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.


PHIL. 1. 27.
Only let your Conversation be as becomes the Gospel of Christ.

A Conversation becoming the Gospel of Christ,*it must be beyond what the Law can inable one to attain to, or else it doth not become the Gospel.

I have shewed you already what the Gospel of Christ is. But now we are upon the point of Conversation, That it must be higher than can be by the Law, those that live under the Gospel must live in a higher way of holiness than those that li∣ved under the Law. Now for this, we are to consider of the Law under these two considerations.

First, As it is a Covenant of works for life, so it was made at first to Adam: It was a Covenant of works for eternal life to Adam, and so to man kind in him.

Secondly, We are to consider the Law as in the Ministration of it by Moses: Take it either of these two waies. Those that live under the Gospel, and profess the Gospel, must live in a more holy Conversation, or aim, or endeavour at least after a more holy Conversation than that Conversation could be that was under the Law: As now, I say thus, the Law as the Covenant of life to Adam, But what was his Conversation?

Page  43 First, It was obedience to God meerly as Creator, no further; Adam in innocency he lookt upon God as Creator of al things, as the First being of all, and so Adam tendered up his service to God meerly as the Creator and First-being. That was his obedience.

Secondly, The Law to Adam had promise only of natural things, of a natural life to be continued: We do not reade of Gods promi∣sing Adam to live in Heaven if he had obeyed; but, Do this and live; that was the Tenour of the Covenant with him: that is, he should have continued in Paradise and so have lived a natu∣ral life, but yet continued eternally, God would have upheld that natural life of his, that's all we reade of that ever God promised to Adam if he had stood by vertue of that Covenant of the Law: That's the second thing considerable in him. so that his obedience was tendred up to God to that end, that he might obtain the continuance of a natural life here in this world, only in order unto that, for we find no more revealed. The first man Adam he was Natural, the second Spiritual, the first of the Earth earthly, the second, the Lord from Heaven. The Apo∣stle. 1 Cor. 15. speaks of Adam in innocency as the common head of al man-kind, he was of the Earth earthly, and in way of distinction the second Adam was the Lord from Heaven; He brings all heavenly glory. Though Adam had stood, yet we never reade of any heavenly glory that ever he or his posterity should have had; but the second Adam he is the Lord from Heaven that brings Heavenly glory with him. That's the second thing considerable in the Law as a Covenant with Adam.

The third thing in the Law as a Covenant with Adam was this, That Adam under the Law he must have wrought by his own strength that he had received. God at first gave man strength for obedience, and he puts his stock into his own hand, and so he must have wrought and continued by the power of the strength that God did at first give him, he had not that fountain to go to for that continual supply of strength as we have, which you shall see presently.

Fourthly, Adam, he was in such a condition, as he was in ha∣zard of his miscarrying for his eternal estate; He was indeed in a way of obedience to the Law that God gave him, but still so Page  44 as he was in hazard of eternal miscarrying; this was the condi∣tion of Adam under the Law.

Obj. You will say, He was holy, and had no sin.

Ans. But considering his condition under the Law; That it was Obedience to God as a Creator, he did work for natu∣ral good; and he wrought by the strength he had received, and he was in hazard of miscarrying eternally. Now compare his condition with the condition of the Saints in the time of the Gospel, and you will find the condition of the Saints ha∣ving the fruit of the Gospel, to be in a great deal better condi∣tion, even now; not only shall be in Heaven, but are in a better condition now than Adam was in paradise.

1. Adam he obeyed God, and tendered up his service to God as a Creator. But now the people of God under the Gospel, those that are brought home to God by the Gospel, they look upon God under another relation, not meerly as Creator, but all their services that they tender up to God, it is as unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and their Father in Him; I go to my Father, and I go to your Father (saith Christ) John, 20. 17. It's true, still we look upon God as the First-being of all things, as Creator; but we look upon Him in a higher relation than meerly our Creator, we look upon Him as the Father of Jesus Christ, and so in Jesus Christ as our Father, and so we tender up obedience to Him in that way, and surely such obedience tendered up to God as under such a relation; should be a higher kind of obedience, a higher kind of holiness than was in Adam.

Although it is true, in respect of our condition here, we are not so free from corruption as Adam was in Innocencie, yet the obedience that we tender up to God, though it be not so free (I say) from mixture, yet it is of a higher nature than Adams was, it is to God as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

2. We have better promises than ever Adam had, we have promi∣ses of Heavenly Glory that he had not: God doth not say, Do and live to us only, live hear in the world in a natural life, and I will free you from outward troubles, and from the death of the body: But we know that the Gospel brings immortallity and glory to light, it tels us of the glory of Heaven, and of the Mansions that Jesus Christ is gone before to prepare, of the Page  45 glorious Communion that the Saints shall have with God in the highest heavens, which is another manner of motive to o∣bedience than ever Adam had: And therefore our obedience to God should be raised in a higher way than ever his was.

