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

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Title
Four usefull discourses viz. ... / by Jer. Burroughs ...
Author
Burroughs, Jeremiah, 1599-1646.
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London :: Printed for Thomas Parkhurst ...,
1675.
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Subject terms
Christian life -- Congregational authors.
Sermons, English -- 17th century.
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"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 24, 2024.

Pages

Page 229

Sermon V.

Luke 10. 6.
Your Peace shall rest upon it, &c.

APPLICATION.

First, IS it so, that even the Blessed Ministry of the Gospel, the Opening of Jesus Christ, and the Riches of Gods Grace may be Rejected by People, and is often. The Considerati∣on on of this First, should Teach us to bewail the horrible Wickedness of Mans Heart, and the Dishonour that is done to God in this: When those Riches of Gods Grace, that glorious Work of God in Christ, the Blessed Son of God, coming to Ransom Souls, and to Deliver them out of the neathermost Hell; yet he Rejected. There's no Object that ever was in the World, that is such an Object of Lamentation as this is. When Christ came to Jerusalem, He falls a Weeping: Upon what ground? O, if thou hadst known, saith He, at least in this thy day, those things that concern thy Peace: Thou didst not know those things that did concern thy Peace. Perhaps it may be meant, outward Peace. In great part it is. But if that be such an Object of Lamen∣tation, as to draw Tears from Christ, what an Ob∣ject

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of Lamentation is it to Rend, indeed, the Hearts of those that understand what Christ is, what the Offer of Christ means; That Christ should be Preached in any place, and yet rejected. When Jeremiah went to Preach (though not such a Message as this is that now we are Speaking of) yet when he saw the People would not hear, Chap. 13. ver. 15. Hear ye and give ear, be not Proud, for the Lord hath Spoken. But in ver. 17. But if ye will not hear it, my Soul shall weep in secret places for your Pride, and mine Eyes shall weep sore, and run down with Tears, because the Lords Flock is carried away Cap∣tive. If ye will not hear: That indeed should be the work of the Ministers of the Gospel, when they are Rejected. Not to be Careless, and say, I have done my Work, and what need I care. But they should take it to Heart, and Lament it as the greatest Affliction that can befal them; yea, more than any Affliction whatso∣ever: That the Blessed Message that they are sent with∣al, is Rejected by Wretched and Sinful Men.

Secondly, If God in Christ be sometimes Rejected, all the Mercy of God in His Son; we should not think much, though our love and kindness towards others be many times Slighted, and Disregarded. Indeed, there's nothing goes more to any Ingenuous Heart, than to have his love and kindness to be Disregarded: But when we find our Hearts troubled at this, O that such a one that I have done so much for, and yet that he should deal thus with me; Lay thine hand upon thy Heart, and consi∣der what God hath done for thee in Christ, and how ill thou hast requited Him. Is it so much for thee a poor Worm, not to have thy Love and Kindness imbrac'd: What is it then for the Infinite God, not to have that

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Infinite Love and Mercy of His to the Children of Men, not Imbraced but Rejected?

Thirdly, Let's learn from hence, never to trust our own Hearts. We think often, had we such means as others have, then we should not do as they do; surely we should do better. Men are very ready to trust their own Hearts, and in the use of Means: But let us learn from hence never to trust in our own Hearts, or in the use of any Means. God may send you Means, and Reveal glorious Truths unto you; yet it may so fall out, that you may never come to be partakers of the good of those things: It hath been so with many, and you must look to your own Hearts. Do not Bless your selves in this, Through Gods Mercy the Lord hath sent us His Word plentifully, and the Gospel comes to be Opened clearly among us: That's not enough, what God hath done, but look you into your own Hearts, how you Im∣brace it; otherwise the Gospel may come among you, and yet you never come to be Saved by it. But this, indeed, is a sad Condition, wheresoever it is.

Fourthly. Further, Gods Ministers are to Learn from hence, not to be Discouraged. They come and Preach, and with an Expectation to prevail with the Hearts of People, to draw them to Christ. When they have been in their Studies, labouring to find out some Truths of the Gospel, and to sit it to the Hearts of their Audi∣tors, and have been Praying over it: They come now with Expectation that some good may be done, that some Soul may be drawn in to Christ, yet perhaps find it quite otherwise, and the People to sit Dead under it; it may be Slight it, Contemn it, Scorn it, Disobey it: But they must not be, I say, Discouraged in this, as if so be a strange thing had befallen them. What art thou more than

