Gospel-conversation: wherein is shewed, I. How the conversation of believers must be above what could be by the light of nature. II. Beyond those that lived under the law. III. And suitable to what truths the Gospel holds forth. By Jeremiah Burroughs, preacher of the Gospel to Stepney and Criplegate, London. Being the third book published by Thomas Goodwyn, William Greenhil, Sydrach Simpson, Philip Nye, William Bridge, John Yates, William Adderly.
Burroughs, Jeremiah, 1599-1646., Goodwin, Thomas, 1600-1680.
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To the Reader.

THe order and method which we propounded to our selves, and still pursue in publishing this blessed mans Labors committed to us, is the same with his own in Preaching them; and in his Preaching stile also we present them, that so both for matter and miner they might be every way his own. We need not set him up any other Pillar or Monument then what himself erected by his own worth; and yet we may as truly say of him, as Na∣zianzen of Athanasius,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, He was high in worth, but humble in heart: He dyed in the strength of his Parts and Graces, and did not wear with rust, but use: (Amplissimum vitae spatium us{que} ad sapientiam vivere) He did the work of him that sent him, whilest it was day, because he feared (as he would often say) a night was coming upon the Kingdom, wherein he could not work; and so he lived long in a little time.

It grieved his Soul to see how among Professors of Religion, Holiness of Life, and circumspect walking, is not attended to in this dissolute and dissolved Age we live in: What Truths therefore served most to revive and renew that Spirit and vigor of Practical Holiness, which was breathing in them before these Times; these he most insisted on, and pressed upon the Consciences of Believers: And he that is conversant in his Writings, will readily discern, that he judged the power of Godliness not to consist in high-towring-speculation (though himself was of excellent-raised-parts) but in an holy Conversation, which is peculiarly the subject of this Treatise; therein following the direction of Paul to Titus, exhorting Believers in God, to maintain good Works,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, to go before others in good works, or to set before others good works, as the words imply, Tit. 3. 8.

Which yet whilest a Christian pursues with all zealous fervency and intention, he must withal be acquainted with the Root from whence all his Holiness must spring. Good Works are dangerous, if they be made the Foundation in the great point of Justification by Faith; but if they be used in the superstruction, then they are very useful. We cannot have chil∣dren from Christ, except we be first married to Christ: No works of Sanctification, before Vnion with Christ. Many cry out for Obedience and good Works, yet are profane, because they go not to Christ for these; You will not come to me, that you might have life, saith our Savior: Except we do all for and from Christ, our Lusts will not be mortified, our Duties not accepted, our Consciences not purified; we shall not be strengthned against crosses, neither shall we go on chearfully, nor persevere: The foolish proud heart of man is loth to be so much beholding to Iesus Christ, as to receive Salvation from him altogether, but something it will do, and some∣thing Christ must do; yet it leans much, if not most upon it self, onely it will take in Christ to make more sure work. There is a sturdy stoutness and unyieldingness of Spirit in men, against the blessed Truths of the Page  [unnumbered] Gospel made known unto them; they must have Peace, Comfort, As∣surance, their own way, or else reject all; they would finde a principle of life and power within themselves, and not go to Christ for it; they would bring something to Christ, and not fetch all from Christ; not know∣ing that the way which all true Believers have gone (after much wearying of themselves to finde something in themselves) hath been at the last to rowl themselves wholly upon the Free-grace of God through Iesus Christ, seeing nothing in themselves, yet giving glory to God by believing; and if they could bring their hearts so disposed and qualified, yet they see the danger of resting in what they are, have and do. And if want of such and such conditions and qualifications had ground enough to keep from Christ, it might have hindred any that ever did cast themselves upon the Free-grace of God, because they would still have been at a loss, finding a defect in them.

These things we judge not unseasonable to premise, in the reading of this and all other Treatises of this nature, that Christians may (when they abound in much-doing and well-doing) be still as much afraid of rest∣ing in doing well, as of committing ill, and be content to have all flowers withered that refresh them without Christ; And when after Humiliation and casting down for sin, they begin to stand upright, as they think, upon the legs of their Prayers, Performances, Inherent Graces and Qualifica∣tions, and Righteousness and Holiness expressed in their Lives and Con∣versations, they may yet notwithstanding all this, be brought, not to glory in themselves, but in Iesus Christ, and willingly come down from the Throne of their own Conceits, Sufficiences, Abilities, and be at the Foot∣stool and Threshold of Iesus Christ; that seeing they know nothing, are nothing, have nothing, do nothing, they may be nothing in their own eyes, that Christ might be all, do all their work in them and for them, that so they may wholly live upon Christ, and to Christ, still drawing vertue from him, seeing a need of Christ, and of nothing else, and finding a ful∣ness and help in him, and in nothing else.

This word of direction being given the Reader in his perusing this Treatise about Gospel-Conversation, the publishing of which in these perillous Times, we conceive exceeding suitable and useful, wherein so many are led away after those Doctrines that are not after godliness, as the Apostle speaks. This holy man would often much bewail that he did not see that holy frame and temper of Spirit in the Professors of our days, which was in those God was pleased to take out of this world to himself in the days imme∣diately foregoing these Troubles: He would often say, We seem to have more light now, but we have lost our heat and first love. We pray the Lord awaken us, that we may do our first works before he come against us quickly, and remove the Candlestick out of its place. Amen.

  • Thomas Goodwyn,
  • William Greenhil,
  • Sydrach Simpson,
  • Philip Nye,
  • William Bridge,
  • John Yates.
  • William Adderly.