Spiritual refining: or A treatise of grace and assurance Wherein are handled, the doctrine of assurance. The use of signs in self-examination. How true graces may be distinguished from counterfeit. Several true signs of grace, and many false ones. The nature of grace under divers Scripture notions or titles, as regeneration, the new-creature, the heart of flesh, vocation, sanctification, &c. Many chief questions (occasionally) controverted between the orthodox and the Arminians. As also many cases of conscience. Tending to comfort and confirm saints. Undeceive and convert sinners. Being CXX sermons preached and now published by Anthony Burgess sometime fellow of Emanuel Colledge in Cambridge, and now pastor of the church of Sutton-Coldfield in Warwickshire.
Burgess, Anthony, d. 1664.
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A Table of the Texts and Contents of each SERMON in this TREATISE.
SECT. I. THe Doctrine of Assurance and Signes.
- SERMON I, II. 2 Corinth. 13. 5. Examine your selves whether ye be in the faith, prove your own selves, &c. How necessary and advantagious the Assurance of our being in the state of Grace is.
- SERMON III. Whether hypocrites may not attain to some measure of practicall Knowledge in matters of Religion.
- SERMON IV. That Assurance may be had.
- SERMON V. Handleth the adjuncts of Assurance, viz. The Possibility, Excel∣lency, Difficulty, and Necessity of having it.
- SERMON VI. Sheweth the difference between true Assurance and Presumption.
- SERMON VII. Containeth Remedies against carnall Confidence, with Directions to the Godly that mourn under the sense of the want of Gods fa∣vour. And why God doth deny Assurance, where he hath given Grace.
- SERMON VIII. Holdeth forth divers Propositions and distinctions about Marks and Assurance.
- Page [unnumbered]SERMON IX, X. Shewing the lawfulnesse and duty of proceeding by way of Signs: And proving that inherent gracious Qualifications within a man, evidence his Justification. And answering many Doubts about Signs.
- SERMON XI. Sheweth how many waies men may miscarry in the work of Self-Examination by Signes.
SECT. II. Containing many true Signes of Grace.
- SERMON XII. 1 John 2. 3. And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his Com∣mandments. Handling Obedience as a sign of Grace.
- SERMON XIII. 2 Cor. 1. 12. For our rejoycing is this, the testimony of our Conscience, that in godly simplicity and sincerity, &c. Handling Sincerity as a sign of Grace.
- SERMON XIV. 1 John 3. 9, 10. Whosoever is born of God sinneth not, because the seed abi∣deth in him; neither can be sin, because he is born of God: In this the children of God are manifest. That Opposition against, and Abstinence from sin, is a sign of Grace.
- SERMON XV. Psalm 26. 2. Examine me (O Lord) and prove me, try my reins and heart. That for a man to be willing to have his soul searched by God, is a sign of Grace.
- SERMON XVI. John 15. 2. Ana every branch that beareth fruit he purgeth, that it may bring forth more fruit. Growth in Grace, a sign of Grace.
- Page [unnumbered]SERMON XVII. 1 John 4. 13. Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. Spirituall performance of Duties a sign of Grace.
- SERMON XVIII. 1 John 3. 18. We know that we have passed from death to life because we love the Brethren. Love to the Godly is a sign of Grace.
SECT. III. A Discovery of many false or unsufficient Signs of Grace which carnall men support themselves with.
- SERMON XIX. Rom 2. 28, 29. For he is not a Jew that is one outwardly, &c. Church-priviledges no sign of Grace.
- SERMON XX. Matth. 7. 22. Many will say unto me in that day, Lord, Lord, &c. Gifts and Parts in matters of Religion no sign of Grace.
- SERMON XXI. Hebr. 6. 9. But beloved we hope better things of you, and things that ac∣company salvation. That there may be affections and sweet motions of heart in holy things, which yet evidence not Grace, nor accompany salvation.
- SERMON XXII. Rom. 14. 17. For the Kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but Righte∣ousnesse, Peace, and Joy in the Holy Ghost. Sheweth, That from Judgements, Opinions and Disputes, Argu∣ments of the Truth of Grace cannot be drawn.
