TWO TREATISES OF Mr. JEREMIAH BURROUGHS.
The first Of Earthly-mindedness, Wherein is shewed,
- 1. What Earthly-mindedness is.
- 2. The Evils of Earthly-mindedness.
- 3. Several Convincements of Earthly-mindedness.
- 4. Several Reasons of Earthly-mindedness.
- 5. Considerations to take off the heart from Earthly-mindedness.
- 6. Directions how to get our hearts free from Earthly-mindedness.
The second Treatise. Of Conversing in Heaven, and Walking with God. Wherein is shewed,
- 1. How the Saints have their Conversation in Heaven.
- 2. How the Saints Trade for Heaven.
- 3. Evidences of Heavenly Conversation.
- 4. That Heavenly Conversation is, 1. Convincing. 2. Growing. 3. Brings much glory to God. 4. Brings much glory to the Saints. 5. It will make suffering easie, 6. Brings much joy. 7. It's very safe.
- 5. Directions for Heavenly Conversation.
- 6. What Walking with God is.
- 7. The Excellency of walking with God.
- 8. Evidences of our walking with God.
- 9. Rules for our walking with God.
The Fourth Volumn published by
- Thomas Goodwyn.
- William Bridge.
- William Greenhil.
- John Yates.
- Sydrach Simpson.
- Philip Nye.
- William Adderley.
London, Printed for Peter Cole, at the Printing-Press in Corn∣hill, near the Royal Exchange, 1652.
TO the READER.
IT was the saying of a Servant of Christ, Every day a Christian spends on Earth, is a day lost in heaven; sure he meant it of the Place, not the Company, For what makes Heaven, but Ʋnion and Communion with God in Jesus Christ? Now this being attainable in this life what hinders but a Christian may live in heaven whilst he lives upon earth? Truly our Fellowship is with the Father, & with his Son Jesus Christ, 1 Job. 13. And our Conversation is in Heaven (saith another Apostle) Phil. 3. 20. And I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, Gal. 2. 20. These were men on earth, subject to such infirmities as these are, yet lived in Hea∣ven; and there are yet in this declining, wanton, Christ-denying age, a Ge∣neration upon earth thus living, whose lives and graces, though hidden un∣der a mean out side, under many reproaches and infirmities, yet shine inward∣ly with the glory of Christ upon them, who though they be in the world, yet follow the Lord with a Spirit differing from the spirit of the world; and amongst these hidden ones of the Lord, this blessed man (the preacher of these Sermons, of whom the world was not worthy) was such a one, who whilst he was upon earth, lived in Heaven; and as thou maiest easily per∣ceive, the end and scope of these Sermons is, to winde up thy heart to the like frame and posture; viz. To take it off from perishing vani∣ties, and to set it upon that which is the real and durable substance: We see upon what weak shoulders the fair neck of all worldly pomp and glory now stands, and how the Lord is winding up, and putting an end to the glories of the Kingdoms of men, who have not contributed their strength and power to the advancing, but contrariwise, to the pulling down and ecclypsing of the glory of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ: Besides what the World tells us, never had any age by the works of providence, more examples laid before them of the worlds vanity, than in our daies; and there∣fore our hearts should s•t loose to all things that cannot stretch themselves to eternity: The Apostles reason is full of weight, It remains (saith he) that both they that have wives, be as though they had none, and they that weep, as though they wept not, and they that rejoyce, as though they rejoyced not, and they that buy, as though they possessed not, and they that use the world, as not abusing it; and this Exhortation he puts on by this Argument, The time is short, or as the word is, The remainder of our season is now folding up, as a sail or curtain into a narrow room: Time is short, and life shorter, and the end of all things is at hand, and we have greater things to minde, and to set our hearts upon. The Divinityy ofPage [unnumbered]this holy mans spirit did much appear in this, that having much of the com∣fort that Earth could afford him, he still looked upon all Creatures Content∣ments with the eyes of a stranger, and on order to the raising up of his soul to a more holy, humble, serviceable, self denying walking with God. For him that injoyes little or nothing in the world, to speak much of the worlds vani∣ty and emptynesse and of taking the heart off that, the sweetness whereof he never possessed, is not so much, as when a man is surrounded with the con∣fluence of Creature-comforts, then by a Divine spirit to tread upon the neck of these things, and to be caught up into the third Heaven, bathing, solacing and satisfying it self with sweet and higher injoyments, with the more savory and cordial apprehensions it hath of Jesus Christ; this is some∣what like him that is made partaker of the Divine Nature, and that lives above the world in the injoyment of the world; so that now Reader thou hast these Sermons twice printed, once in the practice of this holy man, and now again in these papers which we present to thee in this preaching stile (though we confess things might have been more contracted) because we find this way more desired, more acceptable to his hearers, and if we mistake not, more working upon the affections, and more profitable to the greatest part of Christians. The Lord Jesus be with thy Spirit, and go along with these and all other his precious labors, to the furtherance of the joy of thy Faith, build∣ing thee up in the inner man, and directing thee in the way to thine eternal rest.
- Thomas Goodwyn,
- William Greenhil,
- Sydrach Simpson,
- Philip Nye,
- William Bridge,
- John Yates,
- William Adderley,
THou hast here the names of al the Books of Mr. Jeremiah Burroughs, that are published by us, Thomas Goodwyn, William Greenhil, Sydrach Simpson, Philip Nye, William Bridge, John Yates, William Adderley.
- The first VolumnThe rare Jewel of Christian Contentment.
- The second VolumnGospel Worship.
- The third VolumnGospel Conversation.
- The fourth VolumnTwo Treatises, the one of Earthly-mindedness, the other of con∣versing in Heaven, and walking with God.
THE CONTENTS OF THE FOURTH VOLUUMN.
- Philip. 3. 19.
- CHAP. I.
- TExt opened Page 2
- DoctrineThere is a great dif∣ference between a wicked man and a godly man, The one minds the Earth: the other, his Conversation is in Heaven 3
- CHAP. II.Earthly-mindedness discovered in nine particulars
- 1 When men look upon Earthly things as the greatest things. 5
- 2 When the choicest of their thoughts are busied about earthly things▪ 6
- 3 When their hearts cleave to the earth Page 8
- 4 When their hearts are filled with distracted cares about the earth. 9
- 5 When the greatest endeavors of their lives are about things of the earth 11
- 6 When they seek any earthly thing for its self and not in subordination to some higher good 13
- 7 When they are earthly in spiri∣tual things 15
- 8 When they pass by great diffi∣culties about earthly matters and they seem little to them ibid
- 9 When they conceive of the most heavenly truth in an earthly Page [unnumbered] way Page 17
- CHAP. III.
- Fourteen Evils of Earthly∣mindedness
- 1 It is Adultery 20
- 2 It is Idolatry ibid
- Object. What Idolatry is there in it? Answ.
- 1 They depart from God 22
- 2 They chuse rather to make the earth to be their god, than the infinit First-Being of all things ibid
- 3 It is enmity against God 23
- 4 It is opposite and contrary to the work of grace 24
- 1 Before Conversion
- 1 To the call of conversion 26
- 2 To the souls answer to this call ibid
- 3 To the resigning up of the soul to God as the chiefest good 26
- 2 After conversion to their work of grace
- 1 Grace brings a new light to the soul ibid
- 2 Make him a new crea∣ture 27
- 3 Is of an elevating na∣ture ibid
- 4 Is of an enlarging na∣ture ibid
- 5 Grace sanctifies the soul 28
- 1 Before Conversion
- 5 It puts men upon great temp∣tations Page 28
- 6 It is one of the greatest bin∣drances to the profit of the Mi∣nistry 30
- 7 It causeth many foolish lusts in the heart 34
- 1 It causeth them to follow after things that are vile ibid
- 2. It makes them a servant to their servants ibid
- 3 A man might have more of it, and not mind it so much as he doth 35
- 4 You pay a great deal more for it than 'tis worth 36
- 5 What he doth he must needs undo again 38
- 6 They lose the comfort of earthly things before they have them 39
- 8 It is the root of Apostacy 40
- 9 It doth wonderfully dead the heart in the prayer 42
- 10 It is just with God, their names should be written in the earth 43
- 11 They have the curse of the ser∣pent upon them 44
- 12 It is a dishonor to God, and a scandal to Religion 45
- 13 It doth exceedingly hinder preparation for death 47
- 14 It will drown thy soul in per∣dition 50
- Page [unnumbered]Preparation to Convince∣ments.
- Men may be earthly-minded and yet not know they are so Page 51
- Five things may be wrought in an earthly-minded man
- 1 His judgment may be con∣vinced that there is a vani∣ty in them 52
- 2 He may have some kind of contentment in them ib.
- 3 They may speak great words about the vanity of this world ibid
- 4 They may be free from get∣ting any thing by deceit ibid
- 5 They may dispise some earth∣ly things ibid
- Convincement 1When a man rests upon earthly props for the good he doth ex∣pect 54
- Convincement 2When men make most provision for the things of this world for themselves and their chil∣dren 55
- Convincement 3When a man can be content with a slight assurance of heavenly things, but never thinks him sure enough for the matters of the earth 56
- Convincement 4When he is contented with a little sanctification, but in things of this world would s•ill have more and more Page 58
- Convincement 5When they are very wise in mat∣ters of the world, but very weak in spiritual 59
- Convincement 6When their discourses are of the world 60
- Convincement 7When spiritual things must give way to earthliness 61
- Convincement 8When they care not how it is with the Church so it be well with them in things of the world ibid
- Convincement 7When the more spiritual a truth is the lesse it takes with their hearts 63
- Fourteen Evils of Earthly∣mindedness
- CHAP. IV.Reasons of mens Earthly∣mindedness.
- 1 The things of the earth appear reall to them, but Heavenly things are but a notion 64
- 2 They look upon them as the pre∣sent necessary things ibid
- 3 These things are most sutable to mens hearts 65
- 4 They have a very fair shew to the flesh ib.
- 5 Men naturally know no better things 66
- Page [unnumbered]6 There are earthly principles con∣tinually dropping into men by conversing with other men of the earth ibid
- 7 The sensible experience they have of their sweetness Page 67
- CHAP. V.Considerations to take off the hearts of men from earthly-mindedness
- Consideration 1If thou couldst possess all the things of the earth there is not so much good in them, as to countervail the evil of one sin 68
- Consideration 2The chiefest things of the earth have been and are the portion of reprobates ibid
- Consideration 3.God hath made man for higher things than the things of the earth 69
- Consideration 4.The soul of a man is of too high a birth to have the strength of it spent about the things of the earth. 70
- Consideration 5.All the things of the earth are un¦certain 71
- Consideration 6.Consider what hath become of such men in former ages 72
- Consideration 7.How short thy time is in this world Page 73
- Consid. 8.A little will serve the turn to carry us through this world 76
- Consid. 9.There is no good to be had in them further than God is pleased to let himself through them 77
- Consid. 10If you be godly God promiseth to take care of you for the things of the earth ibid
- Consid. 11.All that are professors of Religion should be dead to the world 79
- CHAP. VIExhortation to beware of earthly∣mindedness 81
- CHAP. VIIDirections to get our hearts free from Earthly-minded∣nesse
- 1 Be watchful over your thoughts 86
- 2 Be humbled for sin ibid
- 3 Set the exampls of the Saints before you 86
- 4 Consider the great accompt we are to give for all earthly things ibid
- 5 Set the Lord Jesus Christ be∣fore you 88
THE CONTENTS OF THE ENSUING TREATISE OF AN HEAVENLY-CONVESATION.
- PHILIPPIANS, 3. 20.
- CHAP. IHOw far the examples of godly men should prevail with us Page 91
- 1 More than other ex∣amples 93
- 1 More than the examples of rich men ibid
- 2 More than the example of the multitude ibid
- 3 More than the examples of those nearly related to us ibid
- 2 They should be enough to take off prejudices that come from accusations of men ib.
- 3 They should make us enquire after those waies Page 94
- 4 We should not oppose those waies 95
- 5 They should prepare us to let in any truth they profess ibid
- 9 They should confirm us in the truth 96
- CHAP. II.What is to be done when ex∣amples of godly men are contrary
- 1 It puts us to a strict examina∣tion 97
- 2 which way hath most earthly inducements 98
- Page [unnumbered]
- CHAP. IIIRebuke to those that follow the example of the wicked, and re∣ject the example of the godly Page 98
- CHAP. IVTwo Doctrines
- 1 The Saints are Citizens of Heaven 100
- 2 Their Conversation while they are in this world is in Heaven ibid
- CHAP. VHow the Saints are Citizens of Heaven 102
- 1 Their names are inroll'd there 102
- 2 Christ their Head bath taken possession of Heaven in their names ibid
- 3 When they actually beleeve they take up their freedom 103
- 4 They cannot again be as slaves ibid
- 5 They have right to all the com∣mon stock and treasury of hea∣ven ibid
- 6 They have the same confirma∣tion of their blessed estate that the Angels have ibid
- 7 They have priviledge of a free rtade to Heaven Page 104
- 8 They have for he present com∣munion with the Angels ib.
- 9 They have the protection of Heaven ib.
- CHAP. VIHow the Saints have their con∣versation in Heaven 106
- 1 The aim of their hearts is hea∣ven-wards 107
- 2 They are acted by Heavenly principles in their waies 108
- 1 That God is all in all ib.
- 2 That God is the infinite First being ib.
- 3 They have communion with the God of Heaven ib.
- 4 They live according to the Laws of Heaven 110
- 5 Their soul is where it loves ra∣ther than where it lives 111
- 6 They deilght in the same things that are done in Heaven 114
- 1 The sight of Gods face 115
- 2 The praising of God ib.
- 3 The keeping a perpetual Sabbath ib.
- 7 They are heavenly in earthly imployments 115
- 8 They are heavenly when they converse together 116
- 9 Their great trade upon earth is for heaven 217
- Page [unnumbered]
- CHAP. VIIThe Saints trading for Hea∣ven opened.
- 1 They have skill in they commo∣dity they trade for Page 217
- 2 They have a stock to trade withal 218
- 3 They take the advantage of the Market for commodities ib.
- 4 There is much inter course ib.
- 5 Their chief stock is where they trade 220
- 6 They are willing to part with any thing here to receive ad∣vantage where they trade ib.
- 7 They trust much 221
- CHAP. VIIEvidences of mens having their conversations in hea∣ven
- Evidence 1.They canvilifie all the things on earth 222
- Evidence 2They can be content and live comfortably with little in this world ib.
- Evidence 3They can suffer hard things with joyful hearts 223
- Evidence 4.Their hearts are filled with hea∣venly riches 225
- Evidence 5They are willing to purchase the priviledges of Heavne at a dear rate ib.
- Evidence 6They are sensible of the stoppages between heaven and their souls Page 26
- Evidence 7Their willingness to die 227
- CHAP. IXReasons why the Saints have their Conversation in hea∣ven ib.
- 1 Because their souls are from Heaven 228
- 2 By grace the soul hath a Di∣vine Nature put into it 230
- 3 Their most choise things are in heaven 231
- 4 God orders it so to wean their hearts from the world 233
- CHAP. X. Use 1.To reprove such as have their conversations in hell 234
- CHAP. XI. Use 2.To reprove hypocrites 235
- Page [unnumbered]
- CHAP. XII. Use 3.Let us not find fault with the strictness of Gods waies Page 237
- CHAP. XIII. Use 4.To reprove such as are godly and yet fail in this thing 238
- CHAP. XIV.An Heavenly Conversation is a convincing conversation 241
- CHAP. XV.A Heavenly Conversation is gro∣wing 243
- CHAP. XVI.A Heavenly Conversation brings much glory to God 244
- CHAP. XVII.A Heavenly Conversation brings much glory to the Saints 246
- CHAP. XVIII.A Heavenly Conversation will make sufferings easie 247
- CHAP. XIX.A Heavenly Conversation brings much joy 249
- CHAP. XX.An Heavenly Conversation is very safe 250
- CHAP. XXI.An Heavenly Conversation gives abundant entrance into glory ibid
- CHAP. XXII.Directions how to get a Heaven∣ly Conversation
- Direct. 1.Be perswaded that it is attaina∣ble Page 251
- Direct. 2.Labor to keep a cleer conscience 252
- Direct. 3.Watch opportunities for heavenly exercises ibid
- Direct. 4Rest not in formality 253
- Direct. 5.Labor to beat down your bodies. 254
- Direct. 6.Labor to be skilful in the Mystery of godliness, to draw strength from Christ in every thing you do ibid
- Direct. 7.Exercise the grace of faith much 256
THE CONTENTS Of the ensuing TREATISE OF WALKING with GOD.
- GENESIS, 45. 24.
- CHAP. I.TEXT opened Page 261
- CHAP. II.Doctrine. 'Tis the Excellency of a Christian to walk with God 265
- CHAP. III.How the soul is brought to walk with God
- 1 Every one by nature goes astray from God 268
- 2 The Lord manifesteth to the soul the way of life ibid
- 3 The Lord makes peace between himself and a sinner. 269
- 4 God renders himself lovely to the soul 270
- 5 God sends his Holy Spirit to guide him 271
- 6 Christ takes the soul and brings it to God the Father 271
- CHAP. IVWhat walking with God is.
- 1 It causeth the soul to eye God 272
- 2 It causeth a man to carry himself as in Gods presence
- Page [unnumbered]3 He makes Gods will the rule of his will Page 274
- 4 The soul hath the same ends that God hath 275
- 5 It suits the soul to the administrations of God 276
- 6 To have a holy dependance upon God
- 1 For Direction 277
- 2 For Protection 278
- 3 For Assistance ibid
- 4 For a Blessing upon all it doth ibid
- 7 It makes a man free and ready in the waies of God 279
- 8 It consists in communion with God 280
- 9 It causeth the soule to follow God more as he reveals himself more 282
- CHAP. VExcellencies of walking with God
- Excellency 1It makes the waies of God easie 286
- Excellency 2It is most honorable 287
- Excellency 3The soul hath blessed satisfaction in it 288
- Excellency 4It is a special part of the Covenant of God on our parts 290
- Excellency 5There is a blessed safety in walking with God 292
- Excellency 6Hence the soul enjoys sweet familiarity with God 293
- Excellency 7To them God communicates his secrets 294
- Excellency 8They find favor in Gods eyes for granting their petitions. 295
- Excellency 9There is a glory put upon the soul 296
- Page [unnumbered]
- Excellency 10Gods presence doth mightily draw forth every grace Page 297
- Excellency 11The presence of God shall never be terrible to the soul, nei∣ther at death nor judgment 298
- Excellency 12It will be blessedness in the end 299
- CHAP. VIIƲses of Exhortation
- Ʋse 1Blesse God that he will be pleased to walk thus with his poor creatures 300
- Ʋse 2What strangers the world are to this walking with God 301
- Ʋse 3What vile hearts are ours that we are so backward to walk with God 302
- Ʋse 4Let us keep close to God in our walking wtih him 303
- Ʋse 5If there be so much excellency in walking with God here, what will there be in heaven 304
- CHAP. VIIIEvidence of our walking with God 306
- Evidence 1He depends not much upon sence and reason in the course of his life 307
- Evidence 2He is the same in private that he is in publick 307
- Evidence 3He hath a serious spirit 309
- Evidence 4They walk in newness of life 310
- Evidence 5When he hath to do with the creature he doth quickly Page [unnumbered] passe through the creature unto God 311
- Evidence 6He loves to be much retired from the world 312
- Evidence 7He is careful to make even his accounts with God 315
- Evidence 8The more spiritual any Truth, or Ordinance or any com∣pany is, the more the soul delights in it 314
- Evidence 9He walk in all the Commandements of God 315
- Evidence 10See how the Scripture describes it
- 1 It is a walk of humility 316
- 2 It is a walk of uprightness ibid
- 3 It is a walk in the fear of God 317
- 4 The comfort of the holy Ghost is joyned with it 318
- 5 It is a walk above 319
- 6 They endeavour to walk as Christ walked ibid
- CHAP. IXRules of Direction for walking with God
- Rule 1Be sure there be no way of fin in thee 320
- Rule 2Labor to withdraw thy heart from earthly and sensual things 321
- Rule 3Evermore take Christ with thee 322
- Rule 4Be careful to beautifie thy soul 323
- Rule 5Take heed of halting 325
- Rule 6Take heed of formality in holy duties 326
- Rule 7Take heed of secres slidings away from the Truths of God
- Page [unnumbered]
- Rule 8Labor to keep such a tenderness of spirit as to be sensible of the beginnings of declining 329
- Rule 9Labor to be spiritual in thy solitary times 330
- Rule 11Go on with a resolution in holy duties though thou see nothing come of them for the present 331
- Rule 12Make good interpretation of all Gods dealings with thee 332
- CHAP. XAn objection of Gods hiding his face Answered
- 1 It is a good sign when thou art sensible of his withdra∣wings 333
- 2 Examine whether thou hast not some times shut out God from thee ibid
- 3 It is better God withdraw than that we withdraw 336
- 4 Gods withdrawing his comfort is not alwaies the with∣drawing his presence ibid
- 5 If thou canst not see Gods face, hearken to hear his voice 337
- 6 Keep thy self in a waiting frame for God 338
The Names of several Books Printed by Peter Cole, at the sign of the Printing-Press in Cornhil, by the Exchange, London.
- A Congregational Church is a Catholike Visible Church. By Samuel Stone.
- Twelve several Books of Mr. William Bridg, Collected into one Volumn. Viz.
- 1 The great Gospel-Mystery of the Saints Comfort and Holiness, opened and applied from Christs Priestly Office.
- 2 Satans Power to Tempt; and Christs Love to, and Care of His People under Temptation.
- 3 Thankfulness required in every Condition.
- 4 Grace for Grace; or, the Overflowings of Christs Fulness received by all Saints.
- 5 The Spiritual Actings of Faith, through Natural Impossibilities.
- 6 Evangelical Repentance.
- 7 The Spiritual-Life, and In-Being of Christ in all Beleevers.
- 8 The Woman of Canaan.
- 9 The Saints Hiding-Place in time of Gods Anger.
- 10 Christs Coming is at our Midnight.
- 11 A Vindication of Ordinances.
- 12 Grace and Love beyond Gifts.
- Four several Books, by Nich. Culpeper, Gent. Student in Physick and Astrology.
- 1 A PHYSICAL DIRECTORY: Or a Translation of the Dispensatory, made by the Colledg of Physitians of London. Whereunto is added, The Key to Galen's Method of Physick.
- 2 A DIRECTORY for Midwives; or a Guide for Women.
- 3 GALEN's Art of PHYSICK.
- 4 The ENGLISH PHYSITIAN; being an Astrologo-Physical Discourse of the Vulgar Herbs of this Nation; wherein is shewed how to cure a mans self of most Diseases incident to mans Body, with such things as grow in England, and for three-pence charge. Also in the same Book is shewed, 1. The time of gathering all Herbs both Vulgarly and Astrologically. 2. The way of drying and keeping them and their Juyces 3. The way of making and keeping all manner of useful Compounds, made of those Herbs. 4. The way of mixing the Medicines according to Cause, and mixture of the Disease, and the part of the Body afflicted.
- A Godly and Fruitful Exposition, on the first Epistle of Peter. By Mr. John Rogers, Minister of the Word of God at Dedham in Essex.
- The Wonders of the Load-stone, by Mr. Samuel Ward of Ipswich.
- An Exposition on the Gospel of the Evangelist St. Matthew, by Mr. Ward. Clows Chirurgery.
- Page [unnumbered] Marks of Salvation.
- Christians Engagement for the Gospel, by John Goodwin.
- Great Church Ordinance of Baptism.
- Mr. Love's Case, containing his Petitions, Narrative, and Speech.
- Vox Pacifica, or a Perswasive to Peace.
- Dr. Prestons Saints submission, and Satans Overthrow.
- Pious mans practice in Parliament Time.
- A Treatise of the Rickets, being a Disease common to Children; Wherein is shewed, 1. The Essence. 2. The Causes. 3. The Signs. 4. The Re∣medies of the Disease. Published in Latin by Dr. Glisson, Dr. Bale, and Dr. Regemorter.
- Mr. Symsons Sermon at Westminster.
- Mr. Feaks Sermon before the Lord Major.
- Mr. Phillips Treatise of Hell. —of Christs Geneology.
- Seven Books of Mr. Jeremiah Burroughs lately published; As also the Texts of Scripture upon which they are grounded.
- 1 The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, on Phil. 4. 11. Wherin is shew∣ed, 1. What Contentment is, 2. It is an holy Art and Mystery, 3. The Excellencies of it, 4. The Evil of the contrary sin of Murmuring, the Aggravations of it.
- 2 Gospel-Worship, on Levit. 10. 3. Wherin is shewed, 1. The right man∣ner of the Worship of God in general; and particularly, In Hearing the Word, Receiving the Lords Supper, and Prayer.
- 3 Gospel-Conversation, on Phil. 1. 17. Wherin is shewed, 1. That the Con∣versations of Beleevers must be above what could be by the Light of Na∣ture, 2. Beyond those that lived under the Law, 3. And sutable to what Truths the Gospel holds forth. To which is added, The Misery of those Men that have their Portion in this Life only, on Psal. 17. 14.
- 4 A Treatise of Earthly-mindedness. Wherin is shewed, 1 What Earth∣ly-mindedness is, 2 The great Evil therof, on Phil. 3. part of the 19. Vers. Also to the same Book is joyned, A Treatise of Heavenly-mindedness and walking with God, on Gen. 5. 24. and on Phil. 3. 20.
- 5 An Exposition, on the fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh Chapters of the Pro∣hesie of Hosea.
- 6 An Exposition on the eighth, ninth, and tenth Chapters of Hosea.
- 7 An Exposition on the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth Chapters of Hosea.
- A Treatise of Politick Power, wherein 7 Questions are Answered, 1. Whereof Power is made, and for what ordained; 2. Whether Kings and Governors have an absolute Power over the People; 3. Whether Kings and Governors be subject to the Laws of God, or the Laws of their Countries; 4. How far the People are to obey their Governors; 5. Whether all the People have be their Governors; 6. Whether it be Lawful to depose an evil Governor;: 7. What Confidence is to be given to Princes.
- The Compassionate Samaritan.
- Six Sermons, Preached by Dr. Hill, collected into one Volumn.
- Dr. Sibbs on the Philippians.
- The Best and Worst Magistrate, by Obadiah Sedgwick.
- The craft and cruelty of the churches Adversaries, by Matthew Newcomin.
- A sacred Panygrick, by Steph. Martial,
- Barriffs Military Discipline.
- The Immortality of Mans Soul.
- The Anatomist Anatomized.
A TREATISE OF Earthly-mindedness.
CHAP. I. The Text Opened.
PHILIP. 3. latter part of the 19. verse.
THIS precious Scripture cleerly holds forth the different disposition of wicked and of godly men; especially of such wicked men, as set themselves against the Gospel; for it relates to such as were professed enemies to the Cross of Christ, that labored what they could to hinder the success of the Ministry of Paul. You shall find if you look back a few verses, that this is meant of those kind of Page 2 men especially, for he tels us, that many walk'd so, as they were enemies to the Cross of Christ: they were those that opposed the preaching of Paul, and his Ministry: and he de∣scribes those men what they were by divers Characters, but I'le treat of none but this, Who mind Earthly things.
Who mind Earthly things; who savour, or relish Earthly * things, so you may translate the word as well. It is a ge∣neral word comprehending the actions and operations, both of the understanding and will: It is in Scripture ap∣plied to both, but most commonly to the Actions of the wil and affections; we are particular in Actions of the Will.
Earthly things] The things that are upon the Earth, * whatsoever they be, the Beauty, the Glory, and Parentry of the Earth; the Profits that are Earthly, the Pleasures and Ho∣nors of the world; who mind any things inordinatly that are sublunary accommodations. But we carry and behave our selves as free Denizens of the City of Heaven; for so the * words in the Original are, if we should thus reade them: Our City whereof we are Citizens, and whereunto we have right, is Heaven.
But our Conversation, our City Converse, it is of things that are above the earth: when the Apostle would have men to follow their example and not the example of others, in the 17. verse, he uses this as an Argument, saith he, such and such men are enemies to the Cross of Christ, and they make their belly their god, and they mind Earthly things: do not fol∣low them, do not hearken what they say to you, they come up and down from house to house, and whisper this and that to you, and would take you off from the ways of God, God hath begun to enlighten you, and to stir your consci∣ences, do not let the precious affections of your souls run wast towards them, but be ye followers of us as we are of Christ; for our Conversation is in Heaven with our Lord and Master, there comes in the Argument in the 20. verse. So that being the only scope and meaning of the words, take this Doctrinal Truth.
One of these minds Earthly things: It is a paralel Scrip∣ture that we have in the 8. to the Rom. 5. verse, For they that are after the flesh, do mind the things of the flesh. Do mind, there * is the same word, only here the Participle, and there in the Verb, but the meaning is the same, as they that are after the Earth, mind Earthly things: so they that are after the flesh savours fleshly things: the first part of this point, is the dis∣cription of wicked men, that are enemies to the crosse of Christ, and to the waies of godliness, and they are men that mind Earthly things, the more grosse of them are described before, To have their bellies to be their god, some of them are very sensual, druken, unclean, and altogether given to satisfie the flesh in fleshly lusts: But there are others that do not appear to be so brutish, yet they are men of earthly minds, savour only of earthly things, and these are the men that are secret enemies to the crosse of Christ, yea, and wil many times appear so to be, it will break out at length: Such a man whose spirit hath been earthly for a long time, will appear at length to be an enemy to Christs crosse. Now in the handling of this point, I will propound these Five things to treat of.
First. What it is to mind earthly things in a sinfull way: or thus, When a man may be said to be an Earthly-minded man, that we may know when a man is an Earthly-minded man, what it is to mind Earthly things, that the Apostle here describes a wicked man by. Without the opening of this, al that I shall say afterwards will be but to little purpose.
Secondly. The great evil that there is in minding of Earthly things: and I shall discover to you a grea∣ter evil in it than you are aware of.
Page 4 Thirdly. Lay down some Convincements whereby those men and women that (it may be) think they are cleer from this sin, yet may have it discovered unto their consciences, that they are the men and women that do mind Earthly things.
Fourthly. I shall search into the Reason, Why it is that the hearts of men and women are so much after Earthly things.
Fifthly. I shall labour to take off your hearts from Earthly things. These are the Five things that are to be done in the first part of the point, Namely, the Character of wicked men here laid down, Who mind Earthly things.
For the first. Who they are, that mind Earthly things. Cer∣tainly, they are not all those that enjoy earthly things; all men that do make use of earthly things, must not be con∣demned for minding earthly things. Paul himself in this very Epistle, where he wrote to these Philippians, chap. 4. vers. 12. Though he knew how to want, yet he knew how to abound: he could tell how to make use of earthly things, yea, and he gives charge, That all those that are instructed should make such as had instructed them partakers of all their goods. It may be, they would have said, is not this, To mind Earthly things? To require those that are instru∣cted, to make those that did instruct them partakers of all their goods: Paul doth charge this. Yea, and Christ him∣self, even in that Scripture where he does labor most to take the thoughts of men off from the earth; as not to take any thought, what they should eat, or drink, yet saith he, Your heavenly Father knows that yea have need of these things in the 6. of Matthew: and Gal. 6. 6. Let him that is taught in the Word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things: and if there be any pretence against it, yet saith he, be not deceived, God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. Thus therefore it is not here charged, as a note of an Page 5 evil man, to have earthly things, and doth justly require what is due unto him, as here Paul doth; and the Galati∣ans could not charge him, as breaking his own Rule which he wrote to the Philppians; and therefore we must enquire out somwhat else that's here means, by minding earthly things. When a man or woman doth mind earthly things in a sinful way, And for that there are these several parti∣culars considerable.
CHAP. II. Earthly-mindedness discovered in Nine particulars.
THE first is this, When a man looks upon earthly things as the greatest things of all, when he hath a high esteem of earthly things, as THE things: as thus, Oh if I had such and such things as others have, Oh how happy should I be, how happy are such and such men that do enjoy such earthly things at their will, in their dwel∣lings, their furniture, their comings in, Oh these are the brave things, these are the delightful things, these are THE things wherein felicity and happiness doth consist. When men shall promise to themselves felicity in any earthly things, then they mind earthly things. I remem∣ber golden mouth'd Chrysostom hath a speech of a covetous man, That he looks upon his Money, and he sees more beauty in his Money than in the very Sun it self that shines in the Firmament: When men look upon the things of the earth as the most beautiful things in their eyes: Certainly that man is in a distemper, when he puts such a high esteem upon any earthly things, this esteem is not according to what God and his Saints do put upon earthly things, God never puts any great eminencie on any earthly thing; he never made any earthly things to be any great Conduit, Page 6 or means of Conveyance of any great good from himsel unto his Creature; If you would know what your heart, are, you may know it by this one sign as much as any What do you account your excellencie? according to what any man or woman accounts their excellency to consist in, so are their hearts, their hearts are sutable; in the 27. chap. of Genesis, 28. 39. verses. You shall find there Isaac blessing of Jacob and Esau, he blesses them both: but now, what I would observe is this, the difference in the placing of them, you shall observe, the blessing of Jacob in the 28. verse, therefore God giveth of the dew of Heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of Corn and Wine, that's Jacob's blessing: Now look to Esau's blessing, for the blessing was sutable to their disposition, and Jacob's father answered and said unto him, behold thy dwelling shall be of the fat∣ness of the earth, and of the dew of Heaven from above: mark, Isaac blesses them both with the dew of Heaven and fatness of the earth; but now, in Jacob's blessing the dew of Heaven is first, and the fatness of the earth is in the se∣cond place; but in Esau's blessing the fatness of the earth is first, and then the dew of Heaven: noting this, That a godly man indeed, doth stand in need of the things of the earth, as Christ saith, your father knows you stand in need of this things; I but the great thing in the first place that a godly heart doth mind, it ts, The dew of Heaven, and then in the second place, The blessing of the erath; But now, a carnal heart doth think it hath some need of the things of Heaven, it will acknowledge that: I but in the first place it's the fatness of the earth they desire: and secondly the dew of Heaven, So that that's the first thing: Earthly min∣ded men look upon these things as the high and chief things, and hence it is that the choise of the thoughts of an earthly-minded man is carried out on worldly objects.
Secondly, When the Cream and choise of the thoughts of men and women are busied about earthly things then they mind earthly things in a sinful manner: You may know what your hearts are by your thoughts as much as any thing, the thoughts Page 7 are the immediate ebulitions or risings up of the heart (as I may so call them) that is the bubbles that come from the heart immediately; a man cannot know what is in his heart so much by words and actions, as by the thoughts, because the thoughts immediately spring from the heart, as thus, I can tell what the water is in such a fountain bet∣ter from that that bubbles up immediatly from the fountain-head, than I can tell by the water that runs in the stream a mile or two off, for there may many things intervene in the stream a mile or two off that never came from the foun∣tain-head, but that that immediately bubbles from the fountain-head, that discovers of what nature the fountain is: So the thoughts are as it were the first born of the heart, and therefore the heart may be known what it is by the thoughts, Prov. 23. 7. saith the holy Ghost there, As he thinketh in his heart, so is he; That which is here spoken in a particular case may be applied in the general, As a man thinks in his heart so is he, as his thoughts are so is he: So is the heart as the thoughts of the mind are, Men may keep in words and actions out of by-respects, I but if you could know what the heart is, and look into the haunts of it in secret, that would discover to your selves what you are: as now, Many of your servants, when they are in your pre∣sence before you or before others they may out of divers re∣spects carry themselves fairly, but if you would find them out, labour to know what they do when they are alone in their private haunts: So, would you know your own hearts? do not so much look at them, and take a scantling of them by how you behave your selves in words and acti∣ons before others, but what they are in your private cham∣bers, what they are in the inward thoughts of the mind, there the heart comes to be discovered most; And by these thoughts I do not mean every kind of injection, or suggesti∣on, for sometimes the Devil may cast in evil thoughts into the most holy; but I mean such thoughts as are sweet to the soul, whereby the soul comes to suck out sweetness, and contentment, for that's the minding earthly things, when Page 8 you find the strength of your thoughts to be upon the things of the earth: and they are more sutable to your hearts than any other: It is not when through weakness the mind may be wandring this way or that way, or through suggestions or temptations; but now, when men or women are most themselves when alone and free, then for to examine what are the most sutable thoughts to their hearts, Can you say when you are alone, Oh the very thoughts of God are sweet to me, immediate in his Law day and night, and suck out sweetness there as from an ho∣ny comb? But an unclean wretch will suck out sweetness of his unclean thoughts when he is alone; and so the earthly minded man will suck out the sweetness of his earthly thoughts, and so the Ambitious man the sweetness of his pride when he is alone, and these are the most contentful thoughts to him, he can run along if it be two or three hours together and take delight and pleasure in them: here's Earthly-mindedness.
The third thing is this, An Earthly-minded man, is one whose heart cleaves to the earth: for so I told you the word was, not only to mind, but to savour the things of the earth: his heart doth cleave to the earth: The Psalmist in a far differing case said, that his soul did cleave to the dust: but it's true of many men in this case that I am speaking of, their very souls do cleave to the dust, their spirits are mix∣ed with the earth, and therefore they are drossie: Though it may be they have some good common gifts, some good natural parts, and some workings of the holy Ghost upon them, yet their spirits are drossie: because they are mixt with the earth: discourse never so much to these men of the vanity of the things of the earth, they will give you the hearing, but when you have done all, their souls do cleave to the earth: and discourse never so much to them of the excellency of heavenly things, they will hear you, but when you have done all, their souls stil cleaves to the earth: As a man whose soul cleaves in love to a woman, (As it is said of Sampson, his soul did cleave to Dalilab) talk what Page 9 you will against that women, or of the excellency of any other woman, yet his soul cleaves to that woman: so 'tis in an earthly minded man, let what will be said against the things of the earth, or what can be said for the setting forth of the excellency of the things of Heaven, yet his soul cleaves to the earth: as the Serpents belly did to the dust of the ground. That's an earthly minded man.
Fourthly, An earthly minded man, it on, whose heart is filled with distracting cares about the earth: what he shall eat and drink, and what he shall put on, how he shall provide for himself and his family, and what shall become of him at such a time, Though he be well now yet what may become of him afterwards: when the heart is filled with distracting cares about the things of the earth; so far as the heart hath these prevailing over it, so far such a man may be judged to be earthly.
There are two things that do cause distrating cares a∣bout anie businesse
The first is, An apprehension of some verie great evil In case I should be disappointed, I look upon my disap∣pointment in such a thing as a most intolerable evil to me, If I should be disappointed I know not what in the world to do That's the first
The second is, An uncertaintie in the means for the pre∣ventment of this disappointment: when as I look upon disappointment as a very great evil, so those means that should prevent and help me against disappointment I can∣not trust to: I look upon them as too weak to help me, notwithstanding al such means I may yet be desappointed, this causes distracting thoughts; so, tis in the things of the earth, an earthly minded man or woman hath his thoughts fil'd with distracting cares about the world. That is thus
First, They looking upon the things of the world as such great things, they conceive if they should be disap∣pointed they should be undone; they look upon it as such a fearful unsufferable evil to be depriv'd of their estate and outward comforts in this world.
Page 10 Secondly, They don't look upon the means of provisi∣on for themselves and families as having anie certaintie in it, which is a main thing to be considered of: As for out∣ward things in the world, they find by experience there is uncertainty in them. And then for any promse that there is in Scripture that God will provide for them and their fa∣milies, alas that they dare not trust to, that's a thing that of all means they think to be the weakest, Lord have mercy upon them (say they) if they have nothing else to trust to, but only a word in Scripture, they think themselves most miserable and wretched. But now, it would be otherwise with the soul if it were not earthly minded, it would not be at any great pause how things do fall out here in the matters of the world, it's true, perhaps I may miscarry in such a businesse, and my estate may be taken from me by the Caldeans or Sabeans as Jobs was, but I shall not be un∣done, my happiness is not gone, I shall have that that will comfort me when all that is gone; suppose the worst, yet this will not undo me, Indeed a man that sends abroad in a venture all his whole estate, he is very solicitous because if there be ill news about it he is undone; but another man that hath a great deal of riches, house, and Lands, and a stock at home to maintain him and his family, If there comes such ill news, I have a stock to live on he thinks, therefore he is not so much solicitous: So a worldly man, all his stock is in the earth, there's his only portion, and if he miscarries there he is undone; But a godly man, though he hath the things of the earth, yet he hath some∣thing else, treasures in Heaven to rest upon besides the earth, and therefore he is not so solicitous.
And then for the second, The uncertainty of means and help: if a godly man looks upon outward causes, he sees all is uncertain, but he hath a promise to rest upon, I will never leave you nor forsake you: cast your care upon me for I care for you; and this he looks upon as a certain means and help, whatsoever fals out, here's a promise that he can build upon, and therefore this takes off his solicitous Page 11 cares: But an earthly minded man or woman whose heart is fild with distracting cares, because he look upon himself as undone if he miscarries here, and hath nothing to rest upon for his provision in this world, more than the crea∣ture.
Fifthly, An earthly minded man or woman, is one whose great business of his heart and endeavours of his life are about the things of the earth: he makes it his great bu∣siness, and the strong endeavours of his spirit are exercised in the things of the earth: He eagerly and greedily works with the strongest intention about these things, his whole Soul, the whole man is laid out about the world, it is the adequate object of his soul.
You will say, Other men they are busie in their callings as well as these that you account earthly minded men, I but mark, they are busie about their callings in obedience to God; and for outward things set aside their obedience to God, then (I say) all the things that they busie them∣selves about in the world, were it not under that considera∣tion that they were obeying God in it they would not be adequate objects for their souls. I mean by an adequate object, that that Is sufficient to take up the whole strength of the soul to lay it out fully: I'le give you this similitude to express my mind further, to shew you what I mean by an adequate object, You have a little child, he is playing at sports, now this sport it hath as much in it as there is in his spirit, there is a kind of equality between his spirit and such a sport, there is benefit enough a child conceives in such a sport as it's worth the laying out of all his strength and might upon it: Now it may be, sometimes a man or woman will play with their child, they will do as the child doth to play with it, but this sport it's not an adde∣quat object, that's thus, a man or woman for the while would please themselves with the child, but not so as if there were as much good in this as would fill their souls, so as they would lay out all their mind and might upon this thing as that is fully adequate to the desires of their Page 12 soul; But sport is fully adequat to the desires of the soul of the child, but though a man or woman doth sport so with the child, yet these things are not fully adequat to the desires of a man or woman, and they have other matters in their heads than these, and businesses of a higher nature: and so it is in those that are not earthly minded, though they may be busied about the things of this world, yet they use the world as if they used it not, the things of the world are not objects adequat to their hearts, a spiritual heart reserves the chief strength of it for higher things, I follow these things in the world but so, as I reserve the chief strength for a more desirable good: As a man now, if he hath divers friends to come to him, perhaps he hath some of an ordinary rank, they come first, he makes ordi∣narie provision for them, but if he hath anie choise things for entertainment he reserves them for some choise friends that are coming to him: so a man that is not of the world though he may be busie in earthly things, yet the choise of his heart he both reserve for things of a higher nature. I remember Tertullian hath a speech of the Christians how they eat, and drank; when they sup'd, they eat and drank (saith he) so as they remembred they were to pray that night be∣fore they slept: So a gracious spiritual heart follows his out ward business in the world, but so as he remembers he is to converse with God that night before de sleeps, so that he reserves the strength of his spirit for communion with God; but now the other laies out all his strength as having no∣thing to do afterwards: so that in this an earthly, and a spiritual heart are quite contrary; The Apostle you know would have godly men to use the world as if they used it not; so on the contrary, an earthly-minded man uses spi∣ritual things as if he used them not; look how an earthly minded mans heart is in spiritual things, so a spiritual mind is in earthly things: An earthly minded man wil do some things that are spiritual, he will come and hear the word, perhaps he wil pray in his familie, and reade a chapter, I but his heart is not much there, he doth it as Page 13 he did it not, comes and hears as if he heard not, and praies as if he prayed not, he makes it not his business to pray or hear; so a spiritual minded man he doth the things of the world but as if he did them not, I mean in comparison of his being busie in spiritual things, there he doth it with all his might; An earthly minded man is like to Corab, Da∣than, and Abiram, we reade of them that they were swallo∣wed up of the earth: and so the truth is, the things of the earth, Contentments, provision for themselves and fami∣lies in earthly things, doth as it were open and swallow up the very hearts of earthly-minded men: and that's the fift thing for the discription of earthly mindedness.
Sixthly, But suppose a man doth not seem to be so strongly intent, to lay out his whole strength and heart a∣bout earthly things, yet when anie man or woman shall seek anie earthlie thing for it self (observe it) and not in subordination to some higher good, this is an earthly-minded man so for as this prevailes; in the 2 Cor. 4. 18. our Apostle Paul speaks there of the things that are seen that are but temporal, While we look not at the things that are seen, for the things that are seen are earthly and temporal: the word is * as much as to say, while we do not look as our scope upon temporal and earthly things that are seen, we do not make them our end, but we seek them in subordination, there is somewhat else that we look at higher in all these things, as for instance, a man that is godly, he follows his busi∣ness as other men do, but what is it that he would have? It's this, I shew my obedience to God, and I would provide those things that may be helpful to me to serve God in my generation; that's my end, I can appeal to God in this, that even in the following my business and all outward things, it is that I might follow God in the use of means for the providing of such things as may enable me to serve him the more in my generation: this is my scope in what I do. But now on the other side, an earthly-minded man makes his scope this, he will follow his business and look about the business of his calling that he might gain, he Page 14 would get that he might get, he would have more that he might have more, and that he and his children might be somebodie in the world, and it may be that he might have enough to have his will, and lusts, therefore he fol∣lows his business very intent, meerly that he may get to sa∣tisfie the flesh, yea, indeed all the good things that he doth he brings them in subordination to earthly things. You may take it thus, a spiritual man doth not seek earthly things for himself, but an earthly man doth; or thus more fully, (you may mak it a distinct head if you will,) An earthly man is earthly in all he doth do, both in earth∣ly and spiritual things, and a spiritual minded man is spi∣ritual in all he doth, both in spiritual and in earthly things; an earthly man when he is in earthly things he is altogether earthly, he looks not at obedience to God in what he doth, as thus, I'le follow my calling because God hath required it, but an earthly man thinketh, I'le follow it because I see gain come in by it, this is earth; though the things be lawful, and it's your duty to follow your calling, but to follow it meerly for gain, this is earthly: but because it is your duty and the place God hath set you in, that's spiritualness in earthly things: An earthly man is earthly in earthly things, and he is more earthly in spi∣ritual things: when he performes spiritual duties he hath an earthly end in it, either to get esteem from men, or to cover some evil, or meerly for form and fashion, he doth it in an earthly way, and it may be at the most that that he doth do, it is but meerly for his own quiet, and to sa∣tisfie his own conscience, he is earthly in spiritual things. But now, a spiritual man, is spiritual in earthly things. one of a spiritual mind, is more heavenly and spiritual when he is about his calling though the meanest, as hed∣ging, and ditching, or when he is pulling his ropes and lines, or using his Ax or hammer, he is more spiritual I say then, than an earthly man is, when he is praying, or hearing, or receiving Sacraments; certainly it is so, and it will be found to be so at the great day of Judgment, Page 15 when the secrets of all hearts shall be disclosed: that's the sixt thing, when a man seeks earthly things for him∣self.
And that that we may add as a seventh is, That he is earth∣ly in spiritual things. I grant that the best of the Saints may have some earthlinesse in spirtual things; but I speak of the predominancie, it's that that doth rule in the heart, so that in the performance of spiritual things, his very ends are but earthly, and the frame of his heart is but earthly in spiritual performances.
The eight thing wherein we may find an earthly min∣ded man is this, That he passes through many and great diffi∣culties in matters of the earth, and they are very little to him; and though he hath a great deal of toyl for the matters of the earth, yet he is never weary with it, because he is in his proper element; and therefore let there be what difficulties there will be, which to another man would be very great, he makes of them as nothing, and though there be much toyl and labour yet he is not weary, why? because he is in his own element: The fish is not weary with swimming, but a man is quickly weary, I but the fish is in it's element and a man is not; so, I beseech you observe this, when a mans spirit is in this kind of temper, let him but be busied about earthly things, wherein earthly advantage comes in, no difficulties will hinder him, no wind or weather, he will rise in cold mornings and go abroad, do any thing in the world. Oh! what difficulties will men endure In storms at Sea, and hazards there, and troubles at land ma∣ny waies for things of the earth, and sit up late, and rise early, and toyl themselves, and complain of no wearinesse nor no difficulties But now, let them come but to spiri∣tual things, to soul-businesses that concern God and their spiritual estates, every little difficulty puts them aside and discourages them, every mole-hill is a mountain in their way, I would do so and so indeed, but 'tis so hard, and 'tis tedious to rise in a morning, especially in cold winters morning; it is very hard and difficult to reade and pray Page 16 and so he is complaining of the difficulty of these things: And to watch over the heart, it's a mighty difficulty: to an earthly man any spiritual thing is difficult, and the diffi∣culties doth discourage him, and in spiritual things, Oh how weary are they! as they in the 1. of Micha, 13. they cryed out, What a weariness is it: But in the businesse of the world they can follow it, from morning to night they are never tired, they can work (as we say sometimes of men) like a horse and yet never out of breath: Oh I would but desire you try your hearts once, but to endea∣vour to spend one Sabbath exctly, and see what a weari∣nesse that would be to you, resolve but one Sabbath to rise early in the morning, & to have your thoughts spiritual & heavenly as much as you can, and then get up & pray alone in your closet, then reade, and hear, and meditate, and mark what you hear; and when you go home think of it, and confer about it, and when you come again attend up∣on the word, and so spend the whole day in hearing, rea∣ding, meditating, and conference about good things, Cal∣ling your family to account, and praying again, and see how tiresom this will be unto your hearts if they be car∣nal. But now a spiritual heart will call the Sabbath a de∣light unto it: And the Sabbath unto such an one is no o∣ther than that type and fore runner of that eternal day of rest it shall enjoy in the kingdom of heaven: one that is spiritual accounts the Sabbath to be a day of rest, but an earthly man is quickly tired in spiritual things, he will give over his work and not go through it: we reade in the 4. of Nehe. 6. verse Nehemiah having spoken of the great difficulties that they met withal in their work, and yet (saith he) the work went on, for they bad a mind to it. So, look how a mans mind is, so he will be able to go through his work; If a man be an earthly-minded man, such a man will go through stich with his work, If he take up busi∣nesse for the world he will go through with it, for he hath a mind to it, he is a man of an earthly mind; But let him take in hand a spiritual work, and he will lay it aside be∣fore Page 17 it be half done, he will seldom bring to perfection a∣ny spiritual work, why? because he hath no mind to it, whereas were the heart spiritual, and there were any spiri∣tual work undertaken, such a one would go through with it till all was finished.
