An exposition of the prophesie of Hosea begun in divers lectures vpon the first three chapters, at Michaels Cornhill, London
Burroughs, Jeremiah, 1599-1646.
Page  447

The Eighteenth Lecture.*

HOSEA 2. 19.

—And in judgement, and in loving kindnesse, and in mercies.

IN Judgement] Some Interpreters we finde make this and righteousnesse to be all one, according to that Psal. 33. 6. He loveth righteousnesse and judgement, and so passe it over, but we must not do so, for wee shall finde much of Gods minde in this.

Others take judgement, as divers times it is taken in Scri∣pture for sanctification, so they would make this promise sutable to that of Christ, John 16. 10. 11. I will send the Comforter, and he shall convince the world of sin, of righteousnesse, and of judgement; that righteousnesse there, is the same with that here; judgement there by many Interpreters is understood of sanctification; because the Prince of this world is judged, the power of Satan is already broken, he is already cast out of your hearts.

And they thinke to strengthen that by that place in Mat. 12. 20. He will not quench the smoaking flaxe, nor breake the bruised reed, till he send forth judgement unto victory, that is, untill he perfect the work of sanctification, that it shall overcome corruption. This text in Matthew is quoted out of Esay, 42. 3. but there we have the words somewhat different, there it is, He shall bring forth judgement unto truth. Now if that should be the mean∣ing, that by judgement is meant sanctification, then we may learne an ex∣cellent note from the comparing these two Texts together; that it is all one to bring judgement, sanctification unto truth, and to bring it unto victory, when it is in truth it will certainly be in victory. But we shall a little more examine this interpretation of Judgement presently; for my part I do not think that it is meant either in this Text, or in any of the Texts named.

Thirdly, I finde others make this [in judgement] to be Gods judgement against the adversaries of the Church. I will betroth thee unto me in righte∣ousnesse; I will deale with you in a way of righteousnesse, and for your ad∣versaries, I will deale with them in a way of judgement, you shall have judgement against them.* So I finde Luther carries it, and he saith that judgement here is the second pearle of the Husbands ring he gives to his Spouse, God promiseth to exercise judgement & vengeance against the adversaries of the Church, and so he applyeth it unto those times wherein he lived in Germany; saith he, for these many years wicked Magistrates have oppressed the Church, and prophane Doctors have corrupted the doctrine of it, but Germany hath seene God judging his adversaries.

Page  448 And if we should understand it in this sense, we have a sutable place, Esay 54. 5. where God telleth his Church, that He that is her maker is her hus∣band, even the Lord of hosts, and her Redeemer the God of the whole earth; the word there is Vindex, the avenger, he that will avenge thee of thine ene∣mies, is the God of the whole earth, he is thy husband. This might afford a sweet meditation, that the Lord will defend his Church from the rage of ad∣versaries, as the husband will defend his Spouse being betrothed unto her; the Lord certainly will take a valuable consideration at the hands of the ad∣versaries who wrong his Church. But this I thinke not to be the scope of the place,

Another is [In Judgement] Though things be now out of order, all things seeme to be in confusion, yet the time is coming when all things shal be ordered in the Church according to equity and right.

These two I thinke are meant in the former Texts, I will convince the world of judgement, that is, the world shall be convinced that Christ hath all judgement committed unto him, and he shews it in this, that the Prince of this world is judged; so that place before in Matthew, I will cause judg∣ment to returne unto victory, that is, though the adversaries of the Church be many, yet he will cause them all to be vanquished, judgement shal con∣quer over them all; though there be much opposition and confusion in the Church, yet I will bring all things in the Church to be ordered & composed in a right way according unto equity.

That place likewise Esay 4. 4. where the Lord saith, he will purge his Church by the spirit of judgeent and by the spirit of burning. I know some carry it as if it were meant of the spirit of sanctification, that is as fire to con∣sume lusts, but rather thus, whereas there were such as did oppresse the Church by false judgement, the Lord would cleanse the Church from wrong and oppression by giving a spirit of judgement unto those that should be the Officers of it, and consuming the adversaries.

But yet I thinke we have not the full scope of this place. I rather would pitch upon this as that which is more principally intended, though the other may be in some degree included, viz. I will betroth thee unto me in judg∣ment, that is, there shall be a good reason for what I doe, that which I will now do in betrothing thee unto my selfe shall not be out of rashnesse, it shal not be done unadvisedly, but with understanding, with good deliberation, I know what I do in it, and I know what glory I shall have by it, I will do it in judgement.

So I finde the word judgement taken in scripture, Jer. 4. 2. Thou shalt sweare in truth, in judgement, and in righteousnesse. In judgement, that is, when you sweare, know it is a worship of God, and you must doe it in judgement, you must not only sweare in truth, that is; sweare to that which is true, and in righteousnesse, that is, not to the wrong or prejudice of your neighbour, for you may sinne in swearing though you sweare in truth if you have an intent to wrong any; but thirdly you must sweare in judgment too, Page  449 you must understand what you doe, that is, when you take an oath you must know that it is not as the Ex Officio was, to sweare to answer to every thing that shall be asked you, but you must understand beforehand what you are to sweare to, and so sweare out of judgement; So saith God, I will betroth thee unto me in judgement, that is, I have considered what I am to doe in this thing, and I doe it out of judgement. And for your parts when you shal come and close with me, in this blessed conjugall union and communion you shall doe it out of jndgement too; I will betroth you in judgement so as to make it appeare before the world that I had good reason so to do, and you shall likewise close with me as you shall be able to justifie it before men and Angels, that you had reason for what you did, that it was out of judge∣ment. There is nothing wherein there is more need of judgement then in marriages & contracts; therefore the heathens were wont to set Mercury, there god of wisdome, by Venus, their goddesse of maryage, to note that there was need of judgement there, yet there is nothing usually in the world undertaken with lesse judgement, with more rashness and inconsideratness then contracts and maryages, which is the reason of the trouble of their lives ever after.* But though there be many contracts between men and women that are not out of judgement, yet saith God I will betroth you out of judg∣ment. Christs match with his Church is a match of judgment, Christ con∣sidereth of our meanness before he marryeth with us, hee knoweth us fully what we are, he knowes our sinfulness, our wretchedness, he knows, we are in debt before he maryeth us, and whatsoever else we can think might be any hinderance, he knowes as perfectly as ever he shall know it, & yet he goes on. Yea the match between Christ and his Church is that which hath been plotting in Heaven from all eternity, it is not a sudden, rash match, it hath been plotting between the Father and the Son from everlasting. God the Father giveth consent to this match, God the Holy Ghost is sent to draw the hearts of his people to come in and consent to this match, it is a match out of the deepest judgement that ever thing was done.

