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 18, 2024.

Pages

Sermon. VI.

Luke 10. 6.
If not, it shall return to you again.

THere are Two Points more remaining, which is to be the Subject of this Excercise.

The First is this: That those that are not the Sons of Peace, (what is means you have had al∣ready opened) that do not imbrace the Ministry of the Gospel, they shall have no Blessing from the peace of the Gospel, they shall not be partakers of the good of the Gospel. 〈1 page duplicate〉〈1 page duplicate〉

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Secondly, That God is very quick with those that do not embrace his Gospel; Go and say peace, if there be a Son of peace well and good, they shall have peace; if not, It shall return, saith Christ.

From the manner of the phrase that note was raised, That God doth use to be very quick with those that do not embrace the Gospel: I shall be very short in the Former of these two, because I would gladly have a lit∣tle more time in the Latter.

Those who entertain not the Gospel, they shall not have the Blessing of it. I shall not need to go far for another Scripture, which is indeed a very dreadful one to this purpose, Luke 14. 14. For I say unto you, that none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my Cup. We have there a Parable, A certain man made a great Supper, and bade many: The meaning is this, It is to set out God the Fathers preparing of his Son, and of these Blessed Dainties at the Marriage of his Son: The scope of it is to shew the excellent things of the Gospel, that they are no other but the Dainties that are prepared by the great King of Heaven at the Marriage of his Son: The Scope of it is to shew the excellent things of the Gospel, that they are no other but the Dainties that are prepa∣red by the great King of Heaven at the Marriage of his Son unto Souls, unto Believers. Well, there are sent his Ministers, they are the Servants of this King, they are sent to Invite to this Marriage, to Invite men to partake of the Blessed things of the Gospel. Upon this Invita∣tion we see, that generally it was rejected, One saith he hath bought a Farm, another a Yoak of Oxen, and another hath Marryed a Wife, &c. and the Ministers they come in and give this account to God, Lord we have accor∣ding to thy Command invited them to come in to par∣take

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take of the good things of the Gospel; but these are their Excuses, their hearts are set upon other things: Now mark their doom in ver. 24. For I say unto you, that none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my Sup∣per: That is, do they thus reject it, and slight it, and dis∣regard it? I say to you, I profess it that there's not one of them shall make such a slight account of that Blessed Gospel of mine, and the glorious things contained there∣in; not one of them that shall taste of my Supper.

Only one Text more in Rom. 2. 8. But unto them which are contentious, and do not obey the truth; (that must needs be meant of the truth of the Gospel) but obey unrighte∣ousness, indignation, and wrath, tribulation and anguish upon every Soul of man that doth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile: Those who are set upon their evil wayes, and will not obey the truth, you see what their Doom is: The first is privative, That they shall not taste of the Supper: the other is Positive, Wrath▪ and indig∣nation and anguish shall be upon them.

You will say, That this shall return. What then? What great Evil wil follow upon this? what most dreadful Evils?

Why first, The very want and privation of the Infinite good that the Gospel tenders to thee is evil enough, and the remaining under all those Evils that the Gospel would have delivered thee from, that's evil enough; as thus, What, doth the Gospel return, and the Blessing from you? why then you remain under the guilt of all your Sins, and stand charged before the great God to answer for all unto the Infinite Justice; and this the Gospel would have delivered you from, had you entertained it.

Doth it return from you? Why then you stand before the Lord under the sentence of Condemnation, a Con∣demned Creature even to Eternal Death, and this the Gospel would have freed you from.

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Doth the Gospel return again? Why then you stand a Child of Wrath before the great God, under all the Viols of his Infinite Wrath, ready every moment for ought thou knowest to be poured out upon thee: and this the Gospel would have freed thee from.

Doth the Gospel go away from thee? Why then thou standest under the Curse of the Law, and all those dread∣ful Threatnings that are Written in the Book of God, they are all thy Portion, and this the Gospel would have freed thee from.

Is the Gospel returned from thee? Then thou standest before God as an Enemy unto him; he looks upon thee as one that is an Enemy to him, and thou canst expect no other but to be dealt withal as an Enemy; to have God in all his Attributes to come out against thee; to have all his Creatures to come out against thee to Avenge Gods Quarrel upon thee, and this the Gospel would have freed thee from.

And so we might further name Infinite Evils; no peace to the wicked; no peace to those who are so Wicked as to reject the glorious Gospel; and therefore thy Case is Dreadful.

