EVIDENCE FOR HEAVEN: CONTAINING Infallible Signs and reall De∣monstrations of our Union with Christ and Assurance of Salvation.
With an Appendix of laying down cer∣tain Rules to be observed for preserving our Assurance once Obtained.
Published by Ed. Calamy B. D. and Pastor of the Church at Aldermanbury London.
Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
2 PET. 1.10.
Give Diligence to make your calling and election sure.
2 COR. 13.5.
Examine your selves, whether ye be in the Faith, prove your own selves, know ye not your own selves, how that Iesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates.
LONDON, Printed for Simon Miller at the Sta• in Pauls Church-yard toward the West end 1657.
AN EPISTLE, TO THE READER.
THere are two things which ought to be the chief aim of all those who desire to live holily, and dye happily. The one is, to get an interest in Christ, the other, to get an assurance of their interest in him. The first of these is absolutely necessary to Salvation. The se∣cond, is absolutely necessary, though not to our Salvation, yet to our Consolation. Without the first, we cannot dye happily. Without the second, we cannot dye comfor∣tably. It must not be denied, but that a man may have true Grace, and yet want the Assurance of it, he may be a Child of Light in darknesse,* he may have the direct act of Faith, and yet want the Page [unnumbered]reflect act, he may have the Sanctifying work of the Spirit, and yet want the wit∣nessing work. (Though no man can have the witnessing work, who hath not the Sanctifying, yet a man may have the san∣ctifying, and yet want the witnessing work of the Spirit) Ioseph may be alive and yet his Father Iacob may think him dead, true grace may be in us, and yet we may not only not know it, but beleeve the con∣trary.
This condition though it be sad, yet it is not damnable. For as a wicked man is never the nearer Heaven, because he pre∣sumptuously conceits he is in the way to Heaven, no more is a Child of God the nearer Hell, because he thinks he is in the way to Hell. Christ was not therefore a Gardiner, because Mary thought so, nei∣ther was Ioseph therefore dead, because Iacob imagined him to be dead. He that beleevs shall be saved, whether he knows it or knows it not; he that walks in Hea∣vens way shall certainly at last come to Heaven, though he thinks himself out of the way.
Notwithstanding all this, though the Grace of Assurance be not simply, and ab∣solutely necessary, yet it is a most precious jewell, without which we can neither •e comforted while we live, nor willing to Page [unnumbered] part with life. It is a Heaven upon earth, a Heaven before we come to Heaven. The Prelibation and Pregustation of Heaven. It is the hidden Manna, Abraham's bosome, the joy of the Lord, and the peace of God which passeth all understanding. It is to be laboured after with all labour. And therefore the Apostle perswads us, to give diligence to make our calling and election sure.*
The subject of this ensuing Treatise, is to direct and teach us how to get an infalli∣ble assurance of salvation: Here are severall Marks and Characters propounded of a man in Christ, the work is very weighty, and of great concernment, for whosoever undertakes to lay down marks of a Child of God, must be carefull of two things.
1. That he doth not propound evi∣dences of Grace, which are proper only to eminent Christians, as belonging to all true Christians, least herein he makes sad the hearts of those whom God would not have made sad.
2. That he doth not mention such Characters of a true Child of God, which may be found in an Hypocrite, least he makes glad the hearts of those whom God would not have made glad.
The Author of this book hath brought very many marks of a true justifying faith,Page [unnumbered] of a distinguishing Love of God, of of re∣pentance unto life and of a new Creature, &c. Now though thou canst not apply all of them as thy portion; yet if thou canst apply many of them, and sincerely labour∣est to be capable of applying the rest, thou art in a happy condition.
There are two wayes by which a man may come to know his interest in Christ. The one is by the witnesse of his own spirit. The other by the witnesse of Gods Spirit. There are some who say, there is but one witnesse, the witnesse of Gods Spirit; This I grant is the chief witnesse; but I con∣ceive, that the Scripture doth also hold forth, the witnesse of a mans own spirit as well as of Gods Spirit, Rom. 8.16. It is not said, the Spirit witnesseth to our spi∣rits, but with our spirits, that we are the Sons of God. Wherenote, that a mans own spirit is a co-witnesse. This witnesse of a mans own spirit is nothing else, but the testimony of an illightened andrenewed con∣science reflecting upon its grace and assuring the soul that it is in Christ, &c. Of this way of assurance, the Apostle speaks, 2 Cor. 1.12. 1 Iohn 2.3. 1 Iohn 3.21. Heb. 13.18. Act. 24.16. When a mans conscience bears him witnesse upon Scrip∣ture grounds, that he doth beleeve and repent, and that he is a new Creature, Page [unnumbered] this is instead of a thousand witnesses, and it is a continuall feast, in the worst of times.
But now because the voice of conscience is sometimes so low a voice,* as that the spi∣rit of a man cannot heare it, especially when it is disturbed, and distracted with the voice of sin accusing, and condemning him, and because the voice of conscience is sometimes uncertain, so as the soul knoweth not what the verdict of it is. And because also the eye of conscience is sometimes blind, (through ignorance,) and cannot see the garces it hath, and is ready to beare false witnesse against it self, and to say, it is not justified, when it is. Or if not blind, yet it is many times dimme, and cannot see the happy condition it is in. And sometimes it is infested with melancholly, which makes it look upon its own condition with black spectacles. And because the graces of Gods Spirit in his Children are sometimes so small and little, or at least so blotted and blurred, that conscience cannot read the graces God hath given it. Hence it is, that God out of his great goodnesse hath affor∣ded us another witnesse, besides the testi∣mony of conscience, which is the witnesse of his own Spirit, witnessing with our spirits that we are the Sons of God. This indeed is the great, and the infallible witnesse, therefore it is compared to a Seal, where∣by Page [unnumbered] we are sealed to the day of Re∣demption, and to an earnest,* and it is called the comforter, and the Spirit of adoption, by which we are enabled to cry, Abba father. Of both these witnesses this Trea∣tise speaks to very good pur∣pose.
One thing more I must add, which will unto many seem very wonder∣full and almost incredible. The Author of this Book is a Gentlewo∣man, belonging to the Congregation of Alderman-bury; And one who for these Thirty years, by reason of an affliction lying upon her, hath been in a great measure, deprived of those publique spirituall helps which others enjoy, and also of those private helps, which good Christians do, or might partake of by the Communion of Saints. This makes good that Text of Scripture. Out of the mouths of Babes and Sucklings thou hast per∣fected praise. And that other,**That the strength of God is made perfect in weaknesse.* Church History tels us of a Captive Woman, whom God made instrumentall to convert the whole Nation of the Iberians,*Page [unnumbered] to the Christian Faith. And the Book of God tels us of Priscilla, who was made able by grace to ex∣pound the way of God more perfectly unto Apollo himself, an eloquent man, and mighty in the Scriptures. And that she and her Husband A∣quila were helpers in Christ Iesus unto Saint Paul, and that for his life, they laid down their necks.* Much is spoken by the same Apostle, in commendation of divers Women. I hope no man will contemn this Book, because written by a Wo∣man,* but rather admire the good∣nesse, love, and power of God, who is able to do such great things, by such weak instruments. No man will refuse pearls, or precious stones, though handed to him by the Female Sex. It is her great desire that her Name may be concealed. All that I will say of her is; That she is a precious Iewell, though in a con∣temptible Box, and a very great or∣nament to the Congregation of which she is a Member. If any reap any spirituall advantage by reading of this Book, she hath ob∣tained the hight of her ambition; one∣ly she craves their Prayers, that God Page [unnumbered] would blesse her and hers, that the lesse help she hath from men, the more she may have from God, and the in∣comes of his holy Spirit, that though she wants an outward eare, to hear the voice of Gods Ministers speaking to her outward man, yet she may have an inward ear to hear God speaking to her soul words of everlasting con∣solation. And this is also the Pray∣er of
Thy Servant in the work of the Ministery, Edmund Calamy.
ASsurance, well-grounded assu∣rance of the Love of God, and a mans own salvation, is a thing much to be desired and laboured for, by all that have immortall souls; But a thing industrious∣ly sought after by few, and attained by fewer. The most people in the world trouble their heads little about it, and their hearts lesse; know not what it is, nor how to go to worke to attain it, some think it is impossible to attain it; others seek not after it, some desire it, but cannot ac∣quire it, others enjoy it, but do not impart it, hence it comes to passe, that few reap the comfort of it, I think it not amisse therefore, to speake somewhat of it, seeing it is a thing without which, we can neither live, nor di• with sound comfort in our souls, much l•sse tr•umph over d•ath, the King of terrours: I shall here in the first place premise three thing•, or lay dow• three conclusions and for brevity sake, I will only name them; the first is this.
The first. That there are some, that are chosen to salvation, predestinate,*elect. o•∣dained Page [unnumbered] to eternal life, beloved with an ever∣lasting love, vessels of mercy prepared unto glory, before the world began, and kept by the mighty power of God unto salvation; and all these, shall be certainly saved and glo∣rified.
*The Second. That it is possible for a Child of God in this life, to attain some good assu∣rance, and true evidence, that he is of this num∣ber.
The third. That it is the duty of every Chri∣stian to labour for assurance of the Love of God,*and his own salvation.
But here the great question will be, How shall I do this?*How shall I go to work to attain this precious jewel of assurance which you speak of?
*This question, the ensuing discourse tends to the resolution of, therefore I will here only, lay down some rules to be followed, by every one that desires to attain some good assurance, or Evidence for Heaven, while he is here.
First. He that would obtain this precious jewel and invaluable treasure of good assurance,* must ask it, he must ask it of him, who hath said, ask and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.* He that purchased Heaven for us, pur∣chased the Evidences of Heaven also, but he doth not alwayes commit them to the heirs custody: Christ doth not alwayes deliver the Evidence, and the •nowledg of it, with the right and title to Heaven: Nay, he doth many times withhold the Evidence of Heaven from those, to whom he gives rig•t and title to Heaven, for speciall rea∣sons: therefore for this, Christ must be sought unto, injuired of, as the Scripture speaks. A Page [unnumbered] plain Jacob by much wrestling with God, may ob∣tain some good evidence of his favour, as well as an eloquent Orator, or a learned Clark: There∣fore if thou wouldest obtain some good Evidence for Heaven, and a happy eternity, then go to God with the Language of Abraham, Gen. 15.8. when God had told Abraham, he would give the land of Canaan to his posterity, Abraham beleeved God, he beleeved Gods promise should be made good, yet desires to be further confirmed in this, and therefore saith, Lord, God, where∣by shall I know that I shall inherit it? So say thou to the Lord, respecting that land above, of which Canaan was a type, Lord, God, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it? Say to God, as Tamar said to Judah, Give me a pledg of thy promise, untill thou performest it, say to God, as Rahab said to the spies, Give me a true to∣ken; give me the earnest of the Spirit,* give me some grace that may assurs me of glory, and open my eyes to see this grace bestowed on me, give me the blessing of Joseph, who was able to say, I feare God; give me the blessing of Paul, who was able to say, I know whom I have beleeved. and put th•se promises in suit, Isai. 32.17. Joh. 14.20.
Secondly,* He that would get this precious jew∣el of assurance, must seek it, he must seek it, where it is to be found, and as it is to be sough• after.
1. He must seek it, where it is to be found, seek it in Iesus Christ, and Vnion with him, and seek Iesus Christ, and the demonstrations of Vnion with him▪ in the Word of God, in all the Ordinance of God, and duties of a Christian, and in the Work of God, in, and up∣on Page [unnumbered] himself. He that will conclude according to truth about his spirituall and eternall estate, must diligently try himself, and his graces by the truth (to wit) the Word of God, which is the only true touchstone we have to try our selves by, The heart is deceitfull above all things,*and despe∣perately wicked, Who can know it? There is nothing in the world that sooner deceives us, or so much abuses us, as our own hearts, they are not to be consulted with nor trusted to, without the Word, but tried by it; therefore search the Scriptures, and search thy self.
If we go to the Creatu•e for assurance, and go from Creature to Creature for it, as the Bee goes from flower to flower, the Creatures may all reply in the language of Job▪ and say, it is not in me,*neither is it to be found in me, it cannot be gotten for gold, neither shall silver be weighed for the price thereof. Honour may say it is not in me, neither is it to be found in me; and riches may say, it is not in me, neither is it to be found in me; gifts may say, it is not in me; and learning may say, it is not in me, neither is it to be found in me; and thus may all the Creatures reply. But where then is assu∣rance to be found? and where is the place there∣of, seeing it is hid from the eyes •f the most, and kept close from many of Gods Iewels? The world sayes, we have heard of the fame thereof, but know not what it is; Gods People say, we thirst after it, but know not where to find it; Thou that thus complainest, go to the word, and it will tell thee in the Word, and in the wildernesse, assu∣rance is usually found, go thou to the Word to seek it,* follow the counsell of Christ, thou that long•st after assurance, but knowest not where Page [unnumbered] to find it. Go thy wayes forth by the footsteps of the flock, and feed thy kids, beside th• sheepherds tents; Frequent the Word preach∣ed, read the Word Printed; Seek for Evidenc• in grace, and not in gifts, in renewing grace, not in morall grace, seek it in the nar•ow way; These are the paths wherein the flock of Christ have gone before us, and which they have trod∣den out unto us; follow their foot steps, if thou wouldest attain assurance, go not in untroden paths to seek it, it is a pearl that is not to be found in every place, seek it therefore where it is to be found: This is the first branch of the second Rule.
2. The second is this, He that would get as∣surance must seek it as it is to be sought after;* He must seek it according to the Scripture di∣rectory, that is, diligently, orderly, humbly, per∣severingly.
First, He must seek it diligently, Give dili∣gence to make your calling and election sure,* saith the Text: He that would get assurance must seek it diligently and industriously, he must seek it, as Solomon teaches us to seek wisdoms and understanding; seek for it, as for silver, and search for it, as for hid treasure; It is treasure, which lies hid, and lies deep in the Bowels is the Scripture, and he that will obtain it must dive deep for it, and dive with his eyes o∣pen, as the Indians are said to do for pearl, he must labour for it industriously, as labourers do in silver-mines.
Secondly, He must seek it orderly, he must follow the vein; He must not begin where God begins, but where God ends; he must not begin at the root to fi•d the branch, but by the branch Page [unnumbered] discry the roote, my meaning is, he must not be∣gin with Gods decree in predestination, which is the root of salvation; But with regeneration and justification, which are branches issuing out of this root, other wayes he may destroy the tree ere he is aware, I mean himself, and all hope of Heaven and salvation, as I have known some do, and fall into utter desperation; The truth is, he that will not beleeve, untill he read God's decree in Heaven, must never look for any assurance of Heaven here, nor fruition of it hereafter; If you will not beleeve, you shall not be establish∣ed,* saith the Text; He that will reach to Hea∣ven by Jacobs Ladder, must begin at the lowest step; this is the Scripture way to get assurance; Christs directory prescribes it, when Iesus Christ would instruct Nicodemus about his spirituall and eternall estate, he did not send him to Hea∣ven, to read the records of the celestiall court, but sent him to read himself over, to search his own heart and life, to consider whether he were rege∣nerate and born again,* whether he were ingraf∣ted into Christ, and made a new Creature, yea, or nay; Christ directs him to the effect to find out the cause, not to the cause to find out the ef∣fect, which teaches us, that he that would get some good Evidence of the Love of God and his own salvation, must begin at home with the work∣ings of God, in and upon himself, he must consi∣der what work the Spirit of God hath done in him, what sight of sinne, what sense of sinne, what sorrow for sinne, what l•athing and forsaking of sinne, he hath wrought in him, what grace or desire of grace, or prizing of grace, the Spirit of God hath wrought in him; The Father himself Loveth you, saith Christ. But how shall that Page [unnumbered] appeare? Why the next words tell us,*Ye have loved me, and beleeved, &c. The Father him∣self loved you, because ye have loved m•, and beleeved that I came out from God: It is as if Christ had said, your faith to me, working by love to me, demonstrates it; for Christ doth not here make our Faith, or our love the cause of Gods love to us, but the discoverer of it: And the Apostle tells us, That whom God did fore∣know he also did predestinate, to be conform∣ed to the Image of his Sonne, and ver. 30. saith,*that whom he did predestinate, them he also called (to wit) inwardly and effectually, accord∣ing to his purpose, by giving them saving grace; and whom he thus calleth, them he also justi∣fieth▪ and whom he justifieth, them he also glorifieth; And here the Apostle followeth the example of his Lord and Master, leading us to the cause by the effects, and to the end by the meanes, hence it is evident, That he that would get assurance of his Election, must seek it in the workings of God, in, and upon himself; he must consider, how his justification i• evidenced by his sanctification, and his election by both. Sanctifi∣cation is Gods work in us, justification is Gods work upon us, both together are certain pledges of his good will towards us
In the third place, He that would seek assu∣rance, as it is to be sought after, must seek it humbly, with feare and trembling, the Scrip∣ture calls upon us so to do, Work out your own salvation with feare and trembling,* a seeker of assurance, must seek humbly upon his knees, and he must seek tremblingly, with a holy feare and jealousie, least he should mistake and miscarry; for though it be possible for a Child of God to know Page [unnumbered] his estate, yet it is very difficult.
Fourthly, He must seek perseveringly, he must never give over asking untill he receive, never give over seeking untill he find what he seeketh; He must follow the example of the Spouse seeking her Beloved, inquire of the watchmen, the Mi∣nisters of the Gospel, where, and how to find, what he seeketh; and followeth Christ by ear∣nest prayer, as the woman of Canaan did, un∣till he obtaine his suit, and he must not rest sa∣tisfied with the beginnings thereof but still labour for increase. The Scripture speaks of assurance and full assurance of hopeaof assurance and sull assuranc• of faithbof the riches of full assurance▪ of understandingcand of great boldnesse in the faith,dto be attained in this life; and this the Apostle prayed for▪ for the Ephesians,e and laboured to beget in the Colos∣sians, as appears by the forecited place, and this the Scripture exhorts all Christians to labour for, f and saith, That he that doth these things shall never fall, but an entrance shall be mi∣nistred unto him abundantly, into the ever∣lasting Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ, which one would think were argument enough to perswade any Immortall soul to seek after it. Thus of the second rule propounded for the getting of assurance▪
*The third is this, He that would get assurance of the Love of God, must work by the help of the Spirit of God, who searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God as the Scripture saith, gAnd beareth witness with our Spirits that we are the Children of God;* the Word cannot without the Spirit; the Spirit will not▪ without the Word as∣sure us o• eternall happinesse; therefore he that Page [unnumbered] would get assurance must work by the help of the Spirit, he must try himself and his graces by the Word, through the help of the Spirit.
In the fourth place,* He that would get assu∣rance must carefully avoid all the hinderances thereof, in the generall he must shun and avoid all sinne, more especially these sinnes. Ignorance, Atheisme, Prophannesse and Hypocrisie, Vnbe∣lief and Impenitency, Erronious Opinions, Pre∣sumption and Desperation, neglect of the meanes of Grace, formall Vse of them, and Rebellion a∣gainst them, strangnesse with God, and Iesus Christ.
Fifthly, He that would get assurance,* must la∣bour for all those qualifications and graces which may render him capable •f it, and which God usually imparts this blessing to; First, he must become a new Bottle, I mean a new Creature, for assurance is new wine, and Christ will not put it into an old Bottle, for it would burst the Bottle, Labour therefore for grace, trush of grace, every renewing grace; But more especi∣ally these graces, Knowledg, Faith, Sincerity, Heart-humility, Contritition accompanied with Convertion and new Obedience:* Assurance will not dwell in an Ignorant, Vnbelieving, Hy∣pocriticall Heart, therefore he that would attain it must labour for those graces which are contra∣ry to these vices; God dwels as a reviver in the heart of the humble and contrite sinner, He re∣vives the spirit of the humble,*and the heart of the contrite ones; Iesus Christ puts the strongest wine in broken Bottles, I do not say in∣to old, but into broken Bottles, he binds up the broken hearted; He therefore that would get assurance, must labour for an humble and bro∣ken Page [unnumbered] heart A wise father will not assure a pro∣digall and disobedient Child of his inheritance, while he continueth such, no more will our Hea∣venly Father; He therefore that would get assu∣rance of inheritance with the Saints in light, must come home to his Heavenly Father with a submissive and obedient heart,* with a heart obedi∣ent unto all his Heavenly Fathers Will. It is not every one that hath truth of grace, that attains assurance, but he that hat• truth of grace and strength of grace, true faith and strong faith: Therefore in the second place, labour for strength of grace, strength of faith and every other grace; It is not every one that hath truth of grace and strength of grace, that attains to assurance, but he that hath grace and knows that he hath it: Therefore if thou wouldest attain assurance, labour to know the grace of God in thee. In the third place; Labour to know that thou ha•• grace, that thou hast a true justifying faith, that thou hast sincerity, &c. Grace in Gods Children, is many times hidden from them∣selves, and that is the reason why they reap so little comfort of it, so little evidence by i•; they do not know that they have received an earnest penny of God; they do not know Gods ingage∣ments of himself unto them; Therefore if thou wouldest get assurance, try and prove all thy gra∣ces, whether they be true and reall, Evangelical and renewing, yea, or nay, especially these gra∣ces, Faith, Lov•▪ Repentance, Obedience, Po∣verty of Spirit, Sincerity, &c. that thou maist know thou hast truth of saving grace, such grace as is crowned with glory, and pray to God for sens• of grace, Fourthly, Get Righteousnesse, Evangelicall Righteousnesse, Righteousnesse of Page [unnumbered] Iustification, and Righteousnesse of Sanctifica∣tion; Assurance is an effect of Righteousnesse, though not an inseparable concomitant of it. The work of Righteousnesse shall be peace,* and the effect of Rrighteousnesse quietnesse and assurance for ever; Labour therefore to get Christs Merit for thy Iustification, and Christs Spirit for thy Sanctification. Fifthly, Labour to beleeve, as if there were no law to condemn thee, and to live, as if there were no Christ to save the•; La∣bour to beleeve stedfastly, and walk exactly with God and Man; When Stephen beheld the glory of God▪ The Text saith,*He looked up stedfastly into Heaven, and it's certain, that though a weak faith may bring a man to Heaven and glory, yet it will not bring a man to behold the glory of God, whilst he is here below, it will not bring him to the riches of full assurance; there∣fore if thou wouldest attain this, labour for a strong and stedfast Faith,* joyned with a holy life.* These qualifications he must labour for that desires assurance.
Sixtly, he that would get assurance,* must deny himself in point of finne, and in point of righteousnesse; First, he must deny himself in point of sinne, he must not spare a right hand, nor a right eye, but if it offend, cut it off, pluck it out, as Christ speaks; he must deny himself in his darling finne, he must not allow himself in any one known finne, nor in the omissi∣on of any one known duty towards God or towards man; want in this, is that which Satan usually makes his great battering Ingen to overthrow, (if it were possible,) the Faith and Hope of Gods Elect, and that whereby he hinders them from getting or keeping this rich jewell of Evidence. Page [unnumbered] Allowance of sinne and assurance cannot stand together, they are as contrary as fire and water, the one will out the other: Therefore he that would get assurance, must deny himself in point of sinne.
Secondly, He must deny himself in point of righteousnesse, he must renounce all his own righ∣teousnesse, in point of justification before God, and count them all losse, and drosse, and dung, and build upon a sure Foundation, viz. the Rock Christ. He that would attain to the assu∣rance that Paul had, must renounce himself, and rely on Christ, as Paul did, he must refer God wholly to Christ for satisfaction, and himself wholly to Christ for righteousnesse.
*Again, he that would get assurance, must live for it; He must apply himself to do the Will of God in every thing, he must act and exercise all his graces, and labour to grow and increase in grace still;* he must add grace to grace, and one degree of grace to another, as the Scripture exhorts and commands us to do; single grace is not assuring grace, neither is not growing grace, assuring grace; that grace which is assuring, is consociate and growing, and some wayes acting. Therefore let thy knowledg run down in practise, this is the way to get assu∣rance; this is to lay a good foundation against the time of need;* this is to be a wise builder for eternity, as Christ saith; this is the way to get as∣surance for ever, to get assurance, which no rain of temptation, nor floods of affliction, nor winds of misapplyed Scripture, shall ever be able to overthrow.
In the next plac•, He that would get assurance of his safe and happy condition,* must labour to Page [unnumbered] grow into familiarity, and intimate acquain∣tance with Iesus Christ, who was in the bosome of his Father, when his Decree concerning e∣l•ction was made, and was an agent in it, that so by him, as by a bosome friend, he may be made acquainted with the privy-counsells of Heaven, and bosome-secrets of God: Iesus Christ who is wisdome it self, will not impart himself and the secrets of God and Heaven to strangers, but re∣serves himself in such matters for intimate friends, therefore if thou wouldest know and be assured, that thy name is written in Heaven, be much with Christ, be intimate with Christ,*lodg him all night between thy breasts, as the Spouse speaks, and he will be a bundle of mirthe unto thee, he will be unto thee, as Jonathan was unto David, a discoveror of his Fathers inten∣tions; If thou desirest assurance, delight thy self in Christ, and he will give it thee in due time, and he will further say unto thee, as Jona∣than did to David. Whatsoever thy soul de∣sireth, I will even do it for thee: All things that I have heard of my Father, I will make known unto thee, and ye shall know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.
Finally, He that would get assurance of the Love of God and his own salvation, must p•ay earnestly for the witnessing Spirit, and pray for the witnesse of the Spirit; pray that th• Spirit of God may beare witnesse with his spirit that he is beloved of God, and chosen to salvati∣on through Iesus Christ: This, and nothing lesse then this, will satisfie conscience in point of assu∣rance; when no voice without thee can do it, this voice within thee will do it.
Thus 〈◊〉 for the rules to be followed, for Page [unnumbered] th• getting of assurance, I would now add some Motives to perswade the Reader to seek after it, but I feare I should be too tedious, only let me tell thee, That assurance is a thing of incompa∣rable worth, a thing which no man knoweth, but he that hath is, a thing that no man prizeth so much, as he that wants it; in a word, it is a thing of such incomparabl• worth, that a man cannot buy it at too deare a rate: Could a man but know its goodnesse, and taste its sweetnesse, he would think no labour too much to attain it, no sinne too sweet to part with for it, no sufferings too much to preserve it, no care and industry too much to increase it; for it is (indeed) next grace, the most precious and delectable love to∣ken, that we can possible receive from Iesus Christ the Bridegroom of our souls, in his bodily ab∣sen•e. And if this will not perswade thee, Rea∣der, to seek after it, I leave thee to him to per∣swade, who perswaded Japhet to dwell in the tents of Shem; what God hath bin pleased to impart unto •e on this Subject, I have commit∣ed to writing, more than this, I dare not do, for going out of my sphere, and lesse then this, I could not do, least I should be blamed of my H•avenly Father, for hiding my Talent in a napkin, and burying divine love in a dunghill; if ever this little draught of Evidence, which I penned for my own use, and hope to leave to my Children for theirs, should by any providence come abroad to publique view, my desire and hope is. That this little draught of Evidence may (through Gods Blessing) be helpfull to some of Christs Lambs, to some poor souls, which thirst after assurance on Scriptures-grounds, and in•ite others of pro∣founder judgments, and greater abilities, to search Page [unnumbered] th• Scriptures, by them to make discovery of the way to get this precious and invaluable Iewell of sound assurance. If thou findest any thing of God in the ensuing Evidence, or gettest any good by 〈◊〉 bless God for it, give him the glory of it: This is the desire of
Thy Friend that wishes the Blessing of assurance to all that are in Christ Iesus our Lord.
EVIDENCE FOR HEAVEN.
Union with Christ, Evidence for Heaven.
HOw may I come to be truly,*and infallibly assured of my salva∣tion?
By examining thy self touching thy Union with Christ,* if thou hast Union with Christ, thou shalt certainly be saved, for the Scripture saith,*there is no Condemnation to them that are in Christ Iesus, Rom 8.1. If ye be Christs, then are ye Abrahams seed, and heires according to Promise, Gal. 3.29. He that hath the Sonne, hath Life, to wit, Life Eternall, 1 Joh. 5.12. By all which it is evident, That who∣soever hath a true and real interest in Christ, shall certainly e saved.
The Major part of this Assumption, is cleer from these Scriptures, to wit,* that he that hath Page 2 Union, shall certainly be faved: But how shall the Minor appear. viz, that I have Union with Christ, how shall I be ascertained of this?
To get assurance of this, thou must diligently examine thy self,* whether thou hast the Spirit of Christ, or not? He that hath not received the Spirit of Christ, hath no Union with Chrift, if any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his, Rom. 8.9.
He that hath received the Spirit of Christ, hath undoubtedly Union with Christ: For the Apostle makes this a sure argument of our U∣nion with Christ, hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us, 1 Joh. 3.24. Thereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit, 1 Joh. 4.13.
Again, Paul delivers this as a positive truth, viz that he that hath the Spirit of God dwelling i• him, is not in an estate of Condemnati∣on, but in a state of Salvation. Rom. 8.9. ye are not in the Flesh, but in the Spirit; if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you; But without Christ, without Vnion with Christ, there is no Salvation sor Man: therefore it follows by necessary consequence, That he that hath the Spirit of Christ dwelling in him, according to the meaning of the Apostle in this text, hath undoubtedly Union with Christ.
*Here note, That the first and radicall Union between Christ and his Members, is by con∣junction; This Union by Conjunction is a true and reall uniting of our persons, bodies and souls, to the Person of Christ, God and Man: To the Person of Christ, as our Mediator; And it is then effected, when Page 3 the Lord is joyned to the Soul, and the Soul to the Lord, so as they are made truly one.
This Union between Christ and his Members is made by the Spirit of God, whose office it is to joyn Christ and his Members together, it is the Spirit immediately on Christs part, but the Spirit mediately on our part, that makes this Union.
Christ by an actuall habitation of his Spirit in his Elect, really joyns himself unto them and becoms truly one with them.
Christ by his Spirit works unfeigned faith, in the hearts of his elect, by which they habitu∣ally abide in him, joyn themselves unto him, and become truly one with him: Christ and his Members thus joyned together, are one by Conjunction.
To get assurance of thy Union with Christ then, thou must of necessity begin here, viz. with a diligent search, whether thou art indued with the Spirit of Christ, yea, or nay; and in searching after this take notice,
That the Spirit of God is said to be given, [ 1] Either Essentially, or Virtually. Essentially unto Christ onely; virtually unto us: So as when the Scripture speaks of giving the holy Spirit of God to man, of the receiving of the Spirit by Man, and of the dwelling of the holy Spirit in man. In these texts and the like, we are not to understand the essence of that Per∣son in Trinity, But the vertue, efficacy, and operation of that Person,
Secondly, Note that the Spirit of God is [ 2] virtually given unto man, either as a qualifier only, or as a sanctifier: As a restrainer, or as a renewer, and that reception of the Spirit, Page 4 and dwelling of the Spirit, which the Scripture makes an Argument of ou• Union with Christ, is not that common efficacy, and dwelling of the Spirit, whereby he is a restrainer and qualifier onely; But that speciall Efficacy and Virtue of the holy Spirit of God, whereby he becometh a renewer, and sanctifier of us.
[ 3] To get assurance of the Union with Christ, then thou must diligently and seriously examine thy self, touching the spirituall virtue, effica∣cy and operation of the holy Spirit of God in thy Soul, manifested in and by those speciall graces, which the holy Spirit of God works in the hearts of the Elect, and of them onely, thence called by Divines for distinction sake, sa•ct•fying, or renewing grace.
The Spirit of God as a sanctifier, the world cannot receive, as the Language of Christ in∣timates,*Ioh 14.17. Sanctifying or renew∣ing grace, Christ bestows upon his Spouse onely, it is his love-token to her, in her milita∣ry life, though Christ be liberall in bestowing gifts upon all sorts of people, yet he keeps these Jewels for his Spouse, and bestows them on her onely, on whom he bestows himself: well may they therefore serve to demonstrate our Union with Christ, and the habitation of his •pirit in us, after a speciall manner, where∣soever they are bestowed; hence it is, that this g•ace, and glory are coupled together, Psal. 84 11.
Amongst those speciall graces, which de∣monstr••• the holy Spirits saving habitation in •s, the first which I will here speak of, is Faith,* to wi•, justifying Faith. We having the •ame Spirit of Faith, we also believe, saith the Page 5 Apostle, 2 Cor. 4.13. Hence it is evident that whosoever is indued with the holy Spirit of God, savingly beleives, he beleives with a justifying faith, For as much as the Spirit works this true justifying faith in all those in whom he dwelleth savingly.
Therefore if thou wouldest get a true testi∣mony of the holy Spirits dwelling in thee after a speciall and saving manner, thou must diligently try and examine thy self, whether thou hast this grace of faith, true justifying faith wrought in thee or not.
If thou hast this grace of justifying faith, thou hast that which is an infallible Character, and a reall testimony of the holy Spirits saving habitation and operation in thee, of thy Uni∣on with Christ, and eternal salvation by him, as the Apostle intimates, 1 Iohn 5.10. where he saith, he that believeth in the Son of God, hath the witnesse in himself: The truth of this asser∣tion will more clearly and fully appear, by that which follows.
This faith is a speciall work of the Spirit of God in man, as appears by the language of the Apostle, Eph. 1.19, 20. Where the Apo∣stle speaks of it,* as a work of Gods Almighty Power; No less then that which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in Glory. And in that it accompanieth predestination, and is a grace proper and peculiar unto the elect, as appears by, 2 Thes. 2.13. compared with, Tit. 1.1.
He that with this saith beleiveth in Christ, eateth the Flesh of Christ and drinketh his Blood; and Christ saith, He that eateth my Page 6 Flesh and drinketh my Blood, dwelleth in me and I in him,* John 6.56. And hath he not then Union with Christ? surely yes; for he lives in Christ, and Christ in him, Really, Spiri∣tually; he is one with Christ, and Christ with him.
Of this faith Christ affirmeth, that it is accom∣panied with salvation, Iohn 3.36. He that be∣lieveth on the Son, hath Everlasting life, and John 6.54.* He saith, wheso eateth my Flesh and drinketh my Blood hath Eternall Life: He that believ•th on me, hath Everlasting Life, Joh. 6.47.
This faith is called an evidence, Heb. 11.1. the evidence of things not seen. And true it is, that this faith alwayes is an evidence, though it do not alwayes give evidence to the subject in which it is, beleeve and be saved, are coupled together, Luk. 8.12.
Finally, unto this faith is annexed in Scrip∣ture, many special and absolute promises of sal∣vation, the Scripture faith, that whosoever be∣leiveth in Christ shall not be ashamed, Rom. 10.11. Beleive in the Lord I•sus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, Act. 1•.31. Christ saith, He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live, Joh. 11.25. He that liveth and believeth in me shall never die, ver. 26. (He shall never dye eternally,) He that eateth me shall live by me: He that eateth of this bread shall live for e∣ver, Joh. 6.57, 58. Verily, verily I say un∣to you, He that heareth my word, and beleiveth in him that sent me, shall not come into condemna∣tion, but is passed from death unto life, Joh. 5.24. By all which it is evident, that justifying faith, for of that these texts speak, is a sure Page 7 earnest of our inheritance with the Saints in light, in joy unspeakable, and full of Glory.* Whosoever hath the one here, shall certainly have the other hereafter.
On this ground the Apostle exhorts all Chri∣stians that would make sure for Heaven, and get a good evidence of their own Salvation, to examine themselves, whether they be in, the faith, yea or nay, and prove themselves, 2 Cor. 13.5. It is, as if the Apostle had said, Make sure of this, that your faith is right, and make sure of all; if you have this grace, you shall have Glory also.
Faith is the grace, and the only grace, where∣by we are justified before God, by it we eate of the Tree of Life, (Jesus Christ) and live for e∣ver: It is therefore the fittest grace of all, to satisfie Conscience in this weighty matter, and to make up conclusions from, about our eter∣nall estate. This Satan knows full well, and therefore when he would flatter a man to Hell, he perswades him, that his faith is right good, when indeed there is no such matter; and when he would overthrow all hope of Heaven in a man, and drag him into despaire, he per∣swades him, that his faith, though never so good, is but a feigned and counterfeit thing, and the poore soul, is ready to say, Amen.
It mainly concerns all persons therefore, that would here get a good Evidence for Heaven, throughly to try their faith, whether it be a shield of Gold, or but a shield of B•asle; whe∣ther it be an unfeigned, or but a feigned faith; whether it be a justifying, or but a temporary faith; whether it be a faith that justifies before God, or but only before men?
Page 8*In the searching of thy Soul, for this grace of faith, or any other renewing grace, thou art to have respect to the truth of it, more than to the measure and strength of it: Christ hath so, he absolutely requires truth of belief, but not strength of belief: Nay he so esteems truth of belief, that wheresoever he findeth it, in the least measure, he will accept it and reward it, with Eternal Life; he will not quench the smok∣ing flax; He will not suffer that soul that hath but the least grain of true faith to mis∣cary.
*But you will say. What is this faith you speak of, and how may it be discerned from a Temporary faith?
*I will first describe it, and then descry it, as God shall inable me.
*Justifying faith is a speciall work of the Spirit of God upon the Soul, causing a man to lay hold on the speciall promises of Mercy, and Salvation by Christ, and all other promises, which are, in him, yea, and in him, Amen, and rest upon him that hath promised, for the accom∣plishment of his word.
I judg it not necessary, nor meet for me to take this description asunder, or speak of the several terms of it, and therefore pass it by. In a word or two only, I will briefly declare, why I call this faith a work of the Spirit, and why a speciall work of the Spirit.
1. I call this faith a work of the Spirit of God, because it is not natural; were it natural, it would be common, but all men have not faith, as the Scripture saith, 2 Thes. 3.2.
2. Few have this faith, as the parable of the seed shews, Mar. 4.2. to 9. it is a work su∣pernatural Page 9 and divine.
3. I call this Faith, a speciall work of the Spirit, to distinguish it from that common work of the Spirit, which is in unregenerate per∣sons.
Having thus briefly described this Faith, I am in the next place to descry it, and distinguish it from all other; this I shall do for brevity sake positively.
This Faith then, as I humbly conceive, may be discerned and differenced from all other kinds of faith, by these concurrent and essentiall properties of it, which here follow.
This Faith is bred, fed, and nourished, or∣dinarily, by the word preached,* as appears by Rom. 10.14, 17.
Secondly, this Faith as it is begotten by the [ 2] word, so it is grounded upon the Word, upon the written Word of God; Not fancy, but the Word is the ground of it.
It gives firm, absolute, and unlimited assent [ 3] to the whole Word of God, promises, threat∣nings and commandements, so farre forth as it doth apprehend it to be of God▪ simply be∣cause it is of God; the whole Word of God is the generall ground and object of it. I con∣sent to the Law, that it is good, holy, and just, and good, saith a true believer, Rom. 7. ver. 16, 12. Believing all things that are writ∣ten in the Law and the Prophets, Act. 24.14. But the more special object of it is the promises of the Gospel.
This Faith is seated in the heart, the heart is [ 4] the most proper subject of it, With the heart man believeth unto righteousness, saith the Scrip∣ture, Rom. 10.10. Justifying Faith is not Page 10 barely notionall, but reall; it is not a bare head-assenting, But a heart-consenting, what the un∣derstanding saith is true, the will saith is good, and embraceth it.
[ 5] This Faith is an unfeigned Faith, as is evi∣dent, 1 Tim. 1.5. and 2 Tim. 1.5. An Hypocrites faith is but feigned faith, but justify∣ing faith, is unfeigned, how weak soever it be, it is true and real, it carrieth the whole heart to God in obedience, as well as the whole out∣ward man.