Another note about the discription of an earthly-minded man, is this: An earthly-minded man, is one that doth con∣ceive of the most heavenly Truths that are revealed in the Word in an earthly way, according to his mind, his genious, and disposition of his own heart: And I verily think this is in a special man∣ner meant in this place, for the Apostle is speaking of those that did oppose him in his Ministery, and that were ene∣mies to the Crosse of Christ: Now (saith he) These mind earthly things, their mindes are of an earthly temper, and therefore no marvell (as if he should say) though they do not savour those Heavenly and Spiritual Truths that we bring to them, for their minds being earthly, they only apprehend those things after an earthly manner: As now, what was the great Truth that the Apostle did bring to the Philippians? It was the way of reconciling the world to God, of making our peace with God, and of our Justifica∣tion through Jesus Christ. Now there is no point of Reli∣gion more Spiritual, Heavenly, and Divine, than the Do∣ctrin of Reconciliation, and of Justification by Jesus Christ. So that, one that is of an earthly disposition, though he may be convinc'd of a necessity of pardon of sin, and peace with God, yet he apprehends the making of his peace with God, and obtaining pardon of his sin, but in an earthly manner, he hath carnal thoughts and apprehensions about his peace with God, and about obtaining pardon of sin, he thinks it is the same way that one man obtains peace with another when he is fallen out, and of getting pardon from another man that he hath offended, he conceives it in an earthly way, he looks upon his making peace with God, by some thing that he himself must perform; but for the point of Free justification by the grace of God in Christ, it's too Di∣vine, Spiritual and Heavenly for an earthly-minded man Page 18 to apprehend in the Spiritualnesse of it; an earthly-mind∣ed man, his apprehensions of God are but in a carnal, earth∣ly way; as the Prophet speaks in the 1 of Isa. The Ox knows his owner, and the Ass his masters crib: Even after that man∣ner doth an earthly-minded man know God; as an Ox his owner, and the Ass his masters crib: as thus, the ox knows his owner because he brings him fodder daily, so an earth∣ly-minded man hath no other apprehensions of God but this, he thinks God gives him good things in this world, God makes his corn to grow, or Prospers his voyage. An earthly-minded man may rise so high to have apprehensi∣ons of God as bringing good things unto him here on earth: But one that is spiritual and heavenly doth appre∣hend God as God, doth not look upon God meerly as good in respect of the benefit he receives from God here, but he looks upon God as he is in himself, he sees the face of God: as there's a great deal of difference between a man that knows another man, and a beast that knows a man, The ox knows his owner, the ox knows the man that brings hay or provender to him, but a man knows a man in another way, knows what the nature of a man is, knows what it is to be a rational creature, so one that is spiritual, knows what God is in himself, he sees the face of God, and understands what God is in another way than others do: the difference between the knowledge of God that a spiritual soul hath, one that is pure in heart, and the knowledge of God that an earthly heart hath, is just so much difference as comes to this, As the ox knows the man that drives him to fat pastures, so doth an earthly man know God that gives him good things: but a spiritual heart knows God as one man knows another, not in his full excellency, I mean not so, but there is such a kind of difference in some degree, between the apprehensions of God in a spiritual heart, and the apprehensions of God in an earthly heart: And so we might mention in many o∣ther Spiritual and Divine Truths, that an earthly mind doth apprehend but in an earthly way; consider of Heaven Page 19 its self, how doth an earthly mind apprehend that? he ap∣prehends that he shall be delivered from pain, and shall have some kind of glory, but knows not what it is, conceives it according to the way of the earth, some pompous, glo∣tious thing, that he shall live in pleasures and not in pain; and so apprehends all the glory of Heaven but in sensuali∣ty; whereas a spiritual heart looks at Heaven in another kind of notion, he looks upon the enjoyment of Commu∣nion with God and Jesus Christ in Heaven, and living of the life of God in Heaven; that's a thing that an earthly heart hath no skill at all in, neither doth such an heart so much as savour it. Thus I have in these several particulars discovered what an earthly-minded man is, Oh that you would lay your hands upon your hearts, and every one consider how far these things do reach you. But I have besides these, divers other convincements, to convince the consciences of men and women that yet there is much earthlinesse in them: but of them we shall treat of in their order afterwards.
The Second head to consider is this. The great evill that there is in earthly-mindedness, They mind earthly things. Is that any such great matter (you will say) indeed we cannot imagine the transcendency of the evil that there is in this, We think there's a great deal of evil in swearing, whoring, drinking, and such kind of scandalous sins, and indeed there is, But to have an earthly mind we do not think this to be so exceeding evil; yet you will find that the Scripture doth speak most dreadful things against this, and if God please to set them home upon your hearts, I hope there is much glory may come to God by it, and much good unto you in particular.
CHAP. III. Fourteen Evils of Earthly-mindedness.
The First EVIL.
F•••• The Scripture cals it, Adultery: it is spiritual Adultery, in Jude, 4. vers. Ye Adulterers and Adulte∣resses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmi∣ty with God. They were Adulterers and Adulteresses in respect of their love to the world: you that would ab∣hor the thought of a temptation to Adultery, yet you may commit spiritual Adultery, a man or a woman may be an Adulterer or an Adulteresse before the Lord, though they never commit the act of uncleannesse with another, yet if their hearts be towards another, they be guilty of unclean∣nesse: for Christ saith, whosoever doth but look after a woman to lust after her in his heart, he hath committed a∣dultery already; that is, hath sinned against that com∣mand that forbids adultery: Is it so, that if a man do but let his heart go after another woman more than his wife, and a wife after another man more than her husband, this is adultery before the Lord. So if our hearts be after a∣ny things more than the Lord Jesus Christ, that we profess our selves married to and he to be our husband; this is a∣dultery in Scripture phrase.
The Second EVIL.
Yea further, A worldly or an earthly-mind in Scripture phrase, is called Idolatry; in Ephes. 5. 5. speaking of divers sins that should not be so much as named among them as it became Saints, he hath Covetousness among the rest, and he ads this; And Covetousness which is Idolatry. Now what Page 21 is Earthly-mindednesse, but Covetousnesse, which is Idola∣itry? A man, or woman is an Idolater that is of an Earthly mind: Now Idolatry which is a worshiping of stocks and stones, you all account to be a great sin; but do you, and al others take heed of another Idolatry that may be as bad that is, To have your hearts to make the god of this world to be your God, the cursed Mammon of unrighteousnesse, to make the things of the earth to be your Christ, to fall down and worship the golden-Calfe of the world. It's certain, that that thing a mans heart is most taken with, and set upon, that's his God: and therefore here in this verse out of which my Text is, it's said, They made earth∣ly things (their bellies) their God: The Voluptuous, and Drunkard makes their Belly their God; and the Unclean person, makes his Strumpet to be his goddesse and worshp∣peth that; whatsoever thy heart is most upon, that's thy God: therefore, that you must know to be the meaning of the Commandement, Thou shalt have no other Gods before me: That is, thou shalt give me the strength of thy soul, and no∣thing else: So, I am a God to my Creature when I have its strength exercised about me, to lift up me as the highest good; but if there be any thing else that thy soul is set up∣on as thy highest good, that's thy God, and it's worse than bowing the knee, thou bowest thy soul to that thing: now the meaner any thing is that we make a God of to our selves, the more vile is the Idolatry: as when the Egyptians worshiped divers sorts of gods, they were accounted the most vile Idolaters; whereas other Heathens worshipped more excellent things, the Sun, Moon, and Stars; the E∣gyptians worshiped Dogs, Cats, Onions, and vile things; and therefore their Idolatry was vile. So, the viler any thing is that a man or woman sets their hearts upon, the more vile is their Idolatry; as for a man that should set his heart up∣on unclean lusts, now to make that to be a god, the satisfy∣ing of those lusts, that's abominable, and to make any earthly thing to be a god to us, that's most vile; for of all the things of the works of creation that God hath made, the Page 22 Earth is the meanest, 'tis the basest and lowest thing, and hath the least beauty in it in it's self, and it is the most dul and meanest element of all; and to make earthly things to be a God to you, this is most vile.
Object. You will say for this Idolatry, What is there in it?
Answ. There is Two particulars to open the Evil of Ido∣latry, or Earthly-mindednesse.
First. The Evil of your Idolatry, it is in this. You do de∣part from God; in letting out of your hearts to these things, you do (as it were) go off from God, and renounce the pro∣tection of God, the goodnesse and mercy of God, you leave it all by this: In the 4. chap. of Hofea, 12. verse. They are said, To go a whoring from under their God. It's a notable phrase; that is, by going to Idols they did go off from the protection of God; whereas, while they were worshiping the true God, they then were under the protection of God; but when they went to Idols, they went from under their God, from under his protection: So when thou settest thy heart upon God, and liftest up the infinite First being of all things as the chief good to thy soul, thou art under the in∣fluence of this Grace and Mercy: but when thou doest de∣part from him, and makest other things to be thy Cheef good, thou goest from under his protection, and from his good and mercy.
Secondly: God is slighted and contemn'd in this, When thou choosest rather to make the earth to be thy God than the infinit blessed first-being of all things; As a man that doth dispise his wife, and it were abominable sin, if he should choose to go to a Queen though the most beautifullest woman in the world, and forsake his wife; but to leave a Queen, or Em∣press that were the beautifullest woman upon the earth, and to have the heart cleave to a base dunghil-raker, were not this a great contempt to the Queen that were so beautiful? Yet so it is when thou doest forsake the blessed eternal God as thy chief good, and choosest the things of the earth: for the truth is, the earth is the fink of all the creatures of Page 23 Gods making, and for thee to leave the most blessed and Eternal One, and to make that thy god it must needs be a very vile and abominable thing; and therefore the Pro∣phet Jeremiah in speaking of this Idolatry, he cals the Heavens and the Earth to be amazed at it. Jeremiah, 2. 12. Be astonished O ye Heavens at this, and be horrible afraid, be ye very desolate saith the Lord, Why? what's the matter? For my people have committed two evils, They have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out Cisterns, broken Cisterns that can hold no water. So 'tis here; thou forsakest the fountain of living waters, the blessed God, and thy heart cleaves to the dust, and seekest thy contentment and happinesse in cisterns that can hold no water; let the Hea∣vens be astonished at this horrible wickedness.
The Third EVIL.
Thirdly, Earthly-mindedness it's enmity against God. Thou wouldst be loth to be found an enemy against God; certain∣ly it's a truth, and it will be found another day, That an earthly-minded man, or woman is an enemy to God: yea the Scripture makes it to be enmity in the very Abstract, James, 4. 4. Know ye not that the love of the world is enmity to God? Observe this, for there's very much in it, if God would be pleased to make us to lay it to heart, you will find it by experience, that earthly-mindednesse doth make men to be enemies to that that is spiritually good, therefore well might the holy-Ghost say, 'tis enmity to God, for whatso∣ever is enmity to any thing that is spiritually good, it is enmity to God; so much as my heart, or any of your hearts are against any thing that is spiritual, so much mine or any of your hearts are enemies to God. Now here in the very Text, these earthly-minded men are made enemies to the Crosse of Christ: that is, enemies to the spiritual preaching of Christ, and holding forth Christ: Indeed, If they would have mixt Christ and Circumcision together, then they would have been content with it; but now this Page 24 spiritual way of preaching Christ, and being justified by faith alone, and Christian Religion in the purity of it, was that that was not sutable to their carnal hearts, and therefore they were enemies to it. Oh! earthly-minded∣nesse doth make us enemies to spiritual things; where have you greater enemies unto the things of God, unto spiritual things, unto the Ministry of the word (as we had occasion to hint) and to the work of Gods grace upon the hearts of men and women, no greater enemies unto these things than earthly minded men, men that savour the things of the earth, that can go up and down and care not if they can but load themselves with thick clay, grow rich in the world and fare deliciously every day with Dives, make provision for the flesh to fulfill the lusts thereof, there is an antipathy in their spirits against Jesus Christ and al goodnesse.
The Fourth EVILL.
Then Fourthly; There is scarce any disposition more opposite, more contrary to the work of grace, to the work of godlinesse in a mans own heart than earthly-minded¦nesse, 'tis so exceeding crosse to the nature of grace, that it may as well put men or women to be at a stand, and put them upon examination whether there be any grace or no in their hearts if earthly-mindednesse prevail, as almost any other thing; if God should suffer your corruptions to pre∣vail over you, so as you should break forth into some out∣ward notorious sins, then it may be you would begin to think, can this stand with grace? and how can that stand with such workings as I have had before? have not I cause to fear that I am but an Hypocrite, a rotten professor? But now, this earthly-mindednesse hath as much opposition to the nature of grace, and the power of godlinesse in the heart as almost any sin that you can name. It is so quite contrary to the very beginning of the work of grace, not contrary to the degrees only, but to the very begining. The main work of God at the very first, in working grace in Page 25 the soul, is to disingage the soul from the creature, it is to take it off from the Earth, and from all creatures here be∣low: for naturally 'tis true, That as we are of the earth, so we are earthly, and have our spirits ingaged to the things of this earth; but then comes the work of grace upon the soul, and takes it off, and discharges the heart from the earth: and therefore you find that Christ laies in this as the first lesson, That he that will be my Disciple, must deny himself, and take up his Cross and follow me: as if he should say, never think of being a Christian except you will deny your selves. Self: what's that? all natural con∣tentment, natural-self, and sinful-self, to be emptied wholly of your selves, and creature-comforts, and content∣ments, and take up my Cross, to be willing to suffer any thing in regard of earthly comforts, to be willing to lay down all at my feet, and to give up your interest in all, and to take up my Cross; this is the very first beginning of Christs bringing Disciples to himself. Then (saith the soul) let me have my sin pardoned, and farewel earth, it's Heaven, Holiness, renewing of the Image of God, communion, and union with God, and living to the eter∣nal praise of his Name in Christ that my heart is upon; I say, this in the beginning of Gods working the heart to himself. The work of Grace when it is first wrought, it hath the name of Vocation: Calling, what is it for a man to be called? give diligence to make your calling & election sure: To be called, is this, and whereas before thou wert altoge∣ther digging and dolving in the earth, and seeking for thy happiness in the world, now it pleases God to make thee to hear a voice behind thee, calling thee, and telling thee, O poor soul, thy happiness is not here, there are other things in which thy chief good consists, thou art made for higher and better things than these, God hath nobler thoughts about man-kind than meerly to let him have a few contentments here in the earth, Oh soul! come away and look after higher things; here's the first work of grace: and the soul answers unto this call of God and saith, Lord, Page 26 I come, and so gives up it's self to God to dispose of it, and this is in the beginning of the work of Grace: Now, how contrary is earthly-mindednesse to the work of God in bringing grace into the heart? Conceive it in these three things.
1. The very work of conversion, it is set out in Scripture by Gods calling the soul out of the world, Whom he hath predestinated; him he hath called. When God effectually be∣gins to work upon the heart of a sinner, he does cause a voice to be heard in the soul, Oh soul, thou hast been busy∣ing thy self about many things, but there is one thing ne∣cesseary, Oh come out of that way of thine that thou art in, thou canst never be happy else, thou wilt be undone in it; the Lord calls the soul out of the world; and that (I say) is the very work of conversion, the souls answearing to Gods call: Now for one stil to be earthly, and to have a heart cleaving to these things, surely such a one is not as yet ef∣fectually called out of the world.
2. And then from thence follows, upon the souls answer to this call; the Lord difingages the heart from all creature∣comforts, and teacheth, the first lesson to deny himself, and to take up Christs Crosse: now what's more opposite to self-denial and the taking up of the Crosse of Christ than earthly-mindednesse? the text saith here, They are enemies to the Cross of Christ.
And then a third thing in conversion it is, The resigning up of the soul to God as the chief good; the soul upon the call of God, it learns the lesson of Self-denial, and taking up the Crosse, and so being disingaged from the creature, now it resigns up it self to God as an infinite soul satisfying good for ever: now you cannot but in the naming of this see how opposite earthly-mindednesse is to it.
And then for the work of grace upon the heart, after the heart is converted and turned to God.
First, Grace brings a new light into the soul: A Spiritual and Divine light is set up in the soul upon the conversion of a sinner to God; but now, the earth you know, it's Page 27 the dark part of the world, and earthly mindednesse it causeth darknesse to be upon the spirit, as the interposition of the earth between us & the Sun, it doth hinder the sight of the Sun from us; And so the interposition that there is of earthlinesse in the soul of man between God and it, doth hinder the sight of God from the soul; there is a Divine light set up in the soul, and when as God works grace that doth discover things of a higher and more excellent and glorious nature, than those things were that before the heart did so much cleave unto.
In the second place: the Scirpture sets forth the work of grace by the New creature. In the soul all things are made new, old things are Past, he that is in Crhist is a new crea∣ture: Now earthly-mindednesse is opposite to the new creation in the soul, it's the old man that is of the earth, the first man is of the earth earthly; and so it is apparant that thou art still only in the stock of the first man, of the earth earthly who art an earthly-minded man. But the second man is, the Lord from Heaven: But now, thou that art an earthly-minded man or woman art yet but a child of A∣dam, of the first man, and so art of the earth earthly, this is opposite to grace, grace works a new creation in the soul.
3. And grace is of an Elevating nature, raises the heart a∣bove its self, and above the creature, yea, above the world, in some respect above Angels themselves, above Principali∣ties and Powers, above all created things, grace is of a raising nature; but an earthly-minded man sinks down to low and base things.
And grace (fourthly) is of an Enlarging nature; it enlar∣ges the heart, so that it cannot be satisfied with any earth∣ly thing, though God should give the whole world to a heart that hath grace, this would not satisfie that heart, why? because it is so Enlarged by the work of grace, the work of grace it is the Divine nature, the Image of God in the soul, and therefore works the soul like to God: and it's said of God in the 40. of Isa. that all the nations of the Page 28 earth are to him, but as the drop of the bucket, and as the smal dust in the ballance. Now grace makes the soul to be like God, to accout all the things of the earth to be as the drop of a bucket, and the dust of the ballance, to be nothing, less than nothing.
5. And then, Grace sanctifies the soul: Now what is it to sanctifie, but to take off from all common uses, and to dedi∣cate to God as the highest act of all things? And therefore, the Greek word that is for Holy, it is taken from a partici∣ple Premitive, and a word that signifies the Earth, as much * as to say, Not Earthly, and a holy one in the Greek language is not an earthly one, according to the usual etimology given of it. Now Grace it makes the soul holy, it sanctifies the soul, it sets apart the soul for God, and dedicates and con∣secrates the soul to God: and therfore you see that it is op∣posite to the work of God in bringing Grace into the soul, and to the work of grace, and the power of godliness in the soul of man: This is the great Evil of Earthly mindedness.
The Fifth Evil.
But Fifthly: For the discovery of the great Evil that there is in Earthly-mindedness: It puts men upon very great Temptations; and for that we need no other Scrip∣ture than that in the 1 of Tim. 6. 9. saith the Apostle there, But they that will be rich, fall into temptation, and a snare. Mark, that is, Those that have set their hearts so much upon the things of the earth, as they are resolved they must have them whatsoever comes of it: Observe the phrase; They that wil be rich, they apprehend a necessity of the things of the earth, they do not only wish and desire, Oh! that we had riches, and had these things of the earth, but they resolve they must have them upon any terms: Wel, If the heart go on in obedience to God in the duties of its calling, and if God send in riches and an estate, it doth thankfully accept it from God; these do not meet with such temptations and a snare as the Apostle here speaks of; but when the heart is Page 29 set upon it, that it needs must have an estate whatsoever comes on it; now they that will be so, they (saith the A∣postle) fall into temptations and a snare. There's dange∣rous temptations in following after the things of the earth, and there is a snare in them that you do not think of, for you think only of the bravery of the things of the earth, how sumptuously you should live, and how fine you should be, in your house, and cloaths, and what table you may keep, you only think of these things that may give the flesh contentment; but you do not think of the temptation, and the snare that is in them; and those whose hearts are set up∣on these things, they fall into the snare, nay, temptation; those that are earthly-minded, have great temptations, to shift up and down, to strain their consciences for the things of the earth; for so it is, that while we live in this world God hath made the things of the earth to be as thorns, and so they are compared in Scripture, and it's hard for one to meddle with thorns without pricking his fingers; they are as briars, & its hard for the sheep ro get among them but she wil lose some of her wool: and so it's hard for the heart to be busie about the things of the earth, but it will be prickt and lose some of its fleece, in will fall into temptation and a snare, and be catch'd: Oh! how many men and wo∣men that have enlightened consciences, & they think some∣times that they would not for all the world do any thing against their consciences, though they might gain all the glory and riches under Heaven: Well, but yet their hearts being earthly, when it comes to some particular, how rea∣dy are they? at least, to strain conscience, and not to attend to the voice of conscience, and are willing that conscience should have its mouth stop'd for the time: Indeed, If their consciences did plainly tell them, that this thing is abso∣lutely sin against God, perhaps they would not do it, but that were not the snare, for tis no snare when I see the dan∣ger before me, here's a deep pit, and if I step a step further I fall into it, this is no snare. But now, there are some that are not catch'd so, by a pit that's open; but the Devil doth Page 30 lay upon the pit (it may) some green grass, so that they shall not perceive, or very hardly perceive the danger; thus such as have earthly hearts they fall into a snare and temptation, they are put upon straining of conscience, and wringing it as much as may be, and many shifts that they are put too, Oh! a man when once he is got into an earth∣ly business he knows not how in the world to bear it if he be crost in it, It may be I have gone thus far, and I have very great hopes that I shall succeed in it, only there is one stop, now for him to think that for this one stop I am like to lose all, Oh it goes to his heart: Oh but now, if you would but strain conscience a little you may get over it presently; an earthly-man will strain hard but he will get over it; whereas now, were the heart taken off from the earth, though such a man had gone on never so far in a business, if there comes a stop in a matter of conscience, yea, if it were but a doubt that such a thing were sin; it's e∣nough to stop him, a meer doubt lest he should sin would be enough for to make him say, let the business fall if it will, there may be a snare in this, and I see some cause to doubt: now if the heart were spiritual it would be taken off; but an earthly mind will go through very many dreadful things and doth not much trouble himself, and so doth insnare himself exceedingly, that he may get an estate, or preserve it when once he hath got it: That's the fifth thing.
The Sixth Evil.
The Sixth thing wherein the danger of earthly-minded∣nes consists is this: That 'tis one of the greatest hinderances in the world to profiting by the Ministry of the Word. Oh! many of you cannot but be convinc'd in your consciences that you have not profited by the Word, and sometimes you will complain of the want of profiting under the means, Oh that you had but hearts to look into the cause of it, from whence it is that you profit so little: It will appear to come from your earthly-mindedness, you bring a heart full of Page 31 the world, full of drosse with you, no marvel though you do not see those spiritual and heavenly things that are in the Word, when as there is so much drosse in your eyes; you know travellors in the summer time, travelling in the midst of dust and in company, they have not that freedome of their eyes to see things as at another time: Oh! many men com to the word with their thik clay, & a great deal of filth that doth clam up their very eyes, and dead their hearts in the hearing of the Word; you know what Christ said to Martha, when Mary was sitting at Christs feet, and hearing his word, but Martha was cumbred with many things; so 'tis many times with those that come to hear the Word, though they are in the presence of Christ, and have the sound of the Word in their ears, yet their hearts are cum∣bred about many things, there's a great noise in their hearts, they are busied in the world even while they are hea∣ring of the Word, as you find it in the 33. of Ezek. 31. ver. there is an notable discription, I fear it may be of many of you: And they come unto thee (saith the Lord to the Prophet) as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words; but they will not do them, for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after thir Covetousness: They sit befor thee as my people, and they hear thy words, (mark) and they shew much love with their mouth; they will commend the Sermon; it may be they will say, He is an excellent Preacher, it's a very good Sermon that we heard this day; they wil shew love with their mouth; but yet their hearts go after their covetousnesse for all that; they heard a man speak fine things, and brought excellent expressions for to set forth his matter that he had in hand; but yet their hearts are after the things of the earth, and after their Covetousness, they had carnal, earthly, drossie hearts, and hence it was, that there was no good came un∣to them by the Ministry of the Word: And that famous place which we have for this, which shews it cleerly in the 13. of Matt. 22. ver. you know the several sorts of ground that had the seed of the Word sown into them, but there Page 32 was but one of them that was good and faithfull, and a∣mong others there was the thorny ground; He also that re∣ceived seed among the thorns, is he that heareth the word, and the care of this world, and the deceitfulnesse of riches choaks the Word and it becometh unfruitful. I beseech you observe it, these that our Saviour speaks of here in this parable that get no benefit by the Word are not men that live lewdly, your drunkards, swearers and whoremasters, but those that have earthly hearts; it's said, the deceitfulness of riches; the things of the earth do not hinder in an open way, for thousands of men that have earthly hearts, they do not know that they have earthly hearts, no, it is the deceitfulnesse of riches, and it choaks the Word, it may be just when they are in hearing of the Word it doth affect them, Oh they think it's sweet, and they will remember it, but the deceitfulnesse of riches, and the cares of this world choaks the word, when they come, they have businesses a∣bout the world, and their houses, and gardens, and co∣mings in, and full tables, and all the delights that they have in the world, comes and possesses the heart that the word is choakt, it cannot get down into the soul to sink in there, and so to prevail in the soul to bring forth fruit, Oh the word is choakt; Oh many of you come here three times on the Lords day, and have precious seed sown all those times, and yet, Oh! how it is choakt through the cares of this world, and through the deceitfulnesse of the things of this world! You bring with you, and keep with you, and carry along with you earthly minds, and hence it is that the Word prevails not with your hearts: Oh! what do you loose through this earthlinesse? you lose the fruit of the Word that should save your souls; a spiritual heart having received some one truth into it, afterwards blesses God for it, and would not for ten thousand worlds but he had had that truth preached unto his heart at such a time, Oh he hath cause to blesse God for such a morning, for such a day that he hath had such a goodly pearl of great price presented to him, and taking root in his heart, Page 33 (I say) it's more than if God had given them thousands of worlds to possess. But now, many of you, having your thoughts and hearts about some petty thing of this world, all those blessed Truths, that you hear from time to time, that the very Angels desire to pry into, they are all choak'd and come to be unfruitful. What was the reason when the young man came to Christ, to know what he should do to the Eternal life that he got no good? the Text saith, That he had great possessions. A man (no question) may be a rich man, and yet a godly man, a holy man: but when the heart is in the estate, mixed with the earth, Oh! this it was that hindred the young man from imbracing of Jesus Christ even when he came to him. Young men for the most part are rather guilty of fleshlinesse, than seeking after the riches of the world; yet sometimes it hath been the bain of some young men, at their first setting up; they were very forward when they were servants, Oh! how precious was the Word unto them, but when they were got into the world, and found the sweetness of it coming in, Oh then the Word hath been choak'd to them; and they have lost the savour they had in the Word, they have lost the relish of the Word, it is not now sweet to them as formerly it hath been, Oh many examples there hath been this way: That's the great evil of Earthly-mindednesse, that it doth hinder the great benefit of the Word, and there is much e∣vill in this; If you had hearts to receive what is delivered your hearts would tremble at the thought of this, Oh Lord, what shall I be hindred from profiting by this word? 'tis the great blessing of God to the world, it's that that must save my soul, there's more worth in it than ten thou∣sand worlds, whatsoever should hinder my profiting by thy Word I had need take heed of it; take heed of earth∣ly-mindednesse, many of your consciences cannot but tell you this, sometimes any businesse will keep an earthly-minded man from coming to the Word, and when he doth come there is earth in his heart and ears that keeps him from attending upon the Word: and when thy thoughts Page 34 are about earthly things in the hearing of a Sermon, it may be there is some truth passes by thy soul that might have sav'd thee eternally, and thou hast lost that opportu∣nity which perhaps thou shalt never have again.
The Seventh Evil, opened in Six Particulars.
Further, In the seventh place, Earthly-mindedness, it cau∣ses many foolish lusts in the heart, that's a great evil; and for that you have the same Scripture that was before, for the temptations and snare, 1 Tim. 6. 9. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurt∣full lusts: lusts that are very foolish and simple.
1. As for instance; It causes men to follow after things that are very vile and mean, it causes men to bestow the strength of their immortal souls about things that have no worth at all in them: that's a foolish lust, to bestow the strength of an immortal soul about vanities: If you should see men that are of excellent parts for to spend their time about tri∣fles and toyes, as about catching of flies, and following of feathers, you would say, surely they begin to be besot∣ted: so for the soul of man, that is capable of such excel∣lency as it is, of communion with God, with the Father, Son and holy Ghost, for such a soul to have the strength of it spent about such poor trifling things that cannot pro∣fit in the evil day, Oh this is a foolish lust.
Secondly, Foolish lusts, for earthly-mindedness, cau∣ses thee to be a servant to thy servants: you would account that man a fool that should be a servant to his servants: So God hath made the things of the earth to be a servant to thee, and yet thou wilt come and put thy neck under thy ser∣vants yoke, and art a servant to thy servant: yea, were it not a great deal of folly for a man to expect all his honour and respect to come from his servant rather than from any excellency in himself; as thus, Suppose a man were travel∣ling, & indeed there is respect given to him, but it's for his servants sake rather than his own; If he should come to Page 35 know this, this he would account a great dishonor to him∣self: But an earthly heart (I say) puts himself into such a condition, as indeed he makes it to be his greatest honour to have honour from his estate and riches: So that men do not respect rich men for any worth that there is in them∣selves, or for any excellency of their own, but only for their riches, as much as to say, a man is not respected for himself but for his servant. Take some men that have had estates, but now they are deprived of them, and are become as poor as any Almes-men or Beggars amongst us; who doth regard them then? But now, let a man have grace and holinesse, if he were turned out of all and made as poor as Job, yet he were one that the Angels of Heaven would look upon with honour, and would glory in atten∣ding upon him; this is the difference between the carnal earthly heart, and the spiritual heart. It's a foolish lust to make himself to be a servant to his servant.
3. It brings into foolish lusts, For a man might have as much (it may be) more of the earth if he did not mind it so much as he doth. Now for a man to mind the earth and to indanger himself in the minding of it, when as he might have it as well with∣out so much minding, surely, this is a foolish thing: For a man to bestow a great deal of labour about a thing when as he might have it with lesse labour, he is a fool surely. Certainly if you be such as belongs to God, especially you may rather expect God to bless you if you kept your hearts more spiritual, you might expect that God would grant to you more of the good things of this world if you were lesse earthly-minded than you are, and it's your earthly∣mindednesse that makes God cut you short of these things; I am verily perswaded there are many men that have ill suc∣cesse in their earthly affairs, and it's a fruit of Gods displea∣sure upon them because their hearts are so much upon worldly businesses, did you go on in your imployment in obedience to God, and commit it to God for successe, you might be crowned with more successe than you have been: now what a foolish thing is this?
Page 36 4. Yea further: It's a great deal of folly, for any of you to go and buy a thing and to pay a greater price for it than it's worth: If you send a servant to buy you commodities, and when he comes home you ask him what it cost, and he tells you it cost such a price which is ten times more than it's worth, you will say, Thus it is to send a fool to Market: so an earthly - minded man manifests himself to God, and his Angels and all the Saints to be a fool, for why? thou be∣stowest that upon this world, that is a thousand times more worth than the things of the world, for thou besto∣west that upon the world that might bring thee to heaven; I may say to an earthly-minded man, those thoughts, and cares, and affections, and endeavours that thou doest spend upon the things of the world, If they had been spent about the things of God might have sav'd thy soul to all eternity, thou mightest have got Christ and Heaven, and Eternity, the Lord would have gone along with thee; and thou mai∣est come hereafter to see it at the great day when all things shall be opened before men and Angels: had I but spent those thoughts and cares, and endeavours, about under∣standing the waies and things of God and eternal life, my soul might have bin sav'd for ever: Not that our works wil do it, but that God would have gone along together with you in such waies as those are; now for you to spend thoughts and cares about that that perhaps you shall not have, for many men and women spend their souls about the things of the world and never have them, this is a sad thing; Oh! wil not this be folly? will not you curse your selves hereafter for your folly? Oh that I should spend my self and be spent about that that I have not got neither, and I must be damn'd for that, whereas had I spent time about things that concern'd my soul and eternal life it would have been more like that I should have gotten those things; for God doth not fail men so in spiritual things as he doth in earthly things, a man may be as diligent as it's possible for any man to be in business of the earth, and yet he may miscarry; but give me any man or woman that Page 37 ever was diligent in seeking the things of God and eternal life that ever did miscarry; I verily beleeve at the day of Judgment there will not be one man found, that shall be a∣ble to say, Lord, I did improve what talents thou didest give me to the uttermost to save my soul, but Lord, because I was not able to do any more, without thy grace, thou didest deny thy grace to me, and therefore now I must be damn'd: I beleeve there will not be any soul that will be able to say so; but in the matters of the world men do say so, that they have done what they could, nad labour'd and toyl'd, and yet for all that they miscarry. Oh what a foolish thing is this then, for thee to toyl and labour a∣bout that which is so uncertain: for were it not a foo∣lish thing for a man to bestow all his estate about buying of pibble stones, and that that will afford him no kind of benefit at all: This folly is in the heart of man: I'le but put this care to you, If two of you should go to the Indies, where precious stones are, and one should purchase a la∣ding of precious stones and other rich commodities, and the other that carried as much money with him, he laies out all his money about baubles and trifles, and they both come home laden, Both went out with the same stock, both come home laden, and one comes home with precious stones that makes him rich, and his posterity to be great men; the other brings home nothing but a company of pibble stones which makes him scorn'd and jeer'd at by all his Neighbours; Oh! how would he be ready to tear his flesh for his folly in this kind: This will be the difference between men and women at the day of Judgment, for the truth is, what is this world but a sea-fare? we are here sailing in this world, and here we have the market of pearls, or else of that hath no worth at all in it: when you live in the times of the Gospel I say there is a mar∣ket for pearls, for those things that may enrich you to all eternity; now there's one man, he bestows the strength of his thoughts and heart about those things that he shall be blessing of God in the highest heavens to all eterni∣ty Page 38 for, and the other man bestows his thoughts and heart but upon the things of the earth, and lades himself with thick clay (as the Scripture phrase is;) and now at the day of Judgment when it shall appear, here's a man or woman that shall be to all eternity blessed, that shall joyn with Angels and Saints in the highest heavens to magnifie the free grace of God in Christ: and here's another had that he bestowed but his thoughts, and heart about the same things he might have been so blessed for ever, but he minding the things of the earth is a cursed fool, and is the scorn and contempt of men and Angels to all eternity; earthly∣mindednesse brings men into foolish lusts (the Scipture speaks:) Oh! though men of earthly minds think them∣selves the only blessed men, I applaud my self at home, let men talk what they will; but the holy Ghost saith, that those Iusts that are caused by earthly-mindednesse are foo∣lish lusts.
Fifthly, That's folly for a man to do that that he must undo a∣gain. Now especially those earthly-minded men that have this earthlinesse so to prevail with them as to get any thing of the earth by false waies; they must certainly undo all they have done: you have got so much of the earth in some cunning cheating way, and you blesse your selves that you have found out such a mystery of iniquity; this is a foolish lust: Foolish, Why? it must be done again, either you must be eternally damn'd, or else you must restore as Zacheus did if you be able, though it be to the impoverishing of your selves, yet it must out again, all the sorrow and repen∣tance that can be will not be sufficient, thou canst not be pardoned upon all thy sorrow and repentance if thou dost not restore if thou beest able, what thou hast ill gotten; I do not know that there was ever any Minister of the Gospel upon the face of the earth but held this, that it was of ab∣solute necessity to salvation to restore, and this one reason cannot but satisfie any mans conscience, That a man cannot truly repent of a sin, and yet wilfully to continue in it. Now ex∣cept you do restore, you do wilfully continue in it; for Page 39 why? you do not only wrong the man the first hour, but so long as you keep any thing that is his you do wrong him: and if you be able to restore and do not, because you are loth to part with so much mony, or so many goods, you do wilfully continue in the sin: now, no man or woman can truly repent of a sin and yet wilfully persist in that sin: what a foolish lust is this, for a man or woman to go and get the things of this world in such a way as he must undo all again though it be to his shame; Oh! consider what a fol∣ly it is. You deceitful servants, that spend away that upon your lusts, that you cheat and cosen your master of; after∣wards when you come to set up for your selves, you must restore what you have purloind, and it may be a great part of your estate must be repaid in way of restitution, it must be done, there's no gain-saying of it; and therefore what a foolish lust it is, to be set upon the things of the earth so as to get them in an earthly way.
6. And then foolish, (observe this one note) By Earthly∣mindednesse, they do lose the comfort of earthly things before they have them. I make it out thus, A man or woman that hath carking thoughts about the things of the earth, and it may be by their inordinate thoughts, and cares, and affections after some earthly things, they contract much guiltinesse upon their own spirits, yet after this perhaps God doth give them that earthly thing; now when they have got it, if they have any light in their consciences, their convinced consciences will then reflect thus upon them, I have got this indeed, Oh! but have I it with the blessing of God? I have it in my costody, but I got it dearly, it cost me such thoughts and cares, and affections before I had it, and now I have it, I cannot say it comes out of Gods love, I ra∣ther fear that God hath given it me in his wrath because I got it in such a way; now all the comfort is gone and lost, whereas had it come in the way of God, and hadst thou gi∣ven up thy self to God, and then providence had brought such a comfort to thee, thou mightest have enjoyed much of God in it, & bless'd God for it, the Lord hath bless'd me Page 40 in my trading, Oh! I have it from the Love of God. But now, when thy heart was earthly before it came, when it doth come thou hast no comfort in it, the comfort of all is lost before it comes, thou hast spent so much upon it; as if a man hath got a thing, & after he hath gotten it, he thinks thus, What hath this cost me; it hath cost me a great deal more than it's worth; now the comfort of it is vanished.
The Eighth Evil.
Earthly-mindednesse, It is the root of Apostasie. I'le give you but one Scripture, & compare it with another: 2 Tim. 4 10. there's a notable Text, that shews how earthly-min∣dednesse breeds Apostasie; 'tis the example of Demas, For Demas (saies the Apostle) hath forsaken me: what's the mat∣ter? having loved this present world. It was that that made Demas to be an Apostate; why? what was Demas before? compare this Scripture with that you have in the Epistle to the Colossians, and you shal see what he was before this time: he was a forward Disciple of Paul; and the Apostle had some good esteem of him, in the last to the Colossians, 14. vers. mark there in that Epistle, where Paul was directed by the holy Ghost, Luke the beloved Physitian and Demas greet you: Paul doth rank Demas here among the famous Professors of Religion; the Apostle, writing to the Colossians, saith, De∣mas greets you among the rest. When we send to our friends and say, Such a one commends him to you, we use not to name them except they be entire friends. So it appears, and I find that Interpreters severally do think it was the same Demas, and the word gives us some ground for this! for in Timothy you find, that he names Luke there too: It seems that Demas and Luke were two great Assossiates: and Paul mentions them together; when Demas had forsaken him, yet Luke rode with him, and when Paul sends them gree∣ting of Luke that was the beloved Physitian, he sends the greeting of Demas too: But now, one was truly godly, and whatsoever sufferings Paul met withal, one cleaved to him, Page 41 and would not forsake him: But when Paul begins to suf∣fer, and Demas thought, that there's no thriving for me, if I should follow this persecuted Apostle; Demas now would have no more of Paul, he thanks him for his company and fairly departs from him: He hath forsaken me: and what's the root of it? He had imbraced this present world. And that's another note, that though he was a forward Proffessor, yet the heart of Paul was not so much for him, for saith he, Luke the Beloved Phisitian and Demas great you; He doth not say, the Beloved Demas; it's true, Demas was a forward Proffessor, and did seem to wear a cloak of Religion; yet Paul was directed by the holy-Ghost only to speak of him as a Proffessor; but in that the holy-Ghost directs him to speek of two together that were two companions, and gives one an Epethite, Beloved, and the other only his name. By this we may gather, that those that have discerning spirits, may shew some kind of sign in those that are earthly, at least to darken their esteem of them, and to make them somwhat jealous of them: as now, ther's two men, and both very forward, and two companions together; yet those that are godly, old Disciples can savour one more than the other; Indeed they are both Proffessors, and both have excellant parts and gifts, and yet there's more spiritualness, and greater experiences in one than in the other, so it appears there was in Luke rather than in Demas, and indeed, your earthly-minded men, afterwards prove to be Apostates, usually before their grand Apostasy do manifest some dead∣nesse and waywardness of spirit to that that's good. yea, their spirits before discover themselves to be earthly spirits, they smell of the earth. As a man before he dies, his breath will smell very earthly; you will say: Oh! such a one cannot live, his breath is so earthly; so it is with those that are very great proffessors of Religion; that those that have intimate acquaintance with them before they do Apo∣statise they smell their breath to be earthly in their duties, in their conferences: Oh take heed of earthly-mindedness, least it be the root of Apostasie; This may be written upon Page 42 many an Apostates grave, This was an earthly minded man or woman in the midest of their profession. And hence it is that they fell off from the truth in times of danger, when they were brought to the tryal, they were base back sliders from God and his truth.
The Ninth Evil.
Earthly-mindednesse doth wonderfully dead the heart in prayer. It sinks the spirits of men, and straightens them in spiritual duties; yea, and indeed, doth defile every duty of Religion; in the 119. Psal. 37. ver. David (you shall find) paryes there to God, That he will turn away his eyes from beholding vanity, and that he would quicken him in his law. Certainly by the vanity that he speaks of there, he means the things of the world, and by his eyes he understands the eyes of his mind, chiefly the working of the thoughts of his heart after earthly things; for if you will cast your eyes but to the 36. verse, faith he there, Incline my heart to thy testimonies, and not to covetousness; Oh Lord, let not my heart be inclined to covetousness: afterwards, Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity, to the end that my heart may not be inclin'd to covetousness; Lord, let not my thoughts be busied about such vain things, but quicken me in thy Law: as if he should say, Lord, while my mind is turned to vanity, or my heart to covetousnesse, after the things of this earth, I alwaies find my spirit dull and hea∣vy in any holy duties, I have no quickness at all in my in∣ward man when I come in thy presence, and by experience I find this to be the cause that my heart is so drossie, be∣cause my thoughts and mind are set upon earthly things that are but vanity, therefore, Lord let not mine heart be in∣clin'd to covetousness nor mine eyes looking after vanity, but turn away mine eyes from these things and quicken me in thy Law: If you would have your hearts quicken'd in Gods Law, in the Duties that God sets you about, take heed of your eyes that they look not after vanity, & your hearts that they fol∣low Page 43 not after covetousnesse; for an earthly spirit will be a dead spirit, as the element of earth it's the sluggishest, and deadest element of all; so earthlinesse in the heart makes the heart sluggish and dead, and listlesse to any holy and spiritual duty: I appeal to your consciences in this, when you have let out your hearts after the things of this earth, and been exercised in the world, in abundance of busines∣ses, when you have come to enjoy communion with God, Oh! how dead have you found your hearts! a drossie heart must needs be a dead and a straight heart in heavenly exer∣cises: you complain many times of your vain thoughts in performance of holy duties, you cry out of dead spirits then, but there lies the cause, you have given your hearts up so much to the things of the earth at other times, and hence when you should come to have converse with God your hearts are so dead and dull & straight as they are, look at this to be the ground of it; this is the great root of all, it lies here in your earthly-mindednesse, Oh! how many prayers have been quite spoil'd with an earthly heart! whereas, such as have had spiritual hearts, have enjoyed blessed communion with God at the Throne of his Grace, and have been sweetly refreshed as a Gyant with wine; the while thou hast gone with a dead heart, and continued so there, and came away with as dead an heart, without anie quicknesse and life, and this is that that comes by, thy earthly-mindednesse, which is such a remora and pulback to duties.
The Tenth Evil.
10. Earthly-mindednesse, is so great an evil wheresoever it prevails, as it were just with God that thy name who art so earthly-minded should be written in the earth. I say, those that are earthly-minded and have this sin prevailing upon their hearts, and are not sensible of it, they have cause to fear least God should write their names in the dust: yea, lest God hath already written their names in the earth; in the 17. of Jerem. 13. we reade of such an expression, OhPage 44Lord, the hope of Israel, all that forsake thee shall be ashamed, and they they that depart from thee shall be written in the earth: because they have forsaken the Lord the fountain of living waters. And it's apparant that he speaks of earthly spirits here, for in the 11. verse he saith, As the Partridg sitteth on eggs and hat∣cheth them not, so he that getteth riches and not by right, shall leave them in the midst of his daies, and at his end shall be a fool: and then he goes on and describes the excellencie of God and his Sanctuarie, A glorious high Throne from the beginning is the place of our Sanctuary, &c. As if he should say, There are a company of foolish vain men that seek after nothing but getting riches and the things of the earth; But a glori∣ous high Throne from the beginning is the place of our Sanctuary: Oh Lord we see an excellencie in thee and in thine Ordi∣nances, and thy Sanctuary, Oh Lord the hope of Israel in whom there is such excellencie, is there any that do forsake thee who hast so much excellencie in thee, who art the hope of Israel, Oh Lord, just it were that their names should be written in the earth, that they should never come to partake of those good things that there are in thee, the excellent things that there are in thine Ordinances, and in thy Gospel, but Lord, let their names be written in the earth: an earthly spirit (I say) may fear least the name of it be written in the earth, lest God write concerning such a man or such a woman, earth shall be their portion, and their mouths shall be fil'd with earth one day, and that's all the good that they shall have from the Almighty: Oh those who have known God and the things of eternal life they cannot but apprehend this to be a sad and a grievous evil, for their names to be written in the earth.
The Eleventh Evil.
An Earthly-minded man hath the curse of the Serpent upon him: What was that? Ʋpon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat. Thou hast the curse of the Serpent, thou grove-lest upon the earth (as it were) upon thy belly, thy soul Page 45 cleaves to the ground in a sinful way, and dust thou feedest upon: While the Saints are feeding upon Jesus Christ, up∣on the very flesh and blood of Christ; when they are refre∣shing themselves with the hidden Mannah, Angels bread, corn from Heaven; thou art satiating thy self with the earth, that's thy food, and that's the very curse of the Serpent; it's a sign of a serpentine brood of the old Serpent, to be groveling upon the earth and to feed upon it.
The Twelfth Evil.
Earthly-mindedness is a dishonor to God, and a scandal to Reli∣gion. What! shalt thou profess an interest in Christ? and are there no higher things to be had in God than such base things as thy heart is upon? What! doest thou hold forth the everlasting Gospel in thy hand to others; and doest o∣penly professe a nearnesse to God more than others; and is there no difference between the workings of thy heart and the workings of others after the things of this world? Oh! how does this darken the excellency of Grace! if there be any grace at all: it very much clouds it; as the mixing of earth and drossie stuff with pure mettle, it takes away the excellencie of the pure mettle; so the mixing of earth with the profession of Religion, blemisheth the beauty and splen∣dor of the profession of Religion: Thou wilt never be the man or woman that is like to convince any by thy Con∣versation: thou art never likely to be a means to draw any to the love of the waies of godlinesse, because there is so much darknesse and earthlinesse in thy Conversation: Oh will they say, Indeed, he or she makes a great blaze in the world, and talks much of Religion, and of Ordinances, and such things, but as worldly as any, and groveling in the earth as much as any; people that are standers by wil think that profession is but a meer verbal thing, or a mock-shew, when as they see as much earthlinesse in your conversation as in the conversation of those that are without: you do bring an ill report on the things of God, as the Spies did Page 46 on the Land of Canaan. Whereas every professor of Reli∣gion should endeavour to put a lustre upon Religion, and to make the waies of God to be beautiful, amiable, and glorious in the eyes of all that do behold them: But now, to give a lye to your Gospel-profession by your Earthly∣conversation, is a very great scandal to the Name of Christ that is upon you and to his Gospel that you seem to stand up for. Oh! there's a great evil in this, and a very ill re∣port comes upon the waies of Religion by this means; ma∣ny that have had little religion in them, yet have some kind of generousness of spirit, so that they scorn such base sor∣dednesse as some sorts of Professors are given unto. Oh! for shame let not those that have only common gifts of na∣ture, and education outstrip you, that seem to be the follo∣wers of Christ; away with that base, muddy, earthly, sa∣ving, pinching disposition, it becomes none but Judas that carried the bag and betraied his Lord and Master for Eigh∣teen shillings and four pence. Let me argue with you, you that have to deal with any friends or neighbors, that you yet are afraid have not the power of godlinesse in them as you desire, but yet you see they have much ingenuity, and generousnesse, and publickness of spirit in them for publick good; take heed of scandalizing such men, for certainly such men if they could be brought to the love of Religion, to the power & strictness thereof, had they the work of the holy Ghost upon their hearts to humble them for sin, and to shew them the excellencie of Jesus Christ, they would be glorious Instruments in the Church of God and Common-wealth, and therefore it's a very great evil to scandalize such men as these; no, you should labor to walk so as they might see a beauty and excellencie in the waies of Religion by your Conversation; Oh! better, a thousand times bet∣ter that you be cut short of these things in the world, than that you should scandalize the waies of God, and the pro∣fession of the Name and Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Thirteenth Evil.