Secondly, If the Blessing of the Gospel be returned from thee, then know, thou hast lost the most Happy op∣portunity of good that ever Creature had: Never can a Creature be made capable of a Happier opportunity of good than the Creature hath, when Jesus Christ comes to be preached to it. Here's the most Blessed opportunity of good I say that a Creature can have, to have Jesus Christ come to be offered to him. Now when the Gospel is returned, thou hast lost this opportunity of Mercy, the tender of Salvation that's worth ten thousand thousand Worlds, such an opportunity as the Devils and Damned

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in Hell would give 10000 Worlds to have it, and yet that is come to thee, and is gone and lost; and there∣fore it is a sad thing for the Blessing of the Gospel to re∣turn.

Thirdly, If it doth Return from thee, thou dost not know whether it will ever return back again upon thee; whether ever it will come any more: When God offers Grace and it is rejected, many times he doth cause the Offer to pass away, and it never comes more again. Thou mayest perhaps lye hereafter in the distress of thy Conscience, and think of former dayes that thou hadst, and cry out, O that I had such dayes again! O that I had Jesus Christ preached to me again as I had at such a time! O that I had such stirrings of the Spirit of God as I had at such a time! but now no Friend. Time was when thou hadst them, and thou didst reject them, and therefore they are gone; and thousands of Worlds will not purchase them again. I do not now speak only of ta∣king away the Ministery of it, but of the Blessing of the Gospel; perhaps thou mayst live under the Ministery of it, and yet the Blessing of the Gospel may be retur∣ned.

Fourthly, If the Gospel come and return with the Blessing of it, thou art now in a far worse condition than any Heathen whatsoever; a Heathen is not in so sad a condition. Some times you will speak in way of Indig∣nation, What do you think me a Heathen, a Turk? Thou art in a worse case than any Heathen whatsoever, because they never had the offer of Jesus Christ, and the course of Mercy hath never come to them, but to thee, and left thee; there's hope before God makes a tryal as it were, before Mercy hath as it were her turn upon the Creature, that it may belong to Gods Election; but now when

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Mercy hath had her turn and left the Soul, then it is a sad condition; it hath not done so to the Heathens, and therefore it is worse with thee than with the Heathens in that regard.

Yea Fifthly, Hence follows, that there is the greatest Judgment (except being sent to Hell it self immediatly) as a punishment of the greatest Sin that ever Creature committed, but only the unpardonable Sin, the Sin against the Holy Ghost: For God to take away the Gospel from us, the Blessing of it to return; it is the greatest Judg∣ment that can befall a man in this World, except God should send him quick to Hell presently: A greater Judg∣ment than if thy House were fired, or thy Body diseased and tormented; that were no such Judgment as this, and this is the fruit of the greatest sin, the sin of the rejection of the Gospel, except the sin against the Holy Ghost. Now that Man or Woman is in a sad condition that hath the greatest Judgment that God can inflict in this World, but only that one Excepted; I say this is an exceeding sad con∣dition.

Fifthly, Yea further, Then it is to be feared lest Christ should dye in vain as for thee; though Christ hath come into the World, and shed his Blood to save Souls, yet all should be in vain as for thee, O this Thought will pierce thy heart one day, if it doth not now for the pre∣sent; the very thought that there should be so great Sal∣vation, and I not be made partaker of it, it is a Soul-wounding Thought.

Yea and Lastly, Hereafter it shall be to thy extream Torment, when thou shalt see others that have embrac'd the Gospel and Sav'd Eternally, and thou thy self cast out: I heard the same Sermon that Converted such and such a one, and they are now Saved in Heaven for ever; O I

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was at the same Sermon, and rejecting of it am now cast down here to be sweltering under the wrath of God. Will not these be sad thoughts another day? If not, your peace shall return; and you see the dreadful Fruit of the returning of Peace.

Wherefore then a word by way of Application, For in∣deed the Point it self is enough to strike our Conscien∣ces. The very naming of these things, and the opening of them, hath power to stir and awaken the Heart; and therefore I will only say thus much.

