THE VVORLDLINGS PORTION.
17. Psalm. 14.
From men of the world, who have their portion in this life.
THis Psalme is Davids moan unto God under Sauls per∣secution; sine dubio Saulum (saith Molerus upon it) without doubt the Psalmist aymes at Saul in it, wherein we have these 4. things.
Page 2First he appeals unto God to judge the uprightnesse of his heart, towards Saul.*Let my sentence come from my pre∣sence; from Saul and his Courtiers there comes a hard sentence, they call me Traytor, they call me Rebell, but Lord leave me not unto their sentence, let my sentence come from thy presence that I know will be another sentence, then what cometh from them, for thou hast proved me and tried me, and findest nothing in me; that is the first thing.
Secondly, his prayer to God to keep him in his way, his going, and his footsteps from sliding,* Lord whatsoever the wrath of Saul be against me, yet let neither that, nor any other thing put me out of thy way but keep my heart close unto thee, and keep my paths in thy way, let not my footsteps so much as slide from thee, for Lord they watch at my halting, if they can find but the least slip from me, they take advantage of it to the utmost, and I am a poor, weak creature; therefore Lord keep me that my footsteps may not slide.
Page 3Thirdly, he prayes for deliverance,*shew thy marveillous loving kindnesse to me O Lord; my straights they are marveillous, I know not what to do, nor whether to turn me, but my eyes are towards thee, as my straights are marveillous, so let thy loving kind∣nesse be marveillous towards me, and keep me as the apple of thy eye, O Lord, I am but as a dog, a vile creature in the eyes of Saul, and those about him, but blessed be thy name, I can look up to thee, and know that I am dear unto thee, as the apple of thy eye; all the Saints of God are dear to God, at all times, but the persecuted Saints, they are the apple of Gods eye; if at any time they are dear to God, then especially when they are most persecuted, they are the apple of his eye, and the apple of an eye you know is weak, and little able to resist any hurt, which makes men the more tender of it; the more weak and shiftlesse Gods people are for themselves, the Lord is so much the more tender over them.
And one argument that the Psal∣mist Page 4 useth in praying against his ene∣mies is this, and a speciall one, because they prospered so much in this world, they are inclosed in fat, and have their hearts desire, and thou fillest their bel∣lies with thy hid treasure, they leave to their babes, they have their portion in this life; Lord keep me from them.
Lastly he doth professe his resolu∣tion, yet notwithstanding all the dan∣gers he was in, to go on in the wayes of God, and expects a gratious issue, but I (saith he) will behold, thy face in righteousnesse; indeed I cannot behold the face of the King without danger, there are a great many that run to kill me, and I desire his face, but though I cannot see his face, yet Lord I shall behold thy face, I will behold thy face, and it shall be in righteousnesse, I will still keep on in the wayes of righ∣teousnesse, and when I awake, for I be∣lieve that these troubles will not hold long: I shall not sleep a perpetuall sleep, but I shall be delivered, and sa∣tisfied with thy likenesse, there shall be the manifestation of thy glory to me, Page 5 that shall satisfy me for all the trou∣bles that I have endured for thy names sake, that my soul shall say, I have enough; this is the summe of this Psalme.
Now the words read unto you, are a description of Davids adversaries, implying an argument, why he would be delivered from them; they are de∣scribed to be men of this world, they were onely those that were adversa∣ries to him; and a comfort it must needs be to the Saints of God, to see that none are their enemies, but wordly persons, men of this world, who have their portion in this life; they have somewhat here, and here is all they are like to have.
Secondly, it implies the argument, why he would be delivered; Lord de∣liver me from them, because they are men of this world, who have their por∣tion in this life; where lies the force of this argument, that he would be de¦livered from them because they were men of this world, that have their portion in this life; It consists first in Page 6 this, Lord, they care not what inju∣stice they do, they have no regard of any thing but in this world, therefore be it right or wrong, may they have but their lusts in this world, that is all they care for; Lord deliver me from such men; Secondly, here is all their good, their portion is in this life, and therefore they are greedy upon this, & if they may have this, let it be with the ruine of never so many men, though it be to raise their estates by my ruine, and the ruines of others, that are never so innocent, what care they they are greedy upon having their lusts satisfied, for here is all their portion; they care not for religion, they will make use of pretences of re∣ligion any way for their own ends; what care they what pretences they make for religion, so they may thrive in the world they regard not anything in religion, so they may have their own ends; Lord, deliver me from such men; Thirdly, they have their portion in this world, hence is it that their hearts are so swelled with pride in Page 7 their lusts, and so warm, their malice is so heated that it is outragious; O let not the foot of pride come upon me; de∣liver me from proud men that flusht with the enjoyment of their hearts de∣sires; As long as they may have their own ends, and fulfill their lusts, they will be exceedingly hardened in their own wayes, they will give no glory to thee, but will be so much the more enraged against thy people, by taking that as an argument that their wayes are good, Lord, therefore deliver me from those men; they scorne at prayer, or any thing that is said, concerning the tendernesse of Conscience; they despise Conscience and Prayer; Lord, let me never fall into the hands of such; deliver me from the men of this world, who have their portion in this life;* from the men of the world, that is from mortall men, from men though of the world, yet are not like to enjoy the world long, so some translate it, *Remember how short my time is, saith David how short, what little time I have in this world, the men of this Page 8 world, shall have but a little time here, the Hebrew word that is transla∣ted men, with the change of the posi∣tion of one prick, signifies dead men, mortui, as well as viri, (I say) with the change not of a prick, but onely of the position of one prick, of one point, it signifies dead men; they are men of the world, but such men as are within one prick of death, within one point of death, howsoever they rejoyce in this life; They are men that have all they have but onely leased for their lives, nay, not so much as leased, they have but an estate of life at the most, and this present life unto them, as in stead of all lives.
There are these 2. doctrinall con∣clusions in the words, that lie plainly before you; The first is, there are a generation of men, to whom God gives some outward good things for a while, but these are all that ever they are like to have, they shall never have any more good from God, then that they have here for the present; Secondly, that Gods Saints do desire Page 9 to be delivered from such kind of men; these 2. contain in them the hope of the holy ghost in the words.
First; there are a generation of men unto whom God gives out a portion,* some comforts in this world, and here is all that they are like to have; And now set your hearts I beseech you, unto what I have to say in this argu∣ment, for meditating what to pitch upon for such an assembly, I could not determine of an argument that I thought might more reach unto the hearts of those to whom I was to speak then this, and I hope before I have done, you will find it such a se∣rious argument that concerns us all.
I have read of Gregory that being advanced to preferment, he professed that there was no Scripture that went so to his heart, that struck such a trem¦bling into his spirit, and daunted him so much as that Scripture did, Here you have your reward, Son in your life time you have had your pleasure; O this was a dreadfull Scripture that Page 10 sounded in his ears continually; as Ierome speaks of that Scripture, arise ye dead, and come to judgement; night and day he thought that Scripture sounded in his ears; so Gregory here, you have your reward in this life, you have had your pleasure; this was the Scripture that night and day sounded in his ears; O that it might please God to assist me so far this day, that I might make this Scripture ring in your eares, even when you lie upon your beds, after the Sermon is done, that you may not forget the sound of it, Men of this world, who have their portion in this life; if this Scripture should prove to be the portion of any one of you, of the richest in this place, woe unto him, that ever he was born, which I shall anon make out fully to you.
But (you'le say) do you think to preach to men that have their porti∣on here in this life? I fear me, I may meet with such, whom it nearly con∣cerns in this congregation, therefore be not any of you too ready to put off this from you, to think your selves, Page 11 out of the danger of this Scripture; for it was spoken concerning Saul, and Saul might have (for ought I know) as strong arguments of Gods love to him, as many of you, I fear have this day.
[ 1] For 1. Saul was a man chosen imme∣diately by God himself to be the first King that ever was over his own peo∣ple, and was not that a great fa∣vour.
[ 2] 2. Saul for his person was one of the godliest men that was amongst all Israel; higher from the shoulders to the head, then any of them; and for his endowments he was a man, whom God did endow with admirable gifts of government, he caused another spirit to come upon him; he was a man that when he heard of his prefer∣ment, seemed to be very humble, as judging himself unworthy of such a dignity, saying, *who am I,and what is my Fathers house, that I should be thus exalted; and when he had been chosen, some that would reject him, notwith∣standing Gods honouring of him, Page 12 Saul had a mighty power over his spi∣rit, he was very week and a quiet man; for the Text saith, *he held his peace, when the Children of Belial said, what have we to do with him; yea.
[ 3] 3. Though he were quiet in his own cause, yet he shewed himself to have an excellent spirit in a publick cause, he was full of anger: when it was for the good of the people that he was a governour over: when he heard of a dishonour done to the people of Israel, the Text saith, that *his anger did rise within him; an excellent pattern for all Governours, for all in publick places, to be very silent, quiet, self-denying putting up wrongs, in their own cause, but to be full of zeal for the publick cause; to reserve their spirits for a publick good; Many, when they are anger'd in their private cause, and so full of violence, and spend their spirit there so much, that they have no spirit at all, when it comes to a pu∣blick cause, Saul went beyond them in this.
Page 13Further, Saul was one who was much troubled at the sin of the people against God, he had not onely a spirit to vindicate publick wrongs, but when he saw the people sin against God, his heart was much troubled thereat, and grieved for it, and being mighty sollicitous and carefull to pre∣vent sin in the people, this you shall have in the first of Samuel 14.33. they told Saul there that the people had sinned in eating with bloud, upon that, Saul shews himself displeased, come (saith he) and do not sin against the Lord, rowle a stone hither; he would see with his own eyes, that they did slay the cattle, and they did powre forth the bloud that they might not sin against God in eating bloud; this was his care; yea he was very diligent to enquire of God what he should do in businesses of great consequence, he would not go out, till he had first en∣quired of God.*
Yea more then all this, he was a man that had a very reverend esteem of the Prophets of God; when Samuel came Page 14 to him,*O thou blessed of the Lord (saith Saul to him) when Samuel shewed un∣to him, what his sin was, he c•me and confessed it before the people, saying,* I have sinned, I have sinned against the Lord, meerely at the conviction of one Prophet.
And God seemed to be with Saul very much, shewing great respect to him, to make him an instrument of much good to Israel; he granted unto him as glorious a victory as ever man had in this world, for so we may call it, and if there be any outward thing in the world, might be gather'd as an argument of Gods love, such a remar∣kable victory as he had over his ene∣mies; well might the victory you shall find in the first of Samuel 13. where the Philistins were risen up a∣gainst him and there were 30000 cha∣riots,* of his adversaries, and 6000. horsemen, and people as the sand of the Sea for multitude; well, here was a mighty enemie, what had Saul to oppose these? you shall find that there were but 600. men with Saul; there Page 15 was of one side 30000. Chariots, 6000 horsemen, and people as the sand of the Sea without number, and Saul had but 600. with him at this time, yea and of those 600. there was not any one of them, that had a sword, but onely Saul and Ionathan; for the Philistins were wise enough to disarm all the malignants that they accounted so, and would not let so much as a smith be amongst them; they would not onely take away their arms, but they would look to them to see that they had no armes supplied unto them, that was the wisedome of the Philistins, yet we find, if you read afterwards in the Scripture, that God was so far with Saul, and blessed him, and gave him victory over all these; besides all this, God blessed Saul with a very gracious child, a Godly Son of a sweet nature, Ionathan, which indeed if any outward argument in the world, might be an argument of Gods love; that might be.