Earthly-mindednesse, it doth exceedingly hinder preparation for death, and it is like to make death to be very grievous and terrible to them when it comes (that are like the rich fool in the Gospel) In the 21. of Luke, the 34. verse, (this I have from the Scripture) Take heed to your selves (Christ here speaks to his Disciples) lest at any time your hedrts be over-charged with surfitting and drunkenness and cares of this life; (he puts them together) It's very strange you will say that Christ should speak this to his Disciples, to forewarn them of this, we do not think that they were drunkards so as to follow after Taverns and Ale houses, or to reel in the streets; but by this drunkennesse he means any excesse in the use of the creatures in meat or drink, and professors of Religion may be subject to that, to give up themselves too much to sensual delights and excesse in the use of the creature, but besides that, though many there are that would abhor glutteny and drunkennesse, yet the cares of this life takes up their hearts; therefore saith Christ, Take heed to your selves lest at any time your hearts he over charged with the cares of this life: why? what evil would the over-char∣ging of the heart which the cares of this life bring? mark, (saith the text) And so that day come upon you unawares, for as a snare shall it come upon all them that dwell upon the face of the whole earth, watch ye therefore and pray alwaies &c. I may apply this to death: though the Scripture be speaking of Christs coming; now in the time of death Christ comes particularly, there is a particular day of Judgment at the day of death; it may likewise be applied to the time of any affliction, and then it may be inlarged thus, and so then the evil of earthly-mindednesse appears in this, that it doth hinder the preparation of the soul for afflictions. Oh! earthly-mindednesse will make thine affliction to be grievous and heavie to thee: an affliction is a very grievous thing to an earthly spirit; if God comes to take away any comforts of Page 48 this world, now because thy heart cleaves so close to them there must be a rending of them from thee, and that will put thee to pain; a man that hath his garments loose, he can easily put them off when he goes to bed at night, but if a man hath a sore upon his body, and his inward garments shall cleave to the sore, If he puls them off then it puts him to a great deal of pain, Oh then he cries out of his pain! Truly, this earthly-mindednesse comes from distemper of spirit, and the things of the earth they cleave to the hearts of men and women that are earthly, as the inward gar∣ment should cleave to a sore on a mans body; and now when afflictions or death comes to take the things of the earth from them, or them from the things of the earth, Oh it's painful to them, it's grievous to them and for one that hath an earthly spirit, a hundred to one if he hath any light of conscience left in him, but his conscience will trouble him in time of sicknesse and then tell him how he hath spent his time and strength of his spirit about the things of of the earth, whereas they should have bin spent about more excellent things, and when he comes to die then his spirit will be troubled, I am now to leave all these things that I have spent my care and thoughts upon and let out my heart about, and what good is it to me now that I shall leave so much more than my neighbor doth, what great content is this to me when I am upon my sick and death bed? what comfort can I have in all the good things I have enjoyed? yes, (it may be) through the earth∣linesse of my spirit, I have enjoyed but little of them, but I have had carking thoughts about them; But now, death is like to be to me as a Strainer, that strains out the good and leaves the drosse and the dirt behind it. And so all the good of the things of this world is gone, But the guil∣tinesse that I have contracted upon my spirit with my im∣moderate care and affections that I have let out upon the world that now is upon my spirit, Oh! death hath been very grievous to worldly spirits. I remember there's one that liv'd in a place not far from the place that I have for∣merly Page 49 liv'd in, a covetous, earthly spirit, when he was to die, cals for his Money, and fals a swearing, Must I leave you now? (speaking to his Bags, and hugging of them) What! must I leave you now? An earthly man that had spent his spirits and strength upon these things, and indeed let out his heart to them as his portion, and then he sees that he must be stript from all, must bid an eternal fare-wel to all, no more houses, nor lands, nor comming-in, nor money: Oh! death is grievous to such a one. Now, what should be the life of a Christian, but a continual preparati∣on for death? Many of the Heathens said of Philosophy, that it was but a preparation for death. A special excellency of Christianity consists in this, that it is a Preparative for death; and therefore you should let out your hearts to the things of this world so, as to be continually thinking of death, that when God cals you to depart from these things, that you may do it with ease, with as much ease as a man when he is going to bed casts off his cloaths that are loose about him; for so the grave is as a bed to the Saints where they fall asleep when they die, and so they may lay down all things and go to their sleep with ease and peace. A man or woman that can have their consciences tell them, I have been diligent in my calling, but God knows through faith∣fulnesse to him, rather than l••e to the world; and I have kept my heart close to God, and faithful to him, I can bid the world now farewel, as the world hath done with me, so I have done with it; so long as my time was to work for God, God continued those things that this frail nature of mine had need of, and now my work is done, farewell the the comforts of this world, I expect other kind of comforts that I am now going to: So, such a one that is spiritual may die with comfort; but those that have their hearts o∣vercharged with the cares of this life, they will have the day of Christ come upon them unawares.
The Fourteenth Evil
Earthly-mindednesse, is that that will bring destruction at last, it will drown thy soul in perdition; there's those two texts for it; the first is here in this very Scripture wherein my Text is, saith the Apostle here (speaking of men who mind earthly things.) Whose end is destruction. They are both joyn'd together, earthly-mindednesse will bring destructi∣on at last: And the forenamed place that for other purpo∣ses we have had, in 1 Tim. 6. 9. where the Apostle speaks of bringing them into snares, and foolish lusts: saith he, which drown men in destruction and perdition. Some that are washing themselves in the Thams, go a little way at first, & then ven∣ture a little surther & further, & at length they are over head and ears, and there they are drown,d and cannot recover themselves: So it will be with your hearts if you look not to them; you think you may venture so far to the things of this world, why? Are they not good, and in themselves lawful? I get not my estate by wrong, cheating and cous∣ning, and so by degrees your hearts are stoln away from God, and taken with these earthly things, and ye get dee∣per & deeper into the world, til at length you are plunged over head and ears before you are aware, and you cannot recover your selves; that man or woman that will give their hearts to the things of this world, and think that they will go no further, but thus and thus far, a hundred to one but when once these things have taken up their hearts they get more and more advantage till they be even drowned in destruction and perdition: A man or woman may be undone by earthlinesse, and be damn'd and perish eternally as well as by adulterie, or drunkenesse, murder, or by any notorious sin, many that are great Professors of Religion, it's very like that this will be the sin by which they will perish to oll eternity, The earthlinesse of their minds. Do not please your selves in this, that because you keep from those grosse & notorious sins that others live in Page 51 therefore you hope to be sav'd, your earthlinesse may damn you as well as any thing else: As upon dunghils you cast not only filthy carrion, and such nastie stuff, but your dust, that is swept out of your houses, I may compare Hell which is the place where God casts those damned out of his presence, it is (as it were) the common dunghil upon which filthy creatures are cast; now upon that dunghil there are not only carions, and filthy blasphemers, and whorema∣sters, and theeves, those are as it were the dead dogs cari∣on: but likewise there will be dust cast upon that dunghil, and scrapings that are from your houses will be cast upon the dunghil of Hell from the presence of God; and there∣fore satisfie not your selves in this, that you do not live in such filthy abominable lusts as others do, but if you have foul earthie hearts you may be cast upon the dunghill as well as those that have liv'd most notoriously wicked; and therefore take heed of earthly-mindednesse.
You will say,
And for preparation I will lay down this.
First. That a man or woman may be earthly minded, and yet little think of it themselves, not know that they are so: Yea, and it may be even perisheternally through their earthly-min∣dednesse, and not know of it themselves.
Six things may be wrought in a man, and yet Earthly minded.
1. A man may have his judgment convinc'd that there is a vanity in all things in this world, and yet be an earthly-minded man for all this: many think they are not earthly-minded, why? Because they are convinc'd that all these things are vanity; come and speak to them about the things of this world, and they will acknowledg there's a vanity in all these things, that they are vanity of vanities, al is va∣nity.
2. A man may have some kind of contentment in his estate, and yet have an earthly mind; at the 33. of Gen. 9. verse, Esau that was one of the earth, yet he said he had enough, yet certainly one of an earthly spirit, and his portion was in the earth: how many of you come so far as Esau did? to say for your estates, you have enough: Oh 'tis a shame for those that are professors of Religion, and would seem to be of the seed of Jacob, and yet they can never say they have enough, when as an Esau can say, he hath enough: I have enough my brother.
3 Men and women may speak very great words about the vanity of all the things of this world: When you come to discourse, you may (I say) discourse much about them, and yet have a very earthly spirit.
4. A man may be free from getting any thing of this world by false waies, by deceit, by injustice, &c. and yet be earthly for all that.
5. Through some predominate lust some other way, A man may seem to despise some earthly thing: As manie men that have a lust of Ambition, will seem to despise money; that hath a lust to shew themselves to be generous; and those that have a lust of sensualitie will seem to despise the things of the world? manie a man through one lust will seem as if he would hate the other, though the truth is, he doth not hate it as a sin, but for the practice of it his heart is against it, not (I say) from the dislike of it as a sin against God, Page 53 but because it is opposite to some other lust that he hath; as your Prodigals, your Young Spendthrifts, they will speak against covetousness as if they hated that sin, where∣as the truth is, no wicked man hates any sin any further than one sin crosses another, so much he may hate it but not as a sin, in the 13. of Isa. 17. Behold (saith the text) I will stir up the Medes against them, which shall not regard silver, and as for gold they shall not delight in it: the Medes they were Heathen wicked people that had no grace in them at all, and yet (the text saith) they shall not regard silver, and for gold they shall not delight in it; some men they think it i• through the work of grace, and because they find that they are above that base covetousness that they see in other men, they do not regard silver and gold, and to be getting all for themselves, and they dispise those men that are of such a base covetous way, and upon that they think their condition good because they think they are got above that lust; but ye see it is no other than that a Mede may get, a Heathen may disregard silver and gold, but how? it is be∣cause his spirit is upon another lust, that's the ground of it: canst thou say this, (consider what I am now upon) you that seem to scorn Covetousnesse and hate such base sordidnesse as you see in some men: can you say, it comes from hence, The Lord hath made me to see the excellent things of the Gospel, the treasures of grace that are foun∣tain'd up in Jesus Christ: the Lord hath made me to know what communion with himself in Jesus Christ doth mean, and since that time I blesse God my heart hath been above all these earthly things, and that's the ground that makes me look upon all these earthly things as vanity, because the Lord hath discovered unto me those excellent and glo∣rious things that are infinitly above these earthly things: I, that's somewhat indeed, if you can be above earthlinesse upon this ground, that's a good argument: therefore ex∣amine upon what ground it is that your spirit is against such things, whether it be upon the sight and experience of better things, then it's right: but certainly men and wo∣men Page 54 may go far in seeming to be above earthly things in respect of the sin of covetousnesse and yet still have earthlie minde; wherefore to give you convicements, besides things that have been hinted.
As how a man doth value himself and value others, is it not because that others, or your selves have much of the things of the earth? can you value a poor man that is god∣ly above the richest man that is wicked? and so, can you value your selves for the least work of grace upon your hearts to make you more excellent thā the greatest cōmings∣in of your estates? (but these things we have hinted)
And then, where lies the chief Joy and chief Sorrow of mens hearts? what's that that doth most trouble your hearts? is it the losse of the light of the face of God, or the losse of an estate, the losse of a voyage, or the commission of a sin? So, what's your chief Joy, your profitting by the word, or gaining by your bargains? you have come to the word, and there somtimes God hath reveal'd some truth to you, and you have profited; can you go away rejoycing because God hath made you to know his Law, the Lord hath darted some truth into my soul this morning, Oh! I go away rejoycing, and having my heart fil'd with more joy than ever I have had upon any bargain wherein I have got never so much of the world: These be two convince∣ments we hinted not before.
Nine CONVINCEMENTS of Earthly-mindedness.
1. Conv. For the further Convincement of an Earthly-minded man, seriously consider this: When a man shall rest upon earthly props, upon worldly helps for the good that he doth ex∣pect; If he can have those things, then his heart seems to be upon the wing, very pleasant; but there's nothing else can revive his heart, it's not a promise that can keep his spirit. Now that that a man or woman most trusts unto, that certainly they make to be their God: for that properly belongs to God to put our trust in Him; then we make God to be our God, when Page 55 we roul our selves upon Him. Now to trust in earthly things though it be but for the comforts of your life, you will say, I cannot trust in earthly things to bring me to God; nay, but to trust in them for the comforts of your life, while you are herein this world; that's an Argument of an earthly spirit: for the truth is, the comfort of a mans life consists not in any earthly thing he doth enjoy.
Object. You will say, Do not these comfort our lives?
Answ. Yes, so far as God is pleased to let out Him∣self through them, but if thy heart doth rest upon these for comfort, and doth not look higher than these for comfort, even for thy outward support: certainlie thou hast an earthlie heart. And so, when thou art about any businesse, thou hast some earthlie means to further thee.
Obj. You wil say, God would have us take all outward means to help us.
Ans. I, but not to trust in any thing; If riches encrease, set not your hearts upon them: so, if friends encrease, set not your hearts upon them, but trust in the living God, let it be the living God that you rest on even for all outward things in this world.
2. Conv. A Second Convincement, is this: When men make most provision for the things of this world, both for them∣selves and for their children. Are not these your thoughts? I do not know what I may want hereafter, and I see many that have lived finely when they have been young, yet af∣terwards they have lived very miserably, and therefore I must make provision for after-times. Thus for the earth.
But now, Do you reason thus for the things of Heaven? do not I see many that have made a great blaze of Religi∣on, and yet afterwards they have come to nothing, they have gone out in a snuffe as men that God hath forsaken, and they have died in horror of Conscience; and therfore let me lay up provision now against an evil time, that I may not miscarrie in the matters of my soul so as others have done; this were a sign your minds were not earthly. And for your children, God hath sent you children, and Oh! Page 56 how you toile and labour, and your thoughts run in the night, and as soon as you awake in the morning, about what you shall get for their portions, and for an estate for them: Now I appeal to your conscience before God (the searcher of all hearts) Have your cares been to provide in a sutable way for their souls, for their spiritual and eternal estates? No question but it's lawful for parents to provide in a Providential way for their children, and they that do not are worse than Infidels; but what is your chief provi∣sion for? are your thoughts more solicitous to provide por∣tions for them, than that they should have instruction in the fear of God, an interest in Christ, than that they should have grace wrought in their hearts? You are loth to die be∣fore you can bring your estate so clear as you may leave it to your children:! Oh are you not loth die before such time as you see some work of grace wrought in the hearts of your children? Oh! these would your thoughts be if you were spiritual: Oh! could I discern but some seeds of grace sown before I was disolved I could rejoyce abundantlie. As ti's repeated of Austen's Mother, that the great thing that she desired to live for, was to see her son Converted; and God did grant her desire, and then she found her self wil∣ling to die. There's nothing wil make the spiritual heart of a father or mother more willing to depart from this world, than to find grace wrought in their children; Oh! that I may see before I die my child left under the promise in Covenant with God: I, this were somwhat-like indeed: But those whose cares & thoughts are most for these earth∣lie things, in providing for themselves and children, that's a Convincement that their hearts are earthly.
3. Conv. A Third Convincement which is very notable (and I beseech you all to lay this to heart and consider se∣riously of it) for this evill of earthly-mindedness is a very secret and close sin, therefore I am the larger in this point: the convincement is this.
That man that can be content with a slight assurance in the mat∣ters of Heaven, but for the matters of earth he never thinks him∣self Page 57 sure enough, but is very careful to make all things so infalla∣ble as there can be no way that he can be decived in, but he may surely build upon what he hath in the things of this earth. This is an argument of an earthly mind, Come to men that are earthly, and discourse with them concerning matters that concern their souls, What assurance have you that you are gone beyond any formal professor, that you are better than the stony or thorny grounds that we reade of in Scrip∣ture? What evidence have you that the saving work of grace is wrought in you? that you have shot the gulf? that you are translated out of the kingdom of darknesse in∣to the Kingdom of Jesus Christ? and that your sins are pardoned, and your souls justified? that you are at peace with God? what evidences have you of peace made be∣tween God and your souls: This answer would be given: I hope I am converted, I trust in Gods mercy, sure I have grace, I shall be sav'd, God is merciful. But what eviden∣ces can you shew? They know not scarce what belongs to that, nay, you shall have many of them, because they know not what assurance means, therefore they, will think no bo∣dy can be assured; we may hope well but we cannot come to be assured of it: No, a heart that is truly gracious and godly would be loth that should be true for a thousand worlds, they would not lose their parts in the blessing of that, if God would make them Kings or Queens of the earth. But thou hast an earthlie drossie heart, and doest not much look after assurance for matters of thy soul and e∣ternal estate, thou wilt venture those matters and put them upon a peradventure; but when it comes to the matters of the earth there thou wilt make all sure, and go from this Lawyer to another Lawyer to ask council, & to see whether the things are good, and will inrole them; and if there can be any thing done to make more sure (if it be any great sum upon which your estates lies) you will do it. I ap∣peal to you, If you could but hear of any of your neigh∣bors what they had done to make such a thing more cer∣tain than you have done; you would scarce be at rest till Page 58 you had done so as they have done: is it so in matters of your eternal estate? do not you hear of many Saints of God that walk comfortably in the midst of all afflictions upon the assurance of Gods love? you shall have some will be able to say, I, and it's this Scripture I build upon, and through Gods mercie such and such hath the work of God been upon my soul in revealing himself to me, and such a promise I have suck't abundance of honie from. But now generally, come to people upon their sick beds, all that they say is this, They hope in Gods mercie. But for the ground of their hope, for shewing how God hath been pleased to bring their hearts and the word together, and what real effects there hath been upon their spirits by the word, that they can shew nothing of: thou hast not there∣fore got that assurance for thy soul and eternal estate as o∣thers have got, and yet thou canst go on quietly, Oh! it concerns thee that art so busie in making all sure for thy outward estate, to spend more thoughts and care in the matters of thy soul and eternal estate than ever thou hast done, here's an earthly-minded man that can be contented with slight assurance for the matters of his soul, and satis∣fied with no kind of assurance in the matters of the world, but would fain make those things more and more sure con∣tinually.
4. Conv. Further, An earthly-minded man may be con∣vinc'd of his earthlinesse in this, He is content with a little de∣gree of Sanctification, but for the matters of the world, still he would fain have more and more. He looks at those that are the most eminent that are in his rank, and he would fain get up as high as they in the things of this life, but in mat∣ters of Religion he looks at the lowest Christians, and is content to be as low as they; take an earthly-minded man that is of such a trade, if there be any of his profession or calling that had as little to begin as he, and thrive better, he would fain get up as high as he, and is troubled that he is not so rich as he is; thus it is in the world. But now, take them in matters of God, there's such men that Page 59 began since you began, and had as little means for the good of their souls as you have had, they are thriven and got beyond you abundantly in the matters of God, and doth this trouble you? and are your thoughts solicitous a∣bout this? Oh! that I could attain to that degree of grace as such a one hath got, such an one hath a spiritual mind, and full of the joy of the holy Ghost, and full of faith, he is able to depend upon God in the want of all outward comforts, and certainly injoyes much communion with God; but I am far beneath such and such: do these thoughts trouble you? it is ordinary for earthly spirits, if they look but at any one that makes profession of Religion that is low in his profession, I did as such a one doth; and I have as much as they have, and that satisfies them, they look upon the meanest Christans, and are satisfied that they are like them; but for the matters of the world they look upon the highest, and are not satified except they come and attain to what they attain to: and that's a fourth evidence.
5. Conv. Then a Fift is this, Earthly-minded men are very wise in matters of the world, but in matters that are spiritual there they are very weak and Simple. You shall have many men, (which I have wondered at sometimes to see) that in mat∣ters concerning Religion there they are very ignorant, if they do but speak in points of saving knowledge they speak like children, so that one would wonder where their understandings were; now turn such men to the matters of the world, Oh! how wise are they in their generation, Oh! how subtile, and crafty are they, they can see an ob∣jecton there and know how to answer it, they can discern any thing that will let them in their profit, many miles off, and can prevent whereas others cannot; but now in those things that hinder their souls, they cannot foresee things there, they are wise in their generation, and they have me∣mories for the matters of the world, they can understand things, and remember things, and they can meditate there, but put them to meditate on a point of Religion, they are presently at a stand: Let me appeal to you, do not your Page 60 consciences tell you, that in the matter, of the world when you are walking from hence to London, you can run in your thoughts upon one business all the way that you walk, you can plot this, and contrive the other way, and foresee this and the other objection, and answer it thus in your own thoughts; but I do but put this to you, when you walk over the fields, settle but upon one meditation concerning Christ, and see whether you are a∣ble to draw out that meditation the while you walk over one field, whereas you can spin out an earthly meditation if it were divers miles; when you awake in the night season presently your thoughts are upon the things of the world, and you can draw them out, and work there understan∣dingly; but now in the things of God, Oh! how bar∣ren, and simple, and weak are you there! there's scarce a∣ny one can over-reach you in the things of the world, but in the matters of Religion you are over-reach't present∣ly, every slight temptation overcomes you there.
6. Conv. And besides, you may know it by the discourse and words of men; 1. John, 4. 5. They are of the world; therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them: Their breath is earthly, Oh! it's an ill sign that (you use to say of your friends sometimes) when you come to their bed side, Oh! I am afraid they will die their breath smels so earthly, it's a simptom of the death of the bodie: So your hearts do smel so earthly, and it were somewhat to∣lerable if it were on other daies when your callings re∣quires it to discourse of businesse, but even that time that God hath set apart for himself, you are sometimes discour∣sing in your own thoughts concerning the businesses of the world when you are praying, and hearing: whereas the communication and discourses of men should relish of what they have heard out of the world, not presently to go and talk about some earthly exchange occurrances, and so loose all, Oh! it's this that hath lost many precious truths, it may be when you have been hearing, God hath darted in some beam of Gospel-light into your souls, and you have Page 61 lost is before you have got home, and so have come to loose the impression of the truth that you have heard, Oh! what a seemly thing were it in those that come to hear the word when they depart that there should be no discourse but tending that way? Oh! how often are you in company and never leave any thing to refresh one anothers spirits, or to further one another in the way to eternal life; though God gives you allowance to speak about your business, yet still if you be spiritual and heavenly, he would have you to have something about heaven or eternal life before you do depart.
7. Conv A. further Convincement is this, When Spiri∣tual things must give way to Earthlyness upon every little business: Prayer must pay for it, if I have any businesse, I will take it out of the time of Paayer, or converse in the Word the less, or hear the lesse; when as I say, that earthly things are so high as spiritual things must give way, Heaven must stand by (as ir were) til Earth be served; this is an evil sign of an earthly spirit: whereas were the spirit Heavenly, the very first thing that thou would do when thou awakest in the morning, or arisest, should be to season thy heart with som∣thing that were spiritual: in Psal 139. 17. How precious al∣so are thy thoughts unto me O God! how great is the sum of them? If I count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake I am still with thee. Oh! that were an argument of a spiritual mind, that upon the awaking presently to be with God: When I awake I am still with thee. But now, I ap∣peal to you, Who are you withal when you awake? Can you say, Lord, when I awake I am still with thee, I find an inclination in my spirit to be upon the matters of Heaven, and when I am up, I had rather my worldly business should give way than spiritual duties.
8. Conv. When a man or woman cares not much how it is with the Church, with the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, so it be well with them in the matters of the world: when as there are things stirring abroad in the world (for we live in stirring times wherein God is shaking the Heavens and the Earth:) now Page 62 he doth not much enquire how things are in respect of the Priviledges of the Saints, the Ark of the Church, so his Cabbin be safe. Truly, there need no oeher thing but the examning of your hearts, how they have been these last years of Jacobs trubles. We find Eli in the time of war he sat trembling because of the Ark of God; he did not sit trembling because, that if the Philistims did prevaile he should be put out of his place, and his estate taken away; no, but because of the Ark of God; that was an argument of the spiritualnesse of Eli's mind. And so it may be an ar∣gument of very great comfort to you in these dangerous times; If our consciences tell us this, that God that knowes all things, knowes that the great thing my heart was solicitous about in these evill dayes, it was, What shall become of thy great Name: Lord, what shall become of Religion: what shall become of thy Gospel: Lord these were the things that took up my heart, not so much what should become of my estate and outward accommodations and relations in this world: Oh! exa∣mine your hearts in this, Whether the care of your spirts be more for the furtherance of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ or for the furtherance of your Estates? but for that man or woman that is most solicitous about businesse that con∣cerns their outward estates, and do not much care how Re∣ligion goes, how the way of the Kingdom of Christ is maintai'd, God at this time doth speak to that soul; Thou art an Earthly-minded man or woman, and therefore take heed lest what hath been spoken concerning the great evil that there is in earthly-mindednesse, lest it befals thee, and especially the last of all, Whose end is destruction, who art drown'd in perdition; lest hereafter this be the thing that thou shalt lie crying out of, and cursing thy self for, Oh! I had a base and earthly heart, and sought the things of the earth, and made my portion there, and in the mean time the blessed God hath been forsaken; and I have lost my Portion in the Holy Land, for I had my portion in Egypt among the Egyptians accoding as I did choose to my self.
Page 63 9. Conv. That the more spiritual any truth is that is reveal'd, the less doth it take with his heart: Some truths of Religion perhaps he is moved with, but these are as by-words to him, he minds them not at at all. The more spiritual an Ordi∣nance is that is delivered, the lesse is his spirit moved with it; if indeed he comes to the Word and there be mingled some earthly natural excellencie, (for so I may call it) as natural parts, wisdom, wit, and eloquence, and learning, that he is mov'd withal, it may be some fine story is more pleasing to him, than the goodly pearls of truth that are revealed in the word; as now, such truths as these, The enjoyment of communion with God, the longing after Jesus Christs coming; the living by faith upon a bare pro∣mise, the excellencie that there is in suffering for Jesus Christ: These truths now are spiritual, The mortifying of the inward lusts, Self-denial, These things are little savored by an earthly-minded man; tell him of the privi∣ledges of the Saints, the mysteries of the Gospel, any thing that is spiritual it is but as a notion to him; As 'tis with men that are upon the earth, they look up to Heaven and see the things of Heaven but little; why is it that the Stars seem so smal to us here, but because we are upon the earth, the earth seems a vast bodie to us, but the Stars seem but lit∣tle to us though they are far bigger than the earth: were we in Heaven, then the heavenly bodies would seem vast to us, and the earthly bodies would scarce be discerned by us; were mens hearts heavenly, all the things of the earth would seem little to them; but because they are earthly, therefore the things of heaven, and spiritual mysteries are very small in their eyes.
CHAP. IV. Seven Reasons of mens Earthly-mindedness.
I Shall now proceed unto the Reasons of the Point, Why is it that mens hearts are so much set upon the earth, to mind earthly things. I give you briefly these Reasons for it.
First, The things of the earth appear real to them, but spiritual and heavenly things be but a notion: Now that that hath reali∣ty in it, takes with the heart most; though men are decei∣ved in this, for the Scripture speaks of spiritual things as the only real things, and earthly things as that that hath no being at all; in Prov. 23. 15. Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not, (speaking of the riches of the world) it hath no reality at all in it. But in the 8. Prov. 20. 21. I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of Judgment: That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; to inhe∣rit that which is, that which hath a being, othert hings they are not, the honors of the earth are but a fantasie and vain shew; you have read of Bernice and Agrippa, They * came with much Pomp, with great Fansie, so the original is: but to an earthly man these earthly things are real things, and therefore he minds them: and wisdom is a lye unto a fool.
Secondly, These things they look upon as the present necessary things, though the Scripture tels us, but of one thing that is necessiary, but yet they think that these are pre∣sent now, they may have need of heavenly things hereafter: They may have need of reconciliation with God, pardon of sin, peace of conscience, and such things, they may have need of them, that is, when they depart out of this life. Oh! the infinite folly of most hearts to think, that there is no present necessity of spiritual and heavenly things, whereas indeed, our life consists in them for the Page 65 present, This is eternal life: we may come here in this world to enjoy eternal life; but the generality of people they look upon all spiritual things only as our good for the future, when we go from hence and are seen no more.
Thirdly, These things are most sutable to mens hearts. It's no wonder that they mind earthly things; They are of the earth, and from the earth, they have nothing but the * first Adam in them; now the first man was from the earth earthly. The truth is, the happiness of mans estate even in innocency in the morning of the day of his creation in comparison of the things that are now reveal'd by the Gospel, was but earthly: take man when he was in Para∣dice, that Paradice was but earthly: but then take man in his fallen and corrupt estate then he must needs be earthly, and every thing closes with that that is sutable to it: com∣fort, it doth not come so much from the goodness of a thing but from the sutablness of the object with the facultie. Now the things of the earth, they are sutable to men that are of the earth, and therefore they mind them: the heart will abundantly run out upon that which is sutable to it.
Fourthly, These things of the earth have a very fair shew in the flesh, they have a kind of goodly appearance in the eye of sence, yea, and in the eye of that reason that is now corrupted by sin; we have a most elegant expressi∣on of these earthly things, and earthly minded men ha∣ving their hearts set upon these things, it is in the 6. to the Gal. 12. verse, As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh saith the Scripture, the words are to signifie when a man looks smug and neat, as you shall have some men dresse themselves curiously, and having handsom bodys they look so trim, fine, handsom, and very brave to the eye of all that do behold them. So saith he, these men that are the false teachers, they desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, that is, they look upon the things of the flesh as those things that are very brave to the eye, and they love to have all things so compleat about them, that they may look smug, and carry themselves with such beauty before the Page 66 world; Oh! this is their happiness, this they take content in, they seem to have fine estates, and to have brave cloa∣thing, and all curious things about them, this looks so brave in the eyes of the world, and therefore it is that their hearts are upon them, they are here enemies to the Crosse of Christ, they think suffering for Christ, poverty, disgrace looks but untowardly. But now, those that desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, that would have their counte∣nances well wash'd, fair, and beautiful wheresoever they come, and be as sombody in the world, these do thus and thus, these forsake the truths of God, and seek to pro∣vide for themselves in the things of the flesh.
Fiftly, Men naturally never knew better things than the things of the earth: and therefore no marvel though they mind earthly things so much: Children that are born in a dungeon and never knew any better place, they can play up and down in the dungeon: So it is with men that never knew what the things of heaven and eternal life meant, they can mind earthly things better than those: but when once the Lord opens the eyes of their understan∣dings to see into the reality, excellency, and glory of spiri∣tual things, they then wonder at their former blindness in minding such poor, low, mean foolish rattles, as the things of the earth are.
Sixtly, There are earthly principles continually dropt into men by converse with other men that are men of the earth: 49. Psal. 11. and 13. Their inward thoughts is, that their houses shall continue for ever, and their dwelling place to all gene∣rations, they call their lands after their own names. Their hearts are set upon these things, then in the 13. verse, This their way is their folly, yet their posterity approve their sayings. They are applauded by men, they see that every body do applaud them in these waies, and when they converse one with another, they do converse about the things of the earth, and the common example of men, they see every bo∣dy following the things of the earth, and are greedy after these toyes, and that likewise doth incline their minds to the things of the earth.
Page 67 Lastly, The sensible experience they have had of the sweetnesse that there is in the things of the earth: This is that that takes off their minds from spiritual things, and makes them to mind the things of the earth.
But though these be the reasons why men do thus mind the things of the earth, and an earthly-minded man blesses himself in his way, and thinks he hath good reason for what he doth, and thinks all men fools that do not grovel in the ground like a mole with himself, and looks upon the matter of Religion but as meer words and talk, let them do what they will, I find contentment here: yet cer∣tainly at length it will prove folly, this their way, as the holy Ghost saith in the 49 Psal. This their way it is but their folly, and in the end the wise men of the earth, those that have sought the things of the earth, and blesse themselves in their way, they will prove to be the greatest fools, the holy Ghost accounts them so: In the 17. of Jere. 11. verse, As the Partridge sitteth on eggs and hatcheth them not, so he that getteth riches and not by right, shall leave them in the midst of his daies, and at his end shall be a fool. He applauds himself for the present in what he hath got, but at the end he shall be a fool.
NOW the main thing that is still behind in the Point, It is therefore to endeavour to take off the minds of men and women from the things of this earth, that so by it I may make preparation to the next Point, which is of infinite concernment, The Conversations in Heaven. But because their conversations cannot be in Heaven till their minds be taken off from the earth, till the disease of Earthly-mindednesse be cur'd; therefore we must now propound those things that may help to take off the minds of men from the earth.
Eleven Considerations to take off mens hearts from Earthly∣mindedness.
First, Consider this, That all the things of the earth that thy mind and heart is upon, if thou couldst possess them all as thine own, yet there is not so much good in them as to countervail the evil of the least sin, not of the least sin of thought; thy heart is mudling upon the things of the earth, and thinkest that thou shoul∣dest be blest if thou badst thus and thus as others have. Let me tell thee, if thou hast but one sinful thought, there is more evil in that than there's good in all that ever thou shalt get all the daies of thy life in the world; and if this be so, that there is more evil in the least fin than there is good in all the things of the earth, it concerns thee rather to have thy mind how to avoid sin, or how to get the evil of sin to be remov'd, and how to get thy sin to be mortified, that concerns thee more than the minding and plodding about the things of the earth: that's one consideration.
A Second Consideration.
A second is this that may take off the hearts of men from the things of the earth, That the chief things that are in the earth yea, name what terrene excellency possibly a man may be crowned with under Heaven, hath been the portion of Reprobates heretofore, and is to this day, and shall be the portion of multitudes whom God hates, and hath set apart to glorifie his infinite Justice upon eter∣nally. Shall thy mind and heart be set upon such things as are the portion of Reprobates? will a Reprobates porti∣on content thee? will it serve thee? art thou satisfied with dogs meat? If it will not content thee, why is it that thy mind is so much upon the things of the earth? It may be thou that art poor and mean in the world; thy mind is upon some little matter: thou canst never expect to have a∣ny great things in the world, and yet thou mindest them as if that there were thy portion, and thy happiness, some Page 69 small pittance to furnish thy house, to provide for thy self and thy poor family; Oh friend! if it were possible for thee to get the Empire of the whol world under thy foot, yet thou shouldest get no more than hath been the portion of such as God hath hated; and if so be that Kingdoms and Empires have been the portion of Reprobates, why doest thou mind things that are lower abundantly, and let the strength of thine heart flow out upon such things as these are?
A Third Consideration.
A third consideration is this, Surely God hath made man for higher things than the things of this earth. Oh! if thou hadst but thy thoughts often working this way, Where∣fore do I think in my conscience hath God made the chil∣dren of men, for what end? why hath he sent them hither into the world? Of all the creatures that God hath here upon the earth, he hath none capable to know him the in∣finite First being of all things but only the children of men, & God hath given them such a nature as is capable of some converse with him, surely then there be other things that God made man for than to have meat, and drink, and clo∣athes, and here to live a while only to enjoy creatures. Do not we reade often, That Jesus Christ was God and Man, took mans nature upon him, and died for man? Surely there must be some other manner of things that are the fruit of the purchase of the blood of Christ than the things of the earth; Oh my brethren! had you but this setled upon you, that certainly God hath great, glorious, high, and wonderful thoughts about man-kind, this would be a mighty means to take off your hearts from the things of this earth, when thou hast thy heart grovelling here: Oh but are these the things that God made man for? had not God higher thoughts in making of the children of men? do not I find in the word that when man was made there was a kind of Divine consultation with the Trinity, Page 70Come, let Ʋs make man according to our own Image? God had other thoughts of man than of other things. And if man were made for nothing else but meerly to dig in the earth, Certainly, the thoughts of God about man have been but very low and mean (as I may so speak with holy reverence) for these are but low and mean things here that men enjoy in the earth.
The Fourth Consideration.
As God hath higher thoughts concerning man; so the dig∣nity of mans Nature, the rational soul of man is of too high a birth for to have the strength of it spent about the things of the earth. God breathed into man his soul: It's (I may say) a kind of a Divine spark, the soul of man it is of the same nature with Angels, a spirit as Angels are: the thoughts of the minds, the Faculties and Powers of the soul are more pre∣cious things than to be powred out as water upon the ground. If a man have a Golden Mill, he would not use it only to grind dirt, straws, and rotten sticks in. The mind of man, the thinking faculty is too high to be exercised in the things of this earth; the mind of man it is of a most ex∣cellent capacious Nature: it is fit to converse, not only with Angels, but with the eternal God Himself, with Fa∣ther, Son, and Holy Ghost; and to bestow the strength of such a faculty that God hath put into the soul of man up∣on such dirtie, drossie, low, base, mean things, as earthly∣minded men and women do bestow it upon, this must needs be a great evil. Know, the dignity of your Nature, the ex∣cellencie of your Mind, the Soul of man it is of a transcen∣dent being. Put all the world into the Ballance, with it it's nothing. Therefore you know what Christ saith, What shall it profit a man, to gain the whol world, and lose his soul? The soul of the meanest gally-slave is more precious than Heaven and Earth, Sun, Moon, Stars, and all the host of them: Let me add then, all the Silver and Golden mines under ground; and al the unsearchable Riches of the great Page 71 and wide Sea, yea put all these together; and the Soul of the most contemptible beggar that cries for a crust of bread at thy door, is unexpressibly more worth than all these: Now, if mans soul be of such an high-born Nature, if God hath put such a Spirit which is a spark of Heaven in∣to the bosom, for man of him to imploy it in no other use and service, but meerly to be an earth-worm to creep in and upon the ground: this must needs be a very great evil.
The fifth Consideration.
The fifth Consideration is, The Ʋncertainty of all these things, Ʋncertain Riches. How may any Causuality come and take away from thee al the things of the earth that thy mind is upon? God sends but a little too much heat into the body, and puts thee into a feavour, and where's thy de∣light then? thy body being either too much heated, or too much coold, what's become of all thy comfort here in this earth? Thou goest abroad, and art dangerously wounded by an enemy, what refreshing then doest thou receive from all these things? Let me tell thee, thou art in the midst of a thousand thosand Casualities here, every moment ready to take away all the Comforts of the earth; and usually at that time (observe it) when the minds of men and wo∣men are most fixed upon the earth, that's the time that God hath to strike them in those things, they be then neerest to be depriv'd of the Comforts of the earth, when their thoughts and minds be most set upon them. As you know it was with the Rich man in the Gospel, when he was bles∣sing himself, and crying to his soul, Soul Soul, take thine ease, thou hast goods laid up for many years; even that night (the text saith) this message came so him, Thou fool, this night shall thy soul be taken away from thee, and then, whose shall al these things be? And at that time that Nebuchadnezzer was blessing himself in the pallace that he had built for His Honor, then there comes a message to him from Heaven, so that he was presently outed of all his Court-vanities to Page 72 graze among the beasts of the field. So you may find it in your own experience, that God hath many times then most crost you in the things of the earth, when your minds and hearts have been most glued to them: and it may be in mercy, yea, it's a greater mercy to be crost of these things at such a time, than to prosper in the midst of them; for it may be a good argument that God intends good to a soul, to crosse him at that time when he is most earthly. Oh! many that have been godly indeed, but yet have bin earth∣ly minded, and have found God coming at such a time and crossing them in some earthly Contentment have seen cause to blesse God for thus dealing with them. Whither was I going? I was going altogether to the earth, and minding such things, my heart was set upon them, and God came in in a seasonable time, to shew me the vanity of my heart, and of those things that my mind was busied about; Oh it was a happy crosse that I had at such a season, there was much of Christ that did hang upon it. And that's the fift Consideration.
The sixth Consideration.
Do but consider what's become of those that have been earthly heretofore, that injoyed the greatest accomodations of the earth, what's become of those men in former ages of the world, that lived here, and vapour'd so much in their generation, who but they at Court and in Citie, and had all the earth according to their desires? what's become of Agrippa and Bernice with al their pagentry greatness? now they have acted their parts and are gone off the common stage of the world, all their vanity is buried with them in one grave. What difference is there between the poor and rich when they die? they go all the same way; only they were for a little time, and flourished in the things of the earth, and now are gone, but have left a great deal of guil∣tiness behind them; look but to their example, and what's become of theme? and consider thy case must be as their's Page 75 within a while, the wheel is turning round, which will bring thee as low as them, so that thou ere long must be numbred amongst the dead. Oh! it's a mightie means to take off our hearts from the things of this earth.
The Seventh Consideration.
Consider further, How short thy time is that thou hast here in this world. That's the argument of the Apostle, because the time is short, therefore let us use the world as if we used it not, therefore let our hearts be taken off from these things; we have but a little time, and a great deal of work, we have in this short winter day of life to provide for eterni∣tie, now considering the great weight of the work that doth depend upon us here in this world, it may be a migh∣tie reason for us to bid adue to all the things of this world; indeed if we had time enough for our work, and were sure of our time then we might spend it about trifles. If a man comes into the Citie to do business, of great weight and consequence, and hath but a little time to spend about it, he never minds any thing he sees in the Citie, never minds any body that comes by him, or any shews in shops, what braverie there is there, but goes up and down the streets minding only his own business. Oh! so it should be with us my brethren; consider the great work we have to do, and the little time that we have to effect that work in, there depends upon our little short uncertain inch of time matters of more consequence than ten thousand thousand worlds are worth and if we miscarry in this little time of our lives, we are lost and undone for ever, better we had never been born, or had been made toads or serpents, or the vilest beasts whatsoever, than reasonable creatures. Oh! have you so much time for the spending the very spi∣rits of your souls upon the things of this earth, can you spare so many hours? Certainly if God did but make known to you what eternitie means, if the Lord did but cause the fear of eternitie to fall upon you, you would not Page 76 mispend so much time as you do; many times though you complain for want of time for spiritual things, Oh how much time do you spend in letting out your thoughts and affections upon the things of the earth, more than you need?
The Eighth Consideration.
Consider therefore in the next place, That a little will serve the turn to carry us through this world. We are here but in our Pilgrimage, or in our voyage; now a little will serve the turn here for the carrying of us through this world: men will not take more in a journy than may help them. If a man that is to go a journy should get a whol bundle of staves and lay them upon his shoulder, and you should ask him the reason why he carries that bundle, why saith he, I am going a great journy, and I know not what need I may have of staves to help me; it's true, to car∣ry a staff in a mans hand will help him; thus Jacob was helped by his staff over Jordan; but to carrie a bundle up∣on his shoulder will hinder him: Now a little will serve your turn, if you have but meat and drink, food and rai∣ment (saith the Apostle) be content; and the servants of God in former time, past through this world with a very little, and manie of them the less they had, the more peace and comfort they had in God, and they were the more fit to die. I remember Ecolampagius when he was to die being verie poor, profess'd that he would not have been richer than he was, for he saw what a hindrance it was, and so he could pass out of the world with more ease and qui∣et a great deal; Certainly a little will serve the turn here: we say, Nature is content with a little; and if there were Grace it would be content with less; and therefore let not our minds be upon the things of the earth: we have not so much need of the things of the earth as we think for.
The Ninth Consideration
And then further, consider though upon our minding the things of the earth we should enjoy never so much; Yet there is no comfort, no good to be had in them any further than God will be pleased to let himself through them; they are but as channels to convey the blessing and goodness of God to us: Man lives not by bread, nor meat only, you are deceived to think that if you had such and such things you should cer∣tainly have a comfortable life, I say you may be deceived in this, for it is God in these that doth comfort the heart, there is a notable Scripture for this in the 62. Psal. where the holy Ghost saith at the 10. verse, Trust not in oppression, and become not vain in robbery, if riches increase, set not your hearts upon them, do not mind them, why? in the 11. verse, God hath spoken once, twice have I heard this, That power belongeth unto God, if riches increase, set not thy heart upon them; let not your hearts and minds be upon riches, or any thing in this earth: why? God hath spoken once, twice have I heard, that is, again and again: God hath spoken effectually to me that all power to do any good belongeth unto him, it's not in riches, there's no power there for making of thee happy, but all belongs to him. This I confess is a spiri∣tual meditation that earthly minded men will have but lit∣tle skill in, yet where earthly-mindedness prevails in any one of the Saints, this may do him good, whereas the truth is, it is not in the creature, or creature-comforts can do me good, if I had a thousand times more than I have, I might be miserable in the earth, and have as little comfort as those that have least, and therefore let me set my affecti∣ons upon things above, and not on things on the earth.
The Tenth Consideration.
Moreover lay this to heart, If you be godly God promises to take care for you for the things of this earth, and to that end that Page 78 he might ease you of the burden of your care, cast your care upon God for he careth for you, and take no thought for these things, for your heavenly Father knows you have need of them, your heavenly Father takes care, See how he cloaths the lillies, and are not you much better than they? Now children they do not much mind the things of the earth to provide for themselves, because they know they have their father to provide for them; a child that hath his father and friends to make provision for him, it very much easeth him; but indeed those that are left fatherlesse, and friend∣lesse, they seem to have some excuse; I had need take care of my self for. I have no body to provide for me: I but the Saints cannot say so, they have a father to provide for them, and all the earth is the Lords as well as heaven, and the fulnesse of them both; now the earth be∣ing the Lords as well as heaven, the earth being thy fathers, why should thy care be so much upon the things of the earth? Let thy care be to do thy duty to thy father, to walk as a child, but let it not be for the things of the earth, thou dost as much as disavow the care of thy father for thee; and canst thou beleeve that God shall give his Son to thee and not give thee all things else? hath not godliness the promises of this life as well as of that to come? Oh! thou unworthy child that professest an interest in such a fa∣ther, or unworthy Christian that professest an interest in such promises, and hop'st that God hath done such things for thee as he hath done, and yet hast thy heart in the things of this earth, as if the Lord had settled thee only here, and put thee to shift for thy self here from door to door: no certainly, the care of God is over his peo∣ple in the things of the earth, as truly as it is over them in regard of spiritual and eternal things. Some men can think, at least they trust that they do trust God for their souls, but cannot for their bodies so well; but surely faith wil teach thee to trust God for thy body as wel as thy soul, for God hath care of both, and both were redeem'd by the blood of Jesus Christ, and hath told thee, that he that fears Page 79 the Lord shall never want any thing that's good for him: Now these considerations may mightily prevail to take off the hearts of men from the things of this earth.
The Eleventh Consideration.
The last that I shall name is this, That all that are Profes∣sors of Religion, they are dead to the world, or should be so: nay, if you be truly Religious you are so, by profession you do professe your selves to be dead unto the world. The Scripture makes this argument to take off mens hearts from the things of this world, in the 3. Colos. 2, 3. Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth: why? for you are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. Ye are dead, the Apostle writes to the Colossians, and yet he tels them that they were dead; the Sripture speaks much of the death of the Saints: As it's said of women that liv'd in pleasures in Timothy, that they were dead while they liv'd: so it may be said of Christians that they are dead while they live, dead to the world, I am crucified to the world (saith the Apostle) and we are dead with Christ, I find that some interpret that Scripture in the 1. Cor. 15. 29. Else what shall they do that are baptized for the dead? they interpret it thus, That all those that came in, which were Heathens and converted to Christianity and were baptized, they were baptized for dead men; that is, by their baptizm; now there was a profession that they did pro∣fesse themselves from that time for ever as dead men to the world, baptized for the dead; you have it in some of your books over the dead, but the word is, for, and so it is trans∣lated in this last translation, For dead men: your baptizm is administred unto you as a sign of your profession, to be as dead men unto the world, so I find some carry it. This is the profession of Christians to be as dead men to the world; Oh do not dishonor your profession of Religion, for indeed there is a greater evil (as we said) for professors of Religion to be earthly minded than for any others, and Page 80 yet how many are guilty of this? It's an observation of Luther, when God rivealed himself to Abraham and told him, that he would multiply his seed; he made use of two similitudes, one was this, That he would make his seed as the stars of Heaven, and at another time God saith, that he would make his seed as the sand upon the sea shore; Now saith Luther, by these two expressions there is signified two sorts of Abrahams seed, there are some that are as the stars of Heaven, that are heavenly minded; There are others that are as the sand of the Sea: that is, There are some professe themselves to be of Abrahams seed but are of earth∣ly spirits: Oh now, my brethren, we should labor to have such minds and hearts so as we should appear to be the seed of Abraham, as the stars of heaven, to be of the number of those that are as the stars of heaven, that is, through hea∣venly-mindednesse. But that we shall come to when we come to speak of the conversation of Christians, how it ought to be in heaven.
But now, if any one should say, May we not mind earth∣ly things and heavenly things too?