Learn to know, that when you come to hear the preaching of the Gospel you do not come to a matter of Indifferency, it being no great matter whether you recei∣ved it, or received it not: Many people they come to hear Sermons, and look upon them as a very indifferent matter whether their Hearts be taken with what they hear or no, whether they yield and submit to what they hear or not; but learn to know that it is not a matter of Indifferency: I may well make use of that Speech of Mo∣ses to the people in Deut. 32. 46, 47. And he said unto them, set your hearts unto all the words which I testifie a∣mong you this day, which ye shall command your Chil∣dren to observe to do, all the words of this Law: Mark it, Why, what's the matter? v. 47. For it is not a vain thing for you, because it is your life. It may be some of them, when they heard Moses declaring the Law of God, they would be ready to think it is a good Law, and Moses doth well in telling of us the Law, but there is no great consequence of it how our Hearts be taken with it; O but saith Moses do not you come to hear the Law upon such tearms, but set your Hearts upon what you hear; Why? because it is your life. Much more cause have the Ministers of the Gospel thus to say when they

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come to preach Jesus Christ to a people, Set your hearts to what is delivered. When they come and say, Peace be to this place, to this People, & the Doctrine of the Gospel be prea∣ched to them, O set your hearts to what is delivered: Why, for it is your life. When you come to Hear a Sermon, you should come so as to consider that your Life may lye up∣on that Sermon, for ought you know; and the rather look to it, because the Lord with whom you have to deal is a great God, and a God that will not be dallyed withal, and trisled withal; but if you disobey the Message of the Gospel, the Lord may deal very quick with you; and that let's me into the Last Point which now we are to fi∣nish this Text in, and that is this:

That those that shall not Entertain the Gospel, the Lord will deal very quick with them; Your Peace shall return a∣gain: the Lord will not stand long about the matter. I in the naming of the point have already spoken of a Scripture or two, Now is the Axe lay'd to the root of the Trees, when John Baptist came to Preach the Kingdom of God. And that in the Last of Mark v. 16. Go and Preach saith Christ to his Disciples, he that believes shall be Sa∣ved, he that believes not shall be Damned: The Lord Christ tells how quick the Lord will be with those that shall not entertain the Gospel; and there are many Texts that are very full for this purpose: and because it is a great Point, and that it should strike much upon your Consci∣ences, therefore I will present it in the fulness of the Evi∣dence of Scripture. That place that you have in Matth. 10. it is just parallel to this in Luke 10. there where Christ sends his Apostles forth, as he doth the 70. he gives the same Directions in effect; but mark here, Saint Matthew goes farther than Saint Luke, Let your Peace Re∣turn to you; and whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear

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your words, when you depart out of that House or City, shake off the dust of your feet: Verily I say unto you, it shall be more tollerable for the Land of Sodom and Go∣morrah in the day of Judgment, than for that City. See here the quickness of God with those that do reject the Gospel: So in John 3. that is very famous for this, in ver. 18. He that believeth on him is not Condemned, but he that believeth not is Condemned already. You will say he is Condemned already, because his Natural Condition is such that he is under Condemnation: No, but I take it, the Scripture doth aim at something further; He is not only Condemned by reason of his sins against the Law, but he is condemned already, because he hath not believed on the Name of the only Begotten Son of God. How could he Believe in the Name of the Only Begotten Son of God be∣fore ever he heard it; but here it is spoken of Light that is come into the World, for so it follows in ver. 19. And this is the Condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men love darkness rather than light; because their deeds were evil: That is, when Christ shall come to be prea∣ched to any People, and they will not believe; present∣ly there is a sentence of Condemnation, that's the mea∣ning of the Text, he is Condemned already, the Lord is very quick with such. And in Acts 17. 30. a place fa∣mous, And the Times of this Ignorance God winked at. He saw and would not see as it were, he overpast that; but Now, saith he, that is, Now, when Christ comes to be Preached, Now he Commandeth all men every where to Re∣peent; as if he should say, Look to your selves that you Repent now, whatsoever you did before; though you could prophane Sabbaths before, look to your selves now; though you were vain, and superstitious, and carnal, take