[ 6] This Faith is a Christ-receiving faith, it re∣ceiveth and embraceth whole Christ, Christ as a Saviour and Christ as a Lord in all his offi∣ces, Prophet, Priest, and King, and it causeth him that hath it, to give up himself wholly to Christ, to be ruled by him in all things, accord∣ing to his Word: Thus the Gospel tenders Christ, and thus a true beleever receiveth Christ: My Lord and my God, saith believing Thomas, of Christ, and it is the property of justifying Faith, thus to embrace Christ, They gave themselves unto the Lord, (saith the Apostle) of some true believers, 2 Cor. 8.5. And this is universally true of all that are true believers, they give themselves unto the Lord (as aforesaid,) and that freely and volun∣tarily.
[ 7] This Faith puts a price upon Christ above all things, and cleaves to the Mercy of God in Christ, as better then life, both Positively, and Comparatively. To you which believe he is pretious, 1 Pet. 2.7. He is the chiefest of ten thousand,aFairer then all the Childrenof men,bHe is altogether lovely.cAs the Apple-Tree amongst the Trees of the Forrest: So is Page 11 my Beloved among the sonnes,dHis mouth is most sweet,eHis Love is better then Wine,fThy loving kindness is better than Life, saith the believing Soul to Christ, gWhom have I in Heaven, but thee; and there is none that I desire upon Earth, in comparison of thee,h What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ; yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledg of Christ Iesus my Lord, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, saith a believing Soul, i By all these places it is evident, That it is the property of a true faith, highly to prize Jesus Christ; a true believer prizeth Christ in all things, pla∣ces, persons, and conditions, above all things, and beyond all time,
In the eighth place; This Faith relyeth whol∣ly [ 8] on the Merit of Christ for Salvation, for justification, disclaiming all confidence in the flesh, and excluding all boasting in our selves: As appears by the Language of the Apostle, Act. 4.12. and Phil. 3.3, 9. And have no confidence in the flesh. Not having mine own righteousness, which is of the Law, but that which is through the faith of Christ. Where is boasting then? it is excluded. By what Law? of works? Nay; but by the Law of Faith, Rom. 3.27.
This Faith opposeth the Mercy of God in [ 9] Christ against all sinne, as greater then all. The Blood of Iesus Christ his Son, cleanseth us from all sinne, saith a believer, speaking of be∣lievers, 1 John 1.7. Because God hath said, He shall Redeem Israel from all his iniquities, Psal. 130.8. All manner of sins and Blasphe∣mies Page 12 shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, but the Blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, Mat. 12.31.
[ 10] This Faith, as it lays hold on the promises of God, so it makes him that hath it, carefully observe the Conditions of the promises on his part, Lord, I have hoped in thy word, and done thy Commandements, saith a true believer, Ps. 119.166. thereby intimating; That it is the property of a true faith, thus to rest on Gods promises; A true believer applies Christ unto himself, and himself unto Christ, the promises to himself, and himself unto the pro∣mises, unto the conditions of them.
[ 11] It is the property of this Faith to adhere to Christ, even when it cannot see him, nor ap∣prehend one jot of love from him, when he hideth his face from the soul, and speaks bitter things, and doth bitter things unto the soul, Behold (saith Job) I go forward, but he is not there;*and backward, but I cannot perceive him, on the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him. He hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him. He writeth bitter things against me,*and maketh me possess the ini∣quities of my youth; He putteth my feet in the stocks, &c. But concludes. Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him. When God hid his face from Iob, and he could neither appre∣hend his love, in his Providences, nor in his Promises, yet he adhered to him still. This the Scripture cals for, Isa. 50.10. There∣fore it follows, that this a true believer in some measure doth: It is the property of a true believer to adhere to Christ as Asahel adhered to Abner,* and Elisha to Elijah; Asahel would Page 13 not turn aside from Abner, though he dyed by his hand: Elisha would not leave Elijah what ever became of him, As the Lord liveth, and as thy Soul liveth, I will not leave thee, said Elisha to Elijah; and so saith a true believer to Christ; Take from me what thou wilt; do with me what thou wilt, I will not leave thee, I will cleave unto thee still; though I cannot see thee, I will trust in thee, I will dye in thine arms.
In the Twelfth place, this Faith is a working [ 12] Faith, it is not idle but operative and working, as the Apostle intimates, Iam. 2. ver. 20.14. Faith without works is dead and cannot save; living Faith, is working Faith, justifying Faith, though it do not justifie (by working) yet is still working. It purifieth and clenseth, and that not the outward man only, but the heart also, Act. 15.9. It Sanctifieth, Act. 26.18. (to wit) sincerely,* univer∣sally, soul and body, and the spirit of our mind, as the Scripture speaks; It spurreth on to Obedience, Active and Passive, sincere, universal, and constant, as appears at large, Heb. 11. Where all those worthies there spo∣ken of, are said to have done and suffered all those admirable things there mentioned by Faith.
This Faith makes a man patiently wait on God, for the accomplishment of all that good which he hath promised in his Word, in a conscionable use of all those meanes, which he hath ordained, warranted, sanctified, and af∣fordeth for the serving of his Providence, and accomplishing of his Promises. The former part of this assumption, is evident by the Lan∣guage Page 14 of the Prophet, Isai. 28.16. He that believeth maketh not haste; And by that which is spoken of believers, Heb. 6.12. The latter is as evident by the practice of the Saints. David believing the Word of the Lord concerning his Sonne Solomon, and his building of the Temple, was very instant with the Lord to make good his Word, and what he had Promised; very carefull and conscionable in instructing his Son, to walk with God in uprightness of heart, ac∣cording unto all the Commandements of the Lord, and in providing materials for the Work of the Lords House and encouraging his Son to the Work, as appears by the 2 Sam. 7. compared with 1 Chron. 28. and 29. Chap∣ters.
Daniel believing the Word of the Lord con∣cerning the return of the Captivity of Iudah, was very instant with the Lord, by fasting and prayer to accomplish what he had promised, as appears, Dan. 9.2, 3.
Hezekiah believing the Word of the Lord concerning his recovery out of a dangerous sickness, diligently used the meanes that the Prophet directed him unto, 2 Kings 20.7.
And Paul, to instance in no more, beleiving that grand promise, That the seed of the Wo∣man, should break the Serpents head. And that the God of Peace would Bruise Satan under his feet, and that sin should not have dominion over him. When buffeted by Satan, Prayed frequent∣ly,* and Prayed fervently, he besought the Lord thrice: when the Law of his Members rebelled against the Law of his mind, and led him Cap∣tive to the Law of sin. He groaned under this Page 15 burden, bewailed his condition, sought the Lord by Prayer for help, exercised Faith on Christ; And beat down his body and kept it under, as appears, Rom. 7.23, 24. compared with 1 Cor. 9.27.
The same Apostle believing the Word of the Lord, concerning the preservation of himself, and his companions, in a dangerous voyage at Sea, diligently exhorted them to use all good meanes tending unto their preservation, sounded the depth, cast Anchors, abode in the ship, &c. Act. 27.
All these meanes these Worthies used to serve the divine Providence; and these examples plainly evidence, That it is the property of true faith thus to depend on God, for the accom∣plishment of his Word.
This Faith makes a man open-hearted, and open-handed towards his Brethren in misery and want mercifull according to the Divine Rule; ready out of a fellow-feeling of others misery, bountifully, cheerefully, and con∣stantly, to do good unto all in misery, accord∣ing to ability, but specially to the Godly; not for his own glory, but Gods, for the honour of Christ and the Gospel, as appears by the Language of the Apostle, Iam. 2.15, 16. Compared with the 1 chap. 27. and that which is spoken of believers in the primitive Church, Act. 2.44, 45.4.34.
This Faith makes a man very industrious,* in labouring to keep a good conscience in all things, and to walk inoffensively towards God, and towards man in all things, as ap∣pears in the Apostle Paul. Paul having made a confession of faith, and hope towards God, Page 16Act. 24.14, 15. in the 16. ver. of the same chap. he declares, how his faith did operate. And herein do I exercise my self, to have alwayes a conscience void of offence towards God and to∣wards Man. And this Language of his doth plainly evidence, That it is the property of a true faith thus to operate.
All these are real testimonies, that true justi∣fying Faith, is no Idle Faith, but operative and working.
It worketh by love. This the Scripture a•∣firmeth,*Gal. 5.6. Neither Circumcision, nor Vncircumcision availeth any thing, but faith which worketh by love: thence it is evident, that true faith worketh by love. And this is indeed the great distinguishing Character of it, it worketh by love to God, and the things of God, and by love to man for Gods sake. A true believer works all his works in love to God and Christ; His whole labour in point of obedience, is a labour of love▪ he sees an unfathomed depth of Divine love, declared toward him by God in Christ, and this con∣strains him to love God in Christ again; and out of love unto him that dyed for him, to give up himself unto him▪ and lay out himself for him. The love of Christ constraineth me, saith a true believer, 2 Cor. 5.14, 15. He is ho∣ly and blamelesse before him in love, Ephes 1.4. My soule hath kept thy Commandements, and I love them exceedingly, saith a true believer, Ps. 119.167.
This Faith is alwayes accompanied with true repentance; He that truely believes unfaignedly repents; This is evident by the language of the Prophet, Zach. 12.10.
Page 17This Faith is alwayes accompanied with new [ 15] obedience.
This Faith is a holy Faith, it's so called, Iud▪ v. [ 16] 20. and it makes the subject holy in which it is, inwardly, outwardly, universally holy, though not perfectly holy in this life.
This Faith is a World-contemning, and [ 17] World over-coming Faith; it contemns the World, both in the good and evill of it,* as appears in Moses, Heb. 11.24. to 28. I• overcometh the world, as saith the Scripture. This is the victory that overcometh the world, even your faith Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth, &c. 1 John. 5.4, 5. I may add to this, and say, It is a flesh-over-coming, and a Devill-overcoming faith: for howsoever a true beleever be many times put to the worse for a time, and foiled by one or other of these enemies, yet in the end he overcometh them all, and is more then a Con∣queror through Christ that strengtheneth him, and overcometh for him.
This Faith is a heart humbling Faith; it is [ 18] the property of this Faith to make an humble heart, as the Language of Christ, Iohn 5.44. intimates How can ye believe (saith he) which seek honour one of a another? A true beleever eyes God in all gifts, and in all bles∣sings, Spirituall and Temporall, and ascribes all unto free grace; He, and he only labours for and learnes of Christ, heart-humility, and groans under the sense of the want of it, and hence it is evident that true Justifying Faith is heart-humbling Faith.
This Faith is a God-glorifying Faith, it makes [ 19] a man preferre God above himself, and his glo∣ry Page 18 above all things, respecting not himself, wil∣ling to deny himself unto the death, to advance the honour of God, and humbly to submit to the Will of the Lord in every thing; as appears in Abraham, Iob, Eli, David, Paul, and many other true beleevers. Abraham was by this faith transported so far above himself, that he willingly offered up his dear Isaac, to advance the honour of God, when he tryed him. Iob was by this faith brought humbly and patiently to submit to the Will of the Lord in every thing, as one desirous to advance his Name. Ely was by this faith brought sweetly and humbly to submit to the good pleasure of the Lord: When Samuel told him, what evill the Lord would bring upon him, and his house, he meekly replies, as one d•sierous to advance God in all,*It is the Lord, let him do what seemeth him good. It is, as if he had said, let him do with me or to me what he will, so he may have glory by it, I am content. David did the like, 2 Sam▪ 15.26. But above all, the Apostle Paul is a notable example of this, who was by this faith carried so farre above himself, that he cared not what betided •im, sink or swim, so Christ might be magnified thereby, bonds, and afflictions, and death were nothing to him to undergo, so Christ might have honour there∣by: Nay he would rather lose his eternall Crown, then eclyps the honour of Christ, as his Language, Act. 20.23, 24.21, 13. does plainly evidence his resolution, That Christ should be magnified in him, whatever he underw•nt, Phil. 1.20. Rom. 9.3.
This Faith is a growing Faith. True Faith how weak soever or how strong soever, is al∣wayes [ 20] accompanied with cordial desires and re∣al indeavours to grow and increase, and bring forth more fruit, as the language▪ of beleevers shews, Lord increase our Faith,* said the Disci∣ples to Christ; Lord I beleeve, help thou my unbeliefe, saith another beleever:* I count not my self to have apprehended, but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are be∣hind, and reaching forth to those things which are before, I press toward the mark, saith a third, Phil. 3.13, 14. By all w•ich it is evident, That true Faith is growing Faith: A true be∣leever never thinks he hath Faith enough, but still prayes for and labours after increase.
This Faith is a supporting Faith; It is a Faith which a Christian may and must live by in all [ 21] conditions, as appears, H•b. 2.4. The just shall live by his Faith. He that hath this Faith we speak of, shall live by it, in prosperity and in adversity, in life and in death.
Finally, this Faith is permanent and per∣severing, [ 22] it holds out unto the death, it is ne∣ver totally lost; a true beleever, as he lives in the faith, so he dyes in the faith; the Apostle speaking of true beleevers, saith, These all died in the Faith, Heb. 11.13. And true it is, That a true beleever alwayes dyes in the Faith, in the Faith of adherence, if not of evi∣dence; this is vigour fit and but fit to give the denomination of a true beleever, we are made partakers of the Holy Ghost, if we hold the begin∣ning of our co•fidence stedfast unto the end, saith the text, Heb. 3.14. These words plainly Page 20 evidence,* that justifying faith is persevering faith, it holds out unto the death and ends in fruition, it can never be totally nor finally lost;* and this indeed is it's distinguishing pro∣perty, and it is the property of every renew∣ing grace; every renewing grace holds out unto the end; that grace which weares the the Crown of Glory is persevereing, Revel. 2.10.
It is not alwayes so in appearance, but in truth;* A true beleever may at sometimes, and in some cases, seem both to himself and to o∣thers, to have loft his faith, and his other graces as many examples in Scripture shew; but yet as Ieb speaks, The root of the matter is within him still;*Truth of grace in the inward parts▪ and it abideth there. However a true beleever may and sometimes doth, for a time lose the comfort of his grace, and the fight of his grace, and the power of acting of his grace, yet he hath this priviledg above all formalists, he never totally loseth the habit of any re∣newing grace: these gifts of God are without re∣pentance.
Wouldest thou then know, whether thy faith be sound and saving, and such as conse∣quently demonstrates the holy Spirits saving habitation in thy soule; try and examine thy saith, by these properties and Scripture-Cha∣racters of a true jus•ifying faith, and if it hold correspondency with them, know for thy comfort, that it is such as really demonstrates the holy Spirits saving habitation, and special operat•on in t•y soul, thy Union with Christ, a•d e•ernal salvation by him, whatsoever Satan or thine own conscience abused by Satan, may Page 21 at any time hereafter say to the contrary, and give the Lord the praise. The end of thy faith shall be the salvation of thy Soul, as the Scripture speaks, 1 Pet. 1.9.
ANother grace demonstrating the holy Spi∣rits saving habitation in us, is Love, to wit, sincere Love. God is Love, and where God dwelleth by his Spirit, he worketh Love, to wit, sincere Love to God, and sincere love to man for Gods sake. And this Love is a speci∣all work and fruit of the holy Spirit of God in man, as appears by the language of the Apo∣stle, My little Children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth;*And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him: and Gal▪ 5.•2. it is said, The fruit of the Spirit is Love.
More particularly, That sincere Love to God is a special work of the Spirit of God, and such as accompanies salvation, is evident by the great good that this grace is attended with, both here, and hereafter; here all things, how bad soever in themselves, work together for good unto them that love God, Rom. 8.28. And many promises of temporall and eternall good,* are made unto this grace, Psal. 91.14, 15, 16. A Crown of Life is promised unto it, Iam▪ 1.12.25. Much good attendeth this grace here, Page 22 but as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor eare heard, neither have entred into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him, 1 Cor. 2.9▪ Such is the happiness, joy, and glory which God hath prepared for them that love him, that it cannot enter into us, till we shall enter into it: It must there∣fore needs be a special work of the Spirit of God in us, and a sure pledg of salvation.
He that sincerely loves God, hath that in him, which is a sure argument that he is greatly beloved of God, aI love them that love me▪ saith Christ, bWe love him because he first loved us, saith the Apostle. And must not that needs be a special work of the Spirit of G•d in man, which strongly argues the special Love of God towards man? surely, yes. But sincere Love to God, strongly argu•s special Love in God towards him that hath it, therefore sincere Love to God must needs be a speciall work of the Spirit of God in whomsoever it is.
That sincere Love to man, for Gods sake, is a speciall work of the Spirit of God in man, is evident by that which follows:
Sincere love to man, for Gods sake, in whom∣soever it is, is a real testimony of his Union with Christ, Regeneration and New-birth, and that he is indeed a true Disciple of Jesus Christ, as these Scriptures following plainly evi∣dence,
cThis is his Commandement, that we beleeve in the Name of his Son Iesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us Commandement, and he that keepeth his Commandement (dwelleth in him, and he in him)dHe that dwelleth in love, dwellth in God,*and God in him. If we love one Page 23 another, God dwelleth in us, and his Love is per∣fected in us, &c.
These Texts cleerly demonstrate, this Love to be a real testimony of Union with Christ, Love is of God, and every one that loveth,*is born of God.eWe know that we are passed from death unto life, because we love the Brethren, saith the Apostle. And these Texts plainly e∣vidence, this love to be a true testimony of our Regeneration and New birth.
Love one another, saith Christ, as I have loved you, meaning for the kind of Love,*By this shall all men know that you are my Disciples, if you have love one towards another. These Texts plainly demonstrate this Love, we speak of, to be a true Character of a true Disciple of Jesus Christ: And must not that needs be a special work of the Spirit of God in man, and a true testimony of his saving habitation in us, which is a real testimony of our Union with Christ, and Renovation by him, and depen∣dance on him? Surely yes. But sincere Love to man, for Gods sake, is eminently all this; therefore this Love must needs be a special work of the Spirit of God, and a sure testi∣mony of his saving habitation in whomsoever it is.
Sincere Love is a grace, without which all profession of Religion is but guilded Hypocri∣sie; where Love is, God dwels, but where it is not, the Devil dwels; the more Love, the more like to God; the less of it, the more like the Devil. Wofull experience shews, That those men which have great parts and gifts, and little or no Love, shew more of the Devils nature, then of Gods, and act more like the Page 24 Devil, then God, where they have power.
Love is the sweetest flower in all the garden of God, but it is a flower which the Devil can∣not indure the smell of, because he is not capable of it, and knows that where Love dwels, he must vanish; and therefore it is his main design to destroy Love, if possible, in all sorts and sects, and to root it up and banish it from the hearts of all men; The Devil is well content, that men should pray, preach, read, hear Sermons, and make a faire shew outwardly, provided this spring not from Love, nor tendeth not to the increase of Love, to God nor man; but if he see Love be the root and fruit of mens services, then he goes cunningly, and Serpent-like to work, to make breaches in this wall, that he may get in and destroy this flower, he deviseth wayes to di∣vide mens judgments, to the end he may de∣stroy this affection of Love out of their hearts; if he prevaile not this way then he will raise up jealousies to destroy Love and Charity, yea sometimes render the best of graces, the worst of vices; and as in tempting a Carnal man, he sometimes stiles lust, Love, so in tempting a spi∣ritual man, he somtimes stiles sincere Love, lust; and by these wiles makes a breach on Charity, to the end he may get into the garden of God, and root up this sweet grace of Love.
Seeing then that this grace of sincere Love to God and man, is a speciall work of the holy Spirit of God, and a grace that he worketh in all those in whom he dwels savingly, to get a true testimony of the holy Spirits saving habi∣tation in thee, thou must diligently examine thy self, touching thy Love to God, and touch∣ing Page 25 thy Love to man: 1. Examine thy Love to God, see whether that be sound and sin∣cere, yea or nay, 2. Examine thy Love to Man, and see whether that be such as the Scripture makes a note of the holy Spirits saving habitation in us, yea or nay.
But how shall I know,*whether my Love to God be sound and sincere, yea or nay.
By Considering,* 1. What sincere Love to God is; And, 2. what the properties and effects of it are.
Sincere Love to God, is a spirituall affecti∣on, causing a man to prize God more,* and obey him rather then any thing in the world besides.
The properties and effects of sincere Love to God are these▪
1. Sincere Love to God is seated in the heart, in the midst of the heart, and it carry∣eth the whole heart and soul to God in obedi∣ence, as well as the whole outward man.
That sincere love to God is seated in the heart, in the midst of the heart, and carries the whole heart to God, will appear thus; That which God in his Word requires, and com∣mands, that true grace doth in its measure, and in a Gospel way give unto him: But God in his Word requires that we should Love him with the heart, with the whole heart, and soul; and,* Therefore this Command doth sufficiently intimate this truth, to wit, That sincere Love to God is seated in the heart, and carries the whole heart to God, &c.
Here note, 1▪ By the whole heart is meant, every faculty of the soul, the whole inner man, the heart wholly, sincerely, so as it is not di∣vided Page 26 between God and the world, between God and sinne, between God and Satan, as the hearts of all Hypocrites are, but is down∣right and wholy for God.
2. My whole heart may then be said to be carried to God, when I cleave to him in af∣fection, more then to any thing besides; ac∣count him my chiefest happiness, from a due consideration of his perfection; rejoyce in him above all things; feare his displeasure more then all persons or things; depend upon him for all things, and aime at his glory principally in all things.
Secondly sincere Love to God, is fastened upon God principally,* for that Divine excel∣lency and spirituall beauty which is in him,* and which he doth communicate unto his People, Because of the savour of thy good Oyntments, thy name is as Oyntment poured forth, therefore the Virgins love thee, saith the Text, Cant. 1.3. Spirituals and not temporals, as this Text shews, are the principall attractives of a sin∣cere and virgin-Love to Christ.
3. Sincere Love to God, is not guided by sense, but by faith, as the language of the Apostle f intimates; therefore saith the Apo∣stle, Whom having not seen, we Love, whom having not seen with Corporall eye nor in¦visible favours, you still cleave to in affection. This is further evidenced in holy Iob, who con∣tinued to love God, and obey him, even when he could not see one glimpse of his countenance, neither within him, nor without him, as ap∣pears by Iob 23.8, 9, 10, 11. verses. And this plainly shews, That his Love was guided by faith, and not by sense, as it is the proper∣ty Page 27 of sincere Love to be.
4. Sincere Love to God, is a very strong Love, Love is strong as death, Cant. 8.6. Sin∣cere Love to God will make a man to resolve, ••augre all opposition, to obey unto the death; it will constrain a man to do or suffer any thing, that God shall see good to impose upon him for tryall-sake, without repining in toung or in heart against God; it will make a man serve God with all his might, therefore saith the Apostle,*The Love of Christ constrain∣eth us: It beareth all things, it endureth all ••ings.
5. Sincere Love to God, is an indearing affection, it indears Christ unto a man above all things in the world besides, so as he will willingly part with all things else, rather then Christ; Christ in his Merit, Christ in his Spirit, Christ in his Ordinances, and in his Ministers and People, is deare unto a sincere lover of Christ above all things here below; This is lively set forth unto us in the Parable of the merchant man, Mat. 13.44, 45, 46. He left all for the Pearl, the Pearl was dear unto him, and he was in Love with it; hence it was that he slighted all in comparison of it. That Love is an indearing affection, is further evident by the language of the Spouse in Love with Christ, Cant. 5.10. He is the chiefest of ten thousand, saith she, meaning of all; and like∣wise by the practise of the Saints, which have sincerely loved Christ, they have willingly part∣ed with their fine cloathing for his sake, and worn sheep-skins and goats-skins, they have parted with fine dwellings, and lyen in dens, and caves, they have parted with all, even to Page 28 their precious lives, Nay these also they have willingly laid down for his sake, in the cruellest way, that bloody persecutors could invent, refusing base deliverance, to advance the ho∣nour of Christ, when he called them forth to suffer, as appears Heb. 11. their Love to Christ did indeare Christ to them above all things.
Here Note, 1. That sincere Love to Christ is strong in all, but not in all according unto the same equal degrees; it indears Christ unto all that have it, above all things, But makes not all to declare it with the like forwardness and courage, nor to declare it at all times a∣like, as many instances in Scripture shew; According to the measure of our faith, so is our Love; if a man beleeve only as a bruised reed, as a weakling in Christ, his Love will only smoak as flax towards Christ, but if he be strong in faith, his Love will flame, it will de∣clare it self with much zeale and fervour of spirit.
2. That, that Love to Christ, which pre∣ferrs any one thing whatsoever before Christ, or subjoyns any one thing in the world coequal with Christ, is no sound sincere Love, neither is it worth any thing in Christ's account, as his own language shews', He that Loveth Father, or Mother more then me, is not worthy of me: and he that loveth Sonne or Daughter more then me, is not worthy of me, Matth. 10.37.
3. That Love to Christ which fals off from Christ, when tryals, tribulations and persecu∣tions come, and will not beare the Cross for Christs sake, when he cals thereunto, is no Page 29 sincere Love, but an Hypocritical, as Christ shews, Mat. 10.38. He that taketh not up hi• Cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me: And further illustrates in the Parable of the ftony ground, Mat. 13.20, 21.
That Love to Christ which makes not a man to account all things but loss, and dross, and dung for Christ, and to set such a price on Chrift, and his hopes by him, that he resolves through the help of Christ, to part with any thing which may hinder him from doing Christ faithful service, how neare or dear soever it be, or ought to be, yea with life it self, or whatsoever contentments may indeare it unto him, when Christ cals him to it, is no sound nor available Love, as Christ shews when he saith, If any man come to me, and hate not his Father, and Mother, and Wife, and Children, and Brethren, and Sisters, yea, and his life al∣so, he cannot be my Disciple, Luke 14.26.
Hence it is evident, in the next place, That [ 6] sincere Love to God, is a very tender Love, yea, a Love more tender towards God then towards any thing else, besides God, Per∣sons or things, and will make a man willing rather to part with all, persons or things; How neare or deare soever, then with God; yea, so tender a Love it is,* as it will not suf∣fer a man to go in any way, though never so pleasing to flesh and blood, that he knows dis∣pleaseth the Lord, nor transgress the least of Gods Commandements with knowledg, with∣out grief of heart, as appears in the example of Ioseph and David. Ioseph sincerely loved his God,* and this Love constrained him to con∣temn Page 30 the carnall Love of his miftress, and the carnal pleasure proffered him by her, for fear of displeasing God. David sincerely Loved his God; and hence it was that his heart smote him,*for cutting off the lap of Sauls gar∣ment; a small matter one would think, yet (saith David) He is the Lords annointed. I have therefore transgressed his Commandement in laying violent hands on him, and was there∣fore grieved; his Love constrained him to grieve.
Hence it appeareth, in the next place, That [ 7] sincere Love to God, produceth and preserv∣eth a tender Conscience, a holy feare of God in the heart and soul, and a holy hatred of all sin, How shall I do this wickedness and sin against my God, saith the soul that sincerely Loves God, when tempted to sinne by the world, the flesh, or the Devil: God hates all iniqui∣ty, and he that fincerely Loves God, hates what he hates,* therefore (saith the Psalmist) you that Love the Lord, hate evill, to wit, be∣cause God hates it.
[ 8] Sincere Love to God makes a man love the whole will of God, I love thy Command•m•nts, saith David, above gold, yea, above fine gold: I esteem all thy pr•cepts, concerning all things to be right,*and hate every false way. This Language of David shews, That he loved the whole will of God, even that which did cross and con∣demn that sinne, which his nature was most prone to; and it is the nature of sincere Love to God, to make a man thus to love the Will of God.
A sincere Lover of God, loveth not the Word of God the less,* but ••e more for dis∣covering Page 31 his darling sinne, and so consequent∣ly he loves not, nor esteems not the faithfull Ministers of the Word the lesse, but the more for their faithfulnesse, in discovering and op∣posing sinne, predominate sinne whether per∣sonal or national.
Sincere Love to God is an obediential Love, [ 9] it makes a man Cordially obey the Will of God, rather then any thing in the world be∣sides. This is evident by the Language of Christ, gIf a man love me, (saith Christ, to wit, sincerely) he will keep my words. He that hath my Commandements, and keepeth them, He it is that loveth me, ibid. v. 21. And by the Language of his beloved Disciple, hThis is Love, that we walk after his Commandements. The great Character of sincere Love to God, set by Christ and his beloved Disciple, is obe∣dience, to wit, Cordiall obedience to all the revealed will of God; and hence it is evident▪ That sincere Love to God is an obedientiall Love.
That this Love leads a man to obey God [ 10] rather then any thing in the world besides, is manifest by the carriage of such in all ages of the world, in whose hearts the sincere Love of Christ hath dwelt; The three Children in Captivity,* being commanded of men to do what they were forbidden of God, chose ra∣ther to obey God then man. Peter and Iohn,* being forbidden of men, to do what they were commanded of God, reply, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you, rather then unto God, judge ye, and chose rather to obey God then man, as the words following shew: And thus it is with other sincere Lo∣vers Page 32 of God, if God and man, God and sin, God and Satan, come in competition, or opposition, all craving obedience: If sincere Love to God be in the heart, it will soone end the controversie, and cause a man to obey from the heart, God before all; sincere Love to Christ will make a man think Christ's yoke easie,*and his burthen light, his Commande∣ments not grievous; it will make a man o∣bey actively and passively, and resist unto blood, striving against sinne, as the Scripture speaks.
[ 10] Sincere Love to God mortifieth in us the love of the world, If any man Love the world the love of the father, (to wit, the sincere Love of the Father) is not in him, 1 Joh. 2.15. This language of Iohn, intimates thus much unto us, (to wit) That where the sincere Love of God dwels, it mortifieth the Love of the world, to wit, those things in the world, which are properly said to be of the world, and ene∣mies unto God, as all unchast Loves, Diabo∣licall Love, and inordinate Love of Carnall things, The lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes, and the pride of life; all which are enemies unto God, and his grace in us, and cannot subsist with the Love of God, being contrary unto it.
[ 11] Sincere Love to God makes a man very sen∣sible of Gods dishonour, and grieve at it, as Ionathans Love to David, made him very sensible of the dishonour his Father did him, and grieve at it; so sincere Love to God makes a man very sensible of the dishonour done to God, and grieve at it, it makes him sensible of the dishonour done to God by o∣thers, Page 33 but most sensible of the dishonour done to God by himself, and grieve at it; This ap∣pears in David, David sincerely loved God, and this made him grieve at the dishonour o∣ther men did to God,* but most of all at the dishonour which himself had done to God,* the consideration of this made his heart pant, and his strength fail, and made him go mourning all the day long.
Sincere Love to God makes a man [ 12] prize the light of Gods countenance, and the apprehension of his Love in Christ, above all things in the world, Lord,*Lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon me, this putteth gladness into my heart, more then corn and wine.*Let him kiss me with the kisses of his lips, for his love is better then wine. This is the language of sincere lovers of God and Christ, and a clear evidence it is of the truth asserted, and lively demonstrates the judgement and affection of a sincere lover of God and Christ.
Sincere Love to God makes a man [ 13] delight in communion with God by prayer, meditation, and the use of all his other Ordi∣nances here, and long for the marriage-day of the Lamb, to the end he might enjoy a more near Union, and sweet Communion with Christ his well-beloved, and be perfectly conformed unto his holy will, as the language of sincere lovers of God shew, iMy soul thirsteth for God, for the living God, when shall I come and appear before him,kOh God! thou art my God, early will I seek thee, my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee, &c. lI have a desire to depart, and to be with Christ, which is best of allmCome Lord Iesus, Come quickly
Page 34*This longing desire to depart and to be with Christ, and to have Christ come to consum∣mate the mysticall marriage, though it be a fruit of love, yet it is not an inseparable pro∣perty of sincere love, neither is it in all, that sincerely love God, nor in all in whom it is, is it at all times alike, but in those only which appre∣hend the love of God in Christ towards them, and at such time, as they apprehend it; and this is not every sincere lovers portion here, there∣fore a Christian ought not to judge his love to God unsound, onely because he wants this longing desire to be with Christ, and to have Christ come to consummate this mystical mar∣riage, but to have recourse to the foresaid properties of sincere love, for the tryall of his love, when this fails, and to such as follow.
[ 14] Sincere Love to God is a constant growing love, and an everlasting love, it holds out in all times and seasons, and variety of condi∣tions, prosperity and adversity, praise and persecution, health and sickness, plenty and poverty, liberty and bonds, yea, in death it self, and after death through all eternity; death doth not terminate this grace, but per∣fect it; therefore saith the Apostle of a sincere lover, nhe dwelleth in love, and of this love, oIt never faileth.
A man that sincerely loves God continues to love him, when he hides his face from him, and he cannot see him, nor one glimpse of his favor, neither within him, nor without him; yea, when he frowns upon him▪ and shewes himself marvelous unto him, as Iob speaks, and the Arrows of the Almighty stick fast in his soul, And Satan, and his own Conscience de∣luded Page 35 by Satan, tells him, He shall never see the face of God with comfort; And however God carryes himself towards him, yet he dares not from thence take leave to vary his carriage to∣wards God, but loves him still, for better, for worse, and obeys him to the utmost of his power: which shews in the next place,
That he that sincerely loves God, loves [ 15] him for nought.* That man may be said to love God for nought, who loves him princi∣pally for himself, and not for his, who loves him, because he is of all things most lovely, who had rather have God without all, then all without God, for his portion; Who had ra∣ther have a houseless Christ, a harbourles• Christ, a hated and a persecuted Christ, th•• all the honours, pleasures, and riches of the world without Christ; Who had rather have grace without glory, then glory without grace; Who had rather have the Gospel, and Go∣spel-Ordinances in power and purity, with po∣verty and trouble, then peace and plenty with∣out them; Who had rather Christ should reign, then himself; Who desires Christ may encrease, though he himself decrease; and truth live, though he die; Who preferrs the interest of God and Christ before his own interest▪ or any interest whatsoever; Who la∣bours more to get, and to keep a good consci∣ence, then a good estate in the world; In a word, he that loveth God, more then these earthly contentments, he, and he only, may be said to love God for nought, and to love him sincerely, as Christs language to Peter intimates, Lovest thou me, more then these? as if he had said, If thy love be not more to Page 36 me then to these earthly things, it's worth no∣thing in my account; if it be •ore to me, then to •hese▪ if it adhere to me with the loss of these •hat shews it is not for these, but for nought that thou lovest me, and this argues thy love sincere.
[ 16] Sincere Love to Christ is very industrious, and it makes the Subject in which it is very in∣dustrious in following after the Lord, and the things of the Lord; and the more it abound∣eth, the more industrious the soul is in follow∣ing after her beloved; this is evident by the lan∣guage, and practice of such, as have sincerely loved the Lord in all times, Ipfollow after, saith the Apostle. My soul followeth hardqafter thee, saith another sincere lover of God. Early will I seek thee, &c. and the Spouse in the Canticles,r sought night and day after her beloved: Mary Magdalens and other lovers of Christ,* were very industrious in seeking af∣ter him: All which evidently demonstrates the truth asserted (to wit) That sincere love is very industrious.
[ 17] Sincere Love to God and Christ, makes the soul unsatisfied in thinking and speaking of the divine Excellencies, Wisdome, Beauty and Ma∣jesty of God and Christ: Love of what kind soever, delights in the comtemplation of the object which it fastens on; the soul delights to be still thinking and speaking of her Beloved, whatever it be,* as every ones experience can te•• him; the soul that sincerely loves God doth no less: See an instance of this in the Spouse in the Canticles, she thinks of her Beloved, a•d speaks of her Beloved,* as one unsatisfied with the thoughts and praises of him, as one resol∣ved Page 37 to win (if it were possible) all the world, to love what she loved; and this lively demon∣strates the sincerity of her love, and the nature of sincere love.
Sincere Love to God is a soul-warming affe∣ction, [ 18] it warmeth that heart, in which it is, with a spirituall heat, with a holy zeal for God, and the things of God; yea so warmeth it, that many waters cannot quench it, nor floods drown the fire, which it kindleth within:* This is evident by the zeal of those, which have sin∣cerely loved God in all ag•s, we may take all the Saints for an example of this, but I will in∣stance only in Moses, and P•ul; Moses,* who was the meekest man upon the earth, had his spirit so warmed with the love of God in his heart, tha• the fire of zeal brake forth in an unquenchable flame in him, when he saw God dishonoured, and an Idol magnified by the people of God. And Paul's spirit was hereby so stirred within •im,* when he saw the people given to Idola•ry, that he could not forbear to reprove it, whatever he underwent for it; All these had their hearts so warmed with the love of G•d, that neither water nor bloud, could quench the flame that love had kindled; which evidently demonstrates this love to be a heart-warming Affection.
Though sincere Love to God do warm the hearts of all, in whom it is,* with a zeal of God, yet doth it not warm the hearts of all alike, according to the measure and degree of love in the heart, such is the zeal that issueth out of it.
Sincere Love to God is a soul-humbling af∣fection, [ 19] it thinks it can never do, nor suffer Page 38 enough for God, and thence it is, that it doth not glory in any doing or suffering, it comes stil short of what it should do, and what it would do, and therefore is not puffed up with what it doth, but rather humbled by its failings; Knowledge puffeth up, but love casteth down the soul.
Sincere Love to God is a heart-softening af∣fection, [ 20] as is evident by the carriage of Nathan towards David, when the Lord sent Nathan to awaken David,* and call him to repentance; What did Nathan, but labour to set an edge on David's love, by setting the loving kind∣ness of the Lord before him, as one knowing, that if any thing melted his heart, this would do it, and this we see did it, which plainly shews, That love is a heart-softening affection. This is yet farther evident in other of the Saints, Iosiah loved his God, and hence it was that his heart melted, when he considered, how he and his people had offended God by walking contrary to his statutes; Mary Mag∣dalen sincerely loved Christ, and hence it was that her heart was so mollified and melted, for the sinne she had committed.
*Love softeneth the heart in which it is; no∣thing more, nothing so mollifying as love; love delated, and love apprehended mollify∣eth the heart, as oyl doth the hand.
The way to encrease sorrow for sinne, is to encrease love to God; grief is but an effect of love, love is the leading affection to grief, an∣ger, hatred, and desire; grief springs not so naturally from any thing, as it doth from love, there is no grief so kindly, none so pier∣•ing, none so lasting and wasting, as that the 〈◊〉 springs from pure love.
Page 39Object. But this property of love makes me to question the truth of my love, for I find my heart is hard, I cannot grieve for sinne, as I should, or as I would.
Answ. Softness of heart hath other appea∣rances, besides grief, it shews it self in yeeld∣ing to walk in the statutes of the Lord, and keep his ordinances, and do them, inflexibili∣ty and readiness to obey the known will of the Lord, without standing out against any part of it, and to these a child of God should have recourse in such case.
Sincere Love to God is a sinne-abating af∣fection; [ 21] This I gather from the propheticall prediction of Jesus Christ,* concerning these times, Because iniquity shall abound,*the love of many shall wax cold; hence it is evident, That the abounding of iniquity, springs from the totall want or decay of love; if love did a∣bound, iniquity could not abound, it would a∣bate the force of it; love is therefore called a breast-plate.
While the Church of Ephesus continued in her first and fervent love, we read of no com∣plaints of her, but when her love abated, her in•quity abounded.
Sincere Love to God will abate sinne in a [ 22] Person, Church, or Nation, if it be in the Per∣son, Church, or Nation.