Though it be true that God can see no reason in us why we should be thus united to his Sonne, yet he can see abundance of reason in himself; there∣fore the conversion and salvation of a soul, is not only out of Gods mercy, but it is from Gods wisedome too, Hence the Scripture attributes our pr∣destination and our calling, unto his wisdome as well as unto the freeness of his grace, as Ephe. 1. 11. Being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsell of his own will. Mark, it is not on∣ly because God will. I will have mercy because I will have mercy, I will choose such, and I will refuse such, I will do it; no, but it is after the Cou∣sell of his will. We indeed are set upon our wills many times to do a thing & there is no reason for it, there is no counsel of our will; but God even in this thing that we can see no reason for at all, hee workes according to the counsell of his will; and Ephe. 3. 10. the Apostle having said before, vers, 8. that he was to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ, he saith, he was Page  450 to preach it to the intent that now might be made known the manifold wis∣dome of God. In all things in the Gospel there is a great deale of wisdome; Vocation is one of the mysteries of the Gospel, and 1 Cor. 1. 24. the Gos∣pel is said to be the power of God and the wisdome of God; the Apostle there instances in one thing, which one would thinke hath as little reason in it as any thing in the Gospel, that is, the leaving of the rich, wise and noble, the great ones of the world, and calling the poore; but herein is not onely the power, but the wisdome of God, God doth even this in judgement. And although we can now understand little or nothing of any reason that there can be of Gods choosing us unto himselfe; yet this will be made known at the great day of judgement. It will be a great part of the glory of that day for the Lord to make known the counsell of his will; we now know his will, but we shall then know the counsell of his will, and praise him to all eternity for it; this shall be the glory of the Saints, that they shall see into the coun∣sel of Gods will in choosing and calling them, and letting others goe.

Gods betrothing himselfe thus to his people in judgement, is an especiall reason of the perpetuity of this betrothing. I will betroth thee unto me for ever; Why? First, it is in righteousnesse, therefore it will hold. Secondly, it is in judgement, therefore it will hold too. Things that are done rashly will seldome hold, but though we are set upon them for the present, we quickly undoe them afterward, but that which is done in judgment holds; the calling of a sinner, and uniting him unto Christ, is done in judgement, therefore it will hold, that is the ground of the perseverance of a sinner; If a man before marryage knoweth perfectly all the faults his wife hath, or ever shall have, and knowes perfectly her estate & all the incumbrances he shall have with her,* yet loveth her out of judgement, surely this love will hold: It is so be∣tween Christ and his Church; Christ before he betrotheth his Church, per∣fectly knowes all the faults the Church hath, or shall have, all the sins that e∣ver she shall commit, and all the incumbrances & dishonor she shal have, yet out of judgement he betroths her to himselfe, therefore surely this will hold. Comfort yourselves with this Christians, though there be many fayl∣ings after your comming to Christ, Christ knew them all before you were united to him, yet out of judgement he betrothed himselfe unto you.

There must also be judgement on our parts; I will put into you a judicious heart, to choose me out of judgement. The Saints who choose Christ, know what they doe. They shall be all taught of God; every one therefore that hath heard, and learned of the Father, commeth unto me; None cometh unto me,* but such as are taught of God, who heare & learne of the Father, they come to me out of judgement; I know whom I have loved, saith Paul, and so may every Christian say. They doe not come to imbrace Christ and his wayes out of novelty, because they are new things, o not any truth of Christ, out of meer novelty as many doe, and so vanish to nothing; though it is true, there is alwayes some new excellency in Christ, I meane new∣ly revealed; Christ hath alwayes something that is further revealed more Page  451 then we knew before, and delightful I he is in that regard, if we love novel∣ty: It is not a sufficient plea against any truth, because it is now revealed, and was not known before; 2 Pet. 1. 12. Be established in the present truth: though truths be from the beginning yet there are present truths in regard of manifestation: But the Saints must not therefore receive them, meerly be∣cause they are new to them, neither must any reject them, because they are but now cleared, whereas before they lay in the darke; but all out of judge∣ment, we must examine them, when any truth is presented, though it seems new, because you heard not of it before, reject it not upon that, neither im∣brace it upon that, but try it, and when you are convinced, then out of judgement imbrace it. Neither must the Saints follow God, or any way of truth, meerly from the example of others, but out of their owne judgements. Perhaps you see such and such, of whom you have a reverent esteeme, and that justly doe thus and thus; I confesse, that is enough to put you upon ex∣amining, to bethinke your selves, surely there is something in it, or else it is not like they would do it, but that must not be the onely reason, but if upon examination you finde it to be good, then embrace it out of judgement, ne∣ver rest untill you come to that that the men of Samaria said to the woman, Now we believe that this is the Messiah, not because of thy sayings, because you told us so, but we have heard him our selves, and we know that he is indeed the Saviour of the world. At the first they came to Christ upon her relation, but they did not beleeve in Christ, but upon seeing and hearing Christ themselves. You may come to examine the wayes, the truthes of God upon the relation and example of others, but you must not ingage your hearts in them untill you see the reality of them your selves.

Thirdly, you must embrace Christ and his wayes out of judgement, not out of sudden flashes of affection; suddeu flashes goe out as soone as they come. You have a notable example for this, Luke 14. 15. Happy are they that may eate bread in the Kingdome of God: O this is blessed doctrine in∣deed. But by that which followes we may finde that they were such as pre∣sently went to their Farmes and to their Oxen, and prized them before Christ, & refused to come to the supper. Sudden flashes there were in thsoe that cryed Hosanna, Hosanna, but presently they cryed, Crucifie him, cru∣cifie him. Josh. 24. 19. the people seemed to be moved with sudden affec∣tions, they would serve the Lord, yea that they would, but they considered not what they said, You cannot serve the Lord, saith Joshua to them. So Deut.* 5. 27. All that the Lord our God hath said unto us, that will we do, but presently, saith God, Oh that there were such a heart in this people to doe it! The truth is, they know not what they say, they have sudden affec∣tions, but they will quickly vanish. We must choose Christ out of judgment.

Againe, Not choose him out of mistakes, we must understand who hee is. we must sit downe and cast with our selves afore-hand what we are like to suffer in his wayes. Compare for this Cant. 5. 9. with the beginning of Chap. 6. What is the•• loved, say they, more then another beloved?

Page  452 Let us know what thy beloved is: Then the Church falls a commending her beloved, and in the beginning of Chap. 6. Whither is thy beloved gone? whither is thy beloved turned a side? that we may seeke him with thee, that he may be our beloved too.

