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.
Page  270

SERMON III.


JOHN, 18. 36.
Jesus answered and said, My Kingdom is not of this world.

WHAT this Kingdom of Christ was, and how different from the kingdoms of this world we have already opened unto you. The fourth Use which we are to proceed in, is, If the kingdom of Christ be not of this world, then of all dispositions, a worldly spirit is most unsutable to those who profess themselves to be of the Kingdom of Christ. Certainly, then such as are Beleevers, that are come under the Kingdom of Christ, they must not be of earthly hearts: We find the Apostle in the Epistle of the Ephesians, doth rank Covetousness, and Uncleanness together, and saith of them both, in the 5. Chapter, 3. Verse, Let it not be once named among you, as becometh Saints: So that a covetous heart after the things of the world, it is such a disposition, as it should scarce be named among Saints no more than whoredom, they should abstain from it, as from whordom, as it becometh Saints. It is the most uncomly thing for a Saint of God, one of the Kingdom of Christ to have a co∣vetous heart for the things of the world, that possibly can be. As it becomes them; it doth not become you; And Luther that was a great man for the promoting of the King∣dom of Christ, he is bold to profess it; That of all sins, he was scarce ever tempted to that sin, he found nothing ten∣ding almost that way; though it's true, there's no sin, but we have the seeds of it in our hearts; but yet he found his Page  271 spirit most above that worldly sin, because he was so much taken up with Jesus Christ. And indeed, the more any soul is taken up with the excellency of Christ, and with the glorious things of His Kingdom, the more vile will the things of the world be to them. We look not at the things that are seen (saith the Apostle) they are not things to be looked at, But at the things that are not seen. And in the 6. of the Gal. 14. ver. The Apostle Paul, that was the great man for the promoting of Christ in the world, and the setting up of His Throne; he professes, That he was crucified to the world, and the world was crucified to him: That is, he look't upon the world, but as a crucified thing. What esteem would you have of a man that is hanging upon a gallows? All the world was to him no otherwise, was a thing crucified to him, and he was crucified to the world, the world cares not for me, and I care not for the world, I am quit with it that way, and do as much slight, and contemn the world, and trample it un∣der foot, as the world slights and contemns me, and tram∣ples me under foot. This should be the disposition of a Christian that is under the kingdom of Christ: for now it is to converse with things of another nature: And there∣fore you find that Christ, He saith of those that are given to Him by the Father, They are given unto Him out of the world: John, 17. 6. I have manifested thy Name to the men whom thou hast given me out of the world. No men have Christ manifested unto them, but those whom the Father doth give Him out of the world: Saith the Father, Here's so ma∣ny of the world, And there are a select company that I wil take out of this rude heap and mass of man-kind; and I'le give them to thee: Take them, and manifest thy self unto them. If this be so, that those that come under Christ's Kingdom, are given unto Him out of the world, then though they live in the world, they should not live as of the world.

Secondly, They are chosen out of the world, John, 15. 19. And they are delivered from the world by Christ. Gal. 1. 4. And they are opposed to the children of the world. Luke, 16. 8, spea∣king Page  272 of divers sorts of people; and makes the distinction between one and another: The Lord commended the un∣just steward because he had done wisely: For the children of this world are, in their generation, wiser than the children of light: These two are opposed one to another, the children of this world and the children of light are quite contrary one to another; for indeed one is in the kingdom of darkness, and the other in the Kingdom of light, in the Kingdom of the dear Son of God; you must be children of light, others are children of the world; it becomes a child of the world to follow after the things of the world; but not the chil∣dren of light: You are chosen out of the world, that you may be the light of the world. So the Scripture speaks of the Saints, That they should be the light of the world: Philippians, 2. 15. Now if they have as worldly hearts as others, how can they be the lights of the world? Oh! many that are Professors of Religion, they are indeed but dark lan∣thorns, they have a candle in them, have some kind of knowledg, but by their worldly Conversations they are made but as dark lanthorns, that the light of knowledg and profession that they have is so darkned by it, as none can see the beauty and excellency of Jesus Christ shining through them.

Thirdly, Surely it is a very unbeseeming disposition in one that is under the Kingdom of Christ to be worldly: for he is appointed to be one that shall judge the world a∣nother day, In 1 Cor. 6. 2. The Saints shall judge the world. Now there should be a great deal of difference between Judges, and those that are judged by them: if they be of the same disposition that the world is, why should any be chosen out of the world to judge them? Now all the Saints if they do beleeve themselves to be brought into the Kingdom of Christ, they should look upon themselves as those that are appointed by God hereafter to judge the whol world, and therefore they should not live so as the men of the world do, but as Judges, very precisely and strictly according to rule.