Know there is a great mistake here, you cannot serve two masters, God and Mamon; and it's very observable that text of Scripture, in the 3. of Colos. 2. verse, mark the opposition, Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth: they are there opposed one to another: Set your affections or minds, for so I think it is the same word with that in my text, who mind earthly things. A man cannot look up to heaven and down to the earth both at the same time, there is an opposition between these two, between the earthly-mindedness that hath been opened to you, and minding of heavenly things.
I but you will say, For these things while we are upon the earth we have need of them, how can we do otherwaies but mind them? When we come to heaven, there we shall have dispositions sutable to heaven, but sure not till then?
To that I answer, Though Christians do live upon the earth, yet they are not of the earth, there's a great deal of Page 81 difference between one that is of the earth, and another that lives upon the earth: Christ saith concerning him∣self, that he was not of the earth, it's true, though he did live a while upon the earth, yet he was not of it: In the 3. of John 31. He that cometh from above, is above all, he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: now Christ while he spake these words he was upon the earth; but He was not of the Earth: And so it is with Christians, they are upon the Earth, but they are not of the Earth, they are a people redeem'd from the earth, therefore that's not enough: it's true, these things are things that we need, therefore we must not mind them, for so in the 6. of Mat. where Christ speaks against taking thought what we shall eat, or what we shall drink, or what we shall put on. Saith he, Your Heavenly Father knows you have need of these things; you have some need, I but you have need of other things, and greater need of other things than of these things, what need is there for thee to live upon the earth but in order to providing for eternity, and of living to the honor of Christ and the praise of his Gospel? I say thou hast no need of any thing on the earth but in subordination to higher things; there is no need thou shouldest live, but for some other end, and therefore let not that be any such argument to plead for earthliness, as indeed an earthly spirit is very witty in pleading for its self.
I shall close this Point with some Exhortation to you, and Directions about this Point of Earthly-mindedness.
CHAP. VII. EXHORTATION.
OH! considering what hath been delivered, I be∣seech you lay it seriously to heart, especially you that are yong beginners in the way of Religion, Page 82 lest it proves with you as it doth with many that are dig∣ging of Veins of gold and silver under ground; that while they are digging in those mines for riches, the earth many times fals upon them and buries them, so that they never come up out of the mine again: and so it is with many that are beginning in the way of Religion, that are dig∣ging in the mines of Salvation, for unsearchable riches, for that that is abundantly better than gold and silver; now while you are thus seeking for grace and godliness, Oh take heed that you be not covered with the earth while you are digging in the world, but keep wide open some place to Heaven, or otherwise if you dig too deep there will come up damps, if the earth falls not upon you, yet I say, there will be damps rise from the earth that may choak you, if there be not a wide space open that you may let the air that comes from heaven in to you. Those that are dig∣ging into Mines they are very careful to leave the place o∣pen for fresh air to come in; and so, though thou maiest follow thy calling, and do the work that God sets thee here for as others do, be as diligent in thy calling as any, yet still keep a passage open to Heaven, that there may be fresh gales of grace come into thy soul, if at any time thou beest got into the world, if thou spendest one day and hast not some spiritual air from Heaven, take heed, there's a damp coming up that will choak thee. Oh! that Christians would consider of this while they are here below! I re∣member I have read of Austin in his Comment upon the 72. Psal the 19. vers. saith the text, They that dwell in the wilder∣ness shall bow before him, and his enemies shall lick the dust: He in a wittie way applied it to earthlie-minded men, saith he, If you do so lick the dust, by this you will come to be ac∣counted one of the enemies of God. It's true, the scope of the place is different, but take heed that in this metaphori∣cal sence that you do not lick the dust and so come to be ac∣counted an enemie to God. You that would be accounted as friends and seek reconciliation with God, Oh do not lick the dust, to be alwaies here as Moles upon the earth, Page 85 they say Moles, though they be blind, yet if they be with∣out the earth then their eyes are opened, and then they shake and tremble: and so though the earth may close the eyes of men here for a while, yet certainly there will be a day when their eyes shall be opened, to see how they have gul'd and deceiv'd themselves. And now it's worse too in the time of the Gospel to be earthly-minded than at other times, it was not such an evil thing to be an earthly min∣ded man in the time of the Law, when all the promises of God were carried in a kind of earthly way. Though I do not say that all promises that were made to them under the Law were meer earthly, but they were carried in an earth∣ly way; therefore you shall find when God promises his people in the time of the Law what great mercies they shall have, it is by earthly expressions, as of gold and silver and such kind of things, and their promises for Heaven it went under the expression of living in the Land of Canaan as be∣ing a type of Heaven, now though they were taken with earthly things when God reveal'd himself to them in an earthly manner; yet now in the time of the Gospel, lift up your hearts for your calling is from above, now there are Heavenly things revealed, he that is from above is come amongst us, and the Heavens are broken open, and the glory of it doth shine upon the Churches in a far more brighter manner than it did before. And therfore Gospel∣light doth aggravate the sin of earthly-mindednesse, and therefore now above all times should the hearts of men and women be disingaged from the things of the earth.
CHAP. VII. Five Directions how to get our hearts freed from Earthly∣mindedness.
FIrst, To that end be watchful over your thoughts, do not take liberty to let your hearts run too far in the things of the earth, what time you have for me∣ditation let it be as much as can be reserved for spi∣ritual things; most men and women think they may take liberty in their thoughts; why the thing in its self is not unlawful, I but your thoughts will steal upon you and af∣fect your hearts very much: therefore watch narrowly o∣ver your thoughts, keep them within Scripture bounds.
The Second Direction
Be much humbled for sin, That will take off the heart much from earthly-mindedness. Your earthly-minded men, who have earthly and drossie hearts, they have not known what the weight and burden of sin hath meant, let God but lay the weight and burden of sin upon the soul, it will take off the soul from earthly things quickly; Oh! those men that have gone on in the world in a secure condi∣tion, and never knew what trouble of conscience meant for sin, they grow seer'd in those earthly Contentments; but now those men that have had but the weight of sin lie upon them, know what it is to have to deal with an infinite God, in the bearing of the burden of the wrath of an incensed Deity, such know, that they have other things to look after than the things of the earth: If God did but humble your hearts, the humiliation of your spirits would quicken you, and take off the dulness and deadness of your spirits, and stir you up to look after other things than the things of this life.
The Third Direction.
Further, Set the example of the Saints before you, that have been the most precious servants of God, in former times; how they accounted themselves as Pilgrims and strangers here in the earth: read at your leisure that Scrip∣ture in the 11 of the Heb. at the 13. verse, These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them a∣far off, and were perswaded of them, and imbraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth: and mark therefore how it follows in the 37. verse, They were stoned, they were sawn asunder were tempted, were slain with the sword, they wandred about in sheeps-skins and goats-skins, be∣ing destitute, afflicted, tormented. Who were these? They were they of whom the world was no tworthy, They wan∣dered in deserts, and in Mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth: and yet such precious Saints of God as the world was not worthy of. Now when we set before us how joyfully these servants of the most high went through all their wil∣dernesse condition, this should make us ashamed of our earthly-mindedness, and would be a mighty help to us.
The Fourth Direction.
And then if we consider the great accompt that we are to give for all earthly things; you only look upon the comfort of them, but consider the account you must give for them: this would be a means to take off the heart from earthly-mindednesse: And consider, what if you were now to die, and to go the way of all flesh, what good would it be to me to remember what contentments and pleasures I had in the earth?
The fifth Direction.
But above all, the setting Jesus Christ before you, and Page 88 the meditating of the death of Jesus Christ: (I say) that's the great thing that wil take off the heart from the things of the earth: The looking upon Christ Crucified; how he that was the Lord of Heaven and Earth, yet what a low condition he put Himself into, meerly for the redeeming of us! The conversing much with the death of Jesus Christ deads the heart much to the world. In the 3. to the Philip∣pians we have a notable text for that, in the example of Paul, he accounted all things as dung and drosse for Jesus Christ: at the 8. verse, I account all things but loss for the ex∣cellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the liss of all things, and do count them but DƲNG that I may win Christ. And then in the 19. verse, That I may know Him, and the power of his Resnrrection, and the fellowship of His Sufferings being made conformable unto his Death. Paul desired to be so conformable to the very Death of Christ, that he accounted all things in the world but as dung and drosse in comparison of that; Paul had the death of Christ before his eyes, and meditated much on the death of Christ, and that meditation had a great impression upon his spirit, that made him account all these things as drosse, as dogs meat in comparison, and that he might have fellowship with the death of Christ, Perhaps some of you may think of the glory of Christ in Heaven, and that may for the present make you lesse worldly; but let me intreat you to meditate on the death of Christ, and know that there is an excellen∣cie in Conformity even to the death of Christ, such an Ex∣cellency that may take off your hearts from the things of the world. It's said of the King of France, that he asking one once about an Eclypse, saith he, I have so much busi∣nesse in the earth, that I take little notice of the things of Heaven.
Oh my Brethren! for the close of all, I beseech you let not this be said concerning any of you, that you have such and such worldly imployments, that you cannot enquire after Jesus Christ. Plead not that you have such great bu∣sinesse, that you have so much to do in this earth that you Page 89 take little notice of the things of Heaven; no, surely, the Saints of God have their businesse in Heaven, (as we shall see God willing hereafter:) Their City Business, their Tra∣ding, their Aims, their Bent, it is higher than the things of this earth. There are things that a man may let out his thoughts and affections too as much as he wil: This shews the vanity of the things af this world, that a man had need be very wary how much he minds them, he cannot enjoy the comforts of this earth without some fear: but now, when he comes to converse with Heaven, there he may let out himself to the uttermost; that shews the excellency of these things. And you that are but poor and mean in the things of this earth, be not discomforted, because there is a charg from God that men should not mind these things; surely there is no great matter in them, as God charges that we should not mind them: Oh the excellency it lies in things above which are heavenly and spiritual, where the Saints have their conversation. But of this more at large in this following Treatise of Heavenly Conversation.
AN HEAVENLY Conversation.
PHILIPPIANS, 3. 20.
CHAP. I. Of Examples of Godly men, and how far they should prevail with us: Opened in Six Particulars.
SOme reade this Particle [For] [But:] But our Conversation is in Heaven. Our Conversati∣on is not as theirs: Certainly the Apostle doth intend this, to make a distinction from, or a difference between the Saints waies, and the waies of those that were Enemies to the Crosse of Christ: They mind Earthly things: But our Conversation is in Heaven: But because of the particle, [For] our Conversation; therefore I think that it hath refe∣rence Page 92 unto the 17 verse, for the 18. and 19. verses are in a pa∣renthesis, and therefore if you would know the scope of the Apostle in it, and what this hath relation to; (for) it is in the 17. verse, Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as you have us for an ensample; for our Conversation is in Heaven, to it is to follow: he made a little degression when he said, Make us your example; then he speaks of others, but many there are that walk thus and thus, and are enemies to the cross of Christ, Whose belly is their god, whose glory is their shame, whose end is destruction, who mind earthly things; But our (or, for our) Conversation is in Heaven. As if he should say, Take heed of following of those whose belly is their god, who mind earth∣ly things, for their end is destruction; but rather follow those whose Conversation is in Heaven, for their end is, salvation: that's the scope of the words. Now then from the scope and the coherance of them, follow us for an example, For our Con∣versation is in Heaven; so they are to be joyn'd together: from whence (first) before we come to speak of this Heavenly Con∣versation that the Apostle mentions, we have this point, That the Examples of men whose Conversations are heavenly, are to be follow∣ed. Follow us as an example, for our Conversation is in Hea∣ven. They are guided by the spirit of God, and the end of their Conversation is good, and therefore 'tis safe to be fol∣lowed. In Prov. 2. 20. there the Wise man speaks of an argu∣ment, Why we should imbrace wisdom, because that would teach you to walk in the way of good men, and to keep the paths of the Righteous. We should observe the way of good men, & keep the paths of the righteous. It's true, that the examples of the best men, though never so holy, are not a sufficient rule for any action, If a man or woman doth any thing, though it be ne∣ver so good, meerly upon the example of another man, yet this that they do will prove sin to them: I say, though the thing be good & thou doest it upon the example of other good men, yet if that be al thy rule, the action wil be sin to thee; for that is the rule of Christ to us, Whatsoever is not of faith is sin. Now no example can be a ground sufficient for faith; therefore, example alone is not a good rule. Yea, and somtimes we know Page 93 that Satan himself may transform himself into an Angel of light: and may for the prevailing of some evil make a great shew of some holiness: and so, many grosse Hypo∣crites for a time have had much seeming holiness in their lives: and therefore it must be taken for a certain truth that the examples of men never so holy are not a sufficient rule. But yet thus far examples of men that are holy should prevail with us.
First, They should prevail with us more than other ex∣amples, than examples of the most learned men; let men be never so great Rabbies, the example of one holy man whose Conversation is in Heaven, should be more to us than the example of many Scholers. For many men that are learned may be very corrupt, they may go against their own consciences; as certainly many do.
1. It should prevail against the example of great rich men, who have goods laid up for many yeers: you should ra∣ther follow the example of those that appear to be holy, than the example of the richest and greatest in the places where you live.
2. It should be more than the example of the Multitude, Joel, 3. 14. you have a notable Scripture there against following of Multitudes of men, you may see there that multitudes go to destruction; Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision.
3. It should be more than the example of those that are meerly related unto us: as children should rather look at the example of godly men and women though they be strangers, than of Father or Mother, or Uncle or Aunt, or the neerest kindred, though their examples be not rules for our faith, yet they should be more than the ex∣amples of any others.
Secondly, Though they should not be rules or grounds of faith, yet they should be enough to take off prejudices that come from accusations of men. If men will accuse the waies of god∣liness, and if there be any prejudices taken up against the paths of Sion without ground, the example of godly men Page 94 should be enough to make us stand out against them; it may be you hear many crying out bitterly against such a way of Worship, and many false aspersions are cast upon it, because it is not a National way of Worship, for few there be that follow it. Now do but observe what man∣ner of persons do worship God in that way which some cal Heresie, are they not of holy and blameless Conversations according to the Gospel, the strictest Puritans? Now though you must not do as they do meerly from their ex∣ample, yet their example should have a great deal of po∣wer and influence upon you to take off prejudices, and an∣swer accusations, and to calm and sweeten your angry and bitter spirits.
Thirdly, Examples though not sufficient ground and rule for faith, yet they should be enough to make us to enquire after those waies, and to examine and try, whether they have any footing in the Word, because the followers of them, are very upright and circumspect in their way. Let me at least enquire after these waies, let me examine them by the light of the Gospel, surely there is some probability that these waies are the very paths of Sion, and lead to the gate of Heaven, because the Professors of them are such friends of Jesus Christ; It's likely that these men should know the mind of God that do converse with God most, that lie in his bosom, as the beloved Disciple in Christs: Is it not more likely that a man that is a familier friend, and con∣verses daily with such an one that this man should know his secrets, his will rather than a stranger? so all men in the world are strangers to God, but only the Saints: they converse with God, they are the men of his Counsel, and his heart, and therefore of all men in the world it's most likely that they should have all the Wils of God revealed unto them: All Learning and Natural wisdom cannot shew the mind of God so much as converse with God, and an holy humble familiaritie with him; God loves to open his bosom to his hidden ones, to reveal his mind to them; and therefore when we see men that are godly whose Con∣versation Page 95 is in Heaven, that they walked in such and such waies, it should make us to think it is like there is, more good in these waies than I am aware of at the present, it's like that such men as God smiles upon, that they should know the mind of God more than other men: therefore though I will not presently conclude it's the mind of God, and do it meerly because they do it, yet I'le examine and search whether it be not the mind of God or no according to the Scriptures.
Fourthly, The example of godly men should prevail thus far, to make us to take heed that we do not oppose those waies except we have very cleer ground to the con∣trary: then we may oppose them as Paul opposed Peter, and resisted him to the face, because he did not go in a right way: let men be never so holy and godly, yet they may be opposed in their way; If upon any examination you see cleerly this is not the way of God, I find it to be otherwise, not others think it's not the way of God, and such and such are of a contrary mind; No, but I have been exami∣ning it by the Word of God, and laying the rule to my conscience, and my conscience to that, and I find it to be disagreeing to the mind of God, then ye may speak or write against it, but do it not otherwise. If ye see men holy, men whose Conversations be in Heaven, don't op∣pose it because men do, be sure your ground be good, and you be cleer in it if you do oppose it, otherwise you may be in danger of fighting against God when you oppose them: therefore make so much use of the example of god∣ly, holy men, as not to oppose the way but upon cleer Scripture-evidence to the contrary.
Fiftly, The example of godly men should prevail thus far with us, As to prepare us to let in any truth that they do pro∣fess and practice. When we come to examine what is in the waies of God, and Heaven, in our examination, come with prepared hearts to let in the Truths God shall reveal unto us, the rather because we see such holy & godly men have imbraced those truths before us; when precious Gos∣pel-Truths Page 96 are delivered to us by the hands of the servants of Jesus Christ, then those very Truths in our eye are like apples of gold in pictures of silver, as beautiful as golden fruit in silver dishes.
Sixtly, The example of godly men should prevail thus far, as after we have examined, and found their way to be according to the Truth indeed, then their example should confirm us in the Truth: should help to settle us more in the Truth, should comfort and encourage us in such and such holy courses; because we find not only that we are con∣vinc'd of it, and we see it to be the way of God, and have experience of it, but others see it and they are convinc'd of it, others that are so godly they find much communion with God in it; now this should mightily strengthen and further us in that we go on in the same way that the Saints of God go on in: And indeed, it should be a very great grief to any godly man, that he should differ from other godly men, though it cannot be but that we should differ sometimes, because we are imperfect here, yea, and some∣times a weak Christian knows that which a strong Christi∣an may be ignorant of, (I say) it fals out so sometimes, that God in some things reveals himself to those that are weak and hides himself from those that are strong; so that here in this world it cannot otherwise be expected for the present, till the time that the New Jerusalem shall be let down from God out of Heaven, and then the Saints will be all of one mind and walk all in one way, but till then there cannot be expected but that there should be dif∣ferent waies of the Saints; but yet I say it should be a very great heart-trouble to godly men to see that they are neces∣sitated to go in different waies from other godly men: and on the other side a great encouragment and strengthening when the Saints go on in one way together with their faces towards heaven.
CHAP. II. What's to be done when Examples of Godly men are contrary?
IF you say, What should we do when we have contrary exam∣ples, and both sides godly men; ye very godly men whose Con∣versation is in Heaven, some go one way, and others as godly as they go another way? what shall people do then, when they see that either way holy men go in?
Ans. To that I answer only these two things.
First, God by this means puts you to more strict exami∣nation of things, and doth teach you by this, that every Christian though never so weak, yet should have a bottom and ground for their faith, and practice out of the Word themselves, and never did God teach this lesson more strongly than now he doth, that we should all of us, not satisfie our selves in any point of Religion, nor in any pra∣ctice of Religion, but what we can our selves find and feel footing for out of the Word. In former times Christians were very much led by examples, and a few examplary godly professors would carry all the well affected in those places with them, all that did pretend towards godliness would be very loth to go in a different way to some emi∣nent godly men, but though perhaps their affections were good, and God may accept of their good affections, yet certainly they were not so grounded and established in the truth as God would have them; but now the Lord seems to go another way with his people, and puts every one, the weakest, the meanest servant, to search and to find out the truth themselves, and to have the knowledge of it themselves, and we hope the time is at hand for the fulfil∣ling of that promise, That all the people shall be taught of God, shall be taught to understand themselves what are the rea∣sons and grounds of the practice of Religion, and those Page 98 tenents and opinions which they hold, and when peo∣ple come to understand the grounds themselves, they have a great deal more strength, and they will come to be esta∣blished more than formerly they have been, this good will come of it.
Secondly, When you see examples on both sides go con∣trary one unto the other, and both godly, yet examine but this, Which way hath most earthly inducements, for that way that hath most earthly inducements to draw or bias the heart, that way lies under the most suspision; for men that are godly, yet they are but godly in part, and though they may be as godly as other men in some other things, yet there may be a temptation, the temptation for Earthly contentment if it lies more one way than the o∣ther, you are to be more wary of one than the other. But that we may passe this point, because it is but from the co∣herance, by way of use but in a word or two.
CHAP. I Rebuke of those that follow the example of the wicked, and re∣ject the example of the godly.
IF the example of men whose Conversation is in Heaven is to be followed, hence then are to be rebuked those that rather follow the example of wicked and ungodly ones, if they be great, or learned, or the example of the multitude, will rather follow the example of any than the example of those whose Conversation is in Heaven: thou doest thus and thus, and yet say, Do not others do so? but who are they that do so? can you say in your consci∣ences, that you think that they that do so have their Con∣versations in Heaven, you will do as they do? If there be any example that you will follow, they should be such that you can take it upon your consciences, that these are the men who have their Conversations above; you will do Page 99 as others do, in drinking; swearing, Sabbath-breaking, and in all manner of prophaness; have these their Conver∣sations in Heaven? Certainly you that do so, you follow the example of those who have their Conversations in hell. But it may be you have some neighbors live by you whose Conversations are blameless, yea, they are Heavenly, and when you are in your good moods, your consciences wit∣ness to them, and you could wish that you might die the death of the righteous; are there not some that live in the same families, streets, or towns where you live, that though sometimes your hearts are against them, you op∣pose them, and scorn them, and speak against them, yet when you are in any good temper, or afraid of death, then you could wish that you were as they are, and might die their death; now will you not follow their example, but rather the example of others, whose examples are in such things as are sutable to your vile, sinful, and base lusts? We know that these examples of holie men shall rise up in judgment against you another day, the Lord will condemn you from their example, and say, Did not such and such live in the familie and place where you liv'd, and did not you behold their holie and gracious Conversation, and shall the example of such and such vile wretches be fol∣lowed rather than the example of my Saints? (I say) this will stop your mouthes and aggravate your condemnation in the great Audit-day: Some there are, that are so far from following the example of those whose Conversations are in Heaven, as they rage and fret against them, and do what they can to darken the glorie of their holie lives, and if they can but have any misreport of them they will fol∣low it what possibly they can to the end that they might eclipse the holiness of their lives, that so they may stop their own consciences, whereas were there not something to darken the luster and beautie of the lives of the Saints, certainlie mens hearts would condemn them for walking in contrarie waies unto them, and therefore for relief of their consciences that they may not condemn them for Page 100 walking in waies contrary to them they do what they can to spew upon their glory, and are glad if they can hear a∣ny ill report of them; and will follow them to their ut∣termost, and all because their corrupt hearts are against the holiness of their lives and Conversations.
And then lastly, Let those that profess Religion labor to walk so as their examples may be convincing others: Is there such a power in holy examples to prevail with men? you that profess Religion, make this an argument to work upon your hearts, that your Conversation may be more in Hea∣ven, that so your example may do the more good in the place where you live: you that profess Religion and yet have earthly spirits, and live scandalouslie, and vilie, Oh know! you live to do as much mischief almost as a man can do in this world, no greater mischief than for one to profess Religion, and yet for his Conversation to be wic∣ked and ungodly, and so to give the Lye to his profession. But for that we spake to heretofore, when we treated upon that Scripture, Only let your Conversation be as becomes the Gospel.
CHAP. IV. Two Doctrines observed from the Text.
THus we proceed to the principal Doctrinal Truths, For our Conversation is in Heaven. Our Citie Conversation, our Citizen-like behavior, or Citie Burges estate, for so the word signifies, our carriage like free denizens it is in Heaven: now from thence you have, First,
That the Saints are the Citizens of Heaven.
Secondly, That their behavior and Conversation even while they are in this world it is in Heaven.
For the first (but briefly to make way to the second) The Saints of God, they are the Citizens of Heaven, they are all free Denizens, Burgesses of Heaven. In the 2. Ephes. 19. there you Page 101 may see how God hath gathered all the Saints together to be fellow-Citizens of Heaven: Now therefore ye are no more strangers and forreigners, but fellow Citizens with the Saints and of the houshold of God. They have an Heavenly Citie here in the Church: the Church it is a Heaven to the Saints, and as a type of that Heaven that they shal come into to live for ever both with the Saints and Angels hereafter. And in the 11. Heb. 10. it's spoken of Abraham, He sojourned in the Land of Promise, as in a strange Country, dwelling in Taberna∣cles with Isaac and Jacob the heirs with him of the same Pro∣mise, for he looked for a City which hath foundations, whose buil∣der and maker is God. It seems then that all the Cities in the world in comparison of this Citie have no foundations; Abraham looked for a Citie that hath foundations, and whose builder and maker is God: The builders and makers of these Cities are men, the founders of the most famous Cities in this world have been men, and manie times wic∣ked and ungodlie men are the builders of them: The first Citie that we reade of was built by Cain. The builders and makers I say of these Cities are men, laboring men: But Abraham look'd for a Citie that had foundations, whose builder and maker is God. And in the 12. Heb. 22. But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the City of the living God, the Heavenly Jerusalem: mark, and to an innumerable company of Angels; so that you are to have them your fel∣low Citizens, The Heavenly Jerusalem, that is here in the Church: which is in comparison of Jerusalem that was in Canaan called the Heavenly Jerusalem, so that they are Citizens of Heaven even as they are Members of the Church: the Saints of God here in the Church are said to dwell in Heaven, but in that their Citie there are an innu∣merable company of Angels also, that plainly notes that it hath reference unto the glorious Heaven of the Saints that they are the Citizens of; the Saints are the Citizens of Heaven, there they dwell: in the 13. of the Revelation, 6 and 8. verses, (this would serve for proof of this thing and so for the other point that remains, That their Page 102 Conversation it is in Heaven) And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his Name and his Taberna∣cle, and them that dwell in Heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the Saints, and to overcome them. Now these were not in Heaven, that is, in their bodies they were not in Heaven for the present; But they are said to dwell in Heaven because they are of the Church here, and they are free Denizens of Heaven too, of the Heaven of the Saints that they shall live in hereafter in a more glorious way; They are Now Citizens of it; and they may be said to dwell in Heaven, as we shall see afterward in the opening of their Conversations being in Heaven.
CHAP. V. How the Saints are Citizens of Heaven, opened in Nine Parti∣culars.
NOW the Saints are Citizens of Heaven, For, First, Their names are all inrold in Heaven, They are written in Heaven, in the 10. Luke 20. Re∣joyce in this, That your names are written in Heaven. In Heaven is the Books of life where all the Names of the Saints are written. Philip. 4. 3. Whose names (saith he) are written in the Books of life.
Secondly, The Saints are the Citizens of Heaven, for they have Christ their Head gone before to take possession of Heaven in their names, therefore they have a right to Heaven. As a man may be a Citizen, although he should travel in ano∣ther Country, yet his name being inrol'd there, and he having possession there, he may be said to be a Citizen though he be in a strange land for the present in his body: So the Saints have their names inrold in Heaven, they have Jesus Christ their head that is gone before in their names to take possession for them, and to provide Mantions for them; as in the 14. John.
Page 103 Thirdly, When ever they do actually beleeve, they do take up their freedom; Their names were there Inrold from all eter∣nity: and so Christ at his ascention went and took possessi∣on: but when they beleeve actually, they do as it were take up their freedom in that Citie. There's many men that are born free, yet there's a time when they take it up: and so others that have serv'd for their freedom, yet it may be a long time before they be made free: and so the Saints when they do actually beleeve they come to take up their freedom in the Citie of Heaven, and are made Free Burgesses of Heaven.
And hence (in the fourth place) They come no more to be as slaves; they are not bondslaves as before, they are delive∣red from bondage being made free of Heaven. As if so be that forreigners, or such as are slaves should come to be In∣franchized, then they have the same freedom as others have, and are admitted to the like City-priviledges, and they are no more to be accounted as slaves: so those that are by nature bondslaves to sin and Satan, yea, and such as are under the bondage of the Law, yet when they come to be∣leeve, they are infranchized in Heaven, and are delivered from the bondage of the Law, Sin, and Satan, they are said to be free-men of the Citie of Heaven.
Fiftly, All the Saints have right to all the common stock, Trea∣sury, and riches of Heaven; whatsoever priviledges belong to the Charter of Heaven, the Saints have right and title to them all. As in great Cities there is a Common stock and Treasury that is for publick occasions, and every Citizen hath some interest in it; so the Saints (I say) have interest in all the Common-stock and Treasury and all the riches that there are in Heaven.
Sixtly, The Saints are the Citizens of Heaven, they have for the present the same confirmation of their happy estate that the An∣gels and those blessed souls have that are rasident in Heaven: (I say) they have this priviledg now by being Citizens of Heaven, that though their bodies be not in the highest Heavens, yet they have their happiness confirmed as sure Page 104 as the Angels in Heaven have, and as any blessed souls in Abraham: bosom, look how they are confirmed in a happie estate so as they cannot be made miserable, so is every Be∣leever, though he lives in this world, he hath this privi∣ledg in being a Citizen of Heaven, that he is confirmed in a happie estate, that all the powers in hell and in the world can never make this soul to be miserable, and this is a migh∣ty priviledg of being a Citizen of Heaven, he is more pri∣viledged than Adam in Paradice, for Adam he was not confirmed and stablished when he was made in the state of innocencie, but every Beleever is confirmed and stablished as the Angels in Heaven are.
Seventhly, They have this priviledg, By being Citizens, they have priviledg of free-trade to Heaven. You know, that Free-men in the Citie have priviledg of Trade more than Forreigners have; Forreigners are fain to pay Custome and double taxes more than the Free-Citizens. So the Saints, they have the priviledg of Free-trade in Heaven, for any thing that doth concern them; they have a Free∣intercourse with Heaven which others have not.
Eightly, They have now for the present Communion with the Angels of Heaven: there is Cōmunion & Commerce between the Saints here and the Angels upon this ground, because they are fellow Citizens; and in that place of the Hebrews before quoted, We are come to the Heavenly Jerusalem, and to the innumerable company of Angels: There is a great deal of intercourse between the Saints and Angels here upon earth, the Angels look upon them as their fellow Citizens, and are ministring spirits for the good of the Elect, and they do very great services for the Church-men here in this world upon this ground, because they look upon them as their fellow Citizens.
Ninthly, They have the protection of Heaven, being the Citi∣zens of Heaven: I say, they have Heavens protection. As one that is a Citizen, he hath the protection of the Law of the Citie, & of the power of the Citie to defend him; hence we reade of Paul, that because he was a Roman it was dan∣gerous Page 105 to meddle with him, as in the 22. of Acts 25. verse, as they bound him with thongs, Paul said unto the Cen∣turion that stood by, Is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman, and uncondemned? As if he should say, Take heed what you do, I am free of the Citie of Rome: And mark, (saith the Scripture) when the Centurion heard that, he went and told the chief Captain, saying, Take heed what thou doest, for this man is a Roman, he hath the protection of the City. Thus the Saints are Citizens of Heaven, They are not Romans, but of the Heavenly Jeru∣salem, and when any are about to wrong one of them, they had need take heed what they do for he is a Citizen of Hea∣ven, the King of Heaven is his King to protect him; and he sits and laughs at the enemies of the Church: And the ve∣ry Angels themselves they are their guard, to guard all these Citizens, and to protect them, and this is the com∣fortable estate of all the people of God, that they are the Citizens of Heaven. Our City Converse. All this I note out of the signification of the word in the original, and with∣out the understanding of the propriety of the language, and the word, we should not have the understanding of this truth.
Wheresore my brethren it being thus, it should teach all the people of God to walk as becomes Citizens, not to be rude in their behavior; 'tis a dishonor to Citizens to be rude in their behavior, it's enough for Country people that never had any education to be rude; but certainly the Saints of God, they have the education of Heaven (this may be added for a tenth Particular) They have the holy Ghost to be their Instructer, to bring them up in holy and good manners that is sutable to Heaven, this the Saints have; and manifest it in your Conversations, be not rude in your way, prize your priviledg of being a Citizen of Heaven; it's that that cost Jesus Christ dear to purchase this infranchizement and liberty for you: we reade in the 22. of the Acts of the Captain when he heard that Paul was a Roman, in the 27. verse: their chief Captain came and said Page 106 to him, Tell me, art thou a Roman? He said, Yea. And the chief Captain answered, with a great sum obtained I this Free∣dom. And Paul answered, I was free-born. They were wont to give great sums to purchase freedoms of the City. Oh! this City that here we are speaking of, hath such priviled∣ges as is beyond any in the world: And no man or wo∣man can come to be free of this City but it is by a great purchase: No man can say as Paul did here, that he was born free; no, but if he came to be free of Heaven it was with a great purchase, it was with the purchase of the blood of Jesus Christ that was more worth than all the world. And if the Son makes you free, then you shall be free indeed, and therefore prize this as a great mercie; while you live here in this world, account it as a great mercie that you are a Citizen of Heaven, account your happiness to consist there, it is more than to have House and Lands here; for a man to have a freedom of some Citie, it is more than to have House and Land in the Wilderness: What though the Lord doth order things so as while thou livest in the wilderness of this world thou hast no habitation of thine own, yet certainly the Lord hath made thee free of Heaven, it was purchased for thee by the blood of Jesus Christ: Now by that price that it cost thou mayest con∣clude that there is some great matter in it, that thou art a free Denizen of Heaven.
CHAP. VI. How the Saints have their Conversation in Heaven, Opened in Nine Particulars.
BUt now, our Conversation should be answerable; and now we come more fully up to the scope of the Apo∣stle; But our Conversation is in Heaven.
The Conversations of the Saints that are free Citizens of Page 701 Heaven ought to be answerable; though their Co-habitati∣ons be in this world, yet their Conversation it should be in Heaven; in the 7. of Dan. 10. 18. there you reade of the excellent estate of the Saints, But the Saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever: That that is translated here, The Saints of the most High, it is not only meant of the Most High God, but the Saints of the high Places, so 'tis translated by some, for the Saints are the Saints of high places in regard of their interest in Hea∣ven, and in regard of their Conversations sutable to the place, in the 2. Ephe. 6. And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in Heavenly places in Christ Jesus. The Saints are set in Heavenly places, Heavenly dignitie, Hea∣venly privileges, Heavenly prerogatives, yea, and they themselves may be said to be in Heavenly places though their bodies be upon the earth, their souls are in Heavenly places, their Conversation is in Heaven, They are the Saints of the High God, and they are set in high places.
You will say, What is this Conversation that is in Heaven that is here spoken of. I shall open it in these particulars.
The first is, The aim and scope of their hearts, it is Hea∣ven-ward that the Saints look at, as their aim and scope is Heaven, they look upon themselves in this world as pil∣grims and strangers, Heaven's their home, and their eye is there, their end, their scope, whatsoever they do it is for Heaven some way or other to fit them for Heaven, and to lay in for Heaven against they shall come and live there, their Conversation therefore is in Heaven: All that they do, eating, drinking, going about their business, yet I say their aim it is Heaven. I remember it's reported of Anaragorus a Philosopher, that being asked wherefore he liv'd, he said, he was born to contemplate the Heavens, he made it the end of his life for which he was born to con∣template Heaven; Being a Phylosopher and having under∣standing in the motions of the Heavens, he took such de∣light in it, that he accounted it the end for which he was born. So the Saints look at Heaven as their Center that Page 108 they aim at, that's their scope: we (saith the Apostle) do not look at things that are seen, but at things that are not seen, nothing in the Earth is our scope, but Heaven is our scope, and so their Conversations may be said to be in Heaven in that respect.
Secondly, Their Conversations are in Heaven, for they are acted by Heavenly principles in all their waies.
Heavenly principles you will say, What are they?
This is a Heavenly Principle, That God is all in all: that's a Principle that the Saints are guided by, in Heaven they look upon God to be all in all unto them, so do the Saints here, in what they do, in what they are, in what they enjoy, they act upon this Principle, that it's God that is all in all, whatsoever I see in the creature, yet it's God that is all in all to me, I act by vertue of this Princi∣ple.
That God the infinite First-being, is infinitely worthy of all love for himself, that's a Heavenly Principle: the Saints that are in Heaven, they look upon the infinite ex∣cellencie and glorie of God, they look upon him as the First-Being of all things, having all excellencie, and glo∣rie enough to satisfie all creatures for ever, and look upon him as infinitly worthy of all love and service for himself; know this is a heavenly Principle: So the Saints their conversation is in Heaven, they are acted by heavenly prin∣ciples; I look upon such and such things in the world whereby I may go in credit, encrease, or comfort, this is an earthly principle: But when my heart is so upon God, that it looks upon him as infinitly excellent and worthy of all love, service, fear, honor, and worship for himself alone, whatsoever becomes of the creature God is worthy of all for that infinite excellencie in himself; this is a heavenly principle: and for one to be acted in his life by such a prin∣ciple as this is, this is to be acted by heavenly principles, not by such low, and base principles as the men of the world are, but by heavenly principles.
Thirdly, Their Conversations are in Heaven. For here Page 109 though they live in the world, they have communion with the God of Heaven that is above in the whol course of their lives. In the 1. Epistle by John 1. chap. you have divers excellent expressions about our communion with God. In the 3. verse, That which we have seen and heard declare we un∣to you, That ye also may have fellowship with us, and truly, our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And then in another Scripture we reade of the Communi∣on of the holy Ghost, Thereis Communion with the Fa∣ther, Son, and holy Ghost. Now what makes Heaven but God? we say, where the King is there's the Court, where God is there's Heaven, let God be where he will. There is some controversie among some, where the Saints shall be after the Resurrection; some think it shall be still here, and yet with all the glory that the Scripture speaks of. Now it's no great matter where it be, so it be where God is, those that have Communion with God, they are in Heaven, their Conversation is in Heaven: now it's that that is the life of the Saints, their Communion with God; thy life it is to have communion with the Creature, that is for thee to close with the contents of the Creature, and the facul∣ty that is in man to tast any thing, or to have any delight in any thing in this world, when there is a sutable object to the facultie, that's his Communion with the Creature; As now a Drunkard, there is a kind of Communion that he hath meerly with lude company, and with the creature to please his sence for a while, there's all the communion that he hath: But what a different Conversation is this, for one meerly to please his sence in meat and drink a lit∣tle while, and another to have communion with Father, Son, and holy Ghost? The Saints here in this world have not an Imaginary but a Real Communion with the Father Son and holy Ghost.
Communion, you will say, what's that?
By Communion with God we mean this, The acting of the soul upon God, and the receiving in the influence of the goodness and love and mercy of God into the soul: Page 110 When there is a mutual acting of the soul upon God and God upon the soul again; as when friends have Commu∣nion one with another, that is, that one acts for the Com∣fort of the other, there is a mutual imbracing and opening of hearts one upon another for the satisfying of the Spirits one of another: So communion with God is the mutual actings of the soul upon God, and God upon the soul a∣gain: The Saints they see the face of God, and God de∣lights in the face of the Saints: And they let out their hearts to God, and God lets out his heart to them. We cannot expresse this to strangers, a stranger shall not meddle with this joy, this is a mystery, a riddle to the car∣nal world. Do but you consider this, that what Commu∣nion you have with your lude company, to sit, and eat, and drink, and play, and tell stories all day long, this you think is a brave life; but now, that the communion of the Saints is raised higher, and the comfort of the Saints is not in such poor, low, base things as thine is, the Saints have comfort in God the Father, Son, and holy Ghost, in an infinite higher way, and in that respect their Conver∣sations are said to be in Heaven: And especially when they are with God in his Ordinances they cannot be content except they have Communion with God there, it's note∣nough for them to call upon the Name of God, to kneel down and to use some humble broken hearted expressions; Oh but, what communion have I with God and Jesus Christ and the holy Ghost in my duties at this time! I come to the Word and other Ordinances, Oh! but what communion have I with God in them? I cannot be satisfied except I tast and see how good the Lord is; I cannot go a∣broad about my businesse but with a heavy heart except I hear some thing from Heaven this morning; all the com∣fort of their lives do depend upon this, in having commu∣nion with Father Son and holy Ghost.
Fourthly, Their Conversation may be said to be in Hea∣ven, Because they do live according to the Laws of Heaven: They do not here in this world live according to the Laws Page 111 of men, & the lusts of men, but they look for their directi∣on from Heaven, What rule is there from Heaven to guide me? There must be some word from the God of Heaven to order and guide them in their waies, or else they cannot tell how to sute with them; Indeed while they live in the Cities of the world they must obey the Laws of men, but still it is in order to the Laws of Heaven, the main thing that they submit to, is the Statute Laws of Jesus Christ the great Law giver; because there is a Law of Heaven that doth require them for to obey the Laws of men that are ac∣cording to those Laws of Heaven, therefore they do obey them; but the Laws of Heaven are those that the Saints look after for their direction in all their waies, such and such a thing I have a mind to, but will the Law of Hea∣ven justifie me in this? have I any word from Jesus Christ to guide me in such a way? I dare not do otherwise than according to the Will and Scepter of Christ, they must be my rule in all my waies: whereas before thy lust was thy rule, and thy own ends thy rule; and the common course of the world thy rule; but now the Laws of Heaven are thy rule; and therfore their Conversations are in Heaven be∣cause they are guided by the Laws of Heaven: Heaven is their aim, They are acted by heavenly Principles, They converse with the God of heaven, And then fourthly, They live according to the Laws of heaven.
Fiftly, Their thoughts and hearts are set upon heaven, as he saith, The soul is where it loves rather than where it lives; where the heart is there's the soul, there the man may be said to be. Now the Saints have their hearts in heaven, their thoughts in heaven, their meditations in heaven, working there, When I awake I am alwaies with thee (saith David.) And Oh how sweet are the thoughts of heaven unto the Saints! While thou art mudling in the world, and plodding for thy self in the things of this world, If God should come to thee and say, Where art thou? as he said to Adam; yea sometimes while thou art at prayer and hearing the Word, Where are thy thoughts, and about Page 112 what? even as we say in the proverb, are running about a Wool-gathering.
But now come to one whose Conversation is in Heaven, he keeps his thoughts and meditations there continually, meditating on the glorious things that are reserved in Hea∣ven. As I remember I have read of that holy man, Mr. Ward that being in the midst of a dinner, and people won∣dering what he was a musing about, he presently breaks out, For ever, for ever, for ever, for almost half a quarter of an hour he could not be still'd, but he cries, for ever, for ever, for ever. So far as any man or woman hath their Conversation in Heaven their thoughts are there, thinking Oh eternity, eternitie, to be for ever in Heaven, to live for e∣ver with Christ and God, and Oh the Crown of glory that is there! when will that blessed day come when I shall come to enjoy those good things that are there? his thoughts will be there, and he is longing to be there, his love and de∣sires and affections will be working there. It's said of the people of Israel, Acts, 7. 39. That their hearts turned back again to Egypt; they never returned in their bodies to Egypt, but their hearts were there, they would fain have the Onions and Flesh-pots that were in Egypt, their hearts were there. So it may be said of many, that though they come and hear the Word, yet their hearts are in their shops, their hearts are after their covetousness; but it's contrary with the Saints, Though they live here in this world, yet their hearts are in Heaven: As I remember it's written of Queen Mary, that she said, If they rip'd her open they should find Callis in her heart; And so it may be said of Saints, whose Conversations are in Heaven; I speak not of all Professors of Religion, for it's said of bodies, (when Paul speaks of the resurrection) there are bodies Celestial, and bodies Terrestial, so I may say, There are Professors Celestial, and Professors Terrestial, but as for such whose Conversations are in Heaven, who walk with God, and live here the lives of Heaven upon Earth, If they were rip'd up, you should find Heaven in their hearts; un-rip many Page 113 mens hearts, and there's nothing but the earth, unclean∣ness, and baseness; suppose God should come this mo∣ment, and rip up all your hearts, and disclose them to all the men of the world, what a deal of filthy stuff would be found in many of your hearts? but for such whose Con∣versations are in Heaven, they would be ready to have God unrip their hearts when he pleaseth, Lord, try, Lord, search me, Lord, examine and see what is in my heart; I'le but put this now to you as in the Name of God, and let con∣science answer, What do you think would be found in your hearts if they should be unrip'd now? and if your consciences tell you, Oh Lord! if my heart should be rip'd up now, there would be a filthy deal of ugly and abomina∣ble stuff there, surely I have not had my Conversation in Heaven, my heart hath been sinking even down to low, and base things: but now, for those whom this text concerns, it will be an exceeding comfort to them; and I hope that there are divers of you that may be able to say, if the Lord should at this present rip our hearts and shew them to all the world, I hope the world should see that Heaven is stam∣ped upon our hearts. We account it sad weather when we cannot see the Heavens for many daies, when we cannot see Heaven many times for a week together; and we ac∣count it an ill dwelling where men dwell in narrow lanes in the City, so that they can scarce see the Heavens except they go abroad in the fields. My brethren, surely it's a sad time with a gracious heart when any one day passes without converse with Heaven, without the sight of Hea∣ven, and meditations of Heaven, and having their hearts there. Thus it should be with Christians whose Conver∣sations are in Heaven, they should never love such dwellings wherein they cannot see the beams of the Sun; It's a most comfortable thing for to see the light, a man that dwels in some dark house, it's very comfortable for him to walk out into the open air, and to behold the Heavens; Oh my brethren! our souls dwell in dark houses every one of us; for our bodies are to our souls like a dark and low celler, Page 114 but the Lord gives us liberty to go abroad, to be conversing with the things of Heaven that he hath revealed in his Word and in his Ordinances: And as many Citizens that live in dark rooms & keep a long time close to their work, yet at such times as they cal days of Recreation, they walk abroad in the Fields and take the fresh air, and oh how de∣lightsom is it to them! The same should be to a gracious heart that hath a great many businesses (indeed) in the world, I but on the Lords day, Oh that he may now en∣joy God in his Ordinances more than before; his thoughts are upon those waies wherein he may come to have more of Heaven, Oh! that I may come to converse more with God than at other times! And upon that the Sabbaths are the joy of his soul, his delight, he longs after the Sab∣bath, he thirsts after Ordinances, for indeed his heart is in them, for he finds there is more of Heaven in them than in other things; and in that regard the Saints having their thoughts and hearts in Heaven, thus he proves to have his Conversation to be in Heaven. Moses never came to Canaan, and yet God gave Moses a sight of it, carried him up to mount Nebo. Heavenly meditations are as it were mount Nebo, whereby when the heart is raised a little upon the mount, it's able to see Heaven, & behold the glorious things there. The Scripture speaks of Lucifer, that he had his nest among the stars: A Saint hath as it were his nest, his dwel∣ling among the stars, yea, above the stars in the highest Hea∣vens. As 'tis with wicked men, that when they seem to draw nigh to God, yet their hearts are far from him; then they are in their shops, they are among their ships when they seem to be worshipping of God: So when the Saints seem in regard of their bodies to be far from God, yet their hearts are in Heaven in the mean time.
Sixtly, For the opening of a Heavenly Conversation, it consists in this, When in the course of mens lives they do converse and delight in the same things that are done in Heaven, they make their happiness the same happiness that is in Heaven, and make their exercise to be the same exercise that is in Heaven: As for in∣stance, Page 115 What is there in Heaven? There is the fight of the face of God; Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. And the Angels, Alwaies behold the face of God. So the Saints may be said to have their Conversations in Heaven because their exercise here while they live, it is in the behol∣ding the face of God, in standing before God seeing his face; the greatest delight and contentment of their souls, it is, that they can see somewhat of God,
What's to be done further? The Work of Heaven, it is in the Praisings and Blessings of God. What do the Saints and Angels of Heaven, but continually blesse, and magni∣fie, and praise the Name of that God whom they see to be so infinitly worthy of all praise, and honor from his crea∣tures? Then is a mans Conversation in Heaven when as he doth the same things, when he joyns with Angels & Saints in doing of the same work, of magnifying and blessing and praising God.
What's done in Heaven, but the keeping of a perpetual Sab∣bath? Then are our conversations in Heaven, when we de∣light in Gods Sabbath, yea and indeed to keep a constant Sabbath unto God, though busied about earthly things, yet still we keep a Sabbath to God, in resting from sin, and being spiritually imployed. And that's a Sixth thing.
Seventhly, Then our Conversation is in Heaven, When in Earthly imployments, yet we are Heavenly: when we use earthly things after a heavenly manner; it is not the place that God looks at so much, where his Saints are, But what they do: Though while we live in the earth we use earth∣ly things, yet when we can use them in an heavenly man∣ner, then our Conversation may be in heaven though we upon earth.
As thus first, When in the use of earthly things, we do quickly passe through earthly things to God, we make use of them, but we do not stick in them; we make them the means to passe through to God, and get quickly through: a carnal heart sticks in the things of the earth, mingles with the earth; but a spiritual, and heavenly heart makes Page 116 earthly things but as Conduit• for conveyance of him to heaven, we here carry about with us the flesh, and because we have so much earth, we have need of these earthly things, I but they are means of conveyance to Spiritual and Heavenly things.
And then, When we use Earthly things as Heavenly, that is, we take a rise of earthly things to meditate of Hea∣ven; upon the enjoyment of any thing in this earth we raise up our thoughts to the things of Heaven; when we see the light, to remember then the glorious light of Heaven, and of the inheritance of the Saints which are in light; when we cast any sweetnesse in the creature, If these things be so sweet, Oh what is heaven and God then that is the Fountain of all good things! Thus to make all earthly things to be but as heavenly rises to us, That's a heavenly Conversation, that in the use of earthly things doth quickly passe through to God, and that makes spiri∣tual and heavenly rises of earthly things.