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Jesus Christ thy Master? What art thou more than Paul and other of the Apostles? They have been rejected all in their Ministry, and what art thou that thou canst not bear any Rejection? Indeed, it is the hardest thing to be Born by a Minister of the Gospel, that possibly may be: But con∣sider, That it is not a new thing for the Gospel, to be Rejected. I remember, I have read of Melancthon, he had such thoughts, that when he began to Preach, he should Convert all that heard him. He thought there was so much Reason in what he Spake, and so much Evi∣dence and Power to prevail with the Hearts of People, that he thought he should prevail with every one; but he found it otherwise by Experience. And though, in∣deed, when any Minister that is acquainted with the Glorious things of God and Christ, come to open them to People, they are ready to think, such things will surely prevail with the Hearts of People, but the Lord teaches him to know that the Blessing depends upon Himself: That though the things be never so Excellent and Moving, yet all will not do except the Lord comes in by His Almighty Power.

Fifthly, Let all those with whom the Ministry of the Gospel doth prevail in any measure, Bless God that makes such a difference between them and any others. It is Preached unto many, but doth them no good. But the Lord hath Called thee out, and it hath struck thy Heart, converted thy Spirit: Thou seest cause to stand and admire at the Glory of God in Christ, and thou wonderest perhaps that all People are not taken with the Riches of the Glory of Gods Grace in Christ: Well, Bless God that hath made a difference between thee and others. It may be in the same Family another Scorns it, and Contemns it, perhaps one that came out of the same

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Womb despises it, and God hath taken thee, and reveal∣ed Himself to thee, it may be thy rich Neighbour Con∣temns it; but God looks upon thee (a poor Creature) and makes Himself known to thee. It may be a Learn∣ed Man he slights it, and makes nothing of it; and thou who art but a Babe, hast those things Revealed. Thou hast cause to thank God for it, For Christ doth: He thanks His Father for this thing, That He should be pleased to pass by the Wise and great ones of the World, and chuse Babes, Mat. 11. 25. At that time, Jesus An∣swered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of Hea∣ven and Earth, that thou hast hid these things from the Wise and Prudent, and hist revealed them unto Babes. Now this Scripture that I bring, not only to shew you that God doth sometimes Reveal the great Mysteries of the Gospel to Babes, and hide them from the Wise, but as a Text to stir up your Hearts to Bless God, if He hath done so for any of you. Upon this ground Jesus Christ doth thank His Father for it; then surely thou hast cause to thank God the Father for this great Mercy of His, to put such a difference between thee and others. For, in∣deed, it is one of the most glorious Works of God, This Work of the Lord making known the Great and High Mysteries of the Gospel to poor weak ones; when as the Great, and Rich, and Mighty, and Learned of the World, do not come to understand it. It is one of the great Miracles by which the Lord doth Confirm the Gospel to be His own, as great a Miracle as other Mi∣racles that were Wrought by Christ. And for that, this is very observable that we have in the place where John sends to Christ, to know whether He were the Messias, or no. Now mark the Answer that Christ gives unto John's Messengers, Jesus Answered and said unto

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them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see, the Blind receive their sight, and the Lame walk, and the Lepers are cleansed, and the Deaf hear, and the Dead are raised, and the Poor have the Gospel Preached to them: And as some of the Evangelists have it, Poor receive the Gospel. Observe why Christ brings this, He brings it in as an Argument that he was the Mes∣siah. John would know whether He was the Messiah: How shall he know it? Why go and tell him, The Blind receive their sight, the Lame walk, the Lepers are clean∣sed, the Deaf hear, the Dead are raised. These are good Arguments to prove that Christ was the Messias. If Christ could Work such Miracles as to give sight to the Blind, to make the Lame to walk, to cleanse the Lepers, to cause the Deaf to hear, and to raise the Dead; these indeed were good Arguments. But how comes in the last, And the Poor receive the Gospel? How is this an Argument that Christ is the Messias? One would think that this should rather be an Argument, that He is not the Messias. They might say, I indeed, there are these great things done by Him, but there is one thing makes us suspect that He is not the Messias: For our Great, Rich, and Learned Men, they do not receive Him, on∣ly a Company of poor Ignorant People, this Vulgar sort: For so was the Arguing of the Pharisees there, in John 7. 48. say they, (when the Officers were Affected with the Ministry of Christ) Have any of the Rulers, or of the Pharisees believed on him? Have any of them Belie∣ved on Him? But this People that knoweth not the Law, are Cursed. Only a Company of poor Ignorant People, they believe on Christ. But the Rulers, have any of the Rulers, or of the Pharisees, the Great Men, and the Rich Men, the Learned Men, Have they believed? You

