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

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Four usefull discourses viz. ... / by Jer. Burroughs ...
Burroughs, Jeremiah, 1599-1646.
London :: Printed for Thomas Parkhurst ...,

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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. University of Michigan Library Digital Collections. Accessed May 21, 2024.


Page 104

A Sermon.

Phil. 1. 21.
For to me to Live, is Christ; and to Die is Gain.

THis blessed Apostle Paul, had in the Course of his Life, many things befel him that seem to be very Cross, much Opposition, great were his Suffer∣ings, even unto Bonds: And much hard Usage he had, not only from open Enemies, but from false Bre∣thren, whose Spirits were full of Envy against him: And who can stand before Envy? They were vexed to see how his Ministery prevailed in the Hearts of People; to see what great Esteem he had, how precious his Name was among the Saints: They knew not what course to take to Darken him, and therefore among others, some of them would set upon Preaching Christ as well as he, and see what they could do that way; they would be as forward as he. Well, saith Paul, all this makes for my Good, and I rejoyce in it, so be it I may be any occasion that Christ may be Preached, whether of Good∣will, or Envy: I am glad Christ is made known by this, and this shall turn (saith he) to my Salvation, to the

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Glory that I expect from Christ, and with Christ: That shall be furthered by it, so long (saith he) as Christ is Honoured, I shall never be ashamed: No matter what becomes of my Body, of my Life, so that Christ may be Magnified in my Body, whether it be by Life, or by Death: For to me to Live is Christ, and to Die is Gain. And this is the Coherence of the Words.

Here then we have a Man of brave Resolution, of a truly Noble raised Spirit; while other men are Grovel∣ling here in the World, in seeking Contentment unto the Flesh: Here's the Spirit of Paul raised above Life and Death. To me to Live is Christ, to Die is Gain.

To me to Live is Christ. You have it in your English, only so (To Live, and to Die:) But those that under∣stand the Original, know, that besides the Word that signifies To Live: There's an Article in the Greek, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 And besides that word, there's an Article 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. So that if you would have it Translated according to the Propriety and Elegancy of the Greek, it is thus: To me the thing that is to Live is Christ, and the thing that is Death is Gain. As if he should say, That thing that you call Life, is nothing but Christ: If Christ may be Magnifi∣ed in me, if I may be of any Service for Him any way, then I am content to Live; but if so be that He may be no more Served by me here, let me Die, and I shall lose no∣thing by that neither: For that same thing you call Death, the thing that People keep such a stir about, and are so scar'd withal, That to Die; it's nothing to me, but that which will be Gain. So that the words, they speak out the frame of Gracious Heart, blessing it self in Jesus Christ, both in Life and Death: To me to Live: I'll not make any curious Definition, nor raise more Points than I shall go through at this time,

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and the Points will be nothing but the opening of the Text in both Parts.

First, That a true Godly man accounts Christ to be his Life. And,

Secondly, To a Godly man, Death is Gain.

For the First, To me to Live is Christ: That same thing that you call life, It's Christ, all is wrapt up in him: I account nothing Life but Jesus Christ. As for my natural Life, that's no way considerable; but so far as Christ is in it, Christ is the life of the Saints. It's more indeed then if he should say, Christ is my life 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 the thing that is to live is Christ; It's a greater Elegancy than to say Christ is my life.

Christ is the life of the Saints: First in this, That they are by him freed from a Legal death. Every man by na∣ture is under the Curse of the Law, he is a dead man, as we say of a man that is condemn'd, he is a dead man; dead by the Law. But now the Saints in Christ, are dead to the Law. Gall. 2. 19. But they live to God, they are freed from that Legal death, and so Christ brings life to them.

Secondly, Christ is the principle of Spiritual Life in them. It's Christ that brings me to the Fountain of Life, that unites my Soul again to God; and puts me in a principle of Life, to inable me to live to God, and to injoy communion with him; I in my self am as a dead Carkass without Jesus Christ. To me to live is Christ.

Thirdly, Christ is the preserver of this life of mine. Notwithstanding all the corrupt and silthy and dead stuff that is in me, yet Jesus Christ preserves this life in me.

