Four usefull discourses viz. ... / by Jer. Burroughs ...

About this Item

Title
Four usefull discourses viz. ... / by Jer. Burroughs ...
Author
Burroughs, Jeremiah, 1599-1646.
Publication
London :: Printed for Thomas Parkhurst ...,
1675.
Rights/Permissions

To the extent possible under law, the Text Creation Partnership has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to this keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above, according to the terms of the CC0 1.0 Public Domain Dedication (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/). This waiver does not extend to any page images or other supplementary files associated with this work, which may be protected by copyright or other license restrictions. Please go to http://www.textcreationpartnership.org/ for more information.

Subject terms
Christian life -- Congregational authors.
Sermons, English -- 17th century.
Cite this Item
"Four usefull discourses viz. ... / by Jer. Burroughs ..." In the digital collection Early English Books Online. https://name.umdl.umich.edu/A30576.0001.001. University of Michigan Library Digital Collections. Accessed May 27, 2024.

Pages

Sermon III.

Luke 10. 6.
And if the Son of Peace be there, &c.

We Proceed,

NOw follows the Blessing upon those that shall be Entertainers of the Gospel, that are the Sons of Peace, Your Peace shall be upon them. That is, They shall have all the good of the Gospel to be theirs: That's the meaning. For it was wont among the Jews to be the Expression of all kind of Good: Peace be to you. By the Name of Peace, they did express all good. So that your Peace shall abide upon them: That is, All the good of the Gospel, that you carry to them shall be theirs: So then, from these words, from the Blessing that is upon the right Entertainers of the Gospel, here you have these Four Points;

First, That those that Entertain the Gospel, shall have the Peace of the Gospel.

Secondly, That this is a great Mercy from God, and the Portion of the Sons of Peace, not only to have some sudden Apprehensions of the Excellency of the

Page 175

Gospel; but to have the Good and the Blessing of the Gospel to abide upon them, to rest upon them: That's the Second. And then,

Thirdly, That those that do Entertain the Gospel, do bring a Blessing upon the places where they Live. For so, if you observe it, and look into the Words, you shall find that it is not said, And if the Son of Peace be there, your Peace shall rest upon him: But if the Son of Peace be there; that is, in the House into which you come, your Peace shall rest upon it: Upon the House, upon the Place where the Son of Peace is. (So that that's the Third Point, where there is any that do Im∣brace the Gospel, such a one doth bring a Blessing to the Place and the Family where he Lives.)

Fourthly, The Consideration of the great good that a Minister of God shall bring unto a Place, in case he be Entertain'd, is a mighty Encouragement to them in their Ministry. Saith Christ, Go your way and Preach, per∣haps you may meet with some Difficulties; but this is your Errand that you are sent withal, to Preach the Peace of the Gospel. And this is the great good that you shall bring to all those that shall entertain your Message: That if they be the Sons of peace, and entertain you, you shall be the Instrument to bring all the good of the Gospel upon them. These are the Four Doctrinal Points clearly in this Bles∣sing, Your peace shall rest upon them. It is the Second of these that I shall stick most on; the First, I confess, is a large Point, that's this:

That whosoever Entertains the Gospel, shall have the Blessing of the Gospel upon them, the peace of the Gos∣pel, Your peace shall be upon them. That which is here promised, you have promised almost in the same words in the same case, Mat. 10. 13. And if the House be

Page 176

worthy, let your peace come upon it. If it be worthy. And in Gal. 6. 16. As many as walk according to this Rule, peace be upon him, and upon the Israel of God: That is, he that submits to the Rule of the Gospel, he shall have the peace of the Gospel: The words in the Greek are, To this Canon: The Canon of the Gospel, he shall have the peace of the Gospel. As if Christ should say, If there be any good in the Gospel, if I have purchased any good by my Blood; they shall have that Good, and that Blessing. Now to Open what the Be∣nefit and Blessing of the Peace of the Gospel is, I con∣fess, would be a large Argument: And because I have else-where Opened the Doctrine of Reconciliation, the Doctrine of the Peace of the Gospel; I shall for the present, here pass very briefly over it, and give you a little of the Substance of it, and then pass as soon as I can to the Second Point, where we shall spend the great∣est part of the time.

Your Peace shall be upon it: What's that? You shall have the Peace of the Gospel. O this is an inestimable Bles∣sing indeed! For the Peace of the Gospel. It is,

First, Peace with God Himself: Whereas if they did understand themselves and know God, they would know that they are Enemies unto God, and that the Wrath of the Eternal God is out against them: But if they come but to entertain your Message, they shall be Reconciled unto this Infinite God; the Wrath of the Infinite God shall be turn'd quite away from them, so as they shall never be in danger of any one Spark of the Wrath of God to come out against them, there shall be this Peace: Whereas before they were in such a Condition, as if they knew themselves and God, the Presence of God would be terrible unto them. But if they entertain

Page 177

your Message, they shall come to be able to look upon that God that was an Infinite provoked Deity, as a Friend; they shall look upon His Face with joy, they shall have free access unto His Presence, as Children un∣to the presence of their Father: Whereas before they had cause to fear every moment some dreadful fruit of the Wrath of God, to pursue and sink them. But now, what∣soever Judgments of God shall be abroad in the World, they shall be in a secure Condition; they shall be free from all, they shall be built upon the Rock; when Tempests and Storms shall be abroad to Sink others, they shall not be stirred, for they shall have peace with God.