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see that this was a Stumbling-block, whereby they would perswade Men, that Christ was not the Messias. But mark, That which Men make the great Stumbling-block, why Christ is not the Messias, that Christ makes unto John the great Argument, why He was the Messias: Because the Poor receive the Gospel. And Christ doth put this among his other Miracles. And you will say, How is this an Argument? Thus, It is one of the greatest Miracles that ever Christ wrought, and it may well be Reckoned among those Miracles, of giving Eyes to the Blind, and Hearing to the Deaf. Thus, To make one that is a poor weak Creature, that hath but a mean Capacity, yet that such a one shall be able to see into the Great, and High, and Glorious Mysteries of the Gospel, that the Angels desire to pry into: So to see into the Reolity, and the Certainty, and the Glory of those Mysteries, that he dares venture his Soul and his Eternal Estate upon: I say, This is as great a Work of a od, as ever any Work that God did in this World, and therefore it may well be put among Christs Miracles, nd an Argument that Christ is the Messias. If Christ shall Reveal such Glorious things, that are the Objects of the Understanding of Angels, to poor Illiterate Peo∣ple, when as the Wise of the World shall not be able to see them, but shall Reject them: They shall not see so much as to dare to venture the loss of a Lust for them, of any Creatures contentment for them; but a poor weak. Man or Woman Illiterate, that understands but little in other things, shall come to see so much the Glo∣ry of God shining in the Face of Christ, as he dares ven∣ture not only all outward Comforts in this World, but his Soul and Eternal Estate, upon the Grace of God in his Son. Here's a mighty Work of Christ. The Poor they come then to receive the Gospel, it is Preached to

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them and they receive it; and hereby Christ shews his Power. Now hath Christ shown such a Miraculous Work of his upon thy Soul, when he hath past by others that are Understanding, and Men of Parts, & yet Reveal'd such deep and hidden Mysteries of the Gospel unto thee. Oh admire at the Grace of God in his Son to thee, and Bless him, for this is not an ordinary Mercy; it is a choice Mercy. The Gospel is Rejected many times where it comes, and thou seest it; only God hath made a sepa∣ration between thee and others: As I told you of that Speech of Judas, not Iscariot, Lord, saith he, Why is it that thou Revealest thy self unto us, and not unto the World. Thou hast cause to wonder at it indeed.

Sixthly, And then further, that we may hasten to what remains: If this be so, that Gods sends the Gospel where it is Rejected, hence be not Scandalized when you see it Despised and Contemned. Let none be Scan∣dalized at it, so saith Christ, in Mat. 11, when he saith, The Poor have the Gospel Preached to them: in the next words, And Blessed is he, whosoever is not offended in me. For Men are ready to be offended, when they see great Ones Reject the Ministry of the Gospel: But you hear that God sends it where it is Rejected, there∣fore be not you offended; do not think that because others do not Imbrace it, therefore there is nothing in it, and why should I: There is this Temptation in the Hearts of many, though while they are Hearing of the Gospel Preached, their Hearts are taken with what they Hear, and they are Convinc'd; but when they go away, and are among their Companions and others that they find to slight all and to disregard all; their Hearts are taken off likewise. But, O learn by this Point, never to be Scandalized by others casting off the Gospel: For it is that which Christ hath forewarned his Ministers when

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they go to Preach; he doth intimate to them that they must expect that their Ministry must not prevail with all.

7ly. Lastly, Is this true, That God sends the Preaching of the Gospel where he sees it will and doth not prevail with many? Now let every one of you lay his hand upon his Heart, and think thus with himself; Is it I? Am I the man? am I the Woman to whom Jesus Christ shall be Preached, and shall not prevail? O the Lord forbid that this should be so, though it doth not prevail with others▪ such and such, yet God forbid that it should not prevail with my Heart; let me imbrace it so much the rather. Do I see Jesus Christ rejected by others? O it is that which should go neer to my Heart, that the Lord is rejected by any, and shall he be rejected by me too, the Lord forbid; that as Christ said to his Disciples when others forsook him, And will ye also go away? O whither shall we go from thee saith Peter, for with thee are the words of Eter∣nal life; so dost thou see others slight and neglect the glorious Ministry of the Gospel, and wilt thou do so? wilt thou add to the dishonour of the Gospel too? O the Lord, the Lord forbid; but let me the rather embrace it, by how much the more it is neglected, and dis-regar∣ded by others. What, shall such a glorious Gospel be preached in vain? What, shall the precious Blood of Jesus Christ be shed in vain? and it is in vain in respect of ma∣ny Souls, and shall it be in respect of my Soul? the Lord forbid. O that the Lord would put such kind of thoughts into your Hearts, when you see others live under the Ministry of the Gospel in a sinful way. And thus much for this Supposition, If not: What follows?