3. The strength that we have, it's not put into our own hands to keep and so to improve, and there's all. But Jesus Christ the Se∣cond Person in Trinity, He is fil'd with all fulness that we might receive grace for grace continually from the fulness of Jesus Christ that hath all the treasures of wisdom in Him, In Him it pleased the Father that all fulness should dwell; now the Saints by faith have as it were a pipe laid into that Cistern that hath all fulness, from whence continually by the work of Faith they draw strength and nourishment, new supply from Him, they have not somewhat given to them and so are set to trade for themselves and improve what is given them, but they suck new vertue from Jesus Christ as from a Head. Adam he was the head of the first Covenant himself, but now 'tis Jesus Christ that is the Head of the Second, and all Belee∣vers draw spirits from Jesus Christ, and strength from him as from the Head, they have a Head that Adam had not to draw strength from, and therefore they are to manifest the strength of Jesus Christ in all their waies, that fulness that there is in Jesus Christ they are to make that appear to the world in their lives and Conversations: And therefore that text Col. 1 10, 11. is very remarkable, That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledg of God: mark in the 11. verse, strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power; This is worthy of the Lord, because that now we come to receive of his fulness, of the fulness of Jesus Christ, and to have a continual supply from him; Though 'tis true, so God hath ordered it that so long as we live we shall have some mixtures of corruption here, but yet he hath provided a help for us, a fulness in his Son, that from Him we should draw of His fulness, and so come to be strengthened with all might.

4. We now serve the Lord and obey Him in our lives as those that are delivered from the hazard of eternal miscarrying. Adam obeyed, but yet he might know when he was obeying; I now obey, Page  46 but I am in danger to miscarry eternally, every hour to undo my self and posterity for ever. But now certainly this very thought, and the understanding of this, it could not stand with that full freedom of spirit that the Saints may have now under the Gospel, the Saints under the Gospel come in a way of obedience to God, and upon this ground they have their feet (as it were) upon sure ground: Well, as for my eternal estate the hazard of miscarrying there, it is over, I blesse God that is over, for that now my obedience it is not that I might work out, and earn salvation; but my obedience to God now is (be∣ing set safe upon the shore) that I might live to the praise of the grace of God that hath delivered me from al danger of mis∣carrying, and hath set me with Jesus Christ in heavenly places, I am now already set in heavenly places with Jesus Christ, and as sure of Heaven (for so a Believer may come to be) as if so be that I were there already, and so I am now to begin the life of Heaven, to be blessing and magnifying God, not in word only, but in my life, therefore am I to hold forth the glory of God in my life and Conversation, that I might blesse and magnifie the Name of God, that hath delivered me from darkness, and hath translated me into the Kingdom of his dear Son, and upon these terms do I serve God now; I do not serve God as one that is in hazard for ever to miscarry, and out of a base and slavish fear lest I should miscarry, I do endeavor to work out my salvati∣on; but it is as one that is redeemed and delivered from eternal misery, yea, I now begin to joyn with the Saints and Angels that are in Heaven, that are there magnifying God, and shal be to al eternity praising of Him for His free grace towards them; surely this Conversation should be in a higher degree of holi∣ness than the Conversation of Adam could be even in Paradise: Yet still remembring this, we cannot in this life attain to such a Conversation as to be without mixture of evil, but we should be more spiritual and heavenly in our waies, we have more cause to be so than Adam had in his innocency, and we do not walk answerable to the Gospel except our hearts do rise in a more spiritual and heavenly way than his heart could rise when it came new out of the hand of his Creator. That's the first con∣sideration of the Law as it was a Covenant of life to him and al Page  47 man-kind in him. Oh that as we go along we would but con∣sider what cause we have of humiliation then; Oh how far are our Conversations short of that that becomes the Gospel if it should rise to so high a pitch as this is that hath been menti∣oned.