Eightly, Then is our Conversation Heavenly when the Saints in their Converse together are Heavenly: when the Saints in their converse do look upon themselves as the Citizens of Heaven, and converse as it beseems those of such a Coun∣try. When as Country men are abroad in forreign parts and they meet together, and there be conferring about the state of their country in their own language, and aboue their friends, and what things there are there among them, they will say one to another, (as English men) me thinks we are in England now; our converse is as if: we were in England. So when the Saints in their meetings, they do not meet to jangle, and wrangle, but they meet to con∣verse of Heaven, and to confer about their Country, and every one telling news of Heaven, there's none of the Saints that walk close with God, but when they meet together may tell one another some tidings of Salvation from above. When Country men meet together in any place common∣ly the first question is, What news is there from our Coun∣trey, from England; So the Saints when they meet toge∣ther Page 217 if they be of Heavenly Conversations, They will be talking somwhat of Heaven before they go: what news of our Countrie? what news from Heaven? though they may have leave to refresh themselves being poor earthlie creatures here, with somthing of the earth, yet they will have some talk of Heaven before they part one with ano∣ther: This is a Heavenlie Conversation when the Commu∣nion of the Saints of Heaven is in Heavenlie things.
The ninth and last thing wherein the Conversation of the Saints in Heaven is, is this, That their great trade while they are upon the earth it is for Heaven: Though they be not in their bodies there, yet their trading is there, and that's the special thing that seems to be noted in the verie word in the text; now their chief trade it is in Heaven, the Saints * that have Heavenlie Conversations they do not trade for trifles as other men do, but they trade for great things, for high things, in the 3. of Collos. saith the Apostle there, If ye be risen with Christ, seek those things that are above where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God: set your affections on things above and not on things on the earth. They seek the things of God, even those things where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God, set your affections on things a∣bove and not on things on the earth; they seek after these things, they merchandize for those goodlie Pearls.
CHAP. VII. The Saints Trading for Heaven, opened in Seven Particu∣lars.
NOW in the Saints Trading for Heaven there are these several things considerable.
First, As in trading you know it is requisite in those that are trades-men to any Countrie, that they should have skill in the Commoditie that they trade Page 218 for; so the Saints they have skill in Heavenly things; there's many poor Christians who have little skill in the matters of the world, speak to them about them they un∣derstand but little, but speak to them about Heaven, and you may quickly perceive that they have skill in heavenly Commodities, they have a skill from God, they are Wise Merchants.
Secondly, A Trades-man, he must have a stock to trade withal: Now the Saints they have a stock to trade withal for heaven, they have grace in their hearts, grace in the heart is a stock for a trade. If you leave your Children no lands, yet if you leave them a good trade and a stock, you think you leave them a plentiful portion. Now the Saints though they have but little in the world, yet they have skill in the Commodities of heaven, they have a good trade and a good stock too, they have a stock of grace that shall never be lost, how ever they perhaps may not have those In comes that they do desire somtimes, yet they shall never lose their stock, their portion, and it should be their care to improve their stock for heaven, and indeed then they have their Conversation in heaven, when they improve and lay out all their stock that way about heavenly Commo∣dities.
And then a third thing in trading is, To take advan∣tage of the Market for Commodities: Great bargains may be had sometimes that cannot be had at another; so the trade of a Christian for Heaven it is in the observing his advantages that he hath for heavenly things, and those that have their Conversations in heaven they are very wise and understanding this way; they are able to know their times and seasons; other men that have not skill in the matters of heaven they do not know their times and sea∣sons, and therefore they neglecting their markets, it may be upon their sick and death bed then they begin to think of heaven, and then, Oh that they might but know that their souls might go to Heaven when they go from their bodies! I but thou art unskilful in heavenly Commodi∣ties, Page 219 thou didest not know thy time, thou shouldest have had thy Conversation in Heaven in the time of thy life, and so have observed what advantages God gave thee for tra∣ding for heaven; Oh that we were but all wise this way, to make it appear that our Conversations are in Heaven in this respect, namely, That we are wise to observe our ad∣vantages, Oh! the advantages that God hath given us all at one time or at another for Heaven, there's not any one of you but God hath given you much advantage for Heaven had you but taken it, If you will reflect upon your own hearts, the course of your lives in former times, your consciences may tell you, Oh sometimes what fair advan∣tages had I for Heaven! How did the Spirit of God be∣gin to stir in me? What truths were there darted into mee at such a season! What motions flowing in had I at such a time? Oh how happy had I been if I had taken such an advantage for Heaven, I had even been in Heaven already: Now those who do converse with Hea∣ven, they watch at those advantages, they come not to hear the Word but they watch for the time to have God stirring in their hearts, and they follow that advantage, they watch for the time of the softening of their spirits, and the enlivening of their souls, and they follow hard those advantages, and so trade for Heaven, and grow rich in Heavenly Commodities.
Fourthly, Where there is a trade from one Country to another, there's much intercourse. A man that trades to such a Town or Country, ther's much intercourse between that man and those that live there: so a Christians tra∣ding for Heaven is in this, there is very much intercourse between Heaven and his soul, every day he sends up to Heaven, and every day he hath something from Heaven sent down to his soul! Oh do but examine what inter∣course there hath been between Heaven and you: how is it with many of you? even as if there were no Heaven at all? Men that are no trades-men to the Indies, 'tis as if there were no such place at all to them. So it is with many Page 220 that lives even in the bosom of the Church, there is very lit∣tle intercourse between Heaven and them; but a trader for Heaven hath much intercourse with heaven.
Fifthly, A man that trades to any place, if he trade for great matters he hath the chief of his stock where he trades; though he be not present in his body, yet the chief of his estate is there: If a man be a Spanish or a Turkish Merchant and trade thither, the chief of his estate lies there, in Spain or Turkey more than here. So it is with one that trades for Heaven, the chief part of his estate lies there, he accounts his riches to lie in Heaven; indeed he hath somwhat to live upon here in this world for a while, but there's his riches, he looks at Heaven as the place where his greatest treasure lies.
Sixthly, A man that trades, is willing to part with some∣thing where he is, that he may receive advantage in the place where he trades: So it is with the Saints that trade for Heaven, they are willing to part with much that they might receive afterwards in Heaven: they are willing (I say) to part with any thing here in this world, to the end that they may receive it when they come home. A man that is abroad, and is going to his own Country, and there he is trading for Commodities, he is very willing to part with all his money where he is for receiving Commodities in his trade; or those that give their moneyes here that so they may receive commodities in another place where they are trading: A carnal heart that doth not know the cer∣tainty nor excellency of the Commodities of Heaven, they are willing to part with nothing, but will keep all, they think with themselves, what we have here we are sure of, but that that they talk of Heaven we do not know what it is, it may prove to be but an imagination, therefore we wil keep what we have and be sure of that: Oh! thou art no trader for heaven, if thou wert thou wouldst be willing to part with any thing here, that so thou mightst receive com∣modities there, thou wouldest be content to live poorly, and meanly in this world so be it that thou mightest have Page 221 thy riches when thou comest into thy mansion of glo∣ry.
Seventhly, Trades-men that trade for great matters, they must trust much, they cannot expect to have present pay in great sums. It's true, men that trade for little matters, that trade by retale, they usually take in their pence and two pence as their commodities goes forth; but it's not so with Merchants that trade for great things in whol-sale: So 'tis in traders for Heaven, they trust much; and indeed, the grace of Faith it is the great grace that helps in the tra∣ding for Heaven, they have a little earnest for the present. You that are traders, and go to the Exchange and sell bar∣gains for many thousands, you have not perhaps above twelve pence or a crown for the present, it may be only a promise, but you expect the great sums afterwards. So those that are traders for Heaven, they have some earnest, they be contented with a little for the present, the first-fruits of the Spirit, or a bare promise from Christ, this is that that binds the whole bargain, and they expect to have the full pay hereafter when they come to Heaven. It is a happy thing when God gives men and women hearts to be willing to trust God for eternity, and if they have but a little comfort and grace now, yet to look at that as an ear∣nest peny of all the glory that Jesus Christ hath purchased by his blood, and that God hath promised in his Word, thou art not fit to be a trades-man for Heaven that canst not trust, that canst not be content that great bargains should be bound with a little earnest. But that's the soul that trades in Heaven, that can be content to wait for the fulfilling of promises, & to take what they have from God for the present though it be but a very little, as an earnest to bind all those glorious things that God hath promised in his Word. Here you see a trader for Heaven in these Se∣ven things. Now put all these things that you have heard together with these; and you may see what it is to have our Conversations in Heaven.
CHAP. VIII. Seven Evidences of mens having their Conversation in Hea∣ven.
NOW then, there are some Evidences of Christians having their Conversation in Heaven. As we shewed you som Evidences of an Earthly Conver∣sation, so likewise of a Heavenly Conversation: that is, some demonstrations plainly to shew, That the Con∣versations of Christians are in Heaven.
In the first place, It's plain certainly, there are Christi∣ans that have their Conversations in Heaven; First, be∣cause there are Christians that can vilifie all the things of this earth: surely except they had their Conversations higher than the earth they could not so vilifie the things of the earth. It's an evidence of the height of Heaven, that a man is lifted up very high, that shall look vpon the very Globe of the earth as a very punctum, as a little thing: so an evidence that the hearts of the Saints are on high when they can look on the things of the earth as smal; it's true, we that are upon the earth look upon the stars as small, and the earth as great; but if we were in Heaven we would look upon the stars as great and the earth as small, as Paul did, accounted all things but as dung and drosse, dogs meat, for the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ: and Luther, that accounted the whol Turkish Empire but a Crumb that the great Master of the Family casts to his dog: surely here's an argument that the Saints have their Con∣versations in Heaven that can look upon the things of the earth as so mean, and so little, as indeed they are.
A second Evidence is this, That they can be content with so little in this world, and can live such comfortable lives in the enjoyment of so little; perhaps you cannot tell Page 223 how to have comfortable lives except you have so much co∣ming in by the yeer, and so much provision: but now, one that is heavenly, a godly man or woman, can tell how to live a joyful and happie life in the want of the things of this world; though they have but little, though but bread and water, though but mean habitations, mean cloathes, though but of mean esteem in the world, yet can go through the world with a joyful heart, blessing God all his daies, nothing but admiring, praising, and magnify∣ing God for his rich mercie; and blessing himself in God, and accounting his portion to be a goodly portion, and his lot to be fallen into a fair ground. I verily beleeve that there are very many poor, mean people in this world, yet their houses are more fill'd with blessings of God in one day, than many Rich, Great, Noble men have their houses in twenty or fourty yeers: now this argues that they have their Conversations in Heaven, that though they want comfort never so much in this world, yet they can live comfortable lives; surely it is somthing that doth rejoyce them, when they can so rejoyce in the want of these out∣ward things, when their joy depend•〈◊〉 upon the things of this world; men that have earthly hearts, if they lose but their outward comforts, they cry our, Oh we are un∣done! And you may see mightie alteractions in their very countenances, they have nothing to joy their hearts when they lose the things of the world: but it is no• so with the Saints, whatsoever crosses they meet withal here in this world, yet still they rejoyce in Christ, blessing God, the course of their lives is nothing elle but a continual magni∣fying, and praising God for his mercie and goodness to them; surely they have their Conversations in Heaven.
Thirdly, Not onlie can live joyfullie in the want of ma∣nie comforts, but they can suffer the loss of all, yea, suf∣fer hard things, suffer afflictions, suffer torments and tortures with joyful hearts, reade but that 11. of the Heb. at your leisure, 13, 14 verses, They confessed that they were strangers, and pilgrims on the earth, for they that see such Page 218〈1 page duplicate〉Page 219〈1 page duplicate〉Page 220〈1 page duplicate〉Page 221〈1 page duplicate〉Page 222〈1 page duplicate〉Page 223〈1 page duplicate〉Page 224 things, declare plainly that they seek a Country (this Scrip∣ture is to be annexed to the second evidence) Mark, They that seek such things declare plainly that they seek a Coun∣trie, surelie there is somthing else that they seek after when they set so light by the things of this world, For the Saints are not fools, but there is some reason for what they do, surely there is somthing in it, for they have the same na∣ture as you have, and they have need of comfort as well as you, and had they not some other comfort besides out∣ward comforts, they could not live so comfortably in the want of outward comforts, but they that are content with a little, as pilgrims and strangers: they declare plainly that they seek a Country; that is the second Evidence.
And then, For the suffering of tortures and pains for the sake of Christ. This is another Evidence: and so you have in the 10. Heb. 32. But call to remembrance the former daies in which after ye were illuminated ye endured a great fight of afflicti∣ons, partly, whilst ye were made a gazing stock, both by reproa∣ches and afflictions, and partly whilst ye became companions of them that were so used, and then in the 34. verse, And took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, Why? knowing in your selves that ye have in Heaven a better and enduring substance: This made them take joyfully the spoiling of their goods. What? when their goods were spoil'd, did they take that joyfully? what were they mad men to rejoyce at the plundering of their estates? No, it was no madness, It was because they knew in themselves that they had in Heaven a better and an enduring substance, and that made them be willing to wander about in sheeps skins, and goats skins, in leather cloathes, as in the latter end of the 11. of Heb. reade but from the 36. verse to the end: this argued their Conversa∣tions to be in Heaven. If you reade in the storie of the Mar∣tyrs, you shall find verie often when they came to the stake, still their thoughts were in Heaven, and their hearts there, and encouraging one another what they should have in Heaven, and of the glorie that they should have there, that being willing to suffer such hard things for Christ, and Page 225 that being able to undergo all with so much joy, is an evi∣dence, that there have been Christians in the world that have had their Conversations in Heaven.
A Fourth Evidence of Christians having their Conversa∣tions in Heaven is this, That their hearts are so fill'd with Hea∣venly riches. It is an Argument of a man that trades much unto such a place, when he hath his Warehouse stor'd with the Commodities of such a Countrie: As now, though no man should tell me which way his trading lies, that such a man were a Spanish or Turkish Merchant; yet if I come into his Warehouse, & find that constantlie his Warehouse is fill'd with those Commodities, I may conclude, that cer∣tainlie this man is a Spanish or Turkish Merchant: he hath the Commodities of the Countrie continuallie in his ware∣house. So, the Saints have much of the riches of Heaven in their hearts continuallie, they have much grace, much holinesse, much of the Image of God, much spiritual life there is there in a Christian, and you may see in his Con∣versation he doth manifest (I say) much of the Excellencie of Heaven, much of the Glorie of Heaven shines in his face; surelie his Conversation is in Heaven who hath so much of the riches of Heaven in his heart: The heart of the wicked (saith the holy Ghost) is little worth: Look into the heart of a wicked man, or woman what is there: thy heart that should be thy storehouse, what is it fill'd withal? it's fill'd with dirt, and drosse, and filth, and uncleanness, the hearts of wicked men are stored with those things: but now, look into the hearts of the Saints, they are fill'd with God, with Christ, with the holie Ghost, with Grace, that shews that they have traded much in Heaven; in a constant way you shal find their hearts fild with grace, and manifesting much in their lives, and therefore, surelie their Conversation is in Heaven.
A fifth Evidence is this, That they are willing to purchase the Priviledges of Heaven at so dear a rate; namely, The Ordinances that are part of the Priviledges of the Kingdom of Heaven. Now the Ordinances that are the means whereby they come to Page 226 enjoy so much of Heaven, they are willing to purchase them at a dear rate, Oh how ever I live, yet let me live where I may enjoy the Ordinances of God, the wels of Sal∣vation, my life cannot be comfortable in the enjoyment of all things in this world if I should be deprived of the breasts of consolation; surelie they that are willing to pur∣chase Heavenly Commodities at so dear a rate as the Saints will do, this doth evidentlie declare their Conversations to be in Heaven.
Sixtlie, When they are so sensible of the stoppages between hea∣ven and their own souls. If there should be a general stoppage of ships that are in France, Turkie, or Spain, your Countrie∣men are not sensible at all of it; but your Merchants I'le warrant you would be sensible enough of it, and when they come together upon the Exchange, al their converse would be of it. So it is with those that have their conversations in Heaven; and here's a great difference between those and those that are earthlie minded; tell those that are earthlie of anie stoppage in the Intercourse between them and Hea∣ven, and they know not what you mean, they think you are fools and mad: but the Saints they are sensible of it, oh it is a sore and sad evil to them, I mean, when at anie time God hides his face from them, when at anie time they go into the presence of God & can hear nothing from him, can receive no Letters from Heaven (as I may so say.) If the Post doth not come from such a Countrie, the Merchants are troubled at it. So when the Saints send up their prayers to Heaven by which they trade thither and can hear no∣thing from God again; and when they cannot feel those influences from Heaven let into their souls as heretofore sometimes they have done, Oh! they bewail this as a great evil that is upon them above any evil in the world, that influences of Heaven are stop'd, and that God seems to be a stranger unto them, Oh these things they complain of one to another, and they make their moans when they feel the stoppages of Heaven; this plainlie declares, that they are Traders for Heaven, and that their Conversations are there.
Page 227 The last Evidence of a Saints having his Conversation in Heaven is; His willingness to die, to depart this world: The going out of this world with so much comfort, joy, peace, and triumph as many of the Saints have done; as we might give you the expressions of many of the Saints when they were readie to die, rejoycing at the hope of Eternal life, at their going out of the world; surely had they not conver∣sed in Heaven while they lived here, their souls would not have been so willing to have departed out of their bodies. A man that hath nothing to do in another Country, it may be shall be there as a dead man, he goes but with little joy thither: But now, a man that hath had trading to another Country, and he hath great riches, and so thriven there, that whatsoever he seems to be here, yet there he is a great man: Oh! how comfortably doth that man go to the Country! how glad is he when he takes ship and sees a fair gale, and prosperous wind to carry him to that Country! And so it is with the Saints who have their Conversations in Heaven, because they have so much riches there, when they come to die they die with joy, and blesse God for that day as the most blessed day that they have seen; for they are going now to the Country that they have been trading to all their daies, and where their riches lies. These are the Evidences and Demonstrations that the Saints have their Conversations in Heaven.
CHAP. IX. Four Reasons why the Saints have their Conversations in Hea∣ven.
But now, If you demand the reason, why it is that the Saints have their Conversations in Heaven?
To that I answer briefly thus.
The first Reason.
Because their souls that are their better part, they are from Heaven. You know, that when God made Man, He breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. The Soul of man, it is as it were, the breath of God: God did not say of Mans Soul as of o∣ther creatures, Let it be made, let there be a soul in mans body. No, but when he had formed the body, he breathed the soul into him. It was to note, that the soul of man had a more Heavenly, and Divine original, than any of the other creatures that are here in this world; and because the ori∣ginal it is so Divine, and Heavenly, therefore it is, that when the soul is (as it were) its self, is set at liberty, it would be at its original: Indeed, though mans soul be of a Divine, and Heavenly Nature, yea through the fall of man, so it is, that the soul of man is even almost turned to be flesh, and so mingled with unclean drossie things as if it had no such Divine and Heavenly original? and therefore a natural man is called flesh, That that is born of the flesh, is flesh; as if he had no soul at all: for I say, the soul of man through his fall, the Nature of it seemed to be changed, it is at least depressed down to such vile things, as if it never had such a Divine and Heavenly original. But now, when God works grace in the soul, the soul of man begins to return to its self, and to know its self, and begins to return to its own nature that it had in its first creation: and as soon as ever the soul begins to know its self, it looks then presently at all these things that are here below as vile things in comparison, as contemptable; for indeed, all these things in this world are infinitly beneath the soul of a man: [Infinitly] that is, in comparison, we may even call it an infinite distance be∣tween mans soul and all these things that are here below in the world; the soul of man is neer unto God himself, and therefore when as the soul returne unto its self, it would be some where else than where it is, and would converse with those things that are sutable to its original. As it is with Page 229 a man that hath a noble birth, suppose a Prince is got in∣to another Country, and there being a child, is used like a slave, set to rake channels, and such mean imployment; now all the while that he is there and not know his original, he minds nothing but to get his victuals, and do his work that he is set about; but if once he come to know from whence he was, namely, born the Heir unto such a great Prince, or Emperour that lives in so much glory in such a Country; then he that liv'd like a slave, his thoughts, and mind, and longings are, to be in the Country where his birth was so high, Oh that he might be but there, he should be happy then; and it doth him good to hear any man speak of that Country. Truly, so it is with the souls of men, they are the birth (as I may so speak) of the high God, of the great King of Heaven and Earth, being breathed so into the no∣strils of man. Now through mans fall the soul comes to be a slave to the Devil, and is set about drudggery to provide for the flesh: but now, when God is pleased to convert the soul, the Lord comes then to declare to a man or woman, Oh man, woman! thou art born from on high, thy soul is (as it were) a sparkle of the Divinity (as I may so say) thy Father by creation, nay, not only by creation as he is the Creator of all Creatures, is God, but by a more special work of his, by a more special work (I say) than in the first creation of other things; thy soul is from God, and of a Divine Nature, and is therefore capable of Communion with Father, Son, and holy Ghost; Certainly, thou never hadst such a Divine and Excellent being given the meerly that thou shouldest delight in the flesh, and be servicable to thy body, in eating, and drinking here a while; Oh! consider of thy Country whence thou camest at first; here's one work of grace, to know the Excellency of our souls, and from whence they came: surely, if grace do this, it must needs turn the heart of one that is converted to God, to have his Conversation to be in Heaven. That's the first Reason.
The Second Reason.
But not only so, because the soul had a Heavenly ori∣ginal, and therefore will not be content with a portion here in this world, But secondly, When grace comes there, the soul hath a Divine Nature put into it beyond the excellency that it had in its first Creation: I say, there is a Divine Nature higher than is meer natural excellency; in the 2 Peter. 1. 3. Ac∣cording (saith he) as his Divine Power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, and whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, that by these you might be partakers of the Divine Nature. Certainly the A∣postle did not here mean, meerly what Adam had in inno∣cency, I never read that that's cal'd the Divine Nature; though it's true, there is a renewing of the Image of God in man when he is converted; I but there is somewhat more in the soul of man than repairing of this; the holy Ghost coming and dwelling in the soul in a higher way than it dwelt in the soul of Adam at the first; indeed before it was a creature, but such a creature as only had reference to God, as God was the Creator, and man was the creature; but now it hath reference to God as being made one with the Second Person in Trinity, and so one with the Father: and therefore of a higher Nature than man was in the state of innocency. And you know what is said of Adam in Paradice, He was of the earth earthly, he was of the earth in comparison of the second Adam, (take Adam in innocen∣cy in comparison of the second Adam, he was but of the earth earthly) and so his posterity though Adam had stood should have been but of the earth earthly, & their portion its like should have bin but in a happines in this world: we never read in Scripture of a Heavenly condition Adam had been in though he had stood; but the second Adam is from Heaven Heavenly. And the posterity of the second Adam that is, those that are by Regeneration made the children of the everlasting Father, that are made the posterity of Page 231 Jesus Christ by faith are from Heaven Heavenly; therefore their souls are indued with a Divine Nature, with such high principles of grace as it must needs carry up their souls to Heaven: If a lump of earth should be so changed as to have a spirit and a life put into it, and to be made of such an Airial nature as any of the birds are, this lump of earth would fly in the air presently. It is so in the work of conversion, All men and women are earthly, and therefore they fink down to the earth, and the earth is their proper center; but when once they come to be converted, there is a spirit put into them whereby they come to mount up a∣loft: It is not more natural for the Earth to fall down low, than it is for the fire and air to ascend up high, be∣cause every creature doth move towards the Center of it, heavie things fall down because below is the proper place of them; light things rise up, because their proper place is to be above: and so, the Conversations of the Saints must needs be in Heaven, because there's their Center, there's that that's sutable to the Divine Nature that is put into them.
The Third Reason.
Their Conversations must needs be in Heaven, Because those things that are the most choice things unto them are in Hea∣ven. I should have named a great many particulars here to shew what are the choice things that concern the Saints, and how they are all in Heaven.
Their Father, God, is in Heaven: Our Father which art in Heaven. Jesus Christ he is in Heaven; Seek the things above where Jesus Christ is sitting at the right hand of the Father. Jesus Christ that is their Head in Heaven. Their Hus∣band is in Heaven. Their Elder Brother is in heaven. Their King is in heaven. Their Treasure is in heaven. Their Inheritance in heaven. Their Hope is in heaven. Their Mantion-house in heaven. Their chief Friends are in heaven. Their Substance is in heaven. Their Reward is in Page 232 heaven. Their wages are in heaven. All these things be∣ing in heaven, no marvail though their Conversations are in heaven. And they are going to Heaven; now being that they are going that way, travelling towards heaven, they must needs be there in their hearts, heaven is the place that they shal come to ere long, they shal be there, and they know that here in this world they are to be but a while, but for ever to be there, We shall be caught up into the clouds •nd be for ever with him: Yea, their Conversations must needs be in Heaven, for they have much of heaven alreadie, there's much of heaven in the Saints, the Kingdom of Hea∣ven it is within them, the Scripture saith: They having so much of Heaven for the present, it must needs be that their Conversation• are there, and so that Scripture in the 10. Heb. 34. Knowing in your selves that ye have in Heaven a better and enduring substance. You may reade it thus, Know∣ing you have Heaven: a better enduring substance in your selves; so that the words [knowing in your selves] hath not only reference to what they know by hear-say, though this be a true note, that they may know heaven by hear-say; they hear Ministers speak of Heaven, and reade it in the Word of God, but they know it in themselves, they know it by what God hath revealed in their own hearts, yea, though t•••• were no books that ever they should see more, though they be not book-learn'd, and though they cannot reade a letter in the book, though they should hear no more Sermons, yet by what is revealed in themselves, They know in themselves that they have a more better and enduring sub∣stance: That's a truth. But the words may be more pro∣per to the original, read thus: Kowing, that you have Hea∣ven in your selves, a Better and Enduring substance: Eternal life is begun alreadie in the hearts of the Saints, there is Heaven alreadie in the Saints; and therefore no marvel though their Conversations be in Heaven.
The Fourth Reason.
God hath so ordered things in this world on purpose, that he might wean the hearts of the Saints from the world. The Lord loves to have the hearts of his Saints to be in Heaven where he hath treasured up such glorious things for them, and because that the Saints while they are here in the world, & have so much of the world in them, they would feign be living here in the world; therefore God doth so order things that they shall meet with little content in this world, that they may be weary of it, and be wearied from it: and indeed, here's the reason why Gods people have met with such crosses in the world, why the Lord hath kept his Saints so low and mean in the world: It may be you are ready to draw ill conclusions from thence, and to think, I am afraid God doth not love me that he keeps me so low and mean, and I meet with such crosses, and o∣thers do not. Oh! gather not such ill conclusions as these are; It is, because he would gather your hearts to Heaven, and wean you from the world, that you might long to be with him in Heaven, for you are absent from him here in this world, and the Lord would have the full stream of your affections to run after those things that you shal have with him in Heaven. This use you are to make of those afflictions you meet withal, and those crosses that befall you in this world, And thus we have gone through the Doctrinal point, of the Saints having their Conversations in Heaven.
WEE have treated long upon that point of An Heavenly Conversation, and have opened to you, what that Heavenly Conversation is, wherein it consists in many particulars: But now we shal proceed to the Application of al. Though as I have gone along, I have endeavoured not only to speak to your heads, but your hearts, and to quicken what I have said, so as might quicken your hearts: yet from the consi∣deration of all, there are divers Uses that may be profitable unto you.
The First Ʋse.
The first is this, If the Saints live such a Heavenly Con∣versation as hath been opened to you, Oh how far are they from being Saints, from being godly, Who are so far from having their Conversations in Heaven, as they have their Conversa∣tions in Hell. There are a generation of men that profess themselves to be Christians, & say, that they hope to go to Heaven; and yet if you behold their Conversation, it is no other than the Conversation of hell: Certainly, 'tis not what men say, but how they live that will cast them a∣nother day: he that is of Heaven, or for Heaven, his Con∣versation is in Heaven: and he that is for hell, his Con∣versation is hellish: now that's a Conversation in hell that is like to what is done in hell, what is there in hell, but blaspheming and cursing? What is there in hell, but ha∣tred and malice? what is there in hell, but raging and fil∣thiness? These things are the Conversations of many men who are even devils incarnate. In many families there's the Name of God blasphemed, there's cursing, and railing, and malice, and wrath, and pride, so that though they be here in this world, yet they manifest to what place they Page 235 do belong. So that as the Saints have their Conversati∣ons in Heaven, when they die they go to their own place, that is to heaven where their Conversations were: so on the contrary, the wicked having their Conversations in hell, when they die they go to their own place: as it was said of Judas, He went to his own place: So a wicked man dying, having his Conversation in hell while he liv'd, (I say) when he dies he goes to his own place, that's his own proper place, he took content and delight in those things that were done there, and so when he dies, there he shall go. As the tree falls so it lies. As thy Conversation is, and the bent of thy heart is there, so it must lie to all eter∣nity.
The Second Ʋse.
THis Point likewise, rebukes Hypocrites, as wicked prophane ones that have their Conversations in hell: so there's another kind of men that are un∣sound professors, Hypocrites, and they have their Conversations between Heaven and Earth: It's not in Hea∣ven nor in Hell, nor altogether upon the Earth, but be∣tween Earth, and Heaven, and Hell. Sometimes they seem to be a loft, above; sometimes very forward and zea∣lous in the profession of Religion, sometimes much inlar∣ged in Duties, at other times again they are as base earth∣ly spirits as any, yea, somtimes, there's much of Hell in their hearts, and in their waies, they professe themselves the seed of Abraham, but they are not as the stars of heaven, but as Meteors that are between Heaven and Earth: we call them blazing stars; but they are not so bright as the stars, nor are they of such a heavenly nature as the stars, they are but made of a few unclean vapours that come out Page 236 of the earth, which being got up neer the heavens, do make a shew as if they were some star in heaven, but you find a great deal of difference between the stars and them in this, for within a little while they fall, and vanish, and come to nothing; and so it is with many hypocrites, they by the Word are raised up a little for the present, and seem to be above the stars, and they have a glittering shew as if they had somthing heavenly in them, even like the stars of heaven, they seem to be got above others: your blazing star, a child would think it a great deal bigger than one of the stars that is an hundred times bigger than that is; so 'tis with many hypocrites, they have a greater shew of Religion than many that have truth of Godliness, and that are truly gracious, they look upon them as wonde∣ring at the excellent parts that they have, excellent abili∣ties, it may be, they will discourse sometimes in an excel∣lent manner about heavenly things; you shall find some that have no soundness at all, yet will have very excellent discourse, they speak the very language of Canaan, but it is in such company where they may gain respect by it, but still are but as meteors that hang between heaven and earth: whereas the truth is, while they seem to be so high above others, and so heavenly, yet their hearts are groveling up∣on the earth: many times while they have most excellent expressions in prayer, yet God sees their hearts basely clea∣ving to some earthly thing, there is some base earthly contentment that their hearts are upon, while they seem to be so heavenly, much like to the Kite that flies on high as if it were an Eagle, but the eye of it while it is above in the air is fixed upon some carrion, upon some prey that it hath upon the earth, and as soon as ever it sees a fit oppor∣tunity to seise upon the prey, it comes down to seise upon it, and that's the place the Kite would be at, that's the place he doth most delight in, to be upon his prey: And so an hypocrite, though he rises high in some actions, yet the truth is, his eye is upon some earthly prey, and when he sees his opportunity, thither he goes and finks down to Page 237 those things, and that's his most proper place, there he takes most delight and content in his Conversation, though his actions may seem to be Heavenly, and therefore he will fall down and never attain to the highest Heavens that the Saints shall go to, but to hell at the last.
The Third Ʋse.
THE Third Use is this, The Saints Conversation is in Heaven. Hence then for shame, let us not find fault with strictness in the waies of God, let not man speak against the waies of God, as being too strict, and what need we be so Circumspect, and so precise, and so pure? what need we labor to do so much? what! canst thou attain to a more strict and holy Conversation than a Heavenly Conversation? It is a very carnal expressi∣on that some have, Why? we cannot be Saints? we are not Saints; yes, the holy Ghost cals all beleevers, all that have the very least degree of true grace, he call them Saints. When we come to Heaven, then we shall live better, but while we are in this world we cannot. Ye•, while you are in this world your Conversation is to be in Heaven; surely men either are not acquainted with the Word, or they shut their eyes and will not see and consider what the Word saith about a strict Conversation: Sometimes you find in Scripture, that we are commanded, to be perfect, as our Hea∣venly Father is perfect; It's a strange speech, and yet it's the speech of Christ himself. And we must walk as Christ walked, and he that hath this hope, purifieth himself as he is pure; and then our Conversation is in Heaven. Put these together, Perfect as our Heavenly father is perfect; Walk as Christ walked; Purge our selves as he is pure. Our Conversation is in Heaven: what do all these things Page 238 tend to? Surely it tends to a great deal of strictness and holi∣ness of life. And these things shew that the work of a Chri∣stian here in this world is a busie work, that a Christian-life it is not an idle, dull, heavy, or sluggish life; you that are Christians, you had need quicken up your selves, you had need awaken those drousie spirits of yours, if this be re∣quired of you, that you should be perfect as your Heaven∣ly Father is perfect, Walk as Christ walked, Purifie your selves as he is pure, Holy as he is holy, and to have your Conversations in Heaven, surely, there need be a great deal of quickness and life in the hearts of Christians; and you are not to content your selves in a meer possession, and doing some little matter in the way of Religion, or being somewhat better than others, you are to aim at heaven, look up there, and make that to be your pattern.
The Fourth Ʋse.
AND that rebukes even such as are truly godly, many that yet do fail exceeding much in this thing: Oh! their Conversations are too low, are too earthly; If they would examine their hearts strictly they can∣not say, that their Conversations are in heaven, I am a stranger upon earth, saith David. But many may say, that they are strangers in heaven. Whereas earth should be the place of our pilgrimage, and heaven our home; but it's quite otherwaies, heaven is rather the place where most professors are strangers, and earth is the place of their ha∣bitation, they cast up a thought now and then to heaven, as now and then men will cast up their eyes and look upon heaven, but where's your heart? where's the great wor∣kings of your spirits? It's a speech of the Lord, saith he, Heaven is my Throne, and Earth is my Foot-stool: Spiritual Page 239 things they are to be look'd upon as the good things, as the Throne of God, & those earthly things only as the things of Gods foot-stool: but now, How many are there that have Earth their throne and Heaven their foot-stool! that is, Heavenly things are made subordinate to earthly things; Oh! this should not be in any of those that professe them∣selves to be Christians, none of the Saints should satisfie themselves in any life but this, to be able to say, I blesse God, my Conversation is in Heaven, though God let me live upon the earth, yet my conversation is in Heaven. What an unworthy thing it is for one that doth professe to have his portion and his inheritance in Heaven, yet to have the heart so mingled here with the earth; In Gen 45. 20. saith Joseph in sending for his father, Regard not your stuffe, for the good of all the land of Egypt is yours. Regard not the stuff, do not let it grieve you to forsake your stuff, leave all your lumber behind you, for all the good things of Egypt are yours. Oh what a shameful thing is it, that Christians should regard their stuff so much as they do, that hope to have the good things, not of Egypt, but of Heaven its self to be theirs! Surely if we have seen the things of Heaven, one would think that all the things of the earth should be dar∣kened in our eyes: 2 Cor. 3. 10. That which was glorious (saies the text) had no glory in comparison of the greater glory. That Scripture I confesse, is spoken in comparing of the Law and the Gospel, there was a glory in the delivering of the Law, but that had no glory in comparison of the greater glory, that is, in comparison of the Gospel; for in the Gospel we behold as in a glasse with open face the glory of God, and are changed into the same image, as from glory to glory: But we may apply it thus; As the things of the earth that were glorious before in your eyes, yet in comparison of the greater glory, should not at all be glorious; though be∣fore conversion these things were glorious, & grant it, that there is some kind of glory upon the things of this world, that they are gilded and varnish't over, but in comparison of the greater glory they are not glorious at all, though they Page 240 that never saw any thing else as glorious but the things of the world, yet thou that hast seen the greater glory shouldst not account these things glorious: Oh therefore Christi∣ans, lift up your hearts to Henven, and let your Conversa∣tions be in Heaven: Though God hath so ordered it, that you must live here a while and must be content, for indeed to some Christians that have their Conversations in Hea∣ven, it's a great part of their self-denial, and of their sub∣jection to God, to be willing to live upon the earth, and to stay from Heaven till Gods time come; This is a riddle and a mystery to many, that it should be a part of our Salvation, Obedience, yea, of Self-denial, though they had Crowns of Glory, though they were Kings and Princes here in this world, to be willing to stay here. We might come to attain this, if our Conversations were in Heaven, and our hearts there. As we reade of Daniel, though God so ordered it, that he could not live at Jerusalem where the Temple was, yet he would open his window towards Jerusalem, he would ever be looking that way. And so, though God hath so ordered it, that we cannot come yet to live in this Heavenly Jerusalem bodily, and in that full way as here∣after we expect to do, yet we should open our window, our eyes, and the doors of our hearts should be open to∣wards Heaven. I remember I have read of Edward the First King of England, that had a mighty mind to go to Jerusa∣lem, but because he could not go, for death prevented him, he gave charge to his Son to carry his heart thither. And so it should be with us, we should endeavour to have our hearts there, and to have as much of Heaven as we can though we cannot be there our selves in nature: Every creature hath put into it by the God of nature an instinct to move to its proper place; as now, because the pro∣per place of fire is above, there is an instinct of nature in fire to ascend to its proper place. And the proper place of earth is below, and therefore it will fall down to the Center! a heavie thing that hath much earth in it, though it breaks its self to pieces yet it will fall down towards its Page 241 Center: and so it will be with a Christian, though he break himself to pieces, whatsoever he suffers, yet he hath an instinct to carry him to his proper place; fire because its proper place is above, if it be kept down by violence, what a mighty power there is in fire to make way for its self that it may get up, that's the very reason of the mighty force that there is in Guns, because there is fire in the pouder that is kept in, when the pouder is once fir'd, because the fire would get up above, therefore it breaks with violence, and if it cannot have vent to get out, it breaks any thing in the world for it must out, that it may get up to it's own place; and so it should be with a Christian, there should be a strong impetiousness to get up to his own place; that would be an evidence indeed that Heaven is thy proper place: Oh Christians lift up your hearts, and let your Con∣versations be in Heaven.
CHAP. XIV. An Heavenly Conversation is a convincing Conversation.
I Shall not need to come again and tel you, what Heaven∣ly Conversation is, it hath been opened at large to you; but for the setting an edg upon this Exhortation:
First, Know, That a Heavenly Conversation will be a very con∣vincing Conversation; then you will convince men that you have somwhat more than they have when they see you live Heavenly; for the men of the world they know the things of the world, are the things that their hearts are upon, and that which they mind; but now, when they see those that professe Religion mingle themselves with the earth as they do, then they will think that they are act∣ed by the same principles that themselves are; but now, Heavenly Conversations will convince them, when they behold them walking above in the whol course of their lives, when they see an evenness and proportion in their course; take them at all times, and in all businesses, they carry themselves as men of another world: As a man Page 242 that is a stranger to a place, may for a while act it so, as he may seem to be one that is a native in the place, but one that is born in the place, will go nigh to find him out in one thing or other: and so, 'tis very hard for men to carry themselves so if they have not true grace, though they ap∣pear sometimes to be very Heavenly, yet one that is a true Citizen of Heaven will discern them at one time or other if they have not grace; yea, the truth is, carnal men wil dis∣cover themselves that they are born of the earth, and are of their Countrie, his speech betrais him, he is a Giliadite: But when Christians shal in their constant way have their Con∣versations in Heaven, then their Cōversations are very con∣vincing; There are the Raies of Heaven about them, they have the lustre of Heaven shining wheresoever they go, and in all company, surely such a man seems to be in Heaven continually; So it will force it from the very Consciences of men to say, Certainly these are the Citizens of Heaven; if there be any Denizens of the new Jerusalem while they live upon the earth, these they are. I remember it's said of that Martyr Dr. Taylor, That he did rejoyce that he ever came into the prison to be in company with that Angel of God Mr. Bradford, Mr. Bradford's Conversation, it was Angel-like, like an Angel of Heaven, and did convince almost every where, where he went: Oh! 'tis of great use that Christians should live convincing Conversations. You know what Dives said to Abraham, That he would have one sent to warn his brethren, that they might not come to that place: saith Abraham, They have Moses and the Prophets: Oh but saith Dives, If one rise from the dead, they would hear him. I may say thus, If God should send one from Heaven to live among men, and to preach to them, surely they would regard him. Would it not be a great benefit to the world if God should send some one Saint from Heaven, or Angel to converse in a bodily way among us? Truly, Christians should live so, as if they came from Heaven every day, as if they had been in Heaven and con∣versing with God. When they go to perform duty in a mor∣ning, Page 243 and get alone between God & their souls, they should never leave striving till they get their hearts so in Heaven, and get themselves upon the Mount, so as when they come down to their family their very faces may shine, so that you may see by their Conversations, that certainly they have been with God upon the Mount this day.
Now I appeal to you in this, Do you live so, as that your family, and your neighbors may see that you have bin this morning in Heaven? Every morning we should have some converse with Heaven, which if we had, our Conversations would be convincing all the day long, and very profitable it would be to the world; Christians that live Heavenly Conversations they are (I say) of very great use in the pla∣ces where they live. As I remember it's said concerning Christ, When he ascended up to Heaven, he gave gifts to men. And if we could oftener ascend up to Heaven, we should be more able to be beneficial to the world.
CHAP. XV. An Heavenly Conversation is growing.
AN Heavenly Conversation is, a growing Conversation. Oh! they grow mightily, they do thrive in grace exceeding much in a very little time, they grow to attain to a very great measure of Communion with God the Father, and with Jesus Christ, and every day they grow more and more spiritual, having so much of hea∣ven within them: It's true, when they come into Heaven, they shall be perfect: But now, the fetching from Heaven is that that makes them grow, it must be the influence from Heaven that must cause the grouth of Saints; As now, suppose that the ground upon which flowers and herbs grow, be never so fertile in its self, and the herbs or plants be never so well rooted in the earth, yet if there be not an Page 244 influence of heaven upon them they will not grow much, nay not at all, but quickly wither: So it is with Christi∣ans, let them have never so much means of growing below, never so many Ordinances, yet if they have not rich dews from above they wil not grow, or if there be any growth, yet either they wil bear no fruit, or else it will be very shri∣fled and sowre fruit. You know, that fruit that hath the most of the beams of the Sun that comes from heaven upon it, that fruit grows riper and sweeter than other fruit; fruit that grows in the shade, that hath the influence of Heaven kept off from it, it is sowre fruit. And the reason that the Saints have so little fruit, and that it is so sowre, it is be∣cause that they have not more influences from heaven, they do not stand in the open Sun, their souls are not presented dayly before God, and have the warm beams of the Sun of Righteousnesse shining from Heaven upon them; but there is something between Heaven and their souls: but a Conversation in Heaven, as it would be a Convincing Con∣versation, so it would be a Growing Conversation.
CHAP. XVI. An Heavenly Conversation brings much glory to God.
ANd then, It would be a Conversation glorifying God much. Oh! the Glory that God would have from a Con∣versation in Heaven! Let your light so shine before men, that others beholding your good works, may glorifie your Father which is in Heaven. Then indeed the Image of the God of Heaven is held forth when mens Conversations are heavenly, the Lord takes much delight to have his glo∣ry to be dispensed abroad by his Saints, to have some re∣flection upon the world: As in a glasse, though beams of the Sun do not shine upon a wall, yet by a glasse you may take the beams of the Sun and cast the reflection of them Page 245 upon a wal: so those beams of the glory of God that shine in Heaven, the Saints by their Heavenly Conversati∣on may (as it were by a glasse) take them and reflect them upon the world, and upon the faces of men: the hearts of the Saints should be as a glasse taking the beams of the glo∣ry of God and casting them up and down where they are, and so your Heavenly Father should come to be glorified by you. Let every Christian think thus, My Conversati∣on is thus and thus; but what glory do I bring to God by my Conversation? do others glorifie God by beholding the lustre of the holiness of God in me? do they see cause to blesse God that they see so much of the glory of God in me? Certainly, there is more of the glory of God shines in the gracious, holy, spiritual Conversation of a Christian, than shines in the Sun, Moon, and Stars, than in Heaven, and Earth: I mean, for the works of Creation and Provi∣dence that are in Heaven and Earth; the creatures that God hath made, as the Sun, Moon, and Stars; and here in this world, the Seas, the Earth, the Plants, and the like, though they have much of the glory of God, yet a Heaven∣ly Conversation declares more of the glory of God than all these. You know what the Psalmest saith, The Heavens de∣clare the glory of God, and the Firmament shew his handy work. It may be spoken more fully of Heavenly Conversations, the Heavenly Conversations of the Saints, declare the glo∣ry of God; and those that shine in the Firmament of the Church are stars, (for the Church is the firmament, and the Saints be there as stars) & they declare the Handy work of God. Now though its true, As in Heaven there's one star differs from another star in glory: and so in Christi∣ans, every one cannot attain to so much glory as another, yet every one is a star, the meanest Christian that lives, the weakest Beleever that is, yet should be as a star in the firma∣ment, though he cannot shine so gloriously as the Sun, or as other stars, yet there should be never a Beleever, never a godly man or woman in the Church but should shine as a star in the firmament, but should be as the Gospel is, even Page 246 a mirror wherein we might behold the glory of God, in whom we may behold the glory of God even (as it were) with open face: An Heavenly Conversation is a Conver∣sation glorifying God.
CHAP. XVII. An Heavenly Conversation bringeth much glory to the Sanits.
AN Heavenly Conversation, it's a Conversation that will bring much glory to your selves: Though it's true, that the Saints should aim at the glory of God most, yet there will come glory to themselves whether they will or no if their Conversations be in Heaven: it's impossible but that in the conscience of men they should be honored walking in a Heavenly Conversation: There's an excel∣lent Scripture, that shews, that in our glorifying of God, we glorifie our selves also: 2 Thess. 1. 11, 12. the Aplostle he praies for them, Wherefore also (saith he) we pray alwaies for you, that our God would count you worthy of this Calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power: To what end? That the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God, and the Lord Jesus Christ. He praies for the Thessalonians, That they might walk so, that they might have so much of the grace of God in them, that the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ might be glorified in them. Oh! this is that that all the Saints should desire, and endeavor after, That the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ should be glorified in them; and ye in him saith he: Labor you, that Christ may be glorified in your lives, and you shall be glorified in him. We should desire that Christ may have glory in our glory, & then we shall have glory in Christs glory: this is a sweet and blessed life, when as the Saints have such hearts, as they can say, Lord, let me have no glory, but that thou Page 247 mayest have glory in. Then saith God, Is it so? Doest thou desire no further glory in this world, but that I may have glory in? then I will have no glory in this world, but what thou shalt have glory in: Christ will make us par∣takers of his glory, as well as we shall make him partaker of our glory. Oh! An Heavenly Conversation that glo∣rifies God, will glorifie the Saints too.
CHAP. XVIII. An Heavenly Conversation will make Suffering easie.
HEavenly Conversation, it will make all sufferings to be very easie, it will be nothing to suffer any thing you meet withall in this world, if your Conversations be in Heaven: All revilings, and reproaches, and wrongs, they will be nothing, if you get but a Heavenly Conversation, you will contemn all these things that the men of the world think to be such great matters: Men that have conversed in Heaven, never will be much offended for any sufferings: 2 Cor. 4. 17. For our light afflictions which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory: While we look not at the things which are seen, but at things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. All but light afflictions, Why? for our eye is above all these things. And it's a notable pas∣sage that in the Gospel, if you examine the place of Christs transfiguration upon the mount, there Christ shewed his glory unto some Disciples, that he carried with him; and this is that that I would note from it, do but observe in the story who were the Disciples that Christ carried with him to see his glory, they were, Peter, James, and John; now af∣terwards if you compare that story with the story of Christ being in his Agony, which was presently after; where his Page 248 soul was heavie unto death, when he was to be betraied, and to be crucified the next day, and fell groveling upon the earth, & sweat clodders of blood through the anguish that was upon his spirit, & cried out, Oh Lord! If it be possible let this cup pass from me. Here's a great deal of difference between Christ in his Agony, and upon the mount in his Transfigu∣ration; and observe, that Christ would have none of his Disciples see him in his Agony, but Peter, James, and John, only those three that saw him in his transfiguration upon the mount in his glory.
The note from hence is, That those that can converse much with Christ in glory, can converse with Christ in Heaven, can see Hea∣ven, they may be permitted to see Christ in his Agony and it will do them no hurt. But now, for the other Disciples that did not see Christ in his Glory, if they had seen Christ in his Agony, it might have offended them, Is this our Lord and Master that is in such a fearful Agony at this time? Oh! it would have offended them; but now, the other that saw him glorified, it offended them not; Well, though he be in an agony now, yet we know him to be a glorious Savi∣or, and we will beleeve and trust in him still. So, if we can converse with God in glory upon the mount, what ever agony we see Christ in afterwards we shall be able to bear it: when Stephen had the stones ratling about his ears, yet when he saw the Heavens opened it was nothing to him then, he fell asleep, he rejoyced in the expectation of Hea∣ven. And if you reade in the Book of Martyrs, ever when they came to their sufferings you may see how they did re∣joyce, when they did think of Heaven, and remember eter∣nal life. Saith one woman to her child that was going to be burnt, when as the people thought she would have rung her hands, and made great lamentations to have seen her child stepping into the flames, she said nothing but this, Remember eternal life my son. Oh! conversing with Heaven makes all sufferings in the world nothing.