- SERMON XXIII. 1 John 4. 1. Beloved, beleeve not every spirit, but try the spirits, whether they be of God. Page [unnumbered]Declaring what deceits men lie open to, in Judging those things to be Works of the Spirit, which indeed are not.
- SERMON XXIV. 1 Cor. 13. 3. And although I give my body to be burned, and have not cha∣rity it profiteth me nothing. Manifesting that the greatest sufferings for Christ, are not infallible Evidences of Grace.
- SERMON XXV. Mat. 19. 20. The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up, What lack I yet? Shewing that, and whence, men have such strong perswasions of their exact keeping of Gods Law.
- SERMON XXVI. Acts 26. 5. Which knew me from the beginning (if they would testifie) that after the straitest sect of our Religion, I lived a Pharisee. Declaring that many rest upon a strict way of Religion, which yet cometh not up to, but often is beside the appointment of the Word.
- SERMON XXVII. Mark 7. 7. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for Doctrines the traditions of men. Zeal and diligence in false Worship, no ground of Comfort.
- SERMON XXVIII. Mat. 5. 20. For I say unto you that except your righteousnesse exceed the righteousnesse of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no wise enter into the Kingdom of heaven. Externall obedience to the Law of God, no sure evidence for heaven.
- SERMON XXIX. James 2. 26. For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. That a Divine faith or perswasion of the truths in Religion, is not evidence sure enough of our being in the state of Grace.
- Page [unnumbered]SERMON XXX. John 8. 54. If I should honour my self my honour were nothing, It is my Father that honoureth me, of whom you say, He is your God. That every peaceable frame of heart, and perswasion of Gods love, is not a sure Testimony of saving Grace.
- SERMON XXXI. Deut. 9. 4, 5. Speak not in thy heart, after that the Lord thy God hath cast them out from before thine eyes, saying, For my righteous∣nesse the Lord hath brought me in to possesse this Land, &c. That outward successe, prosperity and greatnesse in the world is no true evidence of Grace.
- SERMON XXXII. 2 Pet. 2. 20. For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world, through the knowledge of Jesus Christ, &c. That a mans leaving those grosse sins he hath lived in, is no sign of Grace.
- SERMON XXXIII. Mat. 19. 20. When the Disciples heard this, they were astonished, saying, Who then can be saved? The Difficulty, and in some sense, impossibility of salvation, not∣withstanding the easinesse which men fancy to themselves thereof.
SECT. IV. Wherein is handled the Nature of Sanctifying Grace, under the Title of Regeneration, with the Counterfeit thereof.
- SERMON XXXIV. John 3. 3. Jesus answered and said, Verily, verily, Unless a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of heaven. Shewing what the New-birth or Regeneration is.
- SERMON XXXV. John 3. 10. Art thou a Master in Israel, and knowest not these things? Shewing how ignorant, men of great Learning and outwardPage [unnumbered] Righteousness in the world, may be of Regeneration.
- SERMON XXXVI. John 3. 6. That which is born of the flesh is flesh. The ground of the necessity of Regeneration is the corruption of mens nature.
- SERMON XXXVII. John 3. 8. The winde bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, nor whi∣ther it goeth, &c. Of the Unexpressablenesse of this New life.
- SERMON XXXVIII. John 3. 3. Unless a man be born again he cannot see the Kingdome of heaven. Laying open the Counterfeits of the New-birth.
- SERMON XXXIX. Declaring what both by Duty and Priviledge a son of God is, which he becometh by the New-birth.
SECT. V. Treating of the nature of Grace under the name New-creature, with the Counterfeit of it.
- SERMON XL. Gal. 6. 15. For in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision or uncircumcision availeth any thing, but a new-creature. Shewing the Necessity of the New-creature.
- SERMON XLI. Sheweth, That the Production of the New-creature is from God alone, and what Attributes are conspicuous in the work.
- SERMON XLII. Shewing what the New-creature doth not imply, and to what it is opposed.
- Page [unnumbered] SERMON XLIII. Concerning the supernaturality and excellent Qualities of the New-creature.
- SERMON XLIV. Answering those carnall Objections men are apt to make against such a change in themselves.