Page  273 4ly It is required of them that they should hate their own lives in this world, John, 12. 15. Now if the Saints should be such as should see so much excellency in the Kingdom of Christ as to hate their very lives in this world, then sure∣ly to look upon all things in this world as contemptible as hateful in comparison: it is not meant Hate their lives, that is, Absolutely, but in Comparison: when any comfort or preservation of their lives in this world, comes in the least competition with the furtherance of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ: They should look upon the comforts of their lives as a hateful thing, and look upon the very preservation of their lives as a hateful thing; shall I make my life com∣fortable with any hindrance unto the Kingdom of Christ? Oh 'tis that that my soul should abhor, and so should I preserve my life with doing any thing that may be any pre∣judice to the Kingdom of Christ, I should look upon the very suggestion to such a thing as that that my very soul doth abhor, And we find in Scripture that it's made an ar∣gument of apostasie, of one that's falling off from the pro∣fession of Christ to imbrace the world, as it is said of Demas in the 2 of Tim. 4. 10. Demas (saith Paul) hath forsaken me, but what is it that hath made Demas to forsake me? he hath imbraced this present world. So look upon many of your Professors of Religion, such vs have been very forward in former times, and Oh nothing but Christ in their mouthes, they afterward begin to decline, and wax worser and worser, but observe them, they imbrace this present world, it is because of some honors and esteem, some com∣forts, riches, & estates that they would have, or live at ease in this present world, they cannot endure the hatred of the world. So it was with Demas, when he began to hear Paul, he perceived that it was a great excellency to be one of Pauls followers, Paul, he wrought miracles, and Demas (I say) thought it an excellent thing to follow Paul; but af∣ter he had followed Paul a while, he found that he was persecuted, and he saw there was no preferment came in by Pauls preaching, nothing but blows and imprison∣ments; Page  274 and scorns, and contempt, then Demas begins to bethink himself better, and thinks he was mistaken; I had thought that this Paul would have been a great man in the world one day, and that by my following of him I should get great matters to my self, but when he saw that all men were set against Paul, and nothing but persecution was like to betide him, and his Disciples; Demas begins to bethink himself, And is it not better for me to keep my cre∣dit, and esteem in this world; so Demas leaves him to shift for himself: and therefore saith the Apostle, Demas hath forsaken me, and imbraced this present world. This may be written upon every Apostates grave, Here lies an Apostate that hath forsaken Jesus Christ, and hath imbraced this present world. But observe it, and look upon those that were forward in Religion, and now are not; and see whether they have not more worldly hearts than before, and give themselves up to honors, and pleasures, and profits; Therefore it's ex∣ceeding unbeseeming the Saints to have worldly hearts, they will certainly Apostatize, if their hearts take deep root in the earth. If you find your spirits so glewed to the things of the world, that you know not how to part with them, that you know not how to live in a place, and not to have your neighbors love and respect, and to honor you, and to have the countenance of the times in which you live; Do you find your hearts thus cleaving to the things of the world, like the Serpent, that dust you eat, and upon your belly you go? Know that thou hast a worldly heart, & thou art like to be an Apostate from the Truth of God ere long. In the 2. of Titus, 12. the Apostle saith, That the grace of God that hath appeared to all men, teaches them to deny all worldly lusts. Oh my brethren! let's labor to walk worthy of our Calling into the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. 1 Thess. 2. 12. There the Apostle with a great deal of earnestness speaks to the Thessalonians, exhorting them, that they would, Walk worthy of God, who hath called them into his Kingdom, and Glo∣ry. Are you converted to Christ? you are called into this Kingdom; walk worthy of Him: And mark his earnest∣ness Page  275 in the verse before, As you know, how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, (as a father doth his chil∣dren.) We comforted you, in shewing you the excellency of the Kingdom of God, and the Priviledges of this King∣dom; we exhorted you, and we charged every one of you, as a father doth his children; And what did he exhort, and charge them to? it was this, That they would walk worthy of God, who had called them into his Kingdom, and his glory. Oh! 'tis a great mercy that God hath re∣vealed any thing of the Kingdom of his Son unto you, walk worthy of it, as it becomes those that are called to be the Subjects of such a glorious Kingdom as this is; and a∣bove all things, have a care, and let me warn you of this worldliness in the hearts of the Saints: Namely, of a craf∣ty, cunning subtilness in the things of this life; there is nothing more unbeseeming a Christian, than a crafty cun∣ning subtilness for the world: many men bless themselves in this, and they take abundance of content to think, that by their craft and cunning sophistry, they can fetch about things, circumvent others, & so provide for themselves in this world: (I say) there is nothing more unbeseeming a Christian, than to be crafty and cunning in circumventing others, and providing for themselves in the matters of this world. In 1. Cor. 2. 12. saith the Apostle, We have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God, it is that we have received. There is many men (you may plainly see that) they have the spirit of the world, that's thus: I have many times wondered at it; some men, come and speak to them about any matters of the Kingdom of Christ, they speak so foolishly and childishly, either they must hold their peace, and say nothing, or else if they do speak they discover so much ignorance, and childishness that a man would wonder where the understandings of such men are that have liv'd so long a time in the world as they have done, and heard so much of Religion, and when one hears them speak so, one would wonder how these men should have understanding to live in the world: but now, Page  276 these in the businesses of the world they are as worldly po∣litick, no man can out go them there, they can foresee all kind of dangers in any miscarriage, and can judge of twen∣ty things together in their thoughts, and compare one thing with another, see further into the world than other men; so that a man would wonder sometimes (I say) when one hears them speaking of Religion, whether these men have any wit or understanding? but when one follows them in the things of the world, you shall see them as witty, as understanding, as judicious, and as cunning as any men (almost) can be: they have received the spirit of the world, and they are led by the spirit of the world, the god of this world hath taken possession of them, and it's that that makes them so: but they have not received the Spirit of Jesus Christ, they may say quite contrary to the Apostle; saith the Apostle, we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit of Jesus Christ: they may say, we have not received the Spirit of Christ, but of the world: it's true, Christ would have us so long as we live in the world, to be as wise as serpents, yet innocent as doves; the wisdom that is for the promotion of the Kingdom of Christ it is a wisdom that hath an upright plainess in it, and is according to the sim∣plicity of the Gospel; indeed when they have to deal with wicked men, they may exercise a natural wisdom, to a∣void the dangers of persecution, or to avoid the circumven∣ting of wicked men; but when they have to deal with spi∣ritual things, there the wisdom is that that holds forth a simplicity of the Gospel, that is carried on with plainess and simpleness of heart. The Hebrews have the same word that signifies a naked man, and a cunning subtil man. You shall find where it's said of Adam and Eve, they were naked, nakedness of spirit and subtilty may stand toge∣ther, they signifie the same thing, to shew what kind of subtilty should be in those that are the People of God, it should be that that may stand with a naked spirit, so as if God would discover the secrets of all their hearts to all the children of men, that they should not be ashamed to Page  277 have all their secrets to be opened to them: But now, the cunningness, that is, the cunningness of the serpent, is such a cunningness, as men (if they were but laid open) would quickly be ashamed of. And so much of the fourth use, that it is unbeseeming those that are of the kingdom of Christ, to have the spirit of the world, because Christs kingdom is not of this world.

