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  467

The Nineteenth Lecture.

HOSEA 2. 20. 21. 22. 23,

I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulnesse, and thou shalt know the Lord.

And it shall come to passe in that day, I will heare saith the Lord, I will heare the heavens, and they shall heare the earth.

And the earth shall heare the corne, and the wine, and the oyle, and they shall heare Iezreel.

And I will sowe her unto me in the earth, and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy, and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people, and they shall say, Thou art my God.

I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulnesse.

Here is a third betrothing, I will betroth, I will betroth, I will betroth, Jerome hath a note upon that and saith, that it is thrice repeated to note three several times of Gods betrothing himselfe unto his people. 1. VVhen he called Abraham. 2. After they went out of Egypt and were in the wildernesse at Mount Sinai. 3. In the time of the Gospell. And of this Exposition Calvin saith,* it may be accounted witty, but it is frivolous. He giveth a better reason (which I thinke to be the minde of the holy Ghost) why it is thrice tepeated; Because apostatizing Israel could hardly beleeve that ever God would doe such a thing as this, what after the Lord had cast Israel away? yea cast her to the beasts (for so he threatneth in the former part of the chapter) yet now betroth her to himself, this was unlikely.

I will [even] betroth thee, so you have it in your books; now the truth is, the word in the Originall is Vau, the same that is translated and before, but because the third time it is said [and] the Translators thought there was an emphasis in the third And, and therefore to expresse that emphasis they put in the word [even.] Infaithfulnesse] In steadiness, so the word signifieth, I will betroth thee unto me in a steady way,* my goodness toward thee shall be stable and sirme. So the word is often used in Scripture, Exod. 17. 12.

His hands were steady, the same word that we have here for faithfulnes, So Deut. 28. 59. I will make thy plagues of long continuanoe, thy plagues stable and constant, the same that is here for faithfulness. And 1 Sam. 2. 35. I will raise me up a faithfull Priest, and I will build him a sure house, there the word is of the same roote, a sure house, a firm, steady house. Faithfulnes here imports, Gods stability & steadines in his Covenant with his people. It notes not so much the perpetuity, for that was before, I will betroth thee unto me for ever: But firmeness & constancy, as opposite to ficklenes & un∣certainty. There is much unconstancy & fickleness in our love one to ano∣ther, but the love of God to his people is stable, setled, firm & constant love.

That is the meaning in the first place, though not all. Esay 62. 5. As the Eridegroome rejoyceth over the Bride, so shal thy God rejoyce ver thee, that Page  468 is, the love of Christ after thousands of yeers is still but as the love of a bride∣groome upon the wedding day, then ordnarily love is hot & appears much; not the love onely of the husband,* but as the Bridegroome.

There is no moment of time, but Christ rejoyceth not onely as a hus∣band, but as a Bridegroome over every gracious soule.

Christs love is steady, because it is pure, without mixture; it is a holy love. Observe the comparing of two Texts, Esay 55. 3. The sure mercies of David are promised there. In Acts 13. 34. that Scripture is quoted, and there it is The holy things of David; As noting, because the love of God is holy, therefore it is sure and stedfast.

Christs love unto his people is in righteousnesse, as before, and in judge∣ment, and in loving kindnesse, and mercies: It is from the sweetness of his nature, and therefore it is steady & firm. With him there is no shadow of change. It is grounded upon a sure covenant, therefore firme. Though in∣deed the love of Christ may be to us as the shining of the Sun, not alwayes in the fruits of it, shining out so gloriously, but the Sun keepes his course in a steady way, though sometimes it is clouded, and we have it not so glorious∣ly as at other times. The Saints should fasten upon the love of Christ in the Covenant; and though other things be never so uncertaine, yet they should quiet their hearts in this, that their happiness in the Covenant of grace is cer∣taine. Perhaps the love of our friend is uncertaine, very fickle and incon∣stant; those who will glavor upon you, and seeme as if their hearts were with you, but what sullen moods and fits will there be at times! and when you have most need of them, you know not where to finde them. But the love of Christ is certaine and stable, 2 Sam. 23. 5. Marke how David com∣forted himself in the stablenesse of the love of God in the covenant. Though he doth not cause my house to grow, yet he hath made with me an everlast∣ing covenant, ordered in all things and sure, and this is all my desire & all my hope, that is, that the Covenant is sure and stedfast.

And (as we have opened it in all the former) so here it must be mutuall.*

I will betroth thee in faithfulnesse, and make thee faithfull too; that is, thou shalt have a steady, firme, stable spirit in thy love to me, though not in that degree that Christs is, yet there is a stability in the hearts of the Saints unto Christ, they are not carried up and down with every wind of doctrine, with every puffe of temptation as other men are. The righteous is an ever∣lasting foundation, Pro. 10. 25. The upright holdeth on his way, Iob. 17. 9.

It must needs be so, because the affections of the Saints unto Christ are ho∣ly affections too, though not perfect, they have indeed some mixture, there∣fore some instability; but they have holiness, therefore stability.

And they choose Christ in righteousnesse and in judgement. And they have the Divine Nature in them; and as that hath no shadow of change, so they come to have something like to the immutability of the Divine Na∣ture, some shadow of it. Esay 26. 3. A godly man is described thus, Whose minde is staid upon God: he hath a stable spirit, not a wandring, fickle, ro∣ving Page  469 spirit, he hath fixed himself upon God, he can say, My heart is fixed. The men of the world, because they have not that which can satisfie, run up and downe, first, after one contentment, then after another, they have no where to fix: but the Saints finde all-sufficiency in God, when they are there, their hearts are satisfied, and there they fix. As a Bee lighting upon a flower,* finding but a little honey, gets away to another, and to another, and to another; but when it comes to a flower, where it may suck honey enough it fixeth, it stayeth there. The hearts of the Saints find a fulnesse of good, in God, and there they fixe. A fickle, wavering, unstable spirit is exceeding unbeseeming a Christian. As it is in the body, some who have flushings of heat, have a very good colour for a while, but when we know this good co∣lour is but a flush, it is rather an argument of a disease, then of a good com∣plexion. An end of a candle that burnes in the socket gives some flashes of light now and then, but a candle that is set upon a table gives a steady and constant light. Mad people you know have their Iudicia intervalla, some times wherein they doe acts of reason, but you may perceive they are not in their wits, because there is not constancy, and evennesse in their actions.

This stablenes, this evenes in a Christian way is the beauty and glory of it. Though you be never so forward sometimes in that which is good, yet if at other times your hearts be off, there is no beauty in your conversation. But give me a Christian whose wayes are even, that you may finde a constancy in him in all his wayes.

Those who have such fickle, uncertaine, inconstant hearts, are never like to excell; if they have any truth in them, yet they will never be eminent Christians, Gen. 49. 4. it is said of Ruben, Ruben unstable as water, but hee shall not excell; so it may be said of a Christian unstable; here is one of good affections, at sometimes very forward, but unstable as water, he shall not excell. Constancy in love is exceeding comely and beautifull between man and wife, from thence is the expression of the holy Ghost here; it adds much unto the lustre and comfort of their lives. For men to seeme some∣times to be mighty fond, & other times to be bitter and sowre, like Nabals; or the wife to be very fond sometimes, and to be grievous & irkesome at o∣ther times, this takes away the beauty, the comfort of their lives.

