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  62

SERMON IV.


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

WEE closed with this the last day,* that we should love one another. This holds forth unto us, not only the love of God the Father, but the infinit love of Jesus Christ the second Per∣son in Trinity, and this cals for love one to another; And I'le hint unto you one or two Scriptures more about this: there is union of Christian hearts in one bend of love: No duty more inculcated in the new Testament (next unto Faith, that great engin of the Covenant of grace) than Love, and love one unto another; and upon the consideration of the infinit love of God, and of Jesus Christ unto us.

Ephesi. 3. 19. compared with Ephesians, 4. 1. And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge; that ye might be filled with all fulness of God. Then in the beginning of the 4. Chapter, I therefore (here's an inference with the use of it) the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you, That you walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called. You are called to Christ, to the Gospel, and there you have the love of Christ made known. How shal they walk wor∣thy of this vocation; with all lowliness, and meekness, with long∣suffering, forbearing one another in love. Endeavouring to keep the uni∣ty of the Spirit in the bond of peace. He prayed before, that they might know the love of Christ: therefore upon that he doth exhort them, and builds his exhortation, or rather his besee∣ching Page  63 that they would with all lowliness, meekness, and long∣suffering, forbear one another in love; for you are called to the profession of the Gospel, and there you have the love of the Fa∣ther, and of Christ set forth unto you: now would you walk worthy of this calling? then let there be much meekness, and forbearing one another in love; In Ephes. 5. 2. And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us, an offe∣ring and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour: Walk in love as Christ hath loved us, that is, sutable; as if the Apostle should say, would you walk sutable to the Gospel of Christ that you profess? Walk in love then as Christ hath loved us, this is a prin∣cipal thing. In the Gospel you come to know the love of Christ otherwise than other men do know it, therefore walk in love, Walk in love as Christ hath loved us, make the love of Christ to be a pattern for your love; there is nothing (as I told you) that is more unbeseeming the Gospel of Christ, than a hateful, mali∣tious, rugged, dog star disposition, than for Christians to be tea∣ring one another, & falling out one with another, as those beasts at Ephesus that Paul complains of; Oh this is infinitely unbe∣seeming the Gospel of Christ: Do you know what the love of God means in Jesus Christ? are you sensible of the love of Christ? Oh this love should sweeten your hearts that there should be no more bitterness in you, but you should live in this Element of love. Saith an Ancient, what doth beastly fierceness and cruelty, and savigeness do in the breast of a Christian? it is un∣beseeming the name of a Christian, Therefore let your Conver∣sation be as becometh the Gospel of Christ, that holds forth love; Oh let there be much love in you, be you acted by love in all your waies, so that they that run may reade this new Commandment which Christ left unto his followers, That they love one another in deed and in truth.

Secondly, The Gospel of Christ it holds forth this, The infi∣nit willingness of God to be at peace with man-kind, to be reconciled un∣to man, unto those who have offended him, yea to those who are ene∣mies unto him: This is the scope of the Gospel, (a principal scope) I say God would in the Gospel make known to all the world his infinite willingness to be reconcil'd to such as have offended him: Indeed without the Gospel we might apprehend Page  64 this, that the Lord is a God that is full of goodness, that He is good and doth good, that all good is in him; but to apprehend God to be such a God of peace, so infinitely set upon it, (as I may so say) to be reconciled to such as are enemies, could never have been known but by this Gospel of Christ; herein we find that though there was an infinite difference between God and man, between Heaven and Earth through our sinning sin, yet the Lord was willing to be reconciled, yea though the offence of man was exceeding great so that it cried for vengance, yet he was pleased wonderfully to condescend to make a peace with him: Yea though the Lord had man under his power and could do what He pleased with him, He had His enemy un∣der His feet, and might have broken him all to pieces with His iron-rod as a Potters vessel (which when it is broken can never be made whol again) yet He was willing to be reconci∣led.

Thirdly, Though God had no need at all of us, He was infinitly bles∣sed in himself, who is perfection and blessedness it self. Sometimes we are willing to be reconcil'd to our enemies, either because we have them not under our power, or because we have some need of them; but God that had us under his hand, and might easi∣ly have destroyed us, and had no need at all of us, yet was de∣sirous to spare us, as a father spareth his only son whom he lo∣veth,

Fourthly, The Gospel holds this out to us, That the Lord He begins the work of reconciliation, He first loving us, the infinit God seeketh to us his creatures to come in to be reconciled, therefore he sends his Ambassadors of peace to beseech us in Christs stead to come in to be reconciled to him, to accept of His Propositi∣ons of Peace which make so much for our everlasting salvati∣on.