5. Ʋse. Hence we see the reason of the meanness of the outward condition of the people of God in this world, why is it that Christ hath so ordered things that the people of God should be so outwardly poor in this world? My Kingdom is not of this world (saith Christ) Therefore, why should any that come under my kingdom look for great things in this world? they must look to have their comfort and glory in things that concern my Kingdom, and not in the things of this world: in Psal. 73. 12. Behold! those that are ungodly prosper in this world, (saith the Scripture.) As for men that are godly and come under the Kingdom of Christ, they must look for a prosperity that is beyond this world; God gives the earth to the children of men, and to the men of the world: Let them prosper saith God, here's their portion, here's all that they are like ever to have. But now for the people of God, they must not look to prosper outwardly in this world; John, 16. 33. In the world, you shall have trouble (saith Christ.) Christ does tell His Disci∣ples plainly beforehand, That in the world they shall have trouble; never make account to have ease and prosperity here below in the world; Certainly you shall have trou∣ble, this is not your kingdom; and therefore John, in the 1. of Rev. 9. ver. There he stiles himself in writing to the Churches: Your Companion in tribulation, and in the Kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ. Observe it, John that was such an Eminent Member of the Kingdom of Christ; when he speaks unto others that are brought into the kingdom of Christ, saith he, John, who also am your Brother, and Companion in Tribulation, and in the kingdom, and pa∣tience of Jesus Christ: These two may well stand together, Page  278 to be of the Kingdom of Christ, and companions of men in the Kingdom of Christ, and in Tribulation: yea, mark how the Kingdom of Christ is set in the middle, Compani∣on in Tribulation, and then Kingdom, and then patience; So that trouble, and afflictions are on both sides (as it were) of the Kingdom of Christ. And it's very observable here, John he doth not to get himself credit, say, I John that was the Apostle of Jesus Christ, I John, that was the be∣loved Disciple of Jesus Christ, I John, that was a Kins-man of Jesus Christ: no, but I John, your Companion in tribu∣lation, and in the Kingdom, and patience of Jesus Christ. If you would be the Companion of the Saints in the King∣dom of Jesus Christ, you must be willing to be their Com∣panion in Tribulation, and in the patience of Jesus Christ. So things are ordered by Christ, that the Saints should be in Tribulation, live in trouble in this world. When any of you that are godly shall meet with crosses, and afflictions, (the briers and thornes which spring out of the world ever since it was cursed by God) the very thought of this Text may be a means to quiet your hearts, and not to have any risings in your bosomes against the dispensations of God towards you: Do not I desire to fear the Lord, and follow Him in all His waies? and yet, how doth the Lord cross me in this world? These murmuring, and repining thoughts will be; yea, it may be since the time that God wrought upon me by His Word, I am more afflicted than before; Is not God displeased with me? it may be I am not in the right way because of these afflictions. Oh take heed of these temptations, let my text come into your minds, and answer all these temptations: Christ saith, His King∣dom is not of this world: since the time I was called out of darkness by the Ministry of the Word, no mervail though I meet with afflictions more than before, for I am translated into another Kingdom, which is not of this world; it plea∣ses the Father to make Christ (who is my Captain) to be perfect through sufferings: Heb. 2. 10. For it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing Page  279 many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation per∣fect through sufferings: It's an excellent Scripture to quiet the hearts of the Saints in the midst of their sufferings. [It became Him] (saith the Text) for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons un∣to glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings: The Captain of your salvation, yea, your King, that is the King of glory, yet He was made perfect through sufferings. Now you must go the same way that He did. Now if you must enter into a full possession of this glorious Kingdom through sufferings, why should you murmur? Luke, 24. 26. Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His Glory? It's a speech of Christ Himself. So I say concerning you: Ought not you to suffer first, and then to enter into your glory? Why should not you come to the fulness of the glory of that Kingdom that is prepared for you; as Jesus Christ your Head came to the fulness of the glory of His Kingdom? It was by suffering. Remember His Kingdom is not of this world.