Your Peace, that is, even peace with all Creatures; they shall have the blessing of that peace too: Whereas before, all the Creatures of God were as the Hosts of God, His Armies ready prepared to Avenge the Quarrel of God upon them: Every Creature as it were crying unto God, Lord send me, Lord send me, that I may strike this Sinner, that I may strike this Blasphemer, this unclean Wretch, and this prophane Wretch; and if God would but give Commission to any one Creature, it would presently be their Destruction: But upon their entertaining of your Message, there shall be Peace between them and all Crea∣tures, so as no Creature in all the World, shall ever be able to do them hurt. Though they shall Live in the midst of an evil World, yet this shall be their Con∣dition, That all good Creatures shall be made useful to them for good, and there is no evil Creature shall ever be able to do the least evil to them.

And again, They shall have a peace of Conscience, where∣as before their Consciences were ready to flie in their faces. And they, indeed, sought many wayes and means to quiet their Consciences, but could never get any true

Page 178

quiet of Conscience. But upon their entertainment of your Message, their Consciences shall be pacified in the Blood of the Messiah; therefore bid them be of good comfort, their Consciences shall be able to answer all Accusations that can be laid against them. For so the Scripture tells us of the Answer of a good Conscience, 1 Pet. 3. 21. Thus, Let the Devil, let Temptation, charge upon one that is reconcil'd to God what they can, A good Conscience through the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, is able to answer all Accusations and Temptations. This shall be the Peace that shall be upon them.

And, Fourthly, The Word of God shall be at Peace with them. They shall have Interest in all the Promises that are in the Word of God, the whole Word shall speak nothing but good unto them: Whereas before, the Word of God was full of Terror, and came against them as their Enemy; but now all that is in the Word, shall be Peace unto them, If the Son of Peace be there. This is the Peace that you shall bring upon them, Peace with God, and with the Creatures, and with their Consci∣ences, and with the Word. And then, O the Blessing that is upon all the Entertainers of the Gospel. O the happy Condition that the Entertainers of the Gospel are in. This, my Brethren, is the Reason why there are some that do prize the Gospel, and their Hearts are so much upon it. Do not blame them, they find this good in it, They find the Blessing of the Gospel upon them: And therefore though you feel not the sweetness and good that there is in it, and so neglect it; their Souls feel it, and they bless themselves in their God, and bless the Lord that ever they heard of the Gospel. Certain∣ly, There are many Thousands this day in Heaven, Bles∣sing God that ever they heard of the Gospel, because

Page 179

of the Blessings that they do partake of, by and through the Gospel.

Object. You will say, I, but there are many that are the Sons of Peace, and the Entertainers of the Gospel, and yet they do not feel the Blessing of this Peace; they are as much troubled as any are.

Answ. To that I answer, They have certainly that which is the Matter for Peace, and their trouble comes for want of Understanding it: Others have Matter for Ter∣ror, and their peace comes for want of the knowledg of what Matter for Terror there is. It's true, they have not for the present the full sense of this Blessing of peace, though they have that which will bring it at last. As for Instance, When the blustering Tempestuous Winds do cease, the Waves of the Sea do not presently cease from their tumultuous Working, and Roaring, and Noise, and yet that which was the Cause of their Working, that's gone. So here, Those who Entertain the Gospel, they presently upon the Entertaining of it, have the Tempest over; there is no more Tempest of the Wrath of God against them, but yet there may be some Trouble in their Spirits; but it will be allaid within a while, because that which is the Reason of their Trouble, that certainly is over: And therefore a strong Argument here you have to Entertain this blessed Gospel, that is sent among you. When you hear it Preached, you hear what it brings to you; it brings all the Good that Christ hath purchased with His Blood: This it offers to you. And can the World offer to you as much as this comes to? Can there be any thing to draw your Hearts away from it, that shall be Equal with this Good? Certainly, This is the Peace that is Infinitely above all Earthly things. What would not we do to purchase a good and sure

Page 180

Peace here in the Kingdom? If we account a firm and sure peace to be so sweet, would not we be willing to lay down our Lives? Certainly, That Man or Woman cannot be accounted to be a good Member of a Com∣mon-wealth, that should not be willing to lay down their Lives in such times as these, to purchase a sure and firm peace. But now, here the Gospel preaches to you another manner of Blessing, than this outward Peace: The Gospel holds forth unto you, that peace that was purchased to you by the Blood of the Son of God: It was such a Peace that Christ thought his own Blood not too dear to lay down for the purchase of this peace of the Gospel. It is that Peace that passes all understand∣ing, a Soul peace, an Everlasting peace; and therefore you should come to hear the Gospel, as the great Ordi∣nance of God that is appointed by Him, to bring this Glorious peace unto your Souls. Do not come meerly to hear what a Man can say, or to hear the Gifts and Abilities of a Man, or to get a few new Notions, and the like: But when you come to attend upon the Gospel, come, I say, unto it as the great Ordinance that is ap∣pointed by God, to bring peace to the Souls of those, that He doth intend Eternal good unto: And this is to come in a right way and manner, to the Preaching of the Gospel. This, I say, is to have a right understanding of what Good there is in the Gospel. And if any of your Souls have had a peace before you have come to a right understanding of the Gospel, know that all that peace is Naught, it will Undo you, you will never have any good by it. You have had peace in your own Spi∣rits a great while, and you bless God that you are not troubled: How came you by that peace which you have had for these many years? You have gone on qui∣etly,