And then in the Fourth place, which I take to be the chiefe meaning of what the Apostle intends; To me to

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live is Christ, that is, the great comfort of my Life, that's Christ. A man doth not live except he hath Comfort in his Life: For so the Scripture calls Life, when a man hath Comfort, Joy, and Contentment in his Life, Psal. 38. 19. But mine Enemies are lively; so you have it in your Books: Mine Enemies are living, so you may Translate it; the meaning is this, Mine Enemies are Jolly, and Jocond in their wayes: And so it follows, And they are strong: They are Jolly and Jocond in their wayes; and they that hate me wrongfully, are multiplied. There's a like phrase in Eccles. 6. 8. For what hath the Wise more than the Fool, what hath the Poor that knoweth to walk before the Living: That is, before the Rich men that have all Comforts in their Lives, to Live bravely, ac∣cording to their hearts desire. What's the Wise more than the Fool? All things comes alike to them, and there's no great difference in their Lives. And what hath, (the word hath is not in the Original) but what a Poor that knoweth to walk before the Living. If a Poor man hath but Health of Body, and hath but Abi∣lity to work, and Wisdom to carry himself, and order his Affairs; why he can walk before Rich men, and can live a Comfortable life before them. Before the Living, that is, before the Rich that have all things to Live bravely in the World. So that's the meaning of Life in Scripture, not only in opposition to Death, but to Sor∣row and Trouble. Now saith the Apostle, To me to live is Christ: Will you take Life in this sense, that is, for a Comfortable, a Contented, a Joyful life? Why I have it saith Paul: Where had Paul such a Joyful and Conten∣ted life? For alas, look upon him in the Course of his Life, and he suffered almost as much as ever man did; sometimes he wanted Bread, and he wanted Clothes to

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cover the Nakedness of his Body, and whipt like a Rogue, and yet he accounted himself to live a brave life notwithstanding all this: But where lay all this? In Christ. I find it all made up in Christ, whatsoever I want in the Creature, whatever is cast upon me, what∣ever Scorn and Imprisonment; whatever it be that here I suffer, yet I find it all made up in Christ, and in Him I have as comfortable a life, as a mans Heart can desire. That's his meaning by this same 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, that is, in Christ, because I am Imployed in the Service of Jesus Christ: And I bless God that Christ hath Honour by me, that I do the Work of Christ, and so, To me to live is Christ. That's the Fourth thing.

Fifthly, To me to live is Christ, that is, Christ is the end of my Life: So you have the Five particulars. 1. I am by Christ freed from a Legal Death, being Dead by the Law. 2. Christ is the Principle of my Spiritual Life. 3. The Preserver of it. 4. The Comfort and Content∣ment of my Life. 5. The end of my Life: Thus to me to live is Christ. But because these two last are the two chief that I verily believe are intended here by the Apo∣stle, I will a little open them more than the former. Now to shew how Christ is the Comfort and Contentment of a Christians Life, that I'll shew unto you in several parti∣culars: Though he hath not Comfort as others have, though he hath not such a Table, and such Comings in as others have, yet he hath a life more comfortable than others.

As First, The very Contemplation of Jesus Christ, it is incomparably Sweet and Comfortable to a Gracious heart. For what doth a Godly man see in Christ? In Christ I see the Brightness of the Glory of the Father, I see the Character of the Ingraven Image of God the Fa∣ther

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in Him: When I look upon the World it's comfor∣table, it's comfortable to the Eye to behold the Light: But there I see but the Foot-steps of God, but in Christ I see the Face of God; the Face of the Living and Eter∣nal First-Being of all things: That I behold in Him, and this is Life to me. It's Eternal Life to know thee, O Lord, and thy Son, whom thou hast sent into the World.

2. O the sweet Influences of the Grace of God that I feel, out of His Fulness do I receive, and Grace for Grace; I have the flowings of the Water of Life into my Soul daily, and therefore Christ is to live to me.

3. I have the Love of God shed abroad into my Soul. O the Beams of the Love of the Eternal God, that are shed abroad in my Soul by Christ, and those Beams of Gods Love, they are Life to me.

4. In Him I have an Interest in all the Treasures of the Riches of the Grace of the Infinite God, they are all mine, they are all made over to me in Jesus Christ.

5. And then fifthly, In Him I have blessed Rest and Satisfaction to my Soul for my Eternal Estate; I am sold for Eternity in Him.

6. And then in Him I have the Joy of the Holy Ghost shed abroad into my Heart, and it is the comfort of my Soul to see Him Honoured any way, more than to enjoy any good to my self.

7. In Him, O the Communion that I have with Him, is more than Life; those lettings out of my Heart to Him, and those lettings out of His Heart again to my Soul: What is it? It's more than a Thousand Lives un∣to me.