Nor out of by-ends, but out of a right knowledge of the excellencies of Christ, having our judgments overcome that way. We must not choose a∣ny truth or wayes of God, because the times favour that way; we have now a company of Parliament converts, who were formerly Prelaticall and ce∣remoniall; they see how the times sway, this is not out of judgment. Every Christian should be a judicious Christian. Those adorn Religion, they are an honour to Christ. As the more deliberation and judgement there is in sin, the worse it is; so the more deliberation, the more judgment there is in godlinesse, the better it is. When a soule chooseth Christ and his ways upon this, Oh I see a beauty in the Lord Jesus that I never see afore, I see him to be the character, and the ingraven form of the image of the Father, in him dwels all treasures, the very God-head dwells in him bodily, he is the most precious among ten thousand, the wayes of God are holy and righteous.

Here is the rule of eternall life, here lyes the happinesse of the rationall cre∣ature, these are the wayes that my soule closeth with, and shall cleave to for e∣ver, whatsoever I suffer in them, for I see the excellency, the beauty, the e∣quity, the glory of them, the Lord is worthy of all honour from all his crea∣tures. This is a choise will hold. The world thinks the Saints are giddy hea∣ded people, why? because they cannot see any reason for what they doe; they cannot see bottome enough in reason of such forwardnesse, and strict∣nesse, and zeale as there is in them; they think they do in calescere in re fri∣gida, that they are very hot about a very poore, sorry, cold businesse, and therefore they count their ways folly; that any man will do, when he seeth another do a thing that he understands not the reason of, hee will either sus∣pect his owne judgment, or otherwise think the man foolish; now wicked men are too proud to suspect their own judgments, to think their own reason folly, therefore they count the wayes of God foolishnesse. They looke upon Gods wayes at a distance, therefore they thinke there is no reason for them.

It is reported of that notable Convert Marcus Galeasius, that hee was converted by a sermon of Peter Martyrs, coming to heare him he expres∣sed the excellencies of Gods wayes, and the mistakes of the world in this si∣militude, the men of the world (saith he) mistake Gods wayes, as if a man see a company of Musitians that were playing and dancing according to the most exactest rules of art, if he see them at a distance, he sees them skippiug and leaping up and down as a company of madde men, and wonders what they mean; but when he comes nearer and hears the melodious sound, and observes how all their motions are directed according to rules of art, then he begins to change his thoughts; so the men of the world look upon the wayes of God, and upon the Saints at a distance, and 〈◊〉 thinke the motions of Page  453 Gods people and their ways are madness, but when they come nearer, and observe the exactnesse of the rule they walk by, and the wisedome of God that appears in them, they change their judgments, and begin then to thinke, surely there is something in them more then they thought. This similitude God blessed, so as it was the means to convert that Noble man, and made him leave all his possessions in Italie, and come to Geneva, where hee be∣came such a pattern of self-deny all, as scarce any age ever had the like, God working by such a thing upon his heart. When you come neer Gods ways and see them indeed, you will see infinite reason in them, and charge your selves o infinite folly that you should have such low thoughts of them as you have had.

This is the reason why the Saints hold on in their ways. This judgment is as the ballast of the ship; many hurry on in a kind of profession of Religi∣on, and the truth is, they know not what they do, nor what they professe, if there be any new opinion, I mean not only in regard of new manifestation, but in regard of the thing it selfe, presently they follow it that they may be counted some body, and seem to go beyond other men, they are as a ship that moveth a mighty pace, all the sails are up, and winds blow fairely, but there is no ballast, so the ship topples up and downe, but never comes to the end of the voyage. Lu. 8. 6. when the seed was sown in the stony ground, it sprung up presently, but because there wanted moisture at the root, it withe∣red away. This judgment is as moysture at the roote, that is the reason that Mat. 13. 21. we read of the stony ground, that notwithstanding it received the word with joy, yet when persecution arose because of the word, by and by they were offended, they were mightily taken with the wayes of God, with the great things of the Gospel at first, but not having judgment as soon as suffering came, by and by they were offended. If times should change again, & the adversaries should prevaile (which God forbid) we shal soon have experience enough of abundance of professors who have chosen the ways of God not out of judgment by and by they will be offended.

Thirdly, I will betroth thee unto me in loving kindnesse. Though Christ takes us to himself, and will not cast us off, yet he may see such failings and frailties in us, as we may be grievous and burthensome unto his spirit, we shall enjoy but little sweetness in our comunion together through the wret∣chednesse of our hearts.* No saith Christ, I will betroth you unto mee in lo∣ving kindnesse, my heart and wayes toward you shall be full of gentlenesse and sweetnesse, and I will put such a frame likewise into your hearts both to∣ward me and toward one another, you shall have hearts full of sweetness and gentleness. The Scripture speaks much of the loving kindness of God to his people in Christ, Eph. 2. 7. The exceeding riches of his grace in his kindnesse towards us in Christ Jesus. Tit. 3. 4. After the kindness & love of God our Saviour toward man appeared. You have these Epithets given unto Gods kindness; great kindeness. Neh. 9. 17. Marvellous kindness. Psal. 31. 21. Mercifull kindness,〈◊〉 19. 2. Everlasting kindness, Isa. 54. 8. Excellent ving kindnes, Ps.〈…〉Multitude of loving kindness, Isa. 63. 7. Thus full is Page  454 is the Scripture of the loving kindness of God towards us in Christ.

To open it a little, The kindnesse of God unto us in Christ, consisteth.

First, In the freenesse of Gods goodnesse: kindnesse in a friend is seene much in this,* when he doth a thing meerely out of his good nature freely, when he doth a kindnesse so as he doth not burthen it, he doth not upbraid his friend with what he hath done; as he expects little before, he will not be mercenary, so when he hath done he doth not upbraid him with it, he ex∣pects not such great matters in lieu and recompence of what he hath done, as shall make his kindness worth nothing, but leaves it to his friend to ans∣wer him in a way of kindness again as he thinks fit.

Thus it is in all Gods dealings with us, he looks not for much at our hands before, but that he doth is out of his free grace, he doth not upbraid us, he giveth liberally and upbraideth no man,* he doth not burthen his kindnesse towards us. But doth not God burthen his kindnesse? he requireth that we should give up our selves unto him, and serve him, and suffer for him, for his kindness; I answer, there is nothing God requireth in lieu of all his kind∣ness to us, but it is another kindness in God to enable us to do it, and a fur∣ther kindness in him to accept it at our hands when we have done it, there∣fore his kindness is free. The Heathens were wont to paint their Gratiae, their goddesses of kindness naked, upon this ground, because all workes of kindnesse should be free, not clogged, not burthened, The blessing of the Lord maketh rich,*and he addeth no sorrow with it. The kindnesses of this world are ordinarily clogged, scarce worth the having; the kindnss of God not so, it is free.

