Four usefull discourses viz. ...
Burroughs, Jeremiah, 1599-1646.


WE Shall now come to what remains, There are but three things more in this point that now we are to finish.

And the First is, To shew you what a mystery of Godliness there is in a right learning how to be full.

Secondly, What are the several Lessons that are to be learned.

Page  52 And then the application of all from the point.

And this is the method we observed in the learning how to want. The Mystery of Godliness.

And I told you that from the word in my Text, I am instructed, so it is in your Books; but in the Original it is, I am taught as in a mystery; so that there is a myste∣ry in both these. I have shewn you in many things wherein the mystery of Godliness lies in learning how to be content. A godly man knows how to abound after an∣other manner than any other can do. Perhaps a man by some strength of natural prudence and wisdom may know how to order his Estate, so as not to be very inordinate and wicked in the management of his outward estate. A man that hath civility and natural wisdom, may make some good use of the blessings of God, that God hath given him: But a gracious heart comes to sanctifie the name of God in his estate and outward blessings that God hath given him, in another manner than natural wis∣dom will teach a man. Grace will raise a mans spirit higher, and that in these particulars,

First, A gracious heart learns how to be full, by often resigning up the estate that it doth possess unto God. He learns how to enjoy his estate, by resigning up all his estate and comforts unto God. This is a way that a na∣tural man understands little of, To know how to enjoy his comforts by resigning up his comforts; yet that's the way of a gracious heart. He doth very frequently, when he gets alone into his Closet, resign up his Estate; Lord, Thou hast blessed me with many outward comforts, more than thou hast done others of my brethren: Lord, I here profess all to be thine, and give up all to thee; all belongs to thee: and I desire to enjoy no farther than I may be use∣ful to thee in the place where thou hast set me. Here Lord, Page  53 I give up my self and all my fulness unto thee, take all, dispose all, lay out all for thine own praise and glory. And by this means, when he hath done this, he comes to en∣joy more sweetness than what he hath in any other way. It is not in a greedy use of what he hath, that he comes to enjoy his fulness; but by resigning up what he hath to God: and so he comes to enjoy his fulness in a better manner and more comfortably than ever he did before. This a godly heart finds by experience (as divers times upon occasion I have hinted to you) that the oftner any thing comes out of Gods hand, the better and sweeter it is; and therefore he is willing to give up often what he hath into the hand of God: And that's the first way. But,

Secondly, He learns how to be full in this way of my∣stery; he doth seek to preserve his comforts and enrich himself; by communicating what he hath: not onely by resigning to God, but by communicating his comforts he seeks to preserve them; and he seeks to enrich himself, by communicating of his riches. Now this is a mysterious way, yet the Scriptures shews this to be the way of a gracious heart. A carnal heart he would enjoy his ful∣ness, but how▪ that is, by keeping it to himself: I but a godly heart that learns in the way of mystery how to be full; looks upon it as the onely way to preserve his e∣state, by communicating his estate, by doing many good works, by making use of his estate for the publick good, the glory of God and the good of his brethren. In Isa. 32. you have a notable Scripture for that, that that's the way that a godly man uses for the preserving of his estate; ver. 8. But the liberal deviseth liberal things. What then, he doth not onely take the opportunity when he is cal∣led to communicate of his estate, but studies with him∣self Page  54 how he may communicate his estate for good. I but he may quickly communicate all away, you will say, and grow a begger himself. No, but mark what the Text saith, And by liberal things shall he stand: That's the way that he takes for the preservation of what he hath: he will trust God with that. And indeed he comes to en∣joy the comfort of his life by the communicating of the comforts of his life. And then he seeks to get riches by communicating of his riches. That Scripture you have for this in 1 Tim. 6. 17. Charge them that are rich in this world that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God; who giveth us richly all things to enjoy. That they do good, that they be rich in good works; ready to distribute. The more good works he doth, the richer he makes account himself is. Now, ordinarily a carnal heart, when he is call'd to do good works, he cannot for shame but do something; I but he thinks he is the poorer by it. What will you get away all my estate and make me a begger? Why, these often Contributions draws away my estate, and they think they have so much of their heart-blood drawn away, and so they grow poorer and poorer. But a godly man he makes account that the more good works he doth, the richer man he grows. Why God himself accounts his riches to be in the works of mercy. In Eph. 2. there you shall find that the riches of God are in the works of his mercy. That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness towards us. Why God is not said to be rich in power so much as in grace; in the works of his mercy, in the works of kindness. And so a godly man, that hath learned by the grace of God to be full, doth account himself made rich in the communica∣ting what fulness God hath given him, for the glory of Page  55 his Name and the good of others. This is a second myste∣rious way of a godly mans learning how to be full.