But there is more in this faithfulnesse then stability and firmeness, I will betroth thee in faithfulnesse; I will certainly performe all the good you can expect from me, which is befitting a husband, yea such a husband as I am, to doe to my Spouse;* you may confide in me, I will be faithfull to you, not onely my love, but my faithfulnes shall binde me to you: My loving kind∣ness, my mercifull disposition is a great bond, but my faithfulnes shall binde me also, I will be content to ingage my selfe to you, that you may certainly confide in me, so as you may not only expect it from my love, but challenge it from my faithfulness. We deny not Gods providence to other creatures, but the Spouse challengeth Gods care, saith Bernard, which is beyond pro∣vidence, such as is out of faithfulnes, as well as out of love. Christ here con∣descends Page  470 to his Spouse, as a man is willing to give satisfaction to his wife & her friends, though the truth is he would doe any thing in the world out of love to his wife, yet in regard of her weaknesse, and to satisfie some friends he is content to enter into bond, to do any thing that is fitting; it is good to make all things sure before-hand, say her friends, he presently yeilds, for it is no other but what he is willing to doe without bonds, onely to satisfie her and their minds. Thus it is between Christ and his Spouse: The truth is, the love of Christ is enough to make a supply of any of our wants, but wee are weake, and would faine have things made sure, therefore saith Christ to helpe our weakeness, I will even enter into bond, and you may be sure I will be faithfull then, I will binde my faithfulnes to you for all the good you would have.

And this faithfulnesse of Christ is either in regard of the great Marri∣age-Covenant, there hee will be sure to be faithfull to his Spouse; Or in regard of all particular promises, that are under things as it were. There is the great marriage-covenant, about reconciling God, and paying all debts that are owing and satisfying Gods justice, and bringing to eternall life; but there are many under-promises, and Christ will be faithfull in them all. Ps. 25. 10. you have a promise worth a kingdome, All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth, not onely mercy, but mercy and truth, mercy ingaged.

VVicked men may have mercy from God, from the generall bounty and goodnesse, and mercifull disposition of God, but what the Saints have is from ruth, as well as from mercy, it is bound to them.

God stands much upon this that the hearts of his Saints should confide in him.* He accounts not himselfe honoured except we confide in him: there∣fore marke how Christ suiteth himselfe unto our weaknesse, that wee may confide in his faithfulnesse. What is it (saith he) that you poore creatures do one to another when you would make things sure betweene you? Wee answer thus, Lord we ingage our selves by promise one to another. I will do so saith Christ, you shall have my promise, my faithfull promise. Acts 2. 39. Peter invites to Baptisme upon this ground, because the promise is made to you and to your children, and to as many as the Lord our God shal call: The first he speakes to the Jews, the other to the Gentiles; As if he should say, Come in and receive Baptisme, for to you and to your children the promise is made, to you that are Jews and to your children, and to the Gentiles, they have the promise that you have, they come under the same Covenant for the maine, the promise is to them and to their children too. And this promise that Christ hating aged himself in, is no other then a draught of that which was before the world began, from all eternity, and therefore it is so much the more sure. Tit. 1. 2. the Gospell is called a promise before the world began.

All promises in the Scripture are but a draught of that grand promise that God the Father made to his Son before the world began; As if Christ should say, Will you have engagement by promise? This is past long agoe, my Fa∣ther hath engaged himself to me from all eternity, & if you have any promise Page  471 it is but a draught of that first copie of that great promise my Father hath made me from all eternity.

VVhat doe you doe more when you would make things sure one to ano∣ther? VVe answer, we doe not onely make a verball promise, by word of mouth, but we write it. God hath therefore given us his Scripture, and the chiefe thing in Scripture is the promise, God hath set to his hand to his pro∣mise in Scripture. Hence Luther hath a notable expression, The whole Scripture doth especially aim at this, that we should not doubt, but believe, confide, hope that God is mercifull, kind, patient.

VVhat do you more? Here you have my promise and my hand, is there any thing else you use to do, to make things sure? VVe answer, Lord wee take witnesses. I will do so too, saith God. VVhen we would make things sure indeed, we take not only two, but three, or four, but half a dozen wit∣nesses sometimes. You shall have witnesses; saith God as many as you will, witnesses of all sorts, witnesses in heaven, witnesses in earth; In heaven, I Iohn 5. 7. The Father, the Word, and the holy Ghost, witnesses authenti∣call, of credit enough, the three Persons in the Trinity, upon earth, the spi∣rit, the water, and the blood.

What do you more to make a thing sure? Lord, we set to our seales too; you shall have that too saith God, you shall have seals of all sorts, you shall have the broad seale of Heaven, the Sacraments, the seals of the Covenant; and you shall have my privie seale, I will take my Ring off my finger, I will give you even the seale of the spirit, and do but shew this seale, it is authenti∣call enough.

Is there any thing more? Yes we answer, there is one thing more, we take an oath, I will do that too, saith God, that you may be sure, and confide in my faithfulnesse. Heb. 6. 17. God willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his councell, consirmed it by his oath. As if he should say, there is no such need of an oath, but I will be abundant to you, because I would have you trust mee, And mark this is for the sake of the heirs of promise, God would never have done this for other men, it is for your sakes onely who are the heirs of promise, in regard of your weak∣nesse he conrfims all with an oath. And if wee would have things sure, wee will not have the oath of such as are of no great credit. Mark, therefore it is that God sweareth, and that by the greatest oath, ver. 13. Because he could sweare by no greater, saith the text, he sware by himselfe.