Sincere Love to God, is an establ•shing af∣fection; This I ga•her from the language of Page 40 the Apostle, 2 Thes. 2.10, 11. Because they received not the love of the truth, t•at they might be saved, for this cause God shall send them strong delusions to believe lies, &c. Hence it is evident, That had these (of whom the A∣postle speakes) received the love of the truth, had they sincerely loved the God of truth, they had continued in the truth, in the know∣ledge of it, in the belief of it, in the obedience of it, and neither totally nor finally aposta∣tized from the truth; which strongly argues, love is an establishing affection.
The knowledge of the truth, without love of the truth (to wit) sincere love,* is utterly unavaileable unto salvation; The knowledge of the truth without love of the truth, is un∣valed to uphold in the profession, and obe∣dience of the truth.
He whose judgement is unsound, is in dan∣ger to be corrupt by flatteries, as the Prophet Daniel speakes; but he whose love is unsound, is in more danger to be corrupt by flatte∣ries.
He whose love is sound, may through frail∣ty fall, and through fear of some corporall e∣vil, become guilty of partiall apostacy; but he shall never fall away totally nor finally from the God of truth,* nor from the truth of God: By all which it appears, that love is an esta∣blishing affection.
[ 23] Sincere Love to God, is not lessened by en∣crease of knowledge, but encreased with it; He that loves God sincerely, his knowledge doth not lessen his love to God, or the Ordi∣nances of God, or the Ministers of God, but encreaseth it; his love doth abound more and Page 41 more, as his knowledge doth abound more and more; This is sufficiently intimated by the lan∣guage of the Apostle, Phil. 1.9.
He whose light doth not encrease,* but ra∣ther decrease his love, hath cause to question his love, and his light too.
Finally, Sincere Love to God, alwayes [ 24] produceth sincere love to man for Gods sake; This is evident by the language of the Apostle, If any man say, I love God, and hate his brother, he is a liar; for he that loveth not his brother,*whom he hath seen, how can he love God, whom he hath not seen? As if the Apostle had said, It is impossible for that man to love God sincerely, which loveth not his brother; if a man love God, this love will constrain him to love his brother, it will produce love to man for Gods sake; This is farther intimated, ver. 21.
By these few Proper•ies, Effects, and Ap∣pearances of a sincere love to God, I con∣ceive a Christian may judge aright of his love to God, and so consequently of his conditi∣on.
Quest. But how shall I know, whether my love to man be sound, and such as demonstrates the holy Spirits saving habitation in me, or not?
Answ. By considering, 1, What sincere love to man is: And, 2, What the Appea∣rances of it are.
Sincere Love to man,* demonstrating the holy Spirits saving habitation in the soul, is a free affection of the soul, delated on man for God, and according to the rules of God gi∣ven in the holy Scriptures.
And it is manifest thus, it issueth out of the Page 42 love of God, and is carried to man for God, for Gods sake,* as the Apostle plainly shews, By this we know we love the children of God, when we love God and keep his Commandements, &c. As if he had said, By this we know, that our love towards man is sound, and such as de∣monstrates the holy Spirits saving habitation in us, even by this, that it issueth out of the love of God, as the spring and fountain of it, and is delated on man, for Gods sake, for so much that phrase [keep his Commandements,] im∣plies.
God commands us to love one another, and to aim principally at his glory herein;* now when a man doth this, when he makes Gods Commandement, the efficient cause of his love towards his brother, and Gods glory the finall cause of it, then doth he love him for God, for Gods sake.
A mans love to his brother, then issues out of the love of God, and the Commandement of God is the efficient cause of it, when he loves him, because God commands him so to do, and out of love to God commanding.
A man then makes the glory of God the fi∣nall cause of his love towards his brother, when he therefore delates his love upon him, that he may acquire and gain honour to God and his Gospel, which he hath called him to the profession of thereby, and makes this his ut∣most scope, and ultimate end in loving him.
[ 2] Secondly, That love to man, which demon∣strates the holy Spirits saving habitation in the soul, is a love squared by, and congruous to the rule of God (to wit) the holy Scrip∣tures.
Page 43That love which is squared by, and congru∣ous to the rule of God, is an universall love, a love which extendeth it self to all athe Saints, yea to allbmen, good and bad, yea to verycene∣mies, because God requires this at our hands, that we should love our enemies; and in this re∣spect I may call it a singular love.
It worketh nodill to any, Deviseth noteevill against any, no, thinketh nofevill to any; but goodgto all, But is more abundant, more tender and strong towards the godly then towards any other; He that loveth him that begat, lo∣veth him also that is begotten of him, saith the Apostle h. The words imply a speciall love, or love after a speciall manner, it is as if the A∣postle had said, He that loves God in sincerity, loves the children of God after a speciall man∣ner; Love the Brotherhood, saith the Apostle, i meaning after a speciall manner, and this he doth, that loves God sincerely, his love in re∣ference to them, is a love of large extent; it extendeth even unto loss of life, in some cases; As in case the honour of God may be advan∣ced thereby, or a publick good procured unto the brethren▪ the Church of God thereby; This I think is the Apostles meaning, in the 1 Ioh. 3.16. If sincere love to God and man, be in the heart of a man, it will constrain him, in such cases as these, to deny himself unto the death, to advance the honour of God, and the Churches good; it will make him preferre the Churches good before his own, witness kAquila and Priscilla, whose love to God and the Church, constrained them to yeeld their own lives, to preserve Paul's: The like ex∣m•ples we have in Moses and Paul, whose Page 44 love to God and the Church, caused them to slight life, and deny themselves to the death, and beyond it too, for the advancing of Gods glory, and the Churches good.
Then again, That love to man which is con∣gruous to the rule of God, is a love paralleling the love of Christ towards us, for the kind of it; Christ commands us, To love one another, as he hath loved us,l And he whose love is con∣gruous to this rule, doth this for kind, though not for measure.*
That love which is congruous to the rule of God and the love of Christ, is a free-love. m He that loves his brother according to Christs rule, and Christs example, loves him freely.
It is a condescending love, n it will make a man condescend to men of low estate, con∣descend to his brother that cannot come up to him, by reason of his mean place, education, parts or gifts.
It is an establishing love; a grace without which the heart of a man can never be esta∣blished in grace, as I gather from the language of the Apostle, o to the Thessalonians.
It is a growing love, and encreaseth still, 1 Thes. 3.12.
It is a covering grace, it covereth all infirmi∣ties Page 45 in the godly, so farre forth, as the glory of God may not be any way prejudiced, but ad∣vanced thereby, and forgiveth all trespasses done by the ungodly, so farre forth likewise, as may be gathered from the language of So∣lomon: Love (saith he) covereth all sinne; and the language of Peter,*Charity shall cover the multitude of sinnes.*
In reference to the godly, it is a love in the truth, and for the truths sake; as appeares by the language of S•Iohn concerning the elect Lady, 2 Joh. 1.2.
I then love my brother in the truth, when the bond that links me and him together, in a Christian conjunction, is the true and constant profession of the truth.
I may then be said to love my brother for the truths sake, when that grace and truth which is in him, is the principall attractive of my love; for that love which is delated on the godly by a godly heart, hath grace for the principall attractive of it, and not base by-re∣spects,* and therefore continueth as long as grace lasteth, though other motives to love fail, and such occurrences fall out, as usually extinguish a love led by by-respects, there∣fore saith the Apostle of this love, It never faileth,* it is still growing and encreasing in a state of imperfection, and at length perfected in Heaven, it never faileth.
It is a love that suffereth long, is kind, en∣vieth not, vaunteth not it self, is not puffed up; doth not behave*it self unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, it rejoyceth not in iniquity, but rejoyceth in the truth, it beareth all things; believeth all things, loveth all things, Page 46 endureth all things, 1 Cor. 13.4, 5, 6, 7.
It is a heart-softening affection, a heart-mollifying love; This is intimated by the lan∣guage of the Apostle, Heb. 3.13. Exhort one another daily,*while it is called to day, lest any of you be hardened, through the deceitfullness of sinne. Hence it is evident, That if our love one towards another were such, as it should be, and did operate as it should do, it would soften and mollifie our hearts: Congruous love is mol∣lifying.
Here note two or three things; Christians frequently complain of hardness of heart in these dayes,* and not without cause, but few I believe take notice, that want in love is the cause of it; Strangeness weakens, cools and abates love, nothing more, this it doth in man towards God, and in man towards man, and as love abates, and strangeness grows, the heart contracts hardness more and more, Pro∣batum est.
Whilest the Galatians love towards Paul continued, they were pliable within and with∣out, they would have parted with any thing to have done him good, but when once their love abated, their hearts were hardned towards him, and his message too.
Love and intimate converse melts the heart, nothing more; strangeness hardens it, nothing the like; intimate converse with God, en∣creaseth love to God, and melteth the heart; intimate converse with the godly-wise, doth the like.
Our great hardness of heart, and unprofita∣bleness under the great meanes of grace in pub∣lick, I may truly say, hath in great part sprung Page 47 from the gross neglect of the duties of Christian love; and the great strangeness that is grown amongst Christians, in these times, where we meet, but in complement usually.
But when God shall give his people one heart, and one way, to serve him, with one con∣sent; when their love shall abound, one towards another, and operate without these obstructions of division, in judgement, and affection [they shall then have hearts of flesh, and not of stone:*] as appears by Ier. 32.39. and Zeph. 3.9. com∣pared with Ezek. 36.26. which places have reference to one and the same time.
It is said of Leviathan, Job 41. That the flakes of his flesh are joyned together: they are firme in themselves, they cannot be moved. His scales are one so neer another, that no Air can come between them. They are joyned one to ano∣ther, they stick together, that they cannot be sunder•d. The Lord Jesus Christ is the great Leviathan of Heaven and Earth, and his people are his scales, and the flakes of his flesh; and were they so joyned together in Christian love and society, that no Air of temptation could come between them, they would be firm in themselves; and so stick together, that they could not be sundered, yea, in their neck would strength remaine, and sorrow would be turned into joy before them.
I wish all the Saints to whose view this may come, may take these things into considera∣tion.
Great is the latitude of Christian love, of love congruous to the rule of God; for they whose love is congruous to the rule of God. Grudge not a one against ••e other; Speak not evilPage 48bone of another: Do not bitecand devour one another; Devi•e •ot evill one against another; d; Do not oppress, over-reach, or defraudeone another, i• any matter; Render not evillffor evill unto any man; Say not I will dogso to him, as he hath done to me, I will •ender unto the man according to his deeds; They bear not falsehwit∣ness against their Neighbour, nor bear witness, withouticause against their Neighbour, nor deceive with their lips; Lay not wait against the dwelling ofkthe righteous; Spoil not his resting place; Adde not afflictionlto the afflicted; Rejoyce not in theirmenemies fell, much less in their brothers; Hate not their brother innheart; Stand not against the bloodoof their Neighbours, out of desire of revenge, nor upon a politicall account; Are not as Cain*who slew his Brother;*They judge not theirpBrother, nor set at nought their Brother; Give no offenceqwillingly to any, but endeavour, as much as lawfully they may, to live peaceablyrwith all men; They put away allsbitterness, and wrath, and anger, and •lamour, and evill speaking, with all malice; Love one another astGod gave us Commandement; Love one another, as Christ hath loveduus; Love as*Brethren; Love withoutxdissimulation, cordially,yunfeignedly, out of a pure heart, fervently; Love not in wordzand in tongue on∣ly, but in deed and in truth; They walkain Page 49 love; aboundbin Love, growcin Love, speak the truthdin Love, serve one anotherein Love, continuefin Love, are kindly affectionated one towards anothergwith brotherly Love; Re∣joice with themhthat rejoyce, and weep with them that weep; In honour preferreione another, have compassionkone of another, are pitifull, are courteouslone towards another, tendermhearted; if rich, they are rich in good works*ready to distribute, willing to communicate, shew mercyowith cheerfullness, they beare one anotherspburdens. If strong, beare the infirmi∣tiesqof the weak, supportrthe weak, beare one with another, a•d forbeare onesanother; Forsake not thetassembling of themselves together, but exhort one another daily, edify one anotheruand comfort one another, with the Word of the Lord; *Teach and admonish one another, consider one another to provokexunto Love, and to good works, confess their faults oneyto another; This (I think) is meant, at least chiefly, of faults committed one against ano∣ther, and pray one for another; Pray for*all men, even enemies; †Do good unto all,abut especially unto the houshold of Fai•h, they are not overcome of evill, butblabour to overcome evill with goodness; they do as they wouldcbe done by in all things; they esteemdvery highly in Love, for their works sake, their lawfull and faithfull Ministers, especially those in whom they have propriety; They receiveeone another, as Christ received us to the glory of God; and be at peace among themselves.
Page 50Then again. He whose Love to his brother is congruous to the Rule of God, goes not up and down as a tale-bearer,fHe seeks not his own,gbut his brothers good; labours to avoid whatsoever may offendhor weaken his brother, or be a stumbling block unto him; labours to pleaseihis brother for his good, to Edification; He loves his Neighbour as himself; kdoth good freely,llooking for nothing again; He saies not as Cain, Am I my brothers keeper? but watches over his brother for his good, and re∣provesmhis brother in Love, according to Christ's Rule n privately and publiquely, if need be; informs against his brothero in such place and case, as Christ commands him, and with-draws from his brother in case of pscandall or contempt of the Churches lawfull constitutions and censures; or in case he cause divisionsq or offences in the Church, contrary to the Doctrine of the holy Scriptures; mournsrfor his brother, and praies forshim in such cases. Labours to restorethis brother in the spirit of meekness, when overtaken in any fault, and returns to himuwhen he turns to the Lord. Forgives*him and comforts him, and con∣firms his Love towards him; He forgives his brother his trespasses from his x heart, as often as he yoffendeth, and repenteth, freely, aszChrist forgave us; For Christ's sake, and as God hath forgiven us.
All these qualifications the Scripture cals for, in my Love towards my Brother, as these quotations in the Margin do manifest; There∣fore that Love towards man, which is congru∣ous to the holy Scripture, must needs have these qualifications in it, ergo.
Page 51But here the soul conscious to its own wants and failings, will be ready to reply,* as the Disciples did to Christ, when he told them, how hard a matter it was for a rich man to en∣ter into the Kingdom of Heaven; who then can be saved, said the Disciples? so the soul will be ready to say here, if all this be in that Love which is congruous to the rule of God, who then can say his Love is congruous to the rule of God? surely none, for in much of this we faile all.
He that truly wills, desires,* and indeavours to do all this,* that Christ may have the ho∣nour of it, doth it in a Gospel-sense, and in Gods acceptation, who accepts the will for the deed: where ability is wanting, this must be granted, otherwise no Child of Adam could conclude on the affirmative.
Now for other appearances of Love, they are these; What a man Loves, he prizes ac∣cordingly; What a man loves, he delights in accordingly; What a man Loves, he desires to enjoy; what a man loves, he cannot hear re∣proached, reviled, and spoken against, but with grief of heart: This needs no proving, every ones experience, will testifie the truth of it.
Wouldest thou know, whether thy Love to God and thy Love to man be sound, and such as demonstrates the holy Spirits saving habita∣tion in thy soul or not? then go through what hath been said in this little Epitomie, touching Love to God, and Love to man; and consider, whether thy Love be truly such, yea or nay; and if thou findest it truly such, though but weakly, conclude thou maist safely to thy comfort, that thy Love is such, Page 52 as really demonstrates thou art beloved of God and indued with the holy Spirit of God saving∣ly: For Love indeed and in truth, argues that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him, as the Apostle affirms, 1 Ioh. 3.18, 19. Therefore if thou upon a true tryal, findest by this that hath been said, that thou hast any truth of Love to God and thy Brother, argue not against thy self, or thy Love, but bless God for that Love thou hast, and labour to grow and increase in Love to God and man daily.
ANother grace of the holy Spirit of God, demonstrating his saving habitation in the •oul, is Repentance (to ••t) true Gospel-Repentance.
I (s•ith the Lord) will pour upon the house of David, the Spirit of grace and suppli∣cations; And they shall look upon him, whom they have pr•••ed, and they sh•ll mourn for him, &c. Zach. 12 10.
This Text plainly points out unto us two things▪ 1. That wheresoever the holy Spirit of God dwelleth savingly, in what soul soever he resideth, as a sanctifier, there he worketh true faith and Repentance.
2. That in whomsoever these graces are wrought, they are a true and real testimony of the holy Spirits saving habitation in that soul, •or as much as it is proper and peculiar unto Page 53 the Spirit of God alone, to work these in the heart of man.
Here Note, three or foure things, 1. That the grace of Repentance, though it be a distinct grace from faith, yet is it an inseparable conco∣mitant of justifying faith, coupled with it in in∣fusion, and he that totally wanteth either, hath neither.
Secondly Note; That faith, and love, and Repentance, and every other renewing grace habitually considered, are coequal, the habit of every grace being infused together: So that where there is one grace in truth, there is every grace in truth, in the habit of it, in some measure.
And thirdly, That although every grace of the Spirit, habitually considered, be coequal, yet these actually considered, and according to their manner of working, and appearing in us precede each other; faith precedes love, and faith and love precedes Repentance, Repen∣tance being a fruit of faith and love.
Fourthly, That grace (to wit) renewing grace, and glory, are inseparably linked to∣gether: He that hath the one shall certainly have the other, for this grace is the earnest of our inheritance.
Lastly N•te, That this grace of repentance, is a renewing grace,* a speciall work of the Spirit of God in man, a•d a grace that he worketh in all that truly beleeve and love.
That Repentance is a renewing grace, a spe∣cial work of the Spirit of God in man, is evi∣dent by those special promises, which are made unto it in holy Scripture, of spiritual and eter∣nal blessednesse. He that confesseth, and for∣saketh Page 54 his finne▪ shall have mercy, Prov. 28.13, If my People, which are called by my Name shall humble themselves, and pray and turn from their evill wayes, then will I hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sinne, &c. 2 Chron. 7.14. And the Red•emer shall come to Sion, and to them that turn from transgression in Iacob, saith the Lord, Isa. 59.20. Again, When, I say unto the wicked, thou shalt surely dye, if he turn from his sinne, and doe that which is lawful and right, He shall surely live, he shall not die, none of his sinnes that he hath committed, shall be mentioned unto him; he hath done that which is lawfull and right, he shall surely live, Ezek. 33.14, 15, 16.
All sins (all manner of sinns,) and Blasphemies shall be forgiven unto him. Mark 3.28. Matth. 12.31. compared, Though your sinnes be as Scarlet, they shall be made as white as Snow; though they be red like Crimson, they shall be as Wooll,* Isai. 1.18. and Act. 11.18. True Repentance is called, Repentance unto life. By all which it is evident, That it is a renewing grace,* a special work of the Spirit of God in man.
*Repentance being a special work of the Spirit of God in man, and an inseparable con∣comitant of a Justifying faith, is therefore a true touchstone, to try our selves and our spiri∣tual estate▪ by, and such an one as all must try themselves by, that will gather to themselves, a true testimony of their eternal happiness by Christ, and make their Calling and Election sure in the subject.
*But what is this grace of Repentance? How may it be defined?
I think it not necessary, nor meet for me,* to discuss the termes or genus of this description: But here No•e, 1. That repentance unto salva∣tion, is an Evangelical grace, a Gospel-grace; The Law knows no Repentance, cals for none, nor works none; it is the Gospel and the Gospel onely, that knows Repentance, cals for it, and works it: Moses cals not for Re∣pentance, but Christ doth, Mar. 1.15.
That this Repentance consisteth of two Essentiall parts,* (to wit) contrition and con∣version, humiliation and reformation; there∣fore he that would make a true trial of his Repentance, must have recourse unto both of these.
That it is Evangelical contrition, and not legall, that is the first Essential part of Repen∣tance, unto life; it is cordial reformation, and not feigned, that is the second Essential part of Repentance unto life.
But what is this Evangelicall contrition?*and how may I discern, whether I have it or no?
1. Evangelical sorrow springs out of the Love of God, and hatred of sinne, and in∣creaseth the Love of God, and hatred of sinne Page 56 in the soul; the Love of Christ constraineth the soul to hate sinne, and to mourn and grieve for sinne; and the bitterness of this sorrow and grief for sinne, sweeteneth the Love of God in Christ unto the soul, and inbittereth sinne: And hence it comes to pass, that the soul loves Christ more, and hates sinne more after it hath once felt this sorrow and been sok∣ed in it, then ever it did before.
2. Evangelicall sorrow is mixed with faith; The Evangelical mourner, bewailes his sinne, and rests on the mercy of God in Christ, and the promises which are in him, yea, and in him, Amen, for the pardon of his sinne, and the mortification of his corruptions, and grace to amend.
*Faith of adherence, is an inseparable conco∣mitant of Evangelical sorrow, although faith of evidence be not so. He that sorrows for his sinne and rests not on Christ for the pardon of his sinne, his sorrow is legal, and not Evangelical, desperation and not contri∣tion.
3. Evangelical sorrow is mixed with hope; The Evangelical mourner, mourns not without hope, he hath hope of obtaining mercy, even in the deepest of his sorrow for sinne, as appears by his carriage in his mourning; He despaires not, but seeks to God for mercy; his sorrow drives him to God, and not from God; as is evident by the example of the Pro∣digall,* in his deepest distresse, he despaires not, but goes to his father for mercy; but had he not had hope of obtaining mercy, he would have despaired, had he not had hope of obtaining mercy, he would never have gone to his father to seek it.
Page 574. Evangelical sorrow is mixed with Joy, being mixed with Faith and Hope; the Evan∣gelical mourner looks upon his sorrow as a sa∣crifice, with which God is well-pleased, and therefore Joys that he can sorrow, that he can offer this Sacrifice to God, The Sacrifices of God are a broken and a contrite heart, and spirit: A broken, and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise, saith the Scripture, Psal. 51.17. And this the contrite heart beleeves, and there∣fore Joys, when it can sorrow.
5. Hence it comes to passe, that the Evange∣lical mourner, is an agent, as well as a patient, in the action of mourning. He strives to provoke and quicken his dull heart, and soul, to mourn, and thinks no labour too much to bestow, to bring his soul to a godly manner of mourning; He desires nothing more then to turn his Carnal mirth into Godly mourning, Be afslicted, and mourn, and weep, saith the Scripture, Let your laughter be turned into mourning, and your joy into heavinesse, Jam. 4.9. This, this soul labours wonderfully to do, and nothing grieves him more, than that he cannot more grieve for sinne: He labours to make his carnall mirth the matter of his spi∣ritual mourning, and wishes, O that mine eyes were a fountain of tears, that I could weep day and night, for the sinne of my nature, and the sinne of my life, and the iniquity of my People.
6. Evangelical sorrow, is a heart-mollifying sorrow, it softeneth the heart, and makes it very tender and pliab•e, sensible of the least sinne, and the least displeasure of God for sin: Hearts broken with evangelicall sorrow, are like broken bones, very sensible of every Page 58 touch. Hearts broken with Evangelical sor∣row are very pliable to the will of the Lord above all other, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? saith a contrite soule, Act. 9.6. as if he had said, declare thy will, Lord, and I am ready to obey it, to the utmost of my power, whatever it be.
*Such as the measure of this sorrow is, such usually is the softness of the heart, and the pli∣ability of the will; the more of this sorrow the soul hath, the more tender is the heart made thereby, and the more pliable is the will; the less of this sorrow the soul hath, the less sof∣tening hath the heart, and the less yielding is there in the will, to the Will of the Lord.
7. Evangelical sorrow is a heart meekening sorrow; it meekeneth the heart, and maketh it humbly stoop to the yoke of Christ, and pa∣tiently bear the Chastising hand of Christ, during the good pleasure of Christ. I will beare the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against him, untill he plead my cause, and execute judgment for me, saith the contrite soul, Mich. 7.9. It moderateth anger and maketh all calm within and without.*
8. Evangelical sorrow is a heart-humbling sorrow, it maketh the heart humble and lowly; The more of this sorrow there is in the heart, the more humble it is, and the less of this there is in the heart, the prouder it is, the more fearless and careless it is of sinne; I am no more worthy to be called a Sonne, make me as a Ser∣vant,* (or any thing, the meanest imployment) in my fathers house,* is too good for me, saith the contrite soul. I am but a walking-dung∣hill,* and fitter to be set on a dunghill, Page 59 then on a Throne, saith the contrite soul.
9. And hence it is, that the soul evangelically contrite, admires free grace, in every favour that it receives, spiritual or temporal, and is the thankfullest soul of all others, for mercies received; What shall I render unto the Lord, for all his mercies towards me, saith a contrite soul? This soul speaks to it self in the language of the Lord to Ierusalem, I was polluted in my blood,*and cast out to the loathing of my person, and no eye pitied me, to do any office of love unto me: And then the Lord had compassion on me, and washed me with water, yea, with blood, with the blood of his Sonne he throughly washed away my filth, and annoynted me with oyl, indued me with his Spirit, and his grace, &c. I had for∣feited all right to Heaven and earth into the Lords hand, and he hath given me all back again freely, and put me in a better condition, than I was in before. O the deepnesse of the riches of the Justice and Mercy of God!
10. In the tenth place, Evangelical sorrow, is a sorrow that keeps the soul in a sweet hea∣venly frame, for all holy and heavenly duties; it sweetly fits the soul for all holy perfor∣mances.
Sorrow that flowes from the apprehension of Love in God, is fresh and lively,* and full of spirits; so that a man never performs any holy duty better, then when his heart is filled with this sorrow: Set a soul filled with this sorrow, to pray, and he will pray sweetly, and heavenly, fervently, and effectually (to wit) in faith, and so prevaile much with God; Set him to hear, and he will hear humbly, and Page 60 the whole Word of the Lord will be sweet unto him, every precept and every threatning of the Lord, every bitter thing will be sweet unto him, every crum that fals from his Table will he gather up, as precious food: Set a soul filled with this sorrow to Divine Meditation, and he will do it with great, delight and free∣dome: set him to receive the Sacrament of the Supper of the Lord, and he will do this action in its beauty, He will looke upon him, whom he hath pierced and mourn, for his sinne that hath pierced him, and every other holy duty will he perform, with a more heavenly mind, than others, which have not felt this sorrow, or not in that measure, which he hath done.
11. The soul Evangelically contrite, sorrows not so much for suffering, as for sinning; not so much for being displeased, as for displeasing, and dishonouring God by sinne, it is grieved for its sinne, because the holy Spirit of God is grieved by its sinne, and broken with its whorish heart,* as the Prophet speaks, and is melted by the consideration of the incompara∣ble goodness of God, and his kindnesse, and love in Christ towards its self, abused by its self, rather then broken with horrour, threat∣nings, punishments, or slavish feare; Against thee,*thee only have I sinned, and done this evill in thy sight, saith the contrite soul, and this is that which pierceth his soul.
12. The soul Evangelically contrite, longs after freedome from sinne, more than free∣dome from suffering;* it saies with the Church, Lord, take away all mine iniquity, not with Pha∣ra•h, the plague; Lord, look upon my affliction and my pain, saith the contrite soul, and ease Page 61 me of that, if it be thy blessed Will, but how∣ever forgive all my sinnes, deliver me from all my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sinne: hide thy face from my sinnes, and blot out all mine iniquities. O wretched man that I am, Who shall deliver me (and when shall I be delivered) from the body of this death? This is the language of contrite souls.
The soul Evangelically contrite, counts sin the worst Evill, and Christ the best Good;* the guilt of sinne, the power of sinne, and the being of sinne, is of all burdens the heaviest unto a contrite soul, and that which of all other it longs to be freed from.
13. The soul Evangelically contrite, priseth Christ as the chiefest Good, as the only true Good; it is not satisfied with any thing with∣out Christ, it is not fully satisfied with any thing but Christ, Christ in his Blood, Christ in his Spirit, Christ in his Ordinances, Christ in his Ministers, Christ in whomsoever his Image is stamped is precious, above all earthly things, unto the contrite soul; Thou art my beloved and my desire is towards thee, saith the Contrite heart to Christ.
To the soul Evangelically Contrite,* the light of Gods Countenance, and the sense of his love in Christ, is more worth than all the treasures, and pleasures in the world, Lord, lift thou up the Light of thy Countenance upon me; thy love is better than wine,*(better then Corn and Wine,) it strengthens more, it com∣forts more, it puts gladness in my heart, more then Corn and Wine, more than the choicest Creatures in the world, saith the Contrite Page 62 soul. When once this contrition had ceazed on Davids heart,*his soul did thirst for God, as the thirsty land for rain, and as the chased Hart for the water-brooks. And not after God only in his immediate dispensations, but in his medi∣ate also, after God in his Ordinances, in his Sanctuary, as appears, Psal. 63.2. & 84.10. & 27.4. and thus did Mary Magdalen, and Paul, and other Saints, under the New Testament, when once this contrition had ceazed on their hearts, they were very in∣dustrious seekers of God in his Ordinances; By which it is eminently evident, that it is the nature of Evangelical Contrition, of hearts E∣vangelically contrite, to prize highly communi∣on with God, in his Ordinances.
As it was with David, and Mary, and the other Saints here, so it is with every soul Evangelically Contrite, he hath the same judgement of and affection towards Gods Ordinances, in truth, though not in the same degree.
Such as the measure of contrition wrought in the soul is, such usually is the measure of his affection to, and thirst after these Divine excellencies forementioned.
14. The soul Evangelically Contrite, dis∣claims all righteousnesse of its own, and rests wholly on the merit of Christ, for justificati∣on before God, We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy raggs, saith the Contrite Church, Isai. 64.6. What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Iesus, my Lord, and do judg them, but dung, that I may winne Christ, saith the Apostle, Phil. 3.8, 9.
Page 63When once this Evangelical contrition h•d ceazed on the heart of Paul, he renounced all his own righteousnesse, all before conversion and all after conversion, (his old man and his new) in matter of justification, and rested wholly upon the merit of Christ, which plainly demonstrates the truth asserted.
15. Evangelical sorrow is a lasting sorrow, and a wasting sorrow; When once it hath ceaz∣ed upon the heart of a Christian, it doth not pass away, as the morning cloud, and early dew, or a land-flood, but continueth and riseth up, as a spring, and is never exhaust, till sin, the cause of it, be wholly taken away, and not only the guilt, and punishment of sinne, but the very being of sinne, till total deliverance from this body of death be granted. This is evident in the Apostle Paul,* when once this sorrow had ceazed on his heart, he did not cease to bewail his proness to sinne, till his be∣ing in this world ceased, as appears, Rom. 7. ver. 14.24. And as it is a lasting sorrow, so it is a wasting sorrow, it consumes the body of death, it brings a consumption on sinne, it weakeneth the power of naturall corruption, and warreth succesfully against the most Giant-like corruption, it comes from the heart of a sinner, and it goes to the heart of sinne.
16. Finally Evangelical sorrow,* is a reform∣ing sorrow, it makes a man truly turn from sinne, from all sinne, unto the Lord, and this is indeed the great distinguishing Character of it, and that which demonstrates the truth of it, contrition without conversion is not Repen∣tance unto life; He that sorrows for his sinne, Page 64 and turns not from his finne, unto the Lord, his sorrow is but a sorry one: Humiliation with∣out Reformation, (saith one) is but a foundati∣on without a building, and reformation without humiliation, is but a building without a founda∣tion, a building which will not stand. Humili∣ation and Reformation God hath coupled to∣gether,** in his Gospel-Promises, wherein Re∣pentance is fully described; Therefore Repen∣tance unto life,* must needs consist of both these: Evangelical Contrition and true Con∣version are so coupled together,* that they cannot be sundered; wheresoever sorrow for sinne is found, it is attended with true turning from sinne, unto the Lord. And this is the second essential part of true Repentance. And this the Scripture cals conversion. Repent and be converted, saith the Apostle in the forecited place, Act. 3.19. it is, as if he had said, mourn for sinne, and turn from sinne, if ever you would have your sinnes to be done away.
He that truly turns from sinne, turns from all sinne;* He that turns not from all sinne, doth not truely turn from any sinne; God re∣quires a sinner, to turn from all his transgres∣sions, and he that truly turns from sinne, doth this; He turns from all sinne in affection, in purpose and resolution he allows not himself in any known sinne, he loaths all sinne, and conscionably indeavours to forsake all sinne, and get every corruption mortified, therefore saith the Apostle, Godly sorrow worketh Repen∣tance unto salvation,* his meaning is, it produc∣eth Reformation (to wit) a true turning from all sin unto the Lord.
Page 65He that truly turns to the Lord,* doth it not feignedly, as Hypocrites do, but unfeignedly, cordially, with his whole heart, as the Prophet speaks, with full purpose of heart, to walk in all the wayes of God; This the Apostle cals, Repentance unto Salvation, and this is attended with carefulnesse, and circumspection for time to come, cleering of our selves, or apologie for our selves of our detestation of our fact; indignation or exceeding anger with our selves for our offences; Feare, (to wit) feare of re∣lapsing into our former sinnes again; vehe∣ment desire (to wit) after strength and assistance from Christ, for the present, and future time; Zeal (to wit) in the performing of all good duties, contrary to our former spe∣cial sinnes; Revenge (to wit) a holy revenge on our selves, subduing of the body, and keep∣ing it under, lest it should hereafter be an in∣strument of sinne, as it hath formerly been. All this is evident by the language of the Apostle, in the forecited place, 2 Corinth. 7.11.
Wouldest thou then know, whether thy Re∣pentance be Repentance unto Life, or no? whether it be such as truly demonstrates the holy Spirits saving habitation in thy soul, and the truth of thy faith, yea, or nay? thou must then have recourse to both the parts of true Re∣pentance fore-mentioned (to wit) contrition and conversion; and if by what hath been said, it appears to be truly such, know that it is a sure argument of thy eternal happinesse, bless God for it and labour to grow in it.
ANother work of the holy Spirit of God on man, demonstrating his saving habita∣tion in man, and a mans eternal salvation by Christ, is Obedience (to wit) sincere, and Cor∣dial, Evangelical Obedience, to the revealed Will of God.
This Obedience, and this onely, God re∣quires and accepts of his Elect, in and through Jesus Christ.
That this Obedience is a work of the Spirit of God in man, appears both by Argument and by Scripture; 1. By Argument thus; Naturally the heart of man is obstinate, stubborne and disobedient to the Will of the Lord; deceitfull above all things, and Hypocritical in all its wayes, doting on Legal, and never minding Evangelical Obedience; and nothing can make such a change in the heart and soul of a man, as of stubborne and disobedient, of Hy∣pocritical and deceitfull, to become sincere and Cordial in Obedience, and of a doter on Legal, to become an Evangelical obeyer of the Will of the Lord: But the Almighty Spi∣rit of God, whose proper office it is, to renew the Image of God in fallen man; Therefore this Obedience must needs be the work of the Spirit of God, in whomsoever it is.
By Scripture this is evident likewise, I will Page 67 put my Spirit within you (saith the Lord) and cause you to walk in my statutes, and keep my Iudgments, and do them, Ezek. 36.27. Hence it is evident, That it is the Spirit of God, which works the heart of man to Obedience.
That this Obedience is a work of the Spirit of God in man, demonstrating his saving habi∣tation, and sanctifying operation in man, is evident by the language of the Apostles, We are his witnesses of these things, and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given (to wit) savingly, to them that obey him, (to wit) Cor∣dially and Evangelically, Act. 5.32. And by that of Peter, We are Elect according to the fore-knowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit unto Obedience, 1 Pet. 1.2.
That this Obedience is such a work of the Spirit of God in man, as demonstrates his e∣ternall salvation by Christ, is farther evident by these Scriptures following: Christ being made perfect became the Author of eternall salva∣tion, unto all them that obey him, Heb. 5.9. O∣bey my voyce (saith the Lord) and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people, Jer. 7.23. If ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my Covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me, above all people, and ye shall be unto me a kingdome of Priests, and an holy Nation, Exod. 19.5, 6. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdome of Heaven, but he that doth the Will of my Father, which is in Heaven, Mat. 7.21. He that doth the Will of God abideth for ever, 1 Joh. 2.17.
By these Texts it is evident, That th•s Obe∣dience Page 68 is such a work of the Spirit of God in man, as lively demonstrates his eternal happiness.
Quest. But what is this Obedience you speake of? How may it be defined?
Sol. It is a special work of the Spirit of God in man, whereby he is inabled to apply Christ unto himself, according unto all his pro∣mises, and himself unto Christ, according unto all his Precepts.
Under these two general heads, the whole work of Obedience is comprehended, as is evident from the words of the new Covenant; I saith the Lord will be your God, and ye shall be my People, Jer. 31.33. What doth the Lord require herein on our part? but to take him for our God, and yield up our selves unto him, as his People, to apply Christ unto our selves, and our selves unto Christ, as afore∣said. This is the Obedience of faith, this is E∣vangelical Obedience, the Obedience which the Gospel cals for, and which it only accepts. What shall we do, that we might work the Works of God? said some to Christ, Ioh. 6.28. Christ replyes, ver. 29. This is the work of God, that ye believe on him, whom he hath sent. In these few words, is comprehended the whole work of Obedience, the whole work assigned us by God, This is the Work of God, &c. It is, as if Christ had said, you naturally seek Heaven by works, but altogether mistake that work of works, which is only acceptable, and effectual to attain its end, Beleeve on him whom he hath sent; Beleeve on him, who hath fulfilled the Law for us, and will fulfill the Law in us; This is the work of God assigned to us, Page 69 and a work which God worketh in us, and this is unto flesh and blood, of all works the hardest. Here note these Corollaries.
Corol. 1. That the Obedience of Faith is of all works the most difficult unto flesh and blood; this requires a man to deny himself totally, which flesh and blood will rather deny God himself, then do. We rejoyce in Christ Iesus and have no confidence in the flesh, &c.
2. Our Souls naturally had rather dye, and put off their immortality and everlasting being, then put on the Lord Jesus Christ. They will not come to me.
3. We all naturally dote upon works, and say, as the young man in the Gospel, that came to Christ, What shall I do that I may in∣herit eternall life? But the work of works, Beleeve in the Lord Iesus Christ, we are of all other the farthest from, till the Spirit of God work in us. These from our Saviours mouth, I have deducted, This is the Work of God, that ye beleeve in him whom he hath sent.
4. Man naturally is so proud, That he will not seek after God, saith the Psalmist, that is, (God in Christ) for no otherwise can God be approached unto; He thinks himself rich, and to need nothing, and knows not that he is poor, and blind, and miserable, wretched and naked, and therefore scornes to seek to God in Christ for wealth. He will rather make a co∣vering of Figg-Leaves than of Christs righte∣ousnesse, rather cover himself with rotten raggs, than be beholding to Christ for his robe.
5. Man regenerated, so far forth as carnal, is very unwilling to be beholding to Christ Page 70 wholly, for all the good he stands in need of; hence it is, that many regenerate persons will rest on promises no further, than they can find themselves to obey precepts, weary themselves out with labouring to fulfil the Law, and ne∣ver study the Obedience of Faith, which is to renounce all that we can do, To put no confidence in the flesh, but rest only on what Christ hath done, and suffered for us, beleeving that eve∣ry promise shall be made good to us, so farre forth as may be good for us (for Christ's sake.) This is to apply Christ unto our selves.
And our selves unto Christ] According un∣to all his precepts: This is the latter clause in the description of Evangelicall Obedience: A Christian by the Obedience of faith, Opens the everlasting doors to the King of Glory, to come in, and take possession and rule all in his heart and in his life: He resigns up all to be order∣ed by him, who so loved him, that he gave him∣self for him, so that not he, but Christ liveth,*ruleth, and ordereth all: Every thought is yielded up unto the Obedience of Christ, with desire that he will bring it into subjection, 2 Cor. 10.5.
