitents, shall with un-resistable violence take hold upon thee at once, and pursue thee with that fury, which thou shalt never bee able either to avoide, or abide. And who is able to stand before this holy Lord God? who can abide in His sight when He is angry? who can deli∣ver out of His hand? what man or Angell; what arme of flesh or force of Armes, what creature, or created power; what Cherub or which of the Seraphins is able to free a guilty conscience from the ever-knawing Worme, and an impenitent wretch from eternal flames? Oh, Me thinkes a sensible fore-thought of these hor∣rible things even at hand, should make the hardest heart of the most abominable Behall to tremble at the roote, and fall asunder in His brest like drops of water! To haue his end in his eye; and seriously to remember the tribulation, and anguish that shall shortly come upon His Soule, the affliction, the Worme wood and the gall, should fright and fire Him out of all His fil∣thy gracelesse, good-fellow courses!

3. Thirdly, Let them consider, what horrour it will bee in evill times, I meane, not onely at death and the last Day, which are the most terrible of all; but also, In times of disgrace and contempt; of common feare, and confusions of the state; of sickenesse, crosses, re∣straint, banishment, temptations, or any other dayes of sorrow▪ I say at such times, to finde in stead of peace, fiery scorpions in their consciences, innumerable sins graven there, with an iron pen, un-repented of! Heare how excellently *Austin foretels & forewarnes them, Page  54 into what a forlorne and fearefull state, they shall most certainely fall, when after a short gleame of worldly glory, they fall into tempestuous, and troublesome times. Of all afflictions incident to the Soule of man, there is none more grievous, and transcendent; then to have the Conscience enraged with the guilt of sinne. If there bee no wound there, if all bee safe and sound within, if that bird of the bosome sing sweetely in a M••s brest; it is no matter, what miseries be abroad in the World, what stormes, or 〈◊〉 be raised against Him What arme of flesh▪ or rage of foes beset Him roud: For Hee in this are, hath presently recourse unto His conscience▪ the safest Sanctuary, and Paradise of sweetest repose, and finding that sprinkled with the bloud of the Lambe, filled with abundance of peace, and God Himselfe there, reconcil'd unto Him in the face of Christ, He is couragiously fearelesse of all, both mortall and immortall, adversaries and oppositions: Tho the earth be remooved; and the mountaines carried into the middest of the Sea, tho all the creatures in the world should bee turned into Beares or Devils about Him, yet His conscience being comfortable, hee is un∣daunted and confidet, and more then conquerour over the whole world, and ten thousand Hells. But on the other side, if by reason of the raigne of sinne, there be no rest there; if God be not there because of the abounding of iniquity, what shall a man doe then? Whither shall hee flye, when the hand of God hath found Him out, and the swift Arrow of the Almighty stickes fast in his side? Hee will flie, saith that auncient Father, out of the Countrey into the Citie; out of the streets into his House; out of his House into His cham∣ber; horrour still dogging Him at the heeles. And from His chamber, whither will hee goe, but into the inmost Cabinet in his bosome, where his Conscience dwelleth? And if hee finde there nothing but tumult and terrour▪ but guiltinesse, confusion and cries of despaire; which Page  55 way will hee then turne himselfe; Or whither will hee fly then? He must then, either flie from Himselfe, which is utterly impossible; or else abide that torment, which is beyond all compasse of conceite or expression of tongue. For all the racks, saith another, wheeles, wilde horses,*hot pincers, scalding lead poured into the most tender, and sensible parts of the body; yea, all the merci∣lesse, barbarous, and inhumane cruelties of the holy house, are but flea-bitings, meere toyes, and May-games, compared with the torment, that an evill conscience will put a man to, when it is awakened.

3. A third sort, the worst of all and most pestilent, are those, who doe not onely not labour in the time of harvest to treasure up comfortable provision against dayes of dread, and mispend the Day of their visitati∣on wickedly; but also out of a transcendent straine of impiety, labour might and maine, to put out and ut∣terly extinguish the heavenly Sunne, that creates this blessed day, and makes the season of our spirituall har∣vest most glorious, and incomparable: I meane to sup∣presse and quench the saving light of a powerfull Mi∣nistry, wheresoever planted, and prevailing; under the sacred influence, and soveraigne heate whereof, all Gods hidden Ones are woont to gather that heavenly stocke of grace, Comforts of godlinesse, and good con∣science, which is able to hold up their heads invincibly in heavy times.

These are the vilest of men, and of the most *for∣lorne hope: for they are unhappily transported with extremest malice, and storme against the very meanes, which should sanctifie them, and Men, which should save them. They doe not onely make their owne soules sure for damnation: but also hinder the power of the Word all they can, ** lest others should bee sa∣ved. Whatsoever thou doest, doe not become one of this damned crue: who heartily desire, that the Sun Page  56 of sincere preaching were quencht, and put out, tho it were with the bloud of God faithfullest Messengers; as did the Mn of Anathoth in Ieremies time. Ier. 11.19. 21. aHerodias in Iohn Baptist time, and that b other Herodias improperly called Eudoxia in Iohn Chryso∣stomes time, and many thousands, even within the Pale of the Church at all times. Above all, I say, Be∣ware of that crying sinne of c persecuting the power of godlinesse, without which never any heart knew what true comfort meant; Profession of the truth, without which Christ will not owne us at the last day; consci∣onable Ministers, under Whose painefull labours, we gather our spirituall and heavenly Store, against evill times in this harvest of grace: And that either with thine heart, by hatred, malice, heart-burning; with thy tongue, by slanders, scoffs, rash censures; with thine hand, by supplanting, oppression, wrong; with thy purse, policy, power, mis-informing, or any other way of vexing, or violence. If thou wilt needes bee wicked, bee so more moderately; If there be no helpe, but thou Wilt to Hell, post not so furiously; If no∣thing will-worke, but thou art wilfully bent to bee damned, bee damned more tolerably. For Persecu∣tours are transcendents in sinne, and shall hereafter bee paid home proportionably. Be none of them for such reasons as these.

1. All their malice, and rancour; all their bitter words and scornefull iests; all their bloudy, mercilesse mischiefes, and machinations against the power of preaching, and Gods people, strike immediately at the face of Iesus Christ. Acts. 9.5. Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And at the pretious Ball, and Apple of Gods owne eye; Zech. 2 8. For he that toucheth you, toucheth Page  57 the Apple of His eye. God is our Shield, Psal. 84.11. Now the Shield takes all the blowes.

2. They are hunted many times with furies of con∣science and extreame horrour even in this life. Pashur put blessed Ieremie in the stockes; but thereupon, He had a new name given Him Magor-Missabib;* Feare round about; Hee became a terrour to Himselfe, and to all his friends. Zedechiah smote faithfull Micaiah upon the face;* but afterward according to that Pro∣pheticall commination, Hee was faine to run from chamber to chamber, to hide himselfe. Iohn Baptists head, which Herod cut off, sate in the eye of the Ty∣rants conscience, with such griesly formes of guiltinesse, and bloud; that when hee heard of the great things done by Christ, hee was perplexed, and no doubt a∣fraid, that Iohn Baptist was risen from the dead to bee revenged upon Him. I have heard of a Man, who for a time did furiously, and desperately set Himselfe a∣gainst a Minister of God; labour'd might, and maine, by all meanes to disgrace, and vexe him; both by power, and policy; by slanders, oppressions, malice, contempt. But at length, the Word so got within Him, and hamperd Him; and the terrours of the Almighty tooke hold upon Him with such un-resistable rage; that he came trembling and quaking unto that man of God, whom he had so wickedly wrong'd; and durst not steere a foote from him, for feare the Devill should take him away alive; or the earth open her mouth, and swallow him up quicke; or some other strange re∣markeable iudgement seize upon Him suddenly, and brand Him for a notorious Beast, & cursed Cast-away. So or to such sense hee spoke.

3. Many of them come to very horrible, exempla∣y, and wofull ends. Pharaoh long since, by a dread∣full confusion at the red Sea was as it were hangd up in chaines, a spectacle of terrour for Persecutors, to all posterity. Antiochus swelling with anger, and brea∣thing Page  58 out fire in his rage against the people of God, did proudly protest, that He would come to Ierusalem, and make it a common Burying place of the Iewes: But the Lord Almighty,*the God of Israel smot him with an in∣curable, and invisible Plague: for as soone as hee had spoken these words, a paine of the bowels that was reme∣dilesse came upon him, and ore torments of the inner parts.—So that the wormes rose up out of the body of this wicked man, and whiles hee lived in sorrow and paine, his flesh fell away, and the filthinesse of his smell was noysome to all his army.*Herod in the height of his hatred against the Gospell, and pride in impriso∣ning and persecuting the Apostles, was eaten up of wormes in a most fearefull prodigious manner. Gar∣diner gaping for newes of the dispatch of those two blessed Martyrs of Iesus, Latimer and Ridley, at Oxford deferred his dinner untill three or foure of the clocke at afternoone, delighting more in drinking the bloud of the Saints, then in his ordinary foode: But upon the re∣turne of his Post, Hee fell merrily to his meate: And marke what followed: The bloudy Tyrant saith the Story,*had not eaten a few bittes, but the sudden strok of God, His terrible hand fell upon him in such sort, as immediatly he was taken from the table, and so brought to his bed, where he continued the space of fifteene dayes, in such intolerable anguish & tormēts, that all that eane while, during those fifteene dayes, he could not avoyde by order of urine or otherwise, any thing that hee received: Wh••eby his body being miserably inflamed within (who had inflamed so many good Martyrs before) was brought to wretched end. For further inlargement of this Point, looke into the Stories of the primitive Church, Acts and Monument, Theater of Gods iudgements.

4. A cry farre louder, then the noise of many waters, or voice of greatest thunder knocks continually, with strong importunity, at Gods iust Tribunall for a showre of fire & brimstone, and an horrible Tempest to be rained Page  59 downe upon their heads▪ I meane, a cry of bloud, wrongs, disgraces, and slanders, wherewith they have loaden the Saints of God. Rev. 6.10. And they cryed with a loud voyce, saying, How long, O Lord, holy, and true, doest thou not iudge, and avenge our blood on them that dwell upon the earth!

5. They are the principall provokers of Gods wrath against a nation. Their hatefull heate, overflowing gall, and scornefull carriage against Gods people, doth ripen apace His fiercest indignation; fill up full the vi∣alls of His vengeance, and draw downe upon a king∣dome a desperate, and finall ruine without all remedy. But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised His words, and mis-used Hi Prophets, untill the wrath of the Lord arose against his people, till there was no re∣medy. 2. Chron. 36.16.

6. Their spitefull spirits being once thorowly set on heate with this fire of hell and infernall rage against the grace of God and His people, commonly conti∣nue in flme and fury untill their fearefull and finall confusion. And they being once flesht, as it were, with the bloud of the Saints,* at lest by scoffes & slanders (for even lewd and lying tongues are keene razours, and sharpe swords, scourges and scorpions that fetch bloud) they feede insatiably upon the damned sweetnesse of such supposed cursed revenge, untill they be seizd upon with irrecoverable ruine; and fall amongst the firers of their malice, and Arch-persecutors of all Professours, the fiends of Hell. This is my meaning: This pesti∣lent and crying Sinne of persecution is like the gulfe of drunkennesse, which Austin compares to the Pitt of Hell, into which, when a man is once fallen, there is no redemption, or returne. A Persecutour is rarely or never eclaimde: Either by miracle or Ministry; mer∣cy or misery. Fire from Heaven falling upon the first Captaine and His f••y, did not fright the second Cap∣taine and His fifty from pressing upon Elijah to ap∣prehend Page  60 him. 2. Kings, 1.10.11. The souldiers who came to take Iesus, as soone as Hee had said, I am Hee, were strangely upon the suddaine, stroke downe to the ground. Ioh, 18.6. and yet this miracle did never a whit mollifie and abate the malice of the Priests and Pharisees against Him. Not even the Mini••ry of Christ Himselfe, though He spoke as never Man spake; Not that of Stephen, whose face appeared to His Hearers, as it had beene the face of an Angell; not that of the Apo∣stles freshly filled with the holy Ghost from heaven, did at all dis-enrage or ame those fellowes, which were possest with this fule spirit of scornefull contradicti∣on. See Luc. 4.28.29. And 16.14. Act. 7 54. And 2.13. Not all those horrible miraculous plagues of Ae∣gypt, were able to quench Pharaohs fury against the people of God▪ untill he was choakt in the red Sea. No kindnesse from David, though extraordinary, and matchlesse. 1. Sam. 4 11. And 6 9. could turne Sals heart from hunting him, as when One doth hunt a Par∣tridge in the mountaines.

And no marvaile, tho they be not mooved by all or any of these meanes; for they scorne, persecute and contemne the very meanes, which should amend them, and the onely Men, who should convert them. Whe∣ther of the two, thinke you, is likelier to recover? That man, who being dangerously sicke; yet enter∣taines the Physition kindely, and takes patiently what is prescrib'd: or Hee, who having a Potion presen∣ted unto Him very soveraigne for his recovery, throwes the glasse against the wall, spils that pretious Receipt, and drives the Physition out at doores? Conceive pro∣portionably; betweene the Persecutour, and the lesse pestilent sinner, who meddles nor maliciously against the Ministry.

7. They are already in the pestilent Path, and very hie-way, that leads to sinne against the Holy Ghost. The horriblenesse, and height of which dreadfull villany Page  61 may bring upon them even in this life, impossibility of pardon. Matth. 12.31.32. and liablenesse to that fla∣ming iudgement & iery indignation threatned, Heb. 10.26. &c. And that they are d growing towards this sinne, if they be not quite gone that way, appeares, because they despitefully traduce; with much malice and mis∣chiefe persecute the very workes of Grace, and graces of Gods Spirit shed into the hearts, and shining in the lives of the children of light. 1. Ioh. 3.12. Psal. 38.20. 1. Pet. 4.4. If a man would drinke, sweare, swagger, revell, and roare with them: If he durst bee an Igno∣rant, an Vsurer, a Sabbath-breaker, a Worldling, a doter upon, and defender of heathnish superstitious customes; a practiser, or Patrone of Old anniversarie fooleries, and rotten vanities; an incloser, gamester, good-fellow, &c. Oh! then Hee should bee the onely Man with them; entertain'd into their hearts and houses with all affectionate embracements of kind∣nesse and acceptation: but if the same man, by the mercies of God, once begin to breake from them, and out of the snares of the Devill; to dis-rellish, and de∣test his former wayes of nature and naughtinesse; to love and reverence the most searching Ministry; to reade the Scriptures, and best bookes; to sanctifie the Lords Day, to pray in his family; to renounce reso∣lutely, His running with them to the same excesse of riot, to abandon and abominate their lewd and licentious courses; In a word to turne Christian; Oh! then Hee is an arrant Puritane, a Precision, an humorist, an Hy∣pocrite, and all that naught is; even as e bad, as the false tongues of the Devils Limbes can make a blessed Man. He was a good-fellow, will they say, but hee is now quite gone: a proper man, and of good parts, but his Puritanisme hath f mar'd all. While Paul hu∣mour'd the Pharises, in persecuting and plaguing the disciples of the Lord, Hee was a principall and much honoured Man amongst them: but when hee turned Page  62 on Christ's side, He was holden a pestilent-fellow, the very gplague. So that it is plaine and palpable, what∣soever may bee pretended to the contrary, that those cursed Cains, dogged Doegs, and scoffing ••maels, that set themselues and spend their malice against the Mi∣nisters and people of God, hare, slander, and perse∣cute the very workes of Grace, and graces of Gods Spirit in them. Even their zale, holinesse, hatred of sinne▪ reformation, &c. are an Eye-sore, and heart∣sore to such hatefull wretches, and Owles of Hell, ho cannot endure any heavenly light.

8. As stigmaticall Rogues burnt in the hand, cur∣tal'd of their eares, branded in the fore-head, are in the Common wealth; so are Persecutors in the Church. By mutuall intelligence, and information of Gods peo∣ple, or some more publike lasting record and Monu∣nument of the Church, they have many times such a Marke set upon them; that they carry it to their graves, yea to the iudgement Seate of God; that it may bee knowne a sore-hand to that glorious Tribunall and all the triumphant Church, what h beastly men, stinging Scorpions, and pricking thorn's they have beene a∣mongt Gods Children, and in the sides of the Saints. Such a brand had Alexander the Copper smith set upon him by Paul. 2. Tim. 4.14.15 And such a Brand was set upon Diotrephes that mlitious prating companion, by Saint Iohn. 3. Ioh 10. So are those bloud thirsty Tygers, Gardiner, Bonner, and the rest of that cruell litter, and persecuting packe, branded, that their names shall rot▪ and their memories be hatefull to the Worlds end. So too many in these times, though they be very iolly fellowes in their owne conceits, ador'd as Idols, by their flattering Dependants, applauded generally as the principall Patrones of revelling & good-fellow∣ship; et in the censure of the Saints, and by the doome of divine wisedome, they are clearely knowne, and iustly reputed enemies of all righteousnesse, and Satans Page  63 speciall Agents to doe mischiefe against the Ministe∣ry.

9. And it is to be feared; they will finde no mer∣cy upon their Beds of death, and in their last extremi∣ty, cry they never so loude, or promise they never so faire. God in iust indignation is woont to deale so with those, who drinke up iniquity like Water, withut all sense or feare of a glorious dreadull Majesty above. See Ezek 8.18. with those, who refuse to stoupe to Gods Ordinance, and submit to the Scepter of Christ, when they are fairely invited by the Ministery. See Prov. 1.24.28. Ier. 7.13.16. and 11.11. With great Ones, who grinde the faces of the poore. See Micah. 3 4. with abusers of the riches of His goodnesse, and long suffering▪ See Rom. 2.4 5. How much more doe you thinke, shall impenitent Persecutors bee paide home in this kinde? See 2. Macchab. 9.13.17. There that great and cruell persecutor, Antiochus, being seizd upon by an horrible sickenesse, promiseth very gloriously upon that his last Bed; Besides many other strange refor∣mations, even that he also, would become a Iew himselfe, and goe thorough all the World that was inhabited, and declare the power of God. But for all this, heare what the i Writer of that story saith of his spirituall state, and of Gods resolution towards Him vers. 13. This wicked person prayed also unto the Lord, who would now have no mercy on him.

10 All their spitefull speeches, scurrill scofes, pesti∣lent lyes, insolent insultations, &c. are as so many Page  64 Crownes of Glory and ioy unto the heads, and hearts of all persecuted patient Professours. 1. Pet. 4.14. Act. 5.41. Iob. 3.36. (So that they infinitely misse the ma∣licious Marke, their revengefull humours would glad∣ly hit, the hurt and heart-breaking of those, they so cruelly and cunningly hunt with much rancour and hate.) And not onely so, but most certainely hereaf∣ter, if they die not like drunken Nabal, and their hearts become as stones in their brests, upon their Beds of death they will all, tho now passing from them, with much bitternesse of Spirit, and without all remorse, turne into so many envenomed stings, and byting scor∣pions, unto their owne consciences, and knaw upon their hearts, with extreamest horrour.

11. The whole body of the militant Church, ioyne all as one man with a strong concurrent importunitie at the Throne of grace; and with one heart and spirit constantly continue there, such piercing prayers against all stubborne impenitent scorners; all incurable, im∣placable persecutours, as the people of God have bin wont to poure out in such cases, as Lament. 3.59. &c. O Lord! thou hast seen my wrong, judge thou my cause. Thou hast seene all their vengeance, and all their imaginations against me. Thou hast heard their reproach, O Lord, and all their imaginations against me: The lips of those that rose up against me, & their devise against me all the day. Behold their sitting downe, and their rising up, I am their musicke. Render unto them a recompence, O Lord, accor∣ding to the worke of their hands. Give them sorrow of heart, thy curse unto them. Persecute and destroy them, in anger, from under the heavens of the Lord. Now I would not be in that Mans case, against whom, Gods people complaine upon good ground at that iust and highest Tribunal, one halfe houre; for the imperiall crowne, and command of all the kingdomes of the earth: for who knowes, whether iust at that time, the righteous Lord for his children's sake, and safety may raine upon Page  65 such a mans head, snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest.

12. And the prayers of the Saints poured out in the bitternesse of their soules vexed continually with their malicious cruelties, and cruell mockes, are meanes ma∣ny times to bring Persecutours to an untimely end, to knocke them downe before their time. Doe not you thinke, that the faithfull Iewes at Ierusalem, hearing of Antiochus marching towards them, like an evening Wolfe, to drinke up their bloud, had presently recourse unto Gods righteous Throne with strong cries, to stay his rage? And doe you not thinke, that those very prai∣ers drew downe upon him that horrible, and incurable plague, whereupon Hee died a miserable death in a strange Countrey in the Mountaines? Herod, for any thing wee know, might have lived many a faire Day longer, if hee had dealt fairely with the Apostles of Christ. But putting One to the sword. Act. 12.2. And another in prison. vers. 4. Hee put the Church to their prayers.* vers. 5. Which prayers, for there is a certaine omnipotency of prayer, as Luther was wot to say, did create full soone those vermine, that eate him up hor∣ribly in the height of his pride. vers. 23. The k Ec∣clesiasticall story reports, that the loathsome, and dreadfull end of Arrius, that execrable enemie to Iesus Christ, was hastned by the prayers of the good and or∣thodoxe Bishop Alexander, who wrastled with God in earnest deprecations against him all the night before. Doe you not thinke, that Gardiner went sooner into his Grave for his cruelty towards Professours of the truth, by their groanes against him, and by the cry of the bloud of that glorious Paire of Martyrs at Oxford, which hee so insatiably thirsted after? Let all those then, that tread in these mens paths, tremble at their Page  66 ends. And if no better motive will mollifie their dog∣gednesse, yet at least, let their love unto the world, themselves, and sensuall waies, take them off and re∣straine them from this persecuting rage; least it set on worke the prayers of Gods people, and so they bee taken away before their time, and cut off from a tem∣porary supposed heaven of earthly pleasures, to a true everlasting Hell of unspeakeable torments, sooner then otherwise they should.

13. The hearts, and tongues of all good men, and friends to the Gospell, are fill'd with much glorious l joy, and heartiest songs of thankesgiving, at the downefall of every raging incurable Opposite; when the revenging hand of God hath at length to the sin∣gular advancement of the glory of his justice, singled out, and paide home remarkeably, any impenitent Persecutour, and implacable enemie. See for this pur∣pose, The song of oses, Exod. 15. Of Deborah, Iudges 5. The Iewes feasting after the hanging of Ha∣man; Esther. 9 17. Psa. 52.6.9 And 58.10. And 79.13. 1. Macca. 13.51. (Onely, let the heart of Gods childe be watchfull over it selfe with a godly jealousie in this Point. That His reioycing bee, because Gods justice is glorified, His Church delivered, Satans kingdome weakened, &c. not onely for his owne ease and end, for any personall or particular by-respect.) Now it is an heavy case: A man, in His short abode upon earth to behave himselfe, so like a dogged Curre, and incar∣nate Divell, that all good men are and ought to bee passingly glad, when hee is gone.

In this Point I comprise and conclude, all sorts of Persecutours: Of which some are profest and open, as Bonner and Gardiner, and many such morning Wolues: Some Politicke and reserved, who many times are the more pernicious. For of all manner of malice, and ill will, that is most execrable, deadly, and doth the most hurt, which like a Serpent in the faire greene grasse, Page  67 lies lurking in the flatterings and fawnings of a sleering countenance. Which kisses with Iudas, and kills with Ioab: entertaines a man with outward formes of com∣plement, and curtesie, but would, if it durst or might, stabbe Him in at the fifth rib, that hee should never rise againe. When a mans words to thy face, are as soft as oyle or butter; but his thoughts towards thee, composed all of bloud and bitternesse; of gall and gunpowder. Some are notorious villaines, as ma∣ny times in many places, the most desperate blasphe∣mers, stigmaticall Drunkards, rotten whore mongers, cruell usurers, and fellowes of such infamous ranke, are as so many bloudy Goades in the sides of Gods ser∣vants; and the onely Men to pursue all advantages against the faithfullest Ministers: Some are of more sober carriage, faire conditions and seeming devotion; Act▪ 13.50. Some are the basest fellowes, the most abiect and contemptible vagabonds, and the very re∣fuse of all the Rascalls in a Countrey. This we may see by Iobs complaint. Cap 30. But now, saith Hee, they that are younger then I, have mee in derision, whose fa∣thers I would have disdained to have set with the dogs of my flocke. — They were children of fooles, yea, children of base men: they were viler then the earth. And now am I their song, yea, I am their By Word. And in Davids: Psa. 35. Yea, the Abiects gathered themselves against mee, &c. and I was the song of the drunkards, Psal. 69.12. And in the Persecutours of Paul, Act. 17. But the Iewes which beleved not, moo∣ved with envie, tooke unto them certaine lewde fellowes of the baser sort, &c. Some againe are men of place and parts. As the same David complaines in the same place. They that sit in the gate, speake against mee.m That is, men in high roomes and of great authoritie.

Page  68And as all sorts of Persecutours, so I comprehend all kindes of persecution.

1. By hand; as did Herod. Act. 12. Iulian, Bonner, &c.

2. With tongue; by mocking, Galat. 4.24. compa∣red with Gen. 21.9. See also Psal. 69.20. Hebr. 11.36. By slandering, even in reporting true things malici∣ously to the prejudice of Gods children. Psalm. 52. By reproaching and reviling. Zeph. 2.8. By insulting with insolent speeches. Ezech. 36.2. and 26.2.

3. In heart; by hatred, Ezech. 35.5. By rejoycing in the downefall or disgrace of the Saints. Ezech. 35.6.

4. In gesture; Ezech. 25.6. Because thou hast clap∣ped thy hands, and stamped with the feete, &c. Behold therefore, I will stretch out mine hand upon thee, &c. Take heede of so much, as looking sowre upon, or brow-beating a servant of Christ, lest thou smart for it.

Looke upon the quoted Places, and you shall see Offenders in any of these kindes, plagued and paide home as Persecutours of Gods people.

And thus let such extremely Wicked men be fright∣ed from persecuting any way, those Men or Meanes, which are appointed and sanctified, to furnish us with spirituall store and strength against the dayes of evill.

Ob. But against that, which hath beene said in this Point for the singularity, and soveraignty of grace and good conscience to support the Spirit of a Man in evill times, to keepe it calme in the most tempestuous as∣saults, and conquering over all commers, it may bee objected, and some may thus cavill.

Men, who never were, or ever did desire to bee ac∣quainted with Gods grace or good men, expresse sometimes, and represent to By-standers an invincible stoutnesse, much boldnesse and bravenesse of minde in times of greatest extremitie, and under most exqui∣site tortures; and therefore it seemes not to be pecu∣liar Page  69 to the Saints, and the priviledge of Gods Favou∣rites alone, to stand unshaken in stormy times, un∣daunted in distresse, and comfortable amidst the most desperate confusions?

Answ. I answere; Such confidence is onely in the face, not in the heart; enforced, not kindly; affected, not effectuall; not springing from the sole Fountaine of all sound and lasting comfort in humane Soules; sense of our reconciliation to God in Christ; but from some other odde accidentall Motives; from Weake and un∣worthy grounds.

1. In some, from an ambitious affectation of admi∣ration and applause, for extraordinary undauntednesse of spirit, and high resolution. It is reported of an Irish Traitour, that lying in horrible anguish upon the Wheele, an Engine of cruellest torture, with his body bruis'd, and his bones broken, asked his friend stand∣ing by, whether he changed countenance at all, or no. Affecting more as it seemes, an Opinion of prodigious manlinesse, and unconquerablenesse in torment; then affected with the raging paines of a most terrible exe∣cution.

2. In others, from a strong, stirring perswasion, and consciousnesse of the honesty, and honour of some ci∣vill cause, for which they suffer. But fortitude in this case, doth not arise, from any inspired religious vigour or heavenly infusions; but from the severer instigati∣ons of naturall conscience, and acquired manhood of a meere morall Puritane. Many such morall Martyrs have beene found amongst the more generous, and well-bred heathen. It is storied of a brave and valiant Captaine, who had long, manfully, and with incredi∣ble courage with-stood Dionysius the elder in defence of a Citie; that Hee sustained with strange patience, and height of spirit the mercilesse fury of the Tyrant, and all his barbarous cruelties: most unworthy of Him, that suffered them, but most worthy him that Page  70 inflicted the same. First the Tyrant told him; how the day before, hee had caused his son, and all his kinsfolkes to be drown'd. To whom the Captaine stoutly out staring Him, answered nothing, but that they were more hap∣py then himselfe, by the space of one day. Afterward hee caused him to be stripped, and by his executioners, to be taken, and dragged through the Citty most ignominious∣ly; cruelly whipping Him, and charging Him besides, with outragious and contumelious speeches: All which notwithstanding, as One no whit dismaide Hee ever shewed a constant, and resolute heart. And wit cheerefull, and bold countenance went on still, lowdly re∣counting the honourable▪ and glorious cause of His death; which was, that Hee would never consent to yeeld his Countrey into the hands of a cruell Tyrant. With such stoutnesse did even meere morall vertue steele the an∣tient Romane spirits, that in worthy defense of their li∣berty; for preservation of their Countrey, or other such noble ends; They indifferently contemned gold, silver, death, torture; and whatsoever else miserable worldlings hold deare, or dismall.

3. In some, from an extreme hardnesse of heart, which makes them senselesse and fearelesse of shame, misery, or any terrible thing. This wee may some∣times obserue in notorious malefactours. A long re∣bellious, and remorselesse continuance, and custome in sinne▪ raging infections from their roaring companions▪ a furious pursuite of outrages, and blood; Satans ho iron searing their consciences, and Gods iust curse upon their fearefull, and forlorne courses, so fill them with foole-hardinesse, and with such a ferall disposition, that they are desperately hardned against all affronts, and dis-asters. So that tho such savage-minded, and marble-hearted men be to passe thorow the streetes, as specta∣cles of abhorrednesse and scorne, as hatefull monsters, and the reproach of Mankind; to be throwne into a Dungeon of darknesse, and discomfort, and there to be Page  71 loaden with cold irons, coldnes, and want; from thence to bee hurried to that loathed Place of execution, and there to die a Dogs death, as they say; and finally to fall immediately and irrecoverably into a Lake of fire: yet I say for all this, out of a desperate hard-hearted∣nesse, they seeme still to bee in heart; and to represent to the beholders, a great deale of undauntednesse, and neglect of danger in their carriage, and countenances. O the prodigious Rocke, into which the stone in a gracelesse heart may grow; both in respect of despe∣ratenesse in sinning, and sense-lesnesse in suffering!

4. In others, from an enraged thirst after humane praise, and immortall fame, as they call it. Which may be so prevalent in them, and transport them with such a vaine-glorious ambition this way; that it may carry them with much seeming insensibility, affected pati∣ence, and artificiall courage thorow the terrors, and tortures, of a very violent, and Martyr like death. Heare what Austin saith to this Point,*Thinke yee there never were any Catholikes, or that now there may not bee some, that would suffer onely for the prayse of men? If there were not such kind of men, the Apostle would not haue said, Though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, I am nothing. Hee did know right well, that there might bee some, which would doe it out of vaine∣glory and selfe-love, not for divine love, and the glory of God. O the bottomlesse depth of Hellish Hypocrisie, which lyes hid in our corrupt hearts! O the blind and perverse thoughts of foolish men! O the murderous malice of that old red Dragon, which exerciseth such horrible crueltie both upon our bodies and soules!

Page  725. In some, from false grounds of a supposed good estate to Godward; from an unsound perswasion of their present spirituall well-beeing, and future well∣fare. Such Pharisies, foolish Virgines, and formall Pro∣fessours, are to bee found in all Ages of the Church, es∣pecially, in the fairest, and most flourishing daies there∣of, and when the Gospell hath the freest passage, who thus many times, in the greate it of all earthly extremi∣ties, even upon their Beds of death represent to all a∣bout them from a groundlesse presumption of being reconciled unto God, a great deale of confidence, reso∣lution, and many glorious expectations. Vpon a par∣tiall survay, and perusall of their time past, not stain'd perhaps with any great enormities, notoriousnesse, or infamous sinne; out of a vaine-glorious consciousnesse unto themselues, of their many good parts, generall graces, good deedes, and plausiblenesse with the most; by reason of a former obstinated distaste and preju∣dice against sincerity, and the power of godlinesse, as tho it were unnecessary singularity and peevishnesse; and it may bee, confirmed also unhappily in their spiri∣tuall selfe-cousenage, by the unskilfull, and unseasona∣ble palliations, I meane mis-applications of some abu∣sed promises unto their un-humbled Soules, from some dawbing Ministers,* a generation of vilest men, excel∣lent Ideots in the mystery of Christ, and mercifull Cut∣throates of many miserable deluded Soules, to whom they promise life and peace, when there is no peace to∣wards, but terrible things even at hand, tumbling of gar∣ments in blood,*noise of damned Soules, and tormenting in Hell for ever; I say from such false and failing grounds as these, they many times in that last extremi∣ty, (the Lord not revealing unto them the unsound∣nesse of their spirituall estate, and rottennesse of their hopes) demeane themselues chearefully, and comforta∣bly, as tho they were presently to set foote into Hea∣ven, and to lay hold upon eternall life; but God hee Page  73 knowes, without any iust cause or true ground. For immediately upon the departure of the Soule from the Body, shall they heare that wofull doome from Christs owne mouth, as Himselfe hath told us before-hand, Depart from mee;*I never knew you. Such men as these, having been formerly acquainted with, and exercisde in the outward formes and complements of Religion, are woont at such times to entertaine their visitants and By-standers, with many goodly speeches, and Scripture-Phrases, representing their contempt of the World, Willingnesse to dye, readinesse to forgive all the World, Hope to bee saved, desire to bee dissolved, and bee in Heaven, &c. They may cry aloude with much formall confidence,*Lord, Lord, open to us; mercy, mercy, in the name of Christ, Lord Iesus receive our spi∣rits, &c. which last eiaculations, did they spring from a truly broken, penitent, and heavenly heart, and were they the periods, and conclusions of a well-spent life, might blessedly breake open with unresistable power the gates of Heaven; unlocke the rich treasures of im∣mortality, and fill the departing Soule, with the shi∣ning beames of Gods glorious presence: but unto them such goodly and glorious speeches are but as so many catchings and scrablings of a Man over head in water: Hee struggles, and strives for hold to save Himselfe; but Hee graspes nothing but water; it is still water, which Hee catches; and therefore sinkes and drownes.

6. In others, from a mis-guided head-strong Zeale in will-worship; an impotent, peremptory conceit, that they suffer in the cause of God, and for the glory of Re∣ligion. This unhallowed fury possessed many Here∣retikes of old. Vpon this false ground, the aDonatists in the fourth Century after Christ offered themselues wil∣lingly, and suffered death most couragiously. And so did the bEuphemites, who for the multitude of their Page  74 supposed Martyrs, would needs be called Martyrians. Stories also tell us,* that Turkes, Tartars and Mores both fight and dye most bravely and resolutely for the blasphemous opinions of Mahomet. And that the As∣sasins, a company of bloody Villaines, and desperate Cut-throates, who would without all scruple or feare undertake to dispatch any Man, whom their Generall commanded them to murther, dyed oftentimes with great constancy and un-dismaiednesse: And this they accounted a speciall point of Religion. But especially at this Day, the Popish Pseudo-martyrs, indeed true Traytors, are starke mad with this superstitious rage. First, they drinke full deepe of the golden cup of abo∣minable fornication in the hand of the great Whore. Immediately whereupon they grow into an unsatiable and outragious thirst after the blood of Soules, empoy∣soning them with the doctrine of Divels: And also af∣ter the blood of whomsoever withstands their accursed superstitions, even tho they weare Imperiall Crownes upon their Heads; by plotting, and practising treasons, parricides, assasinates, empoysonings, ruines of whole Nations, barbarous Massacres, blowing up of Parlia∣ments▪ and a world of bloody mischiefes, which cast an inexpiable staine, and obloquy upon the innocency of Christian Religion. At last, they come to Tyburne, or some other Place of iust execution; and then they will needes beare the world in hand, that they are going to∣wards Heaven, to receive a Crowne of Martyrdome. They seeme there already to triumph extraordinarily, and to contemne tortures: with an affected bravery, they trample upon the Tribunals of Iustice, kisse the in∣struments of death, in signe of happinesse at hand; and throw many resolute, and reioycing speeches, amongst the people as tho they had one foote in Heaven alrea∣dy. When alas! poore, blind, mis-guided Soules, while they thus wilfully and desperately abandon their lives upon a groundlesse, and gracelesse conceite, that Page  75 they shall become crowned Martyrs; they are like a Man, who lying asleepe upon an high and steepe Rock, dreames that Hee is created a King, guarded with a goodly traine of ancient Nobles, furnished with many princely Houses, and stately Palaces, enriched with the Revenewes, Majesty, and Magnificence of a mighty Kingdome, attended with all the pleasures, His heart could desire, &c. But starting up upon the sudden, and leaping for ioy; falls headlong, and irrecoverably into the raging Sea; and so in liew of that imaginary hap∣pinesse, Hee vainely grasped in a dreame, Hee destroies Himselfe, and looseth that little reall comfort, Hee had in this miserable life. That damned paire of incarnate Divels, the English Fawkes and French Ravillac; the one, after that in the Popes cause, Hee had embrued His hands in the Royall blood of a mighty King, and the greatest Warriour upon Earth; The other having done His utmost to blow up at once, the glory, power, wise∣dome; the Religion, peace, and posterity of the most renowned State under the Heavens; were both pro∣digiously bold, confident, peremptory. But was this courage thinke you inspired into them, by the Lyon of the Tribe of Iudah, already triumphant in the Heavens, or by that roaring Dragon of the bottomlesse Pit? A man of an understanding, impartiall, discerning spirit, would scarcely wish a clearer demonstration of the Truth, and Orthodoxnes of our Religion, then to marke the different Ends of our blessed Martyrs in Q. Maries time, & those Popish Traytors, which are sometimes exe∣cuted amongst us. They both ordinarily at their Ends expresse a great deale of confidence: But in the Pseudo-Catholicks Antichristian Martyrs, it is so enforced, artificiall, ambitious, affected; Their speeches so cun∣ning, and composed upon purpose to seduce the simple; Their last behaviour o plotted before-hand, and for∣mally acted; Their prayers so unhearty, plodding and perfunctory; Their whole carriage so unspirituall, and Page  76 unlike the Saints of God, discovering, neither former acquaintances with the mysteries of true sanctification, nor those present feeling elevations of spirit, which are woont to fill the Soules, which are ready to enter into the Ioyes of Heaven; that to a spirituall eye, to a man verst in the purity, and power of godlinesse, it is most cleare, that their comfort in such cases, is of no higher straine, nor stronger temper, then the morall resolution of an Heathen, and head-strong conceit of Heresie can represent, or reach unto. It is otherwise with the true Martyrs of Iesus, slaine most cruelly by that great Whore, the MOTHER of HARLOTS, drunken with a world of innocent blood, as with sweet Wine: As we may see and feele in that glorious Martyriology of our Saints, in the mercilesse times of Queene Mary. The constant profession, and power of our most true, and ever-blessed Religion did create such an holy, and humble Maiesty in their carriages; such a deale of Heaven, and sober undantednesse in their countenan∣ces; such ioyfull springings, and spirituall ravishments in their hearts; such grace, and powerfull peircings in their speeches; such zeale, and hearty meltings in their prayers; such triumphant, and heavenly exultations amid the flames; that it was more then manifest, both to Heaven and Earth; to Men and Angels, that their Cause, was the Cause of God; their Murtherer, that Man of sinne; their blood, the seede of the Church; their Soules, the Iewels of Heaven; and their present passage, the right and ready way, to that unfading and most glorious Crowne of Martyrdome. That which in fiction, was fathered upon Father Campion, was most true of every one of our true Martyrs:

That every one might say, with heavy heart that stood:

Here speakes a Saint, here dies a Lambe, here flowes the guiltlesse blood.

Thus you haue heard, upon what weake props and Page  77 sandy foundations that confidence stands, and is built, which carnall men seeme to lay hold upon with great bravery in times of trouble, and distresse But the com∣fort which sweetely springs from that spirit, I speake of, supported, out of speciall favour, and interest, by the hand of God, All-sufficient, and the unconquerable calmnesse of a good conscience is grounded upon a Rocke; upon which, tho the raine descends, the floods come, the windes blow, the tempests beate; yet it stands like Mount Zion, sure, sober, strong, lasting, impregna∣ble. Nay, a it is of that heavenly metall, and divine temper, that it ordinarily gathers vigour and puissance from the worlds rage; and growes in strength and re∣solution together with the encrease of all iniust oppo∣sitions: Persecutions, and resistance serue as a provoca∣tion, and seasoning to it's sweetnesse. It is not enforced, formall, artificiall, affected, furious, desperate, mis∣grounded, ambitious, upon an humour, in the face onely, onely in hot blood, out of a vaine-glorious pang, &c. Such may bee found in Aliens, and resolute re∣probates. It were nothing worthy, if strangers might meddle with it: If Men or Divels, or the whole World could take it from us; If it were sustained onely by any created power, or arme of flesh. This Pearle that I praise, and perswade unto, is of an higher price, and more transcendent power, then any unregenerate Man can possibly compasse, or comprehend. It hath for it's seate, a sanctified Soule; for the Fountaine of it's refresh∣ing, the Spirit of all comfort; for it's foundation, the fa∣vour of God; for it's Warrant, the promises of Amen, the faithfull, and true Witnesse; for it's object, an im∣mortall Crowne; for it's continuance, the prayers of Page  78 all the Saints; for it's companions, inward peace, invin∣cible courage, an holy security of minde; for it's end and perfection, fulnesse of ioy, and pleasures at Gods right hand for evermore. In a word, this couragious comfort, and true noblenesse of spirit, which dwells in the heart of the true-hearted Christian doth differ as much from, and as farre surpasses all the groundlesse confidences of what carnall men, or religious counter∣feits soever; as the reall possession of gold, an imagina∣ry dreame of gold; as the true naturall, lively Grape, which glads the heart, a painted juycelesse Grape, which onely feedes the eye▪ as a strong, and mighty Oake, rooted deepely in the earth, which no storme or tempest can displant or overthrow, a Stake in a dead hedge, or Staffe stucke lightly into the ground, which every hand may snatch away, or blast of winde sup∣plant, and overthrow.

Secondly, the trouble of a wounded conscience, is further amplified by it's Attribute, intolerable∣nesse. But a wounded Spirit who can beare? Whence, note;

Doctr. That the torture of a troubled Conscience is intolerable.

Reas. 1. In all other afflictions, onely the Arme of flesh is our adversary; wee contend but with Creatures at most; wee have to doe but with Man, or at worst, with Divels: but in this transcendent misery, wee con∣flict immediately with God Himselfe: Fraile Man with Almighty God; sinfull Man with that most ho∣ly God,*Whose eyes are purer then to behold evill, and who cannot looke upon iniquity. Who then can stand be∣fore his indignation? Who can abide in the fiercenesse of his anger? When his fury is powred out like fire, and the Rocks are throwne downe by Him: When hee comes a∣gainst a man as a Beare that is bereaved of her Whelpes,*torent the very caule of His heart, and to devoure him like a Lion. No more then the driest stubble can resist Page  79 the fierest flame; the ripe Corne, the Mowers sharpest sythe; or a garment, the Moath: no more, nay infinite∣ly lesse can any power of Man or Angell withstand the mighty Lord of Heaven and Earth, when Hee is angry for Sinne.*When thou, saith David, with rebukes cor∣rectest man for iniquity, thou as a*Moath makest his beauty to consume. Alas! when a poore polluted wretch, upon some speciall illumination by the Word, or ex∣traordinary stroke from the rod, doth once begin to be∣hold Gods frowning face against Him, in the pure Glasse of His most holy Law; and to feele divine iu∣stice by an invisible hand, taking secret vengeance upon his conscience; His heavy heart immediately melts a∣way in his brest, and becomes as water. Hee faints and failes, both in the strength of his body, and stoutnesse of his minde. His bones, the pillars, and Master-timber of his earthly Tabernacle, are presently broken in pie∣ces, and turn'd into rottennesse: His spirit the eye and excellency of his Soule, which should illighten, and make lightsome the whole Man, is quite put out, and utterly overwhelm'd, with excesse of horrour, and flashes of despaire. O this is it, which would not onely crush the courage of the stoutest sonne of Adam, that ever breath'd upon earth; but even breake the backe of the most glorious Angell, that did ever shine in Hea∣ven, should Hee lift up but one rebellious thought against his Creatour! This alone is able to make the tallest Cedar in Lbanon, the strongest Oake in Basan; I meane the highest looke, and the proudest heart; the most boisterous Nimrod, or swaggering Belshazzar, to bow and bend, to stoope and tremble, as the leaves of the forrest, that are shken with the winde.

2. In all other adversities, a man is still a friend unto himselfe, favours himselfe, and reaches out his best con∣siderations to bring in comfort to his heavy heart. But in this, Hee is a scourge to Himselfe, at warre with Him∣selfe, an enemy to Himselfe. Hee doth greedily and in∣dustriously Page  80 fetch in as much matter, as hee can possibly, both imaginary and true, to enlarge the rent, and aggra∣vate his horrour. Hee gazes willingly in that false glasse, which Satan is woont in such Cases, to set before Him; wherein by his Hellish malice Hee makes an in∣finite addition both to the already un-numbred multi∣tude, and to the too true hainousnesse of his sinnes; and would faine, if Hee will be lead by his lying cruelty, mis-represent to his affrighted imagination, every Gnat as a Camell; every Moate as a Mole-hill; every Mole-hill as a Mountaine; every lustfull thought as a Sodo∣miticall villany; every idle word as a desperate blas∣phemy; every angry looke as an actuall bloody mur∣der; every intemperate passion, as an inexpiable provo∣cation; every distraction in holy duties as a damnable rebellion; every transgression against light of consci∣ence, as a sinne against the holy Ghost, &c. Nay, in this amazednesse of spirit, and disposition to despaire, Hee is apt even of his owne accord, and with great eager∣nesse, to arme every severall sinne, as it comes into his minde with a particular bloody sting, that it may strike deepe enough, and sticke fast enough in His already grieved Soule. Hee imployes and improoves, the excel∣lency, and utmost of His learning, understanding, wit, memory, a to argue with all subtilty, with much Sophi∣stry against the pardonablenes of his sins, and possibi∣litie of salvation. Hee wounds even his wounds, with a conceit, they are incurable, and vexes his very vexati∣ons, with refusing to bee comforted. Not onely crosses, afflictions, temptations, and all matter of discontent∣ment; but even the most desirable things also in this life, and those which minister most outward comfort; Wife, b Children, Friends; Gold, Goods, Great mens favours; Page  81 Preferments, Honours, Offices, even c Pleasures them∣selves every thing; whatsoever is within Him, or with∣out Him, or d about Him; whatsoever He thinkes up∣on, remembers, heares, sees, turne all to his torment. No marvaile then, tho the terrour of a wounded con∣science bee so intolerable.

3. As the exultations of the Soule; and spirituall re∣freshments doe incomparably surpasse, both in excellen∣cy of Object, and sweetnesse of apprehension all plea∣sures of sese, and bodily delights: so afflictions of the Soule, and spirituall pangs doe infinitely exceede, both in bitternesse of sense, and intension of sorrow the most exquisite tortures, can possibly bee inflicted upon the * Body For the Soule is a spirit, very subtile, quicke, active, stirring, all life, motion, sense, feeling; and there∣fore farre more capable and apprehensive, of all kinds of impressions, whether passions of pleasure, or inflicti∣ons of pa••e.

4. This extremest of miseries, a wounded spirit, is tempered with such strong, and strange ingredients of extraordinary feares;* that it makes a man a terrour to himselfe, and to all his friends: To flee when none pur∣sues, at the sound of a shaken leafe: To tremble at his owne shadow; to bee in great feare, where no feare is: Besides the insupportable burthen of too many true and causefull terrours, it fills His darke and dreadfull Fancy with a world of fained horrours, gastly appariti∣ons, and imaginary Hells, which notwithstanding, have reall stings, and impresse true tortures upon his trembling and wofull heart. It is empoysoned with such restlesse anguish, and desperate paine, that tho life bee most sweete, and Hell most horrible; yet it makes a man wilfully to abandon the one, and willingly to embrace the other, that Hee may bee rid of it's rage. Hence it was, that Iudas preferred an Halter and Hell, before his present horrour. That Spira said often, (what heart quakes not to heare it?) that Hee envied Page  82eCain, Saul and Iudas: wishing rather any of their roomes, in the Dungeon of the damned, then to have his poore heart so rent in pieces with such raging terrors, & fiery desperations upon his Bed of death. Whereupon at another time beeing f asked, Whether Hee feared more fearefull torments after this life: Yes, said Hee: But I desire nothing more, then to bee in that place, where I shall expect no more. Expectation, as it seemes of fu∣ture, did infinitely aggravate and enrage His already intolerable torture.

5. The Heathens, who had no fuller sight of the foulenesse of sinne, or more smarting sense of divine vengeance for it, then the light of naturall conscience was able to afford and represent unto them; yet were woont in fiction to shadow out in some sort, and inti∣mate unto us, the insufferable extremities of a minde troubled in this kinde; by hellish furies, following ma∣lefactors with burning fire-brands, and flames of tor∣ture: What understanding then is able to conceive, or tongue to report, in what case that sinfull conscience must needs bee, when it is once awakened; which be¦sides, the notions of naturall light, hath also, the full Sun of Gods sacred Word, and that pure Eye, which is ten thousand times brighter then the Sunne, and cannot looke upon iniquity, to irradiate and enrage it to the height of guiltinesse, and depth of horrour? Both heart and tongue; Man and Angell must let that alone for ever. For none can take the true estimate of this imme∣surable spirituall misery, but hee that can comprehend the length, and breadth of that infinite unresistable wrath, which once implacably enkindled in the bo∣some of God, burnes to the very bottome of Hell, and Page  83 there creates the extremity and endlesnesse of all those un-expressable torments, and fiery plagues, which af∣flict the Diuels and damned Soules in that horrible Pit.

6. Not onely the desperate cries of Cain, Iudas,gLatomus, and many other such miserable men of for∣lorne hope, but also the wofull complaints even of Gods owne deare Children discover the truth of this Point, to wit, the terrours and intolerablenesse of a wounded Conscience. Heare how rufully three ancient Wor∣thies in their times wrastled with the wrath of God in this kinde. I reckoned till morning, saith Hezekiah, that as ahLion, so will hee breake all my bones: Even as the weake and trembling limbes of some lesser neglected Beast are crusht and torne in pieces by the unresistable Paw of an unconquerable Lion; so was His troubled Soule terrified and broken with the anger of the Al∣mighty. Hee could not speake for bitternesse of griefe, and anguish of heart; but chattered like a Crane or a Swallow, and mourned like a Dove. Thouiwritest bit∣ter things against mee, saith Iob, and makest mee to pos∣sesse the iniquities of my youth. Thekarrowes of the Al∣mighty are within mee, the poyson thereof drinketh up my spirit: the terrours of God doe set themselves in aray a∣gainst mee. O that I might have my request! And that God would grant mee the thing that I long for! Even that it would please God to destroy mee, that Hee would let loose his hand, and cut mee off. Nay yet worse: lThou scarest mee with dreames, and terrifiest mee through vi∣sious. Page  84 So that my Soule chusethmstrangling, and death rather then my life. Tho God in mercy preserves his servants from the monstrous and most abhorred Act of selfe-murder; yet in some melancholike moode, hor∣rour of minde, and bitternesse of spirit, they are not quite freed from all impatient wishes that way, and sud∣den suggestions thereunto. nMy bones waxed old, saith David, through my roaring all the day long. Day and night thy hand was heavy upon mee: my moysture is turned into the drought of Summer. Thine arrowes sticke fast in mee, and thy hand presseth mee sore. There is no soundnesse in my flesh, because of thine anger: neither is there any rest in my bones, because of my sinne. For mine iniquities are gone over my head: as an heavy burden, they are too heavy for mee.—I am troubled, I am bowed downe greatly; I goe mourning all the day long.—I am feeble, and sore broken. I have roared by reason of the dis∣qujtnesse of my heart. Heare also, into what a depth of spirituall distresse three worthy servants of God in these later times, were plung'd and pressed downe under the sense of Gods anger for sinne: Blessed Mistris oBret∣tergh upon Her last Bed was horribly hemmed in with the sorrowes of death; the very griefe of Hell laid hold upon Her Soule; a roaring Wildernesse of woe was with∣in Her, as She confessed of Her selfe. She said, her sinnes had made Her a prey to Satan; And wished that she had never been borne, or that shee had been made any other creature, rather then a Woman. Shee cryed out many times, Woe, woe, woe, &c. A weake, a wofull, a wretched, a forsaken woman; with teares continually trickling from her eyes. Master pPeacock that man of God, in that His dreadfull visitation and desertion, recounting some smaller sinnes, burst out into these words. And for these, saith Hee, I feele now an Hell in my conscience. Vpon o∣ther occasions, Hee cryed out, groaning most pitifully: Oh mee Wretch! Oh mine heart is miserable! Oh, Oh, miserable and wofull! The burthen of my sinne lyeth so Page  85 heavy upon mee, I doubt it will breake my heart. Oh how wofull and miserable is my state, that thus must converse with Hell-hounds! When By-standers asked, if Hee would pray: Hee answered; I cannot. Suffer us, say they to pray for you. Take not, replyed Hee, the Name of God in vaine, by praying for a Reprobate. What grie∣vous pangs, what sorrowfull torments, what boyling heates of the fire of Hell that blessed Saint of God,r Iohn Glo∣ver, felt inwardly in his spirit, saith Fox, no speech out∣wardly is able to expresse. Being young, saith Hee, I re∣member I was once or twice with Him, whom partly by His talke I perceived, and partly by mine owne eyes saw to bee so worne, and consumed by the space of five yeeres, that neither almost any brooking of meat, quietnes of sleep, pleasure of life, yea, and almost no kind of senses was left in Him. Vpon apprehension of some back-sliding, Hee was so perplexed, that if Hee had been in the deepest Pit of Hell, Hee could almost have despaired no more of His sal∣vation: saith the same Author: In which intolerable griefes of minde, saith Hee, although Hee neither had, nor could have any ioy of his meate, yet was Hee compelled to eate against his appetite, to the end to differre the time of His damnation, so long, as Hee might, thinking with Him∣selfe no lesse, but that Hee must needs bee throwne into Hell, the breath beeing once out of his Body. I dare not passe out of this Point, lest some Childe of God should bee here discouraged, before I tell you, that every One of these three last named, was at length blessedly reco∣vered, and did rise most gloriously out of their severall Depths of extremest spirituall misery, before their end. Heare therefore also Mistris Bretterghss triumphant Songs, and ravishments of spirit after the returne of Her Welbeloved: O Lord Iesu doest Thou pray for mee? O blessed and sweete Saviour, How wonderfull! How won∣derfull! How wonderfull are thy mercies! Oh thy love is unspeakeable, that hast dealt so graciously with mee! O my Lord and my God, blessed bee thy Name for evermore, Page  86 which hast s••wed mee the Path of life. Thou didst, O Lord, hide thy face from mee for a little season, but with everlasting mercy thou hast had compassion on mee: And now blessed Lord thy comfortable presence is come; yea Lord, thou hast had respect unto thine hand-maide, and art come with fulnesse of ioy, and abundance of consolati∣ons: O blessed bee thy Name my Lord and my God: O the ioyes! the ioyes! the ioyes, that I feele in my Soule! Oh they bee wonderfull! They bee wonderfull! They bee wonderfull! O Father, how mercifull, and marveilous gracious art thou unto mee! yea Lord, I feele thy mercy, and I am assured of thy love, and so certaine am I there∣of, as Thou art the God of truth, even so sure doe I know my Selfe to bee thine, O Lord my God; and this my Soule knoweth right well, and this my Soule knoweth right well. O blessed bee the Lord; O blessed bee the Lord, that hath thus comforted mee, and hath brought mee now to a place more sweet unto mee, then the Garden of Eden. Oh the ioy, the ioy, the delightsome ioy that I feele! —O praise the Lord for his mercies, and for this ioy which my Soule feeleth full well, prayse His Name for evermore. Heare with what heavenly calmenesse, and sweete comforts, Master Peacocks heart was t refresht and ravisht when the storme was over: Truly, my heart and Soule, saith Hee (when the tempest was some∣thing alayed) have been farre led, and deepely troubled with temptations, and stings of conscience, but I thanke God they are eased in good measure. Wherefore I desire that I bee not branded with the note of a cast-away, or re∣probate. Such questions, oppositions, and all tending there∣to, I renounce. Concerning mine inconsiderate speeches in my temptation, I humbly, and heartily aske mercy of God for them all. Afterward by little, and little, more light did arise in His heart, and Hee brake out into such speeches as these: I doe, God bee praised, feele such comfort, from that, what shall I call it? Agony, said One that stood by; Nay, quoth Hee, that is too little; That Page  87 had I five hundred worlds, I could not make satisfaction for such an issue. Oh the Sea is not more full of water, nor the Sunne of light, then the Lord of mercy! yea His mercies are ten thousand times more. What great cause have I, to magnifie the great goodnesse of God, that hath humbled, ay rather exalted, such a wretched Miscreant, and of so base condition, to an estate so glorious and state∣ly! The Lord hath honoured me with His goodnesse? I am sure, Hee hath provided a glorious Kingdome for me. The ioy that I feele in mine heart, is incredible. For the third, heare uM. Fox: Tho this good Servant of God suffe∣red many yeares so sharp temptations, and strong buffetings of Satan: yet the Lord, who graciously preserved Him all the while, not onely at last did rid him out of all discom∣fort, but also framed him thereby to such mortification of life, as the like lightly hath not been seene; in such sort, as Hee being like one placed in Heaven already, and dad in this world, both in word and meditation, led a life al∣together celestiall, abhorring in His mind all prophane dongs.

7. No arme of flesh, or Art of man; no earthly com∣fort, or created power can possibly heale or helpe in this heaviest case, and extreamest horrour; Heaven and earth, Men and Angels, friends and Physicke; gold and silver, pleasures and preferments, fauour of Princes; nay the utmost possibility of the whole creation must let this alone for ever. An Almighty hand, and infinite skill must take this in hand; or else never any cure or reco∣very in this world or the world to come. Bodily dis∣eases may be eased, and mollified by medicines: Sur∣gery, as they say, hath a salve for every sore: Poverty may be repaired and releived by friends: There is no imprisonment without some hope of enlargement. Sute and favour may helpe home out of banishment. Inno∣cency and neglect may weare-out disgrace: Griefe for losse of a wife, a Child, or other dearest friend, if not by reasons from Reason, that death is un-avoidable, Page  88 necessary, an end of all earthly miseries, the common way of all Mankinde, &c. yet at last is lessened and ut∣terly lost by length of time. Cordialls of Pearle, Sa∣phyres, and Rubies, with such like, may recomfort the heart possest with Melancholy, and drown'd in the darkenesse of that sad, and irkesome humour, &c. But now not the most exquisite concurrence of all these, nor all the united abilities, which lie within the strength and sinewes of the Arme of flesh, can helpe any whit at all in this Case. Not the exactest quintessence ex∣tracted from all the joyes, glory and pleasures, that e∣ver the world enjoyed, can procure, or minister one jote of ease to a Soule afflicted in this kinde, and thus trembling under the terrours of God. In such an A∣gony, and extremity haddest thou the utmost aide, and an universall attendance from Angels and men; couldest thou reach the top of the most aspiring hu∣mane ambition, after the excellency and variety of all worldly felicities: were thy possessions as large as East and West; were thy meate continually Manna from Heaven; every day, like the day of Christs resurrecti∣on: Were thy apparell as costly and orient as Aarons Ephod; nay, thy Body cloth'd with the beauty of the Sunne, and crownde with Starres; yet for all this, and a thousand more, thy heart within Thee would bee as cold as a stone, and tremble, infinitely above the heart of a woman, entring into travell of Her first Childe. For alas, who can stand before the mighty Lord God? Who dare pleade with Him, when Hee is angry? What spirit of man hath might, to wrastle with His Maker? Who is able to make an agreement with the Hells of Con∣science? or to put to silence the voyce of desperation? Oh! in this conflict alone, and wofull wound of consci∣ence, sno Electuary of Pearle or pretious Baulme, no Page  89 Bezoars stone; or Vnicornes horne; Paracelsian quin∣tessence, or Potable Gold; No new devise of the Knights of the Rosie-Crosse, nor the most exquisite ex∣traction, which Alchymy, or Art it selfe can create, is able any whit, or at all to revive ease, or asswage. It is onely the hand of the holy Ghost, by the blood of that blessed Lambe, Iesus Christ the holy, and the righteous, which can binde up such a bruise.

Vses. 1. Counsell to the unconverted: That they would take the stings out of their sinnes, and prevent the desperatenesse, and incurablenesse of this horrible wound, by an humble, sincere, universall turning unto the Lord, while it is calledtTo Day. For assuredly in the meane time, all the sinnes they have heretofore committed in thought, word or deede; at any time, in a∣ny place, with any company, or to which they have bin any wayes accessary, are already upon record before the pure Eye of that high and everlasting Iudge, writ∣ten exactly by the hand of divine Iustice in the Book of their consciences, with a pen of iron, with the claw of an Adamant, with the point of a Diamond, or if you can name any thing, which makes a stronger, deeper and more lasting impression: & there they lye, like so many Lions asleepe, and Giants refreshing with wine, gathe∣ring much desperate poyson, and singing points; that whensoever hereafter, they shall bee effectually and fi∣nally awaked by Gods angry hand, they may torment most ragingly, and teare their wofull Soules in pieces everlastingly, when there is none to helpe.

Now wee may see and observe many times, one lit∣tle sin, at least in the worlds account, and conceite of car∣nall men, to plunge a guilty conscience into the depth of extremest horrour, and a very Hell upon Earth: As I have heard of, and knowne in many: One for a sudden, unadvised imprecation against Her owne Soule, in case She did so or so: Another, for a thought conceived of God, unworthy so great a Majesty: Another, for cove∣tously Page  90 keeping a thing found, and not restoring it, or not inquiring after the Owner: Another for an adulterous project, without any actuall pollution: Another, by concurring with a company of scoffing Ishmaels onely once, and ere Hee was aware, by lifting up the hands, and casting up the eyes, in scorne of Gods people, &c. Yet afterwards they sadly revising these miscarriages in cold blood, some of them some five or sixe yeeres af∣ter, God beeing then pleased to represent them with terrour, and their native stings, were cast into that affli∣ction of conscience, and confusion of spirit, that their very bones were broken; their faces fill'd with ghastli∣nesse and feare; their bodies possessed with strange tremblings and languishing distempers; their very vi∣tall moysture turned into the drought of Summer: In which dreadfull perplexity they were in great danger of destroying themselves, and of being swallowed up of despaire. If the guilty sense then of one Sin, when God sets it on, and sayes unto it, Torment, drawes so many fiery points of stinging Scorpions after it; charges upon the excellency of the understanding with such hideous darkenesse; rents the heart in pieces with such desperate rage; grindes into powder, the arme and sinewes of all earthly succour; melts, like Dew before the Sunne, all those delights, and pleasures which the whole world offers, or affords to comfort in such a Case; In a word, makes a man so extreamely miserable, That Hee would make Himselfe away; wishes with unspeakeable griefe, that Hee had never been; that Hee might returne into the abhorred state of annihilation; that Hee were any other Creature; that Hee might lye hid world with∣out End under some everlasting Rocke, from the face of God; Nay, that Hee were rather in Hell, then in His present horrour: I say it being thus, what unquencha∣ble wrath; what streames of brimstone; what restlesse anguish; what gnashing of teeth; what knawing of conscience; what despairefull roarings; what horrible Page  91 torments; what fiery Hells feeding upon His Soule and flesh for ever, may every impenitent wretch expect, when the whole blacke and bloudy Catalogue of all His sinnes shall bee marshold and mustered up together at once against Him? every one beeing keened with as much torturing fury, as the infinite anger of Almighty God can put into it▪ after that Hee hath accursedly with much incorrigible stubbornnesse out-stood the day of His gracious visitation, under this glorious Sun∣shine of the Gospell, wherein Hee either hath, or if Hee had been as u provident for His immortall Soule, as carking for His rotten Carkasse, might have enioyed very powerfull meanes all His life long: And yet all the while neglected so great salvation; forsooke his owne mercy; and so iudged Himselfe unworthy of everlasting life.

If a lighter Sinne many times lite so heavy, when the Conscience is illightened; How will thy poore Soule tremble under the terrible, and untolerable weight of all thy sinnes together? When all thy lyes, all thy oathes, all thy rotten speeches, and railings; All thy bedlam passions, and filthy thoughts; All thy Good-fellow-meetings, Ale-house-hauntings, and scoffings of Gods people; All the wrongs thou hast done, all the goods thou hast got ill, all the time thou hast mis∣pent; Thy prophanation of every Sabbath, thy killing of Christ at every Sacrament, thy Non-proficiency at every Sermon; Thy ignorance, thy unbeliefe, thy world∣linesse, thy covetousnesse, thy pride, thy malice, thy lust, thy luke-warmenesse, impatiency, discontentment, vaine-glory, Selfe-love; The innumerable swarmes of vaine, idle, wandring, and wicked imaginations; In a word all the pollutions, distempers, and estrangednesse from God in thine heart: all the villanies, vanities, and rebellions of thy whole life; I say, when all these shall bee charged upon thy gracelesse Soule by the implaca∣ble indignation of that highest Majesty, whose mercy, Page  92 Ministry, and long suffering, thou hast shamefully abu∣sed; whose anger, patience, and pure eye thou hast vil∣lanously provoked all thy life long; Alas what wilt thou doe then! What wings of the morning will then carry Thee out of the reach of Gods revenging hand? What Cave shall receive thee? What Mountaine canst Thou get by entreaty to fall upon Thee? What dar∣kest Mid-night, or Hellish Dungeon shall hide thee from that wrath, which Thou shall bee neither able to abide, or to avoide? In this case, I would not have thy heart in my Brest one houre, for the riches, glory and pleasures often thousand worlds.

Neither blesse thy Selfe in the meane time, because Thou hast neither feare, fore-tast, or feeling of the wrath which is to come, the vengeance which hangs o∣ver thine Head, and the horrour which dog's Thee at the heeles▪ u For that is the very complement of thy misery, and perfection of thy madnesse. To bee sicke, and senselesse of it, is the sorest sicknesse. To have Sa∣tan slash thy Soule with so many sinnes, one after ano∣ther, and to feele no smart, is a most desperate securitie; To have all this misery towards, and to bee confident, Page  93 and fearelesse, is the misery of miseries.

The reasons, why thou art at rest from their guilty rage in the meane time; and that so many sleeping Li∣ons, I meane all thine unpardoned sinnes, doe not yet awake and stirre; terrific and teare in pieces, are such as these.

1. Satan is suttle, that Hee will not meddle much, or molest thee extreamely, untill Hee bee able to doe thee an irrecoverable mischiefe. Hee is woont not to appeare in His true likenesse, and so terribly; not so much to disquiet and trouble any of His owne, before Hee have them at some dead lift, and desperate advan∣tage; as under some extraordinary Crosse, great dis∣grace, grievous sicknesse; In time of some deepe Me∣lancholy, un-avoidable danger, universall confusion; When Hee conceives in all probabilitie, that they have out-stood the Day of their visitation, hardned their hearts, that they cannot repent, received the sentence of death against themselves; And at such other like times, when hee hopes, Hee shall bee able to crush, and confound them suddenly, utterly and for ever. And then hee playes the Divell indeed, and shewes Him∣selfe in His colours. For Hee then infinitely endeauours with all cunning and cruell industry, after Hee hath wafted them a while downe the current of the times, with as much carnall peace and pleasure, as Hee could possibly, to cast them upon the Rocke of a most dread∣full ruine, and swallow them up quicke in the gulphe of calamity and woe; of despaire, selfe-destruction, ever∣lasting perdition of Body, and Soule. But you must know, that in the meane time, untill Hee can spie such an opportunity, Hee labours might and maine to keepe them in as merry a moode as may bee. Hee laies about Him, by all wayes and meanes, Hee can devise, to plot and provide for them, and that with great variety and curiosity, fresh successions and supplies continually, of pleasures, contentments, the countenance and favours of Page  94 the times, sensuall satisfactions, all earthly prosperities. If Hee can helpe it, and have his will, they shall wallow still in all worldly felicity, and bee attended upon with all the delights their hearts can desire. And all this, to continue them with more easinesse and irresistance in the damned way: And lest otherwise, they should grow weary of His slavery, sensible of their guilded fetters, and so labour after liberty, and enlargement from His Hellish bondage. For Hee knowes full well, that if thy endured much hardship in His service, they might perhaps thinke of seeking after a new Master; that want of comfort in the world, might draw their hearts to delight in the Word; Not finding happinesse upon earth, might make them enquire after that which is in heaven. That crosses and crossing their courses, be∣ing sanctified for that purpose, may happily helpe to breake their hearts, and bring them to remorse for sin; which Hee mainely feares, and opposeth with all the craft and power, Hee can possibly; lest thereupon, they breake out of His fooles-Paradise, into the Garden of Grace; out of the warme Sunne, into Gods blessing.

In managing this maine policy, for the more secure detainement of His Vassals in the invisible chaines of darkenesse and damnation, and in an everlasting distast and dis-affection to the good way; by holding up their hearts in His sinfull service, and wooing them, to go on quietly towards Hell without any grumbling; Hee workes many wayes.

1. Hee plots all Hee can to procure them successe in their wicked enterprises; and unlawfull attempts, es∣pecially, against the faithfull Ministers, and people of God; for that doth infinitely confirme, harden, and en∣courage them in their prophane courses, and opposition to grace. Herein Hee doth many times mightily pre∣vaile, by improving the oportunities, & pressing the ad∣vantages, which hee gaines, by the executions of Gods iustice, and rebellions of his Children. The sinnes even Page  95 of His owne people doe many times provoke Gods just indignation against them; and enforces Him, to raise up their adversaries, as scourges, and to give them successe, for the humiliation, and chastisement of his chosen. See Psal. 81.14.15. Isai. 10.5 6. &c. Ezech. 22.19.20. Whereupon Satan fills the hearts of the wicked so prevailing, and conquering, with a great deale of pride, selfe-applause, insolency, contempt of godlinesse, selfe-conceitednesse of their owne righte∣ousnesse and worth; and so hardens them extraordina∣rily, and holds them with much obstinated resolution in the wayes of death, and prejudice against the holy Path.

2. Hee helpes all hee can, to have them thrive and prosper by oppression, usury, simony, sacriledge, bribe∣ry, covetousnesse, cousoning, Machiavellian tricks, &c. That so His service may seeme more sweete and gaine∣full unto them. To the effecting whereof Hee receives notable assistance, and speciall advantage from the cor∣ruptions of the times, and conscionable simplicity of the Saints. For the first, These worst and ulcerous times, wherein so many Vines, Olive-trees, and Figge-trees wither away in obscurity; and so many Brambles brave it abroad in the world, tumbling themselves in the pleasures, splendour and glory of the present; wherein so many brave Princes are walking as servants upon the earth; and too many servants of luxurie and pride are mounted on horse-backe; I say they are the onely season, for Satan to gratifie all▪ His gracelesse Ones; and to hoist them up by the common, but accur∣sed staires and stirrops of bribing, basenesse, tempori∣sing, ill offices to humour greatnesse, and other such vile meanes, and accommodations, into eminency in the world, and high roomes; where hee keepes them in a golden captivity with great contentment, and lockes them full fast in the Scorners chaire, with much securitie to their owne sensuall hearts; and notorious service to Page  96 Himselfe. Whereas indeed and truth to men that have eyes in their Heads the ascent is slippery, the Top sha∣king, the downefall desperate. For the second; It is in∣credible to consider, what a deale of advantage in worldly dealings, the covetous Dwell in a cruell and crafty worldling, doth sucke out of the single-hearted∣nesse, plaine dealing & un-suspiciousnesse, of consciona∣ble men, for their rising & enriching, if God crosse it not.