Is there any thing more saith God that you use to do among your selves to make things sure? Yes Lord, we use to take a pawn too. You shall have that too saith he, I will give you a pawn, and such a pawn as if you never had any thing more you would be happie. what is that? 2 Cor. 1. 22. Who hath sealed us, and given us the earnest of his spirit in our hearts. I will send my spirit to be an earnest of all the good that I intend to do for you everlastingly. Is there any thing else you would require of me that you may confide in me? Yes, if God would doe some great & notable work as a beginning & as an ingagement of that which is to come after, this is yet more then Page  472 a pawne, when there is some speciall thing done in way to that which wee make account of, that we are not only promised it, and have it under hand and seale, and have an oath and a pawne, but it is in a great degree begun, and so begun as the difficulty is over. Those who live under the Gospell see the greatest part of our salvation already done for us. God made a promise of sending his Son into the world; Now in Gods performing that promise that God-man should come into the world to be made a curse for sin, this is the greatest worke of all that is to be done to all eternity, and if God would have failed in any thing it would have been in that. It is not so much for God to deliver us in this world, it is not so much for him to bring us to hea∣ven, as it is to send his Son into the world to be made a curse for us. Now when God hath done so great a work and hath beene faithfull in that great promise, he hath taught us for ever to trust in him, to beleeve his faithfulness in making good other promises. If a man who owes five thousand pound, and payes you foure thousand nine hundred of it, you thinke surely hee will never breake for one hundred, I may trust him for the rest, seeing hee hath dealt so faithfully with me in the great summe. God hath paid the four thou∣sand nine hundred and much more, in comparison of what God hath done for us, take all the glory of heaven, we have not one hundred of the five thou∣sand left behince, therefore we may well confide in him for the payment of the rest.* But is God able? It is true, God is faithfull: This is seldome an ob∣jection, at least an explicite objection in the mouths of people, but surely an implicite one it is in the hearts of many; that appears by those cautions, God gives to take away that objection, 1 Pet. 4. 19. Commit the keeping of your souls unto him as unto a faithful Creator, as if he had not said enough in say∣ing he is faithfull, he adds faithfull Creator, as if he should say, f there be no means to help you I will create means, I will put forth my Almighty pow∣er to create helpe for you,* but you shall have helpe, Dan. 9. 27. The Lord will confirme the Covenant; the word is used for a mighty man, a Giant in Scripture. Gen. 19. 8. He began to be a mighty one in the land, as a Giant in the earth, the word here is of the same root, God will come forth as a Gi∣ant, as a mighty man to make sure the Covenant he hath made with his peo∣ple, if there be any thing in the world wherein God will stirre up his infinite power, the excellency of his power, the glory of his right hand, it will be in confirming his Covenant to his Saints, Esay 26. 4. Trust ye in the Lord for ever, for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength, Esay. 54. 5. Thy Maker is thy husband, the Lord of Hosts is his name, the God of the whole earth shall he be called.

Seeing God is so faithfull, let not us be faithlesse. But things goe very crosse,* and how shall we beleeve, our faith shakes? the true genuine love of the Saints is such as will love God without gifts, for himself, so the genuine art of faith, is to beleeve in God without experience, yea though things seem to goe contrary. That love is but a lame love that loveth God onely for that which vve receive from him for the present, and that is but a lame faith that beleeveth only in od for that which we see for the present.

Page  473 Doe things goe crosse? they are corrections, and those may come from faithfulnes as well as any thing the Church enjoyes, Psal. 119. 75. I know O Lord that thy judgements are right, and that thou in faithfulnesse hast afflicted me; As God comes downe to you and sutes himself to you as his poor creatures, so you should labour to raise your hearts to him, to beleeve in him as a great God. od deals with you as having to deale with weak cre∣atures, you should deale with him as having to doe with an infinite God. You must give God leave to doe his worke his owne way. The object of our confidence in God, it is, the thing will be done, it is not how it will be done, or when it will be done, but that God will carry his worke thorough. Shall our weakness be so much regarded, as that things must not work so as to shew Gods power? Certainly it is too too much for us to think our weak∣ness must be so far condescended to. One would think that it is enough, that God condescendeth so much as to expresse himself so to you as you may be∣leeve; would you have God condescend to expresse himselfe so to you, as he should not have the glory of his worke, nor you the glory of your faith? this is too low. Though we be bound to deny our selves much, because of the weakness of our brethren; Must God deny his glory because of our weake∣nesse? We burden God too much with our weaknesse. It is for Gods glo∣ry that things goe as they doe; Lazarus was dead, and dead so long, that the work of God might appeare.

But I finde not things go so as I expected, I thinke I have beleeved, at such a time in prayer I thought my heart did close with the promises of God, but yet things goe not so as I expect. Though things be otherwise then thou ex∣pectest, yet it may be God calls for new acts of thy beleeving, and it is be∣cause there is no renewing of thy faith in his faithfulness. You must know, the continuall actings of Faith draw out the continuall actings of the power of God.* I will give you for that one famous Text, perhaps you may reade it often and heare it, but not perceive the strength there is in it. Psal. 31. 19. O how great is thy goodnes which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee! but marke what followeth, which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee. Great is the goodnesse thou hast laid up. Gods goodnesse is great to admiration for them that feare him, but how? It is laid up for them, but now marke, which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee.

All the goodnesse that is in God, is for them that feare him, but it is not fearing God that will bring it to work, it is laid up in a treasury indeed; do you feare God? God hath laid up abundance of goodnesse in a treasury for you, but you must not expect this will work for you, unless you trust in him; your Faith must bring it forth into work, and that before the sonns of men; thou shalt hide them in the secret of thy presence from the pride of men.

Would you be hid in the secret of Gods presence from the pride of men? you must not onely feare God, but trust in his faithfulness. Mat. 13. 58. Christ did no mighty works there because of their unbelief: And Mak. 6, 5. He could not doe no works because of their unbelief. One says he did not, and the other sayes he could not, Page  468 When we have a promise, let us put on to get the goodnesse of God to work, which is by believing. For that I will give you as notable an example as any I know you have in the book of God, of a believing heart, catching hold up∣on a promise upon Gods faithfulnesse to work it out, 1 Chron. 17. 23. and so on. In the former part of the Chapter you shall finde God had promised David to establish his house, to build him a sure house; Well, as soone as David had got the word, mark how hee improves it, how hee works upon Gods word; As if he had said, Seeing I have got his word, I will hold to it, he shall not goe from it, saith he, Therefore, O Lord, let the things thou hast spoken concerning thy servant and concerning his house, be established for ever, and doe as thou hast said. Thou hast spoken, do as thou hast said. Ver. 24.*Let it even be established, I expect it, seeing thou hast been pleased in such a gracious way to promise me thus, I will relye upon it, let it be even e∣stablished, that thy name may be magnifyed for ever. I will plead thy name in it, if there be any thing to be pleaded more then other, I will plead it be∣fore thee; but is not this enough? Vers. 25. Thou O Lord God hast told thy servant that thou wilt build him an house, therefore thy servant hath found in his heart to pray before thee. He had said before, that God had spoken it; here he goes over it again, as making much of Gods word, thou hast told me, and I pray for nothing but what thou hast told me. Nay yet still David encroacheth more upon God, Ver. 26. Now O Lord thou art God, & thou hast promised this goodnesse unto thy servant. I have not to deal with a man that will be fickle and inconstant, wavering and unfaithfull, but thou art God, and I will trust in thee as a God, thou art God, and thou hast promi∣sed this goodnesse, it is thine owne goodnesse, now therefore do it. See how he followeth God upon his promise. And mark what admirable effects fol∣lowed upon this, Chap. 18. ver. 1. After this, saith the Text, he prospered, when his enemies came against him, he took a thousand charets, and seven thousand horsemen, and twenty thousand footmen from Hadarezer, and when the Syrians came to help that Hadarezer, he slew of the Syrians two and twenty thousand men. After this, mark the connexion of that Chap∣ter and this, after David had improved the promise, hee might have what he would; thus the loving kindnesse of God was laid up in a promise, but wrought out by Davids faith. This is our evill that we do not improve this faithfulnesse of God, wee lose abundance by it. It is an argument that wee have base spirits. It is a great evill between man and wife, when they can∣not confide one in another, but are jealous, how can such live comfortably together? So we are jealous of God, we lose our comfort in him; Jealou∣sie comes oftentimes from much basenesse of spirit, and selfe-guiltinesse, be∣cause we are of such base hearts our selves, that is the reason we are so jealous of God. Where there is much love between man and wife, there cannot be much jealousie, and if there were intire love in the Spouse of Christ, there would not be jealousie. You have an excellent passage for that, John 5. 40. You will not come unto me that you might have life, you will not believe in Page  475 me, that is the meaning: then ver. 42. I know you have not the love of God in you. Is there any thing in the world more tedious to a Husband, then that the Wife should be jealous of him?* think of it, the same tediousnesse it is unto the Spirit of Jesus Christ, that thou shouldst be jealous of him, and not confide in his faithfulnesse.