8. In Him I have the Conveyance of all the Good that God the Father Conveys to the Hearts of His Saints, in order to Eternal Life; and therefore, O the Comfort

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and Contentment my Soul hath thereupon.

And then, He is the end of my Life: To what purpose do I live, if it were not in order to Him? For He is the first that God did aim at in all his Works, Ab extra, and therefore Christ is called the First-begotten of all: He was the first in Gods Intention, yea, the Scripture saith in Ephes. 3. 19. All things are by Him, and for Him. Now if Christ be the End of all the Works of God the Fa∣ther, God in all that ever He aim'd at in His Councils from Eternity, He did aim at the setting up of the Ho∣nour of Christ, and at His own Honour in Him and by Him: Therefore surely, He is my Life, He is that I aim at, He is the End of my Life.

And all the Glory that God the Father hath from all His Creatures, it is through Him, Ephes. 3. 21. Then while I live to Him, I serve the greatest Designs that God the Father hath: I am useful unto God in the great∣est Designs that ever He had from Eternity, or ever shall have; and therefore for me to live is Christ. Thus you have the opening of what the Apostle saith. Now then by way of Application for this,

In the first place, Learn to Examine your Hearts from this, what your Life is: Examine in this thing, what is your Life? Whether you can say as the Apostle here did, To me to live is Christ? What do you account your Lives to be? It would be a very near Point, if God would but help you to understand it, and seriously to weigh it. I say, What do you account your Lives to consist in? Why some Men think, O for me to live, it's to get an Estate, that's my Life. Another thinks, to me to live, why it is, to have Company, to be Merry, to Eat and Drink, that is Life to me. Another, to live, why it's to be great in the World, to be accounted some Body,

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to get Honour, to get Places: The Lives of Men consist in such things as these are, Most Men account it to be their Lives, to enjoy the Contentments of the World; so be it they can have so much coming in as they may please the Flesh, and satisfie the Lusts of the Flesh; there's a brave Life. Who do you account to be the Men that live the brave Lives in the World? O that you would Answer as in the Presence of God now: Whether do you account the Men that have all the Contentives to the Flesh, that possibly may be, as Honour, Repute, and Esteem, and live at Ease, and can Ride up and down, and have Attendance about them, and brave in their Clothes, to live the brave Lives? Or whether those Men that are serviceable to the Great Ends of God, in setting forth the Honour of Jesus Christ? Which are the Men that God accounts most Happy? Would you ac∣count a Man that were very Mean and Low in the World, and Despised by the World, yet if he be Serviceable to Christ in the World, and enjoy Christ himself in the World, to be a more Happy man in this Life? Not on∣ly that he should be a more Happy man in the Life to come, but in this Life, then he that lives the bravest Life, in all the Jollity and Contentment here in this World? Certainly, the disposition of your Hearts in this thing, doth much discover what they are in reference unto God. That's the First.

Secondly, Here see what the Excellency of a Christian is: O the Excellency of a Saint in God! Why? Because he lives such a Life as he doth; he lives a Supernatural Life, he lives a Divine Life, he lives an Eternal Life: The Lives of the Saints are such as depend not upon any thing in the World. Let the World go which way it will, yet they have a Life, and a Livelihood too: They have

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whereupon to live. How do Men account this to be a great Happiness, Let there be as hard Times as can be, I hope I have enough to live on, saith a Man. If there should come Famine, or Troubles, yet I have a Liveli∣hood, I have enough to live on. The Saints they have enough to Live on, come what Times will; for to them to live is Christ: You know Christ saith in the Gospel, That his Flesh is Meat indeed, and his Blood is Drink indeed; and he that Eats his Flesh, and Drinks his Blood, hath Eternal Life. That is, he that lives upon Him by Faith, and draws forth the Virtue that is in Him by Faith, he lives. It doth not beseem therefore Christians, to be Whining and Complaining in the World, while they want some outward contentment, for their present Bodily lives: For, Your lives consists not in abundance. Though it's true, God for a while doth preserve mens Natural lives by the Creature: I, but it's but a Natural life, it's not the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, that's but a by thing. But the thing that is to live, that's in Christ; and depends whol∣ly upon Him: It should be therefore indifferent to a Godly Man or Woman, how things be with them in re∣spect of this present life: For, To them to live is Christ. Surely, it's the most Noble and Glorious life that can be, when Christ is the Principle of it. Sometimes some have thought that possibly there may be other Worlds than we have here, and other kind of Creatures than them we have here; and some Mens thoughts will be Roving: Why cannot the Infinite Power of God make Thousands of Worlds besides this, only they are not Revealed to us? And perhaps in those Worlds, the meanest Creature there may be as far above the Sun, as the Sun is here above a piece of Dirt. But suppose there were never so many Worlds, and such glorious

