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

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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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Christian life -- Congregational authors.
Sermons, English -- 17th century.
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http://name.umdl.umich.edu/A30576.0001.001
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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 June 24, 2024.

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SERMON II. (Book 2)

I Shall now give unto you some further evidences of this, that it is a very difficult lesson to know how to abound. The evidences are,

First, The solemn and frequent charges of God to his people, To take heed to themselves when they are full.

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We do not find in Scripture that God doth so solemnly and frequently charge people to take heed to themselves when they are low; that they don't then forsake him: though there are some Commands that way, but nothing so much in such a solemn way as God doth when he speaks to those that are like to be in a full condition; then saith God, Look to your selves; as I'll give you two or three Scriptures. The first is in Deut. 6. 11. there God saith what he would give unto them, They should have houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not; Vineyards and Olive-trees which thou plantedst not. When thou shalt have eaten and be full (saith the Text) what then? Then beware lest thou forget the Lord, which brought thee forth out of the Land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. That's a time when poople are least careful at all, when they eat and be full, then they think of no danger at all; I but this is the charge of the Spirit of God, That when thou shalt have eaten and be full, then beware in a more especial man∣ner. O that you would remember this, you that have full Tables; O that this Scripture were written over your Tables, and were in your thoughts when you come to full Dishes; you eat and drink and are full. It would be but a melancholy thought to some of you to think of this, O I must beware now in a more especial manner. Some of you that have been in a poor estate, perhaps you were but poor Sea-boys at first; but in some few Voyages have raised up an estate: then this is a Text that concerns you. Hath God given you such Voyages, that now your house is full; you were wont to have your houses empty, but ordinarily you Marriners have your houses full of good things that you bring from beyond Sea. Now when your houses are full, saith the Text, beware of that, that you

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forget not the Lord; but then fear him. And so in Deut. 8. 12. you have again this charge renewed, the Lord doth not give it you once, but presently again he renews this charge; When (saith he) thou hast eaten and art full, thn thou shalt bless the Lord thy God, for the good land which he hath given thee. Beware that thou forget not the Lord thy God, in not keeping his Commandments and his Judgments and his Statutes, which I command thee this day; least when thou hast eaten, and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein; and when thy heards and thy stocks multiply, and thy Silver and thy Gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied: then thine heart be lif∣ted up, and thou forget the Lord thy God. Still see what charges are here, as if God should say, I am not so soli∣citous about you, while you are in the Wilderness, while you are empty; but I am very solicitous about you, what you will do when you are full; I am afraid then you will forget me: Therefore you see how it is renewed: yea, you have it renewed again in Deut. 11. 15. And (saith he) I will send grass in thy field for thy cattel, that thou mayest eat and be full. Take heed to your selves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside and serve other Gods. Take heed you be not deceived when you are full. There is a great deceitfulness in riches; so you know the Scripture speaks of the deceitfulness of Riches. You will say, why when we are full, we hope we may eat and drink, and have the pleasure of what God gives us. O but take heed you be not deceived. Now that God should give such caution and solemn charges again and again, in the 6th. 8th. and 11th. Chapters, and so repeat them again and again; surely by this God would have us to learn that there is a great deal of danger in be∣ing full; and therefore it is a difficult lesson for us to know how to be full and abound.

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Another evidence that it is so difficult, is this; When do you find throughout all the Book of God, that ever a full condition did ever turn any soul to God, or was the means of it, that was not turned to God before. I can find in Scripture that an afflicted condition hath been blest so by God, as it hath been an occasion to turn some to God: As you know Manasses in his affliction he sought the Lord. And so God speaks once and twice, and men hear not; but then he opens their ears by correction: And in their affliction they will seek me early: But do you ever find it, that those that did not seek God before, were drawn to God by a full condition. Truly I know no certain example of any, where the prosperous estate of a man was any occasion to his conversion: therefore that shews that there is a great deal of danger in a fuller condition.