- SERMON XLV. Shewing the Counterfeit of the New-creature.
SECT. VI. Handling Grace as Gods Workmanship, and Good works as the end thereof.
- SERMON XLVI. Ephes. 2. 10. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God had before ordained, that we should walk in them. The New-creature is Gods workmanship: Also its necessity and Dignity.
- SERMON XLVII. That God gives Grace to the most indisposed.
- SERMON XLVIII. Of Good works, What to be created unto Good works implies, and what works are good.
- SERMON XLIX. Setting forth divers Distinctions and Axioms to clear the Doctrine of Good works.
SECT. VII. Of the Sanctifying work of the Spirit under the nation of Grace, with the Counterfeit of it.
- SERMON L. Hebr. 13. 9. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace. Page [unnumbered] not with meats, that have not profited them that have been occupied therein. Of the hearts being established with Grace, and in what sense it is so.
- SERMON LI. Shewing why Grace in the heart is better then unnecessary Disputes in the head, together with rules how to manage Disputes and Controversies without prejudice to Grace.
- SERMON LII. That there is a work of God upon a mans heart, which is called Grace: And why inward holinesse is called Grace.
- SERMON LIII. Characters and Properties of a Gracious man.
- SERMON LIV. Rom. 2. 15. And shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, &c. Of the Counterfeit of inherent Grace, viz. Naturall honesty: And why God hath continued in wicked men the use of Conscience.
- SERMON LV. Shewing the causes of the senselesness, silence and stupidity of the Consciences of most men.
- SERMON LVI. Shewing how prevalent Naturall conscience hath been in Heathens in reference to good Laws, Books, Affections, Lives; and how it should stir up Christians to jealousie.
- SERMON LVII. Demonstrating, that Naturall piety, Honesty and Sobriety, which is in Heathens or any others, is not Grace.
- SERMON LVIII. Of Ethicks or Morall Philosophy, that it leads not to salvation: And that the morall vertues of Temperance, Fortitude, Justice, Liberality, &c. are not Grace.
SECT. VIII. Treateth of the Nature of converting Grace, under the Notion of Washing or Sanctifying.
- SERMON LIX. 1 Cor. 6. 11. And such were some of you, but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and by the Spirit of our God. To undeceive men, that think, though they live wickedly, yet they shall die happily: And how it comes to passe that men are so prone to deceive themselves.
- SERMON LX. That Gods grace of conversion is sometimes vouchsafed to the worst of men.
- SERMON LXI. Of the Washing and Cleansing of a sinner.
- SERMON LXII. Of the Grace of God sanctifying a sinner.
- SERMON LXIII. Signs and Characters of sanctified ones.
- SERMON LXIV. The Counterfeit of Sanctification, That devotion in superstitious customes, or Gods own Ordinances, or in being externally in Co∣venant with God, do not really sanctifie a man.
- SERMON LXV. Comfortable Directions to poor doubting Christians.
SECT. IX. Of the work of Grace under the Notion of Conversion or Turning unto God.
- SERMON LXVI. Ezek. 33. 11. Say unto them, As I live faith the Lord God, I have no plea∣sure Page [unnumbered] in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live: Wherefore turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; For why will ye dye, O house of Israel. Shewing, that the damnation of wicked men, is unpleasing to God, and that which he delights not in.
- SERMON LXVII. Divers Propositions or Considerations introductory to the Doctrine of Conversion.
- SERMON LXVIII. The impediments and obstruction of Conversion; and what kinde of persons are most unlikly ever to be converted; not to drive them to despair, but to awaken them out of their security.
- SERMON LXIX. The motives and grounds of our turning unto God.
- SERMON LXX. Answering some prejudices and cavils of ungodly men against con∣version or turning unto God.
- SERMON LXXI. That ungodly Friends and Relations are great hindrances of ones Conversion: With some helps or directions to those that are thereby kept in their sins.
- SERMON LXXII. Some Helps and Encouragements to those that are discouraged, be∣cause of the fruitlesness of their Resolutions to repent, or the hainousness of their sins.