6. Vse. Here's the reason why the wicked hates the Saints. Why? they love their own: John, 15. 19. If you were of the world, the world would love you; but you are not of the world, therefore the world hates you; you are translated in∣to another Kingdom, and therefore their spirits are bitter against you, and their tongues as sharp as two edged sword; you come to live by other Laws than they do; they know no other Law but the Law of the Land where they live but you have other Laws that they do not un∣derstand the authority of, you have other rules for your consciences than they have; their consciences can yeeld to this, or that, according as may serve for their worldly ends; but now your consciences are subjected to another authority, you cannot have your consciences yeeld up and down as they can, and thereupon they think it to be ••out∣ness in you, but God knows it to be otherwise: And they wonder at this, they understand not the reason of Page  280 this, and therefore it is that they malign you, they hate you with a perfect hatred, you are Rebels against their kingdom, they are under the kingdom of Satan, but you are brought under the kingdom of Christ, and so do Re∣bel against that kingdom. We hate Rebels. It's true, in some sense all the Saints are Rebels, that is, they do re∣bel against the kingdom of Satan, and the powers of dark∣ness, and if any thing should be enjoyed by men, yet if it be against the Kingdom of Christ, they cannot but re∣bel in a sense, that is, their spirits must needs be against it, and whatever they suffer, they cannot submit to it; they do not rebel against lawful authority, but against the kingdom of darkness, and the power of darkness; and therefore it is that the world doth so much hate them: When you come into the kingdom of Christ you live upon other principles, and have other ends, you are a kind of separated people from the world; and we know there is nothing more odious to the world, than that we should be a certain kind of separated people from them; the world would have all to be like themselves, and for any kind of people to make a profession as if they were call'd out of the world, and live after another kind and fashion, and have other sort of hopes, and comforts, and ends, and rules by which they live; Oh this the world cannot endure: so long as Paul was in the world, and liv'd as the men of the world, they loved him, and he was a man of authority among them, but when he was called out of the world, then a pestilent fellow, then seditious; this separation from the world it cannot be born, there is nothing more provokes the world than separation from the world, and therefore no mervail though the people of God be hated in the world, and looked upon as the ringleadees of sedition: they are separated from the world, and translated into another kingdom, into a kingdom that is not of this world.