Now put all these things together, and yet here is the man that hath his Page 16 portion in this world; I now chal∣lenge him that hath certain evidence of a mighty work of God upon him in Christ, let him shew me greater ar∣guments of Gods love to him, then Saul might have done, and yet it proved to be Sauls condition to have onely his portion in this world; God herein shews that his mercy is his own, and that he will let out his mer∣cy as he pleases, it is your Fathers pleasure to give you a Kingdom; the Fa∣ther deals out the portion as he pleases unto his children; God will let the line of his mercy go thus far to one and there stop, and so far to another and there stop, and then come in a crosse line again unto him.
God so disposes of his mercy, that there are some that shall have heaven and earth to be their portion, & there portion is blessed, indeed, there are some that shall have earth, but not heaven, and their portion is poor, and sad; there are others, that shall have heaven, but not earth, and their por∣tion is rich & blessed; there are others Page 17 that shall neither have heaven nor earth, and their portion, (you'l say) is miserable indeed, Gods mercy is his owne to dispose off as he will;* we read of Abraham: He calleth for Ishmael and Hagar, and he gives them a piece of bread, a bottle of water and sends them away, there is an end of them; so Jehoshaphat: He gave his other Son (saith the Text) gifts,* but the King∣dom he gave to Iehoram; so God hath people to whom he gives pieces of bread, bottles of water, yea some, to whom he gives great gifts in this world, but he keeps his inheritance for his Isaacs, he keeps the Kingdom for Iehoram; Esau he had his portion in this world, and such a portion as he thought to be a very good portion too: Brother (saith he) I have enough.*
Most rich men go not so far as E∣sau, they have their portion, and yet complain of it, Esau had his portion, and thought he had enough; Christs auditours, in the 6. of Luke 24. had their portion in this world, woe to you, here is your consolation, (saith Page 18 Christ unto them) O dreadfull speech, wo to this man, wo to such wretches, here is their consolation; Dives he had his portion in this world,*Son re∣member in thy life time thou hadst thy pleasure, in thy life time, and thou hadst thy good things, they were thy good things, those things that were measur'd out for thee, thou hadst them in thy life time.
In the handling of this argument, I shall divide what I have to say into these 6. particulars, that you may eve∣ry one of you go the more readily along with me; first, why it is that God will deal out somewhat to wick∣ed men in this world, why they shall have any portion at all; Secondly, that this their portion, it is confined to this life; and why so; Thirdly, some Corollaries that you will see will na∣turally flow from those two; Fourth∣ly, we shall consider the condition of these men, who are such that have their portion in this world; and fifth∣ly, we shall endeavour to shew unto you, who are those men, to cull out Page 19 of the congregation, what that man is, & which is that woman, that is like to have their portion in this world, and then sixthly, conclude in the words of exhortation unto you all.
[ 1] First then, God doth give to wick∣ed men a portion, he deals out some∣thing to them in this world, because they are his creatures;* saith Iehu con∣cerning Iezebel, go take away this cursed woman, shew some respect un∣to her, let her not lye in the streets, for she is the daughter of a King; so saith God, well, though these be vile persons, yet they are my creatures, some respect they shall have from me, some good I'le communicate to them.
It is not an argument strong e∣nough, that because you are Gods creatures, therefore God should be mercifull eternally to you; but it may be argument strong enough, because you are his creatures, you shall have somewhat here; for this time of life, is the time of patience, the day of Gods long suffering, and therefore somewhat you shall have.
Page 20 [ 2] Secondly, wicked men do some∣what for God here, some kind of ser∣vice that is at least materially a service for God, and God will not have them clamour upon him, that they have no∣thing for their work, God will give to every one, what they do for him, though it be never so little, you have a famous place for that in Ezekiel:*Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon caused his army to do great service a∣gainst Tyrus, yet had he no wages for it. Therefore God enquires about this, and seems to complain why Ne∣buchadnezzar should be all this while without his wages; therefore, behold I will give the land of Egypt unto him, he shall take her spoil, and her prey, and that shall be his wages.
Many wicked men, God doth make use of in divers services, and much re∣freshing and good his Churches shall have from them, the Lord causes the very earth to help the woman, earthly men to be of use to the Church; and God will not be be∣holding to them for their work; A Page 21 thorn may serve to stop a gap, though it be but a thornbush, and if it serve to stop a gap and be of any use, it hath some benefit by it, all that while it is kept from the fire; whereas were it not of use, it might presently be brought to the fire; An argument by the way for all men to be of as much use to the Church of God, as possibly they can, it may be that is the very thing that keeps them from the fire; thou art a thorn, but God hath use of thee, and therefore brings thee not to the fire, but if thou once comest to be unusefull, the fire is the next thing thou shalt hear off, I remember Austin,* speaking of the Romans that had such a flourishing condition for a while, gives this for one reason of it, that the Romans had brave spirits, they were men that had excellent morallities, and heroique kind of spi∣rits, they were delivered from that basenesse of spirit, that other people had, and therefore God shewed some kind of respect to them; many instan∣ces might be in this kind.
Page 22 [ 3] But thirdly, God gives wicked men a portion here to shew the world, what little good there is in all the things that are here below; certainly if there were much good, they should never have them; it is an argument, there is no great excellency in the strength of body, for an oxe hath it more then you; an argument there is no great excellency in Agility of bo∣dy, for a dog hath it more then you; an argument no great excellency in gay cloaths, for a Peacock hath them more then you, its no argument there is any great excellency in gold and sil∣ver, for the Indians that know not God, have them more then you; and if these things had any great worth in them, certainly God would never give them to wicked men; as it is an argument, there is no great evill in afflictions in this world, because the Saints are so much afflicted; so its no great argument there is any great good in this world, because the wicked they enjoy so much of it,*Luther hath such an ex∣pression as this.
Page 23The Turkish Empire, as great as it is, is but a crumme that the Mr of the family casteth to dogs; such an esteem had Luther of the whole Tur∣kish Empire, and indeed God in gi∣ving of them worldly goods to Turks and wicked ones, who are his enemies shews there is not much excellency in them; God therefore casts them pro∣miscuously up and down the world, because he looks upon them as worth∣lesse things, God doth not so much regard whether subjects be prepar'd to give him his glory of them, yea or no, you shall have them however, he is content to venture them.
Indeed when God cometh unto his choice mercies in Christ, there he looks to have glory from them, and he doth never give them to any, but first he prepares them that they may give him the glory of those mercies; but it is otherwise with others; as sup∣pose you see a man but gathering of crabs although swine be under the tree, he cares not much to drive them away, they are but crabs, let them Page 24 have them; but if he were gathering any choice and precious fruit, if any swine should come under he drives them away: so as for outward things, Crabs, the Lord suffers the swine of the world to come grunting and take them up, but when he comes to the choice mercies in his Christ, there he makes a distinction; O that is precious fruit; a Blacksmith that is working upon iron, though a great many cin∣ders and little bits of iron fly up and down he regards them not, but a Goldsmith that is working upon gold, he preserveth every ray and eve∣ry dust of gold; and a Lapidary that is working upon precious stones, every little bit he will be sure to preserve; a Carpenter that is onely hewing of timber, he much regards it not, if chips fly up and down, but it is not so with a Lapidary; so these outward things are but as the chips, and cinders, and such like trash, and therefore God gives a portion to wicked men out of them.
[ 4] And then further, God knows that Page 25 he hath time enough to manifest his justice upon them, he hath an eter∣nity hereafter for the declaration of his justice against sinners; and there∣fore lets them have somewhat, for a while; as you know it is natu∣rall in all, when they see a man going to execution, that is not like to live above an houre or two, every one is ready to pitty him, and to be any way officious to him, O saith one, the man shall not have comfort long, we cannot do much for him, he will have misery enough, shortly, and it is ob∣servable, let a man go to execution for wickednesse, and then he is pittied by all; but if a man should suffer for god∣linesse, then perhaps they will not be so full of pitty towards him; as I re∣member in the book of Martyrs, there is a story of Mr Iohn Frith, a learned godly Minister, and Andrew Huet that were martyrs, and were to suffer for their consciences, and the story tells us of one Dr Cooke a Parson in London, that openly admonished the people that they should pray for them no Page 26 more then they would doe for a dog, that charity of theirs that they talk so much of, is such towards them that suffer out of conscience; & as amongst Papists, so amongst ungodly men, let a man suffer out of conscience, they will rather rayle at him, and when they are in their sufferings, they will rather give them gall and vinegar to drink, as they once did Christ upon the Crosse; though in other sufferings they will pitty men.
[ 5] Fifthly, by this that God gives to the wicked the Lord shews what great things he hath reserved for his own children; surely if the dogs have so much, the Father keeps a good house, if the hang-byes may have such doals, certainly there is good provi∣sion for the children within, as by the afflictions of the Saints, God doth de∣clare to wicked men, and would have them draw such an argument from it; that there are fearfull things that are like to befall them, if judgement begin at the house of God, where shall the wicked and ungodly appears so by the Page 27 prosperity that wicked men have in this world, God doth declare to his children, and he would have them ar∣gue from thence, what then hath he reserved for his beloved ones, for his Saints, for his Children that are so dear unto him.
[ 6] Sixthly, God fetches a great deal of glory from hence, he fetches about his own ends very much, from the portion that wicked men have; as sometimes he doth it that they might stumble and harden their hearts, and break their necks at it, and to ripen their sins, hence he lets them go on a long time, and have their wills; *Wee to thee who spoilest, and wert not spoiled, and dealest treacherously, and wert not dealt treacherously with all, when thou shalt cease to spoyl, thou shalt be spoiled; I'le let thee go on, thou shalt spoil as much as thou wilt, and when thou hast done spoiling, thou shalt be spoiled thy self; sometimes God doth it, to fetch about this end, namely, to chastise his own people with the prosperity of the wicked, as I have Page 28 read of one, being a Monk was ad∣vanced to come into an Episcopall seat, and being a lewd wicked man, he began to be proud of his advance∣ment, whereupon hee heard a voice uttering these words, cur superbus O infelix, &c. why art thou so proud, O unhappy man, thou art not advanced, because thou art worthy of this honour, but because this City is so ill, that it deserves such a Prelate to be over it, in way of judgement to that place. God advances some man out of wayes of heavy judgements unto o∣thers, God gives them such a portion not out of love to them, though they are ready to gather the argument, but out of his displeasure unto others; and then, he gives a plentifull portion to many, to teach us all to do good unto our enemies, not onely humanitati as they say, but homini not onely to hu∣mane nature, but to men, to men that are wicked, some good must be done unto them.
And besides the Lord would shew hereby, that he would have no argu∣ment Page 29 of love or hatred to be drawn from these outward things; and indeed because he would not have them to expect any more; it may be many men that are ungodly, prospering in this world, they gather this argument, that therefore God loves them, & intends mercy to them; no, you may rather gather an argument quite t'other way because God intendeth no further good unto you hereafter, therefore it is, you have so much now; we use to answer men that come for their doal, when they come twice, why do you come again, you have had your doal already; so will God answer to many men, when they shall cry to him for mercy at that day, why come you to me for more, you have had your doal already; have you not had already more then your works comes to, more then you have done; you have had your part and portion already; indeed men speak much of Gods mer∣cy, and the mercy of God we ac∣knowledge to be very great, and glo∣rious; well, God doth shew himself Page 30 glorious in mercy that thou being so wicked hast so much as thou hast in this world; and therefore though thou shouldst be denyed of eternall mercy hereafter, yet thou hast cause to tell divels and damned creatures that shall be thy company, that God was very mercifull to thee, while thou diddest live in this world.