And then the Third way of a Godly mans learning how to be full is this; He doth learn how to have com∣fort in his estate, by mortifying of his affections to his estate; and by moderating of his spirit in the joy that he hath in his estate, he comes to receive the greater joy in what he hath given to him. This you will say is a riddle, for a man to have greater joy in outward things, by moderating of his joy, and to have a greater fulness in his abundance, by keeping himself within bounds. This is the way of a godly man, the more he keeps himself within bounds, the more comfort he hath in his abundance; and the more he can mortifie his af∣fections to the comforts of the world, the more com∣fort hath he in these comforts of the world. Now be∣cause this may seem to be a great riddle and mystery (for so it is) I will give you one Scripture that will make it out fully; and it is in Phil. 4. 4, 5. Rejoyce in the Lord alway, and again I say rejoyce. Here the A∣postle puts people to rejoyce, to rejoyce in the Lord; that is, not onely in spiritual things, but rejoyce in all Gods blessings in a spiritual way. Now the men of the world, when they are put upon it to rejoyce, and a∣gain to rejoyce, they think they know nor how to re∣ioyce but by letting out their hearts without any bounds; they know not how to keep any bounds. But mark the words that follow, Let your moderation be known unto all men. As if the Apostle should say, And would you rejoyce indeed truly and graciously and fully, I exhort you to rejoyce, and again to rejoyce. Well then. This is pleasing to the heart of a man, we will give our selves liberty to rejoyce, we will enlarge our selves Page  56 in our joy. I but, saith the Apostle, Let your moderati∣on be known to all men though: So that in that he adds this exhortation, Let your moderation be known to all men, it's apparent that he means the joy in outward things as well as in spiritual things: Let your moderation be known to all, so that he doth not envy your rejoy∣cing in your estate. You may rejoyce in the comforts of this world that God hath given you. But would you have true joy, that that should glad your hearts indeed, let your moderation be known to all men, and do so bound your selves in your joy, and let your hearts be so mortified to the world, as that you may rejoyce in God, even while you rejoyce in the outward blessings that God hath given to you. And although many men may think this to be a mystery, and scarce to be belie∣ved; yet those who are truly godly, find this by experi∣ence. I appeal to you, when have you had the greatest comfort and joy in your estates and comings in, but at that time when you have found your hearts mortified to the world, and that you could keep your selves in bounds. If a man goes abroad, and among company, if he can keep his appetite in bounds and eat moderate∣ly, he hath more comfort in his meat and drink than an∣other man hath that eats excessively. A man that eats and drinks moderately, he preserves his health, and by preserving his health he hath more sweetness in his meat and drink in a constant way, than those that eat and drink immoderately; and when a man hath been abroad among company, and let out his heart profusely in way of laughter and merriment, and all upon the merry pin; why in the midst of this laughter his heart is even sad, and when he comes home, he comes home with a dead spirit. He is like Nabal, you know that when he Page  57 was feasting, his heart was merry; but as soon as his drun∣kenness was gone from him, his heart died like a stone. Many Company-keepers that give liberty to themselves in jollity and mirth, why the next day their hearts are even as dead as a stone; and there's a great deal of guilt upon their spirits, and their consciences fly in their faces; so that they have not so much joy in their spirits as those that can keep within bounds. Those that can go in a so∣ber way and meet with their neighbours, and rejoyce one with another; they when they come home, can bless God for this their refreshing that they have had; and the next morning their hearts are in a sweet and joyful frame. The more we keep our selves in bounds in the use of the Crea∣ture, the more comfort have we in the use of the Crea∣ture. That's the third way of a gracious hearts learning how to abound. He learns how to enjoy the world, by mortifying his heart to it, and by keeping himself within bounds in the use of the Creature.