Fiftly, Though reconciliation must cost God very dear; that God must be at a great deal of costs and charges to reconcile His creatures to himself▪ it cost no less than the blood of his only begotten Son, and yet he is willing to be reconcil'd: saith God, my heart is set upon this work, and let it cost what it will, if it were ten thousand worlds yet my heart i so upon it, that I will bring them in that they may be reconciled to me, and made one with me.

Page  65 Sixthly and lastly, The Gospel reveals this, That God is so set upon reconciliation, and is so reconcil'd to such as do imbrace the Gospel as he will never be at enmity with them again. Being once reconcil'd, he wil never suffer such a breach to be made between Man-kind and Himself any more. He wil be their Father in Christ, and ye shall be his Sons and Daughters through Him to all eternity in Christ Jesus our Lord. Who shall separate us from the love of God? Thus the Gospel holds forth, not only reconciliation, but such reconciliation as this is, which men and Angels can never suf∣ficiently admire and bless God for. This is a Second beam (as I may so say) of the Gospel. Then what manner of persons ought we to be? our conversations must be as becomes this Gospel of Christ in this great thing that the Gospel holds forth unto us. Surely then, this cals to us al aloud to love peace, O love peace, Is God so set upon peace as he is? and is he willing to be at so great cost for peace? Oh let us love peace, let us follow peace, lets pursue peace, let's seek peace, let us do what we can pos∣sibly for peace, If it be possible as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men: Let us account peace never bought too dear with any thing but sin: The Lord Christ would not sin to purchase peace, if it could possibly have been conceived that any sin should have bin committed Christ would never have purchased peace that way; but if it be by any way of suffering, by his be∣ing willing to leave the Heavens for a while to take upon him the form of a servant, yea to have the sence of the influences of the love of his Father ecclipsed for a time, he was willing to en∣dure, yea to be made a curse, whatsoever he suffered in his Name, he was willing to endure any thing to make peace between God and man, to reconcile the World to Heaven: Oh! let us love peace, that's becoming the Gospel of Christ, for our hearts to be set upon peace. And the exhortation that you have in the Ephe∣sians (before mentioned;) it is likewise built upon the consi∣deration of Christs working so for our peace, Ephes. 2. 14. For He is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us, having abolished in Hi flesh the enmity. And then in the 16. verse, That He might reconcile both unto God in one body by the Cross, having slain the enmity thereby. So that this Scripture holds forth, not only that Christ is our Page  66 peace in respect of God, and he died for that end to make peace between God and us, but likewise that Jesus Christ did die to make peace between man and man; it was one fruit of His death to break down the middle wall of partition between us, and to slay the enmity; he doth not say, to kill our enemies, but to kill the enmity it's self; the meaning is this, that Christ died to take down the partition wall between Jew, and Gentile; there was an enmity between the Jew and Gentile that they might not one converse with the other; now it was a fruit of the death of Christ to take down the partition wall and to slay the enmity between them, that so there might be but one sheep fold, that He might reconcile both unto God in one body. Now, was this the end of the death of Christ, not only to reconcile us to God, but one unto another in one body, Jew and Gentile? Cer∣tainly there cannot be such a distance between one Christian and another as there was between Jew and Gentile: and Christ did so love unity and peace in the world, especially among those that made any profession of his Name, that he would die to that end, He would lose His life that He might procure peace between Jews and Gentiles, and bring them into one body: And truly so it should be with us, we should be willing, and those whose hearts are right (I say) cannot but be so sensi∣ble of the breaches that are among us, and the unpeaceableness of mens spirits, as if they could by the laying down of their lives procure peace, they should be willing to do it, every Chri∣stian should make it appear, that he is so set upon peace that if the laying down of his life could procure peace he should be willing to do it, that if we may make up breaches by standing in the gap, and offering up our selves a sacrifice of atonement and pacification, let us thus prove our selves to be the true fol∣lowers of Christ our Lord and Master who hath left us his own example herein for our imitation: this were an excellent thing beseeming the Gospel of Christ that we do profess, yea, we should not only be willing to admit of peace, but seek for it, seek for it to our inferiours, do not say that such a man hath wronged me, and therefore let him seek to me, Oh no, it doth become you that make profession of the Gospel of Christ, not to stay till he come to you that hath wronged you, but for you Page  67 that are wronged by another, even to seek to those that have wronged you, that they would be at peace with you; you might perhaps (consulting with flesh and blood) think it unreasona∣ble that you that are wronged should seek peace; I but it be∣comes the Gospel of Christ that you should do so; God sought to you, you never sought to him: If God had not begun the work of peace with you, God and your souls would have been eternally enemies, and therefore remember that you are not to live according to reason, you think there's all the reason in the world that those that have wronged you should crouch to your feet rather than you seek to them, well grant it, that there is all the reason in the world for it, I but what is there in the Gospel to the contrary? and you are not to live only in your Conversations as beseems reason, but you are to have your Conversations as beseems the Gospel of Christ: If you stand upon these tearms, let him come to me rather than I will go to him, Is this as becomes the Gospel? What do you hold forth of the great Work of the Gospel, if you do not hold forth this? Your willingness to be at peace, and to seek for peace even from your inferiors? and do not you say that the offence is great, Oh! 'tis a great offence that such a one hath committed, he hath dealt very proudly with me, and shall I seek to him; his offence to you is not so great as your offence was to God, and yet God seeks to be at peace with you through Christ: But he is my inferior, it may be he is a poor mean fellow that hath so wronged me: Do not you think there is such a distance between you and other men, it may be thou hast a little power in thy hand, and a few pence in thy purse more than thy neighbor hath; but what infinite distance was there between God and you then? Oh remember your Conversation must be as beseems the Gospel of Christ: I but it will put me to a great deal of trouble, I can with more ease have him punished than I can bring things to make peace between us. With more ease? Could not God with more ease have sent thee down to the nethermost Hell, how quickly could God have brought thee down and undone thee for ever: but God was content to be at peace upon hard tearms (as I may so speak) indeed they were hard tearms by which God came to reconcile the world unto himself, the hardest tearms that pos∣sibly Page  68 could be conceived, for Jesus Christ, his eternal Son, did take upon Him our Nature, and was made a curse for us, that knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousnes of God in Him; and therefore stand not upon any hard tearms, if peace may be purchased any way but by sin, stand not upon it, for this is as becomes the Gospel of Christ.