Faith doth both receive and give; it is faith that applies Christ to the man, and the man to Christ, as appears by Ioh. 1.12. compared with 2 Cor. 8.5. Faith makes him ours, who makes all happiness ours; Faith makes him ours, in whom we are compleat, and generates Love in our souls to him that hath loved us, and given himself for us, and this love constrains us to live, not unto our selves, but unto him which dyed for us, and rose again, 2 Cor. 5.14, Page 71 15. and this is that Obedience, which the Gos∣pel cals for, and which only it accepts; and this, if fincere and cordial, is very acceptable with God, though many wayes deficient.
It is the Gospel, and the Gospel only, that cals for this Obedience; the Law doth not re∣quire us to apply our selves unto Christ, no more than it doth require us to apply Christ unto our selves, but barely saith, Do this, and live, Transgrefse this and dye,
The Gospel doth not barely call for this O∣bedience of Faith, but promises to give it, and works the heart unto it, yea freely gives it us as a gift, They shall looke on him, whom they have pierced, &c. Zach. 12.10. I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my Statutes, saith the Lord, &c. Ezek. 36.27. To you it is given in the behalf of Christ; not only to beleeve on him, but also to suffer for his sake, saith the Apostle, Phil. 1.29. These things premised, I proceed to the tryal of Obe∣dience; and for the more perspicuity, propound this Question.
Quest. How may I discern, whether my O∣bedience be sincere and cordiall Obedience, yea, or nay?
Answ. Thou mayest discern it, by the effici∣ent cause, by the final cause and by the proper∣ties of cordial Obedience: The efficient cause of cordial Obedience, is the Love of God;* the final cause thereof, is the Glory of God.
1. The efficient cause of cordial Obedience, is the Love of God; cordial Obedience springs out of Love to God, and he that cordially o∣beys the Will of God, obeys it in Love to God, not slavish feare, nor self love, nor Page 72 vain glory; But Lo•e to God, is that which leades him to obey the Will of God: Therefore saith the Apostle, The Love of Christ constrain∣eth us, 2 Cor. 5.14.
Here note these two things, 1. That what∣soever a man doth in way of Obedience to the Will of God,* be the action never so good, or glorious in it self, is no wayes acceptable unto God, except it spring from Love; a pregnant proof of this we have, 1 Cor. 13.1, 2, 3. where the Apostle shews at large, That all O∣bedience without Love, comes to just nothing; all parts and gifts, all Faith and Obedience, though it be to the death, and the cruellest death, that possibly may be, without faith working by Love, without Obedience spring∣ing from Love, comes to just nothing at length, It profiteth me nothing, saith the A∣postle.
On the other hand, though we can do but little for God, if that little we do, issue out of Love to God, it is very pleasing to, and accep∣table with God, who looks more on our af∣fection, than our action; Thou hast ravished my heart, my Sister, my Spouse, thou hast ra∣vished my heart with one of thine eyes, &c. How faire is thy Love, my Sister, my Spouse? how much better is thy Love, then Wine? &c. Cant. 4.9, 10. I conclude this therefore, with the saying of a worthy man, A Christians affection is his perfection in this fraile condi∣tion.
The final cause of cordial Obedience, is the Glory of God: He that cordially obeys the Will of God, propoundeth the pleasing of God, and the glory of his Name, for his direct, Page 73 chief, and ultimate end, in all that he doth, in way of Obedience, according to the direction of the Holy Ghost by the Apostle, 1 Cor. 10.31. And these two, the efficient, and the end, denomi∣nate the action.
1. The properties of cordial Obedience, are these; Cordial Obedience is free and willing Obedience, voluntary, and not forced. To whom ye yield your selves servants to obey, his servants ye are, saith the Apostle, Rom. 6.16. It is willingnesse in Obedience, that is the beauty of Obedience, and that which God chiefly looks to in Obedience, If you be wil∣ling and Obedient, or willingly obedient, then so and so, ye shall eat the good of the Land, Isai. 1.19. If there be first a willing mind, it is ac∣cepted, according to that which a man hath, not according to that he hath not, 2 Cor. 8.12. If I do this thing willingly, I have a reward, 1 Cor. 9.17. By all these places it is evident, That cordial Obedience, is willing Obedience: This was that which rendered Abraham's Obedi∣ence so lovely in the eye of God, he rose early to go about the offering up of Isaac, which shews, he did it willingly.
He whose Obedience springs from Love to God, hath his heart first warmed with the sense of Gods Love to him; and he that aims principally at the glory of God, in his Obedi∣ence, hath his heart humbled, when he hath done the best that he can, for that he cannot bring more glory to God, and hence it comes to pass, that he is willing, and ready to obey; He consents to obey, and that without grudg∣ing or repining, even when he comes short of doing, what he desires to do. What I would, Page 74 that do I not, saith a cordial server of Christ.
2. Cordial Obedience, is universal Obedi∣ence, and that both in respect of the Subject, and in respect of the Object, it is yielded of the whole man to the whole Will of God; the soul, according to all the powers and facul∣ties thereof, is only, and wholly for Christ, in its scope and bent, the understanding, the will and the affections, are in their scope and bent, only and wholly for Christ, therefore saith the A∣postle, of such as were cordial servers of Christ, Ye have obeyed from the heart, &c. Rom. 6.17. The body and all its members, are yielded up whol∣ly, and only to Christ, to the service of Christ, for the magnifying of Christ, shall I take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an Harlot, saith the cordial server of Christ? God forbid, 1 Cor. 6.15.
*God requires the whole man, soul and body, to be wholly yielded up unto him, unto his use and service, in Obedience, Ye are bought with a price, therefore glorifie God in your body, and in your spirit, which are Gods, saith the Text, 1 Cor. 6.20.
God requires soul and body (to wit) the whole man to be (wholly) yielded up unto him, unto his use and service in Obedience, in obeying (all his revealed will) touching, be∣leeving, doing, and suffering, Take diligent heed, to do the Commandement and the Law, which Moses the Servant of the Lord commanded you, to Love the Lord your God, and walk in all his wayes, and to keep his Commandements, and to cleave unto him, and serve him with all your heart, and with all your soul, Josh. 22.5. Page 75 And again, Exo▪ 23. ver. 20, and 22. Be∣hold I send an Angel before thee, if thou shalt in∣deed obey his voice, in all that I speak, then I will be an enemy unto thy enemies, &c. saith the Lord. Go ye and teach all Nations, saith Christ to his Apostles, What should they teach them? Why, teach them to observe (all things) what∣soever I have (commanded you) Mat. 28.19, 20.* The Apostle useth the like phrase, 2 Cor. 2.9. where he cals for Obedience in all things: Here is universal Obedience unto the whole Will of God, required in the whole man, and he that cordially obeys the Will of God, obeys accord∣ing to this Rule of God (to wit) universally. He yeelds up his whole man, to the Obedience of the whole Will of the Lord,* without picking and chusing in the wayes of God, without re∣servation, or exception, or desire of dispensati∣on. However he failes in his Obedience, and comes short of what he ought to do, and de∣sires to do, yet he determines not to reserve any part of himself from Christ, nor to stand out against any part of his holy Will, but hath his heart and mind ready prest, to obey every of his Commandements, which he knows, as well as any, the least as well as the greatest, and the greatest, as well as the least; He thinks not tithing of Mint and Comin too small a pre∣cept to make conscience of, nor a right hand, nor a right eye, nor an only Isaac, nor Life it self, or whatsoever may indeare it unto him, too much to sacrifice, when Christ shall call for it at his hands; He resolves to obey those pre∣cepts, which cross his corrupt nature most, and the sinne of his constitution, as well as those which it can better brook; He resolves to Page 76 obey both Law and Gospel, in every precept, Negative and Positive, to his utmost power; his Obedience is of as great a latitude as the whole Will of God; He hath respect unto all Gods Commandements, as the Psalmist speak∣eth.
*3. Cordial Obedience is conscionable Obe∣dience: He that cordially obeys the Will of God, obeys not out of by respects, but for conscience sake: Conscience of duty leades him to the performance of duty, so that he, as of sincerity, as of God, in the sight of God, obeys the will of God, as the Apostles phrase is, 2 Cor. 2.17.
He that obeys the Will of God, out of love to God, and conscience of duty, esteems all Gods precepts, concerning all things, to be right, and hates every false way, one as well as another, even vain thoughts; he consents to the whole will of God; that it is good, and delights in the whole Will of God, after the inward man, and with the mind serves the Law of God, e∣ven when the flesh is captivated by the Law of sinne: His heart inclineth to perform the Sta∣tutes of the Lord alwayes, even unto the end, and he wisheth, that his wayes were so direct∣ed, that he might keep all the Statutes of his God. The Will of his God is deare unto him above all things, AboveaSilver and Gold; Abovebnecessary food; AbovecLife, and all the comforts of it. And he is tender of it, as of the Apple of his Eye, according to that of Solo∣mon, Prov. 7.2. To him, The yoke of Christ is easie, and his burthen light; His Commande∣ments are not grievous, for he delights to do his Will.
Page 774. Cordial Obedience, is constant and perse∣vering, it holds out in all times and seasons, and variety of conditions, as Moses and Christ intimate. d And true it is, That he which cordially obeys Christ,* continues to obey him, in prosperity & adversity, in time of peril, as well as in time of praise, when multitudes dis∣obey and oppose the Will of Christ,* as well as when they seem to stand for the Will of Christ, when all formal servers of Christ forsake him, and cry, Crucifie him, as well as when they fol∣lowed him, and magnified him, with Hosanna: He resolves with Peter to follow Christ, though it be alone, and labours to follow Christ, as Ruth followed eNaomi, as Elishaffollowed E∣lijah, and Asahelgfollowed Abner, and doth it, as is evident by many •••mples in holy Writ, Noah, Ioshua, and Elija•〈◊〉 Mary Mag∣dalen, and other Wome•〈…〉 followed Christ, were notable exam•••〈◊〉, in their time.
Here note these four things, 1. That opposi∣tion doth not take off,* but rather spur on a cor∣dial server of Jesus Christ.
2. That he that cordially obeys the Will of Christ, is conformable unto Christ in Obedience: He obeys the Will of Christ, as Christ obeyed the Will of his Father, for kinde, though not for measure, and degree, (to wit) freely, uni∣versally, constantly, even unto the death: In all which respects, cordial Obedience, may be sty∣led singular Obedience.
3. And thirdly note, That notwit•standing all this, one that cordially serves and obeys Christ, may, and sometimes doth desist for a time, through strong Temptations, and humane Page 78 weaknesse, according to outward appearance. This was Peter's case, when he denyed his Ma∣ster, yet his heart still moved towards his Ma∣ster, his affections still yerned towards Christ, even whilst his tongue denyed him, as appeares by the consequence.
4. Lastly note, That he that cordially desires, and really indeavours, to obey the Will of the Lord, if it were possible, exactly and perfectly, from right grounds, and for right ends, doth this in Gods account, God who will accept the will for the deed,* accepts this desire and indeavour (in and for Christ) as Obedience; He that con∣sents to obey, doth obey in Gods account.
To get a sure testimony to thy self then, of the holy Spirits saving habitation in thy soul, and of thy eternal salvation by Christ, examine thy Obedience 〈◊〉 these rules of trial, and if it be correspond••• with them, know that it is such as 〈◊〉•••onstrates the holy Spirits sa∣ving operat•••〈◊〉 thee, and thy eternal salvati∣on by Christ, and give him the glory of all, and humbly, and beleevingly seek to him, to better thy Obedience daily, that God may have glory by it.
Poverty of Spirit.
Blessed are the Poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
THis is Jesus Christs own positi∣on, therefore it needs no proof, but cals for belief. Christ in these words be∣queathes the Kingdom of Hea∣ven, not 〈…〉 only, but by deed of gift (if I may so 〈◊〉 to the Poore in Spirit, Blessed are the Poor in spirit, for theirs (is) the Kingdome of Heaven, &c.
By the Kingdom of Heaven in Scripture, is sometimes meant, the Kingdom of Grace, and sometimes the Kingdom of Glory; Both these, as Christ here affirms, belong to them that are poor in Spirit; Blessed are the Poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven, &c.
The Poor in spirit,] are a generation, mean and base in their own eyes, and in the eyes of the world too, but a generation very precious in the eye of Jesus Christ, a generati∣on very blessed, and highly honoured by Christ himself; a Kingdom of Grace, and a Kingdom of Glory is here by Christ assigned to them; Blessed are the Poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
Page 80For the better understanding of these words, note, That a man may be two wayes poor in spirit; He may be gracelesly poor, or graci∣ously poore in spirit; gracelesly poor are all the posterity of Adam, as they come into the world; but this is not a blessed, but a cursed po∣verty of spirit.
Graciously poor in spirit, are all those, in some measure, in which Christ is formed; graceless poverty of spirit, is natural; but gra∣cious poverty of spirit is supernatural, Evange∣lical and Divine; Natural poverty, or grace∣less poverty of spirit, is cursed, but gracious and Divin poverty of spirit is blessed, Blessed are the poor in spirit, fortheirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
It is a gracious poverty of spirit, and not graceless poverty of spirit, to which Christ assigns the Kingdom of Heaven.
The frame of his spirit, which is gracelesly poor, is lively pictured, Iob 11.12. Man is born like a wild asses-colt. Job. 39.7, 8. He scarneth the multitude of the City, He regardeth not the crying of his driver, the range of the mountains is his pasture, and he searcheth after every green thing. A proud, impudent, silly, vain Creature. These words declare man grace∣lesly poore in spirit to be. Thou sayest thou art rich, and hast need of nothing, and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked, Rev. 3.17. This is Gods description of man graciously poor in spirit, but this is not that poverty of spirit, which I am seeking after, not that on which Christ pronounces▪ [Blessed,] not that on which the Kingdom of Heaven is intailed, therefore I pass by it.
Page 81Quest. But what is that poverty of spirit, which Christ pronounceth blessed, and on which he entailes the kingdome of Heaven? How may it be described?
Answ. It is a speciall work of the sanctifying Spirit in the soul, whereby a man is brought to see and feel his own emptiness of grace, and Christs fulness; and is truly humbled, in regard of the one, and in some measure comforted, in regard of the other, as one that hopes to receive of his fullness, grace for grace.
This is that gracious poverty of spirit, which Christ pronounces blessed, and on which he intailes the kingdome of Heaven; and the ap∣pearances of it are these which follow.
1. A man graciously poor in spirit, abhors himself, and loaths himself, because of all his abominations; he is worse in his own eies, than he can be in any mans else; he sees a fullness of sinne in his nature, and a fullness of sinne in his conversation, and yet not such a fullness as he would see, Iob 13.23. He is in his own account, the chief of sinners. 1 Tim. 1.15.
2. A man graciously poor in spirit, sees in himself a great emptiness of grace; he sees that he is not sufficient of himself to think a good thought; He is in his own account,* the poorest man, in the best things of all, that look after them, Less than the le•st of all Saints; he dis∣claimes all his own righteousnesses, and accounts them as rotten raggs, and abominable things, in reference to Justification before God; He for∣gets all that is behind; if he cast up his parts, his gifts, and his graces, he concludes, Cir∣cumcision is nothing, nor Vncircumcision is Page 82 nothing; his faith, his love, his repentance, his obedience, all put together, nothing; he brings in the totall summe in meer ciphers; I am nothing, yea worse then nothing, saith this soul; Can a man be profitable unto his Ma∣ker? I am unprofitable to God and man: When saw I thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and cloathed thee? &c. Wherefore is there a price in the hand of a fool? saith this soul.
3. A man graciously poor, or blessedly poor in spirit,* is a man of a contrite spirit, a man that trembleth at the Word of the Lord; To him will I look, saith the Lord, that is poor, and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my Word, Isa. 66.2▪ In this Text, poverty of spi∣rit, contrition, and the effect of it, tr•mbling at the Word of the Lord, are joyned together as linkes of a Chain; so as he that hath one of them, hath all of them, in some measure. As for contrition, it hath been already spoken of from (Pag. 56. to Pag. 64.) to which I refer the Reader.
4. A man graciously poor in spirit, as he sees a fullness of sinne, and an emptiness of grace in himself, and bewailes it; so he sees a full∣ness of grace in Christ, a fullness of mercy with God in Christ to pardon him, and heal him, to justifie him, and sanctifie him, and fill him with all grace; and this is attended with some hopes, to be made a partaker of it; The truth of this is evident in the poor Publi∣can, He saw a fullness of sinne in himself, and an emptiness of grace; and he saw a full∣ness of mercy in God; and merit in Christ, to take away his sinne and garnish his soul with all grace, and had some hopes to attain Page 83 this, otherwise he would never have gone to God for mercy. A man graciously or e∣vangelically poor in spirit, hath some hope of obtaining mercy.
5. And this makes him very industriously to seek after the Lord, in a conscionable use of all those means, which he hath appointed; I will arise, and go to my Father, &c. saith the poor Prodigal. When once this poverty of Spirit had seized on his spirit, he thought no labour too much to attain what he sought; Draw me, we will runne after thee, saith the Spouse, graciously poor in spirit, Cant. 1.4.
6. A man graciously poor in spirit, esteems spirituall riches the best riches; and for them, he will with the Merchant-man, give the best price; for th•m he will part with all carnall things, and count them but dung; he doth hunger and thirst after righteousness, more than after riches; after the riches of grace, more than after the riches of the world.
7. A man graciously poor in spirit, is a man of a humble spirit; if God dispense his gifts liberally unto him, or make greater dis∣coveries of himself, his mind, and will unto him, than he doth to others, he will humbly, and thankfully, and really ascribe all the glory thereof unto the Lord, and his free grace, and say as Daniel, As for me,*this is not conferred upon me, for any Wisdome, or goodness, that I have more than other, but of free grace, for Christs sake, bestowed upon me, therefore to him be all the glory: Who am I, or what is there in me, that God should shew such fa∣vour unto me, above what he doth unto o∣ther This is vigor fit, and ••t fit, to give the Page 84 denomination of a man graciously poor in spi∣rit.
8. A man graciously poor in spirit, is the contentedst man with his condition of all o∣thers;*I went out full, but the Lord brought me home empty, saith a soul gratiously poor in spirit, and yet she was contented with her condition. Shall we receive good at the hand of God? and shall we not receive evill? Shall the thing formed, say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? It is the Lord, let him do with we, as seemeth good to him. This is the lan•uage of soules graciously poor in spirit: Such a soul lookes upon every thing, as a mer∣cy, that is on this side Hell, and how bad so∣ev•r his condition be, thinks it too good for him.
9. A man graciously poor in spirit, justi∣f•es God in all his deali•gs, even under his sad∣est providences, and dispensations of Justice; The Lord is righteous in all his Wayes,* (saith this soul,) I am justly under this condemna∣tion,* for I receive the due reward of my deeds, for I have rebelled against his Command∣men•s, &c.
10. The soul gracio•sly poor in spirit, gr•anes under that privy pride, which he finds in himself, as that which is the great bur∣d•n on his spirit, and that which he longs to be delivered from; Oh wretched man that I •m, who shall deliver me? and when shall I be delive•ed •rom▪ this corrupt nature of mine, which exalts it s•lf against God, and hinders the influence of his gr•ce in me?
These Appearances of gratious poverty of spirit, may serve to dis•ry a soul graciously Page 85 and blessedly poor in spirit; Try thy spirit by them, and if by what hath been said, thou findest this Qualification in thy self, in any measure, bless God for it, labour to grow in it, and remember the words of our Lord Jesu Christ, Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdome of Heaven.
Death to Sinne.
If Christ be in you, the body is dead, because of sinne; But the Spirit is Life, because of righteousness.
IN these words, the Apostle lays down two great Chara∣cters of our Union with Christ, or Christ resident in us; The first this, The body is dead, because of sinne; The second this, The Spirit is Life, because of righteousness; Christ is in you (saith the Apostle) except ye be Reprobates, 2 Cor. 13.5. If Christ be in you, it will appear thus, The body is dead, because of sinne.
The Body, here spoken of, is not a body of flesh, not a body Celestiall, nor a body Ter∣restiall, but a body Diabolicall, a body of sin, as the members, mentioned Col. 3.5. demon∣strate; and likewise the language of the A∣postle, Rom. 7.24. where he calls corrupt nature the body; and more plainly, Rom. 6.6. stiles it, The body of sinne, Ephes. 4.22. The old man; This is the body here meant.
The body of sinne, is the depravedness and Page 87 corruption of our whole nature, by reason of which we are naturally averse to all good, and prone to evill continually, and so liable to all misery, and therefore the Apostle calls it, A body of death.*
The body is alive in all those, in whom Christ lives not; but where Christ lives, this body dies. If Christ be in you, the body is dead, because of sinne, &c.
Death to sinne is double; There is a death to the guilt of sinne; And a death to the power, reign, and dominion of sinne.
Death to the guilt of sinne, is a perfect fre∣dome from all sinne, by the death of Christ for our sinne; thus all in whom Christ lives, are dead to sinne totally.
We are dead to the guilt of sinne, by the body of Christ, who died for us:* The death of our dear Saviour hath purchased, and per∣fected this death for us: The bloud of Iesus Christ cleanseth us from all sinne; 1 Joh. 1.7. From all sinne past, present, and to come; He that is thus dead, is freed from sinne, as the Apostle speaks, Rom. 6.7. Redeemed from all iniq•ity, Tit. 2.14. And this is the great priveledge of all those in whom Christ lives, of all the true member• of Jesus Christ: Christ undertakes for them, as Iudah did for Benjamin, I will be s•rety for him; of my hand shale thou require him: if I bring him not unto thee, and set him before thee, then let me bear the blame for ever, said Iudah to his father, Gen. 43.9. Thus Christ undertakes for all his members, for all his elect, so as they may, and ought, to turn all charges brought against them, over to Christ; all inditements from Page 88 God, or Satan, or conscience abused by Satan over to Christ their surety.*Who shall lay any thing, to the charge of Gods elect? (saith the Apostle) it is God that justifieth, who is he t•at condemneth? &c. So may he that is thus dead to the guilt of sinne, say, What sinne is it that can condemne me, that can b•ing in an in•ictment against me? it is Christ that died, it is Christ that died for me, and by his death, perfected this death for me, I am now com∣pleat in him; in this resp•ct, who is it, or wh•t is it then, that can lay any thing unto my cha•ge, that can seperate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus? Sin, my worst enemy cannot do it, for I am totally dead to the guilt of it, by vertue of my Union with Christ; Is Ch•ist be in y•u, the bo•y is dead, because of sinne perfectly •ead to the guilt of sinne.
Though Just•fication acquits a sinner from all sinne,* in Gods determination, yet is not his p•r••n formally granted, nor actually; put in ex••u•i•n un••ll sued out, and the tr•bute of ac•u•ll Repentance, for k•own sinne is •aid,* (except in some cases) viz. in case of the want of t•e use of 〈◊〉 as in children, and dis•••cted persons, in whom conscience cannot do its ••ffice, be••us• of debility in the under••anding: Thi• (with submission to a better ju•gement) I humbly conceive to be according to t•uth, and no•e it, to vindicate my s•l•, and cau•ion the Reader concerning that Antinomi•• Tenet, about Justification, so common in these daies.
Thus is a true believer perfectly dead to the guilt of sinne, by the death of Christ for his Page 89 sinne, But to the power, dominion, and being of sinne, no child of Adam is totally dead in this life, no not the best of the children of God, but dying daily; therefore (saith the Apostle,) I die daily, &c. If any man thinks himself freed from sinne, or perfectly dead to sinne in this sence, He deceives him∣self, and the truth is not in him, 1 Joh. 1.8.
For totally dead to sinne, in this sence, was never any sonne of man, in this life, but he that was the Sonne of God (to wit) Jesus Christ.
Totally dead to the power, and being of sinne is not he, that is totally dead to the guilt of sinne, untill this earthly house be quite pul∣led down, and death that last debt, and wages of sinne to the godly paid, then, and never till then, is he, in whom Christ lives, totally freed from the power and being of sinne.
By the mercy of God, death, which was to man the wages and punishment of sinne, is made unto all true believers, the end of sinne; the worker of death (to wit, sinne) doth perish, by its own workes sinne is slain, and abolished by death.
Totall death, to the power, and being of finne, is one great part of the privative gain, which death brings to all that are in Christ, to all that die in the Lord: death the devorcer of soul and body, brings perfect death to the power and being of sinne, the enemy and bur∣den of soul and body.
Perfectly dead to the power and being of sinne, is no man here, this death belongs to that other world; But truly dead to the pow∣er and reign of sinne, are all those here, in Page 90 whom Christ lives; and this is that death which this Text points at,*If Christ be in you, the body is dead, because of sinne, &c.
All in the state of nature, are dead in sinne; All in a state of grace, are dead to sinne, ac∣cording to the meaning of this Text, dead to sinne, in a Gospel sence.
Death to the power and reign of finne, is one part of the renovation of our natures, consisting in that which the Scripture calls mortification, by vertue of which, the love of sinne, and delight in sinne, which is indeed, the life of sinne, is destroyed; At this death the Apostle points, Rom. 6 2. How shall we that are dead to sinne, live any longer therein? As if he had said, How shall we that are dead to the guilt of sinne, take pleasure in the filth of sinne, or wallow in any sinne with delight? It is impossible; for death to the guilt of sin, alwayes produceth death to the power and do∣minion of sinne; If Christ be in you, the bo∣dy is dead, because of sinne. Is Christ be in you, as a Iustifier, he is in you, as a Sanctifier also, The body is dead, because of sinne.
*Christ and sinne, may dwell in the same subject at the same time; yea Christ may live, where sinne doth dwell; Christ liveth in me; sinne dwelleth in me,* saith the Apostle; but Christ and sinne cannot both live, and reign together, in the same subject at the same time. Caesar and Pompey might better have lived and reigned togeher, than Christ and sinne; where either of these lives, it reigns, and both cannot reign together; If Christ be in you, the body is dead, because of sinne.
This body (to wit) sinne, whilest alive Page 91 rules and reignes, as a Husband, as a Lord and Master, and is obeyed freely and willingly, (with the consent of the whole will,) so much that phrase of the Apostle,*To whom ye yeeld your selves servants to obey, doth imply. But when Christ once espouseth a soul unto him∣self, he divests this Lord of his power, He puts this Husband to death, and assumes all the rule and domination to himself: And the soul thus espoused, yeelds to obey him, as her so∣vereign Lord and sole Commander; We have no king but Caesar, said the Iews; So saith the soul dead to sinne. I have no King but Christ, I yeeld my self willingly to no other; There∣fore saith the Apostle, If Christ be in you, the body is dead, because of sinne, That is the desire, and bent of the soul, which is naturally to sin, and for sinne, is turned from sinne, and against sinne; so that the body of sinne cannot with∣out much reluctancy and opposition bear sway, where Christ dwells.
1. The body of sinne, whilest alive, makes a willing sinner, but when dead, a nilling sin∣ner; I do that, which I would not, saith the soul dead to sinne; Rom. 7.16.* The soul alive to sinne, in sinning, doth the evill which it would do; but the soul dead to sinne in sin∣ning, doth the evill which it would not do.
2. The soul alive to sinne, allows it self in sinne; in some sinne or other, every soul in whom this body is alive allows it self; But the soul dead to sinne, allows not it self in any known sinne; What I do, I allow not, saith a soul dead to sinne, Rom. 7.15. I do this, and I do that, which I should not, through humane frailty, and the violence of temptation, from Page 92 without and from within, or true necessity; but I allow not what I do, I do not resolve in cold bloud, that thus and thus I will do, but the quite contrary. The soul that is truly dead to sinne, allows not it self in any one known sinne.
The soul that is alive to sinne, is in league with finne, it makes leagues with sinne, as the Israelites did with the inhabitants of Canaan; there is no unregenerate person, but he is in league with some sinne or other, and though he lay some tribute upon his sinne, or upon himself for his sinne, yet he continues his league with sinne still, and intends not the ruine of sinne, nor the utter extirpation of sinne: But the soul that is dead to sinne, doth not make a league with any one sinne, but his design is to ruine sinne, all sinne; he will not covenant to sinne, as Iudas and the chief-Priests did, but covenant against sinne, as Iob did, Iob. 3 1.•. This is the second Cha∣racter of a foul dead to sinne.
*As Saul should have dealt with Amalek, so doth the soul dead to sinne, deal with sinne; it spa•es none, it warrs against the whole body of death, against every sinne.
3. The soul alive to sinne, in sinning, doth the evill which he loves; but the soul dead to sinne, in sinning, doth the evill which he hates; What I hate, that do I, saith a soul dead to sinne, Rom 7.15. The soul alive to sinne, though he refrain from sinne, yet he loves it still; But the soul dead to sinne, though he fall into sinne, and be many times over∣powred by sinne, yet he doth not love sinne, but hates it, so farre forth as regenerate.
Page 93Object. But conscience may here reply in some soul, and say; I cannot by this conclude that I am one dead to sinne, but rather, that I am one alive to sinne, for I find much inclination in my will to sinne, and much adhering in affections to sinne.
Answ. 1. If this alone were sufficient to give the denomination of a soul alive to sinne, then no soul living in a body of flesh, could conclude, that he were truly dead to sinne, for their is no soul inhabiting this earthly house, no not the best alive, but hath cause thus •o complain.
2. But secondly, Every soul, dead to sinne; doth bear the image of a double person, he beares the image of the first Adam, and the image of the second Adam: he is partly flesh, and partly spirit, and he is thus in every facul∣ty of his soul; there is flesh in every faculty of his soul, sinne dwelling in every faculty; this therefore doth not render the soul alive to sinne.
3. Then thirdly, Thou speakest in this, as one seeking after a perfect death, to the pow∣er and being of sinne in thy self; But the A∣postle, in this Text, points only at a true death to sinne; and truly dead to sinne, he may be, and is, to whom sinne is a burthen. So much for ••swet to this Objection.
4. In the fourth place, The body of sinne, i• truly dead, wastes and decayes; there is a decaying in this body, and a wasting away, as in the natural body, when once dead; therefore saith the Apostle, I die daily, there∣by implying, that where there is a true death to sinne, there is a true decaying of sinne.
Page 94Object. But conscience in some may here reply again, and say, I cannot hence conclude, that I am one truly dead to sinne; but rather see cause to conclude on the contrary, for I do not find that corruption doth decay and wast away in me, but rather that it grows stronger and stronger.
Answ. Strong apprehensions of corruption, are no argument of the strength of corruption, at least, if they be accompanied with loathing of them, and warring against them, in the strength of Christ; but rather symptomes of a new Life; This therefore should not cause any to conclude, That there is no death to sinne in him, but rather excite him to cleave closer to Christ, who hath begun this death in him, and will at the length perfect it.
5. In the fifth place, The soul that is truly dead to sinne, is universally dead to sinne; he is dead to every sinne, and he is dead to sin in every faculty of his soul, though but in part, yet in every part of soul and body; This, and no less then this, will serve to demonstrate a man truly dead to sinne, in a Gospel-sence.
6. Finally, The soul that is truly dead to sinne, is alive to righteousness; the soul that is dead in sinne▪ is alive to sinne, and the soul that is dead to sinne, is alive to righteousness; If Christ be in you, the body is dead, because of sinne, But the Spirit is Life, because of righte∣ousness.
This is the next thing to be spoken of, and it is the second Character, laid down by the Apostle, to demonstrate Christ resident in us, The Spirit is Life, because of righteousness.
By Spirit in this Text, is meant (as I con∣ceive) Page 95 the regenerate part of man, and no∣thing else (to wit) that which is born of the-Spirit: in this sence, I take the word Spirit here, because it is set in opposition to the fore∣mentioned body; which body (as is evident) is the unregenerate part, or old man; So this word Spirit is used by the Apostle unto the Galathians, The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; The regenerate part lusteth against the unregenerate; So Christ useth the word Spirit, Joh. 3.6. That which is born of the Spirit, is Spirit, but the Spirit is Life, because of righteousness: It is, as if the Apostle had said, If Christ be in you, it will appear by this, the Spirit is Life, because of righteousness. that is, the regenerate man is alive because of righteousness; he is alive because of a double righteousness, or because of righteousnes in a double sence.
1. He is alive, because of the righteousness of Justification, And, 2. Because of the righte∣ousness of Sanctification.
That man is truly and perfectly alive, be∣cause of the righteousness of Justification, which hath Christs righteousness imputed unto him for righteousness.
A man thus alive to righteousness, lives either the life of hope, the life of faith, or the life of sence; and this life Satan doth labour much to deprive him of.
Where the soul is thus alive, because of the righteousness of Justification, that soul is alive indeed, because of the righteousness of San∣ctification; and this is that life which this Text points at, If Christ be in you, &c. the Spirit is Life, because of righteousness; If Christ be in Page 96 you as a justifier, He is in you as a sanctifier; If Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sinne, but the Spirit is Life, because of Righte∣ousness.
The truth of this assertion, doth further ap∣peare thus; Whom he justisieth, them he also glorifieth, saith the Text, Rom. 8.30. But without holinesse no man shall see the Lord, there∣fore it follows by necessary consequence, That he that is justified hath this qualification in him, to wit, sanctification, otherwise he could not see the Lord or be glorified.
To whom Christ is made righteousness, he is made sanctification also, 1 Cor. 1.30. This may suffice for the confirmation of this Truth.
That man is alive, because of the righteous∣ness of sanctification, which hath the righte∣ousnesse of the quickning spirit imparted unto him, for the inlivening and regulating of his whole man.
A Christian, in this world, is alive, because of the righteousnesse of sanctification truly, but imperfectly, his spirit is alive, because of righteousnesse, that is, his understanding, will, and affections, &c. all the members of his body, his whole nature, so farre forth as re∣generate, is alive, because of the righteous∣nesse of sanctification (I say) so farre forth alive, (that is) so farre forth, he approves of righteousnesse, imbraceth righteousnesse, and lives in the practise of righteousnesse, out of Love to the God of righteoufnesse.
This is evident in the Apostle Paul, as soon as Christ had taken up his dwelling in Paul, and he was once alive to righteousnesse, his whole man so farre forth as regenerate, was Page 79 turned about to another point, he had another judgment of the things of God than he had be∣fore and accordingly imbraced, what he before refused; his heart was warmed with a love to the will and wayes of God, and desire to walk therein; Lord, What wilt thou have me to do? (saith he) command what thou wilt, I am ready prest to obey thy will. And his great care was, to have alwayes a conscience void of offence to∣wards God, and towards man, as himself affirms, Act. 24.16. And thus it is with every man a∣live to righteousnesse, he hath the same frame of spirit that Paul had, the same grace that he had, as a man alive to righteousnesse, though not in the same measure.
Every man in whom Christ lives, is alive be∣cause of righteousnesse,* but every one is not a∣like alive, every one in which Christ lives, is truly alive, because of righteousnesse, but every one is not strongly alive to righteousnesse, some are more vigorously alive then others.
As Christ is more or lesse in a man, so is he more or less alive to righteousnesse.
A man truly alive to righteousnesse, hath these appearances; 1. He is of all other men the most sensible of his own unrighteousnesse, he sees more unrighteousnesse, then righteous∣nesse in his best actions, more flesh then spirit in himself, as appears in Paul, Rom. 7.
2. The body of sinne, which is dead, stinks in the nostrils of him which is truly alive to righ∣teousnesse, as the dead Corpse of a man doth in the nostrils of him that is alive, in a natural sense.
3. Lastly, a man truly alive to righteousnesse, is a new Creature, of whom I shall speak in the next place.
Page 98Wouldest thou then know whether Christ be resident in thee, yea or nay; Consider seri∣ously what the holy Ghost doth in this Text affirm; If Christ be in you▪ the body is dead, because of sie• but the spirit is life, because of righteous∣ness•; and go through what hath been here said, on this •ubject, and if it hereby appear, that thou are one truly dead to sin, and alive to righteousnesse, conclu•e thou mayest safely, That the Lord is thy portion, that Christ is resi∣dent in •ny soul, who having once taken posses∣sion there, will not be •uted; Christ in thee, the hope of glory, will assuredly bring the soul and b•dy, to live with him in glory; If we be dead with him, we shall also live with him, saith the Text▪ 2 Tim 2.11 therefore i• we be dead with Christ, and risen again with him, we shall as∣suredly live together with him in glory.
A New Creature.
2 Cor. 5.17.
If any man be in Christ, he is a New Creature.
EVery one that is out of Christ, is ou• of the root of life, out of the stock of grace, out of the way, the only true way unto eternal happiness, and thus are all the posterity of Adam by nature.
It mainly concerns every one therefore, to consider seriously, what he bottoms upon, the old Adam or the new, one of these two all flesh standeth on: How we shall come to the know∣ledg of this, this Text tels us, If any man be in Christ, he is a new Creature.
These words, as they are in themselves an intire sentence, contain in them a true and lively description of a man in Christ; in them the Apostle lays down posit•vely, one great Character of a soul resident in Christ, He is a new Creature.
This he layes down indefinitely [if any man, &c.] as if he had said, If any man, of what Nation, station, quality, rank or condition Page 100 soever [be in Christ] it will appear thus, He is a new Creature.
Quest. But what is it to be in Christ?
Answ. To be in Christ, according to the meaning of this Text, is to be truly and really united unto Christ, or ingrafted into Christ, as a sience is into the stock, incorporate into it, and made truly one with it, and every one that is thus in Christ, is a new Crea∣ture.
Quest. But what is that (may some say) what is a new Creature?
Answ. A •ew Creature, according to his formality, is a Creature wholly new (I say) a Creature wholly new, so saith the Apo∣stle in this Text, Old things are past away, all things are become new.
*By a Creature wholly new, I do not mean a Creature void of humane frail•y, nor a Crea∣ture totally freed from the being or power of corrupt Nature, not a Creature exempt from the exercise of temptations, but a Creature renewed in every part, though but in part, and freed from the evil of temptations.