If not, Let it return to you again.

Here we have first an encouragement to Gods Mini∣sters, in case their Ministry is rejected.

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And Secondly, A dreadful denunciation against those that shall reject the Gospel.

First, the encouragement of the Ministers of God in case their Ministry be rejected, Let it return to you again. In this we have these two Things.

First, That when any Minister Preaches Christ to a people, if the people get no good by his Preaching, yet he shall have the benefit of it upon his own Soul; that's the first: let it return to you again if they will not em∣brace it, so as to have the good and benefit of it to them, it shall return to you, and you shall have the benefit and blessing of it upon your own Souls.

Secondly, Let it return, that is, though it prevails not here, yet it shall not lose any thing of its efficacy, of the life, of the vigor of it, but it shall return to you with as much efficacy and life as ever, so as if you be sent to some other place, there may be as much hopes of doing good as ever you had; these are the two things that are for the incouragement of Gods Ministers, in case their Ministry be rejected. Briefly of these:

First, That whena people rejects the Gospel, Gods Ministers they shall not lose by it, they shall have the blessing of their Ministry; in Isai. 49. 4. Then I said, I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nought, and in vain: here's a dreadful complaint; but mark what follows: yet surely my judgment is with the Lord, and my work with my God: there is a correcting of himself as it were; as if he should say, what did I say it was in vain, that I had spent my strength in vain, to no purpose, that I had gotten nothing by what I had done? No, let me correct my self, surely my judgment is with the Lord, and my work with my God, I shall not lose my labour; though I do no good upon people, yet I shall not lose my labour: The truth is, even this Complaint is

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not spoken so much in the person of the Prophet, as of Jesus Christ: It is a complaint of Christ, for it is apparent in the reading of this Chapter, that it is Prophetical of Christ; for it follows, And now saith the Lord, that formed me from the Womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him, though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, and my God shall be my strength: And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant, to raise up the Tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give you for a light to the Gentiles, that thou maist be my Salvation to the ends of the Earth, &c. Now who was he that was a light to the Gentiles, and the Salvation of God to the ends of the Earth? It was Jesus Christ, and yet Christ himself is brought in here complaining, that he had laboured in vain, and spent his strength for nought, and in vain: but God comes in and incourages him, and tells him that he should not lose the benefit of their labours; his judg∣ment should be with the Lord, and his work with his God. And further, that though he did not prevail with some, yet he should with others, he should be given as a light to the Gentiles. And likewise that place is well known in the 2 Cor. 2. 15, 16. For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved; I that's true, but mark what follows, and in them that perish: A sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: as truly in them that perish, as in them that are saved, Gods Ministers are a sweet savour of Christ, therefore their labour is not in vain. To us be∣longs faithfulness; we are to look to be faithful in our work, but for the success that belongs to God himself. It is a note that Bernard hath on the 1 Cor. 15. 10. saith the Apostle there, By the Grace of God I am that I am, and his

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Grace that was bestowed upon me, was not in vain: but I laboured more abundantly then they all. Saith Bernard here, he doth not so much glory in the fruit of his La∣bours, as in his labouring, for indeed we are to glory ra∣ther in our work, than in the faithfulness of our hearts in our work, rather than in the success. Ministers many times may look too much after the success of their la∣bour, and yet if there be any thing in the world that a man may look for the success of his labour in, it is in the work of the Ministry; but especially he is to look after his faithfulness in his labour: and if he be faithful there, he shall not lose his labour: But, saith Bernard, you must have a care rather to discharge your work, to take care of Souls, rather than the curing of them: it is your work to take care of them, but it is Gods work to cure them; that's to be left to God. There is a Question among Divines, Whether a Minister that Converts many Souls here by his Ministry, or another that is as faithful every whit as he, and as painful, and yet doth not convert Souls, or but ve∣ry few; which of these shall have most Glory in Heaven, whether the one or the other? Many think rather the Second, because the one hath a great part of his comfort here, and his incouragement; the other goes on in his painfulness and faithfulness, though he hath not such com∣forts and incouragements. And indeed, of all Works, it is the hardest work for a man to go on comfortably in the work of the Ministry without success; there is no work so hard as that is: What, for a man to think, O that the Lord should send me to a people, to what end? to preach the Gospel indeed, but to harden them, but to aggra∣vate their sin, but so as their condemnation shall be increa∣sed: O it is a dreadful thought unto the heart of a Mini∣ster, to think that he should be sent about such a task as