*But secondly, here is all that ever thou art like to have; 1. because there are some men whose names are writ∣ten in the earth, whereas the Saints are described to be men that are redeemed from the earth. It is their happinesse to be redeemed from the earth, and all the happinesse thou hast is that thou art written in the earth. 2. here is their portion, because they are vile in the eyes of God; if you should ask the question, why you give bones to the dog, and swill to the swine, and nothing else, why the answer would be, because it is a dog that hath it, and because it is a swine, it is dogs meat; certainly God doth speak exceeding contemptibly of all ungodly ones in Page 31 the world, let them be never so great in regard, of outwards; a vile person shall arise saith Daniel;* what is this vile person? Interpreters generally consent in this, that it is meant of An∣tiochus Epiphanes, that was a mighty great Prince, such a Prince as when the Samaritans did write to him, they writ Antiocho magno Deo, to Antiochus the great God, and his very name shews him to be a great one, Antiochus Epiphanes, as much as Antiochus the illustrious, and the famous, and yet when the holy Ghost speaks of him, it is Antiochus a vile person, they are vile in the eyes of God; if there be any in a family that you care not much for, you make no great provision for them; doth God take care for Oxen? somewhat they have but little; doth God take care for ungodly men. 3. Here is their portion, it is confin'd to this life, why they chose it them∣selves, & in that they have no wrong, they make choice of this portion themselves; Moses speaking to the people saith he, I set before you life and Page 32 death; so do the Ministers of God in preaching to you, they set before you life and death, what do you chuse now? you chuse the way that goes to death, you have but your choice; you chuse vanitie to be your portion, God does you no wrong to give you vani∣tie; now you that will indent with God for your penny, you cannot take it ill, if when the end of the day comes, God puts you off with your penny.
You know those in the vineyard, that agreed for their penny, they began to murmure indeed, when they came to receive their wages; but saith the Mr of the vineyard, did you not agree with me so? so you agree with God; all you intend in Gods service is, that you may have some present comfort in this world, you dare not trust God for the future, and here is that that God will shew his infinite displeasure against the sin of distrust by, that when the Lord propounds now in this day of grace, such glorious and blessed things to the children of men, and for Page 33 ought you know, any of you may have your portion in them, as well as others, & yet you dare not trust God for these gratious things; you think rather with your selves, let me have somewhat now, somewhat for the present, that for the present is reall, that which you talk off, is to come, & I know not whether they be imagi∣nations or no; Therefore you mean it seems to serve God for your present pay, & present pay you shall have & no more; there are some servants that are your day labourers, that expect their pay at night, and if you give them that there is an end, but there are other ser∣vants, that will serve you in expectati∣on of a reversion, & expectation of pre∣ferment, especially when they serve no∣ble men & Princes, though they have no present pay given them at night, yet they go on cheerfully in their ser∣vice, they expect some great reversions and leases, & preferments afterwards; & now though they have nothing at present, yet when the other befalls them, they and their posterities are in∣riched; Page 34 this is the direct difference be∣tween the men of the world & Gods children; the men of the world will do nothing without present pay, that which is just before them they must needs have, their hearts are upon that; but the Saints they hear what a blessed thing God hath revealed in his word, what a blessed Covenant of grace there is, what rich promises of glo∣rious things to come, now they be∣lieve God, and trust in God for these, and they say, Lord let me have my portion in the life to come, and what ever thou doest with me here, I care not; as it was the speech of Austin, Lord, here burn, here cut mee, but spare mee hereafter; I am content (Lord) to be burnt, to be cut, to endure any thing in the world, onely hereafter I look for somewhat else, and i'le wait for hereafter.
You'le not wait for hereafter, but you must have it for the present, and that is the reason you are put off here; O it is a serious thing, I speak off to you, many a soul will wring its hands, Page 35 and curse it self eternally, that it was not content to trust God for hereafter, but would have present pay; you that are great Merchants, if you buy a thing that is but a trifle, you pull out your purse, and give the mony down pre∣sently, but suppose you go to the ex∣change and bargain for 1000 l. there you may give a little down now, but the great pay must come upon pay dayes afterwards, it is not expected it should be presently done; so there are some men in the world will trade with God, but they trade with God for pidling things, for their credit, and ap∣plause, and for their preferments and estates: God gives down the pay pre∣sently, you shall have it, there is your mony presently, it is done; but now there are other of Gods Saints that trade with God for great things, for immortality and glory, & a Kingdom, and the Crown of eternall life, now they expect not to have it down pre∣sently they are content to stay; O these are the best Traders, the best Mer∣chants, that will trade with God for Page 36 great things, and be content to stay.
Further these things that are here, they are the onely suitable things to your hearts, and what will you do with any more hereafter, these things doe exceedingly please you, and give you content as agreable to you, and the things that are to come, are disagrea∣ble; what would men do that are car∣nall and wicked now, what would they do in heaven, certainly if you hate Gods Saints now, that have but a little grace, you would hate them infinitely more afterwards, when they are perfect in grace; & when all your common gifts shall be taken away, for so it shall be; now the things of God are unsuitable to you, though you have now many common gifts, and you now abhorre the grace of God, though it be imperfect, what then, when all common gifts shall be taken from you, and grace made per∣fect, how insuitable will it be then to you; therefore expect nothing here∣after.
Page 37Again 5. You abuse your portion you have now, what will you do with more, who will trust you with the true riches, you abuse that you have; indeed men of the world that are wicked, and very rich, and preferr'd to places of honour and power, O what a deal of mischief they do in the world, what dreadfull evills are they unto the earth; such men, how do they abuse their portions; why now as it is with a tooth in a mans head, a tooth indeed is preferr'd to have an emi∣nent place in the head, but when the tooth comes to be rotten, painfull, what do we, but pull it out, and throw it away: so though God preferres men to eminent places, when through their wickednesse they grow rotten, and do hurt, the Lord pluckes them out in his anger; they abuse their por∣tion, and do a great deal of mischief, therefore must expect to be thrown away.
But above all, the argument is, be∣cause they have no interest in Iesus Christ; the rich treasures of the infi∣nite Page 38 grace of God, are let out in Christ; God hath divers conduit pipes, (as I may say) of his grace, to let out unto his creatures; there are some lesser conduit pipes, and those conduit pipes may be opened through the generall bounty of God; but now the Lord hath the great current of his eternall mercies, for some that he doth intend eternall good unto, and this great cur∣rent of his, it is stopped by justice, the infinite justice of God doth stop this great current, so as it cannot be open∣ed to have any drop of that mercy let out, untill the divine justice comes to be satisfied; in the mean time the other smaller pipes run, the generall bounty of God still flowes; Christ therefore out of pitty to mankind that they may not be put off, with these generall out∣ward comforts, he comes and satisfies Gods infinite justice, that he might open the current, the sluce of his in∣finite & eternall grace to others; now happy are those creatures, who have interest in the Lord Christ, for this is his work to satisfy the justice of the Page 39 Father, that so the great pipe may be opened, and then flowes in all grace, infinite eternall grace, when that comes once to be opened, no mervail though we hear of such glorious things, that the Saints of God have in the life to come, no mervaile, why Christ doth come and opens the great sluce of Gods infinite grace and mer∣cy to them; as for the men of the world, they have but a little of the drislings of Gods generall bountie through some crannies, but the floud∣gates of Gods grace are opened in Christ: therefore till divine justice be satisfied, there can be no further good for poor man, but meerely the fruits of Gods generall bountie, and patience.
There are some creatures, whom the Lord hath left to the course of ju∣stice, they shall have what they earne, and no more; others there are, whom God hath set his heart upon, and whe∣ther they earn or no, God intendeth eternal mercies to them, here is the difference of the Covenant of works, Page 40 and the Covenant of grace, and there∣fore the one is left to himself: and the other, Christ the head of the Cove∣nant comes to undertake for him what he cannot do; they who are not chil∣dren, and must not expect childrens portions, as many of you rich men, when you die, you will leave your ser∣vants some legacy; perhaps you'le give every servant in your house 5. l. or so, but when you come to your children, to write in your will, what such a son, and such a daughter shall have, that is another manner of businesse, then 40 s. or 5. l. Great things you leave to them.
So the world may be divided be∣tween children and servants, for though the truth is, all men are at de∣fiance with God, yet God maketh them servants one way or other, and there is some little legacy that ser∣vants shall have but they must not ex∣pect the childrens portion; therefore they have it here, but must not have it hereafter.
Thus saith the Lord, if the Prince Page 41 give a gift unto any of his sons, the in∣heritance shall be his sons, but if to his servant, then it shall be but till Iubilee; this was Gods law, that if a Prince gave a gift to his son, his son should inherit it for ever, but if he give it to a seruant; it should continue with him but for a while; Here is the difference of Gods administration of all his gifts, he giveth some to servants, and these shall continue for a time, with in a little while all will be called for a∣gain, all the good and all the comfort thou hast, God will call for it again; but now that which he gives to his children, they shall have for ever, their pleasures are durable and their mercies everlasting.
Again the portion that the world hath here comes from Gods patience, now there will be an end of the mani∣festation of the glory of patience in this world; as there are some graces of the Spirit of God in the Saints, that shall have an end in regard of their exercise in this world, so there are some attributes of God that shall have Page 42 an end in regard of the manifestation of them in that way that God doth now manifest them in this life, and that is the patience of God towards ungodly ones, now if they hold all upon patience (mark, they hold all upon patience) when that expires, then all their good is at an end.
And ungodly men, shall have to deal with God immediately in the world to come (I beseech you ob∣serve but this answer) now they have to deal with God through creatures, and while they have to deal with God through creatures, they may get a great deal, & may make shift for much, but when they shall come to have to deal with God immediately, then it will be otherwise with them, as for example, there are a great many hang-byes at great mens houses, perhaps when they come to have to deal with the servants, they get some bits and scraps, and many things of the ser∣vants; but if they know they can have nothing, but from the very hand of the Knight or Lord of the house him∣self, Page 43 then they will expect no great matter; so wicked men in this world, they are as hang-byes and all that they have, are but as scraps from the ser∣vants, they have to deal onely with creatures, they look no further; But hereafter things shall be setled ano∣ther way, and all things shall be weighed by God himself, in a ballance of justice, & distributed by the hands of God himself immediately, and then things will be carried after ano∣ther manner, the Lord himself will come to dispose of things.
Then it was a speech of a German Divine, though he were a good man, and lived very innocently, when he lay upon his sick bed and apprehend∣ed death, he was in great terrours of spirit, mightily troubled, and some of his friends came to him, & asked him, why should you be so troubled, that have lived so good a life as you have done? this was his answer: The judge∣ments of God are one, and the judge∣ments of men are another, I have now to deal with God, it is true, I lived thus Page 44 before men, and men gave their ver∣dict of me as good, and thought I was in a good condition, but O, I am now to go to God, and to deal immediately with him, and Gods judgements and mans judgements are different things; when God shall come to weigh all mens portions out, as it will be, then so much righteousnesse, so much hap∣pinesse; you'l say then, Lord what shall become of us all, all our righ∣teousnesse is as the menstruous cloth; I but for the Saints, the righteous∣nesse of Christ will be put into one scoale, and their portion into the o∣ther, and their portion will be weigh¦ed by the righteousnesse of Christ; Now when thou comest to God, thou must come to the scoale, and thou wilt put in thy good servings of God, and thy coming to Church, and some good civill actions and morall things thou hast done, thou wilt put them in the scoale, God will say, that thou hast had already, weighs down all those. Hast thou nothing to put into the scoales but this? thou hast had thy Page 45 reward already for all this, and much more, then, if there be nothing to put into the scoale but this, thou art un∣done, and there is nothing for thee for eternity; and these are the 2. first things; now then some Corollaries from hence, and then we will proceed unto the other.