7. Ʋse. From hence may appear the wickedness of the world, that they should reject Christ and His Kingdom.Page  281 That they should not 〈…〉 it, that's not so much won∣der; but that they shou••〈◊〉 it, and persecute it, and reject it; there appears their wickedness.

You will say, How doth it appear? From my Doctrine it appears thus: If Christs kingdom be not a kingdom of this world, it would do men no hurt at al, it no way would hinder any lawful comforts or honors here in this world; it is not opposite unto the kingdoms of the world, that is, so as to hinder any thing that is good in the world, the kingdom of Christ may be set up, and the world need be never the worse for it. Indeed, it doth oppose the wic∣kedness of the world, but it doth not oppose any thing that they dare say themselves to be good Herod persecu∣ted Christ, because he heard a King of the Jews was born: But it was without cause; Jesus Christ He did not come to take the Kingdom of Herod away from him: The Kings of the Earth (the text saith) they conspire together, and are engaged against Christ: it is their wickedness; Christ, He doth not envy them or their Kingdoms, they may live and be the Kings of the earth still, and yet the kingdom of Je∣sus Christ may go on; the truth is, that the kingdom of Jesus Christ doth not intrench upon any Civil Liberty of men, and it's their hatred to it, that makes them think it cannot stand with Civil Peace; the kingdom of Christ may be set up, and Civil Liberty maintained. You may have your estates still, and yet have the kingdom of Christ, and you may be in place of Rule and Government, and have outward honors still, and yet be of the kingdom of Christ. It's true, if you be brought into the kingdom of Christ; perhaps God may call you sometimes to suffering, but then it is so as you will be willing to it, you shall never be call'd to suffering, but you shall see cause to be willing to it, you shall have as much good by what you suffer, as you hav〈◊〉 of outward comforts: but this I speak, that the kingdom of Christ intrenches not upon any Civil Li∣berties of men: they may enjoy all their lawful comforts, their Estates, their Rule, their Government: and yet the Page  282 Kingdom of Christ may flouri•••▪ Now what a wicked∣ness is this? When as Chri••• would come and set up His Kingdome without any prejudice at all unto the worldly Kingdoms, and yet they cannot endure it: You would account that an ill neighbour if you should come and live by him and no way prejudice him, and yet for all that he would malign you, because you do but live by him; thus it is with the world, they do malign Jesus Christ for living but by them; indeed if a neighbor comes and will intrench upon your ground and liberties, you cannot bear it; Jesus Christ doth not do it: One would wonder sometimes why wicked men should be so opposite against men when they come under the Kingdom of Christ more than before: I appeal to you, when God converts a wife to be under the Kingdom of Christ, Doth that take her off from subjection to her husband? let me assure you, it makes her to acknowledge her husband to be Lord more than before; indeed if when the wife were converted it did take the wife from subjection to the husband, then there were some reason why the husband should storm at it; but when the more the wife is under the Kingdom of Christ, the more doth she acknowledg the authority of of her hus∣band over her: and so for servants, I confess if the brin∣ging of them by the Word under the kingdom of Christ, did take them off from their obedience to their Masters and Mistrisses, then there were some ground to oppose them from going to hear the Word; but when your conscinece tell you that the more they go to hear the Word, and are wrought upon by the Word they are the more obedient to you, why should you hate them then? why should you so malign Christs Kingdom when as Christs Kingdom would help you? I appeal to the consciences of divers Masters, You have one servant that is prophane; another cannot lie in his bed in the morning but he must come to ••ar the Word; now if you had Trust to commit to one of them, so that your whol Estate lay upon it, Which of these two would you trust? your consciences would tell you that Page  283 that servant that is come under the Kingdom of Christ were rather to be trusted▪ so that you would trust him in a case of great trust; and 〈◊〉 your conscieaces tell you that you hate that servant more than the other. Now here's the wickedness of men, that they do hate the Kingdom of Christ though the Kingdom of Christ doth not intrench upon them. Oh let Christ alone with his Kingdom, and do not oppose Him, He will not oppose you in any thing that you can desire as a rational man.