3. Hee drawes them by all the baites, Hee can devise, to all the incentives, and preservatives of carnal content∣ment: as to Tavernes, Ale-houses, Play-houses, Whore-houses, Gaming-houses; to May-games, Morrice∣dances, Church Ales; to Cardes, to Dice, to Dancing; to Feasts, Wakes, Mis-rules, Drinking-matches, revel∣lius, and a world of such sinfull haunts,* Bedlam-foole∣ries, and Good-fellow-meetings. Wherein He is migh∣tily furthered, by Wicked Mens impatiency of solitari∣nesse; and their enraged eagernesse of carrying with them to Hell, as many as may bee. For the first, Tho a good man, as Salomon sayes, bee satisfied from Himselfe; dare full well,* and desires full often to bee alone; be∣cause the bird of the bosome sings sweetely to His Soule in solitarinesse: yet all the Sonnes, and Daugh∣ters of pleasure, have no pleasure at all, nay ordinarily are most loth to bee by a themselves. Solitarinesse puts them into their dumps, makes them extremely melan∣cholike, and weary of themselves. They would rather bee any where, in any company, any wayes imploide, then alone. Mistake mee not, they can walke by them∣selves, Page  97 to feede upon contemplative filth, speculative wantonnesse, & adulteries of the heart; to plot revenge, preferment, enlargement of their estate; to renew up∣on their sensuall hearts their youthfull pleasures, &c. But to bee alone, purposely, to deale with God, and their owne 〈…〉 about their spirituall b stare; they abhorre, 〈…〉 endure, it is to them a torure, a Racke, the very beginning of Hell. And that is the rea∣son, to decline the tings of guiltnesse, and torment be∣fore their time; why they have so often recourse unto the arme of flesh, for refreshing; to the mirth and mad∣nesse of wine, pleasures, and many other fugitive follies; That they cast themselves into such knots of good-fel∣lowship; appoint so many set-matches of joviall mee∣tings, and hunt after such variety of the times entertain∣ment, as they call it: which they account the very life of their life and without which they would rather bee under ground, then aboue it. For the second, Heare, How swaggeingly they cry unto their companions in iniquity, to make haste with them towards Hell. Come with us, let us lay waite for blood, let us lurke prvily for the innocent without caus: Let us swallow them up a∣live, as the grave, and whole, as those that goe downe into the pit: wee shall finde all pretious substance, wee shall fill our houses with spoile. Cast in thy lot among us, let us all have one purse, Prov. 1.11. &c. Come on therefore, let us enjoy the good things that are present: and let us speedily use the creatures as in youth. Let us fill our selves with costly wine, and ointments: and let no flower of the Spring passe by us. Let us crowne our selves with Rose buds, before they bee withered. Let none of us goe without His part of our voluptuousnesse: let us leave to∣kens of our ioyfulnesse in every place: for this is our por∣tion, and our lot is this, &c.

Page  984. And in all these cursed conventicles of good-fellowship, and furious combinations for prophane∣nesse, and against Piety, the Divell himselfe is ever pre∣sent amongst them in His Pontificalibus, as they say: And there disposeth, enclines, manageth and accommo∣dates all opportunities, circumsta••〈…〉, mens severall corruptions, and 〈…〉 wicked wits to make their meetings, as merry, as may bee; and to put all possible sensuall sweetnesse into their carnall delights.

5. Lastly, That which is principally for my pur∣pose; Besides, that like a crafty Iugler, Hee casts a mist before the eyes of His slaves; and like a false Mer∣chant, puts a counterfeite glosse upon the face of sinne; Hee also hides away the sting from them, and with∣holds the horrour untill afterward. Every sin in it's own nature, ever lookes fouler then the Divell Himselfe; O that the ougly, fearefull, and filthy shape of it could bee seene with bodily eyes, that thereby it might provoke all men to a mortall and immortall hate and detestation of it! The sting is pointed with the keene unquencha∣ble wrath of God; the horror is heated with the very fire of Hell: And yet ordinarily Satan takes an order by His craft and industry, that these never appeare, untill it appeare unto Him, that in all probability, the sight of them will sinke their Soules into irrecoverable woe.

The not feeling then of their spirituall misery is so farre from making them not miserable, that it ministers occasion to the Divels malice, mightily to aggravate their misery, both present and future.

2. An other reason, why many are not troubled in the meane time, tho there bee infinite cause, and a world of woe to come, is, because their consciences by reason of surfet in sinne, and beeing drunke with worldly de∣lights as with sweet wine, are cast into a dead sleep: And there lulled still, and lockt full fast in an imaginary Pa∣radise of golden dreames and transitory fancies, by the Page  99 charmes and enchantments of earthly pleasures. And if at any time, any noyse of terrour sound in their eares from the Lords Trumpeters in the Ministry of the Word, so that they begin to stirre, then the Divell be∣gins to be stirre Himselfe, and to rocke them fast againe with His Syren-songs in the Cradle of security. Here therefore wee may take notice of a fourefold consci∣ence: 1. That which is both cgood and quiet; when it hath peace with God, and with it selfe; so that the hap∣py Soule may sweetly sing in it's owne bosome; My belovd is mine, and I am His. 2. That which is neither good, nor quiet; when it lyes forlorne under the sense of Gods wrath, and full of horrour in it selfe. As that of Iudas, Latomus, &c. 3. That which is dgood but not quit; when the pleased face of God doth shine upon it thorow the blood of Christ; and yet it feeles not the comfort of that blessed reconciliation: As in many new Converts, who beeing truly humbled for all sinne, cast themselves upon the Lord Iesus and his sure promises, for spirituall and eternall life; and yet are not as yet sensible of any assurance. 4. That which is quiet but not good; when it is as full of sinne as a Toade of venome, as Hell of darkenesse; and all those innumera∣ble sinnes unrepented of, unpardoned, like so many mad Ban-dogs, and fell Mastives, tho asleepe for the present, will in the evill day, especially of sicknesse, death, iudge∣ment, e flye in the face of the proudest Nimrod, ready to plucke out his very throate and heart, and to tor∣ment with unspeakeable horrour; and yet for all this, it is untroubled, senselesse and secure. This kind of con∣science, is to bee found, I feare mee, in the most that heare mee this day, and so generally over the King∣dome. It doth not in the meane time, trouble and ter∣rifie.

Page  1001. A great number, by reason of their ignorance in the Booke of God; and by consequent un-acquainted∣nesse with the sinfulnesse and cursednesse of their spiri∣tuall state, revealed thereby. This is the very case of a world of poore ignorant besotted Soules amongst us; more is the pitty, especially now, when the glorious Sunne of Christs Gospell shines so faire, and fully in ma∣ny places! For want of light in Gods Law, they looke upon their sinnes, as wee doe upon the Starres in a cloudy night; see onely the great ones of the first mag∣nitude; and here one, and there one: But if they were further illightned, and informed aright they might be∣hold hem, as those infinite ones in the fairest, frosty winters Mid-night. A worthy Divine, sets out excel∣lently the quietnesse of this ignorant conscience by a very fit resmblance, thus: Men iudge of their ignorant consciences, saith Hee, as they doe of their blinde, dumbe and ignorant Ministers. Such neither doe, nor can preach; can neither tell men of their sinnes, nor of their duties. Aske such a blind-guides people, what their conceite is of him, and what a kind of Man their Minister is, and you shall have Him magnified for a passing, honest, harmelesse man, wondrous quiet amongst his neigh∣bours. They may doe what they will for Him; Hee is none of these troublesome fellowes, that will bee repro∣ving their faults, or complaining of their disorders in the Pulpit; Oh such an one is a quiet good Man indeed. Thus iudge many of their consciences. If their conscien∣ces bee quiet, and lye not grating upon them, and telling them, that their courses are sinfull and damnable, and that thir persons are in a dangerous condition: but rather by their silnce, ignorance, and vaine pretences doe justifie them, and tell them, all will bee well enough. Oh then what excellent consciences have these men! They make no conscience of Family-duties; once in the yeere to come to the Sacrament serues the turne; they are common swearers in their ordinary communication; make no Page  101 conscience of sanctifying Sabbaths, &c. And their con∣sciences let them alone in all these: doe not give them one syllable of ill language: Oh what gentle, and good-natured consciences thinke these men they have? But alas! what evill consciences have they?

2. Nor others,* by reason of a covenant with death, and an agreement with Hell. Such as those, Isai. 28▪15. who negotiate by their plausible Agents, Ease, plea∣sures, prosperity; and conclude some kind of concord and composition for a time with Satan, sinne, and their owne consciences. But to tell you the truth, it is no true peace, but a politicke truce. For these implacable, des∣perate spirituall enemies of theirs, are ever in the meane time preparing Armes, Ord'nance and many fiery darts, still levying of fresh forces, whole armies of fiery Scor∣pions, and flaming terrours, with which as soone as the truce is ended, they will set upon them with more vio∣lence, fury and fiercenesse then ever before.

3. Nor others, By reason of an insensible Brawned∣nesse growne over, and a desperate searednesse imprest upon their consciences by extraordinary villany, and variety in sinne. Such as those, Isai. 5 19. By drawing iniquity a long time with cords of vanity, and sinne, as it were with a cart-rope, by waving the glorious light of the Word under which they sit, and which shines on their faces as a foolish thing;* by villanously trampling under foote the power of it with despite, and scorne, many times against that light, which stands in their con∣sciences like an armed man;* Nay, and by treading out with custome in sinne, the very notions that nature hath engraven in their hearts, as Men doe the ingravings of Tombe-stones which they walke upon, with foule shoes; I say thus, at length their consciences become, so utterly remorselesse, and past all feeling; so brawned, so seared, so sealed up with a reprobate sense; that with an audacious, and Giant like insolency, they challenge even God Almighty Himselfe to draw His sword of Page  102 vengeance against them. Woe unto them that draw ini∣quity with cords of vanity, and sinnes, as it were with a cart-rope: That say, Let him make speede, and hasten his worke, that wee may see it: and let the counsell of the holy one of Israel draw nigh and come, that wee may know it.* These Roarers, and swaggering Belials, in this respect have consciences, worse then the Divell him∣selfe. For Hee beleeves and trembles. Even those al∣ready, desperate and damned spirits, tremble at the fore-thought of that fuller wrath which is to come; and yet further-deserved damnation.

4. Nor others, who, when it begins ever and anon to grumble, mutter, and make a noise lull it asleepe a∣gine with songs of pleasures; and still the cries of it with outward mirth, as Saul was wont to lay the evill spirit with Musicke. These mens consciences are qujet, not because they are savingly appeasde; but because they are sensully please: Not because they want matter to trouble, and terrifie; but because they will give them no leasure, to set their sinnes in order before them. For this purpose, and to keepe these furious Ma∣stives musl'd in the meane time, they have recourse unto and improove, both variety of delights, and mul∣tiplicity of imployments. For the first: This is the rea∣son, as one saith wittily, that many are so eager in the pursuits of their pleasures, because they would make Gods Sergeant, their owne conscience that pursues them, drun∣ken with these pleasures: just as many men use to doe, getting the Sergeant that comes to arrest them into the Taverne, and there making him drunke, that so they may escape. For the second: How was it possible that Ahi∣tophel should hold out so long from hanging himselfe▪ and horrible confusion of spirit; especially sith Hee har∣bour'd in His bosome such a false rotten abominable heart, as appeared by that villanous counsell Hee gave Absalom, to lye with His Fathers Concubines, in the sight of all Israel; except Hee had been a Counseller of Page  103 State, and so necessarily taken up continually with ex∣traordinary variety, vicissitude, and succession of most waighty and important affaires; which would wholly possesse His minde with an un-interrupted attention, a∣gitation and exercise; and not give it any leave to reflect upon it selfe, with those severer cogitations in cold blood, which are woont to correct and condemne the enormity of exorbitant courses. And thus in all ages, many great Men, of great wisedome, beeing great offen∣ders, purposely put and plunge themselves into multi∣tude of businesses; that they may have no leasure, to listen unto that, which their consciences would secret∣ly tell them in their eare, of their Machivellian plots, prodigious lusts, and plausible cruelties. The noise of attendants, visitants, Dependants, and great imploy∣ments drowne the voyce of conscience in such Cases, as the Drummes in the sacrifices to Moloch, the Cry of the Infants. But while the Men of the world are thus whol∣ly detain'd, and doe so greedily upon purpose enter∣taine the time with cares of this life, and dealings in the world; their consciences deale with them, as Credi∣tors with their Debitors: while they have any doings, as they say, and are in trading, in policy let them alone and say nothing; but if once downe the winde, in sick∣nesse, poverty, disgrace, &c. Then comes Sergeant after Sergeant; Arrest upon Arrest; Action upon Action: All their sinnes are set in order before them, and fall full foule upon the now distressed Soule, as Ravens upon the fallen Sheepe, to picke out the very eyes and heart of it, and to keepe it downe in the Dungeon of despaire for ever.

5. Nor others, because they cousen themselves with a formall false conceite of a comfortable spirituall state; as did the Phariie, Luk. 15.11. with a groundlesse pre∣sumption, that they are in Gods favour; as did those, Matth. 7.22. And the five foolish Virgins, Matth. 25. When as God knowes, they are meere strangers to the Page  104 Mysterie of Christ, and farre enough from any sound Humiliation.

Thus the blindnesse, security, searednesse, slumber, Selfe-deceite, or some other such distemper of the Con∣science conceales, and keepes in, the stings of those sins in sensuall men; which without turning unto the Lord, in truth, while it is called To Day, will hereafter tor∣ment with intolerable and restlesse terrour thorow all eternity.

3. A third reason, why thy unlamented, and unpar∣doned sinnes, tho every one of them bee armed with a severall bloody and fiery sting, and of their owne na∣ture so heavy with horrour, that they are able to sinke Thee into the bottome of Hell; doe not as yet stirre, nor presse upon thy Soule, with the insupportable weight of divine vengeance, is this: They are in their native soyle; where they were borne, bred and brought up; in their owne Element, as they say: I meane in a carnall heart, soaking in sensualitie, and not resolved to bee reformed. Wee say in Philosophy, An Element is not heavy in it's owne Place. One Bucket full of water upon the Earth would bee burdensome to the Backe of that Man; who, were Hee in the bottome of the Sea, would feele no weight at all from all the water there, tho it were three miles high over His head. A sensuall heart, settled upon it's lees can beare without sense, or complaint, a world of wickednesse, which out of it's Element and humour, would bee crusht into Powder, and tremble with horrour upon the sad apprehension of the least sinne, especially set out by Gods just indig∣nation. While Belshazzar was in His Element, revel∣ling and rioting amongst His Lords, His Wives, and His Concubines, drinking wine swaggeringly and contemp∣tuously in the golden and silver Vessels of the Temple, Hee felt no touch in point of conscience, or terrour at all. But put out of His humour, by the hand-writing upon the plaister of the Wall, His countenance was pre∣sently Page  105 changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joynts of His loynes were loosed, and His knees smote one against another.

4. Fourthly, The never-dying worme, that natu∣rally breeds, and d growes bigge in every unregenerate conscience, which beates backe still the searching power of the Word, and secret warnings of the Spirit, is like a Wolfe in the foot: Feede it continually with fresh sup∣ply of raw flesh, and it will let the Body alone; but with-draw that, and it devoures upward. While the Sonnes and daughters of pleasure, and all those who have their portion and Paradise in this life, stoppe the mouth of this hellish worme, with variety of carnall de∣lights, they doe well enough, and finde pretty ease, and exemption for a time from the rage and bitings thereof: But they may assure themselves in evill times, when the dayes are come upon them, wherein there is no plea∣sure; when the Play is done; when all worldly comforts and comforters like run-away servants, and drunken Serving-men, are to seeke, when they have most use and need of them; I say, that then the time, and turne is come; that the worme of conscience, destitute now or ever of any further satisfaction from sensuall sweetnes, will ragingly turne upon the Soule, devoure like a Li∣on, knaw like a Vulture, vex eternally.

5. Fifthly, If the weight of the whole world were now laid upon any of these Bodies here lately buried, it would not stirre or groane: And why? Because it is naturally dead. Proportionably, Tho the burthen of sinne, farre heavier then a mountaine of e Lead, then this mighty and massie earth under our feete, lyes upon every impenitent Soule, ready every houre to presse, and plunge it into the lowest Pit yet wretched, and be∣witched Thing, it neither feeles any smart, nor feares any hurt; it is neither sensible of the present weight, nor troubled for the future wrath; And what is the rea∣son? It is spiritually f dead. It is starke dead in trespasses Page  106 and sinnes. The strong man is gone away with all. And there is no stirring, nor sense of this cursed Burden, un∣till,* Either a stronger then Hee lay hands upon this Hel∣lish Tyrant, disarme Him, and throw downe His Holds; and a g mightier voyce of the Sonne of God, then that which made Lazarus come out of the Grave, put life into it: Or else that the dreadfull thunder of Gods fierce and finall wrath, the Day of visitation beeing ex∣pired, awake it to everlasting woe.

6. Tho in the meane time, thou bee extreamely mi∣serable, and if thou dyest in thine impenitent state this day, thou must most certainely lodge this night in the Lake of fire and brimstone amongst the damned; yet thy sinnes for the present doe not represent to the eye of thy conscience those formes of foulenesse, and ter∣rour, of which they are naturally full; and which with∣out timely repentance, thou wilt hereafter find and feele in them, to thine endlesse griefe: because thou lookest upon them in the false Glasse of vaine-glory, ignorance, selfe-love, selfe-conceitednesse; painted o∣ver by the Divels dawbing, with whorish intising co∣lours of pleasure, profit, preferment, worldly applause, and other such goodly and golden out-sides. Where∣as a true and effectuall beholding them in the cleare Christall of Gods pure Law, hunted continually at the heeles with divine vengeance; all the curses in this Booke, and plagues innumerable, internall, externall, eternall; and in the bitter Passion of Iesus Christ, with∣out whose hearts-blood, not the least sinne that ever was committed, could ever have been remitted, were able to right and fire a very Blackamore out of His blacke skinne and a Leopard from His spots.* And thou something easest thine heart also against the terrour of the Lord for thy sinnes, by looking upon Gods mercy with false spectacles, and so enlarging it beyond the li∣mits of His Truth. But heare, what that excellent dis∣coverer of the Depths of our Selfe-cousoning hearts tells Page  107 thee in such a case: As a man passing over a bridge, saith Hee, which his false spectacles make to seeme broa∣der, then in deed it is, being thereby deceived goes besides the bridge, and so is drowned: so is it with those whose de∣ceitfull hearts make the bridge of Gods mercy larger then it is, they are in danger of falling beside it, into the waters of eternall destruction. For the Gods mercy bee of the lar∣gest extent, yet it is bounded with His Truth. And there∣fore usually in the Scriptures wee find these two coupled together, Gods mercy and His Truth. Now His Truth tells us; that the good tydings of the Gospell belong only to the poore, to the broken-hearted, to the captives, to the blinde, to the bruised. Luk. 4.18. That Hee onely who confesseth, and forsaketh His sinnes, shalt have mer∣cy. Prou. 28.13. That except wee repent, wee shall all pe∣rish. Luk. 13.3. That except wee bee borne againe, wee can∣not see the Kingdome of God. Ioh. 3.3. That God will wound the head of his enemies, and the hairy scalpe of such an one, as goeth on still in his trespasses. Psal. 68.21. That if wee regard iniquity in our hearts, the Lord will not heare us. Psal. 66.18. That no fornicator, nor idola∣ter, nor adulterer, nor effminate, nor abuser of Himselfe with man-kind, nor theefe, nor covetous man, nor drun∣kard, nor reviler, nor extortioner shall inherit the King∣dome of God. 1. Cor. 6.9.10. That without holinesse no man shall see the Lord. Heb. 12.14. That every one that calleth on the Name of Christ savingly, must depart from iniquitie. 2. Tim. 2.19. &c. Compare now these and the like Places with thine heart, life, and present impe∣nitent state, and tell mee in cold blood and impartially, whether any mercy at all as yet belongs unto thee up∣on good ground, yet lying in thy sinnes.

2. In a second place, the Point may serve for war∣ning to those, who are already washed from their sins; that they defile their Soules no more: who having been cured by castig their eyes upon the brazen Ser∣pent, from those many fiery stings; that they rebell no Page  108 more; who wounded formerly at the heart-roote with grievous horrour, and now healed with the blood of Christ, that in the name of Christ, they turne not againe to folly. Let them call to minde, and lay to heart the en∣suing considerations, when they are first tamper'd with, and tempted againe to any sinne: which, me thinkes, should be of power, not only to keep Gods blessed Ones from putting their hands to iniquity; but also to re∣straine, or at least to coole the courage even of the Di∣vels slaves, in the very heate of the most furious entise∣ment to their best-beloved sinne.

1. Sinne is most hatefull. It is the onely Object of all Gods infinite hatred. His Loue is cut, as it were, in∣to divers streames, and carried upon variety of h Ob∣jects. He loves in the first place, infinitely, ad-equately His owne blessed Selfe, His owne Sonne, who is called the *Sonne of His Love, His Angels, His Saints, His Servants, His Creatures, All things Hee made: Thou lo∣vest all things that are, and abhorrest nothing which Thou hast made. For never wouldest Thou have made any thing, if thou had'st hated it. But Hee hates i nothing at all, properly and formally, but sinne. The whole infi∣nitenesse of all His hatred, is spent wholly upon sinne alone; which makes it infinitely and extremely hate∣full. Now what a thing is this, that an infinite divine ha∣tred, like a mighty undivided Torrent should withall it's united forces, and detestations run headlong, and rest upon every sinne; bee it but an officious lye, *foolish talking, jesting, revelling, a wanton glance, a vaine thought, an idle word, and such like lighter sinnes in the worlds account; which to reprove in some compa∣nies, nay almost every where, would bee holden to bee a sowre and unsufferable precisenesse: So desperately impudent are the times, both in disgracing of sincerity, and dawbing of sinne! And what a wofull wretch is every impenitent Sinner, who hath such a world of un∣pardoned sinnes lying upon His Soule, and such an im∣measurable Page  109 weight of hatred lying upon every severall sinne! And what a prodigious Bedlam is Hee, who will wittingly, and willingly put His hand to any sinne; which once committed, is inseparably, and individually attended with the infinite hatred of so great a God. For which the paines of Hell must upon necessity bee suffe∣red; either by the Party Himselfe or his Surety: Either it must bee taken off by the blood of Iesus Christ; or else the Delinquent, must burne in Hell for euer!

2. It is most foule. Even fouler then the foulest Feind in Hell, then the Divell Himselfe. And let none stumble at this truth: It appeares unanswerably thus: Sinne made him a Divell, and sunke Him into Hell and therefore sinne is more rancke Divell and horrible Hell it selfe. For it is a principle in Philosophy of unquestio∣nable truth; kWhatsoever maketh such, is it selfe much more such. The Sunne that lightens all other bodies, is much more light; The fire which heates all other things, is much more hote: So that which defiles another thing▪ is much more fulsome: Sinne alone brought all hellish misery upon Satan, and made him so foule, therefore is it farre fouler. If any could strip him of his sins, hee should re-invest him into the shining roabes of all his former Angelicall excellency and perfection; and restore him into height of favour againe with the most High.l For God hates the Divell for nothing else in the world but for sinne.

Ob. But if sinne bee so ougly, may some say▪ as you have set it out; how comes it to passe, that it is so ami∣able in the eyes of the most? Why doe all sorts of peo∣ple pursue and practise it with such eagernesse and de∣light? Why doth the whole world runne a madding after it?

Answ. Herein observe an universall Soule-swallow∣ing Depth of Satans damned Policy. Hee knowes full well, that should sin appeare it it's owne likenes, every eye would abhorre it, every Mothers Sonne would de∣test, Page  110 and defie it. And therefore, Hee takes a course, by the exquisitnesse of his colours, and excellency of painting, to put a seeming fairenesse upon an Hellish face; whereby the greatest part dote upon this defor∣med Hag to their endlesse damnation. For wee must know that Satan, in this mystery of cousoning by colours, incomparably surpasseth the most famous Baudes, and noble Strumpets, that ever were. So that it seemes to bee the conceite of the ancient m Fathers, that the Divell did immediately reveale unto whorish women this Art of painting; at least, Hee was most certainely an extraordinary assistant to the first Inven∣tors of it. Now for painting sinne, to make it more plausible and passable, wee may see variety of colours, and cousoning tricks ministred unto Satan by our false hearts, His Agents for that purpose, nIn that excellent Discovery of their deceitfulnesse.

But as an old, deformed, wrinckled, whorish Hag set∣ting out Her selfe with false haire, a painted face, and other meritricious affected dressings, entangles and en∣snares the hearts of o fooles, and eyes of vanity; where∣as understanding men, and those that have eyes in their heads, discover in her so doing and daubing, an additi∣on of a great deale of artificiall loathsomnesse to Her naturall foulnesse: So it is in this case. The greisly face of sinne beeing dawbed over with the Divels pain∣ting, and false luster, carries away captive all carnall men, and detaines in a Fooles-Paradise, indeed an hel∣lish prison, a world of deluded Ones. Yet those few illightened Soules, whose eyes have been happily ope∣ned, by spiritull Eye-salve, to turne from darkenesse to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, behold a Page  111 double deformity and ouglines, in so foule a monster de∣ceitfully dressd in the Divels counterfeite colours, and guilded over garishly in His personated Angelical glory.

3. It is most filthy. Farre filthier then the most stin∣king confluence of all the most filthy, fulsome, nasty, loathsome things in the world: And it must needs bee so; For whatsoever a Man can conceive to bee most contrary, distant and opposite to the infinite clearenes, purity, sweetnesse, beauty, and goodnesse of God; all that, and much more is sinne in the highest degree. Hence it is, that in the Scriptures, it is compared to the filthiest pmyre, in which a Sow will lie downe to coole, and cover her selfe: To the loathsome vomite, not of a man, but of a Dog:q To the unsavoury poysonfull dampe, which rotten Carkases exhale out of opened graves:r To menstruous filth:s To the dirt under the nailes; or the stinking sweat of the Body; or the putrifi∣ed matter of some pestilent ulcer: t To the very excre∣ments, which Nature having severed frō the purer part of the meate, thrusts out of the stomack, & casts into the draught: u To the filthinesse, pollutions, and impurities of the world, so called by a singularity, for sin is the tran∣scendent filth of the world: To all the uncleannesses, for which the Purifications, cleansings, washings, and sprinklings were appointed in the Leviticall Law: x To abomination it selfe, &c. Nay, and yet further, which makes for the further detestation of sinne: Whereas all outward filth defiles onely the Body; this of sinne by the strength and contagion, of it's insinuating poyson soakes thorow the flesh and the bone, and enters and eates into the very minde and conscience, Tit. 1.15. de∣files the pure, and immortall Soule of Man. How long might wee cast dirt into the Aire, before wee were able to infect the bright shining beames of the Sunne? Yet Page  112 so filthy is sinne, that at once with a touch it infects the Soule, a clearer and purer essence then it; and that with such a crimsin and double-••ed staine, that the Flood of Noah, when all the World was water, could not wash it off: Neither at that last and dreadfull Day, when this great Vniversall shall bee turned into a Ball of fire, for the purifying and renewing of the Heaven and the Earth, yet shall it have no power to purge or cleanse the least sinne out of the impenitent Soule: Nay, the fire of Hell which burnes night and day, even thorow all eternity, shall never bee able to raze it out.

4 It is most infectious: Spits venome on all sides, farre and wide: corrupts every thing it comes neare. By reason whereof, it is fitly resembled to yLeaven; to a zGangreene; to the aLeprosie; which filthy disease quickly over spreads the whole Body: Numb. 12.10. Infects the bclothes, the very Walles of the House: Levit. 14.37 &c. Posterity. 2 King 5.27. The first sinne that eve the Sunne saw, was so pregnant with Soule-killing poyson, that it hath already damnably polluted all the Sonnes and Daughters of Adam, that were ever since; and will still by the un-resistable strength of the same contagion, empoysn all their natures, to the Worlds end. Nay, at the very first breaking out, it suddenly blasted, as it were, both Heaven and Earth: And so stai∣ned the beauty of the one, the brightnesse of the other, and the originall, orient, newly burnisht glory of the cwhole Creation; that from that houre, it hath groanedPage  113 under the burden of that vanity and deformity, to which this first sinne hath made it subject; and will dtravaile in paine under the bondage of the same corrup∣tion, untill it bee purged by fire, in the great Day of the Lord. It but one sinne, bee doted upon, delightfully, and impenitently, like a lumpe of Leaven, it soures all the Soule, defiles the whole Man, and every thing, that proceeds from Him: His thoughts, desires, affections, words, actions, and that of all sorts; naturall, civill, re∣creative, religious. It doth not onely unhallow his meate, drinke, carriage; His buying, selling, giving, len∣ding, and all His other e dealings in the world, even His plowing; The plowing of the wicked is sinne. Prov. 21.4. But also turnes all his f spirituall services, and divinest duties; His prayer, hearing, reading, receiving the Sa∣crament, &c. into abomination. If but one raging cor∣ruption, in a Minister, Magistrate, Master of a Family; as lying, swearing, filthy-talking, scoffing at Religion, opposition to godlinesse, Sabbath-breaking, an humour of Good-fellowship, or the like, represent it selfe to the eye of the World, in His ordinary carriage; and hang out as a rotten fruite in the sight of the Sunne; it is woont fearefully to infect or offend by a contagious in∣sinuation, and ill example, all about Him; to diffuse it's venome to His Family, amongst His Sonnes, and Ser∣vants, over the Parish where Hee lives, all companies where hee comes, the whole Country round about, es∣pecially, if Hee bee a Man of eminency and Place.

5. g It is extremely ill. A farre greater ill, then the Page  114 eternall damnation of a Man. For when Hee hath Ilen many millions of yeeres in the Lake of fire, and under the dominion of the second death; He is never the nea∣rer to satisfaction for sinne. Not all those Hellish lames thorow all eternitie, can possibly expiate the staine, or extingvish the sting of the least sinne. Nay, the very destruction of all the creatures in the world; of Men and Angels, Heaven and Earth, is a great deale lesse ill, then to offend God with the least transgression of His lawes. For all the creatures of ten thousand worlds, were they all extant, come infinitely short in excellency of worth, of the Hearts-blood of Iesus Christ. And yet without the effusion of it, no sinne could ever have been pardoned, nor any Soule saved. A man would thinke it a lesser ill to tell a lie, then to lie in Hell: But heare Chrysostome; Altho many thinke Hell to bee the supreame and sorest of all evils; yet I thinke thus, and thus wil I daily preach: That it is farre bitterer and more grievous to offend Christ, then to bee tormented with the paines of Hell.

6. It is full of most fearefull effects.

1. It deprives every Impenitent. 1. Of the fauour and love of God, the onely Fountaine of all comfort, peace and happinesse: which is incomparably the most invalue-able losse, that can be imagined. 2. Of his por∣tion in Christs blood; of which, tho the drops, waight and quantity bee numbred, finite, and measurable, yet the Person that shed it, hath stampt upon it, such height of price, excellency of merit, un-value-ablenes of worth; that hee had infinitely better have his portion in that sweetest well-spring of life and immortality; then enjoy the riches, pleasures and glory of the whole World everlastingly.

For a bitter-sweet taste of which, for an ynch of time, Hee villanously trampleth under-foote, as it were, that blessed blood, by wilfully cleaving to His owne wayes, and furious following the swinge of His owne Page  115 sensuall heart (even against the check and contradiction of His grumbling conscience). 3. Of the most blisse∣full presence, freedome, and communication of the Ho∣ly Ghost; and all those divine illuminations, spirituall feastings, sudden and secret glimpses and glances of heavenly light, sweeter then sweetnesse it selfe, where∣with that good Spirit is woont to visit and refresh the humbled hearts of holy men. 4. Of the fatherly pro∣vidence and protection of the blessed Trinity, the glo∣rious guard of Angels, the comfortable communion with the people of God, and all the happy consequents of safety, deliverance and delight that floweth thence. 5. Of the unknowne pleasures of an appeased consci∣ence, a Iewell of dearest price, to which all humane glo∣ry is but dust in the balance. Not the most exquisite extraction of all manner of Musicke, Sets, or Consorts, vocall or Instrumentall, can possibly conveigh so delici∣ous a touch, and taste to the outward eare of a Man; as the sound, and sense of a Certificate brought from the Throne of mercy by the blessed Spirit, seal'd with Christs blood, to the eare of the Soule, even amidst the most desperate confusions, in the evill Day; when Comfort will bee worth a World; and a good Consci∣ence, ten thousand earthly Crownes. 6. Of all true contentment in this life; of all Christian right, and reli∣gious interest to any of the Creatures. For never was any sound ioy, or sanctified enjoyment of any thing in the world, found in that Mans heart, which gives al∣lowance to any lust, or lyes delightfully in any sinne. 7. Of an immortall Crowne, the un-speakeable ioyes of Heaven; that immeasurable, and endlesse comfort, which there shall be fully and for ever enioyed, with all the children of God, Patriarkes, Prophets, Apostles, Martyrs, Christian friends; yea, with the Lord Him∣selfe, and all His Angels, with Christ our Saviour, that Lambe slaine for us, the Prince of glory, the glory of Heaven and Earth; the brightnesse of the everlasting Page  116 Light, &c. In a word, of all those inexplicable, nay, un∣conceiveable excellencies, pleasures, perfections; felici∣ties, sweetnesses, beauties, glories, eternities above.

2. It doth every houre expose Him to all those e∣vils, which a Man destitute of grace divine may com∣mit; and unprotected from above, endure. It brings all plagues. 1. Internall; Blindnesse of minde, Hard∣nesse of heart, deadnesse of affection, searednesse of conscience, a reprobate sense, strong delusions, the spirit of slumber, slavery to lust, estrangednesse from God, bondage under the Divell, desperate thoughts, horrour of heart, confusion of spirit, &c. And spirituall mis∣chiefes in this kind, moe, and more dreadfull, then ei∣ther Tongue can tell, or heart can thinke. Least of which, is farre worse then all the plagues of Egypt. 2. Externall. See Deut. 28.15. &c. 3. Eternall. See my Sermon of the foure last things.

3. By it's pestilent damning Property and poyson, it turnes Heaven into Hell, Angels into Divels, Life into death, Light into darknesse, sight into blindnesse, Faith into distrust, hope into despaire, Loue into hate, humili∣ty into pride, mercy into cruelty, security into feare, li∣berty into bondage, health into sicknesse, plenty into scarcenesse, a Garden of Eden into a desolate Wilder∣nesse, a fruitfull Land into barrennesse, Peace into war, quietnesse into contention, Obedience into rebellion, Order into confusion, vertues into vices, blessings into curses, &c. In a word, all kind of temporall, and eter∣nall felicities, and blisse, into all kinds of miseries, and woe.

7. What heart, except it bee all Adamant, and turn'd into a Rocke of flint, but possessing it selfe with feeling thoughts, and a sensible apprehension of the incompre∣hensible greatnesse, excellency and dreadfulnesse of the mighty Lord of Heaven and Earth, would not tremble and bee strangely confounded to transgresse and breake any one branch of His blessed Lawes, especially, pur∣posely, Page  117 and with pleasure; or to sinne against Him wil∣lingly, but in the least ungodly thought? For alas! Who art thou, that liftest up thy proud heart, or whet∣test thy prophane tongue, or bendest thy rebellious course against such a Majesty? Thou art the vilest wretch that ever God made, next unto the Divell, and His damned Angels; A base, and an unworthy Worme of the Earth, not worthy to licke the dust, that lyeth under His feete; A most weake and fraile creature, Earth, ashes, or any thing that is naught; the dreame of a shadow, the very Picture of change, worse then va∣nity, lesse then nothing; Who, when thy breath is gone, which may fall out many times in a moment, thou tur∣nest into dust, nay, rottennesse and filth, much more loathsome, then the Dung of the Earth; and all thy thoughts perish. But now on the other side, if thou cast thine eyes seriously, and with intention upon that thrice glorious and highest Majesty, the eyes of whose glory thou so provokest with thy filth and folly, thou mayest most justly upon the commission of every sinne cry out with the Prophet: O Heavens bee astonished at this: bee afraid and utterly confounded! Nay, thou mightest marvaile, and it is Gods unspeakeable mercy, that the whole frame of Heauen and Earth is not for one sinne fearefully, & finally dissolued, and brought to nought! For He against whom thou sinnest, inhabi∣teth eternity, and unapprochable light: The Heauen is His Throne, and the earth his footstoole: Hee is the euerla∣sting God, mighty, and terrible, the Creatour of the ends of the earth, c. The infinite splendour of his glory and maiesty, so dazles the eyes of the most glorious Sera∣phims, that they are glad to adore Him with couered faces g. The Diuell, and all the damned spirits, those Page  118 stubborne Feinds tremble at the terrour of His coun∣tenance. hAll the Nations before Him, are but as the drop of a bucket, but as the small dust of the balance, nay, they are nothing to Him, saith the Prophet, yea lesse then nothing.iHee fitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grashoppers: The Iudges, and Princes, when Hee blowes upon them, are but as stubble before the Whirle-winde: And kHee taketh vp the Iles, as a very litle thing.lAt His re∣buke the Pillars of Heauen doe shake; the Earth trem∣bleth and the foundations of the hills are mooued:mHis presence melts the mountaines, His voice teares the Rocks in pieces, nThe blast of the breath of His no∣strils discouers the chanells of waters, and foundati∣ons of the world:* when Hee is angry, His Arrowes drinke bloud, His sword deuoures flesh, and the fire of his wrath burnes unto the lowest Hell.*The Heauen is but His span, The Sea His handfull, The wings of the wind His walke:*His garments are light, His Pauilion dark∣nes, His way in the whirlewind, and in the storme; and the clouds are the dust of His feete, &c. The Lord of hostes is his name, whose power and punishments are so infinite∣ly vnresistable; that Hee is able with one word to turne all the creatures in the world into Hell; nay, even with the breath of His mouth to turne Heaven and Hell, and Earth, and all things into nothing. How darest thou then so base and vile a wretch, prouoke so great a God?

8. Let the consideration, and compassion upon the immortality, and dearenesse of that pretious Soule that lies in thy bosome, curbe thy corruptions at the very first sight of sinne, and make thee step backe as though thou wert ready to treade upon a Serpent. Not all the bloudy men upon earth, or desperate Devils in Hell, can possibly kill, and extingvish the Soule of any man; it must needs live, as long, as God Himself, and run paral∣lell, with the longest line of eternity. Onely sinne Page  119 wounds o mortally that immortal spirit, & brings it into that cursed case, that it had infinitely better never have bin, then be for ever. For by this meanes, going on impe∣nitently to that last Tribunall, it becomes immortally mortall, and mortally immortallp as one of the Ancients speakes. It lives to death, and dies to life: never in state of life or death yet ever in the paines of death, & the per∣petuity of life; It's death is ever-living, & it's end is ever in beginning: Death without death; End without end: Ever in the pangs of death, & never dead: not able to dye, nor endure the paine: Paine exceeding not only, all patience, but all resistance: No strength, to sustaine nor ability to beare, that which heareafter, whilst God is God, for ever must bee borne. What a prodigious Bedlam cruelty is it then for a mā, by listning to the Syren-songs of this false world, the lewd motions of His own treacherous heart, or the Divels desperate counsel, to embrew His hands in the bloud of His own everlasting soule, & to make it die eternally? For a little paltry pleasure of some base & rot∣ten lust, & sleeting vanity, which passeth away in the act, as the tast of pleasant drink dieth in the draught, to bring upon it in the other world, torments whithout end, and beyond all compasse of conceit? And his madnesse is the more, because besides it's immortality, His Soule is in∣cōparably more worth, then the whole world. The very sensitive Soule of a little slie, saith qAustin truly, is more Page  120 excellent then the Sun: How ought wee then to prize, and preserve from sinne, our vnderstanding, reasonable Soules, which make us in that respect, like unto the An∣gels of God?

9. Ninthly, What an horrible thing is sinne, whose waight an Omnipotent strength, which doth sustaine the whole Frame of the world, is not able to beare? Al∣mighty God complaines Isa. 1.14. even of the Sacrifi∣ces, and other services of his owne people, when they were performed with polluted hearts; and professes, that He was weary to beare them. And how vile is it, that stirs up in the dearest and most compassionate bowells of the All-mercifull God, such implacable anger, that threw downe so many glorious Angelicall spirits, who might have done Him so high honour for ever in the highest Heauens, into the bottome of Hell, there most iustly to continue Devils, and in extremest torment ever∣lastingly? Cast all mankinde out of His fauour, and from all felicity for Adams sin?* caused Him, who delighteth in mercy, to create all the afflicting miseries in Hell; eternal flames, streames of brimstone, chaines of darknesse, gnashing of teeth, a Lake of fire, the bottomlesse Pit, and all those horrible torments there? And that which doth argue, and yet further amplifie, the implacablenes and depth of divine indignation; the infinitenesse of sinnes prouocation,* and desert: Tophet is said to bee or∣deined of old: Everlasting fire to be prepared for the De∣vill and His Angells:* As if the All-powerfull wisedome did deliberate, and as it were sit downe, and devise all st••ging terrible ingredients, a temper of greatest torture to make that dreadfull fie, hellish paines, most fierce and raging, and a fit instrument for the iustice of so great and mighty a God to torment eternally all impe∣nitent reprobate Rebels. God is the Father of Spirits; our Soules are the immediate Creation of His Almigh∣ty Hand; and yet to every one that goeth on impeni∣tently in his trespasses, Hee hath appointed, as it were Page  121 a threefold Hell. There are three things considerable in sinne: 1. r Aversion from an infinite, soveraigne, un∣changeable good: 2. Conversion to a finite mutable, momentany good: 3. Continuance in the same. To these three severall things in sinne, there are answering three singular stings of extremest punishment. To aver∣sion from the chiefest Good, which is objectively infi∣nite, there answereth Paine of losse as they call it, Privati∣on of Gods glorious presence, and separation from those endlesse joyes above; which is an infinite losse. To the inordinate conversion to transitory things, there answe∣reth Paine of sense, which is intensively finite, as is the pleasure of sinne; And yet so extreme, that none can conceive the bitternesse thereof, but the Soule that suf∣fers it, nor that neither; except it could comprehend the Almighty wisedome of Him that did create it. To the eternity of sinne, remaining for ever in staine and guilt, answereth the eternity of punishment. For wee must know s that every impenitent sinner would sinne ever if he might live ever; and casteth himselfe by sinning into an impossibility of ever ceasing to sinne of Himselfe: as a Man that casteth himselfe into a deepe Pit, can never of Himsele rise out of it againe: And therefore naturally eternity of punishment is due to sinne. How prodigious a thing then is sinne, and how infinitely to bee abhor∣red, and avoided, that by a malignant meritorious poy∣son and provocation, doth violently wrest out of the hands of the Father of mercies, and God of all comfort, the full vials of that unquenchable wrath, which brings caselesse, endlesse, and remedilesse torments upon His owne creatures, and those originally most excellent.

10. Tenthly, The height and inestimablenesse of Page  122 the price, that was paid for the expiation of it, doth clearely manifest, nay, infinitely aggravate the execrable misery of sinne, and extreame madnesse of all that med∣dle with it. I meane the hearts-blood of Iesus Christ, blessed for ever: which was of such pretiousnesse and power, that beeing let out by a Speare, it amazed the whole Frame of Nature; darkened the Sunne miracu∣lously, (for at that time it stood in direct s opposition to the Moone) shooke the Earth, which shrunke and trembled under it, opened the Graves, clave the Stones, rent the Vaile of the Temple, from the bottome to the top, &c. Now it was this alone, and nothing but this could possibly cleanse the filth of sinne. Had all the dust of the earth been turned into silver, and the stones into pearles; Should the maine and boundlesse Ocean have streamed nothing but purest gold; would the whole world, and all the creatures in Heaven and Earth have offered themselves to bee annihilated before His angry face; Had all the blessed Angels prostrated themselves at the foote of their Creator: yet in the Point of redemption of Mankind, and purgation of sin, not any, nor all of these, could have done any good at all. Nay, if the Sonne of God Himselfe, which lay in His bosome, should have supplicated and solicited, (I meane without t suffering and shedding His blood) the Father of all mercies; Hee could not have been heard in this case. Either the Sonne of God must die, or all Mankind be eternally damned. Even then, when thou Page  123 art provoked to sinne, thinke seriously, and sensibly of the price that upon necessity must bee paied for it, be∣fore it bee pardoned.

11. Sinfull pleasures are attended with a threefold bitter sting. Whereof see my Directions for walking with God, pa. 171. Which though the Divell hides from them in the heate of temptation; yet in His seasons, to serve his owne turne, Hee sets them on with a vengeance.

12. Compare the vast, and unvalu-able difference, betweene yeelding to the entisement, and conquering the temptation to sinne. For which purpose, looke up∣on Ioseph and David, two of Gods dearest servants. And consider the consequents: what a deale of honour and comfort did afterward crowne the head, and the heart of the one: And what horrible mischiefes and miseries fell upon the family, and u grisly horrours up∣on the conscience of the other. Survay also the distinct x Stories of Galeacius Caracciolus, and Franciscus Spi∣ra, then which in their severall kinds, there is nothing left to the memory of the latter times more remarkea∣ble. And you shall find in them as great a difference, as betweene an Heaven and Hell upon earth. The one withstanding unconquerably variety of mighty entise∣ments to renounce the Gospell of Iesus Christ, and re∣turne to Popery, besides the sweet peace of His Soule, attained that honour in the Church of God, that Hee is in some measure y paralleld even with Moses, and re∣commended to the admiration of Posterity by the Pen of that great and incomparable glory of the Christian World, blessed zCalvin. The other conquered by an unhappy temptation, to turne from the Truth of God and our true Religion, to the Synagogue of Satan, and Page  124 abominations of the scarlet Whore, besides the raging and desperate confusion hee brought upon His owne spirit, became such a spectacle to the eye of Christen∣dome, as hath been hardly heard of.

13. Compare the poore, short, a vanishing delight of the choisest, sensuall, worldly contentment, if thou wilt, of thy sweetest sinne, with the exquisitnesse and eternity of Hellish torments. Out of which, might an impenitent reprobate wretch, bee assured of enlarge∣ment, after Hee had endured them so many thousand, thousand yeeres, as there are sands on the Sea-shore, haires upon His head, starres in the firmament, grasse piles upon the ground, Creatures both in Heaven and Earth; Hee would thinke Himselfe happy, and as it were in Heaven already. See before pag. 39. But when all that time is past, and infinite millions of yeeres be∣sides, they are no neerer end, then when they begun; nor Hee neerer out, then when Hee came in. The tor∣ments of Hell are most horrible; yet I know not whe∣ther this incessant desperate cry in the conscience of a damned Soule, I must never come out, doth not outgoe them all in horrour. What an height of madnesse is it then, to purchase a moment of fugitive follies, and fading pleasures, with extremity of never ending paines?

14. b When thou art stepping ouer the threshold Page  125 towards any vile act, lewd House, dissolute company, or to do the Divel service in any kinde, which God for∣bid; suppose thou seest Iesus Christ comming towards Thee, as Hee lay in the armes of Ioseph of Arimathea, newly taken downe from the Crosse, wofully woun∣ded, wanne and pale; His Body all gore-blood; the beauty of His blessed and heavenly face, darkned and disfigured by the stroke of death; speaking thus unto Thee: Oh! Goe not forward upon any termes, Com∣mit not this sinne by any meanes. It was this and the like, that drew mee downe out of the c armes of my Father, from the fulnesse of joy, and Fountaine of all blisse; to put on this corruptible, and miserable flesh; to hunger and thirst; to watch and pray; to groane and sigh; to offer up strong cries and teares to the Fa∣ther in the dayes of my flesh: To drinke off the dregs of the bitter cup of His feirce wrath; to wrastle with all the forces of infernall powers; to lay downe my life in the gates of Hell, with intolerable, and, saue by my selfe, vnconquerable paine; and thus now to lie in the armes of this mortall Man, all torne and rent in peices with cruelty and spite, as thou seest. What an heart hast thou, that darest goe on, against this deare entreaty of Iesus Christ?

15. When thou art unhappily mooued, to breake any branch of Gods blessed Law, let the excellency and variety of His incomparable mercies come presently in∣to thy minde: a most ingenuous sweet and mighty mo∣tive, to hinder and hold off all gracious hearts from sin▪ How is it possible, but a serious survay of the riches of Gods goodnes, forbearance & long-suffering leading thee to repentance, to more forwardnes and fruitfulnes in the good Way; The publike miracles of mercy, which God hath done in our daies, for the preservatiō of the Gospel, this kingdome, ourselves, and our posterity; especially, drowning the Spanish invincible Armado, discouering, and defeating the Powder-plot, sheilding Q. Elizabeth,Page  126 the most glorious Princesse of the world, from a world of Anti-christian cruelties; saving us from the Papists bloudy expectations at Her death; &c. The particular, and private Catalogve of thine owne personall favours from Gods bountifull hand, which thine owne consci∣ence, can easily leade Thee unto; and readily run over from thine infancy to the present; wonderfull protecti∣ons in thine unregenerate time▪ that miracle of mercies, thy conversion, (if thou be already in that happy state); all the motions of Gods holy Spirit in thine heart, ma∣ny checks of conscience, fatherly corrections, excellent meanes of sanctification, as worthy a ministry in many Places, as ever the world enjoyde; Sermon upon ser∣mon; Sabbath after Sabbath; bearing with thee after so many times breaking thy covenants; Oportunities to ataine the highest degree of godlinesse, that ever was; &c. I say how can it bee, but that the reuise of these and innumerable mercies moe, should so mollify thy heart, that thou shouldest haue no heart at all, nay infinitely abhorre, to displease or any way dishonour, that High and dreadfull Majesty, whose free grace was the well-Head and first Fountaine of them all?

Let this meditation of Gods mercies to keepe from sinne, bee quickned by considering: 1. That thou art farre worthier, to bee now burning with the most abo∣minable Sodomite in the bottome of Hell; then to bee crowned with any of these loving kindnesses: That if thou wert able to doe Him all the honour, service and worship, which all the Saints both militant and trium∣phant doe; it would come infinitely short of the merit of the least of all His mercies unto Thee in Iesus Christ. 2. How unkindelylie God takes the neglect of His ex∣traordinary kindenesses unto vs. 2. Sam. 12.7, &c. 1. Sam. 27.28.31. Ezech. 16.

16. Marke well, and be amaz'd of thine owne feare∣full and desperate folly; when thou fallest deliberately into any sinne: Thou lajest, as it were, in the one scale of Page  127 the Balance, the glory of Almighty God, the endles ioies of Heaven, the losse of thine immortall Soule, the pretious blood of Christ, &c. And in the other, some rot∣ten pleasure, earthly pelf, worldly preferment, fleshly lust, sensuall vanity: And suffers this, prodigious mad∣nes! Bee astonished, O yee Heavens at this, and bee hor∣ribly afraid! to out-weigh all those.

17. Vpon the first assault of every sinne, say thus unto thy self: If I now yeeld, and commit this sin; I shall either repent, or not repent: If I doe not repent, I am vn∣done; If I doe repent, it will cost mee incomparably, more hearts-greife, then the pleasure of the sinne is worth.

18. Consider, that for that very sinne, to which thou art now tempted,* suppose lying, lust, ouer∣reaching thy Brother, &c. many millions are alrea∣dy damned, and even now burning in Hell. And when thy foote is upon the brinke, stay, and thinke upon the wages. And know for a truth, that if thou falelst in∣to that sinne, thou art fallen into Hell, if God helpe not out.

19. Never bee the bolder to giue way unto any wickednes; to exercise thine heart with covetousnesse, cruelty, ambition, revenge, adulterjes, speculative wan∣tonnesse, selfe-uncleannesse, or any other solitary sinful∣nesse; because thou art alone, and no mortall eie lookes upon Thee. For if thine heart condemne thee, God is grea∣ter then thine heart, and knoweth all things; and will condemne thee much more. If thy conscience, bee as a thousand witnesses; God, who is the Lord of thy consci∣ence will be more then a million of witnesses. And thou mayst bee assured, Howsoever thou blessest thy selfe in thy secrecy, that what sin soever, is now acted, in the ve∣ry retyredst corner of thine heart, or any waies most so∣litarily by thy Selfe; tho in the meane time it bee con∣cealed, and lie hid in as great darknesse, as it was com∣mitted, untill that last and great Day, yet then it must Page  128 most certainly d out with a witnesse; and bee as a legi∣ble on thy forehead, as if it were writ with the brightest Sun-beame upon a Wall of Christall. Thou shalt then in the face of Heaven and Earth, bee laide out in thy colours, and *without confessing and forsaking▪ while it is called to Day, bee before e Angels, Men, and Diuels, vt∣terly, universally, and everlastingly shamed and con∣founded.

20. Consider the resolute resistance, and mortifyed resolutions against sinne, and all entisements thereunto of many, upon whom, the Sun of the Gospell did not shine with such beauty and fullnesse, as it doth upon vs▪ neither were so many heavenly discoveries in the king∣dome of Christ, made knowne unto them, as our daies have seene. (For vpon our times, which makes our sins a great deale more sinfull, hath happily fallen, an admi∣rable Confluence of the saving light and learning, expe∣rience, and excellency of all former Ages, besides the ex∣traordinary additions of the present; which with a glorious Noonetide of united illuminations doth abun∣dantly serve our turne, for a continued further and fuller illustration of the great mystery of godlinesse, and Secrets of sanctification). HearefChrysostome, But I thinke thus, and this will I ever preach; that it is much bitterer to of∣fend Christ, then to bee tormented in the paines of Hell. Hee that writes the life of Anselme,g saith thus of Him; Hee feared nothing in the world more, then to sinne. My conscience bearing mee witnesse, I lie not; For we haue of∣ten heard Him professe: That if on the on hand▪ He should see corporally, the horrour of sinne; on the other the paines of Hell; and might necessarily bee plunged into the one, Hee would chuse Hell rather then sinne. And an other thing also no lesse perhaps wonderfull to some, Hee was Page  129 woont to say: To wit; That Hee would rather haue Hell, beeing innocent, and free from sinne; then polluted with the filth thereof, possesse the kingdome of Heaven. It is reported of an other ancient holy Man, that He was woont to say: Hee would rather bee torne in peeces with wilde horses, then wittingly and willingly commit any sin. Ierome also in one of His Epistles, tells a h story of a young Man, of most invincible courage, and constancy in the Profession of Christ, under some of the bloody Persecuting Emperours, to this sense: They had little hope as it seemes, to conqver Him by torture; and therfore they take this course with Him: They brought Him into most fragrant Gardens, flowing with all plea∣sure and delight; there they laid Him upon a Bed of Downe softly enwrapped in a net of silke; amongst the Lillies, and the Roses, the delicious murmure of the streames, and the sweet whistling of the leaves; they all depart, and in comes a beautifull strumpet, and vseth all the abominable tricks of Her impure Art, and who∣sh villanies to draw Him to her desire: Whereupon the yong Man, fearing that Hee should now bee con∣qvered by folly, who was Conqverer over fury, out of an infinite detestation of sinne, bites off a peece of His Tong with His owne teeth, and spits it in the face of the whore: And so hinders the hurt of sinne, by the smart of his wound. I might haue begun with Ioseph, who did so bravely and blessedly beate backe, and trample under His feete the sensuall solicitations of His wanton and wicked Mistris. Hee had pleasure and preferment in His eye, which were strongly offered in the temptation; but Hee well knew, that not all the offices and honours in Egypt, could take off the guilt of that filth; and there∣fore Hee resolved rather to lie in the dust, then rise by sinne: How can I doe this great wickednesse, and sinne a∣gainst God? I might passe along to the Moth•• and se∣ven brethren. 2. Mac. 7. who chose rather to passe tho∣row horrible tortures, and a most cruell death, then to Page  130 eate swines lesh against the Law: And so come downe along to that noble Army of Martyrs in Q. Maries time; who were contented with much patience, and resoluti∣on to part with all, wife, children, liberty, livelihood, life it selfe; even to lay it downe in the flames, rather then to submit to that Man of sinne; or to subscribe to any one Point of His Devillish Doctrine.

Thus as you haue heard, I haue tendred many rea∣sons to restraine from sinne; which by the helpe of God may serve to take off the edge of the most eager temp∣tation; to coole the heat of the most furious entisement; to embitter the sweetest baite, that drawes to any sen∣suall delight. Now my most thirsty desire & earnest en∣treaty is, that every one into whose hands, by Gods pro∣vidence this Book of mine shall fall, after the perusall of them, would pause a while upon purpose, that Hee may more solemnly vow, and resolve that ever hereafter, when he shalbee set upon, and assaulted by allurement to any sinne, Hee wil first have recourse unto these twen∣ty Considerations, I have here recommended unto Him, to helpe in such cases; and with a punctuall seriousnesse, let them sinke into His heart, before Hee proceede and pollute Himselfe. I could bee content, if it were pleasing unto God, that these lines which thou now readest, were writ with the warmest blood in mine heart, to re∣present unto thine eie, the deare affectionatenesse of my Soule, for thy spirituall and eternall Good; so that thou wouldest be throwly perswaded, and now before thou passe any further, sincerely promise so to doe!

3. Thirdly, The point may serve to set out the ex∣cellency of that high and heavenly Art, of cōforting af∣flicted consciences. The more dangerous and desperate the wound is, the more doth it magnifie, and make ad∣mirable the mysterie and method of the Cure and reco∣very. Which were it wel knowne, and wisely practised; what a world of vnnecessary slavish torture in troubled minds would it prevent? So many thousands of poore Page  131 abused, deluded Soules should not perish, by the dam∣ning flatteries, and cruel mercies of unskillfull Dawbers: what an heaven of spirituall light-somnesse, and ioy might shine in the hearts, and shew it selfe in the faces of Gods people? Vntill it please the Lord to mooue the hearts of my learned and holy Brethren in populous Cities and great congregations, who must needs have much imploiment, and variety of experiments this way; or some speciall men extraordinarily endowed and exercised herein, put to their hlping hands, and furnish the Church with more large and exact dis∣courses in this kinde, take in good part this Essay of mine.

Wherein I first desire to discover and rectify some ordinary aberrations about spirituall Cures. Which fall out, when the Physition of the Soule,

1. Applies unseasonably the Cordials of the Gospell, and cōforts of Mercy; when the Corrosives of the Law and comminations of Iudgement are convenient and sutable. Were it not absurd in Surgery, to poure a most soveraigne Balam of exqvisite composition, and inesti∣mable price upon a sound part? It is farre more unseeme∣ly and senselesse, of & an infinitely more pestilent conse∣quence in any Ministeriall passages, to profer the blood of Christ, and promises of life to an unwounded consci∣ence, as belonging unto it, as yet. It is the onely right e∣verlasting Method to turne men from darknes to light, from the power of Satan unto God; and all the Men of God and master-Builders, who have ever set themselves sincerely to serve God in their Ministery, and to save Soules▪ have followed the same course; to wit, First to wound by the Law, and then to heale by the Gospll. Wee must bee humbled in the sight of the Lord; before Hee lift us vp. Iam. 4.10. Wee must bee sensible of our spirituall blindnesse, captivity, poverty; before wee can heartily seeke to bee savingly illightned enlarged from the Devils slavery, and enriched with grace. There must Page  132 bee sense of misery, before shewing of mercy; Crying, I am uncleane, I am uncleane, before opening the Foun∣taine for vncleannesse; stinging, before curing by the Brasen Serpent; smart for sinne, before a Plaister of Christs blood; Brokennesse of heart, before binding up. God himselfe a opened the eies of our first Parents, to make them see and bee sensible of their sinne and mi∣sery; nakednesse and shame, &c. Gen. 3.7. b Before Hee promised Christ.c vers. 15. Christ Iesus tells us,d that Hee was annointed by the Lord,eto preach good tydings: But to whom? To the poore, To the broken hearted; To the captives; To the blind; To the bruised, Isai. 61.1. Luk. 4.18▪ That the whole neede not the Physition, but they that are sicke; And Hee came not to call the righteous, but sinners to re∣pentance. Matth. 9.12.13. That is, poore Soules, sinners with a witnesse even in their owne apprehen∣sion and conceit; And not selfe-conceited Pharisees, who tho they bee meere strangers to any wound of conscience for sinne; yet they will not be perswaded, that they shall bee damned; but in the meane time con∣temne and condemne all others in respect of themselves: sinfull Publicanes are to grosse; sincere Professours are too godly. Whereas notwithstanding in true iudgemēt, Page  133 Harlots are in a f farre happier case then they. Math. 21.31. That Hee will give rest; but to whom? To those that labour and are heavy laden. Matth. 11.28. That the Spi∣rit which Hee would send, should convince the world: First, of sinne; and then of righteousnesse; to wit, of Christ; It is ordinary with the Phrophets; First to discover the sinnes of their people, and to denounce iudgements: And then to promise Christ, upon their comming in, to il∣lighten and make them lightsome, with raising their thoughts to a fruitfull contemplation of the glory, ex∣cellency, and sweetnesse of His blessed kingdome. Isaiah in his first chapter, from the mouth of God doth in the first place behaue Himself like a Son of Thunder, pressing vpon the consciences of those to whom Hee was sent, many hainous sinnes; horrible ingratitude, fearefull falling away, formality in Gods worship, cruelty and the like: afterward vers. 16.17. He invites to repentance: And then followes vers. 18. Come now and let us reson to∣gether, saith the Lord:gThough your sins bee as scarlet, they shalbee as white, as snow; though they bee red like crimsin, they shalbee as wooll. Nathan to recover even a regenerate man, convinceth Him first soundly of His sin, with much aggravation and terrour, and then upon remorse, assures Him of pardon. 2. Sam. 12.13. Consider further for this purpose the Sermons of our blessed Sa∣viour Himselfe;* who taught as one having authority, and not as the Scribes: With what power, and pier∣cing, did our Lord and Master labour to open the eies, search the hearts, and wound the consciences of His Hearers, to fit them for the Gospell, and His owne deare Hearts blood? See Mat. 5. &c. And 23. And 25 &c. Of Iohn Baptist, who by the mightinesse of His Ministerial spirit, accompanied with extraordinary strength from Heaven, did strike thorow the hearts of those that heard Him, with such astonishment about their spirituall state; with such horrour for their former waies, and feare of future vengeance, that they came unto Him thicke, and Page  134 threefold, as they say: And the people asked Him saying, what shall wee doe then? Then came also Publicans to be baptized, and said unto Him, Master, what shall wee doe? And the Souldiers likewise demanded of Him, saying, And what shall wee doe? Luk. 3.10.12.14. Of Peter: who Act. 2. beeing now freshly inspired, and illuminated from aboue with large and extraordinary effusions of the ho∣ly Ghost, shadowed by cloven fiery tongs; in the very prime and flower of His Ministeriall wisedome, bends Himsele to breake the hearts of His Hearers. Amongst other piecig Passages of His searching Sermon, Hee tells them to their faces, they standing before Him stai∣ned with the horrible guilt of the dearest blood, that e∣ver was shed upon earth, most worthy to have beene gathered up by the most glorious Angels, in vessels of gold; that they had crucified and slaine that iust and holy One, the Lord of life, Isus of Nazareth. vers. 23. And againe, at the close and conclusion vers. 36. leaves the same bloody sting in their consciences; which rest∣lesly wrought and boild within them, untill it begot a great deale of compunction terrour, and tearing of their hearts with extreme amazement and anguish. Now when they heard this, they werehpricked in their heart. v. 27. Whereupon they came crying vnto Peter, and the rest of the Apostles: Men and Brethren what shall wee doe? And so beeing seasonably led, by the counsell of the Apostles ito beleeve on the Name of Iesus Christ; to lay hold upō the promise, to repent Evangelically; They had the remission of sinnes sealed vnto them by Bap∣tisme, and were happily received into the number of Page  135 the Saints of God, whose Son they had so lately slaugh∣tered: Of Paul; who tho Hee stood as a Prisoner at the Barre, and might perhaps, by a generall plausible dis∣course, without piercing or particularizing, have insinu∣ated into the affections, and wonne the favours of His Hearers, who were to be His Iudges; and so made way for His enlargement, and particular wellfare; yet Hee for all this, very resolutely and unreservedly, cros∣seth and opposeth their greedy, lustfull and carelesse humours with a right searching, terrifying Sermon of righteousnesse, temperance, and iudgement to come. Acts 24.24.25. That vnhappy Felix was a fellow polluted with abominable adultery, and very infamous for his cruell and covetous oppressions, and by consequent un∣apprehensive, and fearelesse of that dreadfull Tribunall, and the terrors to come: Whereupon Paul hauing lear∣ned in the Schoole of Christ, not to k feare any mortall man in the discharge of His Ministry, drawes the sword of the Spirit, with undantednesse of spirit, and strikes presently at the very face of those fearefull sinnes, which ragned in His principall and most eminent Hea∣rers; tho Hee stood now before them in bonds, at their mercy and devotion, as they say. Hee shrewdly l galls the Conscience of that l great Man;m by opposing righte∣ousnesse to His brybing cruelties, temperance to his adul∣terous impurities,n the dreadfulnes of Iudgement to come to His insolent lawlesse outrages & desperate security. Hd Paul addre Himself to haue satisfyed their curio∣sities, as many a rising temporizing trechar-Chaplaine would have done very industriously; and to entertaine th••ime with a generall discourse of the wonderfull b•••h, 〈…〉Christ, now so much talk't of 〈…〉 in the world; with pleasing discovery, onely 〈…〉 and glorious things pur∣•••〈…〉 by His Bloodshed; not 〈…〉delights〈…〉 lust, Page  136 and other sinnes; O then, they had listned unto Him with much acceptation, and delight; all things had been carried faire, and favourably: Paul had not been inter∣rupted, and so suddainly silent; Nor Felix so frighted, and distempered. But this Man of God, knewfull well that that was not the way; neither best for them, nor for His Masters honor, nor for the comfort of His owne conscience; And therefore Hee takes a course to cause the Tyrant tremble; that thereby Hee might either bee sitted for Christ, which was best of all; or at least made inexcusable; but howsoever that in so doing His duty might bee discharged, and Soule delivered; holding it farrre better, that His Body should bee in bonds; then His Soule guilty of oblood.

Orthodox Antiquity was of the same minde, and for the same methode.

pAusten, that famous Disputer in His time counsel∣leth to this purpose in this Point: (I expresse the sense and summe, and no more then may bee collected and concluded from the Place; I will not ever tie my selfe grammatically and pedantically to the words, precise∣ly, and to render verbatim; save only in some cases; as of Controversie, or some other such like necessity of more Punctuall quotation).

The Conscience is not to bee healed, if it bee not woun∣ded. Thou preachest and pressest the Law, comminations, the Iudgement to come, and that with much earnestnesse and importunity: Hee which heares, if Hee bee not ter∣rified, if Hee bee not troubled, is not to bee comforted. Another heares, is stir'd, is stng, takes on extremely: Cure His contritions, because Hee is cast downe and con∣founded in Himselfe.

After, that Iohn Baptist, saith qChrysostome, had tho∣rowly Page  137 frighted the minds of His Hearers, with the ter∣rour of iudgement, and expectation of torment; and with the name of an Axe, and their rejection, and entertaine∣ment of other children; and by doubling the punishment, to wit, of beeing hewed downe and cast into the fire: when Hee had thus every way tamed, and taken downe their stubbornnesse, and from feare of so many evils, had stir'd them up to a desire of deliverance; then at length Hee makes mention of Christ.

God powres not the oyle of His mercy, saith rBernard, save into a broken vessell.

So also are all our moderne Divines, who are instru∣cted unto the Kingdome of Heaven.

sPeter Martyr magnifies Nathans method of preaching, and commends it to all the Ministers of God. Hee first proposeth a Parable, as wee doe Doctrines, for the illumination, and conviction of the understanding. Then Hee applies it more particularly, and to the pre∣sent where Hee doth notably exagitate and aggravate the Sinne, by recounting, and opposing Gods extraor∣dinary bounty and most mercifull dealing with Da∣vid, by the cause of it, contempt of the Lords comman∣dement, and dreadfull things ensuing thence: After∣ward that Hee might strike the heart thorow with a∣stonishment and dread, Hee threatens terribly: At last upon compunction, and crying, I have sinned, He sweet∣ly comforteth and rayseth to the assurance of Gods fa∣vour againe.

If this course must bee taken with relapsed Christi∣ans; why not much more, with those who are starke dead in trespasses and sinnes?

Christ is promised to them alone, saith tCalvin, who are humbled, and confounded with sense of their owne sinnes.

Page  138Then is Christ seasonably revealed, faith uMusculus, when the hearts of men beeing soundly pierced by preach∣ing Repentance, are possest with a desire of His gratious righteousnesse.

The way to Faith, saith xBeza, is penitence, Legall compunction; because sicknesse enforceth men euen un∣willing, to slie unto the Physician.

Men are ever to bee prepared for the Gospell, by the preaching of the Law.

A Sermon of the Law, said yTilenus, while hee was yet Orthodoxe, must go before the Doctrine of the Gos∣pell, that the Oyle of mercy may bee powred into a con∣trite vessell.

In our exhortations to follow Christ saith z Rolloc, the minds of men are ever to bee prepared with a sense of mi∣sery, and their darke estate; and afterward with a desire of enlargement and light.

It is the care of those Ministers, which divide Gods Word aright, say our a great Divines of Great Britaine, first fitly and wisely to wound the Consciences of their hea∣rers with the terrours of the Law, and after to raise them by the Promises of the Gospell, &c.

bThe Spirit first terrifies those, who are to bee justifi∣ed, with the Law: breaking and humbling them with Page  139 threats scourges and lashes of Conscience, that thereby de∣spairing of themselves, they may flie unto Christ.

Wee cannot learne out of the Gospell saith c Chemmi∣tius, that wee are to bee blessed in Christ, except by an an∣thithesis, as Luther speakes, we also acknowledge, that wee are accursed by the Law.

The Doctrine of the Law, saith dDavenant▪ is to be propounded to the impious and impenitent—to strike terrour into their hearts and to demonstrate their just damnation, except they repent, and she to Iesus Christ.

cPerkins that great Light of our Church, both for soundnesse of learnng, sincerty of iudgement, and in∣sight into the Mystery of Christ, teching, How Repen∣tance is wrought, tel vs,

That first of all a Man must have knowledge o foure things: Of the Law of God; Of sinne against the Law; Of the guilt of sinne; and of the Iudgement of God against sinne, which is His eternall wrath: In the second Place must follow an application of the former knowledge to a Mans selfe, by the worke of the conscience assisted by the holy Ghost, which for that cause is called the spirit of bondage; in this manner.

The breaker of the Law is guilty of eternall wrath, saith the Minde:

But I am a breaker of the Law of God, saith the Con∣science as a Witnesse, and an Accuser:

Therefore I am guilty of eternall death, saith the same Conscience, as a Iudge.

Every Law shall have His part in the Lake, which burneth with fire and brimstone: Reuel. 21.8.

But I am a Liar:

Therefore I shall have my part in that everlasting fiery Lake.

And so of other sinnes; Covetousnesse, Cruelty, Drunkennesse, Whoredome, Swearing, Defrauding, Temporizing, Vsury, Filthinesse, Self-uncleannesse, Foo∣lish talking, esting, Ephes. 5.4. Revellings, Galat. 5.21. Page  140 Prophaning the Lords Day, strange apparell, Zeph. 1.8. And innumerable sinnes moe; which beeing all several∣ly prest upon the heart, by a discourse of the guilty conscience, as I have said, must needs full sorely crush it with many cutting conclusions: from which set on by the spirit of bondage, is woont to arise much trouble of minde; which, saith Hee, is commonly called, the sting of the conscience, or penitence,* and the compunction of heart. And then succeedes seasonably, and comfortably the worke of the Gospell. The Soule beeing thus sensible of and groaning under the burden of all sinne, is hap∣pily f fitted for all the glorious revelations of the abun∣dant riches of Gods dearest mercies; for all the com∣forts, graces and favours which shine from the face of Christ; for all the expiations, refreshings, and exultati∣ons, which spring out of that blessed Fountaine,*opened for sinne and for uncleannesse.

Never any of Gods Children, saith g Greeneham, were comforted thorowly, but they were first humbled for their Sinnes.