*Is it so that wicked men have a portion here, and that is all they shall have. 1. then, we may see a reason, why the men of the world are so cun∣ing in the things of the world, why they can make a better shift for them∣selves, in the world, then other men can, why, here is their portion, their very happinesse, and good is here; no mervail though they speed so well as they do:*We have not received the spirit of the world (saith the Apo∣stle,) we cannot tell how to shift in the world, so as other men doe, for indeed we look further then these things; you know a swine though it goes away abroad all day wandering up and down, it knows the way to the trough at night; but if a Page 46 sheep wander a little out of his place, it knows not how to come back a∣gain, but wanders up and down till it be lost; swine are not so, ungodly men, though they go up and down wandering, they know how to come to their trough at night, they have better skill in the world they are more artificiall in the things of this life, as the Scripture speaks, the children of this world, are wiser in their genera∣tion, then the children of light; why is it? why, their portion is in this world.
*Secondly, here we see the reason, why there are so great ones in the world, that regard religion so little as they do, and the wayes of God, and the Church of God, why it is not their portion: those things that concerns another life, is not any part of their portion: they mind what it is that con∣cerns the present life, because this is their portion; when many come into places of dignitie, and power, what are their thoughts, why now they think of gratifying their servants; now Page 47 they think of respect and honour that they shall have abroad in the world, and be accounted some body, now they think of revenging all their wrongs, of making up of all their broken titles, &c. this hath been here∣tofore very ordinary in men advanced amongst you, these are all their thoughts as for doing service for God, and for the Church, and vindicating the truth of God, and his honour, that is scarce in all their thoughts, for they do not look upon that as part of their portion; here is the reason, why so many magistrates are like to *Gallio, caring for none of those things; they were to him but matter of words, and yet they were about the great funda∣mentall points of religion, whether Christ were the true Messias, and whether he were God or no, but to Gallio these things were but matter of words; and so the great things of God and religion to carnall hearts, are things, of no great consequence; yea, when as Sosthenes that was the ruler of the Sinagogue for counte∣nancing Page 48 of Paul, had the rude multi∣tude of the Citie, rose up to apprehend him; Gallio cared for none of these things; what did he care for rectifying any thing that was amisse in reli∣gion.
O let us, (say they, that have their portion here) what ever becomes of things) let us have peace (say they) that we may live peaceably in our houses, and enjoy that we have quiet∣ly, they look no further then that, be∣cause their portion is here; As for truth, how do they reject that, and contemne it; such a speech (as is cre∣dibly reported) hath come from a Citizen here even in cursing of truth, so, as had he lived amongst the Iews, he would certainly have been stoned to death; let us have peace, and a pox of truth; I say, such a speech as this, among the Iews would have caused him to have been stoned to death, being such horrible blasphemy, but how many are ready to say with Pi∣late;* when as Christ talked to him of truth; truth (saith Pilate) what is truth?Page 49 as if he had said, what a strange man is this, the man is in danger of his life, and he talks of truth, what is truth? (saith Pilate) and turns it back upon him presently; just thus for all the world, are the hearts of many, they think what should we look at truth, or at any thing now, but to preserve our lives and estates, and outward com∣forts in the world; what is truth?
They are a company of mad-braind-fellows, that are factious and sedi∣tious; who talk of truth, but know not what they say, come let us have peace though it be upon any terms; who is there in this place that desires it not, the Lord knows, peace it is the desire of those that are accused most for want of desires in this thing; yea, we dare challenge any of you, with this challenge; those who have been most at the Throne of grace begging unto God for peace for England, let them carry the day those that have put forth most prayers for peace be∣fore the Throne of grace, we are wil∣ling they shall have the day; we read Page 50 that amongst all the tribes, that came up in a warlike-way to help the peo∣ple of God against oppression in Iudges:* that of all Nephtali was the onely tribe, that joyned with Zebulun, that jeoparded their lives in the cause of God, that would take up armes to defend themselves and the people a∣gainst oppression; surely these 2. tribes by the others that would not venture themselves, were at that time ac∣counted very factious, and very sedi∣tious; what they onely, Zebulun and Nephtali? why, yet that is observable, though there where none joyned with Zebulun but onely Nepthtali, there is no tribe of which it is so much spo∣ken, to be a tribe full of courtesie and civilitie, of a peaceable & quiet dispo∣sition, as Nephtali was; you shall find that, if you read the 49. of Genesis:* there are these 2. things said of Nephta∣li, 1. that he was as a Hinde let loose, & gave goodly words; I, but they may be but words of complement, and false; nay, when Moses comes with the blessing (you shall find these Page 51 2. places, one in Genesis, and the other in Deuteronomie; when Moses comes with the blessing upon Nephtali; Neph∣tali filled with favour, and with the blessing of the Lord; what is the meaning? Nephtali was a tribe that had most courtesy, and civility of all, compared to a goodly Hind, of a quiet disposition, and courteous language, one that had the favour of God, and the favour of men, and yet this Nep∣thali was the tribe that would jeopard their lives, and take up armes in de∣fence of the people of God, against oppression in those times, above all.
And Phinehas that was so zealous, and would make use of the sword, God said, *he would make a Covenant of peace with him; even with Phinehas that is such a fiery hot man, a Cove∣nant of peace must be made with him, by God himself, for he did indeed by that way procure peace to Israel; for so the Text saith there in that place of Numbers, that because Phinehas was so zealous, it was (saith God) Page 52that I might not consume them in my jea∣lousie; As if he should have said, if there had not been some amongst them, that had been zealous, and as they account fiery, I would have been zealous my self, and fiery my self, and consumed them; and it was well they had such amongst them; and one day those that cry out of them, may come to see cause, to blesse God for them; we had such, would not have the world put off, and gull'd with the fair name of peace; we know the di∣vell hath made much use of words in former times, and would fain make use of it, as if those that desir'd truth most, were not greatest friends unto peace, God forbid, but it should be so, why though it is true, we think not we have our portion here, and therefore we would not have peace upon any terms; Indeed we confesse our por∣tion lies higher, and that wherein our portion doth consist, we would have upon any terms; and therefore desire with Paul,*If by any means, I may at∣tain to the resurrection of the dead; Page 53 so if by any means, upon any terms, that I may have peace at the great day whatsoever I endure here; we would be glad that all our mountains were mountains of Olivet, but yet we would be loth to have them moun∣tains of corruption; You read in the Kings of a *mountain of corruption,of offence, so it is in the old La∣tine, now if we compare one Scri∣pture with another, we shall find, that was no other but mount O∣livet; mount Olivet was made a mountain of corruption: there Solo∣mon did build idolatrous Temples for the honour of the Gods of his Queen, those gods that his Queen did wor∣ship,*Solomon built Temples for to gratifie her, & it was upon the Mount before Ierusalem, which was the mount of Olivet, now you know the Mount Olivet had his name from O∣lives that did grow there, and were emblems of peace, but yet the mount Olivet may be made a mount of cor∣ruption; we would be glad that we might live upon mount Olivet, all our Page 54 dayes, but are loth this mount Olivet should be made a mount of corru∣ption.
*Give me leave but in a few words, yet to put some considerations to you, and if I speak not reason in them, re∣ject them; 1. because that you are so greedy of comforts in this world, you would fain have peace, but I hope a safe peace, and that is all we do desire; if the peace be not safe, O the bloud that may follow after; we read in the 27. of the Acts v. 13. That there was indeed a calme, and the South-wind did blow softly for a while, but pre∣sently there did rise a tempestuous wind called Euroclydon; take we heed (my brethren) that we be not delu∣ded with the softly South-wind, take heed that there be not an Euroclydon, that blows presently after; were we sure to be delivered from that same Euroclydon, we should be glad of con∣tinuance of soft blowings of the South-wind.
Can you think of a safe peace, to live under any arbitrary governments; Page 55 no, that you'l say; and therefore we account our condition ill now, for we have arbitrary governments amongst us still, do not the Parliament them∣selves govern in that kind?
*Give me leave in a word to answer this; consider of the difference be∣tween the arbitrary government the Parliament complains off, and what now you feel; 1. that was then when the Kingdom was in a setled way, and especially when there was no contra arbitrary power to oppose it, yet then it went on, and surely then it did but make way for worse arbitrary govern∣ment, but now it is in a vvay, vvhen the Kingdom is unsetled, & in a vvay vvhere there is a necessity of some help beyond the ordinary course of lavv, because of a contra arbitrary povver that is opposed; and is it pos∣sible for any man that hath any vvise∣dome, or understanding not to see the difference betvveen these tvvo?
But I'le shevv you a greater diffe∣rence then this, that that vvas before, those that governed then, suffered no∣thing Page 56 in it themselves; but gained all; novv those that are accused for the present, if that be arbitrary they suffer themselves as much as vve do, and their posterity suffers as much as ours, therefore the thing is far diffe∣rent from vvhat vvas before.
[ 3] And yet further, if you would not be carried away with words, but judge righteous judgement, consider this: can you think that if the adversa∣ries should prevail, you should be onely at the dispose of the King? do you not think that those that are with him, & give such strength and assistance to him, that you must not lie at their mercy too, and will that be safe for you; I put it to every mans conscience, whether he can think that it is safer, for Church, or Commonwealth to be governed by the King with those that are now about him, and an army of Papists, or to be governed by the King with his 2. Houses of Parlia∣ment, which is the safest way in the consciences of any men living.
Yet further, consider, if you have Page 57 your eyes in your heads, that perhaps what you ayme at as your end, your adversaries may ayme to be as their means, and what will become of you then, if that that you would have as an end, they shall look at but as a me∣dium; consider what consequences, may come of that.
And lastly, you that do desire so much peace to preserve your own por∣tions here, would not you willingly have such peace, as those that have appeared for you in houses of Parlia∣ment, in City, in Ministery, that have been most active be preserved too? are you so desirous of it, as to be willing to leave them to the fury and rage of their adversaries? were not this one of the horriblest wickednesses that ever was committed in a Kingdom, when men from a desire to save their own estates particularly, should betray those that have been faithfull to them in their places of trust.
It was a speech of Demosthenes, to one that would fain have peace. It is a vain and preposterous thing to desire Page 58 peace with the flock, upon this condition, that the keepers of the flock may be be∣trayed; The fair name of peace will ne∣ver prevail with a wise man, when this shall come to be the condition of it, (the good people in Chrysostomes time) thought it such a thing, to have but the mouth of one Chrysostome stop∣ped, that they professed, if the Sunne should turn back, & keep in her rayes, it were more tollerable, then that the mouth of Iohn Chrysostome should be stopped; they had such a high esteem, of a faithfull Minister in those times; therefore if you would be faith full to God, and to his Kingdom, and to those that have appeared for you, look after such peace, wherein you and they may be safe.
God knows they would have been willing, to have been as silent as you, but suppose all the Ministers of the Kingdom, and men that had ability to appear publickly, had all been si∣lent, so as the businesse had been wholly betrayed, and at length an ar∣my of Papists had risen, when you had Page 59 had no help to have resisted them, would you not have cried to Mini∣sters? would you not have cried to Magistrates? would you not have cried to Parliament men? if they have ven∣tured themselves to be faithfull for you, know, you can have no peace ex∣cept they have it; and it were an un∣worthy thing to think of your safety without theirs.