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heed now to your selves; as if the Holy Ghost should say, The Lord is willing to pass by all that was before, but for rejection of his Son, look to that; he will not pass by that so easily, that One sin so easily, as he will pass by all the other. All the sins that men have Committed all their Lives before, may more easily be past by, than that one sin of Rejection of the offer of Grace by Jesus Christ: Now he calls all men to Repentance. And then a third Text is, that in 2 Cor. 2. a Text that I made use of the last Day for another purpose: For we are unto God a sweet Savour of Christ in them that are saved, and in them that perish; to the one we are the savour of Death unto Death: What's the meaning of that? It is somewhat a strange phrase and expression, we are the savour of death unto death; Savour of death: I take the meaning of the phrase to be thus: he compares his Ministery that was the Ministry of the Gospel, unto those things that had a mighty efficacy in them, a strong vertue; so strong, as their very savour was enough, either to kill or to make alive: As there are some things so strong, as the very sent of them can kill a man, or even raise a man from a Sound, so saith the Apostle, our Ministry to sin is the savour of death unto death; it is a deadly savour to them. Thus you may see that the Mi∣nistry of the Word, it hath a mighty quickness in it one way or other, either from Heaven or Hell, to Save or to Destroy. And another Scripture we have in Heb. 4. there the Apostle speaking of the Word, the Word of the Gospel, for certainly that's that that he speaks of, v. 12. For the Word of God is quick and powerful, and shar∣per than any two edged Sword, piercing even to the divi∣ding asunder of Soul and Spirit, and of the Joynts and Marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the Heart. The Word of the Gospel whensoever it comes

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to any Congregation, it is no dull matter; you may not look to sit dully under that, but it is a quick Word, it will either slay thy sin, or slay thy Soul, one of the two; it must slay one, and that quickly. And in Heb. 6. there the Apostle compares the Preaching of the Word of the Gospel to the Rain that comes down from Heaven up∣on the Ground: Now saith he in v. 7. For the Earth which drinketh in the Rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth Herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth Blessing from God; but that which beareth Thorns and Bryars is rejected, and is nigh unto Cursing, whose end is to be burned: So those people that do receive the Dews and Showers of the blessed Truths of the Gospel, and brings forth Fruit and Works meet for him that doth Dress them, and grants them such Showers; these shall receive Blessing from God: but mark v▪ 8. But that which beareth Thorns and Bryars is rejected, and is nigh unto Cur∣sing, whose end is to be burned: That is, those people that live under the showers of the Gospel, and yet bring forth nothing but Bryars and Thorns, that is, wicked Works, they live prophanely and ungodlily notwithstanding all the showers of the Word that comes upon them: Mark what the Text saith, such a one is nigh unto Cursing; he doth not say presently he is Cursed, no not so; but he saith, He is rejected, and is nigh to Cursing, whose end is to be burned, that is, continuing so, his end is to be burnt. You will say, How long shall he continue so? No, he cannot continue long, for the Text saith, he is nigh to Cur∣sing. And in Rev. 11. you read there of the Witnesses, those Witnesses the Ministers of the Gospel especially that stood up to Witness for Christ; in vers. 4. they are called Two Olive Trees: The Ministers of the Gospel, for they are the special Witnesses to Christ, they are Two Olive-Trees, that

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is, they bring Peace to people. Do not think that these things can any ways contradict what was said before, they do bring peace; and because their Message of peace is such a blessed Message, therefore it is that the Lord is so severe against those that do reject it. They are as Olive-trees to bear the Emblem of Peace, and as Candlesticks standing before the God of the Earth; but then mark in vers. 5. If any man will hurt them; if any man will op∣pose them, fire proceedeth out of their mouths and devou∣reth their Enemies; and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed: They are Olive-trees, they come and bring peace; but if they be opposed and hurt, then even fire comes out of their mouths: It is strange that those that are Olive-branches should have fire in their mouths. The Witnesses of Christ they are Olive-branches that have the Message of peace, but if they be opposed and rejected, and hurt, then fire comes out of their mouths and devours their Enemies: By this fire is meant the Ministry of their Word, the Lord makes it be as a consuming Fire to the Souls of those that shall reject their Ministry; and that you may see Gods quickness in dealing with those that he calls to Repentance, and offers any Mercy to; you have in the Old Testament some∣what: but in the Old Testament the Lord never revea∣led his Grace so clearly, and therefore we cannot expect so much of Gods quickness there as in the New; and yet mark what he saith in Jer. 18. 9. And at what instant I shall speak concerning a Nation, to build and to plant it; if it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my Voice, then will I repent of the good wherewith I said I would benefit them: If I come and speak unto a Nation, and offer them Mercy, and tell them of my Grace, if that Nation doth evil in my sight, at that very instant when I speak, if they