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Creatures that God had made: If God should say, Well, I by Mine Infinite Power have made this World, and I will make a Thousand Worlds more, and I will make every Creature in those to be so high in Glory above the Sun that you have now, as the Sun is beyond a piece of Dirt; yet in those Worlds there would be no Creature could Live a more Glorious life than the Saints do. It's true, in Heaven, for the Degree it's more Glorious, but for the Kind of that Life, none of those Creatures could live a Higher, and a more Noble life than a Chri∣stian: Why, For to him to live is Christ. It's Christ that is his Life: And if God would make never such excel∣lent things, he could not make any thing more Excellent than Christ is: Therefore so long as Christ is the Life of a Christian, it's the most Noble and Excellent thing of all.

Thirdly, Then, O let Christ be as dear to us as our Lives! Let His Honour be maintained by us as our Lives! Let us work for Him as we see a Man work for his life: What∣ever we do for Christ, let us do it for Him as for our life, with all our strength: For, for us to live (if we be Christians) it is Christ. It's Christ that is the Element of Life, and therefore whither should our lives work but only unto Him, and for Him. That's the most blessed life that hath Christ most in it: We should not account that we do live, but when we do something for Christ. I remember it's said of the Emperor Titus, he would say, when he had not done some good to some of his Sub∣jects: I have not Reign'd to day. Why? Because he had done no Body any good Turn. And so we should even say, we have not liv'd to day, except that we have done somewhat for Christ: For, For us to live is Christ. And if to us to live be Christ here, O what will it be in Hea∣ven

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then! For it is but a very little of Christ that we do enjoy here.

That's the next Use. When Christ who is our Life, shall come to be Revealed, when we shall come to en∣joy the Fulness of all the Good that there is in Christ, what will Christ be then unto us?

And lastly, From hence we may see the Reason why the Saints can deny themselves so much in their out∣ward condition, in that that the Men of the World make account their Lives consist in, as their Estates, and Cre∣dit, and Liberty, and Esteem: The People of God, they can deny themselves in such things as these are. They can Die daily unto the World: Why? Because they have another Life. Indeed, a Man that hath no other life but that that consists in Abundance, in his Estate, Pleasures, Liberties and Delights, he knows not how to deny him∣self in them; but now a Man that hath another Life be∣yond this, he can deny himself in these things, 2 Cor. 14. 11. See what the Apostle saith there concerning him∣self, For we, saith he, who live, are alwayes delivered unto Death for Jesus sake, that the Life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our Mortal Flesh: Even this Mortal Flesh that must Die ere long, in suffering for Christ here, it doth manifest the Life of Christ. And is it not a great∣er good to us, to have our Mortal Flesh to manifest the Life of Christ, than to have our Mortal Flesh to live here a Natural life? We would be loath to have this flesh of our Bodies to be dead flesh: While we are willing to suffer for Christ, this flesh of ours doth mani∣fest the very Life of Jesus Christ: Therefore the Saints are dead to the World, but they are alive to Jesus Christ. But thus much for this first Part: To me to live is Christ.

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And to die is Gain.

To whom Christ is to live, to them Death is gain. The more we enjoy Christ, and live to Christ here, the more gainful will death be to us, and the more shall we be able to look upon death as Gain. And here we have a Scripture (if we had no other) sufficient to prove the Immortallity of the Soul: How could death be Gain un∣to the Apostle, if so be that the Soul should die together with the Body? Indeed, Christ would be Gain for ano∣ther Life hereafter, that is, at the Day of Judgment, there Christ would be Gain. And those that do deny the Immortallity of the Soul, yet they are not so vile as some take them: To think that Man should Die like a Beast, and there's an end of him; and that there shall be no Resurrection. No: But those that do deny the Immortallity of the Soul, they say, That though the Soul dies with the Body, yet at the Day of Judgment, both Soul and Body shall rise again and live for ever. But all they deny, is this, That the Soul between Death and the Day of Judgment, shall live: They think, that the Soul between Death and the Day of Judgment, shall die, and then by the Almighty Power of God, they shall be both raised again: That's their Opinion. But, though it be not so bad as some would make it, yet an Opinion false. For this Text shews that Paul was in a straight, he knew not whether to live or die; but that was the conclusion, that it was better for him to die; for then he should be with Christ. He could not mean that when he was dead, he should be with Christ when the ge∣neral Resurrection comes: but he must needs mean that he should be with Christ immediately after his death, and en∣joy