Page 181

and the Terms between God and your Souls, have not troubled you. But I this day, in the Name of God demand of you, How came you to have this Peace? How came God and your Souls to be Friends? This I can tell you, That there was a time that every one of you were Enemies to God. If God hath Revealed any Truth in this Book, this is a certain Truth, That every one in this place, was an Enemy to God. Now then, how you have made up your peace, your had need look to it. Certainly, it must come by the Gospel, or else it is a Delusion: If so be that the Treaties between God and your Souls, were not the Treaties of the Gospel; that is, the Gospel Revealing the great Counsels of God unto you about this, and the Terms upon which He would be Reconciled; and then your Souls sending up your Answer to God, how you would be willing to accept of those Conditions, that are propounded in the Gos∣pel. I put this to your Souls, What Treaties hath there been between God and you? Have you found the Mini∣stry of the Gospel to be powerful upon you, and to bring this Peace into you? If it hath not come in this way, I say it is but a Delusion, and the great Work of Recon∣ciliation between God and your Souls, is to make up at this day.

But thus much for this First Point.

But Secondly, Your Peace shall rest upon it. Shall rest, that is, Whosoever Entertains it, they shall not only have some sudden Apprehensions of those Excellent things that you bring unto them, they shall not only have some flashie Comforts in those things, and feel some present Sweetness in them; but the good and the Blessing of that blessed Doctrine of peace, it shall abide with them all the days of their lives, and to all Eternity. That's the meaning,

Page 182

Your Peace shall rest upon them. So that this is our Point now, That such as do Entertain the Gospel. Now what the Entertainment is, that is, what it is to be a Son of Peace: That was a great part of our Work, the last Lords Day. But if you be such Sons of Peace as was Opened to you, I say, the Lord will not only grant you present Apprehensions of the Glorious things of the Gospel, and some present Sweetness, but He will Cause the Blessing of it, and the good things of it to abide up∣on your Spirits, to continue there for your Eternal good. Many upon the first Hearing of the Message of the Gos∣pel, upon the first Opening of that Blessed Doctrine, have their Hearts taken, and begin presently to be stirr'd and affected; but we find by Experience, that many times all is but a meer flash, it all vanishes again. The good of the Gospel they did apprehend, doth not abide upon them: As the stony ground, in Mat. 13. 20, 21. But he that received the Seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the Word, and anon with joy receiveth it: Yet hath he not root in himself, but endureth for a while. He doth but continue a while, he received it in a little way, and that with joy: He hath some present taste of the Sweetness of the Word, he takes it in with joy; but it doth not rest upon him, it doth not abide in him: The Seed doth not lie there so long as to Fructifie, as to bring forth Fruit, but comes to nothing; as the Ears of Corn upon the House top, they quickly are blasted and come to nothing: Thus it is with many Hearers. There were some that were the High-way ground, and they were your ordinary Ignorant and prophane People; the Word took no Impression upon them, but it was present∣ly taken away by the Fowls of the Air. But there were others that did seem to be affected with the Word of

Page 183

the Gospel, to have it enter a little into their hearts, their Spirits were taken with sudden Joy. O it is a bles∣sed Gospel that we hear, this is a blessed Ministry indeed that we enjoy: But mark, it was but for a while. The Seed of the Word, it did but abide a little while, it did not rest in them. So in Luke 14. There upon the Preach∣ing of Christ, the Text saith in ver. 15. That when one of them that sat at Meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat Bread in the Kingdom of God. When Christ had been Preaching unto them about the things of the Kingdom of God, Mark, There were some of His Auditors, that were ta∣ken with His Preaching. O blessed is he that shall have Communion with these things. And yet you may observe by the very Words that follow after, the Parable that Christ uses, that even those that were thus affected and taken, were such as prized their Oxen and Farms, and other things above the Gospel, and have that Doom pronounc'd upon them, That those men that were bid∣den, should not taste of the Supper. And so in John 5. 35. It is spoken concerning John, He was a burning and a shining Light, and ye were willing for a season, to rejoyce in his Light. Mark, John was an admirable Preacher, he came as the Fore-runner of Christ, and Preached, Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. John did open the Kingdom of Heaven unto his Hearers, and they were mightily taken with him: But now, Mark, what the Text saith, For a little time they did rejoyce in the Light, but they did not continue. And in John 8. There you have a notable place, concerning Christs Preaching unto the Jews, and Christ did Preach so, as did take their Heart in some measure, the Text saith, that some of them did believe, in ver. 13. As He spake