But you'l say, we would not have our estates, and peace, thus (as you speak) upon any terms, without any regard to religion, we have our por∣tion in religion, as well as you, and we have our consciences to look after as well as you; and God forbid it should be otherwise, but that religion should prosper too with our peace, but we would not have such Sects to be maintained in the Kingdom; let us have truth and religion, but away with the sectaries.
[ 1] First understand, who they are, you speak off; do you know wherein you and they differ? you cry out of them, as if they were of another religion, Page 60 when as when it comes to be scann'd, the difference between you and them will prove not to be so great.
[ 2] But 2. further, I put this to you; do you spend as much breath in praying for these kind of men, as you do in rayling upon them? then somewhat may be said.
[ 3] But 3. it is a vain thing to think, that true religion can be maintain'd, and have the liberty of it, without some difference of opinion amongst us; indeed the Turks have as much peace in their religion, as any religion hath in all the world, and there is as little difference of opinions amongst the Turks, as there is in any religion weatsoever; but well may that coat have no seam, that hath no shape; if the truth of religion comes to appear, certainly it is impossible, but many differences of opinion must come, and it is a most intollerable pride of heart and tyrannie in any whatsoever to think, by violent means to force all, to be of the same opinions that they are of in matters that are not of the foun∣dation, Page 61 and that may stand with the peace of a Commonwealth, too; you take upon you in that, more then Christ doth, more then the Apostles ever did.
But you'l say, if men be in an er∣rour, why should they not be forc'd, shall every man be left to his opinion, to do what he will?
No, I plead not for that neither; therefore I except all opinions. 1. a∣gainst the foundation of religion. 2. and that are against the foundation of civill government; take those 2. aside, and then for other opinions that are of a lower, inferiour nature, (I say) there you take too much upon you, whosoever you are, if you should think to force men to be of the same opinion as you are, and there is no such way to make a disturbance in Churches, & Commonwealths, then to force men to be of the same opi∣nion in things, that are of an inferiour nature.
I, but you'l still say, if it be an er∣rour, they must not be left to live in Page 62 it, if it be an errour; nay stay there, a man may be in an errour; and yet you have nothing to do to offer violence unto him, to bring him out of his er∣rour; you may seek to convince him as much as you can: but to offer vio∣lence, you undertake more, then God hath given you commission to do, what ever you are; & I give this Scri∣pture for it, with is clear in the Ro∣mans: One believeth that he may eat all things,* another eateth hearbs, let not him that eateth, despise him that eateth not, and let not him which eateth not, judge him that eateth; for who art thou that judgest another? who art thou that judgest? certainly one of these was a sin at that time, but yet, though one were a sin, yet they that were in the right must not by violence force those, that were in the vvrong, to their opinion; but they must leave them to God; (I say,) in matters of such consequence as these, it is a point of Antichristian tyranny, and noto∣rious pride in men, that have taken so much upon them, as to force all to be Page 63 of the same opinion; this is not the way certainly for true peace; but thus much for the 2. Corollary; The 3. follows.
*If men have their portion in this world, here is the reason why there is such a stir in the world by men, to maintain this their portion; what rending and tearing is there among men to preserve their estates? especial∣ly if they have a higher portion in the world then others; O, what a deal of stir is there to keep up their honour and reputation. There was such stri∣ving for the Popedome in Henry the fourth his dayes, that it cost many thousand mens lives. Such blustring men make to be great in the world, it cost the bloud of twenty thousand per∣sons meerely to satisfy the wills of a few; certainly one day the world will be wiser, and understand that they are men, and not dogs, to be subject to the humours and lusts of others, and that no man hath now any further power over them, but what they have by agreement from them, I hope men Page 64 will be wise enough to understand this, and not sacrifice their lives, for the satisfying of the wills of a few men in the world; it is their God, and do you say what ayles me, when you have taken away my Gods? here is the ground of all the stirs and combu∣stions in the world, because carnall hearts look upon what they enjoy as their portion.
But how comes it thus to passe, that men should be so greedy of this their portion? it is such an excellent por∣tion, that they are so greedy of it? is it worth so much, that they contend so about it? this maketh way for me to slip into the 4. particular, to en∣quire, what kind of portion this is, that these men of the world have, therefore consider. 1. what poor things they are, that they make such a stir about; secondly, consider the te∣nure upon which they hold, what ever they enjoy; and thirdly, consider the mixture of evill that there is in that they enjoy; and fourthly, the blessed portion that they loose, and Page 65 lastly, the dreadfull end that there will be to such men, that have their portion here.
[ 1] First, the poor things that men have here in this world, what are they? their comforts for the most part, are but imaginary;* in the 8. of Hosea, Ephraim feeds upon the wind; and when a bladder is full of wind, one prick lets it quite out: so when death comes, it lets out all their com∣forts; wilt thou set thy heart upon that which is not, it is not, it hath no realitie in it; in the 25. of the Acts;* when Bernice and Agrippa came in great pomp, to the assembly; that which you have in your books transla∣ted, great pomp, it is in the Greek great fancie; all the pomp and jollity of the world, is but a meer fancy, this is their portion.
[ 2] And 2. that they have is of a very low nature; this would be an argu∣ment we might Philosophize in, if it were fit, or if we had time, but i'le quickly passe over these things; it is of a very low nature, and not much Page 66 concerns the soul, all the portion they have here, therefore saith the Text here, thou fillest their belly; it is but a belly full, and what is that to the soul? indeed the rich man in the Gospell, could say, Soul take thy ease, eat and drink, &c. Soul take thy ease; because you have goods laid up, and because you may eat and drink; what is all this to the soul? Ambrose hath such a speech upon the place: if the man had had the soul of a swine, what could he have said otherwise; for indeed these things were suitable to the soul of a swine; you shall find that a man is not the better, because of outward things not a whit; the heart of the wicked is little worth; his estate may be some∣what worth, his house may be some∣what worth, his lands may be some∣what worth; but the hears of the wicked is little worth,* saith Solomon. And would, not you think that to be a great evill, that when you go up and down abroad, you should certainly know, that there is no man gives you any entertainment, or any respect, but Page 67 it is for your servants sake that tends upon you, would not that trouble you; indeed you come to such a mans house, & he seems to make you well∣come, and you have entertainment; I but you come to know afterwards, that it was not for your sake, but for your servants sake, that he loved you, would not this discourage you? the truth is so, all that you have in this world, it is for your servants sake, for your goods, your house and lands: it is not for any worth that is in you. It was aspeech that Socrates spake once to one — when he had a fine house, and a many brave things; what (saith he) there are many come to see thy house and thy fine things there, but no bo∣dy comes to see thee, they know there is a worth in thy fine house, and in thy fine furniture, but they see no worth in thee, indeed all these things are not souls meat, it is not mans meat they feed upon, it is but ashes, it is nothing to the soul of a man.
[ 3] And further, suppose it were for thy soul; what thou hast here is but a Page 68 very poor pittance, thou hast not all the world neither, though thou hast thy portion in this world; if thou hadst the whole world at command, yea, if God should make a 1000. worlds more for thee to command, that were all but a poor pittance, to put off an immortall soul with all; but what thou hast is but a little minuin in the world. All the nations of the earth are but as the dust of the ballance, and a drop of the bucket to God, what is thy dust then? what is thy house and land then? as Socrates wittily rebuked the pride of Alcibiades, when he was very proud, that he had so much land lay together, he brought the map of the world to him, and (saith he) pray shew me, where your land •ies here, one prick of a pen would make a de∣scription of all.
England, Ireland, and Scotland, are but 3. little spots unto the world, and what are your farmes and your man∣nours? you have but a little portion, if you had all it were no great matter; the truth is all you have in this world, Page 69 cannot be enough to make you live in fashion in the world, like a man; it is not enough (I say) for to live like a man in the world, to live like one that hath an immortall soul, like one that hath the image of God upon him, and was sent hither into the world, to do so great services, as every one of you were sent hither to do, and therefore it is but a mean thing, little cause you have to rejoyce in it.
It is true they that are godly, ac∣count themselves unworthy of the least thing they have here in the world; but i'le tell you a mistery of religion now, a practicall maxime of religion, that is a great mistery to the world, which is this, that a gracious heart, though he thinks himself un∣worthy of the least crum of bread, yet all the creatures in heaven and earth, will not serve him to be his portion, will not satisfy him; though he hath a heart that will be satisfied with any thing, as counting himself unworthy of the meanest condition in this world, as a present gift of God; but Page 70 if God should give him heaven and earth, he had such an unsatisfying heart, as he would not be satisfied with heaven and earth, except God gives him himself too; therefore cer∣tainly thy portion, it is a but a very little portion.
[ 4] Besides those things thou hast, are things that will vanish, and quickly come to nothing; it is said of the whole world, that it hangs upon no∣thing;* so all the things of the earth do: therefore it is said of Abraham, that he sought a City, that had foun∣dations;* all other things, are as things that have no foundation at all; there is a worm in every creature that will consume it in time; and the Scripture calls all our riches uncertain riches.
Christian, thou art made for an e∣ternall condition; these things are fa∣ding; when thou comest to enter in upon thy eternall estate, if thou shouldst then ask, what shall I have now, I have now thus much, and thus much in my whole life; but what shall I have now I come to enter in upon Page 71 my eternall estate? truly nothing at all. If a man were to go a great voyage to the Indies, and all the provision he makes is this, he gets a vessell that can make shift to carry him as far as Gravesend, that he will do, and what need he hath of provision to Graves∣end, or perhaps to the Downs he pro∣vides for, he goes on, & should go on now from the Downs, and begins his voyage, to go to the Indies, and is gotten into the Ocean; alas, his vessell is a rotten vessell; were not this an unwise man? truly this is the condi∣tion of thousands in the world; man, woman, thou art made for an eternall condition, God intendeth eternity for every mothers child that is here this day, and God expects that thy life should be spent in making provision for this eternall estate of thine, and thou thinkest of nothing, but that thou mayst provide for a few years here, & live in some fashion, and be some bo∣dy in the world. O when thou comest to enter upon the Ocean of eternitie, thou wilt give a dreadfull shrik, & cry Page 72 out, I am undone, I am undone, I have nothing provided, for eternall life.
Again consider whatever thou hast in this world, it is no other, but what may stand with the eternall hatred of an infinite God towards thee: it may be the portion of a reprobate, and will this serve thy turn? will this satisfie thee? will that satisfie thy soul, that may be the portion of a reprobate? there are many that are now sweltring under the wrath of the infinite God, that have had 20. times as much as any of you have that are here before the Lord this day, they have had greater estates then you, and lived merrier lives then you, & yet are now under the wrath of God, will a repro∣bates portion serve thy turn: therefore consider that to enjoy the dominion of all the world, may stand with Gods eternall hatred, but to have the least dram of saving grace, intitles men to the favour of God which is better then life. What a difference is there then, between the having the least dram of grace, and the enjoyment of all the Page 73 world, and what a goodly portion is there here that thou so much rejoycest in? certainly, thy heart is strait, that thou thinkest these things to be so big, as in a narrow vessel a thing will appear big, but in a mighty wide ves∣sell it appears little; so when the Lord by grace shall widen and enlarge thy heart, then all the things of the world will be little to thee.