And then the Fourth way of mystery of the Godlies learning how to abound, it is this; He learns how to a∣bound, by getting all that he hath to be sanctified by the Word and Prayer. It was one way of knowing how to want, by having our afflictions sanctified to us; and so it is the way to know how to abound. Now this is a way that carnal hearts have little skill in, they think they know how to abound by their natural wisdom; I but the way that a gracious heart hath for abounding, is this; God hath prospered me in my way and course in any kind; now let me go to God and exercise Faith in his Word, and seek unto him in prayer, that I may have a sanctified use of all these things then that God hath grant∣ed to me. In 1 Tim. 4. 4, 5. Every Creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with Page  58 thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the Word of God and Prayer. A little to open this Scripture, That the Crea∣ture is sanctified by prayer, that I suppose is easie for you to understand; that is, when I have any good in any Creature, then I am to seek to God by prayer for a san∣ctified use of it unto me. But how is it sanctified by the Word? Now that that the Apostle doth intend here in sanctifying by the Word, is this, that he would shew to us, That a godly man hath another kind of interest in the Creature than another man hath; saith he, All things are good, but how shall they be good to me? How shall I know that they are good to me? That must be by the Word (saith he) I cannot know that they are good to me, that I have a sanctified use of them, that is, that all the comforts I have, I do enjoy them in or∣der to eternal life; for then a thing is sanctified, when it is consecrated (as it were) and made holy: that is, when it is made useful to the highest and last end. As a place is sanctified, when it is separated from other things for God; so when the blessing of God is upon my estate, to make it to be to his glory and my last good, then it is sanctified. Now how comes this? This is by the Word of God; for we by our fall have lost all our interest in the creature unto our outward comfort. Now God indeed out of his bounty doth give to some men abundance here in this world, I he gives them those things that are in them∣selves good; I but how shall they come to be good to him; that must be by the Word saith he, that is, God by the Word of his Gospel, the Covenant that he hath made with his poor servants in Christ revealed in his Word; it is that that gives the godly man a sanctified use of what he hath. If he hath it in a natural way, it may prove a curse to him; if he hath it onely by Gods Page  59 general providence, by the command of God in his works of providence, that is no sanctified use. But now, if a man comes to enjoy what he hath by the word of the promise, by the word of the Gospel, that re∣veals Christ unto us, and our renewed interest unto all we do enjoy by Jesus Christ. This is the Word that san∣ctifies all to us. Most men look upon what they enjoy, onely but in a way of general providence. Now a gra∣cious heart looks upon what he enjoys by the word of the Promise, the word of the Covenant, that gives him a sanctified use; and through the power of this word, he comes to know how to be full: and use all his abundance in a right way: so that the way he takes for the making use of his fulness, it is, when God blesses him, present∣ly to exercise faith in the Word, in the Promise; to look into the Covenant. Godliness hath the promise of the things of this life, and of that which is to come. And so he comes to make use of the promise, and improve it by faith; and so comes to have a sanctified use and improvement of all the good things that he doth enjoy in this world. Is not this a mystery to most rich men. Doth it put them upon prayer more than before, and up∣on the exercise of Faith in the Word more than before. One that is godly, never prayes more than when God doth prosper him in this world. It is usual for men to pray much in times of affliction. In their affliction they will seek me early. I but that's a sign of a carnal heart. But now, a godly man, when God prospers him, he sees cause to pray most then. I it is for poor people to live by faith, that have nothing in the world. You will think it's fit for them to believe and trust in God. I but a god∣ly man uses the more faith, when he hath the most in the world. That's a good way in the mystery of knowing how to be full.