Again, kindness consists much in this, in our tenderness over those wee shew kindnesse to. The kindness of God in Christ is much this way, in tendring our weaknesse and dealing with us in all his wayes accordingly, E∣say, 57. 16. I will not contend for ever, why? lest the spirit which I have made should faile before me. He considereth our weakness. Psal. 103. 13. The Lord knoweth our frame, and heremembreth we are but dust, Isa. 40. 11. Christ gathers the Lambes with his arme, and carryeth them in his bosome, and gently leadeth those that are with young. Esay, 63. 9. In his clememcie (so the word is) he redeemed them, and he bare them, and carri∣ed them alwayes, continually. Kindnes makes one long-suffering, he bare them always and continually. It is kindness for the Man to consider all the weaknesses of the wife, and to deale with her in a loving way accordingly, tendring her good; this is the kindness of Christ to his Church,

Thirdly, kindness is passing by all infirmities, not taking advantages a∣gainst his people because of them. Christ takes notice of all the good that is in his people though it be never so little, but that which is a weaknesse he will passe it by; The Lord is not strict to marke what we doe amisse, but the Lord is strict to mark what we do well, if there be never so little good in an action that hath an hundred weaknesses in it, Christ will mark what good there is in it, and passe by all the weaknesses. 〈◊〉 commended by Pe∣cerPage  455 for calling her husband Lord, in that speech of hers there was nothing but sin saving that word, and the holy Ghost takes notice of that one word and lets goe all the other. If thou aymest at serving Christ, and canst appeale to him that thy heart istowards him, to honour him as he requireth, I say though there be an hundred weaknessesin an action, if there bee but one thing good, all thy weaknesses are past by, that one good thing is taken no∣tice of.

Again, kindnes is in a loving, sweet, amiable carriage toward one ano∣ther [ 4] in our converse one with another. Oh the sweet, amiable carriage that is in Christ toward his people! and that Christ expects likewise from them to him again. If you reade the book of the Canticles you shall finde what sweet, amiable expressions there are between Christ and his Church,* what rebounding as it were there is of love and kindnesse one to another, Thy love is better then wine, saith the Church unto Christ; and, thy love is better then wine, saith Christ unto his Church, This ought to be between man & wife, this is kindness, 1 Cor. 13. 4. Love is there said to be kinde, there is no morosity in love, but all a sweetnesse.

Fiftly, kindness is in easiness to be entreated, Jam. 3. 17. Peaceable, [ 5] gentle, and easie to be intreated. Thus in Christ, he is easie to be intreated by his Church, and the Church should easily be intreated, and indeed is: when the hearts of the Saints are right, there is an ingenuity in them, they are soone moved to any service Christ calleth for.

Lastly, kindnesse is compassionate, sensible of all sufferings, so Christ [ 6] and his Saints mutually. Such loving kindnes as this should be in all mary∣age-communion; where there is this loving kindness there is a sweet con∣jugall communion indeed, and so far as any of this is wanting, so farre the blessing of a maryage estate is wanting; one reason amongst others, why God makes so much use of this Allegory of marryage, to expresse so great a mystery of godliness, as the union betweene Christ and his Church, is to teach those that are married to live so together, as they may express all that excellency of communion that is between Christ and his Saints.

Now I put it to you who are in a marryed condition, is there this loving∣kindnes in you, as may hold forth the loving kindnes that is between Christ and his Spouse? so far as you want in your endeavours after this, so far there is an evil; when you goe home take this lesson with you, labour to walke so in that way of loving kindnes one to another, as that you may expresse how the loving kindness of Christ is unto your soules.* There are many frailties in the man, in the wife, but not so many frailties as there are in you in reference to Christ, Christ beareth with more frailties in you then you can beare with in your wife; Christ is not morose to you, he is not a bitter husband to you.

I have read of Monicha, Austins Mother, who lived neare a Heathen, and she had a very ill husband, of a very crosse and perverse disposition; this Heathen comes to her one time, and asked her, how cometh it to passe that you and your husband live so well together as you doe?

Page  456 We know your husband is of a very crosse and perverse disposition, yet we see nothing but there is a great deale of sweetness and love between you; it is not so with us, we cannot doe so for our lives: Monicha gives her this answer, It may be, saith she, when your husband is untoward & perverse, you are perverse again, and you give crosse answers; but Christian Reli∣gion teacheth me otherwise, when my husband cometh home and is in pas∣sion, Christian Religion teacheth me to be as loving, and dutifull, & amia∣ble to him as I can, and so I have gained the heart of my husband. It were a happy thing if all women would take this home with them, and learne this of Monicha Austins Mother, And so on the other side, the man in re∣ference to his wife, this loving kindness is between Christ & his Spouse, let it appeare between man & wise who professe their interest in Christ.

And this loving kindness of Christ, Oh how should it draw our hearts unto him! What more prevalent meanes to draw then loving kindnesse? Marke that Scripture to shew the power of loving kidndnes, 2 Chron. 10. 7. If thou be kinde unto this people, they will be thy servants for ever, say those ancient Counsellors of Rehoboam, who gave him wise counsell. If this be the way to draw the heart, surely Christ must need have our hearts, he is not a bloody husband, but a kind husband to us, let us then be his ser∣vants for ever. It were a good lesson for all Governors to consider of, that it is kindness that drawes the hearts of people, they rule not over beasts, but men, therefore if they would rule over them with comfort and safety to themselves, they should rule with kindness. Hence Cant. 4. 10. it is said, that the Charet of Solomon was paved with love for the daughters of Jeru∣salem, it is an expression of Solomons gentleness toward the people of Jeru∣salem. I have read of Alexander Severus, when his Mother and his wife would put him upon harsh wayes, & objected to him his mildness & yeild∣ablenesse to his subjects, saying, you have made your power more con∣temptible by your kindnes & yeelding so much to your people; his answer was, At securiorem, but more secure and lasting. Certainly, it would be so if Magistrates had not the evill councell of young Gallants; if they would follow the counsel of the ancient Counsellors, to be kind to the people, they would be their servants for ever, their peace and safety would be more then now it is. Christ expects loving kindnesse from you unto himselfe, & lo∣loving kindnes likewise one unto another.

First. Christ expects you should be full of loving kindnes unto him. O blessed Redeemer, what is that we should do, that we should be kind to the! The very phrase seems to be too low for Christ, that Christ should look for our kindnesse. Yes, Christ lookes for our kindnesse, and he prizeth it dearely, nothing in the world is prized by Christ more then your kindness; as a kinde husband prizeth nothing in the world more in his wife then kind∣ness. But how kind to Christ?

Thus,* you are kinde to him first, when you cleave to him, when he stan∣deth in most need of you, 2 Sam. 16. 17. saith 〈…〉 Hoshi, is this Page  457 thy kindnesse to thy friend? that is, what is thy friend in danger, and hath now need of thee, and doest thou now come from him? Is this thy kindnes to thy friend? thou shouldst now be with thy friend in time of his danger and need, and that is kindnesse. So I say, there are some times wherein Christ standeth in more need of us then at other, in suffering times, in times wherein his cause hath many enemies, and our help is called for, if we should now forsake him in times of suffering, may not Christ, nay may not the ho∣ly Angels and Saints say, Is this your kindnesse to your friend? To come to Christ when you have need of him is not so much kindness, but to come to him when he hath need of you, this is kindnesse.