Page 184

those words, many believed on Him. But, Mark, what Christ saith, in ver. 31. Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, If ye continue in my Word, then are ye My Disciples indeed. Mark, Christ would not own them to be His Disciples, though their Hearts were taken with what He Preached, but upon these Terms, If you continue in my Word: Which is all one, If the Word abide in you, and you abide in the Word, then are you my Disciples. I beseech you observe it: Christ doth not own a Man or Woman to be His Disciple, meerly because of some sudden flashes of Affection, because they are taken with the Word; and perhaps are Con∣vinced by the Word, and stirred for a time: I say, Christ doth not own them to be Disciples, except that His Word abide in them, and they abide in the Word. And in Gal. 4. you have a most excellent Text for this pur∣pose: The Apostle shews there, that the Galatians were mightily taken with the Ministry of the Gospel at first when Paul came among them, but it seems in great part it Vanished from them, ver. 15. saith Paul, Where is then the Blessedness you spake of? For I bear you record, that if it had been possible, you would have plucked out your own Eyes, and have given them to me. The meaning is this, When the Gospel came at first to be Preached among them, generally they cried out: O this Blessed Gospel! O the Blessedness! O these blessed Truths that is come among us, such Truths as we were not acquaint∣ed withal: O they are blessed Truths indeed. Mark, They were thus taken with the Truths of the Gospel, when they were first Preached: But now, saith Paul, Where is the Blessedness ye spake of? Your Hearts are not now so taken with the Gospel, as they were at first; now you seem to be taken off from it: Where is the Bles∣sedness

Page 185

you spake of? I make no Question, but many Ministers in many Congregations, have Cause to make Use of these words of the Apostle, when God sent them at first: The Hearts of People were taken with the Mini∣stry of the Gospel, but within a while they are off again. And well may their Ministers say, Where is the Bles∣sedness you spake of? The Peace of the Gospel, it doth not abide upon them, but one thing or other takes it off from them. So in Heb. 6. There you read of some, that yet were not Sav'd by the Gospel, or were not in a Con∣dition (at least for the present) to be Sav'd; yet they had a taste of the Heavenly Gift: They did not only hear the Word and understand it, but they Had a taste of the good Word of God. O they said, It was the good Word of God. And, Mark, Of the Powers of the World to come: That is, of those powerful Truths, of those Truths that do concern the World to come, that were powerful Truths. For so, certainly, my Brethren, the Truths that do concern the World to come, as power∣ful Truths; they have a mighty deal of Power to work upon the Heart. And these had, not only the Appre∣hensions, but a taste of the Powers of the World to come; and yet it appears that they had not those things that did accompany Salvation. Many other Scriptures might be shewed, that there are many that are Affected with the Gospel, yea, they are Convinc'd, and they have some taste of it; and their Spirits taken, yea, al∣most perswaded (with him that we read of) almost per∣swaded to become a Christian; and yet for all this, this Mercy that is here promised to the Sons of Peace, is not their Portion: the peace of the Gospel doth not rest up∣on their Spirits. It is a Blessing beyond that which any Hypocrite in the World hath, to have this peace of

Page 186

the Gospel, to rest and abide upon his Spirit. That is,

First, To be set up as a constant Light before the Soul, not to come as a meer flash of Lightning, suddenly come, and suddenly gone; but then it may be said to rest when the Lord sets up those glorious Truths of the Gospel, as a constant Light before the Soul.

And Secondly, When as the Lord works those Truths by Meditation upon the Heart, the Lord causes those Truths to follow the Thoughts of the Mind, and so to work them upon the Heart; yea, into the Heart of the Thoughts of the Mind, when the Lord gives a constant real Taste of those Truths, and Savour of them; that though they be not alwayes Hearing of them, yet the Savour and Relish, doth abide in a constant way upon their Hearts, when the Lord causes those Truths of the Gospel to spread all over the Faculties of their Souls: that it is, as the Holy Ghost compares it in Scripture to Leven: The Kingdom of God is like unto Leven, which in a little time doth Leven the whole Lump. So when the Lord causes the Truths of the Gospel not only to be in the Mind, in the Understanding, in the Con∣science, but to get into the Heart; to get into the Affections, and as it were to Leven (in a good sense) the whole Soul by the Sweetness, and the Good∣ness, and the Excellency of those Truths. Yea, when the Lord shall cause those Truths to be dearly Rooted in the Heart, to take such Root as Temptations, and De∣ducements, any Provocations without, shall never be able to take out those Truths which are upon the Heart. When the Lord shall cause them to stick so fast, to sinck so deep into the Heart, let there come what will to take off the Heart from them, or take them out of the Heart, yet they shall never be able to take them out of the Heart. As a Martyr said, saith he, You may take my

Page 187

Heart out of my Body, but you shall never take the Be∣lief of these things out of my Heart. O the Blessing, and the Truths of the Gospel did so rest upon his Soul, and they had gotten so near into his Heart, that nothing in the World could take it off. Many People that are a little stirr'd upon the Hearing of the Gospel, and they think it is good, and the Truths are Blessed Truths, and they had good Resolutions; but perhaps when they come Home from Hearing of the Word, they shall have a Fellow-servant Jearing of them, or the Father or Mo∣ther Speaking against them; or the Husband the Wife, or the Wife the Husband, and so perhaps they come to lose all those Truths which formerly they were so taken with: But those that are the Sons of Peace, they have the Peace of the Gospel resting upon them, as hath been Opened to you; and this is a very great Blessing of God. O this is a Mercy indeed, for the Lord to grant the Truths of the Gospel, and the Good of it thus to rest upon the Heart; that the Heart doth keep it as a Treasure within it, it is a great Mercy.