Secondly, Consider we the Law as in the administration of it to Moses, and so to the people of the Jews: The administration of the Law to them it was under another notion, it was to bring them to Christ, and that they might come to see their inability of keeping of that Covenant, and come to understand Christ so much the more, and to be driven unto Christ by having the Law presented to them, God did never intend by giving of the Law to the people of the Jews that it should be a Covenant of eternal life to them; indeed there was this in the administra∣on of it somewhat different from us, some special Covenant a∣bout their living in Canaan, and about mercies in that pro∣mised Land, beyond that that we have in the Law, as we find in the new Testament, they (I say) had this annexed to it. The Law that was first given unto Adam and written in his heart, afterwards even obliterated, then it was transcribed by the same hand in tables of stone and given unto them chiefly to shew them their misery, and their need of Christ; to be a pre∣paration for Christs coming into the world; and with this one addition beyond what we have in the new Testament, that there was a temporal Covenant annexed unto it, that concern'd their living prosperously in the Land of Canaan, (& so far we are delivered even from the Law as it was given by Moses, that is, from the connexion of the Covenant that was added unto the delivering of the Law) concerning their happy and comforta∣ble condition in the Land of Canaan upon the keeping of their Law; but now (how ever it was) certainly that Conversation that becomes the Gospel should be beyond what could be even from godly men in the time of the Law.

As first, The Law to them it was given under low Promises, their promises were but very low that were under the Law: It's true, they had somewhat of the Gospel that we have, but ex∣tream darkly, and very little that they knew of it, but the chief Ministration of God towards them was then in a legal Page  48 way, and that had but low promises, as their living in Canaan; you shall find generally al the promises that are annexed to the Law even by Moses, it is but, that they shall prolong their daies in the Land▪ the Lord their God shall give them, That they should be blest in their basket and store: their Promises were under Heaven-Pro∣mises, Promises of this life only; and therefore it could raise them but to a very low degree of holiness.

Secondly, Their Ordinances were but poor and mean, and beggerly in comparison of our; for so the Gospel cals them, Col. 2. They were but beggerly rudiments, which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal Ordinances imposed on them untill the time of reformation. Heb. 9. 10. They had an earthly Tabernacle, a worldly Sanctuary, Heb. 9. 1. &c.

Thirdly, The burden of them under the Law was very great, they were under a heavy yoke & burden that did bow them down: A man that is under a heavy burden it makes him stoop & bend in the back, he cannot stand so upright nor fast as others that have no such weight upon them.

Fourthly, The administration of the Law was with Thunder and Lightning very terrible, It made even Moses quake and tremble, (as the Author to the Hebrews speaks.)

Fiftly, Their spirits were very servile under the Law, they were subject to bondage even all their daies; God so ordered things as to carry on his people even in a very servile way, they were but mean servants then, hewers of wood and drawers of water.

But now under the Gospel, First, our Promises are far bet∣ter, and our Covenant better, in Heb. 8. 6. there the Apostle compares their Condition and ours, Who serve (saith he) unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, There was but the sha∣dow of heavenly things; the Gospel hath the Heavenly things themselves, and they are but the shadow, for so you have it in Heb. 10. 1. For the Law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things: They had but a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image it self. As Moses was admonish'd of God, when he was about to make the Tabernacle, For see (saith he) that thou make all things accor∣ding to the pattern shewed to thee in the Mount. And then in Heb. 8. 6. Page  49 But now hath he obtained a more excellent Ministry, [that's Christ] By how much also he is the Mediator of a better Covenant, which was established upon better promises: A better Covenant, and stablished upon better promises, or a better Testament: Their promises I say were but low and mean; and our promises are high and preci∣ous, and we have a better Covenant, a Covenant not of living in the Land of Canaan, but of Heaven, of which that Canaan was but a Type, and therefore our Conversations should rise higher in holiness according as our Covenant and Promises are better than theirs.

Secondly, Our Worship is more spiritual than their worship was. As that known place in Joh. 4. 23. where Christ saith to the wo∣man of Samaria, You serve God in this place: But the time shall come that they shall serve him every where, for God is a Spirit, and will be worshiped in spirit and in truth. There is more spiritual worship in the time of the Gospel than was in the time of the Law: The Lord carried them on in a carnal and a sensitive way: and in∣deed this hath been a great design of Antichrist to bring men to a carnal way of worship, To carnal Ordinances, for so they are called in Scripture, the Commandements of God by Moses, are called carnal, Heb. 9. 10. For their worship was in compari∣son of the worship in the Gospel but carnal; (I say) it hath bin the design of Antichrist to darken the glory of Jesus Christ in the Gospel, by bringing the Church to a carnal way of worship, and to take away spiritual, and therefore they are altogether about carnal Institutions, whereas Jesus Christ hath instituted but only two Sacraments, wherein there are outward carnal things, wherein we worship God through the Creature, other∣wise His worship is altogether spiritual; but now Antichrist he would bring in altogether carnal things, he would ad a hundred inventions of his own, as building sumptuous Tem∣ples, railing in of the Communion Tables, and then turning them into Altars; with such kind of apish gestures, foolish gar∣ments, and Heathenish musick, all which was carnal worship, the devices of men to please children and fools with: excee∣dingly much against the very life and soul of Godliness, and the only rule of worship in the Word of God. Besides this redicu∣lous and carnal way of worship, made the worshipers twofold Page  50 more the children of Satan than they were before. But now the more spiritual any worship of God is, the more spiritual it makes the heart, the lesse we stick to the creature while we are worshipping of God, the more communion we come to have with Christ, and so it doth raise holinesse to a more higher pitch.