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this is. Jeremy was even weary, and said, He would preach no more in the Name of the Lord, only the Word of God was as fire in his bones, and he could not for∣bear; but had not Gods Word been as fire in his bones, certainly he would have forborn: Hence it is that we read, when God was to send his Ministers to People, that they should not prevail withall, the Lord made mighty preparations, and there was much ado for to get the hearts of his Servants to go about their work: I'll give you two Instances remarkable for this: The first is in the Prophet Isaiah, the Lord had a Message to send by the Prophet, he would send him to Preach, but to a Peo∣ple where he should not prevail; yea the Text saith, Go and tell this people, hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not: make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes, lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and under∣stand with their hearts, and convert and be healed. The Lord sends his Prophets to go and to harden the hearts of people; as the truth is, there is nothing in the world will harden mens Hearts more than the Ministry of the Word, if it doth not soften them. If it doth not pre∣vail with mens hearts to convert them, I say there is no∣thing will harden mens hearts more. There are no People in the world have harder Hearts than those that live under the Ministry of the Gospel. Go and make the heart of this People fat; but this was a mighty hard Message: How must this Prophet be prepared? There needs be a mighty deal of preparation to make him go chearfully on in his work. You shall see that the Prophet had a most Glori∣ous Vision to prepare him: He saw the Glory of God sil∣ling the Temple, and above it stood the Cherubims, and one cryed to another, and said, Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of

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Host; the whole Earth is full of his Glory, and the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cryed, and the house was filled with smoak. Then said I, woe is me. The Lord was fain first to reveal his Glory to him; secondly to humble his heart; Then said I, wo is me, for I am un∣done, because I am a man of unclean lips: thirdly, the Lord caused a Serophim to fly unto him, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongues from off the Altar; and he laid it upon my mouth and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips, and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. Here's three notable works of God to prepare the heart of this Prophet: then in v. 8. I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, whom shall I send, and who will go for us? then I said, here am I, send me. After he had first seen the glory of God; secondly, after he had been humbled for his sin; and thirdly, after he had had such an extraordinary testimony of the pardon of his sin. Now Lord, as if he should say, send me about the hardest work that thou hast to do, and then the Lord tells him what that hard Message should be that he should carry? he should go to a people and Preach, but it should be to harden their hearts, and not to prevail with their Spirits. And the like we have in the Prophet Eze∣kiel, if you read the second, and the beginning of the third chap. the Lord tells him, that he was to go to a Rebel∣lious House; but you shall observe such a strange work of God for the preparing of his Heart for it in the most part of the first Chapt. the Prophet had a most glorious Vision of God for the setting of him a work; that teaches us, that indeed there is nothing will set us so much a work as the sight of God. Secondly, such a voice of God as humbled him, for when I heard, I fell upon my face; and then God comes and comforts him, and sets him upon his feet. Fur∣ther,

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the Spirit enters into him, and spake unto him, and then declared his Message, and gave him the roul, and bid him eat it; and made it to be sweet unto him, though it was a message of threatning: I speak all this to this end, to shew that there is no work more difficult than the work of a Minister, and especially when his Ministry hath not success; and therefore this point is very reasonable to tell unto them all, that though they have not the suc∣cess that they desire, yet the good of their Ministry shall return upon them again. Are there a People that they are sent to, to whom do they offer Christ? Why they would fain gain their Souls unto Christ, that they may live for ever in praising the riches of the grace of God in Christ in the highest Heavens. But will they not, Know, thou shait have the blessing of that peace; look what glory and comfort they should have had, it shall re∣turn into thy bosom. It is here in the Ministry of the Word, as in other Duties; suppose you pray for a Child, or Friend, or Kinsman, you do not see that he is turned to God according to your prayers; but know, your prayer is not lost for all that; the blessing of your Prayer shall return into your bosom, and therefore be encou∣raged in every good work as Ministers should be encou∣raged in their Ministry, though they have not success; so you, every one in your measure, should be encouraged in every work that God hath called you unto; go on there∣fore with peace and with comfort in all the work that heretofore you have been so much discouraged in; for the reward is to your faithfulness, and not to the success of your Works.