Surely if we did trust in Gods faithfulnesse, wee would not think to com∣pound with him so as we do, but wee would improve his promise to the ut∣ter most. As you that are Merchants, and have much owing you, all the while you confide in your debtors, you will not compound with them for less then your debt; if you should come to one that ows you money, and say, I pray Sir pay in my money, and I shall be content to take ten, or fifteen in the hundred; the party would think himselfe disgaced; what, do you distrust me? Do you think I will break? No, I will pay you every penny, he stands upon his credit. The truth is, we poor wretches, because we have not Gods promises presently fulfilled, we would compound with God, that is, if God would give us any little comfort for the present, we would be satisfied rather then waite for that which is to come, though it be infinitely more; this is a great dishonour to God, and an argument of our unfaithfulnesse. It is an ar∣gument of little faith, if thou canst be satisued, should God give thee tenne thousand worlds for the present, if God should say, what will yon have? would you have your enemies destroyed? would you have your peace and your trading in the world, your ease and quietnesse? Is this all? This is to compound with God for twelve pence in the pound as it were. No saith a gracious heart, Lord thou hast promised mercy, & I expect it to the full, I wil not abate the least farthing of it. God loveth we should stand with him for his promise unto the uttermost farthing. No, but I hope God give me Hea∣ven at last, yet I doubt hee will leave mee here in the world. This is to com∣pound with God another way; there are some who perhaps will pay eigh∣teene, or fifteen shillings in the pound, but it is a dishonour to God to abate one shilling in the pound, therefore we must not onely believe in God for heaven, but for earth, and for safety and comfort, and that in times of grea∣test trouble. God is well pleased with such kind of holy impudence, as we may say, that is, to follow him for the uttermost, and to urge him upon his word again and again, to pay what he is ingaged for.

Again, had we faith in God we would set upon great things though we see but little meanes. Many of you who have but little stockes, yet if you have rich friends that have given you encouragement, and that you know will be faithfull to you, you will trade for great things with your little stock, because you know you have those friends will stand by you. So though we have but little strength,* if God call us, we should be willing to set upon great things, because God hath stock enough, and he hath ingaged himself to stand by us.

I will bearoth thee unto me in faithfulness. As I will be faithfull to you, and you shall conside in my faithfulnesse, so you shall be faithfull to me, that I may confide in your faithfulnesse, as I fulfill all my promises, & covenant Page  476 vvith you, so you shall be faithfull to make good all the promises and cove∣nant with me. The Spouse of Christ is such a one as the Spirit of Christ can confide in. It is said of the vertuous woman, Pro. 31. 11. Her husband trusteth in her. Let him be abroad or at home, in what company soever, yet his heart trusteth in her, he can leave all his businesse, his writing, or any thing that concerns him with such a wife: VVhere there is want of this trusting of the heart of the husband in the wife, there is want of comfort in their lives; thus God saith of his people, Esay 63. 8. They are children that will not lye; I can confide in them, I can turne them unto any businesse as I will, for they are children who will not lye.

They are faithfull to God first in the great Covenant, in the surrendring themselves to God, as they doe at their first closing with Christ. In the first act of beleeving▪ every gracious soul enters into solemn covenant with God, & it will be faithfull in that covenant. And they will be faithfull likewise in all their under promises & vowes that they make to God, in days of fasting, and thansgiving, and at other times. As Gods promises are Gods gifts un∣to us, so should our promises be as gifts unto God. 2 Tim. 1. 9. According to his purpose and grace, which was given unto us in Christ Iesus before the world began; not onely promised, but given unto us in Christ Jesus. Gods eternall purpose is called Gods gift, so our purposes and our promises ought to be as sure as gifts unto God.

So in thy conversation thou must be faithfull to Christ, not prostitute thy selfe unto another, but keep thy selfe for Christ. Indeed the spouse of Christ may be ravished by open violence, but she will not prostitute her self to any other, she keepes her self onely for Christ. Thus the Saints are described, Ephe. 1. 1. faithfull in Christ Jesus. There is a kinde of natural faithfulnes as I may so speak, as in that place Esay 8. 2. I took unto me faithfull witnes∣ses, Calvin saith it is meant of Vrijah, that base temporizing Vrijah, who made the Altar according to the patterne that Ahaz sent from Damascus, he is said to be faithfull, that is, he was a faire, honest dealing man, his word was as good as his bond; so many civill men will be faithfull of their words; But mark here in the Ephesians it is faithfull in Christ Jesus, it is nnt onely faithfulnesse between man and man, for many Heathens were so, they would rather dye then cozen and cheate one another, but this is a higher degree of faithfulness; it is a faithfulnesse in Christ Jesus, so the Saints must be faith∣full, faithfull to Christ Jesus, and faithfull in Christ Jesus. They who are thus faithfull, are fit for the service of Christ, Christ hath a great deale of work to do, they are only fit for it, Rev. 17. 14. The Lamb shal overcome, why? for they that are with him, are chosen, and called, and faithfull, not called faithfull, but called and faithfull, and therefore the Lambe shall over∣come. It were happy that all that are in this publicke service in the kingdom that are with the Lambe, with Christ in this cause, were called and faithfull, the work would soon be at an end; It is faithfulness we shall be hereafter re∣••rded for, Well done good & faithfull servant; not well done good and Page  477 rich servant, or servant who had great imployment in publicke works, but well done good and faithfull servant. Every one of us cannot be eminent, every one cannot be employed in publicke services, but you may every one bee faithfull; you that are poore servants you may be faithfull as well as a Magistrate, as well as a Minister; you that are poore labouring men, por∣ters and water-men the meanest, you may be faithfull as well as the Nobles of a kingdom; God regardeth faithfulnes rather then service, hee hath no need of the services of men,* great or small, it is all one unto him, but he looks upon the faithfulnesse of their hearts. And as you must be faithfull unto God and his cause, so you must be faithfull one to another. You who are servants, if you be godly, be sure you be faithfull to your Masters, that there may be no occasion of any such scandoll as often there is concerning those who are professors, such a servant is forward, he must goe to sermons, and he is set against ceremonies, &c. But I never had any so unfaithfull, if mine eye be but off him, hee is from his businesse presently. God forbid there should be such scandols given. So VVives who professe godliness, be you sure you be faithful to your husbands and tradesmen who professe more then ordinary strictness in Religion, be you faithfull in your dealings. Hath Christ married himselfe unto thee in faithfulnesse? he expects that his faithfulnesse to thee should have that reflection upon thy heart as to make thee faithful to others. There is one note that is to be taken from all together. As if God should say, O Israel, you have dealt unrighteously with me, you have broken your covenant, you have gone a whoring from me, but I will betroth you to me in righteousnesse. You have done foolishly in departing from me, but I will betroth you unto me in judgement. You have been unkind to me, but I will betroth you unto me in loving kindness. It hath not pittied your souls to see me dishonored, but I will betroth my selfe in bowels of mercy to you.