Yea, And when you are reconciled to your brother, be so reconcil'd, as to be firm in your reconciliation: Not as some, there is peace made between them, but how? so as they are ready to take ad∣vantage against one another upon any miscarriage afterwards: God doth not do so with you, the Gospel holds not forth such a peace as this is, that God shall be at peace with you for the present, but look to your selves afterwards, God will take all advantages against you that he can; if there had been such a peace made between God and you, you had been in Hell long before this time, and therefore let your peace be a firm, a set∣led, and a constant peace; Oh! that this were but thought on in these contentions daies, wherein there is such breaches between Brother and Brother, in every town, in every family, and none almost but are broken off one from another with an irreconcilable spirit; Oh! how unbeseeming the Gospel of Jesus Christ is an irreconciliable spirit? Certainly God hath not made thee to know what the mysterie of the Gospel of peace is, who hast war in thy heart and tongue against thy brother. And that's the second thing that the Gospel holds forth unto us.

Only take this one note in this second thing, That whereas there are many arguments to move us to such a conversation as now I am urging upon you, yet let Christians above all arguments, make the Gospel to be the argument of arguments to move them to it: As now, for the matter of peace, there are many arguments to move us to be at peace with our brother, from the inconveniences that will follow upon our breaches & the like, now shew your selves Christians in this, Above all ar∣guments make the consideration of what you understand in the Gospel to be the great motive of motive to prevail with you for peace, and this argument will do it when nothing else will do it. It may be a friend comes and perswades you to be at peace, Page  69 you will find a great deal of trouble in Lawing and suing, and enmity one against another, there will come a great deal of an∣xiety, and therefore be reconcil'd and live like neighbors one with another: well, but when you find that your hearts do not stoop to any other argument, then get alone into your closets, search the Scriptures, and there lay to your hearts all the argu∣ments that you can from the Gospel of Jesus Christ, there see how God reconcil'd the world to Himself, and how God was set upon the work of peace: lay them to your hearts, and when no other arguments wil move, the consideration of that through the blessing of God will do it. And that's for the second Point.