Thirdly, Ʋnder the Gospel our yoke is more easie: You know what Christ saith, (in a Scripture that I have opened to you at large) Come, take my yoke upon you, for my yoke is easie, and my bur∣den is light. You are delivered from that heavy burden that they were under, and therefore you should run the waies of Gods Commandements, and follow after holiness more readi∣ly and freely than they could do.

Fourthly, We have access with boldness to the Throne of grace, (as the Scripture speaks) God doth not reveal Himself in that ter∣rible way to his Saints now, as in the time of the Law, but would have them come with boldness, and have libertie of speech: for that's the word, as in the second of the Ephesians, of the boldness that we have to come into the presence of God; Through him we have access by one spirit unto the Father. [Access] the word signifies a coming with freedom (as it were) being led by the hand of God. In Ephes. 3. 12. In whom we have boldness and ac∣cess (saith the text there) with confidence by the faith of Him. Three words here are together: We have boldness, and access, with con∣fidence by the faith of Him. The word that is here translated [Boldness] it is, liberty of speech; we may come and speak our minds and unbosome our speech freely to God without any such terror; and we may come to God without desiring. Moses must go into Gods presence for them as he did; Oh they durst not go themselves, but Moses must go and speak with God. We may come into the presence of God and speak our hearts freely with a holy boldness in the Name of Christ.

Fifthly, We have the spirit of adoption more than they. Rom. 8. We have not received the spirit of bondage to fear again, but the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba▪ Father. There was a spirit of bondage under which, even the people of God were in former times, and now the spirit of adoption is more spread abroad and cōmunicated in the world to the Churches than it was be∣fore, Page  51 and therefore the Lord expects a Conversation sutable to the spirit of adoption. As now, take one that is a child and hath a servile spirit and is afraid to come into the presence of his father, it may be he will do some works in obedience to his father, but in a heavy & dull way, but afterwards when his fa∣ther is fully reconcil'd to him, & comes & speaks kindly to him & there comes a spirit of adoption upon the child, Oh then he goes lively on in duty to his father, then he rejoyces in the pre∣sence of his father, & to do any thing that may please his father; when he is acted by a spirit of adoptiō, theres more service done according to the mind & wil of Christ than there was before.

So (my Brethren) we should exceed all under the Law with a more fillial obedience, than ever there was in that time, or else our Conversation it is not such as becomes the Gospel: Therefore when you open the old Testament and reade of those excellent gracious spirits that were there, especially in the Psalms, what holy breathings and pantings after God there are, and in the Prophets, what exemplary holiness then liv'd and shined in the world: Be ashamed of your selves if you do not rise to as high a degree as they and higher too

Obj. Why you will say, But they were eminent men, they were the Prophets of God and so were extraordinary; and can ordinary Christians rise as high as they did, and be such bur∣ning and shining lamps as they were?