- SERMON LXXIII. Jer. 18. 11. Thus saith the Lord, Behold I frame evil against you, and devise a device against you: Return ye now every one from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good. Of Gods framing and devising evil of Calamities, that men might turn from their evil doings: Also, what Gods framing and de∣vising evil implies; and why judgements and afflictions, which are the good effects of Gods Justice, Wisdom and Power, are called evil.
- SERMON LXXIV. Of Afflictions, the difference between penal destructive calami∣ties, Page [unnumbered] and those that are Medicinal: And how Afflictions are operative to the Conversion of men.
- SERMON LXXV. Of the time of turning unto God (viz.) Presently.
- SERMON LXXVI. That Conversion puts a man upon leaving his beloved sin: The Reason of the difference of Darling sins in men; and the signs by which a man may know his beloved sin.
- SERMON LXXVII. Sheweth that all persons have need to turn unto God: And sets forth the true acceptable motives to repentance.
- SERMON LXXVIII. Jer 18. 12. And they said, There is no hope, but we will walk after our own devices, and we will every one do the imaginations of his evil heart. Of the wilful obstinacy that is in some men, with the causes there∣of: And that ignorance of ones duty is no excuse.
- SERMON LXXIX. Joel 2. 12, 13. Therefore also now, saith the Lord, Turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping and mourning, and rent your hearts, and not your gar∣ments, &c. Of turning not onely from sin, but to God; and how many ways men may do the former, and not the latter: Also, what it is to turn to God.
- SERMON LXXX. That our turning to God must be with the whole heart: Wherein hearty Conversion consists, with the effects of it.
- SERMON LXXXI. Of Tears and Sorrow for sin, and that they must accompany con∣version.
- SERMON LXXXII. The nature and necessity of godly sorrow and weeping for sin, as accompanying Conversion.
- SERMON LXXXIII. Jer. 23. 22. But if they had stood in my Counsel, and had caused my people Page [unnumbered] to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil ways, and from the evil of their doings. Of the Ministery of the word, as the means of Conversion, with the other ends thereof, &c.
- SERMON LXXXIV. Why Gods power unto Conversion, doth not always go along with his word, though dispensed by a faithful Ministry: And whether corrupt or prophane Ministers may be a means of Conversion.
SECT. X. Of the nature of Grace, under the Expressions of Taking away the Stony Heart, Giving a Heart of Flesh, and, Writing Gods Laws in the Heart, with the counterfeit thereof.
- SERMON LXXXV. Ezek. 32. 26. I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. Displayeth Gods Soveraignty and Dominion over the hearts of men.
- SERMON LXXXVI. Of the Heart of Stone, and what wickedness that name implyes.
- SERMON LXXXVII. Of Gods making a true Converts heart tender and flexible for eve∣ry duty: Also, what Heart of flesh imples, with the effects and consequencies of it.
- SERMON LXXXVIII. Holding forth inducements to get this promised Heart of flesh: Al∣so, shewing the counterfeit of it.
SECT. XI. Handling Grace under the Notion of Gods putting his Spirit with∣in us, and Causing us to walk in his statutes.
- SERMON LXXXIX. Ezek. 36. 27. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you shall keep my judgements, and do them. Of Gods giving his Spirit to a man, and what that promise im∣plies: Also, of the operations and effects of the spirit of God, where it so comes.
- Page [unnumbered] SERMON XC. That the work of Grace is a deep, powerful and inward affecting of the whole man: And how far Grace may be tendred or rceived, and yet not be put effectually into our inwards: Al∣so, what this inward deep work of Grace is, with the signs and effects of it.
- SERMON XCI. Of the order and method that God takes in our Conversion: First working in us inward principles, and then causing us to walk in his statutes, opposite to the Doctrines of Pelagians, Papists, Arminians, and Moral Philosophy: Also, signs to discover whether our outward duties proceed from Grace within, or from Humane respects.
- SERMON XCII. That true principles of Grace within, must needs demonstrate them∣selves by an outward godly life.