In the third place, The Gospel holds forth the infinit mercy of God to miserable creatures. When man was plunged into such a depth of misery, nothing but bowels of mercy did move God to help men out of that depth of misery that they were plunged into; and though man was unworthy of mercy, Gods mercy was free, yea and it was a transcendent mercy of God, The mercy of God is over all his works. The Heathens could understand that God was a merciful God, the light of Nature will tel us some∣thing of the mercy of God; but there's nothing that sets out the bowels of Gods mercy so as the Gospel of Jesus Christ doth, there you have the very bowels of Gods mercy (indeed) made legible to all the world, in Luke, 1. 78. Through the tender mercy of our God, whereby the day-spring from on high hath visited us: The tender mercies of our God, the bowels of mercy, so the words are: here's the depth of the bowels of mercy held forth in the Gospel of Jesus Christ; it's imposible that we could have understood the depth of those bowels of mercy but by the Go∣spel: Adam in innocency knew little of the mercy of God, for he not being in misery, had no need of that mercy to help out of misery, but though he by his understanding must needs know that mercy was a good thing, and therefore in God the First. being of all, but yet he did not understand that mercy that the Gospel holds forth, yea the Angels in Heaven know it not but by the Gospel, and so they desire to pry into those deep mercies of God unto man kind; Oh here are the mercies of God that shall be the subject of the praises of Angels and of the Saints to all eternity, held forth in the Gospel: You think 'tis Page  70 a great mercy when a child is sick, that God recovers it; you think it is a great mercy when you are at Sea that God turns the wind, when if it had stood but one half hour more that way it did, you had lost Vessel, lives and all; when you have been in any danger abroad in forraign parts, that the Lord was a pre∣sent help in time of trouble, when there hath been any affli∣ction upon your family, that God hath sent deliverance to you, these are mercies that God is to be praised for; Oh! but what are all these to the mercies of God in Jesus Christ, His right∣hand mercies; and indeed this would be a good argument of a gracious heart, when any particular mercie is granted unto them, either family mercies, or personal mercies. Thus to me∣ditate, Lord I am less, I am less than the least of all thy mer∣cies, yet here is seasonable comfortable mercies to me and mine &c. but O Lord what is all this to that infinite fountain of mer∣cy in Christ, thy mercies in the Gospel, thy mercies in thy Son, there's depths, infinite depths of mercy indeed, this is but a drop, and indeed that's sweet, but the infinite Ocean of mercy it is in Jesus Christ, Christ is the mercy of God to man∣kind, in the bowels of which all other mercies are conceived and brought forth in the world: All my fresh springs both up∣per and neather springs are in him, who is All in All. Oh it were a good argument that the Gospel is revealed to you, if you admire at Jesus Christ as the great mercy of all mercies, though thankful for every mercy, yet when you come to con∣sider of the mercy of Christ, look upon that as mercy of wonder, stand amazed at the thought of that mercy; well it's the Gos∣pel that holds forth the glory of the riches of the mercy of God, God is said in the word to be rich in mercy, He is not said so much to be rich in power as rich in mercy. Now what Conver∣sation is sutable to this?

What's that but as Christ himself saith, Be ye merciful as your heavenly father is merciful, Oh have you a merciful heart one towards another? look with a merciful eye upon those who are in great misery; this is it that becomes the Gospel of Jesus Christ; Oh a harsh, rugged, and cruel disposition it is infinite∣ly unbeseeming the Gospel of Christ: To see a Christian, one that professes the Gospel, that makes more profession of the Page  71 knowledge of God and of the free grace of God in Christ than others, and yet when it comes to it, that he hath to deal with such as are in misery, to have a hard heart, Oh a hard hearted Christian is a monster, I say a hard hearted Christian is a monster in the world, not to be ready to forgive others, and to do any thing for others that are in misery is devilish; but to re∣joyce that they may have any object to shew pity and compassi∣on unto, Oh this is that which becomes the Gospel of Christ; though they be strangers to you that are in misery, yet be mer∣ciful to them; for you were strangers to God.