*His appearances are many, for a new Crea∣ture, according to the meaning of this Text, is one that is born again, born of the Spirit, as Christ speaks; He is one in whom Christ is formed, one in whom Christ lives; He is one that is sanctifi•d throughou•, in soul and body, and spirit of his mind as the 〈…〉 one holy〈…〉 and 〈…〉 He is 〈…〉from the 〈…〉 old thing•〈…〉 new, as Page 101 this Text speaketh; He is one whose heart and spirit, principles and practises are all new and holy; He is one, who having received a new life from Christ, desires and endeavours to live, as a new Creature unto Christ only: one that in every condition, labours to live for the honour of Christ, and so as he may truly say, To me to live is Christ; to me, thus and thus to live, is for the honour of Christ: he is one in whom the name of Christ is glorified, and the Gospel held forth: one, who in all things whatsoever he doth, in word or deed, labours to do all in the name of the Lord Iesus Christ, to the glory of God by him: one, who desires and endeavours to have his whole conversation, such as becometh the Gospel of Christ, and to have every thought brought in subjection to the Obedience of Christ. He is one, who though he have fleshly lusts in him, doth not make pro∣vision to fulfill them, he doth not habitually design, and take thought, how to fulfill them, but how to mortifie them: he is one,* who though he walk in the flesh, doth not warre after the flesh, but against the flesh; He makes not his liberty an occasion to the flesh: He is one, who though he cannot live without sinne, doth not al∣low himself in any known sinne, but hates every false way, and groans under the remainder of the old man in him, as his greatest burden; He is one, that carries a holy jelousie over h•mself, and all his wayes, and thence labours to keep a spi∣rituall watch within, and without; He is one, that worships God in the Spirit, and puts no con∣fidence in the flesh: one that servs God in new¦ness of Spirit, not in the oldness of the letter; one that labours to be filled with the Spirit: He is Page 102 one, whose conversation is in Heaven, whilst he is on Earth; one that delights in the Law of God after his inward man, he delights to do the will of God. He is one of another Spirit, then the world hath; one that walks by another rule then the world doth, to wit, the Word of God. He is a growing Crea•ure, he grows in grace; He forgets what is behind, and reacheth forth to that which is before: He aims at perfection, and presseth towards this neark. He is one, that lives in Christ, as a branch in the Vine and brings forth fruit in him: He is one in whose Nostrils the whole body of death, and every part and member of it stinks: one that labours to abstain from all appearance of evill,* and to be holy and blameless before God, out of Love to God: He is one that minds the things of the Spirit, is led by the Spirit, and walks after the Spirit: He is a world-contemning, and a world-overcoming Creature: He is one that labours to deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Christ,* as Caleba did (to wit) fully▪ and as David did, of whom God saies, bHe followed me with all his heart, to do that only which was right in mine eyes; And as Ruth,cfollowed Naomi, as Elisha followed dElijah, and Asaebele followed Abner, he would not leave Abner, though he died by his hand. A new Creature is one, that counts himself a stran∣ger and a pilgrim in this world, and lives like a stranger a and pilgrim in this world: one, whose Conversation here, declares that he minds, de∣sires, and seeks after a better Country, then this world affords (to wit) an Heavenly. He is one, that makes it his chiefest work to glo∣rifie God, and save his soul: one to whom the Page 103Talent of time is very precious: one, that la∣bours to use every Talent, wherewith he is in•rusted, according to the will of his Lord, and for the honour and glory of his Lord: one that labours so to walk before God here, that whether present or absent, he may be accepted of him: one that labours to Honour God by using lawfull things lawfully, as well as by shunning things unlawfull in themselves: He is one that labours so to keep his account here, that he may give it up with joy, when the day of account comes: He is one, that doth not commit sinne: one that seeks not his own, but Christs, and his Brothers good: one whose affections are set on things above, more then on the things below. He is one, to whom the Preaching of the Cross of Christ, to wit, the Gospel, is the wisdom of God, and the Power of God: one, who being born again, as a new born Babe, desires the sin∣cere and nourishing milk of the word, that he may grow thereby: one that hears the voice of Christ, speaking in his word, by his Ministers, knows it, and obeys it, and declines the voice of a stranger: He is one, to whom the whole Word and Will of God is sweet, every bitter thing in it sweet: He accounts no truth gall and wormwood, as some phrase it: He is one, to whom all Gospel-Ordinances are sweet and delectable: He is one that deserts not old truth to follow new light, but makes it his sunne to discover the verity of it: He is one, that receiveth the Ambassadors of Christ, (to wit) the lawful and faithful Ministers of the Gospel, as Christ himself, and esteems them very highly in love, for their work sake: He is one that delights in the Law of God after his inward man: Page 104 one that labours to live by saith, in every con∣dition, prosperity and adversity: one to whom the yoke of Christ is easie, and his burden light: one to whom none of Christs Commandements are grievous; He is one that continu•th in the word of Christ, in the love of it, in the belief of it, in the obedience of it; He is one faithfull unto the death; He is one, which how high soe∣ver he be in place, in parts, in gifts or grace, is low in his own eyes, little in his own fight, his heart is lowly still; hence it comes to pass, that when he hath done his best to follow the rule of righteousness, he abh•rs himself for his unrigh∣teousness, and accounts himself a wretched man: Finally, he is one that is joyned to the Lord Ie∣sus Christ, and one spirit with him.
All this, and much more then this, the Scriptures affirm to be in a new Creature, as all that are acquainted wit• the holy Scriptures know: Who so desires to be better informed, touching a new Creature, may consult learn∣ed Dr Preston on a new Creature; but a prefect enumeration of all the qualifications of a new Creature, is no where to be found, but in the holy Scriptures, which indeed do picture him to the life, and to them I refer the Reader, for full satisfaction herein: and for the benefit of those which are unacquainted with the Scrip∣tures, or want time, or ability, to collect a cleare and sound evidence of a new Creature from the Scriptures, I will reduce this long description of a new Creature to seven particu∣lars, and speak of them particularly, what God hath been pleased to impart unto me, that if ever God in his providence should any wayes bring this Manuscript to publique Page 105 view, it may be helpful to some poor souls this way.
First, A new Creature is one,* in whom Iesus Christ, the new man is formed, (to wit) truly formed; the truth of this is evident, by the language of the Apostle, Gal. 4.19. My little Children (saith he) of whom I travell in birth again, untill Christ he formed in you, &c. which words do clearly and strongly prove, That when Christ is formed in the Creature, the Creature is then new and not before, it is then a new Creature, and not till then, it is then born again, born of God, and new indeed. Regeneration may well be called a forming of Christ in us, for it formes Christ in the under∣standing, in the will, in the affections, in the conscience, in all the faculties of the soul, in all the parts and members of the body, in the whole man, in the whole life and conver∣sation.
Here note two or three things; First, That God forms Christ in the whole man, where he forms him truly; God forms Christ in the whole man, by conforming the whole man to Christ.
2. When every faculty of the soul, is in its scope and bent for Christ, then is Christ formed in the soul, when every facultie of the soul and member of the body is bent for Christ, then is Christ formed in the whole man.
3. When a mans will, desire, aim and in∣deavour, is to square his whole life by the Word of God, as his rule, then is Christ form∣ed in his Conversation, then is he a new Crea∣ture in Gods account, who measures man more by his will and affection, then his action, as Page 106 appears by 2 Cor. 8.12. compared with Prov. 23.26.
Wouldest thou then know, whether thou art a new Creature, yea, or nay; consider then, whether Christ be formed in thee (•o wit) truly formed, yea or nay; ask thy soul the question that Saul asked the wi•ch? What form is he of (said he) What sawest •hou? so do thou ask thy soul,* What form art thou of, O my soul? Whose image dost thou beare, Christ's or Satans? If Christ's, truly though weakly, this argues thy state good, thy Creation •tw, this demonstrates thee a Creature new, a new Creature.
Then again, say as he, What seest thou? What seest thou O my soul in thy self? What light? what darknesse? if nothing but dark∣nesse? what darknesse is it? affected dark∣nesse or afflicting darknesse? if afflicting dark∣nesse, this speaks the Creature new.
*If thou descriest light in thy understanding, Consider then, how it operates, how it regu∣lates, how it transforms.
1. Consider, how that light which thou hast, be it more or lesse, doth operate, whe∣ther it puffeth up or casteth down thy soul,* whe∣ther it lifteth up thy soul, in praise or in pride, whether it give glory to God or self; renew∣ing light is humbling. God glorifying; the more Iob saw of God, the more he abhorred himself;* the more a new Creature knows God and himself, the more he loaths himself, and admires his God, and desires to advance him.
Consider, what affection sutable to its noti∣on that light which thou hast produceth in Page 107 thee; what love to God, and the things of God; what love to man for God; what ha∣tred of sinne, what joy in the Lord, what de∣sire to injoy the Lord in all, and above all things; what comfortable hope of increase of grace and glory; what trust in God, and de∣sire to do for God, and be with God, it gene∣rates in thee.
Consider, what power of godlinesse thy light produceth in thee, what self-discovery, what self-denyall it hath begotten in thee, espe∣cially touching thy predominate sinne; what contempt of the world in the good and evill of it, what conscience of sinne, of duty, and the manner of it, what conjunction of duties of the second Table with the duties of the first Table; what contentation with thy state, what watchfulnesse over thy heart, and all the out∣goings of it; what willingnesse to take Christ with the Cross; what desire and indeavour to help others; what hunger and thirst after all those means, which God hath appointed for the increase of it, and all grace in us; what fruitfullness in righteousness, &c.* Saving illu∣mination produceth fruitfulnesse.
Secondly,* Consider how that light which thou hast, doth regulate and reform thee, con∣sider how it regulates thy judgment, thy will and affections; how it reforms thy life and all thy actions, and conforms them to the Word and Will of Christ: Consider, what death to sinne, what life to righteousnesse it produ∣ceth in thee, what through reformation it hath begotten in thee; renewing light is reforming light; universally reforming, inwardly re∣forming, and perseveringly reforming.
Page 108*Thirdly, Consider how that light which thou hast, transforms thee. Consider, what transformation it makes in thee. Renewing light is transforming light; Light from the sanctifying Spirit of Christ, transforms into the Image of Christ; Christ truly formed in the understanding speaks the man transform∣ed, by the renewing of his mind, as is evident by the Language of the Apostle, Rom. 12.2. Be you transformed by the renewing of your mind, &c. Consider, how that light which thou hast, elevateth and raiseth thy soul from Earth to Heaven; and if thou findest that the light that is in thy understanding do thus operate, thus regulate, and thus transform, truly though weakly, be it more or lesse, know, it lively demonstrates Christ formed in thy un∣derstanding, thy light renewing light, and thee a Creature new.
Of Christ formed in the other faculties of the soul, (to wit) Will and Affection, and in life and conversation, more shall be spoken in due place: For the present,* note this.
As Christ the new Man, is more or lesse formed in the Creature, so the Creature is more or lesse new.
When Christ shall be perfectly formed in the Crea•ure, then, and never till then, the Creature shall be perfectly new, according to degrees.
Thus far of the first appearance of a new Creature, he is one in whose understanding Christ is formed:
2. The second appearance of a new Crea∣ture, which I mean to insist on, is this: He is one that hath a new heart, this conclusion I deduct from the Language of the Lord, Ezek.Page 109 36.26. where the Lord speaking of making the Creature new, begins at the heart:*A new heart will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you, saith the Lord, &c.
Satan doth his best works without, but God and Nature do their first works within.
Nature begins its work within,* as Philoso∣phers and Anatomists conceive; In natural ge∣neration, the heart, lives, and brain, parts which have in them, the begining of motion, are the first in being, though not the first in ap∣pearing, nor the first perfected, say they.
So in spiritual generation (to wit,) regenera∣tion, where it is true and reall, the work is be∣gun within, in the heart and spirit, that is made new first, although perfect•d last, words and actions, which are but the effects of these causes, appear before them, and give demon∣stration of them, but these, as the cause, must needs preceed the effect.
A man by a common work of the Spirit of God on him,* may be made another man then formerly he was, and yet not be a new Crea∣ture; He may have another heart then for∣merly he had, and yet not have a new heart; He may be qualified with moral grace in a high degree, and inabled to do much for God, and yet not be a new Creature, as appears in Saul and Iudas; when God brought Saul to the Kingdom of Israel, according to Samuels pro∣p•esie, The Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and •e became another man, and the Text saies, God gave him another heart, 1 Sam. 10. ver. 6, 9. A he•rt other wayes qualified then for∣merly. And Saul was valiant and prosperous in his enterprises against the Philistins, and gifted Page 110 for ruling, yet Saul never was a new Creature, he never had a new heart: Iudas when called to the Apostleship by Christ, was by the Spi∣rit of Chrift gifted for the work whereunto Christ called him, he was made another man then he was before, yet was he not made a new Creature, he never had a new heart; He was gifted for the Church, but not for his own sal∣vation.
There is a vast difference, between being made another man,* and being made a new man, as these instances declare; Neither Saul nor Iudas ever were new Creatures, nor ever had a new heart, nor any renewing grace wrought by the Spirit of God in them.
A new heart is proper and peculiar to a new Creature, fit, and but fit, to give the appearance of a new Creature.
The Creature therefore is to be accounted new, only as it can derive newnes from within, newnes from the heart and spirit; all without may be new, all the apparel new, and yet the person old that weares it; so all without may be new in appearance, profession, words and actions, all new, and yet the Creature old still; the newness of the Creature consists chiefly in the renovation of the inward man; I say (chief∣ly) not only.
A new Creature is one all glorious within, one that hath the root of the matter within him, as Iob speaks (to wit) integrity in his inward parts, a new heart and spirit.
He therefore that will judg aright of his own spiritual estate,* must needs begin where God begins, at the heart and spirit, he must confi∣der, whether he have a new heart or not.
Page 111Quest. But you will say, What is a new heart? And, how may I discern whether I have a new heart, yea, or nay?
Ans. A new heart,* considered according to its formality, is a heart wherein Christ is form∣ed, a heart indued with renewing grace, and acted by it, a heart made one with the Lord, a heart wherein Christ is resident and president; And it may be discerned by divers appea∣rances.
Take this discription of a new heart, in which expression you like best, it comes all to one, it is not my work, nor purpose to speak of the terms of this description, therefore I passe from it, to the appearances of a new heart.
1. A new heart is a heart washed from wick∣ednesse, this is intimated by the Language of the Lord to Ierusalem, Jer. 4▪ 14. O Ierusalem wash thy heart from wickednesse, that thou maist be saved, &c.
Quest. But you will say, How shall I know, whether my heart be washed from wickedness, or not?
Ans. I will mention only one Character of a heart washed from wickednesse, which is this; In a heart washed from wickedness, vain thoughts do not lodg as welcome guests, and if not vain thoughts, then much lesse wicked thoughts: this is plainly hinted in this Text, wash thy heart from wickedness, that thou maist be saved; how long shall vain thoughts lodg within thee, it is as if the Lord had said? Thy willing lodging of vain thoughts within thee, plainly demonstrates thy heart is not washed from wickednesse, for were thy heart washed from wickednesse, vain thoughts would not, Page 112 nay they could not lodg within thee, as welcom guests.
Vain thoughts may, and oftentimes do, a∣rise in the best and most holy man or woman alive,* but they do not lodg with such a person as welcome guests.
Object. But may some say, I cannot from this conclude, that my heart is washed from wick∣edness, but rather that it is not washed from wick∣edness, for I find that vain thoughts do not only arise in me, but lodg with me, abide with me long, and many times with delight, I do not only think vain thoughts, but many times bid them wel∣come.
Ans. This know, that every one whose heart is washed from wickednesse, beares the Image of a double person; he beares the I∣mage of a person washed, and of a person unwashed, of the old man, and of the new; and so farre forth as he is washed and clensed, he doth decline and hate vain thoughts, but so farre forth as unwashed and unregenerate, they are welcome and pleasing to him; The heart that is washed from wickednesse is not perfectly but imperctfely washed: hence it comes to pass, that there is in it both a detesting of, and a delighting in (the same thing,) at the same time; vain thoughts lodg not with the regenerate part of the man, as welcome guests, whatever they may do with the unrege∣nerate part.
Vain thoughts, as Satans souldiers, may quarter upon a man,* whose heart is washed from wickednesse, will he, nill he, but they are not welcome guests, but wearysome guests to him, so farre forth as washed.
Page 113Whosoever therefore can find, that he doth truly hate and decline vain thoughts, ought not hence to conclude, that his heart is not washed from wickednesse, nor that he hath not a new heart, but rather to conclude with the Apostle, Rom. 7.17. It is no more I that do it, but sinne that dwelleth in me; it is no more I, as washed and sanctified, that welcome these guests, but it is sin that dwelleth in me that doth it.
2. Secondly, Another appearance of a new heart is, purity: a new heart is a pure and sim∣ple heart: That which is in Ezekiel called, a new heart, is by Christ called, a pure heart, Mat. 5.8. and a blessed heart; which plainly declares, that a new heart is a pure heart.
A pure heart is of all other the most sensible of its impurity, it still finds more impurity, then purity in its self, and therefore goes to Christ for more cleansing stills, to the Blood of Christ, to the Spirit of Christ, to the Ordi∣nances of Christ, with the desire and language of David, Create in me a cleane heart, O Lord, and puts that promise in suit, Ezek. 36.25.
A pure heart will not mix with any impure thing, but is still purging it out, it is like a pure fountain, still purging it self, it makes a man very industrious tokeep a pure conscience. To keep himself pure from the pollutionsthat are in the world through lust, pure in thought, in word▪ and in deed: a pure heart desires to have all pure within and without.
A pure heart loves the pure word of God, for the purity of it, not for the novelty of it; Thy Word is very pure, therefore •h•Page 114 Servant loveth it, saith a pure heart, Psal. 119.140.
A pure heart makes the pure Word of God its rule to walk by in all things, and labours to order its conversation by this, both towards God and towards Man in all things.
The purity of the heart in the state of grace, consists in the simplicity and sincerity of holi∣nesse,* not in the perfection of it; its purity is E∣vangelical.
The purity of sincere holinesse, is fit, and but fit to give the appearance of a new heart.
3. A new heart is an upright heart: Upright∣nesse is another expression, whereby a new heart is deciphred in Scripture; in divers places, when the heart is made new, it is made upright; uprightnesse therefore is fit, and but fit to give the appearance of a new heart; upright∣nesse of heart being that which makes the great difference between a true Child of God and an Hypocrite.
*An upright heart, by the grace of regenera∣tion,* is not a heart totally void of Hypocrisie, but a heart indued with sincerity, which is con∣trary to, and warreth against Hypocrisie, such a heart Christ cals, an honest and good heart, Luk. 8.15.
The appearances of uprightnesse of heart are very many,* but for brevity sake, I will mention only some few, which an upright heart cannot well be without.
An upright heart,* is a heart set against all sinne; original, as well as actual; secret, as well as open sinne, applauded, as well as down cr•ed sins: Sinne and uprightnesse, by the Page 115 grace of regeneration, are direct Antipodes, flat contraries, and the heart fo farre forth as upright, is set against all sinne, but most a∣gainst that sinne, which is more its own then o∣ther (to wit) its predominate sin, as the lan∣guage of an upright man declares, Psal. 119. ver. 101. & 104. compared with 2 Sam. 22.24.
An upright heart▪* is a heart careful of all duty, and desirous to correspond all circum∣stances in duty; Integrity and uprightnesse, shews it self by yielding universal Obedience to all Gods revealed Will, 1 King 9 4. It makes a man studious and careful to approve himself upright towards God, and towards man in all things, Act. 24.16. It makes a man very desirous to know, what God would have done, and how he would have it done: The upright heart saith as Paul, Lord, What wilt thou have me to do? And with Manoah, intreats the Lord to shew him, how he would have him to do it, Let the Angel come again and teach us, what we shall do unto the child that shall be born, said Manoah to the Lord, when his wife told him, what tidings the Angel of the Lord had brought her a of sonne; and not only fo, but inquires farther, how he should do it, How shall we order the C•ild, and how shall we do un∣to him? said he, Iudg. 13. ver. 8, 12. And it is the property of an upright heart, to de∣sire to know Gods Will, and to do Gods Will, as he would have it done,* and so as it may be accepted of him; I will worship the Lord in the beauty of holinesse, saith an upright heart, I will seek the Lord, and I will do it ear∣ly, in the morning will I direct my prayer unto Page 116 thee, and will observe what becomes of it, saith an upright man.
An upright heart, is an humble heart, the heart that is lifted up is not upright; so much pride, so much Hypocrisie there is in the heart; so much integrity and uprightnesse, so much humility is there in the heart: Christ formed in the heart, and the heart, must needs re∣semble him in humility, for he was meek and lowly in heart; an upright heart is a levelled heart.
*An upright heart, is a heart in love with Christ, The upright love thee, saith the Spouse to Christ, Cant. 1.4. An upright heart, is a heart espoused to Christ and faithfull to him; a heart intire to Christ, whether present or ab∣sent, a heart which desires that all its approach∣es to Christ might be in marriage-dresse, Psal. 45.14.
*An upright heart, earnestly and cordially desires that all were like it self, sincere and up∣right, witnesse the language of an upright man, Act. 26.29. and wishes well to all that are such.
An upright heart, delights to walk by an upright rule and in an upright way, I delight to do thy Will, O God, saith an upright heart, Psal. 40.8. I will behave my self wisely in a perfect way, I will walk within my house with a perfect heart, Psal. 101.2.
An upright heart begins the work of Refor∣mation at home, as the Language of Christ, Mat. 7.5. intimates. Thou Hypocrite first cast out the beam out of thine own Eye, &c. There∣by intimating, That it is the nature and pro∣perty of sincerity and uprightnesse to begin at Page 117 home, to labour for self-reformation in the first place, and then reformation of all under its charge, Psal. 101.78. Integrity and up∣rightnesse is no patron of tolleration, it cannot tollerate sinne, where it hath power to suppress it or restrain it.
An upright heart delights in uprightnesse in whomsoever it finds it,* more then in any o∣ther qualification whatsoever, it knows that all parts put together without this, will not make a good whole, and therefore esteems up∣rightnesse, more then any other qualification whatsoever, Psal. 101.6.
An upright heart, is a faithfull heart, it is so called, Neh. 9.8. where it is said of Abraham, who had an upright heart, that God found his heart faithfull before him: an upright heart is a heart faithfull to God, and faithfull to man; it is faithfull to God absolutely, and first, it is faith∣full to man, relatively and conditionally, with reference to God and the conditions between it and others.
An upright heart is not satisfied with a bare forme of Godlinesse, but labours for the power of Godlinesse; it is not satisfied without works, but labours to have all glorious within; it labours to do all duties after a spiritual manner, and so as they may be accepted of God, and it labours conscionably to practise what it doth profess and teach others, do and teach.
An upright heart is a heart stedfast with God, stedfast in his Covenant, as it is easie to be ga∣thered, from that which is spoken of the Isra∣elites, Psal. 78.37. Their heart was not right with God, that is, their hearts were not sin∣cere and upright: but how doth that appeare? Page 118 why the next words tell us, They were not sted∣fast in his Covenant; had their hearts been sin∣cere and upright, they had been stedfast in his Covenant they would wilfully have broken it, and cast it behind their backs.
An upright heart longs and desires still to be more upright, it groanes under the guile that it finds remaining in it self, and warrs against it, and longs to be delivered from it.
An upright heart is a heart perpendicularly, directly and chiefly for God, in all its aimes and ends; it exalts God in all things, and a∣bove all things, because he only is to be exalt∣ed: Uprightnesse exceedingly desires, and indeavours to improve every price in its hand to the glory of God the giver, Ioh. 7.18.
*An upright heart is not satisfied with its own tryal, but desires God should try it, and goes to God to do it; Thus did upright David, Psa. 26.2. & 139.23▪24. And upright Iob. Let me be weighed in an even Balance, saith he, Iob 31.6.
An upright heart can comfor•ably appeal to God in its worst condition, except in some cases (viz.) in case of ignorance of its own integrity, or in case of some guilt charged up∣on it by God, conscience, or Satan, or in case of some Temptation, wherein Satan by his sophistery mis-represents him to himself, and fantacy joyning with Satan, gives a false Idea and representation of things to the understand∣ing, whereby it comes to passe, that consci∣ence doth accuse, when it should excuse; in such cases, an upright heart cannot, nor dares not to own its own integrity, nor appeal Page 119 to God, but if it be not hindered by the inter∣position of some one of these, or the like, it can comfortably appeal to God in its worst condi∣tion, as is evident by divers examples, as in Hezekiah, 2 King. 20.3. and in Iob,* Job 23. ver. 10, 11, 12 Chap. 16.17. and in Ieremi∣ah, Jer. 12.3. David, 1 Chro. 29.17. Paul,* 1 Thes. 2.10.
An upright heart is a soyl, wherein the im∣mortall seed of the word takes kindly rooting, springs up, and brings forth fruit, in some mea∣sure, more or lesse, as Christ affirms in that Parable, Mark 4.8.
Integrity or uprightnesse is a growing and spreading plant, it is a plant which how small soever it be at its beginning, if once planted, grows greater and greater, it is alwayes grea∣ter at last, then at the first; This Bildad hinted to Iob, Job 8.7. and this Christ plainly af∣firms in the Parable of the mustard seed, Mat 13.31, 32. Uprightnesse is a plant that will thrive, though in a barren soyl.
Finally, Integrity or uprightnesse is an a∣biding plant;* It is a plant that will live under a torrid or a friged Zone, a plant that will bide the hottest Summer and the coldest Winter; my meaning is, it will hold out in the hottest persecution, and in the greatest defection; An upright heart abides in the truth,*and the truth abids in it: The upright do hold on his way, Job 17.9. An Hypocrite may professe the truth,* and go farre in the profession of it for a time, but he will not alwayes abide in it,* sooner or lat∣er he will fall off quite, as is evident by those Texts quoted in the Margin;* but an upright heart will hold on its way, & hold out upright in Page 120 crooked times, it will hold fast its integrity whatever it part with else, as God and an up∣right man affirms, Iob 2.3. and 27.5, 6.
*As an Hypocrite will not abide in the truth, no more will the truth abide in him: Truth may be in an Hypocrite for a time, but it will not abide in him; God doth sooner or later take it quite from him; but truth in an upright heart, it abideth there, so saith the Apostle, The annointing which ye have received of God abideth in you, 1 Joh. 2.27. Truth in an upright heart is in its proper element, and therefore a∣bideth there.
These appearances of an upright heart, which I have collected from the bare Word, I thought not amisse here to insert, and for brevity sake, I will multiply no more, but proceed to the fourth appearance of a new heart.
4. A new heart is a self loathing heart, as appears by Ezek. 36.26. compared with ver. 31. A new heart will I give you, saith the Lord, and what follows? Then shall ye remem∣ber your own evill wayes, and your doings that were not good, and shall loath your selves in your own sight, &c. Thence it is evident, that a new heart is a self-loathing heart, it loaths it self for all its iniquities, and for all its abominati∣ons, for all its guilt of sinne, and for all the filth of sinne that it sees in its self, for its inward corruptions as well as its outward transgres∣sions.
5. A new heart is an obedient heart, a heart made pliable to the Will of God, as appears by the fore-cited place, Ezek. 36. A new heart will I give you, saith the Lord, v. 26. And Page 121 cause you to walk in my Statutes, and keep my judgments, and do them, ver. 27. Hence it is evident, That a new heart is a heart pliable to all the revealed Will of God, a heart on which the Word of God, and the Works ofGod make impression, and it is therefore called a heart of flesh, Ibid v. 26.
6. A new heart is a heart new principled; it hath in it principles above nature, above mo∣rality (to wit) Divine principles, princi∣ples of grace, by which the whole new man is acted.
7. Another appearance of a new heart, is this, A new heart is alwayes accompanied with a new spirit, A new heart will I give you,*and a new spirit will I put within you, saith the Lord, Ezek. 36.26. A new heart and a new spirit are here coupled in infusion by the Lord, which shews, they are twins born together, they alwayes go together, live everlastingly toge∣ther; this David pointed at, Psal. 51.10. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me, &c. David knew that where God gave a new heart, he gave a new frame of spirit also, and therefore he puts both into his bill, when he put this promise in suit; When God makes the heart new, he makes the spirit new also, he frames it of another fashion, points it towards another course, raiseth it from Earth to Heaven, meekeneth it, and makes it more easie to be intreated.
8. The principles then being new and the spi∣rit new, where the heart is made new, it must needs follow in the next place, by necessa∣ry consequence, That the life and conversati∣on is new also, for these being made new,Page 122 cannot but produce newnesse of life; therefore I conclude this thus, A new heart alwayes produc∣eth a new life; if the heart be new, the life will be new also; Christ if truely formed in the Creature, is formed in every part of the Crea∣ture, in the whole man, in the whole life and conversation of the man, from his converti∣on, and new birth; This is the last, but not the least demonstrator of a new heart, of a new Creature, and such, as without which, no man can ever safely conclude, that his heart is new or his Creation new; He hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the World, that we should be holy and blamelesse before him in love, Eph. 1.4. This therefore is vigor fit, and but fit to give the appearance of a new heart, of a new Creature. Thus much of the second appearance of a new Creature, he is one that hath a new heart.
*3. In the third place, A new Creature is one that lives in Christ, the new ftock, as a branch in the vine; And brings forth fruit in him.
That a new Creature is one that lives in Christ the new stock, is evident by the Lan∣guage of the Apostle in this Text, If any man be in Christ, he is a new Creature; hence it is evident, that he is in Christ, or else he is not a new Creature, first in Christ and then a new Creature; as Dr Preston doth well observe. A new Creature is one that hath his abiding in Christ, one that lives in Christ, as his stock; If you ask him the question, that the two Disciples asked Christ, Master, where dwellest thou? He may say, in Christ.
That a new Creature is one that lives in Page 123 Christ, and hath his abiding in him, as his stock, is evident by the language of Christ, Ioh. 15.6. If any man abide not in me, he is cast forth, as a branch withered &c.
That he bringeth forth fruit, is evident by the Language of Christ in the 5, & 6. verses of that Chapter, He •hat abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth fo•th much fruit; And not only beareth fruit, but beareth fruit in Christ, as a branch in the vine, as the Language of Christ in the 2 v. of that Chap. implies, Eve∣ry branch that beareth not fruit [in me] he taketh away; Hence it is evident, That a new Creature, is one that beareth fruit in Christ, as a branch in Christ, the true vine; and this is that which distinguisheth him from a meer mo∣rall Creature, both may be fruitfull in righte∣ousnesse, and bring forth much fruit, as ap∣pears in the Scribes and Pharisees, who were a generation fruitfull in righteousnesse, and brought forth much fruit, and so do many o∣thers which have but morall grace, as appears, Mat. 7.22, 23. But herein lyes the diffe∣rence, as to this point, between a meer moral∣list, and a new Creature.
A meer morallist brings forth fruit in him∣self, that is, from his own principles, by a com∣mon assistance from Christ, he being but self, and in the state of nature still, and he brings forth fruit to himself, as Ephraim did, to his own honour, and praise, and glory; self is his utmost end in all he doth; but a new Creature brings forth fruit in Christ, he is fruitfull in righteousnesse, as a branch in Christ the true vine; his fruitfulnesse issueth out from super∣natural and Divine principles, from a special Page 124 work of the Spirit of Christ in him.
Quest. But how may I discern, whether my fruitfulnesse in righteousness issue from a common assistance of the Spirit of Christ, to wit, naturall and moral principles only, or whether I be fruitfull in righteousnesse as a branch in Christ the true vine?
Sol. 1. Fruitfulnesse in righteousnesse issu∣ing from natural and moral principles only,* is not universal but partial, but he that is fruitful in righteousnesse as a branch in the vine, is fruitful in every good work, at least in his aime and indeavour.
2. Fruitfulnesse in righteousnesse, issuing from moral principles, is usually more exem∣plary in circumstantials, then in substantials, more in mint and annise, then in judgment and mercy; but he that is fruitfull in righteousnesse, as a branch in the vine, sunders not what God hath coupled together, but places substantials in the vant-gard, in the first place.
3. Fruitfulnesse in righteousnesse, issuing from morall principles is usually more in the eyes of men, than in the eye of God: Such as are fruitfull in righteousnesse from their own principles, are more studious to make all things seem good and glorious in the eyes of men, than they are to approve the righteousnesse of their hearts or wayes to God; but he that is fruit∣full in righteousnesse as a branch in the vine, is more studious and carefull to approve the uprightnesse of his heart and actions to God in all things, than to make things seem good in the sight of men; He is more desirous to be fruitfull then to seem fruitfull.
Page 1254. Fruitfulnesse in righteousnesse, proceed∣ing from naturall and morall principles, is usu∣ally attended with much pride inwardly in heart, if not outwardly in expression; and the more fruitfull this man is,* the more proud he is: contrarywise fruitful in righteousnesse as a branch in the vine, is attended with much hu∣mility; a man that is fruitful in righteousnesse, as a branch in the vine, sees that he hath no sap, but what he hath from the stock, into which he is ingrafted; no sufficiency in himself to any good; he sees that his good motions, af∣fections and actions, flow all from Christ, and therefore he humbly ascribes all to Christ; The glory of all his fruitfulnesse, he layes on Christs shoulders, he shall beare the glory, saith this soul, he dares take none to himself, though tempted thereunto by Satan, but sayes of Christ, as Mephibosheth did of Ziba, Let him take all, who is all in all, Who am I? and what am I, that I should offer, after this manner. Thus his being filled with the fruits of righteousnesse, re∣dounds to the Glory of Christ, who is his righ∣teousnesse: The more fruitfull a branch in the vine is, the lower he is.
That fruitfulnesse in righteousnesse, pro∣ceeding from natural and morall principles on∣ly, is attended with these forementioned ef∣fects, is evident in the Scribes and Pharisees, who were men very fruitfull in righteousnesse from their own principles, yet did pick and chuse in the wayes of God; Tythe mint and annise, and omit the weightier matters of the Law, and of the Gospel too; strain at a Gnat, and swallow a Camel, as Christ tells them, Mat. 23. were very industrious to make all they Page 126 did, feem good and glorious in the eyes of men, but cared not how rotten their hearts were; the more fruitfull they were, the more proud they were; all this Christ taxes them with, Mat. 23. and thereupon cals them, not new Creatures, not fruitfull branches in the v•nt, but whited Sepulchers, graves, fools, blind, Hypo∣crites, &c.
That fruitfulnesse in righteousnesse, proceed∣ing from Divine principles, from a Christian, as a branch in the vine, doth produce effects contrary to these forementioned, is evident in David and Paul, and other fruitfull branche• of the true vine. They were not partiall in the wayes of God, but had respect unto all Gods Will, Psal. 119.128 their great care was to approve their hearts and their wayes to God, as appears, Psal. 139.23. & 119.80. compared with the 2 Cor. 5.9. Their fruitfulneffe did not produce pride, but humi∣lity, as appears by the language of as fruitfull a branch, as ever was, Eph. 3.8. Less than the least, &c.
[ 5] In the fifth place, Fruitfulnesse in righte∣ousnesse, proceeding from moral principles, is usually attended with repose and trust in the work done; he that is thus fruitfull, rests in the work done; Thus it was with the Pharisee that pleaded his actions, his repose was in them, as Christs Language to the Publican in∣timates; but contrarywise, he that is fruitfull in righteousnesse, as a branch in the vine, as a branch truly and really in the vine, rests not in any works done by him, but renounces all, in matter of justification; he sees more unrighteousnefse then righteousnesse in his Page 127 best actions; All our righteousnesses are as filthy raggs, said the fruitful branches, Isai. 64.6. All as dross and dung, saith another fruitfull branch, Phil. 3.8. We are unprofitable ser∣vants, and have done nothing, that is worth any thing. Lord, when saw we thee an hun∣gred? or athirst? or a stranger? or naked? or sick? or in prison? and did minister unto thee? say the fruitfull branches, Matth. 25.37, 38, 39. which language evidently declares, that their repose and trust was not in their actions.
In the fixth place, Fruitfulnesse in righte∣ousnesse, [ 6] issuing out of morall principles, brings no true peace to the mind and consci∣ence of a man, as appears in the young man that came to Christ, to ask, what he should do to be saved? He was very fruitfull in righteous∣nesse from his own principles, as appears by his own language, yet very scrupulous, how it would go with him at the last; which shews, That the effect of his fruitfulnesse was not qui∣etnesse, but unquietnesse; not confidence, but diffidence: But on the other side, fruit∣fulnesse, as a branch in the vine, brings sweet peace and rest to the mind, and conscience of a man, as appears, Isai. 32.17, There the Lord promises his People, That the work of righteousnesse shall be peace, and the effect of righteousnesse, quietnesse and assurance for ever. The more fruitful in righteousnesse a man is, as a branch in the vine, the more con∣tentment and rest shall he have within him∣self.
Object. But do we not see the contrary, may some say, Are not many fruitfull branches in Page 128 the vine very unquiet, and restless, and un∣satisfied in conscience about their Eternall e∣state?
Answ. This, if granted, doth not null the truth asserted; For, First, This unquiet∣nesse doth not spring from their fruitfulnesse, but rather from that unfruitfulnesse, which they see in themselves: Secondly, The Text doth not say, That it alwayes is quietnesse, but it shall be peace and quietnesse, it shall yield him peace and quietnesse at the last, it shall end in peace and quietnesse, and assurance for ever, that shall be the issue of it, with this David con∣curreth, Psal. 37.37.
[ 7] Seventhly, Fruitfulnesse in righteousnesse, proceeding from naturall and morali princi∣ples, is usually stinted at a stay, bounded and limited by carnal reason; so far it will go, but no farther;* this is evident in Saul, seven dayes he would stay for Samuel, but no longer, if Samuel come not then, he will offer sacrifice himself; this mans fruitfulnesse doth not in∣crease, but decrease: But fruitfulnesse in righteousnesse, proceeding from a branch in the vine, is a thriving and a growing fruitful∣nesfe, a branch in the vine proposeth no other period to himself in piety, then perfection, and this he labours to the utmost of his ability, through the help of his heavenly husband-man to attain, and goes on dayly by degrees towards, so that he brings forth most fruit in age, as the Psalmist speaks, Psalm 92.14.
[ 8] Eighthly, Fruitfulnesse, proceeding from natural and moral principles, is many times attended with malice ag•inst those that are Page 129 fruitful in righteousnesse, as branches in the vine, as is evident in the Scribes and Pharisees, who whre men very fruitful in righteousnesse from their own principles, they prayed, and fasted, and gave alms, tythed mint, and anice, and cummin, and yet were very malicious against Christ and his Disciples, none more malicious than they were: But fruitfulnesse in righte∣ousnesse, proceeding from a branch in the vine, is not attended with malice to any but with love to all, even to very enemies.
Ninthly, A man fruitful in righteousnesse [ 9] from his own principles, brings forth fruit from the good treasure of his brain, and such maxims as are fastened there; this did the Phari∣sees, and thus do all meer moralists; But a man fruitful in righteousnesse, as a branch in the vine, brings forth fruit out of the good treasure of his heart, as Christ affirmeth, Luk. 6.45. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth good things, or, that which is good. A branch in the vine, out of an ho•est and good heart bringeth forth fruit, so saith Christ, Luk 8.15.
Here nore one main difference that is be∣tween an evill man and a good,* or a meer for∣malist and a branch truly in the vine; in an evill man, or a meer formalist,* his heart is the trea∣sury of all the evill, which he bringeth forth, but not of the good; but a good man, or a branch truly in the vine, his heatt is the treasu∣ry of the good fruit which he bringeth forth: in the heart of an evill man (to wit) a man out of Christ, dwelleth no good thing, nothing that is truly and spiritually good, therefore (out of it) can come no such fruit: But in the heart of a Page 130good man (to wit) a branch truly in the vine, dwelleth a principle of faith and love, from which his fruitfulnesse springs; these constrain him, or lead him along, as the Apostle speaks, 2 Cor. 5.14. And herein lies the great and main difference, that is between the fruitful∣nesse of a man in Christ, and a man out of Christ, between a branch in the vine, and a meer motalist, both bring forth fruit, good fruit; but the one bringeth it forth out of the treasure of an honest and good heart, and the o∣ther doth not so; this Christ confirms in that forecited place, Luk. 6.45.
[ 10] In the tenth place, A man whose fruitful∣nesse in righteousnesse, springs from naturall and moral principles only, his fruit doth not re∣main, but rots before it is ripe, fals before it is fit to be gathered: How much fruit soever the best meer moralist brings forth, he brings none at all to perfection, as these Texts here quoted do excellently and elegantly set forth, Iob 15.33. He shall shake off his unripe fruit, as the vine, and cast off his flower, as the Olive, Mat. 13.6. And when the Sun was up, they were scorched, and because they had not roote, they withered away, And bring no fruit to perfection, Luk. 8.14. Here we have the pe∣riod of the fruitfulnesse of the best meer mo∣ralist, set down by the holy Ghost, all his fruit comes to just nothing at last: But con∣trarywise, he that is fruitfull in righteous∣nesse, as a branch in the vine, his fruit remain∣eth and •indly ripeneth, as appears by Ioh. 15.16. I have chosen you, and ordained you, saith Christ of the living branches of the vine, that ye should bring forth fruit, and that your frui•Page 131 should remain: And it is said of such an one in Ier. 17.8. That he shall not cease from yielding fruit: and Luk. 8.15. He brings forth fruit with patience: and Psal. 1.3. He bringeth forth his fruit in his season; By all which it is evident, That a branch truly in the vine, hath this priviledg and Character, be∣yond the best meer moralist or formalist whatsoever, how little soever his fruit of righ∣teousnesse seems to be, either in his own eyes or the eyes of other men, yet his fruit remaineth and kindly ripeneth, it cometh to perfection at the length.