CHAP. XIX. Heavenly Conversation brings much joy.
THen, Oh the sweetness and comfort that there will be while the soul is conversing in Heaven! Oh the joy and the peace that will come to the Soul in the certain evdience that the soul is partaker in the Death, Resurrecti∣on, and Intercession of Jesus Christ! (I say) those whose Conversations are in Heaven, by this they come to have certain evidence to their souls, that they have their porti∣on in the Death, in the Resurrection, in the Ascention, in the Intercession of Jesus Christ, and this will afford com∣fort enough. That Scripture in the 3. Colos. 1. If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things that are above where Christ sit∣teth on the right hand of God; set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth: for ye are dead and your life is bid with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. Here's an evidence that you are risen with Christ, that you are dead to the world, and have interest in his Ascention, and are partakers of his Resurrection, and have part in his Intercession. Those that have their Conversations in Heaven now, they may know certainly that they are risen from death to life, that when Christ ascended, he went to Heaven to take possession for them, yea, that they are in Heaven where Christ is: He hath set us in Heavenly places together with Christ Jesus: For he is there as a common head: That they are ascended with Christ already, and that Christ is there as an Advo∣cate making Intercession for them to the Father, these will be the consolations of those that have their Conversa∣tion in Heaven.
CHAP. XX. An Heavenly Conversation is very safe.
ANd then, A Conversation in Heaven, is a very safe Conversation, you will be free from snares and temptations. As an Eearthly Conversation subjects unto temptations; so a Heavenly Conversation will free us from temptations. When is the bird in danger of the Lime-twig or Net but when she comes to pick below upon the ground? but if she could but keep her self above alwaies, she were free then from the Snare and Net: It's Chrysostoms similitude, Keep above, and then ye be free from the snare of the fowler. It's a safe Conversation.
CHAP. XXI. An Heavenly Conversation gives abundant enterance into Glory.
AND then, It will cause an abundant enterance into the Kingdom of Heaven. When they come to die, Oh how joyfully wil they die! what abundant enterance will be made into the everlasting Kingdom of our Lord and Sa∣vior Jesus Christ? For when they die they shall but change their place, they shall not change their company: they shall but go to their Fathers house to be partakers of those mansions Christ before hath prepared.
Oh my brethren! labor to have your Conversations in Heaven, and know, that this is not a matter only that concerns eminent Christians, but all Christians; and see how the Apostle charges this upon the Thessalonians, 1. Page 251 Epistle 2. 11. As you know how we exhorted and comforted, and charged every one of you, (as a Father doth his children) that you would walk worthy of God who hath called you unto his King∣dom and Glory. That is, That you would walk in a Con∣versation answerable to the glorious Kingdom of God that you are called to, according to your high calling, we should walk worthy of it: We are charged so to do: and as it's said concerning Christ in the Gospel by Saint John, he spake concerning himself, But the Son of man which is in Hea∣ven. So it should be said of every child of God, such a one that is in Heaven, not only such a one that shall go to Hea∣ven, but that is in Heaven for the present.
CHAP. XXII. Seven Rules, or Directions, how to get Heavenly Conversa∣tion.
BUt you will say, How should we do to get this our Conversa∣sation to be in Heaven? it's an excellent Conversation indeed, Oh that we might attain unto it!
The First Rule.
First, Take this Rule, Be perswaded that it is attainable. Let Christians conclude thus with themselves, it is possible for me to live a life of Heaven while I am upon the earth: There is a Heaven to be got, it will mightily stir up the spirit of a Christian if he do beleeve this. I may live in Heaven here, with God, and Christ, and his Angels, and Saints; there are some that have attain'd to this; and how have they attain'd to it? not by their own strength, they were men subject to the same infirmities that you are, even Paul himself that had his Conversation in Heaven, was subject to many infirmition But through the strength Page 252 of Christ he can do all things, he was nothing in himself; reade but the 7. of the Romans, Paul saith there of himself, that he was even sold under sin, and when he would do good, evil was present with him: and he was led captive, and he found a Law in his members rebelling against the law of his mind, and he had many corruptions and was feign to have a prick in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to humble him: and he spake of this Heavenly Conversation, not only that he had it himself, but writing to the Phi∣lippians they attain'd to it; they were a Church that were very spiritual, but were but poor and mean in respect of some others, and they had not those eminent gifts that the Corinthians had, and yet the Philippians had their Conver∣sations in Heaven: therefore it is a thing that is attainable.
The Second Rule.
Secondly, If you would get your Conversations in Hea∣ven, Labor to keep a cleer conscience, keep a Heaven in your cons∣eience. Those men that do fully and defile their conscien∣ces, they lose their intercourse with Heaven, and indeed, the presence of the God of Heaven is tedious to them, they be loth to go into his presence when once they have defiled consciences, If there be a Hell in a mans conscience, there will not be a Heaven in his Conversation., but let men and women la∣bor to keep conscience clean, and a Heaven there, and then there will be a Heaven in their Conversations.
The Third Rule.
Watch opportunicies for Heavenly exercises, though you have much business in the world, watch time. You that are servants, you should not indeed neglect your Masters business, for you may serve God in the work of your Master, but yet you must watch opportunities; get alone, and if you can∣not have any long time let it be so much the frequenter, watch all opportunities for Heavenly exercises, for medi∣tation, Page 253 for prayer, for reading, for conversing with God: Oh! we might get many opportunities to get our souls in Heaven if we would but watch; and those that are dili∣gent to watch opportonities for Heavenly exercises, and prize opportunities for them, they are the men and women that will come to attain to a Heavenly Conversation, that do not' make it as a light matter whether they have con∣verse with God or no in holy duties: Christians that would have their Conversations in Heaven, they must look upon their opportunities for Heavenly exercises, they eye them, as that wherein much of the joy and comfort of their lives consists.
The Fourth Rule.
Forget not this in the next place, (I speak now to Chri∣stians that would feign have their Conversations in Hea∣ven) I say to you, Take heed and be careful that you rest not in formallity; watch to get opportunities, but be not formal in duties in them. Oh! this will mightily darken your Conversa∣tions, it will make them very earthly, there will be no beauty at all in them if you come to rest in formallity in holy performances: There's many Christians that we hope may have some good at the bottom, yet growing to a form in Religion they never honor their profession, they have little comfort to their own souls, they go on in a dead hearted condition, they know not what it is to have com∣munion with God, Oh beware of that; that we are all by nature subject too; those that have enlightenings of cons∣cience, they dare not but take opportunities for Heavenly duties; but then comes in the temptation of the Devil, and the corruption of our own hearts; when I have done my task, then it's over, I have prayed, I but you have been in Heaven that while? what converse with God have you had there? Oh take heed of formallity! it will exceedingly hinder your Conversation. But now, a Christian though of never such weak parts, can but chatter to God, and Page 254 speak a few broken words and half sentences, yet if he doth not rest in formallity he may have much converse with God, whereas others that have excellent parts, yet resting in the work done, never knows what the meaning is of having a Conversation in Heaven.
The Fifth Rule.
Labor to beat down your Bodies, That is, take heed of ma∣king provision for the flesh, beware of sensual lusts; how came Paul to have his Conversation in Heaven? saith he, I*beat down my body; The word is, Black and blue; club'd it down; as if he should say, This body of mine would draw my heart aside from spiritual things, and make me earth∣ly and sensual, I wil keep down my body, I will not give that satisfaction to the flesh, and body so as to strengthen any temptation that should draw my heart off from Spiri∣tual, and Heavenly things: no, but I beat down my body saith he. There's no Christian that is Heavenly but he must be very careful and watchful over his sences while he lives here, to beat down his body, and so he may come to have his Conversation in Heaven.
The Sixth Rule.
Labor to be skilful in the mystery of godliness, to draw strength from Jesus Christ in every thing you do. For my Brethren, Christ he is Jacob's Ladder. When Jacob lay asleep he saw a ladder on which the Angels did descend and ascend up to Heaven. Now this Jacob's Ladder is no other but Jesus Christ to Christians, and that must be set up to Hea∣ven; if you would go to Heaven, and converse with Heaven, it must be by Jesus Christ, you must be instructed in the mysterie of the Gospel in conversing with God through a Mediator; there is such an infinite distance be∣tween God and us, that except we have Christ the Media∣tor we can never come to God, nor God come to us; it is Page 255 only Christ the Mediator that is the Ladder: We need not say Who shall go up to Heaven to fetch Christ down? No, we may have Christ in our hearts, and set up him, and so we may go up to Heaven by his Mediation. When as a Christian comes to live in this manner; what I do expect from God, I expect to draw it through a Mediator, and all the services that I tender up to God I tender them up through the hand and heart of Christ: Now those that are acquainted with this have much converse with Heaven: By Jesus Christ the Mediator I may come up there and pre∣sent my self there, though no unclean thing may come there, for God looks upon the Saints through him as righ∣teous, being cloathed with his righteousness, they may come to their Father with boldnesse, having their Elder brothers garments upon them, they may come and kneel before the Throne of grace, come into Heaven as into the Presence Chamber and kneel every morning for their Fa∣thers blessing; it's by him what we have accesse unto the Father: Oh! acquaint thy self with the Mystery of god∣linesse in drawing all from Christ; and tendering all to God through Christ: By this Heaven comes down to thee, and by this thou climest up to Heaven, this is the Jacob's Ladder. But those men that only look upon God in a natural way, that's thus, Indeed all good things must come from God; and so they go to prayer, Lord we beseech thee bless us this day, for all good things come from thee. And they serve God, their consciences tell them they must worship, and serve God while they live here: but it is but in a dull natural way: let me leave it in your hearts, All good comes from God through a Mediator, through Jesus Christ the second Person in Trinity, God-Man, and all my services are tendered up to God through him; there is this Media∣tor God-Man that unites God and me together, and so by him I have acceptance both for my person and all my acti∣ons, and by him I come to have other manner of blessings than comes from God meerly as Creator, God in bounty bestows upon the creature many good things, but when Page 256 we come to deal with God in Christ we come to have Hea∣venly blessings, blessings beyond the power of nature, yea beyond all those blessings that nature can be any convey∣ance of, beyond the blessings that the conduits of the crea∣ture are able to hold forth, they have the blessing from God imediately, imediately I mean in respect of the crea∣ture, it's by the mediation of Christ, they enjoy God in Christ, and so come to enjoy God in a Heavenly, Super∣natural way: Oh this is the way to have our Conversati∣ons in Heaven; and those Christians that are much ac∣quainted with the Gospel of Christ, they come to live far more Heavenly Conversations than others that go on in a dull, heavie, and natural kind of way in serving of God: But being not acquainted with this mysterie, their hearts lie low upon the earth, and know not what it is to have their Conversations in Heaven.
The Seventh Rule.
And so the next Rule with which I must close all is this, Exercise much the grace of faith: There is no way to get above the Creature, and above Nature, but by exercising the grace of Faith. Many Christians think they must exercise love to God, and exercise sorrow for sin; the grace of Repen∣tance, mourning for sin, that's good, thou shouldest do that, and thou shouldest exercise patience; but the great grace that is to be imployed if thou wouldest attain a Hea∣venly life, it is, The exercise of Faith: and make consci∣ence to put forth that grace much, for it's by that that we do converse with God through Christ. Though Christ be the ladder, yet it's faith that carries us up this ladder, and brings us down again, it's faith that makes the things of Heaven real to the soul, Heb. 11. 1. It's faith that is an evidence of things not seen, and the substance of things ho∣ped for, by faith these things come to be made real and sub∣stantial things, and as present things, faith it is that gives a great excellency to all the things of Heaven its self, and Page 257 therefore live much by faith, and walk by faith, and not by sence, and then shalt thou be above the world and live in Heaven; and as the fruit of thy faith wait for the appea∣ring of Jesus Christ. Our Conversation is in Heawen (saith the Apostle) from whence also we look for the Savior the Lord Je∣sus Christ &c. Where a mans Conversation is, there his expe∣ctations may be; and where the expectations are, there a mans Conversation is; now our Converstaion is in Heaven from whence also we look for Jesus Christ; as if he should say, It's not a motion, do not you think that when we speak of Conversing in Heaven that we please our own fan∣cies; Oh no, saith he, we by faith look upon Heaven as the most real thing in the world, for we expect the Lord Jesus Christ ere long to appear in glory bodily, and we shall see him with these eyes, and shall change our vile bodies and make them like his glorious body, we by faith looking upon such glorious things to be so real, and so at hand, and we waiting for these things it's this that makes our Conversation to be in Heaven: our hearts and all are there, because that we expect that these things will be made good to us quickly, Oh Christians do but exercise your faith in this, in Jesus Christ, and put forth this fruit of faith in waiting for the appearing of Jesus Christ when he shall come and appear in his glory, this will help to make your Conversations to be in Heaven; Oh what a blessed time will that be when Jesus Christ shall come from the Heavens, and appear to those that have been waiting for him! it was a blessed thing to have Christ here personally and to live with him when he was upon the earth though it were in the state of his humiliation, Oh when he shall come in his glory, how blessed will that be! and when he shall change our vile bodies that they may be like unto his glorious body, Oh this will keep the heart in expectation of Christ, for then that vile body of thine that is now a bo∣dy of sin and death, matter of diseases, a body of weak∣ness, and a lump of clay, now it shall be made like the glo∣rious body of Jesus Christ to shine more glorious than the Page 258 Sun in the firmament; this will be when Jesus Christ shall come with all his Angels in his glory; and this is observa∣ble, when all the glory of the creature shall be darkened with the glory of God and Jesus Christ, yet then the bodies of the Saints shall shine gloriously before the face of God and Jesus Christ, surely they shall be more glorious than the glory of the Sun, for that you know will be darkened at the coming of Jesus Christ; The great glory of the Fa∣ther, and Jeus Christ, and the Angels shall darken the glo∣ry of the Sun, Moon, and Stars, but the glory of the bodies of the Saints shall be so great, as all the glory of God, and Jesus Christ, and the Angels shall not darken their glory, but it shall appear with a very great lustre: now if the glo∣ry of God, and the Angels should darken it, then to what purpose is it that their bodies shall be like to the glorious body of Jesus Christ? but certainly it shall not darken their glory: If a candle could be raised to have so much lustre and beauty as if you should put it into the midest of the Sun, yet it would shine in the midst of it, it would be a strange kind of light you would say: It shall be so with the bodies of the Saints, that though they are put into the midst of the glory of God, and his Son, yet their very bodies shall shine in beauty and lustre there: Now did we beleeve this, and wait for it every day, how would it change us! I have a diseased and a lumpish body, and my body hinders me in every duty of worship, and service, wandering and vain thoughts lodge in me now; I but I'le wait for that time when Christ shall come in all his glory, and make my body to be like unto his glorious body, to make it to be able to look upon the face of God, and to be able to be exercised in holy duties to all eternity without any weariness, and without any intermission: so shall the bodies of the Saints be raised to that power, that their bo∣dies shall be so strong, that their souls shall be exercised a∣bout the highest things possible for a creature to be exerci∣sed with without weariness; wait for this: I have many things here that trouble my mind, and spirit, and hinders Page 259 me in my converse with Heaven, but within a while the time shall come that I shall be delivered from all trou∣bles here, when Christ shall appear with his mighty An∣gels to be admired of his Saints, and when he shall come and take the Saints to judg the world, and shall set all the Saints upon Thrones to judg the world: the expectation of this time will raise the heart very much to be in Heaven.
But then especially, when I consider the glory that shall be upon my soul, let me think thus, if this body of mine that is a lump of flesh shall be by the almighty power of God whereby he is able to subdue all things unto himself, raised to that height of glory, to be more glorious than the Sun in the Firmament; then, what height of glory shal my soul be raised too! but then, take not only my soul, but my grace, the Divine Nature that is in my soul, what shall that be raised too? The plants are capable to be raised to a higher excellency than stones; and the Rational creature to a higher excellency than a Sensitive creature; and the Sensitive higher than the Vegetative, and the Supernatu∣ral creature to a higher excellency than the Natural: Then raise your thoughts thus; My body shall be raised so high, what shall my soul be then? and what shall my graces that are in my soul be? Oh! wait for this, it is but for a little while before I shall be with God for him to be all in all to my soul enjoying full communion with him; (I say) exer∣cise faith, and wait for it, look for it every day, consider it's neerer and neerer, your salvation is neerer than when at first you beleeved, God hath a little work for you here, but as soon as this is done this shall be my condition, I shal see my Savior, my soul shal presently be with him and en∣joy ful communion with him in glory, and my body with∣in a while shal be raised and shall live for ever with him: shall be where he is, and shall enjoy all that he hath pur∣chased by his blood, as much glory as the blood of Christ is worth am I capable of; the text saith, It shall be a weight of glory: I am not here fitted to bear a weight of glory, if the glory of Heaven should shine in upon me so much as it Page 260 might, it would swallow me up presently. We reade in the 7. of Dan. upon the glory of God appearing to him, saith he, I Daniel fainted, and was sick certain daies. If God should open the Heavens, and dart in some light from Hea∣ven into us so as he might, alas we should faint presently and be sick and die, No man can see God and live; no man here can enjoy that that God hath prepared for his Saints in Heaven and live; therefore let us be content for a while to be as we are, and exercise thy faith and hope in what shall be; Thou shalt be able to bear that weight of glory, and be able to stand before the face of God continually to enjoy those things that eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor can enter into the heart of man to conceive: nay, though a man hath a spiritual eye, and a spiritual ear, and a spiritual heart enlarged to superna∣tural things, yet they are things not only beyond the eye of sence, but the eye of reason; nay, the eye of faith hath not seen them fully, nor ear hath ever heard of, neither can enter into a gracious heart to convince what it is; but those Clusters that we have of this land of Canaan do shew that mere is a glorious rest for his people. Now by the ex∣ercise of your faith and hope work these things upon your souls every day, it would be a mighty help to make your Conversation to be in Heaven; where should my heart and thoughts, where should my life and conversation be, but where I expect such things as these are to be revealed very soon in the Day of Jesus Christ, in his appointed time, which is at hand.
OF WALKING VVITH GOD
GENESIS, 5. 24.
CHAP. I. TEXT OPENED
IN this Chapter we have the Geneologie from Adam to Noah: and it's observable, That God passeth all along and saith, Adam he lived so long and begat sons; and so afterwards they lived and begat sons and daughters and then died. He only mentions them briefly, till he comes to Enoch, and there God seems to make a stop: He doth not only tell you how long he lived, and begat sons and Page 262 daughters, and died; but he addeth, Enoch walked with God. The holy Ghost spends three verses upon Enoch, He tells you how long he lived and begat Methuselah, and E∣noch walked with God. And in the 23. verse there he speaks of him again; and in the 24. vers. Enoch walked with God again. As if the Lord should say, Oh my servant Enoch I must not pass by him, he was an eminent holy man in his generation, I must not pass by him without some especial testimony: as if God should say, Oh he was the delight of my Soul, he walked with me: Enoch walked with God.
Enoch he was a Prophet in his time, he conversed much with God, and God revealed much of his mind to him. We find in the Epistle of Jude 14. there the holy Ghost mentions him again, Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, pro∣phesied of these, saying, &c. Enoch prophesied, he was a Pro∣phet: Where do we find Enoch's prophesie in all the Book of God? we have the Prophesie of Isaiah, and Jeremiah, and other Prophets; but where the Prophesie of Enoch? Here the holy Ghost saith, That Enoch prophesied, saying, Behold the Lord cometh with ten thousand of his Saints, &c. Now for the prophesie that is here mentioned by the holy Ghost, in this Epistle of Jude, we have it not set down in words ful∣ly, but yet we have somewhat set down even in a verse or two before my Text, of Enoch's prophesie, and that is in the very name of his son Methuselah, there is that very pro∣phesie of Enoch that the holy Ghost speaks of in the Epistle of Jude, in the name (I say) of his son Methuselah, for Me∣thuselah signifieth thus much, he dieth, and then the sen∣ding out, that is the floud, he dieth and then comes the floud, that's the signification of the name Methuselah: So that Enoch prophesied many hundred yeers before the flouds coming; and that prophesie seem'd to go further, for Gods dealing with people in those times, were but as a type of his dealing with men in after-times. That the Lord would send forth a floud against all wicked and un∣godly men in due time to destroy them, he dieth, and then Page 263 the sending forth of the floud, for the floud did come in the very last yeer of Methuselah, and that's observable that this Methuselah he liv'd longer than ever any man liv'd since the world began, All the daies of Methuselah were nine hundred and sixtie nine yeers, and then he died. Now this may be one reason of the lengthening out of his life, that he might fulfil the prophesie of Enoch, for Enoch prophesied that the floud should come when he died, now because God had work to bring about, and to defer the floud for a while after, therefore Methuselah must live so long.
God doth lengthen out, or shorten mens lives according to the work he hath to do, according to the use he hath to make of them. But thus much for Enoch: The person who it was.
ENOCH WALKED WITH GOD.
Now this phrase of walking with God, sometimes it sig∣nifies some special ministration before the Lord, as in the 1 Sam. 2. 30, 35. Wherefore the Lord God of Israel saith, I said indeed, That thy house, and the house of thy father should walk be∣fore me for ever. And then in the 35. I will raise me up a faith∣full Priest that shall do according to that which is in my heart, and in my mind and I will build him a sure house, and he shall WALK before mine anointed for ever: That is, for a special and holy ministration, so it's taken sometimes.
But here we are to understand it more largely, (though it's true, Enoch was a Prophet and he might be said to walk with God in regard of the special ministration of his Pro∣phetical Office that he had;) for walking with God, in waies of righteousness and holiness: so walking with God, as it's said of Noah, that was his great grand-child, in the 6. of Gen. 9. These are the generations of Noah, Noah was a just man and perfect in his generation, and Noah walked with God. This his great-grand-child (no question hearing of his fathers walking with God was a great argument for to move him to the like, and his walking with God is dis∣cribed Page 264 to be in being righteous, and in being perfect with God. The 70. in their translation turns this that you have in your books walk with God, by the word, he pleased God. And that's observable that the holy Ghost in men∣tioning Enoch in the new Testament, doth follow the tran∣slation of the Septuagent in the 11. of the Heb. there you shall find that Enoch is mentioned among the Catalogue of the Beleevers there: By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death, and was not found, because God had transla∣ted him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. That word that you have here in Ge∣nesis rendered, he walked with God: in the Hebrews it is that he had this testimony, That he pleased God: & indeed it comes to one, he walked in the waies that God was pleased and delighted in.
He pleased God.] The Calde translates it, he walked in the fear of God; and so some Interpreters quoting the Jerusalemie Thargum, he served or labored in the truth before the Lord: and that's one thing further in the explication that it's said, he walked with God after he begat Methuselab. Some now think that Enoch was a wicked man before the time that he begat Methuselah, in that sixty and five yeers there's no mention of his walking with God, but Enoch lived six∣ty five yeers and begat Methuselah, and he walked with God after he begat Methuselah: but that's no sufficient ground to conclude, because it's said after: that he did not before; it might rather be to note the constancy of his wal∣king with God, that he continued in the constant course of his life in his walking with God. I shall need to speak no further of the explication of this first part of Enoch's wal∣king with God. The point of Doctrine from it is this.
CHAP. II. The Doctrines raised from the Text, and the Treatise devided in∣to several parts.
THat 'tis the great excellency and commendations of a godly man, to walk with God: Or, That it is the highest testimo∣ny that can be given of a man that walks with God. Walking with God is a high excellency, and whoever hath this te∣stimony hath the highest testimony that can be given unto a man in this world, that he walks with God. And there∣fore that's observable, that God mentions him twice, as if he loved to mention his poor creatures walking with him: at the 22. verse; And Enoch walked with God. And then in the 24. verse, And Enoch walked with God. Oh! as if God should say, This is that that is the delight of my soul indeed. Yea, and that's observable in the testimony of Noah, in Gen. 6. 9. perhaps in the reading of it you may not observe that that I shal observe unto you now, Noah (saith he) was a just man, and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God. He doth not say thus, Noah was a just man and walked with God: But mark, he repeats Noah twice, Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God: as if he should say, This is the blessed man that lived in a wicked generation, and though that generation was sinful and wicked, yet he kept close with God; Noah was just and perfect, and Noah wal∣ked with God; Oh I take delight in this Noah: Consider my servant Noah, Noah was thus, and Noah walked with God. There's a great Emphasis in doubling of his name, and there can be no reason given of it, for the sense would be perfect without it: as if he should say, Noah was a just man and perfect in his generation, and walked with God; But for the putting of a special incomium upon Noah, Oh! Page 266Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God. Oh! 'tis the excellency of a man to walk with God, and for God himself to own a man and to say, that he walks with him: Men may live in a pra∣ctice of the duties of Religion, Eternal duties, and go ve∣ry far that way, and yet be strangers unto God, never know what it is to walk with God; they may have by-waies of their own in which their hearts do walk; as the Stars that have a motion turn about by the Primum Mobile, the first mover, one way, but they have a secret motion the other way themselves: and so, though many in their external profession seem to be moved one way, but secretly their hearts move another way, they do not walk with God all that while, they did pray, and reade, and hear, and come to Sermons and make great profession, so as men might think they walked with God, but it was not so. As it is with a ship, you may be bound to such a Port, and the ship and the sails blow that way, and yet when the ship goes east, a man may walk up and down in the ship west-ward: so in profession, a man seems to be carried east-ward, yet his private walks may be another way, to his own ends, to his own designs; but here's the honor of a man when God himself shall own him, as if God should say concerning Enoch, I who am a God that am the Seer and Searcher of all mens hearts, and I observe the waies of my servant Enoch, and I see him not only in the outward pro∣fession of godliness, but in the secret of his soul he walks with me, he hath no bye-walks at all, but he keeps him∣self close with me and walks with me continually; Enoch walked with God.
This phrase, Walking with God, we have exprest in Scrip∣ture in divers other phrases that are to the same purpose: as walking before God, Gen. 24. 40 The Lord before whom I walk, saith Abraham; and so God bad Abraham, Walk be∣fore me and be upright. And so in the 116. Psal. 9. I will walk before the Lord in the Land of the Living. Remember how I have walked before thee, it's said of Hezekiah. And some∣times Page 267 the same thing is expressed by walking after the Lord; in the 13. of Deut. 4. Ye shall walk after the Lord. As a child walking after his father, though he walks step after step, yet he may be said to walk with him. And sometimes by walking in the Name of the Lord, Micah, 4. 5. We will walk in the Name of the Lord our God. And then fourthly, by walking in the spirit of God, Gal. 5. 16. and here, walking with God.
Walking Before God.
Walking After God.
Walking in the Name of God.
Walking in the Spirit of God. Or,
Walking with God. They all come to the same pur∣pose.
But for the opening of the point there are these Four things that I intend in the handling of it.
First, What it is to walk with God, or to discribe the work of God in bringing the soul to walk with him, and the way of the soul in walking with God.
Secondly, To shew you the excellency that there is in this wal∣king with God: what a blessed thing it is for a Christian to walk with God.
Thirdly, Give you some evidences of a mans walking with God.
Fourthly, To give unto you some Rules how you may come to walk with God, to have your lives so as you may have this testimony even from God himself, that you do walk with him. These are the Four things.
For the First, The discription of walking with God, the work of God in bringing the soul to walk with him, and the way of the soul in walking with God.
CHAP. III. How the Soul is brought to Walk with God, Discovered in Six Particulars.
FIrst, Every one by nature goes astray from God, in the 58. Psal. 3. it is said of all the wicked, that they are estranged from the wombe, they go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies. That's one of the first things wherein wickedness ap∣pears in children, but 'tis from the very womb that they go astray, before they can speak: 'tis natural for the wic∣ked to go astray from God as soon as they have any being. The way wherein men naturally do walk, it is the way of death, it's the way of their own hearts, of their own coun∣sels, it's the common course of the world, it is the walk of the flesh. But now, the work of God in bringing the soul to walk with him, it is, First, To cause the soul to make a stop in the way that men naturally walk in; Those that the Lord hath left for a while in the way of nature, that walk in the way of death, the Lord is pleased to come to them by some mighty work of his to make a stop, by con∣sidering, where am I? what's my way; whither am I go∣ing? is the way that I am in like to the way that befeems an Immortal soul? Is the way like to end well that I am walking in? It causes the soul to make a stop in it, and be∣gin to think where it is, whither it is going, and so usu∣ally causes some fear, fearing it is in a way like to miscar∣ry, so that it dare not proceed further in that way that it hath been walking in all this while, though never so plea∣sant a way, though never so sutable to the flesh, the Lord forbid that I should go on in that way that I have walked in. There's a stop caused.
Secondly, The Lord manifests to the soul the way of life, what the way of life is. This stop of the soul is just like to that we Page 269 reade of Saul, that when he was posting on in the way of death, there did shine a light round about him, and caused him to stop so that he could go no further. But then (I say) the Lord manifests to the soul what the way of life is. In the 30. of Isa. 21. And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee saying, This is the way, walk ye in it. Oh! how many are there that can tell this by experience, that they have been walking in the waies of death, of eternal misery, and blest themselves in those waies? But there was a blessed time wherein God caused them to hear a voice as it were behind them saying, This is the way, walk-in it; you are out of the way, but here's the way of life, if you would not perish eternally, here's the way, walk in this way; It is a secret voice that the Lord causes to be heard in the soul, but yet a powerful voice: perhaps you have come to the Word, and have heard what the way of life is: but yet that never hath given a turn to your hearts: but when God would have the soul to come in to walk with him, he causes the soul (besides the outward voice of the Word) to hear a voice behind in secret, and yet powerfully, saying, Oh! this is the way; Oh thou poor soul that are wandring from the way of life, and art going on in the way of eternall death, Come in, come in, here's another way, This is the way, walk in it: And so the Lord gives a mighty turn to the soul by that secret voice.
Thirdly, The Lord makes peace between himself and a sin∣ner; He doth reveal the doctrine of Reconciliation. For a sinner at first when he comes to have his eyes enlightened, when he comes to know himself and to know God; Cer∣tainly God at first cannot but appear terrible to a sinner that hath walked in the waies of death formerly, and though I see my way to be dangerous, and I see another way to be good, Oh but God is terrible to me, and how can two walk together that are not at peace? In Amos 3. 3. Can two walk together except they be agreed? saith the text, Oh there is naturally an enmity between Man and God, every man in the world is naturally an enemy to God; and can Page 270 there be two walking together unless they be agreed? Oh! you that are going on in the waies of enmity with God, surely you are strangers to this way of walking with God, can you walk with God before you are agreed? no soul can have this testimony given of it, that he hath walked with God, but such a soul as is reconciled to him; God doth manifest that in some measure to the soul before it's a∣ble thus to walk with him, as here Enoch did, and certain∣ly Enoch came to walk with God by this, for the holy Ghost in the forenamed place of the 11. of the Heb. saith, It was by faith that he did it, and without faith it's impossi∣ble to please God, that's as much as, without faith it's impossible to walk with God. The holy Ghost means the same thing, when the Apostle saith, that he did walk by faith, and without faith it's impossible to please God, therefore there must be a work of faith to bring the soul to be reconcil'd, and that there may be an agreement between the soul and God before it can walk with him. That's the third thing.
Fourthly, Though there be peace made so that God doth not appear as an enemy against the soul, yet there may be some strangness after peace made. There was peace made between David and Absalom, David was passified towards him, yet he would not see his face for a while, he would have been gone from his presence, there should not be that converse with him in that familier way as a child with the father for a while: So though there be peace made, yet there's re∣quir'd a further work of God for the souls walking with him, that is, That God should render himself in loveliness, and fulness of mercy, and sweetness, and delightfulness unto the soul, that there may be a familiarity between the soul and God; It's one thing for me to know God is not as an enemy to me, that he doth not intend wrath and mi∣sery against me, and another thing for the soul to appre∣hend the sweet delightful countenance of God, and the im∣bracements in the arms of his mercy, and those condescen∣tions of God, that he is willing to come and deal with us Page 271 as a friend with his friend in a familiar way: Therefore that's a fourth work, the Lord is pleased to manifest him∣self to the soul in the sweetness of his love, and his delight; Not only thou art that soul that shalt not be damn'd, that shalt eternally be sav'd; but thou art the soul that my soul delights in, thou art one that I take as my friend, and that I love to deal with in all sweetness, and to bring into a fa∣miliarity with my self. This is that that is manifested to the soul for the bringing of it to this walking with God that here the holy Ghost speaks of concerning Enoch.
Fifthly, The Lord is pleased to send his holy Spirit to guide the soul To himself, and to guide it in walking With himself: In the 8. Rom. it's said, All that are the sons of God are led by the Spirit of God. As a father when he walks with the child he gives him his hand and leads along the child with him∣self: when any comes to be a child of God, God puts forth his hand and leads him, and so they walk together. As have you not seen somtimes a father and child walking in the garden, the father puts forth his finger and the child takes hold of it and so walks along with him: even so the Lord puts forth his Spirit into a gracious soul, and God and the soul thus walks together being led by the Spirit of God; in the 35. Isa. 8, 9. there you may see what the Lord speaks of the way of the redeemed ones. And an high way shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called the way of holiness, the unclean shall not pass over it, but it shall be for those; the way∣faring men though fools, shall not err therein: Though they be very weak and fools, yet they shall not err therein. And no Lyon shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon: it shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there, that's the priviledg of the redeemed ones. Now this way of walking up unto the Land of Ca∣naan from their captivity, it's typical, to typifie the walk of the soul with the Lord.
Sixthly, For the souls walking with God, there is this further done by God, Christ the Son of God he takes the soul and brings it unto God the Father, as the Spirit leads, so Jesus Christ.
Page 272 The Lord Jesus Christ he brings the soul unto the Father to render God and the soul familier together: In Ephes. 2. 18. Through him we have an acccess by one Spirit unto the Fa∣ther: We have an access through him, we have a manuducti∣on, He brings us unto the Father, we have access through Jesus Christ. As if a Prince should take a Traytor that is reconciled to his Father, having his pardon, and his Fa∣ther being passified towards him, the Prince comes & takes him by the hand, and saith, Come, I'le bring you unto my Father, and I will walk along with you unto my Father: So it is, None that ever hath been a sinner can walk with God, but Christ must walk together with him; Christ walks along with him, and so God is ever more rendred sweet, aimable, and lovely; why? Because Christ hath him by the hand (as I may so say) God the Father hath him in one hand, and Christ hath him by the other hand, and so the soul walks in this blessed walk, between the hands of God the Father and the Son; and the holy Ghost leads and guides him too.
CHAP. IV. Walking with God what it is, Opened in Nine Particulars.
BUt now, The way of the soul in this walk with God: When the soul is thus brought to God, and by this means enabled to walk with him, Then what's the way of the soul in walking thus with God?
Walking with God causes the soul to eye God.
In the first place, Now the soul being come thus to God, in all the waies of God it ey's God, and sets God before it. Enoch walked with God: that is, Enoch in the waies of his Page 273 life set God before him, and did eye God in his waies; First beholding the infinite beauty there is in God. Second∣ly, God being the fountain of al good to the soul. Third∣ly, the soul apprehending God infinitly worthy of all ho∣nor. These three things causes the eye to be upon God continually: The Lord hath infinit excellency and beauty in him. The Lord is the fountain of all good to me: The Lord is infinitly worthy of all honor and service; and a soul walking with God eyes God thus continually. In the 26. Psal. 3. For thy loving kindness is before mine eyes, and I have walked in thy truth: Oh Lord! I see thee aimable, love∣ly, and gracious, and the fountain of all good, and Lord, I have walked in thy truth, setting God before me; so in Psal. 16. 8. I have set the Lord alwaies before me that I might not fall. A soul that walks with God scarce ey's any thing but God, when it enjoyes the creature yet the eye is upon God; as the little child walking with the father looks up to the father; every soul that walks with God hath his eye upon him, for there's no such lovely drawing object to the soul as God himself is; whereas wicked men they do not find God to be such a lovely object, sees no such excellency in him, and therfore they rather turn their eyes away from him, they look another way, Psal. 86. 14. They do not set God before them; men that walk according to the lusts of their own hearts in their wicked sinful waies, the Lord is not in all their thoughts, as in the 10. Psalm. That's the first thing in the way of the souls walking with God, he eyes God, and sees God before him.
Walking with God causeth a man to carry himself as in Gods Presence.
Secondly, The soul behaves its self as in Gods Presence. I see my self in Gods presence, and my eye is upon God, Oh let me then look to my self, that the carriage of my soul be as beseems one who is in the presence of so holy, so great, so glorious and blessed a God as the Lord is, in the 2 Cor. 2. Page 274 17. As of God in the sight of God speak we in Christ, saith the Apostle; when we come to do any thing, we do it as of God, in the sight of God, knowing that we are all∣wayes before God. Augustine, speaking concerning Noah's walking with God, he hath this expression, Noah walked with God, that is, he had God alwaies present be∣fore his eyes, walking so holily, and so reverenced God: This is to walk in the fear of God, when the soul upon the apprehention of Gods presence shall labor to compose its self as beseeming the presence before whom it is, and this indeed is the walk that you shall find the Saints of God in all day long, would you know where to find a Saint? you may know his walk, you shall all the day long find him walking in the fear of the Lord, Preverbs 23. 17. saith the text there, Let not thy heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the Lord all the day long. He doth not say, do thou fear the Lord all the day long, but be thou in the fear of the Lord all the day long, Oh the walk of a Christian should be so from morning to night, to walk in the fear of the Lord; and nothing in this world should put him out of this walk, no temptations should call him out of it, but in the fear of the Lord all the day long: This is the walk of a Christian, when he labors to behave himself as be∣seems the presence of God.
Walking with God is, when we make Gods Will the Rule of our will.
Thirdly, The soul may be said to walk with God, When the way of it is the same way that God himself goes, the soul doth that that God doth: What's the way of God, but the way of holiness and righteousness? when the soul makes the Will of God to be the rule of it, I will not be acted by my own will, I will not be acted by any thing but by the Will of God: what is it that God wills? I will the same thing, then the soul walks that way God walks, when it doth sute its self with God, sets the Lord as an example before it, Page 275 as the Scripture saith, Be ye holy as your Heavenly Father is holy; I see the holy and the righteous waies of God, and I labor as a deer child to follow him, and to go in the very same steps that God doth, how doth God carry busi∣nesses? I will labor to carry things so as God doth, that my life shall hold forth a resemblance of God himself; this is to walk with God, to do as God doth, to imitate God; that's a third thing in a souls walking with God.
Walking with God is, when a Soul hath the same Ends that God hath.
The Fourth is this, Not only to do the same thing, to make the will of God to be the rule of it, But to have the same ends that God hath: What's the end that God hath in all his waies? Surely it is, that his blessed Name may be magnified, that his glory may be set forth; I'le drive on the same design, that shall be the great design of my life, it's that that my soul shall aim at as the highest end of all things, and all things shall be subordinate to this end e∣ven, The glory and honor of God, it's that that God aims at, and therefore that which I'le aim at, thus the soul goes along with God; as now, A man may be said to go along with another man when they do both drive on the same designs: Oh! this is a blessed thing indeed. We shall speak to that hereafter: but the very opening what it is shews much of the excellency of it; and I beseech you as you go along, examine your own hearts, see whether by the very mentioning of these things you be not strangers to God; examine by the workings of God in bringing your souls to walk with him, or otherwise by the way of the soul, in eying God, in behaving its self as in the presence of God, in making the Will of God to be its rule, and in driving on the design that God doth.
Walking with God, is the observing the administrations of God and suting the soul to them.
Fifthly, It is the observing of the several administrations of God, and the suting of the soule to the several administra∣tions of God in the world: I open that thus, God some∣times seems to work in one way, sometimes in ano∣ther way; now the soul that walks with God observes which are the several waies and administrations of God in the world, and let me (saith the soul) labor to sute my heart with them: that's thus, sometimes the Lord is in a way of judgments, in the world, heavie and dreadful af∣flictions: yea, sometimes against his own Saints, and Peo∣ple: then let me sute my heart according to this, Oh Lord! we will wait upon thee in the waies of thy judgments, saith the Church in Isa. Are we under Gods way of judgments, in a way of afflictions? Lord, we will sute our selves to honor thee there according to that way, we will labor to exer∣cise those graces that are sutable to these administrations of thine. And Lord, art thou in a way of mercy? we will sute our selves accordingly, and labor to draw forth and exercise our graces that are sutable to those waies of thine. And art thou in a way of affliction in my family, or in a way of mercy? Lord, I will labor to exercise those graces that are sutable to those waies of thine. This is to walk with God. As when we walk with a man, if he turn this way, then I set my self to go with him, and if he turns ano∣ther way, then I sute my self to go with him that way, so though the waies of God be never so variōus, yet the soul that walks with God is sutable to those waies of God; Oh this is a great Art, a great Mystery to sute a mans self to these several administrations of God in the world. You shall have some that if God go in a way of mercy, Oh there they can bless, & praise God, and they think that this is to walk with God; but if God turns his back upon thee and takes away thy choisestearthly comfort (it may be) thy deerest yoke-fellow & so comes in a way of affictions, how Page 277 canst thou sute with Gods waies then? When God was in a way of mercy, then my exercise was in joy, and thanks∣giving, and speaking good of his Name; but now the Lord is in a way of afflictions, now I exercise faith on God, now I exercise patience, now I exercise Christian wisdom, to know what good I can get out of this hand of God, that what courses soever God takes, yet still a Christian hath several graces to exercise in several conditions, and that not only while God is in a smooth path the soul can exer∣cise Joy, and Thanksgiving, & speaking good of his Name: But let God go into a rugged path of very great afflictions, yet the soul doth sute it's self unto God according to his several administrations; this is to walk with God.
Walking with God, is, To have a Holy Dependance upon God. Opened in Four Particulars.
Sixthly, Walking with God, it is, To have a holy depen∣dance upon God in all his waies. For one to live in a holy de∣pendance upon God for these Four things.
First, In a holy dependance upon God for Direction;* Oh lead me in the way of thy truth. When a Christian looks up to God and depends upon him in the constant course of his life, depends upon him for direction, Oh Lord! teach me thy way, Lord, lead me in the way of everlasting life, Lord, send forth thy light and thy truth to guide me; Thou shalt be my guide even unto death, when the soul dare not go one step further, then it sees God going before it, and therefore it saith, Lord, lead me, guide me: I beseech you examine as you go along, can you say, that in the course of your lives this you find; That you walk in a holy de∣pendance upon God for guidance and direction in every step? whatsoever you meddle with, yet your walk is thus in a holy dependance upon God for direction in your bu∣finess, and according as the business is, of lesse or greater conscequence the heart works more after God for guidance and direction for that business. But now, the men of the Page 278 world they are afraid that God should lead them into hard paths, into ttoublesom waies, and therefore they are shy of Gods Guidance; this is the way of wicked hearts, (I say) they are shy of the guidance and direction of God; but a gracious heart saith, let God lead me, and let the way be what it will. The wicked are guided by their own thoughts, by their own counsels, by the examples of o∣ther men, what's most sutable to their own ends, but the way of the Saints is this, Lord, guide me.
Secondly, Their holy dependance upon God it is for protection to protect them in what they do. Lord, I am in the way that * thou hast guided me into, I may meet with much trouble and affliction, but Lord do thou protect me, do thou defend me in this way of thine. As the child walking with the father, if he hears any noise that doth scare him, he looks up to the father, and depends upon his father to be prote∣cted: So when a child of God shall in all his waies walk in a holy dependance upon God for protection, this is to walk with God.
Thirdly, The soul depends upon God for assistance in any thing that it undertakes. Lord, this is the work that thou * callest me to, Oh let me have strength from thy self in this work, I can do nothing without thee Lord, and let me have assistance from thee. Whereas the wicked they make flesh their arm, and therefore there's a curse pronounc'd a∣gainst them, in Jer. 17. 5. verse, they are strangers to any such work as this, of dependance upon God for assistance! Now and then at a spurt, they will say, that God must help them and they can do nothing without God: I but to have a holy, gracious frame of spirit to walk in a holy dependance upon God for assistance in every businesse, this is far from the wicked and ungodly.
Fourthly, The soul walks in a holy dependance upon God for*a blessing upon all it doth. Walk before me and be upright, I am thine exceeding great reward. As if God should say to Abra∣ham, Walk in dependance upon me, I am thy reward, though thou hast little encouragment in the world, yet Page 279 look up to me for thy reward: so when the soul turneth from men, and the world, and minds not so much what en∣couragement it hath from the world, but looks up to God, Lord, I depend upon thee for a blessing, and how ever things seem to go, yet Lord, I look up to thee for the brin∣ging all to a good issue; here's now a soul walking with God.
Walking with God makes a man free and ready in the waies of God.
Seventhly, One that walks with God, in all his waies of Ho∣liness and Obedience his heart is free in him, he comes off readily to every good work, he is not hall'd and pull'd to God, but he walks with him. There's a great deal of differenet between one that is dragged after another, (as if you should drag a prisoner that hath no mind to go that way) and another that walks up and down with delight and pleasure with you: 'Tis not enough to walk with God, for to be in the way that God would have you to be, or to do the things that God would have you to do, except your hearts do come off freely in the waies of obidience, except there be a cheerfulness in the waies of obedience, except you choose the waies of holiness as the waies that are most sutable to you, this is the walking with God. In the 119. Psal. 45. I will walk at liberty, (saith David) for I seek thy precepts. It's a notable Scripture. The men of the world they think that there is no walking at liberty but for them to satisfie their defires to the uttermost, to walk after their lusts which is the Scripture phrase: No but saith David, my liberty is this, I seek thy precepts. A carnal heart thinks it is the greatest bondage in the world for to seek the pre∣cepts of God, and to conform to Gods precepts, that I must walk according to rule, that's a bondage: No, I'le walk at liberty, for I seek thy precepts. It's an excellent argu∣ment of grace in the heart, to account the precepts of God to be the greatest liberty to the soul: When I am in the Page 280 waies of sin, I am in the waies of bondage, I am a slave to Satan; but when I seek thy precepts, I am at liberty. As a man when he is walking up and down in the fields, he is at liberty. So when the soul is walking with God it is at liberty, but when the soul is walking without God it is in a dungeon, a prison; but (I say) when it walks with God it is at liberty, it comes off freely in all the waies of obedi∣ence.
Walking with God consists in Communion with God.
Eighthly, Walking with God consists in the Converse and Communion that the soul hath with him in holy duties: There are the special walks of the soul with God, and of God, with the soul in the duties of holy Worship. In the 18. of Levit. 4. saith the Lord there, Ye shall do my Judgments, and keep mine Ordinances, to WALK therein, I am the Lord your God. You must Walk in Gods Ordinances, the Ordinan∣ces of God they are the Walks of a gracious soul, and there the soul meets with God, in the 26. of Levit. 11, 12. It's a notable Scripture to shew that in Gods Ordinances there the soul meets with God. And I will set my tabernacle a∣mongst you, and my soul shall not abhor you, that is, shall de∣light in you, And I will WALK among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people. I will set my Tabernacle amongst you: What's that? That is, mine Ordinances, you shall enjoy mine Ordinances, you shall have the duties of my Worship, and I will Walk among you: then God walks among us when we enjoy his Ordinances. So that you see in the 18. of Levit. there God saith, You shall walk in mine Ordinances, the Ordinances are the godly mans walk: then in the 26. of Levit. the Ordinances are Gods walk; so that we see they walk the same way, and there God and a gracious heart meet together. The Churches enjoying Or∣dinances are the Candlesticks that we reade of in the 1 of Revel. 13. In the midst of the seven golden Candlesticks was one like unto the son of man, cloathed with a garment down to the feet,Page 281and gird about the paps with a golden girdle: The Lord Jesus Christ is in the midst of the Candlesticks; that is, in the midst of the Churches, where there are the Ordinances of God, there he is, and if you would walk with him you must find him there; in the 68. Psal. 24. there likewise you may see what the way of a gracious heart is in walking with God, They have seen thy goings O God, even the going of my God, my King, (where?) in the Sanctuary. If you would walk with another you must know where his goings are, observe where he uses to walk, and be going there. They have seen thy going O God, even the goings of my God, my King, in the Sanctuary; there's the goings of God, if you would meet with God and walk with him, it must be in the Sanctuary, it must be in his Ordinances. In the 7. of Cant. 5. verse, it is said, That the King (speaking of Christ) is held in the galleries; now what's that but in the Ordinances? that's as it were the galleries of the great King of Heaven and Earth. And you know Princes and great men, they have their sumptuous galleries wherein they use to walk, and only chief favourites are permitted and suffered to be there to walk up and down: The King is HELD in his galleries: that is, when Jesus Christ is in Communion with his Saints in his Ordinances, in the du∣ties of Worship: Oh 'tis the most pleasant galleries to walk in that he hath, it's as pleasant a gallery as he hath in Heaven it's self, Oh! he loves to be there, The King is Held there. Oh! many a sweet and comfortable turn hath a gracious heart in these galleries, that is, in the Ordinan∣ces and Duties of Worship in walking with Jesus Christ.