Yea further, Where do you find that any of Gods chil∣dren that were brought into a full condition, but were rather worse for it than better. I confess there is one or two examples, that we read not that they were worse for their prosperity; as Nehemiah and Daniel: but where have you an example else, but almost all of them, when they were full, they forgat God. When they were af∣flicted, they would learn; David had learned to be con∣tent in his afflicted condition, and to get abundance of good by his afflicted condition; O but he could not learn so well to be full. And therefore you shall find that the most excellent Psalms that ever David penn'd, it was in his afflicted condition: There was a fulness of the spirit of God in him then, then in a more especial manner: And therefore I remember that it's said in one place, That Solomon did not do according to the first works of his Fa∣ther David. The first works of David were the works

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when David was not so full; but when he grew to be full, his works were not so good then. And general∣ly all the people of God were worse in a full condition: So Solomon, you know how his fulness had almost spoil'd him; Solomon, though he had so much wisdom that he understood all things almost, yet he wantd wisdom to know how to be full. There was never a man of that greatness in the world (that was a meer man) that had the wisdome as Solomon had; and yet all his wisdome was not enough to teach him this lesson, to know how to be full.

And then, This is an evidence that it's a very diffi∣cult thing to learn to be full; because that the way of God constantly hath been, even from the beginning of the world to this day, to keep his people down low in affliction; and especially in the times of the Gospel. Now why is it that the Lord hath so ordered things in the waves of his providence, as that the most part of his Churches and his Saints, should be kept under the hatches, under afflictions. Why God could as easily fill them with fulness of outward blessings, as fill them with the Holy Ghost; but those that God fills with the Holy Ghost, yet he doth not fill them with outward blessings, in his ordinary way; but the people of God have been in afflictions. This is an evidence to us that God sees that it is more safe for them to be in a mean estate than in a high, because they can better learn how to be empty than to be full. The Lord sees it's a hard lesson for his people to learn how to be full, and therefore he doth but very rarely bring them into a full condition.

And daily experience teaches it too, who are those that are the most spiritual and heavenly Christians, are they those that are fullest? We see it plainly otherwise.

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O God hath a great deal more glory from poor mean Christians, and there is more spiritual Communion be∣tween God and them, than there is between God and those that are in a fuller estate. The Ecclesiastical Story is notable for this, I suppose you have heard of; That at the time when the Church was delivered from persecution, and Constantine had endowed it with great possessions, the Story saith, there was a voice heard in the Air, say∣ing, This day is poyson poured into the Church. And so it fell out indeed, for the Church grew far worse after it was delivered from persecution. It was in a worse condition by far, then it was when it was under persecution; they could not learn to be full, so as they could learn to be af∣flicted and empty; then they fell to contending and wrangling one with another, and then Heresies began to prevail a great deal more than they did when they were under persecution; and we find it so by our experience. Is it not so, that when we are lowest, then we are in the best condition for the most part; for as soon as we have prosperity and are full, we begin to spurn with the heel. But I have spoken to that at other times. And thus much for that second particular, That it is a very difficult lesson to learn to be full.

But yet it is very necessary, there is a kind of absolute necessity of it, a great necessity. Why, many wayes there is need of this, and it would be a very sad thing, if you do not learn this lesson.

For, First, Those that are full, if they have not learn∣ed how to be full, they will be guilty of the abuse of the Creatures of God more than other men; the Creatures of God that they enjoy in a fuller way than others, will be under bondage, and will cry out against them: So, do not you enjoy a great many Creatures more than others

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that are in a poor condition. But if thou hast not learn∣ed how to use them for God, night and day do these Creatures of God cry to heaven against thee: as if they should say, Lord, we were made for thee, and we have a propensity in us to be serviceable to thy glory; but here's one to whom thou hast given the possession of us, and he doth abuse us, and force us from the end that thou hast made us for; and that we would fain be useful in. Lord, we are forced to do that that is contrary to our nature, we were never made to be serviceable to the lusts of men, and yet here's a man that doth abuse us to his lusts: Lord why should we be in bondage to such men as know not how to use us. You love not to be a servant to one that knows not how to use you. The Creatures of God they groan under the bondage they are in, when men and women enjoy them in the fulness of them, and yet abuse them; not working them to the end that God hath made them for: there is a cry that God hears from his Creatures, though you hear not the voice of it.