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another manner of communion with Jesus Christ, than he did here while he was living. And it is upon this ac∣count, that he saith, It is gain for him to die. Why Paul enjoyed much communion with Jesus Christ here; and though he had some sin in him, yet considering the Grace he had, and the Service he did for Christ; certainly it were better for him to live, than to be in a condition where he should enjoy nothing of Christ, and do no Service for Christ. But the Apostle lookt upon the State of death before the day of Judgment, to be a better Estate than that he had while he lived. Though, saith he, I have the Grace of Christ, and I do Service for Him, yet there is a better condition between Death and Judgment: If my Soul were gone from my Body, it would be in a better Estate than now it is: To me to die is gain, and so you have it in 2 Cor. where the Apo∣stle speaks of his departing out of the Body, in Chap. 5. Therefore we are alwayes confident, knowing that whilst we are at Home in the Body, we are absent from the Lord. We are confident, in verse 8. I say, and willing rather to be absent from the Body, and to be present with the Lord. So that 'tis apparent, that upon the Souls absence from the Body, it is present with the Lord. Now if the Soul did die as the Body doth, it were not present with the Lord; no, not so much as when it is in the Body. But now the Apostle saith, That when it is out of the Body, then it's present with the Lord; and when it is in the Body, it is absent from the Lord. And so it is upon this Ground especially that the Apostle saith, That to him to die was Gain: Because he should be absent from the Bo∣dy, but present with Christ, which is best of all. To be with Christ, it is more than to have Christ with us. The difference lies here: For us to be with Christ, it is

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for us to be brought to Christ, where He is like Himself in all His Glory and Excellency; and for us to enjoy Him in a proportionable way. But now for Christ to be Im∣manuel, God with us, it is for Christ to come down as it were to us; and to manifest so much of Himself as is sutable to our condition: Therefore Christ humbles Himself to come to be with us. For there He is a Man of Sorrows, He is with us sutable to our Mean and Low condition; but when we come to be with Him, we are there sutable to His High and Glorious condition: There lies the difference. Mark, The Apostle doth not here say, To me to die is Gain: Upon this Ground, Be∣cause I shall be delivered from my Troubles. As a great many are ready to think, it were well for me to be Dead. If they be but a little discountented, their outward Trou∣ble, makes them willing to go out of the World: Yea, and if their Bodies be weakly, and their Stomachs gone, and cannot Eat as others do, or Sleep as others do; or are very Poor, and Live in a mean Condition, they are weary of this World. Now to think death Gain upon such a poor Ground as these, is not according to the Spi∣rit of Paul: Paul suffered as much as many of you do, for outward things in this World, and yet he did not desire to die: O then, I shall be Afflicted no more, be Persecuted no more in the World; no, but when I die I shall be with Jesus Christ, and shall enjoy Communion with Him; and it's this that makes me look upon Death with comfort, and in this respect it's Gain. Though Paul had enjoyed all the World at will, yet he would have accounted Death to have been Gain to him. And though Paul was a Man of great Esteem among the Saints, (though Persecuted by others) yet death was Gain to him. Yea, though Paul enjoyed all Ordinances, yet

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Christ was Gain to him. And though he did a great deal of Service for Christ, (as I verily believe there was never any Man since the World was made, did more Service for Jesus Christ than Paul did) and yet death was Gain to him; he should get much by it: Why many things might make the death of Paul Gainful. I remember the last time I spake to you, I spoke about an Argument of the Victory over Death, that we have by Christ; I will not speak now of what then I spake to, but meer∣ly Confine my self; for otherwise the Argument might be very large, to shew the Gain of death to Believers: But I'll confine my self to the very thing that the Apo∣stle speaks of here in this Chapter, That he should be pre∣sent with Christ.