And for the outward Government: Christ would have no man to be compel'd to it, but those that are convinced that it is the best way; He gives no such rules to force any man; if you think the Government is to strickt for you, that you cannot live under it; indeed there may be some∣thing used as a natural help, some outward, means used to take men off from their wantonness and wilfulnes: but now if it appear that you desiring to know which is the best way, and endeavoring to know, and after your desires, and endeavors you cannot be convinced that this is the way that you should walk in; Christ gives no rules to com∣pel you; but if you belong to God, He is content to stay till the Word and Spirit ••all convince you to come under His Government; Oh! why should you be against it then, when it forces you not to come into it? Oh! be not such an enemy to the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, but let those that beleeve another way is the way wherein they come most under the Kingdom of Christ, and enjoy 〈◊〉ommunion with Christ, let them alone in that way especially, when they live peacable with you, and are every way useful as much as your hearts can desire in all civil things, living neighborly, lovingly, and faithfully with you in all things; why should you malign them because you know there is some other way wherein they may enjoy more sweet com∣munion with Jesus Christ than your selves do? That's the seventh Use, which shews the wickedness of the world in opposing the Kingdom of Christ, when as it is not of this world, it is not that that doth intrench upon their world∣ly priviledges.

Page  284 8. Ʋse, Hence this Kingdom, if it be not [of] this world, then it doth not depend upon 〈◊〉 world; become of the world what will, the Kingd•• of Christ will go on. Men are afraid, Oh! if the Enemies should prevail, and overcome and take away our Civil Rights, Oh then the Kingdom of Christ, what will become of that? Let us not be too solicitous about that, for the Kingdom of Christ is of another world, there is no such dependance of the Kingdom of Christ upon the Kingdoms of this world, but though they were broken, the kingdom of Christ would subsist. We indeed should labor to preserve our Civil Liber∣ties as much as we can, yea and our Civil Liberty in exercise of Religion in a War-like way, and I should wonder that any should mistake in that, when as this hath been so decla∣red from the beginning of the War to this time, that we may fight for the Civil Liberty we have to the peacable practice and profession of our Religion, so far we may, and that hath been the ground of our War: had we indeed liv'd in such a Country, as the Christians in 〈◊〉 primitive times, where the Governors and the gener•••ty of the Country had been against it, then indeed the taking up of Arms, might have been very questionable; but now when we live in such a place where our Civil Laws are for the protection of us in the practice of our Religion, if any will come and disturb us, we may take up Arms because we have a right to the profession of it, by the Laws of the kingdom, 〈◊〉 have to our Houses, Lands, and Estates, (but that by the way:) But that's the thing I aim at in this use: that though our Civil Right should be lost, yet the kingdom of Christ would go on for all that: Heb. 12. 28. this is a kingdom that cannot be shaken. At those times when the Magistrates were the greatest enemies unto the kingdom of Christ: yet even then the kingdom of Christ went on as fully as ever it hath done since that time; but the Magistrates may be helps, and there is a promise that Kings shall be nursing fathers, and Queens nursing mothers to the Church, but yet so it fell out that at the first when Page  285 the Church was in its infancy, that it did thrive as much when Magistrates and Civil Power was against it as ever it hath done since, and thereby Christ would shew us that His Kingdom doth not depend upon this world, but the Kingdom of Christ doth stand and will stand, and it doth and will prevail to the end of the world, The gates of Hell shall not prevail against it, it shall be more than conqueror; and this is a great comfort to the Saints.

9. Ʋse. If the kingdom of Christ be not of this world, but of another; then hence we collect the absolute necessi∣ty of living by faith, Christians had need then have a prin∣ciple of faith to live by, for their greatest good is in things that are beyond this world, their very King that they obey is a King that cannot be seen by the eye of sence; nor by the eye of reason, they had need have an eye of faith to be∣hold their King in his glory: The Throne of this King of Saints is not a visible Throne to be seen by the eye of sence, and reason but by the eye of faith.

The Priviledges that we speak of, are ot to be seen and enjoyed by sence and reason, but by faith,

And so the Ordinances of this Kingdom, and the Laws and Statutes of it, they are Spiritual, and must have faith to close with them, and all the comforts of this Kingdom must be drawn in by faith, therefore it is of absolute ne∣cessity that the Saints should exercise much faith in their lives, that they should live continually by faith; As the A∣postle saith in 2 Cor. 5. 7. For we walk by faith, and not by sight; It is not by Sight we walk; indeed all the good things that there are in the kingdoms of the world they are seen by sence and reason, reason and sence is enough to order us in the matters of the kingdoms of this world: but now the kingdom of the Son of God that we are tran∣slated into, it's a Spiritual, an Heavenly kingdom, so that the Saints must walk by faith, and not by sight: therefore my brethren labor to strengthen faith, and act your faith, and live upon faith, exercise faith in all your waies, make much of grace and faith or you will never have Page  286 much good in the Kingdom of Christ, but that grace will help you comfortably to enjoy, and spiritually to improve all the good things in the Kingdom of Jesus Christ to an e∣verlasting advantage.