Secondly, It is kindnes when we serve Christ in the midst of difficulties. [ 2] You have a notable place for this, Jer. 2. 2. I remember the kindnesse of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after me in the wil∣dernesse. To be willing to follow Christ in the wilderness, that is kindness. Christ doth not account it kindnes for us to serve him when we may prosper in his service, when serving of Christ may stand with our own ends, when we may keepe our shops, our lands and possessions, when there is no diffi∣culty at all in his service, what great kindnes is this? but when for love to the Ordinances, & the truths of Christ, you are willing to follow Christ even in the wildernes, this is kindnes & Christ will account it so; however some men have thought that they have shewen great kindness unto Christ, in that they have staid & born the brunt; but how have they born it? by yeilding to super∣stitious vanities, & being ceremoniall and Prelaticall; it will be found that those who have been willing to follow Christ in the wilderness, our of love [ 3] to him, his truth and ordinances, that Christ will remember that for kindnes.

Thirdly, For young people to give up their young yeares to Christ, that is kindnes, by way of allusion at least we may make use of that Scripture, I remember the kindnesse of thy youth; when thy bones are full of marrow, and when the world seekes to draw thy heart after the vanities of it, when thou mayest have thy delights and pleasures in the flesh to the full; if then thou beest willing to deny all, and to give up thy selfe to Christ, this is lov∣ing kindnesse; one that is old may possibly come to heaven upon re∣pentance, but what kindness is that for him, who hath nigh worn out all his dayes and strength in wayes of sinne, in the pleasures of the flesh, and now when he is going out of the world, and can have no more pleasure in his sin, he comes to Christ for mercy; what kindnes is here? here is selfe-love in∣deed, but little kindness.

Secondly,* loving kindnes one to another, I wil bet roth thee unto me in lo∣ving kindness; I will put such a spirit into you of loving kindnes unto your brethren, as I have towards you; The word that is here used for loving kindness, you shall finde it often in Scripture used for Saints; those who are called godly, and Saints in your bookes, in the Hebrew are called kinde ones, it may be as well translated kinde ones; as thus, Psal. 4. 3. Know ye that the Lord hath set apart him that is godly for himself: It is a most ad∣mirable Page  458 text, as if he should say, there are multitudes in the world, and all the world is mine, but I looke upon all the world, as refuse in comparison of some few,* onely here is a godly man, a godly woman, I set them, apart, they are for my self; but the note I observe is, That that word which in your books is godly, in the Hebrew is the kind one, the Lord hath set apart those that are kinde,* those that are of sweet, gentle, kinde dispositions. And Psal. 16, 10. Not suffer thy holy one to see corruption, the Hebrew is, not suffer thy kinde one to see corruption, it comes from the same roote with that that here is translated loving kindnesse. So Psal. 149. 1. Sing his praise in the congregation of the Saints,* of the kind ones; and the same word againe is verse 5. Let the Saints be so full in glory; the Saints, that is, the kind ones; noting what an ingredient loving kindness is to Saint-ship, unto godlinesse; therefore it is not enough for Christians to be godly, but they must be kinde one unto another too. 2 Pet. 1. 3. And to godlinesse adde brotherly kinde∣ness: You thinke you are godly, but you are of a rugged rough-hewen dis∣position, surly, cruell, rigid, severe, froward, perverse, know here is the ex∣hortation unto you this day from God, if you will approve your selves to be godly, Adde to your godlinesse brotherly kindnesse, except you adde that, you can have little comfort in your godlines. It is impossible indeed for one that hath the power of godliness, and hath the true comfort and sweetnes of it, to be of a rugged and rigid disposition; the reason is, because there is that infinite satisfaction as I may so say, that such a heart hath in God, that there is nothing that can come from without that can make such a heart bitter, there is so much sweetnes in that satisfaction that it hath in God, as the Scrip∣ture saith, A good man is satisfied from himselfe; that it is not all the bit∣terness from without that can sowre such a heart.

It is true indeed if you have a vessel of honey, a little gall will make all that bitter, but if you have a vessel of gall, a little honey will not make that sweet: But in grace it is thus, though there be a great deale of bitterness in a man or womans nature, though they be of rugged natures, yet a drop of true saving grace will sweeten all that gall; and if they be once gracious, a great deale of gall & bitternes that cometh from without will not imbitter that sweetnes.

I beseech you take notice of this one note, when God hath left men they grow more passionate and froward then they were before; And I verily beleeve this is one ground of the frowardnesse, and passionateness that is in professors, they have made breaches between God and their soules, their peace between God and them is broken, and nothing then can give them content. As usually it is when a man hath been abroad and others have an∣gred him, when his inward comfort and joy is gone, then every thing an∣greth him, he is pleased with nothing, his countenance is lowring, and he is unto ward to every one, and why? because he hath lost the sweetnesse of his own spirit, and now nothing from without can content him, all seems bitter unto him; but let this man goe abroad and things fall out well, it may be he gets a good bargaine, hears of excellent good newes; that his Page  459 goods are come home safely, hee can now beare a hundred times as much as before, and you can scarce anger him, why? because his heart is filled with sweetness. So it is here, let a Christian walke close with God, keepe his peace with him, he will have so much sweetnes in his heart that it is not ea∣sie to put him into any passion of frowardnes, why? he hath enough within, perhaps his friend, his wife, his neighbour is crosse, but his Christ is loving; though there be little comfort in my maryage with one who is so peevish & perverse, yet in my marryage with Christ there is satisfaction enough. But when the heart hath made breaches between Christ and it self, when it hath lost the sweetness in that marryage communion, no marvaile if there be no sweetnes in the other maryage communion.