Yea, and Secondly, If you be in a prosperous condi∣tion, and have not learned to be full, then you will be guilty of sinning against mercy more than others; the mercies of God towards you will be but an aggravation to your sinfulness; and this is a grievous condition. O Mer∣cy, my Brethren, is a tender thing, and to sin against mercy is very grievous. Those that are in a low condi∣tion, they have many mercies, but not so many as you; therefore they are not guilty of sinning against mercy so much as you are. What a sad thing is this, that Gods mercy, that might do us so much good, should be of no other use to us, but meerly to aggravate our sins at last. There's no greater aggravation of sin than that that comes from

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mercy; and therefore when the Lord would speak to the very heart of his people, so as to perswade, he brings them to that, to consider of his mercy towards them. In Deut. 32. 6. Do you thus requite the Lord, O foolish people and unwise. So, Dost thou thus requite the Lord, hath God made thy condition more comfortable than anothers? Another he wants Bread, and fares hardly, lies hard, and is in the cold; and lives in a poor condition, and thou hast all things full about thee, and yet art thou worse? Do'st thou thus requite the Lord, O foolish heart? And so you know it was the aggravation of the sin of David, in 2. Sam. 12. after David had committed that great sin, the Lord sends the Prophet to him to convince him of his sin; and mark how he aggravates it ver. 7. Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, I annointed thee King over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul, and I gave thee thy Masters House, and thy Masters Wives into thy bosome; and gave thee the House of Israel and of Judah, and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things: Wherefore hast thou despised the commandement of the Lord? O this was that that struck the heart of David; I have sinned, saith David. And in Nehem. 9. 25, 26. you have a remarkable Scripture for that, setting out there the mercy of God; So they did eat and were filled, and became fat, and delighted them∣selves in thy great goodness; nevertheless they were diso∣bedient and rebelled against thee; and cast thy Law behind their backs, and slew thy Prophets, &c. Here's the aggrava∣tion, they were filled with good things, nevertheless they were disobedient. O may not this Scripture be made good upon many of you. The Lord hath filled your houses with abundance of mercy, you cannot look into any of your Families, but you see mercy; yet ne∣vertheless

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a carnal heart for all this, nevertheless a Swearer, a Company-keeper, a Prophaner of Sabboths, a Neglecter of the Worship of God in thy Family. Not∣withstanding, an unclean wretch, for all those mercies that the Lord would wooe thee to obedience by. That's the second thing that shews the necessity of learning to be full, otherwise we shall be guilty of sinning against much mercy; and likewise the mercy of God will serve for no other end but to aggravate our sin.

And, Thirdly, If men do not learn to be full, they will grow extream wicked. How our fulness doth afford fewel for lusts, that we spoke to. I onely now speak to it, as to shew the necessity that we learn to be full; lest we come to grow most abominably wicked. Sin will come to be out of measure sinful, if so be we learn not to be full. As a man that hath a weak distempered body, and lives at a full Table, and hath a strong appetite, and yet if he doth not learn how to order his diet, he will grow full of Diseases; so when thy heart is weak (at least) and thou comest to a full Diet, and knowest not how to order thy self, thou art like to grow extreamly diseased; and therefore you find in Scripture, that those that were in a full condition, and yet had not grace to know how to be full, they are described to be the most wicked people that are in the world. Job 21. 14. There∣fore they say unto God, depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of thy wayes. And in Psal. 73. there you may read at large of the prosperity of the wicked, from the beginning and so on; and in Isa. 2. 7, 8. Their land al∣so is full of silver and gold, neither is there any end of their treasures; their land is also full of horses, neither is there any end of their chariots; then mark in the 8th. verse, Their land also is full of Idols. These two are joyned together. O

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so it is in many Families, this Family is full of all outward good things, and it's a Family full of sin; and here's a man that hath a full Estate, and a man that is full of sin, as he is full of his Estate. If thou do'st not learn to a∣bound, thou wilt certainly abound in sin; and therefore it is an absolute necessary lesson for us to learn to abound.