10. Ʋse. If the Kingdom of Christ be not of this world, then the greater mercy to thy soul, that ever thou wast brought under this Kingdom of Christ: Oh! thou maiest look back unto thy former time, and know that thou hadst a worldly heart, worldly apprehensions, thy spirit was worldly, altogether for things of the world, taken with the pomp, and glory, and the pleasures of this world: How comes it to pass that thou shouldest have a Heavenly Kingdom reveal'd to thee? Whence was it that ever Jesus Christ should be known to thy soul, that was so worldly, so drossie, so earthy a soul? thou wast as deep rooted in the world (it may be) as any, and yet that the Lord should cull thee out of the world, and reveal such a Kingdom to thee, that is such a mystery as the Princes of the world have not known, that thou that art a poor creature shouldest come to understand the ••alities of Christ, that the wise and lear∣ned men of the world have not known: Oh! the Free Grace of God to thee, and not unto the world! As Judas, (not Iscariot) said, How is it that thou revealest thy self to us, and not unto the world? how comes it to pass that such wise men, that bear sway in the world, they have very poor, and low, and mean, and contemptible thoughts of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ? they look upon it but as a meer notion, and a conceit of men, and the rather because they see but a few poor people that are but of mean parts that do imbrace such a way, upon that they contemn it; and through the worldly wisdom that they have, they come to undervalue it. Oh! then bless God that ever he should chuse such a poor weak wretch as thou art, for to make known the things of the Kingdom of Christ unto; and therfore of al men, you rich covetous men they are hardest to be wrought upon by the Ministry of the Word. When Christ Himself was preaching, it is said in Luke, 16. 14. That Page  287 the Pharisees who were covetous, they derided Him; they blew their noses at Him, for that's the meaning of the Origi∣nal. Like as a man that scorns and derides another snivles in the nose; that's the propriety of the word, that is here translated derided. Oh! a worldly heart is hardest brought unto the Kingdom of Christ: therefore bless God so much the more, that hath brought thy soul to understand the mysteries of Christs Scepter, that hath translated thee into another Kingdom.

11. Ʋse. If the Kingdom of Christ be not of this world: then they are rebuked that do seek to make the Kingdom of Christ a worldly Kingdom. I might name very many sorts of men that do this: I will speak but of Three or Four.

The first is the Papists, those that are Popishly affected; all their way is under the name of honoring of Christ, to raise up a worldly Kingdom; and therefore they make the Pope to be as an Emperor of all the world, as the King of Kings; and their Cardinals, and many of their Bishops to be Princes, and all in a worldly pomp, and they carry it on, and maintain it by a worldly policy, and by worldly means, and worldly weapons, and therfore stir up the Kings of the earth to root out all those that are against them: these understand not the Kingdom of Christ.

Secondly, Such as would conform the Government of the Church meerly to worldly Government; that because worldly men may by their prudence order things as they please in Common-wealths, so as shall be most sutable to them: therefore they falsly think, that the Kingdom of Christ must be so too; that it must be suted to every Coun∣try: whereas the truth is, there is but one way of the Go∣vernment of Christ in all the world. The great Argu∣ment of the Prelates was, Indeed say they, in some places there may be another Government, where there is an Ari∣stocracy in the Civil Government; but where there is Mo∣narchy, there must be a Bishop. Now certainly that's not the way of Christ, to sute himself in his Government, to Page  288 the Government of the world. But the Government that was in the primitive times, must be still.