Ans. I'le give you one Scripture about that, in Zach. 12. 8. it is a cleer Prophesie of the times of the Gospel, In that day shall the Lord defend the Inhabitants of Jerusalem, and he that is fee∣ble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the Angel of the Lord before them. Mark, he that is feeble among them shall be as David, who was a man according to Gods own heart. Oh reade Davids Psalms, particularly the 119. Psalm, and see the holy breathings of David, and observe that there is a Prophesie, that those that are feeble shall be as David, and those that are as David, that is, the eminent Christians, the Lords Champions, and the house of David shall be as God, as the Angels of the Lord. Christians in the time of the Gospel that are eminent should live as Angels, Angelical lives, and the weakest of all should be as David: Indeed considering what we Page  52 have revealed in the Gospel we should be ashamed that our hearts and lives should come short in spiritualness, and heaven∣liness of any that lived in the times of the Law: see in the 119. Psalm, how you find Davids heart taken and ravished with the Word of God, Oh how sweet was the Law of God to him, sweeter than the honey and the honey comb. He doth not mean there the Law in opposition to the Gospel, but the whol Word of God; Now you should consider this, what part of Gods Word had David there, he had not many of the Prophesies, he had but the Books of Moses and some other Books; the Book of Job was then, and some of the Chronicles, some part of the Kings, and the Book of Judges; but most part of the Kings he could not have, for he was the second King: therefore what little part of the Word of God was written at that time; and yet how sweet was the Word to him, as sweet as the honey and the honey comb, and how he did delight in it above Gold and Silver. And then for the Ordinances of God, O how was he taken with them! though in comparison of ours they were but carnal: In the 84. Psalm, he did envy the very birds that were in the Temple of God, How aimable are thy Courts O Lord (saith he;) now do but com∣pare those Scriptures he had with these that we have, The five Books of Moses, and Joshua, and Judges, and Job which were the chief Scriptures then extant, and do but compare them with the History of the Gospel, in particular the Sermons of Christ, from the fifth Chapter of Matthew to the eighth; So those re∣markable places from the fourteenth to the eighteenth of John, and so on; O what heavenly things are there let down amongst us! What Heavenly truths we have, study and reade over Pauls Epistles (which are several holy Letters sent from Christ to His Saints here on earth,) Oh what spiritual transcendant truths! What great mysteries and depths of God are opened and revea∣led there beyond what there is in Genesis, or Exodus, or Leviti∣cus, or Numbers, &c. And yet the Word of God was dearer to him than al the world, and he profest he did meditate in it day and night. Now we have that word in two Testaments, that doth reveal abundance more of God in Christ than ever he had, and therefore our Conversations should rise higher in holiness than the Converstions of those that were under the Law; we Page  53 should endeavor to be more exemplary in holy walking than they were. And thus much for the second head.

Now for the third, which is the chief of all, If you would have your Conversations to be such as becomes the Gospel, it must be suitable to what the Gospel holds fo••h unto you. Now this is a gret point, and it will serve for two ends.

First, To hold forth unto you the principal things in the Gospel.

Secondly, To shew you how you should sute your Conversation to those things that are in the Gospel. And we shall abide upon this head somewhat long.

The first and principal thing in the Gospel, It is the holding forth unto us the infinite love of God to man-kind; this is the very end of the Gospel, that God might declare what an infinite love he hath unto the children of men, yea unto men rather than unto Angels; you know that Scripture in John, 3. 6. So God loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever beleeveth in him should not perish but have everlasting life. And indeed that one verse hath more of God in it than all Creatures in Heaven Earth; the whol frame of Heaven and Earth hath not so much of God in them as that one verse hath; So God loved the world that he sent forth his only begotten Son that whosoever beleeveth in him should not perish but have everlasting life: It is as if God should say when he comes to reveal the Gospel, I will have a way wherein it shall appear to men and Angels for ever what the greatness of my love is unto these poor creatures, unto the children of men: And to that end I send my Son the second Person in Trinity to take their natures upon him, to come to be their Mediator; there will I manifest what my love is; that shall be the great fruit of love. It is the similitude of a learned Divine (saith he) the love of God in all other things in comparision of the love of God in Christ reveal'd in the Gos∣spel, it is a little spark of fire in comparison of the heat in a furnace; when a furnace is heated red hot, it may be a few sparks of fire fly out, but what is one of those sparks of fire that fly out in comparison of al the heat that there is in the furnace, (so saith he) all the fruits of the love of God to man-kind in all Page  54 the works that ever God did do, are but as that one spark on∣ly; excepting this of Christ; and the love of God unto man∣kind in Christ is as it were the heat of the furnace, there's bur∣ning love indeed, the love of God in Christ, this is the great scope of the Gospel, the great aim of God, the great design that God had in the Gospel to make known the infinitness of His love unto the children of men: Now then if so be that God in the Gospel doth reveal what there was in His heart from all e∣ternity to man-kind (for so it is) that's the scope of the Gospel; there was in the heart of God infinite love burning toward man-kind, God from eternity saw man-kind before him, and there was that strong inclination of his heart towards them in love, as did even burn in his heart: Now in time God reveals this in the Gospel, in the Doctrine thereof He doth open His heart to the children of men: when ever the Gospel comes to be preached in any place, God doth look upon that place and hath these kind of workings in Himself, Well, that love of Mine that I have had burning in my Bosom from all eternity towards these poor creatures, now it shal be opened, now it shal be revealed; just as it was with Joseph that had his heart so warm in love unto his Brethren, that though he kept it in a while he could not keep it in long, but at length it breaks out as fire, his bowels yerned towards his Brethren, and he weeps tears of love over their necks: So in the Gospel of Christ, look upon God towards poor creatures, as Joseph towards his Bre∣thren, and God as it were keeping in his heart towards them for a long time; but now when the Gospel comes among them God opens his very heart to them, now therefore there must be a Conversation that becomes the Gospel, as becomes this great thing in the Gospel, that is the chief thing indeed that the Gos∣spel holds forth in every line of it, and discovers his eternal love towards them in particular, in the Son of his love, Christ Jesus in whom he is well pleased.