Indeed if a man be below here, he looks upon that, which is next to him, that hath any bignesse in it, as some∣what great, but if a man were advanced on high, on the top of a pinnacle, then that which seemed great appears but little to him; so the men of the world that are here, lie graveling below, and the curse of the serpent is upon them, and they think the things of the world great matters, but grace lifteth up the heart on high to God and Christ, mounts it up to eternity, and then we look upon all things here below as mean, this was the reason that Luther, when he had great gifts sent to him by many of the great men of Saxonie,Page 74 he began to be afraid, least the Lord should reward him here in this world, and he hath this expression, *I did vehe¦mently protest, God should not put me off so; that is his word, according to the manner of his language: thus he speaks, when there came in things of the world, and he began to be tickled with honour, and great men did re∣spect him, O (thought he) I shall be some body now in the world; thus corruption began to work, but grace did prevail, and he breaks out with this expression, I did professe, God should not put me off so; the Lord shall not put me off with worldly ho¦nors and dignities; there are other things I look for, things that are bet∣ter and higher, these are poor pittan∣ces, for this soul of mine to be put off with all, there are other things I must have from the Lord, or else I cannot be satisfied; that is the first thing, the poor things of the world, which is the portion of wicked men.
Secondly consider the tenure by which they hold it; all you have in Page 75 the world, you hold it not by very good tenure, it is not held in Capite. I confesse this, I think not the men of the world to be usurpers, for what they lawfully get in the world: I think not they shall answer meerely for their using what they do, meerely for their right to use what they have; but they shall answer for their not right using the same; they shall not answer (I say) for their right to use, but for their not right using; they have some right, but what right is it.
There is a 3. fold right. 1. a right of justice, that we may claim to a thing as a due: what is not your right, you cannot claim. 2. there is a right of Creation, that God gave to man at first: you have lost that right now. 3. there is a right of promise; God hath promised all good things to his peo∣ple; you have not that right neither: you have neither the right of justice to claim, nor the right of your Crea∣tion, nor the right of promise; what right then?
There is a fourth right, and that I Page 76 confesse you have, which is a right of donation; God is pleased to give to you. And thus you hold all your ho∣nours, and estates, that are ungodly men; just thus, even as a man that is condemned to dye, and there being a little reprieving for 2. or 3. dayes, be∣fore his execution, the Prince out of his indulgence gives order to have provision made for him, according to his qualitie, that if he be a Gentleman, he should have such provision, if a Knight, or a Nobleman, he shall have provision according to his qualitie, till his execution; now no man can say, this man usurpes, though he hath forfeited all his right to his lands and estates, yet if the King will give him this refreshment, he is no usurper, but it is a poor right he hath, it is a right of donation; and thus God gives the un∣godly men in this world their right to outward comforts; you have your portion, but you see how you hold it.
The next thing to be considered, is, that this portion here, as it is poor Page 77 in regard of the mean things, and the Tenure; so there is a great deal of mix∣ture there in, and the truth is, all the good things wicked men enjoy in this world, will scarce bear charges; that is, there is so much trouble they meet withall in this world, with their por∣tion, that what they have will scarce bear charges; & if a man goes a voy∣age, we use not to count any thing he spends by the way, to be part of his treasury; now all we have here in this world is but spending money to bear our charges in religion: God knows we shall be at a great deal of charges, and afflictions we shall meet with here; but besides, there is a mixture of Curse in every portion of an ungodly man; if any of you think you get such a rich match, you get an heire that is a very rich match, & you get her porti∣on, & if it be in money, there you go & fetch away the bags of gold, that are her portion, but if it should prove that every bag of gold, you have of your wives portion, had the plague in it, it were but a poor portion; certainly it Page 78 is thus with all ungodly ones in the world, that all the while they live, whatsoever they enjoy, (continuing wicked men) they have a curse of God that goes along with it, and ma∣kes way unto eternall misery for them; as those that are godly have the blessing of God in outward things that makes way for their eternall good; so thou hast the curse of the Lord mingled with all thy outward things that makes way for eternall evill unto thee.
And then consider what portion thou loosest, thou hast got one, but thou loosest a great deal more; if a man had been at the exchange and made a bargain about some petty thing, and afterwards when he comes home, knows that by not being at home, he hath lost a purchase that would have made him, and his posterity: he hath little cause of rejoycing in that bar∣gain; so though thou hast got a porti∣on, that may seem to satisfie thee somewhat, know thou hast lost a por∣tion of infinite worth and value.
Page 79It is impossible to shew you, what this portion is; for the devil could shew Christ all the glory of the world in the twinckling of an eye; but if I should come to shew you the glory of Heaven, I had need have eternity to shew you, what the portion of the Saints is; but though I cannot shew it you all, I will onely give you a hint or two, that you know somewhat what it is.
1. It is such a portion as is fit for the spouse of the Lamb, as is fit for the spouse of one that is to marry the Son of God, the second person in Trini∣ty; 2. it is such a portion as is fit and suitable to an heire of life & glory, an heire of Heaven and Earth; yea, it is such a portion, as God doth give men, to this very end, to declare what the infinite power of God is able to do, to raise a poor creature to the height of happinesse; what think you this must be, that (I say) it must therefore be done, that it might declare to An∣gels and all creatures, what the infinite power of God is able to do, to raise a Page 80 poor creature to happinesse & glory; this must be somewhat.
Again, it must be such a one as in which, God must attain unto the great designe, that he had from all e∣ternity, in making of Heaven and Earth, which was to magnifie the riches of his grace to a Company, that he had set apart to glory; it must be such a portion; and guesse you what this must needs be.
Yea, it is such a portion as must re∣quire the infinite power of God, to support a creature to bear the weight of that glory; and all this must be now to all eternity; I remember when E∣sau did but hear Isaac his Father, tell what a blessing he had given unto Ia∣cob, he fell a weeping; O that God would so strike unto the hearts of men, that have so little minded any thing, but the world: Thou hearest but a few words, to what the Lord hath reserved to all eternitie, for his Saints; and compare but that with what is thy portion, and thou hast cause to weep.
Page 81I but more cause you'l have to weep, if you consider the last thing, and that is, what is like to be the end of all thy portion in this world; if in∣deed thou could'st ruffle it out in this world, and enjoy thy hearts desire, and there an end: it were somewhat; O, but there is somewhat else remains afterwards; as. 1. O, the perplexity of spirit, that any worldly man will have when death comes, when he shall see an end of all the comforts of this world, now farewell house, fare∣well lands, and farewell friends, fare∣well acquaintance, and all merry meetings, and joviallities, I shall never have comfort more in you; as it was the speech of Pope Adrian, when he was to die, O thou my soul, my soul, whither art thou going? whither art thou going? thou shalt never have more jests, nor be merry, nor be jocund any more; where art thou going? so may a man that hath his portion in this world, say at his death, where is this poor soul of mine going? I have lived here thus many years, and I have had ma∣ny Page 82 merry meetings, I have eaten with the strongest, and have drunk the sweetest, and gone in brave array, but now my day is gone, what shall be∣come of me, what peace have I now, when all is gone.
I remember Latimer hath a story in one of his Sermons, that he preach∣ed before King Edward, of a rich man, that when he lay upon his sick bed, there came one to him, and tells him, that certainly by all reason they can judge, he was like to be a man for an∣other world, a dead man: assoon as ever he hears but these words, what must I die, send for a Phisitian, wounds, sides, heart, must I die? wounds, sides, heart, must I die? and thus he goes on, and there could be nothing got from him, but wounds, sides, heart, must I die? must I die, and go from all these? here was all, here was the end of this man that made his portion in this world.
Another rich man that lived not far from the place, that I my self lived in heretofore; when he heard his sick∣nesse Page 83 was deadly, he sends for his bags of money, and hugs them in his arms, O must I leave you? O must I leave you? And another, lying upon his sickbed, layed a bag of gold to his heart, and then bids them, take it a∣way, it will not do, it will not do; An∣other, when he lay upon his sickbed, his servants came to him, & said, what lack you? would you have any beer? what do you want? O (saith he) I want onely one thing, peace of conscience, that I would have, it is not beer, nor friends, nor an easy pillow I want, but ease of conscience; O consider, whether there be not like to be perplexitie in your spirits.
And then (brethren) you must be called to an account for all, though (as I told you before) not to account for the right to use; but for not right using; and do but think with your selves, if you now have so much as you cannot reckon, how then will you be able to reckon for it, if now you can∣not count, how will you be able to give an account at the last day, espe∣cially Page 84 when you have had no thoughts of this before hand.
There will be a dreadfull portion indeed at the day of judgement, O the shame and confusion that will be up∣on the faces of the men of the world in that houre, when they shall see their poor neighbours have their portion with Christ in glory; perhaps, a poor servant in the house advanced to glo∣ry, and they stand on the left hand to be cast out; perhaps some of these poor hospitall boyes shall be advan∣ced to eternall glorie, when as some of you, that are their great masters, shall be cast out eternally; what an infinite shame and confusion will this be to you.
O now I see what it is to trust in God, and not to trust in him; those are happy that would trust for the future, but I miserable, that dar'd not trust in him:*The Lord will rain snares, and fire, and brimstones, here is the portion of the ungodly at last; appoint him his por∣tion with hypocrites, saith Christ, where there is weeping and wayling, and Page 85 gnashing of teeth; that is the portion of hypocrites in the conclusion; Now here thou seest the end of all, what dost thou think then of thy portion now? think but of one Text, and I have done.
*What hope hath an hypocrite though he hath gained, when God takes away his soul? Mark, there are many hypo¦crites that aymed to get estates in the world, but cannot thrive, God crosses them: well, but suppose thou aymest to gain, and hast got all thou wouldst desire; what hope hath an hypocrite, though he hath gained? though he hath grown never so rich, and got all he de∣sires, when God takes away his soul? this time is coming, it will be ere long, and it may be suddenly, the por∣tion of some that are here present, and perhaps this Text of mine, may then ring in their ears, when they lie upon their sick beds, perhaps within a month, or six weeks, when Gods time shall be, and then conscience may repeat in your ears; I heard such a day there were a generation of men Page 86 that have their portion in this world, and now I am afraid, I am one of them; and there is an end of my por∣tion, onely I must go to my other portion, that will be very dread∣full.
I but who have you spoke too all this while? who is the man that hath his portion in this world? it is a poor portion, as you have set out to us, but every one will go away and say, I hope it is not I, I hope God hath a better portion for me then this; there∣fore give me leave to speak in the name of God to you, and out of his word, to point out the man and wo∣man that is like to have their portion here, living and dying in such a condi∣tion.
*First, that man to whom God gives in this life, nothing but what belongs to this life, that is the man apparently; if God give thee thy estate, and if he gives thee not somewhat besides thy estate, that is a principle, that is a seed of eternall life in thee, certainly he never intends good to thee in the Page 87 world to come. There are many men have a great deal in this world & they say they hope, God will be mercifull to them in the world to come. Now this is a certain truth, that man to whom God denies spirituall mercy in this world, God will deny eternall mercy to him in the world to come; this therefore should be thy care, doth God increase my estate in this world? O that the Lord would give a propor∣tionable measure of grace, or else it is nothing; Lord, thou givest me here a great estate, if thou givest not to me together with it, a proportionable measure of grace to use it to thy name, I had better have been without this.
Is this thy care? I put it to thy con∣science; as thy estate encreases, art thou solicitous at the Throne of grace, that the Lord would give thee a pro∣portionable measure of grace, to ma∣nage thy estate for his glory; then peace be to thee, thou art not the man.