The course warranted unto us by the Scriptures, saith h Hieron, is this: First, to endeavour the softning of our Hearers hearts, by bringing them to the sight and sense of their owne wretchednes, before we adventure to apply the riches of Gods mercy in Christ Iesus. The preaching of the Gospell is cōpared by our Saviour Himself unto the Sow∣ing of seedes as therefore the ground is first torne up with the pl••gh,*before the seede be committed unto it: so the fllow ground of our hearts must first bee broken up with the sharpenesse of the Law,*and the very terrour of the Lord,*before wee can bee fit to entertaine the sweete seed of the Gospell—I would have a Preacher to preach peace, and to aime at nothing more, then the comfort of the Soules of Gods people: yet I would have Him withall, frame his course to the manner of Gods appearing to Elijah. The Text saith,*that first a mighty strong winde rent the Mountaines, and brake the rockes: then, after that came Page  141 an earthquake; and after the earthquake came fire: and after all these, then came a still, and a soft voyce. After the same manner, I would not have the still and milde voye of the Gospell come, till the strong tempest of the Law hath rent the stoy hearts of men, and have made the•• belies to tremble,*and rottennesse to enter into their bones. — Or at least, because our Auditories are mixt, consisting of men▪ of divers humours, it shall bee good for Him to deliver His doctrine with that caution, that nei∣ther the humbled soules may be affrighted with the severi∣ty of Gods judgements, nor the prophane and unrepentant grow presumptuous by the abundance of Gods mercy.*— The person that is full, despiseth the hony-combe, saith Salomon: And what doth a proud Pharisie, or a churlish Nabal, or a Politicke Gallio, or a scoffing Ishmael, care to heare of the breadth,*and length, and depth, and height of the love of God in his Sonne Iesus? Except it bee to set∣tle them faster upon their lees.*The Doctrine of that na∣ture is as unfitting such uncircumcised eares, as the snow the Summer,* and the raine the Harvest. Vnto the Horse belongs a whip, to the Asse a bridle, and a rod to the Fooles backe, &c.— Hee that intendeth to doe any good in this frozen generation, had need rather to bee Boaner∣ges, one of the sons of thunder,*then Bar-Ionah the Sonne of a Dove.

The Word of God, saithi Forbes, hath three degrees of operation in the hearts of men. For, first it falleth to mens eares as the sound of many waters, a mighty great, and confused sound, and which commonly, bringeth nei∣ther terrour, nor ioy, but yet a wondering, and acknow∣ledgement of a strange force, & more then humane power. This is that effect which many felt, hearing Christ, when they were astonished at His Doctrine,* as teaching with authority. What manner doctrine is this? Never man spake like this man. This effect falleth even to the repro∣bate, which wonder and vanish: Haak. 15. Act. 13.41. The next effect is the voice of thundr. Which bringeth Page  142 not onely wonder, but feare also: not onely filleth the eares with sound, and the heart with astonishment, but more∣over shaketh and terifyeth the conscience. And this second effect may also befall a reprobate. As Felix. Act. 24. The third effect is proper to the elect: the sound of harping, while the word not onely ravishth with admiration, and striketh the Conscience with terrour; but also, lastly filleth it with sweete peace and ioy, &c. Now albeit the first two degrees may bee without the last; yet none feele the last, who have not in some degree, felt both the first two.

God healeth nonek saith Gouge, but such as are first wounded. The whole need not a Physitian, but they that are sicke.*Christ was annointed to preach the Gospell to the poore,* to heale the broken hearted, &c.

*Ob. Many have believed, who never grieved for their misery, as Lidia, &c.

Answ. Who can tell, that these greeved not? It follow∣eth not that they had no greife, because none is recorded. All particular actions and circumstances of Actions are not recorded: It is enough that the greefe of some, as of the Iewes,*of the Iaylour, of the woman that washed Christs feete with Her teares▪ and of others, is recorded.

Lidia might bee prepared before she heard Paul. For she accompanied them which went out to pray,*and shee worshipped God: Or else Her heart might be then touch∣ed, when she heard Paul preach. The like may bee said of those which heard Peter,*when Her preached to Corneli∣us; And of others. Certaine it is that a man must both see and feele Hi wretchednesse, and bee wounded in Soule for it before Faith can be wrought in Him. Yet I deny not, but there may be great difference in the manner and mea∣sure of greeving, &c.

lThe heart is prepared for faith, and not by faith. Iusti∣fiation beeing the worke of God is perfect in it selfe: but our hearts are not fit to apply it, untill God have humbled us brought us to despaire in our selves.—The whole pre∣paration beeing legall wrought by the Spirits of bondage Page  143 to bring us to the Spirit of Adoption, leaves us in despaire of all helpe either of our selves, or the whole world; that so beeing in this wofull plight wee might now submit our selves to God, who infusing a lively faith into our hearts, gives us His Son and our iustification with Him.

mNone ever had conscience truly pacifyed, that first felt not conscience wounded.

nThe preparation to repentance. (Hee meanes Evan∣gelicall) are those legall sits of feare and terrour, which are both in nature and time too, before Faith.

oAs there can bee no birth without the*paines of the travell going before; so neither, no true repentance with∣out some terrours of the Law, and streights of Conscience. —The reason is plaine. None can have repentance, but such as Christ cals to Repentance. Now Hee cals only sin∣ners to Repentance. Mat. 9.13. even sinners heavy laden with the sense of Gods wrath against sinne. Mat. 11.28. Hee comes onely to save the lost sheepe, that is such sheepe, as feele themselves lost in themselves, and know not how to finde the way to the fold. It is said Rom. 8.15. Yee have not received the spirit of bondage againe, to feare: which shewes, that once they did receive it, namely, in the very first preparation vnto conversion, that then the spirit of God in the Law did so beare witnes unto thē, of their bon∣dage and miserable slavery, that it made them to tremble. Now there, vnder the person of the Romans, the Apostle speakes to all Beleevers, and so shewes, that it is every Christians common case.

pthe law hath His use to worke 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, poenitenti∣am. The Gospell His force to worke〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, resipiscenti∣am; and both are needfull for Christians even at this Present, as formerly they have ever bin.

qGods mercy may not bee such, whereby His Truth in any sort should bee impeached. As it should, if it be pro∣stituted Page  144 indifferently and promiscuously to all, as well the insolent, and impenitent, as the poore humble, and broken hearted sinner. For unto these latter onely is the promise of mercy made. And if to others, the gate of mercy should bee set open; Gods mercies (as Solomon saies of the wic∣ked's, that they are cruell mercies) should be false and un∣iust. mercies. But God never yet learned so to bee merci∣full, as to make Himselfe false and unfaithfull.

The first thing that drawes unto Christ, is to consider our miserable estate without Him.*—Therefore wee see that the Law drives men to Christ: And the Law doth it by shewing a Man His sin, and the curse due unto the same. — Wee must know, that nothing performed of us can give satisfaction in this matter of humiliation.— Yet it is such a thing without which wee cannot come to Christ. It is as much as if a man should say, the Physitian is ready to heale Thee, but then it is required, that Thou must have a sense of the disease: &c! No Man will come to Christ except He bee hungry. Onely those that are trou∣bled receive the Gospell.

No Man will take Christ for his Husband, till Hee come to know & feele the Waight of Satans yoke. Till that time, Hee will never come to take upon Him the yoke of Christ.

To all you I speake, that are humbled: Others that minde not this Doctrine, regard not the things of this nature; But you that mourne in Zion, that are broken-hearted; you that know the bitternesse of sin, to you is the salvation sent.

rVnder the causes I comprehend all that worke of God, whereby Hee worketh Faith in any, which standeth especially in these three things:

1. That God by His word, and Spirit first illightneth the understanding, truly, to conceive the Doctrine of Mans misery, and of His full recovery by Christ.

2. Secondly, by the same meanes Hee worketh in His heart, both such sound sorrow for His misery, and Page  145 fervent desire after Christ the remedy; that Hee can ne∣ver bee at quiet, till Hee enioy Christ:

3. Thirdly, God so manifesteth His love in freely offe∣ring Christ with all His benefits to Him a poore sinner, that thereby hee drawes Him so to giue credit to God, therein, that Hee gladly accepts Christ offered vnto Him. These three works of God, whosoever findeth to have bin wrought in Himselfe, Hee may thereby know certainly Hee hath Faith. But without these, what change of life so∣ever may bee conceived, there can bee no certainty of Faith.

sThe Law first breakes us, and kills us with the sight, and guilt of sin, before Christ cures us, and binds us up.

The holy Ghost worketh and maketh Faith effectuall by these three Acts:*

1. First, it puts an efficacy into the Law, and makes that powerfull to worke on the heart; to make a man poore in spirit; so that hee may bee fit to receive the Gos∣pell. —The Spirit of bondage must make the Law ef∣fectuall; as the Spirit of adoption doth the Gospell, &c.

2. The second worke, is to reveale Christ, when the heart is prepared by the spirit in the first worke, then in the next place, Hee shewes the unsearchable riches of Christ, what is the hope of His calling, and the glorious inheritance prepared for the Saints; what is the exceeding greatnesse of His power in them that beleeve. I say wee neede the Spirit to shew these things, &c.

3. The third Act of the Spirit, is, The testimony which hee gives to our spirit, in telling us that these things are ours. When the heart is prepared by the Law; and when these things are so shewed unto us, that wee prize them, and long after them, yet there must bee a third thing: To take them to our selves, to be∣leeve they are ours: and there needes a worke of the Spirit for this. For tho the promises bee never so cleare, yet having nothing but the promises, you shall never bee able to apply them to your selves. But when the Page  146 holy Ghost shall say, Christ is thine, All these things belong to Thee, and God is thy Father; when that shall witnesse to our spirit by a worke of His owne, Then shall wee be∣leeve, &c!

tThis is the order observed in our iustification: 1. First There is a sight of our misery, to which wee are brought by the Law. 2. Secondly, There is by the Gospell an holding forth of Christ, as our redemption from sin and death. 3. Thirdly, there is a working of Faith in the heart to rest on Christ, as the ransome from sinne and death. Now when a man is come hither, Hee is truly and really iust.

uWee teach that in trve conversion a man must bee wounded in his conscience by the sense of his sinnes; His contrition must bee compungent, and vehement, bruising, breaking, renting the heart, and feeling shee throwes (as a woman labouring of Childe) before the new-Creature bee brought forth, or Christ truly formed in Him. It is not done without bitternesse of the Soule; without care, indignati∣on, revenge. 2. Cor. 7.11. But as some Infants, are borne with lesse paine to the mother, and some with more: so may the new-man be regenerated, in some with more, in some with lesse anxiety of travell. But surely grace is not in∣fused into the heart of any sinner, except there bee at least so great affliction of Spirit for sinne foregoing that He can∣not but eele it, &c.

xThis bruising is required before conversion. 1. That so the Spirit may make way for it selfe into the heart by levelling all proud high thoughts! &c 2. To make vs set an high price upon Christs death—This is the cause of re∣lapses, and Apostasies, because men never smarted for sin at the first; They were not long enough under the lash of the Law. Hence this inferiour worke of the Spirit in brin∣ging downe high thoughts, is necessary before conversion.

By this time it doth most clearly, and plentifully ap∣peare; what a foule, and fearefull fault it is; for men, ei∣ther in the managing of their Publike ministery; or more private Passages, of conference, visitations of the sicke, Page  147 consultations about a good estate to Godward, and o∣ther occasions of like nature; to apply Iesus Christ and the promises, to promise life and safety in the evill Day, to Soules as yet not soundly illightned and afflicted with sight of sinne, and sense of Gods wrath; to consciences never truly wounded and awaked. I insisted the longer upon this Point, because I know it full well, to bee a most universall, and prevailing Policy of the Devill, whereby hee keepes many thousands in His cursed sla∣very, and from salvation: To confirme as many Pa∣stours as Hee can possibly, willing enough to drive their Flocks before them to damnation, in an ignorant, or af∣fected Preiudice, and forbearance, of that saving method of bringing Soules out of Hell, mentioned before; and made good with much variety of evidence: And to nou∣rish also in the hearts of naturall men, a strong and sturdy disconceite, opposition & raging, against downe∣right dealing, and those men of God (able as they say, but falsely and furiously against their owne Soules by their terrible teaching to drive their hearers to di∣straction, Selfe-destruction, or despaire) who take the only right course to convert them and to bring them to Iesus Christ as Hee Himselfe invites them, to wit, la∣bouring and heauy laden with their sinnes, Matth. 11.28.

Dawbers then, who serue Satans craft in this kinde, and all those who dispence their ministery without all spirituall discretion and good conscience, of whom there are too many, as great strangers to the right way of working grace in others, as to the worke of grace in themselves; I say, they are a generation of dangerous men. Old excellent, as they say in an accursed Art of conducting poore blinded Soules, merrily, towards everlasting miserie, and setting them downe in the very midst of Hell, before they bee sensible of any danger, or discovery of their damnable state. Great men they are with the men of this world, with al those wise fooles and sensuall great ones, who are not willing to bee tor∣mented Page  148 before their time, or rather who desire impossi∣bly to live the life of pleasures in the meane time, and yet at last to die the death of the righteous. They have still ready at hand, hand over head, mercy, and par∣don. Heaven and salvation for all commers, and all they come neere, without so much as a desire to put any dif∣ference, or divide the pretious from the vile. Which is a prodig••usly-arrogant folly, pernicious in the highest degree, both to their own soules, and those they delude. He••e 〈◊〉 they are branded in the Booke of God; calling them: 〈◊〉-Swers under mens elboes; Ezek. 1.1. That 〈◊〉 laid y soft and lockt fast in the Cra∣dle of security, th•• may sinke suddenly into the Pit of destruction, before they be aware: Criers of peace, peace; when no peace is towards, Ier. 6.14. but horrible stirs, tumbling of garments in bloud; burning and devouring of fire: A ••n-pleasers, alat. 1.10. who chuse rather to tickle the itching eares of their carnall hearers with some fothy, Frier-like conceits out of Dung-hill 〈◊〉 And so smooth Great Ones in their humours, by their cowardly flatteries, especially, if they any waies depend upon them for countenance, rising, and prefer∣ment; rather then conscionably to discharge that trust 〈◊〉 upon them by their great Lord and Master in Hea∣ven, upon answerablenes for the bloud of those Soules, which shal perish by their temporizing silence, and flat∣tering vnfaithfulnesse: Healers of the hurt of their Hea∣rers with*〈◊〉 words. Ier. 6.14. while their Soules are 〈◊〉 by the wounds of sinne unto eternall death; Preachers ofasmooth things. Isa. 30.10. which kinde of Page  149 Men, the greatest part, and all worldlings wonderfully b affect and applaud, tho to their owne everlasting vn∣doing. They swell under such Teachers with a Pharisai∣call conceite, that they are as safe for salvation, as the precisest of them all; but alas! their hope is but like a hollow wall, which beeing put to any stresse, when the tempest of Gods searching wrath begins to shake it, in the time of a finall triall of it's truth, and soundnesse; it shatters into pieces and comes to naught. Heare the Prophet: *Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a booke, that it may bee for the time to come for ever and ever: That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that wil not heare the Law of the Lord: which say to the Seers, see not;cand to the Prophets, pro∣phesie not unto us right things; speake unto us smooth things, prophesie deceits. Get you out of the way: turne aside out of the path: cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us. Wherefore, thus saith the Holy One of Is∣rael: Because ye despise this word, and trust in oppres∣sion, and perversenesse, and stay thereon: Therefore this iniquity shalbee to you as a breach ready to fall, swelling out in a high wall, whose breaking commeth suddenly at an instant. And Hee shall breake it as the breaking of the potters vessell, that is broken in pieces, hee shall not spare; so that there shal not be found in the bursting of it, a sheard to take fire from the harth, or to take water with all out of the Pit. Dawbers with untempered morter: Ezech. 13.11. Who erect in the conceits of those who are wil∣ling to bee deluded by them, Pharises at the best, a rot∣ten Building of false hope, like a dmudde-wall without Page  150 straw, or morter made onely of sand without lime to binde it; which in faire weather makes a faire shew for a while; but when abundance of raine falls, and winter comes, it moulders away, and turnes to myre in the streetes. Their vaine confidence in prosperous times, be∣fore it come to the Touchstone of the fiery triall by Gods searching Truth, may seeme currant; But in the tempest of Gods wrath when the stormy winters night of death approacheth, or at furthest, at the iudge∣ment Seate of the iust and Highest God, it prooves to bee counterfeite:* when at last they shall cry Lord Lord like the foolish Virgins, And those Mat. 7. in steade of imaginary comfort, they shalbee crusht with horrible and everlasting confusion.* Heare the Prophet: Say un∣to them which daube it with untempered morter, that it shall fall: there shall bee an overflowing showre, and yee, O great haile stones, shall fall, and a stormy winde shall rent it. Loe, when the wall is fallen, shall it not bee said unto you where is the daubing wherewith yee have daubed it? Ther∣fore thus saith the Lord God, I will rent it with a stormy winde in my fury: and there shall be an overflowing showre in mine anger, and great hailestones in my fury to con∣sume it. So wil I breake downe the wall that yee have dau∣bed with untempered morter, and bring it downe to the ground, so that the foundation thereof shal bee discovered, and it shall fall, and yee shall bee consumed in the midst thereof: and yee shall know that I am the Lord. Thus will I accomplish my wrath upon the wall, and upon them that have it dawbed with untempered morter, and will say un∣to you, The wall is no more, neither they that daubed it: To wit, the Prophets of Israel, which prophesie concerning Ie∣rusalem, and which see visions of peace for Her, and there is no peace, saith the Lord God: Such as with lies make the heart of the righteous sad, whom God hath not made sad; and strengthen the hands of the wicked, that Hee should not returne from His wicked way by promising Him life. Ezech. 13.22. These fellowes hold and beare Page  151 meere civill men in hand, that their estate is sound e∣nough to Godward, whatsoever the purer and preciser Brethren prate to the contrary: d and yet the holy Ghost tells us, that without holinesse no man shall see the Lord. Hebr. 12.14. That formall Professours are very forward men; whereas Iesus Christ professeth, that Hee will spew the luke-warme out of His mouth. Nay, and if there bee talke even of a good fellow especially of some more commendable naturall parts, and plausible carri∣age; if Hee be so but moderately, that I may so speake, and not iust every day drunke; well, well, will they say, wee have all our faults, and that is His. But as concer∣ning the faithfull servant of God; they are woont to entertaine the same conceite of Him, which Ahab did of Elijah to wit, that eHee was a troubler of Israel: Which one of the captaines had of the Prophet sent to annoint Iehu, that Hee was a fmad fellow: which the false Pro∣phets had of Micaiah; that Hee was a fellow of a singular and od humour by Himselfe, and guided by a private spirit of His owne: which Tertullus had of Paul, that he was a gpestilent fellow: which the Phari∣ses had of Christs Followers; that they were a contem∣ptible and hcursed generation; a company of base, rude illiterate underlings. Nay sometimes, when the bedlam fit is upon them, they will not sticke to charge Gods people in some proportion most wickedly and falsely; as the ancient Heathens did the primitive Christians, with conventicles and meetings of hatefull i impurities, faction, disaffection to Caesar, and many other horrible things; whereas poore Soules! they were most inno∣cent, and infinitely abhorred all such k villanies; And Page  152 they met in the morning even before Day, not to doe, God knowes any such ill, but for the l service of God, (even their more ingenuous m adversaries being wit∣nesses) to sing prayses to Christ. God to confirme their discipline, forbidding all manner of sinne, &c. with n all the miscarriages, miseries and calamities that fell vpon the State, as tho they were the causes. Whereas those few neglected Ones which truly serve God are the onely men in all Places where they live to make up the hedge and to stand in the gappe against the threatned inundations of Gods dreadfull wrath; and all the Opposites to their holy Profession are the true Cut∣throats of Kingdomes, able by their dissolutenesse, and disgracing godlinesse, to dissolve the sinewes of the strongest state upon Earth. Looke upon Amos 4.1.2. And there you shall finde who they are, which cause God to enter a controversie with the Inhabitants of a Land.o

Page  153Heare how pAustin describes some of these Selfe-seeking, and Soule-murthering Dawbers in His Daies; Farre be it from us, saith Hee, that we should say unto you: live as you list, doe not trouble your selves, God will cast away none; onely hold the Christian Faith: Hee will not destroy that which He hath redeemed, He will not destroy those for whom He hath shed His blood; And if you please, to recreate your selves at Plaies, you may go; what hurt is there in it? And you may go to those Feasts, which are kept in all Townes, by joviall companions, making themselues merry as they suppose at these publike meetings & comes∣sations, but indeed rather making themselves most mise∣rable, I say you may go, and be jovial, Gods mercy is great, and may pardon all. Crowne your selves with Roses be∣fore they wither.—You may fill your selves with good cheere and wine, amongst your good-fellow compani∣ons: For the creature is giuen unto us for that purpose that wee may enjoy it.— If wee say these things, perad∣venture wee shall hve greater multitudes applaude and adhere unto our Doctrine. And if there bee some, which thinke, that speaking these things, wee are not well advisde, wee offend but a few, and those precise Ones, But wee winn thereby a world of people. But if wee shall thus doe speaking not the words of God, not the words of Christ, but our owne; wee shalbee Pastours feeding our Selves, not our flocke.

The Authour of the imperfect commentary in Chryso∣stome sorted byqsome Body into Homilies upon Matthew, seemes to intimate, that the cause of the overflowing and rankenesse of iniquity, is the basenesse of these Self-preaching men-pleasers. rTolle hoc vitium de Clero,Page  154 saith Hee; Take this fault from the Clergy, to wit, that they bee notsmen-pleasers, and all sinnes are easily cut down. But if they blunt & rebate the edge of the Sword of the Spirit with dawbing, slattery, temporizing; or strike with it in a scabberd garishly and gaudily em∣broiderd with variety of humane learning, tricks of wit, frier-like conceits, &c. it cannot possibly cut to any pur∣pose; it kills the Soule, but not the sinne. They are the onely men howsoever worldly wisedome raue, and un∣sanctified learning bee besides it selfe, to beate downe sinne, batter the Bulwarks of the Deuill, and build vp the Kingdome of Christ; who setting aside all private ends and by-respects, all vaine glorious, covetous and ambitious aimes; all serving the times, proiects for pre∣ferment, hope of rising, feare of the face of Man, &c. addresse themselves, with faithfulnesse and Zeale to the worke of the Lord, seeking sincerely to glorify Him in converting mens Soules, *by the foolishnesse of that Prea∣ching which God hath sanctified, to save them that be∣leeve: In a word, who labour to imitate their Lord and Master Iesus Christ, and His blessed Apostles, in tea∣ching uas men having*authority; in *demonstration of the Spirit, and power; And not as the Scribes. By embroide∣red Scabberd; I meane the very same, which King Iames not long before His Death, did most truly out of His deepe, and excellent wisedome, conceive to bee the Bane of this Kingdome: To wit, A light, affected and unprofitable kinde of preaching, which hath been of late yeeres taken up in Court, Vniversity, City and Country. Heare something more largely what reason led His roy∣all iudgement to this resolution; and desire of reforma∣tion:

yHis Maiesty beeing much troubled and grieved at the heart to heare every day of so many defections from our religion Both to Popery, and Anabaptisme, or other Page  155 Points of separation in some parts of this Kingdome; And considering with much admiration, what might bee the cause thereof, especially in the Raigne of such a King, who doth so constantly professe Himselfe an open adversary to the superstition of the One and madnesse of the other; His Princely wisedome could fall upon no One greater pro∣bability, then the lightnesse, affectednesse, and vnprofita∣blenesse of that kind of preaching, which hath been of late yeares too much taken up in Court, Vniversity, Citty, and Country. The usuall scope of very many Preachers is no∣ted, to bee a soaring vp in Points of Divinity too deepe for the capacity of the people; or a mustring vp of much rea∣ding; or a displaying of their own wits, &c. Now the people bred up with this kinde of teaching, and never instructed in the catechisme, and fundamentall grounds of religion, are for all this aiery nourishment no better then abrasae Tabulae, meere Table Bookes ready to bee filled up, either with the Manualls, and Catechismes of the Popish Preists or the Papers and Pamphlets of Anabaptists, &c.

In another place, hee resembles with admirable fit∣nesse the vnprofitable pompe, and painting of such Selfe-seeking discourses, patched together and stuft with a vaineglorious variety of humane allegations, to the redde and blew flowers, that pester the corne, when it stands in the fields; where they are more noysome to the growing crop, then beautifull to the beholding eye. They are King Iames his owne z words. Whereupon, a little after, hee tells the Cardinall; That it was no decorum to enter the Stage with a Pericles, in his mouth, but with the sacred Name of God: Nor should his Lordship, Saith his Maiesty, have marshalled the passage of a Royall Pro∣phet, andaPoet, after the example of an heathen Ora∣tour:

These things being So; how pestilent is the Art of Spirituall Dawbing? What miserable men are Men∣pleasers, who being appointed to helpe mens Soules out of hell, carry them headlong, and hoodwinkt by Page  156 their vnfaithfulnesse and flatteries towards euerlasting miseries? Oh, how much better were it, and comforta∣ble for every man that enters upon, and undertakes that most waighty and dreadfull charge of the ministery, a b burden, as Some of the Ancients elegantly amplify it, able to make the shoulders of the most mighty Angell in heaven to shrinke under it, to tread in the steps of blessed cPaul; by vsing no flattering words nor a cloake of covetousnesse, nor seeking glory of men; but preaching in season, and out of season; not as the Scribes, but in the demonstration of the Spirit, and of power; Keeping no∣thing backe that is profitable, declaring unto their hea∣rers all the counsell of God; holding the Spirituall chil∣dren which God hath given them, their glory, ioy, and crowne of reioycing▪ still watching for the Soules of their flocks as they that must giue account. Heb. 13.17. (The terrour of which place, dChrysostome professeth, made his heart to tremble) I say by such holy and heavenly behaviour, as this, in their ministery; To be able at least to say with him in sincerity, not without vnspeakeable comfort: eI take you to record this Day that I am pure from the blood of all men! Let us bee moved to this course and frighted from the contrary; by considerati∣on of the different effects and consequents of plaine dealing, and dawbing, in respect of comfort or confusi∣on: Faithfulnesse this way:

1. Begets those which belong unto God to grace and new obedience: See Peters piercing Sermon; Act. 2.23.37.

2. Recovers those Christians, which are fallen, by re∣morse and repentance, to their former forwardnesse, and first loue; See Nathans downe-right dealing with David▪ 2. Sam. 12.7.13.

3. Makes those which will not be reformed, inexcusa∣ble. See Pauls Sermon to Foelix: Act 24.26. How strangely will this fellow be confounded, & more then vtterly without all excuse, when hee shall meet Paul at Page  157 that great Day, before the highest Iudge?

4. It is right pleasing and profitable to vpright hearted men, and all such as happily hold on in a constant and comfortable course of Christianity. Doe not my words do good to him that walketh vprightly? Micah: 2.7. It makes them still more humble, zealous, watchfull, hea∣venly minded, &c.

5. Hardens the rebellious and contumacious. See fIsa. cap. 6. In which faithfull ministers are also unto God a sweet savour of Christ 2. Cor. 2.15.

6. And the Man of God himselfe shall hereafter bles∣sedly gshine as the brightnes of the firmament, and as the Starres for ever and ever. And all those happy Ones which hee hath puld out of Hell by his downe-right dealing, shall h raigne and reioyce with Him in un∣knowne and vnspeakeable Bliste through all eterni∣ty.

But now on the otherside the Effects of Dawbing and men-pleasing are most accursed and pestilent; in many respects.

1. In respect of Gods word and messages: first, not Page  158 dividing it and dispensing them aright. Secondly, Dishonouring the Majesty, and weakening the pow∣er of them many times, with the vnprofitable mix∣ture of humane allegations, ostentations of wit, fine frier-like conceits digged with much adoe out of Po∣pish postills, &c. Even as wee may see at haruest time a land of good corne quite choaked up with red, blew and yellow flowers. As King Iames doth excellently allude in the forecited i place. Thirdly, Fearefull prophaning them by mis-application against Gods will: kMaking the heart of the righteous Sad, whom God would not have made Sad; and streng∣thening the hands of the wicked, that hee should not re∣turne from his wicked way, by promising him life. Fourth∣ly, Villanous perverting and abusing them to their owne advantage, applause, rising, revenge, and such other pri∣vate ends:

2. In respect of the flattering, and unfaithfull Mini∣sters themselves. First, Extreme vilenesse, Isa. 9.15. Secondly,l Guiltinesse of spirituall bloudshed. Ezech. 3.18. Thirdly, Liablenesse to the fierce wrath of God, in the Day of visitation. Ier. 14.15. 1. King. 22.25.

3. In respect of their hearers, who delight in their lies, in their smooth and silken sermons; Suddaine, hor∣rible, and unavoidable confusion. Isa. 30.13.14.

*4. m Burning both together in hell for euer, without timely and true repentance; banning there each other continually, and crying with mutuall hideous yellings: Page  159 O thou bloody Butcher of our Soules, hadst thou bin faithfull in thy Ministery, wee had escaped these eter∣nall flames! O miserable man that I am; Woe is mee, that ever I was Minister; for now besides the horrour due unto the guiltinesse of mine owne damned Soule, I have drawen vpon mee, by my unfaithfull dealing, the cry of the bloud of all those soules, who have perished under my Ministery, to the everlasting enraging of my already intollerable torment!

Give mee leave to conclude this point, with that pa∣theticall, and zealous passage of reuerend and learned Greenham against negligent pastors, amongst whom I may justly ranke and reckon also all Dawbers (for as well never a whit, as never the better) & Men-pleasers; For selfe preachers are, for the most part, n seldom-prea∣chers. Heare o His words:

Were there any love of God from their hearts in those, who in stead of feeding to salvation, starve many thou∣sands to Destruction: I dare Say, and say it boldly that for all the promotions under Heaven, they would not offer that iniury to one Soule, that now they offer to many hun∣dred Soules. But, Lord, how doe they thinke to give up theirpreckoning to thee, who in most strict account will Page  160 take the answere of every Soule committed unto them▪ one by one? Or with what eares doe they often heare that vehemnt speech of our Saviour Christ, Feede, Feede, Feede? with what eyes doe they so often read that pier∣cing speech of the Apostle, Feede the slocke committed un∣to you? But if none of these will move them then the Lord open their eyes to heare the grievous groanes of many Soules lying under the griefly altars of destruction, and complaining against them; O Lord the revenger of blood, behold these men, whom thou hast set over us to give us the bread of life; but they have not given it us: Our tongues, and the tongues of our children have stucke to the roofe of our mouths for calling and crying, and they would not take pitty on vs: Wee have given them the tenths which thou appointedst us, but they have not given us thy truth; which thou hast commanded them: Reward them. O Lord, as they have rewarded us; Let the bread betweene their teeth turne to rottennesse in their bowells. Let them be clothed with shame, and confusion of face, as with a garment: Let their wealth as the Dung from the earth, bee swept away by their executours; And upon their gold & silver, which they have falsely treasured up, let continually bee written, the price of blood, the price of blood: For it is the value of our blood, O Lord. If thou didst heare the blood of Abel, being but one man, forget not the blood of many, when thou goest into judge∣ment.

I now returne to rectify and tender a remedy against the first aberration. Which I told you was this: When mercy, Christ, the promises, salvation, heaven & all are applied hand overhead and falsely appropriated to vn∣humbled sinners: whose Soules were never rightly il∣lightened with sight of sinne, and waight of Gods wrath; nor afflicted to any purpose with any legall wound, or hearty compunction by the Spirit of bon∣dage: In whose hearts, q sense of their spirituall misery, and want, hath not yet raised a restlesse and kindly Page  161 thirst after Iesus Christ?

In this case mine advise is; that all those who deale with others about their Spirituall states, and undertake to direct in that high and waighty affaire of mens Sal∣vation, either publikly or privatly in their ministry, visi∣tations of the sicke, or otherwise; that they would fol∣low that course of which I largely discoursed a little be∣fore taken by God himselfe, his Prophets, his Sonne, the Apostles, and all those men of r God in all ages, who have set themselves, with Sincerity, faithfulnesse, and all good Conscience, to seeke Gods glory in the salvati∣on of mens Soules; to discharge aright their dreadfull charge, and to keepe themselues pure from the blood of all men; To wit, That they labour might and maine, in the first Place, by the knowledge, power, and application of the Law, s to illighten, convince, and terrify those that they have to doe with, concerning conversion, with a sensible particular apprehension, and acknowledgement Page  162 of their wretchednesse, and miserable estate, by reason of their sinfulnesse and cursednesse: To breake their hearts, bruise their Spirits, humble their Soules, wound and awake their Consciences, &c. To bring them by all meanes to that Legall astonishment, trouble of minde, and melting temper, which the Ministry of Iohn Baptist, Paul and Peter wrought upon the Hearts of their hea∣rers. Luk. 3.10.12.14. Act. 16.30. And 2.37. That they may come crying feelingly and from the heart, to those Men of God who happily fastened those keene arrows of compunction and remorse in the sides of their Con∣sciences and say; Men and Brethren, what shall wee do? Sirs, what must wee doe to bee saved? &c. As if they should have said: Alas! wee see now, wee have bin in Hell all this while; and if wee had gone on a litle lon∣ger, wee had most certainely lien for ever in the fiery Lake; The Devill and our owne lusts were carrying us hood-winkt, and headlong towards endlesse perdition. Who would have thought wee had bin such abomina∣ble beasts, and abhorred Creatures as your Ministry hath made us; and in so forlorne & wofull estate? Now you blessed Men of God, helpe us out of this gulfe of spirituall confusion, or wee are lost everlastingly. By your discovery of our present sinfull and cursed estate, wee eele our hearts torne in * pieces with extreme, and restles anguish, as tho many fiery Scorpions stings stuck fast in them; Either lead us to the sight of that blessed Anti-type of the Brazen Serpent to coole and allay the boyling rage of our guilty wounds, or we are vtterly undone: Either bring us to the Blood of that just and holy One, which with execrable villany wee have spilt as water upon the ground, that it may bind up our bro∣ken hearts, or they will presently burst with despaire, and bleed to eternall death. Give us to drinke of that soueraigne Fountaine,* opened by the hand of mercy, for all thirsty Soules or else wee dye. There is nothing you can prescribe, and appoint, but wee will most willingly Page  163 doe.* Wee will with all our hearts, pluck out our right eyes, cut off our right hands; We meane; part with our beloved lusts, and dearest sinfull pleasures; abominate, and abandon them all for ever, from the heart root to the Pit of Hell: If wee can bee rid of the Devills sette•• welcome shall bee Christs sweete and easy yoke: In a word, wee will ssell all, even all our Sinnes to the last il∣thy ragge of our heretofore doted vpon minion delight, So that wee may injoy our blessed Iesus, whom, you have told us, and wee now beleeve, God hath made both Lord and Christ: &c.

Now when wee shall see, and find in some measure the hearts of our Hearers, and spirituall Patients thus prepared; both by legall dejections and terrours from the spirit of bondage; t and also possessed with such melting and eager affections, wrought by the light of the Gospell, and Offer of Christ: When their Soules once begin to feele all sins, even their best beloved One, heauy and burdensome; to prize Iesus Christ far before all the world, to thirst for Him infinitely more, then for riches, pleasures, honours, or any earthly thing; to resolue to take him as their husband, and to * obey Him as their Lord for ever, &c; and all this in truth: I say then, and in this case, wee may haue comfort to mi∣nister comfort. Then, upon good ground wee may goe about our Masters command. Isa. 40.1. (which man-pleasers Page  164 many times pittifully abuse) Comfort yee, Com∣fort yee my people; (u I meane in respect of spirituall bondage)— Speake yee comfortably to Ierusalem, and cry unto Her, that Her warre is accomplished, that Her iniquity is pardoned. Wee may tell them, with what a compassionate Pang, and deare compellation, God Himselfe labours to refresh them. Isa. 54.11. Oh thou afflicted, and tossed with tempest, that hast no comfort; be∣hold, I will lay thy stones with faire colours and layxthy foundations with Saphirs, &c. Wee may assure them in the word of life and Truth, that Iesus Christ is theirs, and they are His: And compell them, as it were, by an holy violence, not without a great deale of just indig∣nation against their lothnesse to beleeue, and holding off in this case to take his Person, His merit, His blood, all His Spirituall riches, priviledges, excellencies: And with Him possession of all things, even of the most glo∣rious * Deity it selfe, blessed for ever: See 1. Cor. 3.21.22.23. Ioh. 17.21.

But now in the meane time, untill sense of Spirituall misery and poverty raise an hunger and thirst after Ie∣sus Christ; before such like preparations, and prece∣dent affections, as have been spoke of, be wrought in the hearts of men, by pressing the Law, and pro∣claiming the Gospell; and that in Sincerity; (for the degree and measure, wee leave it to God, as a most free Agent, in some they may bee stronger, in some weaker) the preaching or promising of mer∣cy, as already belonging unto them is farre more unseasonable, and unseemely, then Snow in Sum∣mer, raine in harvest, or honour for a foole. It is upon the matter, the very Sealing them up with the Spirit of de∣lusion, that they may never so much as thinke of taking the right course to bee converted. What sottish and sa∣crilegious audaciousnesse then is it in any Dawber to thrust his prophane hand into the treasury of Gods mercy, and there hand over head, without any allow∣ance Page  165 from his highest Lord to scatter His dearest, and most orient pearles amongst Swine? To warrant salva∣on to any unhumbled Sinner? To strengthen the hands of the wicked, who never yet tooke sinne to heart to any purpose, and thirst farre more (such true Gadarens are they) after gold, satisfying their owne lusts, and perking above their brethren, then for the blood of Christ, by promising them life? To assure meere civill men, and Pharises who are so farre from the sense of any spiritu∣all poverty, that they are already swolne as full as the skin will hold, with a selfe-conceit of their owne rotten righteousnesse, that they shall bee saved as well as the most puling precisian? Especially, sith there is such a cloud of witnesses to the contrary, as you have heard be∣fore. Besides all which, upon this occasion, take two or three moe. Heare a most faithfull and fruitfull work∣man in the Lords harvest, of great skill, experience and successe in the most glorious Art of converting Soules, which makes mee more willing to vrge his authority, and esteeme His judgement in Points of this nature. None,y saith hee, can prove or shew president, that faith was wrought in an instant at first, without any prepara∣tion going before: Nor can it bee conceived how a man should beleeve in Christ for salvation, that felt not him∣selfe before in a miserable estate, and wearied with it, and desired to get out of it into a better. As the needle goes be∣fore to pierce the cloth and makes way for the threed to sew it: So is it in this case. Afterward Hee tells us how and in what manner & order, these predispositions, and preparative Acts, required for the plantation of faith, and so securing us of the right season, and a comfor∣table calling to assure men of Spirituall safety, are wrought in such, as God is drawing unto Iesus Christ. Hee requires from the law, First, Illumination: Secondly, Conviction: Thirdly, Legall terrour. From the Gos∣pell by the helpe of the Spirit; First, Revealing the reme∣dy: Secondly, Beliefe of it in generall: Thirdly, Support in Page  166 the meane time from sinking under the burthen, and fal∣ling into despaire. Fourthly,zContrition; Which is at∣tended, with some kind of, First, Desire. Secondly, re∣quest. Thirdly, Care. Fourthly,aHope. Fiftly, Ioy. Sixthly, Hungring and thirsting after mercy and after Christ. Se∣venthly, Resolution to sell all, to wit, all sins, not to leave an hoofe behind, &c. And thus (saith hee) God brings along the man, that Hee purposeth to make His. And when he is at this passe, God seales it up to him, & inables him to beleeue; And saith: Sith thou wilt haue no Nay; Bee it unto thee according to thy desire: And God seales him up by the Spirit of promise, as surely as any writing is made sure by sealing of it. Then he beleeves the word of God, and rests, and casts himselfe vpon it. And thus hee finds himselfe discharged of all woe, made partaker of all good, at peace in himselfe, and fitted, and in tune to doe God some service. This is to some sooner, to some later; according to the helpes and meanes they haue, and wise handling they meet withall, and as God gives power.— It is hard to say, at what instant faith is wrought, whether not till a man feeles that hee apprehends the promises, or even in his earnest desires, hungring and thirsting; For even these are pronounced blessed.

But here (for I desire and endevour as much as I can possibly, in every passage to prevent all matter, both of scruple in the upright hearted, and of ca∣vill in the contrary minded) let no truly humbled sinner bee discouraged, because Hee cannot finde in himselfe these severall workings, or other graces, Page  167 in that degree and height, which Hee desires and hath perhaps, seene, heard, or read of in some others: If hee have them in b truth, and truly thirsts and la∣bours for their increase, hee may goe on with com∣fort. Neither let any bee disheartened, though Hee did not observe so distinctly the order of the precedent acts, nor could discerne so punctually their severall ope∣rations in His Soule: yet if in substance and effect they have been wrought in Him, and made way for Iesus Christ, Hee needs not complaine.

As this man of God in experimentall divinity, so our renowned and invincible c Champions in their Polemi∣call discourses upon other occasion, speake to the same purpose, telling us also of some antecedent Acts hum∣bling and preparing the soule for conversion. There are say they; certaine internall effects going before conversi∣on or regeneration, which by vertue of the word and Spi∣rit, are wrought in the hearts of those which are not yet iu∣stified: Such as: Illumination of the mind and conscience Page  168 with the knowledge of the word and will of God, for that purpose, Sense of sin, feare of punishment or legall terror; advising and casting about for enlargement from such a miserable estate, some hope of pardon: &c. Let mee but adde one other, and Hee also of excellent learning; And then I have done; Such is the nature of man, Saith d hee; that before hee can receiue a true justifying faith, hee must as it were bee broken in pieces by the law: Ier. 23.29.— Wee are to bee led from the feare of slaves, through the feare of Penitents, to the feare of sonnes: And indeed, one of these makes way for another, and the perfect love thrusts out feare; yet must feare bring in that perfect love, as a needle or Bristle drawes in the threed after it; or as the potion brings health. In the preparation and fitting us for our being in Christ, hee requireth two things: First, The cutting of us off as it were from the wild Olive-tree. By which hee meaneth two things. First, A violent pul∣ling of us out of the corruption of nature, or a cutting, as it were by the knife of the law, of an unregenerate man from His security, &c. Secondly, A violent atraction to Christ for ease; man at the first plainely refusing it. The hunted beast flies to his den, the pursued malefactor to the hornes of the altar, or city of refuge. Pauls misery Rom. 7.24. Drives him to Gods mercy. The Israelites are driven into their chambers by the destroying Angell; Balaam is made to leane backe by the naked Sword; Agur to runne to Ihiel and Veall, that is Christ: Pro. 30.1.2.3; When he is confounded with his owne brutishnesse. God must let loose his Law, Sinne, Conscience, and Satan to baite us, and kindle hell fire in our Soules, before wee will bee driven to seeke to Christ. Secondly. A paring and trim∣ming of us, for our putting into Christ by our humilia∣tion for sin, which is thus wrought: God giveth the sin∣ner to see, by the law, his Sinne, and the punishment of it: The detection whereof drives Him to compunction, and a pricking of heart, which is greater, or lesser, and carries with it divers Symptomes, and sensible passions of griefe. Page  169 —And workes a Sequestration from his former cour∣ses, and makes Him loath Himselfe, &c.

And yet by the way, & once for all, take this Caveat, and forewarning: If any should think of these precedent Acts, c these preparative workings of the Law, and Gospell, which make way for the infusion of faith, as a∣ny meritorious meanes to draw on Christ; it were a most false, rotten, foolish, execrable, popish, absurd, Lu∣ciferian misconceit; and might justly merit never to ob∣taine mercy at Gods bountifull hands, nor part in the merits of Christ: I speake thus to fright every one for ever, from any such abhorred thought. God the father offers His Sonne most freely. God so loved the world, that hee gave His onely begotten Sonne, that whosoever beleeveth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Ioh. 3.16. Vnto us a child is borne, unto us a Sonne is given. Isa. 9.6. If thou knewest the gift of God, saith Christ unto the woman of Samaria, and who it is, that saith to Thee, Give mee to drinke. Ioh. 4.10. Much more they, which receive abundance of grace, and of the Gift of righ∣teousnesse, &c. Rom. 5.17. Christ calleth Himselfe, a Gift; And it is called, the Gift of righteousnesse. And no∣thing so free as*Gift. And therefore those Divines speake not unfitly, who say, It is given unto us, as fathers give Lands and Inheritance to their children; as kings grant pardons, to their subjects, having merited death: They give them, because they will, out of the freenesse of their minds. All those who would come unto Christ and desire to take him as their wisedome, righteousnesse, San∣ctification, and redemption, must bee utterly unbotto∣med of themselves, and built onely on the rich and free mercy of God revealed in the Gospell. They must bee emptied, First, Of all conceit of any righteousnesse or worth in themselves at all: Secondly, Of all hope of any ability or possibility to helpe themselves. Nay fil∣led, thirdly, with sense of their owne unworthi∣nesse, naughtinesse, nothingnesse: Fourthly, and Page  170 with such a thirst after that water of life, Ioh. 4.14. that they are most willing to sell all for it, and cry heartily, Giue mee drinke, or else I die. And then when they are thus most nothing in themselves, doe so long for the rivers of living water, they are certainely most welcome unto Iesus Christ; and may take Him most freely; Heare how sweetly Hee calls them; Ho, every one that thirsteth, come yee to the waters; and hee that hath no mony, Come yee, buy, and eat; yea come, buy wine and milk, without mony, and without price. Isa. 55.1. In the last day, that great day of the feast, Iesus stood, and cryed saying; If any man thirst let him come unto mee, and drinke, Hee that beleeveth on mee, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water; Ioh. 7.37.38. It is done; I am Alpha, and Omega, the Begin∣ning and the End. I will give unto him, that is a thirst, of the Fountaine of the water of life freely. Revelat. Chap. 21. Vers. 6. And let him that is a thirst come, & whosoever will let him take the water of life free∣ly, Rom. 22.17. Wee must therefore by no meanes con∣ceive of the forenamed preparatiue humiliations and precedent workes of the Law and Gospell, as of any meritorious qualifications to draw on Christ (for hee is given most freely) but as of needfull predispositions, to drive us unto Christ. For a Man must feele Himselfe in misery, before Hee will goe about to find a remedy; bee sicke before Hee will seeke the Physition; bee in Prison before Hee will sue for a pardon; bee wounded before Hee will prize a Plaster, and pretious balsam. A sinner must bee weary of His former wicked wayes, and tired with legall terrour, before Hee will haue recourse to Ie∣sus Christ for refreshing, and lay downe His bleeding Soule in his blessed Bosome; Hee must bee sensible of His Spirituall poverty, beggery, and slavery under the Deuill, before Hee thirst kindly for heavenly righte∣ousnesse, and willingly take up Christs sweet and easy yoke. Hee must bee cast downe, confounded, condem∣ned, Page  171 a cast away, and lost in Himselfe, before Hee will looke about for a Saviour; Hee must cry heartily; I am uncleane, I am uncleane; before Hee will long, and labour to wash in that most soveraigne, and Soule-sa∣ving Fountaine,*opened to the house of David, and to the Inhabitants of Ierusalem for sin, and for uncleannesse; he must sell all, before hee will be willing and eager to buy the Treasure hid in the field.

Now thus to prepare, wound, afflict, and humble the Soule, that it may bee fitted for Iesus Christ, and so for comfort upon good ground, let ministers, or whosoever meddle in matters of this nature, publickely or privatly, vse all warrantable meanes, f faire, and foule, as they say, let them presse the law, promise mercy, propose Christ, &c. Doe what they will seasonably and wisely; Let them improve all their learning, wisedome, discre∣tion, mercifullnesse, experience, wit, eloquence, Sanctifi∣ed unto them for that purpose; So that the worke bee done.

g In pressing the law, besides other dexterities and di∣rections for managing their ministry in this Point suc∣cesfully by Gods Blessing, let them take notice of this Particular, which may prove very availeable to begin this Legall worke; It is a Principle, attended upon with many a Probatum est:

Pressing upon Mens consciences with a zealous, dis∣creet powerfullnesse, their speciall, principall, fresh-blee∣ding Sins, is a notable meanes to breake their hearts, and bring them to remorse. That most hainous and bloudy sinne of killing Iesus Christ, in which they had newly imbrued their hands, pressed upon the Consciences of Peters hearers, breakes and teares their hearts in pieces. Page  172Act. 2.23.36.37. So Adultery, secretly, intimated by Christs words, unto the woman of Samaria, Ioh. 4.18. Seemes to have strucke her to the heart, vers. 19. So the Iewes having Idolatry pressed upon their consciences by Samuel, 1. Sam. 7.6. The sin of asking a king; ibid. 12.19. Vsury by Nehemiah, 5.12. Strange wives by Ezra, cap. 10.9. were therevpon mightily moved, and much mollified in their hearts, as appeares in the cited Places. Consider for this purpose, that worke upon Davids heart, by Nathans Ministry, And Felix trembling, when Paul strucke Him on the right veine.

The reasons, why this more particular discovery, and denouncing of judgement against a Mans principall sinne, is like, God assisting with the Spirit of bondage, to put such life into the worke of the Law, are such as these.

1. The Sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, being welded by the hand of the holy Ghost; and ed∣ged as it were, with the speciall power of Gods blessing, for the cutting asunder of the iron-Sinewes of a stub∣borne and stony heart, doth crush and conquer, strike through and breake in pieces, with an unresistable puis∣sance, proportioned to the insolency, or easinesse of re∣sistance. My meaning is this; As Philosophers say of the Lightning; that by reason of the easinesse of the pas∣sage, weakenesse of resistance, porosity of the parts, it pierceth through the Purse, Scabberd, and Barke with∣out any such scorching and visible hurt; but melts the mony, the sword, rents and shivers the tree, because their substance and solidity, doth more exercise, and im∣prove its activenes and ability: So this Spirituall Sword, tho it strike at every sinne, and passeth thorow, even to the diuiding asunder of Soule and Spirit, and of the joynts, and marrow; yet the hairy pate of the maine corrupti∣on, and Master sinne, it wounds with a witnesse; it there tortures and teares in pieces with extraordinary anguish and smart, Searching and sence: for that opposeth with Page  173 the most flinty iron-Sinew, to blunt and rebate its edge, if it were possible.

2. In Consciences regularly, and rightly wounded, and awaked, sinnes are wont to bite, and sting propor∣tionably to their hainousnesse, and the exorbitancy of their former sensuall impressions. Some like a Mastife, some like a Scorpion, some like a Wolfe in the Eve∣ning: (But vnderstand, that spirituall anguish surpas∣seth immeasurably any corporall paine; therefore conceiue of them with a vast dis-proportion) Now the Minion delight or Captaine sinne frighting the heart with greatest horrour, and stinging with extre∣mity proportionable to its former vastation of Con∣science, doth by an accidentall power, (God bles∣sing the businesse) give a great stroke, to drive a man to deepest detestation of Himselfe, to throw Him downe to the lowest step of penitent dejection, to eneager His thirsty greedinesse after pardon and grace, and at length to fire Him out of His naturall estate.

3. A Mans principall, and most prevailing sinne is Sathans strongest Hold. When Hee is in danger to be dislodged, and driven by the power of the word out of the other parts of the Soule, as it were, and from Posses∣sion of a Man by all other sinnes; Hee retires Hither as to His Castle, and most impregnable Fort. And there∣fore if this bee soundly beaten upon by the Hammer, and Horrour of the Law, and battered about His eares, hee will bee quickly enforced to quit the Place quite.

It may bee good counsell then, and often seasonable to say unto those Men of God, who desire to drive the Devill out of Others, in some sort, as the King of Syria said to his Captaines, Fight neither with small nor great, save onely with the King of Israel. My meaning is; Let them addresse the sharpest edge of their spirituall Sword, yet as well with an holy charitable discretion, as with resolute, downeright dealing against those sinnes, which beare greatest sway in them, they have to deale Page  174 with. Bee it their covetousnesse, ambition, Lust, drun∣kennesse, Lukewarmenesse, monstrousnesse of the fa∣shion, sacriledge, oppression, vsury, Back-sliding, mur∣der, luxury, Opposition to the good way, Hatred of the Saints, or what other sinne soever they discover in them, to minister greatest advantage to Satan, to keepe them fastest in his clutches. No sinne must bee spared, but let the raigning sin be paid home especially.

For opening of the most rich and Orient Mines of all those sweetest mercies folded vp within the Bowells of Gods dearest compassions,* and of the Mysterie of his free grace and love through the Sonne of his lous; vpon purpose to invite, and allure those that are without, to come in, and to stirre vp our Hearers, h to bring broken hearts, bruised Spirits, bleeding Soules unto the Throne of grace, upon the same ground, but infinitely more gra∣cious, that incouraged the Seruants of Benhadad, to ad∣dresse themselves towards the King of Israel; *And his Servants said unto Him; Behold now, wee have heard that the Kings of the House of Israel, are mercifull Kings; Let vs, I pray thee, put Sackecloth upon our loines, and ropes upon our heads, and goe out to the King of Isra∣el, peradventure, hee will save thy life. The most despe∣rate Rebels heretofore, upon present true remorse for their former rage in sinne, resolving sincerely to stand on Gods side for ever hereafter, may safely and upon good ground thus reason within themselves; Alas! wee have done very villanously, we have served Satan a long time; we walk up & downe as condemned men, ripe for destruction long agoe; Hell it selfe even groanes for us, wee may justly look every moment for a Mitti∣mus, to cast us headlong into the dungeō of Brimstone, and fire: and yet we will trie; we will goe and throw downe our selves before the Throne of grace in dust and ashes, and cry as the Publican did unto the great God of heaven▪ for Hee is a mercifull God, gracious, long suffering, abundant in goodnesse, and truth, keeping Page  175 mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, transgression and sinne. And then, not onely peradventure; but most cer∣tainely, they shall bee received to mercy, and hee will save the life of their Soules; I say for this Point, of Prea∣ching mercy onely to hearten Men to come in, and to nourish in them a hope of pardon, in Case of penitency, &c. See my discourse of true happines. p. 173. And I will only adde and advise at this time this one thing of great importance in the Point: That after a plentifull magni∣fying and amplifying the mercy of God, by its infinite∣nesse, eternity, freenesse, and imcomparable excellency every way, onely upon purpose to assure the greatest sin∣ners of most certaine acceptation, and pardon, if they will presently turne with truth of heart, from Sathan to the living God, from all sinne to his holy Seruice; I say that wee then take heed and make sure, as much as in us lies, that no impenitent unbelieving wretch, none that goes on in his trespasses, or lies willingly, and delightful∣ly in any one sinne, receive any comfort by any such dis∣course, as though, as yet, Hee had any part or interest at all in any one drop of all that boundlesse and bot∣tomlesse Sea of mercy (that were a meanes to naile Him fast to His naturall estate for ever;) But onely thence conceive, that if Hee will presently lay downe armes a∣gainst the Majesty of Heaven, and come in with a truly penitent humbled soule, thirsting heartily for Iesus Christ, and resolve vnfainedly to take His yoke vpon Him, there is no number or notoriousnesse of sinne, that can possibly hinder his gracious entertainement at Gods mercy-Seate. For this end let vs tell all such that though the mercies of God be infinite, yet they are dis∣pensed according to His i Truth. Now the Oracles of Divine Truth tell us, that those who shall find Page  176 mercy, are such as confesse, and forsake their sinnes; Who so confesseth, and forsaketh his sinnes shall have mercy. Proverb. 28.13. Those then who doe not con∣fesse, and k forsake them, shall haue no mercy. That the Parties to whom good tidings of mercy and comfort are to bee preached: are the poore, the broken hearted, them that are bruised: those that labour, and are heavy laden; All that mourne, &c. Luk. 4.18. Mat. 11.28. Isa. 61.2.3. That the man to whom the Lord lookes graci∣ously, is, even Hee that is poore, and of a contrite Spirit, and trembleth at his word. Isa▪ 66.2. That whosoever, by his free mercy through Christ, is borne of God, doth not commit sin. 1. Ioh. 3.9. I meane, l with allowance, pur∣pose, perseverance. No sinne m raignes in such a One, &c. And yet alas! How many miserable men, will needs most falsely perswade themselves, and others, that they Page  177 have a portion in the mercies of God, and hugge with extraordinary applause, and embracement, the formall flattering messages of Men-pleasers and Time-servers, to dawbe over such rotten hopes; who yet notwith∣standing, goe on still in their trespasses; who were never yet sensible of the burden of their corruptions, and spirituall beggery; never wounded in conscience, or troubled in minde to any purpose for their sinnes, never mourned in secret and sincerely for the abomi∣nations of their youth; could never yet find in their hearts to sell all for the buying of that one pearle of great price, nor ever yet so prized Iesus Christ, as to leave their darling pleasures, though very base, and abominable, to enjoy the unspeakeable and glo∣rious pleasures of His gratious kingdome? Nay such as heartily serve some Captaine, and Commanding sinne in heart, or life, or calling, as their owne con∣sciences, if they consult with them impartially in cold blood, can easily tell them; as Lust, the world, ambiti∣on, the times, the fashion, their pleasures, their profits, their Passions, their ease, selfe love, pride, revenge, the dunghill delight of good fellow-ship, or the like. And here then Let mee discover a notable depth of Sathan, whereby hee doth baffle, and blind fold His slaves most grossely: you know full well, and heare often the com∣mon n Cry of all carnall men, especially under any con∣scionable Ministery, against preaching of judgement, and for preaching of mercy; See the causes why they cannot downe with downeright dealing, and powerfull application of the law: Disc. of true Happinesse. pag. 179, &c. But what doe you thinke is the reason, that they gape so greedily after Preaching of mercy? Not that they can, endure the preaching of it, as I now have taught, and as it onely ought, to those that are without; To wit, To have first, the dearenesse, the sweetnesse, the freenesse, the full glory of Gods immeasurable mer∣cy revealed unto them, onely as a motive, and incou∣ragement Page  178 to come in; but ever at the Close and conclu∣sion, to bee made to understand and know certainely, that not so much as one drop of all that bottomlesse depth of mercy and bounty in Iesus Christ, doth as yet belong unto them, lying in any state of unregeneratnes, or in any kind of Hypocrisy; whilest they regard any wickednesse in their heart, and are not willing to plucke out their right eyes, and cut off their right hands, I meane to make an everlasting divorce from their former dea∣rest sensuall delights, and sinnes of their bosome: for onely they who confesse and forsake their sinnes, shall have mercy. Pro. 28.13. This way of preaching mercy would nettle and gall them, as much perhaps as pressing of judgement, Nay, why not more? Proportionably to that which o Divines hold, That the privation and losse of heavenly joyes, and beatificall presence of God is far bitterer, then the torments of sense, and positive paines of Hell. But to tell you their true meaning, and their ve∣ry hearts: Their aime in so complaining, and calling for mercy from our Ministry, is, to have it so, and in such a manner proposed, and preached, that they may thence collect, and conceive, that they are in state good e∣nough, to goe to Heaven as they are; though in truth, they bee meere strangers to the life of God, and holy strictnesse of the Saints; were never truly humbled with sight of sinne and sense of wrath, nor experimentally ac∣quainted at all, with the Mysterie of the New birth; That they may conclude, and say within themselves: Howsoever some Ministers of the purer, and preciser streine, fright us continually with nothing but judge∣ment, terrour, damnation, and will not suffer us to bee quiet, no not so much as in One sinne; yet it is our good Page  179 hap, sometimes to meet with some mercifull men, who will help us to Heaven without so much adoe, and up∣on easier termes, &c. In a word, they would upon the matter have just so much mercy, as might assure, and warrant them to carry securely their sinnes, in their bo∣some to Heaven with them; to live as they list in this life, and to dye the death of the righteous; Which is a conceit most ridiculous, absurd, and more then utterly impossible. What a hatefull tricke then is this, and hor∣rible imposture, which they suffer Sathan to put them upon!

In proposing of Christ, Let the Man of God, set out as much as Hee can possibly; the excellency of His Per∣son, the unvaluable pretiousnesse of His blood, the ri∣ches of His heavenly purchases, the gracious sweetnesse of His invitations,*the generality, and freenesse of His of∣fers, the glorious Priviledges Hee brings with Him; re∣conciliation to God, Adoption, forgivenesse of sins, ju¦stification, righteousnesse, wisedome, sanctification, re∣demption, &c. Possession of all things; For all things are yours; Whether Paul, or Apollo, or Cephas; or the world, or life, or death; or things present, or things to come; All are yours, And yee are Christs, and Christ is Gods. 1. Cor. 3.22.23. Let Him tell His Hearers, that the blood of Christ, is called the blood of God, Act. 20.28; and therfore of infinite merit and unvaluable price. It sprang out of His humane nature, and therefore finite in it's owne nature and lost upon the ground; But the Person that shed it, being the p Sonne of God, did set upon it Page  180 such an excellency and eternity of vertue, and value, that the infinitenesse of its merit, and inestimablenesse of its worth lasts everlastingly. It will bee as fresh, orient, and effectuall, to wash away the sinnes of the last man that shall bee called upon earth, as it was those of the Penitent Thiefe, who saw it with His bodily eies gush∣ing out of his blessed side upon the crosse; or the first man who did first savingly apprehend that first Pro∣mise: The seed of the woman shall bruise the Serpents head. Let him assure them it is so soveraigne; That in a truly broken, humbled, and thirsty soule, it turneth the most Scarlet, and Crimson sinnes into snow, and wooll: That upon compunction, and comming in, it washed a∣way that horrible, and bloody guilt, from the soules of them that q spilt it. Act. 2. Let them know also: in how high a degree, and hainously they offend from time to time, who refuse to r take Iesus Christ offered most free∣ly, & without exception of any person, every Sabbath, every sermon, either in plaine, and direct termes, or im∣plyedly, at the least. Oh! Litle doe people thinke, who sit under our Ministry, unwrought upon by the word, what a grievous, and fearefull sinne they commit, and carry home from the House of God, day after day; in neglecting so great salvation, in forsaking their owne mer∣cy, and in judging themselves unworthy of everlasting life; I meane, by chusing, upon a free Offer of his Soule-sa∣ving blood, to cleave rather to a Lust, Horrible indigni∣ty! then to sIesus Christ blessed for ever: rather to wal∣low in the mire, and mudde of earthly pelfe, in the Page  181 filth, and froth of swinish pleasures, In idlenesse, pride, worldlinesse, whoredome, drunkennesse, strange fashi∣ons, scorning Professours, contempt of the power of godlinesse, railing against religion, revelling, Selfe-un∣cleannesse, &c. then abandoning these filthy harlots, to take the Sonne of God for their deare and everlasting Husband. This not Beleeving, This refusing Christ, This not taking Him, in the manner, and sense, as I have said, is such a sinne, though not so thought upon, and taken to heart, that t Divines speake of it, as of a most transcen∣dent Page  182 sinne, the greatest sinne, the sinne of sinnes, the one∣ly sinne, as it were, from such Places as these: But when the King heard thereof, Hee was wroth, and Hee sent foorth His armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burnt up their City▪ Mat. 22.7. Hee meanes, those who were invited to the Sons marriage, and made light of it. Hee that beleeveth not is condemned already, because, hee hath not beleeved in the Name of the onely begotten Sonne of God. Ioh. 3.18. When the Comforter is come▪ Hee will convince the world of sinne.—because they beleeve not on mee. Hee meanes, this sinne alone, saith Austin. As though not beleeving on the Sonne of God, were the onely sinne. It is indeed the maine, and master sinne, because (as the same Father speakes truly) This remai∣ning, the guilt of all other sinnes abides upon the soule; this removed, all other sinnes are remitted. Nay, and besides the horriblenes, and hainousnes of the sin; what height, and perfection of madnesse is it? That whereas a Man but renouncing his base, rotten, transitory, sinfull plea∣sures, dogged continually at the heeles with vengeance, and horror; And only taking Iesus Christ in whom are hidden, and heaped up the fulnes of grace▪ and treasures of all perfection; might have therevpon (to say nothing of the excellency of his person, purchases of his passion and possessiō of the most blessed Deity) a full & free dis∣charge thereby, at the hands of so happy an Husband, from every moment of the everlastingnesse of Hellish torments; and a u Deed presently sealed with His owne hearts-blood, for an undoubted right, to every minute of the eternity of heavenly joyes, yet should in cold blood most wickedly, and willingly, after so many in∣treaties, invitations, importunity, onely for the good of His poore immortall Soule, refuse the change! Heaven and earth may be astonished, Angels, and all Creatures, may justly stand amazed at this prodigious sottishnes, and monstrous madnesse of such miserable men! The world is wont to call Gods people, precise fooles, be∣cause, Page  183 they are willing to sell all they have, for that One pearle of great price, to part with profits, pleasures, pre∣ferments, their right hand, their right eye, every thing, a∣ny thing, rather then to leave Iesus Christ, &c. But who doe you thinke now, are the true, and great fooles of the world? And who are likeliest one day to groane for anguish of Spirit, and say within themselves, This was hee, whom wee had sometimes in derision, and a Proverbe of reproch. Wee fooles accounted His life madnesse, and His end to bee without honour. Now is hee numbred a∣mong the Children of God, and His Lot is among the Saints. Therefore haue we erred from the way of truth, and the light of righteousnesse hath not shined unto us, and the Sun of righteousnesse hath not rose upon us: wee wearied our selves in the way of wickednesse and destru∣ction: yea, wee have gone through deserts where there lay no way: But as for the way of the Lord, wee have not knowne it. What hath pride profited us? Or what good hath riches with our vanting brought us? All those things are passed away like a shadow, and as a post that hasted by, &c. Nay, and yet further, besides the extraordinarinesse of the iniquity, & folly in refusing Christ freely offered, it shall most certainely bee hereafter plagued with ex∣tremest tormenting fury, and most desperate gnashing of teeth. For with what infinite horrour, and restlesse anguish will this conceit rent a Mans heart in pieces, and gnaw upon His Conscience, when Hee considers in Hell, that Hee hath lost Heaven for a lust: and whereas Hee might at every sermon, had even the Son of God His husband, for the very xtaking; and have li∣ved Page  184 with Him for ever in unspeakeable Blisse, yet neg∣lecting so great salvation, must now, crying out there∣fore continually against Himselfe, as the most raging Bedlam that ever breathed, lie in unquenchable flames, without remedy, ease, or end! It is the highest honour that can be imagined, and a Mystery of greatest amaze∣ment that ever was, that the Sonne of God should make sute unto sinfull Soules to be their Husband. And yet so it is; Hee stands at the doore, and knocks, if you will give Him entrance, Hee will bring Himselfe and Heaven into your hearts. We are Christs Ambassadours, as though God did beseech you by us, Wee pray you in Christs stead to be reconciled to God; Wee are Christs spokes-men, that I may so speake, to Wooe and Winne you unto Him. Now what can you say for your selves that you stand out? Why come you not in? If the Divell would give you leave to speake out, and in plaine termes: One would say, I had rather bee dam∣ned then leave my drunkennesse; Another, I love the world better then Iesus Christ; A third, I will not part with my easie and gainefull trade of Vsury, for the trea∣sure hid in the field; And so on, So that upon the mat∣ter, Page  185 you must needs all confesse, that you hereby judge your selves unworthy of everlasting life, that you are wil∣full bloody Murderers of your owne Soules, that you commit such a wickednesse, that all the Creatures in Heaven and Earth cry shame upon you for it. Nay, and if you go on without repentance, you may expect that the Hellish gnawing of Conscience for this one sinne of refusing Christ, may perhaps hold scale with the Vni∣ted horrors of all the rest. What is the matter I marvell, that you will not entertaine the Match? If wee stand upon honour, and noble family; Hee that makes love, and sute unto our soules,*hath on his vesture and on his thigh, a name written, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. If upon beauty: Heare how hee is described. Cant. 5. My beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest of ten thou∣sand: His head is as the most fine gold; his lockes are bushie and blacke as a Raven. His eyes are as the eyes of Doves, by the rivers of water, washed with milke, and fit∣ly set. His cheekes are as a bed of Spices, as sweet flowers. His lips like Lillies, dropping sweet smelling myrrhe. His hands are as the gold rings set with the Berill: His belly is as bright Ivory, overlaid with Saphires. His legs are as pillars of marble, set upon Sockets of fine gold: His countenance is as Lebanon, excellent as the Cedars. His mouth is most sweet, yea, hee is altogether lovely,y Now you must understand, that the Spirit of God by these outward beauties and braveries, labours in some mea∣sure to shadow out, and represent unto us, the incompa∣rable excellency of inward graces; the dignity, the glo∣ry, the spirituall fairenesse of Iesus Christ, that wee may know, that Hee is wholly and altogether lovely, dele∣ctable, and precious. If upo ease, and contentment, Hee can lead us to fulnesse of joy, and pleasures at Gods right hand for evermore. If wee desire honorable Alliance; Hee will bring us to an innumerable company of Angels, to the generall assembly, and Church of the first borne, which are written in heaven; and to God the Iudge of all, Page  186 and to the spirits of just men made perfect. If we stand up∣on wealth, we shall haue yall things with him; which is a large Possession. If we respect love: zGreater love hath no Man then this, that a Man lay downe His life for his friends. And hee being the brightnesse of His Fathers glory, and the expresse image of his person,a came downe from his bosome, the well-spring of immortality and blisse, the fulnesse of joy, and that unapprocheable light, into an House of flesh, upon this base and misera∣ble earth. Hee passed thorow a life full of all manner vexations, miseries, persecutions, indignities, slanders, speaking against of Sinners, &c. He was so prodigiously slandered, that they said, bHee had a divell; Whereas, cthe fulnesse of the Godhead dwelled in him bodily. Hee was cunningly hunted long, and at last violently haled by a Packe of Hell-hounds, to a cruell and bloody death, which for the extremity and variety of paines, for the enraged spight of the executioners, for the innocency, and excellency of the Person suffering, the like never was, shall, or can bee endured. His passi∣ons were such, so bitter, and unsupportable, that they would have made any meere creature to have sunke downe under the burden of them to the bottome of Hell. Hee was tortured extremely, and suffered grie∣vous things both in Body and Soule, from Heaven, Earth, and Hell. His blessed Body was given up as an Anvile to bee beaten upon, by the violent, and villanous hands of wretched Miscreants, without all measure or mercy; untill they had left no one part free from some particular and speciall torment. His skin and flesh were ent with scourges; His hands and feet pierced with nailes; His head with thornes; His very heart with the speare point. All His senses, all his parts, indeed His whole sacred body was made a rufull spectacle to An∣gels and to Men, of all the most base and barbarous v∣sage, which malice could devise, and cruelty execute. But all this yet, was but a shadow of His suffering, the Page  187 substance of His suffering, was the d Agony of His Soule; Give mee any affliction save the affliction of the mind, For the spirit of a man, saith Salomon, will sustaine all His other infirmities; but a wounded spirit, who can beare? Yet His soule, though Hee was the Prince of glory, and Lord of Heaven and earth, upon the Crosse, was even as a scorched Heath, with∣out so much, as any drop of comfort either from hea∣ven or earth. The grievous weight of all the sinnes of all his Children, the least of which had bin enough to have pressed them downe into the bottome of Hell, lay now heavy upon him. The powers of darkenesse were let loose to afflict Him; Hee wrastled even with the fierce wrath of His Father, and all the forces of the infernall kingdome, with such anguish of heart, that in the Garden, it wrung out of his pretious Body, a Sweat, as it were great drops of blood falling downe to the ground; with such agony of spirit, that upon the Crosse, Hee cry∣ed, My God, my God, why hast thoueforsaken mee! And Page  188 the measure of all these sufferings, and sorrowes, were so past all measure, that all the creatures, save sinfull Men onely, both in heaven, and earth, seemed to bee a∣mazed and moved with them. The Sun in the heavens drew in his beames, unwilling as it were to see the spot∣lesse blood of the Son of God, spilt as water upon the ground. The Earth it selfe shrunk, and trembled, under it. The very Rocks rent asunder, as if they had sense and feeling of His intolerable, and, save by Himselfe, vncon∣querable paines; The whole frame of Nature seemed astonished at the mournefull Complaint of the Lord of the Whole World. These, and farre more then these, or then can bee exprest, our blessed Saviour, being Son of the most high God, endured for no other end, but to ransome us from the bondage of Sathan, and of Hell, in a thirsting desire of saving all Penitent sinners; And to offer himselfe freely, a most glorious, and everlasting Husband to all those, who with broken and beleeving hearts cast themselves into His bosome. Such admira∣ble, and unutterable perfections, beauties, indowments, sufferings, and inflamed affections, as these, in the hea∣venly Suter unto our sinnefull Soules, doth mightily ag∣gravate the hainous and horrible sinne of refusing Him.