Yea, Be merciful to your enemies, not only be willing to be at peace, but be merciful: Do you see any that have wronged you to be in misery, do not let them perish but let bowels of compassion e∣ven work towards them; Oh that our hearts did yern towards all: Christ when He came neer unto Jerusalem, He wept over it: Oh that the like spirit were in us as was in Jesus Christ: There's no such argument for mercy to others, as the considera∣tion of the mercies of God in Jesus Christ: Oh bowels of mer∣cy beseems the Gospel of Christ; and it should be manifested really: Let not people that are in misery have verbal mercies from you, that is, you seem to pity them in words, Oh but let there be real mercies to them, open your hearts and let some∣thing drop from you for releef of them that are in misery: it is a notable Scripture in Ephes. 4. 31, 32. and sutable to that in Col. 3. 13. in the 4. of the Ephes. there the Apostle (speaking of the mercies of Christ) saith he, Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice; and be ye kind one to another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christs sake hath forgiven you. Be tender hearted: Oh God manifests the tenderness of His heart in the Gospel; and this is beseeming the Gospel, to set forth this as a pat∣tern, the tenderness of Gods heart to poor sinners in the depth of misery; do you see any to be in misery, and do not you find your heart begin to break towards them? if you do not find your heart breaking, Oh set before you the infinite tenderness of Gods mercies in Jesus Christ, and 'tis that will break your hearts if any thing in the world will: And so in Col. 3. 13. a place somewhat paralel to this, Forbearing one another, and for∣giving Page  72 one another; if any man have a quarrel against any, even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye: and above all these things, put on cha∣rity. You see the Apostle accounts this the great argument of all, and therefore know that the Lord takes it very much to heart when the bowels of Professors are turned into gravel. Search into that remarkable Parable, Matthew, 18 from vers. 28. to vers. 35. where Jesus Christ Preacheth down all cruel and unchristian like dispositions in those that are fellow ser∣vants, belonging to one and the same Master, and living under one roof; yea, the Zeal of Christ did break forth like thunder and lightning against such a servant as takes his fellow by the throat, therefore (saith the text) ver. 31. His Lord was wrath, and delivered him to the tormentors til he should pay al that was due to him. The Lord Christ delivered that cruel servant, that hard hearted wretch to the tormentors that did a thing so unbeseeming the mercy he himself had received from Christ, Oh saith Christ art thou cruel and unmerciful when thou hast received so much fa∣vour from me, as a full discharge of thy many great debts? get thee to the tormentors, let the most cruel executioners of my sierce wrath torment thee without any mercy and compassion. Oh those that have hard hearts walk unsutable to the Gospel of Jesus Christ which is full of the riches of Gods grace to all. Oh you that have received any pardoning mercies from Jesus Christ, take heed of cruelty to your servants, to your children; It's very sad to see how some Professors cast the Gospel of Christ behind their backs, if their passions are but moved; what will ye bite and devour one another when ye receive the least offront either by tongue or hand? Oh where is you bearing and for∣bearing with one another? for shame do not fly in the faces of any (as a Bear bereaved of her whelps) when ye are buffetted by men, Oh remember Jesus Christ, Oh remember you that stand in so much need of mercy every day from God, for you to be cruel towards other, Oh here's a Conversation infinitly unbeseeming the Gospel of Christ, and it is unbeseeming the grace that is offered, to have a sullen, a despairing, and an unbe∣leeving disposition, when as we see those that are Disciples, and yet every little thing causeth them to despair, and to be sullen, and their hearts to snk within them, Oh friends is this an E∣vangelical Page  73 frame of spirit! let me speak plainly to you, when you come to hear the glorious, riches of the grace of the Gospel set before you in the Word, ye seem to be somewhat taken with it, but when you go home to your family, are ye not rea∣dy under the least cross then to bury a thousand mercies? Oh what a dishonor is this to the Gospel of Jesus Christ that re∣veals so much mercy of God in it, that it doth call for Christi∣ans that do profess it, to go through troubles, and through discouragements with cheerful hearts? and although there be many things that might daunt the spirits of others that do not understand what the mercies of God in Christ are, yet those that profess the Gospel should shew undaunted spirits, for why? It is infinite, free, rich, glorious grace that is made known to them by the word of Christs lips.