You have been unfaithfull to me, but I will even betroth you unto me in faithfulnesse. The note from thence is this.

God dealeth not with those in Covenant with him as they deale with him.* It is a note of admirable use and comfort. Marke the difference betweene Gods dealing with others and those that are in covenant with him. Let o∣thers deale with God in a froward and perverse way, God will deale with them so too, Psal. 18. 26. With the froward thou wilt shew thy selfe fro∣ward. Will you be froward with God? God will shew himselfe froward with you. Will you be proud with God? In the thing you are proud God wil be above you. Will you be subtil and contriving mischiefe against God and his truth? God will meet with the wicked, and insnare them in the work of their own hands. Are you resolute in wickednesse? God will be as resolute as you for your hearts, as Jer. 44, 25. 26. But when God comes to deale with his Saints in covenant, though they deale frowardly with him, hee will deale gently with them: though they deale proudly with him, hee dealeth in a way of condescension with them; though they bee un∣faithfull to him, yet he will be faithfull to them. Oh my brethren this point Page  478 hath abundance of sweetnes in it, take heed of abusing it; Thy sins cannot overcome Gods goodnesse,* let Gods goodness overcome thy wickednesse.

And they shal know the Lord, They shal know that I am the Lord, so the Septuagint hath it; so the old Latin, thou shalt know because I am the Lord; but we rather reade it as it is in your bookes; They shall know the Lord.

But how comes this in, In faithfulnesse, and they shall know the Lord.

Thus, upon these two reasons.

First, because this shall be the means to keepe the Church the Spouse of Christ in faithfulnesse for ever, they shall know Christ to be the Lord. As if Christ should say, The reason of all your vile departings from me all this while, what is it? you doe not know me, you doe not see into the bounty and glory, into the excellency of my worship, and what I am, that is the reason you are gone from me and have been unfaithfull to me, but when I betroth you my self again, you shall know me, you shall see so much beauty and excellency in me & mine Ordinances that you shall never depart from me.

Low thoughts of God are the cause of superstitious vanities. Had men high and honourable thoughts of God they would never thinke to put him off with such bauble-worship as they do. Acts 9. 7. it is said the God of glo∣ry appeared to Abraham,* that is given as a ground why Abraham would forsake his Countrey his fathers house and his kindred, if we once knew the Lord, and that the God of glory had appeared to us, we would be ready to forsake all for him and give up our selves unto him in an everlasting cove∣nant.

Secondly, And they shall know me] This is as a fruit of my betrothing my self unto them,* as a fruite of the Covenant, Jer. 31. 34. They shal teach no more every man his neighbour and every man his brother, saying, know the Lord, for they shall know me from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord, for I will forgive their iniquity, &c. It is a fruit of the conjugall union betwixt Christ and the soul. As it is betwixt man and wife, when they are but only suitors, well willers, they do not communicate their secrets one to another, but when they once come to be marryed together, then they open all their hearts, there is no secret but they will disclose one to another. So saith God, when I am once marryed to you, I will open my whole heart to you, the secret of the Lord is with them that feare him.

Those that have but natural knowledge, understands something of the wayes of Religion, of the minde of Christ; As a man that is in the dark may know where he is, by feeling he may know what length and thickness ma∣ny things in the house are of, but when the light of the day comes, then hee knowes what the ••is in the roome after another manner then he did in the darke: this is the difference betweene knowledge of God in a natural man, and the knowledge of one espoused to Christ, by his naturall knowledge he may understand the hystory of the Gospell, he may have some generall no∣tions of God and of Christ, but when the Sun of righteousnesse ariseth, then be sees the excellency and glory of God, then he sees God shining in all his Page  479 attributes, he sees that in Christ which drawes his heart unto him in an ever∣lasting Covenant. As we reade Cant. 7. 5. Christ is held in the galleries, that is, Christ assoone as he is marryed to the foule, takes it as it were by the hand, and walkes into the Galleries, and there openeth his heart unto her. There is many a sweet turne that a gracious heart hath with Christ in his or∣dinances, wherin Christ openeth even his whole soul unto it, Joh. 15. 15. All things, saith Christ, that I have heard of my Father, I have made knowne unto you. An admirable Text, surely you cannot but know the Lord then. Here is the fruit of our union with Christ. Oh that our hearts were inflamed with desire after further conjugall communion with him! according to the capacity of the soul, so Christ makes knowne to it what he hath heard of the Father. Certainly Christ hath heard great things of the Father; he is the wis∣dome of the Father, he hath been with the Father from all eternity, and the Father loves him, he will tell him all the glorious things he hath in his heart, and Christ will hide none of those things from his Saints. This is the privi∣ledg of a Saint;* who would not be godly, by which he shall come to know the minde of the Father, according to what Christ knowes of it?