And then, Thirdly, If thou dost not learn to abound, thy portion will be in this life, if there doth not go to∣gether with thy abundance the grace of God to teach thee how to abound; this will prove to be thy condi∣tion, to be a man or woman that God hath said shall have no other portion from him then in this world. If the Lord gives a man an estate, and doth not withal give him some proportionable measure of grace to know how to use it, and abound in it, that's a man that God saith, his portion shall be in this world; it is as much as if God should say from heaven concerning this man, Here's one, whose portion is in this world. In the 17th. Psalm, at the latter end, there the Psalmist speaks of men who have their portion in this world; here's their consolation, Thou hast a full estate, and doth God give thee nothing with thy full estate, it is like to be thy All. You will say, Is this so great a matter? I a thousand thou∣sand times better thou hadst never been born, though thou hadst a thousand times more in the world then thou hast, if this should prove to be thy portion, thy All: for thou art made for eternity, and those creatures were not: and therefore if thou should'st onely have hopes in this world, thou art a wretched creature. Shall St. Paul say, if we have onely hopes in this life, we were most miserable of all men: O may I say concerning thee, if thou hast onely hope in this life, thou art most mi∣serable of all creatures, except the Devils themselves.

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O it's a dreadfull thing for a man or woman to have their portion in this world: But now, those have it, that have a great deal in this world, and yet know not how to use it for God. O consider of this, you that God hath given more portion to than others; do you think thus in the night, Lord, thou hast indeed made my condition more comfortable then others, I am full handed, and have means coming in; but Lord, what if it should prove that my portion should be here. I remember it's reported of Gregory, that was the Pope, he did profess that there was no Scripture that did strike to his heart, so much as that Scripture; Wo to you, here is your consolation; fearing least his portion should be here. And the truth is, that Scripture, and that o∣ther in the 17th. Psalm, should go to the hearts of rich men, and of those that have a full estate in this world; except their consciences tell them, that through the grace of God, they have learned in some measure to know how to use it for the glory of God as for their own com∣fort. You account it an ill thing for a man to have an estate, and knows not how to use it for himself: As now, If a man should be born to a great inheritance, and should be a fool; you know his estate is begged: why now to have an estate and know not how to use it for God; is it not as great an evil? Is that onely an excellency to be able to know how to use an estate and improve it for your own advantage, and is it not as well to improve it for God? O it's a miserable condition that any man is in, that is full, and knows not how to be full; there's a man that is like to have his por∣tion in this world.

I but that's not all neither, If God gives you an estate, and you know not how to be full; then all that thou

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hast is cursed to thee: There is a secret curse of God goes a long with it. As now, when a man gives a thing in an anger, saith he, Here take it if you will and choke with it. Such kinde of speech men have when they give things in anger. But if you give to your Children things out of love, you do not onely give it them, but if there be any danger, you have a care that there be a right use of the things. So now, when God gives out to his own people, God hath a care of them after he hath given them; I give it them, but I must have a care least this turn to their hurt. But now, when God gives to a wicked man, Take them, saith God, if you will; but God never minds them farther, to look after them, to see whether this shall do them good or no; God never minds them, but lets them take them, and spoil them∣selves with them, God doth not care. Were it not a sign of hatred to a man, if I should see one that is a mad man; and give him a Sword into his hand, I may be guilty of murther: It is as great an argument of hatred, that God doth hate a man, when he doth give him an e∣state, and yet doth not give him a heart to make use of that estate; he puts (as it were) a Sword into a mad mans hand. But though I cannot do it justly, yet God may do it justly, as a punishment of sin. The curse of God is mixed with Wine as well as Water; and then it's stronger in Psal. 69. 22, 23. There you may see how full comforts may be cursed unto men; it is threatned as a punishment of their sin: Let their table become a snare before them: and that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap. O this is a terrible text, Let their table become a snare: It is a prophesie against those that gave Christ Gaul for his Meat, and Vinegar when he was upon the Cross? And so it is against all