Page  60 And then a Fifth way in the mystery of knowing how to be full, is this. A godly heart by his fulness growes to increase his humility, growes sensible of his unworthi∣ness by his fulness. Now this is a way of mystery too, It is a good thing for a man to have humility together with his fulness, but to have humility by his fulness, this is a very great mystery; it's a rare thing to see humble prosperity; but to see a man humble by his pro∣sperity, this is rare indeed. Affliction will humble men, that's true, every one can understand that; but how prosperity should humble men, that's very hard to un∣derstand. I'll give you a clear Scripture for this, how prosperity will humble a gracious heart; it's in the 2 Sam. 7. 18. The Lord there had told David of great things that he would do for him, and spake to him of the ho∣nour that he had put upon him, and that he would still put upon him, and he would continue his House to be a great House, and honourable, like the great men of the earth. Mark, one would have thought that the heart of David should have been raised up, when God told him not onely the great things that he had done, but the great things he would do. This would have pufft up a carnal heart. But then mark, in the 18 verse, Then went King David in, and sat before the Lord, and he said who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that thou hast brought me hitherto; and this was yet a small thing in thy sight, O Lord God; but thou hast spoken also of thy servants house for a great while to come; and is this the manner of men, O Lord God; and what can David say more unto tbee; for thou Lord God knowest thy servant for thy words sake; and according to thine own heart hast thou done all these great things, to make thy servants know them: where∣fore thou art great O Lord God. He doth not bless him∣self, Page  61 O God hath made me great; but, wherefore thou art great; and what am I, and what is my house, and it is according to thine own heart; and not according to any thing in me, saith David. The larger God was in telling of him the great things he had, and should have, the more humble was the heart of David. O this is a good sign of true humility, when you find your comings in to be more then heretofore, as if you have had a great voyage, many hundreds coming in of clear gain: then for you to get alone, as it's said that David did go then and sat down before the Lord. Go and set thy selfe before the Lord, and fall humbling thy soul; O Lord, who am I that thou should'st deal thus graciously with me, that thou should'st make such a difference between me and others. When your rents come in it may be quarterly more then others; why think with your selves, Lord, What is it that hath made the difference between me and others? Others have their 18 pence a day for the providing for their families, and thou givest me hundreds together. O Lord, what am I, that it should be thus with me more than with others! O if it were thus, it were right indeed; and yet this is the way of a godly mans learning how to be full. His ful∣ness teaches him humility, and by being taught humility by his fulness, he comes to know how to be full for the glory of God and the good of his Church.

Sixthly, Another mystery there is in a godly mans learning how to be full, is, He accounts it better to lose for, and return to God; than to gain for, and keep to him∣self. A godly heart when he hath a fulness, he doth re∣joyce in it according as God will have him, in the out∣ward blessings that he hath; I but he rejoyceth more in this, that he hath something to venture and lose for God, than that he hath gain for himself. One man re∣joyces Page  62 that he hath an estate to live merrily withal, and bravely in the world; the other man rejoyces that he hath an estate that he may venture for God, and his re∣turning any thing to God, he doth account a greater priviledge to him than receiving from God. This is a way of mystery too; and of this there was something spo∣ken likewise in the way of Contentment; and therefore I shall but name it now.

Seventhly, and then the last way is this, A godly man learns to abound, by abounding in holiness: The more he abounds in worldly riches, the more he seeks to a∣bound in holiness and in the duties of Gods Worship. Now this is a mystery to the men of the world, they think indeed, poor men that have not so much to do in the world, they may be often in the Worship of God, and hear Sermons, and meditate (and the like.) But for them that have so many things to take them off, they think it cannot be expected from them: Whereas godli∣ness will teach men to abound in their many businesses and outward prosperity that they have, and the great things of the world, by adding a proportionable abound∣ing in the performance both of the Worship of God and in holiness. They think that because they have so many things to draw them aside, that they cannot be so holy as others: but now, godliness will teach them to be more holy, according to the proportion of their estate: As eminent above others, so they will labour that their holiness shall be eminent above others. O this were an excellent thing indeed, if all rich men should never sa∣tisfie themselves in this barely, that they have more than others, but look to what a degree God hath made them higher then others in their estates; that they should indeavour and never be satisfied till they attain to it, Page  63 till they be in the like degree above others in holi∣ness. Why now for men to do this, is a mysterious thing, and where this is, certainly those are well in∣structed in the mystery of godliness. Thus you see that a gracious heart learns how to abound, not in a meer na∣tural way, by natural wisdom, but in a way of mystery of godliness.

But then there are divers Lessons that he learns by learning this Lesson: As I told you in knowing how to be content, one need learn a great many Lessons before he get to be instructed in the Art of Contentment in Affli∣ction; so in abounding in the same manner: As now,

First, (I'll but name these things) He must learn the Lesson of the Principle from whence all he hath comes, the fountain from whence all his good comes; be thorow∣ly instructed in that. Why I do enjoy these and these outward comforts; from whence have I these? Why God hath blessed my endeavors and skill, that God hath given me more than others. I but it is the blessing of God in all beyond my skill. Such and such friends have left me so much means; I but the fountain is on high, from whence all the outward good that I have comes. This in general is acknowledged, but the learning of it indeed in a gracious manner will work mightily upon the heart; the understanding of the fountain of all my outward good as well as spiritual good.

