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

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Title
Four usefull discourses viz. ... / by Jer. Burroughs ...
Author
Burroughs, Jeremiah, 1599-1646.
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London :: Printed for Thomas Parkhurst ...,
1675.
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Subject terms
Christian life -- Congregational authors.
Sermons, English -- 17th century.
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"Four usefull discourses viz. ... / by Jer. Burroughs ..." In the digital collection Early English Books Online. https://name.umdl.umich.edu/A30576.0001.001. University of Michigan Library Digital Collections. Accessed May 24, 2024.

Pages

Page 128

A Sermon.

Luke, 10. 5, 6.

And into whatsoever House ye Enter, first say, Peace be to this House.

And if the Son of Peace be there, your Peace shall Rest up∣on it: If not, it shall turn to you again.

THese Words are part of Christs Direction unto the Seventy Disciples, that He sent forth to Preach the Gospel. As Exod. 15. last. We Read of Twelve Wells of Water, and Threescore and Ten Palm Trees, where Israel Encamped after their com∣ing through the Red-Sea, for their Refreshing. So Christ sends forth His Twelve Apostles, and Seventy Disciples, for the Refreshing of the World, with the glad Tidings of the Gospel.

There were Seventy. I find many Interpreters keep much ado about the Number, Austin, and Jerom, with others: They say, this Number hath Reference unto the Seventy several Languages of the World. For, they say, That at the Confusion of Languages at Babel, there were Seventy; and so according in Proportion unto

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them, Christ sends forth these Seventy. These are but Surmises, and many other such Guesses there are; but particular Reason for the Number, we have not Exprest in Scripture, neither have we their Names. We have the Apostles Names, the Twelve, but not these Seventy. Some God is Pleased to make Men of Names, Honoura∣ble in the World, and leave their Names as Honourable: Others the Lord Imploys in great Works and Services, but their Names are Buried. It is enough for these, that Christ tells them in the 20th. verse of this Chapter, That their Names are Written in the Book of Life. Let God Imploy us in His Work, and Write our Names in the Book of Life, it is no matter for to Name us in this World. There are many remarkable things in Christs sending out of these Seventy.

As First, He sends them forth by two, and two; so you have it in ver. 1. of the Chap. to the end that they might be a mutual Support, Comfort, Encouragement, Assistance one to another; which is the Duty of all Mi∣nisters, that God by His Providence shall Joyn together in any Service.

Secondly, Christ tells them, the great Work that they were sent about: The Harvest truly is great, saith He, and the Labourers are but few. I send you out into a Harvest, which is a great Labour, a useful Labour, a joyful Work, Isa. 9. 3. Joy in the time of Harvest, is the greatest Joy in the World: It is a Harvest that you are sent into, and it is a very great one, and therefore you have Encouragement because there is so much Work to do. In Mat. 9. latter end, There it is said that Christ look'd upon the Multitude with Compassion, and said, The Harvest is great, but the Labourers but few. When Ministers look upon great Congregations, Multitudes

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of People, and especially such as come readily and wil∣lingly to hear the Word of God, he should not look upon them without compassion; as looking upon them as a great Harvest, as much Work to be done there. Yea, in John 4. 34. After the Woman of Samaria and others were Converted, as the first Fruits; Christ tells the Disciples of the Regions, that they were white unto Harvest: As if He should say, There are Multitudes here in this Place, that are very ready to Entertain the Gospel.

A great Encouragement indeed it is, when the Mini∣sters of God shall see People so readily to attend upon the Word, as they shall look upon the Regions as white unto Harvest, that they are in a Preparation to receive the Word. The Harvest is great; saith Christ, the La∣bourers are but few, pray ye therefore the Lord of the Harvest, that he will send forth Labourers into his Harvest.

There were Threescore and Ten sent out together, and yet they were few, and they must Pray for more. It is the Duty of all People, especially of Ministers, to Pray to God, that He will send forth more Painful La∣bourers.

And then, Thirdly, Christ tells them what Difficul∣ties they are like to meet withal in their Work: Go your wayes, saith He, in ver. 3. Behold I send you forth as Lambs among Wolves; you are to be as I am, of Lamb∣like Dispositions, Innocent among People where you Live. But know before-hand, lest you be Discouraged with those Difficulties you are like to meet wtthal; you shall not only meet with Dogs that will Bark at you, nor with Foxes that seek Cunningly to Ʋndermine you, but with Wolves that will seek violently to Destroy you.

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And you shall find it in Mat. 10. That He sends out His Apostles, and He tells them the like: And indeed, it did so fall out. For there was not any one of the Twelve Apostles, but did Die a Violent death; was putto death by the Rage of Ungodly Men, except John. It were easie to shew you partly out of Ecclesiastical Stories, how every one except John, was put to death; some Hang∣ed, some Ston'd, some Crucified, and some by the Sword: One way or other, the Twelve were put to death, that were the greatest Instruments of doing God Service, that ever were in the World; and yet this Recompence they all had from this wicked World, save only one (I say) and yet the Scripture tells us that he was Banisht. And Ecclesiastical Stories tell us, that he was cast into Scald∣ing Lead; but withal they tell us, that he was Delivered by a Miracle out of it: So that he wanted not his Suffer∣ings too. That's the Third thing.

And then the Fourth thing that there is in Christs Direction unto these, it is this: He tells them, That all their Living that they are like to have, it is to be had by their Work: They are to be maintain'd for their Work, and they should take no further care, For the Labourer is worthy of his Hire.