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such as shall insult over the people of God in their affli∣ction. As men, when they are full and rich and prospe∣rous in the world, they will add to the affliction of Gods people. Now this is the curse of God upon them, that shall add to the affliction of the people of God; Let their table become a snare before them, and that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap. Thou hast a Table well furnished, but how do'st thou know but that it is a snare for thee, and a trap? We set traps to catch Vermin withal, and if thou hast a wicked heart, God looks upon thee but as a Vermin, and doth set this to be a trap to catch thee withal: Now perhaps thou do'st not see it: Why mark the word that follows, Let their eyes be darkened, that they see not. The Curse lies secret, that thou canst not see; now this is part of the Curse. How few men do see a Curse upon their Tables. No, this (I say) is part of the Curse of God upon them that they should not. O what need is there that we that have any fulness of the Creature, learn to be full; least that which should have been for our welfare, is turned into a Curse unto us.

Well, But though it be cursed, yet if he may enjoy it still, a wicked man will be content.

Then that's the next thing in the evil of that mans con∣dition, that hath not learned to be full; That God justly may rend away what thou hast in his wrath from thee: And because thou knowest not how to use it, it were just with God in his wrath to rend it from thee. As you will do, if you have servants, or any in the house, if they have a knife in their hand, and you see that they are rea∣dy to do mischief with it, you will snatch it from them: Nay, If you know not how to use it, you shall have it no longer. It is just with God to come upon thee in his

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wrath, and to take away all thy outward comforts, be∣cause thou do'st not know how to use them. Thou knowest not how to make use of a Child for God, or of an Estate for God; and so he may justly take it from thee, thou not knowing how to use it. So God doth threaten in Psal. 78. 25, 31. Man (saith he) did eat Angels food, he sent them meat to the full; but in ver. 29. So they did eat, and were well filled; for he gave them their own desires. But then it follows, They were not estranged from their lusts, but while the meat was yet in their mouths, the wrath of God came upon them. They eat to the full, and had enough, I, but they onely sought out of greediness to satisfie themselves; and the wrath of God came upon them, while the meat was in their mouths. It provokes the wrath of God upon men, when they have a fulness, and yet have not learned to be full.

And as God may justly rend it all away from them, so when they come to an affliction, O how sad will it be to those men that have not learned to be full; O then there will be matter for Conscience to gnaw upon and ter∣rifie the Soul withal. Afflictions willbe dreadful to those men that have had a full Estate and not learned to be full: Then Conscience will upbraid them, and say, O you once had plenty, you once had the comforts of the Crea∣ture to the full; O but how did you use them, what glo∣ry had God by them? Were they not made fuel for your lusts, and serviceable to your wickedness? And now it is a righteous thing with God to take these things from thee; and these sorrows that are now upon thee, are but the beginning of sorrows. O the conscience of a man that hath been rich, and afterwards is crossed in his Estate, if while he was rich, he was not godly; this mans con∣science will tear him and rend him. Though now you

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enjoy fulness, yet you may not expect to enjoy it al∣wayes. What do you think will become of you, when your fulness shall be taken from you? O then it will be terrible to you.