The next to this is: Your peace shall Return; that is, as I shewed you, it shall return with as much power and effi∣cacy; for they may think thus, Lord, do we go to preach

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to this People, and do they reject it; what hope shall we have that now the Gospel shall do good? it hath recei∣ved a foil, and now the edge seems to be off, and never like to do good any where. No saith Christ, do not reason so, do not think that your Gospel hath lost the edge of it; it shall return to you again with as much pow∣er as ever it did at first. It is not so with the Gospel as with other things. Many things in the World, if once they receive a repulse, their edge is taken off; but the Gospel, though it doth receive a repulse, yet still the edge of it shall continue, and the power of it: this is that which the Apostle saith, 2 Tim. 2. 10. Wherein I suffer trouble as an evil-doer, even unto bonds; but the Word of God is not bound: Mark, though I suffer Bonds, yet the Word of God is not bound: I am slighted and contem∣ned, I but the Word is not bound; the Word is the same that ever it was, though I be hated and cast out, that am the Minister of the Word; yet it remains in as much strength as ever it did: I indeed am cast into a Dunge∣on, but the Gospel will prevail; all the persecutions of Wicked men, all the scorn that is cast upon the Gospel by them, shall not take away the edge and power and life of the Gospel; but that shall continue as much as ever: all the rage of Hell, and Devils, and Tyrants shall not take away the power of the Gospel. Indeed they may restrain such and such men in the Preaching of it, but after they are dead and rotten, and roaring in Hell, the Gospel shall prevail. We find it so at this day, ever since Christ came, the Gospel hath been opposed by Ungodly men, yet it doth remain in as much life, and vigor, and power as ever it did; and I have no cause to question but it will prevail ere long, more than ever it did in the World; though its true, sometimes we find Ministers

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Preach Sermon after Sermon, and there are but few con∣verted to the Gospel: what shall we think that therefore in hath lost the power of it? No, Gods time is not come. When the time of God shall come to call home those that belong to his Election of Grace, it shall appear that the Gospel shall arise in power and glory, and prevail in the World again; therefore let's never despair, but that the Gospel will prevail in the World as at first, when as there were but a few poor Fishermen to Preach it, and all the World was enraged against it; the Emperors and Princes of the Earth was enraged against it, and yet these poor Fishermen did subdue a great part of the World by the power of the Gospel: therefore let not us be discouraged, for when Gods time is come, it shall prevail in a glorious manner more than ever. And so as it is with the Gospel, so it should be with the Professors of it: If God be disho∣noured by other, yet let not your edge be taken off, but do you continue in the power, and life, and vigor, as much as ever.

Now the second part, which is the main that I intend; and that is the dreadful threatning of those that do reject the Gospel: only take this one point, (there are these Three:)

First, That where a people reject the Gospel, God may justly take it away from them, yea they are in danger to have it taken from them: It shall return.

Secondly, Such shall not have the blessing of the Gos∣pel upon them; this shall be their doom, as they shall lose the Ministry of it, so they shall be cast out from the blessing of it.

And then Thirdly, which is yet the principal of all, and that is, That God will deal very quick with those that do reject the Gospel, Your peace shall return; no more a∣do,

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there's an end of them. These are the Three things in this sentence against those that are not the Sons of Peace, where the Gospel is preached. But a little of the First, we will leave the other.

First, That where a people do reject it, and that present∣ly; for so it is, when you come to a House and offer it, if they do not embrace it, let your peace return again: Christ here compares his Disciples unto Chapmen that should go and offer rich Wares, they have Diamonds, and Precious Stones, things worth Thousands, and they come perhaps to poor Country-people, and open their Cabinet of Dia∣monds and Precious Stones, and make offers to them, but they do not know the worth of them, they will bid no∣thing for them: Now when he sees that they reject and despise them, saith he, give me my Wares again, and so he packs them up again, and away he goes; for saith he, this is not a people that is fit for such things as these are; so saith Christ, you are such Chapmen, I send you abroad with the most rich pearl of the Gospel, to go and shew the excellency of it to people, and to offer it to them; and the truth is, I require thus much of them, that if they would have this Pearl, they must sell all: Now the Ministry of the Gospel comes, and they are ignorant of this Pearl, that they have brought this rich Commodity. They can tell them indeed that here is an exceeding rich Pearl, but this is the tenor, that you must be content to part with all for this Pearl, that is thus: First, you must actually lay down and renounce every beloved sin. Se∣condly, you must enter into Bond as it were with God, that whensoever he calls for your Estates, your Liberties, your outward Peace, and Comforts that you have in the World, shall be at Gods dispose: Thus you enter into Bond, as in your dealing for Commodities, when you see