Thus, and in this manner, would I have the Men of God to magnifie, inlarge, and represent to the hearts of their Hearers, all the excellencies of Iesus Christ, with the worth, merit, and efficacy of His blood: To set out to the utmost they can possibly, the glory of the Gospell with all the riches of mercy, goodnesse, and free grace, revealed, and offered therein &c. So that they tell them withall; That Iesus Christ takes none, but such as are willing, to take upon them His yoke: That hee gives himsele to none, but such as are ready, to sell all, in the sense I have said, that they may enjoy his blessed selfe. That the glorious grace of the Gospell shines savingly, to none, but such as deny ungodlinesse, Page  189 and worldly lusts; and live soberly, righteously, and godlily in this present World; That those whose Soules are cleansed by the blood of Iesus Christ from all sinne, are onely such, as walke in the light, as God is in the light; who make conscience of detesting and declining all sins, and workes of darkenesse discovered to them by the light of Gods holy Booke, and sincerely set their hearts and hands, with love, and carefull endeavour to every duty injoyned therein. In a word, That, as that Foun∣taine opened to the house of David for sinne and for un∣cleanesse, I meane the blood of that immaculate Lambe, Iesus Christ, the holy and the righteous, doth turne all the sinnes even the very scarlet and crimson, of a truly broken heart, and every true Mourner in Zion, into snow, and wooll, so it will never wash away the least sin∣full staine from the proud heart of any unhumbled Pha∣risee, That hereby no strangers unto the love and life of godlinesse, may bee deceived by appropriating unto themselves any of these glorious things, which are one∣ly proper to the sealed Fountaine; but onely conceive of them as excellent motives to cause them to come in. I would have the Preaching of Christ fill the soule of e∣very true harted Nathanael every time with unspeakea∣ble and glorious joy, with all those Euangelical pleasures, which neither eye hath seene, nor eare heard, neither have entred into the heart of man; But I would have it onely make every unregenerate Man sensible of what infinite blessednesse Hee bereaves Himselfe by continu∣ing a Rebell; that thereupon Hee may bee moved to make hast out of His present Hell, into this new heaven so fairely opened, and freely offered unto Him.

Besides pressing the law, promising mercy, proposing Christ, &c. to stirre men in their naturall states, to make them entertaine thoughts of comming in, to humble them in the sight of the Lord under the heavy burden of all their sinnes, assure them also of pardon, in case they will leave Sathans service, and so prepare them for Page  190 Christ; Let Gods Ministers lay hold upon all warran∣table wayes, which they shall find, and feele out of their Ministeriall experience, and holy wisedome to be avai∣leable, and prevaile for that purpose. So that the worke bee done in truth: And that they doe not like the Di∣vels dawbers, deceive them to the eternall ruine, and damnation of their Soules, by telling them that they have Christ already, and are safe enough for salvation, whereas indeed, as yet, there is no such matter.

Such points as these, are woont to make attentive na∣turall men, to startle in their seates, to looke about them something more then ordinarily: To wit, to divide the precious, from the vile; To distinguish that One true happy state of grace, from all states of unregeneratnesse, and all kinds of Hypocrisie: to tell them out of the Booke of God, How farre a Man may goe in generall graces, and doing many things, &c. and yet come short of Heaven: To deliver Markes of sincere Professours, of a saving Faith, of true repentance, of a sound conver∣sion, &c. But I would have this done with a great deale of spirituall wisedome, and heavenly understanding, with much godly discretion, and caution; least thereby, either the formall Professour may bee incouraged, or the weakest Christian disheartned: To discourse of the fewnesse, and scarcity of those which shall bee saved; and that even f under the light, and within the sound Page  191 of the Gospell; See Math. 20.16. Many are called, but few chosen. Consider the Parable of the Sower. Mat. 13. There is but one good soile, upon which the seed of the word falls prosperously; but three reprobate grounds, as it were, upon which it is lost, as water upon the ground. See my first Doctr. upon Gen. 6.8. &c. Thus let the Men of God acquaint themselves, with such Points, as they conceive, the likeliest, and most pregnant to pierce their Hearers hearts, and come closest to their Consciences; that so, by the helpe of God, they may pull them out of Hell.

And there are some places also in the Book of God, which being rightly handled, and powerfully applied, seeme to have a speciall keennesse to strike at, and cut asunder the iron sinewes of the most obstinate heart; And of more aptnesse to serve for the rowsing and awa∣king of meere civill men, formall Professours, Pharisies, and foolish Virgins out of their desperat slumber of spi∣rituall Selfe-deceit. Such as these. Deut. 29.19.20. And it come to passe, when hee heareth the words of this curse, that hee blesse Himselfe in His heart, saying; I shall have peace, though I walke in the imagination of mine heart, to adde drunkennesse to thirst: The Lord will not spare Him, but then the anger of the Lord, and His jealousie, shall smoke against that man, and all the curses that are written in this Book, shall lie upon Him, and the Lord shall blot out his name from under Heaven. Ps. 78.21. God shall wound the hairy Scalpe of such a One as goeth on still in his tres∣passes. Pro. 1.24.28. Because I have called, and yee refu∣sed, I have stretched foorth my hand, and no Man regar∣ded: &c. Then shall they call upon mee, but I will not an∣swer; they shall seeke me early, but they shall notcfind Page  192 mee. Pro. 29.1. He that being often reproved, hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without re∣medy. Ezek. 24.13. In thy filthinesse is lewdnesse, be∣cause I havedpurged thee, and thou wast not purged, thou shalt not bee purged from thy filthinesse any more, till I have caused my fury to rest upon thee. 1. Pet. 4.18. If the righteous scarcely bee saved; Where shall the ungodly and the sinner appeare? 1. Ioh. 3.9. Who∣soever is borne of God doth not commit sinne. 1. Pet. 2.17. Love the brotherhood. Heb. 12.14. Without holinesse no man shall see the Lord. Iam. 2.19. The Divels also beleeue and tremble. Luke. 13.24. Strive to enter in at the strait gate; for many, I say unto you, will seeke to enter in, and shall not bee able. Math. 10.14.15. And whosoever shall not receive you. &c. Veriy, I say unto you, it shall bee more tolerable for the land of Sodom, and Gomorrah in the Day of judgement, then for that city. And. 11.12. And from the dayes of Iohn the Baptist, untill now, the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. And 5.46. And if you salute your brethren onely, what doe you more then others? and vers. 20. I say unto you, That except your righteousnes shall exceed the righ∣teousnesse of the Scribes, and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the Kingdome of heaven. These fellowes re∣presented to the eye of the World, a goodly and glori∣ous shew of freedome from grosse sinnes; I am not, saith the Pharisee, Luke. 18. as other men are, extortio∣ners, unjust, adulterers, &c. Of workes; First, Of righte∣ousnesse; I give tithes of all that I possesse: Secondly, Of Piety; Hee went up to pray. Thirdly, Of mercy; Besides fasting, and prayer, they gave almes, Mat. 6. &c. And yet Christ speakes thus peremptorily to his hearers. Ex∣cept your righteousnesse exceede the righteousnesse of the Scribes and Pharisees, &c. ye shall in no case enter into the kingdome of heaven. Hee saith not simply; yee shall not enter: But yee shall in no case enter. And yet how many who come short of these, will bee very angry, if the mi∣nisters, Page  193 tell them, that they shall certainely come short of the kingdome of heaven.

I have done with dawbing and plaistering over rot∣ten hearts with plausible perswasions, that they shall not bee damned: I meane that most cruell, and accursed trade of strengthening with lies, the hands of the wicked, that hee should not returne from his wicked way by promi∣sing him life. Ezek. 13.22. Whereby thousands, are sent hood-winckt to hell, more is the pitty! even in this bles∣sed time of the Gospell: And I come now to another er∣rour, about comforting afflicted Consciences. Which is this:

2. When the spirituall Physition promiseth comfort, applies the promises, assures of mercy, acceptation and pardon:

1. When the ground of griefe, is not in truth trou∣ble for sinne, but some outward trouble. Some, in such a case may cast out by the way some faint, and formall complaints of their sinnes, and seeme to seeke direction, and satisfaction about the state of their Soules; when as the true root and principall Spring of their present heavinesse, and hearts-griefe, is some secret earthly dis∣contentment, the bi••ng and bitternesse of some worldly sting. It may bee the losse or desperate course of some over-loved child; decay, and going backward in their estate; feare of falling into beggery; some unexpected discontents and disappointments after marriage; Some great disgrace, and shame fallen upon them in the eye of the world; Some long and tedious sicknesse, pinch∣ing them extremely for want of peace with God, and patience to passe thorow it. Or the like.

In this case, after the man of God by his best wise∣dome, and searching experimentall tryals, and Interro∣gatories fitted for that purpose, whereby he may give a strong conjecture, if not a peremptory censure, hath dis∣covered the Imposture: Let his desire and endeavour be, to turne the torrent of worldly teares (and taking on for Page  194 transitory things) upon sinne. When a veine is broken, and bleeds inward, or a man bleeds excessively at the Nose, the physition is wont to open a veine in the arme, so to divert the current of the blood, that it may bee car∣ried the right way, for the safety and preservation of the party. Doe proportionably in this point.

Let such know. First, That esorrow of the world wor∣keth death.f It dries the bones, consumes the marrow, chils the blood, wastes the Spirits, eates up the heart, shortneth life, and cutteth off too soone, from the day of gracious visitation. It is a base thing for an immortall Soule to bee put thus out of tune, and temper with mor∣tall things, & most unworthy it's heavenly birth, bree∣ding under the ministery, and everlasting abode. Se∣condly, That sorrow spent upon the world, is like a per∣fum'd precious water, throwne into the channell, or sinke-hole, which would make a sweet sent in an hum∣bled soule, and helpe excellently against the noisome sa∣vour of sinne. Fire put into the thatch, would turne all into combustion; g Dung placed in your parlour, would impoison all; But lay the one upon the hearth, and it would warme, and comfort; the other upon the land, and it fatneth and makes fruitfull: So sorrow mispla∣ced upon earthly things, fills a man with swarmes of carking confusions, and brings many devouring Page  195Harpies into the heart; but being turned upon h sin, and former sinfull courses, which is the onely right, proper, profitable vse thereof, it may procure a great deale of ease, and enlargement to the heavy Spirit, and helpe to bring foorth fruits meet for repentance. Thirdly, That the tithe perhaps of taking on, trouble of mind, vexa∣tion of Spirit, sadnesse and sorrow, about worldly things in respect of the bulke, and quantity, if sincere, and set upon the right object, might serve i to drive us unto Christ, and afterwards in Gods gracious acceptation, for saving repentance. Mee thinkes it should bee a very quickning motive to make a man kbee sorry for nothing but sin, and to turne all his griefe and groanes, sighs, and teares, upon his transgressions lonely: To wit; To Con∣sider, Page  196 that an impenitent carnall worldling doth passe thorow even in this life (where hee hath all the hea∣ven hee is ever like to have) incomparably more comfortlesse hearts-griefe, slavish torment of minde, and heavinesse of Spirit towards endlesse paines, then the strictest Christian, and most mortified Saint, doth endure in his passage to everlasting pleasures. Fourthly, That, besides, many other pestilent pro∣perties, worldly sorrow doth also double, nay mul∣tiply, and mightily enrage the venome, bitternesse, and ting of every crosse, accident, losse, disgrace, &c. When mAhitophel was disgraced, by neglect of his counsell, which was in those dayes, as if a man had enquired at the Oracle of God, carnall griefe so grew upon him, that hee gate him home to his house, put his household in order, and hanged himselfe. What was the disgrace to this desperate end? Ha∣man beeing crossed by Mordecaies discourtesie, and contempt, did so trouble himselfe, and take on, that, having ntold his wife, and freinds, of the glory of his riches, and the multitude of his children, and all things, wherein the King had promoted him, and how hee had advanced him above the Princes, and servants of the King, &c. Yet professeth unto them; that all this avai∣led him nothing, so long as hee saw Mordecai the Iew, sitting at the Kings gate. Now whether doe you thinke was the most greivous thing to beare; the bare omission of a meere complement, or an universall di∣staste, and dis-injoyment of all outward comforts hea∣ped upon Him to the height, and in excellency? The hundreth part of Iobs losses, and lesse, hath many times since, made many a covetous worldling to cut his owne throat. I have knowne some, for the losse of an over-loved child, to have languished, fallen into a consumption, and lost their owne lives. But now on the other side, besides many other gracious effects, sorrow, according to God, is more delicious, and sweeter then any Page  197 worldly delight: As oChrysostome truly tells us in ma∣ny places. To whom Moderne Divines accord. The very teares, that a good Conscience sheds, saith p one, have more joy, and pleasure in them, then the worlds greatest joyes. This is certaine, saith q another, that there is more lightnesse of heart, and true delight in the sorrow of the Saints, then in the lowdest laughters of the world. For un∣speakeable joy is mingled with un-utterable groanes.

2. When it is not any kindly touch of conscience for s•• wrought by the ministry: but terrours, and affrigh∣ting distempers arising from the darke mists of a me∣lancholicke humour in the braine, which cause a man to complaine. In this blacke, and sad humour, Satan, God suffering him, (and of it selfe also it is pregnant enough this way) hath great advantage to raise, and represent to the Phantasie many fearefull things, terrible objects, griesly thoughts, hideous injections and temptations to despaire, selfe-destruction, &c. Whereupon the party so affected and afflicted is wont out of impatiency of such uncouth horrours, and heavines to addresse himself, and have recourse to some man of God, some noted Physiti∣an of the soule; not from any purpose and resolution to become a new man, and alter his courses; but only for hope of ease, enlargement frō the tyranny of that ferall passion, and recovery to wonted quietnesse of mind: not expecting or aiming at all, at any other change; but from present melancholy to former mirth; from this abhorred, irkesome, insupportable state of sadnesse; to his accustomed sensuall, or civill contentment at least.

In this case let the art, and aide of physicke bee im∣proou'd, Page  198 to abate and take off the excesse and phantasti∣calnesse of this horrible humour: and then let the par∣ty bee advised, to imploie, and spend the native, and kindly q sadnesse, of that uncomfortable constitution, in sorrowing for sinne, in trembling at the threats of Gods judgements, in fearing to offend, and flying under the wings of Christ for sanctuary; that so hee may happi∣ly bring supernaturall, and heavenly lightsomnesse into his soule, by pardon from God, peace of conscience, and evangelicall pleasures. It is incredible to consider, what assistance, and advantage a gracious man hath, by his sweete r communion with Iesus Christ, and those refre∣shing beames of comfort which shine from his face, to confine and conquer those many impertinent, irkesome, and vexing vagaries of this wild humour; which with much folly and fury tyrannise in the feareful phantasies of gracelesse men, and make their life very disconsolate, and abhorred. I am perswaded, the very same measure of melancholicke matter, which raises many times in the heads, and hearts of worldlings, (having besides, the guilt of their unforgiven sinnes staring with griesly representations in the face of their consciences, and ac∣quainted with no comfort but that which comes from carnall joyes) continuall clouds of many strange horrours, and gastly feares, nay and sometimes makes them starke mad; I say, the very same in a sanctified man may bee so mollified and moderated by spirituall delight, and soveraignty of grace, that he is not onely preserved from the sting, and venome of them, but by Gods blessing from any such desperate extremities, vio∣lent distempers and distractions, which keepe the other in a kinde of hell upon earth. If the very darkenesse of the hellish dungeon were in the heart; yet reaching out the hand of faith, and receiving Christ that blessed Sun of righteousnesse, would dispell and disperse it to no∣thing: Much more mee thinkes, the light of grace and heavenly wisedome, may in some good measure, dis∣solve Page  199 and maister the mists and miseries of this earthly humour. Religion then, and religious courses, and con∣formities doe not make melancholike men mad; as the great Bedlams of this world would beare us in hand. For you must know that besides Belials and debosht companions, there are a generation of worldly wise men also, right brave and jolly fellowes in their owne conceits, and in the opinion of some flattering claw∣backs; But by testimony of the Truth it selfe, starke mad about the service of God and there owne salvations, who cursedly eare their owne consciences, with the hottest iron in the Divels forge, by breaking out in∣to such blasphemies as these, when they heare, or see, any extraordinarie heavie-heartednes, temptation, di∣straction, or spirituall distemper, to have seizd upon any that desires to bee saved: You see now, what becomes of so much reading the scriptures, of plying prayer, and pri∣vate duties with so much adoe; of medling with mysteries of religion; of meditating so much of heavenly things; Of taking sinne so deeply to heart, and holding such strict con∣formity to Gods word, &c. Blessed God! Is thine holy booke become, (execrable blasphemy!) a perverter, di∣stracter, and empoysoner of mens soules; which beeing the glorious issue of thine owne infinite understanding, was purposely created as a most pretious rPanacea, an universall medicinall store-house for the cure of all spi∣rituall maladies; an inexhausted treasury of all sound comfort, true joy, peace, and refreshing! Now the Lord rebuke thee Satan, and returne as dung upon thine owne face this villanous, base and wicked slaunder, which by thy gracelesse instruments thou labourest to cast upon the glorious face of Christianity, the incom∣parable sweetnesse of the wayes of grace, and that One necessary thing. I have knowne, when the onely wise God, hath suffered for ends seene and seeming good to his heavenly wisedome the hideous, and raging hu∣mour of melancholie, to darken the native clearenes of Page  200 the animall spirits in the braine, requisite to a due dis∣cretion of things apprehended; and to blunder, and dis∣order the objects, and operations of the phantasie in his dearest child, even to distraction, and breaking out into that inordinate passion, against reason; I say then, the concurrent cry and clamour of the enemies to the pow∣er of Godlines to bee: This it is now to bee so bookish, to follow preachers so much, to be more holy then their neigh∣bours, never to have done in serving of God: Her so much reading the scriptures, and such poring upon precise bookes (so they call those, which most pierce the con∣science, and guide the cleerliest in the holy path) hath made her starke mad: The Puritan is now besides her selfe, &c. Now I say againe, the Lord rebuke thee Sa∣tan, who sits with such extreme malice, and soule-kil∣ling folly in the hearts & heads of such miserable men, whom thou so sottishly hood-winkes, and hardens to the height, for a most desperate downefal, and horrible confusion at last.

Were now the glorified soule of that blessed Saint consulted with, and asked: Diddest thou ever receive hurt by reading Gods blessed book, by searching sweet∣ly into the great mystery of Christ crucified, by medita∣tion upon heavenly things? Did the sacred sense of those divine Oracles dissettle thy noble faculties, or ever make sad thy heart? &c. Oh! with what infinite indignation, would it sly in the face of such cursed Cavillers, and wranglers against the truth?

Is it possible for the sole, and soveraigne Antidote sent from heaven by God himselfe against the sting and venome of all heart-griefe, and horror; the sacred Sun of saving truth, which is onely able to ennoble and glo∣rifie our understandings with wisedome from the brest of the everlasting counsell of Iesus Christ, should be∣come the cause of discomfort, and dissettlement of the soule? No, no. There is such a quickening, healing, and mighty efficacy and vigour shed into it from the Father Page  201 of lights, and shining in it from the face of Christ, that by the helpe of the blessed spirit, it can turne darkenes into light, death into life, hell into heaven, the deepest horrour, into height of joy. Tell mee of any misery up∣on the body, soule, outward state, or good name; any calamity felt or feared in this life, or the life to come; and if thou wilt bee converted and counselled, I can send thee to some, both Promise, and Precedent in this book of God, which may upon good ground fill thine heart as full with sound comfort, as the Sun is of Light, and the Sea of Waters. Nay, give mee a wounded spirit with all it's inexplicable terrors, and bitternesse; which is the greatest misery, & extremest affliction, of which an un∣derstanding Soule is capable in this life. And let first all the physitians in the world, even the Rose-knights, as they call themselves, lay all their heads, skill, and experi∣ence together, for the cure; Let all the highest Monarchs upon earth shine upon it with their Imperiall favours for comfort; Let the depth of all humane wisedome, and the height of the most excellent oratory bee im∣prooued to perswade it peace; Let all the creatures in heaven and earth contribute their severall abilities and utmost, to still it's rage: And when all these have done, and have done just nothing; I will fetch a cordiall out of Gods owne booke, which shall mollifie the anguish, expell the venome, and bind it up with everlasting peace, which passeth all understanding; that the broken bones may rejoyce, and the poore soule groaning most grievously under the guilty horrour of many foule abo∣minations, and ready to sink into the gulph of despaire, bee sweetly bathed and refreshed in the fountaine ope∣ned by the hand of mercy for sinne, and for uncleannesse, Christs dearest bloud, the glorious wel-spring of all lightsomnesse, and joy.

Heare how precisely for this purpose, and how pun∣ctually against such pestilent cauillers some of the an∣cient Fathers doe Puritanize:

Page  202There is no malady, saith * Chrysostome, either of bo∣dy, or soule, but may receive a medicine out of Gods booke;

One comes oppressed with sadnesse, and anxiety of busi∣nesses, overwhelmed with griefe; But presently hearing the Prophet saying,a Why art thou cast downe, O my soule? and why art thou so disquieted within mee? Hope thou in God, for I will yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God; Hee receives abundance of comfort, and abandons all heavines of heart.

Another is pinched with extreme poverty; takes it heavily, and grieves, seeing others flowing in riches; swel∣ling with pride, attended with great pompe, and state: But hee also heares the same Prophet, saying; b Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and hee shall sustaine thee: And againe,c Be not afraide when one is made rich, when the glory of his house is increased: For when hee dieth, Page  203 hee shall carry nothing away: His glory shall not de∣scend after him.

There is another, which assaulted with insidiations, and calumnies, is much troubled, thinkes his life uncomforta∣ble, finding no helpe in man: Hee is also taught by the same prophet, that in such perplexities, wee must not resort to the arme of flesh. Heare what hee saies; They slande∣red, and I prayed.* The mouth of the wicked, and the mouth of the deceitfull are opened against mee: They have spoken against mee with a lying tongue. They compassed mee about also with words of hatred; and fought against mee without a cause. For my love, they are my adversaries; But I give my selfe to prayer. Ano∣ther is slighted, and contemned by some base contemptible underlings; and forsaken of his friends; And that is it, which most troubles his mind, & goes nearest to his heart: But hee also, if hee will come hither, doth heare that bles∣sed man saying:* My Lovers and my freinds stand a∣loofe from my sore; and my kinsmen stand afarre off. They also that seeke after my life lay snares for mee: and they that seeke my hurt, speake mischeivous things, and imagine deceipts all the day long. But I, as a deafe man heard not; and I was as a dumbe man that ope∣neth not his mouth. Thus I was as a man that heareth not, and in whose mouth are no reproofes: for in thee, O Lord, do I hope: thou wilt heare, O Lord my God. Hee concludes thus:

Thou hast seene, how that any misery pressing our mor∣tality, a convenient Antote may be taken out of Scrip∣ture, and all the carking of this life may bee cured; nei∣ther need wee to bee greived for any thing which befals us. Therefore I beseech you that henceforward, you would come hither, and listen diligently to the reading of divine writ. And not onely when you come hither, but also take the bible into your hands at home, and receive with great affection, the profit to bee found in it. For from thence springs much gaine: First, that the tongue may bee re∣formed Page  204 by it: The soule also takes wings, soares aloft, and is gloriously illightened with the beames of the Sunne of righteousnesse, and that while is freed from the entise∣ments of impure thoughts, enioying much calmenesse, and contentment. Furthermore, that which corporall food doth for encreasing bodily strength: the same doth reading per∣forme to the soule.

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable: and writ by the spirit of God for this purpose, saith great sBasil, that in it, as a common Mart of soule-medicines, every one of us may chuse a medicine proper, and fit for his spirituall malady.

Jerome, writing to many t even of Her sexe, whom as I told you before, much reading of Scriptures and o∣ther good bookes made mad, if the extremest malice of the most mortall enemies to the waies of God may bee credited; doth stirre them up with extraordinary ear∣nestnesse to a diligent, industrious and fruitfull reading of Gods Booke, in many Passages of His Epistles.

u In that to Gaudentius, about bringing up a young Maiden: Hee would have Her at seaven years old, and when she begins to blush, learne the Psalmes of Dauid without Booke; and untill twelue, make the Books of Salo∣mon, the Gospels, the Apostles and Prophets, the treasure of Her heart.

Page  205x To One Hee speakes thus: This one thing about all others, I would fore advise Thee; and inculcating it, I will admonish againe and againe: That thou wouldest possesse thy minde with love of reading Scriptures.

y To an other: Let the Booke of God bee ever i thy hands:—And after the holy Scriptures, reade also the Treatises of learned men.

z To another: Let the sacred Scriptures bee e∣ver in thine hands, and revolved continually in thy minde.

Reading Scripture, saith a Origen, daily prayers, the word of Doctrine nourish the Soule, even as the Body is strengthened by dainty fare. The Spirit is nourished, growes strong, and is made victorious by such foode. Which because you doe not ply; doe not complaine of the infirmity of the flesh: Doe not say, wee would but cannot, &c:

Those reverend b men that made the Homilies, seeme to apprehend themselves, and they commend to us the excellent sweetnesse, which may bee suckt from the breasts of consolations in meditating upon the Scriptures, by this their emphaticall and effectuall expression: Let us ruminate say they, and as it were chew the cudde, that wee may have the sweet juyce, spirituall effect, marrow, hony, kernell, tast, comfort and consolation of them.

I have said all this, upon purpose, least melancholike men should be miss-led, or disheartened by the cursed counsell of carnall freinds, and wicked clamours of the world, from turning their sadnesse into sorrow for sin; and from plying Gods blessed booke, and the power∣full ministry thereof, the onely wellspring of all true lightsomnesse, and ioy; and able as I said before, if they wilbee converted, and counseled, to dispell the very darkenesse of hell out of their hearts. Mee thinkes, they rather above others, should bee encouraged hereunto: 1. Because they have a passive advantage, that I may so speake, when it pleaseth God, to sanctifie for that pur∣pose, and set on worke the spirit of bondage, by reason Page  206 of their sad dispositions, and fearefull spirits, to bee soo∣ner affrighted, and dejected by comminations of judge∣ments against sinne; more feelingly to take to heart the miseries, and dangers of their naturall state; more easily to tremble and stoope under the mighty hand of God, and hammer of his Law. Guiltinesse, and horrour; damnation and hell beget in their timerous natures stronger impressions of feare: whereupon they are woont to tast deeplier of legall contrition, and remorse; and so proportionably to feel and acknowledge a grea∣ter necessity of Iesus Christ; to thirst after him more greedily, to prize him more highly; and at length to throw their trembling soules into his blessed bosome with more eagernesse, and importunity. And having once entred into the holy path, their native fearefulnesse beeing rectified, and turned the right way, they many times walke on afterward, with more feare to offend, (and happy is the man that feareth alway) more watchfulnesse over their wayes, tendernesse of consci∣ence, impatiency of losing spirituall peace, sensiblenesse of infirmities, and failings, awfulnes to Gods word, &c. 2. And because of all others, such men have most neede of lightsomnesse, and refreshing: which when carnall counsellers, & flattering mountebanks of the Ministry, labour to introduce into their darke heads, and heavy hearts by the arme of flesh, outward mirth, and such other meanes, they onely palliate, and dawbe: and are so farre from doing any true good, that thereby they drowne them many times deeper and more desperate∣ly into the dungeon of melancholy afterward. So that, a melancholicke man, let him turne him, which way, hee will, is like, without the light of grace, to live, a very mi∣serable life upon earth, and as it were in some part of hellish darkenesse: to which also at length, shalbee ad∣ded the torment, if hee dye impenitently. But now let them addresse themselves to the booke of life, and thence onely they may sucke, and bee satisfied with the breasts Page  207 of consolation: Let them leane their sorrowfull soules, improoving naturall sadnesse to mourne more heartily for sinne, upon the promises there: and every severall one will shine upon them with a particular, heavenly, and healing light, with sound, and lasting joy. All those then are starke mad, either with ignorant or learned malice, who beare the world in hand, that reading scriptures, plying the powerfull ministry, taking sinne to heart, &c. will make melancholike men mad.

If you desire to know, before I passe out of the point, the differences betweene the heavines of a melancho∣like humour, and affliction of conscience for sinne, take notice of such as these.

1 Terrour for sinne springs out of the conscience, and from the smart of a spirituall wound there: Melan∣choly dwels, and hath his chiefe c residence in the phan∣tasie: uncomfortably ouercasts, and darkens the splen∣dour, and lightsomnesse of the animall spirits in the braine.

2 The melancholike man is extremely sad, & knowes not why: Hee is full of feare, doubts, distrust, and heavi∣nesse, without any true and just ground, arising onely from the darkenesse and disorder of the phantasie, the griesly fumes of that blacke humour in the braine: But a broken heart, a thousand to one, can readily tell you, the particular sinnes, the crying abomination, the legall hammer, and ministeriall hand that made it bleed. His trouble is everp••••ase, cleare, and evident, and the greatest that ever brought misery upon mankinde; waight of sinne, and the wrath of God. A melancho∣like man will ride many miles, walke many houres, and at length bee able to giue no account of the exercise, and discourse of his minde, or what his thoughts have beene Page  208 all the while: But hee that is troubled in mind for sinne, can for the most part tell right well, and recount exactly to his spirituall physitian, the severall temptations, sug∣gestions, and injections; the hideous conflicts with Sa∣tan: His objections, exceptions, replies, dMethods, Devises, and depths, which have afflicted his heavy Spi∣rit, since the first illightening, convincing, and affrigh∣ting his awaked, and working Conscience.

3 The soule may bee seized upon with terrour of conscience, and spirituall distemper, the body being sound and in good temper; In excellency of health, puri∣ty of bloud, symmetry of parts, vivacity of spirit, &c. But the horrors of melancholy are woont to haunt corrup∣ted constitutions; where obstructions hinder the free passage of the humours, and spirits; the blood is over∣grosse, and thick, &c.

4 Melancholy makes a man almost mad with imagi∣nary feares, & strange Chymaraes of horror, which have no Beeing, but only in the monstrous compositions of a darkened and distempered Braine. He is many times by the predominancy of that cowardly humour, afraid of every man, of every thing, of any thing; of a shadow, of the shaking of a leafe, of his owne hands, of his owne heart. Hee e feares where no feare is, where there is no probabilitie, no possibility, even in the very mid∣dest of security. His feare sometimes is so extreme∣ly foolish; that hee can f heare of no fearefull thing fallen upon others, but hee thinkes verily, the ve∣ry Page  209 same thing shall befall him: so prodigious, that g some of them, thinking their feete to bee of glasse, have beene afraid to walke: Others imagining them∣selves to bee noted for lepers, durst not come into any company, &c. But now a troubled conscience is ordina∣rily fearelesse of any thing, but the anger of God. Bodi∣ly tortures, outward trouble, tyrants threats, even the Prince of terrour, death it selfe in his apprehension and eie, would bee as nothing, to the guilty glance of one cursed lust. Hee would not care, or feare though all the creatures in Christendome were turned into Beares, or Divels about him, so that all were well at home. If hee could get into his bosome that sweete peace which pas∣seth all understanding; Oh! then would hee bee more then conqverour over the whole world, and ten thou∣sand hells.

5. Melancholy may bee something abated, the braine cleared, the heart eased by the aide and excellency of the art of physicke: But in the case of a wounded con∣science, there is no helpe under heaven to bee had; No friends, or physicke, h no mirth or musicke, no princely favour or dainty fare, &c. can possibly give any ease at all. Nay they will all farre rather enrage the wound, then weaken the rage. It is Christ, Christ, and nothing but Christ, which can comfort in this confusion of spi∣rit.

3. When complaint of sinne is confusedly onely and in generall: *Many deale with God, and his ministers in Page  210 confession of their sinnes, saith a good Divine, as Nebu∣chadnezzar with his Inchanters about his dreame, that hee had dreamed; hee told them, and desired an interpre∣tation; But what his dreame was hee could not tell. So many confesse themselves sinners, and cry out that they are greiuous offenders, and desire pardon: But where∣in they have sinned, and what their sinnes are, they can∣not, or will not tell. And how is it possible the physitian should help him, who only saies, he is not well, but will not tell him where? I have sometimes visited those, who being pressed to a sight and sense of their sinnefulnesse, and cursednesse, upon purpose to fit them for Christ, have acknowledged in generall, that they were sinners, but descending to the particulars of the Law, (which was horrible to heare) iustified themselves thorow out. Of which extreme spirituall misery and prodigious madnesse, Ignorance (Tho I know Satan mannageth that, and all other advantages with all the malice, and cunning hee can possibly, to the overthrow of soules) is the principall ground; the prime, but pestilent occasi∣on: I say, Ignorance, which though it bee not perhaps so much talked of, taxed, and taken to heart as others, yet is a loude-crying sinne of the Kingdome. For it is a most incredible thing, and of infinite amazement, how universally it raignes in this glorious k noone-tide of the Gospell! And therefore musts needs prouoke God mightily, and hasten the remooving of our candlesticke. And in the meane time, besides many moe, and that dreadfull doome at last. 2. Thes. 1.7.8. it brings upon most, (more is the pitty and shame, especially so glori∣ous beames of a blessed ministry shining about us) these two speciall mischeifes; which at this time I onely men∣tion, because they serve fitliest for illustration of the Page  211 point. First, ignorant people sticking fast in his clutches, stand all, as they say, at the Divels mercy, and devotion, to do with them what he will; even as a poore helpeles Lambe in the bloody paw of a Lyon, or asilly Wren in the ravenous claw of a Kite; to slash and mangle their woful soules at his pleasure, with a cursed variety of l in∣numerable sinnes; they, in the meane time, which is the perfection of their misery, neither fearing or feeling any hurt at al, by reason of the hellish mists, and miserable le∣thargie of spirituall blindnesse, which makes them sight∣lesse, and senselesse. Secondly, when times of sorrow come upon them, when melancholy & old age growes on, and they say unto the world, upon which they have doted all their life long, I have no pleasure in thee; when losses, crosses, and heavie accidents befall them; when hideous injections, temptations to selfe-murder, despaire &c. presse them full sore; and they thereupon begin to cast about seriously, and to conceive with great terrour and anxiety of spirit, what is like to become of them in the other world: Then in such extremity, and forced by necessity, they are wont to have recourse to Ministers for ease and helpe; and alas! then we are at our wits end, as they say, and in much perplexity how to deale, and what to doe with them. For upon the first entrance in∣to a discovery of their spirituall state, wee see evidently with griefe of heart, that their m ignorance hath betrai∣ed them to the Divell, and now in the evill day exposed them to his mercilesse cruelty and cunning; even as if a man should commit a ship without sailes, rudder, pi∣lot, &c. to the rage, and roaring of the tempestuous de∣vouring sea; or put a poore weake naked man into the field against an implacable mighty adversary, com∣pleatly armed from top to toe. Wee tell them truely, that the true way to comfort, is to Repent and Beleeve. But for the first, by reason of the sottish disacquaintance with themselves, with their miserable, sinfull naturall state, and their grosse ignorance in the Law and Word Page  212 of God, they onely cry out in the generall, they are very grievous sinners; but to descend to any competent exa∣mination of the conscience, search of their soules by the sight of the law, particular survay of their sinnes, and so to speciall repentance, because, of their spirituall blinde∣nesse, they are vtterly unable. Nay many in this case are so destitute of matter of humiliation for sinne, that they can scarce tell you what sinne is. At the most, they have not learned, or thinke that there is any other breach of the seventh commandement, but the grosse acts of uncleannesse; that there is any sinne against the ninth, but giuing in false witnes against their neighbours in open Court: They looke no further into the sixth commandement, but unto the actuall bloody murder of the hand; into the third, but to blasphemy and swea∣ring; And so proportionably in the other commande∣ments. For the other also, although they have heard much of Iesus Christ, and if hee bee talkt of, pretend a very foolish and false presumption of having part in him; yet to the knowledge of his person, offices, excel∣lency, sweetnesse, effectuall ministry, and of his whole mysterie, they are meere strangers. And so, when they should now upon this occasion of trouble of mind, bee brought by knowledge and application of the Law and Gospell, through the pangs of the new-birth into the holy Path, they are to begin to learne the very first prin∣ciples of religion; in n which they have not so much Page  213 skill (I speake a reprochfull thing) as I could teach a child of five, or sixe yeares old in few daies. Now when the old red Dragon hath drawne them into the Lists, armed with all the power and policy of hell, and furnished with all his fiery darts, they are so farre from ability to put on, and manage the whole spirituall armour with dexterity, and wisedome, that they are starke Ideots and Infants, in the very speculative knowledge of the nature and vse of every piece thereof. They have no skill at all at that excellent, invincible weapon, the sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God: by which Iesus Christ foyled that foule Fiend in the most hideous and horrible o temptations, that were ever suggested to the mind of man. And therefore hee doth bring them too often thus blindfolded and baffled, to perish themselves, as they say, in a most bloody and desperat manner, both temporally, and eternally.

The Pharisies, Papists, and our ordinary Ignorants, are all fouly faulty this way. They love, and labour to enquire, and looke no further into Gods Law, then to the grosse acts, and greatest transgressions onely. If they find themselves free from these, they out of a most absurd, and sottish selfe-conceitednesse, justifie and ap∣plaud themselves, as no such dangerous and damnable Delinquents. Hence it was, that Christ teaches, and tells the Pharisies, that not onely the grosse act of adultery was to be taken notice of, but also, that even a p lascivi∣ous, and lustfull looke after a woman, was a transgressi∣on of that Law; and to be taken to heart as adultery be∣fore God. That not onely killing a man with a bloody hand, but also rash anger in the heart, railing, and revi∣ling speeches; Nay, even a frowning face, a contemptu∣ous gesture, discovering inward rancour and rage, kill the soule, and cast into hell, &c.

Hence it was, that Bellarmine, as the grand Impo∣stor, and Impoisoner, so the great Pharisie of Christen∣dome, upon his bed of death, could hardly finde what to Page  214 confesse, or any matter of absolution. Prodigious Phari∣saisme! Of which, heare some passages from the repor∣ter of his death:

qSuch was the innocency of the man, (to wit, Bellar∣mine) that albeit hee was in his perfect sense, yet could hee hardly finde what to confesse; Insomuch as his ghostly Fa∣ther was in some perplexity, as wanting matter of absolu∣tion; till by recourse to his life past, hee found some small defects, of which hee absolved him.

Now nothing troubles my conscience. For God (his goodnesse bee still rthanked therefore) hath so preserved mee hitherto, as I doe not remember in the whole course of my life, ever to have committed any scandalous action; Pag. 355. Howsholy was his life, not stained with mortal sinne? How secure a conscience, that had at his death no scruple; But for the exchange of one good worke for a∣nother &c. pag. 367. This holy man began his Prayers,tsaid the Pater noster, and Aue Maria, and began a∣gaine Page  215 the Pater noster: which beeing ended, hee said di∣stinctly the Psalme, Miserere, to the end: and beeing war∣ned to say also the Creed, &c. said it all through, and with the end of the Creed, ended his speech; Hisulast words were, vitam aeternam, Amen. pag. 387.

Hence it is, that carnall men are well enough content to heare the Commandements read, and perhaps will bee angry if at any time they bee omitted: Would you know the reason? They goe along with the Minister, and applaud themselves pharisaically all the while, say∣ing secretly, and securely to their owne soules; Wee thanke God, wee are no image-worshippers, no mur∣derers, no adulterers, &c. And so depart home from time to time, as highly conceited of themselves, and yet more damnably deceived, then that Pharisie, Luk. 18.11.12. Of whose outward, x religious, charitable, and righteous performances, they come farre short. But they cannot possibly with any patience, endure a parti∣cular unfolding, and powerfull application of Gods Law after Christs manner, Matth. 5. a punctuall sur∣vay of their sinfull states, and speciall search into their lives and hearts. This cutting, yet conscionable course, stirres up, and raises in them the ill spirits of murmuring, cavilling, reviling, and perhaps persecuting the faithfull Messengers of God, as a generation of terrible Teach∣ers. To expositions, exercises, and considerations of this nature, they are drawne with very ill will, and much a∣doe; even as a bankrout to his counting-booke, a foule face to the looking-glasse, and a Traytour to the racke.

By reason of this affected ignorance in the Law of God, and lothnesse to descend to particulars, it comes to passe, that many in trouble of minde complaine in ge∣nerall of sinne onely, and confusedly. And thereupon, as though they were competently cast downe, expect comfort; and perhaps many draw it from some Daw∣bers: Whereas particularizing of our sinnes, is a nece∣sary precedent, and preparative to a sound humiliation.

Page  216And therefore in this case wee must deale with such, as Surgeons are wont to doe with a tumour, or swelling in the body: Who first apply to the affected place drawing, and ripening plaisters to bring the sore to an head, that the corruption may have issue, and then heale: So a generall complaint of sinne, and confused griefe, must bee reduced to particulars. It is a principle in the mysterie of Christ resolved upon by best Divines, rightly instructed to the Kingdome of Heaven: That a confused acknowledgement, and generall repentance onely for knowne sinnes is never sound and saving; But onely common, formall, perfunctory, and that of counterfeite Converts, not truly touched with sense of their sinnes, nor heartily resolved to forsake their pleasures. If they can bee first brought to the sight, sense, and acknowledge∣ment of some one speciall notorious sinne, which hath most reigned in their heart, life, o calling; and bee in some good measure illightened, convinced, and terrified about the hainousnesse, and horrible guilt of it, it may bee a good meanes by Gods blessing, to bring in the rest. For ordinarily true repentance is first occasioned by some one speciall sinne laid to heart. The Apostles, Act. 2. doe specially presse the murder of Christ upon the Iewes. Christ himselfe adultery upon the Woman of Samaria, Ioh. 4. Samuel, Idolatry upon the Israe∣lites, 1. Sam. 7. The sin of asking a King, chap. 12. Ezra, taking strange wives: Ezra 10. Nehemiah, usury: chap. 5. &c.

To further the worke of a more particular setting their sinnes in order before their eyes; it were much to bee wished, and a very happy thing, if all the wounded consciences, and troubled in minde wee meete with, were furnished before-hand, with a competent specula∣tive knowledge, at the least of the particulars in Gods Law, exorbitant passages of their life, and grosse cor∣ruptions of their hearts. Wee might so, by Gods helpe, more easily bring them to particular remorse, and fit Page  217 them sooner, and more seasonably for comfort. We find a most hard, and right heavy taske, to encounter the Divels devises, wiles and depths, in a poore, distressed, tempted Ignorant.

4. When the party is dejected for some notorious sinne onely. It is x sometimes seene in meere civell men, that having a long time preserved their reputations en∣tire and unstained, in the eye of the world, from grosse and notable enormities; and yet after foulely shaming themselues in the sight of men by some infamous fall, seeme to take on much, as tho they were truly troubled with the remorse; whereas perhaps the present hearts-griefe ariseth rather from losse of credit, then wound of conscience (tho to favour their credit, they cunningly father it upon conscience). Or let them bee indeed af∣frighted very grievously for a time with the horrour of that one sin; yet stay the cry, and abate the rage of that One with some superficiall comfort, and they are hea∣led, and put into an happy case in their owne conceite, and in the opinion also perhaps of their unskilfull Phy∣sition; tho they search no further, and dive no deeper into the loathsome Dunghill of those many abomina∣ble lusts, and corruptions in their heart and life, of which they are as full as the skinne will hold.

Now it is a foule and fearefull over-sight in a Mini∣ster; nay, it may proove an errour stained with spiritu∣all bloodshed, to promise pardon to such partiall Pe∣nitents.

Suppose a man sicke of a Plurisie, should send to a Physition, and tell Him, Hee is sore troubled with a Page  218 Cough, and intreate His help, concealing other y signes and symptomes, which ordinarily accompany that dis∣ease; as His short and difficult breathing, the stinging stitch in His side, &c. The Physition may addresse Him∣selfe to cure the Cough, and yet the Patient die of an inflammation seized upō the membrane girding the ribs and side. It is proportionably so in the present Point. A man may complaine, and cry out, houle and take on extremely for some one horrible hainous sinne, and that may bee well; but except hee proceede to a further discovery, and sorrow proportionable for his other knowne sinnes, they will bee the destruction, and death of His Soule. If a dozen Theeves bee entred in∣to thy house, it is not enough for Thee to lay hold on the Captaine Thiefe onely, and thrust Him out at doores: If Thou suffer but one of them to lurke in any corner undiscovered, and not turned out, Hee will serue the turne to cut thy throate, and take away thy trea∣sure. Crying out of one capitall sinne onely is not suf∣ficient: wee must confesse and forsake* all, if wee looke to find mercy: Prou. 28.13.

And yet here I would have no true Penitent deje∣cted, or mistake: the bare omission of some particular sinnes, in this case is not ever damnable. For wee must know, that if a man deale truly with his owne heart in a sincere acknowledgement, confession, and repentance for discovered and knowne sinnes; (and Hee ought to labour, by clearing the eye of naturall conscience, and industrious inspection into Gods pure Law, to know as many as may bee) and for all those that come into His minde, when Hee sets himselfe apart, solemnely to hum∣ble and afflict His Soule before God; (and Hee ought to remember as many as Hee can possibly) I say, if so, then for secret and unknowne sinnes, which are com∣mitted in weakenesse and ignorance, the Lord accep∣teth a generall confession, as wee see in Davids pra∣ctise, Psalm. 19.12. Who can understand His errours? Page  219 Cleanse thou mee from secret faults. Sinnes there are many, and that in the best men, which are not onely un∣noted of others, and free from the worlds observation, but even unknowne to a mans owne selfe, and invisible to the watchfullest eye of the most waking conscience; which notwithstanding are clearely subject to the search of Gods All-seeing eye, and to the censure of His pure Majesty: For Hell and destruction are before the Lord, how much more the secretest waies of the sonnes of men? Sinnes there are also, which even in the zea∣lous exercise, and holy worke of Repentance, may not come into the consideration and remembrance of one truly Penitent; which if Hee could recover into his me∣mory, Hee would heartily, and with much indignation acknowledge, bewaile and detest: So un-numbred are the cursed by-paths of mens crooked wayes. But for both these sorts of sinnes, I must say thus much for the comfort of the true Convert; that both those unknowne sins which Hee commits of ignorance, if He truly repent for all His knowne sinnes, and labour with sincerity and zeale for further illumination of conscience, and fuller revelation of every corrupt Passage both in heart & life, in judgement and practise; and those sins of knowledge also, which came not into his minde, if with diligence, and without dissimulation, with hearty prayer, and best intention of spirit, He endeavour to recover them into His memory, that Hee might also mourne for, and mor∣tifie them with the rest; carrying ever in His heart this resolution, that as any sinne shall bee discovered to His conscience, or returne into His mind, Hee will abomi∣nate and abandon it; I say, both these kinds of sinnes (it is a Pearle for the true Penitent, let no stranger meddle with it) to such an one, upon such conditions are most certainely washed away by Christs blood, and Gods free mercy, upon His generall confession and repen∣tance. Davids Petition, O cleanse thou mee from my secret faults, did assuredly prevaile with God for the Page  220 forgivenesse of all His unknowne sinnes, and shall bee powerfull for that end, to the worlds end, to all those that so pray, with Davids spirit and sincerely.

Besides these two cases; first, want of knowledge; and secondly, want of remembrance in the sense I have said: There is also a third, and that is, thirdly, want of time: which if truly so, doth also sometimes excuse the omission of some particular sinnes. As wee may see in the Thiefe upon the Crosse. For want of leisure, Hee could not possibly punctually revise His vile abomina∣ble life, nor peruse with remorse all the particulars of His former, wicked, and abhorred courses. But He had infused into His Soule by Iesus Christ an habituall a grace of true Repentance; which if Hee had lived, would have carried Him faithfully along over all the notorious Passages of His lewd and lothsome life, with a truly contrite, broken, and bleeding Soule. So that, if Hee had had space, I doubt not, but Hee would have prooved a very eminent, extraordinary, and exemplary Penitent. And therefore the Lord in mercy, did grati∣ously b accept the desire and purpose, the inclination and preparation of His heart that way.

But to returne to the Point, and give my advise in the Case proposed:

Let the Party, who so takes on for some notorious sin only, and there takes up His rest, be told; That tho He dwell with deepest sighes, heaviest heart and saltest teares, upon some of His greatest and most speciall sinnes; yet the rest must by no meanes bee neglected. Page  221 That which is most crying, and crimson, must serve as a Cryer, that I may so speake, to summon the rest into the Court of Conscience, and as a Remembrancer to bring them to minde and remorse: As Davids murder and adultery brought even His Birth-sinne into His memo∣ry: Psalm. 51. And that sinne of strange wives many other sinnes to Ezra's minde, Ezra 9. When a father beates His childe for some one speciall fault, He is wont to remember unto Him, and reckon with Him for ma∣ny former mis-demeanours also. When a Bankrout is once clapt up for one principall debt, the rest of His Creditours ordinarily come thicke and threefold upon Him. When once Thou begins to reckon with thy conscience for some one extraordinary rebellion, never cease untill thou hast searcht thorowly, and ransackt it to the bottome, that it may smart soundly, before Thou hast done, with penitent anguish, and true remorse for all thy other sinfull corruptions also. When horror for some one hainous sinne hath seiz'd upon thy heart, fol∣low Gods blessed hand leading thee to conversion, and thorow the Pangs of the New-birth to unspeakeable and glorious joy, by giving way to all the rest, to bring in their severall inditements against thy Soule. And bee not afraid thus to arraigne, cast and condemne thy Selfe as guilty of innumerable sinnes, and worthy ten thou∣sand Hells, before Gods just Tribunall. For then shalt thou there most certainely find a gracious Advocate at His right hand; To whom if Thou make sute, and seeke in truth, Hee will by the plea and price of His owne pretious blood, sue out a pardon for thine everlasting peace. When the guilty rage of thy raigning corrupti∣on begins to presse upon thy conscience, lay on loade, and more weight still by a penitent addition, and paine∣full apprehension of all thy other sinnes, that growing very sensible of thy spirituall slavery, weary of the Dun∣geon of lewdnesse and lust, sensuality and death, where∣in the Divell hath kept Thee long; and thine heart be∣ing Page  222 happily broken and bruised to the bottome, and scorch'd, as it were, in some measure with Hellish flames of guilty horrour; c Thou mayst see, and feele the grea∣ter necessity of Iesus Christ, set Him at an higher price; with more eagernesse and impatiency thirst for His righteousnesse, and blood; long for spirituall enlarge∣ment, more then for worlds of pleasures, glory, or wealth; rellish the hidden Manna of the promises most kindlily, and cast thy wounded and bleeding Soule with more delight and sweetnesse, into His blessed armes of mercy and love. For, O how acceptable is the Fountaine of living waters, saith a worthy Divine, to the chased Hart panting, and braying? The blood of Christ to the weary and tired Soule? To the thirsty con∣science scorched with the sense of Gods wrath? Hee that presents Him with it, How welcome is Hee? Even as a speciall choise man, One of a thousand. The deeper is the sense of misery, the sweeter is the sense of mercy. The Traytour laid downe upon the blocke, is more sensible of His Soveraignes mercy in pardoning, then Hee, who is not yet attached. — In our dead security before conver∣sion, God is faine to let the Law, Sinne, Conscience, Satan, a deepe sense of our abominable and cursed state loose upon us, and to kindle the verydfire of Hell in our soules, that so wee might bee rouzed, and afterward more sweet∣ly and soundly raised and refreshed. For after the most toylesome labour is the sweetest sleepe, after the greatest tempests the stillest calmes. Sanctified troubles and ter∣rours establish the surest peace. And the shaking of these windes makes the trees of Gods Eden take the deeper ro∣ting.

I confesse, that commonly true Converts at the first touch, and turning, and after too, cry out most of, and are extraordinarily troubled with some One capitall sin, and that which in their dayes of darknesse and vanitie, Page  223 wasted their conscience most, and detained them with strongest entisements, and hold-fast in the Divels bon∣dage. Hence it was, that Zacchaeus was so ready, and willing to restore fourefold, that so Hee might bee rid of the sting and horrour of His former raigning sinne, Luk. 19.8. That blessed Paul, as it seemes, amongst other dreadfull apprehensions of His former unregene∣rate courses, was so much vexed and wounded in heart, for that Hee had been a Persecuter, 1. Timoth. 1.13. 1. Cor. 15.9. But yet should they take-on never so much, houle and roare for that one sinne; if besides, they did not by the conduct of the blessed Spirit, de∣scend also to a more particular acknowledgement, con∣fession and repentance of all other knowne sinnes, (and they ought, by clearing the eye of naturall conscience, industrious inspection into the pure Cristall of Gods Law, discover as many as they can possibly) all were no∣thing. Hee which is grieved, say Divines, for one sinne truly, and unfainedly from His heart, will proportionably bee grieved for all the sinnes that Hee knoweth to bee in Himselfe. If wee favour any one sinne in our heart, or life, or calling, wee cannot enjoy Gods favour. If there bee any sensuall lust, or secret corruption, which a man purposely labours to cover and conceale from Gods pure eye, the search of His Word, and mortifying grace; what hope can Hee have, that it is covered with the blood of Christ from the wrath that is to come, or warranted by any promise of grace from the damnation of Hell? In a true Penitent, there ought to bee an ut∣ter cessation from all grosse abandonable sinnes, and at least dis-allowance, dis-affection, and all possible oppo∣sition, even to un-avoidable infirmities, and inseparable frailties of the flesh.

5. Fiftly, when the Physition of the Soule promiseth mercy and pardon hand over head, without that spiri∣tuall discretion, which is convenient for a matter of so great consequence, and requiring such a deale of dexte∣rity Page  224 in discerning, to a man upon His Bed of death, who hath formerly bin notorious, or onely civill, howsoever a meere stranger to the power of godlines, and the truth of Profession, because now in the evill Day, He takes on extremely, by reason of His extremity; cries out of his sins; O I am an hainous, horrible and grievous sinner! If I were to live againe, what would not I doe? A World for comfort now, and to die the death of the righteous: because Hee Howles vpon His bed, as the Prophet speaketh, and breakes out oftentimes into a roaring complaint of sinne, and cry for pardon, by reason Hee now begins to feare and feele the revenging hand of God ready to seize upon Him for his former rebellions, &c. Or when Hee assures Him, having been a formall Professour onely, and foolish Virgine, of blisse and glory; because out of a former habituated spirituall Selfe-deceite, Hee cries, Lord, Lord; seemes to by-standers very confident, that He shal presently receive a Crowne of life, thankes God that nothing troubles Him; Pro∣fesses to every one that comes to visite Him, that Hee believes and repents with all His heart, forgives all the world, makes no doubt of Heaven, &c.

Here by the way, wee must take notice, that many having out-stood the day of their gratious visitation, having neglected so great salvation, forsaken their owne mercy, and iudged themselues unworthy of everlasting life, all their life long, by standing out against the Mini∣stry of the Word, in respect of any saving worke upon their soules; and now at length beeing overtaken after the short gleame of worldly prosperity, with the boy∣sterous winter-night of death, and darkenesse of the evill day, may keepe a great stirre upon their dying-Beds, or in some great extremity, with grievous com∣plaints of their present intolerable misery, and former sinfull courses procuring it, with incessant cries for ease and deliverance, being now caught like wilde Bulls in a Nt full of the wrath of God, with earnest and eager u∣ing Page  225 and seeking for pardon and salvation, now when worldly pleasures are past; and yet bee not truly peni∣tent, not soundly and savingly humbled, not rightly fit∣ted for Christ and comfort. Consider for this purpose, Prov. 1.24.28. In the day of visitation, God called up∣on them, and stretched out His hands, but they refused, did not regard; set at naught all His counsell, and would none of His reproofe: And therefore in the Day of vex∣ation, when extremity and anguish shall come upon them, like a Thiefe in the night, a whirle-winde, travaile upon a woman, suddenly, extremely, un-avoidably, Hee professeth before-hand, that then they shall call upon Him, but Hee will not answer;eThey shall seeke Him early, but they shall not find Him. Psal. 78.34.35.36.37. When Gods hand was upon them, then they*sought him: and they returned, and enquired early after God, &c. Neverthelesse, they did flatter him with their mouth: and they lyed unto Him with their tongues. For their heart was not right with Him, &c. Hos. 7.14. They how∣led upon their Beds. Will not a Dog or a Beast, or any unreasonable creature, when they are pinched, when they are in extremity, will they not cry, will they not mourne for helpe, &c. Their cries in the evill Day were not hearty prayers, but Howlings upon their Beds. Their earnestnesse in such a case is ordinarily like the teares, prayers, and cryes of a malefactour newly condemned. Hee is very earnest with the Iudge to spare Him. Hee roares out sometimes, and takes on extremely, yet Page  226 not heartily for his former lewdnesse, but horribly, be∣cause Hee must now loose His life. Hee seemes now, when Hee sees His misery to relent, and to bee toucht with remorse, but it is onely because hee is like to bee hanged. Againe, many there are, who satisfying them∣selves and others, with a goodly shew of a Forme onely of godlines, may upon their last Bed discover, and repre∣sent to By-standers, a great deale of fearelesnesse about their spirituall state, much f confidence, many ostentati∣ons of Faith, and full assurance, and behave themselves, as tho they were most certainely going to everlasting blisse, when as, God knowes, their Answer at His just Tribunall must bee, I know you not: And in truth and triall, they have no more part in Christ, nor other porti∣on in Heaven, then the foolish Virgins, and those, Luk. 13.26.27. They are so confident, not because they have escaped the danger, but because they never saw the danger. And hence it is, that many of them die with as much confidence, as the best Christians; they have no more trouble then holy men. To bee sure I am free from danger, and not to know it, may beget equall confi∣dence.

Now concerning the present Case, I must tell you, that for my part, I would not much alter my censure and conceite of a Man's spirituall state, whom I have thorowly knowne before for the manner of His death. The end of Gods dearest servant, after an holy life and unblame-able conversation, may not appeare in the eye of man so calme and comfortable, as was expected; by reason of much tendernesse of conscience, some strong temptation, spirituall desertion, violent distemper of Body; or because God would have the manner of His death serue the glory of His justice, in hardning those about him, who were so farre from being won by His godly life, that they heartily hated it; or for some other secret and sacred end seene, and seeming good to Divine wisedome, who ever disposeth every circumstance, even Page  227 of the least affaire most sweetly and wisely. And yet this, as it doth not prejudice His salvation, neither should it His Christian reputation. Heare that great g Doctor in the Art of rightly comforting afflicted consciences. But what if you should die in this discomfort? For my part (as I my selfe looke for no great things in my death) I would not thinke more hardly of you; neither would I wish any to iudge otherwise of Gods Childe in that state of death: For wee shall not bee iudged according to that particular instant of death, but according to our generall course of life; not according to our deede in that present, but according to the desire of our hearts ever before: And therefore wee are not to mistrust Gods mercy in death, bee wee never so uncomfortable, if so bee it hath been before sealed in our vocation and sanctification.* On the other∣side, a notorious wretch which hath swumme downe the current of the times, and wallowed in worldly plea∣sures all his life long, may seeme to die penitently and resoluedly to bee reformed, if Hee recover; and yet His sorrow of minde, but such onely as the terrours of an awaked guilty conscience produce; and His resolution to cast away His sinnes, onely such, as a man hath in a storme to cast away His goods, not because hee doth not love them, but because hee feareth to loose his life, if hee part not with them. Or a meere civill Man, or formall Professour, may upon His Bed of death bee ve∣ry confident, and seeme to bee full of comfort; and yet that confidence no other, then the strong imaginary ioy∣full conceit of a covetous man grasping a great deale of gold in his dreame, but when Hee awaketh, behold, his hands are empty.

For a more full and cleare apprehension of my mea∣ning and iudgement in the Point, let us take a survay of the different and severall kinds of death, which ordina∣rily befall the Godly, and the wicked.

The death of Gods Children are divers.

1. Some of their holy and zealous lives doe deter∣mine Page  228 and expire sweetly, fairely, and gloriously, even like a cleare Sunne in a Summers evening, without any storme, or cloud of temptation and discomfort. The darkesome and painefull passages and pangs of death are illightened, and sweetned with the shining beames of Gods glorious presence, and fast embracement of Ie∣sus Christ in the armes of their Faith. So that to them, the very ioyes of Heaven, and exultations of everlasting rest mingle themselues, with those last agonies, and ex∣pirations of death. Their heads are, as it were, crowned with immortality, and endlesse peace upon their beds of death. Luther, that blessed Man of God, died sweet∣ly h and triumphantly over Hell, the Pope, and the Di∣vell: iMy heavenly Father, (said Hee at his death) eter∣nall and mercifull God, thou hast manifested unto me thy deare Son, our Lord Iesus Christ. I have taught him, I have knowne him, I love him as my life, my health, and my redemption: whom the wicked have persec••ed, maligned, and with iniury afflicted. Draw my Soule to Thee. After this, Hee said as insued thrice. I commend my spirit into thine hands, thou hast redeemed mee, O God of truth. God so loved the world, that hee gave his onely Sonne, that all that beleeve in Him should have life everlasting. Ioh. 3. Page  229 Heare how another blessed k Saint of God ended his dayes: Having the day before hee died continued his me∣ditation and exposition vpon Rom. 8. for the space of two houres, or more, on the sudden Hee said; O stay your reading! What brightnesse is this I see? Have you light up any candles? To which I answered, No; It is the Sun-shine, for it was about five a clocke in a cleare Summers evening. Sun-shine, saith Hee, nay, my Savi∣our-shine. Now farewell world, welcome heaven; The Day-starre from on high hath visited my heart. O speake it when I am gone, and preach it at my Funerall, God dealeth familiarly with man. I feele his mercy, I see his Maiesty; whether in the body, or out of the body, I can∣not tell, God hee knoweth; but I see things that are un-ut∣terable. So, ravished in spirit, Hee roamed toward hea∣ven, with a chearefull looke, and soft sweete voyce, but what Hee said, wee could not conceive.—With the Sunne in the morning following, raising himselfe, as Iacob did upon his staffe, hee shut up his blessed life, with these blessed words: O what an happy change shall I make? From night to day? From darkenesse to light? From death to life? From sorrow to solace? From a factious world to an heavenly beeing? O my deare brethren, sisters, and friends! It pittieth mee to leave you behind: yet remember my death when I am gone, and what I now feele, I hope you shall finde, ere you die, that God doth, and will deale familiarly with men. And now thou fiery Chariot, that came downe to feth up Eliah, carry mee to my happy Hold: And all yee blessed An∣gels, who attended the Soule of Lazarus, to bring it up to heaven, beare mee, O beare mee into the bosome of my Best beloved. Amen, Amen, come Lord Iesus, come quickly. And so hee fell asleepe. That this is true, the l reporter and By-stander, that ancient learned re∣verend Minister of God, Master Leygh addeth: I say the truth, my Brethren, I lie not, my conscience bearing mee witnesse in the holy Ghost, &c.

Page  2302. Others may end their dayes very uncomfortably in ravings, impatiencies, and other strange behaviours. Nay, the fiery distempers of their hot diseases, may sometimes, even in the Saints of God, produce furlous carriages, fearefull distractions, and some despairefull speeches. But these being the naturall effects and issues of melancholike excesses, Phrensies, and burning Fe∣vers, are sins of infirmity in sanctified men. For which, if they come againe to themselves, they actually repent; if not, they are all undoubtedly, by a generall habituall repentance, and Gods gratious acceptation thereof, par∣doned by the Passion of Christ, and buried for ever in his bloody death. That last and unreversable doome, at the dreadfull Tribunall of the ever-living God must passe upon us; not according to the violent, and unvolun∣tary distempers at our last houre, but according to the former Passages of our life; the sinfull, or sanctified ex∣pense of the daies of health. Heare that other o great Artist in the Mysterie of dealing with trouble conscien∣ces. The common opinion is, that if a man die quietly, and goe away like a Lambe, (which in some diseases, as consumptions, and such like, any Man may doe) then hee goes straight to heaven: but if the violence of the disease stirre up impatience, and cause franticke behaviours, then men use to say, there is a judgement of God serving either to discover an Hypocrite, or to plague a wicked man. But the truth is otherwise: For indeede a man may die like a lambe, and yet goe to Hell: and one dying in exceeding torments, and strange behauiours of the body, may goe to heaven.

3. The death of some others is mixt, to wit, of feare∣full tempestuous stormes, and almost, if not altogether, despairefull agonies, in the beginning of their last sick∣nesse, and a faire refreshing glorious calme, and ioyfull triumphs over temptations, and feare, towards the con∣clusion of their life. For some secret end and holy pur∣pose seeming good to his heavenly wisedome, God suf∣fers Page  231 sometimes even his dearest servants, to taste, as it were, of the fire of Hell, and for a while to feele in their consciences, those damned flames, as a preparative to drinke more sweetly of the Well of life, and Rivers of endlesse pleasures. So himselfe is most honoured, by helping when all hope is past: The heart of his Child more ravisht with the first sight of those un-utterable joyes, beeing suddenly rais'd to the height of happinesse, from the depth of horrour: The enemies to the narrow way dasht and confounded, by observing his delive∣rance, whom, out of prophane blindnesse, they dee∣med an Hypocrite: Godly Christians gratiously re∣viv'd, when they see, That tho the Lord hide His face from his Childe for a moment, yet at last with everlasting kindnesse will Hee have mercy on Him. And that Hee will never utterly, and finally forsake any of His. Thus died those blessed Servants of God, Mistris Bretergh, Master Peacock, &c. Mistris Bretergh in the heate of temptatiō, wished that she had never bin borne, or that she had bin made any other creature, rather then a woman: But when that Hellish storme was over-blowne by the returne of the glorious beames of the Sun of righteous∣nesse into Her Soule; She turnd her tune, and triumphed thus: Oh happy am I, that ever I was borne, to see this bles∣sed Day! I confesse before the Lord his loving kindnesse, and his wonderfull workes before the sons of men: For hee hath satisfied my Soule, and filled my hungry Soule with goodnesse.

Master Peacocke in the height of His dreadfull De∣sertion, told those about Him, that hee converst with Hell-ounds; That the Lord had cursed him; That Hee had no grace: That it was against the course of Gods pro∣ceeding, to save Him, &c. But when that horrible tem∣pest of spirituall terrours was happily disperst; and the light of Gods comfortable countenance begun to shine againe upon His most heavy and afflicted spirit; Hee dis-avowed all inconsiderate speeches, as hee called Page  232 them, in his temptation, and did humbly and heartily aske mercy of God for them all; And did thus triumph: What should I extoll the magnificence of God, which is un∣speakeable, and more then any heart can conceive? Nay ra∣ther let us with humble reverence acknowledge His great mercy. What great cause have I to magnifie the great goodnesse of God, that hath humbled, Nay rather exal∣ted such a wretched miscreant, of so base condition to an e∣state so glorious and stately! The Lord hath honored mee with his goodnesse: I am sure, hee hath provided a glori∣ous Kingdome for mee: The joy which I feele in my heart is uncredible.

4. Some of Gods worthiest Champions, and most zealous servants doe not answere the unreprooveable sanctity of their life, and unspotted current of their for∣mer conversation, with those proportionable extraordi∣nary comforts, and glorious Passages upon their beds of death, which in ordinary congruity might be expected, as a conuenient conclusion to the rare and remarkeable Christian cariages of such blessed Saints. So bottomlesse and infinitely un-fathomable by the utmost of all crea∣ted vnderstandings are the depths of Gods most holy waies, and His inscrutable Counsells, quite contrary ma∣ny times to the probable conclusions of Man's best wis∣dome. But every one of His, sith he certainly passes tho∣row those pangs into pleasures and joyes endlesse and unspeakeable, must be content to glorifie God, & to be seruiceable to His secret ends, with what kinde of death Hee please: whether it bee glorious and untempted: or discomfortable, because of Bodily distempers, and con∣sequently interpretable by undiscerning spirits: or min∣gled of temptations, and Triumphs: or ordinary, and without any great shew, or remarkeable speeches, af∣ter extraordinary singularities of an holy life, which promised an end of speciall note, and admiration.

Why may not some worthy heavenly-minded Chri∣stians sometimes by strong mortifying meditations, and Page  233 many conquering fore-conceits of death in their life time, make it before-hand so familiar and easie unto them, an by continuall conversing above, and constant peace of conscience, taste so deepely of spirituall ioyes, that that dreadfull Passage out of this life, as it may breede no great sense of alteration in themselves, so no extraordinary matter of speciall observation to others.

Of the wicked, and those, who were ever strangers to the mystery of Christ and truth of godlinesse:

Some die desperately. Tho thousands perish by m presumption, to One of these who despaire; yet some there are, to whom upon their beds of death all their sins are set in order before them, and represented to the eie of their awaked consciences in such griesly formes and so terribly, that at the very first and fearefull sight, they are presently struck starke dead in soule and spirit, utterly over-whelmed and quite swallowed up with guilty and desperate horrour. So that afterward, No counsell, or comfort; no consideration of the immea∣surablenesse of Gods mercy, of the unvaluablenesse and omnipotency, that I may so speak, of Christs bloud shed, of the variety & excellency of gracious promises, of the losse of their owne immortall soules, can possibly drive and divert from that infinitely n false conceite, and cursed Cry; My sinnes are greater, then can bee pardo∣ned. Whereupon most miserable, and forlorne wret∣ches, they very wickedly, and willfully throw them∣selves into Hell, as it were, upon earth, and are damned above ground. Thus the Lord sometimes for the terror of others, glorifying his owne iustice, & bringing exem∣plary confusion upon impenitent obstinacy in sinne, and willfull opposition to grace, doth in greatest indignati∣on by the hand of divine vengeance, unclaspe unto Page  234 them, the Booke of their owne Conscience, and of His owne holy Law. In one of which they find, now at length, all their innumerable iniquities, transgressions and sinnes engraven with the Point of a diamond, enra∣ged with Gods implacable wrath, aggravated with the utmost malice of Satan; And never to bee razed out, or remitted, but by the bloud of the Son of God, in which they peremptorily professe themselves to have no part. In the other, they see the fiercenes, and fulnesse of all the curses, plagues and torments denounced there, and due unto all impenitent sinners, ready to bee poured upon their bodies and soules for ever; And no possibility to prevent them, no waies to decline them, but by Gods infinite bounty thorow Iesus Christ, in which they also utterly disclaime all right and interest. And therefore they are now finally, and desperately resolved to looke for no mercy: But in their owne judgement, and by their owne confession▪ stand reprobates from Gods co∣venant, and voide of all hope of His inheritance, ex∣pecting with unspeakeable terrour and amazement of spirit, the consummation of their miserie, and fearefull sentence of eternall damnation. They are commonly such, o as have been grosse Hypocrites like Iudas, and lien in some secret abomination against the know∣ledge of their hearts, all their life long; that have fol∣lowed still their owne sensuall wayes, and course of the world against the light of the Ministry, standing like an armed man in their consciences to the contrary; who have been Scorners and Persecutours of the power of godlinesse, and the good way; who have abjured the Gospell of Iesus Christ, and forsaken the Truth for ho∣nour, wealth, or worldly happinesse: To whom the Lord in their life-time vouchsafed many mercies, much prosperity, great meanes of salvation, long forbearance, &c. And yet they stood out still they still hated to bee reformed, set as naught all His counsell, and would 〈◊〉 of His •• proofe. Wherefore the Day of gratious visita∣tion Page  235 beeing once expired, a thousand Worlds▪ will not purchase it againe; Heaven and Earth cannot recall it. No mercy, no comfort, no blessing can then bee had, tho they seeke it with teares and yelling. They shall never more bee heard, tho with much violence they throw their serikings into the Aire and cry with sighes and groanes, as piercing as a sword. Not, but that the Gates of Heaven, and armes of mercy may stand wide open, untill their last breath: But alas! They have al∣ready so hardened their hearts, that they cannot repent. After thine hardnesse,* saith Paul, and heart, that cannot repent. They now but howle upon their Beds, they doe not cry unto God with their heart; as the Prophet speakes, Hos. 7.14. Their earnest and early crying in this last extremity, is onely because▪ Their feare is come upon them as desolution, and their destruction as a whirle∣winde. When they cast out their considerations for comfort. It is not the whole Creation can possibly help them; for they must stand or fall to the Tribunall of the everlasting God, mighty and terrible, the Creator of the ends of the Earth. If they looke up to God the Fa∣ther; that Prov. 1.24.26. comes presently into their heads with much horrour, and quite kills their hearts: Because Hee hath called all our life long, and all that goodly time wee refused; Hee will laugh now at our calamity, and mocke when our feare is come. Iesus Christ, as they strongly conceive, and un-mooveably conclude against themselves, hath now to them for ever closed up His wounds as it were, and will not afford them one drop of His blood; because they have so of∣ten, by comming unworthily, spilt it in the Sacrament, persecuted Him in His members, and despised Him in the Ministry. The blessed Spirit, because in the Day of visitation they repelled all his inward warnings and ho∣ly motions, preferring Satans impure suggestions, before His sacred inspirations, doth now in their own acknow∣ledgement, by the equity of a just proportion, in Page  236 this Day of vexation, leave them to eat the fruit of their former wilfulnesse, and reape the reward of their owne wayes. Thus these forlorne wretches are disclaimed, forsaken, and abandoned of Heaven and Earth, God and Man; of all the comforts in this life, and blessings of the World to come. And so by finall despairing of Gods mercy, the o greatest of sinnes, they most unhap∣pily, and cursedly follow Iudas the worst of men, into the darkest and most damned nooke in Hell.