Yea and further, If a man be in a full condition, and learns not to be full; such a man will do abundance of hurt in the place where he lives; not onely to himself but to others. O the evil he may do in a Town and in a Fa∣mily, and in a Kingdom. One rich man, if God doth not sanctifie his heart and his estate, may do more mis∣chief than an hundred other wicked men. God doth not so much look at the hurt that base Drunkards, that go up and down, from one Alehouse to another can do. They may destroy their own souls, but now a man that is a man of an estate in the place where God hath set him, if he spend nights in Chambering and Wantonness; if he contemn the wayes of God and Religion; O the hurt that comes by that man, and the guiltiness that will come upon his Spirit that way. O how is the Gospel hindered by such men as they, that have outward prosperous estates; and yet for all that have not hearts to make use of it: whereas I shall shew presently the contrary will be in those that have learned to be full. But onely now, to shew the danger of a full condition, If we have not learned to be full; and all to put you upon this, that you may beseech God to learn you to be full, when God doth give you a fulness; least you should contract the guilt of the sins of thousands of others upon you.

And then, If thou do'st not learn to be full, thy full estate will endanger thy salvation exceedingly. It is easier for a Cammel (saith Christ) to go thorow the eye of a Needle, than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. Now Christ doth not interpret at first what is a

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rich man, but at another time he doth, those that trust in them. Chrysostom hath this passage upon that to the Hebrews, He wonders how any Governor can come to be saved. The fulness of a mans condition doth much endanger his salvation, if God doth not teach him how to be full.

And then it will make death to be more terrible. O Death, how terrible will it be to a man that hath not learned to be full. When Death shall come, and now he must be deprived of all, bid an everlasting farewel to his House and Estate, and Lands comming in. Never such merry meetings as he was wont to have, I but now they are gone; there's an end of those dayes, he shall never have them more. O then (I say) Death will gnaw upon a man, and then a mans conscience indeed will terrifie him. If he be afflicted, they will come up∣on him to terrifie him. But when he sees that he must bid an everlasting farewel to all those things, then Death will terrifie him to purpose. O conscience will tell him, Now art thou going to give an account before the great God of all that thou didst enjoy in this world. It's a sad message that this will be to some that are full. You think because you have money to pay for what you eat and drink, and do enjoy, you think you shall be called to no farther account. O yes, you must be called to an ac∣count for all the Creatures that you do enjoy. Now if men can scarce count the mercies that they do enjoy, O then how will you be able to give an account for them. Well, all this is but to awaken the hearts of people that have the comforts of this world, that they may not sa∣tisfie themselves with what they enjoy; but seek what they can to learn to be full.

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And the Excellency of this Lesson of Learning to be full, is very great.

For first, It shews a great deal of ingenuity in the heart of a man. Ingenuity in these two regards,

First, Because hereby it appears that this man is not onely for his own turn. It's a sordid spirit for a man to seek to serve his own turn upon others, and when his turn is served, never to care for any body; But now, an ingenious spirit, when that hath its own turn serv'd, it is as careful again to return answerable respect to those that were useful to him; as it was desirous to have its own turn serv'd before. So it is in those that have learn∣ed to be full, they have ingenuity; they are as careful to return answerable respects to God, as they are to re∣ceive any mercy from him.

And their Ingenuity is in this, That they are thankful spirits. An ingenious heart is a thankful heart, and loves to acknowledge whence he had any mercy.

And then further, That's great ingenuity for one to be moved by good, and be moved by mercy. 'Tis a slavish spirit that's onely mov'd by necessity and force and vio∣lence. That's nothing for a man to be forced to do a duty. The basest Slave by a Whip will be put to do that that is his duty, I, but for one to be wrought upon by love and by goodness, this is ingenuity. Now if the Lord hath given thee an estate, and thou findest it doth draw thy heart to God more, and works upon thy heart, that thou art affected by Gods mercy; O this is a sign of an ingenious heart.

And then, what grace such a man hath, is a great deal more conspicuous than others mens graces, and more beautiful. As a Diamond, that is set in Gold, there is a beauty in it. A Diamond set in a Crown of Gold,

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doth sparkle more gloriously, than when it is wrapt up in a dirty Rag. So the graces of many that are poor and mean in the world, are (as it were) wrapt up in a dir∣ty rag; as sometimes they wrap up their money. But now a man that is eminent in the world, and godly too, his graces are like Diamonds upon a Crown (as it were) that are so conspicuous before the world, that the world takes much notice of them, and gives glory to God for them.