Obj. You will say, I, if I knew that this mercy were mine▪

Ans. I but dost thou hear in the Gospel that it is free, and there is no soul hath any right to this mercy, but by casting its self upon this mercy, and therefore it is as free for thee to cast thy self upon it as another; indeed the mercy that is revealed by the light of Nature, Is such mercy of God that is more con∣ditional, that is, if I do such and such things then God will be merciful unto me, the light of Nature goes no further than this; if I obey and leave my sin then I may hope that God will be merciful to me: It's true, the Scripture tells us, if I do not leave my sin, God will not have mercy; I but the Gospel holds forth mercy thus, There is mercy in God, first to pardon thy sin, and then to take away thy sin; now the Gospel reveals Gods mercy in justifying the ungodly; though I am poor and blind, and miserable, and naked, and have not power to leave my sin, yet I have free leave to cast my soul upon Gods mercy, both for pardon and for power together against my sin, for so it must be, indeed I have no power, I may not stay till I have power against my sin, and then I will venture all that I have upon Jesus Christ, this is the mercy of the Gospel; I speak of this despairing and sullenness of heart, as it's manifested in the Conversations of men and women, by which they do disho∣nor the Gospel of Christ, when they live in their families and their hearts sink in such a sullen way as if there were nothing Page  74 in the Gospel of Christ for encouraging of poor troubled souls, no more than men might understand by the light of Nature; Indeed if I did live better, and honor God, I might have en∣couragement that God would shew me mercy; but the mercy of the Gospel it is such, that there is mercy to pardon and to heal my soul too, and therefore though I be sinful, I must not stay from believing in Gods mercy till I be heal'd, but I must believe in Gods mercy that I may be heal'd. That's the third particular that the Gospel holds forth unto us.

Now the Fourth thing that the Gospel reveals, is this, That though God be infinitly merciful, yet He is merciful in such a way that justice shall not be wronged: and this is proper to the Gospel too. It's impossible for Men or Angels to come to understand this Mystery but by this Gospel-light, how God should be infinitly merciful, and yet that He should be infinitly just too; this is held forth in Rom. 3. 25, 26. Whom God hath set forth to be a propi∣tiation, through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness, for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God: To de∣clare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which beleeveth in Jesus. Now this is a great mystery of the Gospel; a Scripture that Luther fasted and pra∣yed that he might understand, and he was a great while before he could know the mind of God therein. Now the Gospel saith this, I will manifest infinit riches of my mercy, but yet so as my infinite justice shall be no loser, and therefore though I le save Man-kind, yet I'le save them by such a way, as I'le have as much glory of my justice as if all the men in the world had bin damned to all eternity: this is the mysterie of the Gospel, and 'tis cleer, that though God manifest infinit mercy, yet God hath a way for the manifestation of his mercy in the Gospel, by which the justice of God is as much honored and satisfied as if all the men in the world had been cast into everlasting bur∣nings, that is, through his Sons dying for mans sin, being made a curse for us; this is the great point of the Gospel, which un∣lesse we understand, we know nothing of Christ and his Go∣spel as we ought to know it. Most men and women in the world they seek to God for mercy, Lord be merciful to me, a sinner, but they think not of a way of Gods shewing mercy, so as yet Page  75 he may have the glory of infinite justice, God seals the forgivenes of sin in the Court of Justice as well as in the Court of Mercy; few think of this, and that's the reason why people are ready many times to despair, because a great while they having but slight thoughts of God, they hope Christ will be merciful to them, yet in time of temptation, when the Devil comes and doth set before them the dreadfulness of Gods justice, that God is a most just God as well as merciful, this makes their hearts to sink like a stone within their breasts. But now the soul that sees the way of God in the Gospel, sees that God is infinitly set up∣on mercy, and likewise sees a way how Gods infinit justice may be satisfied and seeing both these, this is a mighty help to faith; now let there come never so many temptations, when the soul is catching hold upon Gods mercy; I but saith temptation, God is a just God as well as merciful, and dost not thou presume? No saith the soul, the way of mercy that my soul rests upon, I see there is in it a way of satisfaction to infinite justice, as well as a way for the manifestation of mercy, and therefore though God be a righteous God, and a just God, yet here I see a way for my soul to be sav'd, yet for Divine Justice to have no wrong neither, and therefore I can beleeve and venture my soul upon this: It's impossible for a sinner to venture his soul upon any way of mercy, if it comes to understand with what a God it hath to deal, except it comes to know God in Jesus Christ, in that way wherein infinit justice is satisfied to the utmost farthing which is declared in the Gospel. Now what Conversation is sutable to this?