Yea and Christ makes God known to the Saints in another way then o∣thers know him. 2 Sam. 7. 27. Thou O Lord God of Hosts hast revealed unto thy servant, so you reade it in your bookes, but it is in the Hebrew, Lord thou hast revealed this to the eare of thy servant. I wonder how that word to the eare comes to be left out in your books, in which indeed the em∣phasis lye, I am sure it is so in the Text. When God makes known himselfe to his people he revealeth things to their Eare, as we to a friend who is inti∣mate with us, we speake a thing to his eare. There is many a secret which JESUS CHRIST speakes in the eart of his Saints, which others never come to be made acquainted with, 2 Cor. 4. 6. God who commanded the light to shine out of darknes, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledg of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. It would aske time for the full opening the gradations of this Scripture, here is knowledg, & the knowledg of the glory of God, & the light of the knowledg of the glory of God, and shining, and shining into our hearts, and into our hearts in the face of Jesus Christ. Surely then they shall know the Lord, and they shall know him in a very spirituall way. The light of the Saints is a light three story high; First,* they have the light of nature, which other men have, the light of reason. Secondly, they have the light of common gifts, which other men have too, and that is a story higher then the other; Thirdly, they have the light of a sanctifying spirit, that is a third loft, and they shall come to a fourth story, and that is the light of glory. The light that other men have is but as the light you have in a lower room, in ware-houses, which in some you know is so little that you are faine to use a candle at noone day, so some na∣tural men have onely the light of reason, which indeed is rather like your cel∣lars that have but a little light coming in at a grate; others have somewhat more light, they have common gifts, which is like the light in the next sto∣ry, Page  480 somewhat more clear, but the light of the Saints is higher then all these, they know God as their God, great is the excellency of his knowledge, the soul hath blessed satisfaction in it, let us see the Father and it sufficeth us, the fulnesse of glory that is let out into the soul, the sanctification of the heart by the presence of the beams of the glory of God, being transformed into the same Image, it is the very beginning of eternall life. Take onely this note about our knowledge of God by Christ, what a different way have we to know God by, from that which Heathens had. If you reade the Hysto∣ries of the Romanes, you shal find the poor & mean ways of those wise men had to know God, as thus, they would look into the intrails of beasts there∣by to finde out the mind of their gods, they would observe how the beasts came to the slaughter, whether willingly or not willingly, whether haled or not haled, they guessed somewhat at the minde of their Gods by that, then they would looke into the colour of the bowels of the beasts, then observe whether the entrals were sound or not, then they would observe the fire of their sacrifices, whether the flame ascended right or not, thus they came to know the mind of their Gods; What poor wayes are these? we have JE∣SUS CHRIST God blessed for ever, the eternal Son of the Father, who is come from the bosome of the Father,* to make all known to us, the mind of God, his and our Father: We know the truth as it is in Jesus, not onely as it is in the works of nature; some know much of God in the works of crea∣tion and providence, wee may know much of God in those great things the Lord hath of late done amongst us; but to know the truth as it is in Jesus, to know God in Christ, this is another manner of knowledge then to know God in the way of his works, here we see the truth really indeed when wee see it in CHRIST JESUS. Certainly then none united unto Christ in a conjugall union can be an ignorant sot, for Christ ingageth himselfe in his faithfulnesse, upon this marryage of a soul with himselfe, to reveale himselfe and the Father unto it, Joh, 8. 54. Of whom ye say he is your God, but mark the next words, yet ye have not knowne him. A likely matter that he should be your God and you not know him, a likely matter that Christ should be your Saviour and you not know him, seeing he hath ingaged himselfe in his faithfulnesse, that if you bee married to him you shall know him and his Father.

Ver. 21. And it shall come to passe in that day, I will heare saith the Lord, I will heare the heavens, &c.

Now come in temporall promises, after the assurance of mercy in the Co∣venant, then come promises for corn, and wine, and oyle; God would teach us this lesson by it, that all our outward things (at the least the sweetness and comfort of them) depend upon the covenant in Christ.

I will heare,* The word is Respondebo, I will answer, so it may be rendred as well, God will so hear as that he will answer. Many times a poor man cryes to the rich, & he hears him but he will not answer, but saith God, I will hear so as I wil answer. This is a most elegant expression, I wil hear the heavens, Page  481 and they shall heare the earth, and the earth shall hear the corne and the wine and the oyle, and they shal heare Iezreel. Miraorationis sublimit as, a wonderfull sublimity of speech, saith one Expositor of it; hyperbolica metaphora, a hyperbolica metaphor, saith another; pulcherrima prosopopoe∣ia, a most beautifull and delightful prosopopoeia, saith another; these creatures being put as it were in the person of a man as if they understood what they did. As if the Lord should say thus. My people, you indeed through your sinnes have been brought into great straits, you have wanted corne, and wine, and oyle, you have been scattered in your banishment, but when I shall betroth my self unto you and enter into a covenant with you, then, when you shall cry, O that we might have these outward comforts, presently the corne, and the wine, and the oyle, as if they heard your com∣plaints, shall say, Oh Lord we would help, Jezreel and satisfie these thy ser∣vants; the corne shall cry to the earth, O earth let me come into your bow∣els, I will rot there that so I may bring forth fruit for this people, the vines and the olive shall desire the earth to receive them, to give juice and nour∣ishment to them, that they may refresh these reconciled ones to God; the earth shall say, O that I could entertaine the corne, and wine, and oyle that I may be fruitfull in my kinde, but O heavens I can doe nothing except I have your influences and the shine of the sun to warme mee to make mee fructifie, therefore O heavens come in and assist me that I may fructifie for Jezreel; and the heavens they shall cry, Lord, we would faine help the earth, that the earth may helpe the corne, and wine, and oyle, that they may supply Jezreel, but we can doe nothing without thine hand, therefore doe thou heare us, do thou give us leave to raine upon the earth that it may be fruitfull.* Thus the creatures are brought in crying to help Jezreel.

Take these Observations.

First, See our condition in this world, though reconciled to God yet while we are here we must be beholden to the corne, and wine, to the earth, and heavens,* we know not how to doe without them.

Secondly, VVhen we are reconciled to God, then the creatures will be serviceable to us, yea they will be greedy to do us good, they will cry for it. Let us take heed of provoking God, the creatures then will be against us. I have read of Cordius a martyr, giving this answer to those who would have had him deny the truth, if deny it saith he, the Sun, Moon, & starres will de∣ny me light. If we serve God, the creatures will account it their happines to serve us. Thirdly, God useth to work good for his people by second causes.

He doth not send these things immediately from heaven,* but the heavens heare the earth, and the earth hears the corne and the wine. We must looke to second causes, but take heed of resting upon second causes. It hath been Gods work amongst us of late in finding out treacheries & giving successes to manifest himself very strangly when the means have been very poor; Nay indeed God hath made as much use of mens weaknesse, as of their strength; but let not us therefore be slack in the use of means, let us do the best we can, Page  482 though God sometimes work beyond means, and contrary to means, yet ordinarily he makes use of second causes, not only to work, ad praesent iam, as Biel the Schoolman and others say, that is, only together with the crea∣ture; but there is say they no efficacie at all of them issuing into the effect; but the truth is, God doth make use of second causes otherwise, so that there is some vertue and efficacy in them to work the thing that God intends.

Fourthly,* there is a concatenation of second causes, not onely an use of them, but every one in their order supplyes the other, the heavens heare the earth, and the earth hears the corne, one after another. If we could see the comely order of the creatures, wee should see them all hang together in a golden chaine; as it is in the joynts of the body, one bone supplyeth another, one place is hollow to take in another, so one cause in nature supplyeth, and cometh in to the other. As in our salvation there is a golden chain which we have Rom. 8. So in the creatures there is a golden chain of comely order and mutuall supplyance.

Fiftly,* God is at the higher end of the chaine, and nothing can be done by any link of the chaine of second causes, but by Gods being at the uppermost link. Jezreel must cry to the corn, and wine, and oyle, and they must cry to the earth, and the earth must cry to the heavens, he must be the highest cause.

Sixtly,* It is most comely, and a great blessing, when the right order and chaine of second causes hold; As it is in Nature, so in any Society, in a Common-wealth, in a City, when all keep their due subordination, as when the Trades-man works in his way, the Magistrate in his way, the Minister in his way, and every Officer in his place, every one keeping his order. But when it is otherwise, when they are out of order, it is a great misery upon a City or Kingdom. As it was once among the Athenians, Themistocles saith of his son, a bol youth, This boy can do more then any man in all Greece, Why? For saith he, the Athenians command the Grecians, and I com∣mand the Athenians, and my wife commands me, and my son commands my wife; here was the concatenation of that government. God deliver all societies from such a concatenation, that the beginning of any publick work, I meane the lower link of the chain should be perhaps in a whoremaster, & he should command one, and that one another, and so one after another. This is a fearfull judgment where soever it is.