Therefore now I'll speak of the Gain of being with Christ. Now I confess there are many things that might be opened: The Communion of the Soul departed with Jesus Christ,

As First, It shall be immediate, the Souls of the Saints while they are in the Body, they have Communion with Christ; but it is Mediately, by other things, by Ordi∣nances and Means, whereby Christ conveys Himself to them; but there they shall have Communion with Christ Immediately, only Christ and the Soul together. Now the more Immediate the Communion is with Christ, it is the more pure: Here we have some Communion with Christ, but a great deal of Sin mixt together with it. That that is immediately from the Fountain is more pure, that that comes in the Streams hath Dirt mixed with it. So that that we shall have with Christ immediately shall be pure, we shall have Communion with Him and nothing else: We shall have no mixtures at all of any evil in our own Spirits.

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And then Secondly, Immediate communion with Christ, it is more Sweet: As the more Pure, so the more Sweet. As now, the Wine that comes immediately from the Grape, it hath more Spirits, and is more delightful than that that is poured from Vessel to Vessel. That which we have here from Christ, it is that that is poured from Vessel to Vessel; but that which Souls departed have from Christ is immediate, and so comes more Sweet. As if the Child suck Milk from the Breast, it is more sweet to the Child than the Milk in a Spoon. That that we have from Christ here, is Milk as it were from the Spoon; but that that Souls have that are departed, they suck from Christ immediately, and so comes to be more sweet.

Thirdly, And more especially, we account that that comes Immediately, to have more Love in it. As that that a Friend gives by his own hand, is better and more comfortable to us. So that that comes from God Im∣mediately, it's a great deal more sweet: As now here while we Live in the World, the more immediate a Mer∣cy is, the more sweet it is to a gracious Heart. Indeed, a Mercy that comes by second Causes, it's comfor∣table, because God Over-rules all the Causes; but when it can see God immediately in a Mercy, the more immedi∣ate the Hand of God is here: Though God doth not work so Immediately here as He will do afterwards; but the more Immediate God is here, the more sweet it is. And therefore in a Judgment, the more Immediate the Hand of God is, the more Terrible, as in the Plague. So in a Mercy, though every Mercy is sweet, yet the more Immediate God is in a Mercy, the more sweet it is. And then, O how sweet is all the Good that the Saints have immediately from Christ, therefore it's Gain to them.

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And then, Fourthly, It's more strong. The first Re∣bound is more Powerfull than: a second; and the first Gushings out are more strong. The Beams of the Sun when they are first Reflected, than if you take a Glass and Reflect them again and again. And so that that comes Gushing out (as it were) of the very Heart of God, it's more strong a great deal; and there is greater Impressions upon the Heart by it, than that that comes by second Causes.

Fifthly, That that comes Immediate, it comes with∣out Labour. The Soul draws it from Christ, and is not put to so much Pain and Labour as now we are put to. If we would have Communion with Jesus Christ, we must stir up our selves to the Humbling of our Hearts, to the Acting of our Faith, to Exercise our Graces, and put the Body to it. If you would have any com∣munion with Christ in Prayer, it must put you to some Labour: And: so in the Word and Sacraments: And the Labour of a Christian is very great. But when we come to have Immediate communion with Christ, it will be the flowings in of Christ to the Soul, without any La∣bour at all.

Sixthly, It shall be more full, when we come to be Uni∣ted to the very Fountain it self; there it will be more full than the Stream. Certainly, there is that Good and Excellency in Christ, that is too much for any Creature in the World to convey▪ Yea, take all the Creatures in the World, and Ordinances, they are too scant to be able to convey the Good that is in Christ; yea, that Good that Christ takes delight to communicate to the Souls of His People. And that's the Reason that here we have but a little. Why? Because the Conduits are so Narrow and Small, that there can be but a little let

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out through those Conduits; but when the Soul is with Christ immediately, then it hath the Fulness of the Let∣tings out of Gods Mercy: There will be an Eminency of every sort of Good to every poor Christian. I re∣member Jerom, speaking of that Text, Christ being All in all: He makes this Interpretation of it, saith he, Christ is here but some to some; but not all to all. As for In∣stance, saith he, Here some Men have some Eminency of some particular Grace conveid to them, and some other Eminency of some particular Grace. As Moses had an Eminency of Meekness, Abraham an Eminency of Faith, Job an Eminency of Patience, and Solo∣mon an Eminency of Wisdom, but, saith he, Where was there ever a Man Eminent in all Graces? But then (saith he) Christ shall be All in all: That is, Christ shall convey all Grace to all His Saints, that all the Saints shall have an Eminency and Fulness in all Grace whatsoever. This will be an Excellent thing. Surely it's Gain then to Die, for a gracious Heart, where Christ shall be thus All in all to them, to convey this Fulness of Good in all things unto them. Those Saints that are the Meanest now, whose Souls have the least degree of true Grace, they shall have an Eminency of all Grace. Wouldst not thou think thy self happy, if thou hadst as much Faith as Abraham, as much Meekness as Moses, and as much Patience as Job, and as much Insight into the Misteries of the Gospel as Paul? Now, hadst thou as much as all the Saints ever had, were not that Gain? Why now as soon as thy Soul is departed from the Body, thou shalt have an Eminency in all Graces, as much as all the Saints ever had, since the beginning of the World. Therefore surely, it's Gain to die for a Godly Man.