First, Because it is a special Fruit of the Covenant of Grace; according to that Text in Jer. 31. where God promises as the Fruit of the Covenant, that he will Write His Law in their Inwards parts. Now, certainly, by the Law, it is not meant the Letter of the Ten Com∣mandments: But when He saith, I will Write my Law, that is, My Will: The great Counsels of my Will. And the saving Truths of God are there meant by the Law. For when David Expresses his love to the Law, he means also the Soul-saving Truths, that are Revealed in the Word of God; and certainly there, because it was in the time under the Law, the Language of the Holy Ghost was suitable to the Time. But certainly, It is meant in a more especial manner, the Truths of the Gos∣pel:

Page 188

That look as the Law was Written in Adams Heart at first, so now those that are received into the Cove∣nant, have the Law of the Gospel, and the Truths of that Written in their Hearts: That is, When ever they shall come to hear the Truths of the Gospel Opened to them, they shall find as it were a Counterpain of the blessed Truths of the Gospel in their Hearts.

Yea, further, To have the Word of the Gospel in the Heart, and for the Heart to keep it. It is a very great and close Mercy, a greater Mercy than to have Christ to be Born of the Body of a Woman, in Luke 11. 27. And it came to pass as He spake these things, a certain Woman lift up her voice, and said unto Him, Bles∣sed is the Womb that Bare thee, and the Paps which thou hast Sucked. But He said, Yea, rather blessed are they which hear the Word of God, and keep it. Those that when they have heard the Word of the Gospel, and shall keep it in their Hearts, and not let it Vanish away from them, but keep it, I say, in their Power and Life upon their Hearts, they are rather Blessed, than the Womb was Blessed that Bare Jesus Christ, or than the Paps were Blessed that gave Jesus Christ Suck. I suppose there is no Woman here but would account her self a blessed Woman, if her Womb had Porn Jesus Christ, and if her Paps had given Jesus Christ Suck: Now here is a greater Blessedness than this, for a Woman to hear the Word of the Gospel Preached unto her, and to have this Word of the Gospel to rest in her Heart, and for her to keep it in her heart, in the Power and Life, and Efficacy of it; this Woman now hath a greater Blessing, than if she had Born Jesus Christ in her Womb. Surely, it is a great Blessing to have the blessed things of the Gos∣pel, to be kept in the Soul after the hearing of them.

Page 189

And further, A great Mercy, because there is such a wonderful Power in the good things of the Gospel, and therefore it must needs be a great Mercy to have those things abide upon the Heart: They have such a mighty power to work good upon the Heart, a mighty Convin∣cing power they have, to Convince any Soul in the World. Let a Man or Woman be never so Wicked or Prophane, yet there are such blessed Truth in the Gos∣pel, that is enough to Convince his Soul, I say, though it be never so vile, and to take his Heart: And we have little Cause to fear the working upon the Hearts of Peo∣ple only, if we could but procure this, that those things that we Speak, might but abide upon their Hearts. If we were but sure, that what we Deliver in the Name of God, would but abide upon their Spirits, we need not fear the working upon any Soul Living, let them be never so Vile; there is such a mighty Power and Efficacy in those blessed things of the Gospel, when they come to be Re¦vealed.

And so there is a mighty Comforting power, to Com∣fort the Soul with such Consolation, as is Infinitely above all Consolation, that ever it was Acquainted with∣al before.

There is a mighty Power to resist any Temptation. If the Truths of God were but kept in the Soul, we might make little of all Temptations in the World: The Devil could have little hope to prevail with any Temp∣tations, if the Word of the Gospel did but abide upon the Heart of a Man or Woman that doth hear it. This is the advantage that the Devil hath at any time, when one hath been hearing of the Word, if he knows that the Word is past from them, and it doth not abide; then he can come with Temptations, and makes no question

Page 190

of prevailing. But if the Devil knows that those Truths do abide and rest upon the Soul, the Devil can have lit∣tle hope to prevail: The Peace of God shall keep your Hearts? Fro Resi, shall Guard your Hearts. It shall be as a Troop of Horse, to keep you from Temptations, from the power and strength of Temptations. You complain, and say, O that you would do better, but Temptations are so strong, that they prevail upon you. Why are Temptations so strong? It is because thy Soul is not acquainted with the Blessed and Glorious things of the Gospel; and the Power and Life of them doth not abide upon thy Spirit.

And likewise, the Truths of the Gospel: O they have a mighty deal of Power to cleanse your Hearts, 1 Pet. 2. 20. There you have mentioned the Power of the Knowledg of the Gospel, when it abides in one that might be an Hypocrite, and therefore not of that Effi∣casie that the true saving Knowledg is. Yet Observe, what is said there, For if after they have escaped the Pol∣lutions of the World, through the Knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Now then, If that Know∣ledg have such a cleansing Power, O what Power then hath the true saving Power of the great things of the Gospel, and the Glorious things of it, to Cleanse the Heart.

Yea, If those Truths do abide upon the Spirits, they have a Transforming power, they have a power to change the Heart into the same likeness: According to that Scripture, 2 Cor. 3. 18. But we all, with open face beholding as in a Glass, the Glory of the Lord, are changed into the same Image, from Glory to Glory, even as by the Spi∣rit of the Lord. Now this Gospel of the Lord, is nothing else but the good things of the Gospel: We behold

Page 191

them, and that as with open Face, as we do behold the Gospel of the Lord. And what then? We are changed into the same Image. Oh! this is a Blessed abiding, it is a Blessed thing for the things of the Gospel to rest up∣on the Soul. Why? Because they have such a Power in them to Change the Heart, to Transform the Heart into the very Image of them, and the Truths of the Gos∣pel have the clearest Image of God upon them; the Glo∣ry of God is Imprinted upon the Truths of the Gospel. Now that these should rest upon the Spirit, it must needs be a great Mercy.