When the soul is exercised in the Ordinances, it hath converse with Christ, it hearkens what Christ saith, and Christ hearkens what such a soul saith, I will hearken what he will say, and the soul knows the voice of Christ, 5. Cant. 2. It is the voice of my beloved, saith the Spouse. Oh it knows what the voice of Christ is when they walk toge∣ther in Ordinances: Christ speaks to the soul, and the soul knows his voice, and the soul speaks again to Jesus Christ, Page 282 there is a blessed converse between them, Christ lets him∣self into the heart, and the heart opens its self to Christ, Oh! the Communion that a gracious heart hath with Je∣sus Christ in Ordinances it is unspeakable! Only those that are acquainted with it understand what the meaning of conversing with God there means; It is with many even as it was with Adam, that when God came to walk in the garden, we read that he was hid in the bush: The Ordi∣nances and Duties of Worship are as Paradice, as Eden; and God comes many times to walk with us, and would feign have communion and converse with us, yet Oh! how many times are many of his servants hid in the bush; they have walked loosly, and contracted some guiltiness upon their spirits, and so the presence of God is terrible to them, and the more the voice of God, and the presence of God is in an Ordinance, the more they are afraid because of some guiltinesse: they are intangled in the bush when as they should be conversing with God, Oh the difference that there is between some Christians and others in the exercising themselves in the Duties of Worship! There are some that when they are worshiping of God, Oh what sweet and blessed terms have they with God, and Communion be∣tween God and their souls! and others, though (it may be) they have some good in them, yet they are intangled in the bryars of the world, and though God be in the midst of his Ordinances, yet they have no converse, no commu∣nion with him at all.
Walking with God causeth the soul to follow God more as be re∣veals himself more.
The Ninth Particular is this: The soul that walks with God, as God reveals himself unto it still more and more, so it fol∣lows God more and more, and still seeks to glorifie God more and more, that's walking: There is a progresse in the waies of godliness where there is a walking. The soul when first it is led by the hand of Jesus Christ to God, and comes and Page 283 walks with him, Oh 'tis sweet and comfortable, but still as God reveals himself more and more to the soul, so the soul still grows up in godlinesse more and more, and still is more holy, and more gracious, and honours God more in the Conversation of it than formerly it hath done, it gets neerer and neerer to Heaven every day; this is to walk with God. There's a notable Scripture in the 63. Psal. 8. David saith there, My soul follows hard after thee, O Lord, thy right hand upholdeth me. As a poor child that is walking with the father, it may be he is weak, and cannot go so fast as it doth desire, but the father puts forth his hand and takes hold of him and so upholds and strengthens the child, and it follows hard after the father: so 'tis here: Oh Lord thy right hand upholds me: If it did not uphold me, I could not walk, but thy right hand upholds me, and then my soul follows hard after thee, and so increa∣ses in godliness more and more: I will praise thee more and more saith David in another place speaking of the honor that he disir'd to give to God in his way, he profess'd he would still ad to the praise of God, and praise him more and more.
These are the principal things wherein walking with God consists.
Now to all these take in that consideration that we have mentioned all along, and that makes it up, That all these are in a constant course of a mans life, This walking with God.
Some other men that know not what it is to walk with God, perhaps they may come and walk a step or two in Gods waies, but they quickly turn out again, and they find them tedious and irksom to them: But the heart that walks with God doth all this that I have named.
That is, Eyes God in all his waies. Behaves its self as in the presence of God. Walks in the same way God doth. Observes Gods designs. And so likewise the rest, and all this in the constant course of his life.
It's true, Through the violence of some temptation there Page 284 may chance to be a step astray, or there may be perhaps some fall in the way; but still the heart is God-ward, and still is towards God, it gets up again, and walks again in the way, it doth not meerly go a step into the way of God as some carnal men do; it may be somtimes when Gods hand is upon them, or upon the hearing of some Sermon, then their hearts are a little touch'd, and they seem to be a little froward; but take the constant course of their lives, and it's in the way of sin; But the constant course of the waies of the Saints, are in the waies of God. As now, a Swine may go through a fair meadow, I but that's not the place that it doth so much regard, but it would be in the mire and dirt, and there it wallows. So it is with many wicked men, they will come and hear, and pray, and do some good duties, this is a Swine in a meadow; but when they come to those waies that may satisfie the lusts of the flesh, there they wallow, that's their proper place, and therefore far from walking with God. A begger will perhaps follow a man a little way so long as he hath hopes of getting any thing by him: but if the man goes still a∣way from him, he turns aside to another way, he will go no further along with him: so 'tis with many men, even many professors they would seem to follow God perhaps for comfort, and for something that they would have from him; but if they cannot find presently what they would have from God, then they turn aside: whereas (I beseech you observe this) the difference between a friends walking with another out of delight of Communion with him, and a begger that only goes along with another man begging for an alms; The man that goes along begging for the alms he doth not regard the company of this man any further than he may have hopes of an alms from him, if he cannot have what he would have, or if he have once what he would have, he turns aside from the man: But a friend that is walking with his friend, that that satis∣fies him is, the company of his friend, and the converse that he hath with him while he is walking, and so he goes Page 285 on in a constant way, and walks to the end of the place where his friend is to go, and is sorry that the walk is so short, and still desires to converse with his friend: So I say, this is the difference for all the world in Professors, there are some that have some touch of conscience, and they see there is no way for them if they have not mer∣cy from God but they must perish, and perhaps they will be seeking of God, and following of God, and crying to God for mercy: but if they have not comfort according as they expect they turn away from him, and seek for comfort other waies: But a gracious heart that is indeed turned to God, it doth not only seek to God for mercy for its self that it might be delivered from misery, but it sees an excellency in God, and finds sweetness in Converse and Communion with God, and loves the presence of God, and this is the ground of the constancy of his heart in the waies of holiness, Because it loves so much of the presence of God, and Communion with God, it is for God him∣self that the soul is in those waies, and such a one will hold out in the waies of God. Indeed one that meerly serves God in a servile way, and seeks himself only in seeking of God, such a one (I say) will be ready to turn aside; but where the soul walks with God out of a sence of Commu∣nion, Sweetness, and Good that there is in Communion with God, such a one goes on in a constant way to the end and is not tir'd in the waies of God as others are. You know, If you be walking from place to place, if you have good company with you, you are not weary, you account the journy nothing, why? because you have good com∣pany, and especially if you have good discourse all along too; so it is with Christians, Oh the waies of God come to be very easie to them upon this ground, and so they hold out.
CHAP. V. Twelve several Excellencies of walking with God, Opened.
THe next thing is, The Excellency that there is in walking with God.
The first Excellency.
And this may be in the first place: The walking with God. Oh there is an Excellency in it: If it were only this, That it makes the waies of God easie: All the waies of God, how easie are they to the soul that knows what this means, [Of walking with God] That hath God in his company con∣tinually, Oh the easiness that there is in the waies of God! it's that that is worth a world, and it's a very grievous and sad condition that men and women are in who have con∣vinced consciences, and dare not wilfully go out of Gods waies, but are alwaies drooping and find them grievous and tedious to them: But it is because they have not communi∣on with God in them: they are in them meerly, upon ne∣cessity because they ought to be in them. But the Saints find the waies of God more easie to them, for they have al∣waies good company with then. When I awake, I am alwaies with thee, saith David. The very nights are pleasant unto them: when he awakes still he is with God. There's ma∣ny men and women cannot lie alone; those that cannot sleep when they awake, if they have no company with them the nights are tedious; but if they cannot sleep, and yet when they awake they have some with them the nights are not so tedious to them: When I awake I am ever with thee saith David concerning God. That's the first thing, for the Excellency of this walking with God.
The second Excellency.
But Secondly, This walking with God, it is, most hono∣rable. Oh 'tis an honorable thing to walk with God. At∣tendance upon Kings and Princes we know is honorable; The Maids of Honor that do but attend upon a Queen, it's a great honor; the attendance upon a King, yea upon Noble Men: But now, not only attendance, but free con∣verse with Princes, that's more than meer attendance; to walk with an Emperour as a friend up and down in his Galleries, in his Gardens, in his Orchyard. So it is with the Saints, Abraham is called Gods friend. You are not my servants, but my friends, saith Christ. God admits the soul to come as a friend and to have converse with him, Oh! this is honorable. They were accounted blessed that were in the presence of Solomon, that were but his servants to wait at his Table; much more to sit at his Table, to see the order of Solomons Table: Then to be alwaies with God, and walking with him, what a blessed and honourable thing is this! It is the honor of Angels themselves, that they do but see the face of God, the Angels that are in Hea∣ven do behold the face of God; what honor is it then for Christians to be alwaies walking with God? Honor! 'tis that that is the great honor and happiness of the Church when she shall be in her glory. Mark how Christ doth ex∣presse himself, in Revel. 3. 4. Thou hast a few names even in Sardis, which have not defiled their garments, What's promi∣sed to them? and they shall walk with me in white; for they are worthy. There shall be a glory put upon them, and they shall walk with me, for they are worthy. The walking with Christ, that's the greatest honor that Christ could promise unto them. And so in the 14. of the Revelation. it's said of those that stood upon Mount Sion with the Lamb, having harps in their hands, and singing of a new song; in the 4 verse, These are they which were not defiled with women, for they are virgins; these are they which follow thePage 288Lamb whithersoever he goes; these were redeemed from among men; being the first fruit unto God and to the Lamb. They follow the lamb whithersoever he goes: This is the honor that is put upon them: Oh the walking with God it is most honora∣ble.
The third Excellency.
Thirdly, The Excellency of walking with God consists in this, In the blessed satisfaction that the soul must needs have in walking with him: to walk with life its self, with glory, with happinesse, and that in a constant way, this must needs satisfie the soul, must I say bring inconceivable satis∣faction and peace unto the soul thus walking with Him. You know what Philip said, Let us see the Father, and it suffi∣ceth us: What, would it suffice Philip to see God? Oh then! not only to see him, but to walk and be continually with him. People will run many times but to have the fight of a great man, but to be admitted into the same room and to walk with him; this is more, in the 33. of Exod 14. And he said, my presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest: God promised to Moses that his presence should be with him, and then when the presence of God is with the soul, Oh the rest that the soul hath by the presence of God! Oh the lettings out of joy that there must needs be to the heart that walks with God! in the 38. Psal. 8. 9. They shall be a∣bundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house, and thou shalt make them drink of the rivers of thy pleasures; for with thee is the fonntain of life: In thy light shall we see light. Certainly where God walks there is a glorious light round about, that such a soul never walks in darkness, the light of God shines about it; as we reade of those that walked with Christ to Emaus, the text saith, Their hearts burn'd within them. Certainly the hearts of the Saints walking with God must needs be fild with those influences from God that must make their hearts glow within them while they are walking with him: in Psal. 89. 15, 16. you have a nota∣ble Scripture there about the satisfaction of the soul in Page 289 walking with God, Blessed are the people that know the joyfull sound: they shall walk O Lord in the light of thy countenance, In thy Name shall they rejoyce all the day, and in thy righteousness shall they be exalted. Those that walk with God they walk in the light of Gods Countenance, and in Gods Name shal they rejoyce all the day, and in his righteousness shall they be exalted. Oh! a blessed thing it is to walk with God. The speech of that noble Marques Galiatius that was of great birth in Italy, and forsaking all his honors and friends and coming to Geneve, he had this expression, saith he, upon a time feeling his sweet converse with God, Cursed (saith he) be that man that accounts all the gold and silver in the world worth one daies enjoyment of Communion with Jesus Christ. He had left a great deal of gold and silver, the Pope himself was a neer kinsman to him, and great posses∣sions and kindred he had, and left it all to come to Geneve, to professe the truth there, and he found all recompenced in Cōmunion with Christ, and his heart was so ful with it, that he even cursed those that should account all the gold and silver in the world worth the enjoyment of one hours communion with Christ: Oh an hours walking with Christ is more than all the world. I appeal to those souls that have been acquainted with this, whether would you have lost such an hour that you have been conversing with God for all the world? what would you take for the enjoyment of such an hour as that is? Oh not thousand thousands of worlds a gracious heart would not take for some hours that it hath in enjoyment of communion with God in walking with him; Oh there's infinite sweetness in wal∣king with God. There's a great deal of good to be had in walking with the Saints, as sometimes I have told you of Dr. Taylor that was the Martyr, when he came to prison he rejoyced that ever he was put in prison there to meet with that Angel of God John Bradford: Now if it be comforta∣ble to have communion with the Saints though in prison, Oh how sweet is it to have communion with God in wal∣king with him! I remember I have read of a King, that Page 290 once beholding Plato walking up and down with other Phylosophers, he cries out thus; Oh life! this is life and true happiness; yonder is true happiness: he did not look upon his Kingdom as affording a life to him, and as affording that happiness as he did beleeve Plato and the Phylosophers had conversing one with another about Phylosphie; as if he should say, 'tis not the Kings of the earth that live the hap∣py lives, but these Phylosophers that walk and converse thus one with another. Oh then what life and happiness it is for the soul to walk up and down with God, and to converse with God himself! what though thou walkest in the velly of Bacha, yea what though thou walkest in the shadow of death in respect of outward afflictions, yet wal∣king with God is that that will shine upon thee, and will sweeten thy heart even when thou art walking in the vally of Bacha, and in the shadow of death. In the 7. of the Revel. see whither Jesus Christ leads the soul in walking with Him, The Lamb which is in the midst of the Throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters, and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. Thus when thou walkest with Jesus Christ, he leads thee to the living fountains of waters that comfort thee; the comforts that thou hadst in the world were but as dirty puddles; but those comforts that thou hast in Christ when thou walkest with him, they are the fountain of living waters. That's the third thing wherein the excellency of walking with God consists, The abundance of soul-satisfaction that the heart hath in God.
The fourth Excellency.
The fourth Excellency that there is in walking with God is this, It's a special part of the covenant on our part that God doth make with us, upon which the very blessing of the cove∣nant doth in grreat part depend: as that Scripture in the 17. of Gen. doth cleerly shew, where God is coming to make a co∣venant with Abraham, and to be a God to him and to his Page 291 seed; what's that God requires of Abraham now? Walk be∣fore me and be upright; Then I am God alsufficient, and I en∣ter into covenant with you, to be a God to you, and a God to your seed, Walk before me and be upright. As if that were all the thing that God look'd at, that you should walk with him and be upright: [then] you shall have the blessing of the Covenant. Oh this is a great excellency, that it is a special part of the Covenant that God makes with his people on their part: and then on his part, he will be a God unto them. What was it that God requir'd, in the 6. of Micah, 6, 7. verses, there you may see how God prizes walking with him, that it's the great thing that God doth look at, whereas there were some that said, Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow my self before the high God? shall I come before him with burns offerings? with Calves of a yeer old? will the Lord be pleased with thousands of Rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of Oyl? shall I give my first born for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? What shall I do to please God? Mark in the 8. verse, He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good: and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do Justly, and to love Mercy, and to WALK humbly with thy God? As if he should say, This is the great thing, to walk with thy God; not only to exercise some particular grace of thy Justice, and Mercy, but in general, to walk with thy God; Never tell me of any thing that you would do for me, but in the constant course of thy life, walk humbly with thy God. This therefore was the comfort of Hezekiah when he had the message of death come to him, in the 38. of Isa. Remember O Lord (saith he) how I have walked before thee in truth, and with a perfect heart; he turned his face to the wall, and (the text saith) he wept (it was for joy:) as if he should say, Lord, it's true, there hath been many infirmities in me; but Lord, I have walked be∣fore thee in truth, and with a perfect heart; as if he should say, I may boldly challenge, and I do come now Lord to challenge the good of the Covenant, that thou wouldst re∣member me according to the riches of thy mercy, for Lord Page 292 I have walked with thee: as if he should say, Lord, was not that the thing that thou didst require of my father A∣braham? why Lord, I have walked before thee, and I have been upright in some measure; therefore Lord, be a God alsufficient to me, Lord, remember thy Covenant, be a God to me, be All in All to me because of this. Oh my brethren! Is not this worth ten thousand thousand worlds, That the soul may be able to appeal to God that it hath done that which is a special thing that is requir'd in the Covenant on our parts; and so upon it may have the assu∣rance of Gods performing the Covenant on his part.
The Fifth Excellency.
And then the fifth thing is, There is a blessed safety in wal∣king with God. As in the 23. Psal. 4. there see the Prophet David that was a man much exercised in walking with God, saith he, Yea though I walk through the vally of the sha∣dow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me, thy rod and thy staff doth comfort me: I am walking with thee, and though I be walking in the shadow of death, I'le therefore fear no evil. Now is it not a blessed thing to be in safety alwaies with God? And in the 138. Psal. 7. saith David, Though I walk in the midst of trouble thou wilt revive me; thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies: and thy right hand shall save me. No matter what the trouble be so God be with the soul; he that walks uprightly walks sure∣ly, in the 10. of the Proverbs, 9. Whereas it's said of the wicked that they walk upon a snare continually: in the 18. of Job, 8. The wicked walk upon a snare: The waies of wickednesse that you walk in, they may seem to be pleasant and comfortable to you, but certainly you are upon a snare, and you may be catch'd and undone for ever, though perhaps thou hast escap'd all this while, yet thou art in continual dangers, Every step (I say) thou goest on in the waies of sin, thou art upon a snare, and in danger to be catch'd to thy eternal destruction; But he that walks up∣rightly, Page 293 he walks surely, and this is a great excellency, for a man to walk surely, I know I am in my way for I am with God: A child doth not fear what way soever it goes in, if he can but see his father. Now the soul may know surely, I am in the right way, I am with God; and I am safe what ever danger comes, for I am walking with God.
The Sixth Excellency.
The sixth Excellency that there is in walking with God is this, From hence the soul comes to enjoy a holy boldness and a holy familiarity with God. It may be when the soul comes first to God, the presence of the great God strikes some fear, there is some dread of the Majesty of God; But when the soul hath used to converse with him, there is a holy fami∣liarity that the soul hath with God, and a holy boldness, it can have free liberty to say any thing to him now; and this is the reason that some now that never knew what the spirit of prayer meant, and what the liberty of the soul in opening its self to God meant before, yet when they have come to be acquainted with the waies of God; Oh what liberty have they then in their spirits to open their hearts to God, yea, they can open their hearts to God as one friend to another. I remember it's said of Luther, that when ever he was praying, he could speak to God as to his friend. In Job, 22. 21. Acqusint now thy self with Him, and be at peace. The soul comes to have an acquaintance with God, Oh what a phrase is here! What, acquaint our selves with God, that God should be our acquaintance! I, God is willing to be the acqaintance of the poorest Christian in the world, Poor men and women, and Servants, and o∣thers that perhaps some rich men that is by them wil scorn their acquaintance, but they account them rather (as it's spoken of some vile people) fit to be set with the dogs of the flock, yea, perhaps though they be poor godly people, yet they think it too much debasing themselves to have any kind of acquaintance with them: Well, but the infinite Page 294 God though he is so high that he humbles himself to be∣hold the very things that are done in Heaven, yet this God thinks not much to be one of thy acquaintance, to be of the acquaintance of any one that hath any godliness in them; when we see a great man, a man of parts and ho∣nor come to some poor man and shake him by the hand, we will say, Look what an humble man is this, that will be so familiar with the meanest of all. Oh! now acquaint thy self with God, This is the blessedness of walking with God; the soul comes to have a familiar converse with God, and a holy boldness.
The seventh Excellency.
The seventh benefit or Excellency that there is in wal∣king with God is this, The Communication of Gods secrets. He that walks with God shall come to know the mind of God. It's impossible for a man to take delight in walking with another but he must discover secrets from him; there's ne∣ver any true friendship where there is a closeness of spirit. But where there is true friendship they will take one another and walk together, and open their hearts each to other: this is comfortable walking indeed. Thus it is in walking with God, this is the blessing of it, such souls they have the secrets of God discovered to them, they come to know much of the mind of God; though they are weak in their natural parts, yet (I say) they come to know much of Gods mind because they are with God. We reade in the 13. of Proverbs, 20. vers. saith the holy Ghost there, He that walketh with wise men shall be wise. Then what shall he be that walks with God? Surely if there be wisdom to be learned from our walking with wise men, then there is wis∣dom to be learn'd in walking with God: 'Tis from hence that men that are weak in parts they come to have such ex∣cellent knowledg in the great mysteries of the Gospel, and you wonder at it: you see such a mean servant that a while ago could understand nothing at all; yet now comes to Page 295 understand the great mysteries of the Gospel, and that be yond many great Scholers: How comes this to passe? he walks with the God of wisdom, and the God of wisdom doth delight to let out himself to him, and to open his heart to him, they come to know the counsels of God be∣cause they walk with him; those Christians that keep close to God in a holy conversation walking with him, certain∣ly they come to know more of the mind of God than o∣thers do; others that walk loosly they know little of the great mysteries of the Gospel, they may talk something of them, but certainly they have not a spiritual insight into the Great mysteries of the Gospel so as those have that walk with God.
The eighth Excellency.
The eighth benefit of walking with God it is, That such find favour in Gods eyes for granting their petitions; for to hear them in their prayers. In the 37. Psal. 4. ver. Delight thy self in the Lord, and he shall give thee the desire of thine heart; walk with God, and enjoy converse and communion with him, so as to delight thy self with him, and he will give thee thy hearts desire, thou shalt have what thou wouldst have. As now, if a man have a petition to give to any great man, If he can but observe him in his walks, then he thinks that surely when he may have such an opportunity, now to present it as he hopes to have audiance, and acceptance of the petition. I remember I have read of one that offered to give a great sum of mony that he might have but liberty to whisper any thing in the Kings ear every day, why? be∣cause thereby he thought that he should have a great many people come to him to desire his help for to prefer their pe∣titions, and if he might have but that liberty he should get enough that way. Now the soul that hath the liberty of walking with God, what a priviledg hath he? and what opportunities to present petitions to God? and the Lord de∣lights in hearing of them. If a King will admit a man to walk with him, surely such a man whatsoever he presents Page 296 it's like to speed. Now my brethren, upon this ground it is thus: you shall see a great deal of difference in a formal professor's prayer, & the prayer of a godly man that walks with God; the difference in the prayers of these two is thus: I'le set it out by this similitude. You have your beggers, and they pray for an alms, but they stand at the door; but if you a have special friend, an acquaintance that shall come to desire a favour from you, the door is opened for him, you carry him into the Parlour, and there he opens his mind to you, he hath a great deal of priviledg more than the other: Both come to ask a favour from you, but one stands at the door, and the other is let into the Parlour and walks up and down there, and there opens his mind to you. Just for all the world is there this diffe∣rence between the prayers of formal professors, and the prayers of those that walk with God; Those that make but a meer profession of Religion, they will pray as others do, but they are like beggers at the door, they see not Gods face all the while, they knock it may be, but the door is not opened for them to come in: But a gracious heart that walks with God, doth not only stand knocking at the door, but it is opened and he comes into the Pre∣sence Chamber, and there saith God, What is thy request O thou soul? As if a friend should hear another that is his dear friend stand knocking at the door, he presently o∣pens the door and carries him into the best room that he hath, and there saith, Tell me what it is that you would have, I am not able to deny you; and this is the priviledg of those that are gracious and holy, that walk with God: they have much priviledg in prayer, much benefit that way, and freedom with God, and assurance of Gods gran∣ting of their petitions.
The ninth Excellency.
In the ninth place, There's this Excellency in the souls walking with God, There must needs be a glory put upon the soul.Page 297 As it was with Moses, he went up and was but with God fourty daies upon the mount, and when he came down, his face did shine that the people were not able to behold it: God appeared in a visible manner to him; But spiritually it's true now, the soul that is conversing with God fourty daies, yea, in the constant course of his life, hath a beauty, a lustre, a glory put upon it, and such a lustre and glory that those that have enlightened consciences and yet are guilty they are scarce able to bear the fight of them: As I appeal to you, when you have given liberty to some way of sin, and you have come into the presence of those that have been godly and walked very close with God, hath it not struck a terror to you? for there is a glory and beau∣ty upon those souls that do walk close with God, they do shine in the midst of a crooked and perverce generation. What's the glory of Heaven but the reflection of Gods pre∣sence upon Heaven that makes it so glorious? And in its measure a gracious heart that walks close with God hath the glory of Heaven upon it.
The Tenth Excellency.
Tenthly, Gods presence doth mightily act every grace, doth draw forth every grace: (and that I lay down as another di∣stinct head in the excellency of walking with God) I say, it draws forth every grace, the graces of the Spirit of God are alwaies kept in action: as now, fire will draw fire. The Lord being of infinite holinesse, when the heare is holy it being in the presence of God walking with him, (I say) all holinesse must needs be drawn forth, and must be acted; and this will put a mighty beauty upon men, while they have not only grace in their hearts but it is acted. And this is a great blessing to have our graces acted, drawn forth, and enlarged, and this is the benefit of walking with God.
The Eleventh Excellency.
And besides, The presence of God, and familiarity of the soul in walking with him, will make the presence of God neither at death or judgment shall ever be terrible to it. Those that now walk with God and have much converse with him, (I say) when they come to die, Gods presence shall not be terrible to them; yea when Jesus Christ shall come in flaming fire to revenge himself upon those that know him not, the pre∣sence of Christ shal not be terrible to them: Why? Because they walked with Christ all the daies of their lives: In the 11. of Hosea, 10. vers. They shall walk after the Lord: he shall roar like a Lyon. Mark how these two are joyned together: wicked and ungodly men they shall tremble at the roaring of a Lyon: but for the Saints it shal not be terrible to them: And how much is it worth, that when God shall appear in death, and at judgment here and hereafter, the terrour of God shall be taken away? My brethren, God appears at death, and at the times of Judgment ordinarily in another manner than he doth in the time of prosperity; you see no terror in Gods presence now; but beware of it when death is approaching: wicked men when they lie upon their death-beds, how terrible is the presence of God to them then! but those that walk with God shall not find it so: when they come to die, then God appears to them; Now am I going to stand before the great God, to have my eternal estate determined one way or other: But what God is this? He is great indeed; but he is my friend, I have had converse with him all the daies of my life: And so, when I must come to Judgment here comes Jesus Christ with his thousands of Angels in glory, but it is Christ that I have conversed with all the daies of my life, this Christ hath been my friend before whom I am. This will be the comfort in walking with God.
The twelfth Excellency.
And then, The end of the walk, that makes it belssed indeed. Oh! how blessed will that make it! It's a blessed thing to walk with God now; but when you come to the End of this walk you shall find it blessed indeed. If a man did come to enjoy God at last, though it was through never so many difficulties, yet he had cause to blesse God. If one were going to possess a Kingdom, though his way were ne∣ver such a difficult way and hard, yet the end of his way would make it comfortable, because it is to go and take a Kingdom: But now, you that are walking with God, you have comfort in your walk, but the end of your walk, oh that will be glorious indeed! it is to possesse a Kingdom, it is to have the crown of glory set upon your heads; your communion that you have with God here, it is but as the forerunner of that glorious Communion that you shall en∣joy with him together with the Saints and Angels to all e∣ternity.
And thus we have given you the heads at least of the Ex∣cellency that there is in, Walking with God. No marvel though the holy Ghost sets such a commendations upon E∣noch, Above al things, That he walked with God, seeing there is so much good in it. I confesse I had thought not to have left this Head without applying of it, and war∣ming it upon your hearts, that you might walk so with God that you might not lose the comfort, and blessing, and sweet Excellency that you have had opened to you in wal∣king with God; only let me say thus much, Be in love with it; Know, there is no such good in any other path, the Devil doth but gul you, and your own hearts; and the world doth but deceive you, if it promise any good in any other way that will counter vail this: Oh no, the walking with God it is the good of a Christian, it's his happinesse, his glory, his commendations; Oh that this may be re∣corded of you as it was of Enoch! And Enoch walked with God.
CHAP. VII. Five Ʋses of Exhortation, in walking with God.
Now we proceed. Some Use I shall make of this (brief∣ly) before I go to the third head, about Evidences of walking with God.
The First Ʋse.
First, Bless God that he will be pleased to walk thus with his poor creatures; bless the Lord for his goodness to us: Happy are the Angels that stand before the Lord: How happy are we then that may have this free converse with God! What, we that were not only strangers but enemies to God a while since, now to walk with him. Oh! a blessed thing it is: Let God be magnified for this his goodness to us, even He that humbleth Himself to behold the things that are done in Heaven, do but look upon the things that are done in Heaven, Psalm. 113. and yet he will condescend fo far to His poor creatures even here on earth, as to walk with them; were we indeed wholly freed from sin it were some∣what; but while we are not only so mean in our selves, but so sinful, and yet that God wi•l so walk with us, this we have cause to bless God for if we should see his face here∣after, though we should never see him in this world; but that God should not only grant unto us this, That we should hereafter, after a wearisome and tedious pilgrimage here in this world come to see His face, but that we should have so much converse with Him here, Oh magnified and blessed be the Name of God for this.
The second Ʋse.
Secondly, What strangers are the most part of the world to this that I am speaking of. That which I am speaking of it's a riddle to most men in the world, This walking with God is but an empty sound to most men, yea, for the grea∣test part of the world they walk (as the Scripture speaks) after their own counsels, you shall find divers notable ex∣pressions in Scripture of the walk of sinners, of wicked men.
They walk according to their own counsels. They walk after the flesh. They walk after their lusts. They walk after the course of this world. They walk in the vanity of their minds. They walk contrary unto God. They walk according to men.
Yea, That's observable unto this, That the holy Ghost condemns, not only walking according to the course of the world, and as men, But to walk in the way of Kings is condemn'd in Scripture: In 2 Chron. 28. 2. If to follow the course of any men one would think it might be most cōmendable the following of the King: but here's a charge against Ahaz that he walked in the waies of the Kings of Israel: and the 2 Kings, 17. 8. They walked in the Statutes of the Heathen: here's to walk as Kings walk, and then to walk in the Laws of Kings, God would not have any men walk in them any further than they are according to his own Statutes. Not to say, it's according to Law, and I must walk according to Law: No, this is charged to walk according to the practice of Kings, or their Laws be∣ing evil. And there's another Scripiure in the I Kings, 15. 26. He did evil in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the waies of his father, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin. There's to walk in the way of great men, and that's con∣demned. Secondly, to walk in the way of the Laws of the places where we live. Thirdly, to walk according to our fathers, that's condemned. And then lastly, to walk Page 302 according to the common course of the world, that's con∣demned; and yet this is the walk of sinners. And further The Scripture saith, That wicked men they walk in dark∣ness: and they walk after their own imaginations, and in the vanity of their minds, they walk in lies, and their hearts walk after the sight of their own eyes, and they walk after their covetousness: We might mention neer twenty such kind of expressions in Scripture, and these are the walks of sinners: But the waies of the Saints, they are to walk with God, but those that walk in the way of sin∣ners, that is, in the vanity of their minds according to the fight of their own eyes, after their covetousness, and after the flesh, and their lusts, and lasiviousness, and vanity, and such kind of expression as we have in Scripture, Certain∣ly they shall have the end of their walk to be no other but destruction and eternal misery.
The Third Ʋse.
Thirdly, What vile hearts are ours that are so backward to walk with God, seeing God is pleased to admit of his Saints to walk with him! even those that are godly are to be rebuk'd from hence that they should be so backward to come in to walk with God: It is our glory, That is that that would make our lives comfortable, it would make this wilderness of ours to be a paradice, it would make our Gardens to be Edens, it would make our Houses to be Churches, and make the Church to be a Heaven unto us, and yet we are backward unto this. Oh that we would but consider of this when we are in our walk & there have vain thoughts: As ordinarily men that are walking in their pleasant Gar∣dens, or it may be pleasant Rooms, Oh the vanity and fol∣ly of their thoughts! I may speak to you, who do you walk withal all this while; when you are a walking in your Gal∣leries, or Parlours, or Gardens, or alone in the fields, who are you parlying withal? who are you conversing withal? are not you walking many times with the Devil, and ma∣king Page 303 provision for the flesh? you should be walking with God: what are you the Saints of God? doth God offer himself to walk and converse with you, and will you walk with the flesh, and converse with the Devil? and be rou∣ling of sin and wickedness up and down in your thoughts? Oh what a vile and sinful thing is this! The Lord humble you for your sinful walks, humble you that are Saints, you sometimes have had some walks with God, why is it that you walk no more close with God? you complain sometimes of your great business in the world, and occasi∣ons to converse with the world that you have no time for your Communion with God; and yet when you are off from the world, and when you have time alone wherein you might converse with God, and when you have walks to the Citie and from the Citie again, what Communion might you have with God! But Oh! how backward are our hearts even unto this that is our happinesse, and our glory! That's a third Use by way of reproof even to the Saints, which is raised from the consideration of the excel∣lency that there is in our walking with God.
The Fourth Ʋse.
Fourthly, By way of exhortation, Oh let us keep close to God in our walking with him. We reade of Peter, that he saw Christ walking upon the water, and he would leap to him to walk with him there: though it were in afflictions to walk with Christ it should be comfortable to us. We reade of Idolators, that they would have their children p•sse through the fire to get to their Idols; Oh let us be willing to pass through any difficulties to get to God, the Lord is wil∣ling we should cōmunicate our selves to him, and he is wil∣ling to communicate himself to us, the Lord would com∣municate word for word, promise for promise, imbrace for imbrace, if we would speak to him he would speak to us, if we would let out our hearts to him, he would let out his heart to us, if we would promise to him, he would pro∣mise Page 304 to us. The Lord doth often call us to walk with him; As sometimes familiar friends will call one another, Come, let us walk out together, and those that are very familiar and loving: though they may have some business yet they will lay it aside, seeing their deer friends calls them to walk, they take so much delight in it: many times God our deer friend cals us, Come, let us walk out toge∣ther. When God at any time doth dart in a Heavenly thought into your minds, he doth (as it were) call you to walk with him there, and would have you follow that thought, The following that Heavenly thought that's darted into your minds, that's the answering of Gods call to walk with him. Consider of this one note, Oh do not refuse this, you do not know how your lives may be comforted this way, and your hearts may be strengthened.
The Fifth Ʋse.
And then the last thing that I shall name by way of Use is this, If there be so much Excellency in our walking with God here, what will there be in Heaven then! If our converse with him in this world be so sweet, Oh how sweet shall our con∣verse with him in Heaven be! when we shall walk with him in white: when we shall have our garments glorious indeed, and our souls fit to converse with God. Now the truth is, we are very unfit to converse with the Lord, be∣cause of our blindness and darknesse, we do not know God. As now, let an ignorant man come to converse with a learned man, he gets but very little good, for he is not a∣ble to put a question to him, nor able to understand what the man saith, especially if he speaks any depth of learning to him. So, many that are very weak when they are in discourse with those that are strong and godly, they are not able to make that use for their discourse as others can, and it's a great excellency for one to be able to improve his converse with some men that have abilities and strength, to be able (I say) to improve their Converse it's a great ex∣cellency. Page 305 Alas! we are not able to improve our converse with God here: but in Heaven we shall be able to improve our converse with God, We shall know as we are known, we shall understand God, if God doth but communicate himself we shall be fit to receive all the beams of his glory that he shal be pleased to let out, Oh! that wil be an excel∣lent thing indeed when we shall be alwaies walking with God, and conversing with him continually. Saith Bernard, in the gracious visitations of the Spirit of God to his soul, How sweet if it were not so little! but then it shall be constant, we shall then follow the Lamb whithersoever he goes, and walk with him in white according as he speaks. Now the Church cries out and saith, Oh draw us, and we will run of∣ter thee. The Spirit of God had need to draw us here; but then we shall have no such need of drawing, but we shall of our selves, from the inclination of our own hearts, be alwaies walking and conversing with God, we shall have nothing else to do but to walk continually with the Lord, I will walk in thy truth, unite my heart to fear thy Name: Psal. 86. 11. It's an excellent Scripture, I will walk in thy Truth saith the Prophet, Oh unite my heart to the fear of thy Name. As if he should say, I find much sweetnesse and good in walking in thy Truth here, Oh Lord unite my heart to the fear of thy Name, Lord keep me alwaies here, it's good being here, as Peter said when Christ was transfigured in his glory: So, when the soul is walking with God, it saith, it is good being here: Well, when thou comest to Heaven thou shalt alwaies be with the Lord as the Scripture speaks, and therefore from the excellency that thou findest here, learn to long after Heaven, where thou shalt be continually with the Lord; and take only this one note for the setting out of the excellency of Hea∣ven, and I confesse only such as have had much sweetness in walking with God here, will understand what I mean by this; As suppose that all those sweet manifestations of God to thy soul here, and all the dartings in of the Spirit of God, all those soul ravishing joys that thou hast had, Page 306 suppose they were put all together, that thou hadst them all over again at this instant, what a comfortable time would it be! At such a time may some soul (that knows what the meaning of this point is) say, Oh the sweet com∣munion I had with God! I would give a world to have it again: Well, thou hadst it once, but it was quickly gone, and thou hast had it a second and a third time, yea, many times when I have been with God I have had wonderful, & gracious lettings out of God to my soul, Oh that I had them again! Well, suppose thou hadst now in this one quarter of an hour all the comfort and joy that ever thou hadst in all thy life put all the times together, what a comfortable quarter of an hour would this be! Now in Heaven to all eternity thou shalt have that in a kind infinitely more than that for milions of yeers, even for ever. Oh! what will Heaven be! If I should set out Heaven to a carnal man I must tell him of Crowns of glory, And there he shall see glorious sights, he shall be freed from all kind of sorrows, and there he shall have a Kingdom: But if I would set out Heaven to a Saint, I must tell him this, He shall have communion with God, and all those soul-ra∣vishing comforts that he hath had in the presence of God in this world, he shall have them all together, and infinit∣ly more than them, Oh this is that that will make their souls long after Heaven, and set prize upon it.
CHAP. VIII. Ten Several Evidences of a mans Walking with God.
BUt having set out unto you the excellency of walking with God, you will say, Who is it that doth walk with Him? I shall further set out to you the Evidences of those men and women that do walk with God.
The first Evidence.
One that walks with God, Is one that depends not much up∣on sence or reason in the course of his life: I say, one that is above the waies of Sence and Reason in his course, he hath received a principle to go higher. Most men in the world they walk according to sence; and therefore the Scripture saith, They walk according to the pleasure of their eyes. But now, one that walks with God, his walk lies beyond Sence, and above Reason; though things of Sence seem to go this way or that way, quite crosse to him, yea, though Reason seem to go quite crosse to him, yet still his heart is not in a hurry, but he hath that that can quiet his heart though Sence and Reason seem to be contrary: 2 Cor. 5. 7. there you shal see the walk of a godly man, For we walk by faith and not by sight, saith the Apostle; beyond our sight, either beyond our sight of sence, or the sight of Reason; we walk by faith. But now, this is a great point, a Christian walking by faith, and therefore I in∣tend to speak to that by its self from this very text, (God willing) in another Treatise.
The second Evidence.
One that walks with God, you shall find him in private the same that he is in publick; what ever holiness doth appear in such a one before others, in his walking in the world, if you trace him and follow him in his private course you shall find him the same man as you do in publik: why? be∣cause he hath not to deal with man so much, he hath to deal with God in all his waies, when he hath any thing to do before others, he walks with God, and when he is alone he is the same man still. In the 101. Psal. see what David saith there concerning his walk in private in his family, I will behave my self wisely in a perfect way (saith he) Page 308Oh when wilt thou come unto me! I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. As if he should say, I will not walk when I am abroad only, with a perfect heart, but I wil walk within my house with a perfect heart. There are many people that when they are abroad in the world they seem to be very strict in their way, but follow such men to their houses and there you shall see a great deal of diffe∣rence. You will find many times as much difference be∣tween the course of men when they are abroad and in their houses, as you find in their cloaths; you shall have ma∣ny men and women when they go abroad they wil be very neat, and though they have but little means, yet they wil lay it upon their backs so that they may be fine abroad; but come to them in their families and they care not what cloaths they wear there: It is just so in regard of their lives, their lives have as much difference as their cloaths: When they are abroad then they put a good face on things and seem to be very fair in their conversati∣ons, and speak good things, but at home there they are froward and perverse, and perhaps in their passions, will swear, there they are prophane, and ungodly, and vent their corruptions in a most ungodly manner; doest thou walk with God? If thou hadst to deal with God thou wouldst be the same in thy family that thou art abroad, that thy wife, children, and servants in thy family might give as good a testimony of thee as when thou art abroad with others: Yea, and if ye could retire with them into their very closets you should find them the same there in a∣ny duties of Religion. You shall have many when they come abroad and joyn with others, Oh how enlarged are they! yet dead and dull when they are at home either in family or closet, yea their own consciences tells them so. Those that walk with God wil be as spiritual in the one as in the other; it may be when they are with others, because they are to be the mouth of others they wil sure themselves according to those they pray with; yet when they are alone Page 309 and in their families their hearts are as spiritual and as ho∣ly in their duties as when they are with others: why? be∣cause they have to deal with God in all: and that's ano∣ther Evidence of one that walks with God, that he is the same in private as he is in publick.
The third Evidence.
A man that walks with God hath a serious spirit: walking with God will compose the spirits of men and women, will take off that loosness and vanity of spirit: Therefore wal∣king in the vanity of the mind, that's quite crosse to wal∣king with God; as in the 4. of the Ephe. 17. there it's spo∣ken of wicked men, it's said that they walk in the vanity of their minds: All wicked men they walk in the vanity of their minds; then all those that walk with God walk in the seriousness of their minds: It must needs be that they must have a seriousness of spirit in all their waies, for it's with God that they have to deal withal, they take not that liberty to run this way or that way as others do. If ser∣vants be walking one with another they can take liberty to go out of their way and talk with this or the other body as they please: But if a servant walk with his Master or Mi∣stris, he must not take that liberty but must go as they go. So, many that walk only with the creature, they take liber∣ty to run up and down as they please; but those that walk with God, they must have composed spirits, and walk seriously, and though they may walk seriously, yet cheer∣fully; I beseech you consider of this: For that Christian knows not the way of Christian-rejoycing that doth not know how to mix it with seriousness; yea, Senecha that was a Heathen could say, Joy, it is a serious thing; there is a kind of seriousness in true joy, for the joy of a Christian is not frothy, it is a composed joy: As thus now, It's se∣rious:
First, A Christian in his joy he is able to command him∣self, he can let out his joy so far and yet at a beck he can Page 310 command himself to the most spiritual duty in the world from his joy, he doth not profusely let out his heart so as he cannot call it in again. Certainly, thou dost not joy as a Christian if thou canst not take off thy heart from creature joyes, God gives thee liberty to be merry, but so, as to have it under thy command, as thou shalt be able to call thy heart off from it to the most serious duty in the world.
Secondly, He cannot only command himself to holy du∣ties in the midst of his joy, but he finds himself the fitter for holy duties by it: now this is a serious joy if it be no other than I can command my self off from it, and that that fits me for that which is holy: Christians had need take heed of frothinesse, slightnesse, and vanity, for certainly the wal∣king with God cannot but make them serious, and those that are slight and vain, surely they do not converse with God, for God is such a serious object that it's impossible but it must work a seriousnesse in the spirits of men.
The Fourth Evidence.
Those that walk with God, they walk in newness of life: For this is not our walk naturally, our walking with God is that that comes upon a mighty converting that God gives to our spirits: our walk naturally it is with our lusts, and with the Devil, and in the way to Hell; but one that walks with God walks in newnesse of life: as the Scrip∣ture speaks in the 6. Rom. 4. He walk according to the Rule of the new Creature. In the 6. Gal. 16. And as many as walk ac∣cording to this Rule, peace be on them and mercy. You will say, What Rule doth the Apostle mean here? I confesse ordinarily you have it applied to this, The walk according to the Scriptures: I grant it, that's a truth, That the Word of God should be the Rule of our walk, and of our lives, and those that walk according to that Rule shall have peace. But I do not think that to be the meaning of this text, but the scope is to be taken from the words of the former verse, for saith he in the 15. verse, In Christ JesusPage 311neither Circumcision availeth any thing, nor Ʋncircumcision, but a new Creature. And as many as walk according to this rule, (that is, According to the rule of the new Creature; not standing so much upon external things, either Circumcision or Un∣circumcision, not standing so much upon outward duties, though in their kind they must be stood upon; But the main thing that is to be stood upon, it is, The walk of the new Crea∣ture; and those that walk according to the rule of the new Creature, those that act the new Creature in their walk) peace be unto them. And that's the fourth thing in the Evi∣dences of a Walker with God; He walks in newness of life, and so according to the rule of the new Creature.
The Fifth Evidence.
When he hath to deal with the Creature be doth quickly passe through the Creature unto God. Any one (I say) that is ac∣quainted with this mystery of godliness in walking with God, though while he is in this world, he hath to deal as other men have, with the creatures, yet he will not stick in the creatures, but soon passes from the creatures to God: As thus, he receives sweetness from the creatures as well as others, but when he hath received, or is in receiving the sweetness of the creatures, his heart is upon God, Oh the sweetness there is in God! Is the creature so sweet? how sweet is God then? When he is in company with friends, is it so sweet to have society with men: how sweet is it to have society with God then? And when he hath comforts in a wife; Oh what comfort is there in the comforts of my Husband Jesus Christ! And when he hath comfort in a sweet habitation; Oh what comfort is there in God our habitation! he is not musling in the world, in the crea∣ture, but he relies upon God in al that he doth injoy: Now those that when they have any thing in the Creature there they stick; these are not acquainted with this way of wal∣king with God.
The sixth Evidence.
A man that walks with God, he loves to be much retir'd from the world. It's true, he must follow his occasions in the world, he doth that in obedience unto God, but except he may have his retired times he knows not how to live, it's true, when he is in his calling he walks with God there, he carries his heart Heavenly: There's a great deal of difference for one to walk with a friend in company with others, and when they are alone, though it's true, that while the Saints of God live in the world they must converse with the men of the world, and they have some∣what of God there: but though they have somewhat of God there, yet that's not so much as when God and their souls are alone, this is that that is exceeding sweet and comfortable to them, therefore they have their retired times of meditation; and retired times of prayer; as we reade of Isaac, he went out into the field to meditate, or to pray, for so meditation and prayer is taken sometimes in Scripture for all one: I'le powr forth my meditations to thee, sath David: that was his prayer: So, because they should be both joyned together, Isaac went out into the field to meditate. Those that walk with God if they live in a house and have no retir'd rooms, they go abroad and have some time or other to be retir'd by themselves; where-as you have other men, they know not how to spend any retired times, when they are alone their minds wander this way or that way, and they gaze after every feather that flies, and it's a prison for them to be alone, and they won∣der that men and women will shut up themselves alone, surely it's but their melanchollinesse. Oh poor wretch, thou knowest not what walks they have, they are not alone all this time, they would be loth to give their retired times for all the times of thy Jollity and Bravery; Thou thinkest if thou beest abroad in company, and there art feasting, and having good cheer, and musick, and talking, Page 313 and laughing that this is a brave life, they would be loth to change their retired times for the times of thy greatest Jolity with thy companions: One that walks with God he loves some retir'd times as well as to be busie in the bu∣sinesse of the world.
The seventh Evidence.
One that walks with God, he is careful to make even his ac∣compts with God, he doth keep his accompts with God even. This is a special thing in walking with God, when they lie down to consider, Are my accompts even with God? is there nothing amisse between God and my soul? what hath been this day between God and my soul? For how can two walk together except they be agreed as the Pro∣phet saith: Therefore they are very careful to keep their agreement with God. Indeed Jesus Christ the great Re∣conciler hath first reconciled their souls to God and so they come to walk with him: but then afterwards in the course of their lives they must keep up their agreement with God, and not to run in areriges with, and so to be insna∣red in the world, and insnared in the corruptions of their own hearts, as that men and women will be, if they be not careful to keep their accompts with God even daily, They will insnare their souls in the world and in the lusts of their own hearts till God and their souls come to be strangers, yea, til they be afraid almost to think of God; Here's the reason that many people are loth to come to prayer, loth to come to duties of communion with God, why? because they have not kept their accompts even with God, but have run in areriges with God, and their hearts are intangled in the world, and in their lusts, and now the presence of God comes to be terrible to them; Oh poor wretch that thou art, what thou that art a Christian and yet in such a case that the presence of God should be grie∣vous to thee! Oh thy condition is sad indeed! whereas thou shouldst be glad when thou thinkest of God, I wasPage 314glad when they said, Come let us go up to the house of the Lord: But one that keeps not his accompts with God even, his retired times are grievous to him, Indeed he dares not but have retired times, I but it's grievous to him, why? be∣cause he hath not kept his accompts even with God; But the soul that keeps even with God, Oh that soul rejoyceth in those times when it is to go to God, or doth but think of God. That's a special thing in a man or womans wal∣king with God, they keep their accompts even: And I beseech you observe it, As it's an Evidence, so it may be given as a Rule to help you to walk with God, Oh be care∣ful of keeping your accompts daily: Though this point that I am treating upon, is perhaps little understood by many, yet if so be that God would by his Spirit work your hearts to this, to keep your accompts even with God, you would know more of the meaning of this point.
The eighth Evidence.
That the more spiritual any Truth is, or any Ordinance is, or a∣ny Company is, the more doth the soul delight in it: One that is used to God, and converses with God, when such a one meets with a Truth that hath much of God in it, Oh how it closes with that Truth! when it meets with an Ordi∣nance that hath much of God in it, when it meets with Company that hath much of God in it, how doth this soul delight in it! This is sutable to the heart that conver∣ses much with God, saith the soul, I have had sweet walks with God, now me thinks I come into such a Company, I see the very Image of God in these, and Oh how sweet and delightsom are these to me! and so for Truths, and Ordinances, the more spiritual they are the more such a one doth delight in them: whereas a carnal heart that walks according to the flesh, in the way of the world, if there be some Truths that have some kind of humanity in them, as now, some sollid discourse that shews strength of reason, or strength of judgment in a Sermon, he will take Page 315 delight in that, if there be any Wit, Rhetorick, Eloquence he takes delight in that; but for spiritual truths there's no such delight in them except they be cloathed with some humane excellency. But now, those that are spiritual, the more spiritual any thing is, the more delight they take in it: As for Ordinances, they are but dry meat to those that are carnal except there be something external; bring the Ordinances in the plain simplicity of the Gospel to them, where there is only communion of Saints, sitting about a Table, and eating a piece of bread, and drinking a little wine, they see no excellency there: But a gracious heart, the lesse of man he sees in an Ordinance, and the more of God, the more he closes with them, and takes delight in them: here's one now that walks with God.