Yea, And this Fountain, it is not onely God the First Being, the Creator of all, in his providence, but it is God in Christ: For we are to know that the very preser∣vation of the world is through the mediation of Jesus Christ; the world would fall about our ears else: and all the good things in the creature are preserved by the power of Christ now. And so a gracious heart looks Page  64 upon the fountain of all, not onely as God the Creator of all; but God through Christ the Mediator, that doth preserve the world: the world would otherwise fall into confusion. And so all the good that I have, it comes from the work of Gods wisdom and goodness, ordering things through Christ unto me.

And then, the lesson of our unworthiness, that's to be learned throughly; your unworthiness of the least crum of bread, the least drop of water for the cool∣ing of you. This would teach you how to be content in want, (that we spake to before) and it will like∣wise teach you how to abound, when you can learn your own baseness and vileness before the Lord. And I now speak it, not to learn it by your prosperity, that was before in the mystery of it, but to learn it any way; by considering your sinfulness, and your inabili∣ty to use what you have; and considering how little service you have done for God: learn to know your selves, that was the lesson in learning to want, to know our selves; but above all men, rich men had need to learn to know themselves.

And then, To learn the vanity of the Creature and the uncertainty of it; that helps you how to want, and so it will help you to abound too. It's true, I have these things, but what are these things to the portion of an Immortal Soul; is there not a vanity in all these things in the world? They make no such great difference be∣tween me and others, but they are such things as often I have heard may stand with the hatred of God, such things as a Reprobate may have for his portion: That meditation will make men willing to be content in the want of them. I abound now in these things, why what great reason is there that I should Page  65 have my heart lifted up thereby, here's many now in the world that are lower then I, and there are abun∣dance in Hell that had more than I. O this will be a meanes to moderate thy heart, and help thee to know how to abound, when thou considerest of the vanity of the things of the world, and of the uncertainty of them; I have them now, how quickly may they be gone; my house bravely furnisht, how quickly may God send a Fire. O consider the uncertainty of all you have, and this will teach you how to make use of what you have in a loose way: Charge men that are rich in this world, that they be not high minded, nor trust in un∣certain riches. Or if God should not take away your riches, why let God but turn some humour in your bodies, and bring some pain or disease; and what will all your riches do you good? Let God but touch me in my brain, I shall not know how to make use of my estate; or touch me in my body, a little in the kidnies, or pain in the bowels; what's all the world then. O consider of the vanity and of the uncertainty of all things; the learning of that lesson is a great help in knowing how to abound.

And then, The learning that all these things are but Talents, God gives me them to trade withal, and I am but a Steward (put them together) I am but Gods Steward, and God puts me to trade for him in all that I do: This will teach men how to abound. When you imploy Factors, if they be faithful, the very con∣sideration of this, This is my Masters goods, and I am but a Steward, and I am to give account, and must keep my books even: The consideration of this will call off his thoughts from other things, and make him look to his books to keep them even. O if you would Page  66 but learn this lesson, that all outward comforts are Talents that are given you to husband for God, and you are his Stewards; it would make you to keep the books even: Every day you would be casting over the books: Are things even between God and me? What doth God aim at, why I should have a prosperous e∣state and others not? By searching to know Gods end, a mans conscience will presently tell him, Surely God did not aim at this, that I should have more satisfaction to my flesh; there is some thing else that God did aim at: Let me learn to know Gods end.

And then, Learn this lesson, and it would be a great help to you for the learning how to abound: That is, That God doth but very seldom trust, his own people with these Outward Comforts (that we have spoken to in the opening of it) but now I bring it in as a lesson that is to be learned, and shew you how that will help you how to abound: I spoke of it by way of evidence that it is a difficult thing for us to learn how to abound. Now this lesson will put us up∣on this, To learn to be so much the more watchful over our selves.

And then, Let not me bless my self in my abun∣dance.

And then, Let me desire proportionable measure of grace to what I have, least what I have turn to my hurt rather than for my good. Such and many other lessons might be named for the helping of us to abound; but the truth is, there's nothing almost will help us to know how to want, but it will likewise help us to abound; and therefore I do but name these things.