Eleventhly, A man fruitfull in righteousnesse [ 11] from naturall and morall principles, brings forth fruit to himself only, as Israel did, Is∣rael is an empty vin•, he bringeth forth fruit to him•elf, Hos. 10.1. Israel was a fruit∣bearing vine, yet but an empty vine; how comes this to passe? why the next words tell us, he brings forth fruit to himself. Thus it is with a man, whose fruitfulnesse springs from naturall and morall principles only, he brings forth fruit to himself, to his own base ends, his own honour, profit, and the like; but he that is fruitfull in righteousnesse, as a branch in the vine, bringeth forth fruit unto God, to the glory of God, as the Scripture speaks, Rom. 7.4. His fruitfulnesse springs from, and de∣pends upon Christs conjunction with his soul, and tends chiefly to the advancing God in Christ, God is both the efficient and fina•• cause of his fruitfulnesse.
Lastly, A fruitfull branch in the vine, is u∣sually [ 12] most pulled and cudgelled, •ressed and oppressed; Ioseph was a fruitfull branch in the Page 132 vine, even a fruitfull bough by a well, whose branch runs over the wall, yet the Text tels us, That the Archers sorely grieved him, they shot at him, and hated him, Gen. 49.22, 23. As it was with Ioseph, so it is usually with other fruitfull branches in the vine, Satan and men stirred up by Satan, do impugne, molest and trouble them more than they do meer mora∣lists, this Jesus Christ hinted to his Disciples, when he told them, In the world ye shall have tribulation.
Lay all these together, and make a touch-stone of them to try thy fruitfulnesse by, and according as thou findest it, agree or disagree with them, make up the conclusion.
[ 4] A fourth Character or appearance of a new Cre•ture,* is this, he is one that sinneth not, one that doth not commit sinne, so saith the Text, 1 Ioh. 3.6. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not; and ver. 9. Whosoever is born of God▪ doth not commit sinne; This assertion is a touch-stone of the holy Ghosts making, therefore it must needs be both necessary and safe for a Christia• to try himself by, and this I thi•k is such, as (if rightly understood) may afford much comfort, to a poore Child of God, when many other appearances of his new birth are hidden from him, though in the letter (I confess) it seems one of the unlikeliest Texts in Scripture so to do.
Whosoever abideth in him, sinneth not, saith the •ext; what shall I hence conclude, That a branch in Christ, a true beleever, a new Creature, is totally freed from the power, act, and being of sinne, so that he doth not nor cannot sinne actually? (God forbid) this Page 133 were to give the Scripture the lye, which saith, That in many things we sin all, even [we] that are born again.
And if we say that we have no sinne, we de∣ceive our selves, and the truth is not in us, 1 Ioh. 1.8. And Rom. 7.23. a new Creature saith, I see a Law in my members, rebelling a∣gainst the law of my mind, and leading me cap∣tive to the Law of sinne, which is in my members. He doth not say (I saw) as one speaking of the time past, before conversion, but [I see] as one speaking in the (present Tence) and of the time after conversion; he doth not say, bringing me into captivity to the Law of sinne (which was) in my members, but (unto the law of sinne which is in my members;) by all which it is evident, That this Text means no such thing as immunity and freedom from the motions, act, or being of sinne: He there∣fore that shall hence conclude, That he is to∣tally freed from the power and being of sinne, so that he doth not nor cannot sinne no more than the glorified Saints, or Christ himself, doth make of a touch stone, a mill-stone to grind him to powder.
Object. But if this be not the meaning of this Scripture, what then is the meaning of it?
Answ. The meaning of it (•s I humbly con∣ceive) is this, That a true beleever, one that lives in Christ, and Christ in him, one that 〈◊〉 again, and made a new Creature, sinne••ot as an u•regenerate person doth, he give• not himself over to the commission of any known sinne, neither allows himself in the omission of any known duty; He is not a willing slave to Page 134 any sin; He sins not knowingly, without damping and quenching, in some measure, for some time the actings of grace, and the Spirit of God in him, He doth not commit sin; He doth commit sinne in the Apostles sense (as I conceive) which doth sin of pur∣pose,* and with the consent of the whole will, and with the whole sway of his affections, this every one in the state of nature doth, he sins with the consent of the whole will, and with the whole sway of his affections, and must needs do so, because he hath no principle fastened on those faculties to cross him, therefore in sinning, he doth the evill which he would do, the evill which he loves.
But it is quite other wayes with a Child of God, who is born again, and made a new Creature, put in a state of grace; He doth not (so sin,) neither indeed can he, because his feed (to wit) the grace of the Spirit remain∣eth in him; though he sinne, and sinne in ma∣ny things, yet doth he not sinne with the con∣sent of his whole will, nor with the whole sway of his affections in any thing. (The evill which I would not that do I) saith a new Creature, What I hate that do I.
*The will, as all other faculties of the soul, is but in part renewed; Christ is formed in it im∣perfectly, it hath in it (at the best estate here) a regenerate part, and an unregenerate part, and so far forth as it is renewed, it doth nill the evill which the unregenerate part doth chuse; there∣fore a regenerate man saith, It is no more I that do it, and so the Apostle here, He that is born of God, doth not commit sin, because he doth it not as regenerate, but as unregenerate.
Page 135So for the affections; a renewed man cannot sinne with the whole sway of his affections, because the renewed part of them doth decline, and oppose what the unrenewed part of them doth imbrace and cleave to.
This contradiction, in the same faculty of the soul, is proper and peculiar to a Child of God, in his state of imperfection, and may therefore well serve to decipher him out, and distinguish between a new Creature and a meer naturalist.
For although there may be, and oftentimes is, a contradiction and combate in an unrege∣nerate person, between severall and distinct faculties of the soul, the appetite against rea∣son, the will or affections against conscience, yet there never is a contradiction in the same faculty of the soul, in an unregenerate person, neither indeed can there be, for there is no∣thing in it to oppose; This combate is peculiar to a new Creature, where there is flesh and spirit in the same faculty, and what the one chuseth, the other refuseth, it may there∣fore well be a Christians touch-stone to try himself by.
There is yet another way, whereby a man may be said to commit sinne, which is far more dangerous than the former, yea, remedilesse, and that is, when a man doth wilfully and ob∣stinately oppose that which the Word of God, and the Spirit of God doth throughly convince his conscience is the Truth, and ought to be followed, out of meer malice, scorn and con∣tempt, and this is that which (I think) this Text points at chiefly; but (thus) a Child of God, a member of Christ, a new Creature Page 136 cannot commit sinne,*because his seed remaineth in him, as the Apostle here speaks, He that thus commiteth sin is of the Divell, and sealed by him to Hels eternity, 1 Ioh. 3.8. ch. 5.16. Mat. 12.32.
In the fifth place; a new Creature, is one that groans under the remainder of the old man in him (to wit) the naturall propensity which he finds in himself to all evill; the inticing temp∣ter of corrupt nature, which makes him a verse to all good, and prone to all evill, as that which spoiles all his good dutyes, as that which is his greatest burden, bewailes it as that alone which makes his condition wretched and mi∣serable, longs earnestly for a total deliverance from this burden of corrupt nature, prayes ear∣nestly for strength against all the inticings thereof,* and rests of Christ by Faith, in the use of all lawfull meanes by him appointed, for a total deliverance at length, and strength against all the inticings thereof, until total de∣livera•ce be granted, all which is evident in Paul, Rom. 7.
And truly I never yet found any burden like this burden, though I have born many; this burden alone had not Christ borne the heavior end of it, had sunk my soul in despaire, or driven it upon desperate attempts; the time hath been, when to have been freed from the power of natural corruption, My soul hath chosen death, rather than life, and longed for d•ath, more then for hid treasures, as Iob speaks; yea, when it would have joyed in that which nature abhors, an untimely death by the hand of man, would have infinitely more joyed me, than the acquiring of the Page 137 whole earth with all it affords, only for the freeing of my soul from the power of corrupt nature, which was so potent, that my unbe∣leeving heart did often conclude, That I should one time or other fall by it, and by it be un∣done to all eternity; yet the Lord was my stay, and prevented what I much feared, and out of this deep the Lord at length delivered me, to the glory of Christ my keeper and deliverer, and the incouragement of others in the like case; I speak this, much more I could speake on this subject experimentally, but I for∣beare. [ 6]
In the sixt place, a new Creature is one,* that minds the things of the Spirit, is led by the Spirit, and walks after the Spirit; These ex∣pressions tend all to one and the same end, namely, to denominate a new Creature, therefore I put them together.
A new Creature, is one that minds the things of the Spirit, so saith the text, Rom. 8.5. They that are after the sl•sh, do mind the things of the flesh, but they that are after the Spirit, the things of the Spirit; As carnall hearts mind carnall things, so spirituall hearts, mind spirituall things; a new Creature minds the things of the Spirit, after the rule of the Spirit, the Word of God; He minds the things of the Spirit in the first place, he minds them savour∣ly, chiefly and principally, more than the things of the flesh, and declares it by follow∣ing after them industriously; The apprehen∣sion of the love and favour of God,* and that which leades thereunto (to wit) the pure Ordinances of God, are the only jewels which he esteems and follows after, and for the ac∣quiring Page 138 and retaining of these, he will part with all the good of the world, and count it but dung, as is evident in the parable of the mer∣chant-man, who sould all to buy the pearl: A new Creature, his great care, desire, and indea∣vour is, to be more new: O that I were more dead to sinne, more alive to righteousnesse! that I were lesse in the flesh, more in the spirit! lesse in my self, more in Christ! saith a new Creature; And these are the things which he minds and follows after.
He is led by the Spirit of God, so saith the A∣postle, Rom. 8.14. As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the Sons of God. This language plainly shews who are the Adopted Sonnes of God, and so consequently, who are new Creatures; for to be such a Sonne of God, as this Text speaks of, and to be a new Crea∣ture, is all one in effect, and he that is such, is led by the Spirit of God; That is his mark, set by the holy Ghost, by the hand of the Apo∣stle.
The Spirit of God may be said to lead man two manner of wayes;* more generally, or, more specially; as a qualifier only, or as a sanctifier; and that leading of the Spirit which denominates our son ship, or the Creature new, is not the more generall, but the more speciall leading of the Spirit (to wit) the Spirit leading, as a sanctifier, as an inward sanctifier, as well as an outward.
*A man may then be faid to be led by the Spi∣rit of God, according to the meaning of this Text, (as I humbly conceive) when h•, by a speciall work of the Spirit of God upon his soul Page 139 is inabled voluntarily, and cordially to resign up himself, in all things to be guided by the Spirit of God, and cordially and couragiously to decline all other leaders (contrary unto this.)
1. He that is thus led by the Spirit of God, is not under the Law, saith the Apostle, Gal. 5.18. If ye be led by the Spirit, ye are not under the Law: by [Law] in this Text, some Di∣vines take to be meant the moral Law, and so taking it, conclude, That he that is led by the Spirit, is freed from the curse of the moral Law, which is very true; of this mind was Mr Perkins: others by Law here, understand the domineering power of corrupt nature, that which the Apostle cals, The Law of sinne, Rom. 7 25. of this mind was Luther: [Law] thus taken, the conclusion is, That he that is led by the Spirit of God, is not under the dominee∣ring, reigning power of sinne; He is no ser∣vant of sinne, he doth not voluntarily yeeld himself to obey any sinne in the lusts thereof, as an unregenerate person doth, with free consent; [Law] taken in this latter sence, is that which (I think) this Text points at, by the scope of this Chapter, and all the pas∣sages of it; and taken in this sense, I am sure it is most for my purpose, therefore I pitch upon it; He that is led by the Spirit of God, as a sanctifier, is in great measure freed from this Law of sinne.
When this Law, (to wit) lust, leads,* as commander in chief, the person is soon led a∣way with a spirit of errour and inticers thereunto, as the Apostle shews, •Tim. 3.6.
Page 1402. But he whom the Spirit of God leads, as commander in chief, beleeves not every spirit, but tries the spirits whether they are of God, as the Apostle exhorts all Christians to do, 1 Ioh. 4.1. He makes the written Word his touchstone to try them by; He knows that whatsoever is revealed contrary to the Word of God, is not of the Spirit, for the Spirit of God doth not dispense things contrary unto, but agreeable with the Word of God, as Christ affirms, Ioh. 16.13, 14, 15. The Spirit (saith Christ) shall not speak of himself, but he shall glorifie me, for he shall receive of mine and shew it unto you; He shall take of mine, and shew it unto you; which language plainly shews, That the Spirit of God doth make use of the Word of God, and revealeth the meaning of it, but never contrad•cts it: Note this, all you that boast of the Spirit, and yet slight and contemn the Word.
3. He whom the Spirit of God leads after a special manner, he leades into all truth, as Christ affirms, Ioh. 16.13. He shall guide you into all truth, that is, into all truth neces∣sary for you, in such a sphere and condition, as God hath assigned you unto, truth in judg∣ment, in heart, in practice.
*But here note, That although the Spirit of God doth lead into all Truth, yet the Spirit doth not this all at once; neither doth the Spi∣rit this ordinarily, without the reading and preaching of the Word, but by it, specially where it may be had.
4. He whom the Spirit of God thus leads, he fits and inables to walk with God, under Ordinances, as appears by Ezek. 36.27. where Page 141 God gives his Spirit, he gives him for a leader, and whom the Spirit of God leads, it inables to walk with God, in the use of his Ordinances, as that Text plainly shews, (even in the most glorious times of the Gospel, for of these the Prophet here speaks.) Note this, all you that boast of the Spirit, and think you are led by the Spirit, and yet cry down Ordi∣nances.
5. He whom the Spirit of God thus leads, he quickeneth in some measure, Rom. 8.11. where the Spirit of God dwels as a leader, he dwels as a quickener, he quickeneth our souls even while they dwell in houses of clay, in mortal bodies, he quickeneth them in every faculty, and to every holy duty, though not all in like measure, nor to all duties at the same time. Note this, all you that not being under a Temptation to distrust,* think you are led by the Spirit of God, and yet find no quickening at all by the Spirit, neither desire any, nor feel want of it.
6. He that is thus led by the Spirit of God, worships God in spirit and in truth, he doth serve God in newnesse of spirit, as the Apostle affirms, Phil. 3.3. he doth inwardly, and sincerely, worship and serve God as well as outwardly and formally: He knows his leader is not pleased with any outward performances, severed from the service of the spirit (to wit) the inward man, and therefore he strives with all his might, to exercise all the powers of his soul, and act, and improve all his graces in, and by the service of God, being exceedingly desirous to serve his leader acceptably. Note this, all formal and persunctary servers of Page 142 God, that think you are led by the Spirit of God, and all Gods People, that think you are not led by the Spirit of God, and yet exceedingly desire and labour thus to do.
7. He whom the Spirit of God thus leadeth, he helpeth his infirmities, The Spirit (saith the Apostle) helpeth our infi•mities, meaning theirs to whom he is a leader; But how doth the Spirit that? Why, by discovering our in∣firmities unto us, and supplying what is want∣ing in us, out of Christs fulnesse, which he holds up and applies to us. The Text doth not say, That the Spirit perfectly cureth our infirmities, [but he helpeth our infirmities,] He helpeth them, by doing that for us, which we cannot do our selves, Rom. 8.26. this each mans experience, which is thus led by the Spirit will tell him.
8. He that is thus led by the Spirit, finds so much sweetnesse in his leader, that he still desires to be more led by him, to be filled with the Spi∣rit, as the Scripture speaks; He never thinks he hath enough of the Spirit, but still desires more, and his soul follows hard after the Lord in Prayer, and in the use of all meanes by him appointed, for the attaining a greater measure of the Spirit than he yet hath.
9. He that is thus led by the Spirit of God, is led by the written Word of God, the reveal∣ed Will of God, which is the instrument, rule, and demonstrator of the Spirit of God, in re∣ference to man; and he that hath the Word of God, or might have, and will not be led by it, hath no ground to conclude, that he is led by the Spirit of God, as it is evident by Isai. 8.20. These leaders (to wit) (the Word and Page 143 the Spirit,) are never opposite one to ano∣ther.
10. He that is thus led by the Spirit of God, is chary of the sword of the Spirit (the Word of God) and fights with it against all his spi∣ritual enemies, the World, the Flesh, and the Divel; this is evident in the natural Sonne of God, Jesus Christ, Mat. 4.4, 7, 10. and in many of the adopted Children of God, of whom we read in Scripture. Note this, all you that slight the Wor• of God and fight not with it, but against it, and yet make your boast, that you are led by the Spirit.
11. He that is thus led by the Spirit of God doth walk in the Spirit, and he doth walk after the Spirit; But what is it to walk •n the Spirit, or to walk after the Spirit? These expressions (I think) differ not much. To walk in the Spi∣rit (saith Luther) is to wrestle in spirit against the flesh, and to follow spirituall motions. Walking in the Spirit (saith Mr Perkins) is to order our lives according to the direction and motion of the Spirit. A man may then be said to walk after the Spirit (saith Ios. Ex•n.) when in respect of the trade and course of his life, he walks not ac∣cording to the guidance, and motion of his cor∣rupt nature, but of the holy Spirit. Hence (I conceive) a man may then be said to walk [in and after the Spirit] when he walks not after the flesh, as the Apostle speaks; but after the rules of the Spirit, given in the Word of God, and according to the motions, dictates, and guidance of the Spirit (which are never contrary unto, but agreeable with the Word of God) when he doth not voluntarily, and approvedly obey the dictates of corrupt na∣ture, Page 144 but the Word and Spirit of God, when he doth walk according to the rule of the writ∣ten Word (at lest, in his aim desire and endea∣vour.
*Here note two or three things; He that is thus led by the Spirit of God, walks after the Spirit, more strongly, or mor• weakly, as he is more or lesse new.
He walks after the Spirit, more swiftly, or more slowly,* as Chris• by his Spirit draws him more strongly or mor• weakly; some Christ by his Spirit draws more strongly and they run after him, as the Church speaks, Cant. 1.4. They follow their leader vigorously, unweari∣edly, wit• delight; others he draws more weakly, 〈◊〉 they walk more slowly after him, according to the different dispensations of the Spirit of God; so doth man move more strong∣ly or more weakly, more swiftly or more slow∣ly, in the wayes of God.
Then again note this, Man at his best estate here follows his leader, walks after the Spirit, but as a blind, lame impotent Creature, if at one time he runs after his leader, and follows him vigorously, at another time he is weary and walks slowly; now he stumbles, and anon fals, and were it not that his leader, is very able, wise, and watchfull, he would give over quite and fall irrecoverably.
12. In the next place, A man that is thus led by the Spirit of God, is a curagious and resolute opposer of all leaders, contrary unto this leader; if the World tempt and strive to be his leader, he opposes that; if the flesh tempt, and strive to be his leader, he opposes that; if the Divell tempt, and strive to be his leader, Page 145 he resisteth him; and all this he doth in the strength of the Spirit of God, whom he hath chosen for his leader; all this is evident in Paul, a man led by the Spirit of God, after a special manner; his courage and resolution was such, that he maintained a constant warre with these three enemies, on this ground, that they would have been his leader, they had led him before, & would have led him again, but this he had rather dye then yield to, when once led by the Spi∣rit, as his own testimony, in divers places proves.
He that thus doth, may be, and sometimes is led captive,* by some one or other of these enemies; This the Apostle Paul sadly com∣plains of, as an experimented truth, Rom. 7.23.
13. Finally he whom the Spirit of God thus leads, he leads so long as he needeth leading; He will lead us over death, unto glory, Psal. 48.14. compared with Psal. 73.24. He whom the Spirit of God once leads as a san∣ctifier, he never totally nor finally gives o∣ver leading, but leads him through grace unto glory.
Lay all these things together, and consider, whether it be thus with thy selfe, yea, or nay; and if upon a true tryal thou findest it thus with thee; conclude thou mayst safely, That thou art one led by the Spirit of God after a special manner, and so consequently a sonne of God by Adoption, an heir of Heaven, a new Crea∣ture.
The seventh and last appearance of a new Creature, which I will mention here, is thi•; he is one that is joyned to the Lord Jesus Chr•i•, and one spiri• with him.
Page 146That he is one joyned to the Lord Jesus Christ,* is evident from the words of this Text, If any man be in Christ, he is a new Creature; Here it is granted, That a new Creature is in Christ; E•go, it must needs then be granted, That he is joyned to Christ; for to be in a thing, is more then to be joyned to it, and the greater doth necessarily comprehend the lesser; but according to the meaning of the A∣postle here, these expressions of being in Christ, and being joyned to Christ, I conceive comes all to one.
That he that is thus united to Christ, is one Spirit with Christ, is evident by the Language of the Apostle,* 1 Cor. 6.17. He that is joyn∣ed to the Lord, is one spirit; In these few words we have a compleat description of a new Crea∣ture, in his conjunction with Christ, and in his conformity to Christ; in his Union with Christ and Communion with him; of this Uni∣on with Christ, what it is, and how effected the Reader may see more in Pag. 2, 3. this only I will add here, and so proceed; That the joyning to the Lord, here spoken of, is not a bare joyning in nature only, by Christ's par∣ticipation of our humane nature, neither is it a joyning in glory; but it is a joyning to the Lord in grace. A new Creature is one then, that is joyned to the Lord in grace; And he that is thus joyned to the Lord is one Spirit, that is, he is one Spirit with the Lord Jesus Christ, he is one with Christ in every thing, one with Christ, in affection; one with him, in action; one with him, in function; one with him, in life and conversation; Christ is formed in him in all these, and he thereby made one spirit with Christ.
Page 1471. He is one with Christ in affection; Christ is formed there, he loves what Christ loves, and hates what Christ hates; Christ loves righteousnesse, and hates iniquity; all iniquity, Heb. 1.9. and so doth he that is joyned, uni∣ted and married to the Lord, and so become a new Creature, He loves righteousnesse and hates iniquity, as truly, though not so strong∣ly, as Christ doth, as the Language of such an one declares, Psalm 119. verse 127, 128.
2. He is one with Christ in action; Christ is formed there▪ he walks by the same Rule, he obeys the same Law that Christ doth (to wit) the Will of the Father; the rule of Christ's action was the Will of his Father. I (saith he) came down from Heaven, not to do mine own Will, but the Will of him that sent me, Joh. 6.38. I seek not mine own Will, but the Will of the Father which hath sent me. Joh. 5.30. My meat is to do the Will of him that sent me, and finish his Work Joh. 4.34. Not as I will, but as thou wilt, Mat. 26.39.
Christ and a new Creature, walk by one and the same rule; the head doth not walk one way, and the members another; the head doth not walk •y one rule, and the members by another, but both by one and the same rule, to one and the same end (to wit) the glory of the same God; Christ's Rule was the Will of the Father, Christ's ultimate end of all his actions, was the glory of the Father, and he that is joyned to the Lord Jesus Christ▪ is one with him in this; Christ and a new Creature are one in their ends and aimes; Lord, What wilt thou have me to do? saith a new Crea∣ture,Page 148 I desire thy Will should be the rule of my action; I desire Christ may be magnified, in my body, whether it be by life or by death; This is the language of one joyned to the Lord Jesus Christ, and one Spirit with him; He that seek∣eth the glory of him that sent him,*the same is true (saith Christ) and he that seeketh the glory of Christ, according to the rule and examp•e of Christ, the same is [new] say I.
3. Thirdly, Christ and a new Creature, are one in function; Christ is a Prophet, and he that is joyned unto him, is one with him in this; Chris• is a Prophet to teach his members, and his members are one Prophet with him, to exhort and build up themselves and one ano∣ther in their m•st holy faith; but with these differences.
Christ hath the Spirit of Prophesie, as a fountain, and without measure, in all fulnesse; but h•s members as streams issuing from that fountain, by gift, and of his •ulnesse▪
Ch•ist is an universal Prophet to teach all his Pe•ple, without limitation of persons or place; but all his members are not so, they are limited Prophe•s, and m•y not go beyond the bounds of their proper sp•ere, not beyond the bounds set by this great Prophet, in his Word.
Christ is a Priest, and he that is joyned to him, is one with him in thi•; Christ hath made all •is Members Priests to God,* Rev. 1.6. to offer up spirituall Sacrifice to God; Christ hath offered up himself to God, he dyed and s•crificed hims•lf to God; And he that is j••ned unto him is made conformable unto his death, he hath sacri•iced all to Christ, his whole Page 149 self, his own reason, will, righteousnesse and wickednesse; all within him and without him; he is become dead to sinne, dead to his own righteousnesse, dead to the World, dead to all by the body of Christ; They that are Christs have crucified the flesh, with the affections and lusts, saith the Apostle, Gal. 5.24.
Christ is a King, to rule over his People, and over his enemies, and he that is joyned un∣to the Lord Christ, is one with him in his Kingly Function; He hath made us Kings, saith the Text, Rev. 1.6. Kings in a spiritual sense, to rule over our thoughts, affections, words, and actions, over all our lusts, so as sin doth not rule, nor reign in us, within nor with∣out, as an approved Lord,
Christ and a new Creature are one in Life and conversation; A new Creature, is one dead with Christ, and risen again with him,*to newn•sse of Life; he that is joyned to the Lord is one Spirit, Christ is formed in his Life and Conversation, by transforming him, in hi• Life and Conversation, and conforming him in his Lise and Conversation, to the Image, and Example of Christ; so as he may truly say with the Apostle, It is no more I that live, but Christ that dwelleth in me.
Christ was holy and harmlesse in his Nature, Life and Conversation, Heb. 7.26. He w•s inwardly holy, as well as outwardly holy; ho∣ly in his Thoughts, in his Affections, in his Words, and in his Actions; Holy in all man∣n•r of Conversation, in all places, in all compa∣ny, in all times, and variety of conditions: holy in Life, and holy in Death, and he that is joyned to the Lord Jesus Christ, is holy as he is Page 150 holy; but with this difference.
*Christ our head was holy by nature, but we his members, are holy by grace only.
Christ our head was holy with a perfect ho∣linesse, but we his Members have only a sincere holynesse in this Life, our conformity unto Christ is in kind, not in degree.
Christ our head had a derivative holynesse; he could derive holynesse into his Members, and infuse it into them which had none; but this is proper and peculiar unto him; this cannot the best of his Members do.
He that is joyned unto the Lord, is one Spi∣rit; one holy Spirit dwelleth in the head, and in the Members; in the head without measure, in the members, as it seemeth good unto the Head to infuse it.
Christ and his have one heart, and they have chosen one way; one way of holynesse, leading to a place of perfect holynesse and hap∣pinesse; they speak one language, mind one thing, aim at one end; one they are in the state of grace, and one they shall be for ever in glory; He that is joyned to the Lord, is one Spirit.
A new Creature, a true Member of Jesus Christ,* is better known by his Spirit, then his outward man;*for the root of the matter, (as Iob speaks) is within him, his Circumcision is inward, in his heart and spirit; he is one Spirit with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Ye know not what Spirit ye are of, said Christ to his Disciples, Luk. 9.55. But this Text shews what Spirit a new Creature, a true Mem∣ber of Christ is of, he is one Spirit with Christ; He that is joyned to the Lord, is one Spirit.
Page 151A new Creature, one joyned to the Lord in grace, is very watchful over his outward man, over his words and deeds, but especially over his heart and spirit, to keep them stedfast with God: Thus was Christ, and he that is joyned to the Lord, is one Spirit.
Quest. But what Spirit was the Lord Iesus Christ of?
Answ. 1. The Spirit of Christ was a Spirit of Truth, it is so called, Ioh. 14.17, & 16.13. We read of a lying spirit in the 2 Chro. 18.21, 22. and this is powred out in these dayes, wherein so many lyes and slanders are daily broached to the dishonour of God, and the Truth; but this Spirit is not one with Christs Spirit, but with Antichrists; Christs Spirit is the Spirit of Truth, but Antichrists Spirit is the Spirit of falshood, error and all deceiveableness, as appears by the 2 Thes. 2.10.
2. Christ was of a humble, meek, and low∣ly Spirit, as himself affirms, Matth. 11.29. And the Prophet Zechariah of him, Zech. 9.9. Of this Christ gave many reall testimonies when here on Earth; He was not only hum∣ble, meek, and lowly in his carriage, and in shew, but in Heart and Spirit; He was really such, as his Birth, Life and Death did testifie.
3. Christ was of a just and righteous Spirit;* so saith the Prophet Zech 9.9. He is just; Christ was not only morally just; but he was Divinely just, as is evident by his Govern∣ment; the revealed Will of God is the Can∣non by which he rules, they which walk con∣trary unto it, sooner or later he punisheth; and they which walk according to it, he sooner Page 152 or latter rewardeth; He doth judg with righte∣ousness, and reprove with equity, (saith the Pro∣phet) Isai. 11.4.
4. Christ was of a mercifull, tender, and compassionate Spirit;* he had compassion on the souls of his enemies, as that Text, Ezek. 16. ver. 4, 5, 6. with many others shew;* He had compassion on soul and body,* when he beheld Ierusalem, and thought on her sinne and sufferings,*he pittied her, prayed for her, admonished her,*and wept over her, Luke 19.41, 42. All which were reall testimonies of his compassionate Spirit,* and the Texts in the Magin illustrate this.
5. Christ was of a holy and Heavenly Spirit: He was holy, saith the Author to the Hebrews; his Spirit is called, a holy Spirit, Eph. 4.30. Christs Spirit was Heavenly, he was all for the things of the other World; his thoughts, words and works all steered their course thi∣ther-wards, which evidently declared his Hea∣venly Spirit.
6. Christ was of a publique and industrious Spirit, He sought not his own, but our good; when on Earth,* he was still doing good to soul or body, Mat. 4.23. He minded not himself, his own ends, or ease, but his Fathers busi∣nesse, and that he followed industriously, as appears by Luk. 2.46, 49. compared with Ioh. 4.34. which plainly shews, he had a publique and industrious Spirit.
7. Christ was of a soft and flexible Spirit, he had a Spirit pliable to all his Fathers Will, a Spirit easie to be intreated, a sympathizing Spi∣rit, In all their afflictions he was afflicted (saith the Prophet) Isai. 63.9. he had a broken and a Page 153 contrite Spirit, a Spirit broken with sorrow for our sinnes, all which were reall testimonies of his soft and flexible Spirit.
8. Christ was of a lively Spirit, and of a descerning Spirit, he had a Spirit directly op∣posite to that Spirit spoken of Isai. 29.10. he had a spirit, spiritually alive; hence it was, that he was of quick understanding in the feare of the Lord, as the Prophet speaks, Isa. 11.3.
9. Christ was of a patient Spirit, he had a Spirit slow to anger, and long suffering, he took all patiently, from God and Man, with∣out repining in heart or tongue; He was op∣pressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth, saith the Prophet, &c. Isa. 53.7. When he was reviled, he reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatned not, 1 Pet. 2.23. These were reall testimonies of his patient Spirit.
10. Christ was of a loving Spirit, even to∣wards his very enemies, he prayed for his ene∣mies, Luk. 23.34. died for his enemies, Rom. 5.10. and all this out of love to them, which was a reall testimony of his loving Spirit.
11. Christ was of a Praying Spirit,*he spent much time in Prayer, as the Evangelists shew, with much delight and industry, as appears by Mar. 1.35. Mat. 14.23. Luk. 6.12. Ioh. 17. chap. which shews he was of a pray∣ing Spirit.
12. Christ was of an obeying Spirit, of a self-denying Spirit; he denied his own Will (as man) to do his Fathers Will, as appears by Luk. 12.14. compared with Ioh. 5.30. Page 154 The last words, Matth. 26.39. Phil. 2.8. By all which it is evident, That Christ was of an obeying Spirit.
13. Christ was of a thankfull Spirit, that which was matter of joy to him, he made mat∣ter of praise and thanksgiving to his Father, as appears by Matth. 11.25. Mar. 6.41. Christ had a Spirit thankfull to God, and thankfull to man; whatever kindnesse was shewed unto him, returned upon the head of the doer with abundant recompence, and this lively domonstrates his thankfull Spirit.
14. Christ had a Spirit delighted in the ex∣ercise of all Gods Ordinances, and all holy duties, as his frequent exercise therein, and exhortation thereunto, do fully evince; he was still ready to take every opportunity to in∣struct the people, as appears by Mat. 5.1. Mar. 2.2. & 6.34. Luk. 5.1, 3. and he exhorted his Disciples to duty, Mat. 9. ult. By which it is evident, that his Spirit was de∣lighted therewith.
15. Christ was of a world contemning Spirit, as his Birth, Life, and Death, did ful∣ly declare and evince, for in all these he shew∣ed his contempt of the World, both in the good and evill of it.
16. Christ was not of a time-serving, but of a God-glorifying Spirit; He sought not his own, but his Fathers glory, in all times and things, as his own Language, Ioh. 12.28. & 17.4. shews, Christ sought his Fathers glory in all things, and above all things; which evi∣dently declares, he had a God-glorifying Spirit.
17. Christ was of a faithfull Spirit; he Page 155 was faithfull to God in all things; He was faithfull to him that appointed him, saith the Au∣thor to the Hebrews, Heb. 3.2. He was a faithfull High-Priest, He is called, Faithfull and true, Rev. 19.11. The faithfull and true witnesse, Rev. 3.14. By all which is evident, that Christ was of a faithfull Spirit.
18. Christ had an elivated Spirit, his Spi∣rit was raised above the World, and the things of the World; his Spirit did sore aloft and so∣lace it self, in the things of the other world; it did solace it self in God,* in what he did in∣joy in God, before he left the bosome of his Father, and what he should injoy with him a∣gain, when he had finished the work, which his Father gave him to do. This is evident by the Language of Christ, Ioh. 17.5. and by that which is spoken of him, Heb. 12.2.
19. Christ was of a stable Spirit; he did not stagger in Spirit, or reel up and down from one opinion to another, but his Spirit was stedfast with God, and unmoveable, in calmes and in storms; He was yesterday, and to day, and the same for ever: How variable so∣ever the world was in their opinion of him, yet he was still the same, as appears, Heb. 13.8. Which evidently demonstrates, his Spirit was stedfast with God.
20. In fine, Christ had a Spirit full of all Divine excellency and beauty, he had a Spirit of Wisdome and Vnderstanding, a Spirit of Counsell and Might, a Spirit of Knowledge and of the feare of the Lord, a Spirit indued with all Divine excellency, as the Prophet shews, Isa. 11.2,
All these qualifications were in the Spirit of Page 156 the Lord Jesus Christ; and he that is joyned unto the Lord, he that is ingrafted into Christ, and made new by him, is one Spirit with him; He that is joyned unto the Lord is one Spirit, saith this Text.
*Here note, That this Text doth not say, that he that is joyned unto the Lord is equal with him, but that he that is joyned unto the Lord [is one] with him, He that is joyned unto the Lord is one spirit; Christ, and he that is joyned unto him, are one in spirit.
The particulars fore-mentioned, shew what Spirit the Lord Jesus Christ was of, and this Text tels us, what spirit he that is one with Christ is of, what spirit a new Creature is of; He that is joyned to the Lord, is one spirit, he is one spirit with the Lord.
As face answers face in water, so doth the heart of man to man, saith Solomon; As a Picture answers to the Life, so doth the Spirit of a new Creature, answer to the Spirit of Christ, saith the Text, He that is joyned to the Lord is one spirit.
Wouldest thou then know thy self, and thy condition truely, I know no rule in Scripture more infallible, than this in this Text, He that is joyned to the Lord is one spirit; Consider what hath been said on this Text; Consider what Spirit Christ was of, and then examine thy self whether thou art one Spirit with him; Consi∣der whether the spirit that is in thee, do truly answer to the Life, to the Spirit of Christ; if so, know that it argues thy state good, thy Creation new, Christ and thee truely one.
Object. But I find so much Hypocrisie, so Page 157 much pride, so much hardnesse of heart, and un∣holinesse in my self, may a poor soul say here, that I cannot hence conclude, that I am one joyned to the Lord, and one Spirit with him; but rather that I am joyned to the Devill, and one Spirit with him: I cannot hence conclude, that I am a new Creature, but rather that I am in the state of nature still.
Answ. This Text doth not say, that he that is joyned to the Lord is totally freed from these corruptions, but that He is one Spirit, he is one Spirit with the Lord Iesus Christ, he is one with him in Spirit: And this a man may be said to be, when he hath these Divine qua∣lifications of spirit forementioned, truely wrought in him, though weakly and im∣perfectly, and much flesh, much corrup∣tion remaining in him; This must be gran∣ted, otherwayes no man in this life could be said to be joyned to the Lord, and one Spirit with him.
2. But secondly, A true sense of these corruptions, accompanied with a loathing of them, and warring against them in faith, is so farre from rendering thee such as the Objection speaks of, that it strongly argues the clean contrary (to wit) That thou art indeed joyned to the Lord, and one Spi∣rit with him; that thou art incorporate in∣to Christ, and made new by him; For it is from Christ, and that new quality of grace, which he hath infused into thy soul, that this sense of corruption and antipathy springs; hence it is that corrupt nature be∣comes a burden on the spirit, naturally it is not so.
Page 158The Apostle Paul, when joyned to the Lord▪ and one Spirit with him, when ingraf∣ted into Christ, and made new by •im; then, and never till then, did he groan under this burden; then, and not before, did he com∣plain of this body of death, and the motions of lusts that warre in our members.
Wouldest thou then know from Scrip∣ture-grounds, what thy condition is; Whe∣ther Christ be in thee and thou in Christ, go through what hath been said on these two Texts; If Christ be in you, the body is dead, because of sinne, &c. and this we are now upon; If any man be in Christ he is a new Creature. Consider whether thou art become dead to sinne, alive to righteousnesse, a new Creature: Consider whether Christ be formed in thee, whether thou hast a new heart, whether thou livest in Christ, as a branch in the vine, and bringest forth fruit in him: whether thou art one that doth not commit sinne, in a Scripture sense: Whether thou art one that groans under the remainder of the old man in thee, as thy greatest bur∣den: Whether thou art one that minds the things of the Spirit, that art led by the Spirit, and walks after the Spirit. Finally, whether thou art one Spirit with the Lord Iesus Christ: and if upon a true tryall of thy self, thou findest by what hath been said, that it is thus with thy self, conclude thou maist safely (as I conceive) to thy comfort, with the Church in the Canticles, My well-be∣loved is mine, and I am his; That thy e∣state is good, thy interest in Christ true and real, and thy Title to Heaven, such Page 159 as no enemy whatsoever, no not Satan, nor sinne, shall be able to deprive thee of it, whatever Satan or thy own consci∣ence, abused by Satan, may say to thē con∣trary.
Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every sonne whom he re∣ceiveth.
IN these words, the Apostle fetcheth an argument of Di∣vine and Fatherly Love, from a Rod, and concludes sonne∣ship, by adoption, from Cha∣stisement, Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every sonne whom he receiveth
The Position of the Apostle, is confirmed by a plurality of witnesses, both Solomon and Christ concurre with Paul herein; Whom the Lord loveth he correcteth, even as a father the son in whom he delighteth, saith Solomon, Prov. 3.12. As many as I love, I rebuke and cha∣sten, saith Christ, Rev. 3.19. The truth of this position hath been experimented by a cloud of witnesses, by all the Sonnes and Daughters of God, that have gone before us unto Glory, and will be by all that shall fol∣low after us, and therefore needs not much proving. The Apostle tells us, That through Page 161 many afflictions, we must enter into the Kingdom of God. And in ver. 8. of this Chap. saith, that if ye be without Chastisement (whereof all are partakers) then are ye Bastards, and not Sonnes.