But then, Fifthly, Which seems to be more strange, Christ doth bid them, That they should Salute no Man by the way. Why would Christ have His Disciples to be Uncivil, not so much to Salute Men in a civil way? That, surely, cannot be the meaning: But it was to signifie, that they were to tend the great Work that they were sent about, with all Diligence, and to take heed that nothing did Interrupt them. They were not to stay upon any Complemental Salutations, Visitations, that spends a great deal of Time oftentimes; they had not

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so much Time as other Men. Men, indeed, who have little to do, they spend their day, as your great Gentry, and others, spend a great part of their Time in Complemental Salutations, and Visitations: I but, saith our Saviour, do not you spend any time that way; Imploy all your time in the Work you are sent about. Men that have great Businesses to do, they can spare no time for Salutations: So saith Christ to his Disciples, Your Errand is of great Consequence, you are to be Embas∣sadors of Reconciliation between God and Man; be not hindred any wayes that usually Men are hindred in their Work. And therefore People should not expect such things from Ministers, in any Complemental Visitation of that kind; but they are to know, that the Work of Ministers should take up their whole Heart and Time: This seems to have some Reference unto the Direction of the Prophet Elisha unto his Servant, when he was to go to Heal the Shunamites Son, which you have in Kings 4. 29. Gird up thy Loyns saith the Prophets, and take my Staff in thine hand and go thy way: If thou meet any Man, salute him not; and if any Man salute thee, answer him not again. That is, Go in haste to the Child, and let nothing hinder thee: So this is the mean∣ing of this, Salute no Man by the way. Not that they should be Uncivil, or Uncourteous, but that they should take heed that no such thing hinders them, and take up their time as usually doth other Mens.

And then having given them that Direction, now comes the Direction in my Text, that I have read unto you: And into whatsoever House you enter, first say, Peace be to this House. That is, do not force your selves up∣on any People, do not come in a forceable way into any House, but with their Leave; And first say, Peace be to

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this House. This was the ordinary Salutation of the He∣brews, Peace be to you: Peace be to this place. For they comprehended all Good by the name of Peace. Now, though the Disciples were not to Salute any by the way, yet those they came to Preach to, they were to Salute them with this Salutation, Peace be to this House: Which was but to shew unto them the Gentleness, and the Lo∣vingness of their Spirits; they were to make this appear to People that they were sent to Preach unto, that they were Men of Soft, Loving, Sweet, Gentle Spirits, there∣fore they come with this Salutation, Peace be to this House.

Secondly, This is not only a Salutation, but as Chri∣sostom, it was a Benediction. They in the Name of God, were to Bless the place where they came, and say, Peace be to this place, as a Benediction.

Thirdly, It was to give them a Taste of the great Er∣rand they come to the House for, it was to tell them of the Message, that they came from Christ unto them about, and that was, to bring Peace unto them.

Secondly, Here's a Discription of the Entertainers of this Peace, If the Son of Peace be there: The Son of Peace, that is,

If there be any, First, that are ordained by God, to have the Benefit of this Peace that you bring to them, then let your Peace abide. So the Scripture uses this phrase, Son of a thing, to shew one appointed to it: As, The Son of Perdition; so, The Son of Peace: That is, one appointed by God, to enjoy the Benefit of this Peace.

Secondly, The Son of Peace: That is, One that will attend unto Peace, will manifest himself to be a Child of Peace indeed, by attending diligently upon the Mi∣nistry

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of Peace that you do bring unto him. And so you have it, as I remember, in Matth. 9. 15. where the Apostle speaks of the Child of the Bride-Chamber: Now the words in the Greek are, The Sons of the Bride-Chamber: That is, those that do attend upon the Busi∣ness of the Bride-Chamber. So the Sons of Peace, that is, those that are willing to attend upon this great Do∣ctrine of Peace, that is to be delivered to them.

And then Thirdly, The Sons of Peace: That is, such as will be Obedient unto the Peace of the Gospel. So in Ephes. 2. 2. As those that will not Obey, are called the Children of Disobedience: So those that Obey, may be called the Sons, or the Children of Peace. So then, the meaning is this, If a Son of Peace be there, that is, If one appointed to Eternal peace; if one that will at∣tend upon your Gospel of Peace; if one that will be Obedient unto those Conditions of Peace that you are to bring: if such a one be there,

Then, Let your Peace abide upon him.

There's the Blessing of those that are thus the Sons of Peace, they shall have all the Good that there is in that blessed Peace of the Gospel that you bring; they shall not only have the Benefit of it for the present, but they shall have it abide upon them: They shall be exceeding Gainers, Your Peace shall abide upon them.

But, If not: If there be any that are not appointed to it, or that attend not upon it, that are not Obedi∣ent unto it, Then your Peace shall turn to you again. What's that?

That is, First, This is by way of Encouragement un∣to the Disciples. And, Secondly, By way of Threat∣ning unto those that shall Reject the Offers of the Go∣spel.

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First, To the Disciples, Two wayes.

First, Though their Ministry should not do good to Souls, yet they should not be Losers, but the Blessing of the Peace shall return into their own Bosoms. Look what Good they endeavoured to do to the People they Preached unto, if they did not receive it, then this Good should return upon their own Hearts, they should get by it themselves.

Secondly, Which I think to be as much intended as the former, and that's this: Your Ministry, the Mi∣nistry of your Peace: For so this Peace is, It shall re∣turn to you. That is, It shall be of as much Vigour, Strength, Power, and Efficacy to be carried to others, as it was at the first. They may think thus, If we do go and Preach to a People and shall be Rejected, then our Ministry is like to be vile: For if one shall Reject us, it's like another will. It is so indeed, in matters of the World; if a worldly Business receive any Foil in one, it's more like to receive a Foil in another. But, saith Christ, be not you troubled about this; but if you should Preach to any People where you should have any to Reject your Ministry, it should return to you again; it shall have as much Efficacy and Power, as if it never had been rejected when you go to carry it to another People. Whatsoever Disrespect is cast upon the Mini∣sters, or upon their Ministry, yet as the Apostle saith, The Word of God is not bound, Though we are bound, though the Ministry prevails not in one People, yet it retains the power of it, as much as if it had never been Rejected.