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do not turn from their evil wayes, I will repent of all the good, and I will take all my goodness from them. You see that God expects to have you at an instant: You many times would have your Children and Servants come as soon as you do call, or else you are ready to fly in their Faces; certainly God may justly expect that at what instance he should call, that you should come in. The Lord may be too quick for you, your day may be past, the day of Grace and Salvation may be past, I say before you are aware; before your repenting time comes, Gods forgiving time may be past: Though it is true, you will say, At what time a man repents, I, that is, if God give him a heart: But what if God will not give thee a heart, but will harden thy heart, and give thee up to thy self? at what instant saith the Text: And then another Text is in Mal. 3. beginning, Behold I will send my Messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom ye seek shall suddenly come to his Temple: Now this is apparently meant concerning Christ; but saith he, Who may abide the day of his coming? so he goes on and shews how severe he will be: and then in vers. 5. I will come near to you to Judgement, and I will be a swift witness against the Sorcerers, and against the Adulterers, and a∣gainst false Swearers, and against those that oppress the Hireling in his gates, &c. Christ when he comes, he comes to be a swift Witness against them that live in their Wicked wayes after his coming. Indeed all mens sins do witness against them, but now those that live in Prophaneness and Wickedness, when Christ is come a∣mong them, I say they are to expect Christ to be a swift Witness against them. How quick did the Lord deal with his People upon their rejection of the Land of Ca∣naan, they did often sin against God in the Wilderness,

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but when they came to the Land of Canaan, and had an offer of the Land of Canaan, having sent Spies to see the good Land, and they came and declared what a Good Land it was; and yet some discouraging of them, because of the Children of Anack, they were Rebellious, and would not go to the Land to enter upon it because of the difficulty they should endure; No, God presently Swears against them, he takes a Solemn Oath, that they should never Enter into his Rest; so you have it in Heb. 4. God did never Swear against them, till they came to have the proffer of the Land; and upon their first rejection of it after the Offer, and declaring to them the good Fruit of it, upon the very first rejection, the Lord Swears in his Wrath that they should not Enter into it; and so they were to turn back again into the Wilderness. Now we are to know this Land of Canaan to be a Type, not only of the Church, but of Heaven it self, and of the good things of the Gospel. Now those that live in the Wil∣derness, and do not know the good Land of Canaan, and have not the Offer of it, the Lord may bear a long time with them; but now when it comes to this, that the Lord doth reveal unto them the Blessed things of Christ, and make an Offer to them of the Blessed things of Christ, to enter into his Rest, for so it is apparent that the Apostle doth apply it to the Blessed things of the Gospel: If I say when the Lord shall discover these things unto them, they shall not Enter into this Rest, but they shall pretend a great many difficulties, O the Way is so strict and hard, and they shall suffer so much; and upon this do refuse the Land of Canaan, the Blessed things of Jesus Christ; then is the time if ever, to Swear against a Soul that it shall ne∣ver be made partaker of Jesus Christ?

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Now then I had thought to have opened the Point fur∣ther, in three Particulars: First, to shew what the deal∣ings of God doth use to be with such, in what way he deals so quick with them; Secondly the Reasons of it; and Thirdly to have Answered some Objections about this: but I shall give you but a Word or two of each, and so come to the Application.

For the First, The way of Gods dealing with such; it is either as you heard the last Day, to take away the Ministry from them, that he doth sometimes; or if not so, the Lord passes a sentence against them, They shall not taste of my Supper: and so a man may live a long time under the Ministry of the Word, under a Sen∣tence.

Or further, That sometimes the Lord gives him up to himself, to his own hearts lusts; for this the Gospel is the Counsel of God, for so it is called in one of the Evan∣gelists: Now mark what Gods dealings was with those that rejected but his Counsels, in Psalm 81. I gave them up to their own hearts lusts, and they walked in their own counsels. And that famous place in Rom. 1. from the mid∣dle of it, there the Apostle shews that those that did re∣ject but the very light of Nature, God gave them up to a Reprobate sense; much more those that shall reject the light of the Gospel: that's the way of God to give them up sometimes to the power of their sin; as if God should say, they will have none of Christ, nor of my Grace and Mercy, their Hearts are set upon their Lusts, Lust take them, such a lust of uncleanness take them, such an earthly Lust take full possession of them. The Lord gives them up to their own Hearts Lusts, the Lord saith of them, He that will be filthy, let him be filthy still, as you have it in Revelations the last, he that will be filthy let him be fil∣thy;

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and let him have the satisfying of his Lusts to the ut∣termost.