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a great and rich Commodity, you lay down somewhat for the present, and give Bond for the rest to be paid when it shall be called for. When you go to buy Pedling things, there you lay down all at first, and no entring into Bond; but when it is a great Purchase, then there is a lit∣tle laid down for the present, and entring into Bond for the rest. Now certainly in this Bargain of the Mer∣chant, there is first a laying down for the present, thy Lusts, thy Sin; as if the Soul should say, O Lord, let me have my part in Christ, in this glorious Peace of the Gospel; as for any wayes of sin that I have lived in heretofore, Lord I renounce them; and will not live in any way of known sin, Lord grant me thy Grace to do it: Indeed this is the way of the Hearts coming in at first; I but saith God, I will not only have thy sin renounc'd, but thy Estate, and Liberty, and Life at my dispose; and thou shalt enter into Bonds to lay down all; yes Lord, this is the very English of the Covenant: The Soul see∣ing the glory of God in Christ, saith the Soul, Lord I will not only renounce my sin, but Lord, whatsoever I am, whatsoever I have, whatsoever I can do shall be at thy dispose; and here I enter into Bond Lord, that is, I Co∣venant, and Vow, and bind my self by the strongest Bonds that a poor Creature possibly can do, that whenso∣ever thou shalt call for any of my Estate, of my Liber∣ty, or my outward Comforts, when thou shalt call for my Life, Lord they shall be at thy dispose. Now have you sold all? have you thus bought the Pearl? When we come to bring the Pearl of the Gospel to you, have you embrac'd it? O if our Ministry prevails, this hath been the frame and working of your hearts; but if not, our Ministry hath not yet prevail'd with you; but when your Hearts begins to work thus, then our Ministry be∣gins

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to work to purpose in your Souls. But we may come to most People and open the Pearls of Christ, and open the Ministry of Reconciliation, and they will do neither of these Two; neither lay down any thing for the present, renounce no known Sin; and as for En∣tring into Bond, to have their Estates, and Liberties, and Lives, and all to be at Gods dispose, so as they are re∣solved that they will never enjoy any of them, but only in God, and for God: O how far are People from this? No, they love their Estates too much, and they will see what they shall have before they part with them: And thus that all the Ministers of the Gospel Preach unto you concerning God and Christ, are but meer Notions; but we are sure our Money and Estates have something in them, and so their Hearts embrace this present World, and reject Jesus Christ: and do you so? Well saith God, Pack up your Commodities again, I have no more People in this Place, therefore go and carry them some-where else; there is another People that will know the worth of these things; there is a People in the World that will be willing to renounce their Lusts, and to give up all that they have unto me, if they may have but this Gospel preached to them; therefore go somewhere else: Just as we Read of the Apostles in the Acts 13. 46. Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, they were not daunted, and said, It was necessary that the Word of God should first have been spoken to you, but seeing ye put it from you, and judge your selves unworthy of Eternal Life; lo, we turn to the Gentiles. Indeed you are the Jews, and in Pro∣fession the only People of God for the present, and there∣fore we were to come to offer it at first to you; but see∣ing you judg your selves unworthy of Eternal Life, that is, if you by your carriage do manifest that you are a

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People no wayes suitable to this glorious Gospel, then we turn to the Gentiles; we will pack up our Commo∣dities, and go to some others that will buy it: and in∣deed, if there be any thing in the World that makes a Faithful Minister go from any Place, it is the rejection of his Ministry: Other things are no such Arguments as this is, and if there be any thing can Warrant it, this as much as any thing, by vertue of this Scripture, and by vertue of my Text, Let your Peace return to you again, and be gone to some other Place: We know the Scripture saith, that Pearls are not to be cast before Doggs, and Swine: And indeed when Men shall prise their Swinish Lusts before the Pearl of the Gospel, all the good that is tendred to them in Jesus Christ; what are they in Gods esteem but as Swine? and why should Pearls always lye before them, that they should trample them under-foot; and therefore the Lord would have his Light to be removed: God Warrants his Ministers in some Cases so to do. But let people know that this is a dreadful condition, if this should fall out concerning them: If the Lord should be∣gin to make a tender of the Mercy of Christ to a People, or particular Souls; and if God should take it away a∣gain, that Soul or People is in a most dreadful condition: Perhaps you think you may spare it well enough; but know, if you can do well enough without the Gospel, the Gospel can do well enough without you; when that is taken away from a Place, the very light of that Place is taken away, there is double darkness. I remember I have read of the Christians in Chrysostoms time, how∣soever people now make little esteem of the preaching of the Gospel, yet the Christians were so affected with Chry∣sostom's Ministry; the Story saith, that when he was silenced by a Wicked Empress, they did profess, That they