Thirdly, Such kind of men as think that the success of the Gospel, and the Ordinances do depend upon worldly things; as now, upon outward pomp: except there be some outward pomp go along with the Gospel; As now, Great preferments of those that are the Preachers of the Gospel, they think the Gospel will be contemn'd else, and except the Ordinances be carried on in an outward pomp: They conceive that all will be despised: except there be Magnificent Temples built and beautified, and except brave Gold and Silver Chalises, the Sacrament would be despi∣sed; and except they have their Altars, and Rails about them: with all their heathenish vanities, Christ is not wor∣shiped. But this is to look upon the Kingdom of Christ as the Kingdoms of the world; but Oh no! the kingdom of Christ prevails where there is but little of the world with it. I remember I have read of one Boniface a Martyr, that being asked, whether it were lawful to give the Wine in the Sacrament, in a wooden Challis; saith he, There was a time (indeed) when the Church had wooden Challises, and gol∣den Priests; but now, the Church hath golden Challises, and woo∣den Priests. No question, in the primitive times, they had very mean things in the Lords Supper, and all things were carried in a very low way to a worldly eye; but (saith he) though their Challises were wooden, the Priests were gol∣den: and so the Gospel did prevail. Oh! it's the spiritu∣alness of things that makes the kingdom of Christ to pre∣vail; many think that the Gospel cannot prevail, except it hath abundance of gingles of mens wit, and tongues, and such kind of school-boy-vanities as these are, but the Go∣spel never prevails by such things; but that which the world calls foolishness, that is made the power of God, and the wisdom of God to Salvation: They have carnal hearts that think that the outward pomp, and glory of the world should be such a furtherance to the Gospel, as if it should not thrive without it.

Page  289 Lastly, Those that think that the Gospel and the promoting of Christs kingdom depends wholly upon humane policy and strength, these do make the kingdom of Christ to be but as a worldly kingdom.

The last Ʋse is this: If Christs Kingdom be not of this world, then it teaches us all for to labor to further a kingdom of Christ as distinct from the world, it is a great Point that I am speaking of, about furthering the Kingdom of Christ as distinct from the kingdoms of the world. Christ himself professes that he came in∣to the world to witness to this truth: and therefore certainly we should do so likewise. It is in the very next words to my text, when Christ had said his Kingdom was not of this world, Pilate said to Him, Art thou a King then? Jesus answered, Thou saiest I am a King. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness to the Truth. Truth, Pilate asked Him what the Truth was? but he said not for an answer: but certainly the Truth that Christ means here, is the Truth of His Kingdom. Oh my brethren, it is a matter of so great consequence, that it is a special end why Christ came into the world, why He was born, that he should witness to this Truth. Then certainly we should account it a great end of our lives to set to our seal to this Truth of the Kingdom of Christ, as distinct from the world, let this be a great engagement on our spirits, to further the prea∣ching of the kingdom, further it as many waies as you can, im∣prove your Estates, improve your Credits, your Esteem, your Pla∣ces for the kingdom of Christ; and then, Oh how comfortable will your death be! though you should not live here to enjoy all the priviledges that the Saints in other ages shall have in the king∣dom of Christ; yet when you die your death shall be but a passage of you into the glorious Kingdom of Jesus Christ, for there's a Kingdom of Christ beyond this world, though Christ will rule Spiritually while this world lasts: but when men are taken off from this world yet they do but go into the Kingdom of Christ. In 2 Peter, 1. 5, 6. &c. with which I will conclude, and besides this, giving all diligence, Ad to your faith vertue, and to vertue, knowledg; ad to knowledg temperance, and to temperance patience, and to patience godliness, and to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness charity; for if these things be in you and abound, they make you Page  290 that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledg of our Lord Jesus Christ: And so he goes on further in his exhortation; and in the 10. verse, Wherefore the rather brethren, give diligence, to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things you shall never fall: for so an entrance shall be ministred unto you abundantly into the evelasting Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Christ is here a King, He rules in his Church in a spiritual way: but when this world is done, He shall be a King, and if you be now godly you shall have an abundant entrance into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ: Mark, when a Beleever dies, he goes into the Kingdome of Jesus Christ, he goes but from one administration of it to another, but still he is in the same Kingdom of Christ: here's the difference between the death of the men of the world, and the death of the Saints: the men of the world they are of the world, and they are under the kingdom of darkness, and when they die they go to the kingdom of darkness: and the Saints they are now under the kingdom of Christ spiritually, and when they die they go to another admini∣stration of the kingdom of Christ, and the more godly men are, the more abundant entrance shall they have into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Now suppose his Excellency, that hath done so much service for the kingdom, when he shall come, What an entrance will be made for him into the City? Every man that is a free subject may come freely into the City, no body may wrong him, and he shall enjoy the Liberty of the City; but he hath not that Abundance Entrance into it as a man that hath done much for the kingdom we live in. So now, every godly man or woman, if they have but the least degree of grace, they shall come into the Kingdom of Christ, I but those that are powerfully godly, burning and shi∣ning lamps, and have been very active and faithful to the death; when they die, the Gates of Heaven shall be set wide open, and they shall have an Abundant Entrance into the Everlasting King∣dom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

FINIS.