And as for those that do Reject it, let them know:

First, That they shall have no Blessing of that Peace.

Secondly, Let them know that it shall not continue

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long among them: No, not in the Ministry of it, but that God will deal very quick with them; for if they will not receive it, it shall return to you again. And thus you have both the Scope, and the Dependance, and the meaning of these words read unto you. Now then, there are many Observations of Excellent Note unto us.

As from Ver. 5. Into whatsoever House ye enter, first say, Peace be to this House.

Observ. 1. First, That the Ministers of the Gospel ought to be Men of Gentle, and Fair, Loving Disposi∣tions, First say, Peace be to this House.

Observ. 2. That Ministers of the Gospel, ought to Bless the People among whom they come, say, Peace be to them.

Observ. 3. The great Errand and Business a Minister comes about to a People, it is to bring Peace to them.

Observ. 4. That a Minister hath Warrant and Commi∣ssion to offer peace to any place wheresoever he comes, let them be what they will be; he hath a Commission from Christ, to offer peace to them.

Observ. 5. That the first thing a Minister is to do in his Preaching, it is to offer Peace; first say Peace before any thing else. And these are the Five Notes of Observation from Ver. 5.

Now then from Ver. 6. And if the Son of Peace be there. From hence there's this:

Observ. 1. First, Note, That when God sends the Mi∣nisters of the Gospel unto a place, it is very probable that there are some appointed for the good of it; that there will be some Sons of Peace there.

Observ. 2. That those that do entertain the Gospel, they are (The) Sons of Peace.

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Obser. 3. Whosoever are Sons of Peace, shall certain∣ly have all the Blessing of the Peace of the Gospel to rest upon them.

Obser. 4. Yet sometimes where God sends the Mini∣stry of the Word, it is rejected: If not, and Gods Ministers must expect it.

Obser. 5. Wheresoever it is Rejected, those certainly are Deprived of the Benefit of the Gospel: If not, it shall return to you again.

Observ. 6. That those that are Faithful Ministers, shall not lose their Labour, though they should not Convert Souls to God, It shall return.

Observ. 7. And then lastly, Those that shall reject the Gospel, are not like to enjoy it long; God will deal with them very quick: If not, your Peace shall return to you again, and there's an end of them; saith God. These are the several Notes of Observation, out of this Dire∣ction of Christ to the Disciples for their Preaching.

And into whatsoever House ye enter, first say, Peace be to that House.

First, You see how Ministers of the Gospel should come to a place, with gentleness, and chearfulness, and manifest a sweetness of Spirit, in coming to any place; and so to gaine upon people that way. In Lev. 24 2. The Lamps in the Temple were to be of pure Oyle Olive, beaten, to note that the Lights that God sets up in his Church should be of peaceable and gentle Spirits, of sweet Spirits; You know that the Olive it is the emblem of peace and sweetness. So in Rev. 12. 4. The Two Witnesses there, which especially are the Mini∣sters of the Gospel; they are said to be the Two Olive

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Branches. Those who Christ sends, especially to wit∣ness to himself and unto his Truth, they are to be O∣live Branches, Men of peaceable, and gentle, and lo∣ving dispositions. So we find that the Apostle St. Paul saith concerning himself, 1 Thes. 2. 7. But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children. So in 2 Tim. 2. 24. The servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient; in meek∣ness instructing those that oppose themselves, if God perad∣venture will give a general repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.

And this must be first, Because that God in whose Name they come, is the God of Peace.

Secondly, Christ whose Embassadors they are, is the Prince of Peace. And,

Thirdly, The Spirit of God, by whose assistance they Preach, is set out by the Dove, that they say hath no Gall; it was wont to be said of Beza, that he was a man without any Gall.

And the Gospel that is their Message, that's a Gospel of Peace, and the end that they are to aime at in their Ministry it is to bring peace to mens Souls. And be∣sides, sometimes there is a necessity for Ministers to preach things that are hard unto people; things that they think to be very hard and grievous unto them; though their main scope be the Gospel of Peace; yet there are many things that belong to their Commission that seem to be very hard to people, As the opening of their lost and miserable condition by Nature, and the like, and to threaten sometimes in the Name of God: Now therefore, That they might convince people that they aim onely at good unto them in this; therefore they must be of as loving, and gentle, and quiet, and

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patient Spirits as possible may be, especially in their own cause, and that's the tryal. You sometimes prehaps hear a Minister preach hard things, and you think they come with much harshness to you, and your hearts are ready to rise against them: But examine whether in all their dealings else, and in things concerning themselves, whether they be not of loving and gentle Spirits, and full of Bowels of Compassion. And they must be of such dispositions, that they might win upon people and draw their hearts, as in Hos. 11. 4. I drew them with Cords of a Man, and with the Bands of love. And indeed this is one special reason why God sends Men to be the Ministers of the Gospel rather then Angels, that there might not be any terror strook into the hearts of people. If Angels should appear they would be ex∣ceeding dreadful and terrible; but God doth rather choose Man to be a Minister, that so he might sute himself to the dispositions of Men, and draw with the Cords of Man: And what's that? That's with the Bands of love. Mans Nature will rather be drawn then dri∣ven.