And sometimes it is to cut them off by some extraor∣dinary and fearful Judgment, the Lord many times ap∣pears most dreadfully against them.

The Reasons that should have spent me a great part of the time, and it might very well require a whole Exercise, to have Opened to you why the Lord is so provok'd a∣gainst this Sin rather than another Sin whatsoever it be: For the Opening of the great Evil that there is in the Sin of Unbelief and Rejection of the Gospel; you that un∣derstand any thing must needs know that it must require a very large time to open it all: But in a very few Parti∣culars take them thus.

You that reject the Gospel, you sin against the grea∣test Mercy that ever God tendred to Creatures; he never tendred such a Mercy to the Angels that sinned against him as to you: Indeed here are the bowels of Gods mercy, as the Scripture calls them, the tender bowels of Gods mercy: Now to sin against the Gospel, it is to spurn at the very Bowels of God. Many men speak of Mercy, and desire to hear much of Mercy, O but you had need look to your selves when you hear much of Mercy, for when you hear of Mercy your Souls lye at the stake one way or other: God deals more quick with those that hear much of Mercy, than he doth with others. One Sermon of Mercy rejected may send a man nearer to Hell by far, than ten Sermons of Judgment. Though you should not reform after many Sermons of Judgment, yet they do not make your condition so dangerous as one Sermon of Mer∣cy; and therefore you had need at any time when you hear Mercy Opened to you, you had need have your Hearts shake the more, and tremble to think thus, Lord

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here's a Sermon upon which my Soul doth more lye, than it may be Ten Sermons before, yea perhaps than any that ever I heard in all my life. Thou comest to hear a Ser∣mon of Mercy, and goest away and sayest, O what an Ex∣cellent Sermon is this! it was a Sermon of the most Mer∣cy that ever I heard in my life; I say, Was it so? then thy Soul lay more upon that Sermon than upon any that ever thou heardest in thy life. Mercy is such an Attribute which God doth put such a price upon, that it is resolved he will revenge the Wrong done to his Mercy: Whatsoe∣ver God doth bear with, he is resolved he will not bear the Abuse of his Mercy; and therefore you had need look to it when you come to hear of Mercy, especially the Mercy of the Gospel. There is a great deal of Mercy in Gods Works, I but when he comes to Preach Jesus Christ to thee, there's Mercy of another Nature, there look to thy self: If thou dost dally and trifle with Gods Mercy, then thy condition will be most Dreadful. I'll name these one or two Arguments to thee, because when thou sinnest against the Offer of the Gospel, then thou sinnest against the help of thy Soul, the means to do thee good. The preaching of the Gospel it is as a Board after Shipwrack, for every poor Soul is as a man that hath suf∣fered Shipwrack, and he is in the midst of the Sea upon a Board of the Ship, and there's all his help: Now were it not a mad thing for this man to put off this Plank from him when he hath no other help. Now we are ready to be swallowed up of the Sea of Gods Wrath, and now God casts in a Plank to waft us to the Shore, if possibly may be. Or rather thus, The Offer of the Gospel it is like the ca∣sting of a Rope into a River, unto a man that is in dan∣ger of Drowning. There is a man that is fallen into the Thames, and you cannot get him up, but you will get a

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line and throw it into the place where he sunk, and there is no way for him to be Sav'd, but only that: Now if such a man put off the time from him, what help can there be of that man. Thus it is, all Men and Women naturally, they are even ready to sink into the Bottomless Gulf of Eternal Misery; this is thy condition. Now the Lord in Mercy sends his Ministers to come and make an Offer of the Gospel, and cast a line to Congregations, and make this Proclamation, In the Name of God, every Soul that will take hold of this, may be saved from sinking into the bottomless Gulf of Eternal Horror and Despair; and there is no way to save any sinking Soul but only this. Now if men slight and disregard this, and put it off, is it not just that men should sink down; this that I speak will eb foundgood one day: the Lord forbid that any one Soul in this Place should find this similitude made good upon them; that is, to sink into the bottomless Gulf: and there to consider with himself, had not I a line cast to me for the Saving of me, and had I catch'd hold of it as others did, might not I have been Saved as well as they. This I say the Lord will make good one day.