Immunity from correction, is rather a Cha∣racter of a Bastard, than of an Adopted Son of God; it is rather a note of an Ismael, than of an Isaac; it is rather the mark of a Goate, than of a Sheep; it is rather a demonstrator of a child of this world, than of a Disciple of Christ: for the Crosse is a reculicen which all Christs Disciples must weare, as he himself tels us: In a word, it is rather a badge of an heire of Hell, than of an heire of Heaven; of a reprobate, rather than an elect, and a∣dopted Child of God, for Chastisement is the universal lot of all Gods Children, as this Text tels us, Whom the Lord loveth he Chastiseth, yea, scourgeth.
The most people in the world, fetch their evidence of Gods Love, from Gods liberall dispensations of his gifts, either natural or su∣pernatural, eternal or internal, transient gifts: I have this gift liberally dispensed to me of God, saith one, and I have that gift liberally dispensed to me of God, saith another. I have health (saith one) and I have wealth, saith another; I have no changes, but constant prosperity, through my pollicy in winding with the times: I have esteem in the world, and successe in every thing I go about ortake in hand; therefore doubtlesse God loves me;*Ergo. Another looks higher than this, and saith, I have natural parts, and supernatural gifts libe∣rally dispensed to me of God, above what Page 162 many others have: I have wit and understand∣ing, &c. more than many others: I have knowledg, and I have utterance, and herein excell many: I have esteem among the God∣ly wise, and a name to live: I have a form of Godlinesse, and a shadow of every grace of the Spirit, many Talents in my hand, and hence conclude, God doubtlesse loves me, who∣ever he hates, Ergo. But neither of these ar∣gue well for their sonneship, nor their eter∣nal estate; for no where doth the Scripture make any of these signs of Gods special love, or our adoption.
It is evident by Scripture, That a Cain may prosper in the World as well as an Abel, and a glutton excell a Lazarus, in these contingent things: An Ahithophel, through his policy, may enjoy prosperity, while a Paul suffereth all adversity: A sonne of Beliall, may weare Purple and Scarlet, and fare deliciously every day, while a Sonne of God weares sheep-skins, and goats-skins, and lives upon Gods Providence: A Nebuchadnezzar may have successe in his enterprises, as well as a Ioshua for a time, Philistins may triumph, while Israelites are led captive: A Iudas may have as good natural parts, and supernatural transient gifts, as a Paul, or a Iohn, as a chosen vessell or a beloved Disciple, yea, happily more: A Iesabell may be as beautifull in the eye of man, as a Rebeckah: A Pharisee more exemplary in a form of Godlinesse, than a Nathaniel: an Hipocrite may be more like a beloved Child of God, in his own eyes, and other mens too, than a true Child of God. A foolish Virgin may have as faire a Lamp in her hand, as a wise. By all Page 163 which it is evident, That none of these things, are sufficient to denominate a man, beloved of God, after a special manner, nor to render him an Adopted Son of God.
In these words the Apostle lays before us, things quite contrary to these (to wit) cha∣stisement and scourging, as signs of Gods love; Here is love written in Characters, a hand that every one cannot read, a hand that few can read right; Here is love wrapped up in a rod, which none but a loving and beloved child, can draw out, or well apprehend; none but a child, savingly indued with the Spi∣rit of his Heavenly Father, can see his love, when he feels his rod, or argue his sonneship,* from his chastisement. To fetch an evidence of Gods Love, and a mans own Adoption from Gods Chastisements and Scourgings, is peculiar to a Child of God, and it is his prerogative, thus to do.
It is not every Adopted Child of God nei∣ther, that can thus argue his sonneship; I am Chastised of God, therefore I am beloved of him; I am scourged more than many others, therefore doubtlesse I am beloved more than others: It must be a child, grown to some maturity in grace, that must thus conclude; Whom the Lord loveth, he correcteth, &c.
Love, as attributed unto God, is not a qua∣lity; as it is in man, but an effect of tree grace, and it is either more generall or more speciall: Of the more generall Love of God towards man, we read in Mar. 10.21. where it is said, of the young man that came to Christ, That Iesus beholding him, loved him. Of the more speciall Love of God towards some, we Page 164 read Ierem. 31.3. 2 Thes. 2.16. Iohn 13.1.
The more generall, or common Love of God, is manifested in, and by his common gifts and dispensations, such as the young man that came to Christ was indued with (to wit) great place in the World, great possessions, morall righteousnesse, desire of, and indea∣vour after eternall life, with the injoyment of temporall felicity, and predominate corrup∣tion.
But the more speciall Love of God towards man, is manifested in, and by his Fatherly cha∣stisements and scourgings, as this Text tels us, Whom the Lord loveth, he chastiseth, &c, Whom the Lord loveth] after a speciall manner, he sooner, or later certainly chastiseth; He scourgeth every sonne whom he receiveth unto glory.
The Chastisements of God, are many for number, various for kind, differing in mea∣sure, duration, and immediate causes; but my purpose is not to discuss these, but to consider, when Gods Chastisements, of what kind soe∣ever, are sure and certain pledges of his more speciall and eternall Love towards a man; which to find out, I will premise these foure things.
First, That Chastisements and sufferings from God, are not pledges of Divine love towards all: A man may be Chastised of God, and yet not be beloved of God, but hated, as Esau was; All things saith Solomon, come alike to all, and if all things, then Chastisements alike to all; Eliphaz tels us, That a man is born to trouble (it is as incident to him) as to the sparks Page 165 to fly upward, Job 5.7. Troubles are Cha∣stisements; and these do not argue love to all that are visited with them.
The second thing premised, is this; That al∣though Chastisements and scourgings, are not pledges of Gods Love to all, yet they are to some. Thou in very faithfulnesse hast afflict∣ed me, saith the Psalmist, Psal. 119.75.
The third thing premised is; Who they are to whom Chastisements and scourgings are pledges of Divine love? they are pledges of Divine love to them and to them only, to whom all things work together for good (to wit) to the Adopted Children of God;*When we are judg∣ed, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world, saith an Adop∣ted Son of God, of himself and his brethren, 1 Cor. 11.32.
The fourth thing premised is; When Cha∣stisements and Scourgings are pledges of Di∣vine love, and that is, when they are sanctifi∣ed: Sanctified chastisements, and they only, are pledges of Gods speciall love toward man.
Quest. But how shall I know, whether Gods chastisements be sanctified •o me, or not?
Answ. Chastisements sanctified, have many appearances, many effects they produce, whereby they may be known, a few of which I will mention, instead of many.
1. Chastisements sanctified, make a man to reflect on himself, read himself over, and call his sinnes to remembrance, as appears in Io∣sephs brethren, Gen. 42.21. and Iob 7.20.
2. Chastisements sanctified, lead to repen∣tance; Page 166Ephraim was by chastisements sanctified, brought to repentance, Ier. 31.18, 19▪ and so was Manasseh, and the Prodigall: By which it is evident, That Chastisements sancti∣fied, make a man turn from his evill way unto the Lord; they make a man turn to him that smiteth; they regulate the whole man▪ and conform him to the whole Will of God, they better his Obedience; Before I was afflicted, I went astray, but now I have learned to keep thy Word, saith David, Psa. 119.67. and it's said of Jesus Christ, Though he were a Sonne, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffer∣ed, Heb. 5.8.
3. Chastisements sanctified, make a man humble,* vile in his own eyes; My soul hath them still in remembrance, (saith the Church of her afflictions) and is bowed in me, Lam. 3.20. I am black (saith the Spouse, when under the sun of persecution) by my Mothers Children. Look not upon me, because I am black, &c. The Churches afflictions were sanctified, and hence it was, that she was humbled by them, and become vile in her own eyes.
4. Chastisements sanctified, wean a man from the world, mortifie in him the love of the world, and deaden his affections to the noblest vanities of the world; they draw the heart from all things here below, and work it to a ho∣ly contempt of them, and inhance the price of grace and glory.
5. They drive the soul to God, and indeare communion with him; they will make a man pray frequently, and pray fervently; Seek the Lord early, and seek him earnestly, wrestle with God in prayer,* witnesse Iacob and the Prodigall.
Page 1676. Chastisements sanctified, beget and in∣crease love in the chastised, towards the cha∣stiser; Rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee, saith Solomon, Pro. 9.8. Chastisements sanctified increase love to God.
7. Chastisements sanctified meeken the heart, and moderate anger, mortifie in man hatred and malice, which generate thoughts and de∣sires of revenge, against the instruments in Gods hand; They beget patience under all strokes; I have sinned,*therefore I will beare the indignation of the Lord, saith the soul, whose Chastisement is sanctified, and justifiesGod in all his dealings.
8. Chastisements sanctified, soften the heart, and make it pliable to the will of God; they subject a man unto Christs yoke.
9. They fit a man for any condition that God cals him unto, prosperity or adversity; they fit him to abound, and fit him to want, fit him to live to Christ, and fit to him to dye for Christ; they fit a man to live to Christ here, and to live with Christ heareafter in Heaven.
10. They make a man long to be dissolved,* to be with Christ, yet patiently to wait on God all the daies of his appointed time, untill his change come, Rom. 5.•. Job 14.14.
11. Sanctified Chastisements indeare to a man, his Fathers house, his house of grace, and his house of glory; they did thus operate in David, Psa. 42. and in Israel in captivity, Psal. 137.1, 6. and in the Prodigall, Luk. 15. When his Chastisement was sanctified unto him, it indeared his fathers house.
12. Sanctified Chastisements will make a man labour to excell in grace; There is no Page 168 man so covetous after grace, as he to whom Gods chastising hand is sanctified; There is none so sensible of the want of grace, nor of the worth of grace, as this soul is, therefore such an one usually labours, above all others, to ex∣cell in grace.
13. Finally, Sanctified Chastisements, leave impression behind them, when they are gone; they do not only make impression, while they are present, as unsanctified Chastisements ma∣ny times do, but they leave impression behind them, when they are removed; impression of holy feare, of love, of humility, of watchful∣nesse, of holinesse, of compassion towards o∣thers under Gods Chastising hand; They yield the peaceable fruit of righteousnesse,*to them that have been exercised thereby, and the like; they do not barely produce good purposes and pro∣mises, but resolve them into performances, ac∣cording to ability and opportunity.
By some one or other of these, every one may perceive, whether Gods Chastisements be sanctified to him, or no; and so consequent∣ly, whether Gods rod, upon himself, be a sign and pledg of Gods speciall Love towards him, or not.
Object. But God Chastises in wrath and displeasure, as well as in love, In my wrath I smote thee, saith God of his own People, Isa. 60.10. In a little wrath I hid my face from thee, &c. Isai. 54.8. How shall I then know, whether God chastise me in love or in displea∣sure?
Sol. To find out this, Consider, 1. That those which the Lord here speaks of, though they were the Lords own People by professi∣on, Page 169 yet they were not all such by true conver∣sion, they were not all beloved, after a speciall manner.
2. Know, That God may, and often times doth, Chastise in wrath, and yet in love too; When God Chastiseth his own Adopted Child, he many times doth it in wrath, and displeasure towards his sin, but alwayes in love to his per∣son.
Wouldest thou then know, whether thou art Chastised of God in love, or not; Con∣sider, whether thou art an Adopted Child of God, or not; Try thy selfe by what hath been formerly said, and if thou findest, that thou art truely such, conclude thou mayest certainly, That all thy Chastisements do spring from love; for whatsoever stroks God smites such an one with, he doth it in Love to his person, (this is a sure rule) though God speak bitter things against thee, as Iob complains he did against him, and do bitter things unto thee, yet all springs from his love, though he bide his face from thee for a while, and chastise thee with s•ourging, he doth it in love to thy per∣son; all Gods dealings with thee, spring from his love, his love is the efficient what∣soever be the meritorious or immediate cause of thy Chastisement; When God is angry with thee, and smites thee for thy sinne, it is in love to thy person, he loves thee still. Is Ephraim my deare sonne, is he a pleasant Child? for since I spake against him, I do earnestly rem•em∣ber him still, &c. Ier. 31.20.
All Gods Children,* even the best of Page 170 them all here, have faults, many faults▪ and God will not suffer them to go uncha∣stised; Children are sure of chaftisement, however servants speed; legitimate sonnes are sure of chastisement,* when they of∣fend, however bastards escape; God hath no time to chastise his Children, but here, therefore they are sure of Chastisement here; it will not stand with Gods Love to passe by them, and wink at their faults; the nearer in relation, the surer of correction, the dearer in affection, the surer of chastisement; Whom the Lord loveth, he chastiseth, and scourgeth every sonne, whom he receiveth.
Wouldest thou then get a true evidence of the speciall Love of God towards thee, and of this Adoption by Jesus Christ, Con∣sider well of two things: First, Whether thou hast been Chastised of the Lord, yea, or nay? Secondly, Whether thy Chastisi∣ments are sanctified to thee, or not? and if thou canst truely conclude on the affir∣mative, thou hast good ground to beleeve, that thou art one beloved of God, after a speciall manner; that thou art an Adopted Child of God, and an heir of Heaven: But if thou hast been altogether free from, or unpro∣fitable under Gods Chaftisement, thou hast just cause to feare, whether thou art an Adopted Child of God, or not; at least that thou art not yet brought home to thy Heavenly Father; For whom the Lord loveth, he (certainly sooner or later) chastiseth, as the Text tels us, Whom the Lord loveth, he chastiseth, and scourgeth every son, whom he receiveth.
Gospell Sufferings, OR Suffering as a Christian.
2 Tim. 2.12.
If we suffer, we shall also reign with him.
IN these words, the Apostle briefly layes before us another and a higher Evidence of our Salvation (to wit) suffering. Heaven the Kingdom of glo∣ry, where Jesus Christ reigns, is here promised to sufferers: But to find out, what kind of sufferers they are, to whom this great reward is promised, we must con∣sult with other Scriptures, for it is not to all kind of sufferers, that this promise is made.
Before I speak of the kind of suffering, here spoken of, I shall here note foure or five things.
First, That suffering is a lesson very hard to flesh and blood to learn; which the Apostle knowing, as a wise scholemaster, sets before us, his schoolers, that which we all naturally Page 172 desire (to wit) soveraignty, as the reward of this service, as a motive to quicken our dull hearts to buckle to our duty. If we suffer we shall also reign with him.
2. Active Obedience is a lesson hard to learn; passive Obedience is a lesson harder to flesh and blood to learn; neither of them can we learn to any purpose, unlesse Christ be our schoolemaster, but both of them will Christ teach us, so far forth as he sees it necessary for us, if he once undertake the work.
3. Suffering is of divers sorts, good or bad, according as the true cause of it is; a man may suffer for well doing, or for evill doing, it is to sufferers for well-doing, not to sufferers for e∣vill doing that the Crown is promised.
4. Suffering is either just, or unjust; suffer∣ing is alwayes just from God, but not alwayes just from men, it is not to just suffering, but to unjust suffering from men, that this promise is made.
5. It is not to sufferers for the evill of sinne, nor to sufferers of the evill of sinne, to which the Crown is promised: But to sufferers of the evill of punishment for the avoiding of the evill of sinne, that it is promised, as •ppears by comparing this Text with some others; Pe∣ter explains Pauls meaning here, touching suf∣fering, 1 Pet. 3.14. If ye suffer for righteous∣nesse sake, happy are ye, Chap. 4.14. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye, &c. Christ concurreth in this, Matth. 5.10, 11, 12, & 19.29. Hence it is evident, That it is not to all kind of suffering, but only to Gospel-suffering, that this great Page 173 reward is promised.
I will not here stand to distinguish between suffering for righteousnesse sake, and suffering for Christs sake, or for his name sake, but leave it for them whose proper worke it is.
1. But here note, 1. That the sufferings of the Gospell comprehend both the Doctrine of the Gospell,* and the Discipline of the Gos∣pell, and Gospell-Conversation, and a man is a sufferer for the Gospel, that suffers in the defence of either of these, or for either.
2. And secondly. Note, That it is not suf∣fering as an evill doer, but suffering as a Christian, that denominates an heir of Hea∣ven; Let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evill-doer, saith the Apostle; Yet if any man suffer (as a Christian) let him not be ashamed, but let him glorifie God on this behalfe, 1 Pet. 4.15, 16. Hence it is evident, That it is to him only that suffers as a Christi∣an, that this promise of reigning with Christ is made; The Apostles meaning in this Text then, is, That if we suffer as Christians, we shall reign with him in glory.
Quest. But what is it to suffer as a Christian? or when may a man be said to suffer as a Christi∣an?
Answ. To suffer as a Christian, is to suffer as Christ did suffer; and a man may be said to suffer, as a Christian, when he is truly confor∣mable to Christ in suffering.
Christ suffered for the Will of his Father, for the fulfilling of the Will of his Father, and he suffered according to the Will of his Fa∣ther; now when a man doth these two, when Page 174 he suffers for the Will of Christ, and suffers according to the Will of Christ, then doth he suffer as Christ did, then may he be said to be conformable unto Christ in suffering, and to suffer, as a Christian.
A man then suffers for the Will of Christ, when he suffers for doing that which Christ would have him to do, or for refusing that which Christ would not have him to do.
A man then suffers, according to the Will of Christ, when he suffers as the Word of God requires him to suffer, (viz.) when he suffers out of Love to God, and suffers beleevingly, patiently, joyfully, couragiously, and perse∣veringly; for confcience towards God, that God may have honour thereby, and glorifies God for suffering.
My purpose is not to enter upon an accute discourse of either of these, but briefly to assert what I think necessary for the right understand∣ing of them, as God shall inable me.
1. It is the Will of Christ, that he that suf∣fers for his Will, should suffer out of love to his Will, and he that doth suffer for the Will of Christ, and doth not suffer out of love to the Will of Christ, doth not suffer according to the Will of Christ, This is evident by the Language of the Apostle, 1 Cor. 13.3. Though I give my body to be burned, and have •ot love, it profiteth me nothing; it is as if the Apostle had said, it is the Will of Christ, that I should suffer out of love to him, and if I do not thus, all my suffering is worth nothing, it is not according to the Will of Christ, nor worth any thing in Gods account; it comes to just no∣thing at last, it profiteth me nothing, &c.
2. It is the Will of Christ, that he that suf∣fers for his will, should suffer beleevingly; this appears thus, It is the Will of Christ, that he that suffers for his Will, should suffer patient∣ly, joyfully, couragiously and perseveringly, but this a man cannot possibly do, except he beleeve; therefore it follows by necessary con∣sequence, that it is the Will of Christ, that he that suffers for his Will, should suffer beleev∣ingly. This is also evident by Scripture, Ioh. 14.1. where Christ making a speech •o his Disciples to fit them for suffering, bids them beleeve, thereby declaring, that his Will was, that they should suffer beleevingly; and inti∣mating, That if they did not suffer beleevingly, they did not suffer according to his will, although they suffered for his will.
A man may be then said to suffer beleeving∣ly, when he by faith committeth the keeping of his soul unto God in well-doing, as the Apostle Peter speaks; when he beleeves that Christ will be with him in all his sufferings, strengthen him to suffer, carry him through all that he cals him to suffer, and abundantly reward all his sufferings for his sake, according to his Word.
3. It is the Will of Christ, that he that suffers for his will should suffer patiently; God cals for patience in suffering; Be patient in tribulation, Rom. 12.12. In your patience, possesse ye your souls, Luk. 21.19. We should follow Christ in patient suffering, saith the Page 176 Apostle,*for even hereunto are we called: Hence it is evident, That he that suffers for the will of Christ, doth not suffer according to the will of Christ, except he suffer patiently.
*Divine patience, or patience considered, as a divine quality, is the issue and creame of many graces; It is a Diamond in the midst of a Triangle, (to wit • a vertue between stupi∣dity, despising the chastisement of the Lord, and fainting under it; it is a grace which keeps a man quiet within, when all things are trou∣blous, and very unquiet without; it is a grace which possesses a man of himself, when dispos∣sessed of all earthly comforts; it is a speciall work of the Spirit of God in the soul, ena∣bling a man not stupidly, but quietly to bear whatsoever God lays upon him, without fee∣ling murmuring, or repining, against God or man, in heart or in tongue, or fainting under his chastising hand.
When it is thus with a sufferer for Christ, then may he be said to suffer according to the will of Christ in this particular (to wit) patiently.
It is divine joy, or the joy of grace, that Christ here calls for in sufferers for his will; it is that joy, which Nehemiah calls, The joy of the Lord.
*And this is a holy passion of the soul, issuing out of the apprehension of what Christ hath done for it, and will do for it, reviving, ele∣vating, Page 177 and strengthening the soul, and carry∣ing it above it self. It is a wing grace, which whiles the soul is actually possessed of, is there∣by carried above it self, above the world, and above Satan.
Faith and joy are the two wings of the soul, which bear it up, both in doing and suffering▪ If either of these be c•ipt, the soul is much hin∣dered thereby, and exposed to many dangers.
Joy, as all other graces of the Spirit, hath different degrees in different times and subjects, and is usually greatest in the greatest sufferers, and sufferings for Christ.
When a man is spoiled in his estate, spoiled in his good name, spoiled in his body, or any thing respecting the preservation or felicity of this life, for his faithfullness to the word and will of Christ; and yet with the good Prophet, Rejoyces in the Lord, and joys in the God of his salvation,* then may he be said to suffer joy∣fully, then may he be said to suffer accor∣ding to the will of Christ, in this particular.
5. Christ in his Word, calls for courage, in sufferers for his will; the will of Christ is, that he that suffers for a good cause, should not be a∣shameddof his cause, nor of his sufferings. If any man suffer (as a Christian) let him not be ashamed.eBe not thou ashamed of the testi∣mony of the Lord,fnor of me his prisoner, saith Paul to Timothy.
The will of Christ is, That he that suffers for his will should not be afraid. gIf ye suffer for righteousness sake, happy are ye, and be not afraid of their terrour nor be troubled. Fear them not, saith Christ, thrice in one Chapter.
Christ compares his Church i to a company of horses in Pharaohs Chariots, which in all probability were the best in Egypt, and like to the war-horse, which the Lord describes to Iob, Job 39. very couragious in the hottest bat∣tell. Christ by this metaphor hints unto us, That his will is, that we should be very bold and couragious, in whatsoever we do, or suffer for his sake, and that he expects it at our hands; his will is, that we should be like a company of horses in Pharaohs Chariots, full of spirits and courage, in doing and suffering, and not like a company of Jades in a Dung-Cart, spiritless and unfit to bear any thing, for his sake.
*It is Christian-courage that Christ requires in sufferers for his will.
Christian courage,* is a grace of the •pirit, whereby a man resolves (through the help and assistance of Jesus Christ) to cleave close to his word and will, and boldly to stand for it, mauger all opposition; and chuses rather to suffer any thing, than omit any thing, or com∣mit any thing, that should derogate from the honour of Christ.
A man doth then declare Christian courage, when he is not ashamed, nor afraid to own a good cause, or appear in it, because of suffe∣ring; when he can suffer for the Gospel, or any Ordinance of God, and truly say with the Apostle, kThough I suffer these things, never∣thel•ss I am not ashamed; I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, nor of the cause of God. And when with the three Children, l he slights the torment, and the tormentor; resolving in the strength of Christ, to do his duty, whatso∣ever Page 179 he suffer for it, and to cleave close to the word and will of Christ, whether deliverance, or no deliverance arise here; when he is more afraid to displease God than man; when he is more afraid of losing things spiritual and eternal, than of losing things temporal; when he chooses to suffer, rather than sinne; when he endureth the Cross, and despiseth the shame; when he refuseth base deliverance,* and yeeldeth his body rather than his cause, (his cause being good) into a Tyrants hand.
When a sufferer for a good cause, doth thus declare his courage, he declares it in a high degree, and suffers according to the will of Christ, in this particular.
6. Christ in his Word requires perseverance unto the end▪ in suffering for his will; and it is unto the persevering sufferer, that this great reward of reigning with Christ, is promised;*Be thou faithfull unto the death, and I will give thee the Crown ofmlife. Henthat shall endure unto the end▪ the same shall be saved.
Christian perseverance, is a conftant hold∣ing out in the Truth to the last breath,* in the belief, love, profession, and practice of the Truth.
And this he may be said to do, that doth never totally, nor finally apostatize from the Truth once received.
It is possible, for one that perseveres in suffering, at some time, and in some kind,* and measure, to desist from his former forward∣ness, through strong temptations and humane frailty; witness Peter, who through fear de∣nied his Master, and forsware him, and yet did Page 178 after suffer for him.
7. The will of Christ is, That he that suffers for his will wrongfully, should do it for con∣science sake, For conscience towards Godo; conscience of his duty should be the principall motive, inducing him to suffer; I do not say, the only, but the principall motive.
*A man may then be said to suffer for con∣science towards God, when conscience of his duty, is the thing that puts him upon suffering; when he to avoid sinne, or performe duty, ex∣poses himself to suffering; when he out of scruple in conscience, of the lawfullness, or un∣lawfullness of a thing, commanded or forbid∣den by Authority, refuseth it, and chooses rather to suffer in his outward man, than to baffle his conscience, or displease God, by re∣belling against lawfull Authority (which is Gods Ordinance;) He that doth thus suffer, doth suffer for conscience towards God, and according to the will of Christ, in this par∣ticular.
8. The will of Christ is, That he that suffers for his will, should aim at his Honour and Glory therein; This appeares thus; Whether you eat or drink▪ or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God, saith the Text, 1 Cor. 10.31. That is, do it so that God may have glory thereby, do it aiming at the Honour and Glory of God therein; Hence I argue thus.
If it be the will of Christ, that I should aim at his Honour and Glory in all that I do, then it is the will of Christ, that I should aim at his Honour and Glory, in all that I suffer, for suffering is doing: But it is the will of Christ, that I should aim at his Honour and Glory, Page 181 in all that I do: Therefore it is the will of Christ, that I should aim at it, in all that I suffer.
A man may then be said to aim at the Ho∣nour and Glory of Christ, in suffering, when he makes that his direct, chief and utmost end, in all that he suffers; when he makes the Ho∣nour and Glory of Christ, the finall cause of all his sufferings; when he suffers not out of vain glory, but that Christ may be magnified thereby, when a man doth thus suffer for the will of Christ, then doth he suffer according to the will of Christ, in this particular.
9. Finally, the will of Christ is, that he that suffers for his will, shoul• glorifie God, for suffering. If any man suffer, as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorifie God on thi• behalf, 1 Pet. 4.16.
A man doth then glorifie God for suffering. 1. When he boldly and thankfully acknow∣ledges the favour of the Lord towards him, in calling him forth, and enabling him to suffer, for his sake. 2. When he makes his suffer∣ings, the matter of his joy and thanksgiving; when he rejoyces and praises God, that he is counted worthy to suffer in any kind for Christs sake. 3. When he doubles his diligence in duty upon this account; thus did the Apostles glorifie God, for suffering, Phil. 1.29. Act. 5.41, 42.
Art thou then a sufferer; Consider whether thou sufferest as a Christian, yea, or nay? whether thou sufferest for the will of Christ? and whether thou sufferest according to the will of Christ? And if thou canst truly con∣clude on the affirmative, thou hast good ground Page 182 to conclude, that thou art one that shall reign with Jesus Christ, in his everlasting kingdome: If ye suffer, ye shall also reign with him; and not only reign with Christ, but reign with him in greater glory: For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 2 Cor. 4.17.
Suffering as a Christian, is a reall testimony of a reall Christian;* and suffering as a Christian is a high evidence of Gods speciall love towards a person.
Dost thou then suffer and suffer as a Christian; Thou maist then safely conclude, I shall reign with Christ: Henceforth there is laid up for me a Crown of righteousness; An exceeding, and eternall weight of glory: A kingdome that cannot be shaken; A Crown that cannot be ta∣ken; Glory that cannot here enter into my heart to conceive; Glory that cannot be measured; Glory that fadeth not away, but remaineth through all eternity; Glory that cannot enter into me, I shall one day enter into. I now suffer with Christ, and for Christ, I shall one day be glorified with Christ, and by Christ, whatsoever Satan or the world may say to the contrary.
Sealing by the Spirit.
Grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. — [Whereby ye are sealed, &c.]
THat which I pitch upon in this Text, as most for my purpose, is this, That the holy Spirit of God doth seal the Elect unto the day of redemption.
The whole Trinity doth con∣cur in this work of sealing soules to eternall happiness; but sealing is here attributed to the third Person in Trinity (to wit) the holy Spi∣rit of God, because it is a work most proper to his Office; It is the holy Spirit of God that sealeth soules to the day of redemption, as the Apostle here tells us.
The persons sealed, by the holy Spirit of God, are the Elect of God, true believers, as the Apostle intimates by that particle [Ye] whereby [Ye] are sealed, speaking of true be∣lievers. These, all these, and none but these, the holy Spirit of God doth seal unto the day of redemption, unto the day of the full mani∣festation Page 184 of our redemption, unto the day of the redemption of our bodies from corruption, and the fruition of the redemption of our souls and bodies from Hell, by Jesus Christ.
Sealing is a metaphor taken from Merchants, who use to seal their own wares, for speciall ends.
The divine seales of God, are of a double kind, and of a double use; they are of a dou∣ble kind, they are either externall, or inter∣nall; outward or inward; •. Externall, or outward, and such a seal was Circumcision in the time of the Law, it is so called by the A∣postle, Rom 4.11. And such are our Sacra∣ments▪ Baptism, and the Lords Supper, now in the daies of the Gospel.
2. Internall, or inward; the internall or inward seal of God, is the seal of the holy Spi∣rit of God, metaphorically so called; and this is that which this Text points at.
Seales are of a double use, they serve to de∣monstrate, and to confirme; they signifie, and ratifie; I speak after the manner of men; Gods seales do no less, they demonstrate, they confirme; But Gods externall seales, with∣out the internall seal of the Spirit of God, cannot assure any soul, of the speciall love of God, nor of his Adoption; many outwardly sealed go to Hell, the outward seales alone, cannot seal any soul unto the day of redemp∣tion; It is the inward seal of the holy Spirit of God, that seales us unto the day of redemp∣tion, as this Text tells us, Grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
The internall, or inward divine seal of the Page 185 Spirit of God, is twofold, Demonstrative, or Confirmative; The holy Spirit of God seals the Elect to the day of redemption two wayes, 1. With a seal of Demonstration, 2. With a seal of Confirmation.
The seal of Demonstration; set by the Spi∣rit of God, I call that a speciall work of the holy Spirit of God, whereby a sinfull soul is truly regenerated, and the Image of God stamped upon him.
The seal of Confirmation, I call that a spe∣ciall work of the holy Spirit of God within us, whereby we are perswaded and assured, after an immediate manner, that we are the chil∣dren of God, adopted in Christ, and beloved with an everlasting love.
Both these seales agree in their efficient cause, for they are both the speciall workes of the holy Spirit of God, whereby the soul is marked for, and assured of eternall happiness, when this life is ended.
Of the first of these seales (to wit) the seal of Demonstration, I shall speak something from this Text, as God shall enable me; and somewhat of the other (to wit) the seal of Confirmation from another Text, if the Lord permit, and so conclude this work.
Before I speak further of this seal of De∣monstration, or the appearances of it, I will here premise six things.
First, That as a Merchant sets his seal upon his wares, by which he demonstrates such and such wares to be his, and distinguisheth them from all other; so God sets his seal upon his people (to wit) this seal of regeneration, by which he demonstrates them to be his, and di∣stinguisheth Page 186 them from all the people in the world, profane, morall, hypocriticall: This I may call Gods broad-seal, sealing a soul to the day of redemption.
Secondly, This seal God sets upon all his wares; all his adopted children, are sooner or later sealed with this seal: every reall Saint, every one that is effectually called, hath this seal of Demonstration set upon him, regene∣ration wrought in him, Gods Image stamped upon him. But all the children of God have not this in like measure, the impression is not alike visible in all, neither to the parties themselves, nor to others; some bear this im∣pression, as babes; others, as men grown up to some maturity; all Gods adopted children bear this impression truly, but none of them perfectly in this life.
The third thing premised is this, That this seal of Demonstration (to wit) true regene∣ration, is of absolute necessity unto salvation; for, Without holiness no man shall see the Lord, Heb. 12.14.* No man shall ever inherit the kingdome of glory, that hath not this seal set upon him in the kingdome of grace. Christ will own none of these wares for his, in that other world, whom he doth not thus seal in this world, it stands not with his justice to own such.
The fourth thing premised is this, That this seal of regeneration demonstrates to God, to man, to others, and to a mans self, except in some * cases, that he is Gods; He hath cho∣sen us in him, before the foundation of the world, through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the Truth, 2 Thes. 2.13.
Page 187Fifthly, This seal of regeneration,* is such as others may discern; therefore I call it, a seal of demonstration: The Image of God, if once stamped in truth upon the soul, cannot be hid no more, than fire in a mans bosome; the love of God in the heart, will shew it self in the outward man; Nay, this seal of regene∣ration is many times more obvious unto o∣thers, than unto the parties themselves: This seal is so lively stamped on some of Gods peo∣ple, that it shews it self very eminently in the eies of others, when they that have it, cannot, nor will not, behold it in themselves.
The sixth and last thing premised is this, That this seal of regeneration, whereever it is truly stamped by the holy Spirit of God,* is Gods mark, and the soules earnest for Heavens eternity; The Lord hath set apart him that is godly for himself, Psal. 4.3. The person thus sealed is a sequestred person, sequestred for the Lords use, sealed unto the day of redemption; Where note, That this seal of regeneration, doth confirme and make sure the love of God unto the person on which it is set, as well as the other, though not alwayes to the appre∣hension of the person.
Object. But Satan doth many times coun∣terfeit this seal, and thereby cheats and cosens many a soul; He counterfeiteth holiness, and per∣swades the soul, that is but seemingly regenerate, that he is truly regenerate; and him that hath but civill holiness, that he hath saving holiness; and by this sophistry of his, cheats and undoth many a soul; How shall I then come truly to dis∣cern, whether the demonstrative seal, set upon my self, be indeed the seal of the holy Spirit of God▪ Page 188 or but the counterfeit set by Satan?
Answ. 1. Wheresoever there is true regene∣ration wrought by the holy Spirit of God, Sa∣tans seal, which is upon our soules, as we come into the world, is cancelled, corruption is not barely restrained, but mortified; The body is dead, because of sinne, as the Scripture speaks; the soul is bent against every sinne, it allows not it self in any known sinne,* it hates all sin, but where Satan counterfeits this seal, corrup∣tion is but restrained, the heart loves it still, and cherisheth some one sinne or other.
2. The soul •hus sealed by the holy Spirit of God, beares the Image of God, the Image of God is stamped upon it; as the seal is, so is the print which it makes; the Spirit of God is a holy Spirit, and the soul that is sealed by it is a holy soul: He is renewed in the spirit of his mind; Holiness is stamped upon his heart and spirit▪* and from thence spreads it self through the whole man, and through the whole life; from the time of conversion, regenera∣tion, wrought by the Spirit of God, makes the heart pure and holy, as well as the outward man; therefore the Apostle calls it, Holiness of truth, Ephes. 4.24. and saith in another place, The Spirit is Life, because of righteous∣ness. Christ makes it a note of a good man, that he can derive goodness from within, Luk 6 45. Therefore I may safely pitch upon it, That Holiness engraven upon the heart and spirit of a man, and from thence, declaring it self in the whole man, and in the whole life, is vigor fit and but fit to give the denomination of a soul thus sealed; regeneration wrought by the Spirit of God is begun in the inward Page 189 man; it is universall, and goes through every faculty of the soul, and every part and mem∣ber of the body, through the whole life and conversation; he that is truly sanctified, is sanctified throughout, and holy in all manner of convers•tion; he that is sealed by the holy Spirit of God, beares the Image of God in all these.
But Satans counterfeit seal of Demonstrati∣on, stamps his own image; he is seemingly an Angel of light, whilest really a Devil; and he that is thus sealed by Satan, resembles him in this, he is a seeming Saint, a reall Devil; So Christ spake of Iudas, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a Devil?
He that is thus sealed by Satan, hath Holiness painted on his outside, but wickedness graven on his heart, as is evident in the Scribes and Pharisees, who were thus sealed by Satan; they were outwardly holy (as Christ shews at large, Mat. 23.) but inwardly very ugly and rotten, and therefore calls them, whited sepul∣chres, not sealed soules.
Civill Holiness may, and many times doth en∣able a man to carry himself civilly, and holily in the eies of men; but saving Holiness makes a man studious, and carefull to approve him∣self unto God, in his very thoughts and affect∣ions, and in the motions of his heart, as well as the motions of the outward man; yea, this is that which he is most carefull of, and indust∣rious about, that is sealed by the holy Spirit of God, his chief work is within doors; his prin∣cipall care, desire and endeavour, is to ap∣prove his heart unto God, and so walk, that he may be accepted of him, and glorifie him.
Page 190Then again, civill Holiness springs from morall principles,* good education, and the like; but saving Holiness springs from love: love to God is the root out of which it springs, as the Apostle shews, Eph. 1.4. The soul that is thus sealed by the Spirit of God, his Holiness springs from love to God, The love of Christ constraineth him thereunto.
The soul that is thus sealed by the holy Spirit of God, dares not sunder what God hath cou∣pled together (to wit) Holiness towards God, and Righteousness towards men: a man truly regenerate, is carefull of both, witness Paul, Act. 24.16. He makes conscience of all sinne, and of all duty; he warrs against all sinne, and hath r•spect unto all Gods Commandments.
The soul thus sealed by the holy Spirit of God, is one in whom sinne dwelleth as a Re∣bell, and ruleth as a Tyrant only: He is one that is of all men the most sensible of, and af∣fected with carnallity in himself; I am carnall (saith he) sold under sinne, Rom. 7.
He is one that serves the Lord, with all hu∣mility of mind, Act. 20.19. The more holy, and the more righteous a soul sealed by the holy Spirit of God is, the more humble he is; Christ and Paul were notable examples of this.
He that is thus sealed by the holy Spirit of God, is a world-overcoming creature, a flesh-overcoming creature,* and a Devil overcoming creature; He is more than a Conquerour (over all these) through Christ that hath loved him, and sealed him by his Spirit.
He is one that is a new Creature, and of this something hath been already spoken in this Page 191 Treatise, to which I refer the Reader, for a farther discovery of a regenerate person.
In fine, He that is thus sealed by the holy Spirit of God, is one that holds on his way, and grows in grace. I joyn these together, so doth Iob, The righteous shall hold on his way, and he that hath clean hands shall be stronger and stronger, Job 17.9. This seal of the holy Spi∣rit of God, hath this priveledge, above and be∣yond all other seales, the impression which it makes remaineth and increaseth. This seal of Demonstration, if once truly stamped, by the Spirit of God, on a soul, abideth there, the impression never weares out; This annointing abideth, as Iohn speakes, 1 Ioh. 2.27. Truth of grace in the heart, and it abideth there, and the heart abideth in the truth; When God gives a man truth of grace, he gives it him, to have and to hold for ever; the soul thus sealed beares in it the marks of the Lord Jesus unto the death, and most eminently after death in glory; This seal of the holy Spirit of God is lasting, and everlasting; True regeneration, seales a man to the day of redemption, but this it could not do, were it not a lasting sub∣stance.
This may suffice to discerne the reality of this seal of Demonstration by (to wit) true regeneration, and to distinguish it from that counterfeit set by Satan; I do not intend an innumeration of the qualifications and appea∣rances of a regenerate person here, but only endeavour to discry him, and distinguish be∣tween him, and one but seemingly regenerate, Page 192 and therefore strik•〈◊〉, and proceed to the other seal of the holy Spirit of God, (to wit) the seal of Confirmation, mentioned before, and for this purpose shall pitch upon; Rom. 8.16.