And my Brethren, As it ought to be in Ministers to be of such dispositions, so you that are the people should shew your selves to be of the like dispositions towards them again; of Sweet, and Loving, and Gen∣tle, and Fair Dispositions towards them; not of rugged and ridged tempers. We read of the building of the Temple, that there was not one whit of Iron us'd in it; which is observable. We do not read (I say) of Iron that was brought to the Building; they made their Pinns of Wood and other things, and Plates of Gold and Silver, but brought no Iron. God when he is a∣bout to build a Church, and call a People home to him∣self;

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he will call such as are of gentle Spirits, or make them such. God doth either refuse such ridged Spirits, or else he doth change their natures: that's the First Note. Say, Peace be to this House.

The Second is this, That Ministers ought to bless their People; for so these words are to be considered not onely as to manifest their dispositions, to give them a taste of their Spirits; but as a Benediction to them. Peace be to this place. We in the Name of the Lord Bless you with Peace. And this is more than to pray for them; Ministers are to pray for People; God for∣bd, saith Samuel, That I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you: But Ministers should do more, They are in the Name of the Lord to Bless them. Prayer it is a Speaking unto God; but Blessing, it is to Speak from God to Man, and that with some kind of Authority. Therefore we find in Scripture, that The Lesser is Blessed of the Greater. And That the Ministers were appointed to Bless the People, in the Old Law, Numb. 6. 23. Speak unto Aaron, and to his Sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the Children of Israel, saying unto them, The Lord bless thee, and keep thee; the Lord make His Face to shine upon thee, and be Gracious unto thee; the Lord lift up His Countenance upon thee, and give thee Peace. Here was Blessing in the Old Law. And they retain'd some part of it, in coming to any place, when they said, Peace be to this Place. We read of Men of great Esteem among the People of the Jews, that were wont to Bless those that they came un∣to: As you find that of Boaz, in Ruth 2. 4. He Prays for them, and they Bless him. Here was a sweet Salutation of a Man, that did set other Men on work: Boaz came into the Field, and said unto the Keepers, The Lord be

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with you: And they answered him, The Lord bless thee. Many Men when they go among their Work-men, they go with Raging and Cursing, if things be not done ac∣cording to their Mind. Now what an unseemly thing is this, among those who profess themselves Christians? But on the other side, this is Gracious-like, to come among their Servants and Work-men, and thus to Bless them, The Lord be with you: And they to pray for them, And the Lord bless thee. And so we read of pure Parents to Bless their Children. And it hath been the Use of the Church, to Bless the People. Therefore in all Congre∣gations where you meet with the Exercises of Religion, you use to have a Blessing before you go; and you are not to flight it: And except God call you out by extraor∣dinary Occasion, you are to abide and stay the Blessing. We read of some that were appointed by God to stand upon Mount Gerisim, in Deut. 27. and their work was only to bless, to Bless the People; and there were some who stood upon Mount Ebal, and they were to Curse. But now, Mark, If we search who they are that are ap∣pointed to Bless, you shall find them to be more Honou∣rable, than those that were appointed to Curse: For those that were appointed to Curse, there was Reuben, he had lost his Birth-right, and Gad, and Ashur, and Dan, and Napthali, they were Children of the Hand-Maid; they were not begotten in the way of Marriage, but only by the Hand-Maid, or by a Concubine: Most of these that were to stand upon Mount Ebal for Cursing, they were of the meaner sort of the Tribes. This notes thus much, That Blessing is the chief work that Mini∣sters should Rejoyce and Delight in. Therefore though they do sometimes pronounce the Threats of God against you, to awaken Secure, Drowsie Sinners, which is their

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work likewise; yet certainly, there is nothing more su∣table unto the Heart of a Godly Minister, than to be alwayes Blessing of his People, and to be bringing of the Message of Blessing unto them: And if this be so, then certainly, the Ministers of the Gospel, they are a great Blessing in the World. And you that are People, you should Encourage your Ministers to Bless you, and to Bless God for you; your Carriage towards them should be such, as they may with Chearfulness in the Name of God, Bless you; and they may in se∣cret, when they are between God and themselves, Bless God for you. O when as the Minister shall first look upon the People, and Bless them in the Name of God, and Bless God for them; and the People shall look again upon the Minister, and pray to God for a Blessing upon him, and Bless God that ever they knew him: I say, happy is the Minister that thus Blesses, and Blesses God for a People; and happy likewise the Peo∣ple, that do thus pray for a Blessing upon, and Bless God for a Minister. But more Blessed is that God, that shall joyn such Ministers and People together: And that's the Second Note. That Ministers are to bless People when they come among them.

But, Thirdly, Ministers are to bring the Message of Peace to a People. The great Errand that a Minister of the Gospel comes about, it is to bring Peace; it is to be a Messenger of Peace unto you: And indeed, the Ministry of the Gospel, doth many times bring outward Peace unto a People. When was there ever a Kingdom upon the Face of the Earth, that hath had longer con∣tinuance of outward Peace, than England hath had? And the Reason why our outward Peace is taken from the Kingdom for the present, it is because the Ministry of