I will give you a notable example of this, a man who before his breach with God was of a sweet disposition, was very milde and loving, but after he was of a perverse, and cruell, & froward disposition. The example is Saul; When he was first chosen King, how humble was he? hee acknowledges himself to be of the least of the tribes of Israel, and the least in his fathers house, and when some raysed npon him and said, shal this man raigne over us? the text saith, he held his peace; and when others would have had them killed, no, by no means they must not be slain, because God had shewen him mercy in a late victory given him. But after Saul had fallen from God, O the rugged, perverse, cruell disposition of his spirit then, even to Jonathan his son, a gracious, loving, sweet natured son, then Thou sonne of the per∣verse, rebellious woman, he cast a jave lin at him to kill him, then the foure∣score & five Priests in the City of Nob must be all slain in his anger; What was the bottome of all this? It was the breach between God and his owne spirit. Oh take heed of breaches between God and you, for they will put you into a perverse and froward disposition. What doth a man get by the want of this kindness and loving disposition. He troubleth himself, Pro. 11. 17. He that is cruell, of a sharsh disposition, troubleth his own flesh. I appeale to you, do you not lose much of the sweetness of your lives, you that are in a marryed condition? What comfort have you in your lives when there is nothing but snarling at, and crossing one another? you trouble your own house, and your own flesh; whereas if there were loving kindness be∣twixt you, it would sweeten all your comforts, yea all your crosses. The lo∣ving kindnes of a man or a woman is the beauty of a man or woman. Pro∣ 19. 2. The kindnes of a man, is the desire of a man, saith the text there; And of a woman, Pro. 31. 29. among other high comendations of a ver∣tuous woman who had done excellently, this is one, The law of kindnes is in her tongue, kindnes giveth a law to her mouth, many women have no law given to their mouthes, their tongues are lawlesse when they are angred, but a woman that is commended of God, the Text saith, the law of kindnes is in her tongue, the kindnes of her heart doth give a law to her mouth, & that is the honor of a woman. To be of a sweet, kind disposition is an exceeding beauty, it addes a glorious lustre to any man living. Isa. 40. 6. All flesh is Page  460 grasse, and all the goodlinesse thereof is as the flower of the field, the word is in the originall 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 the same word that is here, that word which signifyeth kindnesse is translated there goodlinesse, noting that kindnesse is the goodli∣nesse of the spirit of a man or woman; what the beauty of a flower is to a flower, that is kindnesse to a man or woman, it is goodlinesse. Just in Mar∣tyr in his Apologie for the Christians faith, that their adversaries did hate only the name of a Christian,* they had nothing against the Christians, and what is there saith he in the name? Nothing but that which is good and love∣ly enough, now saith he, it is not just to hate that which is profitable & gen∣tle, for so the word signifyeth, they are Christians, what if you call them Christiani, of 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉mild, profitable? for to they are indeed, they are profi∣table, gentle, sweet natured people, and why should you hate those people? 2 Cor. 6. 6. Being filled with the holy Ghost, and kindness, are put together, there is much of the holy Ghost where there is much kindnesse. The spirit of Christ is a spirit of kindnesse and gentleness, and though you may thinke that your rigidness and roughnesse may argue bravenesse of spirit in you (for it is ordinary for froward and passionate people to thinke they have more brave spirits then others) but know that your spirits are more base and vile then the spirits of others. I will give you only one Text for that, Psal. 45. 4. it is said of Christ, In thy majesty ride prosperously, because of truth and meek∣nesse; now the same word that is here translated meeknesse, 2 Sam. 22. 26. is gentlenesse; thy gentlenesse hath made me great; Mark, gentlenesse, magni∣ficence or majesty may stand together, yea Christ is magnificent and full of majesty in the gentlenesse, and quietness of his spirit, ride on in thy majesty prosperously because of thy meeknesse, because of thy gentleness. Would you have a brave spirit like unto the spirit of Christ in his glory? let your spirits be gentle, sweet, and loving spirits.

I will betroth thee unto me in mercies.

Loving kindnesse and mercies may seem in the reading as if they were the same, but there is a great deale of difference in them.

And in mercies.] Viscera,* so the word is, I will betroth thee unto my self in bowels. Not the fruit only, but the root; not the water onely, but the foun∣taine; thou shalt have the fountain of all good, my very bowels, from whence flowes all mercies. Wherefore Christians you need not fear the want of the supply of mercies, why? because you have the fountaine of mercies from whence they spring. God may grant to wicked men many fruits of his bounty and goodnesse; yea but they have not his bowels, they have not the fountain, the root from whence all springs.

Here is the happinesse of a Christian, not onely to have much good from God,* but to have those very bowels from whence that good cometh. Here lies the dignity, the glory of a Christian, the vastnesse of his riches.

Christians, you shall not therefore neede feare to give up any mercy God calls for at your hands, for you have got the bowels of mercy to be yours, you have got the spring-head of all mercy to bee yours, whence you may fetch Page  461 all seasonable, all sutable mercies when you will. Here is the reason why many who are carnall, when they have got a mercy from God, they keepe it so sure, they are afraid to lose it, they are loth to part with it, though God calleth for it againe. Why? because they are not acquainted with the true priviledg of a Christian, they do not know what it is to possesse the bowels of God, they know not where to goe for more, therefore they are loth to part with what they have. Now the Saints can part with any thing for God, let him take what he will have, let him strip me as naked as hee pleaseth, I have the bowels of God, I have the spring-head to goe to for all mercies a∣gain. It is true, if there were want of water, and you had only water in a ci∣stern, if your neighbour came to borrow of you, you would be loth to lend any; but if you have a well-spring, and a fountaine that never was dry, and never will be drawn dry, is it a great matter for you to lend water then? So, it is true, the men of the world are needy creatures, they have something in∣deed, but it is as water in a cistern, when that is gone, they think that all is gone, therefore they will not lend it, no not unto God himselfe when hee calls for it. But the Saints have the bowels of mercy, the spring-head of all mercy, therefore whatsoever God calls for, they presently say, Lord here take all, I know where to have it againe, and much more then that. This makes godly men so ingenuous for God, and so free hearted to him and to his servants.

I will berroth thee unto me in mercies.*

A little to search into these mercies: It is an argument that hath much depth in it.

First, they are a depth swallowing up the greatest evill of sin or affliction. [ 1] If you should poure a paile of water upon the planchers in your chamber, it seems a great deale of water, like a little sea; but take a paile of water, and poure it into the deep Ocean, and it is there swallowed up, and appears nothing. Our afflictions that are upon us, and our sinnes, in themselves ap∣pear great, but when they come to be swallowed up in these bowels, in these depths of Gods mercies,* in which he betrotheth himself unto us, they are as nothing in comparison. Therefore the Scripture hath such strange expres∣sions of the wonderfulness of Gods mercies to his people in Christ.

The Scripture hath three notable words to expresse the fulnesse of Gods mercies in Christ. The first is Ephes. 2. 7. the abundant riches of his grace, the riches that are cast in, over and above. The second word is in Rom. 5. 20. The grace of God hath been more then exceeding, there is a second 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉.

And a third is, 1 Tim. 1. 14. The grace of God was exceeding abundant, it had a pleonasme asore, yea but here is a super-pleonasme. Here are three 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 put upon Gods mercy, to note the riches of the glory, and depth of the mercy of God in Christ.