2. Others die senselesly and blockishly. They de∣meane themselues, upon their dying Beds, as tho there were no immortality of the Soule, no Tribunall aboue, no strict account to bee given up there for all things done in the flesh, no everlasting estate in the world to come; wherein every one must either lie in unspeake∣able paines, or live in un-utterable pleasures. In their life time, they were never woont to tremble at Gods judg∣ments, or rejoyce in his promises, or much trouble themselves with the ministry of the Word, or about the state of their soules. All was one to them, what Minister they had, whether a Man taught to the king∣dome of Christ, or a generall Teacher, or an ignorant Mangler of the word, or a dissolute fellow, or a Daw∣ber with untempered morter, or a dumbe Dog. If they were neither Whores nor Thieves, but well accounted Page  237 of amongst their neighbours, thriued in the world, pros∣pered in their outward state, prouided for posterity, slept in a whole skinne, were not vexed on the Lords day with any of these precise Trouble-townes: They were well enough, and had all they looked for, either in this world, or in the world to come. Wherefore at their death by reason of their former disacquaintance with spirituall things, and God not opening their eies, they are neither afflicted with any feare of Hell; or affected with any hope of Heaven; they are both un-apprehensive of their present danger, and fearelesse of the fiery lake, into which they are ready to fall. In these regards, they are utterly untouched, die most quietly, and without any trouble at all. And it is their ordinary Answere, when they are questioned about their spirituall state, and How it stands with them betweene God and their owne Consciences; I thanke God nothing troubles me. Which, tho they thinke it makes much for their owne credit, yet alas! It is small comfort to judicious By-standers, and such as wish well to their Soules; But rather a fearefull confir∣mation, that they are finally giuen ouer to the spirit of slumber, and sealed up by divine q justice, in the sottish∣nesse and security of their owne senselesse hearts, for most deserved condemnation. Thus these men, as One speakes, live like stocks, and die like blocks. And yet the ignorant people, saith Greeneham, will still commend such fearefull deaths, saying, He departed as meekely, as a Lambe, Hee went away as a bird in a shell; when they might as well say, (but for their featherbed, and their pil∣low) hee dyed like a beast, and perished like an Oxe in a ditch.

3. Others die formally; I meane they make very Page  238 goodly shewes and representations of much confidence and comfort. Having formerly beene formall Profes∣sours, and so furnished with many formes of godly spee∣ches▪ and outward Christian behaviours; And the spirit of delusion, and spirituall Selfe-cousenage, wich in their life time detained them in constancy of security, and selfe-conceitednesse about the spirituall safty of their soules, p without any such doubts, troubles, feares, tem∣ptations, which are woont to haunt those who are true of heart, (for ordinarily such is the peace of unsound Professors) continuing their imaginary groundlesse per∣svasion and presumption in the height and strength un∣to the end, for their very last breath may bee spent in saying Lord Lord open unto us, as wee see in the foolish Virgines, and those, Mat. 7. I say such men as these, thus wofully deluded and fearefully deceiving others, may cast out upon their last beds many glorious speeches▪ in∣timating much seeming confidence of a good estate to God-ward, contempt of the world, willingnesse to die, readinesse to forgiue all the world, hope to bee saved, desire to bee dissolved, and goe to Heaven, &c. They may cry aloud with a great deale of formall confidence, Lord, Lord,q Mercy, Mercy in the name of Christ, Lord Iesus receive our spirits, &c. And yet all these goodly hopes, and earnest eiaculations, growing onely from a forme, & not from the power of godlines, are but, as I said somewhere before, as so many catchings and scrablings of a Man over-head in water; He strugles and strives for hold to save Himself, but he graspes nothing but water; it is still water, which He catches, and therefore sinkes and drownes. They are all but as a spiders web, Iob. 8. 14.15. Vpon which, One falling from the top of an house, laies hold by the way, for stay and support. Hee Page  239 shall leae upon his house,*but it shall not stand; He shall hold it fast, but it shall not endure. O how many descend faitl an ancient Father, with this hope to eternall tra∣uailes and torment? How many saith an * other worthy Doctour, goe to Hell with a vaine hope of Heaven: whose chiefest cause of damnation is their false persuasion and groundlesse presumption of salvation?* Of all the foure kindes of death, which ordinarily befall such as are not saved, this is the fairest in shew; but yet of greatest im∣posture to those about them, and of most pestilent con∣sequence to harden especially all of the same humour, that heare of it.

4. Some die Penitently: But I meane seemingly so, not savingly. Many having served their appetites all their lives, and lived in pleasure; now when the Sun of their sensuall delights begins to set, and the darke mid∣night of misery and horrour, to seize upon them, would very gladly bee saved. And I blame them not, If they might first live the life of the wicked, and then die the death of the righteous: If they might have the earthly Heaven of the worlds Favourites here, and the Heauen of Christs Martyrs in the world to come. r These Men Page  240 are woont in this last extremity, to take on extremely; But it is but like their Howling upon their Beds. Hos. 7.14. Because they are pinched with some sense of present horror and expectation of dreadful things: They cry out mightily for mercy; But it is no other, then their early seeking, Prov. 1.28. Because distresse and anguish is come upon them: They enquire eagerly after God, and would now bee gladly acquainted with Him; But just like them, Psal. 78. sWhen Hee slew them, then they sought Him: and they returned, and enquired early after God. And they remembred that God was their Rocke, and the high God their Redeemer. Neverthelesse, they did flatter Him with their mouth: And they lyed unto Him with their Tongs: For their heart was not right with Him. They promise very faire, and protest gloriously, what mended men they will bee, if the Lord restore them: But all these goodly promises are but as a morning cloud, and as the early dew. They are like those of a Thiefe or murtherer at the Barre, which beeing now cast, and seeing there is now no way but one: O what a reformed man would Hee bee, if Hee might bee re∣prieved! Antiochus, as the Apocryphall Booke of thetMaccabees reports, when the hand of God was upon Him horribly, vowed excellent things: O what Hee would doe; so and so extraordinarily for the people of God! yea and that He Himselfe also would become a Iew; and goe through all the world, that was inhabited, and de∣clare the power of God. But what was it, thinke you, that made this raging Tyrant to relent, and thus see∣mingly repent? A paine of the bowells that was remedi∣lesse came upon Him, and sore torments of the inner parts. So that no man could endure to carry him for His intole∣rable stinke; And He himselfe could not abide His owne smell. Many may thus behaue themselves upon their Beds of death with very strong shewes, and many boisterous representations of true turning unto God, whereas in truth and triall, they are as yet rotten at Page  241 heart roote.

And as yet no more comfort upon good ground belongs unto them, then to those in the fore-cited Places: And if any spirituall Physition in such a case, doe presse it hand over head, or such a Patient presume to apply it, it is utterly misgrounded, mis-applied. Heare what u One of the worthiest Divines in Christendome saith: Now put case One commeth to His ghostly Father with such sorrow of minde, as the terrours of a guilty conscience usually doe produce, and with such a resolution to cast away His sinnes, as a Man hath in a storme to cast away his goods; not because Hee doth not love them, but because Hee feareth to lose His life, if Hee part not with them: doth not hee betray this mans soule, who putteeh into His head, that such an extorted repentance as this, which hath not one graine of love to season it withall, will qualifie Him sufficiently for the receiving of an absoluti∣on? &c. And x another excellently instructed unto the Kingdome of Heaven: Repentance at death is sel∣dome sound. For it may seeme rather to arise from feare of iudgement, and an horrour of Hell, then for any griefe for sinne. And many seeming to repent affectionately in dangerous sicknesse, when they have recovered, have been rather worse then before. It is true, that true Repentance is never too late, but late Repentance is seldome true: For here our sinnes rather leave us, then wee them, as Am∣brose sayes, And as Hee addes, Woe bee unto them, whose sinne and life end together. This received Prin∣ciple among the ancient Fathers, That late Repentance is rarely true, implyes, that it is often false and unsound, and so by consequent confirmes the present Point. Too manifold experience also makes it good: Amongst Page  242 many for my part, I have taken speciall notice of two: The one beeing laboured-with in prison, was seemingly so extraordinarily humbled, that a reverend Man of God was mooved thereby, to bee a meanes for his re∣prive, whereupon a Pardon was procured. And yet this so extraordinary a Penitent, while death was in his eye, having the terror removed, returned to His vomit; and some two yeeres after, to the same Place againe, as notorious a Belial as Hee was before. Another, having upon His Bed of sicknesse received in His owne con∣ceite the sentence of death against Himselfe; and beeing pressed to humiliation, and broken-heartednesse; for Hee had formerly been a stranger and enemy to purity, and the power of godlinesse, answered thus: My heart is broken: and so broke out into an earnest confession of particular sinnes: Hee named uncleannesse, stubborn∣nesse, obstinacy, vaine-glory, hypocrisie, dissimulation, un∣charitablenesse, covetousnesse, luke-warmenesse, &c. He compared himselfe to the Thiefe upon the Crosse. And if God, saith Hee, restore mee to health againe, the world shall see, what an altered man I will bee. When hee was prest to syncerity and true-heartednesse in what hee said; Hee protested, that hee repented with all his heart and Soule, and minde, and Bowels, &c. And desired a Minister that stood by, to bee a witnesse of these things betweene the world and Him. And yet this Man upon His recovery, became the very same, if not worse then Hee was before.

Now sith upon this Perusall of the different deaths incident to the godly and the wicked, it appeares; that some men never soundly converted, may in respect of all outward representations, die as confidently and com∣fortably in the conceite of the most, as Gods dearest Children: and that Christs best servant sometimes may depart this life y uncomfortably to the eye, and in the Page  243 opinion of the greatest part; And wee heard before, that our last and everlasting Doome must passe upon us, according to the syncerity, or sensuality, the zealous forwardnes, or formality of our former courses; and not according to the seeming of our last carriage upon Bed of death, and enforced behaviour in that time of ex∣tremity: I say, these things beeing so, I hold my con∣clusion still, and resolution; not much to alter my cen∣sure and conceit of a mans spirituall state, for the man∣ner of His death. I except the Thieves upon the Crosse: My meaning is, that there may bee some, (I know nor how few, but I am sure there is none, except Hee have in Him the perfection of the madnesse of all the Bed∣lams that ever breath'd, would run that hazard) who formerly out of the way and unreformed, may now at last, being very extraordinarily, and mightily humbled under Gods mighty hand, & cleaving to the Lord Iesus with truly broken hearts indeede, follow by a miracle, as it were, the Thiefe upon the Crosse, to an everlasting Crowne. And here now, I require the care, conscience, heavenly wisedome, experimentall skill, and all His mi∣nisteriall dexterity in the Physition of the Soule, to dis∣cerne aright betweene these, and seeming Penitents: and then to apply Himselfe proportionably with all holy discretion and seasonablenesse, to their severall different estates.

But to fright and fire every One for ever, from that extremest z folly of hoping to follow that miraculou∣sly penitent Thiefe; and from going on in sinne, and de∣ferring Repentance upon such a deceiving and despe∣rate Page  244 ground; let us consider;

1. First, what an holy and learned a Man of God saith to this Point: In great wisedome, that men at the last gaspe should not utterly despaire, the Lord hath left us but one example of exceeding, and extraordinary mer∣cy, by saving the Thiefe on the Crosse. — Yet the per∣versenesse of all our nature may bee seene by this, in that this one serveth us to loosenesse of life, in hope of the like: whereas wee might better reason; That it is but one, and that extraordinary, and that besides this One, there is notbone moe in all the Bible; and that for this One that sped, a thousand thousands have missed: And what folly is it to put our selues in a way, where socmany have miscar∣ried? To put our selves into the hand of that Physition, that hath murthered so many; going cleane against our sense and reason: whereas in other wee alwaies leane to that which is most ordinary, and conclude not the Spring of one Swallow? It is as if a Man should spurre His Asse till Hee speake, because Baalams Asse did once speake: so grossely hath the Divell bewitched us.

2. Secondly, the singularities about the good Thiefe: first, His heart was broken with one short Sermon, as it were; but thou hast, or mightest have heard many, and art yet hard-hearted. Secondly, the other Thiefe saw also that soveraigne Soule-healing blood gush freshly and abundantly out of His blessed side, and yet was not strucke, or stird at all. Thirdly, His example is onely for true Penitents; but Thou upon this presump∣tion despising in the meane time, the riches of Gods good∣nesse, and forbearance, and long-suffering, leading Thee to repentance, hardenest thy heart, that thou canst not repent. Fourthly, His case was singular, and such, that the like is not to bee found in the whole Scripture. A King sometimes pardons a Malefactour at the Place of exe∣cution; wilt thou therefore runne desperately into some Page  245 horrible villany, deserving death, hoping to bee that One amongst many thousands? Fifthly, It was admi∣racle, saith an excellent e Divine, with the glory whereof our Saviour would honour the ignominy of the Crosse; we may almost as well expect a second crucifying of Christ, as such a second Thiefe. Christ then triumphing on the Crosse, did as Princes doe in the triumph of entring into their Kingdomes, they pardon grosse offences before com∣mitted, such as they pardon not afterwards. 6. Having an eye upon this Thiefe, that thou mayest more fully and freely follow thy pleasures, Thou makest a cove∣nant with death, and an agreement with Hell, and puts the evill Day farre from Thee: But the Lord hath pro∣fessed; That thy covenant with death shall bee dis-annul∣led, and thy agreement with Hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall passe thorow, then shalt thou bee trodden downe by it.

3. Thirdly, the ordinary impossibilities of follow∣ing the blessed Thiefe in His miraculous Repentance. First, thou art cryed unto continually by Gods Messen∣gers to come in, now while it is called to Day; yet thou standest out still, out of this f conceite onely, or rather deceite, to take thy fill of pleasure in the meane time, and to seeke God sufficiently upon thy Bed of death, by repenting with the Thiefe at last. But know for thy terrour, and timely turning, that the longer thou puts off and deferres, the more unfit thou shalt be to repent. Thy custome in sinning will exercise more Tyranny o∣ver Page  246 Thee: The curse of God for thy going on still in thy trespasses will bee more heavy upon Thee. The cor∣ruptions that lurke in thine owne bosome, will be more strengthened against thee. And this threefold cord is hardly broken: These three Giants will be maistered with very much adoe. The further thou walkest in the wayes of death, the more unwilling, and more unable wilt thou bee to returne, and bee reformed. Thine un∣derstanding will be more darkened with Hellish mists, thy judgement more perverted, thy will more stub∣borne, thy memory more stuft with sensuall notions, thine affections will become more rebellious, thy thoughts more earthly, thine heart more hardened, thy conscience more feared, thy selfe more sold to sinne, and every day that comes over thine head in this state of darkenesse, much more the Child of the Divell, then thou wast before. To refuse Christ upon this Point so freely and fairely offered, is to receive Gods curse un∣der Seale; and to make sure thy covenant with Hell, and League with death, untill thou bee slaine by the one, and swallowed up of the other, without all mercy, or recovery. For in this time of delay, God growes more angry, Satan more strong, thy selfe more unable to re∣pent, sinne more unconquerable, thy conversion more hard, thy salvation more impossible. A ruinous house, the longer thou lettest it run, the more labor & charge will it require in repairing. If thou drive a naile with an hammer, the more blowes thou givest to it, the more hard will it bee to plucke it out againe. It is just so in the Case of continuing in inne: and every new sin is a new stroke with an hammer, that drives the naile in further. Secondly, with what possibility art thou like to passe thorow the great work of saving repentance? or with what heart canst thou addresse thy selfe unto it? when upon thy sicke Bed, thou art set upon at once, if thy conscience bee waking, with the ugly sight of all thy sinnes charging upon thee with insupportable hor∣rour, Page  247 with the pangs of death, with g Satans utmost malice, and His very Powder-Plot, and with the ter∣rour of that approaching strickt Tribunall. Which dreadfull encounter is able to put to it, the spirituall strength of many yeeres gathering. Thirdly, Resoluti∣on to deferre Repentance, when grace is offered, doth justly merit, to bee deprived for ever after of all opor∣tunity, and ability to repent. Fourthly, it is just with God, that that man, who doth purposely put off repen∣tance, and provision for his soule, untill his last sicknes, should for that sin alone, bee snatcht out of the world in great anger, even suddenly, so that there bee scarce a moment betwixt the height of His temporall happi∣nesse, and depth of his spirituall misery. That His foo∣lish hope may bee frustrated, and His vaine purpose come to nothing, Hee may bee cut off, as the Top of an care of corne, and put out like a candle, when hee least thinkes of death, and dreames of nothing lesse, then de∣parture from His earthly Paradise. hThey are exalted for a little while, saith Iob, but are gone and brought low, they are taken out of the way as all other, and cutioff as the tops of the eares of corne. Fifthly, a long continu∣ed k custome is not woont to bee shaken off in an in∣stant. Is it like, that a Blackamore should change his skinne, and a Leopard his spots in three or foure dayes, which they have contracted in forty or threescore yeeres? Therefore I marvell that any should bee so blindfolded, and baffeld by the Divell, as to embolden Page  248 Himselfe to drive off untill the last, by that Place before Confession; At what time soever a sinner doth repent him of his sinne, from the bottome of his heart, I will put all his wicked out of my remembrance, saith the Lord: Especially, if Hee looke upon the Text from whence it is taken; which Mee-thinkes, beeing rightly understood, and the conditions well considered, is most punctuall, and precise, to fright any from that desperate folly: The words runne thus, Ezech. 18.21.22. But if the wicked will turne from all his sinnes which hee hath committed, and keepe all my Statutes, and doe that which is lawfull and right, hee shall surely live, hee shall not die. All his transgressions, &c. Hence it appeares, that if any man expect upon good ground, any portion in this pretious promise of mercy and grace, Hee must leave all his sinnes, and keepe all Gods Statutes. Now how performest thou the condition of leaving all thy sinnes; when as in this last extremity, having received the sen∣tence of death against thy selfe, Thy sinnes leave Thee, and not Thou thy sinnes, that I may speake in the Phrase of an ancient l Father? And what space is left to come to comfort, by keeping all Gods Statutes; when thou art presently to passe to that highest and dreadfull Tri∣bunall, to give an exact and strickt account for the con∣tinual breach of all Gods Lawes, all thy life long? Sixth∣ly, many seeme to bee passingly penitent, and promise exceeding faire, in the evill day, and upon their sicke Beds; who beeing recovered, and restored to their for∣mer state, are the very same they were before, if not worse. I never knew, nor heard of any, un-wrought upon, under conscionable meanes, who after recovery performed the vowes and promises of a new life, which Hee made in his sicknesse, and times of extremity. For if Hee will not bee mooved with the Ministry, God will never give that honour unto a crosse, to doe the deede. Nay, Father Abraham; saith the rich Glutton, but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And Page  249 hee said unto him, If they heare not Moses and the Pro∣phets, neither will they bee perswaded, the one rose from the dead. Luke 16.30.31. It would amaze thee much, if one of thy good-fellow companions should now rise from the dead, and tell thee, that Hee who was thy Brother in iniquity, is now in Hell, and if thou follow the same sensuall courses still, thou must shortly most certainely follow Him to the Place of torment. And yet even this would not worke at all, if thou bee a de∣spiser of the Word. It may bee, while the dead Man stood by Thee, Thou wouldst be extraordinarily moo∣ved, and promise much: but no sooner should He bee in His Grave; but thou wouldst bee as gracelesse, as thou wast before. Seventhly, what wise man seeing a fellow, who never gave his name to religion in his life time, now only troubled about sinne, when hee is sure, Hee m must die, will not suspect it to be wholly slavish, and extorted for feare of Hell? My sentence is, saith Greenham, that a man lying now at the Point of death, having the snares of death upon him; in that straite of feare and paine, may have a sorrow for His life past, but because the weakenesse of flesh, and the bitternesse of death doth most commonly procure it, wee ought to suspect, &c. Eighthly, painefull distempers of body are wont to weaken much, and hinder the activenes and freedome of the Soules operations; nay, sometimes to distract, and utterly over-throw them. Many even of much knowledge, grace and good life, by reason of the damp and deadnesse, which at that time the extremity and anguish of their disease brings upon their spirits, are able to doe no great matter, if anything at all, either in me∣ditation or expression. How then doest thou thinke to passe thorow the incomparably greatest worke, that ever the Soule of Man was acquainted with in this life, I meane the new-birth, at the n Point of death? It is a Page  250 wofull thing to have much worke to doe, when the power of working is almost done. When wee are come to the ve∣ry last cast, our strength is gone▪ our spirits cleane spent, our senses appalled, and the powers of our Soules as numbe as our senses: when there is a generall prostration of all our powers, and the shadow of death upon our eyes: then something wee would say or doe, which should doe our Soules good. But alas! How should it then bee?

3. When the spirituall Physition powres the baulme of mercy, and oyle of comfort into a wounded consci∣ence:

1. Too soone. The o Surgeon, that heales up a dan∣gerous Sore, and drawes a skinne over it, before His corrosives have consumed the dead flesh, before Hee hath opened it with his Tents, ransackt it to the roote, and rent out the Core, is so farre from pleasuring, that hee procures a great deale of misery to His Patient. For the rotten matter that remaines behind, will in the meane time rankle and fester underneath, and at length breake out againe, perhaps, both with more extremity of anguish, and difficulty of cure. They are but Moun∣tebankes, as they call them, Smatterers in Physicke and Surgery; upon the matter, but plaine Cheaters and Couseners, who are so ready and resolute for p extem∣porary, Page  251 and palliate Cures. Sudden recoveries from rooted and old distempers, are rarely sound. If it be thus in bodily Cures; what a deale, doe you thinke, of ex∣traordinary discretion, heavenly wisedome, precise and punctuall ponderation of circumstances, well-advised and seasonable leasure, both speculative and experimen∣tall skill, heartiest ejaculations, wrastlings with God by Prayer for a blessing, is very convenient, and needfull for a true and right methode in healing a wounded conscience? Which doth passe immeasurably all other maladies, both in exquisitenesse of paine, tendernesse of touch, deceitfulnesse of Depth, and in highest and grea∣test consequence, either for the everlasting health, or endlesse horrour of an immortall Soule.

Hence it was, that that qOne of a thousand, and lear∣ned Doctour in this heavenly Mystery, did so farre dif∣fer from all Dawbers with untempered Mortar, and the ordinary undoing-courses in this kind:

But now comming to the salving of this Sore, saith Hee, I shall seeme very strange in my cure: and so much the more bee wondred at, by how much in manner of pro∣ceeding I differ from the most sort of men herein. I am not ignorant, that many visiting afflicted consciences, cry still; Oh comfort them! O speake ioyfull things unto them! Yea, there bee some, and those of the most learned, who in such Cases, are full of these and such like speeches. Why are you so heavy, my Brother? Why are you so cast downe, my Sister? Bee of good cheare: Take it not so grievously. What is there that you should feare? God is mercifull, Christ is a Saviour. These bee speeches of love indeed: but they often doe the poore soules as much good herein, as if they should powre cold water into their bo∣somes; when as without further searching of their Sores, they may as well minister a Malady, as a Medicine. For as nutritive and cordiall medicines are not good for every sicke Person, especially when the Body needeth rather a strong Purgation, then a matter restorative; and as in Page  252 carnative medicines may for a time allay the paine of the Patient, but after, the griefe becommeth more grievous: So the comfortable applying of Gods promises are not so profitable for every One that is humbled, especial∣ly when their Soules are rather further to be cast downe, then as yet to bee raised up: so those sugred consolations may for a while over-heale the conscience, and abate some present griefe; but so, as afterwards the smart may bee the sorer, and the griefe may grow the greater: Here∣of ensueth this effect, that comfort seemeth to cure for a while, but for want of wisedome in the right discerning of the cause, Men minister one Medicine for another; and so for want of skill, the latter fit grindeth sorer then the former. Calvine also, that r great Pillar and glory of the Christian World for syncere and sound Orthodoxe doctrine, concurres in judgement with this blessed Man Page  253 of God, and so, I doubt not, doe all the faithfull Mini∣sters of Iesus Christ: sLet this bee the first degree of Repentance; when Men feele that they have been grie∣vous offenders; and then the griefe is not to bee immedi∣ately cured; as Impostors deale flatteringly and nicely with Mens consciences, that they may favour them∣selves as much as may bee, and bee notably deceived with superficiall dawbing. The Physition will not forth∣with asswage the paine, but will consider what may bee more expedient: Perhaps hee will increase it, because a sharper Purge will bee necessary. Even so doe the Pro∣phets of God, when they see trembling Consciences, doe not presently apply sweet consolations; but rather tell them, that they must not dally with God; and stirre up those, who are so forward of their owne accord, that they would propose unto themselves the terrible iudgement of God, that they may yet bee more and more humbled.

t Another excellent and skilfull Work-man in the great mystery of saving Soules, tells us truly; That the promise of salvation is not straight belonging to one terri∣fied in conscience, but to one that is not onely terrified for His punishment, but is contrite-hearted for sinne, which is the worke of the Gospell. —Let not these bee weary of the yoke of God and the Law, and make over much haste out of this state, for so may they undoe themselves: For some withstanding their terrour, have withstood their salvation, &c. Even as an impatient Patient gets the Chirurgion to pull out the Tent and Corrosive, or pls it off himselfe as soone as it begins to smart a little, and so thinkes it is searcht enough, and now layes (saith Hee) on healing plaisters: But afterward breakes out againe worse then ever; whereas if the Corrosive had been let lie on, till it had eaten out the corruption indeed, then it might have been whole long agoe.

If Dawbers in this kind did rightly understand and acknowledge, or had ever had any experimentall fee∣ling in their owne Soules of Christs Rule, and the Holy Page  254 Ghosts method, which is first, To convince of sinne; to de∣ject and humble in the sight of the Lord with appre∣hension, and sense of a most abominable and cursed state, before there follow a conviction of the righte∣ousnesse of Christ to raise up; See Ioh. 16.8. or of the necessity of the worke of the spirit of bondage, to fit and prepare for Christ and comfort; I say then, they would not deale so ignorantly and overly in a matter of so deare and everlasting importance. They would not so hastily hand over-head, without all warrant and wise∣dome, without any further search, discovery or deje∣ction, offer mercy, pardon, and all the promises to a man formerly wicked; onely for some faint and enfor∣ced confession of sinnes, or because now beeing over∣taken by the evill day, Hee howles upon his bed, not for any true hatred of sinne, but for present smart, and ex∣pected horror, &c. But would labour to let the spirit of bondage have it's full work, and lay Him open more at large in the true colours of his skarlet sinnes; and not onely cause a bare confession of them, but such a con∣viction which may stop his mouth, that Hee hath not a word to speake, but trembles to see such a sinke, Sodom and Hell of sinne and abomination in Himselfe, &c. O how oft have I heard many a poore ignorant soule in the Day of sorrow, beeing mooved to humble Himselfe in the sight of the Lord, that Hee might lift Him up; first, to get His heart broken with the abhorred bur∣den of all His sinnes, and then to bring it thus bleeding to the Throne of Grace, that Christ might binde it up; I say, beeing thus intreated: To answer, Yes, yes, with all my heart; I am sorry for my sinnes with all my heart; I trust in Iesus Christ with all my heart; and thus whatsoever you can counsell or advise, Hee doth it with all His heart: Whereas alas! Poore heart, as yet, His understanding is as darke, as darkenesse it selfe, in respect of any, I say not onely, saving knowledge, but almost of any knowledge at all; and his heart in re∣spect Page  255 of any true remorse, as hard as a Rocke of flint. Now those unskilfull Physitions of the Soule, who in this and the like cases, will needs without any more adoe, without any further illightning or labour, threape mercy and comfort upon them, are like those foolish sheapherds, as uMarbury calls them, who when they want skill to helpe their poore sheepe out of the ditch, are driven to play the miserable comforters, and to take some other indirect course (as many use to doe in such cases) to cut the sheepes throate in time, to make him Mans meate, lest it should bee said, Hee died in a Ditch. They are Desolators, not Consolators, as Austin some∣where calls them: Not sound Comforters, but true Cut∣throates.

Besides that which I have said before, of the prece∣dency of the working of the Law, and of the spirit of bondage, to make way for Christ; let mee further tell you upon this occasion, that it may appeare, that much more is to bee done herein, then is ordinarily imagined, before comfort may upon good ground, and seasona∣bly bee applied to the Conscience awaked, what an ex∣cellent Divine, both for depth of learning, and height of holinesse, delivered somewhere in this Point to this purpose:

No man must thinke this strange, that God dealeth with men after this strange manner: as it were to kill them, before Hee make them alive; to let them passe through, or by, as it were, the gates of Hell, to Heaven; to suffer the spirit of bondage to put them into a feare, in∣to a shaking, and trembling, &c. For Hee suffers those that are his, to bee terrified with this feare:

1. First, in respect of His owne glory; For the mag∣nifying both of His iustice, and of His mercy:

1. Hee glorifies His iustice, when lessening, or al∣together, for the time, abstracting all fight of mercy, Hee lets the Law, Sinne, Conscience, and Satan loose upon a Man, to have their course, and severall comminations; Page  256 and sets the spirit of bondage on worke, &c. Thus, as in the great worke ofxredemption, Hee would have the glory of His iustice appeare; so would Hee have it also in the application of our redemption, that iustice should not bee swallowed up of mercy: But even as the Woman, 2. King. 4. who had nothing to pay, was threatned by Creditours to take away her two sonnes, and put them in prison: so wee having nothing to pay, the Law is let loose upon us, to threaten imprisonment and damnation; to af∣fright and terrifie: and all this, for the manifesting of His iustice. Furthermore, the Booke of God is full of ter∣rible threatnings against sinners: Now shall all these bee to no purpose? The wicked are insensible of them; to them therefore in that respect, they are in vaine. Some there must needs bee, upon whom they must worke; Shall the Lion roare, saith the Prophet, and no man bee affraide? Sith then, they who should, will not; Some there bee who must tremble. This the Prophet excellently setteth orth, Isai. 66.2. where the Lord sheweth, whom Hee will regard. But to this man will I looke, even to Him that is poore, and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my Word. Neither is it without good cause, that God dea∣leth thus with his owne in this manner, tho it bee sharpe in the experience. First, wee must feare, tremble, and bee humbled: and then wee shall receive a spirit not to feare againe.

2. His mercy also is thereby mightily magnified. Which would never bee so sweet, nor relish so well, nor bee so esteemed of us; if the awfull terrour of iustice had not formerly made us smart. A King sometimes doth not on∣ly suffer the Law to passe upon some grievous malefactor Page  257 for high treason; but also causeth him to bee brought to the place of execution, yea, and lay downe his head upon the blocke, ere Hee pardon: and then mercy is mercy in∣deed, andymelts the heart abundantly with amazmnt and admiration of it. So God dealeth with us many times: Lets the Law loose against us, puts us in feare, casts us into Prison, and threatneth condemnation in Hell for ever; so that when mercy commeth to the Soul, beeing now lost in it selfe, and at the Pits brinke, it appeares to bee a wonderfull mercy, the riches of exceeding mercy, most seasonable, mostzsweet, most ravishing. Why doe so many find no savour in the Gospell? Is it because there is no matter of sweetnesse or delight in it? No, it is be∣cause they have not tasted of, not been soundly toucht and terrified by the Law, and the spirit of bondage; They have not smarted, nor as yet been afflicted with a sense of the bitternesse of sinne, nor of iust punishment due unto the same. God therefore sends into our hearts the spirit of feare and bondage, to prepare us to rellish mercy: And then the spirit of adoption, not to feare againe. And thus by this order, the one is magnified, and highly esteemed, by the fore-going sense of the other.

2. Secondly, for our good; and that two waies: first, in Iustification: secondly, and in Sanctification.

1. For the first; wee are such strangers unto God, that wee will never come unto Him, till wee see no other remedy; being at the Pits brinke, ready to starue, hope∣lesse, &c. Wee see it in the prodigall Sonne: He would never thinke of any returne unto his Father, till all other helpes failed Him, money, friends, acquaintance, all sorts of food; Nay, if Hee might have fed upon huskes with the Swine, Hee would not have thought of returning, any more to his Father: This beeing denied him, the Text Page  258 saith, Hee came to Himselfe: shewing us, that when Men runne on in sinfull courses, they are mad men, out of them∣selves; even as wee see thse in Bedlam are beaten, kept under, dened comforts, till they come to themselves: And what faith Hee then? I will arise, and goe to my Fa∣ther, and will say unto Him, Father, I have sinned a∣gainst heaven, and against Thee, &c. So it is with us, untill the Lord humble, and bring us low in our owne eyes, show us our misery and spirituall poverty, and that in us there is no good thing; that wee bee stript of all helpe, in, and without our selves; and see that wee must perish, unlesse wee beg His mercy; I say, untill then wee will not seeke his face and favour, nor have recourse to Iesus Christ, the rocke of our salvation. It is with us in this Case,*as it was with the Women, whom Christ healed of the bloody issue. How long was it, ere shee came to Christ? She had been sicke twelve yeeres; She had spent all her living upon Physitions, neither could she bee healed of any. Now this extremity brought Her to Iesus Christ. This then is the meanes to bring to Christ: To bring us upon our knees, to drive us out of our selues, hopelesse, as low as may bee; To shew us, where helpe is onely to bee found, and make us runne unto it. The hunted Beast flies unto his Den: The Israelites being stung by fiery Serpents, made hast to the Brazen Serpent, a Type of Christ, for helpe: The Man-killer under the Law, cha∣ced by the avenger of blood, rane a pace to the City of refuge. Ioab being pursued for his life, fled to the Ta∣bernacle of the Lord, and laid fast hold upon the horne of the Altar: A wounded man hies unto the Surgeon: Proportionably a poore Soule, broken and bruised with the insupportable burden of all his abominations, bleeding at heart-roote under sense of Divine wrath, by the cutting edge of the Sword of the Spirit, mana∣ged aright by some Masters of assemblies, chaced furi∣ously by the Law, Sinne, Conscience, and Satan, some∣times even to the brinke of despaire, &c. will bee wil∣ling Page  259 with a witnesse, to cast it selfe into the sweet com∣passionate inviting armes, and embracements of Iesus Christ, broken and bleeding upon the Crosse for our sinnes, and so bee made His, for ever.

2. For our sanctification also, it is good for us that the Comforters first worke bee, to worke feare in us. For wee are naturally so frozen in our dregs, that no fire in a manner will warme, or thw us. Wee wallow in our owne blood, wee sticke fast in the mire of sinne up to the chinne, that wee cannot stirre. So that this feare is sent to pull us violently, as it were, from our corruptions; to make us holy, and looke unto our waies for the time to come. Now to effect this, sharpest things are best; as are the Law, and threatnings of condemnation, the opening of Hell, the racking of the conscience, and a sense of wrath present, and to come. So hard-hearted are wee by nature, being as the Children of the bond-woman, to whom violence must be used. Even as wee see a Man riding a young and wilde Horse to tame him; Hee will runne him against a wall, that hee may make him afraid, ride him in deepe and rough places; or if this will not doe, take him up to some high rocke, and bringing him to the brinke thereof, Hee threatneth to throw him downe headlong; maketh him shake and quake, whereby at last hee is tamed. So deales the Lord with us: Hee gives us a sight of sinne, and of the punishment due thereunto, a sense of wrath, setteth the conscience on fire, as it were; filleth the heart with feares, orrours and dis-quietnesse; openeth Hell thus unto the Soule, brings us to the gates thereof, and threatneth to throw us in: And all this to make a man more holy, andahate sinne the more. The cure of the Stone in the heart, saith b another, speaking to the same purpose, is like that of the Stone in the Bladder: God must use a sharpe incision, and come with his pulling and Page  260 plucking instruments, and rend the heart in pieces, ere that sinne can bee got out of it. — Even as in a lethargy it is needfull the Patient should bee cast into a burning Fever, because the senses are benummed, and this will wake them, and drie up the beotting humours; so in our dead security before our conversion, God is faine to let the Law, Sinne, Conscience and Satan loose upon us; and to kindle the fire of Hell in our soules, that so we might be rouzed: Our sinnes sticke close unto us, as the Prisoners bolts, and wee are shut up under them, as in a strong Pri∣son: And therefore unlesse, as once in Paul and Silas their case, an earthquake, so here there come a mighty heart-quake, violently breaking open the Prison doores, and shaking off our fetters, never shall wee get our liberty, &c.

Thus wee see, what a mighty c worke of the Law, and of the spirit of bondage there must bee, to prepare for Christ. And how requisite it is both for the glori∣fying of Gods justice and mercy; and also for the fur∣therance of our justification, and sanctification. For illu∣stration of which Point, besides all that hath been said before, I have more willingly in this last Passage prest at large the authority of so great a Divine, (in which, I hope, I have not swarved from His sense) because Hee Page  261 is without exception both for holinesse and learning: and so his sincere and orthodoxe judgement more cur∣rant and passable.

Ob. But hence, it may bee, some troubled Soule may take up a complaint, and say: Alas, if it bee thus, what shall I thinke of my selfe? I doe not remember, that ever I tasted so deepely of such terrours, and legall troubles, as you seeme to require: I have not been so humbled and terrified, nor had such experience of that state under the spirit of bondage, as you talke of, &c. And therefore you have cast scruples into my consci∣ence, about the truth and soundnesse of my conver∣sion.

Answ. I answer, in this worke of the spirit of bon∣dage; in this Case of legall terrours, humiliations, and other preparative dispositions, wee doe not prescribe precisely just such a measure and quantitie: We doe not determine peremptorily upon such or such a degree, or height: Wee leave that to the Wisedome of our great Master in Heaven, the onely wise God,d who is a most free Agent. But sure wee are, a man must have so much, and in that measure, as to bring Him to Christ. It must make him weary of all his sinnes, and of Satans bondage wholly; willing to plucke out his right eye, and cut off his right hand, I meane, to part with his best-beloved bosome-lusts; to sell all, and not leave so much as an hoofe behind. It must bee so much, as to make him see his danger, and so hast to the Citie of Refuge, to bee sensible of his spirituall misery, that hee may heartily thirst for mercy; to finde himselfe lost and cast away in Himselfe, that Christ may bee All in All unto Him: And after must follow an hatred of all false and evill waies for the time to come; a thorow-change of former courses, company, conversation; and setting Himselfe in the way and practise of obriety, honesty and holinesse. If thou hast had experience of these affections, and ef∣fects in thine owne soule, whatsoever the measure of Page  256 the work of the spirit of bondage hath been in thee lesse or more; Thou art safe enough, and mayst goe on com∣fortably in the holy Path, without any discouragement, either from such pretended scruples in thy selfe, or any of Satans cruell cavils, and oppositions to the con∣trary.

Vpon this occasion, it will not bee here unseasona∣ble, to tell you, How that Legall terrour, which God appoints to bee a preparative in his elect, for the spirit of adoption, and a true change, differs from that which is found in * Aliens, and not attended with any such sa∣ving consequents: That every one, who hath had trou∣ble of conscience for sinne, may clearely discerne, whe∣ther it hath brought Him to Christ, or left Him uncon∣verted.

1. That happy Soule, which is under the terrifying hand of God, preparing by the worke of the spirit of bondage, for the entertainement of Christ, and a sound conversion upon that fearefull apprehension of Gods wrath, and strict visitation of his conscience for sinne, casts about for ease and reconcilement, onely by the blood of the Lord Iesus, and those Soule-healing pro∣mises in the Booke of life, with a resolute contempt of all other meanes and offers, for pacification: feeling now, and finding by experience, that no other way, no earthly thing, not this whole world, were it all dissolved into the most curious, and exquisite pleasures, that ever any carnall heart conceived, can any way asswage the least pang of his grieved spirit. Glad therefore is Hee to take counsel and advise, with any that is able, or like∣ly to leade him by a wise and discreet hand to a well-grounded comfort and refreshment: And resolveth greedily, what-ever the prescription and direction bee, to give way unto it most willingly in his performance and practise. And the people asked him, saying, What shall wee doe then? Then came also Publicans to be bap∣tized, and said unto Him, Master, what shall wee doe? Page  257 And the Souldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall wee doe? Thus were Iohns hearers af∣fected, Luk. 3.10, 12, 14. beeing afflicted with the piercing passages of Iohns thundring Sermon; Men and brethren what shall wee doe? say the Penitent Iewes, pricked in their hearts, Acts. 2.37. The Iaylour, Acts 16.30. came trembling, and fell downe before Paul and Silas, and said, Sirs, what must I doe to bee saved? As if they had said: Prescribe and enioyne what you will; bee it never so harsh and distastefull to flesh and blood, never so crosse and contrary to carnall reason, profit, pleasure, preferment, acceptation with the world, ease, liberty, life, &c. having warrant out of the Word, wee are resolved, and ready to doe it. Onely informe us first, how to partake, and bee assured of the person and passion of Iesus Christ; how to have the angry face of our blessed God, to whom wee have continued Rebels so long, turned into calmnesse and favour unto us. But now a Cast-away and Alien thus legally terrified, and under wrath for sinne, is never wont to come to this earnestnesse of care, eagernesse of resolution, stedfast∣nesse of endeavour, willingnesse upon any termes to a∣bandon utterly all His old wayes, and to embrace new, strict and holy courses. These things appeare unto Him terrible Puritanicall, and intolerable. He common∣ly in such cases, hath recourse for ease and remedy to worldly comforts, and the arme of flesh. He labours to relieve his heavy heart, by a strong and serious casting his minde, and nestling his conceit upon his riches, gold, greatnesse, great friends, credit amongst Men, and such other transitory delights, and fading flowers of His fooles Paradise. For Hee is at a Point, and resolute with a sensuall impenitent obstinacy, not to passe forward thorow the Pangs of the New-birth by repentance and sanctification, into the holy Trade of new-obedi∣ence: lest Hee should, (as out of a foolish and phran∣ticke basenesse, Hee is apt to feare) bee engaged and Page  264 enchained, as it were, to too much stricknesse, precise∣nesse, holinesse of life, communion with Gods people, and opposition to good fellowship.

2. Hee, that is savingly-wounded with Legall ter∣rour, is wont in cold blood, and being something come to Himselfe, to entertaine the very same conceit (or ra∣ther mingled with a great deale more reverence, af∣fectionatenesse and love, as farre as the life of an im∣mortall Soule doth surpasse in dearenesse and excellen∣cy the cure of a fraile and earthy body) of that Man of God, which by a right managing the edge of his spiri∣tuall sword, hath pierced his heart, scorched his consci∣ence, and bruised his spirit; I say, the same in proporti∣on, which a wise and thankefull Patient would have of that faithfull Surgeon, which hath seasonably and tho∣rowly launced some deepe and dangerous Sore, which otherwise would have been his death. Vpon the search and discovery, Hee clearely sees and acknowledgeth, that had not that holy incision been made into his rot∣ten and ulcerous heart, it had cost him the eternall life of his Soule. But now the Alien put out of his sensuall humour with horrour of conscience, is ordinarily trans∣ported with much ragefull discontentment, against the powerfull Ministery of Gods paineful Messengers, who put Him to such torture, by troubling Him for sinne, and frighting Him with Hell. And thereupon cries out a∣gainst them, at least with secret indignation and fret∣ting, as the Divels did against Christ: Why doe you thus torment us before the time?

3. Aliens in such cases entertaine no other thought, and cast about for no other comfort at all, but onely how they may recover their former quietnesse of mind, carnall ease, and freedome from present terrour. But hee that is fitting, by the spirit of bondage, for Faith, and the fellowship of the Saints, will never by any meanes, whatsoever come of Him, relapse to his wou∣ted sensuall security. Nay, of the two, Hee will rather Page  265 lie still upon the Racke, waiting for the Lord Iesus all the dayes of his life, then to returne any more unto foo∣lishnesse, or hunt againe after any contentment in the miserable pleasures of good fellowship.

4. That Messenger, an Interpreter,cOne among a thousand, who in such a case can seasonably and sound∣ly declare unto a savingly-wounded Soule His righte∣ousnesse; assure Him, it was Christ Iesus onely businesse in comming from Heaven, to disburden all that labour, and are heavy laden; and ease such trembling hearts, &c. I say, such a blessed Man of God to such a broken heart, is for ever after most deare and welcome. His secte are beautifull in his eye, every time Hee comes neere Him. Comfort of so high a nature, in extremity of such hor∣rible consequence, doth infinitely and endlesly endeare the delivered Soule to such an heavenly Doctour. But Aliens commonly make no great account of godly Mi∣nisters any longer, then they have present need of them, and that trouble of minde makes them Melancholike, and without mirth. They seeme to reverence them, while from their generall discourses of mercy, and Gods free grace, of mercifull invitations to Christ, and certain∣ty of acceptation (if they will come in) &c. They sucke into their false hearts before the time, and truth of hu∣miliation, some superficiall glimmerings, and flashes of comfort and cooling. But if once the heate of their guilty rage begin to asswage, and they find againe some ease from their former terrours, and wonted rel∣lish in earthly delights, they turne such holy men out of their hearts, cast them out of their consciences, and hold no higher, or further conceit of them, then of other, and ordinary men; if they forbeare to persecute them with thoughts of disdaine and contempt.

5. The true Penitent, having smarted under the sense of divine wrath, and frighted with the flames of horrour for sinne, doth grow fearefull for ever after to offend, and with much gracious care dreads that consu∣ming Page  260 fire. But the Alien, while hee is upon the Rcke indeede, and hath the hainousnesse of his sinnes, and Hell freshly in His eie, will easily make many glorious protestations and promises, what a rare and resolute Convert Hee will become upon his recovery. But if once the storme bee over-blowne, Gods hand with∣drawne, and his painefull conscience cast againe into a deade sleepe by the power, or rather poison of some sensuall receit, Hee performes just nothing: But like a filthy swine, wallowes againe in the mire and mud of earthlinesse and carnality, and againe with the beastly dog, returnes unto, and resumes his vomit.

6. Hee that hath savingly passed thorow the Pangs of such spirituall afflictions, is wont to bee very kindlily affected, most compassionate, and tender-hear∣ted to others, afflicted with the same wofull terrours and troubles of conscience. A woman, which hath her∣selfe with extraordinary paine, tasted of that exquisite torture of child birth, is wont to bee more tenderly and mercifully disposed towards another in the like tor∣ment; then she, that never knew what that miserie meant: And is more ready, willing, and skillfull to re∣lieve in such distresses. It is proportionably so in the present Case: But the Alien beeing tainted in some mea∣sure with the Divels hatefull disposition, is by the heate of his slavish horrour, rather enraged with malice, then resolved into mercy: Hee is rather tickled with a se∣cret content, then touched with true commiseration, to see and heare of others plunged into the same gulphe of misery, and plagued like Himselfe. Hee is much troubled with his solenesse in suffering, and the singula∣rity of any sorrowfull Accident. Companion-ship in crosses, doth something allay the discomforts of car∣nall men: So that sometimes they secretly, but very sinfully reioyce, (such is their dogged, * divelish dispo∣sition) even to see the hand of God upon their neigh∣bours. Neither can hee in such extremeties minister any Page  267 meanes of helpe, or true comfort at all, either by pray∣er, counsell, or any experimentall skill; because the evill spirit of his vexed conscience, was not driven away by any well-grounded application of Gods mercies, and Christs blood, but as Saules was, by Musicke, worldly mirth, carnall advise, Soule-slaying flatteries of Man-pleasing Ministers, plunging desperately into variety of sensuall pleasures, &c.

7. Hee, which after the boisterous tempest of Legall terrours, hath happily arrived at the Port of Peace; I meane, that blessed peace which passeth all understan∣ding, made with God himselfe in the blood of his Son, enters presently thereupon into the good way, takes up∣on Him the yoke of Christ, and serues him afterward in holinesse and righteousnesse all the dayes of his life. And ordinarily His deeper humiliation, is an occasion of his more humble, precise, holy, and strickt walking, and of more watchfulnesse over his heart, and tendernesse of conscience, about lesser sinnes also; all occasions of scan∣dall, appearances of evill, even aberrations in his best actions, & holiest duties, &c. But Aliens, whē once they bee taken off the Racke, and their torture determine, ei∣ther become just the same men they were before; or else reforme onely some one, or other grosse sin, which stuckē most upon their consciences, but remaine un∣amended and unmortified in the rest: or else, which of∣ten comes to passe, grow a great deale worse. For they are, as it were, angry with God, that hee should give them a taste of Hell fire before their time; and there∣fore knowing their time but short, fall upon earthly de∣lights more furiously, engrosse and graspe the pleasures of the World with more greedinesse and importu∣nitie.

These things thus premised; I come to tell you, that for the rectifying of the fore-mentioned Errour, and prevention of the danger of dawbing and undoing for ever in a matter of so weighty importance, I would ad∣vise Page  268 the Spirituall Physition, to labour with the utmost improovement of all his divine skill, heavenly wise∣dome, best experience, heartiest praiers, most piercing persuasions, prest out of the word for that purpose, wisely to worke, and watchfully to observe the season, when hee may, warrantably and upon good ground, apply unto the woundedst soule of his spiritually-sicke Patient assured comfort in the promises of life, and that soveraigne blood, which was spilt for broken hearts; and assure him in the Word of truth, that all those rich compassions, which lie within the compasse of that great Covenant of everlasting mercy and love, sealed with the painefull sufferings of the Sonne of God, be∣long unto Him. Which is then, when his troubled heart is soundly humbled under Gods mighty hand, and brought at length to, first, a truly penitent sight, sense, and hatred of all sinne: secondly, a sincere and un∣satiable thirst after Iesus Christ, and righteousnesse both imputed, and inherent: thirdly, an unfained and un-reserved resolution of an universall New-obedience for the time to come, &c. Here I had purposed to have been large; but I am prevented by that which hath been said already: and therefore to avoide repeti∣tion, I must remit you to the consideration of those Le∣gall and Evangelicall preparations for the entertaine∣ment of Christ and true comfort, which I handled be∣fore, which may give some good direction and satisfa∣ction in the Point.

Yet take notice, that in the meane time before such fitnesse bee fully effectuated, I would have the Man of God ply his Patient with his best perswasions and Proofes, seasonably mingled with motives to humiliati∣on, of the pardonablenesse of his sinnes, possibility of pardon, damnablenesse of despaire, danger of ease by outward mirth, &c. And to hold out to the eye of the troubled conscience, as a prize and Lure, as it were, the freenesse of Gods immeasurable mercy, the generall Page  269 Offer of Iesus Christ without any exception of per∣sons, times, or sinnes; the pretiousnesse and infallibilitie of the promises, in as faire and lovely a fashion, in as orient and alluring formes, as Hee can possibly. But it is One thing, to say; If these things bee so, I can assure you in the Word of life, of the promises of life, and al∣ready-reall right and interest to all the riches of Gods free grace, and glorious purchase of Christs meritorious blood: Another thing, to say; If you will suffer your understandings to bee illightened, your consciences to bee convinced, your hearts to be wounded with sight, sense, and horrour of sin; If you will come-in, and take Iesus Christ, His Person, his Passion, his yoke; If you will entertaine these and these affections, longings, and resolutions, &c. Then most certainely our mercifull Lord will crowne your truly humbled soules with his dearest compassions, and freest love.

Lastly, bee informed, that when all is done, I meane, when the Men of God have their desire; That the Pa∣tient in their perswasion is soundly wrought upon, and professeth understandingly and feelingly, and as they verily thinke from His heart; first, that Hee is heavy laden with the grievous burden of all His sinnes; se∣condly, That Hee is come by his present spirituall ter∣rour and trouble of minde, to that resolution, to doe any thing; which wee find the Hearers of Iohn and Peter, Luk. 3. Act. 2. Thirdly, That Hee most highly prizeth Iesus Christ farre above the riches, pleasures, and glory of the whole earth; thirsts, and longs for Him infinite∣ly. Fourthly, That Hee is most willing to sell all: To part with all sinne, with His right eye, and right hand, those lusts and delights which stucke closest to His bosome; Not to leave so much as an hoofe behind. Fifth∣ly, That hee is content with all his heart to take Christ, as well for a Lord and Husband to serue, love, and o∣bey Him; as for a Saviour to deliver Him from the miseries of sinne. To take upon Him His yoke: To Page  270 enter into the narrow way, and walke in the holy Path: To associate Himselfe to that sect, which is so spoken against everywhere, &c. I say, when it is thus with the afflicted Party, and most happy is Hee, when it is thus with Him; yet notwithstanding, because God alone is the Searcher of the heart, and the heart of Man is de∣ceitfull above all things, wee can assure mercy and par∣don, but onely conditionally, (Tho by the mercy of God, wee doe it many and many times with strong and undeceiving confidence). Wee must ever adde either expressedly, or impliedly, such formes of speech as these: If all this which you professe bee in truth; If you bee thus resolved indeed; If these things bee so as you have said, &c. Why, then wee assure you in the word of life and truth, your Case is comfortable; you may sweetly repose your troubled, and truly-humbled soule upon Iesus Christ, as your wisedome, righteousnes, sanctification and redemption; upon all the Promises of life, Gods free grace, &c. as truly belonging unto you, and certainely yours for ever.

Heare two Master Builders upon the matter, confir∣ming the present Point.

1.fTo think that it lyeth in the power of any Priest tru∣ly to absolve a man frō his sins, without implying the con∣dition of his believing and repenting, as he ought to doe, is both presumption and madnesse in the highest degree.

2. gIn the Pardon, whereby a Priesthpardoneth a sinner for an offence by Him committed against God, there are two things to bee considered: One, that there is Page  271 no pardon, if the sinner doth not earnestly repent; The other, that hee himselfe which pardoneth, hath need of par∣don. Of these two Points, the first is the cause, that the Priests pardon is conditionall, because Hee knoweth not the heart; The other is a cause, that the Priest should consider of himselfe, that hee is rather a De∣linquet, then a Iudge: and to teach him to feare, lest that after hee hath pardoned others, Hee himselfe may not obtaine pardon. It is a thing certaine, that if a sinner seriously converting▪ and beleeving in Iesus Christ, cannot obtaine absolution of his Pastor which is passionate, or badly informed of the truth; God will pardon him. On the contrary, if a Pastor that is indulgent, an winketh at vices, or that is deceived by appearance of repentance, ab∣solveth an hypocriticall sinner, and receiveth him into the communion of the faithfull, that ypocriticall sinner re∣maineth bound before God, and shall bee punished not∣withstanding. For God partaketh not with the errours of Pastors, neither regardeth their passions; nor can be hin∣dred from doing iustice by their ignorance.

Page  2723. Let mee adde iCyprian, who at the first rising of the Novatian heresie, wrote thus to Antonianus: We doe not preiudice the Lord that is to iudge; But that hee, if Hee finde the repentance of the sinner to bee full, and iust, hee may then ratifie that, which shall bee here ordai∣ned by us: But if any one doe deceive us with the sem∣blance of repentance, God (who is not mocked, and who beholdeth the heart of man) may iudge of those things, which wee did not well discerne, and the Lord may amend the sentence of his servants.

Neither let this Truth; to wit, that our assuring of mercy and pardon must bee conditionall, upon such like termes as these; If thou doest beleeve, and repent as thou oughtest to doe; If these things bee in truth as you promise and professe, &c. discourage, or trouble any that are true of heart: For it should not prejudice, or hinder their application of the promises, taking Christ as their owne assurance of mercy and comfort: because they are conscious to themselves of the syncerity of their owne hearts. And therefore kLooke how the Pro∣phet Esay was comforted, when the Angell said unto Him; l Thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sinne purged; and the poore Woman in the Gospell, when Iesus said unto Her,m Thy sinnes are forgiven: The like con∣solation doth the distressed sinner receive from the mouth of the Minister, when hee hath compared the truth of Gods Word faithfully delivered by Him, with the worke of Gods grace in His owne heart. According to that of Elibu:* If there bee an Angell, or a Messenger with him, an Interpreter, One of a thousand, to declare unto man his righteousnesse; then will God have mercy up∣on Him, and say, Deliver him from going downe to the pit, I have received a reconciliation.

2. Too much. A little Aqua vita may happily re∣vive and refresh the fainting spirits of a swouning Man; but too much would kill. A spoone-full of Cinnamon-water mingled with twelve spoone-fulls of Spring-water, Page  273 and one spoonefull of Rose-water, &c. may bee soveraigne against the sinking of the heart; But poure at once a Pint into the Stomack, and it might unhappi∣ly choake the naturall heate, waste the Radicall moy∣sture, and burne up a Mans Bowels. Mercy being wise∣ly administred in the right season, and mingled with convenient Counsels and Caveats, may, by Gods bles∣sing, binde up a broken heart with a leasurable and kindly Cure; It may mollifie in the meane time with an healing and heavenly heate, the smarting anguish of a wounded conscience; and at length seasonably close it up with sound and lasting comfort: But poured out hand over head by an unsteady, and in-discreet hand, It may by accident, dangerously dry up penitent teares too soone, and stifle the worke of the spirit of Bondage in the beginning.

But here let none either out of ignorance or malice mistake, or bee troubled with this Too much: The same Phrase in the same sense is to be found in * Master Per∣kins, a great Master in the deepe mystery of dealing with afflicted consciences. For wee must know, that Too much, is by no meanes to bee meant of any wayes restraining, or confining the infinitenesse of Gods mer∣cy. It were execrable blasphemy to dis-roabe Gods most glorious Attribute of it's immensity: but in re∣spect of not mingling some Coolers and Caveats to Page  274 keepe from presumption: as shall appeare in the ensu∣ing Counsells, I shall commend for that purpose.

Vpon this ground, I reason thus:

A man may presse, and apply Gods justice, and the terrours of the Law Too much; therefore also mercy, and the comforts of the Gospell, too much. The con∣sequent is cleare. For as the former may plunge into the Gulphe of despaire; so the other may cast upon the Rocke of presumption: Nay, it is more then un-answer∣ably strong; Because wee are farre readier to appre∣hend, and apply unto our selves mercy, then judgement. And thousands are endlesly overthrowne thorow pre∣sumption, for one by despaire.

And the Antecedent who will deny? It is rather so preposterously applauded and prest; that most, if a Mi∣nister, even with his best discretion, reveale the whole Counsell of God, and tell them; That none shalbee re∣freshed by Christ, but onely those who labour and are heavy laden;* That they must humble themselves in the sight of the Lord,* if they would have him to lift them up: That none shall have mercy, but such as confesse and for∣sake their sinnes: That the meere ciuill man, and luke∣warme formall Professour,* without holinesse and zeale, can never bee saved: That all the wicked shalbee turned into Hell,* &c. In a word, if Hee take the right course to bring men from darkenesse to light, from Satan to the li∣ving God; by first wounding with the Law, before Hee heale with the Gospell; I say, the most in this Case, are ready to cry out, and complaine, that hee throwes wild∣fire, Brimstone and Gunpowder into the consciences of men.

Conceive therefore, I pray you;

That there is in God; first, His justice; and second∣ly, His mercy, both infinite and equall. Onely in regard of Man there is an inequality; For God may bee said, to bee more mercifull unto them that are saved, then just to them that are damned: For of damnation the Page  275 just cause is in Man; but of salvation, it is wholly from grace.n In Himselfe and originally, they are both equal, and so are all his Attributes: But in respect of the o ex∣ercise, and expression upon His creatures, and abroad in the world, there is some difference. But for my pur∣pose, and our Ministeriall emploiment and Com∣mission, take notice;

That as the revealed effects of Gods mercy, are love, tender-heartednesse, compassion; His owne deare Sons pretious hearts-blood, pardon of sinnes, peace of con∣science, unspeakeable and glorious joy thereupon, E∣vangelicall pleasures, comfortable presence of the Spirit even in this life, and in the other World pleasures infini∣tely moe then the Starres of the firmament in number, even for ever and ever: And all these vpon all true Peni∣tents.

So the revealed effects of His Iustice are indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish; that Sword, which will devoure flesh; those arrowes, that drinke blood; that fiery anger, which will burne unto the lowest Hell, and set on fire the foundations of the Mountaines; That com∣ming against, which is with fire and charets like a whirle∣winde, to render anger with fury, and rebuke with flames of fire; that meeting which is, as of a Beare bereaved of her whelps, to rent the caue of the heart, and devoure like a Lyon, &c. All plagues with the extremity, temporall, spirituall, eternall, all the curses in this Booke of His, all the torments in Hell, to the utmost sparke of those infer∣nall flames; And all these, upon all impenitent sinners. Now God will bee glorified both waies, and by them both:

Give us leave then, to give them both their due:

Wee are most willing, and ready, as our great * Ma∣ster Page  276 in Heaven would have us, Isa. 40.1.2. and our bles∣sed Saviour by his example doth teach us; Luk. 4.18. To convey by our Ministry into every truly-broken heart, and bleeding Soule, the warmest bloud that ever heated Christs tender heart; and to keepe backe from the true Penitent, not any one graine of that immeasu∣rable Mine, of all the rich mercies purchased with that pretious blood.

Bee content therefore on the otherside, that wee o∣pen the Armory of Gods justice, and reveale his wrath from heaven against all ungodlinesse and unrighteousnesse of Men; That indignation and wrath, Tribulation and an∣guish, shalbe upon every soule of man that doth evill, &c. As wee are ever ready to binde vp the bruised spirit with the softest oyle of Gods sweetest mercy: So let us, I pray you, have leave, in the equity of a just and holy proportion, to wound with the Hammer of the Law, the hary Pate of every One that goes on in His sinne.

Let us deale faithfully even with▪ wicked men, lest wee answere for the blood of their soules, By telling them; That, as certainely as all the glorious comforts, and blessed consequents of Gods infinite mercy shall crowne the heart and heade of every true-hearted Na∣thanael for ever: so all the dreadfull effects of his angry Iustice will at length seize upon the Soules, and con∣found the consciences of all un-holy men with extre∣mest severity, and terrour.

Let it bee thus then, and let our Ministeriall dispen∣sation bee in this manner: If thou bee an impenitent Person; I would tell Thee, That the vtmost wrath of God, vnquenchable and everlasting vengeance, all earthly and infernall plagues, are thy certaine Portion: But I would mollify and sweeten the bitternesse of this sentence, with assurance of mercy upon Repentance, to prevent the assaults of despaire.

On the other side, If the Ministry of the Word hath Page  277 wrought upon Thee effectually; and now thy truly-humbled soule thirsts after Christ with a syncere hatred and opposition against all sinne; I would assure thy troubled and trembling heart in the Word of life and truth, of all those most pretious blessings and sweetest comforts, which the Booke of God doth promise, and the blood of Christ hath bought: But withall I would commend unto thee some Coolers and Counterpoisons against presumption, and falling to Pharisaisme.

For which purpose, and for prevention of danger, and spirituall undoing by unskilfull, and undiscreet dawbing in the Case proposed; I come now to tender such Counsels and Caveats as these, or the like, which the faithfull Physition of the Soule according to occasi∣ons, circumstances, and present exigents, may thinke fit to bee mingled with administration of mercy, and wise∣ly propounded to the afflicted Party.

It may not proove unseasonable to speake thus, or in some such manner, to thy spirituall Patient.

1. If these things bee truly and soundly so: If thou finde and feele indeed such a mollified and melting spi∣rit, such broken and bleeding affections in thy bosome; Thou art certainely blessed. If that sorrowfull soule of thine doth renounce from the very heart-roote, with speciall distaste and detestation all manner of sinne; in∣satiably thirst after righteousnesse; unfainedly resolve, for the short remainder of a few and evill dayes, to bend it selfe towards heaven in all New-obedience; I say, if this bee syncerely, the holy disposition and reso∣lution of thine heavy heart, notwithstanding all thy present terrour and trouble of minde, Thou art truly and everlastingly happy. Onely take notice (lest my ministring of mercy bee mistaken, or thy conceiving of comfort mis-carry) that the heart of man is deceitfull above all things. A bottomlesse depth it is of Falshoods, dissemblings, hypocrisies. An endlesse Maze of win∣dings, turnings, and hidden passages. No eye can search Page  278 and see it's center and secrets, but that All-seeing One alone, which is ten thousand times brighter then the Sun; to which the darkest Nooke of Hell is as the Noone-day. And therefore not I, nor any man alive, can pro∣mise pardon, or apply the promises, but conditionally, upon supposition: If these things bee so, and so, as thou hast said. And the syncerity of thy heart, and truth of these hopefull protestations, which wee now heare from thee in this extremity; (and I must tell thee by the way, such like may be enforced by the slavish sting of present terrour, not fairely and freely flow from a true touch of conscience for sinne; I say, this may bee, tho I hope better things of Thee). The truth, as I said, both of thy heart, and these affectionate promises, will appeare, when the storme is over, and this dismall tempest, which hath over-cast and shaken thy spirit with extraordinary feare, and astonishment, is over∣blowne. Thy course of life to come, will proove a true Touch-stone, to try, whether this bee the kindly tra∣vaile of the New-birth; or onely a temporary taking-on during the fit, by reason of the uncouthnesse, and ex∣quisitenesse of this invisible spirituall torture, without true turning to Iesus Christ. If when the now-troubled powers of thy soule, which the wound of thy consci∣ence hath cast into much distracted and uncomforta∣ble confusion, shall recover their wonted calmenes and quiet, thou turne unto thine old bias, humour, compa∣ny and conversation; it will then bee more then mani∣fest, that this Furnace of terrour and temptation, where∣in thou now lies and languishes, was so far from work∣ing thine heart to heavenlinesse and grace, that it hath hammered it to more hardnesse and ungraciousnesse: from purging and refining; that it hath occasioned more earthlinesse, epicurisme and raging affections in sensuality and sinfull pleasures. But if, when thou art up againe, and raised by Gods mercifull hand out of the Depth of this spirituall distresse, into which the horrible Page  279 sight, and heavy waight of thy sinnes have sunke thee; if then thou expresse, and testifie thy true-heartednesse in these present solemne protestations made now, as it were, in thy hot blood; I meane, of thy hatred against sinne, by an earnest opposition, watchfulnesse, and stri∣ving against all, especially that, which in thine unrege∣nerate time stucke closest to thy bosome: of thine hun∣ger and thirst after a comfortable fruition of Gods face and favour, by a conscionable and constant pursuit, and exercise of all good meanes and opportunities, of all his blessed ordinances, appointed and sanctified for groath in grace, and bringing us nearer unto Him: of thy future New-obedience, and Christian walking, by plying industriously, and fruitfully with thy best endea∣vour, and utmost ability, those three glorious workes of Christianity; Preservation of purity in thine owne Soule and Body: righteous dealing with all thou hast to doe-with: Holy carriage towards God in all religi∣ous duties.* In a word, by denying ungodlinesse and worldly lusts, and living soberly, righteously, and godlily in this present world, of which the grace of God teacheth every true Convert to make Conscience. I say, if upon thy recovery, this bee thy course; Thou art certainely New-created. Such blessed behaviour as this, will in∣fallibly evidence, these present terrours to have been the Pangs of thy New-birth, and thy happy translation from death to life, from the vanity and folly of sin into the light and liberty of Gods Children.

2. Secondly,* say unto Him: When once that blessed Fountaine of Soule-saving blood is opened up∣on thy Soule, in the side of the Sonne of God, by the hand of Faith for sinne and for uncleannesse; then also must a Counter-spring, as it were, of repentant teares bee opened in thine humbled heart, which must not be dried up untill thy p dying Day. This is my meaning; Page  280 (for every Christian hath not teares at command: the heart sometimes may bleed, when the eyes are dry). Thou must bee content to continue the current of thy godly sorrow upon that abominable Sinke and Sodom of all the lusts, vanities and villanies of thy darke and damned time; and also upon those frailties, infirmities, imperfections, defects, relapses, back-slidings, which may accompany thy regenerate state; even untill that body of sinne, which thou carries about Thee, bee dis∣solved by the stroke of death. As concerning thine old sinnes, and those that are past, it is not enough that now the fresh horrour of them, and those grissely af∣frighting formes, wherein they have appeared to the eye of thy wounded conscience, have wrought upon thy heart, by Gods blessing▪ some softnesse, heart-rising, Page  281 remorse and hatred: But thou must many and many a time hereafter, in the extraordinary exercises of renued repentance, presse thy penitent spirit to bleede afresh within thee, and qdraw water againe out of the bottome of thy broken heart with those Israelites, and poure it out before the Lord in abundāce of bitter teares, for thy never sufficiently sorrowed-for abominations and rebellions, against so blessed and bountifull a God. Now the solemne times and occasions, when wee are called to this renued Repentance, are such as these:

1. When wee are to performe some speciall services unto God; because then out of a godly jealousie wee may feare, lest the face and favour of God, the love and light of His countenance may not lie so open unto us, by reason of the cloudy interposition of our former sinnes. 2. When wee seeke for any speciall blessing at Gods mercifull hands; because then out of a gracious feare we may suspect, that our old sinnes may intrude; and labour to intercept and divert from our longing Soules, the sweet and comfortable influences of the Throne of grace. It may seeme that David in the cur∣rent of his prayer, saw His old sinnes charge upon Him, and therefore cries out by the way; Remember not the sinnes of my youth. 3. In the time of some great afflicti∣on, and remarkeable Crosse; when upon a new search, and strict examination of our hearts and lives; we hum∣bling our selves more solemnely againe in the sight of the Lord, and mourning afresh over Him, whom wee have pierced with our youthly pollutions, and provoke daily with many wofull failings, are wont to seeke Gods pleased face, and our former peace; sanctificati∣on of it unto us in the meane time, and the remoovall of it from us in due time, in the name of Iesus Christ. 4. After relapse into some old secret lust, or fall into some new scandalous sinne. Davids remorse for adul∣tery and murder, brought his heart to bleede over his birth-sinne, Psal. 51.5. Above all, upon all those Page  282 mighty Dayes of humiliation by prayer and fasting, publike, private, or secret: wherein Gods people wra∣stle with God by the omnipotency of prayer,* and worke so many wonders from time to time. 6. Some there are also, who setting apart some speciall times to conferre with God in secret, lay together before Him, the glori∣ous Catalogue of the riches of His mercy, reaching from everlasting to everlasting, all his favours, preserva∣tions, deliverances, protections, &c. from their first bee∣ing, to that time; and the abhorred Catalogue of all their sinnes from Adam to that houre, Originall, both imputed, and inherent; actuall both before and since their calling; and this they doe with hearty desire of such different affections, as they severally require. A se∣rious and sensible comparing of which two together, makes sinne a great deale more loathsome, and the mer∣cies of God more illustrious; and so prooves effectuall many times, by the helpe of the Holy Ghost, to soften their hearts extraordinarily, to make them weepe hear∣tily, and fils their Soules with much joyfull sorrow, and humble thankefulnesse. 7. Vpon our Beds of death. Then because wee take our farewell of Repentance, we should take our fill of it; because it is the last time wee shall looke upon our sinnes for that purpose, we should dismisse them with utmost, and extremest loathing. At such times, and upon such occasions as these, and the like, when thou art called to a more solemne, strict and severe search, and review of thy old sinnes and former life, Thou must renue this present repentance of thy New-birth, make thine heart breake againe, and bleed afresh with the sight of thy heretofore much doted-up∣on, but now most abhorred abominable courses. And so often also, as thou lookes backe upon them, Thou must labour to abominate and abandon them with more re∣solute aversion, and new degrees of detestation. Thoe may bee, by the mercies of God, they shall never bee able to r••ng thee againe with the same slavishnesse of Page  283 guilty horrour; yet thou mst still endeavour, in thy cold blood to strangle utterly thy former delight in them, with more hearty additions of deadly hatred; and to bee more and more humbled for them untill thy ending houre. It is a very high happinesse, and bles∣sing above ordinary, to bee able to looke backe upon thy choisest youthfull pleasures and pollutions, without either sensuall delight, or slavish horrour: with syn∣cere hatred, holy indignation, and hearty mourning.