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the Gospel hath been Rejected; and the Sword comes to Avenge the Covenant of the Lord, it comes to Avenge the Rejection of the Gospel of Peace; and if we reject the Gospel of peace, God saith, we shall not have out∣ward peace for our State: If we will not imbrace peace for our Souls, we shall not have outward peace for our Bodies. But though the Ministry of the Word bring you outward peace many times, yet the main thing it is to bring is Spiritual peace, Peace be to you. As if the Apostles should say, We are come unto you from the Great God of gods, to be the Embassadors of peace for your Souls, to Preach unto you the Doctrine of Peace between God and you: This is the great Errand that we come about; Peace be to you. And saith the Apostle, To us is committed the Word of Reconciliation: That's the great thing that is committed to Ministers to Preach to a People, the Word of Peace. The Work that they are sent about, it is to Treat between God and man, up∣on Terms of peace: It is, I say, to Treat with your Souls for peace, that you might come to have peace with God, that a Blessed peace might be made between God and you: This is the great Errand that they come about, and whatsoever they Preach to you else, if it be to shew you what your miserable Condition is; yet it is in order to this still, To bring peace to your Souls. And indeed, all Faithful Ministers are careful of this, to shew at the very first, what their Scope is; it is to bring them to Life and Salvation: (But that in the next point:) But this cer∣tainly ought to be their Scope, whatsoever is Preached, it must Aim at the great Treaty between God and their Souls for Reconciliation. Our Scope, when we come to Preach unto you, it is not so much to Civilise you to en∣veigh against Notorious crying Sins, Drunkards, and

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Whore-Masters, and Thieves, and Blasphemers; though according as we meet with these things in the Road, we are to speak against them. But suppose we should cry out against these sins, this were good, and we had cause to bless God for it: I, but we had not done our Work, the great Work that we are to do, it is to Treat with your Souls about peace with God; to shew you how the Enmity that is between your Souls and God naturally, is to be taken away; that so there may be a blessed Recon∣ciliation between God and you. This is the great Er∣rand of the Ministers of the Gospel, unto a People; and if this be the Errand of it, Then, what an Honourable Work is this to set Man about? And the truth is, it is in some regard a more Honourable Work, than ever An∣gels were sent about: God doth not send the Angels about this Work, to Treat with Mankind about Terms of Peace with God. They are made Ministring Spirits, for the good of Gods Elect, and are made by God to be Executioners against Wicked men: But we never Read that God hath committed the Word of Reconciliation to Angels, God hath not appointed them to be the Preach∣ers of Peace to People; therefore it is the most Honou∣rable Work that ever Creature was set about, to come to a place, and say, Peace be to this place, in the Name of God.

And being it is such a Work as this, O how Detestable and Vile, and Cursed, is Laziness or Idleness, in any one that should profess himself a Minister of the Gospel! What? Come about such a Work as this, to be an Em∣bassador of Reconciliation from the Great God of Hea∣ven and Earth? O, he should have his Heart and Thoughts taken up about this! Night and Day he should be Studying how he should Manage this great Work, that God sends him about to poor People.

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And, O how acceptable should the Ministry of the Gospel be unto you: You need not fear any hurt it will do: It is but to Treat with your Souls about peace with God, there's all that is intended in this Ministry. Do not fear it, though things sometimes are spoken that you apprehend to be Terrible to you; yet all tend to this end, To bring peace unto you. Therefore as the Prophet, in Isa. 52. 7. saith, How beautiful upon the Mountains are the Feet of him that bringeth good Tidings, that publisheth peace. O his very Feet should be beautiful in your Eyes, This Scripture the Apostle doth quote, in Rom. 10. 15. How shall they Preach except they be sent? As it is writ∣ten: How beautiful are the Feet of them that Preach the Gospel of Peace: Here it is, That bring good Tidings. So indeed, the great Work of the Gospel, it is nothing else but a good Message, good Tidings; and so our Eng∣lish word is to the same effect, good News, good Ti∣dings. And certainly, did People but understand what the Scope of Christ were, to carry things about so in the wayes of His Providence, to bring Ministers of the Gos∣pel to Preach peace to their Souls: It could not be, but they should open their very hearts unto them. We read of Noah, when he sent forth his Dove, after the Ark had been a long time upon the Waters, the Dove brings an Olive Branch to the Ark; and Noah puts forth his hand and takes in the Dove. The Ministers of the Gospel are as this Dove, and they come with an Olive Leaf in their Mouths; and they do not get it from the Wilderness, but they take it from Paradice; they bring it from the Scrip∣tures, from those Blessed things of the Gospel, that are re∣vealed in the Word, and bring it to your Souls. Now therefore you should open your hearts, and take in the blessed Message of Peace and Reconciliation.

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And then further, If so be that this be the great Work of the Ministers of the Gospel, what a vile World is this that can hardly bear with the Ministers, nor Ministry of the Gospel, but accounts them to be great Disturbers of the places where they Live? So they did to the Pro∣phets and Apostles: Elisha, Art not thou the troubler of Israel? And so of Paul, He was said to be a Pestilent fel∣low. The Apostles were said to turn the World up side∣down. And so Luther, he was said to be the very Trum∣pet of Rebellion; so he was called by Ungodly men. It is not a New thing for the World to have such an Esteem of Ministers of the Gospel: And what do they do? It is only Preaching peace to the Souls of Men.

But, Lastly, If this be so, That the Errand is to bring Peace to your Souls: Then hence you Learn what you are to come for, when you come to hear Sermons; you hear that at such a time there is such a Sermon, or a new Man there is come among you, and you come to hear what he can say; or you hear that in such or such a place, there is a very witty Man, and of Excellent parts; and you come to hear what he can say: But alass, you de∣ceive your own Souls all this while: You should come with a Disposition of Spirit, I am now going to hear the Doctrine of Peace between God and my Soul, to at∣tend upon the Ministry of Reconciliation this day. And though the very word be not spoken of Peace, yet the Word, that doth tend to the making peace between God and my Soul. And indeed, when you feel the Ministry of the Gospel working of your Hearts into peace with God, then hath it had the true genuine proper Effect upon your Hearts, that God hath appointed it for. But if you only shall sit under the Ministry of the Word, and it may be only Gain some further knowledge in

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the things of Religion, that you never knew before, or be inabled to Discourse of something in Divinity, more than you could before: What's this to the Fruit of the Ministry of the Gospel? No: But can you say, Blessed be God, the Lord hath made known to my Soul, what my Estate was by Nature: The Lord hath opened to me, the Doctrine of Reconciliation: The Lord hath shewn to my Soul, how I am to make peace with God, and that in another man∣ner of way than ever I thought of: I come now to see it to be another manner of Mistery of Godliness, than ever I imagined before. Can you say so now? Hath the Gos∣pel had this end of it upon your Hearts? O then, it hath had the Effect that the Lord doth send it for. And thus much for the Third Note of Observation, That the Work of Ministers is to bring Peace, the Message of Peace to People.