Secondly, consider these mercies in the effects. They set on worke all [ 2] that is in God for the good of his people. If there be any thing that Gods wisedome, or power, that all that blessednesse that is in GOD can doe, for the bowels of mercy yerne toward thee, and they will set all on worke 〈1 page duplicate〉Page  454〈1 page duplicate〉Page  455〈1 page duplicate〉Page  454〈1 page duplicate〉Page  455〈1 page duplicate〉Page  456〈1 page duplicate〉Page  457〈1 page duplicate〉Page  458〈1 page duplicate〉Page  459〈1 page duplicate〉Page  460〈1 page duplicate〉Page  461Page  462 for thy good if thou beest in Christ.

Yea further, know that it is such mercy as it is the great designe, yea the greatest designe that ever God had from all eternity to honour this his mer∣cy, to set out the infinite glory and the riches of this his mercy in Christ. Certainly God had great designs in doing such great things as he hath done, but above all the designs that ever God had in all his works, that is the chief, to glorifie the riches of his mercy in Christ. They are indeed bowels of mer∣cy, when they are such as in the glory of which God attaineth his great de∣signe in making the world, he would never have made the world, had it not been for that.

[ 4] Fourthly, They are the heart-blood mercies of JESUS CHRIST, they are such mercies as are worth all the blood of Christ, and his blood was certainely most precious blood, when Christ sees any converted and brought home to him, to be made a subject of Gods mercy, hee thinks his blood well bestowed. The text saith, he shall see his seed, and his soule shall be satisfied. I have enough for all the blood I shedde. Indeed I came from my Father, and was made a servant, a curse, I suffered the wrath of my Fa∣ther, my blood was shed, but if this be the fruit of it, that such and such a soule shall have this mercy, I have enough for all my blood, I am glad that ever I shed it.

[ 5] Yea God the Father is well pleased with it, he thinks the blood of Christ but a valuable price to purchase such mercies as these.* As for all the glory of the world God can give that unto men that he hates, to reprobates, as Lu∣ther saith of the whole Turkish Empire, it is but a crum of bread that the Master of the house throws to his dogs; but when it cometh to his mercies in Christ, they are such as are worth the blood of his Sonne, that must goe to be the price for the purchasing of them.

6. They are such mercies as God bestows on purpose that hee may de∣clare to all eternity before Angels and all his Saints, what God is able to doe for a creature, to what a height of excellency and glory these infinite mercies are able to raise a poor creature unto. These must needs be great.

Yea they are such as must be the object for Angels and Saints to admire at,* adore and magnifie the name of God for, everlastingly.

What shall I say more in naming any fruits of these mercies? Such mer∣cies as whereas before sin made thee to be the object of Gods hatred, it makes thee now to be an object of his pity, God takes the rise from thy sin to shew his mercy. Take heed of abusing it, it is childrens bread, that which I now speak, let us not sinne that grace may abound, God sorbid; seeing thy sin cannot overcome Gods goodnesse, let Gods goodness overcome thy sin; Only let us learn to admire at these riches of mercy in Christ, and let us ex∣ercise much faith about them. Certainely wee should thrive in godlinesse much more if we did exercise faith in the bowels of God in Christ. Those kind of fruits, as your Apricocks and your May-cherries, that grow up by a wall in the open sun-shine, and have the hot reflection of the sun, come to be Page  463 sooner ripe & have more sweetness then those that grow in shady places; your grasse you know that is shaded by the trees, in Orchards, is sowre; So that fruit that Christians bring forth under discouragements and dispairing thoughts, is very sowre; some things they do conscience hales them to du∣ties, but alas it is sowre fruit; though it be better to doe what conscience re∣quires then not, for we must not go against conscience, but to doe it meerly because conscience hales to it, it is but sowre grasse. But when a Christian can by Faith set himselfe before the Sun-shine of these mercies of God in Christ, and continually live in the midst of the lustre of the grace of God in Christ, he groweth ripe sooner, and his fruit is sweeter. You may know whether it be the Sun of righteousnesse or no that you are set in, Doth your fruit grow ripe? and is it sweet fruit? Those who talke of mercy and of Christ, who have the name of Christ in their mouths, but is their fruit sowr, does nothing come from them but crabbed fruit? these men are not in the Sun, they are blinde, they cannot see the Sun, they are but in a light of their own fancy, and in a heat of their own making.

Ephes. 3. 18. 19. The Apostle prayes for the Ephesians, that they may be able to comprehend, what is the bredth, and length, and depth, & height of the riches of God in Christ: Marke, the Phylosophers tells us but of three demensions, but here are foure; but what is the fruit of this? And that you may know the love of Christ that passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulnesse of God; Here is the effect of it, when we come to know the bredth, and length, and depth, and height of Gods love, and have that knowledge by the Spirit of God that passeth all naturall knowledg, then we come to be filled with all the fulnesse of God. Here now is a glorious Chri∣stian, a Christian filled with all the fulnesse of God. VVould you be so? Learne then to exercise faith much about the infinite riches of the mercy of God in Christ, this will fill you with all the fulness of God, you complain of barrennes and emptines in your hearts and lives, it is because you exercise so little Faith in these mercies of God in Christ.

God betrotheth his Church unto himselfe in mercies, in bowels. Let us learne to pleade these mercies before the Lord, to pleade them when we are in any strait, to pleade with God for bowels, Esay, 63. 15. Looke downe from heaven, and behold from the habitation of thy holi esse and thy glo∣ry, where is thy zeale, and thy strength, the sounding of the bowels, and of thy mercies towards us? are they restrained? Lord, hast thou not said that thou wilt betroth thy Church unto thy self in bowels? Where is the sound∣ing of thy bowels? Lord let us have these bowels of thine in which thou hast betrothed us through Christ.

Oh what confusion will there be one day unto those that shall misse of all these mercies of God, in which the Lord hath betrothed himselfe un∣to his Church! VVhat, will you content your selves now with crums that God casteth to dogs, with the fruits of Gods generall bounty and patience, when you heare of such glorious mercies as are in Jesus Christ? These Page  464 things should so raise our hearts, that wee should protest as Luther did, I protest saith hee, God shall not put mee off with these things of the world, with my portion here.* Oh no, the Lord hath shewed me greater riches, though I be unworthy of any, yet I know his mercy is free, why then should not I have my portion in these glorious things?

Come in then▪ come in oh sinfull soule, be in love with Jesus Christ, & the ways of godlinesse, know that all these mercies are tendred unto thy soule this day, to break thy heart, even that hard heart of thine, and they are as free for thee as for any. There is nothing more pleasing unto God then for thee to be taken with the glory of the riches of his mercy. Thou canst perform no duty so acceptable unto God as this, to have thy heart break upon the codsidera∣tion of his bowels, to have thy bowels yern again, and to come in and close with this infinite, rich, and glorious grace of his.

Which if thou dost, know that the first moment thou art united to Christ, thou dost lanch into the infinite Ocean of mercy, now thou breathest in the element of mercy, now thou livest upon nothing but mercy.