Hence let there be that Conversation in you, that may ma∣nifest that you do not turn the grace of God into wantonness, Oh a wanton Conversation is infinitly unbeseeming the Gospel, Oh there is infinite mercy and free grace treasured up here, and what wilt thou be wanton and vain and loose therefore? there is infinite grace, but what way doth God take to mani∣fest infinite grace? Is it not in a way wherein the dreadfullest Justice of God appears too? Is not the grace of God let out to you through the blood of his Son? wherein the most dreadful fruit of Gods justice is manifested that ever was since the begin∣ning of the world, or ever shall be manifested to the end of the Page  76 world; if so be thou shouldest see all the damned in Hell, the chambers of death unlocked under the wrath of God there flaming out in fire and brimstone; it would not be such a dreadful sight as to see Jesus Christ made an offering for sin, and lying under the vials of the wrath of his Father, falling down upon the ground, grovelling and sweating out great drops of water and blood, and crying out upon the Cross, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? This is the way of the purchase of thy mercy, therefore there is infinit justice together with infinite mercy, Oh be not wanton then, do not turn the grace of God into wantonness, but rejoyce in Gods mercy, yet rejoyce with trembling and with fear and reverence of the Name of God: When thou speakest of the free grace of God, and when thou comest to beleeve in the free grace of God in the Gospel, thou maiest come cheerfully and boldly, I but come with reverence and holy humble fear, I do not mean despairing fear, nor servile slavish fear, but with awful reverence of the glory of God that doth appear in the Lord Jesus Christ; I need not send you to the Law to cause fear in your hearts, there is e∣nough in the Gospel to cause your souls to tremble before God, as well as to beleeve in God, Even our God is a consuming fire: Oh what was he to Jesus Christ? I need go no further to lift up God to make him an object of my fear, but to look upon him in his dealings with his Son; and therefore those Christians that walk loosly, and altogether upon slight thoughts of mercy without any fear to ballast their hearts, Oh certainly their Conversations are not Gospel Conversations, for if thou didst understand the way of Gods mercy in the Gospel, thou woul∣dest see that that should fill thy heart with fear and reverence all the daies of thy life. And as to take heed of wantonness, so to reverence Gods Justice, even the dreadfulness of it so as the Gospel holds forth; to think that God would only have you to have your thoughts about his mercy, and not to have your hearts to give glory to his justice, it is certainly a vain conceit, and I fear it will cause the Gospel to vanish into little in the hearts of men; when men apprehend the Gospel so, as not to apprehend the dreadfulness of his justice; as if so be that God would not have the glory of his justice. Christ hath Page  77 satisfied that: Hath Christ satisfied that? consider what thou saiest when thou saiest so, do but consider how much of the glory of Gods justice doth appear in what Christ hath done and suffered; I desire to hold forth no further the glory of justice than by holding forth Jesus Christ to thee, Doest not thou think that God would have thee to sanctifie in thy heart and life all the Attributes of God that doth appear in Jesus Christ? Now the glory of justice doth appear as much in Christ as the glory of mercy doth; then thou that doest profess the Gospel, thou must sanctifie this Attribute of God as well as the other, thou sanctifiest them both in honoring Gods justice; I do not say that thou shouldest have a despairing heart, nay it will keep thee from despairing, or that thou shouldest have a servile spirit, but that thou shouldest sanctifie it with reverence.