The Ninth Evidence.
A man that walks with God, is one that walks in all the Com∣mandements of God. Endeavours to walk in them before him, and blameless before men: in the 1. of Luke, the 6. it's said of Zacharias, and Elizabeth, They were both righteous before God, walking in all the Commandements and Ordinances of the Lord, blameless: here's a walking with God, not only to walk in some one thing, but in all Commande∣ments, and Ordinances of God, and not only so, but blame∣less before men too; though it's true, the chief work that he hath, it is, in converse with God, yet he is careful so as to be blameless before men, because it concerns much the honor of God that he should be blameless before men: Za∣charias and Elizabeth they were walkers with God, and their lives are described so that they were conscionable in all the Commands of God, and walked blameless before men. Now as we go along, apply it, Can you say, Lord, Thou that knowest al things, knowest, that there's no com∣mand of thine, nor no Ordinance of thine, but my soul closes with, and I desire to spend my life in them, and to walk blamelesly before men? There's a great many that Page 316 speak much of walking before God, and of the Ordinan∣ces of God, and yet come to them before men, and they are careless and negligent: (do but hearken to what the Lord speaks this day to thee) Certainly thou never knew∣est what it was to walk with God except thou doest walk blamelesly before men too.
The Tenth Evidence, Opened in five Particulars.
See but how the Scripture describes the walk of the Saints with God; there are some four or five particulars that I shal infist upon, wherein I shal open some Scriptures, describing the Saints walk with God.
As first, Their walk it is a walk of Humility, a way very humble. The heart that walks with God must needs be very humble in the presence of God; you know the place in the 6. of Micah, He hath shewn thee, O man, what he would have thee to do, To walk humbly with thy God: that's more than the offering of thousands of Lambs, or ten thousand Rivers of Oyl, To walk humbly with thy God: A proud man or woman never knows what it is to walk with God. But the walking with God causes much humility, there's no such thing in the world to humble the heart of a man as to have converse with God, do you see a man proud and haughty, and high in his carriage, surely you may con∣clude this man hath little converse with God: saith Job, I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear, but now have mine eyes seen thee: what then? I abhor my self in dust and ashes.
Secondly, Another thing that the Scripture speaks of the walk of a Christian with God, it is, Ʋprightness; Walk be∣fore me, and he upright. I might give you twenty Scriptures for that, how uprightness is the walk of a Christian with God: I'le give you only one about this, and that is in the 3 Epist. of John, 3. verse, there it is exprest in the new Te∣stament, by walking in the truth: and so sometimes in the Old, the walking in Ʋprightness, and walking in the Truth, is somewhat the same: I rejoyced greatly (saith the Apostle) Page 317when the Brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, e∣ven as thou walkest in the truth: So that this surely hath refe∣rence unto walking according to the truth of the Gospel in the truth and sincerity of our hearts: They testified of the truth that is in thee: That is, The Word of the Gospel that did prevail in thy heart, and prevailing in thy heart thou didst walk-in the strength and power of that Truth, and accor∣ding to the truth; here's a walking with God. And no marvel though the soul of this man was in so good a con∣dition as indeed it was; for you find in the 2. verse of this Epistle a very strange expression of John concerning this Gaius: what doth he say of him? I wish (saith he) above al things, that then mayest prosper and be in health even as thy soul prospereth. It seems this Gaius had but a poor, weak, sickly body: but a very good soul he was; and saith John, I wish that thou mayest prosper even as thy soul prospereth. Oh! that thou hadst but as good a body as a soul! It's a very strange speech. It were a curse to many of you I am afraid. But John could say concerning Gaius, Oh that this man Gaius had as good a body as he hath a soul! And how came he to have his soul to prosper? He walked in the truth, and according to the truth; and al that he did was in the truth and sincerity of his heart, hence his soul came to prosper: and those that have but very weak parts, yet if they walk in the truth, their souls will prosper.
The Third thing is, Walking in the fear of God. And indeed, these two are very neer a kin one to another, so you have it in the 5. of Nehe. 9. verse, Also I said it is not good that ye do, Ought ye not to WALK in the fear of our God? and he gives an argument there, Because of the reproach of the Heathen. So may I say to all Christians, that would pro∣fesse themselves Christians and godly; ought not ye to walk in the fear of our God? whatsoever other men do, they do thus and thus, and seek to follow their own ends and waies, but ought not YE to walk in the fear of our God? that's the walk of a Christian, the fear of God it is continually upon him. And observe, we reade in the 9. Page 318 of the Acts, of the walk of the Christians in the Primitive times upon which they came so to grow up in the waies of godliness as they did, at the 31. verse, the text saith, Then had the Churches rest throughout all Judea, and Gallilee, and Samaira, and were edified; (and what then?) They walked in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the holy Ghost, and so came to be multiplied. It's an excellent Scripture; would you be built up in godliness? let the fear of God be upon you, and if you walk in the fear of God, you will walk in the joy of the holy Ghost.
Obj. You will say, Fear, that may hinder our Joy.
Ans. No, But the way to have true joy in the holy Ghost it is, To walk in the fear of God, and though you have a company of vain and wanton spirits, that are no∣thing but for Jolity and Mirth, they cannot admit of any kind of seriousness (that we spake to before:) But certain∣ly their Jolity it's but frothy and carnal, but those have the best Joy in their hearts that walk most in the fear of God: When I see a Christian have the fear of God upon him, and that in the whol course of his life, then he will have much of the comfort of the holy Ghost.
Fourthly, The comfort of the holy Ghost it's joyned with the fear of God: and if you see any that talk never so much of the joy that they have; it's but a frothy carnal joy except the fear of God be upon them; Oh it will be a means to convince others of the excellency of the wales of God, when they shall see Christians walk in the fear of God; thus saith the text, they were multiplied; there were many that were convinc'd by it and did joyn with them, because they did see such a beauty and excellency in their way, walking in the fear of God and in the joy of the holy Ghost: and this was at a time when they had much rest; many people it may be when they are in danger, then they wil seem to walk in the fear of God: but mark, this was in a time when this people was freed from their danger, then they walked in the fear of the Lord; and in the joy of the holy Ghost, that was encreased in them: And this is the Page 319 walk of the Saints in their walking with God.
Two or three things more I shall mention. As now,
The walk that they walk, it's above: The way of the Saints it is on high, it's a walk above the world, they keep themselves on high aloft in a spiritual way: it's true, their hearts are humble before God, and yet they are on high too; though they look not upon themselves as worthy of the least crumb of bread, yet they look upon themselves again as too good to be vassals to the world, or to their lusts; and they look upon themselves as being set by God in too a high condition to be satisfied with all the world to be their portion; their hearts are lifted up on high to converse with the most High God, and so they come to be delivered from the snares of death that are below.
Yea and also, They endeavor to walk as Christ walked: as in the 1 Epist. of John, 2. 6. They walk as Christ himself walked, those that walk with God. Who did ever walk with God so as Christ did? who had ever that fellowship with the Father and the Son so as Christ had? The Saints they labor to walk so as Christ walked, to look upon Christ as the pattern of their lives. And so as Christ was anointed with the oyl of joy and gladnes above his fellows; so they come to have some of the ointment run down upon them, they come to have somewhat of that communion that Je∣sus Christ had with the Father, Christ had much com∣munion with the Father in the constant course of his life: Now the Saints laboring to walk as Christ walked, so they come to have Communion with God. The Lord bring you into this walk, and keep you in such a blessed walk as this is.
Now for the Rules of Direction in this our walking with God, that's to be our subject in the next Chapter.
CHAP. IX. Twelve Rules of Direction for walking with God.
WHat Rules should be observed for a Christian's walking with God? You will say to me, You have shewed to us, That it is a most blessed thing to walk with God, and we are convinced of it: But what Rules may there be given for it?
The First Rule.
Be sure of this, That there be no way of sin in thee. Take heed of giving way to any sin, especially known sin, though it be a little one, though it should be but a sin of omision, the giving way to any known sin, will make the presence of God terrible, and make all thy duties empty; will e∣strang God from thy soul: there's more evil in it than thou art aware of, thou canst have no Communion with God while thou art in any way of sin, especially if it be against Light, The least sin that is that a Christian gives way unto, is like a thorn in a mans foot, but a great sin, & a sin against knowledg is like a great gash in a mans foot; now if a man hath but a thorn in his foot he cannot walk well, it will make him halt; if a man hath but a little gravel got into his shoo he will not be able to walk along, he may walk a step or two, but not very long. Now small sins are like gra∣vil in the shoo, or like a thorn got into the foot; but if thou fallest into a great sin, a sin against light, against con∣science, Oh that is like a great gash that one may cut with a hatchet or an ax; if a man hath cut a great gash in his foot he wil hardly be able to walk with comfort: Even so it is when thou fallest into any great sin, thou hadst need then go to the Chyriurgeon, thou hadst need then have salve applied to thee to heal thy soul, or otherwise it wil hinder thee in thy walk with God.
The second Rule, or Direction.
Secondly, Labor to abstract thy heart from earthly and sensu∣al things as much as thou canst that thou mayest be spiritual: A drossie, earthly, sensual heart is unfit to have communion with God, God he is a Spirit, and thou must be Spiritual in thy converse with him, take heed of mingling thy heart with creature comforts, thou mayest make use of them, but in a spiritual way, do not defile thy heart with them, let not thy heart close with them as adequat objects of thy desires, or of thy love, take heed of being intangled, of be∣ing insnar'd with any creature comforts; a man cannot walk if he hath got into a snare, when men fetter them∣selves in the world, and intangle themselves with abun∣dance of businesses, & creature contentments, it doth migh∣tily hinder their freedom in walking with God, when mens hearts sink down to the creature they cannot walk with God, for God is above, he is on high, and the way of the wise is on high, and we must keep our selves on high: If so be that Christians have sometimes some good affecti∣ons, their hearts are a little stir'd up to things that are good; but at other times their hearts sink down to the world, and to sensual, and earthly contentments, they cannot walk freely with God, they can but hault at the best; as a man that hath one leg shorter than the other, he cannot walk evenly, but he haults as he goes; so when our affections are up and down, sometimes they are stir'd up to Heaven, and sometimes down to the world again, yea, perhaps at the same time when we have some truths heave us upward, and yet a drossie spirit to sink us downward, this will be but haulting, our affections must go even, must not be for Heaven and Earth together, except it be in sub∣ordination one to the other, and so while we are on the earth we are in Heaven if we keep our hearts in a subordi∣nation to spiritual things when we are busied about earth∣ly; Then is a mans heart spiritual, and separated from the Page 322 earth when he knows how to have comfort in God alone, when he knows how to make up the want of all creature∣comforts in God himself, that's a spiritual heart. Now you will say, we must not be insnar'd in the things of the earth: when is a mans heart spiritual? It's then Spiritual when it knows how to satisfie its self in God alone, and to make up the want in all creature comforts in God himself, and no Christian can walk with God except he attains to that pitch, to know how to make up all in God, and use all in order unto God.
The third Rule, or Direction.
Thirdly, If thou wouldst walk with God, evermore take Christ with thee God and the Soul cannot walk together but with Christ; Christ, God and Man, that Mediator, by that I mean this, in all thy converse with God have an eye to Christ, look unto God the infinite glorious First. Being of all things, but through Christ the Mediator, or other∣wise God will not be rendered amiable, and sweet, and lovely to thee, then is God rendered sweet and amiable, and lovely to the soul, even as a friend that the soul can have familiarity withal when as he is look't upon through Jesus Christ: do thou act all by Christ by the strength of Christ, and tender up all thy services to God through Christ, those that are not acquainted with the mystery of the Gospel in Christ, surely they know but little of this walk with God.
Quest. You will say, Enoch did not know much of Christ.
Answ. Oh yes! Certainly, though it was so long be∣fore Christ came, yet his eye was upon Christ: for in the 11. of the Heb 5. verse, the Apostle saith, That it was by faith that he walked with him; it was all by faith. Now Christ is the object of faith, and so his eye certainly was upon Christ: It was through faith, and I will give you one Scripture that will shew the use of eying of Christ in Page 323 walking with God, in the 25. of Exod, 21. verse, Thou shalt put the Meroy-Seat above upon the Arke, and in the Ark thou shalt put the Testimony that I shall give thee, and there will I meet with thee, and I will commune with thee. That is, There at the Mercy-Seat. They were come to the Ark to look up to the Mercy-Seat, and there saith God, wil I meet with thee, and there will I commune with thee. Now what's the Mercy-Seat but Jesus Chaist? we must look upon God in Christ, and so God is rendered amiable, sweet, glorious, and lovely unto us in his Son, there doth God meet with his Saints, and there he communes with them; Indeed while we look upon God as he is in himself he is a consu∣ming fire, and we cannot epxect to commune with God there, and therefore those that look upon God meerly in a legal way, look upon him as one that doth exact and require such and such services and duties of them, and meerly considering God as a Judge; if they perform not such and such duties they do not meet and commune with God; But such as look up to the Mercy-Seat, look up to Christ by faith, when they have to deal with God in Christ, Oh these meet with God, these commune with God, Oh there's much sweet communion between God and their souls, they walk with God, because God through Christ comes to be rendered gracious, lovely, sweet, amiable, and familier to them.
The fourth Rule, or Direction.
Be careful to beautifie thy soul; or more generally thus, (First:) Have a great care of thy spirit, look to thy spirit rather than to thy outward actions in thy walking with God; God is a Spirit, and will be worshiped in spirit and truth. One that would walk with God had need be very careful of his spirit, keep thy heart with all diligence, for it is with thy soul that God converses: Indeed 'tis the proper spheer of a Christian to be busie about his heart, to be busie in the inward man, there's the spheer of a Christi∣an: Page 324 It's not so much about the outward man, if the hear be kept in a right frame, the outward man will be brought over of its own accord; But be careful of thy spirit, (that is) of the thoughts of thy mind; Take heed of admitting of any uncleannesse in thy very thoughts, for the soul con∣verses with God in thoughts as well as we converse with men in words; how do you commune and converse with men but by speech? therefore doth God give speech to men that they may converse one with another, what speech is unto men, that the thoughts are unto God; we converse much with God by our thoughts, make consci∣ence of thoughts, labor to cleanse thy thoughts, and like∣wise the affections of thy heart, and the stirrings of thy heart, for God and thy soul doth converse together, in the workings and stirrings of thy heart look to thy spirit; and labor to beautifie thy soul with that that may make thee aimable and lovely in the eyes of God, and then the Lord will delight to converse with thee, and walk with thee. If you were call'd out to walk with a man that were your superior, with some Chief in your parish, Gen∣tleman, or Knight, or Noble man, If such a one should call you to walk with him, you would labour then so far as you were able to adorne your selves with such cloaths as were sutable unto the company of such a one: you that professe your selves Christians, God doth call you every day to walk with him, and if you would expect to have communion with God, and that God should take delight in you, you must labor to beautifie your souls, to dresse you with those things that may make you aimable in the eyes of God, and not to come dirtily and filthy into the presence of God. Now that that makes the soul aimable in the eyes of God it is, Holinesse, for that's the very Image of God, and God delights to walk with one where he can see his own Image, the more resplendent the Image of God is in the soul the more doth the Lord delight to walk with such a soul; labour for the behavior of thy soul to be suta∣ble unto God; When I walk with one that is my superi∣our Page 325 I must have such a demenour as is sutable to his pre∣sence, and as it was said before, To walk with God was to walk in the fear of God. And that's the fourth thing, Take heed to thy spirit, beautifie thy soul in that that may make thee aimable and lovely in Gods eyes, and car∣ry thy self so as is sutable to the presence of God; I shall only give you one Scripture about the beautifying of the soul, in the 45. Psalm, where it's spoken of the Church and of the Saints being brought into the presence of God, in the 13. verse, The Kings daughter, (that is, the Church) is all glorious within. (Many make great shews of Religi∣on without, but the Kings daughter is all glorious within,) her cloathing is of wrought gold: there's her ornaments: mark what follows in the 14. verse, She shall be brought unto the King in raiment of needle-work: (She shall be brought to the King, to Jesus Christ, with garments of needle-work) by that is meant, the several graces of the Spirit of God that puts a beauty upon the soul: as there is a variety in needle∣work that causes a beauty upon the work, and so she shall be brought to the King. So you must have that that may make you aimable and lovely in the eyes of the King.
The Fifth Rule, or Direction.
Take heed of halting. When you walk with him you must not halt between two but give up your self fully to God, you must give up your selves wholly to him in walking with him; not to have a distracted heart, or a divied heart between two: Why halt ye between two opinions (saith the Prophet?) If God be God, worship him; if Baal, worship him. So, when the heart is not divided up and down, and is re∣solved in the way of God, that's the thing that I mean here; that is, If I cannot be happy here, I am content to be mi∣serable here; when the soul is so resolved and doth not halt in Gods way, when the soul knows that here is the way that there is happiness to be had in, and whatsoever seems to the contrary to flesh and blood, yet I know that Page 326 in these waies there's happiness to be had, there's enough to blesse my soul for ever, and therefore whatsoever becoms of me, I am resolved upon these waies; this is one that is fit to walk with God, he will not halt, but will treat strait steps in the waies of God: and that the Apostle requires of us in Heb. 12. 13. Make streight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way. Make streight paths, go on in a streight way, not having the heart longing af∣ter something else: There are some that have some convi∣ctions of conscience, that have their hearts inclinable to the waies of God, and are going on in some of the waies of God, yet they have longings of spirit after something else: but when the heart indeed walks with God, it gives up its self wholly to him, and is resolv'd in these waies: you have had some good thoughts; but if your hearts be divided between God and the world, you will turn to be Apostats in time, that which is lame will be turn'd out of the way, the waies of God will be tedious to you when you do not give up your selves wholly to them; and this is the reason of the Apostafie that there is in the world, they seem to go on in Gods waies, but they go on but lamely because they do not give up themselves wholly to the waies of God.
The sixth Rule, or Direction.
If you would walk with God, Take heed of formality in all holy duties; be laborious in holy duties, take pains with your hearts in them, labor for the power of godliness in holy duties, you must strive to get up to God in them: It were well if when we perform holie duties we did but keep close to the Duty its self, few go so far: But it's one thing to keep close to the Duty, and another thing to keep close to God in the Duty; we must labor not only to mind what we are about, but to keep close to God in the Duty, to find God in all duties that we perform, and in the use of all or∣dinances to take pains to find God there, and not to satis∣fie & quiet our hearts except we find God in the duties that we do perform; we have a notable Scripture for this, in Page 327Exod. 20. 24. In all places where I record my Name, I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee. That is, where ever there is any Ordinance, or any holy Duty to be perform'd, there's a recording of Gods Name. And saith he, I will come un∣to thee, and there I wil bless thee. If you would walk with God, you must go where God is, and be in those places where God uses to come: now the walk where God uses to walk it is, in his Ordinances, in his Worship, therefore you must be very spiritual in worship, and sanctifie the Name of God there; (according to that that we have trea∣ted upon at large) you must take pains there, stir up your * hearts and all that is within you to walk with God there, and not be satisfied except you have something of God there. It's a notable speech of Bernard, I never go from thee without thee: when ever I come to any holy duty and leave it, I never leave it but I have thee with it: we must not be satisfied except we meet with God in holy duties.
The Seventh Rule, or Direction.
Take heed of secret declinings, or slidings away from the paths of God into any by paths. For those that professe their desires to walk with God they will not in an open way forsake God, and his waies; but if you be not very watchful over your hearts, you will have them secretly de∣cline away from the waies of God, from those paths where∣in you have had heretofore communion with God, Oh take heed of turning out of the paths of God, of any allure∣ments from the flesh, of any temptations, and especially such temptations as are sutable to your corruptions, they will be alluring you to lead you aside out of the waies of God, and seem to promise waies of contentment to the flesh; Oh take heed of any such thing, take heed of being allur'd through the deceitfulness of the flesh, as the Apostle speaks in the 2 Epist. of Peter, 2. 18. (there he speaks of some false teachers) When they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live inPage 328error. There were some that were escaped from the waies o error, from sinful ungodly waies, and really escaped that is, in their kind, they were not hypocrites, that is, to make shew of one thing and do another, but what they did they did according to the light of their consciences, but yet it was not through the sanctifying saving work of God but through the strength of a natural conscience; and so they were allur'd through the lusts of the flesh, and through wantonness, by those that taught false Doctrine, but they together with their false Doctrine came to that that was sutable to the flesh. I beseech you observe it, some that have been walking with God and then met with these that come with fair shews with that which is false, (and you may know it in this that it gives liberty to the flesh) they think here's a fine, even, and smooth way that I may have content to the flesh in; observe it, there's no such way to allure such as have by the power of the Word escaped from the waies of sin in a great measure, no such way (I say) to allure them as to come and shew them how they may make a profession of godliness and yet have liberty to the flesh too: Oh the Lord deliver yong beginners from the wan∣tons of our age! the wantons that are in our generation that do allure them through the lusts of the flesh, and pro∣mise liberty to them, for so the text saith, While they pro∣mise them liberty they themselves are the servants of corruption: THEMSELVES: Mark, those that promise them liber∣ty, and bring such Doctrine of liberty to you, they Them∣selves are in the mean time the servants of corruption: Oh take heed of declining to the waies of the flesh after thou hast seem'd to begin in the spirit; what hast thou to do in the way of Asher and in the waies of Egypt? Oh thou that heretofore didst seem to converse with God, and to walk with him, what iniquity hast thou found with me saith God? So what evil hast thou found in the waies of God? Do you find them too difficult for you, Oh it is through the baseness of thy heart, because thy heart is not changed and made sutable to that that is spiritual and holy, Oh Page 329 that the Lord would be pleased to cause his Angel to meet with some that are declining from his good and blessed waies! as we read in the book of Genesis, That the Angel met Hager when she was flying from Abrahams family, from the Church of God, and saith he, Hager Sarah's Maid, from whence camest thou? doest thou come from Abraham's family? art thou going from thence? and where dost thou think to find so much good as in Abraham's family, where the presence of God is? So, Oh that God would meet with such as are declining from the good waies of God, Oh thou soul whither art thou going? thou that hast had the Word working upon thy heart and thou wert seem'd to be turned into the good waies of God, whither art thou go∣ing? are these the waies that are like the former waies that thou hast seem'd to walk in? Oh what will be the end of these waies that now thou art in? Indeed they do give contentment unto the flesh more than former waies, but doest thou think that the end of them will be peace? Oh that there were such a messenger from God to meet thee in those waies that thou art walking in, that thou maiest say as the Church doth in the 2. of Hosea, 7. verse, I will return to my first husband, for then it was better with me than it is now: I was wont to have more peace, comfort, and sweet∣nes in conversing with God in holy duties than now I find, I will return to those waies of God; howsoever many loose professors seem to make a scorn of them and deride them, but Lord I am sure I found more sweetness in them then, than now; well I will return to them and labor to walk in them.
The Eighth Rule, or Direction.
Or if thou beest declined, Labor to keep a tenderness of spirit, so a• to be sensible of the beginnings of declining. It's true, we have a great deal of corruption while we remain here in this world, and our hearts are drawn quickly from the waies of God, I but if we could keep a spirit sensible of the beginnings of declining, we might yet keep our walk with Page 330 God: That so soon as we are got but one step from God, if we did but begin to bethink our selves; where are we? what are we doing? Oh this would cause us to return, and not to go so far off from God. For a man to go far from God is very dangerous, for then he begins to have many thoughts of dispair, and so many times he growes even de∣sperate in his course, and gives up himself to excesse even to satisfie the lusts of the flesh with greedinesse: There are some men that are convinced in their consciences that they are out of the way, and though they be convinced of it yet still they go further and further off from God.
Why (you will say?) is that possible?
Yes, Because having once made profession of Religion, and departing from God, now the Devil follows him with dispairing thoughts, he thinks now God will not receive him and accept of him upon his returning to him, and therefore he is resolved that he will satisfie himself to the full; and I verily belee•• this is the great reason why ma∣ny Apostates turn so notoriously wicked as they do: when you see a man that hath been forward in Religion, and afterwards not only fall off, but you shall find him to be a drunkard, a whoremaster, a scorner, you may almost con∣clude that this is the very ground of it, that though his conscience be convinc'd that he is out of the way, yet he is in a desperate manner set to have his pleasure, because he thinks God hath forsaken him, and he hath: forsaken God, and his lusts he will have, and poor creature that's all that he hath to satisfie himself withal; Oh take heed of getting far from God: hearken to this you that are far from righteousnes as the Scripture speaks: Oh it's a terri∣ble thing to be gone far from God, labor to keep thy heart watchful of the beginnings of declining, and be tender and sensible of them.
The Ninth Rule, or Direction
Labor to be spiritual in thy solitary times. If you would Page 331 walk with God, prize much your solitary times, and la∣bor to be spiritual in them; do not lose those times when you are alone, when there's none but God and your selves together. And especially you that have much business in the world; alas what little use do you for the most part make of your solitary times! when you are alone you know not what to do; but a man that would walk with God he had need be careful to be very spiritual there, now I am separated from the world, now I have to deal with God and mine own soul, Oh! let me improve this, and get advantage by this, Oh! let me not be quiet till I get some converse with God: Those Christians that are spiri∣tual in their solitary times they will be very spiritual when they come into company. As Moses, when he was alone with God upon the mount and came down unto the people his face did shine so as they were not able to bear it: Cer∣tainly, those that are alone with God, and are spiritual, they will shine in holy conversation when they come down from the mount, when they come to converse with others.
The Tenth Rule, or Direction.
Let Gods presence be more to thee than all the world; account it more engagement to thy soul, that thou art with God that thou hast Gods presence with thee, than though thou hadst the eye of all the world upon thee: It would migh∣tily compose the spirits of men and women if they had an awful reverence of the presence of God, and did account it more than al the world besides, and therefore to do nothing in Gods presence but what thou wouldest do in the sight of all the world; or what thou maiest do so as thy consci∣ence may not accuse thee for sin in it. Oh look upon the presence of God as more than all the world unto thee.
The Eleventh Rule, or Direction.
Go on with a resolution in the performance of holy duties thoughPage 332thou seest nothing come of them for the present. Though I have not what comfort I would, yet I am doing what duty I am commanded, I am yet in Gods way; and that should sa∣tisfie every gracious heart, that though I have not what encouragements I would, yet that I am in Gods way, and let me keep in that way of God.
The Twelfth Rule, or Direction.
Make good interpretations of all Gods waies and dealings with thee. This is a mighty help to us to keep on in the way of God, and to walk with him. If God comes in a way of affliction, make good interpretation of the affliction, do not presently conclude, that God appears like an enemy to thee, that will discourage thee in the waies of God; but look upon God as intending good unto thee in every thing; and that will help thee to keep close to him, and to walk close with him in every condition: If God seems to go out of the way of prosperity, and to come in the way of affliction, make good interpretations of it: do not therefore think that God is therefore leaving of thee and forsaking thee, but exercise faith in this, and beleeve that God may intend as much good to thee in that way as in any way whatsoever, and I ground this rule upon that text in the 12. Heb. In the former part of the chapter the Apo∣stle speaks of Gods chastening of his people, My Son despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art re∣buked of him; for whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scour∣geth every son whom he receiveth: and in the 7. verse, If ye en∣dure chastening then God dealeth with you as with sons: for what son is he whom the father chasieneth not? but if ye be without chastisements whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards and not sons. So still he goes on in the point of chastisement, in the 9, 10, 11. verses he speaks of nothing but of chastise∣ments, now then in the 12. verse he draws a conclusion from thence, having laid this as a ground, that we are to look upon God as a father in his chastisements, WhereforePage 333then lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way. As if he should say, when as you appre∣hend God in a way of wrath against you, and not in a way of love, your knees will be feeble and you will not be able to go on with that cheerfulness, and to walk with God in that hard way that he seems to call you too: But looking upon your selves as sons, and God intending good unto you, that by chastisements you may be made partakers of his holiness; now saith he, lift up your hands that hang down, and those feeble knees, those feeble knees that were so weak whereby you were difinabled to walk with God: Those feeble knees will be strengthened if you make good interpretation of the waies of God, and beleeve that the Lord intends good unto you. And as in other chastise∣ments, so among the rest the chastisements of spiritual dis∣certions; when God not only comes with outward afflicti∣ons upon you, but when the Lord shall come against you, even himself with spiritual discertions, and afflictions, e∣ven afflicting your souls you must make good interpretati∣ons of them.
You will say, That's hardest to walk with God; In∣deed we may walk with God, and keep on in communion with him notwithstanding outward afflictions, but when the Lord seems to withdraw himself, and when there is both outward and inward too, that's hard: For outward afflictions, I will give you one notable Scripture for a child of God, following hard after God though God seeme to withdraw himself from the soul, in the 63. Psal. where by the title of the Psalm you shall find that David was in the wilderness of Judah, and that was when Saul did persecute him for his life: Saul persecuted David and fol∣lowed him, and David was fain to sculk up and down in the wilderness of Judah from place to place, and yet mark, O God, thou art my God, (for all that) early will I seek thee, my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thir∣sty land, where no water is: And then in the 8. verse, MyPage 334soul followeth hard after thee; though Lord thou seem'st to withdraw thy self from me in regard of these outward ad∣ministrations, yet my soul followeth hard after thee (saith David) notwithstanding. If times of affliction, when God seems to withdraw himself by his afflictions, yet our souls should follow hard after God: Doth God seem to go from us as if he would not walk with us? Oh run after him: As a poor child if the mother seems to go away from it, and gets over a stile before it, the child cries and runs after: So it was with David, when the Lord did seem by those administrations of his to be going away from him, saith he, My soul follows hard after him. And this is an excel∣lent frame of spirit, that the more the Lord seems to be gone from a Christian, the more hard doth the soul follow after God, nothing can satisfie such a one but God himself; and therefore he saith, Lord, my soul thirsteth after Thee in a dry land, he doth not say after water, but after Thee. So in any affliction, if thou canst say this, Lord, it is not so much the deliverance from an affliction that my soul thirsteth after, but Oh Lord! thou knowest my soul thirsts after thee, and may the affliction be but made up in thy self it is sufficient, I never find my soul following more earnestly after thee than now in the time of my affliction.
CHAP. X. An Objection concerning Gods hiding of his face, Answered in six Particulars.
IF it be a spiritual discertion, if the Lord seems to with∣draw himself from the spirits of his servants, What Rules should be given there, for one yet to walk with God in the time of Spiritual discertion?
I have divers things to speak to those that God hath see∣med to withdraw himself from.Page 335
Object. You will say, You have told us of the excel∣lency of walking with God, and we account it the happi∣ness of our lives to walk with him; Oh but God will not walk with me, but withdraws himself from my soul so that I cannot see him, and hides himself from me.
Now I have divers things to say to thee:
In the first place, Be of good comfort; It's a good sign, that God hath made thee know what it is to walk with him, that canst be sensible of his withdrawings; there is a generation of people in the world that go on in a slight kind of way in the profession of Religion, and they know not what it is to be sensible of any of Gods withdrawings from them, you never hear them complain of any such thing, they know not what it means; therefore (I say) it's a good sign that thou knowest what it is to walk with God because thou art sensible of any of Gods withdrawings from thee.
Secondly, Examine whether thou hast not sometimes shut out God from thee, when God hath offered himself to walk with thee. Hath not God sometimes tendred himself, and even taken thee by the hand to walk with thee, and thou hast not bin at leasure then, thy mind hath been about somewhat else? Oh! therefore be humbled before him for all thy unwor∣thy dealings with him, and for all thy declynings from him; Know, God calls thee to this, There hath been ma∣ny wandrings of thy spirit from God, Oh that thou couldst but say in respect of thy spiritual wandrings, as the Pro∣phet David saith in respect of his wandrings, in Psal 56. 8. Thou tellest my wandrings, put thou my tears into thy bottle, are they not in thy book? Oh that thou couldst but say so! Lord, there hath been many wandrings of my spirit, but Lord, put my tears into thy bottle; sutable to my wandrings so are my tears, Oh! it grieves me to the soul that ever I have grieved thy Spirit; when thy spirit hath even taken me by the hand to walk with thee I have withdrawn my self, and upon that thy Spirit hath been grieved; Oh it grieves my soul! Oh Lord, thou hast taken notice of my wandrings, take notice of my tears that are sutable.
Page 336 Thirdly, It is better that God withdraw, than that we with∣draw. I beseech you observe it: If God withdraws from you it is your affliction: but if you withdraw from God, it is your sin; and sin is worse than affliction, better bear any affliction, yea spiritual afflictions than commit sin; and that you should labor to be sensible of: you that complain of God's withdrawing from you, and that God will not walk with you; Be you more sensible of your own with∣drawings as a greater evil to you than Gods? It's true, Gods withdrawing from me it is a sore affliction above all that ever befell me in this world; but my withdrawing from him it is a greater burden to me. And it may be if God did not withdraw from thee, thou wouldst with∣draw from him: And many times God doth withdraw from his people to prevent his peoples withdrawing from him. As many times the mother will withdraw her selfe from the child that the child may not be wandring from her. And this may be the very end why God withdraws, he sees thy heart begins to be loose, wanton, slight, and vain, and therefore it is that he hides himself, that thou maiest be awakened and sensible of the danger that thou art in by withdrawing thy self from God; that so thou maiest cleave to him the more fully, and that thy soul may follow more after him, that thou maiest lift up thy heart and cry more earnestly after God. But now, if God be withdrawn, & the soul be not so sensible as to cry after him, or if it should leave off crying; then such a one is in a dangerous condi∣on indeed. As if a poor child had lost the father or mo∣ther and were crying after them; at length comes some begger with an apple or plumb and steals away the child, and then the child is quiet for the present; Oh take heed of that, depart not from the Lord, keep crying after him in all his withdrawings.
Fourthly, Gods withdrawing of comfort is not alwaies the withdrawing of his presence: Thou maiest mistake, thou thinkest that God is withdrawn, why? because he hath withdarwn comfort; there may be a great mistake in this: Page 337 God (I say) may withdraw comfort, and not withdraw his presence, take this for a certain rule and make much use of it, when comforts are gone: Do not say when com∣forts are gone, therefore the presence of God is gone, there may be as ful and as gracious a presence of God when com∣forts are gone as ever there was: he may be present with his graces and support; as in Psal. 63. 8. My soul followeth hard after thee, thy right hand upholdeth me; though thou seemest to be gone. So, God may be present to uphold thee, and to strengthen thee, and to exercise thy faith in him, and that may be as acceptable to God: The exercise of faith in the want of comfort may have as much of God in it as all the comfort that ever thou hadst in all thy life; and therefore do not say, that Gods presence is gone be∣cause comforts are gone: The beams of the Sun in the winter time is not so effectual as the influence of the Sun when it is in a cloud in the summer time: Is the presence of the Sun gone in the summer because there's a cloud between the sun and you? It may be a child will think, Oh the Sun is gone out of the firmament because there's a cloud: I but I know there's the Sun still, for there's the influence of the Sun, there's some heat in the day, and there's some light wherby I may see to do my work, though I have not that lustre as before; Now when the Sun shines in win∣ter it shines bright but there's not that influence of the sun upon the earth as makes the plants grow: So, sometimes the beams of Gods presence may be clouded to a Christian by reason of outward afflictions, and yet there may be more of Gods presence than at another time, when it shall shine in the beauty of it in the comfotrs of a Christian for so I compare the shining of the Comforts of a Christian to the shining of the Sun in the winter, that sometimes have no influence to sanctifie the heart, As in winter times the Sun hath not that influence to fructifie the ground, but at other times though the Sun be clouded yet it hath influ∣ence to make the ground fruitful; so though God may not shine upon thee in regard of outward comforts, yet he Page 338 may shine in upon thy soul and make thee to increase and grow in goodness more than ever before.
Fifthly, If thou canst not see Gods face, yet hearken and see if thou canst not hear his voice, and follow that. Doest thou come to the Word and there hear his voice? Is not God pleased to speak to thy soul out of his Word? Thou goest perhaps into thy closet and canst not see his face there as thou wert wont to do, yet blesse him that thou canst hear his voice, and follow his voice though it be in the dark. As now, if a child be going with the father and it be lost, yet if the child cries, and the father or mother speaks, that quiets the child very much; so it is with the children of God, when they cannot see Gods face, yet they may hear Gods voice: They cannot have those comforts from God as sometimes they have had; those sweet manifestations of the love of God shed abroad into their hearts; but when they come to the Word, they cannot but say that they hear their fa∣thers voice; Perhaps the word is not a comforting word to thee as hereto fore, I but is it not a directing word, an instructing word, an inlightening word? Oh this now should support thee for the present.
Sixthly, All that I will say further is this, Keep thy self in a waiting frame for God: Do not determine that be∣cause the Lord is gone he will ever be gone; Oh no, but keep still in the waies of God waiting for him, resolve, that though God leaves thee, yet thou wilt not leave the path in which God was heretofore: I am sure that God was once here, Oh then keep the path wherein thou wert wont to meet with God, for thou shalt meet with him again: It's better to keep the path, the ordinary high-way of God, for you are more like to meet with God there than if you should go out of the way: I'le give you a Scripture or two for that and so conclude. The first is in Psal. 101. 2. I will behave my self wisely in a perfect way, Oh when, wilt thou come unto me! That which I quote this for is this, the resolution of David to behave himself wisely in a perfect way, toge∣ther with his panting after the presence of God, Oh when Page 339 wilt thou come unto me! as if he should say, Lord, Thou art absent from me now, but Lord, I will not go out of the way wherein I was wont to find thee, Oh when wilt thou come! I will not determine that I shall never see thee in this way as heretofore I have done, no, but I hope I shal afterwards meet thee. And so in the 119. Psalm, 8. verse, I will keep thy Statutes; what then? Oh forsake me not utterly. It seems that the Lord for the present to Davids apprehen∣sion had forsaken him: but what was Davids resolution? God hath forsaken me and I'le forsake him? Oh no, But I'le keep thy Statutes, and Oh! leave me not utterly. So keep on in the waies of God still, go on in his way and wait for the presence of God until he come; and conclude this, Surely, he will come. Be not like to children, that be∣cause they see the Sun going down, therefore they conclude that the Sun is gone, and will never come again. Though God seems to withdraw the light of his face from thee, do not conclude and determine, well, I shall never have those comforts from God, in communion with God, in walking with God, as once I was wont to have; do not say so, but go on, and keep in the waies of God, wait upon him and look up towards him, and so thou maiest come to have as much Communion, Sweetness, and Joy in God as ever thou hadst in all thy life. And now know, that God cals for the work of faith in such times as these are, now God calls thee to walk by faith and not by sence.
AN EXACT ALPHABETICAL TABLE Of all the chief Matters handled in the Fourth VOLUMN.
- ADultery, see Earth∣ly-mindedness
- AccomptThe Saints are care∣full to make even their ac∣compts with God Page 313
- AimThe aim of the Saints is heaven-ward 107
- AngelThe Saints have the same con∣firmation of their happiness as the Angels have Page 104
- ApostacieWhat the root of apostacie is. 40
- AstrayBy Nature men go astray from the waies of God 268
- BenefitWhat the benefit of grace is 36 See Conscience
- BeleevingPage [unnumbered]By beleeving men take up their freedom of Heaven Page 103
- Blessing, see Jacob
- Whence distracted cares arise 9
- What our care should be 78
- CallingHow godly men are busy in their callings 16
- Calling, see Wicked
- The Saints are Citizens of hea¦ven, and how 100
- We should walk as becomes Citi∣zens of Heaven 105
- See Priviledg
- What the word Communion signifies 109
- Communion with God what it is 110
- Communion see Saints
- Content see Little
- Heavenly Conversations are to be followed 92
- How far heavenly Conversati∣ons are to be followed 93
- How the Saints Conversation is in Heaven 106
- Reasons why the Saints Conver∣sations are in Heaven 227
- Heavenly Conversation is a convincing Conversation 240
- Heavenly Conversation is at∣tainable Page 251
- Conversation see Faith, Hell, Evidence, Godly, Growing, Glory, Suffering, Directi∣ons
- ConverseWhat the Converse of the Saints is 116
- Contrariety see Examples
- ComfortThe Saints have comfort in lit∣tle of this world 223
- Comfort see Losses
- Confirmation see Angels
- CovenantWhat the Covenant on our parts is
- ConscienceThe benefits of a cleer consci∣ence 215
- Covetousness see Idolatry
- How the Saints deal with the Creature 310
- All the Creatures bring glory to God 245
- CurseOn whom the curse of the serpent is 44
- Danger see Example
- DeathWhat is that hinders preparati∣on for death 47
- Page [unnumbered]
- DevilThe Devil casts thoughts into the heart of man Page 7
- DelightWherein the delight of the Saints lieth 115
- Delight see Sabbath
- DependFor what Godly men depend upon God 277
- Difference, see Godly, Jacob.
- Directions how to get a heaven∣ly Conversation 251
- A godly soul depends upon God for directions 277
- Directions how to walk with God 320
- DestructionEarthly mindedness brings de∣struction 50
- Distracted see Cares
- Doctrine see Reconciliation
- DrossieHow a drossie heart is known 57
- EarthThe Earth swallows up earthly men 13
- Earth, look higher.
- Earthly things
- When men mind earthly things in a sinful manner 6
- Earthly things carry a fair shew Page 65
- Earthly things are many times the portion of reprobates 68
- Earthly manWhen an Earthly man is in his element 10
- A man may be Earthly-min∣ded and not know it 51
- What shall become of earthly∣minded men 72
- What Earthly-mindedness is 5
- Earthly-mindedness is adul∣tery 20
- Earthly-mindedness is Idola∣try 21 See Enmity
- Earthly-mindedness deads the heart to prayer 42
- Earthly-mindedness is a scan∣dal to Religion 45
- How earthly-mindedness may be known 54
- Reasons of Earthly-minded∣ness 64
- Earthly-mindedness brings guilt upon the spirit 18
- The effects of earthly-minded∣ness another day 50
- Earthly, see Heavenly, vilifie, Conversation, Element, Spirituall, Godlinesse, Temptations, Snares, Mi∣nistry, Lusts, Death, De∣struction, Page [unnumbered] Vanity, Humility Inducements
- EgyptiansWhat Idolatrous worship the E∣gyptians had Page 21
- What it is that causeth a blessed End 299
- Who they are that have the same ends God hath 275
- EnochEnoch's Prophesie 262
- Evidences of mens conversati∣ons being in heaven 222
- Evidences of walking with God 306 See Walking
- Examples of godly men should be followed and how far 92
- Examples of godly men should make us enquire after the waies of godliness 94
- Examples of godly men should confirm us in the truth 96
- What we should do when exam∣ples of godly men are contrary 97 See Examination
- Danger in following the exam∣ples of wicked men 100
- ExaminationContrary examples should put us upon examination 98
- Esau see Jacob
- The excellency of walking with God Page 267
- Excellency see Walking EyeThe souls of the godly eye God 272
- The heavenly conversation of o∣thers is not the rule of our faith 93
- Faith must be exercised 259
- FamilarityWhence our familarity with God ariseth 293
- FollyThe folly of earthly-mindedness 38
- Formality must not be rested on 253
- Formality must be taken heed of 326
- GeniusWicked men fancy heavenly things according to their own genius 17
- God takes care of men, concer∣ning earthly things 78
- Heavenly conversation brings glory to God 244 Page [unnumbered]See Walking
- What a man trusts to, he makes his God Page 54
- Difference between wicked and godly men 3
- Godly mens Conversations should not be earthly 238
- Godly men carry themselves as in Gods presence 274
- GodlinessEarthly-mindedness is contrary to the work of godliness and how 26 See waies, my stery.
- Heavenly Conversation brings glory to the Saints 246
- What the glory of the soul is. 239
- GraceWhat the work of grace is 27
- Grace, see Benefit: presence.
- GrowingHeavenly Conversation is gro∣wing 240
- HaltingThe Saints must take heed of halting 325
- Heaven, see Saints, Pro∣fession, Conversation, Aim.
- The Saints are Heavenly in Earthly imploymonts Page 115
- The Saints have great skill in Heavenly matters 218
- HellThe Conversations of wicked men are in Hell 99
- The heart is best known by the thoughts 7
- The heart of a wicked man is upon the things of the earth. 16
- The vileness yf mens hearts dis∣covered 302
- Heart, see drossie.
- HigherGod made man for higher things than the things of the earth 96
- HypocritesHypocrites rebuked 135
- Honor, see walking
- HumilityHumility takes the heart off from earthly mindedness. 86
- JacobDifference between Jacob's bles∣sing and Esau's 6
- IdolaterIdolaters depart from God 22
- Page [unnumbered]
- IdolatryCovetousness is Idolatry Page 20 See Earthly-mindedness Vileness
- Ill, see Success
- Ignorant see Religion
- Imployment see Heavenly
- InducementEarthty Inducements oppose godliness 98
- IntercourseThe Saints have much inter∣course to heaven 218
- JoyWhat the joy of a Saint is See World 54
- LawThe Saints are guided by the Laws of God 110
- LittleThe Saints are contented with little in this world. 222
- LossThe Saints have comfort in all their losses 224
- LustEarthly-mindedness brings in foolish lusts and how 34
- ManWherefore God made man 69 See Nature
- MindWho they are that know the mind of God Page 94
- MinistryHow earthly-mindedness hin∣ders the Ministry 30
- MysteryThe mystery of godlinesse ought to be studied 254
- NatureWhat man is by nature 268
- PetitionsWhat men they are that shall have their petitions granted 295
- PilgrimWe are pilgrims here upon earth 76
- Prayer see Earthly-minded∣ness
- Preparation see Death
- PresenceGods presence draws forth grace 298 See God
- Principles see Saints
- What the priviledges of a Citi∣zen of heaven are 106
- How the priviledges of a Citi∣zen of Heaven are procured 107
- PromisePage [unnumbered]Wicked men do not trust to a promise Page 15
- ProtectionThe Saints have the protection of heaven 104
- ReconciliationHow a wicked man conceives of the Doctrine of Reconcilia∣tion 17
- How Religion is scandalized 45
- Why men are ignorant in Reli∣gion 59
- ReprobatesReprobates have their portion in this life 68
- RichesThe Saints have right to the Richcs and common stock of heaven 103
- Riches see Uncertainty
- The Saints names are inrolled in heaven 102
- The Saints are no longer slaves 103
- The Saints' are guided by hea∣venly principles 108
- The Saints have communion with God 109
- The Saints trust God with much Page 220
- The Saints are sensible of the stoppage between them and heaven 226
- To whom the Sabbath is a de∣light, and to whom it is a wearinesse 16
- The Saints keep a a perpetual Sabbath 115
- Saints see Citizens, Riches, Angels, Perfection, Laws, Delight, Heavenly, Sab∣bath, Trading, Intercourse Little, Comfort Losses
- SaftyWherein the safty of a Saint lies 292
- Scandal, see Religion
- SelfWhat self is 25
- Secretswhat manner of men they are that know Gods secrets 294
- SeriousnessWhat seriousness of spirit is 309
- Serpent, see Curse
- Sinful, see Earthly
- ShortnessWhat the shortness of our time here should lead us to 73
- SnareEarthly-mindedness brings men into snares 29
- Page [unnumbered]
- Of what value the soul of man is Page 70
- The soul of man is from heaven 229
- The soul of man ought to be beautified 324
- Soul see Glory, Walk
- SpiritualA wciked man is earthly in spi∣ritual things, a godly man is spiritual in earthly 11
- StrictnessWe ought not to find fault with strictness in Gods waies 231
- StrangerThe world are strangers to walking with God 300
- SuccessThe reason of ill success 35
- SufferingHeavenly Conversation makes suffering easie 249
- TemptationEarthly-mindedness puts men upon great temptations 28
- What the thoughts of the Saints are 111
- Which way the thoughts of the Sainis tend 112
- What the Saints trade for heaven is Page 213
- The Saints have free trade to heaven 104
- Trust, see God
- TrustedWorldly things are not tobe tru∣sted too 55
- VanityAll earthly things are vanity 53
- VilifieThe Saints vilifie the things of the earth 222
- UncertaintyThe uncertainty of riches 71
- VilenessThe vileness of Idolatry 21
- VocationWhat vocation is 25
- WaiesThe waies of godlinesse should not be opposed 95 See Strictness
- How the soul is brought to walk with God 268
- He that walks with God de∣pends not much upon reason 307
- He that walks with God is the same in private that he is in publick
- Page [unnumbered]He that walks with God walks in his Commandements Page 310
- What it is to walk with God 267
- WalkingWhat walking with God is 272
- Wherein walking with God consists 280
- Several excellencies of walking with God 286
- The honor of walking with God 288
- Particular evidences of wal∣king with God Page 316
- Wearinesse, see Sabbath.
- WickedWhy wicked men are busie in their callings 16 See Godly, Genius, Exam∣ple, Hell.
- Work, see Godlinesse, Grace.
- WorldlyWherein worldly joy consists 54 See Trust, Strangers.
A TABLE of those SCRIPTURES which are occasionally Cleared and briefly Illustrated In the Fourth VOLUMN.
The first number directs to the Chapter, the second to the Verse, the third to the Page of the Book.