Now for the time to come, and those sinnes, which hereafter the rebelliousnesse of thy naughty nature, and violence of the Divels temptations may force upon thee; if thy heart bee now truly toucht, and conscience savingly illightned, Thou shalt find much matter, neces∣sity, and use of continuing thy Repentance, so long as thy life lasts. In a leaking ship there must bee conti∣nuall pumping; * A ruinous house must be still in repai∣ring: These bodies of death wee beare about us, are na∣turally liable to so many batteries, and breaches by the assaults of originall sinne, and other implacable enemies to our soules, that there is extreme need of perpetuall watch and ward, repenting and repairing, lest the New∣man bee too much opprest, and too often surprized by the many, and cunning encounters of the old Adam. When thou art in company, solitary, busied about thy particular Calling, there may suddenly arise in thine heart, some greedy wish, some grosse conceite, some vaine, uncleane, ambitious, revengefull thought; ejacu∣late presently a penitent igh, and ervent prayer for pardon of it in the Passion of Christ. In thy family, perhaps amongst thy children and servants, by reason of some crosse-accident, thou mayst breake out into some unadvised passionate speech; and disgrace thy selfe and Profession, by over hasty intemperate heate, not without some danger of hurting and hardening those about thee thereby: Get thee presently upon it into thy Closer, or some place for that purpose; Throw Page  284 thy selfe downe with a truly-grieved, and humbled Soule before the Trone of grace, and rise not untill thou bee reconciled unto thy God. If at any time, which God forbid, Thou bee over-taken with some more publike scandalous sinne, or dangerously haun∣ted with some enormous secret lust; appoint for thy selfe a solemne Day of humiliation; and then cry un∣to the Lord like a woman in travaile; and give him no rest, untill Hee returne unto Thee with the wonted fa∣vour and calmnesse of His pleased countenance. If Christians would constantly take to heart, and ply this blessed businesse of immediately rising by repentance, after every relapse and fall into sinne, they should find a further Paradise and pleasure in the wayes of God, then they ever yet tasted. This course continued with present feeling, and after-watchfulnesse, would helpe excellently, by the blessing of God, and excercise of Faith, the onely Conduit of all spirituall comfort, to keepe in their bosomes that, which they much desire, and often bewaile, the want of a chearefull, bold, and heavenly spirit.

Neither let any here bee troubled, because I presse the exercise and use both of renewed and continued Repentance all our life long; as tho thereupon the Christians life might seeme more uncomfortable: For wee are to know, that sorrow according to God, Evan∣gelicall mourning, is * mingled with abundance of spi∣rituall Page  285 joy, which doth infinitely surpasse in sweetnesse and worth, all worldly pleasures and delights of sense. Nay, whereas all the Ioviall good-fellow-mirth of car∣nall men is but a flash of Hellish folly; This is a very glimpse of heavenly glory. Let mee tell you againe, how sweetly and truly that excellent Divine of Scot∣land speakes of it: cThere is, saith He, more lightnesse of heart, and true delight in the sorrow of the Saints, then in the Worlds loudest laughter. For unspeakeable ioy is mingled with un-utterable groanes. The ancient Fathers are of the same minde with this Man of God: Godly sorrow, saith *Chrysostome, is better then the ioy of the World. Even as The ioy of the World is ever ac∣companied with sorrow; so teares according to God be∣get continuall and certaine delight. Againe, Such a man as this now (meaning Him whose heart is inflamed with an heavenly heate) despising all things here below, doth presevere in continuall compunction, pouring out abun∣dance of teares every day, and taking thence a great deale of pleasure. Let the Repentant, saith dAustin, be alwaies sorrowfull for sinne, and alwaies reioyce for that sor∣row.

3. Beware of two dangerous errours: 1. Either to conceive, that thou mayst not admit of any comfort, or apply the promises comfortably; because Thou still finds in thy selfe more matter of mourning, and further humiliation. 2. Or to thinke; When Thou hast on•• laid hold upon Christs Person and pretious sufferings, for the pardon of thy sinnes, and quieting of thy Soule, that then Thou must mourne no more.

1. For the first, know, That were our heads Seaes, Page  286 and our eyes Fountaines of teares, and poured out abundantly every moment of our life: Should our hearts fall asunder into drops of blood in our breast, for anguish and indignation against our selves for our transgressions; yet should wee come infinitely short of the sorrow and hearts-griefe, which our many and hainous lusts and pollutions justly merit, and exact at our hands. Therefore wee cannot expect from our selves any such sufficiency of sorrow, or worthinesse of weeping for our sinnes, as by the perfection and power thereof to win Gods favour, and draw his mercy upon us. Such a conceit were most absurd, senselesse, and sin∣full, and would rather discover and taste of naturall pride, then true humility, as they perhaps mistake: tend unhappily to the disgrace of Gods mercies, and gracing our owne merits. True it is; Had wee a thousand eyes, it were too little to weep them all out, for the ve∣ry vanity of that one sinfull sense: Had we a thousand hearts, and they should all burst with penitent griefe, and bleed to death for the sinnes of our soules; it were more then immeasurably, unconceiveably insufficient. For were al this so, s yet were it not this; but the hearte-blood of Iesus Christ, could make the Fathers heart to yerne compassionately over us, or purchase pardon, and acceptation at his hands. Tender therefore unto that poore troubled soule, who beeing sorely crushed, and languishing under the burden of his sinnes, refuses to bee raised and refreshed, endlesly pleading, and dispu∣ting against himselfe, out of a strong, fearefull appre∣hension of his owne vilenesse and unworthinesse, put∣ting off all comfort by this mis-conceit, that no Seaes of Page  287 sorrow, no measure of mourning will serve the turne to come comfortably unto Iesus Christ: I say, presse up∣on such an One this true Principle in the high and hea∣venly Art of rightly comforting afflicted conscien∣ces.

So soone as a Man is truly and heartily humbled for all his sinnes, and weary of their waight, tho the degree of his sorrow bee not answerable to his owne desire, yet Hee shall most certainely bee welcome unto Iesus Christ.

It is not so much the t muchnesse and measure of our sorrow, as the truth and heartinesse, which fits us for the promises and comforts of mercy. Tho I must say this also: Hee that thinkes, Hee hath sorroweduenough for His sinnes, never sorrowed savingly.

2. For the second, which is more properly and spe∣cially pertinent to our purpose; Take notice, That the blood of Christ beeing seasonably and savingly apply∣ed to thine humbled Soule, for the pardon and purgati∣on of sinne, must by no meanes damne and dry up thy well-spring of weeping, but onely asswage and heale thy wound of horrour. That pretious Balme hath this heavenly property and power, that it rather melts, soft∣neth, and makes the heart a great deale more weeping-ripe. If these bee truly the pangs of the New-birth, wherewith thou art now afflicted; Thou shalt find, that thy now cleaving with assurance of acceptation unto the Lord Iesus, will not so much lessen, hinder, or cease thy sorrow; as rectifie, season, and sweeten it. If thy right unto that Soule-saving Passion bee reall; and thou cast thine eye with a beleeving, hopefull heart up∣on Him, whom thou hast therein pierced with thy sins (and those sinnes alone are said properly to have pier∣ced Christ, which at length are pardoned by his blood). Thou canst not possibly containe, but excesse of love unto thy crucified Lord, and sense of Gods mercy, shed into thy Soule thorow his merits, will make thee weepe againe, and faely force thine heart to burst out Page  288 abundantly into fresh, and filiall teares. (See how freshly Davids heart bled with repentant sorrow, upon His assurance by Nathan of the pardon of His sinne: Psal. 51). Thou canst not chuse, but mourne more heartily Evangelically, and that which should passingly please Thee, and sweetely perpetuate, the spring of thy godly sorrow, more pleasingly unto God.

Take therefore speciall notice and heede of these two depths of the Divell, that I have now disclosed un∣to thee:

1. When thou art truly wrought upon by the Mi∣nistry of the Word, and now fitted for comfort; Be∣leeve the Prophets; those Ones of a thousand, learned in the right handling of afflicted consciences, and thou shalt prosper. As soone as thy Soule is soundly humbled for sinne, open and enlarge it joyfully like the thirsty ground, that the refreshing dew and Doctrine of the Gospell may drop and distill upon it, as the small raine upon the parched grasse. Otherwise;

1. Thou offers dishonour, and disparagement, as it were, to the dearenesse, and tendernesse of Gods mer∣cy; who is ever infinitely more x ready, and forward to bind up a broken heart, then it to bleed before Him. Consider for this purpose the Parable of the prodigall Sonne, Luk. 15. Hee is there said to goe, but the Father ran.

2. Thou maist, by the unsettlednesse of thy heavy heart unnecessarily, unsit and dis-able thy selfe for the duties, and discharge of both thy Callings.

3. Thou shalt gratifie the Divell; who will labour mightily by his lying suggestions, (if thou wilt not bee counselled and comforted, when there is cause) to de∣taine thee in perpetuall horrour here, and in an eternall Hell hereafter. Some find him 〈◊〉 furiously and malii∣ously busie to keepe them from comfort, when they are fit∣ted; as from fitnesse for comfort.

4. Thou art extremely un-advised, nay, very cruell Page  289 to thine owne Soule. For whereas it might now be fil∣led with unspeakable and glorious ioy,* with peace that passeth all understanding, with Evangelicall pleasures, which are such,* as neither eye hath seene, nor eare heard, neither have entred into the heart of Man, by taking Christ; To which thou hast a strong and manifold Calling: Isai. 55.1. Ho, every one that thirsteth, come yee to the waters, &c. Matth. 11.28. Come unto mee all yee that labour, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Ioh. 7.37. If any man thirst, let him come un∣to mee, and drinke. Revel. 22.17. And let him that is a thirst, come.. And whosoever will, let him take the wa∣ter of life freely. Yea, a Commandement; 1. Ioh. 3.23. And this is his commandement, that wee should beleeve on the Name of his Sonne Iesus Christ: And yet for all this, Thou, as it were, wilfully stand'st out, wilt not be∣leeve the Prophets, forsak'st thine owne comfort, and liest still upon the Racke of thy unreconcilement unto God.

2. On the other hand: when the angvish of thy guilted Conscience, is upon sure ground something al∣layed, and suppled with the oyle of comfort; and thy ••unded heart warrantably revived with the sweet∣nesse of the Promises, as with marrow and fatnesse: Thou must not then, either shut up thine eyes from further search into thy sins, or y dry them up from any more mourning. But comfort of remission must serve as a pretious Eye-salve, both to cleare their sight, that they may see moe, and with more detestation; and to enlarge their Sluces, as it were, to poure out repentant teares more plentifully. Thou must continue ripping up, and ransacking that hellish Heape of thy former re∣bellions, and pollutions of youth: still dive and digge into that Body of death thou bearest about thee, for the finding out, and furnishing thy selfe with as much mat∣ter of sound humiliation as may bee; that thou mayst still grow viler and viler in thine owne eyes, and bee Page  290 more and more humble untill thy dying Day. But yet so, That as thou holdest out in the one hand the cleare Cristall of Gods pure Law to discover the vilenesse and variety of thy sinnes; all the spots and staines of thy Soule; so thou hold out in the other hand, or rather with the hand of Faith lay hold upon the Lord Iesus hanging, bleeding, and dying upon the Crosse for thy sake. The one is soveraigne, to save from flavish stings of conscience, bitternesse of horrour, and venome of de∣spaire: The other mingled with faith, will serve as a quickning preservative to keepe in thy bosome a humble, soft, and lowly spirit; which doth ever excel∣lently fit, to live by Faith more chearefully, to enjoy God more neerely, to apply Iesus Christ more feeling∣ly, and to long for his comming more earnestly. In a word, to climbe up more merrily those staires of joy, which are prest upon us by the holy Prophet, Psal. 32. Bee glad.—Reioyce—and shout for ioy, all yee that are upright in heart.

4. Conceive that hypocrisie may lurke in very good∣ly outward formes, and fairest promises and protestati∣ons of Selfe-seeming earnest humiliation. Looke upon Ahab, 1. King. 21.27. upon the Israelites, Psal. 78.3▪ 35. I meane not onely grosse Hypocrisie, whereby mens false hearts teach them to deceive others; but also that, which else-where I have stiled Formall Hypocri∣sie, whereby mens owne hearts deceive even their own selves. For I make no question, but the promises of amendment, which many make, when they are pressed, and panting under some heavy crosse, or grievous sick∣nesse, proceede from their hearts; I meane, they speake as they thinke; and for the present, purpose perfor∣mance; who notwithstanding, upon their recovery, and restitution to former health, and wonted worldly happinesse, returne with the dog unto the vomit; and plunge againe perfidiously into the cursed current of their disclaimed pleasures. But by the way, and in a Page  291 word, to illighten a perplexed Point, and prevent a scruple, which may trouble true hearts indeed; who hold truth of heart in their repentances, services and duties towards God, to bee their Peculiar, and a spe∣ciall Touchstone to trie and testifie the soundnesse of their sanctification, the truth of their spirituall states, and a distinctive Character from all sorts of unregenerate men; and all kindes of Hypocrisie: I say, purposes and promises made from the heart in the sense, I have said, with earnest eager protestation, while they are in angvish and extremity, and yet after deliverance and ease, melt away, as a morning cloud, and like the early deaw; proceede from hearts, rather affected onely with sting of present horrour, naturall desire of happinesse, mis-conceite, that it is a light thing to leave sinne, and the like; then truly broken and burdened with sight of their owne vilenesse, sense of Gods displeasure, hatred of wickednesse, and former sensuall waies; or enamou∣red with the sweetnesse of Iesus Christ, amiablenesse of grace, and goodnesse of God, &c. Howsoever for my purpose, certaine it is, and too manifest by many wo∣full experiences; that as it often falles out, and fares with men in their corporal visitations, & outward cros∣ses; to wit, That while the storme and tempest beates sore upon them, they run unto God as their Rocke, and enquire early after Him, as it is said of the Israelites, Ps. 78.34. But when once, an hot gleame of former health and prosperitie shines upon them againe, they hie as fast out of Gods Blessing into the warme Sunne, as they say, from sorrow for sinne, to delight of sense; from seeking God, to security in their old waies: I say, even so it is sometimes also, with men in aflictions of Soule, and troubles of conscience: while the agony and extre∣mity is upon them, they take on, as though they would become trve Converts; both promise, and purpose many excellent things for the time to come, and a re∣markeable change: But if once the fit be cover, they Page  292start aside, like a broken Bow; and fearefully fall away from what they have vowed, with horrible ingrati∣tude, and execrable villany; having been extraordinari∣ly schooled and scorched, as it were, in the flames of horrour, and warned to take heed by the very ven∣geance of Hell. For the former, heare the experi∣ence of reverend Divines: Many seeming, saith One, to repent affectionately in dangerous sicknesse, when they have recovered, have been rather worse then before. I would have thought my selfe, saith another, that many monstrous Persons, whom I have visited, when Gods hand upon them, caused them to cry out, and promise a∣mendment, would have prooved rare examples to others, of true conversion unto God: But to my great griefe, and to teach ee experience, what becommeth of such un∣timely fruits, they have turned backe againe, as an arrow from a stone wall, and as the dog to His owne vomit, &c.

For the latter; I could here make it good also by too many experiences, were it convenient; But I for∣beare for some reasons, to report them at this time.

I publish this Point, and speake thus; Not to trouble any true Converts about the truth of their hearts in their troubles of Conscience: * consciousnesse unto themselves of their New-birth already happily past; their prizing, and cleaving to the Lord Iesus, unvalewa∣bly, unvincibly; their present New-obedience, new courses, new company, new conversation, &c. makes it more then evident, that they were savingly mollified and melted in the furnace of their spirituall afflictions; fashioned and framed by the hand of the Holy Ghost to bee Gods Iewels: But to terrifie those miserable men, who having tasted that transcendent torture of a Page  293 wounded conscience, dare upon any termes look-backe againe upon the world with delight and doting; and againe commit those sinnes, which have already stung their hearts with the very terrours of Hell: Or rather at this time, to teach and tell the afflicted in conscience, that when the rich treasures of Gods free mercy, and the unsearchable riches of Christ are opened, and offe∣red unto Him, Hee drinke not so undiscreetly at first of that immeasurable Sea, as presently to fall into a sur∣fet of security. But to prevent mis-carriage in a mat∣ter of so unvalew-able moment, let him rather mingle Motives to humiliation with his Medicine of mercy. Let Him looke well to the grounds, and good speeches, upon which the spirituall Physition is encouraged to comfort Him, that they shrinke not in the wetting, as they say. Let him feare and attend his owne deceit∣full heart withall narrow watch, and a very jealous eye. Otherwise that false heart of his, may proove a Depth, to drowne His owne deare Soule in the Pit of endlesse perdition. For in time of extremity and terrour, especi∣ally of conscience, it may seeme pliable, and promise faire; and yet when it comes to performance and pra∣ctise; either impudently and perfidiously wallowes a∣gaine in open wickednesse, or rests onely in a Forme of godlinesse at the best. Let Him bee stedfast in the Cove∣nant, and then Hee may bee sure, that his heart was up∣right; and that Hee did not flatter with His mouth, or lye unto God with his tongue.

5. Sith Thou art now upon termes of turning unto God, taking Profession upon Thee, and giving up thy Name unto Christ, the blessedest businesse that ever Thou went'st about: Be well advised, consider seriously what thou undertakest, and cast deliberately before∣hand, what it is like to cost Thee. Thou must make an account to become the Drunkards Song, and to have those that sit in the Gate to speake against Thee; The vi∣lest of Men to raile upon thee, and the wisest of the Page  294 World to laugh at Thee. Thou must bee content to live a despised Man,* to bee scoft-at, to bee hated of all men; To crucifie the flesh, with the affections and lusts; To looke upon the world, set out in the gaudiest man∣ner with all her baites and Bables of riches, honours, favours, greatnesse, pleasures, &c. as upon an unsavou∣ry rotten aCarrion: Thou and the World must bee as two dead carcasses upon one Beere, without any de∣lightfull mutuall commerce, or enter-course; strangers and b starke dead one unto another, in respect of thy any further trading with the vanities thereof. For kee∣ping a good conscience, standing on Gods side, and Christs sake, Thou must deny thy Selfe, Thy worldly wisedome, carnall reason, corrupt affections; Thy ac∣ceptation with the World, favour of great Ones, credit and applause with the most; Thy passions, profit, plea∣sures, possibility of rising, and growing great; Thy nea∣rest friends, dearest companions, ease, liberty, life: and grow by little and little into Hesters most noble and in∣vincible resoluion, ever when doing Gods will, threat∣neth any earthly danger; And if I perish, I perish. But not to perish so, is everlastingly to perish; and so to pe∣rish, is to bee saved for ever. Thou must thus resolve upon this Selfe-deniall, when Thou first enters into Profession; or else thou wilt never bee able to hold out in thy spirituall Building, or conquer in the Christian Warfare.

Page  295(See and consider the occasion, and how earnestly Christ enioynes it: Matth. 16.24. &c. Luk. 14.24. &c. and presses it with two Parables). But all will come to naught; and thou cursedly conclude in open Aposa∣cy, grosse Hypocrisie▪ or Selfe-deceiving Formalitie. Consider the young Man in the Gospell: Hee came hastily unto Iesus Christ, and would needs bee His Dis∣ciple, and follower upon the sudden. But alas! Hee did wofully mistake. Little did he know, neither indeed would know, what belonged unto it: That the ser∣vant of such an heavenly Master must bee no earth∣worme; That every one of his Disciples must take up their crosse and follow him; For his sake, part with any thing, every thing; bee it riches, honours, credit, plea∣sures, &c. And therefore, when once Christ for the tri∣all of his heart had bid Him go, and sell that he had, &c. Hee had soone done: Hee was quickly gone. Now had this young Man gone away without this Lesson, Hee had gone away a Disciple, as well as any other, and perhaps as iolly a Professour, as the forwardest of them all; and that both in his owne strong opinion, and charitable mis-conceite of the rest, who were true of heart. As Iudas did a long time, and the foolish Vir∣gines all their life long. Too many such Professours, as Hee would have prooved, are to bee found, even in this Noone-tide of the Gospell abroad in the World: who beeing at their first entrance into Profession, not sound∣ly humbled, nor laying a sure foundation; not resol∣ved upon an universall Selfe-deniall; nor weighing with due fore-cast, what it will cost them, doe afterward be∣have themselves thereafter upon any gainefull occasi∣on greater triall, and temptation, or beeing put to it indeed: They are wont from time to time to disco∣ver their rottennesse, open the mouthes of the pro∣phane, and shame all. They are like unto Reeds, which in a calme stand bolt upright, and seeme stiffe and strong; but let a tempest breake-in upon them, and Page  296 they bend any way: While their temporall state is un∣toucht, their outward happinesse unhazarded; they seeme resolute, thorow, and couragious; but let a storme of persecution bee raised against them; Let them bee put into a great fright, that if they stand to it, they may bee undone, &c. And then they cowardlily hide their heads, pull in the hornes, as they say, and shame∣fully shrinke in the wetting: unhappily holding it bet∣ter to sleepe in a whole skinne, then with a good con∣science. Like the Eagle, they soare aloft with many goodly religious shewes and representations; but they still keepe their eye upon the Prey; and therefore when advantage is offered, they will basely stoope from for∣wardnesse, honesty, generosity, humanity, any thing, to seize upon a worldly commodity, office, honour, some earthly pelfe, and transitory Nothing. Some of these after Profession for some time, fall quite away from it, and turne Epicures, or Worldlings, if not Scorners and Persecutors: Others hold-on in a plodding course of formall Christianity all their life long; and at last, de∣part this life like the foolish Virgins, and in that formall manner I told you of before. Neither be thou dis-heart∣ned with this counsell of leaving all for Christ. For thou shalt bee no loser, but a great gainer thereby. Besides, e∣ternall life in the World to come; Thou shalt receive an hundred-fold now in this time, as Christ Him selfe tells thee, Mark. 10.30. If thou part with worldly ioies, thou shalt have quiet in the holy Ghost, spirituall joy unspeak∣able and glorious, neerer familiarity with God, deerer cōmunion with Iesus Christ, &c. To which the pleasures of ten thousand Worlds, were they all extant, were but extremest paine. If thou lose thine Husband: He that made thee,* will be in his stead unto Thee, Thy Maker is thine Husband, the Lord of Hosts is his Name. If thou lose thy Father; The Al-sufficient Iehouah, blessed for ever,*will pitty thee, as a Father pittieth his Children. If thou lose thy friends, and the worlds favour, Thou shalt Page  297 have all and the onely excellent upon earth,* to love Thee dearely, and to pray heartily for Thee. In a word, If thou lose all for Christs sake, Hee will bee unto Thee All in All:* And in * Him all things shall be thine in a farre more sweet and eminent manner. All things are yours, whether Paul, or Apollo, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; All are yours, and yee are Christs, and Christ is Gods.

6. When the spirituall Physition shall see the soile of his Patients heart well softned with sorrow for sinne, comfortably warmed with refreshing beames of fauour from the face of Christ, and so seasonably fitted, for to enter a Christian course, and to bring forth fruits meete for repentance; let him throw-in some timely seedes of Zeale, holy precisenesse, undaunted courage, and un∣shaken resolution about the affaires of Heaven, and in the cause of God; from such quickning Scriptures, and excellent examples as these, Luk. 13.24. Rom. 12.11. 12. Ephes. 5.15. Phil. 1.10.11. Matth. 11.12. Revel. 3.16. Ruth 4.11. Esth. 4.16. Nehem. 6.11. 1. King. 22.14. Heb. 11.24.25. 1. Sam. 20.32. Acts 21.13. &c.* That it may bee happily preserved from the ranke and flourishing, but rotten and fruitlesse weede of for∣mality and luke-warmenesse. Which pestilent Can∣ker, if it once take roote in the heart, it will never suffer the Herbe of grace, if I may so speake, the heavenly un∣fading flowers of saving grace, to grow by it, while the world stands. Nay, and will proove one of the stron∣gest bolts to barre them out; and the most boysterous cart-rope to pull-downe extraordinary vengeance up∣on the head of the Party. For as a loathsome vomite is to the stomacke of him that casts it out; so are luke∣warme Professours to the Lord Iesus, Reuel. 3.16. I marvaile many times what such men meane, and what worship, service and obedience they would have the mighty Lord of Heaven and Earth to have. Hee offers to us in the Ministry, His owne blessed Sonne to be our Page  298 deare, and everlasting Husband; His Person with all the rich and royall endowments thereof, the glory and endlesse felicities above, His owne thrice glorious, and ever-blessed Selfe, to bee enjoyed thorow all eternity, which is the very soule of heavenly Blisse, and life of eternall life, &c. Doe you thinke it then reasonable or likely, that Hee will ever accept at our hands an heart∣lesse, formall outwardnesse; a cold, rotten carcasse of religion: That wee should serve our selves in the first Place, and Him in the second? That wee should spend the prime and flower of our loues, ioyes, services, upon some abominable bosome-sinne; and then proportion-out to the everlasting God, mighty and terrible Creator, and Commander of Heaven and Earth, only some out∣ward religious formes and conformities; and those also so farre onely, as they hurt not our temporall happi∣nesse, but may consist with the entier enjoyment of some inordinate lust, pleasure, profit or preferment? Prodigious folly, nay, fury to their owne soules! This very one most base, and unworthy conceit of so great a God, and His due attributions, meriteth justly exclu∣sion from the Kingdome of Heaven, with the foolish Virgins, for ever. My Counsell therefore is; when the spirituall Patient hath passed the tempestuous Sea of a troubled conscience, and is now upon termes of taking a new course, That by all meanes Hee take heed, that Hee runne not upon this Rocke. It is better to bee key-cold, then luke-warme: and that the milke boile over, then bee raw.

7. Tho it bee an ordinary, yet it is a dangerous and utterly un-doing errour and deceite, To conceive, that all is ended, when the afflicted Party is mended; and hath received ease and enlargement from the terrible pressures of his troubled conscience. To thinke, that after the tempest of present terrour, and rage of guilti∣nesse bee allayed and over-blowne, there needes no more to bee done. As tho the New-birth were not Page  299 ever infallibly and inseparably attended with new-obedience. As tho, when once the soule is soundly and savingly strucke thorow, humbled, and prepared for Christ, by the terrifying power of the Law revealing the foulenesse of sinne, and fiercenesse of divine wrath, which set on by the spirit of bondage, is able, like a migh∣ty cthunder to breake and teare in pieces the iron synewes of the most stubborne and stony-heart, there followed not hearty shewers of repentant teares, never to bee dried up, untill our ending houre, as I taught be∣fore, when all teares shall bee everlastingly wiped a∣way with Gods mercifull hand; And that the Sunne of righteousnesse did not presently breake forth upon that happy Soule, to dispell the Hellish clouds of sensu∣ality, lust, lying in sinne, &c. and to illighten, inflame, and fill it with the serenity, and cleare sky, as it were, of sanctification, and purity, a kindly fervour of Zeale for Gods glory, good causes, good men, & keeping a good conscience, and fruitfull influence of sobriety, righteous∣nesse and holinesse for ever after. And therefore if upon recovery out of trouble of conscience, there follow not a continued exercise of Repentance both for sinnes past, present, and to come, as you heard before; an uni∣versall change in every power and part, both of Soule and Body, tho not in perfection of degrees, as the Schooles speake, yet of Parts; an heart-rising hatred and opposition against all sinne; a shaking-off old com∣panions, brethren in iniquity, all Satans good-fellow Reuellers; a delight in the word, waies, services, Sab∣baths, and Saints of God; a conscionable and constant endeavour to expresse the truth of protestations and promises made in time of terrour, as I told you before, &c.* In a Word, if there follow not a new life, if all things doe not become new, there is no New-birth in truth; all is naught, and to no purpose in the Point of salvation.

They are then miserable Comforters; Physicions of Page  300 no value; nay, of notorious spirituall blood-shed, who having neither acquaintance with, nor much caring for the manner, meanes, methode, any heavenly wisedome, spirituall discretion, or experimentall skill, in managing aright such an important businesse; if any waies they can asswage the rage, and still the cries of a vexed guilty Conscience, they thinke they have done a worthy worke; Tho after their dawbing, there bee nothing left behind in it, but a senselesse skarre; Nay, and per∣haps more brawnednesse, & benummednesse brought upon it, because it was not kindlily wrought-upon in the furnace of spirituall affliction; and rightly cured.

I feare mee, many poore soules are fearefully a de∣luded, who beeing recovered, out of terrours of Consci∣ence, too suddenly, unseasonably, or one way or other, unsoundly, conceive presently, they are truly converted; tho afterward, they bee the very same men, of the same company and conditions, they were before; or at best, blesse themselves in the seeming happinesse of an halfe b conversion.

For a more full discovery of this mischiefe, and pre∣vention of those miseries, which may ensue upon this last miscarriage; Let mee acquaint you with foure or five Passages out of Pangs of Conscience, which still leade amisse; and leave a man the Divel's still: And for all his faire warning by the smart of a wounded spirit, drowne Him in the workes of darkenesse, and waies of death.

Page  3011. Some, when by the piercing power and applica∣tion of the Law, their consciences are prest with the terrible and intolerable waight of their sinnes; and the worme that neuer dies, which hath been all this while dead-drunke with sensuall pleasures, is now awaked by the hand of divine justice, and begins to sting; They presently with unspeakeable rage and horrour, fall in∣to the most abhorred, and irrecoverable Dungeon of despaire. The flames of eternall fire seize upon them, even in this life; They are in Hell upon Earth, and damned, as it were, above ground. Such they are com∣monly, who all their life long have been contemners of the conscionable Ministry; Scorners of the good way; Quenchers of the Spirit; Revolters from good begin∣nings, and Profession of grace; Harbourers of some secret, vile, abominable lusts in their hearts against the light of their conscience; close Agents for Popery and Prophanenesse; plausible Tyrants against the power of godlinesse; and such other like notorious Champions of the Divell, & infamous Rebels to the highest Majestie. Whom, sith they have bin such, and have so desperate∣ly, and so long despised the riches of His goodnes, and for∣bearance, and long-suffering, leading them to Repentance; God most justly leaves now in the evill day, when once the hot transitory gleame of worldly pleasures is past, and His judgements begin to grow upō their thoughts, like a tempestuous storme; and death to stand before them unresistable, like an armed Man; and sinne to lie at the doore, like a Bloodhound; and the guilty con∣science to gnaw upon the heart, like a Vulture, &c. I say, then Hee leaves them in His righteous iudgement to sinke or swimme, to eate the fruit of their owne waies, to the fulnesse of that unquenchable wrath; which by their innumerable sinfull provocations, impenitency, and unbeliefe, they have treasured up against this Day and wrath. That raging worme, which ne∣ver dies in the damned, and naturally breeds in e∣very Page  302 gracelesse conscience, by their insatiable surfet in sinne, and greedy drinking-in iniquitie like water, growes so strong, and to such a strange bignesse; that taking advantage, especially in the time of terrour, of their weakenesse and confusion of spirit upon the Bed of death, at some dead lift, and irrecoverable danger, it surprises them upon the sudden, with unexpected Hel∣lish armies of guiltinesse and horror; and over-throwes them quite, horse and man, never to rise againe in this world, or the world to come. Then would those wo∣full wretches, who would never bee warned betime, give tenne thousand Worlds, if they had them, for one moment of that mercifull time of grace, which they have cursedly long abused, for the benefit of the Mini∣stry, which they have insolently scorned; for a drop of that precious blood, which by their desperate villanies, and hatred to bee reformed, they have trampled under foote. But alas! no mercy, no blessing, no comfort will then bee had; tho with prophane Esau, they seeke it with teares, and throw their rufull, and piercing cries into the aire with hideous groanes and yelling. And therefore, turning their eye upon their torments, will roare out like those sinfull Hypocrites, Isai. 33.14. with un-utterable angvish of spirit: Who among us shall dwell with the devouringdfire? Who amongstus shall dwell with everlasting burnings? In the Morning they shall say, Would God it were Even: and at Even they shall say, Would God it were Morning, for the feare of their hearts wherewith they shall feare; and for the sight of their eyes which they shall see. In their life-time they behaved themselves like cruell Beasts, and bloody Goades in the sides of the Saints, and against their syn∣cerity; and how at last themselves are caught with a witnesse, and lie upon their Beds of extremity and ter∣rour like wilde Bulls, and Beasts in a net, full of the fury of the Lord.

*2. Others there are, who finding their sinnes disco∣vered, Page  303 and their consciences wounded by the light and power of the Word; and now feeling sadnesse, heavy-heartednesse, uncouth terrours, much perplexity and anxiety of spirit comming upon them, addresse them∣selves presently, and have speedy recourse to the Arme of flesh, outward mirth, carnall contentments, and such other miserable comforters. They falsely suppose, and to their owne utter, and everlasting overthrow, that these spirituall pangs that are now upon them; which if rightly managed, might proove an happy preparative, and Legall Petard, as it were, to breake the iron barres, and open the everlasting doores of their Soules, that the King of glory might come in; bee nothing but fits of Melancholy, or sowre and unseasonable effects and compressions of some Puritanicall Ministry, & dan∣gerous temptations to despaire. And therefore they c hie out of them as fast as they can, by posting after worldly pleasures, Pastimes, Plaies, Musicke, Gaming, merry Company, Ioviall meetings of good-fellowship, Tavernes, Ale-houses, Visites, Entertainements, im∣proovement of their chiefe carnall contentment, &c. If Page  304 not to Wisards, and even to light a candle at the Div••• for lightsonmesse of heart. Thus I know not, whether with more sinne or folly, they endeavour to come unto themselves againe, by the mirth and madnesse of wine, earthly joy, carnall counsell, &c. Wherein they are not unlike those bloody Israelites, who while they burnt up their children in sacrifice to Molech, filled their eares with f noise of Instruments; lest by the rufull cries of their little Babes, they should bee moved to pi∣tie, and so staied in the cruell service of that blood-sucking Idoll. Iust so these Men of pleasure and per∣dition, doe sinfully seeke to stop the guilty clamours of their vexed consciences with the comforts of this life, and sensuall joy, while their soules are sacrificing to Sa∣tan, and making fit fewell for the fire of Hell; lest by listning to their cryes and controlements, they should bee stirred up to take compassion of their owne poore immortall Soules, and stopt in the pursuite of their fu∣gitive follies, and delights of sense. But alas! in so do∣ing, they are also like a Man in a burning ever, who lets downe cold drinke eagerly and mrrily, because in the extremity of thirst, it cooles Him a little; But after a while, Hee shall finde the heat, the paine, and the dan∣ger all doubled upon Him. Earthly pleasures may, for the presens, still the noyse of in accusing conscience, and seeme somewhat to allay it's guilty ••ge; but assured∣ly they will afterward kindle such a fire in the Bowels of these miserable men, that will burne even to the ve∣ry bottome of Hell, and blow them up Body and Soule with irrecoverable ruine for ever. Hee that goes about, to cure the wound of his conscience for sinne with sen∣suall delight, is as if, to helpe the tooth-ake, Hee should knocke out his braines; or when hee is stung with a Waspe, should rub with a Nettle the smarting place▪ or finding no good by Physicke, should runne 〈◊〉 Wise-men; as if in extremity of thirst, hee should drinke ranke poyson to quench it; apply a venemous Page  305 plaister to his sore, and prop up his falling Roofe with burning fire-brands: Remedies farre worse, and more pestilentiall then the Malady; For they either plunge them deeper into the Dungeon of Melancholy, and heavy-heartednesse; or else draw a skinne onely over the spirituall wound, whereby it festers and rankles un∣derneath more dangerously: For thus stopping the mouth of that never-dying worme, that insatiable Wolfe in the meane time, doth make it, when there is no more supply of carnall pleasures, whereupon it feeds for a while, to fall more furiously upon the conscience that bred it; and to gnaw more ragingly, by reason of it's former restraint, and enforced diversion.

I know full well, Satan is right-well pleased, and doth much applaud this pestilent course of theirs; and therefore Hee helpes forward this accursed businesse all hee can, of abandoning and banishing all trouble of minde for sinne with worldly toyes. For ordinarily out of his cruell cunning, thus He proceeds in these Cases:

1. In the first Place, and above all, hee labours might and maine, to detaine men in that height of hard∣heartednesse, that they may not bee mooved at all with the Ministry, or suffer the Sword of the Spirit to pierce. And then, like a strong man armed, Hee posses∣seth their Bodies and Soules, which are his gPalace, with much peace; and disposeth them wholly in any hellish service at his pleasure. Thus Hee prevailes with a world of men amongst us. They heare Sermon after Sermon, Iudgement upon Iudgement, and yet are no more stirr'd with any penitent astonishment for sinne, or saving worke of the Word, then the very Seates whereon they sit, the Pillars to which they leane, or dead Bodies upon which they tread. They are ordina∣rily such as these: First, Ignorants, of two sorts: first, Vnskild, both in the Rules of reason and religion; Such are our extremely sottish, and grossely ignorant peo∣ple, Page  306 which swarme amongst us in many places, to the great dishonour of the Gospell, by reason of the want of Catechising, and other discipline: secondly, Led by the light of naturall conscience to deale something honestly; but Ideots in the great mystery of godlinesse; Such are our meerely civil honest men. Secondly, Those that are wise in their owne conceits, Isai. 5.21. Beeing strongly perswaded of their good estate to God-ward, whereas, as yet, they have no part at al in the first resur∣rection. Such as those, Matth. 7.22. and 25.11. Third∣ly all such as are resolved not to take sinne to heart. See, Isai. 28.15. These either, first, h make God all of mercy: secondly, or preserue a secret reservation in their hearts to repent hereafter: thirdly, or have so prodigiously hardened their hearts, that they feare not the iudgement to come: fourthly, or with execrable vil∣lany desire to extinguish the very notions of a Deity, by a kind of an affected Atheisme; and beeing drowned in sensuality, labour not to beleeve the Word of God; that they may sinne without all checke or reluctation.

2. But if it fall out so by Gods blessing, that the Word once begin to get within a Man, and to worke terrour and trouble of minde for sinne; so that He sees him grow sensible of His slavery, weary of His former waies, and like enough to breake the Prison, and bee gone; then doth Hee seriously observe and attend, which way the Partie enclines, and how hee may bee easiliest diverted, that hee may thereafter proportion His Plots and Attempts against Him, the more prospe∣rously.

Page  307First, if hee find Him to have been an horrible sinner, of a sad and Melancholike disposition, much af∣flicted with outward crosses, &c. Hee then laies load upon His affrighted Soule, with all his cunning and cru∣elty; that if it bee possible, Hee may drive Him to de∣spaire. For this purpose Hee keen's the sting of the guilty conscience it selfe, all he can; sharpens the em∣poysoned Points of his owne fierydarts; addes more grisselinesse to his many hatefull transgressions; more horrour to the already flaming vengeance against sin, &c. That if God so permit, Hee may bee sure to strike desperately home, and sinke Him deepe enough into that abhorred Dungeon.

Secondly, But if hee perceive Him not to have been infamous and noted for any notorious sinnes; By naturall constitution, to bee merrily disposed; impati∣ent of heavy-heartednesse, and formerly much addict∣ed to good fellowship: If hee spie him, to strive and struggle for dis-intanglement out of these uncouth ter∣rours; and re-injoyment of his former worldly de∣lights, and Ioviall companions: I say, then Hee is most forward to follow and feede His i humou〈◊〉 way also: that so He may stifle, and utterly extin•••sh, the worke of the spirit of bondage in the very beginning. And to this end, he blunts, with all the cun•••• he can, the sting of a Mans owne Conscience, and quite re∣mooves his owne: Hee procures and offers all occasi∣ons of o••ward contentment; Hee furnishes His Fel∣lowes in iniquity, and the Divels proctors with perni∣cious eloquence, and store of entisements, to bring him backe againe to their bent and beastly courses: He mi∣nisters his owne delicious 〈◊〉 of carnall pleasure, to cast His conscience asleepe 〈◊〉▪ In briefe, He leaves no Policy, plot, or practise un-assayed, un-attempted to make the power of the Law unprofitable unto Him; and to drowne all his sorrow for sinne in sensuall drun∣kennesse.

Page  308This then I make the second pestilent Passage out of pangs of conscience: to wit, when a man, to decline them, is driven by the subtilty of Satan, and perverse∣nesse of his owne flesh, if not to Wisards and Wise∣men, as they call them, and other such Oracles of the Divell; yet at best to humane Helpes, to worldly wise∣dome, to outward mirth, Good-fellowship, pleasant company, His heapes of gold, hoards of wealth, riches, Pastures, variety of choisest Pastimes: nay, for ease to any thing, even to Drinking, dancing, dicing, Masking, Mis-rule, revelling, roaring, &c. or any other such ri∣bald, bedlam, and raging fooleries.

3. Some there are, who passe out of trouble of mind for sinne, and Legall terrours, into a kind, as it were, of an artificiall, enforced, unsound, untimely, and counter∣feit peace of conscience. I meane it thus, when a Mans carnall heart, wounded by the terrifying power of the Word, with sight and horrour of his former wicked wayes, but weary of the wound, impatient of spirituall heavinesse, wilfully set and resolved obstinately against the holy severities of the Schoole of Repentance, mor∣tification, godly stricktnesse, walking with God, &c. And withall meeting with some Dawber with untem∣pered mortar, who is very ready kto heale his heart with sweet words, saying, Peace, peace, when there is no peace; I say in this case, l snatches hold of comfort, and applies the Promises of mercy and salvation, before they belong unto Him: Before Hee bee searched to the quicke, sounded to the bottome, and soundly hum∣bled; Before the spirit of Bondage hath, as it were, it's perfect worke, and Hee kindlily fitted for Iesus Christ. For this purpose they are wont to wrest, abuse, and mis∣apply many places in the Booke of God; The unskil∣full Physicions in application; and the deluded Patients Page  311 in apprehension of them: Even such as these: Come unto mee all yee that labour, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest: Matth. 11.28. Yea, but they are not weary of all their sinnes, but onely troubled with the present terrour; nor willing to take upon them the Crosse of Christ: Well enough content they are to take Him as a Saviour to preserve them from Hell, but not as a mLord, a King, and an nHusband, to serve, o∣bey and love Him. Whosoever shall call upon the Name of the Lord, shall bee saved: Rom. 10.13. Yea, but they doe not consider, that many also shall cry, Lord, Lord, Matth. 7.22. and 25.11. and yet bee excluded from eternall blisse; and therefore all that call savingly up∣on the Name of Christ, must depart from iniquity: 2. Tim. 2.19. But they upon recovery, will by no meanes depart from their darling delight. Hee that beleeveth on the Sonne, hath everlasting life: Ioh. 3.36. Yea, but justifying Faith purifies the heart, Acts 15.9. fills it with deare affections unto heavenly things, deads it to the World, and divorces it quite from all former carnall pleasures, and companion-ship. I will giue to Him that is athirst, of the Fountaine of the Water of life, freely: Reu. 21.6. Yea, but they thirst onely for salvation, not for sanctification; for mercy, not for grace; for happinesse, not for holinesse, &c. These men, as well as the second sort, will by no meanes thorow the pangs of the New-birth into the holy Path. They wickedly misconceiue out of the rotten Principles of their owne worldly wisedome, prejudice against the power of godlinesse, and pestilent perswasions of Pil∣low-sowers under their elbowes, that in so doing, they shalbee utterly undone, and never have good day af∣terward: But, to speake in their owne language, fall presently into the hands of the Puritanes, into the strict tortures, and Hypocriticall miseries of pre∣cisenesse, into fowrenesse, vnsociablenesse, dumps of Melancholy; and indeede, into a state, not past a step Page  312 short of distraction and madnesse. And these therefore cast about to get out of trouble of minde, and sense of divine terrour with as great impatiency and precipita∣tion, as the former; onely more plausibly, and with see∣mingly fairer, but truly false satisfaction to their owne Soules. For the former rush with furious indignation out of these spirituall dejections of Conscience, as un∣manly feares, not fit for worthy spirits, and men of Io∣viall resolution, into greater excesse, and variety of worldly delights, and sensuall loosenesse; and so ordi∣narily become afterward very notorious, and more des∣perate enemies to the Kingdome of Christ: Because the power of the Word hath once stung their carnall hearts with some remorsefull terrour, they ever after heartily hate the sound and searching Ministry, and managers thereof, the Inflicters of their smart; for no other rea∣son in the world, but that they tell them the truth, and thereupon torment them before their time; that so, if they be not wanting unto themselves, they may escape the torments of eternity hereafter. And they set them∣selves against godly Christians with incompatible estrangement, and implacable spite; onely because they are Professours of Selfe-deniall, holy strictnesse, incon∣formity to the world, repentance, mortification, &c. the entertainement and exercise whereof they furiously more detest and flie from, then the death of their Bo∣dies, and damnation of their Soules. But these latter, passe more plausibly out of trouble of conscience, and take a fairer course of the two, tho it proove but an imaginary and counterfeite Cure. For they labour to close up their spirituall wound, with comfort out of the Word; and promise peace to their troubled hearts from the promises of life: But herein they faile, and fearefully deceive themselves, in that they conceive, the first fits and qualmes, as it were, of Legall terrour, to bee saving repentance; a generall speculative appre∣hension of Christ's Passion, to procure a speciall pardon Page  313 for all their sinnes; fruitlesse speculations of Faith to prevent and secure them from the wrath that is come; a meere verball profession to be forwardnesse enough, except a Man would bee too precise. Vpon the first fright, and feeling the smart of a confused remorse and horrour for sinne, without any further penitent wading into Particulars, or thorow-search into their hearts, lives, consciences, and Callings; without suffering the worke of the spirit of Bondage, to drive them to Christ, and a resolution to sell all, &c. They presently, hand over-head, apply by the strong delusion of their owne idle groundlesse conceite, all the gracious promi∣ses and priviledges of Gods Childe to their un-hum∣bled Soules; and enforce their understandings by a vio∣lent greedy error, to think they are justified by such an artificiall heartles Notion, which they falsely call Faith: and so resting in a counterfeite perswasion, that they are true Converts, ordinarily turne ocarnall Professours.

Who are a kind of people, who have no more spiri∣tuall life, then a dead Faith can infuse into them: No more comfort in the communion of Saints, then an outward correspondence in Profession, speculative Dis∣courses of religion, and meetings at the Meanes can yeeld: No more interest, or right to Heaven, then a bold presumptuous confidence; built first upon their owne wilfull fancy, and seconded with Satans lying suggestion, can give them. Whose sorrow for sinne at the most, is commonly no more, then afflicting their Soules for a Day, and bowing downe their heads like a Bul-rush, without loosing the bands of wickednesse, or departing from iniquity. Whose conversion is nothing, but onely a speculative Passage from a confused appre∣hension of sinne, to a generall application of Christ; without any sensible, or saving alteration in their waies. Whose New-obedience consists onely in a formall conformity to outward exercises of Religion, without all true Zeale, life, heartinesse, holinesse, or indeed ho∣nest Page  314 dealing with their Brethren. But these men are to know, that Christs blood never pardoned any mans Soule from sinne, whose spirit the power thereof did not purge from guile. It never saves any one from Hell, whom it doth not first in some good measure sea∣son with holinesse and heavenly life. In vaine doe they build comfort upon his Passion, who doe not conscio∣nably conforme to the practise of his Word. And let them further bee informed for a more cleare discovery of their grosse and damnable Selfe-deceit; that how∣soever a dead Faith, according to it's name and nature, enters (if it hath any entitie at all) into the understan∣ding, without any remarke-able motion, sense and alte∣ration; yet that Faith, which truly justifies, pacifies, pu∣rifies, mortifies, sanctifies, and saves, is evidently discern∣able, by, first, Many stirring Preparatives; Sight and sense of a Mans miserable state by nature, of his sinful∣nesse and cursednesse; Humbling himselfe in the sight of the Lord, fearefull apprehensions wrought by the spirit of bondage; Illumination, conviction, Legall terrours, &c. Secondly, Violent affections about the infusing of it, which are wont to bee raised in the humbled heart by the Holy Ghost; extreme thirst, inflamed desires, vehement longings, un-utter-able groanings of spirit, prizing and preferring the Person and Passion of Christ, before the Possession of infinite Worlds; willingnesse to sell all, to part with any thing for Him, tho neuer so deare, or so much doted upon heretofore; with plea∣sure, riches, preferments, a right hand, a right eye, liber∣ty, life, &c. Nay, if in such a Case, if even Hell it selfe should stand betweene Iesus Christ and a poore Soule, He would most willingly passe thorow the very flames thereof to embrace His blessed crucified Lord, in the armes of a lively Faith. Thirdly, inseparable conse∣quents and companions: first, an hearty and everla∣sting falling-out with all sinne: secondly, sanctificati∣on thorowout, in Body, Soule, Spirit, and Calling, and Page  315 in every power, part and passage thereof, tho not in per∣fection of degrees, as they say, yet in truth and effectu∣ally: thirdly, A set and solmne course of New-obedi∣ence, spent principally in Selfe-sobriety, righteousnesse towards our Brethren, and holinesse towards God.

Many unfaithfull men in the Ministry, both in their publike teaching, and private visitations of the sicke, have much to answer-for in this Point: who for want of skill in that highest Art of saving soules, of familiari∣ty with God, and secret workings of his Spirit, of expe∣rience in their owne change, and of the spirit of discer∣ning, &c. many times concurre with such miserable men to marre all, in stife-ling the very first stirrings of Legall remorse, by healing the wounds of their consci∣ence with sweet words, before they be searcht, and sounded to the bottome; and by an unseasonable and undiscreet heaping a great deale of comfort there, where as yet, a good ground-worke of true humiliati∣on is not soundly laid. Many and lamentable are the spirituall miseries in those Places, where such Dawbers with untempered morter domineere; who never pas∣sed thorow the Pangs of the New-birth themselves, were never feelingly acquainted with the wonderfull dealings of God in that great Miracle of a Mans con∣version; nor trained up experimentally in the Schoole of temptations, painefull exercises of mortification, and counter-minings against the Depths, Wiles, Devises, and stratagems of the Divell. The blessed Prophet paints them out to the life, and denounces a dreadfull woe against such flattering and foolish Prophets, Ezech. 13. A Ship-Master skilfull onely in Astrono∣my, and other speculative Passages of the Art of Navi∣gation, is no body in conducting Men safely over some dangerous Sea, to Him, that besides sufficiencies of Art, is furnisht also with experimentall skill in those Parts, by passing formerly that way Himselfe, and having dis∣covered those dangers of ruine, and hidden Rockes, Page  316 which the other Man might easily runne upon. Give me a Man, in whom variety and profoundnesse of best lear∣ning doth concurre in the highest degree of excellency, yet if his owne heart bee not soundly wrought upon, and seasoned with saving grace, Himselfe experimen∣tally seene into the Mystery of Christ, and Secrets of sanctification, as Hee shall bee hardly able to wound o∣ther mens consciences, and pierce them to the quicke; so Hee will bee found very unfit to manage aright the spirituall miseries of a troubled Soule; and to transport it savingly thorow the tempestuous terrours and temp∣tations incident to the New-creation, into the Port of true peace, and Paradise of the blessed Brother-hood. A right dreadfull and tender Point it is, to deale with distressed consciences; so many depths of Satan, and de∣ceits of Mans heart mingle themselves with businesse of so great consequence. Even a well-meaning Man without much heedfulnesse, and good experience both in the Point, and the Party, may erre dangerously, and bee much deceived herein. I have heard from a Man of conscience and credit, besides many and many in the same kind, of a fearefull imposture to this purpose: A man, who for the world was well enough, visited with some trouble of minde for his sinnes, sent for a Minister to minister comfort. Hee, it seemes, not sounding Him to the bottome, or searching to the quicke, heaped upon Him unseasonably, and too soone, mercies, and hopes of spiritu∣all safety. Amongst other things, Hee asked Him, whe∣ther formerly, Hee had ever felt testimonies and refresh∣ings of Gods favour, and love; Yea, answered the Party; [and here take notice of a notorious depth of the Di∣vell] Once riding alone upon the way in such a Place, I grew upon the sudden, very lightsome, and light-hear∣ted, &c. [This was but a flash of Satans Angelicall glory, cunningly to lighten and leade him the way to further confusion]. Why then, replied the Minister, you may build upon it. God is constant in His favours; and Page  317 whom Hee loves once. Hee loves for ever. Hereupon the Patient was presently healed of his wounded heart, and after fell unto his former courses, and grew fully as pro∣phane, as Hee was before. Amongst the many impor∣tant Passages of our Ministeriall imployments, I feare mee, this p waighty affaire of visiting the sicke, is passed-over also (more is the pitty!) with much ignorance, slightnesse and neglect. It is incredible to consider, how fearefully many offend, and what a deale of hurt they doe, by observing one plodding generall forme, and that a poore one too, towards all Patients promiscuously: without any judicious discretion in distingvishing the variety of spirituall states, the different degrees of un∣regeneratenesse, former courses of life, &c. Commonly their carriage in such Cases is the same to the notorious sinner, the meere civill Man, grosse Hypocrite, carnall Gospeller, formall Professor, Back-slider; the weake and strong; the tempted and untempted Christian. If they but heare from the sicke Man a generall acknow∣ledgement of his sinnes, formall cries for mercy and pardon, earnest desires to die the death of the righteous, &c. which may bee easily, and ordinarily found in a Pharisie, or foolish Virgine, as you have heard before; they will presently needs threape Him downe, that He is as sure a saved Man, as if Hee were in Heaven alrea∣dy. Herein resembling, saith qMarbury, a foolish Shep∣heard, who wanting skill to helpe his poore sheepe out of the ditch, is driven to play the miserable comforter; and to take some other indirect course (as many use to doe in such case) to cut the sheepes throate in time, to make him Mans meate; left it should bee said, Hee died in a ditch. Many and many a time doe such fellowes as these, emp∣ty and discharge their common-Place Bookes of all the Places of mercy and comforte, collected curiously, and industriously for that purpose, upon those Men; who were never acquainted with the waies of God in their life-time, nor with the truth of humiliation, or truly Page  318 with the great worke of Repentance upon their Beds of death.

Those formall Church-men, who stood about Mar∣shall Biron, that great Peere and Pillar of France, at his death, did in this respect very ill offices of Ghostly Fa∣thers unto Him in his greatest neede, and last extremi∣tie. For when Hee behaved himselfe more like a r fu∣rious Divel, already amongst the damned spirits, in blas∣phemies impatiencies, and most raging passions, then a meeke and humble Saint of God, ready to passe into everlasting Mansions of peace; they notwithstanding out of their Popish divinity, gave him this absolution, assuring Him that His soule was ready to see God, and to bee Partaker of his glory in Heaven. When it had been farre fitter to have driven him to the sight of his sinnes, sense of that dreadfull houre, terrour of that strict Tribunall, to which hee was ready to passe, and fearefulnesse of that infernall fiery Lake, from which no greatnesse can priviledge gracelesse Men. I feare me, there are many Trencher-Chaplaines of the true Reli∣gion, also, who are ready to doe proportionable ser∣vice, to ungodly great Ones, upon whom they depend, by promising them life. But many and dreadfull are the mistakings and miseries, which fall upon the Soules of Men, both Patients and By-standers, by these flattering, formall visitations, and Funerall Panegyricks, which or∣dinarily follow after. Happy then, and hopefull is that Man, who in the troubles of His Soule meetes with that sOne of a thousand, Iob 33.23. with those Sonnes Page  317 both of Consolation and thunder; who are as able, rea∣dy, and willing, rightly to binde up a bruised spirit with the Baulme of mercy, and promises of life, as to breake in pieces a stubborne heart with the terrours of the Law. Who, as they labour in the first Place to fright and fire men out of their sinfull courses, into peni∣tent dejections of Conscience, a needfull preparative to a saving conversion; so they have learned both specu∣latively and experimentally, to conduct them thorow the Pangs of the New-birth, to sound comfort in Christ, mortification, New-obedience, walking with God, &c.

4. Others there are, who passe out of trouble of Conscience for sinne, into some more tolerable courses for the time to come; but yet not thorowly, and saving∣ly into the truth and Trade of Christianity. For when Satan once perceives, that sorrow for sinne lies so hea∣vie upon a Mans heart; and the rage of guiltinesse doth sting him still with such restlesse angvish, that in all likelihood, it will at length draw and drive him to some alteration at least, and worke out at last some measure of amendment; then doth hee out of an insatiable hellish thirst to hold him still in his clut∣ches, bend and imploy all his power and policy, to make him satisfie himselfe; and rest finally, as suf∣ficiently fitted for salvation, in some partiall, insuffici∣ent, halfe-conversion; and to sit downe contentedly with religious formes onely, and some outward refor∣mation. The Divels first desire in working our de∣struction, is to keepe a Man notoriously naught, in the highest straine of impiety. A Traitour in graine, as it were, and most desperate Rebell to the divine Maje∣sty, wallowing still in all variety of villany and vanity. But if that will not bee, Hee is glad to detaine him, in what degree of prophanenesse, hee can most conveni∣ently and with greatest safty, tho the least and the low∣est; in any state of unregeneratenesse, tho furnished Page  318 with the utmost perfections, f which it is capable; so that Hee step not into the Kingdome of Christ. Rather then Hee will utterly lose him, and part with Him quite, Hee will leave possession of Him in part; and be willing, tho full sore against his will, to lose a great deale of his former more furious service; and something of the fullnesse of his conformity to the fashions of Hell, If Hee cannot doe as hee would, Hee will doe as hee may, as they say. When Hee sees him grumbling and grow discontent, and weary with the loathsomnesse of the Dungeon, and waight of his fetters; rather then Hee should escape, and breake quite away; Hee will knock off some of his irons, grant him the liberty of the Prison, the comfort of the walks; nay and suffer Him sometimes to walke abroade, so that Hee bee still watchfully attended by his Keeper; and continue a Re∣tainer to the kingdome of darkenesse. Hee will bee content, to give him the benefit of the fewest stripes in Hell, and the least measure of damnation; tho that also be more then infinitely terrible, and intolerable, rather then Hee should bee undamned at all. And therefore in such a Case, Hee will easily suffer Him to proceede to some kinde of Repentance; and reformation, of some one or moe outward grosse notorious sinnes; remorse whereof, perhaps, did first raise the terrour and trouble in his minde; so that He wil there rest, and remaine un∣mortified and unamended in the rest. Or, Hee cares not much, tho He be universally, outwardly reformed; and unblameable, for the most part, in his visible carri∣age, and conversation; Tho Hee restore ill gotten goods with Iudas; say his praiers, give almes, fast often, give tythes of all that He possesses, with the Pharisee; hold out a Lamp of goodly professiō to the eie of the world, with the foolish Virgines; observe godly Ministers, re∣forme many things after their Preaching, and heare them gladly, with Herod; So that for all this plausible and un∣pernicious outside the heart continue unchast, impure, Page  319 unholy, unheavenly still; and He still hug in his bosome, some secret lusts and sensuall corruptions, with wil∣ling delight, and loathnesse to leave them. Or, if a man, besides outward religious representations, and confor∣mities, desires also to finde and feele in Himselfe some kinde of inward worke; Hee will not bee much trou∣bled with addition of the spirit of uillumination, tem∣porary Faith, some xioy in the Word,ytaste of the powers of the World to come, &c. So that the spirit of speciall sanctification bee wanting still, and that some darling delight bee maintained in heart, life, or calling; which the Man by no meanes would have meddled with, or mortified. Or that, which is a notable Depth of the Divell, of which take speciall notice: Whereas a Man heares many times out of the Ministry of the Word; that the abandoning of his bosome-sinne, is a good token of a true conversion; and the embracing of it still, is too sure a signe, that hee is Satans still: To the end Hee may blind Him in this important Point; Hee will suffer Him to exchange the visible forme, and out∣ward exercise even of His beloved sinne. For the pur∣pose; A mans Captaine and commanding sinne, is co∣vetousnesse; and it is outwardly exercised in usury, bri∣bery, sacriledge, &c. Hee is well enough content in this Case, to let Him bee frighted by the terrour of the Mi∣nistry, from those grosser acts of cruelty, for which the World cries shame on Him, (especially not restoring); so that Hee insensibly fall unto, and secetly practise some other cunning invisible oppressions, or any un∣lawfull waies of getting. His sweet sinne is voluptuous∣nesse; Hee hunts after it in the horrible villanies of a∣dultery, or fornication; But at some Sermon or other, Page  320 Hee is told and terrified; That by such sinnes He doth not onely damne Himselfe, but also ever draw another to Hell with Him, &c. Whereupon Hee may grow into a slavish distaste, and dis-continuance from them; and Satan will not say much, so that there succede in their roomes, some other kinds of uncleannesse; per∣haps immoderate abuse the marriage, without any checke, or remorse; or some other secret, Selfe-abomi∣nations, not to bee conceived without horrour, much lesse to bee named. Nay, Hee will yet yeeld further, and endure an utter cessation from the externall acts, and visible practise of a Mans predominant and reig∣ning sinne; so that hee delightfully feede upon it still in his heart with speculative greedinesse; and spend the strength of his affections, and the most of His thoughts that way. Hee will give Him leave to leave off His Vsury, and to call-in his money, (but ordinarily ever without restitution) so that hee may hold his heart still exercised with covetousnesse. Hee can well enough abide, abandoning the grosse acts of uncleannesse; so that Hee lie frying in the flames of his owne scorch∣ing concupiscence; and consume his thoughts in the a∣dulteries of the heart, and contemplative filth. O the endlesse Maze, unfathomed Depths, and deepest malice of that old red Dragon! Hee will yeeld unto any thing, take in the very darkest Nooke of Hell, for some cun∣ning Devise, rather then part with a pretious Soule out of his Hellish Paw. If a Man bee so haunted with horrour of conscience, that hee dare not for his life lie any longer in his notoriousnesse, but will needs into some new course; Hee can put him into many new fashions, and yet no New-birth, no New-man. Hee will suffer him to passe into a more tolerable conversation, and yet come short of a true conversion. Hee can af∣ford him a morall Change, or a formall Change, or a mentall Change; I meane it onely in respect of the spi∣rit of illumination, and generall graces; or a tempora∣ry Page  321 Change, (of which see My Directions for walking with God, pag. 310.) And yet continue him still within the confines of His cursed kingdome, and in a damna∣ble state. Hee doth improove to the utmost, as occasi∣on of advantage is offered, both the grisseliest shape of a foule Fiend, and the most alluring light of His Ange∣licall glory; to doe us a mischiefe any way, either upon the right hand, or the left. How many thousands, Ah pitie! even in this clearest Noone-tide of the Gospell, doth Hee keepe in a presumptuous confidence, that they are converted; and yet most certainely his owne still, and in a willing slavery to some one or other pre∣dominant Lust at the least? Bee advised then in the Name of Christ, whosoever thou art, when the hand of God, great mercy, shall visit and vex thy conscience for sinne, by the piercing power of the Ministry: Bee sure to follow the direction and guidance of that bles∣sed hand, without dawbing or diversion, out of the kingdome of darkenesse, thorow the Pangs of the New-birth, into the holy Path, wholly and for ever. Make sure worke, whatsoever it cost Thee; zPage  322 Have never any thing more to doe with the Divell; Give over the Trade of sinning quite, never more to turne agains unto Folly upon any termes. And if Satan set upon Thee with baites and allurements, to detaine Thee in his spirituall Bondage, but by one darling de∣light, to which thou hast been most addicted: Answer him in this Case with an un-shaken resolution, as Mo∣ses did Pharaoh in a Point of temporall Bondage;*There shall not so much as an hoofe bee left behind. Yeeld not an haires breadth upon any condition to that Hellish Pharaoh, especially in so great a matter, as the endlesse salvation, or damnation of thy Soule. If hee can keepe possession but by one reigning sinne, in which thou liest with delight, against the light of thy conscience, hating to bee reformed; Hee desires no more. One knot in a thread will stay the Needle's Passage, as wel as five hun∣dred, &c. See to this purpose my Directions of walking with God, pag. 34. Beware then of closing up the wound of thy terrified and troubled conscience with any out-side, halfe, or unsound conversion: which I make the fourth Passage, out of trouble of mind for sin.

5. And why may not Satan sometimes, by Gods permission, bee suffered to inflict, and fasten his fiery darts of terrours and temptations upon a mans consci∣ence; continue them there some while with much an∣gvish and horrour, for some secret holy end seene, and seeming good to divine wisedome; and at length re∣moove and retire them, not upon succession of any sound comfort, or true peace, from the promises of life, and pardon of sinne; but onely upon a meere cessation of the Divels pleasure to torment, and terrifie any lon∣ger? Not that Hee can hurt the least, or most contemp∣tible creature that ever God made, when He please: but that it pleaseth God sometimes to give him the raines, and leave to rage. Quieting the conscience in this Case, is no comfortable cure from positive helpe: but a counter∣feite palliation by ceasing to hurt. See Satans propor∣tionable Page  323 practises in matters of Witchcraft, in Giffards Dialogve concerning Witches and Witchcrafts, pag. 11.

6. Nay, Let mee here further, before I passe out of the Point, discover unto you a mysterie, but it is of ini∣quity and horrible Hypocrisie. I have knowne some (would you thinke it?), who have a counterfeited even trouble of Conscience; and made shew, with out all truth or true touch, of sundry temptations, and spirituall distempers, incident onely to the Saints. And have for that purpose addrest themselves with much industry and noise; and had recourse many times to some spiritu∣all Physitions, with many teares, an heavy counte∣nance, and other rufull circumstances; expressing almost exactly the scruples, doubts, distrusts, complaints of such as are truly grieved in spirit, and true of heart. O the wonderfull Depth, which lieth hid in the confluence of the Hypocrisies of mans false heart; and the Devises of that oldbSerpent, which deceiveth the whole world! Such as these, take upon them, and lay aside terrours of conscience, as cPlayers doe their apparell and Parts.

7. The passages past doe all mislead into By-paths: but there is One blessed way, besides all these, tho it be a narrow One, which conducts directly out of a natu∣rall state through the pangs of the new-birth, with out diversion, or dawbing; with out any longer detaine∣ment in any lust, sensuall pleasure or beloued vanitie; in Page  324 any kind of hypocrisie, or degree of unregeneration, in∣to the Paradise of grace fully and for ever. This neither plunges a man into the Pit of Despaire, nor misguides him by carnall counsell, and his own wicked conceit, in∣to the fooles Paradise, and tastlesse fooleries of outward mirth; nor pacifies unseasonably with untimely and counterfeit peace; nor leaves in the deceiving formes of an unsound conversion, and unsaving flourishes of ge∣nerall graces only, &c. But convaies and transports him happily, by an universall, syncere, supernaturall, tho∣row-change into the holy Path: And that thus, and by such degrees as these:

1. The first is an Illumination of the minde, convi∣ction of the conscience, terryfying the heart with sight, sense and horrour of sinne in some true measure. The first worke of the Spirit Iohn 16.8. is to convince of sin; which presupposeth illumination, and produceth terror. The Spirit of bondage must bee first set on worke, to shew us our spirituall misery, to humble us to prepare for Christ. And yet this worke in it selfe, is common to the Alien, with the child of the New-birth. And ordi∣narily here they part: The Alien and hee that hates to bee reformed, out of an inveterate, unhappy prejudice against the saving precisenesse of the Saints; and oth∣nesse to leave utterly his former courses, company, con∣versation, being obstinated against passing on forward into the way, which is called holy; (Regeneration, the new-birth, Repentance, mortification, sanctification, self-deni∣all, New-obedience, walking with God, turning Puritan, as they say, &c, are termes perhaps, of as great terrour unto him, as his present trouble of conscience) doth now here divert, and afterward willfully and wofully perish in some pestilent or plausible By-path. In this case hee labours and layes about him for ease any way, (yea sometimes he will have it from the Divell himself, if he can, by the help of a Wizzard, rather then misse of it) so that he may attaine and keepe it, without any great al∣teration Page  325 of his former waies, or especially, without par∣ting with his darling pleasure. And therefore he assaies, either, to conquer his spirituall affliction with worldly comforts, carnall counsell, choise contentments, &c. Or else to allay the present storme of his guilty rage with some counterfeit calme; or at best, to still the cry of his conscience, with putting forth his hand to some outward workes of Christianity, and some kinde of conversion; which may yet well enough consist with the secret en∣joyment of his bosome-sin: Or by some other such indi∣rect course, & unsound cure. But now the Other, whom the Lord doth purpose to prepare for himselfe by this first worke, and to call effectually; doth entertaine at the same time by the helpe of God, a strong, invincible reso∣lution, not only never more to returne unto foolishnes, whatsoever comes of him; never upon any termes to fall back again into his former d sinfull pleasures, which have now fastned so many fiery Scorpions stings in his con∣science; but also, never to admit of any cure, recovery and comfort to his afflicted soule, but only by Iesus Christ; never to have the bleeding wounds of his bruised spirit bathed, bound up and healed, but in that Fountaine, ope∣ned to the house of David, and to the Inhabitants of Ieru∣salem, for sinne and for uncleannesse: Nay rather then he will doe the one or the other, hee will abide upon the Racke of his spirituall torture unto his ending houre. Whereupon he directly addresseth and applies himselfe to the only meanes, appointed and sanctified by God, for working a sure, kindly and lasting cure in such a case, I meane, the Ministery of the Word. And, if hee may have his will▪ he would hit upon the most skilfull, expe∣rienced, searching, and sound-dealing Man, amongst all Gods faithfull Messengers.

2. And so in a second place, without all reservation, or any purpose ever to returne or divert; hee comes unto the Ministers of God, in the same minde, and with the same meaning, that Peters hearers did, Act. 2.37. Page  326 having his heart pricked and rent in peeces with legall terrour, as theirs were: Men and bretheren what shall wee doe? if there bee any Instruction, direction, or du∣ty, which upon good ground out of Gods blessed Booke, you can enjoyne; we will willingly follow it, embrace it, and rather die then not doe it. Prescribe any course, whereby wee may have the boyling rage of our guilty consciences some what asswaged, & we wil blesse God, that ever we saw your faces: Nay, that ever hee made you the happy instruments, to fasten these keene arrowes of truth and terrour, in our amazed and afflict∣ed spirits. Alas! we see now, &c. See before p. 135. &c. And now here the Ministers of God have a strong & sea∣sonable calling to set out in the height, the excellencie, amiablenes, and soule-saving sufficiency of Iesus Christ, blessed for ever: To amplifie and magnifie to the life, the heavenly beauty, unvaluablenesse, and sweeetnesse of his person, passion, promises. No sinne of so deepe a die, bee it scarlet or crimson, but his pretious blood can raze it out. No heart so darke or heavy, but one beame shining from his pleased face, can fill it as full of spiritu∣all glory and joy, as the Sunne is of light, or the Sea of waters. No man so miserable, but if hee will goe out of himselfe, and the Devills slavery quite, and come-in, when hee is dearely invited, he will advance him with∣out money, and without price, from depth of horrour to height of happinesse, &c.

3. By this time, being thus told and truly informed in the mystery and mercy of the Gospell, the poore woun∣ded and weary soule begins to bee deepely and dearely enamored of Iesus Christ. To advance him highest in his thoughts; as the only jewell and joy of his heart; with∣out which hee hath been heretofore, a deade man, and shall here after bee a damned miscreant; to preferre and prize him farre aboue the pleasures, riches and glo∣ry of the whole earth; to set his eye and longing so up∣on him, as to hold himselfe lost for ever without his Page  327 love; Nay, in the case hee now stands, hee is most wil∣ling for a sound and saving cure, to passe through a peece of hell, if need were, to such a heavenly physiti∣on; in whose blessed person alone, as hee heaes, all the riches of mercy, goodnesse, compassion, and comfort is to bee found; and in whom are hid and heaped up the fullnesse of grace, and treasures of all perfection So that now the current of his best affections, and all the pow∣ers of his humbled soule are wholly bent and directed toward him, as the Sun-flower towards the Sun; the i∣ron to the load-stone; and the load-stone to the Pole-star. To whom the nearer hee drawes, the more heartily it grieves him; that ever he pierced so sweet and deare a Saviour, with such a former impure loathsome life, & so many abominable, & now most abhorred provocations.

4. Vpon this discovery, survay and admiration of this pearle of great price, this rich treasure, the now truly broken, and contrite heart, doth cast about by all meanes, how to compasse it. O! what would he now giue, for the sweete fruition and ravishing possession of it? Hearts-blood, life, e lying in Hell for a season, were nothing in this case: The imperiall crownes and com∣mand of tenne thousand worlds, were they all extant, would bee in his conceit, but as dust in the Ballance, layd in the scale against Iesus Christ, &c. But these things are not required at his hands. At last he happily hitt's upon that, which God would have him: he even resolves to sell all that he hath: to part with all sinne, tho it should bee as deare, and as much doted upon, as that compared to a right eye or right hand: bee it that, which hath kept him longest in hell, most wasted the conscience, and stuck closest to his bosome; I meane his Captaine corruption, Master-lust, or Minion-de∣light; he will spare none, he will quite out of Sodome, hee will not leave so much as an hoofe behind. For hee Page  328 well now remembers, what hee hath often heard here∣tofore, tho then hee tooke no heed; That the Lord Ie∣sus, and any f one allowed Lust, are never woont to lodge together in the same Soule.