Observ. 4. The Fourth Point is this, That the Ministers of the Gospel are to offer Peace unto every one: For so you have it, Into whatsoever House ye enter, say Peace be to it: Offer terms of Peace to it. If you come to a place where there are the most Notorious sinners of all, yet offer peace to them: Though they be the most Pro∣phane, and Ungodly people that should Live, yet offer peace to them: Though they be Old sinners that have Liv'd a long time in most vile sins, yet offer peace to them: Into whatsoever House you come, you have a Com∣mand to offer peace in the Name of God, even to them. For, my Brethren, the Merit of Christ, it is of such in∣finite value, that we may (if we knew what the meaning of that is) comfortably offer peace to the most Notori∣ous vile sinners, that do Live upon the Face of the Earth. We read of Christ, that He would have His Dis∣ciples to go and Preach in the High-wayes, Mat. 22.

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Saith Christ unto His Servants, Go your wayes into the High-way, and as many as you shall find, bid to the Mar∣riage. Into the High-wayes; to Note those that were the most Unlikely, the most Vile and Wicked, Go unto them, and bid them to the Marriage. And in the last of Mat. 15. Go (saith Christ) into all the World, and Preach the Gospel to every Creature. They might say, Lord, perhaps we shall meet with some that are most Notorious Villains, and Blasphemers, and Prophane and Ungodly Creatures: Must we Preach the Gospel to them? I, Go and Preach the Gospel to every Creature. Into any place whatsoever you come, you shall offer Peace unto them.

I, but you will say, This may harden many in their prophaneness,

If God would have His Ministers offer Peace to the most prophane People that are:

Then may some prophane one say, I hope we shall do well enough then.

To that, I answer, The Lord will venture this. The Lord is so desirous of Magnifying His Grace, to offer it to those that belong to His Election, as that He will ven∣ter the Hardning of other men: If they will be Hardned, saith God, let them be Hardened. And so, Though a Minister ought to be as Careful as he can to prevent all Stumbling Blocks, yet, certainly, he is to Venter the Hardning of many Hundreds, rather than not to Preach the Gospel of God to any one Soul: He should more regard the Offering of the Gospel of Peace, in hope that there are some few that belong to Gods Election, than to fear the Hardning of many Hundreds. And if you should be Hardned by the offer of the Gospel of Peace, there could be no greater Brand of your Rejection, and that will make it appear, that you are no such Son of Peace.

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I, but then may some say, that are more Civil and Fair, What if God send the Gospel to the most prophane, surely there is no question but God will have mercy upon us; for He doth appoint His Ministers to offer the Gospel of peace to the worst?

I, but know what Christ saith, That the Publicans and Harlots did enter into the Kingdom of God, rather than the Scribes and Pharisees. God offers to the worst, yea, many times makes it more effectual to the worst, than He doth to some that are more Fair and Civil in their Conversations, because, indeed, they do not see the need that they have of Peace. I suppose you would think it to be one of the most Hard and Harsh things in the World, if you should be told, that all of you naturally were Enemies to God; and yet there is nothing more plain in the Scripture than this. Now because it is so hard to convince Civil men of this, therefore they are not so soon wrought upon as prophane ones are.

Wherefore then, my Brethren, if this be so, it is an Encouragement: First to Ministers, when they come to any place, never to be troubled whatsoever people they be, if he come to Preach to them, and offer the Gospel of Peace to them; for who knows, but those that are the Worst and Vilest ones, may come in and embrace the Gospel of Peace; may be Vessels of Mercy, and may hereafter stand and admire at the Riches of Gods Goodness; and may live Eternally to Bless His Name, for this blessed Peace that is made between their Souls and Himself.

And, Secondly, All you that do hear this Point, stand for the present and admire at Gods Goodness, that ever this should be so, that ever you should hear such a Truth as this is; that Christ would have His Ministers offer

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Terms of Peace to the Worst in the World. I say, Ad∣mire at this Goodness of Christ, and especially you that are prophane ones, stand and wonder at the Goodness of God; whereas He might have Curst thee, and sent thee long since down to thine own place; yet He doth give His Ministers charge to offer peace to thy Soul. Think thus, The Lord in this hath done more to me, than He hath done to all those Thousand Millions of An∣gels that sinn'd against Him. Those that were once glorious Angels, and did sin against God, the Lord took Advan∣tage against them for their first sin, and upon that cast them down into Chains of eternal Darkness; and did resolve that He would never so much as enter into a Plea about any Condition of Peace with them to all Eterni∣ty. This was the Way of God towards the Angels that did sin against Him, that are now Devils. O you that think the Lord to be a God of Mercy altogether, do: but consider of this, and consider to Tremble before Him, that God should take Advantage against Millions of Angels; for so they were. For we read in Scripture, that Legi∣ons of Devils were in one man, and they were once Angels, and they did but commit one sin against God, and the Lord would not Plea with them about Terms of Peace. But mark now, The same God that was so se∣vere against Angels, that were His own Creatures, as well as thou, and were more glorious Creatures, and committed but one sin, yet would never enter into any Terms of peace with them; this God is not only wil∣ling to Treat with thy Soul, to be at peace with thee; but He sends forth His Messengers unto thee to Treat in His Name, and doth give them command, that when they come to thee they should offer Terms of peace to thy Soul. Admire at this thou that hast not been guilty