But now, because much may be said, As doth not God call at the Eleventh hour and the like? And grant God may call at the eleventh hour, I but it is not said God will call eleven times? That is, God may let Men and Wo∣men go a long time, and at length call them; but what have you in Scripture after Rejection of Calls to Call a∣gain; do not mistake me, I do not say but that God may call eleven score times; I but it is more than such a one may expect: the Lord calls at the Eleventh hour: but you do not hear, if they refuse then, what he will do after∣wards. So you say, That the Theef on the Cross was called at the last hour, but who knows whether ever he did

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hear of Jesus Christ before that time; therefore your case is not his, though it's true he was Saved at the last: I but it may be he did never reject Christ in his life, and it was the first time that ever Jesus Christ was made known to him for ought any can tell? and do you so? though you be old sinners, yet upon the offer of the Gospel if you shall presently come in, then you may be received; but what may be after the offer of the Gospel I cannot tell.

You will say, That we find by Experience, that God doth Convert those that lives a long time under Meanes; It's true he may be patient towards them, I but it is more than they can expect, that it should be so; and mark it, you must not venture upon Gods patience with another, to think that he will be patient so long with thee: I will give you a notable Scripture for that, the Example is in Manasses, in 2 Chron. 33. 1. there you have the Story of Manasses, how wicked a man he was; and Manasses did Reign Fifty five Years, though he were a very Wick∣ed man, yet the Lord suffered him to Reign Fifty five Years, and it is like most of this time was in his Wicked∣ness: but now comes his Son Amon after him v. 21. and perhaps Amon he might think thus; Why may not I do as my Father did? The Lord was patient with my Fa∣ther many Years, and why may not I venture as he did? and so he did venture to live in the Wickedness that his Father had lived in; but mark, God was quick with him; though he spared Manasses the Father, yet he was quick with Amon the Son, in vers. 24. God spared him but Two Years, for he died Wickedly, as the Story shews you afterwards; so that you must know Gods patience is his own. God may be patient with one perhaps Twen∣ty

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or thirty Years, and he will not with another so many moneths.

Wherefore then by way of Application, thus much:

First, Hence Ministers may see cause when they come to Preach Jesus Christ to a People, to come with trem∣bling hearts; and the truth is, though it be that that their Souls desire above all, and they account them∣selves (or should do) in their Element, when they are opening Jesus Christ unto you; yet upon the Considera∣tion of this Point, they cannot Preach Christ unto you without trembling Hearts; for they have these thoughts whatsoever you have, Lord I am now going to Preach Christ, and open the Mysteries of Grace to this People; I but if they should reject it, how quick will the Lord Deal with them; the Ministry of my Word, How soon may it be to cut them down, and to send them to their own places? Therefore those that know what they do, cannot but come with Trembling Hearts.

Secondly, From hence, Let all those that have liv'd under the Gospel, and yet the Lord hath been patient towards them for a long time, O let them learn to Bless the Name of God: I perhaps was Born of Godly Parents, and they instill'd good Principles into me, and they were careful to set me under good Preaching, yea and I not only had the outward Offer of Grace, but God knows how often Gods Spirit came & offered Christ to my Soul, and yet I went on stubbornly and stoutly a long time. O the rich Mercy of God, that he did not wholly give me up, and cut me off! Rich Mercy! And what hath God yet come and strove with me again for all this Rejection? O the Riches of the Grace of God towards me more than towards others! Thou hast cause to magnifie God, for it is not an ordnary thing for God to deal so with People as he hath dealt with thee.

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Thirdly, Let all those that do come to hear the Ministry of the Gospel, to hear the Word of the Gospel, and yet their Consciences tell them that they are Opposers of it, and secret Contemners of it, and are resolved to go on in their wayes, let there be said what will be, yet they resolve to go on, and to continue as Vile as formerly: O that the Lord would strike some such bold Sinner this Day by this Word. By this Point that hath been thus Preached unto thee, the Lord strike thy Heart thou bold Sinner that darest be bold even against the face of the Mercy of God in Jesus Christ, that darest be bold to kick as it were God in his Bowels: If the Lord hath any purpose to do good unto thee, he will strike thy Heart, and humble thee before him, in that that thou hast gone on thus a∣gainst so much rich Grace as thou hast done; as Jehu said in another case, What hast thou to do with Peace, get thee behind me: So is God a Merciful God, and the Preacher Preaches Mercy; howsoever thou wilt live in the face of the Mercy of God in thy wicked wayes, What hast thou to do with Mercy? Now if this be so, Hearken to the Exhortation in the Second Psalm, Kiss the Son lest he be angry; there indeed lies the Emphasis, Kiss the Son saith the Psalmist: What shall the Son of God, that is Je∣sus Christ, come to be Preached to you, and do you reject him? No, take heed what you do, Kiss him; and that expres∣sion it is a sign of Obedience, for so it was used in those times, they came and Kiss'd the Prince as a sign of their Subjection to him: Kiss the Son, Obey the Gospel, submit to it, Why? lest he be angry; lest the Son of God be angry: The anger of the Son of God is a dreadful anger; the An∣ger of God the Father is dreadful, and yet the Anger of the Son of God in some respect is more dreadful; as the Anger of the Holy Ghost is most dreadful of all, because the Scrip∣ture