5. Fifthly, To the party thus legally afflicted, e∣vangelically affected and fitted savingly, now doe all the promises of life in Gods blessed Booke, of∣fer themselves, as so many Rockes of eternitie in faithfulnesse and truth, for his wearied soule, tossed with tempest, and full sorely bruised with stormes of terrour, sweetly to rest upon, with everlasting safe∣ty: God the Father, his bowells of tenderest com∣passion and bounty already stirring within him, runnes, that I may so say, as the Father in the Gospell, to fall upon it's necke, and to kisse it with the kisses of his sweetest mercy: Iesus Christ opens himselfe, as it were, upon the Crosse, to receive it graciously into his blee∣ding Page  329 wounds; all which, hee beholding with a spiritu∣ally illightned eie, admiring and adoring, can not chuse but subscribe and seale unto them, that they are true; and so by the helpe of the Holy Ghost, casts himselfe with all the spirituall strength hee can, at least with in∣finite longings, most thirsty desires, and resolution never to part, into his blessed bosome; saying secretly to him∣selfe; Come life, come death, come Heaven, come Hell, come what come can, here will I sticke for ever. And if ever I perish, they shall plucke mee out of the hands, and rent mee from betweene the armes of this mighty, glorious, and dearest Redeemer of mine.

6. And having now taken Christ, as a Saviour, to free him from the miseries of sinne, g hee is willing also to take him as a Lord, Husband, and King; to serve, love and obey him. For every one that is truly Christs, doth as well thirst heartily, and syncerely indeavour after mortification, conquest over corruptions, sanctification, purity, new-obedience, ability to do, or suffer any thing for Christ; as for pardon of sinne and salvation from hell. And therefore he willingly takes upon him his yoake; which tho so called, yet is heasie and light; en∣ters Page  330 in earnest into the narrow way, which tho it bee e∣very where spoken against, as it was in Pauls time. Act. 28.22. yet in truth and upon triall is most pretious, pro∣fitable, and pleasant. See Prov. 3. Happy is the man that findeth wisedome; to wit, in the word, to walke in the wayes of God.—Shee is more pretious then rubies: and all the things thou canst desire, are not to be compared unto her. Length of dayes is in her right hand; and in her left hand,iriches and honour. Her wayes are wayes of pleasantnesse, and all her pathes are peace. Hee now for the short remainder of his abode in this vale of teares, vowes and gives up the flower and prime of all his abilities, loves, joyes, endeavours, performances in a∣ny kinde, to the highest Majesty; and consecrates all the powers and possibilities of body and soule, to doe him the best and utmost service hee can any wayes de∣vise, unto his dying day. And still grieves and walkes more humbly, because hee can doe no better. For then hee casts his eyes upon God the Fathers free love, and Christs deare passion; hee thinks with himselfe, and so hee well may, that if hee were able to doe him, as much service, as all the Saints doe, both in this and the Church above, with addition of all Angelicall obedience; it were all infinitely lesse then nothing, towards the dis∣charge of his debt, and incomprehensible, everlasting obligation.

7. And being thus incorporated into Christ, he pre∣sently k associates himself to the brotherhood, to the Sect,lthat is every where spoken against. For so is profession accounted. Act. 28.22. After that Peters hearers were pricked in their hearts, they were counselled to repent, believe, be baptised, &c. and to msave themselves from that untoward generation. He now beginnes to delight himselfe in them, whom hee heartily hated before, I meane the people of God, Professours of the truth and Page  331 power of religion; and that, as the most excellent of the earth; the only true Noble Worthies of the World: worthy for ever, the flower, fervency, and dearenesse of his most melting affections and intimate love. And hee labours also might and maine, to ingratiate himselfe into their blessed com∣munion, by all ingagements and obligations of a com∣fortable, fruitfull, and constant fellowship in the Gospell. By an humble mutuall entercourse and communicati∣on of holy conference, heavenly counsell, spirituall en∣couragements, consideration one of another, confirma∣tion in grace, and in assurance of meeting in heaven, &c. resolved to live and die with these neglected happy Ones, in all faire and faithfull correspondence, sweetest offices of Christianity, and constant cleaving to the Lord Iesus, and his glorious cause: Nay, assured to raigne with them hereafter everlastingly in fullnesse and height of all glory, joy, and blisse. For if once this divine flame of brotherly love bee kindled by the Ho∣ly-ghost in the hearts of true hearted Christians, one towards another, it hath this propertie and priviledge above all other loves, that it is never after put out or quenched; but burnes in their brests with much affectio∣nate fervor, with mutuall warmth of dearest sweetenes here upon earth; and shall blaze eternaly with Sera∣phicall heate in the highest heavens hereafter. In the meane time, he makes cōscience of sympathizing, both with their felicities and miseries. His heart is enlarged with lightsomenesse, or eclipsed with griefe; as hee heares of the prosperity or oppression of Gods people. I the rather here mention this marke of the true con∣vert, because it is so much required; nay infinitely exa∣cted at our hands, in these heavy times of the Church. And therefore may bee to every one of us an evident Touch-stone, to try whether our profession bee vitall or formall. If those terrours, which I have heretofore many times threatned out of Gods Booke against all Page  332 those pittilesse and hard-hearted Caniballs, which take not the present troubles of the Church to heart, upon purpose to breake in pieces those flinty Rockes, which dwel in some mens brests, and to drive us all to compas∣sionatenesse, prayer, dayes of humiliation and parting from our evill wayes; I say, if they have beene thought by any, to have been pressed too precisely and peremp∣torily, heare, what I have since seene in nAustin; and what a peremptory censure hee doth passe upon those, who want a fellow-feeling in such a case: If thou hast this fellow-feeling, thou art of that blessed body and bro∣therhood; if not, thou art not. And here, can I hardly hold, but were it incident, I should desire to cry out with a voice lifted vp like a trumpet, against all those prophane Esaus, swinish Gadarens, senselesse Earth-wormes; who all this while, that so many noble limbes of that great blessed body of the Reformed Churches have laine in teares and bloud, o did never take to heart to any pur∣pose, or trouble themselves at all with their grievous troubles; but have sottishly and securely laine at ease in Zion, liable to that horrible curse denounced against Meroz: Curse yee Meroz (sayd the Angell of the Lord), curse yee bitterly the Inhabitants thereof: because they came not to the help of the Lord against the mighty. Iudg. 5.23. They have not helped the people of God, so much as with any hearty fellow-feeling, wrastling with God in praier, set daies to seeke the returne of Gods face and Page  333 favour, &c. Men they are of the World, which have their portiō in this life: who feele nothing but worldly losses, know nothing but earthly sorrowes, rellish nothing but things of sense. If they be stung with a deare yeare, rot of cattel, losse by surety-ship, ship-wrack, robbery, fire, &c. they houle, and take-on immoderately. But let Io∣seph bee afflicted, Gods people in disgrace, the Ministry hazarded, Christ spouse sit in the dust, the Daughter of Zion weepe bitterly, and have none to comfort her, &c. And these mercilesse mē are no whit moved; They have not a teare, a groane, or sigh to spend in such a ruful case. Whereby they infallibly remonstrate unto their owne consciences, that they are no living members of Christs mysticall body; have no part in the holy fellowship of the Saints, no spark of spiritual life, no acquaintance at all with the waies of God: but continue cursedly carelesse, what becomes of the Gospell, or Gods children; so that they may rise, grow rich, and sleepe in a whole skinne.

8. By this time now, is he become the pdrunkards Page  334 song, table-talke to those that sit in the gate, Musicke to great men at their feasts, a By-word to the children of fooles, and the children of villaines, men viler then the earth, whose fathers hee would have disdained to have set with the doggs of his flocke. And what then? Even thus they dealt with *David, Iob, & Ieremie; Nay they told the Sonne of God himselfe, in whom the God∣head dwelt bodily, that he was a **Samaritane and had a Devill. What man of braine then, that gives his name to Christ, and lookes to bee saved, will looke for q ex∣emption? Especially, sith all the contumelies, and con∣temptes, all those nick-names of Puritan, Precisian, Hy∣pocrite, Humorist, Factionist, &c. with which lewd tongues, are woont to load the Saints of God; are so many honourable badges of their worthy deportment in the holy path, and resolute standing on the Lords side. Some noble Romans having done some singular service to the state; and after, troubled and handled vi∣olently in some privat Cases, were woont to bare their bodies, and to shew in open court the scars and impre∣ssions of those woundes, which they had received in their Countries cause; as characters of speciall honour, and strongest motives to commiseration. So many ly∣ing imputations, unworthy usages, and persecutions in any kinde, for profession of godlinesse, which the faith∣full Christian shall bring to the Iudgement seate of Page  335 Christ; so many glorious and roiall representations of excellency of spirit and height of courage in Christian causes, shall they bee accounted in the sight and censure of almighty God, and the blessed Angels; and make him more amiable and admirable in the face of heaven and earth.

Thus much of the Theorie, as it were, I come now to the Practicke part. To a particular application of some speciall soveraigne Antidotes; to the most grie∣vous ordinary maladies, incident to the soules of the Saints.

But first give mee leave to premise some generall well-heads, out of which do spring abundance of com∣fort, and overflowing rivers of refreshing for all intents, and effects in point of temptation and trouble of minde.

1. And first take a fruitfull cluster, and heavenly heape of them together; those twelve heads of extra∣ordinary, immeasurable, comfortable matter for spiri∣tuall medicines; which I have heretofore erected, as so many invincible bulwarkes against all assaults of de∣spaire, oppositions of Satan, exceptions of distrust.

1. The infinitenesse of Gods mercy sweetely inti∣mated, Isa. 55.6.7.8. The mercy of God is like r him∣selfe, infinite: All our sinnes are finite both in number and nature: Now betweene finite and infinite there is no proportion, and so no possibility of resistance. And therefore bee thy sinnes never so s notorious, and num∣berlesse, yet in a truly broken heart, thirsting for, and throwing it selfe upon Christ, unfainedly resolving up∣on new-obedience, and his glorious service for the time to come, can no more withstand, or stand before Gods mercies, then a little t sparke the boundlesse and migh∣ty Page  336 Ocean, throwne into the midst of it, nay infinitely lesse. If u all the sinnes, that all the Sonnes and daugh∣ters of Adam have committed, since the Creation to this time, were all upon one soule; yet so affected, as I have sayd, and put into such a new penitent, gracious temper, it should be most certainly upon good ground, and everlastingly safe. I speake not thus to make any secure; for any one sinne xpleasing and raigning will ruine a soule for ever: But to assure of mercy enough, how great or many so ever the sinnes haue been; if the heart bee now truly humbled for them all, and wholly turned heaven-ward.

2. The unvaluablenesse of Christs meritorious blood. Which is call'd the blood of God; and therefore of inestimable price. Vnderstand mee aright: It was the blood of God, not of the God-head; but of him who was both God and man. For the man-hood of Christ was received into the union of the second person. And so it may bee called the blood of God, for so speakes S. Paul Act. 20.28. God purchased his Church with his owne blood; that is Christ, God incarnate. Our Devines ex∣presse it thus: It was the Sonne of God, and Lord of life, that died for us upon the Crosse, but it was the nature of man, not of God, wherein he died; and it was the nature of God, and infinite excellency of the same, whence the price, valew and worth of his passion grew. This blessed blood then is of infinite y efficacie, and therefore if thou be now turning to the Lord, assure thy selfe; whatsoe∣ver thy sinnes have beene, they have not out-gone the price, that hath been payd for them. This blood upon repentance did take off the transcendent scarlet guilt from the soules, even of those that shed it. Act. 2. &c.

Page  3373. The riches of the Word in affording precedents of the Saints, and of the Sonne of God himselfe; who have surpassed thee; and that, perhaps, very farre in any kinde of miserie thou canst name.

Thou art perhaps consulting with the Prodigall to come-in, but there comes terribly into thy minde the extraordinary hainousnesse of thy former sinnes; and that hinders.* Cast thine eie then upon Manasses, a man of prodigious impiety and matchlesse villany:*Hee shed innocent blood very much, till hee had filled Ierusalem from one end to another. Hee did that, which was evill in the sight of the Lord, like unto the abominations of the heathen, whom the Lord had cast out before the children of Israel. Hee caused his children to passe through the fir••, in the valley of the sonne of Hinnom: also Hee obser∣ved times, and used inchantments, and used witch-craft, and dealt with a familiar spirit, and with wizzards. Hee wrought much evill in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger, &c. And yet this great sinner humbling himselfe greatly before the God of his Fathers,* was recei∣ved to mercy.

Suppose, which yet were a horrible thing, that after conversion, by extraordinary violence of temptation, strong in-snarement of some sudden sensuall offer and opportunity, treacherous insinuation of thy owne false heart, and furious re-assault of thy former bosome-sin, Thou shouldest be overtaken grossely with some grie∣vous sin and scandalous fal; and then upon illumination, remorse, and meditation of returne, reason thus within thy selfe; Alas! what shall I doe now? I have undone all: I have wofully againe defiled my soule, so fairely washed in my Saviours blood, with that dis-avowed sinne of my unregenerate time; I have shamed my pro∣fession, disgraced religion for ever; I have broke my vowes, lost my peace, and my woonted blessed commu∣nion with my God, &c. And therefore, what hope can I have, of any acceptation againe at the Throne of Page  338 grace? I say in this case, to keepe thee from sinking, cast thine eie upon yAaron, David, Peter: who returning with sound and hearty repentance, were mercifully en∣tertayned into as great favour, as they were before. But God forbid, that any professour of religion should ever fall so fowly, especially in this glorious mid-day of E∣vangelicall light!

Art thou langvishing under the heauy desolations▪ of a spirituall desertion, and deprived of thy former comfortable feelings of Gods favourable countenance? Looke upon David Psal. 77. I remembred God, and was troubled. I complained, and my spirit was overwhel∣med. I am so troubled, that I can not speake. My soule refused to bee comforted. Nay, upon Iesus Christ him∣selfe, Mat. 27.46. crying, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken mee?

Art thou haunted with some of Satans most hatefull and horrible injections, grissely to the eie even of cor∣rupted nature, Thoughts framed by himself immediate∣ly, and put into thee; perhaps tending to Atheisme, or to the dishonour of God in the highest degree, or of his blessed word; to self-destruction, or the like? Thoughts, which thou canst not remember without horrour, and darest not reveale, or name for their strange and prodi∣gious monstrousnesse. If it bee thus with thee: consi∣der how this malicious Feind dealt with the Sonne of God himselfe. He offered to his most holy, and unspot∣ted imagination, these propositions: First, Murder and make away thy selfe, Matth. 4.6. Secondly, Fall downe and worship the Divell: Vers. 9. Then which a fouler thought, I thinke, was never injected: that Iesus Christ blessed for ever, in whom the God head dwelt bodily, should fall downe and worship the Divell, the vilest of Creatures. And yet this was suggested to our blessed Saviour. To which his purest heart infinitely uncape∣able of sinne, was as a brasse wall to an arrow, beating it backe presently with infinite contempt. And him∣selfe Page  339 did utterly conquer and confound the tempter; and that for thee, and thy sake too. And therefore * if thy humbled soule doe abominate and abandon them from the heart-roote to the pit of Hell, they shall never be laid to thy charge, but set on Satans score. Extreme∣ly then doe those wrong themselves, and gratifie the Divell to the height; who suffer such injections, which they heartily hate, and stand against, with all their strength, to hold their hearts still upon the racke of ex∣traordinary astonishment and distraction; whereby they are unnecessarily discouraged and disabled for a chearefull discharge of both their callings. Which is the thing Satan specially aimes at, in vexing so many of Gods dearest servants with this fieri'st dart.

It may bee, that many yeares after thy new-birth, when thou thinkest the worst is past, thou maist bee re∣visited and afflicted afresh with (perhaps) sorer spirituall pangs, and more horrour, then at the first. And what then? Heare how David, a man after Gods owne heart, cries out: zMy bones waxed old; through my roaring all the day long; For day and night thy hand was heavie up∣on mee; My moisture is turned into the drought of sum∣mer. Selah. And Iob., a God-fearing man, and most up∣right: aWherefore hidest thou thy face, and holdest mee for thine enemie? Wilt thou breake a leafe driven to and fro? And wilt thou pursue the drie stubble? For thou writest bitter things against mee, and makest mee to pos∣sesse the iniquities of my youth.bThe arrowes of the Al∣mighty are within mee, the poison thereof drinkes up my spirit: The terrours of God doe set themselves in array against mee.cHezekiah, that walked before God in truth, and with a perfect heart: I reckoned till morning, that as adLion, so will he breake all my bones: from day Page  340 even to night wilt thou make an end of mee. Like a Crane or a Swallow, so did I chatter: I did mourne as a Dove; mine eyes fayle with looking upward: O Lord, I am op∣prest, undertake for mee.

Doest thou day after day poure out thy soule in prayer, before The Throne of Grace, with all the ear∣nestnesse, and instancy thy poore, dead heart (as thou callest it) can possibly; and do'st thou still rise up dull, heavy-hearted and uncomfortable; without any sen∣sible answer from God, or comfortable sense of his favour and love shed into thy heart? Be it so; yet for all this, pray still in obedience unto thy God, against all discouragements and oppositions whatsoever. Presse hard unto still, and ply Gods Mercy-Seate, if it be but with sighes and groanings. Assuredly, at length, and in the fittest time, thou shalt bee gloriously refreshed, and registred in the remembrance of God, for a Christian of excellent Faith. See a patterne of rare and extraordinary patience this way, Mat. 15.23. There, that Woman of Ca∣naan having received many grievous repulses, & cuting discouragements: the Solicited was silent; the Disciples grumble; she was not of the Fold; she was a Dog; yet for all this, by her constancy in crying after Christ, her peti∣tion at last was not only granted, but her self also crow∣ned with a singular, and admirable Eulogie, from the Lords owne mouth: O Woman! great is thy Faith: be it unto thee, even as thou wilt, What an honour and comfort was this, to bee thus commended by Iesus Christ? and that with an admiration, O Woman!

Hath thy Faith lost it's feeling? Doest thou for the present feele nothing, but anger, wrath, and great indig∣nation? Is Gods face and favour, wherein is life, turned away from thee, and quite hid from thy sight? Nay, hath hee broken thee aunder, taken thee by the necke, and shaken thee to pieces, and set thee up for his marke? Yet for all this, let thy truly humbled soule bee so farre from loosing, or leaving it's hold-fast, and sure repose Page  341 upon the Person, Passion, and Promises of Iesus Christ; that in such a Case, it cleave and cling faster to that blessed Rocke, and farre more immoveablely. For there∣in specially is the strength and glory of Faith impro∣ved, and made illustrious. It is one of the most noble and heroicall acts of Faith, to beleeve without feeling. He, who beleeveth most, and feeleth least, is hee, who glo∣rifieth God most. It is nothing to swimme in a warme Bath; but to endure the surges, and tumbling billowes of the Sea, that's the man. To beleeve, when God doth fairely and sensibly shine upon the soule, with the love and light of his countenance, is no great matter: But to rest invincibly upon his mercy thorow Christ; when he grinds thee to powder, that's the Faith. Thou hast be∣fore thee for this purpose a matchlesse precedent. Thus cries holy Iob, vexed not onely with an unparalleld va∣riety and extremity of outward afflictions, but also with the venome of the Almighties arrowes, drinking up his spirit. Th hee slay mee, yet will I trust in him: Cap. 13.15. So Abraham: Rom. 4.18.

Hast thou given thy name stoutely to Religion, and do'st thou stand on Gods side with resolution? And art thou therefore villanously traduced with slanderous, odious, nick-names of Puritan, Precisian, Hypocrite, Humorist, Dissembler &c? Consider then for thy com∣fort, that gracelesse wretches, when hee was upon the earth, called thy blessed Lord and Saviour, Divell; See Matth. 10.25. Ioh. 7.20. which passeth all, I am per∣swaded, that any drunken Belial ever yet fastned upon thee. Contemne thou therefore for ever, and trample upon with an humble and triumphant patience, all their contumelies and contempts. Passe-by nobly without touch or trouble, without wound or passion, the utmost malice of the most scurrill tongue; the basest gibe of the impurest Drunkard.

Doth the World, carnall men, thine owne friends, ormall Teachers suppose, and censure thee to be a dis∣sembler Page  342 in thy Profession▪ and will needes concurrently and confidently, yet falsely, fasten upon thee the impu∣tation of hypocrisie? An heavy charge! Yet for all this, Let thy truly-humble heart, conscious to it selfe of it's owne syncerity in holy services, like a strong pillar of brasse, beate backe all their impoysoned arrowes of malice and mistake this way, without any dejection, or discouragement; Onely take occasion hereby to search more thorowly, and walke more warily. Iob may bee a right noble patterne to thee in this point also. He had against him, not onely the Divell his enemy, pushing at him with his poysoned weapons; but even his owne friends scourging him with their tongues; His owne wife a thorne pricking him in the eye, yea, his owne God, running upon him like a Gya••, and his terrours set∣ting themselves in aray against him Powerfull motives, to make him suspect himselfe of former halting, and hollow-heartednesse in the wayes of God: yet not∣withstanding, his good and honest heart, having been long before acquainted with, and knit unto his God •• truth, makes him breake out boldly, and resolutely pro∣test: Till I die, I will not remove my integrity from mee. My righteousnesse I hold fast, and will not let it goe: Chap. 27.5.6. Behold, my Witnesse is in Heaven, and my record is on high. Cap. 16.19.

Art thou a loving and tender-hearted mother unto thy children, and hast thou lost the dearest? The grea∣test outward crosse, I confesse, that ever the sonnes and daughters of Adam tasted, and goeth nearest to the heart: Yet thy sorrow is not singular, but out-gone in this also. For the blessed Mother of Christ stood by, and saw her owne, onely, deare, innocent sonne, the Lord of life, most cruelly and villanously murdred up¦on the Crosse before her eyes, Ioh. 19.25.

Hast thou lost thy goods or children? Doth thy wife that lies in thy bosome, set her selfe against thee? Doe thy nearest friends charge thee falsely? Art thou Page  343 pained extremely from top to toe? Doe the Arrowes of the Almighty sticke fast in thy soule? Thy affliction is grievous enough, if thou taste any of these severally. But doe they all in greatest extremity concurre upon thee at once? Hast thou lost all thy children, and all thy goods? Doth thy wife afflict thy afflictions? &c. If this bee not thy Case, and rufull condition, thou com∣mest yet short of Iob, a most just man, and one of Gods dearest Iewels.

4. The exceeding greatnesse and pretiousnesse of the promises.* In every one of which, it is incredible to con∣sider, what abundant matter of unspeake-able and glo∣rious joy lies wrp up! Oh, how sweet are they to a thirsty soule, in the ••me of angvish and trouble! They are like a cloud of raine, that commeth in the time of a drought. They are very glimpses of Heaven, shed into a heart, many times as darke as hell. They are even rockes of eternity, upon which every bruised reed may sweetly repose, with impregnable safety. A truly hum∣bled spirit, relishing spirituall things, would not ex∣change any one of them, for all the riches and sweet∣nesse of both the Indies. Tell me, deare heart, thou that in thy unregenerate time, though now happily chan∣ged, lay soaking in sinnes of cruelty and blood; whe∣ther that mercifull promise, Isai. 1.18. Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: Though your sinnes bee as skrlet, they shall bee as white as snow; though they bee red like crimson, they shall bee as wooll; bee not farre dearer unto thee, then thousands of gold and silver? Or thou, who formerly pollutedst thy selfe villanously with such secret execrable lusts, which now thou canst not remember without horrour, tell mee, if it were utterable by the Tongue of man, with what dearest sweetnesse and blessed peace, thy broken heart was bound up and revived; when thou cast thine eye considerately and beleevingly upon that pretious place, Ezech. 36.25. I will sprinkle water upon you, and you Page  344 shall bee cleane: and from all your filthinesse, and from all your Idols will I cleanse you, &c.

There was beyond the Seas, as my Author reports, c Christian Matrone of excellent parts and piety; who langvishing long under the horrible pressure of most furious and fiery temptations, wofully at length yeel∣ded to despaire, and attempted the destruction of her selfe. After often and curious seeking occasion for that bloody fact, at last having first put off her apparrell, threw her self head-long from an high Promontory in∣to the Sea. But having received no hurt by her fall; shee was there, by a Miracle, and extraordinary mercy, strangely preserved, for the space of two houres at the least; though all the while shee laboured industriously to destroy her selfe. Afterward drawne out with much adoe, and recovered, shee yet still did conflict with that extremest, desperate horrour almost a whole yeere. But Page  345 by Gods good providence, which sweetly and wisely ordereth all things, listening on a time, though very un∣willingly at first, to her husband reading amongst o∣ther places, that, Isa. 57.15. Thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is holy; I dwell in the high and holy place: with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. For I will not contend for ever, neither will I bee alwaies wroth: for the spirit should faile be∣fore mee, and the soules which I have made: I say, listening to these words, the Holy Ghost drawing her heart▪ shee begun to reason thus within her selfe: God doth here promise to revive and comfort the heart of the contrite, and spirit of the humble: and that hee will not contend for ever, neither b alwayes wroth:

But I have a very contrite heart, and a spirit humbled 〈◊〉 to the dust▪ one of the acknowledgement, and sense of my sinnes, and divine vengeance against them:

Therefore peradventure, God will vouchsafe to revive and comfort my heart and spirit; and not contend with 〈◊〉 for ever, nor bee wroth against mee still, &c.

Hereupon by little and little, there flowed by Gods blessing into her darke and heavy heart, abundance of life, lightsomnesse, spirituall strength, and assurance. In which she continued with constancy and comfort, ma∣ny a yeere after; crowned those happy dayes, and a blessed old age, with a glorious and triumphant death, and went to Heaven in the yeere 1595. What heart now, but Hers that felt it, can possibly conceive the depth of that extraordinary, un-utterable refreshing; which sprung out of that promise, upon her forlorne and fearefull soule; or the excesse of that love, which shee bore ever after to those blessed lines; to the mer∣cy that made them, and to the blood that sealed them?

An other terrified in conscience for sinne, resolves to Page  346 turne on Gods side; but the crie of his good-fellow compa∣nions, strength of corruption, and cunning of Satan, car∣rie him backe to his former courses. A good number of yeares after, hee was so throughly wounded, that whatsoe∣ver came of him, he would never returne againe unto fol∣ly. Then comes into his minde the first of the Proverbes: whence hee thus reasoned against himselfe: So many yeares agoe God called, and stretched out his hand in mercy, but I refused: and therefore now, th I call upon him, hee will not answer; though I seeke him early, I shall not finde him. Whereupon was his heart filled with much griefe, terrour, and slavish feare. But the Spirit of God leading him at length to that place, Luke 17.4. If thy brother trespasse against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turne againe to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgiue him; He thence happily ar∣gued thus for himselfe: Must I a silly sinnefull man for∣give my brother, as often as hee repents; and will not then the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort, entertaine mee, seeking againe in truth, his face and a∣vour? God forbid. From▪ which hee blessedly drew such a deale of divine sweetnesse, and secret sense of Gods love; that his trembling heart at first received some good sa∣tisfaction, and afterward was setled in a sure and glori∣ous peace.

An other godly man passing through his lst sicknesse with such extraordinary calmnesse of conscience, and ab∣solute freedome from temptation; that some of his Christi∣an friends observing, and admiring the singularity of his soules quiet, at that time especially, questioned him aboue it: He answered; that he had stedfastly fixed his heart upon that sweetest promise, Isa. 26.3. Thou wilt keepe him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because hee trusteth in thee: And his God had graciously made it fully good unto his soule.

And so must every Saint doe, who would sound the sweetnesse of a promise to the bottome; & make it the Page  347 arme of God unto him for sound & thorow-comfort: Even settle his heart fixedly upon it, and set his Faith on worke, to broode it, as it were, with it's spirituall heate, that quickenesse and life may thence come into the soule indeed. For God is woont to make good his promises unto his children, f proportionably to their trust in them, and dependance upon his truth and good∣nesse for a seasonable performance of them.

Now all these promises in Gods blessed Booke, (which addes infinitely to their sweetnesse and certain∣ty) are sealed with the blood of Iesus Christ:gHeb. 9.16. and confirmed with the Oath of Almighty God, Heb. 6.17.18. —God willing more abundantly to shew unto the heires of promise, the immutability of his coun∣sell, confirmed it by an oath: That by two immutablehthings, in which it was impossible for God to lie, wee might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge, to lay hold upon the hope set before us. Oh what a migh∣ty and pretious invitation is this, to beleeve perfectly! The speciall Aime of Gods oath, whereas his promise had been more then infinitely sufficient, was to streng∣then our consolation. And therefore every heart true unto Christ, ought hence to hold fast, not a faint, wave∣ring, inconstant; but a strong, stedfast, and unconque∣rable comfort. Otherwise it sacrilegiously, as it were, robs God of the glorious end, for which hee swore.

5. The free love of God. Which, how rich and Page  348 glorious, how bottomlesse and boundlesse a treasure it is of all gracious sweetnesse, abundant comfort, and endlesse bounty, appeares in this, that Iesus Christ, bles∣sed for ever, that unvalew-able, incomparable Iewell, came out of it. For God so loved the World, that hee gave his onely begotten Sonne; that whosoever beleeveth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life: Ioh. 3.16. And therefore every syncere servant of Christ, when upon a serious and sad survay of his Christian waies, finds himself to come so far short of that, which God requires, and himselfe desires; That his prayers are very faint, his sorrow for sinne very scant, his love unto the brethren too cold, His spending the Sabbaths very unfruitfull, His spirituall growth, since he gave his name to Christ, very poore, His profiting by the meanes hee enjoyes, most unanswerable to the power and ex∣cellency thereof, His New-obedience almost nothing, &c. (For so hee is wont to vilifie himselfe). Whereup∣on hee is much cast downe; and out of this apprehensi∣on of his manifold unworthinesse, concludes against himselfe, that hee hath little cause to bee confident in the promises of life▪ or to presume of any part and inte∣rest in Iesus Christ; and so begins to retire the trembling hand of his already very-weake Faith, from any more laying-hold of comfort: I say, in such a Case, being true-hearted, k he may safely, and upon sure ground, have recourse to this ever-springing Fountaine of im∣measurable mercy; and raise up his drooping soule against all contrary oppositions, with unspeake-able and glorious refreshing, from such places as these: Hos. 14.4. I will love thee freely. Isai. 55. Ho, every one that thirsteth, come yee to the waters; and hee that hath no money: come ye, buy and eate; yea, come, buy wine and milke without money, and without price. And Chap. 43.25. I, even I am hee, that blotteth one thy transgressions for my owne sake; and will not remember thy sinnes. Revel. 21.6. I will give unto him that is a∣thirst, Page  349 of the Fountaine of the water of life freely, &c. God never set the Promises on sale, or will ever sell his Sonne to any. Hee never said; Iust so much sorrow, so much sanctitie, so much service, or no Christ: But Hee ever gives Him freely. Every truly humbled heart, which will take him at the hands of Gods free love, as an Husband to bee saved by him, and to serve him in truth, may have him for nothing. Yet I must adde this: there was never any, who received the Lord Iesus savingly, but hee laboured syncerely to sorrow as much for sinne, to bee as holy, to doe him as much service as hee could possibly. And when hee reflected upon his best, hee ever desired, it had been infinitely better.

6. The sweete Name of the Lord. Which hee pro∣claimes, Exod. 34.6.7. wherein he first expresseth his es∣sence in one word: The Lord, The Lord. Which doubled, is effectuall to stirre up Moses attention. Secondly, three Attributes: first, His power, in one word, Strong: Se∣condly, His justice, in two formes of speech: not making the wicked innocent; visiting the iniquity of the fathers up∣on the children, and upon childrens children, unto the third and fourth generation: Thirdly, but his speciall good∣nesse, and good affection towards repentant, and be∣leeving sinners, in seven: 1 Mercifull and 2 Gracious, 3 Long-suffering, and abundant in 4 Goodnesse and 5 Truth, 6 Keeping mercy for thousands, 7 Forgiving iniquity, transgression and sinne. In which there are implyed un-answerable replies to all the scruples, doubts, exceptions, objections, which may arise in a troubled soule.

1. Thou sayest perhaps, that thou art plunged into the depth of extremest spirituall misery, both in respect of s••fulnesse and cursednesse. The present sense where∣of is ready to sinke thee into despaire. Be it so: Then take my counsell in this Case: Cast thine eye upon the first and fairest flowre in this heavenly-glorious Gar∣land of divine goodnesse. And thou shalt finde a fame Page  350 greater depth of mercy; 1 ready to swallow up thy depth of misery. The mercy of God and misery in this kind, are relatives: No misery, no mercy; much misery, much mercy; transcendent misery, transcendent mercy: the onely difference is, the mercy of God is in∣finite, thy misery finite. And therefore how much spi∣rituall misery soever thou bringest in a broken heart to the Throne of grace, Gods bountifull hand will weigh out to thee a proportionable measure of mercy; nay, a measure without measure, super-abundant, running-over. For where misery in a truly humbled soule a∣boundeth, there mercy doth much more abound.

2. Or suppose, that at thy first turning unto God, tho truly humbled, yet thou art tempted, not to take Christ; out of this ccōeit, because thou art but euen now come out of hell, and horrible courses, and as yet hast no good thing in thee at all: Or after some progresse in Chri∣stianity, reflecting in time of temptation upon thy whole carriage, since conversion; and finding it to have been so fruitlesse, and full of failings: Thou concludest, thy selfe in thy present feeling, to be extremely vile; of a very doubtfull state for thy soule; if not stark naught: That no Professour upon earth walkes so unworthily; and if Ministers knew thy heart, and weake perfor∣mance of holy duties, they would not bee so forward to presse comfort upon thee, &c. I say, in these two cases, and the like, it is a great happinesse and sweetest comfort, that the mighty Lord of Heaven and Earth hath proclaimed himselfe to bee Gracious; ** which imports thus much: to poure out abundance of extraor∣dinary bounty, upon a most undeserving partie: To place dearest affection and desire of doing good there, where there is no desert at all. As if a King to make his roy∣all favours more illustrious, should raise a worthlesse Wretch, a most contemptible Vassal, to be his worthi••• Favorite, & highest in his love. And therefore bring 〈◊〉 to the Throne of Grace, but a true sense of thy misery Page  351 a syncere thirst for mercy, an humble acknowledge∣ment of thine unworthinesse; and God hereupon, for his Christs sake, will thinke thee worthy of the riches of his grace, the righteousnesse of his Son; all the promi∣ses in his Booke, all the comforts of his Spirit, a Crowne of immortality and blisse: For hee is gracious; and an universall glorious confluence of blessednesse in all kinds, is promised to poverty in spirit; and shal most cer∣tainely, to the vtmost, bee made good unto it for e∣ver.

3. But alas! I, saith an other, have most wretched∣ly mis-spent the flower and strength of mine age in va∣nity and pleasure; in lewdnesse and lust: The best of my time hath been wofully wasted in Satans notorious ser∣vice, and sensuall serving my selfe, &c. And therefore, tho I bee now weary of my former waies, and looke backe upon them with a trembling heart, and grieved spirit; yet I am affraid, that God hath given over loo∣king after mee; that His patience towards mee is ex∣pired, and my day of visitation out-stood; And that he will not vouchsafe to cast his eye of compassion upon such a Blackamore, & Leopard, as I am; so overgrowne with corruption, and growne old in sinne; especial∣ly, having so long neglected so great salvation, forsaken mine owne mercy so long, and so unthankefully despised the riches of his goodnesse and forbearance, leading mee to repentance. I confesse, it is something rare, to see men gone-on so long, and growne old in sinne, to returne, and give way to any saving worke of the Ministry; be∣cause too often in the meane time they so harden their hearts, that they cannot repent; yet notwithstanding, bee thou assured in the Word of life and truth, if now at length thou be truly touched indeed, and will come∣in, in earnest; the Father of mercies will receive thee freely to mercy, and embrace thy bleeding soule in the armes of his everlasting love through Christ. For it is a title of highest honour unto him, to be long-suffering.Page  352 Hee all this while waited,*that hee might bee gracious unto thee; And now undoubtedly upon thy first reso∣lution to returne in truth, hee will meete thee with infi∣nitely more compassionate affectionatenesse, then the Father in the Gospell,* his Prodigall: who when hee was a great way off, his Father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him, &c.

4. Yea, but saith an other; Though I have been a Professour long, yet many times my heart is full heavy, and more loth to beleive, when I seriously and sensibly call to minde, the hainousnesse of my unregenerate time; and see in my selfe besides, since I was illightned, and should have behaved my selfe in forwardnesse and fruitfullnesse for God, answerably to my former folly, and furiousnesse in evill; so many defects and imper∣fections every day: and such weake distracted dischar∣ging of commanded duties, both to God and man. Take then counsell and comfort in this Case, by casting thine eye upon Gods kindnesse: He is abundant in*kindnesse▪ which hath these foure pretious properties: First, To bee easily intreated: Secondly, To be intreated for the greatest: Thirdly, to passe by involuntary infirmities: Fourthly, to accept gratiously weake services. Even fraile man, if of a more noble, generous, and kind dispo∣sition, will bee easily appeased for the unpurposed of∣fences, errours, and over-sights; and well pleased with the good will, syncere indeavours, and utmost, especial∣ly, of those who hee knowes to bee true-hearted unto him; and desire heartily, if they were able, to doe all hee desires, even to the height of exactnesse and expe∣ctation. How much more then will our heavenly Fa∣ther deale so with his children, who is in himselfe essen∣tially kinde, and infinitely?

5. Yea, but saist thou, many times when I reach 〈◊〉 the hand of my faith, to fetch some speciall promise in∣to my soule for refreshing, and comfort; and weighing them well, and comparing advisedly my owne no∣thingnesse, Page  353 worthlesnesse, vilenesse, with the riches of mercy, grace and glory shining in it; and marking the dis-proportion, I am overwhelmed with admiration and astonishment; and to tell you true, say sometimes to my selfe: Is it possible, that this should be so? That so glorious things should belong to such a wretch and worme, as I am! But turning thine eye from a di∣strustfull, and too much dejected dwelling upon thine owne desert, to what Christ hath done for thee, and to the Almightinesse and All-mercifullnesse of him that promiseth; consider with all, that God is also abundant in truth. Every promise in his Booke is as sure as Him∣selfe, sealed with his Sons Blood, and confirmed with his owne Oath. Hee must sooner cease to bee God, and deny himselfe; which is more, then infinitely impossi∣ble, and prodigious blasphemie to imagine; then faile in the least circumstance, or syllable of his immeasurable love, and promises of life, to any one that heartily loves him, and is true of heart. And therefore when thy thirsty soule makes towards the Well of life, by vertue of that promise; Rev. 21.6. I will give to him that is a∣thirst, of the fountaine of the water of life freely; And upon survey of the overflowing Rivers of pleasures and blisse, which everlastingly spring thence, begins to retire from it, as too-good newes to bee true; I say, then steele thy Faith, and comfort thy selfe gloriously, by consideration of that abundant truth, with which hee hath crowned every word of His, stronger then a Rocke of brasse, far surer then the Pillars of the Earth, or Poles of Heaven; Nay, I speake an admirable thing, and of unutterable consolation, which cannot bee vio∣lated without Destruction of the Deity, most blessed and glorious for evermore. And let this ever banish, and beat backe all scruples, doubtes seares, which at a∣ny time offer themselves, and oppose thy unspeakeable joy, and peace in believing.

6. Well, saith an other, I easily acknowledge the Page  354 incomprehensible goodnesse in this Name of God; and hold them most blessed, who have their part and por∣tion therein. But for my part, I am affraid, I come too late. For I have observed the course of the Ministery amongst us, and the dispensation of Gods mercy in it. At first comming, our Towne being full of Ignorance, prophanesse, and much superstitious follies, having never before injoyed the Word with any life or power; wee all stood amazed a good whle, at the Majesty and Mysterie of this new heavenly Light. The first messa∣ges of the Ministry sounded in our eares, as the voyce of many waters, mighty, and great; but confused: not working in us either joy or terrour, but onely an extra∣ordinary wonder, and secret acknowledgement of a strange force, and more then humane power. But af∣terwards, when our Watchman was better acquainted with our waies, and had more fully discovered the state of our soules; the Word was unto us, as a voice of a great thunder, more distinct and particular; breeding not on∣ly admiration, but feare also; not filling our eares one∣ly with an uncouth sound, but our hearts also with a terrible searching. For the Sermons of every Sabbath came-home to our consciences, singling out our severall reigning corruptions; beating punctually upon our bo∣some-sinnes; manifesting clearely our spirituall misery, and certaine liablenesse to the extremest wrath of God, and endlesse woe. Whereupon, wee were all at our wits end what to doe, grew weary of our lives, wished with all our hearts, that such a Puritane-Preacher had never come amongst us; told every man, almost wee met, that wee had a Fellow at our Towne would drive us all to despaire, distraction, selfe-destruction, or some mischiefe, or other. That wee heard nothing from him but of damnation, and hell, and such horrible things, &c. Now in this second worke of the Word, there was a good number, even some out of that cursed crue and knot of Good-fellowship, wherein I have been insna∣red Page  355 so long, wonne unto Iesus Christ. For beeing illight∣ned, convinced and terrified in conscience for their for∣mer sinfull courses; the continued piercing of the Word, and worke of the spirit of bondage, keeping them up∣on the Racke, under the dreadfull sense of divine wrath, and their damnable state a good while: at last, they happily resolved without any more delay, diversion, by-path, or plunging againe into worldly pleasures, to passe on directly, by the light and guidance of the Gos∣pell, into the holy path. And so undertooke, and hither∣to have holden out in Profession; and a blessed confor∣mity to the better side, But I, and the greater part a great deale, more was the pitty, hating heartily to bee reformed; and abhorring that precise way, so much spo∣ken against every where; into which woe conceived, such severe Ministeriall counsell would have conducted us; I say, wee wickedly wrested out of our vexed conscien∣ces, those keene arrowes of truth and terrour, with great indignation; wee unhappily hardned our hearts and foreheads against the power of the Word, which particularly pursued us every Sabbath: Nay, alas! we persecuted the very meanes, which should sanctifie us; and men, which would have saved us. Here then is my Case and complaint; neglecting that blessed season, when I was first terrified and troubled in minde; when the Angell from Heaven, as it were, troubled the water; and when some, even of mine owne Companions in ini∣quity, were converted; I am affraid, I now come too late, that the mercy of God to doe mee spirituall good, is already expired; and that the Ministry, which I have so wretchedly opposed, is the very same to mee, that it was to the obstinate Iewes, Isa. 6.9.10. Nay, but yet say not so; though it bee with thee as thou hast sayd: For our gracious God keepeth mercy for thousands.h Here you must know, that a finite number is put Sy∣necdochecallyPage  356 for an infinite, and an infinite indeed. And therefore if thou now bee in earnest, and willing to come-in, in truth; and those thine other brethren in Good fellowship, and hundreds, thousands, millions moe, or any whosoever to the worlds end, God hath mercy in store for you all; and being all weary of all your sinnes, unfainedly thirsting for the Well of life; re∣solving for the time to come, upon new courses, com∣pany, and conversation; you shall all be most welcome to Iesus Christ. Even the last man upon earth, bringing a truly broken heart to the Throne of grace, shall bee crowned as richly, and with as large a portion of Gods infinite mercy, and Christs un-valew able merit, as A∣dam and Eve, or whosoever layd first hold of that first promise: The seed of the woman shall bruise the Serpents head.

7. Yea, but alas! I have been no ordinary sinner. My corruptions have carried mee beyond the villanies of the vilest you can name. Not only variety, but the notoriousnesse also, and enormity of my wicked waies, have set an infamous brand upon mee, even in the sight of the world; beside those secret pollutions, and sinfull practices, which no eie, but that, which is ten thousand times brighter then the Sun, ever beheld. Had I not been extremely outragious, stayned with abominations of deepest die, and gone on thus with a high hand, I might have had some hope; But now I know not what to say! Take notice then, to the end that nothing at all may possibly hinder, or any way discourage any poore soule, that syncerely seekes for mercy, & desires to turne tru∣ly on Gods side, from assurance of gracious acceptation, and intertainement at his Throne of Grace; That it is naturall also to his Name, To forgive iniquity, transgres∣sion and sinne. That is,i sinnes of all sorts, kindes and de∣grees whatsoever. There is none so hatefull and hai∣nous; whether naturall corruption, or ordinary out∣ward transgression, or highest presumption, but upon Page  357 repentance, God is most able, ready, and willing to re∣mit it.

7. God the Fathers compassionate pangs of in∣finite affection and forwardnesse to entertaine into his armes of mercy, all true Penitents. As I live, sayth the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turne from his way and live: turne yee, turne yee from your evill wayes; for why will yee die, O house of Israell? Ezech. 33.11. Woe unto thee O Ierusalem, wilt thou not bee made cleane? When shall it once be? Ier. 13.27. They say, if a man put away his wife, and shee goe from him, and become another mans, shall hee returne to her againe? Shall not that Land be greatly polluted? But thou hast played the harlot with many lovers; yet returne againe to mee, sayth the Lord: Ier. 3.1. Oh that my people had hearkned unto mee, and Israel had walked in my waies! I would soone have subdued their enemies, and turned my hand against their adversaries. The haters of the Lord should have submitted themselves unto him: but their time should have endured for ever; Hee should have fed them also with the finest of the wheate: and with ho∣ney out of the rocke should I have satisfyed thee: Psal. 81. O that thou hadst hearkned to my commandements, then had thy peace been as a River, and thy righteousnesse as the waves of the Sea. Thy seed also had been as the sand, and the off-spring of thy howells like the gravell thereof: his name should not have been cut off, nor destroyed from before mee: Isa. 48.18.

8. His mercifull almightinesse, in putting life and light∣somnesse into the most dead and darkest heart. Seeke him, saith the Prophet, that maketh the seven Starres and Orion, and turneth the shdow of death into the mor∣ning: Amos 5.8. Suppose thou sttest thy selfe to seeke Gods face and favour: and art presently set upon with this temptation: But alas! My soule is so blacke with sinne, and darke with sorrow, that it is to no purpose for Page  358 mee to proceed, &c. But now in this case, consider, who Hee is that thou seekest; it is He, that made of nothing those beautifull, shining, glorious constellations, Orion and the Pleiades (and nothing in the world is darker then nothing). Hee is Hee, that turneth the darkest mid∣night into the brightest morning, &c.

9. Christs sweetest, dearest, most melting invitati∣ons of all truly troubled soules for sinne, unto the Well of life, and their owne everlasting wellfare. Come unto mee all yee that labour, and are heavie laden, and I will give you rest: Mat. 11.28. O Ierusalem, Ierusalem, thou that killest the Prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee! How often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a Hen gathereth her Chickens under her wings, &c. Mat. 23.37. And when hee was come neare, hee beheld the City, and wept over it, saying; Oh if thou hadst knowne, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! Luke. 19.41.42. In the last day, the great Day of the Feast, Iesus stood, and cried, saying; If any man thirst, let him come to mee, and drinke.

10. Precedents in Gods Booke of many hainous and horrible sinners received to mercy upon their hu∣miliation. As Eve, Magdalen, Paul, Zacheus, Sodomits. 1. Cor. 6.9.11. Crucifiers of Christ. Acts. 2.

11. Experience perhaps of the Comforter, conver∣ted from a more wicked and desperate course, then the Patient himselfe. And it doth not a little refresh the heart of him, who grievosly wounded in conscience, and thereupon sending for a skillfull, and faithfull Mes∣senger of God; and, when he hath opened his Case ful∣ly unto him, to heare him say, when he hath sayd all; My Case was farre worse then yours every way: Nay but besides those notorious sins, I have named unto you, I have defiled my selfe with many secret execrable lusts. Be it so, saith the spirituall Physition; yet in the daies of my vanity, I have been guilty of moe and more hainous Page  359 crimes, then any, you have yet spoken of. Yea, but even now, when I have most need of, should most prize, reve∣rence, and lay hold upon Gods blessed Word, Son and Promises; I am pestilently pestered with many abhor∣red, villanous, and prodigious injections about them. Not a man alive, replies the Man of God, hath had his head troubled with more hideous thoughts of such hellish nature, then I, &c.

12. That pretious Parable, Luk. 15. wherein all those * loving passages of the Father unto his prodigall Son; to wit, His beholding him, when hee was yet a great way off; his compassion, running towards him, falling upon his necke, kissing him, putting on him the best Robe, and the Ring, killing the fatted Calfe, &c. doe shadow that immeasurable, incomprehensible love of God the Fa∣ther to every one, that is willing to come out of the Divels cursed service, into the good way. But come as farre o short of expressing it to the life, as the infinite greatnesse of Almighty God, surpasseth the finite frail∣ty of a weake man, and worme of the earth.

2. In a second place, Let us take a view of some of those most delicious, and sweetest streames of dearest comfort, which spring abundantly out of that fruitfull Fountaine of compassion and love, Psal. 103.13. Like as a Father pittieth his Children: so the Lord pittieth them that feare him. See also, Deutr. 8.5. Malac. 3.17.

Hence may wee draw refreshing enough to our thirstie soules, in many passages of heavy thoughts, and grievous complaints about our spirituall state.

1. In the distempers and damps of prayer, thus:

Suppose the dearest Sonne of the loving'st Father to lie grievously sicke; and out of the extremity of an∣gvish, to cry out and complaine unto him, that hee is so full of paine in every part, that hee knowes not which way to turne himselfe, or what to doe; and thereupon intreats him of all loves, to touch him tenderly, to lay Page  360 him softly, to mollifie all hee may his painefull misery, and give him ease. How ready, thinke you, would such a father bee, with all tendernesse and care, to put to his helping hand, in such a ruefull case! But yet if hee should grow sicker, and weaker, so that hee could not speake at all; but onely looke his Father in the face with watery eies; and moane himselfe unto him with sighes and groanes, and other dumbe expressions of his increased paine, and desire to speake: Would not this yet strike deeper into the Fathers tender heart; pierce and melt it with more feeling pangs of compassion; and make his bowells yerne within him▪ with an addition of extraordinary dearenesse, and care to doe him good? Even just so will thy heavenly Father bee affected, and deale with thee in hearing, helping, and shewing mercy; when all thy strength of praier is gone, but onely *groanes and sighes. Nay, with incomparably more affectionatenesse For looke how farre God is higher then Man in Majestie, and greatnesse, which is by an in∣finite distance and disproportion; so far doth he passe him in tender-heartednesse and love. See Isai. 55. 8.9.

Or be it so, That thou art able to speak unto God, and in some measure to utter thy mind; yet in thy conceit, it is so weakly, coldly, and confusedly, that thou thinkes; As well never a whit, as never the better, &c. Take notice here; that Gods Child is able, First, sometimes to poure out his soule unto his God with life and pow∣er: Page  361 Secondly, sometimes to say something, but with much coldnesse, deadnesse of heart, and distractednesse (as he a complaines), without his woonted feeling, and freedome of spirit: Thirdly, At other times, he can say just nothing, but groane, and sigh, and only desire hee could pray. For this last, looke upon the last passage. For the second; to wit, when the Christian is troubled, that hee can say something, and speake words unto God; yet it is without that order, efficacy, fit phrase and comming-off so comfortably, as he thinks is to bee found in other Professours, &c. I say, in this Case, consi∣der, that as a Father is more delighted with the stam∣mering & stuttering, as it were; with the in-articulate, and imperfect talke of his owne little Childe, when it first begins to speake; then with the exactest eloquence of the most famous Oratour upon earth: so b assuredly, our heavenly Father is infinitely better pleased with the broken, interrupted passages, and periods of prayer in an upright heart, heartily grieved, that hee can doe no better, nor offer up a more lively, hearty, and order∣ly sacrifice; then with the excellently-composed, fine-phrased and most methodicall petitions of the lear∣ned'st Pharisee. Nay, his soule extremely loathes the one, and graciously accepts the other in Iesus Christ. As concerning the complaint of coldnesse; bee assu∣red, that tho thy prayers proceede out of thy mouth, faint and feeble, cold and uncomfortable; yet springing from a syncere heart, purified by Faith, truly humbled under Gods mighty hand for sinne; seconded with groanes and griefe, with an holy anger, and selfe-indig∣nation, that they be not more fervent and piercing, and offered in obedience unto God; are most certainely, as it were, by the way fortified, and enlived with the paci∣fying perfections, and intercessory spirit of Iesus Christ; sweetly perfumed with the precious Odours of his fresh-bleeding Merits, and blessed Mediation; so that they strike the eares of the Almighty with farre greater Page  362 strength, and irresistable importunity, then is ordinarily imagined: And are as sweet-smelling sacrifices in his nostrils; The very sight of whose crucified Sonne at his right hand tendering the suite, can calme his most angry countenance; and convert by a sacred meritori∣ous attonement, his displeasures and wrath, into com∣passions and peace. Now blessed bee God, that the weake prayers, and broken sighes of tempted and trou∣bled spirits, have this happy promise and prerogative: That before they presse, as it were, into the presence of God the Father, they are mingled in the meane time, with the soveraigne and satisfactory incense in the gol∣den censer; whence evaporating out of the Angels hand, (I meane the Angel of the Covenant, for so the truest Interpreters understand the place) they ascend into the sight of our gracious Father, incorporated and enwo∣ven, as it were, into that pretious and pleasing fume: And that it pleaseth the blessed Spirit, in the needefull time of spirituall extremities, to draw the petitions of our sometimes speechlesse, heavy and distracted hearts: Iesus Christ, the great Angell of the Covenant, to per∣fect, perfume and present them: Hee that by an excel∣lency, and title of highest honour, is stiled the Hearer of praiers, to receive them into his mercifull hand, and bosome of compassionate acceptation! Goe on then poore soule; Thou that sorely roopes under the sen∣sible waight of thy manifold weakenesses, and unwor∣thinesse this way; and thereupon sometimes sinfully drawes back, with some thoughts of giving-over quite; which is that, the Divel desires, and would utterly un∣doe thee forever; presse forward in the name of Christ unto the Throne of Grace, with a lighter heart, then thou art wont. Shall the Lord Iesus call and cry for a Pardon for those, who put him to death; who were so farre from seeking unto him, that like so may Evening Wolves, they sought and suckt his blood? and will hee shut his eares, thinkes thou, from thy complaints and Page  363 groanes, who values one drop of his blood to quench thy spirituall thirst, at an higher price, then the worth of many Worlds? Comfort thy selfe invincibly: It can∣not bee.

2. In the faintnesse of Faith, and want of fee∣ling.

Thou beholdest sometimes, a Father holding a little Childe in his armes: now whether, dost thou thinke, is the Child safe by it's owne, or by the Fathers hold? It claspes about the Father with it's little weake hands, as well as it can; but the strength of it's safety, is in the Fathers arme. Nay and the Father holds the faster, when at any time hee perceives the Child to have left it's hold. Thou art c tied, as it were, unto Christ by a double bond: first, of the Spirit, and secondly, of Faith. Thou layest hold on Christ by Faith; and hee holds thee by his Spirit. Now thy Infant, Faith, or after some good standing in Christianity, weakened and sorely wounded in thy present feeling, hath lost it's hold-fast: And therefore thou thinkes, all is gone; and walkes de∣jectedly, and uncomfortably, as tho not any promise in Gods Booke, or drop of Christs Blood were thine, &c. But assure thy selfe, being sound at the heart roote, and walking in the light, as God is in the light, thy heavenly Father in this Case d holds thee so fast by his Spirit; that no Man or Divell, not all the powers of darkenesse or gates of hell, can possibly plucke thee out of his hand. Nay, the excellency of his power is most gloriously im∣prooved, and made more illustrious in thy greatest ex∣tremities, and extremest spirituall weakenesse. And hee holds it his highest honour, to hold thee the fastest, Page  364 when thy hold is gone. Heere then and upon this ground, thou hast a Calling; and mast comfortably, for hee is ever most loving and tender hearted, in times of temptation, to all that are true of heart, exercise that most excellent act of faith; To beleeve without feeling. To beleeve, when the face of God doth shine upon thee with sensible refreshing, and when thou enjoyest plentifull, and pregnant proofes of his favour, is no great matter, no such maistery. But then to beleeue, when all sense of Gods love is gone, and the light of his countenance hid from thee; when all goe quite crosse and contrary in the apprehension of carnall reason; then is the highest praise; this is the per∣fection of faith. The very dull, senselesse and soule∣lesse earth, upon which wee tread, may teach us to rest and depend upon God in such a Case. It is a mighty, and massy body, planted in the middest of the thinne aire; and hangs upon just nothing in the world, but on∣ly upon Gods Word; By that alone it is there established unmooveably, keepes his place most steadily, never stirs an ynch from it. It hath no props or pillars to uphold it: no barres or beames to fasten it; nothing to stay and support it, but the bare Word of God alone. Hee uphol∣deth all things by the Word of his power, saith the Apo∣stle, Heb. 1.3. And yet not all the creatures in the world can shake it, or make it tremble. Bee it so then, that thy Faith hath lost it's hold-fast; that for the present, thou findest no feeling; no encouragements of joy, and peace in beleeving; no sensible pawnes, and pledges of Gods wonted favour, &c. Yet for all this, cast thy selfe upon the sure Word of that mighty God, who hath established all the ends of the earth; and rea∣red such a great and goodly building, where there was no foundation: and questionlesse, thou shalt bee more then infinitely, everlastingly safe, and setled like mount Zion, which cannot bee removed, but abideth for ever.

3. In failings of new-obedience.

Page  365Thou puts thy sonne into imploiment, sets him a∣bout thy businesses; He improves the utmost of his skil, strength and indeavour, to doe thee the best service hee can, and please thee, if it were possible, to perfection: But yet comes short of what thou desires, and failes in many particulars; and therefore he weepes and takes-on; and is much troubled that hee can give no better contentment. Now tell mee, thou, whose heart is war∣med with the tendernesse of a Fathers affection, whe∣ther thou wouldest not bee most ready, and willing to pardon and passe-by all defects and failings in this kinde? Nay I know thou wouldest rejoyce, and blesse God, that hee had given thee a Child so obedient, wil∣ling and affectionate. Proportionably, thy heavenly Father sets thee on worke, To beleeve, repent, pray, read the Scriptures, heare the Word, conferre, medi∣tate, love the Brethren, sanctifie his Sabbaths, humble thy selfe in daies of fasting and praier, poure out thy soule, day and night (as the times require) in compassi∣on, fellow-feeling, and strong cries for the Afflictions of Ioseph; the destruction of the Churches and those Bre∣theren of thine, which have so long laine in blood and teares; to bee industrious and serious in all workes of justice, mercy, & truth, &c. And thou goest about these blessed businesses, with an upright heart, and in obedi∣ence unto God; but the several performances comes far short of what his Word requires, and thy heart desires; and thereupon thou mournes and grieves, and afflicts thy soule in secret, because thou canst not come-off with more power and life; nor bring that glory unto God in thy Christian walking, which so many mercies, meanes, and such a ministery may exact at thy hands. In this case now of these involuntary failings, and humble dis∣position of thy heart, therefore bee most assured, thy All-sufficient Father will spare thee,*as a man spareth his owne sonne, that serveth him. Nay, and with so much more kindnesse and love;*as the heavens are higher then Page  366 the earth, and God greater then man.

4. In case of a spirituall Desertion.

A Father solacing himselfe with his little Child, and delighting in it's pretty, and pleasing behaviour, is woont sometimes to step aside into a corner, or behind a dore, upon purpose to quicken yet more, it's love, and longing after him, and try the impatiency and eager∣nesse of it's affection. In the meane time, hee heares it cry, run about, and call upon him; and yet hee stirres not, but forbeares to appeare; not for want of compas∣sion and kindnesse, which the more it takes-on, the more abounds; but, that it may dearelier prize the Fa∣thers presence; that they may meete more merrily, and rejoyce in the enjoyment of each other more heartily. Conceive then, and consider to thine owne exceeding comfort, that thy heavenly Father deales just so with thee in a spiritual desertion. He sometimes hides his face from thee, and withdrawes his quickning, and refre∣shing presence for a time, not for e want of loue, for hee loves thee freely; He loves thee with an everlasting love; hee loves thee with the very same love, with which He loves Iesus Christ; And that deare Son of his, loves thee with the same love, his Father loves him: But to put more heate and life into thine affections towards him, and heavenly things; To cause thee to relish communi∣on with Iesus Christ, when thou enjoyest it, more sweetely; to preserve it more carefully; to joy in it Page  367 more thankefully; and to shunne more watchfully, whatsoever might rob thee of it: To stirre up all the powers of thy soule, and all the graces of God in thee; to seeke his face and favour againe with more extraor∣dinary, and universall seriousnesse, and industry: For we finde with pleasure, possesse with singular contentment, and keepe with speciall care, what we have sought with paine. Wee may see this in the Spouse: Cantic. 3.1, &c. under the pressure of a grievous Desertion: Ponder e∣very particular. By night on my bed I sought him, whom my soule loveth; I sought him, but I found him not. I will rise now, and goe about the Citty in the streetes, and in the broad wayes; I will seeke him whom my soule lo∣veth: I sought him, but I found him not. The Watch∣men that goe about the city, found mee: to whom I said; Saw yee him whom my soule loveth? It was but a little, that I passed from them, but I found him whom my soule loveth: I held him, and would not let him goe, untill I had brought him to my mothers house; and into the cham∣ber of her that conceived mee. I charge yee, O yee daugh∣ters of Ierusalem, by the Roes, and by the Hindes of the field, that yee stirre not up, nor awake my Love, till hee please. And lastly, that, when the comfortable beames of Gods lightsome countenance shall break out againe upon thy soule, and thy Beloved is returned; thou maist sing, that triumphant song of Faith most joyfully; I am my Beloveds, & my Beloved is mine. Desertions then, & delaies of this nature, are fruites of thy heavenly Fathers love; and ought to bee no discouragements unto thee at all, holding thy integrity. His love thereby is inten∣ded towards thee, by the restraint of the influence, as it were, and sense of it from thy soule, as a Brooke growes big, by damming it up for a while: And thy love is more enflamed towards him, when thou now feeles by the want of it, what an heaven upon earth it is, to have his face shine upon thee, with it's quickning refre∣shing presence; and that a sensible embracement of Iesus Page  368 Christ in the armes of thy Faith, is the very life of the soule, as the Soule is the life of the Body; the Crowne of all sweet contentment in this vale of teares, and a piece, as it were, of everlasting pleasures.

5. In times of triall.

Thou seest sometimes a Father setting downe his little One upon it's feet, to trie it's strength, and whether it bee yet able to stand by it selfe or no; But withall▪ hee holds his armes on both sides, to uphold, it if he see it incline either way, and to preserve it from hurt. Assure thy selfe, thy heavenly Father takes care of thee with infinitely more tendernesse, in all thy trials, either by outward Afflictions, or inward temptations. The thou shouldest fall, yet shalt thou not bee utterly cast downe, for the Lord upholdeth thee with his hand: Psal. 37.24▪ Never did Gold-smith attend so curiously, and pun∣ctually upon those pretious mettalls hee casts into the fire, to observe the very first season, and bee sure, that they tarry no longer in the furnace, then the drosse b•• wasted; they thorowly purified, and fitted for some ex∣cellent use; as our gratious God lovingly waits, to take thee out of trouble and temptation; when the rust 〈◊〉 removed from thy spirituall armour; thy graces shi•• out, and thou heartily humbled, and happily fitted, to doe him more glorious service for the time to come; I meane, when hee hath attained the end, which hee mer∣cifully intended in love, and for thy good.

6. In conceits of our unworthinesse.

David commanded Ioab, and the other Captaines, to entreat the young man Absolom gently for his sake. 2. Sam. 18.5. A rebellious traiterous Sonne, up in armes against his owne Father, gracelesly, and unnaturally thirsting out of a furious ambitious humour, to wing the Regall Scepter out of his hand, and to set the Impe∣riall Crowne upon his owne head: How dearely and tenderly then, will the Father of mercies deale with a poore humbled soule, that sighes, and seekes for his fa∣vour, Page  369 infinitely more, then any earthly treasure, or the glory of a thousand worlds?

7. I will suppose, thou hast broke some speciall vow, (which were a grievous thing) made before the Sacra∣ment, upon some day of humiliation, or such other oc∣casion; and so forfeited thy selfe, as it were, and thy soule, into the hands of Gods justice, to bee disposed of to the dungeon of utter darkenesse, if thou wet served, as thy sinne hath deserved. And thereupon, thou art much afflicted, and sore troubled in minde, to have suf∣fered thy selfe to be so sottishly ensnared againe in such a dis-avowed sin, against so strong a purpose. But here consider, whether thou, being a Father, would'st take the forfeiture of a bond, and advantage of breaking day, especially full sore against his will, from thy dea∣rest Childe, intreating thee to intreat him kindely; Much, nay infinitely lesse, will thy heavenly Father deale hardly with thee in such a Case, if thou complaine at the Throne of Grace with a grieved spirit; renew thy covenant, and tell him truly, that thou wilt, by the help of the holy Ghost, guard thy heart with a narrower watch, and stronger resolution for the time to come. If wee confesse our sinnes, hee is faithfull and iust to forgive us our sinnes: 1. Iohn 1.9. And in such a Case, wee have ever a blessed Advocate with the Father, Iesus Christ the righteous: Cap. 2.1.

8. A Father sometimes holds his Child over a Pond▪ River, or Well, to fright him from it, lest at some time or other he fall into it. But the Child, especially, if of ri∣per conceit, and wiser thoughts, laughes, perhaps, in the Fathers face, dreads no danger, dreames not of drow∣ning. And what's the reason, thinke yee? Only because hee knowes, hee that holds him, is his Father: So thy heavenly Father holdes thee, as it were, over Hell in some strong temptation, upon purpose to terrifie thee from tampering so much with the Divels baites; so that thou sees nothing about thee for the present, but Page  370 darknesse and discomforts, & the very horrors of eter∣nall death ready to take hold on thee: yet for all this, upon the ground of this loving gracious resemblance thou maist be comforted; and cry confidently with Iob, Tho he slay me,*yet will I trust in him; With David, Tho I walke through the valley of the shadow of death, I will feare no evill.*Who is among you, saith the Prophet, that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkenesse, and hath no light? Let him trust in the Name of the Lord, and stay upon his God.

9. A Son by the seducement of some dissolute and drunken Belials, is drawne into lewd and licentious company; and so plunges presently over head and eares into pestilent courses; Falls unhappily, to swaggering, drinking, gaming, the mirth and madnesse of wine and pleasures; And at length to expresse to the life, an exact conformity, to that compleat character of the profes∣sours of Good-fellowship, as they call it, and Epicuris∣me; both for pursuite of sensuall delights, and persecu∣tion of true professours; Wisd. 2.6, &c. 12, &c. Where∣by he wasts his Patrimony, cuts the heart of his Parents, wounds his conscience, &c. His Father mournes and grieves, consults and casts about with all love and long∣ing for his recovery, and returne: At length out of sense and conscience of his base, and debosht behaviour, vile company, dishonouring God, banishing good mo∣tions, &c. Hee comes to himselfe, intreats his father up∣on his knees with many teares, that hee would bee pleased to pardon what is past, receive him into favour againe; and hee will faithfully endeavour to displease him no more, but redeeme the losse of the former, with the improovement of the time to come. How willing∣ly and welcomely, thinke you, would such a Father re∣ceive such a son, into the bosome of his fatherly affecti∣on, and armes of dearest embracement. And yet so, and infinitely more is our heavenly Father mercifull, and melting towards any of his relapsed children, returning Page  371 unto his gracious Throne, with true remorse and hearty griefe, for so going astray. Which is an incomparable comfort in case of backe-sliding; which yet God for∣bid.

10. A Father indeede, will lay heavier burdens up∣on his son, now growne into yeares and strength, and puts him to sorer labour, and harder taskes; But while hee is very young, hee is woont to forbeare him with much tendernesse and compassion; because he knowes, hee is scarce able to carry himselfe out of the mire: Even so, but with infinite more affectionatenesse and care, watchfullnesse and love, doth our heavenly Father beare in his armes, and forbeare, a Babe in Christ. See Isai. 40.11. This may bee a very sweet and pretious cordiall to weake consciences ar their first conversion: Who when they cast their eie upon the hainousnesse and number of their sinnes, the fiery and furious darts of the Divell, the frownes and angry foreheads of their carnall friends, the worlds lowring and enmity, the rebelliousnesse and untowardnesse of their own hearts, pressing upon them all at once; and so considering, that refraining from evill, they make themselves a prey, are ready to sinke, and faint; and feare that they shall ne∣ver hold out. For they may hence ground upon it; being upright-hearted, and believing, that God, who knowes their weakenesse full well, will not suffer them to bee tempted above that they are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that they may bee able to beare it. So that over all these adversaries, and ungodly oppositions, they shall most certainely bee more then conquerours.

11. When thou art dejected in spirit▪ and walkes more heavily, because thou comes short of stronger Christians in all performances, services, duties and fruit∣full walking▪ and thereupon suffers slavish doubtes and distrusts, least thy ground worke bee not well laid, to beate back, and barre out, all spirituall joy, and expe∣cted Page  372 contentment in thy Christian course; I say then, and in such a Case, Suppose a Father should call unto him in haste, two of his children; One of three yeares old, the other of thirteene: they both make all the hast they can, but the elder makes much more speede; and yet the little one comes on wadling, as fast as it can; and if it had more strength, it would have macht the other: Now would not the Father accept of the youngers ut∣most endeavour according to it's strength, as well as of the elders faster gate, being stronger? I am sure hee would; and that with more tendernesse too, and ta∣king it in his armes to encourage it. And so certainely will thy heavenly Father deale with thee in the like Case, about thy spirituall state, being true-hearted, and heartily grieving, praying, and indeavouring to do bet∣ter.

12. Suppose a Child to fall sicke in a family; The Father presently sets the whole house on worke for the recovery of it's welfare. Some runne for the Physitio▪ others for friends and neighbours; Some tend it, o∣thers watch with it; All contribute their severall abi∣lities, endeavours, and diligence to doe it good; And thus they continue in motion, affection, and extraordi∣nary imploiment about it; farre more then about all the rest that are well, untill it recover. With the very same but incomparably more tender care, and compassion▪ will thy heavenly Father visite thee in all thy spirituall maladies and sicknesses of Soule. The whole blessed Trinity is stirred, as it were, extraordinarily, and takes to heart thy troubles at such a time; Even as a Shepe∣heard takes more paines, and exercises more pittie and tendernesse about his sheepe, when they are out of tune. See Isa. 40.11. Ezech. 34.16. upon which places▪ heare the Paraphrase of a blessed * Divine, The Lord will not bee unfaithfull to thee, if thy heart bee uprigh with him, tho thou bee weake in thy carriage to him; fo hee keepes his Covenant forever. And therefore in 〈◊〉Page  373 40. the Lord expresseth it thus; you shall know mee; as sheepe know their Shepheard, and I will make a cove∣nant with you, and thus, and thus I will deale with you: And how is that? Why the covenant is not thus only; as long as you keep within the boundes, and keepe within the fold; as long, as you go along the pathes of righteousnesse, and walke in them: but this is the Covenant that I will make; I will drive you according to that you are able to beare: If any be great with young▪ I will drive them softly▪ If they bee lame, that they are not able to goe (saith hee), I will take them up in my armes, and carry them in my bosome. If you compare this with Ezech. 34. You shall finde there, Hee puts downe all the slips wee are subject unto; (speaking of the time of the Gospell, when Christ should bee the Shepheard) hee shewes the Covenant that hee will make with those that are his; Saith hee, if any thing bee lost, if a sheepe loose it selfe, this is my Cove∣nant, I will finde it: If it be driven away by any violence of temptation, I will bring it backe againe: If there bee a breach made into their hearts, by 〈◊〉 occasion through sinne and lust, I will heale them, and binde them up. This the Lord will doe; this is the Covenant that hee makes. But I was telling you, the whole blessed Trini∣ty takes on, (if I may so speake) after a speciall manner, in all the spirituall troubles; especially, of all those, who are true of heart. God the Fathers bowells of mercy yerne compassionately over thee, when hee sees thee spiritually sicke. The distressed and disconsolate state of thy soule, puts him into such melting and affectio∣nate pangs,* as these: Oh thou afflicted, tossed with tem∣pest, and not comforted; behold, I will lay thy stones with faire colours, and lay thy foundations with Saphires, &c. Comfort yee,*comfort yee my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Ierusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accōplished that her iniquity is pardoned; &c. Iesus Christ, out of his owne experience, knoweth full well, what it is to be grievously tempted: what it is to Page  374 have the most hideous thoughts, and horrible injecti∣ons throwne into the minde, that can bee possibly ima∣gined; Nay, that the Divell himselfe can devise: See Mat. 4.6.9. What an hell it is, to want the comforta∣ble influence of the Fathers pleased face and favour. See Mat. 27.46. And therefore hee cannot chuse but bee afflicted in our afflictions; and very sensibly and sweet∣ly tender-hearted in all our spirituall troubles. They pitty us most in our sicknesses, who have felt the same themselves. In that hee himselfe suffered, and was temp∣ted, hee is able to succour them that are tempted. Heb. 2.18. As for the blessed Spirit, it is his proper worke, as it were, To comfort them that mourne in Zion; To give unto them beauty for ashes, the oyle of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heavinesse. And yet besides all this thy heavenly Father, in the distresse of thy soule, sets also on worke the Church of God about thee: Faithfull Ministers to pray for, and prepare sea∣sonable and sound arguments, reasons, counsels, and comforts out of Gods blessed Booke; to support, quick∣en, revive, and recover thee all they can: Private Chri∣stians, to commend thy Case unto the Throne of grace, and mercy; and that extraordinarily with mightinesse of prayer upon their more solemne daies of humiliati∣on.