Thirdly, It's an excellency, because it is so rare. It's a very rare thing for a man to be instructed in this Lesson of being full. It's a speech of Bernard, Not to be lifted up, when a man is put high, that is very unusual; now, saith he, the more unusual it is, the more glorious thing it is. It is a very rare blessing of God upon a man, for him to learn to be full. I remember the same learned man Bernard, writing to Eugenius, that was advanced to great favour; he speaks of the grace of God towards him, and blessing God for it, his promotion did not succeed his former estate, but was added to his former estate. That's thus, The promotion of many men doth succeed their former estate; that is, the former ingenui∣ty they had, and ingenuity that they seem'd to have; that's gone, and the promotion doth come and succeed it. But the promotion of this Eugenius was not so, he conti∣nued in the former estate that he was in before, that is, the former humility and heavenly-mindedness, and holi∣ness as he seem'd to have before, so he had the same still: so that his state and promotion did not succeed, but was added to it. I, this is an excellency indeed, when a mans fulness is added to his former condition, and doth not succeed it; that is, he is the same man now that he was before: that's a rare blessing of God upon one.

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Fourthly, It argues a great deal of strength of grace, for a man that is full, and knows how to be full, and to improve it. It argues not onely grace, but strength of grace: as it argues a great deal of strength in mens bo∣dies, that they can drink a great deal of Wine, and not be drunk. Some think that they may take liberty to themselves to drink Wine, so they do not stagger in the streets. But you know the Scripture saith, Wo to those that are strong to drink Wine. It's a speech of Seneca, That moderation is a sign of a strong breast. Moderation in the midst of prosperity, is a sign of a strong heart. It's a sign God hath given thee strength of grace, if thy conscience can witness this to thee, Well, Through Gods mercy, though I have many weaknesses, and fail in all that I do, yet I can say, to the praise of God, that my estate hath not estranged my heart from God; but my heart doth cleave to God, and I have communion with God in the Creatures that God sonds me. And when God doth give me the best Voyages, I find my heart in the best temper, and I have more sweet communion with God then than at other times. Can you say so? I ap∣peal to your consciences now, whether you can say, as in the presence of God, I never found my heart in a more heavenly spiritual temper, than when I have found God blessing me in my labors; and I have enjoyed God in them. O now, if thou canst say so, be of good com∣fort; thou hast learned a lesson that is a thousand times worth more than all thy prosperity. This is thine excel∣lency, not that thou hast a fuller estate than others, but that God hath taught thee such a lesson as this is.

And then farther, Such a one may do abundance of good. What abundance of glory may God have from one man that way; whereas a man that is of an estate,

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and hath not grace withal, he is like a great Elder-Tree in the midst of a Garden. Such a Tree, why it spoils the Flowers and doth hurt there. I but one that hath an estate and is rich, and godly withal, he stands as a prime Flower in the Garden, that is an ornament to it: As commonly, in the midst of your knots you set a prime flower there, to be an ornament to all the rest. So the Lord will have some to be rich, that may be an ornament and a shelter to his servants. O many, many hundreds of people, will bless God, that ever God set such a man in such a place; and that God did give them their estate. We say of some men that they have good estates, I, and it's well bestowed on them; for they do a great deal of good with them. But now, when they are not onely so, but their hearts are to improve their estates for the furtherance of the Gospel, for the beating down of sin, and the countenancing of Religion, O then all the people of God that live about them, will bless God, O for such a man. Had it not been for some few in a place that God gave estates unto, that was stirring, what would have become of the Gospel; Religion would have been trampled under feet. O will not this be a greater com∣fort in the day of Jesus Christ, when Christ shall own this, and say, I gave you an estate in the world, and I acknowledge that you did make use of it for my Glory and Religion. I made you an instrument to uphold it in the place where you were used. O if Christ should own this, would it not be a thousand times worth your estates.