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of one sin but of Thousands; thou that hast Liv'd like a Monster in the place where thou hast Liv'd, and hast liv'd in Rebellion against the Lord; yet He doth give Command to His Ministers to offer peace to thee. I say, stand and admire at this when thou goest Home, lay it to thy Heart: O that the Great God should so Conde∣scend to me, rather than to Angels! He doth so this day, and in His Name, I say, according to the Text: Peace be to every Soul that shall yet come in and return, yet come and repent; whatsoever they have been: whether thou mayst live to have any further offer of peace or no, the Lord knows. It is an Offer that thou hast this day, Look to thy self, come in, for there are many things in the Text, that might put you on: For if there be not a Son of Peace, this Peace will turn back again.

Observ. 5. But the last Point of all is this, That Mi∣nisters of the Gospel are, when they come to a place, to say, First, Peace be to this place. It should be the first Message that they should declare; they should begin with this: And there is a great deal of Emphasis in this word, First say. First, So we read of John Bap∣tist, his first Sermon was this, Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. And likewise, the First Sermon of Christ, in Mat. 4. 16, 17. And again, the Apostles, you shall read of them, Repent, for the Kingdom of Hea∣ven is at hand. The First Sermon of John Baptist, of Christ, and of the Apostles, was this, Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. And the First Sermon that the Seventy Disciples was to Preach, was Peace. And in this the Lord deals with sinners, according to the Order He gave, in Deut. 20. 10. The Lord required that the First thing the Children of Israel should do, when they came against a City, it was to proclaim peace.

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And we read of Alexander, the First thing that he did, was to set up a Lamp, and his White Colours, and to Proclaim, That whosoever did come in before that Lamp was out, should have his Life and Peace. So when the Lord sends Ministers of the Gospel to any place, he sets up a Lamp in that place, and the First thing that He would have done, it is to Proclaim to all People to come in, that so they might have Peace: And it is to be done in the First place.

First, Because the Bowels of Gods Compassions are very strong, and Gods Mercy lies at His Heart upper∣most, and therefore that is most ready, and He is most ready to vent it: That's the most proper Work of God, that He doth delight to Vent His Mercy, Jer. 9. 24.

Secondly, Because that when the Offer of Peace is, that hath a great deal of power to work upon the hearts of People: Now the Lord therefore would have that done at First, that is like most to prevail. We know that People at First when a Minister comes amongst them, they are set upon Novelties; now it is good to take advantage of that their Humour, and when they are hearkning after Novelty, that they should come to have some principal Doctrine of Salvation to be secretly Instill'd into them, that they should Drink in that before they are aware. So the Lord uses to work upon Mens Self-love: Every Creature loves it self, and therefore the Lord sees that it is a good advantage to work upon Mens self-love, to offer terms of Peace. And the truth is, that is it that gains the Heart of a Sinner: And God will out∣bid the World, and Devil, and Flesh: What do they offer any thing that may delight you, saith God, I will out-bid them all? Christ out-bids the World, and Devil, in offering unto sinners a greater Good than World, or

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Devil can possibly bring unto them. And indeed, this offer of Peace doth out-bid the World; that is, doth proffer a greater Good to a sinner, than World or Devil can possibly proffer to them. Nay then, saith the Soul, if I see that I may have a greater good by Repenting and Believing, than by going on in my sin, I will go that way; I will rather attend upon the Word: for I hear of great things that are there, about Reconciliation be∣tween God and man. Now this is the way to take the Hearts of men, and it is the way to break them of their stoutness and stubbornness: For certainly, every man naturally, hath a very stout and stubborn Heart against God. Therefore if First he be opposed, he will be rea∣dy to rise against God, and against His Truths, and against His Servants. Therefore it is good to come First with those things that their Hearts may close with all, that so they may be in a more preparation, that they may hearken to what the Lord shall reveal after, as ne∣cessary unto them.

But, you will say, If it be thus, Why is it then that Ministers do Preach so much of our miserable Conditi∣on in which we are?

The answer is, It's true, at First there should be a ten∣der of peace; and I make no question, but you have had it so here: But now it's true, before the full Doctrine of Reconciliation with God is to be opened unto you, there is something to be opened unto you, about your misera∣ble state by Nature; for it is impossible to open the Doctrine of Peace and Reconciliation, without the open∣ing of that: And that may well be Justified. That though the First thing should be to say, Peace; yet be∣fore this can be opened at large unto People, they must come to know what their Natural state is. There is

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some that would at First and at Last say, Peace; and would have nothing else Preached, and crys out against Preach∣ing of any thing of the Law of God; which is meerly through their Ignorance, in not rightly understanding the Nature of the thing. For though at First, we are to open this Peace, yet when we come to open it, this hath that in the very Bowels of it, that will shew the most woful Condition of man by Nature, that possibly can be. As for Instance, Peace between God and us: Why, what are we Enemies? Is there an Enmity be∣tween God and us? Yes, that comes here: We cannot open the meaning of this Peace, but if we come once to open it, we must of necessity fall upon the Doctrine of Mans state by Nature; and shew what a Breach sin hath made between God and the Soul: And what infi∣nite need there is of such a Redeemer, that we could no other way be redeemed, but that we must have such a Saviour, that must be both God and Man. Now when we come to open the Nature of this, it must needs shew you what your miserable Condition is by Nature.