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would rather have the Sun withdraw the beams of light from the World, then that the mouth of John Chrysostom should be stopt; they saw so much good in his Ministry, he preaching Christ to them, that if it were put to their choice whether they would be without the beams of the Sun, or his Ministry; they would rather chuse to be without the beams of the Sun than his Ministry. It's true, we are not to arrogate such things to any particular man now, we do not speak to that end, no, but to the Ministry it self. What if God take away a faithful Ministry, we do not speak of any particular men that are sent to Preach the Gospel to you: But certainly if God take away the clear light of the Gospel indeed, that Gospel that opens Jesus Christ, and the way of Salvation and Eternal life to your Souls. O what if God take away that from you: either take that from you, or you from that, that you shall ne∣ver come to hear the Mysteries of it opened more, (but instead of the glorious things of it, you should hear some pleading for Ceremonies, Cross or Surplice, or Cringing, and that should be the Chaff that you should be fed with∣all) I say, when God takes away this from a People, he takes away the light from them, and leaves them in dark∣ness: It is not such a fruit of Love and Mercy from the Lord to give fruitful seasons, and to bless you in your Trading, as for the Lord to send the Ministry of peace a∣mong you to open the unsearchable Treasures and Rich∣es of Jesus Christ; that's the special Token of Gods love to such a place, and when that's removed, then the speci∣al note of the love of God is removed; and when he takes away that, he takes away the Bread of life from you; and therefore the absence of the Word is called a Fa∣mine: We read of the poor people in Egypt, they came and sold all, that they might have Bread: It may be some of

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you complain of great Taxations, and want of Trading, and your Estates decay, and the like; I but doth not God recompence this with a more plentiful use of the Gospel than ever he did before? and doth not this Re∣compence you for the trouble that you suffer, and the loss of your Estates? I make no question but there are many Souls since the beginning of this Parliament that are now in Heaven, that were alive, and did suffer much for a while, but are now in Heaven, and blessing God for these Two or Three Years; and I know no greater Argu∣ment of a Carnal, Base, and Vile Heart than this, for them to be alwayes complaining of the loss of their E∣states, and not to think it at all made up with the liberty of Gods Ordinances, and with the more clear light of the glorious Gospel that shines among them; whereas did the Gospel take your Hearts indeed, you would bless God. It's true Lord my Estate is less than before, but Blessed be thy Name that we live to hear Jesus Christ, and the way of Life and Salvation opened further to us than heretofore. If God should take you away, perhaps then your Consciences would accuse you, and say, we had an Opportunity wherein we heard Jesus Christ opened to us in his Natures, and in his Offices; O had we taken that time, how happy had it been for us?

Further, Perhaps Carnal Hearts may think it nothing to have the Gospel taken from them, yet when that is taken from you, know that the Kingdom of God is taken from you; that place in Mat. 21. 43. is very remarkable, O this is one of the dreadfullest Threats; therefore say I unto you, The Kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a Nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. When you have the preaching of the Gospel in the clear∣ness if it among you, know that you have the Kingdom

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of God among you: Now God doth require that you should bring forth the fruits thereof; therefore examine your own Hearts what fruits of the Kingdom of God are in my Life, in my Family: Why, the Kingdom of God is among us, that's the meaning of Christ's and Johns preaching, Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand; that is, now comes the Revelation of Jesus Christ in the Gospel, and he calls people to Repent upon this Ground. O Repent and Turn from your sins; Why? for the Revelation of Jesus Christ is come among you. I say to you in this place, therefore Repent, Repent now, for the Lord is coming to Open the Kingdom of Heaven, and to Reveal the Grace of Christ, and the Glorious things of Eternal Life to you; and therefore if you should please your selves rather in sporting upon the Lords Day, and going to Ale-Houses and Wicked places rather than Attending upon the Word, why the Lord may take away this Gospel, and so take away the Kingdom of Heaven from you; and the taking that from you, it is but a fore-runner to the depriving of you from the Ever∣lasting Kingdom that the Saints shall have to all Eter∣nity.

And know there is no Dallying with God, for when thou comest to the Offer of Mercy in Christ, saith Christ either come in or not; Christ calls for your Answer quickly: Though the Lord be very patient towards men that never yet understood the Offering of the Gospel of Christ, but if they come once to have Christ preached to them, they must not expect the like patience. When John began to preach Christ, you know what he said: Now is the Axe lay'd to the root of the Tree: And why now more than before? Because now the Kingdom of Heaven is to be preached to them; and now, Every Tree that bringeth

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not forth good Fruit shall be hewn down, and cast into the Fire. Perhaps they have gone this Thirty or Forty Years, and there was no Hewing of them down; but now the Axe is lay'd to the root of the Tree. You know that of Christ to his Apostles, go your wayes and preach, saith he, He that Believes shall be Saved, and he that Believes not shall be damned: there is no more ado, either Believe and be Saved, or Believe not and be Damned; there is quick work, and indeed that's a Point that I would very gladly have been upon, even the Consideration of the Quick Work of God upon those Souls that shall reject the Ministry of the Gospel.

Notes

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