And then, When you come to die, O how sweetly will you die; when you can say, O Lord remember me for good. As Nehemiah did in the close of his Book, look upon the very last words of Nehemiah; he was a

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man that was full in outward blessings, and he improv'd them to purpose for God; and that was the very close of all, Lord remember me for good; and so may'st thou when thou comest to die. Thy conscience shall not upbraid thee, as others will; Thou comest to God for mercy, What come to me for mercy? I have bestowed mercy up∣on you already, and how did you abuse it? With what face can you cry to me for mercy, that have abus'd it so? O but when your Consciences can tell you that you have not abused Gods mercy, but his mercy in outward things hath drawn your hearts unto him, and you have imploied it in his service: Now thou may'st with joy and encou∣ragement say, Lord remember me for good. And if God should ever bring thee into afflictions in this world, it will be sweet and comfortable to thee, if thou hast used thy prosperity well. For that man that is willing to give up the comfort of his prosperity to God, which he doth enjoy; God will have a care to take away the gaul and the bitterness of affliction from that man when he is under affliction. O there's nothing more comfortable to a man in affliction, than to consider that he hath made use of his pro∣sperity for the honour & glory of God. When I was in pro∣sperity, God had honour, and now I am in affliction, I can comfortably fly to God for peace and comfort to my soul.

And in this, God doth attain to his end and the end of his Creatures. God hath his end especially from these men; the end of his Works of Creation and Providence. Why▪ the Lord hath made this world and filled it with abundance of excellent things; but now, how shall God attain his end: that is, To have glory from the excellent things that he hath made in the world? Why, most men takes them and abuses them to Gods dishonour; now were there not some men that had hearts to give God the

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glory of their estates, why God should have no glory from all his works; all his works would be as it were to no purpose. But now it seems God hath called thee out to give him the glory of his works; so that thou art the man among so many that doth pay as it were to God the rent that he requires for all the great things that he hath done in the world; which cannot but bring in a great deal of comfort to thee, and shews the excellency of it.

I have now but two other things for the opening of it before we come to the application, yet all the way as we have gone along, we have indeavoured to apply it; shewing wherein it consists, the difficulty of it, and the excellency of it: Now for the close at this time, let these things sink into your hearts; I'll give you one Scripture that you may go a way and seek to God to teach you how to be full, and to learn this lesson; It is in the 12 ver. of the Epistle of Jude, These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear. There's the description of wicked and un∣godly men. How are they described? They feast themselves without fear, that they may be fed to the full; they care for nothing else. O this is a sign of a wretched wick∣ed man, to feast himself without fear. Hath God given thee a full estate, and what, do'st thou take it without fear. If God hath given thee an estate, and all outward comforts in this world according to thy hearts desire, it stands thee upon to fear least thou should'st not improve it for God. And O that God would send you away from his presence upon the consideration of what you have heard, even with trembling hearts. Lord, Thou hast given us these and these outward comforts; (and let Husband speak thus to the Wife, and Wife to the Hus∣band, when they see all things comming in in a plentiful

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way:) O the Lord hath given us these mercies more than others, O but how if we should not improve them for God, how if we should abuse them, and if we have not answerable grace to make use of them, what should be∣come of us? Now having your hearts possest with the fear of this, you will be the more like to be driven to God in prayer; to seek of him that he would learn you this lesson, to teach you how to be full.

And there is a great mystery in this, as there is a myste∣ry of Godliness in Contentment, so there is a mystery in this; and I shall shew you further that it is done in a kind of mystical way. There are indeed some natural Rules, whereby we may propound to men how to make use of their prosperity; and it were well if all of us were wrought upon in a natural way. But I shall endeavor to go further with you than so, To shew you in a spiritual way how you should learn to be full, according to the Rules of the Gospel; To manifest the mystery of Godliness in the gi∣ving God the glory of your Estates and all the Comforts that you do enjoy in this world.

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