But a word or two for the Application of this:

God doth appoint His Ministers at First to come to you, and to make the proffer of Peace unto your Souls; then it should teach you presently to be willing to come and close with that Message. Gods Heart is sofull of Mercy towards you, as at the very First He will have this of∣fered to you; then your hearts should likewise come in as well to God, and at the very First come in and close with that blessed Offer of Grace and Mercy. O, it is a great Encouragement to a Minister, when People come in at the very First offer. We have a notable Scripture

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for this, in Psal. 18. 44. Mark, As soon as they hear of Me, they shall obey Me. That's indeed a blessed thing, that when a People comes to hear of Christ, and of the Doctrine of Reconciliation, that as soon as they hear of it, they shall come in presently and Obey; that a Mi∣nister shall find his First Labours to be Fruitful and Effe∣ctual. I could tell you of one, as in 2 Cor. 12. the be∣ginning: And so I could say, That I knew one Twenty Years ago, or more, that at the very First day of Preach∣ing of the Doctrine of the Gospel of that Truth unto a People, at the First day God pleased to bring in a Soul, and continue him to this very day; and make him a Godly, Gracious, and Holy man, that was a desperate and prophane wicked Wretch before. O that it might please God to Incourage the Hearts of His Ministers so, that at their First coming to People, they might find some Fruit of their Labours: For one that is Faithful, and comes among a People, he looks after his Ministry, and considers what he doth, and what Effect that hath, and so doth give account to God of what Effect that hath upon the Hearts of People. And, O what an Incou∣ragement is this, and how Honourable to a People, if a Minister of God shall give up this account, and say, Lord, as soon as ever thou didst send me among such a People, they did begin to hearken after the Doctrine of Peace, and began to Consider what it was that was spo∣ken: And they were exceedingly Hopeful by their At∣tention, and by other wayes they have given exceeding good hope, that they have received the Doctrine of Peace, that Thou didst send me about. And those, cer∣tainly, are most to be Honoured, that do First come in▪ though it's true, if men come in at the last Hour, there is a possibility to get to Heaven: but those that

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come in at the First, they are the most acceptable to God, Mich. 7. beginning, My soul desired the first ripe fruit. So the Soul of God doth this day long after the First Fruits of every Minister, that comes among you: O, He looks into this Congregation, to see where shall be the First Fruits of the Ministry of such a one, and of such a one that comes among you, in Rom. 16. 5. It is spoken to the Honour of Epenetus, That he was the First fruits of Achaia unto Christ. O Epenetus, he is one that God did Honour, for He was the First fruits of Achaia unto Christ. And it is the Honour of England, that it was the First Kingdom that profest Christian Religion by the Authority of the Publick Magistrate; and God hath some special regard to England, to this very day, I make no Question, for that: And so in any place when God comes to them, and offers the Conditions of Peace; I say, they that come First in upon this First offer, will be most acceptable unto God. Therefore do not defer, and think I may come in at last; and before I die, time enough: But if God be so timely with thy Soul, that He would have His Ministers so begin with thee, do thou Answer to God, and begin with this God betimes, and especially you that are young ones, do not you re∣ject it. O when God shall come to thy Soul, and say, Peace be to thee; I say, take heed of rejecting the First offer. For you that are young, what though you may be guilty of much Vanity and Folly other wayes, yet it may be you have not been guilty to this very day, of rejecting the offer of the Gospel: O take heed of Contracting that guilt upon you! Know if you do, it will make you a great deal harder, and that guilt will be a great deal worse, than of all your other sins besides; therefore come in betimes, as we read in Mark 10. 17.

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There comes a young man running to Christ, and saith, Good Master, what shall I do to Inherit Eternal Life? He was a young Rich man, a Gentleman, one that had great Possessions; and the Text saith, he came running to Christ. O that God would perswade young ones, and those of Quality, seeing the Lord is pleased to be∣gin with their Souls, that they would hasten, and come running to Christ, to know what are the Terms of Peace and Reconciliation; as it is said concerning John Baptist, in Mat. 11. 12. The Text saith, And from the dayes of John the Baptist until now, the Kingdom of Heaven, suffered violence, and the Violent take it by force. The meaning is this, Because that this great Doctrine of, Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand, was not Preached before John Baptist: He was the First that came to Preach this in the plainness of it in a Gos∣pel way. Now saith the Text, And from the dayes of John the Baptist until now, doth the Kingdom of Hea∣ven suffer violence. O the Hearts of People were mighti∣ly stirred, ever since the dayes of John Baptist; and why? Because that he Preached, that The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. Now that consists of Peace and Joy, and the Doctrine of Reconciliation between sinners, and the Blessed God; that indeed is the special part of the Kingdom of Heaven. Now he Preaching this King∣dom of Heaven, saith the Text, from that day the King∣dom of Heaven suffered Violence; and every one comes to know, Lord what shall I do, that I may enter into this Kingdom. O what a Blessed thing is it for Congre∣gations, when the Lord shall send those amongst them, to bring Peace between God and their Souls: That it may said, from such a Day, from such a Time, that the Lord did send such among them that opened this Do∣ctrine

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of Peace, That the Kingdom of Heaven hath suf∣fered Violence. There hath many poor Souls come in and said, O Men and Brethren, What shall I do to be saved. And Blessed are they upon whom the Tender of the Gospel shall have this Effect. Now if there be any Sons of Peace here that shall entertain this, here's the Blessing that is to be upon them: That the Peace of the Gospel shall rest upon them, upon that Parish, upon that House, upon that Soul.

Notes

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