7ly, Further, It's Gain in this respect, When they re∣ceive

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immediately, they shall receive all United in one, and all together: They shall have such Influence from Christ, as hath all Good united in one Beam of Excel∣lency, and so receive it all together. As now, a Man may take the Quintesence of several Herbs; there's this Herb hath this Virtue, another another, and a third a third; but now if you Still all these Herbs together, you will have the Virtue and Quintesence of all in one Drop. So Christ here scatters His Excellencies, one in one Creature, another in another; but when we come to enjoy Him immediately, then we shall have all in one, because all His Excellencies whatsoever is united in one in Him.

Eighthly, Further, all our Good shall be in continal Act. Here we have a great deal of Good in the Habit, but now when we come to have this Immediate communion with Christ, there all our Graces shall be Acted continu∣ally. The Sun, you know, how it doth Act the Earth; whatsoever there is in the Earth, it draws it forth and makes it flourish. So the Presence of the Sun of Righte∣ousness, Oh how Gloriously will it Act all our Graces! In Numb. 17. 7. We read of Aarons Rod, it Blossom'd: And the Text saith, It Blossom'd before the Lord. When the Souls of the Saints shall be before the Lord, and be in the Presence of the Lord Christ: O they shall Blossom and Flourish, and all their Graces shall Flourish in a most Glorious manner.

Ninthly, And then lastly, We shall enjoy what is in Christ without any Intermission: What's the reason of any Intermission here? But something that comes be∣tween Christ and our Souls. But now when there shall be nothing between Christ and the Soul, then there will be no Intermission. That Sweetness and Comfort thou

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hast in communion with Christ at any time, thou shalt have it at all times: And how good is that? O saith many a Soul, could I have but the communion with Christ at all times, as I have at some times: O that would be comfortable! Now when the Soul hath Immediate communion with Christ, it shall have it at all times. What's the reason of Ecclipses? It is the Interposition between the Moon and the Sun, or some Interposition between the Sun and us. So our Ecclipses of the Light that we have from Christ, it is some Interposition: Take away the Interposition, and then there will be no Intermission. Now put all these together, and is it not Gain to Die, and to be with Christ. Now by way of Use:

It is Gain thus to be with Christ.

Hence then, If it be Gain for one that doth so much Service for Christ as Paul did, surely than those that are Believers, and are made little Use of in any Service for Christ, they will get by their Death. Paul was a Man that one would wonder how the Churches could spare him, he did so much for Christ; and yet Paul would get by Death. If thou beest a Believer, thou shalt have thy Immediate communion with Christ, as Paul had. Alas, here while thou Livest, thou hast but little com∣munion between Christ and thee, and doest Him but little Service in the World: Then why should you so much desire to Live in the World, that have nothing to Countervail the Trouble that you have, and the Sin that is committed in the World? O, surely, it will be gain for you.

Secondly, Hence it follows, That it is a Self-denial to a Believer, to be willing to Live here in the World. You will say, If it be so much Gain, why should any be