We come now as briefly as we can to wind up all in a word of Application. You have had these six particulars Page  67 opened to you, When a man knowes how to abound; And the difficulty of it; And the necessity of it; And the excellency of it; And the mystery of it; And the lessons to be learned.

Now then my Brethren,* from all that hath been said, it serves to rebuke those men who take care onely how they may get fulness in the world; and never are satisfied there: but to know how they may use this for God, and how to manage their fulness, it's scarce in all their thoughts. I appeal to you this morning, as in the Name of God, Have these things been in your thoughts that have been spoken to you? I dare not lay it so, that every particular should be in your thoughts; but in the general hath it been in your thoughts and care, as much to know how you should abound, as to get your abundance. God knows it is otherwise, and your consciences may tell you, that that's your care how you may improve and get abun∣dance; but how to abound, that hath been but little known: But by what hath been said out of the Scrip∣ture the Lord hath rebuked you for one that hath a carnal heart, a sensual and an earthly heart; for one that's little acquainted with the wayes of God, and spi∣ritual things: O that thou would'st charge thy own soul in thy retired thoughts and meditations; and that God would make what hath been said out of this to stick upon thy heart.

And then, Secondly, Hence we are taught what an excellent thing Religion is, that it helps every way. It helps us how to want, it helps us how to abound. If we be in a low estate, there comes in a help; if we be in a high estate, there comes in a help. O Religion is Page  68 of admirable use, Grace and Godliness is of other man∣ner of use then the world thinks for. And as it is of use to all, so it is above all to rich men. O that rich men would believe this, That they have the greatest need of Grace. O that rich men by this would learn to be in love with Godliness, and with those means that might work Grace upon them; because there's nothing can do them so much good as Religion. O if Grace be answerable to their Estates, then they are happy men indeed. If the Lord please to add his upper Spring to the neather Springs, then they are happy Creatures. God gives you abundance in the neather Springs, but doth he give you the upper Springs too? O have thy thoughts working thus, The Lord hath given me enough for this world, to carry me thorow this Pilgrimage of mine; O but had I grace added to all that I have, then I should be a happy man indeed. O learn to know the excellency of Grace, and what need you have of it above other men.

Thirdly, Hence upon what we hear, me thinks all our desires should be moderated in respect of this world; and you poor people, you should not be so much trou∣bled for want of abundance: for you see there's a great deal of difficulty in learning how to abound: And when our spirits are set upon the things of this world, let us curb them in this; I see there's a great deal of difficulty in knowing how to use things, and therefore let me be more moderate in my desires after abundance. And,

Fourthly, You that have rich friends any of you, you see what need you have here to pray for them. It was the speech of a holy man once, when he met an acquaint∣ance of his, that he had not seen a long time before, and it seems he had a great estate befallen him; as soon as he Page  69 met him, O Sir (saith he) I had never need to pray for you so much as now. His friend stood amazed at it, sup∣posing that he had heard of some great evil that had be∣fallen him. He gives him this answer, I hear you have a great estate befallen to you. Certainly there's no men in the world, that have so much need of Prayer, as those that are high in estate.

And then, You who do abound, be you exhorted to what you have heard, and now to set upon the work, To learn how to abound.

Learn this one Lesson farther (that should have been spoken) Learn throughly your dependance upon God in all your abundance; To see as much need of God in the midst of your abundance, as in the greatest depth of affliction. That's one thing that is of very great use. A man hath attain'd to a good measure of Grace when he comes to this, that he sees he hath as much need of mercy from God in his abundance, as in the lowest afflicted estate in the world. Many men and women they think that they have need of God in their affliction; then they depend upon God. I but you should depend upon God as much if you had all the world to possess, as the poorest beggar in the world. This you may either put into the mystery that there is in it, or into the Lessons; for indeed it is a mystery to the men of the world: and therefore Christ teaches not onely poor people to come and say, Lord give us this day our daily bread; but the richest men in the world is to pray so: the greatest Prince and Monarch in the World is every day to come to God, to the Gates of Mercy, to beg his bread. Now if rich men would be so sensible of their condition, that, they depend up∣on God for the enjoyment of what they have every mo∣ment; have as much need of mercy as the poorest wretch Page  70 that lives upon the Face of the Earth: This would be a mighty help for them to learn how to Abound. I beseech you, examine whether this be so in you or no? When you have been poor, and afflicted, then you ac∣knowledge you had need of Mercy: I, but now, whe∣ther do you find that your Life is as much a Life of De∣pendance upon God now, as ever it was? If God should take away all you have, then you would think, O, I must live altogether the Life of Dependance; but certainly, you should now live the Life of Dependance, as if you knew not where to have your Dinner or Sup∣per: Man lives not by Bread only, saith the Scripture, or by Meat; but by every Word that proceedeth out of the Mouth of God: he lives by it. There is much in this that I am speaking: But a little for the further putting of you on in this, that you may learn this Lesson of Aboun∣dance:

Consider but this, What a great Mercy of God it is to you, that your great Work that you are put now upon, it is how to improve Mercy; whereas the work of other Men, it is how to get Mercy: Other Men, all their Care and Thoughts is, how they should get Ne∣cessaries; and now that that God calls you to, it is to Improve what you have. The Life of many Men and Women, is this, Nothing else but to Improve Mercy, not to bear Affliction much, or to seek to get; but the whole Course of their Life is to be spent in Impro∣ving Mercy. Think but of this one thing, and it will make you Thankful; when you are in your Families, What have I to do in the Morning when I rise? No∣thing but to Improve the Mercy that God gives me: Mercy meets with me when I rise; Mercy goes forth with me; Mercy comes in with me, and I have no∣thing Page  71 to do from the Beginning of the Year, to the End of the Year, but to make use of Mercy: Why this is the Lives of many to receive in Mercy, and make use of it for God: O the comfortable Life that thou hast! Therefore seeing that God puts thee upon such a Notable and Excellent Imployment thou hadst need be Faithful. Thy work is a great deal better, and more Comfortable than the works of others; there∣fore often Examine thy Heart. And, O that I could but prevail thus far with Men and Women, that have great Estates, that there should never a Day pass but they would call themselves to Examination! Have I learned to be full? Do I enjoy my fulness for God, yea or no? Do not let the Reckoning between God and thy Soul, run too long, but keep thy Book even every day with God, and then thou shalt have abundance of Comfort in thy Fulness.

And set before you the Example of those that have Miscarried in their Fulness, and that will be a very good help unto you. Such and such Men have Miscarried, Lord help me that I may not Miscarry, as they have done: Yea, thy most eminent Servants have Miscarried, the Lord help me that I may not Miscary.

And for the Close of all, O you that God hath given these Mercies to; Bless Him for His Blessings: but espe∣cially Bless Him that He hath Blessed His Blessings to you. When we receive a Blessing, we should Bless God; I, but when God hath Blest this Blessing, then our Bles∣sing of Him should be Double and Trebble too. O think thus with thy self, What all this and Heaven too! such convenient Habitations, and compassed round about with Mercy wheresoever you are! All this, and Heaven, House and Estate, and Friends, and Health of Page  72 Body, and every Thing that I want: O the greatest thing that I want, is a thankful Heart, for if I had but that, then I were happy indeed. Now for a Man to have all things in a Fulness, and only Scantiness in Thankfulness; every thing is full, but only the Heart is empty. The Heart of the Wicked is little worth. Thy House is full, and thy Estate, but what's thy Heart in the mean time? But now, If God gives thee so much Mercy in the World, and all this but the beginning of Heaven to thee: O then, how sweet is thy Life made to thee by God! And all things that are the means of Undo∣ing of others, are the means to help thee to Honour God. O by this the Mercies of God are raised indeed: Bless God for so great a Blessing, it is not an ordinary thing.

Only one thing more for the Close of all in my Text, and that is the joyning of both these things together, That I learn how to be content, and how to be full. There should have been that Note.* And that is,

That Grace wil! help Men to carry themselves evenly with God, and graciously with God in variety of Con∣ditions. Let the Condition be up and down, this way, and then another, yet Grace helps a Man to lie square any way, like a Dye; cast it which way you will it lies square: So put a gracious Heart into any Condition, Full or Empty, yet Grace will help him in any Condi∣tion whatsoever, as the Apostle saith in the Corinthians: Through Honour and Dishonour, by Evil report and Good report, by the Armour of Righteousness, on the Right∣hand and on the Left. We find Use of our Weapons on the Right hand, and on the Left, the Armour of Righ∣teousness helps not only on the Left-hand to Fence off the evil of Adversity, but on the Right-hand, to Fence off the Evil of Prosperity: Here's a Christian Souldier, Page  73 that can make use of the Armor of Righteousness, both on the Right-hand and on the Left.