Spirits witness with our spirits.
The Spirit it self, beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.
THis is the last, but not the least e∣vidence, that a child of God hath in this life, for Heave•s e∣ternity; of this▪ I •ay say, as David said of 〈◊〉 sword, There is none like that, give it me; There is no testimony to that of the Spirit of God, wit∣nessing with our spirits, to satisfie conscience, to resolve all doubts, remove all scruples, and end all controversies, about our eternall estate.
When the Spirit of God beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God (to wit,) by grace and adoption, the soul then en∣joys heaven upon earth, and hath meat to eat, that the world knoweth not of; It is sealed unto the day of redemption, indeed with a seal of Con∣firmation, and it knoweth that it is so.
The Spirit it self, beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: Hence it is evident.
That no mans own spirit,* can truly ass•re Page 194 him, of the love of God towards him, nor • his adoption, unless the Spirit of God concur, and bear witness with his spirit, no more than a mans own Deed or Seal, can assure him of what is delegated or assigned unto him by ano∣ther.
Neither is it the Spirit of God alone, simply and singly considered, that doth this, but it is the Spirit of God concurring with our spirits, the Spirit bearing witness with our spirit, that doth assure us of the love of God, and our adoption.
When the Spirit of God by a speciall work of his upon our soules, convinces them of the speciall love of God towards us, of our Justi∣fication, and Sanctification, and we by faith assent thereunto, then doth the Spirit bear wit∣ness with our spirit, according to the meaning of this Text (as I conceive) then is the soul sealed unto the day of redemption, with a seal of Confirmation.
And this is that seal, which I am now to speak of, and that which this Text points at; This may be called Gods privy seal, sealing a soul unto the day of redemption; Of this seal the Apostle speakes, Eph•s. 1.13. In whom after ye believed, ye were sealed with the holy Spirit of promise, &c.
Before I speak of the appearances of this seal of the Spirit of God, I shall here note two or three things.
*This seal of Confirmation, God sets upon some of his people, but this he doth not set upon all his people; the Spirit of God doth •hus bear witness with our spirits in some of Gods children, but it doth not thus bear wit∣ness Page 195 with our spirits, in all Gods children. Neither doth it thus bear witness, at all times in those in whom it doth at some: the Scrip∣tures afford frequent examples of this.
2. This testimony or witness of the Spirit of God, in whomsoever it is, proceedeth from, and dependeth on free grace, and is a token of royall favour, to whomsoever it is granted; it is Christs golden Scepter held up to the soul.
3. This seal or testimony of the holy Spirit of God, though it be the ratifier of our Re∣demption, and Salvation in our hearts, yet it is not the meritorious cause of it, neither is it absolutely necessary unto salvation.
4. This seal of the holy Spirit of God, on whomsoever it is set, is an earnest, and but an earnest, of that inheritance, which he shall one day be possessed of, with the adopted children of God in heaven: This is evident by the lan∣guage of the Apostle, Eph. 1.14.
Obj. But Satan doth sometimes coun•erfeit this seal too, he perswades the soul, that it is in a good condition, and highly favoured of the Lord, and draws the soul to presume upon it, when as it is indeed in the very gall of bitterness, and bonds of iniquity: How shall I then discern a true and well∣grounded perswasion, and the testimony of Gods Spirit, from a presumptuous concei•, and the Devils delusion.
Answ. We must try the Spirits, try the testimony that we have (if any,) so saith the Apostle, 1 Ioh. 4.1. Believe not every Spirit, but try the Spirits, whether they are of God.
Object. But how shall I do that? How shall I try the testimony that I have, whether it be of God or no?
Page 196Answ. By the rule of faith, the written word of God, as the Lord directeth, Isa. 8.20. Luk 16.29. The written word of God (to wit) the holy Scriptures, is the only true touch-stone that we have, to try the Spirits, and their testimony by. And it affirms,
*First, That a true testimony of the holy Spirit of God, is ever agreeable, and exactly answerable unto the written word of God: Gods witnesses do never disagree in their testi∣mony, the word of God, and the Spirit of God speak the same thing; As a pair of In∣dentures do exactly answer one another, so doth the testimony of the Spirit of God, exact∣ly answer to the testimony of the word, the word of God and the Spirit of God speak the same thing; To the law, and to the testimony, saith the Lord, if they speak not according to this word▪ it is because ther• is no Life in them, Isa. 8.20. He•ce it is evident, That if the writ∣ten word of God, do not concur with the testi∣mony that thou hast, that testimony is not the testimony of the holy Spirit of God, but a meer delusion of Satan, a dead and counter∣feit thing; it is not a sealing unto the day of redemption, but a sealing unto the day of de∣struction.
Secondly, The word affirms, that whoso∣ever is sealed by the holy Spirit of God, with this seal of Confirmation, is first sealed by him with a seal of Demonstration; this seal of the holy Spirit of God is not an antecedent to, but a subsequent of the other seal of Demon∣stration, it doth not precede, but follow after faith and sanctification; In whom after ye be∣liev•d, ye were sealed with the holy Spirit of Page 197 promise, saith the Apostle, speaking of this seal, Eph. 1.13. Hence it is evident, That a man is first a true believer, he hath first a true faith, a true and reall interest in Christ; He is justified, and sanctified, and made a new Creature, before thus sealed by the holy Spi∣rit of God. Here I desire the Reader to note two or three things.
First, That it is a true believer only,* that is capable of this seal of the holy Spirit of God, He that believeth on the Sonne of God hath the witness in himself, 1 Joh. 5.10. He only that believeth aright, hath this witness of the Spi∣rit of God in himself, he only that hath a justi∣fiing faith, is thus sealed by the Spirit of God.
Secondly note, That this testimony of the Spirit of God is one of the kisses of Christs mouth, which the Church prayes for, Cant. 1.2. But Christ doth not thus kiss and em∣brace his Children, when they be all filthy and nasty, he doth first cleanse them by his blood, and by his Spirit, justifie them and sanctifie them, renew and heavenlize them.
Thirdly note this, That the Spirit, and the water and the blood, do concur in their testi∣mony, where the Spirit of God doth be•r witness, so saith the Scripture, 1 Ioh. 5.8. There are three which bear witness in the earth, the Spirit, and the water and the blood, and these three agree in one.
Fourthly note, That the blood and the water may, and sometimes do, bear witness, where the Spirit of God doth not thus bear witness with our spirits, that we are the a∣dopted children of God: But the Spir•t of Page 198 God doth never thus bear witness, where the blood, and the water do not bear witness. Christs blood doth satisfie for sinne, and his Spirit cleanse from sinne, wheresoever his Spirit doth thus bear witness; He therefore that thinks he is sealed by the Spirit of God with a seal of Confirmation, and yet is not sealed with the seal of Demonstration, is but deluded and bewitched by Satan, and in a fools Paradice.
In the third place, whomsoever the holy Spirit of God doth seal, with a seal of Confir∣mation, whomsoever he doth assure of the fa∣therly love of God towards him, he doth qua∣lifie with the disposition of a son (to wit) love to his heavenly Father, fear of offending him, desire, care, and endeavour to walk be∣fore him in all wel-pleasing, obeying his voice out of love,* mourning for its offences, and depending on God its heavenly Father for all things.
The soul thus sealed apprehends much love in God, and this generates much love in it towards God again, and the things of God; this, saith this soul, is no common favour, but a singular; all of my Brethren eat not of this bread, wear not this raiment; this is Benja∣min's portion, and it calls for much love from me, much filial fear and care, more duty and better done. And hence it comes to pass, that this soul grows not careless and fearless, but more carefull and conscionable in duty, and tender of doing any thing that may displease God, grieve the holy Spirit of God, whereby he is sealed; quench the motions thereof, or cause him to suspend his testimony.
The soul thus sealed by the holy Spirit of Page 199 God, is never better pleased with it self, than when it can weep over Christ, whom it hath pierced, and find Christ bleed over it; it is ne∣ver well, but when in this frame, it desires nothing more than such a frame of spirit, as cannot look upon sinne, but it sighs for sor∣row, nor upon its Saviour, but it smiles for joy.
When Christ thus imparts himself to the soul, this soul speaks to Christ, as God once spake to Abraham, Now I know that thou lo∣vest me, seeing thou hast not with-held from me, thy sonne, thine only sonne, whom thou lovest, said God to Abraham: So saith this soul to Christ, now I know that thou lovest me, seeing thou hast not with-held from me this grace that is so lovely in thy sight, but when it can∣not find Christ thus present with it, it is trou∣bled.
Fourthly, The soul that hath this seal,* or testimony of the Spirit of God, hath a spirit of prayer; in whomsoever the Spirit of God is a Spirit of adoption, he is also a Spirit of sup∣plication; whomsoever the Spirit of God doth assure of the fatherly love of God to∣wards him, he enables to cry Abba, Father, and maketh request for him with unutterable Rhetorick; he enables the soul to pour it self forth to God, in supplication and thanksgiving; this is evident by Gal. 4.6. Rom. 8.15, 26.
The soul thus sealed by the Spirit of God, longs after, and delights in, approaches to God, and God approaches to it in all his holy Ordinances; Let me see his countenance, let me hear his voice, saith the soul thus sealed, for sweet is his countenance, and his voice pleasant,Page 200 it delights to meditate on, and walk with its God, it doth not leave off duty, but performs it more conscionably and spiritually.
In the fift place, sound assurance produces fruitfullness; the soul that is by the Spirit of God, assured of the grace and favour of God towards it, is usu•lly the fru•tfullest in righte∣ousness, as is ev•dent by the language of the Apostle, Col. 1.6. After the Colossians knew the grace of God in truth, they were more fruit∣full in righteousness, than ever.
Sound assurance of the love of God, pro∣duces care and industry, in the work and wayes of God, as is evident by the language of the Apostle, 2 Cor. 5.1, 8. We know, we are con∣fident, saith he of himself, and other Believers; and what follows? Therefore we labour, that whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him, ver. 9. These mens assurance produced not carelesness and sloth, but care and indu∣stry, and it is the property of good assurance so to do.
This condemns that Popish Tenet, That assurance of salvation is the destroyer of all piety and charity.* And it condemns that assurance that is fruitless or careless.
In the sixt place, Sound assurance produces joy, 1 Pet. 1.8. Faith of evidence and joy, are inseperably united, they are Twins born at once, and if assurance die, joy dies with it; In whomsoever the Spirit of God is a Spirit of Confirmation, he is a Spirit of Consolation; the soul that is assured of the love of God to∣wards it, cannot but rejoyce in it; spiritual Consolation doth not spring so naturally from any thing, as it doth out of the witness of the Page 201 Spirit; joy may be (I mean some kind of joy) where assurance is wanting, but assurance ne∣ver goes without joy, spirituall joy.
There is a generation (as Solomon tels us) which in the midst of laughter, their heart is sad; and there is a generation, which in the midst of sadnesse, their heart rejoyceth; And those which are thus sealed by the holy Spirit of God are they, such is the power of sound assurance, that it will make (I mean instru∣mentally) the heart to joy, whilst the out∣ward man sorrows; it will fill the heart, with joy unspeakable, and full of glory, whilst the outward man is filled with shame and contempt; yea▪ sound assurance is for the most part, then strongest, and shews it self with most vigor and light somenesse within, when the greatest damp of outward discomforts, lye upon the person, and the world most frowns upon him, or per∣secutes him, for his frowardnesse and faithful∣nesse, in the cause of God. When Paul and Silas had much cause to sigh, for their usage amongst men, they then sang and rejoyced, Act. 16.25. When the Apostles did suffer shame for Christ, then did they most rejoyce, Act. 5.41. When the People of God were spoiled of their goods, and spoiled in their persons, then did they rejoyce; and whence sprang their joy in this disconsolate condition, but from their assurance? They took joyfully the spoiling of their goods [knowing] that they had in Hea∣ven, a better, and induring substance, Heb. 10.34.
Assurance of Gods favour, produceth joy according to its measure and degree, assurance of hope, produceth joy, assurance of faith, Page 202 produceth more joy; The riches of the full as∣surance of understanding, most of all.
The joy that springs from assurance, is a heart strengthening joy, a life lenghtening joy, and a joy that no man can take from us, it is a soul inlarging, a shame despising, a God-glo∣rifying, a world-overcoming, and a sin-over∣coming grace.
[ 7] In the seventh place, Sound assurance pro∣duceth humility; this seal of confirmation, when set by the Spirit of God, doth work the soul to more humility of mind, then usu∣ally is in others; The Apostle Paul is a notable instance hereof, he was thus sealed by the holy Spirit of God, when he said, I am perswaded that neither Death nor Lfe, Angels, Principali∣ties, nor Powers, nor any other thing, shall be able to separate me, from the Love of God, which is in Christ Iesus our Lord; and then did be serve the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, as himself saith, Act 20.19. Sound assurance is heart-humbling, heart-moli∣fying.
[ 8] Sound assurance, leaves not the soul without a holy jelousie of it self, nor without a Christi∣an watch; This is evident in the Apostle Paul, Rom. 8.38, 39. compared with 1 Cor. 9.26, 27. I am perswaded (saith he) that neither Dea•h, nor Life, nor any other Creature, shall be able to separate me from the Love of God, &c. Yet was he not hereby taken off from, but ra∣ther incited to a holy jealousie of, and watch∣fulnesse over himself and all his wayes, as ap∣pears by the forecited place.
Sound assurance is not the destroyer, but the Nurse of holy jealousie and watchfulnesse; Neither is holy jealousie an enemy to, but a preserver of sound assurance.
In the ninth place, Sound assurance works [ 9] the heart to more contempt of the world, and the things of the world, then others usually at∣tain to, and it doth mightily quicken and spur forward the soul to more holinesse, hatred of sinne, and zeal, and courage in the cause of God; Moses and Paul are pregnant exam∣ples of this; of the effects of this seal in Moses, we may read in Heb. 11. v. 24, 25, 26, 27. Exod. 32.31, 32 and in Paul, Phil. 3. v. 7, to 15. Act. 20. v. 19, to 25.
In the tenth place, Sound assurance will [ 10] bide the trial, and it is willing to be tried; it shuns not the light, but comes to the light, that its reality might be made manifest.
Sound assurance is not usually injoyed long [ 11] without some buffetings of Satan; the soul that is t•us sealed by the Spirit of God, hath u•u∣ally some thorne in the flesh, some messenger (or other) of Satans to exercise it, and humble it: thus it was with the Apostle Paul, when thus sealed by the holy Spirit of God, as appears by 2 Cor. 12.7. and thus it is with other of the Chil∣dren of God, who are thus sealed by the Spirit of God, as each mans experience will witnesse; to this I set a probatum est.
Sound assurance of the Love of God, makes [ 12] the soul long for the full fruition of it;* this seal of the holy Spirit of God, moves the soul Page 204 nothing more, to desire to be dissolved, to be with God; how long, Lord? saith this soul, come Lord Iesus, come quickly: I have a desire to de∣part, and to be with Christ, saith a soul thus seal∣ed, Phil. 1.23.
The soul thus sealed by the Spirit of God, longs to be with God, yet labours to wait pati∣ently for him, all the daies of his appointed time; Iob was thus sealed by the Spirit of God, when he said, I know that my Redeemer liveth; he was assured that Christ was his Redeemer, and he longed to be with him, yet patiently waits for him, not a day or two, but all the daies of his appointed time, Iob 14.14.
He that presumeth, many times makes more haste, than good speed; But he that be∣leeveth maketh not haste.
Finally, He that is thus sealed by the Spi∣rit of God, [ 13] is also led by the Spirit of God, (mark that) He is led by the Spirit of God, after a speciall manner, As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the Sonnes of God, saith the Text, Rom. 8.14. so many as are led by the Spirit of God as a sanctifier, (and no more, have good ground to conclude) they are the Children of God, by this rule of the A∣postle, and so consequently to conclude, That the testimony that they have of their adop∣tion (if any) is the testimony of the Spirit of God.
Having thus briefly spoken of this feal of confirmation, set by the Spirit of God, and se∣verall appearances of it, I shall here desire the Reader to take notice.
*That this seal of confirmation, on whom∣soever it is set by the Spirit of God, is usually Page 205 the resolution of many doubts, the blessing of many prayers and teares, the fruit of a strong and well grounded faith, or the rich reward of long patience in suffering evill, for doing good and eschewing evill, or the victory and tri∣umph of a sore spirituall warre, or the fra∣grant flower of a well-dressed garden, the rich crop of a well-manured field, or the Pearl pur∣chased, with the adventure of all the glory and Crown, of high degrees in grace and holi∣nesse, the blessing of much acquaintance with, and experience of the Word and Waies of God, and exact walking therein, the begin∣ing of Heaven upon earth, a cordiall to keep from fainting under some great burden, the frui•ion of sweet submission unto Christs yoke, or a stock put into our hands by God, for some great after-trading for God,* in doing or suf∣fering: In a word, it is the most secret, sweet, and soul-ravishing manifestation of the Love of Christ, that the Spouse of Christ is capable of on earth.
This is that hidden Manna, and new name mentioned▪ Rev. 2.17. which no man knoweth, •ut he that hath it.
This Christ promised to his Church, in the day of her sufferings for his sake, as a speciall means to support her under, and carry her through, and above all the troubles, that she should meet with in the world for her close cleaving to his Word and Will, At that day (saith he) ye shall know, that I am in the Father, and you in me, and I in you, John 14.20.
Having spoken somewhat of the signs and demonstrations of these seales of the holy Spi∣rit Page 206 of God severally: I will only add a word or two concerning such signs and effects, as are proper to them both, joyntly considered, and so conclude this Manuscript.
The soul that is thus sealed by the holy Spi∣rit of God (to wit) with the seal of demon∣stration, and the seal of Confirmation.
1. Doth earnestly long, and desire to be more sealed; He or she, that hath truth of grace, doth earnestly long for, and indeavour after, more grace, higher degrees of grace; He still presses towards the mark, Phil. 3.13. He prayes for, and indeavours after, what Christ hath promised, in the name of the whole Tri∣nity to give, Cant. 1.11. Borders of gold, with studs of silver, augmentation of all grace.
The soul that is by the Spirit of God, per∣swaded and assured of the Fatherly Love of God, counts not that it hath enough, but longs still to be more and more confirmed in it; the tast that it hath of the sweetnesse and goodnesse of this wine, makes it long to drink deeper of it, and to desire flaggons of it, Cant. 2 5. The sweetnesse, strength and comfort which the soul finds in, and by the apprehensi∣on of the Love of God, makes it long and la∣bour to apprehend it more: Paul was assured of the Love of God, and he did exceedingly desire, and labour to apprehend it more, as will appear by Rom. 8.38, 39. compared with Phil. 3.12, 13. The apprehension of the Love of God, doth not satiate the soul, but whets it, and sets appetite upon it; and hence it comes to passe, That
2. The soul that is thus sealed by the Spirit Page 207 of God, highly prizes all those means, Ordi∣nances, and Instruments of God, whereby it came to be thus sealed, and industriously, and conscionably uses them, for the carrying on and perfecting of this work begun in it: The soul thus sealed by the Spirit of God, knows experimentally, that it is but whilst the King sitteth at his Table, as the Church speaks, Cant. 1.12. that his spicknard sendeth forth the smell thereof; but whilst Christ continues his power∣full presence in his holy Ordinances, and his speciall spirituall presence in the soul, that grace doth thrive, or send forth any good sa∣vour, by thoughts, words, or deeds, and therefore it longs earnestly after, and prayes fervently for all these, as that which is the life of its life, and the soul of its soul, the Chariot of the Spirit, whereby he descends into our hearts and carryes them up to Heaven. He knows ex•er•mentally that all helps, publique and private, are little enough, to keep this seal faire unto the day of Redemption, and therefore slights none, but carefully and con∣scionably uses all that God affords him. He knows that he is never the neer for that privi∣ledg of free accesse to the Throne of grace, that Christ hath purchased for us, unlesse he make use of it, and therefore leaves not off praying; he finds experimentally, that he is little or no∣thing the better for the publique meanes (at least in heart) unlesse he duly and consciona∣bly use all private helps too; and therefore, as one sensible of his own wants and weaknesse, and the Spirits worth and sweetnesse, he waits for the movings of the Spirit at all these pooles.
Page 208But contrary wise, the Soul in which Satan counterfeits these seales of the Spirit of God, when it is once thus sealed by him, is many times ready to say as Esau, I have enough; and with Laodicea, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing, neither Grace, Ordinances, nor Ministers; leaves Manna, and loaths it, declines and deserts the Ordinances, Churches, and Ministers of Christ, and fals off from, or (at least) grows cold and customary in duty, which evidently demon∣strates it to be Satans seal, and not the seal of the holy Spirit of God, that is upon it.
3. The soul thus sealed by the holy Spirit of God▪ obeys the truth of God, as it is dis∣covered unto him by his Word and Spirit, in his Ministers; and he that doth not apply him∣self to do this, and yet thinks himself sealed, is but bewitched, his testimony that he hath, is but a bewitching, as the Apostle intimates, Gal. 3.1.
Whosoever therefore thinks himself sealed by the holy Spirit of God, with a seal of de∣monstration, and with a seal of confirmation, and yet doth not these three things, is deceiv∣ed, and deceiveth his own heart; it is Satans seal, and not Gods, that is upon him; his sealing is a sealing to the day of destruction, not a seal∣ing to the day of redemption.
Having finished what I promised, I shall now draw to a conclusion of the whole, and shall conclude this thus.
Having travelled through the holy Scrip∣tures, and seached the Records thereof▪ to see what I might find therein, that might intitle me to the inheritance of the Saints in Light, I Page 209 have taken notice of divers remarkable places of Scripture, very helpfull for this purpose, some of which I have studied industriously, ac∣cording to my poore ability, and through the help of my gracious God, have acquired some comfort and satisfaction thereby in this weigh∣ty matter of evidence: what the Lord hath been pleased to impart unto me, in this weigh∣ty matter. I have committed to writing for my own present and future benefit, and that I might leave it for a Legacy to my Children af∣ter me, which having done, I commit this work, and the Reader of it to the blessing of God, through Jesus Christ.
AN APPENDIX, To the Foregoing Discourse. Containing certain rules to be observed by every Person, that hath attained any good assurance of the Love of God, and his own salvation, and desires to retain it.
FOrasmuch as assurance of the Love of God, and a mans own Salvation, is a pearl of great price, hard to be gotten, but quickly lost; and being once lost, harder to be regained, than gotten at first, as many examples in Scripture shew, and ma∣ny Christians experience will tell them; I think it necessary, both for my own behoof and the Readers, to adde to this little draught of evi∣dence, some few rules of Direction to be ob∣served, for the keeping of this precious jewel, when it is once attained; but before I mention them, I desire the Reader to take notice of four things,
First, That although a Christian, which hath once a true and real interest in Jesus Christ, cannot lose his inheritance, nor misse of sal∣vation, Page [unnumbered] yet he may lose his evidence (I mean his assurance of it) and feare himself to be but an Hypocrite, and a lost Creature, and Satan labou•s above all things, to rob him of his evidence, whom he cannot rob of his inhe∣ritance.
[ 2] Secondly note. That evidence of our interest in God and Christ, is a gift of Gods free grace, and it dependeth upon Gods free Will; I do not remember any particular pro∣mise in the Bible, that God hath made (ordi∣narily) to give this blessing of assurance unto his people, or to continue it unto them al∣wayes, unto whom he gives it; on whomsoe∣ver God bestows this grace of Assurance, it is over and above what he hath covenanted with his People to give them; and I call it (a gift of free grace) in this respect; God gives this blessing at pleasure, and he may take it a∣way at pleasure; we hold it as Tenants at will, and when the Lord pleaseth, he may reverse his grant, or suspend his favour.
[ 3] Thirdly, That God usually, (I do not say alwayes) continues this blessing, or suspends it, according to the use or abuse of it; God varies his carriage towards the Creature in re∣spect hereof, as the Creature varies its carri∣age towards him; though Gods Love towards his People be alwayes the same, yet his disco∣v•ries of it are not alwayes the same; though the Spirit of God be alwayes a leader to his People, yet be is not alwayes a witnessor to them; the Spirit of God many times suspends his testimony from those, to whom he continues his guidance.
[ 4] Fourthly, It behooveth every one there∣fore, Page [unnumbered] to whom the Lord vouchsafeth this royall favour, to study how to carry himself, so that he may still enjoy it, this hath been my work and indeavour ever since the Lord hath vouch∣safed me any sence of his Love, and evidence of my interest in Christ, for this purpose I have propounded to my self, and shall here briefly commend to the Reader, these rules, which fol∣low.
1. Having once gotten any good assurance of the Love of God, and thy own salvation, thus do; Lay up this Jewell safe in the Cabbinet of a tender Conscience.
2. Set a guard about it, guard it with the feare of God, and spirituall watchfulnesse; In the feare of the Lord is strong confidence.*Therefore be thou in the feare of the Lord all the day long; All the day of thy life, all thy life long; and labour to keep a constant, spi∣rituall watch over thy heart, over thy whole man and thy whole life. a
What I shall say more concerning this sub∣ject, I shall conclude in two sorts of rules; the first, Negative, The second, positive; The Ne∣gative rules are these.
Peace being spoken to thy soul, take heed of doing any thing that should infring or inter∣rupt it, take heed of returning unto folly; Take heed of relapsing into any sinne; this rule the word prescribes, on this very ground, b be∣ware therefore of returning unto former, or like offences.
Beware of eating, touching or looking af∣ter forbidden fruit; all sinne is forbidden fruit, therefore take heed of it, and the first motions thereunto; Remember Adam and Eve, who Page [unnumbered] were by their externall senses led to eat of that fruit, which God had forbidden them to eat, or to touch, and thereby lost that sweet com∣munion with God, which they had before, and that influence of his grace, which they had and might still have had, had they not eaten of that fruit.
Shun all sinne, hate and abhor all sinne, espe∣cially scandalous sinnes; remember Reuben and David; Reuben by one scandalous act, loft his priviledg, and David by one scandalous act lost his evidence.
Take heed of secret sinnes, allow not thy self in, give not way to any secret sinne, for these often interpose between God and the soul, be∣tween the Sonne of Righteousnesse, and the soul, and eclyps the light of Gods Counte∣nance, and the bright beames, and ra•es of the Sun of Righteousnesse from us, Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sinnes in the light of thy Countenance, saith the Psalmist, Psal. 90.8. therefore beware of these.
Take heed of sinning against l•ght, against a∣ny light▪ naturall, morall, or Divine: Sin not presumptiously.
Take heed of backsliding in heart, in pro∣fession or in practise, from the truth of God, or power or form of godlinesse.
Be not carried about with divers and strange Doctrines, they are very unsetling; But be∣ware lest ye be led away with the error of the wick∣ed,*and fall from your own stedfastnesse, as the Scripture speaks.
Take heed of abusing lawfull things, meate, drink, marriage, apparell, Christian liberty, and the like; take heed of abusing any of Page [unnumbered] these, by unlawfull use of them; The Creature, as it is empty of what it promiseth, so it is in∣ticing and insnaring with what it hath, and therefore had need to be warily used, or it may soone be abused, and the abuse of it, grieve the holy Spirit of God, and cause him to suspend his testimony, and God to hide his face from thee.
Take heed of preferring the injoyment of any thing, before the injoyment of God in Christ, and communion with him, or equalizing any thing with it.
Take heed of despising, slighting, neglect∣ing, or formall using of ordinances, or holy duties.
Take heed of melancholly. I mean, that humour which is properly so called;* give not way to it, feed not thy self with it.
Take heed of carnal-confidence, Put no con∣fidence in the flesh, nor in any inherent thing; seek not after righteousnesse in thy self, to justifie thy person before God, or build upon.
Take heed of unnecessary diffidence, and f•aggering at the promises of God through un∣belief, and neglecting thy watch.
Take heed of spiritual pride; it is an ill flower springing out of a good stemm, it often breeds contention between God and man, and brings men into fits of a spiritual falling sickness, wherein they lye like dead men, and only fome out their own sh•me, therefore beware of it.
Take heed of grieving the holy Spirit of God, Grieve not the holy Spirit of God, where∣by ye are sealed to the day of Redemption; Page [unnumbered] By slighting his testimony, or doing any thing contrary and disagreeing to his will.
Thus much of the first sort of rules▪ which are purely negative, and respect things to be avoided, by him that would keep his evidence: I shall now speak of the 2. sort of rules, which respect things to be done, by those that having attained some good Evidence for Hea∣ven, desire to keep and retain it.
1. If thou wouldest keep thy assurance▪ la∣bour to walk worthy of it, to be thankfull for it, and give God the glory of it; we sorfit many blessings by our ingratitude, and God of∣ten takes that from us, the glory of which we do not freely give to him.
2. If thou wouldest still keep thy assurance, walk humbly with God, and walk humbly with man, in the enjoyment of it.
3. If thou wouldst keep thy assurance, la∣bour to follow the counsel of the Apostle, Eph. 4.17. Ye hence forth w•lk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, &c. ye that have obtained of the Lord, such a choise favour as this; ye which know in some measure, what it is to enjoy God, and com∣munion with him;*ye that have some •ssurance of an inheritance that fadeth not away, walk not in the vanity of your minds, nor after the vani∣ties of the world, as others do that n•ver had such a jewell, as this, bestowed upon them. But see that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, as the Scripture di∣rects, E•hes 5 15, 16. labour to walk exact∣ly with God, and exactly with men, and re∣deem the time by improving of it; Walk worthy of God, as we are bid, 1 Thes, 2.12.
Page [unnumbered]4. If thou wouldest still retain thy Assu∣rance, practice that good thou dost know, be careful of all duty towards God, and to∣wards man, in every relation wherein thou standest, and not only of the matter of duty, but also of the manner of performing it.
5. If thou wouldst still retain thy assurance, take upon thee Christs yoke: follow Christs steps, and labour to walk according to Christs rule in every thing.
Labour to be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiels of the Divell: above all, take the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked, Ephes. 6.10, 11, 16.
7. If thou wouldest still retain thy assurance, study the grounds of thy assurance (viz.) the promises of God: study their freenesse, their latitude, their stability, their Author, and his faithfulnesse, and study thy interest in the promises, and labour to live upon the pro∣mises.
8. In the eight place, If thou wouldst still retain thy assurance, rest not satisfied, with a∣ny measure of assurance attained, but still la•our to increase thy assurance; count not thy self to have attained, or to have appre∣hended assurance enough, but forget what is behind, and reach forth to that which is before; follow after more, Presse towards the mark, as the Apostle did, Phil. 3.12, 13, 14. Labour for increase of assurance; Labour for the riches (for all riches) of the full assurance of understanding, as the Scripture speaks *Labour Page [unnumbered] to apprehend the breadth, and length, and depth, and heighth of the Love of God, and to know the Love of Christ, which passeth knowledg, to be filled with all the fullnesse of God, as the Scripture speaks, Eph. 3.18, 19.
Quest. But you will say, How shall I do this? what may I do to increase my assurance, and bet∣ter my evidence?
Answ. If thou wouldest increase thy as∣surance, and better thy evidence, thou must do these eight things.
1. Thou must diligently and conscionably continue to use all those means and ordinan∣ces, for the increasing of thy assurance, which thou didst use for the getting of it, and labour to be made better by those meanes thou usest.
2. Labour to grow up into Christ the head, from whom all the body, by joynts and bands, and all our graces by participation of his fulnesse, have nou•ishment ministred unto them, and in∣crease with the increase of God.
*3. Dye daily unto sinne, and live unto righteousnesse, Labour to be more like God and Heaven daily, if thou wouldest have more as∣surance of thy interest in God and Heaven.
4. In the fourth place, if thou wouldest in∣crease thy assurance, stir up the gift of God, that is in thee; exercise and act grace, Labour to grow and increase in grace, to be strong in grace, in all grace; but especially in the grace of faith; He that increaseth knowledg (saith Solomon) increaseth sorrow; so he that in∣creaseth faith increaseth assurance.
5. In the fifth place, If thou wouldest still injoy thy assurance and increase it, then la∣bour Page [unnumbered] to improve the assurance thou hast, be it more or lesse, to the glory of God, thy own and thy brothers good; They that im∣proved their Talents, had a continuance, and an increase of them, whilst h• that improved not his Talent had it taken from him.
6. In the fixth place, If thou wouldest in∣crease thy assurance, diligently follow every good work; Labour to be fruitfull in every good work.
7. Then again,* If thou woulde•• increase thy assurance, use well the office, place, calling, and relations, which God hath set thee in; This is the way to attain great boldnesse in the faith, as is easie to be gathered, from the Language of the Apostle, 1 Tim. 3.13.
8. Finally if thou wouldest increase thy assurance, pray for the increase of it; urge God with that general promise, Mat. 25.29. for the obtaining of this particular blessing of increase of assurance.
Thus much for answer to the foresaid query, (viz) what we must do to increase our assu∣rance and better our evidence. I return now to the work in hand, which is to propound more rules to be observed by those, who having attained some good evidence for Heaven, desire to retain it; I have already propounded eight rules, I come new to the ninth.
9. If thou wouldst still retain thy assurance, then labour to keep a holy jealousie over thy self, and over all thy performances, and wayes; holy jealousie is no destroyer, but a nourisher and strengthener of good assurance.
10. If thou wouldest still injoy thy evi∣dence, then labour to profit by all Gods cha∣stisements; Page [unnumbered] God many times deserts his Peo∣ple, and hides his face from them, because they do not profit by lesser Chastisements; he useth greater rods, because lesser will not serve the turn: Labour therefore to discern Gods design in every stroke of his, and to answer Gods ends in every cor∣rection.
11. In the next place, If thou would∣est still injoy thy assurance, then call thy selfe often to account, and when thou es∣piest any failings in thy selfe, speedily hum∣ble thy self before the Lord for them, re∣new Faith and Repentance, seek pardon and reconciliation, apply the Blood of Christ for thy cure, let not Conscience lye under the guilt of any known sinne unrepented of; If our hearts condemne us not, then have we confid•nce towards God, 1 John 3.21. Labour therefore so to try, judge and con∣demn thy selfe that thy heart may not con∣demne thee; Labour so to act Repentance upon every occasion, that conscience may not find any guilt unrepented of, to charge thee with; Labour to prevent conscience here∣in, by doing that thy self now, that it would do hereafter, by being such a self condemning sinner, that thou maiest avoid a self-condemn∣ing conscience: He that is not a self condemn∣ing sinner here, shall be sure of a self condemn∣ing Conscience hereafter; Therefore O Christi∣ans! Iudg your selves, that you be not judged of the Lord; condemn your selves, that you be not condemned of conscience (at least not justly.)
12. L•t your Conversation be such, as be∣cometh Page [unnumbered] the Gospell of Christ, in simplicity and god∣ly sincerity: This was ground of confidence and rejoycing to the Apostles, 2 Cor. 1.12. it may be so to thee, nay it will be so to thee, whiles conscience speaks truth.
13. Cast thy self wholly upon the merit of Christ for righteousnesse, to justifie thy person before God.
14. Stand fast in the Lord, labour to keep the faith; Paul saith, I have kept the faith, and hence infers, Henceforth there is laid up for me, a crown of righteousness, 2 Tim. 4.7, 8.
15. Then again, If thou wouldest keep thy Evidence. hold fast (not only) the faith, but also the profession of thy faith, without wavering, as the Author to the Hebrews exhorts all Christi∣ans to do, Heb. 10.23.
16. In the next place, If thou wouldest still retain thy assurance, then pray for the continu∣ance of it, and live for the continuance of it; follow the counsell of Christ to his Disciples, watch and pray, that ye enter not into Temptation.
17. Remember that the foundation of God stand∣eth sure, and his gifts of saving grace are without repentance, and his love towards his,*is an everlast¦ing love.
18. Finally if thou wouldest still retain thy E∣vidence for Heaven and secure it from danger, from Satan, and all his devices, then intrust Je∣sus Christ with it who purchased it for thee; he and he only, is able to secure it.
Thus much for the rules to be observed by every one, that having attained some good E∣vidence for Heaven, desire to preserve and re∣tain it.
Now the Lord of his infinite mercy in Christ, Page [unnumbered] inable me so to follow these rules, and all the rules of his holy Word, that I may never know experimentally, what a deserted condition is, but still enjoy the light of his countenance, and the sence of his Love, and in death triumph o∣ver death, in assurance of life and happinesse that shall never end, that Christ may be magni∣fied in me, both in Life and in Death, and of me through all eternity. Amen, Amen.
Courteous Reader, these Books following are Print• or sold by Simon Miller, at the Star in St. Pauls Church-yard.
THe Civil Wars of Spain in the Reign of Charles the fifth, Emperor of Germany, and King of that Nation, wherein our late unhappy differences are paralleled in many particulars.
A general History of Scotland, from the year 767. to the death of King Iames, containing the prin∣cipal Revolutions and transacti∣ons of Church and State, with politicall obseruations, and refle∣ctions upon the same: by David Hume of Godscroft.
The History of this Iron Age.
Doctor Lightfoot his Harmony on the New Testament.
In Qarto Large.
Barklay his Argenis Transla∣ted by Sir Robert le Grise Knight.
Abraham's faith; or the good old Religion, proving the Do∣ctrine of the Church of England to be the only true faith of Gods Elect; By I. Nicholson Minister of the Gospell.
The Anatomy of Mortallity: by George Stroad.
Aynsworth, on the Camicles.
Paul Bayn, his Diocesans Trial.
Gralle against Appolonius.
A Treatise of Civil Pollicy; being a clear decision of 4•. que∣ries, concerning prerogative right and priviledg, in reference to the supreme Prince and the people: By Samuel Rutherford professor of Divinity of St Andrews in Scot∣land.
Politick and Military observa∣tions of Civill and Military Go∣vernment, containing the birth, increase, decay of Monarchies, the cartiage of Princes and Magi∣strates.
Mr. Tinchin his meritorious price of mans redemption cleared.
A••rology Theologized, shew∣ing what nature and influence the Stars and Planets have over men, and how the same may be divert∣ed and avoided.
The Harmony of Confessions. 4o.
Florus Anglicus with Cuts,
The reconciler of the Bible, wherein above 2000, seeming contradictions are fully and plainly reconciled.
A view of the Jewish Religion Page [unnumbered]〈◊〉 their Rites, Customes, and •••emonies.
Ed. VVaterhouse Esq his dis∣••rse of piety and charity.
A view and defence of the Re∣•ormation of the Church of Eng∣land, very usefull in these times.
Mr. Peter du Moulin, his Anti∣dote against Popery; published on purpose to prevent the delusions of the Priests and Jesuites who are now very busie amongst us.
Herberts Devotions, or a Com∣panion for a Christian, contain∣ing Meditations and Prayers, use∣full upon all occasions.
Mr. Knowles, his Rudiment, of the Hebrew Tongue.
A Book of scheams or figures of Heaven ready set for every foure minutes of times, and very •seful for all Astrologers.
Florus Anglicus, or an exact Hi•tory of England, from the reign of V•illiam the Conqueror, to the death of the late King.
Lingua, or the combate of the Tongue and the five Senses for superiority: a serious Comedy.
The Spirits Touchstone; be∣ing a clear discovery how a man may certainly know whether he be truly taught by the Spirit of God, or not.
The Poor mans Physitian and Chirurgion.
The Idol of Clowns.
The Christian moderator in 3. parts.
The Golden Fleece, or a dis∣course of the cloathing of England
Doctor Smith's practice of Physick.
The Grammer War.
The Christian Soulder, his combate with the three arch ene∣mies of mankind, the world, the flesh, and the devil.
The New Testament. The third part of the Bible.
Martyr'd Souldier.Page [unnumbered]