*13. A Father sometimes threatens, and offers to throw his little-one out of his armes: But upon pur∣pose only to make him cling closer unto him. Our heavenly Father may seeme to cast off his Childe, and leave him for a while in the hands of Satan, for inward temptation; or to the rage of his bloody agents for out∣ward persecution; But it is onely, to draw him nearer to himselfe, by more serious seeking, and sure depen∣dance in the time of trouble; and that with the hand of his faith, hee may lay surer hold upon his All-sufficien∣cy.

Thus, and in the like manner, peruse all the compas∣sionate Page  375 passages of the most tender-hearted parents, to their best beloved children, in all cases of danger and distresse: And so, and infinitely more tenderly will our heavenly Father deale withal, that are upright-hearted, in all their troubles, trials, and temptations. For the dea∣rest love of the most affectionate Father or Mother to their Childe, is f nothing to that, which hee beares to those that feare him. Isa. 49.15. Psal. 103.13. Deut. 8.5.

3. Thirdly, there is a pretious Principle in the my∣sterie of salvation; which, as a comforting Cordiall-water, serves to quicken and revive in the sownings and faintings of the Body, defection of the spirits, and sin∣king of the heart; So it may bee soveraigne, to sup∣port and succour in afflictions and dejections of Soule, and weakenesses of our spirituall state: It is thus deli∣vered by Divines.

gA constant and earnest desire to bee reconciled to God, to believe, and to repent, if it bee in a touched heart, is in acceptation with God, as reconciliation, Faith, repen∣tance it selfe.

hA weake faith shewes it selfe by this grace of God, namely, an unfained desire, not onely of salvation, (for that the wicked and gracelesse man may have); But of reconci∣liation with God in Christ. This is a sure signe of Faith in every touched and humbled heart, and it is peculiar to the elect.

iThose are blessed, who are displeased with their owne doubting and unbeliefe; if they have a true earnest desire to bee purged from this distrust, and to believe in God through Christ.

kOur desire of grace, faith and repentance, are the gra∣ces themselves, which wee desire; at least in Gods accepta∣tion▪ who accepteth of the will for the deede, and of our af∣fections for the actions.

lHungring and thirsting desires are evidences of a re∣penting heart.

mTrue desire argues the presence of things desired, Page  376 and yet argues not the feeling of it.

nIt may not bee dissembled, that there are in the world many definitions, or descriptions of faith, such as doe not comprehend in them that onely thing, which is the chiefe stay of thousands of the deare servants of God; and that is, desires, which may not bee denyed to bee of the nature of Faith. I expresse my meaning thus: That when a Man, or woman is so farre exercisd in the spirituall seeking of the Lord his God; That hee would bee willing to part with the world▪ and all things thereof, if hee had them in his owne possession, so that by the Spirit and Promises of God hee might bee assured, that the sinnes of his former life, and such as presently doe burthen his Soule, were for∣given him; and that hee might believe that God were now become his God in Christ: I would not doubt to pronounce, that this Person (thus prising remission of sinnes at this rate, that hee would sell all to buy this pearle) did un∣doubtedly believe: Not onely because it is a truth (though a Paradoxe) that the Desire to believe is Faith. But also because our Saviour Christ doth not doubt to affirme that they are blessed,* that hunger and thirst after righ∣teousnesse, because they shall bee satisfied. And to him that is a thirst I will give to drinke of the water of life freely.*And David doubted not to say, The Lord heareth the desire of the humble.

oI thinke, whensoever the humbled sinner sees an infi∣nite excellency in Christ, and the savour of God by him, that it is more worth then all the world; and so sets his heart upon it, that hee is resolved to seeke it without cea∣sing, and to part withall for the obtaining it, now I take it, is Faith begun.

What graces thou unfainedly desirest; and constantly vsest the meanes to attaine; Thou hast.

pThere is no rocke more sure then this truth of God; That the heart▪ that complaineth of the want of grace, desi∣reth above all things the supply of that want, useth all holy meanes for the procurement of that supply, cannot be Page  377 destitute of saving grace.

qSuch are wee by imputation, as wee bee in affection. And he is now no sinner, who for the love he beareth to righteousnesse, would bee no sinner. Such as we be in de∣sire, and purpose; such we be in reckoning, and account with God; who giveth that true desire, and holy purpose, to none but to his Children, whom hee justifieth.

rWe must remember, that God accepts affecting for effecting; willing for working; desires for deedes; pur∣poses, for performances; pence, for pounds; and unto such as doe their endeavour, hath promised His grace en∣abling them every day to doe more and more.

sIf there be in thee a sorrow for thine unbeliefe; a will and desire to believe; and a care to increase in Faith by the use of good meanes; there is a measure of true Faith in thee; and by it thou maist assure thy selfe, that thou art the Child of God.

tIt is a great grace of God to feele the want of Gods graces in thy selfe; and to hunger and thirst after them.

uIf you desire healing of your nature; groane in desire to grace; perceive your foulenesse unto a loathing of your selfe; feare not, sinne hath no dominion over you.

xSense of Want of grace, complaint and mourning from that sense, desire setled and earnest with such mourning to have the want supplyed▪ vse of good meanes, with at∣tending upon Him therein for this supply, is surely of grace.

What graces thou unfainedly desirest, and constantly usest the meanes to attaine; Thou hast.

Take it in short from mee thus:

A true desire of grace argues a saving and comforta∣ble estate.

The truth of which appeares clearely, By Scriptures, Reasons, Both ancient and moderne Deuines.

Proofes. Mat. 5.6. Blessed are they, which doe hun∣ger and thirst after righteousnsse, for they shall bee filled. Here to a desire of grace is annexed a Promise of Bles∣sednesse, Page  378 which comprehends all the glory and pleasures of Christs Kingdome here, and all heavenly joyes and everlasting blisse hereafter. Ioh. 7.37. If any man thirst, let him come unto mee, and drinke. Psal. 10.17. The Lord heareth the desire of the humble. Psal. 145.19. Hee will fulfill the desire of them that feare Him. Luk. 1.53. The Lord filleth the hungry with good things. Reu. 22.17. Let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let Him take the water of life freely. Isa. 55.1. H, every one that thirsteth, come yee to the waters, &c. And Cap. 44. vers. 3. I will poure water upon Him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground.

O Lord, I beseech thee, saith Nehemiah, let now thine eare bee attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants, who desire to feare thy Name. Here, those who desire to feare the Lord, are stiled His servants; and proposed as men qualified, and in a fit disposition to have their praiers heard, their petitions granted, their distresses relieved, their affaires blessed with successe. And no doubt, ths Man of God would make speciall choise of such Attributes and affections; which might proove powerfull, and pleasing Argu∣ments, to draw from God compassion, favour, and pro∣tection. And therefore a true-hearted desire to feare the Lord, is a signe of His servant.

Abraham, as you know, Gen. 22. did not indeede, when it came to the Point, sacrifice his Son: An Angell from Heaven stayed his hand. Onely Hee had a will, purpose, and resolution, if the Lord would so have it, e∣ven to shed the blood of his onely Childe. Now this desire to please God, was graciously accepted at his hands, as tho the thing had been done; and thereupon crowned with as many blessings, as there are starres in Heaven, and sands upon the Sea-shore.

By my selfe have I sworne, saith the Lord, because Thou hast done this thing, and hast not spared thine onely Sonne; (and yet Hee spilt not a drop of his blood, save Page  379 onely in purpose and preparednesse to doe Gods will) Therefore will I surely blesse thee, and greatly multiply thy seede, as the starres of the Heaven, and as the sand which is upon the Sea-shore. vers. 16.17.

Rich men, Marke 12. cast into the Treasury large Doles, and royall offerings, no doubt. For it is there said: Many that were rich, cast in much, vers. 41. And yet the poore Widowes two mites, receiving worth and waight from her holy and hearty affection, in Christs esteeme, did out-valew, and over-weigh them all. Verely, saith Christ, I say unto you, that this poore widow hath cast more in, then all they which have cast into the Treasury.

Reasons. 1. One argument may bee taken from the blessed noblenesse of Gods nature, and the incompara∣ble sweetnesse of his divine disposition: Which by in∣finite distance, without all degree of comparison, and measure of proportion, doth surpasse, and transcend the ingenuousnesse of the noblest spirit upon earth. Now, men of ingenuous breeding, and generous dispositions, are wont to receive sweetest contentment, and rest best satisfied, in prevailing over, and winning the hearts, good wills, and affections of those, who attend, or de∣pend upon them. Outward performances, gratificati∣ons, and visible effects, are often beyond our strength and meanes; many times mingled, and quite mard, with Hypocrisies, disguisements, famed accommodati∣ons, and flatteries; with selfe-advantages, by-respects, and private ends: But inward reverence, and love, kind and affectionate stirrings of the heart, are ever, and a∣lone in our power; and ever, by an uncontrole-able free∣dome, exempted from enforcement, dissembling, and formality. No marvaile then, tho the most royall, and Heroicall spirits, prize most, and bee best pleased with possession of Mens hearts; and beeing assured of them, can more easily pardon the want of those outward Acts of sufficiency, and service (most minded by basest men) which they see to be above the reach of their abi∣lity Page  380 and power. Now if it be so, that even ingenuous, and noble natures accept with speciall respect and e∣steeme the affectionatenesse, and hearty well-willing of their followers and Favourits; tho thy want dexte∣rity, and meanes, to expresse i actually in visible effects, and executions answerable to their affection: How much more are spirituall longings, holy affections, thir∣sty desires, graciously accepted of that God; in respect of whose compassions, the bowels of the most mercifull man upon earth are cruelty; In respect of whose im∣measurably amiable, melting sweetest disposition, the ingenuousnesse of the noblest spirit is doggednesse and disdaine. Especially sith Mens good Turnes, and Of∣fices of love, turne many times to our good and bene∣fit, to our advancement, profit, preferment: But our well-doing extendeth not unto God.* That infinite essen∣tiall glory, with which the highest Lord, alone to bee blessed, adored, and honoured by all for ever; was, is, and shall bee everlastingly crowned; can neither bee empaired by the most desperate rebellions; or enlar∣ged by the most glorious good deeds. Can a man (saith Eliphaz to Iob) bee profitable unto God;*As Hee that is wise, may bee profitable unto himselfe? Is it any plea∣sure to the Almighty that thou art righteous? Or is it gaine to Him▪ that thou makest thy waies perfit? And Cap. 35.6, 7 8. If thou sinnest, what doest thou against Him? Or if thy transgressions bee multiplyed, what doest thou unto Him? If thou bee righteous, what givest thou to Him? Or what receiveth he of thine hand? Thy wick∣ednesse may hurt a man as thou art; and thy righeous∣nesse may profit the Sonne of Man. Were all the wick∣ed men upon earth turned into humane beasts, despe∣rate Belials; nay, incarnate Divels; and the whole world full of those out-ragious Giants of Babell; and, those also of the o•• World; And all with combined force and fury, should bend, and band themselves a∣gainst Heaven; yet they could not hurt God. The Page  381 Lord is King, be the people never so impatient; Hee sit∣teth between the Cherubins, be the earth never so unquiet. Or, Were all the Sonnes of men Abrahams, or An∣gels; and as many in number, as the * Starres in Hea∣ven; and as shining both with inward graces, and out∣ward good deeds, as they are in visible glory; yet could they make no addition unto that incomprehensible Majesty above: They could not conferre so much as one drop to that boundlesse and bottomlesse Sea of goodnesse, or the least glimpse unto that Almighty Sunne of glory. All nations before Him are as nothing, and they are counted to Him lesse then nothing, and vani∣ty. Our sinnes hurt Him not: Our holinesse helpes Him not: y It is onely for our good, that God would have us good. No good, no gaine accrewes unto Him by our goodnesse. For what good can come by our imperfect goodnesse, to that, which is already infinite∣ly good? What glory can bee added by our dimnesse to Him, which is already incomprehensibly glorious? Every infinite Thing is naturally, and necessarily unca∣pable of addition: Possibility of which suppos'd, im∣plies contradiction, and destroyes the nature of Infinity. If it bee so then, that good turnes doe good unto Men; and yet out of their ingenuousnesse, they most esteeme good wills, true heartednesse, kind affections: And can well find in their hearts, to passe-by failings, where there is heart and good will, as they say; To pardon ea∣sily want of exactnesse in performance, where there are unfained purposes. How much more will our graci∣ous God, who gaines nothing by all the good workes in the world, out of the depth of His dearest compassi∣ons, kindly interpret, and accept in good part, the holy Page  382 longings, and hungry desires of a panting, and bleeding Soule? How dearely will Hee love, the love of a true-hearted Nathanael? How willingly will Hee take the will for the deede; the groanings of the Heart, before the greatest Sacrifice?

But lest you mistake, take notice here of a two-fold Glory:

z 1. Essentiall, infinite, everlasting. It is impossible that this should either receive disparagement, and dimi∣nution; or addition and encreasement by any created power. And this I meant in the precedent Pas∣sage.

2. The other I may call, Accidentall, finite, tempo∣rary. This ebbs or slowes, shines or is over-shadowed, as Goodnesse or Gracelesnesse prevailes in the world: As the kingdom of Christ, or powers of darknes get the upper hand amonst the Sonnes of Men. In this regard indeede, Rebellious wretches dishonour God upon Earth, I confesse: And Godly men by their holy Du∣ties, good workes, and gracious behaviour, make his Name more illustrious in the world. But what is this, to that essentiall, infinite, everlasting glory, which was as great and full in all that former eternity, before the world was; When God, blessed for ever, enjoyed one∣ly His glorious Selfe, Angels, Men, and this great Vni∣verse lying all hid, as yet, in the darke, abhorred Dun∣geon of Nothing; as now it is, or ere shall bee?

2. A second reason may bee taken from Gods pro∣portionable proceeding in his courses of justice and mercy. In his executions of Iustice, and inflictions of punishment; He interprets, and censures a desires for the Page  383 deeds, affections for Actions, Thoughts for the things done. Whosoever, saith Christ, looketh on a woman to lust after her, hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. In Gods interpretation, in the search and censure of divine justice, Hee that lusts after a Woman in his heart, is an adulterer; and without true and time∣ly repentance in the meane time, shall bee so taken, and proceeded against at that great and last Day. Whosoe∣ver hateth his Brother, saith Iohn, is a man-slayer. An hateful thought of our Brother, murthers Him, and spils his blood,b by the verdict of the blessed Spirit: And a malicious man,c at the Barre of God, goes for a Man-slaier. If this then bee Gods property, and procee∣ding in justice, wee may much more confidently ex∣pect: Nay, with reverent humility challenge, way bee∣ing made by the mediation of Christ, the same propor∣tionable measure in those His most sweet, and lovely inclinations, and expressions of mercy. Shall a lewde desire after a woman fall under the Axe of Gods justice, as if it were the grosse Act of lust? And shall not a longing desire after grace, bee graciously embraced in the armes of mercy, as the grace it selfe? Shall an angry thought invisible, immaterial, hurtfull only to the heart which harbours it, be charged with actuall bloodshed? And shall not a panting thirst of a broken, and bleeding Soule after Christs saving and sanctifying blood, bee bath'd and refresht in his pretious blood? Yes certaine∣ly, and much rather. For Gods tender mercies are over all his workes: Psal. 145.9. And mercy with an holy ex∣ultation triumpheth, and reioyceth against iudgement: Iam. 2.13. His mercy is great unto the Heavens: Psal. 57.10. Hee doth with much sweet contentment, and as it were, naturall propension, encline to the gracious ef∣fusions of mercy. Hee delighteth in mercy, saith Micah, Cap. 7.18. Hee is passingly pleaed and exalted most gloriously, when Hee is pardoning of sinnes, purging of Soules, pulling out of the Divels Paw, pouring in of Page  384 grace, shining into sad and uncomfortable hearts, saving from Hell, &c. This makes Him so passionate in an ho∣ly sense, when Hee hath no Passage for his love. Deus. 5.29. Psal. 81.13. Isa. 48.18. Mat. 23.37. Luk. 19.41.42. But now on the other side, Hee is hardly drawne, not without much reluctancy, delaies, forbearance, and, as it were, some kinde of violence offered, by excesse of multiplyed rebellious provocations, to exercise His ju∣stice, and to punish for sinne. See 2. Chron. 36.16. Hos. 6.4, &c. It appeares, Zeph. 2.2. by the emphasis of the * Original, that in this respect, in a right and sober sense, God is like a woman with Childe. When the cry of our sinnes comes first to Heaven, Hee doth not present∣ly poure upon our heads fire and Brimstone, according to our desert: But, as loth to enter into judgement with us, Hee then but begins to conceive, as it were, wrath, which Hee beares, or rather forbeares full many and many a moneth; still waiting, when upon our repen∣tance, Hee might bee gracious unto us; untill it come to that ripenesse by the fullnesse and intolerable waight of our sinnes, that Hee can possibly beare no longer. And then also, when Hee is about to bee delivered of his justly conceived, and long-forborne vengeance; Marke how Hee goes about it: Ah! saies Hee, &c. Isa. 1.24. ** This aspiration argues a compassionate Pang of griefe, speaking after the manner of men, to proceede against His owne people, tho they had pro∣voked Him as enemies. How shall I give thee up, E∣phrim? How shall I deliver thee, Israel? How shall I make thee as Admah? How shall I set thee as Zebim? Page  385 Mine heart is turned within mee, my repentings are kin∣dled together: Hos. 11.9. When Hee came against So∣dome and Gomorrah, the most prodigiously wicked people, that ever the Earth bore; What a miracle of mercy was it, that He should be brought so low, as to say; I will not destroy it for tennes sake: Gen. 18.32. So it is then, that mercy flowes naturally and easily from God, and he is most forward, and free-hearted in gran∣ting Pardons, and receiving into grace and favour: But justice is ever, as it were, violently with cart-ropes of iniquity, pul'd from Him. He is pressed with our sinnes, fas a cart is pressed that is full of sheaues; before wee wring from Him the vials of just wrath, and wrest out of His hands, the Arrowes of deserved indignati∣on. That you erre not in this Point, conceive, that both Gods mercy and iustice are originally and fundamen∣tally, as God Himselfe, infinite, Both of the same length, height, bredth, and depth; that is equally endlesse, boundlesse, botomlesse, unsearchable. Yet, if wee con∣sider the exercise and execution of them amongst the creatures, and abroad in the world; Mercy, that swee∣test Attribute, and most pretious baulme to all bruised hearts, doth farre surpasse and out-shine the other, tho incomparable excellencies of His divine nature, and all the perfections, which accompany the greatnesse of God: As appeares, Exod. 20.5.6. Gen. 18.32. Ioel. 2.43. Ionah. 4.2. Psal. 36. and 103. 2. Chron. 21.13. His in∣fluences and beames of mercy are fairely and plentiful∣ly shed into the bosome of every Creature, and shine gloriously over all the earth, even from one end of Hea∣ven to the other. The whole world is thicke set, and richly embroidered, as it were, with wonderfull variety of impressions, and Passages of his goodnesse and boun∣ty. In this great Volume of Nature, round about us, wee may runne and reade, the deepe Prints and large Characters of kindnesse and love, which His mercifull and munificent hand hath left in all Places, in every Page  386 leafe, and Page, and line of it. If mercy then bee so gra∣ciously magnified over g all his workes, we may more strongly build upon it; That if the hand of Iustice seize upon an hatefull thought, as a murtherer, and stained with blood; and arraigne a lustfull conceite, as guilty of adultery, and actuall pollution; His armes of mercy will most certainely embrace, and accept of a syncere desire for the deed done; of hearty affections for the Actions; and of a grieved spirit for the grace it groanes for.

*Yea, but may some say: If mercy bee so faire a flow∣er in the garland of Gods incomprehensible greatnesse; if it so farre excell his other Attributes in amiablenesse amongst His creatures; How comes it to passe, That the number of His Elect is so small; and the sway of the multitude sinke downe under the burden of their iniquities, transgressions and sinnes into the Pit of end∣lesse Perdition? How comes it to passe, that out of the great heape, and masse of all man-kinde, there are made but so few vessells of mercy; and that so many vessels of wrath are justly for their sinnes, filled brim-full with the vialls of everlasting vengeance. See Matth. 7.13.14. and 20.16.

*Some matter of Answer to this Point, would yee thinke it! may bee taken even from the h Schoole∣men.

If we consider, first, The unconceiveable eminency, and unvalewable worth of the Crowne of glory;* which doth so far, and disproportionably surpasse & transcend the common state, and condition of our nature. Second∣ly, The pretiousnesse of the effusion of the blood of the deare and only Son of God, for the purchasing of that so Page  387 glorious a Crowne. Thirdly, * The necessary, and inevi∣table defectibility of the Creature. Fourthly, The most free, and wilfull Apostacy of Adam, and in Him, of all his Posterity. Fifthly, The abominable and villanous na∣ture, and staine of sinne, &c. Why should wee not ra∣ther wonder at the unsearcheablenesse of Gods mer∣cy, for advancing one Soule to that endlesse blisse in Heaven; then to repine at the equity of His justice, if He should have h suffered all the polluted and sinnefull sonnes of Adam, to passe from the Masse of corrupti∣on, into which they freely fell, on their owne accord and cursed choise, thorow a rebellious life, into the end∣lesse miseries of their deserved confusion? Would it not have been a greater marvaile, to have seene any one, clearely convinced, and found guilty of that most hor∣rible villany, that ever was bred in Hell, or heard-of in the World; I meane, the Popish Powder-Treason, par∣doned; then all those desperate Assasins to have just∣ly perished in their so abhorred and execrable rebelli∣on? Page  388 And it is utterly un-imaginable either by Man or Angell, what a deale of mercy doth flow out of the Bowels of Gods dearest compassions, thorow the hearts-blood of his onely Sonne, to the washing and salvation, but of one Soule!

3. A third Reason may bee taken from it's part, and interest in the Fountaine of salvation, and Rivers of li∣ving water. Hee that thirsts after grace, is already en∣righted to the Well of life, and fullnesse of heavenly blisse, by a promise and protestation from Gods owne mouth: Revel. 21.6. I will give to Him, that is athirst, of the Fountaine of the Water life, freely. In that Place, after God himselfe had confirmed, and crowned the truth and certainty of the gloriousnesse of the holy City, and the happinesse of the Inhabitants thereof, with a solemne asseveration of his owne immutability and e∣verlastingnesse; It is done: I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, He then notifies, and describes the persons, to whom the promise, and possession of so great and excellent glory, doth appertaine; and those also which shall bee eternally abandoned from the pre∣sence of God, and burned in the Lake of fire and brim∣stone for ever.

Inhabitants of Heaven Elect, are,

1. Humble Soules thirsting after grace, Gods fa∣vour, and that blessed Fountaine opened to all broken hearts for sinne, and for uncleannesse.

I will give to him that is athirst, of the Well of the wa∣ter of life freely. vers. 6.

2. Christs champions here upon earth against the powers of darkenesse, and conquerers of their owne corruptions,

Hee that overcommeth, shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and hee shall bee my sonne: vers. 7.

But the fearefull, &c. are mark't out for Hell: verse 8. For all that cursed crue, and slaves of sinne, are over∣come of Satan and their owne lusts, and so carried a∣way Page  389 captives into everlasting misery and woe.

Cast not away thy confidence then, Poore heart! No, not in the lowest langvishings of thy afflicted soule; If thou bee able to say syncerely with David, Psal. 143. My Soule thirsteth after Thee, as a thirsty Land. If thou feele in thy affections an hearty hunger after rightous∣nesse, both infused, and imputed; as well after power against, as pardon of sinne; Bee assured, the Well of life stands already wide open unto thee, and in due time Thou shalt drinke thy fill. Thy soule shall bee fully satisfyed with the excellencies of Iesus Christ, Evan∣gelicall joyes, as with marrow, and fatnesse; and Thou shalt bee abundantly refreshed out of the river of his pleasures.

4. That which Paul tells us in the Point of commu∣nicating to the necessities of the Saints; to wit, If there bee first a willing minde, it is accepted according to that a Man hath, and not according to that Hee hath not: 2. Cor. 8.12. holds true also, in all other services, and divine du∣ties: So that wee are accepted with the Lord, accor∣ding as wee are inwardly affected, altho our actions be not answerable to our desires. Hee that hath a ready, and resolved minde, to doe what Hee may; would un∣doubtedly doe a great deale more, if ability were mini∣stred. God,* saith Paul, worketh both to will, and to doe. If both bee His owne workes; the desire, as well as the deede; Hee must needs love, and like both the one, and the other, both in respect of acceptation and reward. David did but conceive a purpose to build God an house; and Hee rewarded it with the building, and establishing of his owne House: 2. Sam. 7.16. Hee did but conceive aipurpose to confesse His sinne; and Gods eare was in his Page  390 heart, before Davids confession could bee in His tongue; Ps. 32.5. To the poore Begges, that wanted food for them¦selves, Christ shall say at the last day; Yee have fed me, whē I was hungry, only in regard of their strong affections, if they had had meanes. The Prodigall Child, when He was but conceiving a purpose of returning, was prevented by His Father, first comming to Him, Nay, running to∣wards Him, Luk. 15.20. God will answer us, before wee call: Isa. 65 24. That is, in our purpose of praier, &c.

Besides Scripture and reasons, I add ancient and mo∣derne authority; not for any further confirmation, but onely to shew consent.

To desire the helpe of grace, is the beginning of grace; saith kAustin.

Onely thou must will, and God will come of his owne accord; saith lBasil.

Hee that thirsts, let him thirst more: and hee that de∣sires, let him yet desire more abundantly: Because so much as Hee can desire, so much He shall receive.mBer∣nard.

Christ, saith nLuther, is then truly omnipotent, and then truly raignes in us, when wee are so weake, that wee can scarce give any groane.

oAgaine; The more wee finde our unworthinesse; and the lesse wee finde the promises to belong unto us; the more wee must desire them: beeing assured, that this desire doth greatly please God; who desireth, and willeth, that His grace should bee earnestly desired.

When I have a good desire, saith pKemnicius, tho it doth scarcely shew it selfe in some little and slender sigh, I must bee assured, that the Spirit of God is present, and worketh His good worke.

Faith▪ saith *〈◊〉 sin, in the most holy men in this life, is imperfect and weake: yet neverthelesse, whosoever feeles Page  391 in his heart an earnest desire, and a striving against his naturall doubtings, both can, and must assure Himselfe, that Hee is indued with true Faith.

If thou shalt feele thy selfe, saith *Rolloc, to beleeve in Christ, and that for Christ; or at last, if thou canst not forthwith attaine that; — If thou feele thy selfe wil∣ling to beleeve in Christ, for Christ; and willing to doe al things for Gods sake, and syncerely; Thou hast certainely a very excellent argument, both of perseverance in Faith, and of that faith, which shall last for ever.

Our faith may bee so small and weake, saith qTassin, as it doth not yet bring forth fruits, that may bee lively felt in us; but if they which feele themselves in such estate, desire to have these feelings [namely, of Gods favour and love]; if they aske them at Gods hands by prayer; this desire and prayer are testimonies, that the spirit of God is in them, and that they have Faith already: For is such a desire a fruit of the flesh, or of the spirit? It is of the holy Spirit, who bringeth it forth onely in such, as He dwells in, &c.

Is it possible, saith rHooker, speaking of Valentinian the Emperour, out of Ambrose, that He which had pur∣posely the Spirit given Him to desire grace, should not re∣ceive the grace, which that spirit did desire?

sWhere wee cannot doe what is inioyned us, God accep∣teth our Will to doe, in stead of the Deede it selfe.

I am troubled with feare, that my sinnes are not par∣doned, saith Careles. They are, answered t Bradford: For God hath given thee a penitent, and beleeving Heart: that is, an heart, which desireth to repent, and beleeve. For such an One is taken of Him, (Hee accepting the Will for the Deede) for a penitent and beleeving heart.

Before I come to the vse of this comfortable Point, lest any coozen themselves by any mis-conceites about it; As the notorious Sinner, the meere Civill Man, and the formall Professour, may all doe very easily; take notice of some Markes of this saving Desire. It is:

Page  3921. Supernaturall. For it followes an effectuall con∣viction of sinne, and co-operation of the spirit of bon∣dage, with the preaching and power of the Law, for a thorow casting a Man downe in the sight of the Lord, shewing and convincing Him to bee a Sinke of sinne, abomination and curse; to bee quite undone, lost and damned in Himselfe. (Which preparative worke, pre∣cedent to the desire, I speake of, is it selfe above nature). Whereupon the Soule thus illightened, convinced, and terrified, being happily lead unto, and looking upon the glorious mystery of the Gospell, the excellency and of∣fer of Iesus Christ, the sweetnesse and freenesse of the Promises, the heavenly splendour, and riches of the Pearle of great price, &c. doth conceive by the helpe of the holy Ghost, this desire, and vehement longing. Which you may then know to bee saving, when it is joyned with an hearty willingnesse, and unfained reso∣lution to sell all; to part with all sinne; to bid adiew for ever to our darling-delight, &c. It is not then an effect onely of selfe-love; not an ordinary wish of na∣turall appetite, like Baalams, Numb. 23.10. Of those who desire to bee happy, but are unwilling to bee ho∣ly; who would gladly bee saved, but are loth to bee sanctified.

2. It ever springs from an humble, meeke, and bruised spirit; very sensible, both of the horrour of sin, and happinesse of pardon; both of it's owne empti∣nesse, and of the fulnesse in Christ: Never to bee found in the affections of a Self-ignorant, Selfe-confident, un∣humbled Pharisie.

3. It must be constant, importunately greedy after supply and satisfaction. Not out of a Pang, or passion onely; or begot by the tempest of some present a ex∣tremity, Page  393 like a flash of lightning, and then quite vanish∣ing away, when the storme of terrour and temptation is over. For if a syncere thirst after Christ, be once on foote, and takes roote in an heart truly humbled, it ne∣ver b determines, or expires, in this life, or the life to come.

4. It is ever enlinckt, and enlived with a continu∣ed, and conscionable use, and exercise of the meanes; and drawes from them by little and little spirituall strength, and vigour; much vitall efficacy and increase: Not idle, ignorant, un-exercised. It were very vaine and absurd, to heare a Man talke of His desire to live; and yet would neither eate nor drinke, nor sleepe, nor exer∣cise, nor take Physicke, nor use those meanes which are ordinary and necessary for the maintenance of life. It is as fruitlesse and foolish for any one to pretend a de∣sire of grace; after Christ; and to bee saved; and yet will not prize, and ply the faithfull Ministry, the Word preached and read, prayer, meditation, conference, vowes, dayes of humiliation, the use of good company, and good bookes, and all divine Ordinances, and bles∣sed meanes appointed, and sanctified by God, for the procuring and preserving a good spirituall state.

5. It is not a lazy, cold, heartlesse, indifferent desire; but earnest, eager, vehement▪ extremely thirsting, as the parched earth for refreshing shewers; or the hunted Hart for the Water-brookes. Never was Ahab more sicke for a Vine-yard; Rachel more ready to die for children; Sisera, or Samson for thirst; then a truly humbled Soule after Iesus Christ, after bathing in His blood, and hiding it selfe in His blessed righteousnesse. This desire deads the heart to all other desires after earthly things, gold, good-fellow-ship, pleasures, fa∣shions, even the delights of the bosome-sinne, &c. All other things are but drosse and dung vanity and vile, in respect of that object it hath now c found out, and af∣fects. As Aarons Rod, managed miraculously by the Page  394 hand of divine power, swallowed up all the other Rods of Pharaohs Sorcerers: So this spirituall desire, planted in the heart by the holy Ghost, eates up, and devoures, as it were, all other desires, and over-eager affections after worldly contentments, as worthlesse, vaine, transitory; as empty Clouds, Welles without water, Comforters of no valew. Wee that deale with afflicted consciences, heare many times some expressi∣ons of this impatient violent desire in troubled minds. I have borne nine children, said One, with as great paine, I thinke, as other women: I would with all my heart, beare them all over againe, and passe againe thorow the same intolerable pangs every day, as long as I live, to bee assured of my part in Iesus Christ. Complaining another time, that shee had no hold of Christ, it was said unto Her: But doth not your heart desire, and long after Him? Oh! sayes she, I have an Husband and Children, and many other comforts; I would give them all, and all the good I shall ever see in this World, or in the World to come, to have my poore thirsty Soule refresht with that pretious blood of His, &c.

6. It is growing, from appetite to d endeavour; from endeavour to action; from action to habite; from ha∣bite to some comfortable perfection and tallnesse in Christ. If it bee quite quencht and extingvished, when the spirituall angvish and agony is over, or stand at a stay, never transcending the nature of a naked wish, it is to bee reputed rootelesse, heartlesse, gracelesse. There are Christians that lie as yet, as it were, strugling in the wombe of the Church; who for a time at the least, live spiritually, onely by grievings and groanes, by hearty desires, eager longings, & affectionate stirrings of spirit, Page  395 &c. There are also Babes in Christ; young men in Christ, strong men in Christ,e old Christians. A perpe∣tuall infancy argues a nullity of sound and saving Chri∣stianity. The Childe that never passeth the stature and state of an Infant, will proove a Monster: Hee that growes not by the syncere milke of the Word is a true Changeling, not truly changed. Hee that rests with contentment, upon a desire onely of good things, never desired them savingly. But here, lest any tender con∣science bee unnecessarily troubled, I must confesse; It is not so growing, as I have said, or not so sensibly at cer∣taine times; as while the pangs of the New-birth are upon us, in times of desertion, temptation, &c. Tho even then, it growes in an holy impatiency, restlesnesse, longing, &c. Which is well-pleasing unto the Father of mercies in the meane time; and which Hee accepts graciously, untill Hee give more strength.

The Point thus cleared, is very sweet and sove∣raigne; but so, that no carnall Man must come neere it, no stranger meddle with it; much lesse, Swine tram∣ple upon it. It is a Iewell for the true-hearted Natha∣naels wearing alone. Nay, the Christian himselfe, in the time of his Soules health, height of feeling, and flourishing of His Faith, must hold off His hand: One∣ly, let Him keepe it fresh and orient in the Cabinet of His memory, as a very rich Pearle against the Day of spirituall distresse. As pretious and cordiall waters are to bee given onely in swounings, faintings and de∣fection of the spirits: so this delicious Manna is to bee ministred specially, and to bee made use of, in the straits and extremities of the Soule. At such times, and in such Cases as these: In,

  • 1. The strugglings of the New-birth.
  • 2. Spirituall Desertions.
  • 3. Strong temptations.
  • 4. Extraordinary troubles upon our last Bed.

1. For the first. When thou art once come so farre, Page  396 as I intimated before: To wit, that after a thorow con∣viction of sinne, and sound humiliation under Gods mighty hand, upon a timely and seasonable revelation of the glorious Mystery of Christ, His excellencies, invi∣tations, His truth, tender-heartednesse, &c. (For the desire, I speake of, is an effect and affection wrought ever immediately by the Gospell alone); I say, when in this Case thine heart is filled with vehement long∣ings after the Lord of life: If thou bee able to say with David;*My soule thirsteth after thee, as a thirstie Land: If thou feele in thy selfe an hearty hunger and thirst after the favour of God, that Fountaine opened for sinne, and for uncleannesse, and fellow-ship with Christ; Assuredly then the Well of life is already opened unto thee, by the hand of thy faithfull Redeemer, and in due time thou shalt drink thy fill. He that is Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End; the eternall and unchangeable God hath promised it. And amid the sorrowes of thy trembling heart, and longings of thy thirsty soule, thou mayst even challenge it at His hands, with an humble, sober and zealous confidence. As did that fScottish Penitent, a little before his Execution: Hee freely confessed his fault, to the shame, as Hee said, of Himselfe, and to the shame of the Divell, but to the glory of God. Hee acknowledged it to bee so hainous and horrible, that had hee a thousand lives, and could he die ten thousand deaths, Hee could not make satisfaction. Notwithstanding, said hee, Lord, thou hast left mee this comfort in thy Word, that thou hast said; Come unto mee all ye, that are weary and laden, and I will refresh you. Lord, I am weary; Lord, I am heavily laden with my sinnes, which are innumerable. I am ready to sinke, Lord, even to Hell, without thou in thy mercy put to thine hand, and deliver mee. Lord, thou hast promised by thine owne word, out of thine owne mouth, that thou wilt refresh the weary soule. And with that, Hee thrusts out one of his hands; and reaching, as high as Hee could, with a lou∣der Page  397 voyce, and a strained, cryed; I challenge thee, Lord, by that Word, and by that Promise which thou hast made, that thou performe, and make it good unto mee, that call for ease and mercy at thine hands, &c. Proportiona∣bly, when heavy-heartednesse for sinne hath so dryed up thy bones; and the angry countenance of God so parched thine heart, that thy poore soule begins to gaspe for grace, as the thirsty Land for drops of raine; thou mayst, tho dust and ashes, with an holy humility thus speake unto thy gracious God: O mercifull Lord God, thou art Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. Thou sayest; It is done, of things that are yet to come; so faithfull and true are thy decrees and promi∣ses. And thou hast promised by thine owne word, out of thine owne mouth;*that unto Him that is athirst, thou wilt give of the Fountaine of the water of life, freely. O Lord, I thirst, I faint, I langvish, I long for one drop of mercy. As the Hart panteth for the water brookes, so panteth my soule after thee, O God, and after the yerning bowels of thy woonted compassions. Had I now in possession the glory, the wealth, and the pleasures of the whole World; Nay, had I ten thousand lives, ioyfully would I lay them all downe, and part with them, to have this poore trembling soule of mine received into the bleeding armes of my blessed Redeemer. O Lord, and thou onely knowest it, my spirit within me is mel∣ted into teares of blood, my heart is shivered into pee∣ces: Out of the very place of Dragons, and shaddow of death, doe I lift up my thoughts, heavy and sad, before Thee: the remembrance of my former vanities, and pol∣lutions, is a very vomite to my soule; and it is full sore∣ly wounded with the grievous representation thereof. The very flames of Hell, Lord! the fury of thy just wrath; the scorchings of mine owne conscience, have so wasted, and parched mine heart, that my thirst is insati∣able. My bowels are hot within mee; my desire after Iesus Christ, pardon and grace, is greedy as the grave, Page  398 the coles thereof are coles of fire, which hath a most vehe∣ment flame. And Lord, in thy blessed Booke thou calls and cries:*Ho, every One that thirsteth! come yee to the waters, &c. In that great day of the Feast, Thou stood'st, and cryed'st with thine owne mouth,*saying; If any man thirst, Let Him come unto mee, and drinke. And these are thine owne words;*Those who hunger and thirst af∣ter righteousnesse, shall be filled. I challenge thee Lord, in this my extremest thirst after thine owne blessed Selfe, and spirituall life in Thee, by that Word, and by that Promise, which thou hast made, that thou per∣forme, and make it good unto mee, that lies groveling in the dust, and trembling at thy feet. Oh! Open now that promised Well of life; For I must drinke, or els I die.

Heare then, and in a word, is thy comfort; In these hungrings and thirstings of the soule, there is, as it were, the spawne of Faith, semen fidei, there is aliquid fidei in them; as excellent Divines, both for learning and holinesse, doe affirme: Howsoever, or in what phrase soever it bee exprest, sure I am, such desires so qualified, as before, shall bee fulfilled, satisfied, accomplished, possessed of the Well of life, and that is abundant, to put the thirsting Partie into a comfor∣table and saving-state, as I said at first. The words of Scripture are punctuall, and down-right, for this which I say: Blessed are they, which doe hunger and thirst after righteousnesse, for they shall bee filled: Mat. 5.6. If any man thirst, let him come unto mee, and drinke. Ioh. 7.37. The Lord heareth the desire of the humble. Psal. 10.17. Hee will fullfill the desire of them that feare Him. Psal. 145.19. The Lord filleth the hungry with good things. Luk. 1.53. Let Him that is athirst, come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely: Rev. 22.17. H, every One that thirsteth, come yee to the waters, &c. Isa. 55.1. I will poure water upon him that is thirsty, & flouds upon the dry ground; Cap. 44.3. These longings and Page  399 desires, this hunger and thirst, before a sensible appre∣hension, and enjoyment of Christ, arise from a sense of the necessity and want of His blessed Person, and preti∣ous bloodshed; which the afflicted Soule now prizeth before tenne thousand Worlds; and for whose sake, is most willing to sell all, and to abandon wholly the De∣vils service for ever: Those, after a full entrance into the holy Path, and joyfull grasping of the Lord Iesus in the armes of our Faith, arise partly from the former taste of unutterable sweetnesse we found in Him; partly from the want of a more full, and further fruition of Him, es∣pecially when He is departed, in respect of present fee∣ling; as in times of desertion, extraordinary temptati∣on, &c. In the Passage that is past, I understand the for∣mer; in those that follow, the latter.

2. Secondly, Concerning desertions I intend a lar∣ger, and more particular discourse; and therefore I passe by them, here.

3. Thirdly, Wee may have recourse for comfort to this pretious Point, in some speciall temptations of doubtfullnesse, and feare about our spirituall state; When spirituall life is runne, as it were, into the roote, in some particulars; and actuall abilities to exercise some graces, and discharge some duties, are returned to nothing for the present, but groanes, desires, and lon∣gings to doe, as God would have us.

For instance:

Thou art much afflicted, because thou feeles the spi∣rit of prayer not to stirre and worke in Thee with that life and vigour, as it was woont; but beginnes to lan∣gvish in the inward man, for lacke of that vitall heate and feeling, in the mutuall entercourse, and commerce betweene God and thine owne Soule; which hereto∣fore hath many times warmed thine heart with many sweet refreshings, springing from a comfortable corre∣spondence between thy holy eiaculations, and his hea∣venly inspirations; betweene thine humble complaints Page  400 at the Throne of Grace, and his gracious answers: Nay, it may bee, thou throwes downe thy selfe before His Seate of mercy, in much bitternesse of spirit; and for the time, can say little, or nothing; the present dull∣nesse, and indisposition of thine heart, stopping all passage to thy woonted prayers, and damming up, as it were, the ordinary course of thy most blessed heart-ravishing conference with thy God in secret. But tell mee true, poore Soule; Tho at such a time, and in such an uncomfortable Damqe, and spiritual deadnesse, thou feeles not thine heart enabled, and enlarged for the present, to poure out it selfe with ac∣customed fervency and freedome; yet doth not that heart of thine, with an unutterable thirst and desire, long to offer up unto his Throne of Grace, thy suites and Sacrifices of prayers, and praises, with that heartinesse and feeling, with al those broken, and bleeding affecti∣ons, which a grieved sense of sinne, that hangs so fast on, and an holy greedinesse after pardon, grace and nearer communion with his heavenly Highnesse, are won to beget in truly-humbled Soules? If so; Assure thy sel•• this very desire is a prayer ofu extraordinary strength, dearenesse and acceptation with thy God. I say; with that, thy mercifull Lord God, who is as farre more compassionately, and lovingly affected to his Childe, then the kindest Father to his dearliest beloved Sonne▪ as the infinite love of a tender-hearted God, doth sur∣passe the faint affection of a fraile, and mortall man. Suppose thy dearest Childe were in great extremity, and should at last grow so low and weake, that it were not able to speake, but onely groane, and sigh, and cast it's eye upon Thee; as One from whom alone, it look't for helpe: Would not thine heart melt over thy Child a great deale more in that misery, then ever before, when it was able to expresse it's minde? I am sure it would. It is just so, in the present Point. For, like as a Father pittieth his children: so the Lord pittieth them Page  401 that feare Him. Nay, and much x more, if wee consider the muchnesse and quantity. For looke how farre God is higher then man in Majesty and greatnesse; which is with an infinite distance, and disproportion; so farre doth Hee passe him in tender-heartednesse and mercy. See Isa. 55.8.9.

Thou mayst sometimes upon the awakening, illumi∣nation, and search of thy conscience, after some drouzy repose, and deeper sleep upon the bed of security; some fouler ensarement, and longer abode in some knowne scandalos sinne; after the Canker of earthly cares, and teeth of worldly-mindednesse have, ere thou bee well-aware, with an insensible pleasing consumption, eaten too farre into the heart of thy Zeale, and other graces: In the apprehension of some present terrour, arising from a more serious, and sensible survay of the now ab∣horred villanies, and abominations of thine unregene∣rate time; or from the grieved remembrance of thy falls, and failings; of thy sins, and unservice-ablenes since thy conversion (which I am perswaded, trouble the Christian most, and goe nearest to his heart), &c. I say, in such Cases, as these, Thou maist feele such a feareful∣nesse and faintnesse to have surprised the hand of thy Faith, that it cannot so presently and easily recover it's former hold; nor claspe about the glorious justice, and meritorious blood of Christ, with that fastnesse and firmenesse of assent, with that comfort and confidence, as it was woont. So that for a time, Thou mayst lie un∣der the torture of an heavy heart, uncheerfullnesse in all thy waies, and some degree of horrour; because thou canst get no better hold-fast. (But more is thy fault: For never did dearest Father so lovingly entertaine in∣to His greedy armes, a penitent Sonne, returning from going astray: then our mercifull God, upon thy renew∣ed humiliation, is willing to shine upon thee againe, with the refreshing beames, and blessings of his woon∣ted favour). Yet tell mee true, deare Heart, Tho for the Page  402 present, that precious and happy prayer of Paul for the Romanes,*The God of hope fill you with all ioy and peace in beleeving, be not fulfilled upon thy Soule; Tho thy for∣mer joyfull feelings bee turned into distrustfull feares: yet doth not that heavy heart of thine desire farre more to bee re-comforted with the presence, and pleased, face of thy Beloved; then crowned with the glory and plea∣sures of many worlds? Wouldest thou not much ra∣ther, feele the hand of thy Faith fastned againe with peace, and full perswasion upon the Person, Passion and promises of the Lord Iesus; then graspe in thy bodily hand, the richest Imperiall Crowne, that ever sate upon any Caesars head? If Satans spitefull craft, taking a cru∣ell advantage of thy present dejection of spirit, doe not hinder thy trembling heart from telling the truth; I know, thou canst not deny this. And then I must tell Thee; These hearty longings, and longing desires in the meane time, untill God give more strength, be right deare to that tender-hearted Father of thine; which doth infinitely more esteeme one groane or sigh from a broken spirit, then a thousand rammes, or tenne thou∣sand rivers of oyle; and are most pretious and piercing to that compassionate heart, that poured out it's warmest and dearest blood to purchase the salvation, and refresh the sadnesse of every truly-humbled Soule. Ground upon it then, and bee of good cheere: If thy troubled spirit fild with the sense of the want of it's former, sweet, and joyfull feelings, finde in it selfe a true and hearty longing after the supply of that want; a constant, and conscionable pursuite of all holy meanes for the procurement of that supply; I can assure Thee in the Word of life, and truth, in Gods season, Thou shalt bee satisfyed.*Hee will fullfill the desires of them that feare Him: Hee also will heare their cry, and will save them. And this blessed promise, for the accomplishment of thy desire, is as surely thine, as the breath in thy Body. Hee must sooner cease to bee God, and deny Himselfe▪ Page  403 which is more then infinitely impossible, and prodigi∣ous blasphemy to imagine; then faile in the least cir∣cumstance, or syllable of all His love, and promises of life to any One, that heartily loves Him. All the sacred Sayings in His holy Booke, and all those promises of salvation, are signed with the hand of Truth it selfe, and sealed with the blood of His beloved Sonne; And so are farre surer, then the Pillars of the Earth, or Poles of Heaven: For Heaven and Earth must passe away, be∣fore any title of His Word fall unto the ground. And therefore, as Hee will most certainly poure upon the hairy Pate of every One, which hates to bee reformed, all the plagues and curses threatned there, even to the least sparke of the flames of Hell; and the last drop of the full vials of His infinite, endlesse, unquenchable wrath: so will Hee abundantly make good to every up∣right Soule, syncerely thirsting after Iesus Christ, in the best time, all the promised good in His blessed Booke, and that aboue all expectation, expression, con∣ceit.

4. Fourthly, Thou mayst bee diversly distressed upon thy Bed of death.

1. Casting thine eye backe upon thy whole life, all thy sinnes from Adam to that houre; and willing, as thou must now take thy farewell, so to take thy fill of repentance; They appeare to the eie of thy conscience farre moe in number, and more ougly, then ever before. And no marvaile; for beeing now sequestred for ever from all worldly comforts, and company; distractions, and diversions, and the cloudes of naturall feare, raised by the dreadfull circumstances of approaching dissolu∣tion; uniting, as it were, and collecting the sight of thy Soule, which imploiments in the world, commerce a∣mongst men, and Sunne-shine of outward prosperity, did before too much disperse, dazle, and divert; they are represented farre more to the life, and in their true colours. Whereupon, comparing the poore weake no∣thingnesse, Page  404 as thou now apprehends, of thy godly sor∣row, hatred, and opposition against them, with thy pre∣sent apprehension of their hainousnesse, hatefulnesse, and horrible number; Thou begins to bee dejected, and knowest not well what to thinke of thy Selfe. I say then, for thy comfort, consult with thy sanctified heart; and thou shalt finde, and feele an infinite hearty desire, that thy repentance for them, detestatiō of them, and heart-rising against them, had been, and now were as thorow, sound, and resolute, as ever was in any peni∣tent Soule, that breathed the life of grace upon earth.

2. Secondly, Revising now, thy whole Christian conversation; spending of Sabbaths, pouring out pray∣ers, reading Scriptures, hearing the Word, love of the Brethren, dayes of humiliation, workes of mercy, recei∣ving the Sacrament, godly conference, living by Faith in all estates, &c. Thou mayst see them in this last, impar∣tiall, cleare, retired examination of thy conscience, to have been pestered with so many failings, imperfecti∣ons, deadnesse of spirit, distractions, distempers; that thou begins to feare and conceive; As well never a whit, as never the better, as they say, &c. In this case also, re∣flect upon the holy habituall disposition of thy heart; and thou shalt feele it thirsting, and longing unfainedly, that all the holy duties, and good deeds, that ever pas∣sed thorow thy heart and hands, had been done in an∣swerable exactnesse to the rules of divine Truth; and if it had so pleased God, with absolute freedome from all infirmities.

3. Thirdly, Thou mayst bee troubled at that time; because, beeing perhaps, as yet, but of little standing in Profession, thou hast done God so little service; and in that short time, hast not stood on Gods side with that courage and life, nor walked in his holy wayes, with that watchfulnesse and Zeale, as thou mightest. And it cuts thy heart the more; because thou spent so much of thy time, in serving thy selfe and Satan; and expectest Page  405 now, to enjoy immortall joyes and a Crowne of end∣lesse blisse. But here is thy comfort. It is the unfained desire, and resolution of thine heart; If the Lord would bee pleased to allow Thee a longer time in this life, and adde many moe yeeres unto it; Thou wouldest dou∣ble thy diligence, and improove all oportunities, to doe thy God every way farre more glorious service, then heretofore all the daies of thine appointed time; Oh! then thou wouldest doe so, and so, &c.

Assure now thy selfe, in these three cases, and trou∣bles upon thy last Bed; this syncere desire of thine up∣right Soule, wilbe graciously accepted of our mercifull God, in the Name of Iesus Christ: As tho, first, Thy re∣pentance had been to the full: Secondly, Thy obedi∣ence to the height: Thirdly, Thy present promises, vowes and resolutions, for future forwardnesse and fruitfulnesse performed to the vtmost. For when all is done, Iesus Christ is All in All: Hee alone is the onely Sanctuary, and Tower of everlasting safty, for every truly humbled Soule to fly unto, both in life and death: Hee is made unto us wisedome,*righteousnesse, sanctifica∣tion, and redemption.

I come now, as I promised, to some speciall Cures, and particular application of comfortable Antidotes, to divers spirituall Maladies; of which, Christians specially complaine; to those terrours and temptations, which are woont most to afflict sin-troubled, and truly-hum∣bled Soules.

1. I will suppose, Thou art effectually and savingly wrought-upon, by the Preaching and power of the Word; illightned, and convinced to acknowledge, and feele thy selfe to bee a most sinnefull and cursed wretch by nature; lost and forlorne, damned and utterly undone in thy selfe, &c. And upon the opening of the glorious Mysterie of the Gospell, and offer therein of the Person, and pretious merits of Iesus Christ, for the present bin∣ding-up of thy broken heart, and endlesse blessednesse, Page  406 Thou art ravisht with extraordinary admiration and affection, after that hidden Treasure and Pearle of great price; holding thy selfe happy, that ever thou wast borne; and made for ever, if thou canst get possession of it; but a gone-man, if thou canst not get it, and an ever∣lasting Cast-away. Most willing therefore art Thou to sell all that thou hast; prizing it infinitely before the riches, glory, and pleasures of the whole earth, &c. In which state, thou hast a strong, direct, and speciall Cal∣ling, to fill thine hungry Soule with Iesus Christ; to lay hold upon his Person, Sufferings, promises, and all the rich purchases of his dearest blood, as thine owne for ever;* To take Him, as thy wisedome, and righteousnesse, and sanctification, and redemption; that so unspeakea∣ble ioy, and full of glory, peace which passeth all under∣standing, Evangelicall pleasures, which neither eye hath seene,* nor eare heard, neither have entred into the heart of Man, might abundantly flow into thine heart, from the Fountaine of all comfort.a But yet so it is; alledg∣ing, that thou art the unworthiest upon earth; the vilest of Men; No heart so hard as thine; thy sinnes farre a∣bove ordinary; of an abominable and most abhorred streine; of a scarlet and crimson die: for thou hast done so and so; sinned many and many a time against that Divine, nay, and even naturall light; which stood in thy Conscience, like an armed Man; persecuted the Saints; liued in Sodom, &c. And that which troubles thee most of all, for all these sinnes, thy sorrow is very poore and scant, in no proportion to thy former hainous provoca∣tions. I say, upon these, and the like mistaken grounds, Thou very unadvisedly professes, but against thine own Soule, That as yet, Thou canst not, thou dares not, Thou wilt not, meddle with any mercy, apply any promise, or bee perswaded, that Iesus Christ belongs unto Thee. What? Such a vile, unworthy, abominable wretch at thou! to expect such glorious things; to come neare so pure a God; to lay violent hands upon the Lord of Page  407 life, and looke for everlasting blisse! Alas! Say what you will, saist thou, as yet I cannot, I dare not, I will not. Whereupon Thou willfully, as it were, lies still up∣on the Racke of much spirituall terrour, and trouble of minde; And which is a miserable addition and mischiefe, for which Thou maist thanke thy selfe; art all the while farre more liable, and lies much more open to Satans most horrible injections, and cruellest temptations to selfe destruction, despaire, plunging againe into former pleasures of Good-fellowship, and the like.

It grieves mee to consider, how fearefully and falsly thou deceives thine own heart, in a point of so great im∣portance, to thy much spiritual hurt, and further horror. Why, therefore art thou most welcome to Iesus Christ; because thou art so sensible of thyb spirituall misery, and beggery; because thou art so vile, so abominable, so un∣worthy and wretched in thine own conceit.*Those that bee whole, need not a Physician; but they that are sicke. Christ came not to call thecrighteous, but sinners. And in this respect, He is said to diustifie the ungodly; and to die for theeuniust; And to seeke those that finde themselves lost.f And therefore, that which thou makes thy greatest discouragement to come unto Christ, should bee, and in truth is, the greatest encouragement, to cast thy selfe with confidence into the bosome of His love.

But before I come to speake more fully to the Point, Let mee premise this Principle:

When a Man is once syncerely humbled under Gods mighty hand, with sight of sinne, and sense of divine wrath; so that now all his former wicked wayes, pol∣lutions, Page  408 and provocations of Gods pure eye, lie so hea∣vy upon His heart; that Hee is truly weary, willing to bee rid of them all, unfainedly thirsting after the blood and holinesse of Christ: And therefore as well content to take upon him His sweet and easy yoke, for to please Him in New-obedience for the time to come; as to partake of the merit of His Passion, for the present par∣don of His sinnes; I say, then Hee must conceive, that Hee hath a sound, seasonable, and comfortable Calling, to lay fast hold upon Iesus Christ; and to bee undoub∣tedly perswaded, that Hee hath his part and portion in Him. And besides, that Gods blessed Word determines it, Hee may the rather assent unto the season, and the more boldly believe; Because Hee hath now found, and feeles by his owne experience, the practise of that double policy of the Divell, so often discovered unto Him heretofore by Gods faithfull Messengers, to wit; That whereas Hee was a long time most industrious to eepe His heart resolutely stubborne, and unstird a∣gainst the might and piercing of the most powerfull Ministry; and when at any time Hee once perceived it to begin to worke upon Him, raised all possible oppo∣tion against His yeelding: So now, when Hee is truly toucht indeed, and resolute to abandon His Hellish sla∣very for ever; Hee labours might and maine, with all restlesse cruelty and malice, to keepe His conscience continually upon the Racke. To this purpose, He ob∣jects and urgeth to the utmost, the hainousnesse of his former sinnes, the fiercenesse of Gods wrath, which Hee cunningly concealed before; the littlenesse of His sor∣row; His unworthinesse to meddle with any promise, and the like. And what's the reason, thinke you, that Hee, who was so dawbing before, is now so downe∣right; Hee, that was so indulgent before, is now so des∣perately bloody, and for nothing but despaire, and damnation? It is easie to tell; For that foule Fiend knowes full well, if a poore Soule in the supposed case, Page  409 and such a truly-humbled state, shall but come now, when Christ calls Him, and set to His seale, that God is true; which not to doe, shall ever bee an unmannerly madnesse, and willfull cruelty to a mans owne consci∣ence, Hee is then quite gone out of His kingdome of darkenesse; and an immortall Soule is pulld out of His Hellish Paw for ever. This is the true reason, why Hee so rageth, when Hee sees a weary Soule make towards Iesus Christ for rest. I have often foretold you of Satans methode, and malice, in managing His temptations in this kinde; that beeing fore-warned, yee may be fore-armed. He plots first, and prevailes with most amongst us, to keepe them from terrour and trouble for sinne. But if they bee once happily wounded that way, then His next plot, is to allay, and take away the smart by outward mirth; or dawbe, and draw over a skinne one∣ly with unsound and superficiall comfort. But if Hee find, that it bleeds still, and will not bee stanched, but onely by the blood of Christ; and that no earthly plea∣sure can any whit asswage the paine; then in a third Place doth Hee cast about, and contend with all cruel∣ty, to keepe the poore Soule in a perpetuall sad slavish trembling▪ that it may not dare to meddle with any comfort, or apply the promises; but cherishing the bruise, against the counsell of the Prophets, bleede in∣wardly still. And this Point Hee plies with more ea∣gernesse and fury, because the very next step, to wit, but even reaching out of this spirituall Gulfe and griefe for sinne, towards the mercifull hand of Christ, holden out to helpe Him up, is the next and immediate Act, by which a man is quite, and for ever puld out of His power, and put into the Paradise of grace.

Or in a word, and shorter thus: Tho thou commest freshly out of an Hell of hainous sinnes; and hitherto, hast neither thought, or spoke, or done any thing but abominably: yet if now with true remorse thou groans under them all, as an heavy burden, and syncerely lon∣gest Page  410 for the Lord Iesus, and newnesse of life; thou art bound presently, ipso facto, as they say, immediatly after that Act, and unfained resolution of thy Soule, to take Christ Himself, and all the promises of life as thine own for ever. All delaies, demurres, exceptions, objections, pretexts, standing out, scruples, distrusts, & contradicti∣ons to the contrary, are dishonourable to Gods mercy and free grace, disparagement to the Promises, deroga∣tory to the Truth & tender-heartednes of Iesus Christ; an unnecessary detainement of the Soule in terrour; and onely a gratification of that roaring Lion, whose trade is to teare soules in peeces, and torture them all Hee can. For as soone as wee are poore in spirit, we are presently blessed; Mat. 5.3. As soone as we are weary of our sins, the Hand of Christ is ready to take off the burden, Mat. 11.28. As soone as wee thirst, in the sense I have said, the Fountaine of the water of life, is set wide open unto us; Rev. 21.6. As soone as we have got contrite and humble spirits, wee become royall Thrones, for the High and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, to dwell in for ever; Isa. 57.15.

And now come and take abundantly mighty Argu∣ments, and invincible motives, which neither Man, nor Divell, nor natural distrust can ever, any waies possibly disable; Not to lie any longer, being in the proposed and supposed state, upon the racke of terror; but to lay hold upon the Rock of eternity. I meane, to rest and establish thy trembling heart upon the Lord Iesus, with everla∣sting peace and safty; and after walke watchfully and fruitfully in the holy way, untill thine ending houre.

1. And first, take notice, that Iesus Christ, God blessed for ever, keeps an open house for all such hungry and thir∣sty soules. Let him that is athirst, come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely; Rev. 22.17. Who∣soever will] In whose heart soever the holy aGhost hath wrought an effectuall, bearnest, hearty will; that super∣naturall syncere desire described before, which prizeth Page  411 the Well of life before the whole world, and is ever ac∣companied with an unfained resolution to sell all, for the Pearle of great price; I say, such an One may come, and wellcome, and that without bidding, and drinke his fill of the Rivers of all spirituall pleasures. If there were no more, but this, this is more then enough to bring Thee to Iesus Christ. If a Proclamation should bee made that such, or such a great Man kept open house for all commers, there need no more to bring-in all the poore, hungry people in the Countrey, without any further waiting or inviting. But heere above all degrees of comparison, the hunger is more importunate and im∣portant; the Feast-maker more faithfull and sure of his word; the fare more delicious and ravishing: And why doest thou refuse? Thou hast a warrant infinitely aboue all exception. The Lord of life keepes open house for all that will come: And thou knowest in thine owne Conscience, and canst not deny, but that Hee hath al∣ready c honored Thee with that singular favour, as to plant in thy Soule a will this way, with a witnesse, as they say; For what wouldest thou not part with, to have assurance of thy part in Iesus Christ? What woul∣dest thou not give, if it might be bought, to heare Him speake peace unto thy Soule, and say sweetly unto it; I am thy salvation? And therefore if thou come not in presently, and take the comfort of this pretious Place and Promise; setting to thy seale that God is true; Con∣sider Page  412 by the premisses, whether thy terrours and temp∣tations bee not justly upon thee, in the meane time.

2. If this will not serve, which God forbid; then in a second Place, Thou art invited solemnly, by the Feast-Maker, as it were, Himselfe with his owne mouth, which is an infinite mercy,dhonour and comfort: Come unto mee all yee that labour, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest: Mat. 11.28. Here is no exception of sinnes, times, or Persons. And if thou shouldest reply, Yea, but alas! I am the unworthiest man in the world, to draw neere unto so holy, a God; to presse into so pure a presence; to expect upon the sudden such glorious, spirituall, and heavenly advancement; most impure, ab∣ominable, and beastly wretch, that I am! readier farre, and fitter to sinke into the bottome of Hell, by the insupportable waight of my manifold hainous sins: I say then, the Text tells thee plainely, that thou migh∣tily mistakes; For therefore onely art thou fit, because thou feeles so sensibly thy unfitnesse, unworthinesse, vilenesse, wretchednesse: The sorer and heavier thy burden is, the rather shouldest thou come: In a word, it appeares, by thine owne words, expressing such a pe∣nitent apprehension of thy spirituall poverty; that thou art the onely man, and such as thou alone, which Christ here specially aimes-at, invites, and accepts.

3. Thirdly, Hee knowing our frame, our sluggish, dull and heavy disposition; our spirituall lazinesse, na∣turall neglect of our owne salvation, and loathnesse to believe; adds in an other Place, to ordinary invitation, a stirring compassionate▪ and quickningecompellation, or rather, f exclamation: Ho, saith Hee, Isa. 55.1. Every one that thirsteth, come yee to the waters, &c. And lest Page  413 any thinke Hee shall come to His cost, or should bring any thing in His hand, Hee calls upon Him that hath no money; and thus doubles His cry: Come yee, buy and eate; yea, come, buy wine and milke without money, and without price. O most blessed and sweetest lines! So full of love and longing, to draw us to the Well of life; that besides that holy pang of compassion, and excitation, Ho; Hee cries thrice, Come, Come, Come! Yea, but mayst thou say, Alas! I am so farre from bringing any thing in my hand, that I bring a world of wickednesse upon my heart; and that above ordinary, both in notoriousnesse, and number; and ther∣fore I am afraid the hainousnesse of my sinnes will hin∣der my acceptation; tho the invitation bee most sweet and pretious: Be it so; yet the Spirit of God in the same Chapter doth purposely meet with, and remoove that very scruple: Let the wicked, saith He, forsake His way, and the unrighteous man His thoughts: (And this is thy Case; Thou art unfainedly set against all sinne both in∣ward and outward), and let him returne unto the Lord, and Hee will have mercy upon Him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon: verse 7. Hee will not one∣ly have mercy upon thee, but Hee will also abundantly pardon. Hee will fmultiply His pardons, according to thy provocations, and that with gsuper-abundance: Rom. 5.20.

4. If all this will not yet doe; Hee descends out of the infinite riches of his grace to a miracle of further mercy. For the mighty Lord of Heaven and earth sends Ambassadours unto us, dust and ashes, wormes and no men, to beseech us to bee reconciled unto Him. Now then we are Ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us; wee pray you in Christs stad, be ye reconciled unto God, 2. Cor. 5 20. What man can pos∣sibly ponder seriously upon this Place; but must bee transported with extraordinary admiration; nay, ado∣ration of the bottomlesse depth, and infinite height of Page  414 Gods incomprehensible, everlasting and free love: We most abhorred, vile wretches, are the Offenders, Trai∣tors, Rebels & enimies; and ought to seek and sue unto Him first, upon the knees of our soules, trembling in the dust: and if it were possible, with teares of blood; and yet He begins unto us, intreating us by His owne Son, and His servants the Ministers, to come in; accept His fa∣vour and grace, enter into the wise and good way; which is ipretious, profitable, honorable, and pleasant; that He may hereafter set upon our heads everlasting Crownes of glory and blisse. An earthly Prince would disdaine, and hold it in foule scorne, to send unto His inferiour for reconcilement; especially, who had behaved Him∣self basely, & unworthily towards Him, and justly pro∣voked His royall indignation. Would not the King of Spaine, thinke you, so great a Monarch, hold it an inex∣piable dishonour and indignity, to send Embassadours now, and sue unto the Hollanders, so farre below Him, for reconcilement and peace; promising and assuring them, of an entire restitution, and exercise of all their k ancient rights, priviledges, liberties and▪ fundamentall Page  415 Lawes; that they should not need to feare, that grea∣testltyranny, and severest kind of persecution under hea∣ven, the Spanish Inquisition; that He would resume His former m Oath, the Popes dispensation, for which be∣gun all the trouble, &c. Rather then He would do it, He hath paid already, a good while since, nabove an hun∣dred millions, and the lives of above foure hundred thou∣sand men; And is still spending abundance of gold and blood. It is thus indeede with wormes of the earth, in whom there is no helpe, and whose breath is in their no∣strills; But it is otherwise with the King of Kings, who sitteth upon the Circle of the Earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as Grashoppers, and the Nations as the drop of a Bucket; who bringeth the Princes to Nothing, and ma∣keth the Iudges of the Earth as vanitie. Hee is content to put up at our hands, this indignity and affront, if I may so speake. He is glad to sue unto us first, and send His Ambassadours day after day, beseeching us to bee reconciled unto Him. O incomprehensible Depth of unspeakeable mercy and Encouragement to come in, and trust in his mercy, in case of spirituall misery, able to trample under foot triumphantly, all Oppositions of the most raging Hell, or distrustfull heart!

5. Nay Hee commands us, And this is his Comman∣dement, that wee should beleeve on the Name of his Sonne Iesus Christ; 1. Ioh. 3.23. This command alone of rhe All-powerfull God, should infinitely out-weigh, and prevaile against all other counter-maunds of Heaven, or Earth; flesh and blood, Satan, nature, reason, sense; the whole Creation; all the World: It should swallow up all scruples, doubts, feares, despaires. Comming to Ie∣sus Christ with broken hearts, according to this Com∣mandement; It will beare us out against all oppositions, Page  416 accusations, weaknesses of faith in the evill times, in the houre of temptation, upon our beds of death, at that last and greatest day. It will be a plea at such times, utterly above all exception, against all allegations, terrours, and temptations to the contrary, to say: I was humbled under the burden of sinne, and sense of my spirituall mi∣sery: God in mercy offered mee His Sonne Iesus Christ freely, in the Mysterie of the Gospell, by the Mi∣nistry of the Word: I thereupon thirsted infinitely for His Person, and pretious blood, that I might there∣by obtaine pardon and power against my sinnes: Hee called upon mee, and commanded mee to drinke my fill of the Water of life freely: I accepted His gracious Offer, and according to His Commandement cast my selfe upon the Lord Christ, against all the contradictions of carnall reason, and Sophistry of Satan; and since that time, Hee hath given mee power to serve Him in synce∣rity of heart. This is my ground and warrant, even the Commandement of my blessed God; Thus to drinke when I was thirsty: Against which, the gates of Hell can never possibly prevaile. In thy Case then, who thirsts extremely, and upon free Offer, yet refusest to drink, consider how unworthily thou dishonours God; and wrongs thine owne Soule, by suffering the Divels cavils, and the groundlesse exceptions of thine owne distrustfull heart, to prevaile with thee against the di∣rect Command of Al-mighty God; o which thou oughtest to obey against all reason, sense, feares, doubts, despaires, and Hellish suggestions. Abraham, the Father of the Faithfull, did readily, and willingly submit to Gods Commandement; even to kill His owne onely Page  417 deare Sonne with His owne hand; naturally, matter of as great griefe, as could possibly pierce the heart of a mortall man: And wilt thou beeing broken-hearted, stand off from believing, and refuse, when Hee com∣mands Thee to take His own only deere Son; especially sith thou takes with Him, the excellency and variety of all blessings both of Heaven & Earth; a Discharge from every moment of the everlasting paines of Hell; Deeds sealed with His own blood, of thy Right to the glorious Inheritance of the Saints in light. In a word, even pall things, the most glorious Deity it self, blessed for ever, to bee enjoyed thorow Him, with unspeakeable and end∣lesse pleasure thorow all eternity? Prodigious q mad∣nesse, cruelty to thine owne Soule, or something at which Heaven and Earth, Man and Angell, and all Creatures may stand amazed; That thou shouldest so wickedly, and willfully, forsake thine owne mercy, and neglect so great salvation.

6. Lastly, lest He should let passe any meanes, or be any waies wanting on His part to drive us to Christ, and settle our Soules upon Him with sure and everla∣sting confidence,o He also o threatneth: And to whom sware Hee, that they should not enter into His rest, but to them that believed not? Heb. 3.18. Wherein Hee ex∣presseth extremest anger; unquenchable and impla∣cable indignation: Hee sweares in his wrath, that no unbeleever shall ever enter into His rest. In the Threats of the Morall Law, there is no such Oath, but a secret reservation of mercy, upon the satisfaction of divine justice some other way. But herein the Lord is peremptory, and a third way shall never bee found, or afforded to the Sonnes of Men. Neglect of such a gra∣cious Offer, of so great salvation, must needes provoke, and incense so great a God extraordinarily; For with prodigious ingratitude & folly, it flings, as it were, Gods free grace in His face againe; and sinnes against His mercy. Suppose, a mighty Prince passing by all the roy∣all Page  418 and noble blood in Christendome, many brave and honorable Ladies, should send to a poore maide, bred in a base Cottage, borne both of beggerly and wicked Parents; offer her marriage, & to make Her a Princesse: and shee then should foolishly refuse, and reject so infi∣nitely undeserved, and unexpected advancement. As shee might thereupon bee justly branded for a notori∣ous Bedlam; so would not so great a Prince, thinke you, bee mightily enraged, at such a dunghill indignity, and peevish affront? The Prince of peace, upon whos thigh is written King of King, and Lord of Lords,spassing by more excellent and noble creatures, sends unto Thee; whose Father is corruption, and the worme thy mother and thy sister; and who in respect of thy spiri∣tuall state, lies polluted in thine owne blood, &c. And offers to betrothtThee unto Himselfe in righteous∣nesse, and in iudgement, and in loving kindenesse, and in mercies: To Crowne Thee with all the riches, both of His kingdome of grace and glory, &