I had thought to have given some grounds, Why it is that Grace will help any way; as a Watch in a Mans Pocket, if it be a good Watch, though a Man sit upon it, and it is tumbled up and down, yet the Wheels they keep a constant steady motion. So it is with the heart of a man, if there be Grace within, and the wheels work aright, yet Grace makes the Heart stedfast within, let the condition be never so various; to be tost up and down, this way, or that way; yet the heart keeps the same. The Motto of Queen Elizabeth may be the Motto of every gracious heart, Alwayes the same. So in a constant way, either in prosperity or adversity, still he continues in an evenness with God. If God casts him upon his Sick Bed there he rejoyces in God and blesses God, and you will find savory and spiritual things come from him then; and if God deliver him, and you find him in prosperity, there his heart is heavenly still, and gracious and spiritual, and raised above the Creatures; which way soever he be put.

I cannot give you the grounds, I'll onely compare a Scripture or two together (and so conclude all) to see the evenness of the heart of a godly man in all conditi∣ons, let them be what they will. In Psal. 57. To the chief Musician Al-taschith, Mictam of David, when he fled from Saul in the Cave. That's the Title of the Psalm. A Psalm that David made in his very great affliction, when he fled from Saul for his life in the Cave. See what he saith, and comparing that same with Psal. 60. where it is, To the chief Musician upon Shushan-Eduth, Mictam of David; to teach, when he strove with Aram Nahaaim, and with Aram Zobah, when Joab, returned and smote ofPage  74 Edom in the Valley of Salt, Twelve thousand. David was low when he fled from Saul in the Cave, there Da∣vid had not the Kingdom; well but afterwards David was high and had the Kingdom, Joab was his Officer, and smote of Edom in the Valley of Salt Twelve thousand: Now you would think that this different condition of David, should have made a different work in his Spirit; yet you shall find a great part of that Psalm to be the very same: In the 57th. Psalm, ver. 7. My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed; I will sing and give praise; awake up my Glory, awake Psaltery and Harp, I my self will awake early, I will praise the Lord among the Peo∣ple, I will sing unto Thee among the Nations, &c. Why, you shall find likewise, that David in the 60th. Psalm, he hath much of this, of blessing God as well in his Prosperous state in which he was, as in his Afflicted estate. Let us compare this with the 108th. Psalm, ver. 5. Be thou Exalted, O God. There David was in his Pro∣sperous estate: And here's the same Expression; O God, my heart is fixed, saith he, I will sing and give praise with my Glory. Awake Psaltery and Harp, I my self will awake early: I will praise Thee, O Lord, among the People, and I will sing Praises unto Thee among the Nati∣ons, &c. Just he goes on in the very same words.

But now the 60th. Psalm, is to be compared with the 108th. where it is, God hath spoken in his Holiness, I will rejoyce: I will divide Shechem, and mete out the Valley of Succoth: Gilead is mine, Ephraim also is the strength of my Head, Judah is my Law-giver, &c. Now in the 108 Psalm, God hath spoken in his Holiness, I will re∣joyce, I will divide Shechem, &c. This is the Note from hence (and so we have done.)

That David in his various Conditions, though at some Page  75 times more Prosperous than others, yet still you find him in the same Spirit, and almost the very same words. Be he n the Cave, or when Joab had overcome, or be he afterwards how he will, in a higher Condition; for the 108th. Psalm was made in a time after this: Yet Davids heart is the same, Praising God, Blessing God, Belie∣ving in his Word, Trusting in his Word: Now that's the Note.

You should observe; Whether you can make use of the same Scripture in one Condition, as in another: Those Scriptures that are comfortable to you in one Condition, make use of them in another. And whether you can Praise God in one Condition, in the same way as in ano∣ther. Why Grace doth so satisfie and strengthen the Heart, as the things that are without in the World, makes very little alteration: There is very little alteration, that External things can make in a Gracious heart. When a Man or Woman is so, that a Prosperous condition puffs him up, or Adversity makes him dejected, it's a sign of very little Grace, or no Grace. But thus much for this Text.