7. God is the giver of all plenty,* hee accounts it his glory to give raine. Ier. 5. 24. God there wonders that men will not feare him because of that, Neither (saith he) doe they say in their hearts, Let us feare God that giveth raine. As if hee should say, It is a strange impudence in men, what, will they not say in their hearts, Let us feare God, seeing he gives us raine? Thus God gloryeth in this great work, when hee heareth the heavens, and the hea∣vens heare the earth, the heavens will be as brasse over us, and the earth as i∣ron, unlesse GOD heare them, and send raine. Therefore let God be ac∣knowledged in that rain we have had of late; the creatures wanted grasse, Page  483 and the grasse cryed to the heavens, and the heavens cryed unto God, and God hath heard the heavens, and sent downe raine, and so we see the earth hath been refreshed, abundance of good hath come to us by those showers. Give God the glory of this.

8. All plenty is given for the sake of the Saints.* How? God heares the heavens, and the heavens hear the earth, and the earth hears the corn, and the wine and the oyle, and they hear Jezreel. It is for Jezreels sake that the earth heares the corne, and the heavens hear the earth, and God hears the heavens. Were it not for the Saints, the earth wauld soon come to a confusion. They are the blessing of the earth, Isa. 18. 24.

9. If the creatures work so graciously for us, how should wee then worke for God, and one for another. What, shall the creatures cry one to another, and heare one another for our good, and shall God cry to us, and wee not heare God? The senseless corn cries to the earth. O earth help me that I may help Iezreel, and the earth cryes to the heavens, O heavens send down your influences, and the heavens say, We will heare, and the earth saith, I will heare; Shall the earth heare, and the heavens heare for our good, and shall not we hear when God cryes for help? God cries to you many times to helpe in his cause, and wilt not thou hear to work for him? O vile creature, how unreasonable are thy ways before the Lord!

Again, how should we hear the cries of the poor? When wee are in want, the corn cries to the earth, and the earth cries to the heavens, and the hea∣vens cry to God for us. VVhen the poore, I mean Gods poore, whom Gods hand hath made poore, cry, will not you heare? VVill you be more hard∣hearted then the earth and the heavens are? seeing they heare you, doe you hear the cry of your poor brethren.

Further, if God will hear the creatures when they cry for us, how much more will he hear Jesus Christ when hee cries for us? It is our happinesse in part, that we have all the creatures cry to God for our good, but the top of our happinesse is this, that wee have Iesus Christ the Mediatour of the new Covenant, making intercession at the right hand of God continually for us.

Lastly, Gods mercies go through when they work for the Saints, the corn beginneth to cry to the earth, that stays not here, but the earth goes on, and cryes to the heavens, the heavens go on and cry to God. Gods mercies to his Saints never leave till the thing be done.

And I will sow her unto me in the earth.

VVhat great mercy is this for God to grant plenty, if he destroy his peo∣ple? Our Country is plentifull, but if God should consume us out of the land what good woud our plenty do us? Therefore saith God, I will sow her un∣to me in the earth. Indeed she is now a poor contemptible people, & there are but few of them remaining upon the earth, but I will make them a seede, and a seed that the Lord hath blessed.

I will sow her. Here the Lord alludeth to the name Iezreel, which signi∣fies the seed of the Lord, the sowen of the Lord. It was used in the first Page  484 Chapter in an opprobtious way,* and in the latter end of that Chapter in a way of mercy. I speak of it there, therefore I shall not need say much now, only this, God makes use of the word here, to put her in mind of what shee deserved; as if he should say, though thou beest a Jezreel, and deservest to be scattered, yet I will be mercifull to thee out of free grace, I will sow thee, there shall come a blessing upon thee, and though thou beest scattered up and down in the earth, yet in all places thou shalt be as seed from whence my Church shall spring.

Hence the notes are:* First, that Gods people are the seed of the earth: But of that before in the latter end of the first Chapter, onely I will adde a note of Ribera about it: The seed, saith he, lies under the clods, and at length fructifies; so should the Saints be content to lie under the clods, and though they may seem in regard of their afflicted condition to be dead, to be rotten, yet they shall be glorious and fructifie afterward. Before the time of the Churches glory, times of great calamity and distresse come, which this rot∣ting of the seed before the fructifying sets out unto us.

Secondly,* every godly man should so live, as either in life or death hee should be as a seed from whence many may spring; he should be a meanes that many should be begotten to God. It is reported of Cicilia, in the hi∣story of the Church, a poore Virgin, that by her gracious behaviour in her mattyrdome, she was the means of converting four hundred to Christ: As in the Indies, one corn bringeth forth divers hundreds, so we should labour to convert as many as wee can, that some that live after may continue to beare up the name of Christ, and the profession of his truth. Especially be carefull of your children, leave them as seed to hold up the name of God in thy family when thou art dead and gone.

And further,*I will sow her to my selfe. The Saints are sowen unto Christ they are seed for Christ, therefore all their fruit must be given up unto Christ, Christ must have all the fruit we bear: who should have the fruit but he that soweth it? Therefore Cant. 7. 13. All manner of pleasant fruits new & old which I have laid up for thee O my beloved. Are we able to bear any fruit? Let us lay it up all for Jesus Christ, for it is he that soweth us unto himselfe, we must not sow to our selves, not to the flesh, for then wee shall reap cor∣ruption, but all for Christ.

And I will shew mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy.

Divers things about Gods shewing mercy after rejection were spoken of in the first Chap. Only these notes for the present.

There are none so rejected,* as that they can conclude that they shall never have mercy (those that have committed the sinne against the holy Ghost ex∣cepted) though Israel had not obtained mercy, though they were cast out, yea cast out to the beasts to be devoured, yea saith God, I will shew mercy upon her.

2.* Children of wicked parents may at length obtain mercy from God. Though Israel be cast off, yet her children shall have mercy. A comfort to us in regard of the Idolatry of our fore fathers, yea a comfort in the regard of Page  485 the children that are to come. Our fore fathers have broken the Covenant, why may not we obtaine mercy? But suppose we should be the generation of Gods wrath, and not obtaine mercy, yet we may have hope that the po∣sterity following shall have mercy. Thirdly, Mercy after it is thought to be past;* if then it come, Oh it is sweet mercy indeed! when she seemed to be utterly rejected, then to have mercy shewed, this is sweet.

Fourthly,* Mercy is the cause of all the good the Saints have. One Scrip∣ture for it, Psal. 57. 3. Send from heaven saith David. David was in the Cave, in a poor condition, hunted for his life, persecuted by Saul; I see lit∣tle hope from earth, saith he, therefore O Lord send from heaven; What, shall God send Angels from heaven to deliver thee David? No, but mark what followeth, God shal send forth his mercy & his truth; as if he should say, Lord though I have no help in earth, though I see no Angels from hea∣ven to helpe me, yet let me have thy mercy and truth, and that is enough. This satisfies a gracous heart, if he may have Gods mercy and his truth, that is Gods mercy revealed in a promise.* Lastly, God hath a speciall day of mercy for his people, for his Churches; I will have mercy upon her that hath not obtained mercy. Let us cry to God for the hastening of this day, let us open the miseries of our own Kingdome, and of Ireland; Oh when shall this day come that thou, wilt shew mercy to thy owne people which thou hast told us of! Oh that that day may hasten! Come Lord Jesus, come quickly. And I will say to them which were not my people.