Quest. You will say, What is it that becomes this thing in the Gospel?

Ans. Surely love, answerable love, that we should return love for love, he that dwels in God dwels in love, God Him∣self is love; Reade but the first Epistle of that beloved Disciple Page  55John, what abundance of love is there made known of God? every letter thereof is a character of love; and what commen∣dations of love in heavenly expressions? But you reade no such thing in the Scripture before the Gospel was revealed in that cleerness as it was then; now nothing but Love, love, and how it called for love: Then there must be this conversation, Love to God, as God to us. And that must be real as Gods love in Christ was.

Quest. How did God manifest his love?

Answ. A Conversation becoming the Gospel, must be a ma∣nifestation of our love in some proportionable way: So God lo∣ved the world, as He gave His only Son: that is as if he should have said thus, God so loved the world, so dearly, as that which was the dearest thing unto God he gave for a testimonie of his love to man-kind. The dearest thing, What's that? His Son. If God should have said, That I might testifie my love to man∣kind, as I have made one world for them, I will make ten thou∣sand more, yea I will make so many worlds as every one of the children of men shall have a world to possess; you would think this were very much: Oh this were nothing in comparison of that expression, So God loved the world, as He gave His Son; the Son of God is infinitly dearer to God than ten thousand thou∣sand millions of worlds are. Now, a conversation that be∣comes the revelatio of such love, must needs be this, Whatsoe∣ver then is dearest to our souls let that be given up to God. As it was a testimony of the love of Abraham to God, Hereby I know thou lovest me. Why? Because he gave up his Isaac to God, he would not spare his only Son whom he loved: so God shewed his love to us: we may say, Lord, hereby we know thou lovest us, that thou hast given thine Isaac, thine only Son for us, and hereby Lord shal men and Angels know that we love thee, that whatsoever is dear to our souls thou shalt have it, we will offer it up to thee in way of sacrifice: this is a conversation that be∣comes the Gospel. So that when God cals for anything, never think it much, Oh this is hard and costly and dear to me, and how shall I part with this? Is this becoming the Gospel, to stand with God for any thing? for thy love must be somewhat sutable to Gods; His love was such as he gave the dearest to thee, Page  56 and thy love therefore (if it runs paralel with his) must give the dearest to him.

And then if we be acted by love (for that's the conversation that becomes the Gospel to be acted in all that we do with love to God) to be in a flame of love continually, as the Salaman∣der (they say) doth alwaies live in the fire; so should we do in the fire of love, not in the fire of contention: But now, Love hath no need of any argument to do any thing but only this, this thing will be pleasing unto him that I do tender it unto, it will please my Father; that's argument enough for Love, that if I do such a thing it will please my beloved; therefore never stand arguing thus, Such a thing is a duty, but is it neces∣sity? Must I do it? Cannot a man be saved unless he do it? Be all damn'd that do not this? These are arguments from base sordid spirits: but here's enough for love, here's a thing would please God; if we did thus, we should please God better than in not doing it: Therefore that place that you had before, in the first of the Colossians, Walk worthy of the Lord to all pleasing, let the heart presently spring upon this, There's such a thing pro∣pounded out of the Word at such a time, and I heard it would be well pleasing to God if I did this.

If we put but this upon you, you that do not set up the wor∣ship of God in your families, Do not you think that it would please God better to set up his Worship in your families than not? Is there no Conversation that your consciences tell you would please God better, than that Conversation which you live in? Would it not be more pleasing to God (ask but your conscience now?) if your hearts were acted by love you would presently fall upon that which your consciences tel you would be more pleasing to God.

And then Love: This is a maxim of Love, Love never knows when it hath done enough, it knows no such thing as too much, for men to say, What need we be so strict as to walk circumspectly? what need we do so much? why must we be so holy? This is a base kind of reasoning; Is this as becomes the Gospel? If thou wert acted by Love then thou wouldst never think that thou hadst done enough for God, Oh thou wouldst rather think, had I ten thousand thousand times more strength Page  57 than I have, Lord thou art worthy of it all, what soever I have, whatsoever I am, whatsoever I can do, thou art worthy of it all, never stand arguing thus, what need so much; is the thing a good thing? love never knows any such thing as too much.