You may further examine it, by the Page 88 workings of your hearts about your present portions; As. 1 whether you enjoy what you have for it self, and whether your hearts be terminated in what you do enjoy; one that is godly hath his portion beyond these things, he enjoyes the creatures. I but it is God that he enjoyes in them; that is sweet to me, that I can see, and taste the love of God in; I but a Carnall heart enjoyes the creatures, and runs away, and is terminated there; looks much at the creature, but at little in God; as divers of your hospitall chil∣dren here, look more at the men that were their friends, to bring them into the hospitall, when they were Father∣lesse and Motherlesse, and shiftlesse, then they look at the founders of the Hospitall, they little think of them, to thank God for them, but if they meet with him that was the next cause to bring them in, they will thank him for his kindnesse; so it is with most men, they look at outward means and se∣condary causes, but a godly heart looks at the root of all things; I re∣member Page 89 one that came into the Trea∣surehouse of Venice, where he saw Ta∣bles of gold and silver, and he pointed down, looking at the bottom of the Table, whereupon one asked him, why is your eye so at the bottom? O (saith he) I am looking at the root of all this; Alas, it is a small matter for a man that hath a great trade, to have a great stock.
A godly man though he hath but a little, yet he looks at the root, at the love of God, and the Covenant of grace, which is the spring of all, and the chief thing that satisfies his heart, it is the goodnesse of God that satis∣fies a gracious heart, and not the bare creature.
Therefore examine, how your hearts are set upon these things of the world, whether your hearts go out with full strength to them; if you make your bellies to be your God, then your end will be destruction: That man that hath his heart swal∣lowed up in the world, like Corah, Da∣than, and Abiram, that were swal∣lowed Page 90 in the earth; if the things of the earth be a gulfe to swallow thy heart up, there is another gulfe to swallow thee up hereafter. Consider how do the losse of the things of the world, take thy heart; dost not thou account thy self an undone man, when thou had lost some comforts? dost thou not come home to thy wife and children, I say, I am an undone man? why what is the matter? I have lost some part of my estate; O carnall heart! one that is Gods child may have some crosses, but no losses at all; because he enjoyes all in God, and hath God still. The truth is, if thou wert truly Godly, whatever afflictions thou meetest with all, (as we say, a man may put all his gain in his eye; so you may,) if you be godly, put all your crosses in your eyes; you are so far from being un∣done.
Examine then whether these things of the world, be not the onely suitable things to your hearts? whether you blesse not your selves in these, as in your happinesse; the Ivie will claspe Page 91 about a rotten tree, and cannot be ta∣ken off it, without tearing; and so the heart of a worldling, will clasp about these rotten comforts, as the onely a∣greable things. You may hear them sometimes tell with joy that we were in such a place, and were so merry, & had the bravest meeting, and what was there? there was singing and drinking, and blaspheming of the name of God, & yet it was the bravest meeting that could be.
When did you ever come from an ordinance of God, and say, O it was a brave day to me, the Lord hath spo∣ken to my heart this day; did you ne∣ver go from the word, with as merry a heart, and rejoyce of it amongst your friends, as you did from a merry meeting? you may fear you are the man that have your portion here.
If I were to give but one evidence. whether a man hath grace or no? I would give this assoon as any one; Suppose thou hast got some estate in the word, I put this to thee, what dost thou account to be the chiefest good Page 92 of thy estate, more then thou didst be∣fore. A man that hath got an estate more then he had before, thinks with himself, now I may live at a better fashion, then I could, now I may have more freedom then before, now I may have more credit in the world then I had now, I may have my own mind, and satisfie my lust more then I did, or then another man can do; is not this the thing thou most rejoycest in; nay, is not this a truth, that some of your hearts (if your hearts were ripped up, this would be the language of them) most rejoyce in, because here∣by you have most fewel for your lusts; a poor man hath not so much fewel for his uncleanesse as you have, nor so much fewell for his pride and malice as you have, and many rich men account the blessing and happi∣nesse of their estates to consist in this very thing, that now they may have a larger scope for their lusts then ever they could before; alas, a poor man cannot go abroad, and drink, as you can do; a poor man cannot lay out so Page 93 much upon a whore, and an unclean wretch, as you can do, and you re∣joyce in this, if this man hath not his portion in this world, who hath? the Lord strike thy wretched heart.
A gracious man, when God bles∣seth him in this world, though there be but a little grace in him, it will work thus: the Lord hath raised my condition above my brother, & why? the Lord giveth me a larger opportu∣nitie to do him service, then my bro∣ther hath, or then I had before: there is such a poor man, he is an honest man, but (God knows) he can do but little in the place where he is, he hath but little means; but God hath given me means, and this means enlarges my opportunities to do God service, and for this my soul blesseth God, I account my estate happier then be∣fore, I now may be of more use, and do God more service then otherwise I could do; have you such workings in heart, you rich men if: you have not never be at quiet till you get your hearts working in this manner; this Page 94 will be a blessed testimony, that God gives you a portion here, and inten∣deth another portion for you in the world to come.
Again, what is that thing that you strive to make most sure? that which a man strives to make most sure, that he counts his happinesse to consist in; O for thy Land, and debts, thou strivest with all thy might to make them sure, but as for the matter of thy sal∣vation, and peace in Christ, thou hast a good hope thereof, but takest no pains to make it sure.
See what thou dost most admire men for? O such a man is happy, he hath so much coming in, and hath so much a year; but dost thou call the vile man happy? this is a signe that thou hast not thy eye enlightned: canst thou look upon those that are poor and mean in this world, as most happy creatures, because the Lord gives them the grace of his spirit? and think, well, it is true, I have a greater estate then such a poor man that is my neighbour, or then such a poor kinds∣man, Page 95 but God knows, he doth God more service then I do, he prayes more, and more heartily in one day then I do in a whole year. O, the Lord hath other manner of prayers, and sighes come from his poor cottage, then ever he had from my brave pal∣lace: I have my citie house and my countrey house, but they were never so perfumed with prayers; some that live in poor cellars, send up more prayers, and God hath more honour from them, then he hath from me; in my familie (perhaps) there is cursing and blaspheming of God, in such poor cottages, there is (perhaps) blessing and praysing of God, now canst thou look upon them, as the most happy people in the world.
Lastly, what art thou most carefull to lay up for thy children? if the things of the world take up thy care for thy children most, it is an argument thou thinkest, thy children shall have a good portion if thou canst leave them so many thousands; & it is like it is thy portion too; if thou countest it theirs.
Page 96Examine also thy services what they are; dost thou put off God with slight services, then know thy portion is like to be of Gods slight mercies; Again, art thou hypocriticall in thy service, dost thou ayme at the praise of men in outward duties, that is a signe thou hast thy reward here; and are thy services forced, that thou art compelled, it is meerely conscience compells thee, and not an inward a∣greablenesse between the frame of thy heart, and holy things: then it is like, a servants portion will be thine, and not a childs portion.
Further, hast thou heretofore been a forward professour in religion, and hast now forsaken the wayes of God; I'le give you a dreadfull Scripture for this, in the 17. of Ieremiah*: All you that forsake the Lord shall be ashamed, & they that depart from me, shall be written in the earth; if thou hast been forward heretofore, and now thou comest to be more ancient, and now thou art dead, and dull, and cold —; here is a Text for thee, go home, & tremble, Page 97 least thou be a man, whose name is written in the earth. And doth not God for the present curse thy portion? thou findest the more thou hast, the worse thou growest; as if a man should eat meat at ones table, and assoon as he hath eaten it, begin to swell, he will conclude certainly the meat was poysoned, so when thy estate rises, thy heart rises with pride, surely it was poysoned with the curse of God that was in it.
Again I'le onely name one signe more; what sayest thou to this, that man that spends his dayes without ha∣ving some fear, least God should put him off with the things of this world: there may be some danger of that; it is said of some, that they feed them∣selves without fear;* you can go to a merry meeting, and feed upon the chear, and eat without fear; but never have such a thought as this in your heart, what if God should put me off with these things? I hear indeed there are some menare put of so, what if that should prove to be my portion what a Page 98 miserable creature were I? I fear there were some men never had such a thought in their lives, what if it should prove so with me, what a miserable creature were I.
I have one word of exhortation to you all, & then I have done, & this ex∣hortation must be divided: First, unto you that have some evidences that God hath given you a better portion, that God hath not put you off with the portion of this world; O blesse the Lord for his goodnesse to you, that ever he hath shewed you better things then the world affoords, your line is fallen into a good ground, you have a goodly inheritance; though thou hast not so much as others have, yet thou hast that that will make thee happy forever.
I have read of one Didimus, a learn∣ed godly Preacher, but he was blind, whereof he complained, & was much troubled for his want of sight, where∣upon a Christian friend rebuked him sharpely; what (saith he) hath God given you that that is the excellency Page 99 of an Apostle, of a Minister of Christ; and are you troubled for want of your sight, that a pismire may have, that a bruit beast may have, for the want of thy sight, that the rats and mice may have, are you troubled with that, and rather not taught to blesse God, that hath given you so great a mercy, as to make you such an instrument of his service? so may I say to you that are godly, hath God given you Iesus Christ? hath he given you his Son, hath he given you his Spirit, hath he given you himself, to be your portion, and are you troubled that you have not more of that, that beasts may have, as well as your selves? O be ashamed of any mournfull discontent∣ments for want of the comforts of this world.
And do not envy wicked men for their outward prosperity; I remember a story of a poor souldier that was condemned to die meerely fortaking a bunch of grapes from a Vine, for there was a strict law that who ever should take any thing from that place they Page 100 went through, he should dye for it. Now he had taken a bunch of grapes, and was condemned to die, and as he went to execution, he went eating of his bunch of grapes, and some came to him, and said, dost thou go eating thy grapes, thou shouldst think of some∣what else; he answers, I beseech you (Sir) do not envy me my grapes, they will cost me dear; so may I say of all the men of the world; we have no need to envy them of any thing they have, it will cost them very dear one day.
Thirdly, live like such as God hath not put off with the portion of this world? manifest in it your conversati∣ons that you look for higher & better things, then what this world affoords; shew they are but slight in your eyes; look upon your estates as despicable, be willing to improve them all for publick good, yea, to jeopard not estates onely but your names, your li∣berties, and your lives in a publick cause; and those that shall do so, how∣ever the world may look upon them Page 101 in a sad condition, and say, O such a man is like to be undone, and his life is in danger; I tell you such a one that shall out of a good principle, be wil∣ling to venture life and estate and ap∣pear for God, that man shall be most honoured, and be found the most hap∣py man at last; and indeed herein he shews himself to be a man that looks for a higher portion, then these things here; as those in the Hebrews: By that they said and did, *they shewed plainly, they looked for another Country; so see you men that might live as comforta∣bly in outward things as you, and (did their consciences give way) they could be as quiet as you; but conscience puts them upon it, that seeing God calls them to a publick place, they can be content to put all at Gods feet.
Now though you may think that such are in most danger, they shew plainly they are men of another countrey, and should be most ho∣noured; and take but this principle with you, the more any one gives up Page 102 his estate to God, the more comfort he hath in his estate, whether in the enjoyment of it, or in the losse of it; I expresse it thus: when one resignes up all he hath, his estate, liberty, name, life to God, the oftener it comes into Gods hands, the better it comes, when God gives it him again; a carnall heart when once he hath these things, he will not trust God with them, but he will have them in his own keeping; but a gracious heart, though he hath all these from God, yet every day he is willing to give up all to him, and to trust God with them again; though he be a rich man, he is willing every day to come and beg his bread at his Fa∣thers gate, and give up all; now he gives up all in the truth of his heart to God, and God gives it him all again; as long as in a lawfull way he enjoyes it, he hath it a fresh from God; now this (I say) the oftener any thing comes out of Gods hand, the sweeter & the better it is; wicked mens estates come but once out of Gods hands, and therefore there is not so much com∣fort Page 103 in them, but a godly mans estate comes 100. and 100. times from God; for every resignation gives it to God, and God gives it him again; & there∣in is comfort, and O blessed are they that live so, as that they declare they look for another Countrey, and that their portion is not here; let the men of the world think them foolish, that will venture themselves so, God and his Saints have declared that their portion it not here.