Another is this, It is that which makes them indeed to be Saving: All those Blessed things of the Gospel that are Revealed, they never come to be Saving, un∣til they come to rest upon the Soul; to be got into the Heart, and there to dwell and rest. Mark that Scrip∣ture, in James 1. 21. Wherefore lay a part all Filthiness, and Superstuity of Naughtiness, and receive with Meek∣ness the Ingraffed Word, which is able to save your Souls. Mark, Receive with Meekness the Word: But how? The Ingraffed Word, which is able to save your Souls. The Word of God can never save your Souls, till it comes to be an Ingraffed Word. Now these things I premise, to shew you the Excellency of this, that so I might have the more ground for an Exhortation by and by: To labour to keep the Word of God, I mean those Truths of the Gospel, that at any times comes to be dis∣covered to you.

Now by way of Application, as brief as may be.

First, In the First place, Hence we see cause, the Mi∣nisters of the Gospel especially, see cause bitterly to Lament the want of this in their Auditory ordinarily. It's true, There are few that are faithful Preachers of

Page 192

the Gospel, but they do find that God doth at sometime or other Convice Men, and somewhat stir their Hearts: O, but this is that that they have cause bitterly to complain of, that those things that they deliver to them, that are the Precious and Glorious things of Jesus Christ, yet though they stir them a little for the while, yet they do not rest upon them. It was a Complaint of Chrisostom, saith he, We Ministers are in a worse Condition, than any Work-men whatsoever: Take a Carpenter, he comes and works, and leaves his Work over-night, and comes the next day and finds it where it was as he left it; his Work is no more forward, neither backward. Oh! But it is not so with us Preachers, for we come and work upon the Hearts of People, and we bring it into a reasonable good forwardness, and we leave it one Night and come the next day; but woe to us, we find it not where we leave it: We work upon their Hearts one Lords Day, and it may be they go away with some Resolutions, that they will break off their evil way, and they will attend to the Ministry of the Word; but before the next Lords Day, they are quite off again: They are got again into some wicked Company or other, and they begin to har∣den their Hearts against those Blessed Truths; so that our Condition is worse than any Work-mans whatsoever. But though it be a sad Condition for the Ministers of the Gospel, yet know it is a sadder Condition for your selves: You that heretofore have heard those Blessed things of the Gospel, and your Hearts have been taken with them, have they rested upon you? I put this to you in the Name of God, I say, Hath the Peace of the Gospel rested upon your Hearts? It may be, some of you may know Two or Three years ago, God began to work upon you, you began to have some Enlightning of

Page 193

Jesus Christ, and of the Kingdom of God; and you be∣gan to say, Blessed are those that shall be partakers of those things, but have these rested upon you. Hath not the Ministry of the Gospel been to some of you like a Ship, that when it is Sailing in the Water, it makes a great Impression for the present, but let the Ship be gone and the Water is as smooth as ever it was? So ma∣ny times, when the Minister comes and open the Bles∣sed Truths of the Gospel, they make a mighty Dent up∣on the Hearts of their Auditors; but within a little while their Hearts are like the Water: no man can see that ever there was an Impression of any Truth upon their Hearts. Now know that this is a very sad thing to have the Gospel begin to Affect the Heart, but not to Rest.

First, Consider, How vile is thy heart, it is an ar∣gument of strong corruption that is in thy heart that the things of the Gospel cannot stick there.

And Consider, How vild it is, that wicked thoughts, vile base, unworthy, unclean, filthy thoughts can a∣bide upon you. If the Devil dart in temptations they will abide and rest, why when he darts them in o∣ver-night, he can find them in the morning; perhaps if you have some vain or unclean thoughts, you can role them up and down in your mind for half a night to∣gether; perhaps day after day, and night after night, base and filthy thoughts are rol'd up and down in your Spirits; these things can abide. Now what shall vile, filthy, ungodly thoughts rest in your hearts and shall not the Blessed and Glorious Truths of Jesus Christ and the things of the Kingdom of God rest upon your hearts?

Yea, Consider further, That it is a most dangerous

Page 194

thing for an essay of mercy to pass away and to do no good, for mercy to come and as it were make a trial upon the heart, and then leave it and no good done; this is a sad condition: It is not so dangerous while Men and Women are in such an estate as the mercy of God hath not made an essay as it were up∣on them. But now, When the Grace of the Gospel shall come to make an essay upon the heart, to make as it were a tryal upon the heart and to have the re∣pulse, this is a dangerous thing; for an offer of Gods Grace to be rejected is very sad, to loose one oppor∣tunity of Gods Mercy is a very sad thing; how dost thou know that ever they will come upon thy heart with that power that once they did, and therefore thy condition is very sad.

And know further, That when the Lord begins to reveal to thee the things of the Gospel, and thou puttest them off; those flashes of affection and conviction that thou hast had will prove to be matter of terror of con∣science another day.

Some poor Soul may say, Then Lord what shall be∣come of me, God knows this is my condition; I come many times to hear the word and I meet with those truths that do mightily take my heart for the present, but the Lord knows all vanishes again: I think I could remem∣ber every thing that the Minister speaks while I am hear∣ing of them, but they go out again; I hear that this is the Blessing of God upon the Sons of Peace, that the Truths of the Gospel should abide upon their hearts and rest there; O they do not rest with me: Now and then they come to me, but they do not rest with me.