We know love, It cannot bear with dishonor done unto those that we do love, if any wrong any one that we love, if our hearts be inflam'd with love we know not how to bear it; such strike us in the apple of our eye; Oh that's a Conversation that be∣comes the Gospel, that when we see the Name of God disho∣nored, our hearts rise more against any thing that is done a∣gainst God, than it doth against any thing that is done a∣gainst our selves, we are inflam'd for God when we see any thing done that is a dishonour to the Name of God.

And love we know it will make us mourn and melt for any offence to those that are beloved of us: So that's a Conversati∣on that becomes the Gospel, when we manifest melting hearts, and mourning spirits.

Love makes us delight in the presence of those that we do love; so that's a Conversation that becomes the Gospel, when we ma∣nifest that there is nothing in the world that we delight in more than to be in the presence of our Beloved; Oh to be alwaies with God in the arms of Christ, it is our Heaven on Earth.

And then, a Conversation that becomes this Gospel, It is to be of a loving disposition towards those that have any reference unto God. Reade over the Epistles where so much of the Gospel is revealed, for indeed there's the chief of the Gospel, though we call those four Evangelists the Gospel, because they are the story of Christs coming into the world, and his Actions; yet there is more of the Doctrine of the Gospel in the Epistles; for the time of the law was not fully expired till the destruction of the Temple; which was after Christs death, and therefore though the Gospel began to shine forth, yet till after the time of the destruction of the Temple there was not so much of the Gospel; and therefore reade (I say) the Epistle;, and you shall find there is no one particular duty that the Gospel so calls for from men (besides faith in Jesus Christ) as it doth love in Christians one towards another, yea love to all: if you reade the Epistles of Paul, divers places in the Romans, and in the E∣phesians,Page  58 and Philippians, and Colossians, continually still they are beating upon love; and especially in the Epistles of John (that was the beloved Disciple and lay in the bosom of Christ) nothing so much as love, because this indeed is the Conversa∣tion that becomes the Gospel, for the main thing in the Gospel, it is the declaring of the love of God; and therefore Christi∣ans that would live as becomes the Gospel, they must live so as acted by love: And so in the story of the Acts, presently as soon as you reade of any that the Gospel did prevail withal, they had one heart and one mind, Oh how did they cleave one to another! their hearts were one. And so we find in the stories of the Primitive times, I remember Tertullian saith, that that was the way that the Heathens and persecutors did use to find out who were Christians, for the Christians did meet at nights for fear of danger, & did as wisely as they could to keep them∣selves from their persecutors, but they found this by experience that when they were converted to Christian Religion, then there was another kind of spirit in them that did act them, and especially a spirit of love one to another, there was ano∣ther kind of love of Christians one towards another then, than of any other society of man kind; the Heathens saw this, and wondred at it, and it was by this that they found out who were Christians, if they saw any people beginning to have a spirit of love more than before, they would think surely these have heard of this Christian Religion, and they begin to be Christi∣an; this was the glory of Christian Religion in those times, that there was such intire love and union of hearts amongst them. The Apostle John would have such love as that Christi∣ans should be willing to die one for another, and they did so in the primitive times, Oh this were becoming the Gospel indeed: But Oh how far, how far are we from such a Conversation in such times as we live in now! as if so be that the Gospel were gone from us, we speak of the Gospel as if it were reveal'd more now than ever, and much concerning free grace in the Gospel, but look upon the Conversations of men, they were never more unsutable to the Gospel, and in this particular, in re∣spect of the sincere love in the hearts of Christians: My bre∣thren, malitious dispositions are extreamly unbecoming the Page  59 Gospel, hateful and malitious dispositions, What doth a beastly, brutish, savigeness do, the fierceness of beasts do in the breast of a Christian? Oh it is infinitely unbeseeming a Chri∣stian to have an unloving disposition, a hateful disposition, to be hating one another, and to have a spirit of opposition and contradiction, and frowardness one against another, there is nothing more unbeseeming the Gospel of Jesus Christ than this. I remember I have read even of one of the Heathen Emperors, that being convinced somewhat about Christ, and hearing much of him, saw two that professed the name of Christians to fall out bitterly one with another, which as soon as he per∣ceived he cals them to him, and gives a straight command that they should never afterward, presume to call themselves by the name of Christians; No (saith he) you do not do according to your Master that you profess, your life is unsutable to your Master, even one that was but a Heathen himself speak this. Oh if we profess our selves Christians let our Conversations be as becomes the Gospel in point of love, and make that to be the argument of love, the love of God revealed in the Gospel; there are a great many arguments of love from humane socie∣ty, from reason, that men that live together they should love one another as men, and that there comes a great deal of hurt from frowardness and bitterness, and that it is against the rules of society, and that men cannot live quietly except there be some way of sodering by love; these arguments are some∣what, and yet these would be among Heathens: Oh but now, those that profess the Gospel of Christ, have one argument that is infinitely beyond all arguments that can be imagined, and that is in John, 3. 16. (before named) So God loved the world, loved the world, that he gave his only begotten. We hear how the love of God that was in the heart of God from all eternity is brought forth and revealed in the Gospel, Oh let this inflame our hearts with love, Oh that there might be never a Christi∣an that professes the Name of Christ, but that it might appear in him that his heart is sweetened with love, and that he doth live (as it were) in the very element of love, and acted by love in all that he doth, O this would beautifie your Christian profes∣sion more than all your talking of this and the other things: Page  60 Oh that it were come again, that this becoming Conversation of Christians were come again into the world. I remember I have heard a speech of Dr. Whittacre rebuking the Conversa∣tion of the Scholers in Cambridg, he had this speech, Surely (saith he) this that we preach is not the Gospel, or otherwise we are no Gospelers, because our Conversation is so different from the Gospel; and so we may say of this one particular in re∣spect of love, either it is but a fansie that we hear so much of the love of God in Jesus Christ in the Gospel, or otherwise we are no Gospelers, we are no true Professors of the Gospel: what∣ever profession we make of the Gospel, yet except there doth appear divine love to act us in all that we do God will not own us for Gospelers; for certainly it is a main scope that God hath in the revealing the Gospel to sweeten the hearts of men with love, either deny the profession, or walk more lovingly than thou hast done towards those that make the same profes∣sion: yea thou shouldest walk lovingly towards thy enemies, for the Gospel reveals much of Gods goodness even towards the whol world in general, so that there should be love even towards all from the knowledge of the Gospel; Oh that it might be said of men and women, that were of rugged, harsh, and malitious dispositions before, yet since it pleased God that they came to the Ministry of the Gospel, and heard the Truths of the Gospel opened to them, Oh since that time their hearts have been altered and changed, Oh of what sweet dispo∣sitions they are of now, the husband towards the wife, and the wife towards the husband, in a family there was nothing but harshness and brawling, but now nothing but sweetness and love and this from the knowledg of the love of God in Jesus Christ: that love will be a Divine grace indeed that's rai∣sed in the hearts of men, and acted from this principle of the knowledg of the love of God in Jesus Christ. This is the first thing, and the great thing that is held forth in the Gospel, namely the love of God to man-kind.