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so desirous to Live? It's this, first, Nature will have its work, though in their Judgments they are convinc't, that it's better to be with Christ; yet the Body will be working, and the Affections will follow the Body very much. Further, Though they be convinc't that it is Gain, yet God lays a Tie upon them, to preserve their Lives as long as they can here in this World, in Obedi∣ence to God: They do desire to avoid Dangers, and Preserve their Lives. It is not for them to be where it is best for them to be, but to be where God would have them to be; and therefore God doth charge them to seek to Preserve their Lives, and to go on till He Himself shall Dissolve the Body and Soul. It's God that is the Lord of our Life, and as God gave us our Lives, so it is He that must take them away, and not any Body else. But yet, I say, there is some Self-denial in it: We must look upon our selves here, as in a very Low and Mean condition, in comparison of what we hope to be within a while after. Therefore observe this one Note, Those that do believe the Gain of Death, they had need La∣bour what they can, to countervail the Forbearance of the Gain, by somewhat or other. If a Man hath a great Gain, and it comes not in his present Possession, he thinks, What shall I have for my Forbearance? You will say, What is it that any Believer can have in lieu of his Forbearance of that Gain? Truly, the most Excellent thing is this, that he may do Christ Service while he Lives. Now then, Is that the main thing? O learn from hence, to be of as much use in your Lives, as possibly you can, for you have nothing else (to speak of) in For∣bearance of that great Gain. Why, Lord, I expect to enjoy Thee for ever before long, but thou art pleased to Prolong my Life here for a while; in the mean time

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I meet with many Temptations and Troubles, and Vexa∣tions, and much Sin I have: But yet, Lord, thou know∣est it's my desire to Honour Thee, and Serve Thee; and through Thy Mercy, I am some way or other Service∣able to Thee, in the Place where Thou hast set me; and, Lord, this is the thing contents me, while I am absent from Thee.

Thirdly, Hence we see the great Difference that there is between the death of a Believer, and the death of a Wicked Man. I shewed you, I remember in the death of an Ungodly Man, when the siery Serpent comes with his Sting, and takes him in his Natural Estate, Death is not Gain to such a one: O, no; death takes away all his Gain: But now, death is the greatest Gain to the Saints. That's an excellent Scripture you have in 1 Cor. 3. the lat∣ter end, Whether Paul, or Appollos, or Cephas, or the World, or Life, or Death, or Things present, or Things to come, all is yours. In Christ, Death comes to be made yours: Death is part of the Possession of the Saints: O the difference between the death of the Saints, and the death of Wicked and Ungodly Men! Do but put two Men, a Wicked Man, and a Godly Man, lying both together upon their Death-Beds, (you must take a wicked Man that hath an enlightned Conscience) he lies beholding the Wrath of the Infinite God, ready to swal∣low him up, and his Conscience tearing and rending of him, and so the black dismal bottomless Gulf, ready to swallow him; see the fiery Serpent sent from an Angry God, twisting himself about his Middle, with a Sting at his Heart, ready to take away his Life, that he might not Live any longer to Dishonour his God; he lies cur∣sing himself for his Wickedness and Folly, and the Com∣pany that he hath Liv'd in, and wishing that he had never

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been Born. Now the Godly Man, he lies blessing of the Name of God for His Goodness; and in that, God did shew to him in the time of his Life, the things that concern his Eternal Peace: He blesses God that ever he knew Him, that ever he knew His Wayes: He blesses God, that the time of his departure is so near, and he sees Jesus Christ ready to receive him, and the Angels at∣tending about him: O the blessed day when I shall go to Enjoy an Immediate, Full, and Eternal Commu∣nion with Jesus Christ, that is best of all. And there he lies Encouraging all that comes to see him, to know Christ and God betimes. O here's the difference be∣tween the death of the Godly, and the death of the Wicked: One is the greatest Terror, and the other is the greatest Gain.

And, my Brethren, let these Things that I have now Spoken to you, let them prepare you for Death, and welcome Death whensoever it comes. Do not think of what you must Leave in the World, but what you are going to: It is to go to Christ, that is best of all. And manifest the Power of those Things, lay them up against such a time.

And let all that hath been said, Teach you to be God∣ly, to Prize Christ and the Gospel: Here's that will Recompence all Troubles and Afflictions you meet with∣al in the Wayes of God, to be able upon your Death-Bed, to say with Paul: To me to Die is Gain. It will Recompence whatever Pains you take in the Wayes of Religion.

And I appeal to you: Do you think that there was ever any since the World began, that was Sorry upon their Death-Bed, that they had taken too much Pains in the Wayes of God? There have been Thousands

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that have Cursed themselves for the neglecting of the day of Grace and Salvation, but never sorry for taking so much Pains. O no! When thou comest upon thy Death-Bed thou wilt have need of all, and thou wilt bless God for any pains that thou hast taken for Christ. Lay then this Sentence unto thy Heart, it will Teach thee to Live, and to Die: And, Certainly, he must needs Live Joyfully whose Life is Christ: And he must needs Die comfortably, whose Death is Gain.


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