Now for the Answer to this, Perhaps they may not rest in thy memory, but yet if the Fruit and effect of them

Page 195

doth rest in thy heart, thou hast the Gospel resting in thy heart. As thus, Why perhaps the Water may pass through a Vessel, go quite through it and not stay; I, but yet there is so much Fruit of the passage of it thorow, as to keep the Vessel sweet: Though you can∣not take up any Water from it, but it is all gone; yet I say it keeps the Vessel sweet: So I may say to those that have the weakest memories, and yet the Lord hath wrought any degree of Grace, though thy memory be so weak that thou canst not remember (I speak this to those that have weak memories naturally) and there is nothing that their Souls do more desire then this; O that they might keep those things that they hear, they would think themselves the most happy Creatures in the world; if those truths that sometimes they hear might rest upon them: I speak to those. Is it so with thy heart? Then though thou canst not remember, yet if those truths keep thy heart sweet, they keep thy heart from filthy lusts that they do not abide in thy heart, thy heart is kept savory by them; if there be this effect abiding upon thy heart to keep it savory and sweet, this Peace of the Gospel may rest with thee though thou canst not remember particulars. A Man or Woman perhaps they cannot remember what Meat they ate a little while since, but they find themselves nourished by that Meat. So for the word of God, that is the food of thy Soul, though thou canst not remember and give an account of such and such things thou do'st hear in the word, but yet do'st thou find that thou art nourished by it; I say, the good things of the Gospel then do rest upon thy Soul.

Then if this be so great a Blessing, O that I could but convince you this day to go away with your hearts ta∣ken with this Blessing; O that all of you were convinc'd

Page 196

this day. We hear that it is not enough for us to have sudden apprehensions, when we hear the Blessed things of the Gospel; but that that is indeed the blessing of God upon a Son of Peace, it is to have the good things of the Gospel abide and rest upon them. O then, that it might be so with us! O that the Lord would help us, that whatsoever we hear, we may not only be taken with the hearing of it, but that it might rest upon our Hearts. I shall propound some Rules unto you.

First, When you come, you must endeavour to bring soft Hearts, and tender Spirits: What Truths you do know, you must work upon your Hearts before you come, to labour to soften your Hearts. We know that the Truths of God are compared in Scripture to Nails, that are fastened by the Ministers of God in the Assemblies, Eccles. 12. 11. Now when you come to fasten a Nail or a Goad, if the thing be a Stone, you cannot fasten it: A Work-man if he would drive a Nail into a Wall, if he meet with a Flint, the Nail cannot enter, but there must be some thing that must yield to make it rest: So you must labour to bring yielding and soft Hearts.

Secondly, When you come to hear, come so as to make account that now you come to attend upon God, and that while any Truth of the Gospel is Revealing to you, God is coming nigh unto your Souls, in those things that concern your Eternal good. If the Hearts of People did attend upon the Ministry of the Gospel thus, that is, We are here, O Lord, in thy Presence now, to hear what Thou hast to Reveal unto us; and we believe that in this thine Ordinance, when Thou art making known any Truth of the Gospel to us, Thou art coming nigh to our Souls in a matter that Concerns our Eternal good. If you did attend thus, certainly every Truth would get into your Hearts.

Page 197

Thirdly, When you find the Truth beginning to work upon your Hearts, then Dart up some Ejaculations in your own Thoughts: Lord, set home this. So you may do, and not hinder your hearing: Lord, Thou be∣ginnest to stir my Heart, O Lord, keep my Heart in this frame. As we read of David, when as he saw the People in a good Frame, 1 Chron. 29. 18. saith he, O Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel our Fathers, keep this for ever in the Imagination of the Thoughts of the Heart of thy People. And the truth is, We would willingly Dart up such a Prayer to God, if we knew how God did begin to stir you? But you know how God is communing with your Hearts, when you hear us speak∣ing to you, therefore do you your selves Dart up such an Ejaculation to God: O Lord God, keep this Truth in the Thoughts of my Heart for ever.

A Fourth Rule is this, You must not trust your own Hearts, never trust to sudden Affections and Resoluti∣ons. This Text is most excellent for this purpose, Mark how David Prays, Keep this in the Thoughts of the Heart of thy People, and prepare their Hearts unto Thee. Why were they not prepared to God? Their Hearts were mightily up for God, and yet it appears that David would not take this scarce for a Preparation, but the Lord must still work further and further. So when thou feelest thy Heart a little stirr'd, do not think that the work is presently done, but pray to God to prepare thy Heart, and that He would go on with that Blessed work of His.

And then another Rule is this, Labour after thou art gone, to work the Truths upon thy Heart by Meditati∣on, that so they may abide. Would you have a Salve that should do good to an Affected Member? It is not

Page 198

only the laying of the Salve upon the Body, but to rub it that it may get in and supple the part. So when the Lord comes to present the Blessed Truths of the Gospel to you, you must labour to rub them upon your Hearts by Meditation.

Another Rule is, Turn all that you hear into Prayer: That is, When you have heard any truth that hath ta∣ken and affected your Souls, get alone into your Closets, and before you go about any other Business, fall down before the Lord, and turn that which you have heard into Prayer; it were a good Rule for your Direction, and you will find an admirable benefit by this, you will find this to help your Memory much. Do but hencefor∣ward observe this Rule that now is tendered unto you as from the Lord, work the matter that you hear upon your Hearts by Prayer.