And now to you all, the word of exhortation from God is, that every one in this place, would put on to make more sure of another portion, besides the portion of this world; put on, I say for you are all made capable of higher and better things, then the things of the world; and never a one here but hath an immortall soul, and is capable of Communion with Fa∣ther, Son, and Holy Ghost, and that is another manner of businesse, then to eat and drink, and have pleasure with the flesh, here for a while; God hath made your natures capable of Page 104 such glory, do not debase your selves, to rest satisfied with husks, when you may have meat enough in your Fa∣thers house; and therefore put on, and let the poorest sort put on, that have but a little portion here; yet there is as fair way for you to have the God of Heaven and Earth to be your portion, to have whatsoever Iesus Christ hath purchased by his bloud to be your portion, to have eternitie, and immor∣tality to be your portion; (I say) there is as fair a way for it, as for the greatest Princes in the earth; you may come to have a portion here.
Indeed many a poor apprentice may say; my Father is dead, and hath left me no portion: I, but you that are poor apprentices, and others, and the poor Hospitall boyes, that live upon charitie, it is possible some poor wretches there may come to have their portion in God and Christ, and immortality, as well as the greatest, and richest of all; therefore raise up your hearts here, you that are the poorest and meanest, & know you are born for high things.
Page 105If I should come and tell one that is a poor boy in a blew coat now, what ever you are now, there is such a rich man will adopt you to be his child, and make you his heire, that would raise up his heart; well, how ever meanely you live now, you may be a glorious creature hereafter, if so be you have now a heart to put upon it, and to seek after it for your por∣tion.
But you'le say, Lord what should we do, that our portion may be a higher portion, then in this world; the first thing I would put you upon, is this; let the whole course of your life be steared (as it were) with the fear of God, have a continuall jealousy, least God should put you off with the things of this life; hold forth this in every action, that any one may see by your conversation, surely this man, this woman hath some fears, least God should put him off with a porti∣on in this world; and especially you that have great portions in this life, & have done God little service; you Page 106 know there are many poor people that live upon almes, have done God more service then you; you have most cause to fear; they that are Rulers and Governours have mighty cause to fear, unlesse they have good evidence in their hearts; Chrysostome upon the 13. of the Hebrews, speaking of those that are Governours; saith, I wonder that any Governour should be saved; he hath such a speech there: I will not say so, but there is a great deal of ha∣zard; Christ tells us, that a man that hath a great portion in this world, (though it is possible he may have more hereafter,) yet it is doubtfull; whether he shall inherit heaven.
It was the counsell of one to a King; saith he, I desire but this favour, that every day you would think of this Text, what profits it a man, to gain the whole world, and to loose his own soul? spend some little time in considering of it every morning when you arise, and every night when you lie down, what will it advantage me to be great here and miserable hereafter. The Page 107 same councell I give to you, daily pray to God, to make you understand, what there is in this Text, that there are a generation of men, who have their portion in this world only.
Secondly, if you would not have your portion here, labour to take off your hearts from all outward com∣forts; he that will be rich, shall fall into many temptations; know it is not ne∣cessary, you should have an estate in this world, but it is necessary, you should make your peace with God; it is necessary I should provide for my soul; but how things go with me here, is not so much necessarie.
Thirdly, set the glorie of Heaven and eternitie daily before your eyes, and be trading for higher things then the world affords: many poor peo∣ple go up and down the streets, crying some mean thing, and think it well, if they get 18d. in a whole day, but a rich Merchant can go out in the morning, and make a bargain, and perhaps get 500. l. in an houre, he trades some∣what like; so the men of this world la∣bour Page 108 for the meat that perisheth; but a godly man hath communion with God, and in a quarter of an hour gets that, he would not loose for thou∣sands.
It was a speech of Cleopatra to An∣thony, thou art not to fish for Gudgeons and Trowts, but thou art to angle for Castles and Cities; so may I say, if thou hast an immortall soul with thee, thou art not so much to angle for meat and drink, and cloaths, to make provision for the flesh, but for heaven and immortalitie.
The next thing is this: Honour God with thy substance. Lay out thy portion here for God. O, that I could but con∣vince you of one principle of divinitie more, and that is this, that there is more excellency and good in one ver∣tuous action, then there is in all the creatures in heaven and earth, (besides the blessed Angels, and glorious Saints above, I say others of the Saints, excepting these) take all creatures, Sun, Moon, Stars, Seas, Earth, all the Pearls & Iewels of the world, Pearls, Page 109 put them all together, yet this is true divinitie, that there is more excellen∣cy in one vertuous action, then there is, if thou hadst all these things to be thy possession; if men were convinced of this, they would be abundant in good works: Thou thinkest it a brave thing, to have so much coming in by the year, do but one good action for God, out of an upright principle, ANd there is more excellency in that one action, then there is in thy great re∣venue, if thou hast 1000. times more added to it.
Me thinks this should make them that are rich, to be rich in good works; so saith the Scripture, Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be rich in good works, O, there is a rich∣nesse in good works, as well as in great revenues; O, improve, lay out thy estate now for God; Ambrose saith up∣on that place, of the rich man: is it not more honour, that so many children shall account you as their Father, then that so many pieces of gold shall call you their Lord? These pieces of gold, Page 110 do (as it were) call you Lord, & there are 2. or 3. children shall call you Fa∣ther; and is it not more excellent to have a couple of poor Orphans, while you are alive in this world, to call you Father, then to have so many bags of gold call you Mr? O, therefore, give a portion to 6. and to 7.
Again, if you would not be put off with a portion in this world, be sure that all the services you perform to God be choice services, if you expect choice mercies, let your services be choice services, be sure all your works be supernaturall works; you'le say how shall I know that? if I had time, I could make it out clear. A supernaturall work is that that hath a supernaturall principle, done to a su∣pernaturall end, and in a supernaturall manner; A supernaturall principle, that is grace, which makes it suitable to my heart, not that I do it out of con∣viction of conscience only, and a su∣pernaturall end, that is, when I ayme at God, and not at my self in any dutie.
Page 111But what is this supernaturall man∣ner of serving God? I shall explain it thus. Seneca in giving his rule how to know the affections, when they are naturall, and when not; saith, you shall know a naturall affection by this, if it be kept with in bound, it is naturall, if it be out of bounds, it is not natu∣rall; I'le make use of it in another way; when you come to the service of God, if you think to limit God in his ser∣vice, this is but a naturall service, you'l go so far and there stop, but if it be a supernaturall service, you'l let out your hearts, if it were possible in∣finitely to God; you cannot be infinite, that is true, but you'l propound no bounds, nor limits to your service, & this is indeed the truth of grace, when it hath the impression of gracious infi∣nitenesse upon it; infinitenesse is that whereby God is without all limits; so when the soul is without all limits and bounds in the way of grace, it is desi∣rous to honour God, if it were possi∣ble in an infinite way; these are super∣naturall works.
Page 112Lastly, would you not have your portion in this world, be willing to cast away whatever of your portion you have got sinfully; this in the name of God, I declare as a speciall thing; therefore take it home with you; what ever man or woman in this place would not have his portion in this world, but would have his portion in the world to come; whatsoever of thy portion, thou hast got in a sinfull course, cast it away presently, never sleep with it, lye not down one night with it, rest not till thou art cleared of it.
It is an old rule, but a true one; all the repentance in the world, and all your sorrowing for sin whatsoever, will never obtain pardon without re∣stitution, unlesse you restore what you are able, you can never have comfort of the pardon of that sin; If you have got it when you were young, being an apprentice, or at first setting up, away with it, else it will spoil all, and you'l never have any other portion from God; these hands of mine, had that Page 113 once given them, to restore that was got wrongfully 50. years before; the wrong was done 50. years ago, yet af∣ter 50. years space, the conscience of the man troubles him, and he comes to make restitution, and satisfie the wrong, he had done desiring me to conveye it to such a man whom he had wronged in such a place.
Know therefore that all the sweet morsels, that at any time you have so delight fully got down, they must up again; therefore willingly part with them; resolve before thou go out of this place, whatever thou hast got wrongfully, not to keep it one minute: and do it willingly, else thou canst have no comfort here or hereafter: if there be any true divinitie in the world, this is true divinitie; and yet it is hard to convince covetous men that have got their means this way.
If there be any that have done wrong in things betrusted to them, as those that be Maisters of Hospitalls, be sure you keep not that, for certain∣ly you'l curse the time, you ever took Page 114 it; therefore let the charge of God be strong upon you this day, cast out whatever you have got falsely. I have read a story of one, who hearing that place of Scripture read; *Woe to them that joyn house to house, he burst out in a loud cry, woe to me, and to my chil∣dren then. So you, that are inriched through fraud and circumvention of others, have cause to say, woe to me and my familie, what shall become of us if this be true? Oh cast away this lumber, this trash, preferre your soul before all things whatsoever.
And if you would have your por∣tion in another life, be willing to join with the sufferers for Christ; so Mo∣ses did, though he were in the way of preferment, yet he chose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, then to enjoy the pleasur's of sin for a season: Prise the Saints, associate with them, rather then with the jolly blades of the world. It is safer joyning with sufferers, then with those brave spirits that scorne goodnesse, jolly blades of the world, it is safer to join Page 115 with the sufferers, then to joyn with those that are the jolly, and the brave spirits; And so I have done; onely de∣siring that the Lord would settle all home upon your spirits, if it may be, because something may not be so plea∣sing to the pallat of everie one, as some other, but if for that, you should reject what hath been said, and go away and slight this word of God; know that this Text one day may prove to be as scalding lead in your consciences; and that what is said con∣cerning Doeg, in Psalme 52.7. may prove to be your portion. It is spoken of Doeg; This is the man (saith the Psalmist) that did not make God his trust, but trusted in his great riches; this is the man. So you may be pointed out one day, this is the man; Doeg was a great courtier, and because he was an Officer to King Saul, and because he had his favour, he trusted in the favour of the King, and in his riches, and what did he care for David? yet by the Text it ap∣pears? he was one that made some Page 116 shew of religion too; in the first of Samuel 21.7. He was detained before the Lord; Tremelius thinks, either out of some religious vow, or to keep the Sabbath; or somewhat concern∣ing that law, he was detained before the Lord; and yet he was a vile ma∣lignant against David, and all because he trusted in the great countenance he had at Court; now this is the man that made not God his trust, but that trusted in his great riches. The Lord forbid, this Scripture should be made true of any of you; I leave this Text with you that are rich men, take heed. I leave this Text with you that are in places of dignitie and ho∣nour, take heed. I leave this Text with you that are voluptuous men, given up to your pleasure. Take heed you hear not one day this, Son, re∣member in thy life time, thou hadst thy pleasure; I leave it with all that will not trust God, for a por∣tion to come; and above all, I leave it with all hypocrites, let them take heed, it be not said to them, here is Page 117 your reward; Consider what hath been said, and the Lord give you understanding.