- SERMON XCIII. Gods not onely infusing the inward principles of Grace, but also vouchsafing his quickning, actuating, assisting Grace unto his people, inabling them to walk in his statutes, maintained against Pelagians, Arminians and Papists: Also, the happy condition of those who have this latter Grace, as well as the former.
- SERMON XCIV. Shewing that true Converts make godliness their ordinary practice: And what to walk in Gods statutes implies.
- SERMON XCV. That converted persons are very careful and tender of the worship of God, observing that, and onely that which he hath com∣manded.
- SERMON XCVI. Of Righteousness and Equity between man and man: And how tender and conscientious a true convert is therein.
- SERMON XCVII. The Hammer of Arminianism, demonstrating, That God convert∣ing and changing a sinner, works after an Omnipotent efficacious and irresistible manner, against the Patrons of Freewill, and power of man to supernatural things.
- SERMON XCVIII. The freeness of Gods grace in conversion, displayed and maintained against Arminians and others.
SECT. XII. Handling the work of Grace under the Title of Vocation, or Calling.
- SERMON XCIX. Rom. 8. 30. Moreover, whom he did predestinate, them he also called, &c. The nature of Vocation opened, in respect of the efficient and in∣strumental causes of it.
- SERMON C. Holding forth the nature of vocation or divine calling.
- SERMON XCI. A further Explanation of the nature of effectual calling, by shew∣ing from what, and to what God calls us: As also, the Epithets the Scripture gives it.
- SERMON CII. Contains some choice properties or effects that accompany effectu∣al vocation, whereby men may examine and try themselves whether they be so called or no.
- SERMON CIII. 1 Cor. 1. 26. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called. Sitrring up to serious and fixed Meditations upon this calling, in re∣spect of the manner and time of it, and the persons called.
- SERMON CIV. Of true spiritual wisdom, the nature and properties of it, discover∣ing who are the real wise men in the world.
- SERMON CV. Wise men after the flesh Characterized, and (by God for the most part) rejected.
- SERMON CVI. Reasons why God passeth by Humane wisdom, with the difference between it and true spiritual wisdom: Also, the commendation of Humane Learning, and how necessary it is for a Minister.
- SERMON CVII. Of the consistency of earthly greatness and nobility with godliness: And yet notwithstanding, how rare it is for such men to be cal∣led and saved.
- Page [unnumbered] SERMON CVIII. Mat. 22. 14. For many are called, but few are chosen. The Gospel feast, and who are welcome Guest, and who not.
- SERMON CIX. That most of those that are called, come short of what is absolutely necessary: And who they be.
- SERMON CX. A plea for stickness in Religion.
- SERMON CXI. Of Election and Reprobation, and of the fewness and properties of those that are chosen, answering the Objections of men, and clearing the Justice of God.
- SERMON CXII. More signs and effects of Election, with directions to those that are overwhelmed with thoughts and fears whether they are elected or no.
- SERMON CXIII. Ephes. 4. 1. I therefore the Prisoner of the Lord, beseech you, that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called. Of Christians walking worthy of their calling, what to walk wor∣thy implyes; and what are the properties and actions that will become and grace our holy calling.
- SERMON CXIV. Of the nature, extent and example of that holiness to which God calls a man.
- SERMON CXV. Of the glorious estate of the Saints in heaven, to which God calls all sinners repenting and believing.
- SERMON CXVI. 2 Pet. 2. 10. Wherefore the rather (Brethren) give all diligence to make your calling and election sure. The Nature, Possibility, Duty and Means of the Assurance of ones effectual calling.
- SERMON CXVII. The possibility and duty of Assurance of our calling demonstrated: Page [unnumbered] And the Reasons why some think a certain assurance impossible; with Answers to the Objections brought against it.
- SERMON CXVIII. The advantages the godly have by assurance: How it may be known from presumption; with directions to the godly that want it.
- SERMON CXIX. Acts 2. 29. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. Sheweth in how many respects wicked men (before their effectual Calling) are afar off from God, and consequently miserable.
- SERMON CXX. That not all mankinde are called with a saving call; How absurd it is to hold, That the works of God, the Sun, Moon and Stars, &c. may so call men: And Gods Justice cleared in that point, stirring up all to behold the severity and goodness of the Lord.