And further, Take heed of Temptations, keep a nar∣row Watch over your Hearts, take heed that some Temptations do not come secretly to steal away that blessed Truth that you have heard: For the Devil will labour, as I told you, the place is full of Angels, and so it is full of Devils too: The Devil is watching who it is that is stirred with the hearing of the Gospel, and he presently is labouring to draw out all the Power and Ef∣ficacy: Therefore watch against Temptations.

Another Rule will be this, Often call your Hearts un∣to an account, oftentimes be communing with your own Hearts in this manner: O my Soul, was there not such a time that thou wert stirr'd and affected, when thou did'st hear such and such things? Why what is become of all thy Stirrings, and of all those Resolutions and Truths, that thou hast heard? O my Soul, where are they? What hast thou done with them? O, it would

Page 199

be of admirable Use, if you would take an account of your hearts.

But when Men and Women are stirr'd sometimes, and go away and never call their Hearts to an account what is become of them; no marvel though the things of the Gospel do not abide, but vanish all, and are as Water spilt upon the Ground.

And further, Take heed of secret sins: Thou hast no power to purge thy Heart, but thou may'st in great mea∣sure abandon the Acts of sin. That Man or Woman that lives in a Secret sin, I say, that Secret sin will either Eat out the Truths that he hath heard, or the Truth will Eat out that sin. Thou comest to hear the Word, and hast many Blessed things Revealed to thee, I say, they will either Eat out thy Secret sin, or thy Secret sin will Eat out them: And which of the two do'st thou think, thou hadst best be rid of?

And if thou wouldst have them abide, turn all into Practice; that is, fall a Doing: Do not content thy self with Affections and Resolutions, but fall a Doing; and that doth mightily settle the Truth, when it comes once to be Practised. As now in a Temptation, the Temptation is not settled until the Devil hath got some∣thing done according to the Temptation; and when something is done, then the Temptation settles. So concerning the Truths of the Gospel, a Man it may be hath some Resolutions and Desires, but till there be somewhat done, some Duties set upon, some Reforma∣tion in thy Way and Life, the Truth doth not settle; but the doing somewhat according to what thou do'st hear, that doth mightily settle the Truth upon thy Soul. O think thus, There is such and such a thing made known to me; O, it may do my Soul good for ever:

Page 200

And if you did but keep those things that you hear, they would do your Souls good; they would do your Souls good in time of Affliction: If the Truths of the Gospel did rest upon your Hearts, they would Comfort you then. So it was with David, I had perished in mine Affliction, but thy Word did Comfort me. So if you would lay up that which you hear, when you come upon your Sick-beds, or in any Trouble, it would mightily help you and comfort you. O these Truths of the Gospel, would be very good Companions when you are in your Journey, or in your Business, they would Commune with your Hearts: And, O what Comfort would they be unto your Souls? So we read in Prov. 6. 21. Bind them continually upon thine Heart. So I may say, What Truths of the Gospel you hear, bind them continually upon thy Heart, and about thy Neck; when thou goest it shall Lead thee, when thou sleepest it shall Keep thee, and when thou awakest it shall Talk with thee: When you awake in the Night season, you Toss up and down upon your Beds, and know not what to think upon; but had you kept the Truths of the Gospel, they would Talk with you, yea, you might Converse with Jesus Christ even as you lie in your Beds.

And if they did rest in your Hearts, then when Death did come they would be Comfortable, then they will be sweet one day. Ask a Dying Soul, what Peace with God is worth? How many have lain upon their Sick and Death-Beds, and then remembred, O the sweet Truths that once I heard, I would give a Thousand Worlds I had them again. O that they did but come now at this time to my Heart, with as great a power as they did at such a time. Now that you might have those Blessed things of the Gospel to Comfort your Hearts, keep them now.

Page 201

And besides, They will be a Means to make you to be very useful to others. What's the Reason why Men and Women, when they go to Visit their Sick Neigh∣bours, they are so Barren in their Conference, they say, How do you? And God comfort you; and so: I, but what have you of the Doctrine of Reconciliation with God, and the way of Attonement with God? What have you to help their troubled Consciences, and to pacifie them? Can you bring unto them any Truths you have heard? You have Liv'd under the Ministry of the Gospel a long time, what is become of them? If you had been a Child of Peace, then you would have been able to have carried these things unto your Sick Neigh∣bours, and to have done a great deal of good unto them. But alas, You go with a barren Heart, and carry nothing at all: And why? Because the Truths of the Gospel have not abode with you. O how full should our Hearts be with Jesus Christ, if but one Truth, every Sermon we heard, did rest in our Hearts.

And take but this one Meditation along with you, the Blessed things of the Peace of the Gospel are such, as if ever I be Sav'd, I must be Praising of the Name of God for unto all Eternity. Now shall I not Labour that they should rest upon my Heart here, seeing they must be the Matter that I must Bless the Name of God everlastingly for.

And thus (though I have past some things over) you have had the Substance of what I intended to Speak of: And that is, That those that are the Sons of Peace, have this Blessing upon them: They have not only the sudden apprehensions and flashes of Affection, in being moved with the Glorious things of the Gospel, but all the good things of the Gospel abides and rest upon them.

Notes

Do you have questions about this content? Need to report a problem? Please contact us.