And another thing that is very considerable, What is God so set upon the glory of his Justice in the Gospel? Oh labour you to be just in all your Conversations; you see how God prizes justice, that he will rather have his Son die and be made a curse, than justice should not have honor; Oh take heed of injustice, the sin of injustice is a sin unbeseeming the Gospel; and here's an argument against injustice, a stronger than I know any in all the Book of God, or can be imagined by men and Angels, which is this, That in the Gospel I find that God, hath His heart so set upon justice, that rather than justice shall not be sa∣tisfied he will not spare his Son one farthing (as the Scripture saith) He spared not his own Son, but His Son must pay to the uttermost, His Son must bear his very wrath, and all, that God may shew his infinite love to justice; Oh then, let Christians love justice in all their dealings, in their dealing with God, in their dealings between man and man. To see one that profes∣seth the Gospel, & sometimes accounts the feet of those beautiful that bring glad tydings of salvation, yet unjust in his dealings, so as do but follow him in his course between man and man, there he makes no conscience of justice, there he will rather break the rule of justice than (it may be) he will lose six pence, or a shilling▪ what if it were the losing of thirty, or fourty pounds, is it such a thing, that the rule of justice must rather be broken than the loss of a little mony? Is this as becomes the Page  78 Gospel? when as thou hearest the Gospel say, that rather than the glory of justice shall be darkned, the Blood of his Son must go for it, and God expects that Christians should be so in love with justice, that they should rather be content to be undone in their estates, to beg their bread from door to door, than be unjust in any of their actions, Oh 'tis an exceeding ecclipsing of the glory of the Word when Professors of it shall be false in their dealings; Oh remember thou Christian who holdest up the Gospel with thy right hand, that when thou hearest of the death of Christ, there the love that God bears to justice is held forth, and God is set upon the honor of justice and he wil have it: thy justice in thy trading, this must be made up one way or other, either thou must pay eternally for it and so justice made up, or else it must cost the Blood of Jesus Christ, God is set upon justice in another manner than you think of; Oh let your Conversations be as becometh this truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Fifthly, That the Lord in the Gospel, shews how he is set upon sa∣tisfying the Law, and what a high price he puts upon the Law; The excellency of the Law doth more cleerly appear in the Gospel than in the Doctrine of the Law its self; as thus, Christ came to fulfil all righteousness, surely God set a high price of his Law, that he would not save any soul living that had broken it, but by his Son that must come to fulfil it: first, He must have all righteousness kept; & to the end that he might manifest his love unto his Law (I say) therefore it was that Christ must come and subject himself to the Law, he must be under the Law; It was from thence that Christ saith, It becomes us to fulfil all righteous∣ness. So was God set upon his Law, that when Christ did un∣dertake for man-kind, if Christ had not satisfied every part of the Law that was required, if there had been one jot of the Law unfilfilled, all man-kind must have perished in everlasting bur∣nings: God sets an high rate on his Royal Law, therefore learn to prize the Law of God: It's true, you cannot keep it for justi∣fication, that was Christs task, so to keep the Law that he might justifie sinners, God by this teaches us to esteem highly of it, and not to slight it and contemn it: the Law of God it is a precious Cristal glass, it is the very glass of the holiness, and righteous∣ness Page  79 of God, and you must prize it, as you do prize your great glasses that your Marriners have from other parts; you bring home your great Cristals, of 20. or 40. or threescore pounds according to the largenesse of them: Now would not you take it extream ill, when you have bestowed so much upon it, that a child or servant should come and break it al to pieces? Now (my brethren) consider, The Law of God here resembles the Cristal glasse; and as in your glasses you may see your faces, so in that Cristal glasse of the Law, the holiness of God is tran∣sparent, 'tis such a glass that God prizes it more worth than all the world; this is visible: for the Lord stands much upon the observing of the Law, and upon obedience unto it, and therfore take heed of breaking it meerly to satisfie your lusts, to accom∣modate and befriend your own base ends, this is unbeseeming the Gospel of Christ. There are many that make a great noise about Evangelical truths, so that they cry up the Gospel of Christ, the Gospel of Christ, as they once did, the Temple of the Lord, the Temple of the Lord; and they think that this doth wholly take away their obedience to the Law of God, and that it must not be so much as a rule of life. Certainly there's nothing holde forth the excellency of the Law more than the knowledge of Jesus Christ (the only Law-giver) being subjected to the Law, and his subjection it was to take away our guiltinesse, to can∣cel the bond of the Law, binding us to eternal death: But we never reade that this subjection to the Law was to make void our obedience to it, so that it should not be any rule of life un∣to us, for indeed, what is the Law of God, but the pure Will of God? and do you think that Christ came to take us away from obeying the Will of God, which was Christs meat and drink to do? I stand not so much upon that term, Whether as given by Moses? but upon those things that are therein contained, therein revealed as part of the will of God, God stands much upon that, that we should make the revealing of these things in the Word to be the rule of our life, and this is manifested by Christs ready and full subjection unto it. And that is the first particular, what it is that we come to know by the Gospel, ac∣cording to which we should sute our Conversations.