I'le but name one or two things more now, and the next is this.

The infinite willingness of God to be at peace and to be re∣concil'd unto those who have offended him, yea to his enemies, Page  61 what is the scope of the Gospel? the eternal love of God to man-kind in Christ: That's the first thing. Then the second thing is the infinite willingness that there is in God to be at peace to be reconciled to such as have offended him; this is held forth in the Gospel, the Gospel is the Ministry of reconci∣liation, now what Conversation should be in us becoming this in the Gospel that is held forth?

And then the infinite mercy of God in the Gospel in delive∣ring poor creatures out of a depth of misery, that's a main thing in the Gospel, and many other particulars as the infi∣nite hatred that God hath against sin, and the great price paid for souls that's held forth in the Gospel too, with divers other things that might be spoken of. But I beseech you consider of the point that we are about, namely to shew you what the Gospel holds forth to us; and then what Conversation be∣comes all these things, and is sutable to them. If God would but be pleased to go along even with this one point that we are now upon, we hope it may lighten the Conversation of Chri∣stians, and withal may commend this word of grace to those that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death; and may (if God will say Amen unto it) in some measure recover the disho∣nor that hath been cast upon the Gospel of Christ in these lat∣ter times, by that loose and uneven walking amongst professors themselves; which hath very much darkned the glory of this marvellous great light, Which should be a lamp unto their feet, and a light unto their paths. Oh that Jesus Christ from whose hand and heart this Gospel came would now preach it home to every heart of us, that the truths thereof, may be turned into grace, spirit and life in the midst of us, so that our lives and Conversa∣tions may be a daily practical sermon of holiness, in particular, That we love one another as becomes the Gospels