Is it so? Then know God expects a mercifull disposition from thee too. God betrotheth thee in righteousnesse, and putteth righteousnesse into thee; in judgment, and gives thee judgment too; in loving kindnesse, and makes thee loving and kind likewise; in mercies, and putteth mercies into thee, bowels into thee also.

First,* toward himself. Why? can we be mercifull unto God? what good can wee doe to God? God expects you should have bowels toward him; How? Thus, Dost thou see the name of this blessed God thy husband to be dishonoured in the world? Oh thy bowels should yern, thou shouldst have bowels working now. What, doth God look upon thee in thy blood, in thy misery, and doth his bowels yern toward thee? Canst thou look upon God in his dishonour, and his cause trampled under foot, and do not thy bowels yern toward him? It should pitie thy soule to see this blessed God to be so much dishonoured in the world as he is, to see that there are so few in the world that love and feare this God, who is thy God, and hath done thee so much good. VVhat, is there any good cause up wherein the name of God should be honoured? Thy bowels should work presently toward it. Cant. 5. 4. My beloved put his hand by the hole of the doore, and my bowels were moved for him. VVhen Christ did but begin to open a door, put but in his hand, when there was any good but beginning to be done; Oh my bowels were moved, saith the Church, and I could never be at quiet untill I had en∣quired after, yea and found my beloved. Is there any beginning to let in Christ into the Kingdome in his government amongst us? Dowe feele him putting in his hand at the door? (certainly if we be skilled in the way of Christ, we may seele him putting his hand in at the door) Oh that our bowels would yern, and cause our hearts to flow to the bontisulnesse of the Lord, and joyn with Christ in that blessed work of his that he is about.

Our bowels must also be toward the Saints. It is extreamely against the Page  465 spirit of Christ for a Christian to be hard-hearted toward his brethren, Christ expects bowels; And as you would account it grievous misery to have your bowels rotten, to have diseases in your bowels, know it is as great an e∣vill to have your hearts unmercifull, that is, to have a disease in your bowels, so the Scripture phrase is, Amos 1. 11. He cast off all pitie, & his anger did tear perpetually, so it is in your bookes; but the words in the Originall are, And corrupted his bowels; their bowels were corrupted when they were not pittiful toward their brethren in misery. It was a grievous condition that Ie∣horam was in, 2 Chron. 21. 15. when his bowels came forth by reason of his disease. An unmercifull heart is a worse disease then this.

What are wee, and who are we that Gods mercies should be shewen to∣wards us? why not our mercies toward our brethren then? The Scripture calleth exceedingly for mercy in the Saints toward one another. Col. 3. 17. Put on as the Elect of God bowels of mercy and kindness. VVould you have an argument unto your selves that you are Gods Elect? put on bowels then. Never was there time since you lived, or your forefathers lived, wherein God called for bowels more then now. Do you hear of the miseries of your brethren, their goods spoiled, houses burnt, wives, children ravished, them∣selves imprisoned, their bodies wounded, and yet no bowels all this while; what, you hard-hearted in the meane time? Are you the elect of God? why I pray you, what is your flesh more then the flesh of others? what are your comforts more then the comforts of others? why should you lie soft and safe more then others? Is there any such difference betwixt you and your bre∣thren, that they should be in misery, and you must be pampered, and scarce feele the very wind to blow on you, and yet in the meane time your hearts hardned towards them? It is true, God it is that hath made the difference you will say; and God may make a difference where he pleaseth. I grant it, and it would not grieve God to make such a difference betweene you and them, if he saw your bowels yern towards them. But if God layes such af∣flictions upon your brethren who are better then you, and have done more for him then ever you have done, and yet you are hard-hearted, this will grieve God at the heart. 1 Ioh. 3. 17. He that seeth his brother hath need, and shuiteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? If thou hast bowels, and shuttest them up from thy brother, surely thou never knewest what the love of God meant.

Mark that place▪ 2 Cor. 9. 8. what encouraging expressions we have unto bounty and liberality toward our brethren, for the opening our bowels to∣ward them. God is able to make all grace abound towards you, that yee al∣wayes having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good worke. There is no such text in all the book of God to encourage to the opening our bowels to the administring to the necessities of the Saints, for that Scripture is brought to that end, that part of the Chapter is spent about that argument, if you believe any thing in the Scripture, if you have any experience of Gods bowels towards you, read over this, and see if it will not open your bowels.

Page  466God is able to make all grace abound;*Grace abound, that is something; all grace, that is more; but all kinde of grace, that is more then that, & that from Gods almighty power too; but that is not enough, Marke, that you always having all sufficiency in all things. It were enough one would think God should say, you shall have all things needfull, no you shall have all things, If he had said thus, you shall have sufficiency in that you have, that is something, no but you shall have all things, and sufficiency in all things, and all sufficiency in all things. Yea but I may want before I dye? No, you shall have alwayes all sufficiency in all thiugs. Well, this may make us doe something, you may thinke if I do this good work, and another, and another, I hope I do my part, no but you must abound, you must doe every good work and abound in every good work. But I shall draw my self dry if I be so abundant in every good work; No, God is able to make all grace in you to abound towards you, that you alwayes having all sufficiency in all things may abound; You shall never be drawn dry, for you have the bowels of Gods mercy. Alexander giving large gifts, some asked him, what will you keepe for your selfe? Spes, saith he, I will keepe Hope for my self, I will make account that still there are greater things comming for me; what he had he gave away, because he had a spirit that looked after and ho∣ped for great things to come; certainly Christians have that left, alwayes they have hope, they may expect great things, why? because they have the bowels of Gods mercies to be theirs.

One thing more (to knit all together) all righteousnesse, all judgement, all loving kindnesse, all mercies comes from God through our union with Christ.

Though God be an infinite ocean of goodnesse, yet we can expect nothing from God but through our union with Christ, Man hath forfeited the title he had to all the goodness of God, and now the title upon which he is to hold all his good, it is the union he hath with this husband, with JESUS CHRIST by vertue of this marryage. Whensoever Faith goes to heaven for any good from God, it goeth to heaven by vertue of this right, and ob∣taineth all the good it gets from God by vertue of that conjugall union the soul hath with JESUS CHRIST.

How blessed then was the time when Christ was first revealed to the Church! Cant. 3. 11. Behold King Solomon with the Crown where with his mother crowned in the day of his espousals, in the day of the gladnesse of his heart, These things opened in our espousals with Christ, must needes make that day the day of the gladnes of our hearts. O how deare should this Christ thy husband be unto thee! how happy, when thou shalt have full communion with him! when Jsaac met Rebekka, he carryed her into his mothers tent: when the Lord Christ shall meet his spouse, he will carry her into his Fathers pillace. Behold the riches, the glory of my Father whom I told you of, these are all yours in my right eternally.