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saith, The sin against him can never be forgiven. And next, Kiss the Son, and that because there is so much Mer∣cy in the Son; therefore if he be rejected, his anger is so much the more dreadful, And lest you perish in the mid∣way; that is, when you hope to live many years, to have ma∣ny more Merry-meetings with your Companions, and do not think your selves to be nigh to perishing; saith the Text, In the mid way: the Lord comes upon such when they least think of it. The Lord comes upon many, and cuts them off in the middle of their years. This Consi∣deration no question it was in part that caused Saint Paul when the Lord Christ was Revealed to him, that he dared not put off a day, no saith the Text, Gal. 1. 15, 16. When it pleased God who seperated me from my Mothers Womb, and called me by his Grace to reveal his Son in me, that I might Preach him among the Heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood; immediately, as soon as ever God was pleased to reveal Christ to me, or in me, I did not con∣fer with flesh and blood, that is, I dar'd not so much as Rea∣son about the difficulty of the way, or what I should suffer if I took this course; I dar'd not go to my Company and take their Advice and Counsel, No, saith he, but as soon as ever the Lord was pleased to reveal Christ in me, I presently went about the Work; and so in the 26th. of the Acts, where he tells the story of his Conversion, spea∣king of Gods revealing himself to him in that glorious way of a Vision, Whereupon O King Agrippa I was not dis∣obedient to the Heavenly Vision; the very first Vision I pre∣sently submitted to: Paul he fell down and said, Lord what wilt thou have me to do? upon the first manifestation of Christ unto him: O do you take heed that you be not disobedient to the Heavenly Vision; perhaps together with the Ministry of the Word the Lord may grant to

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some of your Souls a Vision, that is, he may come with his Spirit and shew some of the Glory of his Son to you; O be not disobedient to the Heavenly Vision, but im∣mediately yield to it, and confer not with flesh and blood.

O but you will say this is hard, you come at first and say Peace to us, but this is very severe to tell us how quick the Lord is.

But Observe it, It is but severity to those that put off Mercy: then if you love Mercy so well, what need you fear this Severity.

But further, Know that upon your receiving of the Go∣spel the Lord will be as quick with you in wayes of Mer∣cy, as he is in Judgments to those that do reject it. You will say, How quick will the Lord be in the wayes of his Mercy? Thus quick, that upon thy receiving the Gospel, and Believing, the very first instant of thy receiving it, thou shalt be delivered from all thy sin, the guilt of all thy sin, thou shalt be made as clear from the guilt of sin as the Child that is new born, and more clear a great deal: How quick is God now.

Yea thou shalt be made as clear from the guilt of all thy great sins that thou hast committed, I say as clear from the guilt of them as the Saints are in Heaven, and this at the first moment of thy Entertaining of Jesus Christ; thou shalt be as clear as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; thou shalt be equal with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the point of thy Justification; yea in regard of any guilt of sin, thou shalt be as unspotted before the Lord as the Saints are in Heaven: O the Lord is willing to be quick with you in wayes of Mercy.

Now then consider of both, Here we set Life and Death before you; we know it is not in Mens power indeed,

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but we know God doth use to Bless his Ministry so as to convey power by his Ministry: God is quick both wayes; upon Entertaining he is quick in wayes of Mercy, present∣ly to clear the Soul from all those horrible Wicked Sins that thou hast been guilty of; and if thou shalt reject it, then thou may'st fear that the Lord will be quick with thee another way. O consider what hath been said in this Point, and in this Text, and the Lord give you under∣standing.

FINIS.

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Notes

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