This is that we had in the first Chapter onely with some differences, there it is, In the place where it was said yee are not my people. And I shewed you when I opened that place, both out of the Romanes, and out of Peter, how the Apostle makes use, both of that in the first Chapter, and this here in the second, onely take a hint of the truths in it.* First, God hath a special inter∣est in his people; they are his people, they are called his peculiar people, Tit. 2. 14. The word hath this emphasis in it, God lookes upon all other things as accidents in comparison, and his substance is his people, they are his very portion, as Deut. 33. 19. and Exod. 19. 5. they are his peculiar treasure a∣bove all people in the world; and Esay 19. 25. Assyria the worke of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance. I have made all people, but Israel is mine inheritance, This is the happines of the Saints, therefore they are not as other people are. Num. 23. 9. This people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the Nations, this is a great ground of prayer, Lord leave us not, we are thy people, called by thy name, we have an interest in thee.

Againe,* This is an argument to walke so as God may not be dishonored by us, for we are his people. If those in a mans family walke disorderly, it is a dishonour to the Master of the family; it is no dishonour to him for a stranger, or one who hath little reference to him, to walke disorderly; It is not so much dishonour to God for the wicked to walke disorderly, as for the Saints, in regard of their neerenesse to God: And besides, their Page  486 light is (as I told you) three story high, and if they sin, they sin against a greater light then others doe, their sin is greater then the sinne of the wick∣ed in that regard.

Further,*I will say to them which were not my people, thou art my people, I will own them before all the world.

It is a great mercy for God to make it knowne to the world, that his peo∣ple are his people. The world will not beleeve it, they think they are a poor contemptible people, but there shall come a day that I will make it knowne they are mine; And amongst other things by which God will make all the world to know that his people are his, this is one, in stting up the beauty of his Ordinances amongst them, Ezek. 37. 27. My Tabernacle also shall be with them, yea I will be their God, and they shall be my people, and the Heathen shall know that I the Lord doe sanctifie Israel, when my Sanctu∣ary shall be in the midst of them. Thus they shall know, saith God, that they are my people, and that I am their God, when I have set my Sanctuary in the midst of them for ever. Were it that the Ordinances of God might be set up in their purity amongst us in England, were Reformation perfected, and the Saints walked humbly & peaceably as they should, the whole world will be convinced, that these are indeed the people of the Lord, and that God is amongst them.

And they shall say, thou art my God.

God must begin withus,* we cannot begin and say, Lord, thou art my God, but God must begin with us first, and say, You are my people. There are a great many who say, God is their God, but God never said, they are his people,*Joh. 1. 12. it is said of those who beleeved in Christ, that God gave them [power] to be the Sonnes of God, the word signifies authority, that they might with authority acknowledge themselves to be the sons of God, and call God Father, they had the broad Seale for it. Will you call▪ God Father? where is your 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, your authority? if God call you children, if he say you are my people, you may give the Ecchoto Gods mercy and say, thou art our God.* Secondly, When God speakes mercy to us, we must answer accor∣ding to it. Doth God say, you are my people? we must answer, Lord, thou art our God. This is a great fault amongst Christians, God manifests him∣selfe to many a gracious heart in abundance of love and mercy, & they give an answer to God in a way of dispaiting and discouragement. Gods ways toward thee speake thus, and say, thou art one of my people, but thy heart works as if God were none of thy God, Hath not God done much for thee? thou thinkest it is all in hypocrifie that thou dost, whereas the truth is, it is the fruit of his love and kindnes to thee. He speakes aloud in what he hath done for thee, that thou art one of his people, and yet thy heart thinks that he is thy enemy, that he ha••s thee, and will cast thee off at last. The wayes of God are full of mercy to thee, and he hath set his stampe upon thee, & by his ways of love he tels thee, that thou belongest unto him. O unbeleeving soul, answer Lord thou art my God! & lay aside these discouraging & sinking thoughts Page  487 of thine; O that thou wouldst goe away with such an answer in thy mouth! Doe not answer Gods loving kindnesse, and his gracious dealings towards thee with discouragement and sinking of heart, this is dishonorable to him, and tedious to his Spirit.* Thirdly, God works an answerable disposition in the hearts of his people unto him. This is thy duty, but God will work it in time if thou belongest to him. As thus, doth God chuse us to be his peo∣ple? then the hearts of the Saints chuse him to be their God; Doth God say, you are my people? the Saints say, Lord thou art our God; Doth God say, I will dwell with them? they answer Lord, thou art our habitati∣on. Doth God say, I delight in them? they say, Lord our delight is in thee. Doth God say, I will rest in them for ever? the Church saith, O my soule returne unto thy rest. Here is a sweet answer, a rebound of all Gods loving kindnes.* Lastly, the Saints must professe God to be theirs. It is not enough to beleeve with the heart, but thou must confesse with the mouth; professe it outwardly: of this before.

Further,* This is the highest happinesse of the Saints, that God is their God, when they can say this, they have enough. If we could say, this house is mine, this street, this Lordship, this City, this Kingdome, this World is mine; What is all this? A Christian comes at length, and saith, this God that made all is mine. As it is reported of the French Ambassador, and the Spanish meeting together, saith the Spanish Ambassadour, my Master is King of Spaine; my Master (replyed the French) is King of France; my Master said the Spaniard againe is King of Naples: and my Master said the French is King of France; my Master is King of Portugal, and my Master is King of France; still he answered with that my Master is King of France, as being enough to answer all the several Kingdomes of the Spaniard. So one saith, I have this house, this land, this stock, this estate, this trade, yea but saith a Christian, I have God, God is mine; Surely having him thou hast enough. And if God be thy God, he will be a God to thee. 1 Chron. 17. 24. The Lord of hosts is God of Israel, even a God to Israel. So it must be with thee, if thou beest a Saint of God, be a Saint to God; Are we a people of God, then we must be a people to God. Blessed are the people that are in such a case, yea happy are the people whose God is the Lord. Thus we had o∣pened the gracious manifestation of God to his Church, in part fulfilled spi∣ritually, to spiritual Israel here, but more sensibly to be made good at the great day of Jezreel,* that is, when the Jews shall be called, then the Spouse of Christ in a visible way shall be thus married unto him, and the Lord will be their God. Jerome saith upon the Text, All these things that are here pro∣mised to the Church, the Jewes expect it at the end of the world, after the time of Antichrist. And I make no question though in a spiritual sence this Scripture is made good for the present unto the Saints, yet in a more visible and sensible way, all this Scripture will be made good to the people of the Jews, & the Gentiles then joyning with them even literally, the glory of the Church shall be visible and apparant. More whereof in the next Chap∣ter.